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A Sweet Goodbye
A | Author - TLR | Genre - Angst | Genre - Episode Addition | Main Story | Rating - G | S
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A Sweet Goodbye
Rated G: a generally good sob story
Date: September 1, 2006
Trip made his way through the corridors toward his best friend's cabin. He was invited there to hear an update the Captain got from Star Fleet earlier today. He was also invited to try a little more of that Kentucky bourbon Jon had stashed in his quarters for special occasions.
The young engineer had an unexciting day, just like yesterday and the day before, slowly repairing the damage that Kelby and the Orions did to the ship's electrical and impulse systems. Most of the repairs were complete, but the ship still looked as though she'd been in a fire fight and lost. There were large patches of hull with scorch marks, and bent metal in areas around the nacelle that made the young male very nervous.
(Those types of simple repairs couldn't easily be done in the vastness of space, however a space dock like the rogue one they found would have come in handy right about now.) That thought made him rethink his idea again. Considering the near cost of their last visit to such a place, he was very willing to wait to get to a reputable one with real beings and not just talking computers. As he came to the captain's door, Trip checked his tee and hair again. It seemed silly to worry about the straightness of his relaxation clothes, but the Human had gotten in the habit of being at his best lately, no matter what. Much of it he attributed to his mental connection to T'Pol.
"Come in." came the answer to the sound of the door chime and Tucker stepped through the opening door.
"Hey Trip, you made it." Archer responded to his friend's appearance by turning down the sound of the water polo play offs he was watching. "It's Cal tech vs Virginia Bluegills, wantta watch it from the beginning?" The question seemed almost a plea to let the man rewind the recording and explain the action from the start.
"Sure" Trip sat down in the oversized chair across from the bed and Porthos jumped into his lap. Stroking the dog's head gently Trip felt almost uneasy. He could not determine if it was he who felt so bad or if T'Pol was the reason for this sudden heaviness in the pit of his stomach. The Captain handed over a half filled glass of brown liquid to the rather somber young man.
"You look beat…" Archer couldn't help but notice the blank expression on his old friend's face.
"Just all these repairs, Cap'n…. I think we got the worst of them done, but the old girl could use a few taps with a hammer and a new coat of paint." Trip sipped heavily from the juice size glass.
"Well….." Jon started as he eased back into the pillows to enjoy his own beverage. "It seems that is what she's gonna get." He sipped a bit more of the drink and watched for his friend's puzzled expression.
"Whatcha mean Cap'n?" His question had a hint of fear to it.
"Admiral Forrest's replacement, Admiral Garner wants me to come back to Earth for a couple weeks of briefings. I thought we could use this time to let the crew take shore leave and give the Enterprise a few new upgrades. They say that the Vulcan's are giving us the specs to a device you might remember, a tractor beam." He raised his eyebrows and held up his glass in triumph.
"Well how do you like that? We save their government from corruption and all we get is a lousy set of specs to a tractor beam." Trip tried to contain his excitement, but Jon saw through it and began to laugh.
"Actually, T'Pol is gonna bring the specs back with her a week before we are ready to leave space dock. Apparently they have to be fined tuned to our systems. Right now they would blow out every conduit on board if we tried to use their version." Archer laughed and sipped more at his drink. "I guess their technology is as hard to deal with as they are sometimes."
"Tell me about it." Trip murmured as he sipped the last from his glass and held it out for more. The senior office refilled it quickly reaching forward over Porthos who was by now sleeping in the commander's lap.
"So T'Pol is going home to Vulcan?" Trip asked trying not to appear too interested. His mind went back to the last few weeks since the Orion's attack. They worked easily together, like a well oiled rig, but the friendship they shared was at best on eggshells. She spent much of her time in engineering working toe to toe with him and yet there were very few words between them. Often one would need a part and the other would hand it to them without a single word being uttered. While very good at keeping the work going, Trip longed for their discussions, their arguments or even a stern look that told him he was touching her last nerve. In fact this time of bland acceptance was worse than the open dismissals he'd gotten during his time fixing the telepathic machine in sickbay. Even then they were talking. Now it was just acceptance, a far cry from the wet one she planted on him in the corridors outside of sickbay. There seemed to be hope then. But it ended as quickly as it started, and now the young engineer was at a loss to find a way to bring it back. His mental lapse was interrupted by the Captain cheering at a goal he saw on the screen beside the blond haired male.
"Why is T'Pol going home?" He repeated not having heard the Captain's original answer.
"I told you… she has some loose ends to tie up in her mother's estate. She didn't have any time after the incident in the Forge to do so and now with the time off, she needs to tend to those things. We are dropping her off on our way to Earth and she will arrange her own transportation back when she's finished." The Captain spoke while watching the game. He almost didn't get the last of it out before cheering yet another spectacular goal made by his favorite team.
"Do you think that is wise Cap'n…? I mean her going home alone. She's made a lot of enemies there and being alone to deal with her mother's death….. that seems wrong in some kinda way." Trip was now realizing that if the Captain had already talked to T'Pol, this dread feeling in the pit of his stomach could well be her reaction to the knowledge of what she was to face on her home-world.
"She didn't ask for anyone to accompany her, but if you think it important, maybe I'll ask Hoshi to go. She knows the language and…" The Captain thought he was being logical in his selection but Trip had other things in mind.
"No Cap'n… I’ll go with her." He stated clearly looking at his friend with a very serious face.
"You think that is what she would want?" Archer asked knowing how these two could get at times.
"Ya Cap'n…. She wouldn't want to have to entertain anyone who hasn't been there before. I have, so she can feel comfortable to just go about her business and I know how to fend for myself. I know where things are and can even help her with some of the heavy stuff." Trip realized after he said it how funny his last statement was. Vulcans were by nature 5 times as strong as Humans and anything he could do, T'Pol could do many more times better.
"Besides Cap'n, I owe her…. She really helped me after Lizzie died and I think I need to be there to return the favor. I know that T'Pol hasn't been willing to allow herself to dwell on her mother's death on board Enterprise because there are too many people around, but in the privacy of her own home, I think she will be a little less inclined to stifle those feelings, at least I hope so." Trip looked deeply into the swirling liquid in his glass as he rolled it round and round absently.
"And you think she'd be more comfortable allowing you to see them?" Archer stopped paying attention to the game and was now noticing the concerned look on his friend's face.
"Maybe Cap'n…. She had some really rough times in the Expanse, especially after her Trellium exposure….. I dare say I know just how forceful she can get if she truly starts to get her dander up. I don't think she will mind too much and if she does, I know when and where to go in that house to give her, her space. Hoshi may not." Archer understood what he meant by the young ensign's need to help. Sometimes it was better to let Vulcans steep in their own juices instead of trying to pressure a resolution from them when they were not ready for one. This was a lesson Jon learned all too well on those occasions when his first officer's meditation time was being interrupted. He also learned this first hand at Tolaris' little wrestling match when the captain tried to protect T'Pol from the male's unwanted advances.
"What about the repairs to the ship. You gonna let the boys at Jupiter station have all the credit?" Archer knew this was serious when his chief engineer didn't volunteer to stay aboard and supervise a refit.
"How hard can it be to bang out a few dents and slap on a new coat of paint, Cap'n. Besides we'll have all the important stuff fixed by the time we get back to space-dock. I will work on fine tuning the tractor-beam specs while I am there so they will be ready to be installed when I get back. That I will do personally, does that fill your orders?" Trip held up his glass waiting for his friend's final say so. He got it with just a nod, then eased back and began looking at the game. The two agreed that T'Pol would have the last say in the matter, but as far as things went, Trip would be disembarking on Vulcan in just 84 hours from now.
It was late in the evening the next night before Trip worked up his nerve to try and approach T'Pol with the news of his travel plans. He knew from the feelings he'd been having that his nerves were in direct competition with the intermittent sadness he was experiencing from her. Their connection was not as he thought it would be, very scattered and distant at times, yet at others very in your face and overwhelming. This was one of those times. She was feeling very depressed and alone, and the young Human thought this would be the best time to bring up the news of his accompanying her to Vulcan. Trip rounded the last corner and headed without hesitation to her door. The soft sound of her voice activating the auto open mechanism was comforting to his still nervous mind.
Trip entered the room to find T'Pol packing. She had her oversized duffle out on the bed, though it wasn't as stuffed as it had been for her last shore-leave home. She turned holding a plastic container full of colorful glass bottles before her. "You wished to speak with me." The Vulcan murmured low as she made her way to the bed. Easily she slid the container in and started placing neatly folded clothing items around it. This made Trip nervous again. She hadn't spoken his name or even addressed him as commander, that wasn't a good sign.
