"When Good Shoreleaves Go Bad"

Authors - Sharon and Steph | Genre - Humor | Main Story | Rating - PG
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home

Email: sshoji@rcn.com and rozene_11@yahoo.com
Category: Humor
Pairing: Trip and Malcolm (no, not that kind of pairing!)
Rating: PG with some mild swearing and bad jokes
Archived: It's yours for the askin'!
Disclaimer: You know the drill; the only thing we can lay claim to is a good sense of humor
Summary: Just some shore leave silliness with The Disaster Twins
A/N: Many thanks to Li for a last minute beta of our first Enterprise fic

~ 1 ~
Hoshi plopped into the seat next to Travis and watched as his hands moved effortlessly over the shuttle's controls.

"You love flying, don't you?"

Travis nodded, a wide smile breaking across his handsome face. "Especially when I'm piloting the shuttle for shore leave. Everyone's in such a good mood, you know?"

She rolled her eyes as another burst of laughter came from the back of the cabin. "Unfortunately, where Trip and Malcolm are concerned, a good mood equals bad jokes."

Suddenly a thought came to her and she swiveled her chair around to face T'Pol and Phlox who were seated directly behind her.

"Sub Commander…Doctor…is the UT translating their jokes?"

T'Pol looked up from the PADD in her hand. She raised an eyebrow as Hoshi continued to gaze expectantly at her. "If you are wondering if Vulcans understand the concept of human jokes, Ensign, we do. We just find it irrelevant."

"Oh, but I find it all quite delightful!" Dr. Phlox exclaimed. "You may not know this, but we Denobulans have an excellent sense of humor. Although our jokes tend to be a bit more…hmm…how can I describe it…"

"Long winded?" Trip offered, leaning forward. Holding up a hand to ward off Hoshi's glare, he added, "I'm jest sayin' that our Doc here could retire early if he got paid by the word."

Phlox shrugged good-naturedly. "I must admit that I don't always…what is the phrase you use, Mr. Tucker…" he creased his brow and then brightened. "ah yes…cut to the cheese?"

"Uh, Doc, that's cut to the chase," Trip said, the corners of his mouth twitching as Malcolm snickered. "Cuttin' the cheese is another thing altogether."

"Ah, that's right," he chuckled. "And as I hear it, you and Mr. Reed often…"

Trip cleared his throat and hastily changed the subject.

"Speakin' of cheese, Sub Commander…"

T'Pol swiveled her seat around. "Yes?"

"What do ya call cheese that's not yours?"

"I do not know, Commander"

"Nacho cheese!"

As the two men dissolved into laughter, Hoshi leaned toward T'Pol and whispered, "Is there a stun setting on that PADD?"

"Wait, wait…here's one," Malcolm gasped. "What lies on the bottom of the ocean and twitches?" He watched Trip's face, grinning as his friend's eyebrows angled together in thought.

"I, give up."

"A nervous wreck!"

T'Pol blinked as Trip laughed and then punched Malcolm in the shoulder. When she turned a questioning look to Hoshi, the young woman merely shrugged and tossed her long black hair over her shoulder.

"Men," she said, with a roll of her eyes as if that were explanation enough.

"Hey Doc…ya, wanna get in on this? Show us that famous Denobulan sense of humor?"

Phlox frowned in thought for a moment and then brightened. "Where do you find a legless Targ?"

Malcolm and Trip stared blankly at each other for a moment and then suddenly Trip hooted and slapped his leg.

"Why ya find it jest where ya left it!"

"That is SO disgusting!" Hoshi protested loudly. But before she could say another word, the shuttle landed and the door hissed open.

"Last one out is a rotten egg!" Trip called out, leaping from his seat as he tried to push his way past Malcolm and Hoshi.

T'Pol wisely stayed seated as the three humans hurtled past her. She tilted her head and watched, perplexed by their actions. For some unfathomable reason, they were actually jostling each other in an attempt to exit the craft simultaneously, all the while engaging in what she could only categorize as a rude exchange of insults.

"Such an exuberant species, don't you think, Sub Commander?"

She arched an eyebrow as she looked over at the doctor's beaming face. "I am beginning to think that Earth may be the insane asylum of the universe."

