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Differential- Ch. 2
by Zane Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: Most of the story will qualify as PG, but expect some seriously R-rated bumps along the way
"Shit. We're gonna need to replace all these circuits." Trip sighed in resignation. The readings on his portable diagnostic scanner were irrefutable. He glanced down at the fresh young face of his Senior Engineering Assistant, Lieutenant Hailey Burke, who stood at the entrance to the Jeffries tube making notations on a PADD. "Have David pull everything from BF-159 through BF-211. Actually, better make it BF-221 just in case. That's Bravo, Foxtrot, Hailey."
Burke checked her notes against the ship's supply manifest and called back up to him. "Got it, Commander. I'm pretty sure we have spares for all of them, but we'll definitely need to restock soon."
Trip wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve, briefly wondering if he'd ever been that young. "Yeah, I know. Starfleet never figured they'd burn out so fast... or that we'd put Enterprise through so much wear and tear in a single year. Guess it's all part of being the first at this." He took another deep breath and then adjusted his position in the tube so that he was facing the other way. "I'm gonna check the rest of these circuits too."
Burke looked up questioningly. "You okay up there if I go get these parts out of storage?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. If ya happen to see smoke billowing out of the Jeffries tube when ya get back, you'll know I hit a live one."
She laughed. "I'm gonna shut down the whole run just to be safe, Commander. I don't know if I'm ready to take over your job just yet..." With that, she disappeared.
Trip attached the scanner lead to the connection terminal on the next series of circuits and ran the diagnostic. Once again, the device showed that more than half of the circuits had developed flaws - problems that were throwing the whole system out of balance. Not unlike my brain, he mused silently.
Though it had been three days since the incident in Sickbay with T'Pol, he was still no closer to understanding it. For her part, T'Pol seemed more than willing to pretend it had never happened in the first place. He'd tried to approach her in private to discuss the subject, but she'd firmly rebuffed him. She wasn't exactly ignoring him, but she was definitely going out of her way to minimize their interaction, other than what was absolutely required by their duties. She'd been "unavailable" for meals, or was too busy with staff reviews to meet him. Once or twice, she'd even claimed to be feeling unwell. There was always an excuse. I'm surprised she hasn't told me she's gotta wash her hair.
Normally, T'Pol's avoidance of the subject would be fine by him... except that lately he'd been experiencing some, well... rather strange symptoms. He felt out of sorts. Hell, downright unbalanced was more like it. Trip discovered that he could sense the Vulcan's presence even before she came into the room. He'd been working at his station on the Bridge one afternoon, and he'd known she was coming, minutes before she stepped from the turbolift. He could even... feel out her moods at all times of the day or night. He'd be standing there, just working or whatever, when suddenly a strange emotion that was not his own would wash over him. And lately, her most common emotional state was... aroused. And that was damned inconvenient, not to mention downright frustrating. Trip wasn't small by any measure and his uniform jumpsuit did little to hide his almost constant erection. Just this morning, he'd been going over an upgrade of the phase canons with Malcolm, and he'd gotten a woody right then and there. Talk about an uncomfortable situation - having to desperately hold a molecular welding torch at just the right angle to avoid a really awkward conversation.
And though she wouldn't speak with him, Trip was beginning to suspect that his... connection with T'Pol went both ways. He'd been having strange waking dreams as he lay in bed at night - erotic dreams. Dreams that made it virtually impossible to find sleep. He wasn't sure if they were his own, or hers, but they were sharing them nonetheless. The first time it happened, he'd been masturbating in his quarters, trying to relieve a little of the god-awful tension that was constantly plaguing him. Everything was proceeding just fine, thank you... when suddenly her distant presence in his mind got much stronger. He had sudden visions of T'Pol lying on her meditation pad, surrounded by glowing candles, also touching herself... and he felt the sensations she was giving herself, just as he suspected she experienced his own pleasure. At first, it was unsettling, but then it became an unbelievable turn on. He'd come five times in the space of thirty minutes, ejaculating so hard and so often that he had nothing left, and still the orgasms came. His cock was so sore the next day that he could hardly pull his boxer briefs on over it.
T'Pol too, he knew, was experiencing more pleasure than was normal for her... much more. In fact, the moment he became aroused, her mind seemed instantly aware of it, reaching out to touch his consciousness eagerly. She was like a teenager discovering her sexual self for the first time, using his mind and body to do it. Except that they weren't actually... together. And yet they were. Trip finally banged his forehead against the wall of the Jeffries tube in frustration. Unbelievable. We can mind-fuck or whatever it is, but we can't even talk to each other face to face. Absolutely fucking beautiful.