"The Captain asked me to speak with you." His voice shook indicating more than he meant too, that this was not going to be an easy conversation.
"About what?" The female didn't look up as she continued to pack.
"About my accompanying you to Vulcan." There, it was out, and now there was nothing to do but wait for the fireworks to start, but they didn't come. Instead an unfettered T'Pol continued to pack in silence.
"Did you hear me?" Trip asked and wondered why there was no backlash of objections.
"I heard what you said." She uttered quietly and continued to stuff clothes around the box of fragile items. "I think it would help to speed things up. We can stop by the Vulcan High Council to pick up the specs then you can take them back with you to Earth. This will allow you to work on the particulars during the refit and have them in place by the time the ship is ready to disembark again. A very logical idea." Trip wasn't sure, but he thought that his mate had gotten his words all wrong.
"It's true I will be working on fine tuning the specs for the refit, but I will be doing so on Vulcan." Trip stopped a minute to gage her response. It was slight, just a soft hesitation in her movements, so the young man continued. "The Captain feels it would be easier for me to make the modifications around people who know the original equipment. That way if I have any questions, I can just go there and ask." Now he clearly saw her stop and stand straight again. She stared at the wall over the bunk, not at him to her right, or out the portal to her left.
"There are Vulcan engineers on Earth who can assist you. It is more logical for you to be with the ship during the refinement process." Trip could see her low brewing emotions bubbling just below the surface. Within him he could feel the faintest pang of hurt coming through.
"That's true, but the Cap'n didn't think you should be alone right now and I agree with him. He was gonna have Hoshi stay with you cause she knows the language, but I remembered how you hated too many people knowing your business, so I convinced him I would be the more logical one." He saw her contemplate his words trying to find the logic in any of this situation.
"Look T'Pol," Trip started and came very close to her. He saw her move away and halted in his tracks. Using his hands, he gestured an understanding of his breach of etiquette. "I know you want to be alone and meditate, but after being blackmailed as you were, I don't like the idea of you being there by yourself. I also don't like the idea of not having anyone there to talk too. I just want to be available if you need me. I promise I'll stay out of your way." Trip searched the floor for a better set of arguments. "It's perfect, can't you see that. I know the house, how the appliances work. I know the garden. I could do all the things in the house and all you'd have to do is tend to your mother's estate. I promise to give you the space you need and if for some reason you want to talk about anything, I will be there, just like you were there for me."
T'Pol took a long breath and turned in his direction. Her voice was soft and slightly weakened, but still held little in the way of emotion. "Trip, I appreciate the sentiment, but I assure you I will be fine. Vulcans do not need to talk about their dead…They accept the fact that they are gone and move on. That is what I am attempting to do. All this need of yours to reminisce is only hindering that process for me. I wish you would believe me when I say that I have dealt with my mother's death and moved on." The tightness in her voice and the stick in his throat both told him the Vulcan was lying through her teeth.
"Fine, then I'll have nothing more to do there than work on my calculations for fine tuning the specs. But if I don't go, then you'll have Hoshi to deal with and you know how she likes to talk about things." T'Pol thought over his words a moment. He was right about the Ensign's need to be helpful. After their ordeal with the Klingons kidnapping Phlox, the Asian woman hadn't seemed to stop talking about her dream and how she was sure it had something to do with the distance she'd noticed between two of her best friends. Although annoying to T'Pol, Trip often got the brunt of her sage words, in that he was the one truly looking like a lost lamb these days. This didn't stop the woman from occasionally using an early morning coffee break to discuss with the alien the meaning of her strange dream and how it could indicate something much deeper. During this difficult time for T'Pol, could she really handle the well meaning assistance Ensign Sato would no doubt try to ply her with? That thought made the young Vulcan squirm.
"Well?" Trip asked impatient for her answer.
"I suppose since you know the house, it would be more logical for you to accompany me. At least you can get your modifications done using actual scale models. I will arrange for some to be brought to the house from the Vulcan Science Academy." Taking the chance that Trip would be less of a bother, T'Pol relented and decided the fastest way to get him out of her quarters was to let him have what he wanted. Seeing the smile returning to his lips, she felt a strange sense of longing and tried as she could to keep blocking it from reaching him. Some however got through, and this encouraged the Human all the more.
"Great…. You need help packing?" Trip knew that was the wrong thing to say almost before he finished uttering it. He put up his two hands and started backing for the door. "I see you got this under control. I will tell the Captain your final decision and begin packing myself. See you in the morning for breakfast." The Human started out the door when he heard the return.
"Please tell the Captain, I will not be coming to breakfast." That statement burst his almost normal contentment. "I have many things to finish before we depart and I would prefer to get an early start tomorrow. Please convey my apologies." She went back to packing and didn't see the forlorn face that turned in response to the news. T'Pol continued to concentrate her attention on the duffle and only heard the rather tense "Fine" as her bond-mate exited the room. She could feel his anger, just as palpable as if he'd spat in her face.
For T'Pol, this blocking was a tiresome thing. For the few snippets of feelings that escaped her well honed mental barriers, and got through to Trip, the constant feel of his emotions was gut wrenching. His words often didn't match his moods or his actions, thereby muddying the clarity of their bond all the more. When she tried to read what he truly wanted, she saw him almost oblivious to her needs which only made her more sullen. The purpose of a bond-mate was to care for the other. Now with her parents both dead and her mind blocked to his, T'Pol was alone for the first time in her life and she truly didn't know how to deal with it.
Although faint, her mother's mind often comforted her in her most trying times, even in the expanse. Its loss was devastating, something that her mate should have known and made up for. But in their case, the bond was not in good health and all this blocking was only making matters worse. Even T'Pol considered not coming back to Enterprise from this shore-leave, but the grip on her heart this Human had was too strong to ever be separated. She went back to her packing, the softest trails of moisture threatening to escape from her eyes and leave their mark down her olive skinned face.
The shuttle touched down onto a sandy plateau at the base of the long winding stairway. It contained Archer, Trip, Hoshi, Malcolm and T'Pol. Though why they all felt the need to come was lost to the Vulcan, T'Pol hardly felt in position to tell the Captain who could be part of the landing party. As they made their way up the inclined path, Trip carried his bag, and the Captain carried T'Pol's. She found it annoying, these Human male courtesies. The Vulcan knew from over four years of experience that trying to keep these males from performing them was useless. So when the Captain took the bag from her hand and threw it over his shoulder, the young woman didn't argue. Instead she pointed in the direction of the home and they began to walk.
As they reached the large wooden door, T'Pol felt a bit annoyed at the extra presence of her crew mates. Trip had been there before, and for his part he was supposed to be the reason no one else came. Now she had to give them a guided tour instead of start her much needed seclusion. As the door opened, the alien could hear a low gasp from the crowd, all but Trip.
"Oh my gosh… it's beautiful." Hoshi was robust in her reaction to their surroundings. Archer nodded in response, equally impressed by his science officer's home. Malcolm also had a look of awe on his face as he followed the rest of them into the courtyard.
"Yep… that was my first thought. I'd never seen such a beautiful place in my life." Trip looked over to T'Pol seeing her unsure feelings about having so many people in her childhood home.
"It sure is, T'Pol. This place is very peaceful…. I can see why you'd enjoy being here." Archer hoped he was helping, much as he did when the other's expressed their wishes to come down to support T'Pol during this difficult time. Well meaning as they were, none of the Humans except Trip could understand what an intrusion this was and he'd tried to talk them out of it. At least now they were only going to stay at most an hour, unlike some of them (namely Hoshi) who wanted to stay a few days to help out.
There was movement inside the dwelling and a small girl popped out from the doorway. She had long black hair, silky and straight that hung way down her back. Her pointed ears stuck up from the strands that were neatly tucked behind them. She was dressed in a tan pants suit, the top hanging to her mid thigh. She had a sweet cherub face which made her look all the more like a pixie in contrast to a Human child of that age. She stopped and examined the crowd before her. Spying T'Pol, the child hesitantly moved forward to stand and face the Vulcan.
Bowing in silence, she began to speak low in an ancient Vulcan dialect. Hoshi however could hear and understand every word.
(in Vulcan) "You did not come alone……Do you wish I send them away for you?" The child was sincere looking around T'Pol's considerably taller stature at the group. T'Pol returned her words in kind.
(in Vulcan) "They have come to wish me a successful mourning period. They are not staying long. They are my shipmates……" she hesitated a moment then admitted…"They are my friends. Come I will introduce you."
