"Very well. But there is no cure,” Phlox said.
"No cure?" T'Pol asked.
"None. Humans gave up trying to cure smallpox because prevention was so good. It was considered eradicated in 1979. There were two stockpiles of it kept, along with vaccines, in case of terror attacks, but it was anthrax, not smallpox, that was first weaponized. It appears that even human terrorists found that weaponizing smallpox was distasteful and wrong,” Phlox stated.
"But someone has the stomach for it,” Keleth said, “Reed, we may need more blood from you. Stand by,” He closed the communications link.
"What are you proposing?" T'Pol asked.
"The blood is not a cure, yes? But that one, he has another affliction, very mild, and is injected with an enzyme, what was it?" Keleth asked.
"Lactase,” said Phlox.
"If the two are combined, or if, well, perhaps it has something to do with growth medium,” Keleth said, thinking out loud, “There is also, I do not mean to be distracted, but I have my own people to consider. There are few weaponized diseases in Klingon history. A quick search may turn up what I am looking for."
"Can you help us now?" T'Pol asked.
"Give me an hour,” said Keleth, “I will do my own investigation for my own people. I must do this. I probably have another day or two before they are truly critical but I wish to have a good plan of attack for when we are done here."
"Do you think it will be that fast?" Phlox asked.
"It will have to be,” Keleth said, indicating Crewman Madden, “That female will die in a day or two. The others will start to follow. It has to be fast."
"Or not at all,” T'Pol said.
Malcolm was exhausted. Doing everyone's job was not what he was cut out for.
It was almost oh two hundred hours. No wonder he was all in.
"Going to, going to have a lie down for a bit,” he said into the communicator.
"I, too, need to rest for a while,” Keleth said.
"Very well,” Phlox said, “Lieutenant, come here and show Doctor Keleth to an empty room on B Deck."
Malcolm did as requested, “And, and over in there, you can wash up,” he said, then left. There was no time for niceties. He was far too tired.
Keleth sat down on the bed in the unfamiliar room, “Too soft,” he muttered to himself. He tapped out onto his PADD. Dach Disease
. Lack of focus. That had to be it.
He reached into the front of his tunic and pulled out a tiny chain he was wearing. It had a charm on it, a lavaliere. Two ladders crossing, a double helix. One was dark, the other, a dull silvery color, “L'Kor, you are the iron and I am the tin,” he whispered to no one.
Malcolm's dream was troubling.
They were together again. Pamela was writhing under his touch, squealing with delight.
Her hands were everywhere, and so were his. Mouths met and broke apart, and found other body parts and then met again and again. They were on the bed, on the floor, standing up, sitting at the desk, even. He was bound with handcuffs or scarves, and broke away or let them overtake him as the moment demanded. She hit him with a leather strap and he didn't flinch, didn't lose concentration. She scratched his back, raking it with her nails and drawing blood. He scratched her in return, but his nails met her front, not her back, making irregular marks.
They were breathing faster, hotly and saltily swearing at each other, she kept telling him to do it, to get on with it, to come on already.
He was close, could feel everything rocketing along when her face turned to a mass of bumps and her body went from smooth and beautiful to pebbly and mottled, disgusting and frightening.
Desire turned off like a switch and he pushed her away and backed away from her. She approached him and he pushed back again.
"But I love you!" she cried out.
And he awoke.
He sat up, aching, panting, coldly sweating and shivering.
He finally said, "What kind of a man am I if an imperfection or two affects me so? Is my love real if it can be so easily thrown away?"
Keleth, too, dreamed.
It was their home, on Kronos. L'Kor was lying on their bed, nursing Arizhel. So it was over forty years ago.
L'Kor looked up when Keleth came into the room, which was filled with her artistry. Small and large sculptures, paintings of dramatic scenes and carefully woven wall hangings. Her talent was everywhere, but nowhere more so than in the baby she held. He looked at her, “You are both better, I see."
"Yes,” she said, and adjusted the baby a little under her right arm. A small thing flashed in her left hand.
"What is it you have?" he asked.
She adjusted the baby again and held out her left hand, palm open. It was a little necklace, with a dark and light lavaliere charm, “This is for you. Thank you for our children."
"Thank you,” he said, smiling and taking it, “It looks like DNA."
"It is,” she said, “The iron is coated so it will not rust. It will always remain constant. You, Keleth, are the iron. The other half is tin. It is pliable and it is weaker. I am the tin."
"No,” he shook his head, “You are the one who has been through so much more than I have. You are the one who has been constant; you are the one who is true. I am the one who can be bent and shaped, like you have hammered out this charm. You, L'Kor, are the iron. I am merely the tin."
"I must tell her that,” he said to himself, “It is all true, all history, save for that part. And that is the most important piece. She is the iron. All I am is tin."
Phlox kept working, into the night. Everyone else was gone, but he was all right. He didn't have to sleep for a while. The virus did not grow on anything liquid and needed a solid or semi-solid medium. The virus did grow on a medium of mozzarella but that didn't seem to be getting him anywhere. He spiked the solution with lactase and set it aside. He shook his head. It wasn't working.
Vaccinia, variola. Variola, vaccinia
He looked up mozzarella on his PADD. Water buffalo milk. It was made from water buffalo milk, and not cow's milk.
He needed a cheese or some other substance made from solidified cows' milk.