If you are seeing this paragraph, the site is not displaying correctly. You can see the content, but your current browser does not support CSS which is necessary to view our site properly. For the best visual experience, you will need to upgrade your browser to Netscape 6.0 or higher, MSIE 5.5 or higher, or Opera 3.6 or higher. If, however, you don't wish to upgrade your browser, scroll down and read the content - everything is still visible, it just doesn't look as pretty.
Differential- Ch. 6
by Zane Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: Most of the story will qualify as PG, but expect some seriously R-rated bumps along the way
"Altitude twenty kilometers. Two hundred kilometers to target zone."
Trip guided the shuttlepod expertly through the turbulent atmosphere as T'Pol called out range information from the co-pilot's seat. The small craft shook almost constantly as it fought through high-altitude winds. Trip looked out the main viewport at the terrain below... or what he could see of it anyway.
"Looks like a storm front coming up. Hope you packed some thermal undies, T'Pol. Yer Vulcan friends picked a lousy time to go sight-seein' down there." She tossed him a glare that took him by surprise.
"Sorry... I was just teasin' you. Are you okay? You've been on edge since we left Enterprise."
T'Pol's expression softened and she stared at her status monitor for a long moment. It seemed as if she was about to speak, when the com sounded and Captain Archer's voice called out to them.
"Enterprise to Shuttlepod One. You're almost to the edge of the energy field. T'Pol, if we lose contact with you, we'll watch for your visual signal on the surface at 15:30 hours. We'll expect a follow-up signal from you every three hours thereafter. If you fail to check in, we'll send the cavalry down in a hurry."
T'Pol tapped a series of commands at her station. "Understood, Captain. I am testing the beacon now." She triggered a control. On the upper hull of the pod, a brilliant flash of light appeared - for an instant as bright as the sun. It flashed several more times in sequence, and was immediately detected by the Enterprise's visual sensors.
"We see you, T'Pol. Looks like Hoshi's visual tracking idea is working. Don't forget - you've got six hours. But at the first sign of trouble down there, I want you both to lift off immed--" The Captain's voice was suddenly lost in a burst of static.
Trip glanced at T'Pol. "Well... it's not like we didn't expect it. Guess we're on our own. Can you bring up the terrain plot on the landing--" Without warning, all the instruments began going haywire.
"What the hell? We're suffering some kinda power drain..."
T'Pol checked her scanners. "The energy field on the planet has intensified. Can you land safely?"
"I don't know, I think--" At that moment, the shuttlepod was rocked by an unseen force. Alarms began to sound. Trip struggled for control. "That's no field. We've been hit with an energy beam - some kind of damping weapon! We're going down!"
Trip glanced out the viewport and aimed the pod as closely as he could without instruments to the location of the downed Vulcan ship. But it was almost impossible to see anything through the swirling snowstorm raging outside. Suddenly, a jagged mountain peak appeared directly in their flight path. Trip was just able to steer clear of it and the shuttlepod plummeted into the valley beyond.
Noting their dangerously low altitude, T'Pol reached up and pulled a handle overhead. "Activating emergency stabilizers...!"
The ship steadied slightly as the emergency gravity plating on the outer hull went to full power. Trip took advantage of the extra measure of control, aiming for what looked like a clearing and hoping for the best.
They shared a brief glance, their eyes locking together in an instant that seemed to stretch out impossibly. For an odd moment, Trip recalled something from his childhood - that sudden calm that came in the eye of a hurricane. Then a massive jolt knocked them both senseless, and their world turned upside down. There was a loud screeching sound... and darkness.
"Hey, T'Pol... I think the beacon just - oh shit! T'Pol?!"
Trip scrambled around the cabin, pushing equipment cases and other loose supplies out of the way in a frantic search for T'Pol. Finally, he found her lying on the floor at the rear of the craft. Somehow, she'd slid underneath the pod's main storage locker during the crash. Judging by the amount of equipment that had fallen, it had probably saved her life.
"T'Pol! Oh, god... please be okay..."
Trip pulled her free of the locker and held her tightly. After a long moment, she opened her eyes, looking dazed.
"Ka'tha proto gesis non takka..."
Trip frowned, suddenly realizing with certainty that he was going to have to learn to speak Vulcan one of these days. Filing that knowledge away for a better time, Trip caressed T'Pol's cheek, forcing her to look at him.
"T'Pol? Hey, com'on back to me here." He watched as she struggled slowly to concentrate on his face. Finally, she seemed to become more alert.
