Your Mom n' Me - Part II - Just the Two of Us

By Elessar

Rating: PG-13

Genres: adventure drama romance

Keywords: bond Romulan War Romulans

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This story is number 2 in the series Your Mom n Me


Chapter 1

Just the Two of Us
Author: John O.
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Star Trek, Star Trek: Enterprise, and all affiliated characters, titles and names are registered trademarks of Paramount Pictures. This work is not intended for distribution for profit or publication.

Notes: Thanks to JustTrip'n, Dr. Adam Potthast, y2kelly, and Lys for infinite patience and assistance.
Acknowledgements also to the VLI Vulcan Dictionary, Google Image Search, Wikipedia, and MalaysiaLounge dot com.

Several months passed after "Startling Discoveries", the Romulan War broke out, ended, and now we begin a few months just as the ink is drying on the Neutral Zone armistice.

This comes just 13 days later than 2 years after the first Your Mom n' Me chapter was posted at House of Tucker :)

It's been one hell of a ride.

Chapter 1

 

9 April 2161

Words like ‘duty’, ‘honor’ and ‘distinction’ echoed through the chamber. They felt hollow, meaningless. Trip’s gaze rested heavily on the floor, the words passing through him like stray neutrinos, not affecting a hint of solace to his bereavement. There was a moment of silence as the eulogy ended, and Admiral Walker fell silent, stepping away. An elderly woman slowly climbed the steps in front of the audience of a few hundred. The silence caught Trip’s attention, and he looked up. Malcolm’s mother climbed the steps, forcing a shaky smile as Admiral Archer hovered above her with the Starfleet Medal of Honor dangling above her head. A tear dripped from her wrinkled cheek as he lowered the medal around her neck, and Trip almost thought he heard it hit the carpet in the grim silence. Mrs. Reed sniffled, shook Archer’s hand, and then embraced him.

As the crowd began to break up, solemn nods and grey countenances faded into normal, congenial faces as the mood passed for most, for those who knew Captain Reed. Not those who knew Malcolm. Trip meandered through the throng to reach Mrs. Reed.

“Mary,” Trip said, emerging from the crowd. His voice was dry, raspier than he had intended. Mary Reed turned from speaking with Admiral Archer to find Commander Charles Tucker III. He cleared his throat and tried again.

“Ma’am,” he nodded. No introduction was necessary. Mrs. Reed didn’t hesitate. Before Trip knew it, she was embracing him, and drying her eyes on his shoulder.

“It’s good to see you,” she said between sobs, pulling away. There was a bond between grieving mothers and angry friends of lost comrades. It had existed longer than it should have, in more times, more places than a civilized society should allow, Trip thought. The tear-stained shoulder of a fellow uniform marks the final resting place of a mother’s grief for her lost son, irreverent of his sacrifice in the throws of anguish’s blinding light. Malcolm had never doubted or feared his commitment for an instant, no matter the cost, and never faltered in the face of imminent danger, for all the years Trip had known him. Trip’s throat tightened and he winced to withhold the tears.

“I’m sure Malcolm…” Mary began, but when she noticed Trip’s misty eyes, it pushed her over the edge, and she fell into him, sobbing once again. Incoherent, pleading sobs demanded a reason, a justification that didn’t exist. She wanted to know why her boy, as millions of other mothers had in the past six years, had been taken away.

And so did Trip.

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After speaking briefly, Trip reiterated his condolences to Malcolm’s mother and she left the ceremony. He hadn’t noticed at first, but soon found that Archer had been hovering nearby, waiting for an opportunity to speak with him.

“Trip.”

“Admiral,” Tucker answered, wiping his eyes with a single thumb as he turned and stood at parade rest.

“At ease,” Archer commanded, rather irritated. The offense evaporated, replaced by hurt and confusion. Jonathan hadn’t seen his long time friend in awhile, but he hadn’t thought they had grown this far apart.

“I just thought we could talk,” he said, ushering Trip towards the side exit to the ceremony hall as he spoke. Trip didn’t answer, but followed, his shoulders sagging.

“How are you doing? Have you seen T’Pol?” Archer asked. Trip nodded quietly.

“I’m alright. Just tryin’ to catch up on some rest,” he said, eyeing Archer. “And no, I haven’t seen T’Pol.”

