In Body and Mind

By ginamr

Rating: PG

Genres: adventure au drama romance virtual season

Keywords:

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Star Trek: The Continuing Voyages of the Enterprise
A Virtual Season 5 Series-Revised

By Ginamr

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: Only new characters and plots are mine. The original characters belong to Paramount. I receive no monetary reward for my work; my only reward is the joy of creating.
Summary: Continuing story of my Virtual Season 5 series

Author's Note: I know I keep changing which canon details I'm including. I've decided for certain to throw out the fact from TATV that Trip and T'Pol ended their romantic relationship after Terra Prime as well as the fact that Trip dies in TATV. So this is your warning: what you're about to read might throw some canon you've been shown by B & B out the window. I'm going out on the limb here so please don't stone me! ::cowers::.

The ** ** are for the singing later on.

Oh, and here's the link for the lullaby if you like it:

http://lullabies.adoption.com/parenting/swing-low-sweet-chariot.html

 


 

Last Time on Star Trek: Enterprise...First Strike


5.11-In Body and Mind

Summary: After being injured in a battle with the Romulans, T'Pol is unconscious in Sickbay. Can Phlox find a way to revive her? Meanwhile Reed discovers that there may be a traitor on board. Can he reveal them? Could the traitor have information that would help Reed further in revealing the building conspiracy?

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 1st, 2155-0202 hours

Trip shifted uncomfortably in his sleep, groaning softly. His brow furrowed. "T'Pol!" he called softly.

Phlox entered the room a moment later, frowning when he saw Commander Tucker still in the chair beside Commander T'Pol's bed. He appeared to be having some sort of disturbing dream. He moved forward to wake him, but the young engineer's eyes snapped open before he could take another step.

Trip gasped, bolting upright and nearly falling out of the chair. He sighed in relief, his grip on T'Pol's hand relaxing. When he spotted Phlox, he jumped slightly.

"Doc, I...I didn't see ya there."

Phlox smiled slightly, balancing on the balls of his feet. Looking at Phlox's features, Trip could tell that the Denobulan doctor was just as affected by T'Pol's injury as the rest of the bridge crew. The smile on the doctor's lips was weak and his eyes seemed weary.

"You were experiencing a nightmare?" Phlox inquired gently.

Trip grimaced and nodded. "Yeah."

Phlox nodded. "If I may inquire, what about?"

Trip's gaze met Phlox's and the doctor knew in an instant exactly what the contents had been. It had been the crew's worst fear for nearly two and a half days. A silence hung between the two men, and Phlox, through his gaze, offered his sympathy and support. Trip smiled weakly, nodding in acceptance. The younger man then sighed, running his free hand through his hair.

"Anything new?" Trip asked in a shaky voice.

Phlox shook his head. "I'm afraid not." He frowned. "It would seem that this is more an injury of mind than body. I have healed all of her bodily injuries and her brain activity is normal for a Vulcan."

Trip frowned. "If she's all right, then why isn't she awake?"

Phlox frowned slightly. "The fall resulted in a cerebral contusion, or a bruising of brain tissue. The surgery relieved the intracranial pressure, but perhaps she is purposely unconscious. Her brain may be keeping her that way in order to repair itself."

Trip's eyes widened in realization. "A Vulcan healing trance."

"I've only ever seen this condition once before. Quite a fascinating way of healing the body," Phlox said, and paused. "Where did you learn about Vulcan healing trances, Commander?"

Trip grinned sheepishly. "I came across it when I was browsin' the Vulcan database for information about our bond." He paused. "How long will it take?"

Phlox sighed. "It could take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks. It depends on the severity of the damage and the strength she has to heal it."

Trip nodded and paused. "Isn't there a chance she'll die if she doesn't wake up ta eat?"

Phlox nodded. "Yes, there is that risk. However, I believe I can remedy that if it becomes necessary." Again Trip nodded, and Phlox gazed sternly at the blonde-haired engineer. "How long has it been since you've slept or eaten, Commander?"

Trip smiled guiltily. "I'm fine, Doc...really."

"Commander..."

Trip sighed. "Two and a half since I've slept, and a day and half since I've eaten."

Phlox shook his head, his gaze still stern. "Commander, you're to report to the Mess and eat something, followed by six hours of undisrupted rest." Trip opened his mouth to protest, but Phlox held up a hand to halt it. "Degrading your health won't speed Commander T'Pol's recovery."

Reluctantly, Trip sighed and nodded. "All right, Doc. But I'll be back as soon as I can."

Phlox nodded and watched him leave Sickbay before shaking his head, smiling as he returned to his work.

 


 

Enterprise-Archer's Ready Room
November 1st, 2155-0934 hours

Archer grimaced. Only Enterprise, Columbia, the Jhamel, and the Sh'Ran survived, sir.

Greene frowned, his brow furrowing. How long will the repairs take?

Archer tapped his fingers on the desk, giving an annoyed grunt. A week. Maybe more. We've got engineers from all four ships working together in shifts. They're working as fast as they can.

Greene nodded and paused. What's the status of your crew?

Ten fatalities and 30 injuries, one serious, Archer replied automatically.

There was a tense pause between the two men before Greene nodded. We'll hold a memorial for the dead when you get back.

Again, a silence fell between the two men before Archer cleared his throat. Sir... he began.

Greene smiled knowingly. The protests have calmed a great deal in the last couple of days. They must be running out of steam.

Or people, Archer added with a wry grin. How many...?

