Alone

By AuroraBorealis

Rating: PG-13

Genres: angst dark

Keywords: bond

This story has been read by 613 people.
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Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the star trek characters or anything.
Archive: Yes.
Summary: T’Pol struggles to cope with the outcome of the mission on the Vir’gid colony.
Spoilers: I don’t think there are any.

A/N: You need to read the first story The Highest Price or this won’t make any sense.

The main reason I wrote this story was because of “The Abomination.” While that particular episode was awful for a number of reasons, the worst part, in my opinion, is that when Trip died, no one seemed to care. It was as if T’Pol and he had never really had a relationship or he and Archer weren’t really even that close of friends. Also, the reason I didn’t make this just a “finale fix” story is because I didn’t like the circumstances under which Commander Tucker dies in the last episode. He dies for no purpose. Surely a man who had gotten them out of so many tight fixes could think of a better diversion than blowing himself up. Well, anyway, I hope you like the story, and if not I humbly accept your criticism.

Also, I try to stay fairly in sync with canon, but I kind of ignored the fact that T’Pol has had pecan pie.

=/\=

T’Pol woke up in her white space. She wasn’t sure why she was there. Either she was sedated or injured. She immediately noticed something.

She couldn’t feel Trip.

“Trip?” she called. Where was he? “Trip?” she called again. And then she began to panic. Why couldn’t she feel her mate? Where was he?

She combed through every part of her mind. He wasn’t there. She was completely alone. An overwhelming sense of despair knocked T’Pol to the floor. It built up inside of her until she was certain the pressure would kill her, so she let it come coursing out. Tears poured from her eyes and seemed to fill the space around her. When there were no tears left to shed, she lay on the floor and waited for death.

=/\=

“Soval thank you so much for coming,” Archer said while helping Soval out of the shuttle pod. “Doctor Phlox is a very capable doctor but he said we would have a much better chance with a Vulcan on board.” Soval didn’t say anything; he seemed preoccupied by something else.

They started down the corridor and Soval stopped abruptly. “Captain, you understand that even if I can pull her from her trance she may not want to live.”

“Yes, I know,” the captain responded sadly as he started walking back to sickbay. “But she won’t have much of a choice.”

“Actually, Captain, according to Vulcan law she does.”

This time it was the captain who stopped. “You mean if she wants to kill herself, she can?” Soval just nodded. “Not on this ship, she won’t. You know, that doesn’t sound very damn logical if you ask me,” shouted Archer. “Are you here to help her or not?” He glared at the Vulcan.

“I will do everything I can Captain, but ultimately the choice will be hers.” Archer stared at him for a moment then started back to sickbay. Soval followed.

=/\=

Soval stepped into T’Pol’s white space. She looked disheveled. Her hair was mused, her uniform rumpled, and she was slumped on the ground clutching something to her chest. Soval tried to get a glimpse of what it was but failed.

“Commander T’Pol,” he called out.

She startled and squinted in his direction “Trip?” she whispered, something like hope dwindling in her voice.

“No, T’Pol,” he answered, his voice softened.

She realized who he was and immediately stood up and tried to smooth out the wrinkles in her uniform. Whatever she had held earlier, she still grasped firmly in her hand. “Ambassador Soval,” she said, surprise plain in her voice. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to help you,” he answered. “You cannot stay here, T’Pol.”

Tears welled up in her eyes. “I cannot leave without Trip.” Her voice almost cracked.

“T’Pol he is not here. You will die if you stay here.”

“Will you help me find him?” she asked. T’Pol’s actions reminded Soval of when T’Pol was very much younger.

“T’Pol he is not here. Trip is dead…you know that. You know what is happening to you. You must come back with me.”

“What if I chose not to?” She drew whatever she was holding closer to her chest.

“Your ship needs you, the captain in particular.”

T’Pol looked down in shame. “Why did he leave me?” Tears were now flowing freely down her face.”

“He had no choice, T’Pol. Would Trip want you to die of grief over the loss of his life? No. He would have wanted you to live your life. He wouldn’t have wanted you to abandon your ship or your colleagues.”

T’Pol glared at him. “What do you know of Trip?” she growled. “Who are you to tell me what he would have wanted?”

Soval looked at her, his face unchanged. “I know very little about Commander Tucker except that he was your mate. It is a mate’s most overwhelming instinct to protect the other at all costs. He would not have wanted you to die.”

“You are wise, Ambassador,” she whispered. “You are correct. That is not what Trip would have wanted. I will respect his wishes. I will come with you.” She loosened her grip on what she was holding.

Soval could see now that it was a cracked picture frame. T’Pol set it reverently on the ground and let her eyes linger over it for a moment. Without further persuasion, T’Pol got up to leave. Before he joined her, Soval took one last glance at the image in the frame.

It was Commander Tucker.

=/\=

T’Pol awoke as Soval was moving away from her bedside. Doctor Phlox was looking down at her. She sat up and moved to the edge of the biobed.

“How are you feeling?” asked Doctor Phlox.

“I am fine,” she answered curtly. “I apologize for my previous outburst. You must understand that I do not blame you for the death of Commander Tucker. I know that you did everything within your power to save him.”

Phlox gave her a small smile. “No apology is necessary, T’Pol. You were under an extreme amount of stress. That coupled with the shock of losing your bond mate made your reaction… understandable.”

T’Pol nodded. “I would like to return to my duties.”

“I think it would be best, Commander, if you stayed here. You sustained no major physical injuries down on the surface, but your emotional well-being is still in question.”

T’Pol usual Vulcan mask had returned. “My emotional well- being, Doctor? You forget that I am Vulcan.”

“No, I have not, Commander.” Phlox responded pointedly.

T’Pol raised an eyebrow. “I have many things to attend to on the ship. It would be illogical to keep me here without a significant reason.”

Phlox turned to face Soval who was still sitting in a chair next to T’Pol’s biobed. “I hate to rush you, Ambassador, but could you give us a moment alone?” Soval nodded and quickly left the sickbay.

“T’Pol, I may only be your physician, but I have known you and Commander Tucker for some time. His death will take a toll on you whether you want to admit to it or not. If you ignore it, it could have some serious repercussions.” Phlox searched her eyes looking for any indication of her compliance; he found none.

“If I need your assistance, Doctor, rest assured I will come to you. For the moment, however, I am fine.” And with that T’Pol left the sickbay.

Phlox shook his head. T’Pol was a lot of things, but she was not fine.

=/\=

When Archer entered T'Pol's quarters she was meditating. Something had changed though. T'Pol seemed dark and distant, as though she was a shell of something that had been, but was no more. Archer cleared his throat. T'Pol looked at him but said nothing.

"How are you, Commander?" After he asked the question he realized how stupid it sounded."

"I'm fine, sir."

"We were all pretty worried about you."

"There are many things worse than death, Captain."