Phlox chuckled. "Aha! You made a joke, Sub Commander!" The wide grin on his face faltered as T'Pol rose and gazed evenly at him. "Or perhaps not…" he added under his breath.

Turning her attention back to the hatch, she pursed her lips slightly at the sight of three bodies wedged tightly in the opening.

"Uh…could y'all give us a hand here?" Trip wheezed.

Phlox bounced forward and gave the general tangle of bodies a hard push.

"Ooww!" Hoshi squealed. "Who's pulling my hair?"

"And whose hand is on my bum?"

"Hey, I'm not that kinda guy, Mal!"

With a mental sigh of resignation, T'Pol walked forward. Placing her hands on what she hoped were inoffensive body parts, she gave a powerful shove, catapulting the humans out of the shuttle and into a flailing heap on the ground.

Looking back over her shoulder, she calmly addressed Travis. "Extraction time, Ensign?"

Travis quickly wiped the grin off his face and cleared his throat. "I'll be back at 1900 hours, Sub Commander."

T'Pol nodded grimly and then exited the shuttle, thinking it could not come soon enough.


The fourth moon that circled the planet Argent was known for its high volume of commerce … legitimate and otherwise. Its seamy reputation had given Captain Archer pause but the ship needed supplies and his crew needed some down time. Their last stop hadn't allowed for shore leave so despite Archer's stern warnings about the possibility of danger, the crew was anxious to get off the ship.

Hoshi had spent all her free time researching the language of the planet since she first learned it was their next stop. Having discovered at least four different dialects she was not familiar with, she was looking forward to studying them in person.

Phlox was beside himself with anticipation when he learned that the moon was indigenous to a rare species of animal he had thought to be extinct. The opportunity to study it was a prospect so exciting he hadn't been able to stop talking about it, much to everyone's annoyance.

T'Pol, on the other hand, had initially passed on the offer of shore leave. When the captain insisted that she 'go and enjoy herself' both eyebrows had arched sharply...the Vulcan equivalent of a horrified expression. Hastily, he added that it would be an excellent way to provide first hand research to the Vulcan Database. It was a point that she grudgingly acknowledged and much to his relief, signed up for the first shuttle to the moon's surface.

Trip and Malcolm, of course, made sure that they were both on the first shuttle but their reasons were less scientific.

As they watched their three companions walk away from the landing area in different directions, Malcolm turned to Trip. "So where shall we start?"

Glancing around, Trip shrugged his shoulders and grinned. "Well, we're flyin' by the seat of our pants, so let's jest start walkin' toward that marketplace over there and see what we can find."

He took the lead and soon they were pushing through the dense crowd. The noisy bartering of vendors and customers filled their ears and the air was heavy with the scent of exotic foods.

Trip let out a low whistle as he looked around. " Man…it's like Mardi Gras comes to Las Vegas!" He shook his head in disbelief at the brilliantly colored tents and unusual wares and entertainment. "I don't know where to start!"

Malcolm quirked a smile. "Then I suggest we reconnoiter first, Commander."

"You're the Tactical Officer," Trip acknowledged with a mock salute.

They started off again, each walking along opposite sides of the crowded main aisle so that they could see as much as possible.

"Hey, Mal," Trip called out from a nearby food stall. "Ya gotta try one of these, they're real tasty!"

Malcolm walked over and gingerly took the skewer of food from Trip. "What is it?" he asked, sniffing it suspiciously. "It smells good…but are you sure it's all right to eat?"

"No problemo, mi amigo." He held up a small palm-sized device. "Doc gave me this lil' gizmo to scan the food."

His companion still hesitated. "What's it taste like?" he pressed, watching as Trip finished his portion with obvious relish.

"I swear, sometimes you're as fussy as Hoshi," he chuckled, buying another one from the vendor.

Malcolm bristled. "I am not!"

He looked down at the oddly shaped purplish strip impaled on the slender stick. Resolutely, he brought it closer and took a tentative nibble. "Hmmm…not bad." He took a larger bite. "I rather like these crunchy things along the side."

"Oh, the legs?"


After Malcolm had recovered, they worked their way out of the marketplace and found themselves across from what appeared to be the local hotspot. Although the dark facade was unassuming, it was obviously popular and a boisterous crowd of various species milled in and out of the entrance.
"What do you suppose this place is?" Malcolm asked curiously, as he looked at the windowless building.

