Missing Scenes from Season Four: Observer Effect

By Alelou

Rating: PG

Genres: drama missing scene

Keywords: possession

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This story is number 11 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "Observer Effect" was written by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This episode has inspired so much fanfic, including at least one previous entry of my own. Hopefully I'm not overlapping too much with that or with anyone else's. A great big thank you to you lovely reviewers: you definitely help keep me plugging away through all the angst of Season 4.


When she went to the mess hall late that night for a cup of chamomile tea, Trip was there, sitting alone in a table far from the door, with a cup of milk and a piece of pie sitting untouched in front of him.

She got her tea and went and sat down without asking his permission. "Can't sleep?" she said.

He gave her a half-smile. "Nope. I'm not tired. Apparently nearly dying can be quite restful."

She said nothing, unpleasantly reminded of what had transpired earlier.

"The thing is," he said, "I'm not sure what to think about it. You'd think a brush with death would have some pretty profound effects, you know? Probably I ought to be all charged up to make the most of all this extra time I suddenly have left, but instead I'm just … I don't know." He shook his head. "Feeling a little at loose ends, I guess."

It was an odd colloquialism – an obscure reference to poor tailoring, perhaps? – but she thought she understood it. "Perhaps you've already had too many brushes with death."

He snorted. "Perhaps."

She waited, hoping that he would explain. He'd been avoiding her, which was understandable. While she still felt certain that she needed time and space to reflect on what it meant to be her mother's daughter, watching him die had wrenched her in ways she couldn't even begin to understand. All she knew was that it was a comfort, now, simply to hear his voice.

"At first, I was thinking how lonely it was," he said. "Nothing against Hoshi, because she was good company – when she wasn't breaking out of decon, anyway – but you want your loved ones around at a time like that. I was literally wishing my mom was there to soothe my fevered brow. Or…" He broke off, suddenly sounding a little choked, and looked away from her. He shook his head.

"I wanted to visit you, Trip, but I felt that working with Phlox to find a cure was a higher priority."

He looked confused. "I know. But you did visit."

She stared at him. "I did not."

"Of course you did. I remember it vividly. The first time was really kind of strange. It was like you and Phlox were administering some sort of weird-ass questionnaire about being sick."

"You must have been hallucinating."

"Aren't there recordings? Review them. You came down with Phlox. Hoshi thought it was strange, too." He sighed. "Travis and Malcolm were creeping us out, too, for that matter. Everyone except the cap'n. I don't know. Maybe when you're that sick everybody just seems creepy."

"I will review our recordings," she said, "If only to prove to you that I never had the time to spare." She had thought she might, at one point, while they were waiting for test results, but then all that time had suddenly passed. It had been a terrible realization.

"Anyway, it's not like you weren't there again at the end." He nodded, not quite meeting her eyes. "And that meant a lot to me."

"What are you talking about?"

Now he stared at her. "Are you going to tell me I hallucinated that, too? You were there. You and the cap'n."

"The captain was with you. I was on the bridge."

He stared at her for a moment, and then the line of his mouth tightened. "Okay, maybe I did hallucinate that. I thought it was…" He shook his head. "Apparently if you deprive my brain of oxygen, it starts to imagine all sorts of things that are…" He sighed. "…Completely out of character for you." He looked away, blinking.

"Trip, surely you know that I would experience your death as a significant loss." She had been waiting so intently on the bridge that she almost remembered it as if she were there with him; she could still remember that moment of darkness and terror when she realized he was no longer there in her arms.

In her arms?

But she had been on the bridge. And Trip hadn't died.

She lifted her hands and stared at them, perplexed by the strange double-memory.

He didn't appear to notice her confusion. He said, "You know, I think I'm tired after all." He stood and delivered a gruesome imitation of a smile. "Good night."

"Good night," she said softly, still confused - and uncomfortably conscious that once again she had disappointed him.

x x x

When T'Pol went to review the recordings, there were none.

"What do you mean?" Reed asked her, when she pursued her investigation further. "The entire last year of recordings should be available."

"The record is blank from the moment the Commander and Ensign Sato arrived to the time they left for sickbay – which also has no recordings of what transpired."

"Sickbay recordings are stored separately. They wouldn't be accessible except through Phlox."

"I know. Phlox checked. There's nothing."

"That makes no sense. Let me look into it."

"I'll await your report."

x x x

Reed could not find any recordings or any answers. What's more, as he conducted follow-up interviews, he discovered that he and Ensign Mayweather, the captain, and Dr Phlox, like T'Pol, had experienced similar sensations of lost time. Furthermore, Ensign Sato corroborated Tucker's recollection of "creepy" visits from officers who had no memory of making them.

"Obviously, this suggests the possibility of possession by some sort of alien presence," Reed said, in the senior staff meeting where he was making his report. "It's not as if we haven't experienced that before."

"Wonderful," Archer said, and frowned at T'Pol. "Could a mind meld shed any light on this?"

Tucker, glowering, looked up from the situation table display. "A mind meld with whom?"

Reed shifted uncomfortably. "I can't say I'm terribly comfortable with that idea."

"Nor am I," T'Pol said. "I also fail to see how it would be of any help."

