It has now been 10 months, 5 days, and 2 hours since I left the Nevada to join the T'Kumbra and it's crew. Everything has been fairly uneventful since my last letter to you. You remember the incident we had my first month aboard. Not an occurrence I care to ever repeat.
I was allowed the chance to map out a new Nebula we discovered, and I was even allowed to name it. It is now the Swiss Nebula. Mainly because it reminded me of the cheese you so often fume over due to the taunting names you are often called. Ensign Swiss Cheese. Needless to say, I received some odd glances from my peers in the science lab. Even after I pointed out the resemblance. Either they do not understand my "brand" of humor, as you would say, or they viewed it as an inadequate name. They have said nothing on the matter, however so it remains unchanged.
My time here has been much more comfortable then the first month. Aside from the seemingly constant change of quarters for technical issues. I do not believe that engineering believes me when I tell them that the issues are not my fault. They do not even bother to ask what is the matter anymore. Yemen, the engineer who was possessed and attempted to kill me my first month aboard, has made efforts to pay me random visits to check on my quarters. I sense no ill will or distrust of him, though. He seems to like my company, which is new to me. That, or he somehow still feels responsible for my well being considering our first meeting. I can not tell.
I have come to know quite a few more members of the crew in my time here. T'Lara, my superior, has a fondness for soil samples from many different worlds and will often take any chance she gets to at least beam a new sample aboard from every planet we come near if it is not already part of her collection. She also seems to be of a softer nature and is graceful and quite gentle when dealing with others. I honestly feel a tad clumsy next to her.
Larkin, our Chief medical officer, I have discovered is quite talented to not only medical pursuits but sculpting as well. I do not see how he has the patience for how he does it, even for a Vulcan it seems rather tedious. He sculpts fractals, often from a microscopic size and builds on it with a spider web like polymer. Fascinating work I must say. I suppose it would take the hands if a surgeon.
I have also become more familiar with Captain Solok as he will occasionally invite me over to play him a game of Kal'to over some tea. We have not, however, had any more aquatic combat lessons. I can not say I am disappointed. I rather like to swim in solitude.
T'Pels writing was quickly interpreted by her Circassian cat crawling on top of her hand as it padded her arm as it cooed. She gave a sigh and set her pen down. The animal was capable of a low form of telepathy and usually made a meal off of emotions, as is common with it's kind.
"I suppose I have been a bit neglectful lately. I apologize, Foofy." She said in understanding as she scratched at the animals fur. It was nearly time to head to the bridge for her shift, so she picked up her pet and began to get ready.
Varel was on the bridge manning the tactical station, though nothing of interest had occurred for the day and he shifted his weight to his other foot. His shift was nearly over and he was wanting to get back to his book. This time he had chosen to read a Sherlock Holmes novel. One of his favorites from the Human archives.
He was fascinated by a human who was able to use near perfect deductible reasoning and logic to solve his crimes. The thought was cut short as the turbo lift doors opened and the overly prim and proper Vulcan Betazoid came on deck and headed to her post. That meant his replacement was soon at hand.
He eyed the young woman for a time, noting the figure eight her braid formed and he smirked, "Infinity." He said allowed.
T'Pel turned and cocked a brow, "Pardon?" She asked.
"I was noticing your hair. The braid is fashioned to look like the human sign for infinity." Varel responded.
She gave a nod, "Yes. Seeing as how I chose to keep my hair long, I have found that it is a sufficient way to keep it out of the way." She turned back to her console.
"It is appealing." He added and then looked to the time again. He had not had much interaction with her, but he could tell she made great efforts to appear as Vulcan as possible. He also guessed that it was more effort aboard the T'Kumbra considering her new crew. He gave a shake to his head, as the turbo-lift doors opened and his replacement stepped up. They gave each other a nod and he headed out.
There was one more thing he needed to see to before he retired to his quarters and his book, however, "Deck 7." He said. He had a check up that Solok ordered of him. Varel couldn't help but sigh. He knew he was an elder on this ship, and at times felt that Solok waited for him to falter due to age.
