Forest for the Trees (USS Oumuamua)

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Forest For The Trees


Somewhere, drifting in the far reaches of space, Ecritier, Matriarch of the Esse, has memories of happier times, times before her people built and left their home to board a ship to avoid the ecological disaster that plagued her planet. Now, many years later, she commiserates with her love and the Esse Patriarch, Coloom, worried over what is happening to her people as the ship begins to fail. Though they mourn the trials they face, both cling to hope as they and the rest of their kind seek out the promised planet, a place where their race can once again flourish. The two make preparations to shore up their vessel as much as possible to protect their future.

Act I

The Oumuamua has returned to the Gamma quadrant and remained there for three months, observing and exploring. When the United Dominion of Planets proposed a series of peaceful talks, Commodore V’Airu elected to participate and remain upon one of their Starbases, leaving Lieutenant Commander Wes Greaves in command. While mapping a nearby Nebula, sensors pick up another vessel approaching at low warp. Upon investigating, they discover the strange ship is composed of organic material, but is also damaged and deteriorating. After determining the air is breathable, Greaves sends Lieutenants Kel, Katsim, Basilia and Toz to investigate the interior while Lieutenants Correlli and Ulasso along with Commander Rouiancet and Ensign Cabrillo to determine the extent of the damage to the ship and whether or not it can be repaired. Greaves remains on the bridge with Commander Brodie, Lieutenant Kessler, and Ensign Zale to get more information about the ship and try to figure out how it functions. They also hope to establish communications with the alien ship and make several attempts. They managed to cut through interference and get stronger locks on the away team members but also pick up chroniton emissions. Suddenly, Kessler discovers a surge in chroniton emissions and the wave hits the Muamua, and he sees a moment of pain and injury with him and Greaves at one of the Tactical stations while Zale saw her hands imputing commands at the console, despite the fact they were actually at her side.

On the vessel, Kel leads Katsim, Basilia, and Toz carefully through the interior, but there is no sign of life beyond that of flora, most of which are beautiful, stately trees that have silver bark and gold leaves. Corelli calls briefly to warn them of an ‘experiment’ though he does not say what it is. After determining that there is some sort of power source that might account for the light within the ship as well as the wind, the group heads toward it, only to find a cluster of trees so close together they can not get by. As Toz begins to climb a tree, V’Len tries to send a low level EM pulse, and suddenly the branches surround the doctor. Seeing her crewmate in trouble, Katsimi starts to climb to help and is also caught in branches herself. However, they do not try to harm, but create a sort of cradle around the officers. Greaves connects with the team and tells them about detected Epsilon radiation. Doctor Kel theorises the trees may communicate through EM signals and prepares to emit another. Toz and Katsim manage to climb through gaps in the branches to stand up and get a view. Toz supplies a clearing, and Katsim confirms that as well as the doctor's assessment that the trees are sick.

Corelli, Ulasso, Rouiancet, and Cabrillo all prepare to visit the ship’s outer hull, which looks metallic but registers as organic, and ponder whether or not the ship itself is some sort of creature. After conversing about the makeup and preparing for a space walk, Corelli touches base with the away team and warns them he will attempt some sort of experiment, but doesn’t state what it entails. Afterward, Cabrillo and Nijal don EVA suits to engage in an at warp external examination and repair mission while Rouiancet remained behind to monitor the team and Ulasso remained to keep the shuttle steady. The commander discovers some strange, unknown metal alloys that make up part of the structure, as well as that the plants themselves contain about 80% molybdenum-100 as opposed to the standard 10% and Cabrillo realises that means the plants are both organic and metallic at the same time.

As the spacewalkers work, Cabrillo finds levels of tetryon particles Epsilon radiation. While Corelli ponders about what repairs would work for the ship, a wave shudders through the ship and he finds he sees himself jumping onto the ramp and looking back as he returns to the shuttle. Realising he has experienced a time dilation event, he suggests they try to get the alien ship out of warp as soon as possible and tells them about the strange event. Outside, Cabrillo realises the tether between him and Nijal has been severed and she starts to lift away from the ship. Immediately, he launches at her and grabs her before she can float away. They and the rest of the team get back in the shuttle.

