More Coffee for Me Boy!
Disclaimer: Paramount owns ‘em, but the coffee belongs to us all. Title comes from a funky They Might Be Giants song.
Neelix dipped his finger into the bubbling contents of one of his big cooking pots. He thoughtfully sucked on his finger as he considered what he needed to perfect the recipe. "A pinch of bracksin and this soup will be ready for consumption" Neelix told himself. He opened the door of the large refrigerator and pulled out a small transparent container that was full of course granules, a deep orange in colour. As he sprinkled the bracksin into the soup, the covered pot behind him began to boil over.
"Oh the coffee" he exclaimed while rushing over to turn down the heat. As the flames disappeared beneath the pot, Neelix removed the lid and stirred the contents with a large wooden ladle. It was no longer strictly necessary for Neelix to produce his own brews anymore, but it was more of a hobby for him now. There was something very invigorating for him in using combinations of new and interesting ingredients to make a drink that produced the kick that the humans seemed to demand in their hot beverages. Gathering ingredients also allowed Neelix to sample the cuisines of many different cultures as Voyager worked its way through the quadrant. Neelix made for the nearest computer terminal to tell the crew that his latest concoctions were ready.
Tuvok reported to Janeway in his usual stern manner. "The Ferdu are a race of pacifists, captain, and as such should provide a minimal security risk to Voyager. Nonetheless, I have scheduled a small security detail to be present for their arrival and during their stay on Voyager."
"As long as it’s sufficiently low key Tuvok. We wont distrust them unless they give us reason to. Besides, if this report is true," the captain said pointing to the padd in her hand "if we’re extra nice to them we might be able to get our hands on some new power sources that could greatly improve our efficiency."
"I’m sure you’ll be sufficiently cordial captain, and Ayala and Swinn will be suitably ‘low key’."
"Of course Tuvok, it was just a gentle prod." The console on Janeway’s desk beeped softly. She read the message as she continued to speak. "Was there anything else?"
"No, that is all captain."
"Good because it looks like Neelix has just finished preparing his new coffee brew. He’s calling it the ‘Celdin Kicker’. I could do with a good kick. Would you care to join me Tuvok?" she asked, grinning mischievously.
"As you well know, captain, I have no need for such stimulants. I find that a mild tea suits my needs."
"That’s right" she replied, smiling, "you’re already perky enough as it is."
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. "I was not aware that ‘perkiness’ was a sought after quality in a chief of security."
"And thank goodness for your sake that it is not. Thankyou Tuvok."
"I will see you this evening captain". And with that Tuvok left Janeway’s ready room.
Janeway gave Tuvok enough time to get to the turbolift before making for the mess hall. She was not in the mood for judgementally raised eyebrows at the moment. Not, at least, until she had another cup of coffee.
By the time she got to the mess hall, there was already a line of crew members eagerly waiting for some of Neelix’s soup and a chug or two of the coffee. Janeway reflected that a few years ago, she couldn’t have imagined anyone queuing up for Neelix’s gastronomic creations (except maybe for queuing up in sick bay).
Janeway looked across the room and spotted Chakotay at a table by himself, intently going over the contents of the padd in front of him. She decided that he needed disturbing and went over to join him. One of the advantages of being captain (apart from having prerogatives) was that Janeway did not have to wait in line to get her coffee or her soup. She could just sit down at Chakotay’s table and she knew that Neelix would be there in a flash to serve her with coffee and anything else she desired.
She approached the table. "Good morning Chakotay. Is this seat taken?"
"It is now" he replied as nonchalantly as he could muster.
As predicted, Neelix was over in a flash with a coffee mug and a thermos in his hand. "Good morning captain. I trust you’re here to try my new brew."
"That’s the only reason I’m here Neelix." Chakotay’s face fell. He had hoped that she was looking for him and the computer had told her where he was. He would check with the computer later anyway to see if she had requested his location. Chakotay always lived in hope when it came to the captain.
Meanwhile, Janeway glanced over at Chakotay’s empty mug. "I trust it’s safe commander?"
"Yes very much so. It’s delicious Neelix. It packs a punch too."
"Sounds like my kind of coffee. Fill ‘er up Neelix."
"Yes captain. More for you commander?"
Chakotay nodded in his usual word conserving fashion and proffered his mug for filling. Neelix obliged and left the table with two command officers cradling their mugs of coffee like newborns.
"Anything interesting on your padd Chakotay?" Janeway inquired.
"I don’t know if interesting is the right word. It appears that a number of crew members are getting a bit tired of their current work. I’ve received quite a few requests for transfers to other parts of the ship."
"I suppose that’s to be expected" she replied. "If we were in the Alpha Quadrant most of them would have different assignments on different ships by now. Given the thin spread of our crew across the ship I don’t think we could accommodate straight transfers at the moment. However, if we could organise job swaps between crew perhaps it would be possible. Did anyone ask to be captain? I wouldn’t mind a sojourn in airponics."
Chakotay grinned. "I’ll see what I can do captain."
Janeway got up from her chair and took a swig of her coffee. "Anyway, no time for idle chit-chat." Chakotay’s face fell slightly again. "I have to get to the bridge or Tuvok will send out a search party. Can we discuss this issue, in depth, later? Say fifteen hundred hours in my quarters."
