Missing Scenes from Season Three - The Shipment

By Alelou

Rating: PG

Genres: drama missing scene

Keywords:

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This story is number 7 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Three


SPOILERS: "The Shipment" and "Impulse" and it may not make sense without them.

DISCLAIMER: Star Trek belongs to CBS/Paramount.  "The Shipment" was written by Chris Black and Brent V. Friedman.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: While I think I may prefer the rationalizations for Trellium-D that T'Pol uses in my story "The Sick Visit," for this series I decided to stick to the reasons she gave us on screen. 

Many thanks as always, reviewers and beta jT. 


 

 

That night, after all the debriefings and the strategy session about how best to search for the Xindi ship and its marked cargo of kemocite, Trip was more than happy to go to T'Pol for their neuro-pressure session.  She was being unusually quiet, so he just lay there, enjoying the sensation of the day's built-up tensions being systematically released from his back, and let random thoughts float up.

Unfortunately, some of those random thoughts made him want to tense up all over again.  It irked him deeply that he'd lost their Xindi weapon.  Could he have done something differently that would have kept it intact? 

That thought was followed by another that hit him with the force of a sledgehammer.  "T'Pol.  When I said we didn't have time to go find a nice empty asteroid, why the hell didn't you point out there was a nice empty moon right outside the ship?"

She didn't pause even slightly in the pressure she was delivering.  "We were hiding behind the moon in the hope of not being detected during a delicate operation on the planet.  I didn't consider that sending an away team to the surface was wise, given the possibility of having to flee from or engage the enemy at a moment's notice."

"Oh."  Good point.  One he should have thought of - like the presence of the moon in the first place.  In the Expanse, it paid to consider all the worst-case scenarios.  After all, using the second shuttle pod to collect Trellium-D ore had nearly gotten the away team on the Seleya blown to smithereens.

He sighed, and then returned to the proper breathing pattern before she could tell him to.  At least T'Pol seemed to have finally recovered from her exposure to Trellium-D.  Her hands no longer lingered in their ministrations, but moved efficiently from one posture to the next. 

It was good to see her back to her old self. 

Was it awful of him that he also kind of missed the messed up version?

She said, "In retrospect, I should have insisted you run your test in the lab on deck E." 

Damn it.  That hadn't occurred to him either.  His game had really been off, hadn't it?  On the other hand ... "That's a lot further from the transporter, though, so I suppose we could be dead right now.  Or pretty badly mangled, at least."

"That would be unfortunate."

Unbidden, he felt a giggle rise.  "Yeah, that would be unfortunate."  He just couldn't help it; he started laughing outright.    

She drew back.  "This amuses you?"

But by then he was practically crying he was laughing so hard.  In a distant part of his brain, he knew this was probably a form of hysteria, but it felt so great that it was only the certainty that she would call Phlox if he didn't stop that finally calmed him down.  He wiped his eyes and said, "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  It's just ... I don't know.  Such an understatement, maybe?  Or maybe it's because this is how insane our life is now?" 

After all, in the Expanse a guy had to be thankful for small favors, like not being scattered into fragments across space yet.  "I know it's not logical."

"Indeed.  Are you sure you're quite well?"

He rolled on his side and smiled warmly at her.  It was nice to know she didn't have to be whacked out on Trellium-D to be concerned about him.  "I'm fine.  Once in awhile a good laugh feels really good."

She was silent, which didn't surprise him.  How could she possibly relate to that?  And yet ...  "So you really never have the urge to laugh?" he asked.  "Not even secretly?   Tiny little well-contained Vulcan giggles no one can hear?"

Her response was predictably prompt and flat.  "No."    

No, of course not. What was he thinking?  "Well, for Humans, it's ... I don't know ... a good way of blowing off steam, or something."

"I see."  Clearly, she didn't.

He licked his lips.  Surely they could achieve at least a tiny measure of common ground on this?  "So maybe you'd never need to blow off steam, but you do have a sense of humor."

Her two eyebrows drew together in apparent consternation.  "I beg your pardon?"

"Come on, admit it.  I've seen both you and Soval throw zingers around like they're going out of style." 

At her puzzled expression, he said, "Zingers.  You know, sarcastic remarks."

Her face cleared.  "Ah.  Sarcasm from Vulcans is not humor.  It is commentary."

He nodded.  "Right.  Very dry humorous commentary."

"Ironic commentary, perhaps."

"Yes.  And irony is funny."

She appeared to consider this.  "I suppose you may find irony funny.  Vulcans do not.  However, I have often noticed that it can help one to make a point without resorting to direct reproof, which is seldom received well by your species - or, indeed, by most sentient beings."

He sat up.  She had abandoned any pretense of continuing the neuro-pressure, and arguing with her often inspired him to seek some height advantage.  "You know ... I don't believe you.  I know you get jokes.  I can see it in your face.  You just don't let yourself laugh, that's all."

She stared at him as if he'd just told her the entire universe revolved around Earth.  "While I do indeed often recognize the creative word play and unexpected juxtapositions that are typical of much Human humor, it does not follow that it generates an emotional response of any kind in me."

For some reason that felt just like a slap in his face.  "So what are you saying?  That you just use your understanding of Human humor to try to manipulate us into doing what you want us to do?"

Now she looked puzzled.  "If I did, it would be for your own benefit."

"Well, that's heartwarming."  He stood up and headed for his shirt. 

She stood up, too.  "I don't understand.  Have I offended you?"

"No," he lied, and slipped his shirt back on.  Where were his damned shoes?  Oh, right.  He slipped those on, too.  "I'm just ... I'm really tired.  I think I'd rather just go ahead and hit the sack."

