What Lies Within Us
Summary: It looked like a simple mission. But the consequences for Trip are going from bad to worse. Will he be able to cope with his fate? No pairings, no slash, but lots of friendship.
Archive: Of course, but please let me know
Disclaimer: I guess I own the aliens but unfortunately none of the Enterprise staff.
A/N: I am from Germany. And although my English is good enough to read these lovely stories here on fanfictionnet, I didn't dare to write a whole story in a foreign language. Therefore I asked my dear friends Sita and T'eyla to translate it. So they are to blame for the grammar mistakes. LOL For they are Germans, too, they just did a wonderful job. Although, should you find some errors, please tell us. Enjoy the story and be so kind to tell us, what you're thinking about it.
A/N Sita/T'eyla: Well, actually there's not much to add... The German original of "What Lies Within Us" is a wonderful piece of writing, and we hope you'll enjoy the English version as well. It's been a lot of fun (and a challenge) translating the story, and, well... why are you still staring at the Author's Note? Go on, read the story (and review! )
What Lies Within Us
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Jonathan Archer sat in the Captain's chair, his eyes resting on the main screen. The planet hanging below them looked quite cold and hostile.
"Anything new?" he asked, turning to his Science Officer.
"Negative," T'Pol answered immediately without raising her eyes. "The scanners are not detecting any bio signs, as was the case with the other planets of this system."
"Fauna or flora?"
"Negative as well."
"Is there anything worth exploring down there? Strange geological formations? Anything unusual?"
Meeting Archer's eyes T'Pol raised an eyebrow. She hadn't missed the frustrated undertone in her Captain's voice when he'd asked the question. They'd been in this solar system for three weeks now, scanning one planet after another, gathering information and stocking up the data base. But not one of the planet had an atmosphere or at least something similar to an atmosphere. They were desert planets. Frozen wastelands on the fringes of the system, rocky landscapes in the middle and sandy deserts on the planets nearest to the sun. None of these planets held any particular appeal to the Enterprise crew and they were beginning to feel bored, most of all the captain.
T'Pol turned back to her instruments which were currently set to do a scan of the fourth planet of the six planets system.
"There is nothing you would call unusual," she announced calmly. Archer let out a sigh.
"We could fire a torpedo at it," an amused voice spoke up in the background. "I'm sure Malcolm would like doin' a little target practice. His aim is gettin' pretty rusty."
T'Pol shot the Chief Engineer an icy look, but Archer smiled as he turned around. "Malcolm would probably blow up the whole planet," he said. "That would change the ecosystem of the whole solar system."
"What ecosystem?" Trip asked grinning. "D'you see any ecosystem down there?"
"Sir, I'd never..." Malcolm Reed began stiffly, but Trip cut him off.
"Take it easy, Malcolm. Why can't you ever take a joke?"
"Well, I don't think you're being very funny," the tactical officer retorted acidly. "Why don't we do a little target practice on your precious engines, how does that sound?"
Trip had already opened his mouth to give a reply when T'Pol's voice interrupted their more or less witty repartee.
"What is it, T'Pol?"
"The planet has a moon, in a distance of about 235.000 km."
"So what?" Trip asked. "What about it? The other planets had moons as well."
T'Pol ignored him. "This moon has an atmosphere," she informed Archer. The Captain sat up straight in his chair.
"Correct. 20,5% oxygen, 75,9 nitrogen and several gases."
"Just like back on Earth," Trip commented.
"The air is indeed breathable," T'Pol confirmed.
"There is not one single planet with an atmosphere in this system," Reed said. "And now we suddenly run across a small moon that has an atmosphere similar to Earth'? That's strange."
"Why do you think it is strange, Lieutenant?"
Malcolm Reed refrained from explaining it to her. How could you make a Vulcan understand something like a feeling?
"Are there any life forms down there?" he asked instead.
"None at all?" Archer frowned. "Not even a microbe? Well, never mind. Travis, set a course. Let's take a look at it."
"Except for its atmosphere the moon is not any different from the other planets and satellites of the system. It is uninhabited and harbors no vegetation. It's surface consists mainly of one big rocky landscape. The readings do not provide any new results. The rock's compounds are the same as that of the planet the moon is orbiting."
Archer gave T'Pol a curt nod, feeling slightly disappointed. This was not what he'd been expecting. His disappointment was mirrored in the blue eyes of his Chief Engineer who'd secretly been hoping for a new adventure.
"The whole moon looks like that?" Archer asked.
"Except for an area in the northern hemisphere, 0,86 km by 0,74 km, which cannot be scanned."
Archer raised his head. "Can't be scanned? Why?"
"I do not know yet," T'Pol admitted.
"And when were you plannin' to tell us about that area?" Trip winced at his testy tone of voice, but he couldn't help it. The cool, reserved Vulcan did have an uncanny knack for getting under his skin. What bothered him the most, however, was that he couldn't tease her back. Again she didn't react to what he said but turned directly to Archer.
"Considering the moon's size the area is far too small to attract any interest. The anomaly is probably being caused by the surface's minerals. Maybe there are some magnetic compounds in that area which are blocking the scanners."
"Or maybe that area has somethin' to do with why that particular satellite has an atmosphere," Trip suggested. Finally T'Pol turned to him.
"That is quite improbable, Commander," she dismissed his theory in a cool tone of voice.
Sighing, Trip looked at Archer. "Captain, there's somethin' down there. I... I just have a feelin'. And since T'Pol can't offer any real explanation why this particular moon has an atmosphere I suggest we take a shuttle down there and take a look ourselves."
"Sending an away team to the surface would serve no purpose, Commander," T'Pol said icily. "In your solar system Earth is also the only planet which has developed an atmosphere. I do not need to tell you that it is simply a natural process depending on many variables."
"But there's life on Earth," Trip said. "And I don't see any life down there."
"The moon is probably in an early stage of development. In any case you will not find anything on its surface that cannot be detected by our instruments as well. The area which cannot be scanned is small enough to be neglected."
Trip grimaced, giving Archer a look that told the Captain everything about how his friend was feeling. Trip was fed up with being locked up in this ship without having anything to do. In the last few weeks there had been nothing that needed his immediate attention; the warp engines were running like clockwork, all systems were working faultlessly and there hadn't been a single malfunctioning relay that needed fixing. Trip needed something to do.
Archer turned to T'Pol.
"I don't see any danger in going down to the surface and getting a few samples from that area so we can run an analysis."
"I can only make a point of the fact that I deem this a hasty way of action. We know from experience that..."
"I know, T'Pol." Archer waved her off. "Trip, get a shuttle ready and go down there for a few mineral samples from that mysterious area the instruments can't scan. Maybe someone wants to join you." Archer smiled. He knew perfectly well that there was at least one person who was also bored to death with being locked up on this ship with nothing to do.
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