Bein’ Green

In the two months since Holly was born, Jaimie Petrelli was based on the surface of Aloran IV as the guest of her captain, Patrick Ingrum, and his sisters-in-law. Much of her time was spent on things related to being a mother, such as feeding, changing, and comforting her baby at odd hours. Fortunately, Jaimie was not alone: Stephanie Taylor was also the mother of a two-month-old, and both mothers were willing and able to lean on each other. They also had Patrick and the crew of the Baldwin to provide company and support, as well as keeping Holly’s older brother from becoming too jealous of the babies.

This evening, the children had been put to bed and the parents had brought out the playing cards and chips for a round of Texas Hold ‘Em. Bridget sat as a non-playing dealer. “Okay, the small blind is five chips, the big blind is ten. As someone once said: every hand’s a winner, and every hand’s a loser. Jaimie, you’re on the button for this round.”

In poker games with a non-playing dealer, the ‘button’ signifies the player that opens the round. As soon as the hole cards were dealt, Jaimie opened the betting with her small blind. Patrick followed with the big blind.

Sara Jackson was next. “I’ll pass this round, fold.” The next two players, Donna and Sarah Allison, also folded.

“I’m out,” Jessica noted as she folded her hole cards.

Amanda, the second oldest of Bridget’s sisters, elected to raise. “Twenty.”

Part of the reason that Bridget elected to be a non-playing dealer was due to her developing telepathy. She could read everyone’s mind to ‘see’ their hole card. If she were playing, it would be cheating; as a spectator, it made the game a little more entertaining. So far, she noted that Amanda was the only one with a pair out of the gate – a pair of Jacks.

Michelle, the third-oldest sister, called Amanda’s raise. “I’d like to see how the flop comes up,” she noted. Bridget ‘saw’ that Michelle had a ‘suited’ hand – an Ace and Five of Diamonds.

Katie, the middle child of the seven sisters, folded, turning the bet back to Jaimie. Jaimie had a King and Nine of Clubs. “I’d like to see the flop myself,” she noted as she placed fifteen in the pot.

Patrick also called, ending the first round of betting and triggering the flop. The flop turned up the Nine of Diamonds, Four of Diamonds, and Jack of Hearts. With her hole cards, Amanda had three Jacks, but Michelle could still get a flush if a diamond comes up on the turn or the river. This could get interesting, Bridget thought to herself.

Jaimie and Patrick elected to ‘check,’ neither folding nor adding to the pot. Amanda went with a confident open. “I’m in for 50.”

“I’ll call,” Michelle replied. Patrick and Jaimie promptly folded.

The turn came up with the King of Hearts, which did not help Michelle’s hand. “Looks like it’s down to the two of us,” Amanda noted to her younger sister. “I’ll open with 100.”

“I’m not quite all-in,” Michelle answered, “but I’m going to see this hand through to the showdown. I’ll raise to 150.” Amanda silently called Michelle’s raise.

Bridget dealt the river card, the Ace of Spades. “Thank goodness Johnathan isn’t here,” Amanda noted, “or else he’d probably be singing Motörhead. I’ll open with 100.”

“If I lose this round,” Michelle noted, “it will be because you have the better hand. I’ll call.”

Amanda showed the table her pair of Jacks. “Amanda has triple Jacks,” Bridget noted. “Okay, Michelle, let’s see what you have.”

“Good game,” Michelle conceded as she showed her hole cards. “I was hoping to get a flush, but only got a pair of rockets instead.”

As Bridget was dealing out the hole cards for the next hand, the communications console signaled an incoming call. Patrick got up from the table to take it. “I’ll forfeit my small blind for this hand,” Patrick stated. “This is Captain Patrick Ingrum,” he stated to answer the call.

The caller was a familiar face to Patrick. “Did I catch you at a bad time?” inquired Governor Jacob Whitburn of the New Cardiff colony, noting that the captain was out of his Starfleet uniform and in a red t-shirt.

“Nothing too serious, just having a poker night. We’re playing for fun, not latinum.”

I take it you’re behind in chips then,” Jacob noted. Patrick did not respond, so the Governor continued. “I am sorry to interrupt your game, but we have a bit of a delicate situation. We have multiple independent traders bringing commerce through the colony. Unfortunately, one of the trading factions has turned against another. One group has accused another of piracy.

“I know that you’ve managed to clean up the prosecutor’s office of Quellen’s influence and that your house-cleaning reputation helped you win the election. What makes you want to request my help again?”

