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Repetition and Variation


In blackness, each star a spark, a variation on the Universal Story. I, Sklerigny, drifting and alone, too late discovered hid within the digits of my displays the message of rescue and redemption. Discover this message, and you will have learned what you need to proceed. Even so, in the end, only the story points the way from chaos to order. Take heed & take count of all that you see.

Sklerigny Sagnikinik, Wisdom from Around the Cosmos: Vol 0112-09: The Scutum-Centaurus Arm (p. 514)

The Story

Ship's Time: 02.09.26 01:18 GSD

The bridge was too quiet, a fact Captain Camilla Burnham considered highly suspicious. A week without hostile Korgons, first contact, mysterious pathogens, or even a holo-arena malfunction. Which was why the swish of a door and a nasally voice brought a positively giddy optimism to the Captain's mood, a giddiness she expressed by raising her eyebrows .18 millimeters.

"Lieutenant Vrolid reporting for duty, Ma'am." The Captain swiveled the command chair toward her Ovaxian first officer. The warmth in her eyes belied a hint of menace in her voice.

"Lieutenant. How did you manage to get to the bridge before my receipt of the doctor's comm discharging you from medical leave?"

Vrolid's tentacles deflated.

"Captain, if I have to monitor my eggs for 5 more seconds, my brain is going to ooze out through my–"

The bridge crew were spared the unsettling conclusion of Lt. Vrolid's metaphor by the shrill sound of the alert siren. Everyone shifted focus to their sensors, and the Ovaxian lieutenant took advantage of the distraction to flow unobtrusively into his chair on the captain's right.

"Stations! Ensign, current status?"

Fingers sweeping over his instrument panel, Ensign Maalouf reported: "Captain, sensors indicate an anomaly on a trajectory toward us and then Creighton's Star. Energy signature is off the charts. Estimated impact with the colony on Gamma-Creighton-2 is 21 hours, 6 minutes from now."

The Captain pressed her Comm button.

"Pascal, are you seeing this?"

"Oh yeah! The data stream is glorious. I could bask in the flow of information until the energy death of the universe. I mean, if you look at–"

Lt. Vrolid's tentacles perked up. The Captain's wit was drier than French Malbec, and he found it entertaining to speculate whether the human's response to the overenthusiastic science officer would tend toward bitterness or acidity.

"Pascal, bask later. How can we stop that thing from colliding with us and the colony?"

"Um, thinking out loud here. If we fire a torpedo containing 6 grams of Substance Phl into the anomaly at a velocity of 253,185 km/s, it might cause an implosion. The trigger mechanism might be tricky, but–"

"Stop thinking out loud and tell me what you need to make it work."

"Yes ma'am, Captain. Give me, um, 1 hour. As for what I'll need… ummm… I'm going to need 13 data pipes, 49 tomatoes, and 14 pulleys from the gym's weight machines."

Lt. Vrolid watched the Captain close her eyes and mouth silently: "One. Two. Three. Four." That was as far as she made it.

"Pascal, please tell me this isn't going to end with 1519.1 cubic meters of jello on Deck 21 like that time you asked for an 18th century clock mechanism, 194 meters of rope, and a model 919.119 mini-fusion reactor."

Pascal didn't miss a beat.

"Oh Captain, that was nothing. Remind me to tell you how I wooed my husband with a bowl of pasta, 20 meters of electrical tape, and 518 kilos of–"

The Captain depressed the comm button, and how Pascal won over the love of his life remained a mystery.

Ship's Time: 04.15.13 09:14 GSD

The proximate cause of the catastrophe on the Sebastopol was a short in a transistor governing the inertial dampers. However, the actual origin of the calamity was a sneeze issuing from Ensign Maalouf four days earlier. At that time, Ensign Maalouf sat at his station drooping, sniffling, and, finally, sneezing so pathetically that the Captain dismissed him early. Unfortunately for Ensign Torphad, who took Maalouf's place, his immediate predecessor at the navigation station had left behind approximately 15.5 trillion rhinovirus particles which, at a diminutive 19.57 nanometers apiece, entirely escaped the bridge crew's notice.

