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Author - zealousgirl | Genre - Humor | Genre - Romance | Main Story | N | Rating - PG-13
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Disclaimer: I write purely for the fun of it, as well as out of a sense of duty to at least try to contribute to that which gives me much enjoyment (ie reading fanfiction). Paramount currently owns Enterprise and all its characters.
Written for the Trip/T'Polers Fanfiction Contest
Waiver: I have read the rules of the contest and agree to these terms.
Summary: Enterprise encounters an entity that becomes interested in the relationship between the human chief engineer and the Vulcan science officer.
Author’s Note: This story is designed to stand on its own, and does not follow the timeline of any of my previous fanfictions. I was in a rather goofy mood when the idea for this appeared. It is supposed to be a bit silly (we all take ourselves too seriously most of the time, anyway). Please read, and hopefully enjoy.
Nih originated from a great race of beings, who, over the years, had begun to fear the unknown. To avoid this uncertainty, they had decided to live in isolation, finding refuge at the edge of the ever-expanding universe.
However, curiosity was Nih’s reason for being, and now for fleeing. Racing at speeds greater than that of light, Nih searched for something that would be amusing, and maybe even educational. Far from being xenophobic, Nih wished to locate a species that were explorers. They would also need to be self-sufficient and yet not so independent that they would not accept Nih’s aid. For Nih, when required, would happily take on the role of linguist, scientist, artist, healer, soldier, and/or friend.
Nih had not encountered other intelligent beings in some time. It was in a usually uninhabited void of space, that Nih finally came upon 2 space-faring vessels of dramatically different design. Quickly scanning both ships’ databanks, Nih attempted to learn as much as possible about the occupants, before initiating first contact.
The larger of the 2 vessels was a Vulcan cruiser named the T’Luk, with a complement of 312. Their databanks held much scientific and astronomical information. However, Nih was disappointed – the lack of cultural data and personal logs did not allow for much insight into the Vulcan way of life.
Nih’s enthusiasm for his recent discovery returned upon completing the assessment of the 2nd vessel. Enterprise was smaller, and with fewer beings. They hailed from the planet Earth, and called themselves human. Fortunately, a barrage of literature, music, and personal logs gave Nih the desire to make Enterprise the place to sojourn and hopefully also to learn. . . .
“We are being hailed, sir.” Hoshi prepared to activate the view screen, anticipating that Captain Archer would not refuse a transmission from the Captain of the T’luk.
“Go ahead, Ensign.” Archer moved to the center of the bridge, and smoothed the wrinkles in his uniform. “Good day, Captain Vonok. We are prepared to receive the transfer.” Archer now smiled politely. “You are welcome to come aboard. I have asked the Chef to prepare a suitable meal.”
The response was in the usual curt, and yet monotonous, tone. “Captain Archer. We will dock in 10 minutes. Then, we will depart immediately as we have more pressing affairs.” The view screen returned to black.
“Great friends you got there, T’pol. Thought you said Cap’n Vonok was more cordial than the other Vulcan Captains?” Trip quipped from his station.
Archer turned to face his third in command, and responded with an all-to-familiar expression that read ‘well at least I tried’. Meanwhile, T’pol merely raised an eyebrow, looking only momentarily in Trip’s direction before returning her gaze to her console.
“Well, guess I should get down to the ‘bay to meet ‘n greet.” Trip headed in the direction of the turbolift. “Coming, T’pol?”
Responding with only a slight nod, T’pol followed suit.
A metallic thud signaled the arrival of the Vulcan shuttlepod. After ensuring that an adequate seal had been achieved, a crewman opened the hatch. Trip and T’pol had positioned themselves, such that they could witness the debarkation. T’pol held a PADD in her hand, reviewing the details it displayed. Neither spoke.
The first to step out of the pod was a lanky Vulcan Lieutenant. He only acknowledged T’pol and handed her a PADD. Trip smirked at the conspicuousness of his snub.
Expressionless, she read the information and then nodded. “We are prepared to receive.”
With this, five humans stepped out. Each wore a blue Starfleet uniform. Upon seeing the 2 superior officers, they halted and stood at attention. The tension was palpable, as the new recruits were tentative with regards to their current assignment in deep space.
