Missing Scenes from Season Four: The Augments

By Alelou

Rating: PG

Genres: angst missing scene romance

Keywords:

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This story is number 6 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "The Augments" was written by Michael Sussman.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Yes, you can definitely tell I'm an English major with this entry. (Sorry!) Many thanks as always, reviewers.


Trip thought it was "for the best" she'd married Koss because a Vulcan and Human stood less of a chance than Romeo and Juliet?

During the trip back to Earth to deliver Dr. Soong to prison, T'Pol read the play, hoping to better understand Trip's reasoning. She'd heard of it before, of course; it was one of those cultural references Vulcans learned about in their training for any post on Earth. But that had merely entailed reviewing a brief synopsis of the plot, which was baffling enough. The actual play proved far more challenging. Shakespeare's English was very different than the Standard English the crew spoke. In addition, the play assumed a great deal of knowledge of unfamiliar and often archaic cultural practices. She found herself having to consult the footnotes to understand most of it. Indeed, judging from the great quantity of those footnotes, modern-day Humans also found it necessary to do this.

Some of what she read actually reminded her more of Vulcan society than Human society. Clearly, Juliet's parents expected to arrange her marriage. But other aspects of it were purely Human. For example, there was the fact that Romeo began the play despondent over Rosaline, only to fall in love with Juliet the moment he saw her.

The young man certainly shifted his affections quickly. Perhaps Trip now expected to do the same.

There were varying attitudes about marriage even in the play itself. The nurse didn't think that one should allow an impolitic marriage to ruin one's life. Romeo and Juliet clearly felt otherwise. The elders who spoke at the end of the play – and presumably the Human audience – apparently considered their suicides heroic, even inspiring. And while after recent events in her own life T'Pol could understand that impulse towards oblivion all too well, she didn't see how, upon any thoughtful consideration, their deaths could be regarded as anything but foolish and regrettable.

Ultimately, reading the play did not satisfy her original goal: to figure out what was driving her mate's insistence on respecting a marriage of convenience that she had explained quite clearly would never be consummated. Where did his slavish devotion to the marriage ideal come from? He was not particularly religious, that she knew of. The divorce rate for Humans on Earth had held steady for the last few decades at around 35 percent, a shocking figure on Vulcan. He clearly didn't object to sexual relations outside of marriage. So why, in this matter, did Trip consider his own moral purity more important than a continuing intimate relationship with her?

It was true that he had been appalled at the thought of mating with Phlox's wife, despite the freewheeling nature of Denobulan marriage, so he was at least being consistent. It was also true that he had, on Vulcan, offered to marry her. Given his apparent respect for the institution, she realized now that this must have carried great significance, even it seemed at the time that he was merely offering it as a way out of her difficulties.

What if she had agreed to marry him?

But she had not agreed. She could not, for compelling reasons of family honor and interstellar relations, and he knew this.

So why be so inflexible in this one matter, when he was not a particularly dogmatic person in any other area of his life?

Just to be sure she hadn't somehow missed a vital point, she viewed the most recent two movie versions of the play as well. Both, inexplicably, retained the original language even though they were set in more modern times; one, in fact, had been set in the distant future.

Trip had always been her primary guide to the perplexities of Human culture, and she saw no reason not to consult him now. So the next time she managed to corner him in the mess hall – which didn't happen very often, as he had gotten quite skilled at avoiding her – she said, "I have a question for you about Romeo and Juliet."

He immediately looked wary. "Oh yeah?" He had already sat down with a heavily laden tray. It would be hard for him to explain suddenly changing his mind about eating in the mess hall without coming right out and telling her he didn't want to eat with her. Fortunately, Trip had generally remained polite. Indeed, since his slightly hostile outburst in front of Ensign Sato, he had been far too polite. By now T'Pol missed arguing with him almost as much as she missed sleeping with him. "Why are even recent versions filmed in the original language?" she asked. "I find Shakespeare's English extremely difficult to understand."

