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The Warp 7 Project: The Enterprise Trials
Author - TLR | E | Genre - Alternate Universe | Genre - Drama | Genre - Romance | Main Story | Rating - PG-13 | T | W
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Warp 7 Project - The Enterprise Trials
August 15, 2006
"Plant maintenance log, star date March 22, 2160. Chief Engineer Commander Charles Tucker the third reporting:" Trip sounded off his new title like he'd been doing so for years.
"It's been a very productive last two weeks. The smaller version of the warp 7 prototype is just finishing its last rounds of trial simulations and showing some pretty impressive results. Within the next couple of days, if all goes well, we hope to be mounting that same prototype into a small maneuver craft for its first trip around the Vulcan system and back. I'm sure looking forward to those tests." Trip hesitated a moment and took a sip from his square shaped mug. It was the strong tea T'Pol got him to substitute for coffee, and now the taste had become as welcoming as the steaming dark brew aboard Enterprise. He continued.
"On a personal note, I am also looking forward to working with my old Captain again. Jonathan Archer is the best person I can think of to be part of this project, and I know he will be thrilled to take the helm in our smaller craft when it is ready for its first voyage." The comm sounded indicating there was staff wishing to enter his oversized office. Trip hit the record button to save his log and bid them enter. In stepped Johnson and Skieck, the Human flanking the taller Vulcan's movements with ease.
"Commander." Skieck prompted in a stark military style. Johnson simply nodded to his equal's initial greeting.
"Morning fellas." Trip's drawl was getting unusually thick over the last week in anticipation of seeing his old friends and colleagues again. "What's on the plate for today?" This question made the Vulcan turn a puzzled look to his Human counterpart for explanation. Johnson just chuckled.
"Final round of simulations are set to run throughout the next two days. We hope to have everything ready for Captain Archer's test flight. If all goes well, we will begin mounting the prototype into the maneuver craft in three days." Johnson showed a very pleased smile, as his colleague simply stood more erect with his head held high.
"Good work, guys. I couldn't have done it without ya." Trip reviewed the numbers on the padd Johnson handed to him. His smile was brighter than the other Human as he scanned the last set of numbers.
"Oh, and before I forget." Johnson started and removed a small wrapped package from his cloak pocket. "This is for Lizzie…. Tell her, I said Happy Birthday." He handed over the package across the Vulcan's stare.
"Thank ya Josh. I know Lizzie's gonna love it." Tucker turned the package over and over again in his hands, impressed by the fine gold wrapping cloth that covered it.
"I know it's a few days late, but we've been so busy working on the prototype, me and Margaret didn't have time to swing by the house and give it to her ourselves." He watched his friend's hand go up in acceptance.
"No apologies necessary. I know how hard we have been working. I almost missed her birthday party myself." Trip grinned as he remembered getting so mesmerized by his work that he got to their celebratory gathering a half hour late. He remembered the pissed look on his wife's face as she stood there beside her oblivious daughter. "Besides my folks haven't gotten here yet and they'll want to celebrate again. Perhaps you can get to that one."
Trip watched the perplexed face of his Vulcan staff member. "Skieck, you and your wife are welcome to come as well. We'd be honored to have you there." The chief engineer knew how important it was not to single out his Human staff members, no matter that he felt more at home with them than he did with the other two thirds that were Vulcans.
"Most kind…" Skieck replied. "I am not familiar with this type of gathering. Humans celebrate their children's date of birth every year?" He seemed quite surprised by this custom.
"Yeah… It's just a way of acknowledging to them how special they are to their family and friends. It's just a small thing. You know cake and singing… Don't Vulcan's celebrate their children's birthdays?" Trip never brought this subject up with his wife, since she seemed so willing to conform to the Human tradition. Naturally he assumed it was a Vulcan custom as well.
"We celebrate their birth…." The Vulcan thought long and hard. "their ascension, their passing the Kas'Wan, finishing their primary schooling." The list the Vulcan was speaking seemed all very important accomplishments, but Trip noted it was all about achieving, not for just being. As he pondered the strangeness of this world, the Human realized it was the Vulcan's way to reward achievement. To simply reward existence would, to them, not be logical.
When Skieck had halted his list, Trip spoke up. "Well, she's got all those parties to come too, it's just that Humans are a bit sentimental about their kids and we like to let them know they are special as often as possible." He felt like he was defending a silly ritual.
(in Vulcan:)"It's a Human thing." Johnson spoke up using his best Vulcan pronunciation which made both his colleague and his boss feel they had a way out of this conversation. Trip just laughed as Skieck nodded in understandable appreciation.
"Well, we'd better get back on schedule." Johnson now spoke in English starting both men to move toward the door.
"Good idea, I'll be out in a little bit to check your progress." Trip answered back putting the present on his desk beside the holographic photo of his children. It was colorful. The two children clinging to their sehlats as a back drop and smiles that jumped out at anyone who looked upon the picture. The sight of the little girl didn't go unnoticed to the tall Vulcan. He turned half way to the door to address the Commander.
"Commander…. I would speak with you." This got Johnson's attention and he wondered what news he had of their project. The younger Human halted in his tracks and looked back at his partner. Skieck glanced back at Josh, then to his boss. "It is a personal matter." With that, Trip nodded Johnson go and out of the office the young engineer left.
"Sure…. Have a seat." Tucker waved to the straight backed chair opposite his desk. Skieck returned to the area and sat, his back not touching the soft fabric of the chair.
