“I don’t see it.”
“He’s right, these numbers are certainly above average for the average Council citizen but they’re a far cry from those of a combat-grade Council soldier. I fail to see how this is a potential threat.”
“That is because you are looking at his current physical attributes. By his own admission the human Gus is below average in terms of physical fitness among his race. An above average human could easily have strength rivalling a Council soldier but that’s still not what’s alarming about him.”
A holodisplay lit up, showing Gus running on the treadmill. “As you can see, when pushed his body was able to adapt to the increase in activity quite easily.” The holovid sped up to the part where he received the first shock. “Look,” Trando said, pointing to the display. “He suffers the aftereffects of the shock for some time then gets back on the machine. As you can see, increasing the physical and mental stress on him had diverse effects.”
Another display lit up, this one showing graphs and deep tissue scans taken during the stress test. Various annotations were already added, courtesy of Trando. “This is his heart rate. Notice that before the testing, it was steady at an average of seventy three beats per minute. As he exerts himself, his heart rate is steadily climbing. It was nearly at three hundred beats per minute at peak speeds.”
The on-screen Gus was heaving and trying to suck in air, almost collapsed on the treadmill. The holo sped up and after a moment Gus straightened, his shaky breathing still not under control but much less ragged than before. The panel showing his vitals showed a gradual decrease in his heart rate. “His body is adapting to the change in activity. He’s going back to pre-exertion levels. And within minutes too. After an hour he wasn’t breathing hard anymore.”
Lieutenant Lashqran had lost the sneer he usually sported when discussing other species. “Was that recovery speed due to the administered medical serum?”
“No, he presented that kind of recovery even before admission of the serum. Apparently, if properly trained, a human can exhibit a higher recovery rate and higher tolerance for the lactic acid build up in muscles.”
“Only if properly trained. He’s not a threat yet. We can still manage him.”
“Yes, you’re right. But even all that is not why I scheduled this meeting.” Trando switched to another holo recording. This one was showing Gus in front of a flat surface. He was staring at it intently, hands at his sides, slightly away from his body. A chime echoed and lights suddenly started flashing on the surface. Gus’ hands started slamming down on the surface whenever a green light would flash. His eyes were darting all over the place, hands eerily accurate. He would miss some lights or slap the wrong colour but after the exercise, he boasted something like eighty five per cent accuracy.
Lieutenant Lashqran was frowning and trying to stare a hole into the holovid. Captain Echina was similarly silent and contemplating. “That’s among the fastest reaction speeds in Council species. Pair that with the ability to improve his physique over time and the rest of his characteristics and you have one very scary race.”
“He said he’s not one of their warriors, right? Do we have footage of their warrior caste from the probe?”
“Yes we do. I’ve reviewed it at length and their fighting prowess is truly… alarming.” Trando brought up another file on the viewscreen. AI showed them a grainy rendering of a unit of US Special Forces in action. The men were moving systematically towards an unseen objective, eliminating hostiles along the way. “They move with surprising coordination given their lack of thought transfer network. As you can see they use primitive combustion-propelled projectiles as weapons. No shields or plasma weaponry. However their physical feats are truly remarkable.”
The video switched to another group of soldiers training. They were lifting weights, running with heavy backpacks on, shooting targets or crawling through mud. “According to the human Gus, not all their soldiers are capable of such feats. Only the best of them become Special Forces capable of braving any and all terrains to accomplish a mission. However the vast majority of common soldiers display surprising physicality.”
Captain Echina was leaning back in her seat, a hand stroking her beautiful chin. “This changes things somewhat. I don’t think it’s a good idea to allow this human to train to the point at which he can do what these soldiers can.”
“I disagree. The human is clearly non-hostile and has agreed to a variety of invasive testing procedures. He hasn’t integrated with the crew very well but I suspect that won’t last long given that he has already started interacting with several of the crew members. He has expressed a desire to train as well as a certain eagerness to be experimented on. The medical serum and synthetisers in particular are of great interest to him. He himself has said that he wants to know what ‘our alien tech can do to him’. If I breach the subject to him I don’t think he would object to more testing under a controlled environment.”
