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Prologues Part I
Author - Angel | Main Story | P | Rating - PG | Virtual Season 5
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Prologues Part I
By: Angel Koerkel
Notes: This is an unusual case because normally I like to complete a story before posting it. But this one still has a lot of ground to cover, so I decided to make it a two-parter. Think of it as a mini-arc within the virtual season arc. Did that make sense?
Also, I’d like to send out kudos to Trish, whom I have been conversing with via email over the past week or two. Her ideas have been a guiding light in a very long tunnel, so thanks, Trish! Hope you enjoy it.
A Virtual Season 5 Series
Fourth in the series.
Return to The Virtual Series Five SeriesMENU page
Stale air recirculated around the small scout ship as it transported the General of the Romulan Forces and the leader of the military sciences department from the warbird to the surface of Romulus. The two men argued quietly in the back of the vessel as an eager young officer pretended to not listen in while he piloted them.
“If I could just have another test planet. I’m sure that we can make the needed adjustments,” Dr. Ziros nearly pleaded.
“Enough!” spat General Murol. “You have had your chance, it did not work. Why should we lay waste to another planet? The council assigned you a simple task: devise a weapon sufficient to extinguish all humanoid life on a planet, while maintaining its infrastructure and inhabitability. We desire expansion. What good is a planet that is drowning in radiation?”
Breathing deeply, Dr. Ziros tried to explain again. “But, surely you did not expect this to succeed on the first attempt? Weapons development is a delicate process. What harm is there in letting us study the scans we made at Ramy Four and then adjusting the weapon accordingly?”
The pilot cleared his throat in a not-so-subtle way. “Excuse me, sirs, but we will be landing at the Senate Chambers shortly.”
The general grunted at the pilot before turning again to the aging scientist. “I will be speaking with the Senate soon. I suggest you stop groveling to me, and prepare to be called before them. They will want to discuss your…failure.” Murol stood as the ship touched down on the landing pad.
Ziros felt himself go pale at the thought of giving testimony to the Senate regarding his weapon.
Captain Archer walked briskly through the glass doors leading to Admiral Gardner’s inner sanctum followed closely by Commanders Tucker and T’Pol. The three officers moved silently toward the desk as the Admiral looked up in greeting. “Jon,” he said with an extended hand. Gardner offered his hand to the engineer next. “Commander Tucker, how are you?”
Trip gave a slight nod as he shook the senior officer’s hand. “Fine, sir. Thanks for asking.”
“And you, Commander T’Pol? You’re well, I hope.” The experience of a lifetime of diplomacy kept his hand at his side.
T’Pol raised her hand in the traditional Vulcan salute. “I am, sir. Thank you.”
Trip smiled inwardly at the ease with which she accepted the Admiral’s pleasantries. Not so long ago she would have raised an eyebrow at the illogic of small talk and disregarded the polite platitude completely. He brought his mind back to the moment at hand when Archer spoke up.
“What were the autopsy findings on Ambassador Samuels, sir?”
“Straight to the point, eh Jon?” The Admiral resumed his seat and indicated the chairs opposite his desk for them. Taking a deep breath, he went on. “We can’t be certain, of course, but it seems that he was tortured prior to his death.”
“Excuse me, sir, but why can we not be certain?” T’Pol asked.
The older man looked at the only Vulcan officer in Starfleet. “Physically, he was not abused, but based on an internal examination, our doctors believe that he may have been subjected to some sort of mental torture.”
Nodding, she surmised, “I see. Something similar to the Andorian’s methods, I presume, a mind probe of some type.”
“Honestly, we just don’t know, but it would seem so.”
“So, they wanted information?” Tucker asked.
Captain Archer looked around the room for a moment before hanging his head down. At last, he brought his gaze back up to meet Admiral Gardner’s. “Now what, sir?”
Sighing, Gardner answered, “Now, Jon, you go back to Ramy Four. Find out what the hell is going on.”
Archer’s eyes met his senior officers’ as they listened to the Admiral’s words. Trip caught a glimpse of something he’d not seen since their time in the Expanse: fierce determination and righteous anger.
“Columbia is going to remain here for a little while. We’ll send them back out if you need help, but I think it’s wise to keep a starship at home for the time being.”
Rising, Archer offered his hand across the desk. “We won’t let you down, sir.”
“You never have,” Gardner said.
“And that, gentleman and ladies, is why we should try again.” Ziros completed his right of statement and returned to his seat. Sweat beaded across his forehead, but he refused to swipe it away as if that would be acknowledgement of his nervousness.
Half a dozen senators, four male and two female, sat at a semi-circular table waiting to debate the wisdom of continuing the weapons tests. At last, the woman at the far right of the table rose. She paced silently in front of her colleagues for a moment as she met each of their gazes in turn.
