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Author - Aquila | Genre - Romance | Main Story | N | Rating - R
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“Damn it, T’Pol. As First Officer, it is your job to build morale and alert me to crew dissatisfaction. Damn it to hell, T’Pol. You let me down.”
The Vulcan commander and the Human captain stood silently side by side, watching fade from view the fly speck that was the runabout that carried Commander Tucker to his new posting on Columbia.
The Vulcan winced, a subtle shift in the tension about her eyes that went unnoticed by the captain, who stood with clenched fists and clamped jaw. Archer had not spoken aloud, yet she had heard each thought as if it were her own. The clarity was a signal of the depth of his displeasure. His anger had overridden her nascent abilities to protect herself from the thoughts of other beings.
Unaware that his anger had disclosed his displeasure, he continued his silent rant, directing his disappointment at Trip, this time. “You let me down, buddy. I told you I needed you – that Enterprise needed you – yet you left anyway. No explanation, nothing – what the hell happened?”
As T’Pol turned to leave she saw that the captain was repeatedly punching a balled fist into the palm of his other hand. As she stepped quietly across the ready-room to the hatch, each footfall was punctuated by the slap of flesh against flesh. Even after the hatch slid shut behind her, the sound continued to echo in her head, replacing Archer’s heated anger, which, with distance, was slowly dissipating.
“Commander T’Pol, to what do I owe the distinct pleasure of your visit?”
Phlox’s cheery voice rang out, causing rustling and chirping to erupt from the cages placed strategically around sickbay.
T’Pol halted a mere step from the sickbay hatch. She felt an infinitesimal air movement as it closed behind her. The sensation reminded her of a moment of intimacy that she had shared with Commander Tucker. In her arms, his head resting on her chest, he breathed the deep, delicious sleep of a satisfied lover. With each exhalation, his breath enveloped her left breast in a warm moist cloud that would drift away, exposing her skin to the cooler air of her quarters. Her breast would pucker, then slacken, then pucker again. Her heart rate increased as she recalled the memory.
“Commander?” Phlox hurried to her side when he saw that she stood staring vacantly ahead. “Are you all right?”
T’Pol returned to the present, “Yes, of course, Doctor. I was taken aback by the welcome in your voice. I am somewhat of a pariah at the moment. The crew appears to blame me for the departure of Commander Tucker.”
“Nonsense.” Phlox put his arm around her shoulders then directed her toward a biobed. “Perhaps your personal feelings are colouring your interpretation of crew behaviour?”
T’Pol allowed herself to be assisted to the bed. She ignored the doctor as he scanned her vital signs with his handheld diagnostic device.
“Have you recently engaged in telepathic communication, Commander?”
“Not intentionally.” She continued in response to the doctor’s raised eyebrow. “As you know my ability to block the thoughts of others is still underdeveloped.”
The doctor nodded in agreement.
“The emotions that the crew is feeling at the departure of our chief engineer magnify the energy emitted by their thoughts.”
“Thus overwhelming your defences,” finished the doctor.
T’Pol gave one sharp nod of agreement. “However, I am consulting you because, in the aftermath of the onslaught, I often experience a deep sense of loneliness that seems to be completely unrelated to the emotions shared by the crew. I am at a loss to explain the phenomenon.”
Trip Tucker had never felt this alone. When he was eight years old, he had wandered from his Grandfather Tucker’s swamp shack in the Everglades, following a trail left by a deer. When his stomach reminded him that it was time for supper he realized that he was lost. The fear he had felt as a boy washed over him again. I was terrified, but I did not feel alone. Not even at midnight with a full moon and the rustlin’ of nocturnal beasts. I knew that Grandpa would find me eventually. Nobody’s gonna rescue me this time.
The two-toned chirp of the door interrupted his thoughts. “Enter.” His first day on board Columbia had begun.
Exhausted, Trip unzipped his dungarees, letting them puddle on the floor.
“I’ll pick ‘em up tomorrow,” he told the walls of his unfamiliar quarters.
The commander fell back on his bunk in his skivvies and black uniform undershirt. He closed his eyes anticipating the bliss of unconsciousness. Instead he found himself entangled in a blanket of loneliness. To counter the stifling emotion he began to recall moments in his life when he truly felt he belonged. Mentally he ticked them off in his mind. There was the time when his little league team hoisted him on their shoulders after he slid into home the day they won the division championship. He felt like he belonged when Principal Damon presented him with the science prize for his jet propulsion project in this sophomore year of highs school. He knew he belonged the first time his Starfleet Academy class gathered for beers after class. Each memory brought fleeting relief, which was immediately smothered by loneliness. He searched his memory, once again, for a more effective remedy.
