Missing Scenes from Season Four: Terra Prime

By Alelou

Rating: PG-13

Genres: angst drama missing scene

Keywords: Baby Elizabeth Tucker terra prime

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This story is number 20 in the series Missing Scenes from Season Four


Part I

DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount, not me. "Terra Prime" was written by Judith Reeves-Stevens, Garfield Reeves-Stevens and Manny Coto.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Someone asked me to drag this out … and I'm obliging. This is just Part I. I don't mind doing this, because the sequence of events in this episode frankly seems a little weird to me, and this is my way of trying to make sense of it.

Thank you as always, reviewers!


Trip got to hold his daughter exactly twice.

It wasn't that anyone tried to prevent him from doing so. At first, it was mostly because he'd fractured his forearm in the fall he took after he got shot.

As Phlox put him in a temporary split, he said, "Is there something wrong with my damned arms that they keep breaking?"

Phlox frowned. "You may recall that you took a serious radiation dose just two months ago. The therapy required for that has caused a temporary deficit in calcium formation in your healthy bones."

"What?" He'd expected to be reassured, not informed that he had become Mr. Brittle.

"I assure you it's a temporary condition, and one unlikely to bother you if you could just avoid more excessive blunt trauma. After another six months or so – and perhaps some additional weight training – your bones should return to full strength. And this is just a hairline fracture. It should heal in a matter of days … if you follow my directions." Phlox then sat back on his heels – for they were both on the floor of the corridor outside Paxton's control room – and gave him an appraising look. "How do you feel?"

"Fine," Trip said impatiently. He hadn't seen T'Pol yet, but he could feel her anxiety surging, and his along with it.

Phlox prepared a hypo spray. "This will help with the swelling," he said, as Trip bared his neck and let him inject it. "And the stress."

Trip glared at him. "You better not have just given me a sedative!"

Phlox said mildly, "Just getting your blood pressure down a little, Commander."

Despite himself, Trip appreciated the sudden mild sensation of liquid calm. He lowered his voice. "She's worried about the baby."

Phlox looked at him in surprise, then turned as Travis appeared with T'Pol, who was holding the baby protectively against her chest.

Phlox said jovially, "Well, now, who do we have here?"

"She's dying," T'Pol said. Her beseeching eyes met Trip's and he swallowed painfully.

"Let's not jump to any conclusions, hmm?" Phlox said. "Perhaps you could lay her down on Mr. Tucker's lap here so I can examine her."

T'Pol just clutched the baby harder. Perhaps, like Trip, she was wondering why Phlox wanted to do that here, on the floor of the corridor, although this was where the captain had asked them to wait while he and Malcolm and a freshly-arrived team of MACO's secured Paxton's facility.

"Why don't we just transport her up to sickbay?" Trip asked.

"Let's take a look first," Phlox said, giving T'Pol a pointed look. "I'd like to avoid a decon cycle if we can."

T'Pol apparently saw the logic of that and carefully lay the baby down in Trip's lap, then sank down next to him. "What happened?" she asked, nodding towards the new splint.

"It's minor," he said, focused on the warm weight in his lap. The baby certainly didn't look like she was dying to him. She lay quietly in his lap, watching Phlox wave his scanner.

So this was his daughter.

He put his right index finger in her little hand and her tiny fingers closed on it. She looked at it, and then she looked at him.

And just like that, Trip was in love.

x x x

The second time he held her, she was dead.

"It can't hurt her if I hold her now, can it?" he said to Phlox, and the doctor lifted poor little Elizabeth's still-warm weight onto his better shoulder and Trip put his head up against her little one and hugged her and nuzzled her and told her how sorry he was.

Next to him, he felt T'Pol lean her head up against her, too, and release exactly one choked sob.

Eventually, he said, "Take her," and watched as she laid their little girl out on the bio-bed. T'Pol's hands convulsively smoothed her daughter's body. "I want to wash her," she told Phlox.

Phlox said, "Of course," and brought her a basin of warm water and some cleanser and some towels. With shaking hands that gradually steadied, T'Pol undressed their daughter and cleaned her and dried her and then wrapped her up again in a clean blanket that Phlox had provided. She left Elizabeth's little face uncovered, as if she were sleeping, but her pallor was profound and there was no mistaking it for life.

"What happens now?" Trip asked T'Pol softly, since she seemed to know what she was doing.

"We sit with her," she said.

"Okay," he said, though he wasn't sure exactly what she meant by that.

Jon, who had been hovering at a distance, seemed to recognize that something had settled somehow, and came over. "I'm so sorry," he said to T'Pol, who nodded solemnly and looked down, and then he turned to Trip and simply said, "Trip," and pulled him into a hug. Trip accepted that contact gratefully, but it also unraveled what was left of his tenuous self-control, and suddenly he was gasping with tears.

"It's okay," Jon said, rubbing his back, and with that permission, Trip just went ahead and lost it, sobbing, conscious underneath it all that Jon would probably be able to cope with him doing this far better than T'Pol could. Even as overwhelmed as he was with his own grief, he could sense that she was just barely holding it together. And so, in an odd kind of way, he let himself do the crying for both of them.

Eventually Trip pulled back, and Jon nodded sadly at him, wiping a few tears from his own eyes, and excused himself. Phlox brought chairs, and a steward showed up with a meal for each of them, which they barely touched, though T'Pol did sip her tea with both hands wrapped around the mug as if she desperately needed the warmth.

Trip wished he could touch her. "Is this really the best place to do this?" he asked her.

