Posted in #STaD 2016, Fan fiction, Short Stories, Star Trek: Enterprise, Story a Day, Writing Sample

“No More Games”: #STaD 2016 Day 2

Learn more about my #StaD September 2016 Challenge. Standard disclaimer and rating:

I don’t own Star Trek (though a case could be made for it owning me!) In writing these stories, I intend no copyright infringement, and make no monetary profit. They are a tribute, and a celebration.

This story is rated T (teen). Sexual references hinted at; nothing remotely graphic.

This is a continuation of “Parted From Me.” It’s not necessary to read that story to understand the central conflict in this story, prompted by a fourth grade spelling list.. 

“No More Games”

 

The damned mayor was shrieking at him, Why the hell was she doing that? Wasn’t she supposed to be all cool and collected? Mayor Points’n’Logic. Nothing ever got to her, or at least not for long. Nope, not her.

He might fill up pails with his tears, bang his head against the walls of her coolness, but it never made any difference. Sometimes, for a while, he thought it did. Thought they were getting somewhere – but then she’d slam those damned walls down tight again. Stick her head in telepresence machines. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane – not, wait, that had been him, hadn’t it? Now, why would he do a thing like –

She shrieked at him again, the way she had last year, after her old ship poisoned her. She’d damned sure lost her cool then – he’d never known she could be in such a state – violent, raging, delusional –
and he’d seen her night terrors. Those, and more. Her body tangled up with his, arching into him –

Stop that. Never gonna happen again. Can’t let it.

She could pretend she wasn’t vulnerable. But it was pretending. He knew her way too well. She could be hurt.

Shriek!

Had he hurt her? Did she want him to stay?

Not her – and she wasn’t the mayor.

She was his ex.

Ex-lover, ex-friend, ex-Valentine, ex-First Officer –

She’d said she was done with him forever. So why did she keep calling, coming to the door, lurking around damned near every curve of Enterprise’s circular hull?

Curves – in the corridors, and on her body….

Shriek!

“Why’n hell don’t you just stay away?” His pillow gobbled the question, absorbed a new batch of tears. If he talked to her, she was gonna know he’d been workin’ on filling yet another pail. He couldn’t pretend like she could. She knew him way too well, even if she didn’t want to anymore.

Shriek!

    That’s when Trip Tucker woke up enough to realize that it wasn’t a dream – or all the way a dream, anyway. Because that shriek was the signal they’d worked out after Sphere 41 – “whether or not to transfer auxiliary power to the deflector array,” that’s what she’d been thinking of… Once he knew first hand how terrifyingly vulnerable she could be, and how much she needed someone to lean on, or to pick her up when she fell – he’d wanted to be that someone, and he’d thought she wanted him to be.

    That signal again. Damn, how many times had she called? She had the hypo; she had the trellium. If she needed him, and he didn’t answer, what had she done to herself?

    Why?

    No, that didn’t matter – not right now. Because he was to blame. He was the first one who exposed her to the poison that wrecked her life.

    And now he was ignoring her signal, just because she didn’t want him the way he wanted her.

    The signal shrieked again, like a Vulcan screaming and thrashing against restraints, or yanking her arm away, yelling, “Let me go!” Only letting go when she was pumped full of that poison could get her killed.

    Finally, some relay kicked over in his sleep-drugged brain, and Trip half-staggered to his desk, snapping the comm link open. “Tucker.”

    “Trip.” Was that a breath of relief, or longing? Or just his imagination? “I didn’t think you were going to answer.” He listened to her voice; if she’d injected any trellium, it wasn’t much, so she she was probably still in control, more or less.

    “Then it wasn’t very logical to keep calling, now was it?” Why had he said that?

    A pause, then, softly, “No, I suppose it wasn’t -”

    “T’Pol, wait.” He was afraid she was going to hang up, that he wouldn’t ever find out what it was she wanted. It was like a seesaw with her sometimes; maybe –

    There was a picture of them on the shelf, right at eye level. They were standing by the fountain in her mom’s sand garden – only her mom was dead now. So maybe that made it T’Pol’s garden, and her house?

    The frame was obsidian – stuff was everywhere on Vulcan. That damned box where she kept the trellium was obsidian, too…and now she was calling him on their private help line -”T’Pol? You gonna tell me why you called?”

