A Cold Day In Hell

By JiNX-01

Rating: PG

Genres: adventure

Keywords: time travel

This story has been read by 760 people.
This story has been read 1098 times.


Author's Note: This story was written for a "History Challenge" at The Delphic Expanse.

  

"A Cold Day in Hell"

A TnT Adventure

Day 1

Trip and T'Pol hit the pavement hard. Fortunately, they had landed in an alley, out of sight of the large crowd filling the sidewalk. Trip stood up and pulled T'Pol to her feet.

"You okay?" he asked.

"This garment has failed to protect my legs," she replied. "They are scraped and bleeding."

"Yeah, dresses aren't the best thing to be wearing when you're going to be dropped on the ground."

Trip opened his duffel and took out a first aid kit. He handed her a roll of gauze, medical adhesive and anti-bacterial ointment. "Need any help?"

T'Pol had begun dabbing at her wounds. "No. I am all right."

"Try to stay out of sight. I'm going to scout around. Lookin' at that crowd, I have a feelin' we're not in Tyuratam."

 

Once on the sidewalk, Trip stood on his toes and craned his neck hoping to get his bearings. Failing that, he wove his way through the crowd to the curb. From there he spotted a magnificent structure: St. Basil's, he realized.

 

He returned to find T'Pol bandaged and ready to go. "Our friend has lousy aim," he told her. "We're in Moscow."

"We must find someplace private to stay until we can leave," T'Pol said, shouldering her backpack.

"I'm with you," he said, picking up his duffel. "Keep an eye out for a newspaper. We can get the date off it."

"What is a newspaper?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah, they kind went out of use in the early 21st century. Look for a box ... or a news stand... with stacks of papers and magazines that have big type and pictures."

T'Pol gazed at him, clearly puzzled.

"Forget it. I'll tell you when we find one," he said.

 

As they crossed a side street, T'Pol asked, "What is the purpose of this demonstration?"

"It's a military parade," Trip said in a low voice. "The Soviets would show off their weapons to remind their enemies they could easily be destroyed. Those missiles are probably atomic."

"It is not logical to share such information with one's adversaries," T'Pol said. "It only induces them to add to their own military armaments, thus increasing the likelihood of disaster."

"Yeah, well, nobody ever said the cold war made any sense. Let's get out of here."

 

T'Pol chose a seedy hotel on the outskirts of Moscow. She said it was logical to maintain a low profile and conserve their money. Trip wasn't happy. At least we have plenty of disinfectant, he thought glumly.

"How do you propose we get to Tyuratam?" T'Pol asked.

"I'm pretty sure our only option is the train," he replied. "Tickets shouldn't cost too much. And if we run into trouble, at least we have a chance at escaping."

T'Pol paused in her cleaning. "Are you going to assist me?"

"Hey, it wasn't my idea to stay in this dump."

"We cannot afford a more desirable accommodation. We have no alternative source of currency."

"Places like this don't change the sheets every day," Trip complained. "I'll bet we end up with bed bugs and lice."

"I do not believe the proprietor will return the currency we have already expended. We cannot afford additional funds to obtain a lice-free room where they change the sheets every day. I have cleaned the floor. Sleep there."

 

 

Day 2

 

T'Pol had spent the night learning to speak and read 20th century Russian. The date on the previous day's copy of Pravda assured them that they had sufficient time to complete their mission, if all went well. Since Trip couldn't learn the language as quickly, she suggested that he pretend to be a deaf mute.

Trip suggested they travel in separate cars, so if anything went wrong, at least one of them might still be able to complete the mission. They split up a few blocks from the station.

 

T'Pol chose a window seat near the front of the second car. Trip continued past her and headed for a car further back. A handsome man in an expensive suit entered and sat down beside T'Pol. He removed his hat and nodded, but said nothing until the train began to move.

"I am Luka Duchovny."

"Katia Asimov," T'Pol replied in a flawless Russian accent.

"It is pleasing to have such a lovely traveling companion," Duchovny said. T'Pol forced herself to smile and asked where he was going.

"Home. I have been away for many years."

"Where is home?"

"Tyuratam."

"I am going there as well," T'Pol said.

"Are you visiting or will you be working there?"

"Working," she replied.

He smiled. "And what will you be doing?"

"I am an aerospace engineer."

Duchovny stopped smiling.

"Katia Asimov, you are under arrest."

A man sitting across the aisle stood and approached T'Pol.

"Allow me to introduce my associate, Mikhail Grinkov," Duchovny said.

"You will come quietly," Grinkov said in a low threatening tone. The other passengers looked out the windows or at the floor. It was wise not to take notice of the KGB.

 

Trip was asleep when T'Pol entered his car, Duchovny leading the way, Grinkov following her. The passengers here also looked away as the trio passed. As T'Pol approached Trip's seat, she feigned losing her balance and fell against him. Trip awoke startled and confused, but quickly regained his composure, taking care not to speak. T'Pol pressed her fingers against his face. The meld was brief, but he got the message. He didn't look back as they passed.

