By Emiliana Keladry
Disclaimer: I don't own Enterprise and make no money from this story. They belong to ParaMount and themselves.
Author's note: I was working on another story for "I am Fine" Month, but it wouldn't be finished for a few more weeks and I wanted to post in May, so I came up with this little piece. It'll only be 3 or 4 chapters long. Please enjoy!
Chapter 1- Like Spam
Chapter 1- Like Spam
Lieutenant Malcolm Reed listened carefully as Captain Jonathan Archer spoke to the Weiren Prime Minister. The alien had pink skin like them, but was several feet taller than them and had long legs and fingers. The Weiren people had come across Enterprise in need of assistance and Captain Archer had answered their distress call. After repairing almost every system on their ship, their Captain invited Jonathan and the others to a special meal on their planet which was only three light-years away. Hoshi Sato, Commander Tucker, Captain Archer and he were the only ones at the dinner. Their new friends said they preferred small dinner parties. The entire group was currently eating in the home of the Prime Minister Gamin. Mal found himself seated in-between Hoshi and Trip. Across from him sat a veiled young woman, who was the minister's only daughter, Tulia. Jonathan sat next to her and the minister was on the other side of his daughter. Malcolm stared at the tak-far meat on his plate, not feeling very hungry.
"Tak-far is a native animal from our planet," Gamin was saying. "We typically serve it with kkta roots, but as a special treat we have brought out our secret store of rinn roots. Please eat."
"It looks delicious," Jon declared putting some of the yellow pus colored meat on his utensil that resembled a fork.
Malcolm inwardly chuckled, realizing that only Captain Archer could agree to eat something that sounded like a Klingon name and smile. Trip elbowed him and smiled, taking a bite. It was his cue to eat some. Mal carefully maneuvered the food onto his fork and placed it in his mouth. It tasted like raw spam and caster oil with a bit of something he couldn't recognize. He was tempted to spit it out, but knew it would be disrespectful. It felt slimy and warm as it went down his throat. Gamin was stuffing his face with the food. Mal looked to his left and saw that Trip had realized the same thing. It was disgusting.
The meal continued with Malcolm carefully hiding the meat in his napkin until most of it looked gone. Then he slipped the napkin into a pocket of his uniform to hide it. The second course wasn't much better, resembling the monkey brains he had seen in an old Indiana Jones movie when he was younger. At least it was cold and had little flavor to it. Malcolm didn't even bother to catch what Gamin called it. He listened to Hoshi asking the lady about her language.
"The women of our society can speak twelve separate dialects and the men only speak two," Tulia was saying. "It's not because we are better, but they cannot grasp the complexity of the other ten."
"I would love to hear all of them," Hoshi replied, not concentrating on the cold food before her.
"I can send our ship a recording of them. The written language is also difficult to master and has several unique conjugations. I would be pleased to share them with you."
The second course was finished quickly and dessert was placed before them. This was the only part of the meal that looked somewhat appetizing. It was a pale blue fruit with a rough shell that broke open when tapped twice. The inside was soft and spongy.
"We call it podia," Gamin explained. "I was looking through your database and discovered it is something like it called pin-appeal. It grows in the same fashion."
"I think you mean pineapple," Jon corrected nicely. "Mr. Reed is actually quite found of pineapple. Would you like to do the honors, Lieutenant?"
Malcolm nodded, curious about the fruit. He put some on the dessert spoon and took a bit. The pale blue fruit melted on his tongue and was very sweet. There was a slight taste of pineapple, but not much. He smiled.
"What do you think, Lieutenant?" Gamin inquired.
"It's very good," Mal answered, taking another bite and savoring the taste.
"I'm glad you like it. I will send some along with you to give your Chef."
Jonathan returned to talking to Gamin about their planet. Malcolm finished his fruit and wished for more, but thought it to be unkind to ask for more since Gamin was sending some up to Chef. Trip began to talk to him and the minister's daughter about some of their more unfortunate missions.
The rest of the meal went smoothly and Gamin asked if they would like a tour of the gardens which were in full bloom at the time. Malcolm felt slightly uneasy about that, thinking of all the plants which could trigger his allergies. Once they left the dining room, he pulled Captain Archer off to the side.
"Sir, I don't think it would be a good idea for me to go into the garden. I don't know how it could affect my allergies," Malcolm whispered, keeping his voice down so Trip and Hoshi couldn't hear him.
"I'm sure Gamin wouldn't mind if you went back to the shuttle."
Reed's military training kicked in at that moment. He couldn't leave Captain Archer and the others alone without security. His discomfort would have to be tolerated.
"That's fine sir. I'd like to remain with the others."
Jon smiled at him. "I figured that you would, but if your allergies begin to bother you let me know."
Malcolm nodded and followed the group out into the garden. It was well lit for it being dusk on the planet. The sun had almost gone down and the planet's two moons were clear in the sky. Jonathan, Gamin, and Tulia walked ahead of the others. They were talking about the flowers and their fascinating origins. Purple flowers and yellow flowers veined around the marble pathway that traced the inside of the garden.
