Z’Val

By JadziaKathryn

Rating: PG

Genres: drama general romance

Keywords: marriage Baby Elizabeth Tucker

This story has been read by 710 people.
This story has been read 1938 times.


Prologue

Archive: Triaxian Silk
Summary: Life after Enterprise holds many changes for Trip and T’Pol.

Disclaimer: Paramount owns whatever you recognize. Z’Val is a product of my imagination, though. No profit is being made from this story.

Z’Val : Prologue

On the bridge of the soon-to-be-decommissioned starship Enterprise, Commander T’Pol was overseeing the problem of rescuing Captain Archer and Lieutenant Reed while fighting an evenly-matched battle with an Andorian ship. A rogue group of Andorians had ambushed the shuttle that Captain Archer and Lieutenant Reed were in. According to Commander Shran, who was en route, these Andorians represented an isolationist splinter group not unlike Terra Prime. T’Pol suppressed the memories it brought up, as she needed to concentrate on the task at hand. It was not the appropriate time to think of her daughter. They had been unaware of such a group among Andorians. It was a most unpleasant surprise.

The ship shook as the Andorians managed a direct hit. “Engineering to the Bridge. We can’t take much more of this!” T’Pol was aware of the dire situation. Commander Shran was still twenty-seven minutes away, so his assistance might arrive too late.

“I am open to suggestions. Hard to port.”

Enterprise spun and Ensign Kellin continued to fire. “We could try that trick we used when we installed the phase cannons,” yelled Trip over the chaotic noise normal in Engineering during a battle.

It had been nearly ten years since they utilized that particular technique. T’Pol considered the idea, but the risks were significant. “The damage to the ship would be critical.”

“Do ya have a better idea?” Unfortunately, she did not.

“A shuttlepod just launched from the Andorian ship!” reported Kellin.

Hoshi added, “They’re hailing us.”

“On screen.”

“Can you spare the grappler?” asked Captain Archer as his face filled the screen. “We don’t read much Andorian.”

“Ensign Kellin, retrieve the shuttlepod. Lieutenant Mayweather, protect the grappler and the shuttlepod.”

“Yes ma’am.”

The captain’s face was sober. “Malcolm’s hurt.”

“We will have a medical team meet you in the launch bay. Ensign Sato.”

“I’m on it.”

Kellin had been a teenager when they used the phase cannon surge against the unknown enemy, so she could not recreate it. “Commander Tucker, can you create a power surge if you modify the phase cannon?”

“Just stop firin’ one.”

“Ensign, do not fire the starboard cannon.”

“Aye Commander.”

“The starboard cannon is available.”

“Gimme a minute.”

Apparently this deceived the Andorians, because Kellin said, “The Andorians are concentrating fire on our port cannon.”

T’Pol had to clutch the armrests tightly to avoid being thrown forward as Enterprise took fire. The air smelled of smoke and was noticeably warmer than usual. Protecting the grappler and the shuttlepod meant taking more fire. T’Pol was gratified that Trip had thought of overloading the cannon, because the odds of surviving otherwise were not at all favorable. Regardless of the improved chances for survival, the damage to the ship would be extensive.

Meanwhile, Kellin had mixed news to report. “The shuttlepod is in the launch bay. One of the Andorian cannons is down, but we’re about to lose our port cannon.”

“Commander Tucker?”

“Almost there.”

“Ensign, target their weapons.”

“Port cannon offline.”

“We’re only gonna get one chance at this!” said Trip.

“Lieutenant Mayweather, can you arrange for a clear shot?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Trip’s voice was clear although he spoke to Engineering. “Stay back! This might give some nasty feedback. Bridge, we’re a go on the cannon.”

From the helm, Mayweather reported, “I can give you a ten-second window.”

“Fire at will, Ensign.”

Four more seconds passed before Kellin said, “Firing.”

Suddenly she gasped. Ensign Sato looked over questioningly. T’Pol did not elaborate. With great effort she forced herself to breathe. Something was wrong with Trip. He was in terrible pain.

“Andorian weapons offline.”

“They’re surrendering!” exclaimed Hoshi.

T’Pol stood up. With imminent destruction avoided, her duty to Starfleet was now less important than her duty to Trip. “Lieutenant Mayweather, you have the bridge.” She did not even hear his acknowledgement as the doors to the turbolift shut.

Trip was dying. There was no question in her mind. The feedback must have been much stronger than he anticipated.

His death was unacceptable. After the Federation Charter was signed they planned to marry, although it would likely result in Earthbound careers if Starfleet allowed them to remain at all.

