Keep Your Enemies Closer

By Bluetiger

Rating: R

Genres: au

Keywords:

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Summary: A threat is discovered that could destroy the entire Tucker family.

Authors Note: There is a nod here to Transwarp's wonderful 'Those Odd Vulcan Names'

 


Charles Tucker the Third and his mate T'Pol were in the garden of their daughter's home. T'San and her husband Kelen were the new parents of a beautiful little boy they named Trace. The Tuckers had headed for their estate on Vulcan to be there in plenty of time for the birth. Trip had learned something about women. Be they human or Vulcan, at least in his family, they want their mothers close when they are giving birth. Both Trip and T'Pol had been anxious to see their first grandchild. Trip was inclined to look favorably on his son-in-law these days. After all, a man that could make his youngest daughter so content and help produce such a wonderful child couldn't be that bad.

Trip was sitting on a meditation bench. A pretty young Vulcan girl named T'Nar handed him his grandson. T'Nar was a member of their clan and had come to stay with T'San and Kelen as a nanny of sorts. She was coming to Earth with them to help with the baby and take a few classes at Berkley. T'Nar was anticipating her first trip to Earth with pleasure, she found humans fascinating. Trip smiled at the young girl as he took the cooing baby. T'Nar returned to the house to help T'San with the evening meal preparations.

Trip held the baby close and rubbed his cheek against the baby's brown hair, "We're leaving soon, little man, but in a few weeks your mom and dad are bringing you to Earth. All of us are working on a big new warp engine. Maybe some day you'll be captain of a starship."

"Trip, isn't it a little early to surmise what career path Trace will chose?" T'Pol was on her knees tending to the plants. Gardening had recently become a favorite pastime for T'Pol. It seemed to make her feel closer to her late mother. She had fond memories of watching T'Les tending the family vegetable garden.

"I know. Trace could choose Starfleet, science, teaching, or the arts. I just want him to be happy." Trip gently rocked the tiny bundle. "It's been a while since I've held a baby. You know, I think I'll have a talk with T'Resa and Morgan when we get back. We sure could use a few more grandbabies."

T'Pol turned to face her husband raising her eyebrow, "I think our other children will know when they are ready to reproduce...however, more grandchildren is not an unpleasant thought."

Stepping out into the garden, T'San took a seat beside Trip. Although she showed no emotion, he could feel good humor emanating from his daughter. "Well Father, does he meet with your approval?"

Trip looked at the child solemnly, "Indeed he does daughter." He then broke into a huge grin, blew on his grandson's tummy until he elicited a laugh from the baby. "Indeed he does."

Back at their estate, Trip and T'Pol were lying nude in bed together. Trip's preference was always to sleep naked whenever possible, but especially on Vulcan where the nights were so warm. This was going to be their last night on Vulcan since they intended to catch a ride back to Earth in the morning.

T'Pol lay on her left side with her head on Trip's right shoulder. She was idly running her fingers through his chest hair. "Will you be glad to return home tomorrow?"

Her husband smiled, "I learned something a long time ago. Whether we were on Enterprise, Vulcan, or Earth, as long as I have you in my mind, in my heart, and sharing my bed, I'm home."

T'Pol was amazed and moved by her husband's ability to express his feelings. He was capable of such simple but heartfelt sentiments. He said what was in his heart, never trying to 'butter her up' as the saying went. However, tonight she decided to tease him a little. "Are you trying to use your southern charm so that you may have your way with me?"

"And if I was, would it be working?"

T'Pol slid up to straddle the man she had loved for so many years, "Indeed it is."

The beautiful Vulcan woman leaned down kissing her husband deeply, sliding against his familiar flesh. The feeling of his wife's skin against his was as exciting as the first time.

As he thrust inside his wife in a familiar yet always exhilarating motion Trip breathed in her ear, "Now I'm home."

 


 

Kelen was taking his in-laws to catch their transport back to Earth. Not surprisingly it had been a very pleasant visit. Kelen was basking in the health of his wife and new child, while his father-in-law seemed to have mysteriously developed some affection for him. At least Admiral Tucker had stopped giving him the 'death glare'. He was more likely now to see the smile that so often came to the Admiral's face. Charles Tucker was a man of contradictions, but a man that Kelen admired.

Trip and T'Pol hitched a ride on a Starfleet ship headed back to Earth. As they settled into their cabin, the proud grandfather could still smell the scent of his grandson clinging to his clothes. Vulcan names did not always translate well to Earth Standard, Trip chuckled, occasionally they ranged from pornographic to down right hilarious. Several ambassadors had to alter their names to prevent being continuously snickered at. T'San and Kelen had named their son after Kelen's late father and T'San had insisted that he also bear the name Tucker in honor of her father. Trace Tucker was unusual to say the least but Trip was sure that one day that name would be well known.

Trip and T'Pol had not been aboard very long before, as usual, Trip was hungry.

"T'Pol, is the messhall on B or C deck on this class ship?"

"I will inquire." T'Pol stepped to the computer port. "Computer, location of messhall?"

From the computer came T'Pol's own voice replying to the question, "The messhall is located on C deck section 35."

Admiral Tucker tried but could not suppress his laughter as he saw his wife grit her teeth. He threw his hands up.

"Don't blame me; he's your son too."

"While I am pleased with my son for coming up with the voice activated protocols used in all Starfleet vessels, why Morgan found it necessary to use my voice for his computer interface I will never understand," T'Pol huffed.

 


 

Sage Cruz scanned the beach for her target. She had arrived on Risa this morning. After checking in and greasing the palm of the concierge, Sage now knew her quarry had headed to the beachfront bar. The individual she was assigned to get close to was nowhere in sight. The young woman knew that she was getting her share of glances from the men. Sage was confident that her long black hair, well toned body, and rich tan would stand up well against any female on the beach.

Suddenly a man rose from the water. Sage's immediate thought was 'that is the most gorgeous man I have ever seen'. He was six foot or better and the water was running down his muscled chest through a mat of hair. The wet trunks showed a hint of a damn fine looking behind. She was on the verge of looking away to resume her search when he reached with both hands to brush his dripping dark brown hair from his face. When the wet hair was smoothed back Sage saw the pointed ears and gasped. Commander Morgan Tucker's file photo gave no hint of the glorious, near naked man before her. She quickly decided that this was going to be an interesting assignment.

 


 

The Tucker's were finally back in San Francisco. Due to their extended absence there was no food in the house. They didn't really relish going back out but it was too late to shop so Trip and T'Pol headed for a nearby café.

Trip was really enjoying his meal; this was one of his favorite restaurants. They had an excellent chef. T'Pol commented that the vegetarian dishes were especially well done tonight. As they were about to finish their meal a man stepped up to their table. Wearing a non-descript suit, he was short with balding gray hair.

"Admiral Tucker, Lady T'Pol may I have a word with you?"

It wasn't unusual for the Tuckers to be approached by the curious and while T'Pol was always gracious, Trip knew that she was tired and in need of meditation.

"I'm sorry, my wife needs to rest. Perhaps..."

"Admiral, this is very important. Let me introduce myself, my name is Davis Penderson."

The owner and founder of Pendragon Computer was what would have been called in the old days, a computer geek. His innovations in the miniaturization of formerly massive super computers made him respected and very wealthy. His company was currently working in conjunction with Starfleet on designing the computers for the Warp 9 Constitution Class Heavy Cruiser. In fact Davis Penderson and Morgan Tucker were the most celebrated designers of computers on Earth, and very good friends.

Trip stood and extended his hand, "It's a pleasure Mr. Penderson, my son has spoken of you many times."

T'Pol spoke indicating a chair, "Please be seated Mr. Penderson."

Both men sat. "Please call me Davis. To get right to the point, I was approached a while back by people that claimed to be an off-world consortium. They offered me an ungodly sum to relocate and work for them. I do have interests on other worlds, Vulcan for instance, however my company is not for sale. They took my refusal with very bad grace. A short while later I was the victim of a kidnapping attempt. Fortunately for me, these men made me so nervous I had hired a staff of bodyguards. Obviously the attempt was thwarted. Even though they were masked and spoke a language I didn't understand I heard them speak two names I recognized. T'Pol and Charles Tucker."

"Have you told the authorities about this?" T'Pol questioned.

"I told the investigators from Starfleet security about hearing your names assuming that you would be informed. I tried to contact you but was told you were off world. I was shocked to look up and see you having dinner here, but I wanted to make sure you two knew what was going on."

Trip was fuming, "We have just recently returned. Starfleet hasn't told us anything about this and I'm damn sure gonna find out why."

"One more thing Admiral, one of the kidnappers was killed by my bodyguard. Starfleet security took the body and refuses to give me any information."

Trip looked at his wife, "Well they're sure as hell gonna tell us!"

 


 

Morgan walked up the beach and grabbed a towel off the stack supplied for hotel guests. His vacation on Risa was, so far, all he had hoped for. Thanks to his father, swimming was one of Morgan's favorite pastimes. Since tourism was the planet's main product, the waters and beaches were scrupulously maintained.

Sliding onto a bar stool Morgan nodded to Redwin the jovial bartender and ordered a Risan Sunrise. While alcohol flowed freely at all hours here, for him it was way too early for more than this fruit juice and tea combination. A sultry female voice spoke from beside him.