Once to the sick bay doors, T'Lara walked out and gave Varel a polite nod as she headed off to the mess hall. As she walked in she saw Solok over by the window reading over a PADD as he sipped his tea and she walked up, "May I join you, Captain?" She asked.
He looked up and gave her a nod, "For the few minutes I remain here, yes." He set his PADD down and looked her over, "Did Varel make it to sick bay by the time you left?"
She gave him a nod, "He just got there when I was leaving."
Solok sat back in his chair, "Good. Larkin has informed me that he seems to make a habit of missing out on scheduled physicals. This is not acceptable. All of my senior staff is required to keep up on them. I do not understand why he feels he is an exception." He took another sip of his tea as he eyed T'Lara a moment.
He had known her for years and was close friends with her family. He often sought her counsel on a number of different matters, and happenings with members of the crew were no different. She was also one of the few women on his ship that chose to have longer hair. He never understood why. The usual short cut most wore was efficient.
"I would assume perhaps he feels singled out because of his age. Which is why I suggested that our appointments be so close together. So he is allowed to see he is not the only one." T'Lara said calmly, and got a bemused look from Solok.
"He is a grown Vulcan man. This should not be an issue." He scoffed lightly, "However, you are usually quite perceptive and create the correct logical action for most things." He took another sip of his tea and looked at her again, "You still have not told me why you wear your hair long. Is this a growing trend among you females I know nothing about? Your Lieutenant seems to have decided this is agreeable as well."
T'Lara looked up, and he almost thought he could see amusement in her green eyes, "My husband finds it appealing. It also allows me a physical reminder of how long it has been since I last saw him, as I cut it short when I leave his presence."
Solok blinked, and did not realize that there had been times where her hair was short for a time, and he tilted his head, "I tend to forget how strong your bond is with him. Though it makes me wonder why you chose to serve in Starfleet."
"I do because our bond is so strong. Also, the humans have a phrase I rather like. Distance makes the heart grow fonder?" She tilted her head and looked out the window, "However, my hair is getting quite long, and I feel his absence everyday. I will soon be putting in for some leave. I wanted to wait after I was sure our new Vulcan Betazoid hybrid had adjusted well."
"T'Pel Kestra? How has she adjusted?" He asked.
"She is focused and devoted to her work. I have no complaints there, however she does not seem to know how to...relax around her peers. She goes to great efforts to guard herself. Thought that could just be the result of transferring from ship to ship. T'Pel is not very social." T'Lara explained.
He gave a nod, "During our Kal'to games she seems to avoid much conversation."
T'Lara eyed him a moment, "You have been spending time with her?"
He gave her a nod and took another sip of his tea, "There is something about her that is illusive that I was only able to see a glimpse of her first month aboard. I had hoped spending time with her would allow for a better understanding, though that has proved to be fruitless. She does go to great lengths to guard herself, of that I am sure."
"Is that not the same for us all?" T'Lara asked.
He gave a tilt of his head, "Samok has voiced his concern involving her. He seems to think that her efforts in this may not be sufficient and that she is prone to exploring that which she should not telepathically. I informed him that I believe it is her constant effort to not do so."
"T'Pel is half Betazoid. She is a natural empath. I would wonder what it is Samok is so concerned about her finding out." She chimed in.
Solok almost gave her a smirk, "He feels she is more trouble then she is worth, however his argument ended when I pointed out that it was she who was able to divert a disaster when she first came aboard. Perhaps all she needs is time to allow herself to become comfortable here. Vulcan hybrids have not always been accepted openly, despite Spock's renown."
T'Lara gave a nod as Solok stood, "Spock was also not half Betazoid. I would imagine things have been quite different for her."
He gave her a small bow before heading out, "That is not something I doubt."
Larkin was putting away some newly calibrated tools as he heard the door to sick bay open and close and without even looking up, "What is it?" He asked placidly.
"My...head hurts." Yemen said dryly as he propped himself against a medical bed.
The doctor finally turned his dark blue eyes to the engineer and cocked a brow slowly, "Your head hurts?" he asked and then fully turned to the man, "Are you feeling dizzy?"
