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The Logical Solution, by Julie

The Logical Solution

by Julie

Rating: G
Genre: Romance

Disclaimer: Star Trek Enterprise characters belong to paramount. I write through sheer love of words and share it feely, no money is made from these stories.

AN: Vulcans have always been my favourite alien from Spock, through Sarek and now T'Pol and Soval. Their intellect, strength and logic is to be admired, but their most endearing quality is there abilility to completely delude themselves. Many thanks to Distracted for being the willing victim of my attempts at story writing.

AN: I'm setting this early second season, well before 'Cease Fire'.


Chapter I

In the quiet of his office, Soval took the time to meditate. His work load had been greatly increased since the launch of the first human starship Enterprise. Relations between the Vulcan Embassy and Starfleet had become strained and difficult. More and more problems arose from the ill advised interference of the human crew, as they made their way through an unsuspecting cosmos. Not that the humans would see it that way, of course.

There had been a time when the humans had consulted the Vulcans regularly, listened to their advice, and had been grateful for their guidance. Since they had constructed a warp-capable vessel, things had changed. Their impatience had begun to drive them. The warning words of their friends and mentors had become an irritation. Now they had seen a new horizon and had rushed to start the new journey at all costs. He had given up trying to understand the human mind. It was a nightmare of contradictions and illogical desires. Dealing with them now had become extremely frustrating.

He was alert again immediately, as the com unit came to life

“Ambassador, there is a communication for you. It is from the Carillean ship Tamas Low.” T’Vel sounded curious. “I was unaware that we were in contact with this species.”

“We are not,” said Soval, as surprised as his aide. The High Command had been trying to approach this species for some time, with little response. He was unsure why they would approach him here on Earth, instead of on Vulcan. “Put it through.” There was only one way to find out.

A letter was contained in the communiqué marked for his attention. Intrigued, he opened it.

Greetings, Ambassador.

While we were in communication distance, I wished to write and thank you. Your suggestion to study Earth as a newly emerging space travelling culture has been noted. Your interest was conveyed to me by the Council of Elders, who seemed particularly pleased that an Ambassador, no less, of Vulcan should have been so impressed with our work. They have become very interested in my career in consequence, and I wish to express my appreciation.

I regret that my schedule is unlikely to include Humans for some time, which is a great disappointment. Earth and its people sound fascinating. It may be possible, however, for one of my colleagues to be involved at a later date. Perhaps you could assist him? Any insights you could provide would be most helpful.

My Carillean shipmates have proven to be even more solitary than we had anticipated. They are very private creatures, and there is little socialisation between crew members after a shift is over. This is leaving me more than enough time to study the culture.

I also found their three day welcome ceremony to be delightful, and their food is not too unusual. I believe it will be a pleasant, if quiet, assignment.

Peace and long life, Ambassador.


This unexpected communication came as a pleasurable surprise. He had last seen Sylea at a diplomatic gathering hosted by the Semilacs eight months earlier. They had spent only a short time together before she was recalled once more. They had corresponded regularly for a while. He had not heard from her since her uncle’s unexpected death three months ago. Soval had come to know and respect the ambassador for Garra Tau, Zannik, and had been deeply sorry for the diplomat’s early demise. He was only just beginning to get used to his new counterpart, Cassal.

It was not an unexpected response to his enquiry of the Council of Elders of Garra Tau. Yet, this set back troubled him more than it should. He had been trying to push this project forward for over a year. For once he felt compelled to make things happen more swiftly. His mind at once set itself on studying the problem to find another solution. His musings were interrupted by the com unit once again.

“The car has arrived to take you to Star Fleet Headquarters, Ambassador,” announced his aide. “It is time for your lunch meeting with Admiral Forrest”.


“What did you say this species was called again?” Maxwell Forrest had never heard them mentioned before.

The lunch time meetings with the Vulcan Ambassador were normally either quiet and uninteresting or awkward as yet another instance of Archer’s crew supposedly causing problems became the topic of discussion. He always had the impression that there was an unspoken “I-told-you-so” lurking behind Soval’s comments. It wasn’t that he disliked the Ambassador, but he was difficult, until today. They sat opposite one another in the large airy conference room at Starfleet Command, a fork buffet laid out between them. He noted absently how Soval avoided any food that was unfamiliar to him.

“Garra Taus. Their system would be a 600 light years from Earth.”

Forrest whistled “That’s a long way from here, Ambassador,” he said, “And you think that they want to meet us?”

“There is some interest in that area, Admiral. I thought I would bring it to your attention.”

Admiral Maxwell Forrest was curious. Why would a race from so far away be even vaguely interested in Earth? But he had to admit that he was intrigued.

“The Garra Tau system lies in the furthest reaches of what we know as the Galvan wastes. There are few inhabited planetary systems in that sector. It is a tri-sun system, with the twin planets of Gar and Tau both orbiting the central sun.” He paused as he poured himself another glass of orange juice. “They have enjoyed unbroken peace for the last ten thousand years, and have been exploring other worlds and civilizations, in their quest for knowledge, for many centuries,” Soval explained. “It would be many years before your ships could explore those regions. I am sure they would share some of their knowledge with you.”

Forrest thought about it for a moment. “If it would take so long for us to get there, how are they going to get to us more quickly?”

“Their ships are some of the fastest in the known universe, I believe they are capable of at least warp nine.”

Maxwell Forrest whistled. “What’s their power source?” Soval had Forrest’s full attention. He would be keen to find out more about these people, and, more importantly, their technology.

“I am unsure as to the technicalities. But they have developed methods of manipulating light that allow them to use it as a power source. There are large crystal deposits, common to both worlds, which possess natural power storage qualities. These deposits are their primary planetary supply.”

“Why would they want to meet us? They must consider us fairly insignificant.” Forrest knew that Archer and his crew were running into aggressive species regularly. He was naturally suspicious.

“I do not believe that they consider any species ‘insignificant’, Admiral. But to answer your concern, Humans are only just emerging into the wider galaxy. You are at the beginning of your exploration of new worlds, and that is an interesting point of cultural development to study.”

“So we’d be under the microscope?” This didn’t sound quite so flattering.

“The idea is to study your culture, Admiral. The reverse is also true. The opportunity is there to study theirs.”

Forrest nodded. He remained lost in thought for the rest of the lunch meeting. It would be interesting to get to know other species, to bring them right here to Earth, share their own culture and study another. Yes, the idea appealed to him. He had often envied Jonathan out there amongst the stars, doing just that. Now they were all on a mission of discovery. He resolved to find out more.


Chapter II

Problems had erupted on the Andorian border once again, and Soval found himself recalled to Vulcan for discussions on how to resolve the present concerns. He surveyed the cream of Vulcan society gathered in the main chamber of the High Command Headquarters. The building soared magnificently in the centre of Shir Khar, and here the most important people on the planet met to discuss current affairs and future plans. He was lost in his own thoughts. It always awed him to be here.

“Greetings, Ambassador” He looked up to see Minister Kuvak in front of him.

