|Name: Della Street
Title: SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE
Disclaimer: A loving F/F relationship, nothing too explicit
Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise
Summary: TíPol and Hoshi meet up years after leaving
SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE
"Did you hear?"
Professor Sato looked up from todayís
outline into the face of her excited student. "Hear what?"
"Theyíve announced where the
Presidentís speech is going to be," the girl exclaimed.
Hoshi waited patiently for her to
"Here!" She pointed at the
"Here? At USF?" Hoshi was
stunned. The University of San Francisco was a pleasant, intimate
campus, not one of the larger or, frankly, more prestigious schools. No
United Federation of Planets president had ever visited the university,
let alone given a speech there to be broadcast throughout earth and all
other members of the United Federation of Planets.
For security reasons, the site of the
speech had been kept under wraps until the day before the event, but
most observers assumed that, if it were on earth, it would be in New
York City or Geneva. At USF? For just an instant, Hoshi wondered: Could
it be . . . She rolled her eyes. Donít
"Thatís amazing," she agreed.
"Did you hear anything about who gets to attend?"
"I think thereís some kind of
drawing or something," the girl bubbled. "Itís by
Hoshi smiled; funny how words like
"drawing" continued to be part of the vocabulary long after
they had outlasted their original meaning. But if Marisa was correct,
she needed to move quickly to submit a request on behalf of her
department. The odds werenít good, of course; every other department
had probably already applied, but she had to try. She couldnít pass
this up, not after all these years.
* * * * *
Hoshi gestured for her students to follow
the security officers. Trailing behind them, she glanced up at the
stage, but of course no one was there yet. Try a little maturity, she
told herself; you are a grown woman. She slid into the aisle
seat, pleasantly surprised; these were terrific seats. They had passed a
number of diplomatic types who undoubtedly would like to have exchanged
places with her young charges, but Hoshi had no intention of extending
the courtesy. One of the perqs of working for the host, she
Nearly an hour later, Bill Glover,
president of the university, stepped out onto the stage, followed by two
men and two women who Hoshi suspected were security officers, and then
Ė her. As dignified and impressive as ever. Hoshi was mesmerized. If
possible, the Vulcan was even more beautiful than when they had met
fourteen years earlier.
There were sounds uttering from Billís
mouth, Hoshi was vaguely aware, but all of her senses were focused on
the magnificent woman seated to his left. Now, TíPol was rising, and
gliding, it seemed, to the podium.
"I thank President Glover for that
favorable, if misleading, introduction," she began, and Hoshi
joined in the laughter. Humor, TíPol?
Guess some of those human traits did rub off on you.
"I am gratified for the opportunity
to discuss the peace accord reached last month in the Anterian
sector," TíPol continued. "That achievement, of course, was
due to the good will and selflessness of each of the eleven world
representatives . . . ."
As TíPol acknowledged by name each of
the presidents or consulates or premiers of those barbaric regions,
actually managing to make them sound civilized, Hoshi concentrated on
the other womanís face. Everyone knew that those planets had been at
war for hundreds of years; how TíPol even got them into the same room
without killing each other was the subject of much speculation.
"I began the negotiations by
recounting an event which I had never disclosed before." TíPolís
words regained Hoshiís attention. "Some of you may know that, for
several years, I served on the Federation starship Enterprise
under Captain Jonathan Archer. My interaction with humans had been
somewhat limited, and during one away mission, I was paired with a young
ensign who, I soon learned, did not seem in the least intimidated by my
TíPol paused, and Hoshi waited. Would
this be a story sheíd heard before?
"We initially landed in a thriving
metropolitan area, with rather pleasing landscape and weather. After
completing trade discussions, however, our shuttle experienced a power
failure during an electrical storm, and we crash landed a few hundred
kilometers away. Due to the atmospheric conditions and damage to our
equipment, we were unable to communicate with Enterprise to
inform them that we had concluded our business and were now
Oh, my God . . .
Hoshi remembered it well.
"The weather in this area was . . .
rather unique," TíPol continued, with what Hoshi recognized as
something close to a smile. "At times, it was so warm that the
ensign and I were compelled to remove most of our attire. At other
times, the temperature would drop without warning, and we struggled to
generate sufficient heat to survive."
