After dinner, Pamela caught up with Hoshi. “Ensign, uh, Sato, right?"
"I'm Pamela Hudson. Mind if I ask you a question?"
"No, of course not. And I met you a few days ago. I remember,” Hoshi said.
"Oh, all right. We all get so caught up in tests and the like; I forget that not everyone is doing that."
"Oh, yes. How do you send an anonymous message? I thought that was somewhat impossible,” Pamela said.
"Ah, you got it."
"Yes, I got it. Did you read it?"
"No. I don't do that."
"Some special Communications Officers' oath or something?"
"I just, I promised I wouldn't. Anyway, to answer your question – I encrypt the message and hide the sender."
"I guess you can't get into details. And that's all right; I wouldn't know what to do with them anyway. God knows I'm no cryptographer,” Pamela admitted, “So I would, uh, go through you if I wanted to send a response to this anonymous person?"
"And you would, uh, assure that the message was delivered to the correct person?"
"Of course. Send whatever you like. I can get to it tomorrow morning."
"Hmm, well I'm not sure I want to send anything. Just want to know my options. And, uh, if another anonymous note is sent, would it be against your ethics to at least tell me if the two messages were from the same person?"
Hoshi shrugged, “I guess not. Look, I'm off for a workout. Like I said, send me a note and I'll take care of it."
Pamela returned to quarters. Blair was already back.
"Good, you're back,” Blair said, “Your damned PADD has been just chiming away."
"Huh,” Pamela looked over the notes and deleted them, “Last-minute invitations for tomorrow. Nothing exciting."
"No more poems?"
"No,” Pamela smiled slightly to herself.
"Do you know who the poet is?"
"I have a few ideas but nothing concrete. I mean, we don't know these people at all. So, assuming it's a man and assuming he's not one of our classmates, there are still some sixty or so possibles."
"Don't forget the doctor."
"Huh. Not into aliens,” Pamela said.
"And maybe there's some interested woman out there. Hey, you never know,” Blair said.
"No, this wasn't from a woman. The writer referred to himself and the reference was definitely male."
"I'm not gonna tell you, so don't even try to get it out of me,” Pamela said.
"All right. Um, I don't normally ask this, but," Blair said, "could you clear out tomorrow night? Please? It's, uh, you know why."
"Yes, I know why. And it's fine. You know I rarely sleep in my own bed most of the time."
"True. You know, two years ago, the first time you disappeared on me, I really worried. I was just about ready to call your parents when you walked in,” Blair said.
"Good thing you didn't tell them. I don't talk to them. You know that."
"I know, although you've never actually told me why. Still, I think they'd want to know if you were lying face down in a ditch somewhere, Pamela."
"But I haven't kissed a ditch so it's all right. And you remember what I told you, back then? I said you should only start to worry if you don't see or hear from me in three days. Have I kept up my end of that deal?"
"Yes, you have,” Blair admitted, “But I can't help worrying a little bit. You are a grownup and can take care of yourself. Still, I mean, isn't it all right for someone to worry about you?"
"I guess it's a little all right,” Pamela said, “But I am thirty-four years old and very experienced with this. I am not going to do anything truly stupid."
"Look, Pamela, I can't say as I can completely go along with that,” Blair said, “I know what happened with Henry."
"Cap'n, looks like it's a comet trail,” Tripp said through the communicator speaker.
"Oh? How do you figure?" Jonathan asked, sitting at the desk in his Ready Room.
"It's not just neutron pulses. There's also some organic material comin' through."
"Organic? Like what?"
"Seems to be carbons, proteins, not too well-organized and probably not alive. Theories suggest that life was brought to Earth by comets. This could be something similar."
"Any danger to the ship?"
"I doubt it. I s'pect these compounds could just pass through the ship and we'd barely know it had happened at all. Probably already has happened."
"Hmm. Well, keep monitoring."
"Sensors are a little tricky with this,” Tripp said, “I'm not so sure we're getting all of the readings we could be gettin'."
"You said this was not a problem,” Jonathan said.
"And it's very likely not. Still, our readings aren't perfect. So far, we're okay, but we might wanna skip away from the worst of it."
"I'll have Travis do that. Archer out."
"Oh, yes, The Henry Incident
,” Pamela made air quotes, “And just how much do you think you know?"
"I know you were in trouble,” Blair said cautiously.
"I'm always in trouble."
"No, this was different. I mean, even Henry looked a little concerned."
"Ha, that lummox never worried about anything in his life!" Pamela laughed a little.
"No, he was worried. Sheesh."
"But most likely not about me,” Pamela said, “More likely he was worried about himself."
"Look, right now we're on a starship, right? So unless someone shoves me out of an airlock, you basically know exactly where I am at all times, right? So don't concern yourself. And I will clear out as you requested – don't forget it's my willingness to do sleepovers that's going to clear the way for you and Lover Boy tomorrow night."
Blair smiled, “Yes, I guess so. Just don't want anything bad happening to you."
"I'll be fine. Now, what are you wearing tomorrow?"