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The Inner Fright

Enterprise and the docked Vulcan ship near the Arachnid Nebula, and Quantum dances about the bridge with ill-contained excitement. It comes as no surprise to anyone but Quantum's pea brain that the nebula is actually larger than what was reported in his elementary school Abracadatlas. Hoshi humorously suggests that they chart the thing and send their findings to Addison-Wesley for the next reprint, but since this might take several weeks with their crude instruments, Tavin suggests they consider the Vulcan ship and all its technological riches at their complete disposal. Quantum is thrilled, and volunteers T'Pol's services to monitor the data from the Vulcan ship. "Glad you dropped by," Quantum says pompously, and orders Maywhew to take them into the nebula.

Vulcan ship, Vahklas. T'Pol and B'Stiller take readings in some sort of observatory. The panoramic view of the glowing nebula from the observatory's window adds to the romantically scientific atmosphere. The two Vulcans manage to agree that the nebula is "aesthetically pleasing," and B'Stiller seizes the opportunity to probe deeper into T'Pol's business. T'Pol observes a Yoda action figure posed on a lit display shelf and comments, "It's curious that people who reject Surak's teachings would display his likeness." B'Stiller has to once again explain to those just tuned into this episode that they don't reject logic, and consequently Surak's rubrics, just how they're "interpreted." B'Stiller paces around T'Pol, hands clasped behind his back, and inquires as to whether she's ever actually read Surak's original works. That's like asking Quantum if he's ever read the Bible. Actually, I'm not really sure where I'm going with that, so never mind. "He never intended us to purge our emotions, he wanted us to master them and then carefully integrate them into our lives," B'Stiller pontificates. T'Pol thinks that many might argue with that. "That doesn't mean we're wrong," B'Stiller points out, aping Brigham Young. T'Pol asks him what he did on Vulcan before he left. "I taught literature at the Shirkar Academy," he tells her, and she comments that he "gave up a great deal" to go evangelizing around the galaxies. "I don't have any regrets. I always knew there had to be more to life than just logic and reason," B'Stiller replies. "Haven't you ever felt that way?" he asks. "Not recently," T'Pol tells him, which of course means that B'Stiller has to find out when she did feel that way. I don't know why he wants to know; he's just going to be so scandalized when he finds out that she plumbed the depths of depravity by eating with her fingers. Not. T'Pol doesn't really want to go into her sordid past with him, and says she must take her data back to Enterprise. Of course, B'Stiller has to pull the soap-opera-ish move of stopping her just as she's about to leave. "T'Pol, you said that you meditated each night. Tonight? Don't. See what happens. I think you'll find that your dreams will be far more interesting," B'Stiller says silkily. T'Pol looks to be on the point of refusing when B'Stiller says, "You're a scientist, consider it an experiment." B'Stiller turns his back on T'Pol and continues studying his readings, leaving T'Pol to absorb his dictum. Another soap opera move. I think the actor playing B'Stiller wasn't capable of mastering the Vulcan eyebrow raise, so the make-up crew had to mold one of his eyebrows into a permanent elevated state. It's the only logical answer to why he never changes expression.

Mess Hall. We enter the middle of a conversation where Trip is asking his Vulcan acolyte, Kov, where he "heard that." "A Vulcan anthropologist told me he'd seen the ritual during an Earth expedition," Kov tells him. Trip sighs and says, "They're not trying to kill the quarterback. They're just trying to keep him from throwing the ball or running with it. It's only a game, not a fight to the death." Oh, fine: heh. Kov shows signs of burgeoning football enlightenment, and Trip comments that he must think humans are "a bunch of barbarians." Isn't that what all Vulcans think of humans? It's not like this should be news to them after living with the pointy race for over one hundred years. Kov affirms that humans have a barbaric reputation, "but I've always suspected the stories were exaggerated." Trip urges him to "set the records straight" with all his friends, and Kov is very happy to fulfill that mission. Now it's Trip's turn to be culturally inquisitive. Sex. He wants to know about sex, doesn't he? "Well, I've learned about your marriage customs, how your parents arrange the whole thing when you're young, stuff like that. But…what about…you know?" Trip asks eloquently. Kov, superior intellect that he is, says, "Ah! You mean, sex." The Mess Hall gets quiet, and everyone looks at them. Trip looks uncomfortable. It's kinda amusing. Don't get carried away. I said "kinda"! These days, I'll take what I can get. "It's not a topic I've heard Vulcans discuss," Trip says. Kov tells him, "Well, we do have it, if that's what you're asking."

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