Finally, she spoke. “Our latest intelligence reports show that the summit between our enemies is progressing more quickly than we had anticipated. The humans think that petty setbacks like arguing over the location of the talks will hamper proceedings, but we are not so easily distracted. These things will pass quickly, and then it will not be long before a coalition has been formed among them. Once that happens it will be much more difficult for us to acquire planetary bodies without interference from the allied forces.”
Continuing her pacing, she clasped her hands behind her back. “General Murol has made his belief clear. These tests are a waste of time and we would be better served to simply use old-fashioned force to take the planets we want.” She paused to let that thought hang in the air. “Meanwhile, Dr. Ziros believes that this could prove to be a valuable technology if given the opportunity.”
“Ultimately, however, the decision is up to us. We must make the right choice for the Senate and for the Empire. Our job as the Military Sub-Committee is to do what is best for the Romulan people.” She looked over the other members of the group once more. “It is time. Decide.”
“Captain’s Log, supplemental. We are en-route to Ramy Four again. It’s fallen on us to determine what the Romulans are up to and to stop them if we can.” Archer paused as he stroked the long ears of his dog. “I can only hope that this situation is resolved without casualties. Unfortunately, something tells me that we may be looking at more than anyone suspects. This could turn ugly before it’s over.” He reached out and toggled the switch to end recording.
“Well, Porthos, what do you think? Time for a walk?” He scratched the canine’s back softly as he spoke and the dog stretched out lazily under his touch until he heard the word ‘walk’. Instantly, he was up and waiting at the door.
Laughing, Archer followed his pet and together they made the evening rounds of the ship they called home.
Flouncing slightly ahead of his master, Porthos rounded a corner and came to an abrupt stop. His human heard a muffled excited yipping from around the bend and when he turned the corner himself, was drawn up in surprise to see T’Pol crouched down and petting said animal.
“Well, I never thought I’d see the day!”
Looking up quickly, but not rising, T’Pol raised an eyebrow at her Captain. “Sir?”
“I never imagined there would come a time when you would be caught willingly petting a dog! Wish I had my camera!” Archer’s eyes crinkled in amusement as the thought of capturing the image flashed through his mind.
Finally standing up, she planted her hands firmly at the small of her back. “Really, Captain. I thought you above such menial human emotions.”
Now that she was at her full height, he took in the sight of her completely. She was dressed in long flowing Vulcan robes. They were a dusky rose color with intricate scroll work along the midline. Her appearance was nothing short of regal. Stammering out an apology the Captain quickly turned serious. “I’m sorry, T’Pol, we seem to have interrupted your evening. Where were you headed dressed so formally?”
This time it was her turn to be uncomfortable, although she hid it well. A slight green tint flushed over her delicately pointed ear tips before receding back down her neck. “I am on my way to Commander Tucker’s quarters for our evening meditation. I find that it improves his punctuality for our appointments if I go to him instead of waiting for him to come to me.”
Archer thought he noticed a hint of irritation in her tone, which immediately set him back at ease. “Well don’t let me keep you then, Commander. Wouldn’t want Trip to accuse you of tardiness!” With a gentle chuckle, he whistled at his furry friend to follow and proceeded down the corridor.
Trip was finally getting the hang of the meditation techniques T’Pol had been teaching him. He didn’t complain once in more than an hour. At last, though, his patience ran out. “You know, I’m really glad that you’re helping me learn how to control this bond and all, but there’s only so long I can sit on the floor staring at a flame!”
She peeked out of the corner of one eye to see his quirky smile. “Very well, Trip,” she realized that her meditation time was now over for the night. “How would you like to spend the rest of the evening?”
His eyes widened at her blatant flirtation, but he dismissed it just as quickly. She wouldn’t know how that statement sounded to a human male. However, his interest was piqued and he felt a surge of arousal begin to burn deep in his belly. “Well, we could watch a movie. Or, we could take a walk. Or…”
T’Pol reached over and grasped the back of his head firmly and pulled him to her for a passionate kiss. When they were forced to separate to breathe, he continued, “or we could do that.”
“Indeed, it is much more enjoyable than most of the movies you’ve chosen in the past.” They sat with their foreheads touching for a moment before he caught what she’d said.
“Wait a minute, what do you mean, ‘most’?” Suddenly, he was overwhelmed by a feeling of sheer joy. It occurred to him that she was laughing at him! “You were teasing me!”
She leaned into him further and kissed him again.
This time when they separated, he saw a tiny twitch at the corner of her mouth. “You are certainly being playful tonight, darlin’.”
