This post is doing double duty. I’ve been wanting to get back into Julie Duffy’s Story a Day Write On Wednesday for some time, and this week’s prompt, to write a story about a lie, dovetailed perfectly with the next of my backlogged Just Jot It January prompts; the word ‘mendaciloquent’, offered by Coralee at Musefully Mendaciloquent.
Standard Disclaimer: I don’t own them; I don’t profit from them. They just share stories through me. Spoilers for Star Trek: Enterprise episodes: “Broken Bow”; “Strange New World”; “Shadows of P’Jem”; “Carbon Creek”; and “Precious Cargo”.
The Mendaciloquent Vulcan
“You should have seen her, Trip. Pretending to be our personal judge, jury, and executioner.” Jon lifted his wine glass and saluted the woman at the other end of the table, who sat as straight and prim as she ever had, as though she wasn’t working on a second career as an actress.
As though she wasn’t jealous as hell about him and Kaitama.
Well, he could play along. Maybe he could even make peace into the bargain. He lifted his glass, too, and gave her his very best Tucker grin. “I wish I had seen that. The universe’s first mendaciloquent Vulcan at her best isn’t something a guy ought to miss.”
Trip knew she was jealous, and mad as hell into the bargain, even if he hadn’t quite worked out why, when she didn’t seem to want to go any further than verbal jousting with him. Now, though, she looked at him with that cool-eyed interest, her head tipped just a little in that way he found so adorable. “Mendaciloquent?”
The effect of her uncertainty was spoiled a bit by Jon saying the same thing at the same time. “Where did you get that word, Trip? And what the hell does it mean, anyway?”
Damn. If he had to tell Jon, he’d never know whether she knew this one, too.
“’Mendaciloquent’, in this case, is a misnomer. I told no lies, Commander Tucker. The Captain gave the aliens an impression. I simply walked into the room, and asked several questions.”
“She’s not telling you that she did it with tremendous flair. I almost believed it myself. But I still don’t exactly know what that word means.”
“It means to tell a lie in a masterful way. However, I didn’t lie.”
Trip was still trying to figure out how she did that – was she reading the entire English language from the database, and committing it to memory? Just so he couldn’t stump her? No, that couldn’t be it, because that wasn’t logical.
But whatever it was, he wasn’t just going to let her win. “Maybe not this time. But way back with those rock people – I know things got a little crazy back there, but you were pretty damned convincing talking to them.”
“And you told the Coridians that you were the Captain, and I was the ship’s steward,” Jon added.
“Did you now?” Trip stared right back at her, as though he had no idea that she had a bee in her Vulcan bonnet about whom he slept with – okay, not that they’d done much in the way of sleeping. “I never heard about that one.”
“As First Officer, and a commissioned officer with the Vulcan High Command, it was my duty to protect my Captain, as well as those in the landing party on Archer’s World. I logically used the tools necessary to fulfill that duty.”
“Won’t give a millimeter, will you?” Jon shook his head, and T’Pol sipped delicately at her tea. Obviously, giving any indication that she’d won wouldn’t be logical or in good taste.
But she hadn’t won yet. “Now hang on a minute here. I can see where the rock people and Coridan and that kidnapper were all in the line of duty. But none of those explain the biggest whopper you’ve ever told, T’Pol – and that was right here, about a little place called Carbon Creek.”
Her eyes came up and fixed on him, and something Trip couldn’t read flashed in them. “I haven’t said that the events I recounted didn’t happen.”
“And you conveniently can’t prove that they did, either.”
“I’m not disturbed by Commander Tucker’s accusations, Captain. I could easily prove the facts – ”
“That your great grandmother crash-landed on Earth two hundred years ago, and lived there, with two other crewmembers, for three months before returning home without one of them?”
“Yes. If you read Vulcan, I could prove it through the reports T’Mir made upon her return. She wrote and spoke rather extensively on the experience, although her views on humanity were largely discounted.”
“And that, Cap’n, is mendaciloquence at its finest. Conveniently, we don’t read Vulcan. So she never has to back up that yarn of hers with truth.”
T’Pol rose. “I’m very tired. I believe I will benefit from passing the remainder of my evening in meditation and sleep.” She slipped out while they were still saying their goodnights. Trip got the idea that there was another lie, right there. He’d seen her tired; this wasn’t it.
“Do you have to antagonize her, Trip?”
“I’m not antagonizing her – well, not exactly.” Trip realized that he’d never tried to put it into words before, even to himself. “It’s – well, more like a game, I guess. Way back when we needed to get Klaang home, and you got hurt – well, you know we weren’t exactly getting along very well. But, somehow, all that arguing gave us a way to work together. I don’t know why, but it did, and it still does. I’m an engineer, Cap’n. When something works, I stick with it.” He got up too. “And speaking of engines, I think I’ll go take one more look at mine before I go to bed.”
It was three hours later when his computer monitor signaled an incoming message from T’Pol. When he opened it, there were readouts from her scanner, and, beside them, the English equivalents – rock core samples that showed traces of Vulcan metals and fuel residue that dated back two centuries. The location, with specific coordinates, was Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania.
“I’ll be damned,” he said, to himself. “She was telling the truth.”