Shaking his head, Greene sighed. Too many. Nearly a hundred.

Archer nodded. Far too many.

The number would have been higher if the President hadn't intervened, the Admiral added, shaking his head.

Frowning, Archer leaned forward slightly and stared intently at the screen. The President intervened?

Greene grimaced and nodded. Personally. He was very nearly shot. If Admiral Gardner hadn't jumped into the path of the weapons fire...

This caused Archer to frown. How is he?

Greene looked away, sighing. Lou passed away this morning.

Archer froze. How are his wife and son?

Annabelle is trying to be strong for David, but I can see that she's falling apart on the inside.

Archer nodded. I'll be sure to send her my condolences.

Again, Greene sighed. Such a shame. He was a good man and a damn fine officer. He paused. I'll contact you again in 24 hours for a status report.

Archer inclined his head. Understood, sir.

The comm was cut and he stared at the black screen for the longest time, running the conversation he'd just had with Admiral Greene through his head. Admiral Gardner was dead.

 


 

Earth-San Francisco bar-Private room
November 1st, 2155-1000 hours

Maec squirmed uncomfortably in his seat, the chair creaking eerily under his weight. His boyish face was paler than usual and he was sweating profusely. The low candlelight of the small, maroon room created a foreboding atmosphere that unnerving him as Tai gazed at him sternly. He'd made a mistake. And now he was going to pay for it.

"Maec..." Tai began. "Do you remember that little talk we had? About your mistakes?"

Swallowing roughly, Maec nodded. "Yes, sir."

Tai sighed, his older features making his stern gaze all the more intimidating. Despite all of the training that the younger man had undergone, he was still useless. However, Tai found that he quite enjoyed the man's cooking. "You were to target the President, not Gardner. Not yet." He shook his head. "I kept my promise to your mother and father. I took you in...cared for you. Have you kept up your end of our bargain?"

"No, sir," Maec replied, his voice wavering.

"And why not?"

Maec rolled up a sleeve from the humidity in an attempt to cool himself down and to stall. He tenderly fingered the tattoo on his upper arm, a bird of prey very similar to Earth's eagle, with its wings spread. Clearing his throat, he ducked his head. "I...I have not intentionally..."

Tai snorted. "Look me in the eye, you sniveling coward."

His lower lip trembling, Maec did as he was instructed. "Please. I beg of you..."

He saw fear in portly man's eyes and his hand dropped to the weapon at his side, very tempted to shoot him. He sneered at the man. "We do not beg," Tai whispered harshly. "I told your mother you were a mistake. You've been weak since the day you were born. She ought to have drowned you in the river."

"I...I'm sorry..." Maec began.

Tai held up a hand to stop him. "Enough. I will give you one last chance. If you make one more mistake...well, you know your fate. Now get out of my sight."

Maec stood, bowing. "T...thank you, sir. You are most kind." He then scrambled from the room, nearly tripping in his haste.

Tai sighed, massaging his temple as he sipped his brandy.


 

Enterprise-Reed's Quarters
November 1st, 2155-1132 hours

Have you had any more luck linking Greene to Intelcraft, Inc.?

Gannett frowned. Unfortunately, no. He was very careful not to leave a paper trail.

Reed's brow furrowed. There's no unusual activity in his credit accounts?

She shook her head. He's clean. A wry smile crossed her lips. Almost too clean. He must know that we're onto him so he's cleaning up after himself.

Reed nodded. I'll do a bit more digging myself.

All right, and I'll keep an ear out. Maybe Greene will slip up somewhere, she added.

Nodding, he grimaced. They nearly always do. Thank you for your assistance, Agent Brooks.

She grinned. No need to be so formal, Lieutenant. Please call me Gannett.

He nodded. Thank you...Gannett. He paused. Do you have Harris's contact information?

Her eyebrows shot up. Going to give him a call?

Reed sighed. You could say that. As much as I hate asking him for anything, he might be the only one who can get me access to some of the more confidential files at Headquarters.

She nodded. All right. I sent it to you in an encrypted data blast. Good luck.

Thank you.

He then cut the comm. and leaned back in his chair, massaging his temples. He knew that what he'd said to Gannett was right. Harris was his key to the files above his clearance and ability to hack. He needed Harris whether he liked it or not.

 


 

Enterprise-Reed's Quarters
November 1st, 2155-1146 hours

How the mighty have fallen, Harris said, a smirk crossing his lips.

Reed grimaced. Will you help me or not?

Harris chuckled. That depends, Lieutenant.

On what? Reed replied stiffly.

What price you're willing to pay.

Sighing, Reed scrubbing his hands over his face. What do you want, Harris?

The older man laughed. Nothing so large that it cannot be paid quickly. He folded his hands in front of him and leaned forward. If you serve Section 31 for five more weeks, I will make sure that it will be as though you never joined.

Reed eyed the man warily. Five weeks?

Harris nodded. Long enough for you to complete this mission, and more time for you to investigate several other Starfleet officers whom we believe to be traitors.

Reed paused, considering Harris's offer. If he could complete the jobs in less than five weeks... I'll offer a compromise. I'll serve Section 31 again for however long it takes me to complete the jobs.

Harris grinned and nodded. That's acceptable, Lieutenant. He turned away from the screen for a moment before once again meeting Reed's gaze. Here's everything I've found so far. I'll contact you with more as I find it.

Nodding, Reed entered the commands to download the information to a pad.

See you soon, Lieutenant, Harris added with a smirk.