Trip smiled warmly, trying to alleviate some of the nervousness in the room. “Welcome, to the fastest ship in the fleet. I am the Chief Engineer, Commander Tucker. And this is our first officer, Subcommander T’pol.”
The sight of the emotionless T’pol sent shivers down their spines, as her reputation at Starfleet Academy had preceded her. Because of their apprehension, all responded with feeble smiles.
T’pol remained oblivious to the discomfort that she instilled in these new recruits. “If you would now introduce yourselves, I will be able to direct you to your respective quarters. Your duty rosters will be waiting for you there.”
Trip listened intently at the introductions, as he prided himself on his ability to remember names and faces. The one female was Ensign Cher Woodhouse, a recruit that he had agreed upon after reviewing her records from the School of Engineering at Starfleet Academy. The remaining males were all in other departments: Ensign Michael Walley, Ensign Ilia Grinkov, Crewman Scott Patterson, and Steward Ruben Montoya.
Upon completion of the formalities, and the departure of the Vulcan shuttlepod, the new members of Enterprise were lead out of the bay and to their quarters. Ensign Woodhouse, however, paused for a moment in the doorway, turned and looked back at the now sealed hatch. She shook off the notion that someone was there – the room behind her was now empty. . . .
Nih had patiently waited for the launchbay doors to open and for the Vulcan shuttlepod to enter before squeezing through a tiny breach in the seal of the hatch. Nih had watched as the occupants of the pod disembarked, were greeted by a human and a Vulcan, and introduced themselves.
Of particular interest, Nih observed that both the humans and the Vulcans were bi-gendered, which was quite foreign to Nih. It was decided that this aspect of the races would be first explored.
Nih’s zeal was intensifying. But how would Nih accomplish this feat?
The answer to this question came in the form of a petite red-headed human female. Nih was caught by surprise when she had turned to examine the presumably empty launchbay. Had she somehow sensed his presence? Nih would have to investigate this further. Maybe she could be useful. Nih followed, as Ensign Woodhouse headed towards her new living quarters.
Cher sat in the darkened room, trying to forget that she was now millions of kilometers away from everyone that she knew and cared about – essentially, she was alone. Sleep remained elusive, as she projected what her life was going to be like, from now on.
She had her first shift in engineering, in just 5 hours, and wanted to be at her best. Frustrated, Cher got up out of bed, and turned on her computer. ‘Maybe a little bit of reading can take my mind off of things. . . ‘
After searching the computer’s library, she chose one of her favorite novelists, and started to read a story that was both familiar and comforting – ‘Emma’.
An hour later, with eyes now burning from exhaustion, she flicked off the computer, and returned to her bunk. She easily fell asleep, and was now dreaming a pleasant dream.
Nih had not left her company since following her from the launchbay. With fascination, her evening routine was observed. Nih also watched as she had gotten up out of bed and had spent over an hour reading literature. This resulted in a revelation. Nih spent the time that the young female was reposing to delve further into the concept of romance and courting. Nih was now formulating an experiment.
The Engineering department was abuzz with activity. Trip had spent only a few minutes orienting Cher to her duties before a malfunction in the plasma injectors had him bolting frantically back to work, overseeing the repairs.
Cher was to study the Starfleet protocols for Enterprise’s engines, so was holed up in the small office shared by all of the Ensigns of the department. Fortunately it was quiet in there, as the others were busy at their respective tasks. She was glad that she had this time to compose herself, and that, as she was sleep-deprived, she would not require the sharpness of mind necessary to function as a qualified engineer that day.
The silence did not last for long though. Cher was startled from her reading by shouting voices. At least, the voice with the Southern drawl was shouting. A softer, calmer voice could be heard responding to each insult. Cher strained to listen, as the Commander and Subcommander worked through their disagreement in the adjacent office.
“DO YOU DO THIS ON PURPOSE, JUST TO GET A RISE OUT OF ME?”
“Mr. Tucker, I derive no pleasure from the RAISING of your voice when our conflicts could be resolved in a more rationale manner.”
“WELL, YA COULDA FOOLED ME.”
