Twist of Fate

By Elessar

Rating: PG-13

Genres: au general romance

Keywords:

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Chapter 1

by John O.

Genre: AU, Friendship/Romance
Rated: PG-13
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Star Trek characters/names/fans’ souls/etc. I call shenanigans.


Summary / Premise:

The story is this: Beginning in 2150, by 'a twist of fate', two things occur differently from the normal Enterprise universe as we know it. First, as Jonathan Archer is given command of Enterprise, construction of the new Zephram Cochrane Advanced Warp Facility is completed in San Francisco, California to replace the aging Warp Five complex in Bozeman, Montana. The Research facility's mandate, above all else, is the continued advancement of warp flight through and beyond warp five. You might call it a warp six project, however, its mandate is not thus limited. As a former commanding officer of Lt. Commander Charles Tucker's, Captain Matthew Jeffries offers Tucker a position as senior warp specialist and Chief Engineer of the Zephram Cochrane Warp Facility. At the same time, Jonathan Archer offers Tucker a position as Chief Engineer and a promotion onto the Enterprise. Tucker begrudgingly accepts Jeffries' offer over Archer's since the position carries with it the opportunity to fulfill Tucker's lifelong dream of following in Cochrane's footsteps.

The second penultimate twist of fate to take its course as a result of the existence of this new facility is the assignment of a special advisor from the Vulcan Science Directorate. Normally the Vulcans would not be so eager to assist the human warp program, but Starfleet Command has insisted upon the employment of recently acquired technology from Vulcan negotiations in the warp testbed at the facility. The Vulcan High Command refuses to allow such volatile equipment to be used unsupervised by brash and impulsive humans. The Enterprise will continue on its journey without Trip and T'Pol, with other officers in their stead and to avoid any kinds of "well what about where Trip did ___ or T'Pol did ____ and it saved the ship?" we're just going to ignore that aspect for this little creative excursion. The setting is the warp facility, different areas on Earth at times, and possibly a crossover to involve the Enterprise. I will give general descriptions of a few main characters to begin with. Since many will be custom characters I'll describe some but also try to leave some to the imagination.

Note: Character list will be present in each installment, as a refresher and a quick reference.

Characters:

Commander Charles Tucker III
- Age 29
- Warp Field Specialist

Captain Matthew Frederick Jeffries
- Age 46
- 6'3, medium muscular build, black hair, dark eyes, dark complexion
- Test pilot, Design Engineer

Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) Virgil "Gus" Walters
- Age 57
- 6'0, heavy build, gray hair, blue eyes, weathered skin, scars on hands. Like an older, grayer Commander Adama with blue eyes.
- Engine Mechanic, Machinist

Ensign Carly Ibanez
- Age 23
- 5'2, petite build, Latin complexion, brown hair/eyes
- Electrical Engineering, Warp Field EMI Specialist

Ensign Anastasia 'Anna' Krycek
- Age 26
- 5'5, petite build, blonde hair, blue eyes
- Integrated Systems Specialist

Ensign (Dr.) Sandra Martin, Ph.D.
- Age 29
- 5'9, thin build, brown hair, hazel-green eyes
- Antimatter Containment and Reactant Specialist

Lieutenant (Dr.) Franz Obers, Ph.D.
- Age 34
- 5'10, thin build, hazel eyes, dark hair. Speaks with German accent.
- Plasma Physics Specialist

Lieutenant Robert 'Bobby' DeSoto
- Age 32
- 5'8, medium build, dark hair, dark eyes. Not fond of Vulcans.
- Mechanical Engineering, High Tolerance Materials Specialist

Sub-Commander T'Pol
- Age ??
- Particle Physics, Subspace Physics Specialist


November 22nd, 2150


"I'm sorry to hear that, Trip. But it's a hell of an opportunity Matt’s given you," Archer grinned to hide his disappointment.

"Thanks Cap'n, and believe me it wasn't an easy choice. I feel like the luckiest man in the world and the damndest at the same time, tryin' to make this decision!" Trip chuckled as Archer nodded with a smile across the communication screen. Trip ran a hand through his hair as he stood in front of the video panel on a desk in his San Francisco apartment.

"I mean it, Jon, I really appreciate the offer and I... hell, I just wish I could be in two places at once!" Archer laughed as Tucker stammered a moment.

"It's alright Trip, I'll get along without you," Archer reassured him.

Lines appeared on the screen for an instant, whizzing and zipping with interference across Archer's image. At the same moment, a flicker of pale white light peaked through the blinds and danced across the walls and revealed the emptiness of the apartment around him, save a single desk and the video communication panel. The sky burped again, rattling the windowpanes.

"It's stormin' pretty bad down 'ere Jon. It looks like communications might cut out."

"Take it easy Trip - Oh I’m sorry, I mean Commander Tucker," Archer smirked back at the blonde, handsome young man across the screen.

"Thanks Jon, and good luck," Archer nodded as Tucker terminated the connection and turned back towards the window just as another bellow of thunder struck.

He peered through the shades and across San Francisco Bay towards the sky where, floating weightlessly afar above the clouds, hung the Enterprise and his old friend Jonathan Archer. He sighed for the fourteenth time in as many minutes, hoping he had made the right choice. He hadn't been lying. The last several days had been filled with torturous debate and consideration of each of the offers before him. On one hand, Captain Archer offered him a promotion to Commander and position as Chief Engineer on the first warp-five vessel ever launched. It seemed to be a dream come true. The Vulcans were still holding back the launch date and there were still a few system malfunctions to be mitigated, but the temptation could not be stronger if Archer were standing by to beam him up and warp away.

Then again, Captain Matt Jeffries had been his engineering mentor, and somewhere in between a second father and a wise older brother to him for years. After spending seven years working on Jeffries' engineering team he had been offered a promotion to Commander and a lead research role at the most advanced research facility in the sector. To walk into a building every day with the name "Cochrane" on the front door, an eight-story warp reactor at its core and a ten-meter statue of the man in the lobby was hard to turn down. More than hard... impossible.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Starfleet Command HQ

"Commander Tucker, I believe you know Admiral Forrest, Commodore Black," Jeffries nodded at the two men in uniform on the opposite side of the room. A pair of very tall, very stuffy looking Vulcans with flowing robes and folded hands rose to their feet. Tucker nodded and greeted Maxwell Forrest and Commodore Black with a characteristic smile and a kind word. Admiral Forrest stepped forward to place himself between the Commander and the Vulcan dignitaries.

"Commander Tucker, allow me to introduce Ambassador Soval and Subliuetenant Tovan," Tucker nodded amicably as the two Vulcans raised their fingers in the traditional salute. The elder Vulcan, he inferred to be Ambassador Soval, narrowed his eyes critically when the Commander did not return the gesture. To his credit, Tucker was wholly unfamiliar with Vulcan etiquette and would not have known the proper reply in any case. But another part of him just didn't care.