"I'll have the same."

The commander turned to see a very attractive woman with long dark hair, wearing a yellow bathing suit sitting next to him.

"Are you enjoying the water?" she asked with a friendly smile.

"It's great, the temperature is perfect, and so much sea life to observe and the coral formations are amazing."

"I agree. This is one of my favorite places to dive... Sage Cruz," The woman held out her hand. Suddenly her smile faded. "I'm sorry do Vulcans shake hands?"

Morgan gave a slight smile, "Some do, some don't, but I'd be honored." Taking her hand in a firm grip he added, "Morgan Tucker."

"Ah, the son of Earth's most famous couple. Well that explains a lot. I didn't think you seemed like a typical Vulcan."

"What do you mean?"

The lovely woman gave him a sideways glance, "I had just always assumed that Vulcans wouldn't be so fond of the water and if you'll pardon me, all that gorgeous chest hair doesn't seem very Vulcan either."

Morgan laughed, "Yeah, while I did get my Mom's ears, many of my other physical characteristics come from my Dad."

"Speaking for the female population, I'd like to commend Admiral Tucker for his fine work."

The commander had been flirted with plenty in his life. Usually he didn't take it seriously but he decided that spending some time with this beautiful woman would be an interesting diversion. Hell, he was on vacation after all.

"Since you seem to know so much about me, why don't we talk about you for a while?" Morgan signaled the bartender, "Redwin, two more of the same."

 


 

The Tuckers returned home after assuring Davis Penderson that they would contact him when they gathered more information.

"Well T'Pol, I guess we both know who we need to contact at Starfleet. The only person I'm sure will give us the truth."

"Indeed, I will put in the call to David Reed."

David and Stuart Reed were the twin sons of Malcolm and Helen Reed. Stuart was named for his paternal grandfather and David had been named for Malcolm's good friend from his Section 31 days, David Bates-Smith. Stuart had trained at, and eventually took over his father's academy for covert operatives. Major Stuart Reed was the commander of 'Reed's Raiders' as they eventually became known, much to Malcolm's chagrin. David had followed his father's original path and joined Starfleet. His passion was also security and his father lived to see him become the head of Starfleet security. The brothers were at times forced into friendly rivalry when both had teams involved with the same mission. Malcolm would have spun in his grave to see his twin son's growl at each other over whose men were the best trained. Somewhere the ghost of Major Hayes was laughing his ass off.

The connection was established and the face of Commander Reed appeared. Trip forgot how much Malcolm's sons favored him.

"Admiral, I've been expecting a call from you for several days now. Your family has the unique ability to always know what's going on, no matter how secret it is," David commented wearing his father's smirk.

"David, can you explain to me why my family is in potential danger and you didn't inform me and T'Pol?"

"There was nothing to tell until just now Admiral. The autopsy on Mr. Penderson's assailant was completed this morning. I assure you that we put surveillance on each member of your family as soon as the threat was realized."

"Commander, that is inadequate. We are able to take care of ourselves but must be in possession of the facts to do so." T'Pol Tucker was an intimidating figure when her family was involved.

"Quite right Lady T'Pol, my apologies. Our intelligence has heard rumblings that there is unrest on the Klingon homeworld. They seem to see our Constitution Class cruisers as an act of aggression. The Klingons are taking the tack that we are gearing up for war in ten years."

Trip broke in, "That's ridiculous, just because our technology advances doesn't mean we want to rule the universe."

David laughed, "We're talking about a race that lives by the 'he who has the biggest stick' philosophy."

"Commander Reed, is conjecture the only evidence you have tying the Klingons to the kidnapping attempt on Davis Penderson?" T'Pol could also sense her husband's skepticism.

David looked at the faces of two of his father's dearest friends, "It was . . . until this morning when the body of the kidnapper turned out to be a Klingon surgically altered to look human."

 


 

Over the course of several days, Morgan learned that Sage was a lawyer and had come to Risa to celebrate closing a big deal. She was from southern California and had been diving all her life. The couple rented diving gear every morning. Morgan and Sage spent enjoyable days exploring the off-shore reefs. In the afternoon they would try Risa's other entertainments, such as golf and horseback riding. Morgan had to admit that the beautiful animals were pretty darn close to a horse, except for the green coat. Sage Cruz turned out to be a wonderful companion; she was incredibly smart, had a wicked sense of humor, and was game for any kind of athletic pursuit. Today's activities had included some rock climbing. They agreed to get cleaned up and meet later in the hotel bar to have dinner.

Morgan was standing at the bar. He had opted for slacks, sport coat and an open neck blue shirt. As with many men, he hated ties. A boisterous couple came up beside him and began to order drinks. They had the appearance of typical tourists. The man was shorter than Morgan and beefy while his companion was a long-legged, model type. The giggling, blond woman looked up and her face registered shock.

"Oh my God, do you know who this is, Chet! This is Commander Tucker, you know, the son of those Enterprise officers. You know the engineer and the Vulcan woman."

"Are you sure, Wanda?"

"Of course I am. I saw his picture on the cover of 'Hotties of Starfleet' last month." Wanda giggled again and sidled up beside Morgan. "This is so exciting. Commander, can we buy you a drink?"

Morgan was about to politely refuse when he saw Sage walking toward him wearing a strapless black cocktail dress. She came to his side and stretched up to kiss his cheek.

"Shall we have dinner here in the hotel restaurant?" Sage asked threading her arm through Morgan's.

Chet spoke up, "I have a better idea, Wanda, let's buy the Commander and his lady friend dinner."

Chet stuck his hand out to Sage, "Chet and Wanda Callahan from Big Lick, Montana. This is our first trip to Risa. I promised Wanda here, that I'd bring her for our anniversary. It sure is good to see some people from Earth. We won't take no for an answer, will we Wanda?"

Wanda proceeded to put her hand on Morgan's other arm, giving him the once over with hooded eyes. "Darn right we won't, Chet."

Sage turned an icy glare on the willowy blond woman.

 


 

"We need information David, this is a secure channel."

"Admiral, we have known there was a Klingon sleeper cell on Earth for the last several years. We couldn't get anyone close to them, but we recently received information that a plan was about to be implemented. Unfortunately we didn't know of their interest in Mr. Penderson, you and T'Pol until they made their move. We have more information now and, as I said, we have people watching all of your family."

"First thing in the morning we'll head straight for your office, David. We intend to be involved with the capture of these people."

"I would not have expected less, Admiral. I'll be waiting for you. Please reassure Mr. Penderson that we are on top of things but don't give him any information that might alert the Klingon cell. If they scatter now, it will be impossible to identify them and stop their plan."

 


 

It turned out that getting out of dinner with the Callahan's was not possible. The gregarious couple bulldozed over all objections. So Morgan and Sage spent the evening hearing about Chet's used groundcar empire and how Wanda had been runner-up Miss Montana only because the girl that won was sleeping with a judge.

While Sage appeared about ready to pull her hair out, Morgan had found the down-home couple to be quite entertaining, in small doses. They were finally able to escape after pleading fatigue, although the Callahan's promised to look them up tomorrow.

Sage suggested a moonlight stroll on the beach. They talked about their work, where they grew up, and families. Sage was raised by her single father in coastal California. It was very late or very early when they headed back to their rooms. Morgan took her key card and swiped it. Turning, he found his arms suddenly full of very beautiful woman. Morgan ran one hand through the silky black hair and used the other to pull her in close. He leaned down taking her lips in a gentle kiss. She responded by devouring his mouth and thrusting her tongue inside.

 


 

Early the next morning the Tucker's were eager to get to Starfleet headquarters. Before they left, Trip put in a call to Davis Penderson assuring him that an investigation was indeed underway and they were in the loop. This seemed to put him more at ease.

Commander David Reed welcomed the Tuckers to his office.

"To get down to business, we know the identity of two of the cell members. George Helms has been a maintenance worker here at Starfleet for the last two years. We spotted him in a random bio-scan soon after he started. Apparently the Klingons didn't know we scan for alien physiology as well as biological explosives here in Starfleet headquarters. After what happened on Enterprise in the expanse, my father was determined we be on guard against explosives being brought in hidden in live bodies. Helms in turn led us to a waitress at the Bayview Coffee Shop several blocks from headquarters. Sharon Turner is supposedly his girlfriend, so one of my security officers scanned her soon after we made Helms. Both are definitely Klingons."

Trip frowned, "Dammit, we probably have lunch at the Bayview a couple times a week when we're working at Starfleet labs."

"How much of their plan have you managed to glean from these Klingon agents?" T'Pol wanted to know.

"Not very much. They have been under constant surveillance but never meet others in person. We knew something was about to happen. Sharon Turner's comm traffic picked up just before the kidnap attempt on Penderson, and has doubled since then. Unfortunately we haven't been able to break their coded transmissions. If we bring one or both of them in for questioning that will definitely alert the rest of the cell. They may not surface again for years. We have no idea what consequences that might have. We have managed to identify the kidnapper's body. His name was Robert Andrews, a construction worker here in town. He had no criminal record and seemed to get on well with his coworkers. We have not been able to connect him to anyone else. They have done an excellent job of keeping their identities secret and contact with each other to a minimum. Starfleet has no idea how many Klingon agents are among us."