"What can I do for ya?" Trip wondered what this Vulcan had on his mind.
"Your daughter is starting her fore-schooling soon?" His words were even and seemed odd coming from a man who believed family talk didn't belong in the work place.
"Ah, yeah…in fact her first day of preschool is today." Trip wore a worried smile when anyone wanted to speak of his children. "Why?"
"I have a son, Stellif.. He completed his fore-schooling two years ago. He has exceptional marks and shows an aptitude in math and science, although he is quite the developing engineer. He will be a responsible mate some day." This Skieck spoke with his head held high.
"He is due to complete his Kas'Wan next year, but I feel he may attempt it this year if he works diligently enough." Again the Vulcan spoke most proudly of his offspring and this was making Trip very nervous.
"That's great to hear…….. He sounds like a fine young man." The Human was not sure why his manager was bringing up these things about his son. Had the Human's offended him with their talk of parties and making their children seem special. Was Trip gonna have to do some apologizing for his gregariousness, he wasn't sure, but something was coming down, the little twinge in the pit of his gut knew that.
"Most kind…." Skieck returned to Trip's praise of the child. "That is why it is only logical that our two children mate." This part slipped out of the Vulcan's mouth so quickly it made Trip's head spin.
"What…" He blurted out unable to control himself. This outburst took the Vulcan aback. Trip realized his insult and tried to cover for his strong response.
"I mean….. I don't understand what you are saying. Elizabeth is only 5 years old. Don't you think it is a bit early to decide who she will marry?" The chief engineer hoped his recovery would save face with his staffer.
"It is a bit early, that is true. Usually a male child's parent awaits the female child's passing of the Kas'Wan to offer a bonding deal to her father, however I have come to know you as a bright and trustworthy male, and the house of Surak is a very respected and honored one. I feel that your child will not have any difficulty with her obligations and the joining of our two houses would be of great benefit to both our bloodlines." Trip's head was spinning. On one hand he was furious that the offer was extended, making him feel like his child was a piece of meat to be bartered over. And on the other hand he knew that to this Vulcan, this was considered a great honor to be asked before Lizzie had proven herself worthy. He wondered just how well he could steel his emotions to keep the Vulcan from picking up on his dismay at the thought of his daughter being betrothed.
"Your offer honors our family." Trip started with a line he'd heard his wife use many times in her diplomatic meetings at the house. "However, it is a bit too soon for us to be betrothing our daughter. My wife and I agreed not to speak of it until after her Kas'Wan and I need to honor that promise, you understand." The Human crossed his fingers and held his breath hoping he'd spoken the right words.
"Of course…. It would not be logical to go back on a promise made to your mate. I will await the passing of your daughter's Kas'wan then resubmit my offer." The tall Vulcan rose and bowed his head in respect then left the room. Trip nodded likewise and within minutes, was hyperventilating over the situation he'd just squeaked out of.
(I can't believe that guy. Asking for Lizzie's hand in marriage when she hasn't even finished her first day of school yet. Well there is one thing for sure. There is certainly never a dull moment on this very strange planet.) Trip paced his office trying to calm down from the frustrated feelings his recent encounter brought him. It would be the better part of the morning before he found himself relaxed enough to join his staff in the main plant assembly area.
Later, at the midday break, Trip came through the front doors of the garden. His white cloak covered his bloodshot red eyes. He caught sight of his daughter laying on Kamute near the front door of the living area. He walked into the house, and found her unwilling to get up to greet him. The parent stood there watching the child cling to her wooly pet, resting her head upon its back for comfort. T'Pol approached Trip to take the cloak he held.
"What's up with her?" He asked now too worried about his daughter to think of anything else.
"Her first day at fore-schooling did not go well." T'Pol relayed the message low as if not wanting her child to hear her concern.
"What…did the kids pick on her or something?" The Human took a very defensive tone.
"No… They merely did not wish to speak to her when she wanted to talk with them." T'Pol laid the cloak over a near by cushioned bench.
"Why were they snubbing her….what because she is different?" Trip was growing more and more protective.
"No… they were simply following their parent's teachings. Elizabeth could not understand this and found it difficult to accept."
"Their parents taught them to snub her because she was half Human?" Now the father was ready for bear and his wife had to calm him down with a touch of her hand upon his cheek.
"No Thy'all, Vulcan children of school age are taught not to interact spontaneously with others, only with their teacher and when prompted too. It is a way of getting them to begin to learn their emotional control. Elizabeth has not been taught this. She still feels the need to try to connect with everyone she meets, either empathically or by communication. She obviously confused the other children with her gregariousness and was shunned for her distractive tendencies." T'Pol let out a long exhale at her daughter's hurt feelings.
"They were upset because she tried to make friends?" Trip was boiling. Instead of understanding the need for emotional control, he was now the parent of a very upset 5 yr old and was ready to address some of these parents for their children's bad manners.
"Trip……" T'Pol's voice brought him back to the present.
"She will need to learn to conform to certain rules…. One of them will have to be controlling her emotions. It's not just that she smiles too freely, but that she sprays her emotions on all around her. As she grows, that will cease being cute and start to become annoying and disrespectful. She must learn when she can be open and when she must control herself in order to fit in with both her peoples."
"But haven't you been working with her lately. I hear you correcting her all the time." Trip was more sympathetic to his daughter's plight.
