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[personal profile] trekwriter151
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, don't make money off 'em.

Notes: Sorry it's taken me a while to update this. My family has some health-related issues that I've been dealing with. Updates may be slower than my usual speed for all my fics, so bear with me, please.

Hoshi hears about the events of "First Flight" and Jonathan Archer's unorthodox way of proving the viability of the NX Program. She also has an unpleasant realization about the direction her family is going. Oh, and Chomsky's theories on universal grammar is as complicated as it sounds. (Had to study it for linguistics.)

Spoilers: ENT "First Flight". And Stargate Atlantis fans might catch a quote from that series.

Rating: T

Thank you to all who have reviewed and put this story on alert! If you read, please let me know what you liked! It really helps my writing. Thanks.


Three

April 1, 2143


"Hoshi-chan, I have a surprise for you," called Cousin Yuika. "Will you please take your nose out of that old-fashioned book and come here? What are you reading about, anyway?"

"Chomsky's theories on universal grammar," Hoshi murmured distractedly, as she reached for a ribbon to mark her place in the thick volume. "It postulates that all languages have rules in common and that language is unique to humans...or humanoid species. Of course, his theories need some serious revision for the twenty-second century---"

Yuika huffed a loud sigh and shut the book with little patience. "Just because Chomsky sounds complicated doesn't mean you have to. You sound like my sixty-year-old quantum physics professor instead of a fourteen-year old girl on a nice spring day."

Hoshi rolled her eyes at her cousin's words and tried to hide the fact they stung her. "Quantum physics is just as complicated. I can't wrap my mind around hypothetical atomic particles that dance around the universe---"

"They do a really fast tap dance or a flamenco. Speaking of, don't forget that recital you have Friday evening. I can't wait to see your interpretation of 'The Rite of Spring'."

"It's not my interpretation, it's Ikahara-sensei's and Mama's already complained it's taken up too much of my time."

It was Yuika's turn to roll her eyes. "Confucius says, 'The body must be nourished as well as the mind', and he didn't mean with nutritional supplements. I am going to take you to the nearest yakitori place on Ginza and stuff you with teriyaki chicken and vegetables. Then to the sushi bar with the most expensive fish roe sushi, and finally to the ice cream stand for dessert. You'll be so tired, you won't be able to read Chomsky and take a nap instead. Then I'll drag you to the nearest kareoke club and we'll sing till we sound like frogs."

Hoshi clapped her hands over her ears and cried out in mock horror, "Oh, not the kareoke! My ears! My poor ears!"

"Your miracle ears can handle it. They survived my attempt at Jikanai Ryoku's latest song---"

"Jikanai Ryoku can't sing. I don't understand why everyone swoons over him."

"You should get out more. Maybe I'll drag you to a concert."

"How much "more out" can I get? I get "out" of the family compound every night---"

Yuika sighed and shook her head. "Language symposiums and roundtables don't count."

"---and good luck getting the idea past Mama. She's having second thoughts about having you visit over the spring and summer."

By this time, both girls reached the courtyard koi garden situated at the back of the Sato family compound. The water plants floated serenely on the pond, with the traditional orange fish gliding among them. The strong scent of wisteria and jasmine permeated the air and the sound of bubbling fountains lent a feeling of harmony. It was one of Hoshi's favorite places...as long as she ignored the stone wall separating her from the outside world.

"Well, your mother doesn't seem to be fond of my attempts to keep you from being a hermit," Yuika said breezily, "but someone's got to do it. Besides, wasn't it Tarukashi-sensei who said that language was a fluid thing that ebbed and flowed like the tide. Or something like that?"

Hoshi wrinkled her nose. "And Hatayama-sensei says that eventually, it all follows a specific set of rules that you can depend on to make sense of the chaos."

"Hatayama-sensei needs to get out more." Yuika pulled Hoshi onto a stone bench and plopped down next to her. "Here, you've got mail. Real mail, not the impersonal electronic data chip kind. You know, the one with cursive handwriting and---" She sniffed at a certain envelope, "---male cologne?"

Hoshi winced at the supposed pun. "Mail cologne? Stop, wait a minute. Cologne? What are you talking about?" She snatched the envelope out of her cousin's hands and examined it. "Starfleet Command, San Francisco?"

