First Thing in the Morning

By Lt. Zoe Jebkanto

Rating: PG

Genres: humour

Keywords: bond

This story has been read by 507 people.
This story has been read 737 times.


 

Disclaimer: Much as I'd like to, I don't own it. Lucky CBS Paramount does. Intended for entertainment purposes only.

Summary:  The results of Vulcan/Human bonding can sometimes be… unexpected.

A/N:  This incident occurs at some as yet not quite determined time in the future, prior to the decommissioning of Enterprise

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“I’ll get to it, Captain, first thing in the morning.”

Had he actually said that last night?

It hadn’t been a big deal, just a casual comment across the table in the captain’s mess: a couple of ideas he’d been playing around with in his off time.  Ways to up Enterprise’s engine efficiency by maybe three per cent without compromising the fuel supply.   He and T’Pol had tossed them around the day before yesterday, and she’d reported back that her sims from the science station looked real promising.  The captain had studied the data PADD he’d handed him, nodded, and said, “Go for it, Trip.  Let me know how it sets up.” 

He’d been eager to get underway.  In a seemingly quiet region of space, with no threat looming and nothing in urgent need of repair, implementing that upgrade seemed more like tinkering for the joy of seeing what the thing could do than anything else.

That was then.

Now, as he negotiated the corridor, the thought of the deep, rumbling pulse, pulse, pulse of the engine vibrating through his guts was enough to have him suppressing a groan.  So, he wouldn’t think about it.  He’d just focus on reaching the turbolift.

Oh, God, had that little shudder-shudder-shimmy on start up been fixed yet?

After that, he’d take himself off to…?  Well, it better not be engineering yet.  It might be a good idea to wait on planning any destination until he actually made it through the turbolift door.

His first waking thought had been that something had gone wrong with the artificial gravity.  But he was still in solid contact with the mattress.  His blanket wasn’t fluttering like a banner above his head.  Only his stomach was floating.

He’d been fine when he left the captain’s mess last night.  Returning to his quarters, he’d stretched out on the bed, gazed at the ceiling, and reviewed his upgrade, phase by phase.  It was better than thinking about T’Pol up there on the bridge running analyses of a stellar nursery all night long.  There was no sense checking in with her through their bond either.  He had a pretty good guess what her response would be.

“Trip, I’m currently attempting to complete a series of thermodynamic readings.   Your thoughts are proving to be a distraction…”

Yeah, well, he knew how it was.  He’d had to give her the old “T’Pol, I’m really tryin’ to concentrate down here” line once last week during some late night manifold repairs.

Okay, so planning upgrades hadn’t exactly been better than thinking about T’Pol, only less… frustrating.  And it wouldn’t have been precisely his thoughts tugging at her attention so much as his lonesome late night hormones.

Even after so long, perceptions within their bond could get kind of… unpredictable… sometimes.  It was better than back when they kept running into each other in the white space where her meditations and his daydreams met.  Now that they were bond-mates, the passing back and forth of directed thoughts had gotten way easier than Trip had ever imagined it could be.  But the unintended leak of sensations and emotions could have unexpected consequences.

From the beginning, it seemed to him she was the one who could take it more in stride.  That made sense, even after the neural damage to her emotional control from her one-time Trellium-D addiction she still had all those years of training in Vulcan logic and mental discipline to fall back on.

For example, when a storage compartment panel had slammed shut on his thumb two weeks ago she’d registered, but filtered out, the explosive string of expletives that he’d sent blasting through her mind while she was giving the captain the latest crew evaluation.  He had far less success resisting a sudden intense longing for that big, huge bowl of plomeek broth that jolted him awake and sent him scrounging through the supplies in the mess hall at 0300 hours a couple nights back.

But sometimes ‘more’ was a relative, not an absolute concept.

He’d been surprised (and wickedly delighted) with her admission that she’d had to interrupt her dictation of a late end-of-shift report last Tuesday evening because his cracking up over the old vampire spoof, Love at First Bite, had almost (not quite) startled her into laughing out loud.