"Very well," she said, though she looked so utterly at a loss that Trip felt a little stab of pity for her, which didn't make sense since a Vulcan sure as hell wouldn't want that.  Maybe it was really pity for himself.  It was sometimes all too easy to forget the gaping cultural - and physical - and mental divide that stood between him and their beautiful science officer. 

It was probably good to be reminded periodically, so he could try harder to stop thinking about her in ways he really shouldn't.  "I'll see you tomorrow night," he said, instinctively offering her reassurance she shouldn't need. 

It wasn't her fault she was so clueless, after all.

She nodded, eyes wide.

Damn it.  Why did she have to look like that?  Sometimes she just plain confused the hell out of him. 

"Well, thanks, and good night," he said, offering a quick smile - yet another reassurance she really shouldn't need - and left.

x x x

T'Pol dressed carefully and walked in measured strides down the corridor to the launch bay.  She had already determined that the crewman who would normally be standing watch there was in a status meeting in Engineering.  She should have at least a few moments' privacy.

There it was.  She walked there quickly and spread her hand on the forward hull.  Commander Tucker's team had done their usual professional job - it was not obvious at all that there was any Trellium-D under the new grey surface paint.  But she could feel a dull throbbing start up, a faint echo of the disconcerting waves of sensation and out-of-control feelings that had overcome her on the Seleya

Feelings that were at once disturbing and enthralling. 

Though terrifying, they had opened up her perceptions of herself and her fellow crewmen in ways she had never experienced before.  After her stay in sickbay, they had surged and faded unpredictably over a period of days ... only to disappear completely in the end. 

She had returned to normal; Phlox had certified her free of any ill effects.  But her recovery gave her the sense of having been marooned in a flat, dry, colorless place where no Human would ever wish to go, a place where she no longer saw and felt and understood, a place where she could never again thrill with fear or excitement or desire.

A place where she no longer felt connected to rest of the crew.  Or to him.

She stretched out her other hand, and leaned against the pod.  Yes.  There.  Already, she could feel emotion stirring: a profound longing that was at once painful and sweet.

She would try just a small exposure. Another thirty seconds, that was all.  Just enough to bring some sensation back.

Not enough to do any harm.     


Comments:

Brandyjane

Your description of the way T'Pol felt after the effects of her initial trellium exposure wore off reminded me of some lines from Coleridge's "Dejection": "A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear, / A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief, / Which finds no natural outlet, no relief, / In word, or sigh, or tear."  I think I'd want to take trellium, too, if I felt that way.  I would have done things differently if I was one of the show's writers for season 3, but authors like you are beginning to make me hate the trellium addiction less than I used to.

Alelou

Thank you, ladies.  I agree that the T-D storyline as portrayed in the show can be hard to swallow. 

panyasan

First: It's great that you show us how alien T'Pol is when she doesn't get Trips conversation on humour. I do agree with Trip, Vulcan and especially T'Pol have a sense of hmour - she problably doesn't recognize as such. Humour is very hard to translate and understanding humour in a culture is a sign you know the culture well. I think T'Pol does understand. Trip laughing and crying at the same time was great - it shows the tension he experiences every day.

I always disliked the explanation of T'Pols addiction in the show (but my dislike of the sudden making T'Pol an addict to explain her actions even more!), because it doesn't seem to make much sense. Vulcans feel emotions - so strong - they suppress it. T'Pol experienced emotions during Fusion for example. However, your explanation makes more sense: to be in a colorfull place and to go back again to a dry life without colors plus her longing to understand Humans and one person in perticular. She has a long suppressed desire to be close to Trip. In that way, the whole conversation between her and Trip about humour hasn't only reminded Trip of their cultural gap and regretting it - it seems to suggest T'Pol regrets it too. All of this, plus her isolation and may I add the attack of Raijin (it was really distrubing for her) and her care for the crew could let her to make that deciscion to try some exposure to Trellium-D.

Looking forward to the next scene!  

bluetiger

This was fascinating as usual, but the ending was a heart stopper. T'Pol creeping into the shuttlebay and caressing the Pod, soaking up the trellium-D.

Her need to recapture the emotions that allow her to respond to Trip is so believable. You show us that this could happen to anyone under this kind of extreme circumstance.

'But her recovery gave her the sense of having been marooned in a flat, dry, colorless place where no Human would ever wish to go, a place where she no longer saw and felt and understood, a place where she could never again thrill with fear or excitement or desire.' This says it all as to her motivation.

If the show had made us privy to her slow descent into addiction, I think it would have been accepted better by the audience.

 

Linda

I think humor is one of those last elusive threads that puts the weave of a culture together for someone who has not grown up in that culture.  Nice exploration of that difficulty in this story. 

aadarshinah

Arguing about irony now... which is ironic in and of itself. Poor T'Pol though...

Distracted

Amazingly insightful.  I think that any self-aware being has a need to belong to something beyond themselves.  In T'Pol's case, considering her forced isolation from her own culture it seems...logical...that she'd need to belong somewhere, and humans are now her only option.  It would trouble her that she was incapable of understanding human emotional response.  The judicious use of Trellium D would seem perfectly reasonable under such circumstances.  Very well done.

justTripn

I really loved the failed intercultural exchange about humor, at least failed in the sense that Trip didn't get the answer he was expecting. This is the best explanation so far of Vulcan's use of sarcasm. I loved the giggling fit, which illustrates both Trip's stressed state and his growing conformt with T'Pol. And the second part is explains perfectly T'Pol's descent into substance abuse. I prefer this explanation to your other one. She's just weak. A addiction can happen to anyone, when they are least expecting it. Wonderful as always!

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