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I Walk the Line
Author - Kevin | Genre - Drama | Genre - Romance | I | Main Story | Rating - R
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I Walk the Line
Rating: R (graphic violence in one scene)
As sure as night is dark and day is light
You’ve got a way to keep me on your side
– “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash
Trip felt a crash and realized he just woke up on the floor of their quarters. T’Pol was next to him.
“What was that?”
“I do not know,” she replied.
“Artificial gravity’s down,” Trip said. He felt like he was barely held to the floor.
“We need to investigate.”
They both pulled on their robes and used the manual lever to open their cabin door. Without lights on the ship, they didn’t worry about their lack of uniforms. Something must have happened that caused Enterprise to lose all but very minimal power. Not even the emergency lighting seemed to work.
They had only gone half way to the turbo lift when he heard something in front of him. T’Pol’s attention spiked and signaled danger immediately.
One word popped in his head–Romulans–but it was too late. Twin beams raced toward them as Trip felt a burning sensation in his shoulder and he collapsed.
Trip slowly regained consciousness and realized he was secured fast to a chair. He felt something press into his neck and a slight burning sensation traveled toward his chest. He looked across to see T’Pol in an identical situation.
Well almost! The anger burned through him. There before him was T’Pol stripped to the waist with some kind of device around her neck. They hadn’t bothered to cover her breasts and he frantically tried to escape to restore some measure of her dignity. “You bastards!” He screamed at the shadowy figure in front of him. He couldn’t make out any details beyond a simple dark outline against the bright background lighting.
“Silence!” The figure punched him in the face and Trip felt his head mash into the hard chair. Stars took over his field of vision as he recovered from the blow.
“Trip, do not resist,” she pleaded with him. He tried to focus on her. Although he could not feel her with the bond, he knew her expression well enough to recognize her nudity was not cause for concern. She knew something much worse was about to happen. He narrowed his eyes as he tried to recall where he’d seen this device before. It was familiar somehow but he couldn’t remember where.
“That is correct, Commander Tucker. In a short while maintaining your wife’s modesty will be the least of your concerns.”
Trip saw her stiffen as fluid started moving through the device around her neck. Green and blue fluid. Trip tilted his head and traced the tubes. He struggled again as he tried to escape his bonds. Vulcan blood! The fluid was Vulcan blood! “You bastards!”
He was rewarded with another blow to the face. Trip was certain he heard a bone crunch and he doubted it was his assailant’s fist. The painful throbbing in his face and the trickle of blood that hit his lips made him assume his nose was now broken. His head was bound to the chair and there was little he could do other than watch the fear increase in T’Pol’s eyes as the machine slowly cycled her blood.
After what seemed like an eternity, Trip stared across at T’Pol bound to her chair less than two meters in front of him. The drugs they had given him kept him mostly lucid. Between the drugs and watching T’Pol’s constant torture for God knows how long, he no longer had a will to resist. He slowly pieced together what the device around her neck was and what its purpose. He could see it in her eyes. They had stripped away her emotional control and a good portion of her motor control. She was suffering through her own private Vulcan hell and he was helpless to stop it. It was the same device the Suliban had used to interrogate her years ago. How had the Romulans got one?
“Please… no more… I’ll do whatever you want if you’ll just stop…” He had been pleading for so long his voice was hoarse and all he could do was whisper. His eyes were partially swollen shut from the two earlier blows to his face.
“Of course you will, Commander… But I must make sure you are properly motivated,” came the dismembered voice.
He tried to look away as he realized they were going to continue to torture T’Pol in front of his very eyes until they were certain his ability to resist was gone. But he could not. His bindings held him so tightly in the chair they forced him to watch her ordeal. Closing his eyes only made it worse as the image of her writhing in the chair was burned into his brain.
Finally he couldn’t take it any more and lost what tiny shred of dignity remained. He started crying, blabbering and pleading all at the same time. He was begging to do anything for them just to give her some measure of relief.
“Yes, Commander, I believe we have your full attention now. Now here is how this will work. I will ask you a question and if I feel you are being less than truthful, your wife will experience a pain stick. Just so you have some idea, here is a demonstration.”
Trip screamed “No!” thinking they were going to hit her with it. In a second, he found he was completely wrong in that assumption. A blinding pain hit him in the thigh and it felt like lightning passed through his body. He shook violently as he lost control of his muscle functions until the device was removed. His whole body slumped when it stopped but a searing pain remained on his thigh. It started to throb.
