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"Reflecting to You"
By MissAnnThropic

Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: None of its mine. Im 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)


Chapter 25

It was simulated ship's night on the NX Enterprise, and Captain Archer fully expected to be the only person on alpha shift still awake. After the senior staff meetings of both ships (which had taken hours) concluded and those gathered had been dismissed, Archer had invited Captain Kirk aboard the NX Enterprise for a reciprocal tour of the NX vessel as the artisans worked on the disguise markings for both ships' hulls. Archer preferred not to think about that.

The tour of Archer's ship had been an experience wrought between pride and rueful for the smaller ship's captain. Archer was proud of his ship, but it was an antiquity in Kirk's eyes (Kirk had even admitted to visiting an NX class ship-turned-museum as a child). There was no question that Kirk took no small amount of delight in the NX Enterprise, even if it was an antique to him. His words were only complimentary, making it hard for Archer to feel his tough ship was in any way inadequate. In fact, Archer found himself swelling with pride and contentment with his stout little ship. Kirk had wanted to see it all, even captain's quarters and the resident hound.

In the time it took to satisfy Kirk's curiosity about the NX Enterprise, Archer had decided that he definitely liked James T. Kirk. If he was the future of Starfleet, Earth and its allies had a bright tomorrow to look forward to.

Kirk had only transported back to his own ship a few moments ago, and Archer meant to grab a quick snack and hit the sack. It was late and the coming days promised to be challenging.

Archer was taken aback when he strolled into the mess hall and found a lone figure sitting in the dark.

It didn't take more than a second for Archer to recognize him. Trip Tucker was alone, facing the viewport as though staring out the window, appearing to be either lost in thought or daydreaming.

"Trip?"

No response.

Frowning, Archer moved toward his old friend. When he came around to stand in front of the engineer, he found the younger man's eyes softly closed. He was absolutely still, which was utterly abnormal for a man like Trip.

"Trip? You all right?"

When that received no reaction, Archer leaned forward and touched Trip's shoulder in concern. Trip startled and opened his eyes. "Captain…?"

"Fall asleep in your chair?" Archer tried to tease, mostly to mask the worry at his friend's continued strange behavior since the death of his daughter.

Trip cocked his head, his expression completely lacking the spark and shift of humor it should have had. Without that dash of amusement, Trip's countenance looked disconcertingly Vulcan.

Archer cleared his throat. "What were you doing sitting here alone in the dark?"

Trip looked down at the tabletop and answered, "T'Pol's meditating."

Archer wasn't sure how that was supposed to have answered his question. He sat down across from Trip and studied him in the dim lighting. Trip looked up and the question must have been evident on the captain's face, because Trip explained further. "T'Pol hasn't been able to meditate properly, because of me, since Elizabeth died."

"You mean because of the bond?" Archer prompted, noting with a little twinge of guilt that Trip's new demeanor made him much more forthcoming. Archer wasn't going to pass up the chance to understand his friend's suffering better… if he understood, maybe he could help.

Trip nodded. "Now that I've been emotionally neutered, she can meditate again without being afraid of losing her mind."

Archer pursed his lips. "That tells me what T'Pol's doing at the moment, but what were you doing just now?"

"Meditating with her."

Archer shook his head in confusion. T'Pol, he presumed, was in her quarters. Trip was in the mess hall.

"I'm there with her in my head… or her head… I'm not really sure whose head. Maybe our head. It's hard to explain."

"I'll bet." Archer paused and considered his next words. "Trip… are you sure this 'neutering' Mu'Pol did on you was the right thing to do?"

"It was the only logical thing to do," Trip replied, deadpan.

It sent a strange chill down Archer's spine. "Since when has logic been a central tenet for you?"

"Since I took a Vulcan mate."

Tense silence descended a moment. Without his emotional body language, Archer found himself having a hard time reading Trip. It made his best friend uncomfortably alien in his eyes, and it gave Archer doubts. "Is she worth doing this to yourself?" Archer asked pointedly. He cared deeply for T'Pol, but Trip had been his best friend for years. Archer had to take Trip's wellbeing into consideration too, and, in the end, it potentially preceded T'Pol's happiness in a question of importance for Jonathan Archer.

"It's not permanent," Trip assured. "T'Pol and I have agreed no human can really live like this. But it's a kind of peace. Right now, it's what she and I both need more than anything. A chance to heal… and brace ourselves."

"What do you mean?"