With that memory of her broken concentration in mind, he’d lain on his back last night and raised his mental shields by picturing engine schematics on the ceiling, while holding other intriguing images firmly at bay.  After a while the subtle pulse, pulse, pulse of the engines thrumming in the wall and the ever-present vibration doing its micro-dance in his bones, had their usual soothing effect and lulled him off to sleep.

That, along with the drink he’d shared with Captain Archer.

Trip suppressed another groan.

It was a drink.  Singular.  Just one.  A beer.  He’d never had trouble the next day from a beer.  Not even with two, three or four if it came to that.  He’d been spared the morning-after headache, but even the thought of the word “beer”  had a far less subtle sort of dance going on in his midsection.

Glancing around to see that he was unobserved, Trip leaned a shoulder against the wall and drew a slow, steadying breath.

I will not puke.  I’m a Starfleet Commander.  We’re supposed to have some kinda dignity, so we don’t puke in hallways.  I will not… cannot…!

He tried another careful breath.  This kind of body talk worked well for T’Pol.  He’d been aware of her using it through their bond with great success.  Not ever to prevent… well, she wouldn’t call it “puking” … but to ease the effects of fatigue or to focus her emotional control.

It had been working for him, too.  He’d used it back in his quarters, with every careful move he made getting dressed.  Even during the hardest part, when it took all the concentration he had to pull on his boots without decorating the floor between them.

Steady, breathe steady, shallow, slow.  Much better now. He was gonna live a life out there somewhere beyond nausea.  Might even pursue a few options to get him feeling human again, like-

Coffee.  Yeah, good plan.  Coffee, elixir of the gods, brightener of day shifts, solution to all ills.

Once he made the turbolift, he’d head for the mess and get himself a steaming, bitter black cup, sit back and take small, small swallows.   That’d kill the last of the queasies!  It had to beat Phlox’s god-awful hangover remedy, and was definitely better than admitting to the doc that he’d needed it after having just one single b-

Oops- don’t think about the “b” word.

I will not puke, I will not…

“Good morning Commander!” A door swished shut and footfalls sounded beside him.

Damn, but Reed sounded positively chipper today, didn’t he?

“Malcolm,” Trip acknowledged, wishing the simple act of speaking didn’t have his throat tightening up in such an ominous way.

Reed didn’t seem to notice the curt response.  “Mind if I join you for breakfast?”

Breakfast?  It was another b-word that had the gut dance starting up again.

The only safe one of those right now was “breathe”.

So, think about breathing.  Careful, slow, shallow.  Only breathing.  Not beer, not breakfast.  They’d be enough to make him want to b-

Oh, God! It had been just one, singular, lousy b-!

Then the meaning of Malcolm’s question penetrated his preoccupation.

It wouldn’t only be coffee served up  in the mess!

Okay, he’d surrender, go to sickbay and, damn, if word got round the ship he needed a hangover remedy for one lousy beer, it beat seeing (and worse,  smelling) all that food.

“Commander,” Malcolm was all concern.  “You’re looking a bit pale.  You all right?”

“I’m just…”  If he didn’t talk about it, things might settle down.  “Fine.”

“Maybe you should stop by and see Phlox…”

“I said-” he produced careful words between shallow breaths.  “I’m fine.”  He  managed a relieved smile as the doors to the blessed turbolift slid open before them.

“Good morning, Lieutenant, you too, Commander.”  Ensign Mayweather stepped aside to let them join him.  “One thing about pulling the night shift, you sure work up an appetite.  I think I’ll ask Chef to make me a couple of eggs over easy…”

Over easy?  Weren’t they the ones with the runny yellow yolk?

Trip blinked hard.  He clenched his teeth, but a small involuntary “glurg” sound escaped his constricting throat.

“You say something, Commander?” asked Travis.

Trip managed to shake his head.

Travis’s talk about coming off the night shift reminded him of T’Pol.  She’d be coming off duty too, wrapping up her observations on that stellar nursery.  With luck, she still had at least a few seconds of thermodynamic results to review before checking in via their bond.  He’d better focus his mental shields, fast!  Any emotional or physical state that could fragment his concentration like this could get transmitted to her, even without his conscious awareness.  She sure didn’t need to share this experience with him, even for the seconds it took her to get her own shields up!