"Commander, you have been assigned as the Chief Engineer of the new warp complex?" Soval asked as if surprised. Tucker winced and drew his brows together in irritation at the question since the Ambassador was quite aware of the answer. A telling glance from Admiral Forrest suggested he should answer anyway.

"Yes, I have, Ambassador," he replied irately.

"Do you find my question emotionally disturbing, Commander?" Soval asked with an innocence that tasted more like venomous bait to Tucker. Trip turned to face the ambassador as his brows drew together into a scowl.

"No, but I don't understand the point of ya askin' me. Since you Vulcans are always one up on us, I'm sure you know more about what's goin' on than I do!"

"Commander!" Forrest reprimanded him. Tucker faced Forrest and bit his lip, controlling another outburst sedulously. He turned back to the ambassador, who watched him calmly. Soval paused for several moments as if to allow the Commander time to regain composure, a gesture that only infuriated Trip further as he inwardly cursed the smug, but calm veneer the Vulcan exuded. Finally, Ambassador Soval moved to his point as he took two steps past the commander.

"Commander, do you have any idea of the power of the device sitting in that facility? Do you really believe you possess the technical expertise to operate a piece of Vulcan that is technology far beyond human capability?"

"If you are referring, sir," Tucker began, setting his jaw in anger. "... To the warp field testbed that your people loaned us, then 'YES', I am very well aware of its capabilities. And I believe I know how to safely operate it," Tucker replied through gritted teeth. Nearby, Forrest relaxed slightly, relieved that Trip hadn't disappointed him by lashing out again and causing a diplomatic dispute. He had answered as just as he knew he should, despite the number of other things he had wanted say.

"Is that so?" the quiet Vulcan in the corner asked curiously, with a hint of sarcasm. Sub Lieutenant Tovan, Trip inferred. His voice was higher and somewhat less distinguished than the Ambassador's, Trip guessed he was quite a bit younger.

"Tell me, Commander, what is the phased distortion output of an isomorphic subspace field at Warp 6?"

"You gotta' be kiddin' me!" Tucker replied as he turned to look back at the Admiral and Commodore in amazement. Neither of them spoke but Commodore Black was clearly infuriated. Jeffries wasn’t pleased either but was clearly awaiting a signal from one of the admirals before interfering. Tucker turned back to the smug Vulcan researcher who lifted an eyebrow. He turned up his nose right back at the Vulcan and replied.

"Point five terawatts," he over-annunciated the words with a deadpan expression. The Vulcan opened his mouth to speak but Trip tongued his cheek and beat him to the punch.

“As long as you’re in a Cochranian reference frame, otherwise all bets are off,” the engineer smirked as he laced in the vernacular, taking a bit of amusement in the Vulcan’s momentary confusion while he dissected the euphemism. Commodore Black couldn’t keep the victorious smile from his face, as if his team had just scored a goal.

"And the magnetic integrity required to maintain a quantized warp plasma at twenty five million-" the Vulcan began to ask. Before he could finish Trip turned and stormed towards the door.

"I don't have to stand here and be tested! Permission to be dismissed and go do my JOB, sir?" Tucker asked, expending great effort to control the volume of his voice as he turned back to Forrest. The Vulcans merely glanced at Forrest confidently. Forrest stood behind his desk with his hands folded over his chest, glaring between Soval and the Commander.

"Dismissed," he acceded and Tucker lit out through the door. Jeffries followed close behind, leaving a pair of stunned and insulted Vulcan dignitaries.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Vulcan Consulate

The Vulcan officer stood rigidly erect before the tall, ornate chamber doors as she patiently awaited her appointment. Her hands remained clasped behind her back as she glanced at the chronometer. Her curiosity betrayed her and she noted that the time was now 2230, over an hour after her scheduled appointment with Ambassador Soval and Sub Lieutenant Tovan. It was unusual to be summoned so late. But her current assignment was quite unusual. She had been notified of reassignment while stationed at a research base on Vulcan. The very next day she had been shuttled to the Vulcan Consulate on Earth and that was two days ago. She had yet to be briefed on the specifics of her new assignment. She knew only that Ambassador Soval, a close colleague of her late father, would be overseeing her assignment directly.

When the chamber doors opened, she turned rather hastily for a Vulcan to meet the one who stepped through. Ambassador Soval stood before her, looking unsettled to the observant Vulcan eye. The rapid movement of his eyes further fueled her suspicion that something about the Ambassador was amiss, and she awaited his instructions at attention.

"Councilor V'Len will see you now, Sub-Commander," the Ambassador informed her coolly. He tarried a few moments with a cryptic gaze before stepping aside and allowing her entrance into the chamber. There was something in that instantaneous glint of his eyes that spoke a warning to her, or perhaps something else... She was not sure. She had never known the Ambassador to appear so unsettled by Vulcan standards. The thought was packaged away neatly for further consideration as she entered the large room. She had been informed that Ambassador and the Vulcan Science Directorate’s resident attaché to the Vulcan Consulate, Sub-Lieutenant Tovan, would brief her. Instead, she found one man near the center of the room, standing expectantly with his hands behind his back.

She could see a long glass window pleated with raindrops that ran along the far wall as the room lit up with a flash. Lightning struck outside once again, and a middle-aged Vulcan of medium-height stepped forward. Neither his face nor the name 'V'Len' were familiar, but Soval referred to him as a member of the Vulcan High Council so she stood at rigid attention. His robes were darker than she had seen councilors typically don, and he strode towards her as the room lit up once again with pale blue light.

"Sub-Commander, I am sure you are somewhat curious regarding your appointment to this Embassy on such short notice," he commented as he paced beyond her. She remained facing forward confidently and replied, as she should.

"Curiosity serves no useful purpose. I serve the High Command, my assignment will be made clear to me when my superiors see fit." Behind her the councilor nodded agreeably at her rank-and-file response.

"Of course. You were trained quite proficiently in the Security Ministry," the councilor replied. She decided that his tone suggested a question.

"Yes."

"And you also served the Vulcan Ministry of Intelligence for a short time, did you not?" The councilor asked, his ton suddenly taking on an interrogative quality as he came around to face her. She regarded him with uncertainty and doubt. He had managed to catch her off guard with the surprising knowledge of her classified assignment. She blinked several times and pushed away the momentary emotional response but the councilor saw the discomfort and indecision in her eyes. She straightened and focused her eyes on a neutral location.

"If I were assigned to the Ministry of Intelligence I would not be disposed to discuss those operations." The councilor nodded in understanding as if the response were expected.

"Of course." He turned and moved towards the desk once more. "And when in the service of the Intelligence Ministry, did you ever question orders, Sub-Commander?" T'Pol was taken aback but answered truthfully.

"I did not."

