Grateful Growth: May 13, 2015

ROWin’ through the rapids, and on to smoother waters.

Before I get on to today’s update…

Thank YOU!

Sunday was a tricky day for me.

It can be scary, talking about things that hurt, things that can’t be made better, but only lived with, imperfectly. Laying myself bare is something I do better through fiction or poetry than in plain text.

But so many people stopped by, with a few kind words, and sometimes pain of their own. Pain I understand…pain I’d wish on no one.

Sharing that kind of pain has healing in it for me, and I hope it did for those who bravely revealed their heartbreaks, and for those who only read, too…

Thanks for being here, with me, whatever your stories…

And, speaking of stories, here are my most recent Story a Day tales:

  • Get Out Your White Hat: Trip’s been caught red – uhh – lipped, and the tempting Vulcan has clearly gotten the wrong idea, and is not amused.
  • Fierce:  One very determined, and very, well, passionate, Vulcan woman, and the man who loves her enough to paddle her canoe.
  • Telling Stories: Trapped in an Everglades lightning storm with a critically ill wife, Trip tries to tell her a story…

And, as a special treat, here’s my 100 word Drabble, in its entirety (reading the preceding two stories will add context, but isn’t necessary). No, I don’t own the characters; nor do I profit in any monetary fashion from playing with them. It’s pure love, plain and simple.

Don’t Shave”

Falling.

Into flames.

Into nothing –

T’Pol threw her arms out. There must be an edge –

No.

But there was a scent, a mind –

Moving bands of color.

‘Red on yellow; kill a fellow.’

Danger!”

She jerked up too quickly, almost toppled. Was caught. Held in strong arms.

Shhh, pepperpot. You’re safe. We’re home.”

Safe? Home?” Eyelids parted. Not enough to see his face. “Trip?”

He helped her trembling hand. Bliss of touch, but this was uncharted terrain.

T’hy’la?”

Yes, pepperpot?”

Sigh of pleasure; fingertips caressing newly bearded cheek.

Don’t shave.”

Treasured human laughter followed her into dreams.

It could possibly be that I am imbuing T’Pol with my own love of a bearded male face – but I think it’s more that those incredibly sensitive Vulcan fingertips find the exploration too good to give up…but that’s another story, and not one I’m telling today, because we’ve got goals to chat about! =D

My updated Round 2 goalsand 2015 goals.

Color-coding key:

  • Goal attained (for the session, or the round) = blue with overstrike.

  • Goal in progress (for the session or the round) = green.

  • Goal-in-waiting (for the round) = red.

Writing:

Continue Kifo Island Chronicles Series:

  • Generations (KIC#2): Continue writing a minimum of 1 scene/week; will be a back burner project till June. Nothing new. Next up: Keep going…
  • Sea Changes: (KIC#3): Complete all planning and plotting; ready to go for JuNoWriMo. This will happen piecemeal, for now…beginning with rereading all background material and stories for the POV characters.

Draft 31 Story a Day May Trip and T’Pol stories. Use prompts.

  • 13/31 stories drafted, and almost 32,000 new words since the beginning of May. Next up, drafting remaining 18 daily stories; completing note transcription/development for remaining 16 ideas; and adding to idea list.

Editing:

  • Complete revisions for “Slow Jazz Awakening” and submit. Delete’ snippets to IDIC slush pile, tagging those destined for future stories; 16/16 scenes complete. Word count now down from 13,782 to 10,674. Began general to-do list for next revision pass -will continue organically, from here. Next up: Reread scenes and notes.

  • Move “Peach Liqueur Love” through Step 3 of Sarah Selecky’s  Deep Revision exercises. Reread original story, early revision notes, and first two completed exercises. Next up: Reread relevant exercises; and do Exercise #3.

Blogging:

  • Complete all sponsor visits on time; visit 3 other blog hop and challenge participants each day, on average. Still ahead.
  • Clean up/update blog sidebar. Updated challenges; explored some new widget ideas. Next up: Play with some widgets! =D
  • Beginning May 1, post for StaD each day – a story; a snippet, a story spark; or an essay on progress or process. All caught up, didn’t stay that way before. Next up: Continue, and develop some update posts…like for Mindful Monday.

