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In the Cold of the Night
Author - Blackn'blue | Genre - Drama | I | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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In The Cold Of The Night
Rating: PG-13 (Violence, Adult Language, Rampant Sexism, Politically Incorrect Social Commentary, Uncouth Fashion Sense)
This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead, or yet unborn is simply your own paranoia bothering you so don’t bug me about it.
Note: Vulcan terms used in this story were stolen wholesale from the Vulcan Language Dictionary at http://www.starbase-10.de/vld/.
Description: This is a sequel of sorts to my previous story, For Want of A Nail. The time period is several weeks later. Things are proceeding just as Daniels predicted, but there were some details he neglected to mention.
The extremely well-dressed man pressed his thumb against the identification plate, then fastidiously wiped it off with his handkerchief. The desk sergeant on duty pressed a key and told the intercom, “Bring out the prisoner.” She looked up and added, “It will be several minutes, Mr. Hanson. If you would care to have a seat?”
Hanson glanced over at the less than inviting chairs that lined the wall of the public waiting area and shook his head. “I will stand, thank you,” he told her frostily. The room was certainly not dirty, but there was something about any detention facility that always managed to convey an impression of dinginess, no matter how thoroughly it was scrubbed.
“Suit yourself.” The desk sergeant shrugged and went back to her reports, leaving Hanson to brood. He raked surreptitious glances over the young policewoman. Not half bad, really. Could stand taking down a peg or two of course. All cops needed an attitude adjustment, and female cops were especially enjoyable. Briefly Hanson contemplated options that would be most effective for breaking the resistance of this one. Then he forcibly pushed everything else out of his mind. Business before pleasure.
Cantrell was waiting for delivery and he was never a patient man. Since Paxton’s death Cantrell had quietly taken control of the organization, and he operated Terra Prime with a silent ruthlessness that made Paxton’s former demagoguery seem almost childish by comparison. Getting distracted by a tempting piece of fresh meat could get lethal real fast. Hanson turned his back on the desk sergeant and walked over to read the notices posted on the far wall.
Hanson had time to read the wanted listings, and amuse himself recognizing the names of several members of Terra Prime in the process, before the inner door opened. He turned with casual arrogance to meet his client. The idiot didn’t look any better than he had the last time Hanson saw him. The young man’s eyes lit up when he saw his attorney though, and he let the guard lead him over to the front counter with a smile. The formalities of releasing him to Hanson’s custody were concluded quickly.
Hanson forestalled the inevitable rush of chatter with a quick finger across his lips. They walked out of the detention facility in silence, and remained silent until the doors were closed and locked on Hanson’s personal air car. Then the young man spoke, “Thanks. I don’t know how much longer I could have stood it in there.”
Hanson quirked his lips in faint contempt. “Didn’t the boys look out for you like I said they would?”
Massaro nodded jerkily. “Yeah.” He stopped for a moment and shuddered. Then he jerked his shoulders. “Yeah they did. I really appreciated it too. You and Mr. Cantrell have really stood by me through this, and I won’t forget it.”
Hanson thought ironically, “Sure kid. You’re as loyal as a dog aren’t you?” He laughed silently to himself. “A real son of a bitch. Literally.”
Instead of speaking his thoughts Hanson started the air car and moved into the traffic pattern. Massaro settled back against the cushions and asked him, “Where are we going?”
“Well Mr. Massaro,” Hanson answered him. “Since you happen to be effectively homeless at the moment Mr. Cantrell is offering you accommodations at his country estate.”
Massaro’s eyes widened and he turned in his seat to stare at Hanson with excitement. “You’re kidding!” Hanson allowed himself to chuckle at the fool’s openly naive sense of wonder.
“Now why would I be kidding?” Hanson asked reproachfully. “You know that we take care of our own. You have been a faithful soldier for us, and we are not going to abandon you now.” Massaro settled back in relief.
Hanson triggered the autopilot and input the destination code. The onboard computer in his air car contacted traffic control at the Tierra del Feugo central routing command and received clearance. In a moment the craft tilted back and rose sharply upward, accelerating rapidly. Hanson’s air car was top of the line, as befit someone in his position as top legal counsel for one of the richest interplanetary conglomerates in Human space. Within fifteen minutes they had achieved sub-orbital velocity and were skimming the spine of the Andes, heading north.
“Ambassador Soval,” the intercom announced, “Commander Tucker has arrived.” Soval acknowledged the information and stood up from his desk. His new makeshift office was a far cry from the amenities available in the original Vulcan compound. But, considering that the original Vulcan compound was presently a bombed out pile of pulverized debris that Human workmen were in the process of bulldozing away, Soval wasn’t in the mood to be picky. No one had died in the blast, a fact that could be laid in large part at the feet of the man he was going to meet.
The Egyptian sun beat down on his head with what most Humans would have considered merciless force when he stepped outside. To a Vulcan like Soval it was pleasantly warm and bright. Most of the refugees were settling into their new quarters in the Cairo compound without any major difficulties. A few of the children were experiencing relocation distress. But counseling was ongoing and all of them were anticipated to make acceptable adjustments eventually.
The Cairo compound had been prepared for precisely this eventuality, as a backup location in case of emergency. During the century since First Contact it had never been needed - until now. In the interim it had served as a meditation retreat for Vulcan personnel and as a rehabilitation area for staff members who were ill, but not ill enough to require repatriation to the home world. The climate of Egypt was remarkably salubrious to Vulcan physiology. Soval found himself walking more briskly than he had in years.
Trip Tucker strolled around the edge of the compound, taking his good old easy time and staying well beneath the shade of the perimeter awning. He wore a broad brimmed straw hat shaped like a sombrero and loose, flowing Vulcan robes. He also wore a liberal coating of sweat and a look of haggard distress. “Dang. I thought Florida was hot,” he told Soval as they met. “I guess I got fooled.” Trip tried unsuccessfully one more time to make the split fingered gesture of greeting and gave up in disgust. “Sorry.”
“Do not concern yourself, Commander,” Soval told him kindly. “Many Humans are having difficulty with it. It was gracious of you to make the attempt. Please. Let us go inside and have something cool to drink.”
“You’re a good man Soval,” Trip gasped gratefully. He followed his host into the visitor’s reception area and almost collapsed with relief at feeling the air conditioning. After being outside, the mere 30 degrees Centigrade of the visitor’s center felt arctic. “I can’t believe it’s September,” Trip muttered. “What’s it like around here in July?”
“I find it quite delightful,” Soval said as he led them to a table. “At my age it is restful to enjoy the soothing warmth.”
Trip made an unidentifiable sound and sat down shaking his head. “You know Soval, I realize Vulcan is even hotter than this. But when I was there somehow it didn’t feel this hot to me. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention at the time.”
Soval seated himself and requested that the waiter bring them a pitcher of ice water. Then he responded with, “Vulcan’s atmosphere is both thinner and much dryer than yours, even here. This allows your perspiration to evaporate more efficiently and radiates your body heat quickly.”
Trip looked intrigued. “Should have thought of that. I really was distracted though.” The water arrived and he joyfully poured a glass, downing it in a single extended swallow. He came up for air and wheezed, “Thank you. You just saved my life.”
