Moss-t This Grow Here?
Episode 1: Hell is a four letter word
Location: Estelle's and Liorga's Cabin
Timeline: after the return from shore leave
Having spent almost two days away from their cabin, Estelle was surprised to see a strange growth of moss by the time she came back. It was all around that one potted plant she'd given special treatment, on the recommendation of Ian Murphy. But he'd made it clear that he wasn't too much of an expert on botany.
"Look at that", Estelle said. "Did you plant that moss?"
"Is it dead?" Liorga laughed, "Because if I had, it would be." She was relatively famous for her black thumb, she couldn't even grow marigolds.
"No, it looks very much alive", Estelle said. "Ian Murphy helped me with a sickly plant but... no, I can't call him again. And I can't call the chief science officer either, she'll explode at the mere mention of this guy's name. Poor Arri, she's got the hots for him but he keeps avoiding her, for some rea..." Estelle stopped. "Oh! I know who I can call." She tapped her combadge. "Hertz to Kovitz. Please tell me you're decent at botany."
Danica's voice came over the combadge. "Kovitz here. I'm unfortunately not the best at botany. But I've got a tricorder which is pretty decent," she ended the sentence with a laugh before coming back with a faux-accusatory tone. "Why? What did you do?"
"I don't know", Estelle said. "Liorga and I just returned from shore leave, way too early I might add, and we've found a strange moss growing in our quarters. Would you care to come over and take a look?"
"Weird..." Dani trailed off and there was a slight rustling on her end of the comm. "Alright, I'm on my way."
It was a fairly short amount of time before a chime issued from the door of Estelle and Liorga's quarters.
"Come in", Estelle said. She had totally forgot about locking the door on Liorga's request. "Hey Dani. I hope you've had a good time? We were really enjoying ourselves on Bajor until Gallia called us and told us we had to come back. That one time a bad connection would have been useful..."
Liorga looked Kovitz over, Still can't believe this is the woman got Sami's heart broken. She thought, unimpressed, Cute, sure, but not all that. Must be the hair. She shook her head, wondering when people would realize the way Estelle had that hair was overrated. She liked Danica, sure, but she was not happy how this situation had turned out for Sami, or for the team that was now losing Sami.
Dani entered with a small wave. "Shore leave was good," Danica said with shrug. "I didn't stray too far. Went aboard the station for a bit, but mostly hung around here. Not having much to do was nice though. Downside was, I was basically here when they gave the order to report to duty." She searched the room, looking for the offending floral growth. "So where's this unintentional science experiment?"
Estelle pointed at one of the pots in the corner. "It's a small orange tree, it wasn't doing so well, so Ian Murphy helped me out with it, but he said he wasn't too much of an expert on plants. But there wasn't supposed to be any moss growing beneath, I was hoping for oregano instead."
Danica ran her scanner across the growth, with a slight look of puzzlement on her face. "Well...it's not oregano. I can tell you that much. It's kinda strange though. Moss doesn't really seem to match the biology of the tree. Where'd you say you got the tree again?"
"On Deep Space Nine, last time we stopped here", Estelle said. "It's on the third level of the promenade, place is just called 'market garden', even decorated with little paratroopers. Yet, when I suggested I'd like to do an operation in there, all I got was blank stares."
Dani also had a blank stare for a brief second before giving what probably wasn't her most convincing laugh. "Wow, that's ridiculous that they missed that," she said, suddenly sympathizing with the shopkeepers. The good doctor had a habit of witty jokes. Danica could usually keep up, but one had finally sailed over her head. Deciding to change the subject before she was found out, she moved her tricorder over the growth again. "Well, it definitely seems you've got a stowaway here. I doubt they'd intended to sell you this. It looks like a relative of the Diomedian species, though obviously easier to grow. My guess is a few spores somehow jumped over to your little tree here."
Danica closed her tricorder. "What do you want me to do with it?"
"Operation Market Garden, it was a British Operation during WWII on Earth, fought mainly by paratroopers." Liorga explained, "And, is our tree alright? If it is, I don't know, maybe study the moss or whatever..."
"Gotcha," Dani said, deflating slightly as Liorga explained. She was hoping to get out of the conversation without being the only person in the room who didn't get the joke. Apparently, she'd failed. She decided to roll forward with the tree conversation. "Well, your tree is fine, actually. At least, for the moment. Only real issue you'll run into is if the moss starts leaching too many nutrients from the soil. Which probably won't happen unless you let it cover the whole room. If you want, I can take it off your hands and down to the science lab. Could be fun to see if I can identify where it actually came from. Or I guess I could give it to the Academy. Lt. Murphy might get a kick out of having his students try to identify it."
"Your tree, your call, baby." Liorga said to Estelle.
"Take it", Estelle said. "I want to grow oregano. This moss, whatever it is, doesn't look like I want it in my food."
"Yeah...you probably won't want to eat it," Danica said, assessing the growth. Retrieving a small laser tool from her pouch, she created set it low so that it only severed the connection between the moss and the soil. She didn't want to damage the moss too badly, or worse the tree. Once it was free she got the small bundle into her hands. "Hey Doc, can you replicate me a small containment sphere? I don't want to go spreading this around the whole ship."
"Sure", Estelle said. "And did you get everything?" She came back with a container large enough to hold the sample, though it wasn't anything fancy, just a metal box with a glass lid that shut tightly enough.
Dani shrugged. "Most of it. You'll want to use an anti-fungal cleaner on the tree and the surrounding area. There's probably spores all over the place at this point, and unless Liorga wants to wake up wearing a new wig, it'd probably be best to sterilize."
"Yeah, no." Liorga shook her head, "Hair's overrated."
Danica did her best to avoid taking that as an insult. Her own hair had served as her primary means of expressing herself over the years, even if she had found one style she stuck to most of the time. Besides, the opinion made sense coming from Liorga, a Deltan who therefore didn’t grow hair. She wouldn’t really expect a Bolian, Saurian, or even a Xindi Insectoid to be lauding the existence of hair either. That said, she probably wouldn’t tell the Insectoid his mandibles were overrated either. “I’m not sure if moss actually qualifies as hair, but agreed. You pull your look off quite well. It would be a downgrade.”
"Also in the smell department", Estelle added. "This smells... mouldy. Speaking of which, what filter can I use to get everything? I'm not exactly a fan of fungicides. It's the very definition of insanity to use poison to grow our food."
"I'll make up something natural and fungi specific for you back at the lab. Shouldn't impact your tree or have any adverse consequences. Unless you're this moss," Dani said, lifting the small container. "I was thinking something specific to this strand. I'll bring it back up once I've formulated it."
"That would be marvelous", Estelle smiled. "I hope it'll turn out to be at least a somewhat interesting science project for you."
"Have fun." Liorga laughed, Estelle could always elicit a laugh from her, even when the doctor wasn't trying to be funny.