Disclaimer: Star Trek in all its forms belongs to Gene Roddenberry and the Corporations. The Queen of Swords and her world belong to others as well. There is no infringement intended, as this is just a humble fan fiction intended to amuse and entertain. No money will be made nor is any expected. Just a few reviews to make the author smile and feel it is worth writing more.

Summary: Enterprise finds itself in a place that seems strangely familiar and they have a very interesting Away Mission.

By: FireStar

Author's notes: This is for QOS group who challenged me to write a cross over. It is an AU for both series where T/T is not relevant. The main characters are Archer/T' Pol and QOS characters.

Archive: If you want it you can have it please just let me know where.

Rating: G to NC- 17 as I am uncertain how it will go.

2006.17.07

Away Mission To Terra Beta

Part 1(An Away Mission to a Familiar Place) G

"Captains Star log supplemental, it seems that Enterprise has found something extraordinary. Sitting here in my quarters I hardly know how to describe this find in a way that will not get me and my crew committed." Captain Jonathan Archer of the NX Star Ship Enterprise paused. How could he send this log back to Starfleet and not expect to be ordered home at once for medical evaluation. He could hardly believe the recent events himself. He leaned back in his chair and stroked Portholes head. "Well boy.. How do I explain this to Star Fleet? I know we were sent out here to explore and find new worlds but I doubt that they ever expected us to find an other this."

Commander T'Pol of Vulcan sat in her quarters and relit the candle. She had been attempting to meditate for the last hour with little success. She leaned back against the bed having decided to gather her thoughts first. What they had found in this system was not listed on any Vulcan or Denoblian Data base and it was a statistical impossibility. She reconsidered perhaps not impossible but highly improbable. The Enterprise had discovered star system that was an exact duplicate of the Sol system down to the asteroid belt. There were ten planets and a yellow star with a planet that was an almost exact match to Earth. The only real difference was that this earth was a pre-warp civilization that close closely resembled the 19th century on earth.

Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker ate his piece of Pecan Pie with pleasure. He smiled as he discussed the latest movie night choices with Lt. Hess.

"Look Sir I vote for a comedy. We had been having too many horror flicks lately." She looked over at Ensign Hoshi Sato for support.

"I agree with that. I have been having nightmares." She said "SAW II was really sick."

"That is a classic show." Trip protested "Oh alright then."

Hoshi watched Commander Tucker and noted he was arguing for the sake of it. His heart really was not in it at all. She knew the Commander still pinned for their Vulcan first officer and she also knew it was a hopeless case as T'Pol was firmly attached to the Captain. If there had ever been any doubts their last visit to the Vulcan home world changed all that. The Captain was different and so was T'Pol. Hoshi could not put her finger on the change but they both seemed almost at peace with each other. While it was true that T'Pol had lost her mother to the corruption of the High Command, she had gained an inner peace that was clearly visible to all. Everyone except Commander Tucker who still sought her out to offer comfort she did not seem to want or need. Hoshi sighed and wished the Commander would move on. He was a good man but he was not right for T'Pol. While the Commander was not a typical Vulcan she did need someone who was more serious. Hoshi had been surprised when the Commander had left Enterprise and more surprised at his return. She wondered if it had been wise for the Captain to allow this. She sipped her tea and decided to let the matter rest all she could do was be a friend to those involved if they needed it.

Jonathan stood up and left his quarters. He could not think how to phrase his report. He carried the PADD and headed down the hallways. He found himself standing outside T' Pol's quarters and he rang the chime.

"Enter" She called.

He crossed the threshold "I am sorry to disturb you. I can … this can wait until morning."

T'Pol almost smiled at his discomfort. She knew much of it was because she was so causally dressed. She rose with practiced ease.

"How may I help you Captain?"

He winced. "I thought we agreed it was Jonathan when we were off duty?"

Her brow rose. "We did but as this is ship's business I thought formality was appropriate."

He tilted his head and realized she was attempting to tease him. He smiled. "Well then Commander." He said formally his smile at odds with his tone. "Help… How do I write this report? I mean this has to be the strangest away mission we ever had."

T'Pol nodded and said, "Perhaps it would help if we review the events in a logical manner?"

"A logical manner, yeh right. " Jonathan said laughing, "This is even stranger then Time travel."

"Jonathan this is not helping." She moved to his side and removed the PADD from his hands. He was clearly too agitated to work. She set the PADD down. "Come lay down. I can see the tension in your neck and back it is not going to be possible for you to think clearly until you relax."