"Yes, but I should have started a year ago. I didn't because you seemed to need her to keep certain characteristics, and I didn't want to program them out of her nature. I felt as she got older, she could tell when to turn them on and off, in order to be acceptable in both her worlds. However, I feel I have failed to give her the basic instruction she needs to be considered acceptable in this society." T'Pol seemed to berate herself for her failure as a parent. Trip brought her into a hug and allowed her head to rest upon his shoulder.
"Aw honey…you're doing a great job. Having a half Human kid is very hard. It's never been done before." The human rubbed his mate's back and nuzzled close into her hair. "She's beautiful, she's bright, she's an exceptional diplomat," Trip felt a brief flutter of humor come through their bond and knew his wife was easing up on herself.
"And hey who says she's not accepted… I have already gotten an offer for her hand from Skieck. He feels our two bloodlines would benefit from the union and is willing not to wait for the results of her Kas'Wan." Trip chuckled at the thought, now having worked out all the anger.
T'Pol pulled away to look at him. "Skieck asked for our daughter's betrothal?" She repeated a strange sense of surprise in her voice.
"Yeah…" Trip was very puzzled by her pleased demeanor. "So…"
"How did you answer his proposal?" T'Pol was even more intrigued.
"I told him she was too young for a betrothal….What did you think I was gonna say. Yeah…. Sure….. take my daughter….." Trip backed away from his wife a bit.
"T'Pol… you can't seriously be considering betrothing Elizabeth…You know how you felt about your betrothal. Besides we haven't even met this kid… for all we know he could be Jack the Ripper." Trip's voice was getting above the whisper they had been speaking in. T'Pol moved him to the patio to continue their discussion.
"Husband….. Vulcan males are taught from childhood to respect Vulcan females. They would no more harm them than they would consider eating meat." She watched as her mate turned another shade of red
"It didn't stop Captain Tavon. He sure liked that chicken we gave him." Now Trip was in her face.
"Those Vulcans were V'Tosh'ka'tor. You might also recall that Tolaris was violent with Captain Archer. No logical Vulcan acts that way. The house of Takier is a noble bloodline. One Elizabeth would do well to join. They are well respected in Vulcan society, almost as much as the house of Surak."
"I can't believe we are having this conversation." Trip cut her off as she was listing the many benefits of being bonded to the house of Takier. "We are talking about our daughter's happiness. A daughter, I might add who, right now is laying on her sehlat sulking over how rude the other kids in her class were to her. And you're even entertaining the idea of a betrothal, when you were miserable in yours. You stayed aboard a ship full of illogical humans just to avoid marrying Koss, or do I have to remind you about the letter."
"Our daughter will do as we did…. She will meet someone she likes, fall in love and marry for love, not because the bloodlines would go well together." Trip circled about the courtyard. He stopped just short of the large urn. Staring at the bubbling water, he tried to calm his nerves.
"Husband, I know that you want our child to be happy, however we must also be concerned with her safety. She must be bonded before her Pon Farr or she could die." T'Pol's voice was warm and affectionate talking of the fear she had for her child.
"T'Pol, Lizzie has got at least 60 yrs to fall in love and marry before her Pon Farr. I am sure someone will come along by then." Trip turned to face her.
"But all the available Vulcan males will be betrothed, how will she find one suitable for her?"
"Why does it have to be a Vulcan male? Why can't she marry a human like her mother did?"
"It is highly unlikely she will be around that many Human males living on Vulcan and serving aboard a Vulcan starship." T'Pol responded a bit more coolly than she meant too.
"Elizabeth Catherine Tucker is not serving aboard any Vulcan starship. She is gonna be a diplomat or an engineer… Neither requires military service. No child of mine is gonna spend time getting shot at. Hell that's why we came here in the first place, to get away from the hostile species taking pot shots at us." The Human's temper was flaring once more. This time though, T'Pol was not in the mood to try to sooth him.
"Mandatory military service is required by everyone. Our child is no exception." She leaned into him and met his hard gaze.
"I don't see V'Lmir doing time in the service." Trip countered realizing just how long it had been since they really disagreed about anything.
"She is in training to be a healer. Healer's and priestesses are exempted from their military commitment." Now the young woman was on tip toe gazing eye to eye with her mate.
"Fine then she'll be a healer or a priestess, but she's not going into any military service, just like she's not gonna get promised to any Vulcan and that is final." Trip leaned in further, almost bumping noses with his mate. The determination between their two points of view was sharp and steeled. It sent disharmony through their bond to the children within the house. As if on cue, both Lizzie and Lorian ran into the courtyard and began hugging their parent's legs. This broke their competition and made the two adults realize just how their differences were affecting the ones they loved most. Instinctively they cooled their feelings, picking up the children and carrying them into the dwelling. After some meditation as a family, they decided to put their argument away for a while, until both sides had time to restudy the other's point of view. It would be late into the evening before all feelings on the issues between them would subside.
"Hey Cap'n…" Trip came up with a big smile while looking down at his little girl with a stern glare. He grabbed his old friend in a big bear hug, slapping him a few times on the back for good measure. Trip then turned his attention to the child. He bent down to her level and began to correct her for the mistake she made.
"Elizabeth Catherine Tucker, how many times has mommy told you, you're not to answer the door without one of us present." He shook a stern finger at her and got the obligatory sad eyes and pout.
"Don't be too hard on her Trip… I saw her through the window and waved. I know she wouldn't have done so if she didn't know the person." Jon was as much of a sucker for Miss Elizabeth's sad looks as was her father.
