Contact Points

By Honeybee

Rating: R

Genres: challenge romance

Keywords: first contact

This story has been read by 1198 people.
This story has been read 1910 times.

This story is number 1 in the series Family Secrets


 

Disclaimer: I don't own the Star Trek universe or anything in it. This is not for profit. 

 

A/N: This takes place during the action of Zero Hour - when Enterprise is on its way back to Earth after destroying the spheres. They've learned that Archer is supposedly dead and Earth is safe. I mean, all we know is that the journey home was supposed to take only a day or so. That doesn't mean they didn't get sidetracked. 

This was written when Lady Rainbow challenged me to write a TnT first contact story that involved a medical mystery. She also requested that Travis have something interesting to do that doesn't involve flying the ship. 

Special thanks to Eian Flannagan for beta services.


Trip made his way to the Captain's mess, finding the halls of the ship eerily silent. The crew should have felt successful and happy. Earth, not to mention the rest of the galaxy, was safe. But it had come at a terrible price. Jonathan Archer was dead.

Trip supposed he should be grateful that Malcolm and Hoshi and the others had survived. All of them had been pretty exhausted and badly traumatized by their experiences on Degra's ship, and Phlox had put them all on bed rest. Malcolm had protested that he was fine, but Phlox had found multiple internal injuries. Trip felt like he and the rest of the crew had gotten off easy with cracked skin. Trip looked down at his hands. The last of the cracking had healed, though his skin still felt dry and itched in places. At Phlox's urging, he had been drinking water to help rehydrate his body.

Trip also didn't like the idea that they were inside another ship and dependent upon the Aquatics for their safety, but there wasn't much he could do about it. He and his crew had spent the last few hours repairing some of the damage the ship suffered during the successful attack on the spheres, as well as some of the damage that had existed before that. Enterprise was going to need weeks at Jupiter Station to be fully repaired, but he was glad to have something to occupy his hands and his mind during the journey. 

 When he arrived at the Captain's mess, T'Pol was standing at the window, looking at the interior of the Xindi vessel.

"Evenin', T'Pol," he whispered. 

Only hours earlier, T'Pol had told him how old she was and that Vulcans considered this intimate information. Since then, he'd felt they had reconnected somehow. 

"Good Evening, Comman. . .Trip," she said. 

She sat down at the end of the table. Instead of sitting at the other end, Trip took the seat next to her, facing the window. Their legs were very close under the table. 

"We should arrive in the Sol system within a day," said T'Pol. 

Trip closed his eyes. For the first time in months, Trip knew his home planet would be waiting for him upon his return. The fear that had been his constant companion was gone, leaving him feeling curiously empty. He also suspected that the captain's death hadn't quite sunk in yet.

They dined together, talking a little bit here and there over the meal. But mostly, he just enjoyed the silence, until he felt an odd vibration in the floor. 

"Do you feel that?" 

T'Pol nodded. The Aquatic ship had dropped out of warp. 

"We're not even close to being home yet," said Trip. 

T'Pol stood up and tapped into the comm.

"I've received a message from the Aquatic captain," said T'Pol, "I'll take it in the ready room. Join me?" 

Trip nodded and followed her out the room. 

Moments later, she examined the translation of the Aquatic captain's message on her screen. 

"They've been forced out of warp," said T'Pol, "They are unsure why." 

"Do they need me to go over there?" 

The Aquatic ship's engine had adjacent sections with humanoid atmosphere, and Trip knew he could transport out there to assist them. 

"They believe they've  - we've - been caught in a multi-phasic net of some kind. It may be a defense grid for a nearby system. They are currently attempting to contact the local population." 

T'Pol's comm beeped. 

Ensign Garcia, who was sitting in for Hoshi at the comm, spoke.  

"Commander, we're getting a message from a nearby system. I've run it through the translator. 

They seem to be asking if we are in distress." 

T'Pol headed to the bridge, and Trip followed her. 

Ensign Garcia was the only person on the eerily quiet bridge. She sat at the comm, examining the data on her screen. 

"The translator is having trouble with their language. I don't even know what they're called, but they seem concerned that we are being held by the Aquatics against our will." 

T'Pol glanced at Trip. "Assure them we are being assisted by the Aquatics and thank them for their concern." 

Ensign Garcia typed into the screen.

"Nice of them to be worried," said Trip. 

After a few minutes, Garcia indicated she was getting another message. 

"They say they require proof. They want . . .they want to speak to you in person, Commander T'Pol. They say they will only release the Aquatic ship once you've confirmed in person that you are not speaking under duress." 

Trip felt a headache coming on. Nothing ever seemed to go smoothly. 

