Scandal

By Bluetiger

Rating: G

Genres:

Keywords:

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Summary: A possible scenario as to how Paxton and Terra Prime would have reacted to Trip and T\'Pol\'s marriage.

Author\'s Note: Warning: This is an AU that does not reference any of my other stories. It is much more harsh than my usual fare.

 


John Frederick Paxton watched the newsfeed with growing rage. The headlines proclaimed the marriage of Commander Charles Tucker the Third, human, to Commander T’Pol, citizen of the planet Vulcan. The couple had just been married aboard the starship Enterprise, their current assignment. A picture of the two accompanied the report.

“Look at them,” Paxton roared. “This is the beginning of the end for the human race as we know it. Next thing we know they’ll start producing a bunch of mongrel brats. This is an abomination that cannot be allowed!”

Josiah stood listening to the man he had faithfully followed for the last several years, as he vented his anger. Paxton was the leader of a xenophobic movement called Terra Prime and his hatred of all alien species was legendary. Paxton had managed to gather a large group of followers over the years. Disaffected people flocked to the charismatic leader for various reasons. Josiah had personal motives for his loyalty which he kept mostly to himself. Anyone with a grudge against aliens was welcomed with open arms.

Paxton ran a mining operation on the moon called the Orpheus colony. The colony allowed him to gather his followers and also infiltrate other organizations with his faithful. There were Terra Prime sympathizers in place at Starfleet, in the government, and of course aboard Enterprise. Paxton stood looking out the window of his office at a view of the Earth.

He turned to Josiah, “Contact our operative aboard Enterprise, tell Masaro I need him to procure something for me. I have a plan that will leave this so-called marriage disgraced and in shreds within the year.”

Trip Tucker and his wife of three months were moving into an apartment very near Starfleet Headquarters. T’Pol was set to head a dark matter research project, while Trip was involved with the development of a Warp 6 engine. They had decided, together, to return to Earth and make their home. Leaving Enterprise was not an easy decision. However, the couple had been in space together for nearly five years and now wished to settle down.

On romantic nights, cuddled up in bed together, there had even been preliminary talk of having a child. This particular Sunday morning Trip was procrastinating leaving his warm bed. He called to T’Pol who was in the bathroom, “I guess we better get a move on. Everything needs to get unpacked today. After we both start work tomorrow there won’t be time to turn around.”

A nude T’Pol walked over to the bed, grabbed the corner of the sheet and flipped it off her equally nude husband.

She slid onto the bed straddling Trip, “In that event, I believe we should prioritize our activities.”

He looked up at his beautiful wife. “In that event, this gets my vote,” he chuckled.

 


 

Paula Masaro was on her way to the office of John Frederick Paxton. Her thoughts turned to her twin brother. Paul had become a follower of Paxton years ago. Much to his sister\'s dismay, Paul had become heavily involved with the group, Terra Prime. Paula asked him why he took the assignment as an engineering ensign on Enterprise, putting himself in a situation where he would come in contact with so many aliens. Her brother informed her that \'someone had to watch them\'. When she asked him if he was watching them for Paxton, he refused to answer.

Paul had suddenly disappeared while on leave last month. Paula had not been able to contact her brother since then and she was becoming worried. Her brother was the only family she had; their parents had been killed in a shuttle bus accident when they were sixteen. There had been many casualties and the hospital enlisted several Vulcan doctors to help out. Their parents had died in the emergency room, while being treated by one of the Vulcan physicians. Paul took the unreasonable stance that a human doctor would have been able to save them. Paula had come to terms with her life and was now, at twenty-nine, an EPS specialist at the Warp 6 complex. Paul on the other hand, had become bitter toward aliens, Vulcans in particular.

Early this morning, Paula received a message from Paxton. It said he had news of Paul and to come to his San Francisco offices. Although apprehensive, she couldn’t afford to pass up any information. Paxton was sitting behind his desk with a large black man standing on either side.

“Miss Masaro, welcome. I am John Frederick Paxton and these are my associates, Josiah and Daniel.”

“Mr. Paxton, your message said you’ve heard from my brother?”

“Indeed I have Miss Masarso, in fact he’s at one of my facilities right now.”

Paula heaved a small sigh, “That’s wonderful, may I speak to him?”

“Unfortunately, that won’t be possible until you and I have reached an understanding, Paula. May I call you Paula?” Without pausing Paxton continued, “I need someone for a very important mission and you my dear are the perfect candidate.”

“Mission?”

“The end of that farce of a marriage between Tucker and the Vulcan whore he calls wife.”

“You mean my new boss, Commander Charles Tucker?”

“Yes Paula, that traitor to the human race is the target of my plan. I want you to seduce Tucker and have his child.”

The young woman looked incredulous for a moment and then began to laugh, “Is that all… are you out of your mind?”

“On the contrary, with that long blonde hair and beautiful figure, you shouldn’t have any trouble seducing a man with an ice cold wife.”

“And why would I want to do such a thing? Commander Tucker is a very good man and nothing but kind to me.”

“You will do this if you want to keep your brother alive, because I promise you that I will kill him if you don’t follow my orders. The purity of the human race is something I take very seriously. I am committed to showing the world the danger of interspecies contamination. This marriage is a symbol to some and must be brought down. Simply killing the Vulcan might create sympathy, I want a scandal that will outrage public opinion and the Vulcans in particular. To achieve this goal, I won’t hesitate to do what is necessary.”

