The Striker
Chapter 1: Don't Try This At Home

Copyright© 2015 by The Slim Rhino

Fan Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1: Don't Try This At Home - Ambassadorial Aide T'Pol of Vulcan is displeased with the workout facilities in the Embassy and finds a solution that doesn't quite please her peers. An alternate universe prequel to the "Startrek: Enterprise" series we saw on TV, that features some unusual pairings.

Caution: This Fan Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Romantic   Heterosexual   Fan Fiction   Sports   Science Fiction   Aliens   Light Bond   Oral Sex   Petting   Military  

Sausalito, March 1st 2149

"You have to reconsider, T'Pol-kan!" the venerable Ambassador pleaded. "We have most sophisticated equipment in the embassy to satisfy your need for exercise."

"With all due respect, Tela'at," she replied calmly, holding her superior's gaze. "First of all, to use a human expression, I am sick of running in the same spot for hours on the treadmill. It is repetitive and fairly limited in regard to which muscle groups are exercised. I wish for a more comprehensive workout. I have gained one point two-five-six kilograms of weight since I arrived here. At sixty-four years of age I'm not quite prepared to become as overweight as you are."

"Child!" Soval admonished her for the unseemly address.

"Is it logical to weigh more than what is healthy, Ambassador?" she answered defiantly, knowing that she was close to insubordination. "The training facilities in the compound are deficient. This assessment is not subject to discussion."

She saw the Ambassador sigh and sit down, directing an uncharacteristically unconcealed look of exasperation at her.

"Had I known what challenge your late father would impose on me by making me your En'ahr'at I would have declined to accept the privilege T'Pol-kan. What logic lies in donning armor and brutalizing an opponent – or being brutalized yourself?"

"Is this your attempt at human sarcasm, Tela'at?" she asked back. "As for the combat – you apparently never saw a game of football before or you would know that no combat is involved. There is competition, sometimes mildly physical, but the goal is not to cause injury or death."

"I did watch it," the Ambassador argued and started a playback of a recording on the computer opposite him, evidently to lend weight to his words. "That is why I oppose the idea."

T'Pol watched the recorded game and looked at her superior, wondering if he was suffering from age-induced dementia. "Tela'at, this is not football. The ball in this game is mainly played by hand and has the shape of an egg, so logic dictates that this game should be called 'hand-egg', not football. Football is played with a spherical ball and using the feet only, as the name implies."

"You refer to soccer, child," he replied drily, apparently understanding where the communication error had occurred.

"No, Tela'at, I refer to football. I witnessed the game several times during my basic human cultural training at the London Institute."

"Humans are not logical creatures, T'Pol," her superior and godfather, as humans referred to a paternal En'ahr'at, explained calmly. "On this continent they call that particular game 'soccer', because for reasons that elude my understanding they gave the name 'football' to this much more volatile game." He indicated the recording still going playing on the monitor. "But this does not matter. Your choice of the other game would indeed be more civilized, but it would require you to wear clothing that is... ," he hesitated. "Somewhat revealing, at best. And it does not appear to be an activity becoming a female even if human females indeed engage in it."

The young Vulcan closed her eyes as her instinctive reaction was a most unseemly snort of sarcasm, but she caught and suppressed it in time.

"I do not wish to be confrontational, Tela'at, but what difference does the attire make? In fact the clothing used during the game might be of smaller size, but it obscures the shape of my body more than our uniforms do. I submit that I will garner less unwanted appreciation from human males wearing the competitive apparel. Seeing my exposed legs and arms will surely not inflame their 'imagination' as much as our tight-fitting uniforms do. At least that is my experience."

For the second time her superior and paternal En'ahr'at failed to hide his consternation.

"Now I understand why V'Nur always maintained that you would have an answer to everything. Apparently I cannot convince you to forgo this immersion in human activities, but answer me one question. As neither San Francisco nor Sausalito have a female soccer team, where do you wish to play?"

"Sausalito has a professional team – the 'Sausalito Mariners', which plays in the second division. In absence of a dedicated female team, I wish to try out for the male team. I suggest that Vulcan physiology enables me to be competitive in such an arena, since my natural strength is equivalent, if not superior, to that of the average human male."

