“An attempt to control human evolution has resulted in a new species, which is lethal to its predecessors.
-Dr. Katherine Pulaski
Module BI-03T: Augments
Augments. Wait! Before you go ballistic, here me out. If you’re not a soulless geneticist with your head in the clouds, you’ll hate this subject more than spending time in a Romulan death camp. But it’s a topic that needs to be discussed because this threat is still very much a high risk factor. Genetically-modified humans didn’t go out with the Eugenics wars and the demise of the Botany Bay survivors. Unethical beings who call themselves scientists are still experimenting with genetic engineering with unholy and unpredictable consequences. So, even though I understand that this topic is repugnant to most of you, for the sake of all you hold dear, learn this lesson well.
A little background to fill in some details. Two centuries ago a group of medical field scientists attempted to improve the human race through the creation of augments. This resulted in thirty million dead following the Eugenics wars. During the wars, these same cretins discovered a defect in the genome of their so-called supermen which left them with a tendency toward profound arrogance, malignant aggression and withering condescension. Like a hybrid of Professor Moriarty and Kahless.
“With superior ability comes superior ambition,” was an understatement when these despots enslaved whole portions of the human population. Those were the lucky ones. The rest they bombed into non-existence. Mercifully the wars ended when the tyrants were eventually overthrown and eradicated. Or so it was thought.
Enter on the interstellar stage, Dr. Arik Soong. This scoundrel stole 19 genetically-engineered embryos put into cold storage after the wars. Which was more unforgivable? The theft or that they existed at all? In any case, after this criminal act of profound consequences for humanity, he raised the super-seed for eleven years before he was apprehended. Though he never did disclose the whereabouts of his demon spawn.
No problem, they confirmed they were still breathing when they stole a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, killing everyone aboard. Then after rescuing Dr. Soong, they stole the remaining 1800 embryos from Cold Station 12 along with 200 other weapons-grade pathogens. Apparently this facility housed all of Starfleet’s hazardous biological material.
Getting a clue that the federation was never going to stop hunting them, they thought it would be a good idea to eradicate a Klingon colony with a super-germ bomb. Their savage intellect informed them that the resulting war between the Klingon and Federation Empires would prove too much for either side to continue searching for them.
Dr. Soong didn’t much like this idea. He decided to help Captain Archer and crew to stop his “children.” When they were subsequently beaten, he even demonstrated more remorse for them than they’d shown when attempting to nuke the Klingon colony. But he recovered quickly. Maybe we should make it a habit to preemptively incarcerate mad-hatter scientists before we have to terminate their creations. It would be much simpler.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last we’d heard of augments. Barely a century later the USS Botany Bay was found floating aimlessly in space. And wouldn’t you know it, seventy-two surviving hell-raisers were sleeping peacefully in their pods. Captain James T. Kirk foolishly revived the leader, Khan Noonien Singh, before finding out who they were. Of course, not long after they were identified, Khan took over the ship. But his human inferiors, who don’t respond well to condescension, wouldn’t help him fly the damn thing. They preferred back-handed slaps and other abuses.
Kirk eventually recovered the Enterprise with the help of Khan’s fickle girlfriend and grounded Khan, girlfriend and super crew on a distant planet, Ceti Alph V. Far enough off the routes of starships not to encounter them for decades. Not far enough turns out. After stealing a ship fifteen years later, Khan sought revenge against Kirk for not being prescient enough to foresee that Ceti Alpha V’s orbit would shift, freezing the planet, after Ceti Alpha VI exploded into a million little pieces.
“Round perdition’s flames,” Khan chased Kirk until the Genesis device, he so passionately coveted, consumed him and the rest of his super-moronic crew in a procreative star-burst using the stolen ship as a conjugal platform.
Please say that was the last of them? There wouldn’t be a need for this topic if it was. Although not descendants of Khan and his lot, the children in this next example spring from the same asinine thinking that created them.
The unfortunate crew of the USS Lantree, a Federation supply ship, died mysteriously of old age after a visit to Darwin Genetic Research Station. Darwin’s tearless lead scientist insisted their genetically-created children were not the cause of the crew’s deaths. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who discovered the Lantree, seemed to have a hunch he shouldn’t take the word of another remorseless scientist.
And, yep, after examination, a twelve-year-old, inexplicably designed to look twenty, infected the blind-to-the-hazards-of-genetic-research Dr. Katherine Pulaski faster than a ship at warp speed. To keep the rest of the crew safe, Jean-Luc Picard was prescient enough to have the examination of the six-feet-tall child take place in a shuttlecraft outside the ship. And fortunately for her, Chief Miles Obrien restored Pulaski’s DNA by filtering out the damage caused by the little darling with a transporter refitting and a hair follicle.
The children’s immune systems, it turns out, was designed to be aggressive, not waiting to be attacked but upon a disease’s detection released antibodies. These antibodies were so mean they, not only, changed the molecular structure of the pathogens, rendering them harmless, but also changed all the surrounding cells. In this case, human cells, which the aggressive antibodies degenerated into another version of harmlessness. Thus, the rapid aging of Pulaski and others of her kind. Neat trick.
Prior to her profound stupidity, Pulaski thought these children were “the future of humanity.” She subsequently changed her learned opinion to “they should be quarantined indefinitely” because they were “lethal to their predecessors.” Sage and wise advice.
And because the children had twice the lifespans of humans, most certainly extended by their inability to contract disease, you can bet good gold-pressed latinum they are still around. Though designed without the cognitive violent tendencies of the augments of the Eugenics wars, a violent immune system makes them just as dangerous if not more so. Since they don’t mean to kill you, you’ll never see it coming
It’s a shame we’ll probably have to destroy such innocent-looking bombs one day if we’re lucky. And although, Starfleet has now (at least publicly) divested itself of genetic research, you should be wary in your interstellar travels because our genetically-altered progeny consistently reemerges as adversaries, again and again and again.
The augments of Darwin Station might have already easily escaped. (Did I mention the children were also telepathic with telekinetic abilities?) In this very likely event, if you run into human-claiming creatures who are actually much younger than they look, back away slowly, so as not to provoke them into using their kinetic abilities. Then find the nearest transporter facility and ask for the perennially resourceful Miles Obrien, lickety-split, to restore you. Before arthritic realization sets in.
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