An icy chill ran down Paula’s spine.

“Your brother is at present being held at one of my facilities. Paul is sitting in a cell unaware that his life hinges on your co-operation. That will quickly change if you fail to do exactly as I say.”

Looking at Paxton, she knew for a certainty that he would do as he promised.

“Please, be reasonable, even if I could get Commander Tucker to sleep with me, there’s no guarantee that I would get pregnant.” Paula was pleading now, she didn’t want any part of this.

“That is not a problem, thanks to your brother. He was able to steal… certain samples of Tucker’s DNA from the Enterprise medical freezers before he left. I knew DNA was available, but he also procured semen samples which will make this much easier. We won\'t even have to bother with cloning. You, my dear Paula, will be pregnant with Tucker’s child within the month.”

Paula’s shoulders sagged, she was finding it hard to breathe as she realized that she was trapped.

“Josiah, take Miss Masaro downstairs to the lab, my doctor is waiting. Paula, I’m not without a heart. After my plan comes to fruition, you don’t have to keep the traitor’s baby. For all I care you can drown it in a sack, like an unwanted cat.”

The young woman knew then exactly what kind of monster she was dealing with.

 


 

Trip’s prediction had been correct. After he and T’Pol started working, their time together became very precious. Both put in long hours at their respective projects. Trip was particularly proud of his team, only two months in and they worked like the proverbial \'well-oiled-machine\'. It was going to be another late night, so he and a group of his specialists were taking a supper break in the mess. David Hall, Bradley Spencer, Paula Masaro, and Jennie Andrews were sitting with Trip at a large table. Everyone was eating and animatedly talking about the tests they ran today. Trip noticed that Paula wasn’t eating, but merely pushing her food around the plate. He made a mental note to ask her later if something was wrong.

Trip stood, “Guys, I’m going to go call my wife and let her know we’ll be here a while longer. I’ll be in my office, somebody come get me when the simulation finishes.”

All four voices said simultaneously, “Sure thing, Boss.”

Trip looked at them and shook his head, “You guys spend way to much time together.”

He heard their laughter as he walked away.

David noticed that Paula seemed to relax slightly when the Commander left the table. Paula had been jittery around the boss for over a month now. He thought maybe it was his imagination until Jennie mentioned it last week. They couldn’t figure out why, because Commander Tucker was a great guy to work for.

Several hours later Trip called out, “Ok, pack it up for the night folks, time to go home.”

The crew started cleaning up their work stations and heading for the doors. Trip turned back to his office to do the same. He glanced up to see Paula Masaro standing in his doorway. He liked Paula; she was very smart and a hard worker. Her twin brother had been in his department on Enterprise. Paul was a strange man, good worker but jumpy and hot tempered. Trip had heard that the Ensign had gone missing.

Paula shyly asked, “Can I talk to you Commander?”

“Sure Paula, come on in and sit down.”

She entered Trip’s office closing the door behind her. He noticed that she remained standing and on closer inspection that she was trembling.

“Paula, what’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry to be a bother but I have no one to talk to.”

As Trip walked her over to the sofa so she could sit, she grabbed his hand tugging him to sit beside her.

“I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but my brother Paul is the only family I have. He disappeared shortly after you left Enterprise. I haven’t heard from him since and I’m afraid something terrible has happened to him.”

Tears began to flow down Paula’s cheeks. She had a death grip on Trip’s left hand, so he reached up with his right to pat her shoulder.

“I’m sure he’s fine Paula, Starfleet’s looking for him and he’ll probably be found soon. Then you’ll wonder why you got so upset.”

“You don’t understand, I have no one else, I’m so alone.”

There was a desperation in her eyes that Trip didn’t understand, as if there was more to the story. Suddenly Paula flung herself against Trip and the momentum carried the two down onto the sofa. He was in shock when suddenly he felt Paula’s arms go around his neck and warm lips press against his. Quickly Trip gathered his senses and tried to disengage himself from the amorous grip.

“Please Trip, I need someone so badly. Do this for me, please, I promise, your wife will never know.”

Get that woman off you!

Trip heard T’Pol’s outraged voice in his head, he would have laughed at the very idea that his wife would be unaware if he cheated had the situation not been so serious.

“Paula stop! This is never going to happen. There’s no way in hell I would ever be unfaithful to my wife, I have no desire to, and never will.”

Trip had to struggle a bit to get out from under Paula and to his feet. Looking down he realized that she had managed to get his uniform unzipped.

Pulling the zipper up, the confused engineer asked, “What the hell is wrong with you, you know better than this?”

All the color had drained from the young woman’s face.

She got to her feet, “I’m so sorry Trip, you’ll never know how sorry.”

With that, she bolted from the room.

Through the bond, Trip could tell T’Pol was angry, but also as confused by this as he was. Rubbing his neck, Trip felt a burning. During their struggle, Paula seemed to have scratched his throat.

Late into the night Trip and T’Pol discussed what had happened. It seemed so out of character for the affable young woman. T’Pol had been pacing like a caged tiger when he walked in the door of their apartment. Trip had never seen his wife in full on ‘get your hands off my mate mode’ before. Both knew that, with their bond, neither could ever have any interest in another partner. However, Trip couldn’t help but find his wife’s instinctually proprietary attitude flattering. This was no joking matter though and he assured T’Pol that in the morning he was going to speak to Admiral Gardner about a transfer for Paula. His wife and career were too important to put up with this kind of foolishness.