Malcolm leaned over and asked Hoshi what the young child said. To everyone's surprise except Trip, the translation was not what they expected. "Apparently the little girl thinks we are bothering T'Pol by being here and was willing to send us packing if the commander asked her too."
"What?" Archer and Malcolm both reacted in kind.
"Told ya," Trip whispered in Jon's direction then added "Sir" when he saw the rather perturbed look he got from his old friend.
"Should we leave?" Archer asked Hoshi quickly before the two Vulcans reached them.
"No… T'Pol told her we were here to wish her a successful mourning and that we were her friends." The Asian conveniently left out the hesitation with the 'friends' part and the other part about them not staying long. As the two females reached the group, they all straightened and turned to greet this new presence.
"Captain Archer…..I would like you to meet V'Cara…. She is the little sister to V'Lmir, our family's attendants." T'Pol used proper Vulcan greeting patterns. The child nodded her head in respect but remained silent.
"Nice to meet you, V'Cara." The Captain tried his best to be friendly to the small child. She remained silent and not impressed by the smile that he wore.
"V'Cara this is Commander Charles Tucker the third." Again she nodded and was pleased to see him return the gesture in proper fashion.
"These are Lieutenant Malcolm Reed and Ensign Hoshi Sato." Following Trip's lead, the two junior officers nodded not wanting to offend the child with speech. T'Pol continued. "They are all my crewmates and friends aboard the Human starship Enterprise."
"It is agreeable to make your acquaintance. It is also quite proper of you to want to wish Lady T'Pol a successful mourning. May I get you anything?" The child suddenly went from being a ten year old to being a waitress. Jon was floored by the maturity level this child had. She saw them shake their heads then turned back to T'Pol.
"Nothing at this time, but you are most kind in asking. Is your mother or sister in attendance with you?" The crowd watched the interactions in English these two had.
"Mother is at home caring for my foremother. She has been ill for a few days now. V'Lmir is in the back garden tending to the vegetation. She will be out shortly. I thought I would freshen the bed linen to make them you more comfortable." The interaction this child was having with his science officer was making Archer's mouth gape. "All but your mother's room of course." That statement came out quickly and was quite puzzling to the Humans.
"Most kind…. You are enjoying your studies this year?" T'Pol attempted to make conversation as her mother would with the child. To take interest in learning and praise youth for doing well in their studies was considered the hallmarks of good etiquette in this society.
"Yes… Quantum Physics is proving quite challenging, but I think I have mastered the basics of the subject." This statement made Trip's eyes pop. T'Pol had long told him that Vulcan children played with toys that were more sophisticated than the Enterprise sensors, maybe she hadn't been exaggerating.
"Quantum physics is a challenging subject, but you will find it most useful during your military service. It will get you out of the engineering level and move you up quicker through the ranks toward first officer if you gain an early command of the subject." Now Trip knew he'd been insulted. To these people, being an engineer was the equivalent of working in the boiler room.
"I will endeavor to accelerate my understanding of the subject. Your advice is much appreciated. I will tell my sister you have arrived." With that she turned to go back into the dwelling.
Archer stepped up to T'Pol still startled by the mega midget that just left. "Are you telling me that tiny little girl is learning quantum physics in school? How old is she?" That question brought an annoyed look to his first officer's face.
"Clearly, Vulcan schooling is a bit more advanced than Human's. She is studying that which is normal for her age, I can assure you." T'Pol turned to look at the huge urn fountain. She stared at it longingly, wanting to tune out the guests and get to meditation. She realized her lapse as the rest just stood there waiting for an invitation into the house. Turning, she gestured toward the dwelling and led the way. As she entered, T'Pol spied a familiar face. It was large, and furry, with two seven inch fangs hanging to either side of its mouth. The large animal came towards her, wanting to warm her greeting. What it did was set the Humans into a panic, as Archer, Malcolm, Hoshi and Trip all backed into the far wall, away from the creature. Without thinking, Jon grabbed for his first officer and was lashed back in fear by the high pitched screech of the creature that was now just inches from the young Vulcan's face. "T'Pol….." The captain asked uneasy with the woman's disregard for her safety.
T'Pol never looked back, mesmerized by the need to connect empathically with someone, or something, she knelt before the creature and waited for it to come up and place its oversized head to her smaller one. They touched foreheads, holding steady and long in this position. Trip could see T'Pol's hand come up and grab onto large tuffs of its fur. She yanked at it substantially, but rhythmically, making the animal growl loudly. This urged Trip to make a move. He peeled himself from the wall, determined to get T'Pol away from the creature in time. As he came closer, the large tiger-like animal twisted his head and let out a blood curdling screech again that sent the young engineer in the other direction.
"What the hell is that thing?" Trip asked both scared and annoyed by its persistence.
"It's a sehlat….. T'Pol and I ran into one in the forge, but that one was a carnivore. This one must be the domesticated kind she spoke of." He looked a bit puzzled at his old friend.
"I thought you were here before, didn't you see this thing then?" Archer took his eyes off the creature, then remembered what danger these things could hold.
"Hey I would have remembered seeing that thing here. I tell ya it wasn't here before. No one mentioned anything about it." Trip was antsy, wanting to get T'Pol away and wondering if that creature gave any thought of having a Human for dinner. He let out a bit of the breath he was holding when he saw T'Pol release the fur and straighten. She seemed a bit refreshed, though only by microns. As she walked towards the group, the animal came with her.
"This is Kamute…. He is the eldest male of the litter my sehlat Kelmouth and his mate had." The large creature approached them growling and tail wagging. It sat down beside T'Pol as she stopped. "My mother gave him to V'Lmir's family when V'Lmir was born. Sehlats are meant to be in homes with children to help protect them from predators that may be around. They are also used during mourning periods to lend support for the grieving families. They are empathic creatures just like Vulcans, and can be of great solace at stressful times." The light glinting off the animal's fangs made Malcolm swallow hard.
"Where is your sehlat, Kel....mth?" Archer attempted to repeat the Vulcan name.
"He passed away years ago during my service with the Ministry of Security. My mother did not see fit to replace him since there were no children in the home." T'Pol's hand absently brushed against Kamute's head and he leaned into the fingers enjoying her touch.
"Affectionate thing." Trip stated sarcastically. Suddenly he was rethinking his staying on Vulcan.
"I am sure V'Lmir's family wanted to have him here for my use, but if he makes you feel uncomfortable, I will ask them to take him back home." T'Pol looked directly at Trip feeling his nervousness growing more and more into panic.
"No…..That's not necessary….. I'll just think of him as a big pussy cat." A clear lie on his part, T'Pol wasn't in the mood to handle his needs right now. She longed to start handling her own but had to wait for the rest of the Enterprise crew to leave. Trip took up his bag and headed for the guest quarters. He made a wide berth and gave the animal a lot of space to be with T'Pol. "I'll just put these things away. He picked up T'Pol's bag from the floor where Archer had dropped it and took it with him down the hallway. He went to the right toward the guest quarters first, then headed back toward T'Pol's room. Leaving her bag on the bed, Trip turned to find himself face to face with a smaller version of the creature stalking the back hallways. It let out a growl then a high pitched screech. At that point, Trip turned and started with frazzled nerves back to the main room. The screeching sound came again and it quickened his pace to a slow jog.
Entering the main living area, the sight of the second creature made Trip forget about the first. He went right to T'Pol and stood behind her. She saw his fear, and felt it coming through to her in spades. "You supposed to have more than one of those things in the house?" He asked shakily.
T'Pol leaned down and greeted the female mate of Kamute, Ke'Lara. Their head touch was shorter, more to the point, and there was not extra fur pulling as she had done with the bigger of the two. After straightening, she placed a hand out for both creatures to lean into. Through their connection, T'Pol explained the presence of everyone to the creatures. She explained their status and how they should be protected as family. All of this explanation she allowed her mate to hear, trying to sooth his nerves just a bit.
"They are mated…..It is unthinkable to separate them even if only for a few days. It would be too cruel. They are paired for life." T'Pol explained to the crowd then turned to Trip. I have explained to them about all of you and they will protect you like family now, but if you still feel too uncomfortable with them here, I can have V'Lmir take them back to her family." Trip considered for a moment. It seemed he could feel the support the first one gave to T'Pol and he was willing to put up with one screeching saber-toothed tiger in the house, but could he put up with two.
"You sure they know I am a friend?" He asked, staying as close to her as he could.
"Yes" She took his hand and held it out to the creatures against his will. Her strength was substantial and he finally relented. The two animals sniffed at it gently, their fangs coming within millimeters of his skin. After what seemed to be an eternity, they simply bowed their heads and began rubbing the softest part of their fur clad domes against the extremity. They were, to the young engineer's surprise quite gentle, as if T'Pol told them about the weaker stature of the Human condition. Within seconds he was voluntarily rubbing their heads much as he would a Labrador retriever.
