Reunion

By justTrip'n

Rating: PG-13

Genres: romance humour drama au

Keywords: Xindi pregnancy marriage Lorien kidnap E2

This story has been read by 851 people.
This story has been read 1619 times.

This story is number 3 in the series (E2) Squared


Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I am eternally grateful to the real writers, producers, and owners of Star Trek! No infringement intended.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Draws on the episodes: "E2 and "Chosen Realm"

Summary: This story follows "Heresy," in my E2 series. In "Heresy," set in the E2 universe, Trip and his "niece" (a daughter of Phlox and Amanda) were captured by the ultra-religious Triannons, who (as you recall from the episode "Chosen Realm") worship the Spheres. This story takes place in a parallel branch of the E-squared universe that was created by an anomaly.

Trip has just escaped from the Triannon missionaries with the help of a woman he has talked(?) into defecting. Excited, and with some trepidation, Trip reunites with his wife T'Pol. Absence makes the heart grow fonder . . . but also raises certain . . . um . . . "logistical" difficulties for our favorite interspecies couple.

Chapter 1

Trip could still hear intermittent sobs coming from the Triannon shuttle.

Trip had parked the stolen vehicle on a narrow rocky beach. Pod One had set down nearby. A scattering of boulders had fallen from the bluff above. The spot was relatively inaccessible to those on the ground and, thanks to the cliff, invisible to scans from above. Not only had they survived a daring escape, but after a year and a half of confinement, Trip was now breathing the fresh air of a Minshara-class planet. He wished he could savor the moment.

Trip sat on his heels and squinted into the wind coming off of the ocean. At last, Malcolm exited the alien shuttle. The security officer cocked his head at his former best friend as if he were no longer sure what to make of him.

Malcolm began in a quiet tone. "Your girlfriend's just too dangerous. I don't see how I can even allow her on Enterprise."

"She's not my girlfriend," Trip returned.

"Ah. I see . . .," Malcolm answered carefully.

"And I know she's been weaponized . . ."

"The bioexplosives in her system won't be easy to neutralize . . . If she were to decide to self-destruct, she could take out a whole cabin, or even blast a hole in our hull!"

"But she won't! Malcolm, I've sparred with you for years even though you claim you can kill with your bare hands. I know it's safe. Same with Tiva. Look, she's rejected the Triannon way of life. That's why she came with us."

"She aided your escape because she's in love with you . . . You told her you'd divorce T'Pol?!!" Malcolm asked incredulously.

"I never said that," Trip protested, "though I might have implied it. . . .Look she was almost ready to help me escape!" Trip's eyes rolled skyward in frustration, but he wasn't backing down. "Look! I DID IT for T'Pol! And Lorian and Destiny . . . Hell, I did it for all of us. I've got crucial intelligence on those spheres. They weren't just going to release me with that kind of information. Not EVER!"

Malcolm shook his head, ruefully. "Forgive me . . .you're right."

"Desperate times . . . you know?"

"Yes, I suppose I do." Destiny descended from the Triannon shuttle and began climbing on the rocks. "You're free and that's what's important."

"Destiny," Trip called, "Go get us some food from the pod." The teenager complied with barely a sigh and headed into the pod. She knew they just wanted her out of earshot.

"So what now?" Malcolm asked. "You said you needed me."

"Well, you're single. I thought if Tiva met you . . . it might cheer her up?"

"You're offering me your old girlfriend!?" Malcolm asked, affronted.

"I'm not offer'n anything! And she's not my girlfriend," Trip shouted back , before switching to a lower voice. "Look, I'm begging for some help. No one's asking you to marry her, but would it kill you to be charming? If T'Pol suspects there's something going on . . ."

"Which there isn't . . ."

"A 'course not," Trip insisted.

Malcolm accepted this with a nod, looking anxious.

"So, can you go back in that shuttle and try one more time to turn off turn off the sprinkler system? 'Cause I've tried everything. I told her that I like her, but I'm married. That maybe we're a couple in one of those parallel universes we've seen on her ship. I told her that I'm too old for her. And that she'll ruin my life if she makes trouble once we get home. If she DOES care about me, she'll have to stop."

