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

AN: While I would like to take credit for this story… it kind of wrote itself. But I will gladly claim credit for any mistakes with it.

This story is not a happy story, but has a (relatively) happy ending. This isn't a romantic story. This story depicts violence, depression, insanity, foul language and the aftermath of rape. While it may recover one day and get back on the rails, it is decidedly AU. If it ends up with a sequel, that story's title will be obvious.

It is ATP.





Jonathan Archer stepped back to admire his handiwork. It had the feeling of a long morning, at the beginning of an early spring. The soil in his garden was finally starting to have the texture and smell of rich tilled earth. Hopefully it would repay the effort a few months from now. It had taken time to build the low rock walls to protect the small field from the wind and most of the grazing animals. Some of the smaller animals would get caught in his snares and supplement his protein. The work was hard. His body ached. But thinking about the work and the pain beat the alternative by a long mile. Physical pain was a wonderful distraction. And when you felt like you deserved that pain... It was all the better.

He called out over his shoulder "Porthos! I'm heading in for some water" and walked the short distance to his cabin. Like the garden, his cabin was still a work in progress. It kept the rain out. And though he roasted in the summers and froze in the winter, he felt little need to make it too comfortable. He didn't want to be comfortable. Sure Porthos would complain now and again but that was his dog.

He'd gotten lucky with the fresh water spring. A shallow, hand dug well kept him in water all year round. It was cool and crisp, and gave him digestive issues for weeks. But like most other things it would either kill him or make him stronger. He didn't really see any alternatives so he suffered through it. Eventually it was just cool and crisp. He poured the water over his head and shook himself like a dog. Porthos could probably use a bath soon he thought to himself. He munched on a supplement bar and then headed back out to start planting seeds. He imagined the seeds sprouting and growing in the warm earth. Like all happy thoughts it soon turned on him: I shouldn't be happy and he crushed himself back down... letting it all play out in his mind again...


It was undeniable. The right cross to his jaw was easily avoidable... but he took it anyway. His former best friend beat him senseless, screaming and crying the whole time. "You bastard! You monster!" Jonathan just stood there and took it... until he was knocked to the ground, and then he just laid there while Trip tried to kick him. Malcolm finally pulled Trip away. Jonathan was numb to his own pain. He was half carried, half dragged to the brig. He didn't even notice.

T'Pol didn't wake up for over a day. And when she did regain consciousness, she was still semi-catatonic for days after. By that time everyone had already formed their opinions. It wasn't hard. The physical evidence alone was overwhelming, but entirely unnecessary. Jonathan took full blame for it all. He admitted to it, though he claimed to not be in control at the time. He begged them to space him. It wasn't a hard sell. But regulations held sway.

T'Pol immediately asked about the Captain's welfare upon regaining awareness. Her protests of normalcy and subsequent emotional outbursts were considered a strong signal of post traumatic stress. The High Command consented to her returning to Earth for the investigation, but afterward they demanded she return to Vulcan for rehabilitation and eventual reassignment. After she was released from sickbay, T'Pol spent her days meditating in seclusion, and most of her evenings arguing with Acting Captain Tucker.

"I will no longer discuss this topic with you while you continue to refute logic" she stated (again) to the unrecognizable person pacing her quarters. Over the years, they had gone full circle: from strangers, to shipmates, to friends, to lovers, back to friends, and now finally before her was a stranger. They knew countless details about one another. Yet the person who looked like Charles Tucker the third might as well have walked out of another mirror universe. He did not move like Trip. He did not act like Trip. He was irrational and constantly agitated. He was unable to bear the weight of command. Nor was he able to reconcile the reality of what had occurred. He needed someone to blame.

