TITLE: The Kamea Chronicles, Part 1: The One and Only
AUTHOR: Sugah Sugah
SUMMARY: Enterprise encounters a stranded escape pod with an unusual occupant.
RATING: K+ -- some language, but nothing to write home about.
SPOILERS: Through "Home" (season 4, episode 3)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story happens after the events of "Home" but before "Borderland". It is the first part of a much longer story and therefore takes place in an alternate universe. Since it is the first part of a series, it will probably be very boring, and for this I apologize. I had originally written this in novel form, but then my hard drive crashed, and when I started over I wrote it in parts, to make it easier to print.
The main character of the series is an original one (though somewhat based on a character of Quills'), and I took a little liberties with establishing her heritage, but since this is a show about people who travel around on a giant spaceship meeting different alien cultures every week, I didn't think anyone would mind the slight suspension of disbelief needed to embrace Kamea's character.
Also, while this is AU, I like some of the things TPTB are doing with our favorite characters this season, so I may be using elements of season 4 throughout the series.
By the way, this series assumes that the events that happened in my fic "Just As It Should Be" actually happened in the show. I refer to them later. You might want to read that story, too. And it's not just a shameless plug. Okay, it is. But whatever.
EDIT: The different books of the chronicles have now been "updated" to include stardate, so you can get a sense of the timeline.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own "Enterprise". I make no profit. So please don't sue. (If you do, you won't get much.) The only thing "Enterprise" I own is season 1 on DVD, and if I could own anything from "Enterprise", it would be Dominic Keating.

The Kamea Chronicles

Part One: The One and Only

Captain's Log:

Stardate: May 7, 2154

Following a refit after the resolution of the Xindi conflict and the Temporal Cold War -- which of course the Vulcans refuse to validate -- Enterprise has been relaunched to continue its original mission of exploration. Earlier this evening, we encountered a shuttlepod floating dead in space, with one occupant. The pod is broadcasting an SOS beacon in Vulcan, but the pod itself is of Dominion make, and T'Pol informs me that the scanners are unable to get a lock on the occupant's species. I'm waiting for Commander Tucker to join us on the bridge before we make any decisions as to how to proceed.

Commander Trip Tucker hated to leave his post down in engineering. It had been discovered long ago that when he was not there, bad things happened. But the captain of Enterprise – Jonathan Archer, Trip's best friend – had called him to the bridge, and he grudgingly followed orders. The others were already at their posts and had probably been there for quite some time: Ensign Hoshi Sato, communications, Ensign Travis Mayweather, helmsman, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, armory officer and – Trip's heart rate accelerated automatically – Commander T'Pol, science officer.

His relationship with T'Pol had reached a turning point, but neither one seemed to know in which direction to go. He had feelings for her – hell, he was in love with her – and he knew that she reciprocated his feelings, at least to the extent that a Vulcan could. But then her mother all but forced her into a loveless marriage with that jerk, Koss, and now Trip felt constantly frustrated. He was torn between the way he felt when he was around her and his sense of ethics, which said that he shouldn't covet another man's wife – even if she was in love with him. She obviously felt the same, because she had been avoiding him ever since their re-launch after the Xindi conflict.

Trip met T'Pol's eyes briefly and wandered over to the captain's chair, where Archer sat, staring out the view port looking confused. "What's up Cap'n?" Trip asked. His southern drawl had been renewed after the brief visit to Earth; he'd been afraid that the amount of time spent in the expanse would have removed all bits of it from his speech.

Archer just looked at him, then pointed out the view port. Trip turned.

There was a shuttle pod drifting in space. It looked like a giant fish, with a Y-shaped back fin. It was beat to hell, like it had flown through an asteroid field or a meteor shower – covered in a vast assortment of variously sized dents. It also looked as though it had shut down long ago; it wasn't moving of its own momentum anymore – it was just floating along, like it was bobbing in a lake.

Trip shook his head slowly. Whoever was in that pod was either dead or really close to it. There was no way anything could survive floating in space for very long, especially without power or fuel, both of which the pod seemed to be missing. "I don't understand why you called me out of engineerin'. That pod's dead in the water."

Hoshi spoke up from somewhere to his left. "We're getting a distress call," she said, glancing at Trip over her shoulder. "The same word, over and over: gol'nev." Trip shot her a questioning glance – he had no idea what the hell that meant – and she said, "It's Vulcan. It means 'help'."