Malcolm clapped his friend on the shoulder. "We'll find a way. . . we always do. Bloody hell, you just fought your way off a prison ship!"

Trip accepted the congradulations with a heavy sigh. "Escaping was the easy part," he muttered as his friend ducked back into the shuttle.


 

A half hour later, Tiva exited the shuttle, a step ahead of Malcolm. She appeared sullen, but resigned. She looked up at Trip and Destiny, sitting on the rocks. Trip acknowledged her with half a wave.

"There, there. That's better," Malcolm told the group, approvingly. "I knew we could all kiss and make up."

Trip glared at Malcolm, who shrugged his shoulders.

"It's a say'n," Trip clarified for the benefit of the alien. "Come on, lets all take a walk . . . as long as we're here."

"The view is spectacular," Malcolm observed.

"That's why I chose this landing site," Trip said.

The four began picking their way across the rocks, heading down slowly down the shore. The air was cool and the waves were ten feet high.

"I'm going to go stick my feet in the water," Destiny announced, as she inched across a ledge, hanging two meters over the crashing waves

"NO!" Trip and Tiva shouted in unison, or at least Tiva shouted something in the tone of scolding teachers everywhere. "She's never been on a planet before," Trip apologized, before running after the girl.

"That child is not cautious," Trip heard Tiva say to Malcolm, who was no doubt acutely aware of the fact. Destiny had wandered off of Enterprise with a stranger on that fateful day a year and a half ago, foiling the minimal security precautions Malcolm had put in place. Now Trip had brought her back. "Stay away from the water," he told her, "I want to get you home alive, and in one piece." Destiny wandered toward the cliffs.

"So, this is like Florida?" Tiva asked. At last she was attempting to be cheerful.

"Ah... not much," Trip admitted, "but it's a beach. It almost smells the same. It's warmer at home. We've got palm trees, different birds. White sand instead of rocks."

"This looks more like the Oregon Coast," Malcolm suggested.

"Are you from the Oregon Coast?" Tiva asked Malcolm.

"No. But my parents live in Malaysia. Malaysia looks a lot like Florida."

"Your parents live there?" Tiva asked, amused. She glanced at Trip who seemed to share in the joke.

"What's so funny?"

"Your parents haven't even been born yet," Tiva said.

"She knows," Malcolm stated in surprise.

"That we're from the future? Sure. She was my only friend on the ship for a year. It had to come up."

"I wish you'd been a little more careful with our sensitive information," Malcolm chided.

"What's the big deal?" Trip asked. "We've brought other aliens on board. They all know the story."

"Charles is right," Tiva affirmed. "You don't have to fear me. I've dedicated my life to the greater good."

"I thought you'd rejected your religion," Malcolm said.

"Only parts of it. Once, I thought I could transform the Expanse. Now I just hope to improve my little part of it," Tiva looked to Trip for support.

"You've made a good start today," Trip assured her, taking her hand and squeezing it once. She faced him with puffy red eyes and a brave smile. Then she let go to climb over the rock ahead. Trip stood behind and watched her with a wistful look.

When Tiva had cleared the rock, Malcolm asked, "If T'Pol can read your mind, she'll know exactly what transpired on that ship. How will Tiva's cooperation make any difference?"

"I'm afraid my bond with T'Pol may have weakened. It sort of needs to be "recharged" every seven years."

"So the pon farr recharges the bond," Malcolm guessed.

"Yeah and I think I might have missed it." Trip confided "Her cycle's pretty regular . . . " Trip stopped in his tracks and his eyes narrowed. "Malcolm ... how do you think T'Pol would handle the pon farr without me?"

"Discretely?" Malcolm suggested, with a sideways glance.

Trip continued, uneasily, " Mal, I'm afraid she did it with someone else . . . "

Malcolm winced before turning to study the waves.

"Well, maybe she had to," Trip added defensively.

"If that were true . . . how would YOU handle it?" Malcolm asked carefully.