The turbolift was damaged and traveled at one-fourth its normal speed. When the doors opened, she practically sprinted into Sickbay. Minor casualties were beginning to come in. Lieutenant Reed was lying sedated on a bed with more serious injuries, but he was obviously going to live. “Where is he?”

Captain Archer tried to console her. “Phlox is doing his best-”

“It is not enough. I can save him.”

“How do you propose to do that?” asked Phlox.

“I do not have time to explain. I must join him.”

Phlox and Archer eyed each other, and Archer nodded. Trip slid out of the hyperbaric chamber, dangerously close to death despite Phlox’s efforts. She wedged herself beside him and the chamber closed again.

She initiated a mind-meld. Without their bond, she doubted that it would have been possible. Trip was valiantly fighting death. She found him losing the battle and latched on to him.

T’Pol!

You must draw from my strength, Trip.

He said nothing further but did as she instructed. Then she initiated a complete melding of their katras. It was an irreversible process, one she had read about in the Kir’Shara. It had been rejected for being illogical, for if one died the other would as well.

It was entirely logical for T’Pol. This was the only way to save Trip, and she had no doubt about her action.

********

“Do you have any idea what she’s doing?” asked Archer. “I didn’t know a mind meld could help.”

“I don’t think this is a mind meld, Captain. Look at this.” Phlox pointed to the monitor.

“His life signs are improving.”

“Yes, but Commander T’Pol’s neurological reading is identical to Commander Tucker’s.”

Archer looked at him in disbelief. “What?”

“This is unprecedented,” mused the doctor.

“It better work. I can’t handle losing both of them.”

*********

T’Pol?

Yes?

Stop feelin’ guilty. For cryin’ out loud, your katra meld saved my life!

In the process, I bound our katras permanently without consulting your opinion.

Hey, we were plannin’ to get married anyway! Honestly, darlin,’ I’m thrilled. Knowing that her guilt was not completely gone he insisted, Come see for yourself. He knew instinctively now how to lower the shields that, most of the time, kept his innermost feelings private.

You should be resting.

There’s no way I’m gonna rest while you’re feelin’ so guilty!

Slowly, she lowered the shields that isolated her own mind. His gratitude was immediately evident, not only for saving his life but for sharing herself completely with him. That established, she raised her shields again so that he could continue recovering. Nevertheless, she felt the connection between their katras. She had been successful.

No guilt, got it?

There is no longer reason for guilt, ashayam. We are in complete accord.

*********

T’Pol opened her eyes to find Dr. Phlox hovering over her. “Ah, Commander, you’re awake.”

“How long have we been unconscious?”

“Thirteen hours, give or take a few minutes.”

“T’Pol!” exclaimed Captain Archer, who had apparently fallen asleep in a chair. “I don’t know what you did, but he’s alive.”

“I know, Captain.”

“May I ask what you did to perform this feat?” asked Phlox, ever insatiably curious.

She did not want to disclose that information, because it would likely mean the end of their Starfleet careers. Nonetheless, the information would eventually surface, and she was likely to earn less undesirable consequences if she explained her actions immediately. “I melded our katras.”

“I’m not familiar with this.”

“It has not been practiced for centuries, but Vulcan bondmates are capable of melding their katras.”

“You’re saying that you kept Trip alive with your own strength,” stated Archer.

“I did not heal him, precisely. The hyperbaric chamber did that. What I did was provide the strength needed to sustain life until the chamber could stabilize him.”

“Your neurological readings are still nearly identical.”

“That is to be expected, as our katras are melded.”

Phlox looked up from his readings. “They still are?”

“It is permanent, Doctor.”

“What?” asked the captain, who had evidently not learned as much from carrying Surak’s katra as he was fond of believing.

“Is this a codependence?” suggested Phlox.

“Yes,” replied T’Pol. She then promptly fell asleep, leaving Phlox feeling rather unprofessional for asking her so many questions.

*********

Malcolm woke up to the gorgeous face of the woman he loved. “Hoshi.”

He was rewarded with a tender smile. “Hi, Malcolm.”

“You look especially beautiful.”

“You have to stop scaring me like that.”

“Sorry, love.”

Captain Archer moved away from the sleeping forms of Trip and T’Pol while the doctor checked Trip’s oxygen supply. “Good to see you up, Malcolm.”

“Thank you, sir. How did you escape the cell?”

“The Andorians used electromagnetic locks that got short-circuited in the fight.”

“Ah.”

It looked like Archer was afraid to ask his question, but he did anyway. “What did they do to you?”