“Over easy?” Malcolm asked.  “Is that the same as sunny side up?”

This conversation wasn’t doing a thing for his stomach or his shields!  He had to distract himself.  Okay, with what?  How did that little mnemonic go for remembering the planets of the solar system?  Mercury was?  Was?  “My”, right?

“I think so,” said Travis as the door slid shut.  “It’s different than poached.”

 And Venus was-?

The turbolift shudder-shudder-shimmied into motion.

The word for Venus was “Very”!

Trip raised a clammy hand to initiate the setting which would bring him to Deck E.

E, like Earth.  He knew that one!  It was “Elderly”.  And Mars was “Mamma”.  His Mamma  wasn’t very  elderly at all, but anyway, if he recalled it right, Jupiter was…

“Poached,” said Malcolm.  “Now that’s not bad.  Especially on toast.”

No!  No!  Jupiter was not “poached”!  It was-?

His hand paused over the turbolift controls.  Travis had already activated the command for Deck E.  Trip suppressed another groan.  From this lift, he’d have to walk right past the mess to reach Phlox.  Have to smell whatever was cooking in there. The glurg was changing from a sound into a feeling.

Jupiter!  Jupiter!  What was Jupiter?

“My mother,” continued Malcolm.  “Made me that when I was a child.  She’d cut a hole in the center of the toast, slather on the butter until it ran and-”

He had it!  Jupiter was “Just”.

Saturn came with almost no prompting. “Served.”

“She’d drop that egg into the hole and-”

Ever since he’d known Malcolm, Trip had always thought that, except for anything pineapple, the guy’d  considered food to be not much more than a necessity, so now why wouldn’t he shut up about it?

The lift was slowing.

“-after that,” said Malcolm, a note of fond remembrance in his voice.  “I’d take my fork to it and pierce-”

Trip couldn’t believe it!  Malcolm was getting in his weapons practice, even back then!  He closed his eyes.  Uranus.  Must be easy.  How many words started with ‘U’ anyway?  Got it!  It was “Us”!

“Yeah?” Travis’s tone was eager, like he was dishing himself up a heaping huge helping of Malcolm’s disgusting mental meal.  “Then what?” 

Why did people like to talk about food so much?

Neptune was…?

“The yolk would come gushing out, all over the toast.”

Runny yolk?

“I haven’t had it in years,” said Malcolm.  “Perhaps Chef would make it for me.”

Quick, think about Neptune!

 Oh, God, the “N” stood for “Noodles”!  Long, disgusting, slithery, slimy noodles…

 And way back, when Pluto was still a planet, that “P” was for “Primavera” which, he thought had a thick,  gloppy cheese sauce and-hey!  Used to be?  Pluto wasn’t a planet now.  It had been dumped to dwarf status over a century ago, taking that disgusting letter “P” with it!  So from now on, Neptune’s “N” was gonna stand for “Nothing”.

My Very Elderly Mamma Just Served Us…

 Nothing! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

The lift door was opening.  The shallow breathing plan had to be scaled back a setting.  He’d known it needed revision once he’d remembered about that food and the mess’s nearness to sickbay.  Time to switch to plan- (what else?) –B!  From shallow breaths to careful, exploratory sniffs.  Better yet, he wouldn’t breathe at all.  No breath, no mess hall smell.  No smell, no problem.  He’d just grab one big gulp of air before the door got all the way open, hustle himself past the mess as fast as he could, and-

“After you,” Commander.”  With proper British courtesy, Malcolm gestured Trip out ahead of him.

He nodded wordless thanks over his shoulder, stepped into the corridor and crashed straight into Amanda Cole, who’d been waiting, with a gently steaming slotted thermal cup in her hand.

“Sorry!” Gasping in surprise, Trip threw out an instinctive hand to steady the MACO.  “’I didn’t mean ta-”  His stomach clenched.  “Oh, God, what is that terrible stench?”

“Well don’t look at ME!” Amanda exclaimed.

“I didn’t mean-  It’s not-” Trip stared in horror at the gym bag slung over her shoulder and her sweat dampened workout clothes.  How could he explain, let alone apologize ?  He’d have to breathe in the noxious steam venting from that hideous cup to squeak out even one more word.