Yemen shook his head then nodded, "Not really dizzy, but...not normal."
Larkin grabbed his tricorder and walked over, scanning him, "How do you mean...not normal?"
Yemen shrugged, "More...swimmy."
His brow could go no further up as he looked at his new patient, "Swimmy?"
The engineer gave a loud sigh, "Stop repeating everything I say. Just figure out what is wrong. I pulled a double shift and really would like to go to sleep."
Both brows were raised as Larkin continued to scan, "Have you been...drinking on duty?" He asked finally after a moment, surprise slipping into his voice.
Yemen's eyes widened and he shook his head, "No. I do not drink. I do not know a Vulcan who does."
"Mm hmm." Larkin responded curtly eying the man, "You are to take tomorrow off and head straight to your quarters for rest." Also giving him a hypo-spray for the headache.
Yemen simply nodded and headed for the door, however on his way out someone was walking in and they collided rather gracelessly as Larkin stood, staring as he could see a few more people headed to his office and he gave a heavy sigh.
"Larkin to Solok." his voice chimed over the comm, annoyance dripping in his tone.
The captain tilted his head, "Is there a problem, Doctor?"
"I would say so. I have been quite busy for the past hour with a number of Engineers and many others complaining of headaches and various symptoms. When scanned, they register a high level of..." He gave a pause, "...I will be with you shortly. Marik, put down the lazer scalpel..." Solok heard another sigh, "...they are all showing signs of intoxication, Captain. The sick bay is unable to fit any more people. This is...this is ridiculous."
Solok sat a moment eyes wide as he thumbed the edge of his desk, "Is there anything else?"
"Do not touch that." Larkin voiced sternly, "They all seem to have just gotten off shift and all swear they have not been drinking. Despite my findings, I am inclined to believe them seeing as how...it just would not occur."
"Keep a select few for further study and send the rest to their quarters and have them confined. Alert me as soon as you know more." Solok said as he stood and headed back out onto the bridge, ending the communication before Larkin could give protest.
Samok gave him a nod and stood from the captains chair as Solok stopped and scanned everyone present with growing concern on his face, "Is anyone experiencing headaches?"
Everyone looked around and shook their heads. Solok took his seat and thought a moment, turning slowly to look at T'Pel who was poking at her console, "T'Pel...are you able to sense anything...unusual?"
She had began a ship wide scan for any and all anomalies, and turned, "Sense?" she questioned. Solok gave her a pointed look, as she was supposed to have understood his meaning and she held back a sigh and blinked, "There does seem to be an unusual amplitude of...amusement?" It seemed as much of a surprise to her as everyone else.
"Ship-wide...amusement?" Samok questioned, looking to Solok.
"I would not say ship-wide, however I am a scientist, not a pointy eared tricorder. I am unable to localize it." T'Pel chimed in.
Samok looked at her a moment then to Solok, "Is there a problem, Captain?"
"Larkin seems to think there is. From what he has told me, I would concur." He said, tapping his badge and raising the comm, "All hands, this is the Captain. Should you be experiencing any..." He paused and looked at Samok, thinking this was going to sound seriously unusual, "...symptoms akin to those while intoxicated, you are to head to your quarters at once. I understand that such symptoms may be unknown to most of you, so I will be sending a list of them to all departments. That is all."
Then without any warning the ship came to a sudden stop, throwing nearly everyone onto the floor, "Report!" Solok called out, having landed with a loud thud on the floor below the platform his chair sat on.
After a moment of everyone clamoring for their stations the helmsman called out, "The engines have come to a complete stop."
"I am aware of that. Why?" Solok said firmly, getting back into his chair.
"Would it be safe to assume that if Engineering spent most of their shift intoxicated, something was bound to malfunction?" asked Samok getting back to his feet.
Giving his first officer a pointed look he sat back, "We will not engage travel until this situation has been solved. I want a full report as soon as you are all able. Leave no bulkhead unchecked."
Solok finished pulling up the zipper to his jacket and eyed his Sehlat pup who had taken to laying on his bed and watched him ready himself for the day and he raised a brow, "Try not to knock anything over today and I promise I will take you to the holodeck for proper exercise. Understood?"
