Healing to Your Life – Chapter 9

He couldn't hear it but he could sure feel her laughing at him. "T'Pol you really aren't being very Vulcan at the moment. I didn't think Vulcans laughed."

"I am not laughing and you're...what would you call what you've been doing all morning?" If she required him to name it, he was more likely to put an end to this constant complaining.

"It's called whining. I'm whining and you seem to find that funny."

"Whining. Like a small child who isn't getting their way."

"Look at all these messages, T'Pol." His exasperation grew with each scroll down the page. "I'm a warp engineer not an adviser to the lovelorn?"

"He is your friend and he is having a difficult time."

"He's being ridiculous. He's a grown man; who ought to be able to handle a few weeks without talking to her."

T'Pol began replaying Trip's memories of each time a situation forced his separation from her. "I seem to remember someone else who reacted badly to being apart..."

"That's really not fair." He hated it when she used his own thoughts against him like this. "We're bonded and it's not the same thing and you know it."

"Malcolm cares for this woman and he is lonely. What is different? He has no idea when he will speak to Mackenzie again and is suffering from 'separation anxiety'; I believe that is what you called it." She then played the memory of when he told Malcolm he'd understand when he fell in love.

"You and that damn Vulcan logic. And stop digging through my memories." Trip was frustrated. His wife was being no help and all he wanted to do was get his warp drive finished and the first of the Daedalus starships operational. Then they could get back home in their own space and start working on the new warp engine. "We're trying to get this ship together so it can fly in as little time as possible and instead everyone wants me to figure out how to get Malcolm back to being just his normal gloomy self."

Jon had sent several messages regarding his down in the dumps First Officer. All were pleas for Trip to find a way to make him feel better. Travis sent two in two days. And Hoshi sent one every day since the second week after they'd arrived at Utopia Plantia, four weeks ago. 'Please help!!!! Malcolm is walking around like a lost puppy. He isn't eating or sleeping. He's grouchy. He's not leaving his quarters. He's miserable and making everyone around him just as miserable.' Trip knew this was probably true. As First Officer, no one could avoid him for very long.

Taking pity on her husband and knowing there was really nothing they could do, she offered her assistance. "I will contact Captain Archer and suggest he find a way to allow Commander Reed to contact Ms. Smith. He will be far more likely to find a way around Starfleet's rules." Family was the only non-Starfleet personnel allowed to contact a starship using the comm system. All other messages were written ones. Having girlfriends or boyfriends clogging up the comm links was not something Starfleet was prepared to deal with.

"Thanks. I really am enjoying the break from them. If I have to hear one more of Malcolm's 'How do I love thee let me count the ways' chats I'll be sick. He must be at 500 or more by now." He would never have imagined the Brit for the love poem type, but evidently, the British educational system found it necessary to require their schoolchildren to memorize volumes of some really bad poetry. Trip conceded that perhaps it wasn't that bad, but simply lost something in Malcolm's translation and recitation. It was like listening to the boys in his ninth grade class read Romeo and Juliet, with their lack of understanding of romantic love and flat, monotone voices.

"There is a message here regarding your signing the order to disallow any shades of gray in the color scheme throughout the ship." She had chastised him for his impetuousness at signing this order when he did it. Now the Admiralty was asking if he had really been serious.

Trip read the message. "Tell them yes I was serious and unless one of them cares to countermand my order it stands." He couldn't rescind it now without admitting to acting impulsively when Commander Russell angered him.

"Do you think that's wise?"

"Would you rather I tell them I got mad because that idiot Russell called me to a meeting because he couldn't settle an argument amongst his own staff about gray walls." He'd arrived at the meeting expecting to sign-off on the final color scheme, but soon realized he was there to referee a battle on those colors. He didn't have time for this, so when an ensign managed to get his attention and present her idea to ban all gray walls because they were cold and impersonal he thought why not.

When he saw Commander Russell's reaction, he actually had the ensign revise the wording to ban all shades of gray on any visible surfaces aboard the ship, except the galley and mechanical parts for engineering. He knew it was petty and stupid, but he didn't care. "What's wrong with making them apply a few more coats of primer and paint? I never thought about it much before, but that ensign was right. If we expect them to live in space for months and maybe even die out there, is it too much to ask that home feel a little less like a tin can." He wasn't prepared to argue with T'Pol over the color gray. "If you really object you can rescind it, just make it clear it's against my wishes."