Jon let himself be lead to her bed. He lay down and she pulled his t' shirt off. Strong hands began the Vulcan neuro pressure treatment and he began to relax slowly.

"Maybe you are right the only way to explain is to start at the beginning." He said

Part 2 (Meeting of the Minds) G

"T'Pol could you help me remember?"

T'Pol looked down at Jonathan. "A meld? Jon are you certain? You know our bond is already very strong. If we meld again it may never be broken. Is it worth the risk? Are you certain?"

It had been over a month since Jonathan had helped T'Pol through her Ponn Farr and their bond had been growing steadily stronger. T'Pol did not mind as it brought her peace and contentment yet she sensed certain reluctance, and perhaps fear from Jonathan.

He caught her hands and lifted them to his face. "I am certain beloved. I need to remember this perfectly. Honey, Any fear or reluctance I have been feeling was for you. "

T'Pol looked at him blankly.

"I was afraid I would fail you and that I was not good enough for you." He confessed. "I know how long Vulcan's can live and Because of Surak I know the loneliness of losing a bond-mate. I did not want you to suffer that."

T'Pol kissed him relief flooding her and then across their bond. "It will be alright. Better to have some positive memories then to be alone."

He nodded. "Meld with me please. We can both remember the trip and perhaps we can find a way to write this report in a way that won't cost me my command."

"My mind to your mind." T'Pol began.

(The two became one mind and began to remember)

"Captain's Star Log Supplemental, We left the charted area in section alpha delta 5897. This area is highly filled with a large asteroid belt and there is no record of any coalition ship visiting this region of space. Commander T'Pol has searched both the Vulcan and Denoblian data base and found no information. Her scans however show that this field may contain some rare metals and elements that we are in short supply of. I have decided it is worth exploring. Lt. Maryweather is piloting us on a course we believe will be safe through the field."

The alarm klaxons sounded and Enterprise was hit.

"What was that?" Captain Archer demanded.

"Sir we just been struck….I lost helm control." Travis shouted. As the ship began to spin out of control.

"T'Pol?"

"Captain it appears a small piece of rock hit us on the port side. The nacelle was damaged. I am rerouting helm control now."

"Travis can you override?"

"One moment sir. Commander T'Pol switch it to manual. "

"It is done." She slide out from the under the control panel."

The ship was suddenly under control.

"What the hell happened?" A voice demanded from engineering?"

"We got hit by a stray asteroid." Archer said "Trip we need you up here now. We are on manual helm control the whole board is fried."

"I am on my way Cap'n. Just let me do a quick check here."

"Captain you are not going to believe this." Malcolm Reed said as he looked into the scanner. He had taken it over for T'Pol as she aided Travis.

"What is it Malcolm?"

"Sir my scans show we are on the outside of the Sol system."

T'Pol moved to take her position back and she looked into her scanner. "Captain, Lt. Reed is correct it is the Sol system. Yet our location is 56 million light years from Sol. The closest inhabited system is Romulan."

"How is that possible?"

"Unknown at this time."

Trip walked onto the bridge. "Captain we are going to need to take the Warp engines off line. That rock tore up all my connections and then there is this mess. It is going to take at least a week if I can fix it at all. Sir I am out of several parts we need. I can maybe manufacture them if we can get the raw materials." He looked

"What do you need?" Archer asked.

"Well I need fittings Gold be preferable, crystals and metals." Trip said "I have a list here." He handed a PADD to Archer and a second to T'Pol.

"Well we may be in luck. T'Pol scan the third planet. If it is like Earth we may get lucky."

"Sir what if it is as advanced?"

"Then we will trade for what we need. Let us just hope they are civilized and friendly." Archer said smiling.

"Barbarians I am surrounded by uncivilized un schooled Barbarians. Captain how is it I that you have a garrison full of men and you can not capture one bandit. One single female bandit who is alone and without support." Colonel Montoya shouted.

Captain Gresham wisely remained quiet and the colonel vented his frustration. While this rant was unpleasant he had to admit they had been caught off guard by the Queen. He should have expected her to rescue the peons. He sighed and wondered if it was too late to move to San Francisco? He could hardly bring up that every peon supported the Queen. He sighed as he resolved himself to more late nights patrolling.

Part 3 (Choices) G

"Cap'n there is just no way around it. We have to forge those parts." Trip said
"Perhaps it is fortuitous that this planet is so primitive. Our scans show that they are mining gold and diamonds." T'Pol said "We can use them as crystals. While they will not be as efficient as some they should be able to get us back into established trade routes."

Hoshi grinned and Malcolm smiled. "I thought Diamonds were a girl's best friend?"