“They wanted ship’s specs and security information relevant to the signing. I didn’t tell them anything, which was not appreciated.”

From the look of Malcolm, the Andorian disapproval was obvious. His right eye was a blackish purple, although in all it was much improved since the escape because Dr. Phlox had reduced the swelling. Both of his thumbs had been broken along with two ribs. Most disturbing, his left lug flopped unnaturally.

“Lieutenant Reed’s peroneal nerve was severely overstimulated,” added the doctor. “His left leg will require more time to heal.”

“How?”

“Some dreadful cattle prod device.” Malcolm tried not to think about the thing, and the way it sent fiery pain to his knee when held there, a pain which spread throughout his entire body until he thought he might die at any moment. He didn’t want to remember how he felt as though he was burning from the inside out. The worst part had been once the level of pain dropped – just a little, but Malcolm was at that point taking what he could get – and he knew they would use the thing again. Mercifully, he’d passed out the third time it was used.

“Why you?”

“Isolationist Andorians aren’t especially good at telling humans apart. They took me.”

Archer had a suspicion there was more to it than that. “Did you claim to be me, Malcolm?”

Hoshi tightened her grip on Malcolm’s hand, looking as though she guessed that also but did not want to admit it.

“Yes.”

Archer swallowed hard. “You shouldn’t have.”

“Part of the job.”

Dismayed, the captain could only stand there, helpless, and wonder when it would end.

*********

Trip had shown T’Pol what he remembered from before the accident: the electrical feedback surge from firing the modified cannon had started a nasty fire in Engineering. In his mind she saw the flames shoot from a console, reaching a meter and a half into the air. She felt the overpowering heat and inhaled the odiferous fumes. It was the fumes that did the most damage to Trip, although she did not learn this from his memories. Those ended as he stepped backwards, trying to escape. Suddenly everything went black, and the next thing he remembered was her.

The superheated fumes burned Trip’s lungs severely, along with much of his skin, but he was going to recover. It was painful, and the energy required to function at even a minimal level strained both him and T’Pol.

Although Malcolm was allowed to go in a wheelchair, neither Trip nor T’Pol was able to attend the signing of the Federation Charter. Consequently Phlox stayed with them, but Archer made sure that they had a live view in Sickbay.

“He wants you to know that he was certain it would be a good speech,” reported T’Pol when Archer returned to Enterprise. Trip managed a minimal but enthusiastic nod. He had grudgingly agreed to let T’Pol talk for him because, due to the respirator and mask, he didn’t really have any options.

“I’ve got news that’s even better. Starfleet won’t let you serve on a ship together.” That wasn’t altogether a surprise. Couples on Starfleet ships were now more or less allowed simply because it proved impossible to prevent people from seeing their coworkers covertly. Once T’Pol had explained that she and Trip were so connected that if one of them died the other one would shortly follow, however, there was no chance that Starfleet would agree to put them on a ship together. Neither were they comfortable with posting them on separate ships, which hardly mattered because Trip and T’Pol insisted on remaining together and Trip’s lungs would never heal enough for the rigors of a starship.

“If that’s the good news, he does not want to hear the bad.”

“The good news is that between me and Ambassador Soval, they’ve been convinced to ignore this pre-existing bond and your ‘potentially reckless endangerment of your crewmates.’ They’re offering you both positions on Earth. T’Pol, there’s a teaching position at the Academy if you want it – advanced science courses. Research and Development was all too happy to hear that you might be available, Trip.”

T’Pol had not expected Soval as an ally. “What did Ambassador Soval say?”

“It would not be a good idea to offend the Vulcans by punishing you for Vulcan customs.”

Her eyebrow shot up. “He persuaded Starfleet to overlook the fact that we not only shared a mental bond but told nobody by threatening diplomatic consequences?”

Archer grinned. “That wouldn’t be a good start to the Federation, would it?”

“The majority of Vulcans would disapprove of my actions,” conceded T’Pol.

“I don’t think we have to tell Starfleet that.”

Whatcha think about teachin’ at the Academy?

It is agreeable, and more than I expected.

Yeah, they’ve got some good toys for me an’ some eager minds for you. This isn’t workin’ out too badly. Breathin’ aside, I mean.

Naturally.

I’ve been thinkin’ about where we should get married.

T’Pol knew that the official marriage meant a great deal to her adun, and could see benefits from a legally recognized union. So long as it was simple, she had no objections to a human ceremony as opposed to a Vulcan one. What have you concluded?

I think we should get married here.

In Sickbay?

Not Sickbay, in the mess hall. As soon as I can breathe on my own.

Do you think Starfleet will agree to that?

