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Alpha Waves - Pt 3
“T’Pol,” said Trip sliding into the control seat, “Somebody must have forgotten to send you a memo? We aren’t being chased by bad guys anymore.”
“You followed me,” she said accusingly.
Trip sputtered, “I’m not a bad guy, T’Pol.” It hurt him deeply that she thought so little of him. “What was that rabbit from the travel agent about?”
T’Pol wasn’t the only one who could play offence, he thought as he took a corner much too quickly.
“Please pilot more sedately.” T’Pol put her hand on his arm. “Your recklessness will draw attention.”
“Honey,” the endearment slipped out, “You can’t save the Human race from extinction and not expect someone to take notice. If you’re looking for anonymity you chose a lousy way to go about it.”
They travelled in silence, the truth of his remark hanging between them. Trip’s hand on the joystick was relaxed. The runabout was manoeuvrable with a gutsy engine that enabled him to cruise the back alleys at alarming speeds. A thought struck T’Pol with clarity. The ride would be alarming for a passenger who had not flown by his side while enemies used them for target practice. A minute amount of tension seeped away.
“You have not told me how you came to be standing outside the agency.”
It took Trip a half a minute to answer as he negotiated a particularly congested transit alley.
“We’ll chat about what forces in the universe brought us together at that moment as soon as I’ve returned this rental.” He turned to look at her for a moment. “If you want anonymity, T’Pol, we’re going to have to go underground.”
“You could drop me off at the next transit exit and return to your hedonistic life as a hero.” She regretted the barb when he winced with pain.
“I reserve the right to disengage myself at any time from your…your…self-effacement.” Unexpectedly the runabout made a left hand turn into a gaping maw midway up a non-descript tower on Nob Hill. “But until I do, you’ve got yourself a sidekick, lady.”
The fourth wall of the tiny space was floor to ceiling window, with a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The efficiency kitchen, located behind a folding door on the wall opposite the window, reminded T’Pol of a motorized caravan she had seen in a museum display, tiny and compact. The entrance to the en suite facilities was next to the apartment exterior door, in an alcove formed by the recessed entrance way.
T’Pol pushed a button on the hand held control unit from the wall to the right of the window what Trip had called a Murphy bed had unfolded. She pressed the button and it disappeared into the wall once again. She pushed another button. Doors slid open next to the kitchen unit, revealing closet space that included a rack for hanging and a number of drawers for personal items. She pushed the last button on the unit. The wall to the left of the window slid apart, like Japanese screens to reveal a cluster of computer and communication units. A keyboard shelf the width of the wall extended into the room. Through the window the world was at her feet, the devices on the fourth wall put the world at her fingertips. She pulled a chair up to the keyboard and activated the system.
Farnsworth missed Trip by ten minutes. Counter staff had been supplementing their income with timely alerts to her when celebrities rented or returned a vehicle.
“Are you sure Commander Tucker was alone?”
The counter help frowned, “I said he was alone, didn’t I?”
“He wasn’t accompanied by a female?” Sheila continued to dig.
“Look lady, I read the Universal Enquirer. Tucker gets all the good-lookin’ babes. I would have noticed if he had one waitin’ for him.”
He stuck his hand out for the pay off, just as legitimate customers entered the shop. Farnsworth stuck some bills into his outstretched hand. Where had Tucker gone? And what had happened to that Vulcan? Sheila decided that she needed to call in some favours if she were going to get the scoop.
When Trip returned he carried a bag from a Chinese take-out place he favoured. The aroma awakened T’Pol who had fallen asleep at the keyboard.
“Find anythin’ interestin’?” asked her host as he sorted through the packages.
“You are rumoured to be engaged to the first daughter of the ruling house of the United Kingdom. Some ardent admirer has created a web site in your honour, on which can be found photos of you from your high school yearbook.” She swivelled around. “And the cost of a ticket to the moon has increased considerably since Enterprise began its mission.”
“Malcolm met the princess at one of the receptions for Enterprise. He didn’t mention marrying her, though he did say…” Trip changed the subject and passed her a pair of chop sticks. “The zits on my face had cleared up by my senior year. I hope the author of the site used the senior class picture.” He arranged the containers of food on a tray. “Are you and Jon planning a romantic getaway to the moon? Is that what all the secrecy is about?”
While he waited for her answer, Trip arranged a pair of pillows on the floor, placing the tray with food between them. Impulsively he offered her his hand to assist with the transition from chair to floor. She took it, instantly regretting the contact, which sent a surge of familiarity rampaging throughout her body. Trip blinked, but did not let go. Had he felt something too, she wondered?
After pressing the button to close the communication wall doors, he passed her a plate and bowl, “While you’re eatin’ tell me about your rendezvous with Jon.” The pain that accompanied the question drove his appetite away.
“You promised to tell me about this place,” she reminded him.
The pain in his gut increased. How dumb does she think you are asked that annoying inner voice who appeared only when he was having jealous thoughts about T’Pol.
