World of Ice

By panyasan

Rating: R

Genres: challenge

Keywords:

This story has been read by 2811 people.
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Chapter 9 - Unexpected

Chapter 9 - Unexpected

Summary: Trip has been lost on a secret mission and declared dead.  Malcolm founds out he's alive, but captured by Orions and sold to the Romulans.  Captain Archer ensembles a team and with their small, cloaked ship the crew starts the search for Trip. 

Thanks to my wonderful beta, EntAllat.

Disclaimer:  Enterprise and its characters are property of CBS/Paramount


 

Orange.  The pod was floating in space, without direction or purpose.  He could feel it rocking beneath him as he lay down on the cold floor.  He could only see the floor and a part of his brightly orange colored overalls that the Orions had given him.  He wriggled his hand, trying to slacken his cuffs.  With the nails of his left hand he started to scratch his right hand in an attempt to remove the alien substance on his skin.  He tried for hours but finally had to stop, the pain is his body had simply become too much.  It was overwhelming.  Flames of pain consumed him.  He felt blood from his stomach and legs dripping on the floor. 

As the hours (Or was it days?  He had no idea of time.) passed, the aching pain was mixed with a cold that began first in his legs.  As it moved up his body, and he became colder and colder, he felt his life flooding away.  His lips were dry and cracked and his throat was sore.  “God,” Rogier whispered in an attempt to speak, a prayer for help. 

Memories flashed through his mind.  He was five, helping his father, working in a field of orange flowers, watching his father tenderly care for each and every tulip.  He was seven, feeling his mother’s embrace as she hugged him, tucked him in, and prayed for him as he went to sleep.  He was twelve, his sisters and brother laughing and talking, heads bowed against the ever-blowing wind as they were bicycling to school.  He was twenty-one, and he saw Mariko, his girlfriend from age 16, now as his beautiful wife, radiant in her white dress on their wedding day.  He was thirty, and held Mariko's hand, struggling with her disease, taking her last breath....  Like he was taking his.  Nog even en ik zal je weer zien, mijn liefste...  (Just one moment and I will see you again, my love) he thought in his native tongue. 

Rogier closed his eyes.  He was going to die, far away from Earth.


 

Orange.  He had forgotten how long the hours in space could be.  They had been traveling at warp speed since they had left the crash site and still there was nothing to see.  No stars, no planets, no ships within a radius of a thousand miles.  All Jonathan Archer could see was blackness. 

After the crew had departed Earth, they had headed to the crash site of Tucker's vessel.  The crew consisted of Malcolm Reed, Hoshi Sato, Travis Mayweather, Amanda Cole and himself. 

At the site there wasn't much to be seen.  However, based on Orion documents, traces of Orion warp trails and rust particles from Orion ships, they had managed to map out the Orion travel route - the same route the Orions would have taken Trip.  A mysterious woman had delivered the source of their information but a voice indication program determined the woman had to be Ellen Tenson.  Tenson had been exposed as a Romulan spy, before she disappeared to Romulan space.  If she really had come back, why would she have taken the risk?  And more, why would she help Malcolm Reed to find Trip?  This whole mission was a leap into the darkness and Jon knew it. 

But now, in this dark area of space, in the dead silence of the bridge, he urged herself to focus on the latest report Amanda Cole had sent him.  She was busy scanning the area again and again in search for new clues. 

The shriek of an alarm tore at the silence.  In a split second his eyes found the source, an orange light on Cole’s desk that had started to flicker. 

“Captain Archer!”  Amanda called out.  “Sensors have detected a Human life sign nearby.  It's very weak.”  In the corner of his eye he saw Malcolm and Hoshi also checking their sensors, looking for the same life sign.

A rush of excitement went through him.  “That’s Trip,” he thought.  “We’ve found Trip!”  But then he realized it had to be someone totally different.  Trip had been caught by the Orions and sold to the Romulans, they knew that much at least.  “But maybe he escaped…”

“Is he floating in space?”  Archer asked, trying hard to keep his voice neutral.  He hardly waited for an answer.  “Can you make another sensor sweep?’’

“I already did, sir,” Cole said, shortly.  Of all the members of his new little crew, Amanda seemed to be the most distant towards him.  But perhaps he couldn’t compare her with Travis, Malcolm and Hoshi, who had been part of his crew from the very beginning and had showed a loyalty to him that he almost thought he didn’t deserve. 

