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Enemy of the State - Ch 8
Enemy of the State
Captain’s Starlog, supplemental, it has now been seven hours since we exited the subspace anomaly and brought aboard the temporal shuttle carrying Captain Soma. Lieutenant Reed reports the phase cannons are back up to seventy-percent accuracy and Chief Engineer Tucker and his staff, have the warp drive realigned ahead of schedule. I must now decide what course of action to take in light of our new situation.
The senior staff was already assembled in command center. They waited pensively for Captains Archer and Soma to arrive and begin the meeting. They had all read the summary report by Captain Soma. It detailed his experience with the temporal agent T’Cel and how they had both encountered a very changed time-line complete with a very militaristic Vulcan battle platform that almost destroyed them and resulted in T’Cel’s death.
The wait to begin the meeting was showing on the entire senior staff. Even T’Pol was anxious for the meeting to begin. The only person in the room not showing any sign of anxiety was Major Hayes. At the invitation of Captain Archer, Hayes was also in attendance. The Major and his M.A.C.O. team had proven extremely useful during Enterprise’s excursion through the expanse and the captain suspected he was going to need him and his commandoes, much to the displeasure of Lieutenant Reed; whose dislike for Hayes was evident to majority of the senior staff if not the captain himself.
The door to the command center slid open and all heads turned as the last members of the meeting arrived. Soma, deferring to Archer, allowed the captain to enter first. Following Archer into the room, the two Starfleet captains took their places at the conference table as the senior officers settled into their chairs. Present at the meeting were science officer T’Pol, Chief Engineer Tucker, Lieutenant Reed, Ensigns Mayweather and Sato and Doctor Phlox who always attended in an auxiliary capacity as a non bridge officer and of course Major Hayes.
Archer sat at the front of the conference table. He opened the meeting with a serious tone. “Let’s get down to business,” said the captain. He made a casual gesture towards Soma and allowed himself a slight smile as he addressed his officers “I believe most of you are familiar with this man.”
Soma looked around the table, giving his former bridge crew a curt nod and a smile. They all remembered the half Vulcan from his last visit, when he had temporarily assumed command of the Enterprise. Each of them returned the smile, quietly welcoming Soma back. The senior staff was fond of the half Vulcan, but their subdued tone belied their fears that his arrival meant they were in dire straits.
Chief Tucker, never one for a casual hello, jumped in with a more personal greeting for Soma. “Just couldn’t stay away from us could ya capn’,” said Tucker grinning.
Soma gave the engineer a raised brow and a grin to match Tucker’s. “On the contrary, chief, I was merely passing by and thought I’d see how much trouble you people had managed to get yourselves into since I left.”
“Our current situation isn’t anything new Capn’,” replied Tucker casually. “We’re always one step away from jumpin’ outta the fryin’ pan and into the fire.”
Soma gave Tucker another raised brow. “Then its fortunate I’ve arrived to help you avoid getting yourself singed chief.”
Archer smiled, watching father and son exchanging barbs amused the captain. Normally he wouldn’t tolerate such a casual atmosphere at a meeting of this importance, but he could see the levity the two men were causing was having a positive effect on his staff as they watched Tucker and Soma going at it. Glancing over at T’Pol, who was sitting next to him, Archer noticed that his science officer was also intently studying the two men’s interaction. Archer wasn’t sure if it was just her Vulcan preoccupation for observing things, or a genuine interest. In either case, Archer thought he saw a hint of warmth in T’Pol’s cold Vulcan façade. Her two boys? he thought once more wondering if the Vulcan was privy to the same information he was.
Both officers took that as a cue to end their friendly re-aquaitence. Tucker settled back in his chair, while Soma gave him one last look pointing his finger at the man, letting him know they would continue this later.
“Major Hayes,” said Archer looking toward the end of the table. “I believe you’re the only one not acquainted with our guest” Archer gestured toward Soma. “Major…Captain Jonathan Soma…Captain…Major Tom Hayes.”
“Captain,” said Hayes curtly and with a slight nod towards Soma.
Soma gave Hayes a raised brow and returned the greeting. “Major”
“Captain Soma,” said Archer looking over at the Vulcan. “I’ve taken the liberty of informing the Major of your true identity and origin.” Archer grinned at Hayes. “I feel its necessary to warn you that the major is some what reluctant to embrace the revelation he’s recieved.”
“With all due respect sir,” replied Hayes. “It doesn’t matter what I believe as long as I follow your orders to the letter.”
Soma noted that Hayes made certain to stress whose orders he would be following to the letter.
“Major,” said Archer. “I’ve included you in this briefing, because it may be necessary to use you and your personnel on our mission. What you hear at this table is not to be shared with them without my express permission. Is that understood?”
