Title: Specimens

Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Pairing: canon
Rating: PG

Summary: Julian Bashir investigates some new flowers brought back from the gamma quadrant on other side of the worm hole.

Notes: Written for day 6 of my 23 Ficlets project to celebrate my 23rd anniversary in the community




A sprained ankle and a mild fever were the only two patients he had seen so far this morning. Dr. Julian Bashir considered that to be a quiet day in his infirmary. From the breakfast he’d had earlier on the promenade, it was a quiet day throughout the station as well. Julian was sure that had something to do with the holy days the Bajorans were currently observing and the recent news about the Dominion starting to spread that kept the casual travelers away. Always up for a new mystery or challenge, he wasn’t usually a fan of quiet days, but this one gave him a chance to finally look at the samples of plants a team had brought back recently from a planet in the gamma quadrant. The locals of the planet had sworn by the healing properties in the plants, and Julian was eager to investigate whatever medicinal value they might hold.


It took a fair amount of time to set up a safe field for study, with every medical and security protocol properly observed. Odo would murder him if he were to inadvertently unleash something harmful on the station, though the guilt would get to him first. The specimens might look innocent enough, with their beautiful pink blossoms, but Julian had been in Starfleet long enough to know that those tended to be the things that were most dangerous. He pulled up the notes that the team had sent him with their observations in the field. He had read them through already, highlighting pertinent passages he wanted to revisit later with hypothesis-driven experiments, and now seemed as good a time as any to begin.


He opened the stasis container and took out the first sample’s pod, examining it visually with the naked eye to start with. Overall, it presented like nothing he’d seen before and, yet, had similar structures to other samples he had examined from the gamma quadrant. He walked the pod over to a scanner so he could enlarge the visual and take a closer look at its cellular structure. 


Except it wasn’t more than a few minutes into the task when he started to notice a tickle in his nose. It started tickling and running, and no amount of sniffing seemed to calm it. This was either the fastest onset of a cold ever or… Curiously, he leaned over and inhaled the scent of the flowers. He felt a sharp, intense tickle in his nose flare up. All right, hypothesis proven. He backed away from the flowers, pressing his sleeve to his nose. If he applied just the right amount of pressure, it might be enough to keep from… “IHTchoo!” Or not.


The exploratory team who had brought these samples back hadn’t reported anyone having a reaction like this, which meant either someone had been too embarrassed to officially record it or Julian was just extremely unlucky to be allergic to these plants. Given the standards of Starfleet, he was fairly certain the latter rather than the former were true in this case. Knowing that didn’t keep him from feeling sneezy, however.


Ahshoo! Ihchhuhh!” The sneezes were quick and strong, and he needed a plan to stop them. First thing was first: return the sample to its case to preserve it. He held the plant out at arms-length, staying as far away from it as he could, though that didn’t seem to help. “ihh-HIHtchh! Ihshoo! Ih ih IHShahh!” He sneezed into his shoulder as he popped the pod back into its care and flipped the top down. “Ihshoo!” The snap of the latch engaging was a comforting sound he could just make out around his sneezes. “ihh-EHshh! Ih-HIHshoo!


All right. He’d managed to survive that well enough. Next up on his list: get out of the safe field and away from the flowers. “Computer: readjust safe field for… for ehhh ehCHOO!


“Command not understood,” replied the computer.


Julian sighed and tried again. “Computer: reahhh… hahh-Ahschhhh! Hahshoo!


“Command not understood.”


He groaned inwardly and rubbed his nose against his sleeve.  With a deep breath, he tried again, “Computer: readjust safe field for exit.”


“Readjusting safe field for exit. Running diagnostic scan on medical personnel inside field.”


He waited, his ticklish nose buried against his forearm. He was going to sneeze again pretty soon, so it was easier just to keep his arm up in place.


The computer finished. “No foreign particles detected. Safe field perimeter now being adjusted to exclude medical personnel.”


He saw a shimmer of light as the medical force field’s boundaries moved to encompass only the immediate work area with the specimens. With a sharp tickle still in his nose, it didn’t feel like much of an accomplishment, really, but he checked the step off his mental list anyway. Step three: stop sneezing.


“Morning, Julian! I was thinking about the holodeck program we tried last week and…” Miles O’Brien broke off as Julian looked up at him with his arm bent over his face. “Are you all right?”


Julian shook his head and bent forward with another sneeze. “Ehtshhhh!


“Oh no,” Miles sighed, putting his hand to his forehead. “Not more sneezing. You’re not pregnant, too, are you?”


Julian kept shaking his head. “hihh-Shoo! Huhchshh! Hihshhh!


Miles headed over to the replicator. “Miles O’Brien item 4089.” The replicator hummed for a moment before a short stack of tissues appeared. He walked them over and held them out, palm up.


Gratefully, Julian accepted the offer and his brows knit together as he wiped one at his tickling nose. It was thick and strong but so soft to the touch. “You sniff made this?”


Nodding, “With all the sneezing Major Kira’s been doing, you might say it was a necessary labor of love. It took a while to get right, but I think I’ve just about got it.”


hihh-IHshphhhh!” While he wished he weren’t still sneezing, he had to admit how good it felt to sneeze into these tissues. “C-comp-ihh-Hihshhphhhh!


“How about letting me do the talking, huh?” Miles offered, hanging by the replicator.


Julian nodded agreeably, blowing his nose. “Allery serum hypo… hy-ihhh hypo-hihhhh!” He buried his nose in another soft tissue. “Hihhh-IHShhhphhh!


Shaking his head with a chuckle, Miles leaned casually against the bulkhead. “Allergy serum hypospray,” he told the computer.


“Specify allergy serum formula,” the computer commanded.


Miles looked at Julian for help, and Julian held up fingers to indicate the number. “Fifty-two,” he said.


A hypospray appeared in the replicator not a moment too soon. “ihhhh ihh IH!” Miles pressed it to Julian’s neck. It hissed as it delivered the specific dosage of antihistamines. “Ihhh-HIHShphhhh!” Julian sneezed and blew his nose again. But his head was already beginning to clear, and the tickle in his nose was backing down. He gave a relieved smile as he wiped his nose again. “Thank you, Miles.”


“No problem,” he shrugged and set the hypospray down on a counter. “What was all that about anyway?”


Miles might be the only person on the station who liked a good mystery as much as Julian did. Julian liked less being the subject of said mystery, however. He gestured back at the specimens. “Flowers from the gamma quadrant. They’re supposed to have medicinal properties, but the only thing I’ve been able to deduce so far is that they make me sneeze my head off.” He gave his nose one more wipe. “Do you think I could borrow Keiko at some point this week? I know she’s probably got her hands full with school, but I’d appreciate her expertise. I don’t think there’s anyone on the station more adept at botany.”


“As long as you don’t send my wife home to me sneezing, I’ll ask her if she can help.”


“I’ll replicate a couple hyposprays before we start, just in case. And some of your amazing tissues. 4189, was it?” Julian knew that it was 4089, but sometimes it paid to appear as though his memory wasn’t quite as good as it was. Besides, he’d been sneezing and could easily have misheard.


“4089,” Miles corrected. “Now, about last week’s holodeck program, I did have an idea I wanted to run by you…”