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To Have Learned Nothing At All
Author - Samantha Quinn | Genre - Action/Adventure | Genre - Drama | Main Story | Rating - PG-13 | T
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To Have Learned Nothing At All
By Samantha Quinn
The time that had passed since the crew’s last movie night was longer than anyone could remember-with the exception of T’Pol, of course. It had also been longer than most of the crew would have preferred to dwell upon. Not that they had not had sufficient cause. No, the crew of the Enterprise had been fighting the Xindi and in doing so, both vindicating the lives of seven million dead and preventing the loss of any additional deaths.
But for now, their noble deeds had been pushed to the furthest corners of their minds. The Xindi Conflict had been resolved and the crew of the NX-01 could guiltlessly enjoy life once again. One of the first indulgences they had happily regained was movie night. Presently, two-thirds of the surviving crew sat in rapt attention as they watched The Wizard of Oz unfold on the screen in front of them.
The seating arrangements definitely reflected the change in relationships that had occurred during the voyage. Close to the front, Ensign Hoshi Sato sat next to Ensign Travis Mayweather whose arm casually draped across her shoulders. In the middle sat Commander Trip Tucker flanked on either side by his two dearest friends-T’Pol and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed. If asked, Trip would assuredly still count Jonathan Archer as his close friend, but the Expanse had put a definite strain upon their relationship. Which is perhaps why in the very back of the room sat Captain Jonathan Archer, feeling more than slightly distant from the rest of his crew.
“There’s no place like home,” Dorothy repeated, “There’s no place like home.”
Trip leaned closer to Malcolm and whispered softly, “That’s for damn sure.” Malcolm nodded and undoubtedly, the rest of the crew would have given their agreement as well, had they been asked. In the hearts and minds of the Enterprise crew, Dorothy of Kansas had been a prophet. Or at the very least, a very wise young lady.
In the seat next to Trip, T’Pol sat watching curiously as the child clicked her heels and willed herself back home. She heard Trip’s comment and saw Reed’s firm nod in response. Their enthusiasm was understandable. They had no reason to doubt the results of their homecoming-they would be branded heroes and celebrated with the same fervor that Auntie Em and Uncle Henry welcomed back their niece when she awoke from her coma. T’Pol doubted very much that her home planet would react in a similar fashion.
T’Pol’s musings were cut short when the lights came on and the crew began filing out of the room. Trip bade goodbye to Malcolm and Mackenzie and T’Pol turned her gaze towards the handsome engineer. “Will you require my assistance tonight, Commander?” she asked.
*You’re inviting me to your quarters for a massage that we’ve been carrying on for the entire time we’ve been in the Expanse, and you still insist on calling me ‘Commander,’* Trip thought to himself. Although, he conceded, it was probably just as well. If T’Pol had been any less formal, it was doubtful Trip could have controlled himself as easily as he had. *No, not easily,* he amended. *But I’ve done a good job hiding my more primal urges. Why, I’d make any Vulcan envious, with the way I’ve been suppressing my emotions.* None of this was anything he wished to share with T’Pol however. To her, he said, “Ya don’t have to do that, T’Pol. I know ya don’t need my help anymore, since the Expanse isn’t affecting your REM patterns anymore. I don’t want ya to feel obligated.”
T’Pol’s brows furrowed in response. As intrusive as she sometimes found the intimacy of the neuro-pressure, she realized she did not wish for Commander Tucker to miss their appointment, as he had the night before. “I assure you, Commander, I do not feel ‘obligated,’ in the manner in which you use the term. Further, the Expanse was never the reason for your inability to sleep. Undoubtedly, you still require the benefits of the technique,” she surmised.
The engineer couldn’t suppress the grin that overcame his features. Not only did he know T’Pol was right, but this conversation was the first time she risen to the occasion to banter with him in the past week since they had left the Expanse. He’d rather missed their verbal jousting. “It’d be helpful,” Trip agreed. “I didn’t get but an hour of sleep last night.”
“Your stubbornness shall lead to your end, Commander,” T’Pol advised.
“Not while you’re here to take care of me,” Trip rejoined. As soon as it left his mouth, Trip felt foolish. The infernal arching of T’Pol’s left eyebrow didn’t help him feel any less foolish, either. Flushing, Trip stammered to explain himself, “I-uh. . . I meant that. . . "
Trip nodded, relieved to have been given an easy out for his slip. *So much for controlling yourself, Trip,* he chided gently as he fell in step behind T’Pol.
