"Oh, there you are, Lili was considerably more alert. "I missed you last night."
Doug kissed her. "Doc said you needed to sleep. And I kinda needed to sleep flat. I won't, uh, I don't like sleeping without you."
She smiled and sat up. "Did you see anyone we know?"
"Yes, he said, I had a dream about Miva."
"Oh. Did you tell her how sorry we both are for her loss?"
"Yes, of course. She said, and man, I don't know how they do it, but she said she's still got her husband and while it hurts her, she's still kind of covered. She said she knows her counterpart is also a doctor on this side."
"Good to know, Lili said, I dreamed of Beth Cutler. She says Tripp, uh, she calls him Charles, she said he's getting better."
"I have a debriefing I need to get to. Spill all about the Defiant
. How do I, um, look? Keeping in mind you're probably already sick of this outfit."
"Perfectly fine, she said, We should buy you more clothes."
"And sexy things for you, he said, But I don't know how much of a budget we've got to work with. I, uh, I have an idea of how to help with that."
"I don't want to say until I make a few inquiries, okay? You can handle a little surprise, right?"
"Sure, she said, I'll be here; Jenny's going to come visit me and I'll probably also do a lot of sleeping. I love you."
"And I love you, he said, Now, I'd better go." he kissed her face and departed.
The Executive level staff were assembled in the Main Conference Room. Brian was setting out breakfast foods. "And, uh, we have two kinds of danish and there are muffins. Fruit over there, coffee and tea, and everything to go with it is over here."
"Crewman, you seem to be enjoying your new role, Malcolm said, grabbing a sesame bagel.
"Yes, sir. I'm thinking of enrolling at the Mars Culinary Institute. I'm gonna ask Ensign O'Day to put in a word for me."
"I'm sure she'll do that for you, Malcolm said, smiling a little tightly.
"All right," Jonathan said once everyone had sat down. "Hayes, you're on."
"First, I want to reiterate that I'm no engineer, Doug began. "And Tucker and Crossman can be reached, through either Lili or me, at any time. So you should talk to them, too, at some time. Tucker here, in particular, should talk to them."
"You do realize how I made contact with you last time, right?" Tripp asked. "I, uh, she and I, we ...."
"What Commander Tucker is trying to say is," Phlox said through the screen at Sick Bay, "that he and the Ensign crawled into her bed together."
"It was the for the purpose of making contact." T'Pol clarified.
"Uh, yeah." Tripp said.
"I'm sure you were a gentleman, Doug said, I do trust her, you know."
"Moving right along," Jonathan said, "the debriefing?"
"Yes, of course, Doug said, The Defiant
is around one hundred and fifty years later in design than the NX-01
. The main difference is, it's loaded with sensors. They are everywhere, and they have to be maintained at a level that's just not done here. The entire hull is one huge sensor grid. Every system is sensor-dependent. So here's what that means. Let's look at Tactical, which of course I know the best. It means that targeting is better and more accurate. It means that targeting takes into account not only X, Y and Z space coordinates but also the speed, pitch and yaw of the ship in a way that I know you just don't do right now."
"What sort of weapons does the Defiant
have?" Malcolm asked.
"Photon torpedoes, but way more banks than you've got. And phasers, not phase cannons. They're, um, phased energy rectification. They target and pinpoint synchronous light. I don't know all the physics of it wish I did."
"What about defenses?" Jonathan asked.
"Shielding, Doug replied. "Deflector shields, to be more precise. They work by returning energy to whatever blast you're receiving. Again, I don't know a lot of the specifics. They can and do fail, and more often than we'd like. Can't run the transporter while they're up, either."
"Fascinating, said T'Pol.
"What about navigation?" Travis asked.
"Again, it's related to all of those sensors, Doug said, drinking some more coffee. "More sensors means you can maneuver through difficult terrain more effectively. The computer can make many more calculations per millisecond, so you can avoid hitting asteroids and whatnot. Speed is better, too. We er, they do Warp seven all the time, and can crank it up to Warp nine but that puts a big strain on things. I don't think Warp ten is possible as the technology stands."
"And for fuel? What are they usin'?" Tripp asked.
