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|March 15 2012, 11:15 PM||#16|
Location: S.H.I.E.L.D.ing you...
"Don't touch Lola."
-Phil Coulson, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
|March 16 2012, 01:59 PM||#17|
Phlox checked again. This was not good. The entire Immunology text was wiped. He called the Bridge.
T'Pol answered, “What is the trouble?"
"I have – it's probably nothing – but the entire Immunology unit has been erased."
"Perhaps you can get a replacement from Dr. Keating-Fong."
"Good idea. And, sorry to trouble you. Phlox out,” He muttered to himself a little. What was the cause of the erasure? He kept coming up with only one reason, and it was not a pleasant prospect.
Malcolm watched Pamela sleeping. He cleared his throat a little as he could tell she was waking up. Good. Before the alarm. He touched her head, entangling his fingers in golden waves. She woke and smiled at him, that same, slight smile that she gave everyone, “'Morning,” she said.
"How are you feeling, Darling?" he asked.
"Y'know, I've never been called pet names before. And here you go with Sweetheart and Darling all the time,” she said.
"Is that, is that a bad thing?"
"No. Just unexpected. Wouldn't have thought you'd be the type. But I don't do it in return, Malcolm."
"I know. That's all right. I meant to ask you, are you – has it – have things improved since, since our first time together? I know it was, I know it was fast. And I apologize for that. It had been so, so very long."
"S'okay,” she yawned, then grabbed at him a bit.
"Pamela," he managed to squeak out, "can we talk just a little bit?"
"Sure,” she said, but didn't take her hand away.
He fought to concentrate, “I, uh, I have another sonnet for you."
"Oh? Should I check my PADD?"
"Uh, no. I wanted to, to deliver it in person."
"Oh, a live performance!"
"Y-yes. And, uh, it's difficult for me to, to concentrate while you're, you're doing that."
"Oh,” she said, moving her hand away. Then she whispered in his ear, "Be right back."
"All right,” he swallowed hard, and then recited:
"The Golden Lady chose the knave
and shared and lit his darkest night
A gen'rous soul, a heart to save
She filled his spirit with her light
A burning ember, burst to flame
as kindred souls entwine and merge
the knave, he could not be the same
falling, ever falling over precipice and verge
Her face was fair, her mind was keen
her body offered untold pleasure
And yet her heart remained unseen –
could the knave unlock this treasure?
The Queen, she came down from above
She changed the knave, who did it all for love"
She got up and immediately started rummaging around, on the bed and then on the floor next to it.
"What are, what are you doing?" he asked, getting up.
"I told you, Reed! I warned you. I told you not to get involved."
"What? Wait! Wait!"
"No,” she stopped what she was doing for a second and looked him in the eye, “I hate this part."
"What, what part is this?" he asked, and then began to shout, "Is this the part where you leave?"
She kept looking.
He repeated, louder, “Is this the part, Pamela, where you leave? Because you're thirty-four years old! You're, you're beautiful, and you're brilliant and, and women like that don't just choose men like me so I know – I can see – that the reason for all of the endings in your life, that reason isn't the rest of the human race. It's, it's you. It's that you can't commit. It's that people who love you scare you,” He grabbed her left arm, harder than he intended to, and it reddened a bit.
She stared down at her arm until he dropped it, “No. It's not me leaving. It's, it's, this is the part where I explain. And then it's not me who leaves. It's you."
"Me?! I have no intentions of going anywhere."
"You will. They always do. I may as well be dressed so I can make a quick getaway when you kick me out,” She went back to looking.
"Stop, stop, stop! Pamela!" Reed shouted, “Stop! What is it? What is so, so horrible that you cannot tell me? I, is it, are you, are you married?"
"Then what is so awful that you cannot tell me. You can tell me,” he said softly, “You can, you can tell me. And I'm, I'm sorry for shouting and for, for saying what I said."
"No,” she said, finally spotting her clothes under a chair, “Nice guys like, like you, it's not what you want to hear."
"I want to hear,” he insisted, taking her hand.
She looked away, “I totally and completely hate this part."
"Tell me, Sweetheart. Tell me."
"You asked for it,” she said, straightening up and sighing, “Sit, sit down."
"I'd rather stand."
"Sit,” she commanded, “People who get shocking news should be sitting down when they hear it."
"All right,” he complied.
"I, you remember when, when I told you that it was all right. And what was all right?"
"Yes. It was about your scar."
"Well, it's not just all right that I have a scar. It's also all right as to how, how I got it."
"How so?" he asked.
"He – his name was Henry – Henry wasn't the only one doing the biting that night."
"So you, you bit him back? And you defended yourself?"
"No. I bit first."
Shelby Pike looked around the Botany Lab, turned on a few lights and adjusted herself to its warmth. It felt warm, but the plants were getting a little droopy. She checked a thermometer. 18.3 C. It was supposed to be 26.7 C. It certainly felt like the latter. She shrugged. Maybe the thermometer was broken. She added more growth solution to perk up the plants and wondered why it was always so damned hot in the lab.
"You what?" Malcolm was suddenly glad that he was sitting.
"You heard me."
"Yes, I suppose I did. I'm, I'm trying to comprehend it. It's like it's all moving at Warp Factor Five and I'm only plodding along at five KPH."
"I will spell it out for you. I instigated it, because that was the way Henry and I related to each other. And it's the only way I can really feel anything."
"Do you, I, am I to understand that I have never, ever satisfied you?"
She sat down next to him and put her clothes on the bed, “No. My body does respond. But if you want to get to me here," she thumped her right temple once, "and here," she thumped her sternum once, "it's through, it's through pain."
"Yes. Feeling it, inflicting it. Dominating or submitting. I do both. Ready to kick me out now?"
"I, I, huh. I want to understand this, I do! Do you, do you know why, why you feel this way?"
"And I can't tell you, because I know you'll only try to fix it. And I just don't want to be fixed. This is me. This is who I am. And it's ugly and it's messed up and it's wrong but it's still who I am."
"You're not, you're not ugly. Nothing about you is."
"No. You don't know me very well at all,” she said, “If you did, you'd never call me generous. I’m not a kind person. I'm not thoughtful; I'm not helpful."
"You're a doctor, Pamela."
"And I don't exactly have much of a career ahead of me of healing as I do of perfecting and altering people, which is a whole other ball of wax."
"You were generous when you, when you forgave me for the, the first time,” he said, “And you've been generous to stay with me."
"Pamela, I am not even close to being the most, well, attractive man on this ship. Yet you are here, with me, and not with the others. Don't tell me you didn't have offers. I have eyes. I know they still look while I squire you around. But you are here with me every night and in the daytime, too! I don't know if this means that you have feelings for me but you cannot argue against at least, well, kindness or, or at least a kindredness of spirit. Like I told you in the first sonnet, it is all moving quickly, and if I have frightened you by mentioning my, my feelings, then I apologize but they are well and truly my feelings. I am, I am falling in love with you, whether you like it or, or not."
She smiled a little to herself, “So we are at a stalemate."
"No,” he said, “I, I have a question. For you, in your first, uh, encounter, was it all biting and, and infliction?"
"No, I was fifteen and trying to make sure that my parents didn't find out. That was the overriding theme."
"And, and when did you, did you realize that you had these, I don't what to call them."
"All right,” he said, “Proclivities."
"I was twenty-three."
"Was that with, with, you said his name was Henry."
"No, Henry came later. That all happened almost two years ago. He hit the femoral artery and I ended up in Emergency. He thought he'd be taken into custody and so we kind of, it was mutual how we ended it."
"Oh. So you weren't at Warp Factor Five immediately, then?"
"No, definitely not."
"Then here's a thought. And tell me if you think this could work. I, I cannot simply rocket straight to Warp Five. But if you, if you could see your way clear to being, well, patient, perhaps I could start at, at five KPH. And progress and see where it all goes. I am, I am willing to try if you are, Darling."
"There you go with Darling again,” she said, “Are you sure? Because I've been down this road as well. There are some who've tried. But it all goes kerflooey at some point, where it gets too intense and they can't handle it."
"How long has anything lasted?"
"With nice guys, like you," she smiled at him slightly, "no more than about a month, five weeks or so. It's not a question of if. It's a question of when."
"And what about Henry?"
"Seven months. Longest relationship I've ever had. But I didn't have to have this conversation with him."
"No. He was just a lummox I picked up in a bar. He already knew the score. No need to have this discussion at all."
"You said you hated this part, this discussion. I suppose I can see why Henry would be, would be attractive to you."
"It's, I hate this kind of a discussion so much that I will do almost anything to not have it. I have a lot of one-nighters. And when they go beyond one night, I say 'I love you' far too fast. I stay in relationships that aren't working way too long. And I do it because I despise the talk so very, very much,” she said, looking away.
"One day, someday," he said gently, "it will be the very last time you ever have to have this discussion. And I cannot promise you that this was just that last, that last time. But pretend that it was, all right? And maybe that will comfort you a little."
