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The Scavenger Hunt
Author - Bella | Genre - General | Genre - Humor | Main Story | P | Rating - PG | T
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The Scavenger Hunt
By Bella (Pandora’s Muse)
Rating: PG, humor, general (Slight innuendo and language)
Synopsis: With the crew coming down with cabin fever, Captain Archer sets his senior officers off on a "Scavenger Hunt". The game turns serious and interesting situations emerge. Attempt at challenge: http://enterpriseendeavors.tripod.com/
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Archer mindlessly bounced the soft leather ball against the opposing wall while lounging in his quarters. His closest friend, as well as chief engineer, sat on a chair to his right, leaning back with a large grin gracing his face.
"So?" Trip asked barely hiding the amusement in his voice.
"I'm not going to dignify that with an answer. "Archer muttered and focused his attention on the thumping and return of the leather ball. Tucker rolled his eyes and straightened in his seat.
"I'm right aren't I?" The captain caught the ball and held it tightly before swinging his legs over the side of the bed. " 'Tall matters on the first kiss. It's an art really. Some guys got it, and some don't."
"Why are we talking about this again?" Jon asked, squinting his eyes at his friend, who shrugged in return. The captain tossed the ball to his third in command before reaching over and scratching his dog behind the ears.
"Nuttin' betta ta do."
Sometimes, Commander Tucker's accent was so thick that even the captain even had to deduce what he said. That could cause problems if they needed to communicate quickly but for the most part, Jon had become accustomed to Trip’s slurred excuse for English.
"Actually, I've been hearing that a lot lately." Archer rose from the bed and grabbed Porthos' water bowl.
"Well, we haven't exactly met any 'venture recently." Trip spoke to the empty room as his friend disappeared into the lavatory. "Kinda been . . .driftin'."
"I've been feeling a bit of cabin fever myself." Jon placed the bowl on the floor and sat uncomfortably on the edge of his bed. "I don't think I'm the only one. There's been a noticeable rise in tension with the crew."
"No kiddin'." Trip concurred in exaggerated exasperation and tossed the ball to his thoughtful superior. It hit with a hollow thud against the captain's chest. "Whatcha gonna do 'bout it?"
Archer furrowed his eyebrows as he dropped the forgotten ball to the ground. "Something to take the crew's mind off the monotony of things."
"A game, Captain?" Sub-Commander T'Pol asked, eyebrows raised emphasizing her perplexed state. The chief engineer looked on with a self satisfied smile, denoting his amusement.
"Yes." Archer answered proudly with his arms folded over his chest. "Things have been a little slow lately and I think we need a bit of a distraction."
"Sir, this is a star ship . . ." T'Pol began before being interrupted by her superior.
"I am well aware of that Sub-Commander." Captain Archer interjected a little more strongly than he meant to. If the Vulcan was hurt by the captain's tone, she let no one else know; if anything, she became more rigid and less readable.
"Sir," Reed interrupted cautiously, "I don't mean to be disrespectful but what you're suggesting, takes all of us away from our posts . . . at the same time." The Englishman uttered the last statement as if it were completely unthinkable. Hoshi swallowed a snirk at the security chief's face, the difficulty of not giving in evident on her features. Malcolm threw her a reproachfully glare in return. She diverted her eyes to the captain, with mock rapt attention.
"I know," Archer continued in a soft, though slightly annoyed tone, "But I think we can afford a slight breach in protocol."
There was a moment of silence where the senior officers shared fleeting looks, even T'Pol sent Reed a skeptical glance. "Strange how she's already figured out which colleague to turn to for each situation. She sure does adapt, I'll give her that." Jonathon thought to himself with a grin.
"We're not expecting to come across anyone, or anything of significance for that matter. So I don't see the harm . . ." Archer resumed explaining. "And I'm your captain."
"Sir, if I may?" Mayweather interrupted.
"What game are we playing?"
"That's the spirit." Captain Archer pointedly looked at his other officers. "It's going to be a Scavenger Hunt!"
"Good idea." Tucker murmured to himself.