Hometending:

  • Continue with hometending. At least 5 days weekly; include decluttering and yard projects minimum of 3 days. 2/5 days; 1/3 yard/declutter. Mellow so far this week. Still a little emotionally worn. Next up: Continue this trend, paying attention to my own needs for activity and rest.

Lifetending:

  • Continue one-on-one time with all beloveds; online and in-person writerly socialization; time with friends; social media. Blogs and comments; a bit of Facebook; hangout time with each of my beloveds. Next up: More of this.
  • Expand and extend in ways that feel natural and challenging without forcing. Try two new things each week. 1/2 new things – bought pansies on a whim. Next up….we’ll see!

Selftending:

  • Continue physical activity and exercise – 3 times/week at minimum. 1/3: Yardtending/decluttering Tuesday. Next up: More moving; more tending; more exercise; more t’ai chi.
  • Attend t’ai chi weekly. Add one at-home practice move per week. This week’s move: Cloud Hands. Car trouble – no class so far this week. Next up: Possibly attend Thursday class. Practice. Because practice makes better.
  • Meditate/Intentions journal twice weekly. 1 /2: Meditation; 0 /2: Intentions Journal. Next up: Cement meditation habit; catch up with Intentions journal.

Click the icon to enter the blog hop and ROW away!

 

 

Complementary Challenges: The IDIC Romance for SoCS

Rowing merrily down the Stream of Consciousness! Badge by Doobster at 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:compliment/complement.  I used both

This story, abridged here, was written for Story A Day May , – I like combining complementary challenges. I also used “cucumber” – a prompt from a fellow WIPpeteer, and the full version includes a William Blake quote….yup, four challenges in one little story! I’ve deleted passages to make it fit here, but it’s otherwise unedited. 

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!

This story is a fan fiction extrapolation of an unwritten follow -up scene based upon the Star Trek: Enterprise episode S4 E3 Home. Trip has returned home following T’Pol’s wedding, and is dealing with the implications…

Disclaimer: T’Pol and Trip are property of Paramount; no copyright infringement is intended.

Cucumbers and Complements

“I think a cucumber would be the perfect complement for this veggie platter.” Kathleen Tucker didn’t look at her son. Whatever was eating at Trip was going to burst out any minute now; he hadn’t taken his tongue out of his cheek for the last five minutes, and his breath was coming out in little sharp puffs, the way it had when he was a toddler.

Some things never changed.

Trip went to the stasis unit without a word, but then stood there with a knife dangling in one hand, and the other on the handle. “When’s the last time this was serviced, Mom?”

Kathleen laughed. “Serviced? Trip, it’s brand new, like everything else in this house. And you’re not – I repeat, not – going to take out your frustrations on my kitchen. That’s an order, son.”

“Who says I’m frustrated? Just restless, is all.”

Trip brought out the cucumbers. “Never saw anyone who loved these things as much as she does – not that she’d be caught dead admitting to loving anything…”

Here it comes…Kathleen prepared herself for the onslaught…when Trip had been holding something in, it always poured out of him like a tidal wave, rising and rising until there was nothing left to pour out…

But he just stood there staring at the two cucumbers, as though he’d forgotten everything else. She stared at the bubbling water, and moved the eggs around in the kettle, even though there was no good reason to do so.

“Let me drain that for you.”

“I’ll cut the cucumber, then -”

“No!” His voice cracked, and the kettle clanged against the porcelain sink. “Damn – I chipped it. Sorry, Mom – but please don’t. I want to cut it.”

“This place was too new – it needs a little Tripification.” She reached up to wrap an arm around his shoulder, noticing how hard and tense he was. He’d always taken care of himself – but this was different. Almost like what she imagined the inflexibility of a soldier would be.

What the hell had happened to him out there? What had he sacrificed?

She felt a tiny hiccup go through him – and she knew. That was a tell he’d had all his life. Kathleen thought of what he’d said about the cucumbers. This was a woman he’d lost, then.

But who?

Trip shrugged out from under her arm even while he wrapped his around her waist and gave her a squeeze. “Well, consider it Tripified, Mom – and the eggs drained. I’m going to get on that cucumber now.”

The knife clattered to the floor as Trip jumped back, swearing in a way that would’ve embarrassed him, once, his face white as he clutched his left hand with his right, blood dripping down too fast for this to be a minor cut.