"What CAN I DO?" Trip threw up his hands. "Ignore it . . . I guess. . . .I mean . . . I wasn't there. Thinking about it would just make me mad . . . . It's probably better not to know the details."

They walked a while in silence. Finally, Malcolm spoke up. He jerked his chin towards the woman climbing the rocks. The way she stood up to the wind as it whipped her robes around her made her look fierce and lovely at the same time. "I'm wondering if you shouldn't hope T'Pol can't read your thoughts . . . I think you like that girl."

"Well, how could I not . . ?" Trip confessed and Malcolm returned a twitch of a smile. Tiva was young and had approached him boldly. It was sort of flattering . . . "Still, . . . all I want is everything back the way it was . . . , " he said out loud. He was eager to get back to being a husband, father, chief engineer . . .

They had all stopped walking. There were rocks ahead as far as the eye could see. The waves were awesome. They paused to take in the view.

"So have we seen enough beach?" Trip called to the group. The planet's star was setting--quickly. Soon it could be much cooler.

Tiva, Destiny, and Malcolm looked to him expectantly. "Uncle Trip, is it time to go back?" Destiny asked, grinning like her Denobulan father.

"It's way past time. Come on, we're outta here!"

Destiny squealed with excitement and leaped across the rocks back to Pod One.


 

On the short flight home, Tiva seemed in better spirits. Destiny giggled as she and the teacher passed a camera headset back and forth and posed for pictures. The toy kept the girl distracted. The excitement was building as they crawled along at impulse, every minute a hundred kilometers closer to their families on Enterprise.

Trip quizzed Malcolm on the status of things back on Enterprise. "So otherwise, how's T'Pol?"

"It was hard for her."

"I'm surprised she would let on. Did she seem emotional?"

"I've seen her somewhat emotional. Don't worry, I'm sure she'll be fine as soon as you're back."

"How's Lorian?"

"He's all grown up. For a while it looked like he and Paris Mayweather were a couple."

"Huh!"

". . . but that seems to have blown over. The Captain is integrating the oldest children into the crew. They do all the grunt work and are loving it! So am I, to be honest."

"So, I'll never have to scrub another plasma conduit?"

"Not if you don't want to."

"Who's chief engineer?"

"Rostov."

"How's he do'n?"

"He takes the job quite seriously. Doesn't like to push the engines. 'Enterprise has to last for the next hundred years.' That's his mantra."

"How's maintenance?"

"We've fallen on hard times. We had to sacrifice jobs to look for you and Destiny."

"How's the engines feel?"

"Smooth, I guess. To be honest, I don't pay much attention. As long as we can still outrun the pirates I'm happy with the engines. But I have to say . . . I've only heard good things about Rostov. Your crew is quite impressed with the job he's done. "

"So . . . while I was gone . . . were people talking behind my back?"

Malcolm turned in surprise. "Whatever do you mean? Everyone has the utmost respect for you."

Trip scowled ominously. "Even after I go and get myself kidnapped? Leave my wife stranded?"

Malcolm took a long time to formulate his answer. "Trip . . . , " he began hesitantly, "While you were gone, T'Pol and I became close. I was the one assigned to look for you and Destiny."

"Well . . . that's nice." Trip answered, distractedly, "And you still can't guess who might've helped her with . . . ?"

He would have finished the thought, except now Enterprise loomed into view and they all fell silent. The huge, battle-scarred ship had never looked so beautiful. They drifted towards the opening door of the shuttle bay.

Trip held his breath as he lifted the pod's hatch. It had been so long. How would T'Pol react? And suddenly she was there, standing above him on the catwalk with Phlox and Amanda. T'Pol appeared perfectly collected. Other than the intensity of her stare. A shiver ran through him, which might have been the reawakening of the bond.

He ran up the steps and T'Pol reached for him. He grabbed her in a hug that lifted her off the ground. She was just as strong and warm as he remembered. She buried her face in his neck. She was shaking as she gripped him. He kissed her hair, the only part of her he could reach with his mouth. She was solid and real. A fantasy that had kept him alive for over a year was back in his arms. "Yeah, I'm here. I'm not go'n anywhere. . ." He felt a profound relief that he hadn't been forgotten, and then, when T'Pol still didn't release him . . . a tinge of remorse. What have I done to her?

