NX-01 Enterprise: Final Frontier

Chapter 2

Chapter One

Captain's Log, supplemental.

After one year in space, we are being recalled. The reason for the recall has not been stated, other than it was urgent for the Enterprise to get back to Earth. I was then told I'd be filled in later by Admiral Forest. The order to return was given by Fleet Admiral Masamoto himself so there was no arguing. We have come a long way in one year. I hope this isn't the end of journey.

Archer sat in his command chair. He looked about the Bridge to see T'Pol at her Science Station, Hoshi at her Comm Station, Rostov at Engineering Station, Travis at the Helm, and Reed at the Tactical Station. After returning Klaang to the Klingons, T'Pol stayed on and became the First Officer, as Trip gave all his attention to the warp engine. Much to his surprise T'Pol had come to fit in with the crew, even to the point that she was fully accepted by everyone.

Archer punched the comm button to Engineering.

"Engineering," Trip's voice came over the comm.

"Trip, I need best speed to Earth," said Archer.

"We're going home, sir," said Trip.

"Afraid so, Pal," said Archer. "We've been ordered by Fleet Admiral Masamoto himself."

"I'll get you warp 4.8, sir," said Trip.

Archer closed the connection. They were going home.

"Mister Mayweather, plot a course to Earth and take us home best speed," ordered Archer.

"Aye, aye, sir," replied Travis Mayweather.

STSTST

Fifty Birds of Prey and Fifty Warbirds of the Romulan Star Empire de-cloaked in Vulcan space. They were the first wave of the invasion force against Vulcan. The available Vulcan fleet was scrambled and some starships were recalled from deep space, as others were told to rendezvous at Earth. The battle was lost, though, before it was fought, as the Romulans had infiltrated all levels of government and military. Codes for weapons platforms and defensive shielding were transferred to the Romulan ships. A battle was fierce but one sided with the Vulcan starships attempting to slow the wave down in order for Vulcans to flee the planet.

Personal ships filled with refugees warped out of the star system. On the freighter V'Lin headed for Earth a group of Syrannites gathered in the main hold. Syrann along with T'Pau, Ston, T'Les, Vanek, Surat, and T'Pel had chosen the V'Lin for their escape of Vulcan. The Captain of the freighter was Syrannite. Other of the Syrannites had exited on other ships and freighters, while a handful stayed behind to protect T'Karath Sanctuary where according to Syrann, who carried the katra of Surak, the Kir'Shara was hidden.

"T'Les," Syrann interrupted the silence.

"Yes, Syrann."

"Your daughter is attached to Earth's Starfleet, is she not?" he asked.

"She was the last time I spoke to her, Syrann. Why?"

"In time we will need to return to Vulcan for the Kir'Shara. She may prove useful," he said.

T'Les nodded. Sitting in her meditation stance, T'Pau opened her eyes. She did not trust Human Beings. They were inferior, though Syrann kept telling her that she should keep an open mind. Youth is a time for observation not judgments, he told her more than once.

"Syrann, do you think these Earth people will help us?" T'Pau asked.

"I believe that have a capacity for great generosity and willingness to join a just cause," he said.

"Will they find our cause just?" she asked.

"Only time will tell," he answered.

STSTST

T'Pol had heard from Soval, who had become the temporary head of the Vulcan Government on Earth. He informed her about the Romulan Star Empire invasion. Vulcan had fallen and Vulcan refugees were spread throughout the Alpha quadrant headed towards the safety of United Earth Space. With the backing of Prime Minister Samuel Nathans, United Earth Senate passed a referendum opening all United Earth and United Earth Colonies borders to Vulcan refugees. It was estimated that a potential ten million Vulcan refugees were in the wind.

According to reports Andorian starships were refusing them access to Andoria Space. Vulcan and the Andorian Empire had long standing animosities. The Andorian starships were also refusing to help Vulcan refugee ships attacked by Orion Pirates. The order had been sent out from the remnants of Vulcan government to Suurok Class starships and D'Kyr Class starships to assist and escort refugees to Earth.

The UE dispatched Daedalus Class and the Intrepid Class starships to find and assist refugees. This was considered more of a gesture then a real aid since most Vulcan ships were capable of warp five and their fleet vessels were warp 7 capable. The Daedalus and Intrepid Class made slow going at warp 3.

