OFF: This is my challenge post. Set some time after the Romulan threat had been averted.

ON: The Observation Lounge

Captain Wendi Nablesse was nursing the mother of all headaches. She pinched the bridge of her nose firmly between her thumb and forefinger and slowed her breath as she tried to calm the steady throb that was growing behind her eyes. She had not felt pain like this since her transfer and promotion from the Hokkaido to the USS Dallas. Romulan Ale had been the culprit on that occasion, she could claim no such pleasure today.

"Are you well Captain?" Lt. Commander Avakhon Khinsharri was sat to her left, a look of genuine concern etched on his fierce Klingon features.

"Just a headache." she replied with a wry smile.

"Shall we delay?" asked the rooms other occupant and Wendi turned to meet the eyes of her Chief Medical Officer.

"No let's get this over with." she replied and the Andorian gave a doubtful nod of ascent.

"I will report to sick bay after the meeting." she further assured the doctor and she appeared to relax, though she still eyed the Captain carefully.

Wendi tapped the comm panel, "Send them in." she ordered as she sat back in her chair. What she wouldn't give for a neck massage and mug of chamomile right now. She could almost smell the scented candles...

The door opened. "Mr Mok, Mr Bolak please take a seat." she gestured to the prepared seats at the other end of the table offering only a tight smile. She groaned inwardly as she saw their error. The blue skinned Bolian sat with his hands clasped nervously as he tried desperately not to look down at the diminutive Linnik who could only just see over the lip of the table.

"Ha!" roared Avakhon as he slapped the table in mirth. Wendi cringed as the sound reverberated around her skull like a bowling ball in a glass factory.

"Bolak. The meeting has not yet begun and already you fall short of our expectations!" cried the Klingon, looking to his colleagues to share the humour. Wendi shook her head slightly and the Doctor gave a polite cough.

"Perhaps, in the absence of..." the Andorian said looking around, "...of anything better you should stand on the chair Mr Bolak."

The Linnik complied his eyes falling on the objects in the centre of the table and then rising to meet those of the Captain.

"Yes." Wendi explained, "After treating a series of rather... unusual symptoms the good doctor here has managed to track down the cause of our ship wide malady to these rather delicious looking brownies."

Bolak blushed, his eyes falling to the centre of the table where a large plate of the offending items had been stacked.

"I can explain!" Bolak said with a pained expression.

"I certainly hope so." replied the Captain, "but first you can listen. Lucky for you that you hold civilian positions on this vessel enabling us to deal with the matter in an informal hearing." She turned to the doctor then, "Doctor will you please educate our aspiring bakers as to the effects of their little prank."

"It was not a..." Bolak started but a raised hand from the Captain and a low growl from the Klingon silenced him.

"Gladly," replied the doctor as if nothing had happened, "In total forty seven members of the crew were treated following the consumption of the cakes. Common symptoms were dilation of the blood vessels in the eyes, increased heart rate, increased appetite, sever headache..."

Just the slightest glance towards Wendi caused her to groan inwards, she was determined not to make this personal. To her credit the doctor moved on without missing a beat,

"...and memory impairment, along with difficulty paying attention or solving problems while on duty." She stressed the last three words to hammer home their import before continuing.

"Over a third of my patients were experiencing a state of euphoria that lasted three to six hours after consumption. A full half of those are now dealing with reactions of anxiety, fear or panic, with a minority suffering from hallucinations, paranoia and delusional behavior for which I have had to remove them from duty." Four more damning words at the end of that sentence punctuated by a withering glare.

Mr Mok gave a low whistle and exchanged a worried glance with the barkeep.

"And the source?" asked the Captain.

"Without a shadow of a doubt the same toxins found in every patient are present in the brownies in dangerously high doses. Had this been an Andorian ship you would now find yourself holding an Ushaan-Tor by way of...apology."

"Yes! By the bloody entrails of Kronos, a trial by combat would be glorious." roared Avakhon.

Wendi rubbed her temples and winced before replying, "Perhaps," she said in a tone more clipped than she had intended, "but it would also be in direct violation of Star Fleet regulations." she forced herself to calm.

"Now," she continued, "Lieutenant Commander if you would not mind delivering your evidence?"

"Why of course," Avakhon replied with a wide grin, his skin too thick for so fine a barb. "It is not pleasant reading. There is little wonder that out Bolian friend here is so blue today!" besides an offended harrumph from both the Bolian and Andorian in the room there came no response and the Klingon continued with a puzzled frown.

"Normally a hearty prank is just what the crew needs to bring them through these tense moments but it must be said that this could not have come at a worse time. Not only did the intoxication of the crew coincide with our Romulan training exercise it also caused several individuals to completely loose all sense of propriety to the detriment of the entire ship! Posts were abandoned, the ship left to drift off course. There is a hole in the very hull of this ship, scarring its wondrous surface. Not to mention our own dear Captain..."

"Yes thank you Lieutenant Commander." Wendi tried to interrupt but the Klingon was in full flow.

"Out dear admirable leader in want of a tasty snack...."

"Lieutenant Commander." Wendi growled beneath her breath her head pounding like a drum.

"Partook of your poisoned treats and now suffers. See how she suffers!" The Klingon roared pointing at the Captain. Everyone sat in stunned silence trying to avoid eye contact.

Wendi gave a brief cough, "Yes well... the effects were wide reaching as the Lieutenant Commander has so clearly pointed out." She looked up then fixing Bolak and Mok with her glare. Now what do you two have to say for yourselves?"


Posting by

Ten Forward Bartender
USS Endeavour

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