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Author - Angel | Main Story | P | Rating - PG | Virtual Season 5
Fan Fiction Main Page | Stories sorted by title, author, genre, and rating
By: Angel Koerkel
Author Notes: I know it’s been a really long time. Sorry ‘bout that. I’ve missed Enterprise terribly this year, knowing all the great stories that still needed to be told, and every time I tried to start writing again it just made me so angry at TPTB. Sad, but true! Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and please review! I promise to try to get the next episode up quicker!
A Virtual Season Five Series
Sixth in the series.
Return to The Virtual Series Five SeriesMENU page
“Hey, Trip,” a soft voice whispered from behind as a gentle hand clasped his shoulder. He awoke with a start and managed to swipe the drool from his cheek as he raised his head from across T’Pol’s abdomen where he must have dozed off. “There you are, sleepy head,” came the falsely light tone of his Captain again.
“Mm hmm,” answered the engineer as he rubbed furiously at his eyes while yawning. Moving into a wide stretch, he asked, “How long have I been out?”
“Not long, you must’ve been exhausted to have fallen asleep so quickly.” As he paused, Archer pulled up a chair and sat next to his friend. “You know, Trip, you can’t stay here.”
“Why not?” Tucker asked angrily, suddenly wide-awake.
“Calm down,” the Captain said, raising his hands in a gesture of peace. “Look, Trip, I need your help. While we were on the planet’s surface, Enterprise got a little visit from the designer of the weapon used against Ramy Four. You need to go over the information we got from that bastard, Ziros, before his buddies blew him out of the sky.”
Tucker’s gaze didn’t waver from the face of his sometimes lover. “And if I refuse to leave?”
Sighing in frustration, Archer answered, “I could make it an order, and if you still won’t go, you could be sent to the brig.”
“You wouldn’t!” Trip seethed at his friend, furious beyond measure.
Meeting his stare, Archer acquiesced. “No, I wouldn’t. But, dammit, Trip, this is exactly why Starfleet doesn’t want people getting emotionally involved. You’re my engineer first, T’Pol’s boyfriend…”
“Fine! Bondmate, second. We have to think of the bigger picture here.”
“The needs of the many…” Trip’s voice trailed off slightly as he let his eyes fall back to watching the steady rise and fall of T’Pol’s chest.
“What’s that?” Archer asked quietly.
Looking up at his friend with a sort of resigned peace, Trip said, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” He smiled and shook his head. “It’s a Surak thing. Basically, it means that T’Pol would skin me if she knew I was sitting here doing nothing while the ship needed me.”
“Huh,” the Captain said with a small amount of wonder in his tone.
Archer shook his head. “Well, I’m just surprised I don’t remember that quote myself. Maybe I didn’t retain as much from that mind meld as I thought I did.”
The turbolift doors opened to allow Archer and Tucker to emerge onto the bridge. They moved around the perimeter to stand near the science station where Malcolm and Hoshi were going over the reports on ship’s systems.
“Status,” Archer asked.
Malcolm cleared his throat and stood at something more closely resembling attention. “The starboard sensor array was damaged and there was a minor hull breach on E deck, near the EPS conduits.”
“Crew injuries were minor as well, sir, with…” Hoshi paused, biting her lip and casting a nervous glance toward Commander Tucker. Malcolm caught her eye and gave an encouraging nod. She continued, “with the exception of T’Pol.”
Trip threw a quick look at his surrounding friends. “It’s okay, Hoshi,” he said softly. It was becoming clear to him that no one was fooled into thinking he and the Vulcan Science Officer were just friends.
She smiled back at him and reached out a data padd to the Captain. “This is the data stream from Dr. Ziros.”
“Trip, look at this will you?” Archer turned to his Chief Engineer and held out the padd. “You and Malcolm are the most familiar with Romulan technology.”
As Trip began to look over the data, he recognized the symbols as identical to the ones on the marauder ship. Thankful for the distraction, he pushed his worries to the back of his mind and focused on the task at hand. “Hey, Mal, look at this. It’s definitely Romulan.”