Trip glanced from his daughter to his friend and back again. "All right, this time you're off the hook, but next time." His words were silenced by the sound of growling coming from the hallway. Into the room at a run was Lorian, his face full of bubbly toothpaste, globs of it dripping down onto his shirt. The child ran past his father and guest and down the other hallway with a very flustered Keller chasing after him. The frustration on the young engineer's face was evident as he righted himself to a stand. Jon on the other hand, began to laugh heartily at the predicament his friend was having.
"Has Lorian been around any rabid animals lately?" Archer's question was barely audible over his laughter.
"No Sir…" Trip replied exhausted by this morning game. He turned to Lizzie who was looking down the hallway for her out of control brother to return.
"Lizzie, honey…. Please go get your brother and help him finish brushing his teeth." The older child just turned to look at her Uncle Jon. She sent a mental complaint about having to leave when she had not yet greeted her favorite uncle. This mental message was met with a bit of frustration by her father. Finally he relented. (All right a quick hug and then get Lorian's teeth brushed and face washed, okay?) This answer was met with a big grin as the curly haired little girl threw her arms about the Captain. Jon hugged her back then was surprised by the sight of the wooly animal with Lorian's shirt in its mouth. The child dangled from the big creature's fangs, giggling and flailing against the bouncing strides of his guardian. The duo trotted past the group and back into the bedroom hallway. A moment later from the same hallway came Kamute. The older creature looked at the group standing before him then sniffed the air. Detecting his offspring he took off in the direction of the wayward twosome. Lizzie let go of the Captain and pursued the creatures, giggling and running as she went.
Archer stared at the spectacle then turned to his friend. Stifling a laugh, he simply questioned. "Got your hands full?" To that the young engineer let out a heavy sigh.
"T'Pol had an early meeting this morning and V'Lmir is off today studying for a healer's test. Lately I have been the one out the door early and have gotten a bit out of step with the morning ritual of getting the kids up and dressed." Trip sat down on a near by bench and offered another to his friend.
"Ya know, I don't remember Lizzie being as rambunctious at this age, do you?" Trip was truly sincere about his recollection, so when his friend let out the laugh he was stifling, it took the young man quite by surprise.
"Are you kidding me?…. The little terror of sickbay." Jon's laugh grew louder. "She escaped, what… 5 times in three days and ended up with her own 24 hr a day security team. And even then, she got away from them and was put on a tether."
Trip thought back and remembered finding his daughter outside their cabin door with the leash attached to her midsection. He grinned now seeing that his son was the same as his daughter.
"The only difference between the two of them is that when Lizzie was that age, you had 84 crew members helping to take care of her and even then she was a handful for all of us." Archer slapped his friend lightly on the back. "Let's face it Trip, with yours and T'Pol's genes, these kids come by their stubborn streaks very naturally." The Humans continued to enjoy their reminiscing a moment longer before the children and animals returned to the room.
Now it was Lorian's turn to come over to check out the new stranger. Although seeing this man occasionally, Lorian was a bit more hesitant to give the Captain the same hug his sister did. He watched as his father once more indicated mentally that the male was a friend, before climbing up into his lap and giving Uncle Jon the once over.
"Hey there buddy….You sure are grow'n" Archer tried to make small talk with the child but felt the uneasy stare of the little one upon him. Lizzie came up and hugged into her uncle. This lessened the toddler's fears even more. Before too long the two children were seated on the Captain's lap each trying in their own way to update him on the happenings of the last 9 months. Trip returned to the bedroom to finish dressing for the day. He came back carrying two large white cotton cloaks, one of which he gave to Archer.
"Now all we gotta do is wait for V'Cara." Trip set down a glass of Kasa juice before the Captain and finished drinking one of his own. He occasionally allowed the children to sip from his glass, as they reached to partake of their favorite beverage.
"Wait for who?" Archer asked having never heard the name before.
"V'Cara…she's V'Lmir's little sister." Trip sipped another portion. "Now that V'Lmir's studies are increasing, V'Cara will be doing more of the assisting here. She's very nice….much younger than V'Lmir, I'd say in her mid teens, but very willing to help and just as trustworthy with the kids."
"This V'Cara, is she studying to be a healer too?" Archer gulped at the tangy juice, his throat a bit parched by the stark desert heat.
"No, she wants to be an engineer of all things. She has 6 more years of regular schooling then she can begin taking primary science classes. After that she does her 10yrs of military service, before coming back and beginning her engineering studies." The Human rattled that off like a Vulcan.
"Wow…. And I thought Starfleet training was tough. All that to become an engineer?" Archer was absolutely floored.
"Yep… but Vulcans look upon study like Humans do vacations. They love it, so the fact that they are in school so long doesn't really bother them. In fact if they did take a vacation, it would be spent learning, training or meditating, so why not go to school more." Trip collected the empty glasses and left for the kitchen. Just then the front door opened. In stepped a young girl, as Trip said of teen age beauty. She had long straight dark hair and jet black eyes. Two combs adorned the sides of her head, pulling her long dark strands back to expose her small delicately pointed ears. She wore the standard white linen cloak, her hood back off on her shoulders. As she spied Archer sitting there with the two children, she turned to address them.
"My apologies for disturbing you." She bowed humbly… "Is Commander Tucker available?"
"Hey great, you made it." The engineer started with a very pleasant grin. He took the cloak from her as she removed it. "V'Cara, I'd like you to meet my friend, Captain Jonathan Archer." Trip pointed in Jon's direction. The Vulcan nodded her greeting and the Captain did the same.