Malcolm, good old friend that he was, stepped valiantly into the breech.  He leaned forward and studied the travel mug as the obviously insulted, glaring Amanda strode past Trip into the lift.  “I’m quite sure he was talking about your coffee.” He said, wrinkling his nose.  “Chef certainly made a rather robust brew this morning, didn’t he?”

Taking the smallest possible breath, Trip nodded.  “Sorry,  Amanda, it’s…” His voice was  cracking with strangulation.  “Definitely the… coffee!”

“It smells just fine to me-” began Travis as the lift door began to close and Malcolm’s elbow connected none to gently with his ribs.

The three of them started down the hall.  Trip wasn’t sure if he was more relieved that the offended Amanda, or her rank cup of sludge had been whisked away.  He’d find a way to apologize without inserting his foot further down his throat later.  Maybe thank her for saving him from that coffee.  If it even deserved to be called that.  Better to find out now than to venture into the mess for a one-on-one close up and personal with the revolting stuff.

“You joining us for breakfast, Commander?”  Travis seemed unphased by Malcolm’s attempt at censorship.

Already the mess hall door was looming ahead.  If his two friends would just wait to go in until he got well past there on the way to sickbay, (which was hopefully no more than a few shallow breaths beyond) things might be all right.

“The commander,” said Malcolm.  “Is a bit under the weather this morning.  I believe he was on his way to see Phlox.”

“Hope it’s nothing serious,” said Travis.

Trip shook his head.  He hadn’t decided what to say, or if he could safely say it when the mess door opened.  His pace sped up.  Don’t breathe, get past it, quick,  just get past-

But the warm aroma of scrambled eggs and (could that really be?) Cholula sauce wafted out and whiffled around his nose.  Hey, not fair!  If he got too big a dose of that aroma feeling like this he’d never like those things again.  And weren’t those pancakes mingling with it, along with a sweet little hint of maple syrup?  Trip gritted his teeth.

I will not breathe, I will not breathe.  Faster, feet!  Faster!  I will not-

His lungs and diaphragm had other ideas.  They wanted, needed, began to tug for air!  His nose twitched as the aroma teased, tickled, and tempted.

Just one careful little sniff.  That’d probably be okay. It wasn’t like he was getting much choice in the matter anymore.

One small sniff-  And then two.  Three.  It was…  Was…?

Absolutely the best thing he’d smelled in-?  Days?  Weeks?  Months?  Maybe since the Academy?  His throat shimmy-shudder-shook a little (kind of like the lift) as his nose and gut debated the possibilities.  After the briefest moment of uncertainty his esophagus and then his stomach agreed to relax their resistance and surrender peacefully.

How could they not, confronted with aromas like that?

Travis was looking at him, waiting.  That’s right, he’d been about to say his reason for going to sickbay wasn’t serious, but that he didn’t want breakfast.

The thing was… all at once, he did want it!  He wanted breakfast!  He could think that b-word and his throat didn’t glurg.  His stomach didn’t clench.  Instead, it growled.  He divided a smile between his friends.  “I’m okay.  It’s no big deal.  Lead the way, Travis, I’m right behind you.”

He was settling in, not with the pancakes or the scrambled eggs, but with an even more intriguing breakfast burrito. (Hey, two b’s in there and not one problem!)  It was awesome.  Glorious!  When had anything ever tasted so good, especially with a nice mug of plomeek broth to wash it down?  He took a gigantic swallow from the warm, delicious drink, then went back to his fork again.  He was ravenous!  Absolutely ravenous!

He hadn’t had such an appetite since…

Well, not for years.  Not since-

He glanced across the mess.  TPol was coming through the door.  Trip smiled her way, toasted her with his plomeek mug, had another stupendous bite of burrito (those red peppers were amazing!) and then took a second glance at his bond-mate as she went to get a cup of tea.  She looked really tired.  Not surprising after a long night shift, except…

She was a Vulcan.  They could go days without sleep.  She actually looked kind of…  Well, he’d almost say she looked pale.  Maybe he should lower his shields and let her bask in some of the well-being that was flooding him.  As she waited for her tea, he enjoyed another bite of zesty burrito.  Nothing had tasted so good to him as this since…

Oh, my God! It hadn’t been the beer!