"You are too kind for this,” she said, getting up again.
"I think you – we, us – I think we are worth it,” he said, “So tell me. Where's five KPH? How do I, how do I start?"
She thought for a moment, “Kiss me as hard as you can. And I mean hard. Harder than you think I can take. Start with that."
"Uh, all right. How do I –?"
"No warnings,” she said, “Just do it."
He thought for a moment and realized he was standing on the edge of a cliff.
Hoshi stretched as she got up. Ow. Things did not feel too good.
She'd been working out a lot. That had to be the reason for the muscle aches. Her PADD was flashing. A message from An. Would she like breakfast? Sure, just nothing hot. It was already too warm on the NX-01.
Malcolm's alarm went off while he was thinking. He shut it off and saw that she was looking away.
He seized the opportunity and grabbed her hair, planting a kiss on her mouth that was as hard as he could make it.
She looked up when they broke apart, “How was, how was five KPH?" he asked, eager for any sort of a positive response.
"That was, uh, seven KPH."
"Yes. The hair pulling. Nice touch. You've, um, got potential,” she smiled and it was just a tiny bit broader than he'd ever seen her smile.
"Oh, uh, good,” he said, relieved, “I, uh, I can't do it, do it that way every time, you know."
"And, and I have to draw a line. I can't simply beat you. That's not; it's not in my makeup."
"That's, that's acceptable,” she said, “Keep in mind, I go both ways, both inflicting and taking it, dominating and submitting. It's, it's easier if we both do both."
"And how, how do we decide who's going to, uh, to be, uh, Alpha? Do we draw straws? Keep a schedule or something?"
"No,” she smiled, even more broadly, “I mean, do we decide in advance anything else? We just do whatever feels good, right? This is similar. We just start up and see where it goes. Sometimes I'm Alpha. Sometimes you are."
"Oh. This is all very new to me. I will have many questions."
"We'll need a Stop Word, too."
"What the devil is a Stop Word?"
"It's when it's going too far. You say it when it's all too much. Particularly if you think the injury's going to be a permanent one. See, Henry thought it would be funny to ignore our Stop Word. It’s why I ended up in Emergency in the first place."
"Oh. What sort of a word are we talking about? I mean, isn't 'stop' a perfectly acceptable word?" he asked.
"No, it needs to be something we wouldn't normally say while in the throes. And it's very possible that one of us would say 'don't stop!' so as you can see, 'stop' is out. It has to be something really odd and unexpected. Like, like 'avocado'."
"Avocado?" he laughed.
"Yes. I am being totally serious."
"I know, Darling, but it's just so, so ridiculous."
"That's kind of the idea. Actually, the whole thing is. When you think of how we look when we do it, it's all rather comical if you really, really think of it, look at it closely."
"Avocado. Avocado,” he said, trying it out, “And you'll stop if I say it? Immediately?"
"Immediately. And you must, as well."
"Of, of course. Avocado. I suppose if we really want to discuss bumpy green vegetables we'll refer to them as 'alligator pears' or some such."
"Yes. It will be our secret word. Just like the rest of this is secret,” she said, kissing him, much more gently than he had just kissed her. She grabbed at him again.
"I think I'm, I'm ready to try ten KPH.”
|March 17 2012, 04:34 PM||#18|
Location: S.H.I.E.L.D.ing you...
Definitely a character unique to Star Trek...
"Don't touch Lola."
-Phil Coulson, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
|March 17 2012, 08:01 PM||#19|
I write her a lot steamier on my own site (er, more detail of what happens).
|March 17 2012, 09:25 PM||#20|
For her part, Hoshi was getting ready for shift. Her PADD chimed.
It was another note from An. Hmm. It said, "I know we didn't spend a lot of time together before, but I hope we can now. I've gotten ahead in the class so I'll have the time, if you're still willing. See you at breakfast."
Phlox was fit to be tied. The Nereid Medical Academy students filed in after breakfast, all but Pamela. She finally ran in, a little late.
He cleared his throat, “I am, I am disappointed,” he began.
"I'm sorry I'm late,” she said.
"It's not because of that,” he stated, “Ladies and gentlemen, the entire Immunology text has been erased. It's a clean erasure, with no traces."
Everyone looked around at each other, but said nothing.
Phlox continued, "I am forced to conclude that one or more of you may be cheating. It is, this is not a pleasant conclusion for me to draw. I don't like this. But I cannot see anyone else with a motive to do such a thing,” he paused for a breath, “Since this can be done from outside of Sick Bay, you do not have an alibi if you were not in Sick Bay. And I dislike talk of alibis and motives. I am in Sick Bay by myself a lot. Come to me privately and I will, I will see about having the, the perpetrator fail the class but not lose his or her place at the school. This is my only offer in this matter. If the rotation finishes and the perpetrator has not been found out, your regular instructor will be informed. And I suspect that you will all be suspended. So it would behoove the innocent to implicate the wrongdoer, and for the wrongdoer – if he or she has any sense of justice or fair play – to own up to what they have done. We will only have lab today. I will not be lecturing. This is tiresome and I don't have the time or the taste for such antics. That is all."
The students just looked around at each other.
"Doctor, I'm, I'm sorry that this is happening,” Mark said.
Phlox just glared at him and went to tend to his animals, leaving the five of them alone.
"Whoever did this, you are really screwing it up for the rest of us,” said An.
"Maybe someone isn't doing so well,” Blair said, “You could have come to any of us. C'mon, we're all friends here. It didn't have to come to this."
"This is gonna be harsh, no matter what,” Pamela pointed out, “Whoever you are, you can either take less harsh or really harsh, and drag everybody down with you. I know not everyone likes me, but I bet you all like Blair. That's all I'm gonna say about it,” She went over to tend to her dish of West Nile virus.
"You think you can trust people,” Will said, shaking his head.
"You are not gonna screw up my career,” Mark said, opening up his PADD and busying himself with checking notes.
The discussion was, effectively, closed.
Deborah Haddon stood at attention on the Bridge. It had been beastly hot there for days. She broke attention for a moment. Security was an easy enough detail intellectually, but there was a lot of physical to go with it. And standing at attention all the time was not necessarily good for one's back. She absently scratched her hand, and then her neck. They both felt a little warm, and had small bumps on them. Allergy, she thought. Maybe there were walnuts in the chicken salad sandwich she'd had for yesterday's lunch. Yeah. That had to be it. A little itchy, a little bumpy. Hardly worth getting riled up about.
It was Taco Night.
Malcolm sat with Pamela and Tripp. Hoshi came over and sat with them as well.
"Did you try the guacamole?" Hoshi asked, “It's good, a little more lime-y than usual."
"Limey,” Malcolm smiled a little, “Is it made with avocado?"
Pamela looked at him, catching the reference immediately.
"Of course it is,” Tripp said, “It's about the only way I'll eat an avocado,” he admitted.
Pamela could not contain herself and laughed a little, almost losing her food in the process.
Malcolm coughed a bit. She said, "Are you allergic to avocado, Reed?"
"Maybe a little,” he said, chuckling along with her.
"What's so funny about an avocado?" asked Hoshi.
"Oh, uh, nothing,” Malcolm said, but he was fighting not to squeeze out tears as he laughed.
"It's a, a funny word,” Pamela said, “All words with hard Cs are funny."
"Copper isn't a funny word,” Tripp said.
"No, I, uh, I guess not,” Malcolm said, sobering himself for a second, “But avocado just, just is."
"Kids today, eh?" Tripp said, getting back to his taco.
"Thank you for the replacement unit,” Phlox said to Dr. Keating-Fong.
"Oh, no trouble. Do you know why the unit was wiped?"
"I have ideas,” he said.
"As do I,” she said, “The implication is fairly clear, assuming there's no interference from elsewhere."
"Yes. I don't care for this part of the teaching experience,” he confessed.
"Me neither. But it happens sometimes. This is a pilot program and it was very competitive to get into it. Grades have to remain high for a student to stay. I already had one student drop out due to poor grades. I do wish whoever it was would have come to me! And I agree with your plan of action. I don't want to drum them all out, but we have to take this sort of thing seriously. Thank you for being the point person for that. Keating-Fong out."
Phlox closed the connection and went to his PADD. He clicked on the Medical Database. Crewman Delacroix had complained about back spasms a few weeks previously. Perhaps there was something else he could try, as the Crewman wasn't saying anything but still appeared to be suffering. Phlox clicked and clicked again.
This was not good.
The entire Orthopedics section of the Medical Database was gone, as thoroughly wiped as the Immunology text.
"And it's so warm in Sick Bay,” Pamela said, “Stifling! I guess the animals like it. Or Phlox does. I don't know."
"The Bridge has been warm, too,” Hoshi said.
"Engineering's like an oven,” Tripp commiserated.
"Oh, I hadn't noticed,” Malcolm said. He leaned over and whispered to Pamela, "I've been close to another heat source."
