Welcome to Day Sixteen of Just Jot it January, where, for a month – well, we jot. Whatever. However. Wherever. Whyever. It’s graciously hosted by Linda G.Hill.
For more on the basis of this story, you can watch the Star Trek: Enterprise series pilot, “Broken Bow”.
And, as always, I don’t own them; they’ve just got a direct link to my imagination.
“What Do You Mean?”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
He dragged one hand, coated in valve sealant, through his hair – he was, apparently, incapable of learning to curb the impetuous behavior, despite the fact that, in the twelve days she’d been aboard this ship, she had observed him make the same error six times, which, when extrapolated, and taking into account the amount of time he had been on duty here when she wasn’t present, meant that he had likely had between eighteen and twenty-two opportunities to comprehend the consequences of such an action.
“Well, T’Pol? You gonna answer, or just leave me hanging?”
T’Pol completed the scanning sequence without comment. She was attempting to devise an algorithm that might prove more effective for evaluating the Commander’s most likely responses in specific situations, and she needed considerably more data. It didn’t seem to be enough to apply a simple cause-and-effect hypothesis to human behavior; it had proven useless with the Chief Engineer.
She looked up only when she had completed the last entry. “You do not appear to be hanging, Commander Tucker, but rather standing on the deck plating, as I am. However, if your footing doesn’t seem sufficient, perhaps our time would better be spent in assessing the effectiveness of the gravity generators than in adapting the sensors.”
“What the hell – there’s nothing wrong with the gravity, T’Pol.” He took two steps closer to her; his scent was most interesting when he seemed to be experiencing the human condition known as ‘frustration’. What did it mean that there were deeper notes to that scent that only appeared when his frustration was apparently triggered by her own actions? Perhaps as importantly, why did she find his scent and his energy more appealing, at these times?
“If you say so, Commander Tucker. The gravitational pull on Vulcan is twenty-three percent higher than Earth’s; I consistently feel as though the generators are malfunctioning.” It was an unplanned variant, to study his responses when she deviated from the conversational topic; her research would be skewed by her failure to follow the control measures she’d established two days ago, when she began.
Perhaps it was worth it, because the manner in which the light was diffracted by his eyes altered slightly, and the tension went out of his posture. “I didn’t know that,” he said, as he took another step closer, meeting her regard. “Does it always feel a little like you’re gonna just float away?”
“There was a period of adjustment wherein it was difficult to -” she paused for a quarter-breath, to find a human analog to the Vulcan phrase that encompassed the entirety of the sensations – “to ground myself. However, I have, in general, become accustomed to the sensation.”
“Still, it doesn’t sound especially comfortable -”
“My comfort is irrelevant, Commander Tucker.” She had noticed a tendency toward caring for the well-being of others in many of her human crewmates, but in none so much as him.
“Yes, it is. You’re the First Officer; the Cap’n’s right-hand man.”
“I’m not a man, Commander Tucker, as I’m certain you are aware.” The fact that Captain Archer had explained this particular piece of human vernacular to her yesterday was not something she needed to share with the engineer. Particularly not when he smiled at her, and his scent warmed in such a pleasing manner.
“Believe me, T’Pol, I’m aware.” His voice attained a lower register. “It would be all but impossible to be unaware of your lack of – well, male attributes. What I meant is that you’re second-in-command. You take care of the Cap’n’s needs, and you oversee the crew. But I’m third-in-command, and since there doesn’t seem to be anyone whose duty it is to see to your needs, I kinda figured I’d volunteer – on an informal basis, of course.” The light glinted in his eyes, and his scent added another layer of meaning – one that her body understood clearly, with an intensity that was more difficult to suppress than she preferred. She would spend an extra cycle in meditation when she went off duty; perhaps that would help restore her to equilibrium.
“Precisely what do you mean by that, Commander Tucker?”
The human man’s smile became wider, in the manner she believed was known as a ‘grin’. “Tell you what. I’ll explain mine if you explain yours. Well, how about it?”
Out of all the humans, only he could so disrupt her lines of inquiry, both spoken and personal. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Yes, you do. But have it your way; I’m betting that curiosity you’d insist you don’t have will change your mind. I can wait.” He spun on his heel and walked off with his hands in his pockets, making the musical sound humans called ‘whistling’.