Hoshi grinned. She remembered both with
equal pleasure: Watching TíPol stroll around with nothing on but thin
undergarments, and huddling together with the Vulcan under shared
"As we walked to the nearest
populated area, my talkative companion became preoccupied with
speculating as to why the outlying colonists did not move to the more
pleasant environs relatively near by."
Hoshi smiled at the gibe. As she
recalled, TíPol had eventually chimed in with a few guesses of her
"After a three-day trek, the ensign
and I arrived at a colony, and were able to communicate with our ship.
While awaiting a shuttle from Enterprise, the ensign could not
resist asking the premier why they did not move to the main colony. His
reply was rather enlightening." TíPol paused. "ĎWhy would
"Why would we?"
Hoshi said softly at the same time.
"That experience illustrated two
principles essential to negotiation." TíPol moved into the main
topic of her presentation. "First, it is arrogant to assume that
others share our same priorities and perceptions. The colonists might
have been perfectly content with what we found rather distressing
circumstances. Second, the status quo may at times reflect tradition
more than a conscious decision. Perhaps the two colonies had been
settled by unrelated factions who were unaware of each other at the
time. Learning which principles might explain the colonyís location
would have required exploration of cultural perspectives. Unfortunately,
we did not have the time to do so during our visit, but that process of
understanding formed the basis of our recent negotiations at Anteria."
Hoshi was mesmerized. Knowing that TíPol
remembered her, was talking about her, pleased her more than it should
have. Oh, what the hell Ė attention from the subcommander had always
been a thrill. Hoshi had no problem admitting it to herself. Why should
it be different just because she was now a tenured professor? After all,
TíPolís remarkable rise to power after her return from Enterprise
had just made the woman even more alluring.
Too soon for Hoshi, the speech was over,
a brief nod the only acknowledgment of the crowdís applause. Suddenly,
the urgency for Hoshi became finding a way to see TíPol again before
she left. Surely she knew that Hoshi was at USF now; even if the site
had been a coincidence, wouldnít her staff have told her? Would she
have time to see her? Would she care enough?
Hoshi searched the stage for the
university president. Glover could get word to TíPol. It might be
embarrassing if she declined, but Hoshi was past caring about that.
Besides, TíPol could be counted on to be polite, or at least she could
nine years ago when they all parted ways. She would likely spare Hoshi a
She felt a slight touch on her shoulder.
"Professor Sato?" She turned slightly, looking into the
expressionless face of an undercover security officer if ever sheíd
"President TíPol requests that you
join her party for dinner, if you can spare the time."
love to! Where should I meet you?"
Hoshi listened carefully to the
instructions, and calculated that she had plenty of time to go home and
change into something a little less professorial.
* * * * *
Waiting in the expensively decked out
lobby, Hoshi watched idly as the guests behind her went through the
security checks. Most of them probably had no idea why they were
undergoing such a thorough scan just to enter their exclusive hotel. She
glanced around, wondering who else might be joining them. Glover for
one, probably; it wasnít like the university president to pass up a
schmoozing opportunity of this magnitude.
At the familiar murmur of her name, Hoshi
whirled around. "TíPol!" She couldnít help it; she took
two quick steps and threw her arms around her former commander.
Two security officers immediately stepped
forward Ė no one was allowed to touch the President (and, in fact,
they had never seen anyone try) Ė but TíPol held them off with a
slight shake of her head. She placed her hands lightly on the other
womanís waist until the hug ended.
"Iím sorry," Hoshi said,
backing away. "Iím just glad to see you after all these years. I
wasnít sure youíd remember me." She smiled shyly, realizing
that she was babbling a bit.
"I am surprised to hear that,"
said TíPol, and she was. She remembered the wry young ensign quite
well, and the mature professor was even more impressive. "Surely
you have not forgotten our experiences aboard Enterprise."
Hoshi laughed. "Hardly."
"Ah, Madame President!" Bill
Glover thrust out a hand but, when TíPol merely raised an eyebrow,
quickly withdrew it. He had forgotten her staffís instructions. He
then noticed the woman standing next to her. "Hoshi? What are you
"Professor Sato and I are old
acquaintances," TíPol replied for her. "I hope to renew our
relationship over dinner."
