Welcome to Day Fifteen of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.
And, as always, I don’t own them; they’ve just got a direct link to my imagination. I don’t do love for money.
“You’re Not Ready”
“At attention, Commander, if you want to keep that rank.” Jon’s voice was as hard as osmium alloy, and cold as space. Trip snapped to attention, and fast. They’d been best friends for years, now. But Jon was the Captain.
Jonathan Archer got up from his desk and walked to the window. He stood with his back to Trip for what felt like about a thousand years. Then he turned around slowly. “I’m not promoting you to First Officer, Trip.”
Trip stuck his tongue in his cheek. He was never very good at keeping his mouth shut; it had gotten him in trouble more than he wanted to admit. He focused on keeping his spine straight, and not scratching that itch on his nose.
Jon stepped to the edge of the desk, and leaned forward over it, scowling. “I wanted you for my second, Commander – but this mission has shown me that you’re not ready. Maybe you never will be, if you can’t learn to accept the chain of command.”
“Sir?” The word popped out before Trip could stop it. He bit his tongue, this time.
Jon picked up a datapadd. “This is the Bridge log from the Suliban helix, Commander Tucker. Do you want to tell me anything about what it says?”
“I guess I wasn’t exactly in line, sir.” His face was flaming, the same way it had back in Fusion, when she walked into his life the first time.
Jon stared at him.
“I thought she was gonna leave you out there – “
“I ordered her to see to the safety of the ship. She followed my orders to the letter, and better than I would have expected a Vulcan would. You, on the other hand – the log says plenty, Trip. But the reports I got from the Bridge crew seal it.” He waved the padd under Trip’s nose. “You got in her face and yelled at her. How the hell do you think that’s going to look to Ambassador Soval? Or even Admiral Forrest?”
“Not very good, sir.”
“How do you think it felt to T’Pol – and don’t tell me she doesn’t have any feelings, because I don’t buy that, not after these last days, and I don’t think you do, either.”
No, he sure as hell didn’t believe that. He remembered her, eyes closing as she swayed to soft jazz, then opening again, pulling him in…he remembered her in that Suliban cell on Rigel 10, straddling him, pinning him to the floor, her intentions beyond all doubt. He remembered her eyes when she saw Claire Simmons kissing him. Her face was immobile, but those eyes – she was a woman betrayed, if he’d ever seen one.
“Let’s have it, Commander. How do you think it felt to Sub-Commander T’Pol when you decided to be insubordinate, to yell in her face while she had the Captain’s chair? I want you to try to see it from her side.”
“I think it made her mad as hell. Maybe a little scared that I’d fly off the handle – not that she’d get the metaphor. Maybe it proved to her that we’re as bad or worse than the High Command thought we were.” Trip took a deep breath. “We put her in an impossible position, chasing off after Klaang, and it’s gonna get her into trouble when she gets back. You’re my best friend – but I shouldn’t have made it any worse for her.”
“No, you shouldn’t, Trip. She did a hard job, and she did it well. And she did something else.” He tapped the padd, and extended it to Trip. “Go ahead; listen.”
Trip pushed play. “While I can’t dispute the reports of the other Bridge officers, or the log recording, I wish to state, for the record, that Commander Tucker’s intervention was directly responsible for the formulation of the plan that led to Captain Archer’s rescue and the successful completion of Enterprise’s mission. My recommendation is that no disciplinary action be taken against the Commander, who performed admirably and in accordance with my orders despite his -” a small pause, as though she was considering her next words – “kinetic nature.”
“Damn,” Trip said, softly. She’d stuck up for him.
“That’s leadership, Commander. I hope you appreciate what she did for you, because, when we officially begin our mission, I’m requesting Sub-commander T’Pol as my First Officer.” Jon looked at him as though he thought Trip would protest.
“I think you should, Cap’n. We need her.” Hell, maybe I need her, as much as I want her…