The following morning when Trip arrived to work, he found a message waiting for him.

Stepping into the Admiral’s office Trip said, “You asked to see me sir?”

Admiral Gardner motioned to a chair, “Sit down Trip, we need to talk. I’ve had some very disturbing news. An accusation has been made against you.”

“Accusation Sir?”

“I find this impossible to believe, but one of your team, a Paula Masaro, claims that you assaulted her last night.”

“What! Admiral, you can’t possibly believe that.”

“According to her, Trip, she came to you last night after work to tell you she was pregnant with your child. You became angry when she refused to get rid of the child, slapped her, the two of you struggled and she broke free and ran away.”

Trip was indignant, “This is all bullshit, Admiral. I have never had sex with Masaro, if she is pregnant it certainly isn’t mine.”

Trip rose from his chair and began to pace trying to calm himself down.

“Look, she did come to my office last night. She was upset about her missing brother, we talked and she made a pass at me. I told her no, in no uncertain terms, and she took off. That was all that happened, I can’t understand why she made up all that garbage.”

“Trip, I saw her this morning. Her face is swollen and bruised. She claims, she scratched your neck while you two were fighting.”

The engineer automatically reached up to rub across the scratch marks on his throat.

“That is not the way it happened sir, I need to talk to Paula and find out why she’s doing this.”

“That is not possible Trip. Miss Masaro is being represented by counsel now and they made it clear that she will not talk to you.”

The Admiral switched to a kinder tone, “Trip, I’ve known you for years, this isn’t your style, but the last thing you need, with you and T’Pol under such public scrutiny, is a scandal. Get you some representation son, and try to make this go away as quickly and quietly as possible.”

 


Paula stood looking in the bathroom mirror at her bruised face. Last night she had gone to Paxton to tell him the Commander would have none of her.

He assured Paula, “ Our plan is still viable, you managed to scratch Tucker as instructed and are now six weeks pregnant with his child. Just one detail remains.”

Paxton gave a nod to his henchman. Josiah backhanded her face with such force that Paula thought her neck would snap.

“No offense my dear, but this needs to look good for the authorities.”

Paxton then introduced a man Paula had not noticed standing in the corner.

“This in Erwin Grubber, an attorney and Terra Prime member. He will accompany you to the doctor while you still have Tucker’s DNA under your fingernails and to Starfleet headquarters in the morning, where you will give the statement I prepared for you. Just stick to our plan Miss Masaro and your brother will remain alive and well.”

She hardly recognized herself in the mirror. Tears began to roll down her battered face. How had her life come to this?

 


Trip didn’t want to get a lawyer, he hoped to be able to straighten this out himself. However, later that morning Trip was informed that official charges had been filed and he was ordered not to go near Paula Masaro. The charges started with assault and sexual harassment, working there way to conduct unbecoming. An attorney was now a necessity. The Admiral called Trip in again.

“Masaro’s attorney is requesting a DNA test to prove paternity. I don’t want to take you off the job Trip, but I’ll be forced to relieve you if the DNA test comes back positive.”

“Don’t worry Admiral, that’s not a possibility.”

Trip eagerly submitted to the test, confident that in two weeks he would be proven innocent. Bureaucratic red tape is a universal constant, and the lab refused to be rushed. Trip and T’Pol spent an uncomfortable two weeks trying to ignore gossip and defend themselves whenever possible. It seemed as if the media had nothing else newsworthy to talk about. Their faces were all over the news and reporters were hounding them everywhere they went.

“How was work today?” T’Pol asked as they curled up in bed, her head resting on Trip’s shoulder.

“Just like it’s been lately, I hear people talking and then it suddenly stops when I show up. My team is behind me a hundred percent but there are always people anxious to believe the worst.”

“The lab promised both attorney’s the results tomorrow, that will be the end of this unpleasantness.”

“T’Pol, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to suffer such embarrassment because of me.”

T’Pol leaned in to give her husband a kiss.

“This was none of your doing. I am as certain of that as I am Surak was logical and Captain Archer’s dog smells bad.”

Trip laughed just as she had intended,

“Tomorrow, things will return to normal and we can resume our lives.”

The next day the lives of Trip and T’Pol Tucker changed forever. The DNA test proved conclusively that Charles Tucker the Third was the father of Paula Masaro’s child. Trip’s mood alternated between confusion and rage. He didn\'t understand how this could be. At their lawyer’s request the samples were sent to be independently verified by Phlox, just to make sure there had been no tampering. The next few months were a personal Hell for the Tuckers. Trip was put on paid leave while he awaited court-martial. The prosecuting officer had offered a deal, a dishonorable discharge with a small amount of jail time. Trip refused, he and his wife knew he was innocent, and remained optimistic that they could find proof before the trial. Bradford Tennison was an excellent attorney; he had come highly recommended to the Tuckers. He was conducting interviews and trying to mount the best defense possible. Brad came to the Tucker apartment to give them an update.

“Trip I have to tell you, with all the physical evidence they have, things are not looking good for us. You told me in confidence that it is physically impossible for you to cheat on T’Pol because of your mental connection. Is there any way we can prove this in a court?”