She tried to reason with him. She explained about bringing the small box they found on Epsilon 4 to the Captain's quarters. How she felt compelled to show it to the Captain... and how it seemed to open and then disintegrate when he touched it. She explained how something attacked her mind, and seemed to attack the Captain as well. She spoke about her experience under the influence of a malevolent psychic entity to him, to Doctor Phlox, Commander Reed, and anyone who would listen. She detailed how it burrowed into her mind, and how she fought desperately to try and regain control of her body. She felt it latch onto the Captain and saw his entire demeanor change. With her emotions unleashed she felt the entity feast on her terror as she fought for control, and fought against the body of Jonathan Archer, a body whose eyes no longer held his soul. In a desperate bid to protect her sanity, she withdrew deep into her mind, where she stayed until her physical body healed.

They all listened, but none would hear her. Hoshi couldn't hear it. She tried to, but collapsed in tears hugging T'Pol tightly. They refused to let her speak to the Captain, and claimed all messages she tried to send him as evidence that she had devised a fantasy during her catatonic period. It was obvious to them that she couldn't cope with the truth. There was no evidence contrary to what they believed. Nothing on sensors to support her word. No one remembered seeing the box. The Captain admitted his guilt.

"These arguments have become circuitous. Jonathan is innocent. He is not unforgivable. I cannot forgive him as there is nothing to forgive" T'Pol said in a voice tinged with emotion.

Trip took no effort to control the anger in his own voice as the final latch on his emotions broke "How can you defend that piece of shit after what he did?" His mind drifted back to the moment they forced open the door, and found T'Pol unconscious, her uniform in tatters, with red blood and skin under her nails, and swirled smears of red and green blood over her body. "I should have spaced him. I was so close. I would have done the galaxy a service."

"Ensign Sato reported to me that you assaulted him. Your response without discerning the facts was not logical. You should be..."

He cut her off "We know what happened. You need to believe us. You need to believe me" He reached a hand toward her, wanting to give her comfort, to hold her in his arms and assure her she was safe. She pulled away as if he were dangerous; as if he was the monster.

T'Pol had concluded there was little left to say after the previous visit. It was foolish to continue. Her control was hanging by a thread. "What I believe is that it is time for you to leave. If it is not a matter of ship's business I no longer wish to speak with you"

A broken man made his way out of the room. He paused at the door, but did not look back. There was nothing left for him there. T'Pol lit her meditation candle and settled on the floor to clear her mind.

The return voyage to Earth lasted only a few weeks, but felt much longer than anyone anticipated. With a shattered command crew and low morale, every incident that challenged Enterprise took longer than normal. Even Doctor Phlox found himself susceptible to the dour mood.

During the final week out from Earth, the Vulcan medical transport Hakausu docked with Enterprise and whisked T'Pol into their care for the rest of the journey. Their efforts to see Jonathan Archer were rebuffed. Officially, Starfleet wanted to maintain the Captain under observation before the investigation and probable court martial were concluded. Unofficially they were concerned with the Vulcan's attempting some form of retribution.

Even with other NX class ships out exploring the galaxy, the unexpected return of Enterprise was a media circus. It's purpose could not be hidden for long. When it broke, the news was polarizing. Many people on Earth were ashamed. The xenophobes were out in force drumming up their vitriolic brand of hate. Other humans, particularly those in academic circles and in positions of power, were afraid of what such an incident might do to Humanities' relationship with their greatest benefactor.

The Vulcans stepped forward as well, but in a way few expected. This was not Jonathan Archer the ignorant Komihn who had long antagonized various members of the Vulcan compound on Earth, whom they had come to see finally laid bare before his ignorant fellows. This was Jonathan Archer, the friend of Vulcan, who carried the katra of Surak, who helped restore the Kir'Shara and launch the 2nd Age of Enlightenment. The leader of their government had personally touched the mind of Jonathan Archer and knew him. A respected team of healers had been dispatched on the Hakausu. They had tirelessly worked with T'Pol and analyzed the evidence collected by Enterprise in preparation.

Due to the nature of the case and its participants (as well as the media frenzy) the investigation was passed by a board of inquiry directly to a recommendation of court martial.