“Hardly,” Soval raised an eyebrow. “But feel free to empty the pitcher. We also have tea, juice, coffee, or anything else if you prefer.” Trip shook his head while in the middle of another glassful.
He finished again and worked out, “No thanks. Water is good. Some salt would be nice though.” Soval pushed the salt shaker across the table and Trip shook a liberal dose into his glass before refilling it yet again. “Ironic, i'n’t it?” He told Soval. “I always hated deserts. Desert survival training was the closest I ever came to dropping out of Starfleet. I have never come closer to getting killed in my life than the times that I have been on desert planets. I grew up next to a blasted swamp for Cochrane’s sake! And what do I end up doing except marrying a Vulcan? Life is funny sometimes.”
“Seldom do things turn out the way we might have predicted them in our early youth,” Soval agreed. “I do have one piece of agreeable news that might mitigate your distress at the heat. I received word last night that T’Pol’s request before the High Council has been approved. Elizabeth has been granted Vulcan citizenship.”
Trip’s face split into a huge Human grin that lit up the room as brightly as the sun outside. “Yesssss!” He struck the table with his fist in triumph. Several Vulcan staff members turned to look at the sound. Recognizing Commander Tucker from their sojourn aboard Enterprise while waiting to be transferred to the new compound, they merely raised assorted eyebrows and went back to business. Nothing that this particular Human might decide to do would have surprised them in the least.
“That is one big weight off my mind,” Trip declared. “I’ll bet T’Pol heaved a sigh of relief too.”
“Forgive me if I decline to speculate on that,” Soval asked primly. “In any case you will be able to ask her yourself in a few days. The Shi'Ka'Ree is due to arrive tonight at 11:23 hours Greenwich mean time. They will dispatch a shuttle that is scheduled to arrive here at precisely 1:50 hours. Can you be ready to board then?”
“Yep,” Trip said confidently. “Most of my stuff is already there anyway. T’Pol took it with her and Elizabeth when they left. All I have with me is some clothes and toiletries. If I had to I could leave without them.”
“You are certain that the ‘cover story’ is still intact?” Soval leaned forward and asked quietly.
Trip nodded grimly. “Everyone except our families, Enterprise’s senior officers, you and your staff, Starfleet Command, and the Vulcan High Council thinks Elizabeth is dead. As far as the rest of the galaxy is concerned, T’Pol has gone home to Vulcan to grieve and I am going to be with her.”
Soval looked satisfied. “It is deeply regrettable that your daughter cannot claim her heritage openly. But I agree that this is far safer for the present.”
Trip’s face darkened. “With those...” He stopped himself. “I’m sorry. T’Pol keeps telling me that cursing is offensive to Vulcans as a sign of emotional immaturity. I suppose I am just a kid at heart, because sometimes the temptation is overwhelming.” He took a deep breath. “But I am trying. If I am going to be living on Vulcan, even part time, I refuse to shame my wife and daughter by acting badly. I have got to purge the habits that will make things harder for Elizabeth. It will be rough enough for her as it is.”
Soval inclined his head in respect. “The path to enlightened self-discipline is never an easy one Commander. But I have always found it to be worth the trip. Shall I show you to your quarters? You have several hours to rest before the shuttle arrives.”
Trip’s suitcase was waiting for him in the room when they arrived. He willingly acceded to Soval’s suggestion and, after a long cool shower, dropped onto the bunk for a ten hour nap. A staff member woke him up with a buzz on the intercom at midnight, in plenty of time to get ready and grab a bite of late supper before his ride got there.
When the shuttle arrived Soval walked out to speak to the pilot personally before summoning Trip. The sub-centurion on duty, not expecting such an exalted visitor, snapped to his feet smartly when the ambassador came aboard. Soval calmly waved him back into his seat and asked for a direct link to his captain.
When the screen cleared Soval offered greeting, “Peace and long life, Captain Tovan.” The deeply lined face of the grizzled old veteran displayed not the slightest indication of being impressed by Soval’s rank or person.
“Live long and prosper, Ambassador Soval,” Captain Tovan responded. “How may I serve?”
“I merely wished to clarify the status of your passenger, Commander Tucker,” Soval told him. “In order to avoid misconceptions.”
Tovan looked impatient. “What misconceptions could there be? We will transport him to Vulcan as ordered. Quarters have been prepared with environmental controls adjusted to Earth tolerances. His meals will be served to him three times daily as specified in the standards and otherwise he will not be bothered.”
Soval let a tiny hiss of air escape between his teeth. Not even the fussiest Vulcan could have called it a sigh. “I perceive that my concern was appropriate. Commander Tucker is not simply a Human passenger Captain Tovan. Not only is he the husband of a Vulcan citizen,” Tovan’s eyebrows leapt upward and tried to crawl underneath his hairline at this information, “but the Vulcan people owe him a debt of honor. For several reasons,” he added.
“I see.” Tovan sat and looked at Soval for a while. “May I enquire as to what these reasons are?”
Soval considered. If he didn’t tell Tovan it was likely that Commander Tucker would. In which case the potential for misunderstanding and friction might be even greater. “If memory serves Captain Tovan, the Shi'Ka'Ree was present during the recent confrontation at the edge of Andorian space, which was arranged by former Minister V’Las as part of his effort to foment war?”
Tovan’s face could not be said to betray emotion, but the muscles in his cheeks tightened almost imperceptibly. “That is correct.”
“In that case I am sure you recall the part played by the Human starship Enterprise during that confrontation? I was aboard Enterprise at the time,” Soval reminded him. Captain Tovan nodded guardedly. Soval firmed his jaw. “Commander Tucker was in command of Enterprise during that confrontation. Without his assistance I could not have prevented V’Las’ plans from coming to fruition.”
The sub-centurion that was sitting next to Soval maintained a rigid posture and kept staring straight ahead, but unlike his captain the young man’s control was far from perfect. A muscle in his jaw was jumping spastically.
“Also,” Soval added quickly, since it seemed that Tovan was about to speak, “During the recent bombing incident at the compound here on Earth, it was Commander Tucker who operated the transporter to remove our personnel before the explosive detonated. With his own hands he personally saved the majority of the people in the compound.” Soval stopped and waited.
Whatever Tovan had been about to say was deflated by this latest bit of news. “Understood. He will be treated with every courtesy as an honored guest Ambassador.”
Soval inclined his head. “That is most agreeable. Particularly since his wife is T’Pol, daughter of T’Les and one of the discoverers of the Kirshara. Her mother was a close personal friend of Minister T’Pau.” He turned and left, confident that Trip would not encounter any unsurmountable difficulties during his journey.
T’Pol turned to pick up her whining child. Holding Elizabeth close to her breast she shushed her quietly, and applied the gentle rocking motion that seemed to offer so much comfort to the half-Human baby. Her kinswoman, T’Leera, continued unpacking and placing items on the shelves.
“What is this, krei (cousin)?” T’Leera asked, holding out a small metal object. The item had bone plates affixed to the sides and some type of Human writing stamped on one end.
“An heirloom,” T’Pol informed her. “It is a folding knife that once belonged to my adun’s forefather. There is a story that accompanies it. Trip plans to pass it on to Elizabeth when she reaches maturity.” T’Leera nodded and placed the small knife reverently in a place of honor on an upper shelf.