She just smiled at him, the broadest smile he'd seen so far.
"We should, uh; we should go,” he said, “Are you finished?"
She nodded and he escorted her out of the cafeteria. Once they had been walking in the hallway a bit, she said, "Hang on, I need to stop by quarters, get a few things."
He followed her over. Blair and Will were in there already, but they weren't interrupting anything. Blair and Pamela busied themselves in the small bathroom. Will looked at Malcolm, “You're the Armory Officer, right?"
"Yes,” Malcolm said.
In the bathroom, Blair said to Pamela, "So, serious, are we?"
"Not telling you."
"Oh, c'mon. Will wants me to meet his mother. Er, Mum. Gawd."
"So are you gonna do it?" asked Pamela, grabbing some toiletries.
"I suppose I will. I guess I have to. You think you'll ever meet the Brit's Mum?"
"Me, ha, no. I'm not the girl they take home to Mother. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta get some stuff."
"Pamela," Blair said, serious for a moment, "if you're the cheater, you should really come clean."
"It ain't me, babe,” Pamela left the bathroom and went to rummage through her top drawer. She had a colorful handful of stuff when she closed the drawer, and then grabbed her PADD, “Ready?" she asked Malcolm.
"Yes. See you, see you later,” he said to Will as they departed.
Aidan MacKenzie grabbed a cold shower. He was toweling off, and started sweating again. Rather than dry off, he just went back in and showered again, turning the water on as cold as possible, needles stinging his flesh. It was probably something with the water heating system, he figured.
Once in Malcolm's quarters, Pamela presented her treasures, “I was thinking. To put the pedal to the metal a little bit. I have ... toys."
"Toys?" Malcolm gulped.
"Yes. But I can see where they might be of concern to you, at least at the beginning. So I just brought these,” She laid out four silk scarves on Malcolm's desk.
"These are toys? I, I saw you wearing the green one two days ago, Sweetheart."
"Oh, they're used for regular purposes, too. Good little multi-taskers, they are. But tonight, we'll use them for something else,” she paused, “Hmm. No posts to the bed. I wonder where I could tie these."
"Oh,” The light dawned.
"Yes. But this bed of yours has nothing I can tie a scarf to. Not even a headboard."
"It's a good thing there's no headboard, as one of us would be concussed by now,” he said.
"That's true,” she said, smiling, “Hmm. Well, hands can still be tied together. And so can ankles."
"I see you're talking about my ankles, and not yours,” he said.
"Yes. So here's the idea. I can tie your wrists together and then tie your ankles together. Do with you what I like,” she said, “Tease you. Make you wait. A lot."
"Or,” he said, taking his shirt off, “You can bind my wrists and my ankles and then," he took the green scarf and put it around her waist while kissing her neck, "hmm, tie the ends of this one to the remaining scarf and we could bind ourselves together, waist to waist. I'd have to, um, pin you down. I'd be your prisoner and you'd, you'd be mine."
"Huh, let's see how that would work,” she said, tying the green scarf to a purple one, “Good thing you have a small waist. A six-pack, for gosh sakes. Very nice."
"Well, I work at it,” he said, kissing her deeply, “I have a lot of motivation now."
"I guess you do have some,” she smiled and then indicated the tied-together scarves, “These will be ... long enough,” she flashed her eyes downwards for a second.
"Good,” he said.
His breath caught when he saw her completely nude, “That never gets dull."
"That's the idea,” she said, “Now give me your wrists, together like this,” she demonstrated.
"Not too tight. If there's an emergency, I do have to be able to, uh, spring into action immediately."
"I see,” she said, “Sit down; I'll get your ankles."
He did as asked, “This is, I never thought of such things as thrilling. I never, I never thought of them at all, to be perfectly frank."
"Well, they are lots and lots of fun. Now, scootch back a bit. There, that's good,” She leaned over him and pushed his bound hands up above his head so that he couldn't use them. He made contact with whatever she gave him – scar, waist, anything. It hurt a bit to keep his arms up for that long, but he was so busy, he barely noticed.
Then she grabbed the two tied-together scarves and bound their waists together.
All semblance of coherence was gone; he just made a sound, kind of an animal sound.
It was not easy, but it was still thrilling, to be restricted. He kept kissing her over and over again. He was just about ready to start again in earnest when he heard a communications chime.
He shook himself out of his reverie, “I, Pamela, that's an emergency chime, Darling."
"Oh, yeah. I guess it is. Here, let me help you,” she unbound his wrists. He untied his ankles.
He sat up, “Huh. It's not mine. It's yours,” he said.
"Hmm,” she checked, “Visual message."
He got a tee shirt out of his top drawer. She put it on, “I'm gonna stretch this out,” she said. She opened the message.
It was Dr. Keating-Fong, “Pamela, I'm sorry to be calling you in the middle of the night."
"That's okay. What's up?"
"I got news from Vermont. Your father is in late stage renal failure. He probably won't survive the week. If you wish to go back to Earth, the Ti’Mur can pick you up."
"No, that's okay,” Pamela said, “I'd, I'd rather work."
"Yes. I want to keep my mind off things."
"But Pamela, this is your father I'm talking about!" Dr. Keating-Fong exclaimed.
"It's better this way. Really. My family will, will understand. And thanks for letting me know. Hudson out,” She turned off the PADD and turned to Malcolm, “Do you have any alcohol?"
"Uh, no. And I hardly think that medicating your grief with alcohol is such a good idea, Sweetheart."
"No, no, it's not grief."
"No. It's celebrating."
Porthos shivered in the chilly air as Jonathan rolled over in bed. The dog jumped on the bed and Jonathan ordered him off, “Too hot tonight, Buddy."
"Celebrating his life?"
"No. His death,” She looked far away.
"Tell, tell me only what you, what you wish to,” Malcolm said, sitting next to her on the bed and rubbing his shoulder a little. It ached a bit.
She smiled wanly, “I didn't want to mention this at all, but circumstances are kinda forcing my hand, I guess."
"Well, only share what's comfortable. It's, it's all right if it's not everything. I can, I can wait."
"Thanks. I, uh, well, what was your childhood like?"
"My childhood? Regular, I suppose,” Malcolm said, “I was an Eagle Scout. Thought I'd be a naval officer but the water and me, we don't mix together too well."
"I mean more personal stuff."
"Oh, well, my sister and I didn't always get on, but that's how siblings are. My parents were removed, somewhat hands off in a lot of ways. I suppose that's made me a bit standoffish. Except with you,” he said, taking her hand.
"Mine was different,” she said, and had that faraway look in her eyes again.
"How, how so?"
"My parents were, were very hands on. Too hands on,” she stopped and dropped his hand; “I don't know how to continue. I, I haven't told anyone this."
"Don't force out any more than you wish to say."
"I should say it,” she replied, “I have to say it to someone."
"I'd like to think I'm not just someone."
"No,” she said, a little distractedly, “Remember you said that I'm afraid of people who love me?"
"Yes. I was not being fair and hit you a bit below the belt there. Please forgive me."
"No. You're, you're right. Do you remember I told you that I know why I am the way I am?"
"Yes, of course."
"It's all related."
"How?" he asked.
She put two fingers into the inner corners of her eyes and he could see her flick away the tiniest of tears.
"Oh, Darling,” he said, and put his arm around her, “Don't say any more than you wish."
She got up and tossed off the tee shirt, “It's, it's this,” she began pacing and working herself up, “I have to, I have to shout this, because, well, because this has been quiet for too long and it needs to be shouted."
"These walls are soundproof. Shout all you like. I'll shout with you if it helps,” he got up, too.
"Hands on isn't the half of it,” her voice was rising and she was starting to cry a bit. He moved closer but she pushed him back, “It's not even one tenth of it."
"What is it?" he called to her, loudly.
"I told you my first encounter was when I was fifteen. That's not strictly true."
"Then what is the truth?" he yelled.
"It was before. It was long before. It ... was ... my father."
Malcolm snapped his neck back, “What?" he asked, much more quietly.
"Yes,” she was shaking and crying and screaming, “My father. He beat me and he raped me and he did it for years. It started when I was, I was five years old."
"And your, your mother?" Malcolm tried to touch her but she eluded him again.
"My mother watched,” she said, spitting out the last word as if it were poison, “And, and, and I have no idea why, but they didn't do it to my sister, Lisa. Why did they, why did they do it to me? Why?"
This time she let him hold her, but only for a minute, “It's so damned hot in here,” she sobbed out, “And you don't, you don't know. And you don't, you don't, you don't deserve this."
"Pamela,” he said very softly, barely audibly, “I am in for a penny, in for a pound. The, the knave is here."
"I'm no Queen."
"You are to me."
|March 18 2012, 12:16 PM||#21|
"I couldn't sleep, Commander. Too hot."
"The ambient temperature is 10 C,” she shivered a little.
He sneezed, then again.
"Ensign, I suspect you're coming down with something. You should go to Sick Bay,” she suggested.
