If you are seeing this paragraph, the site is not displaying correctly. You can see the content, but your current browser does not support CSS which is necessary to view our site properly. For the best visual experience, you will need to upgrade your browser to Netscape 6.0 or higher, MSIE 5.5 or higher, or Opera 3.6 or higher. If, however, you don't wish to upgrade your browser, scroll down and read the content - everything is still visible, it just doesn't look as pretty.
"FAITH OF THE HEART"
AUTHOR: 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."
Captain Archer was shocked by the state of the Vulcan vessel. How it had stayed in one piece with all that damage was beyond him. Lieutenant Reed kept his mouth shut, lips compressed holding back his emotions. They took Dr. Phlox and a small army of crew with them to help ferry back the injured. The Captain had considered transporting the casualties but when Lieutenant Rolrak had pointed out that Captain Vornak had been impaled by a piece of metal he decided it was better to be safe than sorry.
Many of the wounded were stretcher cases. Captain Archer found Lieutenant Rolrak barely conscious. He hunkered down next to him while waiting for medical aid to reach them. "How are you doing?"
"Better than some, Captain. We lost eleven of our crew."
The Captain dipped his head in a momentary shared grief. "I'm sorry for your loss, Lieutenant."
It never ceased to amaze the Vulcan how Humans could so readily empathise with other species. Once he had regarded it as a great weakness. Now he understood that it was also their strength. He began to see the Humans as Sub-Commander T'Pol did, though not with such obvious bias. She had however been right on another matter. "Captain Archer?"
"We owe you an apology." He paused to ease more breath into damaged lungs. "You did not fire first on the Romulan vessel."
The Captain looked gravely pleased. Before he could say anything the Vulcan continued.
"The ship was Romulan but it was a stolen vessel, Captain."
That surprised him so much he had to struggle for words. "Stolen?"
"Yes, Captain. The ship was manned by Suliban."
He watched as all the blood drained out of Captain Archer's face.
"I see that you have already had dealings with them."
The Commander's expression was tight. Anger held in check. He glanced slowly around at the carnage. A sickening feeling growing in the pit of his stomach. "Why?"
"To promulgate a war between the Vulcans and the Romulans."
"Again, Lieutenant. Why? They are your people."
Lieutenant Rolrak shook his head then bit down for a moment until the spasm of pain passed. "No. We are related yes, but they are not our people. Angry cousins."
A faint smile dusted Captain Archer's lips. Angry cousins. What a wonderfully understated description. For the Vulcans, it almost amounted to affection. Almost but not quite. That would probably take a thousand years. "How did you know it was the Suliban?"
"It was Sub-Commander T'Pol."
He looked confused. "T'Pol?"
"Yes. The Sub-Commander noticed a strange ripple effect and pointed it out to Captain Vornak. Naturally I was curious too and looked up. At first I didn't see anything. Then a ship decloaked. It was Romulan."
"Are you saying the Romulan ship was really a Suliban ship?"
He shook his head. "No. It opened fire on us and as soon as our shields went down, our weapons went offline and we began to list it hung back as dozens of Suliban vessels decloaked all around us. I do not need to tell you that we were convinced it was the end."
"I don't understand. The Suliban do not show mercy."
Just then he heard the welcome if weary voice of Sub-Commander T'Pol. He turned and dazzled her with a smile, his delight only dimmed by her obvious injuries. Still. She was upright and walking albeit stiffly. "The Suliban were so intent on destroying us that they did not apprehend their own imminent destruction."
The Captain simply stared at her. "T'Pol, we are talking about *dozens* of Suliban vessels against one crippled Vulcan ship."
She nodded carefully and eased herself into a sitting position beside them. She looked terrible but something about her calm control amid all the destruction gave her a grace that he found admirable. He wondered if she could also leap over tall buildings. "I know, Captain. The help I speak of was not one the Suliban would have recognised."
He raised his eyebrows. Intrigued. "Would you mind explaining that comment?"
Shock froze him for a moment. "You are joking. The Sanacrid destroyed the Suliban? Need I remind you the mothership was destroyed? We did that though looking back I'm not particularly proud of myself."
"No, Captain. You killed the hosts not the vessel."
"Look I'll have you run that by me later, but let's suppose you're right. How could they do that?"
"The Sanacrid is the ultimate adaptive organism, Captain. It also has an intuitive organic interface."
T'Pol almost smiled. For a split second her eyes actually twinkled. "I believe the mothership has been rebuilt, Captain."