Jon smiled. "Alright everyone settle down. T'Pol you Trip and I will beam down to scout the area."

"Captain is that wise. Perhaps I should beam down with you for security reason." Malcolm said

"While your presence would help with Security I need you here to keep the ship safe. Trip's secondary specialty is tactical and I need him to find the supplies we need. Enterprise must be safe so we have a way home. Malcolm if things go south we will need you to pull us out."

"Yes sir." Malcolm said pleased to be in command.

"Hoshi see if you can arrange period clothing and documents for us.I just hope my Spanish is still up to conversation." Captain Archer said

"If not Cap'n mine is fairly good." Trip said grinning. "After all it's practically Florida's first language."

T'Pol looked at him her brow raised at his flippant attitude.

"I am certain we will be able to communicate. The universal translators will work if we need them." T'Pol said.

"Indeed" Archer said smiling. "Let's go see what Hoshi has found for costumes. She is meeting us in sick bay for some last minute inoculations Phlox thinks we need."

"I hate shots." Trip complained they left his ready room and headed to the sick bay.

Part 4 (Dress Up) G

The Queen drew off her mask and soiled clothing and set then in their hiding place to be cleaned. The ride had been long and hard and she was tired, hot and angry. She could not believe Colonel Montoya's latest attempt to capture her. How dare he use simple peons? She sunk into the cool water of the tub and was once more grateful for her dear friend Marta. If she hurried she would still be able to make the ball for the visiting American Dignitaries.

"Captain is you certain you do not wish me to come along?" Lt Reed asked one final time.

Archer smiled. "No, I need you to hold down the fort. Besides you need some time in the command chair? I have complete faith in you Malcolm."

The weapons officer straightened and nodded. "I will escort you all to the transporters. "

Lt. Maryweather looked on wishing he were flying them down. Like Malcolm he just preferred to keep an eye on the top three officers on Enterprise. As much as he liked and respected all three they did have a tendency to find trouble when they were all together.

"At least the dress of the period is not too bad." Captain Archer said "That dress looks nice on you T'Pol."

"It is aesthetically pleasing but the design is not logical."

"It is a good thing you are so thin or you hav'ta wear a corset." Trip said "I agree with Jon the color suits you well."

T'Pol looked down at the royal blue dress. The color reminded her of the Pacific Ocean near Star Fleet Headquarters. The dress did have one advantage however; she was able to conceal several weapons along with her tri-corder and a communicator.

"I believe that you gentleman will fit in as well. The cut of your suits makes you look very distinguished."

Jon smiled as he noted the way her gaze roamed over his form. He stood a little taller when he noted her approval. "Well let's go. I would like to arrive before dark so we can secure lodgings."

The three entered the transporter and Malcolm energized them.

'I bet you 50 credits they need a bale out before the 48 hours is up." Travis said

"No deal Travis. The last time the Captain, T'Pol and Commander Tucker went on an away mission it took less then 12 hours and I lost my money." Malcolm said laughing.

The three of them materialized outside of town. They entered it unnoticed and went straight to the local hotel. T'Pol carefully scanned the area and noted the local currency.

"They appear to use gold and silver as currency."

"Well that is good. We need gold, platinum and silver as well as Diamonds." Tucker said

"What we need to do is secure mining rights." The Captain said

"That should not prove to difficult Captain. "T'Pol said "We have sufficient funds to make purchases and can perhaps arrange a percentage deal."

"Let's hope so." Archer said as they went to the desk of the hotel. He rang the bell.

The proprietor came out smiling. "Good afternoon I am Miguel Hernandez. How may I be of service?"

"We need rooms and perhaps directions to the leader of this community."

"I have two rooms available at this time. Unfortunately we are expecting dignitaries form out of town any moment now."

"We will take them." T'Pol said my husband Jonathan and I will take one room and his brother the other."

Trip frowned not liking this but helpless to object.

"Would you like me to send my boy to attend your horses?"

"We were dropped off. Our escort had to move on." Jonathan said smiling.

"Well then here are your room keys. The rooms are on the second floor. Room 205 and 207. The hotel is very secure as we have Captain Grisham living here. "

"Is he the chief official of this town?" T'Pol asked "We have business to discuss."

"No madam that would be Colonel Montoya. His office is across the square in the main Government building. "He recognized the ladies regal bearing and bowed slightly.

Jonathan's brow rose but he differed knowing that T'Pol's manner had thrown the innkeeper off. He had almost forgotten she was royalty.

I did not mean to overstep.