"Commander? Where are we?"
"You don't remember? We're in the shuttlepod. The rescue mission. We landed. Remember?"
She frowned suddenly as her memories came back into focus. "You have had better landings."
He laughed, relieved. "Yeah, I'll give you that. Frankly, I'm just glad we survived. We came in blind, through a snowstorm, into a mountain range, while losing power. I wouldn't have given us ten-to-one odds."
"What was that sound a few moments ago?" Trip lifted T'Pol to her feet and helped her into one of the seats. Then he began rummaging through the locker.
"The signal beacon went off by itself. So the good news is, we know it still works..."
"The Enterprise will not send help for at least three hours."
"Yeah, well... that's the bad news." Finding what he was looking for, Trip returned to T'Pol and began scanning her up and down with a tricorder. He frowned for a moment, then realized that he needed to reset the device to evaluate Vulcan physiology. He scanned again.
"If I'm readin' this right, you're gonna live."
She glanced at him with an expression of both irritation and amusement. Then she took the device from him and glanced at its findings herself. Moments later, she scanned him as well.
"We are both undamaged. What is the condition of the shuttlepod?"
"As far as I can tell, we're still air tight. I think we're still space-worthy. I'll need to make a few repairs to the reaction control thrusters and the batteries will need a few hours to recharge. If they recharge properly, we should have just enough power to make orbit. But if we get hit with that damping beam again, we're screwed, space-worthy or not."
"Then we will have to terminate the beam at its source in order to accomplish our mission." As Trip watched, T'Pol began rummaging through another storage compartment. With effort, she managed to extract a pair of phase pistols and cold-weather survival apparel for them both. Trip shook his head.
"I hate to break it to you, but we aren't going anywhere for a while." When she looked up at him in puzzlement, he pointed to the nearest viewport. The sky was growing dark and the wind was blowing snow around them in an ever increasing frenzy.
"I may have grown up in the South, but that's a good old fashioned blizzard, no mistake. We'll never find the T'Hath in this. And if we got lost out there, we'd never survive the night."
"If the owner of that damping weapon finds us, our chances of survival are just as slim."
"Well... unless they're a lot more adapted for cold weather than we are, they've got no reason to be out in this mess either. I wasn't kidding about how lucky we were to survive that crash. They'll probably just assume we didn't. Either way, we ought to be safe until morning at least. I say we sit tight."
T'Pol frowned for a moment, then finally nodded, unable to argue with his reasoning. As frustrating as it sometimes was, Commander Tucker could be surprisingly logical when he chose to.
After taking a few minutes to restore a semblance of order to the cabin, they decided that it would be best to try and get whatever rest they could. Trip gallantly announced that he'd take the first watch, and wouldn't be dissuaded despite numerous protests from T'Pol that Vulcans needed less sleep than Humans. The pair made a make-shift bed on the floor with camping gear from the locker, and Trip powered down the pod completely to conserve the batteries. Then they silently climbed under the blankets and huddled together for warmth.
For a while, Trip shifted into engineer mode, letting his mind work out what needed to be done to get the shuttlepod ready to fly again. T'Pol shifted against his body a few times, finally settling on a comfortable position with her head cradled against his shoulder - a position they'd both become accustomed to sleeping in. Trip thought about how cold it might get in the pod with the power off. And he thought about his future, which was now inescapably intertwined with T'Pol's. What did that mean for him? For them? What if the Vulcan High Command decided to reassign T'Pol again? It had certainly happened in the past, although Captain Archer had so far managed to keep her on the Enterprise. Trip found himself wondering for the first time what his family might think of T'Pol. And, more ominously, what her family might think of him. That last thought was so grim that Trip decided to stop thinking altogether. Unfortunately, the depressing notion was lodged firmly in his brain and wouldn't budge. Trip finally decided to ask T'Pol what she thought... but he was surprised to discover that she was already asleep, her peaceful breaths whispering warmly against his neck. He smiled and kissed her forehead gently.
I don't care what anyone thinks, he thought determinedly. We're bonded. Anyone who can't accept that can shove it where the sun don't shine.
For a blissful few minutes, Trip was reassured by the strength of his feelings for the woman sleeping in his arms. But in the back of his mind, he still had a number of nagging fears. Did he really love her deeply and truly enough to spend a lifetime with her? He thought that he did, but then he was far from an expert on love and his own track record with relationships was piss poor to put it kindly. He knew that T'Pol cared for him deeply, but did she really love him? Could she? Was she even capable of Human love, or would her Vulcan nature and upbringing always get in the way?
