SPOILERS: "Storm Front Part 1" and "Zero Hour" and it may make little sense without them.
DISCLAIMER: All things Star Trek belong to CBS/Paramount. "Storm Front Part I" was written by Manny Coto.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: A nasty stomach flu kept me from the grandkids for another weekend, but I consoled myself with fanfic, so here we go. I know "Storm Front" makes many fans queasy, but I enjoy it. That shot of Enterprise flying in over Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorites. (I may have an unreasoning fondness for WWII stories, even campy ones with alien Nazis in them.) So, here begins Season Four. Hopefully this time Trip will have a slightly less angst-ridden time of it than he did in the Commander Tucker series, but I make no promises.
As always, your reviews (and edits) are deeply appreciated, especially since the stats at this site seem to be disappearing into intermittent wormholes. (And if you logged in, you will get a personal thank you.)
Although she was not certain it truly matteredwhether they contaminated this already fractured timeline, T'Pol was nonetheless relieved that Ensign Sato did not detect any panicked radio transmissions about a strange craft suddenly appearing in the midst of a highly populated area, as had seemed quite probable given their shuttle craft's trajectory. Reed narrowed the plasma traces to a wooded area of New Jersey known as the Palisades, although he also said he couldn't rule out a landing in the Hudson River.
"I don't detect any life signs in that immediate area," he said. "But there is a massing of life signs here, at what appears to be a boat launch." He pointed down at the situation room screen. "It may be a military or insurgent operation of some kind."
"There's hardly even a light to be seen down there," Tucker complained.
"It's a park system, largely unsettled, but it wouldn't take long to get to Manhattan via this bridge. You'd just need to avoid walking over these cliffs in the dark. There are footpaths and even a few roads."
"Still looks like more than an hour's hike into Manhattan," Trip said.
Trip clearly assumed he was going on this away mission, but he had also insisted there was no need for him to go to sickbay for a check-up earlier. She said to Reed, "I want you and Ensign Mayweather to beam down and attempt to retrieve the pod, or, failing that, to destroy it. Then scan for any Suliban bio-signs."
"Um, excuse me?" Trip said, "I'm the best person to get that thing flying again, assuming it's possible."
"Dr. Phlox hasn't cleared you for duty."
Trip gave her withering look. "Do I look sick to you?"
"You were discovered unconscious, Commander."
Reed smirked at Trip, who glared back at him. "Fine," he said. "After Phlox confirms that yes, I'm fine, I'll meet up with Travis at the transporter."
"Agreed," she said. "I will accompany you to sickbay."
Reed coughed, possibly to cover what appeared to be significant difficulty in containing his amusement, which just made Trip glare at him even more. T'Pol said, "Lieutenant, please arrange for any explosive charges that might be required. If Commander Tucker is cleared for the mission, you will stay aboard. We don't have an ample supply of senior officers at the moment."
Reed sobered. "I'll get right on it."
She looked expectantly at Trip. He frowned at her and headed for the turbo-lift.
"You know quite well that any period of unconsciousness requires medical investigation," she said, once they were in the lift together.
"You're being a mother hen," he said. "I'm fine."
"I am not merely concerned for your welfare, Commander," she said. "In our current situation, your engineering and leadership skills may prove important to our continued survival."
He stuck a tongue in his cheek. "So your concern is purely professional."
"Of course," she said, giving him her blandest stare.
It was perhaps fortunate, given the way he was now smirking confidently at her, that the turbo-lift quickly delivered them to their destination.
When they arrived at sickbay, he told Phlox, "T'Pol says I need medical clearance before I can go down to the planet." He raised his hands. "But I'm fine, as you can clearly see."
"He was knocked unconscious by Silik's energy weapon," T'Pol said.
"Ah. A quick scan in the imaging chamber would be in order, then," Phlox said lightly, and gestured at the equipment as it slid out. "Commander?"
Trip scowled at her once more, and lay down.
As soon as he slid into the imaging chamber, T'Pol went over to where Porthos lay on his mat. A full bowl of food sat untouched in his bowl. "He still hasn't eaten?" she asked.
"No," Phlox said, a touch mournfully, his eyes on the monitor. "Do you know, I believe Mr. Tucker has suffered more concussive brain damage than any crewman on board."
T'Pol rose from where she had begun petting the dog – it was curious how soothing that could be, despite the unpleasant odor – and joined Phlox. "Is there a problem?"
"Happily, no," Phlox said, and pressed the button to discharge Tucker from the chamber. He smiled. "In fact, there are parts of the commander's brain lit up that I seldom see highly active in Humans. You see this area, and this? Apparently his brain has rewired itself around some of its scar tissue. That, and he appears to be…" Phlox suddenly coughed. "Well, suffice it to say you're perfectly fit for an away mission, Commander."
"Told ya," Trip said, jumping up.
Phlox said, "Of course, you should take care to avoid further brain trauma. You do realize that damage in that organ is cumulative?"
"Yes, doc, but I'm not drooling yet," Trip said. He looked at T'Pol. "Are you satisfied?"
"Yes," she said. "Stop by the quartermaster for appropriate clothing."
He grinned. "It'll be like walking into a classic movie."
"Movies are not real, Commander. I remind you that you will be beaming into the midst of a brutal world war that could conceivably turn nuclear at any moment."
"All right, I'll be careful," he said, and then he quite distinctly winked at her.
She watched him leave sickbay with some trepidation. They had already lost Captain Archer. The loss of another senior officer right now could be catastrophic. Especially this one, especially for her. She was also little confused. What exactly did his wink signify, in this context?
"And how are you, T'Pol?" Phlox asked.
She blinked. "Doctor?"
"Any cravings I should know about?"
"No." Not any he should know about. Her eyes returned to the doors of sick bay, watching through them as Trip's diminished form turned and then was gone from sight.
Phlox lifted a hand scanner and started examining her without asking permission. She recognized this as a continuing consequence of her addiction and did not protest. "Any troublesome emotions?" he asked.
She looked at him. "Do I appear to be having difficulties?"
Phlox said, "No, not at all. I just thought I'd ask."
"I'm fine, doctor," she said.
Phlox smiled gently at her. "Yes, I believe you are."