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By Samantha Quinn
Chapter 11: Awakening
Vaguely, Trip had the realization that he was an idiot. Of course T’Pol was pregnant. Both she and Phlox had mentioned a “condition,” her robes were extra large, even by Vulcan robe standards, and there was a definite bump-
(That I hadn’t noticed before.)
-where T’Pol’s normally flat stomach should have been.
Trip didn’t spare a whole lot of time mourning the fact that he was an idiot, however. Instead, all he could focus on was that bump. His hand was halfway to her stomach before he stopped. “Is it okay if I. . ?”
T’Pol tilted her head in a fashion which let Trip know that she was well aware of his idiocy, but she didn’t mind it too much.
(We were married, after all.)
“It will not be the first time your hand has touched my stomach,’ she said finally.
Well, no. There had been that one time in The Expanse. . .
“I was referring to Lorian and Elizabeth’s gestations,” T’Pol noted. “Not whatever memory is causing you to blush so predominantly.”
Trip had known T’Pol-
(But not this one.)
-long enough to know when to just give up and be quiet. He hadn’t always heeded that advice, of course. But he would this one time, because he wanted to feel their baby.
(Koss, Koss, Koss. Whatever happened to Koss? He can’t have been a figment of my imagination.)
As a kid, Trip had owned his fair share of pregnant dogs, and the tiny movement beneath his fingers when he touched T’Pol’s stomach felt a lot like an exaggerated version of the way unborn puppies felt.
(Shouldn’t they feel different?)
“Do we know if it’s a girl or a boy?”
Lorian, Elizabeth, and Koval. Part of Trip desperately wanted to be their father. Though he couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that he didn’t belong, he also couldn’t shake the feeling that leaving this reality would mean leaving his family.
T’Pol looked across the rapidly deteriorating landscape that Surak showed her. She recognized the scene instantly form the oral histories of her youth. It was Vulcan, on the cusp of Reformation.
“Indeed,” Surak agreed. His breathing was still labored, and T’Pol recognized it as a sign of the radiation poisoning, fallout from the wars her home world was fighting in this “vision.”
“You seem to be adapting well,” Surak remarked. “I knew remaining with you was a wise choice.”
“Would T’Pau not have been an equally wise choice?”
“No. T’Pau is a strong leader and I am certain she will play an important role in our people’s future, but her desire to be the keeper of my katra was not an entirely selfless one.”
“She would welcome the prestige such a melding would bring,” T’Pol guessed. She wasn’t pleased with “voicing” the suggestion, as T’Pau had been one of few contemporaries at the Science Directorate that T’Pol had gotten along with. That had been before either of them had taken their current paths.
“Yes, she would, I believe.” Surak again glanced across the wasteland, as the horizon grew bright with explosives. “And our people’s future is too important to be gambled with in such a fashion.”
“I understand your reasoning for not picking T’Pau, but is there no one else who can do this task? My . . .status among out people is even lower than the Syrannites.”
“Because of your career choice? Or is it due to the disease you carry?”
“Both.” T’Pol did not elaborate, as Surak seemed to be able to read her thoughts well enough that it wasn’t necessary.
“The latter can easily be healed, and the former proves a commitment to the principles of IDIC.”
“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.” As a child, the phrase had opened up a galaxy of exploration in T’Pol’s imagination.
“And that compulsion to explore shall serve our people well as you find the Kir’Shara,” Surak surmised.
The look Lorian was giving Trip really made him feel guilty. It must have been difficult for a kid-
(He’s not really your son.)
-to deal with a parent who, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be crazy.
“Then you move the variable to the to the side and divide by-“
“So, are you done being crazy?” Lorian interrupted. “Because. . .you really scared Mom and Lizzie.”
Trip tried not to wince at his son’s accusation, knowing very well that it wasn’t Lizzie or his Mom that Lorian was talking about. “Lorian, about yesterday, I’m sorry. I was trying to get some of my memories back and I guess I pushed myself too far.”
“It wasn’t me that you scared,” Lorian’s male ego interjected. “It was Mom and Lizzie. And they don’t. . .they really missed you while you were sick.”
(You weren’t sick.)
“I hate the Klingons,’ Lorian stated. “And when I grow up-“
(The Klingons didn’t do this.)
“-I’m going to make them pay.”
The voice in the back of his head kept trying to say something else, but Trip ignored it, because right now big blue eyes that were identical to Lorian’s grandfathers’s were looking up at Trip, wanting him to make it all better with a ferventness that was entirely non-Vulcan.
“Lorian, you can’t keep hating the Klingons,” Trip started.
(Because they didn’t-)
“For one, you’re blaming an entire group of people for the actions of a few, and you shouldn’t do that. Second of all, it won’t do you any good.”
Lorian gave him a dubious look, and Trip momentarily wondered if this whole conversation was a ploy to distract both of them from the algebra.