"Great," he said. 

"They claim to be concerned for our well-being," said T'Pol, "and I shall endeavor to adhere to their wishes." 

"There's more, Commander," said Garcia, "They've figured out that there are three separate species on this ship. They've requested that the highest ranking member of each species be in your delegation." 

T'Pol paused for a moment before speaking.

"Contact Phlox," she said, "Let him know he'll be joining Commander Tucker and myself on a diplomatic errand." 

Trip rolled his eyes. All he wanted to do was get home, and now they had to deal with this. 

"Looks like Travis is going to be charge for awhile," said Trip. 


Trip flew the shuttle out of the Xindi vessel and toward a moon that orbited a nearby gas giant. T'Pol sat next to him, and Phlox sat in one of the back seats. The inhabitants of the moon were apparently the ones who had trapped the Aquatic vessel in their peculiar net. 

"We need to adhere to standard first contact procedures," said T'Pol as Trip guided the shuttle to the surface. 

"Even though they are holding us prisoner?" 

"By all appearances, they are acting out of concern for our welfare," said Phlox, "This seems to be a cultural misunderstanding. And I, for one, am happy to finally be back to exploring again and meeting a brand new species that doesn't appear to mean us any harm. They seem to mean the direct opposite of harm." 

"The defensive grid is highly sophisticated," said T'Pol. "They are clearly an advanced civilization." 

"We're being given landing instructions," said Trip, who proceeded to follow the protocols and take the shuttle into an orbiting space station's launch bay. 

As he landed the shuttle, everything went dark. 


T'Pol opened her eyes and found herself in a comfortable bed, alone. For the first time in many months, she felt rested. She sat up and assessed her surroundings. The bed was in a small, warm room with a window that looked out on a greenish body of water. She stood up and headed for the door. The next room was also sparsely furnished and warm. T'Pol noticed that the gravity felt much like it did on Vulcan. 

Sitting in a chair, she saw a Vulcan male about her own age. He stood up and approached her. 

"Commander T'Pol," he said, "I trust you slept well." 

T'Pol looked at the man. He was tall and well formed, and his features were aesthetically pleasing.

"Where are my companions?" she asked.

"The artificial atmosphere and gravity in this room has been adjusted for your Vulcan physiology," he replied, "You're companions are being kept in rooms adjusted for their comfort." 

T'Pol reached for her communicator and flipped it open. 

"T'Pol to Tucker" she said. 

"Tucker here," came a sleepy, Southern voice through the comm.

"Are you well?" 

"Yes. I'm in a little room. I was sleeping when you chirped. Do you know how I got here?"

"Negative. Contact Phlox and determine if he is safe. I am in contact with . . ." 

T'Pol looked at the Vulcan male, who looked right back. 

"I am in contact with a humanoid and am endeavoring to assess our situation. I shall contact you shortly."

"Will do, Commander. Tucker out." 

The Vulcan approached him. 

"Your companions are safe," he said. 

"I will require continuous proof of that," replied T'Pol. 

"You shall have it, T'Pol." 

T'Pol looked out the window. 

"Who are you?" 

"My name doesn't translate into Vulcan," said the man. 

She had already suspected that while the man appeared Vulcan, he was not Vulcan. The man looked down at himself. 

"I've transformed my appearance for you. This body was chosen because we thought it would put you at ease. And I would be happy to accept a name you give me."

The man stepped closer and looked straight into her eyes with his grey ones, and she instinctively stepped back. 

Are you being held against your will?" asked the alien.

"They are assisting us," she replied, "We are returning to the humans' home system. We wish to continue on our journey."

"We are an empathic species. We sensed great distress in your ship and very little in the water creatures' ship. This was of concern to us."

T'Pol closed her eyes, and she suppressed the grief she had momentarily forgotten.

"Our Captain was killed on a recent mission of great importance. Our entire crew is in mourning." 

She opened her eyes. The Vulcan man stared out the window, but he said nothing. 


Per T'Pol's request, Trip had contacted Phlox and determined that he too was being held in a small room, his with Denobulan atmosphere and gravity. Trip was still in his Starfleet jumpsuit, but he found his boots next to the bed. Trip put them on and headed to the next room. There was a large window that looked out on the ocean. 

A human woman, who had been seated at the table, stood up.

"Did you sleep well, Commander Tucker?" she asked. 

Trip looked at the young woman. She had straight blond hair and blue eyes and was as pretty as the prettiest girls from back in Florida. She smiled at him, and he smiled back before he remembered exactly where he was. 

"I have breakfast for you," she said. 

