A Missing Moment from "Voyagers of the Titanic"
Phineas Bogg rushed into the bedroom, pushing everyone out of his way, in order to make room for Dr. Pasteur to get through. "Go on, give it to him," he called out loudly to Louis Pasteur as he grabbed the front of Dr. Bernard's jacket and pulled him back and away from the bed. He half turned, and watched, taking in the scene, as Pasteur gave the injection to Jeff. He could see Jeffrey's face and felt dizzy as he realized how sick he appeared.
Bogg's fists released the doctor's jacket and both guilt and relief flooded through him. He walked slowly to the bed, feeling a mixture of shock and guilt for not being here with Jeffrey when he'd been so sick and afraid. He had wanted to be here, yet he also felt that he had to stay with Pasteur to make sure the vaccine was made correctly. He couldn't trust that job to anyone else. He hoped Jeff would understand, if he came through this.
It was such a little word, but Phineas Bogg felt like it carried his entire existence in its meaning. What would he do if anything happened to Jeff? He refused to let himself even think about that. He wiped his forehead with his sleeve, suddenly realizing he was sweating, then moved to sit down in a chair beside the bed.
"Let us wait ... and see," he heard the doctor's words through a veil of numb disbelief as he sat staring at Jeff. When the boy moved restlessly and moaned, Phineas' response was immediate. He moved to the edge of the bed and reached up to brush wet curls off his forehead. "Jeff? Can you hear me?" he whispered, his voice breaking, but there was no answer.
Olivia watched from the other side of the room, waiting for the right time to mention that they needed to get back to the Titanic. As much as the scene in front of her touched her heart, she realized that there was nothing to do here but wait, and while they were waiting, she should be back on the Titanic rescuing the Mona Lisa.
Phineas kept his hands and full attention on Jeffrey until he grew quieter, then he moved back to the chair. Jeffrey lay quietly, unmoving for a half-hour before Olivia moved forward.
"Phineas, we have to get back to the Titanic," she said.
"Huh?" Bogg looked up, startled. He had been leaning forward, elbows resting on his knees, eyes on Jeffrey for the past thirty minutes.
Olivia hesitated, unsure he'd heard her.
"I have to get back to the Titanic," she repeated.
Phineas shook his head, "not yet."
"There's nothing more you can do here."
"I wouldn't say that," he answered evenly, staring at her.
"All you're doing is watching him sleep," she said angrily. "You'll be back before he wakes up."
Phineas shook his head, "I'm not leaving."
"You can come right back!" she answered quickly, in a loud voice.
"He's been alone enough, I'm not leaving him again!" Bogg answered just as loudly.
"Bogg," Jeffrey moaned softly.
"I'm here," Phineas moved back to the edge of the bed and leaned close as he spoke. He glared at Olivia, as if daring her to suggest he leave again.
She sighed and looked away. She'd lost her omni, and failed in her mission to rescue the Mona Lisa. And now, she'd actually tried to convince Phineas to leave Jeffrey, just so she could salvage her reputation. Guilt settled in, on top of panic and slowly a deep sadness began to envelope her.
"It hurts," Jeff whispered and rolled over toward Phineas. Olivia watched as the man began to rub the child's back. Jeffrey lay quietly and seemed to relax right before her eyes. She watched the scene in awe. This was a different Phineas Bogg than she'd known before. How in the world could this have happened to him, she wondered.
Phineas slowly rubbed Jeffrey's back until he seemed to be asleep, then he pulled the covers up over his shoulder. He continued to sit on the edge of the bed, a lump in his throat and his heart racing. Olivia was correct that the Mona Lisa needed to be rescued, and he knew she was concerned about finding her omni, and rightly so. Any Voyager would be incredibly stressed to have lost their omni; Phineas had experienced the feeling several times himself. He knew they were sent to the Titanic to help Olivia complete her mission, and that meant that they both shared the responsibility for the rescue of the painting. But, this was a complex situation and there were more things than that to consider. Jeffrey's exposure to rabies had interrupted the flow of that mission, and caring for him had to become a higher priority for Phineas.
Technically, he knew Olivia was right. As far as the Code was concerned, he didn't need to be here watching Jeffrey sleep. On the other hand, Jeff's welfare was his responsibility, and Phineas felt that being here in case he woke up was the most important thing, for both of them. He wasn't a machine, he was a human being and he just couldn't leave Jeffrey like this. The painting was an inanimate object, valuable, yes, but unimportant compared to Jeffrey's suffering. There was just no way Phineas wouldn't be here to try to comfort him. The Council might not agree, but he would take the responsibility for this decision if they brought him up on charges.
