Disclaimer: I don't own Enterprise, ParaMount does.
Summary: The memories that we hide can haunt us. Trip cannot remember what happened, but the scars covering his body are deeper than Malcolm can fix. A friendship fic.
Time: Set at the end of the second season before everything with the Xindi.
Author's note: This story has been lounging around in my computer since last summer and I've finally decided to see if any of you are interested in this. It's a dark seeming story, but it includes keep friendship. Let me know what you think. Thanks and please review!
By Emiliana Keladry
Drip. Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III placed his mouth on the small spout, catching each drop that fell into the dirty basin near the farthest wall. There was no bed in the cell and no lavatories. The entire place stunk, but he could care less at that moment. Trip shivered in the cold air of his cell, rubbing his eyes in the darkness. If he wanted light, all he had to do was open the small slot at the bottom of his solid metal door. But Trip had no desire to look out into the corridor. His body ached all over, with a few of his nerves feeling as if someone had torn them. The sensation of pain in his hips from two large bruises above the bones caused him to feel nauseous and each movement felt like needles stabbing into the tender skin. Trip drew in a shaky breath as the pressure in his lungs released a tiny bit. Each breath was a struggle and pulling in the muscles of his stomach almost brought him to tears. At least the darkness hid the trails where the salty water had traveled on his filthy cheeks.
On the first day, Trip remained in darkness with no food to eat or water to ease his parched throat. He spent most of the time lying awake, hoping for someone to come in. The only sound that could be heard was some of the other prisoners crying and yelling. It was wasted energy that couldn't be spared to yell for someone to save them, when no one would come. By the second day of his captivity, it was silent outside and no one had come in to see him. On the fourth day… they turned the lights on outside and he could see out the tiny slot in his door that they pushed the water through in a shallow bowl. He saw her that day. Trip saw a little girl walking down the dimly lit corridor with one of the guards. She appeared to be only two earth years old, clutching a strange blue bear. Soft words escaped her mouth, but he didn't understand her. "Nadia, Nadia?" she called. At first she was calm, but soon tears poured down her cheeks and she struggled. Trip stopped watching when the guard took her weapon and knocked the child unconscious.
For the next two days, Trip heard her weeping in the cell next to his. He couldn't say anything to calm her. Amid her babble, he discovered what Nadia meant. Nadia was her name for her mother that never came. The third day she was in the cell, they killed her. Trip heard them coming down the hall and despite himself… he yelled out, knowing they wouldn't understand his language. He couldn't let them kill her, but there was nothing he could do. Trip tried not to listen, but he heard the girl's screams clearly through the walls. Then it was silent. He peered out once and saw a small figure being moved down the hall, covered in a filthy white sheet.
The true torture began the next day. Two guards came to his cell and hung his hands from the ceiling, forcing him to stand barefoot in the cell for a whole day. It only got worse and he lost track of time. He was given a sick looking meat twice and he forced himself to eat it to stay alive. Trip was beaten every single day. Drugs were pumped into his system, leaving him exhausted and nauseous. He could barely keep any water down. His heart raced every so often and despite the cold, he would sweat as if he had a high fever. The same two guards came each day, demanding to know information about Enterprise, but Trip refused to talk. It only made them angrier. On the thirteenth day of captivity, they brought a new device into his cell. It was a type of harness that was hung from two hooks in the ceiling. It was wrapped around his hips and raised off the ground. He dangled with his own body weight pushing down on his stomach. It didn't seem like a severe punishment at first. But after a few hours, his body struggled against the strain. Each breath Trip drew in was a challenge. He had to lean back and let his legs swing a little lower so he could get a full mouthful of air. He felt light-headed and every so often, coughed up a little bit of blood that tasted like rust on his chapped lips. At night he heard the others yelling in their cells and a terrible storm brewing outside the compound. Trip didn't sleep at all. He was struggling to survive and dying. The pain in his abdomen kept him alert and unable to rest. Closing his eyes brought the image of the child's lifeless body and he was almost glad that he couldn't sleep.
The morning of his fourteenth day of captivity, things changed. His captors let him down, leaving him weeping on the floor. A while later Trip heard weapons fire outside the building. He couldn't hold on much longer. Not long after the fighting stopped, he heard people walking down the cell block. They sounded different. Cells were being opened and the voices speaking sounded kind, but urgent. Trip was suddenly blinded by a bright light as the door swung open.
