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By Samantha Quinn
A/N: Whoops. Long time, no write. To recap: following the events of home, Trip was promoted to Captain of The Sputnik. On the first away mission to Valis Two, Captain Tucker was introduced to some glorious holographic technology that is currently playing havoc with his brain. Events on the Enterprise are continuing as they did on the show, sans Trip. We are currently at the beginning of the Vulcan arc time wise.
Chapter 8: Arrival
The front yard of 608 Cochrane Street was as immaculate as one would expect a Vulcan’s front yard to be. But the solitary green beach ball on the front porch gave away the fact that a human resided on the premises. A cool breeze from the bay ruffled the hair on Trip’s arms and raised the goose bumps on the back of his neck. There was a wetness in the air from what Trip realized was the aftermath of a rain storm and he could feel it on his skin. Two mosquitoes had landed on his legs; Trip hasn’t swatted fast enough and his legs still bore the gravel-sized welts to prove it.
All of these signs pointed to this. . . delusion being real. No dream was this vivid, ever - not event he ones where your Captain’s gone crazy and tossed you out an airlock or the ones where you walk into engineering forgetting to put on any pants.
He had wasted the better part of an hour just staring at the door, wondering whether or not to ring first before he realized ringing would be stupid for two reasons. Firstly, this. . . reality wasn’t a true one and since when did a person have to knock in a delusion?
Because while Trip had ruled out the possibility of this being a dream, he hadn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of a delusion - a very, very vivid delusion.
Secondly, in this delusional world, this was his home . . . and T’Pol’s, of course, but Trip couldn’t quite handle that yet. A person didn’t ring before entering their own home, did they? Still, it must be said that Trip reached for the door hesitantly. After all, the only way to combat delusions were with truth.
//”Hey, wait a minute, T’Pol.”
T’Pol paused on the front steps to their new home and turned to look at her husband quizzically.
“Is there a problem?”
“Yeah. I need to carry you over the threshold.”
“It’s tradition. Er, human tradition anyway.”
The look on T’Pol’s face demonstrated just how stupid she thought that tradition was. “I do not understand the purpose of that tradition. However, since our vows were in keeping with Vulcan tradition, you may indulge in this human tradition.”
Trip grinned at his wife before bending over to pick her up.//
But it couldn’t be a memory. It was one thing for this delusional world to include a supposed wife and children, it was another thing entirely for Trip to suddenly gain memories of events that hadn’t happened. But he and T’Pol had never done that. They hadn’t had any reason to, because T’Pol had married Koss. He remembered that for sure. Trip wasn’t sure he’d ever forget the sight of T’Pol in that purple dress, kneeling down beside her husband.
//”Why do Vulcans purple for their wedding, anyway?”
“Not everyone does. The color of the bridal gown is determined by familial heritage.”
“So. . you wore a purple wedding dress because your momma did it and her momma before her?”
“Yes. You would prefer me to wear the sexist and puritanical white of the type native to your region of Earth?”
Trip chuckled. “Of course not.”//
But. . . they hadn’t had that conversation before the wedding to Koss. They simply hadn’t had time and the gaping wound in Trip’s heart had simply been too much to have had such a light-hearted conversation.
Shaking his head, Trip walked through the front door, continued through a parlor as equally clean as the front yard, continued around a corner and down a hallway lined with pictures. The first picture was of a wedding. The picture shouldn’t have surprised Trip. This was supposed to be a the house he shared with T’Pol - his wife. Why wouldn’t they have had a picture from their wedding in their home? It appeared to have taken place on Vulcan, as T’Les and the bridesmaids whose names Trip hadn’t cared about stood around T’Pol, Kov, himself, and the Captain.
//Captain Tucker.// He was supposed to be looking for something, Trip recalled rather suddenly. Not only was he supposed to be looking for some explanation as to what this place was, he was supposed to be looking for. . . for something important - something related to Chancellor Lorne. Trip tried with earnest to figure out what he could have been looking for, but his efforts were simply rewarded with another blinding headache.
On the bridge of Enterprise, T’Pol was struck with an unaccustomed headache behind her eyes. She assumed it was yet another side effect of the Pa’nar Syndrome. However, the pain was more intense than she had previously believed and the basic Vulcan techniques for overcoming pain weren’t working.
As Enterprise remained calmly in orbit around Vulcan, T’Pol closed her eyes briefly to summon the strength to overcome the headache.
She was rewarded this time with an image of Trip standing in a hallway of a Terran-styled home, staring at a photograph of a Vulcan wedding. The wedding was not her own, but clearly contained the image of herself in the ceremonial garb. Standing next to her in the photograph was Trip, clothed in the traditional Vulcan attire.
