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By Samantha Quinn
A/N: Just in case you missed the TOS episode from which it originates, “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” belong to Sulu, Gene Roddenberry, and some other TOS writers whose names I don’t know. And of course the Great Bird known as Paramount.
Confrontation, Part II
But, oh, The Great Bird of the Galaxy has awful timing. If it had happened after we’d been rescued, T’Pol and I could have been more discreet. She may have still wanted me – and I damn well would have still helped – but it wouldn’t have had to be right in the Admiral’s face.
Maybe, if the Antares had answered the distress signal a week earlier, I wouldn’t be standing here, in the Admiral’s quarters, praying for him to say something - *anything* - to end the silence between us.
In my nightmares, it was never this quiet.
“Jon . . .” Whatever else I was going to say got stuck about mid way as the Admiral finally decides to speak.
“You *lied* to me, Trip. For twenty-five years. How could you?”
“I never meant –“
“Oh, spare me, Trip. T’Pol has already pleaded your case for you. Let me guess – you never meant to hurt me, right?”
T’Pol, pleading? Somehow, I’m glad I wasn’t forced to hear that too. I don’t think I could have handled this conversation on top of that one. “No, not for a moment.”
“Do you have any idea how fucking stupid that sounds?”
Now? Yes, I have every idea. But we aren’t talking about now – are we? “I know how it must sound, but every mistake I made, I made with the intention of not hurting you.”
Please talk. I can’t take this silence.
“Your betrayal hurts a thousand times more than hers ever will, Trip. Do you know why? Because you were my friend, and I trusted you. I trusted you above and beyond *anyone* else. Yet T’Pol initially wanted to be honest with me, and you convinced her not to. What the hell were you thinking?”
I was trying to spare you the pain of watching the woman you love be with your best someone else. “I was thinking that T’Pol being with you was about the only thing keeping me from her. I was thinking that the moment she was free from you, there was nothing in hell that would keep me from her. And mostly, I was thinking that if you knew that, it would kill you.”
“You couldn’t keep your hands off each other because you had mind blowing sex in the Romulan prison?”
“Is that all you think my feelings for T’Pol were based on?”
“What else could it be based on? You two hated each other prior to that.”
“Hated? . . . I never hated T’Pol.”
“You sure fooled me, though that’s something you and T’Pol seem to excel at.”
“Since I’m such a bad judge of character, Trip, why don’t you just tell me. When did you start to have feelings for T’Pol?”
“I don’t know really. I – “
“You don’t know? Your feelings for T’Pol have just ruined my life. I damn well expect a better answer than that.”
What the hell am I supposed to say to that? But I need to say something, because he’s about to turn around. I can’t let him turn around, not again. Seeing the Admiral’s back brings memories of another mistake of mine, made only two years prior to abandoning T’Pol.
“Well, I can’t give you one. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been attemptin’ to figure that one out for years. Hell, I’ve spent at least an hour a day every day for the past five years on Kowl tryin’ to figure it out. All I know is that from the moment I first laid eyes on her, I thought she was the most magnificent, most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.”
“That’s why you fought with her at every opportunity?”
“I fought with her because she’s as stubborn, opinionated, and confident as I am. I’ll be honest – there were days she nearly drove me crazy. But I looked across the Captain’s table one day and realized that she was a lovely, beautiful gift I wanted to spend the rest of my life unwrapping. I don’t know when or how or even why my feelings deepened, but they did.”
“I remember the exact day and time my feelings for T’Pol changed. It was while we were on a mission to find –Menos.” He looks at me questioningly. “Do she ever tell you about Menos?”
It takes all that I have to remind myself that the Admiral has a good reason to be upset with me. Even then, I don’t really appreciate the challenging tone he’s decided to take. “I’m aware of who Menos was.”
“Before we left to capture Menos, she told me she trusted me. Then, for the first time, it occurred to me that she wasn’t cold and unfeeling, like other Vulcans. It doesn’t seem right, really, that you don’t even know why you fell in love with her, and I do - yet, she chose you over me.”
“And I chose you over her.” Please know how much of a sacrifice that was. If you love T’Pol a fraction as much as you claim to, you have to be able to see it.
“Just what the hell is that supposed to mean?” He sounds more frustrated than angry, now. That’s good, right? If he can stop being angry long enough, maybe I can get him to see that I never meant to cause him any harm.
“It means that every bone in my body wanted to accept T’Pol’s offer, but I didn’t, because your friendship was too special to me.”
“How the hell could you believe that telling me the truth wouldn’t have hurt less than the truth?”
“Because I’d been there! I’d *felt* how painful it is to have your best friend fall in love with the same woman that you do. God knows, I had to watch you and T’Pol – "
“Oh, come on, Trip. The way you make it sound, T’Pol was just some new discovery to ‘unwrap.’ You can’t possibly call that ‘love.’”