“All I wish to know is when you will have the long-range sensors back on line. I issued a request for repairs two days ago. If this were a Vulcan vessel, I would not have to—“
“WELL, IF YA WANNA, I’M SURE THAT THE T’LUK COULD COME BACK AND PICK YA UP. HELL, I’LL GET HOSHI TO CALL ‘EM BACK RIGHT NOW.”
“That will not be necessary, Mr. Tucker. I only meant that protocols dictate that—“
“SCREW YOUR DAMN PROTOCOLS. CAN’T YOU SEE THAT WE HAVE A BIT OF A SITUATION HERE? I’M SURE THAT THE CAP’N WOULD AGREE THAT YOUR FRIGGIN’ SCIENCE PROJECTS CAN HOLD OFF FOR A WHILE UNTIL WE GET THE ENGINES GOIN’ AGAIN.”
Cher held her breath in anticipation, but was disappointed when she somehow missed T’pol’s response. The next sound was that of a door closing, likely the Subcommander leaving. A few seconds later, that same door now slammed shut – definitely indicating that the Commander had left.
Cher giggled and said aloud, “I guess the rumors are true. Millie’s brother wasn’t exaggerating when he said that there was definite passion between those two.” She remembered sitting in her dorm room with her roommate Millie, whose older brother worked in the armory on Enterprise, and reading the letters that he wrote. Cher and Millie could not believe that the Vulcan would allow herself to get so flustered by the rantings of a human. She made a mental note to write a letter to Millie after her shift, to share the confirmation of this piece of gossip.
If Nih had been humanoid, at this point, a Cheshire Cat grin would likely have been the appropriate response to recent events. However, Nih could only feel the inner satisfaction of deciding that the beings that had introduced themselves as Commander Tucker and Subcommander T’pol, would prove to be perfect subjects for the experiment. As a bonus, Nih would be able to witness both intergender and interspecies activity concurrently.
Nih came to the conclusion that the young Ensign’s curiosity may even rival his own and that Nih could hazard into a partnership with her in order to be successful at the proposed endeavor – Nih would play matchmaker.
That evening, as Cher sat at her personal computer composing Millie’s letter, she felt a cool draft on her neck. Despite pulling up her robe to cover her occiput, she continued to shiver. She thought she heard a soft, squeaky voice breath her name. Turning to face the sound, she was startled to find a lucent entity hovering about 10 centimeters off the floor. Measuring about 2 meters cubed, it had no definite form with its edges almost evaporating into the air of the room, yet there was a faint bluish-purple light emanating from it. Again, the mouse-like voice said, “Ensssign Woooodhouuusssse.”
Cher jumped up out of her seat, eyes wide with shock. Her mind raced, and yet she remained immovable. She could hear a scream, and for a moment wondered where it came from, until she could feel a dryness and knife-like jab at the back of her throat – she had been the one screaming. She finally decided to make a run for it, but the entity blocked her exit. Her terror was so acute that she started to feel vertiginous, then paresthesia ascended her limbs and the room went black.
“Uh. . . Ensign, are you alright?”
Cher ached all over and yet knew she was not injured. She lay prone on the hard floor. Her head pounded. Gingerly, she opened her eyes and turned over. Hovering over her was a pair of soft blue eyes belonging to a handsome blond. Realizing it was her commanding officer, Cher quickly jumped to her feet, clenching her robe such that she did not expose too much.
“Ah. . . Commander. . . what are you doing. . . ah. . . in my room?” Cher quickly scanned her surroundings to confirm that she was indeed still in her room, before fixing her stare on the man standing in front of her.
“You were late for your shift, and didn’t answer the Comm. So I came down to check on ya.” An expression of concern was displayed on his chiseled face. “What were ya doin’ on the floor? Did ya pass out?”
“I’m not sure, sir. The last that I remember, I was writing a letter to my friend Millie. It must be that I was so exhausted that I just fell asleep at my desk, and ended up on the floor somehow.” She added guiltily, “Also, I didn’t really eat much yesterday.”
Trip stepped over to the Comm next to the exit, and pushed the outgoing button. “Tucker to Sickbay.”
“Yes, Commander?” The cheerful voice of Dr Phlox responded.
“I’m going to bring Ensign Woodhouse down to you, to get checked out. I just found her passed out on the floor of her quarters. She seems fine now, but still you should have a look at her.”
