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Enemy of the State - Ch 4
Enemy of the State
The dark shadow loomed overhead as its out stretched maw threatening to swallow him. Frantically he reacted, trying to escape it. But every effort he made was blocked. The shadow was surrounding him. Engulfing him. A cold sweat formed on his skin as he began to heat a feint thrumming noise that grew louder with every second. thrum, thrum, thrum The noise continued to grow until it was a maddening, piercing cacophony of noise. He threw his hands to his ears to block the noise, but it continued unabated. As the shadows closed in the noise grew louder and he realized in one terrible instant that it was his own heart beating rapidly with pulse pounding fear. The shadow continued to move over him; he could see the light slowly fading, until the last illuminating ray disappeared, leaving nothing but the still emptiness of darkness and his own silent scream.
“Noooo!!!” came a piteous cry as the man shot up.
Immediately, he felt something grabbing him, stopping him from moving any further. The screaming man’s eyes darted frantically looking for who or what was holding him.
“Easy Captain,” said a voice.
The screaming man’s breathing was labored and he felt disconnected as if he could no longer trust his own senses. But he was quite certain he heard a voice. The voice had called him Captain. Taking a deep breath, the man looked to where he thought the voice had come. Squinting, his pained eyes in the bright light, he could see a silhouette. As his eyes focused, he could make the form out more clearly. It was a man’s face. But whose? He strained to force his eyes to reveal the answer and after several moments his eyes cleared and the face was revealed.
“Easy…Easy,” said Phlox softly, “You gave us quite a scare Soma.”
Soma swallowed hard as the realization that he was still alive now hit him.
“What worked?” said another voice from behind him.
Soma recognized the voice instantly and turned to face…
“Captain Archer…sir,” said Soma trying to sit up.
Phlox immediately put his hand on Soma’s shoulder as he pressed gently against the dazed starship captain. “No Captain, don’t try to sit up. Just lay back down.”
Soma resisted at first, but as he tried to sit up his head began to pound and the room suddenly started spinning. He felt a bitter, salty taste in his mouth and felt the urge to wretch. Giving in to the vertigo, he collapsed back onto the bio-bed.
“You have to remain still, Captain,” explained Phlox. “You were seriously injured and lost a great deal of blood. You’re going to be alright, but you must not exert yourself for the next few days.”
Soma looked up at Phlox through heavy lids and nodded briefly. He suddenly found that he didn’t have the energy to even test the doctor’s diagnosis. Rolling his head across the pillow, he turned his attention back to Captain Archer.
Archer looked down at the Vulcan and gave him a sympathetic smile before looking over at Phlox. “Is he fit to talk?”
One thing Phlox and Archer had never seen eye to eye on was a patients needs. Archer was always civil enough, but if it was a matter of letting a patient rest or getting answers
“Yes, sir,” said Soma in a weak voice.
Archer looked down at Soma and gave the man another smile. Even bruised and battered he carried out his duty. Archer could respect that.
“Give your report, Captain,” said Archer stressing Soma’s rank. He needed the man lucid and from what he remembered reading in his personnel jacket; Soma was a slave to duty.
Soma swallowed, wetting his mouth. Seeing the Vulcan try to wet his lips, Archer reached over and picked up a white container with a thin spout on the top. Placing it against Soma’s lips he said, “Drink this.”
Soma let the liquid dribble into his mouth. It was cool and slid down his dry throat.
Archer nodded his head.
“Just a minute ago you just said ‘it worked’,” remarked Archer. “What did you mean bye that?”
“The shuttle, I used it to enter t-the temporal energy wave Enterprise had been caught in.”
Archer’s brow suddenly furrowed at this and a thought came to his mind, which he tried to resist but after a moment decided to address. “Did you cause that wave?” He didn’t think Soma would have intentionally put the Enterprise and her crew in harms way even if he did create the wave, but he had to know if they were in danger of a repeat performance.