"I'm not sure exactly," Trip drawled, tipping his head sideways as he squinted at a variety of very lascivious holo-images that suddenly began flashing on and off. "Some of those positions look kinda familiar but I don't recognize all the alien body parts."

Malcolm had likewise tipped his head to look at the images and as it dawned on him what they were, his head snapped up.

"Bugger!" he swore as he started to turn away.

"Wait!" Trip exclaimed as he grabbed Malcolm's shoulder and turned him back around. "Where's your sense of adventure?"

"I left it in the marketplace with that disgusting food."

"Aw, c'mon," he said coaxingly "Loosen up, we're on shore leave!"

Shrugging his hand off his shoulder, Malcolm fixed Trip with a quelling stare.
"I have lost count of the number of times that sentiment has gotten us into trouble!" he snapped.

"Hey, I resent that! If I remember correctly, you were jest as willin' to follow those ladies down the cellar as I was."

"That's not the point," he grumbled.

Trip took his elbow and guided him toward the building. "Ya know the difference b'tween a good friend and a best friend, Mal?"

Malcolm snorted softly. "Do I want to know?"

"A good friend will bail ya outta jail without question."

"And a best friend?"

Trip threw his arm over the slighter man's shoulders as they walked in. "A best friend will turn to ya and say, 'Damn! That was fun!"


The interior was cavernous with gaming tables in the center of the room and booths along the perimeter. The crowd appeared to run the gamut from the obviously wealthy to the shadier elements of the planet's society. * Not that it mattered, * Malcolm thought grimly to himself. In a place like this, the amount of credits you had to spend was more important than where they came from.
Noticing his friend's sharp eyes scanning the crowd, Trip elbowed him in the ribs.
"Hey, you're off duty! The only thing ta recon here is a good time!"

"I know, but I can't help wishing that we had some kind of protection with us." Malcolm fidgeted uneasily as he watched a fight break out. "This looks like a dodgy group."

Trip shrugged. "Ya' know the protocol…unless we're goin' into a hostile situation, we go in with jest our wits about us."

"Great," he muttered under his breath. "Talk about unarmed combat…"

Ignoring the comment, Trip set off for the center floor with Malcolm close behind. They paused at a loud table where a group of aliens gathered to watch two players roll glowing cubes engraved with odd symbols. The crowd cheered as the cubes bounced erratically around the table and then finally rolled to a stop.

"Are you interested in gambling?" Malcolm asked, as one player let out a triumphant whoop.

"Maybe," Trip said, watching with interest as the winner leaned forward and gathered up a huge pile of credits from the table.

Suddenly two large uniformed security guards appeared, pulled their weapons, stunned the loser and literally dragged him away.

"Or maybe not," Trip added quickly.

"I think it would be prudent to have a drink now," Malcolm said decisively. He nodded at an empty booth to their left.

As they started to move off, two scantily dressed females sauntered up and blocked their way. Although their species wasn't familiar, they were indisputably gorgeous and what little clothing they wore left no doubt as to the fact that there were extremely mammalian.

"Are you looking for some company?" The taller one asked seductively, her bluish skin glowing in the dim light.

Trip dragged his eyes back up to her face. "Well…as a matter of fact…"

Malcolm leaned forward and whispered into his ear. "Two words, mate. Cellar and underwear."

The females blinked in surprise as their quarry abruptly bolted. The shorter, dark-haired one that remained just shrugged his shoulders apologetically then followed his companion to a nearby booth.

"Our Alien Database must be faulty," the taller one mused. She turned to her friend who was squinting at a small palm pad.

"No, it says human males are able to engage in recreational sex without regard to mating cycles." She looked up. "Perhaps we were mistaken and those two weren't human?"

"Perhaps." She nodded. "Little is known about that species."

"Pity…those two were exceptionally handsome." The shorter one sighed and tucked the tiny pad away. "I was so looking forward to having some fun and trying…" She stopped abruptly as her friend grabbed her arm.

"Check the database," she hissed excitedly. "I think I just spotted a Denobulan!"


Malcolm heaved a sigh as he slid into the booth across from Trip. "Are you daft? Didn't you learn your lesson the last time?"