“Life sign appear to be coming from a small vessel, like a pod,” Amanda reported.  “I am not a hundred percent sure, but the pod seems to be of Orion design.  Also with the second scan, the life sign seems to be weaker, but it’s still there.” 

The words “Orion design” spurred Jon even more into action.  “Can we use the grappler to retrieve the pod?” he asked Malcolm.  “If we beam them aboard we’d have to lower our shields and risk being detected.” 

His security officer didn’t let him down.  “I agree with the risk, Captain, but we can minimize it.  We can lower the shields, beam him aboard and put the shields back on in a split second.  Whoever he is, he may know more about the Orions and about Commander Tucker.” 

“Or give us other vital information about this part of space,” Hoshi added. 

“Travis,” Archer leaned over to his helmsman who was in charge of the small transporter room on this ship.  “Is it possible to get a lock on the life sign and beam him aboard?” 

“I think so, sir,” Travis said with a tight smile.  “But it’s better to move the ship closer before doing so.” 

Archer nodded.  “I’ll do that.  Malcolm, if I say so, lower the shields.  Travis, try to get a lock on that life sign.”  He pressed a button on his chair to open the com to their small sickbay.  “Phlox, please go to the transporter room.  We have a medical emergency.”

“Acknowledged, Captain,” the familiar voice of Phlox came as Travis hurried towards the back of the small ship’s bridge and behind the glass enclosure separating it from the transporter pad.  Because of the small size of the room, Phlox stayed outside of the room when he arrived, ready to act when necessary. 

Jon nodded to Malcolm to lower the shields, then joined Phlox. 

Travis and Malcolm worked quickly and within a few seconds a man appeared on the platform of the transporter.  He lay in a fetal position and wore a collar around his neck.  His hands were bound in cuffs and his legs were tied.  From what Jon saw, he was clearly human.  He was also an awful sight.

His orange overalls were soaked in blood.  His hair was shaven, revealing blue and green colored bruises all over his scalp, along with several cuts and round shaped burn marks.  The same injuries covered his neck and hands.  He was pale as a sheet and lay perfectly still. 

For a moment Jon thought he was dead.  Doctor Phlox stepped in the transporter room, shooed Travis out and checked the man’s vital signs with hurried motions.  Then with one, two, three, four motions, he cut the cuffs and the ties of his legs.  “He is alive, but barely.  I must take him to sickbay right away,” he concluded, while applying palliatives to the man’s stomach. 

“What happened to him?”  Hoshi, who had joined Jon before the window, asked, not able to take her eyes off their new guest.  Amanda and Malcolm were right behind her.

“His teeth have been pulled, he has cuts and burn marks on his body,” Malcolm pointed out with anger in his voice.  “He has been tortured almost to death.” 

“I think you're right, Lieutenant Reed,” Phlox said, “but now we're here to help him”. 

Travis and Malcolm helped Phlox to bring the wounded man to sickbay.  Jon walked with them as he instructed Amanda and Hoshi to stay.  “Hoshi, you have the bridge,” he told her.  For a brief moment, a touch of amusement flashed across the face of his Communication officer.  “Aye, sir,” she responded, eyeing the tiny space. 

In sickbay Jon watched the wounded man more closely as Phlox continued with his work.  “He looks very familiar,” he said out loud.  He really wanted to know who this stranger was.  “Can you wake him?”  He asked Phlox.  “We need to know who he is and where he’s from—”

Phlox cut him off.  “Not possible, Captain.  I need to stabilize him first, otherwise we risk losing him.”  Phlox looked up from his patient.  “Perhaps its better you all go,” he said to the men waiting.  “Captain, can you send for Amanda?  She had medical training during her time with the MACO's and I could really use her help.”

“Sure, doctor,” Jon answered, annoyed that he hadn't thought about that himself.  With a heavy heart he left.  Somehow he felt the man in sickbay was important … important to helping them to find Trip. 


 

Orange.  As she entered sickbay, Amanda noticed at once that their unexpected guest looked even worse than in the transporter room.  In the bright light of sickbay, dressed in his bloodstained orange overall, his body looked thinner, the bruises and cuts on his face more profound. 

Amanda felt sorry for him.  She had also been critically wounded, buried under a rock on that red planet.  If Malcolm and his team hadn’t rescued her... 

