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Enemy of the State-Ch 15
Enemy of the State
***Special note: This story takes place after the season three episode, “Carpenter Street”, but before the episode “Harbinger”.
Captain’s starlog, date…unknown. It has been eleven hours since Captain Soma and the search team reported finding the Preserver technology. During that time Commander Tucker and an engineering crew, with the assistance of Sub-Commander T’Pol and Captain Soma, have been studying the Preserver ‘transporter’ in the hope that it will allow us to cross the long distance to Vulcan. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Reed and Ensign Sato have made progress accessing and translating the Vulcan database aboard the captured shuttle.
We are working against the clock. The shuttle we captured undoubtedly has a base or mother ship to report to. It will only be a matter of time before someone comes looking for it…and finds us. The crew is tense but discipline is being maintained. They know what’s at stake and will do whatever it takes for our mission to succeed.
Commander Tucker threw the servo wrench against the metal casing, making a loud clang that echoed through the cavernous chamber.
“Dammit!” he swore as he rubbed the stiff muscles in his neck. Several of his engineering staff glanced over at their commander. They knew exactly how he felt.
Tucker and his crew had been working on the Preserver technology that he T’Pol and Soma had found in the submerged pressurized cave. He had only taken enough time to return to the ship, change, let Phlox check him over and grab whatever equipment he might need. That was just under ten hours ago.
Tucker had suggested sending emergency locator beacons down to the cave. It would allow the ship’s transporter to isolate a location and minimize the danger of a transporter accident. This would allow transport of any necessary equipment the team might need, saving time and the equally dangerous ocean diving that he had unfortunately had first hand experience with. However, since a degree of danger still existed, only essential personnel would use the transporter. It was strictly on a volunteer basis, but Tucker found no shortage in that department.
He and his team had made early progress, with the assistance of Captain Soma. The Vulcan had made a small study of Preserver technology, having encountered it more than once during his career. He was able to decipher a great deal of the controls to the device, but the technology itself was more complex than any he had previously encountered. Soon the captain was as mystified by the workings of the alien ‘transporter’ as his twenty second century counterparts.
The technology was largely intact, although it had been scattered throughout the cavern. Although Soma had been able to translate the majority of the control readouts and settings, it was up to Tucker and his crew, along with T’Pol, to cobble the machine together so the system worked. So far, they had restored the device modules to what appeared to be the correct configuration, but had, had almost no positive results. The machine panels illuminated briefly, only to wink out. Tucker was at a loss to find the cause and it, along with a lack of sleep, was beginning to annoy him.
“Chief, breaking it isn’t going to get us anywhere,” said Soma in a wry voice.
“Thanks for the heads up,” replied Tucker in annoyance. “…sir.”
Soma walked over to the engineer and crouching down, put his hand on the man’s back.
Tucker looked up at him. Soma had never called him by his nickname. It had always been commander or chief or even Mr. Tucker. They still hadn’t resolved their earlier issues. There just hadn’t been any the time, so they both put it on the back burner. Maybe now is as good a time as any to clear the air.
“Jonathan…,” Tucker started to speak, but stopped. He didn’t want to say the wrong thing; that’s what caused problems the last time. “I-I’m sorry for what happened back on the ship.”
Soma looked at Tucker curiously. He wasn’t all that surprised at the engineer’s apology. His father was a true gentleman…pig headed and having a tendency to let his mouth get him into trouble…but a gentleman none-the-less.
“Chief…it’s all right.”
“No,” said Tucker shaking his head. “No it isn’t. You were right. I was so wrapped up in my own problems that I didn’t consider yours.”
Closing his eyes for a moment, Soma let out a sigh. When he opened them, he looked back at Tucker. “You didn’t know.”
“I coulda asked,” countered Tucker.
Soma didn’t say anything, but just shook his head. He didn’t see any point in trying to argue with Tucker about who was right or wrong. He didn’t want to argue.
“We both should have been more adult about it,” said Soma.
“Yeah…you’re right,” he said in agreement. “I was angry. I’m still…I won’t pretend I agree with yer reasons, but I’m sorry I called ya a coward. I know yer not. We just look at things differently.”
“I’m sorry that you lost your sister. She…must have been something else.” Soma remembered his father telling him stories, as a child, about Elizabeth or as he always referred to her…’Lizzy’. Soma felt as if he knew his aunt from all those stories, but in reality he had never really had the pleasure of meeting her.
Tucker nodded. “She was somethin’ else. Full of life…just startin’ it really. I guess we never know when we’re gonna lose the people who mean the most to us.” He looked up at Soma. “Like you and…T’Cel.”