There was something dark, almost angry, in her voice.

"After everything that’s happened, I thought you might need some time off. If you would like to take time off until we leave space dock, I understand. Or if you need a more extended leave, we can work that out too. It's entirely up to you, T'Pol."

"Captain, I would like to return to my duties as soon as possible."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Captain."

Archer wanted to object but knew it would be futile.

"Very well, T'Pol. I'll see you on the bridge at 0800 hours tomorrow morning."

"Thank you, Captain."

Archer nodded and left her quarters.

=/\=

Soval went to the captain’s quarters and rang the bell. “Come in,” was Archer’s muffled response. “Ambassador.” Archer stood up. “Have a seat, make yourself comfortable.” He smiled broadly. He seemed to have momentarily forgotten the loss of his friend. For that Soval was relieved. He sat down in the chair closest to Archer.

“Thank you, Captain.”

Before he could go on, Archer interrupted him. “Ambassador Soval, we’ve known each other for a very long time,” Soval raised an eyebrow. “I would appreciate it if you called me Jon.” Soval’s eyebrow raised another inch. Archer looked amused. “Or Jonathan if you think it would be more appropriate.”

Soval stared at him a moment, then resettled himself in the chair. “Very well…Jonathan, I have come to talk to you about T’Pol.”

Archer’s demeanor immediately changed. He leaned forward in his chair and his eyebrows drew together. Before Soval could go on, Archer interrupted again.

“I could use a drink, would you like to join me, Ambassador?” He pulled out a large bottle of amber colored liquid, poured a glass and offered it to Soval.

Soval shook his head. “Vulcans do not drink. Captain, if I am to refer to you as Jonathan, will you please address me as Soval.”

Archer raised his glass. “No problem.” He took a sip of his drink and let Soval continue.

“I have successfully retrieved T’Pol, but there are many aspects of her recovery that you should be aware of.” Archer nodded in recognition.

“Yes. I didn’t ever know that T’Pol and Trip were bonded until this happened.” He wished they had told him, but he understood why they hadn’t.

Soval went on. “A number of the things I’m going to tell you are very private. I am only revealing them for the sake of T’Pol’s well-being. First of all, do not think that because I have retrieved her from her space that she is no longer in any danger. She could relapse at any time in the following days; however, I doubt that she will.

I reached her through her sense of duty to you and to her ship. At the moment that is her motive for remaining here. It would be wise to return to your explorations as soon as possible. You should stay on Earth for only the amount of time it takes to complete Commander Tucker’s memorial service.” Archer nodded his head again.

“Also, you should understand the consequences of losing a bond mate. Commander Tucker has not just died; part of T’Pol’s mind has been ripped from her.”

Archer looked confused. “How do you avoid this on Vulcan?”

“Whenever a bond mate dies of a terminal illness or age, they feel when their time is coming. The bond is severed before the mate dies, allowing the other mate to go on with his or her life and even pursue another mate if they like.”

Archer stopped him again. “I thought severing a bond could kill them.”

Soval looked surprised “Well, you are right. I did not explain it correctly. The bond is not severed; it is more like it is dissolved. It is done very slowly; it usually takes approximately three days. The two bond mates slowly feel less and less of each other through the bond and they have to rely more heavily on physical contact or mind melds.”

“Oh,” answered Archer. He took another sip of his drink.

Soval went on. “It may become harder for T’Pol to control her emotions. If she shows any sign of what she’s feeling it would be best not to make her aware that you’ve noticed unless it’s a very extreme instance. However, that may not even be an issue. There is an equal chance that she will become very reclusive, even by Vulcan standards. She, of course, will perform all of her duties; however, she may do so with as little contact with others as possible.

Finally, her detachment from Commander Tucker may manifest itself physically. It’s very possible that she will stop eating or have trouble sleeping. Not by choice, she will simply forget. I suggest that your doctor monitors her eating habits. It would be wise to do so discreetly. If she is not sleeping, it will be evident in a week’s time.”

“A week?” Archer said, shocked.

“Vulcans require much less sleep than Humans; however if she is not sleeping there is little doubt that she is having trouble meditating, which will take its toll on her much more quickly than the lack of sleep.”

Archer took a deep breath. “Ok, so I guess I know what to expect.”

“All or none of these things could happen. All you can do is watch her closely.” Soval stood up, Archer followed suit. “Now if you will excuse me Jonathan, I need to go pack my belongings.”

“Wait a minute,” Archer protested, “what if T’Pol needs someone to talk to or something happens.”

Soval looked sad for a moment. Of course it could have been Archer’s imagination. “If T’Pol has any further problems she will not want to come to me for assistance. She will feel ashamed to come to anyone for help, but she would never consider coming to a fellow Vulcan with such an…emotional issue. I’m sorry Jonathan, but it is up to you or your doctor to help her when the time comes.”

Archer solemnly nodded his head. “I understand. Goodnight, Soval.”

“And to you the same Jonathan.” Then Soval left.

=/\=

T’Pol went into Trip’s quarters. Nothing had changed since the last time she had been in there. Except Trip will never be here again.

She went and sat on his bed. The sheets were rumpled from their last use. For no logical reason T'Pol decided to make the bed. When she was done she went to his closet. All his uniforms sat in a neat row. She almost smiled. Something T'Pol had never understood about Trip was that his quarters would become so disorganized that you couldn’t find the bed, but he refused to ever let his uniforms be rumpled.

She picked up a pair of sweatpants that were lying on the floor. Trip’s scent wafted up from the clothes. T’Pol stifled a sob; she folded them into a neat little square and set them on the bed. She picked up a shirt that Trip had worn to the last movie night. It was a gray long sleeve knit shirt. It had his name and rank embroidered on the sleeve. She touched the stitching gently as if she was afraid it would tear.

Tears clouded her vision. Stop this she told herself. You are not accomplishing anything. Even though she knew it held no logic, T'Pol couldn’t tear herself from the room. She folded the shirt, as she had done the pair of sweats, and placed it gently on the bed. She decided that she should leave before someone found her.

She went to the door and stopped. T'Pol stood for a moment, then she went back to the bed and picked up the shirt. She tucked it under her arm and left.

=/\=

When T’Pol reentered her quarters, she set the shirt on her bed and stared at it for much longer than necessary. Why did I do that?

T’Pol looked at the chronometer. It read 2200 hours. Her shift began at 0800 hours. She knew she needed to go to sleep. She stepped into the shower and turned it on. When she was done she went to her meditation area and lit a candle. T’Pol tried to meditate for an hour, but she simply wasn’t able to center her thoughts. Perhaps I am too tired. After all she hadn’t slept soundly in some time. She climbed into bed and stared at the shirt. Finally, on impulse, she grabbed the shirt and held it to her. She breathed in Trip’s wonderful scent again and again. Tears flowed down her face and made the shirt wet. She cried until the shirt was soaked. Then she fell asleep.