"Dilithium crystals, Doug replied. "Some sort of a matrix."
"What about communications?" Hoshi asked.
"There are hand-held communicators. They flip open, just like yours do, but they're a bit bigger. Bigger ship communications are more powerful, more long-range. There's a, um, a thing that the Communications Officer sticks in her ear. Helps her hear better. Dunno what it's called."
"Is there a lot of translating?" Hoshi asked.
"Pretty much none, but it's possible that the Defiant
's language database the only part of the database that is really still fully intact has most if not all of the languages in the area already programmed in. If they go outside of the immediate neighborhood, I imagine translating might become necessary again."
"I guess I'm not obsolete yet, Hoshi said.
"Do you have information on the Science station?" T'Pol asked.
"I don't know much. I'm sure having more sensors helps in all sorts of ways I can't begin to think of. I do know that it's possible to pick out a human biosign with a lot more accuracy than you've got, and from a longer range. That gets tied into communicators, usually; the signal is bounced off and a transporter lock can be established much more easily. Wish I could tell you more, sorry."
"Do you have any information on medical?" Phlox asked.
"Pretty much none. There's a lot of complicated-looking equipment but I'm sure that Morgan doesn't know how to use it properly."
"Do you know anything about Command?" Jonathan asked.
"Some. I got put in charge a lot. Captain's chair has more communications options and a sensor readout on the armrest. Oh, and tricorders. Captain's got one that's more complex than everyone else's. They're, um, they record all sorts of input, sort of like the PADDs you've got. Small screen at the top, dial in the middle right, buttons on the side. You can patch them into the ship's computer and have it analyze whatever you're recording. They are kind of like portable sensor banks, I guess."
"Anything else you can tell us?" The Captain asked.
"Mostly just superficial things. Uniforms are different. Ship is brighter, both inside and out. Hull is very clean-lined."
"Hi, Jenny, Lili smiled.
"How you feeling?"
"Better. A lot better. I think we'll be out of quarters by late tomorrow or so."
"And then you're leaving, Jenny said, I'll miss you."
"And my chatty dreaming?"
"Yes, and your chatty dreaming. You seem, well, you seem really happy. Next time we get back to the Solar System, I'm gonna see Frank, Jenny smiled. "He, uh, he's really the best thing that's ever happened to me. Yanno, I know why you fell so hard, and so fast."
"It's 'cause, you just know."
The meeting was finally breaking up. It had been going on for hours. "Reed, can I ask you something?" Doug said.
"Certainly. Walk with me to the Bridge?"
"Sure. Uh, you mentioned me teaching hand to hand. You still think that's a viable option?"
"I don't see any reason why not. Brush off your marksmanship skills as well, I'd suggest."
"You, um, do you think it's at all lucrative?"
"You can check with Admiral Black, I suppose."
"I, uh, I just want to provide for her, Doug said.
"I should tell you what she said to me when she hugged and kissed me."
"I, you don't have to."
"But, I do, Hayes. It was, she just wanted me to know that when I fall, it'll be like that. Like what, what you have."
"I bet you fall hard, Doug said, It's like nothing else."
"What is it now?" Travis rolled to the side as the Empress peevishly answered a communications chime.
"We're free of the Lafa System." Ramirez said, Warp drive is coming back on line."
"Good. Now get to work on fixing the transporter. And get that rodent infestation out of there. I hate mice. Sato out."
But she'd failed to fully close the link, so Frank Ramirez was treated to the sounds of Hoshi and Travis hitting it.
"I'm sorry I was later than expected, Doug said.
"It's okay, you let me know. I mostly slept anyway. Dreamed of Jennifer. She said Treve was pardoned. Oh and I spoke with the other Treve, the one on our side, Lili said.
"We have a place to live, at least for a while. He says it's not very big."
"All it needs is a bed," Doug smiled at her and kissed her, "a stove, and a desk."
"Yes. You don't expect to go completely without outside communications, do you?"
"I suppose not. Oh and a big wooden table. 'Cause, um, we need to serve food. And, uh, maybe use it for ....." she teased.
"We'd better laminate it then."
"It'll get slippery, she said.
"It's either that, or splinters. And you don't want splinters there."