" . . . Hey, where's Lorian?" He demanded of the group. After a moment T'Pol was able to answer. "He's coming, Trip. He's matured somewhat while you've been gone."

A young man rounded the corner. "Dad," he acknowledged, in an impossibly deep voice. Trip released his wife and reached out for the boy, who grabbed him back. He didn't even have to wrestle his son into a hug.

"I thought I'd never see you again," Lorian whispered in a horse voice that didn't seem like his.

"I'm so sorry I was gone," Trip embraced the boy he hardly recognized and signaled his amazement to T'Pol. <<  He's so BIG!  >> He wasn't sure she caught it; but there was so much going on.

Lorian waited for Phlox and Amanda to let go of Destiny. Then Lorian greeted her as well.

Malcolm viewed the reunions awkwardly. T'Pol seemed to sense his discomfort. She'd regained her perfect composure and turned to him. "I appreciate everything you did for us."

Malcolm nodded, graciously. "T'Pol, this is Tiva," Malcolm said, "She aided their escape."

"I am in your debt," T'Pol told the younger woman.

"No, it was the right thing to do," Tiva replied, with a warm and open smile. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

". . . or the one," The Vulcan finished.

"Charles has told me so much about you." Tiva continued.

"I see that he has," T'Pol answered, raising an eyebrow at her husband. She was signaling her approval and Trip smiled in relief.

"Where is everyone?" Lorian asked.

"The captain thought we might need some privacy," T'Pol explained.

<<  We're going to need a hell of a lot of privacy tonight! >> Trip teased his wife, sending his evening plans through the bond. She made no response.

"You can't hear me, can you?" Trip verbalized.

"Nor you, me," T'Pol returned. Even without the bond, Trip could read the disappointment in that bland expression.

"Then, we'll do this the old fashioned way."

Trip took T'Pol's face in his hands, and they leaned in nose to nose. "I love you. I can't wait to get back together with you," he told her softly.

She stood on her toes to reach his ear. "You are in fact back with me," she returned.

"Yeah, and I only want more."

"I concur." She hesitated only a moment. ". . . And I love you too."

Trip grinned from ear to ear. "See, I think I like it better this way. I don't think I've ever heard you say that . . . out loud."

"It IS a special occasion," She answered, as if an excuse were required. She pulled back and adjusted his sleeve to check the tattoo on his bicep.

"Still there," he assured her. The archaic Vulcan symbols had given him hope through the darkest days of his captivity--but now he had pulled through that tunnel to the other side. "I need to tell you about the facility where they treated me! Those Triannons DO have some amazing deities . . . I may finally understand this network . . ."

She smiled . . for one brief second. He was stunned. She was beautiful.

She regained control. "I feared they had changed you. I am relieved to see that you are . . . happy."

"Sure! It wasn't that bad," He said it to console her. Just then Trip heard a commotion and turned. A crowd had gathered outside in the hall. The door swept open and he beamed a smile as he burst into the corridor to accept hugs and congratulations from Jon, Hoshi, Travis and the rest of the crew.


 

Trip huddled with Archer in a corner of the mess hall where a party was in full swing. Rationing had been suspended as the cook brought out a month's supply of cakes, fruit, meat, and alcohol. If they had to subsist on Silarian tubers and resequenced protein powder till the next supply run, then so be it. Tonight would be worth it.

The hall was filled with shouts and laughter, and the younger kids chased each other in circles through the crowd.

"I saw the sphere that holds the key to this thing," Trip told Jon. "It's smaller than the others. I believe the Makers . . .the sphere builders . . . have succeeded . . .

He smiled and held up his beverage, acknowledging a long-distance toast from a crewman across the room.

" . . . in optimizing the Expanse to their requirements within the vicinity of this sphere . . . . " He was interrupted by another well-wisher. "Anna!" He hugged the engineer. "I know. My vacation's over . . ."

