Another chapter slipped into the story in between existing ones to flesh out what happened in between T'Pol's initial meeting with K'Eshtan and the scene that took place during 'The Anomaly'. Somewhere around 00:34:50, which is… well, I'm sure you'll be able to tell exactly what scene this is as soon as you start reading it.
Pausing outside T'Pol's quarters, Charles "Trip" Tucker eyed the PADD in his hands uncertainly. Bioscans for T'Pol, according to Phlox. But in an age of fully networked computers, which included everything from the ship's many consoles to the plethora of PADDs passed back and forth between its crew… why couldn't the information have been transferred digitally? Or, failing that, why was he playing errand boy? Didn't Phlox have an assistant? Wasn't that Crewman Cutler's official excuse for spending so much time in sickbay?
Trip shook his head. Whatever. He'd agreed to run the errand, he was standing at the door to T'Pol's quarters… just drop the PADD off and go a few doors further down the hall on B Deck to his own, he told himself. Pushing the button to alert the newly-minted commander to his presence, he waited for her to reply. Instead the door opened to reveal T'Pol herself in a pale blue dressing gown. The two stared at each other for a moment and then T'Pol turned away, the door remaining open in invitation as she retreated deeper into her quarters. For lack of any better idea, Trip followed her into the dimly lit room, the door sliding shut behind him. "Sorry to drop by so late but, uh, Phlox said you were expecting this?"
"Thank you." Accepting the PADD, T'Pol turned away and bent over to fiddle with the computer console mounted over her desk, leaving Trip trying not to stare at her admittedly fine - even if she was a Vulcan - posterior. "Please, sit down."
Warning bells started to go off and Trip shook his head, taking a step back and raising his hands. "I don't think I'd be very good company right now. Anyway, I still have a few more showers to take before I get all this trellium-D off me."
As he turned to leave, T'Pol abruptly straightened up and moved to follow him. Now Trip knew something was going on. "Would you like a cup of tea?"
Tired and irritated as he was, Trip had still been raised a gentleman and so he turned to at face T'Pol as he responded. "Thanks, but it might keep me up. The doctor just gave me a sedative." Hopefully whatever tea Vulcans preferred contained caffeine so that wouldn't seem like a completely stupid reply. "Another time, maybe?"
"You are having trouble sleeping as well."
About to turn and make another attempt at leave, Trip paused at that and watched T'Pol as she made her way over to the bed slowly, sitting on the edge. "I never would have pegged you for an insomniac."
T'Pol looked one way, then the other, before finding her hands incredibly interesting. While he was no expert when it came to Vulcans, Trip liked to think he knew a little something about T'Pol at least and that was definitely odd behavior for her. What was going on here? Since she was obviously intent on keeping him in the room, though, Trip decided to play along - for the moment - and moved to sit at her desk. "I believe the Expanse has been disrupting my REM patterns."
Reaching up to his neck, Trip rubbed the spot where Phlox had hit him with the hypospray a few minutes earlier. Maybe he should have been errand boy for two deliveries. "Probably nothing a good dose of kayolane couldn't cure." He'd become good friends with Lady Kayolane as of late…
A shake of her head was T'Pol's response to that suggestion. "Vulcan science teaches us to prompt our bodies to create their own medicines."
Trip furrowed his brow as he pondered that. "So why are you still having trouble sleeping?"
"The neural nodes that need to be stimulated are difficult to reach." Considering he didn't know anything about neural nodes and where they were, much less how to stimulate them, Trip was willing to accept that. But what did… "Perhaps you could help me."
T'Pol unbelted her dressing gown and slid it down to reveal a pajama top that exposed both her toned midriff and a considerable amount of cleavage, the warning bells in Trip's head turned into the full on blare of a tactical alert siren. As she stared up at him, Trip shook his head slowly and rose from his seat, making his way towards the door. "Erm, I don't know if I want to be responsible for poking around in your neurowhatsits, T'Pol. Last thing we need is me accidentally paralyzing the ship's XO because she didn't want to go to see the doc, you know?"
Reaching behind her back, which pulled the front of her blue silk top even tighter, T'Pol tapped at two points he couldn't quite see from his current angle. "Given your ability to make minute adjustments to various components in engineering, I believe you are underestimating your own abilities. Three centimeters on either side of the fifth vertebrae." Trip could have sworn he heard a light, feminine giggle as he stared at T'Pol but the Vulcan remained as stoic as ever, staring right back at him. Finally he sighed and shrugged before circling around to sit behind her on the bed, only to find himself struggling to keep his eyes in appropriate territory as she tugged the back of her shirt up for him. Evidently the commander preferred low rise sleep pants. Gingerly, he brought his hands up to her back only to freeze as she unbuttoned and shrugged her top off, forcing him to pull his hands away momentarily. As she settled down, her hands covering her chest for modesty's sake, Trip brushed his fingers against her back again. "You can apply considerable pressure."
There was only one problem with that. "I'm not sure which of these is…" Trip could do simple math, but until he figured out where 'one' was, it was kind of hard to push 'five'.
As his fingers prodded away, Trip pushed down on… something… and T'Pol twitched. "Right there."