It had been nearly an hour since T'Pol was taken into custody. She had instructed Trip to leave her and proceed with the mission. But he wasn't about to obey. He knew enough about 20th century Russia to realize she would be tortured, and that with her Vulcan resilience, she would tell them nothing. Then they would kill her.

Trip grabbed his duffel and headed for the back of the train, hoping he wasn't too late. He went through three cars before reaching one with a locked door. He could hear the sound of angry voices, and cursed himself for not having bothered to learn even rudimentary Russian, not that I was been given much time to prepare. He didn't hear T'Pol's voice, and said a prayer that she was all right.

His only weapon was a small knife. It was sharp, but too small to do much damage in a fight. But he had to do something. 

 

So, he knocked on the door. Grinkov answered. This car was very different from the others. The chairs were richly upholstered. There were drapes for privacy. Along one wall was a well-stocked liquor cabinet and opposite that was a sideboard, filled with a variety of rich foods, including caviar and shark.

T'Pol was tied to a chair. She had green bruises on her face and arms.

At least they haven't broken the skin, Trip thought. That would have been a shocker.

Grinkov began waving his arms and yelling at Trip, who did not to react to the display. Trip raised his hands to his ears and shrugged, while shaking his head as if he didn't know what the agent said. That certainly is true, he thought wryly. He made a motion to indicate he was looking for a bathroom.

Grinkov told him to return to the forward cars. Trip pointed to his ears again and the men finally realized he was deaf and mute.

"Let him use the lavatory," Duchovny angrily told his partner. "Then get him out of here." Trip took a cue from T'Pol, pretending to be unsteady as he approached her. He stumbled, knocking over the chair and then falling over it.

Duchovny pointlessly yelled at him. Trip remained where he was, sawing as fast as he could to cut the rope that bound his mate. Duchovny grabbed Trip by the arm and pulled him to his feet. Grinkov grabbed the chair to right it with T'Pol still tied to it.

Trip had cut through the rope just enough so T'Pol could break her bonds. Once free, she used the Vulcan grip to render Grinkov unconscious. Then she turned to Duchovny, who was manhandling Trip and quickly dispatched him with a technique she learned from the MACOs during the Xindi mission.

"We need to get off this train," Trip said.

"How would you suggest we do that?" T'Pol asked. "Even if we survived, we cannot walk to Tyuratam." 

"Look," Trip said, "We cannot stay on this train. As soon as they wake up, they're gonna come looking for us. And I'm pretty sure they have fellow travelers. On my way here I saw men who have the same taste in clothes as these guys."

"Then we will have to make sure they cannot find us," T'Pol said firmly. "I believe we are only two hours from the next terminal," T'Pol said. "We will be changing trains."

Trip tilted his head toward the unconscious agents. "Why did they arrest you? Did you tell them anything?"

T'Pol pointed at Duchovny. "He sat beside me. At first, he was cordial. We were conversing. When I told him I was an aerospace engineer, his demeanor changed. During interrogation it became apparent that we have been under surveillance since our arrival in Moscow. He and his partner know where we're going."

"We are so screwed."

"Not necessarily." T'Pol replied. "Look for anything that might be of use when we arrive at our destination."

Trip glanced around. "I know just the thing." He went through the pockets of the agents' clothes. "Yup. We can go anywhere with these," he said, triumphantly holding up the KGB credentials.

"The images..." T'Pol began.

"Got it covered," Trip said. He reached into his backpack and held up black and white mug shots of T'Pol and himself. "Boy Scouts' motto: Be prepared," he said with a grin. "Good thing our friend let us pick up some supplies. We just better hope nobody looks too closely."

"Remove their clothing," T'Pol said.

"Disguises. Good idea!" Trip said. "We'll just walk off the train and everybody will be too scared to bother us!"

"No. We must be careful," she replied. "As you noted, they might have associates."

T'Pol opened her backpack and took out a small kit. Trip looked closely at the box. "Hey, I didn't know you could sew."

She looked up at him. "In this era women wear dresses and skirts. I must modify these garments to conform to the practices of this time period." T'Pol worked on the clothes in silence for nearly an hour. At last, she folded her new skirt and tailored jacket.

"Great, let's get out of here," Trip said, "Before the others come back here to check on their buddies."

T'Pol pointed at a leather bag on the floor. "Pack the agents' clothing in that."

He picked up the case and popped it open. "That's weird. It's empty."

"Perhaps you should look for the contents," T'Pol suggested. "You might find something useful."

He went to work, rifling through drawers, the liquor cabinet and even the agents' outer coats, which he then stuffed into the case.

Meanwhile, T'Pol knelt beside the agents lying on the floor. Duchovny was closest, so she began with him. Placing her fingers on the pressure points on his face she said, "My mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts. Our minds are merging, our minds are one..."

 

Day 3

 

It was after midnight when the train reached the next station. Trip and T'Pol slipped away and changed into their KGB clothes.

"Listen," Trip said, "We need to look the part."

"I am certain this clothing conforms..." T'Pol began.

"No. We need to look ... scary ... you know, menacing."

T'Pol raised an eyebrow. "Demonstrate."

Trip squinted, scrunched up his face and frowned.

T'Pol studied the expression. "I do not believe you have achieved the appearance you intended."

