Missing Scenes from Season Four: Demons

By Alelou

Rating: PG-13

Genres:

Keywords: Baby Elizabeth Tucker

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This story is number 19 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "Demons" was written by Manny Coto.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: And we're back to the Missing Scenes with just three episodes left. Yikes, I believe I might actually finish this labor of love. And yes, I will do one of these for the last episode. After that I may take a stab at a finale that I think would have been more appealing than what we got, but that would be another missing episode rather than a missing scene, so it would be listed separately. I should probably also note that this missing scene follows my missing episode "Secrets and Sties," but you don't have to read that one to follow along. (Just know that Trip's hand got hurt in his adventures there, and that T'Pol finally broached a very difficult topic.) Oh yeah, and this one comes with a language warning.

THANK YOU as always, reviewers – even if you just pop in to tell me I hate men. Yes, I rather suspected that S&S ending was going to spark some masculine outrage...


Trip squatted uncomfortably in a Jeffries tube and tried to contain his irritation at once again needing to review a procedure with Ensign Masaro that the young man should have mastered years earlier.

Since Captain Hernandez had made off with yet another of Trip's more promising young ensigns, Masaro had had new opportunities to shine recently, but so far he wasn't providing anything more than his usual dim glow.

"Look," Trip said. "After your team installs new flow converters, you have to test them. You can't just assume they're good to go. You test them under partial flow, then step it up until they're taking full pressure. Only then do you sign off on the maintenance cycle as complete."

Masaro's mouth was set in a grim line. In earlier days, Trip remembered, the young man's face would have turned red and he would have promised to do better. This time he appeared detached, almost sullen. Trip frowned, suddenly wondering whether this guy was even playing on his team at all anymore. "So is there a reason you didn't do that?"

"Sir, I've replaced or supervised the replacement of over two hundred and fifty flow converters in my time on Enterprise. This is the first time one has malfunctioned."

Trip stared at him, almost certain that was an outright lie, but unwilling to call him out on it without evidence. "Meaning?"

"Meaning I concluded logically that there's no need to test them."

His emphasis on the word 'logically' was strange, as if he were trying to make some other point that Trip just wasn't getting. But then, Masaro had always been a bit of an odd duck. "Look," Trip said. "If you observe something that leads you to conclude one of our procedures doesn't make sense, the thing to do is bring it up. Discuss it with me. You can even discuss it with your colleagues first, if you want. You can bring it to me individually, or you can bring it up at a staff meeting for all of us to discuss. But you don't just unilaterally decide to drop our safety protocols without my approval. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir."

"I want you to run through the whole maintenance cycle again with this assembly," Trip said. "Document your results all the way through, and then bring me your report. Understood?"

"Yes, sir."

"All right. I'll see you later." Trip made his way back down into one of the auxiliary engineering rooms. It was blessedly empty. He straightened up and leaned back against the bulkhead and sighed.

Like everyone else on board at this point, he could really use a break. It felt like there'd been one thing after another for months on end.

He stretched and flexed his right hand. Phlox said it appeared to be well on the way to regaining full function, but the dull, low-level aching and stiffness often made Trip feel clumsy and exasperated. He was also beginning to fear that the discomfort would be with him the rest of his life.

He listened for the sounds of any work being done back up the tube. Yes, there was some clinking, and the hum of a hypospanner. Good. Occasionally he wondered if Masaro sometimes just holed up somewhere and watched movies on a PADD or something.

Was it possible he might have an addiction of some kind? The lying was a sign of that, wasn't it?

He shook his head. He was probably just projecting. He was still digesting what T'Pol had told him about her addiction to Trellium-D. His initial reaction had been astonishment that she could be so damned stupid. But he had also felt touched that she had confessed something so embarrassing to her – and perversely pleased that it was something Jon didn't already know.

Mostly, he'd tried to be as accepting and supportive as he could. He knew she had been terrified to tell him.

But, of course, despite his best intentions, he'd also begun to quietly review their relationship with this new knowledge, tracing back through his memories of the Expanse and her sometimes startling behavior there.

He couldn't help remembering how he'd been covered in Trellium-D the very first night she gave him neuro-pressure. Sure, he'd cleaned up as best he could, but was it possible that initial exposure, that linking of two things she wasn't supposed to enjoy, had somehow set her off down this unlikely road?

After all, she'd told him she kept resorting to Trellium-D because it improved her relationships with the rest of the crew … and with him.

The worst thing had been his sick realization that T'Pol of Vulcan would never have dropped that robe if she hadn't been under the influence of a mind-altering drug.

Not that there was anything to be done about that now. They were bonded. And he certainly couldn't regret that, not for a minute. Hell, he should probably be thankful for her weakness. But that didn't mean he didn't have concerns. Just how much damage had she done to herself? Could she relapse? If she did, would she be a danger to herself or others? Would he recognize the signs? Was it, in fact, reasonable that the captain didn't know about this? What if it became known at Starfleet?

Had her condition in the Expanse cost them any lives?

He sighed. And was it possible all this new tension in his life making him harder on Masaro than he needed to be?

No. No. The guy had fucked up. That was all there was to it. Then he had either lied to try to save face, or genuinely concluded something that any decent engineer would know was out of bounds.

This was simply not a guy Trip was ever going to be able to promote.

It was past time to talk to Jon about getting Masaro off Enterprise the next time they had a crew rotation.

He checked his PADD. Shit. It was also past time to meet T'Pol for lunch.

x x x

T'Pol was sipping the last of her plomeek broth when she felt a burst of consternation directed her way and decided she might just get to see her bond mate during lunch after all. And indeed, five minutes later he was there, slipping into the seat next to her and looking apologetic.