Phlox, still very busy, noticed her presence.  He pointed to the neck of his patient.  “Corporal Cole, could you help me to remove his collar?  You can handle a medical cutting torch?”  Without waiting for her answer, he handed it to her.

Amanda nodded, carefully placing a fireproof cloth between the skin of the man’s neck and the collar, then proceeding with caution.  Luckily the collar came off easily and she was able to gently remove it.  The skin under his collar was raw with deep red scratches, so she softly rubbed some lotion on his neck.  His skin felt cold to the touch. 

The unknown man had being motionless, but now he stirred slightly.  A second later he opened his eyes, with a look as if he had come for very far.  His bright grey-blue eyes blinked and then seemed to focus on her face.  “Dank u,” he spoke with a hoarse voice, hardly audible and with a deep accent.  A feeling of relief went through her.  Phlox gave her a big smile, clearly also relieved.  Then the man closed his eyes, drifting out consciousness again. 

Phlox picked up a DNA scanner and took the right hand of the man in order to take a DNA sample.  Amanda stood close by.  The man’s hand looked normal, but there were some odd colorations and weird carvings and scrapes still visible.  Phlox pressed the scanner on the hand and imported the DNA information into the computer.  The identity analysis came back empty. 

“That’s odd.”  Phlox said.  “The Captain seemed to know him, but there is no record of him in the Starfleet database.  Most of people's DNA on Earth have been registered, and the Starfleet database is one of the most intensive there is.”  Phlox took a blood sample and placed it in the analyzer.  “A deeper analysis of his DNA might give us more information about him.”

“Perhaps you can try facial recognition,” Amanda suggested. 

“That's a good idea, but of course that will take hours,” Phlox answered.  He squeezed his eyes and stared at body of the man, as if the answer to the man’s mysterious identity could be found that way. 

“Hoshi might be able to help,” Amanda added.  “Our stranger just said something to me in his own language and that might narrow our search.” 

“That would be very helpful,” Phlox agreed.  He took the right hand of the man and studied the markings.  “The body always tells a story.  And I think there's something strange about this hand.  It looks like there is an extra substance on the skin.”  He took off his gloves and touched the skin of upper hand of the man with his fingertips.  “It feels different than normal skin.”  He put on a different kind of glove, got a micro scanner and studied the surface of the hand.

Amanda followed her own lead.  She took a picture of the man’s face and started the computer’s facial recognition.  Then she contacted Hoshi on the com. 

“Sato,” the linguist answered her call.  She almost sounded cheerful. 

“Hoshi,” Amanda started.  “We couldn't find a DNA match, but we’re trying facial recognition.  And our unexpected visitor woke up for a few seconds.  He said something in his own language.  It's not a language I know.” 

“So if you know which language he spoke, you can add that to your search,” Hoshi understood.  “It's convenient that he didn't spoke English or Spanish.” 

“Okay, he said “Tankuw”, Amanda said, trying very hard to pronounce the words as accurate as possible.  It sounded strange out of her mouth and she was afraid it didn't look at all at what the man had said. 

“Tankuw?”  There was a pause on Hoshi's side.  “No soft e at the end of the word Dank?” she asked then.

Amanda repeated the scene in sickbay and the man's words back in her head.  “I don't think so.” 

“Was the word Dank, with a strong k at the end, followed by a stark, stressed u?”  Then you get two separate words: Dank u.”  Hoshi came again.

It sounded just like in sickbay.  “Yes, that's it,” Amanda said, relieved Hoshi had figured it out. 

“It's Dutch,” Hoshi told her straight away.  “A language spoken by 30 million people, so that will narrow down the search.  Dank means thanks or more precise thank and u is the formal way of addressing someone.  “ 

“Formal?”  Amanda was surprised.  Formal would suggest a distance that she hadn't experienced when the man had uttered his words.  “Like the use of sir?”

“Its use is more a sign of showing respect, towards elderly people, like your grandparents, your parents or teachers.  It's also used a lot in business, the military, and diplomatic circles.”  Hoshi was obviously happy to explain a language to someone.

Hoshi's explanation made Amanda more curious about the identity of the stranger in sickbay.  She could image him part of the military.  So she thanked Hoshi for her input, added all the information she had gather into the search program and waited. 

