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Analyzing the Web

Posted on 04 Sep 2020 @ 12:12am by Ensign Denyse Alessandro & Story Teller

Mission: Ghosts
Location: Science Lab 4
Timeline: MD 2 || 1200 Hours

Ensign Denyse Alessandro walked into Science Lab Four where the unusual creatures dubbed Spidermunks by the crew of the Black Hawk A and went to where the creatures had been kept secluded from the other live specimens. She saw that two seemed to be a mated pair and their containment area led to a smaller one where she saw half a dozen prepubescent Spidermunks doing whatever it was they were doing.

As a Scientist, it was her job to look at something and say what she thought she saw, then prove it was correct. There was no right or wrong answer in theory until testing proved it was the wrong theory. Even then, it was something that could be used in the future in one way or another until it was proven that the theory no longer held a practical application.

The woman adjusted the monocle over her eye and activated it, then linked it to a tricorder to give herself a HUD for all the information the tricorder picked up. She began with very basic scans of the creatures and sat down as information flooded over the monocle until it was complete.

The creatures were fascinating and according to what she had read on her way to the ship, they had a taste for donuts. A report from the Captain's wife had indicated that they were very fast and their webbing was incredibly strong. It was one of the features that she truly wanted to study because she had done a thesis in the Academy about the nature and strength of spiders from various planets and their webbing in particular.

Denyse stepped over to the enclosure and ran a scan of the webs, which appeared to be very thick and covered a very wide area. She was surprised to see that live insects were in there, some cocooned, which means they had a requirement for proteins, and then there was the container of donuts that looked half eaten in the enclosure. It was very interesting to watch the creatures and she had to wonder what environment they had developed in.

"Computer, list all known reports of these creatures," she requested.

The computer beeped and replied with a list of thirteen reports aboard the Black Hawk, ranging from trapping a kitten in a junior officer's quarters to randomly dropping on an engineer's head who happened to be servicing the waste extraction system. "The first known sighting of specimen 2-3-8-8-point-1-0-point-1-2 was registered on Stardate 65846-point-1."

Denyse looked down at the unusual arachnids and shook her head. "Then they were either created by someone twisted, or they've been very good at hiding. Computer, does their lifesigns have any unusual characteristics which would cause them to avoid detection?"

A whirr of processing could be heard before the computer answered, "The specimen meets standard requirements for both small Terran forest-dwelling creatures, as well as various Araneae configurations. Routine life-sign scans do not search for these parameters."

She made a note on a PADD about that since an infestation of such on a station or ship could have serious consequences. "Please scan for these specimens in any other locations of the ship." She took the data that she had and reached in with her mechanical hand to pull one of the small creatures out and got a view of it's webbing shooting out behind it before it began to struggle backwards. "No, you don't, little one. It's okay. I have you."

She looked at the line of silk webbing behind it and noted it was stuck to the side of the enclosure, but still attached to the struggling spidermunk. She gave it a tug with her other hand, but it didn't budge. She gave a harder tug and it still didn't pull loose. She remembered the computer telling her it was strong enough to trap a kitten.

"Computer, analyze tensile strength of the line coming from the creature."

The analysis took only a moment. "The tensile strength of the organic line is equivalent to 1,652 megapascals."

Denyse switched the spidermunk to her other hand and took a laser scalpel to cut the dragline quickly and deactivated it again. She held the piece of silk up and looked at it, then set it in a container to have analyzed. "That is incredibly strong silk, buddy," she said. "A uniform made of it would make it a lot harder to hurt us. Unless we were shot with a phaser. Computer, analyze the silk sample, please."

"Processing," stated the computer in a simple tone. "Results will be available in ninety seconds."

"Ninety seconds?" she asked. "Since when does a basic analysis take ninety seconds?. Computer, run a level three diagnostic."

This time the computer responded with a negatory buzz. "A level three diagnostic will take four minutes and twenty seven seconds to complete. Any active scans and computations will be suspended for the duration of the diagnostic. Do you wish to continue?"

"No," Denyse said with a touch of annoyance and made a note to schedule one after she was done. "Estimate on the silk analysis?"

"Sixty seven seconds remaining."

"Right," she said as she went back to analyze the strange creatures again. "What are you and where did you come from?" she asked but didn't expect an answer. She scanned the web they had made and went over the various types and began an analysis with her tricorder.

The minute lapsed rather quickly. With a confirming beep, the computer announced that the analysis was complete and that the results were available. "There is no match for the spider silk on record. It is composed of various recognizable proteins and amino acids that have increased the dragline toughness and tensile strength. A detailed analysis is also available." A holographic list appeared, with a comparison of the proteins, amino acids, and tensile strength against existing records and applications.

Denyse boggled at the data scrolling across the screen and stopped it several times to review and isolate several areas of it. "This stuff is amazing," she muttered to no one. "Computer, cross reference uses of spider silk and clothing," she ordered.

"Spider silk has been used in textiles in over two hundred cultures on record. In most cases, it has been used on a limited basis due to inefficient production to fulfill demands. The average spider can produce enough material for one square meter of fabric in one hundred and twenty days. Experiments to produce silk faster have failed." In addition to the analysis, another holographic display appeared, showing the several use cases on record.

She looked at the spidermunks that were clearly cohabitating in the same environment and the size of their web and the amount of webbing. "Based on existing sensor readings of this species since containment, extrapolate how many could produce an outfit big enough for an average humanoid."

Whirrs and whistles sounded over the hidden speakers as an indication that the computer was processing. After a couple seconds, it replied, "Based upon the current information, it would take four spidermunks approximately three-point-four-two days to produce enough raw material to create most medium-sized articles of clothing."

Denyse made a few notes on her PADD and stored the information that the computer had provided. "Well you interesting little whatever you are's, we're going to make some changes to the Fleet sooner or later," she told the small creatures. "But for now, it's time to expand your environment and see how much of that amazing web you can create."

With that, she put in a request for a larger Science lab, cleaned everything to how it was before she got there, then headed off to study the information.

 

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