Fonn'es titled his head, almost as a nod, and Solok put his empty tea cup back into the replicator and headed out and to the bridge to begin his day.
Samok stood at attention when his captain walked onto the bridge, and he handed him a PADD. "The latest report on the anomalies we charted yesterday, sir," he said smartly, his back straight and tall.
Solok gave Samok a nod and sat in his chair, his icy stare going over the new report, "Has anything else occurred since this time?"
"Several engineers were found tampering with the environmental controls on Deck 8, but they have been confined to quarters. Apparently, they thought it might be...amusing to make the temperature on that deck more like Andoria."
Samok sat back down and looked at his monitor, as if the answer to the strange thing that was plaguing them were written upon it. "And Dr. Larkin still has no leads on a possible illness that might be responsible for this behavior."
Solok gave a nod and stood, "I will be in my ready room forming a report for headquarters. Have engineering continue their efforts in figuring out why we dropped out of warp and send T'Lara to assist Larkin in his efforts."
He walked into his office and ordered another cup of his favored tea and sat at his desk. An hour later he had finished his report, along with several cups of tea, but as he read over his report something just didn't seem right.
He stood, having simply though that he miscalculated his footing and ran his thigh into his desk in his attempt to steady himself. Once he felt he had proper footing, he headed back onto the bridge. Staggering all the way.
"Samok, I require you to look over my report. I do not believe it is..." He gave a hiccup and blinked, "...there is something wrong with it." He held the PADD out to his first officer, swaying slightly.
Samok frowned. "Captain...did you intend to write this entire report in limerick form?"
Something was obviously wrong with the captain, as he was showing all the signs of the strange intoxication that was plaguing the crew. "Sir, are you unwell? You appear intoxicated."
"Hmpf...I am fine." He snatched the PADD back from Samok and plopped down into his chair, rather gracelessly, "I always liked poetry...Human's often complain of the placid and boring tone Vulcan reports always have...perhaps this little accident may be more agreeable to them."
He gave a slouch and turned his chair around, "Computer, lower the light three levels."
The lights dimmed and he closed his eyes, "Better. T'Pel...get me some more tea."
T'Pel turned in her chair and eyed him indignantly then looked to Samok seriously confused.
Samok narrowed his eyes. "Captain, you are obviously intoxicated. I would think you the least likely person to submit a report written so...casually. And T'Pel is not your wife, so I find it highly inappropriate for you to order her to fetch you sustenance."
Solok cocked a brow and smirked, "I am the Captain. I will do as I please. T'Pel...my tea. Now."
T'Pel stood and walked into his ready room and came out with a hot cup of tea, resisting the urge to pour it into his lap, "Your Tea, Sir." She however was far enough away, forcing Solok to reach and reach, then fall out of his chair as he tried to grab it.
Samok fought the urge to smirk and somehow managed to keep a straight face as he helped Solok back into the chair. "You may be the captain, sir, but protocols still must be observed. Since you are compromised now, I may have to relieve you of duty. T'Pel, call Dr. Larkin to the bridge, if he is not too busy down in sickbay."
T'Pel handed the tea to Solok, making sure he had a firm grip on it and tapped her bag, giving Samok a pointed look, "Dr. Larkin to the bridge as soon as you are able."
Larkin gave a sigh, "As you wish. I will be there in a moment."
The connection was cut and T'Pel looked at Solok again, who was staring at her, "Captain?"
He set his cup down and stood carefully, reaching a hand to pull at the pin hold up her hair, "Why do you not cut your hair?"
She blinked, "I prefer it long."
Solok tilted his head as he watched the long black locks fall down her back, "I do as well. I think I will send a suggestion to Starfleet that we allow all women to wear their hair down." He gave a silly smirk and sat back in his chair. Picking up his cup, he began to spin slowly around.
"Torvik, I have been meaning to inform you that your piloting skills are...quite adequate." The Captain continued.
Torvik turned in his chair and cocked a brow, looking to Samok.