That is alright I just did not expect to be able to hold you tonight. Trip as my brother? I am certain he likes that. We should use this assumption. If they believe you to be royal they will ask fewer questions. We can make you Asian. I have an idea on how we can use this to explain our lack of understanding on their currency and trade.

He is family Jonathan. And it will make it easier to explain. We will have to explain it to Trip.

Agreed, we will tell him in our room.

Trip frowned he sensed they were communicating through a bond and he was slightly hurt. There had been a time when he and T'Pol had that. Yet, now it was out in the open. T'Pol was declaring her choice. He hated it but would accept it as he loved both T'Pol and Jon. They were despite everything his family and his friends.

He would play along and enjoy this time. After all it was not every day one got to play dress up.

Part 5(Making it Clear) G

Jonathan knew that this situation was not going to be easy for Trip. He knew his good friend still had strong feelings for T'Pol and that they would always be connected in some way because of their lost child. T'Pol however had chosen him and he was honored. He had loved her form the beginning and his love had meant he would have stepped aside if T'Pol had chosen Trip instead. Now however she was openly declaring her choice and he hoped Trip would finally accept it with good grace. He intended to marry T'Pol and did not wish to lose Trip's friendship over this choice. T'Pol was right Trip was the brother he never had and he loved him dearly. He opened room 205 and carried their bags in. Trip went next door and opened his own room. He set the bag inside and returned to Jon and T'Pol's room to find out what they had planned.

T'Pol set her beside the single chair and sat down on the bed. She looked up and the Captain joined her leaving the room's single chair for Trip. He entered and at Jon's hand motion closed the door.

"I guess this means you two are together now?" He asked trying to keep the hurt out of his voice

T'Pol looked at him and nodded. He was her friend and she did not wish to cause him pain. "We are bond's mate Trip. I told you once you were my friend and I hope this remains. Jonathan is my mate. He alone can fully understand me and complete me. You are a good man Charles Tucker III but I am not the one for you."

"Elizabeth can you just forget her so easily too?"

T'Pol looked at him and then away. "She was our daughter a precious child created to divide our people. Paxton failed to achieve his goals."

"He divided us."

T'Pol looked at him sharply. "Charles there never was an us in the way you mean. I could not feel what you needed me to. I care for you ,but it is not enough to carry through a lifetime. Elizabeth created an artificial bond between us. I would like to believe it made our friendship stronger. If I had truly loved you I would never have married Koss not even to save my mother."

Trip swallowed hard and looked away.

"Trip we do not mean to hurt you." Jon said "She is my very heart and soul."

"I know Cap'n. I will get over this. I suppose I am glad it is you rather then Koss. But Jon if you ever hurt her, I will beat you to a bloody pulp."

Jonathan Archer smiled. "Fair enough. Now she this the plan."

T'Pol was not certain she was comfortable imitating royalty but their scans showed extensive trade between various royal houses. It would be simple enough to claim she was from one of the Asian royal houses. She was still attempting to calculate the odds of two Earth's developing and having almost parallel cultures. When one added in an almost identical Sol system the odds increased proportionally. So far the odds were over ten million to one. This was one more puzzle to present to the Vulcan Science Directorate. She had a feeling that this Earth would soon be under surveillance just as Terra -Alpha had.

Miguel sent his son Juan to inform the Colonel that some well dressed people had arrived. He might hate Montoya but he was no fool. He did not think that the Colonel would cause trouble for so obviously powerful people, but he knew that there would be hell to pay if he found out from someone else. He just wished he had a way to warn them or to warn the Queen of Swords. He was her firm supporter but at her request played the loyal subject to the Colonel. Rumor had it that there was to be an auction on the Devil's mine and that several wealthy foreigners were coming to bid on it. He had a feeling that these new comers presence would make things interesting.

"Tessa you look lovely. " Marta said as they disembarked from her carriage. "Do not worry so."

"I suppose I am just a little concerned I will limp."

"We can always claim it is your new shoes." Marta said smiling.

"Oh you. " Tessa said laughing. "What would I do without you?"

The Gypsy smiled at her charge as she followed her into the lion's den once more.

"Si Colonel they are definitely royalty. Father says they signed the registry as Prince Jon and Princess T'Pol of He Ti'Valka'ain he sent me to inform you sir." and excited Juan said.

Colonel Montoya watched the young boy struggle to remain still. Unlike many in the town the Hernandez families were loyal. While he might not trust anyone these people were at least very respectful of him and his men.

"Tell your father I appreciate the information Juan. Better yet I will come speak to him myself."

"I am certain he will be honored sir." The boy said.