“Greetings, Minister.” He had been a colleague of Kuvak for some time, but knew very little of the man. He was the son of a high ranking member of the High Command, and had followed his father into politics. Personally, Soval had always suspected that this was an easy option for him, and he certainly seemed to prefer an easy life. Going with the ebb and flow of opinion within the chamber, he rarely stood for or against any controversial decisions.

“I hear that relations are being renewed with the Garra Tau system, and that you have been instrumental in the situation. It is quite a diplomatic coup, I believe,” Kuvak said, eyeing Soval with interest.

Soval inclined his head. “It would seem so, although I had not seen it as a coup.”

“It would be logical to assume so. The Garra Taus must be the most difficult beings in the known universe. Perhaps, second only to Andorians, or so I have heard.”

“Have you ever met a Tau, or a Garran, Kuvak?” Soval, said a little too abruptly. He could tell that Kuvak had not missed his momentary lapse of control.

“No. I am just saying what I have heard. Perhaps you could enlighten me, Soval. Tell me of your experience.” He surveyed him curiously “Your first contact was a young woman, I believe?”

Soval decided that he should be guarded. It was obvious that some eyebrows had been raised when news of the hybrids had broken. “My prime contact was Ambassador Zannik. He was a highly regarded diplomat on many worlds.”

“Yes, I have heard of him, and the hybrid girl - what of her?” He persisted.

“Sylea is his niece, and was accompanying him on that occasion,” Soval added simply.

“I see that there is a suggestion to bring one of them to Vulcan on a temporary assignment,” Kuvak said casually. “A Garra Tau Liaison operative, I believe.”

Soval was taken aback at his words. He had not expected that the High Command would have discussed it. It was a minor administrative detail. How could Kuvak have picked up on it?

“It was not to Vulcan, Kuvak, it was Earth. As a species emerging into the larger universal community, their government considered the humans to be of interest. It would be an interesting stage at which to study them.” He decided to let Kuvak know just enough to keep him informed. Details were irrelevant at this stage.

“Zannik’s niece is a Liaison Operative, I believe?”

He was obviously well informed. Soval knew he had to tread very carefully. This would test his best skills as a diplomat. “You are correct.”

“Would it be she that you would expect? I believe you have requested a special post for her at the Vulcan Embassy in San Francisco. Would this be used as a base for this ….study?”

“The Garra Taus are an advanced race. We have much to learn from each other. It is only logical that facilitating their exploration of Human culture would improve our links with these people. Relations between our societies have been left unresolved for too long.”

“This is a diplomatic mission then?”

“It is, Minister.”

Kuvak nodded “It is a good idea. I will support it.”

Once more, Soval was taken by surprise “Thank you,” he murmured.
He was relieved to see V’Las entering the chamber. Now he could escape the questioning eyes of Minister Kuvak. Business had begun.


The Carillian ship was dark and quiet. Very little ever happened aboard the ship to alleviate the monotony. Sylea sighed, placing the reader on the table beside her bed. She had been through most of the library. Biology, psychology, cultural and historical tomes had been perused. Philosophy - Carillian style - and mythology, she’d read it all … several times.

A sensation of guilt washed over her. They were delightful beings, helpful and peaceful. She had come to the conclusion that their lack of socialising was deliberate, designed to avoid conflict of any kind. They were their own people, and kept their thoughts to themselves. Their beliefs were private. Even the married couples on board only met for meals, which it was customary to take together. Beyond that they didn’t appear to communicate. How they created offspring she had no idea. Those facts were omitted from the biology files as well.

A signal came through to her quarters from the communications officer, informing her of a message. A very large message, it seemed, and for the first time she thought she caught a hint of curiosity from a Carrilian. The communications officer was the only one she had been able to get close to. She seemed to possess a naturally inquisitive nature, and was the only member of the crew who had shown any interest in Sylea’s people.

The Carrilians explored for minerals and traded widely, but the cultures of others held no interest for them. They consciously avoided interaction beyond a business footing. Science was purely for the betterment and furthering of technology and health. Biology, beyond their own, was unexplored. Even in the midst of so many other species, the Carillians remained insular and untainted.

To have no belief system outside of oneself was a new concept to her. Garra Tau held freedom above all things as their overriding and most important ideal. On Vulcan, logic would prevail. Other worlds held other things dear: honour, acquisition. Perhaps on Carril it was personal privacy that held sway. She considered the idea. Remembering her message, she opened it carefully, not wishing to rush. Excitement was hard to come by on this vessel.

The message came from Earth. That could only be one person. She smiled. It was a long time since she had heard from the ambassador. His message was predictably short and to the point, but the wealth of human literature he had sent thrilled her. She looked at the list. This would give her something with which to amuse herself.


I gathered from your communication that you would have much time on your hands. I am sending you a selection of human literature, as you showed much interest in this species when we met.

You will find it overtly emotional, and much of it highly illogical. But these works, especially the works of one William Shakespeare, convey an uncanny understanding of the human condition, although what that might be is still under debate among our people.
I am in discussions with Ambassador Cassal regarding the humans. I believe he is hopeful of a breakthrough with the elders.

Peace and long life.


She had noticed before that he always said ‘our people’. He always treated her as Vulcan. It warmed her and surprised her to feel so accepted. She had always been afraid that outside of Xir-Tan she would be considered an outsider.

Unfamiliar names such as Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Chekhov jostled together, sounding strange and exotic to her. All were translated into Vulcan. She pored over the treasure in front of her and picked out a small file labelled ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to begin.

“There is a communication for you, Ambassador,” T’Vel announced, “from the Tomas Low.” She was watching him closely. She was curious as to why he would be in communication with this ship. He had sent a good deal of literary material a short while before. T’Vel had been interested then as well.

“Thank you,” he said evenly. “Please put it through.” He tried to remain as nonchalant as possible until she left. It wasn’t until he came to open the message that he realised that his hands were trembling. He resolved to visit his healer. He must be under more stress than he realised.


I gratefully received your literary offerings from earth. They were truly amazing! I have rarely seen such diversity in literary works and styles …

He was amused as she rambled on about the poetry of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Clare, and about the terrible deeds of MacBeth and Richard III: wars, and battles, and high adventure.

Her letter was light and entertaining and she asked for more works to while away her time on the Carrillean ship.

He was already planning the next selection as he closed the letter, his hands perfectly steady.


Chapter III

Soval was not looking forward to leaving the warmth of his office at the Embassy. He cast his eyes around the large room, its stone walls and floor bare of any decoration except a few symbolic pieces, and the statue of Surak in the corner. In typical Vulcan fashion it contained the minimum of furniture required for him to do his job. The effect of the minimalism was peace, and a lack of distraction. This was his inner sanctum.

It was a cold damp day outside. A fog hung over the city and the bay, and he knew from previous experience that the coolness would penetrate through his heavy robes into his bones, no matter how hard he tried to keep warm. It was on days like this that he found himself thinking of Vulcan and yearning for her dry warmth. However, he had promised to attend the meeting with the Starfleet admirals, and he always performed his duty with diligence. He studied the documents in front of him in readiness for the meeting.

“Ambassador, a message has arrived for you,” T’Vel announced over the comm.