"It was his idea, was it not?" the ambassador asked in a heightened voice. "This ... acquaintance of yours – the human engineer."

"If you refer to Lieutenant Tucker then you are mistaken. Indeed he did invite me to watch one of the team's games and was most helpful in explaining the parts of the competitive rules to me that I had not yet fully understood. Yet, the impetus to join them was mine, as I was less than impressed by the performance of one of their players and determined that I could perform the task with more accuracy."

"Overestimation of one's own ability is an emotional indulgence, T'Pol-kan," the gray-haired Ambassador reminded her, but T'Pol was not prepared to concede the point.

"I have carefully evaluated my own ability to engage in the activity. I will neither shame myself nor the Vulcan people by being inept."

"I have a great deal to consider in meditation," the Ambassador said and left the office in what T'Pol thought to be unusual haste, if not – to use the human expression – 'a huff'.

"Hi there."

"Good afternoon Lieutenant," T'Pol said to the young human, who had apparently waited for her outside the Vulcan compound. Without further communication she started walking towards the park, the human walking alongside.

It had been three weeks since she had met the young alien male in her capacity as a member of the Embassy delegation that oversaw the human engineering projects. For reasons she could not explain, she had spent time nearly every day in spirited debate with the engineer and after several days she had accepted his invitation to spend the afternoon together if their schedules permitted. As a result they had done so exactly nine times since then.

He was a most skilled engineer, something that she had known already from reading the reports she had been given before reporting for duty at the Vulcan embassy two months ago, but she had seen him 'in action' and had determined that, if anything, the reports did not reflect the full extent of his talent. As the humans had started to build their first warp five vessel, scheduled to be finished within the next two to three years, she thought that whoever would be the captain, he or she would be remiss not to select this human as the chief engineer.

Today was such a joint afternoon again and she was wondering what the human would suggest as an activity this time. He had once taken her on a 'sightseeing tour', a predefined circular journey through San Francisco that served the purpose of introducing the interested visitor to the landmarks the humans deemed noteworthy. Another time he had invited her to a human restaurant, sensibly one that served a substantial variety of vegetarian meals, and afterwards he had taken her to watch a football game of the Sausalito Mariners, of which he was apparently a fervent supporter.

Through conversation with a human language instructor, a very young female named Hoshi Sato, who had helped her learn the human standard language, she knew that these recurring meetings were called 'dates' and that her being invited repeatedly to join him on them was a sign of romantic interest on the part of the human male. Since she was already betrothed to a Vulcan male, however disagreeable that arragement might be, reciprocating the romantic interest was not possible, yet somehow she could not bring herself to demand cessation of these invitations – or even mention, at some convenient moment, the existence of that betrothal contract.

Not only was the lieutenant's company rather agreeable, it also allowed her to leave the confines of the Vulcan Embassy, safe in the knowledge that she was accompanied by someone knowledgeable about the alien planet's customs.

"It didn't go too well, did it?" the human asked, abruptly ending her silent contemplation.

"Ambassador Soval, quite foreseeably, did not approve of the idea," she replied dryly. "He considers it unbecoming a female."

His eyebrows quirked up interrogatively. "So what will you do?"

"My planned course of action does not require the Ambassador's approval."

The human laughed and she was reminded of how agreeable she found this sound. Laughing was not unknown to Vulcans, but it would only occur with individuals suffering from Bendii syndrome, like her father's uncle V'Cren, who in old age had his emotional control eradicated by the debilitating illness. Hearing a human laugh, more specifically this particular human, was a much more agreeable sensation, knowing that it was normal, even desirable, for them.

"So you're set on goin' through with it?"

"Of course I am, Lieutenant. I do, however, need to acquire the necessary apparel. I believe you offered your assistance with that."

"Yes I did," the human replied, his amused admiration for her determination apparent. "And a Tucker isn't goin' back on his word. There's an Intersport shop right around the corner. Let's go."

"What can I do for you Ambassador?"

"I am not here in an official function, Maxwell, so according to our agreement we may address each other by name in private," Soval said, taking a seat on the chair his human host had offered.

"Ok, so what is it Soval? I know you don't like being called out for it, but you look a bit ... upset."