Corelli contacts the bridge and recommends they knock the strange vessel out of warp immediately. Ulasso agrees, wonders if it has anything to do with the merging of warp fields, and notes that the ship will enter an asteroid belt in about 30 minutes at its current speed, and could be destroyed if not stopped. Corelli indicates that due to the difference in technology, they can’t repair the ship, but they can strengthen it. Rouiancet recommends returning to the Oumuamua to plan their next steps.

On the Oumuamua, Greaves doesn't want to bring the other vessel out of warp just yet in case any life on the alien vessel uses it as a hostile act, but puts the ship into yellow alert as Corelli warns them it’s headed to an asteroid field. At that time, the bridge crew experiences a time dilation event, seeing themselves do something they haven’t done yet. Zale ponders as to whether or not it was a defensive measure, but Greaves is uncertain. He compared it to the experience with the strange creature that used time manipulation to hunt, but that it felt unfocused. After checking the database, he finds that chronitons can also be used to open transwarp conduits or byproducts of out of phase objects interacting with in phase objects and orders a scan to be done. Brodie theories perhaps that there's a sort of temporal displacement for the residents of the strange ship in order to help deal with a long journey.

After Brodie scans everyone to be sure the residual radiation didn’t cause any harm, Greaves orders them to run a scan to see if they can detect the origin of the wave. A call comes through from Vomek who passes on a message from Kel who sent readings that could be communications, but also passes along that the time stamp was from two days prior. Greaves tells Vomek about the time dilation event and that the interpretation of the readings takes priority. Everyone ponders over the various possibilities, tapping into their computer system, what the readings could mean. Suddenly, Brodie remembers the K’Tal, and suggests perhaps people on a long journey have displaced themself in time in order to endure an exceptionally long journey. Greaves asks for suggestions on how to test the theory without seeming hostile and spurring a defensive response. Zale raises concerns that any act will appear hostile.

With only 25 minutes left, they enter an asteroid field, Kessler suggests they adapt the shields by using the transporter system to transmit a subspace isolation field around the Oumuamua.

Upon their return to the Oumuamua, Rouiancet, Corelli, Cabrillo and Nijal brainstorm how to get the ship out of warp or possibly change its course by using the warp fields of both ships. Corelli fine tunes the idea by suggesting they focus on one of the solar sails to change trajectory. They elect to check in with the bridge before they start. Brodie recommends bringing the away team back before enacting the plan in case they get displaced. Rouiancet then states they can judge the ship’s trajectory by merging warp fields just a little. Greaves gives Corelli and his team the go ahead to enact the plan. They do so and are successful. After registering some unusual life signs and readings, the group wonders what they could be, and Corelli suggests the Eesse could be host to some unwanted hitchhikers.

On the bridge, Greaves notes that now they have managed to adjust for the interference, life signs have appeared on the sensors. The bridge crew continue to try and make sense of the readings they’re getting, and note that the trees seem to be moving. There are other sensor readings that seem to come and go quickly and suddenly. Zale ponders whether or not plants are biomechanical and controlled by an artificial intelligence and notes they are getting close to the away team. Brodie volunteers to set up a quarantine area to prevent anything they might have picked up from coming onto the ship.

Meanwhile, the away team continues to take readings of their surroundings. Suddenly, they find themselves having lost an hour of time and both Toz and Katsim appear on the ground. No one has any memory of time passing. Katsim registers further power emissions and the trees have moved to create a path. Following it, they come to a smaller dome structure made of branches and leaves and from beneath emanates bright light. Some curl back and the light then shows images of each of the away team members - all holograms. Then, the trees on the other side part and two, far larger than any of the others, move forward. Kel tries to communicate and some words manage to get through, but communication is still difficult. Eventually, however, they seem to understand one another, and Coloom elects to touch minds specifically with Katsim. The history of the Eesse pours into her mind, the triumphs and the trials shared, sending her reeling. When the ship shudders, the Matriarch realises they have somehow changed the ship’s trajectory and gets upset. The away team is then called back to assess the information gleaned so Oumuamua crew members can return, get more answers, and help the Eesse ship and its crew.


As Starfleet arrives on the dome and then eventually departs, they are observed and monitored by strange beings that call themselves the Suclese who shifted or phased in and out of normal space. Suffering from their own disease, they secretly harvest the sap from the ship and its residents in hopes that it will treat their people, as well as give them materials and time to search for a proper cure. Maëviloïc and Berglijð work together to gain more sap, striving to remain hidden, though that ability seems in jeopardy when they discover the Shifted are looking for a cause of what is taking the sap.