He sighed. Yet another interruption, “Put it through,” he snapped, intending to look at it later. Glancing swiftly at the message, he saw it was from Garra Tau. He hesitated a moment before opening it. He was not expecting to hear from Cassal, but it could be news about the temporary assignment to the embassy. He considered it an excellent exercise in diplomacy for Sylea.

It had been two months since he had sent the last communication and information to her. He had waited for her reaction to his selection of literature and information about planet Earth, experiencing disappointment when she had failed to respond. It had taken several meditations to purge himself of his own unexpected reaction. To his surprise the message was not from Cassal, but from Sylea.

Greetings, Ambassador.

I have only just received the last communication that you sent to me. You must think me rude not to have thanked you before now, but much has happened since I last wrote to you from the ‘Tomas Low’. Regretfully, my assignment with the Carrileans was cut short. Solar flares struck the home world, causing wide spread damage, and many have died. All vessels were recalled immediately. The whole system has been placed on emergency status. Outsiders are neither helpful nor welcome at such a time.

I was diverted, therefore, to a first contact near Pantira Kee, which has caused much interest at home. We encountered a species there which are unfamiliar to us. As yet we know little about them. They call themselves Kelf, and claim to come in peace. We are proceeding with caution. I will tell you all about them when I see you again, which I hope will not be too far in the future.

As you can see, I have found myself with an unexpected holiday, and on returning home, found your communication which had been redirected by the Carrilleans. I thank you for so much material to study, as it appears now, at my leisure. Ambassador Cassal has requested my help during my quiet time, so I will have something to do. Meanwhile, I hope you remain in good health.

Live long and prosper, Ambassador

Your friend


Soval sat for some time after he had finished reading, considering her words. She would now be free, albeit for a short time. He suppressed a smile that had threatened to break loose at her intimation that they were ‘proceeding with caution’ with the Kelf. He found himself amused to think of Garra Taus doing anything ‘cautiously’. He had begun to believe that caution was not a word that existed in their vocabulary. His thoughts shifted to her mention of Cassal. Although he did not find him quite as agreeable as Zannik had been, he was a good and capable diplomat. He was also a young man. He could be considered aesthetically pleasing to females, and it would appear from some of his conversation that he had more than a passing interest in Sylea. His fingers drummed on the desk as he considered why the Garra Tau ambassador might request her assistance so swiftly, and was irritated by the obvious answer.

He was still deep in contemplation when T’Vel entered to tell him that his transport to Starfleet Headquarters had arrived. A logical course of action now presented itself to him. He would need to discuss it with Admiral Forrest. Perhaps this tedious meeting had come just at the right time. He made his way to the transport with no further thought of the inclement weather.


Chapter IV

Admiral Maxwell Forrest had been sitting opposite the Vulcan ambassador throughout the monthly meeting. He had kept a watchful eye on the normally impassive diplomat. Yes, he was aware of Soval’s outbursts of irritation and rudeness, and the razor sharp sarcasm was familiar to everyone, but, he’d never seen him preoccupied before. If he’d been a human, Forrest would have thought he had something on his mind, personal problems perhaps. At first glance it seemed unlikely that a Vulcan could have anything like a personal problem, but it was possible that they had the same kind of everyday difficulties that humans suffered. It still came as a surprise, though, when the ambassador requested a moment of his time afterwards. Now he sat facing the Vulcan over his desk.

“What can I do for you, Ambassador?” he asked politely.

Ambassador Soval was a formidable man. Many other Starfleet officers found him overbearing, rude and opinionated. He seemed to complain constantly, and was almost impossible to please - if it was possible to please a Vulcan, of course. Forrest agreed with all of these things. He’d had his fair share of cross words with him, too, but somehow after a long time of working with the man he’d found him strangely engaging. He wasn’t sure whether it was correct to say that the two of them had become friends. It was impossible to tell. He still experienced all the frustration of the long pauses and the predictably ambiguous information. It was patently obvious that humans were only told what the Vulcans thought they needed to know. It didn’t surprise him in the least when he was met with a long silence. He had the distinct impression that the ambassador was still undecided about whether he was going to tell him anything. He remained silent and tried to keep his irritation down to a minimum.

“I spoke to you some time ago about a species from Garra Tau who may be interested in a first contact with humans,” said Soval finally.

“The warp nine people? Yes, I remember,” Forrest said sitting forward, his expression one of deep interest. He’d thought about the conversation many times.

Soval sat forward as well speaking confidentially. “They may have a Liaison Operative available for assignment. Would Starfleet be interested?”

Forrest was wary. Personally, he had been excited by the possibility of such a meeting. Whether anyone else would be was debateable. The crew of Enterprise had met some nasty creatures during their voyage. It might be sensible to find out more about this species before inviting them home. “We’d need to know a little more about them,” he answered carefully.
“That would be prudent,” Soval answered. “However, there is limited time available. This is an unexpected window of opportunity, if you wish to exploit it.”

Forrest shuffled a few papers around on the desk absently. “I’m not sure that this is something to rush into. I am interested, of course, but we know nothing about them. Inviting them to Earth would be …”

“I am not suggesting Earth, Admiral, not at this stage. Their operatives primarily spend time on starships, making first contacts with the crew. Full planetary contact would follow,” Soval explained.

The Vulcans face remained unchanged. The usual impassive expression remained, and yet somehow Forrest felt that he was anxious to get this moving along. He had the impression that he was being railroaded. “You’re talking about Enterprise. Do you trust them? Would you invite one onto a Vulcan ship?” he asked pointedly.

“Admiral, I am expecting a Garra Tau on a temporary assignment to the embassy,” Soval replied, “if that answers your question.” He paused. “When Garra Taus first arrived on Vulcan, they came in peace and in search of knowledge. That was all they asked. It must have seemed strange to my ancestors that they didn’t require anything else from us, and they refused to trust them. They were asked to leave, and they complied, as it is not their policy to force contact.” He emphasised his next statement. “Distrust lasted three hundred years, and we have only just woken up to how much we can learn from them. The choice is yours.”

Forrest thought about it for some time after the ambassador left. How would Jonathan react to this suggestion? His lips curled involuntarily at the thought. He’d take it to the rest of Starfleet command. The one thing he’d never heard before was Soval admitting that Vulcans trusted anyone. He was curious to meet these people.


Chapter V

Soval had waited impatiently for Sylea to respond to his messages. He had decided against writing to her this time. Time was short. He wished to speak to her personally and urge her to begin her preparations. They had the go ahead. Starfleet Command, under the influence of Admiral Forrest, had expressed the desire for first contact, and the Council of Elders had been persuaded to release their free operative for the four month assignment.

He had been a little disappointed with her initial reaction to the news. He had expected some show of pleasure, or excitement. None had materialised. He would not have expected it from a Vulcan operative, he reasoned. Perhaps she did not wish to cause him displeasure or offence with a show of emotion.

“But Cassal is expecting my assistance now. To my knowledge this has all been arranged without him … and me,” she said accusingly.

“I am sure that Cassal can function without you,” he said. “You have not been available to him before, and he has managed adequately. He was not involved in the negotiations, Sylea, as time is short. Involving too many people costs days that we can ill afford.” He was nettled now.