"I just spoke to my commanding officer, but I'll need to see her as soon as possible."

The woman nodded and gestured to the table and its spread of human food."Please, have a seat. We need to know if you were being held against your will." 

Trip took a deep breath to calm the anger welling in him. These people didn't seem to mean any harm, but they had already been told the truth. Nevertheless, Trip also figured it was smart to eat when he had the chance, given the situation was getting stranger by the minute. 

"The Aquatics are giving us a lift to my home system. Their warp drive is faster than ours."

The woman looked at the window. 

"Several species engage in piracy by engulfing other ships. We needed to determine that wasn't happening to you." 

Trip sighed and began to eat. 

"Enterprise is a free and independent ship hitching a ride."

"It is not common for one species to allow another to command them. Your ship is a human ship, but a Vulcan is in command. We find this unusual. Are either of the non-humans on your ship forcing you into service?" 

Trip smiled.

"Not in the least. Although the Vulcan is in command, she's the first officer. Our human captain is . . .elsewhere." 

The woman nodded as though she was digesting this information, and Trip ate the rest of his breakfast in silence.


The Vulcan man led T'Pol down a long, dim hallway. She had insisted she been taken to her crewmates, and after about an hour, the Vulcan man had relented.

"You still haven't given me a name, T'Pol," he said. 

T'Pol was disquieted by the notion of naming the alien, but she looked the young Vulcan man up and down. He reminded her of her second cousin, Tavak. 

"Tavak," she said, feeling like it was logical to have something to call this man. 

Tavak nodded.

"Thank you," he said. 

"Are you taking me to see my crew?" 

Tavak gestured to a door and tapped on a series of controls; it opened into a kind of airlock. In that alcove, there was another door and Tavak opened and motioned that she enter the next room. 

T'Pol strode in to the room and immediately recognized human gravity and atmosphere. 

She looked around and saw a young human woman in the corner, but as she inhaled the air, she recognized a more familiar human was near. She turned her head and saw Trip standing there. 

"T'Pol?" 

He rushed to her and gathered her into a most unprofessional, but most pleasant, embrace that lifted her feet from the floor. She inhaled his agreeable scent for a moment and closed her eyes. It was a relief to be in his presence. As he set her down, he kissed the top of her head.

"Sorry, Commander," he whispered in her ear. "I'm sure bear hugging your CO on a first contact mission is against regulations, but I'm real glad to see you." 

Their eyes locked, and she reminded herself they were in the presence of two unknown aliens. 

"It is gratifying to see you safe, Commander," she said, "Have you been well treated?" 

"Aside from being kept here with no information," he said, "I'm fine. They haven't taken my communicator or anything. This is Bess. . .at least that's what I'm calling her." 

T'Pol looked at the alien who had taken human form and raised an eyebrow at what these aliens believed was a form Trip would find pleasing. 

"Where is Dr. Phlox? I wish to see him, as well." 

Tavak and Bess looked at each other. 

"Phlox will be brought to you later. We have asked him to assist us on a medical matter." 

Trip and T'Pol looked at each other, both suddenly understanding they may not be getting back to the ship as soon as they'd like. 

"It should take no more than a few of your days for Phlox to assist us," said Bess, "We require his expertise in a matter of great importance." 

T'Pol inhaled, knowing they were at the mercy of these aliens. For the time being, she felt the most logical course of action was cooperation. She did not wish to leave the moon without all of her personnel. 

Bess approached Trip and placed a hand on his arm.

"We'll do everything we can to make your stay with us as comfortable and as pleasant as possible." 

T'Pol suppressed anger for this alien, who was looking at Trip as though she had some claim to him. Trip stepped back and closer to T'Pol. He placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Thanks," he said, "but we really need to get back to our ship and on our way as soon as possible." 

The Vulcan male and the human woman looked at one another.  

"Allow me to apologize," said Bess, "We didn't realize you were mated with each other. If we had, we would not have offered ourselves as company." 

T'Pol was about to deny they were mates when Trip took his arm from her shoulder and put it around her waist possessively. 

"That's okay," replied Trip as he glared at Tavak, "You couldn't have known. But we appreciate the offer." 

T'Pol glanced over at Trip. 

"T'Pol," said Tavak, "Is this true?" 

Trip looked into her eyes and she thought she saw a hint of amusement along with concern. T'Pol suspected that she would be more easily allowed to stay with Trip if the aliens believed they were mates.

"Yes," she said softly, "and I wish to speak with the Commander. . .with Trip...alone." 

Tavak appeared disappointed. As did Bess. 

"We shall leave you alone," said Tavak. "You may use the button, here, to contact us if you need anything. Be assured, neither you nor Dr. Phlox will be harmed." 