Trip sighed. “Look, have I ever told you about Degra?”
Lorian rolled his eyes. “Lots of times, Dad. The only story you tell more than the Degra story is the one where you found out Aunt Elizabeth was still alive..”
The shock must have shown on Trip’s face, because Lorian went from looking bored to looking concerned. “Uh, Dad? What’s wrong?”
“Your aunt Elizabeth is still alive?”
(No, she can’t be. She was home at the time of the Xindi Attack.)
Lorian bit his lip, a gesture which looked at odds with his pointed ears. “Yeah. You aren’t gonna go crazy again, are you?”
“No. I just don’t remember-“
(Too much. There’s too much that you don’t remember. Something’s not right.)
Lorian put his PADD down and folded his hands on top of the kitchen table. “Well, you know, I could tell you all about it, if you want.”
The voice in the back of Trip's head started to say something else, but Trip ignored it. “I’d like that very much, Lorian.”
“You are distracted,” the voice of Surak accused.
“There is no reason to be ashamed, T’Pol. Given the amount of discomfort that your bondmate is in, it is impressive you are able to function at all.”
Surak spoke of her bond with Trip as though it was perfectly rational. She wondered if her husband would share the belief.
“Koss’ beliefs are relatively unimportant,’ Surak replied. “Your bond to Captain Tucker takes precedence over the formal ceremony to Koss.”
T’Pol briefly imagined Koss’ reaction to knowing what Surak thought of their union. She had to fight down the urge to be overly pleased with the image. “You approve of my relationship with Trip?”
“Why would I not?”
“He is human. His ways are very. . . non-Vulcan.”
“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”
“His . . presence can be unsettling,” T’Pol confided.
“Your experiences aboard The Seleya have left you afraid,” Surak scolded gently. “Cast out fear. There is no room for anything else until you cast out fear.”
Trip leaned his head up against the back of the sofa while he watched his daughter-
(She can’t really be yours.)
-work on the project she was entering in the annual Victory Day.
Lord, Trip understood the need to celebrate winning over the Xindi, but did they have to give it such a cheesy name?
Little Elizabeth didn’t seem to need nearly as much help with her modified phaser as Lorian had needed with his algebra, so there was certainly something to be said for Vulcan diligence. And, no doubt, Uncle Malcolm’s influences.
(He’s not really her uncle.)
The voice in the back of his head was as loud as ever, yet Trip was less willing to listen. Mostly, because the voice – which Trip supposed was the voice of reason - didn’t’ make a while lot of sense. It kept insisting that none of this was real and that he had to get back to The Sputnik, yet the very same voice could offer no explanation for how Trip had “memories” of events that “hadn’t happened.”
What good was a voice of reason when it didn’t make any sense?
“Trip, is everything all right?” T’Pol asked. The pregnancy had been taking its toll on her, and she too was resting on the sofa as Lizzie built her project. Lorian had dumped all of them for the “great adventure” waiting in the backyard.
Trip looked over at the woman he was married to in this. . . reality. He thought of the last words they had spoken to each other, of the wedding on Vulcan with a man who didn’t exist here, and of the future they didn’t have the universe he remembered.
He leaned back on the sofa and cupped T’Pol’s stomach with his hand. “I’m fine,” he answered, completely ignoring the voice in the back of his head which argued differently.
Commander Brody looked around the empty command center after he’d ended the communication from Starfleet and let out a sigh.
Leaving his Captain and First Officer behind didn’t feel right. Yet, The Vulcan Ambassador - the one who had broken so many of his people’s laws in order to help them - warned Brody more than once that V’Las was not a patient man.
Besides, Admiral Gardiner had given his order. What choice did Brody have but to follow it?
Brody hoped T’Pol and Archer would be okay, but he had his orders, and good soldiers followed orders.
He had no choice but to leave orbit.
T’Pol glanced down at the treasure trove in her hands. The documents within - the very words of Surak - would be invaluable to her people and would clearly alter their society as radically as the Reformation had, centuries ago.
But even as T’Pol contemplated the benefits of the Kir’shara, she heard her mother cry out in pain.
The attack on the tunnels had loosened enough rock as to become hazardous. A large quantity had fallen on her mother, and T'Pol knew, even before she sank to her knees beside T’Les that the older woman was dying.
“Now is not the time for you to die,” T’Pol argued in vain. “Everything you fought so hard for is on the verge of becoming a reality.”
T’Les drew a breath which appeared to take all of her strength. “All that matters is that you live to see it. It was all for you, T’Pol.”
As T’Pol clung to her mother’s body, she was aware of Surat's comfort in the back of her mind. “I grieve with thee.”
But more importantly, Surak's comfort held the promise that her mother’s death would not be in vain.
