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Enemy of the State-Ch 10
Enemy of the State
Soma made his way down the silent corridor. The night shift had been on for just over five hours and most of the crew, who were off duty, had taken the opportunity to get some much-needed sleep. The past seventy-two hours had been hectic. The entire crew had been working double shifts making whatever final repairs they could to Enterprise’s damaged systems. Archer had wanted the ship ready for any possibilities. With systems repaired and the ship only a day from the “Preserver Planet” there was little more to do than wait.
Soma rounded the corner of the tiny corridor. He had decided that sleep was not going to visit him tonight, so a visit to the gym seemed the logical choice to work out his frustrations. The Vulcan starship captain had been unnaturally tense since this mission began. He’d been on critical missions before. He’d even had crewmen, close friends, die under his command, but this was different. The mission was different and T’Cel was different. He couldn’t help how he felt and no amount of meditation was going to purge those feelings.
Coming to the end of the corridor, he came to a large door that slid open as he approached. Stepping through, he was greeted by two unexpected but familiar faces. “Malcolm…Hoshi…what are you two doing up so late?”
Lieutenant Reed and Ensign Sato were standing in the middle of the room. Sato had two dumbbells in her hand while Reed was holding a jump rope. Like Soma, they were both in their Starfleet athletic shorts and blue tank tops. “Same as you, sir,” replied Reed. “Not sleeping.”
Soma shook his head and took several steps into the room allowing the door to close behind him. “You don’t mind if I join you?”
“Not at all, Captain,” replied Reed glancing at Hoshi. Soma got the impression he had interrupted something but whatever it had been the two officers were finished with it…for now.
Soma gave them a smile and tossed his gray towel onto a nearby weight bench. Walking over to the weight rack, he examined the dumbbells looking for a suitable weight. Frowning as he looked down the line, he could see the highest weight the dumbbells went was sixty pounds. Definitely designed for humans, he thought. Shrugging, he took the sixty-pound dumbbells off the rack and walked over to a corner mat.
Standing on the mat, he gripped the dumbbells in each hand as he held them at his side parallel to each other. Reed and Sato went back to their own routines, but after a moment Reed turned to Soma and posed a question. “What do you think we’ll find when we get to the planet, Captain?”
Soma’s brow arched. “Difficult to say,” replied Soma, his arms still at his side. “Hopefully nothing more than some ruins and one interspatial gateway.”
“What if we encounter more of the Vulcans you mentioned in your report?” asked Sato as she stopped in mid curl.
“As Captain Archer said,” replied Soma. “We’ll deal with that when we reach the planet.”
Hoshi shook her head and was about to start back with her weights when she noticed something odd. Soma was still holding his dumbbells by his side. The Vulcan looked over at the ensign and noticed the curious expression on her face.
“Something wrong Hoshi?”
The ensign’s eyes opened wide. “Um, what exactly are you doing, sir?”
“Lifting weights,” replied Soma nonchalantly.
“But your just holding them,” she responded as Reed stopped his own exercise and stepped over to Hoshi’s side. ”You haven’t lifted them once.”
Soma smiled at the ensign’s confused look. “But I am lifting them ensign. Just very slowly.”
“Why would you want to do that?” asked Reed. [1.footnote]
“It’s more efficient,” replied Soma.
Reed and Sato studied the Vulcan. After several moments they could see that he had in fact lifted the weights as he said: Very slowly. It was barely perceptible, but he had raised his arms.
“How can that possibly be more efficient?” asked Reed not trying to hide his skepticism.
“By applying steady and methodical pressure,” explained Soma, “I am maximizing the exertion of my muscles.”
Sato and Reed looked at one another. “Logical weight lifting?” said Hoshi.
Reed turned back to Soma; still not convinced. “If it’s so efficient, captain, then why aren’t more people doing it?”
“Because most people are not Vulcans lieutenant,” smiled Soma as he raised the weights slightly. Reed could see that the captain was making an effort. Perspiration began to form on the Vulcan’s forehead as he held the weights at what was now a ten-degree angle.
“So you have to be a Vulcan to do this efficient weight lifting,” said Reed.