If random chance and fate had a child, it would be a viral transmission vector. The rhinovirus valiantly overcame the challenge presented by Ensign Torphad's Korpaphian physiology and co-opted his cellular machinery to manufacture copies of itself. So, 7 days later, just as Chief Science Officer Pascal was reporting to the Captain that his anomaly-stopping device was ready, Ensign Torphad lay curled up and miserable in his quarters watching his sons play pharkoi, a Korpaphian tile-laying game. Despite having turned the temperature in his quarters down to an arid and comfortable (for Korpaphians) 5 degrees Celsius, he felt wretched and overheated.

Nisil, Ensign Torphad's eldest son, considered his next move, entirely unaware that the carpet transferred a staggering 241615E19 electrons to his feet each time he absent-mindedly wriggled his stockinged toes against the cozy floor. By 16:05.1 ship's time, when he reached for the winning tile, he'd accumulated so many of the negatively charged particles that in the cold, dry air of the family's quarters an electrostatic discharge of 11,935 volts arced between his middle finger and about 9 millimeters of exposed wire leading into junction box 13.

The junction box conducted electricity to and from 16 of the crew's quarters, connecting them with Power Converter 125A, one of 135 converters on Deck 14. Of these, 20 Power Converters (PCs) serviced the crew's quarters on the interior of 19 decks of the Sebastopol as well as the weapons' feeding tubes on the outer perimeter of Decks 11 and 9.

The electrostatic discharge from Nisil's finger propagated through the ship's systems until it reached one of the 12 thousand transistors downstream from the affected power converter. This transistor (model 12.54-11-15.114) made up part of the series of 13,137 logic gates governing shutdown of the ship's inertial dampers in case of emergency. The difference in electric potential that arose when electrons arced from Nisil's second digit overwhelmed the transistor and, just as Pascal initiated the torpedo's firing sequence, the ship's inertial dampers shut down. Within the ship, it was as if the hand of a mighty god had slammed everything and everyone against the nearest hard object.

Ship's Time: 21.06.06 09:14 GSD

The colony on Gamma-Creighton supported 14 thousand lives. Aboard the Sebastapol, six hundred crew and their family members lived and worked. So many lives were at stake that day, and yet, months later, Captain Burnham realized that she would forever think of the encounter with the energy anomaly as "The Enormous Egg Hunt." In retrospect, she realized that even before the inertial dampers had failed, fate was directing her attention toward eggs. Destiny was at work molding her future, carving away at the swirl of events surrounding her, casting aside concerns about colony and crew, replacing them with that vital, yet ridiculous, hunt for Lt. Vrolid's eggs. Aboard the bridge that day…

Ship's Time: 15.15.04 12:05 GSD

…the bridge crew waited for Pascal to finish the modified torpedo. Had anyone bothered to inform Captain Burnham that life on a Space Fleet ship's bridge would consist of stretches of boredom punctuated by the prospect of imminent death, she might have opted for piracy.

Well, she could always tease her first officer.

"Lieutenant Vrolid, you never did explain what you're doing away from your eggs."

The Lieutenant's tentacles quivered.

"Captain, do you know why Ovaxian parents guard their eggs so carefully?"

"I assumed your proximity fostered the conditions for proper growth. Like Terran chickens."

The Lieutenant sighed.

"At least that would have some purpose. You see, in order to hatch, Ovaxian eggs must be kept in close proximity to one another throughout gestation. Unfortunately, when Ovaxian squirts emerge from their eggs, they're genetically programmed to kill and eat any nearby squirts that don't share certain traits."

"Gruesome. How is it that you and the rest of your species survived?"

"For a few moments after the eggs emerge from the natal tentacle, they are different colors, depending on their genetics. The parent frantically sorts the eggs by color into different pods before they harden and the coloring fades. Tradition dictates that the parent watch over them to be absolutely certain they stay sorted. I love my eggs as much as any Ovaxian, but it's an antiquated custom and unnecessary in the safety of a starship."