The walk back to T’Pol’s quarters was a quiet one. Once inside, Trip removed his shirt. T’Pol noted with interest that regardless of how routine the situation was, the Commander always managed to look slightly embarrassed as he undressed. *No doubt due to human emotions of embarrassment,* T’Pol pondered. Deciding it would cause him further embarrassment to question him, T’Pol motioned silently to the bed.
As he sat down, Trip asked, “So, how’d you like the movie?”
T’Pol’s hands stopped briefly as she contemplated an answer. “It was intriguing,” she said finally.
“I appreciated the symbolism of characters from her life finding manifestations in her dream,” T’Pol said slowly.
“Yeah, I always that was pretty neat too. Even though she was so far away from home, she still managed to have a little peace of Kansas with her in the wonderful land of Oz,” Trip agreed. He could feel the tension leaving his back and silently praised the founder of this technique. He laughed softly. “Ya know, it’s kinda symbolic. The Expanse-with all its crazy spheres, space pirates and anomalies is pretty analogous to Oz.”
“The monkeys, disgruntled trees and wicked witch representing the aforementioned spheres, pirates and anomalies?”
Trip laughed again. T’Pol recalled the moroseness that had plagued him when they had begun their sessions. While she acknowledged the benefit of the slow redemption out of his descent into anguish, she realized that soon he would no longer need her help. The thought was more displeasing that it should have been. Shaking her head, T’Pol pressed her fingers harder against his back. The pressure caused him to moan out loud.
“Damn, T’Pol,” he murmured. Clearing his throat, he added, “Ya know, ya sure have mellowed. The T’Pol I that first came on the Enterprise never would have made such an analogy. Ya wouldn’t have seen the logic in it, I bet.”
Trip felt the pause of her finger tips and he braced himself for the backlash he was sure to come. When it didn’t, he was surprised. *T’Pol sure is being awfully quiet tonight,* he reflected.
“It was an appropriate analogy,” T’Pol responded as her fingers resumed their contact. “Just as The Wizard of Oz was an undoubtedly appropriate choice for your species on your voyage home.”
Trip turned his head to look at her questionably. “What about you? You’re returning home too.”
T’Pol rose, signifying that she was finished. “Are you sufficiently relaxed, Commander?” she questioned.
Trip nodded and rose to stand as well. “Yeah, I feel a lot better. I’ll sleep like a baby. How come ya didn’t answer my question?” He felt momentarily guilty about prying, but he pushed the thought away. T’Pol had helped him for the entire duration of the Expanse mission. As a result, they had inevitably grown closer. Maybe not as close as he wished, but close enough to consider each other friends.
T’Pol sat back down on the bed and turned her gaze upward as she regarded him steadily. “There was no need. You already acknowledged the truth.”
Trip’s face scrunched in confusion. “When exactly did I do that?”
“In your analysis of the change in my persona and the decline of my logic,” T’Pol answered.
Dawning came upon Trip and he felt a twinge of guilt. Here he’d been trying to bait T’Pol and had stumbled upon the subject that had been causing her concern for the past week. *Good job, Trip,* he scolded himself. *Way to repay her for all her help. Taunt what she considers to be her weakness.* “Oh. . . you’re worried that the High Command will still be upset at you for coming with us into the Expanse, huh?” he asked, lowering his voice to imply his sympathy.
T’Pol clasped her hands together and held them in her lap. “I am not ‘worried,’ Commander. That is a human emotion. However, there is little doubt the Vulcan High Command will remain firm in their original beliefs regarding the Expanse. My homeworld was never in imminent danger and thus, they did not gain substantially from the experience.”
“What about the scientific discoveries we made while in there?” Trip pointed out.
T’Pol shook her head. “That reasoning is not likely to sway them.”
“That’s lousy,” Trip commented, running his hand through his hair distractedly. “It doesn’t seem fair they would hold such a grudge.”
“You must remember, Commander, I resigned my commission with them prior to entering the Expanse. I left them with little alternative,” T’Pol replied. “To re-grant my commission and rank without sufficient cause would be illogical and an emotional response worthy of a human-not a Vulcan.”
Trip sighed in frustration. T’Pol was right of course. “Ya know, for a race that prides itself so much on being unemotional, you Vulcans sure can be stubborn.”
