Ferrei Diei Nox (A Hard Days Night)

By HtH

Rating: PG

Genres: adventure drama romance

Keywords:

This story has been read by 413 people.
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Disclaimer: I don’t own Star Trek, some others do and they have already done their best to kill it. I’m just playing with some of their toys.
Genre: Drama? Character exploration? Waste of bandwidth?
Rating: PG Some language
Description: A look at one rather ordinary day, kinda mundane.

Note, Thanks to my very patient Beta Dinah who tried her best but what can I say. All errors are mine.

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Part I

Trip stretched out his legs then refolded them as he sat on the carpeted deck of the darkened observation lounge. As he took a sip from the bottle of ginger ale he found hidden in the lounge cooler, the lingering reek of insulating fluid assaulted his nose causing him to wince reflexively. It was an unpleasant reminder of why he was here instead of asleep in his rack, where he should be.

Near the end of Trip's shift, Ensign Hargraves had called from the recycling area requesting help on a problem with the main compactor. Ensign Terry Hargraves, a newly minted junior grade engineer, was the most recent replacement assigned to engineering. Hargraves had been assigned to replace Ensign Paul Jones who had been lost in the most recent battle.

Checking the duty log, Trip confirmed everyone else was currently assigned a task. Rostov had gone aft to investigate a power failure affecting the rear armament and Hess, starting her shift early, was forward checking a intermitant sensor. Trip decided he was elected.

When he got to the recycling section he was met by Hargraves and an unfamiliar crewman, Hargraves introduced Crewman First Class Ron Fingerhut, as the new lead for the alpha shift recycling crew. Crewman Fingerhut, one of T’Pol’s direct reports. explained the problems they had experienced with the main compactor the last two times it was used. Per procedure, they had run diagnostics then reset the system.and that seemed to fix it until now.

Hargraves explained that they had worked through the troubleshooting procedures and even tried a master reset, but nothing worked. Trip walked over to the computer station, which already displayed the repair history. Browsing through the log, he noted that a similar problem had occurred twice before. Ensign Paul Jones had rectified the situation the first time by replacing a sensor. The second time he’d replaced a control unit. Trip signed in and linked to the main engineering system so he could check the master repair log. Sorting by area, he noted the section below them had been damaged by weapons fire a month ago. The report showed that section had been breached and was listed as under repair by an engineering team lead by Ensign Jones and included Crewmen Fowler and Tate, but there was no completion sign off. Checking further he found that soon after they began their repairs, a more critical area was breached. Jones and his team had been reassigned to that section, Trip then recalled that team had been lost attempting to shore up that area during the attack. Crewman Fingerhut mentioned hearing about the recent action and repairs when he joined the section two weeks ago. As far as he could tell, everything seemed to have been repaired and in good working order until half an hour ago when the compactor ceased functioning altogether. Obviously the chance that Jones and his team had missed something was fairly good so Trip decided he needed to take a look.

After making certain that all power was shut down to the area he was about to enter, Trip opened the access hatch. The first thing everyone noticed was the strong, acrid smell. Trip recognized the odor immediately. Once exposed to it, no one ever forgot the smell of insulating fluid for high temperature super conductors. He knew it wasn't harmful to people if the exposure was brief. It just reeked.

Seeing this crawl space was not illuminated, he secured a work light and hand scanner from Hargraves and then climbed in. Due to the size of the compactor and the various conduits, ducts, plumbing and support members, there wasn't much open space in the compartment. After working his way through, over, under and around various obstructions in near total darkness for almost an hour, Trip was soaked in sweat. Finally, when he’d checked everywhere else, he lay down on the wet deck and slid under the bulky compactor. To his great relief, he realized that he’d found the problem: secondary battle damage. The work light revealed a bent and wrinkled main support member pinning several conduits to the deck. The source of the insulating fluid he was now lying in was clear. The scanner revealed a series of cracks in the damaged super conductor conduits. Switching to deep scan revealed massive micro-fractures radiating out from the impact point. Once enough insulating fluid had leaked out, the internal superconductors had failed. The entire assembly would have to be replaced. Wriggling around to the other side Trip could see where a damaged conduit also had pinched the sensor and control harness for the compactor. Black scorch marks around that point probably explained the current compactor problem. A quick scan confirmed it.

While surveying the area for further damage with the work light and scanner, a thought occurred to him. If the recycler crew had reported the problem earlier, they might have saved the super conductor assembly. Then Trip remembered the regular recycling crew lead Jake Peterson had been blown into space while at his battle station only two weeks ago. Fingerhut was Jake’s replacement. Trip hadn't known Jake well; he’d only talked with the young man occasionally in the mess hall since he didn't get down here much. Paul Jones had been the engineer assigned to this section, but Paul had also been lost in the previous attack.

Trip figured that the first thing he needed to do when he got out of the compartment was to call Hess and have her get a crew down here to start fixing the damage. Second, he had to tell Rostov that he had probably found the source of his problem. Then he needed to talk with Hargraves and let him know what the problem was, how it happened and what to look for in the future. Later, he would need to file a report with the Captain explaining how this happened and what actions he intended to implement to insure that it didn't happen again, here or anywhere else. He also needed to review all repairs made either during or after any action where crews had changed or personnel had been lost or injured.

After he wriggled out from under the compactor, Trip headed back to the access hatch. When he grabbed the circular actuator to try and open the hatch, however, his hands slipped. He wiped his hands on his uniform and tried again. Still unable to open the hatch, he swept the work light over himself. He was completely soaked in sweat and insulating fluid. Trip realized there was no clean area on his person to wipe off the slippery mess without adding more. Finally, he had no choice but to pound on the hatch.

Crewman Fingerhut’s reaction to the smell when he opened the hatch for him, reminded Trip of his own upon opening the hatch earlier. Mercifully, Trip's sense of smell had been so overloaded that he could no longer smell anything. Now, in the light of the compartment, Trip could see he was completely filthy.

Looking up only to see Hargraves disappearing around a corner, Trip motioned for Fingerhut to stay put as he called his second Anna Hess via the com. Noting the time, he knew that technically he was off duty and she was now OD for engineering. After he’d advised her of the problem and what needed repair and replacement, he recommended then she put a crew on it. Trip then called Rostov, advising him of what he’d found under the compactor and asked him to coordinate with Hess. Hargraves reappeared from around the corner with clean coveralls and a couple of towels then pointed to the nearest head with an emergency shower.

After getting the outer layers of slime and crud off, he briefed Hargraves on what he’d had found. With Hargraves and the recycling crew squared away, Trip headed to his quarters for a real shower and a clean uniform.