"But you said..." She watched his face intently as the dime dropped into place. His mouth dropped open. "You don't mean....?"
"Yes, Captain. The mothership is no longer looking for hosts."
Captain Archer looked at Lieutenant Rolrak and threw his head back and laughed. He laughed and laughed in delicious delight. Savouring the very special pleasure of knowing the Suliban had finally got their comeuppance. How totally beautiful revenge could be when delivered in such a perfect fashion. As the saying went, 'whosoever lives by the sword, dies by the sword'.
* * * * *
Lieutenant Hess was weary but content. Dr. Phlox had left her in the sickbay to watch over Commander Tucker. Not that he thought she would leave even if he had ordered her to do so. Her vigil puzzled him slightly but seeing as it was not harming his patient he was happy to let her stay. She sat composed and quiet in a chair next to Commander's biobed and only stirred when she detected signs that he was waking. The first thing she noticed was the colour returning to his pale cheeks. A flush of warmth seemed to flow through him as if he were being slowly defrosted. She resisted the urge to speak. Let him come out of it in his own time. He had been all but frozen for hours. Awakening to warmth and renewed circulation might be painful. His eyes slowly flickered open. He was staring up at the ceiling. Trip did not turn his head when he finally spoke. "How long have I been in this mausoleum?"
"Almost 24 hours."
That brought his eyes to hers. "How about you, Anna? Still havin' nightmares?"
She shook her head. Surprised to find it was true. Since she had taken up watch over him the nightmares had not reappeared. How odd. "How about you?"
"Hard to have nightmares when you're practically comatose."
For a minute she stared off into space. "What happens now?"
"Now," He said gently. "We heal on the inside."
She looked at him for a long time before finding the words she wanted to say. "I wanted to thank you."
"Nothin' to thank me for."
"Yes, there is. You looked out for me, stayed with me." She paused to regain her composure. "It meant a lot."
She looked surprised. He chuckled. "I know and I appreciate it. Ya kept me safe Anna, and that means a whole lot."
"I still don't know how I knew what to do."
She did not know but he did. Not that he had any intention of telling her that. "Doesn't matter. The bread doesn't always fall butter side down." He paused and got a far away look in his eyes. Slowly a huge smile spread over his face. "They did it!"
Lieutenant Hess knew instantly what he was referring to. "The Vulcan ship."
He nodded. Excited. "I gotta get up."
She looked at him, remembered the doctor's admonition that the Commander needed to stay in sickbay. Rest. She gave him a conspiratorial grin and decided to help him. He got up slowly, stiff and cold but beginning to warm up fast now. He knew the latter was due to the Sanacrid raising his body temperature while still keeping it low enough to keep the pon farr under control. He had just got to his feet when the sickbay doors swung open and Dr. Phlox breezed in with his Vulcan patients. Trip watched the stretchers being carried in but only gave them a cursory glance. Something told him T'Pol would not be on any of them. Then he caught the familiar figure of the Captain as he swept into sickbay, a huge gigantic smile on his face, talking animatedly to someone just behind him. Trip was impatient. Moving from foot to foot trying to see passed the Captain and the rush of people suddenly filling the little sickbay. The Captain got within a couple of feet of him, grinned, then stepped to one side.
All the air left the Commander's lungs. Everything and everyone faded into obscurity. There was only T'Pol. Her hair all mussed up, her clothes singed and ripped, her tired eyes lifted to meet his and lightening struck. It was not possible to be sure who moved first but suddenly they were in each other's arms. Trip crying with joy, T'Pol less demonstrative but glowing with joy. Equally happy to see him. Eyes shining with love. For a moment they just stood and stared at each other, inches apart. Then Trip put a hand under her chin and gently tilted her face up to him, head bent as he kissed her. To the Captain's shocked surprise, T'Pol did not pull away or berate the Commander for his very public show of affection. Instead her arms slid around him and hugged him close as she melted into his embrace kissing him back with all the heartfelt fervour imaginable. Captain Archer was stunned. For a minute the sickbay went deadly quiet. All eyes flicking from the pair of lovers to the ship's Captain, uncertain as to how many kinds of hell he was going to put them through for their breach in conduct. Then slowly the Captain smiled. He shook his head gently. "Those two need to get a room."
