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Ens T’Reshik and Cmdr Saveron: Worth Fighting For (Part 1 & 2)


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((Isolation Unit 1, Sickbay, USS Constitution))

:: It was warm, far too warm. T’Reshik took a moment to remember where she was. She lifted her head from the ground; her forehead was sticky with blood. Sutek took her arm, and she looked up. For some reason her husband was in his burial robes. She wondered for a moment what it might have been like if their marriage had been something other than a sham. In the right light, his looks were almost graceful. ::

T’Reshik: What happened?

Sutek: Large-scale hematohidrosis shortly before you murdered me. Do you not remember?

T’Reshik: What?

:: The world slammed sideways and suddenly she was in the isolation room again, gasping for breath on the biobed. The cooling packs had stopped working. She grabbed one and flung it against the wall, uttered a curse. ::

::How long had she been in here? Had she been hallucinating or dreaming? She hefted herself into a sitting position and considered contacting the sickbay staff, but a small chime from her combadge told her that someone else had got there first. Automatically, T’Reshik grabbed a second cooling pack and prepared for the throw. ::

Saveron: =/\= Commander Saveron to Ensign T’Reshik. =/\=

::The voice spoke Modern Golic Vulcan, the language used around Shir’kahr and the Temple of Gol, but possessed a faint accent, breathy and musical.::

:: Another Vulcan, then, T’Reshik realized - but not one whose name she recognized. For one awful moment she wondered whether Cadet Thyar had somehow managed to locate her biological father and bring him here. Which was disturbing, because he had a really nice voice - but also promising, because caving his skull in with her fist would provide a very satisfying resolution to the Pon Farr. (T’Reshik wasn’t really giving much thought to long-term consequences right now.) ::

T’Reshik: ::carefully, coldly:: =/\= T’Reshik here. =/\=

::In Sickbay the Vulcan counselor watched the patient’s medical readouts with a calm that belief professional concern.::

Saveron: =/\= I would attend you, with your permission. =/\= ::He said carefully.:: =/\= I am a trained Counselor and it has been suggested that I may be able to assist. =/\=

:: Annoyance flared. The last thing T’Reshik wanted to do was speak to another counselor. She put her head in her hands for a moment and tried to clear her mind so she could work out how to get him to go away. Just to be difficult - and also because her spoken Golic was incredibly rusty - she answered him in her home dialect, Da-leb province Vulcan. Not impossible to understand for a Golic speaker, but probably different enough that he might struggle. ::

T’Reshik: =/\= I do not see any benefit in having you disrupt my meditations. Commander. =/\= ::She used the deliberately impolite form of the verb, and the last word was delivered almost like an insult. ::

::The Vulcan Counselor raised one eyebrow. The choice of dialect was deliberately obstructive, and spoke volumes. This was a delicate situation; how to progress it?::

Saveron: =/\= You made a request for information... =/\= ::He began.::

T’Reshik: =/\= I only asked Cadet Thyar to find that out because I wanted her to leave. I have no interest in my genetic heritage. =/\=

::Not that angle. Perhaps the direct one? He switched to Nel Gathic Vulcan, his own native language, from the other side of the planet from Gol and once deplored disgustedly by his Academy linguistics instructor as ‘Gaelic for Vulcans’. ::

Saveron: =/\= Logic serves those who embrace it. =/\= ::It was however a very common proverb. He switched back to Modern Golic.:: =/\= Without disrespect, one would observe that your meditations do not appear to be effective. Your cortisol levels are rising. =/\=

::Cortisol was the hormone that drove the whole Pon farr process.::

:: T’Reshik switched to a hybrid of Nel Gathic and Da-leb, a kind of creole spoken by the displaced second and third generations of native speakers like her mother. Most often used when her youthful behaviour had challenged her mother's composure and T’Reshik was too far away for sign language. One of the drawbacks of VSL; you couldn't use it to shout at people. She spoke it with a slightly provincial accent.::