"Yes I’m sure I can manage that captain" grinned Chakotay, secretly excited at the prospect of spending time in Janeway’s quarters, even if it was on the couch opposite to her.
"Good, see you then commander" replied Janeway, turning and making for the door. "And bring some of that coffee."
"Yes Kathryn" Chakotay responded, too softly for anyone but himself to hear.
B’Elanna and Tom exited Torres’ quarters and made for engineering. Torres was in the middle of complaining as they entered the empty turbolift. "Engineering… we’ve got more Lieutenants than just about anywhere else on the ship, and most of them are complete idiots. I’m surprised that some of my staff made it through Elementary Warp Theory at the Academy. If they give me a hard time today I might just break some heads."
They left the turbolift. "Come on B’Elanna, I’m sure it can’t be as bad as all that. At least some of them have a sense of humour. It’s like a morgue up on the bridge with Chakotay and Tuvok. Perhaps you should send your staff off on maintenance duties today to get them out of your hair."
They reached the main door to engineering. "That’s probably a good idea Tom. I’ll see you tonight." With that Torres put on a forced smile and went through the doors into engineering.
Tom retraced his steps and entered the turbolift. "Bridge… no, deck six." He still had just over ten minutes before he was due on the bridge for the start of his shift and thought that a holographic stout would go down quite well right now if no-one was using Fairhaven at the moment.
As he was passing Harry’s quarters the doors opened and Harry stepped out in period costume. "Ah good day to you Mr Kim" Tom said in a bad Irish accent. "We’re off to the fair town of Fairhaven are we? And who is the lucky lass who will be getting those chocolates under your arm."
"Hi Tom. You know very well that they’re for Maggie O’Halloran. She didn’t take too kindly to the flowers I gave her last time. Her being a flower seller and all. But I’m feeling lucky today."
"You sly dog you Harry. I won’t even turn her into a cow this time. Unless you preferred her that way of course." Harry grimaced in reply. "Well don’t do anything that I wouldn’t do. I better get to the bridge."
Harry entered began the Fairhaven program and entered holodeck one. Tom slightly grumpily made for the turbolift again after his plan for a quick beer had been thwarted by Harry’s inability to get any action with real women. "Bridge" he instructed rather testily.
Janeway sat in her quarters, glancing casually at her computer screen, while fidgeting with a blank padd in her left hand. The chime on her door activated. She pushed the computer aside and answered "come in if you’ve got a tattoo." Making a fair guess at who was on the other side of the door. If not, she might just learn something new about one of her crew members.
The door slid open and Chakotay strolled in. "I come bearing coffee" he said nodding towards the metallic jug in his hand.
"If all my conversations started this way, Chakotay, I could be truly happy." Janeway crossed over to the couch and gestured for Chakotay to take a seat. "Are these requests for transfers going to be easy to handle?"
"Unfortunately not. We seem to have more requests to leave Engineering, Security and Astrometrics than anything else."
"There’s a surprise" she replied sarcastically. "This could take a while, so we better get settled in." Janeway filled both of the mugs on her table to the brim with the steaming coffee while positioning her head so she could inhale as much of the rapidly fleeing aroma as possible.
Tuvok picked a minute piece of lint off his dress uniform. As today was a pretty quiet day, space travel wise, there was not a lot else for him to do on the bridge. Picking lint off his uniform was about as close to a nervous habit as Tuvok got. In fact the bits of lint were so small that he was the only one who could see them. Much of the crew were convinced that he had gone a bit crazy and had started to pick at imaginary bits of lint. The simple fact of the matter was that lint displeased Tuvok. He was often frustrated by the amount of the stuff that would accumulate in his navel every day.
Seeing as things were pretty quiet on the bridge Tuvok thought he’d check on his security team for meeting the Ferdu delegation (and make sure that they were suitably lint free). "Tuvok to Ayala and Swinn." There was no response. Tuvok waited a few seconds and then tried again "Lieutenant Commander Tuvok to Lieutenant Ayala and Ensign Swinn, please respond."
For a few more seconds, silence reigned before the doctor answered. "I don’t think they will be answering Lieutenant Commander. We’ve just dragged them both into sickbay unconscious."
"I will come to sickbay immediately Doctor. You have the bridge Ensign Lang."
Tuvok stormed through the sickbay doors (well as much as Vulcans storm anyway) just slow enough to avoid hitting himself on the door on the way in. Ayala and Swinn were stretched out on beds seemingly unconscious. The doctor was at Swinn’s side with a medical tricorder and looked up as Tuvok came in.
"At this stage there’s not a great deal to report Lieutenant Commander. Lieutenant Ayala and Ensign Swinn have just beaten each other half to death."
Tuvok walked up to Ayala and Swinn and saw the severe bruising and lacerations on their faces. "Do we know how this happened Doctor?"
"Not really, no. I was just completing an inventory of sickbay when I heard a ruckus outside. I put my mobile emitter on and once outside the door I saw Ayala and Swinn down the corridor viciously attacking each other. Before they both lost consciouness they were yelling some very strange things at each other. They both looked very frightened. It was almost as if they were delirious."
"Have you found a cause for this irregular behaviour?"
"No Mr Tuvok. I am still treating their injuries. I will let you know when I discover anything."
