The birth of a mystery

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regruntled and reemployed
Jan 1, 1970
in front of the computer
The orbital station creaked to life. The darkened rooms became lit with soft lights. Maintenence robots examined every corner before the stasis suites began their awakening sequences. The planet below continued in it's orbit, and the sun cast an assault of light and heat on the surface of the alien craft.

The first to awaken was Kallen Dant. A scientist of dubious lineage. Her great grandmother was at the forefront of the last succesful revolution; the Mind of Water Purge. It was now the governing philosophy of the age, as ages past have all been fought for philosophies as well. This one befit the current age, as it has everything to do with adapting to changing conditions.

Kallen sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed her eyes. Upon removing her hands, she saw her reflection in the console mirror nearby. She thought to herself that she looked like a bloodshot corlar, minus the furry tail of course. She drew a deep breath and coughed at the sensation of drawing air from the room into her lung.

At the far end of the room was a desk and a computer interface. She got up and walked over to the chair and sat down. The computer recognized her and she was soon scanning some raw data charts from during the last sleep period. She then looked out the window at the planet below. Turning back to the computer, she directed the ship's systems to start bringing the other crewmembers out of their deep sleep. One by one, in each stasis suite, the lights went on, and the occupants woke up. Three other crewmembers awoke. A fourth, Tarow Diil, was in isolation for a fever contracted during stasis, a low risk side effect of the stasis process. Kallen greeted the three on the intercom, "Have something to eat and clean up, then join me in the control room for a briefing. I've found something wonderful on the planet below."

Tres Balu entered first. He is the primary pilot, and he sat down to check the status of the orbit and the ship's functions. Although it was built as an orbiter, it is also designed to be much more. Tres found that a lot of maintence was needed. Repair robots were dispatched to begin the process. Korkan Ree and Slu Sae came in and took their places at the briefing table.

"Come here Tres!" insisted Kallen, "This is important."
"I can see from here. Proceed."
"Well," she said in an exaggerated loud voice, "It appears that those little primates below have developed the beginnings of a civilization since we were last down there."
"Are you sure it's the same group?" asked Korkan.
"Yes. It's the same genetic markers." Said Kallen, her voice lowering now.
Tres swung around in his chair, stood up and walked over to the table.
"So, what do we do now?" he asked.
"We need to capture one and examine it."
Slu Sae leaned over to Kallen and asked, "Are they sentient?"
"I believe they are now." she sighed.
"By our laws, this is the last time we can do this sort of thing." offered Tres.
"I know." said Kallen sadly.
"Let's get started. I'd like to get home before my grandchildren die of old age." said Korkan with a grin on his face.

Kallen and Korkan suited up and took the detachable pod to the planet's surface. It moved from the upper atmosphere to skimming the tops of the trees in a matter of seconds, and even the birds took no note of the presence of this almost invisible hovering disc. They set the craft down in a clearing near an encampment. The beings had what looked like a very primative society. They were clearly organized among themselves. Although hairy, they wore clothes and adornments. Industry was present. Commerce had to be in place as there appeared to be simple shops set up on blankets along the banks of a nearby river. Domesticated animals pulled plows and carts in the fields. Pets played with children in a field nearby. Kallen and Korkan walked around the edges of these areas, taking optical recordings with thier instruments.

"These people have advanced way too rapidly since we last visited. It was only 3000 annual cycles since we were last here. Hardly enough time for all...THIS to happen." Said Kallen, raising her voice a little too loud. Korkan nodded, and softly said, "do you think we contaminated them?
"No. Someone has taught them all of this. It's clear that many of these things are not their own innovations. The wheels of their carts have spokes on them, but there is nothing that resembles a windmill or a water wheel anywhere."
"I know what you're trying to say," said Korkan, "But you have no proof."
"It doesn't matter." Kallen said. And she motioned Korkan to follow her as she stalked a lone member of the tribe they were studying.

"Bring her down" said Kallen.
Korkan aimed a small device at the creature and it fell where it stood. The ship was summoned and it hovered just above Kallen and Korkan. The creatures started to sense that something was wrong. They saw one of their own lifted into the invisible disc by invisible hands, and then disappear. Pandemonium ensued below as the disc silently hurtled against gravity, above the clouds, and to dock again with the mothership.

The subject, which Korkan had named Renni, was brought to the medical lab where she was placed on a table. Kallen ran scans of Renni's brain, bone and fiber tissues, everything imaginable. The scans went on for hours. Tres made small talk with Slu as she sat in Tarrow's chair next to the pilot. Kallen and Korkan monitored Renni's results. Finally and at last, Kallen and Korkan were exhausted. Korkan went off to find something to eat, and Kallen began cleaning up the lab a little bit. She was exhausted and didn't notice that Renni had begun showing signs of waking up. She should have remained asleep for several more hours at least, but there she was. her eyes opened to half slits. The particular type of light hitting her eyes being somewhat unfamiliar to her. Her eyes focused a bit more now. The room was completely alien to her. She began to panic and tried to get off the table, but found her wrists to be secured at her sides. The same went for her legs. She remained quiet, watching Kallen moving about the lab, putting things away. One hand was free now. Then the other, and then the legs were released. Renni crept off of the table and circled behind Kallen. Kallen turned at one point and noticed that Renni was no longer on the table. She turned to hit an alarm, but Renni appeared from a blindspot and tackled Kallen, knocking her unconscious. Korkan returned, and as soon as he opened the door, Renni ran out, knocking him over. Tres and Slu were too stunned by the rapid pace of what just happened to react. Then at once, all three ran over to help Kallen back to her feet.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Renni escaped." said Slu.
"Well, that's okay. There aren't very many places to go on the ship." said Kallen as she got up on her feet. "Slu, see if you can locate her."
Slu went to the ship's systems panel and brought up interior views of all compartments on the ship. Sixteen in all. In one section, there was a heat signature. It was Renni. She was hiding in Tarrow's suite, worse still, she was in his chamber.

"Okay, funtime is over. It's time to kill that damn monkey before it causes anymore harm. We're all infected now. It's gonna take years to get free of the effects of the virus." said Tres angrily.
"We're NOT going to kill Renni." said Kallen defiantly. "We must return her and end our research here."
"Whatever," said Tres, "let's just do what we have to do and go."

Everybody headed toward Tarrow's suite. They entered and turned on the lights. Tarrow was sitting upright in his bed. "Look, I've had a guest." he said. He looked gaunt and almost corpse-like. "She's been saying all sorts of terrible things about you." Tarrow continued. "From the sounds of it, you're all a bunch of monsters." And then Tarrow laughed a strange laugh. Renni peered from the far edge of the bed. "There she is!" shouted Slu. "Get her!" But Renni was too quick for them. She ran past them and back into the control room where she went directly for the pilot's console and very purposefully entered a sequence of commands into the navigation computer. The whole ship pitched suddenly and too quickly for the gravity compensators to respond. Everyone was buffeted about. Under normal conditions, the ship would be silent, even the mothership, as it entered the planet's atmosphere. But it was out of control, and screaming like the hunk of burning metal that it was as it fell aimlessly toward the approaching landmass below.
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