Rowing down the Stream of Consciousness…Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions.
This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme – an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the letters “ke”, anywhere in a word. I worked in a few instances, both beginning and ending with “ke”.
Since it’s also International Short Story Month, and I’m actively participating in Story a Day May, I combined this prompt with the “Something different” prompt for May 22.
Today, I bring you – a human, a Vulcan, a kettle, and a secret mission. I’d tell you the name of the story, and give you a link – but the story isn’t titled or finished yet, and may not be for a few days. It’s not easy to write something completely different, and I’ve got over 3300 words, and a long way to go in this mystery that seems to want to twist into something more familiar…
Trip, T’Pol, and Star Trek: Enterprise belong to Paramount. I play with them strictly for my own amusement – and perhaps yours, too. =)
This is an extrapolated “missing scene” story, detailing some of what might have happened while Enterprise is en route to the rendez-vous point for T’Pol’s “secret mission” in S2E7 “The Seventh”. No real spoilers, beyond that T’Pol’s not quite…herself.
A Watched Kettle Boils Anyway
T’Pol’s standing at the stovetop, staring into the steam from a whistling kettle that ought to have set those pretty, sensitive ears of hers on high alert. Instead, she’s just staring, her eyes vacant, as though she’s not seeing or hearing anything in the galley.
She’s shaking so hard she’s got her hands braced uncomfortably close to the heating element beneath the kettle, but she doesn’t seem to notice that, either.
“It must not be true for kettles -”
She actually jumps, making a startled little squeak like a human woman who’s just seen a mouse, and she whirls into a defensive crouch, hands coming up to guard her face and belly, one elbow knocking into the tea mug he hadn’t seen till now, and the sound of it shattering against the deck plating makes her breath come hard and fast, her chest heaving, her eyes wide and still not here, not really.
“Hey, sorry – I didn’t mean to scare you. Just trying to make a joke – guess I figure that if I can tickle your funny bone – ”
“’Funny bone’?” she echoes, and her breath starts to even out a little. She frowns and shakes her head. “Too loud -”
“I’ll buy that,” Trip agrees. “If I come over there and turn that off, you’re not gonna drop me, are you? Cause, for a small person, T’Pol, you pack a helluva wallop…”
She looks confused, her gaze flicking to him, the screaming kettle, the door, the mug on the floor. “No,” she says, finally, in a faint voice – and her legs start to fold up under her –
“Hey – take it easy,” he says, jumping in to catch hold of one of her arms. Damn, she’s shaking so hard it’s almost like she’s in shock. What the hell does her damned government want her to do, anyway? “Lean on me. I’ll get you to a stool, okay?”
On the way past, Trip shuts off the stove, and the kettle promptly goes from an angry shriek to a lower-pitched cry, and T’Pol sighs in relief, and leans into him. She doesn’t say anything; he thinks maybe she’s still more somewhere else than she is here. He wants to know what the hell’s gotten her into this state, but this isn’t the way to find out. Besides, with the way she and the Cap’n were acting earlier, it’s damned near sure to be ‘classified’. Wouldn’t be fair to try to get it out of her this way.
“What were you trying to do, test the theory? If so, I think you got the answer.” He chatters to give himself something to focus on besides how good she smells, and how natural it feels to have her weight against him like this. He guides her to a stool, and gets her settled.
“Theory?” She answers, but there’s something hollow in the word, like she’s only going through the motions here, and most of her is busy with something else. Like that damned secret mission.
“You know – well, maybe you don’t. ‘A watched pot never boils.’”
“That’s illogical. The pot would not boil; it’s the contents that are intended to do so. Nor would being observed affect the process.”
“Ahh, so you are still in there. It’s not talking about the science of boiling points, T’Pol. It means that if you keep watching and waiting for something to happen, it seems to take a hell of a lot longer than if you just- you know – went about your business.”
“The water in this kettle boiled despite my observation.”
Trip went over to it, slipped on an oven mitt, and lifted the kettle. “I’ll say it did. If you still want tea, I’ll start some more. There’s not even close to enough left here for a cup.” He didn’t mention that she must have been standing there for a long time, for the kettle to be so close to empty.
Why was T’Pol staring into the steam? What is this secret mission? Will Trip let the kettle boil over? Will he make things better, or worse?
Will I ever finish this maybe-not-a-mystery story?
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