Title: To Boldly Bite…
Pairings: Dawn Summers (after a fashion)/f, Drusilla/T'Pol, Drusilla/Jhamel, Drusilla/f, Drusilla/T'Pol/f
Disclaimer: After the colossal fuckup that was the last two seasons of Enterprise, I'm not sure I'd admit to owning the Star Trek franchise even if I did. And I'm not Joss Whedon or someone who might be able to legally make money off the Buffy universe. Not mine!
Summary: …where no vamp has bitten before. When Earth emerges from the ashes of World War III and reaches for the stars, humans aren't the only ones with arms outstretched.
Joe's Note: This is probably a very unobvious crossover, but I wanted something a bit fresher than "insert Scooby here is a holodeck character" or "insert Scooby here is mysteriously still around two centuries after they should have died." This is set during Season 2, Episode 26 aka 'The Expanse' at time index 00:27:40 or so by Netflix's reckoning.
Before, the humans who had stared at her when she visited the Belching Dragon - a prominent and popular interspecies eating establishment - had done so out of curiosity as best she could tell. It was only logical; her fellows generally stuck to the various compounds established by assorted Vulcan organizations with sizeable enough groundside presences to warrant them and ate their own food in the company of their own kind. Now, T'Pol noticed, there was more hostility to the looks she received. Almost as if the humans blamed her for what the Xindi weapon had done to their planet. Either her personally or Vulcans in generally; she wasn't quite sure. But even the humans were not that illogical… were they?
Seeing as how she had no intention of talking to them, much less correcting any misconceptions they might have about the state of local galactic affairs and politics, T'Pol decided to ignore them for the duration of her visit. After all, she wasn't here to talk to them, just consume required nutrients and solicit advice. Making her way over to the table where her dining companion was already waiting, she nodded to the waiter as he handed her a menu. "Mint tea, Scott." He nodded and headed back toward the kitchen as she slid into the booth. "K'Eshtan."
"T'Pol. Mint tea again? Why, I believe that's a human beverage. It would appear that my 'dietary peculiarities' are rubbing off on you." Picking up a pair of chopsticks and separating them, the younger - comparatively; she was two years older than Captain Archer - Vulcan used them to gather her long brown hair behind her head in a messy bun before securing it. "Fascinating. Perhaps some day soon I will be able to convince you to try sushi?"
Feeling her upper lip involuntarily curl in disgust at the mere thought of ingesting K'Eshtan's favorite food, T'Pol shook her head. While she had come to enjoy the many varieties of Terran rice and many of the native vegetables the restaurant incorporated into its sushi rolls, she was dubious when it came to ingesting any sort of algae. Although the chances of her trying some form of algae were likely several times better than the odds of her consuming animal matter, dead or alive, aquatic or otherwise. "I think not. Only humans could come up with such an unusual but efficient method of presenting food, ruin it by including animal matter, and then ask one to use those odd sticks of yours unless one wants to touch their food."
K'Eshtan's response came in the form of a slight shrug, separating a second pair of chopsticks as Scott returned with T'Pol's now customary cup of mint tea and a clear plastic cup filled with the abominable product known as 'Mountain Dew' that the younger Vulcan found so addictive. K'Eshtan had convinced T'Pol to try it once. T'Pol still remembered the way Soval had stared at her all the next day as she continually ran her tongue over the top of her mouth, trying to jar loose the aftertaste that rather stubbornly remained. "Suit yourself. However, according to Scott, the restaurant receives a new shipment of fish on a daily basis. All fish remaining at the end of the day are disposed of. Therefore, it is illogical to avoid eating sushi when I come here because the fish will still be dead whether or not I order it, and it will go to waste if it is not consumed."
"A most inventive excuse, K'Eshtan. As a matter of fact, I believe it is your best attempt yet at convincing me that consuming dead animal matter is acceptable." T'Pol inclined her head in recognition, the tiniest hint of a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. "Perhaps after dinner, I shall bring you to meet Captain Archer and you can help him devise an equally persuasive way of convincing me that time travel is real."
Arching a brow, K'Eshtan picked up the menu sitting in front of her and examined it. "Oh? Does that mean you will be sampling something other than a vegetarian dish this evening?"
T'Pol could only sigh and shake her head in resigned amusement. K'Eshtan was the most un-Vulcan Vulcan she had ever met, both in mind and body. Her lighter skin and blue eyes reminded T'Pol more of a human than a proper Vulcan coloration, and her mind sometimes seemed just as human. Her odd turns of logic and dietary habits being the least of her differences from the average Vulcan. "How you have avoided being recalled to Vulcan this long while I am facing such an order remains a mystery to me."
"Fortunately in my case and unfortunately in yours, we are part of an intensely nepotic society that is not nearly as enlightened as we attempt to convince the humans we are. In my case, my mother holds enough sway to browbeat into submission anyone who attempts to chastise me and therefore I am allowed to… 'get away with murder', I believe the local idiom is?" K'Eshtan paused and took a sip of her soft drink before continuing. "After all, my mother named me 'dawn' because she wishes for me to see it on as many planets as possible in my lifetime. Such a thing would not be possible if I was asked to leave or outright ejected from service, and so she ensures it does not happen."
Touché, as the humans would say. T'Pol raised her own menu to force a temporary lull in the conversation. Yes, she was well aware of how connected members of a family were when it came to the service of the Vulcan government. After all, her mother was being punished for her own actions at the P'Jem monastery some two years prior. A woman's long and illustrious career with the Vulcan Science Academy, coming to an end because her daughter had done the right thing and revealed their peoples' treachery. The very concept of being punished for doing the proper thing was… well, it was simply illogical. Punishing the relatives of someone for that person's supposed misbehavior was even worse. Had humanity rubbed off on her planet to such a degree, or had this always gone on and she'd just never heard of it before now? Was K'Eshtan correct about their people?
