This has been written for fun and for free, with no claim to characters or situations.

Now buckle up and enjoy the ride.

T'Pol of Vulcan sensed a slight pulse, suggesting an external stimulus, and that she should rouse from the deep state of meditation she had maintained for the last few hours. Long accustomed to life onboard a human Starship, she knew that it was only through daily meditation that her facade could be maintained. Unfortunately, someone was at the door to her quarters.

Not due for another shift for some time, and having submitted all necessary reports required for the next duty cycle, various hypotheses rose to the forefront of her mind. What was the most likely event? An emergency? A social call perhaps? The crew's propensity to attempt contact during her meditation was a statistical aberration. There was nothing to be done about it. She had been planning to join the Captain for breakfast soon, so it was just as well.

A long, slow & deep breath, feeling the steady rhythm of her heart beating, following the blood pumping throughout her body, and then a return to full physical awareness. Self reflection during this most recent meditation had revealed that the recent events on her former ship: the Vulcan Science vessel the Selaya, are still having a negative affect on her bearing. While mostly centered, her emotional state continues to be rather sensitive. Putting that thought in its own mental box for further analysis, she rose smoothly to her feet in the candle lit quarters she calls home.

Opening her door, T'Pol sees Captain Archer, out of uniform and bare footed. The former is rather expected. The latter details are not. Adding to the unexpected, he begins to speak in perfect Vulcan. "I am sorry to interrupt your meditation. Time is short and we have much to discuss. May I enter?"

Shock delays her response for a moment before she is able to fix her mask. She decides to go with the eyebrow raise before she steps back and to the side, beckoning him into her quarters. T'Pol asks in Vulcan "by what means are you able to speak Vulcan? Have you been practicing with Ensign Sato?"

She resists the urge to verify the shape of the Captain's ears, but inspects his face closely waiting for a response. His eyes look old. His face is calm but distant. The weight of their mission, and the Expanse already lays heavily on him, but there is something more.

Archer hesitates a moment as if to gather himself. His voice becomes flat, as though reciting an often told story as he begins to speak in English: "Everything I am about to tell you is true. I understand it will be difficult to accept, but the more I talk, the more you will believe. I have evidence, but have found that this progression of conversation leads to the optimal result for us."

He pauses for a bit, as if to give her time to process his words. Then he sits down near an edge of her meditation mat, in a very familiar pose, one she had just in fact abandoned.

Captain Archer then switches back to Vulcan and says "I've been looping inside a temporal bubble for a significant number of iterations. I have progressed through multiple cycles of disbelief, anger, madness, mania, depression, and acceptance. This is not a dream, or a prank. I am not hallucinating, and ..." seeming to read her thoughts he says "while the last batch of tea was a bit strong, it would most certainly not cause you to hallucinate either."

T'Pol's mind begins to disassemble the Captain's statements and reaches the logical conclusion: this is either not the Captain, he is insane or otherwise afflicted, or he is telling the truth. His comment about the tea is compelling (and accurate!) but not conclusive. More data is necessary. With that in mind, she asks "Captain, how do you expect me to believe this?"

Archer slowly raises a hand, palm facing inward, and says in Vulcan "I know you do not like to touch, but you will be able to sense much as the story continues."

T'Pol agrees "it is logical". He responds with a nod and smile. She reaches out her own hand, mirroring his, until the backs of their hands touch. The sensation is warm, calm and inviting. His thoughts are veiled, orderly and ...She quickly represses the stirrings of envy. She senses humor from him, like a brilliant smile. And then a thought comes across crisp and clear: I had a good teacher. He waits again as her shock passes.

Like most Vulcans, she is touch telepathic. An ability which has been problematic for her in the past. Over the years T'Pol has come into physical contact with Captain Archer on many occasions. Typically when she or he, or (more often than not) both are in mortal peril. In such situations, his thoughts, like any typical humans' are busy either cycling though options, tinged with emotions of worry or concern, or singly focused on a course of action with burning intensity. In any case, T'Pol is very familiar with Captain Archer. This is him. And yet it is not him. The Vulcan Science Directorate has stated that humans lack the necessary mental fortitude and physiology to be able to communicate telepathically. After hearing a laughing thought: The Vulcan Science Directorate has been known to be mistaken from time to time. T'Pol is overwhelmed and pulls back, breaking the telepathic connection.

