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The Red and The Green
Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise
Rated: PG
Category: Trip Angst, Malcolm/Hoshi Friendship. Mild tissue alert.
Season: Shortly after Terra Prime. Pre-TATV.
Spoilers: None per se.
Summary: Of all the colors of the rainbow, why did it have to be red and green?
Word Count: 1013 (No, really!)
Note: Mild Christmas references.

xxx

Malcolm Reed was in a grumpy mood.

“I can’t believe I got stuck doing this,” he complained.

“Oh, it’s not so bad,” said Hoshi. “And someone has to do it.”

“Why does it have to be us?” asked Malcolm. “Couldn’t some yeomen do it?”

“Sure, they could,” answered Hoshi, “But come on, admit it. You’re doing this because you like it.”

Malcolm shrugged. “If you say so.”

“Well, it’s not like the captain forced us to do this. Last I checked, it was volunteer.”

Malcolm shrugged again. “True.”

“So, why’d you agree to decorate the mess hall if you didn’t want to?”

Malcolm studiously avoided looking at Hoshi for a moment before changing the subject.

“Where did this come from, anyway?” asked Malcolm.

Hoshi ignored the sudden swerve in the conversation and answered him with another question. “Where did what come from?”

“The colors. I mean, everyone knows red and green are for December’s parties, but why?”

Hoshi cleared her throat. “Actually, there are a few theories. One refers to the God of the ancient Christian faith and says that red symbolizes the blood of his sacrifice while green stands for the eternal life his followers believed they would achieve after their physical bodies died. Another says that they stand for the story of creation in that same faith. Apparently, believers…”

Malcolm cut her off suddenly. “Hoshi! How do you know all of this?”

“Well, I am a language specialist, Lieutenant. Culture is a part of that. Knowing things like this is my job.”

“But still,” said Malcolm. “I’m impressed.”

Hoshi blushed. “Well, um… thanks, I guess.”

Malcolm nodded. “You’re welcome. But seriously, how do you know all that? That’s more than the job requires. ”

“Well,” mused Hoshi, “I guess you could call it a hobby I had as a kid.”

Malcolm snorted.

“What?” asked Hoshi.

“Nothing,” said Malcolm.

“Oh, there’s no nothing now,” Hoshi teased.

For a moment, all barriers of rank fell away from the pair as they teased each other.

“Well, it’s just that… you must have been an interesting kid. That’s all.”

“Yeah, because every kid goes around learning about obscure holiday traditions,” said Hoshi.

“Better than bizarre naval trivia,” said Malcolm. “That was my thing.”

Hoshi laughed. “That’s at least understandable, though. Your family was big in the navy, right?”

“Yeah, I suppose so,” mused Malcolm.

He started to say more, but he clammed up when Jonathan Archer suddenly entered the room. The captain walked over to the food dispenser and ordered a cup of coffee, then looked up at his officers.

“So, how’s it going?”

“Oh, fine, sir,” answered Reed. “Hoshi was just explaining to me how we’re making a bloody mess of everything here.”

“Excuse me?” asked Archer, looking around the room in confusion.

Hoshi stepped in to explain. “What he means, sir, is that the traditional holiday colors of red and green are associated with some ancient religions and the red very well might have originated as a symbol of a martyr’s blood.”

“Blood?” said Archer. “That’s appropriate, I suppose.”

Malcolm and Hoshi shared a confused look before looking back at their captain.

“How so, sir?” asked Reed.

“Well, you said that’s where the red came from. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of at least one person on this ship who’d think that the bloody color here is green, not red.”

“T’Pol,” said Hoshi.

“Exactly,” said Archer. “And given recent events, it seems to me that any celebration that intertwines those two colors is a very fine thing indeed.”

Malcolm and Hoshi both smiled, though their expressions were tinged with a bittersweet quality. The Terra Prime terrorist attacks were too fresh in everyone’s mind for pure happiness to show.

Archer’s expression slowly changed, too. He seemed to grow a bit pensive, then sad, then finally smiled.

After a moment, he spoke slowly. “I think they look good together, don’t you?”

“That they do, sir. That they do,” agreed Malcolm. His voice was deadly serious, and both Archer and Hoshi understood the double meaning of his words all too well. Silence fell for a moment, before Archer broke it.

“Well, carry on, then,” he said lightly, trying to lift the suddenly somber mood. “And I’ll see you both tonight.”

Jon moved toward the door then, and Hoshi and Malcolm turned back to their work.

In a few minutes, Hoshi and Malcolm would be joking around again as they decorated, and Archer would be back in his office, studying the latest crew performance reports.

But just then, unbeknownst to all of them, out in the hallway, Trip Tucker slowly moved away from the mess hall and slipped quietly down the hallway before Archer saw him.

And if anyone noticed that his usual jovial demeanor was miles away at the annual holiday party that night, no one inquired as to why.

If they had, Trip would have complained of just being tired. Or perhaps he’d have fibbed about a bit of a headache. Or concern about EPS conduits. Or anything but the truth, which was that he was completely preoccupied with the décor of the room and snippets of a conversation he’d accidentally overheard that afternoon.  And as his mind swirled with possibilities of mingled Vulcan and Human blood, brought on by the words of his friends, Trip wondered why the universe hated him enough to let his mind torture him with one recurrent question.

Of all the colors of the rainbow, why, oh, why is everything in this room a bright red and green?

Trip would make a rare early exit from the party that night, making excuses easily, but when he reached his bunk, he wouldn’t find the peace he sought. At least not for several hours, when sleep finally claimed him.

Fortunately, his dreams were kinder to him than his reality, and he smiled while he slumbered, for he was visited by dreams of blue-eyed angels with pointy ears. They’d whisper to him in the night, and he’d wake with a single word of hope on his lips.

Someday…

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ex_misplace
Jan. 1st, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
Sweet in the beginning, bittersweet at the end. Beautifully don.
jackwabbit
Jan. 2nd, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

By the way, I've been reading your stuff on Similtude (though I think I've read a bit of it on ff.net already), and I've been enjoying it. My online time has been a bit limited of late, so I haven't been commenting like I should, but I'll try to remedy that soon!

Anyway...thanks for reading and taking the time to review!
ex_misplace
Jan. 2nd, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
No worries. I understand about time issues. :) This was a great story, so of course I'm going to leave a comment! :)
jackwabbit
Jan. 2nd, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
Aw...thanks!
lemonpiefirefly
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
awww, poor Trip....and 1013! Priceless!

So, is this before or after the time that Phlox realized the difficulty in the mix was the cloning process? I can't remember how quickly Phlox realized that after they got her onto the ship.
Anyway, quite enjoyed. I am getting through the book (I want to read more tonight but I have to find my place again as my little marker fell out....sigh).
jackwabbit
Jan. 5th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
Yep. 1013 on accident. Hee!

As for timing, it doesn't matter. I think of this as months after Terra Prime. But since Terra Prime appears to have taken place in January 2155 (per Memory Alpha), it must be almost a year later. Huh. This gets complicated if one goes "The Good That Men Do" with canon, but like I said, it's not important.

I see the response as similar regardless, and by using vague terms like "recent," I can get away with this.

But yeah, it's first Christmas post, in my mind.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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