A Series of Vignettes
by Mylochka

Hat Trick
(just before Double Vision)

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Ruth Valley was surprised to meet her friend Daphne Gollub wandering the corridors of Deck Five carrying a box and a blanket. "Where the hell are you going?"

"My short, nebbish boyfriend seems to have developed the delusion that he's an athlete," Gollub explained, pressing the call button for the lift. "And apparently that obligates me to go watch him get his ass kicked."


"So," Gollub shifted her burden, which made a distinct clinking sound. "I'm going to go drink heavily and watch sweaty men. Wanna come with?"

Ruth went through her file of things to do: put in some overtime on her report on Shas, listen to Jilla sigh, get mad at Jilla, get mad at Sulu, get mad at herself, get mad at Spock, mope, cry, try to come up with an explanation for Jilla for why she was crying....

Daphne rattled the box she was carrying which - despite the fact it bore the insignia of the Enterprise's Chemistry Department -- sounded like it contained someone's liquor cabinet. "I've got ycasan," she enticed.

Ruth shrugged, defeated, "'Kay."


"What are they supposed to be playing?"

One of the gyms had been converted into an arena for a type of sport that required the playing area to be covered in ice. There was a chest-high barrier separating the players from seating for the spectators. There were very few spectators. Players outnumbered them at least three to one. The players wore padded blue or red uniforms with matching helmets.

"I dunno," Daffy said, depositing her box on the first available row of bleachers. "Pavel told me something, but sometimes I can't tell if he's speaking Russian or sneezing."

The game seemed to consist of knocking a playing piece across the ice into a net...at least, in theory. For a good number of these players, however, the primary challenge was to remain upright.

"Which one is yours?" Ruth asked as the person acting as official tried to sort out the tangled mass of players.

Gollub put her fingers to her lips and produced a surprisingly loud noise that had once been a necessary survival skill for her ancestors negotiating the wilds of Manhattan. "Chekov!"

One of the handful of players not floundering on the ice looked up and began to skate towards them. "Dafshka!" he called, smiling broadly. "You came!"

"Yes, I did," she replied nicely as she leaned over the barrier to give him a kiss. "And we're going to remember this the next time I ask for something awful, aren't we?"

Ruth couldn't have felt more like a third wheel if she'd been a tricycle.

"Hello, Lieutenant," Chekov said politely.

"Contemplating getting rid of that Edoan roommate?" she asked.

"He does snore," the Russian replied.

"Bubbeleh, what game is this supposed to be?"

Chekov replied in Russian.

Gollub looked at Valley.

"Gesundheit," Ruth said.

"It's not going very well right now," the navigator apologized as he looked over his shoulder to where half the red team was still struggling back to their feet. "The other team doesn't seem to understand the rules."

"Or be able to skate," Valley observed.

"Dafshka, you're drinking?" Chekov asked as his girlfriend uncapped a flask.

Gollub gestured to the members of the red team who had now managed to pull half the blue team down with them. "You're not?"

Chekov conceded the point with a shrug and took a sip from the flask. "Spasiba, doushka."

Daffy gave him another quick kiss. "Go get 'em, Moscow."

"Dafshka?" Ruth repeated dubiously as he skated back to his teammates.

Gollub grinned as she spread her blanket out on the bleachers. "Couldn't you just plotz?"

"I may." Valley warned. "Must the two of you flaunt your sex names for each other in public places?"

"Spoken like someone who's not getting any," Gollub replied, sitting down and wrapping and extra blanket around her knees.

Ruth sighed as she followed suit.

"Okay," Daffy said, offering her the ycasan. "As a pal, let me point something out to you. You - gorgeous. Men - drooling. Pick one."

Valley sighed again as she reached for the bottle. "It's not that simple."

Gollub looked her over carefully. "You're not still chapeling for Spock, are you?"

"No," Ruth replied as if that was the stupidest thing she'd ever heard.

The two friends drank in silence for a moment as watched two red team members collide and inadvertently manage to take down half their own defensive line.

"I don't see why he and I can't be friends," Ruth said, as if that had nothing to do with Gollub's previous speculation.

Daffy lifted an eyebrow. "Friends?'


"You and Spock?"