"At least it's not as strange as how the Andelvians on Zeta-Carelli copulate," Ensign Maalouf chimed in. "Have you heard how they find 16 other Zeta-Carellians and then use their fifth dorsal fin to, ummmm, you know….?" The ensign failed to offer further details, and the Captain declined the bait.

"Of course, war nearly broke out when the Salic Empirate found out what humans have to do! Utterly disgusting," Lieutenant Vrolid said pointedly. He'd always been perplexed by Terrans' fascination with other species' peculiar procreative processes.

"Frankly," Koraksi Gragis, the fastidious navigator began, "I prefer how we propagate. Remove the top knuckle from the 8th finger and bury it with another Akkagrian's knuckle from the 12th finger. Allow the offspring to emerge from their holes when the time comes. The process obviates the need for…" He wriggled his nasal appendage distastefully. "...touching another sentient being."

The Captain and Lieutenant Vrolid shared a look that conveyed clearly their desire to bring this discussion to a close. They were spared the trouble when the Captain's comm chimed.

"Captain, it's Pascal. We're ready to launch the anomaly-imploding torpedo!"

Ship's Time: 05.02.15 20:09 GSD

Pascal reported: "We can make the anomaly-imploder go all boomy on your mark. There's an eensy-weensy chance that the implosion will Hoover local space-time into another universe, but I wouldn't let your little J. Edgar worry."

The Captain took a breath and let it out slowly. "OK people. This is it. Let's take down the big bad. Fire the torpedo-thingy."

"Right Captain. Commencing with the fireage."

The bridge crew heard the click of a switch being thrown, a series of grindy noises, and then the Sebastopol transitioned from accelerating on a hyperbolic course to a dead stand-still in 14 nanoseconds. Everyone and everything not securely attached to the ship continued forward at its original velocity until an unpleasant encounter with the first solid object that interrupted their trajectory. Pascal's torpedo slammed into the wall of the torpedo tube. On the bridge, Captain Burnham found herself on the floor, blood dripping from her forehead. She struggled back into her chair and began issuing orders.

"Crew people! You two, check everyone and make sure no appendages decided to strike out on their own. You, Talks-to-the-Rest-of-the-Ship Guy, go talk to the rest of the ship. I want to know who the hell turned Newton's first law back on. Maalouf, figure out what the big swirly anomaly thing is up to. Lt. Vrolid…"

Captain Burnham looked down at her Ovaxian first officer. He wasn't moving. Sickly gray viscous fluid leaked from the ends of his tentacles.

The Captain hit her comm button. "Medical! I need a first-lieutenant-fixer, pronto."

Captain Burnham thought about kneeling down to help Lieutenant Vrolid but realized she didn't even know whether to stop his seepage or to help it along.

"What's the ship sitch, people?"

From an unnamed ensign: "This ship is so Titanicked. Except Deck 21. It's all Hindenburg-y."

On the floor, Lieutenant Vrolid's cranial cavity lifted slightly and he spoke in a throaty, groany way.

"My eggs! Count the eggs. Count everything." Liquid oozed from the suckers along several of his tentacles. Mustering his energy, Vrolid whispered, "Fire bad. Serenity good." With a final spurt of liquid, he collapsed again.

Damn! Vrolid's eggs.

"Maalouf! Meet me in Vrolid's cabin with Dr. Callyx. Talks-to-the-Rest-of-the Ship Guy, see that Pascal has everything he needs to make with the exploding. And, get someone up here to plug the leaks in the Lieutenant like two days ago."

With that, the Captain strode out through Mister Slidey Door.

Ship's Time: 13.18.05 16:18 GSD

Lieutenant Vrolid's cabin door slid partly open and then jammed against an Ovaxian tentacle sucker-cluster cleaner. The Captain slid through the narrowed opening and looked around. Every object in the room had been thrown against the starboard bulkhead and then fallen into a heap in the corner by the door. Once Maalouf and Dr. Callyx squeezed in with her, she outlined their task: "We need to find those eggs, hopefully intact. They are the first Ovaxian eggs birthed outside the Ovaxian home system, and Lt. Vrolid is…" Her voice dropped off, concern for her first officer evident in her tone.