"I am indeed unsettled. I believe you know T'Pol, my new aide?" Soval asked, carefully observing the human's reaction.

"Sure. People tell me she's rather easily approachable and you know this hasn't been the strong point of your staff for quite a while."

The Vulcan nodded acceptance of the compliment, taking the implied criticism within it with trained ease; it was, after all, a justified complaint.

"Indeed. It is unfortunate that I am forced to rely on aides like Tos. He is suited to many functions, but an Ambassadorial aide is unfortunately not one of them." He relished the sound of his friend's laughter, suppressing a faint, unworthy twinge of regret that Vulcan manners did not allow him to indulge in such informality himself.

"I am, however, concerned by how far T'Pol wants to immerse herself in human customs," he continued, a little reluctantly. "In fact, she wants to join the local soccer team, despite the fact that it is a male team."

"Please tell me she's trying out for striker!" the human demanded, and Soval was taken aback by the unexpected reply. "God, Gonzales is shit. He couldn't hit a barn door from two yards out!"

Soval looked at his companion, knowing that his expression was probably not as neutral as Vulcan decorum demanded. Maxwell's whole demeanor had transformed; it was obvious that the news interested him deeply – unfortunately not in the way he had been anticipated. Indeed, the human was looking eagerly at his watch.

"Soval, the tryouts are today at seventeen hundred. That's two hours from now. Your shuttle still here?"

"It is indeed."

"Good, let's go!"

Well, it was not exactly what he had expected, but it seemed churlish to refuse. Moderating his response to a mild raising of the eyebrows, Soval stood back to allow his suddenly animated friend to lead him from the room towards the ambassadorial shuttle he had arrived in.

"Umm, well, ma'am, that's a thing you'll have to buy on your own," the human said with obvious unease. "The sports bras are up that aisle."

"A... 'bra'?" she asked, not quite understanding what her companion was referring to and why he suddenly adressed her with such formality.

"A ... well ... support for ... these," the engineer explained, his face flushing with a deep red tinge. As he stammered his explanation his cupped hands hinted at lifting mammary features that males of neither species possessed.

"My breasts will not need support, Lieutenant," she explained, not really understanding why the human suddenly had such problems communicating. "Earth's gravity is lower than that of my planet."

"They're still going to bounce around," a female voice said from behind, and T'Pol turned to see the young linguist – Hoshi Sato.

"I'm sorry to barge in, I just happened to overhear your conversation. The lieutenant is right, you'll need a sports bra if you engage in anything that requires fast movement." She darted a look that was bright with amused sympathy at the clearly embarrassed engineer.

"Since Lieutenant Tucker is obviously uncomfortable with the subject, would you help me procure such an item, Miss Sato?"

"Sure," the young human said and T'Pol saw in the easy way she and the lieutenant smiled at each other that the two of them had obviously met before. She didn't quite understand, why that thought made her uncomfortable.

"Maxwell, does this garishly colored garment have any particular importance?" Soval asked.

The Admiral had directed the shuttle towards his own residence, where the human had changed into a equally garishly colored blue jacket and adorned himself and his guest with a scarf that read 'Mariners Forever'. The bemused Vulcan inspected the woolen item around his neck. It was the same garish blue as his friend's jacket.

The transformation in his friend's manner appeared, if anything, to have grown more pronounced. His whole manner exuded enthusiasm. "Soval, we are not going to a Mariners tryout without fan gear and hell, if you've seen it, maybe you'll accept T'Pol's choice. Alternatively there's of course the chance that she won't make the team, in which case your worries are unfounded."

"She will 'make the team'," Soval insisted, surprising himself by the forcefulness of his statement.

"'Nother one caught the Mariners bug," the human said, laughing, which confused Soval, as he had not been hunting any insects. Sometimes the human vernacular was infuriatingly confusing.

"Are you here by accident?" T'Pol asked, looking at herself in the mirror. She had tried on the proposed item in the changing booth, while the young human female waited outside.

"Yes and no," the human answered cryptically from the other side of the curtain that served as the booth's door. "Actually I was planning to come here, but not till later; but when I saw the two of you enter, I changed my route and came here first. It's the first time I've ever seen a Vulcan enter a sports shop and I became a bit curious."

