Missing Scenes from Season Four: Storm Front II

By Alelou

Rating: PG

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This story has been read by 414 people.
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This story is number 2 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


SPOILERS: "Storm Front I" and the Xindi arc of Season 3, and you probably won't be able to follow this without them.

DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "Storm Front II" was written by Manny Coto.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: For those who were puzzling about what Phlox saw in that brain scan, I have to say that I don't believe Phlox is an expert in Vulcan mating bonds. Judging from what we see in canon from T'Pol, a scientist, not even Vulcans of this era are knowledgeable about them. However, even today our own human researchers can detect feelings of romantic attachment in a brain scan. So maybe Trip's brain is being re-wired by Vulcan bond mojo, or his surgery, or maybe he's just currently feeling ga-ga for someone, or any combination thereof. You may draw your own conclusions.
As always, thank you, reviewers!


T'Pol's warning about this not being a movie was drumming in Trip's ears as he and Travis were hustled down a dingy corridor away from the freaky alien in the Nazi storm trooper outfit.

"Don't try to be a hero, Travis," he said, and was immediately shoved hard into the wall.

"Silence!" the guard screamed.

He was pushed into a room and he could only assume, from the rain of blows that followed, that this was a period of beating meant to soften him up. They didn't even bother asking him anything, just whaled away in grim, workmanlike silence.

Oddly enough, the breathing exercises T'Pol had taught him for neuro-pressure helped. He breathed, and he imagined himself in her candle-lit quarters, and it was almost as if the whole thing were happening to someone else. Thanks, T'Pol.

Unfortunately, then one of the aliens showed up, and he had questions he wanted answers to, as well as more sophisticated ways to inflict pain. This time there was no escaping it, especially since Trip didn't know any of the answers. Eventually, he just started making stuff up. Mr. Velek was a temporal agent disguised as a high school biology teacher. They'd been sent back in time by the Vulcan High Command, which didn't believe in the existence of time travel but did believe in the existence of paradoxes. It was something to do with the chicken or the egg. Either that or it had something to do with the captain's dog peeing on a sacred tree. Vosk? Wasn't that some kind of Klingon domestic animal? The colleague they couldn't find was probably that rat-bastard Suliban who'd stolen their shuttle pod. Don't try to choke him into submission because it won't work. How had they gotten here? How the hell was he supposed to know? Maybe it was Daniels, the ship's steward. He wore the most uncomfortable looking clothes Trip had ever seen. There was so much rubber in his outfit he might just bounce if you dropped him off a building. Some things about the future just didn't seem terribly appealing. He was an old fashioned guy, himself. He liked nice soft fabrics, like cotton, or Triaxian silk. Soft fabrics and smart women and beautiful warp drives. Was that so hard to understand?

x x x

As soon as he got back to the bridge, a weird blue field passed through him. It had a squirmy buzz to it, as if a gazillion busy ants had just brushed by.

But then there was T'Pol, staring at him with obvious relief, and Jon, smiling. Travis was safe at the helm. And there was Earth, their Earth.

Hoshi confirmed it: they were home. Prettiest sight he'd ever seen.

It looked like practically every damned vessel in the sector was coming out to greet them, too. And as the screen filled with ships, Trip began to have his first doubts.

His parents were unlikely to be on any of those ships. Just how many hands was he going to have to shake before he got to one connected to someone he really wanted to see?

Without him quite noticing how she'd gotten there, T'Pol was suddenly at his side. "Captain, Mr. Tucker needs to be checked by the doctor."

He stared at her with a confused sense of déjà-vu. That again?

Archer gave her another smile. "Escort him down, would you?"

This time Trip didn't bother to argue. When they got in the turbo-lift, he hoped she would kiss him or hug him, but she didn't. "I guess I did spend some more time unconscious," he muttered, and leaned back against the rear panel. There was a vibration that shouldn't be there. It needed maintenance.

