Welcome to Day Ten of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.
Context: This story is another installment in my “Not Jealousy” arc, and occurs early in the six year gap before the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise. T’Pol, suffering from severe nausea, is abducted from Enterprise, and her sudden absence is having unexpected repercussions for Trip, and sparking unwanted revelations for Captain Archer. And, as always I don’t own them; I just love them. No financial renumeration comes from these stories.
“Sanity is Relative”
Again, the voices, in her head…
“Is he sane, Phlox?”
“Yes. Sane. Coherent. Rational. In his right mind.”
She was panting, choking back the need to vomit – she had nothing left to vomit, not even bile. Her throat was a raw, acid-burned ruin, barely capable of swallowing. But the smells, the smells…
“I know it stinks, pepperpot. But remember – we’re not going to smell it. We’re going to smell here – the candles, our lovemaking, clean air, chamomile tea…”
She gulped at the thought of the tea.
“No, no, no – not to drink, just to smell. Oh, hell, pepperpot – I want to be with you, help you home…”
“Always touching. Always touched. You are here. We are here. And it helps.”
“Not enough.” She could feel him, knew that he ran a hand over his face, through his hair. “I hate this!”
“I understand what you’re asking, Captain. I’m not certain I can give you an answer you will understand or find agreeable, as Commander T’Pol might say.”
“What does that mean, Phlox?”
“It means that the Commander may be sane, and not sane, at the same moment.”
“More Denobulan riddles, Doctor? I’m losing my patience with them.”
“No riddles, Captain. If you’ll observe his brain scans -”
“That’s T’Pol’s pattern again, isn’t it?”
“Yes. As you can see, the Commanders’ minds are merging, and separating. Whatever T’Pol is experiencing, Commander Tucker is, as well.”
“Any guesses on what she is experiencing? What he’s saying – even what we can understand of it – it doesn’t sound remotely rational-”
“Am I not rational, t’hy’la?” Worry twisted through the nausea. “Worry is illogical.”
Gentle stroking in her mind; something to hold to against the urge to vomit, the need to run, here where running was far too dangerous. “I know it is, pepperpot, but I can’t seem to help it. Damn, if only the Cap’n hadn’t forced me to go back to duty, maybe I’d be there to help you.”
Edge of slicing anger. She held to it; warmed herself with it. Somehow, she could center in that blade of anger – human anger, touched by so many other things, touching even more. “You are helping me, t’hyla. You are the beacon that will bring me home…” It was true. There was a thin but undeniable thread of awareness that stretched from her mind to his, her soul to his. She could follow it –
“It’s nearly certain that she has been drugged, Captain. And, although she certainly initiated the link with Commander Tucker, she is far from skilled, as yet, in such methods of contact. It’s quite likely that she is experiencing – distortions of awareness – that reflect those that Commander Tucker has evidenced.”
“Then neither one of them is sane?”
“Are we sane, t’hy’la?”
He smiled into her soul. “Does it matter?”
“Why? When we’re back together, with you home where you belong, we’ll be sane enough. Till then – well, being crazy with you is still better than being completely sane all by myself.”
“We can no longer be sane without one another, Trip. It’s the nature of the bond.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that too much, pepperpot. Sanity is overrated, anyway.”
“Sanity, Captain, can be a very relative matter. I’m not at all certain that you or I, outside of the Commanders’ current experiences, can determine with any accuracy whether they are sane. I suspect, however, that once they are reunited, they will return, more or less, to their respective typical levels of mental functioning.”
“More or less?”
“Precisely, Captain. They will have had this deep level of sharing, and they were separated while deeply telepathically connected. There will, no doubt, be repercussions, and likely resonances of one another.”
“For how long?”
“That, Captain, I can’t tell you.”
“Phlox knows, pepperpot. About this bond, I mean.” He was troubled by it.
“He won’t reveal it, t’hy’la. He understands it’s a matter of deepest privacy.” She held to him, in her mind – and, together, they saw it – through the dank and fetid forest swamp.
The glint of metal. And a hope that it would be a way home, and back to sanity.