Archer switches back to English and puts his hands up in a gesture of peace as he says "I don't want to let you continue a false premise. I can't read your mind or anything like that. We don't even know if it's possible. But you and I have had this conversation many times before. You've told me what you were thinking."

Realizing her mistake, T'Pol's heart returns to a calm rhythm, and her focus returns to the matter at hand. "If you are trapped as you say, what caused it? What have you done? And what do you intend to do?"

"You know" Jonathan said "I have you to thank for all of this." He looked her in the eyes and then down at his hands, slowly flexing them. "I lost myself at some point, my humanity."

He seemed lost in thought again. Apparently a common phenomenon. She had to prompt him to break him out of it. "How was I able to assist you?" She asked.

Jonathan looked away, his shame evident. "I fell a bit too far down the rabbit hole. I stopped thinking of everyone on the Enterprise as living beings, including myself. I know that you never played video games... perhaps think of a simulation of social interactions that you ran through so many times, you knew the majority of the responses? You knew that to get a particular result, you only needed to say or do a certain thing at a particular time. Imagine running though the same social interactions tens of thousands of times. The seeming random sparks of inspiration, chance, of intuition, and behaviors that make interaction with others feel meaningful and fulfilling; they all fail in the face of repeatability."

T'Pol can relate strongly to the Captain's story. She sees parallels to life on Vulcan, where social interactions are choreographed to such a high degree, and conversations are highly predictable. She recognizes that such an environment has a significant reinforcing effect on her people. Perhaps many more would likewise behave as she had with a mostly human crew.

"I was in a prison" he continues, still staring at the wall "and I lost hope, abandoning reason and hiding away for day after day." Jonathan looked back at her, a slight crooked smile finally breaking his grimace. "I finally approached you, and after a conversation that began much like this one...You helped me. It was the meditation that really broke the cycle. The introspection and calmness that helped me accept the truth of the matter. 'What is - is', as you've been so fond of telling me. It has been many days worth of conversations with you and others, that lead to me embracing this as an opportunity. Not just to learn for the sake of escaping the loop, or passing time, or for self improvement, but for the sake of knowledge itself."

The Captain again holds up his hand, and T'Pol reciprocates, reconnecting their telepathic link. "Today is a special day." He continues with a bright smile. "For quite some time we've been focused on melding techniques. Don't look too surprised. I mastered meditation and telepathic sharing with you long ago. Though of course from your perspective it happened overnight."

A trickle of thoughts and images begin to flow to T'Pol. A little disjointed, and certainly cause for concern in any other circumstance, she sees herself going through the act of positioning her fingers on the side of the Captain's face, and hearing herself explaining in Vulcan, her mental process for safely creating a mind meld. Any lingering doubts about the reality of the Captain's situation fades away.

He continues "We have explored further than I ever imagined possible. And we did much of it together. The thoughts I've shared... by now you realize some of them are from your own perspective." Here Jonathan raised an eyebrow in a distinctly Vulcan fashion, before continuing "but that's akin to a few drops in the vast ocean of your experiences that I carry. There's more than you would believe. If you're willing and ready, it's time to make you whole."

Such an existence went beyond the wildest ambitions of any Vulcan. An unattainable dream. Endless time for meditation, thought, experimentation, and observation. The possibility alone was worth any risk to her life. T'Pol had no reservations as she held his gaze and nodded her head in acknowledgement.

A thought from Captain Archer: Things will speed up from here on out. I am ready when you are.

T'Pol steadies her mind to prepare for this new (to her at least) experience. She places both hands near the Captains face, and her fingers touch in specific places along his temple and jawline. She begins the same chant as she had heard Tolaris use months ago, that same chant from her memory-self. The same, but with a mental emphasis on controlled joining and orderly sharing of mental states. It was the desire to merge, rather than to give and to receive (or take) that Tolaris failed to master. As the joining completes, T'Pol finds that their shared mind is more calm and analytic, and recognizes that her world is about to change.