Reed grinned wryly before ending the communiqué. He then moved toward his bunk with the pad in hand and propped himself comfortably in the bed to study the contents.

He grimaced as Harris's words replayed in his head. He'd hoped that his service to Section 31 was over. After he'd lost the Captain's trust with Harris's last orders, he'd been reluctant to lie to his Commanding Officer again. He'd told the Captain that his loyalty was to him; yet here he was devoting himself to Section 31 again.

Sighing, he only hoped that things didn't go so far this time. Once again, he'd have to keep certain things from Archer, and he wasn't in the least bit pleased to do so.

Not to mention that he might have to commit murder for the umpteenth time. He despised the way it made him feel. After that first stint, he'd been turned into a walking, emotionless ice box from all of the blood on his hands.

And then he'd met Trip. Everything had changed, then. The southerner had been there for him from the start, making him feel whole again. He grimaced at the thought of starting from the beginning, because well-intentioned or not, murder was murder.

A wistful half-smile crossed his lips as he realized that this time he wouldn't need to start from the beginning. Trip would be there to talk to. The road back wouldn't be so long with his friend by his side.

 


 

Enterprise-Engineering
November 1st, 2155-1334 hours

Trip sighed. "Look, Selak. I know ya've got twenty odd years of engineerin' experience under your belt, but jury-riggin' that set of conduits will cause a surge so powerful that it could knock out life support."

The Vulcan engineer's features tightened. "I assure you, Commander Tucker, that it is the most logical strategy.

"No, it isn't. It's just the faster way," Trip ground out.

With a bored expression, the Vulcan turned to his colleague, exchanging a look that clearly expressed how intolerable he found Trip's behavior to be.

Trip felt his blood boil, and it took every ounce of his self-control to keep his temper in check. He'd told the Captain that he could handle the repairs, but Archer had insisted that all four crews work together. It was one thing having someone from Columbia who had at least intermediate knowledge of the NX-series ships' engines offering possible solutions. But it was another thing entirely for a Vulcan or Andorian, neither of whom had ever seen the inside of a Starfleet warp engine, to attempt to help out. The truth was that Enterprise was fragile after her last conflict with the Romulans and needed gentle, expert hands; not a fumbling rookie who didn't even have the slightest clue how to connect the coils properly.

He sighed, remembering the promise he'd kept to Archer about keeping an open mind, and rubbed the bridge of his nose, willing away the headache that was pounding in his temples. "I know these engines as well as I know Zephram Cochrane's first flight speech. It'll cause a surge."

Telas, the Andorian engineer, approached, catching the very end of the conversation, knowing that they were discussing the Vulcan engineer's planned "jury-rigging". He looked between the two and nodded. "He's right," the Andorian replied, turning to the Vulcan. "It could cause a surge that would knock out their life support."

The persistent Vulcan finally gave in. "What do you suggest?"

The headache quickly gave way to a dizziness so intense that Trip was scarcely able to concentrate on the Andorian's reply. He blinked rapidly in an attempt to drive away the dizziness.

"If we replace these conduits...and route power to them through these instead, we might be able to get this junction working," the Andorian replied.

Without warning, hundreds of images slid through Trip's mind so rapidly that he was scarcely able to process them. Moments later, he knew nothing but oblivion.

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 1st, 2155-0138 hours

His eyes opened and he sat up abruptly, covered in sweat. He looked around the room and relaxed slightly when he realized he was in Sickbay. "Just a nightmare," he muttered, running a hand through his hair.

"Ah, you're awake."

Trip turned to find Phlox striding toward him. He sighed and frowned, massaging his forehead. "What the hell happened?"

Phlox checked the instruments to be sure that Trip's vital signs were stable. "Your blood pressure is slightly higher than normal, but that's to be expected." He then turned toward the young engineer, gazing at him austerely. "You went into hypoglycemic shock."

Trip grimaced, massaging his head. "Low blood sugar?"

"Don't sound so surprised, Commander. You haven't ingested anything in nearly two days."

"Nope. I had coffee this morning," Trip protested.

Phlox shook his head. "Caffeine is hardly an adequate substitute for a good, nutritious meal." He smiled, indicating the tray setting on the bedside table. "Ensign Sato was kind enough to bring something from the Mess for you."

Trip frowned as he slowly sat up with Phlox's assistance. "Hoshi was here?"

Phlox nodded. "As were the Captain and Lieutenant Reed. The Lieutenant brought a piece of peach pie, which it seems Ensign Sato had forgotten. All of them stayed by your bed...I suppose two hours apiece."

Trip frowned. "I've been out for six hours?"

Again, Phlox nodded, setting the tray in the young man's lap. "Sub-Commander Selak and Defender Telas brought you in, with some assistance from Lieutenant Hess."

"I thought I told her to stay off that leg," Trip muttered.

"Mm-hmm. And I seem to recall instructing you to eat a proper meal and get six hours of undisturbed rest," Phlox countered.

Trip swallowed the spoonful of soup and grinned sheepishly. "I couldn't sleep. I thought a few laps and some weights would wear me out, but then one thing lead to another...Anna needed help with the warp coil conduits..."

Phlox shook his head. "Perhaps next time you'll take me seriously, hmm?"

Phlox chuckled, leaving the young engineer to finish his meal.

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 1st, 2155-1202 hours

"So..." Archer began. "Feeling better?"

Trip nodded. "Yeah."

Archer's eyebrows shot up. "I've asked that in the future that the Doctor notify me as well as Lieutenant Hess when you're under similar orders."

