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) 2001 by Djinn. This story is Rated G.

The Prisoner

By Djinn

 

T'Pol shifted in her seat, trying to ignore the sounds from the adjoining quarters."And so, T'Kan, Commander Tucker will be the first human male to--"A particularly loud crash startled her."Computer, freeze message."

 

She rose and walked slowly to the wall her quarters shared with those of the captain.There was no sound from the other room."Computer, resume message."She sat down again."Replay from last sentence."

 

Before the computer could comply, there was another burst of sound.

 

"Freeze message."She walked out the door and into the hall, stopping outside the door to Archer's quarters.Frantic barking erupted."Be still," she said firmly.

 

The barking only got louder.

 

"You must be quiet," she tried again.

 

She didn't believe it possible, but the noise level increased yet again."Stop at once."

 

"You aren't trying logic on a dog, are you, sub-commander?"

 

She turned to see Commander Tucker watching her."The animal is making too much noise."

 

He laughed."Yeah, well they do that on occasion.Especially when they are left alone in a new place.Porthos will get used to it, just give him time."

 

"How much time?"

 

He shrugged."I guess till he stops missing the captain quite so much.Hell, maybe he knows his dad isn't on the ship right now?"

 

"Captain Archer is the father of this creature?"

 

"It's a figure of speech, T'Pol."

 

She fixed him with a hard stare.

 

"What?I can't call you that when we're both off duty?"He shrugged again."Gonna be a long trip, sub-commander, if that's the case."

 

Porthos began to howl.

 

T'Pol winced as the dog's cries rose through several octaves.

 

Tucker gave the door a solid whack."Porthos.Shut up!"

 

There was silence.

 

"See.That's all it takes."The engineer smiled at her, then headed down to the mess hall.

 

"I shall remember that."

 

A faint whine answered her.

 

"Your 'paternal substitute' will be back on the ship eventually," she said softly as she turned away from the door.

 

The whine became more plaintive.

 

"You must be quiet."T'Pol knew she should return to her own quarters, yet something about the dog's cries held her riveted.

 

She heard footsteps behind her.The doctor appeared surprised to see her."Sub-commander.Is there a problem?"

 

"The captain's canine is unhappy."

 

"Ah."Phlox keyed the entry code into Archer's keypad."He's probably just hungry.The captain asked me to look in on him."

 

T'Pol followed the Denobulan into the captain's quarters.Porthos was jumping up and down excitedly, following the doctor as he reached into the closet and opened up a container of dry dog food.He handed T'Pol the water dish."Could you fill that up, sub-commander?Nice cold water, just the thing to go with kibble."He beamed at the beagle.

 

She walked into Archer's bathroom and rinsed out the dish then filled it with water."So he will be quiet now?"

 

"Hmmm?"Phlox looked up at her.

 

"The dog.He will cease to make noise?"

 

"Probably not."Phlox gave Porthos a goodbye pat and walked into the hall.

 

She followed him out."But you said he was hungry."

 

"And he is.But he's also lonely."

 

"For his...father."

 

"Exactly."Phlox turned away."If there's nothing else, I really have some work to catch up on."

 

There was no noise from the room so T'Pol returned to her own quarters."Computer, replay last sentence."She was about to continue her message to her cousin when a renewed round of barking erupted."Freeze message."

 

She was surprised to realize her hands were clenched tightly.She carefully relaxed them.Dogs obviously ate very fast.She walked over to the wall, hit it hard, and tried to mimic Tucker's earlier tone. "Porthos, shut up."

 

The barking turned to even louder yelps.

 

I am a Vulcan, she murmured.I am pure logic.I am unaffected by those around me.I am untouched by the chaos that abounds in life.

 

Porthos began to howl.

 

I am fooling no one, she thought miserably.She walked out into the hall and back to Archer's door.Checking both ways to make sure she was alone, she keyed in the sequence she had seen Phlox use.The door opened and Porthos bounded to the opening.At the last moment he tucked his hindquarters down and slid to a stop in a sitting position.He looked up at her, making small eager noises.

 

"You must be quiet."

 

He cocked his head.

 

"There is no need to cause such noise."

 

He slowly sat up with his front paws in the air.

 

"That will not sway me."

 

He began to whine.

 

"Captain Archer is on the planet.When he has finished helping the Terra Novans relocate, he will return to you.Your complaining will not hasten the process.

 

The dog suddenly covered one eye with a paw.

 

T'Pol let out an audible sigh."Very well.But you must be quiet."

 

Porthos bounded over the bulkhead and followed her to her quarters.

 

She opened the door."Do not jump on theó"

 

He had leapt onto the bed and was making himself comfortable on her throw before she could finish.

 

"This is unacceptable behavior."She picked him up, intending only to move him to the floor.He wriggled up until he was able to lick her face.She pulled away in distaste.Holding him at arms length, she said, "That is quite enough of that."

 

He somehow managed to look contrite.And very sad.

 

He is a dog, she reminded herself.A dumb animal.She sat down in the chair and he curled up in her lap."You will behave or you will get down."

