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Newly Founded Conclusions

Posted on Thu May 27th, 2021 by Lieutenant JG Korti Jaiba [Fairchild] & Cassidy Washington [McDanielson]

Mission: Episode 14 - Synthesis
Location: Medical Lab 6, Starfleet Medical Center
Timeline: Day 1 at 1444

Cassidy walked through the doors after receiving a message from Jaiba about wanting her for a consult. Cassidy found that to be a little strange given how the Bajoran woman was studying the stalagmite crystals found in the underground cave. She knew they were looking for answers about the crystals because they were the first to be found on the planet.

"I'm here," She said.

Jaiba was looking at samples in one of the sample cups when she heard Cassidy walk in and say something. "I'll be with you in just a minute," She said. Jaiba placed the sample container back onto the lab bench and spun around slowly so that her hair flowed a little bit.

"I'm glad you were able to get here so quickly," She said. "So I'm studying these samples that were collected from the underground cavern that our away team found last week. I was finally able to return with samples yesterday after looking at the cavern and ship for myself."

"And?" Cassidy questioned with her brow raised, "I'm a biologist with no geology experience. I'm not quite sure how much help I can be, but I will try my best."

Jaiba grinned, "I think this will be right up your alley Cass," She remarked and picked up one of the sample containers. "I don't think this is normal stalagmite samples that were collected." She walked over to the fusion microscope and placed it underneath the glass.

Jaiba then activated the holographic imaging system and the sample presented itself in the middle of the room. "Watch this." She said and turned around.

Cass watched the holographic image carefully, "It seems like..." She then saw the pulsating that was perfectly timed. It would happen every so often and then flow outward. "Microscopic pulses?" She took a step forward and watched it carefully.

"Does this mean what I think it means?" She asked.

Jaiba simply nodded, "I've analyzed the pulses for the past hour and I've come to the same conclusion. I had the computer run a spectral analysis of the samples as well. The stalagmite is a living organism not a geological feature and I thought you'd draw the same conclusion."

Cassidy was suddenly very interested in what had been in the sample containers. She walked over and lifted the glass, "It's a living organism," She whispered quietly. "Did the computer come to the same conclusion?"

"There are very small microscopic slits along the crystalline structure. It's pulling air and nutrients inside through those slits. These samples are still living," Jaiba told her before placing the sample containers back inside the containment box. She pressed a few buttons which changed the parameters of the containment system.

"After I discovered this I placed them inside this atmospheric containment box and set it to match what is in the cavern. I'm not sure if they are some higher form of life or not though." Jaiba told Cassidy. "There's more too."

Cassidy was watching as the holographic image flickered and stopped. The samples had been placed back inside a containment system which was quite smart on the part of Jaiba. "Oh?"

Jaiba brought up the analysis she'd completed only a few minutes earlier. "I've had the computer analyze each of the samples since they came from different locations. The data on the left is stalagmite crystals from within the ship and the data on the right is from the outside of the ship."

Jaiba ran the numbers, "I had the computer conduct an advanced form of carbon dating on each sample in order to get a realistic age of the structures. I expected the crystals on the outside of the ship to be older, but as you can see I was wrong."

Cassidy was grinning as she read through the information quickly, "The crystals from the inside are significantly older which means this may not have been a lifeform indigenous to the planet. Do you think this was on board the ship and it grew?"

"Most likely," Jaiba told her. "We seem to have discovered a new lifeform and never expected to do so. The stalagmite crystals are a silicate based lifeform that rely on a higher nitrogen concentration than what we find on the surface of the planet.

"When I returned to the cavern I found very rich deposits of nitrogen around the ship. The crystals must have been able to thrive down there for the hundreds of years before we found it." Jaiba concluded.

Cassidy was still amazed by this discovery, "The Captain will be impressed with this information Lieutenant," She said. "I wonder if this lifeform is what caused the ship down there to malfunction and crash in the first place?" She asked rhetorically.

"There's no way to know," Jaiba said. "There are probably dozens of hull breaches on the ship. The crystals would have grown outward from the inside of said hull. Over the hundreds of years that has passed since the ship crash landed the cave was buried in sediments until it was enclosed."

Cassidy nodded as she looked at the sample containers inside their containment chamber. "Opening it will possibly reduce the amount of nitrogen and could damage the stalagmite lifeform."

"Perhaps," Jaiba agreed. "I'll have to continue to monitor the nitrogen atmosphere down there, but so far it seems to have had no affect. The cave was probably open a thousand years ago."

"That's a lot of speculation," Cassidy said. She didn't look at Jaiba, "Is there any way to know if this lifeform has a higher form of intelligence or not?"

Jaiba shrugged, "I was hoping you'd be able to help me study it so that we could make that determination. Right now I'm not entirely convinced either way, but so far it has made no attempt to communicate with us. I'm leaning towards it not being a higher form of life, but I was wrong when I theorized the age difference."

"True," Cassidy answered. "However, unless it finds some way to attempt to communicate with us or show some other means of higher intelligence we should assume that it is a lower form of life. Are you going to return the samples back to the cavern?"

"Yes," Jaiba told her. "Just as soon as I've concluded my research. Had I known it was a lifeform I probably would have left it in the cavern and studied it from there."

"It's a fair mistake to make though Jaiba," She said with a smile on her face. "I think I would have made the same mistake in your position."

Jaiba nodded with her arms crossed over her chest, "In the meantime we learn all that we can then return these samples back to their natural habitat."

 

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