Green Jam II : Norman
S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Location: Lab & Jeffries tube
Timeline: Arrived at Betreka Nebula
Sam cleaned up the bowl he had used, to mix up Kords lotion. Something furry pushed his hand. A small cactus-like plant with furry tentacles was attempting to reach, into the bowl.
“ Norman. How did you get here?” Perkins gave the tentacles a knock. It retracted them giving a disgruntled shriek.
Sam lifted the pot and put it back on the high shelf. Where he swore Norman had been before. Perkins wondered how the plant had moved. Then there was a lot about Norman Sam did not know.
A Cadet had tried to smuggle the plant on board the Poseidon. The internal sensors sent off a warning and security confiscated the plant.
Sam took the plant to study. Not only did he discover that the planet. The plant had come from had been hit by unusual storms. Meaning it would not survive a return. But also it was quite intelligent and answered to the name of Norman. So it became the science departments mascot.
Up to now Norman had been quite well behaved. That was until Perkins made the Green Jam. For some reason it made the plant behave oddly. Still, Kord had the jar now and the lab was all cleaned up. Plus Norman was placed high up. There would not be any more trouble. Would there.
Cadet Sally Herman came in looking for Perkins. She looked around the lab but it was empty. Norman the science department mascot was bobbing up and down in his pot, on the middle shelf. She picked up the pot and made a sucking noise. Norman made the same noise back to her. Then she placed him on a lower work table and was about to move away. When she accidentally knocked a bowl over. She managed to catch it before it fell. But knocked the catch of the Jeffries tube grill, without realising. Unaware it was now open. She put the bowl down and left the lab.
When Sam returned he was busy reading a padd. New data had come in from the two probes. They had sent into the nebula. Without looking he picked up a plant feeder. He moved to the high shelf to feed Norman. Except Norman was not there!
Perkins looked around the Lab. Norman was gone plus a Jeffries tube grill had been opened.
“ Oh no Norman you haven't.....” Perkins said looking at the open grill. He tapped his comm. badge.
“ Perkins to Sharpe and Kord come in please,” Sam said
Lazarus had briefly returned to his quarters to administer the lotion, putting it on carefully in the shared restroom that he and his bunkmate used. Seeing as they were on alternating shifts, nothing really became a fuss between the Vulcan and the Gorn. Both got along amicably and sometimes, rarely, sat down together in the makeshift dining area - just a table and two chairs - to have a bite to eat and catch up on their progress. Vulcans, while not excellent at conversations, did make wonderful people bounce ideas off of.
As he returned from the head he heard his communicator chirping for him. Grabbing his uniform he pressed the communicator as he began to redress.
=/\= This is Lieutenant Kord. Go ahead Lieutenant Commander =/\=
Sharpe was in engineering checking on subsystems when his Commbadge went off, he tapped it to make the connection and he heard Kord speak first.
=/\= Sharpe online, what is up Sam? =/\= Sharpe asked.
Perkins felt his face redden. How do you explain this? How do you tell someone like Kord? That a plant the size of a medium cactus. Was very interested in making him lunch. After it got the taste of some ointment you made. For his scale condition. Plus tell an already overworked CEO that one of your plants. Was running loose in the Jeffries tube.
=/\= I have some news which. I don’t think you will like it. Norman is loose in the Jeffries tube=/\= Sam said.
Lazarus felt his throat swell briefly as he gulped down a shiver. He recalled Norman, that plant monster thing. Behind a cage, it looked harmless. But imagining it on its own doing who knew what? Then he remembered his ointment....and the effect of it.
=/\= Is this the same plant monster that wanted to eat me, sir? =/\= Lazarus asked, with a tinge of worry.
Sam could hear a tinge of worry in Kord's voice.
