Disclaimer: Sorry this took so long, my muse has gone on holiday but forgot to tell me where.
Thanks to my beta as always, HopefulNebula. The quote used in this part is due to the fact my computer crashed, making me lose all this, so I had to re-type it.


Storm Clouds are Gathering...


To err is human - but to mess things up completely, requires a computer.
~ Anonymous



Dr. Phlox carefully scooped out some soft brown goo from a cage and began to mash it into a fine paste.
"Doctor, I was wondering how Lt. Yokes is?"
"Mr. Reed, how delightful to see you. Would you hold this please?" Phlox said, passing Malcolm the container holding the paste.
"What is it?" Malcolm asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
"Pus" Dr. Phlox said happily. "now as to the location of Lt. Yokes I am sorry but, I am unable to help you. She left here, this morning." The doctor paused and took the pus off Malcolm.
"She's okay then." Malcolm sighed in relief.
"She's very healthy." Malcolm nodded and left, to continue his search for Lt. Yokes.
He found her just outside her quarters.
"Lt. Yokes, how are you feeling?" Malcolm asked.
"Very well thank you Lt. Reed." she replied. Malcolm looked at her for a moment.
"There was something I wanted to ask you... has Trip- I mean Commander Tucker been acting different lately?" Lt. Yokes gave him a funny look.
"He has just been kidnapped and beaten. Of course he's going to act a bit different for a while. I really have to go now, I'm going to be late." she left him and walked off. Malcolm turned the other way, his mind busy.
//Is it just me who thinks he was acting different before? Maybe I am just being paranoid.\\ Malcolm shook his head, dissatisfied with that answer. //No, I didn't imagine that look, just before he was knocked out in the explosion.\\
"Hello? Malcolm? Is there anyone in there?" a voice said. Malcolm blinked and saw Trip, waving his hand back and forth in front of Malcolm's face.
"Good of ya to join me," Trip joked. "Cap'n wanted us both on the bridge. I'm guessin' ya didn't hear, by the way you haven't moved."
"Right" Malcolm muttered, his mind still far away. Trip watched him in amusement.
"Malcolm, Hoshi is on her way towards you and she has a a bikini on."
"That's nice." Malcolm answered. For a few seconds there was silence as Malcolm's brain caught up on what Trip had said.
"Wh-what!" he stammered, turning an interesting shade of purple. He scanned the corridor, only to find it empty.
"Sorry Malcolm, I couldn't help it." Trip apologized, a wicked smile on his face.
"Oh, very bloody funny, Commander. What did you want again?" Trip sighed.
"Come on, we have to go to the bridge." he grabbed Malcolm's arm and began to drag him along.
"All right, all right, I know the way to the bridge!" Malcolm snapped. Trip looked at him, trying to keep a straight face.
"Then what are ya doin' standing there?" he asked. Malcolm sighed and set off towards the bridge, Trip behind him. As they walked Malcolm couldn't help but notice Trip was not behaving like his usual self. For one thing after the 'bridge' joke, Trip hadn't said a sentence of more than three words.
//It's like he's tuning in and out of his own radio station\\ Malcolm mused.
He was so deep in thought he didn't see the wall which was in front of him. Unfortunately he
felt it.
"OWWW! Where did that bloody wall come from!"
"It's a wall Malcolm, it's always been there, they don't generally jump out of nowhere." Trip snapped. Malcolm paused in shock. Trip had just yelled. TRIP. The Trip, Mr. I-so-happy-be-happy-too...
//Something really is wrong.\\ They carried on walking, each deep in thought. A few minutes later they reached the bridge. Captain Archer turned towards them, Acting Captain Larkin by his side.
"Malcolm, Trip." he said, giving each a nod. "This is what we know. When the ship calling itself the Enterprise met the... what is your ship called again Acting-Captain?" he asked. Larkin blushed, her eyes seemed unable to look at anyone, especially Trip.
//Good, she's feeling guilty.\\ Malcolm thought.
"It's called the Xantra." she said. Archer nodded, then carried on.
"Well, when the impostor ship met the Xantra it claimed to be the Enterprise and said it had been damaged.
"That's right." Larkin said. "we were suffering problems in our systems and our scanners and main viewer were down. We lowed shields to let the injured people beam aboard. When we did the ship opened fire, killing... killing our Captain and taking our children."
"How did ya find us?" Trip asked. "I mean if ya sensors were down... did ya just search randomly?"
"No... our sensors came back on line just as the ship was escaping. We got about two seconds of data, when we saw your ship, I noticed the readings were slightly different but just put it down to the problems were had been experiencing." Larkin admitted. T'Pol, who had been standing to the far left of Archer, spoke up.
"Do you still have those readings?" she asked, her face reveling noting. Larkin gave a small nod.
"It was illogical to attack until you were sure. It is possible for there to be two ships called Enterprise." she said, her voice stiff, her lips curled in a small sneer. The next second it had gone, leaving the impression it had never been there.
"Yes, well." Archer began, clearly uncomfortable. "We'll start scanning right away. Don't worry, Acting-Captain, we'll find your kids."