Trip grinned wryly. "Gee, thanks."

Archer chuckled. "It's for your own good, Trip. And I'd hate to see Lieutenant Hess permanently on crutches or worse from having to cart you to Sickbay every few days."

"Yeah, yeah," Trip muttered, chewing a bite of cornbread.

Archer paused. "So how's she doing?" he asked, his gaze falling on the unconscious Vulcan.

Trip shrugged. "There hasn't been any change since the last time ya asked."

Nodding, Archer stared at a spot high on the opposite wall. Trip looked at his plate, an awkward silence hanging in the air between the two.

"Captain," a stoic voice began. The two men turned to see Soval standing behind them, slightly surprised by the Ambassador's sudden appearance. "May I speak with Commander Tucker alone?" Archer frowned. "The matter is of the utmost importance. It concerns Commander T'Pol."

Archer exchanged a worried glance with Trip before nodding. He moved to exit Sickbay, closing the curtain behind him as he left.

"How are you feeling, Commander?" Soval asked.

Trip frowned. "Better." Soval nodded and hesitated. Trip found himself unable to remain still in the uncomfortable silence. "What on God's green earth is goin' on?"

Soval looked up, his eyebrows raised high. "What occurred before you became unconscious?"

Sighing, he ran a hand through his hair. "I'm not sure. It all happened so fast. Phlox says it was low blood sugar."

His expression solemn, Soval nodded. "Understandable," he said softly.

"Ya were sayin' something earlier about T'Pol. Do ya know how ta help her?" When Soval didn't answer, Trip grunted in frustration. "Would ya quit stallin' already and just tell me?"

Soval inclined his head. "There is a way to speed the healing process." He paused. "Under normal circumstances, it would not be possible for a Human to perform the procedure. I believe, however, that your bond would allow a stronger possibility of success."

Trip looked at him, a surprised expression crossing his features. "How the hell did you know about...?"

Soval's eyebrows shot up. "Though we do not experience emotions, we are sensitive to them. Also, the minds of all living things resonate on a certain wavelength, if you will. Between two beings that are psychically bonded, that wavelength is identical." He paused. "The procedure is called a healing meld. I am unsure if it will be successful because Humans are generally incapable of performing melds."

Trip sighed and grunted. "Ya said our bond might help. Wouldn't the fact that we're bonded make it moot that Humans can't perform melds?"

"It is true that your bond makes your circumstances...unique," Soval began. "However, unless you have the proper ability to establish the meld, it is the fact that you are bonded that is moot."

Trip looked over at T'Pol's still form and sighed, staring at his hands for a moment before returning his gaze to Soval's. "Well, we won't know until we try."

Soval nodded. "I will instruct you. If you are unsuccessful...perhaps I could create a bridge for the healing." He paused before adding, "The healing will take time. Perhaps several sessions."

Hesitating, Trip's brow furrowed as he considered this new piece of information. "Several? Does she have that kind of time?"

"Most likely, she will strengthen with each session and will be in less danger."

Nodding, Trip sighed. "All right. Let's give it a shot, then."

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 1st, 2155-1502 hours

"He is well enough to perform the meld?" Soval asked.

Smiling, Phlox nodded. "His blood sugar levels are within an acceptable range and he has rested a sufficient amount of time. I don't believe he'll come to any harm so long as he is cautious."

Soval nodded. "Are you ready, Commander?"

"As ready as I'll ever be," Trip replied.

Soval nodded. "Place your fingers at the pressure points as I have shown you."

Trip turned toward T'Pol and put his fingers along the right side of her face. "All right..."

"Now...close your eyes and focus. Reach out to her mind."

Trip did as he was instructed and his brow furrowed in concentration. Suddenly, the room around him faded.

He found himself again in the white room that was so familiar to him from his many daydreams. In the distance, he saw T'Pol sitting Indian-style, seemingly in deep meditation.

"T'Pol," he called.

She turned abruptly and her eyebrows shot up. "Trip? How are you here?"

He grinned. "Apparently, because of our bond, I can do something Soval calls a healin' meld. He showed me how ta initiate it."

T'Pol gazed at him, her expression somber. "It is dangerous."

Trip nodded. "Yeah, that's what he said."

"Then no doubt no one could alter your decision, which explains why you are here," she murmured.

He laughed. "Damn right." The laughter died away and his expression grew somber. "If this has any chance of helpin' ya, I'm willin' ta give it a try no matter what it does ta me."

She gave him a tolerant look, extending a hand and indicating for him to sit in front of her. He did so, imitating her cross-legged position. "You must not stay in this state for an extended period of time. It may damage your nervous system."

Trip nodded and paused. "So what do I need ta do?"

"Meditate," she replied.

He grinned wryly. "Now, darlin', ya know I never could sit still that long when ya were first teachin' me how."

Her eyebrows shot up. "You improved with each session."

He sighed. "Guess I'll have ta have the patience now, huh? Your life depends on it."

She nodded and closed her eyes. He smiled, doing the same.

**

Phlox frowned when he noted a slight spike in Commander Tucker's brain activity.

"It is to be expected," Soval assured. "He is, after all, using a part of his mind that Humans rarely access."

Phlox nodded. "Of course."

He glanced at Commander T'Pol lying unconscious on the biobed with Trip slumped over unconscious in the chair beside her with his fingers along the right side of her face and sighed, settling himself into the chair beside the bed for a long wait.