"I will tell them the order stands." The admirals really had much more important things to worry about than paint. Fortunately, the design section was being moved out and back at HQ before they returned. The design of the starship was not likely to change much, so there was no longer a need for a full staff for the interior design. If new design requirements came up in the future, the plans would be sent to HQ and assigned to the appropriate staff there. All that would remain was engineering staff. Now that the first ships were to be completed, the area for design was in the midst of a conversion process to become classrooms and labs for teaching Starfleet upperclassmen.

"Is there any thing else before I go do some actual work constructing a warp engine?" Trip joked.

"Your brother John wishes to come stay with us."

"What? When?" Maybe his dad got tired of waiting on him to get John away from Florida. He didn't understand why it was taking so long.

"He has been offered a position at the law firm of Baker and Liston in San Francisco. He must complete his last term of law school and pass the bar. But according to his message, he will be in charge of their 'pro bono' division and all clients' legal matters dealing with Vulcan law. I was not aware he was familiar with Vulcan law."

"I asked Ambassador Soval to provide him with whatever he needed to understand the Vulcan legal system. I asked Baker and Liston to act as our legal representatives and to allow John to handle our affairs under their supervision until he obtains his law degree and passes the bar."

The partners must have taken it a step further. It was a prudent decision on their part. It couldn't hurt to have a well-connected expert on Vulcan legal affairs on the staff. This worked out better than Trip had planned and it kept him out of it. He'd told John how important family was to Vulcans and how important it was to keep family and personal business private so asking him to handle the legal affairs was the practical thing to do. "Does he say when he's coming?"

"In one month. He says the firm has offered to put him up in a hotel, but he thought he'd like to stay with us until he finds a place of his own." T'Pol looked forward to spending time with John without his parents. The young man deferred to them often to his own detriment and she would like to get to know her brother-in-law better.

"We might not be back yet, but I can have security let him in. Is there a message from my dad in there somewhere?" Trip knew there'd be one soon. As of today, the test flight was on the schedule to take place in 17 days. They were on target to meet that time, but only if this next stage went as planned. If not there would be delays and then they had to met with several representatives of the various governments to work out details of obtaining the b=new materials they needed for the next warp engine they would be designing.

"No, but I will let you know when it arrives."

"Okay, I'm going to go work now. Can you give me a heads up an hour or so before dinnertime? I'll need to take a shower before I see you." The day began fine, but quickly spiraled into a swirling sea of problems, which required his immediate and direct attention.

---

"Commander why is everybody over there?" Trip pointed at his staff all standing across the room.

"I wish I could tell you, but Sub-Commander Kevit is being a little aggressive. He suggested we all stay away from him and when Lt. Guess got close to him he..." Billy searched for a way to inform the captain of his actions but also keep the Vulcan out of trouble.

"He hit him, sir." Ensign Seswick interjected.

"Kevit hit Guess?" Could this day get any worse? "So why is Kevit so upset?" It must be serious if a Vulcan was so angry he was hitting people.

"He's been acting squirrely all day. First, he snapped at me this morning for asking questions and now he's threatening us. I tried talking to him earlier, but all he'd say was its private." Billy always tried to help if he could, but the Vulcans kept so much to themselves it was difficult.

Another of those things Starfleet failed to prepare those who are in command for. Trip was definitely going to submit a request for training as a counselor, as it seemed to consume large chunks of his time. "So, where is Kevit, now?" He'd looked around the room and couldn't see him.

"He's working on the plasma assembly, just like he's supposed to be." Billy pointed in the direction of his work area.

Trip admired the fact that even in distress the Vulcan was doing his duty. The only problem was that if no one else worked with him the work would never be completed. "Keep everyone over here and I'll see if I can talk to him." Trip moved around the machinery and found Kevit stuffed in a corner working.

"Sub-Commander, can we talk for a minute?" Trip wanted to let him know he was there and he didn't want to get to close until he was assured no fists would be flying in his direction.

"I'm not going to hit you Captain. I told Guess I was sorry. I just need to be alone for a while." Kevit turned his face away from Tucker.

"Kevit look at me." Trip wanted to see his face, especially his eyes. Vulcans had not totally perfected hiding their emotions, except in their expressions.