T’Pol sitting beside her husband spoke up first, “I was visited by representatives of the Vulcan High Council. They had grave concerns about intimate knowledge of Vulcan mating habits being made public. They feel that, in this climate, if it were made public that Vulcans and humans can become mentally linked, too many trust issues will arise. Some humans are paranoid about mind control by Vulcans as it is. They categorically refuse to offer any proof that our bond is possible. They advised me to formally dissolve my marriage and return to Vulcan.”

Brad sat back thinking, “Ok, that avenue is closed.”

His phone rang, “Excuse me a moment.”

Trip and T’Pol were talking softly when they heard an exclamation.

“Shit! Trip, turn on the news.”

Flipping on the vid screen, Trip saw the image of reporter Gannet Brooks.

“I’m here with Paula Masaro for her first exclusive interview since her traumatic experience with Commander Charles Tucker, the father of her child. Miss Masaro, you were of course aware that the commander was a married man when you began your affair?”

“Yes, I know it was wrong but I knew I would lose my job if I didn’t co-operate.”

“Is that what he told you?”

“He said that having an emotionless wife was getting to him, that he had made a mistake and he needed the love of a warm human woman. If I wasn’t interested he would replace me with someone who was.”

“How long had you and Charles Tucker been having an affair?”

\"It started soon after we began working together. We had been meeting several times a week for about six weeks.”

“And then what happened?”

“I found out that I was pregnant. When I told him, he flew into a rage and told me to get rid of it. He wasn’t going to let this ruin his career. I refused, despite it’s beginnings I very much want this child. Anyway, he slapped me, knocking me to the floor.”

A picture was inserted on screen of Paula with a bruised face and split lip. The interview resumed.

“We struggled, I scratched the Commander, broke free and ran away.”

“Why did you decide to do this interview?\"

“I saw his wife on the news defending him and I wanted her to know how he really feels. I know she’s not human and never should have married him, but I think she deserves to know the truth. He isn’t satisfied with her, they’re just too different.”

“Thank you for speaking so candidly with me Miss Masaro. This is Gannet Bro…”

Trip turned off the vid, shaking with anger.

“Not one word of that was true.”

“Of course it wasn’t husband, you and I both know it was nothing but lies.”

Bradford had a deeply etched frown on his face.

“That was wrong, any lawyer worth his salt would have never let her do that interview. She was in essence giving her testimony before the trial. That was a personal vendetta against you, Trip, almost a political statement. It will certainly stir up public opinion against you, but from the stand point of the trial it was bad timing to give so much information. What are they up to?”

 


The next day Terra Prime protestors began to rally outside of Starfleet Headquarters and the Vulcan Compound. They picketed with xenophobic slogans and shouted anti-alien rhetoric. Pictures of the very pregnant Masaro put a sympathetic face on their cries. Soon after, the Vulcans issued a statement denouncing the marriage of T’Pol to a human.

As difficult as things were for T’Pol at work, at least she had other things to occupy her mind. Trip on the other hand was about to lose his sanity staying at home all day brooding. Trip sat at his comm desk and placed a call. The face of a good friend appeared before him.

“Malcolm, it’s good to see you, buddy.”

“Trip, how are you and T’Pol holding up?”

“Not so good, things are so screwed up right now I didn’t know which way to turn.”

“How can I help?”

“Malcolm, this situation is way bigger that a paternity case. Someone is trying to destroy me and my wife. I know that DNA doesn’t lie but I did not do this. I’m goin’ crazy here.”

Malcolm was silent for a few moments, “Trip, let me talk to some people I know. Maybe I can get some information.”

“I know you used to be involved with some pretty secret stuff, I would really appreciate anything you could do.”

“Just hang in there Trip, we’ll talk soon.”

Several days later Lt. Reed knocked on the Tucker\'s apartment door.The door opened to reveal T\'Pol Tucker.

“Malcolm, it is good to see you. Trip has been a bundle of nerves ever since you called.”

“I noticed you’ve put extra security in the lobby. I had to show all kinds of ID to get up here.”

“It was necessary to keep the reporters away from our door. Please follow me, Trip is in the den.”

As Malcolm and T’Pol entered the comfortably furnished room, Trip was ending a call.

He looked up, “Malcolm, thanks for coming.”

Trip gave his old friend a handshake and quick hug.

The three friends sat down and T’Pol asked her husband, “How are your parents?”

“They’re fine, worried about us is all. Mom said to tell you they’ll visit us before the court-martial starts. Thanks to Bradford, the trial has been put off again. He has become a master at getting continuances to give us more time to investigate. Malcolm, you said you have some information?”

The lieutenant had a grim look on his face as he spoke, “Trip, I had to call in some major favors and make a few deals with a devil named Harris, but I now have a theory about what happened.”

Trip normally didn’t touch his wife with anyone else around, but he reached out now to take her hand.

Malcolm continued, “I’m sure you’ve seen the protesters from Terra Prime, the xenophobic organization. It’s headed by a man named John Frederick Paxton. It seems Paxton had some followers aboard Enterprise. One of his people stole some samples of your DNA and semen. The frozen samples you left with Phlox. I went to him after I talked to Harris and he was able to confirm some of the samples are missing.”

Trip’s anger exploded, “Dammit, we gave Phlox those samples so he could work on our fertility issues. Do you know who did this?”

“You aren’t going to like it. It was one of your people, Ensign Paul Masaro.”

Through gritted teeth Trip spoke, “Paula’s brother, so they’re in this together.”