"I hate to rush ya, but I gotta take Lizzie to school on our way into the plant. Lorian's had his teeth brushed and his bath. He's eaten and should go down for a nap just before T'Pol returns from her meeting." Archer watched as Kamute came up to the babysitter and put its head beneath the end of her finger tips. It brushed them lightly, making the touch subtle and non-distracting.
V'Cara moved toward Archer and reached out for the boy, taking him from Jon's lap. Lizzie jumped down too, running to her father to get on her cloak for travel. Keller followed the little girl's every move, even as the group headed for the door. Outside in the front garden area, Trip corrected the young pup, who was now almost a year old and as big as its parent. "Keller… you gotta stay here boy. Lizzie's going to school. She will be back in a little while." He stopped short as he felt a tugging on his covering.
"Daddy…. Keller goes with me to school." Lizzie's small voice was quite emphatic.
"Honey…. Now you know that Keller can't be in school with you. I know you had a bad day yesterday, but you can't bring a sehlat to class with you." Trip bent down trying to comfort and correct his child all at the same time.
"He went with me yesterday. All the kids had their sehlats with them." Lizzie continued quite determined. This got Trip a bit frustrated.
"Elizabeth Catherine Tucker…you know I don't like you to lie to me. None of the kids had their sehlats in class with them yesterday, now did they?" Her father held onto the child's shoulders tightly, not letting her turn away from him.
"Yes they did. Ask Mommy." Her voice was sharper and in his mind Trip could hear his daughter calling out for her mother's interceding.
"Lizzie… Mommy is busy…don't go bothering her." Trip panicked knowing that his wife was in the midst of some extremely tense negotiations. But it was too late, for after only seconds, Trip could hear T'Pol's thoughts in his mind.
(What is the difficulty?) Her response was somewhat emotional for a Vulcan.
(Sorry Honey….. Lizzie doesn't want to go to school without Keller and she didn't like it when I said no.) Archer watched the silence between the two grow. He knew there was much being said even if he couldn't hear it.
(Keller is to accompany her to school. He must learn the route so he can walk her there every day. In the first year of schooling, sehlats help the child to learn control. They are also a necessary link as to the child's well-being for the parents. He may go with her.) Trip sat back and looked at his daughter a bit stunned. He pulled her into a hug and whispered into her ear.
"I'm sorry munchkin….. Daddy knows you would never lie to him." Lizzie just hugged him back, the smile returning to her face. Standing, Trip realized that Keller would not ride in the hovercraft. He'd not minded being a bit late leaving because he was gonna drop Lizzie off on his way into the plant. Now if they didn't hurry, even the child would be late.
"We gotta go." came a quick statement from the young man as he donned his hood and hustled his child and party out the door. He gave Jon the controls to the hovercraft and told him where to pick him up. Then through the cobble stoned community and across the short patch of desert, the family marched getting to the school area just as the final gong was sounding. With a quick kiss, Trip sent his daughter and her best friend into the clay formed structure, a little piece of him worrying that the child would once again have a miserable experience.
T'Pol sat at her oversized desk, straight backed examining the data on the padd she held. Her office had changed greatly from the décor it held originally at the hands of Administrator V'Los. Now the stark olive walls were colored a soothing ocean blue. Large shields holding the 'house of Surak' family crest were located in prominent areas about the room. The Vulcan's concern for hiding her lineage was long gone and now T'Pol was embracing that which often taxed her in the past.
Negotiations between a half dozen new species over the last year had left the diplomatic veteran a pro at addressing new life and new civilizations. But recently T'Pol thought she had met her match. The E'carans were a people from sector 372, a part of space that used to be in the outskirts of the expanse. They were an intelligent race, capable of warp travel for over a century and who were just now venturing out into a safer universe. Their first contact with Vulcans was after a ship of theirs broke down. A Surok class vessel called the T'Pell came to their aide. Their interaction was so impressive it was just a matter of time before the E'caran government wanted a face to face with the leaders of this most helpful species.
In that light, logically one would think their first meeting would be a positive one. But since the E'caran delegation came, T'Pol found herself working overtime trying to fulfill the requirements this species had to further their two world's relations. In this brief time this species wanted technology in warp and weapon theory, ship enhancements and also detailed deployments of all the surrounding species. At this point, the head of the council hadn't been able to accommodate any of their demands and twice this morning T'Pol thought the chancellor and his aides were going to walk out of the meeting. Now the young Vulcan leader had to try to at least meet their latest compromise. This was to get the Human delegation to allow for an E'caran observer to be put aboard one of their star ships. This was an effort on this specie's part to learn more about the Humans and their technology. T'Pol realized Human technology was comparable to E'caran's, so this request didn't seem too illogical.
Now it was convincing Admiral Gardner of this that was the task before her. She looked to her chronometer and realized the Admiral would be arriving any minute. Closing her eyes, T'Pol took several cleansing breaths and attempted a mild meditative state to ease her into the meeting. Her mind gently wondered to her daughter sitting quietly at her desk.
Elizabeth sat before a large console that had a tri-screen configuration. The keyboard around her body had keys, a draw padd and a roller ball. The screens lit up at random with directions for the young child to do. The subjects came up randomly as well, from sample math multiplications to more complex geometrical recognition problems. The speed at which the screens changed was in direct correlation to how quickly the little girl's mind could work. A low sounding computer generated voice saying" Correct" was the only reward she had and yet it thrilled Lizzie so that she purposely hastened her endeavors to get even more of this mechanical praise.
