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"FAITH OF THE HEART"
By Alison M. DOBELL
SUMMARY": "When members of the crew go suddenly missing, Captain Archer finds the only witness is unable to tell them anything. Lt Reed takes it upon himself to turn detective."
* * * * *
As impatient as the Commander was to see T'Pol he had grave misgivings about being subjected to any Vulcan medical. Alarmed he had watched with a sinking heart as the crew of Enterprise joined them, their places being taken by Vulcans. He cast an unhappy look at Lieutenant Reed. Reassured to see his own reservations multiplied on that sensitive English face.
"I don't like this, Malcolm. Dr Phlox already gave us the all-clear."
"The Vulcans are just being thorough."
Trip made a face. "Would sound better if ya believed it."
Lieutenant Reed made a grumbling sound but nothing as coherent as actual words. The two fell silent and let their eyes roam around the massive facility. It reminded Trip of an old fashioned aircraft hanger only bigger. Vulcan doctors and medical assistants moved quietly ushering members of the Enterprise crew to the biobeds and setting up their equipment. Half of it he did not recognise. Trip was fidgeting again. Lt Reed resisted the urge to hit him. He was, after all, only showing the same signs of nerves and disquiet that he kept churning around inside him. "Will you just try to relax, Commander?"
"I will once we're off this planet and safely back aboard Enterprise."
The lieutenant nodded his silent agreement. *You and me both, my friend.* Just then Captain Archer joined them. He had Dr Lerik with him. The Commander noticed he was wearing his diplomatic face. "Okay gentlemen, this is Dr Lerik. Dr Lerik, I'd like you to meet my Chief Engineer Commander Tucker and my Tactical Armoury Officer Lieutenant Reed."
The Vulcan physician nodded politely then glanced passed them before raising an eyebrow. The action sent a little stab of pain through Trip. Lt Reed shot him a look of query but he did not react. Both now listened to the Vulcan in silence. "I am sorry, Captain, but I understood that I would be able to speak to your doctor.""
Captain Archer nodded and turned his head, scanning the huge room until he made out the Denobulan talking animatedly to Ensign Hoshi Sato. He gave the doctor a wave and waited for Dr Phlox to join them. The Captain quickly introduced him to Dr Lerik. The two physicians eyed each other with interest. "Once we have checked that you are in good health, Dr Phlox, I would like to ask if you would assist me in doing the same for your colleagues?"
A big expansive smile swallowed up the good doctor's face. Pleasure beaming from every pore. "I would be delighted and highly honoured to place my expertise at your disposal, doctor."
Trip and Malcolm exchanged a look. Captain Archer looked amused. Some of the tension left him at the thought of Dr Phlox overseeing the Vulcan tests. Commander Tucker did not share his reassurance. Inside the growing feeling that something was wrong was making his whole body stiffen. Tension rising inexorably and radiating off him. He felt Lt Reed's eyes on him but did not look at his friend. Afraid that if he did so he would create a diplomatic incident by launching into a rather colourful diatribe against their Vulcan hosts. What the hell was the matter with him? The Vulcans were their allies. Then he thought of T'Pol and forced himself to relax. It was only 24 hours. What could happen in 24 hours? Once he got through that he would be able to see T'Pol. At least. *That* was the plan.
* * * * *
The vessel carried the depths of night with it. A shadow within a shadow. A mere disturbance that rippled in the air. A hush of stilled voices gathering momentum like electricity seeping into a power grid.
* * * * *
Ensign Sato was only marginally reassured by Dr Phlox. His head jerked up, noticing that the Captain was indicating for him to join their hosts. "There, you see? Captain Archer is ready. Just try to relax Ensign and remember that this is for your own good."
She watched Dr Phlox make his way over to where the Captain was standing with Dr Lerik. She looked at the biobed again. Gave a heavy sigh and eased herself up on to it. Fortunately they had not been required to undress or even remove their shoes. That had reassured her more than any actual words. How invasive could it be if they were allowed to remain dressed? The Chief Medical Technician was walking slowly down the row upon row of biobeds, calmly requesting that the crew get comfortable. Not passing a bed until the occupant had laid down on it. When he reached Ensign Sato he gave her the Vulcan equivalent of a smile. Hoshi had to force herself not to laugh. It looked more like the Vulcan had a mild case of wind.
Sha'kith was pleased to see that all of the Enterprise crew appeared to be co-operating. This was going to be easier than he had expected. He continued to encourage the crew to relax. More medical staff joining him and ready to begin once he gave the word. He nodded and went to join Dr Lerik and Captain Vornak. He noticed the human Captain seemed fairly relaxed but his command staff seemed wary.
