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Part of USS Mercy: Mission 1 – “Life as a House”

Don’t Touch My Food

Mess Hall, 0930 Hours
August 12, 2400
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Izi weaved her way through the mess hall, eyeing an empty seat at one of the tables.  Reaching her destination, she set her tray onto the table.  “May I join you?”  Izi slid onto the chair without waiting for an answer.

“Sure.  I’m not expecting anyone.”

Izi paused to study Petty Officer Ren Torell, a Betazoid engineer.  Was he speaking with sarcasm?  Shrugging her shoulders, dismissing the idea, she muttered a quick prayer of thanksgiving to the Water Guardian.

“How are you doing, Iziraa?  I noticed you’re eating more than usual today.”

“Hmph,” said Izi through her first mouthful of food.  The Andorian metabolism was higher than most humanoids, so Izi’s species ate a lot anyway, but after what she heard earlier that morning, she needed to console herself by eating more.  “Can you believe I might not be part of the first away team once we reach Charon base?  I mean, come on!”

“I don’t understand,” said Torell.  “Scuttlebutt is saying that Chief Cordon experienced some sort of telepathic attack, but I didn’t know you were affected, too.”  He looked back over his shoulder as if he were searching for something.

“I sensed something as well.”  Izi didn’t go into more detail.  It had felt as though someone grabbed her antennae, an extreme personal violation that often ended in serious harm coming to the violator.  “There hasn’t been official word from the captain or XO, but everyone is saying only non-telepaths will head to the base.”

“I don’t know about that, but Commander Sorek is with the CMO now,” said Torell.  “They’re working on an inhibitor to suppress telepathy.”

“Who told you that?”

“One of the nurses.”

“Hmm.  That’s interesting.”

“Are you sure it’s okay for us to eat together?”  Torell looked around again.

Izi chuckled.  “Why wouldn’t it?”

“Because you’re an officer and I’m a non-comm.  We’re not supposed to fraternize.”

Izi rolled her eyes.  “Technically, but this is a hospital ship.  Things aren’t as strict.  Why be so paranoid?”

“It just doesn’t feel right.”

Izi studied Ren for a moment, but shook off his concerns.  “You haven’t touched your breakfast.  Do you mind if I have some?”  Again, not waiting for an answer, she moved her fork towards a plump piece of sausage.

Torell slapped her hand, glaring at her with a hard gaze that seemed almost feral.

“What was that for?”  Izi’s antennae were rigid.  “You could have said no.”

“You could have waited for an answer.”  Torell pulled his plate closer to himself, curving his left arm around the edge Like he was forming a protective barrier.

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize…”

“You always do that, Iziraa.  You think you can do whatever you want, no matter what anyone else thinks.  Don’t touch my food!

It was rare when Izi was at a loss for words and this was one of those times.  After a full ten seconds, she got up.  “I’m sorry, Ren.  I wo…”

“Don’t patronize me!”  He grabbed his knife, half leaped out of the chair, and slashed it at Izi.

Instinctively throwing her hands up to block the attack, Izi cried out in pain as the blade cut into the palm of her left hand.  It wasn’t deep, but drops of blue blood fell to the floor.  Swearing in Andorian, she stumbled back, moving out of range.  She could see others in the room reacting in surprise and shock.

“Put down the knife, Ren,” said Izi in a tone so calm, she surprised herself.  “I know you don’t want to hurt anyone.”  She clenched a fist to keep from bleeding more.  Someone was moving quietly behind Torell, but she waved him off.  She wanted to end this without anyone else getting hurt, or worse.

“It’s coming, Iziraa.  You should know.  You felt it on the Colorado.  It’s coming for all of us.”

“I know it’s coming, but we need to work together to stop it.”  Izi didn’t know who he meant, so she hoped playing along would help.  “Come on, Ren.  Put down the knife.”

Torell’s face was contorted, he was panting, and his black eyes seemed as though he was looking into the pits of the abyss.  It made Izi’s antennae shiver.

“We can’t stop it, Iziraa.  The Colorado couldn’t and neither will we.”  He put the knife against his throat.

“No, no no, Ren.  Don’t do that.  We can stop it.  We will, but we need everyone together.  We need you.”  Izi could feel the tension in the room like it was some force pressing against her.  If she didn’t do something soon, this wasn’t going to end well.

“You don’t need me, Iziraa.  It’s better if I’m gone.”  Ren lowered the knife slightly.

This was Izi’s only chance.  Leaping forward, she plunged her shoulder into Ren’s chest, sending them both crashing to the floor, the knife spinning in another direction.  Others rushed in, securing a screaming and struggling Torell.

“Let me look at your hand.”

“Huh?”

A nurse had knelt by Izi.

“Oh, that.  It’s nothing.”

“Let me look at it anyway.”

While the nurse worked, Izi watched as security left with Ren.  Was he right?  Was something coming for them.  She shivered again, but this time it was her entire being.

 

Comments

  • Great progression, things are heating up on the Mercy.

    September 17, 2022