The Living Dead
The Living Dead
Summary: Skinjob research takes a turn for the interesting as engineering and medical approach a breakthrough.
Date: 69 ACH
Related Logs: Various skinjob logs, and Bated Breath

Classified Lab Genesis - Deck 13
68 ACH 23817 Souls

OOC Note: This area is Classified. It is guarded from casual entry by keypad and monitored by cameras as well as under guard. If you have not been ICly cleared for access to this area, you do not have sccess.

This Lab is a large, open area set up for modular scientific study. Currently there are cold storage unite here and the location has been prepared as an autopsy and biological analysis lab.

Zaharis set up some counter space for Quill's work last night, and then went back to his own. He sits in the lab now running some tests on one of the cylons' blood, sitting a stool in front of a computer. It's chilly in here, enough to raise light goosebumps on the flesh. And silent. Nothing lives or breathes except the researchers, and nothing makes a sound except the soft whirring of test machines. Stainless steel watches the room from all sides.

It's really hard to hurry into a room and make a dramatic entrance when there are so many security hoops to jump through outside, but perhaps one can be consoled by the fact that just making it into the classified areas at all is reasonably dramatic in and of itself. Whatever the case, it's one shocked and hurried-looking Ensign who makes his way into Medical's classified lab. "Sir!" Quill seems relieved to see the CMO. "Need to talk to you, sir."

Zaharis looks up from the computer, the glow shining on his face. He rubs his chin, raising both brows as he scoots the stool to the side. "What's up, Ensign?"

"You know that experiment I was talking about, the one where I was running nerve-impulse-level electricity through the degraded cylon silica? The one that was more or less on a whim?" Quill shrugs and spreads his hands a bit, really this gesture can be classified as flailing. "It's /regenerating/. The silica is putting itself back together, restoring and repairing its structure. I don't know how and frack if I know why. But it is."

Zaharis stares at Quill. He glances at the man's hands, then back at his face. "Regen-…where is it? Rhea said to bring things up here so we can work together, why isn't it here?"

"It is here," Quill promises, hurrying over to the work-station that was so thoughtfully set up for him. "When I noticed what this was doing I went looking for Major Zimmerman, but she's otherwise occupied, so I ran around looking for you, only to find you'd come back here, sir." What, Quill has never heard of calling someone on the wireless? Apparently not. There's an opaque box sitting there at the work-station, he removes it to reveal the little electrical rig. The sample is in place, still receiving its power. "Take a look. It's insane. If it keeps this up, we should eventually have repaired, undegraded silica."

Zaharis turns on his heel, almost jogging after Quill. Lectures on paging someone can wait. They've got regenerating silica nerves! "Zim's on the Hera, she should be back soon." He grabs a pair of gloves out of a box on the counter, tugging them on over his long fingers as he comes over to look at the rig. "Gods a-frakkin-bove. How much are you putting through it? Levels I told you?"

"Yes sir," Quill nods, stepping out of the way so Zaharis can inspect the miiiiiracle. "Exact notes on the frequency and intensity of the impulses have been uploaded to the server here. The rig is mirroring neurological impulses as closely as possible." He can't help it, the Ensign grins broadly. "Pretty frackin' wild, isn't it? The fracking stuff /self-replicates/. Cylons must have self-healing potential we con only begin to guess at."

It's aliiiiiive! Zaharis stares at the readouts coming from the silica, drumming his fingers on the counter. "It fits, it definitely fits. We know they're resistant to certain heavy metals that are toxic to humans, and we know at least one demonstrated strength levels far beyond human capcities. We've never had an explanation of it. But maybe this…" He draws a breath. "Maybe their entire systems are designed to regenerate at accelerated speed, and that's how they do what they do."

Quill's brows lift in surprise at hearing about skinjob superpowers for the first time, but he nods. "Granted, we still don't have an explanation for /this/ — logically it shouldn't be happening — but could very well be so, sir. What else do they do that's, um, different from humans?"

