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UFOpaedia Entry

Message

TO: Base Commander, PHALANX, Atlantic Operations Command

FROM: Dr. Connor, R&D: Bio & Containment Division, PHALANX, Atlantic Operations Command

DATE: %02i %s %i

SUB: A New Twist


Commander,

New information has come to light during the last batch of autopsies you requested. Our reports stand, but we've discovered a commonality that may give us some new insight into the aliens' diversity.

During our first analyses of the aliens' cellular structure, we encountered some anomalies where our DNA replication tests would fail due to unexplained sample contamination. We initially discarded this as human error, but the problem has continued to appear with surprising regularity. The same result, again and again; every time we run a sample that hasn't been cryofrozen for storage, we have difficulty extracting a single uncontaminated sequence. I spent some of my off hours studying the problem, and I believe I've found the cause.

The simplest explanation is this: There are two types of DNA present in our blood samples. The foreign DNA's prevalence is total; these sequences can be found in every member of the Taman species, and closer study has confirmed that similar sequences exist in the blood of other species we've recovered. The source seems to be a kind of single-cellular organism present in huge numbers in the alien bloodstream. There are several versions of it, one for each species of alien, and they all share remarkable DNA similarities. Interestingly, although these organisms all have an identical number of chromosomes, none of them can survive in a body that is not a member of its source species. Also curious is the fact that there are absolutely no variations in DNA between organisms of the same version. This leads us to believe that the different versions may have been engineered -- wholly or in part -- to suit the individual species.

We now surmise that all aliens carry a version of this micro-organic infection. The organism's function is not readily apparent. We've run tests on various experimental tissue samples, both infected and control specimens. The infected tissues do not appear to suffer any negative effects -- or positive ones, for that matter -- from the organism's presence. They are essentially indistinguishable from uninfected tissues. Since the organism requires a living host for its own survival, it seems to be either a parasite or a symbiote with currently unobserved benefits.

We have dubbed this organism the 'EXtraterrestrial Viral Infection', or XVI. This may be somewhat of a misnomer in microbiological terms; XVI is a complex multi-celled organism far larger than any terrestrial virus, but it acts and replicates exactly like one. Therefore we feel the term is warranted. As each alien species carries a unique strand of the infection, we have given them alphabetical designations after the source species in which the strand can be found. Tamans have XVI-T, Shevaar have XVI-S, and so forth.

The infection's purpose remains nebulous at this point, but it is the only thing we've found so far that binds these diverse races together physically. We can only assume that new strands of the infection were engineered to suit each species, perhaps something that allows them to coexist the way they do.

There is no indication that this organism is contagious to humans. When injecting cultures of human tissue with fresh alien blood, we have observed the alien blood being completely rejected, as expected. Unexpectedly, however, any trace of the infection was subsequently annihilated by standard human T cells. The organism was unable to take root in the face of our immune system.

We currently do not believe the XVI organism poses a threat to our soldiers on the battlefield. However, we will continue research and keep you updated about any developments. A thorough blood screening of all our personnel is in progress, just in case, and strict quarantine procedures will be maintained throughout the lab.

Sincerely,

Dr. Connor


Links

Research Tree Data

(This information for reference only; do not translate or include in-game.)

Prerequisites:
 Any 2 organic alien autopsies
 XVI progression activated
Opens:
 The Enemy on Earth (late)