"What do you mean?"

The KGB agents' expressions evinced a clear threat. Your expression suggests that you are ... nauseous."

"Well, what would you suggest?" Trip demanded indignantly.

T'Pol considered for a moment. "I believe that an unemotional visage is most effective. It conveys a lack of humor or empathy."

"So, you want me to pretend I'm a Vulcan."

"I realize that it will be a challenge for you to control your volatile and often gregarious nature, but I am certain that if you focus, you will succeed."          

He rolled his eyes. "I appreciate your vote of confidence," Trip said. "Speaking of being Vulcan, what did you do to those guys?"

"I used a mind meld. I needed to know how much they knew about us and whether they had disclosed their information to their superiors. Grinkov believes we are American spies, sent to Tyuratam to engage in sabotage. Yet he has not reported us." She paused. "Duchovny has an unusually disciplined mind. He is going to Tyuratam to meet someone, but he does not have a name."

"So," Trip said, "Now we have to keep track of two KGB agents going off in different directions? This just keeps getting worse and worse."

As they drew closer to the station entrance, T'Pol quietly reminded Trip, "Do not forget, you are a silent KGB agent."

 

The pair split up on the terminal platform so they could observe passengers boarding the train, specifically those in expensive black suits and bearing the stern visage of the KGB.

If they are here, Trip mused as he boarded at last, they've changed their wardrobe and their personalities.

 

They headed separately for the car reserved for the KGB. Again, there was plenty of freshly-prepared food and a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Best of all, the car was unoccupied. "Good thing we showed up, huh?" Trip said, reaching for the vodka. "All this would have gone to waste." He opened the bottle and poured. "You don't usually imbibe ..."

T'Pol considered the offer. "A small amount."

"Finally, a chance to relax," he said as he poured her drink. "You know, we're going to have to do a lot of improvising when we get there. I just wish we had at least a map of the place."

"Perhaps we should look for one," T'Pol said. "Duchovny has never been to Tyuratam. It is likely he would have needed a map."

Trip picked up the leather case that held their clothes. "This was empty when I opened it. But I didn't find anything in the car, either." He fell silent, studying the case. Then he smiled. "Secret compartment?" He struggled with the case for nearly an hour before discovering the hidden latch.

"Pay dirt!" he exclaimed. Inside the compartment were several documents, including a map of the village of Tyuratam and the missile site. "Wow, this is great!" Trip said, as he flipped through the pages. "Everything you'd ever want to know about Earth's very first space center. Sputnik. Yuri Gagarin. Valentina Tereshkova. It all started right here!"

"Trip, put the papers back," T'Pol said. "We can't be certain there are no KGB agents on this train. We must not take a chance on one of them walking in here and finding us with these documents."

"All right," Trip said, dismayed. "It's just that so much was lost in the last war. I grew up dreaming about traveling to other worlds and meeting people ... people like you ... and Shran ... Heck. Even the Tellarites. And these men and women were the very first to reach for that dream."

"We cannot afford to lose our focus on this mission," she replied. "If we allow ourselves to be caught up in the dream that is all it will ever be."

"I know, you're right. You should get some rest," he said. "You had a pretty rough time back there."

"I need to meditate," T'Pol replied. "I am having difficulty maintaining focus."

Trip walked over and gently took her hand in his. "Sleep first. Meditate later." She let him lead her to the couch where she laid down. He covered her with a coat taken from the agents. "You sleep. I'll keep an eye out."

Trip waited 30 minutes before removing the map of Tyuratam from the case. He knew T'Pol wouldn't approve, but what she didn't know wouldn't hurt him. He had been studying it for nearly an hour when someone tried to open the door. He quickly stashed the map in its hidden compartment. Then he shook T'Pol awake. "Sorry about the short nap," he whispered. "Someone is at the door."

T'Pol rose and crossed to the door, unlocked it and then stepped back. The door opened from the other side. Trip gasped.

Duchovny.

Trip looked around for something akin to a club. The closest thing to a weapon he could see was the leather case. He grabbed it and prepared to swing.

Duchovny looked at T'Pol. "My apologies for your injuries, lovely lady," he said in English. His accent was distinctly British.

"What do you want?" Trip demanded, still poised to strike.

The KGB man smirked. "So, the deaf man is not so mute." 

"And the KGB agent has been to England," Trip replied.

"Learning English is part of our training."

"Trip," T'Pol said.

Trip grudgingly lowered the case, but kept his hold on it.

Duchovny took a seat.

"A few months ago we began receiving reports of problems at Tyuratam. Equipment damaged, materials disappearing, key personnel injured or falling ill under curious circumstances. And then two Americans suddenly turn up in Moscow. A day later, they are on a train to Tyuratam. What were we to think?"

The pair remained silent.

"My superiors believe you are here to replace your compatriots. We were assigned to follow you, obtain the identities of your predecessors and take you all into custody."

"It is not logical for you to disclose your mission," T'Pol replied. "Therefore, you must have an ulterior motive for revealing it."

Duchovny ignored the comment and turned his attention to Tucker. "Trip. I thought a trip was a vacation." He laughed at his own joke. Tucker wasn't amused.

