This was written for Quills' T/T fanfic contest, as stated in the summary. Trip's normal day in tenth-grade drama class - with
one slight exception...

Disclaimer: Don't own, unfortunately. Only the plot, or lack thereof.

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"Yet do I fear thy nature. It is too full o' the milk of human kindness/To catch the nearest way." -- Macbeth, Act 5

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Trip Tucker cleared his throat. "My dearest love, Duncan is coming here tonight."

"No, Trip, 'Duncan comes here tonight', not 'is coming here tonight'. Try it again," Ms. Miller called.

Trip sighed loudly. "I can't get this right," he complained, his voice cracking. He silently cursed his hormones as Stephanie
Dowers giggled at him from behind the curtain. Calm down, Trip, he ordered himself, an' try to get through these stupid lines
without messin' up. He took a deep breath.

"My dearest love, Duncan comes here tonight," he repeated. Ms. Miller, the drama teacher, gave him a silent thumbs up and
waved at Jessica Oldfield to continue. Jessica nodded and stepped forward. "And when goes hence?" she queried.

"Tomorrow, as he... as he purposes," Trip tried.

Jessica's face twisted in an evil-looking grin. "O never shall sun that morrow see!" she proclaimed grandly.

"All right, that's good, that's good. Good work, Jess. Keep working up on memorizing those lines, Charlie," Ms. Miller added,
and that was the end of that as several backstage managers mobbed her, all talking at the same time.

Trip turned to Jessica. "Nice job, Jess," he sighed. "Wish I could act like you."

Jessica grinned. "Come on, Trip, you're a brilliant mechanic. More marks like yours and I might be close to passing grade
10," she said, rather wistfully. Trip frowned. "You're failin'?"

Jessica laughed. Trip stared, then realized she had been toying with him. Again. "Had you big time, Trip. Don't worry, nobody
cares whether you can recite 'Macbeth' at a whim or not. Drama class isn't the most important subject." She left, giving him
a wave.

Trip rubbed his eyes. "Damn," he said to no one in particular. "Help, anybody?"

"Pardon me?" a voice said.

Trip turned. Standing behind him was a petite, slender girl, gazing at him with an expression of polite curiosity. "Do you
require assistance?"

Who the hell talks like that? he wondered idly, taking in her cool brown eyes and cap of brown hair. He then noticed her ears -
slim and pointed. A Vulcan.

Trip stared. He had never, ever seen a Vulcan less than thirty years old. Hell, he sometimes wondered if they even had
children - maybe they were born adults, he had reasoned to himself. But here was a Vulcan girl who had to be no more than
15, standing in front of him asking if he needed help.

"Uh... sorry, what was that? I, uh, I don't need help - 'Macbeth' getting on my nerves," he got out, pointing vaguely at his
script. He shook his head. "Uh... who are you?"

"My name is T'Pol," she stated, raising her chin slightly. Trip nodded slowly. "Well, hi, T'Pol. M'name's Charles Tucker, but
I'm called Trip most of the time." What the hell was he doing, babbling on about himself - to a Vulcan girl, no less? Trip
marveled at his capacity for stupidity.

The Vulcan T'Pol seemed not to notice. "I'll try to remember that."

Trip raised an eyebrow. "So what're ya doin' here? Sorry for askin'... just curious," he added.

T'Pol tilted her head slightly. "I have been assigned to work as a..." She searched for the word.

"Actress? Backstage hand? Producer?" Trip suggested hastily.

T'Pol seemed to come to a decision. "Backstage hand. Thank you."

Trip was floored. He was fairly sure he'd never heard 'thank you' out of a Vulcan mouth in his life, and probably wouldn't
ever again. "Ah... yer welcome," he said hesitantly. He surveyed T'Pol's face again. Damn, but she's pretty, he thought to
himself. A pretty Vulcan girl, thankin' me for tellin' her what she's supposed to be doin'. Trip couldn't contain his
amazement. Jon's gonna have a heart attack when I tell him 'bout this, he thought gleefully.

"Backstage's over there an' to yer left," Trip added, gesturing. "See ya around."

T'Pol inclined her head. "Thank you again... Trip." She left without another word.

Trip stood there for a moment longer until he realized his mouth was open. Wow, he thought. She called me Trip. Wow.

He left hurriedly to find Jon Archer and recount the entire incident, only to be told that his friend had left for the day.
Great, Trip sighed, I'll have to tell him later.

xXx 15-ODD YEARS LATER... xXx

Trip stepped into Jon Archer's - Captain Jon Archer's - ready room. "H'lo, Cap'n," he greeted enthusiastically. He glanced
briefly out the spaceport window - a beautiful vista of immobile stars, twinkling solemnly down on them. Trip diverted his
attention back to his friend, now a captain, and grinned.

"Hi, Trip," Jon smiled back. "Have a seat."

Trip did so, settling into one of the rather comfy little couches that were lined up against two of the small room's walls.
They chatted for a little while until Jon's door intercom chimed.

"Come in," Jon called, leaning back in his chair.

The door slid open to reveal an officer. Trip instantly recognized the brown hair, skin and eyes as Vulcan. He remained
sitting as the pointy-eared female stepped inside, confirming his determination.

"Captain," the Vulcan intoned. Trip spared a lazy glance at her form-fitting uniform, dappled in brown and grey. She remained
straight-backed and completely devoid of emotion as Jon nodded in her direction. "Commander, this is our Science Officer,
Sub-commander T'Pol."

Trip had started to rise out of his seat when his ears caught the tantalisingly familiar name. T'Pol? Damn, now where would
I know her from? he thought. He held out his hand automatically and said, as casually as he could, "Trip... I'm called Trip."
T'Pol? Is that you? he wondered, stunned.

T'Pol's steady gaze flickered down to his outstretched hand, then back up again. She searched his blue eyes, and Trip could
have sworn he saw her flash him a small smile.

"I'll try to remember that," she said.

Drama class. Trip had to fight to keep his jaw from hitting the floor. This WAS T'Pol! The very T'Pol who had offered her
assistance 17 years ago in drama class! A thousand different replies flitted through his head, but all he could manage to do
was drop his hand and shake his head slightly as she turned back to Jon. "If that's all, Captain."

He nodded abruptly. "Dismissed."

She tilted her head, and turned to toss one last glance at Trip before heading out the door. Jon noticed his friend's strange
expression as the door hissed shut. "Something wrong, Trip?"

Trip shook his head slowly. "Nothin', Captain."

Nothing. Nothing... "That the malevolence of fortune nothing takes from his high respect".

Well, whaddya know, Trip thought numbly. "You ever read 'Macbeth', Cap'n...?"


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Well? Hee hee hee! Yes, maybe we read too much Shakespeare. So what, it was fun to write. R/R please!