First Contacts

By Brandyjane

Rating: PG-13

Genres: missing scene romance

Keywords:

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Disclaimer: I don't own any of these or any other Star Trek characters. 

Archive: I don't mind.

A/N: I had the idea for this story after reading a thread that mentioned parties at the Vulcan compound. There's one part of the story that might make some Reed/Hoshi shippers uncomfortable.  I'll explain my reasons for this scene in a comment later. 


2134: Seventeen years before the launch of the NX-01 

"Welcome aboard the Horizon.  I'm John Paul Mayweather, the captain."  

"I am T'Pol.  When will we reach Trillius Prime?"

"We should arrive in three days."  He gave her a penetrating look.  "With all due respect, your ship could have had you there in a matter of minutes."

"Indeed.  You have received your compensation?"  

"Yes, ma'am."  The Vulcans had been very generous.  Hosting the alien officer for just three days was bringing in more credits than he had expected to make from their three year journey to Trill and back again.  Though everyone aboard was intensely curious, they had agreed to keep T'Pol's presence confidential, and J.P. doubted he would obtain any more information from the tight-lipped young woman.  

A moment later they heard the Vulcan shuttle disengage from their airlock.  T'Pol found the sound disconcertingly loud, and, taking a look around the cargo hold, she wondered for a moment if this aging Earth vessel would even be capable of reaching her destination.  Nevertheless, for this assignment she could not arrive aboard a Vulcan transport, and this was the method her superiors in the Ministry of Security had arranged.  She had never been aboard a human vessel of any kind before.  In fact, these were the first humans she had ever met.  

"What's that sound?"

"That's nothing to worry about," pronounced a tall woman who had just entered the cargo hold.  "I can assure you this vessel is safe.  I'm Rianna Mayweather, and this is my oldest son, Paul.  Welcome.  May we show you to your quarters?  Paul, please take our guest's luggage," she ordered, indicating T'Pol's small bag.   

T'Pol clutched her bag tighter.  She had no intention of letting any of these humans touch it.  "I was referring to the sound of the child crying." 

The three humans exchanged confused glances.  Crying child?  T'Pol walked to one of the large cargo containers across the room.  "In there."

J.P. followed her to the container.  He heard nothing, but to humor her, he bent down and placed his ear up against the cold metal box.  Just as he was about to straighten up, he heard it, very faint.  It might have been a human voice. 

"Rianna, where's Travis?"

"Travis?  He's grounded for that awful trick he played on his sister.  That boy is still in his room."

"No, he's not," J.P. said with an exasperated sigh.  Travis had the sweetest heart of any of his three children, yet somehow the captain's middle child managed to get into more trouble than the other two combined.   

J.P. flipped open the latches of the container and then everyone heard what their Vulcan visitor's superior hearing had instantly perceived: the sound of a child hysterically wailing, "Mom!  I want my mom!"

J.P. reached inside and pulled out his eight-year-old son who was weeping piteously.  Travis had crawled into the box several hours earlier for his own mysterious child's reasons.  But when he tried to get out again, he discovered that the outer latches had engaged, and after screaming, pounding, and crying for what felt to him like days, he had decided that no one was ever going to find him. 

T'Pol waited patiently for Rianna Mayweather to comfort her weeping son, and then she was shown to her quarters where she remained for most of the voyage to Trillius Prime.  However, she did encounter young Travis Mayweather twice more, once sitting on the ceiling, of all places, and a second time at the controls of the Horizon under his father's close supervision.  "I'm going to fly a real starship one day!" Travis pronounced to T'Pol, causing his father to grimace and T'Pol to raise a skeptical eyebrow.

After three days aboard the human transport ship, T'Pol resolved to stay away from human vessels. 


2141: Ten years before the launch

"A Starfleet engineer?  How exciting!"

Malcolm Reed heard Ruby's unmistakable voice as he walked up to the bar of the 602 Club.  Glancing over, he saw the sexy red-headed waitress leaning over to talk to a blonde kid who looked too young to drink.  The boy was certainly getting an eyeful, he thought, noting the number of buttons Ruby had left open on her shirt.  Ordering his beer, Malcolm couldn't help but laugh quietly to himself.  Ah, Ruby, you've made another conquest  


2149: Two years before the launch

He couldn't breathe.  

He slowed down, finally coming to a stop, hunched over, hands on his upper thighs, gasping for breath.  Stupid.  Was he trying to give himself a heart attack?  Nah...His heart was already broken.

