The primary mission of Threat Analysis operations is the identification and categorization of all biological threats to the continuity of mankind. Secondary missions include random inspections of high-value scientific facilities.
Threat analysis has two divisions. The field teams consist of eight-man squads. Six troops with useful field skills and some basic medical knowledge, and two scientists. In support of these teams is the analysis division, a collection of scientists and technicians who receive data from the field teams and provide support. This structure is optimized for high mobility with large logistical support for the individual squads.
The field teams are sent into a potential ‘hot zone’ with whatever equipment is believed to be necessary. This will be different if in a Green Zone or in the Amazon Continuing Integration Area. Their equipment typically includes field equipment that connects to the analysis division. Basic analysis is carried out in the field while data is transmitted for deeper study. If possible, the team will handle the situation themselves. If not, other teams or military assets will be called in.
Teams are deployed in three ways, in a rotation to prevent burnout. ‘hot zone’ missions are extremely difficult, so are spaced out with inspection duty and time as a ‘go team.’ Go teams are on-call for emergency deployment, but otherwise spend their time in training and rest.
I'm just a clever monkey. :P
Of course, a cladistic analysis of the relationships between species is complicated by the differing environment. A different star and different planet will yield a distinct exposure to background radiation. This will effect the rate of mutation, causing terrestrial models for calculating the divergence of species through time to be inaccurate.
The use of morphology gives a wonderful starting point. It's recommended as a place-holder until the ability to do genetic or pseudo-genetic analysis is possible.
I really need to stop writing out thoughts in this format.
A PRIMER ON IDENTIFICATION OF INTELLIGENT LIFE ON THE PLANET MEDINA
Arnold Janis, PhD
New Chicago Institute of Science
Commissioned by the Continuity Directorate
Despite the lack of date demonstrating technological pre-development on the planet Medina, there remains a possibility that a non-human intelligence may have evolved locally. This document will attempt to establish a guideline for identifying any species that has either intelligence or the potential to develop intelligence in the future. Please note that these factors are merely a guide for those in the field.
COMMUNICATION VS LANGUAGE
All complex species observed communicate in some fashion. That could be via pheromones, smells, body language, sound, or some combination of factors. Communication is simply the sending and receiving of information. Language, however, is a means of sharing complex ideas. With language it is possible to discuss not only concrete information, but also abstract concepts such as those that underly Unity. In humanity language is an verbal, supported by nonverbal communication.
TECHNIC VS A-TECHNIC
A strong indicator of intelligence is the use of technology. This can vary from simple tools such as a stick to the advanced technology that Unity employs for the betterment of our species. However, lack of technology does not disallow intelligence. A species may lack the dexterity to use tools. A marine environment would preclude the working of metals and limit technological advancement.
Intricate interactions among members of a species indicate a developed society. Ritualized and repeated behavior patterns require time to develop. This points to multi-generational interaction with the sharing of cultural data among members.
STRONG SURVIVAL INSTINCT
Any species that has evolved intelligence will most likely have done so due to adverse conditions selecting for it. Therefore it is logical to assume that instinctual behaviors will be present for the protection of that individual.
These general guidelines will provide a basis for the analysis of species native to the planet Medina in order to determine if they are intelligent or have the potential to evolve intelligence. If such a species is encountered the Continuity Directorate believes that it poses a potential threat to humanity and should be exterminated.
That would be why I put genetic analysis at number five. Analysis of physical structure and appearance can get you pretty close, but you need a really nice lab to be completely accurate.
Just a little thing I wrote up to describe the issues I foresaw with native biology.
A GUIDE FOR THE TAXONOMIC ANALYSIS OF LIFE ON THE PLANET MEDINA
Maxine Roarke, Professor of Biology
Singapore Scientific Institute
The issue of constructing a complete taxonomic analysis of a new planet is a daunting one, further complicated by the addition of terrestrial biological materials and the necessities of establishing a colony. This report contains a guide for the analysis of astrobiologics in a field setting.
1.) BIOLOGICAL COMPATIBILITY
Medina has been analyzed as having a terrestrial-comparable environment, allowing humans to live there without major terraforming. There remains the simple question of the compatibility of the biome with terrestrial biochemistry. Aside from possible poisons it is probable that the chirality of the native flora and fauna will not be equivalent. To put it simply, the sugars and enzymes used by life on the planet Medina may not be the same, meaning there will be little to no nutritional value. As a simple test of this, due to the lack of advanced scientific equipment scheduled for the initial landing, it is my recommendation that either synthetics or prisoners be fed solely local bio-matter to determine the effect.
2.) TOP-DOWN, BOTTOM-UP ANALYSIS
Once the compatibility or lack thereof of the local biology is established procedures for documenting the local flora and fauna can begin. It is recommended that the immediate concern for the colonists be a top-down approach. Identifying and analyzing the apex predators and largest animals will assist survival in the earliest days. As soon as possible though, a bottom-up approach should be initiated. Determining the nature of the micro-organisms in the local environment and ensuring that they pose no threat is a matter to be undertaken as soon as possible.
3.) ANALYSING THE FOOD WEB
In terrestrial biology all flora and fauna interact in a complex web of food sources and those that consume those same sources. While the botanical astrobiologists analyze the flora, the zoological astrobiologists should begin analyzing this food web. Identifying pure herbivores, omnivores, pure carnivores, and coming to understand how these animals interact and balance each other. The top-down analysis previously done will provide an excellent starting point.
4.) NICHE FILLING
Once a general analysis of the food web on Medina is complete it can be compared to that of terrestrial biology. Given the earth-like environment it most likely will have some similarities. From this point the astrobiologists can begin to analyze the ecosystem as a whole, determining what niches have been filled by documented species and which have not. This will provide a guide to determining if any important flora or fauna has been missed.
5.) ADVANCED CHEMICAL, PHYSICAL ANALYSIS
Physical comparison of both large-scale and micro-scale physical structures of documented species will enable a rough categorization of local species. However, analyzing the evolutionary relationships of Medina’s biology can truly begin only when sufficient species are documented and the equipment for analysis down to the cellular level has been placed on the surface. Given the currently limited data it is impossible to tell if life on Medina uses DNA as terrestrial life does, or if there is some other analogous chemical compound at work. Regardless, analyzing the mutations of that DNA or DNA-analogue will allow for accurate classification of all species as well as establishing potential evolutionary links.