"Why do ya always hafta be so suspicious? They seemed like a coupla nice gals jest out for a good time."

"Right." Malcolm snorted in disbelief. "Two stunning alien women who just wanted to chat us up for no reason other than possible sex."

Trip flashed a lopsided grin. "Okay, so when ya put it like that…"

Malcolm rolled his eyes but refrained from commenting as a young server approached the table. She was decidedly feline in appearance with large ears that swiveled curiously at them.

"And what would you kind ssirs dessire tonight in the way of rrrefreshments?"
Trip leaned forward and smiled at her. "We'd like ta try somethin' unusual…somethin' with a good kick."

Her ears twitched. "We have an excellent Vulcan Firebrrandy," she rumbled. At Trip's nod, she excused herself and padded off.

"Vulcan Firebrandy…are you sure?" Malcolm asked doubtfully. "Perhaps we should stick to something we've had before."

"My Uncle Ray always said that if ya gotta choose between two evils, pick the one ya never tried before."

Malcolm wondered darkly if this Uncle Ray were still alive and if so, was he incarcerated anywhere. He was about to ask when their server returned and set two small glasses on the table. After Trip handed her a number of credits, she carefully poured a misty dark gold liquid into them and then set the gracefully shaped bottle on the table.

Trip nodded his thanks and slid one of the glasses across the table to Malcolm. Lifting his own, he cautiously sniffed, then sipped it. The aroma was pleasant and the taste sharp as it evaporated on his tongue. Glancing around, he noticed other patrons tossing their drinks back.

"Well, down the hatch," he muttered. Following suit, he tipped his head back and finished his drink in one swallow.

The server's paw barely shot out in time to keep Trip from crashing face first onto the table.

"Sirrr! Arre you all rrright?" she growled, her whiskers quivering anxiously.

"Yesss," he wheezed. He blinked the tears from his eyes and patted his face just to make sure it was still there. Blearily, he tried to focus on Malcolm who
was calmly sipping his drink.

"One always sips a fine brandy," Malcolm commented, catching his breath softly as it burned its way down.

"Geez…ya coulda told me that before."

“Some things are best learned by experiencing them,” he said smugly, taking another sip.

"Yeah, but ya coulda given me fair warnin'." He looked warily at his glass as the
server refilled it and then with a small bow, left.

Malcolm laughed softly. "Well, now you know how I feeling chumming around
with you!"

"C'mon, Mal…don't tell me ya never let loose on shore leave before?" Taking a careful sip, Trip winked at him over his glass. "I mean, that's the best part about bein' a guy…gettin' old and growin' up's not necessarily the same thing."

"Easy for you to say." Malcolm grimaced slightly as he tilted his glass and watched the last of the misty liquid swirl around. "My father didn't tolerate that type of behavior. There was none of that 'boys will be boys' latitude."

"Well then, you've got a helluva lotta fun to get caught up on!" Trip exclaimed, taking the bottle of brandy and refilling both their glasses.

"It's not that easy,” Malcolm responded glumly. "I had a very regimented upbringing."

"So? That was then and this is now!"

"But I've had a lifetime of…"

"Lt. Reed!" Trip said sharply, slapping his hand down on the table. "As Tactical Officer, if ya find yourself in a hole, what's the first thing ya do?" Seeing Malcolm’s quizzical expression, he continued. "Ya stop diggin'!"

Malcolm blinked in surprise and then the corners of his mouth twitched slightly. "How did an engineering geek like yourself get so smart about people?"

Trip shrugged and sipped his drink. "Hangin' out with my Uncle Ray mostly."

"Is he still around?" Malcolm asked curiously.


"Oh…I'm sorry."

"Died in bed."

"Well, that's a comfort."

"Shot dead."

"Bloody hell!"

"By a jealous husband."

"You don't say!"

"He was 80 at the time."

Malcolm raised his glass. "To Uncle Ray!"

Trip nodded and raised his. "To Uncle Ray!"

The two men solemnly drained their glasses and then set them back onto the table with a decisive thump.

"So, this Uncle Ray of yours probably had a lot of advice for you on women," Malcolm ventured as he refilled their glasses.

Trip nodded. "Yes indeedy. Anything in particular ya want to know?"