"If I may ask," the Vulcan replied, taking off the garment again, now standing in front of the mirror with a bare torso. "Do you know Lieutenant Tucker?"

"We've met," the other woman replied, and T'Pol could hear from the vocal inflection that her conversation partner was not entirely comfortable with the question.

She pushed the curtain of the changing booth aside.

"You do not need to worry, Miss Sato; if you have any intimate designs on Lieutenant Tucker..."

Her sentence was rudely interrupted by the young human violently shutting the curtains again, with a yelp of,

"Good grief, T'Pol, you're half-naked!"

"I apologize. Is this offensive among humans?" she asked, donning her T-shirt and stepping out of the booth again. The thought of having unwittingly offended her human friend Charles was a surprisingly dismaying one.

"Not an offense," the young linguist said and T'Pol could see that the human female was trying hard not to laugh. "But look."

She looked in the indicated direction. At some considerable distance she could see Lieutenant Tucker staring at her in shock.

"You've just given the poor guy a view he's going to dream about for weeks and you've given me an inferiority complex."

"So humans are ... inconvenienced ... by seeing a partially unclothed body," T'Pol stated the obvious.

"Not so much 'inconvenienced' as... 'aroused'," the young human replied, her face somewhat pink – a color similar to, but not as extreme, as she had seen on the lieutenant's fetures earlier. "Nature hardwired males to ... react, especially if one looks as spectacular as you do. Are you trying to say Vulcans don't mind being seen without clothes?"

"Some do 'mind'," T'Pol explained. "But many others don't. The body is merely a shell to house our katra. I believe humans call it 'a soul' and Vulcans are not programmed to react to visual stimuli."

"Well, I think I know which camp you belong to," the linguist said with visible amusement as they walked towards the human male, who was still standing frozen in place, and who seemed – for some inexplicable reason – unable to meet her eyes.

"I will take my leave for the tryouts, Lieutenant," T'Pol said to her human companion. "You are not obliged to wait for me if it does not fit your schedule."

"I'll be here," he replied absent-mindedly. He had been this way since they had left the sportswear shop. Thankfully Miss Sato had spontaneously decided to accompany them. T'Pol wasn't altogether sure if Lieutenant Tucker would be able to function without supervision. She was still uncomfortable, not knowing why the Lieutenant and the young female seemed to be so familiar with each other, but the worry about Charles' confused state overrode her reservation against the other female's presence. Such feelings were unseemly anyway.

She could not understand why a short exposure of her unclothed torso had unsettled the human like that. She had witnessed several hazardous situations in the human warp five complex. Lieutenant Tucker had never been ... unsettled ... by any of those.

Clearly, she reflected, human psychology required more study.

She entered the changing room that was marked 'women' and changed into the newly acquired attire. The 'sports bra' made her bust appear much smaller than it was, but she was grateful for Miss Sato's advice. The tissue would indeed have caused disruption if allowed to move freely – particularly if the lieutenant's disproportionate reaction was typical of all males of his species. Instead, the delicate flesh was now being held firmly in place by the restrictive garment. They had procured a combination of white pants and a blue shirt in reference to the team's official colors, reckoning that she only needed one set. If she was accepted into the team, she would be issued official apparel in any case.

And she would be accepted. Any other outcome was not worthy of contemplation.

The ball sailed the 25 meters to the goal, struck and kocked out the entirely unprepared goalkeeper. Loud laughter from the human players accompanied the event, but that died quickly when the severity of the goalkeepers predicament became obvious.

"Erm, Miss T'Pol, how am I going to put it... ," the human coach started gesticulating erratically, visibly barely able to keep his composure. "That was one hell of a free kick, but that was a medicine ball. You just knocked our goalie unconscious with a three kilogram shell!"

"That was deliberate, you jerk!" an angry voice called from behind and before T'Pol could assess the changed situation, she saw the human coach's collar in the iron grip of a clearly enraged human engineer. "What was the goddamn plan? You wanted her to break her ankle, just so you could laugh at her?"

The team suddenly fell silent. Apparently some of the players had been privy to what must have been some kind of cruel trap.

"Time to own up, coach." The player with the number six on his shirt spoke up, and T'Pol could tell he was not pleased with himself. "The man's right."