Kevit turned to face Captain Tucker. His eyes were dark and troubled as he lowered his gaze to the floor. Trip recognized the gesture as one T'Pol used when she was embarrassed or unable to talk about something. "Let's take this back to my office where we'll have some privacy."

"Darlin, I need your input here. What's going on with Kevit?" Trip had taken note of the fact that T'Pol had remained quiet. She usually offered advice or encouragement when he ran into these types of situations with the staff.

"I can be of no assistance in a private Vulcan matter." T'Pol put up several shields.

"Don't you go pulling that secret Vulcan crap on me now. I have no idea what to do or say to him. You're the Vulcan here so help me out." Why was it that when he was totally clueless she abandoned him?

"The Sub-Commander will require the assistance of his mate and some time off. That is the only help we can offer."

Trip understood. No wonder he wouldn't talk, but T'Pol shouldn't be clamming up on him. "Oh..so it's that time for him. He should have just requested some time off." It was bad timing, but Trip also knew it wasn't something one could plan for until it actually happened. "Are you going to get all aggressive and attack people when this happens to you?"

"This will happen to us and aggression is part of it. If his mate is near he may be reacting to other males being in her presence even though she is not in the same physical location." Jealousy was a powerful emotion and Vulcans in Pon Farr were very prone to.

"Sub-Commander Kevit where is your mate?" Trip asked quietly as they headed for his office.

The questions in Kevit's eyes surprised Trip. "Don't forget I'm bonded to a Vulcan. I may not know about what you're going through first hand, but I do understand."

"I have no bonded mate. This is my first..." Kevit's voice dropped off. "...my chosen and I will not be bonded until after the ritual."

"So how long do we have before we need to get you two somewhere private?" Trip was trying to be as respectful as he could be. He could see how difficult it was for the Vulcan to discuss something so intimate and private with him.

"We do not require going anywhere. My room will be private enough." Having to talk to the Captain about this was bad enough. He did not want to trouble him any further.

"Look I know how private Vulcans are about certain things and I can't see you being in your room during this." Two sex-craved, active, and possibly violent Vulcans in a dorm-like room surrounded by the occupants of the other rooms didn't seem private at all. They didn't want to talk about it. What would he do once the other engineers figured out what was going on in his room? No way was that scenario something Trip was prepared to deal with. "I'll see what I can do to make arrangements for you and your chosen mate to spend some quality time together away from the rest of us. Who is your chosen mate?" Trip needed her name to add to the leave request.

"Commander Jakan."

"Jakan, as in the Andorian who's in charge of the impulse engine?" Tucker watched as Kevit nodded in the affirmative. He stood behind his desk shaking his head. Not only was he going to have the Vulcans questioning a Vulcan/Andorian bonding, but she was the head of a department and would be on leave for several days and unreachable. Trip thought he wanted this day to start over earlier, so it could get better. Now he just wanted it over before it got any worse. And why was T'Pol being so reticent about offering him any kind of help or support. With this last piece of news, she'd erected her shields to the point he almost couldn't feel her at all.

"Is the Commander working on the engine installation?" Trip asked. That might explain the aggressive behavior Kevit was displaying. Most of the engineers under Jakan we're male and Trip was sure at least a couple of them had reputations as players amongst the female staff.

The minute Commander Jakan stepped through the doorway Trip felt it. "T'Pol this is why you've been avoiding the engineering area isn't it? If I can feel it I know you've been able to for some time." He waited. Nothing. She wasn't going to say anything.

"Thanks a lot darlin'. The Vulcan who knows what is going on goes quiet and leaves her human husband to fend for himself. Wait till I get my hands on you." Being discreet and private about Pon Farr he understood, but refusing to talk to him or help him deal with this he would never understand. "T'Pol I need your help here. Where do I put them and for how long? Kevit's having a tough time talking to me and don't make me ask Jakan what she knows about this." There was no way Trip was going to ask the Andorian female for details on mating rituals, Vulcan or Andorian.

"How long Kevit?" Trip was more insistent this time.

"I don't know for sure, but maybe 3 days, if I stay away from everybody." He was irritable and aggressive, at times, and very erratic, so avoiding his fellow engineers seemed like the best course.