The prosecuting JAG was an eager Commander named Marshal, looking to write his ticket on Captain Archer's back, and a secret sympathizer with Terra Prime. He was ecstatic with this turn of events and had no desire to save Archer from anything. To him, the friend of aliens was getting his comeuppance.

The randomly selected panel of six officers of the court were deemed impartial and summarily seated after Admiral Jefferies recused himself due to personal affiliation with the defendant. Due to the interplanetary nature of the case, and vast amounts of pressure from its allies, Starfleet granted the Vulcans the seventh seat on the panel and the right to include an Inquisitor in the proceedings. A Vulcan Inquisitor's role was not to seek guilt or innocence, but to establish the truth of an event. A Vulcan Consular named K'Vin was assigned the role of Inquisitor. Ambassador Soval took the seat on the panel.

Commander Marshal was furious at all the kowtowing to the point ear'd bastards, but tried to keep his anger in check. The case was cut and dried. It was just a matter of formality. He smiled and adjusted his tie before thinking of his latest interview "yes Sally, the preliminary hearing today will likely set the tone for the rest of the proceedings. Though it might be a particularly anticlimactic event if my sources are correct."

Sally Church of ActionZ News had to bite back a yawn and use her 'excited' voice to play along "oh and why is that Commander Marshal?"

"Well it's rather simple" he began "if Captain Archer pleads guilty we'll be out of there a good deal faster than otherwise"

Sally wasn't about to tilt either way on the matter of the man's guilt or innocence. She knew her bosses wanted to string this along as much as possible. "But won't they need to cover the evidence anyway to inform sentencing?" She hesitated and realized that might have sounded too intelligent " 'cause that's what someone told me" she added hoping to dumb things down for the audience.

"Yes you are right. But without the defense slowing things down we'll be done in less than half the time. I don't think the Vulcan representative will impede things, I'm sure they want to see justice done as much as we do." the Commander replied, trying to imagine how he would appear to audiences. He was so busy thinking about whether this was his ticket to an eventual Admiral slot or if he would be able to play this into a political role... that he went on autopilot and barely realized the interview was wrapping up. He recovered quickly and then left his office, walking perhaps a bit too confidently.

Jonathan Archer was a study in contrast to the prosecutor. He walked in a daze, shoulders hunched, bleary eyed. Ensign Travis Mayweather had volunteered for, and been granted the duty of, helping clean up the Captain for the court martial. Travis had gotten him shaved, fed, and into a fresh uniform, and encouraged him with the parting words: "I believe in you Sir, I'm sure a reason for why this happened will come to light. Good luck Sir". The pale, shaky, and shrunken man being led into the chambers flanked by a pair of armed Starfleet security was anything but confident.

The preliminary hearing was mostly closed to the public, with a few Vulcan and human civilian observers in attendance. Heading the panel of judges, Admiral Johansson opened the proceedings "Captain Jonathan Archer, you stand accused of the following charges: Assaulting a Senior officer, rape, and conduct unbecoming a Starfleet officer. How do you plead?"

Jonathan surprised a few people by turning down the right to counsel prior to the hearing. He surprised even fewer by pleading guilty to all charges. "I'm guilty. Put me away or put me down".

Inquisitor K'Vin signaled and was given the right to speak: "Captain Archer, your statements are not logical, and indicate a lack of desire to protect your personal well-being. It would seem you are not mentally fit to defend yourself, rendering your guilty plea invalid"

Commander Marshal was furious but knew the Vulcan was correct. He would have to play this carefully. "Captain Archer is cognizant, responsive, and other than mild depression, the investigation turned up no physiological markers for mental imbalance. Guilt is not a reason to deem him mentally unfit. I see no reason why this man cannot represent himself".