“Cassal is an excellent diplomat, Ambassador. He does not ‘need’ anyone in order to accomplish his work, and I believe he performs more than ‘adequately’.” Sylea was showing irritation to mirror his own.

“Everything is settled now,” he snapped. “If you could inform ‘the embodiment of diplomatic excellence’ of the current situation, it would be appreciated.” Her obvious shock at his sarcasm would ordinarily have caused him some amusement. But the bright day appeared greyer to him, and his sense of accomplishment had disappeared. It had come to his notice that contact with Sylea was able to influence his mood, for better, and, it seemed, for ill. He concluded that she was not good for his mental harmony.


Jonathan Archer stared at Maxwell Forrest on the view screen in his ready room. He half expected the punch line of a joke. “You can’t be serious!” he exclaimed, suddenly realising that he was.

“We are very serious, Jon,” Forrest said. “This race is way ahead of us, and the Vulcans. And I wouldn’t have expected them to admit that,” he said with feeling.

“What do you know about them? We just take one aboard and give it free run of the ship? – my ship?” he shook his head. He was not happy with this plan. It was ok to sit and dictate from the safety of Earth. “No – that’s not a good idea. Who the hell came up with this plan?”

Forrest was silent. Archer nodded in realisation. “Soval! What a surprise!”

“Seriously, Jon, we might learn a lot. These people have remarkable technology. They are travelling at warp nine – at least, according to Soval. And they’ve been exploring parts of the universe that we can only dream of for decades. Besides, it’s only for a short time.”

“How short?” Archer asked, a little swayed by the technology carrot.

Forrest smiled to himself. “Four months.”

“Four months!” Archer exclaimed. “I don’t call that a short time.”

“It’s a study. You have to allow a reasonable length of time for that.” Forrest explained.

“And if I object?” Archer asked. “And I strongly object,” he said forcefully.

Forrest sat forward, his brows furrowed with controlled irritation. “I’ll put it to command, but they seem pretty set on it, from where I’m standing,” he warned. “Give it some more thought.”

Archer nodded. Forrest leaned forward to close the connection.

“Give it some more thought,” Archer muttered to himself. Invite a stranger onto his ship, a species they knew nothing about. A spy for Soval most likely. T’Pol must have been quite a disappointment for him if he had to send another one. No, he’d fight this, he decided, with every ounce of strength at his disposal.


Chapter VI

It had been two days, and Sylea had not contacted him. Soval fiddled with items on his desk, and shuffled the pads and data pods around distractedly. Rising and pacing the office, he stopped to look out of his window and find something to occupy his mind. Outside of the Vulcan compound he could see humans moving around, going about their daily business with their usual mixture of random purpose and good humour. Out on the water he could just see the colourful sails of boats. They looked cheerful and carefree. For a moment he wished he could have that freedom. After thirty years on Earth, he had come to find humans particularly engaging. On occasion he had been tempted to move amongst them and study them at closer quarters, but he never had. From his observations at Starfleet he could see how changeable they were. They could turn at any minute from logic or friendliness to chaos and aggression, with little provocation, it seemed. Not unlike Sylea. His thoughts brought him full circle. He did not know whether or not she had agreed to the plan. She had been interested in the humans and he could not understand why she was not grasping this opportunity with both hands. Perhaps she wished to remain with Cassal …

He was determined not to contact her. But on two occasions at least he had to admit that his curiosity had almost got the better of him. He continued to wait.

A strange sensation in his internal organs greeted the news that there was a subspace call for him. He ignored it. Another occurred as he looked at her face on the screen in front of him. He waited for her to greet him first. He was ill at ease with these inward reactions. He was used to being in absolute control.

“Greetings, Ambassador,” she said after a short hesitation. He inclined his head, but said nothing.

“I have received my orders from the Council of Elders. I will be joining the human starship in two weeks,” she continued. “But I suppose you already knew that.”

“I do not know the details,” he stated. Soval noticed her fidgeting again. She seems to do that when she is nervous, he thought. He had observed small mannerisms that indicated her feelings and had begun to read her through them.

“I wondered if you had any insights or advice that you would be willing to share with me. You have spent a great deal of time among humans,” she said tentatively. “I would appreciate it.”

“You are nervous about the mission?” Soval asked, a little surprised. Somehow he had never expected her to have such negative feelings. She seemed so capable and efficient that he had expected her to approach everything with confidence and fearlessness.

Her chin flew up defiantly. “I wish to begin well,” Sylea corrected him. “I usually have ample opportunity to research my assignments. If you do not have time …”

“I did not say I would not assist,” he pointed out calmly. Soval had experienced her flashes of temper before, and had no wish to argue with her. “I will do so willingly.” She relaxed. Checking his chrono, he noted that he had a little free time. “We may begin now if it is convenient.”

Her smile was his reward. He thought for a moment before beginning. “I hope that you are comfortable,” he said, humour glinting in his eyes. “These people are unpredictable. I should warn you of some of the common problems … it may take some time…”


Chapter VII

The three diners in the captain’s mess were quiet over their meals, each one with their own thoughts.

“We can’t get out of it then?” asked Trip finally breaking the silence.

“I have tried every argument and objection I know,” Archer snapped. “We’re stuck with him/her/it.”

“Her,” T’Pol corrected him.

“Perhaps, you can tell me …” Archer turned to T’Pol in frustration, “what the hell we need with another Vulcan on board?”

T’Pol regarded the captain for a few moments before replying. He showed signs of high irritability. “She is not Vulcan,” she said firmly. “She is an attaché for Garra Tau.”

Trip and Archer exchanged glances. This wasn’t a great deal of help, as they had never heard of the planet in question. “You wouldn’t care to enlighten us about them would you? We don’t know anything at all about that world, and I don’t see much in the Vulcan database about them,” said Archer.

Archer noticed T’Pol’s eyebrows twitching slightly. It was a tiny movement, but they had begun to recognise it as an indication that she was not comfortable with something.

“The Garra Taus were one of the first species that we met when Vulcans first journeyed into space. They are peaceful.” A very tangible ‘but’ hung in the air, and Archer exchanged another glance with Trip. “They were considered to be highly illogical.” The eyebrow clearly expressed disdain. “Their hedonistic lifestyle caused my ancestors to keep a distance between our two species.”

The two men struggled to suppress their grins. “You’re looking forward to meetin’ her then?” Trip quipped, and then gave up the fight and laughed. T’Pol shot them both an exasperated glare.

“I’m sorry,” Archer said, pulling himself together. It was obvious that his science officer was not impressed with their behaviour, and even less with the situation as it stood. “Why is the High Command facilitating this ‘project’ then?” he asked. It seemed unusual that the Vulcans should be behaving so … helpfully toward any species, let alone one that they had obviously not approved of previously.

T’Pol looked uncomfortable again. “Ambassador Soval has renewed links with their Ambassador, and the High Command appears to have gone along with it. He believes that we have much to learn from their race.” She kept her eyes down to her plate. She obviously did not agree.

“But, you don’t approve?” he said, eyeing her curiously.

“It is not that I do not approve,” she explained. “I just do not see the logic in re-establishing relations in that area. I see no advantage for Vulcan, and it is unusual for such a relationship to be pursued without a tangible reason.”