Silence ensued. In it, the man stepped forward, a resolute look on his narrow face under sweat-damp dark hair.

"I apologize ma'am. My name is Malcolm Reed, defensive mid-fielder. I was skeptical about you like all of us. We don't know anything about Vulcans and when we were told that one was trying out for the team, and a woman at that, we all went along with the coach's idea. I'm truly sorry. We were blithering idiots, and you could have been badly hurt. Bloody hell, though, after that shot I sincerely hope you don't try out for the opposition."

"Speak for yourself, Limey!" a rather robustly-built player replied.

T'Pol could see that the team was divided. About half of the players agreed with Mr. Reed's sentiment, the others maintained rather loudly that this was not a place for a Vulcan, much less a woman.

She observed with some regret that the unconscious goalkeeper still had not moved as he was stretchered away; doubtless as he had not expected her to impart such force to the ball, he had not been sufficiently prepared to avoid it. While the lieutenant's attention was distracted by the general confusion, she took the chance to gently remove his hand from the coach's collar. Surprisingly he offered no protest; his rage appeared to be cooling.

"Well, without a goalie we can't continue anyway. Francis is out for at least six weeks and the second one just got knocked out, too," one of the players said despondently.

"I'm not Lew Yashin, but I played goalkeeper a few times when I was younger," the engineer said. "Should do for training purposes."

"Alright... !" Renewed hope filled the faces around them.

"Tucker," the engineer filled in for the coach, though not without a glower that said nothing had been forgotten yet. She could see that he was not offering his services out of a desire to join the team, but to help facilitate the continued evaluation of her suitability for the team.

"Tucker, there's a locker full of kit in room three. You should find something your size," the human coach instructed.

"Be right back."

"This was a deliberate slight was it not?" Soval asked, in one of the less exposed spectators' seats a short distance away, and Maxwell knew the Vulcan was seething beneath that strictly controlled exterior.

"But boy did she show them up," he answered, not quite able to enjoy the satisfaction as much as he would have liked to. It was embarrassing to have witnessed a human team behave in such an ungentlemanly manner and he'd have a word with the management come next morning. Pulling a stunt like this in the presence of the Vulcan Ambassador was more than stupid; it was just plain idiotic, and could have serious diplomatic repercussions.

"I am confused. T'Pol insinuated she knew the game. She should have known that this was not a legitimate ball."

"Soval, could you see that the thing weighed six kilograms?" Forest asked.

"Of course not."

"Neither could T'Pol. She's witnessed games, but no training. How was she supposed to know that it isn't a training device? If I remember correctly, the staffs you use for Suus Mannah training look a hell of a lot different from an actual lirpa."

"Indeed," the Vulcan conceded. "But why would the human try to deliberately sabotage the proceedings?"

"It's not the coach," Maxwell sighed. "This club is owned by Peter Monrovich, a guy who thinks that if your wife looks out of the window, it means her leash is too long. He doesn't even have a beef with T'Pol being Vulcan. It's the fact that she is female..."

"Has there been no precedent?" the Ambassador asked back.

"Well there almost was, but only almost, once, and even that was more than one hundred and forty years ago. An Italian team called AC Perugia tried to contract the most famous female player at the time, but she declined. That's as close as it ever got."

"So do I understand that T'Pol is the first female ever to play competitively in a male team?"

"She didn't make the team yet, Soval."

"She will."

Maxwell hid his smile behind his scarf. The Vulcan truly had caught the Mariners bug.

"Alright," the coach decreed. "Two teams, on one goal. Reed, you select Team One, Moose, you select Team Two."

"T'Pol," the human called Reed demanded instantly, and T'Pol walked up to him. Passing by the other players, she could see the disdainful looks of the enormous human called 'Moose'.

One after the other, team mates were nominated and when the teams were complete the four non-nominees left the field.

"T'Pol, I want you to play striker. What are your strengths?" Reed inquired.

"I do not know. I never played competitively."

"Well if that monstrous whack was anything to go by, you're good at long range shots. We'll try that," the human decided.

"Goddammit, what a hit!" Maxwell screamed after T'Pol had thumped home a massive volley from thirty yards out. "Retire Gonzalez! There's a striker worth the name!"