The clan’s mountain retreat was small, but quite large enough for a family of three with room left over. T’Pol’s extended family had grown and spread out over the planet during the course of centuries, with the family holdings being divided, then subdivided, then recombined with other holdings many times. However one tradition had always endured throughout Vulcan history.
Every fifth generation a family came together and negotiated. All of their properties were arranged so that each succeeding generation would always have access to a place of solitude. The last time this had happened was during T’Pol’s grandmother’s generation. As a result the family still maintained a commonly owned house in the Sa’Lor’Khal mountains that was open for the use of any family member who needed it. After being informed of T’Pol’s circumstances, her clan had given unanimous consent for her and her child to stay there as long as they saw fit.
T’Pol noted Elizabeth working her tongue over her lips and felt a discomfort through the maternal bond. Since the baby had just finished a bottle of milk less than an hour before, she concluded that her daughter was thirsty again. T’Leera glanced over as T’Pol prepared a bottle of water.
“Does she require as much water as a Human child?” T’Leera asked in concerned interest.
“No,” T’Pol informed her, picking up Elizabeth and offering her the nipple, which was greedily accepted. “Not even close to as much as a Human. But she does require approximately three times as much fluid as a Vulcan baby. That is in addition to her milk.”
“Fortunately the well here is deep and plentiful,” T’Leera pointed out. “With the baby and a Human adun, you will need a great deal of water.”
“I am somewhat concerned about food requirements,” T’Pol admitted, walking over to help rummage among the boxes with one hand while continuing to hold the nursing Elizabeth with the other. “At her last examination Dr. Phlox told me that her development was ahead of schedule for Vulcan babies, but behind schedule for Humans. Which seems reasonable since Humans mature approximately twice as fast as we do. However...” T’Pol trailed off with her brow crinkled as she pulled out a few items and laid them on the bed.
“What is it krei?” T’Leera asked.
T’Pol let herself sigh. “There is no logic in worrying about it of course. There is nothing to be done. If she needs it, she needs it. But Dr. Phlox told me that Human babies absolutely require animal protein for proper development of the central nervous system. Without the amino acids present in animal protein, a Human child can grow up brain damaged or even crippled.”
T’Leera looked aghast. “That is absolutely unacceptable. I take it that you are concerned Elizabeth may share this requirement?” T’Pol nodded.
“It is too soon to tell for certain. We will probably be able to determine the answer for certain at her next examination.”
T’Leera put on a stubborn face. “As you said, if she needs it she needs it. Surak has instructed us not to take life without cause and when it can be avoided. He did not instruct us to place the life of an animal above the life of a child. Is it not acceptable to kill in self-defense, to save one’s own life? Is it not acceptable to kill in defense of one’s child? To protect one’s child against attack? Then I do not see how it would not be acceptable to kill in order to save one’s child from permanent neurological damage.”
T’Pol told her, “Fortunately there are many Earth creatures, especially aquatic animals, that are all but mindless which could supply the appropriate amino acids if it proves necessary.” She looked sadly down and added softly, “It will be difficult for her to integrate into our society with her mixed heritage as it is. Such a special dietary requirement will only increase the challenge.”
“In the family, all is silence,” T’Leera quoted. “It will not be an issue until such time as it becomes safe to reveal her identity, which may not be for several years. By that time perhaps she will have outgrown the need. In any case it is illogical to anticipate problems that have not yet materialized.”
“You are correct of course,” T’Pol agreed emphatically. “I must concentrate on preparing for Trip’s arrival and for Elizabeth’s Inclusion ceremony.” They returned to unpacking.
Josiah Cantrell rotated his shot glass back and forth between his fingers thoughtfully. The rich amber of fine bourbon soaked up the golden autumn sunlight which poured like syrup over the rolling hills of his horse farm.
The man who, by those that truly knew him, was acknowledged to be one of the most dangerous Humans alive leaned back indolently in the rough hewn chair on his front porch. His feet were propped on the white wooden railing that bordered the porch, which in turn circled the entirety of the 273 year old house. Cantrell was a traditionalist in many more ways than one. He saw no need to abandon anything that had proven itself by standing the test of time.
Which was why he saw no reason to abandon the tried and true methods for enforcing strict obedience among his followers. Fear of pain, mutilation and death had proven themselves across the centuries to have enormous power over men. Cantrell used what worked. He took no pleasure from it. No more than castrating a stallion or drowning a sack of unwanted pups. It was just a necessary task to be performed in order to achieve a desired result.
He mused on the current state of affairs. Internal control of Terra Prime was stabilizing nicely. No one had dared to challenge him since Carter disappeared. With the last of Paxton’s main lieutenants out of the way, the rank and file seemed almost eager to follow him. Cantrell did not think of them as sheep looking for a shepherd. More like wild dogs, ready to follow the one who had proven himself by putting the old leader on his back.
He took another delicate sip of the aged whiskey and rolled it across his tongue, savoring the full experience. In all things Cantrell strove to extract the maximum degree of sensation. Whether he was eating, drinking, making love, killing a man, riding a fine horse, conversing at a formal dinner party, or simply strolling through the forest, Josiah Cantrell was an Epicurean.
His latest woman, Susan, stepped outside and walked quietly over to lean against the porch post next to him. Josiah glanced up at her with a warm smile. This one pleased him well. She was good to look at, a tasty snack in the bedroom, and she didn’t irritate him with foolish questions or constant demands for more attention. He might keep this one for a while. Unless she let herself get knocked up of course. Like that other one... he thought her name was Lora... had been stupid enough to do. What a waste.
Of course he did not allow any of this to cross his face. Instead Josiah stood up and placed his shot glass on the railing. Reaching for Susan he gently ran the back of his hand over her cheek and smiled in honest pleasure. “You look as beautiful as always this morning darling. I told Jacob to start getting breakfast ready as soon as you got up, so it should be any time now.”
Susan Wheeling shivered at his touch. This man was an enigmatic package of contradictions that intrigued, frightened and fascinated her all at once. Originally the lure of his good looks and power drew her into his arms and his bed. Once she was there, Susan realized that something else was holding her. Deep inside this man was a raw, primal force that ignited a passion unlike anything she had ever felt before. It terrified her, because somewhere in the darkest corner of her soul a voice was crying out to her with a warning of danger. But for now, the excitement of his touch, and the intriguing mystery that wrapped itself around his life, were too much for her to resist.
“A message just came in,” Susan told him, forcing herself to hold steady against a sudden surge of desire, “from Hanson. He said that he picked up the package you wanted and he will deliver it to you as soon as he can get here.”
Cantrell’s lips quirked in amusement and he chuckled. “Hanson has been watching too many old spy movies dearest. We will be having a guest for a day or so, that’s all. He will be staying at the visitor’s cottage out back. Jacob will take care of him, don’t bother yourself about it.” He grinned. “Hanson loves to grab any chance he can get to play games.”
Susan returned his smile mischievously. “”I wonder what he would say about your favorite game Josiah?”
Cantrell threw back his head and laughed. “I am not about to let him get the chance to find out Susan. Come on, let’s go in and get some breakfast.” He gallantly slipped her arm through his and escorted her inside.