"So…" T'Pol peeked over the top of her menu, staring at K'Eshtan curiously. Vulcans as a whole weren't a dissembling people; it was illogical to waste time rather than saying what was on one's mind. Then again, K'Eshtan was hardly normal. "Since you were kind enough to give me a conversational opening by mentioning your recall, I was wondering if you had decided yet how to handle the matter."
Sighing, T'Pol lowered the menu to rest on the table. So much for being alone with her thoughts for the moment. "I do not agree with your belief that I have a choice. The Vulcan High Command has terminated my assignment on the Enterprise and recalled me to Vulcan to receive my next mission. There is no alternative that I can see."
K'Eshtan likewise closed her menu, placing it on the table in front of her before planting her elbows on either side of it, resting her chin in her hands. "Yes there is. You simply refuse to acknowledge it because it would require you to leave behind the safe, comfortable world of service in the name of the High Command and our people as a whole. But to quote a famous piece of Terran literature, 'There comes a time, when we must all choose between what is easy and what is right'."
Quoting human literature, rather than a Vulcan philosopher or Surak. Interesting. T'Pol was continually puzzled by the way K'Eshtan's mind worked. "Are you sure you are a Vulcan? Sometimes, you leave me wondering if someone has found a way to alter humans to look like Vulcans."
K'Esthern reached up, running a fingertip over one pointed ear. "I assure you, T'Pol, that nothing but green has ever run through these veins. And you are avoiding the topic at hand. Dissembling. How very human of you."
"So you believe I should resign my commission and stay aboard the Enterprise?"
"Did I say that? Consider this, though. If the Enterprise enters the Delphic Expanse without you and fails in its mission, allowing the Xindi to return and destroy Earth… will you be able to take solace in the fact that at least you did as you were instructed to?" Their waiter picked that moment to return and K'Eshtan broke their stare off as she picked up her menu, turning to hand it to him. "I believe I shall be sampling the 'Godzilla roll' this evening, Scott. And for my tardy companion, the sweet and sour pork. Who will also require a glass of water, if you do not mind?"
Would her personal inaction when it came to the destruction of the Enterprise or Earth be any easier for her to stomach when the time came because she'd followed orders and allowed herself to be sent back to Vulcan? The long and short answer to that was the same for T'Pol: no. Quite the opposite, she realized: she would forever be left wondering if, had she been there, could she have done something to save the planet, the ship, a former subordinate… a friend. Additionally, she disagreed with the High Command's assertion that the Xindi were a human problem. Any society illogical enough to attack a planet based on the supposed future actions of its inhabitants was illogical enough to continue its aggressions against other targets once it had destroyed its primary objective. There were a small number of humans on Vulcan and a smattering of joint research installations spread over the nearby star systems. How would the Xindi view them? To say nothing of Centauran interests…
"And for you, Miss T'Pol?"
T'Pol jerked as the waiter's words pulled her from her thoughts, skin flushing a faint green at being caught not paying attention. She opened her mouth to ask for the same dish she'd ordered the last three times she'd met K'Eshtan here before pausing. No. If she was honestly pondering something as life altering as leaving the Vulcan government behind to back the humans, surely she was capable of trying new food as well? Her eyes dropped to what of the menu was visible in its current position, not wanting to give away the fact that she was unprepared. "I would like to order a… C-17, Scott. General Tso's Chicken. And I will require a new pair of chopsticks, since K'Eshtan has seen fit to appropriate mine for her own usage." It was only after she'd relinquished her menu to the waiter that T'Pol realized something. "Your tardy companion? I was unaware we would be having company this evening."
K'Eshtan nodded and then looked at a point over T'Pol's shoulder, gesturing to someone behind her. "A change of plans that, while avoidable, I opted to make. The Vulcan Diplomatic Corps has offered to host a number of visitors from planets that we are in contact with but who have yet to formally initiate relations with Earth, so that they can get to know the humans and vice versa. When the group first arrived, I made covert inquiries to determine which I was most compatible with and then exerted my mother's influence to have them assigned to me. Since introducing our assigned companion to human cuisine is one of our tasks, I opted to mix business and pleasure by inviting her to dine with us tonight."
Watching as a pale, dark-haired woman with a series of spots running down each side of her head slid into the booth and gave K'Eshtan a quick kiss on the cheek, T'Pol raised a brow. "I somehow found myself unable to believe that combining our dining commitment with your duty to the Vulcan Diplomatic Corps is the only way you're choosing to 'mix business and pleasure', my friend."
Both of the young women blushed at that: K'Eshtan a healthy shade of green and the newcomer a soft pink like the humans did. Despite doing so, K'Eshtan seemed largely unapologetic when it came to her decision, wrapping one arm around her companion's waist and pulling her closer. "Quite. T'Pol, this is Kirista Gard, visiting intern from Trill. Kirista, this is… I suppose she will lose her rank and simply be T'Pol of the Enterprise if she elects to remain onboard. Although while we're on the subject of companions, I've heard whispers that a detachment of MACOs were relocated to San Francisco pending their transfer aboard the Enterprise for its voyage into the Delphic Expanse. Does that mean what I think it does? And can we introduce Kirista to her if it does? They have a few things in common…"
"Mmm. Yes, she is one of the marines who will be transferring aboard under Major Hayes." The barest of smirks crossed T'Pol's features at that. "It ought to make the forthcoming voyage… interesting."