After changing into a fresh uniform, Trip headed to engineering to check in with Hess. When she recoiled visibly at his approach, he realized that the smell must still be pretty bad. She confirmed his suspicions by backing up several steps before answering his inquires in the briefest possible way. Once assured all was in hand with the repairs, he quickly headed back for another shower and change of clothes. This time his skin was bright pink from scrubbing when he emerged.

Deciding to stop by the mess hall for a sandwich and a cup of coffee, he nearly ran right into Hoshi as she was exiting. She stopped dead in her tracks and backed up several steps right into Lt. Reed, who’d followed her out of the door. Her eyes closed and she turned pale as if ready to faint. Malcolm quickly moved to support Hoshi. Wrinkling his nose, he inquired if the Commander had chosen a new after shave. Trip beat a hasty retreat.

Realizing that he couldn't function around other crew members while he was in his aromatically challenged state, Trip decided to visit Phlox. Maybe the good Doctor might have a solution.

Fortunately, he did. After smearing himself liberally with a greenish slime Phlox had concocted - he really didn't wish to know the source - Trip spent a half hour in decon. After yet another shower, Trip exited decon. Phlox noted that, while the commander still possessed a somewhat lingering pungency, he wasn't nearly as noxious as before. The Doctor checked his hand scanner then assured Trip that the residual odor should dissipate over the next twelve hours or so. When Trip seemed dissatisfied with that prognosis, Phlox informed him that while the Commander was in decon, he had researched the problem further and could provide another treatment utilizing a spray-on solution derived from two compounds extracted from Pyrithian bat urine. Trip bolted for the door.

Alone for the moment outside sickbay, Trip realized it was now after midnight. He was beat but where could he go? His quarters offered the only refuge he could think of, and he could work on the reports without gagging anyone he happened across.

After writing up the situation and checking with Hess again, Trip forwarded a report to the Captain and T'Pol. He also added a task to his own to-do list about checking for any similar incidents and adding a procedural mod for any work-in-progress crew changes.

Frustrated that the damage had gone undetected for so long, pissed at losing people, and barely able to keep his eyes open, he decided to crash. Instead of slipping into oblivion, however, he just lay there, staring at the darkened ceiling of his quarters. Various scenarios kept running through his head. How many more would they lose? Was there a better way to compensate for damage and losses? They really needed to accelerate the cross training program. There just weren’t enough people trained to help when some damned alien or other kept blowing holes in the ship. How much could they take and keep functioning? Would it ever end? Lately it seemed like every other alien they encountered only wanted to destroy his ship and kill them. After an hour passed and he was still unable to sleep, he made his way to the deserted rear observation lounge.

Absently playing with the half full bottle of ginger ale, he watched the stars glide by the viewport. The emptiness of space was a constant and they were a long way from home. Someone, Travis maybe, had said that yesterday they had passed within 5 light years of some planetary system the Vulcan charts identified as Nexilia, but Trip really had no idea of where it was. It would be simple enough to access a computer to find out, but he knew he was a long way from home and that was good enough.


End I

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Part II

As he leaned back against the couch, Trip rested his head against the cushion and closed his eyes. He thought about how far they, and specifically he, had come in just a few short years. Not so long ago, he recalled being a young cadet just out of grad school, gaping in wonder at the first real working warp 2 engine he'd ever seen. Now he was now chief engineer on Enterprise. They had seen and done so many things in such a short time. He thought about the people he’d met, those he'd worked with, those he'd developed friendships with, and those they'd lost. Just this evening he'd been reminded of four more such crewmates. Three he knew and worked with: Paul Jones, Wal Fowler and George Tate. The fourth man, he’d barely met; he couldn’t even remember his name. Pausing, he felt disgusted with himself that he hadn’t even taken the time to learn the man’s name. The poor bastard deserved better than that. Sighing, he recalled each name and face of those now lost and a feeling of sadness started to settle over him. He felt himself slipping into a familiar place where there was only darkness and despair, and he stopped short. He’d been down this road before. He had a decision to make. In the past, bitterness, hatred and the need for vengeance had brought him nothing but pain.

Had these feelings brought anyone back?

No.

Had they affected the Xindi, the Suliban, the Orions, or anyone else?

No.

The only thing they’d done was come perilously close to destroying him and all he cared about, and if he admitted it, reduced his effectiveness as an engineer.

Jon hadn't seen his decent into darkness. When he thought about it, he knew the Captain had his own demons to wrestle. The price Jon paid in the Expanse still showed clearly in his eyes, if you knew what to look for.

Trip’s thoughts turned to T’Pol. When he was struggling with grief, she had been the only one who had been able to reach him and bring him back. Thinking back, he realized that as he thought about T’Pol, the darkness dissipated. Gone was the anger. Gone was the hatred. Gone was the consuming need for vengeance. Melancholy and sadness lingered at the periphery, but that was ok. Far different from the all-encompassing darkness that had possessed him earlier, those emotions now served a useful purpose as a reminder of the sacrifices his family and friends had made. There was always a price to be paid when people went to war. Real people paid that price. All he could do was make sure he did his best and promise never to forget them.

He realized that he’d already made his decision. He wanted to focus on the good things, like the experiences he shared with each of them, and move forward. The rest was still there – death, destruction, pain and suffering – but dwelling on it would change nothing and surely destroy what remained of his sanity if he allowed it. It would also destroy the one weapon he possessed to fight back, his effectiveness as an engineer. A thought occurred to him that there was no logic in following a self-destructive path. He now understood this with perfect clarity.

When had it…no, when had he changed? Thinking about it, he knew that he’d begun to change the moment he decided to let T’Pol into his life.

A tingle in the back of his mind told him that she was near. As soon as he realized it, he also noted that singular sensation no longer bothered him as it once had. Given time to consider, he realized he hadn’t been upset because of its alien origin, but rather because being linked so closely to another being made him feel strange in ways that were totally incomprehensible not so long ago. Understanding what that tingle meant…for both of them, that was the key. Subtly altered, forever linked one to the other. Now that he’d been given some time to adjust, it was not at all unpleasant. T'Pol had explained as much as she could and he was just now beginning to understand.

Light from the corridor splashed across the wall before him and disappeared again as the lounge doors opened and closed. Soft footfalls led away and he heard her order, "Tea, hot, T'Pol type 5." Shortly, he heard her approach then pause some distance away. Figuring he had better offer a warning, he said, "You may not want to come over here, I smell like super conductor insulating fluid."

She replied, "Yes, I am familiar with it. The Vulcan equivalent smells no better, though slightly different."

