Author’s Note: Sorry it took so long to get this out (I started it back in April) but real life interfered, and I forgot about this story for a few months. I hope T’Pol doesn’t sound too out of character, I don’t hear her voice in my head as well as Trip’s… ;) Any mistakes are mine, I submitted this unbetaed since I am going this weekend to Minnesota for my cousin’s wedding and wanted to get this up before I left. Hopefully I will have time to write on the trip on my laptop so maybe I’ll have something else next week.
Dedicated to my next-door neighbor, Glenna, who lost her fight with cancer on June 1, 2005. She was a divorced mother who raised 7 happy, healthy, wonderful kids to adulthood by herself, and was one of the kindest, most loving and giving people I’ve ever known. Rest in peace. We’ll all miss you. 6-7-05
T’Pol sighed softly to herself. Trip had left for his shift 10 minutes before. She had not meditated the night before, but then she had been otherwise occupied with a certain blue-eyed engineer for much of the night. Her feelings were rising to the surface again, making her wish that she could meditate, but her own shift would be starting soon. Trip had noticed before he left and asked what was wrong, but she hadn’t wanted to talk to him about it yet, not without coming to some measure of peace in her own mind first. He’d looked hurt for a brief second, then seemed to sense her need and just nodded.
She had decided to do something most, if not all, of her people would have considered illogical: she decided to relate recent events in a letter to her now deceased mother. Relating the events was logical, it was the latter part she was certain they would find illogical. She thought that perhaps it would help her get through this uncertainty enough to reassure her t’hai’la that she truly did want to be with him, and that her feelings had not just been induced by her trellium addiction, once she told him of the addiction, that is. She sat before her monitor, composing her thoughts for a few moments, then spoke.
I know that you would likely consider this to be a most illogical act, composing a letter to someone who cannot possibly read it because they have been dead for six months. Perhaps you are right, and I have spent too much time among these humans, but I need to say this. So please forgive me, mother, for my lapse.
It all started some time ago, mother. I did… a very illogical thing… while we were in the Expanse. I had been exposed to trellium-D and found myself experiencing emotions and unable to suppress them. While that may be forgiven, since I did not know at the time how the trellium would affect me, what I did next was completely illogical. I found myself wanting to experience the emotions more, especially those that were aroused by a certain human. I am certain that you know of whom I speak, since I later brought him home for you to meet. So I deliberately injected the trellium into my bloodstream, and became so addicted over time that I very nearly cost the lives of this crew and those on Earth with my actions. Ashamed, I asked our doctor to aid me in weaning me off the trellium. He succeeded before our mission in the Expanse was over, though it took some time, but his success came with a price: My neural pathways had been damaged and I could no longer fully control my emotions. Especially around Commander Tucker.
But long before the doctor treated me for my addiction, I had learned that the Commander had feelings for me. He had been injured in an accident, and the captain ordered our doctor to create a clone of Commander Tucker, stating that Enterprise needed her chief engineer for the mission to succeed. I argued against what he was doing--the creation of a sentient life form for the sole purpose of harvesting tissue to repair the damage to Commander Tucker’s brain, in a procedure that we were not at all certain would work. I knew that the Commander would not have given permission for such an action to take place had he been able to do so. But he was in a coma and dying, and the Captain overrode my objections and ordered it to be done.
The clone apparently had the Commander’s memories, and Sim clearly demonstrated not once, but several times, during the course of his growth into adulthood that he had ‘feelings’ for me. When Sim confessed those feelings to me, he added that he had difficulty distinguishing whether they were actually his or if they were what Trip felt for me. He wanted me to tell him… and I could not. Instead I gave him a chaste kiss on the lips, a final farewell, for the sacrifice that he would be making shortly, since the doctor had informed us that Sim would die from the operation rather than live out the remainder of his brief life as we had originally believed.
As you know, the Commander survived the procedure, since he came with me to Vulcan many months later. Just a few weeks after the events with Sim, another… incident… occurred. I was still addicted to the trellium, mother, and I know that you would say it clouded my judgment and led to what occurred. I learned that he had given neuropressure to one of our crewmates. I know, mother, I should not have taught him the procedures in the first place. Nor should I have agreed to perform it on him, knowing how intimate an act it is for us, but…I needed him even before the trellium, mother.