The whole ship needed maintenance. Or rebuilding. Parts needed to be torn out and replaced from the outside in and the inside out. It would cost a fortune. Hell, he could see where some bean counters with their eyes on nice fat procurement contracts might decide it would be easier to just start over.

What if they decided they didn't need Enterprise anymore? What if they decided they didn't need to keep this crew together anymore?

"What the hell happens now?" he asked T'Pol.

"Sickbay and sleep," she said calmly. "The rest can wait."

x x x

Trip lay down and let the imaging chamber haul him in. Hello, imaging chamber. Nice to see you again.

When he came out, Phlox said, "Do you feel nauseated, dizzy, lightheaded, or short of breath?"

"No."

"Any fears, anxieties, sense of impending doom?"

Trip eyed him warily and decided his current vague anxieties didn't bear repeating. "No."

"Do you know what day it is?"

Trip scowled. "Is that a joke?"

Phlox chuckled. "A few minutes ago, my chronometer said it was February 17, 2154. Just after 0630 Pacific Time, in case you were wondering."

"Does that explain why I feel like I've been up for about forty-eight hours?"

The doctor said, "Being up forty-eight hours is probably what explains the feeling of being up for forty-eight hours. But the whole crew is going to require some adjustments to their circadian rhythms." He closed the cut on Trip's cheek, and applied two hypo-sprays to his neck. "I want you off your feet for at least the next eight hours, Commander. T'Pol, could you escort the commander to his quarters? I just gave him a rather powerful sedative, so please don't tarry."

"Doctor," she said in acknowledgment, and put a hand on Trip's shoulder, steering him towards the doors.

Once in his quarters, she didn't hesitate, just started pulling off his filthy clothing. He swayed in place and wished he wasn't so tired so he could enjoy this a little more.

"Do you require anything?" T'Pol asked him, and he thought, I should clean my teeth, but he couldn't quite put the thought into words or action. At least he'd already nipped into a bathroom: there was more than one reason he'd been damned thankful for that transport up with the captain.

She pulled down his blanket and guided him to his bed, gently pushing him to lie down. His eyes were already too heavy to keep open. "Kiss?" he said.

She obliged, and even smoothed his hair. "I regret that I cannot stay," she said. "The captain will be unable to make a full report of recent events to Starfleet."

"S'okay," he mumbled, and slept.

x x x

Sometime later, he rolled over and encountered a warm body. "T'Pol?" he mumbled.

"Mmm?" She sounded as if she had been sleeping too.

"Everythin' all right?"

"Yes. Go back to sleep."

So he did.

x x x

The next time he awoke T'Pol was meditating on the floor of his quarters. She'd even brought one of her Vulcan candles. It was a dusky aroma he welcomed, if only because he associated it with her.

He lay there and watched her for awhile. She looked so peaceful, so beautiful, so young. So this was 65 in a Vulcan. Amazing.

He checked the chronometer. It was after 1800 hours. He'd slept for over 12 hours. Out the window he recognized the pylons of space dock. A tiny craft zoomed by. He hoped nobody was peeking into crew quarters. Not that total privacy was ever an expectation of life on a starship.

He looked back at the woman sitting on his floor. What would happen if Starfleet found out about them?

At the thought of Starfleet he realized how desperately he needed a shower and a shave. He got up as quietly as he could, but her eyes opened the minute his feet hit the deck.

"How do you feel?" she asked.

"Fine," he said, stretching. "Rested. When did we dock?"

"Six hours ago. The captain ordered that the whole crew receive eighteen hours off-duty before debriefings begin."

He yawned. "Debriefings? Guess I won't reserve any beach time yet," he said. "I need a shower. Care to join me?"

An eyebrow went up.

He smiled and walked into the bathroom, and was not very surprised a few minutes later when she walked in. She liked to wait until the water was hot.

x x x

The corridors contained only the occasional rumpled crewman in civvies. In the mess hall the beverage dispenser was blinking that it was empty. Some snack items and a full bin of ration packs sat on the buffet table. Clearly, Chef had taken his time off, too. "We could get something on the dock," Trip said doubtfully.