He considered relieving Kevit of duty and keeping Jakan working but looking at her it was clear she wasn't doing well either. "Okay. You're both relieved of duty. I suggest you remain in your separate rooms until I contact you with whatever arrangements I can make." Keeping them separated for a time was important. Trip needed to go find his wife. She needed to explain more about what took place during Pon Farr, so he knew what arrangements he needed to make. He was sure just getting them a secluded room somewhere wasn't sufficient unless someone were prepared to cover any damages they might incur. And what about Jakan? T'Pol was worried about Trip getting hurt during her Pon Farr and he was a male. Were Andorian females anything like human females or more like Vulcans? Unfortunately, Trip had no one to blame but himself for the situation he found himself in. Throwing all these species together was bound to make for some interesting interpersonal relationships. He'd asked for this assignment, in fact, he'd practically blackmailed Starfleet into giving it to him.

Trip located his wife using the bond. "T'Pol what is wrong with you? I've been looking for you for over an hour and I finally had to do some serious concentrating with the bond to find you."

"How did you find me? My shields should have blocked you." T'Pol had put up what she thought were adequate shields to keep him out of her mind.

"I'm not sure. I had to clear everything else out of my head and focus only on where you were and here I am." He just did it he didn't really think about how. "Why are you blocking me out?"

"It is improper for one Vulcan to interfere in another's Pon Farr."

He'd hit the Vulcan brick wall and he knew it. "You pick the worst times to get all Vulcan on me." Trip left her standing there staring out the window.

---

"Trip wake up. You cannot sleep here?"

Trip moved slightly when she touched his shoulder. "I'm sleeping just fine thanks, go away." He pulled the pillow from under his head and covered it instead.

"T'hy'la, please come to our room." T'Pol knew he was angry, he had his shields up and had blocked her out totally. She was finding it painful, as she was sure he must be.

His eyes came out from under the pillow. "So now I'm T'hy'la. Why because you can't sleep or because you have a headache?" He didn't wait for a response; he rolled onto his side facing away from her and pulled his blanket up to his chin and the pillow back over his head. He was angry before, but now after having spent two hours trying to get comfortable on the benches he'd pulled together to make a bed he'd finally fallen asleep. That must be why T'Pol decided it was time to come get him.

"You are not comfortable and will not sleep well if you remain here."

The pillow lifted. "It's been one hellicious day or if you prefer that I not cuss 'it sucked' so just go away and leave me alone." The pillow dropped back over his head.

---

"Stay away from the assembly area." Billy Rivers warned his team. "The Captain is having a really bad day, so be careful."

The morning started off rough and Captain Tucker showed up and made it miserable. Billy was met with several rumors of the Captain's escapades with Captain T'Pol and others in some out of the way warehouse he'd had equipped with a bed and made off limits to all personnel, except a Vulcan who was delivering food several times a day. Judging by the Captain's mood this morning if anything was going on in that warehouse it couldn't possibly anything like what the speculation was all about.

"Captain T'Pol is almost as bad. She actually snapped at me when I asked if she wanted tea. I thought Vulcan didn't lose their temper." First Kevit expressed anger and now Captain T'Pol. "She's in such a foul mood and I wouldn't cross her if you can avoid it." Ensign Burke who was seeking refuse in the engineering bay and he wanted to warn the others.

"Does anyone know what they're fighting about?" Commander Rivers asked having deduced the captains must be angry at one another.

"What makes you think they had a fight?" Burke had never known them to have more than a slight disagreement and they usually were resolved within an hour or so.

"Foul moods, biting everyone's head off, not talking, Captain Tucker sleeping in engineering. Sure sounds like a fight to me." Billy had seen Trip this angry before, just never with T'Pol.

Lieutenant Juz joined the group. "Has anyone seen Commander Jakan this morning?"

"The morning roster has her and Sub-Commander Kevit on leave for an undesignated period of time." Ensign Burke had processed the orders.

"They took leave now? Why would anyone want to take leave here?" Commander Rivers knew a space station for building starships could never be confused with a vacation spot. Although Vulcans and Andorians might have different ideas about what constituted a vacation.

"It's listed as an official leave of absence with no destination listed and it was all handled by direct order of Captain Tucker." Ensign Burke had processed the orders first thing this morning and the look on Tucker's face when he gave him the paperwork said 'don't ask any questions if you know what's good for you'.

