"Two Days and Two Nights"
Author's Note: I cheated a little here, by counting the deleted scene on the DVD (which would have been the first scene) as part of the episode, therefore making this scene something other than a prequel. In case you’re interested, here’s the transcript of that, courtesy of the wonderful Chrissie’s Transcripts Site:
(in orbit of Risa, in the mess hall)
(It is worth noting that Tucker and the Risan were clearly talking about more than just food, drinks and souvenirs and that T’Pol was staring at him with her arms folded throughout the exchange.)
And thanks as always, reviewers. I suspect some of you, at least, won’t mind this additional installment in Trip and T’Pol’s ongoing informal seminar in Human sexuality!
“Well, there goes half our dilithium,” Tucker said, as the Risan envoy’s shuttle left. “It sure as hell better be as inclusive as he says.” He was still skeptical. How could this culture not assign any particular value to its goods and services and yet provide all that was desired? Then again, none of it would be cheap at the price they were paying.
“I was not involved in the negotiations the last time I was here,” T’Pol said. “If I had realized that we could only afford to send half the crew I am not certain I would not have recommended this planet. Unfortunately, I know of none other nearby that would be more likely to safely provide the kind of relaxation Humans value.”
She sure knew how to make relaxation sound like a dirty word, didn't she? “You know, the kind of relaxation you seem to think we all desperately need isn’t actually something that most of us are used to paying for. And maybe we’re also not quite as desperate for it as you think.”
“And yet I couldn’t help noticing you were quite insistent at confirming that everything was included.”
“Well, you’re the one who suggested we needed to have our tensions eased. Are you having second thoughts about that?”
“Not at all.” She raised her chin and strode away towards the mess hall.
He hurried to keep pace with her, noticing that she didn’t even glance his way once. She really didn’t like it. And how logical was that, after she was the one who’d suggested it? But he knew there was little point trying to argue with her about that, since she’d never in a million years admit that it bothered her. Besides, they had something else to discuss. “Well, that’s good, because the captain is going to try to get out of his shore leave. I can see it coming. We’re going to have to make sure he doesn’t find a way to stay on board and do reports instead.”
One eyebrow went up.
How he loved that eyebrow. He’d even stood in front of the mirror and tried to do it himself, but his forehead had immediately developed folds that reminded him of an antique washboard or a basset hound, so he figured it wasn’t a particularly flattering look on him. But on her it was just so damned cute … even when she wielded it as The Raised Eyebrow of Death and directed it entirely at him.
Hell, maybe he even liked it that way the best.
He sighed. If this little interlude on Risa could help him stop thinking at inappropriate moments about how hot the first officer was, it would be worth half the ship’s dilithium.
They went into the captain’s mess and sat down. “Where’s the cap’n?” Trip asked the steward, surprised that Archer wasn’t there. He’d been in the mess hall earlier.
“Captain Archer asked me to tell you both that he was taking lunch in his ready room today, but you are welcome to stay.”
“Oh, okay,” Trip said, and turned to T’Pol as he sat down. “You see … he’s already laying the groundwork. He’s going to claim he’s got so much work to do, he can’t even eat lunch with us, let alone take two days off.”
T’Pol looked back, presumably to confirm that the steward was out of earshot. “Judging from certain recent decisions, the captain is in great need of this vacation.”
“What, only certain recent decisions?” She so seldom wholeheartedly approved of anything the captain did.
“He diverted the ship to play a sports match in a hostile climate with an alien we knew nothing of, with nearly disastrous results. He turned Enterprise back towards hostile forces when we had Ambassador V’Lar aboard simply because she refused to divulge classified information, again with nearly disastrous results. I could cite more examples if you wish.”
“Neither of those decisions was as simple or arbitrary as you make it sound.”
“Are you saying you would have done the same?”
Trip shrugged. “I’m not saying that. But then I don’t sit in the big chair, do I?”
She frowned slightly. “As third in command, you would do well to consider what your own decisions would be in similar situations.”
“I don’t know, T’Pol. Maybe I’m just a little more inclined to follow the leader.”
“As long as it’s Captain Archer.”
He scowled. “I follow your orders, too.”
“With a great deal more discussion and a great deal less natural inclination.”
