"A Hard Day’s Night"
Rating: PG-13 for sexual situations, lots and lots of them!
Charles “Trip” Tucker landed heavily on his left hip and shoulder, the wind knocked out of him by the impact.
“Okay, T’Pol!” he gasped. “You win again! Can we stop now?”
Panting with exertion, he rolled to his back on the padded floor.
T’Pol and Trip were alone in the workout area, having chosen to practice in the wee hours of the morning to avoid the crowd of onlookers that inevitably turned up whenever T’Pol practiced. The onlookers, of course, were usually male.
“You’re improving!” replied T’Pol, sounding mildly surprised. “I would have required nearly three minutes to kill or maim you that time. Unfortunately, Pon Farr is usually several days in length, and I intend you to be capable of defending yourself.”
She reached down to help him from the floor, a grim expression on her face. “We will continue this exercise until you are capable of defending yourself to my satisfaction.”
Trip reached out and allowed her to pull him easily up off the floor with one arm. He grinned wryly, saying, “ It doesn’t do you any good to prepare me to defend myself if you’re gonna kill me in the process! Every muscle in my body hurts!”
He rubbed his lower back with one hand and the back of his neck with the other.
“With fringe benefits?!” Trip asked playfully, his brows waggling up and down in a suggestive manner.
T’Pol raised one eyebrow, with perhaps the slightest suggestion of a smile. “Perhaps…” she said.
Trip slapped both hands on his knees and briskly rubbed them together, then placed himself in a ready stance. “Okay!... I’m ready!... Just don’t break anything you can’t fix!”
Doctor Phlox turned away from the animal cage into which he was happily tossing the leftover scraps of his breakfast and greeted T’Pol as she entered Sickbay. “May I help you with something Commander?” he asked her with a friendly smile.
“I want to check with you before I go on duty this morning to ensure that all the preparations we discussed will be ready at the proper time.” she said in a quiet voice, eyeing the surrounding area to be certain they were alone.
“I assure you, Commander, that I have everything well in hand.” said Phlox in a more subdued tone of voice. “The sedative we discussed can easily be introduced into the isolation chamber’s closed environment. It is non-toxic to both humans and Vulcans, and will work quite nicely should the need arise.”
T’Pol sighed and relaxed slightly.
Phlox added, “Have you considered what we might tell the captain? I dislike lying to him, but he’ll need a reason to allow both of you to remain in Sickbay isolation for several days. I still believe you two would have more privacy if you simply made your relationship public and took leave together. You’d certainly have more romantic surroundings!”
“Romance is not my concern, Doctor.” stated T’Pol emphatically. “Commander Tucker’s safety is paramount. I cannot allow him to come to harm of any kind. A controlled environment is absolutely necessary to ensure that. If you are unwilling to assist me in this, then I will leave Enterprise and find a physician who will.” T’Pol’s voice rose a bit at that, sounding almost…angry? A moment later her face registered recognition of her loss of control, and her face smoothed to its usual calm façade. “I apologize, Doctor. I have not yet had the opportunity to meditate this morning, and the recent weeks have been rather…stressful.” she admitted.
“No need to apologize, Commander.” Phlox said cheerfully. “Don’t worry! If you would prefer to spend several days cooped up in the isolation chamber rather than on the beaches of Rysa with Commander Tucker, who am I to argue with you? I would prefer, however, that you speak with the captain yourself and prepare him for the temporary loss of both his chief engineer and first officer.”
“Very well, Doctor.” agreed T’Pol, with a reluctant expression on her face. “I will attempt to come up with a plausible explanation.”
“Just let me know when you require my services, Commander!” said Phlox cheerily as T’Pol left Sickbay.
As the doors closed, Phlox grinned and shook his head wonderingly. “True love!” he said with a chuckle.
Captain Jonathan Archer sat at the console in his quarters, updating his ship’s log. The bell sounded.
“Come in!” he said, turning his chair expectantly to meet his visitor. T’Pol entered the room, and stood stiffly at its center.
“Good evening, T’Pol. What can I help you with?” Archer inquired curiously, noting his first officer’s formal demeanor.