T'Pol was unable to sleep. Dressing in her catsuit, she exited her quarters and headed to the Mess for a cup of tea. When she entered the Mess, she expected to be empty since it was the night duty shift, but Commander Tucker was sitting alone with a piece of pie in front of him and a cup of coffee. She went to the drink dispenser and got herself a mint tea then walked over to Tucker's table.

"Do you mind if I join you, Commander?" asked T'Pol.

"Of course, SubCommander," he replied.

She sat down and looked at the human across from her. Over the past year, she had found that the most productive and fulfilling working relationship she had developed on the ship was with Commander Tucker. She found him challenging, too emotional at times, and in possession of a highly intuitive intelligence. Of course, the fact that she also found him attractive and sexual appealing were negatives in the relationships. Their arguments often left her in a state of arousal she feared might be the onset of Pon Farr. Fortunately, Dr. Phlox was able to verify that she was several years away from Pon Farr. She should not being finding a human so attractive.

His appealing blue eyes looked into hers. She saw empathy in his eyes and something more.

"T'Pol, I'm sorry about your people," he said.

"You have no reason to apologize, Commander. You had nothing to do with the invasion," said T'Pol.

"I feel bad for you and your people," he said. "I hope the UE decides to do more than accept refugees."

"What do you expect your government to do?" she asked.

"Help you take your planet back," he said.

She looked at him and found herself wondering if Koss was still alive. They had a Kan-Telan, a bond made as children choosing each other as future bond mates. If he was dead the bond no longer existed. She would be free to choose whomever she wished as a bond mate.

"Ambassador Soval contacted me. He is temporarily the head of the Vulcan government. When we return to Earth, I believe he hopes to codify a relationship with Earth with a treaty," said T'Pol.

"Well, we'll be there in two weeks, ten days tops," he said. "The reason I'm up is because I'm trying to coax as much speed as I can out of the warp engine."

"You need sleep, Commander," she stated.

"I know, but I've been working so hard I've kind of given myself a case of insomnia," he said then smiled. "I'm hoping a piece of pecan pie helps bring comfort and sleep."

"You hope a sugary product brings you sleep. That is highly unlikely," she said.

"Yeah, I know. How Human of me," he said with a smirk.

"It is in the better interest that you get sleep, Commander. I may be able to offer you an alternative to coffee and pie," she said.

"What's that?" he asked her.

"Neuropressure."

STSTST

Trip woke up on the floor of T'Pol's quarters. She was in the process of showing him the basic of neuropressure, which he thought of as sort of an intense and intimate message with the occasional nerve cluster being attacked, when he found that his whole body was relaxed and he could no longer keep his eyes open. Maybe it was the combination of the hum of the floor plates combined with the neuropressure, but he had the most restful sleep he'd had in years.

Slowly sitting up, he saw that T'Pol was sitting in her favorite meditation position wearing a silk robe and Starfleet regulation undergarments. She was truly beautiful to behold with her face calm and eyes closed. Unexpectedly, she opened her eyes and stared at him.

"You fell asleep," she said.

"I know. I'm sorry," he said.

"Your body needed it. We have half hour before we are supposed to meet with Captain Archer for breakfast. I recommend you change your uniform and shower," she told him.

"Yeah, I better do that," he said shyly.

Grabbing his uniform he started to dress. He felt awkward having slept on the floor of her quarters, but T'Pol appeared to be unperturbed. Trip finished dressing then started to put on his boots.

"Thank you for the neuropressure," he said.

"There is no reason to thank me," she said. "Your body will benefit from further sessions. I'll expect you tonight at 2000 hours."

"Nay, T'Pol, you don't need to do that again for me," Trip said.

"Commander Tucker, you will benefit from the session and I shall teach you so that you may reciprocate," she said. "Do you agree?"

"Sure, yeah, I guess that I do," he said then grinned. "I really slept well."

"I shall see you at breakfast," she said.

"Tell the Cap'n that I might be a few minutes late," he smiled then he exited her quarters.

T'Pol took a deep breath. She drew in his scent. Over the year she had grown used to Human odor. Dr. Phlox kept her supplied with a nasal inhibitor jell to make sure she wasn't overwhelmed, yet Commander Tucker's scent she had come to enjoy. It appealed to her. For all his Human flaws he appealed to her.

STSTST

Trip was fifteen minutes late for breakfast in the Captain's Mess. When he entered T'Pol was already eating her oatmeal and Archer was chowing down to steak and scrambled eggs with toast and orange marmalade.

"Sorry I'm late, Cap'n," he said then sat down.