Meanwhile, Phlox was dining with a very pleasant Denobulan woman. Not being accustomed to sleeping outside his hibernation cycle, he had been, at first, alarmed to find himself returning to consciousness. A call from Commander Tucker had reassured him both Commanders were safe for the moment. So, he had set about to determine precisely what was going on.

"I assure you," he told the Denobulan woman that he had named Janeel, "Nobody is under any duress. We are not being held against our will." 

Janeel nodded. 

"And you're the ship's doctor? And the Vulcan woman is the commanding officer and the  Human man the head engineer?" 

Phlox nodded. 

"T'Pol is the science officer, as well," he said. 

"I imagine you've treated many humanoid species," said the woman.

"And many not humanoid. Animals, too," replied Phlox. 

The Denboulan woman smiled at him, and offered him more food.

"So," began Phlox, "I assume this isn't your normal form. What form does your species normally take?"

Janeel smiled a big Denobulan smile. 

"Allow me to show you," she said. 


Trip and T'Pol were alone in the rooms that had been designated and designed for him. T'Pol flipped open her communicator. 

"T'Pol to Enterprise," she said. 

"Mayweather, here," said Travis, "We were getting worried about you, Commander."

"How long have we been gone?" 

"Twelve hours," replied Travis, "The aliens contacted us when you arrived and said it would be difficult for you to communicate with us due to interference, but I was about ready to come and get you. We've left the Aquatic ship." 

T'Pol worried that Enterprise would be caught in the alien defense grid if they approached the moon without permission. 

"Contact the aliens and ask for permission to orbit their moon. So far, we are not in any distress, but it would be prudent for the ship to be in transporter range." 

"Understood, Commander." 

"We'll be in contact with you every four hours," said T'Pol.

"Yes, ma'am," said Travis. 

"T'Pol out," she replied, flipping closed her communicator. 

Before she knew what was happening, Trip pulled her into his arms. T'Pol was certain the embrace violated Starfleet protocols, but she returned it nonetheless. It had been a difficult few days, and she found the physical contact comforting. She placed her head on his chest and listened to the sound of his heartbeat. 

"Commander. . ." 

"I know, I know," he whispered, "but just consider this me keeping up the appearance of us being mates. And I was worried about you." 

"I am unsure of the motives of these aliens," she said. 

"I'm beginning to think there is more going on here," said Trip, "We need to talk to Phlox." 

"We must be careful of what we say," she said, "They may be observing us." 

"Understood," he said as he tightened his arms around her and spoke loudly, "but I'm glad they let us stay together. Given that you're my mate and all." 

She observed a hint of smile at the corners of his mouth, and she had a feeling he was enjoying this turn of events. She looked up at him, and before she realized quite what she was doing, she leaned up and kissed him on the lips - something she had not done since the memorable night of their only sexual encounter. She meant for it to be chaste and closed-mouth, but he deepened the kiss and thrust his tongue into her mouth. She put her arms around his neck and nearly swooned in his arms. He held her firmly, and they kissed for a long while. Finally, she broke the embrace. 

"Commander," she said, "We must confirm that Phlox is safe and see what information he has for us." 

Trip nodded as she walked to the communicator button. 


An hour later, Trip and T'Pol had been taken to Phlox, who was looking out of an observation window as balls of light seemed to dance on the horizon.

"This species was once permanently humanoid, as we are," said Phlox, "but after a few millennia they evolved into non-corporeal, energy-beings. There they are in their natural state. When they are like that, they live primarily on the gas giant. However, they never lost their ability to take humanoid shape. In fact, in order to procreate, they must return to their humanoid form. They come up from the surface of the gas giant and live here on the moon, as humanoids, during their mating cycle. The parents stay in humanoid form until the female has given birth, and they can teach the child to transform into its energy state." 

The light beings whirled around behind the glass. 

"However," said Phlox, "There has been a problem. For 90 cycles, no children have been produced. They are in a panic. They have even been attempting to mate with other humanoid species to see if that might correct the issue---by infusing their corporeal gene pool with fresh DNA." 

Trip looked at T'Pol. 

"No wonder they seemed kinda eager to show us a good time," he said.

"Exactly," said Phlox, "They've learned to adapt their form to any humanoid species they come in contact with. But so far...none of the experiments with other species have worked." 

T'Pol stared out at the glowing entities. 

"Are you saying they never believed us to be in distress?" 