=/\=

When she woke up she felt a warm body beside her. At first she was startled, but then she realized who it was. “Trip!” she exclaimed. “You came back.” Trip smiled. “I didn’t go anywhere, sweetheart. You know I would never leave you.” “Trip, I was so afraid. I was alone.” Trip gave her a puzzled look. “What are you talking about, T’Pol, I was here all night.” T’Pol grabbed his arm and clung to it. “It doesn’t matter. You’re here.” Trip stroked her hair and kissed her forehead. The comm panel sounded. “Hess to Commander Tucker.” The voice called. Trip got up to answer the call. “Yeah, this is Trip.” “We got a problem, Commander. We’re getting reading fluctuations in the matter/antimatter reaction chamber.” Trip sighed. “Ok. I’m on my way. Tucker out.” T’Pol looked at him as if he had just slapped her. “You’re leaving me?” She got up. “I’ve got to go. Duty calls.” He smiled, but it quickly vanished when he saw the expression on her face “But you said you would never leave me.” Trip looked at her in confusion, he chuckled. “What are you talking about, T’Pol? I have to get down to engineering. I’m not leaving you.” “You cannot go.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him to the bed. She wrapped her body around him. “I will not let you leave,” she said simply. Trip was worried now. “T’Pol, what is wrong with you?” he asked. He tried to shake her off of him. “I will not let you go. You can never leave me again.” He wriggled out of T’Pol’s grasp and hit the button on the comm. “Trip to Phlox.” Before he could finish, he was pulled back into the bed by T’Pol. “What are you doing?” she asked angrily.” “T’Pol, you’re not acting normally. I was just going to ask Phlox if you were all right. Maybe we’re near some Trellium-D or something.” “There is nothing wrong with me. I just need you. I just need you to stay with me forever.” “I will always be here, T’Pol.” He held her close to his chest and started stroking her hair again. She lay in his comfortable embrace until a thought came to mind. Abruptly, T’Pol sat up. She rolled over so that she was facing Trip. “No,” she said softly, “you won’t.” She reached out and ran her fingers through his hair then she moved out of the bed. She stood for a moment evaluating Trip from every angle, drinking in his presence. Then she turned away from him. “You are dead.”

=/\=

T’Pol woke up with a little less than three hours of sleep. The disturbing dream flashed through her mind, but she quickly blocked it from her thoughts. There were at least four hours until her shift. She knew that the sleep she had was all she was going to get.

She decided to go over crew evaluations. Once fully immersed in her work, the time went by much more quickly than it would have otherwise. When she was done, there was just enough time to get dressed before her shift. Satisfied that she looked in control of herself, she left her quarters and went to the bridge.

=/\=

The trip back to Earth was going to take longer than expected. Archer was almost relieved. He had contacted Trip’s parents the day after his death. They had completely fallen apart.

In all the time he’d known Charles Tucker, he had never seen him cry. Archer wasn’t sure he could take that again, at least not this soon.

Mr. Tucker had been like a second parent to him. Hell, Trip had practically been his brother.

His attachment to the Tucker family wasn’t the only thing that made it hard, though. T’Pol’s hysterical screams are what really scared the hell out of him. “You could have saved him. You should have found us sooner? Why didn’t you?” What if it was his fault? What if he was the cause of the death of his best friend?

Malcolm had warned him. He had told him of the potential risks of sending a landing party, but he didn’t care because he had been bored. He had been tired of sitting on the bridge analyzing soil samples from their last world, and for no better reason than that, he had ordered down an away team, condemning two of his people to death. Of course he had been responsible; he was the captain of the ship. He was always responsible.

The bell on his door rang, pulling him out of his thoughts. “Come in,” he called. T’Pol entered the room her hands clasped tightly behind her back.

“Captain, I need to ask something of you.”

“Of course, T’Pol. What?” T’Pol kept her gaze fixed on the carpet.

“I would like to make the arrangements for Commander Tucker’s memorial service.”

The request startled Archer. It definitely had not been what he was expecting. “T’Pol, I know you two were close, but I’m not sure if that would be appropriate.”

“Captain, you are aware that Commander Tucker and I were bonded, correct?”

“Yes, and as I said, I know you and Trip were close, but—“

“According to Vulcan law, Captain, a bond mate is the Vulcan equivalent to a spouse. Would you still deny me the right to conduct his service?”

Archer thought for a moment. He couldn’t think of any way to refuse. T’Pol was right.

“If you receive permission from the Tucker family, I will let you proceed. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

“No, that was all, Captain.” Archer frowned slightly; he had been hoping to have a slightly longer conversation with T’Pol.

“Ok then, goodnight, T’Pol.”

“Goodnight, Captain.” She turned around to leave then stopped. “There is one more thing.” T’Pol turned back around so that she was facing Archer again. “I already explained this to Doctor Phlox, but I don’t think I’ve apologized to you. I want you to understand that I don’t blame you for that death of Commander Tucker. When I accused you of that I was…” She paused as if trying to think of the right word. She finally chose one. “…distraught.”

Archer felt as though a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He knew that he was still at fault, but at least one less person blamed him.

“Thank you, T’Pol.” T’Pol nodded; she turned around to leave again. Before she was out the door Archer stopped her.

“Oh, T’Pol, we will reach Earth in two days. Your arrangements need to be complete by then.”

“Of course, Captain.”

She turned back towards the door and left.

=/\=

T’Pol wandered over to Trip’s parents. She had met them before on a number of occasions. After she had taken Trip to Vulcan he had insisted on returning the favor. At first she had been reluctant to go, but Trip had been very persistent. When she had arrived at the Tucker’s residence she had immediately been accepted. They didn’t seem to care that she was Vulcan. The only thing that seemed to matter to them was that she was important to Trip.

She felt a need to console them over the loss of their son, but she wasn’t sure she could do so while keeping her emotions under such tight control. She decided that she owed them something.

Both of them had their heads bowed; tears were streaming down Mrs. Tucker’s face. T’Pol walked over to where they were and held up a respectable Vulcan salute. “I grieve with thee.” Both of the Tuckers, now aware of her presence, turned their attention to her.

“T’Pol, we didn’t see you earlier.” Mrs. Tucker wrapped T’Pol in a very human hug. T’Pol awkwardly tried to reciprocate, but failed miserably. When Mrs. Tucker released her, T’Pol went on with what she had come to say.

“Commander Tucker was an accomplished officer and an honorable man. His death will be felt by the entire crew.”

Mr. Tucker glanced at her. “Um, yes it will.” He was confused by her detachment. She had seemed fractionally warmer when they had last met. Well, as warm as a Vulcan could be. Her condolences seemed generic, like something she had memorized with no actual feeling behind it. Didn’t she feel for Trip? There had been no doubt in Charles’s mind that Trip had been crazy for her. He could have been mistaken but it had almost seemed as though T’Pol had liked them too. Charles was starting to question the authenticity of her affection for Trip. Did he ever really mean anything to her, or was he simply a curiosity? Something that she had dragged along as some kind of sick experiment. She didn’t seem to care in the least that her “bond mate”, his son, was dead.