"I thought so." Jon added. "If you wish, Sub-Commander, you can think of this as an opportunity to sharpen your team work skills."
"Each of you'll report to the Mess Hall at 08:00 hours tomorrow morning. You'll get assigned to your partners and get your list. Dismissed." Archer kept a watchful eye on his senior officers as each returned to their stations, a few muttering, but for the most part all taking their leave silently. The captain could have sworn that he had caught his science officer giving him an evil glare from the corner of his eye but when he turned to check, her back was to him and she was sitting erect at her station. Shrugging his shoulders, Archer set off to iron out all the details in his genius plan, if he did say so himself.
The Mess Hall was almost eerily quiet with the breakfast rush hour having come to its end not long before. Reed and Commander Tucker sat at a table; the lieutenant was wringing his hands and complaining to the amused superior across from him.
"Bloody inconvenience, that's what this is." Malcolm grumbled unhappily.
Doctor Phlox, along with Ensigns Hoshi and Mayweather, stood not far away. Unlike Lieutenant Reed, the trio appeared light-hearted and enthusiastic about their situation.
"I do admit that it came as a surprise to me when I received the captain's visit yesterday. But I look forward to this "Scavenge Hunt'" Phlox smiled as he made small talk. "Though I am slightly unsure what this game entails."
"Well each of us is going to be put into little teams. Each team will get a list of items that we have to find around the ship and the group to get the most wins." Hoshi explained while rocking back and forth slightly from one foot to another. "As soon as the captain gets here we can start."
The door whisked open with a slight hiss and the mentioned Captain archer stepped in. He held a basket in front of him filled with items.
"Good morning!" The group came forward to meet their superior, some reluctantly and some expectantly. T'Pol wandered over from her corner where she had been standing so quietly that her colleagues had forgotten her presence.
"Sorry I'm late." The captain sat the basket down heavily on the table. "But I was getting everything you are going to need."
"Each of you is going to be in a team of two. Each gets a list. You have two hours to collect as many of the items as you can find. At the end of that time, everyone will report back here. Got it?" Everyone shook their heads, urging Jon to continue. "Doc, Lieutenant, you’re a team. Trip and T'Pol and then," The captain motioned toward Ensign Mayweather, "you and Hoshi are a team."
"There's a backpack for each of you." Archer handed out the three packs. T'Pol accepted hers as if it were infectious while Dr. Phlox took Reed's and his own, enthusiastically unzipping it and examining the contents.
"You'll need the camera and vial for finishing the list." The captain explained at their perplexed looks. "And here a re your lists."
Ensign Mayweather burst out in laughter while looking over the list. Hoshi Sato elbowed her partner and causing him to lower the PADD to her eye level.
"Sir!" Lieutenant Reed exclaimed.
"I made sure each item is attainable on the Enterprise Lieutenant." Malcolm looked back at his superior as if he were some deranged mad man.
"Now, I want each of you to participate in this. I don't want any spoil sports," He looked specifically over at the Sub-Commander's direction. She raised an eyebrow almost daring him to make the day any worse. "I'll be the referee, so I could turn up any time to check on your progress. If I catch any of you sitting on the job, I'm sure there're some lavatories that could use a good brush down. There's a nice reward waiting for the winner at the end. Any questions? No? Good."
"You've got two hours. Good luck."
"Lemme see that list." T'Pol handed over the PADD without a flinch. "Thanks."
Commander Tucker looked over the list as they walked down the hallway. At first glance, there seemed to be a great deal on the screen but as he began to read, he couldn’t keep a smile from his face.
"3 candles, red lipstick, a Crewman's left boot (can't be a player), something Purple (Wear once found till end of game), a hair barrette, a leash, a spiked collar, a chef's hat, vial of saliva, alien fruit, a piece of dark brown hair, something organic from each of the two partners' home planets (Even if they are the same), confetti, cook book, a child's toy, a wedding ring, a drawing of a rabbit, a flute, Lavender body lotion, and an image of a crewmember's tattoo." The commander read aloud. "Oh that all?"
