In the Hall of the Mountain King

By Asso

Rating: PG-13

Genres: angst adventure romance drama

Keywords:

This story has been read by 1214 people.
This story has been read 2765 times.


Prologue

In The Hall Of The Mountain King (The Tenth Commandment)
AKA “T'Pol Delivered”, AKA “The Frenzy of Trip”

By Torquato T(ASSO), AKA Ludovico ARI(OSCAR), AKA Asso

 

PROLOGUE


Rating: PG-13, I think, at least here, but later it will be different.

Genre: Some Action and Drama and Adventure, and - obviously - a big deal of Romance and Love.

Summary: After “Destiny”and “Human Mood”. Trip and T’Pol are officially a couple, and this fact…

Spoilers: All and nothing. Many suggestions have been stolen here and there.

Disclaimer: Star Trek: Enterprise is owned by Paramount, not me. No infringement intended, no profit made.


Some issues for this story:

1. This time I’ve attempted something different from my usual way.
This time no physical intimacy, and not even angst.
This time a little bit of ACTION, and a morsel of MYSTERY!
But, obviously, I can't betray myself. So ROMANCE, too! Surely! A very big deal!
Please, be kind: Action is difficult for me to describe, but I wanted to try. (I’m keeping my fingers crossed. )

2. In spite of what I said, I have to warn you: we are only at the beginning, the full-blown action doesn’t start on this chapter; it’s the overture, the prologue, and here (with a hint of humour, I hope) you will be brought slowly toward the real core. Here I attempt to show to you the scenario and the atmosphere, the why and the wherefore, and also –I hope– to make you foretaste a little bit of that mystery I would like to put in this fic. And all that through Archer’s eyes, because I think he’s the most logical person to display Trip and T’Pol new status after “Destiny” (Yes! I’m perfidious. A little.), because this new “status” is the engine of the present story. I THOUGHT IT’S WAS BETTER I WARNED YOU ABOUT ALL THIS!

3. This story can be read without knowledge of my stories, “Destiny” and “Human Mood”. However, I suggest to you to read them, if you want fully understand this present Fic.

4. The words in italic between (*___*) represent the thoughts, yet again.

5. Thanks: To justTripn, who first took a glance at this Fic, and to Linda, above all, for helping me express myself in a language that is not my first language and for their clever editing.

I hope you enjoy my effort.

Ah! One last thing: Strange title, isn’t it? Well, if you want, you can find some explanations if you would like to learn something (just in case you don’t know already them) about Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso (T-asso - eh eh) and about The Frenzy Of Orlando by Ludovico Ariosto (Ari-osto: Ari-oscar, eh eh eh), with a wink at the Edvard Grieg's great piece In The Hall Of The Mountain King. (As for the meaning of that The Tenth Commandment… Well! You will see!)


They say HE is sleeping a sleep, which is vigil.
They say HE is watching, and hearing, and listening.

They say He’s observing,
That no thing,
No creature
Can elude him.

They say HE is sitting,
Inert and remote,
Twisted in chains,
On his ice throne,
In the deepest frost,
In the blackest dark,
In the most leaden hush,
Yonder in the depths.

Alone.
Outlying.
Stirless.
Silent.

They say HE is thinking,
The Black Sire
Who no longer has heart,
About his past,
Which won't ever return.

The Obscure, Sinister, Grim Lord.
The Shadows' Monarch.

The Gloomy, Tenebrous, Doleful,
Miserable Death’s Sir.

Yonder.
In the depths.
In the dark.
In the frost.
Where there’re no moves.
Where there’re no sounds.
Where all is dead.

They say HE is waiting.
Not dead, not alive.
With inhuman patience.

He is waiting.

For his moment to arrive.


From an ancient Bannerda epic

T’Pol , from HARBINGER: “Perhaps Triannon mythology has a basis in fact.
Mh… Perhaps all mythology has a basis in fact!



“Ashayam, you must rest.”

“Oh c'mon, darlin’, don’t…”

“You must rest, Ashayam.”

