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Author - Peter Simons | Genre - Angst | Genre - Drama | Main Story | Rating - PG-13 | T
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By Peter Simons
Summary: T'Pol's Trellium-D addiction from her point of view.
I look at the phial in my hands and wonder how it is possible that such a small thing can have so much power. When I open it and inhale its contents, it changes the world around me.
At first, the effect is strange, a bit unsettling even. It feels as if my brain shatters into a million tiny pieces. But then it is put together anew, and it works in a way it has never worked before. I am able to perceive the world around me in a way, I have not known before. The world becomes intense. Exciting. The world floods me with an abundance of impressions I had not thought possible.
It is wonderful.
My mind is able to focus completely onto a single sensation, to the exclusion of everything else. When I listen to Jazz, I can hear every single note of the song. For hours and hours I listen to the music, but in the real world, only a minute has passed. I am so lost in the music, I find so many impressions in the music, that the sheer amount of sensations makes it appear as if the song had lasted for a day. But it has been only a minute. When I inhale Trellium-D, I can hear a day worth of music in only a minute.
Every note triggers an association in my mind. I can see the music. It is like a landscape, and it changes whenever the music changes. I see hills, I see valleys, and most of all, I see the sky. I have never realized before, how wondrous the sky of a planet is. You look at it, and it seems infinite. I know it is just light reflected by a planet's atmosphere, but suddenly the sky exists on its own. It is filled with clouds, populated with forms and colors, and they move around, they dance to the music.
And so do I. I just sit here and listen, but my mind dances.
A miniscule amount of Trellium-D can send me into bliss for an eternity. Even when the immediate effect has subsided, the music stays with me. The sky stays with me. I have it all in my mind, I can command this beautiful imagery by the sheer power of my mind. Knowing this calms me, it makes me feel serene. It gives me strength.
Then I work with enthusiasm. I am curious to learn more about a world that contains so many incredible sensations for me. I look at things I had known for long, but I see them for the first time. I see beauty in mathematic laws, in the way they force an infinite amount of numbers into order. I am amazed how seamlessly physics, chemistry, and all of the sciences interact with each other, how they explain the world, how they allow me to rule the world, how they allow me to bring order to the world.
I am amazed by what my mind can do! It knows how to travel faster than light. It knows how to build a weapon that can destroy an asteroid with a single blast. It knows how to infer, how to grow, how to learn! I wield so much power with my mind, I can force my will onto things around me, I am stronger than the elements. I command them. A flick of a switch moves the mass of an entire starship!
Before I knew Trellium-D, I had not known how much power I really have. The substance gives me safety. It makes me feel in control. It takes the pain away.
I look at the phial in my hands and marvel how amazing the gift of life is.
Life needs order to exist. But the Universe does not love order, it wants chaos. It has thrown me into a hostile environment, it threatens my existence. The Universe does not want me to live, it wants to tear me apart and assimilate my molecules back into its mass. And it tries so hard! Every single day is filled with obstacles that need to be overcome. Every minute of every day demands something from me, so that I can live. I have been so close to losing my life so often, I cannot even count the occasions anymore.
Life is so precious!
If a starship is not maintained, it falls apart. And so would I! I need to be maintained as well. I need to be cared for or I cannot live. I need air, water, and food, or I will perish. A single mistake could throw me into a situation, where these essentials to my existence are no longer available. A malfunction in an airlock could destroy my life. An anomaly could shake the ship and send me crashing into a wall, breaking my neck, just like that. A Xindi ship could appear out of nowhere and fire a single shot, and I would be gone from this life. And there is nothing I can do about it. For all my power and for all my knowledge, in the end I am nothing and I mean nothing. I am nothing more than a victim of the circumstances I am in.
And the thought is frightening. The world is frightening. I don't want my existence to end, I want to live!
I know humans feel the same way. They are also afraid of the things that lie ahead of them. But the humans just put it aside, they sit down in the mess hall and talk and laugh and forget all this. And then they feel content, they feel safe, they are no longer frightened. But I cannot do that! I cannot let go of my control, I cannot lower my guard, I cannot forget the danger I am in -- I am always aware of the danger I am in. And I am so frightened!
