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Miscommunication (Plot #11)
Author - Ragua | Genre - Action/Adventure | Genre - Humor | Genre - Romance | Genre - Season 3.5 Story | M | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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Category: Plot Summary #11
Disclaimer: Paramount owns all. I’m just borrowing.
Spoilers: Through Season 3
A/N: All Vulcan terminology courtesy of the Vulcan Language Institute
Summary: Trip wants to learn Vulcan, so he goes to Hoshi for help. He makes her swear to keep their lessons secret, because he wants to surprise T'Pol. T'Pol misinterprets Trip's interest in Hoshi, as does Malcolm, and a great deal of misunderstanding ensues. When sent on an away mission, the three senior officers must resolve their problems.
Trip took another deep breath and exhaled slowly, hoping that it didn’t sound too much like a sigh. He opened his eyelids slightly to peek at his meditation partner. She sat like a statue. Obviously the candles and the cross-legged pose were working for her. He, on the other hand, was sweating profusely, and his knees were crying out in protest. How long had they been sitting here? He closed his eyes and tried to focus.
When T’Pol had invited him to meditate with her, he had been ecstatic. Trip knew Vulcans took their meditation seriously, so the fact that she had been willing to share the experience with him seemed tantamount to a declaration of love. He hadn’t expected it to be more like a torture session.
They were currently performing the Tal t’li, the first meditation of adult training, according to T’Pol. Maybe he should have asked her to start him off on kiddie meditation. Were there training wheels for meditation?
There oughta be, Trip thought sourly. What, exactly, was he supposed to be getting out of this? He knew that meditation helped Vulcans to suppress their emotions, but he didn’t want to suppress his emotions. So what was the point? Maybe this was the Vulcan version of the “chick flick”—something the guy had to endure in order to get on his girl’s good side.
This thought sent his brain off on another tangent: Was T’Pol his girl? Damned if he knew.
Trip peeked at her again. God, she was gorgeous. Her skin glowed like bronze in the candlelight. That pouty lower lip was just begging to be nibbled. The way her breasts rose and fell as she breathed deeply—
Get a grip, Tucker! he chided himself. You’re here to support your friend, not to get your groove on. Trip shut his eyes tightly, taking another deep breath. But he couldn’t refrain from peeking at her one more time. He let his breath out slowly as his eyes traveled down her body.
“Commander, you will never master the Tal t’li if you continue to stare at me rather than finding your focus.” T’Pol’s voice startled Trip out of his anatomical appreciation. His eyes jerked guiltily back up to meet hers.
Uh-oh, Trip thought. She was giving him The Stare.
He shifted uncomfortably under her scrutiny. “Sorry, T’Pol. It’s just real hard for me to sit like this for so long. Maybe I need to start out with something a little easier.”
The Stare did not abate. “The Tal t’li is the most basic level of Vulcan mediation. There is nothing easier.”
“Does it always go on for so long, though? Shouldn’t you start people off with shortened sessions?” Trip asked hopefully.
“I had intended to limit this session to thirty minutes for just that reason, Commander,” T’Pol replied. At his puzzled look, she continued. “We have been meditating for less than twenty minutes.”
Trip’s jaw dropped in disbelief. “Only twenty minutes? Feels like we’ve been sittin’ here for hours!”
This was apparently not the appropriate response. “Perhaps I erred in asking you to participate,” T’Pol stated as she stood swiftly and began to move about her quarters, blowing out the candles.
Trip leaped to his feet to assure her that this was not so, only to stumble about the room. His feet had fallen asleep! “No, T’Pol! I’m honored that you asked me to—dammit!” Trip hopped from one foot to the other, attempting to restore circulation. “Sorry! It’s just that I’ve never done anything like this. I probably need lots of practice before I can get it right.”
T’Pol turned to face him after blowing out the last candle. He shifted his weight back and forth, trying to get rid of the pins and needles in his feet and simultaneously convince her of his sincerity.
She seemed to reconsider. “It is true that Vulcans begin studying meditation techniques as young children. It would be illogical to expect a human to master the discipline without a great deal of practice.” She continued to ponder this thought, sitting back down on her meditation cushion as she did so.
Trip followed her lead, relieved. For some reason, however, being granted a stay of execution did nothing to inhibit his tendency to speak without first engaging his brain.
“T’Pol, why did you ask me to meditate with you, anyway?” he blurted. “I mean, it seems like something that would be easier to do when you’re alone.” She turned her eyes on him again. Not quite The Stare, but close. He felt his face redden.