“Let me see.” She took his hands and led him back to the sink, his blood falling on the eggs, vividly red against the white. There was a long gash across his palm, and it was deep – but clean. She yanked open the cloth drawer and bound it. “You hold that while I get the first aid kit out of the cupboard.”

Trip stopped swearing, but he was still grunting in pain. “You’d make a helluva engineer, Mom.”

“Is that the best compliment you know how to give a woman, son?” She came back with the kit to find him already poking at the wound, the rag dripping uselessly. “I told you to put pressure on it.”

“I never was very good at listening to directions I didn’t like.” A small, wincing shrug. “And maybe I’m just outta practice. There’s no logic whatsoever in complimenting a Vulcan – as she’d be the first to tell me, if I dared to try – “ He cut himself off, biting his lip.

Kathleen took hold of his hand again, relieved to see that it wasn’t quite as deep as she’d thought – the knitter would be enough. “This will only take a few minutes if you behave yourself and hold still.”

Surprisingly, he cracked a grin that turned into a grimace as she positioned the wounded hand. “Ouch – I never realized how much she sounds like you, sometimes. Wonder if that has something to do with how I feel about her – hell – Mom, how the hell do I stop thinking about that damned infuriating woman?”

“Hold still, Trip, or you’re going to make this worse. Blood all over my kitchen isn’t my idea of Tripification. Scuff things up, take them apart, upgrade them, chip or scratch them – but no one’s going to want to eat here if it looks like I massacred my son in here.”

Will Trip hold still? Will he forget about T’Pol? Will I manage a story a day all month?

We’ll have to see.

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing? Come join in there’s just a few simple rules.

Get more SoCS!

I know – this song isn’t a perfect fit-  but it’s a sweet childhood memory for me, and I think it captures the mood of the Tucker kitchen in happier times…plus, really cute kids!

Second Serving Sunday: The Greening Up Edition

 

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, from my little corner of the blogosphere

Life Stuff:

My last Second Serving Sunday post: The A-Z CampNaNo Edition

  • Click the link for my recent posting history!

This week was – interesting. Yes. That’s the word I’m going with.

It started with my daughter getting sick shortly after I got home from my write-in last Sunday night. Monday had her on the couch, sleeping on and off all day. I call her the Force of Nature, and not because she’s generally sedentary. The whole vibe shifted, without her kinetic energy bubbling through everything else.

Tuesday was even more interesting. My Accomplice got the stomach bug, just as my daughter was recovering. The aging dog decided that the cat needed chasing – that’s something that happens a couple of times a week. But this time he caught her, and ‘played’ with her. He got a lacerated nose; she hid under the sink for two days before emerging, still stiff and sore, but jumping and climbing. She’s now curled up on my bed, and I’m making a point to wear the dog out more often, to avoid further angst and injury, and promote healthier canine/feline relations (or at least a detente!).

I’m kind of glad the second part of the week was more mellow, you know?

In other news, I’m gearing up to dive into Act Three of my first CampNaNo novel(-la?), Transitions (KIC#1) ; I’ve done the majority of the plotting for Generations (KIC#2). I’m on schedule with my Blogging from A-Z April Challenge,  and I’m planning to finish up and submit my ROW80 sponsor post later today.

And now, last week’s features:

ROW80: The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life.

Eight Sentence Sunday:

  • Introductions” : A young potter named Corinne is introduced to two older men…opening paragraphs of my Kifo Island Chronicles novella-in-progress, Transitions.

Coffee and Conversation:

  • On April hiatus.

WIPpet Wednesday:

  • Until Today? Terrance has suspicions, and what he thought were the unshakable foundations of his marriage might be crumbling. More from Transitions (Kifo Island Chronicles #1).

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday):

A-Z Challenge: Traveling my Way Through the Alphabet in April!

  • Everglades and Eagles: We travel back to the River of Grass to visit some wildlife; then out west to Yellowstone, for a close encounter of the bald eagle kind.
  • Havasu Falls:  A trip to the place of the blue-green waters, and a new stage in a relationship’s journey…
  • In the Dark: How do you feel about being in the dark – now, how about in a cave or underwater cavern?
  • Joshua Trees:  Music can inspire and transport us to unexpected and wondrous places – sometimes, literally.

