Trip was feeling slightly nervous as he walked towards Sickbay. It had been six hours since he had ran down these corridors, carrying a feverish and clammy baby girl. He had almost collided with two other crewmembers, such was his panic to get help for his young charge.
He'd gotten her to Phlox very quickly, and the good Doctor was trying his best to care for her right now, but there was something else bothering the engineer. The feeling that had overcome him as he had sprinted down the hallways, the way that everything else fell away from him as he ran to find help. It was similar to the way he'd felt while carrying Ah'Len's Xyrillian offspring. He shouldn't feel this way, Aisha was not his daughter, but something inside of him wanted so much for her to be.
Finding that he had reached his destination, he opened the doors to the infirmary and found T'Pol waiting on a nearby bed. She seemed to be okay, but Trip could see weariness and worry were taking its toll on her restraint. It still seemed strange to him that he could read her so easily, that he had a strange innate closeness to her. Shaking his head, he moved to go and speak with her.
"How's she doing?" he inquired, placing a hand on the bio-bed.
T'Pol looked up, and seemed to only notice him for the first time. "Dr. Phlox says that he has done all he can. If we do not send her back soon, she will die."
Trip's blue eyes relayed his shock. "Wha-what? It took weeks for me and Hoshi to succumb to it, why so quickly for her?"
"She is an infant, Commander. Her body is not strong enough to survive such trans-universal travel. However," she began, and Trip could see a faint light behind her eyes, "Commander Reed and I have finished our modifications much ahead of schedule. The beacon was launched into the ion storm, and we believe that it is functioning adequately."
"Hopefully, they'll come." replied Trip. He opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it.
"Is there something else, Commander?" the Vulcan inquired, sensing his hesitation.
A look of discomfort came across his face, and it took him a moment to speak. "It's just... I don't know, T'Pol. I wish she could stay here with me, with us." At the last word, he stole a furtive glance to the woman seated beside him. "I mean, she's gotta to back to her universe, but the thought of 'what ifs' and 'if onlys' keep running through my head."
T'Pol was quiet a moment, and Trip looked to her once more. He could sense something stirring behind her eyes, shifting within her mind. And then it was gone.
"Commander- Trip," she allowed herself, "I do think about the things you have said, but rarely. Vulcans are not those who dwell on alternate choices. I-"
She was cut off by the beeping of the nearby communication unit. Walking over to it, she pressed the com. button.
Captain Archer's voice came floating through. "T'Pol, the emergency beacon is relaying a signal back to us. You and Trip better get up here."
Commander Tucker had already risen, and with a quick look back to where Aisha lay sleeping, the two made their way up to the bridge.
Phew! Sorry about the wait, but hopefully this is enough to tide you over. One chapter left!