This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme – an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the word “almost”. I used the word several times, in this passage.
Since it’s also International Short Story Month, and I’m actively participating in Story a Day May, I combined this prompt with the May 29 “Back to Front” prompt -writing a story that begins at the end, and ends at the beginning.
Today, I bring you – a starship captain denying his emotions, as he sees the relationship between his second and third in command evolving in a way that excludes him…oh, and there’s also a very sick Vulcan.
But, before that – I want to share a few sentences I wrote earlier in the month, because I like what they say, and, well, they fit the prompt almost perfectly, even though they predate it.
Almost. Filthiest word of ‘em all, almost. All. Most.
Nope, no context, but you can find the story here if you’re so inclined….
Jonathan Archer, Trip Tucker, Doctor Phlox, T’Pol, and all the rest of Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount. I play with them strictly for my own amusement – and perhaps yours, too. And because T’Pol tells me to – and she’s rather formidable! =)
This is an extrapolated story, occurring after the events in S4E20: “Demons” and S4E21; “Terra Prime”. Spoilers for those episodes; also for S4E17: “Bound”.
Almost Too Much
“Thank you, Captain.” T’Pol’s voice was almost gone, a thready, raw whisper.
“Don’t try to talk, pepperpot. You just sit tight, and stay still, and let me handle this. Cap’n, please don’t make her talk. Damn, I didn’t know so much could come out of someone so slender. She can’t take much more of this. I’m sorry, pepperpot – so damned sorry you have to go through this.”
“At ease, Doctor Tucker. T’Pol, I just wanted to check up on you. If it hurts when you talk, or makes you feel sick, don’t. I don’t want to make it worse -”
He broke off as T’Pol gagged. “Awww, hell!” Trip exclaimed, grabbing the basin on the table, and getting it under T’Pol’s chin just as she started to heave weakly. Trip’s fingers stroked through the sweat-crusted fringe of bangs; Jon watched them, trying to avoid the implications of that small intimacy; of Trip still being here several hours after he brought her.
When T’Pol finished vomiting what looked like nothing but bile, Trip put the bowl aside, and picked up a soft damp cloth. T’Pol leaned into his shoulder as he wrapped an arm around her, gently. Jon almost said something, ordered him out and back to work, but then T’Pol’s head dropped to Trip’s shoulder, and Trip whispered harshly, “Aww, hell, pepperpot. I hate this for you. It’ s so not fair.”
“Trip, don’t.” Barely even a whisper, now. Jon had never seen the Vulcan looking so weak and defenseless. But one trembling hand lifted, made its way to Trip’s hand, and her fingers tangled with his as she sighed.
“Kaiidth,” she breathed, or something like that.
“What’d she say?” Jon asked.
“Means ‘what is, is’ – or almost that, or close to that, anyway. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, pepperpot, or that I can’t be sorry that this is so damned unfair to you – “
“Captain? I didn’t hear you come in.” The end of whatever Trip was saying as he looked into T’Pol’s face got drowned out by Phlox’s entry from his office area. Jon could almost think that was intentional, to give Trip and T’Pol their privacy – their privacy? – why the hell did they need privacy?
The little gold claddaugh ring with its jade heart peeked out from between Trip’s strong and capable engineer’s fingers. It said things that Jon didn’t want to think about, and couldn’t seem to stop.
He forced himself to turn to the doctor. It really wasn’t his business, whatever was going on with his First Officer and his Chief Engineer. He couldn’t cheat either of them out of any solace they found with each other. Not while T’Pol was wearing Trip’s dead sister’s ring, and had been ever since the baby they’d given the same name had died. The baby created from their stolen genetic material – stolen from his two best friends on his ship.
Almost under my nose, and Phlox’s. How the hell could we have let that happen to them – ?
He couldn’t go down that road now, not while he could still hear the sound of Trip murmuring to her, hear T’Pol’s thready and infrequent responses – and then the sounds of retching, and she was vomiting, again –
“Phlox? Have you learned anything about what’s causing this? Is she in danger?” Jon swallowed hard; the stink of bile and the sounds of the attack were almost enough to make him vomit, too.
What’s making T’Pol so sick? Will Captain Archer face his jealousy? Is there a reason for him to be jealous? What has Phlox learned?