“I do not know what you are talking about, Trip. Vulcans are not playful.”
“Yeah, right. You know, you’re beautiful when you flirt.” His tone became deep and husky. Moving around the meditation candles, he pulled her up gently. They stood for a moment, staring into each other’s eyes as he stroked his fingers along her cheek and up into her hairline.
She felt a twinge of doubt seep across the bond they shared as he began to brush his fingertips over the point of her ear. Closing her eyes, she leaned her head slightly into his touch at the same time she sent feelings of longing and reassurance back to him.
His courage building, he pulled her closer until her curves were pressed against the hard planes of his body and brought his lips to hers once again. As their mouths explored each other, his hand continued to tease the tip of her ear and pull through her hair while his other hand moved to the small of her back to keep her solidly against him.
T’Pol knew his previous doubts had been erased in a flush of passion, but her own remained, buried deep down past her mental barriers where Trip wouldn’t find them. She didn’t doubt his love for her, nor her own feelings for him. But she did wonder at the possibility of a relationship between them. Would she be able to meet the demands of an emotional human? Would he be able to meet hers? How could they reconcile their two cultures and pasts into a future life together?
All of this she pushed aside and concentrated on the moment. Her hands moved of their own volition over his chest, around his shoulders, across his back, and up his neck. She tangled her fingers in his blond locks and held on for dear life. When they withdrew briefly, she knew she had to speak.
“Trip,” her voice sounded breathy and the engineer smiled at the effect he had on her. “I must tell you something.”
He looked into her deep brown eyes, glazed over with lust. “I don’t know what you think we need to talk about right now, but whatever it is can wait.” He tried to pull her in for another kiss, but her superior strength won out and she maintained her distance, slight though it was.
He sighed heavily. “It always is, darlin’. Okay, what is it?” Trip managed to back off from her a little without releasing his embrace.
She could feel the evidence of his arousal against her abdomen as surely as she could along the bond. It was intensely distracting and, at the same time, pleasing to know that she had this effect on him. Taking a deep, calming breath she met his gaze. “You need to know that if we consummate our bond it will become more difficult to sever it.”
Now he backed completely away from her and turned to face the wall. “Do you want to dissolve it?” His voice was a whisper, but the pain it carried was obvious.
T’Pol moved around him so that they were once again facing each other. She kissed him chastely once. “Trip, what I want is irrelevant. A mating bond between us is illogical. You are human, I am Vulcan.”
“Thanks for the lesson in basic biology, T’Pol,” he sarcastically spit out. “Damn it, woman! I don’t want to hear about what’s logical or what species you are. I love you, T’Pol. If that’s not good enough for you, then tell me now.”
His anger and hurt washed over her until it almost crushed her. Then it was followed by an all-encompassing love that literally caused her to draw in a breath in shock. Her hand found his cheek and he leaned into it.
Her voice was soft when she answered, “It is not logical for us to continue, and I do not know if I can ever say the words, Trip, but your feelings are returned. As for the bond, I suppose we will, as you say, cross that bridge when we come to it.”
In the next instant, he crushed her body against his and devoured her mouth. Immediately, the arousal that had subsided only slightly flared again, stronger this time. It was only seconds before Trip had reached his hand along the midline of her ceremonial robes and pulled them open. As his hands delved beneath the heavy fabric, he felt the warmth of her skin laid bare to him. Reaching up, he pushed the gown off her shoulders to puddle on the floor.
As they pulled back, he allowed his gaze to travel down her form. T’Pol’s golden flesh rippled as her naked breasts rose and fell with each breath. “Good God, you are beautiful,” he whispered huskily.
“And you are overdressed,” she replied as her fingers moved to lift his t-shirt over his head. As he stepped out of the shorts she pushed down next, he took her hand and led her the short distance to the bed.
The following morning, Archer strode across the bridge to the command center. “Status, Ensign,” he asked as he lowered himself into the waiting chair.
“We are maintaining warp 4.5 and should be arriving at Ramy Four in the next three hours. Sensors show all clear and all systems are functioning normally, sir.” Grik had grown accustomed to giving the Alpha shift reports, but he still got a little nervous talking to the Captain. In the Tellarite service, noone of his rank would be allowed to speak directly to anyone above the rank of lieutenant.
“Thank you, Ensign.” Smiling at the young officer, Archer attempted to put him a little more at ease. “How are things at home, Grik?”
“Excuse me, sir?” The pilot was confused by the personal nature of the question.
Moving up to stand beside the Tellarite, the Captain elaborated, “I was wondering how you’re adjusting to life on Enterprise. How is your family doing? That sort of thing.”