T’Pol, eyes fixed intently over Archer’s left shoulder, said quietly, “I’d like to request a five day leave, Captain.”
“I believe that could be arranged.” said Archer. “Is there a problem I should be aware of?”
“No sir.” replied T’Pol, still stiffly refusing to meet Archer’s gaze.
“When will you need to take this leave?” inquired Archer, beginning to look a bit puzzled over her strange behavior.
“I’m not entirely sure…”admitted T’Pol. “I anticipate that it will be necessary within the next two weeks.”
“I see…” said Archer, looking even more bewildered. “And where will we need to drop you off? Or is there a Vulcan transport coming to meet us?”
“I’ll be taking leave on Enterprise.” replied T’Pol stoutly. “In Sickbay.”
“Are you ill?” asked Archer, sounding concerned.
“No, Captain… Merely about to experience a medical condition which will require close observation and treatment. It’s a very personal matter. I’d prefer not to discuss it.”
Archer’s brow wrinkled as he gave a mystified chuckle. “So you’re asking for leave so you can go to Sickbay for five days, but you can’t tell me why?”
“That’s correct, Captain.” T’Pol took a deep breath and added, “Commander Tucker will also require leave. I have need of his assistance.”
Archer began to chuckle in earnest, shaking his head in amusement. “Are you sure you two wouldn’t rather take leave together somewhere more private?” His eyes twinkled as he teased her gently.
T’Pol was not amused. “This is a serious matter, Captain! There is an element of danger involved which requires Doctor Phlox’s assistance. I would appreciate it if you would consider my request with less levity!”
“I’m sorry, T’Pol.” said Archer, still trying valiantly to avoid smiling and not quite succeeding. “But you have to admit this is a rather strange request! I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“I am aware that the crew will make certain assumptions about my relationship with Commander Tucker. Those assumptions will not be entirely inaccurate. Unfortunately, at this point I have very little choice in the matter.” replied T’Pol.
“All right, T’Pol.” sighed Archer, leaning back in his chair and rubbing his eyes with thumb and forefinger. “You’ll have your leave…Commander Tucker too. I certainly wish you could trust me enough to tell me what’s going on, though.”
T’Pol met his eyes at last, having the grace to… just perhaps…look a bit ashamed of herself. “I’m sorry, Captain.” she answered. “So do I.”
“Dismissed, Commander.” said Archer shortly, in a rather disappointed tone.
T’Pol nodded gratefully, and turned to leave, stopping once to glance back at him apologetically before making a hasty retreat.
Archer sat before his console for a moment after T’Pol’s departure deep in thought, then reached forward to the com panel.
“Archer to Commander Tucker!” he called.
“I’d like to speak with you, Commander.” replied Archer. “Please report to my quarters as soon as it’s convenient.”
“Somethin’ I can do for you, Cap’n?” asked Trip in a businesslike manner. “I was kinda in the middle of somethin’ in Engineering that I’d like to get back to.”
“It’s 1800 hours Mr. Tucker.” commented Archer, smiling slightly. “I’m sure you can take a break for a few minutes. Have a seat.”
Trip sighed and sat down. “Sorry Cap’n. I’m just tryin’ to finish things up….you know…just in case I won’t get a chance to later…” he finished lamely.
“T’Pol came to see me today.” Archer stated flatly. “She asked for a five day leave for both of you, but refused to tell me why, except to imply that you’re helping her with something that could be dangerous. Care to elaborate?” Archer raised his eyebrows, crossed his arms across his chest, and waited for an answer.
“She said that!” Trip exclaimed, astonished. “I’m surprised she even told you that much!”
“Don’t you think it’s about time you two made your relationship public?” suggested Archer. “The whole ship knows what you two have been up to! There may be some close-minded people on Earth who might have a problem with the two of you being together, but no one on board Enterprise wishes you anything but happiness. It’s just not practical to keep sneaking around!”
“You’re right, Cap’n… But you know how stubborn T’Pol can be! She’s so uncomfortable about anyone even suspecting us of any ‘impropriety’ that she’s in denial about what everyone is already saying!” Trip replied with a helpless gesture.