T'Pol threw him what he could only describe as an exasperated look.
"I don't suppose you have three candles?" Trip asked with the most charm he could muster.
"We are en route to my quarters as we speak."
"What about lipstick?" Commander Tucker winked as he got his desired response. The Sub-Commander sped up her pace and Trip followed close behind, walking in a more casual and satisfied tempo. This was going to be fun.
Light gleamed off of the small tube as Ensign Mayweather dropped it securely into his team's pack. Hoshi walked out of her bathroom, hands raised shoulder height.
"Lavender body lotion and a hair barrette." She announced dropping the items in the bag. "At this rate, we're going to win this thing."
"Was there any doubt?" Mayweather joked before zipping up the bag. "Though it is a little unfair."
"What is?" Hoshi raised an eyebrow, walking over to her door.
"Well T'Pol is the only person on board who has candles. The captain knows that. It seems a bit unfair."
The door opened with a swish. The ensign passed halfway out the door. "Well I doubt she has anything we have so . . .seems fair to me."
"Good point." Mayweather stepped out after her. "Where are we going to get drool?"
"I think this will do. "Doctor Phlox held a small vial filled with a yellowish green liquid between his thumb and forefinger. "I've been meaning to milk this Tylanian Farm Rat for some time."
"Please!" Lieutenant Reed moaned from across sickbay. "Please, don't say milk. I'm going to be up all night trying to forget what I just saw."
"No need to over-react Lieutenant." Phlox chastised in his always-cheerful tone. "The milking is a natural bodily function of this mammal. Its saliva is actually a sought after spice on half a dozen worlds."
"Someone actually puts that in their food?" Malcolm's eyes spread with dismay. "That's just wrong."
"Well, in any manner, this sample will fulfill our needs. You can check saliva off our list. What's next?"
"A chef's hat?" Phlox nodded, placing the vial securely in their backpack.
"Seems safe enough." Malcolm added to himself.
Commander Tucker tripped out of the galley with a slight push from a crewman. T'Pol helped steady him by supporting his elbow. He quickly recovered and straightened his uniform.
"Way to treat a superior officer." Trip murmured indignantly.
"Were you successful?" T'Pol asked dispassionately.
"'Course." The commander held a white ornamental hat over his head. The Vulcan abstained an answer and instead opened the bag so he could slip the item inside.
"Good morning Commanders." Phlox's voice announced his presence.
"Good morning." and "G'mornin'" They replied in unison. Both looked to each other surprised at their own echo, while Malcolm and the doctor looked on amused.
"I wouldn't go in there if I 'ere you." Trip warned as the lieutenant headed towards the galley's door. "They got knives and they’re not afraid to use ‘em. Barely made it out of there with all my bits n' pieces."
"I don't know 'bout your bits and pieces, Commander, but I know that there is a chief's hat on this list and the sooner we finish this bloody thing, the sooner I get to return to my quarters and forget about this whole bloody mess."
"Hey guys!" Hoshi greeted, turning the corner with Mayweather in tow.
"How are you coming along with your lists?" Ensign Mayweather inquired curiously. "We only have nine left."
Sato elbowed him immediately and whispered, "Don't tell them that!"
"You just . . . don't." The ensign explained.
"I think you're taking this a little seriously ensign." Sub-Commander T'Pol berated from Trip's side. Her partner nodded his head in agreement.
"You only have nine left?" Malcolm exclaimed from the galley door.
"Yeah." Hoshi affirmed, folding her arms over her chest. "What about you guys?"
"Fine. Just fine." Lieutenant Reed swallowed and moved his eyes around the room, never resting on something for too long. "Haven't had a problem yet."
"Well, that's not entirely truthful lieutenant." Doctor Phlox chimed in from the man's side. "We are having some difficulty finding a few items."
"Doctor!" Malcolm chided under his breath. Phlox turned to him questioningly.
"And you?" Travis focused his attention on T'Pol and Trip. The sub-commander was first to respond.
"We are proceeding efficiently." Tucker looked to her slightly surprised but swiftly recovered.