As he lay there in the cooling darkness of the cabin, Trip knew he wasn't going to be getting any sleep in the foreseeable future. And he was certain that things between he and T'Pol were never going to be simple.
"I'm afraid that's the best I can do, Captain. That might be the shuttlepod's heat signature, but it's fading pretty rapidly. Maybe we'll be able to get a visual confirmation in the morning... if they aren't buried under a snowdrift by then."
"But that heat signature corresponds to the location where we detected the emergency beacon?"
"As best I can determine, yes."
Archer strode around to the Captain's chair and turned to Communications.
"Still no luck, Hoshi?" Ensign Sato shook her head, appearing as frustrated as Lieutenant Reed.
"I'm sorry, sir. There's just too much interference from that energy field. For a moment, right after we lost contact with the pod, the field seemed to get stronger. But now I'm not getting anything at all. I've got the computer working to calculate the interference pattern. I might be able to filter it out and get a signal through, but it'll take some time."
"Keep on it." Hoshi nodded and went back to work. Meanwhile, Travis turned back from the Helm to look at the Captain with an obviously worried expression.
"What I don't understand is, why did they activate the beacon at all? They weren't supposed to signal us until 15:30, and that's still a few hours away..."
Malcolm chimed in from his station. "The weather's pretty bad down there. Maybe Trip just wanted to let us know that they'd landed safely."
Archer considered this. Finally, he sat down in his chair and decided to take the most logical course of action.
"Well... we can at least assume that they made it to the surface. Travis, take us up to a geostationary orbit over the landing site. We'll keep watch for a few hours and see what happens."
The confidence that their Captain exhibited seemed to reassure the Bridge crew. Privately though, Archer had a nagging feeling that the other shoe was about to drop. His instincts were telling him that something wasn't right about all this. And he'd long ago learned to trust his instincts. Still, as he'd just told his crew, there was little to do but wait. So Captain Archer sat back in his chair, prepared to do exactly that.
But as he watched his officers go about their duties, Archer casually rubbed a hand down across the hairs on the back of his neck - they'd been standing on end for more than an hour now. Unsettled, he glanced around to make sure that no one had noticed. Then he did his best to appear patient as the long watch began.
T'Pol frowned. "How long have you been awake?"
"Petty much the whole night."
Her frowned deepened. "I did not plan to sleep so long. You should not have let me do so. You need to rest as well." Trip merely shrugged.
"Didn't have the heart to wake you. You looked so peaceful, it was kinda soothing. Besides, I couldn't have slept if I tried. Too much on my mind."
T'Pol thought about what this meant and shifted uncomfortably. Then she tried to change the subject.
"It will be light soon. We should get ready to leave as soon as--"
"We've still got a little while before it'll be light enough to get started. In the meantime, we need to talk."
She looked down, suddenly fascinated by the texture of the blankets. "I don't understand."
"Give it a rest, T'Pol. I know something's bothering you. Something's been eatin' at you for a while now... since the that whole thing with the Suliban. Are you gonna tell me what's got you so upset or not?"
"Vulcans do not get upset--"
"Bullshit. Vulcans have emotions just like Humans do. You just hide them better. Except you can't hide them from me. Not anymore. So why don't you tell me what's buggin' you?"
"Nothing is bugging me." Her mouth worked uncomfortably around the expression. Trip snorted.
"You're a really terrible liar, T'Pol. Funny thing this telepathic bond - it goes both ways. Something is bothering you and you're tryin' to hide it from me." He paused a moment. "You're also horny as hell." She looked up at him anxiously, suddenly feeling very self-conscious.
"Why do you say this?"
"I've been known to get erections in the morning, but I could cut down trees with this one. Your emotional state affects mine, remember? Besides, I can feel your nipples." She shifted again quickly, reducing the contact between them.
"My body is merely reacting to the cold."
"Mmm-hhmmm. Have you taken the hormone injection yet?" Letting out a breath she didn't realize she was holding, T'Pol finally relented.
"Shortly before we left Enterprise. It... isn't working."
"The adrenaline rush from the crash probably neutralized the dose. T'Pol, we need to do something or--"
She interrupted, looking up at him with eyes that were clouding with need even as she spoke. "We're on duty, Commander. It would be... inappropriate to engage in sexual intercourse during an away mission."