“That’s just because I like to argue with you,” Trip said, if only to divert her from continuing her analysis. Because it was true: he had a harder time following her orders, even though he’d learned to respect her judgment and experience. He still wasn’t sure why. Because she was Vulcan? Because she was gorgeous? Because she was a woman? He hoped it wasn’t that. He’d never thought of himself as sexist, but then again for the last ten years he’d reported only to Jefferies and Archer, two men. Could it be that simple?
The steward brought them their plates: a salad for T’Pol, the lunch special of the day for Trip. Meatloaf, a favorite. But Trip barely tasted it, busy as he was internally cataloging every female authority figure he’d ever dealt with and trying to decide if he had issues. His mother? Nope, he loved and respected his mother and he’d sure as hell thought twice before he’d tried to evade any law she laid down. Teachers? Yeah, okay, he’d found ways around a few of them – but not most of them. Various early female CO’s – nope, he got along with all of them, except that one who’d mocked his accent. But then everybody had hated her.
T’Pol, in the meantime, had apparently been thinking about what he had said about the captain. She looked up from her meal and said, “Judging from the reaction you and Captain Archer had to my initial recommendation, it might be better for you to remind him how badly he needs this vacation. As his friend, and a fellow man, you could perhaps refer to his needs without being regarded as…” She hesitated.
Her face darkened.
He grinned. “T’Pol, you still don’t get it. Yes, he needs a break, but it’s really not a matter of his needs. It’s true that Humans are ready to ‘mate,’ as you put it, just about any time the opportunity comes up, but it’s not like we can’t function if it doesn’t. Especially the cap’n. I’ve never known him to go chasing after an easy, um…” He stopped and frowned. Piece of ass wouldn’t translate and wasn’t exactly a respectable thing to say to a lady. “Short-term physical relationship,” he substituted.
She gave him an odd, appraising look. “Yet it is my understanding, from my studies of the matter, that male Humans in particular require regular sexual release in order to maintain optimal health.”
Trip felt his face turn red. “Yeah, okay. But, you see, sexual release is not necessarily the same thing as having, you know, actual all-out sex.” He licked his lips and, after checking to make sure they were alone, leaned across the table towards her and lowered his voice. “Don’t Vulcans ever…” He took a fortifying breath. Slang was seldom a good idea with T’Pol. “…masturbate?”
She stared blankly at him for a moment. Then she said, “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“Vulcans never speak of such matters. It’s possible a doctor or a priest might know … but it never came up in my studies. Not even at the Vulcan Science Academy.”
But surely that was almost criminally unscientific? Where was the logic in ignoring their own biology? He resisted asking the obvious question: “Don’t you at least know whether you do it?” He wasn’t really sure he wanted to know. Also, there was no way in hell she'd tel lhim. “But you do know what I’m talking about?”
“If only from what I have read in human biological texts.”
If only? What the hell did that mean? “Well, then,” Trip said. He couldn’t believe he was having this discussion with her, but then he and T’Pol seemed to get into these bizarre conversations fairly regularly. “Humans don’t really talk about it either. I mean, it’s kind of private and … you know, embarrassing … but it’s also not some big state secret we’re going to refuse to study or keep out of all the books or anything. And according to research, most Humans do it. Hell, if you’re a guy, and you don’t do it, it’ll sometimes happen while you’re dreaming and work out pretty much the same. So you see … in short … it’s really just not as urgent an issue as you think it is.”
She stared at him for a moment. “If it’s not that urgent, then why are you so clearly intent on achieving a ‘short term physical relationship’ during your trip to Risa?”
He sat back. “Look, just because it’s not a dire emergency, doesn’t mean a guy’s not going to be thinking about it … or hoping for it … a lot. It’s just the way we’re wired. Perpetuation of the species and all.” He smiled tightly and shrugged, embarrassed. “And okay, maybe some of us more than others.” He bit his lip, wondering if he would be going too far by trying to really explain himself. “Just because a man can take care of his own needs, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to meet someone new, maybe even have a little romance. A moonlit beach, a pretty woman … maybe a surprise or two, something different and exciting…” And she would never really understand what he was trying to say. He trailed off, suddenly feeling incredibly wistful, though he wasn’t entirely sure what for.
Maybe for a beautiful woman he could talk to just like this, but also make wild, passionate love to?
Her voice tightened. “Well, Commander, I believe Risa may be able to deliver just what you are looking for.” She didn’t look at him, just stabbed her fork at a slice of carrot on her plate.
“I doubt that,” he said. He smiled sadly at her bent head. “But I guess it will have to do.”
Next installment: Shockwave, Part 1.
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