DISCLAIMER: Enterprise and all related kind-of-Star-Trek-but-not-really matter is owned by Paramount. Only thing that's mine is the wallpaper.
THANKS: to the Great Bird of the Internet, ralst herself, without whose big 5000th-story-update-challenge-thing I would never have written an Enterprise story.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Quiet
By EldritchSandwich


Hoshi grunted as her back slammed against the bulkhead. Before she could react, T'Pol's lips had crashed against hers, wrenching a shocked moan from the ensign's throat. Despite her surprise, Hoshi's hands clawed at the material that clung to the Vulcan's back as the baser animal that had daydreamed about this moment for months took over, desperate to break through to skin. T'Pol's thigh was jammed between hers and, purely on reflex, Hoshi pressed forward, her center feeling as if it were on fire.

Just as abruptly, T'Pol stiffened. With her hands firm on Hoshi's shoulders, the science officer pushed back, teetering dizzily, her face unreadable but her ragged breathing unmistakable.

As reality crashed over her, Hoshi could only stare, wide-eyed and terrified out of her mind, at her superior officer. "I…"

Personal log: Ensign Hoshi Sato, June 4th, 2152. In order to make our rendezvous with the Arvorans on time, we're being forced to pass through a large region of empty space. Even at high warp, it'll take us almost a month to get through. Three weeks and two days with no stars, no planets, no other ships, and no civilization for light-years.

The Tellarite phrase for this phenomenon is Tasesh Araska; literally, it means 'the quiet between two great sounds.' Just goes to show you that no matter how stubborn they might be about it, even the Tellarites have a poetic side.

Hoshi, you in there?

The young ensign paused the recording; she hadn't even heard the door chime sound. "Just a second, Travis."

When she opened the door, Travis Mayweather was staring impatiently at the chronometer. "I paged you like three times."

"Sorry, I was recording my log."

"We're gonna be late."

"We're not going to be late. Besides, it's not like we won't have a couple dozen more chances to see this movie."

Travis looked down at his 'date'. "You okay?"

"I'm fine, just a little antsy." Hoshi chuckled. "I must be a real space explorer now, three days in the Quiet and I'm already bouncing off the walls."

"The Quiet?"

"Oh, you see the Tellarite phrase for a region of space like this—"

"You know what, forget I asked."

Hoshi shook her head. "This really doesn't bother you?"

"I grew up on a cargo ship, remember? I'm used to going months without seeing anything interesting."

"Great, one more reason for me to be jealous of you."

"One more?"

"Well, that and you're just so pretty."

Travis chuckled as they turned the corner, then skidded to a stop as they nearly bowled over Subcommander T'Pol. "Oh, sorry Subcommander."

T'Pol nodded absently, as if being knocked flat on her back by the two humans wouldn't have effected her either way, and stepped aside to continue toward her unknown destination.

"Uh, Subcommander…" The Vulcan turned around, and Hoshi cleared her throat. "We're going to see the movie. 'Revenge of the Lizard King.' Do you…want to come?"

T'Pol blinked, and if Hoshi hadn't known better she would have called the look in the Vulcan's eyes surprise. "I'm sorry, I'm already engaged." Without further explanation, T'Pol continued walking.

Travis looked after her, shaking his head. "Why do you even bother? She's never gonna want to sit in a room full of smelly, irrational humans any longer than she has to."

Hoshi shrugged. "I was just trying to be friendly."

I'm not really sure why I invited T'Pol to come with us. I remember when I first came on board, she always got under my skin. Since then…I don't know. I've just started to find her…interesting. Like the Tellarites, I guess. As closed off as she is, I just know there has to be some poetry under there somewhere.

End log.

"Hoshi, anything?"

It was the fourth time Lieutenant Reed had asked her in the last half hour.

"No, sir."

"Travis, are we still on course?"

Travis grinned. "Yes, sir."

The night shift commander nodded briskly. "All right then." He slumped back in the captain's chair, and sighed. "Hoshi, are you sure there's nothing out there? No debris in our direct path that might call for a few torpedoes?"