Tuvok left sickbay as quickly as he entered. He would leave discussing the incident between Swinn and Ayala with the captain until he knew a bit more about what happened. But his security team was out of commission and the Ferdu would be arriving in 30 minutes. He thought he should first remind the captain of their imminent arrival.
"Tuvok to Janeway"… no answer. "Lieutenant Commander Tuvok to Captain Janeway, please respond." After another few seconds the captain responded.
"Janeway here." Tuvok noticed that the captain sounded like she was a bit out of breath.
"Just reminding you, Captain, that the Ferdu delegation will be arriving at seventeen hundred hours."
"Thankyou Mr Tuvok… ah, I’m just getting changed into my… err, dress uniform… I’ll be there on time… Janeway out… ooh."
Tuvok was about to ask the captain whether she was alright, but she cut the conversation off so quickly that he did not have the opportunity. Tuvok decided to get his second security team together.
"Tuvok to Parsons and Foster." Again no response, the Vulcan was getting a bit tired of this. "Lieutenant Commander Tuvok to Ensign Parsons and Crewman Foster, please respond." Tuvok was not used to this sort of comm tardiness in his staff. Normally they were so afraid of him that they would respond straight away, even if they were dead. This time no one broke the silence however.
"Computer, locate Ensign Parsons and Crewman Foster."
The computer responded in the impersonal fashion that made Tuvok feel for a moment like he was back on Vulcan. "Ensign Parsons and Crewman Foster are in holodeck two." Fine time for a security drill, thought Tuvok. Even though, given their names, they were quite possibly in Fairhaven.
Tuvok got in the turbolift and made the short journey down to deck six. as he approached holodeck two he noticed that the door was open. He swung through the door and saw Parsons and Foster lying next to each other on the floor of the holodeck. They were both giggling uncontrollably. "Wow, this program’s great!" chortled Foster.
"On your feet" ordered Tuvok in his authoritative tone. After a couple of attempts the ensign and the crewman managed to stand up, even if their legs were still providing a somewhat shaky foundation. They attempted to look serious but were failing dismally. That neither of them was wearing shoes did not help matters.
"What is wrong with you two?" demanded Tuvok.
"Nothing sir, I feel just fine" replied Parsons. Tuvok did not look impressed. But then again, he never really did.
"Crewman, you just mentioned this program. What were you talking about?"
"All these patterns around us sir, they’re amazing."
"Crewman, a program is not running in this holodeck. You were just looking at the hologrid." Tuvok looked around at the empty grid.
"Isn’t it great?" replied Parsons.
"Both of you report to sickbay immediately. We will discuss this incident later." With that, both men wobbled out the door and stumbled off down the corridor. Tuvok made a mental note to check later whether they actually made it to sickbay.
Something very strange appeared to be going on, well at least with his security detail. But Tuvok didn’t have time to investigate as the Ferdu would be arriving in ten minutes. Luckily their visitors were pacifists, so Tuvok surmised that he could provide the security presence himself if needs be.
Tuvok ran into Seven of Nine as he was leaving the ‘psychedelic’ holodeck. "Lieutenant Commander" she nodded as she strutted past on perilously high heels. Tuvok had an idea.
"Seven of Nine. Are you doing anything important at the moment?"
"Nothing that cannot be done later, Lieutenant Commander. I was just on my way to check on the auxiliary computer core, as I’ve been getting some anomalous readings in astrometrics."
"If you have the time I wonder if you would be able to accompany me to meet the Ferdu delegation, in case I need security back-up. Unfortunately my security team is proving less than adequate today."
"It would be my pleasure Lieutenant Commander."
"Thankyou. Do you have a dress… err uniform?" Tuvok asked, fiercely trying not to look embarrassed. As usual Seven was not at all bothered.
"This uniform suffices for dress occasions" she responded indicating the outfit that looked like, except for in a few places, it had been spray painted on. In fact it had the sort of metallic finish that looked remarkably like the paintjob on one of Tom Paris’ holographic hot-rods.
As Seven and Tuvok got in the turbolift, Tuvok’s comm badge went off. "Ensign Lang to Lieutenant Commander Tuvok."
"The Ferdu have contacted us, sir. They will be ready to transport in about a minute."
"Thankyou, ensign. Please inform them that we will beam them aboard when they are ready."
As Tuvok and Seven entered the transporter room, Tuvok was surprised to see that Janeway and Chakotay were not already there. "Tuvok to Janeway." No answer. Given today’s events, he was not really surprised. "Tuvok to Chakotay." Yet again, no-one answered. Tuvok decided to get engineering to have a look at his comm badge a bit later on. "Computer, locate Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay."
"Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay are in Captain Janeway’s quarters."
The officer at the transporter console got Tuvok’s attention. "Sir, the Ferdu are ready to transport aboard." Tuvok decided that he would have to investigate Janeway’s and Chakotay’s tardiness later.
"Proceed ensign." A few seconds later three shapes shimmered into existence on the transporter pad. As the new visitors gained their bearings, Tuvok approached them. "Welcome to Voyager. I am Lieutenant Commander Tuvok and this is Seven of Nine."
The leader of the Ferdu delegation (by definition) stepped forward first. "Greeting Lieutenant Commander Tuvok. My name is Terou. These are my assistants Pils and Cofalc." The two aliens behind him nodded in turn.