"So we all duck and cover all day or until they work this out?" Ensign Seswick chimed in hoping someone would offer a better suggestion.

"The captain slept in the engineering office last night..." Juz stopped when he caught sight of Tucker.

"I don't know what has managed to capture your interest, but when I get back here I better not see anyone standing around gossiping." Trip knew exactly what they had been discussing, but he was too exhausted to make an issue of it. Ignoring them was the fastest way to make all the speculation and rumors go away. He went to find coffee to try to keep himself awake long enough to complete the realignment on the firing sequence he had been working on all morning.

Every engineer became quiet and diligent about completing their assignments with as little fuss as possible. Captain Tucker had remained in the main assembly area and hadn't uttered more than five or six words at a time. Captain T'Pol could be found in the office or in the rec area. Most assumed she was working off her frustration at Tucker's refusal to speak to her. Tucker put together a bed consisting of benches from the locker room in the tool area of engineering. A pile of laundry had been delivered there. Everyone assumed this was now going to be his new home.

---

"How are they going to explain losing the Captain on a base this size?" The young ensign asked as they searched through the warehouse.

"It's not my problem. We just have to help them find him." Answered the second of the team of security woken up to locate Captain Tucker.

"They said he was last seen in the galley. The cooks there said he asked for something to drink and then left."

"Drink like coffee or drink like alcohol?" The ensign suddenly took finding the captain a little more seriously.

"They gave him a small cooler full of that stuff they call beer."

"He could power the warp drive with that stuff and if he was stupid enough to actually drink it we'll need to get him to the infirmary before it eats through his insides." Ensign James had tried some of the local 'mash' as they called it. Having ended up very drunk and heaving, after only two bottles, listening to the medics chide him for doing that to himself. He swore off alcohol unless he could get someone to send him the real thing from home.

"They say he and Captain T'Pol are having a disagreement and he was so distracted he practically blew himself and his team up this afternoon. Why is it he has a fight and we end up cleaning up the mess?" Ensign Singe wanted to know.

"One of the privileges of rank. And before we both wind up on report for being disrespectful to our superior officers lets just concentrate on finding him. Captain T'Pol is also in command here and somehow I don't think pissing her off anymore than she already is would be the best career move." She may be a Vulcan and kept her face expressionless but she was angry and Ensign James had plans for his future and being busted wasn't part of the plan.

Singe tweaked his nose and repeatedly pointed his finger toward the back wall. "I think we hit pay dirt. Take a whiff." He put his hand to his mouth in an attempt to keep his stomach for emptying itself.

James moved toward the slumped over figure. Kicking the empty bottles as he went. "Let's hope he didn't drink all these." But judging from the smell and quantity of stomach contents that had been ejected it was most likely he had.

"Starfleet never tells you about this part of the job when they pump you full of all that BS about seeing new worlds and meeting new species."

"You're seeing new worlds and meeting new species. I don't remember anything about those new species being any better or different than our own. If you're looking for more excitement, you're going to have to put in for duty on a starship." Most of the aliens they met were the government types who all seemed to fit the same pattern of behavior. James was enjoying the change in routine Captain Tucker and his bunch brought with them.

"Anything would be better than this. You grab that side and I'll grab this side." Singe took in a deep breath, held it, and then lifted the captain up.

"T'Po..?"

"No, Captain Tucker. I think you need a shower before you see Captain T'Pol." James told the half-conscious man. They'd all need a shower.

"T'Pol."

"I'll get her for you as soon as we get you to the infirmary." James was concerned at the amount of 'mash' he had ingested and the condition he was in.

The medic pumped the remaining content of his stomach, inserted an IV to replenish the fluids he had lost, and to administer what drugs he could to ease the effects of the alcohol. He had sent several memos to the base Commander requesting that he forbid those under his command from ingesting any 'homemade brews' before someone suffered permanent damage, but to no avail. The Commander stated it was an off-duty activity that he would not interfere with unless it became an issue with on-duty performance.

Trip awoke to the voices of medics arguing about how it was that a Vulcan was suffering what appeared to be the affects of alcohol poisoning without a drop of alcohol in her system. He turned his head slightly and started to lift himself up.

"I'd stay down if I were you Captain." Trip heard the voice of Taggart from across the room.

