In lunar-like distant orbit around the system Castage, the remote station RD-IV silently operates in the silence of space and at a safe distance from the planet.
Inside is where the most extensive research on identifying and analyzing the galaxy's most dangerous bio-engineered organic/viral pathogens is conducted. The facility is designed to handle compounds and pathogens too dangerous for any systems to chance housing their research planet side.
Currently leading the facility as head researcher is Science Director Karlie Lynn Destat, an operative in the IBI, an executive investigating branch of the Castan government on system Castagne.
Nine months later, following the Melida/Dan incident....
"Another private message from the Viceroyalty, Liz?" Karlie asked her assigned assistant.
"It wouldn't be private if I should answer that, Karlie." The bio-tech assistant returned to her research station near Karlie.
"My lab, my privileges...supposed to be my assistant."
"My hearing's fine. But so you know, nothing substantial has come out of this exercise. They've gotten impatient. Don't be surprised if they pull the plug on you and reassign this research ...elsewhere."
"It's my research, they can't do that."
"The virus was deployed on a CIS system. It's within their jurisdiction."
Karlie didn't reply, she just tightened her lips. No doubt she was angry that in a matter of time, this research would slip through her fingers.
"Listen...I don't know how much more time the'll give us before the'll pull the plug on this. But I stepped up on your behalf and convinced them that you're not stone walling them."
Me, stonewalling them?..What the frak for?!!"
4 long work cycles later...
"There...you see it?..." Karlie expanded on the 3D projected hologram of the live virus. It had been extracted from the host 'Janis', a former colleague of her's whom had been part of the landing party on Melida/Dan when the outbreak of the same virus took place.
"Uhm...what exactly am I seeing besides the virus injecting it's nucleic acid inside the host cell?
I've studied it's lysogenic cycle over a thousand times, maybe more..." Her lab assistant Liz replied, as in reality both she and Karlie had lost count months ago. Not that they needed to count or personally keep track of every single virus test which they ran through it's lysogenic cycle reproducing. Their lab computer detailed every single replication on the molecular level.
And each virus was the second generation, close to what could be the original. Their samples were fresh, extracted directly from a live zombie..Janis; Karlie's original fellow scientist whom contracted the airborne virus on Melida/Dan.
"It's internal proteins... look there....they've been triggered to scramble then reassemble in a systematic collective cycle once the virus injects it's RNA which then triggers the organelles to start it's replication. Look here..the proteins momentarily twitch within that .007 of that second."
"Yea, I had picked that up too...but what of it? The chain remains intact before and after..it's just a twitch...like you said, Karlie."
"Yes, but why? There's no reason for it to do so.
Unless it momentarily flashes it's true base chain...it's default structure, Liz.
It's like it has been trained to disguise it's original protein chain...or at least tries to reassemble it's true chain for that split microsecond...like when a key goes through the tumblers. It insets properly, but the key-ways must go through a tumbler cycle for the key to engage the lock... winding up in the same position before the cycle." Karlie replayed the viral attack on the clean cell. Sure enough it seemed it's protein chain wanted to change, then not..like it twitched. It were for just a millisecond but it was there.
Karlie then randomly accessed the previous file recordings of the countless viral cycles they had been arduously studying the past months and sure enough, the same micro twitch.
"We need to freeze that event.
Lets initialize an absolute zero flash for the next new samples. I don't see why our computer can't fire that flash during that split second twitch. We should get lucky enough to freeze that cycle so we can analyse the chain code."
Two weeks later the two researchers finally were able to freeze that split microsecond in absolute zero.
The protein chain was without a doubt something by which the lab comp brought up as already existing in it's records. The protein in it's original untrained state clearly matched that of a common virus on the outskirts of CIS territory.
"Finally, we've got the key as to where it was engineered!" Karlie was so excited!
Yes, finally after months of arduous study, with molecular disassembly and reassembling they had gotten their first glimpse of the pathogen's possible origin, it's point of creation. Sure, they knew exactly how it went about replicating and as to why it chose only humanoids, but unlocking as to where it came from was the mystery. In doing so, they could then ultimately discover whom had created it, as it was by all standards; bio-engineered.
" Wow..talk about finding a needle in a metal scrap heap! This little devil has certainly been engineered to keep it's original protein chain in its new trained heinous order. We're looking at possibly the first programmable virus. FRAK, this thing can be anything you want it to be, from the common cold to-..to...frak, this and more!" She had to step back a moment from the projected hologram of the live virus frozen in time in the absolute chamber. Her heart was beating a kilometer a minute, she was both excited and frightened.
"It explains now how easily it is transmittable...like that of an influenza." She was able to catch her breath, moving closer to the hologram. She virtually turned the holo-virus over in it's projected state getting a better view of the frozen protein chain that had twitched for amicro second to reveal it's true original protein structure. They had captured that obscure instant flicker and it revealed everything about it which they were missing before.
"And see...it's retained the spectral refraction signature of that very same star system."
It had been a breakthrough and one by which should have completed the research. Karlie at that point had completed her assignment as per IBI doctrines. It was just a simple matter of finalizing the report and send it back to IBI headquarters.
No, Karlie was a kind of perfectionist. In her scope of thinking, this was only the beginning of the investigation. What should have been turned in to headquarters for them to analyse and determine the next step as to take in bringing the culprits to justice, Karlie made the decision to discover that on her own.
She was determined to find the source, the lab, the men...the scum who had engineered this virus. And too, she was kind of fascinated by this new technology that she could uncover. Imagine that; a programmable virus. It meant that it could be disguised as a harmless common virus then at the proper time...devastation.
But she weren't looking to acquire this knowledge in order to replicate this technology for creating biological weaponry. No.
Such tech could be used for good...to fight other devastating diseases as the virus could be programmed like bots to attack only the diseased cells, stopping the disease in its tracks.
This was one aspect as to her decision not to finalize the research. The other was bagging the culprits herself. Well, at least identifying the culprits. Then of course she would call in the Castan Marines to deal with them and have those butchers be brought to justice.
...or so was Karlie's argument to Liz as to why she were not going to report their findings yet to the Viceroyalty.