"Reflecting to You"
Disclaimer: None of its mine. I’m just a sad little fangirl that spends her days writing fanfic and watching taped episodes of my favorite shows. :(
Description: A different ending to In a Mirror Darkly, Part I, results in the Mirror Universe T'Pol ending up on our universe's Enterprise when the relationship between Trip and T'Pol is at a breaking point. (later becomes a cross-over with ST:TOS, Spoilers: The Tholian Web)
A/N: This chapter's not as long as usual, but given how insanely busy I've become it's taking me longer to write the scenes (for lack of free time), so I decided to post what little I had for those following this story.
"Here's the star chart you asked for with Miss Mu'Pol's revisions, Commander," Lieutenant Sulu reported as he dutifully handed over the yellow diskette to the science officer.
Commander Spock accepted the diskette but his attention was primarily focused on Mu'Pol. He had been exposed to many Vulcans in his life, but this female was unlike any he had ever encountered. Despite her purebred Vulcan ancestry, she was more human than any Vulcan he'd ever known, though he was certain she would be offended if he told her so. That in itself was telling.
Emotions sprang from her like a prism of colors when sunlight hit a crystal. His human crewmates might consider her reserved by their standards, a little emotive by Vulcan standards, but to Spock she was screaming without words.
Such as now. Mu'Pol was standing beside him at the bridge's science station, assisting him in compiling a tactical picture of the mirror universe environment they were about to enter. Her wariness was obvious, and when Mister Sulu approached them Mu'Pol tensed and eyed the human watchfully. She distrusted them. With that distrust came the requisite cocktail of fear, hatred, anger, and nervousness.
Mu'Pol returned her eyes to Spock after Sulu's departure and even there Spock saw caution. She did not fear him as she did the humans, but she did not absolve him of wrongs she imagined he may do. This was the Vulcan race in the grip of slavery.
It was fascinating and disconcerting all at once.
"If you will review this chart with me and make any further additions or corrections," he said and put the diskette in the computer slot. It whirled and the star chart appeared on the screen above the science station. Mu'Pol stepped closer to examine it more closely.
Taken with neutrality, the star chart produced from Mu'Pol's reports was intriguing. The systems and stars were the same as the ones Spock knew, but the political lines of jagged war zones were utterly unfamiliar. It was stark evidence that, for all the impact they produced on one another, beings were ultimately inconsequential to the cosmos itself.
But it was the beings that concerned them, and therefore the lines they invisibly etched between the stars that Spock and Mu'Pol studied were significant.
Mu'Pol frowned slightly. "The area of Terran rule in Sector Thirty-Seven has been underestimated. This star system," she reached up and pointed, "should be included in the Empire."
Spock notated the required change on the star chart.
Together, they updated the first revised star chart with quiet efficiency. When put to a task, at least, Mu'Pol became very Vulcan. With that observation Spock concluded that it was the interaction with other sentient beings in her universe that brought out the unVulcanness in Mu'Pol, and that it was not an inherent difference in the Vulcans of her universe. If Mu'Pol was representative, the environment forced long-repressed emotions to the surface.
When the star chart was ready for another revision, Spock passed the diskette back to Sulu then he bent over his station to check on some of his perpetually and simultaneously running projects. As he did so, he also addressed another matter with Mu'Pol.
"Where will we find the greatest concentration of rebel fighters we may contact when we arrive in your universe? We will need to gather the most recent information about the current status of the Terran oppressors."
Instead of an answer, Spock received silence. When he lifted a brow and looked toward Mu'Pol, he found her casting her eyes furtively around the bridge. The bridge of the Enterprise, full of humans.
Finally, Mu'Pol returned her eyes to Spock. They glittered fiercely. "No Vulcan would dare speak of the rebel strongholds where a human might hear."
Spock considered that quietly. He straightened, folded his hands behind his back, and said, "Given the nature of your background with your manner of humans, your zealous suspicious is understandable; however, I can assure you that such suspicion is unwarranted among this crew."
Still, it did not sit well with her. She balked and shot a look toward Uhura, for no other reason than that she was the human most easily in Mu'Pol's line of sight. When Mu'Pol spoke again, it was in a very low voice and her eyes were still locked on the communications officer, though her words were clearly meant for Spock. "How truly can a Vulcan ever trust a human?"
Cynicism in a Vulcan… an interesting departure.
"You have been a guest aboard Captain Archer's ship for some time now; he has a Vulcan serving under his command. Do you believe Commander T'Pol distrusts her human crewmates?" It was an honest question. Spock had only his impressions from meeting the command staff of the early Enterprise by which to judge; perhaps Commander T'Pol came from a period in history when Vulcans didn't trust humans. History was not always completely accurate, after all.
Mu'Pol flinched. "Commander T'Pol is… abnormal."
That was not the answer Spock had expected. It would also be what a human would call 'the pot calling the kettle black.' "Indeed. In what way?"
Mu'Pol intellectually shied from him. "Her… ties to," she stopped as though changing words mid-sentence, "the crew… they have rendered her a poor basis for comparison."
