Missing Scenes from Season Three - Proving Ground

By Alelou

Rating: PG

Genres: missing scene romance

Keywords:

This story has been read by 673 people.
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This story is number 13 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Three


SPOILERS: "Proving Ground" and it won't make any sense without it.

DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount.  "Proving Ground" was written by Chris Black.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Thank you as always, reviewers and beta justTrip'n.


 

When Commander Tucker showed up for neuro-pressure that night - ten minutes late - the first words out of his mouth were, "You know, I really ought to be in engineering right now."

She resisted her first impulse, which was to tell him he was welcome to leave.  The Trellium-D had helped her understand her Human crewmates better, but it had also left her more easily affected by their comments.  She had discovered that she often had to engage in what the Humans called "biting one's tongue" in order to avoid giving an unduly emotional response.  Indeed, she did not always succeed at this, which had earned her some odd looks from the captain and others in recent weeks.

She was also conscious that her standard excuse for such overtly emotional reactions - her failure to achieve sufficient meditation in the Expanse - was perhaps wearing a little thin.

"Surely the repairs can continue in your absence," she said, instead.  "Especially if neuro-pressure will allow you to return to them in a more rested and capable state."

"It's not the repairs I'm anxious about - it's the Andorians.  So far they've been a big help, but we know how touchy they can be.  All I need is for Masaro or somebody like him to run his mouth and suddenly our new allies will be flying off in a huff ... and I'd really hate for that to happen before I've got my hands on that new variable compression antimatter injector Shran promised me."

She decided not to repeat her concerns about Commander Shran's sudden desire to be so helpful; she had a feeling Tucker would be just as nonplussed by her suspicions as Archer had been.  "You have concerns about Ensign Masaro?"

"Well ... apparently he's got some sort of bug up his ass about aliens," Tucker said.  "I don't officially know this, mind you, but that's what I've been hearing.  So I asked Hess to keep a close eye on him while I was gone."

T'Pol had learned some time ago that having 'a bug up one's ass' was a colloquialism that suggested an unreasoning negative opinion about something.  She reviewed her own interactions with Ensign Masaro, but could not pinpoint any moments of animosity.  True, she had occasionally noticed him watching her rather speculatively, but it had not struck her as particularly unusual. 

"Breathe," she reminded Tucker, and he did.

The session lapsed into silence punctuated only by his careful breathing, her orders to change postures, the hum of the ship's systems, and the occasional sputtering of her candles.  And in the long, unaccustomed quiet, it was impossible not to notice that Commander Tucker himself was being much quieter than he had been in the past. 

She waited, curious to see how long it would take before he came up with something to say, but he seemed quite unconcerned by the silence they were sharing.  Perhaps he was busy thinking about Andorian variable compression antimatter injectors.

Or perhaps his comment in engineering the day before about her "avoiding" him was a clue to the source of his new reticence.

"I believe you may have been partially correct yesterday," she said.

It took him a moment to react.  "About?" 

"You suggested that I had been avoiding you."

He tensed under her hands.  "And you said that giving me neuro-pressure three times a week was hardly avoiding me."

"Indeed.  Upon reflection, I believe it would be accurate to say that I have been avoiding engineering."

There was another silence; the muscles of his back remained tight.  "And why would you do that?"

"I spent a great deal of time there while you were incapacitated," she said.  "The captain put me in charge of repairs.  Despite our best efforts, we were unable to get the warp drive back online in time to save the ship."

"Are you saying that returning to engineering reminds you of a personal failure?"

"No.  I did the best I could.  It would be illogical to expect better than that."

Clearly she had perplexed him.  "Then ... ?"

"Your staff reported to me for almost a month.  I think it is probably best to allow them to readjust to your command without my presence distracting them."

"I'm pretty sure they can handle that transition without undue trauma," Tucker said. "Actually, I'd been wondering if maybe it had something to do with Sim."

She felt her own muscles tense.  "Why would you think that?"

"Well ... I'm told he had a fairly obvious crush on you."

T'Pol swallowed, conscious of a suddenly accelerated heartbeat and a strange fluttering in the area of her stomach. 

Tucker turned and gave her a crooked smile.  "I bet you didn't even notice, did you?"

She strove to maintain an even tone.  "I wouldn't say that.  As an adolescent, he was rather persistent in requesting I join him for meals."

Tucker's smile turned a little pained.  "Oh, boy.  Did you find a way to let him down gently?"

"I simply pointed out that the crisis we were in required my full attention."

Tucker shook his head and turned away again.  "Ah, T'Pol, you broke his poor little heart."

That struck her as quite unfair.  "Given his relative age at that time, encouraging such a relationship would have been profoundly inappropriate.  Nor did he appear to be unduly affected by my rejection."

Tucker just nodded slowly as if this didn't surprise him.

She wondered what Tucker would say if she told him what a much older Sim had confessed to her, or that she had kissed his clone.  The idea of putting it 'out there,' as the Humans would say, was at once exhilarating and terrifying.  She wouldn't have to carry around that knowledge alone anymore.  She supposed it was possible she might even provoke a similar confession from the commander.

Or, he might be horrified, or embarrassed, or angry, and then she might lose these evenings with him again.