Soma’s chest tightened at her name. He hadn’t really had a chance to talk to anyone about her. Aside from a brief moment of consoling from T’Pol, there just hadn’t been any time. As always, duty came first.
“T’Pol told me how much T’Cel meant to ya,” added Tucker. “You and she had…something special.”
“We might have,” he said with a weak smile. “And Chief, we don’t think all that differently when it comes to wanting to correct the past. The temptation is there, but there is always a price and sometimes someone else pays that price. All we can do is try to prevent anyone else from losing someone close to them because of this war.”
“Amen to that,” replied the engineer. Extending his hand, he gave Soma a smile. “Friends?”
Soma grinned and shook his head as he took the man’s hand. “Always, Mr. Tucker.”
“Good, because I don’t want get on your bad side,” he said rubbing his shoulder in mock pain.
“I’m sorry about,” said Soma credulously.
“S’ok…I asked for it,” replied Tucker putting his hands up in surrender. “Besides, I shoulda known better than ta tangle with a Vulcan. Hell, I’m just waitin’ for the day T’Pol gets tired of arguin’ and body slams me into the deck.”
Soma chuckled at the image that popped into his head of his mother picking his father up and throwing him to the floor. “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that. I don’t think T’Pol minds arguing with you.”
“Yeah, I guess,” smiled Tucker. “That Vulcan’s becoming an open book to me.”
“Hmmm…so will it be formal or just a simple ceremony?”
“Don’t you start with me,” said Tucker pointing his finger at the Vulcan. “I get enough of that from Malcolm…not to mention half the ship thinks somethin’s goin’ on. It’s just nuero-pressure…ok.”
“Absolutely,” agreed Soma. “If that’s what you want to call it…go right ahead.”
Tucker rolled his eyes and was about to say something to Soma when he noticed the transporter beacons light up. Someone was beaming down. Noticing the engineer’s attention had been diverted from their conversation, Soma turned to see what had piqued Tucker’s curiosity. Watching the area between the three beacons, he saw the materialization process as a form began to coalesce. It was clearly a person; that much was certain. As the transporter cycle neared its completion, the figure took on a definite shape and appearance. Before the figure finished materializing, both Tucker and Soma were up and heading for him.
“Captain?” said Tucker in surprise. “Sir what are you doin’ beaming down here.”
“Yes,” said Soma in agreement. “I thought we agreed that only essential personnel would risk transport.”
Archer was about to say something when he heard his name exclaimed in obvious shock.
“Captain Archer?” this time it was T’Pol. She had been working in an adjacent cavern with Lieutenant Hess, on the power source for the Preserver transporter. Needing to speak with Tucker and Soma, she made her way to the main cave she and was more than a little concerned to see Captain Archer.
Archer rolled his eyes as she approached. He now had three mother hen’s clucking at him at once.
“Captain, you should not…”
“I already heard it from the pit boss,” said Archer pointing to Tucker. “I’m here so it’s moot point. Now…I’d like report. I believe I’m still the captain.”
Tucker, T’Pol and Soma each looked at one another. They knew arguing with Archer was a lost cause and in truth he was right…he was already here and there was no point in protesting after the fact.
“Well, the situation hasn’t changed much in the last three hours,” said Tucker. “We’ve tried half a dozen configurations and the only one we get any response outta fizzles out after only a few seconds. “
“I believe Lieutenant Hess and I have found the cause,” said T’Pol.
“Well why didn’t ya tell us,” said Tucker excitedly.
“I believe that is the reason I came over here, Commander.”
Trip just rolled his eyes, while Soma held in a chuckle.
“What did you find?” asked Archer.
“The energy cells the Preserver’s used power the device are damaged,” explained T’Pol.
“But we checked them,” said Soma with a surprised expression. He was quite certain they had gone over the intact four power cells they had found and found no trace of structural damage.
“Yes, however, there are tiny micro-fractures at the molecular level in three of the four cells,” she explained. “Even a detailed scan would not have detected them. However, given our inability to find reason for the device’s inability to maintain power, logic suggested a more detailed examination of the power source.”
Soma smiled and nodded his head towards her. “That’s why she’s a science officer.”
“Indeed,” replied T’Pol, arching her brow.
“Can we fix them?” asked Archer.
“Unfortunately, no.” said T’Pol. “We do not have the technology to effect repairs at the level required.”
“What about a suitable power replacement,” suggested Soma.
“Nope,” replied Tucker. “Whatever those things are they got a type of energy runnin’ through 'em we can’t even begin ta match. Besides, I doubt the whole ship could generate the kind of energy we need ta power this thing.”
“So we’re back to square one,” said Archer.