"You've been getting a lot of mail from Starfleet lately. Don't tell me you're thinking about joining?"

Hoshi ignored her as she opened the envelope and read the letter:

Hoshi,

I hope this message finds you in good health. Thanks for the translation of some of the Vulcan engineering specs; I know there wasn't much in the declassified files from Soval. He's been trying to derail the Warp 5 Project for years now, but A.G. Robinson and I have found ways around him. Commodore Forrest hasn't said anything about it.

We're due to test the NX-Alpha. I'm hoping that Forrest will let me be the test pilot. A.G.---he's a good pilot himself---but he's a bit reckless and that worries me sometimes. If the NX-Alpha run is successful in breaking the Warp 2 barrier, then we've got proof Dad's engine design in doable. If anything, we still have the NX-Beta for further testing.

There's a new guy on Captain Jefferies's engineering team. His name is Lieutenant Charles Tucker the Third, but he goes by "Trip." He explained that it stands for "Triple", since he's the third "Charles" in his family. Maybe it's good he's not security or maintenance. Can you imagine a security officer going by "Trip"? He'd better watch his step when he's going down stairs or climbing a ladder. Okay, I'll stop with the bad jokes.

In any case, A.G., Captain Jefferies (he insists that you can call him "Matt", since you aren't Starfleet, but I have to call him by rank, since I am), and Nick Duvall say hi. Take care of yourself. By the way, this Ryoku? (First name? Last name?) He can't sing. Period.

Jonathan

Hoshi smirked in triumph. "See. Even he says Ryoku can't sing."

"Since when did you base your musical tastes on what a Starfleet commander thinks?" Yuika peered over Hoshi's shoulder. "It's dated 28 March, so the NX-Alpha trial should have been completed by now. I wonder how it went?"

"I'm sure that if it hadn't gone well, we would have heard about it."

"Maybe, maybe not. If the Vulcans are as reluctant to allow it as he says..."

Hoshi raised her eyebrows at the implication. "You're thinking the Vulcans would try to sabotage the trial? Yuika, they wouldn't do that. Vulcans don't engage in that sort of petty emotion. They're supposed to be logical and rational, remember?"

Yuika snorted again and shook her head. "Not sabotage it. If it's successful, I could see them try to downplay your friend's achievement. If it isn't, they'd offer it as proof that his father's engine doesn't work."

"That would crush Jonathan. He's devoted his whole life to his father's dream."

Yuika gave her a sideways glance. "You really can relate to him, can't you."

Hoshi shrugged and ignored the pointed statement and said, "You've looked at some of the plans. Will it work?"

"It's sound from a quantum physics standpoint, though Einstein has probably been spinning in his grave for the past eighty years now for Archer-sama breaking the universe's speed limit. I'm not an engineer, so I can't judge the actual hardware design, but it looks impressive."

Hoshi held the second envelope to the light. "This one's from Anna, my pen pal from Australia. I wonder how she's doing?" She tore the envelope open, her gesture and tone of voice effectively ending the conversation about Jonathan and the NX-Alpha trial.

But it wasn't the last she would hear about it.

*****

Hiroshi Sato's shout could be heard through the thick door of his office. Hoshi looked up from her studies with a look of apprehension. Her father never raised his voice, even when he was upset. His silence worked even better than a scream; the oppressive feeling of shame made anyone cower in front of him. Hoshi hated that feeling, but it was an effective tactic.

"He did what? And why?" There was a long pause, then Hiroshi snapped, "Put him on. Now."

She tried to ignore the sick feeling in her stomach. This was bad, very bad. Her mind dreamed up many scenarios: perhaps he'd lost one of his merchant fleets in space, or a business rival had stolen a plum contract from him. It wouldn't be the first time. The only time her father had been upset over a family affair was when his own mother had died unexpectedly, and even then, he still went to work the next day.

No one could accuse Hiroshi Sato of being overly emotional, but this was as far as it got.

"I want an explanation of what happened. The truth and not the Starfleet version of it."

