*Author's Note: I do not own the characters of 'Enterprise', no infringement is intended, yadda yadda etc. Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome and appreciated. Enjoy.
Sleepless in Space Part 1
Ensign Hoshi Sato, formerly an Associate Professor of the most prestigious university in Brazil and now Communications Officer of the Enterprise, couldn't sleep. It wasn't just that she couldn't sleep. She handled sleep deprivation well enough. It was that, when more or less trapped on a spacecraft, there was nothing to occupy her mind during her frequent bouts of insomnia.
When training in San Fransisco, Hoshi had kept herself busy by wandering the Starfleet campus or sneaking into the gym for some time on the mats. Now, she could only wander the halls of the Enterprise, a large ship to be sure but a ship none-the-less. There were only so many Jeffries tubes one could explore before the whole exercise became monotonous.
Giving sleep up as a lost cause, the young Terran dropped her feet to the cold metal floor. She stood with a stretch and headed for her personal shower, one of the few luxuries that set the Junior officers apart from the non-commissioned crewmen. There had been quite enough bathroom sharing at the Academy, thank you very much.
Hoshi turned the shower to the hottest temperature her skin could handle and set the timer for seven minutes. Even with the recyclers running, water was a precious resource in the unforgiving vacuum of space. There was no telling when the next planet with potable water would present itself.
The Ensign stripped out of her Starfleet issued underwear, throwing them into the laundry basket with practiced ease before stepping under the spray. Ducking her dark head, she let the water wash over a well toned body. A testament to nearly two decades spent in the dojo.
Her training in Aikido had allowed Hoshi to transition from child to woman with little trouble. While her friends had been getting used to their bodies -many of them all gangly arms and legs- Hoshi's natural coordination and constant training had allowed her to escape the gawkiness of her teen years. She still worked hard to maintain her body, spending much of her down time in the gym. Her fighting skills, however, were beginning to get rusty.
Most anyone on the ship had been willing to spar Hoshi in the beginning, taken in by her relatively small size. She'd moved from putting down some of the younger crewman, who were more bluster than anything else, to taking on Tucker and occasionally Reed. Unfortunately, fighting them was more an exercise in cardio than it was any sort of kumite.
Each of them fought the same way, convinced that -if they could just get beneath her guard- they could over power her. By the time they were close enough to make the attempt, they realized she wasn't the 'little girl' they'd initially thought and promptly had their asses introduced to the floor. It didn't require much creative thought on her part and rarely forced her to use any but the most rudimentary of her skills. To be blunt, Hoshi was bored.
The Terran had a feeling her boredom likely had something to do with her insomnia. Few things got the adrenaline pumping as much as a good fight and when the energy waned it left a peaceful lethargy that often turned into blissful hours of fulfilling sleep. A good sparring partner was almost the equivalent of a good bed partner. Not that she had one of those either.
Which could also be the source of her problem.
Being stuck on a ship for weeks, months, on end without an outlet was bound to put anyone in a state of flux. Hoshi was naturally full of energy, had been since childhood, and not having something or someone to expend that energy on was making her restless and throwing off her sleep patterns.
Hoshi's shower beeped, signalling she had only a minute left on her timer. Sighing, she turned the water off. It wasn't doing her any good so there was no point in wasting. She squeezed her dark mane into a thick rope, wringing what water she could from it.
She looked into the mirror, the reflectiong in the oval mirror making her frown. Her eyes had enough bags under them to supply a Terran colony and the lack of sun was doing nothing for her complexion.
The Ensign didn't consider herself vain. She hadn't spent exorbitant amounts of time on her appearance even when she'd been a civilian. There was even less point in doing so now, when she was stuck on a ship with 80 odd people who all seemed to be more interested in the multitude of profanities she knew than with her appearance. That being said, she still didn't like looking like a Sehlat who'd been run down by a space cruiser.
Recognizing that only a good night's sleep or a few days shore leave would rectify her problem, Hoshi resigned herself to looking less than stellar for the time being.
She walked into her bedroom, towel wrapped around her naked body, gaze falling on her bed. Not surprisingly, it held no more appeal than it had before her shower. Rather than climb under the covers, the Terran headed for her dresser. She slipped into her track pants and a sweatshirt, one of the few pieces of civilian dress she had room for in the cramped quarters. Grabbing a book from her shelf Hoshi headed for the mess.
Sub-Commander T'Pol, member of the Vulcan Consulate, Science Officer of the Starfleet Ship 'Enterprise' could not sleep. Her discussion with the Vulcan High Command had left her …unsettled.
The High Command openly questioned her desire to remain on Enterprise, convinced that T'Pol somehow been affected by the humans. There was even an accusation that her ability to remain objective -while wading through the primitive deluge of human emotions- had been compromised. As if the Terrans' illogical and self destructive mannerisms were somehow contagious.
