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Supernova- Ch. 4
By Samantha Quinn
Summary: What was T’Pol doing while Archer and Trip were having a little heart to heart? I know a lot of you thought/wanted it to be Hoshi . . . but I didn’t think she would betray Trip’s confidence that way. And I’m not certain that a certain lieutenant is acting in character here. . . but those darn human emotions will cause that sometimes.
“Greetings, Lieutenant Reed. Is there a security predicament that requires my attention?” I inquire of the armoury officer.
I notice his nervousness as he replies, “No, Sub-Commander. My visit is for purely . . . personal reasons,” he informs me.
This is most curious. What personal intentions could motivate to seek my attention at this hour? As I have been thus far unable to sleep, I decide it will be most prudent to hear Lieutenant Reed’s reasons.
“Very well, Lieutenant,” I reply. “Would you like a cup of tea while you are here? It is my understanding that humans from your section of Earth value the substance as much as Vulcans do,” I say, in an effort to be polite, although I would rather he was not in my quarters. For no other reason than I wish to spend the last hours on the Enterprise thinking of my Commander, whom I must begin to forget as soon as I leave the ship.
“Yes, that would be delightful,” Reed replies and I make preparations to pour him a cup from the remnants of a pot I had made twenty minutes prior. The water is still at an acceptably warm temperature, as I have kept the kettle on a hotplate.
I had prepared the tea in order to assist me in my meditation. It had not helped.
Handing the cup to the lieutenant, I sit down on my bed and motioned to Reed to assume the chair across from me.
“What ‘personal issues’ would you like to discuss, Lieutenant?” I inquire after a moment of silence passes between us.
In reply, Reed takes a drink of tea. Surprise becomes evident on his face. “This is quite good,” he remarks. “Incredible, really. Vulcan and England are so far apart, yet have a common bond in beverages. Although, I suppose it’s a lot like Earth’s history-China and England are both far away, yet we both have tea as our main beverage.”
In what has been a reoccurring event in the past couple of days, I allow myself to indulge in human emotion. This time, I experience great irritation.
Had the lieutenant come to my quarters to discuss the beverage patterns of our home worlds? Surely not.
“I was under the impression, Lieutenant, that the reason for such widespread cultural similarity of England on Earth resulted from years of imperial domination by your home country.”
“Yes, but the end result was a delightful hybrid of leaf that made for a great cup of tea.” Reed responds.
I do not care for this crewmember as much as I care for my Commander. His emotions and moods require more effort to decipher. Deciding that he is attempting to be humorous to break the mood, I resist the suddenly strong urge to order him out of my quarters. Although the thought is tempting, I deduce this is due only to my lack of meditation over the past two days.
“I do not believe you came to see me to discuss the historical importance of tea, Lieutenant,” I reply steadily.
Reed glances down into his cup and he murmurs softly, “No, I did not.”
"Then what does bring you to my quarters, Lieutenant?" I inquire.
When Reed raises his head to reply, I notice for the first time the
"How could you do this to him?" Reed demands.
Although I am not as fond of this human as I am of my commander, I have heretofore appreciated his dependable nature. Of all the humans I have served with, Lieutenant Reed is the most efficient and most logical. Such was my previous belief. However, his actions tonight threaten that perception.
"Oh, you know bloody well who I am talking about," he rejoins, jumping out of his seat. He begins pacing, a human concept I still do not entirely understand.
“I’m afraid I do not, Lieutenant. Perhaps it would be prudent for you to enlighten me,” I respond.
The lieutenant ceases to pace and turns to look at me. “Certainly, Sub-Commander. I am referring to Commander Tucker.”
Clasping my hands tightly together, I acknowledge his accusation only with another question of my own.
“What exactly do you believe I am doing to Commander Tucker?”
“Nothing severe. Just breaking his heart,” the lieutenant replies. I recognize his literary device as being sarcasm. A complicated part of the English language and one I will not appreciate on this evening.