T’Pol crossed her arms and would have scowled, had she been human. “On the contrary, I believe stubbornness to be a human quality. As I have already pointed out, Commander, I have known considerably stubborn members of your species.”
Trip grinned. *That’s the T’Pol I’ve been missing all week,* he thought joyously to himself. As good as it was to have her back, Trip wanted to make certain she remained. “Ya were right about my stubbornness,” he conceded, earning a bemused eyebrow lift from the Vulcan. *Never thought you’d hear that from me, did you?* Trip questioned inwardly. “And I hope you appreciated hearin’ that, because it isn’t goin’ to become a regular occurrence.”
“I would not expect it to be,” T’Pol answered. “Such admissions would contradict your stubborn nature.”
Trip gave her an amused smirk and continued, “You were also right about somethin’ else. Remember how you said Dorothy was able to take a part of her home with her to the land of Oz?”
“Yes,” T’Pol answered.
“Well, that’s you. The whole time we were in the Expanse, you kept using your Vulcan principles and knowledge to bail us out of trouble. Yeah, you might have had to bend them a bit-but they were still evident. Just as the three farm hands were the lion, scarecrow, and tin man. You’re still T’Pol, and you’re still a Vulcan.”
“That analogy is flawed, as Dorothy’s dream was the result of physicial injury sustained during the tornado,” T’Pol replied.
“Yeah, but it’s still a good analogy,” Trip answered defiantly, placing his hands on his hips.
T’Pol cocked her head. “It has considerable merit,” she answered. “Thank you, Commander.”
“No need to thank me, T’Pol,” he answered. “It’s the truth. And if the Vulcan High Command can’t see that, then to hell with ‘em. Ya can always move to Earth. I’m sure Starfleet would be more than happy to have your input, after all you’ve done for us.”
“I shall keep that option in mind, Commander,” T’Pol responded sincerely.
“And uh. . . maybe if you’re still experiencing tension, I could . . . return the massage,” Trip suggested.
T’Pol contemplated his offer. “Without the effect of the Expanse, meditation should suffice,” she answered.
Trip flushed and nodded. “Sure. Well, I’ll be going,” he said as he turned quickly towards the door.
“Although,” T’Pol started, stopping Trip in his tracks, “Undoubtedly the massage method will aide in my mediation efforts.”
Trip nodded and remained looking at the door. “Okay, then. Um, I’ll just keep lookin’ at the door while you um, get ready.”
T’Pol briefly contemplated telling him that was unnecessary, but the stammering in his sentence structure reminded her of his human propensity for propriety. She did not see the logic in it at all. “Are you this uncomfortable when Dr. Phlox examines you?” she inquired as she began removing her top.
“No,” Trip answered. “But well, it’s not the same thing.”
“I hardly see why not,” T’Pol answered. “Both are medical procedures.”
“It’s a human thing, T’Pol,” Trip responded with a sigh. *And I don’t have to fight with my body to keep it from responding to Phlox,* he added silently.
“More species stubbornness,” T’Pol remarked. “In any event, I am prepared, Commander.”
Trip turned around then and stifled a gasp. The sight of T’Pol sitting perched on the bed with her hands strategically placed to mask her breasts was a sight that the Commander was certain would find its way into his dreams once again. *Not that I’d complain. It’s a damn sight better than the alternative.* He couldn’t help but smile as he took a seat behind T’Pol and flexed his fingers. *The massages lull me to sleep and gives me somethin’ to dream about. Not a bad deal at all.*
“So, T’Pol, since we’ve established that you’re Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz,, who do you suppose I am?” Trip questioned, pressing firmly.
“There is such a thing as carrying an analogy too far, Commander,” T’Pol cautioned.
“Haha, T’Pol. Humor me, huh? After all, I figure the Cap’n’s probably the wizard himself-“
“Then it would stand to reason that the rest of the crew would be munchkins,” T’Pol interrupted.
Trip scowled at the back of her head. “So, you’re sayin’ I’m a random munchkin?” he asked disappointedly.
T’Pol shook her head. “No. Since you insist on continuing this flawed analogy, I would say you most closely resemble Toto.”
“Toto? The dog?” Trip asked in surprise. “What makes you say that?”
“Toto was as close to Dorothy as the manifestations of the farm hands were,” T’Pol answered. “The canine was her companion on the journey-just as you have assisted me during our time in the Expanse.”
Trip was shocked into silence for a moment. Regaining his voice, he managed, “Why, T’Pol, that’s awfully sweet of you to say.”
