Valla

By Dinah

Rating: PG

Genres: challenge drama humour

Keywords:

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Chapter 1

 

Disclaimer: I do not own the Enterprise characters. I do, however, claim ownership of the characters that are the products of my imagination. I have not benefited monetarily from writing this.

Author's note: Silverbullet's challenge was to write a story in which T'Pol watches the Disney cartoon "Beauty and the Beast" with Trip. Later in the mess hall, Trip tries to explain the film to T'Pol, including the enchanted characters like the Candlestick and Tea Cup. He would probably emphasize the fact that it is a love story. I've turned around Silverbullet's challenge just a little bit. I hope it meets with his approval.


"I've got a lot of work to do, T'Pol," Trip said, as they walked quickly down the corridor. "I don't have time for this."

"While the Captain is away from the ship, you have a responsibility as second-in-command to assist me in greeting our guest."

"But we're still having trouble with the environmental controls on B and C decks. People are starting to complain. When they signed on, they didn't think they'd have to work in a tropical rainforest."

"Your engineers are perfectly capable of finding a solution to the problem."

"You make it sound like it's a quick fix. Just tighten a couple of screws," he grumbled, even though he knew he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning this argument. "You know we've been fighting this problem for over a week now."

He glanced at T'Pol. She didn't look impressed. "Besides," he continued, playing the last card in a losing hand, "it's not like our guest is some highfalutin ambassador. She's only six years old."

Hands clasped behind her back, T'Pol continued to look straight ahead. She was obviously in full-blown captain-of-the-ship mode. "Every guest aboard Enterprise has the right to be treated with equal respect. Age should not be a determining factor."

"Give me a break." Trip rolled his eyes. "In case it's slipped your mind, my title is chief engineer, not babysitter."

T'Pol came to a halt outside the transporter room and turned to face Trip. "I know how busy you are, but I thought you, of all people, would understand how uncomfortable a Vulcan child might feel on a Human ship."

Suddenly, she dropped her eyes and looked away. It quickly became obvious to Trip that she was no longer speaking as the officer in command of Starfleet's flagship, but as his wife. "I thought you would want to help. Evidently I was mistaken. If you believe you are needed in engineering, you are free to go."

Trip scrubbed a hand over his face. T'Pol was right. He was being a jerk. But he was just so tired...and frustrated. For the past week, nothing had gone right. First there was the stubborn problem with the environmental system. Then a disagreement with Malcolm over the increased power requirements for his weapons upgrades had ended in a shouting match. The aft sensors had to be realigned - twice. Phlox had major problems with the imaging chamber. Then, to make matters worse, Enterprise had received a distress call two days ago; warp 5.1 was difficult enough to maintain when everything was running smoothly.

All he wanted to do right now was get down to engineering to see what progress the Gamma Shift had made on the repairs overnight. But when he looked into her eyes, he'd had to admit that she really wasn't asking for very much - just a few minutes of his time. If this made her happy, maybe it was worth it.

Finally, he decided to fall back on the mantra his father had always told him was the secret to marital bliss.

"You're right-I'm wrong-I'm sorry."

Trip took a deep breath. Once again, Dad was correct. If you said it fast enough, it didn't hurt a bit.

T'Pol's eyes softened. "Are you being less than honest with me, Commander?"

"Less than honest...me?"

She didn't need to comment; her raised eyebrow made it clear that she thought he was full of it. And every time he saw that look, it only made him love her more.

Lightly brushing his hand against hers, he said, "I really am sorry, T'Pol. I know you wouldn't ask me to do this if you didn't think it was important."

"I forgive you," she murmured.

"And you won't make me sleep on the floor tonight?"

"No."

Trip moved in a little closer. When he took a deep breath, her scent triggered memories of romantic nights spent locked in her arms. He could almost feel the touch of her full lips as they pressed against his.

Unfortunately, T'Pol chose that moment to put her hand against his chest and gently push him away. "Tonight, you will be sleeping alone. Our guest will be sharing my quarters until her parents come aboard."

Trip grunted softly. That was a real mood killer.

With a nod of his head toward the door, he sighed resignedly and said, "Let's go. We don't want to be late."

Trip opened the door to the transporter room and they entered. Hoshi and Doctor Phlox were already there waiting for them.

Ensign Tomasz Szweda was manning the transporter controls. "They're ready whenever you are, Commander," he said to T'Pol.

"Begin transport," she replied.