“ Well in truth Kord you could probably do more damage to Norman. Then it could do to you. There is a very old Earth saying that goes. Your eyes are bigger than your belly. A story that comes to mind that may help explain. One day when I was small. My grandmother took me out of the children’s home for a birthday treat to an old fashioned ice cream parlour. I ordered the largest strawberry sundae they had. I tried and tried to finish it but couldn’t. Norman's species likes to grab and absorb its food. It would take it at least ten maybe twenty years to eat you.” Perkins explained. “ Then again it may be in love with you and just hang on to your leg.”
Perkins shook his head.
“ I am sure you don’t want a tiny plant jumping out of the Jeffries tube at you. Plus due to the dominant species on Normans planet's stupidity. Its habitat has been wiped out. So it’s a very rare plant now. Whose safety we must try and preserve.” He replied
Sharpe entering looking less than happy "okay Sam, why is there a sentient plant running loose in my Jefferies tubes? My time is small, I am still looking for any more contraband Isolinear chips, now you call and say a plant that should not have left quarantine so soon is now loose on my ship, dang Sam what were you thinking?" Sharpe asked he usual Vulcan calm was gone and his full human temper was on display, but he quickly calmed down, "sorry Sam little overworked and stressed" he explained.
Perkins felt bad.
“ I’m sorry Paul. But we made sure Norman had been through quarantine. It was on the top shelf. When I left. There was no way it could have climbed down and broken into the Jeffries tube without help. It’s only a tiny cactus-like plant. Goodness knows how it is moving along in there. This has knocked me for six and no mistake.” Sam said shaking his head.
Sharpe looked at Perkins Incredulously "what is it with scientists and their damn plants!" He said and he was not asking a question.
Perkins looked at the bowl he had made the Green Jam in.
“ Normans looking for Kord I think it either wants to eat him or maybe in love,” Perkins said.
Meanwhile, Kord had finally finished dressing, departing his shared quarters and heading south to go a few decks to where he knew Sam might be.
A small green tentacle tried to poke out of the grill. Just after Kord had left. There was a faint knocking sound. Then another tentacle tried to help the first in poking through. They stopped as a soft shrieking noise behind the grill sounded. The tentacles vanished and the knocking sound began again fading into the depths of the Jeffries tube.
As the turbolift stopped and opened to deck 6, Lazarus stepped out to something of an unnerving sight. Normally this deck would be bustling with activity from officers and cadets, but somehow he had arrived at the perfect moment where nothing was going on. It was completely out of place, especially during this situation. While he understood Norman presented little to no threat to him, it was still quite uncomfortable knowing a plant monster was after you for some nefarious reason. And that's when he heard it.
SHHHRRIIIEEEEKKK *clank clank bang clank*
The giant lizard alien jumped almost out of his scales, eyes wide as they darted left and right. He proceeded forward and heard the shrieking again, this time to his right around a bend. Somehow his normal, dominant posture was gone replaced by what was quite frankly a rather panicked perspective. Up ahead was a grate that connected a vent to one of the Jefferies tubes....and it was moving.
SHHHRRIIIEEEEKKK *clank clank bang clank*
All of his instincts and all of his training told Lazarus to report this finding at once to his superiors. Something, however, stopped him. He approached the grate, curiosity now overwhelming his senses as he dared to venture just a few more feet. Norman was harmless, right? Surely he'd be okay. He was a Gorn after all! Feeling rather confident then, Lazarus reached down to inspect the grate after seeing a few tentacles appear.
It all happened so quickly. When his claw was within a few inches, the grate burst out and tentacles flew out to grab his arm. Before he could even react, the Gorn was pulled into the vent - just barely big enough for him - and all a passing Cadet saw was the hint of something flying into the tube as a blur. It just happened to be a science cadet, who approached the grate and inspected it.
Nothing. He replaced the grate and reported the incident to Sam moments later.
The Cadet made their report to Sam.
“ Oh, piglets! Kord! ,” Perkins said
The colour on Perkins faces drained a little as he looked at Paul. Sam bent down and listened to the open Jeffries tube grate. He put a finger to his lips to stop Sharpe from speaking. Inside the Jeffries tube, there was the sound of an angry scuffle going on. Strange shrieking noises interspersed with angry words. That if translated could make a Klingon blush.
