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.
This was Earth, but a part she had never seen, never visited.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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 …
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.
Her mother stood between her and Father. T’Les’ face was dark with
rage as Father turned away.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
was warm. Not that she allowed such a thing to dictate her decision
making paradigm. It was simply one more factor.
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…
she no recollection of doing so.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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
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.
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?”
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
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
right, then,” he said simply. “I should get to work.” He pulled away.
watched him go.