Always the pedant, Dr. Callyx, the chief medical officer, took advantage of the silence. "The eggs are quite small, approximately a centimeter long, pale yellow, and ovoid in shape."

They began pulling objects off the heap of Lieutenant Vrolid's worldly possessions. About twenty minutes into the search, the Captain's Comm buzzed.

"Pascal reporting, Captain, ma'am. The integrity of the containment field on Substance Phl is dangerously low. I need permission to eject the container into the anomaly. If I time it right, the containment might break down when it hits the anomaly."

"Pascal, you know how dangerous Phlebotinum is. What if the stress of ejection causes containment to fail?"

"Well, Captain. Then I'm pretty certain we'd be going the way of the dinosaurs." Pascal paused, as if uncertain about whether to say more.

"What is it, Pascal?"

"I'm reminded of a recent paper in Popular Xeno-Bio-Archaeology, issue 15. A group of scientists found trace amounts of Phlebotinum in remains dated to the Terran Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. That means we would literally be going the way of the–"

"Say another word, Lt. Pascal, and extinction will be the least of your worries. Let me know when you're ready to launch the container."

The three officers continued searching Lt. Vrolid's belongings in silence, wondering whether each thought or action might be their last.

"I've found something!" Ensign Maalouf held open a hinged case. The interior was divided into eight chambers. Labels were missing from all but three of the chambers. The chambers each held spaces for up to sixteen eggs. Other than a single, unharmed egg, the case was empty.

"One egg?" The Captain sounded as if she were trying to digest bad news. Which she was. "Vrolid said something to me about thirty-six eggs."

Ensign Maalouf stared at the pile of objects in front of him.

"Captain. I think I have an idea that will make finding those eggs and keeping them from breaking a lot easier."

And so it was that, after fifteen minutes in zero-G plucking eggs out of the air, the Captain, Maalouf, and Callyx stood like proud parents around the case of eggs.

Ship's Time: 04.21.03 20:09 GSD

Maalouf and Callyx sat puzzling over the egg case and its contents. Maalouf was quickly coming to the conclusion that separating apparently identical eggs into groups was about as easy as giving an Akkagrian a hug. Maybe in Vrolid's pile of stuff he'd discover a book titled What to Do If You Put All Your Eggs in One Basket. He could always hope.

In the meantime, the always pedantic Dr. Callyx had launched into an extended lecture on Ovaxian reproduction and genetics. The Captain closed her eyes to rest for a moment, listening to the drone of her ship's doctor.

"Surprisingly, Ovaxians are the sole known sentient egg-laying hermaphroditic species and can reproduce at a time of their choosing. In order to maintain genetic diversity, Ovaxian adolescents collect genetic material from up to 15 other gene-parents."

Ensign Maalouf tried to hide his snort. "Collect genetic material." Nice euphemism.

"Upon ejecting a clutch of eggs, the parent rushes to sort them into separate pods before the colored cuticle around the egg hardens and becomes pale yellow. Ovaxians believe that the number of eggs in each pod provides a key to ordering one's life. The colors reflect two inherited traits: respiration method and breath odor. An Ovaxian squirt will attack and eat any squirt in its vicinity that does not display a matching phenotype. In fact, …"

The Captain must have dozed off for a moment. Her head jerked up, but nothing had changed. Dr. Callyx droned eruditely on.

"…in the compartments is quite fascinating. Lt. Vrolid explained it to me. The Ovaxian parent-to-be internally combines genetic material from its collection of gene-parents. Each unique combination of two parents' genetic materials produces a single zygote which splits to give rise to between two and sixteen squirts, all of which have the same genes. One set of squirts with the same phenotype is called a pod, and in all but extremely rare cases, arises from a single cross between two gene-parents, Each pod is placed into a chamber in the box Lt. Maalouf found, so that the eggs in each chamber will have the same genotype and thus exhibit the same characteristics for the two traits that determine a squirt's hostility to other squirts. One characteristic of note is respiration. Ovaxian squirts are either mouth-breathers, nose-breathers, or tongue-breathers."