The Starfleet version of what? Hoshi sat up at her desk, all concentration lost. Starfleet? The NX-Alpha. Jonathan. Something had happened to Jonathan. Who was on the other end of the line? It must be Commodore Forrest or Captain Jefferies. Perhaps it was A.G. Robinson, Jonathan's fellow pilot, or even that new engineer, Lieutenant Tucker. Had Jonathan been hurt? Being a test pilot was a hazardous occupation; Yuika had told her stories about the ones who tried to break the sound barrier, like Chuck Yeager. Many men lost the lives before Yeager had achieved the "impossible".

Hoshi brought a clenched fist to her lips and prayed to every Deity she could remember. Please, please, let Jonathan be all right. Let them all be all right. She listened to the long pause as Hiroshi listened to whoever was on the other end of the line. Her heart hammered in her chest as her sensitive ears strained to hear what was going on.

Finally, her father said, "Good. Good for you. You proved to the Vulcans it works. They have slighted your family's honor for a long time and you have defended it well with wit and cunning. What will be the next step?"

They have slighted your family's honor for a long time. Jonathan was the other speaker. So, the test run had been successful after all. Hoshi gave a great sigh in relief; he was alive and safe, and Henry Archer's engine worked.

"Very well. What do you need? Contacts? Funds? Supplies? Say it and it shall be yours."

Her mouth dropped in complete shock as she tried to digest this bombshell. Was her father offering to help Jonathan build another engine, this time on a larger scale? Hiroshi prided himself on researching every avenue, examining every option, and weighing every consideration before entering a business agreement. This impulsive offer was unlike the cautious businessman Hoshi knew. Then again, Hiroshi had kept a close eye on Jonathan's Starfleet career. He never said anything to her regarding Jonathan, but that surely didn't mean he didn't care. Her eyes welled up with tears of joy.

"Oh, Father...thank you," she whispered.

"Yes, we will discuss this at another time. It is getting late. We will be in touch, and yes, I will give my daughter your regards. Good-bye, Commander."

Hoshi wiped the tears with back of her hand and bent her head over her electronic tablet. Hiroshi opened the door to his office and padded down the hall. She heard him stop at her shoji door and slide it partway open. Although she knew he was coming, she still jumped in surprise. Hiroshi's expression was calm, neutral, with no visible reaction. "Hoshi-chan, I must speak with you."

She bowed her head. "Of course, Father." She turned off her tablet and got to her feet. He waved off her offer to sit in her chair; instead, he gestured for her to sit down with him on the tatami mat floor.

"The warp trial didn't go as planned," he began bluntly. Her eyes widened as he explained what had happened to the NX-Alpha and how Soval had recommended the NX Program be shelved indefinitely. Then Jonathan, A.G., Trip Tucker and a few others had stolen the NX-Beta and taken the craft on an unauthorized flight, and proved to everyone that the engine was possible.

"He...they..." Hoshi stammered as she tried to talk. "They broke the rules, they...will they be punished? Will Jonathan and the others have to leave Starfleet? Will the Vulcans insist they pay the consequences for their actions?"

Hiroshi gave her tiny smile, but it might as well been a broad grin. "The Vulcans follow the letter of the law, but ignore the spirit of it. On the contrary, Commodore Forrest has authorized further testing and modification of Archer-sama's engine. If the next set of trials are as successful, then Starfleet might consider building a ship to sail among the stars."

"A ship..." Hoshi whispered. It was almost impossible to imagine. Different places, different worlds. Neptune in less than two weeks; Vulcan, in less than a month. She shivered; it was so wonderful, but so scary at the same time. What kind of dangers were out there?

Jonathan would be at the forefront of all that. His dream, his father's dream, realized.

"Hoshi-chan, Earth is at a crossroads. I believe it will be to our advantage if we support Archer-sama's quest. We need to expand our horizons, in many ways. Do you understand?"

She nodded. Her father thought of all sorts of opportunities for the family's advancement: new markets, new contacts, new profits. Henry Archer's engine was the means for that expansion. Her extraordinary talent for languages was the means for securing new footholds in outworld trade. Hiroshi had planned this from the night of her tenth birthday.

Hoshi was in awe of her father's audacity. He was as silent and cunning as a ninja who manipulated things behind the scenes. She nodded. "Yes, Father, I understand."

