I am basing my stories upon Star Trek: Enterprise, and the intriguing interspecies relationship between T’Pol of Vulcan and Trip Tucker, who is very, very human.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!
This story contains some suggestive elements; reader discretion advised.
Today’s Story A Day promptis to write a story based on a “locked room” prompt.
I took this one with a lot of liberties. The prompt allowed for improvisation; so I used the opening scenes of the episode, where T’Pol meditates alone in her room, back uncharacteristically to the wall. Trip comes in, and feels that she’s locked herself in tight, and him out…
This one got me…over 6000 words’ worth! I had an idea, but things kept stretching out, and out, and…it took time to get that prompt in at the right place!
So, it’s a really long story…and I loved writing it!
On a battered and limping starship, in quarters lit only by the flickering flames of multiple candles, a young woman sat alone upon the floor, legs folded beneath her, attempting to still a mind that had become frightening in its wilfulness. She sat with her back to the door, in an effort, quite likely misguided, to prevent her watching it. Although it was true that she did not crane her head to look at the barrier, it would be as equally untrue that she was not profoundly aware of the door – the physical portal between this silent refuge-prison and the rest of the ship.
Before she had adjusted her positioning, it had been impossible to avoid focusing on the door rather than her single flame.
She’d been foolish, perhaps, to think that this shift, that even more flames, would tame the impulse.
The door had become the symbol – of all she denied herself, retreated from –
Even now, her desires -and the fears that shadowed them – pressed inward from that door. She could feel their force, omnipresent, overwhelming…
But nothing to what she felt when duty compelled her to breach the scant shield that door, and this room, offered. Considering that emotional tangle brought a vivid memory of the tentacled, single-cell creature that had come aboard so small as to be undetected, but which had eventually taken up nearly an entire cargo bay, and five crewmen.
Apprehension. Longing. Fear. Shame. Guilt. The feelings of all those around her; emotional responses she’d thought she’d long since grown accustomed to – a necessity for living and working amongst ceaselessly emotive humans…
The one now nearing the door. Would this be the time he attempted to breach the walls she’d tried to erect between them?
He’d come here before. She’d spoken nothing of it – what could she say, and how could she say it to him, when he’d already borne such loss, and had done nothing wrong? – but she had felt him.
Like the sharp piercing pain of their first sexual interaction, like a blade stabbing into her heart, she had felt him, five times, come to this door, reach his fingers toward the doorbell –
And hesitate a long moment before going away.
Each time, she had sat breathless, staring, knees drawn up to her chest, unable to decide whether she wanted him to press the signal, or what she would do when he did.
He would. Being who he was, he couldn’t restrain himself forever.
Nor, T’Pol feared, could she.
He reached the door; something within her leapt more richly to life. The many-tentacled being of her emotions swelled, growing more complex, as she waited – at least, with her back to the door, she could restrain the impulse to huddle in upon herself in a defensive posture he would certainly recognize.
The pause was less than three breaths – hers, sharp and quick although she tempted to smooth them back into the deep breathing needed for meditation.
Or the semblance of it, at any rate.
And then she felt his decisive breath; heard him mutter on the other side of the door, “Feel like I should be saying ‘once more into the breach’, or ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’. Or, better yet, and maybe truer, ‘here there be dragons.’ Or one beautiful, confounding, elusive little fire-dweller, anyway.” Another breath. “Stop standing out here talking to yourself like an idiot, Trip. The lady’s hurting, and she needs help, and you’re friends. Just friends. Got it?”
Apparently, he did, because, in the silence that followed, the door chimed his arrival.
In the three swift heartbeats she allowed herself, T’Pol wondered how much larger the creature might have grown, had they not sealed it within the cargo bay? How much would her feelings? Was there a finite limit, as the ship would have been to the creature; or was she a singularity, with an endless capacity for holding new emotions, new tangles of feeling?
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