To Burn in a Personal Hell

By Bluetiger

Rating: PG



This story has been read by 989 people.
This story has been read 1407 times.

Summary: Trip is brought low by a virus.

Author's Note: this is for the July word challenge 'burn'.




The lovely Vulcan woman paced around the room, her agitation barely held in check. An attendant finally arrived to lead her to the critical care unit. T'Pol's beloved husband had fallen prey to a virulent infection. The virus struck on Jupiter station, bringing down five people the first day and ten the next. Trip was on the station running a proto-type engine test when he fell violently ill.


The medical staff did an immediate lock down. Every once in a blue moon some mutant bug managed to confound the decontamination procedures. The doctors, using the blood of victims, quickly developed a serum to inoculate the remainder of the station. Unfortunately, they were unable to help those already infected. An extremely high fever, that so far they could not control, caused the first two deaths.


T'Pol left her three children on Earth and headed for the station as soon as she was inoculated and passed the required twenty four hour quarantine time. She was grateful that she arrived when she did. T'Pol was able to speak to her husband before the fever drove him into delirium.


"Darlin', are you really here?" Trip asked. Although he was swathed in cooling blankets, sweat soaked his body.


"Yes husband, I came as soon as I could. Your children send their love and ask that you strive to fight this virus with all your strength."  As she took her mate's hand, a frown creased her brow at the heat radiating from him.


Trip was panting, barely able to speak, "Take care of them, T'Pol. Tell you." That was all he could manage before lapsing into unconsciousness. An alarm sounded and medical staff rushed to his side.


T'Pol felt a knot burning in her chest as she watched them work on the man she cherished with every fiber of her being. The anxious Vulcan clung to her husband's hand, refusing to release it as the medics tried to push her aside.


The doctor shined a light in his eye and called to Trip, "Captain Tucker, can you hear me?"




T'Pol forced a calm she was not feeling and tried to enter a meditative state. It took longer than usual but she finally entered her white space. Trip was there, stretched out on the floor of their personal sanctuary. T'Pol knelt by his side taking hold of his hand. T'Pol noticed she was wearing a long flowing soft yellow dress.


"If you had a set of wings, you'd look just like an angel my Grandma told me about once." Trip's voice was faint. He noticed that his wife's hand felt cool in his; that was a first.


"Conserve your strength Trip, the choice of attire is apparently yours. Although I am confused as to why you are wearing your gardening clothes."


Trip looked down and saw he was wearing faded jeans, sneakers and a ragged T-shirt.


The ill man gave a small strained chuckle, "I guess my sub-conscious wants me to die in comfortable cloths."


"You will not die. I will not allow it. You must continue, for your children and for me."


"Sweetheart, I'll do my best..." Suddenly Trip could feel himself being pulled away from his wife. He saw T'Pol stand and reach toward him. As she grew smaller, a whirl wind engulfed her causing her hair and dress to swirl around her.


T'Pol cried out as she lost contact with her husband's mind.


Trip reached for her in a panic, "T'Pol, don't leave me, I need your help to fight." As she disappeared from his sight, his wife became a yellow glow, like a small sun.


T'Pol was suddenly back in the critical care unit. She could sense nothing from her husband.




Trip found himself on his hands and knees in the sand. He ached all over and felt as if his skin was on fire.


"Get up Trip, if you ever want to see your wife and children again."


The anguished man looked up into a familiar face. "Lizzie? Is that you?"


"Yes Trip, now get to your feet and start moving."


Trip rolled over onto his back and lay in the sand. "I can't, too tired, I'm sick Lizzie." He noticed that his sister was holding something and he strained to see what it was. "What do you have there?"


Elizabeth looked at the bundle she was holding and pulled the blanket aside. "Oh this, this is Cyrus. You never did tell T'Pol that you wanted to name him after our great granddaddy did you?"


With great effort Trip pulled himself to his knees. He looked in amazement at the face of a beautiful baby boy. "We lost him before I ever mentioned it. I could never bring myself to tell her after." Trip reached a trembling hand toward the baby.


Before he touched the child, Lizzie snatched him away. "No! We don't want you here. Get up. You couldn't bother to save us and now you aren't even going to try to get home?"


He dropped his head down to his chest. "I can't," Trip said looking up, barely able to breathe. Suddenly Lizzie and the baby transformed into the figure of Jonathan Archer.


"I don't know why I called you my best friend. You're so pathetic you won't ever try to save yourself. All your big talk about how you love your family."


Tucker pulled himself to his feet with great effort, "What can I do, Jon? I don't know how to get home."


"You know," Archer said, looking at the horizon.


Trip turned his head looking at the yellow glow in the distance, "Toward the sun, I'm supposed to go toward the sun."


With a smirk Archer said, "You got it Ace, now get your sorry ass moving. You have a long way to go and I'm laying odds that you won't make it."




The doctor walked up to Trip's bed addressing T'Pol, "Your husband's fever is dangerously high. We are doing all we can to bring it under control, but if it doesn't break in the next hour or so, I'm afraid he will not survive."


T'Pol's habitual reserve served her well, "Have any more of the original fifteen patients died?"


"Yes ma'am, four more, for a total of six. We're doing everything we can for Captain Tucker; your husband is a fighter. We need to hope for the best."


"If it is at all possible, I know my husband will come back to me." T'Pol replied still holding her mate's hand.




Trip walked in agony, barely able to put one foot in front of the other. He could tell that he was getting closer to his destination because he was getting hotter by the minute. Still he knew in his heart that he must go toward the sun. Stumbling Trip fell to his knees, he was unsure if he could get up again.


"I knew you were never worthy of her. A woman like that deserves the best."