Trip and T'Pol looked at each other, neither spoke a word. David had heard stories from his father of the Tucker's silent communications but never expected to see it.

Trip turned to David, "My wife has an idea. If we can get Helms alone, T'Pol can do a mind meld, find out what their plan is and then remove the incident from his mind and send him back to work."

"Can she do that?"

Trip smiled, "Oh, you'd be surprised what all T'Pol can do."

 


 

Morgan woke up and realized three things. He was feeling very relaxed, he was not in his own room, and there was a warm body plastered up against him.

Sage began to stir. "Good morning," she purred, giving him a mega-watt smile. She leaned up giving Morgan a big kiss, and then rolled across him to the other side of the bed and to her feet. The beautiful nude woman walked to the computer and pulled up the breakfast menu, sub-section: Earth foods. "I'm starving, how about you. Oh look they have pancakes with maple syrup, what would you like, I'm ordering both tea and coffee..."

Morgan began to laugh, "I have never seen anyone wake up so hyper or hungry."

"I'll have you know that I expended a serious amount of energy last night."

Morgan raised an eyebrow, "Indeed you did."

Sage ran over and pounced on the young man in her bed, "Ooh that was so Vulcan. I should write a research paper, Sage Cruz solves age old mystery. I finally have the answer to a question that women all over the galaxy have been curious about."

"Do tell."

"Vulcan men have always been such a mystery, no one seems to know much about their physical attributes. There's been speculation, even two infamous rumors going around for a very long time, one of which is that Vulcan men have a forked penis, you know like a snakes tongue." She proceeded to flick her tongue in and out quickly.

Morgan flipped her over and kissed her deeply. He rubbed his hands up and down her sides and across her breast. "Exactly how hungry are you?"

She smiled, "I'll live for another hour or so."

As the amorous couple began to make love Morgan stopped, frowned and looked Sage in the eyes, "What's the other rumor?"

"That Vulcan men are incredibly well endowed." She gave him a sly smile, "It's nice to know that some rumors have a basis in fact."

"There's one problem with your research dear, I'm only half Vulcan. Your information is invalid because as I told you, many of my physical characteristics come from my human father."

The lovely young woman made a face, "Crap, so much for my cover story in Science Weekly. However it does explain something else."

"What would that be?"

"Why your mother was the first Vulcan to marry a human. She obviously had the intelligence to know a good thing when she got her hands on it."

 


 

George Helms was going about his routine chores when a call came in from the supervisor's office. Some clumsy officer had spilled coffee all over the main conference room carpet. Gathering up the equipment he needed, George headed that way.

He had been on Earth for many years working at different jobs until he finally got a coveted position working in maintenance at Starfleet. George rather enjoyed his life. He had some human friends and particularly enjoyed going to Earth movies and bowling. Bowling was the best. Sharon was also a long time resident but was not quite as content. He knew that she thought he was weak but George secretly liked these people and didn't think they were a threat. Sharon on the other hand was very militant and seemed very pleased that things were finally coming to a head.

Entering the room in question, Helms put down his equipment and turned to look for the stain. He flinched as he came face to face with the beautiful Vulcan woman, T'Pol.

George gave a slight laugh, "Sorry ma'am, I didn't realize anyone was in here." He then noticed Admiral Charles Tucker and Commander David Reed step around the corner. Helms started to back up easing away from the group. He gave them a nervous smile, "What's going on here?"

Trip pulled a phase pistol from behind his back, "That's what we intend to find out."

Helms was aware that Reed had stepped behind him but was more concerned about the pistol in Tucker's hand. Commander Reed pulled George's hands behind him and snapped on a pair of restraints. Reed then pulled a chair out from under the table and forced him to sit.

"Are you guy's nuts? I don't know what you think you're doing but I haven't done anything."

"Maybe not yet Mr. Helms, but if you plan to . . . we need to know about it," David Reed whispered in his ear.

T'Pol pulled a second chair in front of the bound man, "You two will need to remain silent while I establish a connection to his mind. Then you may softly ask questions."

As T'Pol raised her right hand toward the left side of his face, George tried to struggle away.

"You can't do this; you have no right."

The Vulcan woman grabbed his chin, "It has come to my attention that you and your comrades may pose a threat to my family."

There was no hint of emotion on the Vulcan woman's face but George had never seen so much anger in someone's eyes, the phrase 'if looks could kill' came to mind.

A chill ran down his spine as she placed her fingers on his face.

"If harm should come to any one of them because of you, you will beg me for death...now relax. My mind to your mind."

 


 

Risa was a very unique world, with nearly the entire planet geared toward tourism; they had a resort area in every climate you could possibly desire. All snow sports were available and their deserts were renowned for their beauty. People coming to Risa were scanned by the most advanced equipment available. All people disembarking were scanned for communicable diseases and weapons. Risa was a pleasure planet and very good at what it did. Crime was rare but the occasional robbery seemed unavoidable and there was a small black market for illegal weapons. Unlike say Rigel ten, murder was unheard of on Risa.

Morgan was sitting on a woven mat in his camp meditating. The sun beating down on his bare back warmed him to his core. It had always been a part of his plan to take several days of his vacation and spend them in the desert. Morgan's bond to his family hummed as he sat alone in the arid sands. It was not nearly as strong as he assumed a mate bond would be, but in the back of his mind, he knew his parents and sisters were well.

T'Pol insisted that all her children train with her in hand to hand combat and maintain their Vulcan desert survival skills. Going out into the desert was something that brought Morgan a great deal of peace. He was proud of his Vulcan heritage and felt a great kinship with his mother's people. The young Vulcan/Human man had very little with him, a mat and blanket, plus the hunting knife that had to be turned in when he left the reserve. It was allowed for self defense, although there were few predators. He preferred to live off the land and the knife would come in handy to cut up the plants he would survive on. Even on Risa, he was well aware of which roots and plants were edible. The hardest thing had been to convince Sage to stay behind."What do you mean I can't go?"

Morgan half expected her to stamp her foot, she had such a pout on her face.

"You have to understand, this was planned long before I met you. I spend so much time in laboratories that my skills get rusty. If it ever gets to the point that I can't go out in the desert and survive with nothing but my wits, my mom will kick my butt."

"But we've had so little time alone. Chet and Wanda have become impossible to avoid. It seems that everywhere we go the Callahan's are not far behind." Sage huffed with distain.

Morgan laughed out loud, "They are everywhere aren't they? Oh come on, they're harmless and actually pretty entertaining."

"I think they're pests and the sooner they return to Earth, the better."

Morgan pulled her into his arms and gave her bottom a smack, "Be nice."

"Well if you're leaving in the morning for three or four days, I'm not sharing. You're going to be all mine tonight."

As the young man eased out of meditation, he remembered that night with a smile. Sage could really be a handful but he was finding her very pleasant company. Suddenly his ears caught a noise. Something was approaching.

 


 

T'Pol found the mind of George Helms to be a swirling mass of conflicting thoughts. He was clearly terrified of what she was doing but she didn't sense true hatred in him. His mind was indoctrinated with the fear of Human conquest of his people but T'Pol also sensed that he had doubts about the propaganda he had been fed all his life.

Trip and David Reed sat close by but remained silent as T'Pol began her questioning.

"You are Klingon?"

"Yes."

"What is your true name?"

"Gowret."

"Tell me of your comrades."

"We have been in training since our youth to infiltrate Earth. They raised and trained us on a colony world. Our teachers were scholars of Earth history and customs, and then we had warriors for the combat training. Twelve of us were selected for this mission and brought to Earth over the course of a year, that was several years ago. We have lived and worked among you since then."

"Tell me what your ultimate goal is."

"Our leaders fear the power of Humans. They feel that with the new class of ships you are designing, conquest of the Klingon home world will be your first priority. There are six targets, two agents per target. We have worked to get as close as possible to our assigned individual."

Trip spoke softly, "Who are the targets?"

Gowret took a deep breath, "Admiral Tucker, T'Pol, Morgan Tucker, Davis Penderson, T'San Tucker, and her husband Kelen."

T'Pol took over, "Why were these persons targeted?"

"All of them are working in high level positions on the designs for the heavy cruisers. Warp engines, computers, and advanced sensors, their deaths would effectively cripple the program for at least a decade."

"What of my eldest daughter, T'Resa Tucker?"

"The ambassador? She is viewed as inconsequential, merely a politician. We have no interest in her."

"What is your plan?"

"All of our agents are in position. We are awaiting the arrival in a few days of Kelen and T'San from Vulcan. We will act in a coordinated attack. All of the victims will be taken out simultaneously here on Earth. The only exception in the plan is the unexpected vacation of Morgan Tucker. Those assigned to kill him have been dispatched to Risa."

David Reed asked the next question, "Tell us about the kidnapping attempt on Davis Penderson."

"Originally it was hoped that we could play on Human greed and entice some of the targets to work for us. When Penderson refused our offer, two of our agents panicked and tried to kidnap him. When one of them was killed, it was decided to move up our time table and simply kill all the targets before we were discovered."

"When exactly are the attacks to begin and what are the names of your comrades?" T'Pol was focused on her meld but some of Trip's anger was bleeding in to her senses.

