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Be Careful What You Wish For - Ch 5
Be Careful What You Wish For
By Evalyn A
Disclaimer: Not making a dime off of this, they belong to Paramount; they don’t belong to me, although finally they’re starting to act as if they did.
“How long must we wait here, Captain?”
Archer detected a decided note of impatience in T’Pol’s voice. Since their time in the expanse she had been much easier to read, her Vulcan control clearly slipping more often than not in stressful situations. They had been waiting over a day on Rakos III. “We’ll wait as long as we need to, T’Pol,” he replied calmly. “Shran couldn’t say how long it would take to meet us here, but I don’t think we have anything better to do, do you?”
She shook her head in an impatient gesture, and then rubbed her eyes. “No Captain, of course not. I merely find the waiting – trying,” she concluded. “Perhaps we should eat.”
“I could go for that,” Lt. Reed concurred. “They really do know how to make a good pub meal here. In fact,” he added, gesturing in the direction of the far wall, “this would be a perfect spot for a dart board.” He folded up the deck of local cards that he had been using to play a game of solitaire. He’d been inventing and modifying the rules himself over the past few hours, alternately placing cards on the table in complicated configurations, and glancing between the door and T’Pol’s scanner to keep an eye on their security arrangements. While he did not trust the Andorians as far as he could throw them, it did seem that there was no reason for Shran himself to place them in any danger; he had everything to gain from a truce with Vulcan. On the other hand, the Andorian authorities did not, and although it was unlikely they were monitoring Shran’s movements, you couldn’t be too careful. He checked the screen on T’Pol’s scanner surreptitiously once more for unusual signals.
In the meantime, T’Pol and Archer moved over to the bar to order for each of them a bowl of stew, and a mug of the local hot steeped leaf beverage that had a thick, tangy flavour.
Archer observed T’Pol as they waited for their food. “How have you been keeping?” he asked quietly, taking advantage of their relative privacy. “You seem a little more tense than usual.”
“I am fine, Captain,” she replied. He raised his eyebrows sceptically, and she amended, “I was feeling somewhat less than optimum, as some of the therapies Dr. Phlox had prescribed for my Pa’nar syndrome were unavailable to me; however I have been able to get back to an appropriate regime of medication and my symptoms are considerably improved.”
“Somehow,” Archer prompted, “I don’t think that’s everything.”
She did not reply, and avoided his searching glance.
“It sometimes helps to talk about it,” Archer suggested, as the bartender ladled out three large portions of stew.
“Vulcans do not discuss personal issues,” she replied. “We meditate and consult the teachings of Surak.”
“You also get headaches and pace a great deal,” Archer pointed out. “How about we play twenty questions. Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?”
She raised her eyebrows at him. She had not heard of this particular pastime, but the rules seemed obvious enough, and if the truth be known, being able to talk with someone about anything after the last few months was a relief. Playing along, she said reprovingly, “You surely do not imagine my personal problems can be reduced to such simplistic terms.”
Archer grinned. “Maybe not,” he agreed. “All right then, are you regretting your return to Vulcan?”
She pondered for a moment. “No,” she replied. “It was the right decision. I doubt you would have respected any other.”
He nodded. “Okay, then, does it involve your marriage?”
She looked pained. “Yes.”
“It’s not going well.”
“That is not a question,” T’Pol commented dryly.
“No, just a reasonable supposition,” he replied. “I don’t need to waste a question on that.” He paused a moment while Reed joined them at the counter, took his bowl and mug and tactfully returned to the table, leaving them to continue their conversation. “Are you regretting your decision to marry Koss?”
“I regretted the necessity for it,” she prevaricated. Archer held up his hand, stopping her from continuing.
“Yes or no answers only,” he explained, gravely. “Those are the rules.”
She glared at him briefly, and said, “That is not logical. Many questions cannot be answered in such terms.”
“Many can,” Archer said, turning to sip his stew. “And if you feel yourself unable to answer this one with a simple ‘no’, then I guess I’ll take it as ‘yes’.”
She frowned slightly, and remained silent, staring into the leaves at the bottom of her mug.
“Do you miss Enterprise?” he continued, changing tack slightly.
“Yes,” she admitted, relieved at this shift to apparently more neutral territory.
“Do you miss Trip?” Archer asked. The unexpected question took her unawares and sent a jab into her chest. She stalled for a moment, taking a bite of stew.
Finally, “yes,” she replied softly, her forlorn tone of voice telling him all he needed to know.
He pondered her kindly for a moment. “Should I continue?”
She sighed, and rousing herself slightly noted with asperity, “No. You have essentially summarized the situation. As you can gather, my attitude at this moment is not appropriate. I should be looking to a way forward to fulfil my role in Vulcan society, having made the only decisions open to me, and instead, I look back to what I had on Enterprise. It is not logical or productive.”