“ Paul, you don’t think.......do you?” Sam said weakly.
Sharpe looks at Perkins he was trying not to laugh, a small plant managed to haul a large Gorn into the tubes with little effort it seemed, with a valiant effort to keep a straight face Paul listened and heard the sound, he stood up and walked over to the nearest console and spoke what he was doing.
"okay Sam what I am going to do is to do a skeletal lock on Lieutenant Kord and beam him directly to this room, then we will deal with that plant of yours," Sharpe said tapping the surface on the console a hum was heard and then the transporter effect could be seen and heard in the Lab as a prostrated Gorn with an outstretched arm materialized on the floor.
"Well Mr Kord it seems you have some animal magnetism," Sharpe said smiling still trying to picture the look on Kord's face when the plant snatched him up as he looked down at the Gorn. "A skeletal lock very rare trick and not one that should be done lightly, lucky for you Lieutenant I am good with computers so I managed to do a one-time workaround," He said to Kord then looked at Sam "When we get that plant out of there it is going into quarantine until it can be studied properly, Sam. Now all we have to do is get it out of the tubes, I would have used a transporter on it, but for some reason, the scanners could not lock onto the plant" Sharpe said.
Lieutenant Lazarus Kord struggled valiantly against the overwhelmingly strong grip of the plant. He had realized where he was within the tubes a few seconds after being hauled in, whereupon he was literally thrust against the walls several times as he was dragged deeper into the confines of wherever Norman was hiding. Needless to say, the expected pain and suffering did not happen. Instead, Lazarus was busy resisting the constant attentions of the vines and their powerful grip. Through the struggles, his uniform was quite literally in tatters.
A minute or so went by before he felt the tell-tale feeling of a transporter on him. Before he knew it he was in front of the Chief Engineering Officer, prone on the ground, still in the near fetal position he had been stuck in before. Realizing Norman no longer held him, he growled in frustration and stood to roar out of anger. A second later, he slammed his fist into the wall and actually created a dent in the durasteel! He glared at Sharpe after his brief explanation.
The first thing science cadets are taught. Is never to assume just because something behaves one way in their world. This does not mean it will work the same in another world. For instance just because say on planet Earth. A cactus just sits on the ground and shows no emotion whatsoever. This does not mean that the same type of plant from another world. Would behave the same way.
To look at Norman you would think it was just a small cactus with tentacles. But in truth it had feelings and at the moment it was in love. It had sensed the centre of its affections and grabbed it. Norman had been happy. Then outrage! doom! despair! Its love vanished from its grasp!!!
"Thank you!" he practically roared out, a mixture of gratitude overwhelmed by anger. "That....plant was squeezing me! It was horrifying! It was too strong to resist and it basically dragged me into an area where I couldn't move. Ugh...I need a new uniform."
Perkins looked at Kord. Although he was glad to see his friend. Something about Norman's behaviour troubled Sam. When Norman ate it usually sucked at its food. The plant never squeezed anything. The only time it did was.......
oO Oh, my Oo Perkins thought. But how was he going to tell Kord?
“ Um......Kord I am really sorry this happened. But there is something you should know. Judging by the way it behaved towards you. It looks like it was not trying to eat you. In fact, it looks very much like it. It’s in love with you.” Sam said sounding embarrassed.
Sharpe was looking at the console and when he heard this he looked up as if he was looking at the person reading this gave a smile and looked at Sam, no longer being able to keep a straight face and looked at Kord "well Lieutenant it seems like you have an admirer, not the type one would expect, but still..." Sharpe had to stop because the look on Kord's face and the situation had him doubled up in laughter.