 

Enterprise-Captain's Mess
November 1st, 2155-1658 hours

Archer pushed the food around on his plate, not truly feeling any desire to eat.

Hoshi frowned slightly, exchanging a look with Reed, who nodded.

"Sir?"

Archer's head jerked up. "Lieutenant?"

Reed paused, unsure of what to say. There really wasn't any kind of prepared speech for a situation like this. His normal tact seemed to have deserted him in favor of a vacant mind.

The two men stared at one another for the longest time, neither saying a word. Both had been doing busy work for the last hour and a half in order to keep their minds off of the dangerous situation their friend was in.

"When were you planning on telling me?" Archer asked.

Reed looked up, frowning. "Sir?"

Archer set his fork down on his plate, not quite meeting Reed's gaze. "Hoshi picked up several encrypted messages within the last few days. She finally managed to decrypt them and determined that they originated from your quarters."

Reed turned toward Hoshi to find her gazing interestedly at her half-full plate. The Lieutenant's frown deepened as he cleared his throat and dropped his gaze to his own half-finished meal. "I had planned on informing you, sir. Soon. But after Commander Tucker's accident...I suppose it slipped my mind."

Archer nodded and paused. "So what exactly is it you intend to do?"

Reed sighed. "The less you know, the better, sir."

Archer's brow furrowed and he was about to retort when he was interrupted by the comm.

Bridge to Archer.

Archer stood quickly, rushing toward the comm. on the far wall and pressing his thumb to the button.

Archer, he replied sharply.

There's a communiqué for you, sir, from Admiral Greene.

I'll take it in my ready room. Archer out.

He then exited the Captain's Mess, heading toward the Bridge. Reed and Hoshi exchanged a puzzled glance as the doors slid closed behind him.

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 1st, 2155-1703 hours

"Doc, would it be too much trouble ta get somethin' for this headache?" Trip asked.

Phlox smiled and turned to take the hypo Elizabeth Cutler had been preparing behind him. He nodded in thanks and a moment later, he pressed the hypo into the side of Trip's neck. The young engineer sighed in relief and nodded his thanks. "The dose of acetamorphin will make you slightly lethargic. You will need to lay down for at least a half-hour."

Trip frowned. "What if I fall asleep?"

"You can use the rest after what you've just put your body through." He held up a hand at the engineer's worried expression. "I'll wake you in an hour for the next session."

Nodding, Trip climbed onto a nearby biobed with Cutler's aid. He sighed, squirming slightly until he was at last comfortable. Slowly, his eyes closed and he drifted off to sleep. Cutler grabbed the blanket in the chair next to the bed, covering him gently so as not to wake him.

"He'll be all right," Phlox whispered, leading her away from the bed and closing the curtains. He then entered a few commands into a panel on the wall, and the lighting dimmed.

 


 

Enterprise-Archer's Ready Room
November 1st, 2155-1703 hours

Greene paused, appearing troubled. "Jon... According to a message picked up by a Boomer ship, the Romulans officially declared war as of two days ago."

Archer's brow furrowed. In the last two days, he hadn't been thinking much about the Romulans. Every minute of his time had been occupied either with repair reports or worrying about T'Pol. He'd slipped into Sickbay around oh-one-hundred this morning to check on her only to find Trip asleep at her bedside.

Watching how tightly his friend was hanging onto T'Pol's hand, Archer had begun to wonder yet again just what the relationship was between the two. There'd been signs of closeness between them, almost as though they could read one another's thoughts, and then on other occasions the two were distant, avoiding each another at all costs.

"Do we know anything about their next planned attack? What their next target might be?" he asked.

Greene frowned, pinching the bridge of his nose. "They might be planning an attack on Earth itself if the position of their fleet is any indication. We don't know when. We'll just have to keep on our toes."

Archer nodded. "Yes, sir."

 


 

Earth-San Francisco bar-Private room
November 2nd, 2155-1203 hours

Looking up he smiled as the tall, rather thin young woman with voluptuous breasts entered the room in a form-fitting emerald green ankle length dress with a neckline low enough to reveal a generous amount of cleavage. The sleeves of the matching sweater were rolled up, revealing slender arms. The candlelight highlighted her youthful face and feminine form, the silver strappy heals causing her back to arch, jutting her breasts forward slightly. She slid slowly into the chair and smiled sweetly back at the barman who gazed at her hungrily, closing the door delicately.

"I think the barman may have noticed my mark," Ael whispered as the bartender closed the door, smiling wryly and fingering the bird-like tattoo for a moment before unrolling her sleeve to cover it.

Shaking his head, Tai chuckled. "I doubt he recognized it. By the time Starfleet catches on, we will be long gone."

The woman's eyebrows shot up and her full lips curved up in a slight smile. "Everything is in position then?" she asked.

He nodded, grinning. "Something positive has come from the fool's death. Greene is now poised for a promotion and supreme control over Starfleet's forces.

The smile spread to become a smirk. "Excellent."

"We've encounter a few problems. But otherwise...," Tai said waving a hand dismissively. "...all is going according to plan."

"Then, no doubt Earth will soon crumble," she added, brushing several stray long, dark locks of hair away from her face.

He raised his glass, nodding in agreement. "To the foolish Admiral Gardner...for making our job so much easier."

"And to Terra Prime, for its unwitting role in Earth's demise," she returned with a laugh.

Their glasses clinked together softly and both laughed, extraordinarily pleased with themselves.