“Well, I’d say it was only human, but I don’t suppose that would improve your mood any,” Archer joked gently. She spared him a withering glance, and then continued to consume her stew silently. “I wish I could say something that would help,” he continued, sympathetically. “But I only know how I’d feel in your situation. I’d be angry, and frustrated, and feeling sorry for myself. And then I’d remember the advice my daddy gave me.”
She raised an eyebrow to him over her tea.
“Floss regularly, don’t forget to eat your greens, and never trust a Vulcan,” he replied with a mischievous grin. “No, wait a minute,” he interrupted, forestalling her acid reply, “that wasn’t it. It was, never let them hold you down. And always make your own destiny.”
She pondered those words from a man who had eventually died, still seeing his dream for long-range spaceflight unfulfilled, held back by the same Vulcan society that now required her obedience. She terminated the conversation with a brief, “Thank you, Captain,” before picking up her bowl and mug and returning to their table. He watched her go, and then gestured to the barkeep with his mug for a refill.
It was late, the corridor lights dimmed. Commander Tucker, dressed in civilian clothes, paused briefly at the door into Sickbay, and then, muttering to himself, entered. Dr. Phlox was bent over a neutron-tunnelling nanoscope, but looked up almost immediately and beamed at him in his usual avuncular manner.
“How can I help you, Commander?” he offered, placing his hands on his knees.
“I don’t want to interrupt,” Tucker stalled.
“Not at all, I’m here to tend to the needs of the crew first, and my research will wait. Now,” he indicated one of the biobeds, “would you care to sit down and talk?”
“I don’t need a biobed, Doc,” Tucker muttered. “I’m just havin’ a bit of trouble sleeping again.”
“Hmm,” Phlox murmured knowingly. “All right, you don’t need a biobed, I agree. Come with me.”
He left sickbay, and confused, Tucker followed him out into the corridor, jogging to keep up. After a moment, he asked, “Where are we goin’, Doc?”
Phlox smiled and gestured him into the lift. “The mess,” he replied.
Even more confused, Tucker followed him in. Neither spoke until they reached the mess, which was empty at this time of night, the lights also dimmed. Phlox walked over to the drink dispenser, and ordered, “Milk, warm, and tea, Denobulan pink.”
Tucker bemusedly took the warm milk, and sat at the table near the viewport to which Phlox gestured. They sipped in silence for a moment, and then Tucker said, “My momma always made me warm milk when I couldn’t sleep as a child.”
“And what sort of things kept you from sleeping as a child, Mr. Tucker?” Phlox asked, gently.
“Oh, you know, the usual. Nightmares, trouble at school or with my friends,” Tucker replied, looking out the viewport.
“The things that keep us awake as adults are really not so different, are they?” Phlox noted.
“No, I guess not,” Tucker agreed. “But the problems I had then seem so trivial.”
“There is no such thing as a trivial problem when it comes to how to live our lives, for there are no right answers. You find human relationships complicated, imagine how complicated it is for us. I have six parents, five husbands and wives, 35 siblings, and twelve of my own children. There are so many ways for our relationships to go wrong, you cannot begin to imagine,” he chuckled.
“Well, maybe so,” Tucker agreed, morosely, “but at least if something isn’t working out with one of your wives, you always have another to go to.”
“True,” Phlox agreed, “but running away rarely solves those types of problems. They need to be faced and resolved, even more so for us.”
“What if they can’t be resolved?” Tucker asked, rubbing his face tiredly. “What if there’s nothing you can do?”
“Then we often move on to our other spouses, at least for a time,” Phlox admitted, “for sometimes only time and an understanding ear will sort out those sorts of problems.”
Tucker’s shoulders sagged, and then he finished off his drink of milk. “Thanks Phlox,” he said, indicating his empty glass, “it was one of your better medicines,” and with a small, strained smile, he pushed back his chair.
“Sleep well, Commander,” Phlox replied, with an understanding look. He watched as Tucker departed the room, and shook his head, murmuring to himself, “Human relationships. How complicated they make them.”
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A handful of people have made comments
Gee I wondering if your gona drop something big and heavy on Koss? Poor heart broken Polly and Trip. I LOL reading about Phlox's big family and how complicated those relationships are! Keep Updating you got a good one here!
Very good but very much wanting Trip and T'Pol to get together again. Just need the problem of Koss to sort itself out preferrably without either of our heroes becoming dishonourable. Ali D :~)
Very nice Evalyn. I'm enjoying the pace of this story. Even if i'm impatient for T/T to get in the same room and have a chat, I know you have a plan and am willing to wait for it. That said, looking forward to the next installment!
I'm enjoying this story, and looking forward to some T/T moments
Good story, can't wait for the next chapter!!!!