“Perfectly, sir,” replied Hayes crisply.
Malcolm Reed, seated two chairs up from the major, rolled his eyes. Trip Tucker caught the look and casually elbowed the armory officer in side. Don’t let the captain catch you doin’ that Malcolm. thought Tucker.
“You’ve all read the report Captain Soma submitted,” said Archer looked around the table. “Opinions?”
“Militant Vulcans,” said Reed. “Don’t let Commander Shran hear about that.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” countered Tucker glancing at T’Pol. “Might be interesting to see what’s behind that cool Vulcan exterior.” He half expected T’Pol to rise to the bait with a logical response to counter his emotionally filled comment. What he heard surprised him.
“I assure you commander,” said T’Pol “You would not want to see what my species is capable of if our emotional restraint were removed.”
Tucker looked at T’Pol, who was doing her best not to return his gaze. She seemed unnerved by something and he wasn’t sure but suspected it involved the comment he had just made.
“I have to agree with the sub-commander,” interjected Soma. “Vulcans are capable of extreme violence and savagery. If the ones…,” he paused for a moment as the thought of T’Cel entered his mind. “…the ones T’Cel and I encountered are any indication of the kind of Vulcan’s we can expect to find in this time-line then we had best be very, very careful.”
“So what are we dealing with? Another Xindi threat?” asked Mayweather.
“We don’t know for certain, ensign,” replied Soma warily. “According to the information T’Cel was given, the Xindi are at the center of the conspiracy…but they may not be the architects.”
Archer gave Soma a hard stare. The Vulcan was all too familiar with the look. It signaled a requirement for a further explanation.
Soma paused a moment as he considered how to couch his words. He had to be mindful of the fact that if they were successful in restoring the time-line that Archer and his crew would still have a mission to complete.
“According to history,” Soma began, ”Both Earth and the Xindi were being played against one another by a third unknown faction. A fact that, when discovered, led to a cessation of hostilities on both sides and an eventual alliance.”
Looks of surprise and shock went around the table. Not only at the revelation that they, the Earth and the Xindi were being used, but also that the seven million who had died in the Xindi attack were all part of someone’s attempt to manipulate the two worlds. This wasn’t new information. Captain Archer had informed them that he was told this by one of the Suliban’s temporal masters. However, it was a far different matter when they heard it from a trusted ally from the future.
“How can you be sure of that,” asked Archer, knowing full well what Soma’s answer would be.
“It’s a matter of history,” replied Soma.
“Public history?” asked T’Pol.
“No,” replied Soma. “Because of the belief that both Earth and the Xindi were being manipulated by agents involved in the temporal cold war…which we are all familiar with…it was deemed classified by both governments and the files we’re kept from the general populace of both the Xindi and Earth.”
“So let me see if I understand this correctly,” said Reed. “You know exactly how our mission will end?”
“I know how it will end according to history,” replied Soma. “Any interference, on the part of Xindi agents, with the time-line could alter that outcome.”
“But if we set the time-line back to the way it should be,” added Tucker. ”Then you could tell us exactly where to find the Xindi weapon.”
Soma saw Tucker’s face brighten. He was afraid this very situation would come up and had been dreading it. He was about to respond too Tucker when Archer did it for him.
“No Trip,” said the captain “He can’t.”
Tucker looked from Soma to Archer in confusion. “What do ya mean he can’t,” said the engineer excitedly. “He just said he knows the outcome.”
“He probably does,” said Archer nodding his head “But I’m acquainted with the Starfleet regulations of Captain Soma’s time period. He’s under orders not to interfere in any historical events unless those events have been changed by outside forces. Am I right Captain?”
“That’s correct, sir,” replied Soma. “Starfleet Regulation 157, Section III, Paragraph 18: Starfleet officers shall take all necessary precautions to minimize any participation in historical events.”
Tucker sat back in shock. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you telling me that you could stop Lizzy and the rest of those seven million from dyin, but you won’t…because of a regulation?
“I’m sorry chief,” replied Soma. “But I have a duty to uphold as a Starfleet officer. If we’re successful in restoring the time-line then the Enterprise will have to continue its mission…without outside assistance.”
Everyone at the table could feel the tension hanging in the air as Tucker held a piercing stare on Soma. For his part, Soma tried not to meet Tucker’s gaze but giving in to temptation allowed his eyes to meet Tuckers. He could feel the hatred behind Tucker’s gaze and it chilled him to the bone.
Archer stared at the two men. He understood where Tucker was coming from. The man had lost someone very important to him only to find out that the only man who could bring her back…couldn’t or rather wouldn’t. The captain feared this would reopen wounds he and the rest of the crew had hoped Phlox and T’Pol had begun to heal.