He smiled at her in amusement. "Yeah, but I still think I can help you." He reached a hand over to brush her hair behind her ear, then caressed her cheek. She looked at him in frustrated confusion.
"I don't understand... oooohhhh! "
T'Pol's whole body suddenly shuddered as Trip's fingertips brushed across her temples, initiating a telepathic meld. She gasped in surprise and arousal, as her eyes closed almost of their own volition. And then she was flying, ever faster and ever upward, to an unbelievable orgasm. Her body shook and shuddered, and then jerked violently as she fell over the edge. She screamed aloud, such was the force of her release. She flailed out and Trip caught her hand in his. She clung to him desperately, anchored to him physically even as he caught her mentally and carried her up to the precipice once more. Again and again he did this, completely in control of her, until she could simply take no more - until her sensory threshold became so saturated that she could experience no greater amount of pleasure. And then he brought her down gently, caressing her and touching her and whispering in her ear. Her body continued to tremor with minor aftershocks as he held her in his arms, easing tenderly out of the telepathic connection.
After a while, Trip opened his eyes and looked at her. Her greenish-bronze skin glistened with her exertion. Wisps of steam curled lazily off her body in the chill air of the cabin. She was absolutely the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
"Wow," he said finally. "That was... amazing." When T'Pol could finally open her eyes, she looked at him in astonishment. There were tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Where... where did you learn to do that?" He smiled gently, rubbing the tears away with his fingers.
"The Guinness Book isn't all I've been reading, you know. You'd be surprised what you can find in the ship's library. There's some... pretty interesting stuff on Vulcan sexual practices. Guess I... well I sorta hoped you might like it." He looked alarmed for a moment. "You did like it, didn't you?"
She simply lay in his arms and nodded, still stunned by what had just occurred. He laughed warmly and kissed her. Then he stood and began gathering his jacket and other surface gear.
"We should get moving. It's gonna be light soon. You okay to travel now?"
Bewildered, she nodded again and stood, slowly gathering her own clothing. Her whole body seemed as if it were humming. T'Pol felt more alive than she ever had in her entire life. She blushed and - surprisingly - didn't bother to hide it from him. Then she suddenly realized something.
"But you haven't... I mean, you need to--"
"No, actually I'm... I'm okay. It was good for me too in a strange way. But I'll take a raincheck for when we get back to the ship. If that's okay with you?"
She nodded at him once more, and again she was unable to keep from blushing. Trip turned away to hide his own satisfied smile. A Vulcan rendered speechless by sex. And T'Pol, no less. Guess I might as well just ask Jon to turn the ship around and take me straight back to Earth. I've seen just about everything there is to see.
"We should've... brought snow shoes. Why didn't we think to... bring snow shoes... T'Pol?"
Trip finally decided to stop for a moment to catch his breath. He pulled off his gloves and tried using his breath to warm his hands. It wasn't working. T'Pol stopped as well and looked back at him in concern.
"We've never needed them before. We can have the quartermaster fabricate some when we return to the ship for future use. Are you okay?"
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah... sure. How much... farther?"
"About a half kilometer that way. It's all downhill from here."
"Great. That means it's... uphill on the way back."
She raised an eyebrow. "Commander?" He finally waved a hand at her vaguely.
"Lead on... Sacagawea." She frowned a moment and then kept walking. He adjusted the strap on his engineering tool pack and then, with great effort, followed her.
"I got a cousin who... lives in Calgary. She used to say that... it was cold enough there to... freeze yer eyelids shut. And here I always thought... she was joking!"
He laughed at the memory, but T'Pol remained silent. Trip knew that something was still bothering her, but he was content to let it slide for the moment. He knew that she'd tell him eventually, when she was ready. So he just did his best to keep going and not keel over.
For her part, T'Pol realized that he was aware of her discomfort. During the meld they'd just shared, when he'd been completely in control of her, he could easily have read her thoughts and learned exactly what it was that was bothering her - the fact that her mind had been violated not once but twice since she first came to the Enterprise, first by Tolaris and then, more recently, by Silik. Even despite his best intentions, if Commander Tucker had used their new bond to learn these things, it would have simply been another assault on her person... and one that T'Pol knew she would never be strong enough to endure.
But he hadn't done this. He'd respected her. He'd pulled back before invading her privacy. Something about that had changed everything for T'Pol... had made things clearer in a way she didn't yet understand. There wasn't time to focus on it now, but she was certain that it would be important to her later.
As they trudged on, the sun suddenly broke over the mountain peaks, casting a sparkling yellow light over the landscape. Trip looked around.