Trip ignored his suggestion. The minute his head left the pillow the room took off spinning, taking his stomach with it. He immediately tried to turn himself over so he could drop his arm and leg over the side of the bed in an attempt to anchor himself to the floor but found he lacked the coordination necessary to complete such a maneuver. "Oh..."

"Why do we even bother?" Sub-Commander Kaso interjected when he saw the captain trying to recover his bearings.

"I hate being told what to do." Trip managed to mumble out into the side of the pillow.

"Well you better start listening or you're going to be buried in Starfleet's disciplinary hearings for weeks." Taggart had spent the morning fending off press. The space station base usually didn't attract much notice, but the completion of the first warp 6 engine for the war effort had drawn their interest. And now there were rumors of sexual improprieties and captains having a drunken brawls.

"You guys sound a little upset. What's wrong?" Trip wanted to know why they were being so short with him.

Exasperated beyond belief Taggart let him know exactly what he'd done. "First, there are the rumors that you have some setup where you're having sex with every female here." Kaso and Taggart both knew this wasn't true because he was bonded to T'Pol, but others might believe he was cheating on her. "Then there's the fact that you blew up part of engineering today and then you ended up in the infirmary with severe alcohol poisoning." Leading to rumors of a drunken captain almost killing his crew.

Kaso leaned in close on the other side. "And a Vulcan doctor had to be sent here to treat your bondmate because she's suffering from the effects of ingesting too much alcohol. Even though she hasn't drunk any and Vulcans aren't even affected by alcohol like other species. We can't dispel any rumors without divulging private, intimate information, so instead we've placed a news blackout over the base and Captain T'Pol is tucked away in your quarters so no one can actually verify what is wrong with her." Keeping her hidden was only adding to the rumors about drunken brawls and shouting matches between the two.

He tried calling out for T'Pol in his mind but there was no response. He could feel her though. "T'Pol's hurt? How?"

Kaso checked to be sure they were alone. "You are mates. Vulcans do not experience drunkenness from alcohol, but evidently the bondmate of a human can suffer the effects when her mate has so poisoned himself he nearly dies."

Trip was aware that T'Pol felt the affects alcohol had on him through the bond and he had always been careful not to overindulge so she didn't have to erect barriers..but he'd never considered what would happen if he got blotto drunk.

"She got hurt because I got drunk? Where is she?" He tried to get up to go to her, but the world wouldn't stay still and his stomach, which he was sure must be empty by now, was protesting violently along with the rest of his body.

"I swear I'll strap you down if you don't stay put." Taggart said as pushed the captain the rest of the way over and put his arms across his back. "You didn't just get drunk. You drank so much of that rotgut they make here that you almost died. The doctor has to administer some drugs before you'll be able to sit up so just stay down." The Vulcan doctor had arrived on a Vulcan shuttle within two hours after Sub-Commander Kaso contacted Ambassador Soval. The doctor consulted with the infirmary medics and Taggart was sure they had purposely waited to give the Captain the drugs so he would remember what he'd done to himself, therefore keeping him from doing anything so asinine in the future.

"Captain T'Pol is in your quarters asleep. She has been sedated to prevent her from suffering anymore. Your personal physician is on his way here, so just be patient and stop making this all worse than it already is."

To give him something else to think about and maybe alleviate some of his own anger Taggart let Trip know, "Admiral Kilmer has been calling every 30 minutes or so for hours now. Is there anything you'd like me to tell him next time he calls?" The Commander had listened to the Admiral scream for the last several hours and would like nothing better than to let the Captain deal with the fallout of his actions, but it was his job to protect both Tucker and Captain T'Pol so he'd do whatever was required to carry out his sworn duty. Besides, if he allowed any harm at all to come to either of them he'd have to answer to Commander Reed and that was not something he took lightly.

"No just tell him I'm unavailable until further notice. Thanks for everything you're both doing. I'm sorry to be such a problem. If I can ever sit up I'll take over damage control." It had been a long time since he'd gotten himself in this kind of trouble and this deeply.

"That's okay Captain Tucker. Kaso and I are better equipped to deal with this than you, so just trust us and we'll take care of everything." Taggart had the contacts to bury most press stories and if he couldn't he knew people who could. Kaso had the Vulcans behind him and they somehow managed to keep any and all newsworthy items regarding any Vulcans on Earth out of the press and the rumor mill. "You're going to have your hands full dealing with Starfleet. I suggest you get that starship of yours up and running as soon as possible."