Their shared consciousness begins to slowly modify her physical mind to reduce and possibly eliminate the effects of Pa'nar syndrome. Memories wash over her, too vast to comprehend. She understands that Jonathan had understated his experience, that hundreds of years of looping had been dedicated to this one subject alone. Jonathan had become (and now she joined him in being) near omniscient, in so far as their ship, and its crew, and all the collective knowledge available to be attained in around them an infinite loop of 23 hours 47 minutes and 4 seconds, with countless iterations available to experiment and refine, to learn and to practice. The volume of memories is staggering. Without Jonathan guiding her, it would take significant time to find any particular memory. Today was indeed a special day, she knew it deep within like a sacred truth. But before that.. T'Pol looks back at how it all started... from Jonathan's point of view at least.

It began as most days do, by waking up...

Hoshi's daily wake-up callout to beta shift pulls Jonathan Archer, Captain of the NX-01 Enterprise from a dream. He can practically hear her smile: "Gooood morning campers. Rise and shine. Welcome to a new day. Time to get moving before all the pancakes are gone. Tomorrow at 1900 hours is Commander Tucker's next movie night so be sure to clear your schedule if you can."

Captains log:

It's day 19 since entering the Delphic Expanse. Seemingly random encounters with sub-space anomalies have the entire crew on edge. Even though it's been quiet for the past few days, I'm becoming concerned about the stress-load effects on morale. The upcoming screening of Rosemary's Baby probably isn't going to help. Maybe we need a fresh perspective on the film choices... in addition to that, I'll see what else the Doctor advises.

After taking a navy shower and dressing for the day, the explorer turned military commander gives his lazy dog a pat on the head and makes his way from E-deck towards the Captains mess for some breakfast. He navigates the corridors and turbo lift while barely glancing up from the PADD containing the previous shift's reports.

Jonathan is well into his post meal cup of coffee and just about to head out when sub commander T'Pol arrives with a shared nod and quiet "Good-mornings''. Moments later, Trip joins them with a hurried greeting as he slides into his usual chair and begins to load up his plate. "Good Morning Captain, Sub commander. Sorry I couldn't join y'all earlier this mornin'. My baby needed a little extra time for calibration. Until we run into the next bump, should be smooth sailing."

Jonathan looked over to his first office and said "Speaking of sailing, I had the thought earlier that our navigation course for the next few days looks an awful lot like a sailing ship tacking in the wind. For some reason, it made me think about Vulcan's Hydrology, and the lack thereof, across most of the planet. But I know Vulcan isn't completely dry. Would you be willing to share any information or experiences Sub Commander?"

T'Pol looked thoughtfully at the Captain and then set her fork down once she decided to speak "While Vulcan has nothing comparable to Earth's oceans, the Voroth and Thanar seas were of suitable size to allow for the development and technological evolution of sailing vessels in the ancient history of Vulcan."

Commander Tucker laughs and says "please tell me there were Vulcan pirates." As he leans back into the chair sighing with contentment he adds "That mental image would just about make my day".

T'Pol gives him a mildly reproachful look and replies "Actually, my own family history includes one notable figure matching such a description. Living in the time before Surak and the Awakening, they engaged in what may be considered piracy, in times between war."

Captain Archer and his chief engineer share grins. Archer tosses back the last of his coffee and says "you know, I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how much of that is true". He shakes his head and then walks out of the room to start his shift.

The ship rumbles through mild turbulence as Jonathan walks toward the turbo lift...

Jonathan finished the recollection with "I wasn't even looking in the right direction to see the anomaly pass into the corridor and presumably right through me according to sensors. That's one thing that I recall being distinctly different from the original day. No anomaly. We've found plenty of others, and experimented with them to the degree possible. But that original anomaly hasn't been seen since day 0."

"As you might imagine, my memory is a bit hazy after that. I left you in charge and paid Phlox a visit. He didn't find anything amiss. And after that it was a normal day. Right up until I woke again to Hoshi's voice and the morning announcement. At that point I remember stumbling through my usual routine with a sense of deja vu. It wasn't until our breakfast chat that I was sure something was wrong. Your lack of any recollection, and my ability to recall the story of your pirate ancestor led us to some initial wacky theories about bonding, telepathic leakage, or perhaps simply something I'd read as a child."