Hoshi chuckled. "Sorry, sir."

Lieutenant Reed leaned back with a groan. "All right, it's only twenty minutes 'til shift change. Why don't you two just go get something to eat?"


"Go on. It won't be any more boring being by myself. No offense."

Hoshi was already up from her console. "None taken, sir."

She met Travis at the lift. "You want to grab dinner?"

"Nah, I'm not hungry. Just got to go get some sleep before first watch starts."

The two junior officers said goodnight as he headed for his quarters and she turned toward the mess.

There were only a half-dozen people eating, and no one Hoshi knew any better than by name. With a sigh, she selected a Cobb salad and a mug of tea and settled down at a table in the corner.

Halfway through idly conjugating the Banzari verb for 'to fling over a long distance in an expression of justified disgust,' Hoshi looked up as all conversation ceased. Hoshi's eyebrows rose—Subcommander T'Pol was almost never seen in the mess—then practically leapt up to hide in her hair when the Vulcan began to move toward her table.


Hoshi almost choked on her only half-chewed bite of salad when the science officer addressed her. "Subcommander, what can I do for you?"

"Since our current course has left all personnel on light duty, I thought it would be prudent to update myself on our current mission." Translation: I'm bored. Hoshi tried not to smile. "You have been studying Arvoran language and culture."

"Yes," Hoshi offered tentatively, even though she was pretty positive it wasn't a question.

"I believe a more thorough understanding of these topics would allow me to better assist the Captain in negotiations when we rendezvous."

It didn't escape Hoshi's attention that T'Pol hadn't made an actual request, or that she probably wasn't planning to. "Sure. Would you like to sit down?"

The ghost of hesitation crossed the Vulcan's face. "You are eating. We could schedule a time later."

"I don't mind." A thought occurred to her. "Unless you feel uncomfortable watching me eat." After all the meals she shared with the Captain and Commander Tucker, Hoshi wouldn't have blamed her.

The corner of T'Pol's mouth twitched. "No. We can begin now, if it is convenient for you."

The science officer took the seat across from Hoshi's and looked at her expectantly. Hoshi took a sip of her tea, mostly to stall for time.

"Well, let's see…Arvora's a heavily forested moon orbiting a gas giant. It's people discovered warp travel around the same time humans did…"

"I have already read the High Council's brief on the Arvorans."

"Right. Of course." Hoshi blushed; somehow she always managed to say something around the stately Vulcan to make herself look like a complete idiot.

"I was hoping for any information you had obtained from the Arvoran cultural records we were sent."

"Okay. Well…the Arvorans consider themselves completely rationalistic. I mean, not as logical as Vulcans, but they completely abandoned the concept of religion almost a thousand years ago, and they're very devoted to scientific method and logical deduction. They also have a heavily patriarchal society, so it would be best if you didn't participate too directly in the negotiations. It might make Captain Archer appear weak, taking advice from a woman." Hoshi missed T'Pol's curious look. "Oh, and while we're on the subject, don't look an Arvoran man directly in the eyes. It'll be seen as an invitation to share your bed."

T'Pol's lips twitched again. "Noted." When the Vulcan said nothing more, Hoshi squinted.

"Is something wrong, Subcommander?"

"You said the Arvorans consider themselves a logical race."


"I find it difficult to believe that a species dedicated to rationalism would also be as misogynistic as you describe."

Of course you do. If you accepted that, it would mean maybe Vulcans aren't as perfect as you like to think. As soon as Hoshi thought it, she knew it wasn't fair. T'Pol might have been many things, but she certainly wasn't as intolerant toward humans as most Vulcans. It was just one more thing that Hoshi found so fascinating about her.


As she watched T'Pol's lips move, Hoshi tried hard not to concentrate on the other things she found fascinating about the Vulcan.

"Sorry. My mind wandered a little." T'Pol just nodded.

"If you would prefer, we could continue this conversation when you are not otherwise occupied."

Normally, Hoshi's pride would have made her refuse. But being in such close proximity to the fetching alien was distracting her more than she wanted to admit.