"I will restock the beverage dispenser," T'Pol said, so Trip followed her into the galley as she set to work.

He went in the back and opened the galley's primary stasis unit and gazed in. "Cupboard's looking a little bare. I guess it's a good thing we're back." It might be evening in San Francisco, but his stomach insisted it was time for breakfast. He pulled out a few leftover biscuits, some butter and jam, and some fruit salad and arranged them on a platter with some cutlery.

T'Pol measured coffee into the top of a large filter with her usual excessive precision, following guidelines on Chef's computer, and filled some of the various urns that fed into the beverage dispenser. Trip sat at the end of the galley table and watched her, bemused to be sharing what amounted to a quiet domestic moment on a ship of 85.

Make that 58. Twenty-seven weren't here anymore. He let his mind skitter over the number instead of attaching any faces to it. He didn't want to think about that right now.

Once the beverage dispenser was restocked, he got a cup of coffee and T'Pol a cup of chamomile tea, and they took their breakfast to the captain's mess, sitting in their usual spots. Trip looked at the captain's usual chair and comforted himself that Jon would sit in it again someday.

Or would he? What if it was all coming to an end?

"Did you make any decision about formalizing your service with Starfleet?" he asked.

"Starfleet has yet to make an offer. My acceptance will depend on my interest in their posting."

"Do you think they'll split us up?"

"Us?"

"The crew," he clarified. They hadn't really discussed their own relationship at all yet. Trip felt they ought to, but he also hated to do anything that might screw it up when she kept surprising him by just being there as if it was the perfectly normal thing to do.

"Captain Archer made it quite clear to the admiral that he'll resist any attempt at a significant shake-up in the command structure. I would assume the captain possesses some political capital at the moment."

"That would be nice." Trip sighed gloomily.

She raised an eyebrow.

He frowned. "We did some things that might not really bear close examination, especially by people who weren't out there and don't understand what we were dealing with." For that matter, what if Starfleet Medical decided it wanted to dissect his brain to look for pieces of clone? Not that he really thought they'd go that far, but would they even need to? What if they decided a man with a clone brain shouldn't be trusted with sensitive technology?

What if word of Sim got out to the general public?

"The Expanse posed a number of unique challenges for all of us," T'Pol said softly. She looked away.

"Did you see Soval?"

"I did. He congratulated us on our remarkable survival, and requested a full report from me at the earliest opportunity. I told him I would be making any reports to Starfleet, but I was sure they would be happy to share them with him."

Trip grinned.

"Starfleet is organizing a reception with family members following a formal welcoming ceremony Tuesday morning."

"Great. You can meet my parents."

Her eyes widened, possibly in alarm. He smiled encouragingly.

"That will be followed by a memorial service for crew members who lost their lives," she said.

His smile faded.

She continued, "And that will be followed by a formal reception. Enlisted personnel will be free to begin their leaves at that point, but officers will need to stay for mission reports and debriefings." She took a sip of tea and said, "Of course, department heads will also be expected to provide current inventories of parts and provisions, as well as damage reports, personnel reports, maintenance requests, and any necessary repair or replacement orders."

He sighed. That sounded like many days of work before he could think to go anywhere. Oddly, the thought offered him some perverse comfort.

Now that this mission was finally ending, he wasn't entirely sure that he was ready to let it go.


THE END


Comments:

Alelou

Thanks, ladies.

Yes, hot water and a hot man, the perfect combination.

Distracted

I like hot water, too.  :D

panyasan

I love the domestic feel of Trip and T'Pol having breakfast together. I wasn't much aware of the pain Trip went through or - a totally different topic - the things they have to do before they finally get some free time. Very nice touch to adds those details. Nice chapter of Trip and T'Pol enjoying each other company. They could use a break. 

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