That is what belonging feels like. He recognized the feeling before he identified the memory. Son of a bitch. The recollection was so vivid that it was as if he were reliving the experience.
T’Pol was under him; her neck arched and her head thrown back. She moaned with intense pleasure. Her breasts, peaks of tight, pebbled flesh, rubbed against him. Her legs captured his hips. Her ankles were crossed so that the heels of her feet rested in the small of his back. She thrust her pelvis up as he thrust forward, again and again. Each time he buried himself in the warm, moist heat of her body she cried out in ecstasy. This was the moment for which he had been born.
He remembered beads of sweat blossoming on her skin. He had licked away each one. She had gasped, “Do not stop. Please.” He had revelled in her unbridled need for his touch. To prolong her pleasure he had slowed their rhythm. Her pants turned to sighs. He played her body like an instrument – the music her voice, the strings her skin and their joining the percussion that underscored the duet they were performing.
They reached the crescendo together, collapsing into each other, so close that the pounding of their hearts were indistinguishable one from the other. She locked her ankles, refusing to release him, holding him inside her. He felt the contractions of her body, titillating and teasing. There was a twinge of regret in the memory, because he could not immediately rise again to the occasion. Then he recalled that he had compensated for his human limitations with his mouth and hands. He remembered, with pride, that he had sated her, stripping away the last of her Vulcan reserve. Pliant and exhausted, she had drawn him down so that his body stretched the length of her, skin to skin, his head resting on her chest, his breath puckering her breast.
T’Pol awoke with a start, her pyjamas damp with sweat. She was in a state of arousal that she had not felt since that night she had studied human sexuality first hand with Commander Tucker. Feeling betrayed by her subconscious, she opened the teachings of Surak, seeking peace that failed to materialize.
Commander Tucker had been a member of the crew of Columbia for a week. He knew his crew by name, who was married, who had children, on whom he could count and who needed coaching. Despite the community that was building around him, loneliness was a constant companion, except for half an hour each night, when he relived the only night of passion he had shared with T’Pol.
“You asked me to return in a week, Doctor.”
Phlox regarded T’Pol with the detachment of a scientist. She had lost weight. Dark circles had formed under her eyes. Her skin was taught across her cheekbones and her complexion was sallow. His bioscan confirmed his visual diagnosis. T’Pol was in distress.
“You have been overdoing the telepathy, I see.” He tried to keep the criticism from his statement.
T’Pol noted it nevertheless, “As you ordered I have not practiced any form of telepathy for the past week.”
Phlox reviewed the results of the scan. They contradicted the Vulcan. He had never known her to lie outright. He tried a different tact.
“Have you formed a sexual liaison with someone?” He was surprised to see her already pale skin turn paler.
“May I see the results of your scan, Doctor?” He request was delivered through clenched teeth.
Phlox passed the instrument to the Science Officer, who raised one eyebrow in response to the readings. “Perhaps, I should tell you what I have been experiencing?”
Trip was floating in Columbia’s sweet spot. He made a mental note to send Travis a thank you note for suggesting that he find it before they left dry dock. Travis thought that the green ship’s crew could use the sweet spot to relieve stress. Trip became the first to try the healing effect of zero grav minus the hazards of space.
Tucker had been disappointed at first. There had been no immediate affect. The emotional baggage that he carried remained firmly strapped to his psyche. He had been floating for about 10 minutes on his back, arms and legs stretched out at 45 degree angles from his body, when he noticed a faint reduction in the loneliness that had been his shadow since boarding Columbia. He held his breath as ounce by ounce the debilitating emotion drained away, replaced by comforting warmth that he could only describe as completion.
If he had not witnessed it with his own eyes, Phlox would have been sceptical. He had checked the accuracy of the bioscanner before they left Enterprise. The readings were accurate. T’Pol’s brain waves were recalibrating, her hormone levels were dropping and it appeared that her blood pressure was dropping to normal. They had only been on Columbia 10 minutes.
“Crewman.” Phlox was uncharacteristically sharp. “Ask Commander Tucker to meet me in the Captain’s Ready Room. Do not mention that Commander T’Pol has accompanied me.”
The questioning look in the crewman’s eyes led Phlox to add, “That’s an order.”
Captain Hernandez eyed the two aliens with a curiosity she refused to show. She, after all, was Columbia’s captain, above such things as gossip. Although she had heard the rumours like everyone else, she refused to believe that the Vulcan standing in her Ready Room had been Tucker’s lover. If the rumour were true it would prove that opposites attract she decided.
