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Minefield

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Starship Mine
Sickbay. T'Pol and Trip hover while Hoshi deciphers the messages from the mystery ship. "They're ordering us to leave their system immediately or they'll destroy us," she reports. "Charming," Trip says, "Could you figger a way to compose a message back explaining...we're going as fast as we kin?" Hoshi says she'll try, and puts two fingers on her earpiece, signifying that she's listening again. T'Pol wants to know what their next message is. "They say they've annexed this planet in the name of something called 'The Romalin Star Empire'?" Hoshi looks at Trip and T'Pol for anvil clarification. Trip shakes his head. Wait, wait... I...can...almost...reach it -- the Big Temporal Reset Button in the Sky! "Romulan," T'Pol corrects her, looking intense, "It's pronounced Romulan." Trip's been going to A.M. Furrowing Classes with Quantum again.

Hull. "Romulans? I read about them when I was with Daniels," Quantum is saying. "Whadja find out?" Trip asks. "Not much, just the name. He wouldn't let me see anything else," Quantum says. So, when you said "read," what you really meant was that you didn't. T'Pol adds, "They're rumored to be an aggressive, territorial species, but the Vulcan High Command has never made direct contact with them." They're definitely leaving it open for T'Pol to know way more than she's telling here. T'Pol gives Quantum the gist of the Romulan translated messages. Quantum tells her it's going to be a wee bit hard for them to comply with the Romulan demands and asks if Hoshi can explain the situation to them. T'Pol tells him Hoshi will have a reply within the hour. Trip steps up to the comm and asks, "How's it goin' out dere, Cap'n?" Quantum tells him they've disabled two of the five detonation circuits and requests he be kept abreast of developments not having to do with T'Pol's dinners. Reed instructs Quantum on which things to fiddle with and Quantum fiddles. As Quantum fiddles, Reed is able to see everything he's doing to the mine on his Game Boy. They have the best gadgets on this show. Quantum mistakes all this tenseness for a coffee klatch and asks, "So, where were we?" Reed's all "Huh?" "This morning, at breakfast, before we were interrupted. You said you didn't follow any particular sport," Quantum reminds him. "Well, I'm afraid I haven't started following one since breakfast, sir," Reed snarks. Hee! Go, Malcolm! Go Malcolm! It's your birthday! Buy some lipstick!

I think this whole "thing" Quantum has of talking sports during tense situations in order to relieve the minds of his crew, who might have otherwise been thinking that they had a mentally-capable captain in charge, is REALLY getting TIRESOME. It's as though the creators sat around and said, "Okay, Picard had Shakespeare and Dickens, Kirk had sex and candy, and Janeway had Katherine Hepburn -- what should Quantum have? Well, sports is easy, brainless, and mass-appealing -- yeah, we can do sports." Seriously, I'm getting really tired of them ramming this athlete's-foot mentality of his down our throats. Okay, he played water polo AND he watches water polo AND his crew is his "team" AND he plays psycho Lacrosse in the desert with Osama Bin Dribblin' AND he's got a water polo ball in his room -- even though, other than the one under Porthos, there's not a pool of liquid to be seen for light years -- and all of this means he's A Jock -- WE GET IT! Anyway, back to the hull. Reed gives more fiddling instructions. Quantum fiddles. "How about hobbies -- any hobbies?" Quantum asks. "No, not really, sir," Reed says. "I could've sworn I've seen you reading a book or two in the Mess Hall," Quantum tells him. "Cut the chitchat while you're defusing a bomb -- James Bond? You ain't him!" Mathra snipes, coming in with groceries. "Sir, do you really think this is an appropriate time for a chat?" Reed asks. "It helps me focus. It calms my nerves," Quantum tells him. Well, then it's all okay, isn't it? Except that it isn't, because you are DANCING THE TARANTELLA ON MY LAST NERVE! Reed says it's not helping his nerves any. "Sorry. It made you a little nervous this morning too, didn't it? Why is that?" Quantum wonders. Because this is the perfect time to go in for deep personality analysis. Reed tells him he was honored to be asked to break bread with him, but he wasn't down with the whole cazh aspect of it. "I was trained not to fraternize with superior officers," Reed elucidates. Well, that will shut all the Reed-Quantum 'shippers up. "Never too late to learn," Quantum assures him. And that will keep them talking. Reed doesn't think a starship is the right place to be socializing like that. No, the docks and the YMCA are better for that sort of thing. They're equipped in ways -- Oh, god, I've caught slash-ilitis too! Sars? I think I might have to tender my resignation in order to undergo a slash-ectomy. Quantum says he had a commanding officer who felt the same way, but Quantum thinks their mission is not a normal run-of-the-mill-on-the-floss one so there's room for a little bending. And stretching. And rubbing. Okay, somebody needs to turn me off. "All we have to depend on is each other," Quantum says, pulling out a rod from the mine. Reed tries to keep on task and tells him what other rods he should pull. "I appreciate your suggestions, Malcolm, Anything else?" Quantum wants to know. Did anyone see the lid to the can o' worms? I can't find it. "Well, since you asked. Bridge protocols have become somewhat lax -- too many people offering opinions. We're here to carry out your orders, sir. You're the captain," Reed says. Wow -- I know from experience that that particular shade of Randy Rose is going to leave a stain on Quantum's butt cheek. Quantum says he likes his senior staff sticking their oars in because he relies on them. He tells Reed to keep bringing the critique. "And in the area of security, I sometimes think you could show a little more caution, sir," Reed says. Quantum is very much aware of that concern of his and Worf's. "Not to say that it hasn't been a privilege to serve with you," Reed adds. Quantum orders Reed to stop being morbid with his past tenses. More fiddling and twiddling with the mine.

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