Mouth-breathers. Maalouf's body started to shudder with silent laughter, but he knew how offensive it would be to laugh at another species' physical characteristics.

"They also differ with respect to breath odor, which can be pungent, sour, or umami. For example, one compartment might contain 14 eggs that will all produce sour-breathed mouth-breathers…"

Between the stress of the day, the prospect of imminent death, and the absurdity of sitting on the floor trying to find a way to sort eggs, Maalouf couldn't contain himself. Something between a laugh and a snort escaped him.

"Ensign Maalouf, are you all right?" The Captain wore the same expression as one of Maalouf's mothers when he misbehaved in public. His head drooped.

"Um. Yes Captain. I mean, sorry Captain. I mean…" Maalouf's eyes focused on the book he had picked up. Eyes drifting up from the page he had opened, he proclaimed: "Captain! I've found it! Eureka and all that. Look. Vrolid made notes about the genetics of the eggs!"

The doctor leapt over the pile of Lt. Vrolid's belongings and snatched the notebook from Maalouf's hands.

"Yes. Yes! We were discussing this. If we can work out the genetics of the various pods of squirts, I can sort them into the proper chambers of the box."

Dr. Callyx plopped down next to Ensign Maalouf and the two pored over Lt. Vrolid's notebook. The Captain glared at the comm button on Vrolid's desk, a surprisingly effective glare, as it turned out. The comm button lit up and chirped three times.

"Burnham here. What's your status, Pascal?"

"We are ready to eject the container."

"Let's do it. On my mark. Three, two, one, mark."

Ship's Time: 19.16.05 01:11 GSD

In fact, the Sebastopol and its crew did not go the way of the dinosaurs that day. To no one's surprise but everyone's relief, the container failed just as it entered the anomaly. The Sebastopol's emergency electromagnetic radiation shielding absorbed a flash of blinding light, and the anomaly disappeared as mysteriously and suddenly as it had appeared. After checking in with the bridge, Captain Burnham stopped into sick-bay to check on Lt. Vrolid, who was still unconscious but expected to recuperate. Then, she headed to the lab.

Ensign Maalouf and the ship's xeno-geneticist, a pair of conjoined Galanians named l'Gemna, sat amid about 20 screens, pads, and scattered notes, Ensign Maalouf looked up as the door slid open.

"Captain, how's Lt. Vrolid?" he asked with concern.

"Unconscious, but he'll recover."

l'Gemna looked up from their notes, their voice light and melodic.

"Ah, good. Find life in the breath of every creature."

With two brains sharing a single consciousness, Galanians experienced reality in a way that Captain Burnham frequently found inscrutable.

"Okay… And how is your work going?"

The tinkling voice replied, "The blue of the sky is dark to a blind man."

Ensign Maalouf offered a rephrasing: "Progress is slow. There's a lot of missing information in Lt. Vrolid's notes. Any chance he'll be able to help out soon?"

The Captain sighed. "I'm afraid not. He's in an induced coma and won't wake for at least 8 shifts."

l'Gemna lowered their heads. "You pick fruit and sometimes find a worm."

Captain Burnham shook her head. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but l'Gemna was beginning to make sense. She needed sleep.

"Keep me posted," she said as the door slid open. l'Gemna's parting words wafted through the door behind her.

"If seeds do not take root, move your garden."

The Captain collapsed into bed still in uniform. When her Comm unit chimed 5 hours later, she felt as if no time had passed. It was Maalouf.

"Captain! We did it! The eggs are separated and… Well, you should get down here. They're starting to hatch!"

"Yes!" l'Gemna chirped into the comm. "When a baby is born, life is made anew."

And so, the disheveled Captain stood beside Lt. Maalouf and l'Gemna, watching small networks of cracks emerge on the eggs' surfaces. Maalouf grinned from ear to ear. l'Gemna's heads lay resting against one another, content and happy. The barest hint of a smile lifted Captain Burham's lips. The first of the newborn squirts emerged into the world, each pod safely sorted into its own hydroculture container. l'Gemna tilted their heads meaningfully and offered their wisdom to the newly hatched little cephalopods.