Damn woman.  How could he have been so oblivious?  Lately he'd even been thinking that maybe it was time to save up for a ring.  And all the while Lisa had been messing around on him.  He had thought everything was perfect, but she wanted more attention.  She said he paid too much attention to his precious warp engines and not enough to her.  Not enough, thought Trip, I practically worshipped her.  That was one mistake Trip Tucker was never going to make again. He would never again be that careless with his heart.  All he'd have to do to prevent it was remind himself of what he'd walked in on last night - Lisa in bed, on top of f-ing DuvallBastard.   

Trip looked around, startled to realize he'd run all the way to the Vulcan compound in Sausalito.  What was supposed to have been his usual morning jog had turned into something much more intense.  

Trip leaned back against a tree as his heart rate and breathing slowly returned to normal.  He looked over at the high reddish stone walls of the Vulcan compound.  Though he'd once lived nearby, he'd never been inside, and he had always been curious about what it was like in there.  As he watched, a ground car pulled up to the curb directly across from him.  

A robed figure stepped out of the back of the car.  It had to be a Vulcan, Trip thought.  Only a Vulcan would wear a robe on a hot summer morning.  Probably a female, he thought, noting her diminutive frame.  As he watched, tiny hands poked out from long sleeves and the Vulcan pushed back the hood of her garment, taking a curious look around at her surroundings.  Long dark hair spilled free from the confines of the hood and shimmered around her face, the pointed tip of one ear poking through.  He thought he heard her sniff a bit, and then she turned and looked directly at him.  

He felt a pang - I think I might be having a heart attack, after all - as her big brown eyes briefly met his sad blue ones.  She was beautiful.  Completely, perfectly, beautiful.  It wasn't a word he typically associated with Vulcans.  But this one - she reminded him of an elven princess. 

"Ma'am," he said, nodding to her politely.  She tilted her head to the side in what might have been a regal acknowledgement or maybe was the act of a curious scientist getting a look at a strange new creature.  He wryly wondered what she would make of this animal.  He was covered in sweat from his hard run, and his favorite old red t-shirt with the sleeves torn off was plastered to his body.  It was a good thing she was far enough away not to smell him, because he knew he reeked. 

A second later she turned and walked through the shady arbor that led into a side gate of the compound.  The whole encounter couldn't have lasted more than a few heartbeats, yet Trip had a sense that he just might carry the magical impression with him forever. 

He didn't think about Lisa again for almost the entire jog home.


A couple of weeks later

Fusion.  The music within called to her.  She knew she shouldn't enter the bar.  It was illogical.  Someone might...might what?

She was an adult.  The compound was not a prison.  There was no law that said she couldn't leave.  Yet here she was, sneaking around in the dark.  She didn't understand what compelled her to go.  She wondered if other Vulcans ever had these same strange impulses, and if they did, did they obey?  Probably not. 

Nevertheless, she pushed open the door and slowly made her way inside until she spotted an empty table in the back.  She accepted a glass of water from a waiter but left it untouched.  Her eyes closed almost against her volition as the music drifted over her, through her.  It was madness, chaos.  But she reveled in it.  She could almost give in...

"Can I buy you a drink?"  T'Pol's eyes snapped open.  A young human male was resting a hand on her table, smiling down at her. 

"I already have water," T'Pol answered, puzzled.  Couldn't the man see that her glass was full? 

"Come on...Can't I buy you a beer or something," he said, chuckling softly. 

She didn't understand why he was laughing.  "I don't consume alcohol," T'Pol explained politely.  

She's clearly not impressed by my winning smile.  He took a quick glance around the bar again.  Nope.  None of the other women - at least, none of the cute ones - was alone.  Well, this place wasn't exactly a pick-up bar, but he'd come here because he didn't want to run into anyone he knew at one of his usual spots.  He'd give it one more shot.  Maybe she really just didn't want a drink.  "I'm called Trip." 

"Trip," she said, trying out his name.  

He gave her a quizzical look.  Something about the way she'd tilted her head as she spoke his name reminded him of something.  "Hey, you look familiar.  Have we met before?"  It wasn't a line.  She did look familiar, but it was dark, and with that scarf around her hair, he couldn't quite place her.  

T'Pol looked up at him again.  She drew in a breath through her nose.  Ah, yes.  His male odor had been far more pungent that day, but she thought it was the same man. "I believe you may have seen me when I first arrived at the Vulcan Compound.  You were standing next to a tree as I exited my car." 