The Ferdu appeared to be your run of the mill humanoids. Tuvok noted that the only major difference between them and humans was that the Ferdu had extremely large ear lobes (around ten centimetres in diameter) from which they hung ornate jewelry.
"Captain Janeway sends her apologies. Unfortunately she has been unavoidably detained. However, the captain will be joining us as soon as she possibly can."
"I’m sure the captain is a very busy person" replied Terou. "We will be appreciative of any time she can afford us."
"We’ll take you to the briefing room, where we can begin discussions until the captain arrives."
On the trip from the transporter to the briefing room the Ferdu seemed very keen to learn as much of Voyager’s travels as possible. Unfortunately with Tuvok and Seven of Nine as their guides they appeared to be finding the terse answers less than satisfactory. This just reinforced in Tuvok’s mind the need to get the captain to the briefing room as soon as possible. He did not wish to be responsible for botched trade negotiations resulting from him being too boring.
Tuvok ushered the Ferdu and Seven of Nine into the briefing room. Staying near the door, he announced "I will go and locate the captain. Seven of Nine will be able to accommodate any needs you have." Seven flashed him a less than appreciative glare. But Tuvok was already halfway out the door so there was not a great deal she could do about being left to take care of the Ferdu.
The moment the doors of the briefing room closed behind Tuvok he addressed the computer. "Computer, locate Captain Janeway." As he suspected, Janeway was still in her quarters, so he hurried into the turbolift and headed for deck three. When he reached Janeway’s door he tried the door chime, but there was no answer. After trying again, Tuvok decided that it was time to force the door open. "Computer, security over-ride on the door to Captain Janeway’s quarters."
The computer gave him the answer he did not want to hear. "Unable to comply. All security over-ride protocols have been locked out by Captain Janeway." This displeased Tuvok as Janeway was going well beyond her authority in this respect. As soon as he could contact her he was going to let her know too. However, short of blowing the door open there was not a great deal he could do while standing outside Janeway’s quarters. He decided to head for the bridge.
As he headed for the turbolift a violent jolt rocked the ship, throwing him against the nearest wall. As Tuvok got to his feet he saw that the ship had gone to red alert. He really did need to get to the bridge. As he jumped into the turbolift the ship jolted again. Tuvok hit his comm badge "Tuvok to Ensign Lang, report".
"Ensign Lang here Lieutenant Commander. Lieutenant Paris has gone crazy."
The turbolift doors opened onto the bridge and the ship violently jolted again as Tuvok stepped out. He immediately saw the problem. Tom Paris was tenaciously holding onto the helm as he sharply manoeuvred the ship all about. At the same time he was fending off Ensign Lang who was trying to pry him away from the console.
"That rock is out to get us. Can’t you see it. It’s on the screen right in front of us. Aah, cloud. Watch out, were going to hit it." Tom was obviously delirious, but he still had a good control of the ship as he veered to the left to avoid the imaginary cloud. Tuvok walked up to the helm and, using his Vulcan strength, hoisted Paris from the chair. While holding the babbling and flailing Paris in one hand Tuvok addressed the Ensign. "Ensign Lang transport Mr Paris to sickbay and stand down red alert. Tuvok to sickbay, prepare for an emergency transport. Ensign Jenkins, take the helm"
Tuvok dropped Paris to the floor with a loud thud just as he began to dematerialise. As the red lights stopped flashing the doctor contacted the bridge. "Glad to see you could send Mr Paris to join the party. What happened Mr Tuvok?"
"Mr Paris appeared to be delirious, doctor. He was piloting the ship erratically to avoid apparently imaginary objects."
"Something very strange is going on Mr Tuvok."
"I had gathered that much doctor."
"My sickbay is full of delirious people. I’ve been so busy treating and sedating them that I haven’t had time to work out what is going on."
"Do what you can doctor. I’m still trying to contact Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay. They appear to be locked in the captain’s quarters. I’ll try to contact the captain and I’ll come down to sickbay as soon as possible."
"Thankyou Mr Tuvok. I need all the help I can get. Doctor out."
Tuvok decided that he needed to ensure that the captain and Chakotay were alright. "Ensign Lang, see if you can patch an audio visual link into Captain Janeway’s quarters."
Lang fiddled with a few buttons on the ops console. "I’ve established a connection sir. I’ll patch it through to the tactical console." Unfortunately at that point, the ensign who was still shaking after her encounter with Tom Paris hit the wrong button on her console.
The main screen flickered to life. On the screen two people could be quite clearly made out and they were quite clearly Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay. The only thing either of them appeared to be covered with was sweat, and the occasional tattoo. Janeway was lying underneath Chakotay as both of them were wildly gyrating. Just then the audio kicked in. Janeway could be clearly heard: "Chuckles, yes, oh yes" she screamed.
Tuvok quickly moved and terminated the link. The main screen returned to the view of space. He turned to address the two remaining crew members on the bridge. "Ensign’s Lang and Jenkins. You are under orders not to reveal to anyone what you just saw on the screen. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir" they both responded, impressively maintaining their composures.
"Good. I have to go and check on our visitors. Ensign Lang, you have the bridge." As the doors shut behind Tuvok, the two ensigns burst into raucous laughter.