Way to go, jackass, he railed at himself. She’s given you a golden opportunity to spend time with her, and you act like you don’t want to be here! “I meant...I just...meditation seems like it would be easier to do without another person here to distract you.”
T’Pol dropped her eyes, considering his words. “What you say is true. However, it is not unusual for Vulcans to meditate with family...or... t’hai’lu. Often, having another person present can increase one’s ability to focus.”
She looked back up at Trip, who was puzzling over the unfamiliar word. “Th...thi?”
“T’hai’lu. It is a Vulcan term.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured it wasn’t Klingon,” Trip responded with a wry grin. “It doesn’t mean ‘dumbass,’ does it?” His grin faded as she gave him The Stare again. “Uh, sorry. Shuttin’ up.”
He looked at the ground between them to avoid The Stare. The silence went on for several uncomfortable seconds. T’Pol seemed to be composing her reply carefully. “A t’hai’la is...a trusted friend,” she stated finally.
Trip blinked. She considered him a trusted friend! That had to be a good thing! He beamed at her, glowing with the gift she had given him.
“Well,” he hemmed, not knowing exactly how to respond. “I...thanks! I’m honored! I consider you a...a thel’a, too.”
His return compliment did not go over as well as he had hoped. T’Pol frowned at his words. “T’hai’la,” she stated ominously.
“Isn’t that what I said?” Trip asked, flustered.
“No.” T’Pol’s facial expression never changed, but Trip knew a scowl even when he couldn’t see it. “You distinctly said ‘thel’a.”
“I take it that’s not the same thing?”
“Hardly.” Now T’Pol’s invisible expression suggested distaste. “T’hai’la means ‘good friend.’ Thel’a means...fat.”
Uh-oh, Trip thought for the second time in less than five minutes. “Um, maybe I should go now,” he stammered.
T’Pol gave him the Raised Eyebrow of Death. “Yes, I believe that would be best.” She paused. “You have a great deal to practice.”
Hoshi Sato glanced about Engineering as she walked past the warp core to the Chief Engineer’s office. She didn’t get down here much, so the setting always seemed a bit exotic.
I wonder what the Commander wants, she thought. His communiqué had simply requested her presence and her silence. Maybe he needed a code decrypted? But in that case, why hadn’t the orders come from the captain? Actually, now that she thought about it, had his message really been an order? Or was it a personal request?
All speculation ceased as she rounded the corner and came upon Commander Tucker outlining some engineering task for two crewmen. She waited patiently for him to finish. Once he sent the crewmen on their way, he came straight to her.
“Hoshi! Great! Let’s go!” He led the way to his office and shut the doors behind them once they had entered. When he faced her, however, his purposeful manner disappeared. “Um, have a seat, Lieutenant. Would you like something to drink?” He waved vaguely at a pitcher that probably contained coffee. When Hoshi shook her head no, he then waved at a half-eaten ham sandwich. “Some food?” Again Hoshi shook her head no, perplexed by his behavior. What was going on?
“Sir, you said you needed my expertise?” she finally queried. He nodded, running his hand through his hair. When he made no other response, Hoshi persisted. “Is it an Engineering matter? Or Communications?”
Finally, he met her eyes. “No, it’s...well, it’s kinda personal.” When Hoshi remained silent, he went on. “I...um...I need language lessons. You’re the expert, so I was hopin’...” he trailed off, looking at her apprehensively.
Hoshi was a bit shocked, but she tried to hide it. “Well, of course I could help you with that, sir,” she responded. “I’ve done a lot of teaching. What language did you want to learn?”
“I’m okay at memorizing the words and stuff,” Trip went on as though she had not spoken. “It’s just that my pronunciation really stinks.” He began to pace the office. “And like I said, it’s pretty personal. I wouldn’t want anyone to know about it...” He trailed off again.
“You can rely on my discretion, Commander,” she assured him in her most professional voice—Hoshi Sato, Communications Officer. What on earth could be so personal about learning another language?
“You promise?” The engineer pounced on her statement. “You swear you won’t tell anyone?”
His earnest plea catapulted Hoshi back to her childhood. Should I say, ‘Cross my heart and hope to die? ’ she wondered. Or maybe just offer to pinkie swear. That was always good enough for the other kids on the block.
