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Concerns and Diversions Pt.1: The Doc's genes
South had decided not to go to bed after the party with the Huzzards. Instead of sleep he thought it might be beneficial to sample his of his own DNA and test it in the ship's lab, while no one else was using it. He knew what he was looking for, but he wasn’t sure what he would do when he found it.
His research aboard the Satrid had showed that time travel affects the DNA of living organisms, ever so subtly. Usually it just consisted of an awareness of space time on the genetic level, not in a conscious way, but in a way the body could react to in order to adapt to the stresses of traveling from one time state to another. The effects, in his view were not to dissimilar to the effects of time field stasis, which would position in a field of existence outside space time. The symptoms were effectively the same, such as disorientation, nausea, fluttery heart, etc. These passed almost as quickly as they arrived during time travel under normal circumstances. The gene changes would remain subtle, nearly untraceable, but ever present. The noticability of the change would increase when exposed to more time energy. Frequent time travelers would show the effect more, and biological tissue would 'remember' the experience of time travel so that the effects would fade faster. He thought that if the change increased with exposure to time manipulation energy, then he might find something useful in his own makeup. He had.
His catapult through three million years of existence had affected him greatly on the genetic level. The Satrid was unique in the way it affected time. Instead of 'folding' time or 'twisting' it so that one point touches another, like many other ships, the Satrid would affect local fields, generating a 'swamp' of time energy specific to that ship alone, which it would then use to 'swim' through time. The approach was less invasive to the structure of time, but exposed anything inside the ship to massive amounts of energy spilling from the core. The Satrid's core had detonated, flushing out more energy than every intended. His genes practically glowed with this 'time-stuff', and they didn't seem like they were going to cool off any time soon. He thought that if the hamster was right about how the detonated, he might be able to scan the energy swimming through his DNA, and find a way to track it's unique signature in other organics.
Reggie, his beetle, showed the same time-stuff all over his tiny beetle genes. The problem, though, was that he had no idea how to program a scanner to search at such a detailed level of any kind of distance, and even if he found an anomaly, this wasn't his ship to go looking for his crew. He felt it unlikely that these new friends of his would agree to head straight into a time distortion just see if his crew mates of the Satrid had survived, not since the STCP would be all over it. He decided not tell them about the time energy in his DNA either. He was sure it couldn't be tracked, it was unique to the Satrid's engines, but he didn't want to take the chance of them kicking him off the ship if they didn't want to listen.
He sighed and pinched his eyes. It would be a long night.
* * *
He woke only after a few hours sleep, which usually did the trick for him, but despite him being used to an irregular schedule, it took a few cups of Brett's tea to make him feel any more alert than the night before. 'New ship' he thought, 'still adjusting'.
Before long he wandered into the refractory with some of the other crew, still thinking about what he'd found the previous night.
"I can't tell what it is...." Cass said, listening to the recording. "...are you sure this isn't solar radiation fucking with your gear again?"
"I'm certain Ms. Jones, I had Holly perform a sweep, there's not enough solar radiation to cause that much interference" said Artemis.
South's interest perked up, and he began listening intently.
"It could be anything, really, if you were using the ship's exterior antennae any transmission within range could interfere. But for a signal that strong it has to be close" Jamie said from a neighboring table.
"It's definitely worth checking out" Artemis said. "Boyd has already prepared his ship for a brief expedition"
"If you're using Boyd's ship and not one of the 'Dwarf's stock shuttles, I don't see any problem with it Artemis. Just keep us up to date and don't stray too far from the ship" Jay said.
"Alright Mr. Chrysler, we'll head out immediately!"
"By the way, Artemis" Cass said, grabbing Artemis by one of his monitors. "If it is something living, don't bring it back here without making damned sure it won't try to fucking kill us. We won't hesitate to lock your ass outside the ship"
"I'm anything if not cautious, Ms. Jones"
Artemis moved for the door, Boyd following while Cassandra worked over an array of sensors and programs on her data pad to try and clean up the transmission. Dr. South leaned back in a chair and watched them work for a while, before deciding a medical might be an order, just to make sure his vital systems were functioning as they should. Time biology was his specialty, but he'd never seen anything dosed with as much raw power as he'd soaked in.
<Tag to Pt. 2>