The words resound clearly behind us, perfectly audible, and I can’t help but grin, exchanging an amused look with Malcolm, whose eyes display a sparkle of indulgent fun, even while his face maintains a stern professional appearance.

No need to turn around to be aware of the expressions, which, in this moment, are surely displayed on the faces of my two Commanders, of my two — I breathe a long sigh — bonded… Commanders.

I, all of us, began to settle into the situation, but certainly it's strange. Well, on second thought, it is not so strange that they are a couple. I was the first,… mhhh… maybe the second after the Doctor, to be personally informed of the intricate relationship between them; and, besides, I had long suspected that something was happening, underground.

Actually many of us, and – I chuckle lightly to myself – markedly Hoshi, had been long aware of the love story between my friend and my First Vulcan Officer, even if – I must admit – it hasn't been easy to accept the fact that that cold Vulcan female who boarded my ship that day has become the... amiable and… enamoured… mate – (*Bond mate, they say*) – of that antipole of her that my Chief Engineer is. Mh, maybe only apparently her antipole.

And even if — I sigh again — it hasn't been easy... to repress my jealousy pangs.

Strange and unforeseen is the way she now freely and easily, nearly unashamedly one could say, displays her feelings for Trip. Her endearment. And her love.

Definitely it’s difficult to think her countrymen would approve of her behaviour, very probably of her choice itself, but actually all this is simply… logical, as she told me personally.

I smile to myself, remembering her own explanation.

Acting otherwise would be totally illogical, Captain”.

Well! I’m sure that logic can’t explain everything, and that there is in her words a not too successful attempt to justify with logic what logic cannot explain. Oh yes, she’s always a Vulcan, after all, and surely she can’t betray her own essence! And nevertheless, I think, she’s not a common Vulcan. Who knows, maybe she has lived with us too long, or more simply she’s a very special Vulcan.

Inevitably, a bittersweet thought comes to me: the very special Vulcan of Trip!

Anyway, yes… of course, logic or not, it surely wasn't possible for her to deny the reality and the depth of their involvement, after her public breakdown… during those awful, devastating moments.1

I feel a sharp pain inside me. I think the anguish of those moments will be forever an indelible wound in my soul.

(* And for certain, I can not even remotely understand the agony she must have felt... during that day... in those harrowing instants... with the body of her man... torn, motionless and cold... dying... in her arms! *)

And the excruciating days following …

I remember in all its clarity her evident inner struggling, the way she tried to hide her tears, her continuous fluctuation — together with all of us — between hope and despair during the period of Trip’s dreadfully difficult and slow recovery.

It never will leave my mind the image of her, sitting beside his bed, holding his hand firmly, staring with dark-ringed eyes at his tired and wraithlike face, listening attentively and apprehensively to any small change in his harsh breath, while the hypnotic rhythm of the drip-feed's drops was beating a time which wasn't seeming to move forward.

“Captain.”

T’Pol's voice awakes me from my ruminations.

I turn around to look at my First Officer.

"Yes, T'Pol?"

"Captain, I think we should camp here for awhile. All of us are fatigued and I am concerned about Commander Tucker. His peculiar condition needs attentive consideration. He must rest."

“T’POL! I told you I’m absolutely fine! Stubborn woman, stop…”

I interrupt whatever my Chief Engineer is about to say. “Commander Tucker!”

I watch the deadpan face of T’Pol. Deadpan, yes, but I have learned to read her eyes a little, surely not as well as Trip does, but I’m sufficiently skilled by now to understand when she is really worried about her mate.

And she never does anything without a good reason. Maybe she calls Trip “Ashayam” and clearly displays her new status, as Trip does; but never… never… is she less than absolutely professional. Never she has ignored her duty, not even for a small moment.

She’s still T’Pol, only she has now completely accepted reality and has no intention to hide what she and Trip are for each other. I smile to myself, again, her sentence resounding in my mind once more.

Acting otherwise would be totally illogical, Captain.

Right! Sure! But can logic explain this new sweetness which there is now in her? This softness that – and I’m not the only one who has this impression – has enhanced even her ability to work, exactly as it has happened to Trip, whose wizardry has become, if possible, even more impressive. His usual impetuousness is always there, extant and palpable, but it is mitigated by T’Pol’s influence.