Dr. Phlox appeared next to the Captain. "In that case Captain they can
Captain Archer looked at him in surprise then laughed. Gently they guided the couple to the doctor's room just off sickbay. Captain Archer paused and watched them. Neither had yet come up for air or seemed to be aware that they had been manhandled. He shook his head a second time then felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning to see who it was he smiled at Dr Phlox and allowed himself to be drawn back, watching as the doctor gently closed the door to give the lovers some privacy.
"Now," Said Dr. Phlox in his best professional voice. "If you really want to do something useful you can help me with the injured."
The Captain gave him a happy smile. "It will be my pleasure, doctor."
* * * * *
They made love slowly, the Sanacrid gently deepening their bond though his help was not needed. It did mean all their senses were heightened and their love making took on an intensity that plunged them into the deepest of Vulcan mating bonds. Trip felt his mind opening up, layer upon layer. Each one loved and caressed by T'Pol's mind, her own soul shining back at him and making a place for him. He sighed in her heart. Never had he ever felt so complete. So happy. So loved. He hugged her with his mind, held her in his heart and loved her with all the tender passion he possessed.
It was well into the small hours of the next day when Trip awoke and realised where they were. He chuckled softly. Quietly amazed that they had almost made love in front of the Vulcan crew and his own Captain. T'Pol stirred in his arms and he felt his heart swell with love and pride. "God T'Pol, do ya know how much I love ya?"
She smiled and kissed him gently then noticed where they were. "What are we doing in sickbay?"
His chuckle became a deep laugh. He hugged her to him and gave her another kiss. "What do you say we take this back to my place?"
Her eyebrows rose.
"Or yours. I'm easy."
"So I have discovered."
He chuckled again. "Now, now, it isn't nice to make those kind of remarks, Sub-Commander."
They dressed quietly, pausing often to kiss each other softly, to reach out and touch. Reassuring each other that this was real. That they had not simply died and gone to heaven but created their own heaven here on Enterprise. Once they got to his quarters they took their time undressing each other and drinking their fill of one another. At last, sated, they lay in each other's arms. Trip smiled as T'Pol laid her weary head upon his chest, listening joyfully to the strong steady beat of his heart. Inhaling his fragrant scent, drifting on a wave of pleasure that she never wanted to end. He stroked her hair and watched over her as she gave herself up at last to a deep and dreamless sleep. Trip rummaged about inside his mind, gently probing for the Sanacrid who had remained tactfully quiet and unobtrusive while they made love.
*What happens when this is all over? Ya gonna stay with me?*
*No. There is one who needs you more than I do, my friend*
*You're talkin' about T'Pol*
*She has been tested and found worthy, my friend*
His heart missed a beat. What the hell did that mean? *Tested?*
*Yes. When you made love on the training planet then again on the mothership. That was my doing. I needed to know you were both compatible*
*To each other or you?*
The Sanacrid did not answer. Trip was surprised to find he was not annoyed by the confession. So much had happened since it hardly mattered and it had brought him and T'Pol together in every sense of the word. That alone was a debt he could never repay.
*Ya know if ya were human ya'd need therapy*
He could feel the bright trickle of the Sanacrid's laughter bubble through his mind, enervating him heart and soul as if he were carbonated. *If I were human Trip, I would BE therapy*
Trip laughed so hard tears squeezed out of the corner of his eyes. His ribs began to ache. T'Pol stirred slightly in his arms and he fought to regain his composure. He owed the Sanacrid so much. Love was the least of it.
* * * * *
Lieutenant Reed found the Captain still in sickbay. All the stretcher cases had been made comfortable. The doctor calmly moving from patient to patient with unhurried care. Captain Archer saw the armoury officer and lifted his head slightly to acknowledge him. He paused beside Lieutenant Rolrak before leaving, drawn by an uncharacteristic ghost of a smile on the normally taciturn Vulcan's lips. Captain Vornak was unconscious and slowly recovering from his surgery. Most of the other patients were either asleep or semi-comatose. The Captain was intrigued by the Vulcan lieutenant's expression.
"What seems to be amusing you, Lieutenant?"
"Sub-Commander T'Pol. Now I understand why she was so anxious to return to Enterprise."
Captain Archer gave him a closer look. Was that a sparkle of humour in the other man's eyes? "And why would that amuse you?"
Lieutenant Rolrak tried not to laugh. He was still feeling very fragile. "I have rarely seen such passion, Captain. I thought she had bonded with the ship but I was wrong." There was a definite smile now.
"Don't tell me you approve?"