"We were delivered to Earth two at a time. I only know Sharon Turner or Sathra. We are given instructions by coded comm messages. Our instructions will arrive shortly before the attack is to begin."

T'Pol increased her focus, "Now that you are short one assassin, how will this affect your plans?"

"He has been replaced. By the one who helped us when we arrived. I don't know anymore."

David Reed stepped in close, "How are the murders to be accomplished?"

"We will be given the particulars when the time comes. I have heard that when T'San and Kelen are taken out, the child and its nurse are not a target however if they becomes collateral damage that is considered acceptable."

Trip was seething with anger. "Who are you and Sathra suppose to kill?" he growled.

"T'Pol Tucker," was the calm reply.

Trip had an overpowering urge to tear this man's head off.

T'Pol spoke again, "I sense that you enjoy your interactions with Humans and do not believe that they intend to conquer your world. Why are you doing this?"

"If I did otherwise, I would lose my honor."

Trip reached over to the table and grabbed a cup of coffee pouring it onto the carpet, "Wipe that bastard's memory and let's get out of here."

As George Helms, in blissful ignorance of what had just occurred, cleaned the coffee stain he thought of tonight. 'I will crush the Humans; after all I am by far the superior bowler.'

 


 

The Tuckers and David had returned to Commander Reed's office. He had great respect for Trip and T'Pol. They could certainly handle themselves as evidenced by the fact that they had survived so much already.

"Well, how do you two wish to proceed?" David did not intend to turn over security to them, after all he was his father's son, but he certainly wanted their input.

"Our children must be apprised of the situation. I have every confidence that they can continue to comport themselves as if nothing has occurred."

"I agree with T'Pol on this. All of us can continue our regular routines and not alert the Klingon agents that we know what's up. But, Davis is another matter. He is already so spooked that I'm afraid he might give the game away."

David nodded in agreement, "We should not tell Mr. Penderson the details. He has private security surrounding him but more to the point, I have four of my men watching him. I am confident of his safety. I am much more concerned about T'San's family. It seems that nothing will happen until they reach Earth, but can we bet their lives on it?"

Trip blew out a deep breath, "T'Pol and I have the beginnings of a plan. Even though we spend a good deal of time at Starfleet, we better head home before anyone thinks this was more than a friendly visit. Give us the details of who you have watching all of us and I'll call you from home after I speak to our children."

 


 

The faces of Kelen and T'San remained impassive as with all Vulcans, but Trip could see their agitation at the thought of a threat to their family.

"Honey, when are you guys scheduled to leave Vulcan?"

"Our transport leaves in the morning, Father."

"This is what we want you to do. Since you're coming on a private Vulcan ship, crew it with our clan members. Nothing is suppose to happen before you reach Earth but your Mom and me don't want any strangers around you two, T'Nar and the baby before you get here. Just before you reach our system we want you to rendezvous with a small shuttle, off the record of course. I'll code you the coordinates, here's the plan...

 


 

Morgan was aware that he was being followed. Several individuals were trailing him but staying just out of range. Suddenly the young man's communicator began to softly beep. Morgan had set it to the secured emergency band, not wanting to be disturbed during his desert retreat. This call could only be from a member of his family since no one else had the override code but them.

Years ago Morgan had gone on a similar retreat into Death Valley on Earth. He had not taken a communicator. When his parents found out, he was subjected to a long lecture and the accompanying story of how his Dad had been severely injured in a motorcycle crash and it had taken Mom forever to find him. Although his father's communicator had been destroyed, he got the message and now kept one with him for emergencies. He simply fixed it so that he would not be bothered by people wishing to 'shoot the breeze' so to speak.

As Morgan dug among the few items in his pack, he realized that this was not good. Something had to be up. Finding the item in question, he flipped it open, "Morgan here."

T'Pol Tucker's voice answered, "Son, what exactly is your location at this time and is anyone with you?"

"I'm out in the desert on the southern continent, Mom, at the Blacara Reserve. I came to do some survival training and I am alone."

T'Pol quickly and concisely filled her son in on what they knew of the plot against the family and his friend Davis Penderson. He was in total agreement that they needed to maintain their routines and draw these Klingon assassins out into the open. If they allowed the 'rats' to scurry underground they could be a threat for years to come. She told Morgan that his Father was speaking to T'San even now and of the plan they had devised. T'Pol gave him the details of who David Reed had assigned to protect him.

"Your plan is indeed well thought out, Mother. I can't decide if I should return to my hotel or extend my stay in the desert. I'm more out in the open here, but there is less chance of civilians getting caught up in the fight."

"We need to consider this matter in detail my son and decide on our best course of action."

"Call me back in eight hours and we will compare strategies. There is something I need to do tonight. You and Dad stay safe, Mother."

"And you as well my Son."

Morgan stowed his communicator in his pack and settled down to meditate for a few hours. He had much to consider and a task to perform tonight.

 


 

T'Pol walked into the living room of her home. She observed Trip lying on the couch. He looked drained from the stress. T'Pol came over to him and stood until he lifted his feet. She sat down and took his feet into her lap. T'Pol pulled his boots off and began to rub Trip's feet.

"Husband, we have done all we can for now. All that remains is to wait for the attempts and stay as alert as possible."

Trip rubbed his eyes with both hands and then placed his hands behind his head, "I know, we've been warned and that gives us a big advantage but still..."

"You would feel better if you could be preemptive."

"Yeah I would. Sitting and waiting for something to happen has never been my strong suit." Trip sat up and eased over to rest his head on his wife's shoulder placing an arm around her waist, "Part of me wants to grab the phase pistol out of our safe and blow George Helms and Sharon Turner to hell right now for even thinking of touching you."

T'Pol nuzzled her cheek in his soft hair, "While I appreciate the thought, we both know that patience is needed if we are to eliminate this threat."

Sighing, Trip snuggled even closer, "I know but if any of my family gets so much as a scratch, these Klingons will be sorry for generations to come that they messed with the Tuckers."

 


 

Sergeant Roberts crawled on his belly to the edge of the dune. He used his binoculars to peer down on Tucker's camp. Tapping the transmitter attached to his ear, he spoke to his partner.

"Tucker seems to have turned in for the night. I can see him under his blanket by the fire."

"I'll relieve you in four hours. Madison out."

Lieutenant Eric Madison and Sergeant Steve Roberts of Starfleet security had been on Risa for several days. Commander Reed had ordered them there to protect Morgan Tucker. Originally they stayed at Tucker's hotel, keeping a watchful eye on him and that hot woman he had taken up with. Roberts smiled to himself. Tucker sure did know how to have a good time. He had to admit though; he wasn't sure what fun there was in leaving that gorgeous woman at the hotel and coming out here to swelter in the heat, but to each his own.

By the time Roberts felt the hairs on his neck raise and flipped over onto his back, it was too late. Morgan Tucker was on top of him with his hunting knife pointed up under his chin.

"Quickly, who are you?"

"There's no need for that Sir, I'm here to protect you."

The knife pressed harder under Robert's chin drawing a drop of blood.

"I said name."

"Sergeant Roberts, Sir and my partner is Lieutenant Madison."

Morgan eased the knife back slightly, "Ok, so far so good. What is the code?"

"The recognition code is 'Vulcan's rule', Sir." Roberts began to smile as the knife left his throat. "Commander Reed said it was something about an arm wrestling match you two had once."

Tucker grabbed his hand and pulled Roberts to his feet, "Yep, at a Tucker family picnic in our younger days, I made David say that when I won. He didn't want to believe that Vulcans were that much stronger that humans. Let's go get your partner and have a talk about this situation."

They trudged across the sand for a while until curiosity got the best of Roberts, "Commander Tucker, how did you manage to sneak up on me like that? I never had my eyes off you for more than a few minutes."

Morgan grinned, "I knew I was being watched so I had some brush ready to put under my blanket. I simply waited for an opportunity."

"But how did you know?" Roberts looked totally confused.

"Even half-Vulcans have a heighten sense of smell. When you were relieving yourself I picked up the scent of urine. I figured you would be occupied for a few minutes."

Roberts shook his head and smiled, "Damn, you're good."

"I learned from the best. My mother was one of the greatest covert operatives ever. She has taught all of us Vulcan martial arts, as well as all she knows about tracking prey. When we were kids, my parents would take us camping at least once a year and Mother would have us track our father after he had a couple hours head start. The one who found him first got a reward. My sister and I were very competitive. One time it took two days, but I tracked Dad twenty miles and was the first to find him."

"What did you win?"

"My reward was getting to pick the movie we watched that night, but the real prize was beating my big sister T'Resa for the first time. Man, I still remember how good that felt."

"How old were you?"

Morgan thought for a moment, "I was nine that year."

Roberts cleared his throat, "You've been tracking since before you were nine! Ok, now I don't feel quite so bad."

 


 

Kelen walked into his cabin on the 'Vulcan's Heart'. Although it was satisfying to have their clan at the controls, a sense of unease still filled his mind. The memory of the wife and child Kelen lost so long ago left a bitter sting in his soul. He knew that if anything were to happen to T'San and his newborn son there would be no possibility of his surviving the experience mentally intact. The bond he felt with T'San was like nothing he had felt before. In his previous marriage no bond had formed with his frail little wife but her death in childbirth had nearly undone him. He looked at T'San holding his son, Trace. She was so robust and full of life. They worked together, sparred with each other, and mated with passion. Kelen knew that he would give his life in an instant for these two beings.