Trip felt a warm body nestle beside him. Keeping his eyes fixed on the stars, he said, "Sorry about the smell, but I'm glad you're here." Warmth flowed into and through him as her leg brushed his. He sensed a question lingering but it remained unspoken.

"What?" he asked.

"I was curious as to your thoughts," she stated.

Choosing to answer he said, "I was just thinking about how far we've come."

She placed her cup of tea on the deck beside her right leg and, not looking at him, deadpanned, "According to the time and my most recent data, this ship has traveled approximately 857,312.62 light-years since it was officially launched."

Chuckling softly, he smiled, sensing her humorous intent. Turning to look at her profile illuminated only by the starlight, he patted her thigh and offered, "You know that's not what I meant, but I like your sense of humor."

"Everyone knows Vulcans do not have a sense of humor," she replied straight-faced as ever.

Now he knew she was in a playful mood. Chuckling again, he said, "Some folks might believe that, but I know better."

"What do you know better?" she asked, lifting the brow closest to him just enough to make certain he would notice.

"Despite your protestations to the contrary, I know you have a sense of humor. I also know you well enough to be certain that you were aware that I was not referring to physical distance alone. Slumping against the couch and sighing deeply, he returned his gaze to the stars.

"I noted feelings of sadness in you when I arrived," she commented softly.

He murmured, "Guess I was also thinking about those we’ve lost along the way. Just this evening I was reminded about four more lost crewmen. Things have changed. We’ve changed. We will go on but they won't. They deserve to be remembered. We might not be here without them and their contributions. Their sacrifices need to be remembered."

She turned to look at him, saying nothing.

He again felt a flood of warmth and caring, knowing it was her. He smiled slightly once again in understanding. "That was only part of what I was thinking, though. I know that there are honorable people out there, but there are also some we should be wary of and others who are not to be trusted. Some will be our enemies and others will be our allies and friends. And there is one to love," he said with a sigh.

Quietly she said, "We have come a long way, though the journey continues."

Turning back to face her again, he said, "We? I thought you might acknowledge that we humans have come a ways."

"I have learned, as have others, that, despite opinions to the contrary, there is much we can learn from humans," she offered quietly.

"Others?" he inquired.

"Most assuredly," she replied. "Ambassadors Soval and V'Lar have come to respect humans, perhaps more than you realize. Minister T'Pau is another who now views humans in a new light. You are also aware of Commander Shran and the relationship he has developed with Captain Archer and yourself."

"Oh yeah, guess so," he shrugged. "Hadn't really thought about it much."

"A trait common to humans is to think of other races as being like you are. This may be valid in part, but generally it is not. Vulcans learned this long ago, just as your people are beginning to do so now," she offered placidly.

Sensing no rebuke in her comment, he thought a bit about what she was saying and the people they had met from other worlds. "Yes and no. Just about all of those we have met so far have families they care about. Most care deeply for their home world and their people. Most will fight to defend them."

"Yes, some things are nearly universal," she commented, "though you will find exceptions even to those qualities as your explorations continue."

Mouth slightly agape, he stared at her in silence a moment then added, "I can't imagine."

"Indeed," she replied softly.

"How many worlds have you been to?" he asked.

"According to your service file, 137 more than you have," she replied.

"How long have you spent in space?" he asked incredulously.

Offering him a mock glare, she did not immediately reply.

Laughing out loud he patted her leg and said, "Come on now. You know that I know how old you are, and you know I don't care. I'm just curious and maybe a little envious. I just realized there is so much I really don't know about you."

"What would you like to know?" she asked.

"I dunno. Anything. Everything. You know, like when you first came in, you said you knew I was feeling sad. You always seem to know how I feel. There are times when I’d like to know what you are thinking."

"You can," she replied softly, looking at him directly.

"Really?" he asked.

She nodded slightly and lifted her hand to his face, not quite touching though. She raised her right brow waiting for permission.

"Oh," he mumbled.

He nodded and she touched his face. "Relax and breathe like I taught you," she instructed as her fingers found the correct positions. He followed her instructions easily as she chanted softly in Vulcan, and then everything went white. He had seen this before. "Why the white space?"

Her voice manifested in his mind as if she was speaking. I find it a comfortable environment. I use it for meditation, as you know. If you take the time to look closely, you will see that it is not just uniformly white but filled with infinitesimal points. These are thoughts and groups of thoughts, all arraigned to be easily accessed as needed.

He looked more closely at one area and what appeared to be white mist resolved into a vast array of tiny bright points neatly arranged in rows and columns. As he concentrated on that area, he noticed that each point a tag in Vulcan script.

Perhaps another metaphor would be more acceptable.

The whiteness dimmed and was suddenly transformed into a Vulcan nightscape complete with a sky filled with a beautiful galactic view very much like the summer Milky Way back home. They stood on a rocky promontory high above the dust of the Vulcan desert. Though they were16 light-years from Earth, the view of the local galaxy was much the same on Vulcan as it was on Earth. Only the foreground stars were different. As he turned in a circle taking in the entire panorama, he couldn’t find any familiar constellations. The stars appeared quite different from this vantage point. The brilliant band of the galactic arm overhead revealed the same great rift, and the central galactic bulge much closer to the horizon was as familiar as ever.

You described a similar memory from your childhood camping trips once when we were on an away mission. Watch. They zoomed right through the local stars, through the star clouds and out into open space where Trip noted several other companion galaxies much like the local group. Many other clusters of galaxies surrounded them, fading into the distance. As he looked around, it was much the same in all directions, and he was awed at the vastness and complexity he perceived.

And all these galaxies are made up of thoughts? he wondered.

Yes, was her simple response.

How do your ever keep track of all this? he wondered.

We are trained from a very young age to be disciplined and organized in our thoughts.

Suddenly, the scene changed into writhing, turbulent, swirling clouds of multi-hued gas and dust, much like an emission nebula. Stars, protostars, gas and dust clouds swirled about, making the scene even more chaotic. A star exploded, and they were struck by the ensuing shock wave and pelted by debris. Bright flashes of energy danced through the gas cloud and dust swirled about them. Everything became calm only to erupt unexpectedly with high energy bolts flashing around them. A thick dust cloud enveloped them in nearly complete darkness. Soon the cloud began to dissipate, allowing a few stars to show through once again and ultlimately revealing a brilliant golden star at the heart of the nebula.

What is this? he thought.

This is a visual metaphor for how I perceive your mind and thought processes, she replied gently.

Guess we have a lot of work to do, he thought back.

Again her reply was simply, Indeed.

The scene returned to the first summer night sky view. She turned and pointed to her right. Look over here.