Trip tapped one finger idly on the table as though he could call up the answer as he would a diagnostic on a control consol. "I can't make you understand how powerful Vulcan grief is, Jon. It eats away at the mind and spirit unless there's time to master it, like Vulcans do all other emotions. Unmastered, it is overwhelming. T'Pol was so devastated from losing Elizabeth she was about to go under from her own grief, and then add mine on top. Unchecked, unmanageable, human grief. T'Pol couldn't handle both…" Trip stopped to think a moment. "I guess I couldn't either."

Archer smiled wanly, "You two have both been pretty… threadbare lately."

Trip nodded absently. "It's been affecting our ability to function, to even think straight…" Trip looked up at Archer. "I have to apologize for that. We've let our personal issues interfere with our quality of work."

With a shake of his head, Archer said, "You lost a child, Trip. No one blames you or T'Pol for being…" Archer trailed.

"Depressed?" Trip provided.

This 'emotionally neutered' Trip certainly found it easier to talk about sensitive subjects. Archer nodded. "Yeah. You need time, both of you."

"Shouldn't stand in the way of doing our jobs," Trip countered.

Rather than get into a debate about duty, Archer redirected the conversation back on its original course. "It sounds like you two are working to fix that. Whatever," he gestured at placid, nonplussed Trip, "this is."

Trip blinked and slowly nodded. "I did what I had to in order to take my grief out of the picture, give T'Pol a chance to fortify herself with those Vulcan mind exercises. When she's ready, we'll deal with me." Trip dropped his gaze to the empty tabletop reflectively.

Archer thought on that a moment. "Does this bond that let T'Pol feel what you felt about losing Elizabeth… does it let you feel what she feels?"

Trip looked up meaningfully. Archer asked, "Does it mean you've been experiencing Vulcan grief, too?"

Trip nodded slowly and grievously.

The implication had been staggering when it was speculation between him and Phlox… the certainty of having it from 'the horse's mouth', as it were, was chilling. "I'm so sorry, Trip."

Trip shrugged. "That's the matebond."

That bond sounded like a right pain in the ass to Archer. "But you two are determined to save it?"

"Yes." Trip paused in reflection. "It's strange… maybe it's typical for this bond thing, I don't know enough about it to say for sure, but I don't see myself ever being with anyone else for the rest of my life."

"Sounds like you're talking getting married."

"As far as Vulcans are concerned, we are."

Archer visibly startled at that. He knew bonded couples were serious, of course, but he didn't realize the equivalent in human terms was quite so extreme.

"Words like 'mate' and 'husband' or 'wife' are all the same in the Vulcan language. Marriage ceremonies are relatively new; before the pomp and circumstance of the wedding, the matebond proclaimed a couple husband and wife." Trip let loose a fleeting smirk. "I've been studying the topic quite a bit lately."

"I can tell. And T'Pol's… she's okay with all this?"

"The matebond wouldn't have been possible in the first place if it wasn't something we both secretly wanted. This isn't the way I would have gone about it, but in the end it's what I wanted. I know T'Pol does, too. Her mind says things she never would, things I can hear." Trip looked, for a brief moment, content and peaceful. "I know." Trip's expression took on a strange cast then that Archer couldn't place, and before he could try, Trip said, "Besides, if either of us had any doubts and tried to sever the bond, it would probably kill us."

"What?!" Archer yelped. This had gone from getting a broken heart to dying?

Trip gave a half-shrug that was entirely too nonchalant. "Vulcan monogamy is biologically programmed."

"But… you're not Vulcan."

"Depends on how you mean 'Vulcan' and 'human.' And oddly enough, I don't care if I'm not entirely human anymore. T'Pol's worth it."

Such frank talk was starting to make Archer fidget. These were his two senior officers, and he knew they had feelings for each other, but he hadn't realized quite how strong. Before, neither would have confessed to half as much as Trip just did. "What about Mu'Pol?" Archer asked carefully.

"What about her?"

"Well, it's just… you've been pretty… familiar with her. You've been really concerned for her welfare."

Trip stared at Archer, long and hard enough that the captain regretted asking.

"She's T'Pol… not my T'Pol, but T'Pol in her unique way. I don't want her to die." He scowled. "Is it adulterous to not want her to come to harm?"

Unbidden, Archer thought of Sim (and the similarity of this situation to the mimetic clone's) and winced. "No. I don't want her life endangered either…" Archer stopped, prepared to leave this topic alone.

"But?" Trip prodded.