"Thanks. Why don't we, uh…meet back here tomorrow night, say 1800?"

"Of course."

Hoshi was ready to leave, but she let T'Pol walk out first. Unwittingly, her eyes followed the Vulcan's form out the door.

Personal log: Ensign Hoshi Sato, June 12th, 2152. Tonight's my fifth meeting with T'Pol in the last week. I know I shouldn't be this nervous, it's not like it's a date, but I am.

I'm always nervous around her.

No wonder she thinks I'm an idiot.

Had he been paying more attention, Malcolm Reed might have picked up on more of Hoshi's nervousness than he did. As it was, however, he was merely grateful to have something to do.

"Seventy four percent. Not bad, Ensign. Shall I set up another round?"

Hoshi nodded, Lieutenant Reed tapped a panel, and the first in the next series of targets drifted off the armory floor. Malcolm had been increasing their speed as Hoshi went, but the ensign hadn't been shaken. Hoshi whipped the phase pistol around without blinking, putting her body into the shots to a degree Reed knew she knew wasn't necessary. He glanced down at the display; she'd actually been scoring higher as the hour progressed.

As the targets settled, Hoshi lowered the weapon, her breathing ragged.

"Anything you want to talk about, Ensign?"

"…No, sir." Hoshi glanced sideways at him. "I just…it's nothing."

Reed smiled. "Indulge me. I don't have anything else to do, I might as well put in my application for ship's counselor."

Hoshi licked her suddenly parched lips, and tentatively laid the pistol on the console. "Have you ever…been attracted to a superior officer?"

"Haven't we already gone through this rather awkward dance?"

"No, I don't mean…" Malcolm smiled as Hoshi blushed. "You know what, forget it."

"Is this hypothetical officer I may or may not be attracted to a direct commander?"


"Well, then there's not really anything in the regs against acting on it."

"Yeah, but what if you were really…" Hoshi's hands fumbled for an explanation, "…different? Hypothetically. What if you're not sure what kind of response to expect?"

"Well, it sounds like I'd hypothetically be using rank as an excuse because I was afraid of pursuing the attraction and I needed a scapegoat." The lieutenant slid Hoshi's pistol back into its cabinet with a meaty click. "But then, that doesn't sound like me."

When he turned around, the door was already sliding shut. Malcolm stared, then smiled.

Maybe Lieutenant Reed's right. Maybe I should at least find out what T'Pol thinks of me before I worry so much.

As if I don't already know.

But then again, I finished telling her almost everything I know about the Arvorans on the second day.

Hoshi sat up a little straighter as soon as the mess hall doors slid open. She had done it every time, but now the sound actually signaled T'Pol's arrival. The Vulcan's eyes met hers across the room instantly—the way Hoshi had learned they always could, if T'Pol was paying attention—and Hoshi smiled nervously.

T'Pol responded with a curt nod and the upward tic of her lips that Hoshi was beginning to recognize as something between a smile and a gulp of apprehension.

Hoshi waited patiently as the Vulcan took her seat; if their last meeting was any indication, T'Pol would set the topic of conversation, some minor point of Arvoran sociology that would quickly devolve into more personal, if not necessarily private, subjects—a transition neither woman would remark upon.

Hoshi had to admit it felt good to have someone to talk to; even if she wasn't quite sure why that someone was talking to her.

The Terran slid the Vulcan a cup of tea. "Thank you." T'Pol took a tentative sip, then launched into conversation without preamble. "I hoped you could clarify a statement you made at our last meeting."

Hoshi nodded.

"During our discussion of philosophy, you remarked that you found modern Vulcan philosophy too 'easy.'"

Hoshi didn't even remember making what had probably been an off-the-cuff comment, but she didn't expect T'Pol had made it up. She cleared her throat.