A star cloud to his right glowed a bit brighter as it came into focus and then resolved before him. Somehow he understood that this was "Trip's area.” A few clusters brightened and another thought materialized. These are thoughts you have accessed before. One single star brightened until it filled the sky around him with bright white light, and he was back in the familiar white space again. Events flashed before him, and he thought he had seen this before. The scene slowed and he recalled these events unfolding as those he originally experienced while aboard the Columbia.

So it was real, he thought and received a quiet, Yes., in response.

The whiteness faded back into a sun which further diminished to a star amongst the star cloud of "Trip."

"What would you like to see next?" she asked.

Looking around still in wonder he answered, "I dunno, something special to you. Maybe something from one of your early voyages."

"Very well," she replied. "As you seemed to thoroughly enjoy last week’s movie, perhaps this would be interesting."

The change of view disoriented him briefly as the galaxy slewed. When they looked at another area he couldn't identify, a star cloud brightened, drawing his attention. This area he understood somehow to be of her travels while she was a new officer in the Vulcan fleet. A star brightened and the scene transformed as before only now they were in a small craft travelling perhaps a thousand meters above the surface of a planet he didn't recognize. There were viewports all along the belt line of the vessel, allowing direct visual examination of the immediate area. He looked out upon a rugged landscape of gnarled trees with blue foliage which clung to the steep cliffs of long narrow canyons that faded into the distance. The cloudless sky was a vivid purple.

Looking around the ship, he realized he was in a Vulcan vessel unlike any he had seen before.This is an observation shuttle of the Sha'ker, a science vessel where I was assigned when I was a new ensign, T'Pol explained through their bond. He knew it was her responsibility to operate the port side sensor suite and monitor data from various scanners and instrumentation. Vulcan text filled the displays before him as he viewed the scene through T'Pol's memory. The pilot, Lieutenant Curk maintained the craft's position while the only other crewman, Science Specialist Sub Lieutenant Rint, manned a similar console directly behind T'Pol. Apparently his instrumentation covered the starboard hemisphere of the craft.

A sensor beeped and one monitor changed as the port visual imager panned and zoomed to show a flock of avian life forms moving toward their position. Checking several data screens, T'Pol informed the others, "Eight avian life forms approaching, 96 degrees to port and negative 12 degrees elevation. According to current data the flock will pass within one kilometer." Curk quickly checked his instrument panel, reached over to activate the shield, and then raised his seat for a better view from the nose. Curk called out, "Prepare for impact," as he activated internal restraints. Trip felt the gentle tug of a grav field pull him firmly into his seat.

Trip thought, We could really use those.

I have suggested it. was her reply.

What appeared to be a flock of birds was now visible in the nearest viewport and flying towards them. T'Pol announced, "Avians 2 km out and closing at 65 km/h." One of the creatures, that they now could see were obviously not birds, was coming clearly into view. It looked to be a flying dinosaur with skin covered with sparkling blue and green scales and a somewhat paler blue belly. It also seemed to have taken an interest in them as it separated from the flock and headed their way.

"Ensign T'Pol, how big is the nearest one?" Curk asked.

T'Pol consulted her sensor screen for the data. "The avian life form which is in closest proximity to our vessel is approximately 30 m long with a 40 m wingspan, and an estimated mass of 2,120 kg. It is now on a collision course and closing at 123 km/h," she replied.

The large viewports offered a great view as the prehistoric looking beast flew quite close, perhaps within 100 meters. Huge wings beat the air vigorously as it worked to gain altitude. It circled them three times, all the while watching them intently with bright golden eyes. When it was nearly 300 meters above and behind them, it pivoted on a wing tip and dove right at them, emitting a blast of fire as it passed the tiny craft. As the creature reached out with its talons in an attempt to grab the ship, energy flashed brightly as the talons came in contact with the force field. The vessel rocked violently and then righted quickly as the beast rolled off to the starboard side. Recovering from the impact, the dragon beat its wings hard again and, circling counterclockwise, regained the altitude it had lost in the first attack. Ready for another attempt, it banked hard left as it came even with the nose of the ship. Spreading its huge wings in a braking maneuver directly in front of the shuttle, it thrust its talons right at the nose of the craft.

Curk leaned back in his seat reflexively as more flashes of energy erupted around the shuttle’s nose where talons tried to grasp the ship. The force field did its job as the ship rocked again from the impact. Failing to grab the ship, the dragon dropped below the ship and recovered then continued circling them while regaining altitude. It was apparent that this dragon would not give up. Once again, from high above and behind the shuttle, the beast dove on them, with its wings folded back like a falcon’s. Even faster than before, it hurtled toward the shuttle, finally immersing the small craft entirely in bright flames. Sharp talons bounced futilely off the force field as it smashed past. The shuttle shook violently as the crew watched the dragon tumble below them. Recovering swiftly, it labored back to their altitude and flew close once more, eyeing the craft carefully. The dragon produced a parting blast of smoke and fire before moving off, apparently disappointed at the lack of a hot meal of the moment.

Suddenly, the beast vanished and the scene dissolved to the familiar white space.

Wow! Trip thought.That was much better than Dragon Heart!

Barengaria VII, came T’Pol’s amused response. It was my first away mission. It is late and we should cease this for now. She smiled briefly, and he was stunned.

You smiled! He was astounded.

Only here and in your dreams. With time, understanding will come for both of us, came the soft response.

As he gazed into her eyes she dropped her hand and the white space dissolved into the darkened lounge.

"Trip you should return to your quarters to rest."

"Huh?" was his disoriented reply.

"You are tired as am I. We both need to rest before our shifts begin." She rose gracefully and offered her hand. "Come."

He looked at her in the starlight and just stared for a moment. Still staggered from the experience and just starting to consider what it might mean, it was too much for a man to take in, much less a dead tired one.

"What? How? You smiled."

She stood looking at him with her hand still extended. "It is obvious that you need rest, Commander. You fell asleep on the floor of the observation lounge. You should return to your quarters."

He shook his head and stared at her again, wondering if it had just been another of those dreams. "No, it was real, I saw it. You were there. The dragon attacked the ship."

She tilted her head and said, "Commander, you and I have been here in the observation lounge for the last hour and 12 minutes, and as far as I know there have been no reports of dragons attacking the ship."

Then the eyebrow raised and he knew this was a losing battle. Taking her hand, he got to his feet and wobbled a bit. "Whoa. Guess I must have dozed off. Sorry for being such bad company. I really should hit the rack."

She gathered their beverage containers and assessed his ability to navigate successfully. "I shall accompany you to your quarters."

"That's ok, T'Pol. I'm fine. You don't need to bother going out of your way to get me home."