As they walked through the house, across the ancient oak floor toward the breakfast room, Josiah thought with wry humor, “No Susan, I doubt that Hanson would find last night’s game very interesting. Not nearly enough screaming for his taste.”
He pulled back her chair and seated Susan with one of his habitual old fashioned gestures that she found so charming. They started pleasantly chatting about nothing in particular as Jacob brought in the scrambled eggs and flapjacks.
Trip stood up carefully and told the sub-centurion in barely comprehensible Vulcan, “Live long and prosper, Saunk. Again I express regret that I am unable to offer the proper gesture.”
His studies in reading and speaking Vulcan had been greatly helped by spending his time aboard Captain Tovan’s ship talking to the crew. At first Trip was absolutely amazed at the ease with which he got permission to hang out in the mess hall and chat. He was even more astonished at how many people were willing to actually talk to him. Until he caught a few dropped hints and figured out that Soval had put in a good word or three. Oh well. Never look a gift Vulcan in the ear, Trip decided.
The shuttle pilot turned in his seat and inclined his head before raising his hand with divided fingers. “Peace and long life to you and yours Commander Tucker. It has been an honor to travel with you.” Trip picked up his case and walked out without any further words between them.
The Vulcan sunlight drove into the top of his head like a spike. Trip immediately donned his straw hat, which diffused the effect from a driving spike into a hammering board. He fumbled into his sunglasses and blinked away the tears until he could see again. Taking his cue from a large sign that read ‘Entrance’ in seventeen different languages, two of which he could read, Trip started off.
The Vulcan clerks working behind the reception desk at the spaceport were accustomed to greeting every type of being in known space. Vulcans had been traveling the stars for centuries before most civilizations dared to even dream of flight. It took quite a bit to rattle a Vulcan. Blustering Klingons were met with calm equanimity. Bellicose Andorians found themselves facing unshakeable politeness. Irascible Tellurites never got the chance to spout off an insult before they were briskly processed and sent on their merry way. Rigellians, Denobulans, Aldebarans, Tarkelians, it didn’t matter. Vulcans had seen them all.
And for the past hundred years, Humans had been coming and going with gradually increasing frequency. Exasperating, yes. But nothing unusual about them. Merely childish and uncontrolled. All that was required when dealing with Humans was patience and a firm hand.
The clerk at the fifteenth terminal looked up and blinked. Then she looked again at the vision before her as if doubting the evidence of her eyes. From his scent the creature before her could only be a Human male, although for the moment that was all she had to base the conclusion on.
The new arrival was wearing badly rumpled Vulcan robes, hitched up at the waist and tied in a crude knot that left his hairy ankles exposed. A pair of sandal clad feet protruded from beneath the front edge of the robes, but not far enough to leave the shade of the largest hat that the Vulcan woman had ever seen in her 162 years. The enormous lid spread out like a portable roof, encroaching on the personal space of people waiting for service at the terminals on either side of him. Beneath the hat, seeming to peek out from beneath it like a k’bet from beneath a rock, was a pair of impenetrable sun glasses mounted on a bright pink pair of cheeks.
Grappling frantically with her control, the clerk managed to emit a slightly higher than normal, “How may I be of service?”
The vision reached up and pulled off the glasses, letting them dangle on his chest by their neck strap. Then he removed the sombrero, to the visible relief of everyone surrounding him. Trip produced his identification and authorization and offered them with a smile and a polite, “Na'shaya. U’ rom gakh vu saudau.” (“Greetings. As good wart you appear.”)
The woman inclined her head without changing expression and input the data provided, hanging onto a lifetime of discipline by her teeth and fingernails. She recognized the name and her eyes widened fractionally. The clerk reached over and switched on the universal translator. “Welcome to Vulcan, Commander. I also offer my personal welcome and my family’s gratitude. My sister’s husband’s uncle’s father-in-law was in the San Francisco compound during the recent bombing.”
Trip’s already pink face became beet red. He looked down and mumbled, “I was just doin’ my duty, ma’am. I’m here to serve ya know.”
She didn’t smile, but he would have sworn that her eyes twinkled. “As are we all, Commander.” She finished with his documents and slid them back to him. “Is there any other way I can be of assistance?”
“I, uh, I could use directions to someplace where I can arrange transportation,” Trip told her. The clerk briskly directed him to a cab stand and called ahead to reserve a place for him. He thanked her profusely and headed out at the perkiest shuffle he could muster, given the heat and gravity.
The cab driver turned out to be a distant cousin of the reception clerk. Briefly Trip wondered if nepotism was a way of life in every Vulcan industry. He explained where he wanted to go as best he could manage. After a bit of initial confusion, due to the fact that Trip first asked to travel to a city on another continent, which had been destroyed in a war 2,000 years ago, they got things straightened out. He collapsed in relief and concentrated on breathing.
The home of T’Pol’s third cousin twice removed was located at the outskirts of Shi’Kahr. When the cab driver off loaded his sweating cargo, refusing payment of any kind with unyielding determination, Trip decided that a damp cave would be acceptable if it only had running water.
T’Leera’s husband, Ganlas, greeted Trip as a welcome member of the family. He showed his guest to a spare room with a shower and suggested that Trip rest until nightfall, when they would proceed to the mountain retreat. On the verge of dropping from heat exhaustion, Trip could only nod.
Hanson made some adjustments to the controls and the air car swerved eastward. Massaro roused up and asked, “What’s happening?”
“There’s something you should see,” Hanson told him. Massaro looked quizzically at him but said nothing more. In a few minutes they started crossing Brazil, passing over rich farmland inter spread with wide tracts of rain forest preserve.
When they reached the southern shore of the Caribbean, Hanson said grimly, “Pay close attention now. I know you have seen this from orbit. But it is important that you see it from down here, like the rest of us.”
The southern coast of Cuba came into view and with it, the scar from the Xindi weapon. What was once a single landmass had been sliced as if by a war god’s cleaver. The gigantic canyon bit deeply into the earth, well below sea level. Water had poured in from both ends to sweep mud, bodies, houses, trees, and memories before it in twin walls a hundred feet high. The walls had slammed together near the midpoint of the gash and erupted upward like an obscene volcano, spewing foul death and pitiful destruction in every direction from the center of the blowout.
By the time Hanson and Massaro made their flight over the area, the Cuban attack point had stabilized into a permanent lake of black corruption. An oil slick glinted iridescently at random intervals along the entire length of the inlet. On both sides of the planet’s battle wound, a reeking swamp had formed wherein nothing lived. A thousand different poisons from household chemicals, to industrial cleaners, to vehicle fuels, to building materials, to pesticides, were saturating the water and land in this place. It would take decades of sickening work before anything green could dare try to grow here again.
“They are still finding bodies,” Hanson said abruptly, distracting Massaro from his nauseated fascination with the scene below. “Or parts of bodies I mean. Don’t even bother to collect them anymore. Not unless it’s something like a skull, or a complete limb, or a torso. Otherwise they just incinerate it on the spot and go on.”
Massaro was green. Hanson said sharply, “Lean back and close your eyes! Breath through your nose!” He thought viciously to himself, “You puke all over my car boy, and I’ll deliver you to Cantrell in a sack.”
Massaro closed his eyes and shook his head. “I will be all right. It’s just more intense than I expected. We saw video footage on Enterprise. But this...” He trailed off and looked out the window at the open water to regain his composure.
