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Consequences- Part 9
Rating: Right now: PG-13. Will be R later, Romance
Phlox watched in quiet fascination as Trip laid T’Pol down on the biobed. His
*It would make an absolutely fascinating entry into the Interspecies Medical Journal* Phlox noted. Briefly, he pondered the ethical implications of keeping a journal on Commander Tucker and Sub-Commander T’Pol’s interactions for an article on interspecies mating habits.
“Doc? Shouldn’t you be doin’ somethin’?” Trip asked, interrupting the musings of the physician.
If the situation had been less grim, Phlox would have chuckled at Trip’s protective nature and reminded the engineer which one of them was the doctor. But considering the circumstances, all the physician would remark is “No, Commander. I gave the Sub-Commander the only medication I can for her condition in the mess hall. The biobed is monitoring her brain waves and heart rate as we speak. The Sub-Commander will awaken on her own.”
“Oh,” Trip said softly. “Her illness . . . it’s pretty bad, huh?”
“She has not shared the nature of her illness with you?” Phlox questioned.
“No,” Trip replied sounding a bit angry with his admission. His admission did incite surprise on Phlox’s behalf. After all, the Vulcan had collapsed twice while in the presence of the engineer. Surely, that was enough to warrant her confiding in him. *Vulcans are a very private people,* he reminded himself. Still, there was a thin line between being private and being foolish.
“Commander, if you don’t mind my asking, what exactly was the nature of your conversation with Sub-Commander T’Pol tonight?” he asked gently.
Trip shrugged. “We discussed a lot of things. Most of it didn’t make a whole lot of sense.” He paused for a moment. “Actually, T’Pol’s behavior didn’t make a whole lot of sense tonight,” he remarked, remembering the meatloaf she had prepared for him.
“Really?” the Denobulan asked.
“Yeah.” Trip paused a bit and glanced down at the sleeping form of T’Pol, as if to gain her permission for what he was about to share with the doctor.
Sensing his hesitation, Phlox assured Trip. “What you are about to tell me will stay in the strictest of confidence, Commander. Further, it may very well help in my diagnosis of the Sub-Commander.”
Trip nodded nervously. “Well, if it’ll help T’Pol . . . first, she asked me to recite the alphabet. Said she wanted to hear me discuss somethin’ bland.”
At this Phlox did chuckle. “It doesn’t get much more bland than recitation of the alphabet, although I suspect Ensign Sato would disagree with us. Is that when the Sub-Commander passed out, after your recitation?”
Trip shook his head. “No. Then she asked me insult her. Real adamant about it, too.” Scowling, he remarked, “No insult was good enough for her. Or bad enough, I suppose.”
*Ah, T’Pol must have been trying to determine the effect of a variety of emotions.* “After you insulted her, is this when she passed out?” the Denobulan asked, noting with interest the ashamed look that displayed itself on Tucker’s features. *Why? She did ask for the insult.*
“Nah. She was fine, even though I felt like the scum eaten by the lowliest amoeba,” Trip grumbled.
“I see. What did you discuss next?”
“That’s the weird part. She asked me to discuss Ah’len, Kaitamma, or Liana,” the engineer noted, the confusion still in his voice. “I couldn’t figure out what that had to do with her illness. Ya have any idea, doc?”
*I certainly do, but I’m afraid I can’t tell you, Commander Tucker.* Phlox thought to himself. To Trip, he replied, “Is that when she passed out?”
“Nope. She did have a pretty bad headache, though. That’s when I gave her the hypospray and suggested she get to sickbay. She agreed but wanted to show me the Vulcan form of goodbye. . . the affectionate form, she called it.”
*This would perhaps be the first time Sub-Commander T’Pol has used the phrase affectionate in the entire time she has been on the Enterprise,* Phlox noted. “What exactly did she show you was the ‘affectionate’ form of goodbye?” he inquired.
When Trip described the method to Phlox, the physician was unable to prevent a most unprofessional laugh from escaping his mouth. At Trip’s quizzical look, Phlox simply shook his head. “That, I take it, is when she passed out?”
“Yep,” Trip confirmed.
“Well, I thank you, Commander. This information will be most useful when the Sub-Commander wakes up. In the meantime, I must request you to exit sickbay.”
Phlox shook his head. “It’s not up for debate, Commander. When the Sub-Commander awakes, she and I will need to have a very personal conversation. Given her Vulcan nature, she most likely will want as few people in the room as possible.” At Trip’s crestfallen expression, he added, “Besides, with all the work you’ve been doing in engineering lately, I’m sure you need to get some sleep before your shift begins.”
“Right,” Trip agreed, running his hand through his hair guiltily. “The engines. I do have to go.” Turning to leave, he paused and added, “Take good care of ‘er, Doc.” before dashing out the door.
*Why is he in such a hurry? Did he think I would say no?* Phlox wondered in amazement. *Of course, the human’s behavior is nothing compared to that of T’Pol* Phlox had never believed he would live long enough to hear of a Vulcan trying to seduce a human and lying about it.
