Summary: Rated PG. A fluffy little thing. My first Enterprise story! This was born from my fascination with the Trip/T'Pol dynamic. Archer who?
Disclaimer: They're Gene's, dammit.
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"Are you sure we should be doing this?"
"C'mon, Travis. Where's your sense of adventure?"
"Back in that cave where her Vulcan highness pinched me into unconsciousness. The lady probably knows Kung Fu!"
'Those were extreme circumstances. Vulcans don't go all Klingon over a little practical joke."
"I just don't know about this. Maybe we should play a trick on Hoshi instead. She's never pinched me. Or we could go hang upside down in zero G for awhile. Remember the sweet spot? Are you listening to me, Trip? Trip? Hold on, I'm coming, too…"
Jonathan Archer was a man of simple pleasures.
He loved starships, craved adventures and would give his right arm for a good T-bone steak. Handsome and passionate, Archer enjoyed the company of ladies and the conversation of close friends. Those same friends feared for him. The stubborn fearlessness that made Archer so fascinating could, someday, be his undoing…too many dreamers and visionaries lost themselves in starlight. They were never the same, if they returned at all. But, for now, the mission was new. Everything was new, from Enterprise NX-01 and her remarkable engine, to the Klingon and Axinar cultures and the strange languages that so fascinated Hoshi Sato.
Archer rubbed his eyes and pushed aside the plate that holding the remains of his dinner.
"Computer, end music!"
Instantly, the guttural howling of Klingon warriors ceased, to Archer's immense relief. He wanted to learn everything he could about the Klingons, sensing they would play an important role in humanity's advancement, but Hoshi could have her tapes and translations back, thank you very much. His steak had lost its appeal sometime after the third chorus of a Klingon masterpiece entitled "I Eat the Livers of My Enemy."
Archer had a moment of melancholy in the echoing silence after the music. Their cultures were so different…how could they cross the barriers that were already in place, and learn to coexist? Archer snorted ruefully. A get-to-know-you potluck wasn't going to work in this case. Back on Kronos, Malcolm Reed took one look at the delicacy they called gagh--an appropriate name...it sounded like someone vomiting--and made a dash for the "loo" as he so quaintly called it. Phlox and Trip had poked at it experimentally with long-handled forks, while Travis cowered in the corner and Hoshi attempted to convince Klaang that she wouldn't make a worthy mate. Archer grinned, remembering how the huge Klingon had taken a shine to the tiny linguist.
Speaking of Trip, he was acting strangely. He'd been in Archer's ready room earlier, plugging his ears to block out the shrieking strains of "Oh, Violet Blood of Kahless." The computer was malfunctioning and Archer was desperately trying to turn it off. Over the din, Trip had shouted out a request to borrow Porthos. Distracted, Archer asked him why.
"I lost my, um, calibrator. Maybe Porthos could, uh, sniff it out for me."
If Archer hadn't been so busy--the next song was to be delivered by three Klingon sopranos--he would have thought Trip's answer odd. Beagle or not, Porthos didn't have much of a nose. The few times they'd tried to get him to follow a trail, Porthos didn't cooperate, just flopped on his side in the sun. He liked chasing prissy Chihuahuas and trotting alongside Archer on his morning jogs, but anything involving work wasn't for Jonathan Archer's dog. Rin Tin Tin he was not. Still, Archer had bigger problems to deal with, so he'd waved Trip and Porthos on.
Archer was startled out of his musings as the music blasted back on of its own accord. He laid his head down on the table in frustration. Shape-shifting aliens, ornery Vulcans, transporter accidents and what sounded like Klingon lullabies.
Go to sleep, little warrior,
dream of bloody kisses…
When did his life get so weird?
Just then, the door chimed.
"Enter!" Archer barked.
The doors slid open to reveal Trip and Travis, just as the music, mercifully, clicked off. Archer looked at his crewmen in concern. Both looked wide-eyed and sweaty, as if they'd run down the corridor at warp five. It was the look Jonathan himself had had after a childhood night of knocking on doors and running away. They stood there, guiltily shifting from one foot to the other.
"Can I help you two with---"
The door chime interrupted his inquiry, yet again, and in walked the stately Vulcan that Trip had taken to calling "Our Lady of Logic." There was a quiet grace about T'Pol that both moved and frightened Jonathan Archer. Her stillness reminded him of dead things, vessels empty of all passion and will. He resented Vulcans because he didn't understand them…how did one live without joy, and hate, love, and sorrow? He could only view that existence as a living death.
"Captain, I've come to report an intruder."
Archer was instantly on alert. "An intruder? Where?"
T'Pol's full lips pursed up, as if yanked by a drawstring. "In my quarters."
Archer's mouth dropped open. He recoverd quickly, then grew angry. Her Lady of Logic was a pain in the ass, but she was his pain in the ass. Was it Suliban, he wondered? In his peripheral vision, Archer noticed Trip and Travis shaking with silent laughter, holding each other up in their mirth. Now, he was confused. What was funny about hostiles rooting in T'Pol's underwear drawer? That was followed by another thought: did Vulcans wear underwear?
He dragged his thoughts back to the matter at hand. 'Where is the alien now?"
Archer could have sworn a smile tugged ever so slightly at T'Pol's mouth. No, it was his imagination. T'Pol's answer, however, floored him.
"I shot it."
The two stooges suddenly ceased their merriment. "You...killed him?" Trip swallowed audibly.
T'Pol regarded the Engineer coolly. "It was dark. I issued a warning. The intruder, apparently, did not speak English. I fired a phase pistol."
Travis was alternately praying and wishing his Starfleet career sayonara. Trip, as usual, was more vocal.
"You killed Porthos? It was just a joke!"
Archer turned to Trip. "What does any of this have to do with Porthos? Where is he, anyway?"
Travis was on the verge of tears. "Dog heaven, I guess."
Trip, sputtering, tried to explain. "The Queen of Mean, here, hates Porthos. We thought it would be funny to put him in her bed, all wrapped up, with a bonnet on. It was a joke."
Archer felt ill. T'Pol speared him with her most condescending glare. Her words were harpoons, and she the warrioress. "Because of the ship's engineer and the ship's conn officer, I shot the ship's dog. This type of juvenile activity is precisely why humans should remain planet-bound."
Travis tried to suppress a sob. "Poor Porthos."
T'Pol's dark eyes gleamed. "Indeed, the stun caused him considerable pain."
Trip's head jerked up. "You mean he's alive? You didn't murder him?"
"I never said that I did."
Trip hopped from one foot to the other, doing the universal dance of anger and relief. "You implied it!"
If Vulcan's can smirk, then T'Pol smirked. "It was, as you said, a joke."
Touché, thought Archer.
"While, where is he now?" Trip's honey twang was so thick Archer could barely understand him. He glared back at T'Pol, hands on hips.
"I don't know. He ran away." She turned to go, then neatly volleyed a parting shot. "But you should hurry, Commander. They're cleaning the port nacelles today. All the airlocks are open." She finished as Trip flew past her, calling for the wayward Porthos.
Archer and T'Pol appraised one another. She spoke first.
"He lacks discipline," she offered.
"You like him," Archer fired back.
T'Pol didn't answer, just slipped out the door with head held high and neck perfectly rigid, as was her way.
"Hoshi said she saw him heading for engineering. She couldn't figure out why he looked panicked and had a pink flowered hat on."
"Engineering? Oh, just great, Travis. He'll probably pee on the warp core…"