The exhausted man looked up, "Malcolm?"


"I should have taken her away from you, those would be my children. Then they could have a father they were proud of, not one that is too weak to make the effort to come back to them."


"I'm trying, Malcolm. Help me, please."


"Help you," Reed laughed. "Why on earth would I help you?"


Pride and anger gave Trip a last little reserve of strength. He used it to regain his feet. Moving forward the feverish man looked at the image of Malcolm Reed as it slowly disappeared.


"They are proud of me, you son-of-a-bitch, and I will get home."


Trip staggered forward, knowing he had little left to give. As he neared his destination the heat became unbearable. His very clothing seemed to burn his skin. Trip began tearing at his T-shirt to get it away from him. Looking down he could see his chest and hands start to blister. Crying out in pain, Trip looked up and saw Jonathan Archer and their Andorian friend, Shran, standing in front of a yellow glowing portal radiating an intense heat.


"Jon, Shran help me, please."


"Look at him struggle Pink-skin, was he always this stupid?"


"I guess so Shran, I never really noticed it until now. I bet you a bottle of Andorian ale that he doesn't make it."


Trip knew he was going to die now. His body was burning it's self up and there was no one to help. Glancing at the portal radiating a near blinding light, Trip caught a glimpse of someone floating in the horizon of light. He now knew that his salvation lay in that light.


Turning his back on the two men still taunting him, Trip crawled into the portal. His flesh began to sear from the bones and Trip cried out in agony. Suddenly a hand grabbed his and a cool healing began to spread over his abused body. The haggard engineer sensed he was being pulled away from the heat and into a cooling embrace. A beautiful figure in a flowing yellow dress was healing his charred skin and returning life to his devastated body.


Trip realized who held him in an embrace, "T'Pol."


"I have you Trip; you are once again in the white space with me. I feared I had lost you forever, but you have returned to me. You must sleep now; I am holding your hand in sickbay and will be with you when you awaken. Your fever crested before permanent damage was done. Rest and recover my beloved."


Trip closed his eyes and muttered, "I told those bastards I'd make it home."




As his eyes slowly opened, Trip was confused about were he was. He knew he was in a bio-bed with an IV line running to the back of his hand; more importantly though was the fact that his beautiful wife was holding the other one. Her wonderful brown doe eyes were looking at him with concern. He began to remember about the virus.


"How long have I been out of it?"


T'Pol reached out to push his hair back from his forehead, "You have been ill for four days, however your fever broke yesterday and you have been asleep for eighteen hours."


Trip tried to raise his hand and realized that he was as weak as a kitten.


"How are the others?"


"Seven are dead and five are recovering. Three are still critical." T'Pol offered her husband a small sip of water for his parched throat.


"Did I imagine us in the white space together?"


Touching his cheek she replied, "No, we were there just before you fell into delirium. I lost contact with your mind after that. Then just before your fever broke I was meditating and felt you calling to me again. I was able to grab on to your essence and keep you with me. Trip, do you have any idea if there was significance to my wearing a yellow dress?"


Trip gave a weak chuckle, "When I was a little boy, Grandma Theresa used to tell me that I had an angel that watched over me. She described her as this beautiful woman in a flowing yellow gown. Anytime I was scared, she told me to look toward the sky. If the sun was shining on me, I would know my angel was guarding me. It was just a silly thing you tell a child, but since I fell in love with you, I've always thought of you as my angel."


T'Pol leaned over and gave her husband a light kiss. "Rest now, the children are anxious for news. I will go call them and then return shortly."


Trip called to her as she reached the door and spoke quietly, "T'Pol, I can't remember exactly what I experienced when I was delirious, but I do know it was very bad. I want you to know that you gave me the strength I needed to claw my way out of that personal hell."






The idea for this story is very good, an isolated population can be vulnerable to a viris.  And descriptions of the dilirium seemed realistic.  A tense, exciting story.  But I was disconcerted by the harsh treatment of Trip by those close to him, especially Lizzie, Malcolm, and Jon.  I would think they would be kinder, encouraging rather than belittling.  They could be insistant that he fight for his life, challenging him to live, but in a nicer way.    


Take it from someone who knows delirium has no logic, and can go beyond ANY reality you might be aware of. My family still tortures me because of some ravings that I had no control over. You did that really well. my question is where the heck was Phlox? After all that's his specialty and Trip is his favorite and most active patient.


I think your description of his fever and halucinations was very well done, I was worried for Trip reading this! Thankfully he had his personal angel to guard him:) Very good story!


The situation you've set up here is perfectly plausible; viruses can seem to come out of nowhere and strike hard.  After Trip met his sister, I have to admit that I wondered what happened to Archer.  When did he die?  And then Malcolm showed up.  At that point, I figured Trip was just using his friends for motivation. 

I liked the fact that Trip had to fight his way back from the brink.  You also did a very nice job of showing the close union between Trip and T'Pol.  I can believe that Trip would see T'Pol as his angel. 

Bluetiger, as always, your story is terrific!


What a splendid surprise! Another of your stories! And once again the light and all the same powerful flowing of your writing made me quiet and glad. Thanks!:D


Alelou, about the people taunting him, my thought was that for Trip hell would be the people he loved and counted on turning their backs on him.


You could feel the tension in this fic. Loved how love guided Trip home.

BTW, the other comment below, is from a different story I commented once.


Very nice story.  Great ending.


I wonder if Trip is going to feel unaccountably hostile towards Archer and Malcolm now?  Funny how his own subconscious turns them into taunters.  Hey, whatever works!  Glad he's okay. :)

This is such a sweet and funny story, where you really get a feeling of home.I can almost smell the bacon.*wink* because they are only working in Firefox.;)
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