Tell me a Story

By Honeybee

Rating: PG-13

Genres: challenge missing scene

Keywords:

This story has been read by 662 people.
This story has been read 913 times.


Genre: September Word Challenge - Anniversary

Disclaimer: Paramount owns everything.

Author’s Note: Instead of writing Chapter 12 of Family Secrets, I wrote this missing scene in response to the September Word Challenge, Anniversary. It is a post ep to The Expanse, and it can also be viewed as a prequel scene to Family Secrets because this incident now MUST show up in that story eventually. I didn't want to do the "expected" kind of anniversary and I love Carbon Creek, so here you go.

Rating: PG-13 but only for alcohol consumption and mild swearing.





Since the encounter with the Klingons a week earlier, the ship’s corridors felt unnaturally silent. Footsteps seemed to echo, and even conversation appeared to be minimal. Everyone had expected, once they had entered the space known as the Expanse, that disaster would strike immediately.

Instead, something worse had happened. Nothing had happened.

Trip stared up at the ceiling of his quarters. He had spent all day in engineering making sure not a single conduit needed replacing and that the warp core was functioning optimally. His crew checked and double checked everything, and then he triple checked their work. Anything to keep from having to be where he was at the moment, alone in his quarters with nothing to think about but his sister and the seven million other people who no longer existed because some god damned race of unknown aliens.

Trip closed his eyes and imagined a different time, before the attack. That very existence felt dreamlike to him, as if it may not have been real. The rage and pain had so overtaken him, he couldn’t even picture what his life had been like just weeks ago. He wished to hell he could sleep, but the restlessness that was a byproduct of rage prevented that.

I never thought I’d envy the Vulcans their emotionless lives, he thought.

From there, his mind wandered to a particular Vulcan. He hadn’t discussed it with the Captain, but he knew it had been a huge friggin deal that T’Pol had stayed aboard the ship. Just the fact that she was no longer wearing her High Command uniform said as much.

What a difference two years makes.

His mind raced back to the previous year and the lively anniversary dinner Archer had thrown for T’Pol, when she had told the tall tale about her foremother making first contact in Pennsylvania. That had been a year ago . . .

Trip sat up and looked at the date. It had been exactly a year ago. To the day.

He sighed. No celebrations this year. No conversation. No wine. No. . .

No. No, that’s not how it should be.

He reached into the cabinet under his bed. There wasn’t much there, certainly no wine. But he did have a few bottles of Irish Ale he’d gotten when visiting his brother in Ireland. Luckily, this stuff is best served warm.

He walked over to his console and tapped a message for the newly-monikered Commander T’Pol. In it, he asked her to stop by his quarters if she was awake. Moments later, she texted back that she would arrive soon.

He pulled out two glasses and waited, hoping she wouldn’t get the wrong impression. It was just that somebody ought to remember her anniversary.

The door chime rang.

“C’mon in,” he said.

She entered, wearing the bright blue uniform. Some Starfleet bureaucrat had decided that while an alien was welcome to serve as an officer on a human ship, she shouldn’t wear a human style uniform. In lieu of her Vulcan uniform, T’Pol had taken to wearing a series of brightly colored Vulcan catsuits that had been part of her civilian wardrobe but had a definite official feel to them.

He examined her face, and her hair, which she had begun fixing differently. Somehow, since shedding her association with the High Command, she appeared - if it was possible - happier. Maybe it was just the hair. Or maybe it was the relief of no longer serving two masters that was showing in her face.

Never thought she’d choose us, thought Trip.

“Evening, Commander,” said Trip as he gestured to the bottles and glasses set up on his desk, “I hope you don’t think I’m being too presumptuous, but I noticed it was your anniversary. I think the captain’s a little preoccupied to celebrate, but I thought you’d wanna know that someone remembered that you’d been with us two years.”

T’Pol glanced at the chronometer.

“You are correct. It’s still the anniversary of my posting to Enterprise for another hour.”

“All I have is beer and water . . . if you want something else . . . we can head down to the mess hall . . .”

“No,” she said, “This will be adequate. What is it?”

“Beer. Irish Ale to be exact. A gift from my brother I’ve been savin’ for a special occasion,” said Trip as he poured less than half the bottle in her glass.

She sat down in one chair, and he in the other.

“Thank you,” she said, taking the glass.

She looked at him with an expression that he didn’t quite recognize. It was something other than her usual neutrality, but what it was he had no idea. Maybe she too was rattled by all the silence, in her Vulcan way. He had heard what had happened to the previous Vulcan ships that had entered this part of space.

He poured himself a more generous glass and held it aloft.

“Happy Anniversary. For what it’s worth, I’m real glad you’re still aboard. I hope you don’t come to regret staying with us.”