“The Endeavor’s been in dry-dock for weeks now. Starfleet was kind of thinking you’d be ready for a new job,” Archer said, lifting his eyebrows. There was a hint of the old smile under the Admiral’s new thick exterior that made Trip grin despite himself.

“What’re you talkin’ about?” Trip asked.

“Well, the Invincible< is commissioning in a few weeks. She’s beautiful, the fastest ship in the fleet now. And she needs a Captain,” Archer grinned.

“Warp six?” Trip asked, ignoring the Admiral’s implication.

“Six-point-two in a pinch. The Vulcans finally decided to share some of their warp technology with us. We probably have you to thank for that,” Archer laughed. Tucker stopped and turned.

“You mean Captain Jeffries,” Trip said under his breath.

“You gave the order to engage the Romulans attacking the T’Karath Sanctuary. If it weren’t for the Endeavor’s intervention, those warbirds would have made rubble out of the monastery.”

“But Jeffries is the one who paid for it. Thank him. Give him a medal, hug his mother. Oh, and give him command of the Invincible,” Trip said, patting Archer on the shoulder and pursing his lips. Trip walked away.

“Trip? Trip!” Archer called after him. Tucker stopped. He furrowed his brow, swallowing a knot in his throat.

“Tell Starfleet I’ll think about it.”

“Hey Trip,” Archer called after him. Tucker turned.

“I think you should go see T’Pol.”

Tucker smothered the pain that escaped like a hissing vapor. It seeped from the hole in his shield, the barrier he had tried to cover himself with to forget that name. Six years of war had, in fact, helped to bury her memory. Deaths of friends, old injuries, and a slowly building hatred all worked to numb him of the memory of losing a life they had promised each other. When the war started, their plans blew away like dust, leaving only the void of space to fill him. He knew there was no one to blame, but blaming the Romulans came easier, and made him a good wartime commander.

Without the Romulans around anymore, he wasn’t sure who to blame.

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Captain T’Pol stepped over the threshold of her temporary quarters on the Starfleet Headquarters campus, ordering the computer to raise the lights. It had been a long day, with several debriefings with Starfleet Command’s General Staff, Starfleet Intelligence, as well as a host of other boards, committees, and admirals. Even a Vulcan’s patience can run thin, and T’Pol was eager to retire for the night and begin meditation. However, she could not escape the inevitable trepidation that tonight’s attempt would end the same as every other’s since she had returned to Earth. Or rather, a voice in the back of her head reminded her, since he had returned to Earth.

For the last several nights, T’Pol was unable to slip into the deep state of meditation that Vulcans depend upon to reign in, control, and temper the emotions they have experienced throughout the day. For many Vulcans on the home world, daily meditation is not always necessary, particularly those most proficiently trained in the art of kohlinar, the suppression of fiery, natural impulses. But for T’Pol and many other Vulcans that worked in close proximity to humans and other emotional species, it is a more pressing necessity to maintain the order of mind and spirit they so proudly honored. Even that natural balance, once achieved, requires constant vigilance, as even pride can become a volatile emotion.

T’Pol poured herself a glass of tea, choosing green tea instead of chamomile, for the latter was her favorite during her time on Enterprise, and a constant reminder of her absent mate. Any reference to that time of her life, only six years ago by chronology, but eons by experiences accumulated during the War, shook the foundations of her control over the most primal of emotions: love, desire, and yearning. It had been a difficult six years away from him, and they had not seen each other in all that time. For T’Pol, it had become a de facto Vulcan divorce. Though such things were highly irregular in Vulcan society, her relationship to Charles Tucker was highly irregular in and of itself. It was the very first Human-Vulcan pairing to exist in the century of the races’ political, technological and diplomatic exchange.

When T’Pol left her second-in-command position on Enterprise for a promotion to captain of the Constellation, she had no intention for her departure to signal to Commander Tucker that she wished for their relationship to be terminated. And for a short while, they remained in contact, and even over light-years, maintained a comforting, albeit weakened telepathic awareness of each other’s state of mind. But the two of them often had trouble reconciling their cultural differences, and Tucker soon grew distant and indifferent when they would speak over subspace radio. As a Human, T’Pol knew he required close contact to maintain a relationship, where Vulcans had no such necessity. Vulcan mates on deep space assignments were often separated for years, to no detriment of the union.