Soma arched his brow again. He could detect the mild annoyance in Reed’s tone. “Not at all lieutenant,” replied Soma. “It’s just that most species do not have the discipline to complete the maneuver. This particular exercise will take nine minutes and twenty seven seconds to complete.”
The armory officer looked at Soma incredulously. He had to admit that he didn’t think he could manage holding the weights let alone raising them slowly for nine minutes. “How much weight do you have?”
“Sixty pounds,” replied Soma. “Each dumbbell.”
“Sixty?” said Hoshi in disbelief.
Soma nodded his head in a shrug. “It’s the largest you had.”
Suddenly the door slid open, Reed and Sato looked toward it while Soma remained still. Stepping through the opening was Trip Tucker. He was wearing gray sweat pants and a baggy maroon shirt with apparently the same intention as his fellow senior officers “Malcolm, Hoshi,” he said nodding and then stopped dead when he saw Soma.
Soma glanced over at Tucker. He looked at the man for a moment and then returned to his exercise. Reed and Sato looked at both men and then glanced at each other. The heated exchange that had gone on in the command center briefing three days ago was still fresh in their minds. The two men hadn’t seen much of each other since the meeting, with Trip in the engine room and Soma on the bridge with the captain and T’Pol.
For a moment, Reed contemplated what he should do. Stay and see what happened or make a discreet exit and let the two men have a few minutes alone. A tug from Hoshi decided the matter for him.
“Well captain,” said Reed. “I think I’m going to call it a night. Maybe get some juice in the mess hall,” he glanced down at Hoshi. “Care to join me Hoshi?”
“Sounds good,” came Hoshi’s quick reply. She was already heading for the exit. “See you later captain…commander.”
Tucker nodded at Hoshi as she passed him. Reed followed her, glancing at Soma and then Trip. “Don’t do anything stupid, Trip,” he said quietly as he passed his friend and exited the room.
When the door closed behind them, Trip Tucker stood in the middle of the gym. His fists tightly balled up as he looked over at Soma, who was still focusing on his exercise.
”Don’t do anything stupid,” he thought. What the hell does he know.
Trip Tucker walked to the opposite side of the room and dropped down on a weight bench. Lying down, he hadn’t even bothered to check the weight setting. As he slid under the bar, he tried to lift the bar off the holder and found it was too heavy. Sitting up, he let out a low curse. Looking over at Soma, he could see the Vulcan was apparently not looking in his direction. Getting up, he examined the weight setting as he tried to choose something he could handle. Suddenly, he turned and faced Soma.
“So how do you live with yourself?” he asked the Vulcan.
Soma let out an audible sigh as he tried to ignore Tucker’s comment; continuing to focus on his exercise.
“Its just you and me now,” said Tucker taking several steps closer to Soma. “Cap’n Archer isn’t here. Neither is the senior staff.”
Soma raised his brow. “Very astute observation.”
Tucker took several more steps till he had closed the distance between them to little more than three feet. “So why don’t you answer the question? Or do you like hidin’ behind Cap’n Archer.”
Soma turned to face Tucker. Gripping the weights in his hand he replied. “I don’t hide behind anyone Commander”
“Coulda fooled me,” smirked Tucker leaning towards Soma.
“What is it you want me to say?”
“I want you explain how you can casually allow seven million people to die!” spat Tucker.
“I explained this to you before,” replied Soma. “I have a duty…”
‘Bullshit!” yelled Tucker as he cut him off.
Soma relaxed his arms, giving up any further interest in completing the exercise. Turning to face Tucker, he looked him in the face. “You’re being insubordinate.”
“What are ya gonna do,” said Tucker sarcastically. “Tell the cap’n?”
Soma remained silent for a minute as he debated what to do. Tucker was baiting him. Obviously the human had no idea what he was getting himself into. The logical and safest option was to simply leave.
Stepping of the mat, Soma walked past Tucker and headed to the dumbbell rack. Tucker turned and followed him apparently not ready to give up. Soma reached the rack and replaced the weights on the rack.
Tucker stopped a few feet behind him as he placed his hands to his hips and shook his head in disgust. “You just hide behind your regulations, playin’ it safe while other people suffer…even die. You’re a god damn coward!”
