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Episode 14: In Warm Blood / Loyalties

 
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Joined: 27 Nov 2005
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Location: Prince George

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:34 am    Post subject: Episode 14: In Warm Blood / Loyalties Reply with quote

EPISODE 14

A spacecraft has soft-landed 100 km east of the Island. It’s a Japanese built short hauler called the Pluto 5, contracted by a Kyushu operated medical corporation called Hanimed International. They lost contact with it a day ago and its automated control system activated emergency touchdown procedures. It automatically commenced a splashdown. The vessel has a heat shield and decent parachutes but is not designed to lift or operate in at atmosphere. There has been no contact with any of the 8-crew members since it went silent. Being from space, red-level quarantine procedures are in place. Because of possible sensitive cargo and Hanimed corporate location, and the fact that the ship landed in international waters, it’s falling to Section 10 to secure the facility and maintain security.
Section 10, except Gregori, arrives now by a Public Security owned submarine. They must be in quarantine suits but are not allowed to enter the vessel until authorized by Hanimed.
Section 10 checks the windows and ports of the vessel. They find the crew all dead, without a mark on them.

IN WARM BLOOD / LOYALTIES

Since the explosion two weeks ago, the building has fixed and all security systems work perfectly. Firewalls have been enhanced as well. However, everyone now is on a list for full medical exams. Ben is first and has already passed. Gregori just finished and is still at HQ.

The vessel looks fine. Outside investigation reveals no breaches or radioactive contamination. There is no data on where the vessel came from. The crew looks uninjured. However, the odd thing is the lack of reaction. Section 10 only sees three crew members from their vantage point, but they are all sitting down, relaxed. One still has his hand on the control sticks. That means whatever happened occurred all at once. Usually, when someone dies, you stand up; they were all sitting down. They all died at the same time, to the second. Visual scan finds nothing wrong. They cannot hook into the computer from the outside and its in quiet mode currently.

Kobotai introduces him to Hanimed’s representative, Dr. Anna Shoun. She has been instructed to enter the vessel first, before Section 10. She is quiet and reserved and acts very traditional Japanese. She apologizes on behalf of her company. However, Kobotai does not want Greg to accompany her to the Pluto 5. He has a favor.

When Anna leaves, Kobotai adds that Hanimed didn’t want Section 10 involved at all. They are treating it as a simply in-flight accident. However, Kobotai has a personal favor to ask of Greg. A dear friend of his, Christina Yansen, stopped communication two days ago from her laboratory. She is the sole occupant of her floating lab offshore. She’s a regarded scientist working on Cell regeneration. Yes, it could be a radio mechanic but Kobotai would like someone he trusts to look into it before authorities or her corporation checks in. Section 10 has security clearance and transport. It’s a favor, even though a slight abuse of power.

At the Pluto 5, Shoun arrives and insists that she go in first to secure the situation. She says Hanimed’s name is on the contract. She will be the first and will contact the group in 5 minutes.

At laboratory F6, Greg enters and finds it extremely hot. Checking the temperature indicates it is 41.2 degrees. Everything is working properly. No problems can be found. Greg finds Yansen dead, totally stiff, no sign of cause. No ships have arrived. She has been alone here for the past three weeks. She recently blanked her computer completely. That occurred only five hours ago, which coincides with the time of death.

When Greg contacts Kobotai, he refused to believe she killed herself. She was first and foremost a scientist. Impulsive actions were not ion her nature. Kobotai asks to bring the body back. Greg also finds rats in a cage…still alive.

Back at the Pluto 5, contact is lost with Shoun. It has been five minutes. Before they get really worried, they see her waving from the cockpit, but she doesn’t talk.

Inside, all in quarantine suits; Shoun says they may not be alone. There are four crewmembers on the bridge and three in the galley. Where is the 8th? The quarters are empty.

Opening a duct will drop a dead crewmember, the eighth. He was working on the thermostat. It stopped at 41 degrees.

Greg can investigate Yansen if he wishes: She won the young scientist of the year award. She was part of a group of Danish scientists working on cell regeneration. She won the Nobel price for science, pioneer of the drug Jagadill. The year following, a controversy arose when German magazine, reported that her drug trials were conducted without the consent of the patients. A spokesman for Yansen said that in light of the drug’s remarkable contribution to humanity, there surely could be no cause for concern.

There is a picture at that point showing an Asian man with a corporate symbol on his jacket…Hanimed.

Back on Pluto 5, Section 10 discovers they had a cabin-overheating problem. They were trying to fix it. However, they were not poached to death. The failsafe is still working. It would have cut off the moment it reached 41 degrees. Why 41? Shoun explains that it’s the human’s upper limit tolerance to heat but it would not kill them. The human body can survive higher temperatures, maybe even for as much as an hour.

Shoun goes through personal effects, recording them all and then placing them in quarantine, grade 6. She finds chewing gum, a tube of chocolate, a room key, and pills. Pills? Pheramol. They call have them. Shoun explains to them that it is a mild iron supplement that regenerates red blood cells, which break up after long years in space. It works very well and has been around for a while.

If Greg investigates Hanimed, he finds they are a multi-national corporation. They contract medical care to military bases, handle on the big space contracts. They do everything themselves. They build hospitals, train doctors, design equipment, make drugs…plus they feed, cloth, and house most of their employees.