That alluded to a much more comprehensive answer, but Mu'Pol was clearly resistant to divulging it. Spock put aside his curiosity to address her concerns. "Vulcan and Earth have been on friendly terms for well over one hundred years. While the cultural and social barriers may remain and no doubt always will, our peoples have found a means by which to bridge the gap of our differences. The crew of this ship has proven itself valorous and trustworthy. I will speak to their integrity and assure you they have no ill-will toward the Vulcan race. Their wish to help is genuine."
Mu'Pol was regarding Spock pensively. "You were not forced into service with the humans, were you?"
That raised an eyebrow. "No. It was a choice I made for myself at a young age. One that I will agree has been trying at times, but ultimately rewarding."
Mu'Pol edged closer to him, whether to be nearer to Vulcan or farther from human Spock couldn't discern. They were not necessarily mutually exclusive. "The humans in this universe," Mu'Pol said haltingly, "Captain Archer and his crew, what I have seen so far of Captain Kirk's crew… they may be gentler than the humans where I am from, but I would not call them less emotional."
"Nor would I," Spock concurred.
Mu'Pol seemed marginally eased by his agreement with her. "The wild is still a part of them. I cannot grasp how a Vulcan could wish to live and work alongside them."
She was world-wise and naïve all at once, depending on the angle of perspective. Spock cocked his head and indulged in the off-topic conversation with greater interest. "In your time aboard Captain Archer's ship, you have found nothing to explain to you why a Vulcan might choose such a co-existence with humanity?"
That silenced Mu'Pol a moment. "I have seen virtue. I have seen human compassion that I never witnessed in my universe. I have seen…" Mu'Pol stopped and almost shook her head. "No matter the qualities, the cumulative feral characteristics would surely be overwhelming in time." Mu'Pol looked around the bridge at the collection of humans. At length, she looked back at Spock. Her next words were almost accusatory and almost despairing. "They are intense in everything they do."
"They live so short a time, it would be illogical for them to do otherwise," Spock replied.
Mu'Pol blinked. Obviously, she had never thought of such an explanation for human behavior. But then, Spock had had far more cause and reason to dissect human nature and try to come to terms with their passionate characteristics.
After a moment, Mu'Pol said in a very soft voice, "The central point of organization for the rebellion is on Vulcan. An underground Vulcan resistance group known as the Syrrannites command the largest factions of rebels and coordinate with many of the allied rebel groups among the other non-human species. It is from the Syrrannites that most intelligence on the state and objectives of the rebellion comes."
"They would have the most comprehensive information on the evolution of events since your departure?"
"Then contact with them will be our primary objective."
While her nod indicated agreement, Mu'Pol's next words were in the tone of discouragement. "They will not respond to a communiqué from a Terran ship. Any attempted contact by either Enterprise," she thought a moment, "especially Captain Archer's Enterprise, will go unanswered."
"Certainly there must be a way for rebel spies aboard human ships to send messages to these Syrrannites on the planet surface."
"Certainly… but secret codes are required to successfully initiate contact with the rebel leaders, and they are changed regularly for security reasons. The codes I knew are doubtless obsolete by now."
Spock conceded with a cant of his head. It was an imminently logical conclusion. "We must also consider the fact that both ships will be unwelcome sights on planet Vulcan, if your estimation of Vulcan-humans relations is correct."
"It is, and they won't be."
While the two Vulcans were studying the star chart in silence and running through the many issues to take into consideration, the turbolift door behind them swished open. As ever, the ship's captain arrived with a commanding stride or, as Doctor McCoy called it, a confident 'strut'.
"Commander Spock," Kirk spoke. From his tone, the inflection in his voice, Spock knew without looking that his captain was approaching the science station for an update. Spock turned to face the direction of the turbolift, as did Mu'Pol, to find both Enterprise captains headed their way. Kirk was intent on his destination while Archer had considerably slowed his pace to look around the bridge in open curiosity and wonder. To be fair, the rest of the bridge crew were sending equally curious, though dutifully veiled, looks at the visiting captain.
"What have you got?" Kirk asked briskly when he'd come to stop before his first officer. Archer was only a step behind and Spock noted that the man's eyes went to Mu'Pol and spoke. Mu'Pol might not have the finer points of human nonverbal communication down, but Spock had come to equate such a look to equal 'are you all right?'
A glance at Mu'Pol revealed the woman discomfited by the look and she turned to face the star chart pointedly. She either resented the human body language or recognized the intention of communication but did not know the language.
The first officer turned his attention to his captain's question. "We have been creating a strategic map of the universe from which to plan our operations in Mu'Pol's universe."
"And?" Kirk asked as he stepped closer to his first officer's side to peer at the present map.
"We will need assistance by the inhabitants of this alternate universe to effectively defeat the Defiant that is terrorizing the galaxy. Our most immediate problem will be making contact with the rebel forces. Starfleet vessels and personnel are not well-received in this universe."
