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31 March 2009 @ 09:48 am
Enterprise flash ficlet  
Seriously, I've been sitting here for twice as long as it took me to write the fic trying to come up with a title. (You try coming up with a title for a fic about hot dogs that isn't a double entendre.)

Title: "Today's Special"
Rating: G
Summary: Dining with aliens is always a cultural exchange experience.
Spoilers: "Bound." Takes place in the happy fluffy time that should have followed that episode.
ETA: I've just discovered that the person I wrote this for is on LJ! (Actually, she discovered me... her search mojo is more superior to mine.) For aquarius_1977.

"A what?"

With T'Pol's superior Vulcan hearing (which she reminds him about every single time she catches him muttering numbers aloud as he works), Trip knows that T'Pol only asks people to repeat themselves when she's trying to sound especially non-emotionally incredulous.

"It's a tofu-dog," Archer repeats, nudging the small, separate serving plate closer towards her. "According to Chef, anyway."

T'Pol casts a wary glance at Porthos, begging patiently for dropped scraps under the dining table, and Trip can't help but snicker.

Archer has on his best Completely Genuine, But I Might Make It An Order At Any Moment Face. "It's completely vegetarian, Commander."

Trip helpfully reaches over and serves her one of the mock sausages, before serving himself two of the real ones. He's been waiting for hot dog day for -- oh -- nearly four years, it seems. Given Chef's reluctance to serve anything as nutritionally suspect as genuine hot dogs, Trip figures there might be a few extra vitamins packed in there, but he's sure enough ketchup will mask them.

T'Pol shoots him a haughty look. Over the years he may have successfully wheedled her into pie, one bite of a peach, and a slice of pizza (which she cut into very small bites while lecturing him rather sweetly on his lack of adequate healthy vegetable intake), but that doesn't mean she's about to happily accept foreign food onto her plate.

"Just one bite," he teases her with what he hopes is a charming, coercive grin.

Archer clears his throat in that way he has of nonchalantly pointing out that Trip is staring at T'Pol, and while he's all not-reporting-anything-suspicious about his two senior officers' complicated off-duty conduct, he'd like Trip to at least pretend to show some discretion. Trip thinks that's a little unfair, really, since he's been teasing the heck out of T'Pol for years before they had an explosive affair in the Expanse, and besides, he catches T'Pol staring at him all the time, and Archer never clears his throat at her.

With the sullen look of a cadet on disciplinary action, T'Pol picks up her knife and makes to slice off a sliver of the offending human food.

"Oh, no, you can't eat it like that." Trip passes her the basket of toasted buns.

Archer indicates his own plate of already-bunned-and-condimented hot dogs. "It's a human tradition, T'Pol. I'm not sure you can truly understand our culture without it."

T'Pol gives her captain a glare that could fry an ant before using her fork to spear a bun. "That seems unlikely."

Archer has already taken a bite, but that doesn't stop him from saying, "No, no, human cultures are completely inseparable from their cuisines. Hot dogs are a cultural icon. In North America, anyway."

"Polish sausage," Trip points out, holding up a hot dog and trying to pretend it smells more like genuine open-air barbecue.

T'Pol manages to wrap her hot dog in its bun without touching it. She accepts the thinnest layer of mustard, but draws the line at ketchup and relish.

"That's mostly sugar," she criticizes.

"And vegetables," Trip replies. Even though Trip can sense her irritation mounting -- sense it in a weird, Vulcan way that he's pretty sure he only gets the palest glimmer of -- he can't help trying to egg her on.

Archer, not helping, points out: "Technically, tomatoes and cucumbers are fruits."

"I will try the tofu-dog," T'Pol declares.

"You won't like it without ketchup," Trip says, though, honestly, he has no idea what tofu-dogs taste like, condimented or otherwise. His mother occasionally accedes to the modern human trend of using resequenced protein instead of the actual animal flesh T'Pol finds so barbaric, but she's still a down-home Southern cook at heart, and nary a soybean ever entered Trip's childhood home.

T'Pol neatly slices the smallest possible edge, sniffs it, and then chews thoughtfully.

"Well?" Archer asks.

She takes a sip of water. "I do not feel that I understand your culture significantly more than I did a minute ago," is all she'll say. "This is unnecessary. Plomeek soup is sufficient to meet my dietary requirements for this meal." She glances at Porthos again, perhaps considering the age-old childhood trick of feeding unwanted food to the animal under the table. Porthos whines hopefully, reading her mind.

Chef sent out a bowl of Plomeek soup for her as well, of course. Trip isn't sure how T'Pol sweet-talked him early in the mission, but Vulcan dishes always appear on the table unrequested whenever new human foods are being offered.

"That's all you eat," Trip replies critically.