Unless he feels oppressed by T’Pol’s hyper-protectiveness. Yes! Just so! Her hyper-protectiveness! Though, she is not altogether wrong, considering the sufferings she has gone through... and Trip's fiery temper.

And at this moment in time she’s hyper–protective in Trip’s opinion, and he feels exasperated.

(*Ok, Commander Tucker. Better you now use some of those relaxation techniques that your woman tries to teach you, even if I don’t know if they will work, considering the order I’ll give. *)

“Very well, Commander T’Pol. Nobody knows Commander Tucker’s needs better than you.”

I raise my arm aloft, looking forward to seeing what will happen after the order I’m about to give.

Oh yes! The new situation we have because of my two Commanders is strange, and it’s not always easy to handle. This is a fact, like the fact that I had to sweat blood with Starfleet. Fortunately the extraordinary and celebrated proficiency of Trip and T'Pol helped me convince the higher levels that we couldn’t to lose them. Better to allow a secret couple of Star-Crossed Lovers to live on Enterprise under Starfleet’s protection in contradiction of the rules, rather than lose two such exceptional people.

Yes. The situation is strange and difficult. But undoubtedly it is also fun.

Their famous scuffles acquired a novel and sweeter flavour, now, and the look of angry irritation that shines on the face of my poor friend is… priceless.

I bark my order.

“HALT! We camp here!”

“Thanks, Captain.”

I smile cheerfully at T’Pol, nodding at her thanks, my eyes drinking in with amusement the furious and contemporaneously forlorn expression on Trip’s face, who's listening some steps away.

He speaks, dismayed, to me. “Jon…” (*Uh! Jon! This thing is serious! *) “… you always pay heed to her!”

My face is earnest, while I reply. “Trip, I hold my own butt dear!”

Then I turn around precipitously, keeping from openly laughing at the thunderstruck expression of my friend and at the lifted eyebrow of her woman.

I go toward Malcolm, who has observed and listened to everything, a little far away from us, near the feet of one of the gigantic trees that surround us.

I reach him and we sit together. We lean our backs on the tree and turn our head to looking at the couple.

They are walking away, slowly, together, Trip gesticulating with animation and T’Pol with her usual quiet behaviour.

The light wind that whooshes among the branches of the thick forest that encircles us brings unto us chips of phrases and of words.

“…stubborn…”

“…I’m not…”

“…fine…”

“…T’hai’la…”

“…but, Hon…”

“…you… angry… I care for you?...”

“… damnit!...”

“… want me to suffer again?...”

“… no, no… darlin’!... I don’t… You know I…”

“… so, Ashayam, don’t… and don’t… headstrong …”

I follow them, while they disappear from our view, behind the trunk of an immense tree, her hand softly lying on his arm.

Some tiny and feeble words arrive yet at our ears, in the breeze, while the evening’s first shadows begin to grow longer around us. I can’t swear, because now I cannot hear well, but it seems to me something as “… love you…”, “… and I you…”.

Or maybe it’s only my imagination. Maybe.

“With all respect, Captain, I’m unsure it is good…” Malcolm’s words shake me, and I finish for him. “… that T’Pol is here? With us and with Trip?”

“Yes, Sir.”

I smile lightly, replying to my Armour Officer. “Well, Malcolm. As I said and as you were able to hear… I hold my own butt dear!”

He chuckles softly. “Oh, I can understand you, Sir! Honestly, I think you had no other choice.”

“Yeah, Lieutenant! You’re right.”

My smile as my reply to Malcolm's statement is coloured with facetious resignation, the conversation emerging vividly in my mind which occurred in the conference room, when I discussed our away mission with my Officers.


“I think it’s dangerous for Commander Tucker.”

“T’Pol, what the hell…”

“Quiet please, Commander Tucker. What do you mean, T’Pol?”

“Captain, it’s not a long time since Commander Tucker has recovered. I believe the approach march through the forest for reaching the mountain might be too heavy for him, especially in consideration of his well-known carelessness with regard to his health.”