Beside her lay Keller, quiet with tail wagging. His head popped up occasionally to the noise of the computer. He sensed the contentment within the child and relaxed back into a lazy position once more. The instructor, Master Pem, a tall male, slender in build with graying hair came up and stood behind her. As Pem watched the child's increasing speed, he could sense her amusement at the computer's response. Although broadcasting her emotions, the little girl was not openly laughing or trying to talk with the other children as she had done the day before. This, the instructor felt was a big improvement in so little time. He leaned down to the pint sized desk and placed a soft two fingers upon her shoulder. With his mind, the aging male directed a short message to Elizabeth, one which came through in spades to her mother, listening from her far away office.
(You are doing very well Elizabeth. Your work is most promising today.) His thoughts were rewarded by the small child looking up and giving her teacher a broad smile. To this, the instructor simply nodded, accepting that at this age not all of the little girl's emotional controls were in place. With continued work, he felt this child would become a very acceptable member of society. But for now, her not disrupting the rest of the students was good enough. Elizabeth turned back to her computer work and finally started to feel less alone than she had the day before. A soft licking sensation at her foot drew her stare. Keller was growing bored with the non-attention he was getting. Having grown up with this child playing with him all day, the sehlat would have to learn about conforming to rules as well. Lizzie leaned down and began stroking long lines over his head. All the while she spoke to him empathically. (I know school is long, but it is almost over then we can return home and play. Just a while longer Keller.)
Hearing this acceptance from her daughter's mind eased T'Pol's. She worried all morning since their telepathic connection earlier that her child would have another emotionally draining day. Instead this time she seemed to be enjoying her learning, even trying to help her pet learn to enjoy it too. This was quite promising to the head of the council, as she prepared to greet the Admiral who had just been logged in at the security area.
Trip and Jon strode through the plant, the young engineer eager to point out the many improvements he'd made to the process of warp technology production. To his friend, the blond haired male seemed to be on top of the world. Archer noted that Trip drew respect from all his workers, even the ones with pointed ears. They seemed to accept him for his level of knowledge on the subject, though many were engineering students fresh out of the Vulcan Science Academy. From what the captain understood, that would put them in their forties, although they looked and acted like raw recruits.
For the most part, Trip didn't seem to mind. Against their counterparts, the Humans in the group worked unfettered by the aliens. Most kept a relaxed sense of relations between them, neither side minding the occasional slip in emotions by the Humans, or the occasional 'in your face' comments by the Vulcans. They had all just come to accept the behavior and the captain couldn't help but marvel at the cohesiveness of the atmosphere here. He thought back to his many heated times with Soval and couldn't begin to fathom how his younger friend got these people to work so well together.
"Trip …. I gotta say, you've done a great job here." Archer slapped his old friend on the back, a huge smile gracing his lips.
"Thanks Cap'n, that means a lot coming from you." Trip's grin was almost as big as the captain's.
"How did you do it? They all get along… No one is arguing… No one is being offended. What is your secret?" Jon looked and saw his old friend softly chuckle.
"They don't have any time to be petty. We have been bust'n ass getting this prototype ready for its trial run. Many of the Humans have been taking class right along side of the Vulcans. If you ask them though, you'll find out that it took them a while to adjust." That last part Trip leaned in and whispered extra low against the roar of the stadium high machinery they were passing. Archer just laughed, knowing now how to interpret Soval's meanings without taking offense. They headed for Trip's office and for a surprise the young southern gentleman had waiting there.
Jon entered the room followed by Trip as the young man closed his office door. The holographic photo of the children caught the captain's eye. He picked it up and held it out before him. "I can't believe how much the kids have grown." Archer commented seeing the bright smiling faces of his best friend's offspring.
"You're telling me… They seem to get a few millimeters taller every week. I don't know, but I think Lorian will get to be taller than me if he keeps going like he has been." Trip went over to the corner of the room and began pulling out two glasses from the cabinet. He then brought out a bottle of green liquid. It was fluorescent in nature, and the bottle it was in was shaped like an exquisitely crafted decanter, with a facetted ball shaped stopper. It peaked Archer's interest as the captain joined his friend over at the bar.
"What is that stuff?" He asked a smile growing more and more.
"Aldeboran Whiskey" Trip finished pouring and put the bottle down on the counter surface. He handed a glass to Jon then brought his up to clink it. "You want to talk about party animals, those Aldeborans really know their way around a smooth drink. I really enjoyed it, but I don't think I have ever seen T'Pol look so green." Trip chuckled realizing now he would have to tell his old friend the entire story complete with all the delicious details. Jon looked at him curiously, then brought the glass to his lips. To his surprise, the young man was right. This liquid did have an exceptionally smooth taste, but it also had the kick of a bucking bull. The initial dose he ingested made him warm and fuzzy within seconds.
"Yep. Found that out the hard way, although I think the peace talks T'Pol had with them, were the smoothest I have ever seen." This got the engineer a wary look. Archer realized if this had half the effect on the Vulcan that it was having on him right now, T'Pol would be hard pressed to make a coherent negotiation. He swallowed hard again, getting his voice back into its proper place.
"And she partook of this Alder…" He found it hard to pronounce the name, his tongue a bit numb and furry.