She raises an eyebrow. She has at least managed to figure out -- maybe thanks to her end of the strange Vulcan bond, he's not sure -- when he's exaggerating for dramatic emphasis, but she still doesn't like it.

"Well, almost all you eat. Don't you want some variety?"

"Humans put all too much emphasis on the need for variety," she intones, and something cool and unfriendly brushes against his mind. A glance at Archer tells Trip that T'Pol's icy overtones weren't obvious to the Captain, at least, but he wonders if he's in for a few weeks of guessing what she's annoyed about this time. It's driving him a bit crazy to see only flashes of her subtly changing Vulcan moods on the periphery of his mental vision.

In case her side of their mental telegraph wire is a little clearer, he tries to think warm, kind thoughts. "Don't you need more protein or something?"

He does actually worry about that. T'Pol loses weight that she can't afford to in times of stress, and he has enough of his mother in him to fret at the idea that anybody he cares about might not be eating enough.

"My dietary requirements are not the same as yours," she says, voice a little gentler. He's not the only one at the table goading her to eat a hot dog, but Trip thinks that comment was meant mostly for him.

Archer doesn't clear his throat, but Trip can tell he's thinking about it, so he tries to stare less obviously. "Seriously," he adds. "I'd starve to death on what you eat."

T'Pol raises an eyebrow and obviously criticizes his plate of hot dogs and potato salad. "Doubtful. Though you would lower your risk for scurvy."

Archer coughs out a laugh. "What, have you been studying archaic Earth diseases?"

"The last known case of scurvy in an adult human occurred less than forty years ago," T'Pol retorts. Archer's still gaping at her. "As you say, I am attempting to better understand your culture."

The captain shakes his head. "You sure have an odd way of going about it."

T'Pol sips delicately at her soup, before admitting, "A comprehensive study of human pathology was required reading before accepting a posting at the Vulcan consulate on Earth."

No wonder most Vulcans didn't seem to have time to learn basic human pleasantries, Trip thought. They were too busy innoculating themselves against the Bubonic Plague.

"I have found this knowledge to be quite helpful whenever I have been called upon to assist Doctor Phlox," T'Pol adds.

Archer grins and takes a swig of the real, honest-to-goodness, Enterprise-brewed beer that Chef whipped up for the occasion. Trip helped him install the still, and he has to admit, the brew made by an actual cook is much better than the standard malt liquor, code-named "Warp Sludge", that engineers typically cook up on out-of-the-way plasma junctions.

"You sure you're not going to eat the rest of that?" Trip nags her.

Despite the typical Vulcan distaste for sharing plates in all but the most dire survival situations, she offers, "You may have it if you wish."

Archer's slightly devious eyes are on Trip now. "Hoshi swears that Chef can make tofu taste just like the real thing."

Trip makes a face. "I'm good, thanks."

T'Pol, pulling her mean streak out of a closet where it's been hiding for the past few weeks, widens her eyes just a bit pitifully. "It's hardly fair to ask me to sample something from your own world that you won't eat yourself."

"She's got a point, Trip," says Archer, not helping.

Trip glares between them both for a few minutes, Archer mugging a grin, T'Pol placidly observing him with a just-slightly-raised eyebrow.

How bad can it be? He narrows his eyes at her. "All right, Commander. I'll split it with you."

Now Archer is grinning wildly at the both, and Trip can't help but wish for a little throat-clearing right about then.

T'Pol agrees to his dare by slicing the tofu dog exactly in half with a precision that probably couldn't be beat if she had a ruler. She doesn't appear to be too distressed at the prospect of finishing her half.

He doesn't add additional condiments to his, wary of being accused of cheating.

"I should warn you," T'Pol points out. "I suspect this contains vegetable matter."

He knows he's not imagining it this time -- he can feel her sitting there being amused.

He doesn't know if this bond thing can be used to share actual words -- and if it can, he's pretty sure it'll take another ten years for T'Pol to show him how -- but he gives it his best shot.

Anything for you, honey.

The look on her face makes the tofu dog entirely worthwhile.

And the truth is, it's not really that bad.

Lanna: Trek Girls Kickasslanna_kitty on March 31st, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
It is so bad. I began to ship these two after the series had been over a couple years. alas.

I love the we're-not-really-saying-anything-but-we're-totally-snarking-at-one-another table conversation.
Little Red: trek - trip/t'pol laugh - anrmylittleredgirl on March 31st, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
I'm watching the series over again as I show it to my boyfriend for the first time, and man, I love the dining room scenes with the three of them. They all play off each other so well. *squeezes them with joy*

And DUDE. Dude. I just found Triaxian Silk, which is, like, this crazy-active Trip/T'Pol fanfiction site and forum. It's like the show is still on, minus all the crazy-inducing rage that kept happening while the show was on! I kind of landed on them like a crazed gleeesplosion and so far they seem pretty okay with it, so I deem them awesome.
Lanna: Squee!lanna_kitty on March 31st, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Oh *dude* I have read like...90% of that archive already. I caught them when they were transitioning from being some other archive or something? anyway. Yes.