They clinked glasses. He gulped down about of third of his, while she took a tentative sip of hers.

“It’s bitter,” she said.

“That it is. It’s an acquired taste. You don’t have to finish it. . .”

“No,” she said, “I shall endeavor to acquire the taste. It’s quite complex and layered.”

They drank in silence for a few moments.

“It is late for a human to be still awake. Especially since I saw you in engineering at 0700 hours,” she said.

“I haven’t been able to sleep lately. I think if this continues I’ll probably got to Phlox for something. We can’t have a sleep-deprived chief engineer - not now.”

T’Pol said nothing.

“So, any more stories about your Vulcan ancestors you want to tell?”

T’Pol sipped her beer, still very slowly.

“Not this year. Perhaps you’d like to tell me a story,” she said.

Trip sighed. He was hardly in the frame of mind to tell her story, but he didn’t want her to leave yet because he couldn’t stand the idea of being alone with his thoughts. He also didn’t need Malcolm or some other well-meaning human trying to get him to talk about Elizabeth. T’Pol, who would never ask him about his feelings, was the perfect companion for his current mood. She also didn’t need nearly as much sleep as a human, so he figured it wouldn’t be rude to keep her up for another hour or so.

“All right,” he said, “let me tell you about an adventure one of my ancestor’s had a few hundred years ago . . .”

Soon, both of them had lost track of the hour. Trip, during those moments forgot about Elizabeth and forgot that he couldn't sleep. She seemed genuinely interested in his tale, nodding and raising an eyebrow  or commenting when appropriate. Finally, when the ale was gone and the story complete, she got up to leave.

“I do think that, despite his crimes, this Indian Joe’s punishment was quite gruesome.”

“Injun Joe,” corrected Trip, “The colloquial spelling is important, and it was a brutal time in Earth history.”

“I also think it was very coincidental that he and his companion stumbled upon the hidden gold,” said T’Pol.

“It was,” said Trip with a grin.

“You also never told me which of the two boys was your forefather,” said T’Pol.

“Guess,” said Trip.

T’Pol thought for a moment.

“It was undoubtedly Tom,” said T’Pol.

Their eyes met. He saw something there, in her eyes. The very subtle Vulcan sense of humor, if you could call it that.

“Happy Anniversary, Commander,” said Trip.

“Thank you, Commander,” replied T’Pol formally. She restrained herself from pointing out that it was no longer her anniversary, because humans were just imprecise that way.

As she headed for her quarters, she resolved to wait for just the right moment to tell him about the American literary text which was used in her advanced English-dialect class. Although, she thought carefully, it wasn’t at all implausible that the story was based on one of the Commander’s ancestors. Perhaps he had been telling the truth.


Comments:

Honeybee

Yes, Escriba, you are right. It is all Trip's POV until the last line, which switches to T'Pol's to the "twist" at the end - that she knows the story but is still slightly fooled. That's on purpose! 

Escriba

Lovely story. Very comforting, since Trip was dealing with big emotional issues at the time. It's good to know that he still had quite a positive frame of mind to remember something like T'Pol's anniversary.

Just a doubt I have. The POV is omniscient or Trip's POV? Because it looked like this one until the last part, when you write what was T'Pol thinking. So I'm a little confused.

But the story is wonderful anyway, so don't mind my last comment :D

Honeybee

Thanks everyone. Tom Sawyer was the first story I thought of, and I tried to think of others - thinking that maybe Trip would tell a darker story - then I said nah, he's not a big, deep literature guy (see Shuttlepod One) and he'd be looking for an escape. Plus it just fit. I also didn't want T'Pol to be completely certain at the end - because I like the idea of him fooling her just a little. 

Dinah

I like the observation about T'Pol serving two masters.  That's very perceptive.

"She entered, wearing the bright blue uniform. Some Starfleet bureaucrat had decided that while an alien was welcome to serve as an officer on a human ship, she shouldn’t wear a human style uniform."  This is very interesting.  I don't think I've seen this interpretation before -- that Starfleet didn't want her to wear the same uniform as the rest of the crew since she was an alien.  This puts a whole new spin on things.  Very good!

I think there is a little Tom Sawyer in Trip.  I bet T'Pol thinks so, too.  Lovely story! 

Distracted

I can see Trip as Tom Sawyer.  : )

WarpGirl

Said it before and I'll say it again... LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! And thanks for the education on the difference between ale and stout. I'll definitely have oppertunities to use it in other stories.

Asso

I have read that on FanfictionNet, but, somehow, it sounds right, it sounds better, that this delicious story is also here.

And what I said there, I repeat her: ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! Light. Full of delightful suggestions.:D

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