“What about this ‘dangerous’ activity she was talking about?” asked Archer. “What’s that all about?”
“Now that’s somethin’ I really can’t discuss with you, Cap’n . I promised T’Pol I wouldn’t say anything… and I’m really… well…”
“You’re really in love with the woman, and you can’t break your promise to her.” finished Archer succinctly.
“Yep… that pretty much sums it up!” Trip agreed with a rueful grin.
“I’m at least relieved to know that there’s a reason behind all this strange behavior!” replied Archer. “May I make a suggestion? If you love her, you might want to make that fact public knowledge. It would certainly make my life easier. Just what am I supposed to tell the crew when they ask where you two are and what you’re doing?” he asked, with mock indignation.
“Just tell ‘em we’re in Sickbay, I guess.” sighed Trip. “I tried, but I couldn’t talk her into going anyplace else.”
Now truly beginning to get a bit annoyed, Archer stood up and faced Trip squarely. Trip stood up as well, looking at him uncertainly.
“I can’t tell you how to handle this, Mr. Tucker, but as your commanding officer, I can’t let this situation interfere with the efficient functioning of my ship. You two will have your five days leave, but I expect this problem to be dealt with and both of you to be back on duty afterwards with as little disruption to ship’s operations as possible!” said Archer sternly.
“Aye, Aye, Cap’n!” said Trip, straightening instinctively to attention in response to Archer’s military demeanor. “Thank you, sir!” He stood erect, waiting for dismissal.
“Oh…and….Trip?” Archer added, smiling, his voice that of a friend again rather than a commanding officer. “If she says yes… and I’m betting she will…I’ll expect an invitation to the wedding!”
Trip relaxed, a huge answering smile on his face. “Sure thing, Cap’n!”
Late that evening after finishing up in Engineering, Trip headed back to his quarters, grimy and exhausted. As he stepped through the door, he heard the shower running. A broad smile broke out on his tired, greasy face as he shed his clothes and made a bee-line for the shower. He opened the door a bit and put his head in. Wordlessly T’Pol pulled him the rest of the way in.
An hour later, squeaky clean and extremely relaxed, he lay on his bed with T’Pol’s head pillowed on his shoulder. Their bond echoed pure contentment.
“You went to see the captain today.” He whispered drowsily.
“The doctor insisted.” replied T’Pol softly, absently stroking Trip’s arm as it cradled her shoulders. “I explained what I could, but the captain was still upset.”
“He called me in and gave me the third degree…but I didn’t say anything.” he reassured her. “He thought we should go public to avoid a scandal.”
“We’ll discuss it in the morning after we’ve had some rest.” murmured T’Pol, as she turned to him and wrapped both arms around his waist.
Trip kissed her on the top of her head. “Fine by me, Sweetheart. I’m beat.” He laid his head back, his voice trailing off to silence as they both drifted off to sleep.
Trip woke alone in bed in the early morning. He felt feverish, his heart rate rapid and somewhat irregular. He felt a sense of wrongness, the realized that T’Pol was not in bed. Concerned, he sat up shakily and called her name.
“T’Pol? Are you all right?” There was no answer. Trip got out of bed and tapped on the bathroom door. He could feel T’Pol’s presence within the bond as he opened the door and went in. The only emotion he could sense was overwhelming fear.
T’Pol was curled up on the floor of the shower, her arms around her knees, in a posture eerily like the one he had seen in her nightmares… the nightmares he’d thought were long gone.
“T’Pol?” he whispered.
Her head came up, her eyes fixed on him with feral intensity. She was perspiring heavily.
“Get the doctor… now!!” she growled with clenched teeth. “Get out of here and shut the door!”
Trip obeyed with alacrity, concerned that arguing with her might make her condition worse. He reached for the com panel.
“Tucker to Doctor Phlox!”
After a moment, a voice, unbearably cheerful for that time of the morning, responded.
“Yes, Mr. Tucker. May I help you?”
“It’s time!” said Trip briefly. “We’re in my quarters. Come now! It’s an emergency!”