As Trip stifled a yawn, Malcolm looked over his shoulder at the small screen. “Damn, this thing is big. What do you think, maybe thirty-six meters?” Despite the situation a hint of envy crept into the Tactical Officer’s tone. “It looks like some kind of phased energy projection system. See, here and here,” Reed pointed to several small devices along the weapon’s side.
“What are those?” Archer asked from Trip’s opposite shoulder as he indicated ports along the aft diagram.
“My guess would be thrusters,” Tucker answered as he squinted at the tiny display.
Sighing deeply, Archer backed slightly away from his fellow officers. “All right, Trip, you and Malcolm head over to the Situation Room and start analyzing these diagrams in more detail. Take Hoshi with you.”
Reed and Hoshi started immediately toward the turbolift expecting the engineer to be hot on their heels. Both of them stopped when they realized he wasn’t with them.
Tucker still stood near the science console, his hand over his mouth to hide yet another yawn. His eyes drooped slightly and he stretched out his back as the yawn receded.
“Sorry, Cap’n,” he said sheepishly. “I must be really bushed.” He started to walk to the turbolift, but was stopped by his Captain’s concerned voice.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Trip?
A crooked smile lit up the southerner’s features as he waved a hand in dismissal. “Nothing to worry about, sir. I’ll stop by the galley on my way and get some coffee.”
With a doubtful tilt to his head, Archer responded, “All right then.” The three officers were on the lift before the last words left his mouth.
Several minutes later, the trio walked into a room that had once been critical in their mission against the Xindi. Now, it was mostly used as a backup database. Occasionally they held staff meetings there, but lately it was becoming useful in learning about the Romulans.
All of the information they’d gathered at Ramy Four, what little there was, was displayed on one small screen while the downloaded data from Dr. Ziros took up several monitors around the room and the large main viewer.
The two men headed straight for the most complete image of the weapon on the large screen, while Hoshi walked toward a smaller side monitor. She punched several keys on the control panel to initiate the universal translator matrix and then silently went to work inputting the foreign symbols from the screen.
Trip sipped his hot coffee and stared at the pyramid shaped monstrosity that occupied the main viewer. Meanwhile Malcolm shook his head repeatedly. “Good Lord, I hope they don’t realize we have these,” he indicated the schematics displayed around the room.
“I doubt they do, Mal, or we’d probably be dust right about now, just like our little friend, Ziros.” Trip’s answered distractedly as he remained focused on the screen.
Hoshi looked over at them. “Okay, Mr. Experts, I’m in need of some assistance here.” She indicated the strange markings on the control panel she had displayed. “What are these?”
Tucker pursed his lips in thought for a moment. “Energy levels, Mal?”
“Indeed,” Reed answered with a nod. “And these two over here,” he pointed across her control panel diagram to a couple of more symbols, “I believe are plasma flow.”
The Communications Officer keyed madly into her computer as the men labeled as much of the image as they could.
“Does that help?” Malcolm asked after they’d named several more of the alien instruments.
She shook her head as her fingers flew across the board. “This is the strangest iconography I have ever seen, but yeah, that helps a lot.”
Trip maneuvered the three-dimensional display of the weapon platform on the large screen to show the ‘bottom-side’ and gasped. “Would ya’ look at that!” he whispered with a little whistle at the end. His fellow officers wasted no time in moving to his side and staring in shock at the underbelly of the weapon that destroyed all life on Ramy Four.
“Are those all phase cannons?” Hoshi asked softly, her voice filled with disgusted awe as she noticed the entire surface covered with protrusions.
Nodding, Malcolm answered her silently before he asked, “How many, Trip?”
“Looks like around two hundred,” Tucker shook his head sadly.
Hoshi said, “But even with all those…how could they wipe out the entire planet’s population? They couldn’t fire on the entire surface at once.”
“No, luv, but they didn’t have to. Remember, Ramy Four didn’t monitor their local space. They wouldn’t have known anyone was in orbit until it was too late. And the way the planet was laid out? A few major cities, but mostly widely dispersed agricultural communities, would’ve made it easy. No one would’ve known what was happening since provided they took out the communications satellites first; which they did according to what little computer records we found in the capital city. Then they could wipe out the industrial centers before they moved in on the outlying areas.” Reed turned a disgusted eye away from the weapon’s schematic. “They would have been nothing more than lambs to slaughter at that point.”
