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Homecoming - Ch 2
Where we love is home,
Care Packages and Other Comestibles
“I can’t believe that you already ate both of those pizzas!” Malcolm Reed reproached Hoshi Sato. “And by yourself! At least Travis and I shared ours!” Travis gave Hoshi an offended look as he nodded his agreement with Malcolm’s accusations. The three were sitting together in the mess hall two days after the Tuckers’ arrival, comparing notes on their care packages.
“Hey, Mrs. Tucker said they were both for me, and I took her at her word,” Hoshi defended herself. “If you guys had said something earlier, I’d have shared. But do you have any idea how long it’s been since I’ve had decent pizza? And from Fiorella’s?” She shook her head. “For a while there, I thought I’d never be eating pizza again.”
At this bald statement, Travis and Malcolm backed off. The trio sat silently for a moment, contemplating the dire circumstances they had faced less than a month earlier. Travis made an effort to lighten the mood by calling out to T’Pol, who had just entered the mess.
“Hey, Sub-Commander, we were just talking about the care packages Mrs. Tucker brought for us.” T’Pol accepted the unspoken invitation and gracefully joined them at the table. “What did you get?” Travis asked.
T’Pol took a spoonful of plomeek broth before responding. “The commander’s parents presented me with an assortment of herb teas.” T’Pol took another sip, unaware of the smug looks exchanged by her table companions, who obviously felt that their gifts had been far superior to hers.
“Commander Tucker sure must write detailed letters,” Travis said. “I can’t believe that they knew what all our favorites were!”
“And then went to the trouble to secure and transport them here.” Malcolm, ever the tactical officer, was most impressed by the logistical effort involved.
“That’s just how they are,” Captain Archer had crept up on their group, unnoticed. “It’s probably against Mrs. Tucker’s religion to show up anywhere empty-handed!” he joked. Then, as he noticed Sato and Mayweather scooting together to make room at the table, “No, don’t worry. I just came in for a cup of coffee.” He turned to T’Pol. “When you’re finished with breakfast, Sub-Commander, Admiral Forrest had some questions about the scientific data we collected in the Expanse. Command Center in an hour?”
“Of course, Captain,” T’Pol responded.
As Archer moved away, Hoshi called after him. “What did they bring you, Sir?”
Archer grinned. “Two bottles of 12-year-old scotch!” he gloated as he exited the mess hall. Malcolm, Hoshi, and Travis exchanged sour looks. Suddenly their care packages seemed no better than T’Pol’s tea.
“Bastard,” Reed muttered under his breath.
“Whaddya think of my folks, T’Pol?” Trip was propped up on the bio-bed with a tray table in front of him. Phlox had just brought over some kind of electrolyte nutrient solution. The stuff tasted gawd-awful, but it felt great on this throat. He had just taken a sip when the Vulcan came for one of her regular visits.
“Your parents are very agreeable. They have made an extremely favorable impression on those crewmembers with whom they have had contact,” T’Pol responded as she sat gingerly on the edge of the bed.
Trip beamed enthusiastically at her apparent approval. He bent his head to the straw to take another sip and surreptitiously began to stalk her fingers. T’Pol had initiated no physical contact since her first visit after their meld, but he usually managed to sneak his hand up on hers by the end of each of her visits. Sometimes their fingers just touched, sometimes they intertwined, but twice there had been full-fledged hand-holding before Phlox came and ended the visit.
“I suspect, however, that your parents dislike me.” T’Pol’s blunt and unexpected statement momentarily distracted him from his objective. He looked up in alarm and disbelief.
“Whaddya mean? Why would you think that?” His parents had been nothing but complimentary of T’Pol in his presence. Then again, he reflected, his mom wouldn’t say “shit” if she had a mouthful. Could it be that they didn’t like T’Pol? The thought depressed him profoundly.
“They address me differently than they do all the other members of the crew,” she explained.
Geez, what had they been calling her? Trip didn’t know which upset him more: the possibility that his parents had been disrespectful to the woman he loved, or the idea that his mother, who had beat good manners into him from a young age—sometimes literally, was capable of rude behavior.
“I am the only member of the crew that they do not address using food-centered appellations or diminutives,” T’Pol continued. “’Honey’ and ‘sweetie’ are those most often employed, although I have heard your father refer to Ensign Sato as ‘Shortcake,’ and yesterday, as they were preparing a dessert in the galley, your mother called Chef ‘Dumpling.’”
