Sickbay. Phlox has done some analysis for T'Pol, and determines that the Golden Girls are transforming the space around Sphere 41. "Not unlike the disturbance where we found the trans-dimensional being," Phlox adds. And though I'm still annoyed that -- as Sickbay seems to be very empty at this point -- it's clear he wasn't REALLY needed here and could have been tending Hoshi, I'll wager we got a lot more of Billingsly this way. Playing nursie to Hoshi would have been a very flat and uneventful role for him in this particular episode. T'Pol and Phlox discuss the ins and outs of getting near the sphere without killing the entire crew. Phlox says he can whip up a prescription that will keep them all conscious for twelve minutes, but there's nothing he can do to prevent the resulting ringworm. T'Pol CRACK WHORES that twelve minutes won't be enough time. Phlox encourages Trip and T'Pol to come up with a way to abbreviate their pulse plan so that twelve minutes is enough time.
Vortex. Degra's ship flies. We see an empty bed and pan over to find Hoshi wrapped in a blanket, staring blankly at the desk. Quantum pops in: "Any luck?" She doesn't respond. "Ensign?" Quantum prompts. In this case, I think it would be more appropriate to call her by her name, not her rank. Ass. Hoshi sighs that she doesn't feel very well, and creeps back to bed. She asks if Phlox can come down to see her. Quantum reminds her that they are on Degra's ship. Hoshi whimpers that she's not sure what she's supposed to be doing, and Quantum reminds her that she's supposed to be dealing with Degra's Le Chiffre Indéchiffrable so he can save the world. "I gave them the third code," Hoshi creels, "they wouldn't have been able to arm the weapon if I hadn't given them the third code!" Quantum reminds her and us that she was drugged. "Drugged"? That's a bit soft for what I think they actually did to her, but whatever, Mr. D. Nial. Hoshi cries that she should have fought harder. Quantum bites at himself before hauling Hoshi out of bed and quivering at her that she needs to finish what she's doing. He sits her down at the desk and tells her she's almost there. "We're going to board the Mega Maid -- try to overload the power systems, but we can't DO THAT until we can READ THESE SCHEMATICS!" Hoshi sits there before muttering that she tried to jump, but she wasn't fast enough. "You need to finish THIS!" Quantum shouts. Hoshi jumps up and pushes at Quantum, who backs up quickly, and she screams, "You got the three codes, so why don't you just kill me? Didn't you say you were going to kill me?!" Quantum grabs at the flailing Hoshi and tells her she's gotta pull herself together just for a little bit longer. Hoshi stares at him. Quantum sits her back down and tells her she needs to complete the Vigènere cipher. Hoshi's eyes wander away. Quantum grabs her face between his hands and whispers, "Everything depends on it -- do you understand?" Yeah, they're getting together next season. "I understand," Hoshi says, hypnotized by his furrows. Quantum nods. I just had this flash of Audrey Hepburn running a finger along Quantum's furrows, asking, "How do you shave in there?"
Snake Eyes and Mega Maid Swiffer through space. Dolum finds out that when they leave the vortex, they will still be two million kilometers from Earth. "'Two million'?" he repeats incredulously. Well, if you'd taken Interspace 90 and exited on Vortex 5, you wouldn't have to go through downtown and deal with all the cross-dimensional traffic. A snakeling reminds Dolum -- and tells us for the first time -- that if they had all five codes, they'd be able to start the firing sequence immediately. As it is, they'll need additional time. Let me see if I've got this straight: five codes gets you "Fire now!" but three gets you "Fire in a bit"? Some security system. Snakeling reminds Dolum that they'd be vulnerable if they dropped into space closer to Earth. Vulnerable to what? From what we end up witnessing, Earth doesn't seem to be mounting much of a defense. They sent Quantum off to make sure Earth isn't destroyed, and then they pretty much forgot about the whole thing. Dolum orders Lt. Snakeling to get the weapon ready to fire as quickly as possible, and stalks off. Snakeling glares at Dolum's retreating back, comforted by the knowledge that this will make another nice little chapter for his tell-all book: Dolum Dearest: The Snakeling Diaries.