He moved across the room to his wife, "We are nearing the Sol system; the shuttle will be in range shortly."

"My parent's plan will ensure the safety of our child," T'San said holding the baby close breathing in his scent.

"This is true but what of you, my wife?"

T'San extended two fingers toward her husband which he caressed with two of his own, "I have trained all my life, as a matter of course, to be able to protect myself. We will not allow these dissidents to have control of us, Husband."

"Intellectually I understand this T'San, however if anything were to happen to you..."

"I strived my entire life to follow the Vulcan way. It has brought me a peace that I would not trade. However, I also have the blood of my Father coursing through my body. He would say 'let the bastards do their worst, they will be sorry that they messed with the Tuckers'."

Kelen raised his eyebrow, "And may I say your father has quite the way with words."

"Indeed, you should hear him when he hits his thumb with a hammer."

The comm in their quarters sounded. The shuttle was docking and they were required at the airlock. The couple stepped to T'Nar's quarters and handed off the baby before heading to the docking port. The airlock finished its cycle and the door opened. A woman stepped through and enveloped T'San in a hug.

At the age of five when T'San had announced her intention of living her life as a Vulcan, the family supported her unconditionally. Not showing her emotions seemed to give her a keen insight into other people's. It did not take long for the little girl to realize that while the family was behind her one hundred percent, an aspect of her philosophy was causing them pain, especially her Father. The family had gathered outside on the deck of their home after dinner one evening. Young T'San had marched up to Trip, who was sitting in the swing with T'Pol.

"Father, as you are aware, Vulcans as a rule do not touch others. I realize that you are trying to adhere to these rules for my sake. I consider my Mother to be an admirable Vulcan in every way. Having observed her behavior with our family, I see no reason that my parents and siblings may not continue to give me hugs. In fact I would be content to be greeted with these hugs from my family for the rest of my life."

Trip reached down and enveloped his baby girl in his arms. It was a concession to her Human side that T'San never regretted making.

The woman released T'San, stepping back and raising her hand to give Kelen the traditional salute.

He repeated the gesture, "T'Resa, you honor us with your presence."

T'San's older sister nodded and dropped her hand, "I only wish it were under different circumstances," was her grim reply. "Let's go somewhere quiet and I'll fill you in on the arrangements I've made. Then I want to hold my nephew," she said with the first hint of a smile.

They proceeded back to the couple's quarters. T'Resa spread the identification papers on the table, "These verify T'Nar's identity as T'Pem, wife of engineer Telkis and mother to baby Ritzen. We have secured them quarters on Jupiter station. They are due to arrive there tomorrow for several weeks of vacation. Is everything set on this end?"

Kelen nodded, "Yes, T'Nar's older brother was eager to assist us in protecting his sister and our son. He will assume the guise of her mate and keep them both well protected."

"Good, I have a brown wig and with a darker makeup, I should pass for T'Nar. Just for good measure I'll keep my hood up when we are out in public."T'San asked her sister, "Do you have the facsimile of a child to replace our son?"

"Yes, the doll even moves and produces infant sounds if necessary. I'll keep it wrapped up and close to me. It should pass just fine for a real child."

T'Resa smiled at her sister, "They need to leave soon. Let's go spend a few minutes with Trace while T'Nar and Telkis put their bags in the shuttle."

 


 

Morgan was required to turn in his hunting knife at the gates of the Blacara Reserve. Last night while Tucker camped with the Starfleet security men, they discussed the pros and cons of his safety. While Madison and Roberts wanted him to return to the city, Morgan felt that he could protect himself better in the desert.

Trip and T'Pol called back that night and the consensus was that it would attract more attention if he extended his stay at Blacara. The next morning Morgan headed back to the city confident that Madison and Roberts where trudging just out of range behind him.

Upon reaching his hotel, the first thing Morgan wanted was a hot shower. As the water cleansed the grit and sand from his body, out in the Blacara Reserve, desert scavengers were digging at two shallow graves. By morning there would be little left of the bodies of Lieutenant Eric Madison and Sergeant Steve Roberts.

 


 

Two days had passed since the arrival of T'San, Kelen, their nanny and child with nothing untoward having occurred. All of the Tucker clan was going about their business. T'Resa spent both days at her sister's apartment going through the motions of a caregiver while her sister and brother-in-law went to work at the new Warp 9 engine production facility. They worked as civilian contractors, neither having joined Starfleet. Admiral Tucker joined them there for several hours every day. T'Pol worked in a different building that was dedicated to the development of enhanced sensors. She was also a civilian contractor having retired from Starfleet several years prior.

Sgt. Christine Chandler of Starfleet security was following Sharon Turner as per usual. It was Turner's day off from the coffee shop and she headed uptown shopping. The only advantage they had was knowing the identity of two of the Klingon agents. Tracking the woman on her many shopping trips had become tedious but suddenly she became alert as Turner did something unusual. This evening instead of heading back to her apartment, Turner drove her groundcar to a secluded street and parked. Another car approached pulling to a stop. Sgt. Chandler watched as Turner entered the vehicle being driven by George Helms.

Chandler tapped her comm, "Mickey, are you watching this?"

Sgt. Mickey Yokley was Chandler's counterpart and assigned to watch Helms, "Yeah Chris, never seen them meet on the sly like this before."

"Call it in Mickey, if they head toward the Tucker home this could be it."

 


 

T'San left work early today. She stopped by the food stall at the Vulcan compound to buy fresh produce. She and T'Resa were going to make dinner for their parents. Kelen and Trip would be joining them after work, swinging by the Tucker home to pick up T'Pol.

The sisters went about preparing the food. T'San, continuing the charade that sister T'Resa was the nanny, sat a large basket on the table containing the bundled up facsimile of her child. The sisters chatted softly to each other as they worked, speaking only Vulcan. Outside two men in dark clothing and wearing masks were repelling down the side of the building. The architecture created a shadowed area down the side that left them practically invisible. Out on the street two Starfleet security officers sat in a car. Simpson had a pair of binoculars trained on the Vulcan's tenth floor apartment, while Mack watched the street entrance.

Simpson was complaining about all the donuts being gone when he just caught a glimpse of something swing to the balcony of the apartment they were staking out.

Simpson tensed, "Shit, Mack it's going down now!"

 


 

Sgts. Chris Chandler and Mickey Yokley arrived at the Tucker house just behind the two Klingon agents. They waited as Sharon and George skulked around the outside of the house. The officers had to be sure that this was it and not just a recon job. Spooking them prematurely would be a disaster. Chandler watched the front from her car while Yokley was watching the back, using a life sign sensor. The sensor was so sophisticated that he could tell which life sign was George and which was Sharon. Suddenly he saw George attach something to the Tucker's alarm system, and both assassins enter the house. Yokley spoke into his comm, "Chris, they're inside."

T'Pol was getting ready to go have dinner with her family. Trip and Kelen would be by to pick her up before long. She was moving about the bedroom having just showered and dressed. Suddenly, T'Pol felt something coming around her neck. She grabbed for her throat and managed to get the fingers of her left hand around the cord that was about to cut off her air supply. T'Pol looked into the mirror above her dresser and saw Sharon Turner behind her twisting a nylon cord tightly around her neck. Struggling to breathe and fight off her assailant T'Pol could also see George Helms in the room with a disrupter in his hand.

Running up the Tucker front steps at full speed, Chandler was calling into her communicator, "Headquarters, operation Bat'leth has begun. Repeat, operation Bat'leth has begun."

 


 

Kelen and Trip were driving toward the Tucker home. Trip was behind the wheel being that he was more familiar with the route from the new production facility to home than was his son-in-law. They were talking about T'San, the baby and the current situation when Trip grabbed his throat and began fighting for air.

He got himself under control quickly and looked at Kelen, his face white as a sheet, "T'Pol is being strangled."

Before either man could say anything else, their car was struck from behind causing Trip to swerve dangerously. The groundcar struck them again and forced them off the road. Trip's vehicle flipped twice before coming to a stop. When his head cleared, Trip reached toward Kelen. His son-in-law appeared semi-conscious and green blood was running down his right leg.

Unhooking his safety belt, Trip reached for Kelen's, "We have to get out of here, we're sitting ducks."

Kelen nodded and struggled to get out of the car. Trip noticed him grimace when he moved his leg. He figured it must be pretty bad to get a reaction like that from the stoic Vulcan. Trip put Kelen's right arm over his shoulder and helped him toward a wooded area to their left, as he glanced up the embankment. Trip could see four figures headed in their direction. The two men barely made it to the trees when weapons fire rang out. They tried to stay under cover but it was difficult with Kelen unable to walk on his own. They found cover behind a large tree but Trip had the feeling that the assassins were breaking up in an effort to surround them. Weapons fire barely missed them and Trip turned to go deeper into the woods. Unfortunately he was right, the two men turned directly into an assassin that had circled around behind them. Trip froze. He could tell that the weapon was aimed at him. Apparently he was to be the first to die. Trip decided in that instant to drop Kelen and lunge at the gunman. Before he could carry out his plan the Klingon fired his weapon. Kelen shoved Trip and turned his body in front of his father-in-law. Both men hit the ground from the force of the weapon striking Kelen in the back. The Vulcan was now a dead weight on Trip.

