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A Chance to Live
Posted on October 3rd, 2018 by Velina Tailor and Kuari

11809.26 A Chance to Live
(Joint log with Tailor and Kuari)

Set inside the incubator, the pair of eggs were mottled green with flecks of silvery bioluminescence, giving it them a dragonesque appearance. One of the eggs rocked back and forth. A crack had appeared on one side of it, and a tiny squawking sound could be heard from within. Velina brushed her dark purple hair back from her face, peering closer at the incubator’s viewscreen. She was concentrating so hard that she didn’t notice the characteristic ‘swish’ of the door to the science lab, and the soft padding of four Rucara feet approaching behind her.

“Is one hatching?” Kuari asked excitedly as she approached, her eyes as large and round as the alien specimens within the incubator.

“Oh!” Velina startled and turned around, almost knocking over a cart in the process. “Kuari, I’m glad you could make it!” she grinned excitedly. “Yes, one of them started hatching in the past hour. Come have a look!” She stepped aside so Kuari could see better.

Rushing forward in excitement, Kuari immediately sniffed at the active egg, but the pointed tip of her nose smashed into the glass. A particularly impressive feat of strength caused the egg to jump more than she expected, and she reactively jerked her head back a few centimeters. From there, she stared at the egg in wonder, speaking without moving her head.

“I can’t wait to see it! Is it healthy?”

“As far as I can tell, yes.” Dr. Tailor brought up the scans of the embryo that she’d been taking periodically. “Of course, it’s a completely new life form, but I can compare it to similar creatures in the database.. It seems to be strong though, that’s a good sign.” She grinned at Kuari’s startle reflex, and turned to her curiously. “Your species lay eggs, correct?”

“Yes, usually one at a time.” Kuari finally dragged her gaze from the cracking egg to Tailor’s eyes, then to the scans on display.

“Have you attended a hatching before?” The egg rocked forwards, touching the inside of the incubator where Kuari’s nose was touching the glass. The beak of the small creature poked out a little bit more this time, opening in another squawk from the hole in the side of the egg. The crack opened wider, showing dark bluish-colored skin.

Kuari angled her head, trying to get a better look inside the egg at the hatchling inside. “I can see it!” She paused, waiting for something more to happen, but the arduous process took a while. If anything, the baby retreated somewhat inside, probably resting. “No, I’ve not seen a hatching before. Usually only the parents witness them, and I have no siblings.” She looked at Tailor. “My mother told me it’s best to let it hatch itself, not to help it. If you have to, though, it’s a sign you will have to help it much more as it grows up.”

“That’s true, if it has problems hatching, it’s probably a sign that it’s going to be weaker later on, but so far so good for this one.. And, oh wow…” The creature inside seemed to regain its strength and seemed to struggle for a bit, and then a larger crack opened up around the circumference of the egg. “This is going a lot faster than I expected..”

Her attention refocused on the tenant of the splintering egg, Kuari watched and listened closely. She attempted to mimic the tiny, high-pitched squawking, then lowered the pitch to what she hoped sounded close to its mother, encouraging the little alien newborn.

The little one’s response was immediate, crying out with more urgency; the egg seemed to jump again, and the crack split open wider. A miniscule leathery wing poked out, and the top of the egg came apart at a forty-five degree angle, revealing the rounded back and the wing, with hand-like claws, and a wet down-like fuzz on the back. The head was still covered by one end of the egg, but the shell was almost split apart now.

“Ohh.. it’s almost out! Keep calling to it..” Velina had attended many births of various creatures in her time in Starfleet, but this part never got old.

Kuari had been so surprised to finally see so much of the little creature that she had stopped and smiled. She began the vocal encouragement anew, adjusting to the proper sound over time. Her nose bumped into the glass, and it reminded her of the barrier between them.

The baby wobbled itself back around towards the sound, its head still partially stuck in the top of the eggshell. It stretched and wiggled its body some more, pausing to rest a few moments in between, still calling out in response to Kuari’s vocalisations. Eventually it dislodged the shell and it lifted its head, showing off a small boned crest that ran the length of its nose to the top of its skull. Another final wiggle a moment or two later, and the halves of the shell lay empty, with the baby curled up in between the two sides of its former home, using its claws to drunkenly propel itself forwards towards Kuari’s nose, still giving out its tiny squawks.

As the hatchling bumped against the glass, Kuari looked at Tailor with pleading eyes. “Can it come out?”

Velina had to stop and think about that one. “It’s in a specialized atmosphere to match the planet that they came from.. about fifty percent more oxygen than is in ours. I’d also worry about microorganisms infecting it at this stage.. And I don’t know enough about its physiology yet to know if its immune system would be able to fend off foreign contaminants easily. So I have to say no, for now. Until we learn more about them..” She could see the wistful look Kuari was giving the hatchling, and wished that she could do it, if only for a few minutes. But she didn’t want to risk something going wrong.

“We do have to feed them, though. I can set up a second observation tank with a quarantine field. It would keep the atmosphere in and still allow us to feed them with sterilized equipment and gloves. It would let us get a closer look at least.”

Kuari nodded her acceptance of this with ears drooped in disappointment, still watching the baby scrabble against the glass. Her narrow tongue slipped out a couple of times, and she realized she was salivating, wanting to clean the newborn. The thought that doing so could very well kill it was sobering. No, she would defer to Dr. Tailor’s expertise in this, as difficult as it was to resist what seemed to be instinct. Kuari offered the hatchling a few cooing sounds in consolation, then brightened with a hopeful smile at Tailor.

“I assume you will just replicate food for it, but if you need any help feeding it, let me know.”

“Absolutely. We’re gonna need all the help we can get.” Velina returned the smile, and peered at the baby some more; it looked so small and so helpless, and they still had a lot to learn about keeping it alive. Not to mention, how would they raise such a beast on a starship? But, one step at a time. “So.. what do you think it would eat? From what I could see of the mother, she looked like a hunter. And if the eggs were laid next to a lake, maybe a diet of fish? What do you think?”

Kuari grinned, her eyes shining back at Dr. Tailor, hopeful for the future. Perhaps the baby alien creature and its sibling from a destroyed world could survive, and she would be able to help. “That sounds like a good place to start.”

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1 Comment

  • Kathryn Harper Kathryn Harper says:

    Awww! I quite liked the detail of Kuari mimicking the baby but at a lower pitch. Great log and adorable hatchling, you two!

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