"It is no bother, Commander. Crew safety is part of my responsibility."

He looked at her out of the corner of his eye and tilted his head a bit, wondering about this whole evening. It seemed so real. Wincing at the brightness of the hall as the doors opened, he shook his head again in an attempt to clear the cobwebs and began the walk back to his quarters.

He remembered the dream so clearly. He usually never remembered his dreams longer than a couple seconds after he woke up. Well, except "those" dreams. Gad, he was so tired he couldn't think straight. It had all been so real: the white space dream from Columbia, the dragon, and her smile. That did it. He finally figured it had to be a dream right then and there.

Upon arriving at his door, he punched in his code. As the door slid open, he turned to face her. "Thanks for the company tonight, T’Pol. I'm sorry for falling asleep on ya. I just want you to know that I appreciate your company. At least it was a good dream. I could have sworn it was real."

She looked at him a bit longer than usual. Brown on blue. "Goodnight, Commander." Turning to leave, she offered, "Pleasant dreams."

Leaning against the door frame he mused mostly to himself, "Yeah. In your dreams, Trip. Only in your dreams would she smile."

As he watched her walk down the hall, he thought he heard, In your dreams, Trip.

End II

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Part III

Shadows shifted erratically around the compartment as the single flame danced before her while she meditated. Lost in the process of review, analysis, resolution and renewal, her consciousness focused within. She remained oblivious to her surroundings.

Another level of her mind automatically surveyed her biological systems and adjusted levels of hormones here, tweaked secretions of glands there and performed various other routine housekeeping measures. Years of training and practice had rendered these functions automatic, no longer requiring conscious thought or effort. Her body prepared for the sleep cycle where the main work of recovery and renewal occurred.

Completing the ritual left a residual peace that had eluded her not so long ago. As the white mist faded, the first thing her redirected awareness detected was a familiar flickering light on her eyelids. Then she heard the soft chime of her terminal indicating a message had arrived. Opening her eyes, she saw the flame before her sway sensuously in the slight drought of the air circulation. Leaning forward, she extinguished the flame with a breath, leaving the compartment nearly dark.

Rising confidently in the darkness since she purposely kept her quarters organized, she moved to the desk. A message from Commander Tucker had arrived. It was not marked urgent, but she opened it immediately. Scanning the document quickly, she determined that the information it contained would require careful consideration.

Looking at her empty mug, she decided that some Vulcan tea would help her remain awake long enough to complete this. Gathering the mug, she headed for the mess hall. Upon entering, she noticed a crewman working on the beverage dispenser. Noting several pieces of the mechanism on a nearby table, she halted. The crewman looked up and greeted her. Seeing the mug in her hand, he suggested the dispenser in the rear observation lounge as an alternative.

Nearing the observation lounge, she felt Trip's presence and her curiosity was piqued. She had not expected to encounter him here. As the doors opened, she sensed sadness and noted an unpleasant odor. Pausing briefly, she noticed that the scent was vaguely familiar, but she could not determine what it was. Feeling Trip’s presence and more acutely the emotions exuding from him drove her forward.

Once the doors closed behind her she realized how truly dark it was in the lounge. Suddenly only too aware that Vulcan night vision was not nearly as acute as that of a human, she focused on her other senses. Willing her irises to open fully, she swept her vision rapidly back and forth to activate her motion sensitive peripheral vision. With repeated scans, a pattern of darker shapes built up which matched her memory of furniture placements. Walking cautiously to the dispenser she reached out with her left hand to confirm its location. Placing her mug on the grate, she ordered an evening tea and listened as the cup filled. While waiting she surveyed the room again to determine the best path to his location. She picked up her cup, turned and took a few steps before pausing. Finally she decided that a path nearest the view ports would provide the most light and offer the fewest obstructions.

Trip called out, "You may not want to come over here. I smell like super conductor insulating fluid."

That explained the smell, not so different from a Vulcan equivalent she had encountered long ago. His voice allowed her to get a better fix on his position. He was near a larger dark mass she determined to be a couch at the far end of the lounge.

She replied, "Yes, I am familiar with it. The Vulcan equivalent smells no better though slightly different."

Again scanning actively for obstructions as individual chairs were quite difficult for her to detect, she carefully made her way to the area where she knew he had to be. Although she still could not see him, his presence in the bond was quite strong. She could clearly hear him breathing and allowed the sound to guide her to him. Approaching the dark mass slowly while listening closely, she noted that the source of the sound, his breathing, was positioned lower that it should be if he was seated or lying on the couch. Finally detecting another dark mass which coincided with the source of the offensive smell, she briefly wondered why he would choose to place himself on the floor.

Knowing Trip could be most illogical, she chose to wait and observe, thinking that his reasons might eventually become apparent if she was patient. Feeling her way along the couch, she seated herself near him on the deck. Taking a sip of tea, she waited.

Apparently entranced by the flow of stars, he said, "Sorry about the smell, but I'm glad you're here."

She noted her own reactions to the smell and the emotional turmoil radiating from him and suppressed them. Redirecting her surface level thoughts to offer calm and comfort, she allowed her leg to brush against his, directly offering her support. She wanted to know what had caused him to feel such sadness.

"What?" he asked, apparently sensing her curiosity.

Attempting to reconcile several parallel thought processes, she stated, "I was curious as to your thoughts."

His unusually quiet reply was, "I was just thinking about how far we've come."

Sipping from her cup and taking his tone and emotional state into consideration, she referred to her limited knowledge of human psychology, her personal interaction with humans, and her specific interactions with Trip while she decided on the best approach for this situation. Should she ask for further clarification? Should she remain silent and wait? Working through a series of options and potential outcomes, she considered whether diverting his focus from the distress might allow a more objective and perhaps logical perspective. Perhaps this might be an appropriate situation to attempt humor. Sorting through her limited knowledge of what humans considered humor, she chose a subtle approach.

Placing her cup of tea on the deck beside her right leg and maintaining her gaze at the viewport, she quickly calculated their current position, given their current speed, and the time since launch. Then schooling her features, she replied in what he should interpret as perfect Vulcan form, "According to the time and my most recent data, this ship has travelled approximately 857,312.62 light-years since it was officially launched."

He laughed softly. She was gratified the attempt seemed successful. He was neither angered nor offended, but rather mildly amused. As she retained her focus on the stars flowing past, she felt his mood shift.

He patted her thigh twice in rapid succession and said, "You know that's not what I meant, but I like your sense of humor."