Hanson told him in a somber voice. “That’s exactly why you needed to see it son.” The lawyer put a fatherly hand on Massaro’s shoulder. “Those Starfleet bastards are up there flying around like gods on Mt. Olympus, looking down on us poor mortals. But down here, down here on EARTH, it’s a different story isn’t it? Down here those nice friendly aliens don’t look so nice and friendly do they?”
Massaro’s gaze was dragged back down toward the hellish cauldron below. “No,” he admitted.
“That’s what we have to prevent son,” Hanson pitched his voice to convey sympathetic understanding. “That’s what we stand for. That’s why Terra Prime exists. To make sure that something like this can never happen again. All of us together, working to keep our world safe.”
Massaro clenched his jaw and sat straighter. He faced forward and nodded sharply, gripping the arm rests of his seat and bracing himself as if preparing for a fight. Hanson smiled and started the air car in motion again, headed for Cantrell’s estate.
“There’s one born every minute,” Hanson mused in satisfaction as they flew north.
Trip woke up shivering. The open window allowed the cooling desert breeze to flow unhindered. After his shower Trip had sprawled across the bed naked and passed out almost instantly. Now his backside was covered in goose bumps. The thin, dry Vulcan atmosphere did not retain the day’s heat well at all. The stone used in Vulcan house construction was carefully chosen to maximize warmth retention. But that didn’t help much when someone left the window open the way Trip had.
He jumped to his feet and hurriedly closed the glass with shaking fingers. After dancing a minute and rubbing both arms briskly to stimulate circulation Trip dashed for his suitcase to get some clean clothes. Forget the dang robes. He started digging for the cotton underwear and silk lined coveralls.
Once he was decently covered and everything was wadded back into his suitcase, Trip poked his head out of the room looking for his host. Ganlas invited him to partake of some tea and bread, explaining that it would take half the night to reach the house where T’Pol and Elizabeth were staying. Trip settled down and started sipping and munching, trying with indifferent success to manipulate the Vulcan bread tongs.
“I have new sympathy for what T’Pol went through aboard Enterprise,” Trip told Ganlas, “when we first introduced her to chopsticks.”
“I recognize that it is customary among Humans to use fingers when eating bread, Trip,” Ganlas mentioned. “I will not be offended if you choose to follow your own customs when among family.”
Trip smiled but shook his head. “Thanks, but no. I need to learn this. I promised myself that I am going to learn everything I need to know in order to be able to function in Vulcan society without embarrassing T’Pol or Elizabeth. Even if I have to starve for awhile to do it.” He made another valiant attempt at moving a piece of bread to his mouth and ended up dropping it in his tea instead.
The hovercraft had an enclosed cabin, to Trip’s relief. He watched with deep interest as Ganlas manipulated the controls. “Looks pretty standard. Mind if I try?” Ganlas pulled his hands back and gestured for Trip to take over.
The Human grinned in delight as he got the feel of the craft. The Vulcan machine was delightfully maneuverable. clenched his teeth as Trip sent the craft through steep dives and climbs, sharp turns and hairpin spins. Finally the Vulcan diplomatically Ganlas suggested that perhaps it might be best if he took the controls back for a time, since they really should concentrate on arriving before sunrise.
Vulcan’s sister planet T’Kuht rose within half an hour. The fiery orb glared hot and orange above the horizon like a baleful demonic eye, searing the landscape with a bloody glow and carving knife-edged shadows.
Ganlas was willing to talk so Trip made an effort to expand his vocabulary. Unfortunately his pronunciation remained a bit esoteric. Ganlas tried, as tactfully as possible, to point out to Trip the absolute importance of consonants and how a minor variation in emphasis could change the entire meaning of a word. Progress was limited but it helped pass the time.
Finally, “There,” Ganlas said, pointing. “That peak is the marker. Do you see to the left how it slopes off into a saddle shape? Immediately on the far side is the house.” Trip leaned forward, suddenly galvanized at the thought of seeing his womenfolk again after so long. He closed his eyes and tried to empty his mind the way T’Pol had been attempting to teach him.
Their intermittent telepathic contacts were intensely satisfying to both of them. But Trip was frustrated beyond words that he could never be sure whether or not he would be able to establish a connection. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. On the other hand, T’Pol always seemed able to grab his attention whenever she wanted to make contact.
This time it was an almost-but-not-quite feeling. Trip got an impression of T’Pol that flickered and then faded. Before he had time to curse they were landing.
The house was built from native stone, single story and low profile. It blended into the landscape so naturally that if not for the exceptional brightness of T’Kuht’s light Trip might have missed it entirely. Ganlas set the hovercraft down within a few meters of the front entrance and killed the motors. He held up a hand when Trip started to stand.
“It is best to scan the area first for local predators,” the Vulcan told him in a matter-of-fact tone. Ganlas activated the onboard sensor array and did a swift 360 degree scan of the area, then did an aerial scan to check for flying attackers. Finding nothing within striking range, he nodded to Trip and they disembarked. The night was alive with alien shrieks and growls but nothing could be seen, which only made Trip more wary. Ganlas didn’t run to the door, but he sure didn’t dawdle either.
Once inside Ganlas remarked, “I confess I prefer not to remain outside too long after sunset. It is unnerving to think that something could be waiting unseen in the darkness.” Trip blinked but made no reply. The two men walked through the foyer and into the main living area where the women were waiting.
T’Leera stepped forward first and offered her husband two fingers. “Greetings husband. It is most agreeable to see you again. I have missed your presence these last three days.”
Ganlas’ expression softened noticeably and he bowed while returning her touch. “They have been empty days without you beside me wife.”
Trip barely glanced at the other couple. He was fixated on T’Pol and the bundle she was holding. His wife’s eyes were shining as she stepped forward and offered him the same two fingered greeting.
Instead of reciprocating it however, Trip threw his determination about adopting Vulcan customs to the winds. He caught her hand and kissed it, then reached behind her head with his other hand and kissed her mouth quickly.
A low grunt and a waving little arm called his attention downward. “Hi baby girl,” Trip whispered happily. “Daddy’s home.” He reached for Elizabeth, who sleepily ignored the change in venue except for shifting her head to drool out the other side of her mouth for a while.
“How has she been? Eating good?” Trip whispered.
T’Pol answered in a normal tone, “Her appetite has been excellent, and she has been willing to take in an adequate supply of fluids. Her activity levels are increasing as well. Yesterday she managed to roll over onto her belly unassisted.”
“Already?” Trip was mightily impressed. “And I missed it. Shit!” He caught himself and sighed. “Sorry. I am still working on breaking some bad habits. But I will, don’t worry.”
T’Pol caressed his cheek. “Your bad habits are no more numerous than mine husband. Don’t spend so much time trying to be perfect. Just be who you are, and you will be perfect for us.”
T’Leera called from the kitchen that the tea was ready. T’Pol led Trip through the archway to join the other two around the table. T’Leera poured for the men and announced, “Since Trip has arrived, we will announce the gathering tomorrow. That will give everyone in the family who is coming time to prepare. The Inclusion can be performed in three days time.”
Trip took a quick gulp of his tea, holding it off to one side to make sure none of it dripped on Elizabeth. “What is this ceremony anyway? What’s it for?”