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
Wow, this is really, really good, Samantha. I'm really feeling Trip's pain in not wanting to leave this glorious "dream" - why would he WANT to leave it since it's so damned perfect The line: "What good was a voice of reason when it didn’t make any sense?" is probably my favorite so far but I loved the short little conversation Trip had with Lorian about the Klingons. And the ("voice of reason") is a really nice touch.
And I must reiterate that I greatly prefer your version of the Vulcan Arc since the VULCAN is taking the lead instead of being led to enlightenment but the Super!Captain. Nice insight on T'Pau and why Surak didn't want to join with her; I can't help but to wonder if he felt the same way about Arev. What happened to Archer, by the way? Did a rock fall on him or something?
Noticed two minor typos in the last two lines in which Surak was spelled "Surat" instead.
I agree wholeheartedly with Rigil. I'm looking forward to how you plan to resolve this. I hope the ending's not TOO tragic. I can just picture Trip with his hand on T'Pol's pregnant belly. A sweet image.
Rigil - There are probably a lot of typos, given that this is unbeta'ed and I'm really just trying to finish it already and be done. It's curious, though, since the T and the K aren't even close on the keyboard. :( Maybe they can be interchanged in Vulcan? :)
Archer will be coming back soon, in a non-Super, non-Ass capacity. I'm also glad that the "voice of reason" bit made sense. It made sense in my head, but I was worried that it wouldn't to anyone else.
The one line that kept coming back to me during the Vulcan arc was "Surak's" from TOS third season "Savage Curtain": "In my day, we did not know Earth men." It just felt wrong for an "Earth man" to save Vulcan, even if they do it for other cultures all the time on the show.
Distracted - the image is sweet, isn't it? ;) As for the ending, they'll be some noodles, if not a whole salad.
The "voice of reason" element made absolute sense to me and I loved it. I can even see how it could be done well on the screen, with Trip looking at the "dream" image and a flash of something related from the "real world" flickering onto the screen.
Again, looking forward to the next chapter with great anticipation but not a lot of patience. :-D
I find myself agreeing with Rigil. Nicely done and looking forward to your wrapup.
I detested "Super" Archer and sidekick "Polly" in the Vulcan arc and thought it should have been an excellent opportunity to highlite T'Pol and Vulcan/Vulcans in general. Though I did like the interaction in the series with Captain Tucker, Shran and Sovol
Very nice I like that Surak is supporting T'POls choice of a bondmate.
You know, the thing that I liked about this particular story from the very beginning, right from chapter one, is that this particular fan fic is the only one I have ever seen where Trip reacts in a realistic fashion to T'Pol's marriage. Think about it guys. The woman invites you to her home to meet her mother after you have been through hell together. Things are looking bright and promising and the future is full of hope. Then you end up being forced to stand there in a borrowed Vulcan tux holding a stiff upper lip while the woman you love more than life marries another man. The same man that she assured you two years ago that she was no longer interested in. In real life 99 men out of a hundred would have scratched off a quick goodbye note and headed back to earth to request an emergency reassignment to the first ore freighter or garbage scow they could get and never looked back. But this story is the only one that had the guts to say so. Thank you.
Interesting, the way you made T'Pol the holder of Surak's katra, instead of Archer. Also, I reeeeeeeeeeally like this story! I can't wait to see how it all ends, what's real, what's not, and maybe have a happy ending? Yes? Pretty please? :)
I completely agree with Blackn'blue in regards to Trip's decision to get the hell out of Dodge following "Home" and that remains one of my favorite elements of this story. I know that I sure as hell wouldn't have stuck around like Trip did - I mean, the only two people left on ENT that *really* seemed to be his friends by this point were Malcolm & Phlox so leaving the ship wouldn't be that hard. And regardless of the reasons that T'Pol married Koss, Trip has to know that Vulcans generally marry for life so by the time she could get out of that marriage, Tucker would have been long dead.
Moving on is, no pun intended, logical. Even if he can't.
Great work, Samantha...
You hit it dead center Rigil. Malcolm and Phlox were the only people Trip ever talked to by then. What gives with so many writers? I am a non-fiction writer, so bear in mind that I don't know what I am yapping about. All I do is read the stuff. But with the exception of you, Samantha, and a mournfully few others, most fanfiction writers seem content to merely present the info that "these people love each other" and go on with the story - never bothering to explain how they managed to reach that puzzling conclusion. As a reader I like action. Action and adventure is great. But character inter-action is what gives significance to the story. Otherwise you are just reading a dessicated report of events, like scanning headlines on news.google.com. That's why I read everything Rigil writes, because he never uses 'spear carriers' in his stories. Every person who dies in his stories is a human being, and their death matters. In this story, Trip is a human being, and his pain matters. T'Pol is a person, and her choices matter. No cookie cutters here. Rare even in commercial literature nowadays, precious in fanfiction.