"Yeah, no problem." The commander backed up his partner. There were a few moments of silence as everyone nodded their heads or stood waiting for someone to break the uneasy air.
"Well, you know, it's no big deal if you don't win." Hoshi spoke up.
"Are you saying we're not going to win?" Malcolm's defenses immediately went on full alert.
"That's not what she was sayin'." Mayweather defended.
"That's what it sounded like to me!" Trip placed his hands on his hips.
"If anyone's going to win this thing, it's going to be us. I am the armory officer after all!"
"Please!" Hoshi interjected in the lieutenant's statement.
"Your status upon the Enterprise has little to no bearing on this activity. If anything, an orderly and logically mind is the one that will finish this assignment in the best time." T'Pol broke in. Malcolm laughed out loud at her statement.
"Strange Sub-Commander, I never took you for an ambitious Vulcan." Lieutenant Reed stated in a mocking manner.
"I am not." T'Pol explained, knowing his remark for what it was. "I am merely stating the truth of the situation."
"'Course." Mayweather laughed to himself.
"If anyone's going to win this, it's going to be us." Hoshi informed her unconvinced crewmates. "You'll see."
"If you're all gonna make this pers'nal. "Trip began, "then I guess, T'Pol and I are just gonna have to put ya'll back in your places."
"Oh really Commander?" Ensign Sato walked up to the taller superior to the point their chests almost touched.
"Yeah." The commander fired back.
"If that's what you want, then it's war!" Malcolm exclaimed, coming up to the two.
"Everything's war with you!" Hoshi rebuffed, before storming off with her partner struggling to keep up.
"That's why I'm going to win!" Lieutenant Reed grumbled to himself. "Come on Doc."
"This is getting interesting." Dr. Phlox commented as he followed his partner down the hall.
"Hello Crewman Gomez!" Lieutenant Reed greeted with his most charming smile.
"Uh, good morning, lieutenant . . . Doctor. Is there something I can do for you?" the petite brunette woman greeted, squinting at the brightness of the corridor.
"Actually there is. May we come in? I hope we didn't wake you." Malcolm and the doctor took a step inside as the crewman moved back to let them in, and turned on the lights.
"Uh, sure. Come in. I was just . . .sleeping." She murmured to herself dreamily.
"Sorry 'bout that." The lieutenant apologized while Doctor Phlox looked around her quarters.
"I've never been in your quarters crewman." The doctor commented.
"Spartan." He stated with a large smile.
"Kinda got 'em that way." She explained, confused.
"Well, we are here for a reason." Lieutenant Reed pulled out their list. "We're going to need lipstick, lavender lotion, a hair barrette . . . you wouldn't happen to have a spiked collar would you?"
Crewman Gomez stood there in her night clothes speechlessly. "Uh . . ."
Hoshi swiftly entered the Enterprise’s gym, which was filled with off duty officers. Her partner ran up behind her out of breath.
"This'll do." She sighed before putting two fingers between her lips.
The room fell quiet with the ensign's whistle.
"This is official Enterprise business!" She announced to the room. Hoshi reached into the backpack that was thrown over Mayweather's shoulder and after quite a bit of digging came out with an object in both hands.
"Can any brunettes donate some hair? It's for a good cause." She held up a pair of scissors, then the camera. "Anyone have a tattoo they don't mind sharin'?"
She waited a moment before throwing her hands in the air. "Ah, come on!"
Trip dropped the book heavily on T'Pol's lap as she sat delicately on the edge of his bunk. She lifted the item as he threw socks and uniforms around his quarters looking for anything that could fit the list.
"The Barbecue Bible?" T'Pol read the title aloud. He nodded his head and fell to his knees searching the littered floor.
"Yeah, essential cook book . . . Barbecue Ribs, Shish kabob, Shrimp 'n the Barbie, Sirloin. Mmm . . ." Trip crawled across the floor towards her. "You pro'lly wouldn't like it much. Meat 'n all."