T’Pol told him, “Every female child is formally welcomed into the family this way Trip. The women of the family gather to hold a brief ceremony, gifts are presented, a ceremonial meal is eaten.”
“Only the girls?” Trip asked.
“No,” T’Pol glanced at Ganlas. “Males are greeted with a different ceremony. Ganlas can tell you about it later. It is not customarily discussed when women are present.” Trip raised his eyebrows and dropped the subject.
“Do Ganlas and I need to do anything except stay out of the way?” Trip wanted to know.
“I will be returning home tomorrow,” Ganlas informed him. “However, generally the baby’s father is introduced to the women as they arrive, and he also assists in serving food and drink. Otherwise his part in the activities is minimal.” Trip looked relieved.
“Meet and greet, pass out the treats. I can do that,” he said cheerfully. T’Pol squeezed his hand.
“I have every confidence in you husband,” she said. “How long will you be able to stay?”
Trip told her, “I am on a ten day leave, starting six days ago. In four days, when Enterprise stops off so Phlox can give Elizabeth her next checkup, I am supposed to start my detached duty going over those designs Admiral Gardner talked about. Two weeks of plan review, then Enterprise picks me up the next time Phlox checks Lizzie.”
“Elizabeth is being monitored closely then,” Ganlas noted with satisfaction.
“Most definitely,” T’Pol responded. “As the first of her unique heritage Dr. Phlox is deeply concerned with making sure that every possible source of trouble is monitored closely. Both of our planet’s governments emphatically agree. The High Council in particular is interested in gathering as much data as possible about her physical development.” Trip looked a little disgruntled.
“You mean they want to use her as a guinea pig?” he bristled.
“No,” T’Pol hastened to add. “Of course not. They merely want to make sure that all available information is gathered and kept safe. Please remember, Trip, that under V’Las much scientific knowledge was lost. Or, even worse, deliberately corrupted to meet his political aims. The current administration is attempting to purge the Science Directorate of his lies and restore the original goal of seeking and documenting truth.”
Trip put his cup down and drew his baby girl up close to his chest. She cracked her sleepy eyes open and peeped up at her father with a notable lack of interest. Trip put a feather kiss on her forehead and swallowed hard. “I guess,” his voice shook. Trip stopped and took a few deep breaths. “I guess there is nothing wrong with keeping careful records. We might need them someday. Or somebody else will.”
“It may happen sooner than you think krei,” T’Leera said lightly. “I was curious when I learned that T’Pol had married you, so I ran a search. I acknowledge being surprised to learn that there have been 27 marriages between a Vulcan and a Human since First Contact. Although yours is actually the first to occur between a Vulcan female and a Human male. Currently there are eight other mixed couples where the wife is of child bearing age.”
Trip looked shocked. “Twenty-seven? I had no idea. I would have thought something like that would be major news.”
“Probably the people involved chose to avoid publicity because of the weight of social disapproval,” Ganlas offered. “Consider your own people’s recent reaction. And as much as it distresses me to acknowledge it, our people would not have been open to such a union until very recently.”
Trip snorted, “One of my favorite twentieth century authors named Heinlein wrote that ‘history bears the same relation to truth that theology does to religion, i.e. none to speak of’. I guess just because something didn’t get written down doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”
T’Pol looked thoughtful. She remembered something from the meld that she had shared with her other self aboard Daniel’s ship...
“...He will marry a Human woman openly, causing a firestorm of controversy in the process, and their child in turn will,” Daniels paused and smiled. “Let’s just say that there will be a cascading domino effect...”
“Yes, I agree. Someone will put this information to good use in the future,” T’Pol said emphatically.
Hanson acknowledged the landing instructions and turned over the autopilot to Cantrell’s transportation control system. The air car hovered a moment over the landing pad until the twin doors dropped open. Then it descended slowly into the dimness of the parking garage. As the car settled to the pavement the doors swung back into place with a dull boom, like a vault closing.
Massaro glanced out the window nervously. There were several other air cars and land vehicles of various sorts parked at a distance. This underground garage was as large, or perhaps even larger, than the one at the detention facility he had just left. Hanson sat quietly with his hands on his lap. “We wait here until our escort arrives, son,” Hanson reassured him. “Just relax. Everything is under control.”
Their escort materialized in the form of two extraordinarily large gentlemen by the names of Joe and Mike. Joe was the talkative one. He said, “Hello, Mr. Hanson.” Mike simply looked Massaro up and down with pit viper eyes.
Hanson nodded briskly and held still while Joe ran a quick scan of them both. Finding nothing suspicious, he said, “Please follow me.” Hanson gestured for Massaro to come on and took off after Joe, with Mike tagging along behind, to Massaro’s extreme discomfort.
Hanson and Massaro climbed into the back of a luxury ground car. Joe and Mike settled into the front seat and maintained their calmly detached demeanor. Massaro had seen Vulcans who exhibited more blatant evidence of emotional reaction. Mike in particular made him feel like an ant on a window sill, under consideration for either squashing or flicking off into the yard.
Joe pulled the car out of the garage and launched it down the road at a speed barely slower than Hanson air car. Massaro squeaked and grabbed the seat handle. Hanson’s grin was more than half sneer. “Calm down son,” he advised. “Joe is the best driver in the business. That’s why Mr. Cantrell hired him.” Massaro managed a timid nod but did not let go of his hand hold until they reached the estate.
Massaro started rubber necking as soon as they got out of the car. He gaped at the sprawling mansion, the huge barns, the wide pastures where blooded thoroughbreds grazed and played, the split rail fences that extended off to the edge of a seemingly endless tract of old growth forest.
“This farm has been in Mr. Cantrell’s family for almost 350 years,” Hanson told him. “Not many people are ever invited to visit here, much less stay the night. You are being granted a rare privilege Mr. Massaro.”
Cantrell was waiting for them at the door of the guest cottage with a smile, along with a nondescript looking man of middle years and middle height. Hanson said, “Mr. Massaro, this is Josiah Cantrell. Leader of the Terra Prime movement and quite probably the ultimate savior of our planet.”
“Oh for goodness sakes, Fred,” Cantrell admonished. “You make me sound like some kind of messiah. I am just a man like anyone else. Just like you and Mr. Massaro here. All of us trying to do the best we can for our people.” He offered his hand and said with honest sincerity, “It is a real pleasure to finally have the chance to meet you, Mr. Massaro. I have read the report of what happened on Enterprise several times. I promise you solemnly that neither I, nor anyone else in Terra Prime, will ever forget what you have done for our cause.” He smiled broadly. Mike, standing behind Massaro, started to twitch a tiny smile but suppressed it instantly. Everyone else kept a straight face.
Cantrell turned to the vague looking man beside him. “This is Jacob. He is my right hand around here. Anything you need, just let him know and it will be provided. For now I am sure that you must be tired and hungry. There is a change of clothes inside in your size, and a fresh meal laid out. Freshen up, eat a bite, and get some rest. We can talk later this evening.”
Massaro was all but speechless. “I don’t. I mean. Mr. Cantrell, Sir. I don’t know how to thank you for everything you have done.”