Tucker’s words echoed in Soma’s ears as the captain closed his eyes. Taking a deep breath, he let it out slowly. Don’t do it Jonathan, he told himself as he slowly turned around. Sidestepping Tucker, he made his way for the exit.
Moving quickly past the captain, Tucker stepped in front of Soma, blocking him from leaving. “I’m not finished.”
“No,” replied the captain trying to move around him, “but I am.”
Tucker put his hand on the captain’s chest to stop him from moving. It was the last straw. Soma grabbed the man by the wrist, applying enough pressure to force him to release his grip. Instinctively, Tucker threw his arm out, hand balled in a fist, connecting with Soma’s face and forcing him to let go of Tucker’s wrist. Tucker took a step back, grabbing his wrist in pain. Wincing, he looked up at Soma just in time to see him lunge forward grabbing him by his shirt. Faster than he thought it was possible for a man to move, Soma hoisted him off the deck and swung him through the air until his back connected with the bulkhead on the adjacent wall.
“You listen to me, you self absorbed son of a bitch,” spat Soma as a white hot rage threatened to consume him. “You aren’t the only one who lost someone in this damn war!” He shook his grip on Tucker causing him to shudder against the bulkhead as he winced from the pain. “I lost a woman I cared about and never had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me.”
Tucker stared at Soma’s face. Through his own anger and fear he could see the rage and anguish in the Vulcan’s features. “Cap’n…,” said Tucker not knowing what to say.
Soma gritted his teeth and released his grip on Tucker allowing him to slide down the bulkhead. Soma stood in front of the dazed Tucker for a long moment. His breathing was labored and haggard as he fought to suppress his primal Vulcan instincts. Raising his hand slowly, he pointed at Tucker as he walked towards the exit.
“You stay the hell out of my face and just do your damn job,” said Soma looking up at Tucker. “And THAT…is a fucking order commander.”
Turning, he exited the room as the doors slid open. After a moment they closed and Trip Tucker sunk down to his knees as he placed a hand on his bruised and pained shoulder.
Like many of the crew she was finding sleep difficult and had decided to indulge in some reading. The book she was thumbing through was one the captain had loaned her, The Collected Works of Voltaire He had told her it was a good example of one humans view of the good and evil in humans.
The sudden chime of her door made her look up reflexively. She looked over at her clock. It was entirely to late for visitors. Putting her book down, she got up and walked to the door. Sliding open, she was greeted by an unexpected visitor.
“I’m not disturbin’ you?” said Commander Tucker.
“Not all, I was just reading,” she said gesturing him to come in.
“I know it isn’t our regular night for nuero-pressure,” said Trip as he entered the room. He put his hand to his shoulder and rubbed it the tender muscle. “But I was wonderin’ if you minded a short session.”
”You are having difficulty sleeping?”
“Kinda,” he replied wincing “I pulled a muscle in my neck. I’d take some pain medication but the Doc told me he wanted me to avoid any while we we’re doin’ the nuero-pressure.”
T’Pol nodded and extended her arm toward the floor. “Take off your shirt and assume the Ch’al Tan posture as we practiced.”
Tucker squatted Indian style on the floor as he slowly removed his shirt; the pain in his shoulder increasing the higher he lifted his arm. Once he had the shirt removed, he relaxed his arms letting them drop to his sides.
T’Pol examined his neck and shoulder, slowly drawing her index finger across the muscles. Trip sucked in a breath, partly from the pain and partly from her touch. She looked down past his shoulder and saw a deep red blotch just above his right scapula.
“There is considerable swelling,“ she said in concern. “How did this happen?”
“I backed into a bulkhead,” he replied and then thought better of it. Lying to T’Pol wasn’t why he had come here. Neither was the neuro-pressure. Not really. “I had a little help,” he shrugged. “Captain Soma.”
T’Pol looked down at him in surprise and shock. “Jonathan did this to you?”
Trip turned slightly, the pain in his shoulder preventing him from moving any further. He looked up at T’Pol for a long moment. Her relationship with Soma was always a point he was never certain of. She always seemed to teeter on the edge between friend and stranger.
“I sorta provoked him,” said Tucker shamefully. “We were alone in the gym. I cornered him about Lizzy again.”
She gave him a disapproving look. She wouldn’t admit that was what it was, but he knew.