He blinked quickly a few times then stared at her with wide eyes as the implications raced through his brain.  You just tried to pick up a Vulcan!  What is she even doing here?  This is a club!

"I'm sorry.  I didn't recognize you.  It's dark.  I didn't realize you were Vulcan.  I'll leave you alone now.  Sorry," he said, speaking quickly and withdrawing even faster, leaving a mystified Vulcan woman wondering what exactly had happened during this social interaction. 

Later, as he sat alone in his apartment, drinking a beer and watching an old horror film - one that Lisa had hated, - Trip reflected that maybe it was for the best.  It really was too soon for him to be cruising bars for women.  He should have known better.  If he had found a willing girl, she would have just been a rebound conquest, and he liked to think he wasn't that kind of guy - not anymore.  He was sure that Jon would get a good laugh when he heard the story.  Maybe he'd even embellish it a bit, pretend like she'd accepted that drink.     


2150: One year before the launch

Soval was certain of it.  Commander Tucker was staring at him.  Did the human have no manners?  The young commander was across the room, talking to one of the admirals, but his eyes hadn't left Soval from the moment he entered the room with his aide, Sub-commander T'Pol.  Soval tried to ignore it - it was illogical to let one boorish human's gawking disrupt his tranquility - yet as the seconds passed, he found himself becoming more and more uncomfortable.  He considered the possibility that perhaps Commander Tucker could read lips and was observing his conversation with Sub-commander T'Pol, but that seemed unlikely.  His sources said Tucker spoke no Vulcan, and his personality profile said that he was totally unsuited to being a spy.  

The admiral he was talking to drifted away, but Tucker still stood there, practically gaping at him.  Soval had a perfect sense of the passage of time.  Commander Tucker had been staring at him continuously for almost two and a half minutes.  What could be so fascinating about two Vulcans talking together?  

Then the ambassador took a closer look at his aide.  For the reception, she was wearing a long white, gauzy dress that left her arms bare.  It was a simple, traditional design.  Since she had arrived on Earth, she had cut her hair very short in the style that, while not required, was definitely preferred for women in diplomatic service.  Vulcans appreciated beauty, and while Vulcan sexuality was not as dependent upon outward appearance as human sexuality was, any Vulcan would acknowledge that Sub-commander T'Pol was a strikingly beautiful woman.  Soval had been on Earth long enough to know that human males would likely find her appearance very aesthetically pleasing.  It was not at he that Commander Tucker had been staring.

"T'Pol, do you see that human male across from us, near the beverage table?" 

T'Pol looked in the direction indicated by Ambassador Soval.  It was him, the young man by the tree and at the jazz club.  A year had passed, but she recognized him still.  She nodded. 

"That is Commander Charles Tucker, the man they have selected to be the chief engineer on Enterprise.  He is a close personal friend of Captain Archer and Captain Robinson, and he is friendly with Admiral Forrest.  No one knows more about Starfleet systems than this man.  I want you to go talk to him." 

She had heard of Commander Tucker, and she was perplexed that the same human male she'd encountered twice before was Earth's best engineer.  When she had seen him the first time, she had assumed that Earth's boasts that it had eradicated poverty must have been an exaggeration.  Why would anyone willingly wear an old, torn shirt?  Then she had seen a much cleaner, less malodorous version of the man at the jazz club and decided that he probably wasn't an impoverished transient after all, though his choice of shirts still left her mystified.  "Why?" she asked, though she already suspected the answer. 

"He hasn't stopped staring at you since we entered this room.  If they perceive a possibility for a successful mating encounter, human males have been known to become more voluble and speak about that which they ought to keep to themselves in their clumsy attempts to impress females.  I want you to see if you can ascertain their intentions.  Find out if they are serious about the launch date, and if they even have the ability to launch.  Commander Tucker would know."     

"Ambassador," T'Pol said more sharply than she had intended, "I am no longer a member of the Ministry of Security.  I am not a spy." 

"You haven't forgotten your training, Sub-commander.  I know you have done something similar to what I'm asking of you at least once before, on Rigel Ten.  Go talk to the commander."


"Jon, I want you to meet Hoshi Sato.  Hoshi is our language prodigy.  Hoshi, Jon is going to captain Enterprise," Maxwell Forrest explained.

The young linguist smiled invitingly as she looked up at the captain.  Enterprise hadn't even left space dock, yet the news that its future captain was to be the son of the renowned Henry Archer had made worldwide headlines.