But the elation was short lived.

Soval stood up in shock and barely restrained anger, accompanied by a loud "What the fuck?" from his human companion, after the Vulcan female was fouled rudely by the towering human from the opposing team – the one they called 'Moose'. Gracefully she got back to her feet again, though it was visible afterwards that she was limping slightly from the hard contact.

Mere minutes later T'Pol was rushing towards the goal, steering the ball with her foot, when she was brought crashing down again after being illegally attacked a second time by the enormous human. Although her human team mates helped her up, it was clear that she was now in considerable in pain. The coach, acting as a referee, called a situation Maxwell referred to as a 'free kick' – clearly some form of penalty for the foul play.

The Ambassador watched the proceedings with close interest as T'Pol spoke rapidly in an undertone to the human who had nominated her for his team. After seeing accepting nods from both sides, he surmised the two had come to an understanding about a possible course of action.

When the whistle was blown the human kicked the ball just a few inches into the air before T'Pol struck it violently with her booted foot. Without so much as a reaction the stunned engineer in the goal watched the projectile crash into the back of the net.

The training continued. To Maxwell it was obvious that T'Pol was almost completely inexperienced at the game. Her superior Vulcan sense of balance and coordination in connection with her intellectual prowess, however, allowed her to calculate an optimal trajectory for the ball, so whenever she shot at the goal she usually scored or at least got a heroic save out of the ersatz-goalie, Tucker.

The problem was that she was way too rarely in a position to shoot at the target. Her positioning was erratic at best, and more often than not her team members missed their target when trying to lob a pass at her. Nonetheless when the final whistle went her team had won 4-1.

"Alright," the coach explained, when the two teams assembled around him. "T'Pol, your technique is better than anything I ever saw from a beginner, but you obviously have no tactical experience."

"The dynamics of the game are indeed still unknown to me," she replied, relying on the fact that the coach would not use that against her.

"But that is something you can easily pick up in training," the stout man replied.

"She has no place in a men's team," the human called 'Moose' insisted – he had continued to attack her unfairly several times during the game.

"Oh she has," the man called Reed countered. "But you are severely in doubt now, Gonzales. As soon as she's had time to work on her positioning, your arse will be warming up the bench, because you're utterly useless at your job."

Most of other team members erupted in laughter and nodded their heads in agreement.

"Okay," the coach interrupted the celebrations. "T'Pol, if you are still interested, welcome to the Mariners."

A round of applause from the other team members followed, with only a small group of five players around Gonzales declining to join the ritual.

"Thank you, coach," she intoned the phrase she thought to be most fitting according to human customs.

"Okay everybody. Tomorrow, same time." The players were dismissed, but the coach asked her, Lieutenant Tucker and Malcolm Reed to stay.

He appeared uncomfortable, but he faced her squarely and took a deep breath. "First of all, I want to apologize again, T'Pol. That stunt with the medicine ball was uncalled-for and I should have stood up to Monrovich and Gonzales."

"Would that apology not be more suitably directed at the injured goalkeeper?" T'Pol asked back, fixing him with a steady stare. "He was injured because of this folly."

"Serves him right," she heard Malcolm Reed snort. "He was one of the blokes from Gonzales' posse who came up with it in the first place. Why do you think he didn't move? He didn't want to miss the moment when you break your ankle." His accent was quite unlike any of the other men's, and she realized that he was probably not native to the United States. In fact, she remembered that she had heard very similar accents during her cultural training in London.

"I can't believe you allowed that in the first place. She could have broken her ankle!"

The angry accusation of Lieutenant Tucker alerted her senses in case the young human felt a need to assault the coach again. Clearly his ire had not faded completely.

"I know, Tucker, and trust me, I feel bad enough about it. But I only just started this job and I risk it enough by allowing T'Pol on the team. It doesn't make what I did acceptable, though," the coach admitted, looking shamefaced.

"Are you sure you want to play for someone like that Monrovich guy?" the young engineer asked her. "He doesn't sound like a big fan of yours."

"Would you not agree that proving this individual wrong would be the better course of action as opposed to simply giving in to his prejudiced views?" she asked back.