The Vulcan wrinkled her nose as she dropped the heavy book into their half-filled satchel. She was slightly startled as she felt a hand touch her ankle. T'Pol looked down to see the commander peering through her legs to the area underneath his bunk. She crossed her legs out of the commander's way, simultaneously ridding herself of his grip.
"Uh, thanks." Trip slightly blushed as the Sub-Commander raised a delicate eyebrow down at him. "There it is!"
He reached under the bed and came out with a piece of crumpled paper. The man jumped off the ground with enthusiasm, startling the Vulcan woman. Commander Tucker crossed the room, tripping on a stray shoe along the way. With a slight curse under his breath, he sat at his desk and opened a drawer.
"What are you doing?" The sub-commander interrogated as she stepped over and between the obstacles on the floor to stand at her partner's side. He scavenged around the drawer a moment longer before coming out with a pen and a small glass container.
"Uh . . .we need a drawin' of a bunny, right?"
"Rabbit, yes." T'Pol corrected, placing her hands behind her back and peering over the commander's shoulder. He placed the glass container on the desk next to the sub-commander.
"Yeah, that's what I said." Trip placed the ball of the pen to the paper and began to draw a line. "Put that on."
"What is it?" The Vulcan asked, slowly opening the container.
"Nail polish. It's purple. Perfect huh?" Commander Tucker muttered as he quickly finished his drawing.
"I do not know how to . . ." T'Pol began before being interrupted by Trip, who swiped the polish from her hands.
"I'll do it. How ya want it?" The commander opened the container and wiped the excess polish off before looking up to T'Pol questioningly.
"Commander," She began, "However you like it."
Trip's eyebrows shot up to his hairline at her words.
"You humans that is." T'Pol clarified, sending a chastising glare to the commander from narrowed eyes.
"Body lotion - lavender."
"I have a candle." Crewman Gomez informed the doctor and the pacing lieutenant.
"Only one?" Reed asked, disappointed.
"You want it?" The petite woman held the candle nonchalantly while placing her other hand on her hip.
"Better than none." Doctor Phlox opened the bag so that she was able to toss the blue tinted candle inside.
"Don't you have red lipstick? Every woman should have lipstick." The lieutenant strode over to her bathroom door, intent upon searching himself. The young crewman threw an arm out in front of him, with a look daring him to take a step further.
"I have lip gloss, but you said "no.'" The woman paused as his words sunk in. "'Every woman should have lipstick?'"
"'Every woman should have lipstick?'" Lieutenant Reed took a step back as the woman placed both her hands on her hips and burrowed her dark brows, somehow making the man feel as if he were being looked down upon by the small woman. "Lieutenant, I got off duty not an hour ago after pulling a double shift. I'm so tired I skipped breakfast and threw myself into bed. But do I get to sleep? No sir!"
Doctor Phlox zipped up their bag as quietly as he could and began to make his way over to the door. He'd learned from years of marriage that the best course of action when faced with an angry and tired woman, was retreat. He was certain that this was a universal truth and by the look of annoyance and anger on the human woman's face he was right.
"You come into my quarters, asking for my personal belongings. Say they aren't good enough and then you say something as sexist as "Every woman should have lipstick?'" By this time, Crewman Gomez had corralled the lieutenant to the wall beside the exit. "You're lucky you caught me too tired to tell you off for your chauvinistic statement!"
"Sir!" She added somehow with more disgust than respect. "Now if that is all I can do for you, Lieutenant Reed, could I please retire to my bed? Unless you'd like to insult my womanhood again?"
"No ma'am." Reed stammered as he moved towards the door. She reached over the doctor’s shoulder and pressed the white button. The door opened with a swish and Phlox was out without any further adieu. The lieutenant was quick to follow but turned around as soon as he stepped outside the door.
"Would you mind giving us a lock of your hair?" Malcolm asked. The crewman raised an eyebrow as she reached over and pressed another button.
"Good bye sir."
"All that testosterone and not one tattoo." Hoshi grumbled as she followed Mayweather out of the ship's gym.
"How long do we have left?" Travis asked, concern evident in his voice.