It also didn’t help when the shooting war broke out, and communication became impossible. When the weeks became months and then years since she had seen Tucker, T’Pol worked feverishly to pass the time aboard Constellation in ways that would occupy her mind. She sought out any avenue that would dull the pain she felt as the telepathic bond the two shared slowly began to slip away. Eventually, she succeeded.

By throwing herself into every aspect of her new position, T’Pol became one of the most trusted and well-respected officers in Starfleet. Rising quickly in her colleagues’ esteem, she soon commanded the Constellation as her own flagship, while Admiral Archer moved his tactical headquarters to the new NX-class vessel Appomattox. The new position meant that as a field grade officer, she held senior authority over other captains in the Fleet. For the remainder of the war, T’Pol would captain the Constellation through numerous engagements with Romulan forces; help to architect the Starfleet battle plan, and serve a vital role in the final, decisive confrontation, leading to the Romulan withdrawal and armistice. All of it, however, would prove insufficient to erase the memory of a loved one, a mate by Vulcan law, and the one whom, for a time, she never doubted would be her companion for the remaining years of his life. Returning to Earth cleared the emotional white noise of a bloody conflict, and forced her to once again confront the dirty secret underneath every Vulcan’s calm exterior: a powerful need for companionship. In a highly illogical way, she once again began to miss Trip’s humanness, spontaneity, and the emotional trust they shared that could not be duplicated.

Lighting a single candle in an old Vulcan vase, T’Pol took a sip of her tea, and bowed her head to seek a state of peace that would not be found this night.

 

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“Commander! Commander!”

As Trip rounded the corner at the base of the steps to the Starfleet Ceremonial Annex building, he stopped and turned to find a group of fresh-faced ensigns tailing him.

“Gruber, Jones, Jameson, what are you guys doing here?” he asked, smiling as they approached. Ensign Valerie Jameson hugged her former commander.

“We were glad to hear you were alright, sir. After the ambush in the Procyon sector we were afraid you…” she said, looking back at her cohorts.

“Yeah,” Trip said, his voice falling. “Well we made it out, with some help from an Andorian cruiser.”

“If you ask me, they should have given the Captain that medal, not that ‘Reed’ guy,” Ensign Jones sputtered. Valerie punched him in the side.

“Ow!”

“You idiot, the Commander served with Captain Reed on the Enterprise! Jerk!”

“Oh, Commander, I’m sorry, I-I-I just meant—“

“It’s alright, ensign. I think… Captain Jeffries would appreciate the sentiment,” he said, looking over their heads at the darkening sky. A strange feeling tingled at the base of his skull and he flinched, recalling the sensation.

“But what Malcolm did was pretty incredible. He deserved it,” Trip muttered absently, staring at the sky.

“I guess he deserved it. After the battle of Cheron, Romulans pretty much gave up,” Jones acceded.

“You’re damn right he deserved it!” Ensign Jameson snapped back, still unsatisfied. “I’d like to see you take a starship alone into a fleet of warbirds.”

Her eyes flickered between Commander Tucker, who absently gazed at the sky, and her comrades. Gruber and Jones spoke quietly while Valerie stepped closer to Commander Tucker.

“Trip,” she tugged on his uniform. He fell back to reality.

“We were going to go have a few beers. Salute to the Captain,” she nodded her head sideways, dropping her eyes to the pavement. Trip blinked absently. She looked back up, expecting his response.

“No, I’m sorry. I don’t touch the stuff anymore,” Trip said, swallowing. “I’ll have to take a rain check,” he told her, conjuring a smile. The ensign blushed with embarrassment as a long moment drew on.

“C’mon, are we going or what?” Ensign Gruber called from behind them.

“No. Guys, go on without me,” Tucker called over Valerie’s shoulder before she could change his mind. “I’ll see you all later.”

“I’ll see you later, ensign,” Tucker assured her when she caught his eye. Valerie lingered near Tucker as her friends began walking off. With a swift moment she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek.

“You’re not my CO anymore, sir. Try to relax,” she whispered against his cheek.

Trip chuckled to himself, turning his gaze downward to hide the redness in his cheeks.

“I’ll see you around, Ensign.” His lips became flat and the hard lines returned to his jaw. Valerie smiled, and then turned away to catch up with her friends.


Comments:

WarpGirl

You killed Malcom!!! I liked part 1, but how can you go from happy Vulcan/Human bond to semi-divorced and a dead Malcolm? OK I will try not to make assumptions, but you've given me a heart attack.

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