Like most of Starfleet, Admiral Johansson knew Captain Archer by reputation and by reviewing the logs from Enterprise. He glanced at the stoic faces of his fellow panelists and any messages from their shared comm system. It was a mixed bag. But the note from Ambassador Soval seemed to carry the right balance. Even without representation, the presence of an Inquisitor would see to any possible defense. It was a difficult call to make "Given your current presentation, and history, we find you mentally fit to face charges, but question your willingness to enter a guilty plea. It is your right to refuse counsel... And we will respect that right. If there are no objections, we'll move directly to the court martial" After a moment, Johansson turned to the JAG and requested "Present your first witness Commander".

Lt Commander Reed was called to give testimony. After being sworn in, the questioning began:

JAG: "what is your role aboard Enterprise?"

Reed: "I am the senior tactical officer, responsible for ship's security, as well as the lead investigator in this case. For the last few weeks I've served as the executive officer"

JAG: "what is your relationship with Jonathan Archer?"

Reed: "Captain Archer has been my commanding officer for the last 3 years. He has earned my respect and admiration many times over during that period"

JAG: "You were one of the witnesses, yes? Doesn't that present a conflict?"

Reed: "I was one of the witnesses. Aboard a Starship, we must often wear many hats. I am able to separate my role as Investigator from my other duties as well as from my personal feelings. Ensign Jones was shadowing the investigation and took on the role during my own deposition. This is all well within Starfleet regulations."

JAG: "According to your own duty log, the Captain had an altercation with Commander T'Pol during an earlier shift. Why was this not noted during the investigation?"

Reed: "A discussion of scheduling can hardly be considered an altercation. It's easy to read out of context and..."

(Interrupting) JAG: "please if you would provide that missing context"

Reed: "Sir, it is unfortunate that I let my unprofessional commentary enter the duty log. I had stated that due to ... encouragement from the Captain ..."

JAG: "your log uses the phrase 'ass chewing'. "

Reed: "Yes, Sir. Due to that... Commander T'Pol moved up the scheduled repairs to the sensor grid after our encounter with a hostile ship the previous day. Commander T'Pol had suggested it was unlikely we would run into a similar situation so soon. The Captain disagreed. To call it an altercation is ..."

(Interrupting) JAG: "thank you Commander. While we have all read your witness testimony and do not need a complete recitation, I would like you to recall and describe for us the scene when you entered the bathroom in his quarters.

Reed: "Sir, Crewman Foster and myself entered the bathroom and found the Captain hunched over the sink, with the water running. He was only wearing an undershirt, and was naked from the waist down. I called out to him and he turned toward us. He had bloody scratches down his face and chest. He was covered in both the Commander's blood as well as his own blood. It was hard to recognize him. His entire demeanor was different... wrong. He grinned at us. Then he sort of collapsed."

JAG: "And after that..?"

Reed: "I checked his vital signs and began assessing the scene. After seeing Command T'Pol, Commander Tucker had already called for a medical team. I had called for recorders. By the time I exited the bathroom area, T'Pol had been moved to sickbay. We began imaging the scene and collecting evidence. The Captain regained consciousness while we were getting him cleaned up."

JAG: "Thank you Lieutenant Commander Reed. That will be all."

Malcolm was about to stand up when the Inquisitor stepped forward. Malcolm sat back down, his hands on his knees, his back ramrod straight.

Inquisitor: "why was Captain Archer not taken to sickbay?"

Reed: "He was assessed and found to have superficial injuries. They were treated at the scene after evidence was collected. In assault cases it is standard procedure to keep victims physically separated from any suspects."

Inquisitor: "he was given no further treatment or assessment?"

Reed: "Not at that time. Dr Phlox visited him in the brig for an assessment approximately 7 hours after the incident."

Inquisitor: "Captain Archer was reported at that assessment, as having a broken jaw and multiple facial contusions. This seems inconsistent with your earlier comments. Can you clarify?"

Reed: "I'm sorry Sir, I cannot explain it. The Captain was not under constant observation until later that day."

