Title: "The Past Through My Eyes, The Future Through Yours."
Archive: Please Ask First
Spoilers: 'Minefield' (S2), 'Shockwave, Part 2' (S2) and 'Kir'Shara'
Summary: Archer receives a surprise visit from a certain Vulcan at the end of 'Kir'Shara' who gives him a message and a warning.
Author's Notes: I wrote this as a tag scene for the end of 'Kir'Shara' especially after seeing that Romulan at the end. I'm taking a lot from season two episodes so I'm hoping people will remember them. Also, I'm really trying to bridge the gap here on a few episodes, so I hope it makes sense. Please excuse any 'out of characterness'.
"The Past Through My Eyes, The Future Through Yours"
"Let me get this straight, Archer, you were carrying around an 1800 year old Vulcan ghost in your head?"
"Admiral Gardner, I realize this is a little hard to believe…"
"To say the least."
Archer had to inwardly sigh as he regarded the visage of his new commanding officer in his office. After Surak's katra had been removed from his mind, Archer exchanged some pleasantries with Ambassador Soval and the rest, but immediately after returned to his ship. He knew he wouldn't have to wait long to hear from Admiral Forrest's successor. Jon had always enjoyed the rapport he had with Admiral Forrest, but something told him things would be different with Gardner.
"Captain Archer," the Admiral continued, "I've only had this position for a few days, and in that time you've managed to join a movement that has disbanded the Vulcan High Command. Also, while you were tooling across the countryside of Vulcan – a fact not mentioned by your second-in-command, let me remind you – I received several 'requests' by Administrator V'Las 'asking' for Enterprise to leave orbit. Add to this your Commander Tucker blatantly disregarded my orders to return to Earth and then placed the pride of the fleet directly in the line of fire between the Andorians and the Vulcans." Gardner's brow furrowed and he sighed deeply. "So, as you can imagine how hectic it's been around here."
"Commander Tucker did what he had to do, Admiral, given the fact that he was told by Ambassador Soval about the invasion in the first place." Archer didn't say he would've done the same thing. "There's also the possibility of ex-Administrator V'Las' involvement with the bombing."
Gardner's face softened a bit and he looked at something off-screen. "Which concurs with a communiqué I received from Ambassador Soval just prior to this meeting. You'll also be interested in hearing that the Andorian Imperial Command has also sent their thanks and have requested talks to open official diplomatic relations." This surprised Archer somewhat, given the prideful nature of the Andorians.
How many do I owe Shran now?
"Given these new developments, as well as Soval's statement that Vulcan will be 'loosening the leash' (as it were) on our expansion, I'm willing to overlook most of what has happened…today. My staff and I are already going over your reports, so you'll be receiving new orders shortly." Gardner leaned over to look closer into the screen. "Try and stay out of trouble before then, Captain." The screen blackened as the message ended.
Captain Archer relaxed as he sat back in his chair. That went better than he expected. Jon was also relieved that the Admiral hadn't pressed on the katra issue. Although it did feel as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, he couldn't quite fully rid himself of the feeling of familiarity when he was still down on the planet. He gazed out the view port at the tan and ochre orb that was Vulcan. Though the crisis was averted, Jon had no current orders other than to tie up any lose ends with regards to the embassy bombing. Jon's fists tightened a bit. He particularly wanted to know how far ex-Administrator V'Las had been involved in the bombing that caused the death of his friend and mentor. It was the least he could do.
Unconsciously, his eyes closed and he slowed his breathing to an even pattern. With each breath, the stress and fatigue of the last few days ebbed away from his body. The pain of his loss was still there, but not as acute as before. Archer frowned slightly and shook his head. Was he doing this from something of his own experience, or from some leftover memory while he retained Surak's katra? It had certainly been helpful when he had needed to use the nerve pinch on that attacker. Even T'Pau had commented on his technique improving.
"Then we certainly do have something to learn from each other, Captain."
Archer spun around to face the voice, but any defensive measure was immediately aborted as he recognized the face of the person who had taken him by surprise.
"Surak!" Archer breathed.
The elder Vulcan inclined his head in acknowledgement, but quickly held up his hand at the befuddled expression on Archer's face.
"Be not alarmed, Captain. I am neither a hallucination nor some figment of your imagination."
Archer shook his head. "But the last meld…with the priest…"
"Which took place and yes, the transference was complete. I do now reside in the mind of that priest," Surak said thoughtfully. "I can only speculate that it is some inherent incompatibility between a Vulcan katra and a human mind that allowed this residual connection. Be that as it may, I can already feel the link between us fade. Within a short time, I will be gone."
Archer slowly relaxed. "Then…why are you here?"
"For two reasons: the first being to thank you for saving my world and my people. Were it not for you and your actions, Vulcan would have suffered another cataclysm, one that it would not have able to rise up from a second time."