Tuvok walked into the briefing room in the middle of a conversation. Well a conversation of sorts anyway. It appeared that Seven of Nine was talking and the Ferdu were slumped over their coffee cups looking rather bored. Tuvok picked up the gist of the conversation which appeared to be Seven lecturing the Ferdu about the power interface between her alcove and Voyager’s power systems. As Tuvok walked in, the Ferdu seemed delighted to see him.
"I apologise for my absence. Unfortunately it will be some time before the captain will be able to join us. In fact she is flat on her back in bed and appears to have a fever. Hopefully she will make a quick recovery. She has asked me to carry on in her place."
"That’s fine Mr Tuvok. We completely understand. Send the captain our best wishes. Is the ship alright?" responded Terou.
"Yes, we just ran into some pockets of gas that threw the ship around a bit. We are clear of them now so you should have a steady ride for the rest of your time with us." Tuvok took a seat. "The captain was eager to learn about the power source you use for your ships. Are you able to tell me about it?"
"Certainly" answered Terou. "Cofalc is the most knowledgeable on this matter so I’ll let him speak." Just as Cofalc opened his mouth to speak, Tuvok’s comm badge went off."
"Doctor to Lieutenant Commander Tuvok."
Tuvok said "Excuse me" and left the room to talk to the doctor. "Tuvok here. Any developments doctor?"
"I have an idea what’s causing the incidents of delirium Mr Tuvok. I think you should come down to sick bay immediately."
"On my way" Tuvok replied in a reluctant manner. Tuvok stuck his head around the corner of the briefing room. "I must apologise and leave you again." He was met with a glare from all in the room. "An urgent matter has come up that requires my immediate attention. I will return as soon as I possibly can." Tuvok left before anyone had the time to respond.
As Tuvok’s day continued to get worse, on the holodeck, Harry’s seemed to be improving by the minute. Harry had manoeuvred Maggie O’Halloran into a barn, or if truth be told it was actually Maggie who did most of the manoeuvring. The barn was an excellent setting for this intimate scene. It was devoid of the foul animal smells found in most barns. The pile of hay they were on did not scratch their bare bodies and was not infested with mice. Harry had been dreaming of this scenario for quite some while now and was glad when they were able to save Fairhaven.
Maggie was kissing Harry in a way he’d never been kissed before. It was clear that the chocolates had paid off big time. Maggie was beginning to enjoy herself too, as much as a hologram can anyway. That was until Harry started to scream.
"Get off me." Harry yelled as he pushed Maggie off the top of him and she went rolling down the pile of hay.
Maggie picked herself up. "Harry, what’s wrong? I thought you were enjoying yourself."
"Stay away from me" Harry replied in a shrill voice. "I’m not going to let you eat me."
"Oh, Harry Kim, that was just kissing you silly boy. They must do things differently where you come from." But before Maggie could talk any further, Harry had flown down from the top of the pile of hay and pushed her out of the barn. As Maggie recovered her senses she heard the door of the barn being barricaded.
"At least give me my clothes back Harry Kim. It’s cold out here."
"You wont get me alive" screamed Harry in reply.
"You’ve lost your senses. Suit yourself then." Maggie ran off towards her home hoping that no-one would see her white body before she could get some clothes on. Scandals were not good for selling flowers.
As Tuvok walked through the sickbay doorway he saw that the doctor was not exaggerating about how busy he was. Every nook and cranny of sickbay was full with sedated crew members. As the doctor gave another crew member a hypospray, he turned to Tuvok. "Lieutenant Commander, am I glad to see you. I’ve been run off my feet here in sickbay. About half the crew have come down here suffering from symptoms ranging from mild delirium to full blown hysteria. But I think I know what has been causing it."
"Do tell, doctor."
"Well, it appears that all of the crew members I have treated have a hallucinogen in their systems. Judging by the nature of the hallucinogen I believe that they have ingested it through food or drink. At this stage I haven’t had time to find a cure as I have been so busy sedating people."
"Is it likely to have been caused by the replicators doctor?"
"I think that is unlikely Mr Tuvok. It is much more likely that it is a result of one of Mr Neelix’s concoctions."
Tuvok hit his comm badge. "Tuvok to Neelix".
"Please report to sickbay immediately with samples of all the food and drink you have served today. It appears that your food has caused the strange behaviour on the ship."
"Oh my. How could that be? I’ll be down immediately Lieutenant Commander."
Tuvok addressed the doctor. "Can you tell me if I have the hallucinogen in my blood?"
The doctor quickly scanned him with a medical tricorder. "No, your blood appears fine."
"Good" replied Tuvok. "What are our options for controlling this?"
"Well, I haven’t had time to find an antidote yet. The effects of the hallucinogen should wear off with time."
"Get to work on the antidote as soon as possible doctor. We can’t afford to have most of the crew out of commission for any period of time. Now excuse me. I must return to our visitors."
A couple of minutes later, Tuvok once again hurried into the briefing room to find Seven boring the Ferdu half to death. The minutiae of ships operations were not particularly enthralling to most people, let alone visitors who had much more interesting things to discuss.
"I apologise for my absence. Everything appears to be under control now."
Seven spoke before any of the Ferdu had an opportunity. "Our visitors have been telling me about their power source, Lieutenant Commander. I believe that such a source would be of great value to Voyager."