“It would appear so, however Paxton is the mastermind. He wants to bring you and T’Pol down and discredit your marriage. Prove to the world that an interspecies marriage can’t work. He views you as a traitor to the human race.”

Trip’s rage was more than he could contain, he jumped to his feet and began to pace. T’Pol looked from her husband to Malcolm.

“What can we do to expose this conspiracy?”

“I’ve been giving this some thought and I believe I have a plan.”

Trip came back over to sit beside his wife and asked, “What’s your plan?”

“If I can get to Paula, I can threaten her with exposing her brother’s part in this. We can at least prove he stole the samples, so he’s going to jail. Maybe she will roll over on Paxton to get her brother a better deal. If we can get her to admit to the artificial insemination, Paxton’s plan will blow up in his face.”

T’Pol asked, “Lieutenant, will not the fact that Trip’s semen was stolen be enough proof that he did not physically father the child?”

Shaking his head Malcolm replied, “It may create doubt but without corroborating testimony it will still be his word against hers. I fear that won’t convince enough people. You have to admit, with Trip’s skin under her fingernails and the bruised face, her story is still plausible.”

“When do you have to be back on Enterprise, Malcolm?” Trip asked.

The Lieutenant hung his head and smiled, “Actually, I asked Captain Archer for an extended leave of absence. When I explained that I was coming to assist you, he signed it immediately.”

Trip smiled, “I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done but this is going to get dangerous. I can’t ask…”

Malcolm interrupted Trip. “Then don’t ask, you two are my friends and I’m going to do all I can to help prove your innocence.”

T’Pol nodded her head, “Then you have our thanks Malcolm.”

Trip thought for a moment, “Do you think you’ll be able to get to Paula?”

Malcolm smirked, “Don’t worry, I’ll find Miss Masaro.”

After seeing Malcolm to the door, Trip returned to the den.

He looked at his wife, his face paled as he stated the obvious, “Oh lord T’Pol, it really is my child.”

 


Lieutenant Reed had spent the last week locating and casing the where-abouts of Paula Masaro. She had been put up in a secure apartment, the outside of which was heavily guarded by Terra Prime muscle. Malcolm had been forced to break into an apartment two floors above and repel down the outside of the building. He was now on the balcony using his personal set of lock picks to gain entrance. The lieutenant silently entered the dark apartment. It was around two o’clock in the morning and as expected, the woman he had come to see was sound asleep. Malcolm walked to the side of the bed and looked down at the heavily pregnant woman. He had the passing thought that asleep she looked very young and innocent. Hardening his heart, Malcolm reminded himself that this woman was trying to destroy his best friend for the supposed sin of falling in love with an alien. Reed reached down and placed his hand over the woman’s mouth. She started awake with a look of terror in her eyes.

She briefly struggled until Malcolm hissed, “Be still I’m not going to hurt you. My name is Lieutenant Malcolm Reed of the starship Enterprise. I am a friend of Charles Tucker and you and I are going to have a talk about your brother.”

Paula stopped struggling and nodded. Reed eased his hand away cautiously in case she started to call out.

“I know your name Lt. Reed, my brother mentioned you.\"

“Good, now listen, we have proof that your brother stole Commander Tucker’s DNA from Enterprise. We know you used it to impregnate yourself. If you don’t want you brother to go to jail for a very long time you’re going to tell the authorities what really happened. If you go with me to Starfleet and exonerate Commander Tucker we promise to recommend leniency for Paul.”

The young woman sat up on the side of the bed reaching for her robe. She stood up, putting her hands behind her on the small of her back, stretching.

“May I go to a comfortable chair for this talk Lt. Reed?”

“Of course,” Reed replied following her to the nearby sitting area.

She settled herself in a chair and motioned for Reed to do the same.

“I wish it were that simple, I never wanted to hurt Commander Tucker.”

“I find that hard to believe.”

“At this point I don’t really care what you believe,” Paula said in a weary voice. “Unfortunately, my brother’s fate doesn’t lie in your hands. It lies in the hands of a monster. If I tell anyone the truth about what happened that night, Paxton will kill Paul. That animal has my brother hidden somewhere and forced me to do all this to keep Paul alive.”

Reed was shocked by this turn of events.

Paula continued, “Paxton has only allowed me to speak to my brother once since this began. Paul doesn’t even know where he is, only that he can see a jungle area when they take him out for exercise. He cried when I told him what Paxton has forced me to do,” she told Reed sadly. “Paul will be taken to the lunar colony if I cause any trouble. Paxton says people die there in cave-ins all the time, no one questions it.”

Her shoulders sagged with helplessness as she related all this to the Lieutenant. Reed had to formulate a new plan quickly.

“I know where your brother is, if I could bring him to safety, would you testify to the truth.”

“You know where Paul is being held?”

“My informant told me he was at Paxton’s estate in South Africa, I was unaware it was as a prisoner.”

“Lt. Reed if you rescue my brother, I promise to tell the authorities the complete truth and put that monster Paxton away forever.”

“Alright then Miss Masaro, you just hang on a little while longer. It may take several weeks to get all the intel of the facility but I will get your brother. Trip’s court-martial is due to start in three weeks, I will free your brother by then, but as soon as I get him out, we will come for you. For your safety, we have to come for you the instant we have Paul, do you understand?”

For the first time the young woman smiled. She stood and hugged a surprised Reed.

“I understand, and Lt. Reed, tell Trip I’m sorry.”

