Part of USS Altai: Here Be Monsters

Fragments

USS Altai, Anthropology Lab
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Michelle Ortiz was in one of the Altai’s science labs sitting at one of the holo-tables, and a tablet propped up in mid-conference call. Scattered about the table, backlit in soft white/blue, were dozens of bone fragments holographically reproduced in intricate detail.

Michelle picked up one of the larger fragments, roughly the size of a silver dollar, and examined it. She turned it over in her fingers, and then pulled on the edges to make it bigger. “Dr. Kaoutzanis, what did you date this as?”

“Between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago.”

Michelle set the piece down and it snapped back to its original size and picked up another piece. This time it was an 8cm fragment of mandible complete with two molars and a canine.

“That’s impossible,” she replied. She held up the fragment to the tablet for emphasis. “There were no homo sapiens in Southern Spain that long ago. And this is clearly a modern human. ” She shuffled through the fragments and packed up a finger bone, most likely a middle phalange. “Judging by this and the teeth, this individual was an adolescent. The structure would suggest female, but without a pelvis and rebuilding the skull that is pure speculation.”

Dr. Kaoutzanis laughed, “Our team had a similar reaction. You’re right we shouldn’t have found her in that cave, but here we are. There are more bones and stone tools that we are still excavating and cataloging. But, you are good Dr. Ortiz. It took us a week to come to age and gender. It’s good to have that confirmation though.”

“Well, glad to have been of help,” Michelle grinned.

“When are you going to leave Starfleet? You belong back here on Earth. We could use you in excavating this cave.”

Michelle shrugged, “I don’t know. It is unfortunate having two loves that don’t compliment each other. I’m excited to pick new cultures apart. To see what no other human has seen. But, yeah… Starfleet isn’t what I expected. This hasn’t been the meteoric climb through the ranks like I envisioned. But, here we are. Not a whole lot of fossils found on a starship. Now, if I had gone into astrophysics or something I’d always be busy, but I would have to sacrifice this love.” She shrugged, “I’ll give this tour a chance, but I will likely resign soon enough. And I’ll be looking for a job.”

“You have one with us,” Kaoutzanis said with a grin.

“Thanks Doctor. We’ll, if there is anything I help you will let me know.”

“Absolutely. I’ll be in touch. Kaoutzanis out.

Michelle flipped off the holo-table and the bone fragments and the tablet vanished into thin air. Gathering up her belongings she walked out of the Anthropology lab heading for the mess hall.