Interpreting the contact to be one of comfort and familiarity, she momentarily allowed herself to bask in his pleasant reaction. Resuming her analysis she wondered if she should follow her initial success with another attempt at humor or whether a serious reply would be more appropriate. Opening herself to him through their bond and allowing her senses to provide insight to his changing emotional state, she monitored his emotions for several moments and made her choice. Carefully eliminating any emotion from her voice and expression, but allowing the positive response to him to pass via the bond she replied, "Everyone knows Vulcans do not have a sense of humor."

His reply was much more forceful though still amused, "Some folks might believe that, but I know better."

Considering his positive response to her, she determined that continuing with her current approach would be appropriate. She found she could actually make out his starlit face from the enveloping darkness when he moved. He was watching her. Still facing the viewport, she raised the eyebrow closest to him 4 mm and asked, "What do you know better?"

Her question was rewarded with a further lightening of his mood as he responded, "Despite your protestations to the contrary, I know you have a sense of humor. I also know you well enough to be certain that you were aware that I was not referring to physical distance alone.”

Detecting his movements again, she realized that he was again gazing out the viewport. She wondered if perhaps this might be a good time to inquire about the emotions she had sensed when she arrived. Once again searching the bond, she encountered a mix of emotions, though they were now much more subdued. There was a mixture of comfort, pleasure and amusement with their current interactions, and he seemed extremely fatigued. A darker emotion hung at the edges of his consciousness. It was all very complex. Perhaps a direct approach might be best this time. She softly said, "I noted feelings of sadness in you when I arrived."

As she heard him sigh, he spoke so softly that she had to focus all of her attention on what he was saying. "Guess I was thinking about those we have lost along the way. Things have changed. We’ve changed. We will go on but they won't. They deserve to be remembered. We might not be here without them and their contributions. Their sacrifices need to be remembered."

Sensing something larger was on his mind, she waited to see if he would elaborate. As she sat there silently, she projected acceptance, compassion for his distress, and openness to what troubled him.

Presently he continued, "That was only part of what I was thinking though. I know that there are honorable people out there, but there are also some to be wary of and others who are not to be trusted. Some will be our enemies and fight us and others will be our allies and friends, and there is one to love," he sighed again as he finished his statement.

Listening intently, she did not fail to notice his declaration of love to her and filed it away for future reference. Simultaneously another part of her consciousness focused on what he had just revealed. She immediately recalled the report he had sent her earlier this evening. He mentioned that there was secondary battle damage which he had found by direct observation. He noted a procedural change, regarding rechecking repairs that had been made during combat actions where personnel had been reassigned, injured or lost. She also recalled that several new crew members had been assigned to that area, as well as engineering. The association was clear. He was affected by recent reminders of lost crewmates.

Vulcans also grieved when personnel were lost. Had she intruded on something he would prefer to keep private, she wondered? Almost immediately she recalled his comments after his sister Elizabeth had died that Humans needed contact and a chance to express their grief. If that was what he needed, she would offer support; however, this seemed different. He had not mentioned any of the lost crew directly but by inference. What was he really saying? He was talking about larger things: honor, allies, enemies. Then he mentioned his relationship to her. She found this highly confusing, which was not unusual when she attempted to understand human thought processes, and this human in particular. Recalling his initial statement, she decided to use that as a reference and explore other options as needed, depending on his reaction.

She quietly said, "We have come a long way, though the journey continues," and opened her senses for his reaction.

He turned to face her. “We? I thought you might acknowledge that we humans have come a ways." She felt his surprise and a lingering question regarding her intent. She also noticed some expectation of an insult to him and all humans. Pausing at that, she recognised that that would indeed be typical of their interactions. She understood that he knew she did not perceive humans that way. Then what? Perhaps the expectation represented an invitation to argue or play as he saw it. She knew he enjoyed getting a reaction, any reaction, from her. He was also very aware she sometimes allowed her own sense of humor to surface. This situation seemed to be developing differently as he seemed more open with his thoughts. Perhaps his fatigue made it more difficult for him to guard his true nature.

She pondered the implications of this and determined that simple candor may be appropriate at this time as he seemed more open and so she offered, "I have learned, as have others, that, despite opinions to the contrary, there is much we can learn from Humans."

"Others?" he inquired.

She noted he was participating willingly and, as this path seemed productive, she expanded, "Most assuredly. Ambassadors Soval and V'Lar have come to respect humans, perhaps more than you realize. Minister T'Pau is another who now views humans in a new light. You are aware of Commander Shran and his working relationship with Captain Archer and yourself."

"Oh yeah, guess so," he shrugged. "Hadn't really thought about it much."

Considering his reply, she quickly reviewed her knowledge of other races and what she knew of the Human approach to alien peoples. She wanted to once again caution him about making assumptions. "A trait common to many of you is to think of other races as being like you are. This may be valid in part, but largely it is not. Vulcans learned this long ago, just as your people are beginning to do so now," she offered in the hope that he would accept it as informative and not disparaging.

When he did not respond for several moments. While he considered her words, she waited patiently for his reaction.

"Yes and no. Just about all of those we have met so far have families they care about. Most care deeply for their home world and their people. Most will fight to defend them," he replied.

Noting his statements and comparing them to her experiences and what she had learned from Vulcans’ vast interactions with many races, she again cautioned, "Yes, some things are largely universal, although you will find exceptions even to those qualities as your explorations continue."

"I can't imagine," was his subdued reply. She noted his incomprehension and difficulty in accepting her statement, but understood he did not doubt her.

"Indeed," she replied softly.

He asked, "How many worlds have you been to?"

Quickly accessing the memory of his service records, she noted the number of planets he had visited and subtracted that number from the total of her own. "According to your service file, 137 more than you have."

She sensed his surprise at her reply as he asked, "How long have you spent in space?"

Not expecting this question, she half closed her eyes and started to access her memories in order to calculate an answer. She did not immediately reply.

Finally, he laughed out loud and patted her leg again. "Come on now. You know that I know how old you are, and you know that I don't care. I'm just curious and maybe a little envious. I just realized there is so much I really don't know about you."

Ceasing her calculations, she suppressed the feeling of being mildly taken aback at the interruption. Considering his statements carefully and noting the open and honest curiosity he expressed pleased her, she decided to respond in kind. "What would you like to know?" 

"I dunno. Anything. Everything. You know, like when you first came in, you said you knew I was feeling sad. You always seem to know how I'm feeling. Sometimes I wish I knew what you are thinking."