"Oh, beautiful pod-lings. Go forth, and live your lives as if you were never born."

Excerpts from the Science logs of Lt.s l'Gemna

Notes & puzzles below available as a Google Sheet.

Review of Ovaxian Reproduction

  • In their adolescence, Ovaxians store genetic material from up to 16 different "gene-parents" with whom they've mated.
  • When ready to reproduce, an Ovaxian chooses 8 pairs of gene-parents (sometimes using the same gene-parent more than once). Each pair produces a single proto-zygote.
  • Each proto-zygote produces a group of eggs which are essentially clones, all sharing the same genotype. This group is called a pod.
  • When the eggs are ejected, the Ovaxian parent sorts them by phenotype into pods. Every egg in a pod has the same phenotype and the same genotype.

Review of Ovaxian Genetics

  • Analogous to many species in the galaxy, each parent has two alleles for a particular trait, one of which is randomly passed on to its offspring.
  • Every allele can have one of three values.
    Breathing orifice:
    M (mouth) or N (nose) or T (tongue)
    Breath odor:
    P (pungent) or S (sour) or U (umami)
  • Dominance works like that age-old game of "squirts, parents, sleep," in which parents-want-sleep, sleep-settles-squirts, and squirts-destroy-sleep.
    Breathing orifice:
    M (mouth) > N (nose) > T (tongue) > M (mouth)
    Breath odor:
    P (Pungent) > S (sour) > U (umami) > P (Pungent)

IMPORTANT NOTE TO SELVES: ALWAYS follow these conventions in Punnett squares! Unless otherwise noted, Ovaxians read from left to right, then from top to bottom.


  • Parent 1 goes across the top, and Parent 2 goes down the side.
  • Order alleles as follows: M before N before T and P before S before U.

Example of the Possibilities when Crossing a Pair of Gene-Parents

tongue & umami TU
tongue & sour TS
tongue & pungent TP
mouth & umami MU
mouth & sour MS
mouth & pungent MP
nose & umami NU
nose & sour NS
nose & pungent NP


Parent 1 x Parent 2
Genotype MTPS NNSU
Phenotype TP x NS


  1. The Punnett square represents the set of possible outcomes from the crossing of two gene-parents. Given those two parents, there is a 1/16 chance that the genotype in a particular cell will be produced.
  2. Each parent contributes one of its two alleles for each trait to a pod of squirts. Which alleles are contributed is random, and the Punnett square to the left outlines every possible potential combination of parental contributions.
  3. The possible contributions of each parent are combined within the boxes, or cells, of the Punnett square. The letters in the cell indicate the genotype, and the color-coding indicates the phenotype.
  4. The cell from which a particular pod arises represents the genetics of the proto-zygote which divides to produce up to 16 eggs with the same genetics as the proto-zygote.

Excerpts from Lt. Vrolid's Notes

Note: Ovaxians quantitate a number of characteristics not well understood by other species. This represents Lt. Maalouf's best attempts at translating those measurements. Also, Ovaxians believe that the number of eggs in a chamber foretells the order in which their lives will unfold.

Time of day Olfactory Satisfaction Level of Connection Emotional Proximity
3:15 14 3 1
20:05 14 1 20
5:19 20 15 18
25:01 14 19 23
5:18 19 1 14
4:05 14 20 5
18:18 15 23 2
25:18 15 23 1
3:18 15 19 19
3:08 1 13 2
5:18 19 0 0

Story answers:

Chamber 1 Chamber 2
Chamber 3 Chamber 4
Chamber 5 Chamber 6
Chamber 7 Chamber 8
Pod # Chamber # # of Eggs

Pod 1

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. I've figured out some of the possibilities if these two parents are crossed based on other information, as the colors in the Punnett square indicate.
  2. Parent 1 was a lovely mouth-breathing, sour-breathed astronomer. As it turns out, the squirts from this pod had the same genotype and phenotype as Parent 1.
  3. Every cell in the right-most column of the Punnett square had the same phenotype but not the same genotype.
  4. The number of eggs in this pod is the same as the number of the chamber into which Pod 4 was placed. The number of the chamber into which these eggs were placed is 1/2 the number of eggs in Pod 7.