The agent smiled. "Oh, I forgot. You are deaf and mute." Never taking his eyes off Tucker, he said, "Katia, pour me a drink. Vodka, with ice."

T'Pol went to the cabinet and filled a glass.

"Let us drink a toast to our new friendship," he said, with a predatory smile.

"We are not friends," Trip said angrily.

"Oh, I think you will change your mind," Duchovny replied. "I am not the only KGB officer on this train."

Trip and T'Pol exchanged a glance.

"... And I have instructed my associates to wait one hour. If I do not return by that time, they will come, and they won't be as patient as I am."

He stood up and went to the couch where T'Pol had been sleeping. He looked at his watch. "Wake me in 30 minutes," he said as he lay down and pulled the coat up for a blanket.

Trip and T'Pol went to the back of the car. It was the farthest they could get from Duchovny.

"What do we do now?" Trip whispered.

"We pack and leave."

"Uh, when I suggested we jump off a train, you said we wouldn't survive. And we're still too far from Tyuratam to walk."

"I put a sleeping aid into his drink. He will sleep deeply so we can get away."

"Where did you get a sleeping pill?" Trip asked.

"From your first-aid kit."

"But we still can't jump."

"We are not going to."

"Oh. ... Okay, I'll get packing."

 

An hour later, Duchovny awoke to find Grinkov standing over him.

He sat up quickly and looked around. "Where are they?"

"Who?"

"The Americans."

"They are not here."

"Fool! I can see that!"

"When you didn't return, I came looking."

"I told you to stay where you were, in case they escaped. They got past you, you idiot! We must find them. Now!"

The agents went to the door leading to the forward car, but the lock wouldn't turn. They tried the rear door, but that lock wouldn't budge either. They broke the small window in the door to try to get the attention of passengers in the forward car, but the noise of the train made it impossible to hear. They quickly regretted breaking the glass as the cold wind of April in Siberia filled the car. They took down the drapes and wrapped themselves in them for warmth.

 

T'Pol and Trip had left through the rear door of the car. Wearing the agents' heavy coats, they climbed to the roof and jumped from car to car until they reached the second car behind the engine. They climbed down between the third and second cars. "I don't see any sign of them," Trip said, looking through the window into the third car.

"I don't see them in the car ahead, either," said T'Pol.

Trip grinned. "And you didn't think we'd need a soldering kit."

 

Day 4

 

The second car had only a few passengers. Trip led T'Pol to a row of seats well out of earshot of the others. They were still dressed as KGB, so they were confident no one would approach.

"I've got a confession," Trip whispered. "I know you didn't want me to, but I took a good look at the map."

"I expected you would."

Trip gave her an exasperated look. "I am so sick of this damn bond between us!"

"Then you should have declined to engage in intimacy with me."

"If I had known you were going to be in my head for the rest of my life, I probably would have."

"Probably?"

Trip rolled his eyes. "Y'know, I just remembered. I'm mute."

"Would you please get the case down?" T'Pol asked.

Trip took it down from the rack overhead and handed it to her.

T'Pol released the latch to the compartment and retrieved the documents. "It's your turn to get some sleep," she said. "We have a busy day tomorrow."

"Like the last three haven't been?"

"Sleep."

He leaned back and tipped his fedora over his eyes. "Wake me when it's over."

 

Tyuratam.

"We need to keep moving," Trip said, as they disembarked. "Duchovny will be able to get out of the car now and we don't want to be around when he does."

T'Pol buttoned the heavy coat. It helped some, but the skirt she wore offered no protection from the cold wind. "I examined the map. The simplest way is along the river."

"No," Trip said. "Too obvious. We go though the village. We can pass as KGB. Nobody will bother us."

"No one except other KGB agents," T'Pol noted.

 

Duchovny and Grinkov escaped from the car by climbing out a side window. Duchovny told Grinkov to take the river path. "The Americans will most likely take that route because strangers would attract attention in the village."

Grinkov readily agreed. He desperately wanted to be the one to capture the spies. It would make him a hero.

He had lived with shame for months, following the explosion of a prototype ICBM in October. More than one hundred engineers and technicians were killed. His superiors were convinced that saboteurs from the West were responsible, and Grinkov was the target of their wrath. He spent three months in a gulag for his failure to prevent the disaster.

Duchovny had persuaded their superiors to give him another chance and he was determined he would not fail again.

 

 "We need to find shelter," T'Pol said. The sun was low over the horizon and the wind had grown colder.

"Yeah," Trip said. "Trouble is, it won't be as easy as it was in Moscow. Small towns, everybody knows everybody else."

"Show your hands." It was in Russian. T'Pol dropped the case and turned around, while slowly raising her hands.

The sentry nudged Trip in the back with his weapon. Tucker dropped his duffel and slowly spread his arms as he turned.

"Who are you?" he said to Tucker. Trip re-enacted the mime he did the first time he met Duchovny and Grinkov. The guard clearly did not understand and was becoming agitated at his failure to answer.

"We have credentials," T'Pol said in Russian. "Do not be alarmed. You may reach into my pocket." She pointed to her coat.

