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: 521 Earth days have passed since chapter 1. It's October, 2153.

85: T'Pol

T’Pol dreamed. 

The smell of burnt flesh and melted circuitry filled her nostrils with such intensity it nearly made her gag. Overhead, a swollen moon rapidly changed colors – first, it was blood green, then orange, then blue, then red and so on, throughout the spectrum until it began repeating. She could feel spongy soil underfoot, even though her eyes told her that she was standing upon a paved road. Around her, buildings of an unfamiliar design loomed but flickered in and out of sight, as if they weren’t really there or simply weren’t that important. She wet her lips and tasted moist air bearing an unmistakable iron tang. 

Earth. This was Earth, but a part she had never seen, never visited.  

A distant part of her mind recognized that she was not fully conscious, that she floated halfway between memory and illusion, but she was not strong enough to seize control of the dream and simply end it. Instead, T’Pol took a step forward, less from having a destination in mind than half-remembering doing so in the past. The landscape around her blurred and, with that single step, she was … elsewhere. 

This time, she recognized Vulcan. The agreeable heat, the sensation of the sun upon her skin, the smell of sand and fire, all told her where she was. Shadowy images paced around her in silence, saying nothing and seemingly intent on their own tasks. One of them stood out, his features all too familiar. 


The part of her aware of who he was recoiled in remembered guilt and pain, but could not prevent her dream self from striding toward him. He turned at her approach … but did not run. Instead, he advanced to meet her. 

T’Pol blinked – this was not how she recalled their sole meeting – and in the span of that single, confused heartbeat, Menos flashed across the distance to stand before her. His posture was straight and firm, so unlike her memory, and he bore no sign of the barely restrained fury she recalled seeing upon him. 

“Your request for a meeting was artfully phrased.” Menos declared. He studied the horizon, a vague air of discomfort or perhaps disapproval stamped upon his face. Words tumbled from T’Pol’s lips and she could not stop them. 

“There is no logic in your decision to remain on Vulcan,” her dream-self said. Again, her surroundings blurred and transformed, resolving into an office of some sort she did not recognize. Menos himself changed, his face dancing between other males that T’Pol knew. Soval was there briefly, and then her father, and then Koss, and on and on. It was dizzying and she closed her eyes to fight off the nausea. 

“What I do, I do for the betterment of Vulcan.” The voice was not Menos’ and T’Pol opened her eyes once more. She was suddenly a child once more, staring up at her parents who rose above her impossibly tall. Father was frowning at Mother who bore a strangely emotional expression. “In my judgment,” Father said, “T’Pol is necessary.” 

“Your judgment is flawed,” T’Les retorted hotly. “Explain to me the logic of this decision,” she demanded. “I will not allow you to endanger our child thus.” 

Blink. Her home was gone, replaced once more by the Earth place she had never visited but knew so intimately. Someone was approaching but she could not find them. She turned in place, desperately trying to ignore how quickly her heart was pounding. Someone … 

Blink. She stood before Menos once more under the hot sun of her homeworld. He was staring at her intently, his eyes swimming with something that could only be surprise. The stench of blood and ozone hung in the air. With exaggerated slowness, he began to fall, his face smoking, and T’Pol’s dream self twisted around, her hand darting for a concealed weapon as she sought the culprit responsible. 

Blink. Her mother stood between her and Father. T’Les’ face was dark with rage as Father turned away.  

Blink. She was running through the streets of ShiKahr, away from those who had murdered Menos. A building beckoned and she stepped through its doorway. Light exploded around her and she felt her muscles go limp. 

Blink. Darkness enveloped her. She could feel manacles around her wrists and ankles. Her body was slack, unresponsive, but she could taste the familiar scents of Vulcan in the air. There was chanting in the distance, but her attention was on two nearby figures. One of them she recognized as the executive priest who had oversaw her Fullara. The other stood in shadow. 

“It would be more efficient to simply terminate her,” the priest announced. His voice was soft and hesitant, almost diffident, so different from how she remembered him. “I can arrange for disposal if you are unwilling.” 

“Do so and I shall personally ensure your demise is exceedingly painful,” came the cold response. Icy shock washed through T’Pol the instant she recognized the voice. It was her father. 

Her dead father. 

T’Pol woke with a muted gasp. Her subconscious instantly recognized that she was safe, once more aboard the T’Muna-Doth as it cruised silently through space. Trip was asleep at her side, twitching and grimacing despite his somnolence, which T’Pol suspected was likely her fault. If he could tumble into her whitespace from time to time, there was no reason they could not share dreams, even if it had not happened to her knowledge thus far. She reached out and caressed the side of his face with her index and pointing fingers. To her relief, he relaxed at once and rolled to face her, tightening his hold and further entangling their legs. 