While she was busy, Phlox had finished studying the substance on the hand of the wounded man.  Now the doctor carefully scraped off a sample of something Amanda couldn't quite make out, into a vial.  The hand of their patient didn't bleed and he didn't respond at all to Phlox's actions.  He appeared to be in a deep sleep.    

“What have you found?”  Amanda asked Phlox.  He made a gesture to wait and he placed the vial into an analyzer.  When the results came in, Phlox started nodding enthusiastically.  His features showed he was amazed what he had found out.

 “I once heard a rumor at a medical conference that I considered too ridiculous to be true,” Phlox explained.  “About a substance called Faridex.  It’s rumored to be an Orion invention, a sort of latex in which you can imprint DNA patterns.  It is sprayed on the body and forms a sort of second skin with a different DNA than your own.  Ideal for criminals, especially because these days most officials use skin DNA-scanners.” 

“Or for people who want to hide the identity of their victim,” Amanda responded.  Phlox nodded and was about to say something else when the chirp of the computer got their attention.  The search program, combining all the pieces of information they had gathered, had come up with a name: Rogier - better known in Starfleet under his English name Roger Dubois.  He was a Dutchman with French roots and a Starfleet officer.

Phlox looked shocked by the outcome.  “One of Trip’s crew was Roger Dubois,” he said to her.  “But Dubois’s remains were found at the crash site.  Starfleet Medical examined the remains established that they’re where indeed from Dubois, and then they were returned to his family for burial.  So either this isn’t really Dubois, or we were fooled into thinking we’d found his body at the crash site,” he said, shaking his head. 

Phlox reported his findings to the captain.  Amanda stayed behind with Dubois.  In the silence of sickbay she now could hear the steady drum of the warp core and the sound of voices behind the door where the bridge was.  The discussion became louder, then a complete silence, before she heard someone at the door.  She expected to see Phlox again, but it was Malcolm. 

She was glad to see him.  Amanda hadn’t spoken much with Reed, who seemed ill at ease with her around on this mission.  But she wanted to spend more time with him.  In fact, it was one of reasons she had joined this mission. 

“Hoshi and I are going to investigate the pod,” he told her.  His face was neutral, but she noticed the tension in his hands.  “Archer thinks we will find more about what happened to Dubois and to Tucker by examining the pod, perhaps finding some Orion writing.”  His eyes searched hers.  “We’re going beam directly aboard, that’s the safest way.  I’d like you to keep an eye on the captain while I am gone.”  He paused.  “Starfleet has agreed to this mission, but they weren’t very happy that the prime candidate for the presidency of the Coalition was going on a dangerous mission to find someone who they are convinced is dead.  The captain wanted to investigate the pod himself, but I disagreed.  Keep him here on the vessel and keep him safe.” 

“Aye sir.”  Amanda responded.  “Be safe yourself, Malcolm”, she added, a strange feeling settled in.  This could go wrong, she thought, but kept from saying out loud.  “I will keep him in line,” she gave him a smile. 

Then Phlox entered sickbay and she followed Malcolm to the bridge.  Hoshi already stood ready and Amanda watched as the two dematerialized before her eyes to be beamed aboard the pod.

She went back to her station.  Automatically, she started scanning the area, but then she heard a hard sound, the sound of people beaming aboard. 

She looked up, surprised that Hoshi and Malcolm would return within minutes, and then she saw it.  In the midst of the bridge two women stood.  They were slim, had long black hair and were barely dressed.  Both of them carried a long phaser.  But what was more: their skin was green.  Amanda pulled her phaser, but before she could fire, a phaser blast took her out and she crashed to the ground, bleeding.  She saw Travis moving forward, then shot in the back by a third Orion female who was beamed aboard after the two. 

“Hello Jon,” she heard one of the females say. 

“Navaar,” the captain’s voice came.  He sounded as if he was impressed by those three.  Amanda sure hoped Archer had taken his anti-Orion female-medicine, or they were lost.

“We claim this vessel and all its crew for the Orion syndicate,” Navaar called out.  “Including your little patient,” she said with a laugh in her voice.  “He’s ours.” 

Amanda heard it all.  She felt her strength leaving her.  “Contact Malcolm.  Warn him,” she thought.  “I have to warn him.” 

And then she lost consciousness.


Comments:

panyasan

Thanks, Transwarp. Good to hear from you. 

Transwarp

What a cliffhanger!!!

Transwarp

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