"Hey these guys are kinda friendly, but why are they still growling?" The noise really did bother him.
"That is their way of saying they are happy. When they are ready to attack, they are quiet and still. If they are growling and wagging their tails, they are quite content." T'Pol joined him in petting the creatures. Archer moved over, pushing aside his fear and gave it a try. Before long, Hoshi got into the act, although they could not convince Malcolm to bend to the trend.
From the kitchen doorway, a rather interested V'Lmir watched the Humans' interaction with her family's pets. It was Trip who spied her there, recognizing her instantly as the woman who tended to T'Pol at her wedding. She was also the one who was privy to the Vulcan's very blatant breach of etiquette before becoming a married woman. He tapped at T'Pol's side and indicated the new presence in the room. All in the group looked up in her direction. T'Pol came over and greeted the woman instantly with a proper V motion.
"Peace and long life, V'Lmir…. It is agreeable to see you. You look well." T'Pol tried to keep the woman from asking the same questions as her sister. Knowing Hoshi's understanding of the language and her sensitive hearing, the science officer wanted to minimize any insult to the aliens present.
Unsure as to how to respond, the younger woman simply mimicked her hostess and acted in kind. She placed her hand in the proper position and bowed slightly. "Live long and prosper Lady T'Pol. All of Vulcan grieves with thee." The woman, a slightly shorter and thinner version of T'Pol had pitch black hair cut in common Vulcan style. She wore a similar pants suit of solid tans and bronze, decorated only at the neckline by a single squiggle of gold lettering. About her shoulders was a white linen cloak, its hood hung back behind her. The woman, a good thirty five years T'Pol's junior hadn't any of the secondary changes a Vulcan went through. She was by all accounts still a young adolescent herself, just finishing her formalized schooling. Her desire to become a healer would keep her from entering the military at this time. She followed T'Pol back to the group and awaited the introductions. Her eyes fell rather disapprovingly on Trip who was standing there quite nervous in her presence all of a sudden.
"Captain Jonathan Archer, this is V'Lmir, one of my family's attendants." The young woman waited to gauge the type of greeting she would get and was pleased to see it was just a respectfully silent bow. She returned it in kind.
"You remember Commander Charles Tucker the third." T'Pol moved down the ranks again as was proper in her society. Trip swallowed hard and put up a V sign which was expected upon greeting those you already know. To his surprise the woman didn't disregard his efforts and returned him one. T'Pol then introduced Hoshi and Malcolm as before and they were pleased to see the woman did not expect them to contort their fingers as the commander had too.
"It is appropriate that you all are here to wish Lady T'Pol a successful mourning. The thought is most generous." V'Lmir was as uncomfortable with the silence as were the Humans. "May I get you anything?" She added wanting an avenue to get away from all the emotions these aliens were broadcasting.
(Very polite, these Vulcans. How come I feel so uncomfortable being here? Do they all have the same set of phrases to say or does any of them ever veer from the international language playbook.) Archer's sarcasm seemed to be picked up by the women, who turned to look at him almost immediately after he finished his thought. He gulped hard and simply shook his head.
"I hear your studies are going well. You have begun your healer's training?" T'Pol again stepped into her duties as head of the household.
"Yes…. I am studying at the Shi'Kara institute under Master Ping….. He is truly gifted and I hope to learn much from him." V'Lmir was glad for the change in subject.
"Your foremother is ill. Has she been seen by a doctor?" T'Pol's responsibilities to the woman's family were kicking in.
"Yes, however he is not sure what is ailing her. I was hoping you would contact Dr. Stepon upon your return. His expertise would be greatly appreciated." The young woman stood hopeful that her friend would help their family out again.
"Indeed, I will contact him immediately." And with that T'Pol went to the console and made the call. The group looked at each other and then to Trip. He merely took over as host, and motioned for them all to take a seat. Kamute sat down beside the blond haired engineer and offered his head up for another round of scratching, while his mate Ke'Lara followed both T'Pol and V'Lmir to the console. After the call, the commander joined the group while the younger Vulcan left for the kitchen to begin preparing the evening meal.
"So T'Pol." Archer didn't quite know how to ask this. "V'Lmir's family is under your employ?" The senior officer didn't know if he was offending his science officer's culture or not.
"No… they merely respect our generosity and wish to give some back. On Vulcan we live by a barter system. Some families have much land that is capable of supporting vegetation. Most families do not. Those families with land offer up their gardens and the food they produce to the other families that have none. In exchange, these other families help with simple chores, such as tending the gardens and light house work or repairs. It is an honor system here Captain. Everyone believes in being of assistance to others. No one would think of offending them by refusing their help. Knowledge and prosperity for all is what we seek, outside of pure logic." T'Pol spoke those words with great pride, although Archer wasn't about to point that out to her. Their system seemed to work and it made sure no one went hungry.
"How come you had to call this doctor for her grandmother? Couldn't she have done so?" Jon relaxed backward a moment and almost fell off the other side of the backless seat.
"We are a class system captain. My family has connections that V'Lmir's family does not. There are many Vulcans on this planet. It would be difficult for a single doctor to treat them all. My family knowing Dr. Stepon is merely a coincidence though. He is the second son of Ambassador Soval and his mate T'Pell. The ambassador and my father go back many years to their days in military service together. I attended school with Stepon. He is very busy at the main hospital complex in Shi'Kara, but will make time to stop by and see V'Lmir's foremother out of courtesy to me."
Trip noted that T'Pol called the ambassador's wife, 'his mate T'Pell'. Was that just a slip or was there something she hadn't told him about this bonding thing. He made a mental note to discuss this fact at a more appropriate time.
"So you help each other. No jealousy or hard feelings about some having more and others having less?" The captain grew fascinated at this civilize way of existence.
"No Captain. The lands each family owns go back in their bloodlines many generations. My family has owned these lands for several millennia, even beyond the time of the awakening. The strength of the blood line usually reflects their economic status." T'Pol again sounded a bit proud.
"So how much land are we talking about?" Trip became very curious to know.
"This house is seated in the middle of our family grounds. They extend out for many hundreds of kilometers in all directions. Past the Llangon mountains and through the Go'an desert beyond." This perplexed the Captain. If what she said was true, then V'Lmir would have to come from a great distance to tend the family gardens.
"Where does V'Lmir's family live?"
"At the base of the steps just a few dozen meters from the plateau where the shuttle craft touched down." T'Pol replied absently stroking Kamute's head.
"So they live on your family's land?" Archer was trying to comprehend.
"Yes, on land given to them by my ancestors." She saw the confused look and decided to elaborate. "It is said that just a few hundred years before 'the time of awakening', Mount Tarhana lay dormant. It finally came to life in a violent eruption that killed hundreds of Vulcans. The rest were left homeless, their grounds covered by molten rock. Their lands wasted, their families devastated, they searched the nearby clans for assistance. This was not such a safe thing to do, since at this time clans were into killing off those that were not of their bloodline. But some clans took sympathy on the vagrants, giving them parcels on the outskirts of their borders, and offering them protection from the more aggressive clans in exchange for their allegiance in the warring times ahead. My family was one of them, accepting two smaller factions within its borders. V'Lmir's family are descendants from one of those factions. They therefore are like family and deserve the considerations as such." As his science officer finished, Archer found himself having a whole new respect for the woman that had become his right arm for the last four years.
The dinner V'Lmir cooked was surprisingly tasty for a totally vegetarian meal. She made enough for all of them. The attendants and ship mates left shortly after the dinner dishes were cleared. This brought a sense of calm back to the household. T'Pol disappeared with the sehlats into an adjoining room to meditate, and Trip unpacked his things into the oversized drawers in his all too familiar room. The walls, a deep Mediterranean blue along with the heavy curtains that were designed to block out the harshness of the Vulcan sun, did much to dim the bright oranges and gold's the second sun's departure brought with it. He went next to the front garden to await T'Pol's emergence from her solitude.
A tiny child sat cross legged on the stone surface of the front garden. Her sweet face wore a frown that was by all accounts evident to the naked eye. A large furry creature lay beside her, its head leaning heavily in her lap. The child's hands dug deep into the soft fur of the animal, occasionally yanking upward as the little girl absently contemplated that which was making her so unhappy. With a quick movement, the little cherub fell over into the massive body of the creature bringing the handful of fur to her lips. Rubbing her face into his coat, it looked as though she was trying to find some solace in the warmth its body gave back to her. The animal laid his large head onto the pavement and allowed its tail to flop lazily against the smoothness of the stone floor. Intermittently it would raise its head and look into the face of the child, who was still holding onto her tears as valiantly as she could.