"I don't feel real good about this," Trip murmured. "I'd much rather use the shuttlepod with someone this young."

"We have no choice," T'Pol replied. "The decision has been taken out of our hands."

Trip nodded in grudging acceptance of the situation.

The distress call had come from Ma'Lo'A, a mineral-rich planet located about midway between Alpha Centauri and Beta Virginis. For centuries, a single ruling family, the Gralee, had exercised total control over the poorly educated and impoverished population on all three continents. Greedy and indolent, the Gralee had discovered long ago that leasing the planet's mineral rights to off-worlders was the quickest way to accumulate wealth. The alien-run mining companies, with the wholehearted support of the Gralee, had callously exploited the indigenous workers; generation after generation of Ma'Lo'Asi had lived and died in the mines.

Finally, after years of mismanagement and abuse, a series of mine disasters had triggered a civil uprising. In a matter of days, the Gralee had all been slaughtered or driven into hiding. Their guards had been no match for the thousands and tens of thousands of oppressed Ma'Lo'Asi, who firmly believed they had nothing left to lose.

Most of the off-worlders had shared the Gralee's fate. The few who managed to survive had apparently recognized the signs of the coming storm and either had an escape route planned well in advance or found a temporary place of safety, barricaded themselves in and waited for help to arrive.

Enterprise was now in orbit over Ma'Lo'A in answer to the distress call sent by one such group: half a dozen Vulcan geologists, who'd apparently survived because very few people knew of their existence. When the trouble started five days ago, they'd simply done their best to secure the science station, which was situated in an abandoned mine five meters up the side of a mountain, and waited. After several days with no end to the violence in sight, they'd finally decided it was time to seek help.

Unfortunately, by the time Enterprise arrived, the violence had seemingly begun to abate. Without the incentive of riots in the streets directly below them, the scientists felt it was illogical to leave before they'd finished their current research project, which was nearing completion. And no amount of persuasion on T'Pol's part was able to convince them otherwise.

Finally, Captain Archer had transported down with Lieutenant Reed and two MACOs to try and reason with them face to face, but even drawn phase pistols had no effect on the scientists. After an hour of arm-twisting, Archer had managed to gain only one concession: two of the scientists agreed to send their young daughter to Enterprise instead of keeping her with them until they'd completed their work.

And of course, T'Pol was the logical person to supervise the child until her parents could join her.

Trip had no problem with her being on board - he'd always liked children - just as long as he didn't have to oversee her care and feeding.

Soon after Ensign Szweda activated the transporter, the swirling atoms quickly solidified into the compact shape of a miniature version of T'Pol. Trip couldn't help but smile as he took in the self-possessed little girl. She was dressed simply in a full-length blue-grey gown and a plain beige robe, and there was a white cloth bag clutched in her left hand. With her big brown eyes, her button nose and her delicately pointed ears, she looked like the perfect little pixie come to life.

Seemingly unfazed by her journey via the transporter, she stood quietly for a moment, taking in everything and everyone around her, then she stepped off the platform and walked over to T'Pol.

Raising a hand in the ta'al, she said, "Live long and prosper. My name is Valla."

T'Pol returned the traditional greeting and then made the necessary introductions. Motioning to her right, she said, "This is Commander Tucker. He is our chief engineer. He will be available to answer any questions you might have about the workings of the ship." T'Pol gave Trip a warning look that said, Behave.

"Peace and long life, Valla," Trip said, forming the ta'al with the fingers of his left hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

Valla just stared at him.

T'Pol then proceeded to introduce Hoshi, who would be helping the little girl with her language skills, and Doctor Phlox, who had agreed to tutor her in biology and zoology.

When Phlox bent down to greet her, Valla drew back slightly - his yard-wide smile must have been a little overwhelming - but on the whole, she appeared to treat this experience as little more than business as usual.

"You will be sharing my quarters until your parents come aboard," T'Pol said. "I have prepared a schedule of classes and activities for you. I know you will give Ensign Sato and Doctor Phlox your full attention."

Valla nodded. Her expression made it clear that she took every word T'Pol said very seriously.

"Do you have any questions?" When the little girl shook her head, T'Pol motioned towards the door. "Then come with me."

Trip watched with interest as T'Pol leaned over and took the bag from Valla. Then, with heads held high, she and her pint-sized shadow strode purposefully out of the transporter room.

 

 

To be continued --

 

 


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Crystalswolf

Not only banned from the bed but from the room. LOL

SavanaSahara

Loved it and can't wait for more! :)

Honeybee

What a charming, fun story! I'm looking forward, like the others, to seeing the next chapter.