What’s Next:

April Focuses:

  • Setting ROW80 goals for Round Two, which starts on April 6.
  • Completing 60,000 words for CampNaNo (roughly two novellas).
  • Draft two Kifo Island Chronicles novellas: Transitions and Generations.
  • Complete the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.
  • Planning and plotting for Story A Day May, when I will explore more stories for The IDIC Romance.

Sneak Preview:

  • For Coffee and Conversation: C and C is on April hiatus. There will be an A-Z post each week, so feel free to stop by any Monday, and enjoy!
  • For WIPpet Wednesday: New stuff for April – July. I’ll be sharing whatever I’m writing, when I get to Wednesday. This week, one last snippet from Transitions, before I begin drafting Generations.
  • Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS):A post based on the weekly prompt, TBA Friday. Might be fiction, or not, but it’s always surprising!
  • Eight Sentence Sunday: Eight sentences from my Kifo Island Chronicles novellas, Transitions and Generations, throughout April. We’ve got one more from Transitions, and then Generations takes center stage.
  • ROW80 Updates: My progress on my current and/or long term goals for A Round of Words in 80 Days, posted on or near Sunday and Wednesday, beginning April 5, with my Round Two goals post.

In the Wilds of Internet-Land:

May your week ahead exceed your wildest expectations! Spring is finally here, and I’m…

 

“By All the Nebulae in the Galaxy”: #WeWriWa – #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday!

It’s simple and fun. Sign the linky list with your name, blog url and email address on Mondays, 8:00 AM EST. Each week, the list remains open until Saturday, 11:59 PM. Then on Sunday, post 8 sentences from a current writing project, published or unpublished. Visit other participants and offer opinions, critiques, support. Writers hanging out with writers, a good time with a great group of people.

It’s a chance to share a small snippet -exactly eight sentences – of my current writing. I’m sharing an excerpt from my April CampNaNoWriMo  project, Transitions: Kifo Island Chronicles, Volume One.  The Kifo Island  novella series takes place at a resort that’s a little like hospice meets Fantasy Island Transitions chronicles the intersecting and changing lives of Barry, Terrance, and Corinne.

This snippet is three paragraphs after the snippet I shared over at WIPpet Wednesday  last week. Barry and Corinne have returned at the sound of shattering pottery, and Terrance has claimed that he only dropped a handmade bell…

Barry’s face said that he knew it was a lie. He always knew. But he glanced over his shoulder at the young woman who lingered near the door, and then back, and his dancing green eyes had a new shadow – the shadow of guilt, a shadow echoed in the woman-child’s blush.

They were beautiful, by all the nebulae in the galaxy. Desire had set them afire, and it made them glorious, glowing embers, ready to ignite.

The air he tried to breathe was as thick as smoke, and as hard to find oxygen in. But Barry came to him, striding in long paces, and wrapped his hand in his hair to kiss him – chai tea and the taste of the woman layered over the taste of their earlier kisses, adding new seasonings. Maybe, just maybe, he could catch hold of that, claim a vicarious taste of their young passion…

Will Terrance regain his place in Barry’s heart? What exactly was going on between Barry and the young Corinne? Why and how did Terrance break the bell?

No, I’m not telling you, but I’ll have another 8 sentences next week, and maybe you’ll learn something from that…or maybe you’ll end up even more confused.

While you wait, you can go visit other #8Sunday posts, which might just offer more answers!

What does Enterprise have to do with this post? Well, maybe not much, other than the space reference,  but the song is fitting, and the Vulcan lady and her favorite engineer are still whispering in my head, and unwilling to hush up till next month, when it’s their turn. I’m kinda hoping this will appease them…and please you. And, if not, it was an excuse for me to watch, so a win either way. =)

WIPpet Wednesday: “ Until Today”

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys! She may be less physically present for a bit, but she’s still our fearless shepherd…or something like that, anymore.