"Captain, we are Vulcan. We are not made of stone. We think and we feel much like any other sentient being does. We merely choose to repress our emotions. To find a more stable way to express ourselves. I admit I was stunned when I first saw her greet your Commander. Then I understood."
"What did you understand?" Asked the Captain softly, unconsciously holding his breath. One word from Lieutenant Rolrak in the wrong pair of pointy ears and it was the death knell for T'Pol. Possibly for Commander Tucker too.
"This is right, Captain." He said simply. "They love each other. Not in the casual way of male and female joining simply for sex but in the deeply honoured tradition of Vulcan bonding. I recognised it the instant they saw each other and my heart rejoiced even through the momentary shock. I did not know that humans were capable of such intense loyalty." He paused. Knowing what was troubling the human Captain. "The Vulcan High Command has many serious matters that monopolise its attention, Captain." He paused, watching Captain Archer carefully. "This does not need to be one of them."
He was rewarded with a slow smile lighting up the human's face. Joy in every feature of the handsome face. Yes. He could see what Sub-Commander T'Pol saw in these humans. Interesting.
* * * * *
Captain Archer, Lieutenant Reed, Ensign Hoshi Sato, Lieutenant Anna Hess and Dr Phlox sat around the Captain's table. Serious looks on every face. The Captain looked at them one by one. "Do we know how many of the crew have been having these *nightmares*?"
The doctor made a face, his expression non-committal. "It is hard to be certain Captain. The nature of the nightmares - for want of a better word - make it highly unlikely that they would want to share them with a medical physician in the first place. They are more likely to turn to each other for reassurance and support and simply put it down to a *bad dream*."
"They are flashbacks." Stated Lieutenant Reed. His expression anxious, face pinched. "We should tell them."
"Yes," Agreed the doctor calmly. "But to what end?"
The Captain looked surprised. "Are you suggesting we *don't* tell them?"
The Denobulan doctor tilted his head thoughtfully, trying to remember something. A mischievous smile tugged at his lips. "I believe Commander Tucker had a colourful phrase that seems most fitting. He once said, *if it ain't broke don't fix it*."
They chuckled at the scrunched up expression on the doctor's face as he said the words, trying to approximate the Southerner's intonation and failing but making a creditable enough stab at it that they could almost hear Trip's voice in their minds.
"So you want us to lie to the crew?" Pressed the Captain when everyone had stopped chuckling.
"Not at all. That is not what I said, Captain. Please do not put words in my mouth." He paused. "I am just saying that we should treat this situation carefully, on an individual basis. Anyone who appears to be having problems, particularly affecting their ability to sleep, should be spoken to, counseled and helped to adjust through this most painful of experiences." He paused again, letting his eyes rest on each and every one of them in turn. "I do not advocate forcing that attention upon them. I believe that would do more harm than good and merely add to any trauma."
Ensign Hoshi Sato looked worried. "How can we help them if it remains hidden? How can they heal?"
"Do not be so quick to dismiss the body's ability to heal itself, Ensign. Likewise the complex pathways of the mind. Whether they be human, Denobulan or even Vulcan." He smiled gently. "I suggest we take things a day at a time, hmm? With the Captain's agreement of course."
Captain Archer thought about what the doctor had said. Knew the man was wise in ways he was still only just learning to appreciate. If anyone had told him before he set out on this adventure that the finest doctor in Starfleet would turn out to be an alien he would have shot them. Now he would shoot them if they said he wasn't. He looked around the table. Immensely proud of every single member of his crew. "What do you think? Let sleeping monsters lie or should we rattle the cages and hope not to cause any further damage?"
They exchanged uncertain glances then one by one agreed with Dr. Phlox. Captain Archer nodded. "I concur but with this qualification. I want all of you to be extra alert and vigilant. If you see or hear of a crew member having problems talk to them first. Try to find out what's wrong and if it fits into this criteria alert the doctor. We'll take this a step at a time. Whatever happens I know this. It will takes years before the fallout of what happened to us can be left in the past but that is where it belongs."
* * * * *
It was an oddly somber leave taking when the Vulcan ship the Sh'tan arrived to pick Captain Vornak and what remained of his crew. Captain K'Lin was polite if withdrawn. No extraneous dialogue was exchanged though both a pale looking Captain Vornak and a thoughtful Lt Rolrak went out of their way to thank the crew of the Enterprise for their assistance. Once the Sh'tan had gone to warp the send off committee broke up until there was only Captain Archer and his Chief Engineer gazing wistfully out across a sea of stars. It was Trip who broke the silence. "Ya think we'll ever seen them again?"