"Well... at least it looks warm. Hey, T'Pol... I woulda guessed... Vulcans hated the cold. How come you... aaahhhHHHHHH!!"
T'Pol turned quickly... just in time to see Trip go sliding past her down the mountainside on his ass. He'd apparently slipped on a patch of ice, and now he was getting farther away by the second. She considered her options frantically for a moment. She'd never catch up to him by walking. Then she took another reading with her tricorder and her eyebrows raised in surprise.
Father down the mountain, Trip careened past trees and rocks, and crashed blindly through snow drifts. He finally slid to a stop near a thickly wooded bluff. He sat up, dazed, and then checked to make sure that all his arms and legs were still attached and working properly. He'd lost his hat and his tool pack, but he saw them laying in the snow nearby and crawled over to them wearily.
Guess it beats walking, he thought. Maybe we could build a lodge and a few lifts and charge a fee.
Trip had collected himself and was just about to start back towards T'Pol, when he heard a loud swooooooshing sound. Moments later, the petite Vulcan skidded into view on her backside, sliding down the mountain after him. She barreled straight into him, sending them both flying back into the snow.
When Trip managed to clear his head again, he looked over at T'Pol to make certain she was okay. Then he shook his head once more and rubbed the snow out of his eyes. For just an instant there, he could have sworn she was smiling. When he looked a second time though, she only stared at him impassively. He shook his head in disbelief.
"So... are we having fun yet?"
"My report to the Captain will reflect your inventiveness in discovering a more effective mode of transport, Commander. However, I must now also report us both for laying down on the job."
He made an exaggerated show of laughing and then fell back in the snow. She arched an eyebrow at him dubiously. Finally, he sat up and looked back up the mountainside. "Well, how much farther now?"
Instead of heading back the way they came, T'Pol simply crawled to the edge of the bluff and pointed. Trip joined her and was surprised to see the reddish metallic hull of the Vulcan spacecraft resting, half covered in snow, less than a hundred meters farther down the slope.
"I'll be damned..."
Archer nodded. "I would tend to agree. Tell the Launch Bay to start warming up Shuttlepod Two. And get your rescue detail ready."
"They'll be ready to go in five minutes, sir."
There was a sudden chirping from the Communications station. Archer turned to Hoshi.
"Is that from the away team?"
Hoshi shook her head. "No, sir. Message from Starfleet. It's Admiral Forrest."
"Put him on." Archer stepped to the center of the Bridge as the worried visage of the Admiral appeared on the forward viewscreen.
"Admiral, what's the good word?"
"I'm afraid it's not good, Jonathan. The Vulcans have completed the analysis of the distress call from their courier. They've shared their findings and our analysts agree with their conclusion. The T'Hath definitely came under attack by an unknown--"
Without warning, the transmission became garbled and then dissolved into a hail of digital static. Archer turned back to Hoshi, who looked up in alarm.
"Captain, our communications are being jammed! It's not coming from the planet..."
Archer turned quickly to Tactical. "Malcolm?"
"Contact, bearing one-eight-zero degrees, range... thirty-thousand kilometers! They're arming weapons!"
"Polarize the hull plating. Charge the phase cannons and--"
Suddenly, the ship was rocked by massive impact. Alarms began to sound. Archer grabbed the arm of the Captain's chair to remain standing. Other crewmembers weren't so lucky. Malcolm glanced up from Tactical again.
"The plating's on-line, but we've taken heavy damage to the port warp nacelle! I have the hostile in missile lock!"
"Fire missiles! Travis, evasive maneuvers. Break orbit and increase speed to two-thirds impulse."
"Aye sir!" Travis fought to execute the orders as the deck shuddered violently.
"Malcolm, how come we didn't see them coming?"
The Lieutenant glanced at his sensor logs. "They approached from a polar orbit, Captain. There must be some kind of sensor blind spot caused by the planet's magnetic fields." He checked another display. "They've taken light damage, but they're not breaking off the attack. I've got a visual."
The sleek outline of the alien craft appeared on the forward viewer. It's design was unknown to Archer and it was gaining on them fast. Then, without warning, numerous bright flashes of light erupted from the bow of the attacker.
"Captain... they're firing again!"
Phase pistol drawn, Trip stepped carefully through the open airlock door and into the main corridor of the T'Hath, as T'Pol scanned the area around the ship for life signs. The vessel was about the size of a large two-story house, and was clearly built for speed. Based on the equipment in evidence once he was inside, Trip would've bet good money that it was meant for stealth too. Unable to get a satisfactory reading due to the energy field, T'Pol finally gave up scanning and followed him inside.