"Yes. Why not? We work together, have common interests..."

"Well, there is the whole pointed-eared, what-a-friend-I-have-in-Surak, Vulcan thing. And he just doesn't have friends."

"Yes, he does."

"Name two."

"The captain."

Gollub considered. "Okay. It's sort of a work-related relationship, but okay. They're close."


Daphne snorted. "That kind of friend I wouldn't want to have."

"Daffy," Ruth reminded her, "you are that kind of friend."

"Oh, right."

"And he's half-human."

Gollub gave a theatrical gasp as if shocked by the mental connection she had just made. "Like you."


"Oh, yeah, I see it now," Daphne drank deeply from her flask. "Certainly. The two of you could be friends."


"You two could have a club," she suggested. "You could have matching shirts that say, "My parent went to Earth and all I got was this lousy DNA."

In the face of this levity, Ruth decided it was time for a strategic change of topic. "Is that your boyfriend? I think he's going to score."

In addition to being able to skate and move the game piece down the court with less effort than a good portion of the other players were able to put into breathing, Chekov was also surprisingly fast on the ice. He dodged both flailing incompetents and the few seasoned defenders as if they were standing still. The referee's whistle sounded just as he sent the game piece skidding into the red team's net.

"Your boyfriend is actually good at... whatever game this is."

"I'm dating the ice quarterback." Daffy smiled proudly. "Who knew?"

"Any other surprises?"

"Yeah. The size of his..." Gollub paused and took a sip out of her flask. "..ears."

One of the disadvantages of being half-human was sometimes only being half-sure when someone was being metaphorical.

"Mazel tov," Valley toasted regardless.

Chekov skated over their way. "It didn't count," he said, disappointed.

"Oh, bubbeleh," Gollub consoled, handing him the flask. "It was still tres sexy."

He took off his helmet and complained, "They said they understood the rules."

"Maybe you should re-divide the players so it's not the Can Skate/Know the Rules team versus the Can't Skate/Don't Know the Rules team," Ruth suggested as the Russian downed half the flask in one quick gulp.

Chekov frowned as if reluctant to give up any tactical advantage. "Perhaps."

"Go on," Gollub encouraged, retrieving her flask. "Be a mensch."

Chekov sighed and gave her a kiss before returning to his teammates. He hadn't put his helmet back on and held it loosely in one hand. The Russian skated in effortless little backward and forward circles and while he presented Ruth's idea to the other players.

"He actually does have big ears," Valley observed.

Gollub snorted as she fished out a new flask from her box. "You should see his shvantz."

"I'd rather not."

Ruth's suggestion apparently met with general approval inside the ice rink. Red and Blue team members began to strip off their shirts and trade them.

"Oh, yes." Gollub smiled approvingly at this sudden and unexpected display of manflesh. "Excellent idea."

They clinked bottle to flask.

Gameplay was a little smoother in the next round. Players on both teams fell, but enough of remained on their feet to have something that resembled an offense versus a defense. Chekov was still one of the fastest players on either team. The defender in front of the net was able to block his shot this time.

"This Russian game is starting to look a lot like ice hockey," Daffy commented.

"You really like him," Ruth observed. "Don't you?"

"Yeah." Gollub smiled fondly at the navigator who was now skating a graceful figure eight while he argued with the referee.

"Even though he's a little..."


"Sometimes." Daffy admitted. "But sometimes I almost like that."


"It's weird. At the Clave..." Gollub paused and took another deep drink from her flask. "When we were kids, it seemed like the grown-up thing was to just screw whoever you wanted whenever you wanted, but now... Maybe the really fun thing, the really grown-up thing is to find a nice, boring guy and make it work."

Ruth was silent as this thought resonated with her in a way that would have been much more pleasant if the nice, somewhat boring guy she was interested in showed more interest in her.

"Okay. I'm officially drunk now," Gollub announced. "This Polish vodka doesn't taste like much, but it kicks like a kangaroo ranch."

Ruth sipped her ycasan. "You always liked the nice guys. Like David."

"Your cousin? That bastard. I heard he's thinking about getting married."

"I wouldn't be surprised. That's what the nice guys do."