Malcolm took a sip and pursed his lips thoughtfully. "I've always wondered why it's nearly impossible to have a straightforward argument with a woman. I mean, if men disagree about something," he gestured between them. "We just say what needs to be said or throw a punch…either way, we clear the air and move on."

Trip nodded. "Yeah, nothing pisses me off more than askin' what's wrong and hearin' …"

"Oh…nothing," Malcolm added, mimicking a high-pitched voice.

"Yeah, nothin' my ass," Trip groused. "And how about…" crossing his arms over his chest, he shook his head as if to toss his hair back and assumed a petulant voice. "If ya don't know, then I'm not gonna tell ya."

"Of course they bloody well have to tell us!" Malcolm sputtered in exasperation. "We're not bleedin' mind readers!"

Trip drained his glass and nodded in agreement. "Well, Uncle Ray had a theory 'bout arguin' with women." He looked across the table where his friend waited expectantly. "He said that a woman always has the last word in an argument. Anything you say after that is jest the beginin' of another argument."

"But…that's not fair! What if I haven't made my point?"

Trip grinned at his friend's consternation. "Mal, ya gotta get over tryin' to analyze women as if they were a battle strategy."

Malcolm frowned in annoyance. "Even our highly logical Vulcan Science Officer?"

"Our highly logical FEMALE Vulcan Science Officer," Trip corrected. He wagged a finger at Malcolm as he opened his mouth to protest. "I know what you're thinkin'…but this isn't about emotion or logic…it's about the female perspective."

His friend huffed softly in disbelief. "Are you saying that despite being different species, T'Pol and Hoshi are on the same wavelength as women?"

Trip held out his glass for Malcolm to refill and with a nod of thanks continued.
"Did ya ever get in an argument with Hoshi and at some point she jest got all quiet and tight-lipped?"

"Spot on!"

"T'Pol does exactly the same thing to me." He jabbed a finger at his friend. "That's because at that point, they consider the argument finished. And if we continue yammerin' on and try ta make our point it jest sets them off on somethin' else, right?"

Malcolm nodded and then finished off his drink. "It makes sense in an arse over elbow sort of way."

"But?" Trip coaxed, tipping the last of the brandy into his friend's glass.

"I guess I was hoping for an insight that was more…" he paused and took a sip. "Logical."

Trip laughed and shook his head. "I'll let ya in on a lil' secret…even my buddy Kov had to admit that there are times when…and I quote…'the reasoning process of Vulcan females is circuitous and complex'."

Malcolm grinned and raised his glass. "Meaning, when it comes to women, Vulcan men are just as clueless as we are."

"Yep," Trip clinked his glass to Malcolm's. "Looks like women truly are a universal mystery."


The vendor watched the two men sway slightly as they stood in the doorway of his tent. While he didn't recognize their species, he certainly recognized their inebriated condition. Wiping one pair of hands on his apron, he used the other pair to tidy himself and stepped toward the counter.

"Is there something special I can prepare for you, sirs?"

"Not unless you have something for a hangover," Malcolm muttered.

"Hang…over?" The alien gave them a puzzled look, then leaned forward and sniffed. "Ah…Vulcan Firebrandy!" he said softly with a nod of understanding.
He gave them both a sympathetic smile. "I think I have just the thing." He began to mix up a rather bilious looking concoction, stirring with one hand as the other three added various ingredients.

Trip closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them. "Mal," he whispered out of the corner of his mouth. "Does that guy have four hands or am I drunker than I think I am?"
Trip threw a glare in his friend's direction. Ignoring Malcolm's smirk, he scanned the drinks the vendor set in front of them and squinted at the readout. "Well, they're safe ta drink." He picked one up and eyed it dubiously as the dark liquid continued to bubble.

"Are you mad?" Malcolm watched in amazement as Trip brought the glass to his lips. "You're actually going to drink that?"

Trip paused and winced as his head began to throb painfully. "I'm feelin' so damn bad now, that killin' me might not even bring any relief." Taking a deep breath, he tipped his head back and tossed the drink down. He closed his eyes and gasped as a small bomb exploded in his stomach.

