Mentem Mortalia Tangunt

By Thalia Drogna

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I'm just borrowing them.

*************************************************

Epilogue

After a few days lying in Sick Bay, too ill to do much more than sleep and breathe, Trip began to start noticing his surroundings again. For a start he'd noticed that Jon was spending a lot of time in Sick Bay reading reports, at least a couple of hours each day. Then he discovered that Jon wasn't the only one who was making regular visits to Sick Bay, T'Pol seemed to have a regular session with Phlox each day to discuss some aspect of alien biology. When she was finished she would stop by to say hello to Trip and let him know how the repairs were going.

Malcolm would stop by each lunch time to see how Trip was doing. When he started feeling well enough, Malcolm brought Trip's Go board down from his quarters. They would play and Trip would try to explain where the Armoury officer was going wrong in his tactics.

"Defeating Xindi warships is one thing," said Malcolm. "I just can't get my head around this board game." To be honest Malcolm was pretty good, it's just that Trip had an affinity for the game and had always been good at it. Anyway, it wasn't as if they played for the sake of playing, it was more so that they had something to do while Malcolm and he talked.

Hoshi always visited him in the early evening when she came off her shift. She tried to teach him Klingon but he was no linguist, although he was doing pretty well with the basic phrases. Neither of them took the efforts very seriously and often Trip's attempts at pronunciation had Hoshi in fits of laughter. It was just what Trip needed to keep his mind off other things.

Travis usually came to visit late in the evening and always checked with Phlox first before going over to Trip's corner of Sick Bay. If Trip was asleep already then Travis didn't disturb him. Trip tried to make sure he stayed awake, he enjoyed Travis' company and that he didn't mind if Trip went on about warp engines. Travis knew a few things about warp engines too so he enjoyed their conversations as much as Trip.

In fact the almost constant procession of visitors meant that Trip hardly noticed that a week had gone by and he was still in Sick Bay. Admittedly the first few days of that week had been spent mostly asleep but he was spending more and more time awake. He wanted to go back to his own quarters and more than anything he wanted to get back to being an Engineer.

Phlox had fully expected the Commander to want to leave Sick Bay as soon as possible, but as he had explained countless times, he needed recovery time. Trip's argument was of course that he had had quite enough recovery time and he didn't want to spend anymore time lying around. All his visitors had brought him things to read or do but there was only so much reading he could do before he got bored. He was an Engineer for crying out loud, he worked with his hands as well as his head and that's what he missed. By the end of the week Phlox and Trip had already gone head to head on how long Trip had to remain in Sick Bay several times. It was one of these arguments which greeted Archer when he arrived mid-morning for his usual reading session.

"No Doc, I don't care what you say. I'm feeling better. I want out," said Trip, his voice raised in frustration.

"Mr Tucker, how many times do I have to tell you, you will be here another week before you can return to your quarters. It will be another week after that before you can return to light duties."

"Two weeks!" said Trip. "That's it. I've had enough." Trip pulled out the needle of the drip that was still connected to his arm, threw back the blankets and put two feet on the ground. He steadied himself against the biobed as his muscles protested about the movement.

"Commander!" said Phlox. "This is really not helping your condition. Your immune system is still depressed and your organs are still repairing themselves. You need to rest."

"Look, Doc, I'm fine," said Trip, ignoring the drops of blood that were appearing on his arm from where he had removed the needle. The only problem with his plan was that Trip couldn't move, he knew his legs would buckle the moment he let go of the biobed, but he sure as hell wasn't going to give in that easily. He'd think of something in a minute, but for now he was just going to concentrate on hanging on. He hoped that Phlox didn't notice.

"Perhaps we can make a compromise," said Archer from the door where he had watched the whole scene. "Let me talk to him, Doctor."

"Very well, Captain," said Phlox and disappeared into his office.

Trip smiled. "Thanks Jon," he said. Trip checked that Phlox wasn't back and added, "Now will you get over here and give me a hand before I fall over."

Archer laughed but went to help Trip back into bed. "What I should do is tell Phlox to sedate you until you're well enough to be discharged from Sick Bay," said Archer.

"You wouldn't," said Trip. "Would you?" he added, not so sure, as Archer settled him back on the biobed.

"If you don't behave then it's always an option," said Archer. Although he wished Trip would just do what the Doctor ordered, he was secretly pleased to see Trip arguing with Phlox. It was a good sign, if Trip was putting up a fight about being in Sick Bay then it meant he was well on his way to getting better. "Trip, what can I do to persuade you to listen to Phlox? Have you forgotten just how close you came to dying?" said Archer gently.

"No, I haven't, which is why I'm fed up of lying around here doing nothing," said Trip. "I heard about what you did to my Engines while I was out of it. And Travis' pulling barrel rolls between asteroids! God only knows what that's done to the stabilisers. Then there's the rear hull plating problems and whatever the hell Malcolm did to the targeting sensors which blew out six sets of relays. You can bet that isn't all of it either, I heard Phlox telling Hess that she wasn't allowed to worry me, so if that's not supposed to worry me...."

"Okay, okay," said Archer holding his hands up for Trip to stop his tirade. "You're just going to have to face the fact that its going to be a couple of weeks before you're even allowed to set foot inside Engineering. So you might as well forget about all of that stuff and enjoy the time off."

"And how am I supposed to do that?" grumbled Trip.

"Look at you, you can hardly stand and you want to be back at work. It's just ridiculous, Trip," said Archer, hoping that Trip would see it was ridiculous too. "Look I'll make a deal with you, if you can do a lap of Sick Bay on your own, I'll persuade Phlox to let you go back to your quarters."

"But..." started Trip. He knew it was going to take him several days to work up to doing a lap of Sick Bay.

"No buts, its either that or the sedatives and I would think you've been asleep long enough," said Archer seriously and then added less seriously, "of course there is the small matter of Dr Phlox outranking you until he discharges you and your disobeying a senior officer. Normally that would be two weeks scrubbing plasma conduits." Archer grinned at Trip.

Trip gave Archer his "I don't believe this is happening to me" look and gave in. "Okay, Jon, you've got a deal."

****

The End

****