“Are you tryin’ to tell me *what* I felt for T’Pol?” I can’t help the anger that seeps into my voice. I know he’s hurt, and he has plenty of reason to be angry at me, but he just crossed a boundary he has no right to cross.
“You’re tryin’ to compare morbid fascination with genuine caring, Trip.”
And what the hell would you know about caring? Is ‘love’ what you call the way you’ve treated your marriage and your wife for the past twenty-five years? “Why is it so difficult for you to believe that I genuinely love T’Pol?”
“Because for the entire year that we spent in the Expanse together, all I ever heard from T’Pol was caution about the downward spiral she was certain you were in. In fact, I must have heard it at least twice a –" he stops abruptly. Not entirely certain why, I wait for him to resume.
“She was worried about you. I thought – I thought she was just showing concern about the productivity of the ship. Even in those early days of dating. . . she wanted you.”
“I heard about it, too,” I assure him. “T’Pol was always there, telling me how close I was to spiraling out of control.” I wince as I remember how correct she was. “She even tried some type of neurotherapy. It didn’t work . . . but she was still the first person I really broke down and talked to about Lizzy’s death.”
“From the very start, she wanted you. Why didn’t she just pursue you instead of me to begin with? Why the charade?”
“Vulcans spend their whole lives suppressing their emotions. Giving in to what she might have wanted . . . well, it would have acknowledged her own emotions and saddled her with my own . . . negative ones.”
“Ah, yes. We’re back to picking me was the ‘logical choice.’”
“Look, Jon. . . both T’Pol and I made a mistake. Truthfully, I’m more to blame than T’Pol, because it was my idea not to tell you in the first place. But I only did it to protect you – however misplaced my actions might’ve been, my intentions weren’t.”
“You know what the ironic thing is? If you had just told me the truth, it would have hurt, but I would’ve forgiven both of you. But you lied to me, Trip. For twenty-five years, you lied to me. How am I supposed to forget that my best friend, the person I trusted more than anyone else, deliberately orchestrated and carried out a lie?”
Dammit, I’m sorry, T’Pol’s sorry. Why can’t you just accept that? “Don’t you realize how much you mean to me? How much I *need* you to realize that?”
“What *you* need?” The calm confusion that he’s had for the past several minutes disappears instantly as he crosses the distance between us. He stands only inches from my face, and I haven’t heard so much venom in someone’s voice since the end of the Romulan War. “How can you be so selfish? What about what I needed, or your wife needed? Hell, what about what Koval needed? How could you *know* that another man was raising your son?”
“Leave Koval out of this.”
“I’d love to, Trip. There’s just one little problem. The ‘mistake’ you and T’Pol made is the reason Koval is *dead.*”
If he had punched me in the gut, it wouldn’t have hurt quite as much. I try to force myself to talk, but pain, guilt, and a sense of betrayal get in the way, and the words won’t come.
“I’m sorry, Trip. I didn’t mean that.”
What hurts the most is that I know he probably did.
He takes a step backward and sighs. “I know how much loosing him must have hurt – and I know how much you cared for him. It’s just. . .well, you only lost him once. It feels like I’ve lost him twice.”
So have I.
“. . . And the fact that he and I didn’t have the best relationship only makes it hurt more. I’ve felt like a failure as a father for years. . . "
“He loved you.”
“He loved you, too. Hell, he even told us so just before he . . . At any rate, he must have understood why you did what you did."
“If Koval can forgive me, why can’t you?”
“I’m sorry, Trip. I know what you must have thought you were giving up, and I’m sure your heart was in the right place. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t trust you anymore. What type of friendship exists without trust?”
“That’s it? You’re just going to throw away three decades worth of friendship because of one stupid mistake I made?”
“It wasn’t just any mistake, Trip.”
“No, it wasn’t. It was one that I made in an effort to spare you the same pain that you inadvertently caused me. It was one that I’d give anything to take back, but I can’t.”
“You’re right, you can’t. You can’t take away all the hurt that your ‘mistake’ caused to me, to Natalie, to T’Pol. . . and to Koval.”
He turns away from me then, so that he is facing the window. The action hurts more than it has any right to. It instantly transports me back twenty-seven years to the aftermath of the incident with the co-genitor. When he turned away from me then, I wasn’t sure our friendship would survive intact. Hell, maybe in a lot of ways it didn’t. I can’t miss the realization that both the co-genitor situation and this are my fault. Both times I was only trying to do what was right. I guess that’s what they mean by the road to hell being paved by good intentions.
Forcing myself out into the hallway, I find myself certain that if this isn’t hell, it’s a pretty fair imitation. I’ve lost someone I’ve called a dear friend for the past thirty-seven years. I’ve lost Koval. For all intents and purposes, I’ve lost Charlie, too. I’ve left him five messages since we were rescued and he hasn’t returned a single one of them. I guess he wasn’t too concerned with whether or not we were rescued.