The guard yelled for assistance. Another sentry came running. The first instructed the newcomer to inspect the contents of her pocket. Their eyes widened with fear when they discovered they were holding weapons on a KGB officer. She told them that her partner is also KGB. She glanced at Trip, and he held up his own credentials.

"What are your names?" T'Pol asked.

The two guards glanced at each other nervously.

"There is no need for alarm," she assured them. "This is an unscheduled inspection intended to test the security of this facility in anticipation of the coming launch. You have both done well and I intend to inform your superiors of your conscientious performance. Return to your patrol."

Several minutes passed before Trip recovered his composure. "What just happened here?"

"I told them that we were conducting a security inspection and they passed."

"Good thinking. Now let's get the hell out of here and find someplace to hide for the night."

 

Day 5

 

Trip woke up with a big grin on his face. "I can't believe how devious you are," he whispered.

T'Pol rolled over and gave him "the look."

"All you had to do was flash that badge and we were in. Heck they even gave us their bedroom!"

"Keep your voice down," T'Pol said. "You're supposed to be mute."

"Okay, okay," he whispered. "I've been thinking. This place is huge. And we have no idea where to look for the sabotage. We really could use some help."

"Who would you suggest?"

"How about the people who work here?"

"This is no time for you to be indulging in humor."

"I'm not kidding. We walk in like we own the place. You tell the people in charge that the KGB has evidence that an American spy is here to sabotage the launch. They'll tear this place apart."

"It would be very risky," T'Pol replied. "Don't forget, Duchovny and Grinkov are here. We do not know what they have reported to the authorities."

"They had plenty of time yesterday to report two American spies, a man and a woman, posing as KGB agents. But those soldiers thought we were the real thing."

"Or, perhaps the sentries were instructed to let us pass," she replied.

"Hmmm ... yeah. They give us the rope, we hang ourselves." He paused. "On the other hand, I'm pretty sure those guards were really afraid of you."

There was a knock at the door. A woman called out, inviting them to join the family for breakfast. Trip and T'Pol dressed quickly and joined their hosts for their first meal in two days.

 

 "I don't think I've ever seen you eat that much in one sitting," Trip remarked after they left the house.

"We didn't eat yesterday and we have a great deal to do today. We might not have time to obtain food," she replied.

"You are quite correct, spy."

They turned around.

Grinkov was holding a gun on them. "Keep walking," he said.

They did as they were told.

"Where's your buddy, Duchovny?" Trip asked.

"Silence," Grinkov ordered.

"Just making conversation." Trip felt the barrel of the gun in his back.

"I will kill you," Grinkov warned. "I will not fail again."

 

Twenty minutes later they stood in an office at the Cosmodrome.

"It's Sergei Korolev," Trip whispered to T'Pol. "He was the driving force behind the Soviet space program. I can't believe I'm going to get to meet him!"

"I doubt he will share your enthusiasm. Grinkov is telling him you are a saboteur."

Korolev approached the spies. "Why would you want to undo all of my hard work?" he asked in Russian.

"That is not our intention," T'Pol replied, also in Russian. "We are here to prevent disaster."

"Mr. Grinkov thinks otherwise," Korolev switched to English. "I wonder who I should believe. American spies or Mr. Grinkov? I wonder who the KGB will believe."

"I am an American, but I'm not a spy," Trip said. "Katia is not an American. And we can prove it."

"Indeed," Korolev said. "Convince me. Convince us."

Trip turned to T'Pol. "Lift up your skirt."

Grinkov reached for his weapon.

"Relax," Trip said, "We're not going to hurt anyone."

T'Pol raised her hem a few inches.

"Scratch it," Trip told her.

T'Pol ran her fingernail over a scab on her knee. It pulled away and green blood trickled down her leg.

Korolev and Grinkov instinctively stepped back, speechless.

"She's ... not from around here," Trip deadpanned.

Korolev stared at her. "You are ... How? Where?"

"I believe it is best that you do not know," T'Pol replied.

"Why are you here?"

"We are trying to prevent a catastrophe," T'Pol explained. "We have reason to believe that the launch will sabotaged. We don't know how. We don't know where. Only that it will happen. And we are running out of time."

"I wish we had more specific information," Trip said. "But we can help. I have a lot of experience in aerospace engineering. T'Pol is a scientist and a computer expert."

"No," Grinkov said urgently to Korolev. "We must not trust them."

Korolev agreed. "I appreciate the offer, but we are quite capable of securing our facility."

An hour later, more than a hundred engineers and technicians were at work, checking every essential or vulnerable system on the rocket, the launch pad and their computers.

Trip and T'Pol remained in Korolev's office under heavy guard.

 

Day 6

 

As the first light of dawn broke, a very angry Korolev returned, followed by Grinkov.

"We have examined every essential system in the rocket. The computers. The launch pad. Everything. I do not know why you attempt to divert us, but the launch will go on as scheduled. Mr. Grinkov, I have called the KGB. Take these two downstairs and lock them up until we can transfer them."

 

Grinkov was agitated as he escorted the spies to their cell.

Trip's curiosity once again got the better of him. "What's wrong, Grinkov?"