Inquisitor: "I have no further questions"

Malcolm Reed left the witness stand hoping he had done the right thing. He knew he was risking his career. He thought Trip had suffered enough from all of this. He didn't need to be dragged through the mud, for responding like any normal person would, when confronting someone who had raped a loved one.

One by one the witnesses were called forth. There was really no need, but more time for Commander Marshal to be in the spotlight was just what he wanted. The worst they could say was that he was being thorough. He hadn't seen Archer look up once. Not even when Ensign Sato burst into tears during Commander Tucker's testimony. The Denobulan Doctor's testimony was particularly effective. Archer was toast.

Commander Marshal had read T'Pol's report. He had no intention of placing her on the stand, and declared that there were no further witnesses. He didn't anticipate the Inquisitor. He should have.

Inquisitor K'Vin again signaled a desire to speak "though it should be apparent from the information contained in the records, I request to have testimony from one of the healers who treated the Commander on board the Hakausu: Doctor T'Sav."

An older Vulcan female sat down in the witness chair and was sworn in.

Inquisitor: "Doctor, you lead the mental assessment and treatment for Commander T'Pol. I have a single question. Is there any reason to doubt the testimony of Commander T'Pol?"

Doctor T'Sav : "no"

K'Vin nodded his head and Doctor rose to leave.

Commander Marshal was no Vulcan, but he wasn't an idiot either. He knew they were about to place T'Pol on the stand. To attack her credibility, he would need to attack the Vulcan Doctor's as well. "Excuse me" he interrupted "I would like to question the witness".

The Doctor stopped and looked to K'Vin. He replied with "I was given the impression that you were done questioning witnesses. If you wanted to question the Doctor, should you not have done so earlier?"

Zachary Marshal wasn't going to take that kind of crass lip from some alien. "Now look here you! On Earth the prosecutor has the right to cross examine defense witnesses." He was losing control of the situation and he knew it. Damn Vulcans!

K'Vin said "I am only responsible for defending the truth." And then turned to the panel awaiting judgement.

Admiral Johansson was also no Vulcan. But he was a bit sharper than this opportunistic JAG. While he saw no issue with allowing cross examination, he was pretty sure this wasn't going to turn out how the JAG intended. In this case he just glanced at his colleagues before announcing "proceed".

Eventually the Doctor was reseated and Marshal's attack began in earnest. Unfortunately for him, he was up against a Vulcan. And not just any Vulcan, but a seasoned Physician, with more credentials and experience to her name than a human could achieve with a lifetime of constant improvement. He realized he was only strengthening her testimony and conceded before he did too much more damage.

Inquisitor K'Vin rose once again to speak "I request that Commander T'Pol provide testimony."

Jonathan's head snapped up for the first time since admitting his guilt. His eyes were wide as he sought for her, wanting to confirm for himself that she was ok. But even as he did, he realized he wouldn't be able to meet her gaze, and ducked his head back down in shame. He didn't deserve to know if she was ok. Didn't deserve to see her.

All of his thoughts had been focused on her since he regained consciousness the first day. Had she recovered? Would she be able to move past this? Would she be ostracized? Had this tainted her view of humanity? He knew he was steadily losing his mind since perhaps the week before. One night, he could hear her calling to him in a dream, and the next night he saw her... telling him he was a good man, and that he was not responsible. She was trying to comfort him. Him! But the dream turned to a nightmare as a second T'Pol appeared and berated the stupid human for spoiling her, and ruining her life. Telling him that he didn't deserve to live.

On and on they went, a logical angel and an emotional devil, endlessly trying to convince him of a singular truth. He couldn't sleep anymore without the dreams... he didn't know what to believe. The angel seemed to be getting stronger, or was it just wishful thinking? He tried to focus on her voice... her belief... but it was so hard.