"Blast!" Malcolm grabbed Trip's arm as his knees wobbled. "Are you all right?" His eyes widened as he heard an ominous rumbling sound emanate from Trip's midsection. "Trip?"

The vendor stepped back, wringing all four hands. "I've never seen such a violent reaction," he said worriedly, as the sounds from Trip's stomach grew louder.

Seeing Trip's hand clamp over his mouth, Malcolm's eyes darted around the tent. "Where's the head?" At the vendor's confusion he added, "The loo…the facilities…the bathroom!!"

"Your friend needs a bath?" The alien blinked and looked askance at the two.

"NO!" Malcolm snapped. "We just need a place where he can…"

He was abruptly cut off by the sound of the longest, loudest belch he'd ever heard.

"Hoooweee, that felt good!"

Malcolm turned, his eyes wide.

Trip grinned and slapped him on the back. "Just be thankful that I belched…it coulda been a damn sight more unpleasant." Gesturing at the remaining drink, he added," Your turn, buddy."


"Aw, c'mon Mal…you'll feel better." He patted his stomach.

"Abso-bloody-lutely not!" He glared at the drink. "It's still bubbling in a very disgusting way."

Trip eyed his friend, noting the all too familiar air of indignation. "It's not the drink, is it? You're more embarrassed about lettin' out a big ol' belch."

Steadying himself against the counter, Malcolm turned and glared at Trip. "Unlike yourself, I do have a sense of decorum, even on shore leave."

"And that sense of decorum is gonna give you a hangover on the level of a Type A core breech!"

"But we're in a public place!"

"Mal,” he coaxed, draping an arm over the shorter man's shoulders. "We've been in a helluva lot more embarrassin' situations. Right now it's jest you and me and an alien bartender we're never gonna see again."


Trip pushed the drink toward him and gathering his courage, Malcolm picked it up and downed it in one swallow.

There was a pause as Trip and the alien waited anxiously, staring at Malcolm's midsection. They could hear the telltale rumbling begin to build but the man himself remained strangely quiet.

"Mal…ya gotta let go."

Malcolm only tightened his lips and shook his head.

"Okay, maybe this will help ya." Trip motioned to the alien to pour another shot of the mixture, which he immediately drank.

"When I was a kid, my buddies and I loved to drink root beer." He hiccupped as he felt the pressure begin to build. "Then we would try to find the perfect name to burp…like this…" He put a hand to his stomach and then opened his mouth.

He looked at Malcolm with a huge satisfied grin. "C'mon…try it!"

Malcolm shook his head but Trip could tell by the gleam in his eyes, that he was having as hard a time holding back a laugh as he was trying not to belch.

"Okay…maybe that was too insubordinate for ya," he said with a wink. "How 'bout ya try Phlox or T'Pol?"

Malcolm closed his eyes in concentration and then opened his mouth. "PHLAAAAAHX"

Trip frowned. "I don’t think ya got it all out." He patted his friend's back encouragingly.

Malcolm hiccupped and then screwing his eyes tightly shut, he tried again.

"There ya go!" Trip crowed. "That was a good one!"

"Oh yes! Most impressive! Can I try?"

Malcolm's eyes snapped open and he gaped open-mouthed at the Denobulan beaming cheerfully at them. "Dr. Phlox! What are you doing here?"

"Oh, I ran into Ensign Sato and Sub-Command T'Pol on the way to the landing area and as we were passing by the marketplace, I thought I saw you both and…"

Malcolm cursed under his breath as he turned to find the two women standing in the doorway of the tent.

"Don't worry," Trip whispered to him, "They probably didn't hear us." Smiling, he nodded at Hoshi and then T'Pol. "Hi there…we were just havin' a drink and…"

"So we heard," T'Pol said flatly.

Malcolm shot a dark glance at Trip. "You seem to have forgotten about superior Vulcan hearing."

"Ah, then you heard those amazing vocalizations!" Phlox exclaimed to T'Pol.

"What vocalizations?" Hoshi asked curiously. "Is this something I should add to the linguistic database?"

"Will ya look at the time!" Trip said loudly. "We don't wanna keep ol' Travis waitin'." He jerked his head toward the doorway. "C'mon, let's go!"

Phlox gave the two men a confused look but nodded good naturedly and followed them out.