“Chef let Mom in the galley? You’re kidding!” T’Pol gave this ridiculous suggestion the raised eyebrow it deserved. “Damn! I knew she was good, but not that good. Chef’s never let anyone work with him in the galley before!” Trip dedicated a few seconds of respectful awe to his mother’s obvious superpowers, then returned his attention to T’Pol’s concerns.
“Sorry, T’Pol. My folks don’t call ya ‘sweetie’ or ‘honey.’ What do they call you, then?”
“They address me as ‘Miss T’Pol.’”
“Well, what’s wrong with that?” Trip demanded, somewhat relieved. “They’re bein’ respectful, is all!”
“Given that your parents seem to share your fondness for eating, I deduced that their practice of addressing individuals by the names of various comestibles is intended as a compliment or a sign of affection,” T’Pol reasoned. “That I have not been included in this practice seems to be a deliberate slight.”
Trip realized that T’Pol’s feelings were hurt. She was getting all scientific in order to cover it up. How cute! His heart went out to her, even as he tried not to laugh.
“T’Pol, all my folks know about Vulcans is what I’ve been telling ‘em in my letters,” he replied soothingly. “I can’t remember how many times I mentioned you don’t like usin’ nicknames...how Vulcans think it’s not logical to call someone by a name that isn’t theirs. That’s gotta be why they aren’t givin’ you food nicknames.” He suppressed a chuckle at the thought of his mom calling T’Pol “Dumpling.”
“So you believe that they have been addressing me differently out of respect for Vulcan culture?” T’Pol ventured.
“That’s gotta be it! They like you, T’Pol,” he assured her. “I’d know if they didn’t. My folks and I talk about everything.”
As T’Pol sat quietly, digesting what he had told her, Trip stealthily resumed his mission to capture her hand. He smiled to himself at how these little hunting expeditions had become the highlight of his days. Those few times that he had managed to hold her hand, he felt giddier than a teenager successfully copping a feel in a darkened movie theater. To distract T’Pol from his intent, he bent his head to take another sip of Phlox’s nasty drink.
“You discuss everything with your parents?” T’Pol asked curiously. Trip nodded as he sipped the nutrient solution. T’Pol chewed on this information for a moment. “Then they are aware that we have engaged in sexual intercourse.”
Trip gagged and then spewed his drink all over her.
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A whole mess of folks have made comments
Poor Trip. Kid never gets a break ;)
Oh how funny! I laughed out loud at the ending.
When Trip said he discusses everything with his parents, I was thinking "I hope not EVERYTHING!" There are just some things you don't discuss with your Mom and Dad when you're grown!
But I sure can't wait til they DO find out!!! :)
Great chapter! I'm glad I wasn't taking a sip of tea at that moment or a would have been right with Trip...read the words do the actions!
Mr. and Mrs Tucker's faces when they do find out that their darling boy has been 'intimate' with a Vulcan are going to be classic...I can't wait!
I absolutely ADORE T'Pol's timing! When T'Pol said that last line and Trip spewed up his awful drink I was in stitches. Priceless fun, keep up the good work. I hope she held his hand and snuck him a kiss in recompense. Ali D :~)
Very funny! Thanks.
You had me cracking up in the end. Please continue!!:)
Great story! I think Trip's mom has an idea that him and T'Pol are REALLY close. Maybe his dad does too. Can't wait for the next chapter.
Thanks for all the kind words! However, I am a bit disappointed that no one has made any comments about the gratuitous Chef reference. C'mon, people, where's the love for Chef?!?!
Well, where is the love for Chef? Do you suppose he's making the moves on Mrs. Tucker? Trip might have to meet him daggers drawn at dawn ... :-)
Chef has fallen for the charms of Mrs. Tucker. Trip's parents are really nice. I like them. Love the fact T'Pol's feelings were hurt b/c they weren't calling her a food name. Methinks Mama Tucker has an idea of what's happening b/w her son and the Sub-commander. Best part of this chapter was the last bit. I snorted when I read it. :)
hahahahaha!! man it will take a bit to get bagel off the monitor after that ending.
I burst out laughing at the ending -- honestly, Miss T'Pol! Is she going to have a heart-to-heart with Mrs. Tucker?
This story is sooo cool! I'm loving it! I was laughing like crazy at the end when Trip sip out his drink on her... T'Pol always knows how to shock that man! Gotta love this story!
It's nice to see someone writing about Trip's parents instead of T'Pol's... I really like them. Please give us more soon!!!!!!!!! VERY SOON!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for this sequel to "Challenges"! ((((Ragua))))
It´s a wonderful story and sooo funny, I just LOVED the end of part 2! Please continue sooooooooooon!