"Well, I suppose it's just that…every position is just so unassailable. There are no exceptions, it's as if the philosopher expects people to conform their circumstances to the 'ideal' just so his rules will be proven right. It just comes across like…well, like it was written for Vulcans." Hoshi looked up to the unidentifiable glint in T'Pol's eyes. "No offense, I mean…maybe I'm just overcomplicating it or…maybe philosophy just doesn't really translate at all between two species with such different histories, maybe it's like humor. Not that I've read much Vulcan humor, of course…" T'Pol's shapely lips twitched, and Hoshi's sentence came to an abrupt halt. "…And I'm babbling again, aren't I? I'm sorry."

"On the contrary. Your…babbling has made these sessions more than pleasant."

That ghost-of-an-almost-slightly-resembling-a-compliment made Hoshi's heart flutter more than it should have, and gave the Terran the last of the courage needed to finally ask what was on her mind.

"Subcomma…uh, T'Pol…" If the Vulcan had a reaction to Hoshi using her name, she gave no indication. "Why exactly are we…I mean, not that I haven't…we haven't discussed the Arvorans in the last three days. Is this…are we…"

That finally elicited a reaction: a reaction that, on anyone else's face, Hoshi would have interpreted as panic.

"I did not realize we had finished our business. I should go."

T'Pol lurched up from the table more quickly and gracelessly than Hoshi thought a Vulcan should have been able. "Wait, T'Po…Subcommander…" But the other woman was already out of the mess hall, confused stares and murmurs gathering in her wake.

Before she could sort out what happened, Hoshi was on her feet and following the other woman out the door.

Hoshi nearly knocked down two crewmen, skidded to a stop outside T'Pol's door and, without pausing to think, hit the chime. It never crossed her mind that T'Pol might not be there, or might not answer; sulking wasn't in the Vulcan's nature. But then, Hoshi hadn't thought running away would have been either. When T'Pol opened the door, something flashed across her face at the sight of smaller woman, but Hoshi was in no mood to try to deconstruct what it was.

"T'Pol, I think we need to talk."

"I am very busy, Ensign." Hoshi's blood boiled at the way T'Pol emphasized her rank. "Perhaps another…"

"No. I think we need to talk right now." Before she could object any further, Hoshi pushed herself into T'Pol's quarters, the Vulcan too startled by her sudden aggressiveness to stop her. With a hard breath that sounded suspiciously like a sigh, T'Pol closed the door and turned to face Hoshi.

"I apologize for my rudeness, Ensign…"

"I don't want an apology, T'Pol, I want an explanation." Hoshi was bordering on insubordination, but she was too caught up in curiosity and anger to care. "I mean, I thought…" Hoshi was choking on her words, "it just seemed like we were becoming…friends. Like you enjoyed spending time with me. And then you run away as soon as I call you on it, like it's some kind of crime for you to actually sit down and have a warm, pleasant conversation with a lowly human…"

Hoshi grunted as her back slammed against the bulkhead. Before she could react, T'Pol's lips had crashed against hers, wrenching a shocked moan from the ensign's throat. Despite her surprise, Hoshi's hands clawed at the material that clung to the Vulcan's back as the baser animal that had daydreamed about this moment for months took over, desperate to break through to skin. T'Pol's thigh was jammed between hers and, purely on reflex, Hoshi pressed forward, her center feeling as if it were on fire.

Just as abruptly, T'Pol stiffened. With her hands firm on Hoshi's shoulders, the science officer pushed back, teetering dizzily, her face unreadable but her ragged breathing unmistakable.

As reality crashed over her, Hoshi could only stare, wide-eyed and terrified out of her mind, at her superior officer. "I…"

Neither woman was able to speak. As T'Pol's breathing evened out in the dark, Hoshi lifted a tentative finger to her lips in disbelief, and stared at the shapely, shaking silhouette opposite her.

"It is not logical." Hoshi blinked—though she had spoken, T'Pol was still looking down at her hands.


"I have spent my life learning how to control my emotions. And my physical impulses." T'Pol straightened. "My attraction to you is illogical and unprofessional and no matter how sincerely I try, I cannot suppress it."