 

He looked up at her sleepily for a moment, then gave a hearty sigh and fell fast asleep.

 

T'Pol resumed her letter to her cousin, explaining the circumstances of Commander Tucker's pregnancy and the aftermath.As she finished the missive, she realized that her hand had strayed to her lap and was gently stroking the dog's back.She pulled it away and studied the animal.

 

The buzzer at her door rang.She rose slowly, carefully transferring the dog from her lap to the chair."T'Pol here," she said as she punched the button.

 

"It's Tucker.I had a brainstorm on what's making that noise in the captain's quarters.I need to check out something on your side of the wall."

 

She stared at the dog.

 

"You going to let me in?"

 

"Of course, Commander.One moment."She scooped up the dog and put him in her bathroom."Be still."

 

She shut the door and let Tucker in.

 

He put down his tools, then studied her."Something wrong?"

 

She strove for her most serene look."What could be wrong?"

 

A faint whining began in the bathroom.

 

Tucker grinned."You old softie."He opened the door and Porthos bounded out, running excitedly between the two of them.

 

"I do not know what you mean."

 

"Uh huh."

 

"The dog would not stop barking.I could not concentrate with that kind of noise going on.†† This was the logical solution."

 

"And you didn't enjoy having Porthos all to yourself?"

 

"I was merely trying to maximize my efficiency.Enjoyment had nothing to do with anything."

 

"Ahh."He suddenly smiled."That wouldn't be dog hair on your clothing, would it?"He bent down and picked up Porthos, who began to wriggle."Cuz I know you'd never let this little guy sleep in your lap."

 

"Of course not."

 

He just grinned as he handed her the dog.At her protest, he laughed."Just hold him while I check under this bulkhead.I think there's a loose conduit.Don't need him nosing around in there while I'm working."

 

She moved back and watched as he detached a piece of flooring and began to test the components underneath for stability.

 

"Ah, there it is."He reached for a tool.A low hum filled the room as he began to fasten the piece of metal more securely.

 

She pulled a fidgeting Porthos closer to her chest."You appear to be fully recovered from your experience with the Xyrillians."

 

"Yep."

 

"I may have been hasty in my judgment."

 

"That your way of saying you're sorry?"

 

She tensed and the dog complained as her grip tightened."No.The evidence supported my theory.However in this case my conclusion was faulty."

 

"In other words you were wrong."

 

She chose not to answer.

 

"Well I was wrong too.I thought it was you that told everyone on board what happened to me."

 

"Why would I do that?"

 

"Like I said, I was wrong."He pushed the cover back into place and stood up."I guess we both were."

 

"Again."

 

"Yeah.Seems like."He reached out and scratched the dog behind the ears."Maybe if we didn't always look for the worst in each other we wouldn't always be thinking we'd found it?"

 

"I am sure that I do not do that."She tried to look dignified, but Porthos chose that moment to lick her chin.She pushed him away, but not with much energy.

 

Tucker's eyes met hers for a long moment.

 

"Archer to Tucker."

 

T'Pol raised an eyebrow.The engineer just grinned as pushed the wall monitor and said, "Tucker here.How's it going down there?"

 

"Good."

 

Porthos began to bark.

 

"Trip, what are you doing in my quarters?"

 

Tucker grinned at T'Pol."I'm fixing that noise you've been complaining about since we launched."

 

"Fantastic."

 

"Yeah.Don't say I never did anything nice for you."

 

"I won't.Is Porthos ok?"

 

The dog began to lick T'Pol's face again.She grimaced slightly but forced herself to hold still.

 

Tucker's expression was wicked."Oh yeah.He's doing just great.Going where no dog has gone before and all that."

 

Archer laughed."Listen, Trip, I need you to run some scans of the caverns to the north of us.†† See if you can identify any back-up water sources, because the ones we've found so far appear to be seasonal."

 

"Will do, captain."

 

"Great.See you soon.Archer out."

 

Tucker laughed as he walked to the door."So now that I just lied for you, try to back me up and remember that the source of the creak was in the captain's flooring and not yours."

 

"You wish me to lie."

 

"Only seems fair."

 

She didn't respond.

 

He turned and gave her a gentle look."You know, the captain won't mind what you're doing.Probably would give him some peace of mind to know that Porthos isn't all alone."

 

"You are saying I should tell him that I took his dog?"

 

"Borrowed his dog.And yeah.I'm sure you can find some way to say it so that you still come off all superior."The gleam in his eye took any sting out of the words.

 

"I will consider it."

 

"Ok.Well, I'm off then. Uh, you might want to get some paper down."

 

"Paper?"

 

"Unless you relish cleaning up dog pee.Or worse."

 

"Worse?"She looked at the dog helplessly, prepared to call back Tucker, but the door had already closed.

 

"Worse," she said, wrinkling her noise slightly as a ripe smell wafted out at her from the bathroom."You must learn restraint," she admonished the dog.

 

Porthos just wriggled closer.

 

FIN