Today’s WIPpet is brought to you by CampNaNoWriMo, and the word ‘too’…as in, it’s CampNaNo, and this is supremely rough, and there are way too many ‘toos’ here, and this is a run-on sentence and this is how I get when my mind is reeling with story and it’s 3am and people here have been sick for the last day and a half, now…

I’m sharing from Transitions; the first novella (or maybe a little longer than that…we’ll see) in my Kifo Island Chronicles series-in-the-making. The Kifo Island stories takes place at a resort that’s a little like hospice meets Fantasy Island

Transitions chronicles the intersecting and changing lives of Barry, Terrance, and Corinne…with unexpected tangles and angles.

But enough about me and the people who live in my head. Let’s talk about you for a minute.

Several of you were a little – well, let’s say put out – by last week’s post . In case you missed your chance to be miffed, here it is in its entirety:

Hey, Corinne – you ready in there?”

I really don’t understand. I mean, that’s six whole words, and it was April Oneth, after all….okay, I’m lying. I understand completely. And, for that reason, I’m going to make a gesture of appeasement. Here are the links to two other snippets – one long enough to pass for a flash story of its own. My suggestion is to read “Introductions”  first, because it closely follows last week’s sentence. Then read the passage below, and, if you still want more, give “Defiled?” a try. It happens somewhat after this week’s WIPpet.

I know it’s a little confusing. But the characters are feisty and rather unique, as is their reality, so, if you’ve got the time or don’t mind jumping around, you might find more satisfa
ction there…

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is April 8, 2015.
  • Math: Going to Scene 4 for the month; giving you eight sentences for the day. That’s it.

It had gotten too quiet in the studio, and the time had started to stretch far too thin for Terrance’s comfort. He was too aware of how quickly an interaction could go from friendship to something deeper and more dangerous; he’d let himself fall into those trysts, again and again. Sometimes, it was only seconds, while he clutched at the object of the animal lust. Sometimes, he told himself it was love. Other times, he knew he was only garbage, a receptacle for anyone who wanted him, for whatever use, just the way it had always been.

But, until today, he’d had two unshakable certainties.

Barry would always be faithful.

Barry would always forgive him, and take care of him, no matter what he did.

Until today? What’s so different about today? What’s Barry up to, and is Terrance right to be suspicious? And how the heck is Corinne involved in all this?

Now, after all the kerfluffle last week, I’m hoping that no one takes it personally that I’m not going to answer those questions here! I might not answer them for quite some time. There will be another snippet at #8sunday this weekend, and possibly another next WIPpet, but I also might have moved on to the next novella by then…in which case I’ll be offering that.

Whichever way things go, may your week be less frustrating than one sentence WIPpets! And you’ll find more delightful WIPpet Snippets by following the little blue froggy guy; assorted genres, styles AND LENGTHS to choose from! =D

SoCs: Logic and Discord

Rowing down the Stream of Consciousness. Badge by Doobster at 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: “naught/knot/not. This flash fiction story inspired by Star Trek: Enterprise is also the opening scene of a short story-in-progress, Slow Jazz Awakening, as a young woman considers the nature of logic and humanity on an alien world called Earth.

Disclaimer: T’Pol, Soval, Koss, and the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended, and no money is being made.

T’Pol walked through the muffling fog, her sensitive ears, evolved for the desert, catching up sounds. Staccato footprints, their force and swiftness betraying tension in the legs that made them. Bits of conversation, in several alien languages.

And laughter. Strange expulsions of breath, accompanied with percussive sound that caused sharp pains in her head; kept her always poised, ready to face danger – danger that did not come.

Humans don’t laugh when frightened,” she told herself silently – but, in truth, she did not know if this was so, and there was a certain illogic in making any such assumption.

There was a certain and undeniable illogic in being here at all.

T’Pol thought of her small and comfortable room at the Consulate. It was a Vulcan space, quiet and contemplative. The air, conditioned to Vulcan-normative heat and dryness, carried neither unexpected outbursts of sound, nor the profusion of scent that assailed her senses here, where they lay heavy on San Francisco’s humid ocean breeze. Her meditation candles waited, offering the calm of deep reflection. She would be alone, there, and there would be no need for her current state of alert.

There is a danger in breaking protocol.” This she couldn’t dispute. She was not intended to be out of the compound alone; Soval considered her still too young and unpracticed in diplomatic matters, and, perhaps more importantly, she was Promised, but not yet bonded. She was still a year from her marriage to Koss, and she risked both the termination of the contract her parents had arranged with the young man’s when they were seven years old, and the loss of her posting here on Terra – a posting that, however illogically, was of far greater importance to her than the bonding that would define the rest of her life, once formalized.

