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2.53% Out of Space

Chapter 17: Mana Stone

Captain Blake and Cmdr Ford stood outside a reinforced window looking at the dissected remains of a giant wolf. It was placed on a steel pallet in a hastily made environmental clean room in the corner of the cargo bay as it was too large to be moved into the labs. Huge glass containers containing parts of the wolf lined the sides of the enclosed area on a table. The rest of the wolves were stored in the refrigerator room in sealed bags.

"So Doc, what do you think of these wolves?" Blake asked through the intercom at the window.

"Very fascinating indeed these creatures," said Dr. Sharon wearing a yellow biochemical protection suit. She held a Ph.D. in criminal forensics and medicine. "I might not know much of animals but these creatures are amazing."

Dr. Sharon gestured to her assistant to display their data findings on the display mounted next to the window. "These are all males, very similar to our Terran wolves in fact. But with several times the muscle, bone and tissue strength and having horns." She lifts up a curved horn measuring over a meter long. "I suspect they use this as a way to gore other animals like what Terran bulls do. Also, their blood contains large traces of copper, therefore their blue is blood. It is also why its fur is bluish. I think this is its natural way of camouflaging in the wild."

"Blue like crabs?" Ford glanced at Blake who shrugged.

Next, she displayed a strand of blue hair. "This is taken from the body. Its tensile strength is almost as tough as nano carbon, that's why your marines' weapons are not that effective. With the dense coat of fur, it acts as a natural armour to absorb much of the kinetic energy and dispersing it away." She shook a tray full of deformed bullets to emphasize her point. "Other than the fur, its hide is quite tough but is easier to cut with a knife or shot through."

"So you are saying, the fur is stopping bullets but not the hide of the creature?" Ford clarified.

"Yes, even with the fur, we manage to easily cut through it with our operating knives." Dr. Sharon said. "But the fur does not fully negate the kinetic energy away since most of them died of internal trauma."

Hmmm, this meant that the Marines' bayonets and knives are more efficient than guns due to the fur coat of the wolves. Blake thought. Or hit it with a big enough gun.

"But the most amazing thing we found is this." She holds up a piece of blue stone. Under the white laboratory lights, it looks like a piece of blue quartz. "We dug this out from under its throat. It appears to form naturally from the creature like some sort of tumour. All of the wolves we have, have this under their throats, in various shapes and sizes." She gestures to the lab assistant to turn off the lights. As the lights went out, the stone she held in her hand, gave off a faint glow.

"This is its molecular structure under the scope." A rotating image of molecules in a web-like structure appears on the screen next to Blake and Ford. "The computer is unable to match it to any known element. The closest match made is 68.33% similar to radium." She continues. "We also ran some tests on it and found something interesting." The lab suddenly lights up from a light bulb on the table, Dr. Sharon had placed the stone on a device with 2 wires, a red and a blue which connects to the light bulb that was lit up.

"Oh, is it some kind of battery?" Ford wide-eyed asked. Blake was speechless, this is unbelievable.

"We believe that it is used by the wolves like one, allowing them to tap into the energy reserves giving them extra energy to burn." Dr. Sharon said. "Also when it is used this way, we detected some form of radioactivity. It will appear the more power being drawn from the stone, the higher the radioactivity is."

"What? A miniature nuclear battery?" Ford and Blake were shocked by Dr. Sharon's words.

"We need to run more tastes. By the way, the meat of the wolf has been tested to be edible by humans, with similar nutrient values to pork, we can use it to supplement our dietary needs." Dr. Sharon turns back on the lights. "And for the stone, we decided to call it a Mana stone."

"That is amazing," Blake said to Ford as they walked out of the makeshift lab. "A giant wolf, with horns that grow radioactive batteries. If we are not at war or lost, this planet will grant us many technologic breakthroughs." He stops at the top of the ramp and looks out of the cargo bay at the lively scene outside the ship.

Over the week, the land has been cleared to almost a kilometre away. Straight roads made out of crushed gravel lined the cleared land. Tiny crewmembers could be seen working at the planted crops. Clusters of circular pop up survival huts from the lifeboats are arranged neatly in a circle with the UNS flag waving gently in the sea breeze. Several wooden towers nested at the edge of the fields provide lookouts and security for the bubbling colony and the first workings of a concrete wall could be seen.

"If we can harness the power of the mana stones, energy won't be an issue anymore," Blake said as he took in the scenery.

"Sir, I think we should be careful out there," Ford cautioned. "We will need to increase the number of security forces to the surveying teams."

"Yes, there is too much unknown in this world and many things we have yet to understand," Blake said. "Increase the number of guards and make sure they report in every thirty minutes from now onwards."

"It also appears that the by-products of the wolf are quite useful to us. Do you think we should set up some teams to hunt more of them?" Ford asked. "Our food supply is starting to run a little low. Even if we are growing crops and harvesting wild vegetables, we need more sources of food."

"How is the fishing operation going?" Blake asked, thinking of the group of people with fishing skills.

"Barely enough to feed the base. Too much time spent on the low yield returns, plus we need a boat to do large-scale fishing if we want to support the base with enough food." Ford says. And the skills, knowledge, and equipment to build a boat were left unsaid between them.

"No, I don't want to send the men out to hunt something the size of a bus." Blake decided after a while. "Also if possible run some drills for the base."

"Yes, sir. Ahem," Ford cleared his throat. "Will you like to try some wolf steak tonight?" He grins.

"Hahaha, sure, why not? I am sick of eating 'car rat o' every day!" Blake joked back.

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