"Yeah….. She took a few sips, but in true fashion, not a single person in the room knew she was hammered…. That is except me. It was the first time in a year that she wasn't getting up at 4AM. In fact, she didn't get up at 5 or at 6 or even 7. She just laid there in a lump moaning until her mind cleared enough to control her vocal response." Trip smiled heartily knowing his mate could sense some of what he and Jon were speaking of.
"Needless to say she didn't try it again, although the delegation was so impressed by her ability to handle their booze, they sent us a crate of the stuff." This comment stopped Archer from taking the sip he was about too. Instead he laughed, bending at the waist trying not to spill the small amount he had been served. Trip also got in on the chuckle, wiping at the traces of tears that started to escape his eyes.
"I tell ya Cap'n, T'Pol has had to do some strange things to further relations with these other species. Some of the things, I don't even believe myself, and I have a ringside seat to them. This one species, the Beta'zoid's, I think their name was, took offense to clothing. They walked right through downtown Shakir nek'ed as a jaybird. And T'Pol, who had been informed of their disapproval of apparel, had to greet them in a similar fashion." At this, the captain's jaw dropped.
"I swear to god Cap'n. T'Pol cleared out much of her staff, and she and a lone staffer greeted them in noth'n but their birthday suits. Can you even imagine how that meeting went?" Trip sipped again at the glowing green liquid.
"I guess being the science officer aboard the Enterprise wasn't enough for her." Archer added before trying to sip again at his.
"Actually Cap'n, I think sometimes she'd like to go back to that again. I know she misses you all and wishes our children could experience more than just Vulcan culture. They were so accepted aboard Enterprise,…… accepted for themselves. Now they're having too conform to certain patterns of behavior and T'Pol is finding it hard to try to wean them from their old habits."
"Hey Trip…. Every child has to learn the rules, it is hard, but you and T'Pol are excellent parents. It just takes time." Archer eased into the chair that sat opposite the desk, as his friend took the extra plush one behind it.
"I know Cap'n, but it's hard seeing Lizzie come home and sulk because the rest of the kids in her class are snubbing her."
"Why are they doing this? Is it because she is half human?" Archer leaned forward, a concerned look replacing the jovial one he had moments earlier.
"No… not exactly….. T'Pol says that Lizzie is being distractive to the other students because she is trying to make friends." He absently played with a palm padd from his desk blotter. "She learned that from us, aboard Enterprise….and now she has to unlearn it and it's making her miserable."
"She'll be all right, Trip. Elizabeth is a very bright child…. She will learn what is expected of her and conform quickly…. I just know she will." Jon lent out a hand to stop the fidgeting.
"You're right Cap'n….. I am probably worrying for nothing. It's just that we went through so much to get her in our lives...... She went through so much pain before we found her…. I just don't want anything else to hurt her….ever." This was the soft hearted dad that Jon knew his friend to be. Behind the highly competent engineer, there lay the heart of a caring father, trying to make the world exactly into what his children wanted. Jon smiled back at this, wishing for a brief moment that he had some easy answer to give Trip. They remained in the office until the midday gong sounded, about an hour later. As the factory cleared out, Trip and Archer donned their cloaks and headed for the parking area where their hovercraft was stored. The afternoon heat was quite impressive and Jon had forgotten all about how hot it could really get in this place.
By the time they reached the house, T'Pol had already picked up Lizzie from school. She was home, getting the young child changed into suitable play clothes. When Trip entered with Archer, the little girl squirmed out of her mother's care, her shirt still unclasped in the front. In a dart she headed out the hallway toward the living area, a spry Keller chasing after her. As the child reached the men, Trip could see she wasn't all put together.
"Hey munchkin…. How come you're undone?" Trip started to cross the ends of her satin blend shirt and tie the fasteners to her side as was necessary. Keller nudged at the child, wanting her to return to her mother who was empathically calling out to her. Trip heard the upheaval and squatted down at the child's level.
"Did you run away from mommy?" He waited to see the answer he was gonna get. A sheepish nod came in return and in some way it warmed his heart that his child didn't lie.
"She is calling for you to return to her….. Now go and when she is finished, you may come back and spend time with Uncle Jon." He turned her in the direction of the bedrooms, and gave her a light pat on her bottom. "Go on…." Trip pointed toward the hallway and saw Keller take up the action by nudging the child's derriere with its oversized snout.
Trip stood back up to face his friend. He waved him over to the couches and took the cloak from him. Gently he laid them over a near by bench. As they sat there awaiting the child's return in came Kamute with a very exuberant Lorian riding him like a horsy. The child clung to its fur, leaning over and balancing himself across the broadness of the creature's shoulders. There were trails of spittle that hung from the child's mouth, as he was continuing to teethe some of his larger baby molars. The wetness fell onto the old boy's back but didn't seem to agitate him one bit. Instead the animal accepted it as part of his duties and was merely ready to do what ever was necessary for the child's development. The loud growling sound it made, cause Jon to start, but Trip had grown totally used to it by now.
"Two sehlats, no waiting." Archer was quick to quip about the strange living conditions his friend had gotten accustom too.
"Yeah I know…. It will be hard when Kamute goes back to V'Lmir's family again. Keller is gonna have his hands full with those two. T'Pol and I have been talking about getting Keller a mate of his own." To this the Captain just raised a brow.
"You're ready to retrain another one of those things. I mean didn't the first one use your pants leg as a chew toy?" Now the commander could see the humor in it, but at the time it was a bit overwhelming.