"I've wanted to meet you for some time," Archer said enthusiastically, his eyes twinkling in his own smile. 

Hoshi suppressed a squeak of surprise.  He wanted to meet me!

"I read your file, Ms. Sato.  You're the best at what you do, and I want the best people on my team.  I know this is supposed to be a party," he said, looking at the groups of people standing around, "but would you mind if we discussed work for a while?"  

She looked up into the smiling face of the captain and managed to say, "Okay."  He had very warm, kind eyes.  Hoshi had known that Starfleet would be courting her for this mission.  She knew the position was hers, if she met this man's standards.  It would be nice to serve under him.  She blushed as her mind constructed a double entendre. He would be your commanding officer.  And he's old enough to be your father!  Well, she had a notorious history of disregarding chain of command - she'd been kicked out of the Academy for it, in fact, and this man certainly did not remind her of her father.  Inwardly she shrugged, deciding that she wouldn't be the first recruit to have an inappropriate crush on her commanding officer.  But first she had to convince him that she was right for his team.  All those species out there.  All those languages.  She had to get a place aboard Enterprise.

"I'll let you two get acquainted.  If you'll pardon me, I must pay my regards to Ambassador Soval and thank him for this excellent 'party,'" Admiral Forrest said, excusing himself. 

Archer turned to face Hoshi again.  From her file he knew that she had just turned twenty-one, but he was still surprised to see that his prospective comm. officer was so young.  Then again, nearly everyone they were assigning to him looked like a kid.  I'm getting old.

Young or not, according to Starfleet, there was not a single linguist anywhere who could do what she did.  He'd talk to her, find out if she had what it took.  

She seemed a little shy at first, but as he questioned her about her work, he drew her out.  She needed a little more confidence, needed to have some supplemental space-flight training, needed a Starfleet commission, but he decided she was the right person.  Jonathan Archer knew that one of his strengths was recognizing people with talent, and he knew that he had just identified a crucial member of his team.  

"Excuse me," a familiar voice interrupted, and he felt a hand on his arm. 

"Erika!  Let me introduce you to my future comm. officer.  Erika Hernandez, meet Hoshi Sato." 

"Pleased to meet you," said Hoshi warmly.  She hadn't missed the slight tightening in Captain Archer's voice as he said Erika's name, and no one could miss the fire in Commander Hernandez and Captain Archer's eyes as they gazed at each other.  Hoshi excused herself and looked back wistfully as she saw Jonathan Archer lead the other woman onto the dance floor.


Trip couldn't believe his good fortune.  She had approached him.  She was talking to him.  In fact, she seemed fascinated by every word out of his mouth.  She had even seemed to be on the verge of smiling a couple of times.  She leaned in as he spoke about how he had gotten the idea for one of the minor improvements to the design of the nacelles, gazing up at him with shining eyes.  There.  He'd done it.  Her mouth did twist up in just the beginning of a smile at his little joke.  She touched his arm.  He was the greatest man in the history of Earth!

And something was really, really wrong.  

She had overplayed her hand.  He wasn't an idiot.  Vulcans didn't act like that.  Something was up.  Trip kept talking to her, kept smiling, but he felt himself getting angry.  Son of a bitch!  She's a spy!  And she obviously thought he was a fool who she could lead around by what was below the belt.  He knew Jon wouldn't put anything past the Vulcans, but Trip was genuinely shocked they'd stoop to this.  Are there such things as Vulcan whores? he wondered harshly.  

He decided to keep her talking.  It would keep her from plying her trade on any other, less discreet member of Starfleet.  Who knew?  Maybe he would learn something valuable from her.  He wondered how she'd feel at the end of the night when she realized he'd completely wasted her time.  It'd serve her right.  He was curious about what he'd be able to get away with, how much she would put up with in order to get some information from him.   

"The dancing has started," Trip observed, watching the captain and Commander Hernandez make their way onto the dance floor, joining a few other couples, all human.  "I'm a little surprised to see dancing here.  I didn't think Vulcans did that." 

"Vulcan children dance as a part of their training.  We've found that movement, gestures, and rhythm enhance memorization.  There are also a few dances that go along with certain cultural rituals," T'Pol explained.

 "So, Vulcans don't dance for fun?" Trip asked.

"For fun? No, of course not."

"Care to give it a try?" he asked, extending a hand.  "It'll be a cultural exchange." 