Anna laughed and joined the pair. "Anyway," Trip continued to them both, "I think we can bring down the whole damn system! I've already talked to Malcolm . . ."

Lorian appeared at Trip's side and stood there.

"Where's Malcolm?" Trip asked.

"He's escorting your Triannon friend around the ship. After what happened the last time . . . ." Jon looked down at Lorian and smiled. "Well, we can finish this tomorrow. I don't want to monopolize the guest of honor. Anna, let's go refill our plates."

"I can't believe I'm back," Trip said to them all.

Jon grinned again and headed towards the buffet. Lorian spoke up as soon as the captain and the engineer were out of earshot. "I think Mom's upset."

"Yeah, she hates parties," Trip answered, scanning the room for T'Pol. The absence of the bond was already an inconvenience. He spotted his wife standing in a corner, not interacting with anyone. "I'll be back," he told Lorian, laying a hand on his shoulder to thank him for the tip.

Trip made his way through the crowd. T'Pol saw him coming. "Trip, we need to talk."

"Yeah, I can't wait to um . . . 'talk'," He gave her a wink. "I'll try to escape this party."

Her expression remained serious. She glanced towards the captain's mess, indicating a possible retreat from the commotion. Trip, beginning to worry, followed his wife into the smaller room.

The door slid shut and they were alone. T'Pol faced her husband with an anxious expression. "I am uncertain how to tell you this."

"I know I missed the pon farr . . ," he preempted. She made no response and he scrambled. "However you handled it . . . I promise, we'll get past it . . . It won't matter."

"On the contrary," she replied flatly, "my actions will significantly alter our future."

There was no psychic bond to assure him things would be all right, so he reached for her hand, and she took it.

"I managed to delay the pon farr . . ." she began.

That's great! . . .

" . . .for another seven years . . ."

Damn religious fanatics . . .!

"--through fertilization."

Huh?

Trip replayed T'Pol's last statement in his head. Then replayed it again. He studied her face and then stepped back to get a full-length view. Her face was tired. Her body was rounder. "You're pregnant!" He blurted out.

"I don't want to alert the others! Few people know . . . Remember, you agreed to this in principle."

They had often discussed starting over, when Lorian was full grown. They'd hoped to have a girl . . . and name her "Ocean."

"Phlox had my genetic material in stasis," Trip stated, quickly solving the puzzle.

"Yes."

"But Lorian had to be incubated in a biocylinder!" Trip objected. "There are so many variables to monitor . . ."

"If you had been here we could have pursued that option, but only an actual pregnancy would prevent the pon farr."

"But is this safe? To do it in vivo?"

"Not entirely . . . There are compatibility issues with this fetus. I am taking antirejection drugs. They make me sick."

"T'Pol, I don't know what to say . . . I mean I appreciate what you're try'n to do . . . "

She gave him a hard, challenging look.

". . . I'm not sure it's right . . ." He finished tentatively.

"It is fortunate that the bond is inactive . . ." T'Pol responded coldly.

"T'Pol!"

"It is common for human males to have mixed feelings about their partner's pregnancy . . . I would rather not be disturbed by such emotions." Suddenly her brow knit in concern. Distractedly, she continued, "Also it would be . . . unfortunate . . . if you were to experience this nausea . . ."

Trip watched her bend over and grabbed a chair for her to sit. It was weird. He really couldn't feel her pain. He hovered over her, expressing his sympathy, but he was feeling something else entirely. Fear? Hope? Shock? He couldn't decide. I'm having a baby, he realized and laughed in surprise.


 

Trip's reunion with T'Pol that night didn't quite match the picture he had painted for himself. He made love to her gingerly at first, almost reverently, careful not to put his full weight on her abdomen. But their shared love for the new life within her made up for any physical inconvenience.

She's real, he marveled as he caressed her smooth, warm skin. The lack of the bond made it difficult for him to guess what she was thinking, but she quickly dropped her guard and guided him with moans and whimpers. As these became increasingly urgent, he took her hands and pinned her to her back. Her eyes closed as she writhed beneath him. Her open mouth was searching for his. He hungrily kissed it. She needed him and he needed her. Then her eyes opened, and for a moment they stared at each other in bewilderment. The truth had finally sunk in. He was home for good. They would face life together . . .

