Time Zone Interludes: A Night In Sickbay

Bwahaha, the Time Zone Interludes returneth! I had a hell of a lotta fun writing this one, although 'twas a wee bit tough.
Hope you like! Mild spoilers ahead, though!

Disclaimer: Jedi Tess was right - we need a universal author's disclaimer. DON'T OWN IT.

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Trip's teeth were clenched and he could feel himself starting to get restless. "Ya know, to survive in Starfleet, ya need a
helluva lotta patience," he had remarked once, about two months back, while they were sitting in space. They had been waiting
for information from a probe they'd sent into the outer corona of a dying star, and although the captain wanted them out of
there before there was any danger to the ship, Trip had sensed a definite lull in the starship's activities. There was a lot
more sitting and waiting in this mission than he had expected, and he was nervous about the possible diplomatic hazards of
his impatience.

//Speaking of diplomatic hazards...// he thought to himself, doing his utmost to stifle the grin that threatened to
surface on his face. He had been standing for the last half an hour or so in the Kreetassans' Diplomacy Hall, watching Jon
perform an odd ritual as an act of contrition. //This has gotta be the most easily offended species in the galaxy,// Trip mused.
//At least, I hope it is. If the others we meet are worse...//

Trip didn't feel like finishing the thought. It was bad enough with the Vulcans - they didn't need to be doing penance every
time they stepped out of line with every other race they met.

Although relations with the Vulcans had eased a little - in the personal sense, if not the diplomatic one. Trip chanced a look
at T'Pol, standing serene and unperturbable as usual beside him. She had softened somewhat since she came aboard - she was
certainly becoming more inclined to try new things, attempt new experiences. Trip recalled with fondness the day she had asked
him if he had any other favorite desserts, besides pecan pie. He had probably pissed Chef off big time with his attempts to make
cherry sno-cones (and he had been rather unsuccessful on top of that), but it had pleased him to get his hands dirty making
something like he used to do back home.

The slightest of glances from T'Pol warned him that he was losing concentration. Trip forced his attention back to the loud
chanting of incantations and ceremonial gestures from Jon, the eagle-eyed stares from the Kreetassan ambassadors, and the
buzzing whine of the chainsaw slicing roughly through the treetrunk. The captain looked like he was ending his interesting
display, and as he placed what seemed to be the final thick disk of wood on the floor, the Kreetassans looked delighted. Trip
felt the same way, twisting his back a little to work out the worst kinks. As Jon rose and left, beaded braids dangling from
his hair, Trip glanced sideways at T'Pol. The Kreetassans broke out into a flurry of excited babbles and odd slurping noises.
Trip looked to Hoshi for help, and she nodded for them to proceed.

"We sincerely hope that pleases your most eminent worthiness," T'Pol said calmly to the Kreetassan in charge. He beamed back
at her as Hoshi translated for him.

"Yes, that was marvelous. We will give you the parts you are in need-"

Hoshi broke off, looking a little nervous, as one of the minor officials scurried up to the leader and whispered hurriedly
in his ear. The leader looked rather intrigued, although as Trip had said laughingly after their first encounter with the
temperamental race, "It's hard ta be sure with pink aliens."

He watched the official straighten himself out and start talking, making those strange slurping noises again. As Hoshi
listened, a smile spread across her face. "They say they're willing to give us three plasma injectors, sir, they were
apparently very pleased with the captain's performance and are willing to give us the two extra as a thank you."

Trip grinned. Hot damn, they had actually impressed the jittery race. This was definitely his day. "Tell them we're really
grateful for it, and we're happy they liked the, uh, performance," Trip relayed through Hoshi.

The leader smiled again and bowed. T'Pol inclined her head, and Trip held out his hand tentatively. To his surprise, the
official took it and shook it briskly. The Kreetassans all bowed once and turned simultaneously, heading out the doors to the
waiting shuttlepod.

Trip walked out of the large hall with a spring in his step. Maybe he could get used to a little waiting on this mission -
there's actually plenty to do, he thought to himself.

T'Pol seemed to share his enthusiasm. "That went well, huh?" Trip asked her, letting her and Hoshi enter the pod in front of
him.

Once seated, T'Pol turned to him. "This encounter was a bigger success than the last two, Commander. I would consider that
satisfactory."

Trip grinned. "Ah, don't play coy with me, I know yer pleased as hell. Can't blame ya - so'm I. This isn't so bad," he
ribbed.

T'Pol just raised an eyebrow. Trip sighed contentedly and sat back in his seat, waiting for the shuttle to lift off. //Yeah,
she's happy 'bout it. Personally, I'm just happy we made it through this,// he thought.

He grinned at T'Pol. She just gazed back... and they waited.

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Heh. Fluffy.