author's note

Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama

Rated: PG … mild language, violence, and adult situations.

Summary: Two officers, believed killed in action, are stranded on a prewarp planet and must work together to survive while the rest of the NX-01 crew learn to carry on without them. Begins a very AU season 2.

This story is unrelated to my Endeavour series.

Disclaimer: The only thing I own are my hopes and dreams ... although I did pawn both a while back for rent money.

A/N: A local day on this planet is 21 hours long. 6 days (5.25 Earth days) have passed since chapter 1.

12: trip

Adrenaline and fear were coursing through his body.

As he knelt over the unmoving subcommander, Trip Tucker found himself struggling with a hysterical urge to panic. He was an engineer, dammit, not a medic! His breath caught at the weakness of her pulse but common sense and Phlox's cross-training lessons kicked in. Vulcan hearts aren't in the same place as human hearts, Trip reminded himself. He exhaled with relief when he found the Vulcan pulse-point, and sent up a silent 'thank you' to Denobulan physicians everywhere.

Ripping open his survival pack, he quickly located and extracted the emergency first aid kit. It was rudimentary, but allowed him to stop the bleeding. Once satisfied that T'Pol wasn't going to die of blood loss or that anything important had been hit, Trip took in their surroundings with rapidly deteriorating hopes.

The man he had shot was dead, but the native that T'Pol had pinched was still breathing. Tucker didn't know how long the man would remain unconscious, and decided that he didn't want to stick around to find out. He was just about to grab the native and drag him to what looked like a closet when he realized that both men were wearing identical triangle symbols on their clothes. Trip gave the men's uniforms a closer look: gunbelt, flashlight, handcuffs.

"Oh, God," Tucker moaned. "They're cops..." Suddenly, getting away from this place seemed like an even better idea.

Once he dragged the unconscious man away from the main door, Trip spent another couple seconds figuring out how to use the handcuffs before securing the native to the desk. After a moment of thought, Tucker stripped the man of his gunbelt, and crammed it into his survival pack; he did the same with the dead native, even though it was hard to even look at the man.

The guns themselves were revolvers, with rounds that looked to be six or seven millimeters in diameter. Trip stuffed both of them into his pocket before tying the two survival packs together, and strapping them to his back. T'Pol turned out to be heavier than she looked, although Trip wasn't sure if it was because he was already exhausted, or her stronger bones were heavier, or some combination of the two. With the unconscious Vulcan nestled in his arms, he stepped out into the darkness and the rain.

Almost at once, he drew up short and stared at the four-wheeled ground vehicle parked outside the building. Like the trike, it was just familiar enough in appearance to recognizable as a car, while harboring a completely alien look. Instead of the box shape that Trip was accustomed to seeing on a car, this vehicle had something of a diamond-shape, with two wheels on either side of the body and one at both the front and back. The doors were of a gull wing design, and a single pulsing green light was on the very top of the vehicle. For less than a second, Trip considered his options, before shrugging and maneuvering T'Pol into the vehicle.

Steering the vehicle turned out to be fairly easy. Instead of the differential steering system that had been on the trike, the groundcar had a joystick-like device that controlled the directional systems. Finding the button to turn off the flashing strobe light was a little more difficult; in the process of looking for it, though, Trip found the equivalent of the blinkers as well as the windshield wiper controls.

He never considered trying to leave the city as he accelerated away from the building. The roads had been too heavily guarded for him to get a car out undetected, and Trip doubted that he could get far on foot anyway with T'Pol unconscious and wounded. That left hiding someplace inside the city until he and T'Pol could figure out their next move; she would have an idea, he told himself. She always had an idea.

For nearly thirty minutes, he cruised through the streets of the oddly silent city. Signs of heavy damage were everywhere, reminding him of images of Old Europe after the Second or Third World Wars. Other vehicles could be seen on the streets as well, though, including several police cruisers like the one he was driving. His heart tried to pound its way out of his chest each time he saw one of those vehicles, and he very nearly had a stroke when the driver of one gave him a wave before turning down a different street.

Trip finally found what he was looking for near the outskirts of the city. It was a rundown building that seemed almost exactly like the historically preserved gas station near his parent's house. Based on the level of rust and grime on the windows, this location hadn't been used in years. After struggling with the garage door – he ultimately had to use the phase pistol on the lock – Trip backed the groundcar into cover and pulled the door down to hide their presence. For a little while, they were safe.

His hands started shaking the moment that the door was shut, and Trip balled them together in tight fists. T'Pol needed him, dammit, and he couldn't fall apart now. Especially not now.

He had already removed T'Pol's shirt and was working on extracting the bullet from the meaty part of her upper shoulder when the Vulcan stirred. Her eyes snapped open, and Trip could see her take in her general state of undress and his close proximity instantly. He didn't say anything to her, and hoped that the small penlight in his mouth and the whirring medical scanner balanced next to her head was enough explanation.

"Commander?" the Vulcan asked, wincing slightly as he shifted the extractor tool that was currently gripping the bullet under her skin.

"Don't move," Trip told her ... or rather tried to tell her. With the penlight in his mouth, it came out more like "Dough Woove," along with an embarrassing amount of saliva. She seemed to understand, and only flinched twice as he worked the slug free. "Sorry," he muttered once the bullet was free. She gave him a slight nod as she applied pressure to the wound with the bandage he had given her.

"Where are we?" T'Pol asked. Her eyes were taking in her surroundings with that analytical precision of hers that he loved so much. The groundcar received extra attention, and even earned a slight eyebrow raise.

"A garage on the outskirts of the city," Trip revealed. He slumped back into the driver's seat, so utterly exhausted that he doubted he could move, even to attend to his very full bladder or to strip off his sodden clothes. "It was rundown and abandoned, so I gambled we'd be safe here for a little while."

"And this vehicle?"

"Belonged to those two cops who jumped us at the radio station." At her quirked eyebrow, he explained his theory about the two men being police officers. "If they're anything like the cops on Earth," Trip finished, "they're gonna be lookin' for us since I killed the one." His hands started to shake again, and Tucker tried to hide the trembles from T'Pol's keen eyes.

"I suspect that is a universal desire among law enforcement organizations throughout the galaxy," she stated. Giving him a questioning look, T'Pol continued. "You were unable to reestablish contact with Enterprise." It was more a statement than a question, but Trip answered anyway.

"Yeah," he said sullenly. "There's no carrier signal of any kind up there. No commsat, no shuttlepod beacon, no Enterprise, nothin'." He gave the Vulcan a sidelong glance. "We're on our own."

"Indeed." There was no hint as to what she was thinking, but her lips were pressed together tightly and her eyes scrunched up fractionally. It was the expression she always wore when she was deep in thought, and, for some reason, it made Trip feel a great deal better.

"What do we do now?" Tucker asked, not even bothering to hide his worry. An eyebrow raised, T'Pol turned slightly to meet his gaze.

"We survive," she said simply. Outside, the rain continued to fall.



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