“As you may be now aware, you have a minor burn to your skin where the pain stick was applied. You had the protection of your uniform to lessen the affect… Your wife’s abdomen has no such protection. You are close enough you might actually be able to smell her skin burn if… you should be less than forthcoming in your answers.”
“Please,” Trip pleaded again though his teary eyes. “Use it on me if you think I’m lying… I won’t… I promise… Please let her go. I’ll answer anything you want…”
“No, Commander, I am not certain that would provide sufficient motivation… First question… How many of the new ships does Starfleet have?”
“Four survived the battle.”
“Not good enough Commander.”
Trip realized what that meant. “NO!” He screamed as the pain stick was applied to T’Pol’s abdomen.
Time stood still as Trip watched his wife flop around screaming. He wanted to do anything to make it stop. He couldn’t understand why his answer was not acceptable. It was correct.
Then it hit him. He mustered what strength he could and said “three more are being built and will be ready before the end of the year.” He barely made it out when the pain stick was removed from T’Pol’s abdomen.
He saw the large green circle form on her body and could smell the results. He broke down even farther. He kept saying “please stop” over and over but he wasn’t sure they even understood him over his blubbering.
“I think you now understand how this process works, Commander.”
Trip simply nodded. He couldn’t voice an answer.
“How fast are these ships?”
Trip was using what little strength remained just to think. How fast were they? Various numbers flashed in his head.
Then he heard it. A weak voice say, “Warp 6.8.” He tried to remember if he said it. He did not. He looked at T’Pol and saw vacant brown eyes staring back at him. T’Pol had replied for him. But she lied.
Again the pain stick was applied to another part of her abdomen. She just arched her back and howled in pain.
“Warp 7.1,” he got out but he wasn’t sure if anyone heard him over T’Pol.
They must have recognized he replied as they withdrew the stick and she slumped down. Trip saw a little bit of vomit come out of her mouth.
“Warp 7.1,” he repeated.
“Now for the next round. Next question, Commander. What is the shield strength and frequency?”
He looked up to T’Pol and saw her pleading eyes. He knew she wasn’t pleading for her own sake but for Starfleet’s. He knew he was turning over classified information but he couldn’t think of that right then. All he wanted was for her torture to stop. “Trip, the needs of the many…” She whispered just as they hit her with the pain stick again. This time very close to where her heart lie.
“No talking!” The dismembered voice yelled.
Something snapped in Trip. “You bastards!” He hissed and struggled with the last remaining strength he could muster. It was a pointless struggle because he couldn’t save her but they were both going to die anyway. And a lot of others once the Romulans had this information.
Trip saw T’Pol choke and a bit of green blood came out her nose as they hit him with a second pain stick. He lost all sense of her anguish as the searing pain shot through his body. However they overestimated his ability to remain conscious and he passed out.
Sometime later he regained consciousness to T’Pol stroking his hair. She was alive! He couldn’t believe it but he felt their bond return. She was alive!
Again he started crying, this time out of joy that she had survived their ordeal. He pulled her close and kept saying “Thank God you’re alive.” Over and over again. He held on to so tight, he never wanted to let go.
She just kept stroking his hair and telling him it would be okay. She seemed pretty confident for such a bleak situation. The Romulans had them and were going to extract every last bit of information they could prior to killing them. He realized he was shaking uncontrollably. He wasn’t sure if it was happiness that she was still alive or after affects of the drugs they used on him.
Suddenly he felt her reach away and then press something against his neck. He heard the hiss and immediately knew she injected him with something. He looked up to her face and she seemed so calm. He couldn’t understand her reaction at their situation. Although she had bore nearly the full weight of their physical torture, she appeared fine. In fact, she was using her strength to calm him down. It was as if she had some completely put the horrific ordeal behind her.
“It is all right. It was just a nightmare…” He looked at her with a confused face. That had to be real! He reached out for her stomach. There was no skin damage. Where are the burns?
He finally started to gain some understanding as he remembered going through this experience once before.
“It was just a nightmare… We both are safe… We are at home.” She kept repeating.
Trip felt a fog come over him. “Did the Romulans get the information?”
She shook her head. “No. That never happened… It was just a nightmare.”
Trip felt her pull him to her chest. “Rest now… Everything will be okay.”