Act II

After a brief time to commiserate, Greaves heads over to the Dome ship along with Basilia and Brodie in order to continue to navigate the contact with the Eesse. Katsim is joined by Corelli, Kessler, and Zale and set out to find out the source of the strange chroniton fluctuations. Kel, Toz, Rouiancet, and Ulasso remain on board the ship in hopes of finding a cure for what ails the sentient trees.

On the Eesse ship, Katsim, Corelli, Zale, and Kessler begin scans. Residual traces are registered, but offer little insight. Katsim suggests they mark where any traces are found in hopes of being able to map out where the source is located. They move further inward, then Corelli finds a warped tree root, and a moment later, something flickers into sight, then out again. The engineer suggests it’s something that is out of phase and gives Zale directions on how to adjust her tricorder, which brings the device into clear view - and it seems to drain sap from the root it’s attached to. Upon scanning, Corelli reads residual marks of chronitons. Katsim discovers another device a little further on, and notes that they are not the Eesse’s technology. With the idea of another alien species already in mind, Kessler suggests they disable a couple of the devices to try and draw out whoever the owners are in order to make first contact and find a diplomatic solution.

On another part of the ship, Greaves and his team go to meet with Coloom and Ecritier. Silently, Coloom admits that he fears they have lost their path, he is weary and uncertain whether or not he can continue much longer. When the marine appears, Coloom recognises that he is some sort of warrior, and worries what this might mean for his people. Basilia tries to reassure the trees that they are only there to provide assistance and Greaves assures them there is no cost for their assistance. Ecritier declares they can not make a hasty decision and must discuss the situation first and withdraws with Coloom to do so while the team is left to converse among themselves. They ponder over the strange beauty of the beings, and after a while, Coloom and Ecritier return and accept their help, though insist they must return to their previous course unless they are unable to find the ‘Light’. Greaves asks for more information.

Rouiancet contacts Doctor Kel to ask if he wishes to use her office as a briefing room, but he asks her to join them in Sickbay instead. There, he mentions that scans of a dead tree indicate it was devoid entirely of sap - though how that could be is unknown. Combined with Epsilon radiation, chronitons, and the scan of a strange object near the ship, they have a few pieces, but not enough to solve the puzzle and wonder if questioning the Eesse might offer some insight, though Doctor Kel did indicate there was a small 3 cm hole. Using his powerful sense of smell, Ulasso sniffs a specimen and almost gags before stating there was a residual and horribly foul odour. Kel realises that means the rot must come from the inside rather than the outside. He contacts Katsim’s away team to update her with the information, and Katsim shares about the devices. Looking over what Doctor Toz had gleaned earlier, he notes that the Eesse use a hyperactive form of photosynthesis which could create a low energy exogenic field when stimulated by light and explain the Epsilon radiation, but an entire intact specimen would be needed for further study. With concern over how to handle studying what would essentially be a corpse, Ulasso suggests sending over a worker robot to study it for them if permission is granted. Kel concurs, suggests Toz and Rouiancet join the away team with a robot and takes Ulasso to the bridge.

On the bridge, Ensign Simon Vomek attempts to decode some EM readings recorded earlier, but struggles to do so. Just as he’s about to give up, he gets the idea that magnetic impulses could play a role, and discovers that there is both a language and computer code hidden within, then calls to his companions, Ensign Ayla Taylor, Ensign Nijal, and Ensign TK Cabrillo. That coupled with two different readouts of internal atmospheres, one high in oxygen, the other in ammonia, and an absence of Epsilon radiation in a single spot near the equator on the geodome’s hull, signs indicate there is another ship separate from the Eesse’s.

As the group tries to figure out what it could truly be, Taylor warns them of an incoming chroniton surge. As it passes, they remain unaffected, but the Oumuamua records show a consumption of 47 days worth of energy at warp flight, but there is no indication they’ve travelled anywhere. Cabrillo suggests they look for a reason why the ship wasn’t fully protected while Vomek suggests they send an anti-chroniton burst to reveal whatever is on the Eesse ship. As he does so, the shape takes an appearance much like a spider, which sends Vomek into a panic and he calls for red alert. Though they can see the ship physically, the Oumuamua only sees a ‘void of Epsilon radiation’, but they know the chroniton wave originated from that point. Kel tells the group to try and make contact.