His expression lightened and he suddenly seemed less concerned. "I was informed that my assignment was at the behest of the Vulcan Science Directorate. Am I to understand that, under your authority, I am being assigned in an Intelligence-capacity?" she asked. The Vulcan did not respond and merely ignored her query. He inspected a memorandum on the desk clinically and monotonously recited its contents.

"You are assigned as the Science Directorate's supervising researcher to the Cochrane Experimental Warp Flight facility in San Francisco," he informed her. "You will be charged with oversight of the human research program lead there by Captain Matthew Jeffries and you will report your findings directly to me."

"Findings, Councilor?" she asked impulsively, unsure of his meaning. He glanced up from the paper that held this information and drew her eyes to him even as she attempted to avert them to a neutral location.

"You will monitor the human program's progress; cite safety violations and acts of misconduct, imprudence and negligence. You will also be responsible for reporting on the fitness of the human scientist who has been assigned to lead the research a..." he paused, checking another memorandum on the desk. "Commander Charles Tucker," he recited with disinterest. T'Pol blinked idlely as she committed the name to memory and straightened as she stood before the councilor's desk.

"Have you worked with humans before, Sub-Commander?"

"Briefly. I was assigned to the Vulcan Consulate for a period of six months following my transfer from the Security Ministry to the Science Directorate. They are generally impulsive, irrational and often make emotionally-driven decisions," she recounted clinically.

"Yes, they do," the Vulcan replied as he approached her, his eyes fixed on hers as if he were inspecting them for some imperfection.

"You are to report any such incidents directly to me in your weekly report, is that understood?"

"Yes, Councilor,” she replied reflexively.

"You will report to the warp complex tomorrow afternoon to Admiral Forrest. You are dismissed," he informed her casually as he turned away and faced the window from whence thunder clapped and shook the windows of the large chamber. She turned and moved towards the door with a curious eyebrow as she considered the councilor's inquiry regarding her intelligence assignment.

"Sub-Commander." She stopped near the door and turned to attention, though the Vulcan continued to stare impassively out the window as the rain clunked rhythmically against it. He spoke without turning towards her.

"I suggest you visit our physician, Dr. Sevel, to receive a nasal-numbing agent." T'Pol nodded silently and the Councilor turned to watch her once more.

"Dismissed," he commanded her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Cochrane Warp Facility


"I heard he's only 25, youngest Commander in Starfleet history!" a toe-headed young ensign remarked.

A few giggles and bouts of laughter followed as a pair of attractive young ensigns continued gossiping. As he overheard the young women's chatter, Lieutenant Bobby DeSoto merely rolled his eyes and scoffed. He knew all about this 'Tucker' all right, the pretty-boy, wiz kid who skipped right over 'Ensign' to Lieutenant upon earning his commission. Truth be told, DeSoto had some history with Tucker that he thought it best just not to think about while waiting for the cocky young Commander to show up. Tucker probably didn't even know his name or why he hated him so much, and that thought infuriated him even more. He couldn't believe his luck when the news came that he was being given the assignment of his dreams, only to hear the name of his boss. It was bad enough he had to work with him, the thought of standing at attention for him was almost an unbearable thought.

The new bloods were all milling about on an empty slab of concrete, several meters from any of the sensitive equipment near the core of the machine floor. Busy crewmen – enlistees – bumped and brushed their way through a few aimlessly hovering officers in the group. It was the first time most of the new officers had seen the inside of the building, and more than a few of the non-coms gave the officers dirty looks while bustling around the eight-story warp reactor a few dozen meters away. It towered over their heads, with several ladders leading up different sides for maintenance and access, while dozens of catwalks lined the perimeter of the operations area.

The main doors were the final barrier between the security checkpoints near the public front of the facility, and research labs near and around the Operations Floor, and the machine shop. The warp reactor and associated systems sat in the middle of the room, a goliath of a structure that stretched up nearly a hundred feet. Antimatter storage tanks, fuel pumps, and containment equipment sat behind the reactor, out of sight from the main doors. The injector assembly, reactor control and endless diagnostic panels lined the far left wall where several crewmen were buzzing back and forth.

The group of officers congregated in groups, talking and chatting just a few meters from a cordoned off area of empty pavement that awaited installation of various research tools. It was a few minutes after the hour and a moderate "hum" of gossip and discussion hung over the group of ensigns and lieutenants like they were a tour full of fifth-graders. At least that's how they looked and sounded to Chief Petty Officer Walters, who was standing nearby at medium-attention awaiting his new commanding officer to show.

Gus thought of the young pup that would be serving directly under Captain Jeffries. He hadn't seen that boy in a long time. A slight curve upturned his weathered lips as an outburst of laughter drew his eye back to the rowdy crowd. After only a cursory glance, it was easy to tell the lieutenants from the ensigns by the greater discipline in the former. There was a clamor from across the operations center and Gus turned to find Captain Jeffries and Commander Charles Tucker III approaching, in mid-discussion.

It was apparently a lively one, having clearly kept the two of them a few minutes late to the staff meeting. Gus straightened and expected that some semblance of discipline would return to the young officers standing nearby as soon as they realized their CO and XO were on deck. When the little black-shoes didn’t flinch a muscle, he took action.

"OFFICER ON DECK!" he shouted loudly, standing at attention as he turned to face the approaching Captain. Tucker's eyes widened at the bellowing voice and he suddenly appeared twice as awake.

Jeffries looked over the rim of his mug, hiding the smirk on his lips as he surveyed a rigid line of officers looking like white-faced cadets on the second morning of survival training, circa 0400 hours. The Captain chuckled lightly to himself when he caught the friendly wink of the aged Chief Petty Officer.

"At ease," Jeffries ordered. The officers barely managed the courage to comply as several glances went the Chief's way as if for permission. Only when he relaxed did many follow suit.

"I am Captain Jeffries, I'll be commanding this facility. I'm not into big speeches so I'll just say this. Each of you has been hand-picked from the best and that's what I expect," his voice rose as his face became sterner at the last moment. His expression remained critical to impress upon them the sincerity of that point. He glanced at Tucker beside him who looked on with bemusement and then turned back to the officers with a lighter expression.

"Commander Charles Tucker is your new Chief Engineer. Section heads will report directly to him. Commander, I'll give it over to you." He stepped back, holding a hand out towards to the crowd. Tucker went white for a few seconds before getting his bearings.

"Charles Tucker," he nodded, stammering for a moment. A few unsure glances were exchanged between the officers. He noticed a familiar face and a smile broke out as Gus looked on proudly. The feeling gave Trip a rush of confidence at the right moment and he stepped forward.

"I'm Commander Charles Tucker, I'll be leading the Operations Floor. Like the Cap'n said," he gestured back at Jeffries. "Each one of you was picked for this assignment because you're the best of the best. And I'll be damned if that's not what I expect from each and every one of you." He looked on a bit more seriously.