“He looked mad as hell,” explained Tucker. “I’ve never seen him that angry.”
She shook her head. “He is a Vulcan who does not suppress his emotions,” she replied quietly. “That can be a dangerous thing to antagonize.”
“T’Pol,” started Tucker uncertain if she could or even would answer his next question “That Vulcan woman that was with the cap’n. Do you know anything about her?”
“T’Cel,” she said softly as she applied slight pressure to his muscles. “I assume you mean in regards to Captain Soma.”
Tucker shook his head.
“The captain did not say anything directly,” said T’Pol “However, from the reaction Captain Archer relayed when he was informed of her death and the manner in which he spoke of her in later conversations, I would have to say they were…intimately acquainted.”
Tucker closed his eyes, letting his head fall. “Damn,” he muttered softly. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know he’d lost someone special.” He shook his head, letting out a long sigh.
T’Pol raised her hand, hesitating as she reached to stroke his head. Changing her mind at the last moment, she let her hand settle on his shoulder, which she considered more neutral ground. “You have not spoken of your sister in many weeks.”
Raising his head he nodded. “I know. I-I thought I was finally gettin’ past it. I was findin’ my focus again…and you’ve been like an angel giving me back a good night’s sleep…and my sanity.”
She looked down at the back of his neck as he relayed his confession to her. He had not spoken to her of how he truly felt.
“But when the cap’n showed up and said he knew all about the Xindi and their plans,” said Tucker shaking his head. “It was like it started all over again. I saw a glimmer of hope for Lizzy and all the stuff I had tried puttin’ behind me just came back all at once.”
She considered what her response should be, if any. Even though she had served with humans longer than any other Vulcan, she still found many facets of their psychology difficult to comprehend. She settled on a suggestion.
“I believe it is Captain Soma who should hear that and not me.”
Trip glanced at her for a moment, and then shook his head. “Guess your right,” he said. “We both got open wounds we each made worse without meaning to.”
T’Pol considered Trip’s words. He never ceased to surprise her. The understanding and compassion he was capable of once he looked past himself was something wondrous and though she would never admit it to him, he stirred emotions in her she could not quite comprehend.
Just then the chime rang again. They both looked up, but T’Pol placed her hand on him gently. “Remain in this posture. I will see who it is.”
She rose and walked over to the door. As it slid open she was greeted by a second surprise in the same evening.
“Hello,” said Soma smiling at her. She nodded at him and he looked past her into the room. Seeing Tucker on the floor, his smile faded. He pursed his lips and gave her a raised brow.
Tucker turned and seeing Soma he suddenly felt a panic overcome him. “Cap’n,” he said. “Um…its not what you think.” All Tucker could think of was that he was sitting half naked on T’Pol’s floor with only the light from the view port and a handful of candles.
“It looks like the Ch’al Tan posture, Mr. Tucker,” replied Soma nonchalantly.
Tucker looked up at Soma with a confused expression. “Uh…ok…it’s exactly what you think it is.” Tucker turned his back to both Vulcans feeling he had embarrassed himself enough for one night. He had considered talking to Soma, but remembered what the Vulcan had said to him. It would be better to let him cool off and then talk to him.
“T’Pol,” said Soma as he handed her a data padd. “I wanted to drop off this list for the away teams.”
T’Pol looked at the padd, scanning down the away team assignments. Looking up, she eyed Soma curiously. “You have removed Corporal Cole from the security detail. Is they’re a problem with the corporal.”
Soma gave her a smile. “Trust me, you’ll thank me later.”
She considered asking him exactly what he meant by that, but suspected she did not in fact want to know.
“Well,” said Soma. “I’ll let you get back to Commander Tucker. Good night.”
T’Pol’s eyes widened at the comment and Soma was quite certain she blushed. Turning away, he headed down the corridor. She watched him, still stunned by his comment, until he disappeared around the corner. Turning around abruptly, she headed back to Tucker as the door closed behind her.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A whole mess of folks have made comments
I was remiss in not posting after the last chapter. I just really love this story, and the interaction between Soma and Tucker in the last two chapters have been such a great point of tension. Really very well done.