Three Starfleet security officers landed a shuttle behind the ground car that had forced Admiral Tucker off the road. Following the two men from the air, they witnessed the attack. Even as they were beginning their landing, word came from Commander Reed that operation Bat'leth was underway. Two of the Starfleet officers hit the ground running almost before the landing was completed, with the third heading out after shutting down the shuttle engine. Weapons fire could be heard coming from the trees and Starfleet kicked it in gear to get to the men in time. They began to return fire on the assassins. Orders were to set for stun and bring them in alive if possible but it soon became clear that the Klingons were wearing body armor. Set to kill was the new order. They took down three of the assassins but just as Lt. Lyles took aim on the fourth he saw Kelen and Admiral Tucker hit the ground.

Trip felt Kelen's body lifted from him. He was immediately on his feet ready to fight when he noticed the man that had shot Kelen was in a crumpled heap with a smoking wound.

"Admiral, operation Bat'leth is underway. We have a shuttle to take you to Starfleet medical," Lt. Lyles motioned toward the top of the embankment. He glanced back at the bodies, "We have men on the way to collect this garbage."

Trip could see that two of the officers were carrying his injured son-in-law carefully toward the shuttle.

"Lt. have you heard anything about my wife and daughters?" Tucker asked with concern.

"No sir, no word yet."

 


 

Kawreth was actually not surprised when his orders came down. After the botched kidnapping attempt on Davis Penderson he suspected that he would have to pay a price. Stepping into the elevator he pushed the button for the twenty-fifth floor. He realized that he would not be able to get anywhere near the thirtieth floor penthouse but he was wearing enough explosives to take off the entire top of the high-rise office building. His new partner was in the lobby ready to take out Penderson if by some chance he escaped the explosion. His original partner, Wornak known by the Earth name Robert Andrews was the cause of all this. He was the one that talked Kawreth into that ill-advised kidnap plan. 'If only that stupid Wornak had not gotten himself killed, I would be able to die a warrior's death,' he thought.

Unexpectedly as the elevator approached the eighteenth floor, Kawreth felt a strange tingle followed by the inability to breath. He and his very surprised new partner materialized high above Earths surface. Before they could even suffocate, the explosive was detonated.

Commander Reed decided it was quite a lovely explosion. Reed smiled, patting the young man's shoulder, "Good work, Randelman. Scanning for Klingon's entering Pendragon Towers and beaming them out into space was a neat trick. The collateral damage to that explosion would have been catastrophic."

David Reed heaved a large sigh, "I certainly will be glad when this night is over.

 


T'Pol continued to struggle with Sathra, punching her in the stomach with her right elbow. The Klingon woman gave a grunt but didn't loosen the tension around T'Pol's throat. Even with her left hand fingers around the cord it was still strangling her. T'Pol was aware that she didn't have long. She pulled Sathra with her toward her dressing table. The Vulcan used her right hand to feel about for anything that could be used as a weapon. Her hand fell upon a four inch metal fingernail file with a two inch plastic handle. T'Pol decided that would have to do and began to repeatedly stab the Klingon woman in the thigh. Sathra screamed a Klingon curse and pushed T'Pol away from her grabbing her bleeding thigh.

Sathra turned to Gowret and growled, "Blast that Bitch into a thousand pieces."

T'Pol was on her knees gasping for breath, she knew it was imperative that she be able to speak. As the man she knew as George Helms turned and pointed the Klingon disrupter at her head, T'Pol tried to speak but it was only a croak.

She looked into the man's eyes and swallowed hard, "Bowling!" T'Pol screamed.

George paused for a nano-second tilted his head and then turned the disruptor toward Sathra, pulling the trigger and disintegrating the screeching woman.

Chandler and Yokley burst into the bedroom and turned their weapons toward George.

"Sleep," said T'Pol and George fell to the floor, out cold.

Chandler came forward to assist T'Pol to her feet, "Ma'am how did you do that?" Both Sgts. were stunned by the turn of events.

T'Pol was forced to whisper since those shouts had taken what voice she could muster, "During the mind meld I placed a command in the mind of Mr. Helms. When I spoke a certain word he was to neutralize his partner by whatever means available to him. Then another command would render him unconscious."

Chandler shook her head and smiled, "You certainly live up to your reputation, Ma'am. Let's get you to Starfleet medical."

"Have you heard anything about my family?" T'Pol whispered.

"No Ma'am, not yet."

 


 

Trever and Arnold arrived as dusk began to settle around the multi-story apartment building. They had scoped the building out enough to know that if they climbed the back side to the roof then repelled down the left front side they would be out of sight from the street. Trever worked at a groundcar repair garage and Arnold was a furniture salesman. Both men were more than ready for this assignment to be over. It seemed like forever since either had heard their Klingon name spoken. They also resented the fact that they had received the easiest target. How much honor was there in killing this small Vulcan woman? T'San Tucker would be no challenge. Both were over six feet and well muscled, they would snap the little woman in two. Their orders were transmitted an hour ago: Take out T'San and deal with the nanny if necessary. They were told to keep it quiet and use bladed weapons if possible and not to involve any other residents of the building. When the men reached the tenth floor they set their harnesses and swung over and into the Tucker balcony.

The Tucker sisters were working in the kitchen when, with equally sharp hearing, they heard the balcony doors forced open. It only took a moment for the scent of intruders to reach them. They looked at each other and unhooking several clasps, both dropped their Vulcan robes to the floor. T'Resa and T'San both wore the silver-grey sleeveless catsuit that their mother preferred for combat training.

Arnold and Trever could smell food cooking and they stealthily eased toward the kitchen. They could see a basket on the table, and hear the sounds of a baby. Within moments both men thought that the demons of hell had been let loose on them. T'San stepped from behind the pantry and delivered a kick to Arnold's midsection that sent him to his knees, following it with a double-fisted blow to the back of his neck. This was followed by a kick to his ribs.

Trever was so shocked to see his partner laid out on the floor that he failed to notice a near identical figure come up behind and kick his knees out from under him. T'Resa then moved around to the front and with all her strength, sent her right fist smashing into his face. Trever heard the crunch of his nose breaking. The final straw was a kick delivered to his crotch. Trever would not be getting off the floor anytime soon. T'Resa quickly tore a strip of cloth from her robes lying on the floor and bound his hands behind his back.Arnold regained his feet and realized with shock that he was out matched. He quickly moved to the table and drew his knife, poising it over the basket containing the child.

"Get down on your knees and put your hands behind your head," Arnold snarled.

Both women adopted a fighting stance and T'San spoke, "As my father would say, go to hell.""Are you two crazy? I swear I'll kill this kid if you don't do what I tell you."

Sensing that something was very wrong, Arnold glanced down and realized that there was a doll in the basket. With a roar of anger, he lunged at T'San catching her across the side of her face with the point of the knife.

T'Resa was aware that help would arrive soon and she had no desire to kill a man with her bare hands. She knew such an action would weigh heavy on her heart for years to come; however the time for stalling this man was at an end. She could not risk waiting and allow more harm to come to her sister.

The angry man lunged forward intending to drive his knife deep into the chest of his target. He felt the thud of a body hitting his back and slender arms encircling his neck. His knife missed its mark and plunged into T'San's shoulder causing her to fall back.

In an effort to relieve the pressure around his throat, Arnold reached behind and grabbed the woman's hair, intending to pull her over his shoulder and throw her to the floor. Much to his shock, it came away in his hand. He dropped the wig as if it were on fire. Turning slightly to his right he saw a cascade of blond hair framing her head.

"Who are you?" Arnold growled fighting to get her off his back.

T'Resa whispered in his ear, "I'm a Tucker you son-of-a-bitch." With her left hand she grabbed his chin and snapped his neck to the left. Arnold fell to the floor, dead.

 


 

Sage was very glad when she glanced up to see Morgan entering the hotel lobby as she sat at the café across the street. She appeared at his door just as he finished his shower. The beautiful woman threw herself at the dripping man, dislodging the towel from around his waist.

"You were gone too long." She purred, as Morgan backed them toward the bed.

Sage dressed in a cotton sundress and Morgan put on cotton pants and one of his many Hawaiian shirts, a preference passed on to him by his father. After dinner the couple was taking a stroll on the beach. The last rays of sunshine were sinking below the waves. They walked holding hands and laughing, Morgan was regaling her with exaggerated tales of the foul tasting plants he had been forced to eat while in the desert.

Sage bumped his shoulder smiling, "Don't expect any sympathy from me, I didn't want you to go in the first place."

The two kissed unaware that Chet and Wanda were observing them from behind a dune. Both of them were holding a black-market pulse rifle in their hands.

Morgan and Sage continued to amble in the edge of the surf. Morgan looked up and noticed a man coming toward them. It was Redwin, the very friendly hotel bartender.

Smiling at the jovial man, Morgan called out, "Did they finally give you the night off, Redwin?"

