DISCLAIMER: Star Trek 'Enterprise' is the property of Paramount, no infringement is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Della Street
Enterprise, Year Five
"Well." Archer slapped both hands down on the table. "I won't hold you in suspense." He smiled, but it wasn't as enthusiastic as usual. "We are here for an announcement involving our own Subcommander T'Pol."
The rest of the crew turned their attention to the Vulcan except Hoshi, Archer noticed. He wondered if he should stand up for an announcement like this. Nah, T'Pol wasn't that big on formalities. "The subcommander has been named captain of the Vulcan explorer Tkzeta."
Trip Tucker whistled. "The Tkzeta? Damn, T'Pol, that's a whole lotta ship."
"Indeed," Malcolm Reed chimed in. "Quite an ambitious vessel, from what I've heard."
"Congratulations, Subcommander," added Travis Mayweather. "Or is that 'Captain'?"
A dark eyebrow went up. "I believe that Captain Archer would prefer only one captain on board Enterprise at a time."
"Well, that never stopped you before," Archer joked, smiling broadly at his joke.
T'Pol nodded to acknowledge the humor. Through the banter, Hoshi's silence had not escaped her attention. On impulse (although T'Pol would have disputed that characterization), she had broken with protocol and shared the news with the young linguist before the formal announcement. Their discussion had not gone entirely as expected, and now she wondered what Hoshi was thinking.
"Nothing to say, Ensign?"
With typical human bluster, Archer had drawn attention to Hoshi's silence, seemingly oblivious to the ensign's consternation. There was no need to cause her more discomfort, T'Pol decided. Time to employ another reliable human methodology: changing the subject. She spoke up. "Prior to its commission, the Tkzeta was--"
"Captain," Hoshi interrupted. "I will also be leaving in three weeks."
"What?" Archer smiled uncertainly.
"I'll be leaving in three weeks to begin a new assignment," Hoshi said. She met T'Pol's gaze. "I will be the new communications officer on the Tkzeta."
"The Tkzeta?" Tucker erupted. "The Vulcan ship?"
"You're leaving us to go with T'Pol?" he asked, not realizing or caring how rude it sounded.
"Yes," she replied firmly. He didn't need to make it sound like she was leaving to go with the Klingons or something.
"A ship full of Vulcans?"
That was enough crap from Trip Tucker, Hoshi decided. "And what's wrong with that?" she demanded.
"They're Vulcans!" he repeated, as if that answered the question. "You gotta be nuts. They're . . . ." He glanced over at T'Pol, and realized that he was about to insult someone who had just become one of the more powerful members of that particular species, someone he considered an exception to the rule. "Well, come on, T'Pol," he said. "You know how you felt bein' surrounded by humans."
"That is true," she admitted. "But it should be easier for Terrans to adjust to Vulcan culture than for Vulcans to adjust to Terrans."
"Yeah, right," Tucker said, correctly perceiving the remark as an insult. "No sense of humor. No emotion. No fun." He redirected his tirade to the person he thought needed it. "You think you're going to like that, Hoshi? You can kiss birthday parties goodbye, and dancing, and games--"
"Maybe." Hoshi cut him off; she knew all that. "But the Tkzeta is setting out for the Zeta quadrant. Just think of all the different cultures we'll run across." There were other reasons far more compelling for her decision, but she wouldn't embarrass T'Pol by disclosing them.
Mayweather shook his head. "I can remember when you didn't like exploring," he said.
She smiled. "Things change."
"Are you giving up your commission?"
"I hope not," Hoshi replied. "But if Starfleet won't reassign me, then I will." She chanced another peek at T'Pol.
Suddenly a thought occurred to Archer. "Does Ambassador Soval know about this?" he asked. He couldn't imagine that Vulcan snob agreeing to a human serving on one of his ships, let alone his flagship.
"I was informed that I could select my own crew," T'Pol said quietly.
That didn't answer the question, and they both knew it. "Ahh," the captain replied knowingly.
A few minutes later, the meeting broke up, and as Hoshi trailed out, Archer gently grasped her arm. "Hoshi, do you really want to spend the next five years with a bunch of Vulcans?"
"No," she replied honestly. "I want to spend the next five years with T'Pol." She went on through the doorway, while Archer digested what she had said.
A moment later, he walked slowly onto the bridge, and looked over at the science station. There, his subcommander and his communications officer stood close together, deep in conversation. Hoshi's hand rested lightly on T'Pol's forearm, and she was smiling warmly at the other woman.
Wow, he mused. Where no man has gone before . . .
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