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Gift giving

Posted on Mon Mar 4th, 2019 @ 2:36pm by Lieutenant Asa Dael

Mission: Recovery Trek
Location: Asa's quarters
Timeline: Before leaving DS9 system

The stasis box delivered to Lieutenant Asa Dael’s personal quarters brought mixed feelings to the doctor’s mind. The box contained several souvenirs procured on a recent trip to Earth the doctor thought their fellow crew members would appreciate. Unfortunately, the doctor was taken off world quickly and unexpectedly and had been unable to secure the return of their property until a supply shipment was delivered to the Hera while docked as DS9.

At first Asa was simply happy to see the box arrive. They had thought the trinkets to be lost in the midst of their departure, and were pleasantly surprised when the chief petty officer had informed them of the delivery. Then, gazing upon the collection of doo dads procured prior to their kidnapping, Asa felt a pang for the happiness in those days. Although they were healing, the doctor did not smile quite as quickly these days, and frequent nightmares were still a fixture in their life. Time marches on though, and Doctor Dael was determined to keep the step and not let melancholy musings claim them.

Opening the box, Asa pulled out each item one at a time, stopping to write a small note on thick purple stationary, affixing the note to the gift, and putting it on a small rolling cart to hand deliver to people’s quarters.

The first item out- a small Baobab tree, trimmed as a Bonsai so that it would retain its small size. On the card Asa wrote,

“To Commander Paris- A piece of your almost-home world. This tree, soil, and clay pot are all made exclusively from items originating on Earth. It has never been transported- so no residual allergens for you there  . As you travel from place to place throughout your life, it is my hope you can look at this small piece of home and know that you are never alone. The heritage of your world travels with you, and the heritage of the Earth you originated on, the memories of thousands that formed you to who you are, and the journeys through space that predated you. I am so thankful for the path that brought us together as friends. These are my favorite trees in the Universe, and you are my favorite Earth girl. Seemed like you two should be together. Love, Asa.”

Next out of the box was a small disc, roughly the size of a standard humanoid’s palm, in a liquid silver, carved intricately with the lines of a maze in the shape of a circle. As the observer looks at the puzzle, it slowly begins to morph, some lines disappearing, others twisting and turning. The overall effect was relaxing and hypnotic, and the cool weight of the metal was reassuring to the hand.
Dear Sonak, Asa began,

The only puzzle that could elude you for long is one that can never be solved. I present you with a small token of friendship in thanks for the lessons you have taught me, and in hopes this may represent mysteries we may solve together in the future. May your mind find peace as you contemplate this simple puzzle, and may you find new discoveries each day. Live long and prosper, Asa.”

The next item out of the box was one that Dael was perhaps the least sure of.

A small box, shaped like a treasure chest, appeared to be a simple catch-all for small items, until it was opened and up popped a busty female pirate, standing on a wooden peg-leg, wearing a mostly unlaced white shirt and voluminous red trousers with a black sash worn as a belt. Asa had tipped the craftsman who made the box generously to have trill spots painted on to the woman, and if viewed from a distance the peg-leg pirate was not entirely dissimilar to that of Enalia. “The Flight of the Valkyries” began to play softly behind the pop-up-pirate, and she drew a sword from a scabbard on her hip, thrusting it into the sky in a clockwork show of victory.

“I have absolutely no idea if this is too campy of not,” Asa said aloud to the empty room.

To my Captain, You honor the legacy of all those who have gone before you, and forge a new path for those that will come after. Your bravery inspires all those under your command, and we are proud to serve with you. Just…let’s try to avoid an actual peg leg, ok, ma’am? With great affection, Asa

Of course it would not be proper to get something for Enalia and not for Maica, so Asa also pulled a small, wooden flute from the box. It was a native instrument of several tribes from the African continent Asa had vacationed on, and they hoped the Captains wife would enjoy the challenge of learning a new instrument.

Dear Maica , Asa wrote, I was informed by the vendors in the market I frequented that the music from this instrument can help soothe the soul, and that the act of learning to play it perfectly is a challenge offered only to people of great compassion in their communities. They consider it a sacred act to heal another, and an act of love to learn to play. I hope this small token provides you with a way of expressing that huge heart of yours to whomever you may chose. Your fellow healer, Asa

The next item Asa was particularly proud of, it had not required any shopping, but was instead something they found as they walked along the paths of Madagascar. Towards the heart of the island Asa had discovered the “Forest of Stone”, unique to the small island on all of Earth, perhaps the quadrant. Limestone rocks had fused with local vegetation over the year, creating a wondrous dichotomy of organics and stone. A small piece of limestone had fallen from the cliff face where it rested for years, long enough for a small fern to somehow take root through the rock, using the porous nature of the rock to hold its root structure in place, creating a unique symbiosis found nowhere else in the universe.