The soothing sounds of the T’Muna-Doth washed away much of the confusion wrought by the dream and allowed her to quickly recenter herself. For a moment, T’Pol considered climbing out of bed to attend to her duties – she was certainly no longer tired, not after that dream – but just as quickly discarded the thought. Her duties were light, after all, and the wall monitor Trip had installed here in the sleeping quarters was more than adequate to determine there had been no change in their status since she retired four hours earlier. They were still cruising through deep space at impulse – Trip felt that the warp drive should not be operated without constant monitoring and T’Pol agreed with his assessment – and there was nothing of interest within sensor range. Had something approached or been detected, alarms would have sounded. She could think of no reason to leave the comfort of the bed. 

And Trip was warm. Not that she allowed such a thing to dictate her decision making paradigm. It was simply one more factor. 

Already, the dream was beginning to fade from memory, so T’Pol focused on what she could recall. The Earth place was not new, even though she could not remember ever visiting such a location. Initially, when her memories began displaying such inconsistencies, she’d suspected this image was bleed thorugh from Trip, but that proved to not be the case. Together, they had isolated the location to somewhere in Asia or Eastern Siberia based on half-remembered landmarks, but Trip had never visited that part of his homeworld, so it was more probable she had… 

Even if she no recollection of doing so. 

She now had two distinct memories of Menos’ death. The first was what she had thought to be the truth for eighteen years and involved her shooting him to prevent the murder of hundreds, but now, that entire scenario felt … wrong, false even. Elements of the event she would have normally classified as trivial – the color of Menos’ shoes, for example, or the news broadcast playing across a nearby street monitor – consistently leapt out at her when she turned her memory toward the incident, while relevant items, such as the exact numbers of explosive charges in his vehicle, remained frustratingly out of reach. For years, T’Pol had presumed this was an after-effect of the Fullara, but now? Now, she suspected otherwise. 

Several long minutes elapsed as she compared the respective differences in the two sets of memories, which was long enough for her to grow positively annoyed at herself. She was avoiding the high probability that her father’s death did not occur as she had always believed … if it occurred at all. Her frown deepened at the inevitable direction such thoughts led: could T’Les know? If she did, why had she concealed the truth? And why had her father altered her memories thus? None of the possible answers were appealing. 

“You need to meditate,” Trip murmured, his eyes still closed. T’Pol pushed away the conflicted jumble that were her thoughts and studied him for a single, extended heartbeat. He was quite appealing like this, with his too long hair sticking up in random spots and his entire body relaxed against hers. 

“Did I wake you?” she asked. The corner of his lips curved up slightly. Once, he would have given her a full smile, but that time seemed to have passed. Silently, she grieved for the loss of that man. 

“You were thinking so hard,” Trip replied, “that I couldn’t help but to wake up.” He opened his eyes. “Do you have any idea how weird that is?” 

“Yes,” T’Pol replied wryly, glancing toward his groin. “I do have … some idea.” It was enough of a reminder about his recalcitrant hormones and the affect they had on her to cause Trip’s almost smile to broaden ever so slightly. 

A soft chime interrupted whatever he was about to say and both of them automatically glanced in the direction of the wall monitor. The data display flickered briefly before changing to a sensor feed. T’Pol frowned again – before retiring, she had programmed the T’Muna-Doth’s antiquated sensor array to broadcast a high intensity, narrow frequency burst transmission to the nearest Starfleet comm buoy, a device she had personally deployed from Enterprise prior to the their arrival at the periphery of the Ekosian system, but according to the results now crawling down the monitor, there was no such buoy. 

Trip grunted softly. The flavor of his thoughts as they drifted across their cerebral linkage was one of worried surprise – he knew as well as she that the device should have been there. Part of their escape strategy hinged on making contact with Starfleet or the VHC. At this point, with the T’Muna-Doth’s fuel reserves as low as they were, T’Pol would even tolerate an Andorian scout craft. Not a cruiser, though. That many Andorians in such close quarters intensified their natural belligerence by least thirty percent and T’Pol would be quite unsurprised if such a warship simply opened fired upon a Vulcan craft this far from accepted borders.

“Well,” Trip muttered, “so much for Plan A.” To T’Pol’s very mild dismay, he sat up and swung his legs over the side of their bunk. “Deuterium colony it is.” He paused and gave her a sidelong look. “What had you thinking so hard anyway?” he asked. “Something I need to know about?” 

T’Pol hesitated. She had no idea how to tell him about her fears, about the very real possibility that her entire life had been a lie. How would he react to something she did not understand herself? She glanced away. 

“No,” she replied softly. “There is nothing new.” It was a blatant lie and from the way Trip stiffened, he recognized as such. For a moment, he hesitated, studying her with his soothing blue eyes. Finally, he nodded. 

“All right, then,” he said simply. “I should get to work.” He pulled away. 

And T’Pol watched him go.  

She needed to meditate.



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