Hoshi looked away too, as if in prayer she closed her eyes and bowed her head a moment. Clearing her throat a little, she choked back a small sob. “I..I still have a lot of work to do,” she moved slowly back to her monitor and began entering more symbols.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Trip said softly as he made his way to the hatch. After he’d gone, Malcolm walked over to stand behind Hoshi. He placed his hands on her shoulders and squeezed lightly.
“Are you all right?”
Nodding, she wiped a hand quickly across her eyes. “I will be. I just don’t understand, Malcolm. Who would destroy an entire planet like that? Why?”
“Well, the Xindi,” he started before she jumped up to face him, her anger now evident in her stony features.
“NO! Right or wrong, the Xindi thought they were defending themselves, they thought they were doing what they had to in order to protect their species. This,” she flung an arm fiercely toward the main view screen and pointed at the diagram, “this was not built for defense. This was built to murder.”
She collapsed back into her chair as if all of the bones had suddenly left her body. A sigh escaped her lips as she met Reed’s gaze steadily but sadly. “They have to be stopped,” she whispered.
Malcolm looked down at the diminutive form, her shoulders slumped as her breath caught in tiny hiccups brought on by the crying, and suddenly realized that he wanted nothing more than to protect this woman. The Romulans, the weapon, even Starfleet itself could all go to hell so long as she was safe. Taking a deep breath of acceptance, he crouched down in front of her and placed his hands on her knees. “They will be, luv.”
Trip Tucker sat alone in the Mess Hall, staring mindlessly out into space and nursing another cup of coffee. He knew he needed to get back to work, but he was just so bone-tired and that last little revelation had just about done him in emotionally. It hit a little too close to home after what they’d all been through in the Expanse. ‘Two more minutes,’ he promised himself as he closed his eyes and took a sip of his lukewarm beverage.
Within seconds of placing the cup back on the table, Trip felt himself begin to float. Something tickled the back of his brain telling him that this wasn’t right, but he brushed it aside and let himself drift into pleasant unconsciousness. After a moment however, it become oppressive. The complete lack of anything weighed on his soul and he knew he was falling, but he couldn’t see anything. His arms flailed uselessly at his sides as a silent scream escaped his mouth.
“TRIP!” yelled Captain Archer as he shook his friend violently.
Tucker’s eyes opened slowly, a dazed expression crossed his face. “Cap’n? What? How long,” his voiced wavered off before he could finish the question.
“I’m not sure exactly, but I’ve been trying to wake you for at least three minutes. Phlox should be here any second. I called him when I couldn’t find a heartbeat.”
“What do you mean, no heartbeat?” Trip asked, instantly alert at the same time Phlox burst into the room.
The Denobulan physician moved anxiously to inspect his patient as the captain explained. “When I couldn’t wake you at first, I realized you were freezing cold. I felt your neck for a pulse and couldn’t find one. That’s when I called Phlox before trying again to shake you awake. It took awhile, but you finally woke up, obviously,” the captain finished with a small smile.
Phlox stood and faced the men with a look of complete dismay. “I am at a loss to explain this, Captain. However, I think it would be best for Commander Tucker to come with me to sickbay and remain there until I know what we’re dealing with.”
The friends’ eyes met for a moment. “Sorry, Doc, but I got a lot of work to do.”
“I don’t think you understand, Commander. You won’t be able to do your work if you’re dead, and right now I can’t guarantee that won’t be the case.” Phlox pulled no punches when it came to a patient’s safety and this time was no different.
“I’m afraid I have to agree with the Commander on this one, Phlox. We need him right now. Isn’t there something else you could do? Maybe some sort of portable monitor.”
Sighing the sigh of defeat, Phlox gave in to his captain. “I suppose I could set up a medical tricorder to monitor his heart rate and other vital signs. If they begin to drop it could set off an alarm and page me immediately.” He nodded as he worked out the details silently in his head.
“There you go then. Trip, head to sickbay with Phlox. Get fitted up with whatever he needs to do, and then get back to that weapon analysis. I’ll let Malcolm and Hoshi know you’ll be delayed a little.”
