The Leola Plant: A User’s Guide

Delta Story
cmwende@compuserve.com

THE LEOLA PLANT: A User’s Manual NC-17

Summary: Voyager’s crew sums up the many uses of the versatile leola plant…

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LEOLA: Any of a large genus (Leolanus) of flowering shrubs of the framonela family, closely
related to the klebsiellen, but with funnel shaped corollas and deciduous leaves. The native
Talaxian species, L. viscosa, has a large, fleshy root which has been determined to have multiple
uses. The plant is found throughout the Delta Quadrant, and is known to grow under many
divergent conditions.

QUESTION: Please indicate your primary use of the leola plant.
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NEELIX:

My, my — a whole treatise on this wonderful plant from my world! Where do I begin… the leola
plant has been a staple of
Talaxian cuisine and medicine for over 6,000 years. My mother had 17 volumes dedicated to its
culture, preservation and use.
On Talaxia, the plant is grown as a major crop, where it sustains both people and animals. As a
major entry on the commodity market, the entire economy of the planet revolves about the
health of leola crops. I had a cousin who…but I digress. What was the question again? Oh, yes.
“Please give me your favorite use for the leola plant.”

Well, of course, the root is such a versatile element is creating many culinary delights. I just
don’t understand the aversion to its use by this crew! But, I would like to share my favorite
recipe with you; why, even Tom Paris likes this one. So, without any further ado, “Talaxian
Casserole au Gratin” (serves 50; recipe can be doubled):

Peel 30 pounds of freshly harvested leola roots. Cut into 1 inch slices and steam gently for 20
minutes. While they are cooking, grate (or replicate) 5 pounds of Drelian gromman cheese.
Dice 16 large quarlions. Mix quarlions with cheese and 1/4 cup of merganian lotus spice, 1/8
cup Earth salt, and four dashes (or, to taste) of Klingon tlhIl powder. When leola is steamed,
alternate layers of leola root with the cheese and spice mixture in a baking dish. Pour 2 liters of
lactate liquid over the layers. (As an option, you might want to sprinkle xwanula granules over
the top.) Bake at 125 degrees C for 1 1/2 hours. Delicious!

Oh, yes — to accompany this fine meal, I would suggest
replicated Romulan ale.

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KES:

Well, Neelix has given you a very practical use of the leola, but he has ignored the esthetic
qualities of this beautiful plant. The blossoms and leaves of the plant are some of the most
lovely I have ever seen. The funnel-shaped flowers come in many colors, from a deep rose to a
pale ivory. The flowers exude a very light fragrance, and, when they are massed, provide a
delicate aroma to the atmosphere. A group of a dozen flowers are clustered
together in a spherical arrangement at the end of the 1/2 meter long stem.

The leaves are almost 10 centimeters long, of a deep forest green color. A natural wax-like
covering gives them a sheen that is particularly enchanting in a holograph moonlight setting.
There are from 6 to 8 leaves on each stalk.

And it is such a prolific plant! Why, I can propagate new plants by taking small sections of the
root and placing them in
replicative medium, and, within two weeks, I will have an entire new crop!

The flowers are always an elegant addition to any setting. I particularly like them as a
centerpiece to the large window in Captain Janeway’s ready room…

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HARRY KIM:

You know, I was a little afraid to experiment with the plant at first, but Kes assured me that it
was non-toxic and that the natural products it produced could be useful in many ways other than
the…er… food that Neelix provided.

The more I looked at the leaves, and felt them, the more I realized that they probably contained a
good naturally protective substance. So, I set up a small extraction system, and
discovered that the leaves contained a wax product that could be used for protection of the
console and terminal surfaces on Voyager. Not only does this product protect against excess
moisture, but also functions as an anti-oxidizer. And we need all the help we can get in
protecting what we have on the ship!
Its cleansing abilities also prolong the life of boots, floors and plastic aluminum. I think I’m
going to ask the doctor if we can try to devise a skin protection out of it. Sometimes, on these
away missions, the UV light cuts through our sunscreen protection. It might even work as a
repellent against… well, maybe even… some alien species… I’d be the first to want to try out
*that* use!

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THE DOCTOR:

Yes, I heard about Mr. Kim’s suggestions that we work together on using the leola leaves for
various forms of protection. But I have not yet concluded my own vast studies on the uses of the
root.

At first, when we had many cases of gastroenteritis following its use in foodstuffs, I was
concerned regarding toxicity. Although it did not show signs of fatal characteristics, it did seem
remarkably akin to aflavatoxin, which is well-known in the annals of Earth medicine for its
devastating relationship with peanuts and corn. However, the effects quickly subsided, and as
the different internal systems adjusted to the new type of roughage, I proclaimed the root as a
safe food product.

Ah, but the medicinal purposes. Quite in contrast to the
original problem of causing gastric upset, I have now found that an extract of the root can be
given to quell nausea. It is certainly effective in cases of motion sickness. I now prescribe it
prophylactically for all shuttle trips, what with the
atmospheric disturbances that away teams experience when they are entering the outer areas of
planets.

