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Cantrip Apprentice

Posted on Sun Jun 19th, 2016 @ 6:52am by Ensign Otoha Takahashi RN

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Quarters, USS Vindex
Timeline: Off duty


With her E.R. Recipe Competition entry for 2392 now completed and submitted, Otoha put her mind to other projects. Many people with continuously hectic jobs would seek stillness and quietness off duty. Otoha, however, was a highly restless spirit during this season. Productiveness was a compulsion.

She sat largely disrobed on her Asian floor matt, tricorders and medical equipment switched on and implementing tests. She carefully applying symbols to her skin that could be called 'temporary durable tattoos'. She consulted the geographical archive on her wristbook. Her applicator had to create the symbols in specific locations and with particular orientations. After the last one was applied, she set aside the infuser and took a few moments to rest.

When she was ready, she opened her eyes and activated an optical holographic device. Normally, people used this for learning dance, sport, or martial body moves. As the holo-image moved, the student followed. This time, she made slow and careful hand movements. A pair of symbols, one on each shoulder, began to glow faintly. Believing that she could use her own voice instead of a recorded one this time, she pronounced syllables of an alien language. The symbols on her skin reacted to both relative position with each other and the sound patterns hitting them. Suddenly, the pair of cold plasma designs vanished. A small flame ignited an inch above Otoha's index finger and she lit a candle with it.

After blowing out the finger flame, she sighed and stared at the candle for a few moments. "Okay. Now..." Double checking her notes, she began casting another 'spell'. Several symbols glowed on her body and then vanished as she pointed to an open petri dish. Anxious to see the results, she hastily picked up a tricorder wand and scanned. At seeing the immediate results, Otoha exhaled a quiet growl of frustration.

Mai settled down beside her. "It looks like you cannot substitute chemicals."

"This pattern will convey a witch doctor's poison, but not a medicine." Otoha shook her head, "I don't understand. The Vantisi are primitive, tribal. If symbol morphing is so deeply complex, then how could they have figured it out?"

"Maiden, it's nothing more complicated than centuries of blind trial and error. The witch doctors stumbled across patterns which successfully projected drugs and poisons onto people."

Otoha sighed, speaking scarcely above a whisper. "And so they tyrannize the continents, keeping people in terror of mysterious powers saturated in deceptive mythology."

Mai leaned back to back with her, "They don't realize what the people could accomplish if they could become literate in the science. They could arise, build cities... flying machines... even step into space with creations that don't utilize technology as we know it."

"The Federation is wrong. To protect evil in the name of non-interference is to perpetuate it, to participate in it. Someday, the Vantisi will finally advance. And when they do, they will learn that we sat by and did nothing to stop the brutality. I would never expect them to join the Federation." Otoha threw up her hands in exasperation, "I can copy what they do, but I cannot innovate. No scientific studies have been carried out on the relationship between the cold plasma and matter and energy." She shook her head, "I could set up a lab that vastly accelerated random testing, but results wouldn't be nearly as profound."

"Maiden, is this... art... that important to you?"

Otoha lowered and shook her head slightly, "No. I'm just frustrated for the Vantisi. I want to see someone crack the mysteries of this science and put all those witch doctor bumpkins out of business overnight... free the people to learn."

"Are you sure? You have no way of knowing how nice they would be to interstellar neighbors after they advanced."

Annoyed, Otoha turned to look roundly at her, "By that logic, all species should be kept primitive out of fear of what they could do."

"I only wanted to offer a word of caution."

Otoha 'cast' another release of energy. This time, a shimmering, mesmerizing sound filled the air.

Mai tipped her head, "All those hand motions and syllables that you speak... how strange that it is needed."

The nurse shook her head, "No, the somatics are not a component. Dependence upon them keeps the symbol bearer from accidentally activating symbols with common movements or words. They are... a key of sorts."

Mai scooted around so that they could share eye contact, "How much energy are you going to put into this?"

"Why do you ask?"

"If you put the necessary time into exploring this art, then you will not have enough time to properly do your job. You have a full crew to support. If you only dabble with this, then all you will succeed in doing is frustrate yourself."

"Mai, I'm not going to let this go. I am my brother's keeper. The Vantisi need to be delivered from brutal tyranny."

"You don't have the scientific background to research this."

"It doesn't have to be me. But I can help. My conscience won't allow me to dust my hands off and lie to myself that someone else will do it."


"I don't know, yet." Otoha cast the remaining symbols and then scanned to make sure that no residue remained on her skin. A smile flickered, "Imagine, a suite of tattoos replacing a full variety pack of hypo-syringes." She stared off, "It'll have to be somebody outside of the Federation."

"You won't be allowed to violate Prime Directive."

Otoha pulled a gown up over her shoulders, "I'm not suggesting handing the Vantisi any technology. I simply want to see them given unchained from ignorance, to grow in what they already have." She nodded, "I know there are other Brother's Keepers out there. I just have to link up with them." She studied Mai, "How do you feel about that?"

Mai's expression slowly melted into a smile.

Otoha tipped her head in a smile, "You know... after the secret to the science was cracked, someone like you could impart benevolent use to the Vantisi without anyone realizing it."

"It's not that easy, maiden. I depend upon you for much of my knowledge."

"As in, you really are a figment of my imagination, or you are a merged symbiont?"

Mai teased with a smiling shrug, "Who knows?" The wall clock chimed, "You are up too late."

Otoha took a deep, resting breath and put her tools away. She laid down and dimmed the lights into a colorful night glow. Mai sat beside her, "Let your mind rest."

"I can't. Too many cases to process."

"You're fully caught up, schedule-wise."

"Doesn't matter."

Mai smiled. She slowly took in a deep breath and then gently blew on Otoha. She plunged into a deep sleep.


Nurse Otoha Takahashi

USS Vindex
Bravo Fleet


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