It was the next day, right after dinner. Blair and Pamela were in quarters.
"Not too much of that perfume,” Blair said, “You know it can give me a headache."
"Oh yeah, sorry. It just never seems to last long enough. Ha, story of my life,” Pamela said, putting the bottle down. The label read: 'Toxic
"Are you gonna hook up with your poet friend tonight?"
"I'm still not certain who it is."
"It could even be Doctor Phlox,” Blair pointed out.
Pamela made a face, “Not into aliens. Really
"Oh, I'd've thought you'd like the variety."
"Blair, Blair, Blair, there are plenty of variations that are possible with human males."
"I can imagine."
"I could sketch some for you,” Pamela offered, smiling.
"Huh, no. TMI. Anyway, back to figuring out who your poet is. How are you going to determine that?"
"Collect data. Process it,” Pamela thumped her left temple once, “Reprocess if necessary. Then act. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow."
"Ah. And how are you going to collect this data?" Blair asked, slipping on a bangle bracelet.
"I read a little. Seems there's going to be a discussion about the movie afterwards. So I'll make it a point of staying, and I figure the candidate may very well be among anyone who sticks around."
"Possibly. That's not foolproof."
"Well, of course not, but it does give me an opportunity to lay out some bait and see who," she paused for a second to adjust her lipstick, "bites."
Blair smiled, “I'll probably skip most of that performance. I imagine we'll be outta there right afterwards."
"As you should be,” Pamela said, “Now, ready?"
"There's more organic matter coming through,” Jonathan said, “Can you check, Malcolm, see if it's affecting any of our tactical systems?"
"Of course, sir. I'll see to it personally."
Movie Night was well-attended.
"Ladies,” Tripp said when he saw them, “We got seats right here. Scootch down, Travis."
Blair sat between Travis and Tripp. Then Pamela on the other side of Tripp, “Should I save this other one?" she asked.
"Yeah, I think Reed got caught up with stuff,” Tripp said.
The rest of the medical class sat behind them.
A tall Ensign got up at the front of the room, “Boys and girls!" he called out. People quieted down to listen, “For those of you who don't know, my name is Chip Masterson and I am your Movie Guy. I'd like to welcome our guests from the Nereid Medical Academy. Now, it's customary for me to talk a little about the movie beforehand and then, afterwards, if you like, we can discuss it a bit. I don't normally get a lot of people discussing the films so I'm hoping you'll join me."
"Oh, that sounds interesting,” Pamela said quietly.
"Really?" asked Tripp.
"Sure,” she said, and then indicated the front of the room, “We should listen."
"This film is called 'Dirty Dancing'
,” said Chip, “It stars, uh," he consulted a PADD, "Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. The film came out in 1987 but it takes place over twenty years before that. One thing you might not be aware of is that the soundtrack is mixed. Part of it is period music from the 1960s and a part is original works from the 1980s. This was probably intended to both sell more copies of the soundtrack and have the music better play in with the action on the screen. We'll talk about that afterwards, see if you can figure out which is the newer music written specially for the film, and which are the older pieces. A few other things you should know: the Catskill Mountains had a bunch of resorts. And the Peace Corps was a volunteer organization whereby mostly very young people would fly around the globe and do things like teach school in developing countries. It was considered to be a mainstay of idealism, kind of shorthand for being a good person. And that's all I'll say about that. Don't want to spoil it for anyone. Oh and this film is being shown at the request of me and the folks in the Engineering Department, and is dedicated to our guests. And now, without further ado, 'Dirty Dancing'
. Roll it, Aidan."
A figure appeared to the side as the lights were dimmed, “This seat taken?"
"Uh, I guess not,” Pamela said.
"So everything is all right?" T'Pol asked.
"Yes, it appears so. Tactical is unaffected,” Malcolm said.
"Very well. Stand down, Mr. Reed."
Travis was the only one to realize Blair had put her hand back behind her and was holding hands with ... someone. It could have been any of her fellow students. He shrugged. Oh, well.
Tripp leaned back, yawned, and tried to put his arm around Pamela. She leaned forward, eluding him for the moment and instead looked at the man on the other side of her. Tripp put his arm back to where it had been.
Malcolm saw Dr. Phlox as he was walking over to Movie Night, “I see you're late, too,” said the doctor.
"Yes. More's the pity."
"I didn't think you were a fan of musicals,” Phlox paused for a moment, “It's not the movie, is it?"
"No, it's not,” Malcolm said, looking down a little as they walked.
"Your mating rituals do fascinate me. Always a complicated minuet of sorts. Mind if I observe?"
The lights came up. Pamela realized who she'd been sitting with, “Captain! I didn't think you would attend."
"Oh, it's good to be out and about at times, Doctor,” he replied, “Got plans for now? Most of the crew leaves and goes about their business, I understand."
She smiled, “There's supposed to be a discussion. I thought I'd hang around for that. Will you?"
"Hmm. All right,” he said, “But don't expect any big insights from me,” he smiled.
"I probably won't have any, either,” she said.
"All right. Ha, this is a great turnout,” Chip said, “Let's put our chairs in a circle. And Captain! I am pleasantly surprised."
"Well, I like to support what my crew is doing,” Jonathan said, “But, uh, don't count my insights any more than anyone else's."
"Come on over Doctor, Lieutenant,” Chip said, “Aidan, get some chairs, yeah, there. Okay."
Tripp sat next to Crewman Haddon. Then Travis, going around clockwise, then Chip, Malcolm, Aidan MacKenzie, Mark Stone, An Nguyen, Captain Archer, Dr. Phlox and Pamela on the other side of Tripp.
Chip began, “Let's start with the music. I'll play a little from a song and you'll figure out if it's 1960s or 1987. Ready?" He tapped a bit on his PADD.