"No, I'm, I'm, atchoo! I'm all right,” Travis sneezed six more times.
"Ensign, go to Sick Bay. That's an order."
"Reed, I, I told you that I say things too quickly. And you do, too,” Pamela said.
"I suppose I do,” he admitted, “I just, I feel so much with you. And I don't mean the physicality of it although that is certainly a part of it. It's everything. Come, come here, Sweetheart,” he shivered a little in the chill.
"It's, it's too hot."
"You're always hot, my dear."
"No, I'm really hot,” she complained, “Can you turn the temperature down a little?"
"Sure. But I'll need to put something on. This is far too chilly for me."
"Something that isn't a part of a uniform,” she said, “Those uniforms don't show anything off. Something casual. You do have casual clothing, don't you, Malcolm?"
"Of course,” he put on a pair of sweatpants and a long sleeved tee, “How's this?" he asked, smiling at her a little.
"It's good,” she said, “And you say you're not a good-looking man, but you are, Malcolm Reed."
"Thank you, love."
"There you go again."
"Well, I just, I think, given what we've said to one another, particularly this evening ...." his voice trailed off.
"And? And isn't it, well, wishful thinking?"
"Perhaps. But, well, these are the kinds of things that people who love each other say, and these are the kinds of things that they, that they do."
"You want very badly for it to happen, don't you?"
"Yes. Do you want it to be, to be love? Do you want that at all, Pamela?"
"I don't know. It's all wrapped up in terror for me. And you already know how my sexuality played out, all bound up with, with what started up almost thirty years ago. The two are wedded now, and I can't break them apart,” she admitted, “I also know that I shouldn't be treating you like a therapist. I never should have told you that. I feel naked."
"You are naked, Darling."
"You know what I mean, Reed."
"I know. Maybe it is too quick. We leapt into bed as if the world were ending. And it's not. I should have, should have courted you. More than just a sonnet or two. Spent time with you, got to know you well."
"And now you know too much about me. You've got steps one and two and eighty-seven of the formula, and they don't all fit together properly."
"That's true,” he said.
Chip stared at the Communications console, “Commander?"
"Yes, Mr. Masterson?"
"I don't think we have long-range communications."
"Have you performed a diagnostic?"
"I'll contact the captain,” she did.
"Can we, can we set step eighty-seven aside? Warp factor ten, as it were. And perhaps not revisit five KPH but still go back a bit?"
"I still want to be with you. I still want to talk to you and kiss you, make love to you and share my breakfast with you. And I still want to see you after, after you leave. If that's at all possible."
"That's not step two, yanno."
"I know. Perhaps it is irrevocably altered. It's a new path. Can't we tread it together?"
"Don't push it."
"No, I'm not being fair. Let me, let me mull it over,” she said, then changed the subject, “Yanno, we are – the class – we're gonna cook dinner tonight. It’s a special surprise for the crew."
"I make cheesecake. The cheesecake makes the cheesecake."
"You don't like cheesecake?"
"I'll, uh, I'll be all right with it,” he said.
"It's the only thing I know how to make. Blair's the domestic one. She's making pot roast. Don't tell anyone."
"My lips are sealed. Pamela?"
"About the other thing?"
"I'm mulling. You are ... you're a good person. And I am riddled with imperfections, through and through."
"They don't scare me, any more than you having a scar – or my knowing how you got it – scares me."
"We wouldn't see each other much."
"I don't do good with distance,” she said, “Or loyalty. I get tempted way too easily if I'm not careful."
"I, we'll, we'll cross those bridges when we get to them."
"You're being very submissive, Reed. You've mostly been submissive. When are you, when are you going to be, to be dominant?"
Phlox looked at the records again. There were cascade failures throughout the Medical Database. He barely had the chemical formula for aspirin any more.
"Yes. You've even set yourself up as the knave, with me as the Queen. That's complete submission on your part. Is that how you want things to be? I can, I can do that. But I've told you I prefer the trading."
"Then I wish to be dominant right now."
"Yes,” he said, approaching her, “I want to call the shots, for the remainder of tonight."
"Oh?" she said, getting interested and meeting him halfway.
"I want to make love to you. Not have hot sex, but make love. And not with scarves or toys or your fingernails raking my back. No teasing, no hair pulling. No clothes on, no odd positions. Facing each other, so that we can kiss and look and breathe together as one,” He put his hand on her face, “Soft, but also hard,” He smiled a little, “Gentle. Careful. With sweet kisses and caressing hands. That is what I want – it's what I demand of you. Can you do that?" He looked deep into her eyes. She looked fearful.
"Y-yes. I think I can remember how to do that."
He kissed her softly on her mouth, “Good,” He kissed her deeply, hands lightly holding her waist.
She led him over to the bed, “First this,” She came closer.
"You, you want to do that?" he asked, “Most, most women I've been with, they don't like doing that unless it's, it's reciprocal."
"It's a, a gentle way for you to dominate,” she said.
Malcolm was jolted. It was quick but very intense. She definitely knew what she was doing.
"Would you kiss me?" she asked.
"Yes,” he said, doing just that.
She smiled at him, a freer smile than he'd seen before, “Not every guy likes that."
“The whole thing is, I think it was a generous act. You can, you are capable of generosity, you know."
"I guess I am a little bit,” she said, “Doesn't mean I don't like when you do it to me."
"Your wish isn't my command,” he said, “But it would be my pleasure."
Hoshi was up early. Her PADD was flashing. Another note from An.
"No breakfast today, sorry. I don't have an appetite,” It said.
She coughed a little. Damn.
When they finally got together, it was as he'd wanted. Slow. Careful. Deliberate. She was hotly sweating while he was coolly caressing and kissing, but he still felt every catch of her breath, every change. He kissed her smiles, meeting her laughter with his movements, mouth on her shoulder, then back to her mouth. She took her hands away from his waist and put them onto his face, kissing him, breathing into his mouth.
Brian Delacroix walked out into the hallway, making his way along the wall. He was dizzy. The ship was moving too fast. He put his hands up to his face. Felt bumpy. A little like the skin of an avocado. Ensign Crossman saw him. He knew her. He approached her. She took one look at his face and screamed.
Malcolm smiled at her, “Now that was Warp Factor Ten,” he said.
"Yes,” she said, “Very hot."
He shivered a little, despite their closeness. He kissed her. She was very sweaty, and coughed a little, “Darling, you're warmer than usual."
"Yes,” she said, “I – Reed, feel my forehead. And the back of my neck,” He complied, “How hot?"
"Very. More hot than you normally feel."
"I – dammit. I've got a fever,” she said, breaking apart from him, “Feels like it's climbing."
"Let's get you to Sick Bay,” he said.
"I can go by myself."
"I know. But I would not be a very good, uh, boyfriend, if I didn't take you, now, would I?"
"Boyfriend,” she said, putting her skirt back on, “Makes it sound like you're fifteen."
"Maybe this time 'round, fifteen will turn out a bit differently,” He said, putting on his uniform this time.
He looked at her with concern.
"I'll be all right. It's probably nothing,” she said.
Jonathan got up. There was a communications chime but he could barely hear it. His head was pounding. Porthos was whining, “Not now, boy,” He said, leaving the dog in his quarters and heading out. The Bridge would have to wait. He had a date with Sick Bay.
Malcolm took Pamela by the hand and led her into B Deck's hall. The hallway was already crowded with people, all moving slowly. They all seemed to be going in the same direction. MacKenzie was leaning against a wall, stopped. Blair looked red-faced. Will, next to her, was sneezing. Mark Stone was scratching his arms, his hands covered with bumps.
"Let's go more quickly,” Malcolm said, pulling Pamela along.
"Not so fast. I'm kinda nauseous,” she said.
As if on cue, Crewman Shapiro vomited in front of them.
Malcolm blinked a few times and steered her around the mess, “We need to go faster, Pamela. I will help you,” He put his arm around her and she was pretty much a dead weight, stepping down only a little bit as he walked as quickly as he could.
Crewman Haddon left her post. She got into the lift and somehow got herself back to C Deck and her quarters. She took one look at herself in her bathroom mirror, and shrieked.
Sick Bay was already crowded. Phlox already had Hoshi, An and Travis on beds when Pamela and Malcolm arrived.
"Put her, uh, there,” Phlox said, indicating an empty bed. He was a whirling dervish.
"There are others, doctor. You'll be out of beds soon,” Malcolm said.
"Get in ten more. We'll double them up,” Phlox said.
"All right,” Malcolm said. He turned to Pamela, lying on a bed, “I love you,” he said.
She smiled at him weakly, “See what happens when you get demanding?" she whispered.
He kissed her forehead, “Still nauseous?"
"Yes. And you shouldn't kiss me. You'll catch whatever the hell this is."
"I think I've already been exposed."
"We've both been exposed,” she said.
"You'll be all right. I'll have your cheesecake yet."
"Don't count on it."