"I also expect to see a Warp Six engine come out these doors." He gestured to the far side, towards a wide set of heavy double doors near the far end of the machine-floor. At nearly twenty meters wide, they were clearly intended for just such an occasion.

"And I expect to see most of you standin' next to it," he grinned. A handful of anxious smiles were exchanged as the officers warmed up to Tucker.

"A'right, now," Tucker got down to business. "This here's Chief Walters. He'll be in charge of the machine floor. If you need a part, you see Gus. If Gus tells you somethin’ to do, you do it. He’s the best damn machinist in Starfleet," he winked at the old man. "Each one of you will have a crew workin' under ya'. Now you hold staff meetin's or whatever as you see fit, but I want a progress report every week on my desk by 0900, Friday morning. Duty rosters will be posted on my office door, back there," he pointed towards the far end of the building, opposite the machine shop.

"I think that about wraps it-"

"Captain Matthew Jeffries?" an icy voice asked passively from behind. Tucker turned an irritated glance on the petite, young looking Vulcan woman making her way towards them. He quickly noticed Admiral Forrest tailing her and suddenly felt his stomach fall. The sight of a Starfleet Admiral hastily catching up to the innocuous-looking Vulcan woman did not bode well. She reached them before Forrest could catch up and soften the blow.

"I am Sub-Commander T'Pol, the Vulcan liaison officer from the Vulcan Science Directorate assigned to oversee this project."

"Oversee?" Tucker asked with indignation as he turned to face her, forgetting the audience behind them. Luckily, Gus did not, and foresaw the oncoming storm. He roughly cleared his throat to interrupt the engagement before it came to blows. Jeffries turned his attention on the group and nodded his gratitude to the aging non-com.

"You're dismissed," he commanded to the group rather forcefully. He turned back to find Tucker and the Vulcan science officer already in the thick of an argument.

"I can't believe they sent a watchdog!" he snapped as Jeffries entered the conversation.

"Admiral?" Jeffries asked. Forrest sighed. "The Vulcan High Command has decided they want an... An objective observer of our operations. For that they have sent Sub-Commander T'Pol to assist the new warp project," he nodded towards the bowl-cutted, brown haired Vulcan looking sternly at Commander Tucker.

"This is absurd, I mean you would think after one hundred-"

"Commander Tucker..." Forrest warned him discretely as a few heads turned to spy the raised voices nearby. Tucker's hands ground on his hips as he chewed his lip and forced his mouth shut, as difficult as it was. T'Pol lifted an eyebrow in surprise.

"Indeed. Control yourself, Commander. There is no need to become emotional," T'Pol reminded him, squinting her eyes at him. He couldn't believe this little... He raised a finger and began to shout, "I am!" his face got redder as he suppressed the rage building inside.

"...Not becoming emotional," Tucker finished with a lower voice.

"Perhaps we should go to my office to discuss the details of this arrangement further," Forrest suggested, hoping to move this powder keg to a less public venue. Tucker nodded and followed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Forrest's Office

After two hours of debate, the three human officers and the Vulcan scientist came to agreeable terms. Or such was the way Forrest ordered Tucker to see it, anyway.

Such an amicable conclusion would most likely not have been possible were it not for the fact that Forrest had to answer to Starfleet Command and Starfleet Command had to answer to the Diplomatic Corps. If Sub-Commander T’Pol walked out of his office without an agreement on how to handle her involvement in the project, it was likely to turn into a diplomatic dispute. So, naturally, Forrest acted at times on behalf of a more equitable position when it came to her authority. Captain Jeffries was not all smiles but was certainly more amenable to rational discussion, T'Pol thought, than Commander Tucker. In fact, 'rational' was not a word T'Pol had come to associate with Commander Charles Tucker at all.

After fighting tooth-and-nail, Tucker finally agreed to allow T'Pol a certain amount of authority in the project. Her rank was roughly equivalent to his; therefore she would preside over staff briefings with equivalent authority. They would share a number of administrative duties, to be determined at a later date.

What a joy that’s going to be, Tucker thought.

Tucker fought to preserve his status as senior officer on the floor, insisting that two mouths giving orders was a recipe for trouble. Admiral Forrest was forced to concede the point, and even T'Pol nodded in silent agreement. She was surprised and even a little disconcerted that this human was capable of any logic whatsoever... or anything save emotional outbursts, for that matter. In all other capacities T'Pol would be only an observer and contribute her talents wherever they might be beneficial. Since her training and education lay in particle physics with some background in subspace field theory, she would often be working side-by-side with Commander Tucker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Tucker made his way up to his apartment, he loosened his collar and took a cleansing breath of warm California air. It blew across his skin, rushing down his shirt and cooling the tired engineer's body as he groaned. He looked up to find a swirl of purple clouds stained with orange and yellow as the sun set across the horizon and the evening crept in. He marched up the final few steps and started digging into his pockets for his key-card. He swiped the card and the electronic lock hissed as he entered the barren apartment, still unfurnished, since he had only moved in a few days earlier. He took a look around and realized it needed a woman's touch. With a pang of lovesick heartache, he recalled how long it had been since he had seen Natalie. His girlfriend of six months was always away on business.

As a sales and marketing representative for a large company she was required to travel often. And even more-so for a young woman, aspiring to climb the career-ladder in a face paced world. It had been... three, perhaps four weeks since he had seen her, Tucker thought. As he threw off his shoes, he summoned the image of those beautiful brown eyes, but he couldn’t remember them. That certainly felt odd, and instead of the recollection of Natalie’s face, he could not pull from his mind the dark, mysterious eyes of the new Vulcan officer. He wandered through the apartment to the shower, curiously probing the interest held in her memory. There was something sensual about her in the most subtle of ways, he thought. He threw off his shop-stained overalls and pulled the pleated black undershirt from his chest. He had always hated the way Vulcans looked at him. It was like they were permanently withholding something. As if they were concealing something and they quietly enjoyed watching you squirm so they could condemn your emotions from their ivory tower. T'Pol didn't look at him that way exactly, but the holier-than-thou attitude was certainly still there.

No, there was definitely something being hidden there but in T’Pol’s case, he wondered if it could possibly be that abhorred word the Vulcans so desperately worked to conquer: Emotion. Maybe she has it, he thought. Hell, maybe they all do, he laughed aloud at the thought.

The Sub-Commander had really gotten riled up when he told her to 'stuff it in her pretty green ears', and Forrest hadn't liked that much either, he chuckled. Still, he couldn't stand her either way, even if she was hot.

Did he just think that? He moved into the shower and slid the knob all the way over. The water came rushing out and shocked him for a few moments as the hot stream trickled down his body. Just when he thought he couldn't take another one of her snide comments, he would look at her. What he saw there unsettled him. He was attracted to her.

A VULCAN!