"Bastards," Gollub pronounced. "Are you going on leave when we get to Naois?"

"I don't know," Ruth said glumly, not looking forward to hearing about Gollub's plans for a romantic getaway. "Guess you are."

"No. I used up all my leave last time and that bitch Moreau won't let me borrow a few days in advance. I have to inventory the lab. Couldn't you just die?"

"Is Chekov going?"

"No, he's staying."

"Isn't that sweet?"

"It would have been sweeter if he'd thought of it himself."

There was another break in the game. A player broke from the pack in their direction. Although he was wearing a blue jersey, the person headed towards them was not sure enough on the ice to be Chekov.

"It's Roy," Daffy concluded.

Ruth sighed. "Great."

Rather than coming to a graceful stop at the edge of the ice as the Russian had, Sulu reached out and used the barrier to halt his progress. "Hi."

"How's it going?" Gollub said, offering him a sip from her flask.

"Slippery," the helmsman reported. "Very slippery. Jilla didn't come?"

"No," Ruth answered, since this had been directed towards her.

"No, I think you have to be shtupping one of the players to show up for this," Gollub quipped.

The joke fell flat with an almost audible thud.

"I didn't know you skated," Ruth said to cover.

Sulu shrugged. "Been spending a lot of time in the gym recently."

"What the hell game is this anyway?" Daffy interjected.

Sulu looked at his ice hockey skates, uniform, and the ice hockey arena behind him and wondered why these weren't big enough clues before replying, "Ice hockey."

"I told you." Gollub tipsily punched her companion on the arm. "No wonder it looked so much like ice hockey."

The whistle sounded across the ice. "Okay, I've got to go." Sulu carefully pushed himself backwards. "See you later."


"Well," Daffy said after he'd made his way back to his teammates. "That was unexpectedly awkward."

"Shut up, Daffy," Ruth advised.

"Shutting up," Gollub replied. "Not speculating why you and old ex-lover Roy were having a little moment there."

Ruth sighed a warning.

"Not thinking about how he's crazy about your genetically-altered-to-be-intermittently-frigid roommate," Daffy continued lightly. "Or even considering types of workouts outside the gym that could relieve the frustrations incurred by that situation."

Ruth released a long displeased breath. "Bitch."

"Cow," Gollub countered easily.



The last hit a little too close to home. Ruth sighed. "I'm a bad person."

"Yeah," Daffy patted her leg affectionately. "But for some reason we all love you anyway."

They watched as a Blue team member who might have been Sulu skated into the opposing team's net.

Gollub handed her friend a second bottle of yacasan. "Does she know?"

"There's nothing to know. Nothing happened."



"You and Roy - reigning sex queen and king of this quadrant - and nothing happened?"

"Nuh-thing," Valley enunciated.

Gollub whistled. "He's really got it bad for Little Miss Silver tuchis... or..."

"Or what?"

Daffy shrugged. "Maybe you were off your game."

"Off my game?"

"Yeah. You know, after a long day. There's schmutz on your uniform and your hair's all farkuckt... Oh, wait. That happens to me, not you."

"I don't know." Ruth took another morose sip of ycasan. "Maybe it does happen to me."

They watched as the Red team got very close to scoring a goal before one of the Blue team fell on the person with the puck.

"Ask him out," Gollub suggested abruptly.


"Spock. Ask him out."

Ruth blinked. "On a date?"

"Only if you're chapeling."

"I'm not," Valley assured her.

"Then just have an informal meeting of the Demi-Human club on Naois. Get drunk and talk about having to pay tax in two different solar systems and being genetically superior to the rest of your relatives."

Valley didn't reply, but her heart fluttered a little at the suggestion.

"You're each half human," Daffy reasoned. "That means there's the potential for you to be at least 50% friends."

Ruth nodded slowly. "You know, you make more sense when I'm drunk."

"That's why I'm friends with so many alcoholics," Gollub confided. "Go on. Ask him out. Don't be miserable."

"Yeah." The first smile in what seemed like ages began to creep across Ruth's face. On the rink in front of them, Daffy Gollub's new boyfriend scored a perfect goal... right before three of his teammates inadvertently knocked him into a wall. "Why not?"

~ FINI ~

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