Author: Vesper (Regina)
Category: ENT, Vignette.
Spoiler: Fight or Flight
Summary: Basically Malcolm's view of Hoshi during the episode, with a few missing scenes thrown in.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is owned by Paramount. No infringement intended. Made for fun, not for profit.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Note: My first Enterprise fic, even though I wrote a spectacularly bad TOS one quite a while back, purposely. Hopefully this is a little better.
Something was unsettling him, niggling at the back corners of his mind and making his fingertips itch. Something had been left undone, something that had nothing to do with the ship or its weapons.
It didn't take him long to remember.
'She had looked so distressed.'
Looked? She had been distressed. Beyond that, she was disgusted at her instinctive reaction aboard the alien ship.
He'd relegated her screams to the side, concentrating on his duty. Her harsh, fearful breaths simply fueled the drive to discover what had occurred aboard this ship, to determine if there was still danger, still threat.
Finally aboard Enterprise, he listened to the clash between the Captain and his Science Officer. His eyes, however, watched Hoshi frantically shucking her outer layer of suit. Once free, she'd just stood there, eyes downcast, possibly expecting the dressing down that should have inevitably followed.
Instead, the Captain had marched past her, barely sparing her a glance, albeit a concerned one. When he was gone, and only then, did she raise her head and their gaze had caught, just for a moment.
Her eyes were filled with fear and self-loathing, both emotions mingling into a bleak expression. She'd swallowed and he'd opened his mouth, about to say something to assuage her guilt.
He never got to say it. Her gaze had broken from his and flicked past him, to T'Pol, and her expression had closed off.
Her voice was precise, too carefully modulated.
"Excuse me, Sub-Commander, Lieutenant." She'd nodded, sharply, and quickly swept past them, leaving.
He couldn't help looking back.
Her shoulders had slightly slumped, before she straightened them again, walking briskly out of the room.
T'Pol followed moments after. He'd sat alone for a few moments, thinking.
'You have far to go, Ensign.'
He should have had the opportunity to say what he'd wanted, but the thought had died, half-formed, and now he could no longer remember what it was. Even if he could remember, the time was no longer right, and the sentiment was no longer welcome. He barely knew her, why should he even attempt the contact?
Yet it bothered him, upset his equilibrium, and disrupted his concentration. Giving himself a mental shake and scolding, he bent his attention back to the task at hand.
The tactical meeting.
He stood beside her, surreptiously watching her as she drifted in and out of his peripheral vision. She stood at formal attention, yet her eyes betrayed her anxiety.
He could almost hear what she was thinking.
'Please don't send me back, Captain.'
The Captain circled slowly, detailing his plan, assigning tasks, past Dr. Phlox, past Trip, pausing briefly behind Hoshi. His directions were clear and determined.
"Hoshi will decipher their language and compose a message. Hopefully it will make sense."
Her protest was soft, reminding, not resisting.
The Captain's answer was understanding, yet brooked no opposition.
"I'm sorry, Hoshi."
Malcolm wondered if she knew how agitated she looked. The plea in her eyes was enough to prompt him to volunteer, "I'll bring a security detail."
The offer was quickly dismissed by the Captain, with good reason, though Malcolm knew she would have felt safer with him there. The sudden urge to safeguard her was surprising, but he disregarded it as just part of his overall concern for the safety of the crew. It was easier to reject when he considered her undoubtedly piqued response if she'd known how protective his impulse was. She would be fine, he rationalized.
'You can handle it, Ensign,' he tried to communicate silently.
And handle it she did. Even when the tears stood clear in her eyes and her voice shook, her determination and courage pushed her through her insecurity and saved them all.
In that moment, he'd seen what she could become, given time and experience and he'd felt the overwhelming pride of comradery. She may have felt crippled by her fear, but it hadn't destroyed her.
'You're made of strong stuff, Hoshi Sato.'
The feeling of incompleteness still haunted him. He realized it wouldn't let him go until she knew. She needed to know, now more than ever. A professional courtesy, that was all.
The door chirruped cheerfully when he pressed the button. The door opened startlingly quickly.
Her flyaway eyebrows arched higher, at least a quarter of an inch, and her mouth slightly fell open. She said, "Lieutenant?"
Strange, but he hadn't actually considered what he would say. He stood silent, long enough to make them both uncomfortable.
He cleared his throat.
"Ensign. I hope I wasn't disturbing you."
"No. I... I was just about to go to sickbay, that's all. You startled me." She peered at him, inclining her head closer. "Is there something you needed?"
"I-I," he stammered, awkwardly, and inwardly admonished himself, 'Oh, just spit it out, Reed.'
"I wanted to say that I've never doubted your competency. You've made us proud." It came out more stiffly than he'd intended, and her face crumpled just a little bit.
"I could have killed us all."
"Instead you saved us. You are a valued member of this crew. Never forget that, Ensign." This time his sincerity made his voice lower, the tone more warm.
She smiled finally, if a little shakily.
"Thank you, sir."
"My pleasure, Hoshi."
She tilted her head at the familiarity and a bright, delightful smile slowly blossomed. 'The sun coming out from behind a cloud,' he thought, a bit foolishly, and realized he felt stunned, bordering on speechless.
She said, "Would you walk with me to sickbay? You can say goodbye to my slug."