"But… I wasn't the one giving her neuropressure treatments."

Trip lifted one eyebrow condescendingly at Archer, and the captain jolted at the eerie Vulcanness of the gesture. Instead of a rant, the kind Trip could get on when he had his dander up, Trip sighed. "It's a messed up situation, no question about that, and confusing as hell… but there's nothing going on between me and Mu'Pol. I would never do that to T'Pol."

"I didn't think you would, just… for a while, you two weren't really looking like you were going to make it."

"I don't know if we would have if Mu'Pol hadn't stepped in and… done this to me. She may have saved what chance T'Pol and I still had." Trip mulled over his next words. "You know, she was involved with her Trip Tucker."

Archer blinked in astonishment. "Mu'Pol?"

Trip nodded.

That was surprising, to say the least. "What are the odds of that?" Archer pondered aloud.

"In a word, probably infinitesimal."

"But I thought humans in her universe were cruel and heartless when it came to other species?"

"Well, it wasn't exactly a good relationship as you and I would describe it… but I realize now it was the reason Mu'Pol gravitated toward me. Same way I gravitated toward her. But she's not my T'Pol, and I'm not her Trip."

Archer frowned and marveled, not for the first time, at the manner of tangled knots Trip could tie himself up in.

"How are you feeling about this mission?" Trip asked.

The captain shrugged. "I understand why Mu'Pol feels obligated to go back, and I can't blame her for making the choice she did, but… it just goes against my better angels to send her back to that kind of world." Archer looked up and smiled ironically. "Like you said, she's not our T'Pol, but she is T'Pol. If I had my druthers, I'd just as soon she stayed with us."

Trip nodded somberly even as he muttered, "The needs of the many…"

"Yeah… Vulcan pragmatism at its self-sacrificing best."

"Like you can talk," Trip countered, and for a second it was almost like old times.

Archer grinned. "Captain's prerogative." Archer stood. "Get some sleep, Trip… the next few days will no doubt be… eventful."

Trip nodded assent but was still sitting in the dark, unmoved, when Archer reached the mess hall door. He had probably slipped back into the shared mind with T'Pol. Archer wondered if he would ever again understand Trip like he used to, now that he was telepathically bound to a Vulcan mind. Maybe Trip was forever-after destined to be part alien to Archer.

If it made Trip happy, Archer wished him and T'Pol well.

*****

ShiKahr was burning. As dusk settled ruddy hued and thick with windblown sand, the city on the horizon glowed orange in the descending night like an inflamed wound.

Rebel leader T'Pau sat in an opening to the catacombs that served her faction of fighters and watched the capital as it was consumed in flame. Her expression was one of grim reflection. It made her feel strange to see ShiKahr on fire. For so long it had been the capital of planet Vulcan and therefore culturally important to her and her people. But more recently it had been the seat of power for the Terran Emperor's second in command. Now he too, like ShiKahr, burned. It was a thing that had to be done, but the sacrifice of ShiKahr was costly.

The wind swiftly changed direction and T'Pau inhaled deeply. She could smell the fire, even from so far away. It was as in Vulcan's past, for T'Pau had commanded ShiKahr's destruction. The capital burned at her behest. The needs of the many had outweighed the historic city.

Their allies, the Andorians, had not understood the need to destroy ShiKahr. The madman Archer would have destroyed the old Empire's second in command to rid himself of the threat. The Vulcans put ShiKahr to the torch for more than the Emperor's second. They dare not let the city stand, or Archer may want the seat for himself. Vulcan would only suffer further if the crazed, power-hungry human and the ship he would not relinquish from his sight became permanent fixtures on the Vulcan planet or in the Vulcan skies. And so, they burned the office and the human who sat it to prevent another from filling his place.

"T'Pau," a harsh voice behind her.

T'Pau exhaled and felt herself sag momentarily. Resistance fighting was taxing to spirit, mind, and body. But when her people were slaves, there was no time for rest.

T'Pau stood and turned to her compatriot. "Yes?"

The severe-looking young male Vulcan had the fire of Vulcan's past in his eyes, as the rebels were wont to say. Some Vulcans, T'Pau had noticed, seemed to thrive too much too well on the resistance fight. It was chilling and absolutely necessary. Satar was one such Vulcan.

At that moment, he looked very tetchy. "Communication from the long-range scouts. They're bringing in prisoners."

"Survivors from ShiKahr?"