"Larkin will take care of him," Samok said softly. "But your piloting skills are quite adequate, ensign," he directed to the young man in the pilot's chair. "You are an exceptional pilot, obviously why Solok chose you for the main shift."
T'Pel returned to her station and continued her scans, and Samok's gaze flicked between her and the captain, who was still spinning in his chair.
"Do you find T'Pel attractive, captain?" Samok asked softly, sitting in his chair and directing his gaze toward his superior officer. He wasn't quite sure why he was asking the captain this question, and now of all times, when Solok's tongue seemed...unrestrained. He didn't think of himself as one to gossip, but something about knowing secrets was quite thrilling, if he were honest with himself.
Solok stopped spinning and sat staring at the science officer, "Do you not?" He asked, and spun to look at Samok, narrowing his gaze.
"Her facial bone structure is a geometric master piece, and her physical stature is quite agreeable for bearing children. I would imagine there are many on this ship who have taken a longer glance then should be."
He smirked, "I see how you keep her at arms length. Speak to her in such an abnormally cold tone."
Samok narrowed his eyes. His captain had accused him of being attracted to a hybrid, and the thought...but even as he thought about it, the thought of T'Pels form before him made the beast inside him growl in pleasure. Perhaps she was attractive, but she was still a hybrid...
Her Betazoid instincts saved the ship, his inner beast purred. She has many admirable qualities that would be agreeable to have in one's mate.Samok was saved from pondering this further when Larkin finally walked onto the bridge with his medkit and scanned Solok.
"Well?" the first officer said, perhaps a little harsher than he meant it.
Larkin raised a brow, "When was he last seen in a normal state?"
"When he came on shift." T'Pel chimed in, making an effort to concentrate on her computer, "Also Samok, scans continue to come up with nothing."
"When did you notice a difference?" Larkin looked at Samok, putting his medical tricorder away.
Samok simply handed Solok's report to Larkin and watched the medical officer read over it, his eyebrow rising further and further. "I see."
"And he stumbled out of his ready room, as if he had been imbibing something intoxicating."
Larkin turned and walked into the Captains ready room and began searching, "There is no open container." He scanned the room for good measure and walked back out.
His eyes narrowed as he walked over to Solok, who was sipping his tea and raised the tricorder to it. Solok simply tried pulling his cup further from the doctor.
"I am unsure as to why this had not occurred to me before, but it would seem the Captains tea is...pure chocolate." Larkin looked to Samok.
Samok narrowed his eyes at T'Pel, who glared back. "I assure you, I ordered the replicator to make tea. Are you implying that I would deliberately intoxicate the captain?"
"I am not implying anything, lieutenant, simply observing certain facts."
"I believe it might be logical to assume that someone has been tampering with the replicators," T'Pel offered, turning her gaze to Larkin.
"That is highly probable. Considering the night crew usually indulges in tea frequently." He looked to Samok, ignoring the first officers obvious accusation. He knew T'Pel would never attempt such a thing.
"I suggest all the replicators be checked and repaired. I am unsure as to whom aboard would tamper with such a thing. They were rather...clever."
Suddenly there was a bright flash of light and a tall dark haired human wearing a starfleet captains uniform appeared. He was also holding a box of chocolates and took the liberty to throw a small piece, catching Solok in the forehead.
The captain blinked and sat up, "What in the name of..."
"Q." The man replied with a smile, "I had hoped this all would have gone on longer, though it seems I have underestimated you pointy eared devils." He said with a sigh, and chucked a piece at Samok.
Samok deftly avoided the piece of chocolate and glared at the omnipotent being. "What is your purpose of harassing us, Q?"
Q laughed. "It's always a pleasure talking to Vulcans. So straightforward. You can be so dull sometimes, you know that, Mr. Samok? I decided to have some fun! And as you can see by mon capitan here, Vulcans become so much more interesting when they're intoxicated. Wouldn't you agree, my dear Samok?"
The first officer glanced at Solok and held his hands firmly behind his back, suppressing the urge to snarl at Q, "This is not conducive to running a starship, and is highly illogical behavior."
"I believe that that is Q's intention, Samok. A being who thrives on oddities he throws at others. Like the chocolate." T'Pel said as she picked up a piece off the floor, and threw it back at Q.