"Vulcans have little need of creature comforts, Commander. The inclusion of luxury items or other unnecessary adornments on a ship of the High Command would be considered wasteful."
They climbed over piles of debris, reaching what appeared to be the Engineering compartment. Trip also saw what he suspected was a weapons station.
"So... how fast can this baby go?"
She frowned at him. "That information is classified."
Trip gave a lopsided grin, not even bothering to look at the ship's engines, no matter how much he might have wanted to. "Yeah, I figured. Can't blame a guy for trying."
They quickly worked their way to the bow of the ship, passing sleeping bunks, storage bays and great racks of what appeared to be instrument pallets, containing sensors and other exotic equipment. It quickly became clear that the damage the ship had sustained was severe. On approach, they'd seen numerous scorch marks on the outer hull. And inside, enough bulkheads were visibly collapsed or buckled to indicate major structural damage. Trip shook his head regretfully.
"She's taken a real beating. A lot of this is crash related, but I see evidence of serious weapons damage too."
"Is there any chance of making the ship operational again?"
"Unless you've got a class-five spacedock handy, it looks pretty hopeless." Trip suddenly frowned, looking at the floor. "Hey T'Pol, I thought you said Vulcans don't bother with luxury items. This looks pretty luxurious to me..."
T'Pol saw that he was examining the remains of some kind of elaborate vase or urn that had shattered across the deck. The pieces were made of what appeared to be a dark, volcanic glass. The largest bore evidence of electroplating and other ornamental makings in a fine gold leaf. Trip looked at her, puzzled.
"This is a little out of place, don't you think?"
She picked up a fragment. "I have never seen anything like it. It almost looks like a religious artifact of some kind, but the script is an ancient Vulcan dialect - one that hasn't been in use for centuries. Very unusual."
Trip scanned the deck with his own tricorder. "If there was anything inside it, it's gone now. Must have evaporated or something."
Trip stood and looked around, spotting a partially closed hatch nearby. It was located at the end of the corridor, and Trip suspected it led to the Bridge. He set his gear down and shoved it open manually when it failed to respond to the controls. Sure enough, behind it lay the T'Hath's small control room. It was really more of a cockpit, complete with an array of viewports, compact control stations... and four dead occupants still strapped into their seats.
Hearing the alarm in Trip's voice, T'Pol pocketed the small piece of artifact for later study and hurried to his side. If she was surprised to see the bodies of the crew, she gave no indication. T'Pol checked for life signs as Trip located the ship's databanks. He scowled at what he found.
"The computers have been erased. No sensor records, no Captain's logs... nothing."
"If the ship was attacked, the crew would have erased the computers on purpose to prevent an enemy from obtaining valuable intelligence data. I'm more concerned with the fact that there are only four bodies here. The T'Hath carried a crew of five."
"You think one of them survived?"
"Possibly." T'Pol began scanning again, frowning as she tried to make sense of the confusing readings her tricorder returned.
"Well, I suppose we might have missed a body back there in the debris somewhere..." Trip was about to go back into the corridor to search more thoroughly, when T'Pol suddenly pulled him down to the deck.
"What are you...?!"
She silenced him with a quick gesture. Moments later, he realized why. There were voices coming from outside. Through a crack in the hull, he could hear at least three people engaged in a heated argument. And three was two more than the total number of people who ought to be left alive near the T'Hath. That could only mean trouble.
Trip and T'Pol crept to the nearest viewport and peeked outside carefully. What they saw wasn't good. There were three men all right, each of them wearing a heavy environment suit and armed with a nasty looking rifle. They appeared to be angry. And they were approaching the wreckage fast, clearly intent on entering the ship.
As one, Trip and T'Pol drew their phase pistols. At this range, they both knew there was no way for them to escape without being seen. Just as they were about to crouch back down and move into position to defend themselves, the newcomers suddenly stopped. The tallest, who appeared to be in charge, turned back and scolded the others sharply. But that wasn't what drew Trip and T'Pol's attention.
What had gotten their notice, was the fact that the leader suddenly removed his helmet. It was quickly evident that his skin was a deep blue and his head was capped with a shock of thick white hair. And poking through his hair... was a pair of rapidly twitching antenna. Trip and T'Pol exchanged an alarmed glance.
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!