"We will need the room."

"Why?"

"For the crew," she explained.

"The crew?" he said. "I thought Vulcans went into ritual seclusion after a death in the family." That particular tradition sounded damned good to him at the moment. Jon's sympathy had already undone him once. He didn't think he could handle a whole ship's worth.

"That traditionally occurs after disposition of the remains, but I assume that Phlox will need to perform an autopsy." She looked over at Phlox, who had never really left, just hovered nearby. "Am I correct, Doctor?"

Phlox looked uncomfortable. "Yes, but I'm afraid it goes further than that. Her body is likely going to be evidence in a criminal proceeding."

Trip scowled. "We can't even mourn for her the normal way."

"I'm so sorry," Phlox said.

x x x

Hoshi arrived next, to offer them her condolences and tell them how lovely Elizabeth was. And then, to Trip's surprise, she took charge. "If you want to have a wake, that's better done in the conference room," she said. "I can get it set up. I already spoke to Soval and he is having a traditional casket and a burial costume transported up - if that's okay with you."

Trip looked at T'Pol. "It is," T'Pol said. "Thank you, Ensign."

Hoshi added, "I know it's not Vulcan custom, but may I also bring a candle and some flowers for her?"

If T'Pol had the same sense he did that everything was suddenly spiraling even more out of their control, she didn't show it. She just said, "I believe you will find an appropriate candle in my quarters."

"Do we really need flowers?" Trip said. Did they really need any of this?

"Just something simple," Hoshi said. "If you don't like it, for whatever reason, I'll take away. I'll be back shortly."

She left and he turned to T'Pol. "Are you really up for this?"

Was her glance just a touch resentful? "All that's left now is to complete our duties toward her," she said.

Yes, this was all they could do for Elizabeth now. But he felt chilled and couldn't help parsing her grammar. Had that been a shot across his bow? Was T'Pol going to pull away from him?

That was, after all, exactly what she had done after her mother's death.

But, no. That wouldn't happen this time. It wouldn't happen because he wouldn't let it happen. She was his bond mate. He'd sit on her if he had to.

Hoshi soon returned with the burial costume, followed by Crewman Cunningham, who was carrying a small casket woven of some kind of reeds. She left to arrange more details, while Cunningham expressed his condolences and waited awkwardly in case his help was required. Trip watched as T'Pol dressed Elizabeth in a simple robe of pale white brocade and laid her in the casket. She looked down at her appraisingly for a moment, then took the IDIC she'd attached to the incubator and laid it on daughter's chest.

"Is white a customary color for this or something?" he asked.

"I don't know," T'Pol said. "We never saw my father's body, and there was no time to bury my mother with any ceremony. I have never seen a burial robe before. Vulcans don't usually display their corpses outside the family."

He winced at her use of the word "corpses," even as he realized it was ridiculous to expect a Vulcan to employ delicate euphemisms for death when they didn't use them for anything else. "Then why are we doing it now?" he said.

She turned to him in obvious surprise. "Is this not the Human custom?"

"It's pretty common," he said. "But it's not a requirement. We don't have to do it."

"Our fellow crewmen never got to meet our daughter," T'Pol said.

He blinked. "And they never will. She's dead."

T'Pol just looked at him.

Cunningham cleared his throat. "Perhaps I should go?"

T'Pol turned to him. "Crewman, does it matter to you that you've seen our daughter?"

Cunningham looked helplessly at Trip, whose mouth had fallen open in surprise that T'Pol would ask the steward such a question. Recognizing the man's difficult position, he shrugged permission at him to answer.

"Well, ma'm," Cunningham said. "To be honest … yes, it matters. It helps me understand your loss better. She was lovely. And so young."

Trip felt his eyes fill and lowered his head. Perhaps this was why he didn't want to do this. All these people 'understanding his loss' was going to kill him.

"Thank you, Crewman," T'Pol said. "Trip, you yourself have often noted that Enterprise's crew is like a family. As a crew we have always marked our losses together. But if you are strongly opposed, I yield to your judgment."

Trip sighed. "No, I guess you're right. Let's do it."

"Shall I carry her to the conference room?" Cunningham asked.

"Thank you, Crewman, but I would prefer to carry her myself," T'Pol said, and lifted the small casket into her arms.

Trip just followed her to the door. Having a broken arm at a time like this made him feel even more powerless, which was all too fitting. He couldn't stop Paxton, he couldn't save his daughter, and now he couldn't even carry her tiny little casket.

T'Pol stopped at the door, the casket in her arms, and waited for him.

He wondered why she'd stopped, then realized that she wanted him to go first, as a Vulcan husband would - the better to defend his wife from sehlats or rival clans, or whatever other threats ancient Vulcan had thrown at its cave couples. As if he could actually defend anyone right now. Still, he appreciated the small token of deference, so he gave her a small, tight smile and led the way.


 

TO BE CONTINUED


Comments:

Lt. Zoe Jebkanto

It's been a while since you posted this, so I hope you're still checking in to check out the feedback. Writing like this is one time when a person should feel no guilt but delight at the fact that they've rendered another (me) to tears.  Achingly tender.

panyasan

Distracted said it all: this is heartbreaking.

The part I liked the most is when Trip is holding the baby and falling in love. I wished Trip could hold T'Pol - it would make such a difference. But then again, this kind of grieve is so overwhelming, makes you so numb inside, confronts you so much with all your weak points - you let things happen.

Distracted

Oh, this is just heartbreaking.

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