Previous Next

A Novan and an Orion Walk Into Medbay...

Posted on Sun Sep 16th, 2018 @ 7:10pm by Lieutenant Hetara & Ensign Eska MD

Mission: A Journey to the Stars
Location: USS Endurance, Medbay
Timeline: Day 1

After checking in with the XO and a brief stop in her quarters to stow her gear, Hetara headed for medbay. After all, as CMO that was where she was really going to be living on the ship.

She stepped through the doors to medbay and inhaled kill. Like all Orion females, she had a heightened olfactory sense and now it hummed with the smell of fresh, clean surfaces and the almost electric tang of barely touched equipment.

"Ahh. New ship smell," she murmured with a quiet smile as she ran an almost proprietary hand along the smooth surface of a biobed. The place was nearly perfect. All that was needed were a few touches to make it a more pleasant environment - like a few UV lamps so the chlorophyll in her skin could soak in some rays and give her that little extra boost that humans had to get from caffeine.

Eska had to dump her gear in her quarters as they where still attempting to put in her specialized hydroponics. She turned the corner as the doors open into the medical bay. She hissed loudly as she covered her eyes with her hand and stumbled into someone that she couldn't quiet see. "Or'ree." She said in Novan.

Hetara caught her and reacted as any doctor would to someone obviously in distress. "What's wrong?" she asked as she helped her to a biobed while pulling out a medscanner to find the problem.

Eska shook her head at being helped to the biobed. "Leet to 'ight." The gray skinned woman said in Novan. Then she took a deep breath and spoke slowly. "Sorry, the light is really bright in here. I have a sever light sensitivity, but I will adjust in a few minutes."

"Computer, lights 70 precent," the doctor ordered, grabbing a neuromonitor and placing it on the woman's temple. "Gradually increase brightness in proportion to decrease in antinociception from the anterior pretectal nucleus."

As the computer complied, Hetara focused on her patient. "How long have you had this condition?"

"I'm Novan." She stated. "I born underside, so leet 'ight, lots." Eska said with a heavy sigh. "I'm a Novan and I was born underground, like all my people."

"A Novan? And I thought I was a rarity in Starfleet..." Hetara shook her head. There were some duty stations where half light was typical, especially those where display monitors needed to stand out, but most of a typical ship's areas were kept at light levels equivalent to earth day. "How do you manage in areas of a ship that are fully lit?"

"I give myself time to adjust to the light." She said slowly. "Here someone had adjusted the lights up. Besides I'm the only known Novan in Starfleet, the others are to afraid to leave the Ent'Rise tunnels." Eska explained. "I'm Eska, one of your fellow Medical Doctors."

"I would be the one who turned the lights up," Hetara admitted. "I'm Hetara, the CMO. I'm sorry to have caused you discomfort, but I'm afraid I have the opposite sort of light sensitivity. The green in my skin is akin to chlorophyll, so light gives me a boost in energy and awareness, as well as providing nutrients in much the way human bodies synthesize vitamin D from exposure to UVB." Not having access to that while she worked was going to be a problem. Hetara did not like the other options: having to retreat to her office to sit under a UV lamp or developing a taste for coffee. "Are you sensitive to all UV, or just certain parts of the visible spectrum?"

Eska shrugged. "Not know I." She spoke again in Novan. "See underside differently than overside." She said finally looking at the Orion. Hetara saw Eska's Iris' contract within her normally black eyes.

"Hmm..." Hetara mused, observing the reaction, and went to the medical replicator. "There may be another way - and one that will help in other areas of the ship as well." She withdrew a packet from the replicator. "Have you ever heard of contact lens? They were originally developed to correct vision, but many Orions and others use them cosmetically to alter eye color or add some other effect. These ones," she said, opening the case to display them, "Have a pigment that darkens in proportion to light intensity, so they will act like sunglasses in bright light but go clear in lower light levels."

"Contact lenses?" She asked. "11 turns, and no one suggest. How work?" Eska seemed interested in the odd devices.