"There's another one in here," a strange voice said. "I think it is still alive."
Once Trip's eyes adjusted to the light, he saw a weird alien before him. He had an abnormally large nose and was slightly on the chunky side. His skin was dark, but his garments were clean and light colored. He smiled lightly. Trip didn't make any movement in response as fear froze his heart.
"Cort, this one is alive. Get the medics!" the newcomer called.
Trip watched as the alien examined the harness still hanging from the ceiling with a look of disgust on his face. Trip had no strength left to be embarrassed by the mess on the floor or the smell. He coughed violently and pulled his back with blood on it. Panic flooded his senses. The alien sensed his panic, but was smart not to try and touch him. Trip saw a medic enter, carrying a case. He tried to scoot away, but was in too great of pain. He wished he could dissolve into the floor. The newcomer was scanning him and Trip couldn't look away from him.
"What's your name?" the doctor asked.
Trip couldn't find the words to speak. He had no reason to trust the man. It could be a trap.
"I won't hurt you," the first man urged. "I am Captain Tapin of the transporter ship Jest. We have come here to liberate you and the others. I won't hurt you. I want to help you return to your ship."
He picked up Trip's ruined uniform up off the floor and fingered the emblem of Enterprise on the sleeve. Trip could barely glance at his uniform that had been ripped from his body days before. The shame of his existence was overwhelming.
"Is this your ship?" Tapin questioned.
Trip nodded and cleared his sore throat. "My name is Commander Charles Tucker III," he whispered. "I'm the chief engineer of the Earth vessel Enterprise NX-01." If they were the bad guys, he was tired of fighting them. Surely, once he told them what they wanted… he would be killed and not have to live with the guilt anymore.
"Good. We will start scanning for your ship once you are onboard and you can help us locate it. You will go home."
Trip had no energy to answer and rested his face on the cold floor, closing his eyes. He felt his spirits lift a little, but he still didn't trust Captain Tapin. He had no choice. The lone human was exhausted and sick. He was still waiting for them to kill him. The medic laid a hand on Trip's shoulder and he shuddered, trying to escape him. Any kind of touch hurt his bloody and bruised body. If the doctor was trying to walk him down the corridor to his death, then Trip wouldn't have any of it. He shakily got to his feet, feeling pain in every part of his body. Trip had not eaten in so long and his body had no remaining strength. The newcomer gently grabbed his arm when he stumbled into the corridor. It barely registered in Trip's mind. He was seeing the horror of his fourteen days in captivity, lying on the floor. Twelve sheets covered twelve bodies that had had the life stolen from them. He looked up, hearing a woman screaming and crying. Before he looked, a part of Trip knew what he would see. The little girl's lifeless body was being clutched by a young woman as she screamed. Nadia. The mother was mourning her child that had been dead for days. It was the last straw. He fell to the floor, yelling. A second later, a hypo-spray was injected in his neck and his body went limp.
"Did you see the one with the alien with three hands that needed therapy?" Trip asked Malcolm, hearing the sound of him messing around with something in his quarters.
"Commander, I told you that I don't follow American horror movies," he answered.
Trip set down the piece of shuttle pod engine that he was tinkering with and laughed. "That one wasn't a horror movie, it was a comedy."
"All of your American movies run together like that."
"Sure they do."
"I have been meaning to ask if American movies have a lot of gazelle analogies. Do they?"
Trip picked up the piece again and smiled. "Don't let Captain Archer hear that remark. I heard through the grapevine that those are his favorite type of movie. You wouldn't want to insult your superior officer and end up in the brig, forced to watch water polo for twelve hours."
"I believe that would be cruel and unusual punishment."
An alarm went off and Trip got up to inspect what was making that noise. A ship was approaching quickly with high yield weapons. An explosion rocked the shuttlepod and Malcolm frantically asked what was going on.
"I'm under attack, notify Captain Archer, Mal!" Trip exclaimed, attempting to return fire and failing. The ship trembled as power began to fail. He could no longer hear his friend calling his name or asking what was going on. The shuttle lost power and everything went dark. Vaguely Trip realized that he was in a tractor beam and going to be boarded very soon by a species that he knew nothing about.