Soma shook his head. “No,” he said swallowing. “Enterprise was supposed to be caught in a temporal anomaly created by the Expanse. It’s in the history books.” He paused for a minute as the room started to spin again. Archer put his hand on the man’s arm and this seemed to steady him. He looked up at Archer as he continued. “I had prior knowledge of when…and where you would be outside the timeline. I used the temporal shuttle to travel to you while you still existed.”
Archer looked at Phlox who mouthed the words… still existed. Archer looked sown at Soma questioningly. He wanted to know what Soma was talking about, but the man wasn’t making any sense. Archer decided to try for something simpler. “Temporal shuttle?”
“Yes, we used it to investigate…” then he stopped and once again tried to get up as a look of outright panic overtook him. “T’Cel!” he cried. “She was with me. Where is she Captain?”
This time it took both Archer and Phlox to hold the Vulcan down. Even with his strength not fully returned he was difficult to hold back and it was Archer who finally gave him the answer he seemed to be fighting them for.
“She didn’t make it Captain!” yelled Archer as he fought to keep Soma on the bio-bed.
Soma stopped abruptly, allowing himself to fall back against the bed. Phlox and Archer held his arms for several seconds before they released him.
“I’m sorry Captain,” said Phlox sorrowfully. “She was already dead when we pulled her out of the shuttle.”
Soma turned to Phlox. “How?” he said in choked voice.
Phlox shook his head slowly. “A piece of debris…it impaled her,” He could see the pained look on Soma’s face and he tried to give some small comfort to him. “She most likely died instantly…without any pain”
Soma turned away from Phlox and closed his eyes. This had to be a nightmare; a terrible nightmare that he would wake from.
“Jonathan…I’m sorry,” said Archer not knowing what else to say to the man. “Was she…”
“She was a friend,” said Soma opening his tear filled eyes. Fighting the urge to let the tears fall, he took a deep breath. He wouldn’t cry for her. She wouldn’t have wanted that kind of…emotionalism. He looked up at Archer. “She was also an operative from the future…like your Mr. Daniels.”
Archer’s brow shot up. Finally something that made sense, he thought. “What were the two of you doing together?”
“She came to me on the Enterprise-C,” explained Soma. “She asked for my help.”
“Help…help to do what?”
Soma’s head lolled to the side and his eyes began to close. Archer leaned in and grasped the man’s shoulders and shook him.
“Captain!” barked Phlox.
“At ease Doctor, we need answers from him,” said Archer giving the doctor a hard stare.
Phlox’s features tightened, but he remained silent as Archer tried to rouse the Vulcan.
“Jonathan…Jonathan! What happened…what were trying to do?”
Soma opened his eyes and stared into Archer’s. He swallowed struggled to find the strength to finish. “Xindi…Xindi tampered with…timeline…your…only hope…
His head dropped back down as his eyes closed once again. Archer released his shoulders and stood up.
“Are you satisfied…Captain,” said Phlox with no attempt to hold back his anger.
Archer flashed him a scowl. “Don’t think I enjoy it Doctor…your responsibility is to your patient. My responsibility is to the 88 crewmembers aboard this ship and the
Phlox held his scowl for a moment longer and then relaxed it. “I know that Captain,” he said shaking his head. “I’ll give him something to sedate him for a few hours. Maybe
Archer put his hand on the Doctor’s shoulder. “I’m sorry if I seemed unfeeling. This mission is just….”
“Overwhelming,” said Phlox sympathetically.
Archer sighed and shook his head.
“What have you got?” he asked
”It is what we do not have that is intriguing,” the Vulcan handed him a data pad. “The Expanse…it’s gone.”
“Gone?” repeated the Captain in disbelief. His first thought was that this was a joke, but then Vulcan’s were not known for their sense of humor. “That’s impossible. Your sensors must be malfunctioning.”