Trip could see the small child's face was that of T'Pol at a much younger age. He knew what he was seeing wasn't real but felt an overwhelming urge to go up and put his arms about the little girl. However from his vantage point, he was paralyzed to do much more than watch. Before too long images of a tall man played through the child's mind. He was young, brown haired and had up-slanted brows. His olive skin and pointed ears told the Human it had to be the child's father. Why he was seeing only thoughts of the man and not him instead puzzled Trip. It wasn't until he saw the image of the man being shot at close range by a plasma gun, did the engineer understand. T'Pol was reliving a traumatic memory, one he knew nothing about. Sure Trip knew her father died, and that it happened many years ago, but he had no idea it was when T'Pol was so young or that it had been a violent death she must have witnessed. Tears started welling in his eyes realizing the sadness she must have felt for so long.
The scene changed, to that of a mission a very young and gangly T'Pol was on. She was running through a heavily laden strip of jungle. She was chasing something,.... no someone. A pistol poised in her hand, she was out of breath, running as quickly as she could. Frantically she swatted away the vegetation from her vision, keeping the fleeing outline of a male in her sights. The male finally tripped and fell to the ground. As the younger T'Pol reached him, he kicked up unexpectedly and knocked the pistol from her hand. A struggle ensued, the taller, more muscled male pushing her to the ground with ease. He was strangling her, T'Pol's vision growing hazy and dim when all of a sudden the young woman got a foot hold on the male's midsection. With a swift kick she knocked him backward onto his spine. With cat like reflexes, T'Pol picked up the discarded alien rifle the male had been carrying. She pointed it at him, and when he lunged again for her, the young Vulcan had no choice but to pull the trigger just centimeters from her prisoner's chest. The gleam of light flashed brightly, than engulfed the male evaporating him in seconds before T'Pol's eyes. The look on her face as she saw the male's body vaporized, was that of sheer horror. She stood there frozen as a second male backtracked to where she stood. He looked at her accusingly then took off before the young woman could even take another breath.
Trip hadn't known this about his mate. He knew she had been in other jobs, but now could see why she was so reluctant to shoot unless she absolutely had too. He could feel her horror, a gut wrenching feeling that made him almost want to puke. It was as though he were the one who had ended the male's life and it wasn't a pleasant sensation. The scene changed once more.
Now they were in the encampment of the Takera sanctuary. There were many Vulcans scrambling to gather what few things they could carry and leave the area. Among them, T'Les stood packing food items and directing evacuation procedures. The bombs could be heard smacking hard into the grounds all around them and her panic was palpable even though her outward appearance seemed relatively collected. Her panic though, Trip could tell was not for her safety but that of T'Pol's. Their parting had been a bitter one and it was plaguing this woman's mind as she sent thoughts of caring and protection out into the hills beyond hoping to connect once more with her child. There was a flash of light, and a large portion of the ground beside where she stood exploded in an instant. This knocked the older woman off her feet. She was conscious, but could feel a sharp pain in her side. It was great and took her breath away.
Trip woke in his room on Vulcan. His face was pale, his side still splitting as T'Les' had in his dream. The human quickly realized it wasn't his dream he'd been having but T'Pol's. In his mind he could see the dream continuing, growing more and more frantic as he watched the mother try to help others who were more badly wounded. She pulled herself along, not able to stand and leaned over the bodies that lay unconscious and bleeding. From one to the other, she dragged her body along the ground, hoping to help just one before her strength gave out. In her mind, a call went out to her child, but not one of assistance. She sent waves of reassurances and warnings that her offspring must make it out alive. She warned of the dangers and kept insisting that she and her party leave the sanctuary immediately.
Trip bolted from his bed, seeing this dream turning more and more heartbreaking. He made his way, without cover, out the door of his room and down the corridor. In the full light of the double mooned sky, his skin shown through the thin cotton sheeting of his pajama bottoms. As he made his way to T'Pol's room, he knew instantly she was not there. He looked in the direction of the master bedroom and didn't hesitate to enter it. There in the partial light he could see the form of his mate, restless, digging her face deeper into the bedding. She was grunting, almost to the point of waking herself, but something kept her in this horrendous dream.
In his mind he could still see what she saw, the form of her mother struggling to help those that she could. Plasma charges dropping everywhere, several more hitting dangerously close, the woman helpless to protect herself and all the while still reassuring her child to get away. He could feel regret pounding in on his mate, her feelings so tied up in knots that breathing was becoming very difficult. Sweat was pouring from her forehead as Trip drew closer. He was unsure what to do. If he woke her, she could lash out and possibly do harm to him, but if he didn't the dream itself would surely kill her. He drew up his courage, noting the worried faces of the sehlats on the other side of the bed. In his mind, Trip saw the final charge that rendered T'Les unconscious herself. She lay there slumped against a bolder that had flung into her back and broken her lower vertebrae. He could feel the sharp pain she felt and more over feel the anguish that was steeling the life of his beloved. Quickly he scooped T'Pol up and held her to him, calling her name as gently as he could to wake her. She came awake with a start, inhaling hard, a breath that got stuck in her lungs for several long seconds. Trip held her close and began rocking softly back and forth
"It's okay T'Pol……It was only a dream…… You're safe here…… I am with you." Trip held her too him, rocking her back and forth and rubbing long circles over what he thought were her respiratory muscles. She sat there, hands laying dead at her sides, eyes still pried open in terror. Trip held his breath waiting to hear her take one of her own. He whispered once more in her ear and repeated his previous words. It wasn't until she exhaled the breath she'd been holding, did Trip begin to feel better. It was choppy, as if only having small opportunities to get out between her gasps. Slowly her arms came up and encircled his body, her head finding a spot against his chest that allowed it to rest there. Trip dropped his head onto hers, allowing his chin to rub gently against her hair.
"You okay?" he asked after many minutes of silent regular breathing on her part. There was no answer, just a few very heavy swallows. Trip took this as a sign that she was getting through this in her own way. Instead of prying, he eased her back with him onto the bed. T'Pol didn't protest, still too shocked by the revelation that T'Les blocked this trauma from her. Had she known of her mother's injury, T'Pol would have turned back to help her. Why her mother wouldn't tell her, was beyond understanding at this point.
"Bad dream, huh…?" Trip murmured in her ear as he wrapped his arms about her body. He pulled the comforter up along her shoulders and under the delicate part of her neck. With that he replaced his hand on the outside of the cover to hold it in place and began rocking again, only this time from a horizontal position. T'Pol's slight body lay limp there against his, rocking to his movements without resistance.
"Nightmares are really scary, I know…. But it was just a dream T'Pol." Trip tried to reassure her.
"No it wasn't." She whispered, a tear escaping the corner of her eye and falling to his bare chest. "It was a memory…..That really happened."
Trip hesitated a moment before he tried to reassure her. He knew that this Vulcan empathic stuff was confusing, but could he be so sure that what she said wasn't true. "You weren't there….how could you know that?"
"I came in here to get a better sense of my mother's essence. To experience a bit of what my mother was. It must have triggered the memories I had of the incident. Her consciousness…..her katra….When she died, I must have received it from her. I saw and felt what she went through in her last minutes." There was a long pause accompanied by several more hard swallows….." I didn't know she was under attack…. I would have gone back for her if she'd only let me know."
Trip considered her words. He remembered what T'Les was sending to her daughter and it was true she never let on she had been injured. He thought a moment and replied simply. "She was being a good mother."
T'Pol raised her head and stared him in the face. "If you knew she was in danger…. You would have gone back for her. T'Les knew that ….. She also knew had you gone back, you would have been killed too. No mother in her right mind would allow her child to come into danger to save herself." The Vulcan's large brown orbs were floating in tears just waiting to be shed. She held them back with all her might, then realized they were about to fall, so she turned away. Trip brought her face back to his, her eyes turning downward to hide her shame.
"It's all right. I miss her too." With that T'Pol's eyes rolled in defeat and Trip pulled her head back to his chest. Feeling her need to be unseen, he turned his face upward toward the ceiling and pretended he didn't notice the intermittent wetness that plopped against his bare skin. He resumed the rocking and decided a change of topic might help the situation.
"I guess this is like old times, huh. You crawling into your parent's bed after a nightmare and having them rock you to sleep again."
"Vulcan children don't crawl into their parent's bed." She returned sharply a hint of broken tone in her voice.
"They don't? What did you do when you had a nightmare then?" Trip was just glad he got her talking.