“Hey!”

“I said quiet, Trip! And then, indubitably T’Pol is right about your incautiousness. Nevertheless, T’Pol, we have no other way. Trip is absolutely necessary in order to detect and to examine the signal’s source, and it’s really impossible to reach the mountain whence it’s issued by means of shuttle pod. The enormous stormy dark rain clouds which perpetually enshroud the mountain and which provoke those incredible tempests preclude that, so the only way is to land on one of the glades that intersperse the forest that covers the planet, and thence to reach the mountain, walking through the weald, up to the massif’s feet. ”

“The closest glade to the mountain is far from it, three march days, and this march has to be done through a wild forest, Captain."

“T’Pol, I’m fine, and then you cannot keep me in cotton wool!”

“Exactly, T’Pol. Trip is right. Your… preoccupation is legitimate, of course! But, well!... Ahem… In short… Duty is duty. I don’t think I have to remind you.”

“No, Captain, you have not. I’m sorry. I apologize if my deportment sounded inadequate. Actually, it is only logical. In fact, it would be illogical to deny the fact that I’m preoccupied in regards to Commander Tucker’s ability to behave himself. His disregard for his safety during his away missions is well-known.”

“Oh Damnit!”

“The new situation that became established with your permission, Captain, implies I’m authorized to behave in order to safeguard Commander’ Tucker’s well being, in order – in its turn - to safeguard my own well being. This is a matter of fact. So, given that Commander Tucker and I are… soul-mates, that thanks to your good offices we can openly be so on the ship under your command, that this is his first away mission after… what happened, that my presence is not strictly required on the ship during the away mission, that my personal expertise could be useful on the planet, that it is not necessary that Commander Tucker and I have to be separated in this peculiar circumstance, that it’s quite logical that I have the care of Commander Tucker and that I am the most logical person who can prevent Commander Tucker’s frequent illogical conduct… in reason of all this, Captain, I advance formal request to be able to take part in the away team.” hr> Just so! This is the new T’Pol we have to confront.

Logical. As always.

Irreproachable. As always.

Outright. As always.

And in love. Openly and plainly, finally, after all the uncertainties and the doubts. After the sufferings.

So much in love that she wants to defend her love with iron and indisputable logic, using the training and the habit of a whole lifespan and of her culture and required by the Vulcan she is; but through this logic, maybe even without it being realized by her, the passion shines … the passion of the new and unique woman she became.

Yes, she’s unique, and this uniqueness, this unspeakable mixture of logic and of passion, of rationality and of limpid and unashamed love... all this is for my Chief Engineer.

I envy him tremendously.


“T’Pol! You cannot think you can look after me as a nursemaid!”

“Surely not, Commander Tucker, because I am not your nursemaid. Actually I think I’m something else for you.”

“Eh? Oh.. oh… yes! Sure!… But… Hey, T’Pol! I don’t think Vulcan decorum…”

“Vulcan decorum has nothing to do with all that, Commander. It’s only a matter of logic.”

“Uh? What…”

“The fact, Commander, is that it would be absolutely illogical the time is wasted that you used in order to persuade me to become this something else.”

“Damn, T’Pol! You…”

“So, considering your innate proclivity to act impulsively, without thinking of the after-effects your actions could have on the others and without thinking you are not alone…”

“I…”

“… I believe it is absolutely expedient and logical I come with you, to remind you…”

“T’Pol…”

“… that you aren’t alone ANY MORE, now.”


Aha! This is the new T’Pol we have to confront.

And… Yes. I envy tremendously my Chief Engineer.


“Commanders! Enough now!”


I total recall the baffled expression on Trip’s face when he and T’Pol turned their heads at my call, as I totally recall the amused expression plastered on everyone’s visages.

And the look I saw in T’Pol’s eyes.

Concern. And… fear, yes. Also that. And… almost some kind of prayer, I think.

But also a sort… I don’t know… a sort of strange light, a… a grim glint.

Well! I know she’s logical and rational and measured and balanced! And nevertheless… nevertheless… Surak’s katra has been inside me. I know how much Vulcans can be protective of their bond-mates. And jealous of them. And… vengeful.

