JP: Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau & Lt. Cmdr. Geoffrey Teller - Strong Roots

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Amanda Nordstrom

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Sep 23, 2020, 10:28:26 PM9/23/20
to StarBase 118 Ops – UFOP: StarBase 118
((Hydroponics Bay, USS Thor, 0400hrs))

The recent disaster aboard ship had caused a casualty no one had noticed
until now, long after the damage was done.  Hidden among the beds of
coffee beans that Lt. Cmdr. Geoffrey Teller had started cultivating for
the Thor’s Brew Continuum, one area had been given over to a beautiful
and delicate african violet.  The flower had been a gift to young Ensign
Teller from an xenobotanist aboard the Veritas, and Geoff had managed to
keep the little thing alive and flowering on and off ever since.  It had
been in a stasis canister when he moved to the Embassy, and it stayed
safe and sleeping until Geoff had finally unpacked it weeks ago.

He hadn’t been down to the hydroponics bay for weeks now, and it was
only the nagging sensation that he’d forgotten to do something that had
driven him to beam here in the middle of the night.

Geoff’s mouth hung open at how overgrown the beds had gotten, untended
and forgotten.  Many of the trays had been thrown around the room by the
violent collisions and the entire place had the strange aroma of coffee
beans and spilt nutrient fluid.  In the middle of the loose soil and
shattered equipment, the violet plant looked small, frail and wilted,
the remaining soil in its cracked tray bone dry.

Teller:  Damn.

As delicately as he could, Geoff scooped the whole thing out with his
hands and carried it to a nearby worktable.  A large flask that had
remarkably stayed put was drafted into service as the flower's new home,
but Geoff knew he was woefully out of his depth.  He had a green enough
thumb to program a hydroponics bed, but not to nurse an ailing flower
back to health.  There was only one person he could think of that might,
but they had lost touch when she went on an extended leave some time ago.

Teller:  =/\= Computer, access Starfleet Personnel Records - is there a
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau currently serving anywhere in the fleet? =/\=

Computer:  =/\= Accessing, please standby =/\=

Teller ground his teeth and tried to tidy the workbench slightly as he
waited, but the mess was such that each item he moved set off a small
avalanche of additional debris.  He gave up after a few minutes.

Computer:  =/\= Affirmative - DeVeau, A, Lt. Cmdr.  Current Assignment -
Assistant Chief Science Officer, Starbase 118 Operations. =/\=

Geoff smiled at the welcome news - he was glad she’d returned to the
fleet and hoped she found life aboard the Starbase as exciting as he’d
heard.
Teller:  =/\= Computer - are we close enough to Starbase 118 for a
realtime subspace link? =/\=

Computer:  =/\= Affirmative =/\=

Teller:  Well then...kinda wish I brushed my hair.

Computer: =/\= Please restate request. =/\=

Teller:  No not…::Geoff shook his head.:: =/\= Computer, Request
subspace comm link with Lt. Cmdr. DeVeau, SB118 Ops.  =/\=

Computer:  =/\= Establishing link, Standby. =/\=

Thus far, the day was going pretty well.  Alora had followed up on some
experiments, approved several more, asked for clarification on others,
documented some changes and gotten to know another officer and set some
goals.  Not bad for only a few hours worth of work. There was plenty
more to do, a never ending stream of data and personnel files, of ideas
and protocol, then reports to her superior officers.  She still had a
couple of hours before lunch left when the computer alerted her to an
incoming transmission.  Alora wasn’t /expecting/ any calls.

When the screen lit up with a face she hadn’t seen in...at least a year,
Alora’s own brightened with a wide, warm smile.  Alora never forgot a
face, and she hadn’t forgotten his name either.

DeVeau: =/\=Geoffrey Teller, I do declare, I haven’t seen you in coon’s
age.  How are you? =/\=

Geoff briefly forgot his purpose as a smile spread across his face. It
had been too long.

Teller: =/\= Alora - It’s good to see you again.  I’m glad you’re back
on duty.  =/\=

Alora had been back on duty for a while.  Her leave of absence hadn’t
lasted very long, and had been spent dealing with...unpleasantness.  She
wasn’t going to get into all that, though.