“Not necessarily, sir,” said Soma. Turning to T’Pol he addressed the science officer. “T’Pol you said three of the four cells were damaged. What about the fourth?”
“I can detect no structural damage,” she replied. “Even on the molecular level. It may be that it is this single cell, which is feeding power to the unit. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be enough to maintain its operation for more than a few seconds.”
“Where is the undamaged one in relation to the other cells?” asked Tucker.
“It is the third in the cycle.”
“So maybe…if we bi-pass it to the main lead we can tap directly into it,” suggest Tucker.
T’Pol’s brow went up in a curious expression. “If the damaged cells are impeding the undamaged one then theoretically removing them may resolve the problem.”
“How long to test that idea?” asked Archer.
“Couple of minutes,” said Tucker “We just need to switch the connectors.”
“Do it,” said Archer. “Jonathan, you and T’Pol standby to activate the device.”
Trip Tucker started for the adjacent cave T’Pol had come from. “Stand by, I’ll give you the signal when I’m ready.”
“Do you think this is actually going to work?” asked Archer skeptically.
“It is theoretically sound, captain,” replied T’Pol. “And Commander Tucker has a …reputation with machines.”
“Let’s hope he lives up to it,” said Soma.
“Don’t worry, Trip’s the best engineer in Starfleet,” said Archer reassuringly.
“It’s not him I’m worried about, Jon,” replied Soma. “It’s this second hand junk that I’m concerned about. We have no idea how long it’s been sitting here.”
“Well, we’ll just have to…” Archer stopped when he heard his communicator chirp. Pulling it out, he flipped it open. “Go.”
“We’re all set here, Cap’n,” said Tucker. “Whenever you’re ready.”
“Standby,” said Archer, looking over at T’Pol. “Would you care to do the honors?”
T’Pol raised her brow and turned towards the control panel. Touching the panel, she spoke. “Initiating start up sequence.”
As soon as her fingers touched the panel, a low hum emanated from the device. Almost instantly it was followed by several panel displays flickering to life. Waiting a moment to see if the power held, T’Pol let her hands hover over the panel. When she was satisfied that it would not power down, she continued the start up sequence activating the remaining display panels.
Turning back to Archer and Soma, she addressed the two officers. “It would appear the device is functional.”
“Trip?” said Archer into his communicator.
“I heard Cap’n,” replied Tucker.
“Get back here on the double,” said the captain and then flipped his communicator shut.
“Looks like we’re still in the game,” said Soma.
“Looks that way,” nodded the captain. Turning he heard the footfalls of Trip Tucker running across the cavern. He waited for Tucker arrived before he asked his next question.
“How long before the three of us can use it?” asked the captain.
“The three of us?” said Soma.
“Captain, you cannot possibly…”
Archer raised his hands, cutting both Vulcan’s off. “I’ve already made up my mind,” he said looking at T’Pol. “You, Soma and I will use it to travel to Vulcan.”
“Captain,” said Soma, ”your safety aside…you don’t look like a Vulcan in some very important respects. Not to mention that you don’t speak Vulcanian.”
“I won’t have to,” smiled Archer.
“And just why not,” chimed in Tucker in an attempt to reinforce the protest.
“Because Lieutenant Reed made a startling discovery a few hours ago,” explained Archer. “It seems there was a third passenger aboard that shuttle.”
“Sensor’s did not detect a third life form,” T’Pol quickly countered.
“I’m not surprised,” nodded Archer. “He was dead.”
“Dead? Tucker exclaimed. “Who was he? Another Vulcan.”
“No, actually he was a Bolian,” replied Archer.
T’Pol looked at Archer curiously. The captain smiled back. For once he had the one up on her.
“Vulcans haven’t made contact with Bolians yet,” explained Archer. “At least not in our timeline. I recognized the dead man because I met one of his species aboard Captain Soma’s Enterprise.”
“I see,” said T’Pol. She clearly recognized that the captain was taking pleasure in having information that she did not.
“So how does a dead Bolian help us, Cap’n?”
Archer looked over at the engineer. “Because that dead Bolian was a slave.”
“What?” said Soma looking at Archer in shock.
“He had what we believed was just a tattoo on the side of his neck. Hoshi thought it might be something more important. She crosschecked it with similar images in the shuttle’s database. She found a similar match. In fact she found a number of similar matches,” explained the captain. “It would seem that among their various ventures in this timeline, these Vulcans are engaged in a very lucrative slave trade. From what Hoshi has been able to decipher from their database…that shuttle was hunting escaped slaves.”