"Excellent" replied Tuvok, inwardly annoyed with Seven for giving away part of their negotiating hand. "Would you be interested in trading some of your power source for anything we have?"
Terou answered: "Well, Mr Tuvok, Seven of Nine has given us a detailed listing of Voyager’s holdings and I’m not sure that you have anything that we want."
Tuvok could see his commendation from the captain going down the tube. "Do you have a system of currency that we could use to procure the source from you?"
"Well…" Before Terou could finish her answer, Tuvok’s comm badge went off again.
"Neelix to Lieutenant Commander Tuvok."
Tuvok excused himself from the table and left the briefing room. "Tuvok here."
"Something is wrong with the doctor, Mr Vulcan."
"I think it would probably be better if you came down and saw for yourself."
"On my way" Tuvok replied reluctantly. He hated to think about the sort of impression the Ferdu were getting of Voyager from Seven, but he didn’t have much choice at the moment.
The first thing Tuvok saw as he entered sickbay was a large bristled oversized dog like beast snarling and growling at Neelix who was firmly pressed up against a wall.
"What’s going on here Mr Neelix? Where is the doctor?"
"You’re looking at him Mr Vulcan." The beast faced Tuvok and bared its teeth letting out a low growl. As it moved towards Tuvok the beast suddenly went blurry and began to change shape. Before Tuvok could refocus his eyes the creature before him had the body of a voluptuous woman in a white dress, but with the doctor’s head.
"Happy birthday Mr President. Happy birthday to you" crooned the sensual alto voice. Neelix had descended from his position half way up the wall and came over to Tuvok, keeping his distance from the rather womanly, but nonetheless bald, doctor.
"I don’t know what happened Mr Tuvok. When I came down to the sickbay the doctor was fine, if somewhat testy. When I told him I had the samples of my food for analysis, he told me he was too busy to analyse it just yet. I thought I’d help him out, so I fed a sample of each into the replicator for analysis. Incidentally, it’s the coffee that contains the hallucinogen. I have no idea how that happened either. Anyway, just as I was discussing the results with the doctor, he started to flicker and then he changed shapes." Neelix gestured towards the doctor who was pouting and attempting to look seductive. "This is his fourth or fifth different shape. I tried to turn off his program but have had no success thus far."
"Thankyou Mr Neelix. I’ll get someone from engineering to come and have a look at the doctor straight away. Have you secured all of your coffee?"
"Yes, Mr Vulcan. I locked up my galley before I came down here."
"Good. I want you to stay here and help anyone that comes down here. The doctor’s sedative hypospray is on the trolley over there."
"You can count on me Mr Vulcan" stated Neelix putting on his most dependable expression.
"I’m sure I can" replied Tuvok with a sarcastically raised eyebrow. "Tuvok to engineering". Even though Tuvok was expecting a response from B’Elanna he was pleasantly surprised to hear the relatively calm voice of Ensign Vorik.
"Ensign Vorik here sir. Lieutenant Torres is behaving more irrationally than usual. She has just ejected everyone from engineering and has locked the doors. She has accused us of trying to destroy the warp core. I believe her to be delirious sir."
Tuvok wasn’t overly surprised. "I believe I know what is happening ensign. Attempt to subdue the Lieutenant and I will be there as soon as possible."
"Yes sir." Tuvok left the sickbay.
As Tuvok hurried down the empty corridor, he was longing for a good meditation session. But there is no rest for the good. Whoever says that there is no rest for the wicked just needs to spend a day with a self styled saint to see how wrong that saying is. Of course the saying was just invented so that busy people could use it and think of themselves as bad boys, or girls, as the case may be.
"Seven of Nine to Lieutenant Commander Tuvok."
"Lieutenant Commander, something very odd has just happened." For Tuvok that was about the worst thing someone could say. Some people rather depended on odd things happening to add interest to their lives. However, Vulcans like Tuvok were quite happy if nothing odd ever happened. Tuvok often mused how much easier security on Voyager would be if no-one were actually on the ship. Unfortunately that was about the extent of the Vulcan sense of humour.
Seven continued: "the Ferdu started behaving very strangely and then ran out of the briefing room."
"Have they consumed any of Neelix’s coffee?"
"Yes, they seemed to quite enjoy the coffee."
"We have just discovered that the coffee contains an hallucinogen. Do you know where the Ferdu currently are?"
"They are somewhere in the Jeffries tubes below deck one. I will track them down."
"Only use force if they look like they will damage the ship."
"Yes, Lieutenant Commander. ‘Kid gloves’ I believe the saying is."
"Thankyou Seven. Take them to sickbay when you locate them. Mr Neelix will sedate them."
Tuvok’s conversation with Seven ended as he reached engineering. Tuvok approached the door, but quickly had to duck out of the way as Lieutenant Carey came flying out of the door and hit the opposite wall with a crash.
"Ah, she broke my nose again" whined Carey, cradling his face.
Ensign Vorik stood across from Tuvok on the other side of the doors with what appeared to be the beginnings of a black eye. "As you can see Lieutenant Commander, our attempts to subdue Lieutenant Torres have been unsuccessful. She still seems to be under the misapprehension that we intend to harm ‘her’ warp core."
"Thankyou ensign. Report to sickbay. There is something wrong with the doctor’s program. I’ll take care of this matter." Vorik scuttled off down the corridor in the direction of the turbolift.