Reed looked up as, half an hour later, Trip returned. “Hey,” he asked his friend, “feeling okay?” Concern etched itself deeply in the Englishman’s features as a tiny frown crossed his face. Hoshi looked similarly worried, but she stood silently behind Malcolm.
“Yeah, you know the Doc, always making a big deal outta everything,” Trip said, trying to dismiss their concerns and get back to work. With a wave of his hand, he continued, “So, find out anything new while I was gone?” He moved in front of the main viewer and shifted the makeshift monitor Phlox had jury-rigged for him so as to not bump it against the control panel.
“As a matter of fact,” Reed began, allowing the rapid change of subject. He indicated what they had assumed were phase cannons. “Take a closer look at those.”
Trip leaned into the screen, squinting slightly. “They just look like everyday cannons….wait a minute. Why are they so short? The barrels are at least a meter too small.” The image rotated at the touch of a button allowing a closer inspection. The engineer looked back up at his friends.
Nodding at his discovery, Hoshi explained. “I realized they couldn’t be typical phase weapons when I translated the power matrix displays. When Malcolm double-checked the dimensions, he agreed.”
“They’re just too damn small to put out enough power,” Reed picked up the trail. “So, I did a little more checking.” He pointed along the control panel from the weapon that was displayed on the smaller monitor to the right. “See here? Power output is barely enough to roast a marshmallow, but it’s plenty to nuke the humanoid population.”
“What are you saying, Mal? They weren’t trying to destroy the planet?”
Malcolm nodded. “That is exactly what we’re saying. It looks like they meant to get rid of the people but keep the buildings and probably most of the surface intact.”
Trip shook his head as he stifled a yawn. “All right. So, now we have to figure out what went wrong and see if there’s a way to stop this thing next time they use it.”
Ensign Vega ran his fingers over the levers controlling the extended scans he was making of Ramy Four’s moon. As the intensity increased, he noticed a blip along the far side of the natural satellite. Frowning, he moved his hands across the board again and repeated the inspection. Getting the same result, he looked up the center seat. “Captain? I’m getting an unusual reading on the surface of the moon, sir.”
Standing, Archer moved over to the science station. “What kind of reading, Ensign?” He gripped the edge of the console and waited impatiently for the report, tension rolling off of him in waves.
“Sensors have found a metallic object partially buried nearly on the dark side. It’s very large though, sir; I’d say approaching forty meters based on these scans.” He shook his head slightly as he looked up from the scanner. “We need to move closer to get a more precise reading.”
Turning toward the helm, Archer said, “All right, Ensign Grik, you heard the man. Take us to the moon.”
Enterprise settled into geo-synchronous orbit of the moon directly over what had previously been just a blip on the ship’s sensors. Archer approached the view screen as if to see the object better. “Unbelievable!” Regaining his composure, he turned back toward the science station. “Life signs, Ensign?”
“Negative, sir.” The young human male peered intently at his board, his fingers moving swiftly across its surface to adjust knobs. “I’m getting only a minimal power reading, probably some sort of emergency system to maintain the computers.”
Archer seemed to think for a moment before reaching a decision. “All right.” He flipped a switch on his chair arm. “Archer to Lieutenant Reed.”
“Reed here, sir,” came the disembodied response.
“I think we may have found your weapon. How’d you like a close up inspection?”
“Indeed, sir. Shall I meet you at Shuttlepod One?” A hint of excitement echoed through the tinny speaker.
“Captain?” Trip’s voice broke in over Malcolm’s. “Permission to join you?”
The captain shook his head unseen by his friend. “Sorry, Trip. I don’t think that’s such a good idea right now. Mr. Reed, I’ll see you in fifteen minutes.”
When Archer arrived at the landing bay, he knew things were about to be difficult. He started shaking his head emphatically before Trip even opened his mouth.
“Captain,” the engineer started, ignoring the already negative response, “you need me over there. Let me do this.” He couldn’t help shifting the medical tricorder sitting across his hip as he pleaded to join the team.
“Trip, what’s that tricorder doing there?” Archer asked with a touch of worry in his voice, although he knew perfectly well what it was for.
