Title: Patience
Contact: kelhapam@metrocast.net
Series: ENT
Rating: R
Code: P, A, R/S
Part: 1/1 NEW
Date: March 17, 2003

Summary: The Captain learns the importance of patience from Dr.
Phlox.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all the characters, etc., I am just
using the characters for a little fun and relaxation.

Note of Appreciation. Special thanks to my beta readers: Ronda
Sexton, Cindy, and Nancy.

Posting: Please notify me before you do.
Patience

03/17/03
Archer paused for a moment, took a deep breath and then pushed
the door open to enter Sickbay. There on a bed, with Dr. Phlox
standing on one side, lay the ship's Armory/Security/Tactical
Officer, Lt. Malcolm Reed. Seated on the other side of the bed
holding the injured man's hand was the ship's Communication's
Officer, Ensign Hoshi Sato.

The doctor turned his head at the sound of Archer's approaching
footsteps. The Captain nodded to the physician, and looking down
at Ensign Sato. He could hear her softly talking to Reed,
expressing reassurances and requests that he awaken soon. He
tried to avoid looking at the Lieutenant, not wanting to see the
reminders of an away mission gone horribly wrong. It'd been
almost forty-eight hours since Archer, along with a team from
security, had rescued the stoic Brit. He'd never forget the
bloody beaten man they had found in the alien prison, nor the
look of relief which washed over Malcolm's dirty bruised face
just before the Brit had succumbed to unconsciousness.

"How is he..." Archer started to say, but was stopped when the
doctor motioned for him to join him in the his doctor's office.
The Captain nodded at the silent request and followed the
Denobulan to his office.

"Please have a seat, Captain," Phlox suggested after the door
separating his office from Sickbay slid closed with a hiss. The
office was much like the Sickbay area itself. Shelves behind the
doctor's desk were lined with animal cages and what looked to be
fish tanks.

"I think I'd rather stand."

Phlox smiled as if indulging a young child. "I'd really prefer
if you would sit down, Captain." With a weary sigh, the doctor
lowered himself into his own chair.

Archer bobbed his head and sat down across from the doctor, and
lacing his fingers of his hands together, leaned against this
desk which was between them. "Can you tell me how Mr. Reed is
doing, Doctor?" Archer asked. "What is his prognosis?"

"As you know, Malcolm suffered a concussion, many assorted
bruises, some broken bones, and even a dislocated shoulder.
Those alien rebels were very determined to extract information
from Mr. Reed. I'm confident, though, the Lieutenant will fully
recover from his ordeal," Phlox reassured his captain. "Of
course, it may be several days, perhaps even weeks before he'll
be able to resume all of his duties. Even in this day and age it
takes time for the body to recover from such trauma. But knowing
Mr. Reed's drive to fully perform his tasks at his optimum level
of efficiency, his eventual recovery won't be due to his lack of
trying."

"He always gives one hundred percent," the Captain offered.

Phlox nodded and he leaned closer to Archer. "As does the rest
of your staff."

"Doctor?"

"You will forgive me for making this observation, but I feel as
the ship's physician, and thus responsible for the physical and
mental well being of the crew, I have to share my thoughts with
you. Do I have your permission to speak freely, Sir? 'Off the
record,' I believe is the correct term?"

Archer grimaced, his lips formed a fine line. "I have a feeling
you'd share your opinions with me whether I allowed you to speak
'off the record' or not, Doctor."

"You know me too well, Captain," Phlox admitted with a nod and
then continued. "I understand that you personally selected your
senior staff for this mission?"

"I did, hand picked every one of them. I wanted the best."

Phlox started to speak when one of his 'pets' chose the same
moment to squawk. Rising from his chair, he reached for a packet
of some type of food and sprinkled it into one of the tanks.
Almost instantly a brightly colored tentacle reached up to grab
the offered meal.

"So when Commander Tucker suggests that repairs need to be made
to the ship's engines, Captain, do you question his opinion?"
Phlox asked as he continued to feed the creature, keeping his
back to Archer.

The Captain shrugged. "Not usually, Doctor. Like I said, I
wanted the best for Enterprise. I know Trip is the best at his
job. If he tells me something is wrong with his engines, I
believe him."

"And Hoshi?" Phlox looked over his shoulder and saw that the
Captain appeared to be puzzled. "When she translates an alien
language, do you doubt her interpretation?"

"No."

"And other than telling Ensign Mayweather to which coordinates
you want to ship to travel, do you tell him how he should fly
Enterprise?"