“Well,” he said curtly, “you seem to be takin’ Trips death pretty easy.” Mrs. Tucker was surprised by her husband’s unwarranted remark.

“Charles!” she gasped. His fists were crumpled in tight balls. “Why in heaven’s name would you say something like that?” T’Pol’s nostrils flared fractionally and her eyes filled with tears.

Mrs. Tucker wasn’t the only one shocked by the remark. “I apologize if I have offended either of you in any way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to return to my duties.” And with that T’Pol turned and hurried out of the launch bay.

Charles had detected the quaver in her voice and the obvious unshed tears. He felt dreadful about his earlier accusation. If he was honest with himself, he knew that his anger was really just the devastation he felt over the loss of yet another child.

“Why would you say something so mean spirited to T’Pol?” his wife asked.

Charles just shook his head.

=/\=

T’Pol was glad they were no longer near Earth. She hadn’t seen the Tuckers since the memorial service, so she hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye. She wasn’t sure they wanted to see her again.

T’Pol had offended both of them with her aloofness. She hadn’t tried to be rude, only professional. If she had been anything else, T’Pol was sure she would have made a scene.

T’Pol brewed a pot of tea and poured herself a cup. She sat down next to a pile of PADDs that had amassed on her bed. Captain Archer had asked her to look for any interesting phenomena in the vicinity. So far she hadn’t found anything of any interest.

She was almost sure that her assignment was what humans refer to as “busy work,” that is a project that has no real purpose except to consume time. All the same, T’Pol was dissatisfied that her research had come up short.

T’Pol was now going over the long range sensors for a fifth time. As she scanned the PADD she found something that she hadn’t seen before. She set her cup of tea down. What she saw was definitely something of interest.

T’Pol took the PADD and headed for the captain’s quarters.

=/\=

Archer went over the list of new supplies that had been delivered to the ship during their brief orbit around Earth. Everything he had requested was accounted for. He put the PADD down, and was just about to turn in for the night, when he heard a ring at his door.

He stood up. “Come in,” he called. The door slid open, revealing T’Pol, still dressed in her uniform, standing at the door. Archer looked over at his chronometer. It read 2200 hours. T’Pol noticed him checking the time.

“If I have disturbed you, I can come back tomorrow. I apologize for coming so late.” The captain smiled.

“Not at all, T’Pol. What’s on your mind?”

“I have found something that may be of interest to the crew. I suggest we change our course tomorrow and head to these coordinates.” T’Pol handed him a PADD that had a star chart programmed onto it.

“And what is at these coordinates?” Archer asked. T’Pol handed him another PADD. This one had information on the phenomenon of interest. Archer scanned the PADD and his jaw dropped.

He grinned bigger than T’Pol had seen in some time. “This is definitely worth exploring,” he said. “I’ll see you on the bridge bright and early in the morning, 0700 hours. We’ll change our heading then. Goodnight, T’Pol. I hope you sleep well.” T’Pol nodded

“Goodnight, Captain.” She went back to her quarters and went to sleep, content to have been useful.

=/\=

Archer sat in his chair. He had hardly slept at all last night.

“Ensign Mayweather, set our heading for these coordinates.” He handed him the PADD T’Pol had given him the night before.

“Course laid in, sir.”

“Engage at warp three.” Archer replied. Travis engaged the warp engines then turned around in his seat to face Archer.

“Captain, where exactly are we going?” he asked. Archer grinned.

“That’s a good question, Travis.” He paused. “T’Pol has detected a micro singularity. This isn’t your typical micro singularity, though. This one is a class eight.” There was an audible gasp heard on the bridge. Archer laughed.

“I thought you might be excited. There has never been one this large encountered anywhere. Hell, it might go down in the record book. This is a major opportunity to learn more about these phenomena.”

Malcolm was the first to bring forth concern. “Do you think it will pose any kind of security risk?” he asked. Archer laughed again. “It’s practically a black hole, Malcolm. I don’t think we’ll have any problems. But I guess we won’t find out until we get there.” Malcolm grumbled something about how lax security had become under his breath.

“Oh, lighten up. Malcolm. This is going to be fun.” Hoshi smiled. “Plus, I doubt a band of wild, black hole monsters are going to pop out of the thing. You’ve been watching too many of those science fiction movies.” As soon as the words had left her mouth, she regretted them.

Movie night. Trip’s Movie night. The jovial atmosphere was immediately squashed and the rest of the shift was filled with nothing but the clicks and whirs of the bridge stations.

=/\=

After her shift, T’Pol went into the mess hall to get her evening bowl of plomeek soup. When she went up to the counter, she saw something that made her stop.

A piece of pecan pie.

She picked up the pie, brought it to her table, sat down in front of it, and examined it. It looked distasteful. She was puzzled by her impulsiveness. She thought about how Trip had always wanted her to try it, and how she had always refused.

She scooped up a bite of the pie with her fork and put it in her mouth. She chewed it slowly then swallowed. It was very good. She wished that she could tell Trip how much she enjoyed it. She could imagine his smiling face.

“See,” he would say. “I told you that you would like it.”

Suddenly the room felt like it was closing in on her. She couldn’t breathe. She quickly got up and left the mess hall.

When she got to her quarters, she immediately vomited into her sink, and then fell into her bed, emotionally exhausted. She refused to cry again, even in the privacy of her own quarters. It was the only way that she would survive.

She got off the bed and sat on her floor in her usual meditation area. This is what I need, she thought. I need to meditate. She sat for at least an hour, but the longer she suppressed the urge to cry, the harder it became to breathe. Finally she gave in. She let out a moan and abandoned her sitting position in lieu of that of a curled ball; she held her knees to her chest as if trying to keep herself in one miserable piece. She lay sobbing until a feeling of disgust at herself overpowered her feeling of grief.

She stood up, took a shower, and changed into her night clothes. She looked at herself in the mirror. She had lost weight from not eating and there were circles under her eyes from not sleeping.

She became enraged at herself, but she showed no outward evidence. She was a Vulcan, not a sniveling child. She could not allow herself to be overwhelmed by something she should keep so rigidly controlled.

She sat down to meditate and was successful for the first time in weeks. When she was finished she crawled into her bed. T’Pol would keep everything inside as she had done when she first came aboard this ship. A Vulcan mask would be her shield. Then she slid gracefully into sleep.

=/\=

Another distortion wave emanating from the micro singularity rocked the ship.

“Ensign,” the Captain yelled, “get us out of range!”

“I’m trying to, sir, but the impulse engines are off line.” Archer hit the comm. button. “Trip, what’s going on down there?”