Her irritation at such absurd accusations did not dwindle as she thought it would. Hours of meditation, watching the gentle ebb of the candle flame and looking inward for the calm center of her mind, did nothing to alleviate what she felt. Or rather, what she was experiencing.
Her irritation was hardly enough to be measured as some grandiose emotion, more a tiny blip in her usually unshakeable emotional barricade. All the same, it indicated an imbalance in her thought processes which further put her on edge.
Letting out a small sigh, her only outward indication of annoyance, T'Pol unfolded her legs from her meditative position and stood from her bed. It was unusual for her meditating not to leave her with inner calm. It was the one point during her day when she could distance herself from everything. Where it was no longer of consequence that she was the only Vulcan on a ship full of humans. Many of whom, including the Captain, evidently felt that logic and good sense was something best left on their home planet.
Tonight, however, she had been unable to find her center and her growing frustration with her inner dissonance only exacerbated the problem. Thus, rather than try and force what would not work, the logical conclusion was for T'Pol to retire the task for now and continue again when she was more settled.
The Vulcan pulled a copy of Nieztsche from her shelf, tucking it under her arm. It was unlikely she would find peace tonight, that much she knew. Thankfully, her physiology allowed her to go for days without sleep before her abilities would become compromised.
Deciding that human philosophy was often more palatable when she had something to wash it down with, T'Pol headed for the mess.
Hoshi sat alone at the table, the lights dimmed to fifty percent. The glaring whiteness of the artificial light was hardly conducive to relaxation and since there was no one else in the mess, she'd toned them down for her comfort. She had been lucky to catch the mess empty at the time between Charlie shifts' meals. Not that the place was particularly abuzz even when C shift was eating. It was a skeleton crew, no more than was needed to keep the engines running and the sensors operational.
The Ensign sipped absently at her chamomile tea, one of Phlox's non-medicinal suggestions for getting her body calmed down enough to sleep. Hoshi would have preferred a good-old fashioned sedative. Alas, the Doctor had proclaimed that natural sleep was the best and he would only provide her with a medicinal sedative if her insomnia began to affect her duties. At this point, Hoshi was contemplating ways to safely blow up her station console just so she could get some shuteye.
The gentle 'whoosh' of the doors indicated that Hoshi was no longer alone. She looked up, dark eyes focusing on the form of the Vulcan Sub-Commander, T'Pol. The Vulcan was in her off-duty clothing -a tank top and exercise pants- which meant there likely weren't any problems and she hadn't been specifically seeking Hoshi. The Vulcan was evidently just wandering around and had stumbled upon her.
"Ensign Sato," T'Pol stated looking up at the lights momentarily before returning her gaze to the Communications Officer. "Am I disturbing you?"
"Sub-Commander. Uh, no, I was…" Hoshi held up her book, "reading."
T'Pol lifted an eyebrow. "In the mess hall?" The Science officer asked.
Hoshi ducked her head before nodding at the Vulcan. "I couldn't sleep and my quarters make me feel kind of claustrophobic," the dark haired woman admitted, a tad bit embarrassed.
"I see." T'Pol neglected to indicate that whether the Ensign was in her quarters or the mess, she was still enclosed in a relatively small space. Especially given that they were aboard a spaceship. Evidently it was the 'feeling' of being somewhere more open which allowed the Terran to be more comfortable. Humans.
"Um, you can turn the lights up if you'd like."
"That's not necessary, the lighting is sufficient."
Hoshi nodded unsure what to say next. The exotic Science Officer usually left her feeling slightly off kilter. "Would you, ah… like some tea?" Hoshi finally asked, indicating the teapot at the center of the table. "It's chamomile."
The Science Officer nodded and walked to the dry rack where the dishes were kept. "I enjoy the chamomile tea much more than the Captain's iced variety," the Vulcan said as she approached the table. There was a momentary pause where the Science Officer was unsure whether to take a seat across from Hoshi or pour the tea and find her own table. Finally deciding that, if nothing else, the Ensign was one of the more tolerable humans and might make for a reasonable conversationalist, T'Pol opted to sit.
"Do you mind?" The Vulcan asked, indicating the bench across from Hoshi. The Ensign shook her head offering the Sub-Commander a small smile.
"Not at all, please sit."
T'Pol did so, refilling Hoshi's cup as was polite before pouring her own.
"Yes..?" T'Pol asked as she raised an eyebrow.
Hoshi floundered, trying to come up with something to talk to the intelligent Vulcan about that wouldn't be completely inane. "Can't sleep either?" The Communications Officer asked, mentally shaking her head. Not her best offering but at least she hadn't asked what T'Pol thought about the weather.