He took one last look and left to bring in more patients.
Jonathan staggered along the wall, hugging it. That seemed to help a little bit, but why was it so damned hot?
Malcolm brought along Blair next, and set her on the bed next to Pamela.
"Strap them in,” Phlox said, “Don't want anyone falling off a narrow bed."
Malcolm did as requested.
"Henry!" Pamela said weakly, “I told you not to do that."
"It's not Henry, Darling,” he said.
"Oh. Well, um,” she said.
Blair just stared at him as he adjusted a strap.
"Reed," Pamela said.
By the time the beds were filled, and Malcolm had gotten a chance to take a breath, a good hour or so had gone by.
Phlox looked at him, “You seem to be unaffected so far. Perhaps there are others,” He went back to tending patients.
Malcolm clicked open his communicator, “Reed to, to, well, to anyone. Anyone at all."
“Go ahead,” It was Commander T'Pol.
"Oh, thank God. Commander, is there, is everything all right on the Bridge?"
"No, it isn't,” T'Pol's voice had a very slight edge to it; “The crew have either abandoned their posts or collapsed."
"We don't have enough beds,” Phlox said.
"There are quarters on this deck. And, and on C Deck. We – I suppose I – can put people in there. Double them up like in here. Would that be acceptable?"
"It'll have to do. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll need to prepare a solution of potassium carbonite."
"Is it a cure?" Malcolm asked.
"No. It's to put everyone into stasis while I figure this out. I'll make a dose for you as well, when you need it. Your delayed onset is interesting but I cannot pursue it now,” He went back to what he'd been doing.
Malcolm spoke into the communicator again, “Commander, can you stop the ship and put it adrift for a bit?"
"I have already had to do that,” she replied.
"Good. Then, please, come here. I'll need your help. We need to move a lot of people, and quickly."
"On my way."
|March 18 2012, 11:44 PM||#22|
Location: S.H.I.E.L.D.ing you...
"Don't touch Lola."
-Phil Coulson, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
|March 19 2012, 11:53 AM||#23|
"A list,” Malcolm said, “But it would be better if the rooms were somehow marked as well."
"Over there,” Phlox said, giving An a shot of potassium carbonite, “Take that box with you."
"Chalk,” Malcolm said, “I think they did this in the Middle Ages when there were plagues. Some small memory of hist'ry."
"Come back when you're out of shots and I'll give you refills,” Phlox said, “Act quickly. And be sure to indicate if any are more advanced. Crewman Melissa Madden over there seems to be particularly affected,” She had dark bumps all over her face and arms and was sharing a surgical bed that had been pressed into service. Her bedmate, Ensign MacKenzie, seemed less afflicted.
Malcolm and T'Pol left.
"Let's leave the closest room open,” Malcolm suggested, “For the captain."
"And for you, Mr. Reed,” she replied, “Here, help me with Mr. Masterson."
Then Crossman. Malcolm marked on the door: Masterson, Crossman.
They moved on.
Pike, Delacroix (A). It was 'A' for Advanced. T'Pol tapped out notes as they proceeded.
"I'm out of inoculations,” Malcolm said, “How many have we got so far?"
"Eighteen women. Twenty-two men,” T'Pol said, “Plus in Sick Bay there are six men and four women. Keep in mind that there are three male medical students and two females. Plus you."
"So," Reed did a quick calculation in his head, “Sixteen human women remain, and, and thirty-two men. We'll have to go back for more inoculations twice. This deck is nearly full. We'll need to move to C Deck soon."
"Agreed,” she said. They ran back to Sick Bay together.
"Have you located Captain Archer yet?" Phlox asked, preparing more shots.
"No,” T'Pol said, “We've only been clearing this deck so far."
"Proceed,” Dr. Phlox said, “Right now, I don't know what's a priority. Just, just do what you can."
"Understood,” Malcolm said as they departed.
They found Captain Archer collapsed in front of the lift, “Come along, Captain,” Malcolm said, throwing his arm around Jonathan's waist, “T'Pol, other side, if you please."
They slowly walked the captain over but he was dead weight.
"Wait, let's try it this way,” Malcolm said, “Lie him down, then we'll take arms and legs."
"This is a little ... undignified,” Jonathan managed to gasp out as they carried him.
"You should see the other guy,” Malcolm said, “Ah, here we are."
They laid Jonathan down. He looked pasty pale, “T'Pol," he gasped weakly, “Take command."
"Yes, Captain,” she said, injecting him.
"Onward to C Deck,” Malcolm said.
They found Crewman Haddon in her own quarters, quivering and mumbling incoherently, her face and hands covered with dark blotchy bumps. She weakly tried to fight them off. They ended up injecting her before even getting her into bed. It was just easier. Corporal Amanda Cole ended up as her bunkmate.
Cole, Haddon (A).
They kept going, gathered another round of shots when needed and continued.
They moved on until they'd cleared C Deck.
"How far along are we?" Malcolm asked T'Pol, straightening up and rubbing his own back. Fireman's carries, over and over again, were not doing his back and shoulders any favors. He remembered for a second the initial reason why his shoulders were bothering him. Too much worry, thinking about Pamela, knocked out in Sick Bay. He compartmentalized it, saving the emotions for later. Best to concentrate on what he was doing.
"I said, Lieutenant, fifty-eight men and thirty-six women. We are done with the women,” T'Pol said, “Are you feeling well enough to continue?"
"Yes. Just, just worried. I imagine the last three men are still at their posts."
"Tucker. Torres,” she read off the remaining names, “And Crewman Miller."
"So two are probably in Engineering, and the other in the Bio Lab,” Malcolm deduced, “Let's go to Engineering first."
"That is a logical course of action."
Tucker was found next to the warp engines. He barely protested when they carried him to a room on C Deck. He bunked with Bernstein.
Torres was harder to find. They finally located him behind some plasma relays. He was uncontrollably coughing. A quick shot stopped that. He was heavy, over two meters tall. After considerable grunting and sweaty work, they got him to a room on C Deck.
Miller was not in the Bio Lab. They finally found him, passed out, in front of the big freezer in the kitchen, the freezer door wide open. He was lighter than Torres, and Malcolm could lift him by himself. One last pass, one last marker.
They made their way back to Sick Bay. Phlox was sitting on a stool. He looked wan, “We'll need a plan of action,” he said, “The injections of potassium carbonite aren't really full stasis. The patients will continue to worsen, albeit more slowly."
Malcolm looked over at Pamela. She looked sweaty, but more like she was sleeping than anything else. A lot like she did when she slept next to him, “Is she dying?" he asked Phlox.
"Lieutenant," Phlox paused for a breath, "they all are."
"Doctor T'Par, can you treat her?" asked Ambassador Soval, looking at Dr. Keating-Fong, who was lying in the Ti’Mur's infirmary.
"Yes, although the records are rather sparse,” she said, “This is an ancient, eradicated human disease."
"Eradicated? Then surely there is a cure,” he said.
"No. It was eradicated with prevention in either the twentieth or the twenty-first century. The records are, as I said, unclear. When the human population was completely protected by preventative injections, the search for a cure was abandoned."
"Still, you can cure Dr. Keating-Fong?"
"Yes. I can. And reverse the skin damage as well, although that's a considerably lower priority."
"Naturally. Is the doctor contagious?"
"Not to Vulcans, or to any species other than human. And, not contagious any more, although she was perhaps a week ago."
"That's when she was still on the Enterprise,” said the Ambassador, “We must contact them immediately."
"Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed,” T'Pol said.
"Yes. Sorry,” He couldn't stop looking at Pamela. She seemed peaceful.
"I'll repeat what I just said,” Phlox said, “The patients have, perhaps, five days at most. The more advanced ones, more like three or four."
"We'll be rendezvousing with the Ti’Mur in seven days,” Malcolm said, “Unless we can get closer. Are engines still working?"
"Spotty,” T'Pol said, “Plus with the neutron pulsing in this area, the going may be difficult. A well-trained pilot would be best."
"There's your well-trained pilot, lying over there,” Malcolm said, indicating Travis, knocked out with Mark Stone.
"What about Communications?" Phlox asked.
"I managed to get a distress call out but long-range is not working,” T'Pol said, “It is difficult to say how far the message traveled."
"I don't have much in the way of medical information,” Phlox said, “Foolish student, someone wiped the database. Now that person's cheating ways will get them all killed."
"Doctor, we will have to devise a cure from scratch,” T'Pol said.
"Yes. Work 'round the clock,” the doctor said.
"Then Mr. Reed," T'Pol said, "I hereby relinquish command to you."
"Yes. I can help Dr. Phlox much better than you can. My place is here."
"Very well,” Malcolm said, “But we, we won't stand on ceremony. We'll all make all of the decisions, if that's, if it's appropriate. Everyone's vote will be equal. I will work on Communications, and I'll see if I can move the ship in the direction of the Ti’Mur, and do so as quickly as possible. You both will, well, it's obvious. Medical is top priority. I will assist in any way I can, just tell me. And, and, I'll prepare and bring you your meals. It won't be anything fancy."