For Malana, I found a place of wonder, where life and stone are entwined almost as beautifully as they are in you. This fern will need this rock to live all its days, and the stone receives moisture flowing through the ferns roots, keeping it malleable and preventing it from becoming brittle and shattering. It reminded me of how your strength and compassion are entwined. Your warrior side and your curiosity coexist to create a unique life that is you. May the wind be soft ever on your face, my friend. With love, Asa

Asa began to move the addressed items to the rolling cart when the gift to Sam came rolling out. Quite literally in fact. A set of six dice went tumbling to the ground, and when picked up a smoke substance could be seen swirling within them. Each dice appeared to be gunmetal gray, but when they landed the numbers on the die would glow with an amber hue. If a person were to inspect them closely they would notice a faint scent of a Cuban cigar emanating from the dice, an aroma picked up during the making of them as the owner smoked three cigars a day while working.

My dear Master Clemens, I know you make your own luck, but it might as well be a thing of beauty. The gas swirling in each of these dice can also be released by pressing the 1 and 6 at the same time and then crushing the dice. I’m told the effect is quite….intoxicating….although it is said to make anyone breathing it a bit incapacitated for a period of a few hours. Not that you would ever have any use for such a thing, I’m sure. Just…thought you would like to know. Yours in mischief, Asa

“Well if something was going to fall out, at least it was the dice and not this,” Asa remarked to themselves, pulling the next goodie out of the stasis box.

This one had caused the chief medical officer to need to take a little side trip before going to Madagascar on Earth. A large bottle of pomegranate wine, aged 50 years with a figure of a woman cradling a bulls head while the rest of the animal lay resting on the label, proclaimed itself of “Teleia Wine,” and was produced a few scant kilometers away from the first temple devoted to Hera, and honored her with her sacred fruit and animal.

My friend Hera, I know you enjoy a good vintage fresh from the ground, and I hope this wine, made in honor of you, just outside your former temple on Earth, brings refreshment to your soul as well as body. I’ve also arranged to have the pantry on the Hera stocked with some fresh grapes, olives, dates, and cheeses for the next few months at least. A year ago I would never have believed that a Goddess existed, much less that she would become my friend, but you do and you have. I so enjoy our chats, and I hope they continue for years to come. With great affection, Asa

The next purchase caused Asa to smile, thinking back to the gag gift shop they had purchased it from. Aimed mainly at children, the shop has a collection of invisible ink mysteries….the reader was to “color” in invisible ink to reveal clues, and upon reaching the end of the book make a selection as to who they thought was “the killer”. It was old tech, low tech, from another age, but something about the little books had tickled Asa’s fancy.

Dear Ila, Oh explorer of the unknown, I present to you a true mystery….why did we ever grow up? I hope you can enjoy this simple toy, and have fun with a good ol’ whodunit. It has been a pleasure to see the universe through your eyes, the excitement you have towards unraveling any question, no matter how hard, is infectious. And I’m a doctor, I know a thing or two about infection. Yours truly, Asa

Withdrawing the next item from the box, Asa chuckled a bit to themself again, questioning their sense of humor on this one, but deciding to risk it anyway.

They held an oversized black cloak, complete with headdress in the style women of Abrahamic religions used to wear and call a Burka. However, Asa had commission to have written across the front and back in scrolling, embroidered calligraphy “Can You See Me Now?” alongside an embroidered scythe.

Hello friend, Asa began, not wanting to call their friend Death, as it just felt wrong for a souvenir note, It occurs to me that the Universe is cold, so you might need a cloak to warm you. And hey, why not have the added benefit of looking like a floating cloak walking wherever you choose. Well, except that the surprise might cause a few people to have early appointments with you. But that’s the risks of fashion, yes? In truth, I hope this provides you a hug when I’m not there to give one, or at least a chuckle that once upon a time, on a world long dissolved, you met an enormous Dork who thought it would be appropriate for a Doctor and Death to be friends. I still stand by that judgement call, and I think I always will. Partner In Crime, Asa

Up next was another kitschy item, making Asa question their thought process and come to terms with the fact they are probably not very good at this whole gift giving thing. But it’s the thought that counts, right? At least that’s what humans always say…

The metal cylinder was approximately 1/6 meter long, and appeared to be smooth, sleek, and deadly. A trigger mechanism was on the side, and when pulled a sinister glowing light enveloped the cylinder. Then, as the light crested and erupted out the end opposite of the trigger mechanism, a small, pink, sugar encrusted, marshmallow bird appeared. The cylinder said “Peep” before powering down until used again.