T’Pol and Soma looked at one another. They both had the same muted expression on their face. It wasn’t a look of stoic non-emotionalism. It wasn’t even shock. They had gotten past that. No, the look was one of shame. Hidden and private, it was the shame a person felt when they regretted being associated with a group of like persons.
Soma turned from T’Pol and looked at Archer. “So you intend to masquerade as our slave?”
“That’s right,” replied Archer shaking his head. “I’ve already got Hoshi researching the database. Phlox will duplicate one of the ‘tattoos’ the Bolian was wearing. I should fit in just fine.”
“Captain…” she wanted to protest further. This was not the first time her captain had insisted on placing himself in undue danger. She knew it was a wasted effort, but she felt compelled to try and persuade him not to go.
“T’Pol, I’ve made up my mind,” he said firmly and looked back at Tucker. “When can you have the transporter ready?”
Tucker looked at Archer for a moment as he considered the question. “Well, if Captain Soma deciphered the instruments correctly…a few hours to familiarize…a couple more to test it out…we should be good in another eight hours. Assuming nothing else goes wrong.”
“All right,” said Archer. “I hate to put you through the ringer Trip, but I’d like you to handle it. Are you up to it?”
“Don’t worry, Cap’n. Just send me down a pot of coffee and I’ll be good to go.”
Archer smiled. “You got it.” Looking over at T’Pol and Soma he gave them a separate set of instructions. “I want the two of you to head back to the ship. Get some sleep. I want you both rested and alert…and don’t give me anything about Vulcan stamina. That’s an order.”
“What about you, Captain?” asked Soma.
“I’m going to lend Trip a hand and then I’ll head back to the ship and catch a few more hours of sleep,” replied the captain. Pulling out his communicator, he flipped the device open.
“Archer to Enterprise.”
“Ensign Bryce here, sir,” replied a masculine voice. Bryce was the assistant communications officer, a competent specialist, but no Hoshi Sato.
“Ensign, patch me through to Ensign Sato,” ordered the captain.
Several seconds past and then the familiar voice of Hoshi Sato could be heard on the communicator. “Captain.”
“Hoshi, how are you coming along with the translations?
“Steady sir,” she replied. “A lot of it is heavily encrypted.”
“Do what you can,” said the captain. “We need whatever you’ve got by 0600 tomorrow.”
“Yes sir, I’ll work on getting you some basic information so you can get by. I did come across several images with people in various clothing so we shouldn’t have too much of a problem outfitting you.”
“Good work, Hoshi and keep at it.”
“Archer out” he said and closed the communicator, slipping it back into his sleeve pocket.
“Now, you two get going,” said Archer as he looked at Soma and T’Pol. “Come on Trip, let’s see you and your team can’t work a few more miracles.”
T’Pol and Soma watched as Archer and Tucker walked off together. The two Vulcans stood quietly until both men were well out of site. Turning to T’Pol, Soma looked down at her and frowned.
“I say we nerve pinch him and leave him behind.”
T’Pol glanced up at Soma and rolled her eyes in exasperation. If it were only that easy, she thought.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
Seven people have made comments
I'm with Captain Soma on this one, let's nerve pinch Archer and leave him behind! Great, can't wait for the next part. Wonderful story well told, thank you. Ali D :~)
I love the way you have masterfully kept Trip, T'Pol and Archer's characters true to form. Excellent chapter. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next one. Thank you.
Excellent addition. I agree Archer masquarading as a slave is a bad idea. I loved the Trip/Some interaction. Great story, Quills.
>>>“I say we nerve pinch him and leave him behind.”
T’Pol glanced up at Soma and rolled her eyes in exasperation. If it were only that easy, she thought<<<
LOL! Only certain humans/ human-Vulcan hybrids could get T'Pol to roll her eyes. Great chapter! Although I do wish Trip were coming. I agree with Soma, we should just nerve pinch Archer and get him out of the way. I get the feeling Archer is just going to get in the way. Sounds like fun.
Can't wait for more!
All I could think was "Oh great captain Archer is just LOOKING for trouble! Is the guy TRYING to get himself killed???" And yet I totally believe he'd do this... he's just that kind of a captain. I'm also with Soma. Soma and T'Pol can do it fine without Archer! They'll probably end up saving his butt later....
It's Azati Prime before the actual episode!!! T'Pol shoulda seen this coming in AP if Archer was already here with a death wish... ::sigh:: they just don't pay attention these days!
Anyway Quills... this is the first time I've been able to get my internet working and I've actually read all your stories. Your a wonderful writer to say the least! Please keep this one coming!
Gr8 one, cant wait for the rest, amazing character interplay,
Will trip evern lern his relation to soma?