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Guest Laarell

"Spiders, Battles, and Veal Parmesan, Part I"

"Spiders, Battles, and Veal Parmesan, Part I"

Lieutenants Ian Johnson and Laarell Teykier

June 05, 23--


Ian stood at the worktop, bent over a computer terminal. He had been trying to make some progress with the antidote for several hours now, but so far, he'd had no luck.


Off on the other side of the Lab, a single arachnid watched, each of its multiple eyes trained upon the medical officer. Now and then, she'd stretch an orange leg, making a faint rustling noise.


Frustrated, Ian picked up a PADD, looked at it briefly, and tossed it onto the worktop. He needed a break. He let his gaze wander around the room. When he heard a soft rustling sound, he looked for the source. When he realized it came from the spider on the other side of the lab, he smiled and walked over to it.


Citrus was getting used to the stranger in the Lab, but that didn't necessarily mean that she wouldn't put on a good show for him. Hissing, she leaned back on her back legs, menacingly waving the forelegs at Johnson.


The physician smiled. "You are a real beauty, and I bet you expect me to be scared now, eh?" He was now leaning over the terrarium to get a good look at the orange markings. He was almost tempted to reach in and pick the spider up.


Heading down the corridors for her nightly pilgrimage to the Lab, Laarell sighed. Citrus was becoming harder and harder to care for. After she'd first arrived on the ship, she'd been willing to take replicated, unmoving crickets as food. Now, she was starting to insist upon live fare, and gods -- crickets were just plain hard to find in the Gamma quadrant. Which meant that she'd be forced to get shipments of the insects and care for them as well until an alternative was found.


She entered the Lab, seeing a doctor leaning over the tarantula's cage. Not a good sign. Last time someone had been messing with her spider, he'd ended up getting bitten. Best not to make that mistake again. "She bites. Consider yourself warned."


Ian jumped. He had not heard anyone enter the Lab. When he turned around, he saw an Orion woman approach him. He smiled in greeting. "Oh, I'm sure she does bite. I just wonder who'd keep such a pet aboard a starship."


She blushed, slightly embarrassed. "Err, I would be responsible for the little demon." She held up the clear box of crickets as evidence. "Wasn't my first choice for a pet, though..."


He nodded. "I can imagine. An Usambara Orange Baboon. Not exactly the kind of spider I'd suggest to anyone. How did you get it? And such a beautiful one at that."


The Orion moved over to the terrarium, taking the lid off of it, slowly. She took a few crickets out of the box, dropping them in front of the spider. "Friend found it in the wild, decided to send it to his 'lonely' friend out here in space. I think it was his sad excuse for a joke."


Ian laughed and moved a bit to the side to make it easier for the woman to reach the terrarium. "Are you sure he's a friend? Anyway, I'm sorry. I haven't introduced myself. I'm Ian."


Laarell smiled, extending a hand after both lids were replaced. "Laarell Teykier." She motioned towards the arachnid, who was already stalking one of the helpless insects. "This here nightmare is Citrus Teykier, Ship's Nightmare and Chief Complaint Generator."


He took her hand, shaking it. "I've heard some stories already. She bit an engineer?" Ian chuckled. "You don't have to worry that there'll be complaints from me. I'm used to handling spiders." He jerked his head toward the worktop on the other side of the lab. "I'm the new toxicologist."


She grinned, giving Citrus' cage a friendly, chiding, rap before moving back from the cage. "Toxicologist? So she doesn't scare you, I take it."


Ian watched Laarell for a moment before answering. "No, she doesn't. It takes a lot to scare me." He grinned mischievously before adding, "I've handled some of the most venomous animals in the galaxy. You should probably keep her in a warmer place by the way, maybe install a lamp above the cage."


Laarell nodded, picking a blank PADD off one of the desks. Science had enough lying around that she could swipe one at will. Besides, most of its denizens knew better than to complain -- she might unleash the Wrath of the Citrus. "I'll see if I can talk an engineer into it." Smirking, "Thanks."


"You're welcome. And maybe you should tell the engineer she bites." He grinned. "You've had some problems feeding her lately, I take it?"


She nodded, sighing. "Won't take anything but live food."


"Ah, yes. Believe it or not, the lamp might fix that problem. Those spiders are very difficult when it comes to temperature. They stop eating when it gets too cold. Talking about food... I haven't had anything in ages." So far his interaction with the crew had been limited to professional discussions. It was high time he managed to get some distraction from work.


"I was about to go get something myself. Care to join me?"


Ian smiled. He had hoped she'd say that. "Yes, why not. We can discuss spiders over dinner. Or maybe how an Orion ended up in startfleet."


"Or both," she suggested. "My story's not as interesting as you might think. No rescues from slave traders at a young age, no evil secrets Starfleet has yet to learn." She laughed, moving towards the doors.


Ian followed her. "Aww... and I thought I was in for a really good story." He grinned. "At least I won't be eating alone again." He stopped just in front of the doors and let Laarell lead the way.


Marching to the turbolift, she smirked again. "That you aren't." She stepped into the lift, holding the door for Johnson. "Born on Qo'NoS to diplomats, unfortunately for story fodder, not on a slave ship."


Ian smiled back at her entering the turbolift. "An Orion raised on Qo'NoS, now if that's not interesting. I hope you know a good place for dinner -- I'm starving."


"Officer's lounge, perhaps?" she offered. "They have good food..."


He shrugged. "Your choice. I'll go with whatever you suggest. I trust you at least what dinner is concerned."



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