T’Reshik: =/\= Yes, Commander, it is almost as if I keep being interrupted by interfering psychology professionals. =/\=

:: It was also a very good medium for sarcasm.::

::That was unexpected. Saveron rarely heard his own language outside of his family, and T’Reshik’s file had indicated a childhood on the main continent. Yet what she spoke was a kind of pidgin some emigrants used. Unusual.::

::But not the distraction he suspected that she had intended. The blame-shifting of her accusation did not negate the fact that there had been no improvement in her biological indicators; rather a steady progression in spite of her efforts. T’Reshik might meditate for a thousand Vulcan cycles, and she would not bring her Pon farr into remission. And she did not have a thousand Vulcan cycles. She was dying.::

::Respect for a patient’s preferences always had to be tempered with the ability to act when those preferences were so far beyond rational that they bore no relation at all. Unfortunately his own people’s cultural conditioning meant that their response to this particular part of their biology was often far from rational and Vulcans died, of stubborness.::

::Keying the parameters of T’Reshik’s health and responses into the computer, Saveron received the confirmation that she was not in a rational state, and intervention was warranted. Keying the door of her isolation room he stepped inside, a couple of Sickbay staff eyeballing the back of his head before the door slid shut.::

:: Saveron’s silence at the other end of the line made T’Reshik wary. It was perhaps too much to hope that he’d given up and left her alone. Sure enough, the doors opened after a delay, and T’Reshik retaliated using the closest weapon at her disposal.::

::There was a smack as Saveron caught the ice pack as though he had expected it, then let it fall to the floor. Pale grey eyes flicked over the tortured form of the young - by Vulcan standards - woman who lay on the biobed.::

Saveron: I am aware that I am unwelcome. Accept for the moment that to me the fact is irrelevant. ::He said blandly.::

:: T’Reshik said nothing; merely tried not to look at him. If she did, her mind would start coming up with lots of very good reasons for him to stay in the room, and she was sick and tired of having to fight that sort of thing down.::

::Pressing a couple of keys on a wall console that was locked from the patient’s access, a short platform extruded from the wall and he sat down. Objects and furniture were kept to a minimum in these rooms; less to sterilise or cause injury.::

Saveron: Are you aware that, whilst resolution through meditation is the ideal touted by the Temple of Gol, statistics show that such is virtually unattainable for those who have not already undergone the kohlinar? Only 0.3% of the uninitiated succeed.

::And he knew from her file that she was uninitiated.::

T’Reshik: ::tersely:: Of course I am aware. I refer to that same study in six of my own papers.

::He nodded briefly. She was an intelligent woman and it was apparently an area of interest for her, in a not particularly healthy way.::

Saveron: One would suggest, having read your file, that your own markedly antagonistic view of Pon farr may itself be an obstacle for the calm necessary for such meditations to succeed.

:: T’Reshik glared up at the ceiling. She was well aware how undignified she must look right now. Her eyes were deep with shadows, her hair unbrushed and chaotic; she’d given up on putting her uniform jacket back on after she’d tossed it across the room in a rage and then realized she’d have to call an orderly to get it back. It had been a long time since her wheelchair had been this far out of her reach, and she resented the helplessness that came instead.::

T’Reshik: Antagonistic. That’s an odd way of pronouncing “logical”.

Saveron: I would be interested to hear your logic. ::He replied mildly.::

T’Reshik: It warps our reasoning; destroys our lives if we are not careful or fortunate. If Vulcans were not so obsessed with tradition and secrecy, we would treat it like any other pathological condition and find a way to stop it happening.

Saveron: On the subject of tradition and secrecy; I concur. The Temple of Gol particularly has promoted the view that Pon farr is to be controlled and hidden. Such an overwhelming biological drive clashes with their extreme doctrine of emotional elimination. But it is not a ‘pathological condition’, it is a natural part of our biology.

T’Reshik: So you are suggesting I change my views in order to preserve my own life? As if it were that simple?