T’Pol raised her brow as she bristled at the captain’s suggestion. She always kept her instruments in perfect working order. “I have run a diagnostic on the instrumentation. Everything is working perfectly. According to our sensor scans, the spatial anomalies which we are normally able to detect, are no longer present…and neither is the sphere we discovered nine days ago.”
Archer looked at her questioningly, but she could see any doubts he was having were fading fast.
“When we discovered the frequency the spheres broadcasted on, we were able to use that frequency as a locator. Even at this distance, the Sphere was detectable by remote sensors. Either it is no longer functioning or it is no longer present.”
Archer considered what he had just been told with what Captain Soma had said. He said the timeline had been ‘tampered’ with, thought Archer. Maybe he wasn’t just ranting.
Archer looked up at T’Pol.
“What is Captain Soma’s condition?”
Finally thought Archer with a slight smile.
“He’s going to be all right,” he told her. “He got banged up a bit, but Phlox patched him up. I had Phlox give him something to sleep for a few hours.”
T’Pol arched her brow. “Was he able to tell you why he’s here?”
“A little…he and T’Cel…” but Archer stopped at the surprised look T’Pol gave him.
“There was another Vulcan in the shuttle,” replied Archer. “A woman. He called her T’Cel.”
T’Pol’s expression of surprise was evident. A Vulcan woman? she thought.
“Perhaps she can shed light on the circumstances at hand.”
Archer shook his head regretfully. “I’m afraid not…Phlox says she was already dead when we pulled the shuttle aboard.”
T’Pol looked back at the bio-bed for a moment. “Does Captain Soma know?” she turned back and looked at Archer.
The captain nodded his head slowly. “I just told him,” he said glancing over at Soma. “He didn’t take it well. He started ranting about the timeline…the Xindi…Vulcans. He didn’t make a lot of sense. Phlox gave him something. We’ll let him rest while we make repairs.”
T’Pol took this new information in. Archer studied her face for a moment. He could see a look of concern in her features and he wondered if that concern was for a fellow Vulcan or something more…maternal. But it wasn’t something he could address right now. Getting Enterprise back online was his primary concern.
. “What’s our status?”
T’Pol took one last look at the unconscious Vulcan laying on the bio-bed before she
“Minor system damage,” replied the Vulcan shifting her stance. Archer noticed that she always had the habit of assuming a more formal posture when she delivered reports. “Repair crews are taking care of them. Mr. Reed reports the phase cannons are offline. The forward phase cannons were damaged by the detonation of our returning torpedo.”
“What about the engines?”
“Impulse power is fully operational, but the warp engines are temporarily offline.”
Archer’s brow furrowed. “How long does Trip need to get the warp drive back online?”
“Commander Tucker says there is no structural damage to the warp engines. He will require eight hours to bring them into realignment.”
Archer shook his head. “Eight hours” he thought. He didn’t like sitting out here for that long without weapons or engines. The trail of Xindi transport was growing colder by the minute and now he was faced with the possibility that a much more immediate threat would require their attention.
Archer looked back at T’Pol. “Tell Malcolm I want the weapons back online. That’s his priority.”
She arched her brow, giving him a questioning look. “You expect an attack?”
Archer glanced back at the unconscious Soma and then looked at his science officer. “Let’s just say…fight or flight… I’d like the option.”
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A handful of people have made comments
Oooh, I'm loving this. Can't wait to see what happens next! Has Captain Soma made things better, worse, or more complicated? Great story, keep writing. Ali D :~)
Oh no! T'Cel's dead! Poor Soma! If all is right with the timeline at the end of the story, does Soma get her back? So, how long before Archer gets really suspicious of T'Pol's more...maternal attitude towards our dear Captain Soma? And how is Trip doing? We haven't heard much about him yet. Good chapter, can't wait for the next one!
I love time travel stories and this one is heating up nicely.
I'm with you Rocky, I LOVE time travel stories! Great work quills, you certainly know how to write a story!
Im sad now, I like T'Cel, but oh well, i guess life goes on. Cant wait until the next part. Hurry the bloody hell up!