“Very well, Commander. Do you require assistance?”
“No thanks Doc, I think I can take it from here.”
Cher did not protest, at least not verbally. She did let out a faint sigh, and grudgingly follow the commander. It was only when they were standing outside the Sickbay that she noticed that she was only wearing a tattered pink terry cloth bathrobe, and was now thoroughly embarrassed.
“You seem fine to me, Ensign. Just moderately volume depleted, and slightly hypoalbuminemic.” Phlox recognized the look of confusion on the faces of both Trip and Cher. He smiled, and rephrased his conclusions. “You are just dehydrated and under-nourished. Nothing that regular visits to the mess hall can’t fix.”
“Can I go to work now? I am feeling fine.” Cher pleaded with Phlox.
“I foresee no impediment to your duties, as long as you promise me that you will eat 3 square meals a day, starting with a good breakfast immediately.” After seeing her nod in agreement, Phlox discharged her, and returned to his morning routine of feeding his menagerie.
Trip walked Cher back to her quarters. But before leaving her to get dressed, he tried to reassure her. “Ensign, I know that being here can be a little scary, but we all take care of each other. I expect to see you in ¾ of an hour, after you have eaten. You are going to help me with those. . . long range sensors.” Trip winked at her, and sauntered in the direction of the turbolift.
Did he know that she had overheard their ‘discussion’ the day before? He was very interesting. One thing that she knew for certain was that she was really starting to like Commander Tucker; too bad . . . .
Trip chuckled. “Do ya ever wonder why they made these Jefferies tubes so small?” He sat in front of an open panel, cramped up such that his knees were almost touching his ears. He motioned to Cher, to pass him a wire stripper.
She sat watching him as he worked. He was quite the specimen. Despite the bagginess of his uniform, it was obvious that he was in excellent physical shape. His ability to inject humor into day to day conversation also fascinated her. He and T’pol were so different in many respects, but as the saying goes - opposites do attract.
“Commander, I would like to apologize for not making my presence known yesterday when you and the Subcommander were having your discussion.”
“Ah. . . yeah, about that. You’ll soon see that that is more the norm than anything else. We seem to have quite a volatile relationship, although she would deny that, as that would be ‘an emotional response’.” Trip turned to face the young Ensign. He was surprised by how comfortable she seemed around him. It was a nice change.
“Yes, I was warned about that.”
“Oh. . . so they have been gossiping about us at the Academy, have they?” Trip seemed amused by this revelation.
Seeing the ease with which he interacted with her, she proceeded in neutral tone. “I am certain that the rumors of her many romantic exploits are also true. She is quite an attractive woman, for a Vulcan.”
Trip swallowed hard, and his eyes bugged out. Not only was he dumbfounded by the statement itself, but that it had come from one of Enterprise’s newest members. Teetering between reprimanding her for speaking of a superior in such a manner and wanting to know more about these rumors, Trip decided that since they were alone he would ask the burning question. “Just what have they been saying back on Earth?” He went back to working on the panel, pretending to be only mildly interested.
“Not really all that much. Just that every man on the ship had the hots for her, much to her satisfaction.” Smiling to herself, Cher knew that she was being impertinent, but also that Trip would not reproach her. “She claims to keep her emotions in check, but it’s obvious that she is a very passionate woman. Right, Commander? Why else would she go out of her way to argue with you all the time?”
Trip stared at the open panel in front of him, still amazed at how openly Ensign Woodhouse was sharing gossip. “Well, Ensign. . . um. . .” He wanted to find out more, but reconsidered. He had too much to do and Cher was too distracting. “Why don’t you go back to your office, and finish the repair report. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
As she climbed out of the Jefferies tube, she was still smiling. ‘Well, the seed has been planted. Now for the next step.’
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Four of you have made comments
Okay, so far so good. I will be interested to see where you go with this story. Ali D :~)
Interesting ... especially Nih; I like it. And Cher Woodhouse. Curious name. Because of Emma Woodhouse and her modern-day-aquivalent Cher Horowitz from the Emma-remake Clueless?
I love this story hear and when i read it on fanfiction but i don't know if i told you this there, but there are no jefferies tubes on the Enterprise.