Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dear Doctor

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Today's story invites us to say hello to the Denobulans... and good-bye to the Valakians.

Denobula Triaxa sounds like a hell of a place, and not necessarily in a good way. Dr. Jeremy Lucas is the first human in the Interspecies Medical Exchange to go there- he's Dr. Phlox's pen pal. Mating Season is complicated and dangerous. 'Threesome? Piffle. We Denoulans have a six-way that will burn your eyes out of your skull. Quite literally! We have to stick to written smut because our porn melts the minute we film it.'

Denobulans had something like movies a few hundred years ago, but gave them up in favour of taking a greater interest in real life. (That and sex, I imagine.) Phlox doesn't like to be touched but he eats off of other people's plates. Also, Phlox claims to be surprised by human compassion for pets and fictional characters, but he's pretty fond of his bat... and not just for the healing properties of its poopies.

Phlox is teaching Hoshi to speak Denobulan, and in those terms exobiologist Liz Cutler is hoping to ja'oogah with the man. He may not like to be touched, but kissing is another matter entirely!

T'Pol believes that humans lack the emotional maturity for interspecies mating, but what does that cold blowfish know, anyway?

"I have three current wives, and they each have two husbands..." Phlox explains. His polyamory is quite typical. He also sleeps less than a human (lucky), except six days of hibernation each winter. Even rabbits must rest sometimes!

On a lighter note, sickly souls from pre-warp planet Valakis are seeking a cure in the stars- and they didn't find it with the M'klexa or the Ferengi. Valakians and their second-class citizens the Menk share a world uneasily. But maybe not for much longer: the Valakians have an ancient and severe genetic disorder that Phlox believes will lead to their extinction before they'd ever meet the Ferengi named Nog.

"Dear Doctor" asks Archer and Phlox to make a kind of long-view cultural triage: how much do you really want to give of yourself to a billion dying beggars? Nature seems dead set on ending the Valakians. Short of handing out warp drives and gene-gineering on silver platters (which could easily be a horrible mistake) the offer of palliatives and a hearty "Good Luck!" is today's compromise between compassion and pragmatism. No easy answers! How do you like them apples? Me, I like them fine... but then I'm only dying of the same thing you are- Life. Also, I saw a Denobulan masturbating out of the corner of my eye once and the nausea hasn't subsided yet.

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