"I imagine not," Kirk snorted, sharp tactical eyes locked on the map. Archer's curious gaze had drifted to the map as well, and Spock could see the settling of the tactician's persona overtake him.
"The leaders of the rebellion are a group of Vulcans known as the Syrrannites."
Archer's eyes left the map quickly to land on Spock.
Even with his back turned to the other man, Kirk sensed the shift in his visitor's energy. "You know of them?" Kirk asked as he turned to regard Archer.
"We ran into them not too long ago."
Kirk quirked an eyebrow in a fair imitation of a Vulcan. "Rebel Vulcans in your time?"
"Anarchists of a sort, but not the bad guys as it turned out," Archer answered.
Spock added, "The Syrrannites were the point of reform for a Vulcan government that had lost sight of the true message and intent of Surak."
Kirk smirked. "Looks like I need to brush up on my Vulcan history." He leaned in closer to study the map. "So, if we can't make direct contact with them thanks to our Starfleet affiliation, we'll have to figure out some other way to reach them."
Mu'Pol nodded at the map. "My recommendation would be to arrive in my derivation near the the Andorian outpost of Toralor. We may likely find allies there who can assist us in reaching the Syrrannites."
"Will the Andorians help?" Archer asked skeptically.
"Andoria is one of Vulcan's closest allies."
Archer's eyebrows climbed. "Really? Wow, here you can barely get the two species to talk to each other without phaser fire breaking out."
Mu'Pol looked nonplussed. "In my universe, we have a common enemy."
"Humans," Archer answered glumly, then sighed. "All right, Andorian allies it is."
"Will this Toralor be heavily guarded?" Kirk asked.
Mu'Pol paused. "I cannot speak to how conditions may have changed since my absence, but when I left it was a nearly abandoned world. Strategically of little use to the Terran Empire since the Empire already has firm control over Andoria and Vulcan themselves, inhospitable to human life, with no useful resources to tempt human intervention. The Andorians on Toralor barely keep themselves alive, but it is one of the few places Andorians are capable of living free… such an existence as it is."
Spock turned to Kirk. "Captain… we may want to consider using a predominantly non-human contact team to make the initial contact with the Syrrannites."
Kirk cocked his head in silent question.
"Humans are obviously an unwelcome presence in this universe. I would suggest that myself, Commander T'Pol, and Mu'Pol be among the team sent to speak with the Syrrannites."
"And Commander Tucker," Mu'Pol added.
All eyes turned to her. Archer frowned. "Trip? Why him?"
Mu'Pol looked reluctant to answer at first, then said, "His sincere and blatant 'attachment' to Commander T'Pol, if the Syrrannites are allowed to witness such, will greatly increase the chances our story will be believed." Mu'Pol looked directly at Archer. "Such unions are unheard of in my universe; nothing could speak to a more truly disparate world than their… affection."
Kirk cast a sidelong glance at Archer that was obviously full of questions. Archer only considered Mu'Pol's rationale stoically then nodded. "All right."
Mu'Pol looked to Kirk next, her expression momentarily wary. "Captain Kirk, have you any artisans among your crew?"
Kirk blinked. "Artisans?"
"I know Lieutenant Sulu dabbles a bit in the arts, a few others perhaps. Why?"
"Because there are some cosmetic alterations to both ships that will need to be made if you intend to masquerade them as Empire ships."
Kirk and Archer conferred silently with each other using an apprehensive look. "I think we can come up with enough people to get the job done. How much 'alteration' are we looking at here?"
"Not a great deal."
Kirk turned to Uhura. "Lieutenant Uhura, put out a ship-wide call for anyone with experience in painting, particularly exterior hull painting." Kirk mused aloud, "Looks like we have some time to kill before Mister Seven's finished with his work anyway."
The turbolift doors opened and Archer, the first to see the arrival, muttered, "Or maybe not."
Mister Seven strode onto the bridge with Scotty on his heels, looking like a grouchy father whose daughter had been violated. "The installation is complete, Captain," Seven announced.
Kirk looked to his chief engineer. "Scotty?"
"Don't ask me how the bloody thing works, sir, but it looks like it's up and running whenever you're ready."
"First, new paint. In the meantime," he turned to Spock, "put that map on a diskette for me. Captain Archer, if you and your command staff would join me in the conference room, we can begin to formulate our plan of attack. Miss Mu'Pol, I'd appreciate your attendance as well."
Mu'Pol nodded. "Of course."
As the command crew of headed for the turbolift, Archer pulled out his communicator to contact his command staff on Enterprise, but before activating it he leaned into Mu'Pol and asked, "Just what kind of paint job are we talking about?"
Spock turned an ear to the answer given (knowing his own captain would be concerned about the appearance of his ship) and heard the slightest hint of amusement in Mu'Pol's voice. "The Terran Empire symbol is sufficiently powerful in appearance."
Spock would have to meditate on all he had observed today… but later. Now, they had a Starfleet ship's destruction to plan.
To Be Continued…
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Continue to Chapter 25