Moments later, and without exactly meaning to, he was crying out her name . . .

She cradled his face with her one free hand as he hovered above her, supporting his weight on both arms. Now, his purpose accomplished, he looked down . . . and offered a tentative smile.

"That was . . ." she was catching her breath.

"Agreeable?" he suggested lightly.

"Yes," she whispered in awe.

Their old private joke. In the early days, extreme understatement had helped T'Pol recover more comfortably from a loss of control. Now it was just another intimacy.

Trip collapsed alongside his wife, every nerve still tingling. T'Pol moved to wrap herself around him. With their limbs entangled, perfectly content, he floated off momentarily. Dreams and reality merged into one.

Minutes later a soft voice aroused him. "How did you manage to escape?"

He drifted back to the surface. "Tied up a pilot. Stole his shuttle. Used his recorded voice to get clearance to undock."

"I knew you were alive."

It was reassuring.

"I felt you through the bond. After a week it faded."

"I kept expecting the cavalry. Where were you guys?"

"A direct confrontation . . . risked casualties . . . As long as you remained safe on that ship . . ."

It was a little disappointing, but Enterprise was a multigenerational ship . . . "Lorian . . ." Trip mumbled. It wasn't a coherent thought. He was dozing again.

"Malcolm was trying to arrange a deal." T'Pol continued, "But the Triannons are unreliable. I'm sorry you were waiting . . ." she sounded genuinely regretful.

"Nah . . .hey . . . don't," He told her gently. ". . . Everything's fine, now. It's all over."

"Trip, I began to think you were gone for good. . . I even . . ." her voice broke.

This might be important, he realized, and opened his eyes.

"I even prepared for the pon farr, . . .I . . " her voice trailed off.

Trip raised himself on an elbow to peer down at her. Now he was fully awake. "You did what?"

"I kissed Malcolm . . ."

She stared up at her husband in fright, and he stared down at her in confusion. The information just didn't make sense.

". . . it was a preliminary encounter . . ," She explained in a something of a rush, "I thought it would be necessary . . . "

Multiple questions bubbled up in Trip's head. One burst out: "MALCOLM?? Malcolm was your first choice?!"

"I wasn't sure who I could trust. And Malcolm is discrete . . ."

"I'll say!. . . . He hid this from ME!"

"I told him to wait and let me explain . . . I didn't want you to blame him. I wanted you to understand that it was my idea."

He looked at her. She seemed as alarmed as he was. "Tell me noth'n happened," Trip pleaded.

"Following a somewhat awkward preliminary encounter, I realized a more . . . significant pairing with Malcolm could do serious damage to collegial relations amongst the senior staff, . . . with repercussions for efficiency . . ."

He snorted incredulously. Why the evasions?

"I was afraid I would hurt you . . . ," she corrected herself. "The next day I informed Malcolm that I'd found another way."

Trip lay back and stared at the ceiling. Trying to sort it all out. But she's still mine, right? Of course . . . Nothing would ever change that.

Hell! What can I say? If he offered to forgive her, it would imply she'd done something wrong. If she knew he understood her actions, it would be even worse.

Trip flashed on Tiva, his one-time teacher. He'd been flirting with her for the past six months. Just enough to seal the deal. It'd been fun . . . and easy. And he wasn't yet ready to discuss it.

He shook himself back to the present. "It's OK," he said finally, before the silence went too long.

Trip turned to his Vulcan soulmate. T'Pol was searching his eyes for affirmation. I promised it wouldn't matter. I refuse to let it matter. He placed his hand on her belly and she covered it with her own. They shared too much to let it matter.

"We survived," Trip said in a tone he hoped would close the discussion.

She seemed relieved.


Comments:

justTrip'n

Just checking. Chapter 1?

Linda
I THOUGHT that was Welsh before you told us, it looked like Gaelic language. Nice realizatin for Hoshi that there was more to Malcolm than she knew.

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