"Good, Daughter." He allowed himself a fond smile at her, then he got up and headed for the shoji. A whisper later, he was gone.

She sat there for a long time and tried to comprehend what had just happened. Yes, she felt awe for her father, but there was a new realization as well. Hoshi felt fear for him too. Fear of what would happen if she failed in realizing his plans for the future.

*****
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, don't make money off 'em.

Notes: Hoshi's life takes an unexpected turn and she must make a decision.

Yeah, it does seem like almost all of Hoshi's friends are twice her age. She grew up mostly around adults and not around kids/teenagers her own age, so she acts a lot more mature than her physical age. Unfortunately, there are consequences to being so sheltered, as we (and Hoshi) will see later.

And we only caught a glimpse of Hoshi's dad in "Vanishing Point". Granted, it was a delusion in her mind, but I didn't get the impression that he was a very demonstrative person. I assumed part of it was because of the Japanese culture, but also of his own personality. For some reason, "business mogul" came to mind. Since Hoshi mentioned private tutors, it fit with what I imagined of her family.

Rating: T

Please R&R. I really do appreciate knowing what my readers think. Thanks!



Four

November 25, 2143


"Try it again in German. This time, we'll try a different verb: sehen. Conjugate it, present tense."

Reiko sighed and rattled off the information. "Ich sehe, du siehst, er/sie/es sieht, wir sehen, ihr sieht, Sie sehen."

"English?"

"I see, you see, he/she/it sees, we see, you all see, the formal You see."

Hoshi nodded in approval. "What's the infinitive in Spanish?"

"Mirar."

"And in Japanese?"

"Mimasu."

"How about Vulcan?"

"Gla-tor." Reiko wore a slightly annoyed expression at the rapid-fire questioning, for it wasn't part of the agreement she had with her language tutor. Hoshi gave her a thin smile of approval.

"Good." She closed the book of German grammar. "Being a translator isn't just interpreting word-for-word in one language, Reiko-san. Sometimes it involves multiple languages at once, and you must be prepared to adapt for any eventuality."

A spasm of anger passed across her face, then she lowered her eyes at the truth of it. "Forgive me,Sato-sensei. I will try harder."

"We all learn at a different pace, Reiko-san. Your reports have been stellar, and Hatayama-sama wouldn't have accepted you into this program if she thought you couldn't handle it." Hoshi nodded as her student gathered the materials and stuffed them into her backpack. "Thursday, same time?"

"Of course." Reiko replied. She stood stiffly, pushed her chair under the table, and bowed. "I will be here. Thank you, Sato-sensei." Then she turned and disappeared among the tall library shelves. Hoshi watched her go with a shake of her head. Reiko was indeed an excellent student, as far as tests went.

But she needed...what was the English expression? An attitude adjustment.

You were once like that, Hoshi. It had taken her a long time to understand that others didn't learn or memorize as quickly as she did. Isolated as she was, her social skills were severely lacking. After a disastrous encounter with a new Vulcan tutor, Hoshi determined it was a lack that needed correction, and the sooner, the better. Of course, both Hiroshi and Kitsune were reluctant for their protected daughter to venture out into the world. After all, there were so many bad influences out there, and they couldn't afford for Hoshi to stray from her appointed path. Yet Hoshi pointed out the obvious.

"If I'm to deal with other people, I must learn the niceties of doing so. What better way than to share my knowledge with those who need it? I can tutor students in language and grammar and contribute something to our society."

Hiroshi eventually gave his permission, but with one stipulation: the tutoring sessions could only happen at the library on Tokyo University's campus or at the Sato family compound, under strict watch. Hoshi agreed to the terms, and she'd been tutoring for the past seven months. It was a learning experience for both tutor and students, but Hoshi discovered an unexpected pleasure.

She enjoyed teaching. Once she'd settled into a routine, she found herself liking the interaction, the sense of satisfaction when a student finally understood a concept. Hoshi mentioned it to Cousin Yuika and Hatayama-sensei. Hatayama had looked at her and nodded in understanding.

"Sato-san, may I speak with you for a moment?"

