This post has the following content warnings:
Jul 25, 2021 7:18 PM
Julie has a medical emergency. And several other emergencies.
+ Show First Post
Total: 2511
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"Have they got vats of bacteria here? If not, blood's probably fastest - ask Alex where the Jupiter fleet's at, I don't know how fast Earth or Mars could get here -"

Permalink

...Leareth is not at all sure which of the systemwide powers is supposed to have this 'Jupiter Fleet'. Also he's not within Mindspeech range of Alex at all, apparently. 

:- Do you have comms ability, I cannot reach Alex. I...suspect that all the vats of bacteria available will already have been fed to the protomolecule, so blood is the next fastest option. Can you clarify what you mean by the 'Jupiter Fleet'...?:

Permalink

"...Io's a moon of Jupiter, the nearest planet. Both Earth and Mars have fleets deployed here, though Mars's is probably out of commission right now, the Donnager was their Jupiter flagship. So we know how long we have until they get here and try to get their hands on it.

 

I can text Holden, one sec." Her hands tap her terminal. 

[are earth and mars headed this way, who's closer, how far]

Permalink

"Hey, are we expecting company?"

Permalink

"The UN fleet's been burning Sun-ward since the Donnager blew. There's no one closer than Ganymede. And that's - 21 hours away, right now."

Permalink

Julie relays this.

Permalink

:Right. So - the UN is trying to get ships here, but they are most of a day's journey away?: 

He asks Emril how fast she and the scientists can 3D-print blood to feed to the protomolecule. 

Permalink

Emril has no idea! She does have an estimate of the current approximate mass of the protomolecule, though, and a guess that Leareth probably cares about proportional growth. 

She asks the scientist who she's been getting along with best. 

Permalink

They favor feeding the protomolecule people. It's better for its development. But the 3D printer can put out ten gallons of blood an hour.

Permalink

...Well, they're not going to feed the protomolecule more people right now, because they don't have people on hand (...and also they would DIE and that's kind of awful but Emril doesn't say that). Leareth is apparently in favour of instead feeding it whatever biomass they can print fastest, which is blood, it sounds like?   

Permalink

Yes, blood prints quickly. 

Permalink

It's mostly water, though. 

Emril awkwardly tries to look up some information about blood on the computer terminal; she can sort of read English now and mostly get the interface to do what she wants but she's slow at it. She does some mental calculations. 

That's...four hours, give or take, to make an amount of blood cells equivalent in mass to an adult human. Five people worth in the time it would take a ship to reach Io from Ganymede. That...does not seem like nearly enough biomass for two doublings. 

She tries asking the protomolecule anyway, hoping it won't be too confused about the concept of mass. And she relays her guess to Leareth. 

Permalink

Well, making the protomolecule impossible to contain on Io, which has other inhabitants, is a dubious plan to begin with. 

It doesn't actually seem like the main threat here is orbital bombardment. And if he leaves his mages on site, they can probably prevent anyone else from the other more likely scenario, of someone getting into the lab and obtaining a sample. 

Leareth asks Julie what she thinks. 

Permalink

"Seems reasonably likely they'd bomb it, to me. If they think it's a threat to the whole solar system, which, like, it kind of is. They're probably less likely to do that if they know it's not all the proto there is?"

Permalink

:Probably. And it is - recoverable from, if they do bomb it. Though not ideal:

Leareth sighs. Tries to think. Start at the beginning - what are the constraints, what are his options...

:...Since we have time to prepare, I suppose one of my people could use Farsight to obtain a Gate-location in the nearest city. And - steal a shuttle there, somehow, and hide the protomolecule inside it - maybe one of the scientists is a pilot and could be persuaded to help... That also risks containment, but much less than feeding it until it can burrow underground, which we cannot do in time anyway...:

Unless they just go ahead and feed all the scientists to it, but he doesn't currently want to go there. Leareth is mostly just thinking-in-Mindspeech; none of that seems like a good plan. He desperately wishes Nayoki were still in range and possible to communicate with securely. Also he wants a version of Nayoki who's spent the last five years specializing in politics instead of obscure Mindhealing research, but that's a stupid thing to wish for. 

Focus.

:It seems wise to have someone on site who could negotiate with any ships arriving from Earth or Mars. Someone with local context, not just one of my mages, though I will leave them as well. But I want you on Earth. ...You could ask Holden if anyone from his crew would be willing to stay behind? It - might be dangerous, but at the very least I think my mages could evacuate the humans on site, if the ships arrive and bomb the lab: 

Permalink

"I can ask him but I bet he's gonna say no."

 

[leareth wants to leave a person who isn't one of his on site]

[you have any volunteers]

Permalink

[he could have the spy]

 

Permalink

She reports this.

Permalink

:- Honestly, that is probably a lot better than not having anyone! And it is not as though it matters, anymore, whether he ends up managing to send a report to the UN, since Holden broadcast everything. I want to speak with him first, though: 

Permalink

"Sure." Julie closes her eyes again.

Permalink

It takes Leareth a minute of drifting to remember that he needs to...take actions about this...if he wants it to happen. Also he vaguely remembers that the spy might actually be under guard in the lab, rather than on the ship. 

He tiredly asks Emril if she can have the spy hauled over; he doesn't feel like trying to Mindspeak someone in a different room, he's very tired. 

Permalink

The spy is retrieved and hauled over, under an improvised Velgarth mage-shield that blocks internet access; they've gotten the technique down pretty efficiently at this point. 

He's not told anything other than 'Leareth needs to talk to you', but he is being mindread throughout. 

Permalink

He's so confused about what's going on but he's - still alive, so that's good - the message probably got out at least -

Permalink

Leareth drags himself up into a sitting position and tries very hard to keep his eyes open and focused on the spy. It would be nice if he had more energy to actually think about what to explain versus leave out, but. 

:Julie and I are leaving and - going elsewhere now. I wish to leave someone local on site, because - Holden decided to broadcast a message explaining everything to the entire system, and now ships from Earth and Mars are headed this way, and it would be helpful to have someone who I trust more than Jules Pierre Mao's scientists to negotiate with them if that comes up. Can you do that: 

At this range, he can manage reading the man's thoughts to get a sense of his response. 

Permalink

He's so delighted about this! It's not being killed at all. It's not even being threatened. "Yes."

Total: 2511
Posts Per Page: