Mr. Velek

By Brandyjane

Rating: PG

Genres: fluff

Keywords:

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Disclaimer: The only things Star Trek that I own are a t-shirt and a poster. These characters belong to Paramount.

Spoilers: There are minor spoilers for "Strange New World." You can probably understand the story even if you haven't seen that episode, though a few things in the first few paragraphs might not make perfect sense. The only thing you have to know is that Trip mentions to T'Pol that he had a Vulcan science teacher, Mr. Velek, in tenth grade.

Archive: Feel free.

This story is my first ever attempt at fan fiction, and it's total fluff. Still, I hope you enjoy.


"You four are free to go," Phlox said cheerily as he put away his scanning device. "But I will need to keep Ensign Novakavich here for observation for another day or two."

"Good. I'm starving!" Liz Cutler pronounced.

"Of course you are," Trip teased. "Travis never did find our dinner last night." Phlox had let Ethan Novakavich drink some sort of foul-tasting but nutritious brew when he awakened in sickbay, but none of the other four members of the away team had eaten anything since late afternoon the day before.

"Come on, Commander. You can't blame me for that. I made it back to the camp site, but all I found was one food packet. The rest had blown away."

"Maybe the rock people ate them," T'Pol said absently. Four pairs of eyes stared back at her. T'Pol blinked and seemed shocked by her own words.

"Did you just make a joke, Sub-commander?" Trip asked, gaping. He'd been convinced for a while that she did, in fact, possess a sense of humor, but this was the first time he'd heard her clearly make a joke.

"Sub-commander T'Pol might have displayed less overt symptoms than the rest of you, but I suspect it may take her slightly longer to fully regain her emotional control," Phlox explained. T'Pol gave him a slightly irritated look, annoyed that he had shared her private medical condition with the others. Phlox seemed oblivious that he'd done anything she might consider inappropriate. Trip just stared at her; if T'Pol was having any trouble with emotional control, she was doing a good job of hiding it. Aside from one lame joke, she seemed as unflappable as ever.

Travis, Trip, T'Pol, and Crewman Cutler all had the same thing in mind as they left the infirmary: food. They were back just in time for lunch. Cutler headed over to share a table with Ensign Rao and Crewman Kelly, and Travis decided to take his sandwich back to his quarters. For some reason, though Phlox had found nothing wrong with it, his neck still ached, and he wanted to lie down for a while. Trip was just about to head over to Malcolm's table when T'Pol surprised him. "May I sit with you?"

"Uh...of course," he stammered. From what he could tell, aside from dinners in the captain's mess, she usually took her meals alone or occasionally with Phlox. She never joined anyone else, and so far no one other than Phlox had gotten up the nerve to take a seat at her table. There were times when far too many crewmen would crowd around a single table while T'Pol ate alone. He had even seen her take her tray back to her room once when there wasn't an empty table available. Trip had felt a little bad about that. He'd almost called out for her to join him and Hoshi, but he hesitated a little too long and then she was gone. He rationalized that she probably would have turned down the invitation anyway.

They ate in silence for a few minutes, and Trip started to get a bit antsy. He felt like he needed to say something, but he wasn't sure what. He still felt like an ass for the things he'd said to her down on that planet. She hadn't acted offended the next morning, but, then, of course she wouldn't. Eventually T'Pol looked up at him with those big brown eyes of hers and said, "You had a Vulcan science teacher?"

"Yeah. Yeah, Mr. Velek."

"Not very many humans could say the same. I was...curious. Could you tell me a little about your experience with a Vulcan instructor?"

"Well," Trip answered as he took another bite of his ham and Swiss sandwich, "he taught exobiology one semester at my high school. He was a scientist on leave from your Science Institute, taking part in some sort of educational exchange program, I think. Anyway, he traveled from school to school for a couple of years, and one year Panama City Classical Academy was one of his assignments." The Tucker family believed in the power of a good education. Though it had been a sacrifice, Charles and Catherine had managed to send all of their children to the best private school in the area.

"From what you said earlier, on the planet, it seemed as though you respected him," T'Pol said cautiously.

"Respected him? Oh, hell yeah! Mr. Velek was the reason I joined Starfleet," Trip pronounced enthusiastically.

"Really? How is that possible?" T'Pol asked staring at him intently.

"It started with him accusing me of cheating on his first quiz. No, I did not cheat," he pronounced emphatically at her raised eyebrow. "Second day of school, and he gives us a quiz. Can you believe that? Anyway, he called me to his office the next afternoon and said I must have cheated because I hadn't shown my work on some of the math equations that he'd thrown in to make it just a little more challenging. Of course I denied it. I told him I'd done the math in my head. Then he said I wasn't smart enough to do that kind of math in my head." Trip looked indignant for a moment, but he couldn't keep from grinning at the memory.

"Boy, I really bucked at that," he said, shaking his head. "I wanted to tell him off, but, I'll admit it, he scared me a bit. Instead I asked as meekly as I could, 'How do you know I'm not smart enough?' He said he'd taken a look at my GPA, and it just wasn't high enough for someone who could do that kind of math in his head."

"GPA?" T'Pol asked.

"Grade Point Average. It's a way of averaging your grades in all of your classes. Theoretically, a 4.0 is the highest you can get. That means you made an 'A' in every subject."

"And what was your GPA?"

Trip answered proudly, "I had a 3.85 without ever cracking a book open at home. Of course, when I explained all that to Mr. Velek, he wasn't impressed. He started spitting out math problems to me, and I kept having to work them out right then and there in front of him, in my head. Let me tell you, I think the absolute most terrifying thing I've ever been through in my entire life was sitting in that little office with Mr. Velek, wondering what in the world he would do to me if I got one wrong. But I didn't," Trip concluded with a little shrug that should have been modest but wasn't.

"What does all this have to do with getting you into Starfleet?" T'Pol asked, puzzled.

"After he was satisfied that I wasn't a lying, cheating, dumbass, Mr. Velek started interrogating me about what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't have a good enough answer for him. I never really tried in school because I just didn't have to. I know that sounds conceited, but...Anyway, I made the mistake of answering honestly that I was going to get a football scholarship to college, major in math because it was easy for me, and then become a professional football player."

This time both of T'Pol's eyebrows raised as she gave him her "Are You an Idiot?" look. "Football. Is that anything like 'water polo?'" she asked, wrinkling her nose slightly.

"Hey, don't look at me like that; I was pretty good back then. Realistically, I think I did have a shot at playing pro ball," Trip drawled. "You know, you kind of look like Mr. Velek with that expression on your face. Not that I'm saying you all look the same to me, cause you don't; it's just that he made that same face when I told him my plans."

"I assume my - Mr. Velek persuaded you that playing a game wasn't your best career option?" T'Pol asked mildly. The way she said the word "game" made it very clear what she thought of the idea.

"Exactly," Trip said. "In his logical Vulcan way, he told me that my aspirations, my hopes and dreams, were the dumbest plans he'd ever heard. Now that made me mad. I was just about to storm out of his office when he said - and I'll never forget it - he said, 'Son, you have a gift and it is your duty to share it with your world. Don't waste your talents.'" Trip stopped for a moment to collect his thoughts. "No one had ever talked to me like that before. My parents had always been satisfied with my grades. I don't think they ever even realized I was just coasting. My grades were good enough to make them proud. None of my other teachers ever took the time take me aside and give me a talking to like that. I think I drove the rest of them a little crazy. But Mr. Velek saw something in me and he challenged me. It made all the difference."

"Did he suggest Starfleet to you?" T'Pol asked?

"Yes, actually, he did," Trip answered after taking another swig of his drink. "He told me that he wanted me to spend some time thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and then come back and tell him. He meant it, too. A few days later he called me into his office again and he wanted an answer. I didn't have an answer ready for him, so just I told him how when I was little I wanted to be a starship captain, and then he said I should join Starfleet. I had never really seriously considered joining Starfleet, but Mr. Velek said he thought I had what it takes to rise pretty far."

"You wanted to be a captain?" T'Pol asked, intrigued at the thought of Captain Tucker.

"Every kid wants to be a starship captain or a firefighter or -"

"A professional football player?" T'Pol asked.

"Yeah, or a professional football player," Trip answered, laughing. "Anyway, to make a long story short, Mr. Velek persuaded me to think about Starfleet Academy. After that, I actually started applying myself. Boy, that sure shocked the rest of my teachers! Mr. Velek moved on to another school at Christmas Break, but I still corresponded with him a few times a year. The first time I applied to the Academy, they rejected me. By that point my GPA was a 3.9, but they had plenty of 4.0 candidates to choose from and I didn't have any special honors or accomplishments to point to. I wrote to Mr. Velek about the bad news, and the next thing I knew, I was getting a phone call from the Dean of Admissions at Starfleet Academy. Mr. Velek had called him personally and put in a good word for me. Can you believe that?"

She could believe it. "If you wanted to be a captain, how did you become an engineer?" she asked.

"My freshman year I decided to sit in on a guest lecture by Dr. Jeffries himself. I skipped Freshman English sometimes to sit in on other, more interesting, classes. He surprised everyone by rolling in one of Henry Archer's first prototypes, a design he'd discarded early in his career, and he proceeded to question the students - they were all graduate students - about why it didn't work. No one could answer his questions. I looked at it, and the answer was pretty obvious. It wasn't a question of advanced warp theory - which I didn't know at all at that point - it was a simple structural flaw. I'd always been a pretty good mechanic, and I saw the problem right away. I raised my hand. Can you imagine that? I was eighteen years old and I didn't know a thing about warp engines, but I raised my hand."

T'Pol had no trouble imagining a young Tucker raising his hand. "You answered correctly." It wasn't a question.

"That's right. It had been a trick question on Jeffries' part, and I was the only one to see it. Jeffries convinced me to switch to engineering right then and there, which, by the way, was a good move on my part, because as good at math as I am, I'm certainly not as good as Starfleet's pure math types - or you - are. Jeffries sort of took me under his wing and I learned everything I know about warp engines from one of the masters."

Not everything, T'Pol thought to herself. Tucker himself was responsible for so many innovations that the High Command wondered why the humans still stubbornly insisted on calling it Henry Archer's Engine. "Did you tell Mr. Velek about your move to engineering?" T'Pol asked.

"I wish I had," Trip answered sadly. "After Jeffries put me on his team, I tried to contact Mr. Velek. I knew he'd be proud. He'd gone back to Vulcan. The consulate posted a letter for me, but a couple of weeks later I got a message back saying it hadn't been delivered because the recipient had died. The Vulcans wouldn't tell me what happened. Privacy concerns, and all. It's a shame. Your people live so long, he was young to go."

Yes, he was, thought T'Pol. "That was an interesting story. Thank you for sharing it with me. If you'll excuse me, I must see to my duties," she said, gracefully rising from her chair.

"My pleasure," Trip replied, getting up to discard his own tray. "We should do this again sometime. Join me for a meal anytime you like. You're pretty good company, Sub-commander."

As they walked out of the mess hall together, Trip said, "I haven't told anyone that story in years. I wish Mr. Velek could see where I am now. I wouldn't even be here if not for him."

Me neither, thought T'Pol as she watched the young man whose life her father had changed stroll down to engineering.

 

 

 


Comments:

crystalswolf

This was a great story!  What a wonderful idea.

Brandyjane

Do it, lulu, it's fun!  Now that I wrote this one, I can't seem to stop writing.

panyasan

Wonderful story. I liked the twist at the end, the insights how Trip get into Starfleet and the joke of T'Pol. I enjoyed this very much.

lulu

I really loved this story.  I am hoping to have the courage to write my own fanfic soon.  You did a great job!

Aikiweezie

Great story.  Can't say anything that hasn't been said befre I got here (I've been on vacation).  Please share some more of your writing with us.

Brandyjane

Trip's comment about her looking "just like" Velek was supposed to be my first hint that they were related.

justTrip'n

Wow-wee! I love it. This was a great dialogue with Trip rambling on and almost putting his foot in his mouth:

"Hey, don't look at me like that; I was pretty good back then. Realistically, I think I did have a shot at playing pro ball," Trip drawled. "You know, you kind of look like Mr. Velek with that expression on your face. Not that I'm saying you all look the same to me, cause you don't; it's just that he made that same face when I told him my plans."

I also loved this:

T'Pol had no trouble imagining a young Tucker raising his hand. "You answered correctly." It wasn't a question.

I see the trust and mutual respect which will be the beginning of their friendship and more.

Brandyjane

I almost had T'Pol tell him it was her father, but I thought that wouldn't be in character for her so early in the first season. She would surely consider it "intimate information."  Maybe I'll write another scene where she tells him later - perhaps a missing scene from "Home" where he sees a picture of Velek in T'Les's house. I don't know...

Alelou

Intriguing plot twist -- though I'm a little surprised T'Pol wouldn't have told him who that was.  Very well-written.  Nice job!

Distracted

I love the idea that Velek was T'Pol's father.  Well done.

vlm

:D

This was an excellent story with a very unique twist...well done!!!

dialee

This is a good story, more than fluff, especially when it offers insight into the character of Trip: obstinate, stubborn yet invariably with the right answer.  This story reminds me of another story of how Trip entered Starfleet.  You might be interested, The T Key by Aquila at the House of Tucker website.

Linda

Beautiful twist at the end of the story!  I love it!

A few people have picked up on Mr. Velek (including myself) as a good character to write a fan fiction about.  The one instance on Star Trek: Enterprise where Trip mentions Velek is so intriguing.  I wish that Velek had actually appeared as a character in the series.  Your story about Trip and Velek is now my favorite Velek story.  

Cogito

The fate of T'Pol's father has always been a mystery, but this is the first time I've seen the suggestion that he was Velek. It makes a lot of sense that T'Mir's son would have a strong interest in Earth, and also explains the friction between T'Pol and T'Les if T'Les came from a more rigid traditional background. It's thought provoking and a thoroughly enjoyable read, with enough hints of interest between TnT to keep me happy. Thanks! :D

Brandyjane

I'm glad people liked it. Thanks for your reviews.  It's been a long time since I've written any fiction (and never fan fiction), and I wasn't sure how this would be received.  It is pretty fluffy, and even I, the author, think it's a little cheesy to have Velek as T'Pol's father.

T'Pol is a little "wordy" for first season, but my original draft was basically just one long monologue from Trip.  It didn't flow properly.  At that point I went back and added the part with T'Pol making making a joke and Phlox saying her emotional control is still a little off.  It was supposed to be an excuse for her giving into curiosity and asking Trip about her father.

The crazy thing is, just minutes - seriously, right after I pushed "send" to e-mail this story - I saw "Daedalus" for the first time and learned that some of what I wrote here goes against canon.  Oops!

Asso

It's evident that between Trip and Vulcans there is some sort of subtle and still powerful feeling. And above all in regard to a certain family.:p
This story is warm and delicious. And it's also full of possible implications.
Welcome here and go on.:D:D:D:D

Misplaced

Fantastic.  I was totally surprised at the ending and I loved it.  I am not enough of a first or second season connoisseur to know whether or not this level of ease between Trip and T'Pol is likely.  So as far as I'm concerned, it's perfect.  :)  Well done!

Mary

Brandyjane: This is a wonderful fic portraying a friendly moment between TnT. The back story is well conceived and beautifully constructed with  little prompts of interest from T'Pol so she appears to be "involved" with the story and not just a listener to a narrative, Having Vellik as T'Pol's father has been suggested in a few other fics but I must say in this case it took me by surprise. Perhaps even the catalyst to breaking the ice and allowing  friendshp and  or more to develope. See the opening for a continuation...hint. Thanks for writing.

bluetiger

This was lovely. It was great to see Trip open up to T'Pol in such a relaxed way. These kinds of moments are gems. I also feel that Trip's intelligence was underestimated.

Very neat twist at the end, Velek being T'Pol's father.

What a wonderful first story!

anon

Cool, i can imagine a scene in an imaginary 5th season, Trip and T'Pol running into her father...

 

Trip: Mr. Velek?!

T'Pol: Father?!

Trip: Father?!!

 

aadarshinah

very nice, especially for a first time. kinda agree with Honeybee that T'Pol's willingness to share was more later-seasons T'Pol than this episode, but with her emotional control compromised by "the rock people", it's a minor thing at best. still, nice. keep up the good work

Silverbullet

Great backstory of Trip. the ending was a surprise. I liked it very much. It sort of gives Trip and T'Pol a connection already.

WarpGirl

Ooops I'm an idiot! He wasn't just T'Pol's "teacher" but also her father, a father is a teacher! Sorry my bad. Still this is even more brilliant! You must have done this before...

Honeybee

What a wonderfully sweet bit of fluff - and I'm a total sucker for first season friendship between these two and I just love the fact that Trip had a Vulcan teacher that was cool. You pretty much nail Trip, although occasionally I think your T'Pol dialogue is a little wordy for first season T'Pol but that's a minor quibble. Please keep writing! I'll read. :)

WarpGirl

OMG!!!! Are you sure this is your first time? Because this isn't just good, this is fantastic. I loved how you captured Trip's appitude and genius, there has been too little of it in most stories. It fit, it flowed, it was a perfect portrait of a young Trip, right down to the fact his parents didn't know about it. T'Pol was lovely, I loved the "rock people" joke very Vulcan humor, it wasn't jarring or fake, but very natural. And it was INSPIRED to have them share a teacher! How did you think of that? Honestly it is a brilliant plot point. If you've never written before, I beg of you DON'T STOP!!!!!!! Congradualtions, welcome  and I can't wait for more stories Brandyjane.

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