She came across as just about anything but feminine most of the time, he thought.

Well, except those eyes.

She was certainly nothing like Natalie. But then again he hardly knew her. Wait, why was he comparing this bitter old Vulcan to Natalie?

She certainly has the "assets" of a woman. But she was frigid as a glacier, he decided. He finished his shower and flopped down on the bed to sort through the trade journals before bed. The next morning he would have to find a way to explain to his crew the addition of a new Vulcan officer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cochrane Research Facility


Tucker strolled through the huge metallic doors, as they swung shut behind him. The sound of four-centimeter thick hermetically sealed monotanium plating made a loud clang and Tucker winced in shock as he looked behind him when they crashed shut. He made a mental note to not to let the door swing back - or install some kind of dampener to the door spring. The old fashioned-swing doors were common in the new facility and contrasted the otherwise state-of-the-art facilities. Manual doors were critical for a facility with such dangerous research going on, as safety designers certainly did not want to run the risk of exposing the entire facility and possibly a highly populated area to intense radiation during a reactor malfunction if electronically controlled doors failed during an accident.

He pounded the pavement right past a row of engineers, nodded to a few of his fresh-faced new officers like Ensign Ibanez, who flushed as he smiled and passed. She turned and received an encouraging smile and nod from the attractive young officer at the adjacent console, her best friend Anastasia Krycek. It was still a quarter before the hour and Tucker chuckled as he imagined how the "early-birds" would likely diminish once their first-day jitters wore off in the next few weeks. Then he caught sight of a surprising face, a brown hair line and rigid eyebrows seemed to accent the elegantly frame of quite petite stature. He passed a plasma blow-off regulator and she came into view. Sub-Commander T'Pol punched mechanically at a standard issue data pad and looked up occasionally at a data console. Tucker's eyes narrowed suspiciously. As he noticed crewmen bustling back and forth around her and her behavior hardly covert, he chewed his lip in a bit of guilt. He continued on to Jeffries’ office.

After two knocks he moved into Matthew Jeffries' office and instantly made for the beverage dispenser opposite the door.

"Coffee, black. Double sweet," he commanded the machine. It whirred away dutifully. Jeffries looked over a report in one hand and sipped from a mug in the other.

"Startin' on that a bit early aren't ya?" Jeffries teased Trip as he leaned on the sill of his office window and peered through it, sipping his own coffee. Tucker laughed and nodded out the window at the Vulcan with the rigid bowl cut.

"She sure does, uh?" Tucker chuckled as he sipped his coffee, waiting curiously for Jeffries' reaction. He still hadn't gauged the Captain's response to the Vulcan officer's presence under his command. Jeffries' experience with the Vulcans wasn't the biggest secret around Starfleet circles. He was not particularly eager to take on a Vulcan officer; but even so, the captain was difficult to read when it came to the Sub-Commander.

He seemed curiously neutral in the argument with Forrest over the authority she would be given. He had been a close friend of Henry Archer's in his last days and watched his mentor waste away while his engine sat in mothballs.

"Hm?" Matt inquired inattentively. "Oh yes," he chuckled absently as he looked to Tucker, then to T'Pol across the machine floor, then back to his coffee.

"Makes me wonder what Henry Archer'd say if he saw a Vulcan ‘helping us’ with his engine," Tucker chanced. Matt's eyes snapped back at Tucker's and then softened for an instant, as he stood up straighter. His mind drifted into a collage of memory and Tucker's underlying insinuation about T'Pol was all but forgotten for several moments. He nodded quietly and inspected the brown liquid as it swirled about the cup. The coffee out of that mug was always a little bitter. Tucker looked more carefully and noted the aged-looking solid black metal container read "WARP 5 AT 5 - BOZEMAN - FOR ARCHER".

"You know, I never got a chance to work with him personally," Jeffries remarked, his voice husky and thoughtful. "He was already sick by the time I got my assignment... At least I got a chance to know him, growing up with Jon. But I never got a chance to work with him. And I never forgave him for that," he chuckled. "I read all his papers, studied all of his notes, his lectures. Picked his brain for hours when I was in junior high," Jeffries shook his head with half a smile.

"Well hell, Cap'n," Trip moved towards him. "That's still somethin’. Woulda’ been nice just ta'... purge a set a' plasma injectors next to the man, though, huh?" Tucker approached his friend with a smile, trying to lift his mood. Matt smiled back and looked back to the window again. His face became sterner as he sipped his coffee again and stared thoughtfully. Tucker followed his eyes to the Vulcan science officer and looked back at the man with a raised eyebrow, uncertain and even a bit disconcerted by what appeared to be a lasting gaze on the woman. The Vulcan, Trip corrected himself.

"You know, even Henry began to change in the end. Started to talk about accepting the Vulcans' guidance, going along with their rules. He even started going along with the delays, the redundant tests. I think he knew he wasn't going to see that engine fly before he was gone, so he just..." Matt stopped short as he trailed off and then looked back up. He cleared his throat and suddenly his Captain pips seemed to flash onto his chest as his professional demeanor returned.

"Everyone changes eventually. The Vulcans can't stop us now though, Archer saw to that. The Enterprise is floating out there as proof," Jeffries reminded Trip.

"Even we have to change, Trip," he reminded Tucker seriously. "We can't fight them forever, either. At least now we don't have to," he declared before taking another drought.

"Sir?" Tucker asked curiously.

"Between this facility, the Enterprise and the next three NX-class ships on the drawing boards, we're collecting a few chess pieces of our own," he chuckled back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cochrane Research Facility
Week 2


"Commander Tucker?" a voice called across the machine floor. It was Jeffries, standing in the door to his office, frowning as he inspected a data pad. He looked up to see Tucker bounding towards him with a brow full of sweat and a damp collar. Matt nodded as he panted up to the door and turned to enter his office. Tucker followed.

"How are the injector blowback valves coming?" Matthew asked.

"Real good, it’s an interesting design. Probably not the way I'd have built 'em. But they seem to get the job done," Tucker conceded as he straightened himself to attention dutifully in front of the man's desk. He made an expression of allowance and waved at the couch.

"Have a seat, Trip." Tucker fell into the seat rather heavily. The clock on the wall read almost the end of the day and he certainly felt the hours on his back. Jeffries grinned knowingly as Trip leaned back and suppressed the creak of many work-weary muscles.

"You always did like jumpin' into the cogs yourself," he laughed. Tucker smiled guiltily and nodded.

"It’s always hard the first week, then ya’ get used to it. It's in my blood," Tucker grinned as he sat back and stretched his arms out leisurely, taking the few minutes of cool air and the respite of the captain's office to relax. Jeffries nodded, aware of Tucker Jr's long and exemplary career as an engineering crewman, enlisted - not commissioned. Jeffries straightened up and his attention fell once again to the data pad.

