Time Zone Interludes: Marauders

Sweaty!Trip is back once again, with guest appearances by Gangsta!T'Pol, Begrudged!Archer, and Guntoting!Reed. Once again.

Sorry this took so long - bloody computer missing some crucial software or other, and I'm in a sugar-induced coma.

Disclaimer: Paramount is good. Worship them.

xXxXxXxXx

Not for the first time in his life, Trip Tucker found himself flat on his back, sweating and grimy, with a rather intimidating
woman's foot on his chest. T'Pol had pinned him to the floor without even breaking a sweat, using some Vulcan karate technique,
in front of a dozen people. He grinned sheepishly up at the Vulcan towering above him, and she raised an eyebrow, letting
him up.

Trip grasped her extended hand and pulled himself to his feet, wondering how she could possibly maintain such an air of
studied coolness in that tight white jumpsuit. He still couldn't believe Vulcans only mated every seven years.

"I cannot teach you these routines, but I can teach you to defend yourselves against a Klingon warrior long enough to get
away," T'Pol told the awestruck group calmly, as though instructing them in the uses of dilithium crystals for their warp
matrix, and not how to survive against a group of fearsome aliens carrying some damn nasty-looking weapons.

Trip ambled over to sit on a cargo container, pulling out a padd with a map of the miners' village, and leaving T'Pol to
teach the small group the defensive moves.

For the next hour, they attempted to learn the complicated ducks and swerves under T'Pol's guidance. Trip, studying a padd
and overseeing the reconstruction of the village on the comm at the same time, wasn't really paying attention to the Vulcan's
ministrations and the miners' best efforts.

"Commander Tucker," T'Pol called during a lull in the exercises. Caught up in his work, Trip didn't hear her. T'Pol sighed
and strode over, tapping him on the shoulder.

"Wha?!" Trip's head snapped up. Focusing on T'Pol, he flopped back against the bulkhead. "Christ, T'Pol, don't do that," he
muttered, rubbing his eyes tiredly.

"I apologise for distracting you," she said patiently.

"S'okay. Haven't been gettin' much sleep - it's not yer fault." He sighed and put aside the padd. "What can I do for ya?"

"Would you assist me in demonstrating these defensive maneuvers? I am having some difficulty with the miners. They are not
warriors, and I cannot teach them to be such in the time we have," she said bluntly, looking over her shoulder at the small
group.

Trip got to his feet and stretched, eager to dispel the stiffness in his limbs. "Sure thing," he said, cracking his fingers.
"Let's go."

They circled each other on the mat, Trip wielding a long tube of metal. He was nervous about using it to strike the Sub-Commander,
but she had assured him that there was no way he could hurt her. He swung it a couple times to test its weight, then lunged
at T'Pol, whirling it like a baton. The Vulcan deflected his blows, dodging and avoiding his range, leading him into a
pinwheeling circle and using his inertia against him.

Dizzy, Trip swung around wildly, randomly striking out whenever he thought he saw a flash of white. //She's too damn fast,//
he thought, trying to keep his balance.

The odd ballet ended when Trip finally threw in the towel and just sat down, trying to steady his spinning head. There were
some cheers from the miners, and from the small crowd of Enterprise crew who had gathered to watch.

"All right, all right, go back to work," Trip sighed good-naturedly. "Show's over."

An assortment of "awww"s greeted this order, but the crew members drifted back to work.

"So where the hell didja learn this? That's twice in one day you've gotten me on the floor - how'd ya do it?" Trip demanded
as T'Pol crouched beside him. She regarded him solemnly.

"All Vulcans learn defensive strategies from a young age," she told him, helping him to his feet.

"Well, here's to you - you've swept me off my feet, dear T'Pol," he said, grinning ruefully. "Literally, off my feet."

The laughter of the miners as they burst into activity, efforts redoubled as they saw what they could do, mingled with Trip's
chuckles, made T'Pol just shake her head slightly. The Commander invariably suceeding in amusing her - one of his more useful
attributes, she mused.

She joined the throng of bodies and prepared herself for another day with Trip Tucker.

xXxXxXxXx

Ok, written on very little caffeine and too much brain activity. Reviews are appreciated, I need the input. Remember people,
practice makes perfect!! Or at least it makes it less imperfect. Ahem.