Archer nodded in understanding. "And the second reason?"
Here Surak frowned slightly. He turned and walked a few paces across the cabin, his ancient Vulcan robes swishing around him. After a few moments, he turned and regarded the captain.
"I'm hesitant to discuss the second matter, since the implications are somewhat staggering." Surak grew silent. When Archer said nothing, he continued, "Throughout the time where I resided in your consciousness, I was able to see the world through your eyes. As well as lend a hand from time to time when necessary."
Archer grinned. "Your knowledge of how to navigate the Forge, as well as how to knock out an enemy was useful." Something not unlike a smile graced the elder Vulcan's eyes, but he quickly grew serious.
"Captain, did you happen to take note of Administrator V'Las' reaction when you revealed the Kir'Shara to him as well as to the rest of the High Council?"
Archer snorted. "How could I forget? He practically threw himself at the artifact, looking to destroy it."
"Exactly!" Surak said excitedly. "Even when the evidence was plainly staring at him in the face, V'Las looked determined to deny its very existence. The look on his face when he was about to destroy the Kir'Shara was most troubling."
"In what way?"
The old Vulcan sighed deeply. "In the way that I have seen that same anger…that same venality only once before." Surak stopped here and looked thoughtfully at Archer. "Do you trust me, Captain?" Jon looked the Vulcan straight in the eye and nodded curtly. Surak stretched a hand. Without a pause, Archer clasped it…and was instantly enveloped in light.
When his vision finally cleared, Archer had to blink a few times. He saw that he was standing on a sand-covered cliff. Off in the distance, a massive mountain jutted out into the sky.
"Mount Seleya," Surak said. "The site that would be the start of the Age of Awakening, but also the beginning of a terrible schism for my people."
Sudden explosions made Archer's gaze sweep over a large valley at the base of the mountain. Two armies swept over each other, crashing into one another like waves against a cliff. Archer could even make out the standards that each army carried: one was what he now knew to be the symbol of IDIC, but the other looked vaguely like bird's wings extended out.
A sudden thought came to Archer and he looked from the battlefield to Surak. "This…this battle was where you died 1800 years ago. Syrann said this was where you perished, fighting those 'who marched beneath the raptor's wings'."
Surak's gaze swept over the carnage in the valley below. "This would mark the turning point in Vulcan society, Captain. One, I'm sad to say, that soon demanded a heavy price."
Archer shook his head in confusion. "Why show me all this?"
"As I said before, Captain Archer, even though my teachings were being read and embraced, it would be the height of arrogance to assume that all of Vulcan accepted my philosophy. There were those who wanted to return to our savage ways. And they did, in the worst way possible."
A sudden flash of light erupted from somewhere near the center and above the battlefield, bringing a false dawn to the area. Jon grunted from the blinding light, as spots began to appear before his eyes. When his vision returned, he witnessed a massive mushroom cloud ring between both armies. Before any shockwave could reach the two men, everything around them faded back into memory. When it returned, Archer now found himself standing on a sand-covered road. They were near the outskirts of what looked like a decimated city.
Surak said, "While you initially witnessed the past through my eyes, Captain, you now see it through others in whose minds I resided through the ages."
Here and there, small settlements were beginning to spring up. Archer remembered stories his own grandfather had told him when Earth went through its own last Atomic Horror. Although what he was experiencing was a memory, he could almost understand now the haunted look in Granddad's eyes when he talked about the devastation humans had tried so hard to rain down on themselves.
Surak, as if sensing his thoughts, nodded sadly. "That was one of the differences between our two people's, Captain. Whereas you had help after your last war, we, on the other hand, had no one but ourselves. This is why it took us 1500 years before we had finally made our way back into space." Bleak eyes encompassed an even bleaker landscape. "The next few centuries would take a heavy toll on all of Vulcan. In essence, the entire planet would undergo its own personal Forge in the years to come."
Off in the distance, a dull roar echoed and, for a moment, Archer thought it was another explosion. Even from miles away, he could see dozens of ships take off, traveling high into the sky on columns of fire. The now familiar raptor-like emblem could be seen painted on a few of the ships as they flew off.
"Those Vulcans," Surak began, eyes tracking the ascending ships, "who survived the wars and still did not heed to logic, captured what few remaining sleeper ships still available and fled Vulcan, never to be seen or heard from again."
The ships finally disappeared through the clouds, just as the 'memory' of the blighted Vulcan faded before Archer's eyes. What replaced it was the pitch black of space, with star sprinkled everywhere and the crescent of a planet just visible. Archer frowned. Looking down, he saw hull plating beneath his feet. Eyes widening, he tentatively looked back and caught sight of the twin-engine warp nacelles of the Enterprise…as seen from the outside.
A memory, this is just another memory!