"T'Pol explained to me that you have been sleeping much lately," said Archer. "I can't have my Chief Engineer falling over from exhaustion, Trip."

Trip smiled. He heard the real concern in Archer's voice.

"T'Pol's just exaggerating, Cap'n. You know me I can go weeks with little sleep," said Trip.

"I remember a Lieutenant Tucker who went weeks with little sleep and ended up in the hospital from exhaustion and plasma burns," said Archer.

"Ain't gonna happen. You first officer wouldn't allow it," he said.

T'Pol looked up from her oatmeal and gave him the look with the right eyebrow raised which meant she was not amused by him. The steward brought Trip his steak and eggs along with a cup for him to pour himself coffee from the cravat on the table. He took two slices of toast from the toast caddy, buttered them, and then put marmalade on them. Next, he poured himself some coffee then he added cream and five sugars. He was now ready to eat.

"I could postulate that your diet has too many sugars and animal protein, which doesn't help your sleeping patterns," she said.

"My diet is fine," Trip countered. "Only eating fruits and vegetables isn't eating, it's foraging."

"As eating the flesh of other creatures is barbaric," said T'Pol.

"Now I don't know about you Vulcans," smiled Trip, as he cut into the steak and brought a big piece up to his mouth, "but I am evolved from hunter/gatherers, which makes me an omnivore. Fruit and vegetables are nice, but they just ain't enough to run my body efficiently."

Archer chuckled. For a year he had been witness to the fights between T'Pol and Trip. At first he was worried because he thought it was a sign that they'd never get along, but as time passed he realized that there was an underlying sexual tension between them. Of course, this both annoyed him and concerned. He was concerned at the thought of his Vulcan First Officer and his Chief Engineer and best friend having an interspecies affair onboard and screwing with his chain of command. The annoyance came at the thought that T'Pol was attracted to Trip and not him. In the end, though, he realized that her Vulcan reserve and sense of superiority would never allow T'Pol to cross the line.

"T'Pol, once we reach Earth, I know you will be wanting to head to the Vulcan Embassy," Archer ended their squabble. "I just wanted to let you know that you have a place on my starship as long as I'm captain."

"Although I don't foresee joining Starfleet, I am gladdened by your offer," she said.

"What will you do when we get back to Earth, T'Pol?" asked Trip.

"Whatever my people need me to do," she answered.

STSTT

Archer sat down in his command chair. He had finally spoken to Admiral Forest and given a fuller set of orders. Besides returning home at best speed, they were to help any Vulcan refugees they came across. Hoshi had just picked up SOS transmissions from two Vulcan registered ships being attacked by Orion pirates.

"Travis, plot a course to the Vulcan ship. Emergency warp," he ordered.

"Aye, aye, sir," said Travis.

"Captain, our long range scans indicate three Orion Maraar Class starships," said T'Pol, "are attacking two unarmed Vulcan freighters. The Freighters are broadcasting that they carrying refugees."

"Malcolm, shields up. Make ready phase cannons and photonic torpedoes," ordered Archer. "Bring us to DefCon 1."

"Aye, Captain," said Lieutenant Reed.

The klaxon went off and the red trim lights began to blink. Archer pushed the button on the arm of his chair connecting him with Engineering.

"We got a fight, Cap'n?" asked Trip.

"Three Orion Pirate ships," said Archer. "I need you to keep this together for me, Trip."

"You got it, Cap'n," he said.

STSTST

With the flow of hot plasma coming from the warp and impulse engines, Engineering was often warm. When under attack it became a hot spot in more than one way. Trip stood over his Engineering console. Sweat was beaded on his forehead, as he rerouted the flow of energy past collapsed conduits and into ones that could handle the extra capacity. He had to keep their three cannons going.

"Hess," he barked, "impulse engine one's has two coils about to burn out. I need them replaced!"

"Aye, aye, sir," she said.

She started to pick a crewman to go with her.

"Hess," he said in his normal voice.

"Yes, sir," she said.

"Wear hazard suits and be careful, Alex," he said.

She smiled at him. Although she was only three years younger than him, Trip was her mentor. She wouldn't admit but she had a crush on her Chief.

"Yes, Trip," she said.

She and Crewman 2nd Class Hillerman headed off. Trip began to shut down the lights in areas he deemed non-essential in order to boost the shields. The ship was rocked by the particle beam fire coming from the Orion ships.