Comfort, safety, and security awaited her at the compound. All were at risk, with her current activity. Logic dictated that she should return immediately to the compound, and her life as it had been.

And yet, she didn’t turn, didn’t return to the safety of her room at the Consulate. As she had once ingested the rarest of Vulcan nectars, knowing the act would change her forever. As she had, as an infant, touched the flame of her mother’s meditation candle, even after the warning that it would bring pain…

Now, she simply kept walking, as though there was no danger, as though her muscles weren’t tightening into what a human might refer to, in the particularly imprecise manner of the prevalent human language, as ‘knotted’ – as though muscles were lengths of rope. She walked as though the sounds didn’t pain her head, as though the odors that overwhelmed her olfactory senses were not also ‘tying her guts up in knots’, as she heard a passing human male say.

An imprecise language, this English, and very different than that taught to her by her first foremother, T’Mir. And yet, very apt. Her digestive tract did indeed feel as though it was twisting and tightening, threatening to expel the plomik broth she had eaten at the evening meal, when she had too agitated by the breach of protocol she had so meticulously planned to consume anything more substantial.

T’Pol stopped walking. Her senses were being assaulted, and she was risking her position, not only in the Ministry of Diplomacy, but also as regarded her marital status, and her duty to Vulcan culture.

Highly illogical. She would return. To the Consulate, and her small, safe life. A progression of increasing age and responsibility that might, in time, allow her the freedom to move amongst the fascinating, chaotic species which named itself ‘homo sapiens’ – ‘rational man’.

She was turning to leave when she heard the strains of Terran music – discordant, and yet stirring something to life within her, something that had stirred when she touched the flame, and drank the tikkin nectars.

In time, she might earn the right to explore Earth and her people. After her marriage, and the traditional year lived with Koss, on Vulcan. If she were not pregnant; she had once postponed the marriage, and Koss might expect her to conceive their offspring at once. It had seemed an acceptable risk at the time, but now, the possibility seemed far too restrictive.

The notes of the chaotic music drifted freely to her, and something within T’Pol was compelled by them. She turned back, tipping her head to better catch its direction, and began to follow…

She reminded herself of logic, and risk, and protocol. “Kroykah,” she told herself, a word learned before all others, a command to desist that must be obeyed, even in plak tow, the blood fever of mating-

And yet, T’Pol walked on, her guts in knots, not heeding logic. The human language English had another term, one she’d always felt was completely illogical, a mathematical impossibility. “All was for naught.”

Now, as the young Vulcan woman commanded herself to return home, and continued to follow the strange human music, she thought perhaps that she was beginning to understand. 

The video below is just a bit spoilery, if you haven’t seen the series, and don’t know T’Pol’s story…

Enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Come play – there’s just a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

Get more SoCS right here!

SoCS : “I, Eye, Aye, Sir?”

Row down the stream-of-consciousness with us!

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme.

The idea is simple – post an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt –this week’s is I/eye/aye, which yielded a flash fiction story inspired by Star Trek: Enterprise, and the vagaries of my native tongue…

Disclaimer: Hoshi, T’Pol, Trip, and the rest of Star Trek are property of CBS/Paramount; no copyright infringement intended. I just love to play with them!

Hoshi Sato frowned at the display on her datapad as she entered the Mess Hall, wondering whether it would make more sense to address this problem to the Chief Engineer, or the Science Officer.

As luck would have it, they were both here, and bickering.

All you ever eat is that broth and salads. How can you survive just on that?”

Commander Tucker, I have ‘survived’ my entire life on a plant-based diet. My metabolism and nutritional requirements differ from yours, and my physical dimensions are appropriate for my age and species.”

Your age, huh? Now, what would that be?”

T’Pol raised one elegantly groomed brow the width of two hairs. “Classified.”

Trip groaned. “I swear every Vulcan should have that word tattooed across your foreheads at birth -”

You propose to disfigure my entire species, Commander?”

Trip spluttered, “Maybe not, but it would save time.”

Excuse me, Commander, Subcommander,” Hoshi said, before Trip could get himself in any deeper. “I’m having a problem with transmissions from the Science station, and I was wondering if either of you could tell me where the glitch is, and how to fix it.”

