"Shadows of P'Jem"
Author's Note: I couldnít imagine Trip actually coming out and saying much of anything directly to TíPol here, so Iím breaking my rules again.
She was being transferred? She was leaving?
Trip stood in the corridor and stared blankly at Archer’s retreating back.
“You heard about T’Pol?” Reed said, on the bridge.
Trip just nodded and went to his station. T’Pol wasn’t at hers. She was probably packing.
Why did he feel so sucker-punched? She was only supposed to be temporary to begin with. Not to mention she was Vulcan … and extremely irritating. He sighed sharply, involuntarily. His body was telling him he was upset, even as his brain wondered what the hell his problem was. He should be glad. He'd be first officer, now.
But he was busy enough as chief engineer. He didn’t even want to be the first officer anymore.
And he wasn’t glad. Not at all.
“Hoshi’s already planning a going-away party for later tonight, after they return from the planet,” Reed said. His expression was rueful.
Trip snorted. T’Pol would hate that. It would make her want to leave.
But maybe she did want to leave.
How could she just go? After all the effort she’d put into figuring out how to do this? After all the effort they’d put into figuring out how to get along with her?
“You know, I think I’m actually going to miss her,” Reed said. He sounded surprised.
“I’ll be down in Engineering,” Trip said. He didn’t want to talk about it.
When he walked into the mess hall on his way to the captain’s mess, T’Pol was sitting alone at a table. He was tempted to walk right by, but decided it would look too rude.
“So you’re leaving us,” he said.
He stuck his tongue in his cheek. What to say? “I’m sorry to hear that.”
She just looked up at him with those big brown eyes, until Phlox approached.
“Well, I’ve got lunch with the cap’n,” Trip said with a tight smile, and left.
While Jon ranted on about the Vulcans and P’Jem and then went on to voice his immense frustration that T’Pol apparently intended to just roll over and play dead about it, Trip kept largely silent.
Really, it was just as well this was happening. Somehow he’d let her creep under his skin without even realizing it, even though she was his superior officer, a colleague, an alien. He was overtaken by another sharp, helpless sigh.
This was his wake-up call. He’d come dangerously close to letting himself get attached to a Vulcan. He should be glad this had happened before he’d managed to make a fool of himself somehow.
So he nodded understandingly at Jon and feigned a little outrage at the Vulcan High Command and tried to eat the tasteless food.
She was leaving.
Just let her go.
Next installment: Shuttlepod One.
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