USS Darmok Briefings and Logs
||The duty logs, weekly status reports and sim logs of the USS Darmok.|
|Lieutenant Commander Relok & Lieutenant Commander Desiree Thibodeaux, SD|
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“Considerations” - Joint Duty Log, Lt. Cmdr. Dr. Desiree Thibodeaux & Lt. Cmdr. Relok
(Note: This log takes place prior to the sim of 201803.09)
Relok looked up from his latest failed attempt to penetrate the hard metallic shell of one of the spheres with his scan, struggling to overcome the look of frustration that flitted across his face. The dark caramel skin of the Darmok’s Chief Medical Officer split with a bright smile as she entered the lab she’d set aside for the Chief Science Officer’s use.
“With a poker face like that one, you would be cleaned out in less than half-dozen hands of poker.” She teased lightly upon observing his annoyance. “I’ve taken a look at the numerous unsuccessful attempts to unlock the secret of the spheres that you’ve catalogued.” She commented as she sat and rolled her chair over next to him. “I can see why you might be at a loss. You’ve been very thorough in your research methodology. I feel a bit guilty that I haven’t been able to devote more time to assisting you directly but I have been pursuing a couple of independent avenues of thought. Can I buy you a cup of tea and bend your ear?” She asked with the barest hint of jocularity behind her words.
Relok again suppressed his initial emotional responses, embarrassment at being caught displaying his frustration, further enhanced by the Doctor’s blatant comment regarding such slip, and then again nearly bubbling over when she reminded him of his numerous failures. He took a deep breath as she complimented his thoroughness and raised an eyebrow at her offer of tea.
“Actually, Doctor, that may be precisely what I need at this point - to step away from my problem, calm myself with a soothing tea, and hear another’s perspective. Though perhaps you should not bend my ears. With points such as these,” he gestured to his Vulcan ears, “having them pointed outwards could make it difficult to fit through doorways.”
Before she could react to his own jocularity, he turned back to the spheres and instruments strewn across his worktable and began to tidy up before leaving.
Desiree watched as he meticulously brought order to his workspace. While she possessed the standard Starfleet Medical training regarding potential mental health issues among the crew, she didn’t claim to be a psychologist and usually preferred to avoid any semblance of “head shrinking”. Relok was an exception. She found herself almost as curious about him as she was about the spheres and she observed every word, action and reaction that he exhibited while in her presence. He was an enigma, a puzzle, and she wanted to learn more so that she could understand him better.
When he had the area squared away, she beckoned. “Come on, let’s just go to my office. I have some special herbal tea blends stashed there. And if you don’t find one or more palatable options, the replicator in my office spews out the same ‘tea’ as the one in the officer’s mess.”
With a tilt of his head he acquiesced, and gestured for her to lead the way, falling into step behind her as they stepped out of the labs and around the corner to the Chief Medical Officer’s office. Once inside the office, Relok waited patiently as Desiree retrieved her tea and acquired the hot water needed.
After a few moments, the Vulcan accepted the mug of steaming brew and waited for Desiree to sit before following suit. He held the cup under his nose and sniffed the aromatic steam, allowing himself to relax and releasing his pent-up emotions. He spoke. “Thank you, Doctor. I had not realized how badly I needed a break.”
She smiled. “I find that is a common trait of scientists. At least of the good ones that is.” She cradled her own cup of the same tea to savor the herbaceous scent. “If it weren’t for your very thorough and well considered research, we wouldn’t have amassed so much knowledge about the spheres so far.” She said seemingly sensing his private concerns and reservations about his progress and attempting to dispel them.
Desiree set her cup down and sat back. Her hand drifted absently to a small pouch on her desk and she ran her fingers over it as she began to speak.
“Here’s my first concern. We can be pretty sure that someone with probable nefarious intentions, imprisoned the spirits or essences of sentient beings within the spheres. It’s horrible to think about what those so captured are feeling...and as a physician, I want to alleviate their suffering and “save” their lives. But what if we learn how to release them...what happens to the free essence? Can they survive without a body or other receptacle? Or will releasing them put the final nail in their coffins so to speak. What if our efforts are going to end their existence once and for all?”