"About forty minutes or so." Ensign Sato informed him. "And we still need: A leash, a tattoo picture, a wedding ring, a flute, a vial of saliva, a chef's hat, and . . . some alien fruit."
"Well there's gotta be some people at the mess hall and we have to go there anyways. So how 'bout it?" Hoshi turned to Mayweather and smiled.
"How you like it?" Trip leaned back in his chair, holding one of the sub-commander's hands in his own.
"Fine." The Vulcan's eyes raced around the room as if she were barely tolerating his touch.
"Might need a second coat." The commander murmured to himself. He looked up to see the sub-commander looking down at him with a very peculiar look.
"Lot a' sisters." He cleared his throat and explained away. She nodded her head in acceptance.
"Should you not wear this as well?" Trip broke out into laughter at the thought.
"But the list did not specify."
"I don't care. I'm not wearing fingernail polish."
"And risk failure on a technicality?"
"I'm not wearing fingernail polish, T'Pol." The commander rose from the chair and looked his partner straight in the eyes, "Just, no."
"Whatever you want." T'Pol whispered as he grabbed the drawing and moved to the bed. She palmed the open bottle of polish and followed him.
"Commander we are restricted on time." T'Pol chimed from beside the door.
"Keep your shirt on, darlin'." Trip threw their bag over his shoulder and met her at the exit.
The sub-commander delicately raised an eyebrow. "It was never in danger of coming off."
Tucker snickered as he reached passed her and opened the door. He made an overly graceful arc with his arm once it had opened.
"Ladies first." He said in a gentlemanly manner.
"Please commander, lead the way," the Vulcan insisted, her hands ever behind her back. Trip looked at her a moment before smiling.
"All right. Where to?"
"The Mess Hall would be the most logical choice." T'Pol replied as she tossed the now closed bottle of nail polish on the man's bunk and followed him out the door.
Little did he know that he had a small purple dot on the back of his neck.
"Lieutenant Reed!" The doctor called as he struggled to catch up with his partner. Malcolm begrudgingly stopped and shoved his hands in his uniform's pockets.
"Sorry Doc." He stated as Doctor Phlox finally arrived at his side. They continued their advance, the human taking up a slower pace.
"Apology accepted." Malcolm nodded his head slightly and began to speed up again. The doctor sighed softly and matched his pace.
"May I ask you a question Lieutenant?"
"You just did." After a moment, he looked over to the doctor before hanging his head. "Sorry, go ahead."
"I believe that you were not looking forward to participating in this activity. Annoyed would describe your outlook actually. " Doctor Phlox spoke in a tone that let the lieutenant know that he was being analyzed. He was always using that tone when he was trying to figure something out. "But now you are taking on this task with surprising zeal. Do you see this as a personal affront to your abilities?"
"No." Lieutenant Reed smiled awkwardly before returning to a more determined mask. "Yes."
The doctor looked to him questioningly.
"In a manner. You see, I'm the chief security officer. What type of security officer would I look to be if I'm not able to find and attain twenty simple items on a silly list?"
"Not a good one." Malcolm finished on a sullen note.
"Don't be so hard on yourself lieutenant."
"I know it seems foolish doctor but . . . but I just have to win."
They continued on in silence until the doctor announced in a cheery and far too loud -in the lieutenant's opinion - voice, "And win we shall lieutenant!"
He ended the statement with an inhumanly broad smile that caused shivers to crawl down the human's back. Malcolm returned the gesture feebly. Walking with more determination and with chins held slightly higher, the two continued on their way to the Mess Hall.
"Whadda ya think the prize's gonna be?" Trip spit out, unable to handle the silence any longer.
Before the Vulcan could respond a distraction appeared in the middle of the hall not twenty feet away.
"Well if it inn’t the local cosmic canine extraordinaire!"
Porthos approached at the commander's friendly welcome, his mouth ajar with a canine smile. At the same moment, Lieutenant Reed and Doctor Phlox appeared at the other end of the corridor. It did not take them long to spot the pooch.
"He's wearing a spiked collar!" Trip hissed to T'Pol. Apparently the other team had noticed as well.
