The Way to a Man's Heart

"We have a very special week planned," Captain Archer announced. "In commemoration of both Alan Turing's 242nd birthday and the 185th anniversary of the Stonewall Incident, we have some great events planned." As he spoke on the intercom, the date slid by on his PADD – June 22nd of 2154.

"In celebration of, as the Vulcans say, infinite diversity in infinite combinations," the captain continued as the Science Officer, T'Pol, raised an eyebrow very slightly as she remained focused on her station, "every night will be Movie Night. Chip?"

Tactical Ensign Chandler Masterson was on the Bridge, covering briefly for Armory Officer Malcolm Reed. Chip stood up and, into the intercom, said, "We have put together some terrific examples of historical non-mainstream sexuality in cinema. This is to also go along with Retro Cinema Month, which Aidan and I are hoping can become an annual thing here on the NX-01. Now, some of these depictions are more sympathetic than others, but recognize that there was a while there where any depiction of non-heterosexual characters on screen was more or less a victory. Of course we demand more out of our films now." He paused for a breath before continuing.

"Tonight, we're showing Milk, which is about openly gay San Francisco politician, Harvey Milk. Tomorrow night we'll show Philadelphia, which is about a lawyer dying of an old, cured disease called AIDS. Tuesday's movie will be My Beautiful Laundrette, a British comedy about a Pakistani man and his street punk lover, who run the former's family business. Wednesday is Personal Best, a story about lesbians in sports. Thursday's offering is The Crying Game, another British film. That one's got a twist that I won't give away. Friday's is La Cage Aux Folles, a French-Italian film about a man bringing his fiancée and her ultra-conservative parents to meet his father and his father's lover. And on Saturday, we've got a double feature – the Weimer Era musical Cabaret and the 1970 drama, The Boys in the Band, which is one of the first mainstream American films to revolve around gay characters. Of course I'll explain more when I introduce each picture and, after every showing, we'll have a discussion for anyone who wants to stick around. Everybody's welcome, as always."

"Thanks, Chip," the captain said. "Chef?"

Chef William Slocum answered from the galley, where he had been patched in. "Lili and I will be making many of the crew's favorites as our part of the celebration. Of course every dish will have a vegan alternative. Tonight will be hamburgers and hot dogs. Tomorrow will be Philly cheese steaks. Tuesday will be Indian and Pakistani specialties. Wednesday is fried chicken. Thursday's menu is bangers and mash. Friday we'll be having pizza. And on Saturday we'll have a Mexican spread."

"The gym will be open," the captain joked. "Julie?"

"MACOs will clear out of the workout area if requested," the Sergeant reported. "Or feel free to work out with us."

"Hoshi?" asked Captain Archer.

"The book club is being revived. We'll be reading new biographies of Oscar Wilde and the ancient Greek poet, Sappho."

"Thank you," replied the captain. "Let's all have a great IDIC Week!"


It was Thursday afternoon, the 26th, and Chef's assistant, Lili O'Day, was cleaning up after lunch. The doors of the cafeteria swished open. "Oh!" She almost dropped the rag she was holding.

"Sorry," apologized MACO Corporal Frank Todd. "Didn't mean to scare you."

"Oh, it's all right. It's just that I'm usually alone at this time of day. It's my Zen moment."

"I can imagine. Look, uh," he started to help her by moving chairs out of the way, "I was wondering. For tomorrow and Saturday, it's, uh, it's kinda prime time for dates."

"I suppose so."

"So I, uh, I was wondering, do you plan the desserts really far in advance?"

"I don't have to, no."

"Can I ask for something special? It's, uh, it's for someone special."

"Is it Preston?" Preston Jennings had been a steward before Lili. For the Xindi War, he had been moved over to Navigation when she was hired. Frank shook his head. "Is it Luke Donnelly?" Luke served in Tactical with Chip.

"Not him, either."

"Is it –" Lili paused for a second. There were a few other men who were, possibly, gay, but she could never be certain, and felt it rude to just come out and ask. Frank, though, she had known about him.

"It's Dave Constantine."

"I, uh, I had no idea," Lili admitted. "He's kinda cute."

"Yeah," the MACO smiled, "but it's all really new, yanno?"

"So you want to have something nice for your date, uh, tomorrow?"

"Saturday. He's gotta take Ingrid's shift tomorrow night."

"Got it. As I recall," Lili stated, "Dave likes …." Her voice trailed off.


She sat down on one of the cafeteria chairs and, unexpectedly, began to cry.

"What's the matter?"

"The, the Major, he liked blueberries. And so does Dave," she explained between sobs. It had been a little over three months since Major Hayes's death. But it was times like that which made it all raw again.

Frank put an arm around Lili. "You liked the Major? Oh, man." He hugged her for a while. "Can I tell you a secret?"

"Uh, huh."

"I think he liked you, too."

"What? Malcolm Reed said that, too. I didn't believe it. I still don't."

"Hear me out. I think he did, Lili. He was always the last person in the chow line, remember? And I think he did that because he liked to linger a bit and talk to you."


"Yeah, you," Frank insisted. "I didn't know he liked blueberries like Dave does. You, you don't have to do anything. It's okay."

"I'll, I'll see." She dried her eyes.


Saturday night, and it was the middle of the double feature. A lot of people had cleared out after the musical, but others remained. It was a lot of the MACOs, and at least half of Dave's department, Stellar Cartography. And there were other folks here and there, like Dr. Phlox, and Malcolm Reed, and Karin Bernstein from Tactical.

Chip Masterson stood at the front of the ship's theater. "Before I start talking about The Boys in the Band," behind him, Lili wheeled in a small cart and quietly began to put stacks of small plates onto a side table, "we have a special treat for our in-between movie break."

They formed a line. Captain Archer was served first, even though he insisted that wasn't necessary. The cartographers made small talk as their plates were filled, and Malcolm quietly asked if the dish was made with dairy. Luke and Preston were there, and it was obvious that they were together. Lili served until the last two people in the line had their plates out – Dave and Frank.

"My favorite! Blueberry pie!" Dave exclaimed as Lili cut him a large slice.

"Well, Frank here wanted to arrange something special for you," Lili told him. "I was happy to do it." She looked away for a second.

Frank turned to her. "I know this was hard for you. I can't tell you how much it means to me. In gratitude, and in the Major's honor and to remember him, I promise you, from now on, I will always be the last one in the chow line."

Overcome, there was nothing she could do but hug him as she felt her eyes stinging. She whispered her thanks.