"Not at all," said Phlox, "They've been 'rescuing' humanoids and then inviting them to be part of their experiments. They wouldn't dream of forcing themselves on anyone or harming them in any way. They've determined that rescued humanoids are more willing to help them than ones they bring here by force...and by the way, Commanders...Jeenal said they were most disappointed to discover the two of you were mated to one another and would, therefore, not be open to assisting them." 

Phlox grinned at the two of them like he was The Cheshire Cat, and Trip shook his head. T'Pol stayed silent.

"What about you, Phlox? Were they disappointed to discover that you've already got three wives?" Trip asked. 

"On the contrary, unlike Humans and Vulcans, my people are not monogamous. So I've agreed to try and help them." 

T'Pol inhaled a sharp breath. This had to be against Starfleet regulations, however, she remembered Phlox was not a member of Starfleet. His culture also saw such matters very differently than did Vulcans or Humans. 

"I doubt the attempt will be able to produce a child," said Phlox, "but the experiment might allow me to determine what the issue is. I've already looked at the data from previous attempts. The experiment won't take long. A couple of days, maximum."

Phlox leaned over and whispered in T'Pol's ear.

"And they have told me that failure or success, they will let us be on our way." 

T'Pol nodded. If Phlox wished to assist these aliens, and this assistance would help them get on their way, she would allow it. 


Travis stood on the bridge of Enterprise, but he wasn't sitting in the captain's chair. At T'Pol's request, he had taken them away from the Aquatic ship and toward the defense grid, which was now visible on Enterprise's sensors.

"Sir," said Ensign Garcia, "The aliens have contacted us. They say we have permission to approach their moon at one quarter impulse. They've given us instructions on how to avoid the defensive grid."

While the Aquatic ship remained trapped in the grid, Enterprise would be able to fly into the interior of the system. 

Travis sat down in the captain's seat. 

"Let's go, then." 


Trip and T'Pol bid goodbye to Phlox and were taken back to their rooms by Tavak. 

"Please let us know if you need anything," he said, "and we thank you for your assistance." 

"Don't thank us, thank Phlox," replied Trip, "We're not the ones helping you out." 

T'Pol shot him a stern look. 

"Phlox has chosen to attempt to assist you. Your gratitude should be directed toward him," replied T'Pol.

No longer under any pretense that he was Vulcan, Tavak smiled. 

"I believe there is more than enough gratitude to go around in this situation," said Tavak. "I shall now leave you to yourselves. I will arrive in the morning to take you to Phlox. Use the communication button if you require anything. Dr. Phlox tells us he'll be working through the night to assist us."

"Is that what they're calling it these days?" mumbled Trip. 

"Thank you," said T'Pol, "We expect you to take us to see him in the morning."

Tavak nodded and left them alone. 

"So," began Trip, "What shall we do now?" 

"I must contact Mr. Mayweather," she said. 

For the next few minutes, T'Pol spoke with Travis about the ship's position and the well-being of the remaining crew. Trip remained quiet, looking out the window at the moon's tumultuous ocean. He also saw balls of light dancing on the surface. When T'Pol finished she approached the window and stood next to Trip, her hands behind her back. 

"I suppose you've never heard of the Marfa Mystery Lights?' 

She shook her head 'no.'

"Bouncing balls of light that used to appear in the desert outside this small Texas town. One of my aunts had an art studio on a ranch there. I saw the lights a few times when I was a kid...they looked just like this. I wonder if those lights were alive." 

"It's possible." 

They were quiet for a long time, and then without a word, Trip moved toward her and kissed her firmly, teasing her mouth open with his own. She brought her hands up around his neck, meeting his kisses. He ran his hand down her back and grasped her rear end, pulling her closer to him. 

He continued to kiss her aggressively, and their tongues danced together. Finally, he broke the kiss, took her hand and led her to the bedroom. 

"Come on," he said, "I've got some ideas about how to spend the time we've suddenly got on our hands." 

"Commander. . .Trip. . ." 

Her voice was a whisper. Worries about violating Starfleet regulations seemed very far away. 

"Shhhh. . ." he said, "I don't know about you, but I'd like to remind myself I'm alive while I can." 

She felt an energy spark between them, as though a circuit had been created the moment he'd taken her hand. She found herself unwilling and unable to refuse him. 


Phlox examined the data on a device he had brought with him on the shuttle. These aliens didn't get sick while in their non-corporeal form, and if they got sick in their humanoid form, they simply returned to their energy form and whatever was wrong healed itself. Consequently, their medical equipment was primitive, and their knowledge of their own humanoid physiology was limited. 

