Teaser for Saturday, December 1, 2001 -- "Clandestine" Part 2
- Poe entered the arboretum and gave the entire area a cursory once-over. Not too bad, he thought to himself -- especially given the level of neglect he'd paid to the garden as of late. No doubt Ensign Ashmore or PO3 Tilix'tirin had been steadily working to keep the arboretum in good working order. He'd have to make sure to make it up to Pegasus' very small botany department somehow.
Poe took his tools and headed towards his favorite plant -- the Bajoran fire reeds, so named because of their brilliant hues. In a strong wind, a large field of them looked like a large, moving flame. Promethea bajora was the botanical name given to it, and there were three other variants in the family, including one created by former Vedek Bareil Antos. P. bajora and P. opaka were both present in the arboretum, specifically because Poe had planted the bulbs himself and made sure that they flourished. He always checked on these flowers first. The plants were doing well, but somehow he couldn't help but feel that their blooms would be bigger and brighter had he been paying more attention to them. It was no slight to the Pegasus botanical staff to assume that a Bajoran who had worked with these breeds for almost 30 years would know just exactly what the picky plants had to have done to them in order to bring out their most vibrant hues.
After a while, he moved on to the flowers nearest to these -- again, all seemed to be doing well. Smilax officinalis-- always a strange choice, Poe had thought, but Ashmore was a fan of plants with medicinal value. The columbines were looking well, especially the more study aquilegia formosa with its bright pink flowers. Something would have to be done about the W. heleniodies though -- they didn't seem to be getting enough light. Poe frowned. A group of the flowers had even begun to wilt. Why had no one noticed?
Poe smiled as he knelt down next to the sickly plants, in the soil, and intoned a favorite saying of Vedek Osmai's: "Those who tend their gardens are first to see a weed." He never was sure if it was truly a gardening quote, or a reference to something more sinister.
Poe took out a spade and begin to clear away the hard-packed soil so that he could get to the roots of the sickly sunflowers -- what was the common name of these again? 'Gray mule ears'? Such strange names they chose on Earth...
The Bajoran frowned. There were no irrigation pipes in the ground here in the arboretum; watering was handled by hand or by aeroponic sprayers. Even the few pipes that existed were surely not placed so shallowly -- he was only three inches at most into the ground. Poe thrust his spade into the ground again, at the same location.
chink ... chink ...
Poe began to dig up the soil more quickly, using his gloved hands now. Something snagged at his left glove and he pulled it away instinctively, looking down to find some shards of broken glass. Carefully now, he moved the last bit of soil aside -- funny, this soil seems newer than the rest -- and frowned at what he saw.
Two corked vials of a cobalt liquid substance were buried into the soil. There was also a third broken vial -- probably the noise Poe had heard -- and its liquid was quickly being absorbed by the roots of the nearby plants. Poe took the two intact vials into one of his gloved hands and examined the liquid, holding it up to the light to see.
Obviously, they weren't supposed to be there, whatever they were. But who had put them in the garden, and why?
Poe got up and dusted his uniform pants off. Whoever had done this definitely intended for the vials not to be found. And whatever was in the vials ... it certainly wasn't having a positive effect on the arboretum.
Poe left his tools by the site of his discovery, and without bothering to pack the soil back into place, walked off with the two intact vials, heading towards Sickbay.
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