T'Pol finally looked into Hoshi's increasingly wide eyes. "I had hoped that spending time interacting with you on a more personal level would have mitigated my feelings of…infatuation. I was mistaken." T'Pol took a deep breath and stood even straighter. "If you do not believe we will be able to maintain a professional relationship, it would be possible to minimize our contact on duty."

Hoshi couldn't believe what she was hearing. T'Pol was…attracted to her? To a human? To anyone, for that matter? The rest of what T'Pol had said filtered through the haze still clinging to Hoshi's mind from the kiss. Was T'Pol…breaking up with her?

"Ensign, please say something."

As the silence settled in, Hoshi felt like crying. "I can't believe you're that selfish."

Clearly, that was anything but the response T'Pol expected.

"Do you have any idea how hard this has been for me? How much it tortured me, worrying about what would happen if you ever found out how attracted I was to you?" Hoshi was near hyperventilating. "And now you do…that, then as soon as you climb off me you start thinking up ways we can avoid each other? God, what the hell is wrong with you? Is there some kind of Vulcan imperative where you can't tell me what you want from me?"

When her vision cleared and her breathing returned to normal, Hoshi noticed that T'Pol wasn't moving.


The Vulcan looked up. "You are attracted to me?"

Now, Hoshi could barely keep herself from laughing. The woman was drop dead gorgeous, smarter than half the humans onboard put together, and—Hoshi blushed—a phenomenal kisser. And she was surprised.

"God, T'Pol, I've had a massive crush on you for almost a year."

T'Pol appeared to take the information in stride, but Hoshi couldn't believe it was really that easy.

"How should we proceed?"

"You're asking me?" Hoshi collapsed onto the side of T'Pol's bed. "I don't know. No offense, but if it were anyone else I'd just say let's go for it, see where it takes us."

"But my position makes that difficult," T'Pol ventured.

"Your position…your species…your gender."

"I was under the impression that humans no longer believed homosexuality to be immoral." Without her realizing it, T'Pol had settled on the bed at Hoshi's side; Hoshi knew the distance between them somehow felt greater than it was.

"Humans believe a lot of things. It wouldn't be a big deal if you weren't…you know." Hoshi shrugged. "The first human-Vulcan pairing would ruffle enough feathers if it were a man and a woman."


Hoshi sucked in a breath, then shook her head. "I…I have to go."

T'Pol stood when she did, and walked her to the door. Hoshi lifted her hand to the control, but hesitated. Slowly, she turned to face T'Pol. She lifted shaking hands slowly, giving the Vulcan every opportunity to shy away, then lifted up on her toes to plant a slow, soft kiss against T'Pol's lips. She felt their softness; the gentle resistance of the Vulcan's mouth against hers, the subtle shift as her tongue flicked out to brush against T'Pol's lips. She didn't realize until she pulled back that her gaze had been locked with T'Pol's the whole time.

I've never kissed with my eyes open before. Isn't that the funniest thing?

"I have to go."

End log.

"Enterprise to Ensign Sato. Come in, Hoshi."

"Huh?" Hoshi looked up from what she suddenly realized was the middle of breakfast; Travis was standing over her. "Oh, hey Travis."

The pilot settled himself into the chair opposite hers with a lopsided grin. "Hey yourself. You okay?"

She shrugged dreamily. "Yeah, sure. Why do you ask?"

"I don't know, you look a little out of it. Matter of fact, you look kind of like you just got laid."

Hoshi choked on her hash-browns.

Unfortunately, the time it took him to slap her on the back and make sure her breathing was back to normal didn't help her come up with a good answer when, with a smirk, he finally asked it.

"So who was it?"

Hoshi sucked in another breath. "Who was what?"

Travis frowned, and Hoshi sighed. Okay, she knew playing dumb probably wasn't going to work anyway.

"It's kind of private, okay?"

"Come on, Hoshi, you can tell me anything. Can't you?"

"You'd freak out…"

"I won't freak out." Hoshi's look remained skeptical, and Travis shrugged. "Okay, fine. At least give me some hints. Was it a one night stand, or a serious thing?"

