Title: Gaseous Nebula

Contact: ENT

Rating: PG

Code: R, T

Part: 1/1 NEW

Date: 30 Aug 2006

Summary: Trip and Malcolm experience a special "gaseous nebula."

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 beta reader, Kathy Rose.

Note: I couldn't get the break line to work, so whenever you see the word 'BREAK' you'll know it's a change of scene until I can get this fixed.

Malcolm accepted Trip's outstretched arm and he clambered down from the phase cannon tube. Malcolm looked almost longingly back up to where they had been working.

"It'll be there when we come back," Trip assured him.

"Why are you in such a hurry to get to the mess hall?" Malcolm asked.

Trip threw an arm around his friend's shoulders and steered him towards the entrance to the ship's corridor. "I've only been waiting for this lunch break all night." He tilted his head up and closed his eyes, placing his free hand over his stomach. "I can almost smell the aroma."

"What are you talking about?"

"I finally convinced my Uncle Floyd to relinquish his famous Atomic Chili recipe," Trip explained. "I gave it to Chef this morning so he could prepare it for our break this evening. Of course, I threatened him within an inch of his life if he shared the recipe with anyone else."

Reaching the entrance to the turbolift, Trip pressed the button to open the door to the lift and stepped inside. With a slap of his hand, Trip hit the button for E Deck.

"Atomic Chili?"

"Well it's pretty hot. Aunt Betty always said the..."

The door opened to E Deck.

"...fumes alone would strip paint off the walls."

Malcolm brought a hand up to cover his nose. "Not to mention the deck and overhead bulkhead."

In contrast, Trip inhaled deeply, relishing the spicy scent. "I can't wait. You're going to love it."

"I think I'll pass."

"Well, I'm not going to argue with you. You know the saying, 'All the more for me'!"

BREAK BREAK BREAK

Another loud, long squeal echoed through the plasma cannon chamber.

"Bloody hell, Trip. Can't you take something for that? I've never heard or smelled so many blow-offs in my life."

Trip looked up at where Malcolm was perched on the temporary scaffold they had erected earlier. "Blow-offs?"

"Flatulence." Malcolm said.

Trip was silent.

"You know, farts."

"Oh!" A grin of accomplishment blossomed on the engineer's face. "Well that doesn't quite cover it. I'd call that last one a real nut knocker."

"You're proud of it?" Malcolm exclaimed. "They're bloody rank! It's not like we can open a window to air this place out!"

"You know, you really don't have a sense of humor," Trip said.

"I think it's more like you don't have any sense of smell -- or maybe you've damaged your nose by all your efforts."

"Look, we are just about finished here for tonight. I promise I'll stop by and see Phlox. I'm sure he can give me something to help."

"Good idea. I'll see you tomorrow."

"It's a deal."

BREAK BREAK BREAK

The next evening, Malcolm sauntered into the mess hall tired and hungry from working on the phase cannon with Trip. He selected a chicken sandwich and a cup of coffee and joined Trip who had already arrived.

"Finished in the armory?" asked Trip as Malcolm sat down opposite him at a table near a viewport.

"You're eating that again?" Malcom asked incredulously, indicating a steaming bowl of chili topped with a generous handful of diced onion.

Trip smacked his lips. "Even better the next day!" Grabbing a large spoon, he stirred the onion into the chili.

"Please tell me you did see the doctor."

"Yep. He gave me a shot which he promised should take care of it."

BREAK BREAK BREAK

"You, bastard!" Malcolm roared. "I thought you said the doctor gave you something to squelch your God-awful farts!"

Trip tried his best to look guilty, but lost his credibility a second later.

"Jesus!" Malcolm cried. "What a stink! Have you just dropped another one?"

"I'm trying my best to hold them in, but they're like gas bubble torpedoes."

"Don't try cheering me up talking about weaponry." Malcolm remarked. "Get the hell out of here and I'll finish up. But you better see Phlox again."

BREAK BREAK BREAK

"That's it! I've had it!"

"I only had a little. Couldn't let it go to waste, could I?" Trip bemoaned.

Malcolm pulled his blue undershirt up over his nose. "I swear your uncle's chili must be toxic. It was bad enough last night, but it smells even worse tonight, if that's possible. And Phlox told me himself he doubled your dose from yesterday."

Trip muttered something under his breath.

The armory officer's eyes narrowed as they focused on the engineer. "What did you say?"

"Nuttin'"

"Trip--" Malcolm admonished.

"Well, all right." Trip looked defensive and a bit guilty. "I just said maybe if I hadn't added the hot sauce to it."

"Get your arse out of here and I'll finish it up myself! You're a walking disaster area!"

"You know, I feel for my uncle. I know how he felt when Aunt Betty wouldn't let him make it."

Malcolm's eyes shot up. "Didn't it ever occur to you why she wouldn't let him?"

Trip's mouth dropped open.

"Didn't think so, Trip."

"Let's call it a night, air this place out and we'll finish it tomorrow night," Malcolm offered.

"Okay."

"And no more chili."

"Ummm."

Malcolm rolled his eyes. "You're hopeless."

"But it's good."

"Maybe for you."

BREAK BREAK BREAK

Malcolm stood at the bottom of the phase cannon chamber and looked up to where Trip was hanging next to the cannon retraction mechanism.

"So you had Chef throw out the rest of the chili, right?" Malcolm asked.

Trip gazed down at his friend and returned to his work tightening a bolt.

"Trip, I take it you didn't tell him to trash it?"

"Malcolm," Trip moaned. "It's a prize-winning recipe. It would be sacrilege."

Malcolm shook his head and turned away from the engineer.

"Aw c'mon, Malcolm. Don't go away mad, I'm almost finished with the chili. After tonight, I'll only have a couple more meals left and it'll-- "

"Trip, just tighten that screw to the left of the bolt about a half turn. The shiny blue one," Malcolm said, his back to Trip.

"It looks new."

"Oh, it is."

"No problem." Trip said and proceeded to position his wrench over the bolt. Almost immediately a green mist seeped out from around the bolt, and quickly he covered his nose with his other hand. "Yee gads, Malcolm, what's that stink?"

Looking down he saw that Malcolm was looking up at him again, except this time the armoury officer was wearing a gas mask, and through the faceplate he could see Malcolm grinning ear to ear.

"You win. I'll dump it out immediately."

"And the recipe?"

"Malcolm, you can't be serious?"

"There's another blue bolt down here, but it's bigger. Now where did I put my wrench?"

"Okay, okay, you win. I'll destroy the recipe."

"Good, then I think we're done. Thanks for the help with the installation."

The End.