Hoshi jumped out of her seat at Hatayama-sensei's approach. As the older woman came closer, she greeted her mentor with a deep bow. "Of course, Sensei."

"Walk with me, Sato-san. I have a proposal for you."

Hoshi immediately gathered up her things and walked alongside the aged professor. Hatayama's steps were slower now and less sure, but she still held herself straight and tall. Students bowed to her as they passed. They reached her office, located in the same hall it had always been, and she moved the now-familiar shoji screen aside to reveal the usual tea set.

They seated themselves and Hatayama insisted on serving the tea. After the initial cup, Hatayama got to the point. "Sato-san, I believe you were born to be a teacher. Your father's rampant ambition does you a disservice. I shall correct that."

The unexpected statement made Hoshi gape in shock. "Hatayama-sensei?"

"I am scheduled to visit Stanford University at Berkley in the New Year. I have an exchange program with their department, but the logistics and details of it are rapidly outstripping my endurance. Kato-sensei is in charge of that now, but I would like you to be his assistant."

Hoshi blinked at the unspoken expectation: And, eventually, you will take over the program. This was quite an honor and an opportunity, but she hesitated. Wasn't anyone going to ask her if this was what she wanted to do? Hatayama-sensei assumed that was what she wanted, just as her father assumed his plans were what she wanted.

Hatayama misinterpreted her reticence. "Have no worries; I will talk with your father. He will see reason, once I explain it all to him." She gave her another thin smile. "Stanford has an impressive list of alumni, Sato-san, including your friend, Commander Archer. He contacted me with an intriguing proposition of his own."

"He did?"

"Now that his father's engine is being approved for a ship of the stars, and your father has agreed to be one of Starfleet's primary civilian backers, Earth is determined to make its mark in the heavens. But think...how many of Starfleet's precious officers speak Vulcan? Or Andorian? Suppose that Archer's engine takes a Human crew to the stars. Will they assume that every new species will speak English and think the same way they do? I believe that to be the height of arrogance, and Commander Archer agrees with me."

Again, Hoshi was reduced to speechlessness. From a linguistic standpoint, that was a legitimate concern. With all the excitement about finally reaching beyond known borders, the minor details obviously didn't matter. Perhaps they assume that all of their problems will be taken care of...by others.

"Starfleet doesn't have anything resembling a cultural department," Hoshi remarked slowly, "and despite the fact Earth has made First Contact with the Vulcans and the Andorians, we don't really know each other. The Vulcans don't trust the Humans and vice versa; the Andorians distrust everybody..."

Hatayama sat back in her seat. "Exactly. It is not a good atmosphere for interstellar harmony, isn't it? And how does your father expect to do business with non-Humans who may not care what he thinks? That is the height of arrogance and they all have it, even the Vulcans." Her black eyes flashed in anger and annoyance. "That is why we who deal with international affairs are so important. Now it becomes interstellar."

Hoshi nodded. "I completely agree, Hatayama-sensei."

Again, her eyes flashed and she snapped, "Do you, or are you only agreeing with me because you feel like you must?"

The hostile question stunned Hoshi to another bout of speechlessness. Hatayama-sensei, the most traditional, respectful, and culturally precise person she knew had touched a feeling that had grown within her for the past seven months. The more she discovered what lay beyond the walls of the Sato family compound, the more she questioned her priorities.

"Answer my question, Sato-san."

Somehow, she found her voice and replied honestly, "Yes, I do agree. You've addressed some concerns that will become problems, if they aren't taken into consideration."

"In that case, will you agree to come with me to Stanford and talk to Chancellor Bethany, then to San Francisco to talk to Commodore Forrest and Commander Archer?"

Hoshi nodded, although she dreaded her father's reaction. "Yes, I will."

*****

Hiroshi's face was impassive as he listened to Hatayama-sama's proposal. Hoshi knelt at the end of the long table, her legs tucked under her and going numb, but she hardly dared to breathe. She kept her eyes lowered as was proper, but her heart hammered in her chest. She was still recovering from Hatayama-sensei's sudden revelation of her true intentions. There was one other aspect she had trouble accepting.