"Then we are in agreement,” T'Pol said, “And if you find yourself becoming ill, Mr. Reed, you will turn command back over to me."
"Yes, of course."
"Roll up your sleeve,” Phlox said.
Malcolm did as asked. Phlox jabbed his arm with a needle, “Ow!"
"A half a liter should do,” Phlox said, “But if you become faint, tell me immediately."
Malcolm waited as his blood was drawn, “Do you, do you have any idea why I am unaffected so far?" he asked.
"None. Hopefully, your blood will tell the tale."
It was a ship, coming at high warp.
Heading right for them.
|March 19 2012, 07:58 PM||#24|
Location: S.H.I.E.L.D.ing you...
I can understand Archer turning command over to T'Pol. I can understand T'Pol turning command over to Reed. Where common sense breaks down is Reed's response. He should have just said "Very Well" and accepted command.
T'Pol is relinquishing command for a reason. With practically the entire human complement of the crew sick and Phlox overrun trying to care for them and find a cure, T'Pol wants to pitch in where she can do the most good, but that means she's not going to have time to deliberate and make decisions over non-critical matters. That means Reed's unnecessary humility utterly thwarts T'Pol's intentions. If she doesn't have time to just make the decisions on her own, she and Phlox sure as hell don't have time to be part of some tripartite council. Their patients will be dead in five days!
Also, Reed is stuck figuring out how to run a ship designed to be operated by a crew of eighty by himself, so there's no way he's going to be shuttling back and forth bringing Phlox and T'Pol sandwiches and running their errands. We're not talking about Enterprise-D, where you can just tie everything into one console and just tell the main computer to do this and do that. If there's a problem in Engineering while he's at the helm trying to avoid an obstacle, they're f***ed!
I often get into arguments around here about what I call Gene's Maxim - "Make it about the characters" - because paid and fanfic writers alike tend to follow it to the detriment of other aspects of the story. This is a prime example. You obviously wanted Malcolm to be the focus. Fine, but to do it you left him with an impossible situation and made him look like a fool in his response to it.
"Don't touch Lola."
-Phil Coulson, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Last edited by Admiral2; March 19 2012 at 08:13 PM.
|March 19 2012, 11:46 PM||#25|
|March 20 2012, 01:22 PM||#26|
"He'll probably be in the captain's quarters,” Phlox suggested, “Here,” He handed Malcolm a shot, “One-eighth of the human dosage of potassium carbonite. And bring him and his dog bed here. I'll put him somewhere."
Malcolm ran to the captain's quarters.
"Let's begin by looking at the students' projects,” Phlox said, “In case there's been any contamination. Perhaps that's the cause of all of this."
T'Pol read off the labels, “Mumps. Anthrax. Herpes Simplex. Ebola. West Nile virus,” Pamela's little infectious pet, “The seals all appear to be intact."
"Very well. Let's take samples and test them against the Lieutenant's blood. See if there are any antibodies. And also, here, let's take a sample from two patients. One advanced, one not, and see what happens when they're mixed with Reed's blood,” Phlox said.
T'Pol moved an IV aside and began to draw blood from Ensign MacKenzie.
Malcolm got to the captain's quarters in record time. The door was locked, “Security Override Code. " he gasped, “Reed Gamma nine oh nine."
The door slid open.
There was a whine and a bark, and Porthos, all eleven kilos of him, wagging and wiggling and licking in doggie greeting.
Malcolm bent down and petted the dog, “Thank God you're all right, little chap,” he said, “Come with me,” He remembered at the last minute to take the dog bed with him. Porthos trotted behind him as he walked back to Sick Bay and then changed his mind and changed course. The Bridge made more sense. He clicked open his communicator, “I have him,” he said, “And he is all right."
"Interesting,” T'Pol said, “Mr. Reed, did you experience any symptoms?"
"Yes. We suspect you had the disease that's afflicting the remainder of the crew. But you somehow recovered from it."
"Hmm. I felt some heat, well, I felt warm at times. But I attributed that to other things,” he admitted.
"Thank you. T'Pol out."
Malcolm made his way to the Bridge, Porthos in tow.
"Here's where it's becoming difficult,” Phlox admitted, “We've tried everything we can think of, but without a database, we're down to almost random guesses."
"The symptoms are flu-like in nature. Except for the dermatological issues that some of the crew are experiencing."
"Any number of human diseases can manifest themselves with what are referred to as flu-like symptoms. It's almost a catchall. Coughing – both productive and dry, sneezing, body aches, congestion, watery eyes, fever."
"Most of the crew had fevers, including, possibly, Lieutenant Reed,” T'Pol pointed out.
"That only narrows it down to a few thousand,” Phlox shook his head, “If we could throw another person at this problem, it would be a bit easier."
Malcolm got to the Bridge and put the dog bed down next to the captain's chair. He tried out the chair for a second, but it was set for someone taller than he was and, certainly, not for him. He felt strange, “No. This is wrong,” he said to Porthos, who did not answer, “This belongs to your master."
He then walked over to the helm. Not comfortable there, either, and the readings were confusing. He managed to steady the helm and get the Enterprise going at full impulse. Warp drive seemed to be offline. It would be very slow going to get to the Ti’Mur, but at least they were moving a little bit.
He went over to his station, and saw warning lights flashing just as he got there. This was not good. He clicked open his communicator, “Commander, I, I need you here. Right, right now. My apologies, Doctor."
"On my way."
Ambassador Soval shook his head. There seemed to be no way to reach the Enterprise. He requested that the Ti’Mur accelerate to maximum warp.
T'Pol arrived quickly, “What seems to be the trouble?"
"Here. I think I can get this on the screen,” Malcolm fiddled with the controls at Hoshi's station, “There. Klingon Battle Cruiser. Coming in fast. Take the helm."
She did as requested, “Have you a plan?"
"Not really,” he admitted, “Tactical is working perfectly but we can't exactly get out of the way quickly or call for help. Hull plating is polarized. Torpedoes are armed."
"Can we communicate with the other vessel?"
"If they come close, I believe so."
"Then let's opt for a diplomatic solution if it can be achieved,” she suggested.
The other ship barreled in and stopped, close. A proximity alarm was tripped. Malcolm turned it off.
They hailed the Enterprise. T'Pol got the message on screen, and then returned to the helm.
"This is Captain Lorgh of the Imperial Klingon Battle Cruiser Somraw. Surrender and prepare to be boarded,” Lorgh coughed a few times. A couple of female Klingons behind him chased after a male Klingon.
Something was not right. Except for Lorgh, none of the Klingon Bridge crew appeared to be at their posts.
Malcolm sprang back and cut the sound, “Now what? They won't exactly show us mercy."
"A fire fight is not going to help,” T'Pol stated, “And the Ti’Mur cannot get here on time. Surrender is likely to be our sole option."
"There's also suicide,” Malcolm said, “It's really a matter of no survivors versus, at best, three."
Back on the Somraw, it was louder than usual and the crew was running wild. Lorgh had neither the stomach nor the strength to deal with it. He switched communications, “Keleth!" he yelled into the console, “You have your orders."
Malcolm put the sound back on. He and T'Pol looked on the screen, and saw the Klingon Bridge filling up with a sand-colored gas. Klingons were falling all over the Bridge – Lorgh included. The screen switched to a scene of a sole Klingon, an elderly male. He said, menacingly, "This is Keleth of the Imperial Klingon Battle Cruiser Somraw. Surrender and prepare to be – oh, to Stovokor with it,” His tone changed, and was quieter, “I am Chief Medical Officer Keleth. Your Bridge is nearly empty. You must have the disease as well."
Phlox titrated samples and tallied up his notes as he went along. It was respiratory, sort of. Dermatological, kind of. Definitely a virus and not a bacterium. Reed's blood was no cure, although it did kill the virus when the two were mixed in a controlled experiment. But that didn't work in a test subject, and besides, Reed had B positive blood. Even if his blood did work, it still couldn't mix with that of over half of the crew. He kept working.
"Perhaps,” T'Pol answered.
"It is ... it causes a kind of madness. Somewhat like Balt'Masor Syndrome but not exactly. My Medical Database is nearly completely gone; I have little to compare it to. Can you – it is not our way, but our way is going to mean a dishonorable death to all – can you assist? It is of honor for me to ply my trade and do all I can to save my shipmates,” Keleth said.
"We will consider it,” she replied, “Stand by,” she broke the communications link.
"Consider it?" Malcolm asked, “What's there to consider?"
"Those people are dying, just like our people are."
"They're Klingons!" he said, “And we're supposed to find them a cure while Pa– everyone here is so terribly ill?"
"An additional medical officer would be of help to Dr. Phlox and myself,” T'Pol said.
"If they weren't sick, they'd be firing upon us!"
