Title: Break in the Silence

Author: DebC

E-mail: debchilson@yahoo.com

Feedback: yes, please. It fuels me.

Rating: G

Keywords: Reed/Hoshi friendship, post-ep for "Silent Enemy"

Summary: Reed breaks a long silence after some prompting from Hoshi

Archiving: Since I don't know where the archives are, please ask me first. Thanks.

Disclaimers: Enterprise belongs not to me, but to Star Trek and Paramount. I created nothing... wrote nothing (except this), and am getting paid nothing for this story.

Author's Notes: This is my first Enterprise fanfic, in fact, it's my first Star Trek fic period. I've read lots of it in the past and enjoyed most of the ST shows (with the exception of Voyager), but never attempted a fanfic for ST until now. So, please... be kind, give good feedback, and just maybe I'll try my hand at another.

Special Thanks: to feathers and Julie for all the comments, suggestions and kind words.



"Break in the Silence"

Malcolm Reed scanned the mess hall briefly before finding the person he was looking for--Hoshi Sato. She was seated at the same table they had shared just the other day. With a determined sigh, hands gripping his food tray tightly, he swallowed his jitters and approached her. Clearing his throat, he asked if he could join her.

"Sure, go ahead," came her reply.

An awkward silence followed in which Hoshi ate her rice and steamed vegetables and Malcolm picked at his own. He'd made a fool of himself the other day, he realized, and had purposely sought her out intending to apologize. Now that he was here, however, he didn't know how to break the ice.

"Listen, about the other--" "I think we--" they both said at the same time, and then stopped short. Hoshi giggled, causing Malcolm's nerves to settle. He laughed, too.

"I'm sorry," Hoshi said. "You go first."

"I just wanted to..." he sighed and tried to think of what to say. Words weren't really his specialty. "About the other day..."

"Yes?"

"I'm... sorry I misunderstood your intensions. I'm not very good with people, and I just assumed... but when I saw the pineapple in my cake, I realized you must have been trying to find out what I might like. I..." he stopped suddenly, aware that he was rambling on like an idiot. "I wanted to thank you for the gesture." He realized it sounded stiff, but it was the best he could do at the moment.

"That's okay," Hoshi told him, smiling. "I can see how it must have sounded. I wouldn't have approached you at all if I hadn't run into so many obstacles." She told him about Archer's talk with his parents and her own investigative attempts.

"I didn't realize I was such a hard person to get to know," commented Malcolm, feeling even worse because of the length of her efforts.

"More like a mystery man," Hoshi said, lightening the mood a little with a smile. "Although... " here she paused, causing him to look at her. "One thing puzzles me."

"Yes?"

"Your parents. The captain said they barely knew you... had hardly heard from you since this mission started. Don't you talk to them? I would be going out of my mind if it weren't for my own transmissions home."

++++++++++

Hoshi's words weighed on Malcolm's mind long after dinner was over and he'd returned to his quarters.

The truth was, he hadn't spoken to his parents--especially his father--in a long time. They never saw eye to eye on anything, a fact that had irritated his father every time Malcolm had gone home for visits. Eventually, he just stopped going home. It seemed like the best thing to do at the time.

In fact, he stopped communicating with home altogether. He only told his parents about Enterprise because he hoped they might just be proud of him. His father, however, had seemed even more disappointed in him than ever. He'd broken with family tradition, after all. It wasn't the Navy. It was Starfleet, an upstart unit that had yet to earn its place in the world. His father had obviously been less than pleased with his choice to accept the berth he'd been offered.

Which was why he hadn't communicated with them since they'd left space dock. He hadn't thought they would have cared to hear from him or even be interested.

But Hoshi's comments at dinner had created a chink in his emotional armor. She was right, he realized. It was lonely out here in space with no warm greetings from home to look forward to. He couldn't remain detached from his family forever.

Reaching for a datapad, he resolved to send his parents a letter and let them know he was doing fine. It was the least he could do... and just maybe they would send something back.

'Dear Mum and Dad,' he wrote. 'Yesterday was my birthday, but I had quite forgotten about it, as we have had some excitement lately. We were attacked by an alien ship, and didn't have the power to defend ourselves. The captain wanted to return to space dock to fully arm the ship, but Commander Tucker and I decided to attempt to get the phase cannons on line by ourselves. It was touch and go for a while, but we managed it. Saved the ship from probable destruction.' Here he stopped, unsure of what to say next. Then he continued. 'Such a close brush with death has made me think about things... mostly about why I joined Starfleet in the first place. I know it was not the path you would have chosen for me, but now, more than ever, I feel I made the right decision. I hope that someday you can accept that, and accept me for who I am... your son who loves you.'

(The End)