"The two that we have have the same genes, and I mean…" Zaharis makes a downward slicing motion with his hand to emphasize. "…not just same genes. Identical. Fingerprints, identical. Impossible." The CMO talks with his hands, making several more punctuating gestures as he goes along. "Every single thing about them looks normal under a microscope except for that silica and yet it isn't. Normal kidneys don't filter heavy metals like it's water. Normal muscles don't rip steel. Theirs do."

"And I'm assuming their kidneys and muscles don't regenerate if you posthumously electrocute them," Quill muses. "Though I suppose we could test that, is the rest of their decomposition human-like?" A grimace. "It seems like the only key is this silica, though. What the frack does it do for them, how does something contained in a spinal cord keep finger bones from breaking in steel-ripping activities? What's in a normal human spinal cord, anyway, is it that important?"

"They've been dead two weeks, it'd be useless to try anything like that with organs or muscle. We only have tissue samples, wouldn't work. We could try with their blood, we've got plenty of that." Zaharis paces a few steps away and turns back. "Spinal cords contain nerves. Sensory and motor axions. Lesions on those nerve roots produce things like muscle weakness. Obviously in a normal human we've no comparison to regeneration like this, so I couldn't say if the opposite would contribute to unusual strength. But it does have its logic. Maybe. Hard to say without knowing why it's doing what it's doing."

Quill has set up his zapping-cylon-silica rig here in the medicos' classified lab, and is standing not far away from it as he speaks with the CMO. "I'll keep working on it, sir, with your and Major Zim's permission. Start varying the impulse levels, see where the regeneration starts and stops, how many times it /will/ start and stop, et cetera. Honestly… someone, or a highly qualified team of someones, could probably work on this for a lifetime without ever finding all the answers."

Rhea passes through the security doors with the soft, top-secret "beep" and "swish" of codes and doors. Shrugging on a lab coat before she ventures into the area properly. She makes her way toward Zaharis and Quill, not doing anything outward to disturb them, but with no particular stealth. The ChEng is a clompy creature.

"My permission's been granted just by your being in here," Zaharis waves a hand around his lair. "As for a team, this is what we've got. This remains classified, and I mean top level." He glances at the rig, still restless as he tries to think. "We can run some similar tests on the blood and some small organic pieces. I don't think it'll come to much, but that's alright. I want to re-test the little bit we have left up here for some chemical…" There's Rhea. He looks up and over. "Zim, come here. We've got the goddamn living dead."

Quill grins upon spotting the ChEng, as though pleased that she's wandered in on her own and he won't have to go searching the bulkheads for her again. "Sir! Exciting news, sir. You know that whim of an experiment I was doing, putting electrical impulses through the silica? Major Zaharis isn't that far off. It's regenerating, it's repairing its structure. Take a look."

"Raised a zombie, did you, Quill?" Rhea asks the ensign dryly. But there's little lightness about her, past the humor. She's very interested. "Got a message you were looking for me. Should've beeped my handheld. I've been off-ship today. Took some leave on the Hera, and the Carina." Not that she looks too pained about not being interrupted during it. She's eager enough as she noses over to take a look, though.

Zaharis resumes his pacing as Rhea goes over to look at things. Pace, pace. "Does X-ray or magnetic imaging adversely affect silica?" He asks them both.

"Shouldn't have any affect on normal silica, sir," Quill shrugs at the CMO's inquiry. "With this stuff, gods only know. Expose it to x-rays or radiation and it could form a topiary or begin to sing." The Ensign glances to Rhea, "Like what you see?"

It takes Rhea a moment to fully process what she's seeing. Lips pursed in a thoughtful frown, hazel eyes bright as she takes it in. "'Like' is a relative term when it comes to these robotic corpses…" she murmurs. "But this is *very* intriguing. It's…regenerating. That's remarkable. As if it were living, growing tissue…only mechanized…"

"It's not like living tissue," Zaharis corrects Rhea. "It's not tissue at all. If anything it mimics spinal nerves, which in the normal human body does regenerate given the right factors. It can also be induced with neurotrophic drugs." He rubs his hand over his chin. "Whether it's more akin to peripheral or central nerve regeneration, I'd be extremely interested in. Knowing that could be a massive key for detecting these sons of bitches. And I want X-rays and MRIs run on this while the impulses are going through. We couldn't detect the silica that way while it was "dead", but it might work while "alive". I'll have to get equipment brought in."