And why have I lost all of them? Because twenty-five years ago, I made one stupid mistake in order to preserve the Admiral’s feelings. Well, that turned out well, didn’t it? What I sacrificed a lifetime of my own happiness in order to prevent happened anyway. It’s hard to believe that three weeks ago, the Admiral and I “renewed” our friendship.
Hell, we never did watch that stupid water polo match.
It’s even harder to imagine that three weeks ago, Koval, Charlie, Maggie, T’Pol, the Admiral, and I sat at the same table.
T’Pol. I’m making my way slowly to her quest quarters. As a Federation Ambassador, she was rewarded with more upscale quarters than the Admiral or I was.
As much as I want to see her again, I’m terrified. Before the whole mess with crashing on the planet happened, she pretty much told me she couldn’t deal with seeing me every day because I reminded her too much of the grief she had. Sure, she chose me on the planet, but that might very well have been the pon farr talking. I hope it wasn’t, but it’s a very real possibility. She may very well tell me she’s sorry, but can’t handle being around me anymore.
Irony’s great, isn’t it? Twenty-five years ago, I turned her away for reasons I felt were every bit as valid. If she does the same. . . it’ll kill me. The only good that’s come out of the past three weeks has been my ability to hold T’Pol again. I can only hope that our reunion wasn’t a one time occurrence. But if she does reject me, it would certainly bring things full circle, in the cruelest possible way. And, hell, maybe I deserve it.
Well, I’m here. Guess there’s really nothing else left to do but announce my presence.
A/N, II: Some people have expressed the idea that Archer should be upset at T’Pol for the actual actions in the shuttlepod. While I do mostly hate Archer, I really don’t think even he is stupid or evil enough to fault Trip or T’Pol for T’Pol being IN PON FARR.
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
What, no suicide or three way meld??? Anyways.... nice chapter and pretty much as expected. It will take time for all concerned to put the "truth" of the last 25 years in perspective....especially for Jon.
Trip and T'Pol will obviously get together and Jon will go to Laura. Right?
Great chapter, as always.
I hate those moments when you're forced to relive all the worst mistakes of your life...how bad must this one be for Trip?!?
I'm staying away from Archer...too much room for negativity (not towards the writing, just the character...)
Its awesome that you've poured so much of the story back into their 'discussion', it makes you remember the absolute hell they've been living through, and the potential hell that may come.
Fabulous...next chapter please! :)
I was starting to feel sorry for Archer back when he had to watch all that sex. Now that normal service has been resumed, any sympathy that I felt for him has gone. He just gone and pushed them together, they have nothing left to loose now.
Up until this part I was trying to keep in mind that Archer was not a bad guy and was hurting as well as Trip and T'Pol. Scratch that. I was so disappointed in him, reliving over and over his own jealously and sense of loss without the slightest regard for how the others have suffered in this rather desperate tangle of emotions. What a quagmire. Poor honourable Trip. Archer deserves to stew in his own sour juices if only for throwing Koval's death in Trip's face. How could he? I am hoping Trip and T'Pol end up together so at least the close of this story will end on a more positive and satisfying note. At the moment I am finding it increasingly hard to stomach Archer's holier than thou attitude. Great if painful writing. Ali D :~)
Oh, I think his understanding of pon farr is the root of the problem. To him, TnT are just people with a brief emotional involvement. A swift lesson in bio-chemistry, mind-melds and marriage bonds might be in order. Seems to me he's still equating vulcan marriage with human marriage, but the former is far more biological than the latter, which is almost purely a social construction. He tried to stuff T'Pol into a human box, and failed.
Another great chapter. You always have a way making the most painful and uncomfortable situations oh so palpable. There wasn't any way for this conversation to have a positive resolution. It seems as though two friendships will be lost all b/c of a tryst that occured more than 25 years ago. The part that makes me want to strangle Archer is his sheer audacity to say his love for T'Pol is greater than Trip's. How can that be when Trip willing sacrificed his love of T'Pol for his best friend? I look forward to the next chapter.
Great Chapter. So, Trip loses Archer's friendship BIG STINK'IN DEAL! Can't believe he tell's Trip that HE'S SELFISH! Time for him to wake up and smell the roses. Looking forward to your next chapter. GOD I HOPE THIS ENDS HAPPILY!
Great job with this chapter, I like the way you captured the ackward dialogue between Archer and Trip. Pretty close to how it often pans out in real life! Often we enter into a confrontational situation with a rehearsed script in our heads as to what we are going to tell the other party but once tempers and accusations fly, no progress is going to be made. Eventually both parties will leave with more unresolved issues than what they began with...this is what I sense from Archer and Trip, both handled themselves poorly and both became very defensive! Any chance of repairing their friendship can only begin if they start by forgiving each other...IMO they are both very stubborn and both of them are to blame for their current situation!
