Three cheers for an original, non-derivative concept! Delicious effects, great tension in parts -- though I'm still annoyed they had the Romulans show up -- and the only thing that really got to me was the overly-ponderous conversations between Quantum and Reed, which killed off some of the tension they set up and replaced it with stagnating boredom. I could have lived with half that amount of Reed-Quantum bonding.
Reed walks stiffly through the common dining area. I'm not even going to tell you how many times Mathra and I rewound this scene, trying to catch what the extras were saying about the food. But it was three more than nine. We had an argument. It is clear that Extra One is saying to Extra Two, "You should try the [blah-blah] today, it's good." But we differ on what the "blah-blah" is. Mathra thinks it's "mushroom pancakes" and I think it's "freeze-dried ice cream." We seem to have a slight food obsession lately.
Reed rings the comm to the Captain's Private Dining Car, and Quantum tells him to come in. Lt. Stinky Bum is visibly sweating as he squares up his shoulders and walks in. Next time he visits Clinique to restock on "Black Honey" Almost Lipstick, he really should pick up a pack of those powdered blotting sheets. Reed enters and is faced with a standing captain, who bids him a good morning. "I wasn't sure what you wanted for breakfast so I took the liberty of having Chef prepare his famous Eggs Benedict," Quantum says. Ugh. More eggs. As Quantum sits down, Reed mutters his acceptance but remains standing. "You plan on eating...standing up?" Quantum inquires. Reed scuttles into his seat, and Quantum pours out some Tang. Quantum notices Reed's discomfiture and decides to add to it by commenting, "This isn't a visit to the principal's office, Malcolm. At ease." Do they even have principals in England? Aren't they called something else? Malcolm puts down the e-pad that was getting all sweaty in his death-grip and thanks his captain, adding, "I just wasn't sure whether you called me here to discuss something." Like that sock you keep next to your bed? Quantum assures him he just wants to have a little informal chin-wag with the guy who was put on his ship to blow things up. A steward brings their plates. Isn't Eggs Benedict rather heavy on the day they're going to meet Romulans? Oh, wait, we're not supposed to know that yet. Hey, look -- it's the return of the Ultra-Cool Salt and Pepper Shakers! Seriously, will someone -- ANYONE -- tell me where they got those things? Quantum seasons his eggs and tells Reed that he heard England made it to the World Cup finals. Reed has absolutely no idea what his captain is yammering on about. Mathra does. "But 2151 is an odd-numbered year and the World Cup takes place every two years -- doesn't anyone fact check anymore?" Mathra blusters. Did I ever mention the Halloween Mathra went as David Beckham and made me go as Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham? I dyed the top-half of Mathra's hair blond. Since he can't reach his armory officer on a sports level, Quantum gives up. Reed tells him he's been working on the duty roster and offers to show it to him. I swear, how many times did Troi, Crusher, Data, or Riker incidentally mention that they had been working on duty rosters? Quantum sighs and asks, "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to bring your homework to the table?" What a way to set your obviously nervous officer at ease, rubber brow. "Sir?" Reed asks. Quantum gives up and gives the barest of glances to Reed's roster. "This looks fine," he comments. "Did you look at it, or did you Thesis Advisor-look at it?" Mathra wonders. T'Pol buzzes him from the Bridge and says they're about to run into an M-Class planet. Quantum -- much relieved he doesn't have to make small talk with Stinky Reed anymore -- thinks this is an important enough development to skip his and Reed's breakfasts and get the hell onto the Bridge. "Looks like we'll have to reschedule," Quantum stiffs. "Whenever it's convenient," Reed stammers and jumps to open the door for his captain. Quantum pauses. "After you, sir," Reed gestures. Quantum nods and leaves.