"If it keeps going at its current rate, sir, we'll have undamaged silica to mess around with," Quill nods at Rhea. "Which means a lot more work for everyone since there'll be twice as much to run tests on, but hopefully a lot less /frustrating/ work since we're not trying to make our pretty puzzle picture with half the pieces missing. And who knows, if we can master the art of stopping and starting this regeneration process, we might have a leg up on dealing with these things in the field." He nods as Zaharis mentions x-rays, grabbing a notebook and flipping past a page of what looks like music notes before scribbling some notes. "MRIs will probably be up to your people, sir, but we'll throw every test and scan we've got at this stuff."

Rhea nods to that, eyes still alight as they track the findings. "At least we've something more useful to go on now. Not bad, Quill. Not badly done at all."

Reighner comes in from Corridor 13C.
Reighner has arrived.

"That they've buried the silica in the spinal cord was smart." Zaharis frowns, folding his arms and tapping a foot against the floor. "But if we can link it to these other irregularities in their systems that might open the door we need. Frak me. We'll get an MRI in here, and a couple other things I can think of…probably take till tomorrow, but that's okay. Plenty to do to mess with it till then."

Quill is conversing with the two Major Z's, near a workstation with a small device that's putting electrical current through a cylon silica sample. "Anything we find will go up on the data server," the Ensign nods. "And if anything worlds-shattering occurs again, I'll actually page people this time." There's a grin as Rhea says 'not bad', and he steps aside, apparently waiting to follow ChEng directions from here.
Description set to base navy_duty.

Reighner's peering face appears in the glass of the airlock for a couple of seconds before disappearing. The chamber does its cycling.

"Do you require anything further of my junior officers, Doctor?" Rhea asks Zaharis. "If not, we should be getting back to Engineering. The day's work doesn't stop for this, after all. Besides, I have a few matters to discuss with Quill." There's a serious note behind her brisk tone. Ominous. Though she does look away from Quill when she catches the flash of Reighner's peering face. "That you back there, Captain?"

"No no, not on the server," Zaharis holds up a hand, cautionary gesture. Paranoid? He sure as hell is. "Who the hell knows what level of access…things…might have." He points to the computers in the room. "These are an independent system, they're secure. I'll get you both logins for it, let's keep everything in one place and locked down." A shake of his head to Rhea. "No, he's free to go fan you with palm fronds or whatever you guys do down there. You've both got access up here, so barge in and out as you like." He glances up as the light changes over the door, motioning for Reighner to come over. "Captain. Remember that silica in the spine?"

Quill's brows lift as Rhea says she has Things To Discuss; his expression is a mixture of curiosity and 'am I in trouble?' in about a 70-30 ratio. He looks to Zaharis, "That's the one I meant, sir, the top-secret one. Not a word of this will get to anyone without lab clearance." A quirk of a smile, "And we don't fan Major Zim with palm fronds, that's ridiculous. We build contraptions that move the fanning fronds for her." There's a salute in greeting for Reighner, then Quill prepares to follow Rhea out.

The airlock cycles, and Reighner steps into the isolation room, having traded his embroidered coat for a nondescript one. "What about it?" he questions, grabbing hold of some gloves. A perfunctory salute is returned to Quill, before he looks from Rhea — a slight smile and a nod — to Zaharis.

Rhea nods to Zaharis. "Your team on this should be cleared to enter the robotics lab as well, if you want to review the mechanical Cylon data. The system there is similarly isolated." She smirks, as to the of fanning her in a queen-like manner. "What happens in Engineering stays in Engineering," she says. Still a little ominous. When she turns back to Quill her expression is serious. Doing nothing to allay his worries. "Doctors. Good hunting." A faint smile is crooked back at Reighner, and she offers him an inclination of her head in return. "Hopefully this will prove illuminating for you."

