Posted by Lieutenant Jasmine Wynter (Chief Medical Officer) in Botany Lab- Making Amends
Faye snorted. “I am a woman of many secrets, but I think if I had psychic abilities I would have been able to avoid much of the drama of my life.” She cast a sideways glance at Jasmine. “But they do suit you.”
“More than you know. My family laughs about the irony of my ability to keep plants versus humans alive. They have always joked that if we were plants they probably would not trust my medical skills,” she shook her head with a smile.
“It is a little concerning that you are that bad with plants and yet we trust you with our bodies,” Faye said, going so far as to even sound teasing. At least here in this moment, in this space, she felt at ease. Nothing was being demanded of her and nothing was on the line. It was just them and and some plants. New beginnings.
She forwent the gloves in favour of getting into it with bare hands, preferring the ease of dealing with tiny seeds. “So,” Faye began, “seed growth depends entirely on what medium you grow it in, how much or how little water you give it and light. Damping off often happens because you’re giving them too much water. You need to keep the soil quite moist but only until the seeds are established. Once they pop up, then you can go easier on the water.”
Faye grabbed a large container that contained a special growing medium, along with a seedling tray and a flip top container. “Why don’t you grab that bowl on the side counter and I will grab our portable sprayer,” she said, moving about the one side of the botany lab with practiced ease even though it really wasn’t her domain.
With all the equipment ready, Faye opened up the lid of the growing medium. “So this is a seed starting medium I’ve put together. It’s lighter than normal soil because if it’s too heavy the seeds have a tougher time getting through it. We’re going to gently moisten it by adding water to a bunch in the bowl and then use that to pack the tray. So go ahead and fill the bowl about two-thirds full of medium,” she instructed as she unzipped her jacket and tossed it over a nearby stool.
~Faye Calloway, Data Specialist
Following Faye’s lead, Jasmine removed her coat and pulled off the gloves. Setting the on a shelf she noticed something. Picking up a small plant, Jasmine inspected it in the pot like it was something wondrous to behold. Turning it she gazed intently at the thin almost hair-like stem. The two tiny leaves seemed to be impossibly large to be supported by the stem yet the plant stood firm and tall. It reminded her for some reason of Faye and maybe for a second Jasmine knew the woman better than anyone on the crew ever could. Faye was like the plant. She was strong and full of potential. Her core could stand up against anything. Like the seed, it had fought hard to grow and survive in the world. The seed had no idea what environment it would be forced to survive in yet survive it did. The spot at which Jasmine plucked the burgeoning seedling was not from the choicest spot directly under the lights and sprays of mist the computer provided it on a schedule. Its spot was on the edge of the tray where it had to fight for every ounce of water and drop of light. Jasmine admittedly knew little about the mechanics of plant biology past her academy courses in biology and her fourth-grade science unit but the slight tilt to the stem showed the little plant’s desperate fight for survival physically changing its body. It’s will to survive did not produce the ram rod straight spine of the middle plants. This little guy’s slight curve was so much more telling. It would live. It would not only survive but thrive in any environment it was placed into.
The leaves were balanced on either side of the stem yet because of the slight curve the plant had to work twice as hard to remain erect and not topple over. From a medical standpoint this stem was a spine. A humanoid spine could only bend to the fifty-degree mark until catastrophic complications set in. At fifty-one degrees of curvature, the application of gravity became a constant force twisting and pulling a body to the ground. Without surgical intervention something as innocuous as scoliosis was deadly. The large degree of curvature became forced the body to move internal organs impacting breathing circulation, respiration, and digestion. Jasmine’s mind slipped to the memory of a young patient during her cadet cruise. The colony on the outskirts of Federation space was just a random stopover yet for Nyiah it saved her life. By the time the USS Murphy arrived, Nyiah was unable to eat and could no longer speak due to the internal organs. A simple surgery had saved Nyiah’s life because someone was in the right place at the right time. Maybe this was why Faye was here right now. Maybe it was some cosmic twist of fate that had brought the woman to the USS Manhattan.
Just like the plant and Niyah, Faye had ebbed and flowed between periods of calm and calamity. Maybe she was brought to the Manhattan to have a place where she could be given the chance to finally find a quiet, nurturing place for a second chance. Recently there were rumors about the officer as occurred on any ship. Jasmine had heard whispered murmurings about Faye Calloway but never cared one way or another. Perhaps it was time to care. Removing the centermost plant from the shelf she placed the one she was looking at in its spot where it would get the best of everything.
Calloway used the sprayer to add some moisture to the soil. “Just mix that all in and squeeze it in your hands, It should clump together well but not leak out water. If it does, we’ll add more medium,” she said as she grabbed her box full of seeds as well as a stool.
Grabbing the pot Faye indicated, Jasmine began to work the soil like instructed. The dirt was cool feeling almost therapeutic in her hands. The moist crumbs slipped over her skin made Jasmine feel like she was outdoors once again and not in the hermetically sealed tin can they called home. It relaxed her enough to make Jasmine decide to take a leap of faith. Making a connection with people was tricky. Asking too many personal questions often made people feel like there was a motive. Asking too little created a sense of personal disinterest. At this moment Jasmine felt a strong desire to actually know the woman past small chit chat about how her day was going or what she was planning for the weekend.
“Faye,” Jasmine said almost hesitantly as she continued to fill the container like the woman asked, “you and I are from two different worlds. I know you tend to be on the private side but I would really like to get to know you past stick out your tongue or do you have a fever.” Jasmine did not make eye contact as she spoke but focused her attention on the pot. If it was hard for Jasmine to talk right now, she didn’t want Faye to feel like she was being interrogated.
Jasmine Wynter CMO
Settling herself on the stool next to Jasmine, Faye propped on heel on the upper bar and left her other foot to dangle partly, her toes skimming the lower bar of the stool. Shifting her gaze to the doctor, her story grey-green eyes told the story of her thoughts, of how she went from one wary thought to another. “Are you sure I shouldn’t be asking you if you have a fever?” she said dryly. Her natural instinct was to deflect when she wasn’t sure people wanted the truth. It scared them, made them uncomfortable. Faye’s truth was often far too dark and didn’t make for polite conversation. Not that she was social adept in the first place. It was why she was constantly giving Jasmine an out. Jasmine meant well, but she didn’t understand how deep the darkness went, nor did Faye want to subject people to it. But if she couldn’t ever share it, well… it was lonely. And people like her weren’t able to just ‘let it go’. It would never just magically float away and leave her a happy or content person.
Opening the seed sorting container, Faye continued to look at Jasmine, though her procedural memory told her exactly what she was doing as she flipped through the little secured packets. After a moment though she stopped and sighed. “I’m private because over and over again it’s been proven that when people get too see too much of me and what I’ve been through, they back off. I’ve been burned a lot Jasmine. I don’t trust easily because I’ve rarely been given a good reason too. I shouldn’t be alive but I am. If you want to get to know the walking mess that if Faye Calloway, okay, sure, we can try. But I’m constantly two steps away from self-destructing. And while I’m used to that reality, but…” She paused and while normally she would look away, she continued to meet Wynter’s gaze and let the moment see the tears moistening the edges of her eyes. “It is unacceptable to me for others to be brought down with me. I won’t allow it. So what do I do? If I let people in too close, they get burned along with me. But if I protect them from all that my life comes with, I exist on the fringes. Alone.” She shrugged and moved her focus to the seeds, hunting for the one she wanted to fill the trays with.
~Faye Calloway, Data Specialist
© 1991-2020 STF. Terms of Service