“The sarcasm is not necessary, Lieutenant Reed. I will not remind you again that I am a senior officer for the next eight point nine hours. I expect to be treated accordingly,” I tell the man in front of me, willing myself to maintain control of the emotions threatening to overwhelm me.
And all he has done up to this point is mention my Commander.
“There are some things that transcend the nature of the service*, T’Pol. This is one of them,” was the reply.
I arch my eyebrow in response. Up to now, I have always known Lieutenant Reed to be a dedicated officer. I was unaware he believed anything could ‘transcend’ the nature of service. While I do not understand his accusations, I do realize he must find them of the utmost importance.
“Lieutenant, I can appreciate your concerns for Commander Tucker. However, they are unfounded. In order for me to ‘break’ the Commander’s heart, I would need to be in possession of it,” I say, pausing to reflect how greatly that indicated how much I desired the Commander. “I am not.”
“Surely you aren’t that daft, T’Pol. Bloody hell, maybe you are. That’s great. That makes me feel a great bit less foolish for my own actions,” the lieutenant mutters as he resumes pacing.
I find the action of pacing quite disturbing.
“Which actions do you refer to, Lieutenant?” I inquire.
The question does not have the desired effect. Lieutenant Reed continues pacing as he answers. Shaking his head, the lieutenant whispers softly, “I was too foolish to realize it until she was gone.”
She? Were we not previously discussing my Commander?
“Whom do you refer to, Lieutenant?” I press, summoning my Vulcan strength not to express my irritation.
What Hoshi and Trip are doing . . .
Perhaps I have judged Lieutenant Reed too harshly. It is quite possible that he feels something akin to my own turmoil.
“I see. What exactly do my actions towards Commander Tucker affect your feelings towards Ensign Sato?” I ask cautiously. What the Captain revealed to me was relayed in confidence due to my being in second command. I do not believe Commander Tucker and Ensign Sato have made their relationship public knowledge.
Instead of answering my question, the lieutenant walks over to my desk. Noticing my Commander’s gift, he picks it up and examines it with the same meticulous gaze that makes him such an efficient amoury officer.
“A present, T’Pol? Who is it for?”
“I do not believe that is any concern of yours, lieutenant.”
“It is for Trip, then?”
Are my emotions so transparent? It becomes increasingly fortunate that I am leaving the Enterprise. “Yes, it is. A Valentine’s gift.”
The lieutenant looks up, gift still in his hand. He is amused. No doubt he is remembering my inappropriate display of emotion yesterday morning on the bridge. He confirms my suspicions by saying, “Speaking of Valentine’s Day, you were giving Hoshi some pretty emotional looks this morning, Sub-Commander.”
Another new emotion. Shame?
“It was not my intention to give anyone such emotional looks, Lieutenant Reed,” I assure him, but he shakes his reply is to chuckle softly.
“Oh, I don’t blame you, T’Pol. Jealously isn’t an emotion everyone can control. Not even Vulcans.”
I arch my eyebrow in response. It is safer than trusting my voice to speak.
“Yes, Sub-Commander, I too am aware of what Hoshi and Trip have been doing.”
Is Perfectly Normal.
“I see. And what do my actions have to do with Ensign Sato and Commander Tucker?” In reply to my question, the lieutenant carefully lays down my Commander’s gift and leans backwards on my desk, supporting his weight with his hands only.
“Hoshi came to me first. She wanted me. I pulled away,” Lieutenant Reed informs me. His fastidious stare has become focused on his boots.
“It was then that she sought the attention of my-“ I stop myself just in time. “the attention of Commander Tucker?” I inquire.
“Why did you pull away? I had assumed you desired the Ensign on several prior instances,” I admit.
To my surprise, he chuckles again. The laugh slowly turns into a sob and for several minutes he struggles to control himself. As I can appreciate the struggle for control over one’s emotions, I allow him that time uninterrupted. When he has controlled himself, he speaks again.