You made me cry! I can't believe you actually made me cry. I will never forgive you if Trip is shunned by T'Pol too. What's that... Charlie, Koval and Archer have pushed him aside. I don't think I could take it if T'Pol did the same. Why did you make me cry? Why on earth would you want to make another person cry? I NEED A HAPPY ENDING SAM!!!!!!!! FOR GOD'S SAKE JUST ONE HAPPY ENDING WILL BE ENOUGH FOR ME! YOU COULD MAKE EVERY OTHER STORY AS SAD AS YOU CAN GET BUT I NEED THIS TO END HAPPILY!!!!!!!!
Anyway, good story! Keep it up!
Once again I feel sorry for Archer (The Horror!)
Remember Trip didn't have the guts to put his love for T'Pol ahead of his friendship for Archer. Remember Archer has been lied to for 25 years and the son he thought was his just died protecting the lie his father and mother wove. Trip and T'Pol screwed up big time and people keep beating up on Archer ?
I agree with you Treknut. Trip is gutless. The only reason he is going for T'Pol now is that everything is out in the open. He is still a coward.... and now he is going to drag himself to T'Pol and hope she still wants him. Typical I guess. Women always have the upper hand on Trip.
Archer is fully entitled to his pain and resentment. I can't believe that Trip has the audacity to think that Archer should forgive him so quickly... a mere week or so after the revelation and having to endure Trip bang his wife.
As for someone's comment about Pon Far being a biological response and T'Pol can not be faulted for having sex with Trip.... WRONG. She most certainly can be faulted. It was her rational side that chose Trip. A vulcan female can mate with a male of ANY species to overcome the fever. One would 'logically' assume that a husband would be the choice. BUT T'Pol deliberately ignored her husband. Look at it this way....
After all the pain and suffering and death... and particularly the death of her son Koval....(who died to protect the secret)... T'Pol disrespected herself and her own son... by choosing to mate AGAIN with the one person who years before help set in motion the destructive chain of events we have read about so far. And again.... Pon FAR is NO EXCUSE because ANY male can suffice. It was T'Pol's choice to choose Trip. It was NOT out of her control.
Clearly, T'Pol, whether she is willing to admit it or not.... wanted to sleep with Trip and wanted the truth to come out. If the secret was so important to her... she would not have slept with Trip. The only sad thing is that T'Pol chose for the truth to become revealed in such a cruel fashion. She can play stupid all she wants, but I don't buy it. I don't buy Trip's act either. They are both incedibly selfish... all the while keeping their 'friend' in the dark... and then appearing aghast that Jon might not forgive them right away! Unbelievable.
Trip a coward and gutless!!! WOW, harsh and in my opinion completley untrue. The only thing Trip did was to put his friendship for Archer above his own feelings and he has paid for that decision for 25 years. He is still thinking of Archer and trying not to hurt him but does Archer ever think of anyone elses feelings besides his own. As to T'pol choosing Trip to mate with, she was in the midst of Pon Far and problably not all that rational and not in control of her feelings therefore unable to surpress the love she has always felt for Trip.
Um, Rocky, I know you're Archer's defender, but . . .
From what Star Trek has shown us, you'r opinion of T'Pol's actions are off. You've made it seem as though T'Pol was coldly calculating her decision to chose Trip, or that she should have been able to see the harm her decisions would have caused once the air was cleared. As Spock so plainly told us, their "logic is stripped," from them. T'Pol chose Trip (while in Pon Farr) because she had a clear biological, lustful urge for him. To suggest that that action was her "logical" side is silly, and, I suspect, your pro-Archer side getting the best of you.
I'd like to hope Archer will eventually get over some of his own feelings, and at least start to realize the hell everyone else has been living in. Hope Maggie smacks some sense into Charlie. Bravo, as always.
I had thought that Trip and T'pol had bonded in some way at the romulan prison while resolving the Ponn Farr. Isn't that the reason why T'pol couldn't bond with Archer? If I'm right, it makes perfect sence that T'pol would go to Trip before a man she has no mental connection with. Archer and T'Pol have no relationship according to Vulcan society!
Samantha, this story is plain fantastic. The alternating viewpoints are done incredibly well, and I am awed by the insight you have into everybody's feelings and thoughts. I have no problem at all with your characterization or with the characters actions. I feel that, since this is taking place 25 years after ENT, you have pretty much carte blanche do to with them whatever you like. And I love what you're doing with them. You are an extremely skilled writer, there is LOTS of emotion in the text, and the way the story unfolds keeps me on the edge of my seat. Really, this story just wonderful!
There is only one thing: Please, PLEASE, I am honestly and truthfully BEGGING YOU, let Trip and T'Pol get together in the end, please?