Despite a lifetime of suppressing her emotions, T'Pol couldn't completely force down the feeling of mortification that came over her as she contemplated dancing with a human in front of her fellow Vulcans.  After taking a slow calming breath, she took his offered hand and said, "All right."  

Commander Tucker's large hand enveloped hers.  It felt refreshingly cool against her own warmer skin, and she could feel a few hard calluses from his many years of engineering.  She decided that he wasn't quite as revolting as that old Rigellian she had flirted with many, many years before.  

She took a look at the other dancing couples to see what was expected of her, and then she placed one hand high up on his shoulder.  She tried to maintain an appropriate distance from him, but then there was nothing appropriate about what she was doing.  T'Pol was disconcertingly aware of the hand he placed on her hip.  It didn't feel decent.  She stared down at her feet as they began to move together, but she had trouble finding the rhythm and she stepped on him a couple of times. "Please forgive my lack of skill.  I've never done this before." 

"That's okay, honey.  You're too light to hurt my feet.  Look up at my face," he instructed. 

"But then I won't be able to see what our feet are doing."

"Exactly.  Let me lead you," Trip commanded. 

Involuntarily, T'Pol's heart started beating faster.  She didn't want this human to lead her anywhere, but she did as he asked.  As he had predicted, she found it easier to find the rhythm when she stopped staring at her feet.  Unfortunately, she found maintaining eye contact with him...difficult, so she looked down at his mouth instead.  For some reason that wasn't any better.  She decided to look out over his shoulder.  What she saw did not put her at ease.  Against all societal norms, nearly every Vulcan in the room was staring at her as she danced with the human.  As soon as this night is over, I am going to make certain Soval knows that I am not a spy!

"I'm a little surprised you all made this a dance," Trip observed.  

"Ambassador Soval wanted to provide an agreeable experience for your people," T'Pol explained. 

"Hmm."  Trip was skeptical.  The Vulcans had "graciously" offered to host this party commemorating the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Zephram Cochran's birth.  But Starfleet Command knew exactly why the Vulcans were being so friendly.  They were worried that the humans were becoming less forthcoming up about Starfleet's intentions.  Well, what else could they expect?  The High Command hadn't been giving Starfleet a lot of reason to be very cooperative lately.  The real purpose of this so-called party was for Vulcan to find a way to make-nice without actually giving the humans anything worthwhile. 

"I see you chose a human band," Trip mentioned.  He scanned the room, hoping to catch Jon's eye.  He'd get a kick out of this.  But the captain didn't notice him, as absorbed as he was in his own dance partner.   

"We had to use human musicians.  Vulcan music is...different.  You might not enjoy it."

"Well, I hope you're enjoying this.  This is a good song.  A classic, in fact," Trip said as he led her around the floor.  

"A classic?"

"Yeah, it's from the mid-twentieth century.  It has words.  It goes like this," he said, leaning in close to her ear, "Wise men say, only fools rush in.  But I can't help falling in love with you..." 

She found his singing voice very agreeable, and she suppressed a little shiver as his breath caressed her ear.  He pulled her in closer and she suddenly felt the irrational need to say something, anything.  "We might not dance socially, but Vulcans have encountered many species which place a high value on the practice," T'Pol observed, forcing herself to pull back from his tight embrace, just a little. 

"Oh, yeah?" Trip asked, genuinely interested. 

"Yes.  In fact, nearly every species we've encountered has a practice equivalent to dancing."

"Huh," Trip grunted.  "I wonder why that is?"

"For a lot of species, dancing is a precursor to mating."  

Trip couldn't help it.  At her words, he pictured the two of them, together, naked, in his bed, her writhing in passion. 

Instantly, T'Pol's eyes widened in shock and she yanked her hand out of his own.  "Excuse me," she said sharply, quickly walking away.  There was a reason Vulcans didn't touch people outside of their immediate families.  T'Pol hadn't expected that she would be able to make any sort of telepathic link with a human, but she had.  She knew - she had seen, in fact - exactly what Commander Tucker had just been thinking. I will never let a human touch me again, ever!  Soval can get his information another way.

What had he done?  If Trip didn't know better he would think...Nah.  The Vulcans had repeatedly explained that their telepathy didn't work like that, and especially not with humans. That is one strange woman


November 2150: Six months before the launch

"Excuse me.  Can I help you?"  Trip asked sharply.  He didn't recognize the man peering into the aft torpedo tube shafts, and he certainly didn't like the fact that the electronic access panels were open and wires were sticking out. 