Tucker looked down at the offending piece of equipment. He absently traced the lead wires to where they ran under his uniform toward the electrodes placed strategically around his chest. “You know what this. Phlox insisted I wear the damned thing, but really Captain, I feel fine.” Even as he said it, he knew it was a lie. He felt more exhausted that he could ever remember feeling. Every moment was another struggle to keep from yawning. Despite all that, this was a mission he wanted to be a part of.
As he listened to his friend’s pleas, Archer moved along the exterior of the shuttle, doing a quick preflight check. He could hear Reed inside the craft, completing his own list. At last, Archer stopped walking and turned to face his long-time friend and current subordinate officer. “Commander Tucker, you are ordered to report to sickbay and remain there until either Phlox clears you for duty by his standards or until I return. Is that clear, Commander?” A soft, sad smile took some of the harshness from his words, but they still stung the younger man.
“Aye, sir,” Trip answered with reluctant acceptance. At least this way he could spend time with T’Pol he realized. Giving his Captain an understanding grin he said, “Thank you, sir.”
“I feel like I never took this thing off,” Archer muttered as he and Reed maneuvered into their respective EV suits.
Reed flashed a crooked smile and pulled his helmet on. Both men clicked their locks into place and inhaled as the stale smell of pressurized oxygen/nitrogen blend filled the suits. With a nod of readiness from his Captain, the Englishman opened the hatch between the shuttle and the Romulan weapon.
“This is definitely Romulan structure, sir,” Reed commented as they walked along a catwalk, their magnetic boots silently sealing and unsealing themselves.
“Any idea which way to some sort of control center?”
The Tactical Officer consulted the padd he’d transferred the weapon’s designs to. “I’d wager this way,” he said as he pointed off down an adjoining corridor. The men turned and continued their journey.
A short time later, they emerged onto what seemed to be a central computer station. “What do you think, Lieutenant?” Archer asked as they surveyed their surroundings and began trying to access the core.
“I think, sir, that these Romulans are cold, heartless bastards,” Reed said as he downloaded data into his small padd. Looking up at his Captain, he amended, “with all respect, sir,”
Archer nodded, “A fair assessment, but I was really looking for your opinion of this weapon.”
“In that case, my language may be a little more harsh.” He paused for a moment then continued. “I think, sir, that it was run by remote, much like the marauder ship, and was probably deserted here due to the malfunction in its power systems that caused the phase cannons to overload. The resulting energy surge would have made it damn near impossible to restablize so that it could be returned home.”
Archer fiddled absently with controls as he listened to Reed. When an alarm began to wail and lights flashed wildly, he looked up sheepishly, “Did I do that?”
Dr. Phlox hummed softly as he worked in his small lab. His analysis of Commander Tucker’s blood showed no abnormalities and, so far, his monitor’s relayed information was within normal limits. Glancing over at his charges he was unsurprised to see Tucker seated next to Commander T’Pol’s biobed again, holding her hand and whispering at her.
The Denobulan doctor smiled at the Commander’s stubbornness. Phlox had told him repeatedly to lie down on his own bed and stay there, preferably to get some rest. Yet, every time he looked their way, Tucker had resumed his vigil at his bondmate’s bedside.
Sighing, the doctor moved into his small office to begin a dictation on the current situation. He hadn’t been at it for very long when a shrill tone filled the air. Running back into sickbay proper, he was startled to see Commander Tucker slumped over; his head rested along T’Pol’s abdomen and his hand dropped lifelessly toward the floor.
Immediately Phlox shut off the offending alarm and rushed to aid his patient. Glancing at the display on the modified tricorder, he noted the flatline moving rapidly across the small screen that should have shown a healthy sinus rhythm. Calling upon his superior strength, he hauled the young man up onto his own bed and quickly pulled open his shirt. Moving through the necessary motions with nearly instinctual ease, Phlox had Tucker attached to the cardio-stimulator within mere seconds and, after a few more frantic moments of mechanical adjustments, an erratic heartbeat flickered to life within the young man’s chest again.
“Did I do that?” The Captain’s voice wavered between amusement and embarrassment.
Reed looked up from the monitor he’d been working over. “Yes, sir, it seems you did. And, according to what I can make out from this display, we’ve got less than five minutes before this place self destructs.”