The Russian didn't answer. As he unlocked the cell, his hands trembled.

"'C'mon, Grinkov, what is it?"

"Do not speak to me, spy. Because of you and Duchovny, my life has been destroyed!"

"Duchovny?" T'Pol asked. "You said he helped you get your job back."

"He told our superiors that I have performed ... incompetently."

Grinkov slammed the door shut, locked it, and left. Trip watched him through the small, barred opening in the door as he retreated up the stairs, his head bowed in shame.

Several hours later Grinkov returned, accompanied by two soldiers. "I have been instructed to take you to the KGB central office in Moscow." He opened the door.

The soldiers each held a set of shackles.

"I promise, you will not escape again," Grinkov said.

 

Trip sat in the back seat of the car absorbed in the puzzle. No mechanical or structural sabotage. No glitches in the computer system. Korolev said they checked everything. The space program was his pride, he wouldn't shirk on security. We're overlooking something. Something nobody would be worried about...

Time was running out.

And then it hit him. "Yuri!"

"What?" T'Pol asked.

"You said Duchovny was coming here to meet someone, but he didn't have a name. He knew about the launch. But he may not have known who would be in the nose cone."

"We must find a way to escape," T'Pol said.

Trip paused, thinking desperately. "I have an idea," he whispered finally. "Hey, Grinkov, how would you like to be a hero?"

"I do not listen to you, spy."

"Your old friend Duchovny is going to commit treason," Trip pressed him.

The Russian stopped the car and looked back at Trip. "How do you say this?"

"You know my companion is not from Earth, da?"

Grinkov looked warily at T'Pol. "Da."

"She has the ability to read minds."

"Have you seen Duchovny since you arrived here?" T'Pol asked.

"No. He sent me to look for you."

"I'm telling you, Grinkov," Trip said urgently, "Duchnovny is going to do something. The launch will fail."

"What time is the launch?" T'Pol asked.

Grinkov hesitated.

"Please, for God's sake, trust us!" Trip implored.

Precious minutes passed. "Less than 30 minutes," Grinkov said at last.

"Get us there. We'll help you!" Trip urged.

Again, Grinkov paused, struggling to find the right choice.

"You will need these," he said at last, handing the keys to the shackles to T'Pol.

"You won't regret this, Grinkov. I promise," Trip said.

"My name is Mikhail."

"Nice to meet you, Mikhail."

 

Grinkov drove like a madman through the village and into the space center. Gagarin had already been prepped and secured in the capsule.

"We have 20 minutes," T'Pol said. "Trip, give me the first aid kit." He put it in her backpack.

"We must hurry," Grinkov said, and the three began the climb. At last they reached the topmost platform.

Duchovny was armed and waiting.

T'Pol immediately went to Yuri's aid.

"You are too late, lovely lady," Duchovny said. "The drug will not wear off in time to save him."

"Why are you doing this?" Trip demanded.

"I am here to make sure that when we come, you will not prevail."

"How's Yuri doing, T'Pol?" Trip called out.

"You betray the Motherland!" Grinkov shouted.

 "I am not of this place," Duchovny replied. "And we will prevail."

Grinkov attacked his one-time mentor. The assault took Duchovny by surprise and the two fell down the steps to the next platform. Grinkov's rage fed his strength as he broke the saboteur's neck. He stood, victorious, over Duchovny's body. Before he could speak, the body vanished.

"What...?"

"Mikhail, sometimes, it's best not to ask," Trip said, coming down the stairs. "You saved the day."

"Yuri, I must see him."

"I'd like to see him, too. He's one of my heroes." The two ran up the steps together.

"I have administered a stimulant," T'Pol told them. "He is awake but groggy. However, I believe he will be able to fulfill his duties during this mission."

"Great!" Trip said. "Uh, would you mind, T'Pol? I'd like to say hello." T'Pol climbed out of the cramped capsule.

Trip took her place. "Mr. Gagarin, this is such an honor. I can't believe I am actually meeting the first human to go into space. I'd like to shake your hand." Gagarin stared at him, groggy and bewildered.

"Trip, he does not know English," Grinkov said. "I would be happy to translate for you."

"No," T'Pol said. "Close up the capsule. If the countdown to launch has not already begun, it will soon."

"Sonofabitch," Trip said in frustration.

"Do not worry, Trip," Mikhail said. "I will tell Yuri when he returns. I will tell him everything you did to help us."

"We must go. Now," T'Pol insisted.

The three raced down the stairs, Grinkov leading the way. When they reached a safe distance, he turned to thank his new friends.

There was no sign of them.

 

Epilogue

 

Spock had barely resumed his analysis of the scans of post-World War II Earth when Trip and T'Pol returned through the Guardian's portal.

"Hello! Miss us?" Trip asked.

"I did not," Spock replied.

"Gee, thanks!" Trip said sarcastically.

"It was not my intention to insult you, Mr. Tucker. From my perspective you have been gone only a few moments."

"We've been gone for days!"

"The Guardian has the ability to bring you back at almost the moment you left," Spock explained. "Therefore, the passage of time was insufficient for me to ... miss you."