Sounded good to Hoshi. TíPol followed
with a few introductions: Maíacr, her long-time security manager;
Trrai, his second in command; Wilson, her top civil aide; and Brith, her
something or other. They had all been with TíPol for her entire six
years in federation government. No surprise there, Hoshi figured; who
wouldnít want to be at the side of such a charismatic leader? Their
small group would be meeting the ambassador from Earth and some of his
staffers at the restaurant, apparently.
Normally, Hoshi would have been delighted
with such prestigious company, but tonight she cared only about one
person. She hoped that TíPolís earlier words meant they would be
seated together, but she doubted it with such high-profile guests
wanting the presidentís ear. Her suspicions were reinforced when the
two women were separated in the crafts that guided them to the
restaurant. Still, the security chief proved to be a pleasant
In the restaurant lobby, Hoshi milled
with TíPol and Maíacr while security again swept the area and
everyone in it. She desperately wanted to talk with TíPol, but now
didnít seem the best time.
"Do you wish to be escorted now, or
wait until the rest of your party arrives?" an officious maitre de
breathed at TíPol.
"We will wait here," Maíacr
replied, and the stranger bowed and departed.
Watching him stride away, Hoshi couldnít
resist asking, "Have you had problems with the Tarmalians?"
Maíacr was surprised to hear the
President answer without reservation. "Three years ago, the
Federation imposed sanctions on Tarmali for aggressiveness toward a
neighboring planet," TíPol said. "How are you aware of
that?" The negotiations, and the discipline itself, had been
Hoshi jerked her head toward the departed
restaurant official. "He hates you."
TíPol raised an eyebrow, which Hoshi
recognized as a request for elaboration.
"His breathing," she explained.
"Normally, Tarmalians breath in twice and out once, but when theyíre
angry, itís reversed: Out out in. I wouldnít worry too much about
"President." The nervous
speaker was from the earth representativeís staff, Hoshi recalled.
"I apologize again for the ambassadorís delay. It was
TíPol held up a hand to forestall
whatever else he was going to say. She was in no hurry for the blustery
ambassador to intrude upon their amiable group. Perhaps she and Hoshi
could find some place to speak privately until everyone had gathered . .
"You know, your Dshic is really
remarkable." Her attention returned to Hoshi, who was complimenting
her security chief. "Itís the best Iíve ever heard."
Maíacr looked at her. "I am a
native of Dsh," he said. "It is not a second language."
TíPol listened with mild interest. Maíacr
had been born and raised in Dsh; his background had of course had
checked quite thoroughly before he joined her staff.
"Wow." Hoshi shook her head.
"I would have sworn . . . ." She smiled, willing to admit when
she was wrong, but wanting to satisfy her curiosity. "Can you do
the rrrch?" She demonstrated the sound.
Dismayed, Maíacr looked at the
President, but she seemed amused by it all. He sighed, a bit
dramatically. "Rrrch," he repeated. It was identical to
"See?" Hoshi said. "Thatís
what I mean. You canít do it either." She turned to TíPol.
"You have to be born on Dsh to make the sound without the squeak.
Itís an atmospheric adaptation to the throat that occurs at
birth." She spoke again to the officer. "You must have been
born while your parents were off world."
Maíacr did not hide his irritation.
"Iím afraid you are inexperienced with Dshic dialect," he
replied. "It is not a surprising mistake for an earth-bound
linguist to make."
TíPol studied him. Maíacr was a
long-trusted aide who had been diligent in securing her safety over the
years. He had proved beyond doubt that he was born in the province of
Brnd on Dsh. But Hoshi Sato was the most gifted linguist TíPol had
ever encountered. She had trusted Hoshi with her life many times on Enterprise,
and she was about to do so again.
"Maíacr," TíPol said
quietly. "Give me your weapon."
Hoshi looked at her in surprise. She hadnít
meant to cause a stir.
The security officer stared at his
superior, clearly stunned.
"Simply until we verify the
information," TíPol added.
Maíacr suddenly drew his phaser, aiming
first at the other three security officers, then at TíPol. The blast
hit her directly in the chest, and she crumpled.
Hoshi reacted instinctively. She reached
down and grabbed a phaser from an unconscious security officer, then
spun around and fired repeatedly in Maíacrís general direction.
Whether by instinct or design, she hit her target, and the security
director went flying onto his back. Scrambling over to TíPolís prone
body, she grasped the phaser with one hand while checking for signs of
life with the other. She heard a noise, someone running toward them, and
lay her body across TíPolís.