::If Vulcans had been cowboys in a Western, ‘your logic is flawed’ would have been fighting words. Saveron did not say them now. He was not looking to antagonise T’Reshik but to reason with her. Flawed logic was dealt with by debate.::

Saveron: I would suggest that you be open to the idea that the extremist view is not the only one. oO Nor the most valid. Oo Consider the Romulans. Pon farr does occur, but it is much rarer, and without the same strength or impact, and when it does they resolve it in the obvious manner, without our associated cultural baggage. It was our very embracing of logic that supplied a positive selection pressure for the drive; lust is, after all, an emotion.

::And so those whose biology compelled them to mate and breed had more offspring, and the urge was selected for. A beautiful piece of scientific theory in action.::

T’Reshik: Your point being?

::He shrugged slim shoulders.::

Saveron: Consider also what you have already wrought upon yourself in your efforts to subvert your own biology. ::His words were grave. Surely the damage she had done showed the lack of logic in that path?:: I would counsel you to accept your own nature, resolve the situation naturally, and move on with your life. It only dominates you if you let it.

:: T’Reshik closed her eyes for a few moments. ::

T’Reshik: The… damage was caused by my methods - not my reasoning. And even if I were willing to take that option, my husband is dead, I have no close associates, and I refuse to impose that kind of obligation on a complete stranger. It is not a choice anyone should be forced to make.

::The loss of a bond-mate was always deeply regrettable, and if T’Reshik had not yet resolved that loss it might go some way to explaining her current obstructivism.::

::It was fascinating, he mused, what a difference a few years exposed to other cultures could make to one’s point of view. Saveron’s native Nel Gathic culture was somewhat more philosophical than the dominant Golic one, but meeting Betazoids, Deltans and Denobulans had certainly opened his eyes to other ways of viewing certain aspects of life.::

Saveron: If you were willing, I would offer. ::He said simply. From her words, plainly nobody else had and she would not ask.:: Since you are not, have you considered the Holodeck? I am aware that companionship simulations have been found lacking, but there are adequate combat simulations. A Jem’Hadar would no doubt provide the necessary life threat.

::He was aware that she was paralysed, but it was not for him to say what she could or could not do. Let her be the judge of that.::

:: T’Reshik shot him a look. ::

T’Reshik: Anecdotal evidence suggests that holodeck combat therapy only serves to worsen the condition after the initial catharsis. And my university ethics board refused to allow me to conduct controlled experiments to prove or disprove that hypothesis. Without more data, I must seem it an unacceptable risk.

::That was not unreasonable.::

Saveron: If you are determined not to resolve your situation any other way, I can provide you with the necessary forms for voluntary euthanasia. There is no logic in prolonging your suffering, though your loss would be regrettable.