The accused is a group of Orion free-traders led by a young woman. I suspect that there may be some residual elements of the Quellen administration that want to blindly assume that the Orion woman is part of the Syndicate. Even though Malina has left a very bad taste in your mouth, I still trust that you and your team could still look at this impartially.

“Understood. We can be there in 12 hours.”

Make it 18. Our Day shift is a few hours behind your alpha shift.

“18 hours it is then, we’ll see you then. Ingrum out.” Patrick returned to the table just as Jaimie was taking the pot. “Did I miss anything?”

“Just that Jaimie had Aces over Sixes,” Bridget noted.

“Sara, could I have a word with you please?” he indicated as motioned her into a side room that had been turned into his home office.

“What’s going on?” Sara inquired. Patrick debriefed his legal affairs officer of what was going on at New Cardiff. “So, you want me to put on my lawyer cap and vet these free-traders.”

“Pretty much,” Patrick answered. “However, I’m not letting you relinquish your command cap. This mission doesn’t need me; therefore, I’m going to spend some quality time with Tiana and let you have the ship. I told Governor Whitburn you would be there in 18 hours, so I suggest you get ready, captain.”

It was mid-morning at the Governor’s office on New Cardiff when Sara arrived for a briefing. Bridget accompanied her. “I’m surprised that Captain Ingrum didn’t isn’t joining you for this meeting,” Governor Whitburn noted.

“Patrick sends his regards,” Bridget replied, “but he decided to step back and let Sara take point.”

“I see,” Whitburn answered before beginning his briefing. “As I mentioned to Captain Ingrum, we have a group of Orion free-traders currently attempting to do business in our port. One of their competitors has made statements accusing the Orions of secretly being part of the Syndicate. I think the claim is without merit. However, as governor, I’ve got to cover my ass.”

“So, I take it you would like for us to discreetly investigate the claims and report back to you.”

“If you’re suggesting a covert investigation of the Orions, that won’t be necessary. The head of the delegation is eagerly awaiting an interview. How soon do you want to meet with her?”

“Is lunchtime too soon?”

“I’ll check with the delegation, but I think that will be fine.”

Sara and Bridget were slightly surprised when the head of the Orion free-traders arrived for the lunchtime meeting. Her emerald skin, jet black hair, and deep brown eyes indicated her race. Unlike most portrayals of Orions, their guest’s hair was styled and trimmed to just above her shoulders. Her choice of outfit conveyed an air of professionalism. “Hello,” she stated, “I’m Mara, captain of the delegation here on New Cardiff. You must be Commander Jackson.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mara,” Sara answered.

“Thank you,” Mara answered. “Needless to say, I know what’s happening. Many of the traders that aren’t familiar with the reputation of my crew see our green skin and presume that we’re up to no good. This is the first time we’ve opened up trade with a Federation world.”

“I hear you,” Sara commented. “I intend to investigate the claims against you fairly and with an open mind. I will still have to do a cursory background check on you and your crew.”

“I have much of the background data on myself and the crew for you right here.” Mara handed a data chip to Sara. “I think whatever your background check comes up with should match up.”

“Understood,” Sara noted.

“There is one thing,” Mara noted, “I understand that you have had a run-in with an Orion woman named Malina.”

Bridget perked up upon hearing the name of the woman who injured her mate to near the point of death. “We have,” she noted.

“In that case, I will say that I have the misfortune to be her cousin. Even though she is a blood relative, I probably like her even less than you do.”

“So noted,” Sara stated. “We’ll try not to hold it against you. Is there anything else you wish to disclose?”

“I don’t think there’s anything else that isn’t part of the packet. However, if there’s no objection, I’d like to chat with Commander Ingrum, woman to woman.”

“This should be interesting,” Bridget noted. “Sara, if you want to go ahead and head back, I should be fine.”

“In that case, I’ll let the two of you converse while I run the background check.”

Sara had returned to the Baldwin and took her seat at the ready room desk when the doorbell rang, “Come in,” she replied.

“You wanted to see me, Commander?” Erica stated as she entered the ready room.

“The good news is that the head of the Orion delegation has been very open with us. Her name is Mara, and she provided us with data on her crew in anticipation of a background check. Since digging up information is your wheelhouse, I’ll let you have at it.”