Cantrell put a hand on his shoulder. “We can talk later this evening lad. For now, just take a little time to recharge yourself.” He shooed his guest inside and traded a significant glance with Jacob before turning away with Hanson. A flick of the wrist brought Joe and Mike to his side.
“Keep an eye on him, but not obvious. Make sure he doesn’t get curious, but I don’t want him aware of it for now.” They acknowledged the order and faded away into the landscape.
Cantrell started strolling and Hanson fell into step beside him. “Any problems?” Cantrell asked idly, looking out over his pastures.
“No, Sir, Mr. Cantrell, Sir,” Hanson all but babbled. “I followed instructions exactly. Just as you predicted, the sight of Cuba really shook him up and got his attention. He seems really grateful for all of your help.”
“He should be,” Cantrell snorted in mild disgust. “That worthless sonuvabitch cost us more than 200 good men, compromised seven ongoing operations and lost us more than 50 million credits in anticipated profits for this year alone. Even if he succeeds in this mission, which I highly doubt, it won’t make up what he cost us.”
“But it will at least get rid of him, either way,” Hanson diffidently reminded his boss.
Cantrell brooded silently for a moment. Then he nodded. “At least there is that. We can’t just quietly dispose of him. It has to be public and it has to be done in a way that Starfleet can’t cover up. The whole planet knows what he did, and they know that Starfleet broke him. We can’t have that, Fred. It is bad precedent. It weakens morale in the ranks. It also sets an extremely poor example to other weak links like Massaro. We have to show them what happens when cowards fail and then fold. It can’t be allowed to happen again.”
“Yes, Sir,” Hanson said. He waited patiently to find out why Cantrell had held him back for a talk. One did not try to hurry Josiah Cantrell. One waited patiently. If it took all day and all night, one stood still and did not let out a single peep of protest.
“I have been thinking, Fred,” Cantrell said at last. “This issue with Tucker never did get properly settled. We really need to tie up that loose end.”
“Tucker?” Hanson blinked. “The Starfleet goon with the Vulcan bitch? I don’t understand, Sir? Why does he matter? The brat croaked, just like it was supposed to. We made the point that mixing blood is fatal. I am sorry but I must be stupid. I don’t see it.”
Cantrell smiled and cocked his head. “Stupid? Fred, don’t try to bullshit me.” A tiny glint of hardness flickered in the back of his eyes, just for a fraction of a second. But it was enough to cause Hanson’s testicles to draw up into his scrotum and his bowels to turn to ice water.
“I am sorry, Sir,” Hanson whispered, as sweat beaded on his forehead. Cantrell laughed and clapped his shoulder.
“Relax, Fred,” Cantrell reassured him. “Just don’t try to pile it too thick, all right?” Hanson nodded nervously. “The thing about Tucker is that he is high profile. He is one of the heroes. He went out and fought the Xindi, remember? He matters. People pay attention when he talks. When a man like that picks a Vulcan broad, it catches people’s attention. Again, it sets a bad example.”
“But,” Hanson tiptoed, “other Humans have tried alien sluts. It didn’t change anything.”
“Sure,” Cantrell agreed. “When it was just a quick piece of tail it didn’t matter.” He paused, thinking. “Remember when Johansen scooped up that Andorian?”
Hanson smiled at the memory. “I remember he couldn’t stop talking about her. Personally I couldn’t see it. Those antennae made her look like a bug to me. But Johansen swore she was a great lay.”
Cantrell nodded. “He claimed she had enough spunk to give him a good ride all three days. Right up until he cut her throat. Of course, he snipped off the antennae first. But my point is that it didn’t mean anything to him. Tucker actually married this fox eared bitch.”
“What would you like done, Sir?” Hanson asked.
“We have been keeping those Sleepers in Starfleet for a rainy day,” Cantrell reminded him. “I think I hear a rumble of thunder in the distance. Activate Davis, Wu, Schmidt, Richardson, and Gonzales. Have them remove this particular stain on Humanity’s honor.”
“Understood, Sir,” Hanson replied. He turned to walk back to the ground car. Cantrell watched him for a moment, musing. Hanson was a useful man. Crooked as a dog’s hind leg of course, but at least he had sense enough not to get greedy. For a quick moment Cantrell remembered Hanson’s predecessor, Paxton’s pet shyster. He wondered what the odds were that anyone would ever discover that body. Perhaps in a few thousand years some archaeologist would dig up the skeleton and scratch his head, wondering how in the world a person could have ever gotten into such a location.
Cantrell grinned, then let it work it’s way into a real laugh. He was still chuckling when he reached the house. Susan came out and told him, “You look happy.” She smiled back at him.
He put his arms around her waist. “I am happy. Why would I not be happy? It is a beautiful day, I am holding a beautiful woman, all is right with the world. How about we go fix up a picnic lunch and ride up to the pond? What do you say?”
Susan shivered at the heat smoldering in his eyes. She doubted they would be doing much eating once they reached the pond. “Sounds wonderful to me,” she murmured in his ear. “Let me get changed into some riding clothes and I will be right down.” Cantrell admired her swaying hips as she preceded him into the house.
Life was indeed good.
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
Nicely done....You said you never did this before? Well I think you got the hang of it. Very nice story. T.
I am simply imitating the best.
Enjoying the story very much. Like how Soval made sure that Trip's journey to Vulcan was a pleasurable one and meeting some of Tpol's other family members. I also found your explaination of why Spock's parents were known as the "first" vulcan/human marriage very believable. Looking forward to more of the story.
Oooo... a very nice beginning. I really can't wait until everything comes together. A man, you made Terra Prime seem even more evil than it is! And Massaro like an idiot, though one can almost sympathize with him. Or perhaps that's just me, I've always imagine Massaro having a backstory that makes him not so evil/psychotic. I especially liked the large Vulcan family idea, it appeals more than the only child for everybody on Vulcan. Otherwise I can't wait for the next part!
Aren't the bad guys so chilling? I'm looking forward to see them get theirs, though Massaro you can have a little sympathy for since he is such a dope - so kill him quickly and painlessly?
Love the glimpse into Vulcan home life. So 27 Vulcan males out of 4 billion prefer human mates? Here! I'm over here! (waving a colorful scarf so they can see me). And disregard that man behind the curtain (Its only my husband. Sharpening a lurpa.).
I am glad you aprove of large Vulcan families. You will like the next part.
Love it. Watch the progression:
The first story's rating? Simply: 'G'
The Second? Somewhat more specifically: 'PG-13 (Violence, Adult Language, Rampant Sexism, Politically Incorrect Social Commentary, Uncouth Fashion Sense)'
If I may be so bold as to suggest a third?
'R - (Violence, Adult Language, Rampant Sexism, Politically Incorrect Social Commentary, Uncouth Fashion sense, Sexy Results)'
Wery, wery good keptin!
Of course, as a strict veggie baby with a strict veggie baby of her own (13.5 months now, the cute little tofu-head), I'm happy to calm T'Pol's fears of any pediatric brain melting that could occur in Elizabeth. It has been statistically proven--time and time again--that only 1 in 5 vegetarians actually has a melted brain.
I liked the Vulcan clerk assisting Trip and the fact that Susan was "a tasty snack in the bedroom". lol
Excellent update, Blackn'Blue. Now that you are no longer a newbie, you get the evil joy of posting one chapter at a time and watching your poor commenters beg for more!