Currently, I am attempting to decode its quite complicated DNA structure in order to devise a
genetically engineered “perfect” leola plant. With my knowledge, this quadrant will never have
to worry about a leola plant shortage. Why, I may even stave off starving of millions of people…

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SAM WILDMAN:

The doctor can talk all he wants about his sanctimonious uses for this plant, but I have
discovered a much more practical use. I had let a piece of leftover root sit out in my quarters,
and discovered that when it dried out, it crumpled into a very fine powder. As I was cleaning up
the mess from my oversight, I noticed that the powder had a lubricating yet drying feel to it as I
rubbed it between my fingers.

Well, at this very time, little Kim was miserable — neither of us was getting much sleep — due to
a very bad case of diaper rash.

So, I decided — it can’t hurt! I used some of the powder on her, and, what a difference! Not only
did the rash clear up, but the powder did a much better job of protecting her than anything else I
could replicate!

Since then, I have recommended it to Ensign Waters, who was complaining about her uniform
…er… rubbing in the wrong places. Maybe Harry and I should get together about our ideas…
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TOM PARIS:

This isn’t going to get back to the Captain and Commander
Chakotay, is it? (Stifled laugh) Hey — this plant is a staple of my livelihood! I wouldn’t have but
a fraction of my
replicator rations if it weren’t for — ummmm —- “educated guesses” as to what color would
bloom next; or when Neelix would next serve a “new creation”.

I made my biggest killing on one little question: What does the Captain do with it? Ooooooh,
boy; *that* was a good one! Sixty- seven people owed me with that discovery…

Whoops — here comes Tuvok; better get back to the old ball and chain…

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TUVOK:

Fascinating. I understand that you are inquiring to the
utilitarian qualities of L. viscosa. Interesting plant… unknown in the alpha, beta and gamma
quadrants. I hesitate to think what it might do to the delicate ecosystems of some of the planets
in those quadrants. Its ubiquitous growth would surely overtake many of the more fragile
dicotyledons in their
environments.

However, if, as the doctor is trying to do, a variety could be engineered to incorporate the
necessary requirements of each of the adopted planets, a regulated supply would do much to
enhance life. The blossoms surely would attract members of the avian, lepidopteran and
hymenopteron species, thereby allowing
propagation of their high-carbohydrate byproducts. And Mr. Kim’s current investigations into
pragmatic uses of the leaves gives further credulance to its usefulness.

Much of the crew has contempt for the use of the root as a food product. However, it is a
healthy, nutritious and filling substance. I cannot understand the human desire for a food
substance to be anything but sustenance. They are far too concerned about corporal pleasures…

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B’ELANNA TORRES:

Crunch time came when we developed frozen latches in the doors to the bioneural tubing control
center. Nothing seemed to want to release the stranglehold on that monster. I had to get in; the
whole replicator system was down. Because of that, we had had nothing but leola root meals for
over a day!

The remains of a lunch that I couldn’t manage to eat were in a bowl next to me. I looked at the
bowl and thought about how slimy and greasy that sautéed root was. I reached across it for a
container of iso-epoxyethane that was my last hope for getting the latch open. Just as I reached
over, that pig, Tom Paris, came into engineering and interrupted my concentration. I knocked
the small container of i-epox and it spilled into the leftover leola concoction. Well, I was
desperate, so I scooped up some of the disgusting mixture, and rubbed it over the
immovable latch. Much to my surprise, the door released almost immediately!

I decided to try it on some other areas where we had been having difficulty with
maneuverability, and it worked just as well there, too.

Now, if the stuff would only do something about a certain
obnoxious blond helmsman…

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CHAKOTAY:

All right, I’ll let you in on something, but this strictly confidential. And, I want to make it clear,
that this is for my private use only…

Leola root contains many properties of mescal, a favorite vision- inducer found in the desert
areas of the northern hemisphere on Earth. I have found that if you dry the root, grind it, wet it
then let it smolder, it produces an unbelievable atmosphere in which I can commune with my
spirit guide and ancestors. But its after effects are much less residual than those of mescal.
This product also seems to relax me. I have found that its infrequent use not only allows me my
spirit visits, but
rejuvenates me. If I knew that it would not be misused by other crew members, I would
recommend it as a meditative enhancer. Perhaps I shall approach the Captain someday about it.
Maybe she would even consent to exploring… er, its… um… interesting properties… with me…
someday…

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CAPTAIN JANEWAY:

Wha…what are you doing here in the hydroponics bay at this hour? Me? Why…er, um… I’m
here to collect a fresh piece of leola root. Why, yes; I *do* have a use for it…but I’m sure you
wouldn’t be interested…

Yes, I *do* have a piece here in my hand… Isn’t it beautiful? So lovely… straight and firm…
smooth… silky, with its lovely natural sheen … and this one is a nice size, too. See? It’s about 25
centimeters long, and as round as an old fashioned silver dollar… it feels *so* good!

No, you *cannot* feel it; it’s mine! And I must hurry back to my quarters…er, um… it’s bath
time…

*********** And what would *you* add to the list? ************

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