And that light was the same I saw in her eyes when, after Malcolm kept his word to unearth those bastard Terraprimers who had kidnapped Trip1, that guy had the effrontery to say he had been the boss of those who had tortured Trip. That guy who was subsequently swallowed in the void, as a consequence when so strangely and unexpectedly and unaccountably the bulkheads opened… just the moment he was walking, alone, under video-surveillance, toward the shuttle that had to transport him to Earth.

Nobody, ever, was able to find the causes. Court of inquiry didn't achieve any result.

Oh sure! She’s logical and rational and measured and balanced and trustworthy! She’s a real friend, almost Human in her being. But… she’s so… Vulcan, too! I think that only Trip can truly comprehend her! My opportunity got lost during my blind behaviour in the Expanse.

I smile pensively and at the same time bitterly to myself. (*If at anytime I had any opportunity. She’s with Trip… she… has been always with him! *)

Nonsenses! NONSENSES! My unsaid thoughts are only that!

In this way I should think of Malcolm, too, who didn’t appear too zealous in his job in that occasion. And what should I think of Hoshi, who seemed to be so sluggish in her duty? And Phlox? Frankly I can’t say he was at that time the perfect doctor he usually is; he sounded nearly… lazy, and – on the other hand – not even I… not even I… was particularly painstaking.

Oh enough! Nonsenses! NONSENSES!

And nevertheless I remember perfectly that scene in the conference room. And… that light in T’Pol’s eyes… those restrained titters of everyone at my plainly amused – and slightly hurried - response.


“Commander T’Pol, I think your request…”


Yes! I hold my own butt dear!


“… is logical. Permission granted!”


“Anyway, Captain…” Malcolm's words bring back me to the world.

“Yes, Lieutenant?”

“I’m glad that Hoshi remained on the ship.”

“Well! Someone had to stay on the ship… Lieutenant!”

“Captain?”

“What the hell do you want to mean?”

“Oh, well! You know. I… she… we… well… after Tr… ahem… Commander Tucker and Commander T’Pol… You know… Well… Oh… Ensign Sato is very … And I… ”

“Lieutenant! Should I believe what I think I have to believe?”

“Mh… Captain…”

(*Yes! I have to believe! *)

“Oh for Pete’s sake! What the hell am I commanding? An exploration ship or a dating agency? I…” Suddenly I realize that there’s something else in his statement. “Lieutenant! Why have you said you’re glad Hoshi remained on the ship?”

I know he doesn’t ever talk nonsense, and I like not at all the sudden somber expression that appears on his face.

“I don’t know, Captain. I’m aware this planet is empty and uninhabited. No life sign is detected but these trees. There are no animals, there’s nothing else but these trees. The signal comes from automated machinery, as far as we were able to check, according to Bannerdas’ information, and we have no reason to not believe them. And yet…”

“And yet?”

“Oh never mind, Captain! I’m always the same paranoid Armour Officer!”

“Malcolm, what are you worried about?”

“Nothing, Captain. Nothing. Only…”

“Only?”

He turns his eyes around, looking frowningly at the huge trees which enclose us. “Well, Sir! This immense forest that conceals the sky's sight, is really oppressive. I feel… like a mass of eyes is observing us from among the branches.”

“Lieutenant, the Bannerdas are a very old race, pacific and collaborative, well-respected by everybody and everywhere. They no longer have spaceships, they haven’t any more interest in space exploration, but their knowledge is incredibly vast and their wisdom is revered by everyone, even by Klingons, someone says even by Romulans. The fact that they required our intervention in order to discover and to investigate why the hell this signal has sprung suddenly from this planet, which is in their space and where, in their cognizance, no sentient living soul has ever existed, it’s certainly a great honour for us.”

“I know, Captain.”

“We’re explorers, we mustn’t get agitated by the atmosphere around us.”

“Of course, Captain.”

“Very well. So, enough, now.”

I look at the night’s shadows which now are becoming deeper.

“Anyway, Malcolm, I think T’Pol was right. It’s late, and it’s better we turn our downtime into a veritable camp.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Please, proceed.”