“When my Charles Tucker – the first Charles Tucker – died he left me a tidy inheritance. By that time I was already a Lieutenant Commander in Starfleet, based here in San Francisco.” He spooned some rice into her bowl. “My dad, the second Charles Tucker, encouraged me to invest it, but by that time I knew I would be explorin’ space. Not much of a reason to invest in the future when your hundreds of light years from home for long stretches.” He filled his rice bowl. “So I made a list of things that I really wanted.” He passed a container of food to his guest. “When I was finished at the top of the list was a private place for me, where I could crash, watch movies, work if I wanted.” He helped himself to food from a second container. “It had to be close to Headquarters.” He waved his chopsticks. “I found this place. I bought it for cash in the name of a dummy corporation so that ownership couldn’t be traced to me. Then slowly, bit by bit, I brought in the pieces for that comm. unit behind the wall.” He picked up some rice with his chopsticks. “This was where I spent my last night on Earth before we began the Xindi mission.”
“We thought,” she began.
“I was with my family,” he finished. “That’s what I wanted everyone to think.”
“Why the moon T’Pol?”
They had disposed of the empty containers and washed the plates and bowls. They had returned to the cushions. Trip leaned with his right elbow on one. T’Pol sat cross-legged and stiff-spined on the other.
“And why the secrecy?”
Instead of answering those questions, she returned to a previous conversation. “Captain Archer and I are not involved in a romantic relationship.”
He was about to protest, when she continued, “You of all people should be certain of that.”
“Moi?” he said mockingly. “We haven’t been confidants for a long time, T’Pol. Why should I be certain that there is nothing between you and Jon?”
T’Pol was stunned. She had vowed to the Commander that she would take no other lover as long as he lived. Does he not believe that I would keep that vow, she wondered?
“Since you emerged from solitary confinement, the two of you have been inseparable. You have been at his side at every public function.” Trip felt jealousy rising. “He has touched you, in public, in a manner that could be interpreted as…as…ownership. Why wouldn’t I think he had succeeded where I had not?”
“Succeeded?” T’Pol was confused.
“A commitment T’Pol,” he fell back, his head resting on the pillow his arms spread wide. “You have made a commitment to Jon to be his life partner.” An idea struck him dumb momentarily. “You haven’t made the commitment. But that’s what the trip to the moon is about isn’t it? You and he are planning on some sparkin’ and courtin’.”
“I have not planned a rendezvous with the Captain. As you well know, I am not in a position to make such commitments.” Her green blood had turned by some form of emotional alchemy into an amalgam of hurt and bewilderment.
“Ah yes, that vow to your past…” Trip recalled.
And to you, she cried out wordlessly.
“I have canvassed every social connection he has made since returning.” Lt. Reed assured the Captain.
Archer winked, “That is a rather delicate way of describing his tomcatting.”
Malcolm had assisted the Chief Engineer on the frontlines, by distracting the excess admirers. When further assistance was called for Major Hayes had stepped in. Canvassing the women who had made the A list had been demanding. The women assumed that the Commander’s thorough attention to detail was a characteristic of all Enterprise crewmembers. They had welcomed his enquiries with an enthusiasm that he felt obliged to return.
“His conduct has only enhanced Enterprise’s reputation, sir.” Malcolm winked in return. “However, none of the ladies I questioned have had the pleasure of a return encounter, sir.”
Trip desperately wanted to believe T’Pol’s assurance that Jon was not the reason for her journey to the moon.
“Why do you want to go to the moon?”
T’Pol, out of habit, took in her hand his hand that had fallen nearest to her. She spread the fingers to expose the palm then began to apply pressure on the neural nodes as she had so many times before.
Her touch instantly soothed them both. Although they would not admit it to each other, the physical contact felt like they had connected with an external source of power that made them one with the universe.
End of Part 3
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Seven people have made comments
Finally it´s working!! (It was driving me nuts this morning, knowing there is another chapter and no possibility to read it!!!)
Aquila, thanks for this talk! Could there be some more? Please? I need every tender moment possible, after the end of Beta Waves...
Same here Vaux! I was wondering.... I love this chapter! Trip really doesn't realize how much she loves him... poor T'Pol... I know she must be going insane in wondering why the guy thinks she'd break a promise like that!
OMG, T'pol must be in so much pain, after making that vow and then having to witness Trip behaving like a playboy! She needs to shut up and kiss him!
Great chapter. Love the interaction between Trip and Tpol. Can't wait for more.
This is great. I'm so anxious to see what happens to our favorite duo.
I also find the paparazzi stalking Tucker to be an interesting, and very plausible, twist on the situation.
Great stuff. At some point TRip is going to have to fess up that he did not read the whole letter. Can't wait for the next chapter!
I sooooooooooooooooo want to see what happens here. I was somewhat pissed when I thought you'd just end it all with beta waves. I'm okay now. Thanks