I went and fixed the problems he had caused to the female MACO with his in expertise. And later when we had our regular session, he accused me of being jealous of her. Ridiculous, I thought and told him that I am a Vulcan, I do not get jealous. But since the addiction I had far greater access to my emotions… and he was right. I was jealous. Nor was it the first time I had been possessive with regards to him, now that I think back.
That night I mated with him, mother. You knew, I am certain, that the Commander meant more to me than just as the colleague I stated him to be when I introduced him to you. You were right. The morning after we mated, I told him that it was an exploration of human sexuality, nothing more. He suggested that we not mention it again, but pain shone in his eyes as he said it. I was determined not to let my emotions gain control of me again, and so I pushed him away. A mistake, I now realize.
We still worked together closely, but neither of us broached the forbidden subject. I found myself accepting his intrusion into my personal space as something normal; his touch, a comfort in the times when I lost my control, helped me regain my balance. Then we came across another ship, mother. Not just any ship, however: it was our ship. Battered, worn out, but it was Enterprise. And it was commanded by a man, a most improbable man, named Lorian. Our son, mother. Mine and Trip’s.
According to that ship’s crew, our Enterprise traveled through time into the past, with no way to return to the present. Captain Archer decided that, to preserve the timeline, the ship was to have no contact with Earth or Vulcan, and that they would continue the mission, altering it slightly in hopes of preventing the original Xindi attack on Earth. And then he threw out the rules of no fraternization since it would be necessary for us to hopefully accomplish the mission. Trip and I married on that Enterprise and the medical records indicate that we tried a number of times to conceive and carry a child to full term, but we were only successful once even with Phlox’s aid. I did not want to accept that man, who was 35 years older than I am, as my son, but the Commander greeted him with open arms and a smile, quite pleased to discover he and I had a son. I pointed out to him, quite logically, that just because we married in Lorian’s timeline that such an event would not necessarily follow in this timeline. I hurt him again, mother, with those words. He stalked out of sickbay, sending a parting shot about how I was the most stubborn woman on the ship at me.
The fate of our son and his ship remains a mystery to us, mother. They did not come out where we waited for them, but we simply do not know if they survived the attack. Trip, I think, holds out hope in his heart that they made it and simply ended up somewhere else. And I would like to believe that as well, as foolish and human as that may sound, mother, in spite of how I acted towards Lorian and the Commander during our brief time together.
We eventually succeeded in stopping the Xindi’s plan to destroy all life on Earth, as you know, and came limping back to Earth where the humans greeted us as heroes. You know what transpired on Vulcan, and my reasons for agreeing to marry Koss, in spite of my heart’s wishes. I wanted to be with Trip, and I believe from his reaction at the fire plains when I informed him of the impending marriage ceremony, that he desired a relationship with me as well, even if he did not express it in words. But my duty was to you, and I lost the one I needed.
You would have been amazed had you seen the Commander after we shipped out again. He was as cold and unfeeling at times as the humans so often accuse us of being. It took the events that led up to your death before our relationship thawed once more. And though I was freed from my unwanted and unasked for marriage, I had difficulty opening up to him and letting him into my life. Your death, the reorganization of the government, the Kir’Shara--all of these things overwhelmed me, and yet I pushed him away when he offered to help, and hurt him again. I did it unintentionally; I had told him I needed time to discover myself again, and he said he understood. I believed him. But I was blind and did not see the pain I had caused him.
My rejection led the Commander to transfer off of Enterprise. He denied such when I confronted him in his quarters before he left, and while some of his reasons may have had to do with other things, we both knew it was mostly because of me. He feared, mother, that he might make a mistake because he could not focus on his work while we danced around our true feelings for each other, and that his inattention might cause me harm… and he couldn’t live with himself if that had happened. So he left. Little did we know that a few short weeks later, we would once again be serving on the same vessel.
He went off to Columbia and succeeded where so many others had failed, getting the ship’s engines into proper working order and the ship out of space dock, months past its original projected launch date. And while he was stationed there, I discovered something I had never thought possible, mother. He appeared suddenly in my meditation space one night, and yet seemed quite insistent that it was his daydream when I told him to leave. The exchange was brief and quickly broken, but as I sat in my quarters on Enterprise before my meditation candle, I knew in my heart how it was possible for him to be there. I tried to deny the possibility to myself, but I knew I would have to speak to him.
