Dr. Phlox's face relaxed into a gentle smile as soon as Hoshi walked into Sickbay. It was usually a pleasing and charming smile, but at the moment, Sato just wanted to punch it. Well, that was why she was here, wasn't it? "Ensign!" Phlox said smoothly. "What a pleasant surprise. I hope you're here on a social visit, rather than being in need of my services?"
Sato stalked over to one of the examination tables and hopped onto it with a graceless thud, glaring around as if to challenge anybody to comment on this. Phlox was the only other person in the room, however, and he merely folded his hands and continued to smile genially.
"I'm not all right," she growled.
"I'm sorry to hear that," Phlox replied, wiping the smile off of his face and replacing it with an expression of mild concern. "What seems to be the problem?"
Sato hissed out a sigh. "I don't know," she said. "I'm just really irritable lately. I haven't been sleeping well, and I haven't had much of an appetite. Well, that shouldn't be surprising!" she added, acidly, "since the damn food is always the same and always bland. But I'm just really sick of it lately. And I can't stand," she raised her hands slightly, shaking them as if to indicate the population of the ship, "people. I wanted to punch Mayweather for laughing too loudly at breakfast." She rubbed the back of her neck as she felt it prickle. "I'm just... tense."
"Ah, indeed." Phlox picked up a scanner from the tray on the side of the bed and started to run it over her. "Well, you must understand that this is a new frontier, in some ways. There is no data as yet on the effects of long-term space travel on the human psyche. This is a fascinating opportunity! However, we can extrapolate to some extent, based on the experiences of humans who underwent extended sea voyages in earlier centuries. I read up on..."
"Wait," Sato interrupted, "are you telling me this is all in my head?"
"Perhaps, perhaps," Phlox said, putting aside the scanner and picking up a light. He proceeded to shine it in her eyes in a highly irritating manner. "However, you must realize that such a strict dichotomy of body and mind does not really exist. Nothing is ever entirely in your head." He stepped back and frowned. "Have you been getting enough sex lately?"
Sato choked on her tongue and coughed it back up again. "Have I what?"
"Sex," Phlox repeated cheerfully, as if certain he had hit the problem squarely. "If there's one thing that I've noticed to be true of all of the sentient species I have studied so far, it is that none of them do well for extended periods of time without sex!" He waggled his finger at her as if castigating her for not brushing her teeth nightly. "That would explain all of your symptoms."
"Erm..." Sato looked left and right, and then directly at the doctor, trying to determine if he were joking. But he merely smiled at her with cheerful sincerity. She scrabbled for a rational thought. "Doctor, I'm single..."
Phlox chuckled. "Yes, I know, I know. But your society does not require long-term partnerships in order to engage in sexual activity. I think that's very healthy of you! There are plenty of single men on this ship. You seem to get along quite well with Captain Archer, for instance - and with Commander Tucker and Lieutenant Reed and Ensign Mayweather, as well."
"Doctor!" Sato yelped, putting her hands to her ears. It was no good. The mental image of having sex with each one of those men in turn were now cranking merrily through her brain. They are my co-workers, dammit! she told her brain desperately. More than that! Practically my brothers! It did not help.
"Oh, don't worry," Phlox chirped. "I can assure you that all four of them are in perfect working condition, sexually speaking."
"Don't tell me that!" Her brain grabbed that datum and perversely decided to saturate her with mental images of her having sex with all four of them at once.
"What's wrong?" Phlox asked, frowning. Then he raised his eyebrows. "Ahhh - you prefer sex with your own gender? Well, I could suggest..."
"No! Don't suggest! No more suggesting!" Sato sighed and put her hands on her thighs, shaking her head. Her brain, relishing its free rein, had gleefully pushed her off to the side, and her four shipmates were now having sex with each other in full Technicolor and stereo surround in the back of her mind. Well, perhaps there was something to Phlox's theory. Some part of her was enjoying this a bit too much.
"Very well," Phlox replied, nonplussed. "But if you're not going to have sex, may I suggest you at least engage in masturbation? I have a few devices I could lend..."
"Thank you, Doctor, but I think I can take care of that." She did feel a cynical surge of amusement at the absurdity of the situation, and a wry grin crawled over her face as she hopped off of the examination bed. "I guess I thought you would give me a pill for my irritability."
"Pills!" Phlox shook his head. "Only as a last resort, my dear. I believe in all-natural cures. And I do hope you give this one a try. For the sake of the crew you'll be on duty with, as well as for yourself!"
"Maybe I will," she said. She paused at the door of Sickbay to wish him goodbye, and left. A good long shower, she mused, would be an excellent idea from any number of angles.
Trip was walking down the corridor towards Sickbay as she headed towards her quarters. "Trip..." she said.
"What?" he asked, curtly, pausing at the caduceus-marked doors.
"Ask him for a pill." The last thing she needed was to know that she was gallivanting naked through his fantasies, after all.