Phlox was examining data from Jeenal's body and the body of another female who had also attempted to conceive the previous night. What Phlox was seeing was bizarre, despite his long experience. It appeared that while conception had occurred in both cases, they zygotes seemed to immediately loose their corporal form and turn into energy. There was no sign that that energy had cohered into a sentient being, it simply dissipated. Something was preventing the zygotes from keeping their humanoid form and developing normally. But Phlox was a doctor and not a physicist, and he felt he had discovered a problem that was beyond his depth. 


T'Pol awoke in the small bedroom, in Trip's arms. From the steady rhythm of his breathing, she knew he still slept. She kept very still so she would not disturb his rest. Images of the previous night's multiple sexual encounters flitted through her mind. Unlike their impulsive coupling in The Expanse, she couldn't blame her addiction or the stress of the mission for her behavior. Nor was she suffering from blood fever. She had been fully cognizant of her actions. Actions she was sure violated Starfleet protocols for a first contact mission.

Suddenly, she felt his tongue tracing the tip of her ear, and she shivered.

"Good mornin', beautiful." 

"Good morning," she replied softy. 

"Did you sleep okay?" 

"Very well." 

"Me, too. Seems to me that sexual relations works just as well as neuro-pressure."

"Indeed." 

She sat up, exposing her breasts to the chill as she did so. Her greenish nipples stood erect, but she thought it illogical to cover herself under the circumstances. Trip smiled at the view, and he crawled up and planted a kiss between her breasts.  

"You are so gorgeous," he said. 

She wasn't sure how to respond to such compliments. 

"We should get dressed," she said. 

She moved to get up, but he gently pushed her back down. He kissed her on the lips quickly. 

"You're not going to try and explain away last night by saying you were play-acting for our hosts, are you? Because I know better. . ." 

T'Pol's cheeks flushed green as she remembered an acutely erotic moment from the night before when he'd forced her to admit he was more than an experiment to her. His fingers and tongue had undone every shred of her control, and she had unambiguously confessed her affection for him. 

She looked into his eyes, and she saw no bitterness or anger, just determination. 

"This thing between us," he said, "You know damn well it's not going away. I think we owe it to ourselves to see what happens." 

She pressed her forehead to his. 

"Alright," she said. "We shall continue to explore the...fondness...that exists between us." 

He released her from his grip and grinned at her. 

"That's my girl," he said. "Now we'd better get breakfast and check on Phlox. It's weird to think he probably had just as much fun last night as we did." 


An hour later, T'Pol examined the data on Phlox's screen. Her expertise in physics had become as important to solving the medical mystery as Phlox's knowledge of biology. 

She and Phlox questioned Janeel, Tavak and Bess about the timeline of the medical crisis.  They had worked for several hours before they broke for lunch. 

Trip had been busying himself by studying the space station's mechanics, and Bess had even shown him the basic technology that made the defense grid possible. Most defense grids couldn't force a ship out of warp, but because theirs was on a multi-phasic rotation, it could. 

"It's protected us for thousands of years," Bess had said. "There is a near infinite number of phase variances that it can rotate through. It will always be one step ahead of any hostile species. It's very important since very few of us stay in humanoid form at one time. It makes our physical cities and towns very vulnerable." 

At lunch, Trip mentioned the defense system's premise to T'Pol. She thought for a moment. 

"When was the last time the grid switched its phase variance?" 

Phlox looked at her. 

"Do you think it might coincide with the aliens' infertility issue?" 

"It's been ninety cycles," said Phlox. 

"These people live in their energy form for far longer than that," said T'Pol. "To them, ninety cycles might seem like a short time." 

Trip sipped on his coffee, which was surprisingly good. The aliens had done their best to approximate human food. 

"So, the grid's current setting is preventing them from having babies?" 

"More accurately," replied T'Pol, "Its setting may be the cause of the zygotes turning into energy and dissipating." 

"We'll need to do more research," said Phlox, "but the theory has merit." 

Phlox and T'Pol spent the afternoon testing their theory. They even pressed Trip into service for his mechanical expertise. Tavak, who knew something about the engineering of the grid, took the unusual step of letting these alien guests see its detailed schematics. 

By the end of the afternoon, they had formed a plan. 


Travis and Anna Hess flew in a shuttle toward the coordinates that T'Pol had sent them. All of their instruments said that nothing existed there, but Travis did what he was ordered to do.

"Commander T'Pol has sent us instructions for reconfiguring the sensors," said Hess. "They're weird, but I'm changing the settings." 

"They say if we help the aliens out, they'll let us go. This is a goodwill mission," said Travis.

Hess examined her instruments. 

"Whoa. . .what the hell?" 

On the screen before them, a large artificial satellite appeared.

"Wow," said Travis. 

