Language Barrier

  Summary: T/S, Rated PG. Trip pursues Hoshi.

  Notes: What if Trip didnít want to get involved with TíPol? Tripís eyes turn to Hoshi.
   Some H/C thrown in for good measure.

  Disclaimer: Paramount owns the Trek dance hall; I like to conduct the band once in awhile.

  By Josephine



       Trip sighed, looking at the view screen. Stars as far as the eye could see. For some reason it put him in a bad mood. He sighed again. It wasnít the stars that put him in a bad mood; it was his relationship with the Vulcan. Looking out of the corner of his eye, he could see TíPol standing at her workstation. Little Miss High and Mighty. No matter how physically attracted Trip was to her, he couldnít like her personally. He firmly closed the door on a romantic entanglement with TíPol.
       Feeling better, Trip started thinking about who he could have a relationship with. He wasnít going to live the life of a monk for 5 years, by God. As he reviewed the women he knew on the ship, his bad mood stated to grow again. He couldnít see dating anyone from his department, none of them attracted him, and besides, there was that annoying line-of-command rule. Lieutenant Friedman in Xenobiology? No, she was too giggly. Lieutenant Beck in Security? No, she could snap him like a twig. Trip passed over every female on board. Everyone but --- Trip looked over to where Hoshi was sitting. He had always liked Hoshi, but never thought of her romantically. Trip watched her as she hummed, her slim fingers entering data into her workstation. Images of Hoshi passed through his head; laughing at Travisí bad jokes, her concern over her pet slug, how pretty she looked with her hair down when they went on that recon mission. Trip decided to get to know Hoshi better.
       Hoshi sat alone at a table in the mess hall, staring at her sandwich. She couldnít figure out what was Trip up to. For the past month he had been constantly underfoot. Asking her to sit with him for dinner, bringing her flowers he Ďhappenedí to find in hydroponics, just always *there. Hoshi would have been flattered, but she knew something was up. Womanizers like Trip werenít interested in girls like her. She could have sworn that Trip was going to hook up with TíPol; the Vulcan practically oozed sexuality. Hoshi figured it was either the way she looks down her nose at men, or the catsuit. What could Trip want with her?
       A week later Hoshi decided that she would just enjoy the attention. She kept reminding herself that Trip was just flirting with her, that he would soon move onto another. Although it seemed like he was quite willing to stick around. And that he wanted more than her company. Hoshi had caught him staring at her with a strange look in his eye. She finally realized it was the way the Captain looked at a block of aged cheddar.
       Hoshi was at her station on the bridge, thinking of Trip and the away team having fun on the planet below. The Baloglians looked like an exuberant bunch, but rather volatile. Their language fascinated her; it had a hundred or more meanings for the word love. Love of oneís self, love of oneís country, love of oneís family Ö. They also had a hundred or more meanings for hate. Hoshi was in heaven.
       Suddenly the comm. unit went off. The Odom, the leader of the community where the away team was staying, was calling for the Captain and he sounded mad. From what Hoshi could understand, Trip had made advances toward the Odomís daughter, and now her fiancť was calling for the Right of Mantar. As Hoshi brought up the information on the right, her heart sank. Apparently it involved some nasty forms of torture cumulating in branding a symbol on the personís chest. She looked up and saw the Captain was having a hard time understanding the leader, and vice versa. Hoshi quickly realized the translator was the problem for Tripís mix-up, and for the Captainís. It couldnít understand the different values the same word in this alien language had. She went to the Captain and put her hand on his shoulder. Archer stepped back to let her try.
       From her study of the culture and language of these people, Hoshi knew that they admired strong personalities. Hoshi had never been one of those, but she found an inner strength when she realized what they were going to do to Trip ---her Trip. Her studies had also given her an insight on how to get Trip and the away team back. Hoshi stood before the view screen, her head up, her back ramrod straight.
       Hoshi ripped into the Odom using the formal inflections and authoritative forms of the language. She told the Odom that as Tripís wife, only she had the right to punish him; since her husband made advances to another woman, the first insult was to her. Archer took a half step toward her, but she stopped him with her hand. Hoshi assured him that if she did find her husband guilty, the punishment would be harsh.
       The Odom looked at her, then dragged Trip by his hair over to stand in front of the screen. Hoshiís stomach constricted as she saw Tripís hands tied behind his back and the bruises on his chest and face. Lifting Tripís face up, he asked Trip if this was his wife. Everyone on the bridge looked at Hoshi as she stood there, not moving a muscle. She hoped Trip would play along. He didnít disappoint. The Odom grudgingly acknowledged Hoshiís first claim on Trip, and Hoshi assured him that Tripís punishment would fit the crime.
       Archer told Hoshi to come with him to check on Trip, saying he knew she would be worried about her Ďhusbandí. Hoshi caught the teasing in his voice, but also concern and confusion. They stood outside the shuttle bay, waiting for the shuttle to dock. Mayweather helped Trip climb the stairs, one slow step at a time. When Trip saw Archer and Hoshi, he started to explain, but Archer told him it could wait. Mayweather and Archer got Trip to the sickbay, where Phlox tutted over him.
       Hoshi could hardly keep from weeping. Her poor Trip. All because the stupid translator couldnít tell the difference between a wordís various meanings or inflections. After Phlox was done treating the bruises and wrapping the broken ribs, Hoshi moved up to stand by the edge of the bed. Trip looked up at the Captain, then over to his Ďwifeí. Archer, Mayweather, and Phlox also looked at her. Hoshi blushed as she began to tell the men about the translator mix-up, the customs of the Baloglians, and what prompted her to claim Trip as her husband. Her crewmates began to laugh, and Trip took Hoshiís hand, kissing the palm. She met his smoldering glance and knew that she couldnít hold him at armís length anymore.