The bartender scowled and pulled a pistol from behind his back, raising it quickly. As he fired the weapon Sage tackled Morgan and they both fell into the edge of the surf. Morgan rose quickly to his feet and lunged at his assailant. They struggled for the gun as a large wave crashed in and knocked them apart. Coming to his feet and still in possession of the weapon, the assassin pointed it at Sage. Redwin spat a curse at the couple as he prepared to fire again. Before he could squeeze off another shot, Wanda and Chet rose from the higher ground and, firing simultaneously, took Redwin down.

Morgan retrieved the bartender's pistol and, putting Sage behind him, turned it toward the couple racing toward them.

"No need for that Commander Tucker, Major Stuart Reed sends his complements, Sir." This was spoken by the man he knew as Chet Callahan.

Wanda came to attention, but the tall blond ruined the effect with a smile, "Reed's Raiders at your service, Sir."

"Major Reed said to tell you that this was repayment for setting him up with a certain redhead with an 'exotic' smile." Chet seemed puzzled.

Morgan did not enlighten him. The Reed brothers always used incidents from their collective misspent youth as identification codes. He smiled to himself, so, both Reed's had sent teams to watch him.

Morgan grinned, "So, I take it you two are not married?"

"Hell no Sir, I'm Lt. Josh Allenby and this is Lt. Claudia Preston. We've been in the same outfit for so long that sometimes I forget she's a woman."

"This is true Commander, I think he's been hit in the head a few too many times," Preston grinned.

Morgan glanced around, "Where are Roberts and Madison?"

Allenby hung his head, "We were also out in the dessert following you Commander, but had orders to stay back and make no contact with Commander Reed's team. I'm sorry to say Sir, but Redwin ambushed them before we could get to him. We had no choice but to follow him back and wait for him to contact his partner. He forced our hand tonight and we still have no idea who his partner is."

Lt. Preston gave Sage a measured look, "We even thought it might be your friend here." She nodded toward Sage, "But her history is air tight, she's lived on Earth her entire life."

"I know, my parents checked her out and told me she was clean when they called me," Morgan affirmed.

Sage frowned, "I really appreciate all the confidence, but I'm wet and cold. If no one objects I'm going back to the hotel and change. This is too much excitement for me."

Lt. Allenby looked toward the body, "We better take care of this before anyone happens by Commander. We'll be back on guard within the hour Sir, just in case his partner shows up."

"Very good Lieutenants, we will be at the hotel, in my room." With that Morgan and Sage headed back to the hotel. Morgan tucked Redwin's weapon in the back of his pants, under his Hawaiian shirt.

After they had cleaned up and changed Morgan and Sage were sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine.

"Do you really think that someone else is going to try to kill you?" Sage asked in a worried voice.

"No I don't."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because if you wanted me dead, you would have let Redwin shoot me." Morgan set his glass of wine down on the side table.

Sage looked confused, "What are you talking about?"

"You are the other Klingon agent. As Redwin was preparing to shoot again, he yelled a word in Klingon. It was 'Traitor' and he was aiming at you."

"I should have known that wouldn't get by you," she said shaking her head.

"How did you manage to fake your background so perfectly?"

Sage laughed ruefully, "That's just it, it isn't a fake. I lived my entire life in California, the child of a single father. I went to law school and graduated top of my class. You see, I'm not a surgically altered Klingon. I'm half Klingon and half Human. My mother is a warrior. Father loved her with all his heart and she persuaded him to raise me on Earth. It was assumed that one day I would be useful. Most Klingons look more human as a result of the augment DNA introduced years ago. My parent's union has caused all my outer characteristics to appear human. Only an internal scan shows any Klingon physiology. The irony is that I exist because of the enzyme therapy that Dr. Phlox created for your family, which all mixed-species couples now use. My father was a trader and it was easy for us to spend summers on Kronos without drawing attention. After father died, the Empire offered me money to live and attend school. I owed them a lot so when they asked me to assist the agents they were sending in, it seemed harmless and the money was very good."

"Just how did you assist these agents?"

"Over the course of a year, they came in two at a time. I provided them with human identities and helped to get them jobs. No face to face meetings were allowed so none of them knew who I was. That was supposed to be the extent of my involvement. I didn't know why they had come to Earth. I assumed it was merely espionage. Then one of the idiots went and got himself killed. After explaining to me what they were really doing here, they ordered me to join Redwin here on Risa. I told them I would not kill anyone but they said all I had to do was back up Redwin and keep an eye on you."

"That's very high minded of you," Morgan snarled, "But you are in it up to your ears, Sweetie. That's my family you've been helping to set up."

"Listen, if anyone could understand being torn between two cultures it should be you. I've been indoctrinated my entire life on how aggressive humans are, and believe me, as a lawyer I've seen it first hand."

Morgan grabbed her arm in an iron grip, "I don't even know if my family is alive right now. I can't get through to any of them. If they've been harmed..."

"Why did you bring me back here with you if you knew it was me?" Sage asked jerking her arm away.

"As the saying goes, 'keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer'," Morgan spat. "I just needed to understand what kind of person could be involved in this."

Sage turned pleading eyes on her lover, "I'm not your enemy. I could never hurt you. Why do you think I pushed you out of the way? When this started you and your family were just names in the news. I was being paid to do a job by people I had always trusted. That has changed now and I really care for you. I've never felt this way about a man before."

"Save it Honey, when Allenby and Preston get here they will be taking you into custody." Morgan was truly saddened by this betrayal. He cared more for this woman than he was ready to admit.

Sage glanced at the weapon lying on the table were Morgan had left it. She knew he was testing her. If she grabbed it, would he believe she would shoot him to escape? Had he removed the power cell? She sighed, this was a no win situation for her.

"You could let me go. You know that I am no danger to you."

"I could."

With a harsh laugh she replied, "But you won't."

 


 

Morgan quietly entered the room at Starfleet medical. His brother-in-law was in the bed and his youngest sister was sitting by his side. T'San stood when she caught sight of her brother. His heart broke at the sight of her beautiful face with a still livid slash from eyebrow to chin. Morgan moved in to give her a gentle hug, mindful of the sling on her arm. He had rushed back from Risa on the fasted ship he could get.

"How is he?"

T'San glanced back at her husband, "It was touch and go for several days but he is strong. His healing trance has allowed him to gather his resources and I was able to join with his mind earlier this morning to add my support as well. He will recover. Did they tell you that he saved Father's life?"

"They did. Your mate is a worthy man, Sister and an admirable addition to the Tucker clan. I understand that T'Nar and her brother brought my nephew home this morning."

"Yes, he is in an adjacent room with Mother and Father."

"Sit and rest yourself, T'San. I'll come back later after I speak with our parents." Morgan kissed her forehead and eased her back into her chair.

As T'San adjusted to a comfortable position in the chair, she sighed, "We are fortunate to have lost no family members. I grieve for the soldiers that were killed." T'San reached for her brother's hand, "It is agreeable to see you unharmed, my brother."

"And you little sister." He knew that she would not want him to draw attention to her injuries, even though he could sense they were causing her considerable pain.

Morgan found the rooms that the Tucker's had been given as a sick room and adjoining debriefing room. Starfleet wanted all of them in one place until all the individual statements had been given. T'Pol was sitting in bed at Trip's insistence. She had her grandson in her arms being mindful of her splinted fingers. T'Pol could, even now, hardly speak. Anger flared in her son when he saw the extent of the green bruising around her throat.

Trip grabbed his son in a bear hug, "It's good to see you, Son." Morgan patted his father on the back.

"I know Dad, we're lucky that all of us made it through this. I spoke to Davis on my way back to Earth. He's shaken but thankful that Starfleet stopped the bomb."

Trip smiled, "Yeah that was a pretty neat trick." His smile faded, "Morgan, when you get a chance, talk to T'Resa. She is really taking things hard. I could tell T'Resa was very distressed after she came back from giving her statement to Starfleet. She won't talk to me about it yet, but maybe you can get her to open up a little."

"I'll try, Dad." Glancing back at his mother, Morgan frowned, "Is Mom alright? Those bruises look awful."

Trip stiffened with indignation, "She'll recover eventually but they did a lot of damage to her throat and broke two of the fingers she had between the cord and her neck. Helms is in custody along with the other assassin that was brought in alive. The guards won't let me near him for fear that I'll beat the shit out of him."

"Yeah, I wouldn't mind a few minutes with him myself, Dad."

"Have you seen your little sister yet?"

"I stopped by there first. I'm glad Kelen's going to be alright. Seeing T'San's injuries makes me want to tear someone's head off."

Trip gave a sad smile, "I know, but she doesn't even care. I'm sure they can fix the scar after it heals but being so Vulcan, I'm not even sure she'll bother."

"Yeah, she'll probably think it's illogical," confirmed her brother.

Heading downstairs to find his older sister, Morgan walked into the cafeteria. T'Resa sat at a table alone. He remembered the last time the two had been in this place together. Brother and sister had been sitting in the cafeteria of Starfleet medical center eating tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches the day that T'San was born. Having lost her last child, Morgan was scared for his mother. He remembered how his big sister had calmed his nervousness.

Morgan grabbed a cup of tea and joined her at the table. They sat in silence for a while each with their hands around a steaming cup of tea.

"T'Resa, you're staring into that cup as if it contained the secrets of the universe."