"Commander Tucker has sent instructions on how to manually reset that satellite. We need to send the robotic arm over there. No wonder he insisted you be on this mission. You're the best with the robotic arm," said Hess. 

"Well," said Travis, "I'd best get started." 


Only a day later, Enterprise's three senior officers returned to the ship. The system's aliens had been confident their infertility issue had been solved once Travis had rebooted their satellite and Phlox had conducted a few, more traditional, types of tests. 

The new species had been very grateful, and they had even promised to make formal contact with Denobula, Earth and Vulcan to open diplomatic relations. Although the delay had been frustrating, the crew had earned the trust and gratitude of a new species. Somehow, this had taken some of the sting out of losing the captain. Everyone's spirits seemed to have lifted. 

Although Phlox had managed to come away from the moon completely healthy, Trip and T'Pol had picked up a virus and were confined to Decon for two hours. They stripped off their uniforms and sat awkwardly next to one another in their undergarments.

"I'll leave you two to your privacy," said Phlox with a hint of amusement. 

In a playful reversal, Trip raised his eyebrow at T'Pol. 

"Don't even think about it," said T'Pol, "Such behavior would be unprofessional and likely against a number of regulations. We're the two senior officers on this ship."

She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. 

"We cannot engage in sexual relations in the Decon chamber." 

Trip sat back. 

"I know," he said, "Doesn't mean I can't think about it." 

She inhaled the clean air and closed her eyes. 

"Indeed," she said as she reached over and slipped her hand into his. He took a deep breath as she sent her thoughts to him.

"Wow," he said, "Is that you?" 

"Vulcans are touch telepaths. I can send energy from my mind to yours." 

"You'd better be careful, Commander," he said. "If you keep that up, I'm not going to be able to respect your professional boundaries." 

T'Pol dropped his hand from hers.

"You're such a tease," he said. "Remind me to get you back for that later." 

T'Pol remained silent, but she did wonder how it was that she found it so easy to telepathically connect with Trip. When she had connected with Ensign Sato, years earlier on the Klingon ship, it had taken far more concentration and mental power.

Perhaps, she thought as she sighed contently, the Commander has latent telepathic abilities. 

Whatever the case, she was content with the thought that she would be able to explore such a possibility with him, along with many other possibilities. Life, even for a Vulcan, was too short not to do so.

 


Comments:

The Middleman

This is a very nice story and a great response to the challenge given to you. I think you have heard me say this before on another site: a lot must have happened with Trip & T’Pol between the episodes “Zero Hour” and “Home”. I believe the time span was about two months or so between those episodes (February 2154 to April 2154) and they seem to have become very close by the time we saw “Home”, but with no explanation as to what transpired. You’ve done an excellent job in filling in the gap with this story.

Linda

Okay, I almost gave up here. I have extreme difficulty reading those stupid stupid stupid verification code words.  But I really want to leave a comment so I will try again. 

I, like Dinah, thought that either Trip or T'Pol's in their love scene would turn into an energy being, because the energy beings seemed sneaky since the were not up front with their real purpose when they stopped the Xindi ship.  The medical mystery and its cause were quite clever.   

Honeybee

Oh, that's me (as Distracted) in the previous post. I meant to write it to her, but I signed it as her. ;)

Distracted

Perfect, Distracted! Very sensible. :) It's a good thing I don't have any sense, or Phlox wouldn't have gotten laid and had chance to wig TnT out just a little bit. :p

Distracted

Now you've got me thinking about how a physician would really solve this problem, and I've come to the conclusion that there wouldn't have been any sex involved.  Phlox needs to know why the aliens can't conceive.  So his first approach would probably have been an attempt at in-vitro fertilization under controlled circumstances in his laboratory with genetic material from the aliens themselves.  Given a succesful fertilization in the lab (and if the lab was on Enterprise and out of the field it would have been successful), he would have then transported the zygotes back to the station for implantation in their mothers.  As soon as they entered the field, poof.  No zygotes.  See?  He would have solved the problem.  No sex needed.  :D

pdsldl

I really love your stories and your writing style.  Liked that you got TnT together without any angst or arguments,  T'Pol admitting to her feelings and agreeing to pursue a relationship.

bluetiger

The timing of this was perfect. I always felt that T'Pol telling Trip her age was such a breakthrough that was ignored by the series. She was ready to let down some barriers. And boy did she in this. Always good to get some TnT lovin'. Great challenge responce.

Alelou

Cool story.  Interesting SF plot, good place to slip it into the canon, and angst-free noogie.  What's not to like?  Though Dinah's comment, "Dealing with shapeshifters can be so challenging" made me laugh.  It's true!