"Not typically, Doctor, he's a very competent pilot. One of the
best pilots in the fleet."

"And Mr. Reed," Phlox said, turning completely around to face the
Captain. "Did you hand pick him as well?"

"Of course, he came highly recommended by none other than Admiral
Forest. After reviewing Malcolm's files and talking to him, I
decided he was the best person to fill the position as Armory
Officer."

"And how often do you question his judgement, Captain?"

Archer jaw tightened and he leaned back against the chair.
"Doctor..."

"When he tells you something it too dangerous, or advises that
you not proceed with your course of action, how often to you
ignore his recommendations simply because you can't wait to see
what's around the next planet or starfield?"

"Doctor, if you are trying to make me feel guilty about what
transpired on the planet, you don't need to. Let me assure you
that I accept full responsibility for Lt. Reed's injuries."

Phlox nodded and again sat down opposite from the Captain. "But
would you do it again, Captain?" he asked. "If you encountered
similar circumstances, would you again disregard Mr. Reed's
opinion to proceed cautiously, or would you proceed as you did on
the planet?"

"You are treading way beyond what I consider 'off the record,'
Doctor." Archer warned. "What I de..."

A knock on the door made the two men turn towards the sound. On
the other side of the glass door they could see Hoshi Sato, a shy
smile on her face.

"Come in, Hoshi," the Doctor said, he smiled encouragingly
towards the young woman.

Hoshi Sato slid the door open but remained standing on the
threshold. "I wanted you do know, doctor, that I'm going to go
get a bite to eat, but I'll return. I don't want him waking up
without me here."

"You know, he might not wake up until tomorrow," the Doctor told
her.

Hoshi smiled again. "I know what you told me, but I think he'll
be waking up sooner." She looked back over her shoulder and
towards where Malcolm lay. "Actually I think it will be
tonight."

"Have you developed some clairvoyance, Hoshi?" Archer asked.

"No, not really." She shook her head. "It's just this feeling I
have. He's never missed target practice, and we had one
scheduled for this evening. If I know Malcolm, he won't miss
this one either, he hates to be late."

Phlox smiled fondly at the woman. "Very well, Hoshi. I'll see
you back here shortly."

"Thanks, Doctor. Captain, I'll be back on the bridge in the
morning." With a nod of her head, Hoshi let the door slide shut
behind her.

"I had no idea she was so concerned about Malcolm," Archer
remarked as he watched Hoshi stop by Malcolm side, squeeze the
Brit's hand while whispering in his ear's, just before she
departed.

"Almost three months," Phlox said as if it would explain
everything. "Not that they'd probably admit it to each other,"
he chuckled. "Protocol, don't you know? Wouldn't be proper.
Mr. Reed would consider it highly inappropriate to become
involved in a romantic relationship on the ship."

"Ah, of course," Archer said in response.

"But friendships are acceptable to even our ever-so-proper Mr.
Reed. In fact I'd venture to guess that the Lieutenant greatly
values the friendships he's been able to cultivate on this ship.
From my conversations with him, I get the impression he's never
had many close friends," Phlox noted that Archer seemed very
interested in this information about his Armory Officer. "But
where does simple friendship stop and love begin?" he asked.
"That's something he has yet to figure out. I, myself, feel he
and Hoshi crossed the line from friends to lovers several weeks
ago. Although sadly, I don't believe they have yet to consummate
their love bond."

Archer relaxed and again leaned against the desk. "I had no
idea, Doctor, they were so close."

"It's been quite enjoyable to see the progress. I'm actually
intending on incorporating some of my observations in a paper I
plan on presenting to the Denobulan Medical Association on Human
monogamous relationships."

"You better hope that Malcolm doesn't find out about that,"
Archer said a smile tugged at his lips.

"It'll be totally anonymous I assure you, Captain."

Archer rose to stand beside the doctor. Both men looked out into
the Sickbay and towards the still figure of Malcolm Reed. "I'll
keep in mind what you told me, Doctor. I'm afraid, I just can't
wait to see something out here sometimes. I'm like a kid waiting
for Christmas."

"Ah, the Universe has been around for an extremely long time,
Captain. I don't think it's going any where very soon," the
physician assured his commanding officer. "Just please keep in
mind that your doctor and your security officer, would both like
you to have an equally long time to reflect on your
accomplishments."

Archer nodded solemnly. "You'll keep me informed on Malcolm's
progress, Phlox?"

Phlox grinned.

"Of course, Captain. Of course.
The End

Comments please to: kelhapam@metrocast.net