"Keep in mind, that's their job now," he nodded for the window. "It’s good to jump in once in awhile, remind ‘em why you’re the boss. But don’t forget that you are, either,” he nodded.

“You're in command out there. It's a whole lot different than that little hangar operation we had goin'." Tucker's arms fell back into his lap and he sobered.

"Yes sir, I understand." Jeffries nodded confidently as he loosened up, satisfied that he had sufficiently ruffled Trip's feathers. Tucker waited curiously as Jeffries broached what he clearly held to be a sensitive matter as he fingered the edge of the data pad.

"We've had a bit of a problem," Jeffries informed him, lifting up the pad and then dropping it on the desk in front of Tucker. "Nothing serious, just a miscommunication. But I wanted to talk with you about it. Lt. DeSoto submitted a request for a test on the thermal regulators on Friday. I told him to follow the proper chain of command and submit the request to you at next week's staff briefing."

Tucker nodded. "That's the proper procedure, so what's the problem?" Tucker inquired with confusion. Jeffries leaned forward on a folded pair of hands against the desk.

"He argued. Insisted that if we didn't have to wait until next week, that we could get ahead of schedule," he nodded as he indicated the excuses continued. Tucker frowned.

"You want me to talk to him?"

"No, no, I've taken care of it," he sighed, waving a hand. "But the crew needs to understand that you're the XO, Trip. I need you to step up into a stronger disciplinary role. We've got a lot of young officers here. I know you picked some brainiacs and that's what we need. But some of them have discipline problems, I need them ironed out. To tell you the truth, I’m not used to dealing with the book-types,” he laughed.

“Of course the buck stops here, but they can relate to you easier. I need you to be there to remind them of where they’re at if there’s another problem. That's your job," he reminded him firmly.

"Absolutely, sir. I won't let you down," Tucker responded firmly. He squirmed a bit under the tension as his brows drew together. "If I may sir, does this have somethin' to do with the Vulcans watchin' us?" Jeffries sighed as he sat back in his chair. Tucker had served under Jeffries for nearly six years now and had never known him to be a stickler about regs.

"Yes and no. There have been complaints from some of the non-coms of disciplinary problems and normally that would be reason enough to crack down on it," Jeffries remarked decidedly. Tucker nodded firmly. Jeffries lowered his voice considerably as he continued.

"However... the 'oversight' of the Vulcan Consolate adds a degree of... urgency to it. I've known you a long time, Trip. You get along great with the crews. You're a brilliant engineer and getting dirty with the rest of 'em has always drawn the respect of the snipes," he commended. Tucker nodded, as he turned a bit pink.

"But I need you to be more iron-fisted than you're used to, I need you to be the boss. It's not always easy but it comes with the job. Can I still count on you, Trip?"

"No question, Cap'n," he assured him confidently.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Next Day


"Commander, may I speak with you?" a calm, monotone voice asked. It was bereft of femininity, so when Tucker turned, his gut reaction was definitely one associated with a very feminine presence. He was downright ashamed.

"What can I do ya' for?" he drawled with a Southern smile as he turned from a console to find the Sub-Commander.

“S-Sub-Commander,” Tucker amended with a stutter, clearing his throat. T’Pol raised an eyebrow and moved closer.

A dark brown head with curls peered from several consoles down the row from Commander Tucker's workstation. Carly Ibanez quickly returned her attention to the readout in front of her a moment lest her covert observation of Tucker's conversation with the Sub-Commander be discovered. The Sub-Commander blinked at the goofy smile adorning the human's animate face before presenting him very militaristically with a pad as if it were his court-martial.

"I believe assurances were made by Starfleet to the Vulcan High Command and the Science Directorate that all risks to equipment and personnel would be assessed and mitigated before any potentially dangerous tests were to be conducted."

Tucekr instantly assumed a defensive posture as he took the pad from her. His eyes narrowed as his hands went to his hips, instinctively stepping towards the Vulcan before even reading the pad.

"And they WILL, what an' the hell are you talkin’ about? There are no tests scheduled today!" he snapped back at her. T'Pol's lips became firm and precise as she annunciated each word with careful control.

"Is this not your authorization signature on a release order to conduct a live pressure test on the thermal regulators?" T'Pol asked incredulously while keeping her tone even and calm, unlike the Commander's. Before he could respond she went on.

"Since I am the only Vulcan liaison officer present and the authorization requires a Vulcan officer's approval, I am quite sure there has been no such authorization granted."

"Yeah, someone's bright idea that was," Tucker muttered. T'Pol averted her eyes from the human to relieve the growing irritation, hoping that she may rein it once again under control.

"The reactor chamber being used to power your test coils is of a Vulcan design," she reminded him. "I am quite sure that without our assistance you would destroy yourselves simply attempting to 'turn it on'," she declared almost under her breath.

She expectantly met the blue eyes that seemed to somehow burn, although their color was of a cooling ocean. She knew he would turn them on her and she met the challenge eagerly, a part of her wishing to goad the volatile human until he had proven her superiority by losing his temper. When he unexpectedly closed the distance between them she felt her own response begin to raise to a frightfully powerful intensity.

"Trust me, darlin. We can take care of ourselves," he seethed indignantly.

An illogical urge sprang up for naught but an instant as his lips curved into an indignant smile and her eyes instinctively found their way onto his mouth. She wavered, her eyes flitting away from his, and her cheeks beat a little warmer than usual. He turned away, bidding down the blood rushing to his own face as he hid the rosy tinges on his own cheeks.

"Anyway, this isn't my signature!" he insisted after he pulled the pad up to his face. He turned it the right way around, having it backwards initially and glared back at the Vulcan who waited patiently.

"This isn’t my name!" he declared after inspecting it closer. He turned it around for her to see a wildly scripted signature of completely illegible origin.

"What, don't they teach you to read on Vulcan?" he hissed back. Her cheeks turned a few shades greener.

"Human script is illegible, it appeared to be your-"

"Well it's not!" Tucker interrupted, grabbing the pad back from her to inspect it again. He knew the mistake was an innocent one and pursed his lips guiltily for shouting at her. He couldn't remember how many times the pad had changed hands at this point, nor did he recognize the motivation for snatching it from her. With a frustrated frown he inspected it closely, narrowing his eyes.

"Do they not teach Humans to read on Earth?" T'Pol asked as he squinted at the writing. Tucker snapped up. "I thought Vulcans didn't throw insults? Somethin' about bein’ emotional?" There were several officers closer to the engagement than their duties required, as they nudged closer to get front row seats. That was not all together difficult as Tucker's voice continued to rise.

"It was not an insult, but merely a question. Are you able to decipher the signature or not? Clearly, an officer gave their authorization to perform the test." T'Pol insisted neutrally.

“Not under my authority,” Tucker assured her as his jaw tightened. He examined the shortened last name, longer title and what appeared to read “Lieutenant”.