Lieutenant Kel arrives on the bridge with Ulasso and gets a rundown of what’s happening. He takes control of the situation and gets the Ensigns prepared, then tries to make contact with the ship. Their response is to scan the Oumuamua. Since the anti-chroniton wave seemed to affect them, Ulasso suggests combining that with one or more systems to try and make contact, and Nijal suggests they can use it to ping a location on the ship’s sensors. Ulasso sends an anti-chroniton wave toward the vessel and they watch as it strikes one of the ‘legs’ which appears to disconnect, then disappears from sight. Suddenly, trolic waves register on the ship's sensors, acting like a beacon to an M class planet about 20 light years away. Kel orders a multimission warp probe to be sent and survey the planet.

On the Aba Ara, Katsim, Kessler, Corelli and Zale prepare to mildly sabotage the machines they’ve discovered. The first attempt is unsuccessful for they remain out of phase, but Corelli helps them construct a device that will bring them in phase long enough to disconnect them from the trees. They do so and a couple of beings appear and in the middle of it, Katsim receives a call from Rouiancet and Toz to say they’re coming to join them. Before their arrival, Katsim tries to speak to the creatures, but their own language is unable to be translated by the Universal Translator. Corelli suggests an adjustment and slowly they are able to understand more. Katsim checks in with Greaves to let him know about their discovery.

Also on the Eesse ship, Greaves and his team continue to talk with the Eesse to glean more information about the ‘Light’, which is shared as something that will guide their people to their promised planet. At this moment, Basilia registers triolic waves on her tricorder as Coloom and Ecritier suddenly turn and both exclaim they feel a sudden pulling - likely the Light they have been seeking. However, because of Starfleet's desire to save them from the asteroid field, the ship has been turned off course and they must get repairs and resume their journey. Greaves assures them they can resume any time they wish, but is uncertain how to turn them back to their previous course and asks if the Eesse have a way to do so. From the bridge, Vomek calls Greaves to let him know about the ship found on the outside of the hull and, though cloaked, they can see through it using anti-chronitons. A moment later, Kel lets him know they’ve sent a probe ahead to check out the planet.

While communicating about the probe with Greaves, Cabrillo notes that four unidentified objects left the spider vessel and headed straight for the Oumuamua. Ulasso, who had been placed at the science station, requests to be moved to one he’s more trained in. As the objects come closer, they brace for impact, but they feel nothing. Ulasso indicates there are reductions in shield power in the hull in several specific locations, but the sensors don’t pick up a reason as to why, though it’s as if they’ve sent a type of torpedo to drill through the hull. With shields draining at a little over 1% per minute, Taylor suggests they use the shield emitters to send out surges of chronitons in an effort to keep whatever the ship threw at them completely out of phase so it can’t interact with the Oumuamua. Kel orders it be done, and as predicted, devices launched pass harmlessly through, but they are sending pulses back to the alien ship, which Vomek attempts to decode.

Cabrillo then suggests sending the ship’s own EM pulses back to them and follow it with a standard greeting in a mathematical format in the hopes of establishing communication. Cabrillo’s offhand comment about offering cookies gives Ulasso the idea to offer synthetic sap as a peaceful gesture, but something that would be difficult without any way to communicate. Suddenly, the ship disappears, and even the scanners are unable to detect it. Immediately after, Greaves requests him and his team to return and the bridge is left with a mystery.

Back on the Aba Ara, Greaves and his group try to figure out what the Eesse mean by the beacon and the light of the dome grows dim, the hull goes clear and they are able to see outside. Coloom points to a bright star in the distance and with Basilia’s help, is able to triangulate the position of the planet and confirms it’s in the same system as the star. As calls come in to update Greaves, they are notified that a strange species is draining the Eesse of their sap and they are attempting to make contact. Confused by this, Greaves assures Coloom and Ecritier that they will help protect them. They ponder whether or not the draining of the sap by the newly discovered creatures is part of a natural process, but Ecritier is adamant that it is not part of the Eesse natural process, and the illness is a more recent event. Coloom becomes angry as he processes what is happening and insists Greaves do whatever it takes to assist them. He connects telepathically with the marine and shares his intense emotions which wash over him and send him stumbling. Coloom orders the shepherds to follow Greaves in removing the sap sucking creatures, but Greaves insists they try to get the creatures to leave of their own accord. He contacts the bridge and orders him and his away team beamed to the Oumuamua.

