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A | Author - Aquila | Genre - Humor | Genre - Romance | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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Trip stood at the console of the business end of the warp engine with his hands poised on the control. Unaware of the concerned looks from his subordinates, who had been watching him for five minutes he stared blankly, completely occupied by an interior dialogue with his alter egos.
His rational, scientific persona opened the debate with “Damnation!”
The emotional Trip interrupted the analysis with questions: “Do I have a neon sign on my forehead that welcomes assertive females to take advantage of me then throw me aside? What makes me so disposable? How can I be so naďve?”
The third Trip Tucker, the one that lurked in the shadows cast by his analytical and emotional alter egos let the emotional persona burble on, “I’d better count myself lucky that Amanda only stole a kiss and a slap on my ass. I might have found myself in sickbay battered, bruised and used. And T’Pol…damn it to hell…all I am to her is a lab rat.”
The third Trip took advantage of the pause to step out of the shadows. “You were a scratch for an itch she can’t name, pal.” He snorted in derision, “Son of a bitch! You got some, Tucker. It could be a long time before you get anymore. What are you complaining about? At least you survived the experiment with all your parts intact.” A mental image of his crown jewels floating in preservative on a shelf in sick bay caused a sharp intake of breath felt by other two.
“Jeez, what if I had said yes to Fleezal? Phlox might have gained some specimens for his exobiology collection. What is it about me and assertive women?” Emotional Trip regained control.
“Excuse me, Commander?”
The officer of the engineering watch tried again.
The Starfleet version of Trip suppressed his other selves with relief. The devilish Trip had been poised to make a contribution, which the Commander knew would set them all on the path to disaster.
The Commander sat with his back to the full house gathered in the dining hall for one of chef’s most popular menus: lamb souvlaki with Greek salad and tsatziki. In the middle of each table were bowls of olives, pita bread and hummus. Trip absently popped an olive into his mouth before ripping his bread and dipping it into the chickpea spread. Malcolm, his supper companion, prattled reassuringly about Cochrane-only-knew what. Trip had tuned him out as soon as his pal used his favourite five-letter word, Hayes.
Malcolm who not oblivious to Trip’s inattention used his prattling to cover his recce of the room. Ever since the pair had taken their seats, Malcolm felt they were being watched. Paranoia was a constant companion, but this felt different. Ah, ha…Amanda Cole dropped her eyes when his scan passed over her face. Two tables back and to the left sat T’Pol. She hid her reaction more skilfully than Cole, but not successfully. Malcolm had spent many, many obsessive hours on the Bridge watching his First Officer. He did not miss the significance of that shift in her seat.
With his hand Malcolm stopped the Chief Engineer’s attempt to scoop more hummus with a piece of pita.
“I’m sorry?” Trip shook his head. “Have I been hogging the goodies?”
“Just the limelight,” was too cryptic for the Chief Engineer.
“Amanda and T’Pol have been,” Malcolm searched for just the right word, “glaring… at the back of your head for the past ten minutes.”
When Trip said nothing, Malcolm probed, “What have you done?”
“Why do you assume that I did something?” Trip accused. “Have you considered the possibility that I might be the victim?”
Malcolm erupted with laughter, a reaction so uncharacteristic that the room fell silent in shock. Trip felt the colour creep up his neck into his face as the silence lengthened and Malcolm rocked back and forth with mirth.
Clinging desperately to his dignity, the Chief excused himself. Fifty pairs of eyes followed him as he crossed the hall to the exit. T’Pol followed his retreat with a raised eyebrow. Amanda Cole threw darts with her eyes that in her imagination landed unerringly in a row along his spine.
“Admit it. You are attracted to assertive woman!” The devilish Trip’s goading was accompanied by the memory of a princess with whom he dallied willingly. Then the devil reminded him “That’s how you became pregnant.”
Emotional Trip denied the claim. “Did I go looking for any of the attention?”
Pragmatic Trip observed for the trio, “You didn’t reject their advances!”
The truth stung.
Trip with an engineering ensign at his side hand-tightened the last wing nut that secured an access panel in place.
“Good job, Manuella.” The ensign beamed at the praise.
