Hypergiant. More pleasant male bonding between Capt. V. and Capt. Q where Capt. Q. invites the Vissians to Earth for potluck.
Vissian Engineering. Trip allows a few words regarding real work to pass between them before he again launches into his roundabout questioning of Massa's private life. With faux nonchalance, he asks what kind of quarters married couples are given aboard the Vissian ship. "The captain's very generous," Massa states. "Well, I wish ours was," Trip says looking around Engineering. "I've got a room not half the size of this one." Well, I'd hope so! I mean, they're standing in the Vissian ship's Engineering-- that would be like saying your bedroom's not half the size of a gymnasium. Plus, Trip's not married, so why should his quarters be any larger than they are? I mean, know it's all a ruse to wrangle a way to see It again, but it's not a very believable one. Trip's an idiot. Shamelessly, Trip invites himself into Massa's rooms, saying that if he could describe it to Quantum, maybe he'd knock down a few walls to expand Trip's quarters. Massa invites Trip to dinner at their place: "You did agree to try our food." After Trip exclaims over Mr. and Mrs. Massa having a dining room, Massa promises not to prepare anything too pungent.
Massa Plantation. Trip plays with a brightly-colored plate of food. He sniffs his forkful of something and flinches slightly. Mr. and Mrs. Massa smile expectantly at him. Trip nervously puts the fork in his mouth and relaxes. He shrugs slightly and comments, "It's pretty mild considering the, um, smell." Damned by praise so faint it needs smelling salts and a velvet couch. My mother taught me how rude it was to smell one's food before eating it, but here is a culture where it would be rude not to smell the food first. I think that's keen. Of course, when you smell it, I don't think it's strictly polite to curl your lip the way Trip just did but, then again, he's a moron. Mrs. Massa explains that smell is more important to them than taste. Trip comments that the meal must've taken her all day. Mrs. Massa laughs charmingly and says that if she'd had all day, she would've prepared a "far more scented meal." Beaming with pride and swaggering his head a little, Massa explains that Mrs. Massa's job as head honcho of the microgravity lab prevents them from making extensive meals. Trip pretty much dismisses that and asks if It will be joining them. "It rarely eats more than one meal a day," Massa responds. "Oh, so in our Mess Hall..." Trip trails off, hoping they will fill in the blanks. "Bringing our cogenitor aboard your ship was an exception," Mrs. Massa explains. I assume it was because they took Mrs. Massa's temperature and decided they could have one-off in a broom closet somewhere? Trip comments that that's unfortunate, as he would've liked to say hello. Mrs. Massa can't see why he would want to do that, and Massa explains to his wife that Trip is very interested in their reproductive practices, since humans are bi-gendered. In that case, Mrs. Massa immediately gets up and says she'll see if It's awake. Trip nods and forces out a smile.