Hoshi sighed. "I really don't know."

"Oh, one of those."

"I mean, apparently we'd both been wanting it to happen for a while, but I don't know if…this person…would want a relationship with someone like me. I mean, what if s…this person…was trying to get me out of their system?"

"Would that be so bad? I mean, I assume you had a good time."

Hoshi blushed. "But I think I want…more." Travis didn't know how to respond, and Hoshi cleared her throat and set down her fork. "You know, I think I should go get ready for duty shift. See you, Travis."

"Yeah, take care." Travis stared after her, shaking his head.

In the opposite corner of the mess, Subcommander T'Pol sat back to think.

I'm meeting Travis to go work out tonight; it should help me get my mind off things. T'Pol hasn't said a word to me all day. Not that I blame her. Last night, after, she seemed so…put-upon. Like she was thinking about how much harder this was going to make everything. I don't blame her for wanting to forget the whole thing.

Hoshi paused the recording and looked up at the chronometer; Travis was early. When she opened the door, her breath caught.

From the way the Vulcan was standing, Hoshi couldn't sense whether this was personal or professional; she decided to play it safe. "Subcommander, what can I do to yo…for you?" Damn.

The Vulcan raised her hands from behind her back. And suddenly Hoshi was confused.

When Hoshi remained speechless, T'Pol glanced down at the bouquet hesitantly. "According to my research on human ritual, such a gift is appropriate as a preface to a romantic engagement."

Hoshi blinked. "What is this?"

"Dr. Phlox was gracious enough to provide me with clippings from his medicinal specimens—"

"No, T'Pol…what's going on?"

"I hoped you would join me for a meal in my quarters. I believe the ship's mess might arouse undue speculation."

Hoshi blinked, the Vulcan's words filtering through one at a time. Was T'Pol…asking her out?

"Are you asking me out?"

T'Pol spared her a look reserved for those who were acting unbelievably human. "Yes."

Hoshi reached out for the flowers tentatively; they were beautiful, even if she didn't know what their names were or, knowing Doctor Phlox, what their side effects might be. "T'Pol, I didn't think you'd be…what brought this on?"

"I heard you speaking with Ensign Mayweather in the mess today. You expressed a desire to further our relationship."

Wait. What?

"Wait, what?"

"If I misunderstood and you were speaking about someone else…"

"No, wait, T'Pol…that's why you're doing this?" Hoshi's face twisted. "Because of what I said to Travis."

"I apologize for listening to your—"

"So you're not doing this because you want to."

"You expressed a desire for a more intimate relationship, I thought the most logical course of action would be—"

"Don't." Hoshi stepped back, the flowers falling limp in the Vulcan's hands. "That's it? It's that easy?" The Terran shook her head angrily. "I don't need your pity, T'Pol!"

In the face of the ensign's rapidly degenerating emotions, T'Pol could do nothing but stare. "I…I thought this is what you wanted."

The sound that emerged from Hoshi's throat caught somewhere between a laugh and a scream. "It's what I wanted you to want! Because you feel…something for me, not because you feel sorry for me!"

"Please, try to understand—"

"I can't…" Hoshi sighed. "I can't do this right now, okay, T'Pol? I don't want to be with you unless it's because you want to be with me. Do you understand that?"

When T'Pol said nothing, Hoshi sighed and opened the door.

Travis smiled. "Hey, Hoshi, you ready to…"

His voice trailed off into a squeak as he finally made out the details of the dark room. His eyes went wide—and so did Hoshi's.

"This is what you…you and…

"Travis, wait…"

But the ensign was gone, shaking his head, stumbling backwards down the hall, bystanders turning to the spectacle.

And T'Pol was still silent.


The Terran blinked and looked up into the armory officer's face. "Lieutenant." Lieutenant Reed took the chair opposite hers in the dark, empty mess. "What are you doing here?"

"I've been pulling night shifts lately. Not as if I have anything else to do." Hoshi nodded matter-of-factly. "Is that enough of the small-talk?"

Hoshi felt a lump begin to form in her throat. "Everyone knows."