"I don't know but all in all I'd say they weren't so bad."
The Commander looked at him. "Is that so?"
The Captain smiled. "How about you?"
He shrugged. "Can't say I know that many Vulcans."
"I have a feeling that is likely to change."
Trip was about to make a snappy retort then chuckled at the teasing look
"I can see you're happy." Said the Captain softly. His voice tinged
The Commander flushed a little. "No green eyed monsters?"
The Captain smiled. "Not a single one."
Trip grinned. The pleasure just bouncing off him in quiet joy. The kind of joy that is so deep it has no bottom to it. "Ya don't know how much those words mean to me, Jon."
They talked for another hour or so then Trip excused himself. He was right in the middle of Pon Farr though the near constant presence of T'Pol in his life had mitigated the irrational lusts that would otherwise have threatened his sanity but he still found he could not be parted from her for more than a few hours before the deep burn of irresistible passion threatened to unman him. Captain Archer had relieved him of full duty, leaving it up to the Commander to come and go between his and T'Pol's quarters and Engineering as he saw fit. Lieutenant Hess picking up the slack with remarkably calm assuredness. Trip had dubbed the ever enthusiastic Toby Weiss her temporary second, a task the young Crewman undertook with all the serious solemnity of a sacred oath. The Captain watched his friend go then turned back to the stars. A kind of deep peace flowing through him.
He watched the stars streak slowly by as they sped along at a comfortable warp 3. Thought of his father Henry Archer. Of his dream. The one now being realised by his son. But he knew he would never have done it without Trip. He could not help feeling that his father would have been not only proud of what they had accomplished but also of how they had done it. A smile dusted his lips. A far away look glazed his gentle eyes. A small craft flying over a cornfield, the remote in his hands, his father's hand on his shoulder. The breeze softly tousling his fair hair in the bright sunshine of youth.
'Cause I've got faith of the heart
- 'Where My Heart Will Take Me' (Enterprise Theme)
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A whole mess of folks have made comments
I can't believe that it's over! It was a long and wonderful ride and the ending was just perfect. I enjoyed the whole journey. However, since there are still some loose ends (i.e. those pesky Vulcan doctors) can we expect a sequel? Pretty please??? ^_________^ Thank you so much for such an engrossing story (and for all the gloriously beautiful Trip and T'Pol moments, oh, and for resolving Archer's issues so well)!!!!
OH YES! OH NO!
The finale is here... but I don't want it to end.
Very lovely. The emotions just flow into pictures.
Tracy--thecubednag thrilled to be the first to review this!
No!!! I can't believe it's over!!! I may have to go back to chapter 1 of Brave New World and read the trilogy all over again. This last chapter really tied things together in a very complex and well thought out story line, although I'm not sure if it's not uncharacteristic for T'pol to be kissing Trip in front of everyone, even after all they went through. Being the shipper I am, however, I liked it. I look forward to your future stories.
AWWW!!! It's finally finished.
Thank you for this great story! You capture love and friendship and all of their magic in mere words and I'm simply in awe! Thank you again and I hope there is another one of your beautiful stories in our near future! :-)
Only someone who has experienced a special mind-blowing love could write about it so eloquently. Thank you for letting us share the experience. You are an amazing writer. I hope you start another story soon.
Thanks for writing this wonderful epic! I thoroughly enjoyed. Again, I was amazed how well you kept the whole story under control and brought it all together in the end.
Excellent story, beautifully written.
Aww.....this was sooo good I will have to read it again. Please write more!
I absolutely loved this triology.. I have been reading Fan Fic for years and years. I can safely say that this is among the top five out of the literally hundreds of stories I have read thus far and it is hands down, the best Enterprise story. I smell a sequel. Any hope of continuing this story arc??? Who is the Sancrid needed more by than Trip???? Don't keep us hanging here, amiga..... Thanks again for am incredibly satisfying yarn.
This is amazing! You had me crying more than I've ever cried in my life. There aren't even words to describe how wonderful this story was.
I just finished reading this enire trilogy, it's taken me weeks. I just have to say this was absolutely amazing, you are a gifted writer. I look forward to reading more of your stories in the archive. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.
The first 2 stories were execellent but "Faith of the Heart" is in fact, a veritable masterpiece!!!