The image startled T’Pol and her eyes sprang open quickly. This was the second time such a . . . delusion had taken place. Perhaps Captain Tucker was daydreaming? That seemed the only logical explanation.
Yet. . . if that’s all that was occurring, it did not satisfactorily explain the headaches.
He could be hurt. But he didn’t appear hurt. However, as with all things involving Captain Tucker, logic didn’t necessarily apply. Still, she would have Captain Archer contact Starfleet as soon as possible to make certain Captain Tucker was indeed safe.
“Commander?” Hoshi’s voice interrupted her musings.
“I have a priority one message from Starfleet.”
“Notify the Captain.”
When the pain had passed, Trip opened his eyes and was greeted by a robe-clad T’Pol.
“Hey,” he greeted, though it was clearly stupid of him. After all, she wasn’t real, so greeting her made very little sense.
“You should not have left Headquarters without telling someone where you were going,” she admonished. “Captain Reed was worried.”
Trip felt a twinge of guilt which he pushed away. “When I see the real Malcolm, I’ll be sure to apologize.”
T’Pol’s eyebrow raise was heartbreakingly familiar. All of those familiar feelings that had helped Trip make the decision to leave Enterprise came flooding back with a ferocity that once again reassured him that he was wide awake.
“You should sit down,” T’Pol decided. “Perhaps if you tell me why you believe yourself to be in. . a not real world, I can more easily dissuade you of that notion.”
“But I’m trying to find. . . “ Trip trailed off, uncertain as to how exactly to finish that sentence. He was looking for. . .something important. “I need to figure out what’s going on, T’Pol.”
“We will figure it out together,” she said firmly. “As we have for the duration of our union.”
Maybe. . .maybe this was what he had been looking for? It didn’t seem right, but Trip couldn’t remember. After all, it couldn’t hurt to talk to T’Pol. Maybe delusional T’Pol could help him through his dilemmas the same way the real version did. Thus, he followed T’Pol down the hallway and around the corner into the living room. He kept note of every photograph they passed, including and especially the smiling little boy and the somber little girl, both of whom had pointed ears.
Just like their mother.
Trip shook the thought away as he sat down. T’Pol sat down beside him on the couch, smoothing her voluminous robes out behind her as she did so. “Why do you believe this to be a delusion?”
“Because nothing is as it should be,” he answered seriously.
“You will need to be more specific, if this is going to be of any help to you.”
Trip wanted to scowl, though the corners of his mouth threatened to turn up at the verbal sparring that he hadn’t been able to engage in for. . weeks? No, it had to be longer than that. Months? Trip shook his head in irritation. He ought to be able to remember something that important, shouldn’t he?
“Fine. In the real, non-delusional world, I’m still Captain of The Sputnik, you and Malcolm are still on The Enterprise -“
“I am not on The Sputnik with you?”
“What? No.” Though if she had been, Trip had no doubt that the all consuming loneliness would have been far less than it had been.
“Vulcans do not know hate, but I am considerably . . . displeased with the Klingons. Continue.”
“That’s another thing. The Klingons were no where near Valis Two. Not to mention us! We certainly aren’t married!”
Fake T’Pol did a fair imitation of real T’Pol when she bristled like that. “You include our marriage in one of the items that are not. . right?”
Crap. “No, T’Pol. . . er, well, yes. I mean, you’re supposed to be married to Koss.”
“Who is Koss?”
Trip blinked at her for a moment before rubbing his eyes. It was awfully tempting to enjoy this delusion at times. Very tempting.
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Half a dozen of you have made comments
Ooooh. Tempting is right. I'm really enjoying this alternate "reality" you've created. Too bad it's fake. This is gonna be heartbreaking if he's finally convinced of the reality of the illusion and then gets yanked back into the real world. What angst potential! And the bond is letting the real T'Pol get a taste of what it would be like to live happily ever after with Trip. All I can hope for is that when it's all over and he's falling apart, she'll come to find him and pick up the pieces. Can we at least have a teenie smidgeon of a hopeful ending? Pretty please?
What??!! =You're just gonna leave us hanging...there???
Intriguing. I hope the next chapter comes out soon. It sounds like T'Pol (the real one) may have an inkling that something is wrong. Or she will once Archer discusses the Priority One communique.
And poor Trip trying to figure out his situation!
oh... wow! you just added so many lovely sparkly little tangles to this web... continue please!
Uh, ditto what valleygirl said, leaving hanging is SOOOOOO not cool! Awesome stuff, though, and I agree with Distracted, happy endings are of the good (wow, reeeeeally have been reading too much Buffy-fic)! :)
Don't know how I missed this update. I'm going to be real depressed when this alternate reality goes away, aren't I? Enjoying it so far ... but not looking forward to the angst...