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Be Careful What You Wish For - Ch 6
Be Careful What You Wish For
by Evalyn A
Rating: G, Action/adventure, T/T shippiness of course.
Reed looked up from the scanner. “They’re here,” he said abruptly. T’Pol and Archer both put down their padds, and looked guardedly towards the door. Reed had surreptitiously placed his weapon in his lap for easy access.
Shran and his second, Talas, entered the pub, accompanied by a very imposing individual Archer assumed to be a security officer, much larger than the average Andorian. They casually hung their heavy, wet raincoats by the fire and sauntered over to the table at which the Starfleet officers sat, their antennae scanning over the few additional clientele that included a native female playing rather atonal tunes on some form of stringed instrument while occasionally sipping a hot alcoholic drink.
“You came alone,” Shran stated, as he pulled a chair up. “It is good that you pinkskins can keep your word. Unlike some,” he added, snidely, inclining his head in T’Pol’s direction.
“It is important to start a negotiation without attempting to impute blame for past errors, otherwise it is impossible to move forward,” T’Pol replied, with a defiant, unblinking stare at him. “Nevertheless, I apologize on behalf of my people for whatever betrayals of trust there have been between us, and hope that we can find a path to the beginning of friendship and trust for the future.”
Talas looked about to speak, with a belligerent expression, but Shran stopped her with a gesture. He pondered T’Pol for a moment. “Well said, Subcommander,” he conceded. “There is no advantage to be gained in needless posturing. I am here to treat for an end to hostilities on behalf of the Andorian people.”
T’Pol nodded. “I cannot claim to speak for Vulcan, Commander, but I can certainly transmit your offer to the High Command. How do you propose to help me to convince them of the sincerity of your intent, and your ability to speak for Andoria?”
Shran was silent for a moment. “You will not need to do it. I propose to return with you to Vulcan myself.” Talas whipped around to stare at him in disbelief.
“You cannot go to Vulcan, they will torture you for what you know!” she expostulated indignantly. “You will either die or betray all of Andoria. It is an impossibly foolish risk.” Archer noted that despite her hostile words, her expression implied a considerable amount of personal concern as well.
“I agree with Lt. Talas,” T’Pol stated flatly. Shran turned to look at her in surprise. “I could not guarantee your personal safety.”
Archer leaned back, and said, casually, “Perhaps you couldn’t alone, T’Pol, but I believe together we can.”
T’Pol raised an eyebrow while Shran looked thoughtfully at Archer. “You can hardly hold off the Vulcan fleet, Captain,” he noted.
“Nor could I hope to convince the Vulcan High Command by myself,” Archer agreed. “But I believe that together, we can convince them where individually we could not.”
Talas continued to look mutinously sceptical, while Reed leaned back in his chair, quietly assessing the various participants to the discussion.
T’Pol pondered his words. “Vulcan does not want war,” she admitted. “Despite the posturing of a number of individuals, in fact they will be looking for a solution.”
“Then we must bring it to them together,” Shran expostulated, slapping the table with the palm of his hand and turning towards the bar. “Barkeep,” he boomed, “what does it take to get served in this hell-hole?”
Tucker paced the corridors of Enterprise, musing over the discussion he had just had with Phlox in the mess hall. “Three wives and two husbands,” he muttered. “Dammit, I can’t even sort out my relationship with one woman. Imagine bein’ in a Denobulan marriage and tryin’ to deal with two more.” Suddenly, he realized that his wanderings, perhaps subconsciously, had brought him to a halt in front of a familiar door, that to Cpl. Cole’s quarters. He stared at the closed door, and then glanced warily up and down the corridor. He had seen virtually no one since he had left the mess hall, it being the middle of the night for the alpha and beta shifts, while the delta shift personnel were all at their stations. There was no one to see him now. He paused, and then slowly raised a hand to the buzzer.
T’Pol raised a hand to her temple, and massaged the skin as Archer and Shran discussed the approach they would take in order to lure the Vulcans to the treaty negotiations. She felt as though pins were being inserted into her brain at random moments, and her stomach clenched suddenly in an unfamiliar sensation. What is wrong with me? she wondered, beginning to recognize the onset of a panic attack such as she had felt previously on only a few, very rare, occasions – the most recent being during her withdrawal from the effects of her Trellium addiction, while she had been left alone in command of Enterprise during the last hours before the Xindi launched the attack on Earth. And with the panic, something else, something primal that left her shaking.
But this time, there was nothing to have prompted this reaction – the discussion between the Enterprise crew and Andorians was calm, jocular even at times, and there was no indication of any type of imminent trouble from any other source. She stood abruptly and walked over to the window, facing away from the others so that they could not see her distress. The rain ran in rivulets down the window. The dank drizzle fell endlessly outside onto a muddy road – more like a small river at this point – just as it had for the last three days, and the few individuals that ventured out were not remotely interested in the slight Vulcan who stood gazing out at them. She rubbed her eyes and tried to control the conflicting feelings that threatened to swamp her.
Then, just as suddenly as the sensations had started, the tight band around her chest that was preventing her from breathing started to loosen, and the dizziness that had left her on the verge of fainting began to dissipate. She found herself sagging against the window as the tension drained from her body. A hand reached out to steady her, and as she turned, startled, Lt. Reed said in a low voice, “Are you all right, Subcommander?”
“I was feeling somewhat unwell, Lieutenant,” she admitted, “but the feeling seems to be passing. I have not been sleeping as well as I should,” she explained, gesturing vaguely in the hopes that he would accept this rather inadequate explanation. He looked at her keenly for a moment, then nodded, and retreated back to the table. T’Pol returned her gaze to the water running down the road outside the window, and allowed the murmur of the human and Andorian voices wash over her.
It had been the strangest feeling, a feeling of being in two places at once, almost being two people at once. The warm, dry surface of Cole’s door had at the same time been cool and damp, and the background hum of the warp engines had been overlaid with the sound of familiar voices and faint guitar-like music. He had felt a need so stark, so acute it had taken his breath away. He shook his head, and disoriented, turned and rapidly walked back down the corridor towards his quarters. As he entered and the doors closed behind him, he fell onto his bed and lay looking at the ceiling for a few moments, until the spinning sensation began to pass and he could breathe more easily. What the hell was that? he wondered in confused discomfort, and then, with an abrupt feeling of total exhaustion, he found himself falling into a welcome state of oblivion.
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