At some point, someone stumbles into Shoun talking to her boss (the same face on the picture)
“…The evidence seems to point to an unidentified toxin.”
“Indeed. What is your advice?”
“Its not for me to advise.”
“All the same, I am interested in your opinion.”
“It is advised that the ship and its contents should be destroyed.”
“Your opinion?”
“It is my opinion.”
“Then it is my opinion also. Goodnight Anna. Goodnight sir.”

In truth, Shoun has never met her boss before now. She has no idea why she was sent here.

Shoun knows about Yansen. She is Hanimed's most brilliant biochemist. They sponsor and fund her work and her station. Shoun is shocked about her death and asks why. Yansen was killed in the same way as the crew of the Pluto 5. Shoun will not betray her company in initial conversations with Section 10.

Her business is finished here.

The autopsy is ready in the middle of the night on Yansen.

“This is through the brain. It shows sumostis romiatis…next…This is mid thoraxes section. It shows huge emboli in both pulmonary veins…next. This is through her heart. It shows total obstruction off all vessels. No infraction…there wasn’t any time for the cells to die.”
“What’s the diagnosis?
“There is no diagnosis. It’s not in the textbooks. All blood in her body clotted.”
“How the hell can that happen?”
“The human body was created on Earth. When you take its environment away, like the stable gravity, the non-recycles air, who knows what happens. We know the bones thin, we know the blood things, and we know we get a few inches taller. What else happens? We’ve been out here so long, we’re still finding out new things.”
“What causes blood to clot like this…”?
“Blood clots by injury, plotogaldis, plated-activators, some hormones, heat…severe heat”
“41 degrees?”
“No, no, that wouldn’t cause this. Why, do you have a theory?”

Kobotai still believes that she could not have killed herself. If she did, then Kobotai should have been able to notice and stop her. Why would she be depressed?
Elsewhere, at Hanimed, Richard Ho talked to Shoun
“Welcome back, Anna. Mission successfully accomplished.”
“I think so.”
“Some problem?”
“There’s something I wanted to ask you.”
“Yes?”
“About Christina Yansen.”
“She was an old friend…and a loyal colleague. I learned only yesterday of her death. We are planning to endow a scholarship in her honor.”
“Permit me. I wanted to ask how she died.”
“Oh…some technical malfunction. Space is a dangerous place Anna. The further we pursue knowledge, the more danger we create.”
“Do we know what sort of malfunction?”
“The further we go Anna, the more dangers we create. We should only embark on such projects if we are sure of its objectives.
“Was she researching something hazardous?”
“All research in our field is hazardous. That’s why we direct the footsteps of our employees very carefully?”
“Did she die as a cause of her research?”
“I am directing you Anna, not to concern yourself with matters that cannot be remedied. Christina is dead. We will mourn her…. and in time, we may produce another scientist who is worthy to take her place.”
The pills from the Pluto 5 are in fact, hazardous. There is another drug piggy-backed on it.

Anna walks into Ho’s office at night. She taps into his computer.
“Bring up a research project summary on Christine Yansen cross reference to Pluto 5.”
She then contacts Section 10 secretly.
“This is Anna Shoun. I cannot speak long. I have the information you wanted on Christina Yansen. She was researching a ritosite membrane stabilizer. Pluto 5 was used as a test group. I have no time.” Security walks in and her communication is cut off.
Ritosite is a red blood cell.
Ho faces against Shoun
“How long have you been a traitor to us?”
“I am not a traitor.”
“Please don’t further degrade yourself by lying.”
“I have been a traitor for one day.”
“It is a career you enjoy.”
“No sir!”
“Seems foolish then that you would choose preference over your current vocation. Don’t you regard this as foolish?”
“I felt it was necessary.”
"IT WAS NOT NECESSARY. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO JUDGE WHAT IS NECESSARY. I AM YOUR EMPLOYEE, I WILL DECIDE WHAT IS NECESSARY! What did you learn from the computer?”
“I learned that the ritosite drug has been used on test subject P5.”
“Who or what is P5?”
“I assume that—“
“You assumed…you don’t know. Any more than Christina did. P5, Pluto 5. It’s a very tenous connection. Not very scientific.”
“It is what I believe.”
“At Hanimed, we are not interested in the beliefs of Daughters of Fishermen. We are scientists. We are only interested in facts. Fact: Hanimed Medical Products are used by other 50 million people. Fact: The best and quickest was to test a new drug is assign a test group. If the drug is successful, 50 million people will benefit. What is knowledge?”
“Knowledge is light.”
“What is ignorance?”
“Ignorance is darkness.”
“Who lights the way?”
“Our elders and betters.”
“Yes, you remember…but unfortunately, it’s already too late. When did you come to us?”
“Six years ago.”
“A great scholar. A promising career…and now, nothing. I have appealed your qualification. Your accommodation and personal transport have been repossessed. If you are lucky, your father might allow you to pack fish in his factory. Christina was like you. Too weak. Too shortsighted. I made her reputation with Jagadil. If I waited for a license on that. How many people would have suffered in the interim. Two…three million? You disagree with my methods? Yes…I believe you do. But I have discovered for the majority to benefit, a few must suffer…and die. You know the way out. That was Christina’s redeeming feature. She knew…the way…out.

Once Section 10 acquires enough evidence about Hanimed’s wrong doing, they storm their corporate headquarter and arrest Ho. Shoun is hired by Kobotai to be their permanent medical officer.
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