"We have what might be an alien intruder on board. What's the first thing you do when you encounter a hostile?"

Tactical Maneuvers class, Day 1. And Day 2. And every other day of the mandatory course. "Call for assistance."

"Very good." Trip turned and found the comm panel by the Mess Hall doors. "Tucker to the Bridge."

"Go ahead."

"Subcommander, we've found, uh, a small...round...furry...life-form in the Automat. Doesn't seem to be threatening."

"Have you tried to communicate with it?"

Trip glanced over at the counter; Malcolm had leaned down to study the creature and Trip could hear it purring enthusiastically. He tried not to smirk. "Well, it seems to be fond of Malcolm."

"Clarify."

"Every time he gets near the thing it purrs."

Suddenly she sounded very hurried. "I'm on my way. Contain it. Do not let it eat anything. That's an order. T'Pol out."

Trip blinked in surprise at the closed circuit. "Don't let it eat anything?" he repeated. "So it's a gremlin with no legs and no head?"

"Ah, thank you, Chef," said Malcolm, taking the enormous wok Chef was carrying and starting to put it over the creature.

"Wait! Take the sandwich out," Trip called, coming into the Galley. "T'Pol said don't feed it." Malcolm hastily pulled the wok back. Trip gently picked the thing up and placed it on the counter, removing the plate. It made a disappointed cooing sound as Malcolm covered it. "Awww. Ah think you broke its heart, Mal."

"The story of my life. My roommate at university used to call me 'Reed 'Em and Weep.' "

"Hangin's too good for him."

"It was. I disemboweled him with a rusty spoon."

"Did you put his head on a pike outside the Tower Gate too?"

"We only do that for tourists."

"Commander." They looked up to see T'Pol in the Galley doorway, looking surprisingly wild-eyed for a Vulcan.

"T'Pol?"

"Where is it? The alien."

"Right here." Malcolm lifted up the wok. The furball resumed purring. T'Pol lunged towards the Armoury Officer and began rifling through his pockets. "Subcommander!" he gasped, affronted.

"Forgive me." She found the phase pistol she was looking for, flipped a switch, and aimed it directly at the creature.

sssscrreeEEEEEEEEEEEEEE BOOF

Both men gaped at the greasy spot which was all that remained of the creature. Chef grabbed a towel and began rubbing frantically at the burnt spot, hoping to salvage the countertop.

T'Pol set the pistol back to "stun" and handed it to Malcolm. "Highly dangerous vermin," she explained.