"No. These came by Andorian shuttle." Satar's expression fleetingly turned savage, "Tucker is among them."

T'Pau stiffened in shock. "That is not possible. Tucker is our captive even now. Has anyone checked to see that he has not escaped his cell?"

"He is still ours," Satar assured, "and yet our contact insists Tucker is with them."

T'Pau puzzled over that a long minute. "We cannot solve this mystery until the prisoners have arrived. See to their secure arrival."

Satar left at once to do it. T'Pau glanced once more over her shoulder at the fiery ruins of her planet's capital. It would no doubt burn long into the night, as would its memory in the Vulcan heart.

T'Pau wended her way back into the catacombs of the rebel faction. The halls were primitive tunnels roughly carved from the planet surface. Wall sconces held torches that lit the way with dancing light and shadow but also held at bay the desert night's sharp cold. As T'Pau went deeper, she encountered her fellow fighters. Rough, nerve-wracked, determined, weary Vulcans who had risked so much to once again take up the weapons Surak had bade them lay down as a species so long ago. By necessity, those weapons were once again natural extensions of the Vulcan body. T'Pau wondered if her people could return to a life of peace and logic when this war was over.

If it was ever over.

Deeper inside the catacombs, the soldiers were interspersed among civilians. The elderly, the scholars, the children, those seeking escape from death or slavery. The children would grow to become the soldiers, the scholars the vehicle of Vulcan wisdom's everlasting existence, the elderly the healers who tended the fighters' wounds.

The central chamber was not much of a place to drag war prisoners. As T'Pau sat down in the raised, rock-carved seat at the back of the room, she noted the collection of individuals around her. Families huddled together trying to split a pitiful desert tuber soup, several seeking meditation while surrounded by distractions, some curled and sleeping forms, a malnourished sehlat, and off to the left a Vulcan female in labor.

Hardly the opportune location to judge and sentence war prisoners, but it had to do.

T'Pau found herself unconsciously marking the passage of time to the Vulcan mother-to-be's intensifying contractions when a commotion in the entrance catacomb heralded the arrival of the prisoners. She sat up straighter and banished any sensation of fatigue.

The first face T'Pau saw was blue. Ronal, an Andorian T'Pau knew to be trustworthy, led the procession with a weapon in hand and a scowl on her face. T'Pau judged by the erect antennae that whoever the prisoners were, they had put Ronal on edge.

Next through the entrance was a Vulcan male. Tall, austere… he was dirty and a bruise blossomed green on his jaw, but he walked with posture erect and hands clasped behind his back with all the poise and absence of emotion one could ever expect of a proper Vulcan. His expression was absolutely and completely unreadable. He was, T'Pau noted, what they had been before the war. At once, she was fascinated by this male.

Following him was a Vulcan woman. Young, with a look in her eyes T'Pau knew too well. The Vulcan turned feral to survive in their brutal existence. She looked tensed and ready to fight, and yet at the same time oddly relieved to arrive among the rebel fighters. Perhaps she expected to be recognized as a confederate to their cause and not an opponent. Since she was Vulcan, such an assumption would be logical.

Another Vulcan woman came next, one with a face identical to the first woman's, but the amazement of that discovery was lost at the sight of the last prisoner escorted inside. Human. TUCKER!

A general cry of outrage swept through the room as others noted the human's arrival… and his identity. T'Pau was preoccupied mentally working through the possibilities. How was it possible? The rebel faction had Commander Tucker held secure in one of their catacomb cells. He could not be among the new arrivals, and yet he was. And wasn't. There were apparent physical differences that distinguished the two men who would seem at first to be the same, most noticeably this one did not have a disfigured face.

Before T'Pau could consider more, a soldier close to the arriving prisoners took up a lirpa and advanced toward the human.

T'Pau's eyes went wide at what happened next.

Instead of Tucker going on the offensive and fighting, he shied back to surrender, but not before the short-haired Vulcan woman interceded and interposed herself between Tucker and the Vulcan intent on harming him. Tucker took her immediately by the shoulders; T'Pau expected Tucker to use her as a body shield, but it became obvious he was trying to get the Vulcan woman out of harm's way. But the young woman would not be moved, and Tucker was no match for the strength of a resolute Vulcan. The Vulcan female remained firmly planted between Tucker and the soldier. The lirpa-carrying Vulcan paused, confused. For all the savagery the Vulcan race had rekindled in their hearts to fight the humans, they had not reverted so far as to take arms against a fellow Vulcan.

