Title: Five times allergies struck someone down
Author: Shenandoah Risu
Content Flags: weird allergies
Spoilers: SGU Season 2 "Common Descent" and "Epilogue"
Characters: Eli Wallace, Vanessa James, Tamara Johansen, Chloe Armstrong, Matthew Scott, Lisa Park, Camile Wray, Varro
Word Count: 1,011
Summary: Maybe the whole thing was psychosomatic.
Author's Notes: Written for prompt set #133 at the LJ Comm sg1_five_things.
Disclaimer: I don't own SGU. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Now, Young... Young I'd know what to do with. ;-)
Thanks for reading! Feedback = love.
Five times allergies struck someone down
Eli has never really been allergic to anything. Oh, sure, back home he claimed to be allergic to asparagus, Brussels sprouts and caraway seeds because he simply hates them and his mom – well aware of the dangers of anaphylactic shock – duly avoided them in her cooking. In reality, Eli's stomach could have very well been made of stainless steel – he liked to eat, end of story.
All of that changes on Novus. Like the rest of the crew he has major bouts of stomach cramps and diarrhea for the first several weeks, as their bodies are getting used to the entirely new set of edibles and microbial life in the water, and Eli loses weight like nobody's business – more so even than on the Destiny. Now, exactly why he had a small purple sweet potato in his hoodie pocket when they evacuated from the ship he just can't remember – his last stint on K/P duty, he thinks, and maybe he tucked the tiny tuber into his jacket, absentminded as he often was.
He manages to scrape by on tree nuts from the nearby forest, and – woe to him – they taste like a vile mix of asparagus, Brussels sprouts and caraway seeds, but pretty much nothing else will stay down. He plants the tiny potato and guards it like a mother bear, cutting up new tubers for more plants until he finally has enough to eat for himself and eventually for everyone else. Over time he discovers many other crops he can eat just fine, and maybe the whole thing was psychosomatic anyway, but at least asparagus, Brussels sprouts and caraway seeds are gone from his life for good.
Vanessa James is one of those people who can rifle through poison ivy with her bare hands and never even get the inkling of a rash. Needless to say she is unafraid of clearing the underbrush around their new settlement, and she is just as surprised when her arms break out in a painful and itchy rash that quickly develops into blisters and a mild fever. TJ thinks that Vanessa has finally found her match in poisonous plants and urges others to proceed with caution but nobody else shows any sign of trouble from the copious weeds. In fact, they discover that the ubiquitous vine is perfectly edible when cooked or roasted, and there sure is enough of it, and it seems to grow back virtually overnight, like kudzu on steroids.
Vanessa is flat out on her back for several days, her arms covered in wet cloths to ease the itch. Curiously enough the juice pressed from the rhizomes of the vine turns out to be a workable antidote, probably due to a high antihistamine content, but Vanessa stays well away from the leaves, helping instead with the lumber production once her sore arms have healed.
Matt and Chloe have captured a few bison-like cloven-footed beasts – young ones they have managed to separate from a larger herd – and have started the beginnings of a dairy farm. "Willie" and "Nilly" are docile enough, readily taking to domestication, and Nilly's first calf is celebrated like a human baby's birth in the settlement. Varro tries to teach Matt how to milk Nilly who has more than enough for both her calf and a few people, but Matt proves to be exceptionally inept at milking. He accidentally squirts some milk into his eye and very nearly goes blind from it as his eye swells shut and becomes sore and painful, and TJ advises him not to drink the milk or get it anywhere on his exposed skin.
Nobody else has any adverse reaction to bison milk, but Matt stumbles around with an eye patch for weeks and afterwards he always wears sunglasses when taking care of the wooly beasts.
Lisa brings home an orphan kitten from a berry-gathering expedition. She's not even sure what it is, exactly, and it turns out to be something between a wildcat and a fox with a long bushy tail. Since she's close to delivering her first child Camile agrees to look after the tiny mewling bundle of fur.
She makes a bed of ferns in a basket for the small creature, and their first night together is absolutely hell for her. She sneezes nonstop, her eyes are watering and her sinuses are swelling shut. She gets no sleep at all, coughing and wheezing, while the kitten snores in the corner.
In the morning she hauls the crying kitten off to Eli's hovel , and he protests vehemently but eventually settles down to play with the furry ball, names it "iPod", and so the kitten stays with him.
Camile never goes to visit Eli's place while iPod is around.
Poor Varro seems to be allergic to simply everything on Novus. Every time a new flower blooms or a tree goes into the pollination phase, every new food or animal that's introduced, everything gives him either the runs or severe congestion, makes him throw up or break out in a rash.
It's just about a full time job for Vanessa who keeps copious quantities of vine-root juice at hand to ply him with when something else hits him. Unlike all the others Varro never gets over his allergies to new things. Eventually his body accepts the new environment, but new substances have to be introduced in medicinal quantities to keep his level of misery bearable.
Of course this doesn't keep Varro from working just as hard as the others, and while they rib him for his profusion of snot rags, juice bottles, barf bags and butt wipes that he carries everywhere he goes, everyone appreciates the fact that while a lesser man would have stayed moaning at home in bed Varro is out there in the thick of things, sneezing his head off, disappearing into the bushes every hour or so, tossing his cookies every once in a while, and still not giving in.
Luckily he doesn't pass his hypersensitivity gene on to any of his children.
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