Ten years after leaving her Vulcan crew member Mistral behind on Earth, T’Mir was passing the planet in her scout ship as she received his distress call. Not equipped to treat major injuries on the ship, she risked beaming down to Carbon Creek in their experimental cargo transporter. A one-way street. The ship had to carry out its mission. Their next fly-by was expected in six months only. Yet she didn’t want to risk the word of Mistral’s true whereabouts to spread any further. And she couldn’t risk letting him die.
Back in the small apartment they had rented on their first visit, she found Mistral with high fever and intense stomach cramps. His pale, sweaty skin for a change shimmered greenish once his camouflage had worn off. He quivered absent-mindedly as T’Mir ran her medical tricorder up and down his body.
“You have an inflamed cyst in your liver. Probably from bacterial infection. We’ll need to surgically drain the abscess, and you require antibiotics treatment.”, T’Mir asserted dryly.
He clutched her lower arm, faintly raising his head toward her, stuttering with an exhausted voice. “No. I can’t go to the hospital. My physiology. The green blood.”
“I am aware of your situation.”, T’Mir replied with an air of Vulcan logical professionalism. “I can stabilize you with the medical tricorder for a few days. Meanwhile, I will go to the hospital and obtain the necessary supplies.”
Mistral sank back down on the couch exhaustedly. He knew not to contradict her, even if he wanted, he couldn’t keep her from doing anything in his current state. The conversation had taken another toll on his limited energy.
T’Mir stepped back out from the bathroom.“Pick me up in six months. T’Mir out.” On the table, right next to where she had placed the tricorder, a medical license materialised. “We’ll have to do this the old way.” Then, there was silence.
Five weeks had passed since T’Mir had found a clinic she could join as an assistant surgeon. She didn’t know how much longer she could cover sneaking out antibiotic infusions from the operating room supplies. After draining the abscess in an improvised living room operation, Mistral’s condition had steadily improved, but he needed another round of antibiotics treatment for the infection to completely heal.
T’Mir’s knees were shaking as Dr. Walker’s glance continued to pierce her. She needed to summon all her Vulcan composure to cover her anxiety. Silently, she dropped the operating knife onto the instrument table. Trying to hide inside herself. There was no other place to hide in. Not within the white ceramics tiles of a room that is designed so nothing can go unnoticed. During any reasonable operation, nothing relevant should go unnoticed. The life of the patient depended on it. She did not dare break his glance to look down, although she felt the urge to check. Check if eventually a drop of green blood was showing between her fingers, had been dripping down on the surgical drapes. If it did, it would be over. She did not want to draw unnecessary attention to it, trying to contain a situation with no apparent way to move forward. Holding on to the options of the moment, caught in a freeze like a spider. Nothing promising enough to dare to attack or run. Not without the risk of losing everything. If they found out about her Vulcan identity, she had contaminated a foreign civilisation. Identified as an alien, Mistral and her were without protection. Mistral always pointed out human empathy. But that empathy was expected towards their own who they hold dear. Who belong. Who they accept. Who are not different. As long as they passed as one of them. She could not expect empathy towards herself. She was different. She’d seen humans make bigger issues out of smaller differences: skin color, race, gender, religion. She could not expect empathy for an alien. If they did not manage to hide, they would become objects of scientific study, their bodies taken apart in some military lab. Five months until the next fly-by suddenly appeared like a lifetime to live through with no place to run to. On their first visit, nobody knew. But a few drops of green blood on her hand were just about to reveal everything. Reveal the difference. The difference that doesn’t go unnoticed, but the difference that people create an issue from, no matter what her intentions were.
“Follow me.” Dr. Walker put the serrefine down, signaled the assisting nurse to contain the patient and set out to walk through the door to the preparation area. T’Mir’s feet felt glued to the ground. “Follow me!”, Walker repeated, raising his voice authoritatively. T’Mir walked after him with careful steps into the next room. He closed the door behind her. “Sit down.”
T’Mir was shaking as she sat on the green gurney. The bright lights blinded her. The greenish yellow walls reminded her of the puke that was collecting in her stomach, pressing persistently upward to find its way to the outside. Why did everything appear to be green in here?
“Take your gloves off.”, Walker asserted. T’Mir gulped, still frozen. Walker reached down, took her hand, and pulled off the broken glove. Now it was obvious. He must see it. Green blood was oozing from the cut in the side of her left index finger. Walker used mull pads and disinfectant to wipe down the blood from her hands. Her trembling hands. She was at his mercy. Powerless. It all depended on him now. There was nothing reasonable left she could do.
“Keep still!”. Trying to stay in control was his way of coping with insecurity. He did what he usually does with a wound. He tried to stabilise her hand, cleaned and inspected the cut, and turned back to the counter to get some more material. After some more preparation, he patched the cut with one stitch. T’Mir bit her lips to contain the pain. There was too little time for the anaesthetics to take full effect. Her efforts did not go unnoticed. Walker tightly fixed a mull strip with medical tape to cover up the wound. She would be able to continue to work like this.
“Green blood.”, Walker annotated as he questioningly gazed down on his patient. T’Mir shyly nodded. “Fascinating.”, added Walker, as he turned and rushed off towards the door to the operating room. He held out his arm, signalling her to follow him. There was an operation to be finish ed. Getting up, T’Mir looked at him.
“Dr. Walker,” were the first two words she was able to speak since she had cut herself. He turned around and raised his eyebrows. “Thank you.”, T’Mir added dryly. Dr. Walker faintly smiled.