"Oh." Trip was still disappointed. "Well, anyway, you did say you would answer our questions when we got back."

"Indeed. Ask away, Mr. Tucker."

"Who are you?"

"I am Spock."

"OK, Spock, why us?"

 "You are an engineer and T'Pol is a scientist. You are bonded mates. Your telepathic connection would allow you to work well together. Also, in my experience, I have discovered that Vulcan logic and human intuition often lead to successful results. As you can attest, I was correct."

"How does it work?" Trip asked, tilting his head toward the portal.

"I do not know. The Guardian, either by design or by nature, is not always forthcoming."

"What made you think something went wrong with Gagarin's flight?"

"Many years ago, when I served on a starship, we came to this place. It became necessary for us to travel back in time to re-establish the timeline. When I retired from public service I decided to return to this place to study the history of my mother's homeworld."

"Your mother was from Earth?" T'Pol asked.

"My father was an ambassador to Earth. That is where he met my mother. She was a teacher."

"Human and Vulcan," T'Pol said, glancing at Trip. He looked sadly back at her.

"We had a little girl," Trip told Spock. "This crazy terrorist group hated aliens and they used our stolen DNA to create a binary clone. They used the baby to try to convince humans that if we let aliens continue to come to Earth and possibly even mate with us, that humanity would be wiped out. Like I said, crazy."

"The doctors made mistakes in the cloning process," T'Pol added. "She was six months old when she died. It was less than a year ago."

"I grieve with you," Spock said gently. "The loss of a child is a great tragedy for a family... for the future."

Trip changed the subject. "So how did you know Yuri's flight was threatened?"

"While exploring the surface, I found a shuttle among the ruins. I tracked the pilot's movements to the Guardian. It was clear he or she had gone through the portal into the past. I assumed the alien was exploring his home world's history. I then proceeded with my scans of Earth's history. My transport was to return after three months. When the ship failed to return, I began an analysis of the scans and discovered Earth's history had been changed again. I also discovered that the turning point centered on Yuri Gagarin's failed flight and tensions between the two superpowers of the mid-20th century."

"Duchovny," Trip said. "He told Grinkov he was 'not of this place.'"

"He said something else," T'Pol added. "'I am here to make sure that when we come, you will not prevail.'"

"Indeed?" Spock said. "There were unsubstantiated reports that the Soviets lost several cosmonauts prior to Gagarin's flight. And six months before his launch, an intercontinental ballistic missile exploded on the launch pad during a test. The Russians suspected American saboteurs. It is possible this Duchovny took advantage of the opportunity to elevate hostilities between East and West.  In the altered timeline, I discovered a brief exchange of atomic weapons initiated by the Soviets against the United States. It would have almost certainly set back Earth's space programs several decades."

He looked at them. "Your success prevented that."

"So, what's next?" Trip asked.

Spock didn't respond right away. It made Trip nervous.

"I regret, Mr. Tucker, that I am going to have to expunge your memory of these events."

"What? No! I met Sergei Korolev and Yuri Gagarin! I don't want to forget!"

"I am sorry, Mr. Tucker, but I cannot permit you to retain the memory of your experiences."

"What about T'Pol? Are you going to make her forget, too?"

"I do not have the training to erase her memory. And T'Pol has the mental discipline to keep your mission a secret."

"If you don't want me to tell, I won't. Please don't erase my memory of this."

"If I may make a suggestion..." T'Pol interjected.

 

Trip woke up to the sound of running water. He was groggy and felt hung over. Yet he hadn't been drinking. The door to the bathroom opened. He rolled over just as T'Pol entered, toweling herself off. "Good morning," she said. "You had a restless night."

"I had the craziest dream," Trip replied.

"What happened?"

"You and I went back to the 20th century to stop someone from changing history. We were being chased by KGB agents across Siberia. And we were pretending to be KGB agents to escape from them."

"Curious. I was not aware that you had an interest in 20th century history."

"Actually I don't, really. Except for the early beginnings of space exploration. Astronauts back then had to be the bravest people alive. They rode rockets into orbit. Anything goes wrong, they get blown up. And there was this alien guy who tried to sabotage Yuri Gagarin's space flight. And I figured out how to save him!"

"I do not understand why the dream disturbs you."

"Well, when humans dream, it usually jumps all over the place, one second you're in your house and the next you're riding a donkey on a highway. But this one was actually linear. It was like I was reading a story that just kept going and going. It didn't have the inconsistencies."

T'Pol wrapped herself in the towel and sat on the bed. "Humans frequently have unusual dreams."

He leaned in close to her and whispered, "Yeah, I know. But it was so real, I could swear I was reliving a memory!"


Comments:

JiNX-01

@Who, Me?: Thanks for the encouraging comments. I've signed up for another challenge over at the Delphic Expanse, and I'm just waiting for my "assignment."

Who, Me?

This fic was already full of win, but since it's your first that makes it even more awesome! :D

I think just dropping us right into the action was an effective technique. We've seen it lots of times on TV, that first few minuts that makes us wonder what's going on and sucks us in.

I liked Trip and his "intimidating face," and I especially liked this:

 

Trip gave her an exasperated look. "I am so sick of this damn bond between us!"