 


 

The Romulan ship Kesik-Bridge
2nd day of
T'ke'Tas, Year of the Sark-12.32 hours

Centurion Dhivael stood at tactical, eyeing his self-appointed commanding officer, the man who'd just killed the true captain of the Kesik without blinking an eye. It was, perhaps, not terribly wise to challenge him. Dhivael was not known for his wisdom, however.

He exchanged a glance with Centurion Lai at communications, seeking an ally. Lai returned his gaze meaningfully, and then placed a hand on the disruptor at his belt and glanced at Subcommander Radaik. Emboldened by Lai's implied offer of assistance, Dhivael spoke.

"Sir, we do not have a choice. The ship is damaged beyond our ability to repair it. We must return to the fleet."

Radaik turned, glaring at the man maliciously. Dhivael stood firm despite the fact that the taller man towered threateningly over him, bent so that he was inches from Dhivael's face. Radaik's dark eyes seethed with rage. "Do you not understand? We will be executed if we return now!" he hissed.

Lai cleared his throat, his lanky frame ramrod straight as he internally fought with himself over what would no doubt go to the Praetor as treason against a higher-ranking officer. "Dhivael is right, sir. The ship will not withstand another attack and we do not have the means to repair it here."

Radaik stormed over to the man, standing inches from his face. "Will you take my orders or not, Centurion Lai?"

The younger man stiffened, clasping his hands together behind his back. "No, sir. I will not."

"Then you betray your people!" he spat.

Lai shook his head. "No, sir. It's you who betrays the Rhiannsu. Captain Vrih was right. You have lost your grasp on reality." He turned toward the security officer and nodded before returning his gaze to Radaik as the security officer moved to arrest him. "You are under arrest for treason and the first degree murder of a superior officer. You will be stripped of all rank and privilege and will spend the remainder of the journey back to Romulus in the brig."

"You'll regret this, Centurion," he shouted, struggling against the grips of the security officers as he was dragged from the bridge. "Do you hear me?! You shall die for this treachery!"

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 2nd, 2155-0106 hours

Trip awoke with a start and grimaced at the throbbing in his temples. He stared at the chronometer on the far wall. It was time for the next session.

"Doc," Trip called.

Phlox, sitting in his office looked up and at Trip through the glass pane. Moments later, he entered the room, checking Trip's biosigns again. After assuring himself that they were stable, he nodded. "You may prepare for the meld again. I will notify the Ambassador."

Trip nodded and slid out of the biobed, seating himself in the chair next to T'Pol's bed. He sighed, running his hands through his hair as he stared at her still unconscious form.

Moments later, Soval arrived. Once Soval nodded in consent, Trip again placed his hand on the right side of T'Pol's face and closed his eyes.

To his surprise, when he entered the white room he found T'Pol lying on the ground, seemingly unconscious.

"T'Pol!" he shouted, running toward her.

When she didn't respond, he knelt next to her shaking her gently. She rolled over slowly, but remained curled in the fetal position. The moisture in her eyes and the open pain in her expression caught him off guard. He felt as though a fist were constricting his heart and his breath caught in his throat.

"Come on, darlin'. We have ta meditate...ta get ya better," he whispered, encouraging her to sit up.

"I...can't", she choked. "Too...much...damage."

Trip shook his head. "No. Come on now. We've almost got you fixed up. Don't give up now."

"Can't."

Trip's features tightened. "Sit your ass up! You're not a quitter! You're a helluva lot stronger than this! You've put up with me for the last four years, for Christ's sake!" He gritted his teeth. "Get up! Now!"

Feebly, T'Pol began pushing herself into sitting position. Once she was there, she wrapped her arms around herself and looked so weak that, for a moment, he thought she might pass out again.

**

Phlox frowned when he saw T'Pol's heart rate drop. Not a moment later, it stabilized again. "It would seem that Commander Tucker's presence in her mind has somehow stabilized her vital signs." Again her vitals fluctuated and as Phlox prepared to take action, her vitals stabilized. "If this continues, he will need to be awakened from the meld."

Soval nodded. "Yes, but we must do so with caution. If we awaken him too quickly, we could lose them both."

**

"Give me your hands," Trip said softly. When she didn't act, he grimaced. "Come on, darlin'. Just give me your hands." Slowly, she placed her shaking hands in his and he gripped them tightly. "Now close your eyes..." Her lower lip quivering she did as he asked. "...and focus on the sound of my voice."

He paused, remembering the lullaby he'd sung to his niece, Carrie, when she'd had a nightmare the second night of his most recent visit back home, when he'd brought T'Pol home with him. He'd hummed it later on the back porch with T'Pol in his arms on the swing. He began singing softly, stroking the back of T'Pol's hands with his thumbs.

**Swing low, sweet chariot;
Comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot;
Comin' for to carry me home.**

**I looked over Jordan and what did I see;
Comin' for to carry me home;
A band of angels comin' after me;
Comin' for to carry me home.**

**Swing low, sweet chariot;
Comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot;
Comin' for to carry me home.**

**If you get to heaven before I do;
Comin' for to carry me home;
Tell all my friends I'm comin' there too;
Comin' for to carry me home.**

Startled, T'Pol listened to his melodic voice as he sang. She recognized it as the melody he'd been humming on the back porch of his home. She recalled how she'd unknowingly begun to hum along with him.

She remembered also the amused glint in his eyes when he'd realized she was humming along with him. Instantaneously, she was transported back to that electrifying moment, reliving the welter of emotions that had rushed through her.