The captain did not say anything. She was almost always frowning or making a disapproving face when it came to the human so Trando had no idea where he stood with her. “It will also greatly help if we can find out more about the species before the debriefing.”
Captain Echina sighed at that. “You’re right. Contact Major Nimson of clan Rinvi. See if she’ll allow a foreign element in her weekly training with her platoon. Also inform Lieutenants Xar’usk and Vatta Ren that the human will be made available for in depth testing if they require it. No dissections though.”
“At once Captain.”
* * *
“So here’s the thing…”
“What is it?”
“Err… I’m not sure how to say it. I mean, you know how we… we’re something of a couple now. And I think you’re great and all that but…”
Sil’s ear twitched in annoyance and she looked up to Gus. They had taken to meeting in his cabin after her shifts to cuddle and learn more about each other. After all was said and done, they had met only a few weeks ago. Sil was full of such exuberance and enthusiasm that Gus couldn’t help but have a better outlook on life after he spoke to her. She was also very trusting and caring, a fact that greatly impaired his ability to proceed with the harem route.
“What are you trying to say?”
“Well, you heard the doc right? Vatta Ren I mean. She said something about how it’s not good for your body to forcibly go into your mating period. My body fluids seem to all push you towards that so I don’t really want to force you but… I don’t know how to say this…”
She frowned. “Just say it then. I won’t get upset.”
I know what Ackbar would say in this situation.
“Well, humans regularly get urges to mate. It’s instinct you know, nothing I can do about it. And since it’s not wise to push you, I was thinking…”
Sil’s face was dangerously close to his. There was an intensity in her eyes that he had previously only seen while she was ripping his back apart. “You still haven’t gotten to the point.”
Gus gulped. He was suddenly reminded that his favourite catperson had claws and fangs and was definitely not shy about using them if she deemed fit.
“I feel like I’m going to go crazy from not getting laid. I walk everywhere and see all those hot aliens and my mind instantly goes to the gutter and we cuddle regularly and you’re so cute and I want to do so much to you I can’t even.” Gus paused to catch his breath. “Is basically what I’m saying. You could say human have mating urges that never really go away. Well, the symptoms are alleviated if we mate but they always come back.”
“Ohooo… So you’re saying that…” Her dainty hand trailed his left ear to his belly button where it gently pressed his skin. “… that you want to…” He suddenly felt the cool sensation of claws pressed against his belly and froze. “… mate with other women?”
Well shit. This is bad. She looks pretty pissed.
“No, no, no. It wouldn’t be like you and me. I mean, me and you, we’re something special you know. It wouldn’t be like, you know, mating to reproduce. Cause I’d only ever do that with you. Cause you’re the very best. But I gotta, you know, let it go once in a while. It’s bad for my health to hold it in and I wouldn’t want you to get hurt either because of me. So what I’m saying is… Hey do you know Art’ah?”
“So you’re saying that skank thinks she can steal my man?” She was purring now, claws pressing dangerously against his liver.
“She would never. I’m asking for your permission before going to her. She doesn’t know anything about this. Full disclosure, I actually had her help me out with this once. But that was waaaaay before you and I had our thing. That’s why, I think she might be willi-”
Sil’s head pressed against his lips, her soft hair and twitching ears rubbing affectionately against him. She started purring and leaned in, whispering in his ear. “If you want to do this, I’m willing to meet Ensign Art’ah to discuss this.” She started nibbling on his earlobe. “I’m not a very violent person buuuut…” Her eyes suddenly filled his vision, green irises flashing in irritation as she drew some blood with her claws. “If you ever think of mating with a woman who’s not me, I’ll pull your insides through your navel.”
Having said her piece, she returned to the happy-go-lucky Sil Nubo that he knew and loved. It was quite disturbing to see her lick his blood off her claws, a stark reminder that his harem plans were definitely not going to progress as planned.
Well, that went better than expected actually… She said she’ll talk to Art’ah. That’s progress at least. I better contact her and Nyph Rohor. I really need her advice right about now…