Loreli waltzed into Sickbay with her usual beautiful-and-caring-but-unattainable demeanor, but really, she was fighting the butterflies in her trunk. Her secret romance with Enigo had been relatively easy when the ship was mostly empty but for a few crew and maintenance personnel. Now, surrounded by people who knew and loved her well, she found herself wondering if she and Enigo were giving themselves away with every chance look. It did add an element of excitement. She’d have to rely on her training, lest she give her emotions away.
“Loreli!” Trevor, the med tech who had helped her smiled with mild infatuation. That often happened after physical contact. “Are you feeling all right? How’s your face?”
She gave him her friendly, enigmatic “Mona Lisa” smile. “Thanks to your expert ministrations, I’m fine, thank you, Trevor. I came to hand deliver the results of our analysis on the turkraken and check in on our patients.”
“Hey, Fronds,” Enigo groaned from where he lay on a diagnostic bed. He didn’t bother to open his eyes, and gave her the weakest of waves. Despite herself, she grinned. Four phaser blasts, even set on stun, would give even their valiant Chief of Security a mutherofal headache.
On the bed next to him, the officer from the Inconceivable was upright and grimacing rather than wincing as the doctor ran a dermal regenerator over his scalded arms and reassured him that yes, he would be able to play the flutaphone again – if, of course, he knew how to play the flutaphone in the first place.
“It doesn’t really matter,” the young man replied. “It’s the only one of its kind. The computer made up a whole new music style for it. If I miss a note, I can say it’s just style.”
According to Ship Sexy Handbook, Loreli should go greet the healthy crewman with polite familiarity en route to Enigo’s bedside. This she did, but then hesitated as she approached her love. It wasn’t the secret romance that made her pause, however. Normally in her role, she would lean toward Enigo solicitously, allowing him a brief glimpse of her cleavage, but considering he had the heels of his hands pressed against his eyeballs, she didn’t think he would appreciate it.
Instead, she set her hand lightly on his shoulder. Squeezes were reserved for the unconscious, the critically ill, or those in a state of high agitation, so she resisted the urge, much as she’d come to enjoy the feel of his taut muscles.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Violated,” he groaned. “That thing didn’t just grab my face, it frenched me halfway down my throat. Doc, you sure it didn’t lay eggs in my stomach or anything?”
“I did a complete scan,” Doctor Pasteur said. “There’s nothing but traces of turkey grease and squid ink.”
“No wonder I’m nauseous.”
“That is probably more the effect of being stunned simultaneously by four of your security members.”
“Yeah.” Despite his pain, he had pride in his voice. “Best security team in the fleet. But you’re sure…?”
“It wasn’t alive,” Loreli assured him. “We ran multiple tests. It was pure replicated meat. Somehow, the cells were programmed to react to being prodded.”
“You sayin’ it was a practical joke?”
“When I find this guy, I’m buying him a beer – then I’m stunning him four times.”
“You have a joker, too?” the Inconceivable officer asked.
Enigo removed one hand just enough to peer at his fellow patient. “You didn’t hear about our toilet paper that licks?”
“That’s…interesting. No, but we have one, too. My flutaphone? It was supposed to be a French horn. I was replacing a wall speaker. It’s a standard replacement file, but now, the replacement morphs into a talking fish whenever it’s activated.”
Doctor and medtech snickered, but Enigo asked, “Did you guys report it to HuFleet?”
“I don’t know. I’m Maintenance. I doubt it. Everybody kind of likes Walleye.”
Enigo sighed. “And we thought this was some crewman with a warped sense of humor. LaFuentes to the Captain, we got a problem – and it ain’t just the main course.”