"Like I said, most people today think of them as purely cosmetic," the doctor explained, as she replicated a second pair - a cosmetic effect set - for demonstration. "But a couple centuries ago they were a common medical device for people who needed visual corrections. The older needed lubricating drops and sterilizing agents, but these have those built in, so you just..." she used a thumb and forefinger to pull back the upper and lower lid of one eye and the forefinger of her other hand to gently lift and place a lens over her pupil, "...pop them right in," she finished blinking a moment to help it settle into place. When she looked back at Eska, one eye's pupil was highlighted with bright gold rings.

"Seems simple enough." Eska said slowly. "Just worried that it will cause problems."

"It takes a little practice, but once you're used to it, it's easy. Just don't sleep with them since that can make your eyes over dry and cause irritation. They're meant to be thrown out and replaced. But if you do have difficulty there is an even older solution," she explained, tapping a different sequence into the replicator and retrieving the result. "Glasses with auto-tinting lens."

"Contact lenses." Eska said slowly and flatly. "Or'rey tru'le I be."

Hetara wasn't completely sure what that meant, but it sounded positive. Hard to believe no one had suggested even glasses before, but such things were mostly considered fashion items and so not even considered by 'proper' Federation physicians. "One of things I guess only an odd unorthodox Orion would would think of," she said with a smile and a slight shrug. "Give them a try and if you need any help let me know."

Eska nodded and took the contact lenses. "I will." She said heading for the restroom.

Hetara nodded and, given this first interaction, decided make use of the time waiting for the result. "Computer, compile a list of all crew members from species with less than 5% representation in Starfleet and send species identification and medical data to the CMO. Prioritize 'Novan'."

The computer beeped very quickly. "Novan. Descendants of the original colonist on Terra Nova. Contact establish in 2151 with the Earth Starship Enterprise NX-01." The computer started. "The Enterprise aided in the relocating of the Novan people to the continent in the southern hemisphere. The continent in the southern hemisphere was restricted as a 'No Man's Land'. After the founding of the Federation, Terra Nova was enacted under General Order number 1, Prime Directive. A small research center was allowed to be set up on the continent in the northern hemisphere. Contact was very limited as sightings at a distance. No cultural data is available. See the writings of Dr. Ericka Terraman, leading anthropologist of the Terra Nova Research Center.

So, Novans were originally human. Hetara considered the information as she reviewed further. A few hundred years wasn't enough time significant genetic drift, even given several generations of radiation exposure, so Novans were still homo sapiens. It struck her that the adaptions evident in Eska were an excellent example of phenotype plasticity in the species...

Stop, she told herself firmly. It was simply not right to even think of examining a colleague like a rare lab specimen. Eska was person and one she hoped to have a friendly working relationship with. "How are coming with the contact lens?" she called.

Eska came out of the restroom, without running into anything. "Feels strange in my eyes." She said slowly and looking around the room.

"You'll get used to it," Hetara assured her. "After a bit, you'll hardly know they're in there at all."

"Okay." Eska said looking at the Orion. "If you have questions about my Novan's please ask. I have sensitive hearing."

"Please ask if you want to know anything about my species as well," Hetara replied. "As to yours, I'll probably have more after reading further, but right now I'm mostly curious as to your history. It says the Enterprise relocated your people to the southern continent away from the radioactive contamination, but it seems as though you chose to continue living underground. Why?"

"History tells us that Ert'ers still wanted out world." Eska said still adjusting to the contacts. "The elders keep us in the underside. They believe the 'Lox changed us." She gestured to her skin color.

Hetara considered her more closely. Human skin tones struck her as rather grayish in general - nothing like the vibrant greens of Orions. "Your skin tone is different from most humans, but within the range of off-white to darker earth tones I associate with humans so I suppose it could arise from adaption or mutation or some combination of both." She had to remind herself that humans were more susceptible to radiation.

"Hmmmm." Eska hummed to herself and shock her head. "It is said that the 'Lox gave sickness to the young." She shrugged. "That many turns ago."

Knowing it was pointless to debate oral history, Hetara decided not to inquire further. Besides there were more pressing matters. "Well, if the contacts are working out okay, we should work out a schedule for preliminary medical check ups." She tapped her PaDD open. "I have the crew list here..."

Eska sighed but dropped a bright smile. "Okay." She said pulling out another PaDD.


Previous Next