"I think it says, 'DeSoto'," he mumbled, but T'Pol's acute hearing allowed her to hear him. Tucker glanced around the engineering bay and spotted his target. His cheeks warmed slightly as he grew a bit nervous and approached him.

"Lieutenant, talk you a minute," he called across the bay. He left T'Pol alone at the console and as he did, two female officers and a crewman came into view, as did their prying eyes which had been previously hidden by Commander Tucker's back. T'Pol paused a moment to query their gaze and instantly each one's head turned back to its station. Ibanez, in particular, turned bright red with terror as she stared at her console, hoping the Vulcan would stop staring at her.

T’Pol raised a curious eyebrow with an icy frown and followed the Commander, uninvited. As she approached, he was already questioning the lieutenant. She came to Tucker's side as he was lecturing the officer who wore a hesitantly smug reception to the Commander's reprimand. DeSoto glared at the Vulcan as she approached and then back at the Commander. Tucker followed the obviously unpleasant sneer on DeSoto's face as T'Pol walked up. He squinted curiously. He didn't like T'Pol but he had a reason to, she had just bitten his head off for no reason. DeSoto clearly had a problem with T'Pol, though, and as far as Tucker knew, the two had never even said a single word to one another. She gathered from Tucker's aggravated tone (though the man would seem to be always aggravated) that this was not the first infraction committed by this subordinate.

"Only command-override officers can sign off on Security & Safety Assessment forms, and it requires the Sub-Commander's John Hancock as well, ok?" T'Pol squinted and looked to Tucker curiously who was still fixed on DeSoto. DeSoto glanced at the Sub-Commander and then back at Tucker.

“Just check with me next time,” Tucker acceded, lowering his voice and turning away to bury this matter under the carpet before the Sub-Commander got involved.

"But, sir, I did all of the necessary pre-run checks on thermal sensors, valve coolants. And the thermal chamber isn't even initialized in a pressure test. There's no plasma ventilation, no--"

"Lieutenant, that is irrelevant. It is not y--" the Sub-Commander began to recriminate the man but Tucker's hand flew up a few centimeters from her face. "I'll handle this Sub-Commander," he informed her firmly as he bit back the venom to go on, reminding himself of the proximity of several crewmen.

I tried, he reasoned to himself, but the guy just didn’t know when to shut his mouth.

"Listen Lieutenant, you don't like my rules, you take it up with--"

"Do you have a problem following orders, Lieutenant? I think my executive officer made himself quite clear," a voice interrupted Tucker.

The three turned to find that the level, but raised voice belonged to Captain Jeffries who calmly strode towards the altercation. The look on his face was irritated, bordering on “Mount Saint Helens” but the calmness of his demeanor was all the more intimidating. The flooring near the engineering consoles was lined with catwalk grating for access to the maintenance level. As Jeffries approached, the shoddy iron plated rattled noisily against the silence of the engineering floor.

Bobby grew red in the face as he steamed inwardly and closed his eyes a few moments to gather himself. T'Pol watched with guarded curiosity as she observed this, most typically human display of barely-controlled tempers, expecting at any moment for the humans to start brawling. It was a typical human response to a simple misunderstanding of command authority, she thought. At the same time she curiously contemplated who might emerge the victor if Commander Tucker and Lieutenant DeSoto did engage in single combat... Irrelevant, she reminded herself. Violence is illogical. Its outcome is irrelevant.

"If you have a problem with the way my executive officer handles discipline, Lieutenant, I suggest you take it up with your commanding officer,” Jeffries remarked calmly.

"And who would that be, sir?" the Lieutenant asked bravely and indignantly, his gaze moving purposefully from his Captain in a direct line to the Vulcan officer. T’Pol cocked her head and shifted on her feet, a monstrous instinctual response from a Vulcan. Jeffries let out an exhaustively long breath as he controlled the anger welling up in his chest. He moved towards DeSoto and Tucker moved out of the way instinctively as if a freight train were approaching.

"Be careful, Lieutenant." Captain Jeffries seethed. DeSoto shrunk and moved away as he crossed the engineering platform to complete other tasks, turning red in the face.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


There was a knock at Tucker's half-opened office door. It was after five and most of the crews had gone home while the second-shifters trickled in to run shutdown operations before the facility would be closed late in the evening. Before he could deposit the technical manuals and data pads from his lap to stand, a figure moved into the doorway and entered.

"Gus!" Trip called, shifting as he flopped the pile of pads carelessly onto the desk out of his lap. Gus laughed and strolled in, taking a seat opposite the engineer after slapping him on the back.

"Looks like fun! Permission to sit, sir?" he asked with a light smile, after sitting. "Ah hell, Gus, don't even call me that," Tucker laughed embarrassingly. "My dad was callin’ you that before I was born!"

Gus crossed his arms and laughed, running a hand through his gray hair thoughtfully as he relaxed into the chair.

"So why didn't you tell me you were gonna' be here too when I told you about Jeffries' offer?" Tucker inquired.

"'Cause, boy! I wanted you to decide for yourself. Had two damn good offers in front 'a ya," he groaned. "B'sides. I wasn't 'bout to make it easy on ya'," he cackled with a broad smile, breaking the lines of age as his eyes sparkled with vibrant color much the same as Tucker's. Trip leaned back in his chair, lifting his feet to rest on the desktop.

"Careful, son. Boss might come in," Gus joked. "Oh wait that's right. You ARE the boss!" he needled Tucker who chuckled and allowed himself to lean back.

"So, how you takin' to it?" Gus asked. Trip ran a hand around his mouth and as he yawned and took stock of the pads littering his desk.

"I love the engine. Love the specs, I mean I have to admit some of the designs on the reactor chamber the Vulcans came up with are--"

"Efficient," T'Pol remarked as she appeared in the doorway. She beheld the two men curiously for a moment as Tucker did a double-take and snapped out of his reclined position. The chair's wheeled base rocked back and forth, nearly toppling him as he sheepishly rose to his feet.

"Sub-Commander," he regarded her as she stepped inside, turning to eye the Chief who hadn't flinched since she entered, still reclining on the couch. "Chief Petty Officer Walters, Commander Tucker," she greeted them as she moved forward slowly. She offered the Commander a data pad.

"My weekly report, Commander." He took the pad as she awkwardly steeled her posture with hands folded behind her back. She glanced in the direction of the Chief and found him watching her. He looked away to Commander Tucker who had turned his back to T'Pol.

"If I may ask, what part of the design do you find most intriguing, Commander?" T'Pol asked softly from behind him. He turned defensively to snap back at her, and then realized she had not phrased the question insultingly nor was there any sarcasm in her tone. That was new.

He hummed to himself and tapped the pad against his palm as he searched for his words in the floor. Gus observed carefully while "looking" only at various neutral locations about the office.