By the time Phlox got to Trip’s quarters, Trip was pacing in an agitated manner back and forth in front of the bathroom door. He was nearly hysterical.
“Doc! She’s locked me out! You’ve gotta get her outta there! I think she might hurt herself!”
“Calm down, Mr. Tucker! There’s no need to be concerned!” Phlox reassured him. “Stand aside. We’ll have her safe in Sickbay in just a few moments.”
Phlox approached the bathroom and raised his voice to carry through the door. “Commander T’Pol? It’s Dr. Phlox! You may come out now! It’s perfectly safe! I have the sedative you asked for!” Phlox stepped back. The door opened, and T’Pol, breathing heavily, hesitantly entered the room, keeping Phlox between herself and Trip, her eyes fixed on the floor.
Trip reached for her with both hands, desperate to touch her, and Phlox interposed his body between them. Unreasoning anger overcame Trip’s conscious mind. How dare this male separate him from his mate? His fist drew back to strike the doctor.
“Now, Doctor!” cried T’Pol hoarsely.
Trip raised his arm to protect himself, but Phlox turned and applied the hypospray to T’Pol’s neck instead, catching her as she immediately lost consciousness. Trip’s anger evaporated as if it had never existed. He looked at the doctor accusingly. “Why did you drug her? I was the one about to attack you!”
Phlox gently transferred T’Pol to Trip’s arms.
“You were being affected by her condition, Mr. Tucker. I had to sedate her in order to protect both of you.” explained Phlox.
Trip’s eyes widened in sudden understanding. Looking down at T’Pol’s unconscious face, he cradled her more tightly in his arms.
“Let’s get her to Sickbay.” he said.
The lights were dimmed, with scented candles placed on every level surface. A basket of fruit, chocolates, and fresh vegetables sat on a corner table beside a small bottle of champagne and two stemmed glasses. The beds were covered in pillows and rose colored satin sheets. Trip turned around and looked at Phlox, totally dumbfounded.
“I thought…” Phlox said with a gentle smile, “that given the circumstances, a bit of redecoration was in order.”
“I don’t know what to say!” stammered Trip. He gently laid the sleeping T’Pol among the pillows, then gazed around the room in amazement, smiling broadly.
“Well… anyway… Here’s a portable reader.” continued Phlox brusquely, shoving the tablet into Trip’s hands. “I’ve taken the liberty of loading a selection of music from both the human and Vulcan databases, as well as a few volumes of my favorite poetry. I thought perhaps they might be useful.” He turned to leave. Trip reached out and caught him by the arm.
“Phlox…” said Trip with a grateful smile. “Thanks!”
“Don’t mention it, Mr.Tucker. Call me if you need me. I’ll be monitoring neurochemistry and vital signs, but the audio and video pickups have been deactivated.”
“Sounds like you’ve thought of everything!” laughed Trip.
“She’ll wake in about six hours.” added Phlox. “I suggest you eat something and get some sleep. From what I have managed to learn about Pon Farr, I have the feeling you won’t be getting much time to do either for the next few days!”
Phlox turned from the neurochemistry readings he was intently studying. “Well, hello, Ensign Sato! Another headache? That’s the third time this week!”
“I really don’t understand why, Doctor, but ever since those Orion females came on board, I’ve had headaches much more frequently. I’m beginning to think it’s psychosomatic!” complained Hoshi. She turned her head in the direction of the isolation chamber, from which an odd rhythmic thudding had begun to emanate. “What’s that noise?” she asked the doctor.
“Nothing for you to be concerned about, Ensign.” said the doctor, blushing and looking a bit flustered. He pressed a hypospray to the side of her neck.
“There, that should work for the headache. Now I want you to record when you have these headaches, and any symptoms associated with them. Do that for one week, then come back and see me so we can discover what’s causing them. You may go now.” he said firmly. Hoshi looked at him strangely, then back at the isolation chamber, where the noise continued unabated. She had a puzzled expression on her face as she left Sickbay.
“Mr. Tucker! Is everything all right?” asked Phlox over the isolation chamber’s audio link. “It’s been eight hours since you last checked in! Would you two like something to eat?”