"Captain Archer, allow me to introduce you to our Chief Medical Technician Sha'kith. This is Captain Archer of the star ship Enterprise. His Chief Engineer Commander Tucker, Lieutenant Reed and Dr Phlox. Dr Phlox has kindly offered to help us."
Sha'kith nodded in what he portrayed as a pleasant manner. "I am very pleased to meet you all, especially you doctor. I have never worked with a Denobulan before."
"I have the advantage of you then."
An eyebrow rose. "Indeed?"
"Yes, Sha'kith. I have worked with several Vulcan doctors and must say I found the experience most exhilarating."
"You do understand doctor that before you can assist us we must first check you out?"
The Denobulan chuckled. "I would not think you much of a medical technician if you did not."
Commander Tucker tried not to frown but the uneasiness inside was growing. Lt Reed dug his elbow in his ribs and whispered in his ear. "Will you wipe that scowl off your face? You're going to get us reprimanded at this rate."
"Rather a reprimand than a life sentence."
Lt Reed gave him a keen look. "What does that mean?"
Trip shook his head, trying to lighten the weight falling over his heart. What the hell was the matter with him? "Nothin', Lieutenant. Guess I'm just nervous."
The keen ears of the Vulcans heard every word. "I can assure you Commander," Said Dr Lerik. "You will be in safe hands. The procedure is little more than a series of tests. None of you are required to disrobe though we will be taking blood samples and checking heart rates and so on."
"For twenty four hours?" He could not help but drawl out.
Captain Archer shot him an angry look and he swallowed. Remembering Lt Reed's warning a little too late. "I'm sorry, doctor. Just bein' a bigger baby than normal."
The Vulcans looked a little non-plussed. Captain Archer tried to smooth it over with a smile. "He's just nervous. No offence intended."
"That's right." Agreed Trip readily. "Nervous."
Dr Lerik gave him a solemn nod. "Then Commander, to set your mind at ease you shall go first."
Despite Lt Reed sharing the Commander's nerves he had to admit the look on his friend's face should have been captured in oils. It was priceless.
* * * * *
The darkness was numbing. Voices faded in and out of her consciousness but there was no detail. The words lost to her. Were the voices fading in and out or was it her? She tried to reach out but something was blocking her. Where was Trip? Why was she alone? Why had he left her or had she left him? She did not know. Could make no sense of the unreasoning fear swamping her mind, body and soul. She wanted him. Needed him. The heat growing in her spine demanded it. The ache in her heart begged for his presence to fill it. Fill her. Give her the completion she needed to sanctify the bond. Sweat began to pool on her face. Her skin a hot scorching elastic. She still hurt so much inside. Where she had been torn by repeated rapes crude stitches repaired the breach. Any movement caught the stitches causing deep pain. It was like being ripped all over again.
*Trip, beloved, where are you? Why am I all alone?*
The emptiness was killing her. Tears slid down hot cheeks. Her body crying out for him. Her mind reaching endlessly over and over again. Weeping because she could not find the familiar echo of the only one who could make her complete.
* * * * *
Commander Tucker got on the bed and lay down, only marginally reassured that Dr Phlox, the Captain and Malcolm were there. Inside he was a whole mess of emotions going crazy. He wanted to shut his eyes to try to block out the rising panic but the expectant faces gave him no privacy. He had to suck it up and just trust that they knew what they were doing. Dr Lerik began to hook him up to the Vulcan machines. Dr Phlox smiled and nodded his approval, explaining to Trip what each thing did. As he explained Dr Lerik took one of Trip's hands and turned the forearm over. The Commander shot him an anxious look, cursing himself for being such a child.
"Relax Commander, we just need to take some blood."
He turned his head away. *God I hate needles*
He felt something like suction on the inside of his forearm. Heard Dr Phlox pronounce that the blood had been taken without even breaking the skin. He nodded. Not sure why he felt so woozy. Must be the result of going into pure panic mode. Someone was patting his shoulder, telling him to try to get some sleep. He had a feeling it was the Captain. He nodded and mumbled something that could have been his agreement then slipped off into unconsciousness.
Lt Reed was frowning. He did not like the fact that the Vulcans had lied to Trip. Told him they were just taking a little blood when what they were actually doing was putting him to sleep. Okay, so the man was nervous. Who wouldn't be? But lying to someone was not the answer. He glanced at Dr Phlox, surprised he had gone along with it but then what could he have done? He would not have known what Dr Lerik intended to do until it was done. A fait accompli. Why was he feeling so sore about it? At least this way Trip would get a good night's sleep and the tests would all be over when he woke up. Then they could see Sub-Commander T'Pol and hopefully return with her to the Enterprise and get the hell out of here. That last thought brought the ghost of a smile to his face.