"Chief," came the voice of Rostov, who was manning the Bridge Engineering Station, "we have a hull breach on our port nacelle near hydrogen storage tank."

"God damn it, Michael, I didn't need to know that," Trip whined after he hit the comm button on his console. "We can't afford a spacewalk now. Tell the Cap'n to do his best to protect that nacelle."

"Yes, Chief," said Rostov.

"Commander Tucker," T'Pol's voice was the next to come over the comm.

Trip noticed how calm she sounded, even though he knew she wasn't. Too much had gone on in her life at the moment for her to be this calm while they tried to save Vulcan refugees.

"Yes, SubCommander," he responded.

"The computer core temperature is starting to rise. There must be a rupture somewhere in its cooling system," she told him.

"I'll take care of it," he said then cut the connection.

They couldn't afford to lose their computer core. The ship would be a floating hunk of metal. He looked over his shoulder at his crew in order to pick the right one to send to do the job. Ensign Bianca was looking on repairing a ruptured plasma conduit. He showed talent and didn't need much guidance.

"Bianca," he called.

"Yes, Chief," called back Bianca.

"Computer core is starting to overheat. Find the problem and fix it."

"If I can't find the problem, Chief?" asked Bianca.

Trip smiled. It was a good question.

"Find a solution," he told him.

"Aye, aye, Chief," Bianca said.

He popped down from out of the ceiling, grabbed a tool belt, and headed off. Trip got back to work.

STSTST

One of the Orion ships was limping away, but the other two were in better condition than the Enterprise. Archer sat in his command chair cursing the fact that they had to rely on polarized hulls rather than defensive shields like the Andorians, Klingons, Vulcans, and countless other races. It wouldn't hurt if they had more firepower, also.

"Malcolm, pick one of the Orion ships and concentrate all your firepower on it," ordered Archer. Trip will have to just keep the ship going with one of his miracles.

"Aye, aye, Captain," replied Malcolm in a tone of approval.

"Captain, I'm being hailed by a Suurok Class Vulcan starship named T'Klass. It's Captain wanted to let you know he is 6 minutes and 23 seconds away," said Hoshi.

"Tell him to make it sooner," said Archer.

T'Pol looked over at Archer and raised her left eyebrow in disapproval.

STSTST

Trip unzipped his flight suit uniform, pulled down the top half of his uniform, and tied the arms around his waist. His top half was now in a blue muscle tee shirt, which was soaked with sweat. The Warp reactor was overheating. He had left the Engineering console and now stood in front of the reactor console trying to find a solution.

"I've got three coolant leaks," he called out. "Snell, Curry, Cho, get hazard suits on. Plug those leaks."

He started up the air recycling system before the coolant made the atmosphere in Main Engineering toxic.

"Holden," Trip called out, "hand out oxygen masks. If anyone seem like they are lightheaded get them out in the corridor."

"Aye, aye Chief."

Another hit with a particle beam shook the ship. This time Trip lost his footing, hit the railing, flipped over it, and fell to the floor landing on his head and shoulder. Unconsciousness came quickly for Trip, as Engineering became chaotic without its chief.

STSTST

The long cylinder shaped ship with the ring-shaped Vulcan warp drive swooped into the fray. The Orion ships began to retreat the moment the T'Klass opened fire with its strong particle beam cannons. The battle was over.

Archer leaned back in his command chair. He looked over at Malcolm, who stood stoically at his Station.

"Stand down," he said.

"Aye, sir," said Malcolm.

The red trim lights stopped blinking. They were no longer at DefCon 1. Archer looked over his shoulder at T'Pol.

"I need ship status, T'Pol," said he.

"We have three hull breaches, Captain. It also appears that our warp drive is damaged," she said.

"Damn it," growled Archer.

He punched the button for Engineering.

"Hess, here," she said.

"Hess, where is Commander Tucker?" demanded Archer.

"Sickbay, sir. Commander Tucker was injured," she said.

Archer broke the connection. He stood up and looked at T'Pol.

"SubCommander, you have the conn," he said.

"Yes, Captain," she said then she stood up and waited for Archer to exit before taking the command chair as her own.

She knew that Archer was headed down to sickbay in order to check on Commander Tucker. A surprising surge of emotion almost overwhelmed T'Pol when she heard Tucker was injured, but she quickly suppressed the emotions. She sat down.

"SubCommander, Captain T'Kar is hailing us," said Hoshi.

T'Pol looked at her and calmly said, "Put him on the view screen."

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