"Well," he tongued his cheek thoughtfully. The Sub-Commander studied him curiously as he paced in the small space. "These plasma injectors are much more powerful than anything Starfleet's got, but it's the power matrix that really..." he trailed off, thumbing through another pad on the desk.

"That really allows you ta' dump a lot of energy into the field coils. Particle density in the flow-field is... impressive," he remarked, raising his eyebrows as he turned away from the pad displaying the information to which he referred. He turned his eyes on her and she attempted to blink through the uncertainty of how to respond to a human compliment.

T'Pol nodded graciously as she searched for the proper response. "Thank you," she replied uneasily. That voice was different than he had ever heard it, softer than he imagined it could sound.

She was unsure of the appropriate times for humans to express gratitude, but this appeared, she thought, to be an appropriate moment. It was the first encounter with the Commander that had not eroded her control to the point of raising her voice and she was unsure how to react. Somehow, she was more unsettled by the pleasantness of the exchange than by the heated arguments prior. He turned to face her once more, drawing her from the reverie.

"I have to say I'd really like ta' get a good look at your warp coils, though," he baited her. She shifted under his intensely blue eyes and tilted her head uncertainly. Summoning an immaculately impassive Vulcan expression, she was soon relieved of any inappropriately confusing feelings. "That technology is classified," she informed him rhetorically. He nodded with a bit of disappointment and straightened himself formally. She searched for a moment of something else for which to remain further.

"If there's nothing else..." she began to ask, almost a hint of hesitation present. Again, she was confused and discomforted that departing his company seemed unpleasant but she swiftly suppressed the fleeting and the illogical impulse to stay.

"No, no--" he interrupted her abruptly. "You're free to..." he trailed off, waving a hand. When he looked up, she had turned and departed mechanically. Tucker turned and collapsed back into his chair. Only a few moments of silence later was his attention drawn back to the Chief who had apparently been watching him from his seat.

"What?" Tucker gaped. The Chief could not help his lips turn into a boyish grin as he sat back.

" 'Get a look at your warp coils eh'?" he teased as he erupted with laughter. Tucker bowled over in his chair and turned red in the face as he squirmed uneasily. "You dirty old man! You're talkin' about..." he started with a raised voice. He stopped, turned and leaned forward to shut the door cautiously.

"You're talkin' about a Vulcan!"

"Ah' com'on boy! Vulcan or no, you gotta' admit she's got one--"

"No, no! Just stop!" Tucker begged, throwing a hand up incredulously at the old man who had gurgled from speech to laughter in one incomprehensible slur.

"Hell, if you aren't interested maybe uh..." the Chief began as he stroked his chin, stubbled with grayish white hair. He curiously watched Tucker as he looked down but held his eyes up. "Little young for you, don't cha' think?" Tucker teased him playfully.

"Actually," the Chief responded seriously. "You don't know Vulcans too well, do ya' son? She's prob'ly closer to ma' age than yours!" he laughed raucously as Tucker choked back his laughter and fell back into his chair with a hand across his forehead in disbelief.

"You're nuts, old man."

Oh we'll see, Gus thought, prophetically.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Notes: Episode 02 was going to come on top of this but I decided to opt for getting it out sooner. From the original release I changed ‘Jefferies’ to ‘Jeffries’ because the latter is a bit less cumbersome and Word doesn’t freak out on it. I also discovered that in canon the man’s name was Matthew, because he was actually named after a man who became a close friend of Gene Roddenbury’s and really did design the NCC-1701 for the original series. And “black shoes” is a derogatory Naval term for junior officers, often used by seasoned enlistedmen. And ‘snipes’ is a term used for engineering crewmen in the Navy.


Comments:

shanjeniah

I enjoyed this tremendously. So many hints of things to come...so much tension. I'm later than most getting here, but glad I eventually arrived. =)

Starwatcher

I can't remember if I've reviewed some of this series but if I haven't then I probably owe you a thousand apologies. And to make up for it? I've going to review EVERY. SINGLE. PART. OF. THIS. SERIES. I need to get back into my ENT fic (if i don't, it might be grounds for Elessar to divorce me before we're even married, LOL) and I figured, "What better way to segue back into a show and fandom that I love (and the fandom that bought me a wonderful man) than with a series that I have read before and thoroughly enjoyed!?" So, I'm going to boldly go into the realm of reviewing every chapter!

But seriously honey, I loved this. My dad and I have started revisiting ENT right from the beginning and I just can't wait to read this. I think you had everything right here: their frosty interactions, her aloofness, his antagonism - even the other crew's reticence about following her orders was spot on! Can't wait to read this and see how far our couple go on their journey through to the end of S4!

 

Aquarius

This was a great scene, Alelou.  I love that little epiphany that Trip has there, like he's got a new toy now that he knows he can push her tuttons.  ;)  Because face it:  the button-pushing is what got us all hooked in the first place.  Love this!

Elessar

I love this!  I'm glad I finally got around to making the Missing Scene rounds, Ally.  I can't find one part of this that I would describe as anything but perfectly in-season-1 character for T'Pol.  My only thing is I think your Trip is more in control of himself than we saw him around T'Pol (mostly) in season 1.  Which is great, it allows some more interesting things to go on between them that last more than the 4 seconds it basically takes him to shoot his mouth off at her, lol.  But I thought Season 1 Trip really was a little more hostile and impulsive than yours, but that's ok, because I like him more, he gives T'Pol more to think about xD

KageOkamo-Kogo

XD funny, very well written and in character! I loved it!

Silverbullet

Wonder what T-Pol could or would have done had  Trip thrown her in the Brig and took command of Enterprise? 

BTW, Starfleet Command would have had an established chain of command issued before T-Pol came aboard.  Archer could not change that unless he contacted Starfleet and declared Trip imcompetient to be FO Then Starfeleet would have named the next highest ranking  Human  Starfleet Officer as  FO. Picky, I know but it has bugged Hell out of me for a long time.

Linda

Pissing off a Vulcan DOES sound like fun.  Kinda like making faces at a Buckingham Palace guard to get a reaction.   Hey, being "pissed off" is an emotional reaction, isn't it.  ;)

Ezinma88

I find myself looking forward to the rest of this series immensely. What a great start.

 

I know it's only a missing scene....but I wish it was longer. Surely a good sign?

Alelou

I'm just having a little fun and hoping you folks will too. :p  Thanks for the comments.  :)

Asso

You are attempting to restore a little of dignity for "Season One", aren't you?

anaM

:D This will certainly be fun!

justTripn

Yes, this argument is better than oggling. Something fresh and new. Very plausible missing scene. Nice addition. Thanks.

panyasan

Ahh... My daily dosis of TnT chocolate - again. :) Really the conversation and the arguments presented and Trip thinking that argumenting was better then goggling.

 

vlm

Hee-hee---this Could be fun!! :D

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