(( Xindi Colony, Daaka ))
She saw Ed use his suits jets to propel him towards the facility and she followed suit, the whole complex was immense and she could see from the general size of it that they could build some sizable starships. Easily some cruisers or smaller explorers.
Spears: Look at how organic the whole facility is. It's like they grow their ships!
Lystra: Do they? I didn’t think Xindi had bio-organic ships. Have they been flying through space this whole time in coral?
Lystra used her jets to get closer, head swiveling every which way while trying to take in the sight of everything.
Davis: I think they use advanced alloys but the coral looks like scaffolding. So in a sense, yeah, they grow their ships.
Lystra: This is amazing. Based on the lights and structures here, it looks like they could build maybe a half dozen or more ships at once.
Davis: Oh, yes. Huh, and I'd guess this is a circumstance where building a ship in a gravity well is easier than not.
Lystra: Ooooooh, Ed, Laz…there! ::She gestured emphatically ahead and to their left:: That one looks half complete! And that last one looks full..maybe it’s got a complete starship!!
She exclaimed giddily while boinging and swooshing, and now zooming herself towards the partially complete starship. There were at least a few unmistakable large shapes moving about. No doubt Xindi engineers of some kind.
Davis: Lystra, look! Construction shrimp. Bet they'd be fun in the currents.
While she was zooming around a random thought popped into her head and she turned to look at Ed and Laz.
Lystra: Wait…if they build their starships underwater…doesn’t that make them submarines, not ships?
Construction shrimp. That was the silliest thing she’d heard this week. Probably in even recent memory. And yet there they were, construction drones that looked like shrimp. Lazarus followed behind Lystra, as she sped off intent to get a closer look at the construction shrimp.
Lystra: Wow, they’ve really got this whole harmony thing sorted. Even their drones fit into the world.
Davis: I know we came for the ships, but look at these guys! ::He pointed to a white constructions shrimp with a stripe made of a mosaic of red triangles:: How come we never do biomimicry?
Lystra: Well, because we don’t?
Davis: There are some good designs in nature. Life is amazing.
Lystra: Perhaps, but who’s nature would we mimic things from? There’s over a hundred Federation member species, right? That’s a lot of ecosystems to mimic.
Davis: Ohmygod look at its little claws!
She couldn’t help but giggle at Laz, who was currently gushing over the construction shrimp’s design. She swam closer alongside him to see what he was inspecting.
Lystra: Keep this up Laz and the next thing you’ll do is ask our new Hexa to make you a model version of it. ::She laughed::
Davis: Do not tempt me.
While the drone was impressive enough to make Laz giddy, she was interested in the starships. Because of course the spacer was. She jetted closer towards that intact starship but her course brought her past that half intact one and she reversed her suit’s thrusters as soon as she saw something massive. Not quite the size of the starships but equally impressive.
Lystra: Uh, Laz. Ed. I think I found Grabby’s cousin.
She pointed towards the coral gantry that had a skeleton of a hull in place, the inner hull and frame of the ship was complete and a large section of hull was being moved into place. From her angle she couldn’t fully see all of it, but the tentacles were unmistakable. And a slight shifting to the right past one of the coral scaffolds and there it was. A drone. At least she hoped it was, it was shaped like a giant squid. The tentacles moved the hull section into place and held it there while those shrimp went to work welding it to the frame of the ship. The squid was half the size of the entire gantry.
Lystra: Is that a drone, or do they really have squids that big here?
Either way it was impressive, though one was entirely more frightening than the other. It was still neat to see it holding the massive hull piece in place.
Davis: I don't see why not. But I guess it's a drone? The Xindi-Aquatics don't seem like the type to press a squid into hard labor. But this is something else entirely. The, uh, skin ::they knew what he meant even if that wasn't an epidermis:: is throwing me, though. The construction shrimp was clearly metallic. This squid is a whole other level. Federation soft robotics could never make anything even close to this.
Thinking aloud was the specialty of science officers across the fleet it seemed. Lystra giggled at Laz.
Lystra: It is impressive.
Grabby 2: Cousin of Grabby was dutifully holding the hull in place as some construction shrimp got to welding. It was hard to spot at first, but it became apparent that the squid was beginning to glow, from its interior and through its tentacles. It was a sort of eerie sight.
Davis: You're seeing this, right?
Lystra: Yeah, that sort of reminds me of Grabby. With her body being so electrically charged, almost bioluminescent.
The "skin" of the squid began to glow, too, in a gridded pattern. The sand and silt beneath it began to churn and fly upwards which was an odd thing to happen. She wondered why it would do that.
Davis: Heat dissipation causing an updraft? Remarkable.
So that was why the sand and silt shot upwards like that.
Lystra: Is that what that is? Wow.
As the construction shrimp welded away, they both watched on with great interest. Somewhere behind them, an audible thunk pushed its way through the dense water. An alert sounded in both their suits and the HUD popped up: Ed had punctured his suit due to impact, and he required assistance. The alert was one of urgency, not emergency.
Lazarus spun around and Lystra did as well to see a drone had bumped into Ed from behind, and damaged the seal on his left shoulder. There was a small, but appreciable stream of bubbles. Lazarus began to swim over. Lystra used her suit’s jets to follow suit as quickly as possible.
Davis: Ed, you ok??
Ed waved back and gave the signal for "no comms." Must have gone in the impact. Maybe the conductive water had something to do with all this.
Davis: Lystra! We need to get Ed back to the ship. Minor suit breach, and his comms are busted. Can you call for transport? We're pretty close to the surface. I'm going to get the patch kit.
Lazarus swam behind Ed, and pulled out his patch kit.
Lystra: I got it! ::She tapped the comms on her suits wrist controls:: =/\= Lystra to the Constitution. Requesting immediate beam out for Commander Spears. His suit’s been punctured. We’re patching it now, so stand by. =/\=
Lazarus got to work applying the patch. It didn't stop the leak, but slowed it and helped ensure it wouldn't get worse. He leaned in to touch visors with Ed, to transmit his words through coupled helmets.
Davis: Leak's not bad. Lystra's going to get you beamed up.
Lazarus swam back from him, to make it easier for a lock.
Lystra: =/\= Chin’toka, Commander Spears is ready to beam up. =/\=
In seconds, Ed dematerialized. He turned back to Lystra and gave her a thumbs up.
Davis: Well... we know our safety protocols are effective?
Lystra: True. We should probably have done a test as soon as we arrived just to be sure. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner. ::She smiled:: Oh well, they work and Ed’s back on the ship.
She turned and looked back at the massive squid drone that was holding the hull section in place for the shrimp drones to weld together. It was among the strangest and most impressive sights she’d seen since joining Starfleet.
Lystra: Well, it’s just us. And we’ve got about twenty minutes before we told Jalana we’d regroup with her. Wanna see if we can get into one of those ships?
The Boslic grinned at the scientist and used her jets to swim closer to one of the more completed ones. Since those would likely have fewer drones to risk bumping into on the exterior. There even seemed to be a couple of Xindi swimming around as well.
Lystra: Should we ask for Uncle Oosh’meal? Os’mail? Dangit, how did she say it?
Lieutenant JG Lystra
USS Constitution-B NCC-9012-B
SB118 Podcast Team
Writer ID: A239410TR0