"I – no – that does not fit in with Klingon logic. Klingons value honor above all else. They would consider it dishonorable to simply run roughshod over a ship full of dying people unable to defend themselves properly."
"I'm in command, and I say not to cooperate with them."
"Mr. Reed. By your own statement, you have said that we will share in the decision-making. Does that remain your intention? Or have the rules changed?" she asked.
"I – we'll, we'll vote on it. Let's call Phlox."
They explained the situation, “I don't see an alternative,” Phlox said, “Particularly since you were seriously considering surrender before this. It troubles me that perhaps the Klingon disease is transmissible to any of us, but I have my doubts about that. The physiology is simply too different, which is also why this human infection has not jumped to either Commander T'Pol or myself. Plus that ship seems to still have warp drive, albeit no one here can read Klingon or pilot such a vessel. It still may be of use. I say we cooperate. Now, if you'll excuse me. Phlox out."
"Well, I don't like it,” Malcolm said.
"Your objection is duly noted,” T'Pol replied, “But we cannot make this decision based upon emotions."
Reluctantly, he reopened the channel, “This is Reed to Keleth. I – we – we will share whatever we know. It, it isn't much. And we don't believe it's the same affliction."
"Probably not,” Keleth allowed, “Human, I am curious. You are on a human vessel. Yet you are unafflicted. I presume you are the only one of your species who is. Do you know why that is so?"
"No,” Malcolm said, “I could say the same for you."
"Ah, I am easy to explain. I have been locked into Sick Bay Quarantine for two days. I got in here just as the malady was beginning to affect the crew. My captain ordered me here for the duration. And now it is the duration and I am in here and they are all out there,” His voice had an edge of desperation to it.
"Can you explain the gas?" T'Pol asked.
"Ah, Tricoulamine in vapor form."
"Tricoulamine?" she asked, “That's a nerve toxin."
"Not to Klingons,” he explained, “It is a means of creating a close approximation of stasis. But it would affect me as well. I would pass out, too, if I went outside of Quarantine without a pressure suit. I am trapped in here. It is not a good way to die."
"I see,” she said.
"Even our food animals are knocked out,” Keleth added, “A Klingon ship this quiet is not – it is not something I had ever thought I would experience." He sighed a little.
Malcolm cut the sound again, “I suspect he hasn't eaten in a few days."
"You are most likely correct."
"I – we would not be able to watch him constantly. I would still have to be here."
"True,” she said, “But another medical brain tackling the problem would be a major form of assistance. Not to mention a gesture of extreme good faith."
"Let's ask Phlox,” he clicked open his personal communicator, “Doctor, how do you feel about a little company?"
|March 21 2012, 01:36 PM||#27|
"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."
|March 22 2012, 01:42 PM||#28|
"Hmm,” Keleth said, “Two mild cases, very, very mild. I would think – is the hip a place where injections are made?"
"It can be,” Phlox said.
"Then this is, I suspect, not a natural immunity at all. It's a conferred one,” said the Klingon.
"Conferred?" Malcolm asked.
"Yes. You've received a preventative inoculation of some sort. What do you humans get for preventative shots?"
"Measles. Mumps. Diphtheria,” Phlox said, reciting from memory, “Rotavirus. Human Papilloma, but only for women. There are more, but everyone gets the same immunizations."
"Did you ever receive different immunizations?" Keleth asked.
Malcolm thought for a moment. Oh, yes.
"Doctor Phlox," Malcolm said, “Might I have a word with you in private?"
"By all means,” Phlox grabbed his PADD.
They walked out into the hallway, “What is it?" asked Phlox.
"Doctor, I cannot say much. I am bound to reveal, well, to reveal nothing. I don't relish telling you this but I think it's necessary."
"There is a – if you look at the original Starfleet Charter, Article fourteen, you'll, you'll see what I'm talking about. Sorry to be so indirect, but I must."
Phlox looked on his PADD, “Section, section. Hmmm. Section thirty-one. Is this it?"
Malcolm nodded very, very slightly.
"Lieutenant, we will, for the record, this conversation is not happening. Can you say anything?"
"I was given some shots. More than the others got. To, to protect me in the event of, of, a microbe or virus or something being, uh, becoming weaponized."
Reed nodded, “My thought is, perhaps this is a weaponized virus of some sort."
"Weaponized indeed,” Phlox shook his head, “With the database in shambles, this will still not be easy. Still, perhaps there are historical records. Humans stopped doing this a long time ago, yes?"
"Over a century ago, I believe. Not a very pleasant or proud chapter in our hist'ry."
They returned to Sick Bay.
"We have a possible plan of attack. A better one,” Phlox said, “I will look at historical records. Mr. Reed has been conferred certain immunities that come from, from historical medicine. I am unable to disclose more information about this."
"I am all right with you not coming clean with me,” Keleth said, “But her?" He indicated T'Pol.
"Later, perhaps. I don't know,” Phlox said.
Reed shook his head, “Let's not stand on ceremony,” he said, “I can look in the historical records as well, while I'm on the Bridge."
T'Pol and Phlox went back to their investigation.
Keleth got up and walked a lot closer to where Pamela and Blair were lying, “Human females. Hmm."
Malcolm suddenly didn't want to go to the Bridge quite so quickly, “Doctor?"
"Oh, yes. They are too delicate. This one is getting worse, see?" he showed Malcolm where Pamela was starting to get a few bumps on the side of her face.
"They, they make us better people,” Malcolm said, a bit defensively.
"Oh,” The light dawned. Keleth said, "These are your women."
"Just one of them,” If she really was his.
"Which one? Light skin or yellow hair?"
Malcolm rubbed his shoulder. It did still hurt a bit.
"Body aches?" Keleth asked.
"No. I, I strained a muscle."
Keleth looked down at Pamela, “Ah. I was young once. These are, though, a Klingon male would break them in half."
"Good thing I'm not a Klingon male, then.”
Keleth clapped Malcolm hard, on the back and laughed a bit.
Malcolm was taken a bit aback and had the wind knocked out of him, “Doctor, if you please. Let us focus and get on with, with it!"
"Hu – Reed, I think elliptically. I approach a problem, then I turn away, and I come back again from a different approach. It is – you may disagree with the method but it does work for me."
Malcolm said, "I, just. I feel it's urgent. We shouldn't fool 'round,” He took Pamela's limp, cold hand in his. The back of it was bumpy and a bit reddened.
Keleth looked at him, “It, it kills you to not be able to really help much."
"I don't think it would be prudent for me to discuss such things with you, Doctor Keleth."
"Then I will tell you,” Keleth said, “I have four daughters. And my third, Arizhel, when she was born, my wife, L'kor, well, both of them, they developed a raging infection. It nearly killed the both of them. And until I knew the problem and how to treat it, I was, I was not a pleasant man to be around. It tears at you if you cannot fix things."
"I, yes, it does."
"And now I have things I cannot fix."
"With, with Pamela? And the others?"
"No. In my own house,” Keleth said, “My wife is paralyzed from the waist down. And I cannot fix that. And it rips me up like you are being ripped up now."
"Maybe we're not meant to, to fix everything,” Malcolm said, “Maybe you're just supposed to be with her, even if you cannot make it all go away."
"I will not take life advice from you, Reed,” Keleth said, straightening up, “And you are supposed to be on this vessel's Bridge, yes? Leave me to my work,” Keleth said gruffly.
Dr. Keating-Fong sent out a message via her PADD:
Dear Dr. Hudson,
As you know, your father was sent home from the Green Mountain Medical Facility for hospice care. He has passed. You are not obligated to take the next series of tests if it will be too much for you.
On a personal note, Pamela, please do not feel obligated to finish your schooling on time. Go and be with your family.
Dr. Bernardine Keating-Fong, MD, PhD.
Funny, it didn't go through.
The Ti’Mur continued at high warp.
Malcolm sat on the Bridge. The Somraw was close but not a threat. Both ships were slowly, slowly moving toward the last-known location of the Ti’Mur.
He turned on a PADD. He went to Search and typed: Search: Weaponized diseases: historical. 140,000 records. Search: Weaponized viral diseases: historical. 12,800 records. Search: Weaponized viral diseases: historical. Dermatology. 1,000 records. He scanned through. Tularemia. Hemorrhagic fevers. Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. HIV.
Another one. He clicked on some pictures and cringed. He clicked open his communicator, “Doctors, I may have, I may have found something."
Phlox said, "I was performing a search and kept coming up with pictures of Native American blankets."
"Blankets?" T'Pol asked.
"Yes. A primitive form of germ warfare."
"You believe that is what this is?" asked Keleth, “Interesting. That could assist me with my people as well. There is a very old and shameful part of our history when that was done. It is dishonorable to hide behind microbes and unseen viruses. You should look your enemies in the eye before you strike them down. Germ warfare is the very nadir of cowardice."
"We feel the same way, more or less,” Malcolm said, “Doctor Phlox do you see what I have seen?"