I think they’d rather that than we get married on Earth and it turns into a media circus.

A logical deduction.

I thought so.

*********

“I’m afraid there is nothing more I can do, Lieutenant. We can of course make a more comfortable custom brace, but you will limp for the remainder of your life. Nerves are delicate, and your peroneal nerve was overstimulated beyond repair.”

Hoshi had to remind herself to inhale. Because she loved Malcolm, she felt the crushing disappointment as if it had been her Phlox was talking to. She also knew that Malcolm would take it even harder than she would.

“Can someone else…”

The doctor shook his head. “I’m sorry. I’ll give you two some time. If you need anything, I’ll be in my office.”

Hoshi wanted to scream, to find those responsible and put them through such trauma, to start calling every neurologist alive, but she could only sit on the bed next to Malcolm and hold his hand. “We’ll get through this.”

“I suppose I always knew this might happen.”

After a soft kiss, she thought of a silver lining. It was small, but better than nothing. “Will this keep you on Earth with me?”

Malcolm’s face broke out into a smile. He was so absorbed in Hoshi that he failed to notice Trip had just woken up and was watching them. Carefully, so as not to put too much weight on his left leg, he stood up and reached into his pocket. He looked down at the floor, and then discarded that tradition because he might never get up again. Looking Hoshi in the eye, he held out a diamond ring.

“Marry me, Hoshi Sato, and I will spend every day of the rest of my life the luckiest man on Earth.”

“Oh, Malcolm! Yes!” She gave him her hand and he slid the ring on. The gold band fit wonderfully, and the round diamond was classic.

They sealed the deal with a kiss before something occurred to her. “How long have you been carrying this around?”

“Since the last time we were on Earth.”

“That was six months ago!”

He shrugged. “I was waiting for the right time.”

“Trip offers his congratulations,” said T’Pol suddenly before they resumed a public display of affection. “You have my congratulations as well.”

“You’re awake?”

“In his great excitement, Trip woke me up. He wanted to be the first to congratulate you.”

Malcolm, who had gotten somewhat used to T’Pol speaking for Trip and was now surprised when she didn’t in front of visiting junior officers, looked at his friend. “You were awake this whole time?”

“He woke up just before you proposed, and is adamant that if you had been paying any attention to him you would have realized this.” She raised an eyebrow and added, “Under the circumstances, however, he is willing to forgive your oversight.”

The last thing Dr. Phlox had expected to hear was Malcolm’s laughter, but his friends were always full of surprises.


Comments:

Max

PLS finish. Its funny. I also like that they are keeping it soemwhat secret. I agree with Eric that Trip is being too clumsy. He;s not dumb.

One hting that would be interesting is if they started acting like each other because of the influence of their bodies.

 

Also drmamtic if the vulcons are coming to 'recue' t'pol & they a have a time limit to fix things.

I suspose it too much to ask that they get a little cutious about their current bods & make out? LOL!

 

Max

PLS finish. Its funny. I also like that they are keeping it soemwhat secret. I agree with Eric that Trip is being too clumsy. He;s not dumb.

One hting that would be interesting is if they started acting like each other because of the influence of their bodies.

 

Also drmamtic if the vulcons are coming to 'recue' t'pol & they a have a time limit to fix things.

I suspose it too much to ask that they get a little cutious about their current bods & make out? LOL!

 

Eric
very well written. I wonder what's up with the changing scans? Very funny PLS continue. You do Hoshi very well. But Trip still forgets 'herself' too easily.
Distracted
Very well done.
Dinah
Poor Malcolm! It's going to be a long time before he can look T'Pol (or ummm Trip) in the eye again. And poor Trip! Not only is he stuck in sickbay, but T'Pol is just waiting to have a talk with him about his lack of discretion when talking with Malcolm. I'm enjoying this very much, but they really do need to get switched back...after lots more chapters. :D
Emberchyld
Love it. Especially the "T'Pol" bum scene!
Asso
[b]OPTIME[/b]
Shakabutt
Thanks ,a very enjoyable chapter and the shaving thing was hilarious :)
rogue
Glad you are able to continue the story. I love the Malcom / [i]Trip[/i] interaction at breakfast. I wondered if Malcolm would pick up on the speech pattern differences -but I guess he is not as perceptive as Hoshi :)
lunaz
Enjoying the story very much. Like the interaction between the various characters.
Blackn'blue
Superlative! I love it. This is infinitely better than any other body switch story I have ever read. :D :D :p
KateAndromeda
Great story! Please continue, I want to 'see' Malcom's face when he is told what happend. ;)

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