Montoya nodded. To bad the boy was only 12 he would make a good soldier one day. He made a mental note to suggest that Juan be sent to school in Spain. He even considered paying for the boy's education himself. He could use a loyal officer. He knew sooner or later she would have to replace Grisham and Juan might just be the one he needed. He knew the boy hero worshiped him and the boy's family was loyal. It might well be worth the expense and trouble. While the boy's family was not of the noble class he was from respectable linage and that to could prove beneficial.

Yes ,he would consider it carefully because making Juan and officer would raise his family's status and that would ensure his loyalty.

Colonel Montoya left his home and walked to the Tavern. He decided it would be wise to invite these new comers to the party this evening. If they were here to bid on the mine he wanted them to feel welcome. He would never turn down a chance to make a larger profit for the crown and himself. He smiled as he made his way. He glanced at his pocket watch and noted he had half an hour before his first guests were to arrive though he noted Donna Alvarado had already arrived. He had expected this as he had lied to her about the time it began. He had wanted to speak to her alone before the party. He had grown quite fond of the lady and hoped she come to feel the same. He genuinely liked her for herself though he would admit her vast wealth held appeal as well. Whenever he dreamed of his ideal woman Theresa Alvarado came to mind. She was lovely and spirited not like so many of the women he knew. She was not intimidated by his power or his position yet she was kind and sweet.

Tessa cursed under her breath as she realized that they were the first to arrive. Damn Colonel Montoya for this. It would make it seem like she wanted to be here with him. Sometimes his games were enough to make her want to shoot him. First he threw Captain Grisham at her then he tried to court her himself. As if she did not know he was after her land and wealth? How long would she live if she was foolish enough to fall for him? She sighed at turned to follow him. She was not about to be caught off guard by any of his many lures and plans.

Tess spotted Juan and called him over. The boy quickly told her about the newest arrivals and she frowned wondering what this could mean.

Part 6(First Impressions)

Colonel Montoya was joined by Captain Grisham and both men froze in their tracks as they saw her descend the stairs. Both men were struck dumb by her exotic beauty. Jon stiffened as he noted the avid interest T'Pol was getting. She held his hand and he lead her to a near by table. Trip had a smile on his face and he had to admit it was fun to watch Jon be jealous. Doctor Helm entered the Tavern and went to greet Miguel and Juan. He noted the looks on the two military leaders face and he followed their gaze. For the first time in many years he had to agree with them. The woman was an exotic beauty. He had seen many Asian women but never had he seen one with such delicate features. Theresa, Donna Alvarado was beautiful in the classic sense but this woman was exotic. She had a regal bearing that reminded him of the queen. Not the Queen of swords but the Queen of England. Dr. Helm however was far more observant then either of the military men. He noticed the possessive way the older male held her hand. The younger man seemed amused and merely followed their lead. He noted the glare that the Colonel and the Captain were getting and almost smiled. If looks could kill the pueblo's problems would be solved. Clearly the man did not like others ogling his woman.

Dona Maria Theresa Alvarado entered the Tavern and was shocked to see a mesmerized male population. She was not vain ,but knew herself well. She knew many men considered her beautiful. Yet as her gaze followed the males in the room she was struck but the most exotic beauty she had ever seen. Marta had an exotic look to her as a gypsy but this woman was different. She held herself regally and aloof. It was as if she was superior to all of them. It was a disconcerting feeling for a woman who had been in the royal Spanish court and presented to the King himself. Maria Theresa had no doubts she was facing royalty. Her second thought was what such a person was doing here in California and what did it mean for the pueblo? Did Montoya invite her or was she sent her by the King? Was her presence here a blessing or a curse? Only time would answer the last question but Donna Theresa Alvarado would seek answers at the party. If they were not forthcoming then the Queen would ask a few pointed questions latter in the evening.

Part 7 (Introductions)

Captain Marcus Grisham was a rash man. He had proven this often in recent months. However , never before had he been so reckless. He left the Colonel's side and headed straight for the woman. He ignores her escort assuming that they were simply at best body guards.

He walked purposefully to the new comers and bowed with a flourish.

"Greetings to you all. Welcome to our humble pueblo . I am Captain Marcus Grisham and this is Colonel Montoya military governor of this province. "He took T' Pol's

hand and with what he believed was gallantry kissed it.

T' Pol flinched and Jon's temper flared. He moved to her side and shifted to put himself between T' Pol and this fool. The contact was perhaps a good thing as Grisham had not shields. T'Pol wanted to flinch and cry out as she got a mental barrage from the Captain. It did however give her valuable intelligence to the true situation of the region. She extracted her hand and looked at her bond-mate.

