Malcolm Reed and his love-life *** minor spoiler ***

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Echtzeit, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Masiral

    Masiral Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Aug 30, 2013
    Everywhere, and nowhere
    He's trapped in a metal box, slowly running out of oxygen and believes that he has almost no chance of surviving - I don't think he'd spend his remaining time composing letters to fictitious ex-girlfriends. And also, in that same episode, he dreams about T'Pol being sexually attracted to him.
  2. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 11, 2009
    Louisville Kentucky - Halliwell
    You know what though, as a gay guy, I could see things differently. Now bear with me. Let's say Reed has had a thing for Trip since Broken Bow. He was so into Trip in the pilot he talks about Tucker non stop with Travis, saying more than once Trip told him to keep his shirt on. Was that a phrase to tell Reed to be patient, or was it in some reference to Reed's attraction to him.

    So flash forward to Shuttle Pod One. Reed's alone, with his man, drinking booze, talking about old sex conquests. Reed wants Trips attention so he recited letters to make him jealous. And when the letter writing didn't do anything but annoy Trip, he switches gears to talking buddy buddy, wink wink, about T'Pols ass. And to prove how terrible gay he is, he can't even say ass, he says bum.

    (ETA: Don't give me any crap about his being British. Even if he was from Milwaukee he'd still call it a bum)

    Later in the episode, when he dreams of T'Pol, was it him desiring T'Pol, or was he just interested in what his man Trip saw in her. It's not a bromance. I see now Reed was in love with Tucker in all four seasons, and the Enterprise relaunch, to the point where he goes to rescue his man from the Romulans , takes him into his arms, and make love to each other in the shuttle pod. No wait that was Trip and T'Pol. And it was T'Pol who originally was going to go after Trip. But Reed, like any gay guy, aint going to let no Vulcan flusie take his man without a fight.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    First time I read that I mistook in for on.

    I'm better now.

  4. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 11, 2009
    Louisville Kentucky - Halliwell
    OMG I love you. :)
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Bumping this because I've discovered something that needs correction:

    Actually Phlox didn't say his family had 720 members -- he said there were 720 different relationships that existed among the various spouses, "42 of which have romantic possibilities." For instance, among Phlox and his three wives, there'd be one relationship each between Phlox and each wife, plus relationships between wife 1 and wife 2, between wife 1 and wife 3, and between wife 2 and wife 3, so that's six relationships among four people (twelve if you define, say, "Phlox's wife Feezal" and "Feezal's husband Phlox" as two separate relationships). Then there'd be each wife's relationships with her other two husbands, then her relationships with the other wife's two husbands, then each husband's relationship with each other husband, etc. So the number of relationships -- the number of possible pairings of distinct members of the family -- is significantly larger than the actual number of members of the family.

    Now, the tricky part is breaking down the actual numbers here, combinatorically speaking. How did the scriptwriters of "A Night in Sickbay" (or their technical advisors) arrive at the number of 720 different relationship combinations, 42 of which could be sexual? I'm guessing it's got to do with combinatorics. We're talking about the number of possible combinations of n marital partners taken 2 at a time, so we want n!/2!(n-2)! = 720 (where n! equals n-factorial, i.e. 4! = 1x2x3x4). Now, Phlox plus his three wives plus their two other husbands each is ten people, but 10!/2!(10-2)! = 45. Or if we disregard order (as in my Phlox/Feezal parenthetical) and do it as permutations, it becomes 10!/(10-2)! = 90 relationships.

    I can get 720 if it's 10!/(10-3)!, but then we'd have to define a relationship as being between three people, and that doesn't make sense.

    Okay, so what if we extend it one more tier? Each of those six husbands besides Phlox has up to an additional two wives, bringing the total number of partners to 22. 22!/2!(22-2)! = 231 -- still not there. Each of those 12 extra wives in turn has two other husbands, for 46 partners; 46!/2!(46-2)! = 1035. Now it's too much.

    Okay, so I can't get combinatorics to work. I'm starting to think Phlox just got his math wrong. Either that or he's defining "relationship" in a way that can include three or more people. Anyone else want to take a stab at the math?
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2001
    Burlington, VT, USA
    Just saw this thread (thanks to Christopher for the bump).

    Given what we observe of Reed, I can see it being the case that while there's no -need- for a gay man to be closeted by the time of ENT, due to his upbringing and general personality Reed has constructed a bit of a closet for himself regardless.

    Also, even if we assume that gay tolerance is the general rule by the time of ENT, I don't see any reason to assume it would be true for Reed's family.

    I have pretty liberal parents who took the news that I was gay fairly well (it rankles me a little that they still never take an active interest (i.e. they'll listen to me talk about gay matters but rarely bring them up on their own initiative), but I still didn't come out to them until I was 21 and had nothing to lose if they rejected me, even believing they probably wouldn't.

    My point is that it's easy to tell someone "Everyone will accept you, don't worry about it" but when you're the person with something to lose it can be a lot harder to accept for yourself...especially if you've had a fairly conservative upbringing and aren't open about yourself in general.
  7. YJAGG

    YJAGG Captain Captain

    Jun 3, 2013
    Baltimore, MD
    I worked with an openly lesbian dancer who "one day liked guys" married and happy now for 15 years, conversely another lesbian friend of ours had a gf that was married and straight for years before "changing teams" in both cases the women felt it was a bio chemical thing
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    More on Denobulan combinatorics: It occurs to me that those 720 relationships Phlox mentioned could include things like "First wife's father" and "Second wife's first husband's daughter." Now, I came up with 45 relationships among Phlox, his three wives, and their six other husbands, so they'd each need an average of 16 relatives one generation removed to add up to 720. If each had ten "parents" and an average of six children, that could do it.