“Yes, Sir.”

I watch Malcolm while he calls people, in order to set up the camp. We can use only sleeping-bags, because the space between the trees is too meagre to allow us to arrange tents.

(*Well. Honestly I must admit that this weald is really oppressive. *)

I raise my face to attempt to catch a bit of sky.

Nothing to do.

Only branches.

Thick. Compact. Inextricable.

Ominous.

Threatening.

It seems to me that countless cold eyes are hidden behind them.

Evilly observing us.



The Prologue’s End.

Now, we begin.


1 This is a reference to my story “Destiny”.

 


Comments:

Asso
Thanks again, [b]Linda, JadziaKathryn, Transwarp[/b] .Your words push me to go on. I hope, really, I won't disappoint anyone.
Transwarp
Asso, Your tale is off to a promising start. It's captured my interest and left me wanting more. I was particularly struck by the following sentence: [quote] It never will leave my mind the image of her, sitting beside his bed, holding his hand firmly, staring with dark-ringed eyes at his tired and wraithlike face, listening attentively and apprehensively to any small change in his harsh breath, while the hypnotic rhythm of the drip-feed's drops was beating a time which wasn't seeming to move forward. [end-quote] Very powerfully written; I could FEEL her anxiety and her devotion.
JadziaKathryn
Oh for Pete’s sake! What the hell am I commanding? An exploration ship or a dating agency? :D That is too awesome!!!
Linda
Good beginning to an exciting story!
Asso
The beginning of the story is very interesting, you start lightly and soon we get the hint that something dark is lurking behind. I'd love to see what comes next!
anaM
The beginning of the story is very interesting, you start lightly and soon we get the hint that something dark is lurking behind. I'd love to see what comes next!
bluetiger
I like this very much. If Trip thinks he is going to get off the ship without T'Pol keeping an eye on him, he had better think again. Even Archer has enough sense not to argue with her about it. I cannot wait to see where you are going to take us. More please.
Dinah
A signal from an inhabited planet. A dark, ominous, oppressive forest. A highly respected, pacifistic race asking for the help of our heroes. Wow! Great start, Asso!T'Pol really doesn't mess around. Those fellows from Terra Prime are probably all quaking in their boots. The bulkheads just mysteriously opened up and that's that. T'Pol's beautiful and brilliant, that much was apparent. Now everybody knows that she's also very protective of her mate.You did a very nice job with the bickering. Trip and T'Pol sounded very much in character. All in all a terrific prologue to what I'm sure will be another of your marvelous stories.
BnB
Oh... sweet...{quote]My face is earnest, while I reply. Trip, I hold my own butt dear![/quote]ROFLMAO! That line is absolute perfection. It's not quite the way Archer would have actually said it, but in this case your Italian flavoring only improved the impact of it. I enjoy the way you are using Archer POV this time. It's a nice change. One other thing I noticed and liked is the way you are backing off alittle on hte use of exclamation points (!). I personally don't use them except in dialog, since I agree with the principle that "all emphasis equals no emphasis". But that is just a matter of personal style. Some people like them, some don't. For my money, I would just as soon let the text itself provide the impact, and IMO your text doesn't really need any extra oomph behind it. It offers more than enough impact on its own. I like this way much better. Another line I dearly loved is this one:{quote]...that guy had the effrontery to say he had been the boss of those who had tortured Trip. That guy who was subsequently swallowed in the void, as a consequence when so strangely and unexpectedly and unaccountably the bulkheads opened¦{/quote]I can actually see that happening. LOL ;) Have Rigil and I been a bad influence on you perchance? :D :s
Reanok
Asso I like the beginning prolog to your new story. I look forward to seeing what adventure Trip and T'pol 7the Enterprise crew will have in this story.
Alelou
You've set up the portents of an exciting adventure here. I like the dynamics between the characters and Archer's POV is working nicely. I also think this one is advancing faster, with less repetition than your stories often have -- bravo. I'm also puzzling why some apostrophes turn into slashes and some don't. Most peculiar, but that's not your issue.

You need to be logged in to the forum to leave a review!