"Captain Jonathan Archer of the … Er Surak. IF Surak. This is her Royal Highness T'Sia T'Pol Chi Surak of Ti'Valka'ain whom I have the honor of being bonded or as you would say Married to." He said smiling falsely.

T'Pol's brow rose at his introduction. He had spoken the truth and even used her formal titles.

Trip suppressed a grin as he wondered how this would be explained in a report. He moved to support T'Pol knowing she hated to be touched. To help out he said

"Ya, know it is a crime to touch royalty where we come from. I should cut off your hand."

He inserted his body between T'Pol , Jonathan and the Captain.

Marcus pulled his hand back and glared. "What are you her body guards?"

"Commander Tucker is my Engineer." Archer said "He is also my brother."

"Jonathan, Charles I do not believe the Captain meant offence. We will allow this to be a simple misunderstanding."

Jon looked at T' Pol and smiled. Her formal Spanish certainly put his to shame.

He smiled "As you wish."

Dona Maria Theresa watched fascinated by the display. She looked at Marta and noticed the gypsy had gone suddenly quiet. What did she sense that she was missing?

Colonel Montoya moved in. He had to salvage this potentially disastrous encounter. He bowed deeply to the shock of everyone.

"Your Highness please excuses the Captain's provincial attitudes. It is not often we have such distinguished guests. He is a good man and loyal soldier to the crown, for all his poor manners."

"I understand shaking a hand is your custom. Jonathan explained this to me."

She said Surprising them all she held out her hand wanting to gather more information. She resisted flinching this time as she lightly scanned the Colonel.

"I am charmed I am sure." he said smiling.

His smile made Trip want to check for his wallet. He might not have any telepathic abilities but his gut told him this man was a snake.

Jonathan had come to the very same conclusion and it was confirmed by T' Pol's reaction to his touch.

"We are honored to meet you sir." he said hoping to draw him away from T' Pol."We have heard there is to be an auction."

Montoya shifted quickly from potential lover to greedy businessman. "Yes, we are auctioning several land claims and mines. Would you be interested in bidding?"

"We came all the way from Los Angeles to do just that. We have a desire to own a mine or two." Jonathan said smoothly. "It is in the royal families' best interest to find sources of income that are here in this land."

Montoya nodded as he invited them to his party. The more the merrier he thought as he mentally counted his profits.

Theresa flinched wondering at this new complication. Could these people be allies or would they to expect to exploit the workers? It was imperative she or the Queen find out.

Part 8 (Trip says WOW) PG

Commander Tucker noted the beautiful Hispanic woman that entered the Tavern. He swallowed hard as he took in her heart-shaped face and her dark eyes. Her height was slightly shorter then T'Pol but
she was more to the classic human style of beauty. He had never thought he would ever find anyone as lovely as their Vulcan first officer but he was wrong. Jon noted that Trip had fallen silent and looked up to see the dark haired beauty enter. He had to admit she was very pretty though he saw her more as a classical type then as a
woman. His mind and heart had no place for anyone other then T'Pol and he smiled politely at her.

Marta noted the younger man's sharp and sudden interest. His whole face showed a wide grin. She glanced over and frowned as she saw Theresa return the smile almost shyly. She could see that this was going to prove interesting.

T'Pol noted the commanders' sudden inability to speak and followed his gaze. The woman who entered was around twenty to twenty five years old in human terms and had long dark hair and striking eyes,She was T'Pol considered aesthetically pleasing. She felt a strange feeling at the way Trip looked at her. It was almost as if a great weight had been removed from her. If Trip could find this woman attractive perhaps he could "fall in love" And "move on". T'Pol had no desire to hurt the commander or to see him alone. Her only desire was to be with Jonathan and make him happy. While she might never experience the same emotions he would need happiness to be content in their relationship and that could hardly happen if his best friend was pining and miserable. For a while T'Pol had hoped Charles would fall for Captain Hernandez but they had merely become good friends.

Trip is interested in the girl Jonathan sent.

I would say she is a woman. It might be beneficial for him. However
if his feelings become engaged it could create a problem.

Let's not borrow trouble. The Captain sent smiling At least he is interested.

Indeed and given that she is human according to our scan she can not make him pregnant.

Jon grinned and looked away stifling a laugh. And your people claim not to have a sense of humor?

That is not humor merely a fact.
T' Pol sent back.