"I had my sehlat…. Kelmouth was there for me…." There was a long pause and a slight change in the feelings he was getting from her. "He wasn't supposed to, but he would climb into my bed and urge me to lie against him. Mother had a hard time breaking him of that habit."
Trip giggled at the image he got of T'Les shooing the large saber-toothed tiger out of her daughter's bed in the morning. "I'll bet she did." He chuckled again with that. This brought a lighter mood if only for a moment.
"Do Human children climb into their parent's bed when they have nightmares?" Trip was surprised to hear her join in the conversation instead of just answer out of obligation.
"Sure….I used to crawl right up the middle between them. My dad would say….Hey boy whatcha doin' here……but my mom would hold open the covers and let me crawl right inside. Then she'd wrap an arm around me and pull up the covers good and tight against my ears so I wouldn't get too cold. Then she'd rock me and before I knew it I was sound asleep." Trip relayed happy times spent in the safety of his family. This brought some calmer feelings to the Vulcan too.
"As you have done for me." T'Pol stated, the harshness gone from her voice and now replaced by a gentler caring that was very obvious to Trip. He thought a moment and realized she was right. He had done for her what made him feel so safe when he was young.
"I guess so…..Hey what do you know, mom actually taught me something other than eat all your vegetables." He felt a hint of glimmer coming from her slightly pleased snort.
"Your mother is a wise woman." The Vulcan replied trying to hide the fact that her statement had more to do with Trip's sense of humor than being a compliment. It didn't work however, since the Human saw right through and knew she was referring to the vegetable part and not the TLC.
"That she is." Trip tightened the grip he had on her body, pulling her closer to him. His rocking kept up until he could feel her breathing turn more even. This told him that she was asleep again. This and the fact that the sehlats were now going back to their corner to resume their slumber as well. He lay there several more minutes and wondered just why his visions of this evening had been so vibrant. Perhaps in the morning T'Pol will feel like discussing it, or maybe after something so painful, she'd need more time alone. What ever, he was gonna get her to confide in him, even if it took the entire week. Finally he fell to sleep, just as exhausted by the ordeal as she.
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
Great!!! That was really sweet!
Great!!! That was really sweet!
gr8 story really sweet thnkz xxx
I'm glad you are continuing with these stories. I really enjoy them. I notice that your repeating theme of CluelessTrip has been toned down a little. He is starting to notice things on his own and act upon his conclusions in this one. Nice.
I also like the change in T'Pol. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the version of T'Pol in this story seems easier to read for me. Your characters generally are rounding out, becoming less idealistic and more realistic. More alive.
Can I pick one small nit? Please forgive me. I have a background in engineering and I'm a tech writer by trade, so I am anal retentive about numbers. In the story you state that Vulcans are five (5) times as strong as humans. That really knocked the suspension of disbelief for me.
I grant that Vulcans are stronger than humans, that much is canon. I will even grant that T'Pol is stronger than Trip if the story requires it, although my spun glass male ego cringes at the idea :)
But if Vulcans were five times as strong as humans they would be bounding up to hit the ceiling on the Enterprise corridors with each step - the way astronauts were bounding along on the moon. With five times human strength, a Vulcan male would be capable of picking up a small car. (Can you say Incredible Hulk?).
In comments on another story, someone mentioned the fight scene between Mirror Universe T'Pol and MU Hoshi. If T'Pol were five stimes a strong as Hoshi she would have simply reached out and caught Hoshi's hand, crushed it like a grape, picked Hoshi up in one hand and used her as a club to beat the two guards to death, then thrown her thirty feet down the corridor hard enough to smash and stick to the wall when she hit.
There are just too many established scenes in all the different series versions of fights between humans and Vulcans/Romulans for the ratio to be anything like 5:1. I could see Vulcans being 125% of human strength. Maybe 150%. In an extreme case maybe even twice as strong as humans. I could also see justification for saying that sexual dimorphism between the genders is not as pronounced for Vulcans as for humans, which would make Vulcan women relatively stronger.
But five times ain't feasible. During your previous story where T'Pol was in Pon Farr and she caught Trip in the shower without his hypo, remember? One quick squeeze and there would have been a very frustrated T'Pol looking down at a very messy shower stall...
LOL! Blackn'blue, you're a kick and a half!
Excellent story, TLR. I think this is the best one yet. More angst and a little less sweetness and light always makes for a better story, IMO. I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Very nice. I cannot wait to read more!
I really enjoyed that, can't wait for more! :)
Black'nblue spoken like a true engineer. In all fairness, I originally started to say three times the strength then realized that perhaps three time a females strength might be too close to a human male's, so I exaggerated a little. As for where a human could take a Vulcan, MC Coy told Kirk that Spock had more than twice his strength (Amoke time)and Kirk still got around him with sheer technique. But I had to laugh at how much this got you thinking... That is the true hallmark of a good story. For me, if it doesn't have people debating, than it probably needs a few more twists and turns.
OK. If McCoy said Spock had twice Kirk's strength, then I can accept that. It's canon then.
Honestly most men are not really three times as strong as women, given roughly equivalent size and build. Trip is quite a bit larger than T'Pol of course...
I have a cousin for example, who is approximately the same relative size and build as myself when you allow for gender dimorphism. No way am I three times as strong as her. I am not even twice as strong. I might be 60% stronger than her on my best day, but what she lacks in brute force she makes up in sheer savagery. I advise against provoking her. I, as well as all of her other male siblings and cousins can testify to this.
I guess I am saying that Vulcans being twice as strong as humans would still allow T'Pol to be stronger than Trip if one grants a few minor phisiological variations between the species in the way of gender variation. And it would keep us literal minded OCD types from nagging you :)
If the Vulcan people are stronger it would be due to gravity. The air is also suposed to be thinner. You would not have to bound up or down. Rather it would mean you could crush something with your grip . You be faster also. Think of it like this. You work out with five pound weights. Run , climb whatever up in say the Andes mountains. Then you come and do a marathon in michigan. Of course you will be faster and the air will work better for you. It is the same with vulcan and their muscle mass. It is the same reason astronauts have a problem walking when they return to earth. They go from 0 g to earth gravity and they are weaker for it.
Black'n'Blue, you are sooo funny but you do have a point, as does FireStar. Vulcans would be stronger as the air is thinner, that's why Vulcan women also have great endurance, :). Long distance athletes train in thinner air conditions, this makes them stronger, and able to last longer, which is why you always Ethiopians, Kenyans or Moroccans, winning 10,000m races and so on, because those countries are very hilly, with a lot of mountains.
I do agree that 5x stronger is a bit excessive, but Vulcans seem to hold back their true strength, due to their fear of regressing to their less than logical and civilised selves. Therefore, as a result we may never know how much stronger Vulcans are to Humans, as no sane Vulcan would risk their control, simply to prove a point, and to satisfy our over inquisitive minds. :D
Great one, looking forward to part two.^^
Very good Archangel. You might also consider that if a Vulcan did demonstrate their true strength, they could seriously injure or kill a more fragile species like Humans. Their respect for life would keep them from that.
OK, I will then. You did ask for it :)
Picking someone up and slinging them does not require twice human strength. Normal human strength will do it. As witness the fact that in real life, the actor who played Tolaris actually did that scene using normal human strength. QED.
Kicking a seven foot Klingon across the room is impressive indeed. Twice human strength would be more than enough to accomplish this. Especially if the person who started out with a baseline ability of twice normal human strength was further toughened by growing up under high gravity and thin air conditions, plus spent every day working out in a gym.
Please note that very few humans bother to attain anything close to their real potential. All those jokes and cliches you hear about farm people and hillbillies being strong as apes are literally true in many cases. Have you ever seen country people, farming people for example, in action? The average farm wife can put the average city-bred man to shame without effort. Compared to country people, city-bred troglodytes have muscles like wet paper.
For another example, when archaeologists excavated the site of the battle of Visby, they found a corpse that had both legs cut off. When they laid the skeleton out it was obvious that both legs had been cut off with a single blow. Another corpse showed that an axe had split the helmet and skull, passed through both, split the should below, passed through the shoulder and split the breastbone and armor breastplate, passing through several ribs along the way.
Another site at an English castle unearthed an ancient longbow. Analysis indicated that it had a pull weight of approximately 200 pounds. That means that a man using it would be required to stand and hold the bow in opne hand, and pull back on the string with two fingers, exerting a force of two hundred pounds. With two fingers. Horizontally. Sideways with his shoulders, putting all the pressure on just two fingers.
Modern standards of strength say that a man is normal if he can pick up his own weight off the floor. Usually less than 200 pounds. Using both arms, his back and legs and the full strength of his entire body.