“Enter,” Hernandez said in response to the chirrup alerting her that someone was requesting permission to enter.
“Hey, doc, good to see ya.” Trip meant it. For the first time in a week, Tucker was truly pleased to see another human being. “Nothing wrong with Jon, is there?”
Phlox shook his head no, while he shifted his eyes to a point in the room that Trip was unable to see. Trip turned to identify what had caught Phlox’s attention. Tucker froze.
T’Pol forgot to breathe. Phlox scanned her vital signs, saved the data then scanned Tucker. The two officers were unaware of him. He had enough data to fill three medical journals. He would be writing about this for the rest of his life. That is if Trip and T’Pol would allow it.
Hernandez did not try to hide her fascination with the drama unfolding before her. The rumours were true. These two had a history. You had to be blind not to see it. Why didn’t Jon mention it when he said he had approved Tucker’s transfer to Columbia?
Silently, Phlox passed his data pad to Hernandez. She looked at the screen. Dr. Phlox was returning Trip Tucker to active duty on Enterprise – on medical grounds – effective immediately. She pressed her thumb on the confirm button. This was one fight she would never win. Jonathan Archer owed her. She began to consider all the pleasant ways she could extract payment.
Six months later.
Trip was unfamiliar with the approach to his parent’s new home in Mississippi, so he had to pay more attention than in the past. The odd sensation added to the nervousness that naturally attended bringing your girl home to meet the parents. Especially since, in effect, they had eloped, robbing his mother of an excuse to fuss over wedding preparations.
“T’Pol, honey, you cannot tell my mother that the reason we live together is because Dr. Phlox prescribed the arrangement for the good of our health.” Trip removed one hand from the controls to wave it in exasperation. “And please, if you love me, don’t refer to yourself as my consort.”
To a casual observer it appeared that Trip was going all the talking and that T’Pol was sitting tight-lipped and uncommunicative. Nothing could be farther from the truth. She developed her telepathic skills by conversing with him silently.
Consort is a perfectly adequate noun, used to refer to a spouse, companion or partner. You are all those things to me, which is the reason I prefer to use it. It is the word that Starfleet uses to describe our arrangements.
“Baby, that’s because Starfleet doesn’t want to admit we are married. They would have to rewrite the regs and allow fraternization.” Trip brought the runabout to a halt, letting it hover for a moment, before landing gently. “Consort obscures the nature of the relationship sufficiently for the space lawyers.”
Is it not enough for you to know that we are one, indivisible by law, custom or temptation? Why is the label so important to you?
Trip suspected that his mother and father were hovering in the foyer, waiting for the couple to emerge from the runabout. Under the anticipation of seeing them again he felt a degree of fear that they would reject his choice of mate. Ever since the invitation to visit had been extended he had been trying to hide that particular concern from his telepathic wife. Was the question her way of getting him to speak of his worry, he wondered?
Trip let loose the emotion, knowing it would boost the transmission of his thoughts sufficiently to compensate for his lack of telepathic abilities.
Because you are the sharer of my roving life, ethereal, my consolation, and I am fast anchor’d.
T’Pol placed her hand on his, knowing that when his heart was most full he quoted Walt Whitman. “Then wife I am.”
The story continues in Prediliction for Emotion
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A whole mess of folks have made comments
wow! you really just keep getting better and better. this one was just..orgasmic! thanx
Niiiiiiiice! I was just mentioning over at the TrekBBS that Phlox might suggest Trip be reassigned back over to Enterprise for medical reasons...look like you anticipated me on this one.
I like it!
Me like! Thanks, that was great! :)
Wonderful story Aquila I always enjoy your stories.Great use of the dreamscene between Trip and T'Pol's love scene from Harbinger.Hope you'llw rite more stories sometime soon.
Welcome back! I have missed your stories.
I have one question. Anyone who knows canon can answer, are all Vulcans true telepaths? I thought just some were touch telepaths.
I enjoyed this story. Thank you for writing it.
I *loved* this, especially the neat way Dr Phlox proved his point about the need for T'Pol and Trip to be reunited and in such a way that Captain Hernandez could do naught but agree, albeit it was done so beautifully low key. And Trip's nervousness at taking T'Pol home to meet his folks made me smile - who on planet Earth has not been there? Wonderful, now for the sequel to see how they responded (hint, hint). Ali D :~)
Just wanted to add my "Wow" to the bunch. :)
oh that was awsome please continue
I need a Polly of my own. ;)
Nice little story!
Small nit-pick; When Trip sees Phlox you write: "Tucker was truly pleased to see another human being." Hum, Phlox is Denobulan, not human ;)!