Tactical Data: L45.967.22
Remnants of the damaged audio files recovered
from the wreckage of the battlecruiser Emperor’s
Fury (holo files were completely unsalvageable)
Subject: Private Maren Ayers, Medic, 128th Platoon
Receiving: Captain Serl Gentry, Doctor, Special
Have a seat, Private. I can imagine that you’re upset after what you’ve just been through.
Upset? Don’t be silly, Captain: this wasn’t a complete surprise. Nature doesn’t just adapt. Nature cheats, changes the rules, and slips out the back door with your wallet while you’re still trying to figure out what happened.
I’m not sure I follow.
Sorry; those aren’t my words. That’s from my father, the venerable Dr. Talen Ayers. It’s his own special flavor of insight: one part renowned research geneticist and two parts backwoods yokel. Always embarrassed the hell out of me.
He’d throw that proverb out whenever I complained about unexpected results in my research. Force of habit, I suppose.
Private, if we could start at the beginning?
It’s like the time an entire control group of my fruit flies decided to breed small enough to escape the netting in its container and spread into the other habitats. They deliberately ruined three months of long-chain protein sculpts. At least it seemed deliberate to me.
I was twelve at the time and had been slaving away on my own custom mutation of Drosophila melanogaster for a school project. Dad just laughed, told me to use jam jars next time. Old bastard. He didn’t have a clever maxim ready when I dropped out of grad school to join the marines, did he now?
Private Ayers, if we could please just stick to the matter at hand?
Sorry – too personal? You said to start at the beginning, but I guess you’re not interested in my daddy-daughter issues. It’s just… it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to really talk with anybody who has more than a boot-camp education, and we’ve got a long flight back to civilized space.