Baroness Von Alcott Asa began writing I truly regret the tragedy that befell you on the Worldship. You lost so much that day. Not the least of which was your marshmallow replicator. Truly an item that a warrior as fierce as you should not be without. Please accept this replacement, while I understand these things called Peeps are not truly marshmallow but something very close to, it seemed fitting. If anyone tells you that you won’t get a peep out of them, well, I’m sure you will find a way to make the pun work. And what else is life about? I’m so thankful for your recovered help, and hope you don’t feel the need to strangle me over this small trinket. Trusting in your judgement, Asa

The only other high-tech item in the lot was next, a small data procured from Starfleet Holographic Research. While the program on the cube was not classified, it was not released for general use yet, and Asa had called in a few favors to gain early access. Contemplating the futility of writing something to a hologram and trying to deliver it with any stealth, Asa continued.

Hello, Doctor. It has been my pleasure working with you since I came aboard. No CMO in the fleet could ask for a truer companion. Your sense of humor, dedication to your patients, and love of knowledge make Sickbay a delightful place to work. This cube is an update to Medical Holographic Protocols to allow you to continue to grow your personality, if you so desire. It will allow you to alter your “Bedside Manner” scripting as desired, and also creates room in your code for additional knowledge in other subjects, should you chose to pursue them. This also includes knowledge of the vast majority of Starfleet Pop Culture references, to help you understand whatever reference Rita or Sam are throwing around. It is my goal to help you continue to grow as you desire, and I hope this is an aid in that endeavor. With great esteem, Asa

The jingling sound that preceded the next items out of the stasis box told what they were without Asa needing to fully look up. The beautiful blue shawl, sheer, and in shades of ice blue, navy blue, white, and silver was fringed in small bells. The matching shawl was predominantly white, but with the same shades of blue swirled throughout, also with silver bells along the edge.

Dear Thex and Tathaa Asa began, It has been a pleasure to watch the love the two of you share grow. I understand you make ‘beautiful music’ together when dancing, so I naturally thought of you when I saw this. I understand a people called the Roma on Earth used to wear such types of sashes across their waist when dancing, and would shake their hips to make the little bells ring. The look on the vendors eyes when he told me about seeing this performed live was….well, memorable. I hope you can find ways to make good memories of your own. Your clumsy friend, Asa

The next to last item in the stasis box was a large, faux-jeweled egg. It was swirled in purple, red, green, and blue with ornate gold scrollwork creating the illusion of golden water dripping down one side. The egg opened up to reveal a treasure trove of pistachio’s, almond, cashews, and peanuts. Hoping the gift was not too on the nose, Asa began to write,

Dear Mona, You have been such a kind friend, and I am so thankful to be considered part of your life. I was thinking about the fantastic eggs you had cooked for us and thought you deserved an egg that would stay pretty and still provide food. Well, at least if you put more food in. I tried a handful of these nuts at a local eatery and found them tasty. I hope you like them too. After all, what could be better than nuts from a nut to a nut? In Friendship, Asa

The final item out of the stasis box still brought a smile to Asa’s face. A humoid figure, about 1 meter tall, made of plushy material was placed on the bed. The form appeared to be a human male and was wearing a pair of embroidered overalls and shirt. His face was crying on one side, and when the doll was flipped over it was angry. A name tag on the angry side read “Punch here”, and on the crying side said, “Free Hugs”. When the little figure was hugged, punched, or even stepped on, it said in Asa’s voice “Mnhei’sahe is loved!,” or “Asa thinks you are cool!”, or the third option, “Everything is going to be ok”. A small pocket sewed into the side of the doll could be opened revealing a cache of tissues, hand cream, and three small pieces of no-melt chocolate.

Dear Mnhei’sahe Asa began writing, I was glad to see your punching dummy go, but I was worried about you coming home to empty quarters on the bad days. This little guy can take a hit without breaking your hand, or can give a hug when I’m not around to squeeze you tight. You have become like a sister to me, and I’m so glad of it. You deserve happiness, Mnhei’sahe, and I hope this brings some small measure of it. Just promise me to still come to me for the real hugs, ok? Love you, Asa.

“Well, I think that’s everything,” the doctor said, gathering gifts to put on the rolling cart. The hour was late now, and not many of the crew were around to see Doctor Dael padding through the corridors, dropping of gifts and sneaking away. When they came to the guarded doors for Death and Hera, Asa left the gift with the person standing watch, simply asking they deliver the gift when the door was next unsealed.

“Holy crap,” Asa said aloud upon reaching their quarters once more. “I’m Santa.”


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