Now in the harsh light of day, the silence roared in his ears. Finally, the faintest of footsteps was heard... the sound of a chair moving back, and then being adjusted... and finally he heard her speak. Hearing the real T'Pol, it all came crashing down, and tears began streaming down his cheeks. All the worry, all the self loathing... It was the angel speaking. Telling how they had both tried to fight whatever attacked their minds. His hands began to shake as she continued to speak, explaining how it fed off of her, tearing down her mental defenses and devoured her emotions and her control. How she saw him lose the battle, his eyes going dark and unrecognizable, how his body began attacking her, but she knew it wasn't him.

She was the angel... telling how he was a good and honest man. How they had trusted and supported each other time and again over the years. As she concluded, his body was wracked with spasms and he sobbed uncontrollably... truly and completely broken.

Jonathan Archer was escorted to a side chamber, unresponsive and inconsolable. Eventually he calmed down enough to be asked if he understood that he had been acquitted of all charges. He shook his head mumbling "no no no" and was eventually left alone.

"Sir" It was just one word, but even half out of his mind it was easy for Jonathan to recognize Malcolm's voice. It was a word filled with pain, with regret, and with shame. Jonathan gathered himself and figured out how to put the necessary words together. He raised his head and looked the other man in the eyes as he spoke: "I'm done Malcolm. Have them send me to the mad house and keep everyone away. Do this for me Malcolm". and then completely spent, he sat down on a nearby couch, rested his head on his arms, and slept. Malcolm saw for one moment, Jonathan Archer, the Captain. He was still alive inside this crumpled form in front of him. He knew what he had to do. "Yes, Sir"

"He made it very clear Captain Tucker. Neither you, nor I, nor any of *us* will be seeing him. I have a standing order from Admiral Gardner to use whatever force necessary to enforce that." For Malcolm Reed, penance was rather easy. He knew if he was in anyone else's shoes he would be on the other side, desperate to get in. But he had spoken to the Captain that day. He was given a gift... a task. And to do that task well would let him sleep at night. He would be forever grateful for it.

The crew of the Enterprise had all but disbanded. Tucker remained in command and a few stayed with him while an ad-hoc refit was organized. It was unclear if he was just warming the chair or would take her back out again.

Malcolm organized training programs, defined operational procedures, and did other sundry tasks for Starfleet headquarters security. His primary responsibility, one that he would gladly maintain for the rest of his career, was managing the ongoing protection of Jonathan Archer.

Hoshi left the service and returned to teaching planet-side. She travelled across the globe, teaching a class here and a lecture there. She occasionally stopped in San Francisco for lunch, and to swap stories or commiserate together with Malcolm. He sometimes wondered how much of her visits were to see him, and how much were they to be close... even if vicariously, to the Captain. But she was wonderful to talk to, easy on the eyes, and good for his soul. Did it really matter why she was there?

Travis jumped to the NX-02 Columbia and was, of all of them, probably the least affected. But then, he'd also been one of the Captain's unwavering supporters.

Phlox returned to Denobula. He left quietly and without fanfare.

And then of course T'Pol... T'Pol was the most difficult to turn away. She seemed to have a sixth sense for how the Captain was doing, when he had been moved, and where. It was unnerving. She spent a part of every day visiting Malcolm's makeshift office and presenting argument after argument as to why she should be allowed to see Captain Archer. Eventually Malcolm sent a message to Starfleet medical requesting the Captain's permission. "No!" Was the only reply. After seeing the note herself, T'Pol wished Malcolm a long and happy life, and left Earth the next day.

Two months later, Jonathan Archer was deemed fit (if not recovered). He was released from the Bixby medical ward, promoted to Admiral, and retired from service in a single afternoon. Per his request and using his funds, a large remote acreage in Southern Montana was purchased under a dummy corporation. Tools, materials, food, and clothing were left at a convenient site, with the promise of solitude and regular robotic supply drops. Malcolm decided to take another risk. He kept his face hidden and piloted the shuttle to drop Jonathan off for his self-imposed exile. He wasn't the least bit surprised when Jonathan paused at the shuttle exit and uttered "Goodbye Malcolm. Thank you." And then he was gone.