Hess answered the call, ignoring the name confusion. “Just a minute, sir, and we’ll have them back.”

No sooner had she said it than the ship started moving away from the distortion waves. Each blow to the ship became less and less severe until the concussions stopped altogether.

“We’re 500 kilometers away,” said Travis. “I suggest that we stay at this distance. If we get any closer the distortion waves will start affecting us again.”

“Ok,” Archer replied.

“Commander Tucker is no longer aboard this ship.”

The offhand remark caught Archer by surprise. He turned toward where the comment had come from.

“What?”

T’Pol faced him. “Commander Tucker is no longer chief engineer. During the incident you called Lieutenant Commander Hess, ‘Trip’.”

Archer just stared at her. Why was she bringing up a mistake of so little importance that evoked such emotional pain?

“If you would like me to compile a list of all the members of this ship and their positions, I will do so.”

“No, Commander that won’t be necessary,” he said gruffly. “Do you need to leave the bridge?” he asked. T’Pol flushed momentarily, and then turned back to her station.

“No sir,”was her reply. She remained silent for the remainder of her shift.

When it was time to rotate shifts, Archer dismissed everyone. Before she left, Archer called to her. “T’Pol, may I speak with you.”

T’Pol nodded and followed the captain into his ready room.

=/\=

“Your behavior on the bridge today was completely uncalled for, Commander.”

T’Pol raised an eyebrow.

“I appreciate the fact that you are going through a hard time right now, but that is no excuse for insubordination.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” T’Pol said softly.

“It has become obvious to me that Trip’s death has been affecting you more than you are letting people believe. Typically I would let you work this out on your own, but it has started affecting your performance on this ship, and that is unacceptable. I want you to talk to someone. Phlox, me, call Soval, I don’t care but someone.”

“Commander Tucker’s death is not affecting me anymore than you see, Captain. I understand your concern but you forget that I am not human. My grieving period has passed.”

“T’Pol.” Archer’s voice softened from agitated superior officer to concerned friend. “We both know that’s not true.” When he reached out to touch her shoulder, T’Pol flinched.

“Captain, you have no right to pry into my personal life. I am fine.”

“T’Pol, you are not fine,” he argued. “I know how close you and Trip were.”

T’Pol’s expression abruptly turned to one of outright rage. “You know nothing about my relationship with Commander Tucker,” she growled. “You will never know, never understand.” Tears welled in her eyes

As quickly as she had changed to anger, her face became alarmed. She put a hand to her chest; her breathing became irregular. Archer reached out to her and set her in a chair.

“T’Pol, are you all right?” he asked, concern thick in his voice.

“I am fine,” she said, once again angry.

“Let me help you, T’Pol. I’m your friend.”

She got up to leave, but Archer held her arm. She tore it free from his grasp, her eyes like fire.

“Do not touch me,” she spat.

She began gasping for air and took one shaky step toward the door. She collapsed to the floor. Archer strode quickly over to the comm.

“Medical emergency. Ready room.” With that he closed the channel, bent down, and tried to awaken T’Pol.

=/\=

T’Pol woke up in sickbay. At first she couldn’t remember what had happened, and then it all came back in one heavy wave. She had disgraced herself in front of her captain. She looked around. At least he wasn’t here.

Her movement alerted Phlox to her consciousness. He walked casually over to her.

“How are you feeling, Commander?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” T’Pol responded.

Phlox’s brow wrinkled slightly. “I don’t know why I even bother asking you that question. I always get the same response no matter how you’re feeling.”

“Are you implying that I would lie to you, Doctor?”

Phlox smiled. “Of course not, Commander.” His face became solemn. “Do you understand what happened to you, T’Pol?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I have never experienced that before.”

Phlox looked her in the eyes. “Are you sure?”

T’Pol looked at her hands. “Nothing this severe, but I have had similar sensations in previous weeks.”

“Please explain to me what you felt before you fainted.”

“It was difficult for me to breathe and the room seemed like it was decreasing in size.”

Phlox nodded. “That’s very helpful, T’Pol, but I need to know what you were feeling.”

T’Pol’s eyebrows inched up. “What do you mean, Doctor?” she asked.

“I need to know what emotions you were feeling. Remember, anything you tell me I will keep completely confidential. This is very important.”

T’Pol looked at her hands. “I was angry,” she said softly.

“Who were you angry at, T’Pol?” Phlox gently prodded.

“The captain,” she replied still looking at her hands.

“Why?” Phlox asked just as softly as before. T’Pol’s head dipped down lower and tears formed in her eyes.

“The captain made assumptions about how well he understood Commander Tucker and my relationship.” Her voice cracked. “I acted shamefully.”

“No, you didn’t, T’Pol. Captain Archer understands that you are having a difficult time dealing with Commander Tucker’s death. He does not blame you for your recent lack of control and he is convinced, as am I, that you will regain that control in time.” T’Pol nodded her head but didn’t look at Phlox. “I need to know what you were doing during the other incidents,” Phlox said gently.

This time T’Pol did look up. “Is this necessary, Doctor?” she pleaded.

Phlox nodded his head in the affirmative.

“In one instance, I was in Commander Tucker’s quarter while I was gathering his personal effects. Another was when I was at Commander Tucker’s memorial service after a confrontation with his parents. The most recent was after I had consumed a portion of pecan pie.”

Phlox looked at her with worry in his eyes. “It’s been going on that long and you didn’t come to me? T’Pol what were you thinking? Something could have been seriously wrong with you and no one would have known.” T’Pol said nothing.

Phlox sighed. “Rest assured this is completely manageable. I want you to come in before your shift every morning. I will administer a hypo spray; it should help relieve some of your stress. I believe these attacks have been triggered by a steady build up of emotional stress. Since Trip was once your outlet for these feelings… and he is no longer here, your body is searching for other ways to expel this build up.”

T’Pol looked slightly shocked. “Is it necessary that you tell the captain of my condition?”

Phlox smiled. “I see no reason to. If you come in every morning, it should no longer be a problem.”

“The incident in his quarters is going to be hard to overlook. How am I to explain that to him?”

“The captain is your friend, as am I and a number of other crew members on this ship. He will understand.”

“Understood, Doctor. If there is nothing else.”

“T’Pol, you need to know that you’re not alone in your loss. Many members of the crew miss Commander Tucker very much.”

T’Pol nodded.

“You are cleared for duty, Commander.” T’Pol thanked the doctor and left.

=/\=

Archer was in his ready room when he received Doctor Phlox’s call.

“Doctor Phlox to Captain Archer”

“Archer here.” He replied promptly.

“I’m calling about T’Pol.”

“Of course, is she all right?” asked Archer.

“Yes, there is nothing to worry about, Captain. She is cleared for duty.” Archer was confused.

“What about what happened?” he asked.

“The issue has been resolved.”