Archer said, "I don't like the idea that we're completely helpless in the face of such … invasions."

"Indeed," she said. "Fortunately, if we were invaded, it was apparently by a species that ultimately acted with mercy. After all, Commander Tucker and Ensign Sato were returned to life. You were also saved from near-certain death, Captain."

Archer grimaced. "Are you saying don't look a miracle recovery in the mouth?"

"No," T'Pol said, nonplussed. Bizarre colloquialism aside, hadn't she specifically asked Lieutenant Reed to investigate the matter?

"I must say," Phlox said, "This is an explanation that makes much more sense than a spillover effect from Commander Tucker's treatment … especially since he developed none of the expected side-effects. Indeed, after further investigation, it appears to me that both he and Ensign Sato are in strikingly better health now than they were before this happened."

Neither Sato nor Tucker reacted to Phlox's comment to any great degree, so T'Pol concluded it must not have been news to them. It was surely good news, in any case.

Archer massaged his temples. "I feel as if I ought to know what happened. I was there."

Tucker exchanged an impatient scowl with Ensign Sato, his comrade in mortal illness, and T'Pol felt a pang of pure loss. Once, he would have directed that look at her.

The only explanation she could think of for what he had described and she had then half-remembered – her presence at his death – was the mating bond. But if her mother and Kotok and the Kir'Shara were to be believed – and this was turning out to be an area of no little controversy on Vulcan – the bond between her and Trip appeared to be only a pale imitation of what fully bonded Vulcan mates experienced. Indeed, her flashes of connection with him were so sporadic and unreliable that it was all but impossible to distinguish them from supposition or wishful thinking.

Perhaps this was a limitation created by the limited psychic ability of her Human partner. Or perhaps it reflected the shallow quality of Trip's attachment to her, especially now.

She could sense that he was beginning to resent her, especially now that it was not his own scruples but her uncertainty about her proper path in life that was keeping them apart. Almost as if he could hear her thoughts, his eyes flickered towards her briefly, and his expression darkened.

Archer dismissed them, and she returned to her post. Tucker left for engineering without so much as a glance at her.

He had certainly believed her when she said she wasn't there with him at the end.

She swallowed. Should she tell him about her double-memory? Should she tell him about the bond? Should she confess to him that despite his dogged attempts to avoid some strange alien commitment he absolutely hadn't wanted, she'd nonetheless, in her Trellium-D-fueled haze, saddled him with a psychic connection to her… and then gone ahead and married someone else?

Should she tell him about the feeble psychic link that apparently existed between them, even though with sufficient time and distance it would most likely fade away – at least for him?

For perhaps the first time, she thought she completely understood the pain and anger Trip was feeling. Fundamentally, it didn't matter how much logic and meditation one employed: nothing hurt more than being rejected by the person one cared about most.

Nothing except, perhaps, being actively hated by him.

So it would probably be better to say nothing.


The End


Comments:

Mary

I'm delighted that you tackled this episode, though I almost wish you would deviate a bit and let T'Pol ACT instead of debating and procrastinating and hiding her feelings. The writers make her far too indecisive  and secretive even to Trip. She feels for him, wants him, but refuses to tell him leaving him rejected and hurt. He  lashes out and hurts her which she also hides. Vulcan or not, after the trellium she would not be able to totally suppress emotions any more. So why keep up the charade, it becomes tiring. I love your missing scenes . They do more for the story than the episode. If we throw away the last show, why not give in to the chemistry and let T'Pol be confident and strong and in Trip's arms.

Silverbullet

Alelou, good missing scene. I still thinkthat T'Pol should gtell Trip the  Truth. that she loves and wants him. That she should have chosen him. the she knows her mother lied to and used her.

 

SB

panyasan

This is so painful. I understand Trip is feeling resentful towards T'Pol - his disappointment of her denying being for him must have fed that as well - but like T'Pol says "Nothing is more painful than being rejected by the one you care the most". So very true. 

Alelou

Yeah, D, she should have just jumped his bones.  Although, he was so cranky at this point I'm not sure that wouldn't have been a disaster.  Ah, who are we kidding?  It would have worked like a charm.  Anyway, thanks, all.  I'm afraid I have to make myself scarce for a few days until all the portfolios are graded.  (I'm waaaay behind reading and reviewing, too. Too much stuff hitting all at once!)

Cogito

You're doing a great job of explaining what was going on behind the scenes, and rationalising their behaviour. And it's nice to see Phlox coming to a reasonable conclusion about what must surely have happened and not just assuming it was some wierd delayed reaction. But still, the angst hurts. :(

justTripn

What she said. :D You're doing great!

Distracted

Ohhh. I like the set up for her revelation in Bound. Too bad we've got so much angst to get through before then.

"For perhaps the first time, she thought she completely understood the pain and anger Trip was feeling. Fundamentally, it didn't matter how much logic and meditation one employed: nothing hurt more than being rejected by the person one cared about most."  Grrr. And if she understands this, explain to me exactly why she's not in his cabin jumping his bones now that she's not married anymore?

Oh yeah. That's right. The writers decided she was an idiot.

You're doing great, Alelou. Considering what you were given to work with I'd say you're doing better than great at explaining the unexplainable. : )

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