::It was said blandly, the logical conclusion of their conversation. Did she realise that death lay at the end of the road she walked? It would be a terrible waste, in his view. But you could not help those who would not help themselves.::
:: She looked at the ceiling again, teeth gritted, but there was sadness in her expression rather than anger.::
T’Reshik: I do not wish to die.
::Those were the words he had been looking to hear. From that basis, a solution could be sought.::
Saveron: It would be vastly preferable that you did not. ::He said gently.:: I would be interested to know the basis behind your logic regarding Pon farr.
::When and how had she formed such an extreme view?::
:: She turned her head to him suddenly.::
T’Reshik: I was very young when I discovered that my parents were not who they claimed to be. Do you know why I never tried to find out my genetic origin?
Saveron: Negative. ::He said evenly.::
::He didn’t know T’Reshik beyond this encounter, and such was not in her file.::
T’Reshik: Because I already knew what had happened. Not in detail. But through a process of logical deduction and the fact my parents had withheld the information, I concluded that whatever the specific circumstance, at least one and possibly both of my biological parents had somehow been deprived of their choice in the matter. No other developed society in this quadrant possesses such a… such a glaring blind spot in their attitudes to bodily autonomy.
:: She raises herself up on one elbow and looked at him, eyes aflame.::
T’Reshik: You ask me to accept my biology. How can I, when it is inherently unjust? The choice to engage in physical intimacy - it should be driven by individual decisions, not biological imperative. And the fact that it is “natural” does not invalidate my argument. Diseases are natural. We still treat them. ::Her voice weakens a little:: If I… give up, and consent to the conventional treatment, I am abandoning my commitment to the rights of all sentient beings to decide what happens to their own bodies. I am abandoning my principles.
::There were multiple reasons why an infant might be adopted out, but Saveron judged that pointing out such would be futile since he already knew that she was correct. Perhaps she had always known, subconsciously. After all, they were a telepathic species, and the developing child was exposed to the mother’s thoughts throughout the pregnancy.::
::More concerning was T’Reshik’s apparent determination to die for her cause. Her subconscious trauma surrounding her birth and abandonment could be worked through, but only if she survived. Right now saving her life was paramount.::
Saveron: If you die, your principles die with you. ::He pointed out gently, pausing to lace his long fingers together.:: There is no law in the universe that says the results of our own evolution must be just. But we do have a choice; we can own it, or we can be subject to it.
::T’Reshik repeated his phrasing skeptically.::
T’Reshik: “Own it”?
::Perhaps an example might make a simpler explanation.::
Saveron: It has been nine Terran years since my bond-mate and I were Unbound. ::And he was certain that even in her current state she could do the maths.:: Whilst hardly exact, one’s cycle is reasonably predictable. I was stationed on the USS Garuda in the depths of the Menthar Corridor when my last Pon farr approached. Rather than being caught by my own biology, I arranged to take leave and return to Vulcan, where I reunited with a friend whose bond-mate had been killed in a shuttle accident.
:: There were times when T’Reshik looked at herself and wondered how her life had got to this point. Now, detained in an isolation room, listening to a superior officer talk about his sex life and trying her damnedest not to think too hard about those strong, slender hands, she briefly revisited the thought once more.::
Saveron: We discussed bonding, but she would not leave Vulcan and I did not intend to stay. We considered a distanced bond less than preferable. ::He shrugged slim shoulders.:: But I chose the manner in which I underwent my own Pon farr. ::A faint light, the barest hint of amusement, flickered in those grey eyes.:: It was not disagreeable.
T’Reshik: So we are deprived of bodily autonomy once every seven years but at least we can sleep with our friends.
:: Her words were probably meant to be cutting - T’Reshik had given up on neutrality by this point - but she only succeeded in sounding bitter and sad.::
Saveron: You attempt at being deliberately inflammatory does not negate my point. One can choose to take control of one’s biology to the extent possible, or one can choose to be a victim. ::He said in mild tones, ignoring her baiting.:: You are correct that such is not ideal, but you also acknowledge that we currently have few alternatives available. I acknowledge your efforts to find such an alternative; I would consider it preferable that your research efforts not die with you.
::He faulted her approach certainly, but he could not fault T’Reshik’s reasons. The ability to stop the Pon farr cycle would be as revolutionary as contraception, and as freeing. Yet it was embedded deep within Vulcan cultures, and difficult to address. Free thinkers like the one before him were the type of people who brought about such change. If only her researches had not come at such a cost to herself. That determination could change their people forever.::
T’Reshik: Even if I did take you up on your hypothetical offer - and frankly, I try not to associate with anyone whose judgement is poor enough that they would voluntarily spend time with me, given I actively discourage most social overtures by cultivating a difficult personality -... You saw my criminal record, Commander. I have already killed for my principles. And while it is not logical… I cannot help but… feel… :: -the word was uttered almost like an expletive- :: ... that it is a kind of cowardice, not to die for them now.
Saveron: Do you consider that your dying for those principles is a statement that will change the situation? ::He asked, knowing that she would not be the first.:: Principles that are worth dying for, are worth living for.
::And that was important. Also they needed to work on her self-esteem. And possibly go through her history, since her crimes obviously still concerned her. But such could be dealt with if she survived, and whatever her personal nature it wasn’t it currently a concern.::
Saveron: I am not offering to ‘spend time’, nor form a relationship. ::He said blandly.:: I am offering to save your life. I was a physician before I was a diplomat. You are dying, and I consider it preferable that you live.
::It was simply emergency medicine. And in his own logical way he assumed that, once resolved, the nature of the resolution would have no bearing on future interactions. Perhaps in that he was naive. He wondered, in that moment, what Ashley Yael, his half-Denobulan friend from the Embassy, would have made of the situation. No doubt he would have laughed himself sick over various species’ hang-ups, given his adoption of his father’s culture. Now there was one of life’s ‘what if’s.::
::He didn’t know T’Reshik, but from what he had learned he suspected that if she survived he would be seeing her as her Counselor; it would be unethical to be involved with her. And he had no interest in being so; her views on their natural biology clashed strongly with his own, and were probably just the tip of the iceberg. What was important was that she and her views survived; Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. His offer was the logical response to her situation. Still, he was surprised that the ship’s doctors had not made the same.::