"What did you think of the tak-far?" Trip whispered.
"It was… interesting," Hoshi answered, fingering a red flower.
"At least it tasted better than that blood soup Captain Archer and I had to eat once."
Mal opened his mouth to say something, but felt his stomach gurgle uncomfortably. He paused, placing a hand on his abdomen.
"Are you alright Mal?" Trip inquired, seeing him stop and noticing the hand on his stomach.
"You look a little pale," Hoshi interrupted, stepping closer to him.
"Really, I'm fine."
Malcolm cleared his throat and reached up to itch a spot on his neck that suddenly was itching up a storm. Trip and Hoshi seemed to accept his lie for the moment and began to walk again. As Mal scratched his neck he found that his burning area was increasing. He ignored it, calmly restraining his hand by checking that his phase pistol was still on his hip.
"You seemed to enjoy the podia," Hoshi speculated, fixing her eyes on Malcolm.
He smiled and nodded. "It was very good. Not quite like pineapple, but delicious."
"Tulia told me that they don't typically eat this good unless Gamin invites over guests to dine with them. Which I guess isn't that uncommon since their culture values small frequent dinner parties and lots of other get-togethers. It sounds like a very welcoming society."
"I doubt that Malcolm could live here since they don't worry about attackers and have little weapons," Trip joked, leaning down to inspect a beautiful pink flower.
"Careful Commander Tucker," Gamin warned looking back at them. "The lassa planet doesn't take kindly to people touching her petals. She bites."
Trip pulled his hand back as the flower snapped at him and growled. He laughed, moving away from it. Mal patted his friend's shoulder and they moved on. A large fountain was placed in the center of the garden lighting up the area with lamps under the clear water. Six red pillows lay next to a low table with drinks that the servants had prepared for them resting on top. The small group all sat down, sitting in the same positions. Malcolm felt a little light-headed as he took his place. Gamin lifted his glass of strange wine and motioned for everyone to do the same.
"To good relationships with new friends," Gamin toasted.
"To new beginnings!" Jon agreed.
Both men took a drink of the wine. Mal put the cup to his lips, taking a small sip. The wine was sweet, but bitter and he didn't care for the taste. Pushing it away from him, Malcolm listened to the details of the next few days.
"Tomorrow you and the others are invited to my personal beach. We would swim in the morning and take a tour of the city in the afternoon. Your crew is welcome to come along. There is no crime in this land and we are very glad to have visitors. There are many places for your crew to relax."
"Sounds wonderful," Jon agreed.
Malcolm cleared his throat, but found that it was difficult to swallow. He was starting to feel a strange tightness in his chest. With one hand Malcolm loosened the top of his uniform and itched with the other hand. Mal knew what was happened at once. He was having an allergic reaction to something. It was getting a little difficult to breathe. He saw Hoshi look over at him, frowning.
"Lieutenant, are you sure you're alright?" she asked, trying to be quiet.
"I'm fine," he lied, feeling worse.
Mal thought of his allergy medication case he left in the shuttlepod and wished that he had it. Phlox had suggested that he carry it with him at all times and now he regretted not following the wise doctor's advice. Malcolm wiped his eyes as they started to water. He could feel Hoshi's gaze on him. That was when he felt his arm begin to itch. Hoshi grabbed his hand, causing Jonathan to look over at the two and Trip to stop talking to Tulia. His friend blushed, but didn't let go and she proceeded to look closely at his neck.
"Hives," Hoshi announced, staring into Mal's red eyes. "You're having an allergic reaction."
There was a quick rustling and movement as Gamin apologized and Jonathan asked permission to return in the morning. Trip pulled out his communicator as Hoshi bid Tulia good-night.
"Tucker to T'Pol," he hailed.
"Go ahead," she responded calmly.
"We need an emergency transport for Lieutenant Reed and have Doctor Phlox waiting."
"The transporter is offline due to overloaded relays. He told me so this morning. What seems to be the emergency?"
"Damn it," Trip muttered. "Lieutenant Reed is having an allergic reaction to something down here."
"I'll put you through to Doctor Phlox."
Mal wanted to object, but he was wheezing and trying to concentrate on breathing. Hoshi helped him up from the pillow and they walked out of the garden to the shuttle, which wasn't far away. Malcolm shook off her arm, wanting to walk on his own. Trip was speaking to Phlox quickly and Jon was hovering near Mal's side in case he stumbled. It was all unnecessary in Mal's opinion feeling embarrassed at the whole situation. A few meters away from the shuttle, Malcolm started to feel weak and his knees were shaking. He tripped over an uneven brick. Jonathan quickly caught him, but not before Mal retched all over the ground, ridding his stomach of any food he ate. Trip grabbed his legs and they lifted him into the shuttle. Things were not good.