Pod 2

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. This pod had one more egg in it than Pod 1. The number of the chamber into which this pod was placed is 1 more than the number of eggs in this pod.
  2. In terms of phenotypes, neither parent shared any trait with the other.
  3. Neither parent was homozygous for any trait. Parent 1 was the mouth-breather and Parent 2 had pungent breath.
  4. The probability of these squirts being produced from this parent cross is only 1/16!

Pod 3

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. I remember both of the gene-parents of this pod with great fondness. Parent 1 was a sour-breathed sculptor who had a cute way of curling its tongue as it breathed. Parent 2 had the most pungent breath which smelled like [untranslateable]. It played the [untranslateable] with exquisite beauty, helped in part by the fact that it breathed through its nose. These squirts are destined to be creative little critters!
  2. I placed these squirts into Chamber 2. There were twice as many of them as in Pod 4.
  3. There was a 1/4 probability that this pod would be mouth-breathers. There was only a 1/16 probability that they would end up with the phenoytype they did.

Pod 4

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. I'm fascinated by the patterns in these Punnett squares. Like some Terrans, Ovaxians read from the left side of the page to the right and then top-to-bottom. But, solely for exhibiting the patterns of the phenotypes in this Punnett square, read from top to bottom and then left to right: ABCD EEFF GHGH IIII.
  2. Looking only at what type of breather a cell represents, the pattern would be: AABB AABB CCCC CCCC. And, looking at breath smell, we'd have: ABAB CCCC ABAB CCCC
  3. Parent 1 would have appreciated these observations. It was a pungent-breathed mouth-breather studying number theory.
  4. There were only two eggs in this pod.

Pod 5

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. My tentacles are quivering in amusement. As I recall, Parent 1 was rather dictatorial and Parent 2 had the lovely damp aroma of fermented algae complimenting her sour breath. So, of course, the letters in their phenotypes, rearranged, spell out a Terran word meaning both "have to" and "damp smell."
  2. An entire row of the Punnet square is umami-breathed mouth-breathers. Another row has 4 different phenotypes in it. The squirts from this pod are one of four phenotypes that have only a 1/16 chance of resulting from these parents. In the Punnett square they are in a rightmost cell.
  3. These squirts were placed in Chamber 1.

Pod 6

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. Parent 1 was the same person as Parent 1 of the pod that produced 3 eggs.
  2. Parent 2 was the same person as Parent 2 of the the pod placed into Chamber 5.
  3. This pod had 1/2 as many eggs as the chamber number into which Pod 3 was placed.
  4. These squirts were placed into a chamber the number of which is twice that of the chamber number into which Pod 1 was placed.
  5. There was a 1/16 chance of this pod's phenotype resulting from the crossing of these two parents.
  6. It turns out that the numbers of eggs for the pods, when rearranged, is a run of consecutive numbers with no duplicates.

Pod 7

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. Neither parent was a tongue-breather or umami-breathed. However there was a 25% chance of this pod ending up being tongue-breathers, and a 25% chance of the pod having umami breath. The chance of producing hatchlings with both of those traits was 1/16.
  2. Four phenotypes had a 1/16 chance of being produced. This pod was the one of those four that had none of the phenotypes discussed in note 1 immediately above.
  3. Parent 2 was that lovely number theorist I mentioned earlier.
  4. This pod had more eggs than any other.
  5. These eggs were placed into the chamber the number of which is 1/2 of the number of eggs in Chamber 7.

Pod 8

Parent 1 x Parent 2


  1. Both parents had the same two alleles producing their sour breath and shared one allele type for their breathing orifice. The squirts from this pod were umami-breathed mouth-breathers.
  2. There was a 3/8 probability of the squirts being sour-breathed tongue-breathers.
  3. There was also a 3/8 probability that the squirts would not be tongue breathers but still have sour breath.
  4. There were 7 eggs in this pod. They were placed in the chamber the number of which is three times as many eggs as were in Pod 4.
  5. One row of the Punnet square for this pod is entirely the phenotype of TS.