Relok contemplated the Doctor’s statements for a moment, sipping his tea thoughtfully. Then he said, “As you may know, among Vulcans we sometimes store the life essence of certain individuals, we call it their katras. There is an ancient ritual, seldom practiced mind you, called fal-tor-pan, the re-fusion, where a katra can be reunited with a physical body. This was done with Ambassador Spock, you may recall.”
He sat up and placed his own mug on the table as he continued, “The reason that fal-tor-pan is so rare is that it is unusual for there to be a body without a katra, and to fuse two katras into one body often results in instability, something similar to multiple personality disorder. The bearer of two katras literally has two ‘souls’, if you will. So, restoring these imprisoned life essences by implanting them in a living body could be detrimental to both the host and the restored essence. Very few life forms survive very long with multiple minds in one body. Sure, the Trill have perfected it with their symbiotic relationship, but most bodies reject such imposition.”
“So,” he concluded, “removing the life essences from these spheres without having somewhere else to put them might be a bad idea. But … they can’t stay in these spheres much longer, I’m afraid. Logic dictates that there may come a time when we must simply … extinguish them.” His face bunched into a grimace as if he’d tasted something foul, though he’d finished his tea and had nothing else to eat or drink.
“I agree with your assessment that trying to free the stored souls and placing them in another body occupied with an unprepared intelligence would be ill advised. I uncovered a historical instance where the essence of the surviving three beings of an advanced species had been stored inside receptacles and subsequently temporarily joined with three crew members from the USS Enterprise. The results had unpredictable and dangerous repercussions. The beings were not compatible with their hosts and the personalities of the hosts so occupied were suppressed into near non-existence.”
“Even more frightening,” she went on, “one of the beings went so far as to murder a host body to eliminate another of his own people in an attempt to keep the body into which he had been housed. In short, we don’t have any idea what would happen if we could...let them out. But even so, I cannot just allow these beings to be destroyed. Doing so would be unethical. Bear with me, I know I am unloading a lot of information at once. But I also learned a good deal about the Vulcan katra. At least as much as possible for an outsider. It’s my understanding that katras are stored at a sacred site and tended to by an order of initiates. Would you … be willing to approach the leader of this order and explain our predicament? Perhaps these spheres could be housed there?” She looked at him near pleadingly. “We could then focus on learning who did this horrible thing and prevent them from continuing to do so.”
Relok was momentarily stunned, and though he tried to suppress the emotional response, a glimmer of it managed to get through his control and flickered across his face before being replaced by his normal emotionless visage. “You probably do not know this, since I haven’t been on the Darmok very long, but … my own mother is a High Priestess, of the Order of the Sehlat, and though I cannot say for certain, I am fairly sure she knows the fal-tor-pan ritual. And I know she oversees a katric ark facility in my home region. I have visited the place myself, though I’ve never actually communed with one of the ancestors - a process where a supplicant is permitted to mind-meld with one of the katric arks. It is possible we could bring the spheres there and leave them in her care, though … my concern is that the spheres do not exhibit the same crystalline structure normally seen in katric arks. Perhaps my mother and her fellow priests might know of a way to transfer these alien katras into katric arks to preserve them with my ancestors.”
He paused, took a deep breath, then exhaled it slowly. “I admit I had not considered such a possibility. The sacred nature of our katric arks had blinded me to the possibility of it being open to non-Vulcan katras. It simply had not occurred to me. Or rather, if it had crossed my mind I had filed it away as a ridiculous fantasy not worthy of consideration. But … perhaps it is an option, though we would need to turn our heading back towards Vulcan soon, it is a long ways from here.”
“I’ll bring the suggestion to the Admiral, with your okay of course. If she thinks the idea might work, you could contact your mother and we could go from there.”