"Huh, it's their Movie Night tomorrow,” Pamela said, sitting in quarters while Blair folded a uniform.
"I know. I got four invitations. Maybe a fifth since we arrived, so that's a good one a day. Haven't checked messages yet today. How many did you get?"
"Eight. No, nine. I bet we got duplicates, some guy hedging his bets,” she smiled slightly, “I've deleted mine."
"Yeah. Nothing imaginative there. Usual stuff, come to the movies with me, I'll share my popcorn with you, uh, it's all so dull. Same, same, same,” Pamela yawned.
"They're sweet. Well, except for the one that wanted to show me the Port Thrusters. Gawd."
"You're not interested in any of them anyway, Claymore."
"Nope. A certain special someone is gonna get lucky tomorrow night."
"Good thing. I keep watching you circle each other like cats. Still, good to know a girl's got options. The suit was a nice touch when we arrived. Got 'em all hot and bothered."
"I can't pull it off like you can, Pam,” Pamela glared at her, “Uh, Pamela. You know, you and I have known each other for two years and you have never let me call you Pam."
"Nobody else gets to call me that, either. As for me pulling it off, heh, it's two things. One, leave a little something to the imagination. That's why I don't arrive wearing anything short or low cut. Let 'em wonder what's underneath all that fabric. And the other thing is – you definitely help out."
"Me?" Blair closed a drawer and sat at a desk.
"Yes. We've got the whole good girl-bad girl yin-yang thing going on. Makes for a great contrast. They look at you and they think 'fresh-scrubbed'
. They look at me and they think ...."
"They think 'hot sex'
,” Blair finished the sentence for her.
"Yep. And that's the idea. Get 'em worked up and wondering, and see if any of them can be imaginative. 'Course then we end up here and they're all engineers and whatnot and they think of screwdrivers rather than other things most of the time."
There was a communications chime.
"It's your PADD, not mine,” Blair said.
"Hmm,” Pamela looked, “Now this is interesting."
"Oh? Can I see?"
"Nope. This is, ha, it's a poem."
"It's anonymously sent,” Pamela shut off the PADD.
"Aren't you going to read it?"
"Not while you're sitting here."
"Very well,” Blair said, “You gonna give that one the time of day?"
"Maybe more, if I'm so inclined."
There was a chime at the door, “Come in,” Blair said.
"Oh, uh, hi, ladies,” It was Travis, “Do you, uh, do you remember me?"
"Pilot, right?" Blair asked.
"Yes,” he said, “And, uh, these are for, they're for both of you,” He held out a bouquet, cut from the Botany Lab's excess.
"Well, that was very, uh, charming of you,” Pamela said, taking them.
"Are you going to Movie Night?" he asked.
"Sure,” Blair said, “What's playing?"
"Something called 'Dirty Dancing'
,” he said.
"Maybe it's an instruction manual for the party the night afterwards,” Pamela said.
Travis raised an eyebrow slightly. So far, so good, “And, I was wondering if you would, uh, both like to join me, uh, us, for dinner tonight."
"Us? Who's us?" Blair asked.
"You met them the first day. Lieutenant Reed and Commander Tucker. Unless you have to study."
have to study,” Pamela said, “But we blow ..." she paused for just a second "it off whenever something better comes along."
"Uh, okay,” Travis squeaked out, “Eighteen hundred hours in the cafeteria,” He left.
"Oh, that was too cute,” Blair said, “Think he's your poet?"
"Not a chance,” Pamela said, “Plus the whole flowers thing is the very nadir of predictability. If someone brings over chocolates or perfume then I'll just gag."
"I should get ready then. Leave you to your poem and all,” Blair said, grabbing a towel, “Happy reading."
"Captain, we've got interesting readings,” T'Pol said.
"How interesting?" Jonathan inquired.
"Neutron pulses. Emanating from the vicinity of heading 107 mark eight,” she replied.
"A natural phenomenon?" Malcolm asked.
"Possibly,” T'Pol responded, “There are no discernible patterns as of yet."
"Well, let's keep an eye on them,” said the captain, “And if they become a tactical issue, then we'll see what to do next, Lieutenant,” he said to Malcolm.
"Yes, of course, Captain,” said Reed.
"What kinds of unnatural phenomena could explain it?" asked Jonathan.
"Nuclear munitions testing or usage could explain it. The randomization could be intentional, to make it appear as it were a natural phenomenon when perhaps it's anything but,” Malcolm said.
"However, nuclear medical facilities could give off these pulses in a manner that would appear to be randomized,” T'Pol pointed out.
"Hoshi, get me Tripp,” Jonathan said.
"Sure. Go ahead."
"Tripp, we're getting readings of neutron pulses. Will those be a problem?" Jonathan asked.
"Don't think so,” Tripp said, “Keepin' an eye on 'em from here but I think they're just fluctuations. There's no planets out here and stars are a ways away. Could be the remains of a comet trail, too. Tell Travis to steer clear of the worst of it. He should be back soon. Thanks for lettin' me borrow him to do a little testing on Shuttlepod One. Tucker out."
"Ah, Travis, you're back. Take us in closer." Jonathan said.
Pamela read it again, just to see if the poem really said what she thought it did.
A golden lady, a star to shine
A small, shy and elusive smile
Can I ever hope to make her mine?
For eternity, or just a little while?
