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And Baby- Ch. 4
And Baby Makes Four
By Samantha Quinn
All disclaimers in Part I.
//Because of Lyceum’s indiscretion?// inquired Nantuck.
//No. It is because of our lack of females. They are wondering how we reproduce without a child-bearing gender.// the security officer relayed to the Captain.
//Ethnocentric creatures// scoffed Lyceum. //Do they truly believe that everyone in the galaxy reproduces as they do?//
//It is not entirely ethnocentric of them// argued Dr. Aron. //Most humanoids do reproduce sexually. As did we before the extermination.//
//Perhaps we should reassure them?// suggested Sodan.
//And how would we explain Jennair’s ability to read their minds? Or our ability to telepathically communicate with each other?// Nantuck remarked.
//True. It is best to allow them to ask if they are so inclined.// agreed the Gabbaccian engineer.
//If they do ask, what do you propose we tell them?// inquired the security officer. //I hardly believe it appropriate to tell them the truth.//
//I am certain the doctor can come up with a pleasantry to suit them// replied the Captain.
//I shall// came the reply.
The Enterprise crew, of course, had no concept of the conversation going on in their presence as the two crews walked in what Archer’s crew believed to be amicable silence to the Captain’s Mess.
As they passed several security teams on their way, Nantuck remarked, “Oh, Captain Archer, these must be more of your security forces.”
Archer cringed slightly. “Yes they are. I hope you do not take offense. They are a precautionary measure only.”
“It is best to be prepared,” Jennair remarked. Turning towards Malcolm he commented, “I see you have better luck in persuading your Captain to accept proper security protocols than I do.”
//I believe I am allowing you to do your job quite well on this mission, Jennair,// noted the Gabbaccian Captain amusedly.
//Yes, but in order for our mission to succeed, they must trust us. They do not yet, especially this one.//
//I see. And feigning similar emotions will help strengthen that trust?//
//I believe so.//
*I am not the only armory officer in the galaxy who must contend with a Captain unconcerned by security protocoll* mused Malcolm to himself. The thought brought him a great sense of relief. Habitually, Malcolm was concerned whether his dissatisfaction with Captain Archer’s tactics bordered on mutiny. Or at the very least, insubordination. Either way, the lieutenant figured, neither action was becoming of a Reed. *Then again, neither is such a lax security protocol as the Captain would like to have.* Although Malcolm felt an instant kindredness with Jennair, he did not believe it proper to trust him one hundred percent. Not yet.
“It is my duty to worry about the security measures so that the Captain does not have to,” was all that Malcolm would concede. True, the answer had very little to do with Jennair’s question, but the armory officer certainly was not going to admit to a foreign security chief that Archer tended to place little emphasis on Enterprise’s security. Or at least, little emphasis from Malcolm’s point of view.
Jennair found Malcom’s inner turmoil to be absolutely fascinating. As they entered the necessarily expanded Captain’s Mess, Jennair remarked to his Captain //His sense of loyalty and dedication to his job are both extraordinary.//
//Ah, then he shall be an excellent specimen,// Nantuck told his security officer. Out loud he inquired of Captain Archer, “Where would you like us to sit, Captain?”
*These must be the most polite aliens we’ve encountered yet,* mused Archer to himself. “I thought it best if we sat at alternating seats at the table, next to our counterparts,” he told the Gabbaccian Captain.
“Excellent. That shall make conversation between us so much easier,” Nantuck nodded agreeably.
With a wave of his hand, Archer motioned for his own crew to sit down and the Gabbaccians followed suit.
“So, I don’t mean this to be rude or anything, Cap’n, but if ya don’t have any females, how exactly do ya reproduce?” Trip inquired.
*How typical of humans to bring up something so very inappropriate during first contact,* thought T’Pol to herself. Out loud, she remarked only, “That is hardly an appropriate subject matter for conversation, Commander Tucker.”
//Fascinating. The Vulcan is disapproving of humankind.// remarked Jennair to Nantuck.
//Disapproving?// Nantuck asked in confusion. //Are you certain? That is incongruous with the Vulcans we know.//
//She believes them to be not only illogical, but uncouth,// Jennair informed him.
“I am not offended, Sub-Commander,” Nantuck reassured T’Pol. “I understand it must cause the crew some confusion, as most humanoids we’ve encountered reproduce sexually. I assume that goes for both Vulcans and humans?”
“Yes,” was T’Pol’s only verbal response. Privately, she thought *Not only do they deem it appropriate to discuss their own mating habits, but they deem it appropriate to discuss others’ as well. Most unacceptable.*
“Ah, yes. I believe the Vulcan mating ritual is called pon far,” Dr. Aron commented.
“Private mating rituals are not something we discuss with Non-Vulcans,” T’Pol answered.
“Private mating rituals, huh? That sounds awfully emotional, T’Pol,” Trip teased.
“I assure you, Commander Tucker, Vulcan mating rituals are infinitely less emotional than human mating,” T’Pol responded.
“Oh? From what we have observed, that isn’t true,” Dr. Aron remarked cheerfully.
Archer had served with T’Pol long enough to know when she was getting dangerously close to experiencing something akin to anger. Now was undeniably one of those times. He decided to interject before the conversation could escalate to an unpleasant place. “In any event, T’Pol, the galaxy is not divided into humans and Vulcans,” he remarked sharply, trying to both curb the conversation away from disaster and remind her of the importance of not irritating their guests.
“I am certain the Sub-Commander is aware of that, Captain,” remarked Nantuck. “The Vulcans have a term, IDIC, which identifies just that.”
“IDIC? What’s that stand for? If you can tell us, that is,” Trip grinned at the Vulcan.
“As it does not concern private Vulcan matters, then yes, I can tell you,” T’Pol responded. “IDIC stands for Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations and has been the guiding principle behind Vulcan space exploration.”
Nantuck nodded and continued, “We do not reproduce sexually. It is a rather complicated procedure. Perhaps it would be best if the doctor explained it.”
//Fascinating. As much as I hate the Vulcans, I cannot deny the incredible nature of this one’s mind. She has just mentally reviewed all of the known species that reproduce asexually and have determined us to be too advanced to reproduce asexually.// Jennair informed his comrades.
//She and Lieutenant Reed are very compatible, then?// inquired Nantuck.
//Definitely. Although neither shall be an easy conquest.// worried the security chief. Then he paused.
“Our genetic engineering programs are quite advanced. When a male Gabbaccian wishes to undergo fatherhood, he goes to a clinic where he donates his genetic material. This genetic material and his background check are check are then cross-listed with those in our database. When a proper match is found, then the material is combined. The child grows in a holding cell. There is no need for a female to bear the child.”
//Hmm. . . that is interesting. For some reason, the engineer is thinking of the Xyrillians.// noted Jennair.
//They still exist in this time period?// exclaimed Lyceum in astonishment.
“Sounds pretty complicated,” remarked Trip.
“Indeed it is,” agreed Nantuck. “I hope it helps you to appreciate the ease with which your species can sexually reproduce, Commander Tucker.”
“Yes. We are quite envious,” Jennair added.
At Trip’s blush, Archer had to chuckle softly to himself. *Polite, friendly, and a sense of humor.* he thought. *I couldn’t ask for a better first contact.*
His thought process was interrupted by the arrival of their food.
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