Title: Malcolm's Defense

Contact:

Series: ENT

Rating: G

Code: R/S

Part: 1/1 NEW

Date: January 25, 2005

Summary: In answer to a challenge posted at Malcolm-Hoshi Explosion. Challenge was to work in the following elements, Boston or Massachusetts; Malcolm, Hoshi, music, and something that smells 'damn good'. This story takes place after Enterprise returns home after their trip to the Xindi space.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns all the characters, etc., I am just using the characters for a little fun and relaxation.

Note of Appreciation. Special thanks to my beta readers: Cindy and Kathy Rose.

Posting: Please notify me before you do.

Malcolm's Defense

1/25/05

Malcolm adjusted his uniform so it was fully up to proper Starfleet standards, and more importantly, Reed standards. The seams were straight. Zipper pulled all the way up to the top. No wrinkles. Shoes polished.

He looked confident.

He looked professional.

He didn't look like he was scared stiff, even though he was.

In moments, he would be introduced and he would walk out on stage. In front of him would be thousands of eager engineering students, waiting to hear him explain his theories relating to force field technology. Not just any old engineering students, he mused, but students from one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He'd rather be facing a room full of Klingons, he thought, not some snot-nosed students, most of whom didn't even realize how grateful they should be to be attending an institution as world-
renowned as MIT. He recalled the number of rejection letters he'd received from the best universities in England before finally settling on a lesser institution in Wales. Drive and determination resulted in excellent grades before he transferred to Starfleet. He wondered how many of them even knew what life was like in the real world. He wondered how many of them had even held a job.

One thing he did know was how to obey orders, or in this case firm suggestions when they came from his superiors. Since Enterprise had returned to Earth, they had been clamoring for one of the members of the crew to address the student body. Originally Trip Tucker was supposed to do the honors, but when he had decided to accompany T'Pol on a trip to Vulcan, it had been strongly suggested that Malcolm take his place.

Now here he was standing in the wings, waiting to speak, to impart his knowledge -- knowledge based on his own academic education, but even more learned through hard work, determination, imagination, and in some cases desperation.

"...please welcome, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed of the Starship Enterprise."

The words rang through the auditorium and Malcolm stepped out to face his fate.

Ensign Hoshi Sato quietly took a seat in the back of the auditorium. She had spoken with Jonathan Archer a few days ago and when she had mentioned she was in Boston visiting relatives on her mother's side, he had told her about Malcolm's lecture at MIT. At the time, she hadn't said anything to the captain, but soon after had found herself thinking more about the ship's armory officer. The more she thought, the more she realized how much she was missing him. Thinking that he could use some support in the audience, she decided almost at the last minute to attend the lecture. Not wanting to be recognized or to take away any attention which should be directed at him, she wore a large pair of dark sunglasses.

While she was sure she was the only one in the audience who was able to tell how nervous Malcolm was at the beginning, she had to admit it hadn't taken him long to shake off his nerves and, once warmed to the subject, became comfortable on stage. With the accompanying video and actual force field apparatus at his disposal, he explained his theories clearly and with enthusiasm. He truly loved his job and was obviously proud of his accomplishments since he had originally boarded Enterprise more than three years before.

Before she knew it, the time had flown and one of the professors had edged up to Malcolm and whispered in his ear.

"I'm told that our allotted time is almost over," Malcolm said. "Does anyone have any questions?"

One eager student raised her hand. Malcolm motioned for her to speak.

"Thank you for coming to speak to us," a dark-haired woman said as she rose to her feet. "I'm very impressed by what you've accomplished. Can you tell us how it is being confined to a ship like Enterprise? Do you miss your home and family?"

Malcolm stepped out from behind the podium and walked to the edge of the stage. "Confinement on Enterprise is probably not as bad as you might imagine. We keep very busy, and we do have the opportunity to visit alien worlds occasionally. As far as family, I've come to think of Enterprise as my home away from home, and the crew as my other family."

She thanked him and he moved on to another raised hand. "Next?"

A tall young man stood up clutching a Boston Red Sox baseball cap in his hands. "I've done a lot of reading about Enterprise and her crew, Lieutenant Reed. What's it like say working with an engineer like Commander Tucker or a linguist like Ensign Sato?"

The lieutenant grinned. "While I will admit that Commander Tucker and I have had our share of disagreements over the years, we've accomplished a great deal. I have grown to appreciate his sense of humour and his dedication to the mission and his trade. Regarding Ensign Sato, I have to say I'm totally in awe of her talents and her professionalism. It is seldom that you'd ever encounter such talented individuals in a lifetime. I am fortunate to not only to know these two people but to also count them as friends."

