The next morning, Malcolm was shaking himself awake when he saw her, fully dressed, “Are you, are you going?"
"Well, I need to take a shower and stuff."
"You can take one here. With, with me."
"And then get back into dirty clothes? Honestly, Reed."
"Oh, yes, I suppose that would not be a good thing. Pamela, are you, are you free for, for breakfast?"
"I guess so."
"And all the other days you'll be here?"
"I don't know. I don't normally plan that far ahead. Like I told you, Reed: don't get too deeply involved."
"Well, it's just, I was thinking," he got out of bed and approached her, and put his hands on her waist, "if you're all right with it, then let's be together for your time here."
"Maybe,” she said, looking at him, “You're, huh, ready to go again."
"Yes. See what you do to me?" he said, kissing her.
"There's not a lot of time,” she said, “Still, I am already ... dirty."
He smiled at her.
"I like how you think. I can stick around a bit." She said.
"Well, I feel freer with you,” he said.
"Here,” she said, backing herself into a wall.
Brian Delacroix set out breakfast for the captain's table. T'Pol, Doctor Phlox and Mark Stone would be joining him. He was setting out a few different kinds of jams when he noticed he was getting the beginnings of a sore throat. Probably nothing, he thought to himself as he set the table.
Malcolm got to the cafeteria first, and found Tripp and Travis eating together already.
"Omelets are good. Get the Western,” Travis recommended.
Malcolm brought over a fourth chair.
"Oh?" Tripp asked.
"Yes,” Malcolm said, looking down.
"Congratulations,” Travis said, “You won."
"Now, Reed," Tripp said, "you do not have to tell me anything, of course, but, uh, I just gotta say, I bet she's a hellcat."
Malcolm just looked down.
"You lucky so and so,” Travis said, smiling.
"Who's getting lucky?" Pamela asked, arriving.
Malcolm stood up quickly, “Here,” he pulled out a chair for her.
She thanked him, “So, big plans for today?"
"Checking an anomaly, it looked like a comet trail but then we were scanned. That was a, a bump you may have felt early last evening,” Malcolm explained.
"As opposed to other things that happened later,” she replied, grabbing his leg under the table.
"Could you two just get a room or something?" Tripp asked in mock exasperation.
"We already have one,” She answered, leaning over to grab the pepper. “Boarding house reach."
"Uh, ahem,” Travis said, “Do you, uh, have special things to, erm, do today, Doctor?"
"Yes. Surprise quiz that isn't really a surprise,” she said, “Plus lab and all of that. I've got West Nile virus growing in a dish. Gotta check it; see that it's still going. My little infectious pet, I suppose."
"Porthos is a lot nicer,” Tripp pointed out.
"Oh, the dog! A terrier?" she asked.
"Beagle,” Malcolm said, “Friendly little thing. Phlox likes him; I'm surprised you haven't met the little chap yet."
"I think Doctor Phlox is keeping Sick Bay clear as there's so many of us in there at one time. Are you two also working on this, what is it, an anomaly?"
"Well, I'm steering around it. We don't always have options. Klingon space isn't too far away,” Travis explained.
"Ugh. Klingons,” she said, “Big lummoxes, they are. Do they, I've heard, do they smell?"
"Uh, a bit,” Tripp admitted, “I've shared decon with a few. It was ... an experience."
"I hope I don't have such an intimate …” she paused and looked at Malcolm, giving his leg another squeeze, "experience with them. Ever."
"Not too much chance of that,” Tripp said, “Reed here's got the ship well-defended."
"Nothing to, nothing to worry about,” Malcolm said.
"Good,” she said, finishing the last of her breakfast.
"And you're going into which specialty?" Jonathan asked over breakfast.
"Psychiatry, I think,” Mark said, “But we haven't had that rotation yet. I might change my mind."
"With the use of psychotropic drugs, I'd think that much of that specialty would be pharmacological in nature,” Phlox said, “What I mean, in plain English is, after prescribing, what else is there to do?"
"There's still therapy, still discussions. Freud's old Talking Cure,” Mark said.
"So people can still talk to their doctor and work out their problems, without being medicated?" Jonathan asked.
"Sometimes. But mostly there's medications. It's easier, and it works better,” Mark explained.
"It makes one wonder if all patients desire such a treatment,” T'Pol said.
"Oh?" asked Phlox.
"Yes. There are cultures where madness – or at least a mild form thereof – is considered to be the seat of creativity. Or at least, well, do patients feel, when they are medicated, that they could be losing their sense of self?"
Malcolm got to shift on time. It was already shaping up to be an excellent day. He set to work quickly, checking logs and testing the targeting computer, making sure everything was absolutely, positively perfect. He'd run his third diagnostic by the time Jonathan told him to quit and just work on figuring out the anomaly. He smiled to himself a bit. Always overzealous, he thought. Whatever it takes to keep her safe.
Pamela, Mark and the other students sat on stools in Sick Bay. Phlox announced, "And today we'll be having a quiz. Open up your PADDs and click on the file that I've just sent you. You'll have ten minutes."
"What file?" asked Will, showing Phlox his PADD.
"Oh, that's interesting. I could have sworn I'd sent it,” Phlox said.
"I don't have it, either,” said An.
"Does anyone have it?" asked Phlox. Everyone shook their heads, “Here, I'll just resend it. No, wait,” he said, checking his own PADD, “I don't seem to have it, either. Strange. Hmm. Well, then we'll just do it orally."
Blair glanced over at Will for just a split second, and then looked away.
"All right,” Phlox said, “What are some means for spreading typhoid? Mark?"
"Contaminated water. And, uh, asymptomatic carriers."
"Could we turn down the heat a little?" a crewman asked Tripp.
"Sure. It is gettin' a bit stuffy in here. Better check the environmental controls, see if anyone's been messin' with 'em."
The rest of the week progressed in much the same way. Malcolm and Pamela spent two meals together, and then their nights. During the day, he obsessed over keeping the Enterprise
secure or helped Tripp try to figure out the anomaly. The ambient temperature was cool in most of the ship, and Pamela liked it cool, too, so he complied with her wishes when they were together.
The sex was intense and imaginative. He did things he never thought he'd do. He got to know what she liked, but still tried to keep her guessing. During the day, he missed her, and rushed to be with her, mostly leaving his friends behind in order to be close, even if all they were doing was chatting over a snack in the cafeteria, or working out in the gym.
Things altered in his head, and one day he got up and saw her sleeping next to him and realized that there was only one thing to do. It would require another sonnet, but not to be sent anonymously. No. This one would have to be delivered in person.