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Thirty-Six Hours - Pt 2
By Hoshi’s Sis
Doctor Phlox has allowed me to leave sickbay and recuperate inside my quarters. Even though I am feeling far from being well enough to resume my duties, I am as Commander Tucker would say, ‘well on the road to recovery’. Just the thought of his name sends my emotions in a spin. I try to resume my normal mediation routine to aid my recuperation and balance my thoughts and feelings, but peace and tranquillity seem to allude me. As I sit and stare into the flickering flame, haunting visions of him fighting for his life down on the planet below fleetingly invade my mind. I fear I will not find peace until I know he is safe.
As the search parties were preparing to leave again, I asked Captain Archer if I could join them in their search. He brushed aside my request saying I was not physically capable of being able to leave the ship, before walking away muttering under his breath, ‘besides you’ve done enough.” As a Vulcan I would normally be beyond an emotional comeback to a response like this, but I think being in the presence of Commander Tucker for the last three years has had a negative effect of me. I instantly responded, “Captain, may I ask why you chose to leave Commander Tucker behind on the planet.”
“You didn’t have a lot of time, T’Pol, I had to act quickly and since you were within reach, the situation demanded that you were the logical choice to be saved.”
“Then I suggest, Captain, that you abide by your decision and stop with the emotional and unnecessary retorts. You made a decision, stick with it and quit trying to blame others unnecessarily for your actions and how you feel regarding them afterwards.”
Captain Archer apologised for his behaviour before leaving - that was four hours ago, since then there has been no word on whether they have found him. I fear time is running out, the longer he lies beyond our grasp, the less likely it will be that we will find him alive. I fear my relationship with Captain Archer if this happens. As I sit and contemplate my future onboard Enterprise, the comm... sounded.
“Bridge to Sub Commander T’Pol…….”
“They have found Commander Tucker and are bringing him on board now. Captain Archer requests that you meet them in sickbay.”
“Thank you; I’m on my way.”
I calmly stood up and exit my quarters for sickbay; I desperately want to run but my upbringing would deem this unacceptable behaviour for a Vulcan. My heart is thudding and pounding in my chest – is he okay, is he hurt? Just like Captain Archer, will he blame me for his capture? All these questions are racing through my head as I enter sickbay and see him lying on the bio bed surrounded by Lieutenant Reed, Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox. From a distance he looks unharmed, but close up you can see the painful labours of his capture – his left leg and arm are broken, there is a bad gash above his right eye and a large bloody wound on his left shoulder, which was in the process of being treated by one of Phlox’s exotic pets. He looks towards me as I enter sickbay and despite the pain his injuries must be inflicting, warmly smiles my way.
“I thought I warned you against alien dalliances Mr Tucker,” teased T’Pol as she walked up close to the bed.
“You know me, T’Pol,” chuckled Trip, “ya know I can’t resist a pretty face.”
I raise my eyebrow at this, while inside a smile lights up my face. He is back, he is alive, he doesn’t blame me, and our friendship is intact.
“It’s good to see you again, Commander,” replied T’Pol as she held his gaze and stared longingly into his eyes.
“The feelings mutual, T’Pol,” smiled Trip as he quietly gazed back, totally forgetting about the others in the room, “the feelings mutual.”
He thought he had made the right decision at the time – they weren’t prepared for a fight or battle and it would have taken that to get Trip free from those creatures. T’Pol on the other hand was well within reach of saving, but her injuries were grave and needed immediate action if she was to survive. If they got her quickly back to the ship, he could immediately get together extra help and weapons and go straight back down to rescue Trip. That had been the plan, but as time went on and Trip still remained missing, second guessing of his decision began in earnest with doubt and regret rushed headlong in for good measure. It didn’t help that T’Pol was now walking around as if nothing had happened; he really cared for T’Pol as a friend, but right now he felt she was flaunting her well being at him and rubbing his face in it for good measure. It was mainly the reason why he was taunt and nasty towards her, when she asked to join one of the away teams to search for Trip. He didn’t really blame her for what had happened to Trip, but right now with his guilt and self doubt, he just couldn’t handle looking at her – never mind being nice. She must have realised how he was feeling because she answered back in such a scolding and sharp manner, he instantly felt ashamed and immediately apologised.
Finally the search was underway; they were three teams of six each searching different directions, led my Malcolm, Travis and myself. My team had decided to search the caves to the West, so we were all heavy armoured just in case. After an hour of wandering around dark tunnels we heard the faint sound of howling and growling, which would indicate we were finally on the right track. Cautioning the group to be quiet and alerting everyone to have their phase pistols armed and ready, we set off in the direction of the noise. We ended up over looking the edge of a huge cavern, inside of which was about a dozen of huge black snarling carnivorous apes. They were grouped in a circle around two of three, which seemed to be content with beating each others skulls in. Off to the far side, bound up against the far wall was Trip; he didn’t look to be in too bad a shape in the distance, but that probably won’t be the case when we get closer to him.
I can’t express into words what I felt that moment when we stormed into the cavern, shooting those beasts and liberating him from his tormentors. The relief when I looked at him and pulled him close was just totally overwhelming and completely beyond words. I think the feeling was mutual, because the tears in his eyes obviously expressed that he had nearly given up hope of seeing us again. We bundled him up as painlessly as we could manage, since he had quite a few nasty injuries, and got him out of there as quick as we could. Doctor Phlox bundled him off to sickbay as soon as we got back to the ship – he wouldn’t let us near him while he was being assessed and treated, so I had time to let T’Pol know that Trip had at last been found. Despite outward appearances, I knew she was worried about him and would welcome a call. This concern certainly showed when she entered sickbay and walked towards him – communication at first was unspoken but the look each threw each other spoke volumes about there feelings for each other. I knew then that the rumours were true; I was glad that they had finally found each other and I hope each find the courage to take the next step. You never know, maybe I’ll give them a helping hand in that direction; isn’t that what friends are for.
