A Cuppa of Poison
Posted on Tuesday, 14 June 2022 - 1:03pm by Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant JG Jodon Joral & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt & Lieutenant JG Ethan Connelly
Operation: My Unfair Lady
Location: USS Standing Bear | Deck 04 | Chief Science Officer's Office
The junior lieutenant with a boyishly freckled face had more seasoning within him than outward appearances could ever show, a joined Trill. Though it was not just being a joined Trill that played that much of a factor in his life and service aboard the starships that he was assigned to, but rather that he had been joined to a symbiont who had lived extraordinary lives including that of a Starfleet Captain, but J.J. never sought to bring that up in casual discussion nor did he gloat. It was not in his nature to do so, and he wanted no 'special' treatment from his fellow officers or superiors.
As he stood there idle in the Chief Science Officer's office as he and Ethan Connelly waited for Captain Pippa Whitley to arrive after making some progress on the forensic front of their investigation. J.J. eyed the replicator for a moment as he did feel a bit parched, but after their recent discovery, he was hesitant to even order a piece of celery to gnaw on. He awkwardly came about, his big brow doe-eyed gaze falling upon Ethan. "So... poison," he said bringing up the headline on the non-existent marquee. "That's what we are dealing with..."
“In tea, no less,” Lieutenant Connelly sighed. “Absolutely scandalous… is nothing sacred?! Perhaps we didn’t quite make it back to our own universe and this is some alternate dimension full of poisoned tea and grouchy xenobiologists.”
J.J. smiled warmly at the sharp wit. "Just mirror enough to be perverse, but not entirely unholy. I'd imagine there are worse universes or realities to be in," he replied. That was more of his specialty anyways. "One where tea is entirely illegal."
The xenobiologist comment caused a brow raising. "I heard something about a Xenobiologist that was a bit of a grouch" commented the youthful science officer. "Say...sir, do you think the replicators are safe? We fond no evidence anyone was in those quarters that didn't belong there or had reason to be. Doctor Selin didn't seem the type to just have tea with someone."
“Safer than my mother’s cooking,” Ethan quipped. “But yes, on balance. While we aren’t a large crew, if this were due to a malfunction of some kind it appears to be an isolated occurrence and I am sure a full diagnostic will be run to be doubly sure. Just steer clear of liquorice.”
"The isolation of it is what bothers me the most to be honest," stated J.J. as he looked at Ethan. "If it were a broad problem with the replicators, we'd have crew dropping like fleas after fumigation. We don't. So, if it is something with the replicator, it was isolated to Doctor Selin's replicator, or something more specific."
“This poison, to a lot of the crew, would give little more than mild abdominal cramps and perhaps some nausea,” Connelly noted, “I called in a favour on that one. So… was it by accident or design that it found it’s way into the tea? If by accident, it is unfortunate. If by design, it is by far much more troubling.”
J.J. nodded agreeingly.
Just in time, Captain Whitley arrived, the half-Efrosian's eyesight may not have been ideal, but their ability to hear was perfectly fine. "More than troubling," Pippa said as they entered with a PaDD in hand and took a seat across from Ethan.
This was his office until Klingsley returned, Pippa was a guest here. "I took a few moments to glance at your findings, but I thought it best to hear the fine details from you. So, if was the tea?"
“Indeed. We had to breakdown all of the ingredients and one stood out,” Ethan told her, “for Vulcans, indeed even Romulans, it has almost immediately and potentially fatal consequences if ingested in a high enough dosage. It is tasteless, so blended in with the tea, I highly doubt the doctor would have noted anything immediately wrong.
The poison is Ervayke, it is found on remote parts of Vulcan but is rare. It can also be replicated. It seems unlikely a random malfunction would place this exact substance in the tea of a Vulcan. Not impossible but it is more likely to be a deliberate act.”
"Deliberate seems to be the correct presumption to make," replied Captain Whitley. "We have safety procedures that should prevent anything lethal being replicated by a food and beverage unit. Unless Doctor Selin deliberately made the poisonous concoction herself, something went wrong and it was unlikely an accident."
J.J. had been leaning against a bulkhead listening. "That specific toxin. A Vulcan's quarters. I'm a numbers person, and the odds of all of this happening randomly aren't remotely plausible."
“I’m inclined to agree. I remember as a child my grandmother taught me to avoid the Erva plant if ever I saw one,” Connelly informed them. “As I did to my son even though he has even less Vulcan heritage in his DNA than I. It is almost embedded in legend, for every part of the plant is deadly in one way or another. The risk is so great. I highly doubt an experienced physician like Dr Selin would ever intentionally have this in her possession.”
The Trill chimed in. "Some crazy botanist might, but the botanical labs are still a bit of a clean slate of dirt and harmless plants at the moment. The replicator unit would seem the likely method that poison was placed into the tea about materialization, but that presents its own problems. As the Captain noted, we have safety protocols."
Pippa nodded and looked at Ethan. "Safety protocols that could only be disabled by someone with a certain technical prowess, or overridden by an appropriate security level of clearance."
“Quite. However, before eliminating those with insufficient access or technical expertise,” Ethan cautioned, “it may be wise to test those safeguards to ensure they are indeed robust. This ship has undergone a massive refurbishment to better align with the Federation systems, but such efforts may have left vulnerable- by accident or an intentional act is guesswork at this particular moment.
There is also the matter of motivation. Dr Selin was aboard a short time. She obviously holds a senior position but to attempt to murder or at the very least incapacitate her would seem to serve no logical purpose. We have limited medical personnel and therefore an impact upon their abilities to care for the crew would seem counter intuitive. Assuming the person is on board.
No offence, Captain, but if the motivation was to disrupt our mission - you would be a more logical target. With Commander Soral off of the ship, it would leave the mission in jeopardy unless Command permitted Lieutenant Vali to take command. It is logical to assume, as you were not targeted, that we need further information to make further deductions. Unless you are aware of anyone bearing any ill will towards the doctor?”
"I don't know the Doctor well, arguably some of you may know her even better than I," Pippa stated. "Aside from the general issue between Vulcans presently, I gave nothing. Selin was not a political figure either. Could she have been chosen as a message?"
“It is a possibility,” Connelly conceded.
J.J. cleared his throat. "Speculations aside, should we order the replicators offline and off limits until we have more clarity on the matter?"
“While it may be unpopular, it would seem wise to allow engineering to run a full diagnostic of the entire system,” Ethan agreed.
Pippa nodded. "Better safe than dead," the Captain said and excused themself for a moment. "Not going to waste time" added Pippa who stood. "Computer, disable all food and beverage replicators - shipwide immediately...command authorization Whitley echo - five - nine - nine - delta."
The computer accepted the command authorization and the replicator unit in the Chief Science Officer's office soon powered down to a state where the screen went entirely black. "Share your findings with the medical department. We have been assigned a new physican."
Tapping their comm badge, Captain Whitley wanted answers. Security was running the investigation aboard the Standing Bear, but Whitley needed information. "Whitley to Lieutenant Eberhardt, Adrianna, I want access to the personnel files of every soul that set foot on this starship that's stationed on the starbase and meet me in Ready Room in an hour."
"On my way," the Italian replied after a few moments silence.
"Thank you, Lieutenant," replied the Captain terminating the signal swiftly. Pippa looked at Ethan before leaving "I want a full analysis on that toxin. If we have a better understanding of what it does to the Vulcan anatomy, it will help our medical personnel."