Giving up on the idea of getting any more work done today, Trip put the scanner away and began climbing down out of the tube. Maybe a little exercise'll help, he thought hopefully. Then he scowled. Yeah, right. And maybe monkeys'll fly outta my ass...
The Captain smiled. "You know, Trip... of all the good ideas you had when we were outfitting this ship in spacedock, I think converting this service bay into a batting cage was the best." He watched in amusement as the pitcher threw his glove down on the holographic mound in disgust. Archer stepped away from the plate to allow Trip his turn at bat.
"Well, it was basically just unused space anyway. If we're gonna spend years flyin' round out here in the middle of nowhere, we gotta at least have a few of the comforts of home." Trip stepped into the batter's box and took his first pitch - a curve ball. He fouled it away, the irritation evident on his face.
"So are we gonna talk about what's been eating you lately?"
Trip looked over at Archer cautiously. "You askin' as my Captain or my friend?"
Archer smiled patiently. "Both. But first and foremost as your friend."
Trip swung at another pitch and grounded it out. He sighed heavily. "It's T'Pol. I swear, that damn Vulcan's gonna drive me crazy."
Archer laughed, despite the alarm bells that went off in the back of his mind at the mention of his Science Officer. "She'd probably say the same thing about you. Not that she'd ever admit to it." He continued, choosing his words carefully. "I thought the two of you were starting to get closer?"
Trip snorted. You have no idea, he thought silently. "Wouldn't exactly say we're close." Archer hid the relief he felt at this - relief that was quickly replaced by something else entirely at his friend's next words. "Can't exactly say we aren't either." There was an unmistakable hint of amusement in his Chief Engineer's voice that Archer didn't care for.
Trip swung at the next pitch... and missed the ball entirely. Frustrated, he snapped, striking the side of the cage with his bat. Archer looked on in surprise at his friend's reaction. Taking a deep breath, Trip eventually calmed. "There's just... something going on with her that she won't talk about."
The Captain knew he had to proceed carefully. "That shouldn't surprise you. Vulcans are notorious for guarding their privacy."
"Yeah, but I can usually get her to open up to me if I push hard enough. This is something else. Something... personal."
"You sure you're not just getting the wrong signals from her?"
Trip glanced at him pointedly. "Trust me - I'm gettin' the right signals from her. I'd just like to know what the hell they mean."
Archer definitely didn't like what he was hearing. "This isn't something I should be concerned about as Captain, is it?"
Trip thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Naw... I don't think she'd ever hide something that could affect the ship. She has too much respect for you. It's just... I can't seem to get it out of my mind." That was true enough, of course. But the whole truth was something Trip couldn't begin to talk about - not even with his best friend.
After missing yet another pitch, Trip finally moved aside to let Archer take another turn at bat. The Captain obligingly stepped up to the plate. He knew there was more to Trip's story, but decided to let it pass for now. Archer didn't want to risk Trip discovering that he had his own, and entirely unprofessional, interest in T'Pol.
"Just give her time, Trip. If she wants to talk about it, she'll let you know." With another grunt of effort, he sent the ball flying again - a home run. Trip scowled and shook his head. Archer's laughter echoed around the room.
She could sense him, even now. Despite her best efforts to block their fledgling telepathic connection, to force thoughts of Commander Tucker from her mind... even going so far as to avoid his physical presence... she had failed miserably. Her body's cravings were overwhelming her. She was rapidly losing all ability to control them. The simple fact was, her body desired him. Her mind did as well. It was not logical. But then, logic and reason had abandoned her. For the first time in her life, T'Pol felt helpless.
She knew through their connection that the Commander and the Captain were engaged in another one of their barbaric sporting activities. Striking a leather sphere with a wooden stick... a pointless activity. And yet T'Pol also knew that it served a dual purpose. She could sense the Commander's emotions... his frustration. Even now, he was pouring all of his emotional energy into the game. She could feel his aggression... his volatility. His anger. And it was arousing her immeasurably.
T'Pol felt her pulse quicken. An embarrassing warmth began to engulf her sex. She gripped the armrests even tighter, closing her eyes in a last bid for composure. She failed to hear Ensign Sato's question.
"Sub-Commander, we've just received our daily mail packet from Starfleet. There are some messages for you from the High Command. Shall I forward them to your station?"
When T'Pol failed to respond, Hoshi became concerned. "Sub-Commander?"