"Step away from her." The voice
was Trraiís, and Hoshi looked up at a phaser pointed directly at her.
"He shot her!" Hoshi said
frantically. "Get a doctor!"
Trrai didnít move, and it took Hoshi a
moment to realize what he was thinking. Oh, shit. Surrounded by
dead or stunned security officers, and TíPol Ė who knew how badly
she was hurt. Hoshi carefully laid the phaser on the ground and then,
hoping they wouldnít shoot her, turned her attention back to the
President. She was still alive, thank God. Maíacr had been forced to
shoot quickly, and apparently kept his phaser on stun.
Someone joined Hoshi at TíPolís side,
and she was relieved to see that it was a doctor. Trrai took her arm and
forcefully pulled her away. Hoshi shook off his hand, and watched the
physician work on the fallen president.
Security arrived in droves, and curious
onlookers were herded away while Trrai began his interrogation of Hoshi,
who glanced over at the several doctors now blocking her view of TíPol.
"I keep telling you, I donít know
why he did it," she repeated with some irritation. "All I said
was that he must not have been born on Dsh, and the next thing I know,
he starts shooting. How is she?"
Trrai had no intention of answering. The
President had spoken favorably of Sato, and had chosen to speak at the
University of San Francisco because the linguist taught there, but their
acquaintance had been nearly a decade ago, a lifetime by espionage
"Is she awake?"
Again, Trrai did not respond, but TíPol
did. Rousing to consciousness, she looked up at the worried Terrans
looming over her. The professor was not among them. "Hoshi?"
she asked. She cleared her voice. "Where is Hoshi Sato?" she
said, her voice a bit stronger.
The senior physician turned to Trrai.
"She is asking about a Hoshi Sato?"
Hoshi started for her, but Trrai grabbed
her arm. TíPol could be asking for Sato, or naming her as the
assassin. With the professorís arm in hand, he walked her over to
where his President lay.
"Are you all right?" TíPol
Hoshi glared pointedly at Trrai, and he
withdrew his grip, allowing the woman to drop to her knees.
"Hey," she said softly. "I suppose youíre going to use
this as an excuse to get out of buying me dinner."
"There might be a slight
delay," TíPol acknowledged wryly. "But do not underestimate
* * * * *
"To Enterprise." Hoshi
held up her glass of wine. TíPol had been around Terrans enough to
know what was expected, and met Hoshiís toast with her own glass of
The two were alone in TíPolís hotel
suite, and, Hoshi had to admit, the evening had worked out much better
than a stuffy dinner surrounded by politicians and a pompous university
president would have. Once she had overcome her guilt at sparking the
attack with her innocent comments, Hoshi was delighted. The dinner had
been delicious, and the company . . . exquisite.
Over the past few hours, they had
reminisced about their five years together on Enterprise, caught
up on most of their colleaguesí whereabouts, and shared stories of
their lives and achievements since then. TíPol had, of course,
volunteered less information about her own remarkable accomplishments,
but the professor could read between the lines. There was only one thing
they hadnít talked about, and Hoshi decided she couldnít live with
"With a schedule like that, it
sounds kind of lonely," she ventured.
"Loneliness is an emotion," TíPol
replied, as if that were the end of the discussion. To her, it probably
Hoshi wanted to groan. She should have
seen that one coming. Looks like itís twenty questions,
she thought. Or maybe just one.
Just be a woman and come out with it, Hoshi.
"Have you ever married, TíPol?"
she asked bluntly.
TíPol looked at her. "No,"
she replied. "And you?"
For some reason, Hoshi was surprised at
the question. "No."
Now TíPol was the inquisitor. "And
are you lonely?"
"Um . . ." Why would TíPol
ask something like that? "Not really. I like my job, and it keeps
"Do you have a steady
"No," she answered truthfully.
"I was surprised to learn that you
did not end up with one of the crew from Enterprise," TíPol
"From Enterprise? Why would
you think that?"
"A significant number of the crew
found you attractive," she said.
"What?" Hoshi was shocked, not
so much at the words but who was saying them. "How do you know
"I have superior hearing," the
Vulcan replied calmly. "I overheard many such remarks."
"And how many did you hear about
yourself?" Silence followed, and Hoshi laughed. "I thought so.
Everyone thought you were unbelievably sexy."