Malcolm and Trip froze and stared across the corridor at each other. Both were waiting to see who would make the first move. Meanwhile, Porthos was getting closer and closer to the commanders. Reed had to make his move.
The lieutenant started out in a quick jog but when the commander set off as well, he advanced into an outright run. The pup stopped and looked about itself in confusion. He didn't have long to worry about his situation before he was lifted off his feet and into the arms of the commander.
"I saw him first!" Malcolm objected, reaching for the dog. Tucker tried to avoid the lieutenant's grasp but the man firmly got a hold of the animal in his arms.
"Uh- uh! We saw 'em first and ya know it, Malcolm. Naw, let go!" Trip pulled away from the man. Malcolm held on tightly. Porthos yelped in a plea for help, trying to squirm his way out of the men's arms.
"Put the dog down!" Jonathon Archer barked from the end of the hall. Malcolm put his hands in the air and backed away, while Trip slowly placed the dog back on his feet.
Porthos shot off like lightning and within seconds was in his loving owner's arms. Jon held his pet possessively and sent a cutting glare down the short distance to his senior officers. Slowly, each step marking his displeasure with the situation, he approached the two teams.
"Cap'n-" Trip began before he was cut off.
"I don't want to hear it Commander." Archer interrupted. "I was just coming here to check up on you guys’ progress. I thought it'd be a nice surprise for the first group I came across to get Porthos' collar. I see I underestimated your enthusiasm.
"Sorry sir." Malcolm murmured, head hung. Actually all four of the team members seemed to be uncomfortable in the captain's presence at that moment. T'Pol kept a rigid back, hands held behind her, not looking directly at the captain but at the wall plating to his side. While, Dr. Phlox seemed not to be able to keep still, his hands moving from behind his back to before him to behind him again.
"Don't apologize to me lieutenant. Apologize to Porthos. " At that moment, the captain's communicator chirped. He reached inside his uniform arm pocket and pulled out the device. "Archer."
"Sir, you're needed on the bridge." A young man's voice informed from over the small device.
"I'm on my way." Captain Archer never took his eyes off his crewmen before him. He replaced the communicator and returned his full attention back to the matter at hand.
"Sorry Porthos." Lieutenant Reed apologized humbly, trying not to think about the fact that he was apologizing to a dog.
"Yeah, sorry Porthos." Trip added. Put of the corner of his eyes he could see something flicker over the sub-commander's face. Was it amusement? "No it couldn't be." Trip finally thought to himself.
"You have a half an hour. Make the best of it." Captain Archer turned and headed back down the way he came. The dog's little paws rested over his captain's shoulder, his head resting on his paws, staring at the crewmen as he was carried away.
The four stood there in silence a few long moments before Doctor Phlox spoke.
"Are you going to the Mess Hall too?"
Ensign Sato stood in the front of the mess hall, looking over the relatively small amounts of people congregated in the room. Travis Mayweather stood to her side, swaying slightly back and forth. She finally sighed and turned to the young man.
"Well," She paused and bit the tip of a finger in thought. The door opened to the mess hall and both turned to see who entered. In walked none other than Doctor Phlox and Lieutenant Reed and Commanders Tucker and T'Pol.
With territorial aggressiveness, Hoshi went to the first table she saw and began interrogating its occupants.
"Hey. How are you? OK, do either of you have . . ." Mayweather took over and began to read off what they had left to attain.
T'Pol and Commander Tucker took off in one direction while the Lieutenant and doctor set off in the other, copying the ensigns' tactics.
"Hey girls." Commander Tucker greeted at one table. The women smiled shyly and listened attentively. Meanwhile, Sub-Commander T'Pol strayed over to the food set out for breakfast.
"Hello Ensign Cutler." Doctor Phlox greeted his young associate. "You wouldn't happen to have a tattoo would you?"
Cutler raised an eyebrow and a small smirk graced her lips. "Well . . ."
"Commander Tucker, please open the bag."
"T'Pol, an apple's not on our list." The sub-commander gave a look that made the commander feel as if he missed something terribly obvious.