We have become a race of creampuffs.
So if you toss out the phrase "twice human strength" you need to define terms. Are you talking about twice the human average? Or are you talking about twice the human maximum?
In regards to the enhanced strength, don't forget the canonical evidence in Star Trek III in which Young!Spock strikes a Klingon with a single hand and sends said Klingon flying backwards a distance of at least 2 meters (7 feet) with no discernible effort.
This was really sweet. Looking forward to more!
does any1 wnt ma msn?
does any1 wnt ma msn? caz i gt bored nd lik meetin new people
Rigil Kent has a point there Blacknblue. Young Spock did just pop the klingon softly and sent him flying....
Also it's true any human can pick a man up and throw him, you are quite correct, you see it on RAW all the time, however, I said "effortlessly". No maybe in doing so, the actor who played Tolaris got a hernia in real life, or perhaps Bakula was on wires for his own safety, or perhaps the stunt person playing Bakula didn't weigh as much and was padded to resemble him, there are many variables... However in the show Tolaris picked him up like a small sack of potatos and tossed him. That has to account for something. That was evident by the look on Archer's face and the comment he made about "if I had known I was gonna be flying into the bulkhead like that I might have gone about this differently."
For all intents and purposes, it is safe to say that regardless of the percent, it is a given that the creators of Star Trek has always maintained that Vulcans are much stronger than Humans and their control is the only thing that kept anyone safe from the damage they could do. At every opportunity, they showed 'small' slips, like T'Pol's tossing Malcolm into the wall of the Saleya or her almost breaking Amanda's neck with a simple pinch to bring home that point. The larger slips were usually in regards to total loss of control, like the crew of the Saleya ripping off panels with their bare hands, or the young spock incident that Rigil Kent presented.
I suggested that no one really knows just how much stronger Vulcans are because they always seem to be in control of it. It would be interesting to see a story exploring just the lengths of this strength..... That gave me an idea......I'll have to muddle it over a bit more......T.
That sounds like an interesting premise to explore. Especially if it is done in a manner consistent with canon. Just please humor some of us and don't equate Vulcan with Krypton. Please? I like to keep my willing suspension of disbelief whenever possible. Five times blows it for me. Even three times would be a difficult stretch, unless you could cite chapter and verse from on air episodes and justify it.
Like for instance how Kirk, Archer, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Chakotay, etc. and all those other humans managed to tangle with Vulcans / Romulans in single combat and managed to come out of it without losing any major body parts. Like how Hoshi could knock T'Pol backwards into a wall during a knife fight. Or Kirk could kick Spock and send him rolling during Amok Time, or manage to hold him off during that fight aboard Enterprise when he was trying to deliberately provoke him into killing rage in order to purge the spores out of his system. Remember that one?
Are Vulcans stronger than Humans? Yes. Is T'Pol stronger than Trip? If you insist. *sigh* My caveman genes are quivering at the thought, but I will get over it. Are Vulcans inherently able to kick human's asses? Nope? Remember P'Jem? The Seleya incident? And so forth and so on?
Really and honestly. Only part of this is masculine insecurity and frail male ego on my part. I get antsy when story worlds become inconsistent. It messes up my enjoyment of the tale telling. In order for me to get pleasure out of the stories the background needs to fairly well match up with established history. If it varies, then I need some kind of reasonably digestible justification before I can go on and enjoy the story.
So if you tell me that VUlcans are five times as strong as humans, I can't enjoy your story no matter how well written it is. And it really is very well written indeed. But five times as strong as humans contradicts established background. It is absolutely implausible given the established history of the ST:Enterprise universe as it has been presented to date. I need something that I can swallow. Am I making sense?
Vulcans have 3 times the strength of a Human according to the deep space nine episode Take out to the holosuite. I like your story and look forward to the next 2 parts nicely written and it's long overdue T'Pol deals with her mothers death. I'm glad Trip wa picking up clued she was still unsettled by the earlier events on Vulcan and he wanted to help her.
Okay Blackn'blue, how about 2.75 times stronger. That way we won't be contridicting the deep space nine data provided by Reanok. Thank you Reanok, not being a big deep space fan, I wasn't aware of that research. T
P.S. I do keep track of contraversies from past stories and endeavor to make changes in future pieces.
i so luv dis story iz sweet
Here is something I found very interesting. I was researching this issue today (yes, I have Waaay too much free time on my hands lately) I found the following on the University of Florida website:
"Patrick J. Bird, Ph.D.
Q. In general, how much stronger are men than women?
A. Men are about 30 percent stronger than women, on average. This difference is mainly in the upper body, where men have an edge of about 40%. In the lower body the difference is only about 15%. This strength advantage is do to the fact that men are generally bigger and heavier. They typically have more muscle mass and less body fat. And their taller and wider skeletal frame provides a leverage advantage. But there are no inherent gender differences in muscle quality or capacity. Women can generate the same force per unit of muscle as men. And with training, they make the same relative strength improvements. Moreover, there is a considerable range among both sexes, and some women are stronger than some men."
Take it with a pound of salt if you wish. But You were concerned earlier that Three times human strength might make T'Pol too close to a normal human male? Apparently not, according to this anyway. I think Distracted has a medical background. Maybe she has some input on this.
I hate it when I get like this. I need to go take a cold shower or something. Once I get my teeth into a thought problem this way I have a terrible time letting go of it. Smack me somebody!
Well we can ask Distracted's opinion, but I have been an ICU nurse for 25 yrs in a major teaching/research hospital and I don't dispute your findings about humans, however we are dealing with two things that a medical degree can't know.
First, no one in the medical field has ever studied a Vulcan.....or if they have I didn't read those updates. And second, the info we are disputing is about fictional characters that have a history in myth. It would be like us disputing the fire breathing range of a Dragon. Since no one in our time has ever seen this supposed mythologic creature, then we can only go by lore and recorded stories as too their capacity for fire breathing, wing span and general outward characteristics.
Now if we were to dispute a lizard, then we'd have a common basis to dispute findings. At best we can only go by written or spoken dialog and have faith for that particular subject, that they know what they are speaking of. That is unless someone actually finds a Vulcan, then we can put our theories to the test. T.
Oh Blacknblue you are not gonna like this. Type "Are Vulcan's stronger then Humans" in Google and see what you get. I tried to post the many article sites I found that validated a 3x stronger claim, but this site refused to post it citing questionable content. So you will have to look it up yourself.
There are over 243,000 responses. So here is some literature research for you. Go to it... T
Ah well... *takes a philosophical sip of his cold coffee* 243,000 huh? Hm... Then three times it shal be as far as I am concerned. One man with courage may make a majority, but let us not be ludicrous about it.
So if a woman has 70% of a man's strength, then T'Pol would compare to Trip as follows:
.70 X 3.0 = 2.10
She would be slighty more than twice as strong as a human male of her equivalent size. Plenty strong enough to put poor Trip in a world of hurt if she lost control.
Anyway I wasn't talking about medical literature regarding Vulcans. I am weird, but not that weird :)
(Interestingly, there actually are pseudo-scientific "analyses" of dragon out there if you are interested in digging for them. I think Discovery or somebody even did a tv special on what a theoretical dragon would be like.)
I meant that I found it interesting that men are only 30% stronger than women. I would have guessed the range was greater than that. It is interesting that no more than a 30% variation has produced as much division in our society as it has.
I didn't know you were a nurse ma'am. I would never presume to dispute a professional in their own field. I only knew about Distracted because I happened to notice something in her profile on FF.net. In any case you obviously know more about physiology than I do. And spelling too, judging from my prior postings.
If I am bugging you with this say so and I will shut up. But I am having a blast with this discussion. Just bored lately and for some reason this subject interests me. But I would rather chew my own dirty socks than delay you in finishing the second part of this story, so don't hesitate to notify me to take a hike.
Aren't these debates just SO much fun? I'm just sitting back reading all this with a big grin on my face. And I'll buy that T'Pol's about twice as strong as Trip. Works for me.
Male/female dimorphism is a fascinating subject, but not one that we devoted much time to in med school. I've met some REALLY strong women in my day, and some pretty weak little guys, but the 30% average strength difference sounds about right to me. I'd have to agree with Blackn'blue, though, that it may not represent the MAXIMAL strength difference. It seems to me that a typical man, because he is able to put on more muscle mass per given amount of training, would have a maximal strength potential greater than a typical woman by a larger factor than 30%. It would be interesting to see some studies on that, but I've never researched it personally. Any weight lifters or personal trainers out there care to enlighten us?