The man straightened up and turned to face him.  Trip noted the two pips indicating his rank and the red accent colors on his uniform.  "You must be Lieutenant Reed.  I'm Commander Tucker.  You can call me Trip," he said, extending a friendly hand in greeting.

Reed saluted before accepting the offered hand.  "I am pleased to meet you, Sir.  I was just familiarizing myself with our weapons systems."  Reed took a closer look at his superior officer, noting the smudges on Commander Tucker's uniform, the scuffs on his boots, and the smear of grease on his cheek.  Were those burn marks on the man's fingertips?  

"First, we don't salute here.  Second, what do you think?"  Tucker asked, smiling broadly, confident that the British officer would have nothing but high praise for the pride of Starfleet.

"Honestly, sir, Enterprise is frightfully vulnerable to attack.  Not enough thought has been put into weapons systems, stronger hull plating is necessary, and just one light bit of enemy fire in the wrong place (and the wrong place is nearly everywhere on this ship) and critical systems will be offline." 

"Uh, huh," Trip said, literally biting his tongue. Not enough thought?  There wasn't a single piece of this vessel that he and his hand-selected crew hadn't put thought into.  "Are you expecting an attack around every corner, Lieutenant?  We're a vessel of exploration."

"There are Orion and Naussicaan pirates active along the path we'll be traveling, Sir.  It's best if we are prepared to defend ourselves."

"This is a Warp 5 starship, Lieutenant," Tucker said naively.  "We can outrun them." 

"Well, Sir, respectfully, I think I'd like to recommend a few modifications."

"Modifications?" Trip asked as calmly as he could, still chewing on his tongue. 

"For example, Sir, take a look in this torpedo tube.  This coating will cause too much friction.  It's going to affect the performance of our weapons."

Trip bent over and ran a finger over the smooth, slippery surface inside the tube.  "Friction, huh?"

"Whoo!  Nice view, Commander!" a female voice called from the level above.

Trip wiggled his bum. "Just trying to brighten your day, Hess," he called out to his second-in-command.  He and Anna Hess had worked closely together for five years, and she had earned the right to tease him a little.  It was especially harmless since it was public knowledge Anna wasn't into guys.  

This crew has no discipline! thought Malcolm.

As they continued on their tour of Enterprise, and Lieutenant Reed found more areas of vulnerability, Trip slowly began to get over his vexation with the junior officer.  The man knew his stuff, Trip had to admit.  Maybe there were a few very minor modifications that could be made to keep his ship safer.  Of one thing he was certain: Reed was going to be one hell of a tactical officer.  He just needed to loosen up a little.  Trip decided that he was going to take Lieutenant Reed out for a beer that evening, try to get to know him on a personal level.  If they were going to be working together, they might as well be friends, though he suspected Malcolm Reed would be difficult to crack.

"Lieutenant, there aren't going to be a lot of officers aboard this ship.  You'll be third in command, after the captain and me, and we'll be working closely together.  Why don't we go ahead and drop this 'Sir' business and call each other 'Trip' and 'Malcolm.'" 

"Respectfully, Sir, I don't feel comfortable with that," Lieutenant Reed disagreed.  From what he had observed over the past couple of hours, Commander Tucker was already a little too comfortable with the crew, and it was still almost a year to Enterprise's launch date.

"All right then," Trip conceded stiffly.

"Sir, I mean no disrespect, but are you quite certain that you should be so friendly with those under your command?"

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Trip asked, finally showing a little of the irritation this man brought out in him.

"Well, Sir, for example, one of your engineers called out, 'Nice view' when you were bent over the torpedo shaft earlier."

"Keep your shirt on, Lieutenant," Trip drawled.  "I've known Anna Hess for years, and she's like a big sister to me.  She meant no disrespect, and she knows who's in command."

"Your sister comments on your bum?"

"Wha...uh - She's like my big gay sister who I flirt with a little bit," Trip said shrugging.

"I see."


April 2151: The morning of the launch

As the doors closed behind the Vulcan officer, Trip turned to Archer and said, "Captain, that woman's a spy." 

"Probably so," the captain agreed. 

"Not probably, definitely.  Or else I am just irresistible to alien women."

"What in the world are you talking about, Trip?"

 "That's the same Vulcan who was getting real friendly with me back at that Vulcan reception last year.  Remember?  I filed a report about it." 