MARY

This was a tease setting the stage for what is to come, I had a good chuckle with "you're right .I'm wrong. I'm sorry". Not that I've ever heard that, but it is sweet.. Knowing that an explanation of Beauty and the Beast is to come, I can't wait.

The_Middleman

This is definitely going to be good; I can just feel it.  :D

Dinah

I want to thank everyone for the reviews.  I'm not sure this is exactly the story Silverbullet wanted me to write, but I got started thinking about a movie made with little girls in mind and I got carried away.

Transwarp, the mine entrance I had in mind wasn't that far up the side of the mountain.  Maybe I did get it a little too close to the ground, though.  But then the metric system and I have never gotten along.  A reviewer once told me I shouldn't be using feet and inches and I've been trying to change, but if the internet didn't have conversion charts, I'd be sunk. 

I'll start the next chapter of the Briar Patch as soon as I finish this story.  This delay may buy me a little time to figure out what happens next.  Sometimes writing from an outline sounds like a real good idea.  Maybe I should try it sometime.

Thank you again for the reviews! :D

Distracted

What a cutie.  I love it.

Cogito

I love the image of the cute little pixie, earnestly trying trying to emulate the great Vulcan adventurer T'Pol. I wonder how she's going to get on in a ship full of undisciplined humans. They're going to love her of course, I can already see that. After being stuck down a mine for goodness knows how long, I suspect she's going to find this quite exciting too. But I suspect poor old T'Pol's going to be busy keeping her out of trouble!

panyasan

This was wonderful! I loved it. The interaction between Trip and T'Pol was great and Valla is a great OCC. I think she will surprise us. Lovely story, Dinah.

WarpGirl

OMG Dinah! I love this love it! I loved how Trip isn't being perfect, saying the exact right thing to T'Pol automatically doing whatever she wants and needs, and in general being an average normal guy. Not some long-suffering saint that some people paint him as. And yes he was wrong and how he handled it was very sweet. But frankly if he handled everything like that I'd gag. T'Pol showing that she knew his stratagy was partially insincere and called him on it was awesome! It almost reminded me of me and my guy. I can't wait for the rest. But I too want more Briar Patch. Sorry I just found this but my own internet is down again.

Alelou

The wives in the crowd all LOVE Trip's father's advice.  "Yes, dear" is not nearly as satisfying.

Poor Trip, consigned to his own quarters for the duration.  As always, this promises to entertain.

Silverbullet

Great start. Looking forward to Valla and T-Pol seeing Beauty and the Beast and Trip's explanation of it to two skeptical Vulcan females.  Valla especially will be interesting as she is a child but a Vulcan. Her response will be different than that of a Human child who has been exposed to Magic in Fairy Tales. Boy is this going to be a fun ride. Can't wait

Hummingbird2

Great start! I'm looking forward to more.

B

Exquisite

 

Transwarp

I am completely and totally captivated by this beginning! 

"...with heads held high, she and her pint-sized shadow strode purposefully out of the transporter room."

Brilliant!

Potential Typo Alert >>>   You describe the Vulcan science station "...which was situated in an abandoned mine five meters up the side of a mountain..."

Did you perhaps mean five hundred meters?

And finally, Trip's father gave his son improper advice for marital bliss.  The CORRECT mantra is "Yes, dear."  This completely avoids the need for "You're right-I'm wrong-I'm sorry."

I hve only one issue with this story:  Every minute you spend on this is a minute less you can devote to 'The Briar Patch'

You are now obligated to double the amount of time you spend writing.  Family obligations be damned!

 

 

Asso

O well, let's see.
Trip and T'Pol's interaction: humorous, allusive, and displaying a world of affection. Perfectly in character, but not too much.
The subject: promising and intriguing.
The style: there can be people able to think Dinah's style is less than perfect?
The writer's touch: soft, as usual, and enthralling.
One last thought: fortunately that's only the beginning.:p:p:p:p:p

bluetiger

What a wonderful beginning. Why do I think that Trip is the one in for a learning experience. Valla is very intriguing.

Okay this was hilarious

Finally, he decided to fall back on the mantra his father had always told him was the secret to marital bliss.

"You're right-I'm wrong-I'm sorry."

More, please, soon!

Aquarius

Color me hooked!  I love that you chose to frame this challenge with a bigger story.  Poor Trip! :p

Looking forward to the next chapter.

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