2 years passed.

Commander Malcolm Reed had his answer. She was there for him. Malcolm and Hoshi married in a small ceremony and spent their honeymoon backpacking trail sections from Argentina up through South and Central America. Jonathan Archer was seldom far from their thoughts. She took a position teaching at Starfleet Academy. Life was good.

In the quiet hours of the night, that time before dawn when the world is still... Jonathan could feel it. A tiny thing trailing off into the ether. He wondered if it was like a safety blanket or an imaginary friend... something he could hold onto but all in his head. There were nights that he needed something like that. He needed it desperately, and it was there, comforting and safe. With it, he shared his worries and concerns, his hopes and his dreams. As he shared, the thoughts stopped racing around in his head. The fears seemed to fade away. He could find peace, or simply sleep. He wished he could hold onto it during the day. But part of him thought the misery was deserved, and so it continued.

Jonathan sat on the low rock wall, watching his seedlings stretch toward the sun and dance in the subtle breeze. Feeling the joy of new life growing, his mind was calm. And for the first time in years, he heard her voice. He heard T'Pol calling his name from far away. It all suddenly clicked together. His insanity, the voices, the thread... it was real. It was her. And with the same surety that the sun will rise, he knew she was coming.

T'Pol was granted use of a small scout ship. Really it was little more than a shuttle with a sleeping berth, bathroom, and food preparation area. She hadn't left Vulcan in over 2 years but piloting a ship wasn't a skill she had lost. She had spent months with both priests and doctors. She spent days and weeks in solitary meditation and introspection. She contemplated the

Kolinahr early on, but decided against it, or truth be told, life decided against it.

She could still feel Jonathan was there. It gave her comfort. The doctor's were fascinated. The priests were appalled or curious depending on their nature. None suggested severing the bond. It was clear where her thoughts lay.

A few days out from Earth, she contacted Malcolm. She knew she could find Jonathan on her own, but didn't know what to expect from Starfleet security. Malcolm agreed to meet but only if Hoshi were permitted to join. He seemed to believe that his life would be in jeopardy otherwise. Sometimes she was uncertain if the human's were being serious. Sometimes she wondered if the humans knew.

They met at a small cafe on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. They seemed a bit older and much more relaxed, and yet in tune with one another. Once they announced that they were married, she understood. She congratulated them on their marriage and then decided that it was time to get to the point. "Malcolm, I have come to see Jonathan".

Malcolm's smile faded. As time went on it was more difficult to keep the others at bay. Hoshi insisted on helping "monitor" satellite imagery from the cabin site. Occasionally they would get a glimpse of Jon chopping wood or tending the small garden he had made. A favorite image on their mantle was a still of Jon standing in the sun, his arms lifted and hands stretched out, with his head tilted back, and his eyes closed. A smile graced his face. They traded barbs about being voyeurs, but knowing that moment existed for Jon gave them a great deal of comfort.

T'Pol saw Malcolm's expression sour and knew she would need to work on him. "Malcolm, I know where he is. He is expecting me. I would like to confirm there will be no issues when I go there." She placed a PADD on the small table between them. The map on display marked the not-so-secret location of Jon's cabin.

"Commande..." he stuttered "T'Pol... how did you get this information? and what do you mean he is expecting you? Other than an emergency transponder there are no comm devices there."

"Malcolm, I just know. As does Jonathan. I request your assistance but will be going regardless" she then decided to make her final argument. She looked at Hoshi, and then looked down at the PADD. Hoshi took the cue, and picked up the PADD, then scrolled to the next image. She turned the PADD off and set it down again near T'Pol.

Hoshi, now allied to her cause, began the final assault. "Malcolm dear, we need to help her... ah no don't give me that look. You will help her. And for that matter we have something she can deliver as well."

