Title: Definite Pastabilities

Author: MJ

Author's email: mjr91@aol.com

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/coffeeslash/mj/


Archer's Enterprise

Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise

Category: Slash

Pairing: Archer/Reed

Rating: PG

Archive: Your list? You can. Also coffeeslash.

Summary: Sometimes, what you discover when you explore other planets can really surprise you.

Spoilers: Extinction

Author's note: Thanks to kyrdwyn, Kipli, and Helyn for beta. All hail Puffins, who helped me find the title right in front of my face.

I shake my head in disbelief as I try to replay everything in my head. I've listened to T'Pol. I've seen Phlox's video footage and read the medical records. I've looked over two very general reports by Hoshi and Malcolm.

I can hardly make sense of my own recollections. At the time we were on that planet, it seems as if I couldn't remember being me, Jonathan Archer, at all. I remembered memories that weren't my own but were encoded into the DNA mutation, memories driving me towards someplace called Urquat. All I remember seeing were ruins, but the memories I had gave me visions of something incredible, something out of a Babylonian or Roman spectacle, with fountains, sculptures, gigantic temples. My dream of the place was too spectacular for me to be able to describe.

Was that what Urquat was really like before it was destroyed, or is that what I was programmed to believe it would be?

Or was it simply my own explorer's dream of stumbling across the unimaginably wonderful in some remote location? The ruins I saw might have been the ruins of something far less grand than I had dreamed, still longing for great discoveries even amidst my ship's military mission into the Delphic Expanse.

It must have been a very advanced culture, though, if it could mutate DNA the way Phlox discovered.

And those of us who changed into their species have apparently never developed far enough along to take over that civilization. The three of us who were there together never moved out of what must have been a far lower stage of development, still very lower-primate or pre-evolved Loque'que.

I learned only one thing on that planet that has any real meaning, anything I can try to deal with. The only thing I learned was what I discovered when we ate.

And before you ask—grubs and maggots do not taste delicious raw. That was not it, thank you.

I'd never realized before I experienced it for myself that humans, or the advanced Loque'que, I suppose, aren't much different than the evolving primates we were mutated into after exposure, before we could finish our development. I learned something about me, and about Malcolm.

I've always been attracted to Malcolm Reed. It would be difficult not to be—Good Lord, have you ever looked at those eyes? At that little smirk he gives when he knows he's right? What's not to want? He's good-looking. He makes intelligent look stupid. He's—damn it, he's English. Every time he opens his mouth to say something I get hard. He could recite the fucking alphabet and sound smarter than anyone else on this ship. He could read the cabin assignments list and I might just come in my pants. Sometimes I think I yell at him, when I do my "I'm the captain, Malcolm" routines, just to remind myself that I mustn't drool at him like an idiot with my jaw on the floor when I'm trying to work with him. That isn't what I discovered down there, though. I knew that.

But back down on the planet, after Mr. Alpha Male leader, me, beat off Mr. Shorter Food Gathering Male—Malcolm—to get to the grubs (oh, God, is this where the word "grub" came from? I'll never call Chef's cooking "grub" again, I swear), what did I do? Malcolm was hungry, of course, and I just turned around and started giving him my food.

I had my basic zoology course in college, I remember the primates discussion. Mating behavior. Three basics. Posturing, grooming, feeding. Well, I may have failed at the grooming bit—or maybe I didn't have time—but I sure as hell postured all over the place. And then I had Malcolm snuggle up to me to get dinner. Mr. Primate Alpha Male didn't give a rat's ass about being the captain; he just wanted to get his paws on Mr. Primate Malcolm. I discovered that without all my messy "I'm the captain" inhibitions in the way, I didn't have one qualm about making my interest pretty damn clear.

Malcolm's no fool. Malcolm's got to be realizing that my turning around and offering him the food wasn't entirely altruistic on my part. I didn't just hand it over to him or portion it out, he came right up to me and I had him eating it out of the shell I was holding. He must have realized…

Of course…he didn't have to cuddle right up on top of me then to eat those grubs, either, did he? He practically put himself in my lap before we got interrupted.

So apparently I wasn't the only one who was enjoying dumping the etiquette inhibitions, was I? Getting it on is a two-way street, after all.

I think he and I need to talk.

What time is it? Hmm, he's probably down in the armory. Time to hit the comm button.


I hear the crackle of an open line. He's there. "Sir?"

"I'd like to talk to you about something. I'm writing my report on that planet for Admiral Forrest. Do you think we could get together and discuss it a bit more?"

"Of course, sir. Did you want to see me now?"

I remember what I learned on the planet—and from Professor Siemens back in zoology. "I was thinking about discussing it over dinner. My cabin, 1900?"

A pause. "Certainly, sir. I'll be looking forward to it." Oh, will he? I must be as obvious as I'm afraid I am. Another crackle. "Oh, one thing, sir."

"Yes?" Should I worry or not? My stomach feels like I've just been offered some of those damned grubs.

"If you don't mind, sir…I much prefer pasta to grubs. Easier on the digestion, and all."

He's chuckling on the other end, and I'm sure he can hear me doing the same thing. He knows, all right.

"My pleasure, Malcolm. I'll let Chef know."

"Oh, and one more thing, sir. Feeding someone spaghetti is a rather difficult trick." He's not chuckling now; he's outright laughing. I refuse to imagine the smirk he's wearing; I don't need to deal with that fear of coming in my pants right now. "If you were planning on practicing, I might recommend gnocchi." How he's keeping that tone so dry when he's *not* laughing astounds me.

I can't keep my own laughing under control. "Do you know this from experience, Lieutenant?" God, that's so out of line of me, but I can't help it.

More sounds of amusement from the other end. "I was considering the possibility of acquiring the skill."

"Then maybe you'd be willing to help me practice." If I weren't laughing I'd be shocked. If I weren't laughing, Malcolm would have a right to be shocked. But I'm certain now that he's just egging me on."

"I'll see you at 1900, then. Should I check with Chef about lobster bibs or were you going to order them?"

I never thought I'd hear Malcolm Reed, of all men, reduced to outright giggling. But I swear he's giggling. Somewhere around the deadpan lines, he's losing it. Oh, does he know. That primate dinner snuggling must really have loosened him up.

"I'll take care of things, Malcolm." We might have to forego shirts if it's going to be that messy, after all. In fact, that's a much better idea than bibs.

"Very good, then. Later."

Gnocchi with pesto. That's practically finger food, isn't it? I could feed Malcolm gnocchi and let him lick the sauce right off of my fingers. Maybe I could do it in bed.

In fact, I think I'm developing a whole new appreciation for Italian food right now—or parts of me are. These uniforms are cut way too snug, aren't they?

Sometimes, what you discover when you explore other planets can really surprise you.

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