Grik’s snout crinkled a bit and his round eyes widened. “Oh..I’m fine, sir. My family, sir, is…well, I don’t know, really, sir, but I’m sure I can find out, sir, if you’d like me to.”
Archer laughed a little and clapped the pilot’s shoulder. “That’s okay, Grik. Don’t worry about it.” He returned to his seat and began pouring over reports from various departments around the ship while the Tellarite officer puzzled over the strange interaction.
Enterprise entered standard orbit around Ramy Four later that morning and the Captain called the senior staff to a meeting. As the officers filed into the conference room, he hoped that his bad feelings about this mission were nothing more than that. “As you are all aware by now,” he began when everyone was seated, “we’re orbiting Ramy Four again. Our job is to find out what the Romulans wanted here. Our first visit was short and we didn’t find anything of significance. This time we’re not leaving until we know what’s going on.”
There were nods all around the table as the crew met his determination enthusiastically. Smiling with pride, he started his orders. “Okay, Trip, you’re with me. We’ll investigate the capital city, located on the western continent, again, looking for any kind of computer records of the attack.”
Archer turned toward Lieutenant Reed. “Malcolm, you and Ensign Grik will take another shuttlepod to the eastern continent. We can tell from orbital scans that that land mass was the first to be hit by whatever weapon did this. Find out why.”
He looked around the table once more. “Any questions? Comments?”
“Yes, sir. Permission to join the team?” T’Pol asked.
“Sorry,” he answered without any hesitation. “I need you here, on Enterprise, in case the Romulans come back.”
“Understood, sir.” A brief wave of worry flooded Trip’s mind and he looked sideways at his Vulcan lover.
The Captain stood, “All right, then, dismissed.”
As everyone else began walking toward the exit, Trip reached out and lightly touched T’Pol’s arm. “Stay, please?” he asked softly.
When they were alone together, he asked, “What’s wrong? I’ve gone on away missions before.”
She looked at the floor for a long moment before meeting his gaze. “Nothing is wrong, Commander.”
“Oh, it’s ‘Commander’ again, is it? Look, don’t think you can fool me, T’Pol. I felt your fear. I know that you’re worried about me.” He reached out and stroked her cheek gently. “It’s okay, really. I’ll be fine. I’ve got a lot to live for.”
The concern in her eyes faded to the background as he ignited a possessive fire in her. Moving into his personal space, she tilted her head up and kissed him. “Yes, you do.”
The gavel sounded throughout the Senate chambers and echoed from the distant stone walls. Shryla, the head of the Military Sub-Committee, replaced the marble hammer on its pedestal and stood. “It has been decided. I will take the conclusion before the Praetor, himself, and if he agrees then action will commence immediately.”
Turning toward her left, she faced the scientist responsible for their current failure. “Don’t get comfortable, Dr. Ziros. Our illustrious leader may be many things, but he is not forgiving.” She held her head high and made her way out of the hall flanked by armed guards.
Ziros started to stand, but a powerful hand pushed him back down. He looked up to see the face of General Murol leering over him. “Sit, doctor, be patient. I’m sure Shryla won’t be long. I for one can’t wait to hear the Praetor’s decision.”
End Part One, Episode Four
Next time, on Enterprise:
Lieutenant Reed and Grik embark on a clandestine affair of the heart; Captain Archer decides he’d rather spend his days as an Orion slave trader and abandons his ship toward that end; Trip and T’Pol invite Hoshi to join them ‘meditating’; and Phlox feeds Porthos to his Rigelian bat.
Did ya’ really think I’d tell ya!
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
Interesting plot, great TnT interaction! You had me going there with the previews... (Malcolm and Grik... gag/shudder!... The T/T/H scenario might be interesting as a dream sequence, though! LOL)
Looking good and am looking forward to the next chapter. Nearly spilled my latte reading your preview!!
Me likey...more more!
I really like your TnT interaction! Nicely done, can't wait for the next installment.
Nice start to this mini arc...looking forward to your next update!
You've really sucked me into your plot - can't wait for the next part! Loved the preview. :-D
I was very pleased to see your next installment. I love your storyline and eagerly await the next chapter. (Love little Grik too! I'm glad to see him included in the away team!)
Another great episode. I can't wait for the next.
I have only one complaint: these episodes are too short! Great stuff, Grik's my favourite! :)
I read the first couple of words in the spoiler for the next episode and was like 'what'? Then I re-read it ..... funny!!!
I like Grik and wow, to see a little interaction with his roommate? nice!
I'm also intrigued with the Archer/Sato thing just a little (I never watched the alterative universe episode ...I just heard rumors about it)
Oh really good. God I thought you actually ment it about the preveiw for a minute! LOL ;)