Characters: Dr. Mira Trassano
“Just HAD to be first. Couldn’t wait to come back with the others… oh, NO. Just had to be The First One back!” The short voluptuous Centauri muttered to herself as she deftly navigated the swarming crowds of passengers heading for the Customs Desks. She shuddered, remembering the cramped smelly quarters she had shared with four other passengers on the cargo ship to B5. After standing in line for what seemed to be an age, she was finally faced with a Human who looked like Mo-Gath himself. Mira delivered her best Patient-soothing smile.
“Anything to declare?” The stubby man looked pointedly at her shoulder bag and thermal-case.
“Only much needed medical supplies.” Mira tapped the thermal-case that was clearly marked in all major languages, Organic Medical Material.
“I’ll still have to inspect your bags, ma’am. If you have the packing list for that case handy, this’ll go faster.”
With a sigh usually only given by exasperated mothers of toddlers, Mira heaved an apparently very heavy thermal-case onto the table. She took an inordinate amount of pleasure in watching the small man scrabble to catch the tottering case. The good doctor produced the packing list and suppressed a grin when the Human turned green looking down into the open case. It was full of the most gruesome-looking necessities she could find. She’d even been conscientious enough to contact Dr. Franklin and get some of the things he needed desperately. Of course, all of this delightfully nasty stuff was packed in yellow thermal-gel to keep it safe during the trip. It wasn’t her fault that the yellow gel looked so similar to pus.
Gulping, the Customs Officer said, “Ma’am, there are things on your packing list that I don’t see here.”
Mira craned forward to see into the case. “Oh, that’s because the rest is packed underneath. You have to shift the top layer over.” The Centauri woman gifted him with a beautifully innocent smile.
He reached out his hand slowly and, wincing, slipped his fingers into the cold yellow gel. Mira smiled cheerfully at him. “It’s feels,” she suggested cherubically, “rather like the slimy mucus made by those little creatures with the shell houses…snails? slugs? Doesn’t it? It took me a few months as a student to become used to that feeling. I thought that this particular color was the most lovely of them all. Especially with that slightly greenish tinge it shows in certain lights. And those black thermal flakes floating in it look…. Are you quite alright?”
The customs Officer had jerked back his hand and was vigorously shaking it, trying to dislodge the gel. He shoved the packing list back at Mira. “Here. You’re fine. Go right ahead. Have a nice visit.”
“But, are you certain you feel well?” She asked, her face furrowed with concern as she closed the case. “Maybe you should visit the MedLab?”
“No, I’m fine. Very busy. Good-bye. Next!” He was gingerly wiping his slimed hand on a handkerchief from his pocket.
Mira turned away and managed to get all the way to a turbo-lift before laughing out loud. She was still chuckling as she delivered Franklin’s supplies to a very grateful assistant. Heading off to where the Phoenix lay in dry-dock, Mira was smiling in anticipation.
Mr. Carter was on duty when Dr. Trassano walked through the doors and dropped her bags on the floor with a thud. “Syrup! I’m home!” she called, cheerily.
He honestly couldn’t help it and fell over laughing. “It’s Honey!” he choked. “It’s ‘Honey, I’m home!’ And what are you doing back? Nobody else is back yet.” Carter shakily wiped the tears of mirth from his eyes.
“Bah! Honey…Syrup…they’re the same thing aren’t they?” Mira trotted up to the Nurses’ Station and set the thermal-case on the desk. Slowly looking around, she critically compared what she saw to her mental image of what it should look like. “Very nice. Very nice. You follow instructions well, Mr. Carter. I’m glad I brought you a present back from Earth. Actually, I’m back early because I became bored. There were no patients, nothing new on the Earth Medical fields to learn. So, I gathered medical supplies and brought you a reward for your hard work.” She beamed up at the older man.
Mr. Carter quirked an eyebrow. “A reward? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were hitting on me,” he chuckled. Popping open the thermal case, he made a face.
“Hitting on you? I’ve yet to strike any of my staff and I resent the implication.” Mira frowned up at him.
Carter laughed and started unpacking the supplies. “It’s an idiom. ‘Hitting on’ someone means you’re making sexual advances. I suppose they didn’t have ANY other color for this gel. This yellow is disgusting!”
Mira chuckled. “It’s all part of my plan, you see. That’s the last of the supplies. Part of your present is in the bottom there.” She trotted back to her bag. Digging around in it produced a box mix, two cans and a little tiny paper bag. The Centauri brought these up to Mr. Carter.
Carter stood there staring at the plastic wrapped and double bagged slab of meat. “Is this what I think it is?”
“Well, I don’t know. The salesperson claimed it was what I wanted, but then I had no idea what it was supposed to look like. It IS a… steak, isn’t it?”
“How did you get a steak through customs? Isn’t raw meat a big no-no?” Then, comprehension dawned on Carter’s face. The gel. “You are a sneaky devious person, doc.” He beamed at her. “But, boy, am I grateful you are.” He noticed the other things she had brought and chuckled. “I see you got my little present, then. A steak, cornbread mix, canned veggies, and… real coffee?” He quickly opened the bag and stuck his nose in it.
Mira laughed at the blissful expression on what could be seen of his face. “I have no idea how you Humans can drink that stuff. I sampled some with my tour group. It was positively retched.”
Mr. Carter didn’t hear her at all. He was lost in the delectable aromas of fresh roasted coffee beans and totally oblivious to the rest of the world.
(c) 1999 Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.