Malcolm saw a no-win situation and decided to cave. "Very well then." And getting into the spirit of things, shifted to missing briefing mode: "The site is protected by the transporter protection grid, so you'll need to land a shuttle craft. I can't do anything about that unless it's a life threatening emergency. Unscheduled air traffic alerts are routed to a rapid response unit. If you can get me your shuttle transponder information and rough time of arrival, I'll log a flight plan. I can probably only give you a 3 hour window."

T'Pol silenced the eager portion of her thoughts and considered the issue logically. "Tomorrow morning. I believe an early morning arrival would be the best... and thank you. Thank you both."

They took a short stroll to Malcolm and Hoshi's dwelling where upon entering, it was T'Pol's turn to be surprised. "Porthos. What are you doing here?" And then realizing that she had spoken to the dog, she turned to Hoshi and stated "You kept Porthos. Thank you."

Hoshi gave her a teary smile. "It was my pleasure."

With promises of a return visit before she left Earth again, T'Pol and Porthos made the short journey back to Sausalito, and settled down for an early evening. Tomorrow would come.

Jonathan I am here. The words rang clear in the mind of a man who had woken from the most wonderful dream. Jonathan Archer sat up in his bed. The first rays of dawn were bringing the room out of darkness. His cabin door creaked open and a small shape darted onto his bed and right into his arms. "Porthos!" Still dreaming apparently... and getting better all the time. Sure he spoke to Porthos all the time. But that was just habit. He was here! Excited as ever and licking his face, whining and wiggling happily.

After a few minutes of pure bliss he heard her... "Porthos, come. I need Jonathan to pay attention now". And Porthos the traitor, abandoned him! Jonathan sat at the edge of his bed, grinning ear to ear.

She walked into the room looking every bit a Vulcan princess in traditional robes. He was immediately rendered punch drunk upon seeing her, and barely able to form a coherent thought. She stood still and then raised a single perfect eyebrow.

"Really Jonathan, I think living alone has had a detrimental effect on your mind."

The smile slid off of his face. He pinched himself. He bit the inside of his cheek. He stomped his foot on the floor.

"I've never heard of this greeting ritual before. Will it take long?"

She wasn't this funny. He was dreaming... wasn't he?

"No Jonathan, you are not dreaming."

"T'Pol you shouldn't be here!" he shouted and covered himself with a blanket. He looked down at the ground, willing this to be a dream. How could she look like that? Better than normal!

"Jonathan, I told you I was coming. You knew I was coming. Why are you acting surprised that I am here?"

He had no answer.

"Please, Jonathan. Please look at me."

He shook his head and kept silent. I can't, he thought. What if I hurt you?

"You won't hurt me Jonathan. Please." She knelt down beside the bed.

A delicate hand entered his line of sight, reaching for his own. Slowly he relaxed the death-grip on his blanket and carefully held her hand, resting it gently on his fingertips.

"You came" his voice was gruff.

"I came"

"I'm sorry"

"I am also sorry"

"Will... will you forgive me?"

"There is nothing to forgive. Neither of us was able to stop it... I ... did not know what that box would hold. I did not realize something like that could exist... would exist. Will you forgive me?"

"There is nothing to forgive... T'Pol... I am broken. I don't know what to do."

"We will be broken together then, if you agree. And perhaps, together, we can be made whole."

"Will you stay?"

"I cannot. Not now. I would like you to come with me."

"To Vulcan?"

"Yes. I am needed there. I believe *we* are needed there"


"Our daughter is there."


"There are no expectations Jonathan. But I believed you might want ..."

"I'll go with you."

"Thank you."

"T'Pol before we go... I need to tell you something... I care for you. I care about you... I love you. You have become the most important person in my life. But I am not in love with you."

"It is enough"

"Once I might have wanted more."

"I cherish your companionship. One day perhaps it will be more."

"One more thing..."

"Jonathan my knees are getting tired."

Jonathan grasped T'Pol's hand and pulled her up onto the bed next to him laughing, before asking "Is she beautiful?"


Her name?