That Lovely Shade of Green
1,061 words; about a 5 minute read
Mission: Ninety-Nine Bottles of Swill
The cozy little science laboratory aboard the small subspace communications relay station known as 'Bellwether,' was not state of the art by any mean, much of the equipment was dated aboard the station, and the science equipment was not an exception to that general assessment. In fact, if was one if the more dated rooms as the station was not known for scientific break throughs. The sensor arrays and communication systems took priority.
Lieutenant Commander Brott had been humming the Slug-O-Cola jingle down the corridor on his way to the science lab to see how Skye was doing. "Drink Slug-o-Cola, it keeps your teeth that lovely shade of green" he said with a chuckle and a whistle of the tune.
When Brott arrived, he found Skye hunched over. Her head was practically down, glued to an older Federation laboratory scope. "Doth think the lady has found something," he said lurking behind her. He was curious what she had uncovered.
"Hi," she said, not looking up. "From computer records, they got sick after receiving one shipment of supplies. I've been checking samples from everything recorded for that day and...I think I have something, but i need confirmation." She write in the computer before sitting back and smiled. "If I'm right, your song is oddly prophetic."
The Bolian guffawed at the commentary. "My singing has been called many things Lieutenant, but prophetic is certainly a new one to me." Brott was curious as to the woman's choice of words. They were clearly chosen for a reason.
"I won't tell any Vulcans," Brott said. "You have a hypothesis?" surmised the Bolian. "I'm all ears."
Skye pulled up a slide and indicated that the Bolian should have a look. "That is the cause of most of the illness. I found it in the Slug-O Cola."
The Bolian tilted his head to one side and then to the other. "That looks...strange," replied Brott. "What is it exactly?" He asked as he looked at the enlarged slide.
"It's a type of algae. Specifically, a cyanobacteria. It's most common in lakes and rivers. For some reason, it's in the cola." She raised an eyebrow as she looked at Brott. "Did you ask the Ferengi what they ate? That would be a secondary confirmation that it was the cola."
Lieutenant Commander Brott looked interested in what his science officer had to say. "I understand that algae is a key ingredient in Slug-o-cola, but I imagine that cyano..cy..that bacteria was not intended to be the secret ingredient." He crossed his arms and thought for a moment. "I did inquire about what the crew had been eating, but it was just the usual. Some tube grubs for snacking. I inspected their food replicator as well, nothing wrong with it except faulty installation."
"Of the Ferengi that got sick, how many drank the cola?" she asked. "And how many did not?"
Brott stroked his chubby chin and looked at science officer. He walked over to a station where a PaDD was lying, picked it up and started to do some skimming of information. After a moment or so, Brott looked back up and over at Skye. "What would you say if I told you all the Ferengi that have reported experiencing discomfort or showing signs of sickness all were noted to having had Slug-O-Cola, but the few that have now been experienced any symptoms of illness made no mention of drinking Slug-O-Cola?"
"I would say that's our corroborating evidence. I don't know if the algae was contaminated when it arrived at the facctory, or something was introduced there, but I think we can definitely say that the cause of this particular outbreak is the Slug-O Cola." Then she had another thought. "What about other Ferengi who drank the cola? Wee should let others know what we've learned."
"I'll let medical know what you've found," the Bolian said. "What I want to know is how many bottles were contaminated. Was this a targeted thing? Is it just one batch that was contaminated or multiple? Those answers are only going to be found on the shuttle."
"I'll go back and see if there are any other cases. I only checked the one I found," Skye said. She wasn't looking forward to it, but the answers were needed, and a good cleanser helped. Usually. Maybe she'd be able to replicatee a new shampoo because of this?
"If we find that this is more than just a few bottles, Skye, we are going to need to inform the Ferengi, and I don't mean the ones here on the station " replied Brott. He was typically jovial, but presently he was more concerned than anything. "Anything contaminated with this, we will find the bottling information and trace the manufacturer. Slug-O-Cola is an empire."
She was nodding slowly. "It could be a bad batch, but even so, there would be more bottles." She sighed. "I'll do some research and then a physical search. But we should track down where and when this lot was produced. Just in case."
"Agreed," Lieutenant Commander Brott said concurring with his science officer. "I will swing by medical and check on progress there. We'll follow the evidence, Lieutenant as any good scientists would," added Brott with a chuckle deep in his gut. He may not have been a scientist per se, but he was a historian, a librarian, and someone who sought answers even when they were difficult.
"We will indeed." Skye smiled. She liked the jolly Bolian. "Let me know what you find out, please." She could also ask some friends of hers a few questions. They probably wouldn't know anything, but they could do some research for her.
Brott smiled a bit. "Oh you can count on it. I will be keeping everyone updated. This is only the first piece of a much larger puzzle I suspect." If there was one thing Brott enjoyed it was socializing, and now that would come in handy.
"You're probably right," Skye said, sitting back. "I suspect we'll find that all the bottles of cola are tainted." She smiled, pleased to pass off some of the work to Brott. She would stick to science.
With that, Brott stepped put from the science laboratory. It would not take him long to reach his next destination. There were perks to the small station.