Part 9 (Souls) PG-13

Jon grinned and nodded. Trip looked at the pair and had a feeling he was on the back end of a private joke. He sighed and turned his attention on the woman. The most striking thing was the way she moved with such fluid grace. It reminded him a lot of T'Pol and he had to admit her curves were not all out of fashion. Trip was bowed slightly at Theresa and at Marta who followed her. "Ladies."

Marta watched the younger man and noted he was very open. It was clear he had suffered great loses in his lifetime but ,that the events did not necessarily harden him or remove his beautiful soul.

She looked at the older male and looked away. It was almost as if she was seeing two souls. She thought about the souls and the man.

The first was young and in many ways naïve though it had endure great pain and great responsibility. His soul had made life and death choices and suffered for the pain of those choices. Jonathan Archer was a man who soul was meant to evolve and be so very much more. His Aura reminded Marta of the Maria Theresa and the Queen's. The second soul was so much older and wiser. This soul was not human and it was ageless. Marta shivered as she felt the power of this great but once mortal soul. She felt that this unique soul was somehow forever connected to the human. Human where had that thought come from? She looked over again and sensed something else that confused her. A third soul? How was that possible for any human being to have three souls? No as she looked she sensed something more that this man was somehow bonded to a connected to two different and powerful souls that only his own strong will helped him be uniquely human.

Marta disturbed looked over at the woman.

Her Aura was different then anyone Marta had ever seen. Yet a part of the soul was very familiar. She looked away as she noted that the princess was looking at her intently. Most people rarely noticed Marta or if they did they dismissed her as background a servant that was unimportant. The kinder ones like Dr. Helm treated her as Donna Theresa's confidant and friend yet still saw her only as an extension of her mistress. Marta loved Tessa like a daughter or perhaps a younger sister and a friend. She however never forgot that Theresa was also Dona Maria Theresa Alvarado a woman of noble birth who had walked with Kings and Queens. Then there was her role as the Queen of Swords, in that role she was far more as well a legend who was a noble and honorable as any in the Royal court defending the weak and helpless. Looking up Marta got the impression that both she and Tessa where being measured and judged. This woman whoever she was different and had a very powerful soul. Marta looked deeper something she rarely did because she hated to invade the privacy of others. She was shocked at what she saw before she was suddenly blocked. Oh my God. She thought her soul and her Jonathan Archer's are one. She looked between the three newcomers and sensed an unbreakable bond. They were family but like she and Tessa it was not a family formed by blood but by battles and personal loses.

What are you? She wondered. She examined what she had seen.

T'Pol's soul was different and it had touched this Charles Tucker the Thirds. Yet the Marta sensed this bond was created by friendship and a shared tragedy and loses. A bond formed not by choice but by circumstances beyond either's control or choice though she sensed Tucker would have chosen to keep the bond had he a choice. The second bond she recognized as a soul's bond. The type one experienced if one was truly blessed. The bond a soul had with one's true mate and forever lover. This bond T'Pol shared with Jonathan Archer and while legally they were not married at least not by customs Marta understood they were one. The third bond or presence shocked Marta more. It was an echo of the presence of the ageless soul.

Shocked Marta stepped back as she suddenly understood that the female was not human and neither was her soul. It was a good soul but it was not a soul of their world. In fact none of these "people" has souls that belonged on this world or in this time. I must warn Tessa. We can not interfere with these souls and people. They have a great destiny. Perhaps one even greater then the Queen's.

T'Pol locked her shield's down and touched Trip. Turning she whispered "Guard your thoughts."

While they were no longer bonded Trip trusted T'Pol with his life and with Jonathan's. Using techniques she had thought him he builds a wall that suddenly flew up. Marta was shocked at the power and the unexpected reaction.

How? And why? She looked over and noticed Tucker moved to relieve his friend and engage the others as T'Pol drew Captain Archer away.

She felt tried to scan him again but slammed against shields as strong as T'Pol's. They were alien and different. Charles Tucker shields she understood T'Pol's and Jonathan Archer's were strange and more powerful then anything she had ever felt. The power and force of them rising caused her to cry out and faint. Donna Alvarado spun around to see her friend look at the strangers then flinch and faint. She looked like someone had just hit her hard over the head and she fell forward to the ground. Theresa flew to her side unable to play the indifferent employer as she hit the floor. Dr. Helm ran over and gently turned her. He expertly checked her over for head injury.

T'Pol was shocked and slightly surprised. She had not meant to injure the woman merely protect their secrets. She sensed that the scan had not been totally voluntary and that while Marta had some telepathic abilities she was not fully trained and her actions were instinctual and unintentional for the most part.