A slightly harder push provoked a definite twitch from T'Pol. "A little closer together." Tucker slid his thumbs across her skin, bringing them a half inch or so closer together before pushing down again. T'Pol sucked in a sharp breath at his actions. "Harder." Trip raised an eyebrow at the request but did so, digging his fingers into her shoulders for a better grip as he pushed his thumbs into the soft flesh of her neck. Idly, he found himself comparing the experience to the last time he'd found himself in a woman's bed with her demanding he do something harder. Then he remembered he was poking away at a touch telepath who was considerably stronger than him and did his best to drag his mind out of the gutter. "Harder."
Trip paused at that, chuckling incredulously. "If I push any harder, I'll knock you over." Stronger than him, yes. But she was still smaller and lighter than him. When she didn't respond, he shrugged and got back to work. Well, if she wanted to end up on the floor, who was he to argue? Hopefully she wouldn't get bruised or anything, because he really didn't want to explain the whole mess to Phlox… or the captain, for that matter.
His thumbs pushed a bit deeper into the dense musculature of her neck and T'Pol let out a hiss of what sounded distinctly like pleasure. "Just like that. Please continue." That he could do. Since all she seemed to want was two distinct points of pressure against her neck, Trip shifted on the bed to get a better angle and then pushed down as hard as he could. T'Pol drew herself up as she inhaled sharply and then let out a breathy whimper that sounded way too familiar for Trip's liking before relaxing, her head lolling forward slightly. They sat in silence for a few seconds and then T'Pol turned her head to one side as she began sliding her top back on. "That was far more effective than a hypospray."
Not sure what else to say, Trip waited for her to finish dressing before patting her on the leg. "Glad to be of assistance." Now, he decided, he was getting the hell out of there before the whole thing turned into any more of a Twilight Zone
"It would be only fair for me to return the favor." He was not stopping, Trip told himself. He was going to keep walking towards the door, brush her off right as he reached the door, and make a break for… "Please, disrobe."
Hello, Twilight Zone
. Sighing, Trip came to a stop and rested his forehead against the door of her closet, not sure whether to laugh or cry at finding himself in another bizarre cross-species experience. Finally, he turned back to T'Pol and offered her a disarming smile. "I'm really flattered, Commander, and don't think under different circumstances I wouldn't jump at the chance…"
Rising from the bed, T'Pol moved to stand near her desk, staring at him with an almost frightening intensity. "Are you implying I'm making sexual advances?"
"No." T'Pol continued to stare at him, one eyebrow slowly creeping upward. "No, no, no, not at all. I, I was just…" The eyebrow crept a little higher and Trip began to panic. She was a Starfleet officer now. Not that it would have made sexually harassing her any better before, but now she was officially covered by all sorts of rules and regulations that could spell a quick end to his career if he didn't pull a very good explanation out of his ass, and fast. Except he couldn't think of anything. Then it came to him: cut and run and hope he could explain himself better in the morning when the captain inevitably called him into his ready room. "You see, the Doctor gave me this sedative and I think it's starting to work…"
T'Pol held up a hand, cutting him off. "The Doctor injected you with a placebo. He sent you here because he wanted me to persuade you to try Vulcan neuropressure." Trip's mouth worked soundlessly as a chirp prompted T'Pol to turn away, prodding at her computer some more. "As I predicted, it was a pointless exercise."
He'd known almost from the start that there was more to his visit than met the eye, but what Trip didn't understand was… "Why didn't he just ask me?"
"He did." T'Pol glanced back at him, offering the same 'even allowing for the fact that you're only human, what you just said is irritatingly stupid' look he'd become all too familiar with over the past two years. "You refused."
Spreading his arms wide, Trip looked around her quarters before staring pointedly at her bed. "So what, this whole thing was just a set up?"
T'Pol straightened up once more, turning to face him with that familiar look of superiority he'd come to recognize. "The doctor knows how intransigent you can be. He thought it necessary and I agreed."
"Unwilling to compromise."
"I know what it means! But it just so happens that it's not true. I'm as willing to compromise as anyone else." And Trip was, at least when it came to certain things. Other things, not so much. Pecan pie would forever be the best kind of pie in existence, football was most definitely better than water polo no matter what Captain Archer said, and medical problems were best solved with medicine. Except he couldn't really claim that anymore, what with some of the strange treatments Phlox had used on him since he'd arrived aboard the Enterprise
. And if Phlox thought this would help… well the Denobulan's other odd ideas were effective enough…
Returning to her bed, T'Pol seated herself and stared at him for a moment before patting the spot on the bed that she had occupied while he was working on her back. "Then take off your shirt."
After a moment's hesitation, Trip pulled his t-shirt up and over his head before taking a seat on the bed and presenting his back to T'Pol. Just as her hands touched his neck, the same girlish giggle from earlier repeated itself, louder and most definitely not his imagination. T'Pol let out a soft groan but before Trip could ask her what was wrong, a slim figure in the dark camouflage print outfit of a MACO emerged from the shadows in the corner of T'Pol's quarters. "Maybe you should be nicer to my fairy princess so she will make sexual advances. It would be ever so much fun to have a man around again. The MACOs told me I couldn't have any more of theirs after I broke the first one who wanted to play with me…"
T'Pol groaned, letting her forehead drop to rest on Trip's bare shoulder in an oddly intimate gesture but his attention was focused solely on the British marine who he was pretty sure was insane. "…T'Pol?"
"The situation is… complicated, Commander Tucker."
"Hullo, luvvy. My name is Drusilla. The stars told me that my fairy princess would be in danger if I let her wander off into the clouds all by her lonesome and so I came along so that I could protect her."
"…or perhaps not."