"I sure hope so," the coach answered. "My job depends on it, but from what I've seen, you've definitely got the potential."

Soval extinguished his meditation candle and stood after a long process of working through the confusing emotions and sensations that had assaulted his mind over the day. He walked towards the window and looked outside, just in time to see his young aide return to the compound.

She was still accompanied by the young human who had so ferociously defended her during the afternoon's trials. With no little amount of shock, he observed how the human slung his arms around her torso and T'Pol – instead of protesting the uninvited touch – returned the gesture somewhat stiffly. For a Vulcan, especially a betrothed female, this was a gross violation of protocol.

It was not difficult to see that the young human male had obvious intimate designs on his charge and she did not expend much effort on keeping him at a distance. With every passing day it became clearer why his deceased brother had shown momentary lapses of emotional control in regards to his daughter. On the other hand, those lapses had often been of an affectionate nature. It was undoubtedly taxing though to care for the well-being of his unorthodox niece.

"You need not concern yourself," he said dryly when the door to the atrium was opened with extreme care, obviously meant to avoid any noises.

"You are still awake, Tela'at." She did not seem particularly surprised to see him – nor did she display any of the guilt that her uncle had somewhat expected.

"Obviously," Soval replied dryly, feeling reminded of Maxwell's claim that Vulcans had 'a knack for stating the obvious'. Apparently that claim was not entirely without merit.

"I was accepted into the team," she reported. Clearly she had not seen her observers in the seating, or she would have been aware that he already knew of that as well.

"That too was obvious," the Vulcan replied, leading the way into the inner rooms. "In fact one particular human seems to be quite elated by the news. Do you not find it unseemly to allow a human such intimate touch? How will your betrothed take this news, if he hears of it?"

He turned around in surprise when his question was answered by an audible snort - a most unseemly reaction from a Vulcan.

"Are we talking about the same betrothed who has not deemed me worthy of answering a single communication for twenty years, Tela'at? Are we talking about the same betrothed who chose to resolve his blood fever with another female, even though the Seleya and therefore I were only a two-day journey from Vulcan at the time?"

"You know very well that these incidents are common in our society. The blood fever is no condition to take lightly. I am sure Koss would have waited for you had his condition allowed him to do so."

"O really, Tela'at?" she replied and by now she was baring her teeth in openly-displayed anger. "You forget that I have been working for the Ministry of Security for almost two decades. I am quite aware of Koss' intimate indiscretions with a female called T'Lara of Shi'Kar. In fact the clan law does not reflect favorably on your failure to alert me of his illicit exploits."

Soval fought hard not to gasp. He had indeed been aware of the fact that Koss had mated repeatedly with the accused female. This was a particularly sore point of the direction Vulcan society had taken under the rule of V'Las. Male infidelity was a widespread phenomenon on Vulcan, and he found himself dismayed that he had helped to perpetuate this disagreeable status quo by not interfering with Koss' disagreeable trabsgressions.

"Is that sufficient reason to throw yourself at a human?" he asked, trying to avoid any open signs of uneasiness. "Surely we can find you a more agreeable betrothed among our own kind."

"With all due respect, Tela'at, I advise you to spare yourself the effort. As obviously my own parents were not capable of doing that to a sufficient degree, I no longer trust anyoneone but myself to make that decision. And I protest the insinuation that I 'throw myself' at a human. First of all, showing more interest in them is not at all disagreeable, but an integral part of our work. You as our Ambassador to their world should be the first to acknowledge that."

Soval took a breath to interrupt her, but T'Pol-kan was apparently not prepared to stop her lecture and simply continued.

"And as far as my friendship with Charles is concerned – it is none of your business. With respect to your status as my En'ahr'at, be informed that – in contrast to my betrothed – I have not been intimately unfaithful and do not contemplate doing so any time soon. Charles Tucker and Hoshi Sato have done more to help me find my place on this planet than all of the Embassy staff put together, so forgive me, Tela'at, if I find their company more agreeable than being accompanied by someone like Tos."

Soval watched her stalk off straight towards her meditation chamber, obviously in emotional turmoil.

"A Klingon targ is more agreeable company than Tos," he muttered, and quickly lit the meditation candle to deal with the aftermath of this emotional encounter.

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