He grinned. "You're not the only one. I don't know. I guess there's a lot of respect for the poetry of it. And, I'm just guessing here, but it probably just wouldn't work the same in contemporary English."

"Because…?"

"Well, because it would be just totally unbelievable. Romeo and Juliet are both kids by today's standards – hell, she is even by their standards. You've got parents arranging marriages, which just doesn't happen anymore. On Earth, I mean." There was an awkward pause, before he continued, "Then you've got the whole complicated sleeping potion/poison/stabbing thing at the end – talk about going over the top. West Side Story is a modern retelling that is slightly more realistic, if you can call any musical realistic. You might want to try that one sometime."

She waited, hoping he would suggest that they could watch it together, but he didn't. He no longer suggested any shared activities. She said, "The play suggests that their tragic death brings peace to the community at last. I found that … puzzling."

He shrugged, chewing industriously. Perhaps he was hoping to finish his meal quickly so that he would be free to leave. When he finished his mouthful, he said, "I wouldn't place any bets on that lasting very long, myself. But you do realize it's all fiction? It's not like any of that actually happened."

"My text suggests a possible real-life version of these events dating back to the 1300s."

"Well, even if there was, it wasn't like back in Shakespeare's time he could just go grab that kind of information when he felt like it. Anyway, I seem to recall my high school English teacher saying the plot was pretty slavishly copied from a poem."

"Yes, by Arthur Brooke, who apparently took it from other authors himself."

"Well, there you go." He shoveled in another giant forkful.

"So … if the language is difficult, the plot is unrealistic, and the story isn't even original, why is it still read and performed so widely?"

He looked up at her, mouth full, eyebrows raised. Eventually, he swallowed, and said, "Because it's beautiful? I don't know. Maybe it's because it's an extreme version of something most of us encounter in some form or another at some point in our lives, and that gives us a way to talk about it. Shakespeare is really great at taking the basic human conflicts and laying them out in these really dramatic ways. If you can get past the language long enough to figure out what the hell is going on, they just really resonate for most humans. People from all different cultures on the planet have performed them for generations. Hell, I hear he's even a big hit with the Klingons."

"Are you are familiar with more of Shakespeare's plays, then?" This was a more literate Tucker than she had imagined.

"Well, sure. We had to read or at least watch quite a few of them in school. And I went beyond that in college. Plus there are some classic movie take-offs on his plots, like Ran or Forbidden Planet." He grinned. "What can I say? The smart girls like a guy who knows his Shakespeare, and I've always had a weakness for smart girls." His face immediately darkened. "Sorry. I shouldn't have said that." He sighed and shook his head. "It kind of felt like old times there for a minute."

Indeed. "Surely there is nothing wrong with that."

"Well, actually, yes, there is."

Silence fell. He focused on his food. She decided she might as well know the worst. "Will you be looking for a new smart girl now?"

His head snapped up. "What?"

She knew he'd heard the question, so she simply waited. She would so very much like to hear that he would not.

He stood up quite suddenly and signaled curtly in the direction of the captain's mess – sure to be unoccupied, since the captain was currently escorting Soong to the surface. He left his tray behind and headed for the doors, so she did the same and followed him.

Once they were both inside, he made sure the doors were closed behind them, then said, "You don't get it, T'Pol. You don't seem to understand that you have no right anymore to ask me anything about that kind of thing." He threw his hands up in exasperation, almost as if he were talking to himself. "But you're Vulcan, so I don't know why I'm so surprised by that."

"But I don't mind - "

"But I do. I do mind. Let me try to explain it to you. If you love someone in a Shakespeare play, you'll do anything for her. You'll die for her. You'll pretend to be a lowly servant or even disguise yourself as a woman just to stay close to her. But if she marries someone else instead … that's it. That's the end of the story. If it's a tragedy, you'll end up dead, and if it's a comedy, you'll fall in love with someone else. And now I'm not talking Shakespeare, I'm talking real life. Believe me when I say that the most you can ever expect of a guy after that is friendship … and even that is pretty unlikely because it's just so damned painful." His eyes filled and he blinked angrily. "If I still love you, it's only because I haven't figured out how to stop yet. But I have to stop, and you have to let me. I know that we still need to be able to work together, but when it comes to this stuff, I need you to back off. I don't know how to put it any plainer than this: I need you to leave me alone."

