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The Inner Fright

The view from outer space shows that the Vulcan ship has docked onto Enterprise. They coast, side by side. Oh, the metaphor! The metaphor! Captain's Table. T'Pol, Quantum, Tavin, and another Vulcan break bread together, and it would seem that Trip got shafted on this particular occasion, as he's not there tying on his feed bag. My guess is, Quantum didn't want to scare off these unusually friendly Vulcans by presenting them with Trip gabbling as food falls out of his mouth in a constant dribble. Tavin tells Quantum that the High Command has been guilty of looking over their pointy shoulders as well. Quantum chuckles and says, "Well, that's good to know. I was starting to think they'd singled us out." As Ensign Waiter serves them, Quantum explains that he made an effort to procure Vulcan recipes for their benefit. Funny that they didn't seem to care as much about honoring T'Pol's eating preferences, other than making fun of her no-food-shall-touch-these-hallowed-fingers obsession. Tavin seems more interested in what Quantum's eating. "Oh, it's called 'chicken,'" Quantum tells him. "Oh, may I?" Tavin asks, handing his plate over. T'Pol looks at him in surprise. Quantum, also surprised, dishes up some poultry flesh. "It's, uh, meat, you know," he says, hovering over Tavin's dish. "It looks delicious," Tavin says. T'Pol passes the plate back to the Vulcan captain. The other Vulcan stranger at the table -- who looks like a creepier version of Ben Stiller -- raises an eyebrow and looks amused at the proceedings. We will see that this seems to be the only expression he draws upon for the rest of the episode.

In response to Quantum's query, Tavin tells him they left Vulcan eight years ago. "And in those eight years we've experienced more than most Vulcans will in their lifetime," B'Stiller says superciliously, giving T'Pol the once-over. T'Pol puffs her lips at him. Quantum prompts Tavin: "You said you were explorers?" "Yes, but it's not space we're exploring," he says, "it's ourselves." Great. So they're the Vulcan equivalent to those people I knew back in Minneapolis who, after high school, had to go to Utah or Colorado to "find themselves." What does that mean, anyway? As my dad once said, "I didn't know she was lost." T'Pol watches B'Stiller and Tavin enjoy their poultry flesh and gasps suddenly, "You're V'tosh Ka'tur!" Which, of course, is Vulcan for, "Tastes like chicken." Quantum's in a sociological fog, as per his typecasting, and pretty much "wha-huhs?" that. "'Vulcans without logic,'" Tavin explains. "It's the name the elders give to anyone who disagrees with the ancestral teachings, but it's not entirely accurate." He directs his speech at T'Pol and says, "We haven't abandoned logic; we've simply learned to exist without the need to continually repress our emotions." Quantum smothers a smile with his mashed potatoes as Tavin tells T'Pol that they've been experimenting for years. "But we've managed to find a balance between the two," Tavin finishes. T'Pol tells him that's "not possible." "Here we are," B'Stiller says, with that raised eyebrow and look of slight amusement, which is really getting annoying. Yum, a gimlet with Raspberry Stoli -- it puckers your kisser. Tavin delivers a lecture on logic being an essential part of the Vulcan existence, and how it needs emotions to complement it. "You must know a great deal about emotions," B'Stiller says to T'Pol, "you live on a human starship. That's not something that many Vulcans would be comfortable with." Quantum looks at T'Pol with interest, who tells B'Stiller that she is only there to observe. B'Stiller says, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." T'Pol tells him that it is impossible for her feel offended. Quantum tries to diffuse the pointy tension by ham-handedly changing the subject, and says Trip told him that the Vulcan repairs would take a few days. He invites the Vulcans to explore the Arachnid Nebula with them. Tavin is thrilled. So is Quantum.

Engineering. A few female crewmembers jiggle by, and another Vulcan notices their jiggles. "There are a lot of women on your ship," he says, glossing over Trip's comments about how screwed up the Vulcan engine is. Trip tells him that women make up about one third of the crew. "Is it true you mate year-round with any of them you choose?" the Vulcan asks. "You haven't been around humans much, have you?" Trip asks. The Vulcan tells him they're the first they've come across: "I've heard a lot of stories. Your people indulge their passions. Do you really eat six meals a day?" the Vulcan asks. Trip corrects him that humans only eat three meals a day. Speak for yourself, buddy. "And what about sleep? I understand you spend more than half the day in bed," the Vulcan comments. "Eight hours. We sleep for eight hours," Trip says. "In my case, about six." Because Trip's just SUCH a workaholic. Trip offers to school his intrepid Vulcan friend in all things human over a slab of food. The Vulcan is delighted: "I'd like that, Commander!" "Eh, call me 'Trip,'" Commander Trip commands. The Vulcan grins. Everyone is just being so chummy with each other -- it's peachy-keen!

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