A stormy sea, a tempest's rage
A thing that cannot be contained
As passion pours upon the page
The knave waited while the Queen reigned
A fire burning, a torrid blaze
A healing thought, a desired touch
As stars turn lonely nights into yearning days
And the knave hopes his feelings are not too much
I know that this is happening very fast
I cannot be your first lover, so let me be your last
She turned off the PADD when Blair came back into the room, “Aren't you going to change?" she asked Pamela.
"Uh, yes, just a sec,” She emerged from the small bathroom several minutes later.
"That's kind of over the top,” Blair said.
"You've seen my 'over the top'
,” Pamela said, “You know this is pretty normal for me."
"Those pants are too tight on you."
"If I can still breathe and walk, they aren't."
It was pizza night.
The cafeteria was crowded and loud.
"Y'know, I like Chef's cooking and all," Tucker yelled above the din, "but I've had better pizza in Manhattan. Why does everyone line up as if it's the last time they're ever gonna see pizza?"
"I'm sure I don't know,” Malcolm said, scraping cheese off a slice.
There was a slight whistling sound. They looked up. Blair was wearing jeans and a white sweater. Pamela had on menswear-type pants with a grey pinstripe, and a green wrap sweater that was open enough to reveal just a hint of ecru lace.
Malcolm stood up first. He'd always been taught that. Stand in the presence of a lady, “Good, good evening,” he said, pulling out a chair.
Travis just stood there, entranced. Tripp smiled and said, "Uh, ladies? Do we need to reintroduce ourselves?"
"No,” Pamela said, “Mayweather, right? Pilot. Fast-moving equipment."
"And you're Tucker. Engineer. Lots of power."
"And you're Reed,” she paused, “Big. Gun,” Her eyes flashed slightly.
Malcolm swallowed, “Wish I could think of something witty to say."
"That's all right,” Pamela said, “I put you on the spot,” she sat down across from him, “Do we, uh, do we get in line?"
"No, no, I'll take care of it,” Travis said, “Any preferences?"
"Mushroom, please,” said Blair.
"Something with meat,” Pamela said.
"Do you, uh, do you specialize?" Tripp asked, “I mean, Dr. Phlox is kinda a generalist but that's just 'cause he's here."
"Obstetrics,” Blair said.
"Plastic surgery,” Pamela replied.
"Lotsa happy outcomes for both of ya,” Tripp said.
"Or not so happy ones, I'd guess,” Malcolm said, “Stillbirths and the like. And disfigured people."
"Yes,” Pamela said, “Every specialty is like that – you have all sorts of things you can do that are or can be positive, coupled with a lot that can be really horrific. That's a part of what makes medicine so compelling. You have tragedy infusing every triumph, or it can. That depth of feeling can really make you feel alive."
"Two mushroom, two pepperoni,” Travis produced the plates with a flourish.
"Thank you,” Blair said, “You guys were in the Xindi War, right?"
"Yes, we stopped the weapon from reaching Earth,” Malcolm said, “Lost some good people that way."
"And now we've got peace with the Xindi,” Pamela said, “And our classmate, you met Stoney – er, Mark Stone? His mother is the first ambassador to 'em since we made peace."
"We all know about Emily Stone,” Tripp said, “Huge political appointment. I try not to think about politics – give me an engine any day."
"We haven't seen you for a few days,” Travis said, “Lots of work?"
"Oh, yes,” Blair said between bites, “Dr. Phlox and Dr. Keating-Fong are really drilling us. I've barely looked up for the past four, five days. Is it four days, or five?"
"Five,” Pamela said, “Good thing it's break time. Movie Night tomorrow, then the party the next day, plus our instructor heads back to the Vulcan home world for a few weeks of lectures and whatever."
"You're, you're attending Movie Night?" Malcolm asked.
"Oh, sure,” Pamela said, “I just want to look at the old fashions. When is that movie from?"
"Twentieth century,” Travis said.
"They did look pretty funny then,” Blair said.
Captain Archer sat with T'Pol, Dr. Phlox and Dr. Keating-Fong in his private dining area, “The beef stew was really good,” he said to the server.
"I'll be sure to tell Chef,” said Crewman Delacroix as he cleared the plates.
"Captain, I'll be leaving you soon,” Dr. Keating-Fong said, “And while my charges are all grown men and women, they can be a bit, shall we say, sophomoric at times. The party might be a bit out of hand, so be aware of that."
"Well," Jonathan said, "we were all young once."
"So you won't be attending the festivities?" asked T'Pol.
"Me, no. I've seen plenty of them. Everyone bends over backwards to make nice with Ambassador Stone's son. And, I have a rendezvous with your people anyway. I'm going to be giving a few lectures on extinct tropical diseases, like dengue fever and Hansen's disease."
"Dr. Keating-Fong here is a foremost specialist on such things. Don't let her modesty fool you, Commander,” Phlox said.
"Actually, I bet that Phlox here is the only one of us who'll be at the entire party,” Captain Archer said, “T'Pol will be on shift, you'll be gone," he indicated Dr. Keating-Fong, "and I've got a date with a book."
"A book?" Phlox asked, “Surely you can read a novel another time."
"It's a play. Much Ado About Nothing
"Shakespeare? Captain, I didn't think you were the type,” Dr. Keating-Fong said.
"It's a compelling story."
"At least try to come before the very end of it,” Phlox suggested, “I'm sure Shakespeare can wait."
"You're right. He's been dead for centuries. He can wait another day or so.”