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  • Lt. Cmdr. Dr. Amadeus O'Reilly

Ohniaka III | Endemic Lifeforms, Cubesfall Inoculation

Elaboration behind the existence of Ohniaka III's uniquely Borg-influenced flora and fauna


Introduction


When Cubesfall would occurr in 2368, Ohniaka III was in the golden age of what its equivalent to a Devonian period would be (approx. O3 age: 3.9 BYO). The planet was beginning to produce seed-bearing and spore-spreading plants, beetle and arachnid-like insects were diversifying into environmental niches, and sentient ocean life was thriving in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Rich in quartz veins and freshly-formed gold deposits, Ohniaka III's two-mooned biosphere was at a crux point– where one significant-enough environmental calamity could steer Ohniakan organisms into a radically-new evolutionary pathway. Be it an asteroid, solar winds, or earth-shaking tectonic plate shifts, the endemic life would either soon churn through a mass extinction, or give rise to a myriad of new organisms– all depending on what the planet decided to throw at it next.


What Ohniaka III did not expect, however, was approximately 90 million metric tons of Borg technology falling from the sky and into its ecosystems.


"The Cubesfall Inoculation"


As Cube 5219 descended into Ohniaka III's atmosphere, it's estimated that 15 million metric tons broke off from the vessel– either sinking into the emerald-colored waves below, or scattering across its eight major continents. The Borg's self-replicating machinery suddenly found itself amongst rudimentary ecosystems– surrounded by sea life, nutrient-rich soil deposits, and high altitude weather pattern slipstreams. Without guidance uplinks from the Collective thanks to Cube 5219's severance, the technology was left to its own reproductive devices– its adaptive capabilities still at full capacity despite its severed ties to the Borg Hivemind. As the debris collided into the earth and sunk deep into the oceans, remnant wreckage was inevitably incorporated into lifeforms by way of ingestion, respiration, or simple matter of proximity– imprinting its biotechnological nature onto everything from titanic carnivores, fungal root pathways, and even microscopic, single-celled organisms.


During the Age of Isolation, Progenitor farmers noticed an increasing number of metal deposits in their community crops' soil, and fishermen began to pull up catches more cybernetically different than the last. Fish bore photosynthesis sails instead of fins, the spines and ribs of amphibians were found to be inlaid with synthetic fiber tendons, and crustaceans began sporting metal-edged pincers. Over the years, debris from Cube 5219 would also begin to wash ashore covered in seaborne lifeforms, further spreading the technology's influence beyond initial Cubesfall impact points. Certain species of beachcombers developed silicone-based shells, new insect metamorphoses bore appendages not found in their species' previous generations, and nanoprobes latched onto raw sugars that could be found in plants' phloem and phylum. The two great expeditions of 2371 and 2375 would result in the identification of thousands of endemic species– the Progenitors crafting a measuring system by which to gauge lifeforms' level of technological inoculation.

A collage of various Ohniakan endemic lifeforms in various stages of adaptation and incorporation of Cubesfall inoculation, including a Totera Colony (top right), Domehead Crab (bottom right), and a proto-mammalian Silhoun (top left • also nicknamed "lettucehead" by tourists) | Artwork by Zoë / Indigo Allen Wickler (zoeallenwickler.com)

Post-Reconstitution Discoveries, Results


The full extent of Cube 5219's technological inoculation wasn’t fully realized until the USS Keter and USS Concagh arrived for Reconstitution, providing xBs the technology by which to start in-depth research on oceans and continents they had not yet explored. Both Starfleet and the xBs were shocked to discover what had been percolating planet-side for 10 years– relief officers from Operation House Call having to vaccinate with nanoprobe-nullifying hyposprays, and occasionally even quarantining for accidental ingestion of now-endemic nanoprobes. Scans showed massive, siphonophore-like colonies floating like great webs through the ocean, algae blooms with bioluminescence illuminated lakes that could be seen from space, and mollusks not unlike squid and other invertebrates were spotted with nanoprobe-stained chromatophores in oceans far from Settlement 01 (eventually renamed "Cooperation Capitol City"). For safety reasons, all endemic resource exports out of Ohniaka III are strictly monitored to ensure proper decontamination procedures have been followed– lest an individual or technology apparatus show signs of nanoprobe buildup akin to that of Humans' "auto-brewery syndrome."


Conclusion


Today, all fishing, farming, and usage of seaborne resources have become prime staples in Ohniaka III's textiles. Co-opting their barometer for determining how technologically inoculated lifeforms might be, Ohniakan xBs have also adapted this scale into a system of preparing and cooking food: developing a grading scale of "fused vs. blank" proteins and crop harvests. Though farming is an essential and required pillar for their ~60,000-strong civilization, the Cooperation's Capitol City has a thriving coastal culture, above all else– as lush as the succulent-like flora that adorn their buildings and streets. Unfortunately, negative stigmas have emerged surrounding Ohniaka III's inoculated biosphere– anti-xB sentiments attempting to paint the LBC and its homeworld as "inherently infectious" and a "ground zero waiting to happen"(xB diplomats have reported reminding visitors that it is unadvisable to drink from any planet's unfiltered body of water– allergen tests successfully passed or not). But with xB scientists conducting marine biology expeditions, the Reclamation Project’s Engineering Division developing deep sea probes by which to plunge their planet’s depths, or a Capitol City Harbor trading stall hosting Andorian xBs tossing iced fish to-and-fro, Ohniaka III’s oceans and vistas host far more than just the remnant scraps of Cube 5219, and its wildlife has grown alongside this society’s fledgling culture.


 

AN: The Ohniakan wildlife artwork was provided by Zoë / Indigo Allen Wickler (@indigoiseau)! Please find more of their work at zoeallenwickler.com or any other related social media!

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