I agree, Alora, I'm really enjoying their interactions, and I'm glad Soma didn't try to protect Trip from his own pain and anger. And their exchange in T'Pol's quarters was funny. Looking forward to more.
I love Soma's comment regarding removing Corporal Cole from the roster....that was funny.
Brilliant! I was cracking up on that last part where Soma tries to help T'Pol with that Amanda Cole... funny stuff. He's lookin' out for his mom... how sweet! It's good he's not too uncomfortable with seeing his father and his mother like that... I think I'd be too upset about the mental picture... but that might just be me.....
Just as a note, "logical" weight lifting is real, not made up. It's a combination of tai chi and progressive lifting.
KP...I'm an old fashion weight lifter so I wasn't aware of that, but it makes sense if you have the discipline to do it.
Loved this and that little flare up between Trip and Soma I think was necessary to clear the air a little. Loved how it ended with a cheeky Captain Soma doing a little creative rearrangement of the away team to smooth the way a little for T'Pol. Thank you so much, Ali D :~)
This logical weightlifting. I remember reading about Spock doing it in Star Trek: The First Adventure. Older book. Even as Soma was picking up the dumbbells, I was wondering if he'd do that exercise. Nice touch!
Phaser Lady, I don't know if anyone should tell Trip who Soma is. As we found out in Future Tense, Trip doesn't want to know the future - he wants to choose. If someone tells him who Soma is, wouldn't that make him always wonder if he chose his life or if he chose it because he was told it was what would happen? To paraphrase his words in Future Tense, did he marry T'Pol for love or because some book told him to?
Just random thoughts.
Telling Trip who Soma is would be a quick fix, with some very lasting consequences. It's a case of knowing can alter the outcome. Speaking as a Whovian, that's quite enough to alter the future, unless you're supposed to know in order that your future exists.... But that's just your basic temporal paradox.
Quills: I figured as much about the weight-lifting. I'm familiar with progressive lifting because it goes hand in hand with good machine weight technique. Since the mass is already stabilized for you, it's easy to lift too quickly and thereby gip your stabilizer muscles of their proper workout. But if you lift slowly as you can tolerate, returning at the same speed, you end up with a much better strength workout.
That was funny as hell. "Believe me, you'll thank me later". That was funny as all get out. But great story. "Logical Weightlifting" funny too. lol. thanks for it all.
That chapter was amazing. I really love the scenes between Trip and Soma. Eventhough Trip did antagonize him I thought Somas reaction was a teeny bit harsh. "You self absorbed son of a bitch". For Soma to say these things he must have been feeling a bit like this anyway for it to spill out when he got angry. They both seem to have calmed down but I would like to see a bit more confrontation between them as it makes such good reading!! I love the way you have Trip and Tpol coming closer together and Somas comment at the end about Corporal Cole. Brilliant. Can't wait for more.
Te he he! I guess there might be alittle bit of self-interest in the roster change; after all, Soma would probably like to be born, yeah! Still, it felt more like he was being protective of his Mum (sorry, Mom for you Americans). I was kinda shocked that Soma called his own father a SoB, but he's half Vulcan and we know that their emotions are volatile. A great chapter, next please!
I forgot to mention that I'm hoping that Trip doesn't find out who Soma is. I would like to see Trip and T'pol come together on their own first. I'd also like to see Trip and Somas relationship develope further and for them to get to know each other better before Trip has to deal with the fact that he is Somas father.
if cole is a catalyst then soma may not be doing his parents any favors as much as he may have wanted to protect tpol.
I think the easiest way to look at this is...the story takes place in an altered time-line. Soma thinks...rightly or wrongly...that Trip shouldn't get aquainted with Cole before he is supposed to. That could change things further. If the time-line had not been changed then Trip and Cole would have no reason to meet earlier than intended. He's trying to keep intact what has not been altered by the time-line change.
Interesting that Soma isn't willing to part with information concerning the Enterprise's mission against the Xindi for fear of changing the future, but he's quite willing to make changes to a crew roster that might have equally dire consequences...especially for him.
Chaos theory precludes "small" changes.
not so syzygy...remember...this is an event that should not have happened...thus Trip and Cole should not meet yet. Perhaps Soma feared they might form a friendship early on and thus negate