“And you’re sure she’s alright?”

“Of course she is, Captain. She’ll be good as new tomorrow morning. You have nothing to worry about.”

“Thank you, Doctor. I don’t know how this ship would get along without you.”

“I’m not sure either,” Phlox joked. “Goodnight, Captain. Sleep well.”

“Thank you again,” Archer answered.

He cut off the comm and went to sleep with one less thing weighing on his mind.

=/\=

T’Pol stood outside the captain’s ready room and pushed the bell. “Enter,” said the voice on the other side of the door. T’Pol complied. When she came into the room, the first thing she saw was Captain Archer at his desk. A mountain of PADDs lay piled around him. She waited for him to finish what he was doing. A moment later he looked up.

“T’Pol,” he exclaimed. “Whatcha got for me?”

T’Pol began, “We have done a number of scans of the micro singularity; however, we are receiving fairly basic data. There has been nothing of real interest on the scans.” She paused, “I suggest we move closer to the phenomenon.”

Archer’s eyebrows cinched together. “T’Pol, every time we get closer than 500 kilometers to that thing it just about tears the ship apart.” T’Pol handed him a PADD.

“I have drawn up some guidelines for increasing our shields by two hundred fifty-three percent by drawing power out of the warp engines. We would be able to get as close as 300 kilometers. It’s reversible and since the warp engines won’t be turned back online until we leave the anomaly, it won’t interfere with any of the other ship’s functions.”

While she was talking, Archer was perusing the PADD. “This is amazing, T’Pol. You definitely never stop surprising me.” A slight olive blush rose into T’Pol’s cheeks.

“Thank you, Captain. Do I have your approval to make the improvements?”

“Of course,” Archer answered simply. He seemed to still be in shock at the genius of the plan. “Is the anything else you wanted to discuss?”

“No, Captain, that was it.”

“Ok, you’re dismissed.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

When T’Pol left, the captain was been staring at the plans.

=/\=

Archer walked down the corridor towards T’Pol. It had been two days since she had come to him with the plans. They had ended up working brilliantly. What he now carried in his hand were the most recent scans taken of the micro singularity.

“Commander, a moment,” he said, catching her attention. She stopped. “You were right about the micro singularity; we’re getting much better scans at this distance.” Archer beamed. “Maybe you would like to look them over. I would appreciate if you could do a detailed analysis. I want to see if we can get any new information about them.”

T’Pol’s face didn’t betray any sign of emotion. “That shouldn’t be a problem, Captain, I…” She paused, her whole body tensed up.

“Commander?” Worry was evident in Archer's voice. “T’Pol?” He took a step towards her.

The guard took a step towards her. He was going to try and take Trip. She couldn’t let them, not in his present condition. “You cannot take him.” The guard looked puzzled. “What are you talking about?” Archer asked. He inched towards the nearest comm panel.

The guard inched towards Trip. “I won’t let you take him.” She screamed. She lunged towards the guard. The Captain lurched back. “T’Pol calm down.” He pounded the comm button. “Medical Emergency, and bring a security team,” he shouted into the panel.

“I will not let you take Trip. This time I will save him. He will not die by your hands again.” T’Pol looked terrified.

Archer took another step back as she took a step forward. The security team he had urgently called for only moments before arrived with Phlox at their flank.

T’Pol stared at the guards surrounding her. She would protect her mate at all costs. T’Pol backed against a wall shielding a person who was only visible to her. She crouched down in front of Trip and let out a menacing growl. T’Pol sprung to attack the guard, but before she could reach him an energy blast landed solidly on her chest and she crumpled to the ground.

=/\=

When T’Pol awoke she was confused. “Why am I on Enterprise?” she inquired.

“You never left Enterprise, Commander.” Phlox looked worried. “Do you remember what happened?” he asked.

“Where is Trip? Has he been harmed?”

“T’Pol, your mission on the Vir’gid colony was over two months ago,” Phlox answered, the last thing he wanted to do was tell her that Trip was dead… again.

“What are you talking about? I---“ She paused. Pain washed over her face but disappeared as quickly as it came. Even Phlox would have missed it had he not been looking right at her. “Of course, I remember. Thank you, Doctor.” She moved to get up.

“Commander, I haven’t cleared you for duty yet.”

“Why am I in sickbay? Does this have anything to do with my previous condition?”

“No. You were stunned with a phaser. It’s just a precaution.” T’Pol looked confused.

“Why was I stunned?” she asked. Phlox sighed.

“I will explain when the captain gets here.” As soon as the words left his mouth the door slid open and Archer walked in. “Ok, now that I have you both in the same room, I’ll explain what happened. At first I thought T’Pol was merely hallucinating. It could have been caused by the new medication I had been giving her.”

Archer interrupted. “What new—“

“It’s beside the point, Captain. It wasn’t the case anyway. It turned out to be something much more interesting.” Phlox paused. “T’Pol was actually in the Black Faction compound on the Vir’gid colony.”

“What?” Captain Archer exclaimed in disbelief. “What do you mean; she was in front of me the entire time.”

“I don’t completely understand it myself. But she was there. Do you remember that strange compound we detected in the air on the Vir’gid colony planet?”

“Yes,” answered Archer, “you deemed it as a no risk compound. Does T’Pol’s behavior have anything to do with that?” Phlox shook his head.

“No, but it is relevant.” He pointed to a screen with a bio pic of T’Pol’s lungs. “This is from a scan I took when the commander returned from the colony. She still had a large amount of the compound in her lungs.” He moved over to another picture. “This is a picture from a week ago. All remnants of the compound have been removed from her lungs.” He moved over to the last picture. “And this one is a picture of her lungs a couple of hours ago.” The last picture was nearly identical to the first. “T’Pol has the same unique compound in her lungs as she did when she came back from the Vir’gid colony.”

“We know very little about the micro singularity we are exploring, but I believe that it is to blame.”

Archer didn’t say anything.

T’Pol was the first to speak. “Why haven’t any of the other members of the crew been affected?” she asked.

“I think it has to do with you being a touch telepath.” T’Pol nodded.

“Is there any way we can prevent this from happening again short of moving back to 500 kilometers?” asked Archer.

Phlox addressed T’Pol. “I can give you a neural inhibitor, but it may make it harder to control your emotions.” T’Pol nodded.

“I will agree to the treatment if the captain will let me remain in my quarters during the time I’m taking the treatment. I will still be able to analyze data and such, but I won’t be a distraction on the bridge.”

“Granted,” Archer said immediately.

“So it is agreed,” said T’Pol. Archer nodded his head.

“Agreed.” Phlox picked up a hypo spray. “The neural inhibitor should start working immediately. I will escort you to your quarters and administer it there.”

“If you need anything else contact me in my ready room,” Archer added.

Doctor Phlox followed T’Pol out the sickbay doors, and Archer turned and left for the bridge.