Q caught it and popped it in his mouth. "Now there's a fine lady, if I may say so. See how she understands me, Samok, yet retains her logic? Fascinating how she can play both sides of the field, wouldn't you say?" He elbowed Samok in the ribs, knowing full well the man's secret thoughts about the woman.
Samok stepped away from Q's assault on his person and glared at him. "To some, I suppose. So you have had your fun. Now leave."
Q Looked over to Samok and chuckled. Solok stood, staggering right into Q, "I concur..." He gave a hiccup, "...You should leave. And take this damned-able substance with you. Also...fix my replicators."
T'Pel took a step forward and placed a hand on Soloks back before he fell, "I would not make such demands of a being who could blink us out of existence, Captain. Sit."
Solok turned to look at her and blinked, "Are you giving me an order?"
She cocked a brow, "Yes." She said coolly, guiding him back to his chair then looked to Q, "What is it you are after, precisely?"
Q smirked at her and stepped forward, further into her personal space. "I'll let you figure that one out, my dear, since you seem to have a good grip on my intentions already."
He held her face and kissed her hard on the mouth, then stepped back and disappeared in a flash of light. "Have fun, my dear little Vulcans," came his voice from nowhere. "Have fun..."
T'Pel staggered back, blinking in shock as she wiped her lips with her sleeve. Turning her gaze to Samok.
Solok blinked again as he hiccuped and stared at the spot Q had been, "Reading the reports, I was unaware at just how...insufferable he was. I assumed it was simply human exaggeration."
Larkin gave an amused nod of his head, "Well, should you require my assistance, I will be in sick bay. Now that we know the cause of the intoxication, engineering should be able to repair the replicators." He headed for the door.
Samok smirked at T'Pel. "He seemed quite enamored with you, lieutenant. I believe that says quite a lot about your character. The ability to make some sense of chaos...inherently illogical."
"It has been my belief that logic can be found anywhere. Situations involving Q make me think of a song I once heard. 'White Rabbit' by an Earth band called Jefferson Airplane. It deals with the story of 'Alice in Wonderland'."
She tilted her head and thought a moment, "When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead, and the white knight is talking backwards, and the Red queen is off with her head, remember what the door mouse said...feed your head. Or gain knowledge."
" As for his intentions with me, I will not dwell on them. I am simply a...passing fancy." She turned to take her seat at her computer again.
Samok frowned and turned away, pondering the strange lyrics. "Why would the white knight be talking backwards?" he muttered to himself. He tapped his comm badge. "Samok to Seryn, please report to the bridge."
"That is the question and what must be figured out. Even in chaos lives a pattern and commonality. Even if it does not make logical sense to you, that does not mean you are unable to find logic at all. You simply have to search for it."
Solok swiveled in his chair and eyed her, trying to make sense of the words and finding more surprise in the fact it was so simple.
Shortly after, Chief Engineer Seryn walked onto the bridge, "Is there a problem, Commander?" He asked, standing at attention and glancing at Solok who had taken to kicking his feet in the air, mesmerized by the movement.
Samok turned around and faced Seryn. "Yes, there is. Apparently, Q has made all the replicators dispense chocolate when one orders tea. I am not sure if it dispenses chocolate-infused food as well, but I want the replicators repaired."
"Is this a ship-wide problem, sir? Our internal diagnostics didn't show this error."
"That's how he works," Solok slurred, staring at the ceiling now. "No logic here..." He hiccuped.
Seryn looked at Samok, but the first officer fixed the engineer with a stern glance. "Begin immediately. Scan every replicator manually if you must. The captain is...partially correct. Q may have blocked your diagnostic from finding the problem. It would have been...too simple to let you catch it early. He is using us for his amusement, as it seems."
Seryn raised a brow and began backing toward the turbolift, "Understood. I will get right on it." The idea of Q was obviously unsettling.
"In former reports dealing with Q, he seems to teach some form of lesson. There is often a reason behind his actions." T'Pel chimed, having been going over previous Starfleet records of Q encounters.