Malcolm returned to the apartment to fill Trip and T’Pol in on what he had learned. Trip was stunned by the news.

“A part of me is relieved that Paula was forced to do this. I don’t mean to be callous about what she’s suffering, but at least I now know that she didn’t betray me of her own free will.”

T’Pol’s feelings were also in turmoil.

“What is our next step?” she asked Malcolm.

The lieutenant had already formulated a plan, “I’m going to head for South Africa this afternoon to get the lay of the land. When I am ready to go in, I’ll contact you two. We will have to get our hands on Paula as soon as I have her brother. I don’t know what Paxton might do to her with his leverage gone.”

“Do you actually think he would hurt her?” Trip asked.

“Nothing that man did would surprise me.” Malcolm replied.

T’Pol thought about this for a moment, “It would be easiest for us to grab Miss Masaro away from Paxton’s men during the court-martial while she is out in the open.”

Reed nodded, “That was also my thinking. That would give me three weeks to plan the assault on Paxton’s stronghold.”

“I worked for the Vulcan Security Directorate for many years Malcolm, could you use my help in South Africa?”

“Now wait a minute…” Trip started.

He was not thrilled with the idea of being left behind.

Malcolm smiled, “I appreciate the offer T’Pol, but I think this will be a one person job. However, we need you to co-ordinate the rescue of the Masaro girl. She is sure to have Terra Prime guards around her anytime she’s in the open.”

The three friends settled in to make their plans.

 


Malcolm was in a rather disreputable looking bar buying a fourth round of drinks. He had been in Limpopo, South Africa for the last two weeks. John Frederick Paxton had business offices and a private estate near the Kruger National Park. Reed managed to find the bar where Paxton’s security guards hung out in their off time. He had been inside the Paxton estate two days ago but had only been able to penetrate down two levels. The third underground level was a maximum security area. Hopefully the man Malcolm was now plying with cheap liquor would be the key he needed. DeSoto was a bully and braggart. Fortunately for Malcolm, he was also a drunk. By the end of the night, the lieutenant knew all about the security system, number of guards, and the location of an important prisoner. The hulking guard had a false sense of his own importance and after enough alcohol was willing to brag about his job. Reed learned that at sift change, there were only two guards on duty at the cells. The security system they used was one that Malcolm had learned to breach during his days working for section 31. He now knew the location of the control junctions. Reed was confident that he had what he needed for a successful operation.

 


Trip’s court-martial was to begin today. Enterprise had been called back so that Phlox could offer testimony about the stolen samples. Captain Archer was to be a character witness. Trip and T’Pol with the help of their attorney, Bradford Tennison, fought their way through a sea of reporters. Once inside Starfleet Headquarters, the Tucker’s got their first glimpse of Paula Masaro in many months. Paula was just over seven months pregnant now. Brad had used every delaying tactic in his arsenal to put off the start of the trial. He needed all the time he could get to mount a defense. While Trip and T’Pol had informed Bradford about the stolen samples, they did not tell him the whole story. Until they were sure Malcolm could get Paul out, they didn’t want to risk Paula’s safety. After all, if this didn’t work they would have no proof of Terra Prime’s involvement. The man representing Paula, Erwin Grubber, had two assistants with him. To Trip they looked more like bodyguards than legal aides. The three Admirals that were judging the case took their seats and the proceedings began.

 


Malcolm had a life-sign tracking device, that he had borrowed from Enterprise, along with an arsenal of stun grenades and two phase pistols. Sneaking onto the estate was not difficult and things had gone smoothly so far. Now however, he was deep in the bowels of the house, coming to the third level holding area. Paxton had spared no expense on shielding this area, which was why it had been impossible to just beam Paul out with the transporter. Now that Reed had disabled the Mark Six security system he could use his scanner to check the whereabouts of the guards. Five blips showed on his screen. From the inebriated ramblings of his drinking buddy, Malcolm surmised that there were four heavily armed guards and the prisoner. Finding a place of seclusion to hide, the Lieutenant waited for the anticipated sift change.

 


The charges against Commander Charles Tucker the Third had been read, opening statements given, and the Prosecution had introduced the first of their evidence. A short break had been given so people where milling about outside the courtroom. Trip wanted to let Paula know that the plan was underway but Grubber and his henchmen kept her surrounded.

Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox had been dinner guests of the Tuckers last night. Trip and T’Pol had told them the entire story. Their plan had to remain flexible since they couldn’t know exactly when Malcolm would free Paul. No weapons or electronic devices were allowed in the court house, so they would have to rely on hand to hand combat if they needed to get Paula away while here. Archer had two of Reed’s most trusted security men sent down from Enterprise and stationed them in the parking garage near the transport.

Court was called back in session. The Doctor that was giving testimony about the DNA under Paula’s fingernails and bruised face was Paxton’s employee. Dr. Lloyd was not a bad man, he was simply another soul that was under Paxton’s thumb. He hated himself for doing the artificial insemination on Miss Masaro, but once John Frederick Paxton had his hooks in you, it was nearly impossible to escape.