"Sorry," he said. "I had a personnel matter that came up." He looked around. The mess hall was fairly busy, and she watched him subtly square his shoulders and assume a more professional air.

"Anything I should know about?" she asked.

He sighed. "I guess." He leaned in and lowered his voice. "Masaro, again. He's just not cutting it."

"We'll be back at Earth in two days. Should I attempt to arrange a transfer?"

He frowned. "That's a little too abrupt. It would look very bad for him. But it's definitely time for him to move on at the end of this tour."

"The captain is hoping to do a round of promotions at the end of the current review period. When he is not included in that, the ensign may realize on his own that this is not his ideal career path."

"That's the thing," Trip said. "I never know what this guy is going to conclude, only that chances are at least 50-50 it will be something other than what I was hoping for."

"Are you not hungry?" she asked, knowing very well that he must be. It had been her observation for many years now that Charles Tucker III's temperament was never optimal when he lacked sustenance.

"Yeah, let me get some food." He smiled at her. "Can you stay a little while?"

"I can," she said, and watched as her mate got up to serve himself a meal. He flexed his right hand several times at his side as he peered at the selection laid out on the shelves. Perhaps he was not even conscious that he was doing it. Perhaps some neuro-pressure would be appropriate later.

Of course, for them neuro-pressure tended to quickly evolve into more intimate activities. That wasn't a bad thing, for quite beyond the physical pleasure involved, at this point T'Pol rather needed that reassurance that her bond mate still wanted her.

Not that he had said or done anything to indicate otherwise, but she nonetheless felt quite certain that Trip no longer regarded her as quite so … what? Admirable? Intelligent?

Trustworthy?

In the wake of her confession about Trellium-D, she could see the bright, sensitive man behind those blue eyes and friendly face quietly making recalculations and re-assessing their entire history. He had become at once more distant from her and more protective of her. Not that he spoke aloud about of any of this. He had never even mentioned Trellium-D once since that first conversation.

Nor had he pestered her for any further mind melding.

Probably he didn't want her to know what he was thinking.

Of course, Trip was nothing if not loyal. Hopefully, they would get through this period of adjustment without lasting damage to their relationship. In the meantime, she was relying more than ever on Surak's disciplines – perhaps especially since her instinctive reaction to the slightest hint of distance from her bond mate was to long rather desperately for just one more dose of Trellium-D.

Fortunately, all of the ore had long since been transferred to Starfleet for research purposes.

She hoped Trip would not see her embrace of Surak's disciplines as her own form of distancing, although she was not sure, in his current state, how much he would notice or care.

Cast out fear, Surak said. T'Pol meditated on it daily.

They would get through this. They had to.

x x x

He didn't believe her. He didn't believe her when she said she'd never been pregnant.

But how could he doubt her about that?

Didn't he realize that no Vulcan and Human could reproduce without medical intervention? They had already discussed the challenges they would face if they wanted to try to have children.

But she had held back so much from him. Perhaps, to his mind, this was just one more thing.

When she confronted him, he tried to pretend he believed her. But she heard the disbelief in his voice, just as she'd seen it in his face in sickbay. She didn't dare touch him, to feel his disbelief and know with certainty that her bond mate had so little trust in her. It would grieve her too much.

Also, they had a more urgent priority now.

The baby. They had to find her.

And then, she hoped, they would all get through this, too, somehow.

They had to.


 

The End

 


Comments:

Alelou

Thanks, Panyasan and Cogito.  And Panyasan, I'm with you on Trip's injury.  It has always irritated me that we hardly ever get any continuity after these guys are hurt.  After Trip has bounced back as often as he has in the show, it ought to completely shock him when something continues to affect him.

panyasan

Great chapter. I liked that we saw more of Masaro and I wished we did see more
in the coming chapters to see to road he travelled before he came to his actions.

Trip has a very normal reaction to the revelation of T'Pol and I am glad he is
supportive of T'Pol. T'Pol is very sensitive about his attitude towards her,
because she is ashamed and also I think T'Pol is a proud woman who has a hard
time to life with her mistakes.

I could relate to Trip's struggle with pain that endures for some time, because
I haven't been 100 pro cent myself - so I thought it was a nice touch you added that bit.

You explained why Trip didn't believe T'Pol on such an important issue as being pregnant and I hope they will find a way to solve their problems.

Cogito

Yeah, I've had people like that. Surely they can't have taken so long to do an abysmally poor job? What on earth have they been doing? And, well, we're about to find out. :(

It's touching to see Trip being more protective of T'Pol, but I don't like the distance and lack of confidence between them - I don't like it at all. But I'm pretty sure that these remaining uncertainties can be sorted out once and for all with a sufficient quantity of mind melds combined with mind-blowing sex, and it sounds as if T'Pol has the same idea. :D

Alelou

Thanks, all.  Weeble, sometimes someone might be fine in one role but just isn't cut out for promotion.  I like to think that Masaro can't be completely incapable or Trip would have fired him long ago.  (He certainly was successful at getting what Terra Prime wanted done.)  I see Trip's issues with Masaro as stemming more from the fact that the guy has a completely different agenda 

 

weeble

Nice touch with Massaro although I disagree with TnT's management decisions. If he can't cut it fire him. I always hated it when I ended up with someone who had been shuffled around because no one wished to hurt their career.

You have made terrific sense out of Trip's reaction to the non-pregnancy. And you have manged to keep the angst level down. (thank you)

Distracted

Trip's reaction is very believable in this.

justTrip'n

Oh, very, VERY nice! I LOVE it. I'm back to "watching" Enterprise. Somehow, I don't want to leave long reviews. It detracts from the immediate experience.

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