"I am old, and my days are numbered. At this point of my life, there is no reason to placate those who stubbornly cling to their own selfish ways." She had further explained that the doctors wanted her to conserve her energy, but what use would it be, if it wasn't spent in a worthwhile cause?

A worthwhile cause. Her. Hoshi Sato. If not for her talents, Hatayama-sensei would not be alive now. Hoshi felt the guilt bubble up in her throat, but the professor refused to let her wallow in it. It was the time to act, not become paralyzed.

"Such an intriguing proposal," Hiroshi finally said, "and you bring up very real problems that I had never considered. I am grateful for your superb insight."

Hatayama snorted and made a gesture. "You agree with me, then, that this should be remedied before it becomes a problem for your interstellar trading. Sato-san, you can count the number of times you've been off-world on two hands. Do you honestly believe that your experience outweighs the Boomers, who spend their entire lives in space and travel from world to world? Hah! Tell me!"

Hiroshi flinched at the whipcrack of her voice, and Kitsune Sato bowed low until her head touched the tatami mats. Such rudeness was almost unheard of in Japanese society; even Hoshi feared that Hatayama-sensei had lost her wits.

The older woman softened her tone. "I have great expectations for your daughter, like you do, Sato-san. But you must broaden your horizons, if you expect to survive in your chosen profession. Archer-sama's new engine will bring so many changes to our world, and we must all be ready for them."

"I wholly agree, Hatayama-sama," Hiroshi said quietly, but that tone heralded his angriest mood. Hoshi swallowed hard and kept her gaze riveted to the low table ahead of her. Not only had Hatayama pointed out his weaknesses in front of his wife and daughter, she had also forced him to acknowledge his own prejudices and arrogance.

Hiroshi Sato did not forget such insults very easily, and Hoshi feared his retribution.

"Consider this a boon for you as a whole, not as an insult to your pride, Sato-san, and if you plan to take your wrath on your family in lieu of me---" Hatayama's smile was cold, as Hiroshi's impassive mask slipped for a brief moment, "---I will hear of it and take action. Make no mistake."

He glared at her and the rules of hospitality were the only thing that kept his rage in check. "Very well, Hatayama-sama, I will refrain from any...impulsive actions, which I might regret later. So, Daughter, what do you say about this?"

This was the moment that could decide the course of her life. Hoshi raised her eyes from the tabletop and quietly replied, "My family and my clan is my first priority, Father. I must do all I can to protect it, and I feel that Hatayama-sensei's proposal is the best of many options."

"You do feel that to save the family, you must leave it?"

Hoshi took a deep breath at the implication of desertion. "I will return to the clan, Father. You know my heart; I will never abandon my blood."

Her father's face was still, but the pain filled the air between them. "You are only fourteen."

"Fourteen, but much older, Father," she reminded him gently, though the issue of her age had never been a stumbling block for his plans. She controlled her tone as she added, "I do not make this decision lightly, but it is of my own free will."

A deep silence fell over the room. Hoshi fought to keep her gaze firmly fixed on her father, even as the conflicting emotions turned her stomach. Sadness, that it had come to this. Elation, that she would be able to do some good, in a profession she enjoyed.

Hatayama glanced over at Kitsune, who was still bent over double in her bow. "Sato-san, please get up and let me see your face."

Kitsune slowly and painfully assumed her sitting position. Tears streaked her face, but her countenance was strangely serene. She glanced at Hoshi, her mouth quirked upward once before she sternly controlled it. It was a tiny gesture, but it spoke volumes. "Forgive me, Hatayama-sama. All these...changes will be difficult to accept, but we will endure."

"Gambatte ne," Hatayama said, with a sideways look at Hiroshi. "Persevere."

He nodded abruptly. "Hai."

After Hatayama left the family compound, Hoshi spent the next few hours in her room. There were so many arrangements to be made, substitutions to be found for her students, make-up work for her own classes. She was going to be part of something much bigger than herself. In the end, this would be all worth it.

That was what she told herself. Now that the cage's door had been unlocked, it was up to her to open it all the way and fly. The open air was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. There was no turning back. If Hiroshi Sato followed his traditional ways, he would never mention this pivotal conversation as long as he lived.

He never did.

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trekwriter151

May 2012

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