Before Archer could say anything, it was Hoshi Sato that broke the silence. “We’re going to need allies,” remarked the ensign “We don’t know what’s been changed in this time-line or what it will take to correct it.”
”She’s got a point,” said Mayweather shaking his head. “Old allies might be new enemies.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Tucker, giving Soma a venomous stare.
The half Vulcan met Tucker’s gaze, but addressed Mayweather’s comment “We’ll have to tread carefully,” he replied, “Wherever we go, we’ll have to be surreptitious, attracting as little attention as possible.”
“But just where do we go?” asked Reed. “We don’t have a clue what we’re looking for.”
“But we do have at least one clue,” interjected Phlox. The Denobulon had been silent so far, but felt it was time to add his contribution to the direction the discussion was moving in. “According to Captain Soma, T’Cel said the Xindi were targeting Vulcan. Perhaps their intention is Vulcan but their target is still Earth.”
Archer nodded his head. “It makes sense. If they change Vulcan’s history then they could conceivably change ours.”
Soma turned away from Tucker. “Daniels and his people are probably not monitoring Vulcan history as closely,” said Soma. “Since the Xindi have only made an aggressive move against Earth they probably believe any allies of Earth are at a low risk.”
“And are expending their resources monitoring Earth’s history,” added T’Pol.
Soma looked over at her and nodded. “Exactly.”
“Then it seems pretty obvious,” said Hayes. “We go to Vulcan.”
Hayes’ comment wasn’t anything surprising. Everyone at the table knew what direction the discussion was headed in. Vulcan was obviously the key, but no one was looking forward to what that would mean for the Enterprise and her crew. A long silence hung over the meeting as everyone considered just what Hayes’ suggestion would entail.
“I agree,” said T’Pol breaking the silence. “If we accept T’Cel’s account as relayed by Captain Soma as factual then we must go to the source. Any change to Vulcan history would more than likely be in the historical record. If we can compare that record to the one aboard Enterprise then we may be able to pinpoint where the time-line has been changed and how it has been changed.”
Soma looked at the science officer and gave her a gratuitous raised brow. At least she was still in his corner. T’Pol returned the gesture. “It is the most logical course of action, given the circumstances,” he agreed
“And just how are we supposed ta get there?” asked Tucker not hiding his anger with Soma or his building frustration. “Even at a sustained warp five, it’ll take us weeks if not months ta get ta Vulcan.”
Reed shook his head in agreement. “And that will involve crossing a lot of what is, in this time-line, essentially uncharted and dangerous space.”
“Trip and Malcolm make a good point,” said Archer. “We’re probably the only ones from outside this timeline. If we’re destroyed trying to get to Vulcan then any hope of repairing the timeline is destroyed with us.”
“Maybe not gentleman,” countered Captain Soma. “We might just have a short cut that will get us to Vulcan without having to cross the distance.”
Archer eyed Soma skeptically. He had a feeling the captain was about to hand them a way out. “What do you mean?”
Raising his brow, Soma cocked his head in Archer’s direction. “Two words Captain…The Preservers.”
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A whole mess of folks have made comments
The Preservers? You must be kidding! Did someone read Shatner's book one too many times? Neat idea. Wonder where you'll take it.
Great chapter! Loved the interaction between Trip and Soma. Silly Trip, doesn't know how he's hurting his own son. And when will he know?
Hayes Hayes Hayes. What are we going to do w/ that MACO? Quite confrontational, isn't he? Maybe Soma can save his life and he'll be indebted to him. Bet he'll just hate that.
Delightful as usual, I can't wait for the next part!
well at least someone knows who the preservers are...I wasn't sure I wanted to use them, but
I love this. Could feel Trip's frustration with Soma and the bright string of conflicting emotions. Hope the next part is up soon and thanks for a great story. Ali D :~)
HEY! "the bright string of conflicting emotions"
I'm loving this chapter. I like the confrontation between father and son. I am wondering however, when Trip will find out about Soma. And I'm hoping the answer is soon.
Awww... father and son going at it... that's just so cute!
Great chapter. I wonder though if the death of 7 million people could be kept a secret. Love the interaction between Soma and Trip and can understand how Trip could feel this way. Looking forward to seeing how you handle their conflict.
Ocean...the deaths were obviously not a secret...it was the underlying reasons behind the
Oh OK, thank you for clearing that up Quills.
Ah the preservers... it's nice to finally see someone use them! I wondered as well if anyone ever heard of them since they were talked about very little. You always did find a way to use things no one else would! Hmmm I wonder how Soma will get out of his father's list of people he doesn't like! Yikes, poor Soma! I'd hate to have my father looking at me like that!