"Then you should have declined to engage in intimacy with me."

"If I had known you were going to be in my head for the rest of my life, I probably would have."

"Probably?"

Trip rolled his eyes. "Y'know, I just remembered. I'm mute."

 

I disagree with the other poster who said they were out of character. I think yours are better than most people's. I'd think that if someone was going to give you a criticism like that, they'd back it up with examples and reasons why they felt that way, instead of an unsubstantiated drive by remark. Especially since this is your first one, but that's just me.

I think you did great work and I will be watching you in the future. :D

Linda

This is a good story for a first one.  I did think that Trip and T'Pol were a bit out of character, but not too much so.  The setting in Russia was very interesting.  Please write more stories! 

JiNX-01

@Asso: Thanks for the kind words! I did have a lot of fun getting TnT into a fix and figuring out how to get them out of it. I hope with practice, I'll get better.

Distracted

No need to apologise, JiNX-01.  You did a great job for your first fic.  It's a sure sign that you've got talent when your readers ask for more.  Anybody can learn how to structure a story. It's the original ideas that are hard to come by, and this story is full of them. 

Jumping right into the action is a well-known and successful way to catch your readers' attention.  You just need to sprinkle explanations here and there into later scenes so the reader can figure out what's going on before the ending.  Otherwise Spock's appearance comes completely out of the blue, makes no sense, and smacks of deus ex machina, which is generally considered something to be avoided.  Reading this, I wanted to know how TnT first came in contact with Spock and how they found the Guardian, since Kirk's Enterprise supposedly found it first.  Lack of continuity bugs me.  It's fixable, though, and the rest of the story is exciting. All you'd need to do is to intersperse references to how they got to the USSR by presenting the internal thoughts and memories of your POV character during gaps in the action.  Flashbacks can work, too, if they're done right.  You don't want to have huge flashback scenes in the middle of a conversation (or a battle) or the reader will forget where they are, but short ones might work in a story like this.

Asso

I remember my first story. My friend, if I had done at that time a job well done as yours, I would be a very great writer, now!
Good writing, I assure you.:p
Honestly, I am unable to understand why people are always forced to forget what they lived in alternate timelines, but this is my personal opinion.
Go ahead, please. And write many other stories.;)

JiNX-01

@ Distracted: Sorry. I thought it was clear that the events actually happened. I borrowed the "memory wipe" from the scene at the end of TOS' "Requiem for Methusaleh" when Spock makes Kirk forget Rayna. T'Pol proposes the "compromise" and suggests Spock move Trip's memories of the mission into his subconscious.

@ Mary: Thanks for your comments. This was my first fanfic and I can't disagree that additional exposition would have made it better.

@ Cogito: Thanks for the encouraging comments. Yes, Spock chose them. I didn't want to use Daniels because I didn't like the TCW. Arbitrary, I know, but... ;-)

As for T'Pol letting Spock "tamper" with Trip's mind, this story is set a few months after the death of Elizabeth. Vulcans are still learning how to engage in melds without doing harm (i.e.: Panaar syndrome). Thus T'Pol would be less qualified to be expunging Trip's memories herself. Since Spock is older and has indicated that he is from the future, she would be more likely to trust him not to inadvertently harm Trip. As for the risk Trip poses, Spock would be concerned that he might let slip about the Guardian and Spock.

Cogito

I quite liked the 'in at the deep end' approach. It did leave me with lots of questions though, not all of which were answered during the story. I assume that Spock has somehow used The Guardian to summon TnT because he needed them for this mission. It's an interesting way to throw them into an arbitrary time and place. A bit like Daniel's interventions, but with a bit more class. I enjoyed their adventure, you did a great job with the suspense and you kept the pace up the whole way. Good job! I was a bit surprised that T'Pol allowed a stranger to tamper with her Th'ai'la's mind though, even if she accepted that his memories were dangerous (although I don't really understand what the danger was). Persuading him it was a dream was a neat resolution but still meant that his mind got messed with, and I wonder whether that's going to bring it's own dangers if T'Pol slips and lets on that she experienced the events in his dream.

All in all I enjoyed it, and I wonder whether you see any scope for TnT being recruited to right any more wrongs, "Quantum Leap" style.

Reanok

Jinx I enjoyedthis story I liked the mystery of what was happening with Duchowny being someone from the Temporal cold war and that Trip and T'Pol had to save Yuri Gugarin.I enjoyed theis story and the use of Spock and the Guardian of Forever.

Mary

Its OK to start with an action lead in and then fill in the hows and whys. This had them in Siberia no explanation. The plot was interesting, but how did Spock enlist TnT? ,They seemed not to know him, so who gave them the mission??? There are too many dangling threads that should be connected. The ending seems too abrupt, like you ran out of ideas. Fun but needs tweaking.

Distracted

Some interesting action here, but it starts very abruptly. Is it a time travel/memory alteration story or a dream?  I dislike not knowing which.  If it's a dream, then where did Trip hear about the Guardian and about Spock?  If it's not a dream then I want more explanation.

You need to be logged in to the forum to leave a review!