In the midst of this audio letter, Phlox arrives at Engineering and is called up a catwalk by Trip. Phlox joins him and another crewman, sitting on the ground and looking a little stunned. "He was trying to reroute a nitrogen valve and the seal blew," Trip explains, and we can see that the red-shirt's face is shiny in patches with fresh burns. "How bad is it?" Trip asks. Phlox gets to work, explaining, "Oh, it's superficial. Only first-degree burns. A little dermoline gel should do the trick." He whips out a little jar, rubs a long cotton swab over it (the kind they use on your throat), and dabs at the red-shirt's face. Everyone knows I'm no fan of Trip's, but it was kinda nice that he stayed with First-Degree Burns until Phlox got there, although I did notice something steaming out behind him, and I started to wonder if it was the nitrogen valve, and whether it was a good idea that no one had resealed it after it "blew." Oh, well -- the quality of mercy not being strained and all that. Phlox VOs to Dr. Lucas that most of his work is very routine, with only the occasional emergency.
Phlox has now arrived in the Mess Hall and is looking around at various crew members as he continues audioing, "And you'll be pleased to hear that the crew finally seems to be growing accustomed to an alien doctor on board. I must admit I wasn't planning to stay this long, but the opportunity to observe your species on their first deep space venture has proven irresistible." Reed dashes by, and Phlox tries to get him to have dinner with him. Unfortunately, the writers, being of the mind that they gave him too much face time last week, make Reed run off, not to be seen for virtually the rest of the episode. On the strength of that, I completely understand if you decide to stop reading at this point. Phlox VOs that "it's a bit daunting, at first, trying to socialize with the crew, form friendships, but our profession guarantees that sooner or later, everyone comes to see us. It makes interaction quite a bit easier."
Now we're back in sick bay, and Phlox is examining an upper G.I. scan. "It's just a little gastrointestinal distress," Phlox says, turning to Cpt. Quantum. Wow. I'd have thought that was a shout-out if they hadn't been so set on misdirection comedy. Quantum subsequently turns to the "patient" actually being examined. It's Porthos. Aww! "He hasn't been himself, lately," Quantum says with furrowed brow, as he ruffles Porthos's ears. Gee, must be all that cheese you're not supposed to be giving him. And because Phlox and I are just so making with the synching bio-rhythms, he says, "Well, you've been feeding him cheese, again, haven't you?" Phlox asks. "You've got to learn how to say no, Captain." Quantum tells Porthos, "No more dairy products. You hear that? Doctor's orders." You could stand to slack off a bit yourself, there, Cpt. Boursin. Phlox audios some more about being amazed how humans forge "such intimate bonds with lesser creatures." Hey, you just watch your mouth, there, Phloxy; I've got two felines here who attend MENSA meetings with the best of them. Okay, maybe just Poppadum does; Hunca Munca's really not that bright. "It's surprising what things you humans choose to invest your emotions in," Phlox VOs, as Quantum cradles Porthos and thanks him. Phlox tells the captain that Porthos was one of his "more cooperative" patients that day. "See all the trouble you cause?" Quantum asks Porthos as they walk out together. Hey, buddy? Don't blame the pooch; you're the enabler of this cheese addiction. Phlox audio-muses about the Captain anthropomorphizing Porthos because he talks to him. "Although I'm fairly certain it has no idea what he's saying. Then again, I've been known to speak to my Pyrithian bat on occasion," Phlox sniffs to himself.