Posted Oct. 26, 2020, 10:04 a.m. by Lieutenant Junior Grade Sharah Fayth (Chief Science Officer) (Jennifer Ward)

Posted by Ensign Tabris Asam (Engineering Officer) in Arboretum

Posted by Civilian Geoff (Arboretum Plant) in Arboretum

Geoff was being carried carefully and delicately, the elderly plant was still spritely for being 398, well as spritely as a fig tree can be really. Waving gently in the breeze Geoff adjusted to the lighting being a little different and the atmosphere being a wonderfully pleasant humidity. The ficus’s cells were converting light to energy as efficiently as the elder could and it might take a few days to adjust to the new environment but Geoff would get there. Tabris, the plant’s owner, laid a hand on the base of the tree and said something kind to the plant but for the life of Geoff, the tree didn’t know what was said, just that there were gently waves of positive emotion being sent. Geoff was going to like it here, and if at all possible, be the dignified elder of the group.

Geoff, CFP

Sharah felt it quietly and didn’t pay too much attention to the feeling at first. There were so many plants and people coming in and out of the arboretum it was just part of the noise. But then it became a stronger feeling and she stood up from where she was working and began walking the paths in search of the new presence. She rounded a corner and took in the very old ficus. She walked over and took it in. “Well, hello old girl.” She examined the leaves and the temporary ‘pot’ holding the roots. “You’ll be happier in the center of the Arboretum. The envronmental controls there will be more like home for you.” She called out to a couple of the other botanists. “We’ll have to make room, bed 32 right in the middle.” It was a testament to Fayth how quickly the civilian staff moved to get the work done. If Fayth said that was the best place, they had no doubt about it. Sharah then turned to Tabris. “That is a beautiful fig tree. How long have you had her?”
Lt jg Fayth, CSO

Geoff was sitting in it’s pot, enjoying as much as an old ficus could it’s new environment when a presence made itself known. Geoff couldn’t well communicate beyond fluttering in the breeze but this presence recognized her for what she was, a fruit bearing plant. A ‘female’ plant if you will. This was the first time in nearly 400 years that Geoff felt as though she were being presented properly, however this whole ‘communicating’ thing wasn’t at all an easy task and as such, if anything, Geoff let out a small change in energy consumption. Hopefully this would get it’s message across.

Geoff, CFP

Sharah was surprised. She could only feel the emotions of plants, she’d never felt thoughts from them, and the emotional patterns were very different. She’d never gotten a response from a plant. She pulled out a tricorder, her own medical one, a hold over from her time as a doctor. She scanned Geoff watching the life signs change subtly, and she smiled. “Well I do think she likes it here. Look,” she held out the tricorder to Tabris to look at, “Her consumption rate has increased slightly.”

Geoff understood that her message had gotten across and was over joyed. Her consumption rate increased again in an effort to thank the being that recognized her for what she was. Now the old girl wasn’t going to strain herself and she returned to her original state after a few seconds before feeling the familiar touch of Tabris as she was picked up. Perhaps touch was the wrong word as the old fig tree didn’t have a way to register touch and spatial awareness, presence perhaps as she was moved to bay 32. There was a distinct warmth in this area, from the ambient temperature to the energy given off by the other plants that would now be able to bask in the presence of their elder.

As Geoff was prepared, the fig tree’s roots curled slightly when removed from the dirt, as one might shrink away in the cold or in an unfamiliar situation. As much as Geoff was to be the dignified elder, being removed from one’s dirt was akin to moving. It always brought about some trepidation.

Geoff, CFP

As a doctor Sharah had this unconscious habit of sending out soothing feelings/emotions to help keep her patients calm. She wasn’t even aware she did it until her last posting when a patient’s thoughts caught her attention. He had thought he could smell chocolate chip cookies, and it reminded him of home and his mother. That the memory made him feel better. Now, as Geoff began to feel trepidation over being moved, Sharah did the same. She wasn’t aware of doing it, it was simply a reflex reaction, but if she had been aware she would be mildly curious if the effect actually worked on plants.

Geoff couldn’t let off a though such as ‘Why thank you for your soothing thoughts as they have put me to ease’ as much as she might have wanted to, but the song that Geoff sung out to Sharah sounded less melancholic, not perfectly happy mind you but there were tones of a receptive nature, the recognition of a therapeutic touch on her old trunk.