In that moment, it had been only them. They'd been mere inches apart, close enough for her to feel his warm breath on her neck and for her to smell his scent. The scent of sandalwood and pine had always thrilled her senses and soothed her when she'd been on the brink of losing control, as she was now.

Softly at first, her gentle soprano joined his and their eyes locked, a smile crossing his lips. Gradually, their voices faded to a soft hum as their eyes closed and both entered a state of deep meditation.

 


 

Phlox grinned in satisfaction. "Her biosigns are returning to normal."

Soval nodded. "Most excellent."

Phlox nodded and paused, looking at the weary man. "Perhaps you should get some rest, Ambassador. This has been a strenuous ordeal for all parties involved, yourself included."

Soval paused and nodded. "I will return to my temporary quarters to meditate. That is where you will find me should you need my services before it is time to break the healing meld."

Phlox nodded. "I will see you in a couple of hours, Ambassador."

Soval inclined his head and exited Sickbay.


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 2nd, 2155-0214 hours

Liz was cataloguing the Doctor's latest remedies when she heard a loud rapid beeping, and upon realizing that it was the machine monitoring the Commanders' biosigns, she rushed toward T'Pol's bedside.

"Doctor," she shouted, only to find him already approaching the bedside. She checked all of the equipment to be sure that none of it was malfunctioning while Phlox prepared several hypos.

Soval entered a moment later and strode toward the bed with urgency. He and Phlox exchanged a look, both men nodding. "I will begin to break him from the meld," Soval said.

**

Trip's eyes opened suddenly as the whispery sound of the gale drew closer. "T'Pol..." he began. Her eyes opened as well and their gazes locked. "What in the hell is that?"

Her brow furrowed. "I am not sure. It sounds like..."

"Wind," Trip finished for her.

Suddenly, Trip felt himself being pulled away from her. His grip on her hands tightened and the wind grew stronger, lifting him from the ground. The rushing sound filled his ears, deafening him to nearly all sound.

"Hold on tight and don't let go!" he shouted.

They stared at each other for the longest time, their grips tightening more and more the stronger the wind grew.

**

Phlox reached behind him, pressed a hypo into T'Pol's neck, then reloaded it and pressed it into Trip's neck. He looked up at the monitors and frowned when he saw that it had no effect. Loading the hypo with a higher dosage, he repeated the process.

Liz stood back from the bed, glancing back and forth between the hypos she was loading and Phlox again checking their vitals.

Soval's eyes snapped open. "I am unable to break the meld."

**
"You must let go," she shouted. "It will overload your cerebral cortex!"

Trip shook his head. "No way in hell! If I do, you'll die!"

Trip, she began urgently. "Let go!"

"No!" His grip on her hands tightened. "We're almost there! Hold on!"

**

The loud, rapid beeping quickly became a loud, long buzzing pulse. Liz's gaze snapped to the monitors and her eyes widened. They'd both gone into ventricular fibrillation, their hearts' disrupted electrical activity resulting in a completely disorganized series of irregular peaks and valleys. She reached out to the pulse point in Commander T'Pol's neck. There was no pulse.

**

Suddenly, her hands were ripped from his grasp.

"T'Pol!" he shouted as she was sucked away from him.

He fought hard against the winds pulling him away from her, reaching for her hand.

"Reach for it!"

 His features were contorted in a mixture of concentration and fear as her hand repeatedly slipped from his.

**

Phlox grunted. "Ambassador, put Commander Tucker on that biobed over there...quickly!" Soval nodded, doing as Phlox said.

The doctor rushed to the other side of the room, rolling a cart over with a defibrillator. Without a word, Phlox undid T'Pol's uniform, revealing the form-fitting gray tank top beneath. He carefully placed the electrodes in the correct places before rushing toward Trip and doing the same. He then handed one of the remotes to Cutler. "Your help please, Elizabeth."

Liz nodded, moving to T'Pol's side as Phlox stood at Trip's.

"Clear!"

Liz depressed her thumb on the button, causing T'Pol's body to jerk violently as though she were a marionette being yanked about by a puppeteer. She looked up at the monitor to find that Commander T'Pol's ECG still showed a rapidly undulating line indicating the persistence of v-fib.

"Again," Phlox shouted.

She once more depressed her thumb on the button, holding her breath.

**

At last, she managed to get a firm grip on his hand and pull herself back toward him. He grasped her other hand, holding her tightly to him.

"Hold on," he shouted.

**

Preparing to press the button again, she sighed in relief when she noted the resumption of a normal heart rhythm on the monitor. Within moments, the heart rate had returned to normal.

Suddenly, Trip and T'Pol simultaneously shot upright, both looking slightly out of breath. Trip closed his eyes, looking for her presence in his mind. T'Pol? he said shakily.

On the other side of the room, she nodded. "I'm here," she replied.

He grunted in annoyance when Phlox forced him back down onto the biobed. "You're not going anywhere, Commander. You need to rest."

Trip glared at him, but allowed himself to be pushed back down onto the biobed.

As soon as Liz had successfully laid T'Pol back down and injected her with a sedative, she proceeded briskly to Commander Tucker's side and injected a hypo into his neck.

"Relax, Commander. It is just a sedative to help you sleep," Phlox assured him.

"I don't want ta sleep," he protested softly.

Phlox sighed. "Unfortunately, your body thinks otherwise."

With one final murmur of protest, Trip's eyes drifted closed and he was lost to the world of dreams.