"Bogg," Jeffrey moaned softly and moved around restlessly. He started to sit up, reaching out toward his partner. Phineas lifted him out of the bed and onto his lap. Before he finished getting the kid settled against his chest, the doctor had taken the blanket off the bed and put it over them. He rested his hand briefly against Jeff's forehead and then put it on Phineas' shoulder, "the muscle spasms are painful, if he seems more comfortable this way, you can keep holding him."
Phineas nodded and settled back in the chair, prepared to spend the rest of the night with Jeffrey in his arms. Every so often the boy would jerk suddenly and moan, and Bogg would reach for the area of spasm and try to massage it. It was one of the longest nights Phineas could remember. The hours ticked by slowly, until finally, Phineas felt Jeffrey's body slowly go limp, his muscles apparently exhausted by the spasms.
"Doc?" Phineas said in an urgent tone, as he sat more upright. The room suddenly erupted in movement, as the others recognized the panic in Bogg's voice.
Dr. Bernard moved toward them and put his hand on Jeffrey's chest and forehead. "I think the fever's broken, he's asleep, it's a miracle," he whispered.
Phineas closed his eyes and bowed his head, pulling Jeff in even closer. When Jeff's body suddenly became limp, he had been afraid ... He stopped himself, refusing even to let the thought form. "It's gonna be okay," he whispered close to Jeff's ear.
A few hours later, Jeff moved an arm and Phineas looked down at him. His eyes were open, though he hadn't given any sign that he was awake.
"Hey, how ya doin?" Bogg asked softly.
Jeff took a deep breath and exhaled, "I'm alive," he whispered and cleared his throat, "is there anything to eat?"
"I'll arrange for some food to be brought up," said Dr. Bernard as he handed Jeff a cup of water, "drink this water first."
Jeff sat upright, still on Bogg's lap and took the cup. He drained it quickly.
"How do you feel?" Phineas asked, leaving his arms encircled lightly around the boy.
Jeff shrugged, "I'm hungry, but I feel fine," and he smiled at Bogg and put his arms around his neck, giving him a long hug that Bogg returned immediately.
Olivia stared at them, embarrassed by her earlier behavior, then stood up and walked out into the hall.
"Can I get dressed?" Jeff asked as they separated, and for the next few minutes, Phineas helped him find his clothes and get dressed.
"We need to get back to the Titanic," he whispered to Bogg as he pulled on his shirt.
"I'm not sure you're strong enough yet."
"As soon as I eat I'll be fine," Jeff insisted.
When the food was brought in, Phineas started to help him, but his hand was quickly pushed aside. "Relax, I'm okay," Jeff told him as he began to eat.
Phineas sat beside the bed watching Jeffrey eat and feeling a sense of relief so deep he couldn't quite describe it. Jeff appeared to be his usual self. When Jeff seemed to have finished, he finally spoke, putting his hand on Jeff's shoulder, "are you sure you're strong enough to leave?"
"Yeah, I feel great, honest," Jeff answered.
"Alright," Bogg said softly and smiled, the kid looked great, too.
He turned to Dr. Pasteur, "thanks for saving Jeffrey's life," he said.
"Yeah," echoed Jeff as he put down his now empty bowl of cereal.
"I thank you," Pasteur replied, "without your help the vaccine might not have had its test."
"Thank God it did," said Dr. Bernard, "it seems that I was the fool." In the silence that followed this statement, Dr. Bernard's gaze met Pasteur's and seemed to convey an apology.
"I too had my doubts," Pasteur answered, "only this man had faith in the serum," he continued, motioning toward Bogg.
"My faith was in you, Dr. Pasteur," Phineas told him.
"We must rebuild your laboratory, only bigger and better, "Dr. Bernard began, "please, Dr. Pasteur, let me help you with your work," he finished, extending his hand to shake.
"Yes, yes, that would be fine," Pasteur answered.
As they turned toward the window, Bogg unhooked the omni from his belt and opened it. He showed it to Jeff, "we've got a green light."
"Great, now can we get back to the Titanic?" Jeff asked.
"Yep," Bogg paused and glanced around, "where's Olivia?"
"She's out there somewhere," Jeff answered, motioning to the door.
Phineas held out his hand to help Jeffrey stand up. He wanted to be sure he was as strong as he had pretended.
"Oh come on, I'm fine," Jeff said, ignoring the hand and hoping to a standing position. Bogg smiled and shook his head. He was always amazed at how quickly Jeffrey seemed to bounce back from adversity.
~ The End of this Missing Moment