TíPolís next question again surprised
Hoshi wasnít sure exactly what she was
asking. "Well, everyone I knew, anyway. They all had it for
"And did you Ďhave ití for
Hoshi was conscious of the growing
silence. "Maybe," she said finally. "But I donít think
you want to hear about that."
"On the contrary. I would very much
like to hear about it."
"It doesnít matter; it was in the
past. You know, I was young, I still got crushes."
"Please tell me."
Hoshi had never heard such an entreaty
from TíPolís lips, and she couldnít refuse it. So what if she was
humiliated? TíPol wasnít the kind to rub it in. Still, she wanted a
little more distance between them than three feet of couch. She rose and
walked over to the kitchen counter, pouring herself some more wine.
"Well, if you must know, I had a crush on you." She took a
sip, delaying her return to the couch and the look that was probably on
"I found you appealing as
Hoshi froze. "You did? Youíre
"I do not Ďkid,í as you
know," the Vulcan replied. "I did not consider the attraction
logical considering our positions, but I did find you . . .
"I wish Iíd known that then."
Hoshi left the rest unsaid: because
I would have . . .
"That would not have been
advisable," TíPol said.
"I suppose." She thought about
it, and made a decision. "What about now?"
"Do you ever . . . have
"I assume you are referring to
"Yes." Hoshiís back was still
turned toward the couch.
After a moment, she heard TíPolís
voice close behind her. "Your appeal has only been enhanced by the
passage of time."
That wasnít exactly answering her
question, but it sent Hoshiís heart fluttering. She turned slowly, and
her arms eased around TíPolís neck. What the hell. "Letís
go to bed."
* * * * *
With a soft groan, TíPol slid off Hoshi
onto the bed beside her.
"Wow," Hoshi muttered.
"That was . . . God . . . TíPol . . . I donít know what to
"Professor Satoís noted linguistic
skills have deteriorated over the years, I see."
Hoshi smiled, and rolled on top of her.
"Oh, I donít know. You know what they say about linguists . .
." Growling her intentions in Vulcan, she began working her lips
down TíPolís body.
* * * * *
Hoshi woke after only a few hoursí
sleep, and wasnít surprised to find the space beside her empty. After
a luxurious stretch, she slipped into the robe that TíPol had
thoughtfully laid out on a chair.
The suite had several rooms, but she
headed for the noise she heard in the kitchen. There, she spied TíPol
holding a container of something in each hand. Hoshi edged up behind
her, and slid her arms around the other womanís waist. "Mmm,"
she said into TíPolís neck. "I donít have to leave for a
while. Why donít you come back to bed, and Iíll give you another
A noise to her left alerted Hoshi to the
fact that they werenít alone. Great. Could it be any more
embarrassing? She acknowledged the two men she now standing in the
dining area. "Trrai." She didnít know the other.
Trrai hid his surprise well. In his six
years with the President, she had not entertained a guest in this
manner. His intelligence on the Sato woman had been inadequate; he had
no idea the two women were intimate acquaintances.
TíPol didnít seem to be bothered by
what the men had witnessed, Hoshi noticed, but then she rarely seemed
bothered by anything. Now, hot and bothered, maybe; Hoshiíd had
the pleasure Ė several times Ė of experiencing that last night.
For the next hour, Hoshi nursed a hot tea
while TíPol discussed upcoming plans with Trrai and, she had learned,
the Trackan who was her diplomatic liaison to the planet they were to
"Can you join us today?" TíPol
asked when the planning session ended.
Hoshi shook her head regretfully. "I
have class this morning. Will you be around this afternoon?"
"Possibly," TíPol replied, to
Trraiís surprise. They were scheduled to leave Earth before midday.
Hoshi rose. "Well, Iíve got to get
around." TíPol followed her to the master bedroom and watched
Hoshi slip into her clothes from the day before. If the professor
hurried, she would have just enough time to stop at her apartment for a
quick shower and clothing change before class.
But first . . . She stepped close to her
former commander. "Do you have a girl in every port, TíPol?"
"Nothing; an old earth expression.
It doesnít matter." She leaned over and kissed TíPol.
"Thank you. Last night was wonderful."
After her friendís departure, TíPol
found her attention wandering. "I wish to meditate," she told
Trrai, and the two men bowed and took their leave.