As Jonathan continues the tale the memories trickle across T'Pol's consciousness. For a less organized mind, the sheer amount of information would be crushing. T'Pol takes it in, letting Jonathan's words, thoughts, feelings and more wash over her as though a warm breeze.

Jonathan starts to feed her memories of him recording his Captain's log. It was, he had found, a good way to organize his thoughts and to mark the passage of time. Never mind that they wouldn't exist outside his memory. It was also as it turns out, a good way to bring T'Pol up to speed:

Captains log

Day 34. I'm pretty confident that the original anomaly has me repeating the same day. Well approximately a day... I don't know how long I'm in the next iteration, but simply sleeping before Hoshi wakes me up. None of the crew are aware. I've been trying to figure out a way to pass information, physical markings, or other evidence from one iteration to the next. Thus far no luck. I've tried marking the ship, my arm, subdermal tattoo, radiation marking... and so far nothing. I wonder how long I'll be trapped.

After the last glitchy day where I ended up in the brig, I'll need to work a solid angle to get Hoshi and T'Pol off my back.

Captains log

Day 72

I died. I felt it. The pain was unbearable. A part of me felt glad.. this was over. Whatever happened my crew could keep going. But no. Woke up to Hoshi again. I've been trying to hide it but her voice... I can't stand to hear Hoshi speaking anymore. A hell of a thing to think about my comm officer.

Captains log

... it's all meaningless. I'm probably stuck in some Suliban prison getting my brain fried. This must be hell... or close to it. I tried to end it. Tried to make them understand... the mission must go on. What if they're all stuck too and outside time has marched on? Months lost. Earth still in danger, if not already gone.

Captains log

I think... This is day 93. I told Hoshi everything. Well everything that I remember anyway. Repeating the story of her grandmother visiting from Kyoto was the "but I never told anyone that" key. She was shockingly pragmatic about it all after that... "What had I learned?" And "why not make the best of it?" She suggested for me to try improving relationships with the crew or even trying romantic ones. I laughed. But then I stopped laughing when I realized she was serious.

When I challenged her "what if we became lovers?" Hoshi shot right back with "if you can get me happily into the sack with less than 24 hours of effort then I'm all for it." Sato 1, Archer 0. "And besides" she added "you'll have all the time in the world to find out if it's a good idea or not, it's certainly not going to bother me". Food for thought.. and I've got nothing but time.

Captains log

Day 143. I can't do it anymore. Maybe if I fly us into a sun...

Captains log

Iteration... I don't know ... somewhere in the early 1200s. Perhaps I've gotten a little too used to the lack of risk involved... I'll need a better distraction strategy. I realized a few iterations ago how valuable our experiences with Daniels can be to the current situation.

"The Daniels excuse" - an easy fallback to explain my erratic behavior or unexpected knowledge or when I want to trial improvements. A perfect foil to get compliance from the crew. It took a while to reach that conclusion. I got tired of being caught out... noticed. Sometimes not so favorably. I've lost count of how often I've been restrained, sedated, confined to quarters, or otherwise incapacitated due to out-of-character actions.

Captains log

Oh look... it's the same day... again. I believe it's iteration 2,225. I've been back to studying Earth languages. A few more and I'll start to tackle Vulcan.

Captains log

I'm guessing 3600. That will be the new mark. So a little under 10 years. It's hard to believe... anyway...

Learn and move forward. That's all there is to it. Repeat and just don't go down some paths. Phlox is for some reason tricky, and I have learned to steer clear. When I need sickbay access, I just have to keep him distracted. He seems to have a sixth sense and always knows something is different. Often with negative repercussions. Hoshi also notices something but doesn't usually express her interest or concern unless I engage her. After some linguistic drift, I had to spend a few loops listening to personal logs to "reacquire" the same speech patterns and accent.

At the end of the day, I can usually pass it off with "I just had another visit from Crewman Daniels" and the rest of the loop is usually gravy... If I don't accidentally kill everyone. I would feel bad wasting so much with this soon to be non existent log but really... I have all the time in the world.

Captains log

Iteration 5,411- give or take a few. Engine optimization efforts have exceeded warp 6. Who knew how much one could get done in a day? I think I'm hitting the limits of enhancement based on the materials at hand. The designs I've come up with have required more time to create than I have to implement in a loop. I'll pivot to something else for a while and maybe try again later with a fresh perspective.