Again she broke down his complex statement to determine what he meant. There was so much he should know about Vulcans, so much she could teach him, but she had to be careful. She did not want to overwhelm him. She knew he was just beginning to accept the bond and was actively searching for information that could help him understand Vulcans and Vulcan ways. Some things would need to be taken slowly. She was determined to allow him to grasp what he could at his own pace and provide clarification as needed. She realised she was also at a disadvantage when it came to him and his ways. She considered various alternatives then decided perhaps the simplest, most direct approach would be best. Turning to face him, she replied, "You can."

"Really?" he seemed surprised.

Nodding and lifting her hand to his face, but not quite touching, she raised her right brow waiting for permission. She wondered if he understood what she offered.

He seemed troubled by her offer and his reply a difficult to understand. "Oh.”

He then nodded assent and her hand spread lightly against the right side of his face. "Relax and breathe like I taught you," she instructed as her fingers gently found the correct placement. Preparing herself, she recited the ancient litany softly.

As they entered her white space he asked, "Why the white space?"

Projecting her thoughts directly to his mind she answered. I find it a comfortable environment. I use it for meditation, as you know. If you take the time to look closely, you will see it is not just a uniformly white mist but filled with infinitesimal points. These are thoughts and groups of thoughts, all arraigned to be easily accessed as needed.

Through the bond, she watched as he looked more carefully at her current projects area and what appeared initially as white mist resolved into a vast array of tiny bright points neatly arraigned logically in rows and columns, each revealing a descriptive catalogue tag as he concentrated. Sensing his bewilderment at the sheer quantity of data available she searched for another metaphor that might be more familiar for him. Referencing quickly through many of their interactions, she noted a comment that seemed useful.

Communicating with him through their bond, she said, Perhaps another metaphor would be more familiar.

She transformed the bright white array of data points into a Vulcan nightscape. They were now standing on a rocky promontory high above the sands of the Vulcan desert. The night sky featured a prominent galactic view which would appear similar to the summer Milky Way as viewed from Earth's Northern Hemisphere.

You described a similar memory from your childhood camping trips once when we were on an away mission. Watch. Their view suddenly zoomed through the local stars, through the star clouds and out into open space where several companion galaxies could be seen. Other clusters of galaxies surrounded them, fading into the distance. As he looked around, it was much the same in all directions, and he still seemed amazed at the vastness and complexity.

Expressing his wonderment, he asked, All of these galaxies are made up of thoughts?

Yes, she replied..

Then he asked, How do your ever keep track of all this?

She reflected on all of her training, her many years of discipline and effort. How could she explain what it actually entailed? Realizing again that the simplest approach might be the best, she replied, We are trained from a very young age to be disciplined and organized in our thoughts.

Sensing his reaction to her presentation, she slipped into multi-tasking mode and separately thought about their inherent differences, approaches and processes, and how she might convey her bewilderment regarding his thought process. She wondered if he would tire of her once he realized what deceptively simple beings Vulcans really were and that she was at a loss to comprehend the complexity of Humans. Rapidly suppressing her fear as illogical, she looked out at the galaxy before them. The answer was clear.

Suddenly, the scene changed into writhing, turbulent, swirling clouds of multi-hued gas and dust, much like an emission nebula. Stars, protostars, gas and dust clouds swirled about, making the scene even more chaotic. A star exploded, and they were struck by the ensuing shock wave and pelted by debris. Bright flashes of energy danced through the gas clouds and dust swirled about them. Everything became calm only to erupt unexpectedly with high energy bolts flashing around them. A thick dust cloud enveloped them in nearly complete darkness. Soon the cloud began to dissipate slowly, allowing a few stars to show through, finally revealing a brilliant golden star at the heart of the nebula. She noted that she perceived it as a binary and wondered if he would notice the small faint green companion star close to the bright golden primary.

What is this? he thought.

This is a visual metaphor for how I perceive your mind and thought processes, she replied quietly, wondering if he would understand.

Guess we have a lot of work to do, he thought back.

Again her reply was simply, Indeed.

She returned the scene to the first night sky view then turned and pointed to her right. Look over there.

A star cloud to his right glowed a bit brighter as it came into focus then resolved before them. She wanted him to understand that this was “Trip's area” of memories. Several clusters brightened as she projected, These are thoughts you have accessed before. She chose one memory that he would find familiar. A single star brightened until it filled the sky with a brilliant white light, and then they were back in the white space. She rapidly played back her memories until reaching the point she intended, and then she slowed the images passing before them to reveal an event they’d shared during his time aboard Columbia.

So it was real, he replied.

Yes.

She allowed the scene to fade back into a sun which further diminished to a star amongst the star cloud of “Trip.” Sensing his growing understanding and acceptance, she decided to offer him an opportunity to explore her experiences as he had requested.

"What would you like to see next?" she asked out loud.

Looking around still in wonder, he answered, "I dunno. Something special to you. Maybe something from one of your early voyages."

Considering which event might have meaning for him, she considered what she knew of his likes and dislikes. Reviewing their recent interactions, he seemed taken with movie nights, especially the most recent presentation. One specific memory may indeed be complimentary. She chose her first assignment for the sciences section. After completing her 2 years of cross-training as required of every new Vulcan crewmember, she had to be able to demonstrate competence in all departments, should she be required to fill in during an emergency. Having passed the tests in each area, she finally was assigned her first away mission as a sensor operations specialist in a research shuttle. During her tour of duty, they traveled to a planet that was unlike any she had visited before or since. There was also the possibility that he might find the experience enlightening and perhaps entertaining as well.

“Very well,” she replied. “Since you seemed to thoroughly enjoy last week’s movie, perhaps this would be interesting.”

She rapidly reoriented the night sky view. When she brought the appropriate section of her memory to the fore, she momentarily felt his disorientation. Slowing the transitions to ease his discomfort, she selected the specific memory. Then, as before, a star cloud brightened to draw his attention. Subtly, she shared the awareness that this area consisted of her travels while she was a new officer in the Vulcan fleet. The scene transformed as before with them emerging in a small craft stationed nearly a thousand meters above the planet’s surface. There were viewports all along the belt line of the vessel, allowing direct visual examination of the immediate area. She watched as he looked out upon the rugged landscape of gnarled trees with blue foliage which clung to the steep cliffs of long narrow canyons that faded into the distance. The cloudless sky was a vivid purple.

Realizing he would not be familiar with this vessel, she explained via the bond, This is an observation shuttle of the Sha’ker, a science vessel I was assigned to when I was a new ensign.

Subtly, she shared the knowledge that it was her responsibility to operate the port side sensor suite and monitor data from various scanners and instrumentation. Vulcan text filled the displays before her as she viewed the scene. She also filled in her memories of the other crew members. The pilot, Lieutenant Curk, maintained the craft’s position while the only other crewman, Science Specialist Sub Lieutenant Rint, manned a similar console directly behind T'Pol. She was pleased she could share information on several levels. Some direct, others much more subtle. Thinking this would require further investigation, she filed the thought for future reference and exploration.