“WHAT!?” Archer leaned over Reed’s shoulder. “How can you tell anything from this?” he indicated the foreign symbols racing across the screen in continuous rows, each one slightly shorter than the last.
Mentally counting to three (they didn’t have time to make it all the way to ten), the Tactical Officer grasped his commander’s hand and pulled him toward the passage that would lead back to the shuttle. “Trust me, sir. Call it a combination of intuition and a limited experience with this technology.”
Nodding his acceptance, the Captain followed the Englishman as their pace quickened as much as possible in the environmental suits.
“Ma’am?” Ensign Vega hesitated briefly before charging ahead, “I’m reading a massive power build-up on-board the weapon.” He continued to scan, quickly updating his own report. “It’s building to critical mass.”
Hoshi looked at the viewer as if it held the answer to her newest dilemma. “How long?” she asked.
“At the current rate of increase, four minutes thirty-six seconds.”
“Ensign Grik, set a course, any direction away from here, maximum warp on my command.” She sat on the edge of the command chair, tension pouring off of her even as she exuded the confidence of an officer worthy of that position.
“Yes, ma’am,” the young Tellarite responded as his stubby fingers moved over the controls.
Ensign Sato toggled the communications control on her chair. “Enterprise to Captain Archer.” Static filled the bridge as they waited anxiously for a response.
At last, a change in pitch signaled the opening of the return channel. “Archer to Enterprise. We’ve got a situation here, Ensign.”
“Aye, sir, we’re aware of it.”
“Good, then get the hell out of here.” His voice was strained, his breath coming in short, rapid bursts through the channel.
‘He must be running,’ thought the temporary commander. “As soon as you’re aboard, sir.” Even as she spoke, their sensors picked up the shuttle’s power signature.
Nervous eyes danced around the bridge as the rest of the crew listened in on the conversation.
“Now, Ensign,” came the forcefully quiet answer. The shuttle moved away from the weapon at a painfully slow pace.
Meeting the gazes of the officers around her, Hoshi responded one last time, “I’m sorry, sir. Your signal is breaking up. We’ll be meeting you in orbit.”
“Two minutes, fifty-two seconds, sir.” Reed called over his shoulder as the small ship moved away from the airlock.
As the connection with Enterprise ended, Archer shook his head. “Damn stubborn woman!” he muttered under his breath before turning back to Reed. “Can’t we go any faster? We’ll never make it there in time at this rate.” The Captain took over the primary flight responsibilities and began siphoning power from the life support systems and every other system on-board.
“Are we set to move, Ensign?” Sato asked, her voice revealing none of the fear she felt.
“Aye, ma’am.” Grik’s answer was not as strong and a slight tremor laced the tone.
Hoshi stood behind and just to the side of the piggish officer. “Don’t worry, Ensign,” she said with a smile, “if I let the ship be destroyed on my watch, I’d never live it down. There’d be comments about ‘women drivers’ for the next two hundred years!”
With a bit of hesitation, Ensign Vega called out the countdown, “One minute, forty seconds, ma’am.”
Reed’s calloused hands danced over the shuttle’s control panel as he sent the remote signal to Enterprise to open the bay doors. “Approaching docking station one,” he reported. “Emergency landing procedures activated.”
“Confirmed,” Archer said as he made subtle adjustments to their trajectory.
With a quick glance at the chronometer, Reed called out the time remaining, “Fifty-five seconds.”
The Enterprise bay doors opened as the shuttle screamed toward her belly. With the aperture barely wider than the small craft, emergency lights began flashing and the walls were covered in rapidly inflating heavy-duty poly-silicon cushions.
Shuttlepod One crashed through the narrow opening and skipped off the deck plating, throwing sparks up like miniature fireworks. It slammed against the now inflated air-bags of the far wall and bounced backward toward the open doors once again, but caught itself on the sidewall before screeching to a halt.
No sooner had the tiny ship settled into place than the hanger sealed itself once more and the occupants of the shuttle felt the distinctive jolt of jumping to warp. “Archer to bridge,” the Captain called as he disentangled himself from the pilot’s chair.