Trip gulped.  The fork clattered to the table.  Since…

At the sound, TPol turned toward him, widening large, curious eyes.  He met her gaze with a questioning one of his own.  A silent “Hey, T’Pol, how ya doin’?”” had raised nothing more than her rather mystified eyebrow.

She didn’t know!  This was a whole new thing for her!  Something she might not recognize.  He wasn’t sure he’d’ve recognized it himself if part of their bond’s function wasn’t to reach beneath language to convey words, emotions and sensations for the other to understand.  He hoped her experience of the last few minutes hadn’t been like his on the way down here, but he sure as hell understood the meaning of its translation! 

But why had it taken him so long?  If he’d given it half a thought, he’d have known what was wrong with him when he woke up, and why he felt so wonderful right now! 

What a great discovery to make first thing in the morning!

He hadn’t felt like this since he’d stuck his hands in a bowl of rocks with a Xyrillian woman and ended up…

Rising from the table, he hurried toward her, letting his face stretch in a grin that spread from ear to ear.  “Here, T’Pol, let me carry that tea for you.  I’m real glad you could join us all for breakfast.”

This wasn’t the moment, or the place to do it, not with half the bridge crew parading into the mess for breakfast.  But was he ever looking forward to later, when they got back to their own quarters for a little alone time!  Then he could tell her what he’d picked up through their bond!  It was something that now, as his hand brushed hers, he was sure she hadn’t yet realized, even if he had.  After all, how many guys could, from their own previous experience, recognize, then make the announcement to his wife that she was pregnant?         


Comments:

Cogito

Beautiful, and hilarious. I had no idea what was coming until you hit us with it - guess I really didn't learn anything from that box of rocks. In my defence, if I'd realised they were bonded I might have had a fighting chance. I'm still chuckling at Trip stuck with his two friends who won't shut up talking about food when he's feeling sick. Doesn't it always seem that way? :D

Hummingbird2

Hee, hee, that was so funny! Absolutely delightful, thank you very much.

I really enjoyed this: He’d been surprised (and wickedly delighted) with her admission that she’d had to interrupt her dictation of a late end-of-shift report last Tuesday evening because his cracking up over the old vampire spoof, Love at First Bite, had almost (not quite) startled her into laughing out loud.

*Grin*

Linda

Okay, I sat down to enjoy this fic while spooning in some of my favorite coffee yogart.  LOL, had to set the yogart aside to finish this story while keeping my stomach in neutral. The sensations I was getting from the reading were so real.   Please remind me to never, ever, bond with a pregnant Vulcan.  Nice job.  ;)

Jamieson

Hehe, this was great!  The thought occurred to me near the beginning, but I dismissed it until the part where he suddenly felt on top of the world - then it became plain as day! I love the way you wrote it, with poor Trip trying to hang on while Malcolm and Travis seemed intent on re-writing Chef's menu in graphic detail. Very clever, very good!

Eireann

Oh, that was really hilarious.  Have to admit I didn't get it right till the end either, though my pregancy sickness was a 24 hour thing so that's my excuse... oh dear, life on board ship is about to get disrupted big time!  :D

Asso

Definitely a great thumb pointing up!:p:D:p:D:p:D:p:D

putaro

Heh - definite drawbacks to that Vulcan mate bond!

Mary

 Yearning for plomeek at 3AM had me suspicious, but when Trip went from nauseated to ravenous  one second to the next, it was obvious that he was suffering from second hand pregnancy..he..he..he Been there done that. Too cute to hear his dialogue convincing his body not to barf.

Weeble

As an ignorant male, I didn't get it til the very end...Still not sure I get it. Enjoyed the writing though. I can certainly appreciate utter dismay upon thinking that one beer could do that kind of damage (wipes forehead) whew...

Alelou

Ahh.  That's sweet.  I was onto it from the time he was dreaming about the huge bowl of plomeek soup, but it was fun to watch you torture a guy with morning sickness with so many wonderful, horrible food details.  :)

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