All of the earlier memories are his alone. Carrying on through depression, through numb indifference, through self destruction, he had truly experienced it all. One fragmented memory of their earliest melding trials showed her driven insane and beating him to death with her bare hands in a rage. It was unsettling. But undeniable.

He's been locked up for insanity. He's blown the ship up countless times, ejected himself into space, and committed suicide with a phase pistol while sitting on the bridge, in his ready room, his cabin, the armory, sickbay... The crew has likewise spaced him, shot him, and poisoned him. So much death. He has eaten like a glutton, hit on female crew members and successfully concluded sexual relations with more than a few of them.

After a while he changed.

T'Pol could see as the memories flow...

He learns more about the crew, their individual histories, talents, motivations and personalities. He finds and figures out how to resolve all of the little problems in their lives and on the ship. He experiments on the warp engine, pushing it further and faster than ever. He devours the ship's library, becoming fluent in multiple languages and dialects of Earth, Vulcan, Denobulan, Andorian, and Klingon. He is able to master every musical instrument on the ship, becomes an expert marksman, and at some point... he becomes enamored with meditation.

He finds himself particularly drawn to Her, as he progresses in his meditation practice. Eventually he learns how to tell her about his situation, in a way that she accepts it, and becomes an aide and confidante. After numerous failed mind melds (some of which resulted in his or her death, though not often violently) he learns how to treat Pa'nar, as well as sharing thoughts and memories with rapidity so that T'Pol becomes his focus after every reset. Interacting with her so intimately leads to him falling in love.

She would be disconcerted but recognizes the truth. He knows everything about her: mentally, physically, emotionally... every fact and facet of her being, every story, every detail, every lie and every truth. He knows it all... and cherishes her for it all the more.

She appreciates the time he took, using logic to convince her to join him. Not wanting to use rank, or will or trust or anything except logic. Wanting her to experience it all together with him. It would be impossible to not cherish him in turn.

There are so many special moments. Seeing him in her mind's eye, Jonathan holds her hand to his chest, feeling his warmth and his steady beating heart as he tells her "You've always encouraged me to be the best version of me that I could. Long before I fell into this loop. Thank you for believing in me" and later another memory as he declares "Waking up knowing you don't remember is the worst part of my day. Feeling you in my head after the meld is the best."

There is no mental box large enough to contain what she is feeling. The warmth washes over her, suffuses her, and she relaxes into the sense of contentment. After a while though, she knows it is time to get back to the matter at hand.

Their scholarly pursuits have been extensive:

They spent many long days in discourse on the nature of the experience. Was it Truly a reset? Jumping across the multiverse reliving the same period of time in each? Perhaps. A simulation? No, Too long. Unless they could speed up real-time he'd experienced too much. Still, Doubtful. Perfect simulation if so. Down to the sub atomic level. All efforts showed no degradation.

Their technological research results were more tangible: Better shielding, better weapons, better scanners. They were able to modify the engine to get to Warp 6.5 with ideas to get to warp 7 (but lacking either runtime or materials to accomplish it). They've taken the ship and ranged far enough to discover a great deal more about the expanse, and the Xindi, but can only go so far before reset.

Probably the biggest win for T'Pol: rendering Trellium D safe for her Vulcan physiology (in so far as a day can tell) while still protecting the Enterprise and her crew from anomalies. As the memories of their experiments flow through her, she feels a weight lift from deep within her being ... one she never knew was even there... until it was gone.

Finally the more recent memories surface. A resurgent desire to abandon Eden (as Jonathan believed it to be). While essentially immortal, anyone can readily recognize that localized omniscience is no where close to omnipotence. Just yesterday he had told her "I've all but forgotten what it is like to watch things grow and change. For all of my experiences, I've never held a newborn child, watched it grow day by day.. learning and experiencing the world. I yearn for those experiences. I have lived in Eden... but now it is time to leave." With that thought, Jonathan's consciousness slowly separated from her's. Still connected, still united, together but apart. Like I said, it goes pretty fast he thought to her.

