DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2017 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.
Easier from Far Away
The two small caves were close enough to see each other but far enough apart that during an ion storm the two parts of the landing party were cut off from each other. Chapel had a feeling Spock liked it that way. At least where she was concerned.
She was staring out the entrance at the latest storm with her back against the wall as the wind whipped at her hair and created a wall of sound between the cave and everything else.
"You should come in." Ensign Walters. Again.
"Here, maybe this will tempt you to safer ground." This world's version of an apple appeared in front of her courtesy of Lieutenant Hernandez. At least he brought food when he wooed.
She took it from him and mumbled thanks. If she gave too much gratitude, he'd run with it.
Neither cave would hold them all, so Spock had assigned her to stay with Walters and Hernandez. On the one hand, they were both security officers, so maybe he was looking out for her. On the other, they were young and horny as hell, so maybe he just wanted her to get laid with someone other than himself.
Not that she'd had sex with him. In fact, she'd turned him down right after V'ger, and he never asked again even though she'd made it clear she'd welcome his advances once he was free of the emotional overload that had been the meld with the big killing machine.
Spock had a geologist and a botanist with him. She imagined the three of them talking science as they rode out the storm. Imagined it enviously. She and Walters and Hernandez didn't have much to talk about when they weren't trying to vie for her attention.
"Ship'll be here soon," Walters murmured.
She made a noncommittal sound of agreement. What? Did he think he could lock her down before it arrived? "Both of you get back into the cave. That's an order." She gave them her best "you will take your medicine" look and they retreated.
She shifted and saw movement at Spock's cave, realized someone was sitting near the opening. Her communicator buzzed and she looked down in surprise. Normally voice comms were garbled during these storms.
Voice comms still seemed to be. But a message showed up. You are all right?
She tried to make out who was sitting at the cave entrance. The person shifted and she saw it was Spock so she sent back: You singular or you plural? It was an outstandingly unprofessional reply if he was checking on all three of them, but she didn't think he'd normally phrase a status report request in quite that way.
She smiled at the answer. We are fine. I am annoyed. Really? She was going to tell him that?
Yeah, yeah she was. She sent the message.
What is the source of your annoyance?
Are we on a private channel? If they were, nothing they wrote would be logged for posterity.
In that case, you are.
She waited for more. There wasn't any. She peeked out as much as was possible but didn't see another person in the entrance distracting him, so she just waited.
Finally, her communicator buzzed again. Should I ask why?
Only if you really want to know.
I can be.
So I see.
And again radio silence hit. She wondered if "I see" was the kiss of death to conversations with Vulcans. Shifting so she was more comfortable, she bit into the fruit and sighed happily. Hernandez was a good provider, if a little too young for her taste.
And way too emotionally available.
Her communicator buzzed. She thought Spock could see she was eating. She ignored the message.
She started to laugh and finished the fruit, tossing it down the hill where some critter could eat it—or maybe it would start a tree. She could be this world's Johnny Appleseed.
She wiped her hands on her uniform and picked up the communicator.
I am unsure what I have done to annoy you.
Unless you are irritated that I have not followed up my request.
Which, given you are not answering, perhaps you are.
If I have done something else that annoys you, it would be helpful if you could enlighten me.
She keyed in: Had juice on my hands. Sorry. And yeah, that's why. Guess I was wise to say no.
That is a leap in logic that may be unwarranted.
Which means it may not be. Let him chew on that. She laughed as she watched him; he was staring down at the communicator as if formulating his next move in this verbal chess game.
Finally, he keyed something in. I have regretted approaching you the way I did.
Regretted that you did it or when you did it?
The latter. You were wise. I should have waited until I was free of V'ger's influence.
Are you free of it now? Were you afraid you might ask again if I was in your cave? Is that why you stuck me over here with Testosterone One and Testosterone Two?
He looked up suddenly, as if he was alarmed.
Relax. I'm tougher than they are. But seriously?
It seemed an efficient division of our team at the time.
Sure. Yeah. God forbid you get stuck with me and have to talk. She hated that she sent the message before she could take that last part back.
Are we not talking now? He looked up and tilted his head as if waiting for her answer, so she nodded.
Another buzz. Is this not the longest personal conversation we have had? Again he looked up.
She nodded. Then she keyed in: Do you even like me?
I do not know you well enough to say. Would you disagree with that?
No, damn his logical eyes, she wouldn't. She shifted to get more comfortable. I guess we're doomed.
A radical leap from a to b.
She laughed. He was funny? She looked up and thought he looked pretty proud of himself. Even Vulcan ears couldn't have heard her over the storm, but he'd probably seen her laugh She let herself smile at him—a real smile—and he didn't look away.
He didn't grin back, but she didn't expect miracles.
What kind of food do you like? Other than Plomeek soup? She pretended to duck and was rewarded with what looked like a smile—or the Vulcan version of one.
I could tell you, but would it not be more enjoyable to discover that for yourself?
I'm not cooking for you.
I did not assume you would. I meant that we might share meals. The mess offers food from many cultures.
Are you asking me out on a date?
She looked up to glare at him. He was watching her intently. Then he keyed in something.
I am asking you on several.
Oh. She stared across the gap at him.
Are you accepting?
The first one. We'll see how you do before I accept more than one. She stuck her tongue out at him.
Better reconsider. This is what you're getting.
I do not wish to reconsider. He looked over, his eyes intense.
She forgot how to breathe for a moment: he was making some fantasies come true just by looking at her that way. What do you wish?
That I had not been so efficient when dividing our team.
She grinned at him. It was an astoundingly stupid move if being with me is a goal.
Agreed. However, perhaps not. Witness this conversation. I am finding it both frustrating and effective.
I am too.
I will remember this as an intriguing communication means in the future.
Oh, you think I'll be yakking it up with you in the future? She laughed as she wrote it and looked up to see his lips move into an impromptu almost-smile.
He stared at her for a very long time. Then sent: I do think that.
She hated looking away from him—holy shit, the boy could stare piercingly with the best of them—but forced herself to type in: Well, just so we're clear on that.
I take it you have no objections?
She grinned as she typed: Not a single one.