After communicating with the First Officer, Katsim focuses once again on the creatures. Toz makes some suggestions, but Katsim and Kessler are intent on trying to communicate a little more first. Both attempt to hammer home the damage the creatures are doing, but the universal translator still struggles and the creatures either don’t understand or are unconcerned. One of the creatures, Berglijð, attempts to further communicate and speaks a single word. The universal translator finally catches up and translates it as ‘help’. Katsim steps forward and promises to do so.

Interlude II

On a planet, in a quiet village, an old woman awakens. Pondering over her sacred duties, she heads to a small stream in order to gather water. This water fulfills her need, but also that of a sacred duty which has been passed down through many generations to her. She remembers a time when she did not rise early enough and the stream dried up before she could gather the necessary liquid, but that had been in her youth, and she is now many years older. She steps outside into dry, dusty weather and sets about gathering the water. Taking some, she carries it away from her house, out of her village and to a cave. Entering, she moves in deeper until she comes to a large chamber, light coming in through a cracked ceiling. There, the place is covered in vines and moss and trees, one particularly tall and ancient, gold and silver. And thus she sets about to perform her sacred duty and water the oasis of life.


After returning to the ship, Greaves calls the officers together and sets them on what he hopes is a course of action to resolve the issues at hand. Katsim is ordered to take Doctor Toz and Counsellor Brodie as well as invite Berglijð to the ship to work on either finding an alternative sap source by synthesising something or a cure for what ails the Suclese. Rouiancet is ordered to take Sergeant Rodriguez and Basilia to set up a dampening field that will make the Suclese visible to the Eesse. Because of evidence that a primitive civilisation lives on the planet the Eesse intend to make their home, Greaves tells Corelli, Ulasso, and Kessler to check out the situation.

Katsim asks Brodie to extend the invitation to Berglijð, the Suclese who was receptive to their communications, and all of them meet together in Science Lab 2. Berglijð tries to explain the situation, but though the translator is able to pick up the words, the way it is phrased proves a challenge, but the indication it is some sort of either blood or neurological disorder. Toz analyses the leg she has procured and finds it contains a metal straw like attachment. All three of them ponder over what sort of disease it could be, but since they are dealing with an alien, they must first get scans and information about Berglijð’s physiology. They throw out theories, but as the scans come in, Katsim discovers that Berglijð

Rouiancet arrives on the Eesse ship along with Rodriguez and Basilia. The three make their way to meet Coloom and Ecritier and explain what they intend to do. Ecritier asks what would be done once they are able to see the Suclese, and Rouiancet says that is up to the Eesse. The officers want to try and hook up their Starfleet technology with the Eesse’s so they could put up the field. The sentient trees lead the group back to where they had taken the others earlier, of which only Basilia was present at the time, and present them before the dome-like structure. The wooden vine like roots almost melt away and in the midst, glowing gently is an object that is much like a warp core, but looks to be made of wood. The group ponder over how to connect their technology with the organic version of the Eesse’s. After some back and forth, Rouiancet suggests that the Eesse ‘consume’ some of the Starfleet technology in the hopes that it will allow for the necessary connections. Despite the cynicism from Rodriguez, the attempt actually works. Suddenly, she realised that there are creatures nearby and they close in, then Suclese appear thanks to the newly consumed technology. They stop at the edge of the clearing save for one which moves forward, closer to those gathered. Rouiancet calls out to them, but both she and Basilia are ready to defend the heart if need be.