Archer threw his head back and roared with laughter.  "No offense, Trip, but I highly doubt you have some sort of magic hold over alien women.  I remember now.  Are you sure that's her?  She didn't seem to recognize you."

"Yeah; she did.  And we both know what she was up to that night.  She probably thinks she can just pretend like nothing happened.  Preserve a little dignity, maybe."

Captain Archer gave him a look.  "Nothing did happen, right Trip?"

"Huh?  No!  Of course not.  Cap'n, she's a Vulcan." A gorgeous Vulcan maybe, but still... 

"Good.  Now keep an eye on her for me, will you, Trip?"  

"Yeah, I'll be sticking to her real close, cap'n."


A few days later, after the successful return of Klang.

"Captain Archer tells me he's asked you to stay."

"Yes," said T'Pol, turning for a moment to look at Commander Tucker as he caught up with her in the corridor. 

"I told him that was a mistake."  

Trip decided that now, right here at the beginning of the mission, was as good a time as any to clear the air.  He had to get her to say something about that night or else it was going to drive him nuts.  He just needed to hear her admit that she had been spying. 

"A mistake?  Your mission would have failed if I hadn't been here to save it for you," T'Pol declared arrogantly.  

"Mmm hmm.  You're right.  But you must have had a damn good reason for it, some agenda you haven't shared with us.  You Vulcans don't do anything without a logical reason." 

T'Pol picked up her pace as they strode side by side through the corridor.  "It was logical for me to help you succeed.  If you had returned to Earth in disgrace, you would have looked weak before the Klingons.  Weakness invites attack.  My people could have been drawn into conflict with the Klingons if we had to protect you."  

"I don't trust you."  

He had to admit that he and T'Pol had worked very well together.  It had been her idea to modify the sensors so that they could track the Suliban's warp trail, and she had come up with a plan to get the captain out of the helix.  Nevertheless, Trip couldn't just forget how she had acted a year ago.  It was one thing for her to be assigned as an observer during an eight-day mission.  Between the two of them, he and the captain could keep an eye on her for eight days.  It was quite another to invite her - a known spy, in his mind - to become a member of the crew.   

"Your preconceptions and prejudices demonstrate that you aren't ready to be out here.  I've given you no reason to mistrust me."

Trip came around and stopped directly in front of her, his arms crossed.  "You're a spy.  We both know it."

"I am a scientist and a member of the diplomatic staff.  I am not a spy," she said reasonably. 

Trip smiled lecherously and ran his tongue around the inside of his cheek before answering.  "So, what? Are you telling me that you just wanted me that night at the Vulcan compound?"

T'Pol's eyes widened and then narrowed.  How dare he bring that up?  It had been the single most undignified moment of her life.  She walked around Commander Tucker and continued down the hall.  "Don't be disgusting."

Disgusting? Ouch.  Trip turned and caught up with her again.  "Well, which is it?  Were you spying, or did you just have a hankering for some Southern Engineer?"

"I don't know what a 'hankering' is, but I'm certain I don't have one."  T'Pol stopped walking and turned to face him, reaching a decision.  "I'm not a spy.  My superiors requested that I... If you'll recall, your leadership was not being very communicative last year.  I was asked to see if I could ascertain Starfleet's intentions by...'befriending' you.  I...apologize if my actions toward you were improper." 

She seemed sincere, and - so much for Vulcan control - even a little embarrassed.  Against his better judgment, he believed her.  She had been spying, but she wasn't a spy.  "All right.  I'll drop it. Truce?" he asked, putting out his hand. 

T'Pol stared down at his hand for a moment, though she made no move to take it.  Her mind had made contact with his yet again during that very memorable decontamination session they'd shared.  It hadn't been as vivid as before, there was no transfer of mental images, but she had felt...something down low in her body that she had never felt before as he had run his hands over her back, his fingers dipping below her waistband, and up over her ears.  That sensation must have come from his mind, because she was certain it had not originated in hers, and there was no way she would ever touch him again.  

"A truce?  I wasn't aware that we were at war."  

He rolled his eyes and sighed loudly.  "What I mean is, let's start over.  We can forget all that stuff at the compound ever took place.  I'll be a gentleman and I won't mention it again - to anyone.  You're not a spy," he said with an exaggerated gesture toward her, "and I'm not God's gift to Vulcan women."  His eyes narrowed and he leaned in a little closer, invading her personal space, "And I'm also not a horny, gullible fool who falls for beautiful Vulcan spies."  