Just don't wait too long.
I said I was gonna be politically incorrect didn't I? Although I am not going to go so far as some of the article I have read online who claim that when Earupeans stopped eating fish and started eating cereal grains their homocide rates went up :) Seriously, this was in a supposedly sceintific article.
Anyway, I am gonna spout along and just offend people right and left no doubt. Try not to take offense if you can help it. No offense will be intended to anyone at least. Remember that I am 1) foolish, 2) carnivorous, 3) contrary and I like to poke people.
Fair warning, the next part is going to get rather ugly in spots. Seriously. Some people are going to find parts of it offensive.
I don't doubt it.
Actually your line "offending people right and left" made me think of a hilarious Wanda quote from Curb. Totally unrelated.
Perhaps the homicide/veggie link could be a defense in some courts. Specially from real meat-eaty states.
So....when is your next one getting posted pray tell?
OK - I've read this one twice (when I find something I like, I always re-read). Josiah is VERY evil! And Poor Trip! All he did is fall in love - and this creep wants him taken out!
I've always wished I had the imagination to entertain folks the way you are!
So please update...SOON!!!
I have found, as I have slipped into the low of my "high and low" writing states, that I cannot in good conscience release chapter by chapter because my creative attention is too transitory.
Good luck to you on accomplishing good attentive writing! :D Hey I haven't read this first part yet but I want to wait till you have the whole thing done so I don't have to wait :)
I just finished a bedroom scene and had to stop for a cigarette.
Very interesting thus far. I have to say, though, I had a little trouble accepting how easily Massaro was freed. He would effectively be under Starfleet's mandate which would translate roughly into military control so just walking in and signing some paperwork wouldn't get him out. Unless, of course, Terra Prime has some "associates" who are very highly placed within Starfleet Command...
Totally dug the idea of the Vulcan consulate being located in Egypt. With the presence of a transporter, that makes more sense to me than parking it in San Fran. In the event that I can actually convince my Muse to cooperate, I may use that idea in the future...
A note: Trip IS able to do the ta'al hand salute. He did so when he was first introduced to T'Les in "Home" after T'Pol gave him a telling glance (sort of a "Now, you idiot. I didn't waste time teaching you the ta'al for you to screw it up before T'Mom!" look.)
Cantrell seemed suitably scummy but then, I've never really been able to tolerate bigots (which is probably why I had so much problem with season 1 Archer) so I'm probably a little too eager to see him get shot in the head or beat to death with a shovel.
However, quoting Heinlein (who wrote one of my all time favorite novels EVER: "Starship Troopers") made me forgive any mistake I may have noticed. :-D
Looking forward to more!
This is even better than your first story! You've got a fine balance between humour and drama (and never use humour inappropriately)and I absolutely love the amount of detail you've included in your depiction of life on Vulcan. It's stuff like the family meeting every fifth generation to sort out their property that makes this story so absolutely "believable". I also like that you've given T'Pol a supportive family and made the ordinary Vulcans Trip meets much more than cardboard characters or stereotypes. My favourite bit? - The description of Trip in his wrinkled robe and sombrero! I love the way you've taken this completely different POV and just slipped it in there. I'm looking forward to the next installment!
I remembered about Trip being able to do the hand salute *after* I finished part one. Drat. So I am going to write in an explanation in part two for why he lost the ability.
I also explained in part two why Massaro got out of jail. Actually it makes sense, if you assume that Starfleet is under civilian control and that members of Starfleet are granted basic civil rights similar to the ones we (for the moment) still enjoy in America.
BTW Rigil. Cantrell is modeled after the kind of RL political kingmaker that you often encounter in the south. I am sure that you know the kind I am talking about, given your background. The smiling ones, who will joke and chuckle with their arm around your shoulders, while they are slipping the barrel up against your ribs and squeezing the trigger.
Cantrell will get his, never fear :) And from a direction he does not expect either.
Ah. Cantrell is a Democrat. :p
(Sorry. Cheap joke. I simply HAD to make it...)
I can't assume that SF is under civilian control, sorry. They have a military rank structure, military uniforms and are doing the job of the military so, regardless of what they WANT to call themselves, they're pretty clearly the military. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
I mean, assuming that Earth is not under the control of a military dictatorship. In other words, that they have a constitutional form fo government with constituionally guaranteed rights like right to counsel, right's against self-incrimination, etc....
Yeah, but he's a member of Starfleet so it stands to reason that their equivalent of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) is going to take precedence over civil authority. He was active duty SF and effectively committed treason: that's the death penalty at worst, life in a military prison at worst. The way this was written, his sentence was remanded to a civilian court and that just doesn't make much sense...
It's just a gripe of mine that some Trek fans insist that Starfleet isn't the military. Sure, it's evolved beyond JUST a military as we know it but it's pretty clear that it IS the military.
Hm... Does a member of the military have the right to a lawyer? Does a member of the military forfeit their constitutional rights of citizenship?
In other words, it is one thing to catch a criminal. It is another thing to convict him. Ask any cop. Remeber that their most important witness is a time traveling resident of the 31st century who has a habit of disappearing at odd moments. There is also the matter of coercing a confession out of a prisoner by threatening him with the equivalent of torture, when there was no legal representation present.
To answer your questions in order: Yes. No, but from my recollection, the UCMJ takes priority over the Constitution for uniformed servicemembers. It doesn't conflict but is simply a stricter code of conduct (which is understandable being its for the military). The JAG office (Judge Advocate General) generally prosecutes AND defends cases inside the military ... although, if this happened in the modern "Fleet", I think he probably could have requested a lawyer that wasn't Navy. The thing is, he would still be incaracerated at a military facility, not a civilian one.
Again, this is all predicated on the fact that Terra Prime DOESN'T have anyone in the highest ranks of Starfleet. If they've got someone way up there in the chain-of-command, all bets are off, I suppose, and (s)he could be responsible for remanding the case to civilian court. Perhaps with the excuse that it's good PR or something...
In regards to your second comment (I missed that one while typing my previous comment), I find it difficult to believe that Reed wouldn't have exercised whatever links he has to Section 31 to make sure that this piece of sehlat excrement didn't get what he deserved. If nothing else, Reed should be one of the first people who finds out that Massaro isn't where he's supposed to be...
Yeah, there is a buttload of circumstantial evidence, but I'm fairly sure that, once they're alerted to Massaro's treachery, the crew of Enterprise could probably ascertain his actual guilt. He's an engineer, not a computer genius, so totally wiping out his digital "fingerprints" that led to Baby Elizabeth's creation would be hard if not completely impossible.
He isn't any kind of genius. he just worked for one. He followed instructions exactly, lacking the imagination to improvise.
Some of your objections have already been addressed in part two. The others will be. Keep the faith Rigil. I will do my best not to let you down. :)
I wouldn't call them "objections", merely observations.
Very impressive. So you never wrote fan fic before, but you wrote something right? Solve this mystery ... It's kinda bugging me.
And yes, those bad guys sure are evil!
Thanks! Keep it coming! Enterprise forever!
I spent a lot of years as a tech writer. That solve the mystery?
I reeeeeeeally can't wait to see what happens next. Awesome stuff, this is gonna be good! :)