“Maybe they just wanna be friends?” suggested Trip.

T’Pol’s raised eyebrow told him how ridiculous that was.

“Well, whatever the motivation,” Archer said, looking at Trip and T’Pol in turn. “We will have to put up with … her.” He looked back at Trip. “You said you needed to test out the new shielding on the shuttlepods. I suggest you try one of them out while picking our guest up from Aurelius IV. We’ve got five days to get quarters arranged. Can you find out what she needs, T’Pol?”

“I already have instructions from Ambassador Soval,” T’Pol stated flatly.

“He seems pretty keen.” Trip’s comment earned him another glare from T’Pol, but she remained silent.

“Come in,” Archer called as the door chime sounded.

“I need to speak with you,” said T’Pol as she entered.

“Sit down,” he said. He got the distinct impression that T’Pol was agitated. He waited until she had sat down. “What’s the problem?”

“I have received the protocols from Ambassador Soval. The attaché is to be treated as we would treat any diplomatic passenger. I will need to go through them with the crew before we arrive at Aurelius IV.” That seemed straightforward enough, Archer thought, but four months of strict protocols was not what he had expected.

“I didn’t realise that we’d have to watch our p’s and q’s for four months,” he commented. “As far as I can see, the sooner it’s over, the better.”

“Agreed,” said T’Pol, taking Archer by surprise.

Archer wasn’t accustomed to his first officer showing this much discomfort. “Tell me more about this species. You don’t seem happy about this … at all.”

“They are a race of telepaths ...” she began.

Archer stopped her. “Telepaths!” he exclaimed. “She’s a telepath?”

“Yes.” T’Pol was surprised by his reaction.

“Do you mean, we’re going to have someone on board who can read our minds?” Archer felt even more uncomfortable about the situation now. Perhaps, Soval didn’t think he was getting enough information from you, he thought to himself. Then he saw her questioning expression. “I’m sorry, but, it seems a little strange, doesn’t it? Maybe Soval’s after information.”

“I doubt that she is spying for the Vulcans, or that she will wish to read your minds.” T’Pol stated flatly.

Archer grunted. “So, what are Garra Taus like, now we know she’s not Vulcan?” he asked.

“She is Vulcan.”

“Not Garra Tau?” he was confused now.

“Yes,” said T’Pol. “She is both,” she stated. There was silence during which Archer got the distinct impression that she was reluctant to impart the information. Finally she clenched her jaw, lifted her chin and exhaled. “She is a hybrid. Her father is a Vulcan archaeologist, her mother, a Tau.”

Archer took a moment to process the information. After the initial surprise he leaned his elbows on the desk. His eyes twinkled mischievously. “I thought you said Vulcans didn’t mate with other species.”

“I believe I said ‘rarely’, Captain,” T’Pol replied dryly.

“Well, what do you suggest?” He was still unsure why she was here.

T’Pol was quiet for a moment. “Should Commander Tucker really be the one to collect her from Aurelius IV?”

“Why? What do you think she’ll do to him?” Archer asked, curious as to her concern.

“I am not worried about what she will do, Captain,” she said. “I am not sure that Commander Tucker will adhere to my instructions. He may be … disrespectful.”

Archer sighed. “I understand your concern,” he said, trying to keep a smile from his face. “But, isn’t she here to study humans?”

“Yes, but …”

He held up a hand to stop her. “I’ll speak to Trip,” he promised. “He’s the man for the job, trust me.” He smiled at her reassuringly. “Dismissed.”

He sighed as the door closed behind her. Archer brooded on the coming trial, and for a few pleasant moments he imagined putting his hands around Soval’s throat and squeezing … tightly. Would he ever stop interfering in his mission?

T’Pol was waiting for Trip when he arrived at the shuttle pod.

He grinned at her good naturedly. “You comin’ too?”

“No, Commander,” she said looking him straight in the eye. “I am here to remind you of the …”

“Protocols,” he said cutting across her sharply. It irritated him that she felt it necessary to remind him of how to behave. “I know. Don’t speak until you’re spoken to. Would you like me to pull my forelock too?” She actually has the nerve to look surprised, that I’m annoyed, he thought. He was a little disappointed too, he decided, that he wasn’t going to be able to spend some quality time sparring with T’Pol in the shuttle for a day or two.

Archer had joined them in the shuttle bay. “Don’t forget Trip …”

“Don’t you start,” Trip jumped in. “I thought it was only T’Pol who didn’t think I could handle myself.”

“Your track record is poor, Commander,” T’Pol put in, a challenging glint in her eye.

Feeling his temper rising, Trip gritted his teeth. “O.K., I promise I’ll be on my best behaviour.” He wasn’t sure for a minute whether T’Pol was teasing him. The thought brought an involuntary grin to the surface, and his eyes twinkled.

“Keep your hands to yourself,” said T’Pol sharply. She wasn’t teasing.

“Yes ma’am,” he replied with emphasis, rolling his eyes. She doesn’t let up does she?

“Have a good trip!” Archer said, stifling a grin. T’Pol nodded to him, but she still looked uncertain as she left the shuttle bay.

“I don’t think I need to say …,” said Archer, grinning at his friend.

“No, you don’t,” laughed Trip.


Chapter VIII

The flight to the Aurelius system was uneventful. The shielding appeared to be working well. All systems were clear of problems. The landing had been smooth and he had time to spare. Everything was fine. The only blot on the horizon was the unknown attaché. None of the crew liked the idea of a telepath. Was this someone who could invade their privacy? It worried them. Only Phlox seemed unconcerned and cheerful about meeting someone new. Even T’Pol wasn’t keen. He mused on the relationship she had with Ambassador Soval. The fact that it was the bitter old Vulcan who had initiated this invasion seemed to have affected her just as much as it had annoyed and surprised everyone else.

He waited at the space port, watching the strange and amazing variety of passengers go by. When he was a boy, dreaming of space travel, he had imagined what kind of diverse and fantastic creatures he might meet. Reality outstripped even his wildest imaginings. Checking his watch, he decided that he had plenty of time before the scheduled ship arrived. He could get a drink while he waited. He followed the strains of music to a nearby bar.

This was an unexpected bit of R & R, and his only regret was that he had none of his friends from Enterprise to enjoy it with him. He noticed that various different languages that were being spoken. Hoshi would love this, mused Trip. Three glamorous female aliens eyed him with interest from the other side of the bar, Malcolm and Travis would too, he thought, smiling to himself.

Glancing around the bar, his eyes settled on the odd person out. She sat alone watching the bar-life going on around her. Her attention seemed to be fixed on some colourful and excitable aliens a couple of tables away. Her face registered amused interest as their wild gesticulations got even wilder. She could have been human. She was very attractive, with light brown curls tumbling over her shoulders and down her back in wild profusion. She seemed to sense his interest and looked straight at him. She smiled a warm inviting smile, and he grinned back. Picking up his drink, he strolled over to her table. Panic struck him as he patted each pocket in turn. The UT was back at the shuttlepod. This was going to be awkward.