“From my experience, Orion free-traders tend to be open and forthcoming about themselves because too many people assume the Orion race and the Orion Syndicate are the same. Just curious, did she indicate that she had any enemies in the syndicate.”

“No, but she did state that she was related to Malina.”

“Blood relatives in the syndicate are no better than enemies, especially when it comes to someone like Malina. By the way, where is Bridget?”

“Mara wanted to talk with her one on one.”

 “I’d bet that Mara wants to build a rapport with Bridget over their common foe. That very well could be a good thing – I wish I were a fly on the wall for their conversation.”

Mara treated Bridget to lunch at a small restaurant close to the government offices where the initial interview took place. They were seated in a corner booth, out of the way of unwanted attention. As they were waiting on their food, Bridget began the conversation. “So, why are you interested in me?”

“As I said to Commander Jackson, I have no love for the Syndicate, especially my cousin Malina. I know the brutal beatdown Malina gave your husband, and I was intrigued by a little of your personal history as well.”

“Really?” Bridget was intrigued and wondering why Mara was interested in her.

“Look,” Mara commented, “you’re aware of the Orion woman’s potent pheromones. What isn’t quite as well known is that our pheromone production is meant to produce an empathic response in our partners.” Bridget nodded in acknowledgment. “You aren’t exactly surprised by that, are you?”

“Patrick and I discovered that I have a similar ability. My pheromones tend to have a calming effect.”

“I can tell,” Mara noted. “Orion women can also pick up on the pheromones of others. Right now, your aroma is relaxing.”

“Right now?” Bridget responded.

“When I told Commander Jackson that Malina was my cousin, I picked up a whiff of anger from you. Given what happened to Captain Ingrum, I would be astonished if you hadn’t.”

The Doorbell rang in Erica’s office. “Come in,” she responded.

“You said you have info on Mara?” Sara inquired.

“I have,” Erica noted. “I was able to independently verify everything she provided. Furthermore, I think you’ll find this little tidbit interesting. She has a BS in psychology from the University of Betazed.”

“She didn’t include that in the information she gave me. It’s not a deal-killer by any means, but I think it would be pertinent and I would have looked at her background favorably if she had.”

“In the business of trade, an academic degree isn’t necessarily a requirement. However, in this case, I think it does show something I do find to be exemplary. Take a look at this.”

Erica handed Sara a PADD containing a document. “What is it?” Sara inquired.

“It’s a study on Orion physiology and their effects on different Federation member species. She wasn’t just a ‘Guinea pig,’ she was a contributing author on the research.”

After an hour of working on their lunches, Bridget and Mara were chatting with each other like they were old friends. “You know,” Bridget commented, “if the trading fare gets too competitive, you could be a great counselor.”

“What makes you think I hadn’t considered it?” Mara responded.

“You seem to be secure as a trader, but I take it you have studied to be a counselor.”

“University of Betazed, class of ’62,” the Orion noted. “I figured that to succeed in trade, it was more advantageous to study the people before studying the trade.”

“So, what have you learned about studying me?” Bridget inquired.

“Probably the fact you have to be one of the humblest persons in the quadrant. Even though you have augmented strength and have barely scratched the surface of your telepathic and telekinetic abilities, you hold yourself together very well. I don’t pick up a sense that you consider yourself to be above anyone else. Something tells me your husband is–” Before Mara could finish her sentence, she collapsed onto the restaurant floor.

Bridget rushed to assess her fallen lunch date. Mara’s pulse was fading, and her breathing was nearly non-existent. “Ingrum to Baldwin, I need an emergency transport. Two to beam directly to sickbay.”

Dr. Bratney rushed over to the section of sickbay where the emergency transport was received. “What happened?” he asked.

“We were just chatting during lunch when she collapsed suddenly. Her pulse is weak and even I can’t tell if she’s breathing.”

“All right, let’s get her on a bed, stat. We may need to put her on a ventilator.”

“Do you need anything from me?” Bridget inquired.

“Let’s get you checked out,” the CMO answered as he motioned for an assistant to tend to Bridget. “Commander Jackson, you are requested in sickbay.”

It took a few minutes for Sara to arrive in sickbay. “What the hell happened?”

“Our Orion friend’s pulmonary system nearly collapsed thanks to a dose of Voraxna,” Dr. Bratney answered. “We’ve got her on a ventilator and a shot of tri-ox, but it will be touch-and-go while we clear the poison out of her system. Commander Ingrum also ingested the Voraxna, however, it appears that her physiology retarded its effect. I need to keep Bridget for a while to purge the poison out of her system, but since we caught it, she’s not in immediate mortal danger.”

