Barefoot

By Honeybee

Rating: G

Genres: challenge

Keywords: challenge

This story has been read by 752 people.
This story has been read 1035 times.


 

 

Barefoot:

 

Missing Scene in Strange New World 

 

 

Scene takes place after Archer leaves for the ship, leaving the rest of the team to set up camp. It is twilight. 

 

 

 

Subcommander T'Pol surveyed the campsite, which appeared to be adequately designed for safety and security. Although no large fauna had been detected by their scans, she couldn't be sure of the data's accuracy. Creatures could hide in caves, such as the ones they had detected nearby, or they could burrow underground and thus be outside the scanner's range. 

T'Pol did not require rest, nor was she hungry. Rather, she wished to find something constructive to do with the her time before the lack of light made further explorations impossible. 

She glanced at the data she had collected regarding the microscopic organisms in the soil, water and air. It was complete for a Phase 2 type survey. Phase 2 surveys were designed for these kinds of quick visits to a planet. Phase 3 surveys were more involved and included taking water and soil samples from a much wider array of sites. 

T'Pol decided that while she couldn't complete a Phase 3 survey, taking samples from a broader range of sites would enhance their research. She remembered a pleasant, clear-running creek they had seen on the way to the campsite. 

She looked around and saw that Commander Tucker was absent from the camp. Evidently, he had not returned from his walk. 

"Ensign Mayweather," she said "I'm going to collect a water sample from the nearby creek. I will be available via communicator." 

"Yes, ma'am," said Travis cheerfully. 

T'Pol sensed a palatable relief as she disappeared down the trail. No doubt the humans would enjoy her absence. 

 

****

 

Trip grinned as he watched the water rush over the rocks of the shallow creek. This planet wasn't quite muggy or mosquito-infested enough to remind him of his granddaddy's place in Mississippi, but there had been a creek on that property. He and his kid sister Lizzie used to wade in - chasing down fish and other critters. He couldn't wait to write her a letter about this place. If she were here, she'd be the first one to throw of her shoes and wade barefoot into the rushing water. 

"Well, Lizzie," said Trip, "I guess I'll have to go it alone this time." 

Trip took off his Starfleet issue boots and socks and rolled up the pants of his uniform. He whistled to himself as he waded in the cool water, allowing the smooth rocks on the bottom to massage his feet. Suddenly, he heard rustling and light footsteps. He turned around and saw T'Pol standing at her at-ease posture on the bank. He would have expected her to be wearing her usual pissy expression, but her face appeared serene. 

"G'd evening, Subcommander," he said. 

She nodded. 

"I am here to take further scans of the microorganisms and plant life in the creek," she said. 

"Don't let me stop you," he said. 

She approached the edge. 

"Why have you entered the water?" 

"Because it feels good on your bare feet to wade into a creek," he replied. 

He was about to make a snide remark about Vulcans never enjoying themselves, but then he remembered Vulcan was a desert planet, and so there likely were no creeks where she was from. 

"I hope my presence won't throw your data off," he said. 

"Our scanners can easily compensate for any contamination caused by your presence in the water," she said. 

He laughed at that and continued toward a boulder that jutted up in the center of the creek. He climbed up and sat down. 

"Care to join me? There looks to be some interesting mold and moss on this rock for you to study." 

As she looked down at the rushing water, something occurred to him.

"You can swim, right? I know Vulcan's a desert and all. . ." 

"I can swim, Commander," she said, "Although bodies of water are rare, all Vulcan children are taught to swim. It is an important survival skill." 

"Well, then what's stopping you?" 

He was really just teasing her, so Trip could not have been more surprised when T'Pol leaned down and unfastened her boots. She removed them and placed them neatly next to his, then rolled up her leggings. 

She stepped into the water, carefully making her way toward Trip. She appeared to be concentrating on each step, worried she might slip. 

"How's the water?" 

"Your feet remain in the water," she replied, "So you know how it is." 

"Yeah," he said, "but isn't it different for you? Must at least feel colder to you, given your Vulcan body temperature." 

She approached the boulder where Trip sat. 

"It is cool but not unpleasant." 

Trip scooted over to make room for her on the boulder, but she didn't move. She was shorter than him, so the climb up the rock was going to be awkward. Instinctively, Trip offered his hand, not expecting her to take it. She did, and he was able to pull her up next to him. While their hands joined, he sensed something fleeting - a sense of serenity. As soon as she let go, it slipped away. He shook off the feeling, still surprised that she had taken his hand. 

She took her position next to him, but she did not dip her feet into the water as he did. 

While seated, T'Pol began collecting the data she wanted, and Trip studied her features, wondering for the twentieth-or-so time what it must be like to go through life suppressing one's emotions. 

She spied a patch of green on the rock just below Trip's leg.

"Commander, would you mind taking a sample of that moss just there? I cannot safely reach it," she said, handing him her tricorder. 

He took it and did as she asked. 

"I used to play in a creek like this with my sister. We used to collect our own samples in jars and bring them back to show our mom. She's going to be tickled that I got to do the same thing on a far-off planet," he said, handing her back the device. 

"Thank you. This data will be most valuable," she replied. 

Trip figured that moss on one planet was probably much like moss on any other planet, but he took her at her word.

"So, you've been to 36 Minshara class planets? Which was your favorite? Aside from Vulcan." 

T'Pol looked over at him. He expected her to say something to the effect that Vulcans don't have favorites. 

"Earth," she replied simply. 

He examined her face. There was no expression or hint that she was kidding or being sarcastic. He believed her, but before he could question her further, she spoke. 

"We should return to the camp," she said, "The light is fading." 

In the shadows, she lowered herself off the rock and headed back to shore. He followed silently. He wanted to press her for her reasons, but he somehow knew it was best not to. He sensed that she had already told him more than a Vulcan should.

 


Comments:

Aquarius

OMG I thought I commented on this!  :s  Quiet and subtle seem to be the recurring theme here, and I agree.  Missing moment pieces are probably my favorite to read, and this one was lovely.  Thank you!

bluetiger

I liked this very much as I mentioned at the thread but I wanted to comment further. I very much feel that these two had an almost instant connection. The way you have Trip sensing something from T'Pol as he gave her his hand was nice. Distrust of Vulcans aside, Trip is a nice guy and I could really see this playing out. Very enjoyable story.

Linda

This is cute.  And I perk up at any mention of Trip's sister, LOL. I like that T'Pol's favorate planet is earth, nice touch.  But I find it hard to believe on a desert planet  that all Vulcan children are taught to swim, when on earth which is two-thirds water, not all human children are taught to swim. 

Honeybee

Thanks all! It's interesting to write Season 1 - since everything has to be low key! 

panyasan

Very nice. I got almost feel the water.

Reanok

I really liked this Missing Scene  story with Trip& T'Polo and Strange New world.

Dinah

What a lovely, quiet moment!  These two people are exploring more than just a strange, new world; they're slowly learning more about each other.  Very well done!

Transwarp

Very nice, in a quiet, subtle sort of way.

Asso

I think I can express my enjoyment in reading this piece with an only word: DELICIOUS! :p

WarpGirl

Ooooh you posted it! Well I still really love it a lot. I never post challenges so glad to see someone else has the guts to do it.

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