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Story Notes: Okay, I didn't have any intention of responding to my own challenge, and I have never written anything for ENT before, so this can be safely disregarded.;-)


“I realize that you’re my commanding officer, but I won’t let you do it.”

A pair of exquisitely shaped beautiful hazel eyes stared at him as if he was a particularly intriguing specimen of fungus.

“Commander, our orders are quite specific.”

“Orders be damned,” Trip bristled out impatiently. “This is plain insanity! The Captain would never have allowed you to go, and you damn well know it!”

“The Captain is still recovering from his encounter with the gaseous lifeform. I am in command, Mr. Tucker.”

“He wouldn’t have left you in command had he known what you’re up to! I can’t believe I’m having this discussion with a Vulcan of all people!”

“I fail to see how that should affect the situation.”

“Do you? Last time I checked, your people were the most reserved, rigid, tight-assed prudes in the known galaxy—and now you’re telling me you wanna go down alone to a planet which is nothing short for an intergalactic bordello?”

“An intergalactic what?”

“See what I mean?”

“Mr. Tucker, this is not a question of what I want. We need the information. In order to get it, someone must go down to the surface. As you know, Sareeans are telepaths. It would be impossible for you or any other human to meet them without giving away details of our mission. You cannot block their scans.”

“Neither can you.”

“No, but my mind is considerably more disciplined. It would allow me to concentrate on the irrelevant thoughts, thus hindering suspicions.”

“Irrelevant thoughts? You, T’Pol? You’ve gotta be kidding me. You wouldn’t know an irrelevant thought if it bit you in the ass.”

“I would not have to wait for such an absurd improbability to happen. I am certain the conditions on the surface would provide me with sufficient... distraction.”

“I’ll bet they would. God, I can’t believe this. You actually want to go!”

“Commander, you are becoming increasingly agitated.”

“Any reason I shouldn’t be?”

“I will not be in any danger.”

“It’s not your well-being that I’m worried about. More like your… well, uh, honor... if you know what I mean.”

“Indeed? I find this most peculiar. I do not believe I recall you being concerned about my honor when you came to my cabin last night.”

“That’s... totally different!”

“Indeed? Please elaborate.”

“I... well, you and I are...”


“Well, you said I was... instrumental to you in exploring human sexuality. It was a scientific research for you, wasn’t it?”

“I see no reason not to use this opportunity to gather more empiric data.”

“You see no—”

“In fact, I should have moved to the second stage of my research earlier. Our mission, unfortunately, has delayed my studies.”

“Our mission? Well, thank God for the Xindi, or I’d...”

There was a long pause. Then a firm hand closed on his shoulder.


“I’m okay, I just... can’t believe I said that.”

“I understood your meaning.”

He sighed, then let his arms slide around her waist and pulled her close. She didn’t resist.

“You are still mourning.”

“Yeah. I guess part of me always will be.”

“I grieve with you.”

“Thanks. It’s really not... I mean it isn’t... Hell, I mean I didn’t want to get all sentimental on you.”

“I have noted before you are quite sentimental, as you put it. It’s an organic part of who you are.”

“My most endearing part?”

“I wouldn’t go that far.”

“Well, what is my most endearing part then?”

“I didn’t say you possess any.”

“Oh, come on, T’Pol. Not a single one?”

“Perhaps... the remarkable prowess you demonstrate on occasion during our... experiments.”

He laughed out loud.

“I guess there’s a chance I’d remain your favorite... research subject, then.”

She frowned slightly in thought.

“There is a chance.”

“How big a chance?”

“There is a chance.”

“Fine, I get the picture. Go ahead, have fun down there.” She gave him a look. “I know, I know. All work and no play. I won’t keep you from your duties then.”

“I will be ready to launch in twenty-four minutes.”

“Fine. Keep the comm line open at all times.”

“I know the procedure, Commander.”



“Did I ever tell you I happen to be a damn good cook?”

She gave him another look and left.

“Yeah,” Trip sighed. “I guess not.”

He sighed again, shook his head at himself, and headed for the Bridge.

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