DeVeau:  =/\= I am too.  Are you still on the Veritas? =/\=

Teller: =/\= Actually I’m over on the Thor now, XO under Fleet Captain
Kells.  How’d you end up on 118?  =/\=

Really? That certainly caught Alora’s attention.

DeVeau:  =/\= I got transferred here after my last assignment. Wait,
you’re on Aron’s ship? =/\=

Man how she missed him.  Aron was one of several she particularly pined
after now that she had been placed somewhere so far away. Before the
mission, she had attempted to call him.  Now that it had just ended, she
would certainly make the attempt again.

Geoff blinked at the momentarily unfamiliar name, then snickered. oO Who
the hell is Aron...wait..Oo

Teller:  =/\= Well I usually call him Fleet Captain Kells, but yes - he
returned to service and took command earlier this year.  =/\=

DeVeau: =/\=Tell that man to call me.  Actually, if you don’t mind, give
him a big hug from me too.  I would do it in person, but I’m too far
away.=/\=

Geoff felt his grin getting goofy.  Something about Alora would always
remind him of his earliest days in Starfleet, and for a moment he felt
an Ensign again - with all of space ahead and not quite so many broken
bones.

A sigh escaped.  Yes, she had people she knew and was friendly on SB118,
but they weren’t her /close/ friends.  They weren’t the ones who had
seen her at her worst, who had held her when the universe seemed to be
collapsing around her.  Alora could really use one of them right now. 
Anyway.

Teller: =/\= I’ll give him a bear hug that’ll make his ribs creak if you
can help me out.  Short version is this - Thor took a hit recently and,
among other things, one of our hydroponics bays got banged up. 
Including ::Geoff brought the fading flora into frame:: this poor little
thing.  =/\=

Concern rippled over Alora’s features.  Thor took a hit?  Aron...he must
be all right, or Teller would have said something.  Still, there were
other people on that ship.

DeVeau:  =/\= Any casualties? Human ones?=/\=

Alora loved plants, but not more than she loved people.  They certainly
took precedence.

Teller: =/\= One hundred eighty three dead.  Times two injured.  It was
a rough day in the space business, Alora.  A rough one.  =/\=

The scientist nodded slowly, contemplating the dangers of space. There
were so many.  She had been witness to how many catastrophes? Not
everyone made it through.

DeVeau: =/\=Anyway...=/\=

Focusing on the plant, Alora studied it for a moment, then her smile
returned.

DeVeau: =/\=Is that the one I gave you?=/\=

Teller:  =/\= It’s the same one - tough little thing.  I’d try to stick
it back in a hydrobed but it looks too far gone for that. Hoped you
might have an idea or three.  =/\=

DeVeau:  =/\=No, not a hydrobed.  Do you have an environmental
regulator?=/\=

Geoff cast a look around.  Most of the standard equipment the bay was
supposed to have was still in the room...somewhere.  It might even be in
one piece.

Teller:  =/\= Let me take a look - if you hear any loud crashes that
just means I’m making progress. =/\=

DeVeau:  =/\=Don’t hurt yourself looking for it!=/\=

Alora couldn’t help but laugh.  While he looked, she took a few moments
to pull up a couple of replicator programs, then sent them over to her
caller.  He still wasn’t done, so she waited patiently, elbow on the
table, chin in her hand.  There was a fair amount of noise as poor Geoff
attempted to seek out and find that regulator. A few moments later, he
was back.

DeVeau: =/\=Find it?=/\=

Geoff had just played the most elaborate and, he suspected, dangerous
game of hop-scotch the Thor had ever hosted.  Thankfully, he’d managed
to get past the collapsed storage shelves and around most of the
shattered nutrient containers before snagging his pantleg and tearing it
almost from thigh to ankle.  The rest of his scavenging had gone more
successfully, although with substantially less dignity once his pants
began to flap.

Teller: =/\= Yep, type…::Geoff brushed off the display, which mercifully
came alight::  type six regulator, power cell looks ok. I should be able
to rig it up with something in here.  =/\=

DeVeau: =/\=Good.  Okay, here’s the deal.  Take a look at those programs
I sent you.=/\=

Geoff looked to a secondary display, streaming diagrams and formula as
it came across the link.

