S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Location: USS Poseidon; Deck 6 - Science Lab #2
Timeline: Arrived at Betreka Nebula
The three cadets sat huddled together. One of them made a great display of making sure they were alone. Before pulling out of a bag a green jar. The others inspected it very closely.
“ That ain’t Earth language.” The only female of the three said.” Looks Gorn”
“ Nah Sally. Looks Cardassian to me,” Said Cadet Long.
“ Nah. That’s Vulcan.” Said Cadet Talon.” It’s pickled Plomeek.”
“ Plomeek is orange, not green.” Sally remarked
“ It’s pickled, that's why it’s green.” Talon said. “ Why don’t you try some?..... too much of a girl are you? Try some!”
Perkins walked into the Lab. He was looking over the data from the probes. They had sent into the nebula. He looked up to see the three Cadets. The only female of the group was holding a green jar. He saw the label with horror. Then he saw her scoop some of the green contents out.
“ CADET HERMAN DO NOT EAT THAT! UNLESS YOU WISH TO BE URINATING YOUR INSIDES OUT IN TEN MINUTES!” He shouted.
The Cadet put the green contents back, closing the lid. The three then backed away from the jar.
“ This is a mulched green fungus bug Jam. A delicious delicacy to Gorns. But extremely poisonous to none reptilian races like ourselves. Didn’t you see the warning sticker! There is no known antidote for anyone who is not a Gorn. Stupid enough to eat this. I want the three of you to construct a thirty page essay. On the dangers of not reading the safety labels. When eating alien foods. Now get out of my sight. But leave that jar here!” He said,” By tomorrow so get writing!”
Perkins watched them go shaking his head. He turned and inspected the jar. But on hearing the doors open again , Sam turned around. He froze when he saw who had come in.
Lazarus had just concluded his misadventure of fixing the ships faulty power conduits when he had discovered, rather embarrassingly, that there had been a flair-up of a scale-irritating condition that was normally kept under control. The stress he had endured had obviously caused his body to go into overdrive, thus causing the chemical imbalance, so he made a point to visit the ships Chief Science Officer because they'd likely be able to mix something up. Also he was afraid of needles and hypospray, not that needles were used anymore but he still hated dealing with the medical staff.
He had previously asked the computer where Lt. Commander Perkins resided. The computer had informed him that the CSO was in Science Lab #2, so a short time later he entered the doors to the specific science lab (there was around ten on the ship) and froze in the doorway. The scene before him was rather comedic, if a bit off-putting, as he observed a female cadet attempting to mess around with some Plomeek. He made note of a Lt. Commander Perkins berating the cadet, rightfully, for attempting to do so, then afterward turning around to notice him.
Plomeek had many uses in his culture, at least uses he was familiar with in captivity. One of those uses was as a relief for scale-based irritations caused by alien organisms, such as dust particles or grease which somehow had made its way through his uniform as he had crawled through the jefferies tubes. Therefore the surprise on his face at seeing the exact product he needed to relieve the irritation was palpable. He tilted his head, gazing at the CSO.
"Lieutenant Commander, is that Plomeek? How did you know I was coming or had a scale condition?"
Perkins just stood there.
“ Lazarus I…..” Slowly Sam started to back up. But he caught his foot in a chair. Throwing him off balance. He managed the put the jar down safely.
But could not save himself as he fell backwards. Landing on his posterior. Getting up and with a face the colour of a baboon's bottom. Perkins acted as if that had never happened.
“ Actually it’s not Plomeek.It's a mulched green fungus bug Jam. Those three idiots thought it was pickled Plomeek. If they had eaten this we’d be sending what’s left of them. Home in a bucket. I suppose your here about Russhook?” Said Perkins
"Russhook?" the Gorn inquired, moving quickly to assist the Lieutenant Commander up with a strong grip. "No I just stated the reason for my visit, sir. I have been having a repeat of rashes on my scales. It is something that transpired during my time of enslavement. I believed you had fixed up the topical cure we used in the cells. I was mistaken."
A pause. "What is a Russhook?"
If only Perkins had kept the thing below his nose shut. Giving a sad sigh. He explained everything from befriending Russhook at the academy to Gorn vowing they would meet again.
“ Look I still maybe able to help you with the scale thing. That is if you can still stand my breathing the same air as yourself," Perkins said
The Gorn was surprisingly understanding about the situation as he stood, listening to the backstory related to his question. His experience with his kind had not been satisfactory. Most of the time when he had contact with his own kind, it had not been pleasant. Due to his elevated status as a slave with his captors when younger, he was quite often beaten by his own kind, which had prompted him to grow stronger and defend himself. Occassionally he'd come across Gorn like himself, but very rarely due to the extreme brutal nature of his captors.
Understanding that there was a universe where his kind was free to explore their potential unmolested was still something he was getting used to. Still, this situation brought before him a rather unique perspective on the dynamics of that relationship. At the very least it was not at the perspective of those being chained and forced to do something.
"Perhaps he liked you," Lazarus finally spoke after a short and brief silence between them. He had taken a few steps to close the gap between Sam and himself. "If Russhook was female, I would venture they were courting you. Though I admit my experience with such matters is from a far more savage perspective. Still, I would not worry. I do not consider our professional relationship jeopardized."
