Mavis looked at the data and she was amazed at what she saw. “Bob, have you accurately summarized the numbers?”
Bob looked up from the display. “The numbers have been correlated and verified. The data is as accurate as the instruments doing the analysis.”
“Bob, this is extremely improbable.”
“Improbable it may be, but the data is the data.” Bob returned to looking at his display.
“Which sample does this characterize?” Mavis asked.
“Sample 3245A. That was the one that…”
“…that we discarded the rest of the genetic material,” Mavis interrupted.
Bob turned to Mavis. He gave her a critical look. “Mavis, that was very unprofessional.”
Mavis looked at the floor. “My apologies, Bob.” She returned her gaze to Bob, but it took on a look of wonder crossed with hunger. “It is just the ramifications of this data means we might have cultivated a new intelligent lifeform.”
Bob shrugged his shoulders. “That is why I have called for the sterilization of the sample.”
Bob shut off his display and stood up without a word. He walked towards the door before continuing. “The experiment was a success. You did your job. You will be hailed as the greatest scientist of the times.”
Mavis followed his progress across the room. She tried to find words. “Then why destroy the sample?”
“You did your job,” he said again. “My job is to make sure we do not do something that would cause the destruction of our kind. I am not taking any chances that this lifeform might compete with us. The sample will be destroyed.” He punctuated his statement by closing the door after himself.
Mavis stared at the closed door, her mind racing. What could she do to save that which she created? She opened back up the display. The fourth planet was slated for sterilization within the traditional period of rotation. Bob had even slated the planet for magnetic field reduction. He would see that any life that lived through the initial destruction would slowly mutate and die out from the solar radiation.
She altered the display to look at other planets nearby. There was another planet, the third one from the sun, where her lifeforms might yet live. It would be harder than the idyllic fourth planet, but the equatorial region might be hospitable enough. She would have to not even show interest in the third planet, or Bob might suspect something and check there. No, she would have to show constraint and fortitude to pull this off.
A few commands later and she put her plan in motion. Now all she could do was wait and scheme for when she could effectively check on her new experiment.
The accolades and praise had been amazing, but the nagging desire to confirm her attempt to save her creation kept her from truly savoring the experience. Bob finally took a promotion to a new scientist who was working on the next new thing. The new Bob was not as proper and did not focus on her, for which Mavis was happy. She eventually managed to secure a ship to visit the place of her scientific triumph as a way of closing out her career. She claimed she wanted to verify that all traces of her discovery were gone, so she loaded her vessel with numerous probes. The new Bob did not care and signed off it. He seemed happy to be rid of her for a while. Mavis laughed at the irony there.
The fourth plant was a desolate crimson brown wasteland. She let the grains of the dead soil drift through her grasp and fall to the ground. There really was nothing left, though the technology she did see there gave her hope. Something had sent the artificial lifeforms here, and she had hoped it was her creations. If so this was her second generation. She felt the hubris of pride, and she enjoyed the feeling. Still, she was nervous. What if these beings were not from her lifeforms. Maybe another race had come here to try to learn her secrets?
She purposely had avoided the third planet on her way into the system, but the return trip would take her right past it. Mavis had done so to limit exposing what she had done from the original Bob back home. The current Bob would probably not check on her, but it was not statistically impossible. Still, there was nothing more to be gained by delaying on Sample 3245A. She returned her craft and began the journey home. She would either be victorious or defeated. There was only one way to find out.
As she approached the third planet she released a series of probes. They started to inundate her displays and she felt vindicated. Those were her lifeforms. She had been right. They had grown faster than she had predicted. The data kept pouring in as she completed her flyby. She was sad to watch the planet get smaller and smaller, but the data coming in kept accumulating.
Mavis worked on the data, and a troubling pattern began to emerge. Her lifeforms had somehow kept their primitive sides while growing in technology and understanding of the universe. No other lifeform that had developed sentience had ever managed to do so. It was expected that once intraspecies cooperation developed that those base instincts would be bred out of society. Her creations seemed to have somehow rejected the natural order of things for a more scavenger existence. It was so alien to her sensibilities that she found herself becoming annoyed, then upset, till she passed horrified leaving that far behind. Now she was glad that she couldn’t see the blue dot out the viewports.
She inserted some commands. The blue orb, the third planet, would be scheduled for sterilization. It could not be trusted to spread its viral thoughts through the rest of the universe.
The only question was how to deflect causation of such a viral existence from her. She then smiled. She would blame her original Bob for not being thorough enough. That would work. He deserved it.
That done, she wondered if she could salvage the second generation of lifeforms left behind on the red dust planet.