 

Honeybee

Dinah, that's a really cool idea! I never even thought of the shape shifters taking the shape of Trip or T'Pol for seduction purposes, which would have of course worked better than their plan. I just had a bee in my bonnet that the aliens seemed sinister but weren't really evil and wouldn't want to hurt anyone or rape anyone or something shady like that. And I wanted them to recognize that TnT were bonded, even though TnT don't realize it at this point. 

Dinah

Wow!  Lady Rainbow tossed you a challenge and you hit it out of the park!  I really enjoyed this.  Interesting aliens.  A medical mystery that had a bearing on the future of an entire species.  Phlox played a prominent part.  Travis got to sit in the big chair.  And Trip and T'Pol got to explore the many wonders of being a mated couple.

I must admit that I was suspicious at the beginning of the story, moreso, apparently, than T'Pol.  The aliens concern that Enterprise was being held against the will of the inhabitants was credible and creative, but they just seemed to be making a few too many demands.  I have to admit that I was briefly concerned that T'Pol was in the sack with Energy-Form Trip, while the real Trip was entertaining a T'Pol lookalike.  Fortunately that wasn't the case.  Dealing with shapeshifters can be so challenging.

Congratulations on a terrific solution to an interesting puzzle.

Honeybee

I agree, Distracted! I thought a lot about the details of Phlox's experiments - but since I'm not a doctor and my medical knowledge is limited,  I left them vague. Lady Rainbow originally lobbed this one at you, and I'd still love to see you do a medical mystery. And you are right on. I don't think Phlox was interested in the sex so much as the science. The fact that he's from a poly amorous species just meant he wasn't hung up about the sex part of it. That was probably just a bonus. 

Distracted

I liked this a lot.  I could've used more details about Phlox's testing methods, though.  And I don't mean prurient details.  I really think he would have gone about it in a scientific way.  He would have enjoyed himself thoroughly, but more because he was fascinated by the process, I think.

Silverbullet

Honeybee. You are a gifted writer. I  really enjoyed ths story.  Naturally the TnT was the best part for me. Liked the medical mystery and the part that Phlox played in it.  But the love story of TnT really set this story off.  Also, no Archer. 

Might I say that you write love stories well, humor and other types but I hope  you stick to those kind and leave the Angst filled, Dark stories to tohers.  Yo do write them well but I enjoy a happy Honeybee's writings much more.

 

 

panyasan

I enjoyed this very much, the only complaint I have: it was too short, I liked to have more interaction, but the interaction between TnT was good. I really liked the scene in Decon when T'Pol is musing about how simple it was to connect on a telepatic level and the teasing and the relaxed way TnT interacted.

Reanok

I really liked this story take place after Zero hour and the mystery of the aliens is well written. I like the fact these aliens weren't villans and needed Phlox'x help and that Travis also played a role was nice to see. I really enjoyed seeing Trip& T'Pol getting romantic time alone in this story.I enjoyed the Decon scene at the end.:D

Honeybee

You are so welcome, Annie. It was a real, legit challenge to come up with a medical mystery that involved first contact - but it was a fun challenge. So, thank you for making me write a plot-heavy piece that didn't involve TnT suffering. Warpgirl, I didn't want the aliens in the story to be evil because the two times we saw non-corporeal species on the show - they were both kind of evil. So these aliens aren't evil - just sort of desperate. 

Lady Rainbow

Thank you!!!! I enjoyed the medical mystery and Phlox's role in in, as well as Travis being in charge and getting to help in some way! :-)

And TnT! (Having it after Zero Hour means Archer isn't present. Wow.

Great response, Honeybee!

Annie 

Asso

There's a lot of things to like here. Definitely the plot is attractive and you made me happy, showing that you share my idea that, Vulcan or not (or probably just because T'Pol is Vulcan and, consequently, logical - maybe:p) it wasn't possible (LOGICAL) that, after Harbinger and in the light of their little trip to Vulcan, anything else happened between our lovebirds.;)
Anyway, and in short: VERY PLEASANT STORY. AS ALWAYS. :D

Aquarius

I could eat this with a spoon, it's so good.  I love the sci-fi medical mystery.  And the TnT stuff was just yummy!  Love that last Decon scene. Great challenge response.  :D

WarpGirl

Call me crazy but I was almost hoping the aliens were evil. This was pretty cool, it was like an actual episode. No wait it was better of course but the formula was very much like an episode. I have to say that personally I'm not one for characters getting intimate very quickly. Two no's and a yes just don't do it for me. But I'm always like that. I could have done with a little more communicatiom. But this was fun, almost irreverent. Good job.

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