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Archer, Trip, and Phlox meet Mrs. Phlox #2 as she comes on board. (Actually, since Mrs. Phlox has a first name, doesn't the doctor? I bet it's Wanamakabisai. Ten points to anyone who gets that reference.) The Phloxes sniff deeply of each other's personal space, which makes Archer furrow his brown in confusion but really embarrasses Trip.

Mrs. Phlox seems very friendly. I mean, really really friendly. And she's happy. When Denobulans are happy, they smile that completely heebie-jeebie CGI smile which looks like the First trying to crawl out of Cassie's face, and totally kills any interest any non-Denobulan might have had in her.

After some pleasantries, Archer and the Phloxes -- damn, there's the name of my next band! -- head off for lunch. Trip tries to leave. Mrs. Phlox invites him to join them, but Trip explains he just came down with a horrible rash of goosebumps. "Then I'll see you after lunch?" she purrs. Put those teeth away!

In the lab, Trip and Feezal (that'll be "Feels-All" in some parody somewhere, you heard it here first) are carefully installing the new Hubble Microscope she brought. Trip humbly admits that despite his tremendous engineering prowess, Denobulan directions leave him impotent.

Feezal leers at him sweetly and starts walking him through the procedure. She gets far too cozy for Trip's comfort, making innuendo out of assembly, and he delicately sidles away from her.

She invites him to come back closer to the equipment so he can she what she's doing. He reluctantly leans in, all his skeeve alarms going off. (I realize that the story was supposed to imply that he was attracted to her, but none of that came through on Trinneer's face. In fact, he looked less nauseous when he was wrassling with Princess Scrod. Or Jerry, for that matter.) At this point, actually, he's not quite sure if she's flirting or if Denobulans just define "if you can read this you're too close" differently.

A bit later (this was the B plot, so there was other stuff going on elsewhere), the microscope is assembled and Trip is learning how to troubleshoot. The Phloxes gossip happily around Trip's learning curve. Feezal curls her hand happily around Trip's curves. On his shoulder.

Trip, knowing Phlox is right behind them, looks like he's about to face a firing squad. Phlox gets a call to return to the A plot, leaving Trip alone with Feezie. As the doctor leaves, Trip waves weakly, or is he drowning?

Trip apparently stopped by Mal's quarters to freshen up on the way to the Mess Hall for lunch, because his lipstick is really heavy in this scene. He makes slightly desperate conversation with Hoshi, who is dying to zip down to the planet and do some fishing -- it's not Risa, but who knows what might be biting?

She's teasing him about the movie showing that evening when he spots a bogey coming in on an 11 o'clock tangent. Hoshi gets ready to leave and he bribes her to stay with cobbler. (Hey, for a good apple cobbler, even I might eat with the Shark Queen.)

Feezal joins them and Hoshi shows off her Denobulan. The ladies trade tongues. Feeling horribly self-conscious, Trip interrupts the grammar lesson to make sure they aren't discussing his finer attributes.

Feezie cheerfully reassures him that they are, and runs her stockinged foot up Trip's leg. His eyes widen in quiet horror. Oh, no, not another alien babe trying to get into my pants! If I have to sit through one more safe-sex lecture from Cap'n I'm going to cycle myself out an airlock!

Hoshi splutters that they weren't talking about that kind of tongue. "It's okay, Hoshi," Trip murmurs understandingly. Poor girl has no idea that Feezal's glomming on our boy like a Betazed going through the Phase. (Although not for anything, the footsie is a cheap and obvious ploy. Even if he had been interested in her, that kind of blatant groping turns Trip right off. He's actually an old-fashioned sort, when it comes down to it.)

When Hoshi excuses herself, Trip tries to head Feezal off at the passes. "Ah'm really flattered," he lies, "but you're a married woman." Feezie doesn't understand what "married" has to do with it. Trip figures discretion is the better part of not being accused of adultery and manages to weasel his way out of the Mess Hall. She checks out his finer attributes as he leaves. I think the entire camera crew is in Feezie's boat, because they just looooove lingering buttshots of Trinneer. Not that I'm complaining, of course.

Trip heads for the gym for a testosterone booster; all those female hormones are making him queasy. Malcolm is already there on a stationary bike. (Oh, frell, they still have those in the future? I was kinda hoping to see him on the hamster ball.) He and Trip are both wearing decorous T-shirts and sweats, so while large segments of the audience suddenly pay a lot more attention, there's little swooning. "She's at it again," he tells Mal. He hops up on the next bike over and matches Mal's pedaling precisely. (Beyond cool.) Mal sympathizes but doesn't recommend that he 'fess up to Phlox. Trip wants to be honorable, and he doesn't want to get in trouble, and if Cap'n thinks he's got his hands in Feezal's pebbles he'll never hear the end of it. The armory officer remarks that an angry Phlox "isn't pretty." Well, a happy Mrs. Phlox is downright cringe-inducing, so how much uglier could it be?

Travis is getting his exposure for the week when Trip finally slinks bravely into Sickbay. After admonishing what'shisface not to tip over any more alien cows, Phlox gives our boy his undivided attention.

Trip beats around the bush for a bit, trying to soften the blow with kind words about Mrs. Phlox, but finally manages to stammer out what Feezie's been doing. "Did she offer to give you a rose-petal bath?" Phlox cackles. (Hey, Valentine's Day is next Friday... take notes and surprise your sweeties, folks...) It seems that Denobulans have a much looser definition of "marriage" than Terrans do, or at least "marital fidelity."

(In the business, we call this expression "the smile of the condemned." Tom Paris was good at it too.)

Accent thickening, Trip mumbles, very sweetly and with a surprising amount of dignity, that he was brought up to believe that it's not right to pick pecans off another man's tree. Phlox shrugs philosophically and says it's Trip's loss. Trip just looks faintly relieved that the loss was not his lunch. Or his jaw, according to Malcolm. Or a few centimeters of his pareital lobe.

Feezal comes to the lab to say goodbye to her husband and the microscope. Phlox seems sorry that she and Trip didn't have a roll in the swamp. Trip manages a sickly grin. She gives him one more verbal butt-pinch. Maybe he was trying to be nice or open-minded or just do as the Denobulans do and return the compliment, but his heart's not in it, as he explains that "the plasma's running a little hot" in the warp engine so he has to leave. Sorry, but according to his profile in that very closely tailored uniform, butter wouldn't melt in that plasma.