She wasn't completely certain of the meaning of every colloquialism he had used, but she thought she understood most of his intent.  "Agreed."  

"Good.  Now we can be friends," Trip said, flashing her his best smile. 

"I'm not here to make friends," T'Pol said honestly. 

"I didn't mean it literally," Trip said through gritted teeth.  Then he turned abruptly and walked quickly back down the hall the way that he had come.  

I think I offended him, T'Pol thought, puzzled by his response.  

It was only later, as she sat in her quarters meditating, purging any lingering emotions she might not have completely suppressed during the day, that she realized he had called her beautiful. 

 

 

 


Comments:

crystalswolf

This was a great backstory!  T'Pol and Mayweather meeting when he was young was a great touch and I like that seeing T'Pol made Trip forget about Lisa.  I can't see him switching gears that quickly except for T'Pol.

Distracted

I just got to this.  Very well-done.  I enjoyed the way you introduced a plausible back story to their first season relationship.  Nice.

Linda

Yes I liked that scene of Trip seeing her arrive at the compound. :D   Sorry I didn't know it was supposed to be MU! 

Brandyjane

Actually, I consider it AU, Linda, though I did try to make it plausible (though a stretch, I admit) that it could fit with canon.  I should have put that in the author's note.  For purposes of what we saw onscreen, I'm actually glad Trip and T'Pol didn't meet before the launch.  The one exception would be the part I wrote where Trip sees her as she first arrives at the Vulcan compound.  I'd keep that as part of the "real" universe.

Linda

First off, I think that if T'Pol had been on the Horizon, it would have been mentioned on the show.  Second, if Trip and T'Pol had met before they served on Enterprise, I think they would have recognized each other and mentioned that on the show, though you did have missing scenes at the end of this story which explain that they did recognize each other.   It was a fun read and I wish it really was part of canon!

panyasan

Great story! Liked the scene at the Vulcan compound, the bar and the dance and T'Pol seeing what Trip thinks. Liked the ending too. Guess I like the entire story. ;) Nice idea that Trip and T'Pol would have met before. Sequel please?

bluetiger

I really enjoyed these looks at our beloved crew coming together at different points over the years.

I loved when Trip realizes at the reception that T'Pol is pumping him for information. I had to laugh when T'Pol sensed his vision of them in the throes of passion.

Again people always seem to underestimate Trip. Malcolm questioning his command style is an example of taking his easy going style as the lack of command ability.

This was very entertaining.

Elessar

I love it!  The concept of them having a history is right in line with my "Bloodlines" stories like Telluride.  You do it even better though, show them running into each other earlier in life and showing how it is that we never knew about it before - that they agreed to drop it.  It's a perfect segue into how they had so much natural chemistry to start with!

Misplaced

I loved, loved, LOVED this!!  It reminds me a little of the Firefly episode "Out of Gas"... sort of a "how the crew got together" kind of thing.  The parting line is priceless, btw.  Excellent.  I laughed so much!  Makes me want more!

And I'll share that I always leaned toward Archer/Hoshi myself.. but I'm open to other possibilities. (Which means I don't mind Hoshi/Malcolm stuff).

Fun read.  Thank you!!

Asso

Honestly I found this very difficult to understand. I mean: I was in trouble in the attempt to plunge myself in its flow. It doesn't mean that it is difficult for everyone; just for me.
Anyway, it is always enjoyable casting a glance at the various possibilities T'Pol could have had for knowing Trip, before when we saw it on screen.
Really pleasurable.:)

WarpGirl

Bloody BRILLIANT! The Hoshi thing was really good and the rest was just enthralling. Series maybe? WOW!

Brandyjane

Oops! That's supposed to say, "What he had with Natalie could have developed into something more serious."

Brandyjane

Thanks!  I don't know how long he ran, either! :p  I have another story, a missing scene from "Silent Enemy," that deals with Natalie.  Basically, though, I decided he hadn't even met Natalie until after the reception at the Vulcan compound.  In my world, Lisa was his most serious relationship, while what he had could have developed into something more serious, if the circumstances had been right.

Alelou

Oh, I really enjoyed this.  At first I was puzzled by just how far he had run (I guess Trip ran the entire length of the Golden Gate bridge?), and then I was wondering how you could possibly fit this into canon, but you did so quite brilliantly.  The only thing missing was an explanation for Natalie.  Nice job!

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