 


Reed watched as two of the guards left for the day. He slipped out of his hiding place. He needed to take out the remaining guards as quietly as possible. Malcolm watched the scanner. One of the guards was approaching. He stepped out and dropped the man with a stun blast before the guard could get off any return fire. Reed eased down the corridor, looking around the corner, he saw Paul Masaro sitting in a cell. Checking his scanner a last time, Reed saw someone headed his way. When the man was in sight, Malcolm saw that it was his old drinking buddy. Using the element of surprise, the Lieutenant stepped forward and began talking to DeSoto as if they were at the pub together. This tactic worked well, because DeSoto just stood there with his mouth open. One quick shot and Malcolm dropped him like a rock. Hurrying to the cell he began to affix an explosive to the lock.

Masaro stood up in shock, “Lt. Reed?”

“Yes Ensign, it’s me. Now step back from the door.”

Paul turned his back and covered his face. One small blast and the door was open.

“Now listen to me carefully Ensign, I’m here to get you for your sister. I could give a rats arse what happens to you. For what you have done to my friends, I could kill you myself. However, your sister is being hurt through no fault of her own. Paxton is using you to hurt Paula, and Paula to hurt my friends, so do exactly as I say and we will go try to help her.”

“Yes,sir.”

Masaro was practically at attention.

“Stay close to me, there are about twenty people upstairs, some are armed. We’re going fast, I’ll clear the way with stun grenades. Keep low and I’ll also provide cover fire.”

 

They headed back the way Malcolm had come. The first time they encountered resistance, Reed was able to take out three men with his phase pistol. After that, alarms began to sound and it was just a mad dash, clearing a path with grenades. Masaro did as he was told staying low and on Malcolm’s heels. They made it to the courtyard and were headed for a stand of trees when a shot took Masaro down.

 


Court was adjourned for the day. Tomorrow morning Paula was to take the stand and give her bogus testimony. Trip and T\'Pol were trying to stay close to the group surrounding Paula. As they reached the garage one of the Enterprise security men motioned for Archer. Grubber, Dr. Lloyd, and the two aides were hustling Paula toward a limo.

Captain Archer called to the Tuckers, “Malcolm has Ensign Masaro aboard Enterprise!”

Trip and T’Pol broke into a run. T’Pol dropped the first guard with a combination of kicks to his stomach and head. The Enterprise security men pulled their weapons and one fired on the second guard bringing him down, while the other took a position in front of Archer and Phlox to protect them. Trip was heading for Paula. Grubber and Dr. Lloyd both raised their hands as the Enterprise men leveled pistols at them. The door of the limo swung open and Paxton stepped out grabbing Paula by the throat and putting a gun to her head.

Trip froze, “Don’t do anything rash, Paxton, it’s over.”

“I’m well aware that your associate has removed the Ensign from my care, but this is far from over. This will never be over until people like you realize that consorting with aliens is treasonous to the human race.”

“I’m not a traitor; I’m just a man in love with a woman.”

“She is no woman and I doubt she is capable of love.”

“You know nothing about my wife,” Trip hissed.

Paxton tightened his hold on the frightened young woman.

“I know that you cannot be allowed to pollute the human race with alien half-breeds.”

Trip held up his hands in submission, “Let her go, Your plan won\'t work now.”

\"You people don’t understand, my life is not important. There must be a martyr to the cause, my followers will continue the fight. A good plan is flexible and I now have the opportunity to remove you from the equation and your marriage will always carry a stigma.\" Paxton chuckled, \"Killing the Vulcan would create sympathy but right now the public hates you. Terra Prime, forever.”

Paxton turned the weapon toward Trip and just as he fired, Paula bumped his arm. The shot struck Trip and he fell to the ground. T’Pol ran to his side. Paxton turned the gun back to the pregnant woman’s head.

“One last act of usefulness my dear, without you, there will always be a doubt in people\'s minds. Tucker\'s name will never be completely cleared. His memory will always be tainted with scandal.” John Frederick Paxton cold bloodedly shot Paula Masaro in the head. As she fell away the Enterprise security men both fired taking him down instantly.

 


Trip was in a haze, he could hear voices but couldn’t seem to make his eyes open. He felt someone take his hand, he knew it was his beloved wife.

“Can you hear me, Trip?” T’Pol asked softly.

He managed to get his eyes to open, “What happened?”

“Paxton shot you, but thanks to Miss Masaro, he hit your left shoulder instead of your heart.”

Trip looked down and saw that his left arm was in a sling. He realized that he was now in sickbay.

Suddenly it all came back, “What happen to Paula!?”

“He killed her, a phase pistol shot to the head.”

Trip thought for a minute that he was going to be sick. T’Pol continued with the story so her husband could compose himself.

“Phlox transported the two of you to Enterprise for emergency treatment.”

“The child?”

“He is well, premature of course, but Phlox says he will be fine.”

“A boy,” Trip stated numbly.

Malcolm walked over to Trip’s bio bed, “Glad to see you’re back with us, Trip.”

“Are you ok, Malcolm?”

“Yes, I’m fine. The Ensign took a hit to the leg just as we escaped the compound, but I had us transported to Enterprise. He’s fine now, except he feels responsible for the death of his sister. He’s recuperating in the brig.”

“Paxton?” Trip asked with venom in his voice.

T’Pol answered his question. “He was stunned by security and is now in custody at Starfleet Command. Dr. Lloyd came forward after Paxton’s arrest and told the whole story. Including his and Grubber’s part in it. All the charges against you have been dropped.”