"Thanks." Zaharis seems to be aiming the comment at both departing Engineers. "Getting somewhere new every day around here." That's very softly wry. He unfolds his arms and steps back towards the weird rig that Quill set up, addressing Reighner now. "Engineering found that that silica degenerates without impulses going through it. Interesting but not half as interesting as this…Ensign Quill found that when impulses are put /back/ through it, it not only stops degenerating but regenerates. It repairs itself."

"All the information I've found is there with the rig," Quill nods, "There isn't a lot of analysis yet, since my brain started melting shortly after completing the observations." He grins, then heads for the secure exit and the way back to Snipeland. "Good luck and happy hunting, sirs."

Quill leaves for Corridor 13C [O].
Quill has left.

Rhea leaves for Corridor 13C [O].
Rhea has left.

Reighner pulls on his gloves and moves to a cabinet. "Sounds like their version of nervous tone. Complex buggers." He punches a code and opens a middle drawer. "How can we exploit this?"

"That's what we need to figure out." Zaharis frowns slightly at the rig. "We know that deactivated, the silica doesn't show under any radiological tests. I want to see if it does when it's at normal function…or however 'normal' being stimulated like this could be called. I wonder if there's a link between this and everything else. The kidneys, the strength."

Reighner shuffles through the cabinet and pulls out a lab notebook. He walks to the bench with a microscope, eyeing the machine along the way. "MRI?"

"Yeah." Zaharis continues to watch the readouts from the machine as it steadily zaps the silica. "MRI and X-ray. Engineers swear neither should damage the silica itself." He frowns slightly and turns away, heading for one of the computers and pulling his keycard from his belts.

[Intercom] Colonel Fotilas and Sergeant Ramiro. Report to the Marine Offices immediately.

Reighner nods. He sits down on the stool and opens up his notebook. "You could probably sneak it into sickbay."

The image pulls a vague, wry smile onto Zaharis' face. "Imagine the SOAP notes." His fingers tap over the keys as he logs in and starts working, pulling up the test logs and reading over them for a few moments. "There were more of her on Virgon."

Reighner sets a slide on the stage. He looks over his shoulder. "Yeah?"

Zaharis nods slowly. "One was with the centurions at the hospital. Directing them. They followed her orders." The screen flashes to another page and he starts typing again. "Been evidence of a third model, too."

Reighner sighs and turns back forward. He puts his face over the eyepiece. As he focuses and repositions the stage, he comments, "I've been thinking about shooting some electricity through their motor nerves. Do an EMG."

Zaharis keeps typing, and reaches over to check a readout coming from the engineering rig on the counter. "Anything's worth a try, I suppose. Really think you'll get anything with them two weeks gone?"

Reighner is silent for a few seconds. "Nope." He blinks a few times, moving his face away from the microscope, and makes some notes.

"We've run out of time on a lot of this." Zaharis makes the point, but his tone isn't defeated. "I think right now we need to take what we have and get it linked together."

His fountain pen swirls over the pages. Reighner comments, "You mean the regenerating silica, unnatural strength, unnatural toxin tolerance? Altered nervous system, altered musculature, altered renal function. The common link could just be that they're Cylon." He glances over his shoulder.

Zaharis hehs, continuing to work. "I meant more in the vein of figuring out how to detect it conclusively. Without killing the subject in the process."

Reighner takes a deep breath through his nostrils, flaring them. He looks back into the microscope and suggests, dryly, "I'm leaning toward radical exploratory surgery on the command staff."

Zaharis just makes a sound in his throat in return, keys tapping. Might've been amusement. Might not.

Reighner rubs his face. He puts on another slide onto the stage and goes back to looking. "The EMG might work if we charged up one of the cadavers."

Zaharis' hands pause for a while, the soft sounds stopping. "Charged up?"

"Regenerate its spinal cord," Reighner says.

"I want to let them finish this battery on the silica first," Zaharis says, after a while of silence. "We know too little about it right now." He finishes what he was doing and stands up, logging out of the system.

Reighner makes a neutral noise. He makes some more notes on this particular slide.

Zaharis looks over at the cold storage drawers where the bodies are and his attention stays there for a while, his lips thinned into a line. Then he pushes the stool in with his foot and starts for the doors, shrugging off the lab coat.

Reighner keeps on working.

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