T'Pol cocked her head slightly, as if determining whether to respond. Eventually she pulled out the book she had tucked under her arm, placing it on the table beside her elbow. "No," the Vulcan admitted. "I'm finding myself… Unsettled."
"Oh?" Hoshi spoke with a hint of question in her tone. Perhaps she could draw the Sub-Commander out of her shell a bit.
Or, perhaps not.
Hoshi looked at the book T'Pol had set down. "Are you a fan of Nieztsche?" She asked turning her gaze to the face of the other officer.
"I find his theorizing… interesting," T'Pol hazarded. Human philosophy was inevitably intertwined with emotional views of morality and religion. It was often difficult to draw the actual ideas out of the religious rhetoric they were buried in.
"Hmm…May I?" Hoshi asked, pointing to the book. Briefly curious, T'Pol used an elegant hand to push the book toward the younger woman. Hoshi flipped through the book, finally settling on a familiar passage before she began to read.
"War is another thing. I am by nature, warlike. To attack is among my instincts. To be able to be an enemy, to be an enemy- that perhaps presupposes a strong nature, it is in any event a condition of every strong nature. It needs resistances, consequently it seeks resistances: the aggressive pathos belongs as necessarily to strength as the feeling of vengefulness and vindictiveness does to weakness." Hoshi set the book down.
"I've never really cared for him," Hoshi admitted, sliding the book back to its place by T'Pol's arm. "Aside from his rather sexist slant on things his philosophies are just so… Cold."
T'Pol raised an eyebrow. Hoshi took this as a sign that the Vulcan wanted her to explain what she meant. "From what I've gleaned from his readings he believes pity and sympathy are weaknesses."
"They are emotions, they can warped and twisted as any emotion can be. Perhaps not to have these emotions makes one incorruptible, strong," T'Pol stated.
Hoshi nodded, accepting the possibility. "Maybe, but he believes that to be strong you have to be warlike, predatory almost. I don't think that people should leash themselves to ideals that promote conflict, it can only lead to destruction in the end."
"From what I've learned of Terran history, conflict seems to be one constant throughout the ages. Perhaps Nieztsche was correct in hypothesizing that humans were meant to be a violent species," T'Pol said taking a sip of her tea.
Hoshi considered the point and took a sip from her own cup before rebutting. "If that were the case, would your people have come down to Earth to meet us? You pride yourselves on being free of emotion. You used that repression to end centuries of war on your planet. If you really thought humans were just a bunch of emotional savages, why would you have invited that kind of disharmony into your lives?" The Terran asked, genuinely curious. For her part, it appeared T'Pol had been caught flat footed as there was a short pause before she answered.
"Perhaps the Vulcan High Command saw our past in your planet and we approached you in an attempt to avoid you having to go through all that we experienced," the Vulcan hazarded. "Or, perhaps they were merely seeking to make allies of humanity before you sought us out and made us your enemies."
"Hmm. Maybe." The Ensign yawned, covering her mouth sheepishly before looking back at the Vulcan. "Sorry, I think the day might finally be catching up with me. And with three hours left until shift, wonderful," Hoshi said as she looked at her chronometer.
T'Pol could hear the sarcasm in the Ensign's tone. Why humans constantly resorted to the double speak she would never understand. Why waste words? Why not simly state the point one was trying to make? Chalking it up to yet another human anomaly, T'Pol took a moment to study the Ensign. Sato appeared decidedly worse for wear. Her skin was not its normal golden tone and the energy the woman constantly possessed was nowhere to be seen.
"Have you seen Doctor Phlox about your inability to sleep?"
"Yeah, he said to try and get myself to sleep naturally. Told me to drink some decaffeinated tea." Hoshie pointed to the teapot. "What really irks me is I'm going to get to my quarters and then be bouncing around like a maniac, completely awake."
T'Pol nodded, understanding the Ensign's plight. While the tea and conversation had calmed her somewhat ,T'Pol doubted she was ready to sleep either. "Is your sleep deprivation affecting your duties?"
Hoshi's head shot up at the question, the woman looking almost wounded at the implication. "No," Hoshi stated forcefully. "I'd have the Captain take me off the roster if I wasn't running at a hundred percent. I wouldn't endanger the crew like that. With a ship like Enterprise, everyone has to be on their toes all the time."
T'Pol held up a hand to forestall any further explanation from the young Terran. "I meant no, offence Ensign Sato," she said calmly. "I only meant to suggest that perhaps Doctor Phlox would be more amiable to giving you a sedative if there were a pressing reason to do so."
The Ensign visibly relaxed. "Oh. Sorry Sub-Commander. I think the lack of sleep is making me a little more… emotional than usual."
