"I said, Doctor, fancy a spot of company?" Malcolm asked.
"I, it is one thing to communicate from ship to ship. But bringing the Klingon doctor here? It is unprecedented,” Phlox said.
"Doctor, would you feel comfortable diagnosing and treating patients you hadn't seen in person?" T'Pol asked.
"I don't suppose I would."
"I also feel uncomfortable about this,” Malcolm admitted, “But I'm not certain what else can be done. It is also a chance to, to show our humanity."
T'Pol looked at him, “And, and, uh, our Vulcanness and, uh, Denobulan, uh, -ness,” Malcolm hastily added.
"What about simply exchanging records?" Phlox inquired, “Our database is full of holes. Perhaps theirs is not, and that would be enough."
"Didn't he say that they were also missing records?" Malcolm asked.
"That was more or less the statement,” she responded.
"So it was not a cheating student,” Phlox said, “Huh. I will, the situation will be uncomfortable. But I suppose it's necessary. Even to have someone else titrate would save time."
"I'd escort Dr. Keleth wherever he needed to go, other than Sick Bay. Which would really only be to and from the Transporter, and perhaps to somewhere to sleep if he is here for that long,” Malcolm said.
"I could wear a sidearm,” T'Pol offered.
"We would only show the remnants of the medical database,” Phlox said, “Nothing strategic."
"No star charts, nothing tactical, of course,” Reed added, “We'd feed him."
"Klingons enjoy freshly killed meat,” T'Pol pointed out.
"Well. There won't be any of that,” Malcolm said, “I suspect he will be less choosy after a few days of hunger."
"Then we are in agreement,” Phlox said, “I must admit my mind keeps changing on this. So let us act quickly, before we change our minds again."
Ambassador Soval looked at an incoming news transmission:
Professor Edward Hudson, 71, died today at his home on Lunar Colony. Professor Hudson taught Beginning Calculus at Lunar University.
He is survived by his wife of forty-three years, Linda Morgan Hudson, and his daughters, Dr. Pamela Hudson of Nereid and Lisa Hudson Schiller of Lunar Colony. Other survivors include son-in-law Robert Schiller and grandchildren Louise and Edward Schiller. Services will be private. The family requests donations to the Lunar Charitable Trust in lieu of flowers.
Keleth got himself into a pressure suit. It was not easy – he was an old man and had no one to help him. Cautiously – even though he knew he'd be protected from the Tricoulamine gas – he ventured outside of Sick Bay Quarantine.
He sighed and shook his head as he downloaded the remains of his medical information onto a Klingon PADD. He then took blood samples from Lorgh and Lorgh's woman, Legeis. He got to the Somraw's Transporter room, “I do not wish to be walking into a human trap,” he sighed to himself, “I am too old for such things, and too foolish,” He made contact with the Enterprise
; “I am ready."
T'Pol worked the Transporter's controls while Malcolm stood by, phase rifle cocked and ready. As soon as Keleth materialized, he pointed the rifle at the Klingon's head.
"I – oh, human,” Keleth said, taking off the helmet of his pressure suit, “I would be a foolish Klingon indeed to not only come here but to also come armed and ready to do damage,” He shook his head.
"You must understand that we cannot trust you,” T'Pol said.
"And you should not,” Keleth agreed, “And I should not trust you. Yet here we are. There are patients, yes? We must go to them. Unless they are lying on the floors nearby."
T'Pol raised an eyebrow while Malcolm escorted Keleth along. Malcolm never put his weapon down.
Sick Bay was close by.
"Ah, our guest,” Phlox said, “I have numerous samples to titrate, over there. You can get started."
"I am not a laboratory lackey,” Keleth said, “I am a trained physician. Having me perform little more than clerical work is a poor use of my time and skills."
"Indeed,” T'Pol said.
"I'd best go back to the Bridge,” Malcolm said, “Keep an eye out,” He said to T'Pol quietly.
"I am neither agile nor wily, not anymore,” Keleth said, “Human, you are the pilot?"
"No, I am the Armory Officer."
"Oh. Well that explains the overabundance of caution. For a species that has burned Klingon cities and killed our children, you are suddenly vulnerable, and it makes you uncomfortable."
"Burn cities? Kill children? Is that what you think we are?" Malcolm was becoming incensed.
"I have seen casualties."
"And what of you? Your way is to shoot first and ask questions later. All manner of massacres in the name of some warped sense of honor,” Malcolm seethed. Keleth was too close to where Blair and Pamela were lying. He wasn't thinking straight.
"Gentlemen!" T'Pol called out.
They looked at her, but it was Phlox who interjected, "Our time is short, for both species. Let's leave the arguments to another day."
"I have a name. It's Reed. You can call me Mr. Reed."
"Reed, then. Do you have different characteristics than the other humans? Some reason why you would have a natural immunity?"
Malcolm softened his demeanor a little, “I, I don't know."