So how do ENT-era Augments apply? Didn't Malik (sp?) tell Archer that he (and thus, by default, all other Augments of his generation) possess 10x the strength of a normal human?
I would tend to discount a lot of Malik's claims as bluster. Remember that he was a young and arrogant fool. Just out of adolescence, still cocksure and full of himself. A lot of his claims should be put down to bragging I think :)
Remember that according to the original TOS canon, the Eugenics wars took place prior to the advent of sophisticated gene splicing techniques. The genetic supermen of the Eugenics wars were the result of laboratory tinkering with existing germ plasm, not actually a new life form. All the scientists had to work with was existing human genetic material. They took the best of the best they could find, sifted and purged it, and spliced it together to produce what they considered the absolutely purest and best human possible. But they didn't have the technology to produce a truly new life form. So the Augments could not have displayed characterisitics beyond the extreme upper end of the normal bell curve distribution for existing human characteristics.
Can't really agree with you there, BnB, since the Augments of the ENT era were pretty clearly "new and revised" versions due to Soong's continual tampering. Not to mention they took several disruptor shots point-blank with no discernible difficulty.
The Augments of Khan's era, however, would just be upper end of human max.
Egad. I sit corrected and chagrined again. You are perfectly correct. I forgot that the Augments of ENT were Soong's new and improved version.
But I still take leave to doubt the ten times claim. I sincerely doubt that any skeleton made from calcium could withstand the torque that such muscles would apply to it. The medical people on here can speak to this subject with more authority than me about the inehrent strength of bone. But I do know something about statics and strength of materials.
Unless Soong's Augments were using something for their skeletal structure besides old fashioned calcium based bone, they were not likely to have ten times human strength because they were not built like grizzly bears.
To be able to withstand that much stress, their bones would have to be correspondingly massive, unless Soong figured out a way to breed a human variant with titanium reinforcing rods embedded in the bone marrow.
How do you know Soong didn't use Vulcan DNA for the Augment improvements.....OOOOPPPsss did I start another contraversy? Hee. Hee. Hee.....T.
I also have heard that Vulcans are three times stronger than humans, but don't know where I heard that - probably heard it in more than one place. So I made that my standard for stories, but never considered all the implications of that before, and am enjoying all the discussion here.
The plot here is very creative. I loved the interaction of sehlats and Vulcans - more than just pets: comforters. But then, our pets also serve that purpose, but the sehlats seem to take it further. That they are babysiters, I have heard before. Nice depiction of the communication between Vulcans and sehlats.
In the book "The IDIC Epidemic, a family of sehlats was allowed to go wild on a colony world. It was only mentioned, not elaborated on. I have always wondered what would happen if a pride (pack? herd?) of hunting sehlats got loose on earth... Spark anyone's writer's imagination here? TLR?
I was a bit concerned that T'Pol was unclear about whether she had her mother's katra or not. I would suppose a Vulcan would definitely know. This is a great plot point to develop in your next two parts of the story...please? huh?
And I was thinking that if Trip was rocking T'Pol like his mother used to (sniffles from me as that almost brought tears to my eyes), he would have done that for his little sister Lizzy when she had a nightmare. I'm such a maudlin Lizzy junkie, and hope to read more about her too...
Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting the next parts of your story - with a box of tissues standing by!
Ditto what Linda said about eagerly waiting for the next part. Minus the tissues of course :)
Since she brought up the point about implications though, let's look at some. This is fun to think about. I have been considering the point about skeletons a little more. On earth there is a reason that you find a direct correlation between size and strength. There is a real limit to how much strength you can cram into a small package when you are working with protoplasm.
The problem comes in when you realize that you have to get blood to the cells. An experiment I read online the other day mentioned that although men are strnger than women, women are inherently able to keep going significantly longer than men just because our bulky muscles make it harder for blood to circulate. Our veins can't carry out the waste products of fatigue as fast as a woman's can, so we get exhausted faster. Eventually you reach the point of diminishing returns.
So you have to make the organism larger, and give it a larger fram and bigger blood vessels, bigger muscles, and a bigger skeleton to support it all, in order to keep nutrients and oxygen flowing to all the parts.
Hence a grizzly is able to knock down a tree. But it pays fo rthat strength by being huge and massive. Which gives it another problem. Heat. It generates one heck of a lot of waste heat that needs to be gotten rid of. Which is why grizzlies live in the arctic or high mountains.
Our ancestors had the same problem getting rid of heat. Which is why even though we have more body hair than a chimpanzee does, we look naked. Our hair is so thin. In our case, it is our big brains that generate most of the waste heat. In addition to our fast metabolic rates of course.
So what does a Vulcan do, living on a hot planet, with a big brain and powerful muscles? They need to get rid of the heat somehow. And copious sweating is not a good idea in an environment as dry as Vulcan is supposed to be. Any ideas somebody?
I got distracted from skeeltons didn't I? I was going to say that since Vulcan is a different world maybe their bones are made of something tougher than simple calcium compound. Perhaps it is bonded with copper for extra strength or whatever. But no matter what their bones are made of they have to be strong enough to withstand the stress and strains that those powerful muscles will place on them.
This has several implications. First of all, those bones have to be stiff. Otherwise the bones would bend whenever the muscle contracted. The Vulcan skeleton has to be rigid, in contrast to the human skeleton which has a fair amount of built-in flex to it. In fact the human bone is a fairly good shock absorber.
This is a fact that surprised me when I first learned it. But a human leg bone actually contracts when you jump off a high point and land on your feet, just like a spring. Not a lot, but enough to keep it from shattering. Other bones also have a little bit of flex in them. Not much, granted. But they are not as rigid as glass by any means.
On the other hand, the Vulcan skeleton would probably be a lot stiffer and harder than a human bone. This would seem to imply that a human might be able to withstand an impact blow more effectively than a Vulcan. Think of hitting a pile of blankets with a hammer, versus hitting a copper pot. See what I mean? A Vulcan skeleton might survive the impact intact, but the shock of the blow would be transmitted throughout their body, whereas a human would soak it up, shake it off and go on.
A Vulcan would be heavier than a human. A lot heavier. Vulcans would probably be inherently terrible swimmers. No matter how hard they tried to relax, I doubt that a Vulcan would be physically capable of learning to float. Even a half Vulcan would probably have real trouble swimming.
Also, since you are packing three times as much power into muscles the same size as human muscles, you are talking about hard flesh. Tough. T'Pol's arms and legs would probably feel like seasoned hickory, rather than satin. Sorry :(
Blackn,blue, great discussion. I had assumed that Vulcans would be heavier than humans and that their specific gavity would not allow them to float with head out of water. If they floated at all, it would be somewhere a couple of feet under the surface. They would have to provide some movement of arms and legs just to stay at the surface to breathe, let alone move through the water. Even among humans, there are some with a heavier bone structure and muscle mass which makes it difficult for them to float. As a lifeguard (current qualification) and former swimming instructor (lapsed Red Cross qualification) many years ago, I have observed this personally.
Hey, this might be an interesting topic for the Hot Board, we are taking up poor TLR's comment space here!
Linda, you are right, the Vulcan's of Spock's day would have known whether they possessed a person's katra, but remember, this is before everyone freely believed in katras. T'Pol herself did believe what Arev said when he spoke of Katras. So she is learning this experience for the first time and believe me by part three you will see what I mean.
Vulcan's are denser, more lean muscle mass, that is why all of the seem to be more lanky, save that of the ones on board Tolaris' ship. They seem to take great pride is keeping themselves in shape for their intended mate, as T'Pol was offended by being called old and stated to the feringi that she was well versed in the arts of pleasure. Perhaps they are groomed from childhood to be what their mate may want. It seemed that way with Spock and T'Pring, at least too me. By Spock's time they mindmelded the children's minds together so they would be drawn to one another at the appointed time. Perhaps that practice evolved after the open accepting of mind melds after the discovery of the KirShara. Remember we are before Spock, so any interpretation can possibly fit.
As for their internal make up, you will note that their heart has 6 chambers( ST original series) There for they can pump blood more efficiently. They also have a high heartrate and low BP indicating a higher metabolism that would provide them with the ability to have lean muscle mass easily. (Again the original series) But just because they may be leaner and denser boned, I am sure her mother taught her to keep her skin silken smooth to further intice her future mate into bonding with her more quickly. It seems to be a necessity to them, don't you think.
As for me, I had a rather horrible last two days at work, so I will be trying to get the second part turned into Bucky tomorrow.(Thurs) before I get ready and go back to work.I am going to bed now and will get an early start on the last few pages of part 2. T.
Just turned part two into Bucky. Hope you all like it. T