S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Crunch!
Perkins jumped when he heard something breaking. He rushed over to a shelf where two cactus-like plants with flailing tentacles had been fighting. On the floor lay a scanning device with bits now hanging out that should not have been.
“ Norman! Haven't you caused me enough trouble! After your shenanigans with Kord how can I take this to engineering? They are bound to ask how this got broken. When they find out about Susan!” He said
The two plants dipped there main bodies as if to say sorry.
Maybe he could find another to help repair it.
So picking up the broken device he hurried off to engineering.
Once there he looked around for anyone except Kord and Sharpe to help.
PADD in hand, Ensign Sivarr was on his way through engineering to one of the workshops, when he passed Perkins with a cordial nod. A half second later, his brain registered the rank insignia, and he paused mid-step, before backing up a couple paces, taking note of the equipment being carried by the Lieutenant-Commander, which probably wasn't intended for mobile use. "Pardon me sir, may I be of assistance?" Lethe asked, four hands folding neatly behind his back. "Were you looking for someone, or something in particular?"
Sam looked around for Kord or Sharpe. When he was sure they were not around he spoke.
" Hello. Sam Perkins Chief Science Officer please to meet you. I have a problem with this piece of equipment. It got broken by......well maybe its best we skip that. But could you have a look please?" Sam asked
Lethe gave a nod, and carefully took the scanner from the CSO, and cradled it carefully in his lower hands, while he poked and probed his upper hands at the broken workings. "I don't think it should be too difficult. Replace a few components, then check the calibration. I can get it put back together in one of the research labs." He nodded at the door across engineering. "You can either leave it with me, or you're more than welcome to join me and oversee things."
Perkins looked around. Yes he should really go. Kord and Sharpe were probably still angry over the Norman business. But then again he had not seen Lethe before. Sam always liked to meet new people. Plus he was a little tired of pulling apart little plants. Who kept failing their tentacles at each other.
" I wonder if I could join you. Just for a chat I won't start bossing you around. If that is ok with you?" Sam Asked
"I've no objection at all," Lethe assured, not pointing out that as a new ensign onboard, the last thing he was going to do was tell a lieutenant Commander where could or could not go. "Please, follow me." Scanner in hands, he led the way from main engineering down the corridor to the diagnostic labs, and stopped as the first doors parted, revealing three crewmen working on a disassembled probe. Lethe excused himself, let the doors close, and carried on to the next lab, which turned out to be unoccupied when the doors opened.
"Here we are," he said, carrying the scanner to the workbench, and setting it down carefully. "What happened, if I may inquire?" the ensign asked as he pulled a tricorder from the rack and began getting some proper readings on the damage. "Knocked over in turbulence? Or someone didn't like the results it was giving them?"
Perkins poked his head out of doors to check Kord or Sharpe were not within shouting distance.
“ If anyone asks it was dropped but in truth it was knocked over by Norman and Susan. I don’t know if you have heard but there was an incident with Kord. We have this sentient plant called Norman. It’s only as big as a small Earth cactus with flailing tentacles. It fell in love with Kord and kidnapped him. Anyway we have a second plant called Susan and it was not pleased. There was a fight and the item in your hands got smashed.” Sam said
Lethe stopped, four hands motionless as he processed what Perkins had just said, repeating it in his head to see if it still made sense that way way. After a few moments, he continued with the scans, and started removing the obviously damaged components. "So... Kord. The big guy? The Gorn? Kidnapped by a plant that fell in love with him?" The sad part was that Lethe really didn't know the Gorn well enough to be able to really poke fun at him over such an incident, but it didn't mean he couldn't ask the lieutenant about it later.
Perkins nodded sadly.
" Yes. It might be prudent for both our careers if we don't let him know we are talking about it. It was very embarrassing for him. So your a Rechakan I have to admit your the first of your species. I have ever had the pleasure of serving with. Can I ask you some questions. Sorry it's the scientist in me plus I like to make new friends. If that is ok?" Sam asked
Lethe removed a small isolinear chip from the scanner, and held it up to the light, performing a quick visual inspection. "I prefer not to answer questions on mating practices until at least the second date," he kidded, mandibles clicking in amusement. "But otherwise, please, ask whatever you like. I can repair and talk at the same time."
San had a million questions to ask. He knew it would be bad show to ask anything personal about Lethe. So he needed to keep his natural curiosity under control.
“ What’s your vision like? Especially at night. Is it the same as human? Or are you able to see a lot clearly?” Sam asked
"Ahh, we Rechakan's are famous for our X-ray vision, and ability to literally kill with a glance!" Lethe nodded seriously for a moment, then gave a rumbly chuckle deep in his throat. "Actually, I jest. In truth, I cannot speak from experience as to whose vision is better, I've never seen through the eyes of a human before. Rechakan's evolved beneath a denser forest canopy that is found most places on Earth, coupled with need to avoid being eaten at all hours of the day, so if my Academy biology instructor is correct, we're more suited to the darkness and deeper shadows, and our vision reflects this. The opposite, such a bright day at the beach without shade, does require protective lenses or it's all so bright, it's difficult to make out anything." He glanced up over his shoulder. "Standard interior illumination is fine, but I usually wear my lenses most days anyway, just in case."