As the memory played back for Trip, she found that she was easily able to monitor her awareness of his reactions while simultaneously watching the progression of the memory. As Curk called out, “Prepare for impact,” he activated internal restraints. She could feel Trip react to the tug of the grav field pulling her firmly into her seat.

Trip thought, We could really use those.

I have suggested it, was her reply.

T’Pol could feel Trip’s surprise as he noticed what appeared to be a flock of birds flying towards them. T'Pol announced, “Avians 2 km out and closing at 65 km/h.” She felt his startle response when he finally could see these were obviously not birds. He immediately classified them as flying dinosaurs and observed their obvious physical characteristics as they approached.

T'Pol, again multitasking, watched the memory of her earlier self consulting her sensor screens for the data, silultaniously monitoring Trips reactions she noted he seemed impressed with the technology on the Vulcan shuttle. Initiating another parallel thought stream isolated from the meld she wondered briefly if she should advise him this happened 45.6 years ago, more than 10 years before his birth, and decided perhaps later if it came up.

As the memory continued to play back she watched his reactions and felt his emotions vary from awe at the size of the creature to shock and surprise at the initial attack. She noted the rapid transition from his readiness to try and fight off the creature to his recognition that this was only a memory. It was amazing to her how rapidly the human psyche transitioned to changing situations. She felt his grudging admiration for the determination of this creature in its apparently futile attempt to best the shuttle, and admiration for the Vulcan technology that protected them. Finally, he seemed to project a feeling of disappointment as the creature departed, having failed in its attempt to devour the crew of the shuttle. This was most perplexing.

When she closed the memory and returned them to her white space, she was bombarded by a burst of rapidly changing emotions. Steadying herself, she cautiously opened herself to his response to her memory. She could not help being pleased and impressed by the pleasure glowing within him. Finding this far more acceptable than the emotional distress she had found upon first encountering him this evening, she allowed herself to smile briefly.

Wow! Trip thought. That was much better than Dragon Heart!

Barengaria VII, was her gratified response. A training mission when I was quite young. It was my first away mission. Feeling his fatigue, she allowed herself to fully perceive his current state to better evaluate it. Calculating the current time as 0158, she knew he had started his shift at 0800 yesterday morning and determined that he needed to sleep soon. It is late. We should cease this for now.

You smiled!

She felt his reaction as one of total amazement and wondered how to explain. He knew by now that Vulcans had emotions. They suppressed them yes, but sometimes there were lapses. This was yet another subject for discussion at a future opportunity.

Only here and in your dreams, she offered softly. With time, understanding will come for both of us.

She broke the link by dropping her hand and the white space dissolved into the darkened lounge.

Still feeling his extreme mental and physical fatigue, she suggested, "Trip you should return to your quarters to rest."

"Huh?" he replied absently.

Assuming his disorientation was a cumulative effect from the long day and an extended meld, she again attempted to get him to go to his quarters. "You are tired, as am I. We both need to rest before our shifts begin." When she offered her hand, she noted her own fatigue. "Come."

He remained motionless and she grew uneasy. Had she overtaxed him?

"What? How? You smiled."

Now she understood the confusion he was experiencing. She considered trying to explain things to him now, but decided to leave that for another time. She maintained her position and again urged him to return to his quarters, "You obviously need rest, Commander, since you fell asleep on the floor of the observation lounge. You should return to your quarters."

When he shook his head, the motion allowed her to see him more clearly. When he stopped moving, his visage once again faded into the darkness. Then he spoke, "No, it was real, I saw it. You were there. The dragon attacked the ship."

She was somewhat confused as he seemed to believe the memory was a current event. Attempting to clarify she said, "Commander, you and I have been here in the observation lounge for the last hour and 12 minutes, and as far as I know, there have been no reports of dragons attacking the ship." Hopefully he would realize they were not under actual attack.

Finally, he took her hand allowing her to pull him to his feet. Noting his instability, her concern deepened.

"Whoa. Guess I must have dozed off. Sorry for being such bad company. I really should hit the rack." Noting he still thought this evening’s events to be a creation of his own mind, she considered the appropriateness of disabusing of that thought and explaining the events. Noting again his state, she determined there would be other opportunities to discuss these events when he was once again fully in command of his faculties.

While she gathered their beverage containers, she evaluated his ability to successfully make his way to his quarters. Preemptively, she offered, "I shall accompany you to your quarters."

"That's ok, T'Pol. I'm fine. You don't need to bother going out of your way to get me home."

"It is no bother, Commander. Crew safety is part of my responsibility."

Able to observe his state more clearly as they entered the hall, she observed that he still seemed quite unsteady and somewhat preoccupied as they began the walk back to his quarters.

Upon arriving at his door, he punched in his code and as the door slid open he turned to face her. "Thanks for the company tonight, T’Pol. I'm sorry for falling asleep on ya. I just want you to know that I appreciate your company. At least it was a good dream. I could have sworn it was real."

Considering what had occurred, what they had shared and revealed, she was again concerned about his ability to accept. She would make time when he was in a receptive mood to explain. For now, his well-being was her main focus. She also noted that the overwhelming sadness was no longer exuding from him. It had been replaced by a contented pleasure, though his fatigue now weighed heavily upon him. She was certain he would sleep. "Goodnight, Commander." Turning to leave, she offered, "Pleasant dreams."

Taking her leave and walking down the corridor she heard him talking mostly to himself, "Yeah. In your dreams, Trip. Only in your dreams would she smile."

Allowing herself a moment of pleasure that he would capture that and dwell on it she projected, In your dreams, Trip.

End


Comments:

Middleman

I’ve never seen this story before and I downloaded the whole thing and read it over the last two weeks; what a fantastic story you have put together Ginmar. I can see that this series has been around for a while; I don’t know how I ever missed it! Excellent writing, action, mystery, suspense and romance. I really enjoyed ever installment in these virtual seasons. My question is, will this story continue?

Reanok

Exciting story I hope you'll update this soon and can't wait to see how Enterprise's crew escapes from the Illyrian/Romulan trap and how Hoshi,Travis and an Injured T'Pol surive and unravel the mystery of the missing colony.

evcake

Oh wow. I hope an update is coming soon. Our crew is in sad shape. Compelling action, good dialog, keep it comin':D

panyasan
I was surprised that nobody has given any comments. Really liked the story, nice exchanges and pov. Well done.
Asso
Come on! Go ahead!:D

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