"You can tell me about the vocalizations later, Doctor," Hoshi said as she fell into step with him.

He hesitated as he caught the glare Malcolm shot at him. "Oh, there's really nothing to tell…" he hedged.

Hoshi's smile tightened. "Then you won't mind telling me."

The doctor shook his head in resignation as he watched her move ahead to catch up with T'Pol. There was something about the way her smile had tightened that reminded him of how futile it always was to argue with his wives.


Back on Enterprise, Malcolm walked into the Mess Hall for a late evening meal. As he got his tray, he noticed a few crewmembers discreetly watching him and trying to hide smiles. Apparently, once Hoshi knew, the incident with Trip and him didn't take long to make its way around the ship.

Trip motioned him over. "Didn't think you were still up."

"I was just finishing some reports." He sat down and shot an angry glare at a young ensign with the bad judgment to snicker a little too loudly.

Trip noticed his actions and smiled. "Don't worry, it'll blow over in a few days."

"Aren't you the least bit embarrassed?" Malcolm asked with grudging admiration for his friend's laid back way of letting things slide.

"Nah," he said with a shrug. "Belchin' is jest a guy thing. Besides, we should be thankful that all that pressure didn't go south...if ya catch my drift."

Malcolm shuddered and went back to his meal. Just then Hoshi and T'Pol appeared at their table. "Do you mind if we join you?"

"Not at all, Ensign. Sub-Commander." He slid his tray to the side to make room for Hoshi, while Trip did likewise for T'Pol.

Trip could tell that Malcolm was uncomfortable having them at the table, especially after what happened at the marketplace. Trip and Hoshi carried the conversation, with T'Pol interjecting comments here and there. However, Malcolm just concentrated on his food.

"Hey, slow down there, buddy," Trip smiled over at Malcolm. "Eatin' too fast is bad for your digestion."

Malcolm looked up at him and scowled. "Really, Commander, that isn't appropriate for the dinner table."

"Jest makin' an observation," he shrugged, still smiling.

"Good, evening everyone," Phlox said genially as he walked up.

"Hey, Doc," Trip greeted. "What's up?"

"Nothing, really." He looked at Trip and then Malcolm. "Just checking to see if either of you were suffering any ill effects from that vendor's remedy."

At the mention of the incident, Malcolm started to choke and Hoshi quickly thumped him on the back.

"Maybe a little 'vocalization' would help?" she asked sarcastically.

"What an excellent idea!" Phlox said enthusiastically. "With your knowledge of language you could easily find the best names to use."

"You've got to be kidding," Hoshi stated incredulously.

"No, Ensign. As a matter of fact, I am hoping Commander Tucker will teach this particular vocalization method to me." the doctor stated, smiling the whole time.

"I can't believe this," Malcolm muttered looking from one to the other. "You can't be serious?" he asked Trip.

"Well, why not? It'll be a hoot. And as my Uncle Ray always said…"

"That's it," Hoshi said, grabbing her tray and vacating her seat. "When he starts talking about his Uncle Ray, it's time to leave." T'Pol nodded in agreement as she rose to her feet.

"Wait, Sub-Commander," the doctor said as he stepped into her path. "This might be an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your impressive Vulcan lung capacity and…" he paused as she set her jaw and pursed her lips thinly. "Or maybe not..." he finished, his voice trailing off.

"Don't know what you're missin'," Trip called after them as they made their way to the doorway.

"Men," Hoshi mumbled as the doors hissed open. She slanted a glance toward T'Pol. "I guess Vulcan men are too logical to be a source of exasperation."

"Exasperation is an emotion," T'Pol answered automatically. But as they paused in the corridor, she added, "Although I must admit there are times when they can be …stubborn…about conceding a point."

Hoshi chuckled. "Can't live with 'em, can't toss 'em out of an airlock."

T'Pol tilted her head. "Indeed."

The two women exchanged a mutually commiserating nod, then turned and went their separate ways.


This material is posted here with the author's express permission. Please do not repost this material without permission directly from the author.

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Two folks have made comments

Brilliant. I was laughing out loud for most of that. And the nacho cheese joke was so bad I was forced to go and inflict it on my family...

god cudnt stop laughing that really is one helluva gd read, all ppl staying in character while bing that funny relaly takes a genious

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