"Commander," T'Pol began patiently, holding the apple up shoulder height. " This apple qualifies as both an alien fruit and something organic from your home world."
"An apple's not an alien fruit." Trip smiled charmingly, amused that he had found a flaw in the Vulcan’s logic.
"It is to me, Commander."
Trip's grin fell and he thought for a moment, "Damn T'Pol. Ya good."
"Hey hosh." Travis tapped her on the shoulder, interrupting her words with a young crewman. She looked up expectantly. "Why's the doctor following Ensign Cutler out of the Mess Hall?"
Hoshi couldn't help but let a wide grin crack her face. "Any distraction's fine with me."
"Hey, T'Pol!" Commander Trip called. T'Pol looked over from where she had been interrogating a crewman who was now cowering in his seat. She didn't mean to do that to people, Trip knew, but she still was somehow able to do so. It was a gift, a super power really. Trip smiled deviously as she walked over to him. A super power every Vulcan was born with.
"Yes Commander?" Trip pulled out the small vial from inside their pack and turned his back to the room.
"I need your help with this." T'Pol's eyes widened and she took a step back.
"I'm not goin' to fill it with real spit." Commander Tucker grabbed a glass of water and handed it to T'Pol. "I need you to help pour and block the view. We can't have Reed and Hoshi tellin' on us."
Sub-Commander T'Pol watched as the man removed the stopper from the vial. Tucker looked back at her and rolled his eyes.
"Move up here before they suspect something." Trip pulled the Vulcan over to his side by her wrist. "Now pour some in here. Not too much, we want it to be believable."
T'Pol was about to do as instructed but stopped suddenly. "Is this not cheating?"
"Not if they dunno 'bout it." Trip smiled and encouraged the Sub-Commander to pour.
"But . . ."
"Come on! It's not gonna hurt." T'Pol thought for a moment before returning to the task. "Thatta girl."
"Lieutenant." Doctor Phlox said from Malcolm's side. "You may check an image off a tattoo off our list."
Malcolm's eyes lit up and he seemed to stand a bit straighter, "Really? So that's where you went off to?"
"Yes." The doctor said with a self-satisfied smile.
Hoshi sat at a table with a young and rather handsome ensign. She swished her hair back behind her shoulder and smiled sheepishly. He smiled back, more because of the questions she was asking then anything else.
"So do you have a tattoo . . .on your body?" She asked. He smirked and made her wait a few moments.
"Umm . . . so you don't have: a leash, a tattoo, or a chef's hat. Umm . . .do you have some alien fruit, on you?"
The man smiled and leaned back in his chair. "Not today. Shoulda caught me yesterday."
"Oh . . .Oh!" Hoshi covered her mouth with a hand, embarrassed with her outburst and slow catch on.
"Well," She cleared her throat and raised the PADD so that it was covering her blushing face. "How 'bout a wedding ring?"
"Actually yes." The man pulled out a necklace from underneath his uniform. On the gold chain, was a thick gold wedding ring. Hoshi's jaw dropped and she just stared while he took off the chain and removed the ring. "I'll get this back, right?"
Ensign Sato nodded her head. He reached out and dropped the ring in her hand.
"Good 'cause the little lady would kill me if I lost it. I t was nice talking to you ensign and good luck with the hunt." With that he stood up and left the Mess Hall and Hoshi with a stupefied look on her face.
A young male officer entered the Mess Hall at a slow jog. He stopped and looked around the room. Seeing who he was looking for, he headed over to where Dr. Phlox and Lieutenant Reed were speaking with two young women.
"We're sorry but like we told you sir, we already gave everything we had to Commander Tucker."
"Lieutenant, I have what you asked for." The man announced proudly to his superior.
"Good job Rooney. Put it in the bag." The young man did as he was told and placed a wooden flute inside the now nearly full satchel.
"See you in the weapons locker tomorrow sir." The lieutenant nodded his head at the crewman's goodbye and picked up the PADD.
"We have five more items." He grumbled to himself.
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