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 2nd, 2155-0532 hours

Trip opened one eye, looking carefully around to make sure that Phlox wasn't in the room before climbing quietly out of the biobed and slipping from behind the curtains through the ones near T'Pol's biobed.

T'Pol...you awake, darlin'? T'Pol's eyes opened and she raised an eyebrow at him. He chuckled. "I'll take that as a yes."

She inclined her head in answer and Trip could have sworn he saw a hint of a smile cross her lips, but a moment later it was gone.

His expression suddenly grew serious and he took her hands in his, simply staring into her eyes for a few long moments before enveloping her in a tight hug. He buried his face in her neck, the tears rolling silently down his cheeks.

"God, T'Pol," he said softly. He pulled away, cupping her face in his hands. "Don't you ever do that to me again. You scared me ta death." Again, he pulled her to him, hugging her tightly.

She sighed, closing her eyes and allowing the gesture, drawing a measure of comfort from it.

"I thought I'd lost you," he choked, silent tears sliding down his face.

"I'm here, Trip. We are fine," she whispered softly.

He climbed into the bed beside her quietly so as not to alert Phlox to his decision to bend the rules, enveloping her in his arms. The two stayed as they were, drawing strength from one another's nearness.

 


 

Captain's Starlog-November 2nd, 2155

The healing meld Commander Tucker attempted with Ambassador Soval's assistance was a success. According to Phlox, both of them should be able to return to regular duty within a few days.

 


 

Enterprise-Sickbay
November 2nd, 2155-1001 hours

T'Pol emerged from the dressing area in full catsuit, her legs giving way beneath her. She gasped and reached out to grip Trip's shoulders in order to prevent herself from falling to the ground. Trip slid his arms around her waist to steady her. "Whoa. Easy there," he said.

She looked up at him, her expression slightly stunned. "I am experiencing difficulty walking," she stated bluntly.

Trip laughed. "Well, what do ya expect? Ya've been in a coma for nearly five days." He grinned at her expression. "Don't worry. The Doc says you'll be fine. You'll be struttin' again in no time."

An eyebrow shot up. "Vulcans do not strut," she countered.

Trip grinned. "Yeah, sure they don't." He chuckled. "I've seen ya at it whenever ya know you're right about somethin'."

"You're one to talk," she replied.

Trip stood there for a moment, gob-smacked at the Human phrase that had slipped past her lips. Behind them, Hoshi covered her mouth to hide a snicker, but was unsuccessful and had soon burst into full-blown laughter, Archer and Reed joining her after recovering from the initial shock. Phlox chuckled softly and Soval's eyebrows shot up to his hairline as he at last caught on to the joke.

A grin slid across Trip's features, only to become a deep, hearty laugh. His laughter slowly died away and he wiped the moisture from his eyes.

"Come on, Commander. Let's get you back to your quarters," he said breathlessly.

Her eyebrows shot up even higher. "No doubt you will assist me whether I approve or not."

He grinned. "You got it. Now get ta walkin'...unless you'd like me ta carry ya," he goaded.

She stepped away from him and made her way toward the door. Trip chuckled softly, following her.

Archer was about to exit behind them, but he turned when he heard Phlox enter the room. "Captain, Lieutenant Reed. I need to speak with you a moment. It's about the autopsy."

Reed nodded, recalling that Starfleet had given Phlox permission to do an autopsy on the young Ambassador's body in hopes of discovering how he'd been murdered several weeks ago. He followed Archer into the dimly lit room toward the back of Sickbay, wondering what the Doctor had found. Maybe Phlox had uncovered something that could assist him with his investigation of Admiral Greene.

"What've you found out, Doctor?" Archer asked.

Phlox hesitated before pulling up the images of the DNA sequences on the monitor. "This," he said pointing to the upper sequence. "...is Vulcan DNA." He then pointed to the lower sequence. "And this is the corpse's DNA."

Reed frowned slightly. "They look the same."

Phlox nodded. "I thought so as well until I began comparing the base pairs one by one." He entered a command and the monitor zoomed in on the upper and lower strands. "This base pair is not in the Vulcan DNA strand."

Again, Reed frowned. "Then the corpse's DNA isn't Vulcan. So what is it?"

Phlox sighed. "Unfortunately, without another sample for comparison, that is something that I can't determine."

Reed hesitated, turning to Archer. "Sir, this very well could be a hoax." Again, he paused. "As you know, sir, I've been exchanging communiqués with Gannett Brooks and Harris. I believe that there may be a conspiracy originating from within Starfleet...possibly from within Earth's government. Harris would like me to investigate, sir."

Archer paused. "How sure are you about this, Lieutenant?"

"Almost positive."

Archer's brow furrowed as he seemed to consider Reed's request. "Permission granted, Lieutenant." Reed nodded and turned to leave. "Lieutenant." Reed turned back to face Archer. "I'd like you to take someone with you."

Reed frowned. "Sir..."

"Commander T'Pol has experience with espionage, and Commander Tucker might be able to help you get the information you need. He's fairly well connected with some of the higher-ups in Starfleet," Archer offered. Reed frowned slightly. "A lot of our mutual Academy friends were assigned to Starfleet Headquarters after graduation and moved up the chain of command fairly quickly."

Reed sighed in resignation. "I'll speak with them, sir."

"Good. I'll have Travis arrange passage for you aboard one of the Boomer ships. You leave in five days."

Reed nodded. "Aye, sir."

He then turned on his heel and exited Sickbay.

TBC...

 

 


Comments:

Asso

 A piece of beauty!:D

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