Trip turned back to the captain, wondering if the reason Enterprise hadn't attempted to do anything was because of Archer's deeply buried resentment of the Vulcan people. But he also knew that Archer wouldn't turn his back on someone so desperately in need of assistance. The pod was virtually defenseless, and its occupants were probably too weak to pose that great of a threat. "Well, then let's bring 'em aboard." He turned to Hoshi. "Have we hailed 'em?"

She gave a barely perceptible shrug. "No response. I've been trying for some time."

"It's complicated, Trip," Archer said, causing Trip to turn back to him.

"What's so complicated about it?" Trip asked. He walked over to the science station so that he was standing directly behind T'Pol. She didn't verbally acknowledge his breach of her personal space, but she did tense slightly. "Aren't those Vulcans on board that thing?"

She didn't look at him. "The readings are erratic. The equipment can't distinguish the species of the occupant. The only thing I can say for certain is that there is only one."

Trip leaned forward slightly to examine the readings, brushing up against T'Pol's back. He felt her stiffen again, then relax, just a bit. He fought to get his breathing under control. Her very presence was intoxicating, and it took every ounce of self-control Trip had to keep himself calm in front of the rest of the crew. "Well, if the SOS call's in Vulcan, then wouldn't it be logical to assume that it's a Vulcan inside?"

"It would," Archer said, and Trip straightened, looking at the captain, "if that were a Vulcan ship."

Trip glanced at the pod, floating just outside the view port. "That's not a Vulcan ship?" He moved away from T'Pol to stand beside Archer once more. "Well, then what the hell is it?"

"That's a Dominion ship," Malcolm said. He had not lost one trace of his British accent in all the years they'd been on Enterprise. "Probably an escape pod. But we haven't encountered any Dominion ships for over a year, and if one was nearby, we would have certainly picked it up on our sensors."

Archer sank into his chair. "So basically," he said, glancing up at Trip, "we have a Vulcan distress call coming from a Dominion ship, but we have no idea what's inside."

There was silence on the bridge as everyone stared at the pod. Trip felt a smile creep across his face. The past few weeks had been uneventful, and he was starting to get cabin fever. This was something that signaled action, that they would actually have something to do instead of reconnaissance. "What are we waitin' for?"

Archer grinned at Trip, then reached a hand to his communications panel and pushed a button. "Archer to sickbay."

The voice of Phlox, their Denobulan physician, filled the bridge. "Sickbay here, Captain."

"Meet me in the launch bay. We may have someone in need of medical attention."

"Certainly, Captain." Trip thought Phlox sounded a little excited. After all, it had been weeks since he'd had to take care of anything more than a common cold.

"Malcolm," Archer said, turning to face the tactical officer, "grab one or two of your men and meet Phlox in the launch bay. If whoever's inside the pod is hostile, I don't want to be unprepared."

"Of course, Captain," Malcolm said, rising and sounding every bit as excited as Phlox had. This was the kind of stuff he lived for. He was gone in seconds, disappearing from the bridge as the doors to the turbo lift shut solidly in front of him.

"Travis," Archer said, facing forward again, "send out the grappler."

"You got it sir," Travis said, emulating the excitement that Malcolm and Phlox had already displayed. Trip couldn't help smiling. Even he was excited – this was something actually happening, and it was enshrouded in mystery. Plus, it would give him the opportunity to study the Dominion pod at length, something he had never had the chance to do before.

The grappler cable began to pull the pod toward Enterprise. Trip turned and started walking towards the door. "I'll go meet the pod in the launch bay, Cap'n," he said. "See if I can get it open."

"Hold on there, Trip," Archer said. Trip whirled around and saw Archer rising from the captain's chair. "I'd like to go with you." Trip nodded as Archer looked at T'Pol. "You should probably come, too. If the occupant of that pod is Vulcan, we may need you."

She nodded sharply, stepping out from behind her console and walking over to join Trip. He felt his chest tighten with her close proximity. Whenever she was near him, he couldn't control himself. He took several deep, calming breaths and ignored the raised eyebrow she was giving him.

Archer walked across the bridge. He stopped in front of the turbo lift and turned around. "Hoshi, you have the bridge." He stepped into the turbo lift and waited for Trip and T'Pol to follow.

Trip and T'Pol glanced at each other, and he jerked his head at the door, indicating that she should go first. She nodded to say that she understood and stepped into the turbo lift beside the captain. Trip entered last and pushed the button for E-deck, another smile creeping across his face.