As she clambered out onto the hull, T’Pol was pissed. Well, as pissed as a Vulcan could be. As first officer, she’d argued with Jonathan Archer that the captain’s place was on the bridge, not on the hull. As a practical matter, she mused to herself, they had to put him somewhere, even though he wasn’t good for much. He certainly wasn’t any good at dealing with munitions. To her mind, he proved the thesis of an old treatise on management she’d found in the ship’s library which claimed that Earth organizations tended to promote people to their level of incompetence. It was her opinion that he’d reached his some time ago. She’d calculated that there was only an infinitesimal chance that he’d send her instead. That was soon proved wrong, but she was sure that it wasn’t her mathematics that had been faulty.
As she clambered out onto the hull, T’Pol was pissed. Well, as pissed as a Vulcan could be. As first officer, she’d argued with Jonathan Archer that the captain’s place was on the bridge, not on the hull. As a practical matter, she mused to herself, they had to put him somewhere, even though he wasn’t good for much. He certainly wasn’t any good at dealing with munitions. To her mind, he proved the thesis of an old treatise on management she’d found in the ship’s library which claimed that Earth organizations tended to promote people to their level of incompetence. It was her opinion that he’d reached his some time ago.
She’d calculated that there was only an infinitesimal chance that he’d send her instead. That was soon proved wrong, but she was sure that it wasn’t her mathematics that had been faulty.
This whole exercise was illogical. Her people knew that the Romulans were trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with B, that stands for . . . what was that word? Badass! That was the word. Unfortunately, that information was classified and not part of the Vulcan database that had been provided to the humans. Without that little tidbit, she knew it would be a waste of breath, and waste was illogical, to tell Archer that the needs of the many, his crew, outweighed the needs of the few or the one, Lieutenant Reed, and that he should, indeed, detach the panel, and as the chief engineer would so colorfully put it, blow this pop stand. So here she was working her way across the hull to rescue their so-called “ordnance expert” who either didn’t know how many spikes a Romulan mine had, or had been too clumsy to avoid one.
She didn’t even have any interest in Reed and couldn’t understand what Ensign Sato saw in the skinny little runt with a stick up his ass. Really, with a prime specimen like Charles Tucker around, a man with eyes as blue as his underwear, why would any logical woman choose someone else? There was a high degree of probability that the humans would be surprised by her assessment, especially Trip, who often seemed clueless when it came to her. She could, after all, appreciate male attributes. She wasn’t dead: She was merely a Vulcan.
When she finally got to Reed and surveyed his situation, she rolled her eyes at the absurdity of it and felt no shame. After all, when in an EV suit out in space, no one can see you show emotion.
She gave him the hypospray Dr. Phlox had prepared and hoped it would put the lieutenant out. She had no wish for idle chatter while working on the mine. The noise was distracting, and this mine appeared to be a model #60187. They could be most challenging with that internal subdetonator.
She carefully scrutinized Reed one last time. It appeared as though he were about to regurgitate right there in his EV suit. Given the superoxy in the hypospray, she half expected him to say something quite inappropriate such as, “Please, ma’am may I have some more,” but instead he said, “Subcommander, do you know you have an awfully nice bum?”
She resisted the urge to rip off his oxygen hose and ran through a quick meditation exercise before answering, “This really isn’t the time for a chat, Lieutenant.”
She turned back to the mine and got to work. She didn’t notice that when his oxy-addled mind caught up with his mouth, he courteously removed his oxygen pack for her.
Based on its age, the mine turned out not to be as hard to diffuse as she had anticipated. Yes, the subdetonator had been a bit dicey, but she had been well trained and knew all the tricks.
Unfortunately, the de-arming had taken slightly longer than a human brain could go without oxygen. Well, it’s not like she’d miss him. Vulcans didn’t feel that emotion even when they found the person agreeable, which Reed certainly was not.
She came back inside and reported to Archer. “The mine has been rendered harmless.”
“He has been rendered harmless as well, Captain.”
At Archer’s confused look, she clarified her response. “I am sorry, but Lieutenant Reed is deceased. I did the best I could.”
“I’m sure you did, T’Pol, but sometimes shit happens. I suppose he’ll just float away when we can finally go to warp? No sense bringing the body inside when we’ll just shoot him out again.”
T’Pol thought that this was the first logical thing the captain had said since they started the mission over a year ago. Still, if she were being honest, she was gratified that Archer didn’t seem too upset. Human reactions were so difficult to predict. Then again, why should he be upset? He didn’t really know the man beyond the fact that he liked to eat pineapple, and he didn’t follow sports, not even water polo.
“I’m going to need a new armory officer. Since you’ve just proven that you have excellent skills in that area, I think that person should be you, T’Pol. I know you’re already the chief science officer and the first officer. Taking on tactical would be way too much for a mere human, but I’m sure that as a Vulcan you’ll handle it with no trouble at all. Now get out of that EV suit and go down to engineering. Trip’s going to need help patching the big hole in the hull. I want to be able to go to warp by 0800 tomorrow.”
Just then, a pitiful howl filled the bay. “With all this excitement, you need to go out, don’t you boy?”
“T’Pol, I need to walk Porthos. You’ve got the bridge.”
On the bridge, Ensigns Hoshi Sato and Travis Mayweather gave each other nervous glances. The way things were going, they wondered how long it would be before they lost their own jobs. Sato was particularly anxious because she knew that when translated from Old Vulcan, “T’Pol” meant “Mary Sue.”
T’Pol didn’t miss those looks as she sat in the captain’s chair. By her calculations, Mayweather’s odds of remaining employed were higher than Sato’s. He’d done an acceptable job of maneuvering them out of the minefield, but Sato had taken sick time in the middle of the incident. Most inconvenient and rather unprofessional.
Plus, the little sehlat had had a mouth on her from day one. Did Sato believe she’d forgotten that? The comm panel only needed a few minor upgrades to make it fully automated. T’Pol was sure she could convince Archer to drop the woman off at the repair station.
They didn’t really need to stop there, though. She and Trip, the Dynamic Duo as the ship’s grapevine had christened them, had done a more than adequate job of repairing the hull with nothing more than baling wire, bubble gum, Chef’s already galaxy-famous mashed potatoes, and duct tape.
The ship had gone to warp at 07:59:59. Leave it to Archer to express dissatisfaction and demand a paint job. The only duct tape on hand had been glow-in-the-dark green. She’d found it quite aesthetically pleasing, but Archer hadn’t. He’d spent a half hour chewing out the quartermaster, and now she had his job, too!
Her people had a saying: “If you want something done right, then you have to do it yourself.” Smart people, those Vulcans, and T’Pol was smarter than your average Vulcan, even if she did say so herself. For just a moment, much too fast for any of the bridge crew to catch, a self-satisfied smile appeared on her lips.
Little did Archer know that she was after his job next.