Star Trek Hunter
Episode 20: Survival
Scene 7: Blue Morning, Blue Day
Blue Morning, Blue Day
“You stink, Boles.” Commander Kenny Dolphin was neither being mean nor joking. It was just a straight statement of fact.
Dolphin had requested this meeting in the privacy of the small surgery between the medical office and the larger surgery.
“You are human,” Lt. Napoleon Boles countered. “Humans are often…”
“Agent Anana Lynarr is full blood bolian and she does not make me wince when she walks into a room,” Dolphin countered. “You do. We have andorians, humans, bolians, betazoids, bajorans, ferengi, rigellians, vulcans, trills, and a veritable menagerie of hybrids living in extremely close quarters on this vessel. I never get any foul odor complaints about anyone except you.”
Boles was taken aback – again, Dolphin’s tone was not hot, just matter-of-fact. “My body chemistry…” he started.
“Napoleon, you are the most creative person on this boat,” Dolphin interrupted with some exasperation. “You are an expert biologist and an expert chemist and you have access to expert chemists – notably Dr. Tolon and Dr. Trei. You have earned a reputation as a problem solver. This is a problem. Put together a team and solve it. That is an order, Lieutenant.”
Boles snapped to attention. “Yes sir!” – almost too emphatically.
Dolphin sighed. “Pull whatever resources you need. Ask Sam to help as a control – he’s fully bajoran and has the most sensitive nose around here. And one more thing, Napoleon, for both our sakes.. When you ask your crewmates for help with this, let them think it’s your initiative and that I authorized the project at your request.”
“Are you instructing me to lie?” Boles asked.
“I am recommending you dissemble,” Dolphin replied. “If you tell people you really want to do this and that I authorized it, that would not be a lie. But telling people I bluntly ordered you to… resolve this issue… it would just cast both of us in an unfavorable light. Better to play the humble hero of this story than the victimized outcast.”
About an hour later, Boles was working with Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder, the first person whom he had approached about the issue.
“I’m really glad you asked me,” said Jazz, “and that you asked me first. We can structure the investigation first and then bring other people in as we need them. I have actually helped several crew members with controlling their atmospheres to an acceptable norm.”
“I really should have asked you some time ago,” Boles replied. “My last post had a large number of bolians – so many that I just generally spent more time with them.”
“And bolians, being carrion eaters, are a little more… um… appreciative of a broader bouquet of aromas,” Jazz concluded.
Boles laughed. “I have never heard it put so politely.”
Jazz smiled. “Most people think of themselves like moving boulders of flesh.” He thumped his chest. “They think they begin and end at their skin. Truth is, we’re more like walking planets. We have atmospheres and leave a trail of chemicals everywhere we go.” Jazz tapped his nose ridges. “Bajorans are acutely aware of this, but bolians, humans – everyone on this ship has a good enough nose to see our environment as a chemical soup. I know within minutes when someone gets horny even when they’re on another deck. Or mad, or injured, or drunk. With training and discipline, you can too. But the first step is to become acutely aware of your own chemical trail.”
“So you’re saying I should actually be… sniffing everyone?” Boles ran his blue hand over his deep blue scalp, squeezed the back of his neck.
“And I know every time you do that,” said Jazz. "When you squeeze your neck like that, it releases gasses trapped in your throat. Most people wouldn’t notice, but…” Jazz tapped his nose ridges again.
“I didn’t realize I was such a seething gas bag…”
“Everybody is. Dolphin put you up to this, didn’t he?” asked Jazz.
“He was pretty direct about it,” Boles answered.
“He runs a very different ship from Pep,” Jazz observed. “Everyone loves Pep and Pep has been in Star Fleet for more than a decade – he graduated near the top of his class at Star Fleet Academy. Dolphin came in five years ago with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and six months’ Officer Candidate School, but he runs a much tighter ship.”
“You like it,” Boles said with some surprise.
“I joined the Bajoran Resistance when I was 11,” said Jazz. “No uniforms, no rank and file, just a bunch of desperate kids, farmers and old men fighting the cardassians any way we could. I barely escaped a couple of cardassian prisons. We didn’t stand a chance. Sooner or later the cardassians would have ended us. Then the cardassians thought they would start a war with the Federation. My uncle managed to sneak me off planet to serve with a Federation medical unit as an observer and volunteer. I hated the cardassians and their boots and their uniforms, but Star Fleet – those people were professional. Really polished.
“When we got captured, they put me in a Star Fleet uniform and pretended I was one of them. The cardassians treated their Star Fleet prisoners very differently from the way they treated bajorans. It was like they were almost afraid of them. They tried to act tough, but I could see the fear in their eyes when they talked to our lieutenant – and he was a doctor – he had never carried a weapon.” Jazz brushed and straightened his uniform. “This is just cloth, but whenever I put it on, I feel like I’m putting on armor. People are having to work a little harder with Dolphin running this boat, but they’re walking just a little straighter too. Feeling a little tougher. I like that feeling.”
Boles made a harrumphing noise. “Not how I was feeling about him…”
Jazz smiled. “Pep would never call you on an odor. He has a little bit of halitosis himself. Most people don’t notice it because his mouth is up here…” Jazz waved his hand about a half-foot above his head. “That’s where we need to start for you, too. Since you’re part human, there are lots of highly processed human foods you can digest, but you probably don’t digest them very well, and that will cause gasses to come out of pretty much every corner of your body – mostly your mouth. I’ve handled this sort of thing a lot – we have a lot of hybrids. In Pep’s case, he loves his meat, but he’s a quarter andorian and a quarter orion, neither of whom can handle red meat at all. So, let’s start by reviewing your diet…”