I both like and dislike black n blue (I think it's him....her?) for want of a nail series. on the one hand? T'Pol's crazy Vulcan relatives are made of win, and Trip's done excellently. On the other, and I was warned in his AN, he (she?) and I would probably not get along when it comes to stuff like the traditional roles of women and uhm....yeah culture clash. His t'pol is on the weaker side I find. (it's not BAD though)

and then there was another LONG series someone did that I found fluffy and enjoyable. Koss is in it. and the E2 people survive and are characters as well. an practically everyone is married or gets married but trip and tpol have to be all secret about it.

it's weird, there is this whole section of the trek fandom over there *waves hands vaguely* that would set my Sg* Flisters into paroxysms of rage.

Ohhhhh there is a fic on there I think it is called "sparking"? Oh man I should post that to hetreccers. it's fantastic. Busted-up Trip is sent home to convalesce and T'Pol comes for a visit and trip has a crazy family and they're all super fun, and tpol is like ".......what the hell did I get myself into." and being all stoicly enduring the wackyness.
Little Red: trek - t'pol reading - afterglowssmylittleredgirl on March 31st, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
I'm just really late to the party, then! I think I found it once, long long ago, and assumed that it wasn't being updated anymore because, hello, show's over, etc.

You know, I just learned that like a third of the writers over there are guys! I'm excited to see how this plays out. (My guesses: less slashy side plots, male characters doing less sobbing, fewer petty squabbles between fanpeeps. I love women, but we are catty as hell sometimes.)

You know the ABSOLUTELY WORST PART about all the misogynistic T'Pol-flattening that happens in fics? IT IS TOTALLY IN CHARACTER WITH THE SHOW. AUGHGHGHGHGGHGH. So you can't even really get mad about it, because you're like "ZOMG. T'Pol is VULCAN and should be MOAR AWESOME!" and they can be all "Let me list you five or six episodes in which she goes to pieces/is physically weak/is a slave to her passions for her Hot Sexy Man/DRY-HUMPS REED'S SPACESUIT."

Um. That might have been more all-caps of rage than you needed right there but, you know. ;)

I'm going to totally have to look for that fic! I'm doing my homeworks now and reading fics by the side admins, such that I may better suck up be moar understanding of the tone of the archive. *gleees*
Lanna: Trek Girls Kickasslanna_kitty on March 31st, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
You know the ABSOLUTELY WORST PART about all the misogynistic T'Pol-flattening that happens in fics? IT IS TOTALLY IN CHARACTER WITH THE SHOW. AUGHGHGHGHGGHGH. So you can't even really get mad about it, because you're like "ZOMG. T'Pol is VULCAN and should be MOAR AWESOME!" and they can be all "Let me list you five or six episodes in which she goes to pieces/is physically weak/is a slave to her passions for her Hot Sexy Man/DRY-HUMPS REED'S SPACESUIT."

omgyessomuchrage and I can only imagine Jolene Blalock grinding her teeth as they gave her this stuff because she's a trekkie 'cause spock was awesome and they give her the role of "Chick in Catsuit so we can sell to the male audience....oh yeah and here is some plot stuf...sometimes...kinda." RAR girl!rage!

but omg YES there are *men* over there! there are peeners in my fannishness! *flail* I know of *two* dudes who were tangentally active in SG1 (and one was sam/jack shippy ish. which filled me with glee. yay otp!) but there are like...dudes over there and it is confusing! But also cool? Mixed gender groups are good. Overabundance of either tends to make for sillyness of some kind or another x_x; having some presence of the "other side" seems to balance out cattyness or the overwhelming need to be a fratboy. or something. Many times. not always. MOVING ALONG.

At least there is some T'pol love and there is not, apparent to me at least, BLIND MALE CHARACTER LOVE OF ENDLESSLY LOVING LOVE. Over on SG side, Daniel and Rodney are the usual targets for this. Don't get me wrong, I like both characters, but usually they are the emo whipping boy, or the poor sad, Perfect (or perfectly flawed) tragic hero of Angsty woobieness, or, you know....The writer actually writes/overwrites them and then everyone else has the depth of cardboard. If they're lucky.