Phlox took Trip over to the imaging chamber for a scan of his shoulder. The Doctor had told the Tuckers many months ago that, since the bond formed, Trip’s brain waves had begun to alter. He now had the brain wave pattern of a male Vulcan. Their mental link was exceptionally strong. As such, T\'Pol could feel Trip\'s anxiety and sent a feeling of calm to help him. Now, T\'Pol turned her attention to another survivor of this ordeal. She stood over the incubator looking at her mate’s child. T’Pol lifted the lid of the incubator and reached inside to touch the baby’s hand. Quite surprisingly, she felt a presence softly reaching out to her. T’Pol clearly heard an interrogative forming in her mind.

It was one word, “Mother?”

 


Later that night Trip got out of bed and walked over to the incubator. He looked at the very small baby. He had a million thoughts running through his mind.

How can I ask T’Pol to raise you, to love you. We plan to have our own children if possible. You are not her child. If we take you, people will assume that the rumors of the affair are true. It will stay with us forever, a constant reminder of this awful time. That spiteful, evil man. Something so small, created from so much hate. This is so unfair to both you and T‘Pol.

Trip knew that his wife was approaching him from behind before he ever felt her hand on his shoulder. He was also aware that she had been privy to his thoughts.

Softly Trip spoke, “I don’t know what we\'re going to do.”

T’Pol embraced her husband, “I do.”

THE END

 

 


Comments:

Bluetiger
Dinah, thank you for the kind words. I see exactly what you mean. Instead of talking about the next few months being hell and postponing the trial, I should have been more specific about the passage of time. I bit off more than usual with this one. It was a real learning experience.
Dinah
This is really an excellent story. Obviously a lot of thought went into it. Given what we saw in Demons it makes perfect sense. You've made Paxton a real villain, cold-blooded, cruel and very evil. I felt very sorry for Paula; she was in a terrible position. I was glad she had the chance to set the record straight before she was killed.The only thing in a thoroughly marvelous story that I think might stand a little improvement is the timing. One minute Trip and T'Pol are just finding out about the baby. Then somehow we transition to Paula being 7 months pregnant. Maybe I need to read it over again. I just didn't have a firm sense of the passage of time.But, on the whole, that is a very minor glitch. This story show that you took a great deal of care in writing it. Very well done!
Ezinma88
Um, thanks Asso...I think. Bluetiger, I look forward to your next story.
Reanok
BlueTiger your story shows what a truly evil man Paxton is and what he planned to ruin Trip and T'Pol's relationship with a unique twist.You made poorPaula Massaro a more sympathetic character and I felt bad for her being coereced into what they made her do.At least the baby lived after Paula sacrificed herself to save Trip..
Asso
[b]Ezinma88[/b] is a useful thorn. I love her (HER... If I'm not wrong). But She doesn't keep her remarks too long. And I need her remarks. Do you hear me, [b]Ezinma88[/b]?
Bluetiger
Thank you so much, Ezinma88, for your thoughtful comments. I've stepped outside my comfort zone on this story and see where my storytelling needs work. Comments like yours definitely remind me of how critical it is to be part of a community of reflective readers and writers.
Framework4
Interesting twist.
Transwarp
Ezinma88, I applaud your comments! These are the sort of thoughtful criticisms that can help authors improve their craft, and which are relatively rare in these forums. I know it can take much more effort to determine what can be improved in a story than merely what is good about it, but you did it here.
Ezinma88
That was a lot of plot to fit into one chapter Bluetiger. I think the story would have benefited from being posted in more than one chunk. I really liked the premise of 'Scandal'. It started off pretty well....with a good amount of tension. But, towards the end it felt pretty rushed. I think you spent time explaining concepts that we already know (like who Paxton is) and not enough time on things like Malcolm's investigation.....I don't mean his rescue of Masaro, but rather the hard graft that went into gathering his information. It would have been interesting to see a bit more of that world of shadows. I also think that T'Pol's dialogue often seemed out-of-character. In fact, I was surprised that TnT gave up so easily on the idea of using the bond as part of Trip's defence. I agree with your decision NOT to use it during the hearing....However, the way in which your characters ARRIVED at that decision didn't feel believable for me: "They categorically refuse to offer any proof that our bond is possible. They advised me to formally dissolve my marriage and return to Vulcan.” Brad sat back thinking, “Ok, that avenue is closed.” That was a bit quick...and defeatist for Trip's defence lawyer! If TnT were set on proving the existence of the bond (and given the dire circumstances, it would be understandable), then they could surely do so without the assistance of the Vulcan government. They have medical testimony/evidence from Phlox and there are independent tests that could be done. How T'Pol, Trip and the new baby will live, interact with each other and other people is a very interesting idea. I wish that this aspect of the story had been given more space. It's a whole story in itself really.
Asso
Written, WRITTEN! DAMN IT! When will I learn to be more careful?:@
Asso
How much stories have you write about Trip and T'Pol? Ten? Well! And when you will write the twentieth, which words will I be able to find to describe the emotions you are capable of stirring inside me? I'm not joking. This story... your writing... are... really!... unique! Let admit my well known enthusiasm, all right! But I think everyone shares my feelings.
blacknblue
Very neatly done. Exceptional. :)
Alelou
"Always a father without getting to participate in the fun part." LOL. That's so true!
Transwarp
Poor Trip. Always a father without getting to participate in the fun part. This was a well-plotted tale that held my interest all the way through. I especially liked the ending; the quiet way that T'Pol tells Trip of her intentions. Good work!
Alelou
Neat plot you have there, Blue Tiger. Well, there's ONE way to get a baby for our couple...

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