Tabris was thankful that his old fig tree was going to get center stage amongst the plants here in the arboretum. He had seen the Lieutenant whom he’d worked with previously on her quarters take kindly to Geoff and that brought a smile to his face. “Oh Geoff and I? I’ve had him for almost 400 years now. I was 19 back on Earth in 1998 when I planted Geoff from a tree my folks had in the front yard. I’ve kept him with me ever sense, he’s been a constant friend over the centuries. And the figs he produces, you’ll have to taste them once he gets used to the soil and comfortable, isn’t that right Geoff?” Tabris said as he patted the top of the tree gently as though it were a child to him.

Ensign Tabris Asam, Eng

“Much like my Hope, then. A good companion, a plant. They can live for hundreds of years if cared for correctly. Geoff is very healthy. You’ve taken good care of her.” Sharah looked puzzled. Tabris kept referring to Geoff as a he and Geoff was clearly female. One she produced fruit which was a dead give away. Second Geoff felt female. The emotions coming off of her clearly indicated that. Well maybe Tabris just didn’t understand how plant phisiology worked. No matter, he clearly cared for her and that was all that mattered. David came back over to tell her they’d made room for the fig tree in bed 32. “Tabris how about you carry Geoff over to bed 32,” Sharah indicated the correct bed, “and I will grab a few things and meet you over there. We’ll get Geoff planted and comfortable.”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

Tabris listened well and replied, “Thank you, I’ve been lucky to have him with me this whole time.” As he spoke he picked up that Fayth kept calling Geoff a her, not that it bothered him or anything, it was just a curiosity. Tabris was indeed pretty clueless about plant physiology, given that his entire goal was to keep Geoff alive, beyond that he didn’t think plants had a gender, he just used the pronoun ‘him’ because it felt weird saying ‘it’. As David approached Tabris stroked Geoff’s leaves, almost in a comforting way saying, “It’ll be alright Geoff, we’ll get you planted and settled, no need to worry about it” As he comforted his ficus, he gently picked him up and carried him over to bed 32 and waited.”

Ensign Tabris Asam, Eng

Sharah returned with several items. She began to dig into the center of the flower bed making a space for Geoff. She also broke up the dirt around it to make it easier for the roots to spread into. Then filled the bottom of the space with a compost they had started here in the arboretum, it made the soil richer and more nutrient dense. She took a blunt edged rounded space and began to ease it around the sides of the pot. She looked at Tabris, “This way we don’t have to jerk Geoff out of the pot and shock the roots. As I pull her out, if you could, just gently dust the loose dirt off. From the looks of it the outer layers are mostly depleted now, so we don’t need to put that soil into her new home.” After loosening the pot away from the soil, Sharah gently lifted Geoff out of the pot by the base of the trunk and then supported the root system with her other hand. “Then we’ll add some food to some water, and add it to the soil.”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

Geoff, CFP

Tabris smiled although his thoughts betrayed him, ‘I’ve managed to keep him alive for almost 400 years, I do know a thing or two about how to replant a fig tree’. Now that though aside Tabris watched as the lieutenant carefully and thoughtfully took care to help him and his next thought was ‘I should be thankful. She’s taking care to help me and this is her field, I am grateful’. He spoke quickly after Fayth had finished speaking though his thoughts would sound to be sentences all on their own. “He’s got fairly robust roots, heavens I’ve moved him at least a few dozen times as he’s grown. He always seemed to take a little while to get used to his new pot, maybe he’ll adapt better in bay 32. How else can I help? I don’t want to lose touch after all, even if he’s in the ship’s arboretum he’s still my Geoff.” Tabris said, as a parent would about a child.

Ensign Tabris Asam, Eng

Sharah was very involved in what she was doing, and after the week she’d had she wasn’t filtering the telepathic input the way she should have. “I’m sorry Ensign. I didn’t mean to insult you. A hold over from when I was a doctor. I always talk about what I’m doing. It always eased the patients worry.” She took a scan of Geoff and then took three different solutions and added it to the water she’d brought. “This should help her settle in better. It will help her roots adjust to the pH levels and give some extra minerals to help the roots settle after being transplanted.” Sharah considered his request, but right at that moment she became distracted. Geoff’s song had changed, very abruptly and in response to....Sharah sat abruptly staring at Geoff in absolute shock and amazement. “By the four gods Geoff is SENTIENT.”
Lt. jg Fayth, CSO

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