It's a trip/t'pol archive but I've read some good Archer and Reed and Sato over there too! And oddly? Soval. There are some people there who write cranky old vulcan dudes pretty darn well. *nods*

Case in point there is a fic over there where Trip and Soval go on a hike through the forge to complete some kind of vulcan ritual (because, as everyone knows, vulcans have rituals for everything) and it's pretty awesome. It totally pings on some of the awesome at the climax of the Vulcan Storyline in ENT (I liked that plotline, okay? The vulcans were dicks. they kinda got smacked by the cosmic clue by four, they decided to try to be better. it's Awesome!)

also I am apparently one of maybe two people in the whole of the universe who find the idea of Archer/Sato to be kinda fun. Woe.
Little Red: trek - t'pol vulcan - mediemylittleredgirl on March 31st, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
Am I the other person in those two? Because I totally have sekrit love of that pairing. Even though it's sort of incestuous in the big-brother-little-sister way. But REALLY, come ON, after watching "Countdown" and also SHE ALREADY LIKES HIS DOG.

I mean, Hoshi/Travis is still my Hoshi-otp, but it's completely reasonable.

In general, I'm really good at making the TV a Magic Picture Box and never thinking about the actors, but Jolene Blalock is an exception. It's like, EVERY FEW WEEKS you go "Wow, they will never have her sink lower than this" and then SHE SHOOTS UP INTO HER CAROTID ARTERY.

Good lord.

Of course, if she'd had her way, I wouldn't have gotten my Trip & T'Pol I'm sure, but still. It would be a tough call -- trade on-screen Trip & T'Pol sexing for four years of Enterprise that didn't demean T'Pol at all?
Lanna: Trek Girls Kickasslanna_kitty on March 31st, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
Yay! Sekreit pairings!

It's like, EVERY FEW WEEKS you go "Wow, they will never have her sink lower than this" and then SHE SHOOTS UP INTO HER CAROTID ARTERY.

Good lord.

YES. Oy with the poodles!

Ohhh sexing on screen vs. ent with no demeaning of t'pol... That...IS a trade off...*ponders*

well...I have fanfic. and Trek kinda...needs fewer demeaning female characters in general, so I'd be willing to make that sacrifice.

But my retaliatory fanfic smut would be Steamy! in a stoic, vulcan way, of course. unless we're talking Pon Farr, and then all the rules go out the window because dude....Canon Mating Urge. Bwahahahahahaha smut.

I need more trek icons.
stexgirl2000stexgirl2000 on April 1st, 2009 05:49 am (UTC)
Y'all aren't alone: I like Archer/Sato (even though I also wrote a TON of Reed/Sato). Oddly enough I think I saw Hoshi and Travis as brother and sister-ish.

T'Pol should have never had the space-crack-whore plot line in season three. Still haven't forgiven B&B for that.
Jessi: Socks & Booksj_guda on March 31st, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
I came *this* close to just filling the comment box to the character limit with "I LOVE YOU." but I refrained.


Oops, I slipped.
Little Redmylittleredgirl on March 31st, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
HEEE!! You are welcome to max out my comment boxes anytime, j!

I covet the socks in your icon. Covettttttt!
stealth_rosestealth_rose on March 31st, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
hee. Red!Fic. Yay! :D

I think you did fine on the title, btw. ;)
Little Red: b5 - ivanova oven - crazybeemylittleredgirl on March 31st, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
You should have heard the well-intentioned titles and summaries that I came up with that were possibly too smutty for the empornium, I swear. I actually typed out the following before running and washing my keyboard out with soap:

Title: Double Dog Dare
Summary: Archer and Trip try to broaden T'Pol's palate.

I'm home sick, and what we have learned from this, is that should I ever have to write horrible porn movies, I should induce fever first.
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: xf - pretty boys - liminallizmylittleredgirl on March 31st, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
See, now I want port.

(Anonymous) on March 31st, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
I <3 you. *happysigh*

~ Kate
Sallyslm76 on March 31st, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
Hehe, cute! How does Porthos put up with all of them? To be so close to getting the scraps... and then losing!
Little Red: peanuts - think i'm in lovemylittleredgirl on April 1st, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
Thar be a lack of fairness in the world...

Though I'm sure Porthos knows that Archer will be worn down soon enough. :) Why should he settle for the tofu dog when he can get the real thing??
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: trek - spock knits! - lemonrocketmylittleredgirl on April 1st, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
*points at icon* SPOOOOOOOCK!!!!!
Human Collaborator Flunkie Pool!fic Muse: Atlantis - Space gatejoyfulfeather on April 1st, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
This has filled my morning with gleeee. Hee! :D Thank you for sharing it!
anranr on May 12th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Trip thinks that's a little unfair, really, since he's been teasing the heck out of T'Pol for years before they had an explosive affair in the Expanse, and besides, he catches T'Pol staring at him all the time, and Archer never clears his throat at her.

HAHAHA, yes! Perfect!

ILU. *smooooooooooooooch*