“Hi,” he said amiably as he stopped by the table. She inclined her head but remained silent. He considered his next move. Standing at the back of a chair, he motioned between himself and the chair rapidly. “Can – I – sit – here?” he asked loudly, in the time honoured manner of the monolingual tourist trying to make himself understood.

She nodded, motioning gracefully with her hand, indicating that he could join her. Her open smile was disarming and he grinned back. He took off his jacket and left it on the back of the seat. “Drink?” he shouted.

“Cus lat tu!” she said smiling and covering her ears.

“I know,” he said apologetically. “I’m – sorry!” he shouted again, instantly forgetting that she spoke a different language and wasn’t deaf. She saw the humour of the situation and laughed.

“Drink?” he said lifting his glass. She nodded, and turning towards the bar tender, lifted her own glass. Without a word being spoken, the bar tender poured another drink and brought it across. The smile on his face told Trip that he found this girl interesting too.

“Cheers!” said Trip, holding his glass aloft.

“Shavu!” she answered, mirroring his actions.

He enjoyed the pantomime of gestures and actions that passed for a conversation. He was having a great time. But time had passed quickly. He stood up to leave and turned to retrieve his jacket.

She patted her arm questioningly, he looked down and realised she’d spotted his badge.

“It’s my ship,” he explained, making a flying motion with his hands. “E-n-t-e-r-p-r-i-s-e.”

Enterprise?” she asked, surprised.

“Yes, where’s yours?” he pointed to her, and repeated his flying motion.

She motioned for him to sit down. “I gotta go!” he said, picking up his jacket.

She motioned again more forcefully. He sat. “What?”

She put out her hands and indicated he should give her his. “Oh, hang on a minute. I’ve been here before… No!” he said forcefully, trying to cushion his emphatic words with a polite smile and a shake of his head.

He’d had his fingers burned by the Xyrillians, but before he knew it she had taken them, and was staring into his eyes intently. It was a strange moment, and then she suddenly let go of him.

“Look, I gotta go,” he said pointing at the door. “I’ve got someone to collect. It’s been nice meetin’ you!”

“Relax, Commander,” she said suddenly. “You are here to meet me.” There was silence as he gaped at her. “Sylea,” she said holding out a hand. “I believe this is how you greet people?”

“That’s right!” he said weakly. So much for T’Pol’s protocols. He shook her hand. “How come you’re speakin’ English?” He looked at her suspiciously. “Did you do that telepathically?”

“I apologise, Commander. I wouldn’t normally, but I thought the situation called for it. I promise I won’t do it again.” Sylea assured him. “You were reluctant to take my hands. Is there a cultural reason for that?” she asked, curious about him.

“No, not really, it’s just …,” he hesitated, but she waited expectantly. “Last time I got involved in a hand game with an alien … there were … consequences.” He avoided looking at her, and took a long drink.

“Really?” she prompted.

“Yeah, it’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime.” Trip was glad to hear the sound of the communicator. It prevented him from having to continue with this embarrassing line of conversation.

“Tucker here!”

“Commander.” It was T’Pol’s crisp tone. “We are now in orbit. Have you rendezvoused with our guest?”

“I have. She’s here safe and sound.” He smiled at his charge.

“I trust that you have behaved in the proper manner?”

“I’ve been the perfect gentleman,” he stated.

“That,” said T’Pol, “is hardly comforting news. Have you adhered to the protocols?”

Trip eyed the attaché, who was listening to every word with great interest.

“Yes, T’Pol, I followed them to the letter.” What surprised him most wasn’t that he’d lied. It was only a white lie. He had behaved properly …well, by human standards. It was the fact that he was lying to T’Pol that he didn’t like, and he didn’t know why. Sylea seemed to pick up his discomfort and patted his hand sympathetically.

“We’ll be back soon,” he said.

“Please do not delay,” T’Pol instructed. “We plan to leave orbit shortly to resume our mission.”

“Sub-Commander T’Pol?” she asked when he closed the communicator.

“That’s her,” he said with resignation. “Well … I’ve got my orders. Better get you up there! Where’s your luggage?”

She laughed and beckoned. He stopped for a moment as she strolled ahead of him. The way she moved was a mesmerising sight. A liquid motion was the only description he could call to mind.


Chapter IX

Jonathan Archer assembled his senior officers. At least if there were a few of them he wouldn’t have to spend too much time with her. He was surprised by how unhappy he was at having a telepath on board. Even if she hadn’t been forced on him by Soval, he would still find it difficult to adjust. He knew that he shouldn’t have preconceptions. His friendship with T’Pol had taught him that. But this was different. This woman could read his mind, if she wished, and he found the idea very disturbing.

The shuttle had docked and they stood and waited. T’Pol shifted a little. Archer was impatient to get the ordeal over with. He’d gone over it in his head; a short welcome speech, and then an introduction to the others. T’Pol would take her to her quarters and then tour the ship. Then … four months of strict protocols. Oh, joy!

The hatch opened and Trip emerged grinning, glad to see his crew mates. He turned to help his passenger out. Archer was taken back by the woman who emerged. He had not expected to see a warm and open smile like this one. She smiled at each of the welcoming party in turn. He was the last. Deep blue eyes gazed at him, and conflicting feelings of attraction and annoyance wrestled with one another. His feet and legs felt like they were made of lead, and his mouth seemed to have stopped working. After a few awkward moments, T’Pol stepped forward to convey the greetings that he had rehearsed. At least he could console himself that Travis and Malcolm were both doing passable impersonations of halibuts as well.

T’Pol greeted her with a bow, her palms together in a manner he had never seen before. In turn, the attache gave T’Pol the traditional Vulcan salute. She was introduced in turn to each of them. At last she came to Phlox, who was almost jigging with anticipation.

She seemed delighted. “A Denobulan,” she breathed. “I have never met one before … magnificent!”

Phlox was grinning alarmingly. “And I have never met one of your people. It is a great pleasure to meet you,” he said with feeling.

T’Pol swept everyone with a cool glance. “I will take the Cultural Attache to her quarters.” She let her eyes settle for a moment on Archer, who felt distinctly uneasy, and foolish. She inclined her head and left.

“Have you ever met a human before?” T’Pol asked, “at all?”

“No, never,” Sylea answered, her gaze sweeping around her new surroundings.

“You will get used to the smell … eventually,” T’Pol said confidentially.

“I was told about that,” she said, “but I did not detect an unpleasant odour.”

“You may find, that when there are a highly concentrated number of humans, it will be different,” T’Pol warned. “Movie night can be particularly difficult. Dr Phlox can provide something to help should it be necessary.”

“Thank you, Subcommander, for your concern,” said Sylea with sincerity.

“Here are your quarters. I trust they are to your liking.” T’Pol stood aside to allow her entry. “I will arrange for your luggage to be brought to you.” T’Pol continued following her inside. “I planned to come back in two hours to take you on a tour of the ship. Will that give you long enough to recover from your journey?”

“It will be ample, thank you.” Sylea’s eyes had fallen onto the meditation candles provided.

“Open flames are usually not permitted on the ship, but we have special permission for meditation purposes,” T’Pol explained. “I had Chef prepare you a meal.” It was already laid out for her on a small table.

“You are thoughtful, Sub-commander.”