Perkins looked into Lethe's face.
" Incredible. You know one of the Gorn races also wear vision enhancing lenses. That was why when they were first encountered. It was first believed they had the same visual make up as insectoids. Later it was discovered that was untrue. So how does this effect your hands to eye co-ordination? Does wearing the lenses impede on this our make it better?" Sam asked in wonder.
“Oh, the lenses have no impact on coordination; I don’t expect anyone would use them if they had a negative effect. These days, the lenses can be designed with additional visual wavelengths, such as infrared, thermal, or basic spectographic. Low-end tricorder, in a sense.” Lethe paused, licking his fingers before reaching into his eye socket. After a few moments of careful probing, he pulled out a thin hemisphere of transparent material, and handed it to the science officer.
Perkins gently took it in his hands and examined it.
" Incredible absolutely incredible." He passed it gently back to Lethe.
" So what type of diet to you keep to or like humans including myself. Is it varied apart from shellfish. Although that is my preference." Sam said
"Like humans, Rechakans are omnivores," he replied, turning the lens over slowly in his fingers until it was oriented a specific way, and reached up to pop it back into the socket and over his eye. He blinked a few times until it was settled properly into place, then moved across the room to look through the spare parts inventory in the equipment lockers.
"While the actual plants or animals are different between worlds, the larger difference is in food preparation, rather than ingredients. We prefer more 'whole' items, like..." He paused, thinking of an example. "Like a 'baked potato'. Whole, and can be consumed in a bite or two, depending on the size. Mashed potatoes however, while they may taste and smell equally as appealing, are an unfavorable consistency." Turning, Lethe faced the CSO squarely, and spread his mandibles wide, like he was about to bite someone's face off. "Humans require extensive chewing of their food in order to swallow without incident, and they evolved those fleshy face flaps to facilitate this action; lips, I believe you call them." It was an odd sight for the Rechakan to continue to speak clearly, even with his mouth open as it was, though most vocalizations were from deeper in the throat, and the translator didn't seem to have an issue with it either way. "Rechakan's evolved to immediately swallow what they bite from their prey, alive or otherwise. Mashed potatoes are perfectly edible, but they're very messy to eat."
Turning back to the lockers, Lethe picked out a variety of components, and brought them back to the workbench as he started removing some of the damaged hardware of the scanner. "As for my own dietary preferences... I do enjoy a good, rare, four or five centimeter thick steak. Real, cloned or replicated, it doesn't much matter; I'm not that particular."
Perkins was mesmerized by Lethe.
" Absolutely incredible. To be honest I am not a big fan of mashed potato. The replicators always seem to have a problem with replicating it. A baked potato is nice though and roasted as well. But I can see where mashed up foods would be difficult for you to consume. Humans don't each live food though. I believe in the early 20th century there was a food craze on Earth. For something called Sushi. It originated in Japan a country on the planet. Basically raw fish wrapped in rice and seaweed. I believe it is still available now. But as some of it contains shell fish. I don't partake. By the way thanks for doing this repair job. I did not wish to push my luck with Sharpe or Kord. Especially after the way things went before." Sam said
"It is my pleasure to serve," Lethe assured, pulling out a tricorder to check the alignment of the individual scanners. "The ship is running as smoothly as one of its age can be, so I have the time to do so." Continuing to work the tricorder in his upper hands, his lower pair began reconnecting replacement components, and seating them in their proper niches within the scanner. As he worked, the Rechakan seemed to give a very low growl, until it became clear it was his stomach expressing its own opinion with the talk of food.
Sam heard Lethe's stomach.
" Sorry that is my fault. I was like this when I first met Kord. The scientist in me takes over and I go into noisy mode. Its just I like to be curious about new people that we meet. I must remember to keep this probe out of tentacle reach. Susan and Norman can be quite a pair of mischief makers. They may look cute but they can be a couple of scallywags for a pair of small plants." Sam explained
"Never apologize for curiosity, not when the alternative is to remain deliberately ignorant." Finishing several last connections, the engineer activated the power cell, and watched the scanner come to life. A few quick commands into the controls initiated a self-diagnostic, and he started closing up the access panels as it ran. "You might want to equip them... or their pots, with isolinear tags as well. If they're often as mobile as they were with Kord, an easy means of tracking them might help put some minds at ease. Particularly that of a certain Gorn."
Perkins gave Lethe a nod.
" Oh I will. There behind a force field at the moment. But this probe still got broken. I must remember to keep breakables away from them." Sam agreed.
"Well, this one..." The engineer paused before the scanner diagnostics completed, with the results all coming back in the green, "...appears to be no longer broken." With a nod, he disconnected the last remaining input leads, and scooted it across the table to the science officer. "Your unit has now been given a clean bill of health. If you have any further repairs, or questions, please reach out any time."
Lt.Cmdr Sam Perkins
Chief Science Officer
Ensign Lethe Sivarr
Damage Control Specialist