“Commander,” she began, trying to keep the exasperation out of her voice. “Lieutenant Reed considers me a very low security risk. I would think that would be enough for you, as well.” He continued to pace and glance at her with apprehension. She sighed, giving in to his paranoia. “Okay! I promise, I won’t tell anyone.” He stopped pacing and looked at her hopefully. “Now, what language do you need to learn?”
Trip clasped his hands together and looked nervous again. Okay, this is getting ridiculous, Hoshi thought. “Commander?” she prodded.
“IwannalearntospeakVulcan,” he blurted so fast that Hoshi could only blink at the incomprehensible statement.
Commander Tucker repeated himself, but did not reduce the velocity of his delivery. “IwannalearntospeakVulcan.”
His second utterance was no more intelligible than the first, but Hoshi’s trained ear caught the significant word.
“Vulcan?” she asked incredulously. “You want me to teach you to speak Vulcan?”
Commander Tucker looked at her for a brief moment, then dropped his eyes to the floor and nodded. Hoshi noticed that his ears were flaming red.
Ooooooooooooh! she thought, suddenly enlightened. Yes, this certainly is a personal request!
Too bad he’d sworn her to secrecy. She would have loved to crow to Travis about how the ship’s grapevine had been right on the money!
* * *
Once Hoshi had managed to get her superior officer past his initial embarrassment, she convinced him that they should discuss their language attack strategy over a snack. Luckily for the commander’s paranoia, the mess hall was nearly empty for their discussion.
Commander Tucker was happy to explain that he thought it would be a sign of respect to a fellow officer if he took the time to learn her language. Hoshi’s eyes ached with the effort to keep from rolling them. She must not have been very successful, because the commander apparently felt the need to defend his position.
“It’s just that she called me her friend—in Vulcan. I was real flattered, but when I tried to call her ‘friend’ back—in Vulcan—I ended up calling her ‘fat!’”
Hoshi sought clarification. “You called her ‘thelik’ or ‘thel’a?’”
Tucker nodded miserably. “The second one, I think. I’m not the swiftest guy in the world, but even I know that you never call a woman fat. Even if she’s as big as the starboard nacelle!”
The engineer seemed truly distraught at the idea of having insulted Sub-Commander T’Pol. “Since she’s a Vulcan, she would never say so, but I think she was pretty pissed off.”
Hoshi ran though all the potential vocabulary that could have caused this misunderstanding. There seemed to be only one possibility, but she wanted to make sure. “Okay. So Sub-Commander T’Pol called you...” Hoshi eyed him in the hopes of clarification.
“Thy...they...something that started with ‘th,’ anyway!” Commander Tucker was unwilling to even attempt the offending word.
“T’hai’la?” Hoshi ventured.
“Yes!” The engineer’s eyes lit up. “That’s the one! She said it means ‘good friend.’”
Hoshi eyed him speculatively. That’s not all it means, she thought. Yep, the ship’s grapevine definitely had those two pegged.
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A whole mess of folks have made comments
great story!!! t'pol's reaction to trip calling her fat was priceless! please continue
LOL!!! Couldn't stop laughing "IwannalearntospeakVulcan" yes, yes and yes that was priceless. Great story, well written. Jeez this Trip/T'pol Summer Challenge is certainly bring out the best in everyone. Good work!!
this is great so far. Please update soon.
Oh, what a beautiful, beautiful and funny story!! Please continue soon!
Great start, update soon.
What a riot! I can't wait to see how the Vulcan lessons progress...Poor Hoshi...She has her hands full with Trip and she better have the patience of a saint....
Oh that was really funny! I loved it! I can already tell this is going to be a great story. Please update soon!
This is lovely, wonderful! Oh T'Pol, you little minx. Can't wait to see how this pans out. Very well written and highly entertaining, Ali D :~)
I'm laughing out loud here. The "Raised Eyebrow of Death"! Hilarious! Can't wait to read more.
Great story! -- made me laugh out loud, and I'm still grinning. Thanks!
I really love it! Humor is as good as romance in any story, and you are doing it well! Please give us more.
Wonderful first chapter. I loved your great sense of humor in your other two fics and really shines through in this one.
LOL! Trip called T'Pol fat- that was great, as was his tactical retreat. "IwannalearntospeakVulcan"- another great line. Hoshi's POV was great- all the references to the grapevine being accurate. Hmmm, I wonder what else "T’hai’la" means, and I can't wait to see what insight Hoshi gained into T'Pol by it.
GREAT beginning. Part of the fun is Hoshi's internal reactions to things. Really looking forward to reading more.