It was Pon Farr day three, and Trip was struggling to get T’Pol showered and dressed. She wasn’t cooperating.
“Just a minute, Doc!” He shouted. “I’m kinda busy at the moment!”
Phlox heard water running, and Trip saying in a rather flustered voice, “Wait a minute, love, let me rinse your hair…No, don’t do that!...Be still, please!... C’mon T’Pol!”
“Just call me when you can, Mr. Tucker.” Replied Phlox hastily, and shut off the audio again.
Trip did indeed have his hands full. Having finally gotten them both clean and rinsed, he was having difficulty leaving the shower. T’Pol’s nude body blocked his way. She shoved him firmly in the chest with both hands, attempting to knock him off balance. He was ready for her though, and using his greater body mass as leverage, lifted her off of her feet and shoved her against the opposite wall of the shower. T’Pol promptly wrapped both legs around his waist, settled into position with a satisfied sigh, and got down to business. Trip’s last coherent thought for several hours was that this would be a very long day!
Hoshi sat with Ensign Travis Mayweather that evening at dinner, ready to share the latest juicy gossip.
“It’s true!” she said with delight. “I heard them!”
“In Sickbay?!” asked Travis in amazement. “Why there?”
“The scuttlebutt is that Captain Archer wouldn’t let them leave the ship, so they got Phlox to get them medical leave!” said Hoshi.
“I can’t believe Phlox would do that!” laughed Travis.
“I don’t know about that.” replied Hoshi. “Phlox is a true romantic. Maybe he’s playing matchmaker?”
“I’d sure like to be in Commander Tucker’s shoes about now!” said Travis enviously.
Hoshi looked at him in surprise. “Really?!”
“I just meant on vacation…” Travis said hastily. “You know, … with nothing to do except… um…”
“Make love?” Hoshi finished, giving him a flirtatious smile.
“Right!” said Travis with embarrassment. “That!”
Hoshi gave him a considering look, taking in his thickly muscled arms and delicious-looking mocha colored skin.
“Yes, Mr. Tucker?” Phlox responded in his usual cheerful and enthusiastic manner.
“Shhh!” whispered Trip. “I finally got her to sleep!... I really need something to eat! I’m starving in here!”
“Not to worry, Mr. Tucker. Food is on it’s way!” said Phlox. “How are you holding up in there?”
“No violence to speak of so far, Doc, but she may just kill me anyway! I don’t think the human body is designed to do this! I’ve got sore muscles in places I didn’t know had muscles, and friction burns everywhere else!”
“There’s no use complaining to me Mr. Tucker! I’ve got three wives, remember?” quipped Phlox with a chuckle. “I’ll let you know when the food arrives!”
T’Pol stirred, then woke suddenly, fully alert in a second, the way animals waken. She stretched sinuously, extending her arms and legs to encompass the entire bed, then sat up.
“Mornin’, Sweetheart!” Trip smiled. He wasn’t expecting an answer. She hadn’t spoken in three days. Unsmiling, T’Pol’s eyes locked on his empty breakfast plate.
“Hungry, love?” asked Trip gently. He offered her an apple, which she snatched from his hand and ate in six huge messy bites. Trip got up and sat on the opposite end of the bed. She began to crawl on all fours toward him on the bed, stopping occasionally to lick her sticky fingers. When she reached him, she pulled his mouth to hers firmly and gave him a long, delicious apple-tasting kiss. It was time to get back to work.
On Pon Farr day five, Trip contacted Phlox at 0800.
“Doc?” Trip said worriedly. “She’s still not awake. Can you check to see if anything’s wrong?”
“There’s no need to worry, Mr. Tucker.” replied the doctor. “She’s just sleeping. As a matter of fact, the neurochemical scan I did on her last night showed that she was beginning to return to her usual state of health. She is likely to be quite coherent when she wakes.”
“Boy, am I glad about that, Doc!” said Trip with relief. “I think I’ve had about as much Pon Farr as I can take….at least for the next seven years!”
“I’m very pleased that both of you have remained uninjured.” replied Phlox. “Perhaps next time you’ll take my advice and go to Rysa?”