As I said, he returned to Enterprise not too long afterwards, in a rather spectacular fashion. After rescuing our doctor from the Klingons, he remained behind to help with our repairs, even as Columbia left to begin their own explorations. I tried to talk to him during this time, asking him if he was all right and sleeping well, trying to determine if he was aware of what had occurred while I meditated not too many days before. He said he was fine, no problems, but I think we both knew it was a lie.
I realize now, mother, that he had wanted me, for once, to tell him exactly how I…felt…for him. But I did not. We continued to repair the damage caused during his return to Enterprise. We were only a few short days away from when he would leave again, and still I had not discussed our situation with him. I could not find a way to bring it up, since he avoided me as much as possible, and I think I was trying to put off the inevitable.
Then the captain was presented with a ‘gift’ of three Orion women. Bringing them on board was a mistake, and had I been asked my opinion, I would have informed the captain so. But he had already made his decision that they would be on our ship when he told me of the nature of the gift he was presented. The captain was not interested in hearing my view on the matter. Had I realized the extent of chaos that would ensue from their presence on board, I would have sent them back out on a shuttlepod and returned them to Harrad Sar in an instant.
The Orions, mother, sell their women as slaves, although Harrad Sar would later claim that it is the men who are enslaved, not the women. The pheromones the Orion women released effected nearly everyone on board. The women, for the most part, had tension headaches. The men, on the other hand, were driven by their hormones. This led to a number of fights among the crew over the three women. Even Dr. Phlox found himself extremely tired and in need of his sleep cycle. He used stimulants to keep himself functioning during the incident. But, mother, not everyone was effected. I was not, because of my physiology. And neither was Commander Tucker.
The pheromones’ inability to effect him perplexed not only Trip, but also the Captain and Phlox, who wanted to run more scans to determine the reason why. Trip expressed his frustration and confusion to me over the situation later in Engineering. And then, mother, I had to ‘come clean’ as the humans say. I informed him of the bond we share, and that it was apparently due to that that he was now immune to the Orion women. His response was not entirely unexpected, considering how I had treated him the past few months.
He expressed his wish to be rid of the bond, mother. In a rather nasty tone of voice. I was hurt, and I know that he saw it for an instant in my eyes before I regained my control. I told him that we would need a Vulcan priest to break the bond, using a tone of voice reminiscent of when I first joined Enterprise. He agreed, then stormed out of Engineering, grabbing a PADD with a list of repairs on it as he went, telling me that he needed to report to the captain how much of a setback Kelby’s damage was to the repairs we had been doing. I knew that he had already reported on the damage and given the repair estimate to the captain earlier. I watched him intently as he stomped out of the room, aching inside with a feeling I had not experienced since my trellium addiction. But I let him go, mother. I knew that he needed time to think about what I had said.
I remained in Engineering and oversaw the junior officers and crewmen in getting the essential systems which Kelby had damaged repaired once more, even as I could feel his anger and hurt and even guilt at a distance. After a few hours to let him ‘cool off,’ I sought him out. I knew where he was. Our bond was strong enough that I could home in on him, and I wondered briefly if he could sense me as easily. Catching him in one of the corridors, I tried to get him to look at me as we discussed the completed repairs and what still needed done.
My voice wavered as I spoke to him; my emotional control was in tatters. Each time he caught my glance, he would look away quickly. My chance to speak to him was fast evaporating… I knew without a doubt that he would walk off and leave me there if I did not speak up soon, and would quite probably avoid me unless it was absolutely necessary until it was time for him to report back to Columbia. As I argued with myself over whether what I wanted to say was appropriate for a Vulcan or not, he did as I feared: he started to leave. My one chance was now.
“Trip.” I called out to him. He heard me, I know he did, I saw him pause before continuing on his way. I repeated more strongly, “Trip!” Still he stubbornly refused to acknowledge me. Determined now, I strode towards him, saying loudly, “TRIP!” and in a decidedly un-Vulcanlike manner, mother, I took hold of his arm as he started to turn, pulling him towards me, while my other hand slid into his silky soft hair. I leaned forward and gave him a kiss, trying to convey all my love and desire for him in that one touch.