Only Trellium-D can make me forget. Only Trellium-D allows me to feel safe. It allows me to listen to music for hours, without worrying about anything at all. It takes the pain away.
I look at the phial in my hands and wonder why everything has to be so difficult. Why is there no order around me? Why do I have to exist in chaos?
When I chose to stay on ENTERPRISE, I had no idea what circumstances I'd be thrown into. I had no idea what it would mean, how difficult it would be. I am not meant to live like that! I am not meant to be frightened all the time, to worry all the time. I am meant to have order around me. I am meant have logic around me. I am meant to feel safe! But how can I do that on this mission? On this ship?
Why doesn't anybody understand that? Do the humans not realize I am afraid? Do they not realize what danger I carry within me, why I need to be in control? They have known me for so long, but they just don't look, they just don't want to understand. They want me to be like them, they want me to change. But I cannot do that! I am afraid of losing my control. I am scared of losing my sanity. I need order!
So why do they not grant me what I need to live? Why do they not accept me like I am? Instead, they keep taunting me with my weakness, they try to prove to me that I am weak. But there is no need to prove it, I know how weak I am. Oh, I know it so well!
Do they gain pleasure from seeing me weak?
What do they see in me? What am I to them? They treat me like a freak of nature. They find me useful. Whenever there is something tedious and exhausting to do, they will let me do it, because they know I am disciplined. I will work on complex equations for hours without giving up. But after I have worked so hard, will they listen to my advice? Will they trust my judgment? No, they will not!
They will patronize me how their primal instinct is so much superior to my logic! They will lecture me about human culture, completely ignorant to the fact that my culture is 10,000 years older than theirs! Why are they unwilling to learn? Why are they unwilling to listen to me?
Why do they not respect me for what I am? Why don't they respect that I don't want to be touched, that I need control, that I cannot follow their flawed logic? Why don't they UNDERSTAND? Just because I don't display my emotions, does that mean I don't deserve to be treated with care? But I need to, I need to be cared for.
I know what I am to them: I am an alien. And I am so alone! I need to forget the pain, I need to rest.
And when I open the phial and inhale its contents, it takes the pain away.
I look at the phial in my hands and I cannot comprehend, how such a small thing could have gained so much power over me. Why have I been using Trellium-D continuously for two weeks? Every night? Why am I suddenly more afraid of the Trellium-D than of the world?
I have lived 70 years without needing Trellium-D, so why does it seem that I don't know how to live without it any longer? Have I become dependent on it? Have I become addicted to it?
That cannot be possible! How would a simple chemical compound be able to command my powerful mind? I determine my actions, nobody and nothing else does it for me. I will not allow it.
I have been weak far too long already. This will stop right now, right here. I am stronger than Trellium-D, I am stronger than the world around me. I will not give in. I will NOT give up my control.
This is all an illusion. The phial cannot make me safe, it only makes me feel safe. I have known all that. So how is it possible that I have indulged my weakness for two weeks? I knew it is poisonous. I knew it makes me feel safe by making me forget. But forgetting does not make me safe, it makes me vulnerable! The Trellium-D no longer makes me feel wonderful, it makes me feel horrible.
I will let it all go. I will destroy every microgram of the substance. And I will never to touch it again. If I want to live, I cannot be vulnerable. I will be stronger, I will be more disciplined. I will be free!
Live is wonderful. I have thrown myself at it with vigor, and I feel better and safer and more alive than in TWO WEEKS. I have worked, learned, meditated, talked, thought, and lived -- more than I ever had before.
There just is no way a simple chemical can have power over someone as intelligent and as strong as me. There is no way my mind would give in to something you can synthesize in a laboratory. I have made a huge mistake, but I have learned from it. And I will not make it again.
I don't need anything. I don't need anyone!
For 20 days I have not used Trellium-D. I haven't even thought of it, and if I did, I thought: "I am free!"
I have been victorious. I have been stronger than it. And it has been so easy! What does that mean? Had I been addicted, this would have been much more difficult. But I didn't have any problem at all letting it go. What does that mean? Have I misjudged the danger?