"I need to see Commander Rivers. Can you get him over here, now?" Tucker asked.

"He's outside. Been there since they brought you in, I'll go get him." Taggart turned and left.

"Sub-Commander has anyone checked on Kevit and Jaran?" Trip had been checking with the Vulcan security officers that were delivering food and water to the warehouse.

"No problems have been reported. We must find a plausible explanation for that warehouse. How did word leak out about it in the first place?" Kaso hadn't been consulted on the arrangement, but he was now aware of what Tucker had done.

"I don't know unless one of those reporters got wind of it. T'Pol and the Vulcan security officers are the only ones I talked to. I told security it was a private Vulcan matter that required discretion and asked them to keep everyone away and make food deliveries three times a day." Trip didn't think any of the Vulcans would have said anything to anyone.

"We'll check into it." Kaso assured him as he left.

"If it was someone from Starfleet I want to know." Trip would see that they were buried in some far away posting forever.

---

Trip held her unconscious body in his arms. "I'm sorry T'Pol." He couldn't believe how stupid and immature he'd been. It wasn't bad enough that his behavior had started a scandal all on the base but T'Pol had become ill trying to deal with the side effects of his drunkenness.

"Do not worry. I am well." T'Pol squeaked out against his chest as he rocked her back and forth.

"No thanks to me. I'm really sorry."

"You are not well. I can feel the burning sensation throughout your body."

"Yeah the 'beer' I drank wasn't exactly the mildest form of alcohol out there. Seems it stripped a layer off my insides on the way through. Doctor says it will be several days to a week before the pain goes away."

"That should be a reminder not to engage in similar behavior in the future."

"I won't be doing anything so stupid again I promise. It's bad enough that I abused my own body, but I hurt you and that's unacceptable."

"You did not mean to cause me harm. You were upset and I understand."

"That's no excuse and you know it. I'm supposed to be an adult not some teenager who doesn't use his head. I've managed to create one colossal mess and now I've going to have to find a way to keep it from snowballing and taking out our careers."

"Finish the NCC-100 and all will be forgiven." T'Pol knew he relied on his expertise to keep the brass from coming down on him whenever he did something they didn't like.

"Great my wife's telling me to use my engineering skills to get myself out of a jam. Didn't know you were aware of that. It's my best kept secret."

"Do you think Captain Archer was not aware that your brilliance as an engineer was what kept you out of 'hot water' with your superiors? He was guilty of letting you 'slide' on many occasions for that very reason." Archer had complained that he couldn't always afford to come down hard with Trip as far as discipline went because they needed him in engineering to keep Enterprise flying.

"Makes sense I guess, but no one has ever said anything to me about it. I hoped that meant they weren't aware that I was aware and counted on it." He should have known better.

"This is also my fault. I am sorry that I refused to talk to you. It is the responsibility of the male to handle the details surrounding Pon Farr; therefore; it was not my place to interfere."

"The males' responsibility? Well, then when our time comes we have a big problem because I still don't know what to expect." He knew T'Pol would ensure he was not harmed, but he did want to know more details about what to expect because the secrecy made it all seem scarier than he thought it was.

"We will discuss it before that time arrives, but for now let's try to sleep. It sounds like we have a busy day ahead."

"Is this all about overcharged rough sex or is there more to it than that?"

"The first time or two it may be extremely rough but should not be dangerous if both parties are prepared and willing participants. The actual ritual last for 2 days until the blood fever is resolved and then there is a day or two of residual side effects that will require rest and recovery."

"So why couldn't you just tell me that before? All I needed was a little guidance on what arrangements to make and for how long. Is there some way I should ask you about this secret stuff that won't make you freak out on me or is this always going to be like this?"

"You are my mate and I should have simply discussed this with you long ago, but as you know I have a difficult time discussing sexual topics at all and this part of Vulcan sexuality is never spoken of."

"Since we've been together you've always been so open with me that I sometimes forget. Do you think we'll ever get this communication thing worked out?"

He let his eyes drift closed as he pulled T'Pol close. The thought that he had as he allowed himself to give in to sleep was that he thought they had worked it out. He should have known never to get to lazy and comfortable because whenever he did something came and bit him in the backside.