T'Resa gave him a small smile, "I wish. I know in my heart that we all did what was necessary. There was no way in hell I was going to let that animal kill our baby sister, but to kill a man with my bare hands has affected me greatly. I must admit that I've had to re-evaluate some of my beliefs. The things you will do to save those you love can drive you to a dark place you never expected you would go. Is there any rationale for letting your heart overrule your morality? "

"Sis, the two people you admire most in the world are upstairs in this building. Do you think Mother, Father, or even Grandfather Soval if he were still with us, would not have done exactly what you were forced to do?"

"I know. I need to meditate on these events and let logic put them in their proper perspective."

She reached over and placed her hand over her brother's. T'Resa and her brother had always been very close to each other. She felt a deep sadness coming from him. Apparently none of the family had come away unscathed.

She looked him in the eyes, "Tell me about this woman."

 


 

David and Stuart Reed came to the door of Kelen's hospital room, where all the Tuckers were gathered. T'Resa was walking the floor bouncing her nephew gently. T'San was sitting by her husband with two fingers lying on his, even though he was still unconscious. Stuart moved to one side of the room and spoke to T'Pol and Trip quietly while David asked Morgan to step into the hall. As the two men stepped into the corridor, David closed the door behind them.

"Stuart is telling your folks what I am about to tell you. The transport that was bringing Sage Cruz back to Earth was attacked. We have no proof who was responsible but they managed to take Miss Cruz with them."

"Klingons no doubt," Morgan sighed. "Was anyone hurt?"

"There were injuries but nothing fatal. They appeared to be hired mercenaries of several species but the leaders were masked. We'll never prove it was Klingons."

Morgan was quiet for a time and David just let him process the information. Finally he spoke, "Well I guess that's it then, she'll never show her face on Earth again."

"Morgan, the reason I asked you to step out here is . . . well, a message was sent to my office addressed to you. It was routed through so many systems that it was impossible to trace back to the source, believe me we tried." David handed Morgan a PADD.

"Have you listened to it?"

"No my friend, it's addressed to you." David patted Morgan's shoulder and walked back into the room. There was no need to ask who it was from.

Morgan activated the device. The face of a very familiar, very beautiful woman appeared. "Morgan, I honestly had no idea that my mother would come for me. She agreed to let me send you this message. I expected to see you next at my trial. Since the circumstances have changed, I will tell you now, what I would have told you then. If there was any way to right what has been done, I would. But since that is impossible, just know that I love you. I have nothing to gain by this so maybe you will believe me." The image gave a sad little laugh, "I'll try to convince myself that you do anyway. I wanted you to know that what we had wasn't a lie." Sage straightened and lifted her chin, "I love you."

The image faded. Morgan stood still; it almost felt as if the PADD was burning his fingers.

T'Pol and Trip stepped out of the room and went to either side of their son. Trip put a hand on his son's shoulder.

Taking Morgan's hand with her undamaged one, T'Pol asked in her still hoarse voice, "What did she say?"

Pressing the delete key, Morgan took a deep breath and responded, "Nothing that matters."

 

The End

 


Comments:

Crystalswolf

"Somewhere the ghost of Major Hayes was laughing his ass off"  LOL!

"Hotties of Starfleet"  if only!

Tucker men seem to have bad luck on Risa

Alelou

Exciting and well-plotted story, though I have to confess I find it a little depressing to think the next generations of the Tucker family would have to cope with this kind of stuff.  (For some reason my favorite part was T'Pol screaming "Bowling."  It just made me giggle.)  I also really enjoyed Sage and Morgan's discussion about why T'Pol married Trip...:p

Lady Rainbow

I loved reading this story. Trip and T'Pol and their kids, son-in-law and grandson! The Tucker clan protect their own! :-)

Morgan is becoming one of my favorite OCs. Interesting sort-of relationship he's got with Sage. Will they meet again sometime? And poor guy.

And "Reed's Raiders". *snerk* Thanks for the mention! ROTFL!! I loved the friendly rivalry between the Reed brothers. I just bet Hayes's ghost would be laughing his ass off somewhere. Poor Malcolm. XD

 

bluetiger

Thank you all for the kind words. Once again, I was trying to extend myself a bit.

I was curious if there would be any sympathy for Sage. Was she a villian, or as Dinah said 'She was just caught in the middle of a situation over which she had little control.'

Is she forgivable I wonder?

I was really trying to show T'Pol as the matriarch of a stronge and well trained family. I do think her children would be kick-ass fighters.

Dinah

What an exciting story!  Everything from the "Hotties of Starfleet" to armed assassins.  '

There's been a heavy emphasis here on stories leading up to the Romulan War.  Having the Klingons as the bad guys was a nice change of pace.  And these were sneaky Klingons.  Very cool!

You've done a marvelous job of creating a family for Trip and T'Pol.  There children are all believable, well-rounded characters.  And once again it's clear that people should no better than to mess around with the Tuckers.

Poor Sage.  She was just caught in the middle of a situation over which she had little control.  She was an interesting character.  Actually, I'm rather glad that she didn't turn on Morgan.  I can understand, though, why Morgan wouldn't want to have anything to do with her anymore.

And T'Pol.  Wow!  Talk about sneaky cool.  Mind melds, subconscious commands, two kick-ass daughters -- what a woman.

Thank you for a terrific story! :D    

Mary

BlueTiger

I am in awe of your ability to come up with new scanarios for our favorite family. This is such a great series/ You write the characters like three dimentional characters not just two, and they come across  so real that I feel like a spectator rather than a reader. Too bad about about Sage, Morgan really connected with her, but you just knew she would turn out to be bad. Thanks so much for writing.

bluetiger

Transwarp, all valid points which I did wrestle with. In the end I just didn't want all the attacks to be fire fights. I decided to treat it more like a celebrity with a stalker. Instead of packing heat to the grocery store, they just relied on the bodyguards.  I know it probably wasn't logical (hee hee) but there you go.

I was also trying to imply that all this was happening in the same instant so the warnings didn't get through. I guess I didn't totally hit the mark.

I believe it is a fact that Trip bought up all the copies of that particular issue of 'Hotties of Starfleet' and has them under lock and key.

Transwarp

Bluetiger,  I have a couple of minor points for your consideration:

First, we know that in Kirk's time, Starfleet had ships capable of warp 8, but you reference the Tucker's working on a warp 9 project.  This is not necessarily an error, since they COULD have been striving for warp 9 and came up a little short, but I wanted to point it out.

Second, I'm a little disappointed with the Reed's security measures.  (I'd have thought Malcolm would have taught them better!)  It would have been a very simple thing to have a means in place by which the surveillance teams could warn the targets and let them know that Klingon agents were in the area.  As it was, the teams realized the operation was underway but had no way of letting the Tuckers know until the attack had already begun.  Not terribly efficient.

Also, none of the Tuckers were packing heat, which seemed odd to me.  They were very lucky the Klingons tried blades and cords first.  T'Resa and T'San, in particular, would have been toast if all the Klingons had disruptors.

And once again I find I am reminded of a nearly immutable law of the Star Trek universe: no hot babe you find on Risa is who she claims to be.

Also, I would love to know where I can find back issues of 'Hotties of Starfleet'.  In particular, I'm looking for the March 2156 issue featuring T'Pol in the centerfold...

As usual, your story was a pleasure to readl.

 

Silverbullet

An excitinng, gripping, well written Story.

I liked the name SAGE.

I was hoping that Sage was the person assigned to Protect Morgan and that they would become a couple at the end of your story.

 

 

Honeybee

I love the whole premise of the story. I did figure something was up with Sage - didn't guess she was part Klingon but knew she was bad. Morgan is quite dashing and a great OCC as well. I did find myself wishing the story was longer and so that some of your well-thought out and complex situations could unfold more organically - as sometimes the expository stuff broke the narrative or me. But that's a minor quibble. It's great to see the Tucker family having adventures and being heroic.

Asso

I am stunned by the innumerable and evocative suggestions you are capable of tracing into the readers' mind.

Humorous and naughty, like this one:


The lovely young woman made a face, "Crap, so much for my cover story in Science Weekly. However it does explain something else."

"What would that be?"

"Why your mother was the first Vulcan to marry a human. She obviously had the intelligence to know a good thing when she got her hands on it."

Tender and almost melancholic, like this one:


T'Pol was on her knees tending to the plants. Gardening had recently become a favorite pastime for T'Pol. It seemed to make her feel closer to her late mother. She had fond memories of watching T'Les tending the family vegetable garden.

But these are only a few examples.

And you managed to interweave all that with a compelling action plot.

I repeat: I am stunned. VERY PLEASURABLY STUNNED.:D

pdsldl

I love this series.  You keep coming up with stories that show the ongoing struggle to ne human and Vulcan in an ever expanding Tucker family.  Love that they all have Trip's they'll be sorry they messed with a Tucker attitude.  I feel bad for Morgan.  I was hoping that Sage was assigned to protect him when the threat thing came up but feared she was out to do him harm   Keep em coming.  They are very enjoyable to read.

Pitseleh

You write the most amazing stories. The last line alone was an amazing way to finish. It makes for a great example of how divided Morgan must be right now. Poor guy... As for the Tuckers, I'm very glad they're all safe, of course. This was very well written, highly enjoyable, and a great addition to the series. I'm looking forward to the next story.

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