When I pulled away slightly, I saw the dazed look on his face, and I spoke more softly this time, never letting go of this human that had control over my heart. “I do not wish the bond to be broken. I care deeply for you. And I wish to spend my life with you. Please stay on Enterprise.” I think he was stunned, perhaps due to the bond transmitting my very real love to him through our kiss--yes, mother, here in this letter, I will admit what I feel for him, though he knows that I am unlikely to ever say that word aloud.
His mouth had dropped open, and he swallowed hard before asking the question that had been plaguing him ever since I had told him about the bond. “How do I know that this is real? And not another dream? How do I know that I’m not going to wake up and this will all just be some cruel joke my subconscious is playin’ on me?” I heard the hope in his voice for the first time that day, hope that maybe, just maybe, there might be a future for us together.
I was not certain how to respond and concentrated, knowing that my answer could be my salvation or could cause a rift between us that might never be healed. Finally, I gave the only answer I could. “Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” he replied uncertainly.
I stroked his cheek, feeling the heady rush just the touch of his skin on mine caused through our bond. “Then believe me when I tell you that this is real, not a dream.”
“But…” he started to answer. I set my finger on his sweet lips lightly, quelling his protest.
“Believe me, t’hai’la,” I repeated, then I kissed him once more, again sending all my love, affection and desire for him as my mate through our bond.
He broke the kiss this time, needing air, and stared deep into my eyes. Hope gleamed on his face as he searched, and what he saw clearly pleased him, for he gave me a genuine smile and his own eyes sparkled with his love for me. He suggested, since he had not had a break from the repairs all day, that perhaps we should continue the discussion somewhere else for the next hour or so.
The corners of my lips lifted upwards briefly as I nodded in agreement, mother. I led him away to my quarters, as they were closer than his. And then we had a very…productive…discussion, which left both of us quite satisfied.
4.7 hours later, mother, we managed to finally rid ourselves of those troublesome Orion women, and the male crewmembers have been decidedly subdued since they left. I have observed that the majority refuse to meet any of their female crewmates’ eyes for any significant length of time without blushing uncontrollably. The Captain asked Trip how he was able to resist their pheromones, but the Commander sidestepped the question, claiming that he was too busy with the repairs to even notice them. Captain Archer does not believe this, but both of us wish to keep the bond to ourselves for as long as possible.
We did not do much conversing during his break nor later that evening, last evening. Both of us know that we have issues to work out, and that is why I chose to do this illogical action of writing to you mother, even though you cannot read it. I am afraid that I will lose him when he learns of my addiction. He is an observant man, he will realize that I was an addict when I seduced him that night in my quarters, and I am afraid he will consider what I feel for him as nothing more than a drug-induced love. I know that it is illogical to fear his reaction, mother, but I cannot help it. I need him, more than I have ever needed anyone in my life, and I cannot bear the thought that I might lose him.
One of the things we did discuss when we were not otherwise occupied was that we would have to have a more in-depth discussion about our bond. Trip is curious about it, and he is worried that he might find himself in my meditation space while he’s trying to do some critical repairs just because he happens to think of me. I offered to help him learn to shield his thoughts from me to allay that worry at least. But telling him of my addiction is the first true test, I think, of the strength of our bond. If he rejects me, rejects what we share together… No. I cannot think that he will do that. I must “think positively” as the humans say. This will be just the first bump on the path we have chosen to travel together, and it is unlikely to be the last.
I do regard you with deep affection, mother, even though you are now gone, and hope that you can forgive this letter from your daughter.
She leaned back against her desk chair, stating “Computer, end message,” as she did so. Her emotions were still conflicted, she still needed to meditate, her shift would start in 15 minutes and yet she did feel more at peace with herself. Perhaps there is some logic to this after all, she thought. She had made her decision during the course of the letter to her mother, and fully intended to tell Trip, even if it meant he rejected her. He deserved all the facts. Tonight, she decided, as she stood to leave for her shift. Tonight I will tell him, when he comes over.
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