The woman was not going to back down, T'Pau could tell, and she stood to prevent the soldier from feeling he must cross the line and draw green blood.

"Kroikah! Ronal? What is this?"

The Andorian approached T'Pau. "These have a strange story that I knew you would need to hear yourself."

T'Pau gestured them forward. The three Vulcans and one human came to stand before the raised seat. It was a strange group, indeed. A stoic Vulcan male, twin Vulcan females, and a human who looked remarkably docile given the situation. It was Tucker, somehow. This Tucker had been attacked, T'Pau noticed on closer inspection, no doubt by T'Pau's own people. His face was scratched and his clothes torn, bruises darkened his cheek and left eye socket, and a cut on his lip left a thin trail of red blood down his chin. Despite such abuses, he seemed unmoved by the matter.

The Vulcan at his side, however, was not. "Why have we been attacked? We come to you of our own free will to aid you in your fight. We are not your enemies."

T'Pau didn't miss a beat. Her eyes cut meaningfully to Tucker. "You travel with him. That alone is just cause enough."

"Ma'am," Tucker said, "I think there's but a little confusion here…"

"Silence, human!" Satar snarled.

A moan from the birthing Vulcan momentarily interrupted the confrontation.

While T'Pau watched curiously as Tucker's eyes sought the source of the sound, she turned her ear to the male, who had begun speaking. "If I may, I shall attempt to explain."

"Do," T'Pau nodded assent.

"My name is Spock. I am a commander serving aboard the Starship Enterprise." A murmur rumbled through the crowd like low thunder, but no one spoke and Spock continued undeterred. "My companions are 'Mu'Pol', as she has adopted the moniker for ease of differentiation, T'Pol, and Charles Tucker III."

"We know who he is," T'Pau seethed, "but I cannot comprehend how he is here before me. We have Tucker imprisoned in this very catacomb at this very moment."

That sharply drew Tucker's attention back to T'Pau and away from the baby being born.

Spock merely lifted an eyebrow. "Indeed. Fascinating."

"I imagine," T'Pau said as she sat down for what was sure to be a long explanation, "it is not nearly as fascinating as what you are about to say."

Spock conceded with a small but significant nod. Then he began to talk.

T'Pau listened to Spock explain about alternate universes, the timeline disaster created by a Tholian mistake, and the crews of the alternate universe's Starfleet that meant to rectify it. Emotionally, T'Pau's instinct was to scoff and dismiss the entire tale as ludicrous. Logically, she saw a great deal of sense in it all. They knew that the Defiant could not be created by the present Terran Empire, and Spock's story would explain its origin and appearance. It would explain the presence of the Vulcan 'twins', which were unheard of in Vulcan reproduction. It would also explain a duplicate Tucker.

A duplicate Tucker who seemed unable to tear his attention away from the imminent birth of the Vulcan infant nearby. Perplexed by this, T'Pau frowned at him. He had arrived so remarkably calm, but a discomfort was settling over him, like a sandviper coiling in agitation before striking. It was a disquiet that was growing as the Vulcan mother neared completion of delivery.

Tucker suddenly tensed.

T'Pau glanced to her left in time to see the Vulcan woman draw a wet infant up from between her thighs. The small being gave a startled cry and Tucker seemed, for a second, to be in actual physical pain. He dropped his eyes down to the floor and swayed faintly on his feet. Next to him, T'Pol was ramrod straight, radiating unease and tension.

Mu'Pol cast her companions a sidelong look that flashed, for only a moment, compassion.

That, more than anything, made T'Pau honestly consider the story of their origins. She had seen these Vulcans who accompanied Tucker endanger themselves to protect the human Tucker and show him unprecedented compassion. There had to be a reason, and Spock's explanation would provide one.

"You will all be questioned rigorously," T'Pau announced in a tone that brooked no argument. "When the veracity of your claims has been verified to our satisfaction, we will consider your 'offer of assistance'. Satar… confine them and I will interrogate them in turn." Just as Satar and his men moved forward to obey, T'Pau said. "Leave Spock."

Spock obediently stood in place while his companions were taken away. Briefly, Mu'Pol had acted as though she meant to resist. T'Pau feared Vulcan blood would be spilled yet. Tucker stilled Mu'Pol by saying gently, "Don't do anything illogical; we're the good guys, remember? They'll have that figured out soon enough." Mu'Pol seemed barely mollified but went without a fight.

