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Holograms and Plants (Part 3)

Posted on Wed Mar 12th, 2014 @ 9:40am by Lieutenant JG Joshua Hoss

Mission: Green Thumb
Location: Hydroponics Lab
Timeline: After Launch

ON:

=/\=Kala to Hoss. I need you in hydroponics immediately.

Josh sighed. He had sent Kala out barely 4 hours ago on her assignment and hadn’t expected to hear from her today. So much for that plan.

=/\=Hoss to Kala. I’ll be right there.

Josh grabbed his pad and began walking towards hydroponics from his office. Luckily he had done this several times already and was able to multi task on his walk. Even so his frustration was coming through to the surface. He had asked Kala to try and put forth an effort, but he had imagined that being more than just 4 hours of work. Maybe he was going to have to send her to the counselor’s office. At least she had kept one of the holograms out of trouble. Josh had to deal with Murphy twice during the time he had sent Kala away.

Josh walked out into the hallway between the main science lab and hydroponics taking some time to glance up from his pad. As he did so he noticed a red spongy material near the hydroponics doorway. Josh stopped and stared at it for a few seconds. He wasn’t sure what it was off the top of his head, but he knew it wasn’t supposed to be there. Josh walked to the nearest console and quickly ordered the computer to clean up the material. He would have to talk to his staff about cleaning up after their projects. He didn’t want the science department to be known as the messy department.

Josh continued onto hydroponics, again barely registering anything he was walking by while looking at his pad. When he finally got there he glanced up and almost jumped back. Hydroponics had been a mostly sterile, clean environment outside of the plants. Now spots on the wall, floor, ceiling, and equipment were covered with the red spongy material. Some of the sponge even had flowers growing off it. Josh quickly located Kala and Finagle.

“What the hell is going on here?” Josh yelled, unable to contain his anger. “I left you alone for 4 hours! How the heck did this happen?”

Kala didn’t need a degree to tell her that Hoss was upset. “I don’t know sir. Somehow the plant is reproducing at an accelerated rate.”

Josh took a deep breath. Yelling at Kala right now wasn’t going to solve anything. First the clean-up, then the discipline. “What plant? And what do you mean accelerated?”

Kala pointed towards the first diomedian-keela scarlet flower. “These are all diomedian-keela scarlet flowers sir. Somehow it has been reproducing far faster than the normal rate. Finagle, tell him.”

Finagle faced Josh. ““The diomedian-keela scarlet flower is a crossbreed between two-“

Josh cut Finagle off. “I know what it is; I authorized it to come onboard. But the diomedian-keela scarlet flower we brought onboard isn’t able to reproduce, it is sterile. The only way to make more is to genetically clone them. So how the hell did this happen?”

Kala lowered her head. “I don’t know sir. I can down here after our meeting and found Finagle watering the plant. I told him he had overwatered it and shut him off. I dried up the soil and put some more fertilizer into it. Next thing I know we have it growing all over.”

Josh nodded. “Ok, well there will be time to figure out what went wrong. For now let’s clean up the mess. I think I saw some outside in the hallway as well.”

Kala shook her head. “There is a problem sir.”

“Another one?”

Kala braced herself for Josh’s response. “Yes sir. Finagle and I have been trying to clean up the flower since calling for you. We can’t”.”

Josh felt his temper rising again, but managed to keep it under control this time. “What do you mean you can’t? Pick it off the walls, rub it off, spray it off. Something should remove it.”

“That’s just it sir. We tried to scrap it off first, but the flower’s stems are invulnerable to that. We didn’t even make a dent. So I tried various herbicidal sprays, but none of that has worked either.”

Finagle finally chimed in. “The diomedian-keela scarlet flower contains parts of the keela flower, which is known for its near invulnerable stems.”

Josh wanted to punch the hologram out of frustration. What was supposed to be a sterile plant had now become a monster. “Ok, then we work on containment. We seal off the affected areas until we get this under control. Science lab and hydroponics.”

Kala nodded and began to walk towards a console before Finagle stopped her.

“At this time Lt., I believe that would be impossible.”

Josh glared at the hologram, thinking again about punching it. “What do you mean impossible?”

Finagle tilted his head at an angle, taking a few seconds to respond. “My sensors indicate that the flower has already reached several decks beyond this one, although it may not be seen by human eye yet.”

A look of horror slowly spread across Josh’s face. “How?”

Finagle straightened his head. “The flower appears to be reproducing using microscopic spores.”

“I’m going to guess that comes from the diomedian scarlet moss half of the family” Josh said in defeat. “Kala, I need you to explain to me in detail exactly what happened down here these past 4 hours. But first…”

=/\=Hoss to the Bridge. I think we have a problem.

 

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