Trip was feeling desperation setting in; he had hoped the Cap’n would have found him before now, but as time dragged on he began feeling like this is where he was going to end his days – a piece of meat ready for consumption. At least those creatures had finally left him alone; probably gone to quarrel amongst themselves over who gets first bite thought Trip.
Now would have been a good time to try and get himself free of his bindings, but he was feeling weaker and weaker every minute from the blood loss. He was pretty sure that he had broken his arm and leg after the fall, but once they surrounded him they began to toy with him pretty bad, digging their talons into his shoulder and chest before dragging him back to their lair. Once there, they strung him up in the corner of the room before starting again – prodding with their talons, sniffing, baring there huge fangs and claws, while breathing their nauseating rotten flesh ridden breathe at him. As he drifted in and out of consciousness, he just wished it would end soon and quickly.
He felt like he was dreaming; he thought he could hear the sound of phaser fire, and then it felt like someone grabbed his shoulders and called his name. He opened his eyes and a blurred image of Captain Archer swam into sight. // Na it couldn’t be // thought Trip as he closed and opened his eyes once again.
“Cap’n!” he whispered as tears starting to well in his eyes.
“I’ve got you, Trip, hang on buddy we’ll have you back in no time,” replied Captain Archer as he broke his friend free of his bindings and pulled him close.
Trip gripped back like there was no tomorrow – he didn’t want to let go in case it was a dream and not his friend saving his ass once more. The feel of his Cap’n and friend under his fingers brought home the reality that he was really being rescued; overwhelmed was an understatement of how he was feeling right this moment as all his pent up fear and despair he had been feeling finally broke down into tears of joy. Exhausted he drifted off into unconsciousness as they picked him up as carefully as possible and carried back to the shuttle pod and Enterprise.
He woke up in sickbay with Phlox hovering around him, buzzing about with different tools and medicine. // Son of a bitch, he’s put that god damned sucking leach on me once more. // he thought as he looked at Phlox’s exotic eel sitting on his shoulder happily sucking away.
“Now now, Commander, he’s just doing his job – you want your shoulder to heal don’t you?”
“Yeah but does he has to look like he’s enjoying it so much,” replied Trip in disgust.
Phlox just grinned as Captain Archer and Malcolm walked into sickbay,
“You’re looking a lot better,” said Malcolm smiling, happy that his friend was now safe.
“Yeah you can thank Fred here for that,” laughed Trip as he point to the eel on his shoulder, “he just can’t get enough of ma – I’m just irresistible.”
I looked at Cap’n Archer who was being too quiet – I just knew he was blaming himself for what had happened.
“For what Trip; if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t be in this mess. I left you behind with those creatures,” replied Captain Archer, emphasising the last word.
“But ya came back and rescued ma sorry ass, just like ya always do.”
“No buts, Cap’n, that another one I owe you for added to ma list,” I replied. Just then sickbay doors opened once more and T’Pol walked into the room. I was so happy to see her looking well again, all I could do was grin like an idiot and love struck teenager. I think she noticed this because she immediately started to tease me about those creatures down on the planet. I just laughed - this was the T’Pol I knew and loved so well.
“It’s good to see you again, Commander,”
“The feelings mutual, T’Pol,” I replied as I realised just how much this woman meant to me. Someday I thought, as I gazed into her eyes, someday I’m gonna pluck up the courage to tell ya this in person. As she held my gaze and stared back, a tiny glimmer of hope began to grow that maybe I wouldn’t be the only one.
Please review. Opinions and Criticisms are appreciated
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Eight hardy souls have made comments
Now that's the kind of story I like most. Why flush everything with tons of angst, throw a whole lot of jealousy, make everybody around hostile and so on, when you can make it pure and simple. Just exactly the way you did.
Just to make sure - I know this IS an angsty story (well, that's its genre cathegory at least :-). Yes, characters are worried, even blame themselves a little. But it's just so natural. So unforced. And it's simply a relief, a little bit of happiness brought back along with him.
Loved this. So great to see T'Pol show concern for Trip and relief at seeing him safely back on Enterprise where he belongs. I especially liked it that Archer was more like the first season Captain and Trip's friend. I miss that bond they used to share. I also think a pairing between Trip and T'Pol would be the biggest slice of heaven next to Mama Tucker's pan-fried catfish there could be. Yep, all ready for a second helping! Great stuff, Ali D :~)
Not overly angsty-just telling a story. Liked T'Pol's teasing when she saw him in Sickbay. Archer beating himself up was in character, I think.
Still a bit annoyed with Archer for leaving Trip behind in the first place and the fact that Trip is always so understanding but otherwise loved this story. Loved the interaction between Archer/Trip and Trip/Tpol. Thanks for a wonderful story.
Great, old fashioned story telling.
I love the natural flow of this...the tension and the relief...
I also like that Archer saw TnT's connection and responded well to it...it felt very natural. His friend had just survived a terrifying experience and he wasn't going to begrudge him the opportunity to be happy (I really like your Archer, Hoshi's sis. That's a very rare thing!)
I liked the resolution although I must say that the switch in the points of view this time around was relatively awkward. I felt that the switch from the third to the first interrupted the flow of the story. At least for this part of the story. Part one was superbly done. On the whole, though, good job. I especially liked the dressing down that Archer received from T'Pol.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I liked it very much!!