A problem?” T’Pol set her spoon carefully into the bowl of plomik broth before folding her hands in front of her.

Have a seat, Hoshi, and tell us about it.”

Hoshi pulled up a chair. “Well, for the past three days, I’ve been getting random strings of Vulcan characters in the Sciences readouts, or else gibberish – not English, and not Vulcan either, but a hybrid of the two.”

With you so far,” Trip said, around a mouthful of mashed potatoes nearly drowning in gravy. “T’Pol?”

Is that a representative sample?” The Vulcan tipped her head slightly toward the pad Hoshi held.

This is the complete rundown.” She handed over the pad, and tried not to smile as the two heads, one fair and one dark, leaned in toward one another as they studied the readout together.

Looks like a glitch in the translation matrix – but why’s it coming up in Vulcan?”

I’ve programmed the station to accept written commands in my native tongue, and translate output to English,” T’Pol said.

Why? Doesn’t seem very efficient to me.”

T’Pol actually looked uncomfortable. She reached for her tea, and sipped, studying Hoshi rather than Trip. “I learned to speak English in childhood, but I couldn’t read or write it when I was assigned to Enterprise. It is – a most perplexing and inexact language, and poorly suited to reporting of a scientific nature.”

Trip nearly sprayed mashed potatoes on the pad, and T’Pol’s hand as she held it between them. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”

T’Pol looked directly at him and said, “I. I. I.”

You what?”

Precisely.” T’Pol sipped at her tea. Trip sat there with his fork dangling in his hand, staring at her.

Precisely, what?”

Were I speaking in Vulcan, you would have known that I was speaking three separate words – ”

Come again?”

I think I get it,” Hoshi said. “Not I, I, I, but -” she tapped her chest. “I.” Next, she pointed to her face, and blinked. “Eye.” Then she pulled a mock salute, and said, “Aye, sir.”

Precisely,” T’Pol said again. “It’s the same word, when spoken, but each meaning is written differently.”

But you speak English as well as any of us- ”

Better than some,” Hoshi chuckled, and Trip gave her a dirty look.

I can infer spoken context, but I find it prohibitively difficult to discern which spelling is accurate for many words I wish to use. English doesn’t follow even its own convoluted rules. This poses considerably difficulty where precision and alacrity are necessary.”

So you input everything in Vulcan, and the station computer translates for you?”

Apparently not as consistently as it should.”

Trip took the pad from her, scrolling through the display. “Shouldn’t be a problem – looks like there’s a faulty circuit in the translation matrix – not all of your signal’s getting through. I’ll come up and fix it for you at the start of shift tomorrow, and, now that I know your little secret, I’ll keep an eye on it for you. Hoshi, will that solve the problem?”

Aye, sir.”

Trip groaned. “You know, I just heard it. Sorry I teased you, T’Pol. I’m guessing that I wouldn’t do half as well even just trying to speak Vulcan.”

Most members of your species lack the muscular control needed to produce many of the vocal forms.” T’Pol picked up her spoon, and sipped daintily at her broth.

Guess I deserved that,” Trip muttered, digging back into his potatoes.

She’s telling you the truth, Commander. I could understand Vulcan years before I could speak it.” She looked at T’Pol. “If you’d like, Subcommander, I could help you improve your written skills.”

That would be most generous, Ensign, although I would find it a simpler matter if Starfleet had elected to make a more logical choice regarding the operating language on its starships.”

Like what?” This time, Trip took the time to swallow the potatoes before speaking.

I’m competent in written and spoken Latin. Since it lends itself well to scientific discussion, it would be a more logical choice.”

Only a Vulcan would make a suggestion like that. I flunked Latin – twice.”

T’Pol reclaimed the pad, and, in flawless Latin, looked at Hoshi and said, “If you’re free, I will assist you in translating these data streams.”

Hoshi smiled. “Tempis fugit.”

An illogical statement, in any language.”

She and T’Pol rose together. Hoshi didn’t need the translation matrix to read the touch of humor and enjoyment in the Vulcan woman’s eyes as they walked away, leaving a scowling Chief Engineer to chew on mashed potatoes and Latin.

Enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Come play – there’s just a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

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