“Understood,” Sara noted. “It sounds like we all have a long afternoon ahead of us. Let me know if anything changes. In the meantime, I’ll be on the bridge.”

Sara made a bee-line for the ready room as soon as the turbolift doors opened to deck 1. Her first call was to Governor Whitburn. He agreed, particularly since a Starfleet officer was attacked, that Starfleet had lead jurisdiction. New Cardiff security had responded to the restaurant and had carefully ‘bagged and tagged’ any possible evidence, including Bridget and Mara’s unfinished meals. The next move was to receive an update from the security chief. Donna had already been apprised of the situation and had dispatched a team to take over the investigation.

With everything lined up to investigate the poisoning, Sara made one more call. “Is everything all right, Sara?” Patrick inquired as he received the call.

“I know you’re on leave,” Sara noted, “but I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to come back. Bridget was having lunch with Mara this afternoon when they were both poisoned with Voraxna.”

What’s their condition?

“Mara is critical in our sickbay. Dr. Bratney has her on a ventilator. The Voraxna worked slower on Bridget, so she was able to call for emergency transport.”

“Have you begun an investigation into the poisoning?”

“Our team is already on it.”

Good,” Patrick noted. “Unless Bridget wants me for emotional support in her recovery, I’ll stay on the bench. Have her call me when the doctors release her.

“Will do,” Sara responded.

At the end of the shift, the Baldwin senior staff gathered in the conference room to discuss the day’s events. Dr. Bratney went first with a medical update. “The good news is that we were able to purge the poison from Mara’s system. She still needs assistance in breathing and is still in critical condition. Bridget has been treated and released.”

The science station analyzed the forensic evidence picked up by New Cardiff security. As Baldwin’s lead science officer, Sarah Allison gave her report. “I can confirm that we found Voraxna in both meals. Based on the concentration of poison found in the food, it appears both were given the same dose, presumably to obfuscate who was the primary target.”

“Any trace evidence that would lead us to the perpetrators?”

“The only fingerprints we found were Bridget’s, Mara’s, and the restaurant staff,” Sarah stated. “Donna’s team interviewed the staff.”

“Based on those interviews, we eliminated the staff as possible suspects,” Donna interjected. “We did receive and went over the available security footage, and we found this.” Donna pressed a button on the conference room console to display the security video on the room’s main screen. “As you can see, the suspect was good about concealing his or her face or any other features that could give us an ID. We can also confirm that the suspect used gloves.”

“I take it our suspect not only concealed his identity from the cameras,” Sara commented, “but he was also able to evade detection by the staff.”

“The staff did not recall seeing anyone they did not know anywhere near the kitchen,” Donna stated. “This footage is all we got to go on.”

Once Bridget returned to her quarters, she made a call to Aloran IV. “Hey,” Patrick stated as he answered the call. “How are you feeling?

“I’m doing all right,” Bridget answered. “My throat got a little scratchy, but it’s gone now. Dr. Bratney gave me a shot of tri-ox. Mara is still unconscious.”

What’s your take on Mara?

“Sara, Erica, and I all agree that she’s not with the Syndicate. Furthermore, I think she was seeking to make friends with me in particular.”

Was she successful?

“She was. I do have to wonder what her motive is for seeking me out. She admitted to me she did study psychology, and that she uses her knowledge to ‘work the people’ when negotiating.”

Your genetic heritage may not be headline-grabbing, but I’m sure it would be interesting to someone with her kind of academic credentials. Erica sent me a copy of the study she co-authored. If I’m reading this correctly, she could probably teach you a thing or two about your pheromones.

“We chatted a little about the subject,” Bridget noted. “Maybe we’ll take it up again when she feels better.”

I told Sara I’d stay on the sidelines unless you wanted me with you.

“You’re very sweet for offering, but I’m good. The best thing you could do for me is to keep our baby girl in line.”

“Okay, in that case, I’ll stay at home. Keep me apprised regarding the investigation.”

“We will,” Bridget concluded. “Baldwin out.”

About halfway through the evening shift, alarms started going off as Mara made a gasp for air. The attending nurse quickly responded. “Don’t try to speak just yet. You’re aboard Baldwin. Nod if you understand.” Mara acknowledged. “Dr. Bratney, Commander Ingrum, and Commander Jackson: Mara has regained consciousness.”

