Whips, Chains and Plomeek Soup

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, don't make money off 'em.

Rating: T

Spoilers: None

Pairings: for this story, R/S and TnT


Notes: This is an immediate sequel to my Switcheroo story, "Captain Sato's Enterprise". Read that fic first to understand what's going on. Familiar crew in unfamiliar roles. On this Enterprise, people (and things) aren't all they seem. T'Pol's relationship with the Vulcan High Command is different...it's not how it is in the "real" universe, and the Vulcans have their own agenda.

Crew roster for this AU version of NX-01:

Captain Hoshi Sato

First Officer/Science Officer (Commander)Travis Mayweather

Chief Engineer (Commander) Phlox

Armory/Tactical Officer (Lieutenant Commander) Charles "Trip" Tucker the Third

Communications Officer (Lieutenant) Jonathan Archer

Helm/Navigation Officer (Ensign) T'Pol

Chief Medical Officer (Commander) Malcolm Reed

Other characters:

Ambassador Soval

Chief Minister V'Lar

Chief Minister of Sciences T'Les (T'Pol's mother)

Head of Vulcan Security T'Pau

(BTW...I haven't forgotten Travis and the Boomer Bust Trilogy. That's coming soon...once I figure out the ending. Promise :))


One

"Lieutenant Archer to Ensign T'Pol."

She put down her book, Teachings of Surak, then activated the communications circuit. "T'Pol."

"Ensign, you have a communique from Ambassador Soval on a secured channel." Archer's voice held equal parts of respect and curiosity. On Vulcan, curiosity was a positive trait, as long as it was harnessed at the appropriate times. T'Pol gave a silent sigh; Archer was well-matched with that canine of his. What was the name of the animal? Porthos the beagle. The corner of her mouth went up in grim humor.

Her cool tone held none of her rancor for the floppy-eared menace. "I will speak with him, Lieutenant."

"Transferring now, and please give the ambassador my regards."

"I will certainly do so," she answered. Lieutenant Jonathan Archer had worked with Soval at the Vulcan Embassy in San Francisco as a diplomat and cultural liaison, before joining Starfleet---and Enterprise---at Captain Sato's request. He and Soval were long-time friends.

But even long-time friends didn't tell each other everything.

The silver-haired Vulcan ambassador appeared on her screen. Soval raised his hand in the Vulcan salute, which she returned. "T'Pol, my apologies for disturbing your rest."

"I was not asleep, Ambassador."

He raised an eyebrow and said, "I am not currently speaking in a diplomatic capacity, so you need not refer to me now with that title."

T'Pol considered that statement, then nodded. "Ah. I understand. Then I infer that this channel is completely secure, especially from Jonathan?"

Soval's mouth tightened at the name. Was that the smallest hint of regret in his eyes? T'Pol pretended not to see the betrayal of emotion. "Yes, even from Jonathan. He cannot interfere with our mission."

"And he will not," she reassured him. "He tends to see the best in everyone, as you well know. That is his biggest strength and his biggest weakness."

"Have you received your instructions from T'Pau?"

She nodded. "Yes."

"She was quite impressed by your previous reports. The navigational data has allowed us to track Enterprise's progress and the personnel summaries gave us critical information on how to deal with her command crew." Soval raised his eyebrow again. "Captain Sato is not your typical Starfleet captain."

"No, she is not, and neither is her Armory Officer."

"Lieutenant Commander Tucker. He is highly emotional, but also highly skilled. That is a potentially dangerous combination."

T'Pol only nodded, for she didn't trust herself to speak. The memory of piercing blue eyes intruded on her consciousness and she pushed it away. Highly emotional. Highly skilled. A potentially dangerous combination.

"Do you foresee him as a threat, T'Pol?"

She carefully considered her words before she spoke them. "He has shown an interest in Vulcan culture and language, to the point where he is somewhat skilled in the lirpa and wants to learn the ahn-woon." Soval's eyes widened a fraction, but she continued, "In return, he is instructing me in some Earth-based combat techniques. An equitable trade in information."

"But is he a threat? You have not answered my question." His voice was stern and amused at the same time.

Her face flushed bronze-green. She had been temporizing, but unaware of it. Tucker must have affected her more than she realized. "He has the potential to cause...trouble, Soval."

Soval nodded to himself. "I commend you on your honesty. It is not easy, dealing with these Humans on a personal basis. I must keep my friendship with Jonathan separate from our goals...and I find it somewhat disturbing how difficult it is to do so." He ducked his head as if he realized to whom he was talking. "Forgive me."

"'The cause was sufficient'," she said, quoting Surak. Her tone was even, without a trace of reproach. Privately, she understood—and sympathized—with Soval's dilemma. You must not allow emotion to cloud your judgement. Logic dictates the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Vulcan must be prepared for any eventuality.

Her mother T'Les had objected to her assignment to Enterprise. Yet she reassured T'Les that she was capable of meeting her objectives. Had her mother seen something that she was unaware of?

It is illogical to dwell on what does not exist, she told herself firmly. Aloud, she said, "I will not allow my...feelings...for Lieutenant Commander Tucker to affect my performance, Soval. He is a valuable resource of tactical information."

Soval nodded. "Indeed."

"Captain Sato has invited me to evening meal with her and Tucker. I expect it to be a...productive evening."

"I look forward to reading that report, T'Pol." Soval raised his hand in the Vulcan salute again and she matched it. "Peace and long life. Until next time."

"Until next time."

His image winked out, replaced by the logo of the Vulcan High Command. T'Pol stared at it for a long time, deep in thought. There was no chance of her going back to sleep. Her conversation with Soval had kindled all sorts of thoughts...and possibilities.

I must meditate on this. She was assigned to Beta shift, so she had sufficient time. T'Pol turned to her closet, where she kept her meditation mat and the taper for her candles. Yes, there were always possibilities.