“Because I was a fool. I hid behind regulations, quoted Starfleet standards. But really, that was all bunk. I was frightened. Too afraid to commit to something I wanted so badly. I had been playing it cautious for so long that when my chance came up . . . I-I was too fearful to take advantage of it,” the lieutenant admits.
His admission causes me distress. It should not be disturbing, should it? I did not have such an opportunity with Commander Tucker. I did not reject his advances. I was not afraid. It is unreasonable to find such guilt at Lieutenant Reed’s confession.
Yet, insensibly, I do.
He takes my lack of a response as an invitation to continue.
“Hoshi waited for me to continue come around. But she eventually grew tired of waiting on me and realized I wasn’t going to give her what she wanted-what she needed. It was only then she chose to-“ he falters.
“To be intimate with my Commander Tucker,” I manage to whisper. The feeling of sorrow has engulfed my very presence. I do not notice the inclusion of my possessive pronoun until Lieutenant Reed speaks again.
Lieutenant Reed nods. “Your Commander Tucker?” he inquires.
“It matters little, Lieutenant,” I respond to his question. “Regardless of the reason Hoshi chose Commander Tucker, he did not have such motives.”
He cocks his head in response. “You really don’t have any clue about his feelings for you, do you?”
***As deep as the ocean***
“The Commander has expressed nothing further than friendship for me, Lieutenant,” I reply indignantly. Surely he does not think I sent away my Commander in the same fashion he sent away Ensign Sato.
I did not.
“He’s bloody crazy about you, T’Pol. Didn’t you see the look on his face when you told him you were heading back to Vulcan?”
I did. “The Commander was quite silent. He is an emotional man. Indisputably, had he felt any emotional response, he would expressed it verbally,” I point out.
Lieutenant Reed gives his first genuine laugh of the evening in reply. “Oh, he gave a verbal response, Sub-Commander. You just left too soon to see it.”
“I do not understand.”
As Lieutenant Reed relates the events that took place this morning on the bridge, I feel a sudden surge of joyfulness. It is a sensation I have not felt since the Captain asked me for advice on fraternization.
“Commander Tucker expressed a desire for me to stay?” I solicit.
“You could say that,” Lieutenant Reed laughs. “He’s madly in love with you, Sub-Commander. He’s just being cautious . . . it is one of the few traits he and I share. But take it from an old pro at the agony game--your leaving will break Trip’s heart.”
“I do not understand. If you knew this . . . and you also knew that Ensign Sato chose you first and therefore most likely felt a deeper connection for you than with Commander Tucker, why did you not bring your feelings to her attention once you realized their intensity?” I inquire.
“Trip is my closest friend on this ship, Sub-Commander. I did not realize until this morning on the bridge the reason he was with Hoshi. I had believed--just as you have--that Trip has deep feelings for her. I wasn’t about to butt in and hurt him, as Hoshi seemed content with him,” the lieutenant pauses only a moment before continuing.
“It was that same friendship that brought me here tonight. Although I do not see how it is possible, Trip obviously views Hoshi as only a substitute. His real feelings are for you, as made obvious this morning. If you leave, you’ll be doing the same thing to Trip as I did to Hoshi. I do not wish to see that happen to my friend,” he finishes. As he is human, he does not try to mask the pain is obvious in his voice.
“I see. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Lieutenant,” I say as Lieutenant Reed turns towards my door. The calm in my voice conceals the conflicting emotions struggling to rise to the surface.
“Good night, Sub-Commander,” is the equally professional reply as the lieutenant departs my quarters.
He no sooner departs than I hear a chime notifying me of another visitor. I will send them away. I must have a talk with my Commander immediately.
Rising, I walk to the door and open it. For the first time, I feel gratitude for the ability to feel emotions. If I did not possess the ability to have them, I could not feel the hope that floods through me as I see the form of Commander Tucker standing before me.
*Yep, I stole this line from Amok Time. But who’s to say Spock wasn’t quoting the great Malcolm Reed, inventor of Red Alert?
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