Quantum doesn't really care about his dermatological hang-ups, and asks how his ship masked its ion trail. Instead of answering, Pop writes a sidebar about how clever and resourceful his captain has to be in order to survive in the Expanse. "So you were forced into piracy," Quantum states. Pop takes a really long time and a lot of speechifying to agree with that. Apparently, the Osaarians were just plain old merchants until they hit the Expanse and couldn't get out again. They lost a ship, they got bitter and didn't have therapists, so they became predators and hunted other ships that got tangled in this space-age Bermuda Triangle. "It takes time to learn to kill without remorse. You're not prepared to kill or torture. Not yet," Pop scoffs at Quantum. Yes, yes, we all read The Things They Carried -- get on with it. Quantum says he's prepared to do what it takes to find his ship, "and if that ends up causing me remorse, then it's something I'm willing to live with." With the predictable scene that comes up later, it's hard not to think Quantum was giving in to his ego in order to prove to Pop that he's just as scrappy as anyone else in the Expanse. I say the scene is predictable because UPN and Bermaga never gave me the chance to wonder about it -- not with all those promos. Quantum tells Pop to think about it, and leaves.
Situation room. T'Pol tells Quantum that the information they downloaded from the murdered ship shows that those poor creatures were also about to go after the Osaarians, but their life support failed before they could make a move. Since the murdered aliens found a way to modify their sensors to track the masked ion trail of the Osaarians, May-Commented-Out has started pursuing a modification course of their own. T'Pol reports that their hull plating is back online, and that they should have phase cannons within the hour, but Reed is still having brainfarts when trying to compensate for the anomalies on the torpedo guidance system. Quantum decides to help Reed out in the armory.
But he's not going to find him, because Reed's in the Mess Hall getting himself a cup of "black tea, hot." Oh, just say "Earl Grey" already! Reed sees Trip poring over some e-pads and asks if he's finished rewriting the physics books. "I don' think I'll be taking home the Nobelle Priiiize anytime soon," Trip drawls. I don't think I'll be surprised by that anytime soon. Malcolm tries to suggest to Trip that he should get some sleep, and then asks if he's still having trouble sleeping. Trip sighs and says, "T'Pol's been tryin' to help. Showing me how to stimulate my neural nodes." Reed looks intrigued. "It's not what you think," Trip says, catching the look. "I wasn't thinking anything," Reed says innocently. Trip asks about the weapons. "The Captain and I managed to bring the guidance systems online, but I'm going to need more time for the aft launchers. Fuller knew those torpedo systems better than anyone. He won't be easy to replace," Reed finishes, looking into his empty mug. Uh, except that Fuller was a she...? Trip looks down. "Considering all the hostile aliens we've met," Reed continues, "I suppose it's fortunate we haven't lost more people." Trip darkly doubts that Fuller'll be the last. Reed tells him not be cynical. Reed, honey, your lip gloss is sparkly and everything, but it's not being cynical to note the reality of the situation. Trip comments, "Every species we run into seems to be gunning for us. We might as well paint a giant bull's-eye on the hull." Hee -- can they please do that? Reed wonders if Trip thinks they should just turn tail back to Earth. "All I'm sayin' is that this mission, whether it succeeds or not, is lookin' like a one-way ticket all the time." I think he means it's looking more like a one-way ticket all the time. Maybe it's the wine (it's finally five o'clock here), but Trip is looking cuter to me all the time. Actually, screw the wine, I think it's the fact that he makes me laugh more than any other character on this show. To copy those annoying personals, "Kissing every day is sexy; laughing every day is sexier." I met an old college friend of the Evil Dr. Mathra at a wedding, and he was going on and on about how much the Evil Dr. Mathra made them laugh at school. He finally turned to me and asked, "You're married to him -- do you laugh every day?" Yes, I do. No matter what kind of day it's been, I always do. It's strange, too, because he's so quiet and downplayed that no one ever suspects what a freakin' goof he can be.