TíPol turned her thoughts inward for a
while, then uttered a command. "Computer, explain the Terran
phrase, Ďgirl in every port.í" She listened as the computer
complied. "Computer, show last nightís assassination
attempt." She watched as the action unfolded, then spoke again.
"Freeze replay." There it was again: Hoshi leaning over her,
shielding her body when she thought another assassin was approaching.
* * * * *
Hurrying into her classroom Ė this was
the first time sheíd ever been late, but at least it was only three
minutes Ė the teacher was greeted with thunderous applause and
"Nice save, Professor," Marisa
yelled from the third row.
"What are you talking about?"
"Itís all over the news: ĎProf
saves life of UFP President,í" replied a young man seated near
"Oh, great," Hoshi groaned.
"Iím sure theyíre blowing it out of proportion."
"No way Ė check it out." The
student passed her a handheld, and she watched the events unfold from
the restaurantís security monitors. God, it was so close. If TíPol
hadnít insisted that her security officers keep their phasers on stun
. . . .
She quickly handed it back. "OK,
enough of that. ĎRight place, right time,í and all that. Letís
talk about Klingon grammar."
* * *
"President, please reconsider."
Trrai asked for the third time. "We should ask Professor Sato to
join us in a more secure area."
"I wish to do this," TíPol
said. She nearly added, Do not question me again, but did not
want to sound petulant.
The source of his dismay was the
blatantly exposed hallway of the University of San Francisco, protected
by only a dozen guards who, though ordered to dress informally, stood
out quite plainly for what they were. Trrai hated to see the president
exposed to risk again so soon after last nightís close call. He hadnít
seen that one coming, and that was something he planned to make up for.
The group slowed, and he assumed they had
arrived at Classroom 47. A lead guard opened the door, and security
officers swept in, followed by TíPol.
The interruption startled Hoshi, who
watched as several strangers fanned out inside the doorway, and then--
As one, the class turned to see what
their professor was staring at, and a rumble began immediately. The
President . . .
Behind two of her guard, TíPol made her
way down to Hoshi. "I apologize for interrupting your lecture,
Professor Sato," she said.
"No problem. Looking for a
linguistics lesson?" It was a little bold considering that two
hundred students were gaping at them, but it was impossible to ignore
last nightís passion when its object was standing only a few feet from
"There is no one else from whom I
would seek such a lesson," TíPol replied, then addressed the
class. "Professor Satoís linguistic skills came in quite useful
Looks like Iím not the only one who
likes to do a little teasing, Hoshi
"But perhaps your students would
prefer to hear tales of our exploits on Enterprise," the
A general murmur from the students
indicated that, hell yes, theyíd like to hear about Enterprise.
Hoshi had told a few stories, but usually just to illustrate some
first-contact principle. Nothing really juicy.
"Um, I donít think thatís a good
idea," Hoshi said nervously. She didnít entirely trust TíPol,
who seemed to be in a frisky mood.
* * * * *
A head appeared in Professor Thuittís
classroom. "Troy? Where is everyone?"
"Hell if I know." Thuitt waved
a hand, indicating row upon row of empty seats. "Iíll be
back," he announced, hoping not to lose the six students who had
actually shown up for his class.
It wasnít a hard trail to follow. He
watched the last of a group of students undergo a security scan, then
squeeze into Hoshi Satoís classroom. Thuittís curiosity overcame
him, and he approached the security guards, raising his arms as the
scanning process began. A moment later, he stepped into a classroom that
was now literally standing room only, students and staff from throughout
the university lined up along the walls.
"Unfortunately, as we explored the
vessel, Ensign Sato and I entered a room which contained a dozen
Holy shit! Thuitt
quickly realized who was speaking. Thatís
. . .
"The bodies were hanging upside down
on large hooks." She looked at Hoshi. "Ensign Sato was rather
. . . distressed . . . at the sight."
The translator reddened. She remembered
screaming her head off, all right Ė and also remembered TíPol
calming her with a touch from her sensual hands. "It was pretty
horrible," Hoshi admitted. "I might have said a few
"Most of which were not found in
official Federation databases," TíPol quipped. "Nonetheless,
the ensign recovered her poise -- eventually -- and made first contact
with an alien species who lent assistance." TíPol looked fondly
at Hoshi. "Not long afterward, we were trapped aboard a Klingon
ship that was badly damaged, and had begun entering the planetary
atmosphere. Under such extraordinary circumstances, Professor Sato was
able to achieve a translation of the written Klingon language, allowing
us to use the shipís weaponry to escape."