A gentle hand gripped his shoulder. "Exactly, Captain," Surak, said from his side once again. "Just as you witnessed the past through my eyes we now see it through yours."
The initial panic fading away, Archer looked around and got another surprise. Several feet away, clustered around some object embedded on to the hull of the ship, were two space-suited figures. One figure looked to be in distress since one leg was impaled in one of the clamps of the object.
"Wait," Archer said. "I know this. This was when Malcolm and I were trying to disarm that mine two years ago." His head then came up. "When we also ran into those ships…" There. Just a few kilometers astern were the ships that had uncloaked and demanded Enterprise leave or be fired upon while it was stuck in that minefield.
"Look closely, Captain," Surak said, pointing to one of the ships. Archer peered closer until he could just make out some kind of symbol on a wing attached to one of the warp nacelles. A small chill went down his spine as he finally could make out a variant of the original raptor-wing symbol he witnessed earlier.
"Hoshi said they called themselves Romulans," Archer said quietly, then rounded on his guide. "Are you saying that they're the descendants of those original Vulcans that left the planet?"
Surak looked away and said nothing for several moments. "It is possible, Captain. From what I've been able to gather, current Vulcan society is not aware of this possible fact. But if the Vulcan High Command knew, then they kept it a very closely guarded secret."
Archer frowned. "If the High Command knew…then Administrator V'Las must've known."
"And see how close he was to starting an interstellar war," Surak added. "Such a conflict would've destroyed not only Vulcan, but other worlds as well."
"So, you think that V'Las is either a Romulan himself…or is working with Romulans?"
"A distinct possibility," Surak said.
Archer gave a pained expression. "With all due respect, Surak, but you're basing a lot on flimsy evidence."
"For which I apologize, Captain Archer, since I believe it is only based on what you humans call a 'hunch'. Not something that modern Vulcans practice, but it was known to be done in my time." A small frown creased the elder Vulcan's face. "My time grows short, Captain, and I have one more thing to show you." With that, he touched Archer's shoulder and both were engulfed in light.
When his vision cleared a second time, Archer looked around at what was a large building of sorts. Dozens of shelves stood or were toppled over, with real books strewn everywhere. A thick layer of dust covered everything.
"Do you know where you are now, Captain?"
"Yes," Archer said with some wonderment. "This was the alternate Earth in the 31st century that Daniels had brought me back to by accident when the timeline was tampered with. This was the library we found and we started looking around. Which means - " He turned and found what he was looking for.
There was Daniels, looking more and more distressed as he went through book after book, trying to figure out where the timeline had diverged. And there he was, close by, looking somewhat annoyed at Daniels' reticence to give up any information. Archer saw himself as he started looking at some of the spines of the books lining the shelves. One in particular caught his attention.
"'The Romulan Star Empire'?" He heard himself say. Daniels' head snapped up from whatever he was looking at and came over to gently push the book back in place.
"Maybe you shouldn't be looking at that," he said.
As the Archer of this memory argued with Daniels, the other looked at his Vulcan guide.
"I wouldn't have noticed that if I hadn't seen it from here," Archer said. "He looked nervous…almost terrified when I had that book."
"Almost as if, from his perspective, you might have some link with that very subject," commented Surak, who touched his shoulder. "It's time, Captain." And with that the memory around them began to fade around them and was soon replaced by Archer's office.
The Captain found himself standing in the exact same place he had been before Surak pulled him into his memory. It was a good thing T'Pol hadn't walked in and found him staring into nothing. Archer sat down and regarded his Vulcan guide one last time.
"So…Romulans may have been involved in possibly touching off a war and, given what I just saw, I may have more dealings with them in the future?" Archer chuckled while rubbing the back of his neck. "You realize I can't even go to the Vulcan High Command or even to Starfleet with this information. That I was led to this by the ghost of the father of modern Vulcan society would not look good on a report."
"Then perhaps it is meant only for you then, Captain," Surak replied. "Remember, Vulcan will now be exercising a less aggressive stance on what you do in space. In a sense, you have been given the keys to the galaxy. Perhaps you are the one to know when to be wary of which doors to open?"
Archer looked thoughtful. "If you're suggesting keep an eye open, then that's good advice for anyone."
Surak nodded and then straightened. "I must leave you now." He brought his hand up in the Vulcan salute. "Peace and long life, Captain."
Archer returned the gesture and in a blink of an eye, Surak was gone. He settled a bit in his chair and stared out into space for a long time, alone with his thoughts until the intercom buzzed with T'Pol's voice.
"Bridge to Captain."
Archer thumbed the switch. "Go ahead."
"Sir, we're receiving our new orders from Admiral Gardner."
Archer took one last look at where his Vulcan guide was standing mere moments before. "Well, I think we're…ready to carry them out, don't you think, Commander?"
Archer got up from his chair and purposely walked out his office, the doors sliding behind him.