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Seek First...-Pt. 13
Seek First to Understand
As I run down the road less fair, my comm. unit crackles. We had agreed to eliminate any chatter once we separated. He is nearby or in trouble.
“Take that you, bastards.”
Next I hear the sound of phaser fire, quickly returned. I look back. Commander Tucker is standing in the corridor waving and yelling at the five Xindi who had been chasing me until he fired.
“Come and get me you sons of bitches, but be prepared to die.”
The foolish human taunts them. How does he expect to woo me if he behaves in such a suicidal fashion? I race back down the corridor, all the while chastising myself for considering courtship a possibility. The Xindi are sandwiched between us.
“Hey Baby,” slips past my anger at his heroics, “That was a delaying tactic so you could get away. Why have you turned around?”
I am exasperated by his macho liberties, his death wish and the swell of emotion they engender. I am on the edge of madness and possibilities.
“Commander Tucker I order you to dispatch the enemy with haste and then proceed directly to the shuttle. We have further explorations which cannot be conducted if you are dead.” I fire, dispatching two of the enemy before any of them realize I am at their back.
“Yes, ma’am.” Two fall, having been brought down by the Commander. “We have one alive T’Pol, but no way to get him to the shuttle in tact.
The Xindi disappears in a shimmer of light before our eyes.
“It appears the captain foresaw the circumstance.” I suggest. His two thumbs are erect and he is grinning.
The corridor is clear, except for the bodies littering it. I turn on my scanner. No alert sounds. We look at each other. Time stands still. I am frozen to the spot. He strides purposefully toward me. He takes me by the shoulders. We knock helmets.
“T’Pol,” desperation coats the words, “Nothing is the same between us. Do you understand?”
I nod. The alert sounds and we run. Ten seconds later an explosion rocks the ship and we are thrown out into space, his hand clutching mine.
“We lost Shuttlepod one.” He says unnecessarily.
“I have completed the calculations.” I squeeze his hand as we float in space. “Starfleet can expect to regain 1% of the cost of the shuttle by garnisheeing your wages from now to retirement.”
“They wouldn’t?” He starts chuckling. “You got me.”
The first person I see when we rematerialize on the transporter pad is the Captain. He is staring with his jaw open. It is rare to see him nonplussed. It appears his shock is directed at the Commander and me. Ah, we are holding hands. I detach myself from Charles.
“Have you got anything out of the prisoner yet, Captain?” The Commander is all business, removing his helmet, which he tucks under his arm.
“Not yet, but Malcolm is working on it.” Archer shifts his gaze from me to Charles. “Are you alright?”
“We lost the Shuttle,” he grins, “But not our lives.”
“Actually, it was thrown clear of the ship by the blast. Travis managed to grapple it. You have some repairs to make so that she’s space worthy again, but nothing too serious.”
“If you don’t mind, Captain, I would like some time to refresh before our debriefing.” I need to consult with the doctor. We must find a way to arrest this Delphic madness.
“Of course, Sub-commander,” he says turning as I pass, “You too, Trip.”
“Thank you, Captain,” he says as he follows me off the transporter pad.
“Oh Commander? I pause. Madness or not, nothing is the same between us.
“Yes, T’Pol?” He stops at my side.
“Tonight is movie night?” I watch his face register surprise then consider.
“Yes I believe it is.” He snaps his fingers. “It Happened One Night is playing.” His eyes are alight.
“1934, Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert. A screwball comedy I believe.” He can hardly contain himself as I date the film and identify its stars. “Would you care to accompany me to the movie, Charles?”
He is speechless. Our backs are turned to the welcoming committee, comprised of the Captain, Lieutenant Reed and Dr. Phlox. I have no idea of their expressions, but I would risk a guess that they are even more astonished than Charles.
Competitive to the end, Charles replies, “I was thinking of something more along the lines of a poetry reading.” He winks and presents his arm. “Perhaps, Robert Frost?”
I rest my hand on his forearm as I have seen heroines do in historical films. He straightens, every inch the gallant cavalier. “A lovely idea, Charles. I’ll collect you at your quarters at twenty hundred.”
“It’s a date, T’Pol.”
End of Part Thirteen.
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