Inspecting Manuella’s repairs was the last task on his to-do list. Tucker sighed. He had no more distractions. He headed to his quarters as his internal battle resumed. Half way there he clasped his hands over his ears and shook his head.
“Are you ill, Commander?”
Trip froze in mind stride. The battling threesome evaporated. He was alone and defenceless in the presence of T’Pol. Carefully he turned to face her, wrapping a cloak of indifference around himself that shredded into tatters as soon as he saw her.
She wore the same robe that she had worn the night that she had seduced him. The late night lighting in the hall echoed the indirect lighting of the candles that had illuminated their tryst. Her skinned glowed where light washed across it as it had that night. She shifted her weight slightly from one foot to the other, causing her bosoms to sway slightly, confirming that she wore no restraining garments underneath.
“You missed your neuropressure session.” The weight of her finger that trailed along the neckline of her robe caused it to gape, discreetly exposing the swells of her breast. “I was concerned, because you atypically failed to cancel the appointment.”
Trip swallowed hard. “It slipped my mind. I was busy supervising repairs…” The sentence faded away to nothing as T’Pol closed the gap between them.
“As your quarters are closer than mine,” she whispered, “And you appear to be fatigued. Perhaps we should conduct a short relaxation session there?”
“Just say no,” commanded his pragmatic self. “Go for it,” said the devilish Trip jumping with glee. His emotional self cried out in exasperation, “You are letting her walk all over you again!” He was immobile with indecision.
She took charge, slipping her arm through his, turning him gently in the direction of his cabin. Her heat enveloped him. The voices inside his head were silenced when the insubstantial pressure she applied to propel him forward proved irresistible.
Trip put his mouth close to her ear as they strolled. “Did I mention how much I like assertive woman?”
“It was a conclusion I drew from our…experimentation.”
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Nine of you have made comments
Fantastic! I loved the way you dialogued the inner conflicts and emotions Trip was having. Thank you for this well written piece.
Very nice little fic. I would love to see Amanda be more aggressive in pursuing Trip and how Trip would react to an advance from Amanda. If he and T'Pol are not officially going out... then there is nothing wrong, i theory for Trip to 'experiment' with Mrs. Cole....Right?
Hoo-boy; liked this one large. Now that you've spelled it out, it would appear our dear man has a definite yen for 'Xena' type babes. Great!
Oh this was super! Absolutely super. I too am rocking with uncontrollable mirth! Lovely Lovely.
Ohhhh Sue's comment about Xena... hmmm me thinks Sue should write us a dream sequence for Trip and T'Pol where she plays Xena and he is restrained, err I mean rescued by her. Wait is Captain Average out there? I mean one good writing super hero should write about another fantastical super hero having her way with our stud muffin engineer.
Lordy this story was just what I needed with lunch after a very intense work morning!
From the line of darts in his spine (of course they'd be perfectly on target from a weapons person) to the robe in the hall your details drew a fabulous rich story for us.
Thanks so much for writing and sharing this fun look inside Trip's mind -- a wonderful place to visit.
He certainly does like assertive women! Every woman he's ever shown interest in has been that way... I like this very much. This was cute, funny and interesting all at once. And I'm always happy to see another story written by you! Thank you very much!
Very good! Trip and T'Pol are always a delicious confection and you keep feeding my sweet tooth - don't stop now. Loved it, thanks. Ali D :~)
I enjoyed reading this story very much, it is genuinely funny and insightful. I think you have captured Trip's thoughts very well. I loved the idea of using a split-personality to show the different sides of his feelings about what happened. I think Trip really has all these three sides in him, it felt very in-character to me. Also, how could I not love a story in which T'Pol says "your quarters are closer than mine" and drags him off? Assertive women are great. :-)
Oh my, that was really funny! Trip truly is like a lost puppy that just aches to be found and cared for. But this time... looks like someone finally got him attached to a nice string. And he's more than happy to follow :-)
Now that was great!
And thank you for this image: "Malcolm erupted with laughter, a reaction so uncharacteristic that the room fell silent in shock. Trip felt the colour creep up his neck into his face as the silence lengthened and Malcolm rocked back and forth with mirth."