T’Pol’s head swiveled around to lock gazes with him. “It was not intended to be sweet, Commander,” she retorted. “Further, if you recall, Toto was capable of causing a sufficient amount of trouble.”
“Trouble? Toto? What the poor little dog do?” Trip asked, stifling a laugh and making a mental note that “sweet” was definitely a button to push when he wanted a reaction from the Vulcan.
“The ‘poor little dog,’ caused a sufficient amount of trouble due to his curiosity and desire to run through the neighbor’s yards. That incident was the very reason Dorothy ran away. Had she not done this, she would have been in the cellar with the rest of her family when the tornado struck and therefore would not have been in a coma,” T’Pol answered.
“And if she hadn’t been in a coma, she wouldn’t have visited Oz in the first place,” Trip finished for her.
“That is correct.”
“I don’t know, T’Pol, that doesn’t sound like me at all. I think it’s a bad analogy,” Trip answered.
“I already stated the weakness of this analogy,” T’Pol replied smoothly. “However, you and Toto do share a propensity to allow curiosity to overrule your cognitive abilities.”
“Hey! When have I done that?” Trip demanded indignantly.
T’Pol again turned her head to address the engineer. “The Xyrillians.”
“Dear God, T’Pol, aren’t ya ever goin’ to let me live that down?” Trip exclaimed.
T’Pol turned to look back at the door so that Trip did not see the smile that tugged at her lips. “It was an appropriate time to revisit the experience. It is conclusive proof that you have a tendency to be ruled by your impulses instead of logic, just as Toto did.”
“Yeah, well, you’re the Vulcan,” Trip grumbled.
“Although there is an important difference between you and Toto,” T’Pol conceded.
“I should certainly think so! Please be so kind as to share with me what you think the difference is,” Trip asked.
“When Toto put his paws where they did not belong, it did not result in a pregnancy,” T’Pol answered.
In the corridor outside T’Pol’s quarters, a crewman looked up with a start as he heard a burst of male laughter coming from inside. Smiling, the crewman reflected that the homecoming was having a positive affect on all of them, even the normally stoic Vulcan science officer.
It was good to be home.
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Nine of you have made comments
Wow, what a great beginning. All of the Wizard of Oz references are wonderful. Keep it up!
I loved this. More warm Trip and T'Pol moments please! I don't like to think of the Enterprise crew returning to heroes welcomes and T'Pol being ostracised by her own people for the gift of compassion. Hopefully Trip will figure something out to redress the balance regardless of where he puts his paws! Thanks, can't wait for more - Ali D :~)
What a wonderful start! Your Trip and T'Pol dialogue is spot on and I love having an insight into both of their thoughts and feelings about what's happening between them. And of course I loved T'Pol making the analogy between Trip and Toto ;-)
It pleases me to see that you've begun to write another story. I love how you realistically portray Trip and T'Pol even in an intimate setting. The analogy between The Wizard of Oz and TT is wonderful. I just hope that when they get home Trip remains with T'Pol just like Toto and Dorothy. I can't wait to read the next chapter.
This was just delightful! Nice light piece. Great job.
And did I see a "To be continued..." at the bottom? Does that mean we're in for a treat,in the form of another chapter, or sequel? I can only hope!
Thanks for addressing the issue about T'Pol and modesty! I was very surprised by the response to T'Pol removing her pajama top - why WOULD a Vulcan be bound by human morality in such a situation? To her the intimacy is allowing another to hear her expel her tension audibly - that reveals Vulcans of the 22nd century aren't as controlled as they like to pretend, and for her to reveal such a thing to Trip would be very a very intimate moment for her.
Trip as Toto! Too funny! I'm reading "Wicked" right now - "The Wizard of Oz" told from the view point of the "Wicked Witch of the West" - have you read it?
Wonderful so far! Witty, clever analogies and dialogue. I'm looking forward to seeing where this is going.
I'd say this was wonderful Trip-T'pol interaction. They're saying so much with their looks, their thoughts, and their words - more so than if they just fell into bed together. The analogies to Dorothy and Toto were good too - T'pol is never going to let Trip forget about his pregnancy, is she?
Oh yes to be continued for sure.
What a delightful beginning to what I'm sure will be a great story! Though I'm sure some angst is coming too.
Poor Jon. We must help him rejoin the family.
Trip as Toto! BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!