He felt his whole body go limp as the fog completely enveloped him.
A rumbling of emotion swept through T’Pol as she slept. She felt the bed jerk.
She regained consciousness and felt Trip jerk against her in bed. Painful emotions flooded through their bond. She struggled to regain control as they threatened to overrun her ability to protect herself.
Trip babbled something and screamed “You bastards!” He thrashed around on the bed again.
Nightmare! flashed through T’Pol’s mind and she knew exactly what was happening to Trip. She had to help him out of this. She reached over, pulled him upright and applied just enough force to cause a sharp pain. That immediately woke him up during his past episodes.
The look on his face when he opened his eyes was the same as the past 87 times they had experienced this. He started mumbling incoherently as she held him and stroked his hair. He was shaking uncontrollably and she reached back for the dose of R-Tryptophan and quickly administered it.
She continued her effort to sooth him as she felt his hand pass along her abdomen. She closed her eyes and tried her hardest to calm him down and give the drug time to work.
She felt him relax as the drug took affect and she pulled him to her breast. She kept stroking his hair until she felt him go limp and fall asleep. She kept holding him and stroking his hair even though she knew he was fast asleep.
She reconsidered her decision to let him see the trauma she experienced at the hands of the Suliban. At the time she felt it was wise in order to establish a high level of trust and to show him that yes, Vulcan’s could experience terror. Far more than a Human. He did not believe she could ever feel fear.
Over the past month, she had come to deeply regret that decision. She took a deep breath and released it. His mind incorporated her revelation to create his own agony at the hands of his subconscious. The frequency of the nightmares had slowed but not their intensity. They began on Jupiter Station during his recovery from radiation sickness and continued even today. His original nightmares consisted of her being on Daedalus’ bridge when the mine struck. Those had mostly stopped but where replaced with a new one where the Romulans captured them and tortured her until Trip revealed classified information about the NC class ships.
She took a large measure of comfort in their reassignment to Enterprise. Doctor Phlox had been crucial in Trip’s… emotional… recovery. She did not believe Trip trusted any other doctor like he trusted Phlox. Between the thrice weekly therapy sessions and the R-Tryptophan, Phlox had been able to reduce his nightmares from a daily occurrence to less than once a week. He had even been… helpful… in easing her guilt. He assured her that even had she not revealed the details of the Suliban torture to Trip, his mind would have created something just has horrific. Phlox pointed to the addition of the Klingon pain sticks as an example of what the Human mind was capable of. As far as either one of them was aware, Trip’s only knowledge of them came through rumor.
T’Pol lay back on the bed but continued to hold Trip just as tightly. She remembered how much this had helped her so many years ago as she struggled with her Trellium addiction. At the time, now many years ago, she listened to him snore and watched him drool while he held her tightly in his arms. One night as he slept, she decided to take him as mate and… maneuvered him into joining with her on Vulcan. And then disaster struck when Koss returned.
T’Pol closed her eyes and pushed those thoughts away. Trip was her mate… her true mate.
She stroked his hair as she felt a tiny amount of drool escape his mouth and land on her abdomen. She struggled against the slight smile that forced itself onto her face.
Feeling his calm return allowed her mind to wander. She wondered when he would share his decision for them to leave Starfleet and serve the Vulcan Science Directorate. She expected he would this afternoon after he visited T’Lyr and told her they would speak when he returned. Instead he showed her a reprint of a book containing archaic Vulcan poetry for Lieutenant Sato as a present for her promotion. He never even mentioned visiting T’Lyr… And to her credit, neither did T’Lyr.
T’Pol felt another drop of moisture strike her skin.
She still never fully understood Trip’s need to give gifts. Vulcan society had no similar custom. His need to give her objects and desire to make them a surprise lead to their current situation. Actually led her. This is all my fault! She detected his desire to surprise her with gifts and so she allowed him to believe he could. Up to this point it was the only time he ever attempted to hide anything from her. She knew how important giving her gifts was to him, so she led him believe he could hide the truth from her.
He could not. He did not possess the mental discipline required. He would let his mind wander while he was alone and think of her gift. Often multiple times per day. She knew every gift he gave her well before he handed it over. But she pretended to be surprised every time. It made him happy and that was more important than any object he could ever give her.
Unfortunately that led to their current situation where she knew of a decision he had yet to share with her. She was of two minds on the issue.