Teller: =/\= Yep, coming in now...what do I do with it?  =/\=

DeVeau: =/\=One of them is for my soil, but you might already have that
- or should if you kept it when you transferred ships.  Anyway, I sent
it just in case.  The other is for a special food that will help boost
your violet.  I wouldn’t recommend using it a ton, but when it’s really
weak, this will help give it some extra nutrients.=/\=

Geoff checked the patterns and had the nearby replicator attempt to
produce any of them.  The first result was a steaming sludge that
smelled nauseatingly of lavender and hamburger.  Clearing the replicator
while trying not to inhale, Geoff reset the unit and had it perform a
self-diagnostic.  A few moments later the replicator was back online and
the supplies were produced.  The lavenburger scent hung heavy in the room.

Teller: =/\= Alright, got it - now what?  =/\=

DeVeau: =/\=Now, put it in the environmental regulator.  Set it to 23
degrees celsius at 80% humidity. Keep it there and make sure that it’s
misting water.  Don’t soak it, but make sure it’s moist.  If you baby it
for a bit, it will hopefully come back.=/\=

Geoff kicked over a storage bin and found a loose sample collection
container ratting beneath.  A few minutes of creative engineering later
had repurposed the sample container into a portable plant ICU with its
own multi-spectrum UV illumination array, a hyper-sensitive atmospheric
regulator, an internal irrigation system and a suite of monitoring
sensors.  Satisfied it was working properly, Geoff delicately shifted
the wilted flower into the tray and activated the unit.

Teller: =/\= Ok, looks like it’s running - now I guess it’s just down to
time.  Thanks for this, Alora - couldn’t stand to lose anything else to
this calamity.  Whatever happens, Aron is going to get that hug - and
that’s a Good Job Guarantee.  =/\=

DeVeau:  =/\=Make sure it’s an extra big, extra long, she’s been trying
to reach you, you’d better call her or else hug.=/\=

Alora had tried, but he was a /fleet captain/ which meant he was busy. 
Even so, she could get Teller to poke him if nothing else.

Teller: =/\= It’s about...uh...well, if I showed up for my next duty
shift now I’d only be a few hours early....  =/\=

DeVeau: =/\=Seriously?  A few /hours/?  =/\=

Alora was a hard worker herself, but even she didn’t necessarily do
/that/ much.  Well...maybe some times.

DeVeau: =/\= Might be better to hold off going to work.  That seems a
bit much, and you might regret it later.=/\=

Teller:  =/\= You’re right, you’re right - and I need a new pair of
pants anyway.  Thank you again.  I’ll get in touch again in a few days -
hopefully I’ll be able to show you what this little flower is supposed
to look like.  =/\=

DeVeau:  =/\=Wait...are you not wearing pants?  Why are you not wearing
pants?=/\=

Geoff felt a warmth rushing to his face as he shifted around, suddenly
self-conscious.

Teller: =/\= For what it’s worth, I was wearing them when the call
started...wait, that doesn’t sound better, does it... =/\=

Alora began to laugh, hard enough that she almost fell out of her
chair.  Boy, if only he could see into her mind.  Wait...maybe that was
a good thing he couldn’t!

Teller:    =/\= ...look, for reasons that are entirely legitimate, it’s
getting very drafty on this end.  ::Geoff put his hand over the audio
pickup and smirked at the camera::  i ThInK i’M lOsInG yOu....

Geoff winked and smiled.

Teller:  =/\= Safe journeys, my friend. =/\=

Oh man.  He’d made her day.  Alora wiped at a tear that squeezed from
her eye and shook her head.

DeVeau:  =/\=You too.  Make sure you actually have pants on.  Night,
Geoff!=/\=

The comm line closed but Geoff felt wonderfully energized, as if he’d
been the one bathed in light and nourishment.  With his precious cargo
under one arm, Geoff cautiously worked his way out of the hydroponics
bay and back towards the ship's only functioning transporter room.  If
the yardworkers who saw a Lt. Cmdr. in torn pants carrying a flower
around a partially disassembled starship had any comments, they wisely
kept them to themselves.


===============================
Lieutenant Commander Geoffrey Teller
Executive Officer
USS Thor - NCC 82607
Fleet Captain A. Kells, Commanding
V239509GT0

&

Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
M239008AD0

--
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Science Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
M239008AD0

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