=/\=

T’Pol looked at every scan that had been run on the micro singularity. No matter how hard she tried to concentrate on the scans, there was always one nagging thought in the back of her mind. You alone can go back in time. Phlox even said so. What if you could retrieve Trip? You were right there. You were with him. Every time she pushed it away, and every time it came back with a vengeance. What if it was true? What if she really could change what had happened? Every time she thought about it too long it gave her chills.

She could equip a shuttle pod with the same shields the Enterprise had, and given their compactness; she could maybe boost the shield output higher. The only problem that was left was how to get to the place she wanted. She had done it once before by a fluke. She thought long and hard about the incident in the corridor. She analyzed every inch of her mind until she found what she was looking for.

Trip. She had been thinking about Trip.

That’s what had taken her to that point in time. All she needed to do was think of where she needed to be and the micro singularity would put her there.

Could it really be that easy? When she knew the main shift was over, she contacted the Captain.

“T’Pol to Captain Archer,” she called.

“Archer. Do you need me, T’Pol? Is everything alright?”

“Everything is fine,” she answered. “I need to talk to you. Could you come to my quarters?” she asked.

“Of course, T’Pol. No problem. I should be there in a few minutes.”

“There is no rush, Captain. Thank you.”

“I’ll see you in a few minutes, T’Pol. Archer out.”

=/\=

Fifteen minutes later, Captain Archer rang her door chime. “Enter,” she called. He came in and sat down on one of her floor cushions.

“What did you need to talk to me about?” he asked.

“It has to do with the micro singularity and my ability to us it a time travel device.”

The captain grinned. “I thought Vulcans didn’t believe in time travel.”

“This Vulcan does,” T’Pol replied seriously. “I have calculated a way to bend the micro singularity to my will. I may be able to travel to specific places and times.” Archer was starting to get a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Ok.”

T’Pol continued, “I want take a shuttle into the micro singularity.”

“What for?” asked Archer

“I plan on retrieving Commander Tucker and bringing him back here. The closer I get to the center, the more accurate I can be.”

“What?” Archer stood up. “T’Pol that’s crazy. You don’t know what the micro singularity will do to you.” Now T’Pol was standing too. “No, I won’t let you do it.”

T’Pol balled her hands up into fists, and then quickly hid them behind her back. “Captain, you don’t understand. There is a chance to get Commander Tucker back. He is an important member of this ship.” Archer took a step forward.

“I am not going to risk your life for a chance that has less than a slim possibility that it will work. Trip was an important member of this ship, but he is dead, T’Pol. No matter how hard that is to accept, that’s exactly what we have to do.”

T’Pol wasn’t going to give up. “I have devised a mathematical equation that has an eighty-four point two six percent chance of directing me to the time and place I want to go.”

Archer interrupted. “The answer is no, Commander.” Archer got up to leave. T’Pol wanted to argue the point farther, but knew there was no point. Before he exited the room, he turned around to face her.

“T’Pol, I’m sorry.”

She nodded. “Goodnight, Captain.”

With that he left.

=/\=

T’Pol couldn’t stop thinking about the chance she had and how she was being forced to let it slip away. This was the only option even close to saving Trip. There was nothing else she could do to bring him back and they would be leaving the area in two days.

Just when she thought she had run out of ideas, something came to her.

She would take the shuttle pod without the captain’s permission.

What was her career to her if Trip wasn’t beside her to share it? T’Pol came to the simple realization that she had been blocking for weeks. Nothing mattered without Trip.

This is what she had to do, she simply could not survive without him, and in time she would perish as others in her position had done before.

She began locating the items she would need to make the necessary adjustments to the shuttle pod.

=/\=

On the bridge everything was running fairly smoothly. In fact there hadn’t been any problems since they had changed the configuration of the shields.

All of a sudden Malcolm’s station started beeping.

“What is it?” asked Archer.

“Sir, someone is trying to open the shuttle bay doors.”

“Lock them out,” Archer called over his shoulder.

“I can’t sir; they’ve bypassed the security codes.”

“Oh no,” said Archer under his breath. “Hoshi call T’Pol in her quarters.”

Hoshi tried. “Nothing sir.”

“Can you locate her on internal sensors?”

“Yes, sir. She’s in shuttle bay one.”

“Captain,” Malcolm called, “whoever it is just left the ship.”

“Dammit.”

“Do you want me to use the grappler?” Malcolm asked.

Archer sat motionless for a moment. “Sir?”

Archer finally replied, “No, let her go.”

“What is she doing?” Hoshi asked.

“She’s going after Trip,” Archer answered solemnly.

=/\=

T’Pol was out. There was no turning back now.

She set the course for the direct center of the micro singularity and concentrated all her energy on one place, the place she needed to be. The shuttle started rocking. Despite the adjustments to the shields, the distortions hammered at the side of the shuttle pod. The black faction was outside the door. They were trying to break it down. T’Pol picked up the PADD that had fallen on the floor and took the large rod that Trip handed to her. She was ready. The guards broke down the door and flooded the cabin of the shuttle pod.

T’Pol tried to put a containment field around the hull breach but she knew it wouldn’t last long. The shuttle pod rocked harder and swayed. T’Pol hit her face on the console and one of the armed men hit her in the face with the butt of they’re gun. She fell to the floor. The guard smiled and aimed the gun at T'Pol's head.

=/\=

A wave of rage boiled inside Trip unlike anything he had ever experienced. Trip hit the man from behind and kept hitting him even as he lay on the ground obliviously dead. He was about to move away from his victim when T’Pol pushed him to the ground. An energy blast caught T’Pol in the arm. There was another scream and the second engineer landed, dead, beside her, then everything went silent.

The men surrounded them. Trip sensing a lost battle looked around to assess the damage. Sergeant Carey lay on the floor, dead, along with the two engineers and six of the attackers. Trip was distraught to see that T’Pol had been struck by an energy blast, which probably shattered her arm. Sergeant Hughes was being checked for weapons and the guards emptied the pockets of his field vest. Hughes looked good except he was holding his ribs. The apparent leader of the group took a step toward Trip.

“You are the engineer from the earth ship, are you not?” he grinned

Trip stood up, looking eye to eye with his attacker. “Yes, I’m the chief engineer.”

T’Pol’s arm felt as though someone had set it on fire. Even though she hadn't caught the full brunt of the blast, it had been enough. She could feel the damage. The force of the blast had broken her arm and had blacked most of the area directly below her shoulder. Emerald blood oozed from the burned flesh.

Trip allowed himself one look at T’Pol, but then buried his worry deep within himself.

“Commander, are you all right?” Hughes asked

T’Pol ignored him and instead stared at Trip as though she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“What do you want?” Trip asked angrily.

“You,” the leader replied coolly.

"If you know who I am then you know we have a ship in orbit. It won't take them much to find us."