"Tuvok to Lieutenant Torres."
"Stay away" came the reply. "I wont let you anywhere near my warp core."
"You are mistaken Lieutenant. I have no intention of harming ‘your’ warp core."
"Everyone wants to harm my warp core. Except me, it’s my baby. I’d never let any harm come to it."
Tuvok had an idea. "Well, if you intend to protect your warp core Lieutenant, I will ensure that no-one enters engineering."
Tuvok stood up and addressed a nearby crew member. "Ensign Ashmore. Watch this door and ensure that no-one enters engineering. I will be in sickbay if this situation changes."
As Tuvok went to leave, Lieutenant Carey got up off the floor to protest. "But sir, aren’t you going to do something about Torres."
"Not at the moment Mr Carey. Lieutenant Torres is suffering from paranoia caused by Neelix’s coffee. She will not harm the warp core in her current state, so engineering is the safest place for her to be. For us and for her."
Carey opened his mouth to protest further, but Tuvok’s heels did not look like they wanted to listen.
Tuvok’s comm badge went off again as he made for sickbay. In fact it had got so much use in the last couple of hours that it was almost burning a hole in his chest. "Seven of Nine to Tuvok."
"Tuvok here. Have you found the Ferdu delegation?"
"They have just entered holodeck one Lieutenant Commander."
"Is the holodeck currently in use?"
"Yes, Mr Kim is running the Fairhaven program. I have not been able to contact him."
"Are the safety protocols still online?"
"Yes they should be safe in there."
"Good. Lock the door to holodeck one and ensure that the safety protocols remain on. We can worry about the Ferdu once we have the situation under control. Hopefully they enjoy themselves as much as the rest of the crew seems to in that program. Once you have done that, meet me in sickbay."
Seven and Tuvok arrived at sickbay at the same time. "The Ferdu are safely locked up in holodeck one Lieutenant Commander."
"Good" replied Tuvok. "Now we have a more pressing matter to deal with."
As the sickbay doors opened, Seven and Tuvok could see Vorik working on a panel in one of the walls. The doctor appeared to have taken the form of Michael Sullivan and was talking to Neelix. To say that Neelix looked shocked would be an understatement. His mouth was wide open and his eyes were covered with several layers of glaze. When Seven and Tuvok heard the topic of conversation they understood why.
"…Then Katie threw me up against the wall and begun to pull my pants off with her foot while tearing my shirt along one of the seams with her hands. Well after we’d just broken the bed, we had to do it standing up, didn’t we? That was until the next day by the lake anyway."
It was just as well that everyone in sickbay with the exception of Tuvok, Seven, Vorik and Neelix were sedated otherwise no-one would be able to look the captain in the eye again. It was also fortunate that it was two Vulcans and a former Borg in the room at the time. Poor Neelix however would have to be a model of self restraint in the future.
Vorik called Tuvok over to the panel where he was working. "The bio-neural gel pack controlling the doctor’s systems is malfunctioning sir. It appears that when Neelix used the replicator to analyse his coffee the hallucinogen infected the nearest gel pack."
"Has the hallucinogen spread to other gel packs ensign?" Tuvok enquired.
"No, I believe it has been localised to sickbay. I am just in the process of replacing the gel pack." Vorik leant into the panel and tightened a screw. "That should suffice."
In an instant Michael disappeared and the doctor reappeared looking rather perplexed. "Oh I’m sorry. Did I really just say all those things?" He could tell from the expression that remained on Neelix’s face that he had. "Remind me to instruct you on proper medical analysis procedures in the near future Mr Neelix." Neelix managed to shut his mouth.
Tuvok turned to the doctor. "Doctor, have you managed to develop an antidote for the hallucinogen yet?"
"I believe so Mr Tuvok. Despite recent distractions" the doctor said frowning towards Neelix "I have developed a trial antidote."
"Good. Can we use the ship’s ventilation systems to distribute the antidote?"
"I’m afraid not Lieutenant Commander. To ingest a sufficient amount of the antidote it will have to be administered in the form of a hypospray or an orally ingested liquid."
"Please get to work producing sufficient quantities of the antidote for the whole crew doctor. I will think of a method for administration." Tuvok turned to Seven, Neelix and Vorik. "Suggestions?"
Seven in her usual manner was the first to chip in, speaking over the top of Vorik. "I suggest we do a deck by deck sweep of Voyager and administer the hypospray by force."
Tuvok frowned at the suggestion. "I’m afraid we have neither the personnel nor the time to implement your suggestion effectively. Besides we are unable to access the captain’s quarters and both the captain and Commander Chakotay are in need of the antidote.
Neelix started to think aloud. "So we need a way to get crew members to come to us and voluntarily take the antidote. I think I know how Mr Vulcan. I could make some more coffee."
Vorik chipped in. "Don’t you think you’ve made enough coffee for one day Mr Neelix."
Tuvok cut Vorik off. "No, I think Mr Neelix may be correct. Go to your galley and get started on a new ‘brew’."
"Right away, Mr Vulcan" Neelix replied cheerfully as he bounced out of sickbay and headed for the mess hall.
