Monday, April 11, 2016

Story Seed - The Vats

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The doctor walked through the facility. It was warm in here, and he basked in it. The vats needed to be kept at body temp, and it was easier to keep the entire growing floor close to that then to heat each vat separately. The station's habitat levels were on the outside and often felt cool, even cold if the planetary weather turned foul. As a result many of the med staff found the vats to be a pleasant reprieve from the habitat areas. Management didn't mind at all that people gave themselves an additional incentive to report to work.

The doctor turned down a gangway and entered the roughly spherical enclosure of a pod of life. The pad in his hand linked to the local macrocomputer and updated the charts. Of the twenty vats, seventeen were on schedule for birthing at the end of the month. One chamber had already faulted and been disposed of. That left two that stood out.

The first was showing quickened development and might be ready for decanting a full week early. The doctor tapped a few notes into his padd and highlight subject sixteen to have an additional DNA screening and a full process review. Even a 5% reduction in incubation times would be worth reporting if it could be factored and applied globally.

That left subject nine. The doctor studied the readouts once more, a frown hidden by the filtration mask he wore. Subject nine was almost four months behind intended decantation schedule physically. The DNA modeling had showed a transposition error at the sixteen cell divide that likely caused the slow development. What was interesting, and the sole reason that subject nine had not yet been aborted, was that mental development was far exceeding the projections.

Computer extrapolations showed that subject nine would birth after a seventy percent longer incubation period, but with a mental development nearly an order of magnitude farther along. More to the point were the strange cortex formations that had even the geneticists baffled. Whatever unique mutation they had here, subject nine showed promise for exceptional mental acuity at the very least.

The doctor pressed a sequence that momentarily overrode the local video surveillance. He took off his right glove and put his hand on vat nine. "Good morning," he said, seemingly to himself.

Good morning father, how are you? subject nine replied telepathically.