    The problem is, it wouldn't stop there. Each of the six additional husbands would have two other wives, and each of those would have two other husbands, and so on. (Assuming that each individual shares only one spouse with each other same-sex individual, which seems to be the implication.) In theory, you've got an unlimited daisy chain of marital connections. So where's the cutoff? How many steps removed do you have to be before you're not considered a spouse anymore? Phlox seems to limit it only to his own wives and their other husbands, just two degrees. I guess that kind of makes sense, since presumably each wife would spend a fair amount of time with all three husbands, so he might see his wives' husbands relatively frequently and it would thus be reasonable to treat them as members of the family. But the farther away you get, the less likely you are to see those second-tier wives or third-tier husbands, except at big gatherings. (Although since Denobulans live communally in very crowded cities, you might see more distant-tier spouses all the time, just not in a closer setting than you'd see most anyone else. Heck, essentially every married person on the planet would probably be an nth-tier spouse of yours.)

    So that just leaves the question of how we work out those 42 relationships that have sexual possibilities. Since Berman & Braga wrote the line, they were probably limiting it to opposite-sex pairings. Three wives with seven husbands among them works out to 21 combinations, so we're only halfway there. But the total number of relationships among that group of ten is 45 -- so maybe all but three of the participants are bisexual? But no, three individuals rules out more than three relationships. If only one partner were strictly hetero, that would eliminate six possibilities right there.

    So maybe Phlox was counting "Phlox's wife" and "Feezal's husband" as two separate relationships -- permutative, not combinative. Which would mean we're talking 90 "relationships" among the group of ten, so each would only need eight parents and children to add up to 720. If only the two biological parents are counted, that gives two parents and six children for each individual who'd be counted as immediate relatives. Although that's somewhat contradictory -- if you count your wives' other husbands' children as yours, why wouldn't you count their parents' other spouses as well?

    But wait: If each wife is allowed to sleep with her fellow wives' husbands (hence having seven men to choose from instead of three), wouldn't each husband be allowed to sleep with his fellow husbands' wives? So we would have to count the additional 2 wives for each of the additional 6 husbands, adding another 12 women, so we've now got 15 women with 7 men, but that's far more than 42 combinations. It just doesn't add up.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    The visitor's bullpen
    Poor Phlox, having to deal with all those in-laws. :eek: :lol:
  10. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 21, 2005
    On the USS Sovereign
    6! Is 720 so perhaps someone miscalculated or did not recall how many wifes and husbands in Phlox's family? Why not assume multiple homo- and heterosexual pairings?
  11. Hando

    Hando Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 28, 2011
    Very well Christopher, this is a conundrum that I would like to take on. However before we reach for mathematical tools there are several issues that have to be addressed first, some of them have already been touched upon by you. Let us take a step back and consider what we know:

    F1) 720 different familial relationships
    I agree with you, that it should be 2-comination from set X without repetitions. Where X is the maximum number of family members. This gives 38 family members – actually 38 family members calculate to 703 relationships. 39 would be 741, too many relationships.
    This would point out that there are several relationships between the same 2 people.

    F2) There are 31 children in the family + 3x3 spouses
    If we have the same 3 husbands for the 3 wives, we can add 31+6 and gain 37, just under the 38 person mark, perhaps the 1 person is from the previous generation.
    But we are still missing 17 relationships. Could some of them be related by blood?
    If there are different husbands/wives then we have a problem.

    F3) 42 of which have romantic possibilities
    “Possibilities”, does that mean they are not involved at the present? So the husband-wife pairs are not included?
    “Romantic”, does that mean: is allowed to marry? Let us keep it simple – or not – and say this is the number of pairs that can have sex. So logically speaking, from Phlox’ point of view, with whom can he have sex? What are the obstacles: blood relationship, the law? Who is safe: “wife’s husband’s wife”, “wife’s sister”, “wife’s husband’s sister”, “father’s wife“, “wife’s husband’s daughter”, “mother-in-law”…

    42 can be divided into 2*3*7, which transfers to (Male;Female) composition (2;21), (21;2), (3;14), (14;3), (6;7), or (7;6). My money is on the last 2. We could probably find something out from this, but I am not sure what.

    Can we plot the whole Phlox family?

    I would truly request quotations from episodes as I am unsure on what exactly Phlox said and in what episode he said it.

    P.S. Wouldn’t it be better to open a new threat?
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Mar 15, 2001
    Oh, I overlooked the number of children.

    I don't think the three husbands are the same for each wife, because Phlox always says that each wife has two other husbands, suggesting they're a different pair of husbands for each. There's also this conversation between Phlox and Feezal from "Stigma":
    Assuming Kessil and Forlisa were part of the same family (which seems implicit given the confusion), that means that Forlisa's husband is not Kessil's husband. Therefore, the three wives are not sharing the same three husbands.

    I suppose it's possible that two wives could potentially share two husbands rather than one in some instances, but it seems like it's atypical.

    I think that last interpretation is most likely how Phlox meant it, given that it's in the context of a discussion about the complexities of Denobulan polygamy (and sex in general).

    Maybe, if it can be effectively separated from the other discussion.