I haven't listened to music for so long, and I miss it. I miss the strength I found in it. I miss the beauty I saw in it. I cannot be strong all the time. No matter how much I hate it, I just can not. I am not a machine, I am living being! I need to be cared for. I cannot exist without safety. It simply doesn't matter whether it's an illusion or not. I need to rest, I need to feel safe. I need to forget.
Should I listen to music tonight? Just once more? I haven't done so in three weeks ... surely there is no harm in settling down for just one night and allowing myself the memory of this wonderful experience?
I have been stronger than the substance, where is the harm in using it every now and then? I don't have to use it all the time, I will just use it to hear the music again. I will do an experiment. I will prove to myself the substance has no power over me. I will use it again, just tonight, and listen to the music. And then I won't touch it for at least a MONTH. That will be safe.
I look at the phial in my hands and realize I had forgotten what bliss is. It is so wonderful!
I have made the right choice. Last night has given me strength. Now I can go on in without it. I realize how it works. I understand the effect. It is all in my mind. The substance doesn't have anything to do with it. All it does is make me realize my own strength, it only unleashes what is already in me. So I don't need it! It's only logical.
I am free!
I look at the phial in my hands and wonder why I should make things even more difficult for myself than they already are. Of course I can go without it. Of course I don't need it. But what is the point? How is logical not to use something that helps me live? Why should I do that to me? Don't I have a right not to suffer unnecessarily? Don't I have a right to feel safe?
What difference does it make whether I use it or not? I know it's just an illusion, I know how it works. If I really needed to, I could stop any time! I have proven it.
But what is the point? I could die within the next ten seconds, if the Universe wanted me to. So how would it be logical to deny myself that little illusion of safety I can get in this horrible Expanse? For all I know we will never make it out of it anyway.
All I need is to forget. But I simply cannot do it without help. I need help! No sentient being can survive in isolation. No amount of discipline can change that. It is flat out impossible. I certainly cannot. If I deny myself any and all pleasure, then what is the point in living?
I look at the phial in my hands and suddenly I understand it all. It has become perfectly clear. The reason why I need to forget is because I am so alone. But using Trellium-D will not change that. It doesn't accomplish anything! I am wasting my time, I am wasting my life. This has to stop. I will put an end to it. I will be stronger than it!
This is the last phial I will ever use. Tomorrow, I will be free.
I look at the phial in my hands and I am scared to death by it. There is no more denying: I have become addicted. For a month I have not gone without it. I no longer have any power over the drug. I am defenseless against it.
For a month I have been telling myself that I would stop tomorrow. And for a month I knew it is a lie. The drug no longer gives me an illusion of safety. Now I need an illusion to protect against the drug. I have to tell myself this would be the last night I use it. I have to tell myself that somehow this night is going to be different than any night before. I have to tell myself something will make a difference when I wake up tomorrow morning. I have to believe I can take power back from the drug and start living again.
But I can't do it just now. I don't have the strength to do it now. I NEED to feel safe just one more night, just this night, and then I will have gathered enough strength to end it tomorrow.
So I look at phial in my hands and wonder whether I have lost the battle already. Can I still win? Is there any chance of ever being able to survive without being able to forget?
I have to make a decision. I know all the facts, except for one: Can I stop using Trellium-D? If I pull myself together one last time, if I just WILL myself to be strong, would it be enough? It is very easy to determine: I have to stop now. Not tomorrow.
My hands start to shake violently as they hold the phial. I am so WEAK right now. Why does it have to be right now? Why can't it be tomorrow? Why had this have to happen to me?
As I stare at the phial in my hands, I hear the sound of my own voice. I hear it as if it came from a distance. Some part of my mind is talking to me. I hear the words: "End it NOW! This is no solution, this won't change anything, this is an illusion, this is the source of your weakness, this is the problem you are having! End it NOW!"
And all I think is: "Tomorrow."
My whole body starts to shake. I know, I understand. But I just cannot. I am so weak. I am so alone. I am so frightened. There is so much pain! I just don't know what do to. I don't know how to help myself. What do I do?