Trip tried to sit up, but two hands were holding him down on a hard bed. He felt the blanket, but only concentrated on the pain that was being inflicted by the hands pressing down on him. His black and blue skin was burning up as his fever rose again. Trip risked opening his eyes to block out the nightmare. He gasped, trying to regain control of his breathing. Two alien medics were holding him down to a table and failing to keep him at ease.
"Please calm down," one of them said, looking anxious about the whole situation. "We won't harm you. You were just having a dream."
Trip relaxed so they would remove their hands from his body and step away from him. The female attempted to smile at him, but failed. She took out a scanner and went to work, avoiding eye contact. Trip took in the scenery, realizing he was in a sickbay on a strange vessel. He could faintly hear the sound of their warp drive and it helped him calm down enough to slow his heartbeat. There were a few other beds that were occupied, but had curtains pulled around. He wondered if they were other prisoners that had survived. The doctor came over, seeing he was awake. She smiled gently at him and Trip saw that she was the same species as Captain Tapin.
"Hello," he said. "I am Doctor Renate. How are you feeling?"
Trip didn't want to respond, but his upbringing told him it would be rude to ignore the doctor that was trying to help him. "Horrible."
"We have been unable to treat you. It seems that our medicine is not compatible to your body. The sedative you were given earlier caused you great pain and we thought that we lost you. One of the crew has located your shuttle craft and we brought it into our bay. Captain Tapin agreed to take you back to your vessel. A group of others are returning the other captives."
"Home?" Trip managed to say before coughing viciously.
Doctor Renate swiftly fetched a glass of water, giving him only a small sip to sooth the ache in his throat. Trip feared that if he drank too much, his stomach would reject it. He rested his head back against the bed, taking deep breaths to calm his anxiety. Jonathan was coming to get him and he would be okay again. In his mind, the image of Jon pacing across the bridge almost made him smile.
"Captain Tapin spoke with Captain Archer a few hours ago and he's been quite worried about you. They've been searching for you for a while now, talking to everyone they can and digging up information on who would have taken you. The man almost gave up hope, but it seems that you are close to him. Your vessel should be here in approximately ten hours."
It was only ten hours until he could be home and rest in his own quarters, listening to the sound of his warp drive hum. Suddenly, Trip's body convulsed and he began to shake. He turned his head away from the woman, throwing up the water that he had just drunk, along with a small amount of blood. A man came over and quickly began to clean it up as Doctor Renate checked his pulse. The room was spinning and he couldn't focus on anything. His stomach lurched again, but he kept it down.
"Commander, can you hear me?" she asked.
Trip attempted to shake his head no, but instead his eyelids dropped and his breathing came in gasps. Air was flowing into his lungs, but his body was panicking. In his mind, Jonathan was speaking to him but he couldn't understand him. His best friend was pale and not responding to Trip suffering. I miss you. Trip thought as he succumbed to the darkness.
There was a hushed sound of a woman's voice as Trip returned to consciousness. In the background he heard the crashing of waves upon the shore. The voice he had perceived was humming softly in a strange tongue. Trip couldn't bring himself to open his eyes, feeling uncomfortable. The pain in his body was ragging and he couldn't focus on anything. There was a clinking that reminded him of dishes being washed that allowed him to concentrate enough to control the feeling of dizziness. Opening his eyes, Trip realized that he was in a different location, a personal quarters of someone. He glanced around and his eyes fell upon the shuttlepod medical kit lying on a table. He immediately needed it to dull the pain. Trip's hand shot out and fell for he didn't have the strength to reach the kit. There was a startled gasp and the humming was silenced.
"Please…" Trip begged; his voice barely audible.
"What do you need?" someone inquired.
A young woman came into view. She appeared to be only in her early twenties, dressed in the same fashion at the doctor. The woman knelt beside the couch, careful not to touch Trip. She lifted a glass of water and offered it to him.
"No," he mumbled.
"It won't hurt you," she assured.
Trip motioned to his ears, too exhausted to speak again.
"Your Captain sent the recording, hoping that it would allow you to rest. He also gave us the location of your medical kit and your doctor insisted that we give some, but I've been unable to read them."