 The doctor, along with Sara and Bridget, promptly arrived in sickbay as directed. Dr. Bratney reviewed his patient’s vitals. “Her blood oxygen levels are better but are still low. She just received a dose of tri-ox an hour ago, so I’m hesitant to administer any more at this time.”

As Dr. Bratney was talking, Mara was attempting to communicate. All Bridget could understand was a faint “L” sounds. “Mara, are you wanting me to turn up the lights?” Bridget inquired. Mara nodded affirmingly. “Computer,” Bridget instructed, “increase the brightness to twenty-two hundred lumens, with a color temperature of forty-four hundred Kelvin.”

As the lights began to brighten and transition from a warm glow to a cooler ‘daylight’ color, Sara gave a confused look. “How did you know what kind of light she wanted?”

“Well, there’s got to be a logical reason Orions have green skin,” Bridget answered. “The Orion homeworld is a rocky class ‘L’ planet.”

“I don’t think any of us here are experts on Orion physiology; however, I don’t see any harm with the rather unorthodox treatment,” Dr. Bratney noted.

“Mara,” Sara stated, “since Bridget was also poisoned, we are investigating. We would appreciate your assistance in finding out who did this to you.” Mara nodded in agreement. “For now, you’re not out of the woods just yet. We can talk once Dr. Bratney here thinks you’re ready to be released.”

Acting Captain’s Log, Stardate 55674.3: Mara’s condition improved overnight. As we have had no further leads on who may have poisoned her, any help she can provide can only aid our investigation.

“Honestly, I have no reason to believe that anyone on my crew would be complicit in poisoning me,” Mara stated. “However, the fact that I was being vetted by you would have certainly known by my competitors.”

“I’m having our intelligence liaison vet those that have started trading here in the last four months.”

“You might want to check out traders going further back,” Mara suggested. “It wouldn’t surprise me if a long-standing trade group would have issues with new competition.”

“I agree,” Bridget noted. “It’s possible that someone had a sweetheart deal with the Quellen Administration. With the change in control of the government to Whitburn, I wouldn’t think it’s out of the question that they want to maintain their advantage.”

“I did sense a bit of smugness with some of the. ‘old guard’ trading partners, so your suspicion may have some merit,” Mara added.

“With that, I think we’re at a good stopping point,” Sara noted. “With everything that happened yesterday, I think you’re engineering team can handle things without you today.”

“I take it you want to make our guest feel at home,” Bridget replied. “I think I can handle that.”

Bridget and Mara had an uneventful turbolift ride to the mess hall, where Bridget led her guest to the Captain’s Dining Room. “I assume that the captain doesn’t have a problem with you being in here,” Mara noted.

“Being married to the CO has its privileges,” Bridget noted. “As temporary captain, Sara will understand. After all, she was the one who encouraged our courtship.”

“Captain Ingram is fortunate to have met you,” Mara noted.

“Was that what you went going to say when you succumbed to the poison?” Bridget inquired while she retrieved ingredients from the stasis unit.

“Indeed. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell him in person. By the way, thanks for turning up the lights for me in sickbay.”

“I read the paper you co-authored after I left sickbay last night. It’s a real insight not only on your physiology but also on the differences between cultures within the Orion race.”

“Indeed. A friend of mine has a daughter who has a great aptitude for science and has an optimistic disposition. I said to my friend that her daughter should enroll in the Academy.”

“And did she?” Bridget asked while she continued to prepare lunch.

“She did. She’s currently a senior at the Academy studying to be a medical tech. She’s very enthusiastic and absorbs her lessons like a sponge.”

“Sounds like Starfleet is a good fit for her. Hopefully, she will be a good fit for Starfleet. Now, as for lunch, It may not be a nice restaurant, but I guarantee we won’t be poisoned.”

On the bridge, Donna was monitoring the sensors from her tactical station when she noticed extraordinary readings. “Commander,” she indicated, “we’re picking up a spike in energy readings coming from another ship in orbit.”

“Can you identify the ship?” Sara instructed.

“The name of the ship is Athena One and is of Orion registry. It’s the trading ship of Mara’s team.”

First, their team leader was poisoned, Sara thought, and now their ship has emitted a power surge. “This cannot be a coincidence,” she noted. “Take us to yellow alert and open a channel.” A short chime and a nod from Donna signaled that communications had been established. “Athena One, this is Commander Sara Jackson, USS Baldwin. Our sensors are picking up an energy spike from your vessel. Do you require assistance?”