~@~

A few hours later T'Pol presented her report to Archer.
"We have not yet located the vessel sir." she concluded.
"Is this the end of your shift?" he asked.
"Yes sir."
"You're dismissed them." he ordered, with a small smile. He knew that T'Pol was quite capable of working three shifts because no one had dismissed her. T'Pol turned and left the room, heading for her quoters. Her mind was practically screaming for mediation after spending so many hours that close to Trip.
She was nearing her quarters when she heard a small noise behind her. She half-turned but before she could see what was behind her, something heavy hit her over her head. With a small cry, she crumpled to the floor. Her attacker lifted the object to hit her again, when it heard noises from the other end of the corridor.
"I'll get you later T'Pol." it hissed, before running down the corridor and up a Jeffery tube.
"So, I said; If Jim's a Vulcan maybe!" joked a man's voice. There was some laughter, then two crewmen, Lt. Gutt and the one who had just spoken, Lt. Dem, walked around the corner.
"what the?" muttered Lt. Gutt, the shorter of the two. He ran up to T'Pol, Lt. Dem on his heels.
"Lt. Gutt to Phlox!"
"Phlox here." came the doctors voice.
"Sub-Commander T'Pol has been hurt."

~@~

To Trip it was like a bad dream you couldn't wake up from. The past few days had been (to Trip anyway), a warped version of real life. Kidnapped, beaten, put in a coma, T'Pol of all people pulling him out and now T'Pol herself unconscious. None of it seemed real. Dr. Phlox looked up from examining T'Pol and smiled.
"Not to worry Commander, she's going to be fine. In fact she will be awake - and if I know the Sub-Commander out of sickbay- in a few hours."
"Good" said Trip in relief.
"Trip!" called a voice from behind him. There stood Hoshi, her cheeks flushed slightly, taking in deep uneven breaths.
"Yeah Hoshi?" he asked, while thinking,
//I wish she'll hurry up! I wanna keep T'Pol company... ya know T'Pol is kinda sexy when you think... BAD TRIP! Must listen to Hoshi... I wonder how T'Pol would look with a dress... Stop it! Just stop thinking.\\
"So I gave Malcolm what I found and he thinks we can scan for them!" Hoshi finished.
Trip blinked.
"Umm... Hoshi, could ya run that by me again?" Hoshi looked amazed for a moment, then her gaze changed to one of understanding as she saw T'Pol.
"I said, Malcolm's ready to scan for that alien stuff."
"Right. I guess that means I should go." he said softly, his gaze lingering on the still body of T'Pol.
"Come on Trip, she'll be here when you get back." Hoshi said.
"That's what I'm afraid of." he said simply. With a sigh he tore his eyes off T'Pol and left sickbay without another word, Hoshi following, muttering under her breath.
"Fine, don't say; 'Well done Hoshi, for spending hours translating text so Malcolm can find things to blow up'. Men."
When Trip entered Engineering he saw Malcolm tapping away at a console.
"Hey. Malcolm are ya ready?" he said, Hoshi gingerly following him. She may have been on this ship a few months but she still didn't like standing to close to the warp core. To Hoshi, the whole of engineering was too close.
"Just about." Malcolm replied. With a grunt Trip swung himself up next to Malcolm.
"Scanning now Commander." Malcolm muttered, his eyes fixed on the screen.
"I've picked something up! There's at least one thing that's the same as this one." he said, gesturing to the ball Lt. Yokes had found.
"Where?" Trip asked. Malcolm looked back at the readings.
"... In your quarters Trip!" he stammered, unable to process what he was seeing. Trip gasped. He took a few deep breaths then spoke.
"Ar' ya sure? What the hell is it doin' in ma room? Malcolm, could ya come with ma and help ma check them out?" Malcolm took another look at the readings, then nodded.
"Don't you think it would be better for me and some of my men to check it out?" he asked.
"I wanna know what's in ma room." Trip replied. Malcolm sighed and began to head to Trip's quoters, hew knew it would be useless to try and change Trip's mind. Trip walked out after him, leaving Hoshi on her own.
"Great, don't say; 'See you later Hoshi. Men!" she muttered, then walked off.

~@~

Trip and Malcolm reached Trip's room, then paused.
"Ar' ya ready?" he asked. At Malcolm's nod he continued. "I'll take the side by ma bed and you take the other." He took a deep breath then opened the door. Inside was a typical 'Trip' mess. They separated and began to search. As Malcolm poked around in Trip's cupboard, Trip himself went over to his bed. Without hesitation he bent down and pulled a box out from under it. His eyes became glazed as he looked at it. There were three objects in the box, all black with the same gold lettering. He touched the smallest one, then pressed a few buttons. It gave a tiny hiss and orange colored and obviously alien force field appeared around it. For a few seconds nothing else happened, then the three objects simply vanished. Trip shoved the box back under his bed and the glazed look faded form his eyes. He continued to search. Malcolm had now moved onto one of Trip's draws.
"Here." he called. There nestled in between T-shirts and jumpers was a small thin object, black and gold. Malcolm couldn't help but shot a small look at Trip, a nagging fear gnawing away at the back of his mind. The look on Trip's face, was all the reassurance he needed. It so stunned, so shocked, so... dog like, that it couldn't be anything but genuine.
"Has anyone been in your room recently?" Malcolm said.
"No one but you and the Cap'n... well there was that Somarian." Trip answered, deep in thought. Malcolm's ears pricked up.
"What did this Somarian look like?" he asked. Trip shrugged his shoulders.
"I dunno, I didn't see his face." At Malcolm's slightly shocked look he went on.
"Palf, that was his name, told me there kind keep their faces wrapped up for religious purposes. I asked T'pol later on and she said that they did. Anyway, we talked for a bit in here, about engines and stuff, then he left."
It wouldn't have mattered if Trip had been able to see Palf's face, as the body belonging to said face, was currently floating in space. Palf's face was not peaceful - it still showed the agony of his death by poison. The ship which had dumped his body in space was now many light years away, heading straight for the unsuspecting Enterprise.

TBC...


As always read and review! Just a few more parts to go! Hopefully I should have the next part up soon... so long as real life isn't to busy...