* * * * *
He was dreaming. He had to be. Drifting and floating, no up or down. No idea where he was or what was happening to him. But he was dreaming, right? What could be so disconcerting about that? Then he heard it. So faint that at first he thought he was imagining it. Something stirred in his mind, something that carefully amplified what he was hearing until the voice touched his heart and his body almost glowed with the joy of it.
He could hear the tears in her thoughts. It made him want to cry. *Trip, where are you? Why did you leave me?*
*Don't cry darlin', I'm here now*
*Yeah, on that damn Vulcan planet. What's it called? Rastak*
*Are you hurt?*
He felt tears choke him. She had been raped and here she was worrying about him. *I'm fine, T'Pol, better now that I can communicate with you*
*I couldn't reach you*
*Me neither,* he soothed. *But that's over now, honey*
*It's so dark here*
*That's because you're unconscious*
*I guess so because they put me under*
*Knock out drops, call it what you want. I was terrified of the stupid tests, they said it would be a blood test so I let 'em take my arm. They lied but who cares? I can speak to you now and that's all that matters*
*No. All that matters is being together, Trip. I don't want to stay here. I want to go back to Enterprise with you*
*And ya will darlin', just as soon as the tests are over*
*Your buddies, the Vulcans, insist on 'helping us'. They wanna run a whole bunch of tests on us to make sure we're okay. Won't believed we're physically healed. Captain Vornak put it in such a way that the Cap'n couldn't refuse without creating a diplomatic incident*
T'Pol was quiet for so long that Trip began to wonder if she had fallen into a deeper sleep. Her thoughts brushed his mind gently. So lovingly, so caringly that he would not have minded spending the rest of his life like this. *Healed? Explain*
So he told her. Gently recalling as much as he could. Detailing the surprise on the Denobulan's face and letting his humour caress her mind as he drew mental images for her so that she did not miss a thing. Afterwards she fell silent again. Happy to let his mind caress hers while she held him in her heart and thought about all he had told her. *We have to get out of here*
*And we will* He soothed.
*No, Trip. Now*
She hesitated to tell him her fears despite how close she felt to him. Some things had been drilled into her virtually from birth. The secrecy was a hard habit to break. Especially to one who was not Vulcan.
*I just don't want to be here any longer*
That at least was true. Trip smiled gently in her mind, his thoughts cradling hers while she tried to hide her concern from him. He knew she was still upset but thought it was the result of the multiple rapes.
*Can you wake up?*
He wanted to laugh. What a neat trick that would be. *Don't expect so. They pumped enough stuff in me to knock out an elephant*
*What's an el-e-phant?*
She could feel his chuckle. The warmth of his personality was setting little fires up and down her body, under her skin. She was tingling all over with desire for him. A rampant heat driving through her core with want and need. The ferocity of it alarmed her. Shaken she tried to stay calm and not give in to biology. Trying hard to concentrate on his thoughts rather than how much she needed him inside her. *Big animal, grey, with a long trunk and big ears* He drawled gently in her mind. *If Porthos stood next to an elephant he'd be the size of Phlox's bat in comparrison*
*Then you cannot wake up* She thought quietly.
He sensed her disappointment. *What about you?*
*I've tried. For hours or what feels like hours*
*Maybe you dreamt you tried. Try again*
*I did not dream it, I did try. I could hear the doctors talking...*
He felt her sudden sharp intake of breath. As if her mind had stalled for some reason he could not begin to comprehend. Worry was creeping in. *T'Pol? Are you alright?*
*I remember now* She thought slowly. *One of the doctors was stroking my ear...*
He felt a flush of anger.
*He mentioned your name*
Alarmed now he tried to work out what the hell was going on. *My name?*
*Yes. He did not call you Commander, he called you Trip*
He was baffled now. *How the hell would he know my nickname? What is goin' on T'Pol?*
*I do not know*
He could sense that she was frightened now. Nothing chilled him more than the thought of her being frightened and being unable to get to her. She was right. He had to wake up. But how? And once he found a way how was he going to find his way to her?
*If you can wake up, Trip, I will guide you to where I am*
*I'd love to darlin' but when I wake we won't be able to talk like this*
*Then pay attention, my beloved, while I describe exactly where I am...*
* * * * *
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
Four of you have made comments
weehoo.. the plot continues...
I was wondering how the crew was going to get through such an all-encompassing trauma! I sort of had an inkling of where you were going with it but now you've added a twist and I'm back to helplessly waiting for the next chapter!
I've loved all your stories. Your words capture every emotion perfectly! I'm not too sure that made sense, but take it as the highest of compliments! :-) Thank you!
Dear god, I'm not going to have any hair left....PLEASE I need more. I love the story!...all the twists are killing me. Your a wonderful writer with great stories. More soon...real soon I hope. (pulling out some more hair) lol
God, they have such ruff lives.