“I will return in two hours.” T’Pol turned to leave and then hesitated. “How did Commander Tucker behave when he met you?”

“Exactly as you would have expected him to,” Sylea told her. “His behaviour was exemplary. I was impressed,” she added.

T’Pol considered their new shipmate. She was not unpleasant, but of course she was on her best behaviour at the moment. Her manner seemed subdued, possibly due to fatigue. It remained to be seen how she would settle into life among so many humans. She stopped mid stride. It hadn’t occurred to her for quite a while that not only had she become used to the smell of humans, she had also developed an understanding of them that she had not expected. She understood at the moment that they were concerned about Sylea’s telepathic abilities. She would address that at a later time. For the moment, she felt the need to find out just how exemplary Commander Tucker’s behaviour had been. His inappropriate show of admiration for the attaché had been unacceptable. Her feet turned towards Engineering.


Sylea looked at her surroundings. They were Spartan … very Vulcan, she decided. Little touches had been added that she recognised as more Tau in character. An array of cushions had been provided for relaxation, Tau style. It impressed her that her hosts had taken the trouble to research and add these items. It was a pleasant blend of her two cultures. She would convey her thanks to T’Pol and the crew, when she saw them. The grey metallic walls were somewhat depressing, but that could be fixed when her things arrived.

The crew … she thought about them. Those she had met all seemed pleasant, although she thought she detected apprehension in them. The Captain definitely wasn’t happy about her presence. He had been experiencing inner conflict. She had caught that, and was definitely adverse to her presence.

Dr Phlox was something else again, she smiled. What a bonus! The Denobulan was a species that her people had not yet made contact with. This made an interesting add-on to her mission.

She was fatigued and had settled down to meditate, when the door chime sounded. “Come in,” she called.

The ensign who brought her luggage regarded her with covert interest. She felt his curiosity and a strong sensation of apprehension. She thanked him and resumed her meditation.


Chapter X

“The attache’s itinerary needs to be arranged properly, Captain. You may even need to speak with her.” T’Pol’s words suggested sarcasm. Archer’s temporary paralysis in the shuttle bay had been embarrassing.

“I know. Look, bring her along after your tour of the ship and I’ll speak to her then,” he promised. Hadn’t he handled aggressive and difficult species before easily enough? Hostile species had been soothed under his influence. Despite not being or even wishing to be a diplomat, he had achieved some promising results.

T’Pol headed for the attaché’s quarters and reflected on her conversation with Commander Tucker earlier.

“Look, I’m sorry, T’Pol,” he said. “I didn’t know it was her. She didn’t know who I was. By the time we knew it was a bit late to roll out the red carpet. We got on really well. I wasn’t aware that I had offended her in any way.” He looked at T’Pol. “Did she say I offended her? ‘Cause I didn’t mean to …and why d’you care so much anyway?” he asked defensively.
“Sylea informed me that your behaviour was exemplary, I have no complaint with that.” T’Pol informed him curtly. “Ambassador Soval wishes her to be treated with respect. She is the first member of her species to have contact with humans. It would be a shame to create a bad impression.” She didn’t tell him that she couldn’t understand the Ambassador’s interest in these people, or a niggling suspicion that was beginning to form. It also perplexed her that she would wish to share a confidence with this human. Sharing confidences was not a Vulcan habit.

“So, what’s the problem then?” Tucker asked incredulously.

“I ask that you follow protocol from now on.”

“OK, I promise,” he said. He had stared after her when she left, no doubt thinking she had lost her mind.

Her jaw tightened slightly as she remembered her own reaction to Trip’s experience with the Tau. She should have gone with him … her steps slowed as she considered the implications of this train of thought. It was illogical that she should be envious of the Garra Tau hybrid’s time alone with the human engineer. Her retrospective desire to accompany him was, of course, motivated solely by her desire to ensure that the first contact went smoothly. After reinforcing this line of logic to herself, she moved on.

She paused at the door, her sensitive nose picked up the scent of meditation incense. It was a familiar smell and invoked a sudden longing for her kind. Just for a little while it might be pleasant to have Vulcan, or even partly Vulcan, company.

The door opened and Sylea appeared, looking refreshed. T’Pol took a few moments to take in the other woman’s appearance. It would not be immediately obvious, she thought, that Sylea was part Vulcan. Little in her appearance suggested her heritage, except, she noticed, now that some of her hair was swept away from her face … her ears. They were the tell tale sign that gave it away. T’Pol stiffened again as her eye fell on a small Vulcan book that lay nearby. The volume greatly resembled the copy of Tavel’s “Path to Kohlinar” that belonged to Ambassador Soval. This old and revered tome was one of his most treasured possessions. She regarded it suspiciously, noting the well thumbed appearance and the various creases and imperfections due to its age. The physical evidence suggested that it was his book. She turned her eyes back to Sylea, wondering why it would be in her possession.

“I am ready to go,” Sylea said, noticing T’Pol’s hesitation.

“Very well,” said T’Pol, leading the way.

“May I ask you about the protocols Commander Tucker mentioned?” Sylea asked as they walked through the corridors. “He seemed most distressed that he had not followed them.”

“Ambassador Soval, specifically requested that you be treated as an honoured diplomatic guest,” stated T’Pol.

“That is not my function,” Sylea said. “I am here to integrate with the crew.”

“You are the first member of your species to meet humans. Whether you agree or not, you are an important guest.” T’Pol turned and looked her straight in the eye. “Is this not the usual practice?”

“No, it is not,” Sylea said firmly. “I am meant to be a part of your crew. I cannot fit in with them if they are on their best behaviour at all times. That merely creates a barrier. Please inform them that this is not necessary.”

T’Pol hesitated.

“I will speak with Ambassador Soval, if you wish. I am sure he meant well,” said Sylea. “But it is unnecessary.”

“Very well. It is your decision,” said T’Pol. She knew there would be general relief on board. “Now, we can start in Engineering. Then I will take you to the Captain.”

“Oh, Subcommander T’Pol … may I thank you for the way you arranged my quarters? I appreciate you finding out about Tau culture. I am gratified for the trouble you obviously took,” Sylea said with sincerity.

“It was no trouble,” said T’Pol carefully, keeping her eyes averted from the attache. All she had done was follow Ambassador Soval’s instructions. She decided not to mention it.


Archer stood up when the door chime sounded, standing erect, almost to attention and ready to confront the visitor. “Come in.”

She entered cautiously, her expression quizzical. He wondered for moment if she saw him as an interesting specimen. Would she be taking notes during the interview? He couldn’t prevent his annoyance from showing. He reminded himself that neither he, nor his crew wanted this observer aboard. He hated the idea that they were being studied, and it annoyed the hell out of him that he was tingling all over, and attracted to her. Hell, could she read his mind? They regarded one another awkwardly for a moment.

“Please take a seat,” he said finally. “How was the tour?” he asked politely.

“Very interesting, Captain, thank you,” Sylea replied.

“She’s quite a ship isn’t she?” he said proudly.

“She certainly is, Captain.”