T'Pol quirked her lips in what Hoshi assumed was the closest approximation to a smile that a Vulcan could manage. Satisfied she hadn't managed to offend the Science Officer, Hoshi stood and took her cup over to the tray for dirty dishes.
"I'm going to go see if I can get a couple of hours of shuteye in," the Ensign said, reaching for her book. "Have a good night Sub-Commander."
"Rest well, Ensign." Hoshi gave the Vulcan a small smile before heading out into the hallway, leaving T'Pol alone in the mess. As she walked to her room, she reflected on her interaction with the Science Officer. Not surprisingly, she found she enjoyed conversing with the intelligent woman.
T'Pol was by far the most educated person onboard Enterprise, speaking with her on a philosophical level was bound to be interesting. And Hoshi didn't mind the emotional distance that was inherent in T'Pol's personality.
She was, after all, a Communications Officer and dealt with many different views and ways of life. She recognized T'Pol's perceived aloofness for what it was, a difference in culture that didn't quite translate when you held it up against human society.
It would certainly make debates less explosive. Hoshi had been in many discussions where people seemed to use the volume of their voices to assert the validity of their point. While she respected them for their passion, it did little to help convince her of anything. Debating with a Vulcan would be based on logic rather than personal opinions and subjective morality.
As she reached her quarters, Hoshi resolved to draw the Vulcan in to more literary conversations. She could learn a lot from the intelligent woman. That was why she was out here, wasn't it? To learn things no human had ever known before.
Hoshie doubted anyone at her former university had engaged in a truly in depth conversation with a Vulcan. Scholars on both sides were set in their ways and many refused to even hear out the other side, possibly for fear of having their theories turned on their ear.
Hoshi stripped out of her clothing, throwing it haphazardly onto her chair to be picked up in the morning. Her book was put into its place on her shelf and she called out for the lights to be extinguished. Lying down, she closed her eyes taking deep breaths before feeling the expected wakefulness creep up on her.
"Kahless. Merde. God frigging…Damn." Hoshi took her pillow from beneath her and screamed into it. It was going to be a long day.
T'Pol sat in bed, reading the Nieztchean passage Hoshi had quoted the night before. The young Terran's views had been… intriguing. It had also been pleasant to converse with someone who seemed to possess more than a rudimentary knowledge of philosophy. The few members of the crew she had associated with so far seemed to have neglected all other education in favour of their Starfleet training. It made them exceptional officers and crewmen but left them somewhat lacking in other areas.
T'Pol supposed that much of the Ensign's well-roundedness came from her time teaching at a Terran university. It had likely opened the young woman up to plethora of books and Sato's keen mind had assimilated the information the way she did languages. T'Pol found herself with the urge to converse with the Ensign again. She wondered if Sato was versed in any kind of Vulcan philosophy. While Sato's opinions might not be logical, they did seem to present new facets of the literature which forced T'Pol to look deeper into what she was reading.
The Vulcan let out a soft sigh as she realized why the Terran intrigued her so: the Communications Officer challenged her. T'Pol had been without a proper mental opponent since leaving her station at the Vulcan Consulate. Ensign Sato was the first human she'd met who was capable of making the attempt to mentally engage her.
T'Pol slid out of bed, throwing on a pair of pants and a top before taking her book and headed to the mess. When she reached it, she found herself slightly disappointed to not find the Ensign there. It was unlikely Sato had resolved her sleeping issues in the past 24 hours. T'Pol believed it stood to reason that the Communications Officer would make her way back here. Not so.
The sounds of footsteps reached her ears long before the person they belonged to turned the corridor.
"Sub-Commander?" The question held a slight tone of surprise.
Hoshi looked at her curiously.
"Unable to sleep?" The Vulcan asked calling for lights at fifty percent as she entered the mess hall, Hoshi following behind her.
"Nope, another night of tossing and turning." Hoshi reached behind the counter to grab a tea pot and two cups. "I managed to get in a few hours of shuteye right after shift but now I'm all over the place again." She set the tea kettle in the food dispenser calling out for chamomile. She didn't like it - it tasted like munching on flower petals to her- but with Phlox's orders and T'Pol's enjoyment of the beverage she figured it wouldn't kill her to drink it again. "What about you?"
"Vulcans do not require as much sleep as humans," T'Pol said. It was the truth just not the truth as to why she'd ended up in the mess hall once more. The Ensign seemed to take the answer as enough to satisfy her curiosity and began to pour tea for them both. "Thank you."
"No problem," Hoshi said, smiling at the Vulcan. "Still on Nietzsche ,huh?"
T'Pol nodded before leaning over to peer at the Terran's own book. "The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius?"
"Have you read it?" Hpshi asked, holding it out for T'Pol to take.
"No." T'Pol took the offered book, glancing briefly at the back. "Perhaps you could summarize?"
"Well, it goes something like this…"