    “You told me to wait.”

    Damn. Talking to a Vulcan was never easy. Had to watch every word. “I just meant for you not to hang up.” She didn’t say anything, so he added, “Please tell me what you need.”

    “I need to speak to you.” Something in her voice; an edgy little shadow that said she was troubled. In the picture, his arm was around her waist, and, though she was standing straight as ever, she was turned in toward him, one hand over his heart. His human heart, beating there on her world.

    It had been like a holiday, her mom gone off for something or other, and the two of them home all alone – no. Don’t go there, Tucker. Not again. Not when it would never be the same for her as it is for you.

    He had learned a thing or two about talking to Vulcans. “You’re speaking to me now.” It wasn’t what she meant, and he knew it as well as she did. But he needed to raise the stakes, make her admit it. Because her hand had been over his human heart. He picked up the picture. She wasn’t smiling, exactly, but her face was – softer? Definitely more relaxed than it was here on the ship. He’d been determined, then, that he was going to get a smile out of her before they left, even if it was just the tiny one he could sometimes swear was trying to bust out. Instead, she’d married someone else, someone without a human heart, and there had been no more smiling for either of them. “Well, are you going to say whatever it is you want to say? I’ve got other things to do, you know.”

    “I’d prefer to speak to you in person, Commander.” Something guarded in her voice now. Something he’d put there.

    What the hell did he have to gain by being mean to her? It wasn’t her fault he was so damned in love with her that he couldn’t even manage to do his damned job anymore. She’d been perfectly clear; she didn’t have room for him in her life. She was learning how to be the perfect Vulcan, and that’s all there was to it.

    Except that she couldn’t be the perfect Vulcan anymore. That’s why they had the help line. Probably why they’d become lovers. And if she came here tonight – he looked at his bed. No. Couldn’t go there again with her. Couldn’t take the chance. Because it was just “mating” to her, but, to him, it was making love to the only woman he wanted – who didn’t want him the same way.

    “No more games, T’Pol. Why do you want to talk in person?”

    Another one of those damned pauses, while she chose each word, vetted it, tested it to be sure it was the perfect one – he could almost hear her doing it. Sometimes he hated that about her. But this time, he just waited. He could feel that there were big things she wanted to say. Maybe, finally, the right things. If she was going to tell him that she wanted him to stay, that she’d realized that he meant more to her than that damned Kir’Shara of hers, that they could try and make this thing between them work – well, he’d stand here the rest of the night if she was going to say that.

    “Captain Archer requested that I speak to you, and attempt to convince you to remain aboard Enterprise.”

    Just like that, she crushed him again. It was nothing personal. She didn’t want him; she hadn’t changed her mind. He took a deep breath; wasn’t going to let her know how much it hurt. “That’s not going to work. You can tell him so.”

    “I did. He was – most determined.”

    “He ordered you to speak with me?” And if he hadn’t, would Trip have even heard from her at all? Did she care either way whether he stayed, or left?

    “It wasn’t precisely an order.” But not far from one, either, if Trip knew the Cap’n at all. And he’d been friends with Jon Archer for a double handful of years, now. He might not want to see her, knowing she didn’t feel what he did, but it wasn’t fair to leave her to deal with Jon’s not-quite-demands, either.

    “You can tell him you talked to me, and it didn’t work.”

    “I believe he will want to know that I spoke to you in person and privately.” That’s why she’d been calling him, coming to Engineering, signaling at his door. Not because she didn’t want him to go; because Jon didn’t.

    Well, he’d wanted an answer, and he’d gotten one. “All right. Give me twenty minutes – I’m kind of in the middle of a few things.” He tried to find his sense of humor, so she’d think he wasn’t going to be breaking apart inside the whole time she was here. “I also kind of forgot to shower last night, and your nose will thank me for takin’ care of that, first.” It was a lie, but it would buy time, maybe let him get rid of a little of the stress having her right here, alone, was bound to create.

    “Thank you, Commander Tucker.”

    Trip got off the line fast, already making a mental flow chart as he stripped and headed for the shower. She could talk all night, if that’s what she needed to do to make herself feel that she’d done enough to fulfill her duty. But it wouldn’t do a bit of good.

    He was already gone.

    Author:

    I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

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