Jonathan Archer remained standing, pacing back and forth to alleviate the tension that was building. He felt like a taut string. “T’Pol wanted us to discuss your itinerary. Your usual practice is to work in different departments within the ships structure to get to know most of the crew, I understand.”

“That is usual, yes,” Sylea answered. “Do you have any objections?”

“Personally, no,” he answered truthfully. So long as she was not constantly under his feet, he was okay with it. “So long as my senior crew are agreeable, it’s a go.”

He noticed her struggle with his terminology and, obviously, deciding it was positive, she nodded.

Archer concentrated on the next question, trying to phrase it properly and trying to marshal his thoughts away from the fact that she was, in fact, very pretty. “T’Pol tells me that your people are telepathic,” he began, keeping his eyes down on the desk in front of him.

“We are.”

He inhaled sharply. “We like our privacy,” he said raising his eyes to hers. “Mind reading is not an option. If you wish to … study us … then you do it our way.” His jaw was aching with the tension he felt, and he couldn’t keep the irritation out of his tone.

“Agreed, Captain,” she said. “Are your people concerned about that? I have noticed a lot of apprehension since I arrived.”

“Yes, we’re concerned. Our thoughts are our own. We don’t want them invaded.” He looked at her suspiciously. “Can you just turn it off?”

She nodded. “I need to be able to control it. Can you imagine hearing the thoughts of everybody around you all of the time? It could drive you insane - especially undisciplined minds.” She stopped short. “I am unable to stop the empathic flow though. If you are happy, sad, irritated, I will feel that.” She stopped again. “Can you accept that?”

He grunted. Her slight against undisciplined minds had not been missed. “Very well. We’ll proceed on that understanding,” he said sharply.

She inclined her head in agreement and silence fell for a few moments. “I wondered if I may start in your galley, or perhaps the library. Both are fascinating areas, and good places to gain basic knowledge of your kind,” Sylea ventured. “It is a strategy that works well with most subjects.”

Archer felt his jaw tighten at her last remark. “I’ll speak to Chef,” he said curtly. “I hope that you have a pleasant stay on board,” he said unconvincingly, by way of dismissal.

“Thank you, Captain,” she said rising gracefully. “I have asked T’Pol to convey to the crew that there is no need for protocols, as I am here to blend in and wish to be treated as equal, no more. I thought you should know.”

He said nothing but nodded in appreciation. When she had gone he sat down, relaxing back in his chair to consider the situation. He knew he had been a little rude and regretted it … a little. She seemed quite nice… well mostly. Pleasant, in fact … and pretty, very pretty … He sat up straight and punched a few keys on his padd. He had tried not to notice the way her dress fitted her form so beautifully before falling elegantly from her hips. He sighed. He’d been out in space for a long time now. They all had. He probably just needed some R&R. He smiled to himself. Maybe he needed to get his tensions eased. He remembered the awkward lunch where T’Pol had informed him and Trip that they needed a journey to Risa for just that purpose. Perhaps it was time to find a place to rest his hard working crew. He’d get T’Pol onto it, he decided.


A whole mess of folks have made comments

Oh good, another Julie story! I have just printed it to read and will leave another comment later. I am rarely the first to notice a new story, so like a naughty child I just had to leave my peanut butter and jelly covered finger print on it first!

Oh, I really got into this story. So I hope the next installment won't be too long in coming!

Poor Soval - I loved the suspense as he waits to see how much of a rival he has for Sylea. She is such a natural diplomat and the plot line of putting her aboard the Enterprise opens so many possibilities. You have so many relationships now that can be developed.

I like it that there is a world with technology more advanced than the Vulcans at this point. And will we get to see Sylea's father? I liked the introduction you gave us about him in an earlier story, which of course is later in time. I hope you bring us up to the time we found Sylea and Soval in from your other stories, when you get to the end of this one. What a treat this story is!

Actually, Linda, I think the story line with the half-Vulcan pirate in which Sylea gave us info about her father is a prequel to this one. I don't recall whether her father was in the later (written earlier) stories because it's been a while since I've read them. What about it, Julie?

Oh yes! I didn't mean to give the prequel short shrift. I think Sylea's father was mentioned in the prequel, right?. Maybe a note should be put with each story listing its prequels and sequels since Julie is building an epic of a story here!

Sylea told Soval about her father in the second part of IDIC. I've confused everyone, haven't I? This story is the follow on to IDIC I and II (they will lead up to 'Kotelsu Kalifee'). I would love to bring Sarbok into it somewhere along the line, not sure when though. It's funny how you get a picure of a character in your head and they have developed their own personality, Sarbok is one of these. I like him, I hope to introduce him to you later.

Thanks, Linda, I'm glad you liked it. I love getting aboard Enterprise and look forward to exploring T'Pol's suspicions of Soval's reasoning in placing this female on board. I would like to use this vehicle to get behind their relationship to each other.

I did ask Myst whether it should be linked through to the other side, she hasn't put it up yet. Perhaps she doesn't think it should be.

Sorry, julie, I was gone for a week to my mom's. It was her 80th birthday! I just returned yesterday and finished your story, which I liked very much. I PM'd Bucky to ask her if she would consider linking to T/T - I'll let you know what she decides.

I like this Archer - whew, never did I think of Archer and Soval as two men attracted to the same woman, but I can see that completely! Heh, heh! Don't make Sylea too perfect, though.

Oh, T'Pol - a wee bit jealous of both Trip and Soval. Love it! I'm glad you are trying to figure out what the relationship between T'Pol and Soval is - that is a mystery, since it turns out he isn't her father.

Keep writing. I'm looking forward to more.

More please.

Thanks for your comments, Myst. I've always wondered about the almost aggressive attitude that Archer and Soval have toward each other, especially on 'Cease Fire'. I've often wondered about the reasons behind their prickly relationship. This could be just one factor from my overactive imagination.

I take your point with Sylea, but believe me she is far from perfect - I have a horror of the mary-sue character. However, in my experience people are on their best behaviour to begin with, especially with a new job, because you want to create a good impression - after that the cracks appear.

Yay yay yay I really enjoyed this! I love Soval stories. Fingers crossed they get together :)

Excellent stuff! I haven't read your other stories (my loss, I'm sure), so I'll have to figure out some of it on the way. Great story so far, and I can't wait for more! :)

Thank you for your comments, guys.

What an interesting story, Julie! My hubby walked out into our bedroom while I was reading this and scared me because I was so engrossed in it. I love the addition of Trip, T'Pol and Archer. I think it might be safe to say that Soval is kind of smitten, LOL! I like the way he kept telling himself he wouldn't contact her just yet. Very funny reference to the pregnant Trip episode too. I got a good chuckle out of that one.

Great job! I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Thanks, Beth. I love 'Unexpected'. I think it may be my favourite ep out of the whole four series. It seemed like the sort of thing that would teach you a lesson (or two!).

I'm well into the next bit so watch this space!

Will do! :)

Thanks for telling me the name of that episode. For the life of me, I just couldn't remember it last night. Trip was pretty adorable in it, wasn't he?

I'll be looking for your next addition to this.

Where is more of that? Keep writing I like it very much! ;)

Please update this is a very nice story. I like that both Trip and Tpol are thinking of each other and that Soval is interested.