T'Pol drew a slow - deep breath and opened her eyes. Nothing has changed. And yet everything had changed. The man across from her looked identical to the one that had walked into her room minutes ago. And yet with their still-connected link, she knew he was as vital to her existence, as she was to his.

His smile is subtle, the barest upturn at the corner of his mouth, she teases him So Vulcan.

But he gives as good as he gets with the thought: humor? That sounds like a human notion to me.

"Well, we've got a nice list of things to occupy the morning" Jonathan says as he smoothly stands up. "I'd like to try and put as much right as I can before we go for the jailbreak, if you wouldn't mind helping?" T'Pol nods and they make their way throughout the ship. They offer comfort and counsel to the crew as they wander about fixing little things here and there, until finally all is made ready.

Jonathan walks back to his quarters to have a last visit with Porthos (just in case). And then T'Pol joins him. The escape is made ready. The theory came out of a conversation on the nature of the loop. Did it affect the universe? Unlikely. More probable it was only affecting him... and specifically his physical body. The (hypothetical) solution was found in all places, in the writings of Surak: The early Vulcans' ability to transfer their consciousness. No longer practiced, but documented enough to have an idea of how it might be done, such that someone might learn how to do it. And so they had.

T'Pol had already carried Jonathan's Katra in previous loops but only as short tests; to refine the technique; and always transferring it back into his body well before the end of the loop. This time would be different. This time his Katra would stay with her across the reset. Then ... presumably ... one of three things would happen: The loop would continue. The loop would be broken but Jonathan's Katra would remain carried by T'Pol. Or (hopefully) his Katra could be merged again with his body outside the loop.

The wait was not long. A bluish glow briefly appeared around Jonathan's head. The chronometer ticked over.. and kept marching on. T'Pol felt for his consciousness in the back of her mind... good, still there. Once more they meld, and it is done. He opened his eyes briefly, an expression of confusion on his face. But then quickly he slumped to the side, with T'Pol just barely catching him. She gently transfers him onto his bed and realizes that they could both use some sleep.

Vulcans do not worry. Normally. There are exceptions, and this is one of them. She could not feel Jonathan as she did before. For her, the memories from the loop are still present. But Jonathan...? For T'Pol of Vulcan, sleep is long in coming.


Jonathan Archer woke to the sound of the call button at the entrance to his quarters. Glancing at the chronometer, he implores the early morning visitor to "Enter!" And then she does.

T'Pol is out of uniform and bare footed. Seeing her in the morning is rather expected. Out of uniform and barefooted, is not.

"Captain" she begins. Then she pauses, and softens her voice in a way he has never heard before... "Jonathan... Everything I am about to tell you is true. I understand it will be difficult to accept, but the more I talk, the more you will believe me..."


Hope you enjoyed it. My spin on the time-loop trope originally started as a blend of Twilight and Flowers for Algernon, but ended up more Groundhog Day or Edge of Tomorrow. Twilight is (other than the ending) among my favorites of ST:ENT, and right up there with TNG: The Inner Light, overall. Since time was reset, there was no change to the characters... they didn't learn or grow. Tragic. The ultimate bottle episode. It's still a love note to Twilight… so the title stuck.


He goes through the same day (23 hours 47 minutes and 4 seconds) over and over.

Eventually he determines a treatment for his temporal anchor similar to Twilight. He makes a plea to T'Pol to believe him and demonstrates his incredible knowledge to her and the rest of the crew as proof. Maybe first tell the story from T'Pols point of view on the last day? And then flashback to Archer POV ... Archer goes through the process, to restore time.

He realizes that the time bubble will collapse, and that he might not remember any of it, or that it would slowly fade away. He is partly correct. As the original day begins, he is aware but recognizes that his memory is fading like a dream. He frantically writes everything he remembers, the research, the xindi locations, and interspersed is his love for T'Pol. The further along in his writing the more the focus is on Her. His lament that he will not admit the depths of his love and cannot comprehend the loss of all he has gained from the experience. He writes of a desperate attempt to embed a recall trigger and all he needs to do is... the thought is gone. Jon looks at the pen in his hand and the messy frantic scribbles in his journal. Page after page after page. Nothing is legible. He has no idea what happened. And then the alarm goes off.