I realize, I have been shaking and hurting like this for over an hour. It has to end! So I open the phial and inhale its contents.
I no longer look at the phial.
I know I am too weak. I will never be able to free myself. I need help. I will die without help. But to whom can I turn to? Who will understand me? Who even can help me?
The problem is not the substance, the problem is that I am weak. But who can help me with that? There is no medicine to cure my weakness. There is no cure for me. What I need is to be cared for. What I need is to be understood. What I need is not to be alone.
Of all the people on this ship, Commander Tucker is the only one who can even remotely be considered capable of understanding me. Without him, I wouldn't even have survived this long. But he has never seen me weak. He has no idea what I am like. The T'Pol he knows is an entirely different person than I have become. For weeks I have deceived him. Have shown him something I am not. For there to be any chance of him helping me, I will have to reveal myself.
And the thought terrifies me even more than the drug.
For my whole life I have NEVER revealed myself. No-one knows what I am like. No-one has ever seen behind the mask I wear. The Commander may have glimpsed at my true self. But he cannot possibly be prepared for what he would see, would I reveal myself to him now. He could not possibly understand it, if he saw me like this. All he had seen was strength. And now there is NONE of it left.
I wish, I were able to cry. But I hate myself so much, that I deny myself even that little relief. The truth is, I do not deserve it any better. I cannot blame the Universe for being like it is. I cannot blame the substance for its chemical reaction in my brain. I cannot blame the music for being so wonderful. I have only myself to blame. What is the point in saving someone like me? What am I good for?
I have looked down on the humans. I have considered them weak. And now I find out, I am nothing but an obstacle to them. They expected me to help them. Now it turns out I need their help. While they cope with life, I break down.
How would Commander Tucker react if I told him? If he realized that I have deceived him?
He will ask me for my reasons, and I won't be able to give him any. Then he will be disappointed. He won't be able to understand. He will be hurt. I would hurt him by revealing myself. And if a human is hurt, he will hurt you back. It's only natural. It's only logical. He will reproach me. He will remind me of every mistake I have ever made, and I won't be able to defend myself. I won't be able to protect myself. Because I have revealed myself.
Once he realizes how weak I really am, how can he respect me any longer? How can he trust me any longer? How can he care for me any longer? By revealing myself, I will hurt him, I will hurt myself, I will lose him, and then there won't be anything left.
Nothing but Trellium-D.
I don't deserve it any better. It is my fault. I am responsible for my actions, not others.
The Captain should never have saved me. The Captain should have disposed of me like the piece of worthless organic junk I am. Like I asked him to. I have stopped being T'Pol long ago. Now, all I am is this.
I owe thanks to Vandiver and Clicks for reading the first draft of this text and for making many helpful comments and suggestions. The story has become much better because of you guys! Really, the improvement is staggering. Thank you.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
Nine of you have made comments
Mr. Simons, you must be a writing addict. It is amazing how you just rattle this stuff off. What drug are you taking? I want some. Great stuff!
Wow - very powerful and moving! A very interesting way of looking at the whole addiction issue, and well-written.
This is an amazing story, Peter! It is so real -- the delution of thinking it can be left behind, or controlled -- the rationalization, the anger, the utter alone-ness, the admission. Very, very powerful stuff!
Great job Peter! I enjoyed helping you create such a wonderful story.
Ya' know I love this...but I just had to say so 'out loud'
Wonderful, well done, powerful writing for a powerful subject. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Amazing, brilliant, and utterly spellbinding in an angst ridden wave of mounting sorrow. Poor T'Pol, I do hope you write a sequel so that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully with Trip carrying it in his hand - just for her. Wonderful, many thanks! Ali D :~)
Peter, this story is so good. Do you realize how lucidly you have articulated what addiction feels like? I'm impressed. Especially how denial is such a powerful force, and the day to stop is always "tomorrow." I am a fan. Keep writing.
One word: AWESOME.
Wow, powerful, moving, immediate. Exactly what everyone else said. You are the MOST interesting writer on this site.