T'Pol seemed to start at this, and Hoshi could see a moment of disorientation as the Vulcan struggled to orient herself.
"Excuse me, Ensign. I was just... meditating for a moment. Please send my messages to my quarters. I will review them there." With that, T'Pol stood and moved toward the turbolift. "You have the Bridge."
If Hoshi was surprised by this, she had little time to reply. The Sub-Commander was already gone. Hoshi glanced quickly at Travis and Crewman Rostov, who was running a diagnostic on the Tactical console, to see if they had noticed the exchange. But both men were absorbed in their own work.
Men, Hoshi mused in amusement. They really are all clueless.
As she switched her own station to automatic operation, Ensign Sato mused silently on her commanding officer's unusual lapse in concentration. Then she filed the incident away for later review, and took the Sub-Commander's place in the center seat. Hoshi sat back in the chair slowly, savoring the way its padding seemed to caress her back and hips. It was an ergonomic marvel.
I could definitely get used to this...
As he waited in silence, Trip found himself drawn inexorably toward the examination table. He ran his hand over its padding, almost as though, in so doing, he could somehow touch her instead.
"Ah... Commander Tucker. I'm must confess, I am not surprised to see you."
Trip quickly pulled his hand back and turned toward the center of the room, hoping to hide his embarrassment. "Working late tonight, Doc?"
"Indeed. I am analyzing the last of the flora samples we collected on that planet where you encountered the Eskan hunting party. I find I am most productive at this time of day - there are fewer distractions." He glanced the Chief Engineer up and down. "You are having trouble sleeping, I suspect."
"Yeah. I've been... having these... well, weird symptoms--"
"Unusual dreams, extreme fatigue, a strange tickling sensation in the back of your head, muscle aches in your neck and back from tension, unusual mood swings, sudden visions, thoughts and sensations that are not your own, persistent arousal..."
"Yeah! How the hell do you know all that?"
Phlox sighed, finding himself once again in a difficult position. "I am sorry, Commander. I appreciate your situation, but there is nothing I can prescribe to ease your discomfort that would not otherwise impair your ability to function normally."
"There's something going on with T'Pol isn't there? Something that I got caught up in when she... when whatever that was happened the other day. If there's something wrong with her, please... ya gotta tell me!"
Phlox smiled regretfully. "Your concern for the Sub-Commander is most admirable. But as you well know, her medical condition is subject to strict doctor/patient confidentiality. You could try speaking with her directly--"
"She won't talk to me. Believe me, I've tried." Trip shook his head in exasperation, finally giving up. "So there's nothing you can do for me, and you can't tell me what's wrong. Thanks anyway..." He turned to leave, feeling very much as if he was at the end of his rope.
Then, after a moment's hesitation, the Doctor called after him. "Commander Tucker... I may not be able to help you directly. However... if I may make a recommendation? The ship's library contains a wealth of information on Vulcan physiology. You may wish to examine it... rather closely. Particularly the entries on female reproductive development. Good night." With that, Phlox turned back to his analysis, feeling uncomfortably like he'd just crossed a line.
Trip stood silently for a moment, digesting this new information. Then he spoke gratefully. "Thank you." And the door hissed shut behind him.
T'Pol knew she'd been using him for her pleasure. It was shameful. It was wrong. But she couldn't help herself. She felt out of control. Feelings, passions, sensations that she'd only read about had supplanted her ability to reason, had stripped away her judgment... had lain her bare for all to see. And now he knows.
Her own people believed that she had become tainted by her time aboard the Enterprise. Tainted by the time she'd spent among the Humans. Now they were right. She was marked by him. She bore his brand upon her very soul. In the ancient tradition of her people, she belonged to him. Just as he belonged to her. However it had happened, for right or wrong, it was done. It was a simple matter of fact, like the burning of the Vulcan suns. And now her body was changing, blossoming... betraying her as surely as her mind had already betrayed her in Sickbay, just three days past. To him.
Soon he would confront her. It was inevitable. It was logical. And yet she was desperately afraid. How would she react to his anger? To his full and righteous fury at her callous disregard of him... of his feelings... of his needs? How would she respond in that moment?
T'Pol knew exactly how she would respond. Even now, her nipples tightened, straining painfully against the soft silk of her robe. She felt the newly familiar, unforgivably shameful wetness growing in her center. Yes, she knew exactly how she would respond. She would act as countless millennia of Vulcan evolution meant for her to. And the very thought terrified her.
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