Enterprise
Rogue Planet

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A Private Little Hunt

Next day, Reed and the Eska prepare for the hunt. Reed picks up one of their red visors and tries to examine it, saying, "These can detect infrared." "Among other things," Holtz-Damrus says, snatching it away from him. Trip asks what they're hunting that day, and is told they saw a pack of fire wolves that might prove a worthy challenge. "It's a difficult hike," the Eska says to Reed, who says, "I'll try to keep up." Two Eskas laugh and clap him on the chest companionably -- they're a jolly bunch, these Eskas -- but Holtz-Damrus kills the mood by saying pointedly, "We'd appreciate it, we only have two days left." Quantum wants to know why they're leaving so soon. Now, it would be natural to think that they only have two days left because they're at the end of their vacation, and spending any more time on this dark planet would mean getting fired back in Eskaville. But presumably, there's a more convoluted explanation to follow, which will play into the greater plot arc and add to the rising action and obligatory conflict. Sigh. Sure enough, Holtz-Damrus explains that they are only allowed to hunt on Dakala four days out the year in order to preserve the planet's wildlife. Another Eska comments, "Hunters often wait decades for a chance to come here." T'Pol peers at the Eska's lit-up map and asks, "Are those volcanic vents?" Holtz-Damrus says, "Yes, that area's particularly active. Mineral springs, steam vents -- it's quite spectacular." Nice to know that these hunters also take an interest in geology. Quantum stilts out that it would be nifty to check that area out while Malcolm's riding to hound. "I'll get my camera," Trip says, scampering off. Be sure to load the 1600 speed film, Engineer Podunk. Holtz-Damrus asks if Quantum slept well. The captain did. "Good. If you see any beautiful females today, you be sure to let us know," Holtz-Damrus says. The Eska chuckle. There's that natural jocularity of theirs showing through again. Quantum looks annoyed, as does Trip. What a surprise. Everything Quantum does, Trip does. Every opinion Quantum holds, Trip holds as well. Basically, Trip is Quantum's narcissistic reflection with a drawl and squintier eyes.

The hunters hunt. Through their red visors, they see a hairy beastie, which looks even less real than The Rodents Of Unusual Size. "Drayjin, a female. They're very unpredictable," Holtz-Damrus says for Reed's benefit. They press on.

Meanwhile, Quantum's toddled off to the local spa for a steam. Amidst the gaseous emanations -- anyone else starting to get the feeling Enterprise is heavily endorsed by Maalox or Bean-o? -- Quantum, Trip, and T'Pol wave their flashlights. "Reminds me of Yellowstone," Quantum comments. Basically, we can gather that it's good and stinky there. T'Pol takes readings and detects a geothermal shaft she's anxious to examine. Quantum acts a bit distracted as he takes off his glo-stick eye patch, but gives her permission to investigate to her pointed heart's desire. "So, she was wearing a nightgown?" Trip asks, trying to break the ice. Quantum just looks at him. Trip tries again: "You think she's real?" Quantum tells him he's not hallucinating, but Trip tries to explain to him how odd it sounds. "Trip, have you ever known me to do anything foolish?" Quantum asks. "I mean really foolish?" Too…many…thoughts…must…snark…Quantum…aaaand my head just exploded. Trip makes some comment about a poker game on Jupiter station. Oh no you didn't! Poker belongs exclusively to Riker, Data, Worf, Dr. Crusher, and sometimes Troi -- so don't even try it, you slack-jawed yokel. Quantum foams a bit about feeling inexplicably drawn to his crimped apparition, as though he had no control over himself. Basically, he can't explain it. "Wow, she must've been some woman," Trip says.

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