"Doctor Phlox," Keleth said, "you will run your Sick Bay as you wish – as I run my own. But rather than have me endlessly titrate samples, I think it would be best if I were to study this one, find out why he is different."
"That's a good plan of attack,” Phlox said, “Commander, you and I will continue testing and retesting against any drugs we've got and any disease patterns we can collectively remember."
"I believe we were going to look at Measles next,” she replied.
"I'll be on the Bridge. Ask me, ask me what you like but I've got to spend my time now making sure that our two ships don't knock into each other."
Dr. Keating-Fong was waking up, “Wh-what happened?"
"You've been very ill,” Ambassador Soval said to her, “But you are improving now."
"Oh, good. Oh my God, the students!"
"We are going as quickly as we can. But it will be about a week before we arrive, even at maximum warp."
"If I'm recovering from what I think I had," she said, looking at the bumps on her hands, "that won't be soon enough."
It was supper time. Malcolm had picked out leftovers from the kitchen. Salad for T'Pol. Pizza for everyone else. Porthos eagerly followed behind on his errand.
He brought it all over to Sick Bay and set it down on a counter.
"Thank you, Lieutenant,” Phlox said, grabbing a slice.
"Ah, and you remembered,” Keleth said, looking down at Porthos.
"Re-remembered?" Malcolm asked.
"Yes, although it's small. Do they make good eating?"
"Dr. Keleth, that is the captain's pet,” T'Pol said, “He is not to be eaten."
"Huh. Well, I don't see how anyone can eat things that are so, so processed,” Keleth said, “This has smells of, of I don't know,” He brought a slice to his face and inhaled, making a face.
"Oregano, I'd say,” Malcolm explained, “We're not exactly equipped to serve fine Klingon cuisine."
"Still, I am hungry,” Keleth admitted. He cringed and took a bite, “Salty. These round things are very salty."
"Those are pepperoni slices,” Phlox said.
Malcolm busied himself with scraping the cheese off his slice.
"Human! I mean, Reed. Why do you do that?"
"I have, it's a condition called Lactose Intolerance,” Malcolm said, “I can't digest dairy products."
"Dairy. You drink the milk of other species?"
"Yes, and they make products from it as well. Cheese, which is what you see here, is particularly delightful,” Phlox pointed out, “The Lieutenant here, his body doesn't produce enough lactase, which is an enzyme used for digesting dairy."
"Is that a common affliction?" asked Keleth.
"No, it isn't,” Phlox said, “He is ... the only one on the ship."
Malcolm sat up straighter, “The doctor here gives me injections at times, to help with, with digesting dairy."
"When was the last one, and what is it made of?" Keleth asked.
"The evening of July ninth,” Malcolm said, “I remember it because it was Hoshi's twenty-ninth birthday party."
"Yes. Too much ice cream,” Phlox recalled, “The injection is mainly a booster of additional lactase, in a neutral suspension medium."
"When did the symptoms begin? Of the afflicted ones?"
"Not sure,” Malcolm said, “But I do know that the environmental controls were turned down perhaps a week ago. And today is July the twenty-fifth."
"We believe that the environmental controls were tampered with because there were crew members already suffering from fevers,” T'Pol stated.
"So it is possibly a delayed onset,” Keleth mused, “Slow build-up of symptoms, possibly something that could be explained away, for at least a while."
"Well, I know that, that Pame – uh, Dr. Hudson – she said that she was warm sometimes, but always dismissed it as nothing. It was only the other day when it became intolerable, and then it was obvious to several others that their symptoms could no longer be ignored, I'll wager."
"So what we have here is as follows: a slow onset of symptoms, most likely the first one is a fever, but it climbs slowly. Other symptoms include flushed faces, painful joints, coughing and sneezing. Coughs are not necessarily productive. Advanced cases have dermatological manifestations, starting from the torso on outwards, to faces and hands. One has manifestations on the feet and ankles. Possibly some impaired judgment as well,” Keleth summarized, “Reed, did you experience any of this while you were ill?"
"We don't truly know whether I was ill at all. I had some feelings of being warm but they may not have been too intimately related."
"No. You were ill,” Keleth insisted, “The antibodies are very active. You had a very mild case and recovered, possibly within less than a day. A very slight fever could go along with that. Do you have any scars, Lieutenant?"
"Birth marks or other marks out of the ordinary?" Keleth asked.
"No. Wait, that's not true. There's a mark on my hip. But I've had it for a few years."
"Show me. Over there,” Keleth said.
Malcolm took down his uniform for a moment. The mark was small and faint, barely noticeable – nowhere near as large or irregular as Pamela's scar, “That is small, but it might be something. Phlox, look at this,” Keleth said.
"Hmm,” Dr. Phlox said, “It is possible."
"What is it?" Malcolm asked.
"It appears to be," T'Pol said, "the remnants of one of the dermatological bumps that the advanced patients have. You appear to not only have had the disease this week, but you seem to have had it a few years ago as well."