The Oumuamua leaves the Eesse ship once the away team is transported just long enough to warp to the destined planet and drop off Corelli, Ulasso, and Kessler who will survey the planet and stay away from the civilization while studying to see what they can glean about the native people. They find themselves on a planet with many canyons and plateaus and a people who have centred in the valleys. They spy a dust storm and Ulasso suggests they fly into it and use it as a cover to land away from prying eyes. With the civilisation obviously pre-warp, the officers don’t wish to take the chance of any run ins. Once they have landed, the group prepared for the heat with lotions, head coverings, and water, then step outside and camouflage the shuttle. Taking out an ‘all terrain buggy’, the group sets out, though they constantly monitor for life signs in order to avoid locals. A little ways out, Corelli’s tricorder sounds an alarm, and life signs register, but they can see nothing but agitated sand in the air. A few minute slater, they are able to see four quadrupedal creatures that seem to be made of mud (though the tricorder indicated they were composed of silicon, carbon, tungsten, water), with spikes that leaped and had forked tongues. Rather than attacking, they run alongside the vehicle, jumping over each other, as if playing. Kessler points them toward a range that will allow them to get a better view and yet offer cover. They go about half a kilometre up the small mountain, then stop and Kessler activates a camouflage program to hide them and the vehicle. The creatures draw closer and seem frustrated that they can’t find the officers. They begin a fight and one is killed before the creatures drag the carcass and disappear beneath the sand. Ulasso wonders if they’re drawn to the buggy, and Corelli suggests it might be due to the vibrations. The trio continue on foot toward the signal. They start their trek, carefully to remain on the rocks, and eventually come to a cave where they find an oasis, but aren’t sure where the water is coming from. On the walls are etched various scenes of trees and humanoid beings. In the center, they find a massive tree of silver with gold leaves.

The ancient Eesse, Farak, senses the arrival of the Starfleet officers and reaches out to them while noting that the Eesse ship draws near. Granola the tender who had been bringing him water to keep him alive, draws a knife and faces the strangers. The officers indicate they have been in contact with the Aba Ara and mean no harm, and ask what the arrival of the Aba Ara means for the world. Farak indicates it will be a return to ‘what once was’. Because of the Prime Directive, they indicate they must not make contact with any more people and their arrival must remain a secret to others, so the Eesse asks the humanoid to wait outside and assures them that no one else visits save for the woman who tends to him. He explains that the Eesse and the people are intertwined and only together can they flourish. The officers excuse themselves to report back to the Oumuamua. Though the Eesse are more advanced than the people on the planet, they are not Federation members and are not bound by the Prime Directive. As such, the officers leave the planet and its people in peace knowing that one of the Eesse awaits his brethren.

Down in Engineering on the Oumuamua, Nijal checks in with Cabrillo when an alarm sounds and the computer indicates something is draining power. Nijal contacts Greaves on the bridge to let him know and he sends Lieutenant Kel to assist. Cabrillo starts to isolate power systems one at a time trying to locate the drain, but since it was so sudden, he suspects it is a deliberate action by the Suclese. Kel joins them. Nijal suggests some sort of tracer and Kel asks if there is a way to track some component of the energy, and Nijal suggests introducing an amplitude variance.Doing so, the computer starts to create a map of the energy flow, but nothing shows up, which prompts Kel to ask if something is coming in rather than just going out. The tracer finally pings something, and it looks to be the Suclese, and there were no other energy signals detected. Nijal gives the location of the ping, and Kel notes that it’s near the science labs and other places that require more energy, then wonders if they need a specific energy level which is why they chose that particular spot. Unable to beam it off the ship, they are also unable to tell what exactly is causing the draining, only that it’s something in that particular spot. Kel tells the group to grab pattern enhancers and they head down to Deck 9 and aft of Cargo bay 3, to the junction where the signal is placed.

Brodie contacts the group and asks about the power situation. Kel explains it’s the Suclese and wonders if Berglijð can give any information as to why. Meanwhile, Nijal and Cabrilla set pattern buffers around the junction where the power drain is concentrated. Suddenly, there is a flash of light, and when it clears, the group finds themselves on a completely different ship - the Suclese ship. Kel asks if they can contact the Oumuamua, but Cabrill’s tricorder registers a distortion that prevents communications. Nijal suggests they try to find an interface and see if they access the ship’s systems. They move down the corridor and find one. Nijal finds the systems are far simpler, accesses them easily and she contacts the Oumuamua for a transport home.

On the Aba Ara, the now visible Suclese insist that they must have the Sap. Rouiancet, Basilia, and Rodriguez try to see if they and the Eesse can negotiate, and the ancient trees seem open to that possibility. Rouiancet indicates they are trying to find an alternative to the Eesse sap for the Suclese. They are willing, but fear that they might be betrayed and require a guarantee. After further discussion, the Suclese say they are willing to try the synthetic sap and try to live in harmony with the Eesse until a true cure can be found.