"Yeah, but he never really hurt me…. I got used to his playfulness, and it only cost me a couple pair of pants, a shirt and a pair of my favorite boots." He humored, shaking his head and wiping at his face with a mock frustrated appearance. Jon joined in on the joke, trying hard not to let his weaken condition erupt into all out laughter. The whiskey was still affecting him, but somehow he maintained control, though the captain was hard pressed to understand how. Trip it seemed was immune to the poison, appearing just as clear and relaxed as he'd always been. Their attentions were turned when T'Pol appeared from the hallway.
"Greetings Captain." She came over and allowed for a brief amount of pleasantries.
"You look wonderful, T'Pol." Archer noticed the longer hair style, the bottom of her length now just past her shoulders. The top was pulled back in a shiny comb that allowed just a few straggle pieces to frame her face. Her delicately pointed ears stuck out, but seemed much more a part of the hairstyle than they had been in the past. She was dressed in a long flowing gown of mediterranean blue. It was adorned by soft squiggles of silver threading and the thinnest of silvery vest that went to the hemline as well. The sleeveless vest allowed the dark material of the dress to show through along T'Pol's arms. It gave her a formal appearance, but brought out the natural color in her hair more. It seemed that it was even lighter brown than before, and Archer secretly wondered if it was a normal progression or was the Vulcan trying to improve herself to suit her husband's taste. The Captain thought a moment about hugging her, but decided that taking her hand in his two was about as far as he should go. T'Pol respected this limited gesture and motioned for both of them to take a seat again. They chatted for a few moments, then the Vulcan went back to being a wife and mother, turning for the kitchen to prepare the midday meal. To Archer's surprise it was quite tasty, a version of vegetarian lasagna that could possibly rival an Italian's.
Later sitting in the living area, Lorian on Archer's lap and Elizabeth enjoying her mother's grooming attempts, T'Pol brought up the subject of her meeting with Admiral Gardner. "I met with the Admiral this morning. He was quite pleased to find out that my negotiations with the E'carans was coming along and was eager to lend his assistance." T'Pol started and Trip could feel the covert way she was bringing up this topic.
"Well I am glad things are going well too. Anything we can do to further peaceful relations with other species is well worth the effort." Jon played absently with the stuffed animal Lorian brought out with him to show.
"It is pleasing to hear you say this Captain. You will be receiving a call from the Admiral later today. He will request your assistance with a matter of utmost delicacy." Archer knew when he heard this he was in for one of T'Pol's covert operations.
"May I enquire about what type of assistance I will be asked to give?" You could hear in his voice he knew he was being set up.
"The E'carans wish to put an observer aboard a Human star ship to study the culture, their military tactics and their traditions. I am told this observer they have in mind is quite intelligent, speaks fluent English and has a background in science. If you haven't filled my post with a regular person yet, this exchange of cultures might benefit both your peoples much as my service aboard your ship did." T'Pol knew full well that secretly the captain had been procrastinating in putting a regular person into her post. Even knowing the likelihood of his friends coming back was almost next to nothing, Jon wanted to keep that little ray of hope alive a while longer.
"This observer got a name?" He asked defeated, knowing he wasn't about to win this battle against the savvy Vulcan female.
"Acellia" Something about that name made Jon's mind grow more alert. It wasn't until several long minutes passed that he remembered the discussion he had with his great grand daughter aboard the 100 yr old Enterprise. That was the species and the name of the woman he would come to marry and have children with. Suddenly his objections fell by the wayside as he urged his former first officer to tell him more about the coming of this observer.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A whole mess of folks have made comments
Better all the time :)
Gotta say, this just keeps on getting better and better. You keep on presenting new problems and interesting twists. Can't wait for the next part or for Competition!
Now that is what I'm talking about, this is so good! "Acellia," very nice touch, after all Archer needs someone too. :) Keep it going.
TLR - it's gettin' better and better!
great job! that was excelent!
Great start, looking forward to the next installment.
Good morning! What a nice treat: two new TLR stories! Personally, I tune in mainly for the amazing sehlat adventures... K&K are the coolest original characters in any T-T'P AU. :) Great stuff, TLT! Please keep it coming!
i count days for this moment!
Good story! I can't wait for Archer to meet the "observer". I think the spellings are "Ikaaran" and "Esilia", though.
Very very nice! I reeeeeally can't wait for more! :)
Glad you all are liking it. I love to portray our favorite family as having all the usual frustrating flub ups that having children bring. Hope to have the next part out by Sat. "Competition- pt 1" will be turned on Tues morning after I get home from work. It's a riot, I really had fun with that one. T.
Did you send it yet? Did you send it yet? It is Tuesday morning now you know so did you send it yet? didya? huh? huh? didya? didya?
Yes I did. Now come down Black'nblue...T
Finally got a few minutes to read your story. It was nice to see that some Vulcans are not adverse to bonding their children with half-human children. Looking forward to the conflict over the potential bonding of their child between Trip and T'Pol. And it is nice to see a domestic scene to balance the space battles. Love the pet sehlats.
Hopefully part two will be out by Thurs. I had to put it on hold to get part 2 of competition out. The natives were getting a bit restless. Sorry. T.
Thursday? Thursday. OK, I can do this. It is only two more days. Part two of the Warp 7 trials will be out by Thursday. Then part 3 of Competition will be out this weekend she said. I can handle it that long. Sure I can. It is only two days, then another two days.
I turned in p2 of the Warp 7 trials tonight. I will continue working on Competition p3 tomorrow. Hopefully will have it out during the weekend. T.