In the truest Vulcan sense, his actions were perfectly logical. She was a scientist. The likelihood of serving aboard a Starfleet science vessel was remote given their skills and combat experience. She had spent little time with her own people over the past decade. Transferring would allow her reassimilate into Vulcan society. He was a skilled engineer on the most common Vulcan Warp engine deployed. He would therefore be a valuable member of a crew when finding qualified crew was proving a challenge. He was most likely more prepared to adjust to life aboard a Vulcan science vessel than she had been prepared for Enterprise.
Finally, he was the male, she was the female. His ultimate responsibility was to provide for her… to protect her… to keep her safe. ko-lest was not a concept easily translated into English words and appeared alien to Humans. They both agreed that the common translation of ‘property’ resulted from a Vulcan misunderstanding of Human language and culture. Yet the thought process behind his deception was the very definition of this concept. She wondered if it was conscious on his part or if it was purely instinctual… biological… reaction caused by their bond.
Had theirs been a Vulcan marriage, there would be no reason to discuss the matter. It would be settled.
But theirs was not a Vulcan marriage. It was a hybrid… A set of compromises each made. She did not understand why he chose not to include her in his decision making process. Normally he relied on her advice and support in everything. It was the Human way. Could it be he did not trust her to come to the exact the same conclusion he had given the exact same set of facts? She had. His logic was impeccable and she only questioned his methods, not the result.
Could it be the rumors did affect him in a way she did not understand? Could it be he wanted to convince himself this was his decision and his decision alone and that she did not control him? The comment about him being nothing but a ‘Vulcan puppet’ infuriated him. She was certain he would turn violent but she was able to calm him. Certain crewmembers would whisper it and he heard it via her superior hearing. She could ignore the comments. He had difficulty with them.
She sighed and stroked his hair again. Maybe the comment was not as inaccurate as the two of them believed. She did calm his emotions when they raged out of control. Prior to his decision to approach T’Lyr, she had even thought hard about the fact she had not performed any real science in years. She had demonstrated skill as a project manager during the Daedalus project and that had been her primary function in the years since. Her position as science officer was merely a formality as no real science was ever performed with Daedalus and it had been many years since Enterprise fulfilled that mission. In fact, she still had been a member of the Vulcan High Command on the last truly scientific mission she could recall.
What ever the reason, she could not let her deception continue any longer. They would discuss this matter when he awoke in the morning. She would make it completely clear she fully supported his decision. She agreed that they should not resign their commissions until they were certain the Romulan War was truly over. Neither of them in good conscience could walk away from Starfleet while hostilities were still going on.
She adjusted Trip’s body so she could press herself against it and hold him tightly. She settled her head into her favorite place at the crook of his neck. She inhaled his scent deeply and let it calm her. He mumbled something unintelligible and wrapped his arms around her. She drifted off wondering if they should also discuss the matter of children before committing to another star ship.
Trip awoke with T’Pol’s body slowly grinding against his. He smiled. She only woke him up that way… on very special occasions. The covers were pulled up over them. Yes, this was one of those occasions! He purred in back of his throat.
“Good morning, sunshine,” he whispered in her ear.
“Good morning,” she returned.
He moved to plant little kisses along her neck. ( So I guess probably one of us should get up so the Captain doesn’t come poking around… ) He chuckled a little.
( I have already informed the Captain that… we will be unable join him this morning. Skon offered to take him to the lava fields until midday. )
( Good… Plenty of time… ) Trip growled at her. He moved a finger up to trace the shell of her ear. He started to roll her over on her back and kiss the area underneath her chin.
“Trip… stop… we have something to discuss.” Trip smiled a bit even as he stopped. Her voice was that same throaty whisper whenever he got her worked up. He was certain she verbalized the thought to accentuate it. They rarely bothered with words anymore when they were alone.
( It is about last night. )
Trip gave a snort. Dammit! He turned and flopped down on his back.
T’Pol moved on top of him and rested her head against his chest. She placed her right hand over his heart and felt its constant rhythm.
( I’m sorry T’Pol… I wish there was some way you didn’t have to go through that… But Phlox can’t figure out how to block it. ) He felt guilty making her share his own personal hell.
( I have no desire to be separated from you… Phlox has said being able to share it allows me to help you recover… It has, has it not? )
His eyes watered up. He pulled her in more tightly to him. ( Yes, it has. )
( I have a confession to make. )
Trip tilted his head. What could she have to confess?