"So.. hahaha... sorry Kord... *laughs*.... *breaths in*... the thought of you and a plant walking down the aisle just popped into my head..." he could say no more as he was laughing too hard, eventually rubbing the tears from his eyes he stood up breathing heavily from the laughter. After gathering himself for a moment, he was more serious but still could not hide a smile as he looked at Sam "Sam, when we catch that dammned plant it is going straight into quarantine no ifs or buts I will not have it attacking my staff" he said.
Kord's expression was unreadable as he glared daggers at his Chief, unable to inhibit himself due to rank and station. His tail thumped the wall in anger before he breathed in heavily, chest expanding, and released a growling sigh. His glare lingered on CEO before he glared at Sam. He muttered something under his breath as his claws wiped off plant residue from his uniform, now torn and tattered with thorns visible in it as well as a green colouration visible in spots. The idea of the plant trying to use him for....well, whatever sent him in a fit for a brief moment.
"It didn't have anything to do with that stuff you gave me, did it, sir?" Lazarus quietly asked Sam, somehow able to produce words despite his locked jaw and very visible teeth.
What was going on here? There was no way Kord's ointment could cause this! No way. Unless.
“ I’m afraid yes and no. You see slavers hide a pheromone in their brand. It will only be set off if any attempt is made to remove the mark. If a slave suddenly became more of a love interest. Then usual the slavers would know. That an attempt was made to remove it. The green jam I gave you will dissolve your problem. Once it’s gone Norman's interest in you should stop.” Perkins explained
Looking at Perkins "when we get that damn plant out of the tubes it is going straight into quarantine until Lieutenant Kord no longer needs to use the ointment, or we do the nuclear option" Sharpe said having fully recovered from his laughter, he did not miss the tail thumb or the dent left in the bulkhead "I think I will recommend to the Captain that any future plants remain in quarantine if they have been cleared to be transported up to the ship" Sharpe added.
Perkins nodded in agreement.
" Yes of course. But before I came on board. A lot of the Cadets did as they pleased. They thought flouting our quarantines laws was a game. But I stopped all that. However in the case of Norman. It slipped through the net so to speak. But this behaviour of its completely baffles me. Norman has both male and female attributes. It should not be in love with Kord. This is a head-scratcher and no mistake." Sam Said. Through the open grill, they could hear the sound of something pulling itself along.
"I know it should not be Sam, they are two totally different species those damn Cadets are going to be the death of me, I swear it!" Sharpe said throwing up his hands and started pacing only pausing to look at the Gorn "how are that temper and Pride now Lieutenant, calming down I trust?" Sharpe said totally serious.
Perkins looked at Kord. The Gorn was angry and he had a right to be. Although Sam hoped Kord’s anger would not be directed at him. This was really not his fault. Norman was not behaving like a normal plant. But then again what was normal for Norman? The rest of its species had been wiped out. Due to the dominant race on its planets stupidity.
“ You know Paul we could pull a snap inspection. Be over picky and hand out some juicy punishments if you like.” Perkins said avoiding eye contact with Kord.
"I'm fine, sir," Kord replied after a time to calm to his superior officer, Lt. Commander Sharpe. "And Sam, I assure you I'm not angry with you....anymore. I understand you were trying to help, and I trust you when you say this will resolve itself in time. But still..."
He lingered a look at the vent, then back at the two superior officers.
"Still," he continued, "I think this plant on the loose is a problem. We need to capture it. And right now I'm the only thing it wants. So....maybe..." You could hear him softly grate his teeth together, a hint of the overwhelming humiliation and anger showing. "Maybe...I should be bait...."
Looking at the Gorn surprised, you sure you want to do that Mr Kord, especially after the last time, that is... Quite brave of you" Sharpe said and looked at Sam "okay Sam, let's get that dammned trap set up, and capture it, because I am leaning towards the nuclear option at this precise moment in time, the plant is in my Jefferies tubes and it should not be there!" Sharpe said to Perkins.