Malcolm shrugged. "You know starships and rumors."

Hoshi chuckled listlessly. "I'm surprised Captain Archer hasn't had anything to say to me yet. Maybe he's saving it up."

A smile tugged at the corner of Malcolm's mouth. "As much as I admire him as a commanding officer, the things our Captain doesn't notice about life on this ship could short-circuit the database."

Hoshi almost smiled. "What should I do?"

"What do you want to do?"

Hoshi took a careful breath. "I don't know."

"Then you should wait until you know what to do."

"I thought you were supposed to be giving me advice."

"Well, in lieu of a full psychological profile, the best advice I can give you is to go with your gut." Malcolm stood with a weary groan, and turned toward the doors. "Hoshi, sometimes you just have to let these things work themselves out." He shrugged. "Or, you could club her over the head and drag her back to your cave."

Hoshi giggled. "Goodnight, Lieutenant."

Malcolm smiled from the doorway. "Goodnight, Ensign."

Personal log: Ensign Hoshi Sato, June 26th, 2152. Today's our second to last day in dead space; we'll rendezvous with the Arvorans by the end of the week.

Travis said hello today. It's taken him a while. And after he promised he wouldn't freak.

It mostly seems to have blown over, in fact.

I think…sometimes it seems like T'Pol's looking at me on the bridge. But I don't know. I've had a lot of time to think over the past two weeks.

Hoshi paused the recording with a sigh and stood to answer the door.

And her heart stopped.

She tried desperately to clear her throat.

"Subcommander, how can I help you?"

Personal log: Subcommander T'Pol, June 26th, 2152. I have had much opportunity to think over the past two weeks. And my thoughts have disturbed me greatly.

T'Pol cast her eyes to the ground before finally managing to look at Hoshi straight on. "May I come in?"

I still don't know how to think of what she did. What she did—as if she were trying to hurt me. I know she was supposedly doing it for my benefit. That's part of what makes it so…insulting.

"I…I don't know. I…I think we can just talk here."

I have never understood human courtship rituals. They have always seemed so circuitous; the acknowledgment of physical attraction should be easily subordinated to intellectual and psychological compatibility. And yet, in humans, this is not the case.

"Please. I…I wish to speak with you in private."

If I could think even for a second that she was capable of feeling about me like I do about her, this would be so easy. But I don't know. Maybe I never can.

"Sub…T'Pol, I can't do this."

But now I believe I have begun to understand. In the past two weeks I have attempted to distance myself from Ensign Sato by reminding myself of our various psychological incompatibilities, any of which alone would constitute a disqualifier for a Vulcan pairing. My attraction to Hoshi Sato is therefore illogical and any continued intimate relationship is inadvisable.

And I don't care.

"Hoshi, please."

The Terran looked up.

"For the past two weeks I have been unable to concentrate on my duties without thinking of you. When I think that I might have hurt you in any way…"

Her eyes met Hoshi's. "I miss you."

T'Pol swallowed a breath. "I know that any relationship between us would be difficult, for both of us, and that you might always assume I was only…taking pity on you. But I don't care."

Hoshi blinked, as if in shock, and T'Pol moved closer toward the threshold. "Are you all right?"

"Say it again."

T'Pol frowned. "Are you all right?"

"No, my name. You said my name."

The corner of T'Pol's mouth twitched. And that was all it took. "Hoshi. Would you…" T'Pol closed her eyes, and took a painful breath. "I would be honored if you would accompany me to the movie being played tonight."

Hoshi's dark eyes finally narrowed back to their normal shape, and sought out hers. "No."

T'Pol's face didn't change, but she nodded dejectedly. But by then Hoshi was pulling her through the doorway, a coquettish smile creeping up her face. "I think I'd rather stay in."

Personal log, supplemental. When I lie down with her in my arms and look out the window in my quarters, I can see something: the faintest glimmer of stars in the distance. We're coming up on the border of natural space. In a way, I almost feel sorry.

I was just starting to like the Quiet.

The End

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