She gently placed it upon Trip's lap, opening up the abused case. Some of the medication was missing or damaged, but he quickly found some analgesic and a hypo-spray. Trip injected it into his neck, relaxing slightly as it flooded his bloodstream. He had given himself a high dose to dull the excruciating pain covering very part of his body.
"My name is Trina. What's yours?"
"Well, Trip I hope that you are comfortable. Doctor Renate had to remove you from our sickbay because one of the other patients had contracted something that was contagious. Your immune system has already been compromised from being at that place and she didn't want you to get worse. I volunteered to keep track of you until your crew arrives. They should be here in about four hours."
Trip barely nodded, taking in a forced breath. He could barely remember, but at one point, he thought that he had been kicked and broken a rib or two. It was difficult to breath like normal. Trina noticed his shivering and went to fetch another blanket. A small face peaked in the room from an open doorway and Trip attempted to smile. The little boy was only a toddler and could barely walk. He clutched a pink bear as he entered the room. Clumsily walking over, the boy placed a hand on Trip's cheek and gently touched his eye-lids. Trina returned and quickly ushered the child back to his room, speaking in an alien tongue.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, covering him with the blanket. "That's my son. I told him to stay in the other room so he didn't bother you. He's just curious. We don't see a lot of other species out here. But I should let you get some rest."
Trina stood up and prepared to leave, but Trip made a distressed noise to get her attention. He didn't want her to leave for he would be left alone to deal with the memories of terror that emanated his thoughts.
"I'm sorry," she murmured, kneeling beside the couch. "I won't leave."
Trip muttered something in a low voice, but she couldn't hear him. He coughed, wishing that Jonathan was here to take him home and save him from the pain. Trina reached out a hesitant hand as if she wanted to touch Trip to calm him down, but pulled back and settled for picking up a book off of the floor. It was a strange picture book with a five-legged animal on the cover, clutching a blanket and smiling. The children's book must have belonged to her son.
"Can I read to you? It always helps my little boy when he's had a nightmare or fallen to read to him. It's the story of Hanna, the loving animal that takes care of everyone. It's a very nice book."
He nodded once, focusing his eyes on the room. It was obvious to him now that a child lived there. He wondered where the boy's father was, but he didn't dare ask a question. There was a highchair in the dining room and a small pile of clothing on a chair. Trip hadn't been able to see it before. Sighing, he attempted to take in a deep breath, but gasped in pain. Trina paused and this time touched his forehead.
"You have a fever."
She disappeared into the kitchen, returning with a bowl of cold water and a dry cloth. Trip moaned, trying to sit up and escape her touch. Trina knelt beside him.
"I won't hurt you, I promise."
Trip shook his head and attempted to move again. The pain was too great, but he relented, resting his head against the pillow again. She gently dabbed his forehead with the rag, smiling softly at him. Trip jumped slightly when the door to the room opened and a tall man entered. All he could see was his shadow and it froze his blood.
"Sweetheart," the male voice called.
He stepped into the room and Trip relaxed slightly. This was not one of his captors, but one of the men that had set him free. Trina walked over to him and her husband kissed her on the cheek, whispering something alien in her ear. The little boy appeared from his room and was swept up in his father's arms. Trip closed his eyes, faking sleep to give them some privacy. Jonathan, where are you? Please help me. There was no answer in his heart; he only had a few hours before he would be free and with his friends again. The stranger kept the lights turned low and Trip listened to the sound of them trying to keep quiet. The little boy couldn't stop talking to the father in an excited voice. The human feared that he would never have the child's enthusiasm for something again. He was beaten and broken.
"Do you think that he will recover?" the man asked when he returned from putting the boy back in his bedroom.
"He's terrified of me, Reni. I feel so bad for him; no one deserves what they did to him. I doubt he even remembers all of it. The marks on his skin…" Trina trailed off and Trip felt guilty for listening to their private conversation.
There was the soft sound of sobbing. Why would Trina weep for me? I don't deserve her pity. Trip pulled the blanket up, moaning at the movement in his arms. He adjusted his position on the couch slightly, feeling the sharp throbs in his hips. The weeping went quiet and he listened to the soft sound of Trina's footsteps as she came over to him. Trip felt a blanket being laid across him and he pretended to still be asleep. The man bit down on his lip to keep from crying; desperately wanting his best friends to be with him. He wished that Malcolm and Jonathan would come faster.
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