“I dunno, Doc.” said Trip. “The way you have this place fixed up, it’s a regular little love nest. Maybe we’ll be back in seven years!”
“Why, thank you, Commander!” replied Phlox, sounding very pleased with himself. “I’ll take that as a compliment!”
T’Pol awoke feeling pleasantly sore and mentally refreshed. She opened her eyes, and found Trip just lying there, looking at her.
“Mornin’, Beautiful.” he murmured with a smile. “Did you sleep well?”
“I appear to be well-rested.” she replied, her voice slightly husky from disuse. “Are you uninjured?” Her eyes scanned him from head to foot, looking for signs of injury. She sat up to get a better look, then realized that they were both nude.
“Perhaps you should put on some clothes?” she suggested.
“What for?” asked Trip. “We haven’t worn any in four days.”
T’Pol’s eyes widened slightly at that, then she noticed the candles, burned to nubs now, and the satin sheets.
“Are you responsible for the non-regulation décor?” she asked with dry humor.
“You can blame the doctor for that. He also gave us this…” He made a selection on the personal reader, and soft music began to play. T’Pol’s eyes closed briefly as she listened with approval, then opened again, searching for food.
She caught sight of the vegetable plate Trip had requested for her from the kitchen.
“May I?” she inquired politely.
He handed her the plate. She hesitated, lacking utensils, then cautiously lifted a stalk of celery to her mouth between the tips of her thumb and forefinger and took a bite.
Approving of its freshness and texture, she delicately ate the rest of the meal in similar fashion, as Trip watched in amusement. The old T’Pol was definitely back!
Her appetite satisfied, T’Pol focused her attention on Trip, running her fingers with clinical detachment over his entire body, searching for injuries.
“T’Pol!” he laughed. “ I’m not hurt! Stop doing that! It tickles!” He pushed her hands away playfully, still laughing.
T’Pol sat back, both hands in her lap, now completely unselfconscious about their state of undress.
“I am very relieved to see that you are well.” she said, and reached out one hand to gently touch the side of his face. Their bond allowed him to feel her relief, fierce protectiveness, and love. There was no need to say anything else. Trip put his hand over hers, and returned love in full measure. Her eyes widened at the intensity of his sending.
“Um… T’Pol?” Trip said hesitantly. “I had Phlox get something for me yesterday from the lockbox in my cabin.” He pulled out a small box covered in black velvet from a drawer in the side table, then got down on his knees by the side of the bed. “Before all this started, do you remember we said we were gonna talk about what to do to let everyone know about us? Well… I have an idea.” He opened the box and removed a small round object. “I know you don’t like public displays of affection, but this shouldn’t require any.”
“What is it?” asked T’Pol, looking at it with interest.
“It’s called an engagement ring.” said Trip. “When a human woman is about to be married, she wears it like this…” Trip slipped the ring on the third finger of T’Pol’s left hand. It fit perfectly.
“The stone is a diamond… crystalized carbon.” explained Trip.
T’Pol extended her hand palm down in front of her, fingers spread open in the universal gesture of a woman admiring a beautiful piece of jewelry. “It has a pleasing symmetry.” she said with approval.
“The ring belonged to my grandmother. She left it to me for the woman I would someday marry. I guess that’s you, if you’ll have me.” said Trip.
“It would be logical for us to marry, as we are already bonded for life.” stated T’Pol reasonably.
“Exactly what I thought!” agreed Trip.
“Very well.” said T’Pol with a decisive nod. “I will wear your ‘engagement ring’. Will this be enough, do you think, to make our relationship common knowledge?”
“You bet!” Trip grinned. “All it’ll take is one woman to see that thing, and the news will be all over the ship before lunchtime!”
“An excellent plan, my husband-to-be. Quite logical.” said T’Pol approvingly.
T’Pol lay down beside him, curling her body against his back like two nesting spoons, and wrapped both arms around his waist.
“Perhaps we should spend the day here.” she said softly. “Just to be certain both of us are fully recovered.”
Trip gave no answer, as he was already sound asleep.
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