"This is what heavy tablecloths are for, Doug."
He yawned a little. "It's not the company, it's the hour."
"Here." she moved over a little in the small Sick Bay bed.
"Uh, okay, he said. He moved one of Phlox's stools over and drew the curtain around the bed. He took off everything but his tee and boxers. "Here, can you stand a sec?"
"Sure." she got up tentatively.
He got into bed and helped her in. "Here, put your head here." He kissed the top of her head.
"This is very comfortable, she said.
Phlox came in. "I'm getting interesting readings ah, that would be why. Lieutenant Commander, you do realize that you still have until tomorrow before you can attempt relations."
"I know, Doug said, But can I stay with her? You won't be far away. I'll let you know if she's in any, uh, distress."
"Very well, Phlox said, departing and drawing the curtain again.
"It is going to be odd," Doug said, "to lie here and not touch you, uh, that way."
"Well if I get pregnant you know you'll have nine long months without anything, as the doctor will have to undo the whole thing for the sake of, of, you know."
"Yeah, he said, We'd have to do a lot of math."
"I'm not too good at that."
"You do fine."
"Well, I can see that there's room for improvement." she admitted.
"You'll get better. Lili, do you think you'd ever take one of those nighttime, uh, lovers? Like the Calafans do."
"No. I'm all set. You're my, my, uh, mine."
"I thought you said not to say 'mine'." he pointed out.
"Well I really believe it now."
He turned her face back to him and kissed her carefully. "Oh, I have to tell you. My idea."
"Yes. Reed says he thinks I can teach hand to hand for Starfleet. Marksmanship, too."
"What would that entail?"
"I checked. Two weeks in San Francisco, a few times a year."
"I'd miss you."
"You'd come with me, Doug said.
"What if the restaurant needed me?"
"I, I think I'd need you more."
"Medical log, Dr. Phlox
, Phlox dictated nearby.
"Patient is a forty-eight year old human female. A pair of extensive procedures were performed in the pelvic region and on the reproductive organs in order to make intercourse with an unusually well-endowed human male possible. The implication is that, if the procedures are successful, that such a regimen could be duplicated in the case of human females desiring coitus with Klingon males and other larger and more powerful humanoid species, perhaps including Gorn. This procedure is not considered to be applicable to non-humanoid species."
He paused and sipped some water.
"Before discussing the technical aspects of the procedure, I'd like to add a personal note. It is not my intention to judge a patient's personal life or her choice of mate. Motivation can be difficult to determine but it should not be tainted with prejudgments about the rightness or wrongness of a particular union. I found that I was confusing this patient's circumstances with those of a family member, and the comparison was an unfair and inaccurate one. For the record, I would like to say that this patient is not entering into this procedure lightly. As for her, her significant other, while it is clear that such a procedure will be somewhat convenient for him if it is successful, I have also, I have, I don't believe I've seen such devotion."
Doug was sawing logs already. Lili smiled and leaned against his chest. "Tomorrow." she whispered.
It was a trial, that much Lili could tell.
It was the end of it.
"And you are hereby sentenced to potassium blockage." A judge on a five-Calafan panel said to the ruddy Polloria, who stood waiting for sentencing, leaning on a table as she took her weight off her injured ankle. "Do you have something to say?"
"No, Polloria said, I'm done."
The pale Polloria was then sentenced, to life in the prison.
The rest of the dream was a blur of officials talking. Lili recognized Treve amidst the pale faces, sitting with his siblings and father in the audience. There was a hand on hers, thumb caressing her fingers. She turned and it was Doug, sitting with her. He smiled at her as they awoke.
It was the morning already.
Phlox stirred and came in to check on them. "You're free to go, he said.
Doug helped her up, then dressed and helped her to dress.
"I will," Phlox said, "get some breakfast and then be back here in about an hour. So, um, take a little time before, er, diving back into things so that I can be prepared in case I am needed."
"Thank you, Lili said.
"Let's go, Doug said.
"Yes, but slowly. I can't really run this time."
"All right, he said, holding her hand. "Walk with me in the halls, and I'll show you off."
"I need a shower, she said.
"Me, too, he said, You, uh, owe me one."
"A shower, he said.