Bait. Perkins did not like this idea one bit. Not only did they not know how Norman would behave. Sam did not like the idea of using his friend Kord in this way. Considering the Gorns' early life. It just felt wrong. To put Kord in this embarrassing situation. It was not his fault some stupid plant had taken a fancy to him. There had to be another way.
“ Maybe we don’t actually need Kord in person. Norman is attracted to him because it can sense his pheromones so……. we simulate them in a spray. Perhaps do some tinkering so they're extra strong. Then use it to make a trail that it will follow. “ Perkins suggested.
"That sounds like an acceptable solution," Lazarus admitted, inwardly dreading the initial acceptance of his offered self-sacrifice, now relieved it was probably not necessary. "What do I need to do?"
Perkins was quite relieved. He nodded at Kord.
“ Well with your permission I will take a sample of your pheromones. Do some quick tinkering so it’s more potent. Then adapt it into a spray. Then lay a trail in the Jeffries tube. Norman will home in on it and hopefully, we can nab it by the tentacles. When it comes bouncing out that grill.” Sam explained
Lazarus gave a nod. His gaze at Sam was of a cautious and wary nature, somewhat suspicious of what the Poseidon's Chief Science Officer would come up with next in accidental shenanigans. But he had grown to trust and like the human, if somewhat barely, after sharing such private information with Sam. A reluctant sigh followed his acceptance and nod, gazing helplessly at Lt. Commander Sharpe as if a puppy lost in the wilderness. A brief display of weakness.
"If you say so, sir," Lazarus remarked when his gaze returned to Sam. "I just hope we can get this over with."
Carefully Perkins took the sample of Kord's pheromones. Then he added and manipulated it. Adding a few goodies that would have Norman bouncing up and down for joy. Once done he converted it into a spray. Then carefully he opened the Jeffries tube grill and sprayed the floor.
Maybe it was the great bird of the galaxy’s way of dealing out. Punishment for Perkins plant embarrassment of Kord. Maybe while they had been talking and preparing Norman had sneaked upon them?
Bang! Scrape! Bang! Scrape! Bang! Scrape!Bang!Scape! Bang!
Norman shot out of the grill wrapping its tentacles around Sam’s arm that was holding the spray. The plant began kissing his hand violently. This shock made Sam fall backwards onto his posterior. He lay there with his arm held high. With Norman ‘kissing,’ his tentacle wrapped hand.
Sharpe looked at Perkins as he fell and tried valiantly not to laugh, but failed in this in-between laughing "you reap what you sew Sam also, it is instant Karma" was all he managed to get out before he fell into hysterical laughter.
Lazarus naturally tried to help, but as he watched the Chief Science Officer get tackled and "loved" on, he couldn't help but cackle. As his claws tried to grip the plant, he began to pull and try his hardest to pry it off.
“It’s not funny!!!” Perkins said.
When he finally recovered he tapped a few buttons and found that now the plant was out of the tubes he could identify it so he made a choice "computer beam plant to containment unit in Science lab and apply top-level quarantine procedures until further notice" he said and the highly mobile plant was transported out of engineering and into a containment area in science.
Sharpe looked at Perkins "It was that green stuff in that spray bottle Sam, the same stuff you put on Lieutenant Kord, it must be an attractant to such a species, I do think you should devote some time to finding something safer, huh?" Sharpe said to Perkins.
Lazarus watched the plant disappear in a shade of blue transporter light. He grunted, standing and helping Sam to stand as he wiped whatever was left of his uniform down.
"Maybe next time don't get plants that like to cuddle," Kord grunted under his breath.
Was Kord laughing at Sam? Well after all Perkins did deserve it. Next time he would double-check there wasn’t anything in the lab. That could become sexually aroused by any concoction Perkins made.
“ Better make sure Susan is locked up....” Perkins said deadpan.
Looks at Perkins with a raised eyebrow "Really Sam, really!" he said light-heartedly.
Lt Cmdr Paul Sharpe
Chief Engineering Officer
Lieutenant Lazarus Kord
LT.CMDR Sam Perkins
Chief Science Officer