“Baldwin, there has been an explosion in our engine room,” explained the responding officer. “We are holding our own for now, but our engineer indicates that a warp core breach is inevitable. We’re trying to eject the core.

“Sensors are indicating a heavy amount of subspace distortion,” Donna commented. “That warp core breach isn’t inevitable, it’s imminent,”

Athena One, we’re showing that you are about to breach. I don’t think you’ll be able to eject your core or get to your escape pods. Stand by for emergency transport.”

“I’m picking up 23 life-signs,” Donna reported. “All transporter rooms report they are ready to receive.”

“Get them out of there, now!”

Within seconds of Sara’s order, the Athena One became a giant fireball. “Transporter rooms report that they were able to recover everyone aboard,” Donna reported. “Sickbay has medical teams on their way to check for injuries.”

“Thank God!” Sara exclaimed. “Have those without serious injury sent to the Mess Hall. I’ll let Mara know what happened personally. You have the Bridge, Donna.”

Bridget and Mara were finishing their lunch when Sara barged into the kitchen. “Is something wrong?” Bridget inquired with a worried look.

“Mara’s ship was just destroyed in a warp core breach,” Sara answered. “We suspect sabotage.”

“What about my Crew?” Mara asked.

“A couple of them suffered injuries in an engine room explosion that led to the breach. They’re being treated in our sickbay. Everyone else is next door in the mess hall. I’m sure they will be as relieved to see you as you will be to see them.”

As soon as Mara entered the mess hall with Sara and Bridget, she was met with an emphatic hug from a fellow green-skinned woman. “Damn it, Mara,” she stated, “you scared us. Starfleet briefed us on your poisoning.”

“I’m just glad everyone is safe. A ship and latinum can be replaced.”

“I hate to say this,” Bridget commented, “but it can’t be a coincidence that you were poisoned and your ship was destroyed.”

“I have to agree,” Sara added. “Someone is actively trying to disrupt interstellar trade in this sector. Since they also came after Bridget, I think it’s fair to say we will continue to be on this investigation. If you need anything from me, I’ll be composing reports in the Ready Room.”

As Sara took left the Mess Hall, Mara introduced Bridget to her compatriot. “Bridget, this is my XO, Nava.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Nava.”

“Likewise, Commander,” Nava stated. “Thank you for saving Mara. I just can’t believe that there’s someone that wants to sour our relationship with the worlds of the Federation.”

“I take it you have a very positive view of the Federation, even though Orion is not a member world,” Bridget noted.

“Damn straight, Commander.”

“Please, call me Bridget.”

“I have had nothing but good dealings with Starfleet. I have a friend who is a student at the Academy. However, I can understand if you have some issues with Orion women.”

“Am I pissed at Melina, you’re damn right. She brutally tortured my husband for some sick power trip. However, I’m not the kind that would think poorly of a race simply because of the actions of one person. Hell, I’m a member of a race that is stigmatized as well.”

“Mara did seek you out because of your unique genetic background and everything that has been written about you. She may be the captain of a trading vessel, but she’s an academic at heart. I think, like Patrick, she can contrast you with the narcissistic power-grabbers that seem to be at the forefront of your race, just as my race is seen as bunch of manipulative and ever-willing sex objects.”

Bridget nodded in agreement. While she was chatting with this Orion woman, she happened to notice that Nava’s eyes were the same color as her own. “Pardon me for staring, but I couldn’t help but notice your eyes.”

“Much like Orions have a green pigment in our skin,” Nava noted, “some of us have the same pigment in our irises. Honestly, brown and blue eyes are more common.”

“Humans can also have green eyes,” Bridget noted. “But I’ve never seen that vivid a shade of green, except in a mirror.”

Mara couldn’t help but overhear the conversation between Bridget and Nava. “I didn’t think of it before,” she noted, “but you definitely have ‘Orion Green’ Eyes.”

“I think it’s fair to say that I could be just a teeny bit Orion,” Bridget quipped. The three women laughed together at the remark.

As Bridget continued to socialize with the two Orion women, she knew she was among friends. Her first encounter with an Orion woman may have been negative, but she was never one to forego acting out of kindness. Mara and Nava had given Bridget kindness in return. That, Bridget thought, was reason enough for her to do what she could do to help her new friends, whether or not they had green skin.