[USS Vanguard] What the history said...

  • From: Kieran Darkwater <kierandarkwater@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 23:34:37 +0000 (GMT)

?Tribbles: a rodent-like semi-mammaloid, of unknown origin, renowned for both 
its astonishing ability to digest almost any organic matter and its ability to 
reproduce at a rapid rate. Capable of hibernating for extended periods, and 
able to reproduce sexually or asexually the Tribble is an anatomically limited 
creature with an advanced digestive tract and limited senses and no centralised 


Lacking an organ similar to a brain the nervous system is distributed with the 
only nodes being between four and eight co-ordinating ganglia in the digestive 
tract. The digestive system itself is capable of neutralising and ingesting 
almost any organic toxin, and their immune system regurgitates viral or 
bacterial matter back into the digestive tract to be neutralised.


Initial investigations supposited a semi-telepathic ability on them to engender 
feelings of protection and security ? notable immunities to this ?love-factor? 
being Klingons and Andorrians. This telepathic ability seems unlikely given the 
fact it appears to affect four-lobed cranial structures such as Breen and 
Ferengi, and given the aforementioned lack of any central intelligence. More 
likely the effect is a combination of subliminal auditory emanations ? two 
small air-sacs that emit digestive gasses are capable of producing sub-sonic 
vibrations ? and possible pheremone emissions.? The computer trailed off, 
leaving him sat in the dark considering what it meant.


It was a depressingly small file, all things considered, and the case history 
though equally small was just as depressing. No cure ? he?d come to think of 
the things as an infection already ? had been posited beyond a rather drastic 
toxin that was both dangerous for the crew and also a potential hazard to the 
neural gel packs that served as computer processors for some of the critical 


That line of thought prompted another fear, and quick check on the file showed 
that there was every reason to believe that the little beasts were quite 
capable of ingesting the processors as a source of nutrients. The processors 
were always slightly warm, and the ready supplies of heat and nutrients offered 
a viable habitat for the Tribbles.


Having posted that little gem of a prospect to the search teams ? and to 
engineering, in order to have them adequately guard the limited store of 
replacement packs ? he turned back to his investigations of the Ghormley?s 
history. A creditable service history under three captains, including three 
first contact missions and an exemplary record as a blockade runner during the 
Gorn siege of Gamma Sidoli, but nothing to explain why it might have found its 
way out here. The service records showed that, having been in service for 
nearly forty years, the space-frame was retired to a wrecking yard at Proxima, 
and yet here it was. No theft of hulls had been reported in that time, nor had 
there been any reason to suspect that the ship had not been delivered, but 
looking up the wrecking yards records showed that it had never arrived. Further 
probing showed that the Ghormley?s ?retirement? had been approved, authorised 
and overseen not by the Operations Directorate, as would be expected, 
 but by
 StarFleet Security.


Whatever had happened to the Ghormley, it seemed, it was likely involved in 
some sort of black operations, and given the timeframe those operations most 
likely involved the Romulans. Unlikely to have any further joy ? he didn?t have 
the clearance to probe further into such areas without breaking some rules ? he 
quickly summarised his findings for the Captain ? who did have the authority ? 
and turned his attention instead to the Tribbles themselves. They were, 
scientifically at least, a curiosity.


Evolution favoured the fittest at any particular stage of development, which 
implied that the Tribbles either came from the very shallowest end of the gene 
pool, with the only competition being moss, and perhaps lawyers, or they had 
been assisted in some way. They had no defences to speak of, no ability to hunt 
or scavenge, and no noticeable method of avoiding predators or seeking out 
nutrients. Their incredible reproductive rate was only comparable to bacteria, 
their universally effective digestive tract out of character with the 
incredibly low evolutionary level of the remainder of their organs. Indeed, 
even the fact that they had fur ? a trait typically reserved for warm-blooded, 
often ambulatory creatures ? seemed odd.


They ate, they reproduced and they did little else. They could be a naturally 
occurring macroscopic equivalent of a bacteria, but that didn?t account for 
their ?cute? factor. Such developments were unlikely to have been 
evolutionarily accidental ? both fur and the development of sounds or 
pheremones were energy costs that had to produce a noticeable benefit to have 
been maintained through evolutionary cycles. That they appealed to ?people? 
without adopting the classic large-headed, short-nosed characteristics of 
children implied that they had evolved around people, yet such an obviously 
superior evolutionary counterpart should have forced them into another niche at 
some point.


Which led him to a strange, but somehow fitting conclusion. He had no evidence 
beyond the anecdotal and circumstancial, but it /felt/ right.


=^= ?Darkwater to Commander Droin?? he tapped the comm.-panel on his desk, 
nestling back in the darkened lab for a moment, his brow furrowed with the 


=^= ?Droin here, go ahead Kieran??

=^= ?Commander, I?ve just been reviewing what we know of the Tribbles from 
previous encounters? they don?t make sense as a natural organism any way I can 
play things. Has anyone looked into the possibility that these things are 
deliberately engineered? They strike me as a pretty good planetary weapon ? 
destroy someone?s food-source and then move in after they?ve suffered an 
extended period of famine. They appeal to people, they?d be carried around and 
deposited by people travelling, and then reproduce wherever they found food, 
expanding rapidly. They could eat a planet out in a matter of months, days 
perhaps if the conditions were right...?

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