And he turned and left.

T'Pol sank down into the nearest chair.

Trip had never said he loved her before, not in so many words. But he had said it now – only to insist that he no longer wanted to, and that he was doing his best to stop.

He apparently thought this was simply a matter of time and being left alone. And perhaps, for him, it was.

Or perhaps he would never be free of her, just as she suspected she would never be free of him. He was her mate! Yet he clearly regarded any attempt to stay close to him as an act of cruelty, and so he had effectively just exiled her from him.

It was a tragedy not entirely unlike Romeo and Juliet, except that one would have to be Vulcan to understand it.

She took a shaky breath, and then another, and another. Thinking of this in terms of high tragedy was hardly going to help. One dazed walk in the desert aside, she was no Juliet. She could still be useful to this crew, to Earth, to Vulcan, to him.

She would honor his request and leave him alone. If they were truly bonded, perhaps that connection would eventually bring him back to her.

She composed herself into a proper appearance of impassivity and returned to the table, where he had abandoned his tray of half-finished food. She sat and finished her broth, staring at the remains of his meal, then put both trays away, and headed back to her duty station.

And as she walked, heavy with her new understanding of how things stood, an oddly disturbing thought suddenly came to her: Had Kotok read Shakespeare?


The END


Comments:

Distracted

I like the Shakespeare in this, but I detest the tragedy. If you stay in canon it's really unavoidable at this point, though, so I forgive you. : )

Alelou

Yeah, I pushed the limits of plausibility with Trip the Shakespeare scholar here, but he does strike me as having hidden depths, and the movies would be a connection for him.  We'll pretend an American public education is a lot better in the future than it is right now.  (Yes, that's my optimistic scifi vision of the future, damn it...) 

And yes, it's definitely perverse that he finally says it with grammar like that.  I would think that's sufficient angst to make up for any excessive straightforwardness!:p

panyasan

And on the other hand: it's good that Trip tells T'Pol that their situation has changed now she is married. Surely deep down T'Pol know this as well. She was just trying very hard not to face the consequences. 

panyasan

When I first read this, my heart just broke for T'Pol. The way she tries to collect herself before she leaves,  just showed how much she is shaken by Trips remarks. As for Trip: when I read this for a second time, my response was: okay Trip, now she is even not aloud to have a conversation with you? To ask an question about what you are going to do with your life? Instead he gives her a speech that she can't ask him that kind of questions. I truly understand why he is saying this, but I am sad for all the missed opportunities. Apparently, T'Pol thinks it is important that she hears Trip loves her and now he is saying it, but only in regret. I liked Trips explanation with Romeo and Julliet a lot and I am glad he made his point clear. I don't mind Trip having some knowlegde of literature, it suits him and why shouldn't he have more interest besides engineering?

justTripn

It's interesting! It's good to listen in on their intellegent conversation. I always enjoy that.

It is true as you mention in your author notes that Trip seems to know an awful lot about literature. Maybe this is related to his interest in movies. I find it a teeny bit distracting because I suppose I can hear your voice through Trip's.

Also, they are really dealing with this straight on, aren't they? That's very mature and it does set you up to explain the unexplainable: when T'Pol is finally released from her marriage and she tells Trip to stay away so she can study religion. Still, I would prefer having Trip and T'Pol be a teeny bit more evasive (for purposes of maximum angst, lol . . . ) Yes, it's perverse. It is sad that the first time he says "I love you" it's actually "If" I love you, and followed by "stay away!" *thumbs up for that* lol . . . yes, I also enjoy the dysfunction. >:-)

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