It was a considerable amount of time later when T’Pol awoke. Finding herself in sickbay, she surmised that the last portion of her experiment had gone exactly as she had anticipated. Raising up, she found her head to still ache incredibly. There was also not a tiny amount of disappointment with the fact that she did not see the presence of Commander Tucker. *He has returned to the engine room, as it only logical for him to do in a moment of crisis. He has only 4.12 days left to get the engines back online and you have served as a suitable distraction for long enough.*
*But, he did require nourishment to remain effective,* T’Pol reminded herself as she began to rise off the bed.
“Ah, Sub-Commander, I see you’ve awaken,” greeted the cheerful voice of Dr. Phlox. At her nod, he continued, “After speaking with Commander Tucker, I have discerned you were testing yourself to see what type of emotions provoked response?”
“That is correct,” T’Pol answered, relieved she did not have to explain her experiment to Dr. Phlox. The physician seemed to understand, as though it made perfect logical sense for her to behave in such a fashion. *He understands the scientific nature of my experiment,* T’Pol noted.
“May I inquire of your findings?”
“I have determined that most emotions do not have any type of affect on me. The only ones that do are feelings of possession and . . .” T’Pol paused.
*Ah, possession. That explains the Commander’s discussion of previous sexual partners.* “Sexual attraction?” Phlox guessed.
He was rewarded with the only way any Vulcan would acknowledge surprise. The delightful eyebrow raise. “That is correct. How did you realize this?”
“I had a most enlightening conversation with Commander Tucker. He explained your sharing the ‘Vulcan form of goodbye.’”
T’Pol was rather relieved to know that shame was not among her list of offending emotions.
“Having spent time on Vulcan, I had known that gesture to be a very intimate one. The Vulcan equivalent of a kiss.”
Sensing that he was waiting for an answer, T’Pol responded, “What would you have me say, Doctor? You know the meaning of the gesture. I needed to test my hypothesis with the Commander. I could not very well tell the Commander the truth. If I had, he would have likely fallen under the mistaken impression that I care for him in a manner that I do not.”
*If you do not, then why did he provoke such a response?* Phlox wondered. “Of course, the only logical thing to do was lie.”
Still wondering about the method in which T’Pol was coming up with her ‘logic,’ Phlox shook his head. “Well, while you’ve been sleeping, I have been able to make some process on your illness.”
T’Pol laced her hands behind her back, in her waiting gesture. “What have you discerned, Doctor?”
“I’ve eliminated pon frell.”
“The headaches are not a symptom of the illness.”
“As I understand it, the Vulcan time of mating can encompass a variety of symptoms,” Phlox replied. “However, there is no increase of adrenaline that accompanies pon frell and pon far.”
“It is a . . . pleasing thought that the time of inconvenience is not upon us, Doctor. We would not be able to return to Vulcan for several more weeks.”
“It is not as pleasant as it sounds, T’Pol,” the doctor admitted with a sigh. “Your brain is being affected rather strongly. The medial insula region has swollen since the last time we spoke. I believe if we do not determine a cause and a cure, then . . . “
The doctor paused only momentarily, but long enough for T’Pol to finish his sentence. “I will die.”
T’Pol nodded. “My death is likely to be accelerated in either event, Doctor. We did already determine that the treatments for the Pa’nar Syndrome are not effective in my case.”
“Perhaps it is this new illness of yours that is interfering with the treatment.”
“I have been trying to contact Yuris,” Phlox told her, again invoking the Vulcan form of surprise.
“You believe my illness is somehow related to Tolaris’ mind meld but unrelated to the Pa’nar Syndrome?” she inquired.
“It is a possibility, T’Pol.”
“If that were true, then would the illness not have become apparent sooner?”
“The scanners indicate long term damage in the medial insula region as well as swelling. Much longer than a couple of hours, or even a couple weeks,” replied the Doctor.
“I see. Do what you can, Doctor,” she replied as she started to leave.
The sound of her name caused her to pause in her progression. “Yes, doctor?”
“If it had been pon frell, I doubt you would have needed to return to Vulcan for a mate.”
*Is he correct? Would I have allowed such an illness to serve as an excuse to do what I long for?* “In that event, I would have died as well, Doctor. Perhaps the two situations are not as different as we believe.” With that, T’Pol did leave sickbay, and a very confused Doctor Phlox in her wake.
TBC . . .
A/N: I am uncertain that Phlox would know exactly about pon frell or pon far, but if he did spend any time on Vulcan at all, I find it incredibly likely.
A/N, II: I don’t like this chapter. It feels like filler. And although I tried to drop a couple of major points in this one, I don’t know-I’ve retooled it some, and I think it has to be included. But, eh, it is probably still the weakest one thus far.
Please review, as always.
Up next: More ship gossip, and Archer and Trip discover T’Pol’s illness, and perhaps Soval too.
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Two folks have made comments
I just love where you are going with this! Trip unconsciously not knowing he is the focus of her *experiment* is very well depicted. I love how he worries about her and Dr Phlox's amusement at the real meaning behind T'Pol's actions. Lovely. Ali D :~)
I'm enjoying this very much. Love your portrayal of the main characters. Just wish TPTB would write some romance between Trip and T'Pol, then we'd ALL be happy campers. Keep up the good work.