:: T’Reshik was silent for a while afterwards, looking down at her hands. The conversation seemed to have calmed her, in one respect, but it was almost as if her anger had been replaced with a kind of resignation. ::
T’Reshik: May I have some time to consider this?
Saveron: Of course. Your decision is your own.
::Any patient had the right to refuse treatment.::
:: She looked at him. ::
T’Reshik: Could I be remanded to my quarters in the meanwhile?
::He met those pained green eyes with a level gaze.::
Saveron: If you will permit ship Security to sweep them first, removing any possible weapons and locking down the professional functions of your console, I can see no logical reason why not. Pending Doctor Milsap’s approval.
::A Vulcan in the grip of the plak-tow might do any number of destructive things, and T’Reshik could not be far from it. Still, regardless of the choice that she made, Saveron did not see why she could not have the comfort of her own quarters.::
T’Reshik: Thank you, Commander.
:: She thought for a moment longer, and then her expression changed, closing off again in a determined way, as if corralling her reserves of strength for one final bout of control. ::
T’Reshik: If I can be transported directly there, I will not require access to Surya or any manual mobility devices until the condition is resolved - I have a floor-level replicator and console in case of emergencies.
Saveron: Direct transport would be logical. ::He agreed.::
T’Reshik: :: Now ensconced in thought again :: I assume you have sufficient upper body strength to assist me should I need to be moved for the purposes of voluntary euthanasia or, er, alternative treatment… you will of course need to administer yourself some kind of contraceptive in that eventuality… and I will require continued access to the ship's medical and recreational databases in order to conduct the required research beforehand.
::She was taking the offer seriously. That was a vast improvement over her previous determination to die for her principles.::
Saveron: To answer your requirements: I can lift three times my own bodyweight in Federation Standard gravity. ::He assured her. He might not be particularly strong for a Vulcan, but he was far stronger than human.:: I have a two-year contraceptive implant with fourteen months remaining, placed by Starfleet Medical, and the civilian console functions will remain active, including database access. ::Still... :: You deem research necessary?
T’Reshik: To be candid, Commander, while I possess the relevant theoretical knowledge, I am entirely inexperienced. My marriage was a front for the purposes of illicit scientific collaboration, and as a scientist, I refuse to embark on something like this without extensive preliminary reading. Also, if I choose to accept your offer, we will need to pre-establish some interpersonal boundaries--
:: She stopped suddenly.::
T’Reshik: ::slowly:: What do you intend to tell Doctor Milsap?
::The unexpected revelation was - perhaps fortunately - overridden by the pointed question.::
Saveron: I intend to tell him the facts, as necessary. ::He said simply.::
::And he intended to ask a few pointed questions, such as why, on a ship with a crew compliment of one thousand, no one had been found to make the same offer.::
::For a moment it might have looked as if T’Reshik was going to protest, but instead she just narrowed her eyes resentfully.::
T’Reshik: Fine. Are we done?
Saveron: Affirmative.
::He bowed and left T’Reshik in peace.::
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