"Part of your family?" the young man added.

Malcolm nodded and cleared his throat. "Yes, I would consider both of them part of my Enterprise family."

In the back of the auditorium, Hoshi Sato smiled.

The man sat down and again more hands were raised. Malcolm motioned for a wild-haired, broadly built man to speak.

Standing up, the man challenged the lieutenant boldly with his eyes and his body language. "Can you tell us, Lieutenant Reed, how you justify the annihilation of one species to save another?"

"Excuse me?" Malcolm questioned.

"What I'm asking, Lieutenant Reed, is how can you venture into space and represent Earth and its peoples all holy and mighty and at the same time kill innocent aliens. Or is it because you are primarily a military man and not an intellectual that you justify your actions?"

A woman stood next to the irate man. "Answer that, Lieutenant!" she spat.

Malcolm grimaced and crossed his arms over his chest. He opened his mouth to speak, but found he was too irate at having to justify himself to properly explain any actions he or the crew had taken in the past few years to defend not only itself but Earth. He was ready to tell them they could bloody well go to hell when he heard familiar voice.

"I'd like to answer that question!" Hoshi Sato called out. She was walking from the back of the auditorium up to the stage.

"And who would you be?" the first man shouted.

Ascending to the stage and moved to stand next to Malcolm, she pulled off her sunglasses. "I'm Ensign Hoshi Sato of the Starship Enterprise."

A roar of interest spread through the crowd.

"First I want to say how appalled I am that you would question Lieutenant Reed's actions and that of the crew of Enterprise. If it wasn't for the lieutenant's abilities and his natural desire to protect people, chances are none of you," she looked around the auditorium, her dark eyes

fierce and intense until they ultimately focused on the people who had questioned Malcolm's actions, "would be here right now. If the Reptilian Xindi had been successful, they would have destroyed Earth without a second thought."

"Ensign Sato, if we hadn't been so quick to reply in a military fashion, we surely could have reasoned with these aliens. If men like Lieutenant Reed had their way, every argument would be met with force, not words."

"You should thank your lucky stars that Lieutenant Reed serves with Starfleet. I've seen this man go without sleep just to make sure the ship's weapons were functioning at optimum capacity. I've seen him performing jobs most of you would never have the stomach to attempt. I've seen him risk his life on more than one occasion for the good of the crew and the good of Earth -- from almost suffocating on the hull of the ship to volunteering to getting beaten to a pulp by the Suliban. How dare you sanctimoniously stand there and judge him!"

The rest of the students stood and applauded loudly in support of Hoshi's words. The people who had caused the disruption were soon escorted out by campus security. After Hoshi and Malcolm thanked the students they too left the auditorium. Malcolm also thanked the campus faculty and with Hoshi accompanying them they quickly left not only the building, but the campus itself. Soon they were walking through Cambridge along busy streets lined with shops and restaurants.

"Hoshi," Malcolm said when they were finally alone. "I could have taken care of it myself. You didn't need to get involved."

"I wouldn't have, not that long ago. Not that long ago, I might have agreed with him. When you work or study at a college or university you become out of touch with the real world. You tend to think of things that should be but in reality aren't. Enterprise changed me. Seeing how you think

and how you have to act in the real world has changed me."

"You're good for the soul, Hoshi Sato. Do you know that?"

Hoshi blushed.

"Will you at least let me take you to dinner?" he asked, indicating a small Italian restaurant across the street.

Hoshi's ability to speak up in the crowd seem to have rubbed off on him, he thought. It wasn't that long ago, he wouldn't have thought it proper to invite her out to dine. Now it just seemed the right thing to do.

"Is this a date, Lieutenant?" she asked coyly.

The Brit shrugged. "Could be, Ensign."

The pair entered through the door of the restaurant and were instantly assailed by the wonderful aroma of garlic and oregano accompanied by the sounds of Rigoletto's 'La donna e' Mobile.'

Soon a cheery hostess led them to a secluded table in the back of the restaurant. Ever the gentleman, Malcolm held the chair out for Hoshi before he sat opposite her. It wasn't until much later, sated with wonderful food, they finally left the restaurant. Walking through the now much quieter streets of Cambridge, Malcolm soon found himself walking much closer to Hoshi. It felt good and, taking a risk, he placed his arm around her shoulders. When she didn't object, he pulled her a little bit closer.

"Malcolm?"

"Yes?"

"This is a date, isn't it?"

"Just the first, Hoshi."

The End