The man smiled. “You would be surprised how much interference a sandstorm can cause. We need your assistance. You will come with us and fix our weapons systems. If you don’t, we will kill the rest of your companions. Then we will kill you.”

Trip scowled. “That doesn’t sound much like an invitation.”

“It’s not. Oh, and you may call me Oh’lak.”

=/\=

When they reached the compound the first thing Trip did was inspect her wound. “The bleeding’s stopped, which is good.” He touched her arm gingerly. “Does it hurt very much?”

“No.”

T’Pol was breathless, speechless. He was back with her and there was nothing anyone could do to take him away again. She had been given a second chance and she wasn’t about to waste it.

“Sergeant Hughes, give me your field vest,” Trip commanded. Hughes quickly obeyed and handed the vest over to him. Trip ripped out the thin lining of the vest, tore it into strips, and then fashioned a sling for T’Pol’s arm.

“Try not to move it too much,” he instructed gently.

When he was done he sat down next to T’Pol. T’Pol no longer cared that her uncharacteristic behavior was being scrutinized by Sergeant Hughes. She scooted close enough to Trip to feel the warmth coming off of his skin. He looked at her and smiled.

Every feeling of despair and anger T’Pol had felt in past weeks flittered away at the sight. Tears gleamed in T’Pol’s eyes.

Trip looked worried. “T’Pol, are you all right?”

A single tear slid down her cheek. “I thought I lost you.”

Trip wiped it away before it reached her chin. “I’ll always be here, T’Pol.”

=/\=

Moments later a guard came. “You, engineer, come with us,” the tall one commanded while pointing at Trip. Trip got up.

“Where am I goin’?” he asked. The guards didn’t answer. “What if I decide I don’t want to go with you?” This time the guards responded.

“Come with us or we will kill one of your colleagues.” That was all the explanation Trip needed. He walked over and followed the guards out.

=/\=

About two hours later he was escorted back from wherever the guards had taken him.

“Are you all right?” T’Pol asked as the guard locked the cell door behind him.

“I think I’m the one who should be askin’ that question darlin’.” T’Pol blushed.

“Why did they need you?” she asked.

“They wanted me to fix their weapons systems. I don’t know how long I can stall them. I finished up everything, but I told them it would take the computers about two days to realign themselves. I’m not sure if they bought it, though. I’m doing the best I can, but they’re smart sons of bitches, I’m not sure how long I can convince them that the weapons aren’t working.”

“Two days should be sufficient time to mount a rescue,” T’Pol reassured him.

“I hope so. How’s your arm?”

“It is fine.” Everything was fine. Trip was safe and nothing else mattered. She grabbed his hand and vowed she would never let him go again.

She settled back against the wall and waited for the rescue party she knew would come.

=/\=

Trip woke up with a start he had heard a sound coming from the hallway. He quickly took a defensive position if front of the door, ready to protect T’Pol from anything that tried to harm her. The cell door opened and…

“Captain!” Trip said obviously surprised.

“What’s your status?” Captain Archer asked.

“Sergeant Hughes and I are fine, but T’Pol’s arm is pretty banged up.” Trip pointed over to where T’Pol was sitting. Then he added sadly, “And Sergeant Carey didn’t make it.”

Captain Archer frowned and looked over at T’Pol. “I’ll beam Doctor Phlox down.”

=/\=

When Doctor Phlox arrived and saw just how “banged up” T’Pol’s arm was he was surprised he hadn’t found her screaming. He knew Vulcan’s pain tolerance was incredible, but he was shocked all the same.

He walked over to where she was sitting. “It is most definitely broken, Commander.” The fact was it was shattered. He was worried about how it might heal, but then again, Vulcan’s rate of healing was even more astounding than their pain tolerance. He took out a hypo spray and pushed it against T’Pol’s neck. “This should help with any discomfort you may be feeling.”

He turned his attention to Archer. “The sooner I get her back to sickbay, the sooner I can set it.” Archer nodded.

“Five to beam up.”

=/\=

T’Pol did not like how the sling restricted her arm movement. Doctor Phlox insisted that she wear it any way. Phlox had given the entire away team five days medical leave. T’Pol had decided that she wouldn’t mind spending five solid days with Trip. Her Trip.

He escorted her back to her quarters and was about to leave for his room when she stopped him.

“Stay with me,” she whispered. “I will sleep better with you by my side.”

Trip smiled and agreed to stay. He guided her to her bed and sat her down.

“It may be hard for you to understand, but I did lose you. You were gone and I was alone.”

Trip looked confused. “T’Pol, you’re right. I don’t understand, but that doesn’t matter. I’m safe and you’re safe, and I’m here now so you can let that thought go.”

And Trip was right they were safe and there was no reason to hold on to something that only caused fear and pain. It didn’t matter now, because her time without Trip had never really existed.

She lay down in her bed and Trip lay down next to her. She felt his warmth against her body and knew that everything was right. She relaxed against him and they both fell asleep in each other’s arms.

When T’Pol woke up three hours later, the first thing she saw was Trip's face looking at her. He smiled when he realized she was awake.

“Trip,” T’Pol said while gently stroking his face with her uninjured arm, “I don’t think I’ve ever expressed my feelings for you as plainly as I should.” Trip took her hand and kissed her fingers. He looked puzzled.

“What do you mean T’Pol? I know you love me, and I know it’s hard for you to say. I understand. The bond has made it very clear how you feel.”

“Yes, but I need you to understand.” She paused and looked into his deep blue eyes. “Trip, you are the single most important person in my life.” Trip gave her a huge grin and kissed her ear.

“I love you too, T’Pol.”


Comments:

AuroraBorealis
The whole bit about Archer sending people down because he was bored isn't exactly what I meant. If you've ever seen DS9 there's an episode called the wire. In one scene Garak is saying that he screwed up an interigation because he was cold and hungry and it ultimatly distroyed his career. Basically, Archer is looking back and being unreasonable harsh on himself. He's thinking up lame excuses to make it all his fault so that he can explain it. Being bored wasn't truely the reason why he sent down the away team. Thanks for reading the story. It makes me so happy.:D
panyasan
You made the reactions of T'pol very realistic and also the reaction of Trips parents. I am glad you gave it a happy end. BTW the fact that Archer just would send people on a away mission because he is bored :@
Dinah
I'm sure glad T'Pol figured out how to set things right. She really was lost without Trip. You did a wonderful job with your first story. Well done!
Distracted
This one was very uncomfortable to read. I'm relieved that there was a happy ending.
Asso
I knew that! I knew! Something was telling me it was a matter of waiting. Only that. And the outcome is decidely better than expectations. This story is well done and refreshing. I enjoyed the plot and your style, and the way you displayed T\'Pol\'s feelings: without any sort of problems, simply trying to show a woman in love. I enjoy your touch; it\'s delicate and sure. I expect something else from you. Soon, please!:p

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