Spying several of her colleagues now
standing inside the doorway, Hoshi realized that her class had run over.
"Well." She made a point of checking her chronometer. "We
have gone way too long. Youíre all outta here." She held up her
hands apologetically to Troy Thuitt, mouthing "Sorry" to him.
He gave her a thumbs up, impressed as hell; he just wished heíd gotten
TíPol turned to Hoshi. "May I
speak with you privately?"
"Of course." They drew away
from the others.
"I would like you to come with
me," TíPol said without preamble.
"What?" Hoshi was caught by
surprise. "You want me to come with you?"
"Come with you as your . . .?"
"My translator. My companion."
"You already have translators."
"True," the Vulcan conceded.
"But none as skilled."
"Well, I donít believe that, but
thanks for the sentiment."
"Sentiment is an emotion."
Hoshi rolled her eyes.
"Whatever." Her gaze swept across the classroom. "What
about my teaching?"
"I recognize that I am asking you to
postpone your career. After my term ends, you will undoubtedly be asked
back, or to another university if you like."
That was probably true. The foremost
expert on language and translation in the United States received job
offers on a regular basis, and, although she had never been tempted to
leave San Francisco, it was nice to know that she had options.
"What exactly do you see me
doing?" she asked.
"Accompanying me on my travels,
translating as needed, advising me."
"Advising you? And how would that go
over with your cabinet?"
"No official is without influence
from her closest companion. Your judgment is sound. Your loyalties are
Hoshi laughed. "Not that Iím
disagreeing, but how do you even know that? We havenít seen each other
in ten years."
"I have followed your career."
That was a surprise. "We were close associates on Enterprise,"
TíPol continued. "I am quite confident in my assessments."
"Like you were with Maíacr?"
Hoshi regretted the words instantly. "Iím sorry."
"There is no need to apologize. I
acknowledge the error with Maíacr. But I would also point out that the
mistake was revealed due to your talent. Had it not been for you, Maíacr
would likely have continued spying for the Lakarens for many
Hoshi remained silent for a moment, then
frowned. "When would I have to decide?"
TíPol glanced at Trrai, whose body
language plainly conveyed impatience. They were already late, she knew.
"We are scheduled to leave immediately."
She met TíPolís gaze. "What if
we donít like each other? I mean, it has been ten years."
"We Ďlikedí each other a great
deal last night," TíPol remarked.
The response, a bit frivolous for TíPol,
was met with a smirk. "I mean, apart from that." But Hoshi had
to admit, the thought of going to bed with the gorgeous Vulcan every
night had undeniable appeal. Gripping those biceps . . .
"If you are unhappy at any time, I
will arrange for your immediate return home."
"Or if youíre
unhappy," Hoshi insisted.
"An emotion," Hoshi finished.
"I hope Iím not going to hear that all the time."
TíPol wasnít sure what to say. She
did not want to risk offending Hoshi, who relented with a smile.
"OK, Iíll rephrase it. If you donít
think itís working out, youíll tell me, right?"
"Of course." TíPol didnít
mind offering that assurance. She was certain it would work out.
Hoshi could feel a sense of excitement
setting in. "I would need to talk to Bill Glover," she
muttered, still trying to run through all the reasons this was a bad
"I will send a communiquť from the
ship," TíPol offered.
"Well, thanks, but I think thatís
something I should do."
"As you wish."
Hoshi shook her head, not fully believing
what she was about to do. "OK," she said simply.
TíPol nodded. "Iím
"Can we stop by my house and get my
The pair joined Trrai at the doorway and
began walking down the hall, ignoring the students and faculty still
milling outside the classroom. Another thought occurred to Hoshi.
"So, are we going to be Ė will anyone know about our personal
relationship?" It was understandable if the Vulcan wanted to
maintain her privacy.
By way of answer, TíPol leaned over and
kissed her. "I am proud to have you by my side in all things."
Hoshi smiled. "Pride is an
emotion," she teased.
"Indeed." They began walking
again. "With you, I shall no doubt become an emotional wreck."
TíPolís enjoyed her companionís laugh, and together they resumed
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