Even if he reacted with interest, the end result would most likely be the same.  A romantic relationship with Commander Tucker was not appropriate and never really could be.

So clearly it would be more prudent to say nothing.

"T'Pol?"

She suddenly realized that her hands had stilled on his back.  "I apologize, Commander.  I was distracted."

"Yeah, I noticed."  He turned to face her, his face serious.  "Did you like him?"

She stared back at him, her heart pounding.  He was all but inviting her to say it, wasn't he?  But it was a still a bad idea, for all the same reasons.  "I believe we all liked him," she said.

His face clouded; he seldom appreciated an evasive answer.

"He was just like you, Commander," she said, impulsively offering him more than she normally would, if only to make up for what she had withheld.  "And you are, as you must know, very well-liked."

His cheeks turned pink, and he resumed the correct posture, his back to her again.  "Thanks," he said softly.  "That's nice to hear."

Yet if this was indeed something he found agreeable, she couldn't help wondering why his manner struck her as so disappointed.

For one brief, irrational moment she considered leaning forward and kissing the back of his neck just to make it clear once and for all just how profoundly she liked him.

But the moment passed, and she did not.


Comments:

Alelou

Thanks so much, all.  I enjoyed this one, too.

I think I can guarantee you won't enjoy the next installment as much, but some things just must be done... 

Reanok

I really liked thow you show T'Pol's reaction Trip seeming distant and distracted about Massaro and the Andorians.the best part was the conversation about Sim and her hiden feelings for Trip.

Silverbullet

Alelou, as usual, excellent. I am green with Envy.

I too wish that T'Pol had kissed him on the neck. Also wish she had told him about Sim and that she didn't return Sim's crush on her.

Oh well, you will take care of that in due time.

SB

Misplaced

Excellent as always.  I agree with pretty much everyone.  I really like that you are having Trip talk about Sim.  It was such a huge thing, and yet the writers of the series never thought it might actually have an affect on Trip (other than to help propell T/T to bed in Harbringer)

The ending sent shivers down my spine.  Even though I know it would have violated canon, I couldn't help but hope that she would kiss him anyway.  This would have bene a far more believable lead up to hot passionate TnT sex than Harbringer (which I don't hate, but it wasn't as good as this).  Excellent work!

bluetiger

Now that was very interesting (as usual). Trip never got the chance on the series to talk to anyone about Sim. Well except to ask T'Pol in 'Harbinger' what Sim was doing in her room.

It only seems logical that he would be interested in what his friends thought of the clone. Since Trip was aware that Sim had a crush on T'Pol, his interest in her reaction is very plausable.

I love how you portray T'Pol's reactions to the addiction and her interactions with the crew, biting her tongue indeed!

As everyone has said, great way to lay the ground work for Masaro's betrayal. These scenes always leave readers with much to chew over.

 

Brandyjane

You've done it again!  I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said.  I liked how you foreshadowed Masaro's betrayal, how you revisited the consequences of the Sim experiment, and how you have very carefully, slowly built up the Trellium addiction.

Cogito

Who's been telling T'Pol she's "got a bug up her arse"? ;)

 

It's good to see T'Pol's perspective - trying desperately to remain clinical and not give away how much she's enjoying these sessions. Trip needs to be a bit more considerate though - he's basically said "I don't want to be here" and his upbringing as a southern gentleman should have taught him better than that. We can also see that T'Pol's getting far better at interpreting body language and working out what he's *not* saying, and I feel sure we have the Trellium to thanks for that. From Trip's disappointment it's clear that he wanted to be more than well liked by T'Pol but he's too shy to talk about it directly. He's just as bad as she is about admitting to his feelings - at least she has the excuse that she's not supposed to have them.

You're bringing the threads together very cleverly and making far more sense than we saw on the show, and even though I know how things happened on the show I'm really looking forward to you showing what *really* happened.

auroraborealis

I'm pretty sure that if they ever have another ST series you should definatly be a writer.  THIS IS SO GREAT.  I espicially love the last little part when she thinks about kissing his neck then changes her mind.  It's so... human.  lol.  I think that you're really making her trellium-d thing more believeable and less rushed.  In the show it was like "and all of a sudden T'Pol is a drug addict."  That didn't really work for me.  This is great though.

aadarshinah

first, ditto on everything Just'Trippn said

second, wow, amazing, foreshadowing with Masaro, and bringing up previous episodes (which, in my rewatch of the various series, is something I continually find some of the ST lacked, and makes me all the more glad that you do it), and, just, wow

and, third, I was thinking back to a season 2 episode for my own story and then I realized, "Hey, that didn't actually happen, that was only in Alelou's 'Missing Scenes'," so congrats on that....

--aadarshinah

justTripn

:D:D:D This is brilliant. OOOoooo. I really liked that T'Pol's temptation to "put it out there." I also appreciated this part at the begginning:

She was also conscious that her standard excuse for such overtly emotional reactions - her failure to achieve sufficient meditation in the Expanse - was perhaps wearing a little thin.

He, he . . . yeah  . . .

And I appreciate the foreshadowing about Masaro. You fill in missing peices so respectfully and expertly, so we can watch the shows and go, Oh, yeah. THAT makes sense.

FIVE STARS!!!!

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