“Sato here, sir. We’ve gone to warp. We’re clear of the blast zone, sir. Dr. Phlox has asked that you head straight to sickbay.”
“I’m coming to the bridge, Ensign. I’m fine,” he looked over at his partner as both men cleared the shuttlecraft and entered the now pressurized bay, “and so is Lieutenant Reed.”
A brief pause, then, “Understood, sir, but the doctor said that he needs to speak with you as soon as possible regarding Commanders T’Pol and Tucker.”
“So, let me see if I understand this,” Archer said a short time later as he paced the confines of Phlox’s office. “There is nothing wrong with Trip. He is suffering the side effects of T’Pol’s healing trance?”
“That is correct, Captain. You were aware of their bond, I assume? You don’t seem surprised by the news.” The Denobulan grinned slyly.
Archer ran a very tired hand over his face, drawing it down slowly and finally gripping his chin. “Yeah, I knew about it. But that still doesn’t tell me how Trip could be effected like this.” The Captain hitched his hip up onto the side of the nearest biobed and let his weight rest there.
Phlox leaned against the wall as he prepared for a complicated explanation. “Vulcan healing trances are very intense. It didn’t occur to me at first that Commander Tucker would be affected by it because I didn’t realize the depth of their connection through the bond. I assumed, falsely it seems, that his human physiology would not allow for the strength common among Vulcan mates.” Taking a breath, the doctor continued, “If a mated Vulcan enters into a healing trance, only his or her mate can draw them from it. Typically, the mate will enter a deep meditative state and accompany the injured party in the mental-scape until the time comes for awakening when the healthy person initiates a gradual rising through the states of consciousness until both partners are fully awake.”
The Captain shook his head as he squinted his tired eyes shut. This just wasn’t the sort of thing he’d trained for at all. “And among unmated Vulcans?” Archer queried at last.
Nodding with understanding, Phlox answered. “Usually a Vulcan healer is required to rouse the patient, although there have been rare instances when a full healer is not available. In those cases pain has been used.”
Looking up startled, the Captain’s worried frown expressed his concern over that possibility. “Excuse me? Pain?”
“Yes, Captain. The patient can be struck repeatedly until he or she is alert enough to stop the treatment.”
Feeling older than he would have thought possible, Archer leaned over slightly until his head rested on his hand, his elbow braced on his thigh. Weariness shown in the slump of his shoulders and a million tiny aches echoed throughout his body. “Okay, so now that I know more than I ever wanted to know about Vulcan healing trances, I’m still not clear why Trip’s heart stopped ”
Phlox worked at a counter along the wall. “Simple, really, I can’t believe I didn’t realize it sooner.” He swirled the misty-colored contents of a small beaker over a radiant heat source. After a moment, he seemed happy with the results and poured the liquid into another dish, this one cup-like. He approached the Captain and handed him the steaming concoction. “Their bio-rhythms are in sync with one another. The bond that Commander Tucker thought had disappeared when T’Pol entered her trance simply went into a deeper level of consciousness than he was capable of accessing while awake.”
Absent-mindedly, Archer started to sip the fluid but stopped abruptly at the sickly-sweet taste. He wrinkled his nose at the beverage as he eyed it suspiciously. Phlox merely reached out and gently pushed the cup back up towards his mouth. “It will help,” was all he said. Shrugging, Archer drank deeply as the doctor continued his explanation.
“All this time, he’s been receiving signals from T’Pol’s mind to join her in the trance. So, you see, naturally once Commander Tucker succumbed to the internal command to shut down, his body adjusted itself to that of his bondmate.” Phlox had returned to his seat now and rolled it around casually as he spoke.
“Naturally,” Archer muttered sarcastically.
The Denobulan nodded, a broad smile plastered across his distinct features. “Among Vulcan mates this is not a problem, but for a human, his heart rate can not go that low and maintain his body. So, I’ve got him on the cardio-pump to take the pressure off his own systems. That way, he can focus his mental energies on Commander T’Pol and they can both return to living, healthy bodies when they are ready.”
Rising slowly, the Captain placed his now empty cup on the Doctor’s desk. He shook his head in frustration. Deep down, he hoped to never fully understand Vulcan mysticism and physiology. ‘Really,’ he thought, ‘how is it even within the realm of possibility that two people can be so physically and mentally tied together?’