A small nod, "I would like help with my scale condition, yes, please."
“ I can give you a daily treatment. Possibly something permanent. I just need to scan the infected area. I hope we can still be friends.” Sam said
Perkins looked at the readings. Then shaking his head he picked up another probe.
“ Kord how long have you had this?” Sam asked.
Lazarus tilted his head, giving a quizzical look to Sam. "A month or so after I was first enslaved, I think," he said. "I remember being given treatments before then, before my education began. This scale condition started not long after."
Perkins examined Kords scales closely. He picked up a pair of electronic goggles. Then after putting them on. He moved his head up and down Kords body. Then after taking them off he examined the readings. Sam’s anger began to rise.
“ The early treatments would of been for your species version of Acne. Although for say for humans and Klingons. This condition usually starts during puberty. For Gorns it starts after you leave the egg. But this...... I can’t believe someone could do this to another living creature. Kord the reason your having this scale condition is you have been branded.” Perkins said.
Lazarus stood there, rigid, his body visibly tensing after being told the news. His memories flew back to his early years, and his mind involuntarily forced Lazarus to briefly endure the decades of torment at the hands of his Terran captors. The servitude in the mines, the years of beats for not being smart enough in the schools, the punishments handed out. Then James flashed into his mind, his fellow cell-mate and practically the only other slave who gave the Gorn mercy.
It was a quick regression, a reliving of experiences best left in the past. Slowly he regained his sense of here and now and, softly, he brought a clawed hand up to his right upper arm as he felt there. The fabric of his uniform hid the scaled hide underneath, but there was etched his own reminder of the hell and torment he experienced - and the one true friend he had during that hell. His eyes visibly twitched as they moved to readjust their view back on Sam.
"I-.." he tried, his voice catching, softer than usual "What? A branding? They....branded me?"
Perkins could see the change in Kords face. He shook his head as he poured a solution into a beaker. Then he added some green jam like substance. The contents began to bubble as if heated.
“ Yes. The reason you can’t see it is also the cause of your scale problem. You see slave trading is not legal everywhere. So to protect themselves the slavers used camouflaged branding marks on their slaves. The one you have is buried deep in your scales. It can only be read by a ultra violet light.” Perkins explained
He gave the bubbling goo a stir and added some more ingredients.
“ Sadly your not the first ex slave I have met. This green jam here should help temporarily. If I make it stronger it could take the branding mark away in a month if used everyday. It’s up to you Lazarus. Do you want it temporarily or permanently gone?” Sam asked.
The question wasn't normally one of such complicated value. To many, it was a simple answer - yes! To Lazarus, it was much more sophisticated than that. His eyes gently wandered as his mind relived his experiences. Indeed the majority of his time in slavery had not been a positive experience. He had watched his family taken from him, he had been captured without mercy, and he had most of his young hatchling life stolen from him. Yet there was a deep sense of....quiet understanding there.
If it had not been for his captors, he would not have learned how to be a successful Starfleet engineer - or any manner of engineer at all. Despite the overwhelmingly horrible manner in which he was treated, he had been educated fairly well. That alone could possibly make up for the entire experience, simply because of the doors it opened for him. Yet had it not been for the unique set of circumstances that led to his appearance in the Prime universe, none of that would have mattered at all.
Slowly a look of resigned determination appeared over his reptilian features, though perhaps hard to register as anything other than stoic concentration. "I want it gone," Lazarus said, finally speaking after his time of thought. "I already have the only reminder I need of my time there."
At those words he rubbed his right upper arm. He had cut the name "JAMES" there long ago, back just after his only friend had been taken and quite possibly killed. He didn't need a slave branding to remind him of what good could come of such hell. He made the reminder for himself.
Sam gave Lazarus a nod. He then started looking for some more ingredients. Adding them to the green goo that was now oozing in the bowl. As Perkins reached up for a blue jar something furry grabbed his arm.
“ Norman! Stop it you just had your feed!” Sam said as the plant let go of his arm and gave a disgruntled shriek.
Emptying the contents into bowl.Perkins turned his attention to Kord.
“ Sorry about that. Now you must apply this everyday when you wake up. Use it all up and the brand will be gone. Any side effects stop using it and see me immediately. Oh there is one thing.....it will may you smell a little tasty. So you may want to keep away from my plants. Espically Norman.” Sam said
Lazarus looked warily between Sam and the plant, aptly named "Norman", before accepting the mixture and giving a nod. He backed away a few paces to be safe, even though it didn't look big enough to cause any harm, that didn't mean much in this day and age.
"Thank you, Lieutenant Commander. I greatly appreciate your help in this very private matter," the Gorn said. "If there is ever anything I can do to repay this favor, I will be available for that purpose."
“ Friends don’t need to repay favours.” Perkins said extending his hand.
The Gorn seemed surprised at first, then revealed a sort of milder expression on his snout. It was his version of a smile. He extended his clawed hand and shook firmly with a nod.
"Friends, indeed," he said.
[ OFF ]
Lt.Cmdr Sam Perkins
Chief Science Officer
Lieutenant Lazarus Kord