Soon after Neelix’s message to all crew that a new brew of Celdin Kicker was ready in the mess hall, crew members emerged from all corners of the ship. In the crowded mess hall Tuvok was relieved to see that the Ferdu had arrived unharmed. After consuming the antidote, they seemed none the worse for wear and actually seemed to be enjoying themselves conversing with recently recovered crew members. If truth be told, they were probably just glad to be talking to someone other than Seven of Nine.
Tuvok had still not seen sign of the captain or Chakotay. But as the mess hall doors opened again he saw a lot more than he had ever wanted. Chakotay strolled into the mess hall, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was not wearing a shred of clothes. A gasp was followed by a hush by those who had already taken the antidote. Those in line for the coffee didn’t seem to notice, and were more than happy for Chakotay to join the end of the queue.
Tuvok strode over to Chakotay and covered him as best he could with his dress jacket. He quickly administered a hypospray containing the antidote to the back of Chakotay’s neck. A look of realisation dawned on Chakotay’s face. This was closely followed by a look of semi-masked horror as he realised that he was wearing a suit that was appropriate for only one day of the year.
"Ah, Tuvok. Thankyou" Chakotay said grasping the dress jacket around himself as if pulling on the end of it would somehow make it longer. "I trust everything is now under control."
"Yes, almost everything sir" Tuvok replied hinting below the line of the jacket.
"Yes, well. I had better go and locate my uniform then."
"That would be a good idea sir. Can I also ask you to take some of this coffee to the captain. It will neutralise the effects of the hallucinogen that you both ingested through Neelix’s coffee."
"Yes of course, Tuvok. I’ll, err, drop past her quarters after I locate my uniform. And tell Neelix that I will take personal responsibility for the disposal of the remaining infected coffee" With that Chakotay turned and attempted to make a dignified exit from the mess hall. Well as dignified as any naked man can look anyway. His departure was greeted with a great deal of snickering. That was until Tuvok wheeled around with a look that made it clear that he would not tolerate such puerile behaviour. The mess hall returned to a state of recovering hush.
After another day, Captain Janeway had fully recovered and had finally made it to the briefing room to continue negotiations with the Ferdu. "I understand from Mr Tuvok that we have nothing that you would consider for trade for your power source."
"Yes, that was the case" replied Terou. "But the events of the last day have given us a few ideas. We are now willing to give you a large enough supply of our power source to get you to the Alpha Quadrant and back again."
"What are your terms?" enquired Janeway suspiciously. She was a firm believer that if something appeared to be too good to be true, it generally was.
"Two things" replied Terou. "First we would like the Fairhaven holodeck program. While we were locked in the holodeck we had a wonderful time. That beverage you call ‘stout’ is wonderful. We believe that the program can be successfully integrated into our holo-technology."
"Granted" Janeway responded. "And the second?"
"Secondly, we would like the recipe to that beverage called ‘coffee’ that Seven of Nine served us. The one with the hallucinogenic qualities."
Janeway blurted out "Agreed" before Tuvok had time to get her attention. He drew her back from the table. "Captain, I do not believe that we should be giving this coffee to the Ferdu. It had potentially disastrous effects on Voyager. We do not know how it would effect their culture."
Terou butted in. "If I may Mr Tuvok. My people have extensive experience with hallucinogens. They are used on our planet for religious and leisure purposes. I can guarantee that the ‘coffee’ would not have adverse effects."
"That’s good enough for me" stated Janeway with a smile. "Sold!" she said trying her best to sound like a Ferengi.
The Ferdu stood on the transporter pad, preparing to leave Voyager. "I’d like to thank you for a very interesting and enlightening visit Captain Janeway" said Terou in a formal but pleasant manner.
"Likewise" replied Janeway. "It’s a pity we’re not staying around in the Delta Quadrant. I believe our people would be good friends."
"I wish you the best of luck getting back home, Captain."
"Thankyou. It should be quicker now with your power source." Janeway nodded to the transporter operator, and the Ferdu left Voyager.
"Come on Tuvok. Let’s get back to work" said Janeway, who was clearly in a rather jovial mood. She continued as they left the transporter room and made for her quarters. "I have one more question for you about the coffee incident. The ship’s log indicates that you patched an audio visual connection to my quarters. Did you see or hear anything?"
"No Captain" replied Tuvok looking somewhat uncomfortable. "Unfortunately your quarters were too dark to make out anything. The audio link did not provide anything of interest either. For the while we had to be satisfied knowing that your vital signs were normal, from sickbay."
"You wouldn’t lie to me now, would you Tuvok?"
"Of course not captain. Not unless I had a very good reason" he replied with a knowing look.
"Good. Well this is my stop" she said as they arrived at her quarters. "I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow morning."
"Yes captain. Good night." Tuvok turned and headed for the turbolift, as he was about due for a nice long uninterrupted period of meditation. As he approached at the turbolift, the doors opened and a fully clothed Chakotay stepped out.
"Mr Tuvok" Chakotay nodded as he went past in somewhat of a hurry.
As Tuvok got into the turbolift and the doors were shutting in front of him, he saw that Chakotay was in fact on his way into Captain Janeway’s quarters. He also noticed that Chakotay was carrying a pot of coffee in his right hand. It was at that point that Tuvok realised that he probably should have disposed of Neelix’s coffee himself.
Bodie does check his mail every now & then. Send your comments & requests for the coffee recipe to this address.
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