“I assume that all this means that they’re both going to be fine?” The Doctor gave a brief nod joined by his trademark smile. “Thanks for the tea, Phlox. I’m going to get some sleep myself now. Call me if there’s any change.” Captain Archer headed toward the sickbay doors and a much needed rest.
Trip was falling through darkness. He reached out but found nothing to grasp. A silent scream escaped him as he tumbled endlessly downward, arms flailing, feet kicking, desperately seeking something.
Finally, he seemed to relax a bit. Although the sensation of free-fall still surrounded him, his mind called out soothing words of comfort to him until at some point he seemed to land, softly and gently.
Gathering his senses about himself, Trip noted the heat first. It was hot and dry, like that day T’Pol had taken him to the lava fields on Vulcan. Each inhalation brought with it scorched air that should have burned his lungs, but instead he felt quite detached from the temperature, despite his awareness of it.
Next came the light. It felt as if his eyes had been closed for a very long time and someone had suddenly turned on the brightest light he’d ever seen. He wanted to flinch back from the intensity, but realized almost as quickly that it didn’t bother him in the least.
Now he looked around and took in the desert he seemed to be standing in the middle of. His gaze moved up toward the sky and he noticed the two suns dancing across the horizon. The smaller red one seemed to be dipping low toward its dusk as the brighter yellow star painted the sky brilliant shades of orange and gold.
There were mountains off to one side, presumably the east, and a vast desert with no visible landmarks to the west. As the darkness gathered around the peak of the tallest outcropping, he recognized it for the monument that it was, Mt. Seleya.
‘Woman, what have you gotten me into now?’ he wondered. Shaking his head with a wry grin, he started making his way toward the mountain range.
After walking for what seemed to be very little time at all, he noticed what appeared to be two figures ahead. As he approached them the desert faded away gradually until he was surrounded by the white room of T’Pol’s meditations.
His feet carried him steadily forward and when he got close, he saw an image of T’Les greet him with a reserved smile. When he was close enough he smiled broadly at them both. “Good afternoon, ladies.”
“Trip?” T’Pol asked with worry evident in her tone. “How are you here?”
End Episode Six
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Nine of you have made comments
Great technical touches. I like the medical details as well. It would make sense that if Vulcan healing trances produce profound bradycardia, and Trip's body was trying to join her in the trance, that some sort of life support might be necessary. I like your take on the differences between humans and Vulcans in that respect. Humans can learn to slow their heartrate down to what would otherwise be dangerous levels, though. Look at the Buddist monks in Tibet for example. Wouldn't it be fitting if T'Pol were able to teach him to do it without going into cardiac arrest?
Already read this on FF.net. Great update looking forward to read more.
Hey Distracted! Glad you liked it. I think she'll have to train him just for his own future safety!
Very nice. So...the Romulans are trying to build a neutron bomb, huh? Cool. And correct me if I'm wrong, but are you setting up a potential triangle between Archer, Reed and Sato, what with Archer thinking about Hoshi in an earlier chapter and now Reed thinking about her? Looking forward to the next chapter!
Agree with all that distracted said. The ending ... very fun and can't wait for him to reply.
Awesome stuff, way to cliffhanger-it. (... did that make any sense? Just checking.) I can't wait for the next "episode"! :)
Well talk about learnin the hard way about the affects of a Vulcan healin trance on the Bond mate, especialy a human one. Glad that Phlox finaly figured it out,, an helped them both out. An I find it quite sweet an beautiful that while in one of those trance's a Vulcan basicaly calls to their mate to join them an be there fro them in their time of need. Beautiful touch also addin T'les into it,,,, Wonder what was goinin on there?
Ok Im a bit back one the RW techno bable,,,But let me get this strait,, The Rommies are workin on a bomb that can whipe out/vaporise an entire planets population without destroyin a single buildin?? Ok Send a fleet of thousands after those pointyeared bastards.
Ok Ya got me sittin on the edge of my seat,, I cant wait to see whats next. Update soon please! :D
More please. This is to good to just end.
It's been 6 months. please, please write the conclusion. Don't leave us dangling.