"Yes,” Phlox said, “It appears that a cure was not developed, but the immunity comes from – and it is ironic when it comes to you, Lieutenant – it came from a much milder affliction that was observed in dairy maids."
"Dairy maids?" asked Keleth.
"Yes. They milked cows hundreds of years ago,” Malcolm explained, “It’s somewhat ironic, considering my aversion to dairy."
"That is correct. And in the late eighteenth century, a British doctor, Edward, uh, Edward Jenner," Phlox read off his PADD, "noticed that dairy maids would get a mild disease called cow pox. But then they were immune to a much more deadly disease. The, the cow pox disease is properly called vaccinia. From it, the word vaccine is developed – it's, Hoshi would find this interesting – it's derived from the Latin word for cow, vaca."
"And the more virulent malady?" T'Pol asked.
"It's called variola."
Malcolm did a quick search, “Smallpox."
|March 23 2012, 01:59 PM||#29|
"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.
|March 24 2012, 02:51 PM||#30|
Phlox rummaged around in the refrigerator until he found what he was looking for, “Ah. And no, you may not have any,” He said to Porthos, “Here, have some mozzarella. We can spare that. But not this."
They returned to Sick Bay.
Phlox prepared a petri dish, adding in the variola virus, growth medium, vaccinia, a few drops of Reed's blood and lactase. All together in one mix. He let it sit, and then looked at his PADD, “Hmm, it says here that mature cheddar contains crystals of calcium lactate. Perhaps that will help, eh?" Porthos did not answer.
He got up and looked over at Crewman Madden. She looked terrible, and was barely recognizable, “I hope we can move fast enough, for your sake,” he muttered.
He returned to his stool and began dictating:
Medical Log, July twenty-seventh, 2158. Chief Medical Officer Phlox reporting. Progress continues to be slow. Disease has been identified as weaponized smallpox, and so this matter is believed to be an instance of Germ Warfare. Lieutenant Reed's immunity has been identified as being conferred via vaccination. Immunity is imperfect; the Lieutenant has been ill twice but with extremely mild cases. The first instance was when he was vaccinated several years ago. The second instance was very recent. It is estimated that the vaccination is not a perfect match to the strain currently under investigation.
Klingon Chief Medical Officer Keleth of the Somraw has been particularly helpful in this investigation. This should be noted in future negotiations with the Klingon Empire.
Crewman Madden's condition is worsening. In addition to the external evidence of the disease, enanthem are present on the tongue and other mucous membranes. She has one of the three most advanced cases. The other two are Haddon and Delacroix. They evidently have a hemorrhagic version of the disease, which traditionally has a higher fatality rate. Given this form of weaponization of the variola virus, it is believed that most if not all of the cases will be fatal, but that the three hemorrhagic ones will be more rapidly fatal. Intravenous fluid replacement is of some help. Delacroix and Haddon are visited as time permits. It is recommended that they be moved to Sick Bay tomorrow if a cure is not found, and exchange places with Will Owen and Ensign Mayweather, who currently have milder cases.
Current plan is to grow the variola virus in as many different solutions and media as time permits, and check for cell death. The virus grows best on solids and semi-solids. Dr. Keleth's recommendation is to check on growth on media containing lactose. This is somewhat akin to growing influenza vaccine on eggs. So far, a medium containing water buffalo milk has proven unsuccessful. A medium of cow's milk is now under investigation.
On a second matter, it is my belief that there is still a possibility that one of the Nereid Medical Academy students was cheating. While the wiping of the overall database appears to have been a part of the assault – particularly as evidenced by a similar problem with the Klingon Medical Database – the initial wiping of the quiz is more problematic. Whichever species perpetrated the Germ Warfare most decidedly knew nothing about that. I am forced to conclude that there is still a cheater or there is possibly even more than one.
He stopped dictating.
The alarm screaming in his ear, Malcolm got up. He had enough presence of mind to collect Dr. Keleth. They returned to Sick Bay.
"I have interesting news,” Phlox said.
T'Pol walked in, yawning.
"Oh, good. I won't have to repeat myself,” Phlox said, “I placed the virus onto a medium of hardened cow's milk."
"Hardened cow's milk?" asked Malcolm.
"Cheddar cheese, to be more precise,” Phlox replied.
"As I was saying," Phlox continued, "I then added lactase and vaccinia to the dish, along with a bit of your blood, Lieutenant, and set it aside. Four hours later, I have this,” He showed the dish. Keleth and T'Pol nodded knowingly.
"What am I supposed to be seeing?" asked Malcolm.
"The variola virus is a pinkish color,” Keleth said.
"I don't, I don't see any pink,” Malcolm said, “I. Don't. See. Any. Pink."
"And so you should not, assuming that the virus has been eradicated from this dish,” T'Pol said.
"Have you tested it in a patient yet?" Keleth asked.
"No. But she will be first,” Phlox indicated Crewman Madden.
"There is no need to hesitate,” T'Pol said.
Phlox prepared the shot and administered it. Malcolm didn't look, “I'll be on the Bridge,” he said, “Call me if there is something, if there is some news, please."
"Medical Log, July twenty-seventh, 2158. Chief Medical Officer T'Par reporting,” she dictated, far away on the speeding Ti’Mur.
"Patient has fully recovered from the variola virus, due to administration of a modified form of Cidofovir. Patient will be regularly checked for nephrotoxicity."
"I have tested the patient's blood twice,” Phlox reported, “Are we in agreement?"
"We are,” T'Pol said. Keleth nodded.
"Recovery will be slow. I will now bring the patient out of medically-induced stasis,” Phlox said, “T'Pol, contact Lieutenant Reed."
She clicked her communicator open, “Lieutenant, we have something."
"On my way,” He put the ship back into drift, as far away from the Somraw as possible.
He arrived as Crewman Madden was regaining consciousness. She tried to speak, but couldn't.
"That's all right,” Phlox said to her, “Just rest. Talk later. And, and, I will handle all dermatological issues. Don't worry about that. Just rest."
She closed her eyes.
Malcolm dared to hope, finally, “Can you cure Pamela? Uh, Doctor Hudson?"
"First Haddon and Delacroix. I would like for them to be in Sick Bay. You'll need to shift patients around. Move Travis and, and MacKenzie, switch them with the other two."
"Very well. Commander, if you please."
The shifting went pretty quickly. For the past few days, they had all dropped a kilo or so, and his shoulders felt better anyway.
Haddon responded almost immediately, and even tried to get up. Delacroix took longer, but seemed to be all right.
"Now?" Malcolm asked. He didn't want to be impatient but, he was.
"Here. You can administer it yourself,” Phlox said, handing Malcolm vaccines for her and Blair.
Pamela didn't wake up immediately, but did. Blair blinked a few times. Pamela made a slight noise and indicated with her eyes. Her index finger was slightly up and trembling. He took it in his fingers and then covered her hand with his, “I'll be back very soon,” he promised, and leaned over and kissed her forehead, amidst a few raised bumps. What should this be to me? He thought to himself.
T’Pol and Malcolm made their way through that deck and C Deck. They would inject, then wait, then inject a second time in order to bring patients out of medical stasis. One crewman looked particularly bad. His face was very bumpy and worse on the left side than the right, directly over his eye. T'Pol looked at the names scrawled on the door. It was Crewman Hodgkins.
They brought him to Sick Bay, even though there weren't enough beds, “Crewman Hodgkins is an advanced case,” T'Pol explained.
"Yes, definitely. Must have worsened considerably overnight,” Phlox said, “I've read about this. Sometimes smallpox can blind a person. Put him, oh, I don't know where."
"Doctor, since the milder cases are recovering in quarters, I shall take Pamela with me. She can sleep in my quarters,” Malcolm volunteered.
"You must let her sleep,” Keleth scolded, then clapped him on the back again, hard, “Give her a day or two before, eh?"
Malcolm blanched, “Yes, yes, of course. Here, Doctor, can you assist me in bringing her to B Deck?"
"Yes. And then you will take me to the Transporter. I must attend to my own."
"Do you need help?" T'Pol asked.
"No. I can prepare another gas and pump it throughout the decks. Much like here. First to cure, then to wake. And I will lock myself back into Quarantine. No one wants to be around so many who are awakening at the same time."
"We cannot thank you enough,” Phlox said.
"Learning is good. No matter where it comes from,” Keleth said.
He picked up Pamela as Malcolm watched. She was alarmed but had no strength to resist. Reed directed him to quarters.
Once Pamela was laid down, Malcolm and Keleth went to the Transporter, “It's customary, we shake hands when people depart,” Malcolm said.
"Doctor, I, I just want to tell you, since we have no idea which species perpetrated this, might I suggest that our two sides at least sign some sort of a treaty whereby we outlaw Germ Warfare? It seems only fair. This is, it is truly horrific."
"We wish it on no one. I am not a political man."
"Neither am I,” Malcolm said, “But there is someone I may be able to speak with. Thank you again,” He ran the Transporter and Keleth was gone.
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