The Noxians began to proceed by introducing different compounds into controlled populations. Specifically, they were modified so that the replacement molecules for the toxins could take over normal bodily function. Even so, they still had the ability to use what they were accustomed to. That was much more difficult than changing them completely… but also much safer. This was, they could gradually adapt to their change in diet, atmosphere… and basically everything.
A small section of the planet was cordoned off, including the atmosphere and the groundwater. Small compared to the size of the planet, anyway. It was there that the first changes to atmosphere and water were made, and a modified diet was introduced to the inhabitants. This included all of the native creatures, and a number of Noxians who volunteered- almost ten thousand. It was like a very large controlled trial, but there had already been smaller scale tests on individuals and groups. If it worked well, it was planned to extend the containment to neighboring areas, and eventually extend to cover cities.
At the larger scale, one problem immediately became apparent. There were a rash of illnesses, like when Noxians had too many toxins. This affected the animals, plants, and of course the Noxians themselves. At first, it was surprising, because they were actually taking in less toxins. There was a very uncomfortable period of time where that particular problem was being solved. However, the period was short lived, and the nature of the problem soon made itself clear.
The bodies still expelled the toxins at the normal rate, but they actually had more in their bloodstreams. They weren’t taking any more in, but the other vital compounds were actually quickly preferred by the body, and thus the toxins weren’t in place as parts of cells or normal bodily function, instead resting in the bloodstream in unsafe levels. Those who became sick were those whose bodies purged the toxins more slowly. This meant that a slower change in diet and atmosphere was needed, especially for the animals who didn’t have doctors they could go to at any time.
Still, it was considered a success. The genetic modifications themselves worked, and the ecosystem was mostly stable. With some minor work and two years, everything seemed like it had always been that way, as long as nobody looked up to the giant bubble containing the atmosphere. That did bring up the problem of migratory birds, and other such animals. While modified animals could survive outside the sealed area, it wouldn’t be optimal for them. They would have greater toxin buildup, because their body would still prefer the non-toxic compounds. That was actually an example of the genetic engineering almost being too good.
After the two years, the area was extended, though the neighboring areas were kept separate. That was so that the atmosphere and other factors could be separately controlled. Once all of the areas were stabilized, they would start to be combined.
Richard almost wanted to stay and watch the whole process, but they no longer needed him. Well, perhaps they never needed him, but he also had nothing new to contribute. Elena and others basically had the right idea before he brought it up. All he really did was give them a kick in the pants. That said, Richard did think that some of his work on genetic modifications were top notch. His work always had the smallest rate of rejection when introduced into the body. That was something he could be proud of. Not that he wasn’t proud of his contributions toward the Noxians in general.
It had been almost a decade since Richard saw Jot. In person, anyway. They kept up through various means, but Jot was always travelling around to different planets. Thus, when Richard saw Jot again, his the first thing he said was, “Whoa.”
Jot looked down at himself. “What? I don’t believe I have changed significantly, and it’s not like you haven’t seen me.”
“Yeah but… I haven’t seen a Xevaronian in person in a long time. It was surprising because you’re just… you. Without anything extra. No aura or anything.”
“Is it not like that in video?”
“Well, I guess… but I don’t expect video to have auras. I expect people to, though.”
“Too bad, I don’t. I heard you’ve been doing good work on Nox. It is strange to hear about people terraforming their home planet to suit themselves. Normally, one would expect it to already be that way.”
“Not everyone’s happy about it. Some say it’s destruction of a unique place.”
“Bah.” Jot spit to the side, “There are countless toxic, unlivable planets. This one just happens to have living things. Now, though, it will have living things later, instead of just for a while. Those who don’t want it to change can just live on the other parts and die, Noxian or not.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said. Though, not to most people’s faces.” Richard looked over Jot again, “You know, I kind of thought a third tier master would look different.”
“Why would you think that? And who told you?”
“It just seemed like you would. Also, it’s not that hard to find a list. It’s not exactly private information, and as the youngest in centuries you’re pretty popular.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you were in a conflict with a mercenary organization? I heard you threw a tank through a duracrete bunker.”
“That’s not true. It was just a small branch, upset because I messed up one of their operations. You were… well, on Nox. I didn’t want to call you over to get into a dangerous scuffle, and rather far anyway. Also, it wasn’t a tank, and it didn’t go through the wall.”
“Really?” Richard raised his eyebrow, then pulled out his computer. In a few moments he had a picture, “What’s this then?” The image showed the crushed front of a vehicle amid a pile of rubble, with just a hint of sunlight showing through the wall behind it.
“That’s an armored jeep, and as you can clearly see it is at most halfway through the wall.” Jot paused. “I was not aware anyone took a picture of that.”
Richard shook his head, “Oh yeah, people were freaking out, and others were saying it was fake. Well, when I saw a picture of you in full battle armor from the same person, I knew it was true. Anyway, the point is that the wall was completely broken through, even if the jeep didn’t have the extra momentum to get its back end through. Plus, this type of jeep is over five tons, and is pretty tank-like.” Richard paused, “You didn’t deny throwing it though.”
Jot nodded, “It would count as a throw, though I would probably also point out that the terrain formed a convenient ramp, allowing me to divert its momentum up and over me instead of allowing it to smash me into that wall.”
“Still pretty impressive. Wait hold on a second…” Richard found another picture, “What about this?”
“That is merely a car flipped onto another car. That requires much less force.”
“And the rest of the vehicles in the lot?”
“I did not want them chasing after me when I was done proving my point.”
“Huh. What does it take to be classified as a grandmaster anyway?”
“Much more than pure brute force. I’m still working on it.”