( I have been aware of your decision for some time. )
Trip winced. Guilt ran over him. Shit! ( I… I’m sorry… ) He took a deep breath. ( I’m sorry to hide that from you. )
( Why did you? )
( I was afraid you would try to talk me out of it. )
Trip could tell that seemed to baffle her. ( Why would I do that? )
( I just assumed you didn’t want me to spend the next ten years of my life surrounded by Vulcans. )
( I have spent the last ten years of my life surrounded by Humans. )
Trip chuckled. ( I know. And I assumed you would insist that you had already made the adjustment. You would try to convince me not to resign from Starfleet. )
( Your decision has logical underpinnings. Did you really believe that I would not support you?)
( I wasn’t sure… I figured you’d insist it was nothing but a knee jerk emotional response… You saw the nightmares where I dreamt you were on the bridge when it was destroyed… Phlox says the nightmares are caused because I’m scared shitless you’ll get hurt. ) Trip felt her amusement. He frowned. ( I don’t think that’s funny in the least. )
( I apologize. That is not what I meant… Yes, your initial reaction may have been completely emotional, but you implemented a completely logical process to forge a response… Your decision making process was… flawless. )
Trip chuckled. ( So you’re proud of me. )
( Of course. ) Trip felt her amusement grow.
Trip hesitated. He was kind of surprised by her reaction. ( So that means you’re not mad? )
He felt her sigh against him. ( Not in the least. I am a bit… disappointed… that you did not trust me to support you… But I understand your behavior on some level. )
Trip grimaced. He did feel guilty about that.
But not for long. His attention was drawn elsewhere by her shifting body. He just grinned at her.
She rose up and slowly took him fully inside her. ( Your actions were very… Vulcan. )
Trip pulled her face down toward his. Her mouth eagerly accepted his tongue and his fingers moved to stroke the very tips of her ears as she rose up off him before moving down again.
Before they were completely lost in their pleasure, Trip said ( The Captain isn’t going to be happy. )
( I would imagine not. ) T’Pol replied and increased her tempo.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
Eight hardy souls have made comments
Really like it alot. Great little story.
I like this series. T'Pol is right, they need to discuss children. After ten years Trip is in his forties. He ain't gettin' any younger, extended twenty-second century lifespan or not.
that was great keep writing
Great. I really liked your previous series. I hope this is the opening chapter to another series and not just a one time piece. I'd like to see how trip adjusts to a vulcan ship, and if anything comes out of the rumors of him being her puppet.
Johnny Cash is Good!
Excellent, excellent installment, Kevin! Covered all the bases, including the decision-making process that Trip underwent. I really liked the idea of the nightmares - they make perfect sense IMO as it's already been established (thanks to both season 3 and your ongoing NWM series) that Trip has sleeping issues so it seems perfectly logical (if you'll pardon the pun) that he'd suffer from them once more after an event as traumatic as the Daedalus incident. And the idea that his nightmares would shift focus to seeing T'Pol injured makes absolute sense. I understand your problem with the graphic nature of said nightmares but, IMO, that fits with the subject matter.
But really, R-Tryptophan? LOL.
The inner thoughts of T'Pol are especially interesting to read although her reflections regarding Trip helping her get over the Trell-D addiction are mildly confusing. I understand that Trip doesn't know about the addiction until the NWM series begins but I was momentarily confused as it seemed to intimate that Trip knew about the addiction pre-NWM & pre-Home. How did Trip help her get over the addiction without knowing about it? That would make an absolutely fascinating story, methinks.
And T'Pol is completely right. They needed to start thinking about having kids.
I am totally digging this series, man...
OK, I objected vigourously to Trip's decisionmaking on behalf of T'Pol, but this story IS interesting probably because of the conflict involved in that deception. OK, I'll buy it. I'm not completely happy with the idea, but the execution of it was pretty good--convincing.
Jumping into an established series is disorienting, but I liked this story. The dream torture scene was chilling. I can really imagine the perpetrators being that cold-blooded. I am not sure that Vulcans don't give gifts, though. T'Pol gave Jon Archer a book for his vacation on Risa in what I think was a first season episode. Your interpretation of the meaning of 'property' was refreshing. In the TOS episode where T'Pring was supposed to become the male's 'property' has always seemed to me to be at odds with the female power T'Pau had. That it is a more complex term whose true meaning is lost in translation is, well, logical!