The song went as follows:
Love is strange
A lot of people take it for a game
"Okay, sixties or later, show of hands,” Chip said, “Looks like seven for the sixties, four for later. Sixties is right. Next."
The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I'd never let you go
"Later,” Pamela guessed.
"Nope. Sixties,” Chip said, “One more."
Now I've had the time of my life
No I never felt like this before
This time it was unanimous. Everyone guessed later, “Very good!" Chip said, “Now, what's the difference?"
"The instruments differ,” Malcolm said, “And the recording for the second one, it seemed, I don't know, a lot of sound."
"The Wall of Sound. Phil Spector,” Chip explained, “Okay, now let's talk about the relationship."
"I don't know if it was so, uh, believable,” Tripp said, “It's just, it's really unequal."
"Yes,” Pamela said, “He's like the knave and she's the Queen."
"No, not a Queen,” Travis said, “A princess, maybe. Rich but not in charge. I mean, she's called 'Baby'. That's not what you call someone in charge."
"It's still uneven,” said Deb Haddon, “I mean, she's really sheltered, and he's just some guy. Kinda makes you wonder what they'd have to talk about if they got married. When he's not dancing, he's just kind of, well, he's good to look at but not really that smart."
Pamela laughed, “He's also more of a man of the world than she is a woman of the world, even though she wants to go overseas. Poetry in motion when they move together, and it makes you wonder about how they move together otherwise."
"Otherwise?" Aidan asked. He was dark and very attractive. She hadn't met him before. Could be fun but definitely not the poet.
"Well, dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire. Or am I the only one who knows that?" Pamela asked.
"You're the only one who thinks that,” Mark said.
"No, probably not the only one thinking it. Just the only one expressing it openly,” Phlox said, “Minuets, indeed."
Blair and Will were in her quarters.
Things were getting steamy.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked her.
"Yes, yes, of course! We've been going out for almost a year,” she panted.
"I know. And I love you. But I want to be sure about this. And I want you to be sure."
"Will, I've done this before,” she said.
"I know. Just ... want it to be special."
"It is,” she said, “Because it's with you."
He kissed her, her back bending over the bed as she threw her head back. He kissed her neck and she sighed a little. Carefully, he removed her top. She smiled at him, “It's getting very warm in here. You are definitely overdressed, Will Owen."
He grinned at her and took off his shirt, a lot more zealously than he'd taken off her top.
"Very nice,” she said.
"You've seen this part before."
"Well, it never gets tiresome. Now let me see more."
He didn't need another invitation. “You turn me on like nobody else,” he said, bending his head down and kissing her.
"Even though we're so different?"
"I like the contrast,” he said, “You're not Aussie."
"You know what I mean,” She said, “The visual part, not my accent."
"Yes, I know, California girl,” he said, kissing her, “And I love the color of your skin. The difference means nothing to me."
"Good,” she said, lying down on the bed, “Now come closer and we'll really see contrast."
He moved slowly and carefully, and kissed her, hard, arms around her back, close, close, closer than close. He let her go and she sighed at him.
She finally opened her eyes, “Why did we wait so long to do that, Will?" she breathed.
He smiled at her, “It just had to be right."
"Okay, looks like we're wrapping up here,” Chip said, “Next week is another musical."
"Is the Engineering Department into musicals or something?" Pamela asked.
"We just figured you ladies might like 'em,” Tripp explained.
"They're okay. A lot of fantasy. Not that there's anything wrong with that,” Pamela replied.
"Next week is 'Grease
',” Chip said, reading off his PADD, “Starring, erm, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and some old pros like, uh, Frankie Valli and Eve Arden."
"I bet that last one's a made-up name,” Travis said.
"Yeah, it's familiar. Arden, Arden. Where do I know Arden from?" Tripp said, not able to put his finger on it.
"Yeah, it's, I don't know,” Jonathan said.
"Forest of Arden,” Malcolm said, speaking for the first time in a while, “It's from 'As You Like It'
"Shakespeare,” Pamela said, “This film wasn't exactly Shakespearean. I'm guessing that a film called 'Grease'
won't be, either."
"Probably not,” he replied, “Low versus high-brow culture, I'd say."
"I gotta go study,” said An.
"Me, too,” said Pamela, “I have data I have to process. Good night."
She followed An out, “Going to the Sick Bay lab?"
"Yes, as if it's your business."
"It's not. But I'm going there, too."
"And then making a conquest?" he asked, annoyedly.
"No. Pulling an all-nighter. And not the usual kind."
"So I'll be treated to your company,” he said sarcastically.
Will and Blair lay together.
"I love you,” she said.
He smiled at her, “Do you want to meet my mum?"
"Oh, Gawd. I dunno. That's an even scarier step than this was."
"I promise she doesn't bite."
Sick Bay at oh three hundred hours was a cacophony of sounds. Phlox was in and out, mostly out, “Rest period for me,” he had explained.
Pamela and An worked through the night.
"That's the third time you've titrated the same sample,” he said to her.
"Yeah, well, I'm kinda tired."
"Why don't you go back to your quarters? You're no good here."
"Don't you know? Claymore and Owen are hitting it as we speak."
"Hot damn. It's about freakin' time,” he said, “Look, uh, don't take this the wrong way,” he yawned.
"What am I taking the wrong way?"
"Me offering you Owen's bed."
"Oh?" she arched an eyebrow.
"For sleeping purposes and nothing more. I got a spare bed and you need one."
"True,” she said, “Don't tell me you play on Stoney's team."
"No. Just because I don't want to make your teeth rattle does not make me a gay man,” An said.
"Yes, you're right. Truce?"
"Truce. C'mon, before you break a beaker or something."