When the last prisoner before her was Spock, T'Pau gestured him closer. Spock approached the chair.

"Are your words true, Spock?" T'Pau asked pointedly.

"They are. My shipmates and companions intend to destroy the Defiant. In that respect, our goal and yours are the same."

"Why would humans attack their own? This captain you serve… would he take human lives to save Vulcans?"

Spock paused in veiled distaste at the idea. "He would not wish lives to be lost, human or Vulcan, but left no alternative, he will do what is necessary to stop the Defiant. That objective will most assuredly prove fatal to those who stand against him, and it will not deter him from carrying out his mission."

"So… a conquest-bound warrior, like all the others. Seems humans are alike the universe over, mine and yours."

"Hardly. Captain Kirk will take life, but he takes no joy in it." Spock thought a second. "The use for which this universe's Captain Archer has made of the Defiant is an affront to Captain Kirk's sense of justice. The Defiant and Enterprise are sister ships, created to serve the same Starfleet ideals, and this corruption of its purpose is an insult to all that Captain Kirk holds most venerated."

"For honor, then?" T'Pau offered.

Spock relented with a half-nod. "In a sense."

"Klingons have honor, as they define it in their culture, but still they are brute savages. Why should I think your shipmates any different?"

"Clearly what I say cannot sway you. The only assurances I can offer to prove to you the inherent qualities of the humans I serve among is for you to meet them. Their characters will speak for them." Spock paused. "Both Enterprises from my universe are presently in a stationary position above Toralor under heavy Andorian guard… this is, of course, a peaceable act of cooperation. Had Captain Kirk any hostile intentions toward Vulcan or Andoria, your ships would be helpless to stop Enterprise from attacking… as they have thus far been helpless to stop Defiant."

T'Pau bristled. "That is unfortunate… and true. The Defiant has power and weaponry we cannot match."

"But we can. Let us help."

At Surak's ancient words, T'Pau looked up sharply at Spock. His dark eyes were unmoving as he stared patiently at her. He gave the impression that agreeing to accept their aid would be the only logical thing to do. She was willing to entertain the notion that Spock was right in that respect.

"You ask us to trust humans… if you are truly from another universe, Spock, then you cannot comprehend the risk you are asking us to take."

"You have no cause to trust me or my assurance that Captain Kirk deserves such trust. However… do you have a choice?"

The bluntness of his statement took T'Pau aback at first. She stared closely at Spock, his unflappable presence amid the rebel fighters, and she slumped slightly. "I fear we may not." T'Pau sat in silence a moment then rose. "Walk with me, Spock."

Spock gave a relenting nod and, when she had descended the steps and started toward the catacombs, he took up at her side with hands clasped casually behind his back.

"Will my companions be harmed?" Spock asked.

T'Pau thought about it. "The Vulcans won't be hurt. Tucker… I can't promise his safety. This is a dangerous place for any human, and particularly dangerous for that one." T'Pau looked to Spock. "Why did you bring him? Was it ignorance? Did you not know the infamy of Charles Tucker's name in our universe?"

"It was logical," Spock replied. "Commander Tucker is perhaps the best living proof of the truth that I have spoken since we arrived."

"How so?"

"He is bondmate to the Vulcan T'Pol."

T'Pau jerked to a halt in the catacomb tunnel. Spock stopped with her and turned to await her response.

After stunned silence, it was denial. "You are lying."

"I am not. Commander Tucker and his wife were well-known names in my home when I was a child. They were lauded individuals and their history held personal resonance with my own parents. Commanders Tucker and T'Pol are bondmates, of this I can assure you."

T'Pau was mentally reeling. "Vile!" she snapped, letting her own emotions get the better of her. "No Vulcan would willingly touch a human being, much less mate with one and share their minds and katras."

"In this universe it is unknown… not in mine. Can there be any better evidence of the true differences between our universes?"

For a long time T'Pau stood and contemplated that revelation. If the human and Vulcan were bondmates, would it be proof enough? Enough to risk endangering the rebellion by trusting a possible enemy? As Spock said, did they have a choice?

"I make no decisions until I have questioned the rest of your companions," T'Pau said sharply. "Should I find a trace of duplicity, you will all pay for your deceit and treason against the Vulcan people."

"Proceed," Spock said calmly, "you will find none. I would suggest, for the sake of Vulcan and other non-humans in your universe, that you do so quickly. Time is of the essence in a war as one-sided as this."

On that T'Pau was in complete agreement.

To Be Continued


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