"What has happened?" Colonel Montoya asked concerned for the moment actually being real. "Do you need assistance Doctor? Shall I send a soldier for a stretcher?"

"How can I help?" Donna Theresa asked. "I am afraid I have no skills at nursing but she is my servant. I should hate to have to train an other." She reverted to type.

T'Pol's brow rose because she sensed real concern and fear in Donna Alvarado's mind.

Trip looked taken aback by her cold words but he said nothing offering to help carry the servant.

"If you all will give me a moment perhaps I can determine what has happened." Dr. Helm said curtly.

He was fully aware of how much Theresa cared but even so sometimes her selfish aristocratic persona angered him.

Part 10 (Games)

T'Pol watched as the doctor efficiently checked out the woman Marta. He might not have Dr. Phlox's equipment but it was very clear he was a competent physician for this world and time period.

"I think perhaps she just became to warm. "He noted Marta was coming around. "I do not believe she has hit her head but perhaps it would be wise for her to rest a little while."

"Miguel, Marta will need a room to rest in. "Donna Theresa said "Do you have any available?" Donna Theresa asked.

"Nada Donna Theresa." He said as he handed them a bowl with clean warm water and clean towel.

Colonel Montoya decided now was a good time to win a few favorable impressions.

"Donna Theresa I have several guest rooms. Dr. Helm is it safe to move Marta?"

"Yes if we take her on a stretcher to be safe." Dr. Helm said "I think she would be alright." He was surprised at the offer and had been wiling to offer his own rooms. Yet the it would not hurt Marta to be pampered for a few days. It would also give Tessa an excuse to poke around. Helm knew she would appreciate that and it would actually be beneficial to Marta as well she would worry less if there was less of a chance of Tessa as The queen getting caught. "She will need care Sir."

"I have several competent servants and I know most are friends with Senior Marta. She is a very well respected individual here in town. With Donna Theresa's permission Marta may stay and rest."

Donna Theresa nodded. "Most kind colonel. I know you are a busy man and I appreciate your kindness to Marta." She actually did appreciate this unexpected kindness and would use the opportunity to help her friend and to gather information on the Colonel's many activities both legal and otherwise.

Marta awoke and mumbled something "Queen may…."

Helm leaned over to cover her blocking her words.

Vulcan's however had hearing that was very sensitive. T'Pol quickly figured it out. Marta or Donna Theresa was this masked Bandit the Queen of Swords. Her brow rose as she considered that even something as serious as this illness was used as strategy to play this game. It was clear the Colonel was being nice to look "Good" in the eyes of his peers.

T' Pol was impressed as she watched the doctor attempt to aid his friends. Clearly he to know more then he was letting on. She briefly wondered if all doctors played such a dual roles so well. She knew Phlox was often employed in helping either the Captain or Commander Tucker in their work. Clearly, the Queen used Dr. Helm in a similar fashion. It was as if all Humans used each other in this master chess match.

Part 11 (Marta's Revelations)

"Perhaps it would be wise to get Marta some water." T'Pol said
Marta opened her eyes. "I am alright Donna Theresa. Doctor could you
help me up?"

"Rise slowly, please let me know if you are dizzy." Dr. Helm said "I do not want you to pass out again." He helped her stand supporting her with both his hands.

"I think I just got to warm." Marta lied.

"Here is a glass of water." Juan said the young man had hurried to get the drink his father ordered. He liked Marta she was always nice to the children of the pueblo and he was concerned for her.

"Thank you Juan." Marta said as she drank the water down grateful for the coolness. She used the time to gather her wits about her. She could hardly believe what she had sensed. How was it possible that their visitors were not from this world?

T'Pol sensed that Marta had a very high phi-rating for a human and this sensitivity had caused the blackout to occur.

Jonathan I think she can sense we are not as we appear to be. There is more going on here then we know. Perhaps it would be wise to try to speak to this Donna Alvarado alone.

Jonathan nodded and said "I hope we have not caused you discomfort?"

"I am fine really. I do not wish to keep you all from the Colonel's Party."

"Marta perhaps we should get you to the guestroom. I think you
should rest." Donna Theresa said

Trip offered to help the doctor carry Marta. Soon the small group was at the Colonel's home and Marta was resting in the guest room.

"Donna Theresa if you will remain with Marta I will go fetches my bag." Dr. Helm said

Donna Theresa looked concerned

"It is just an on case. I have some powders there and I can tell Marta has a headache."

"I do doctor thank you for your concern." Marta said

Jonathan Archer signaled Trip to follow him. With a movement of his
hand he ordered T'Pol to stay and observe. This action was noted by
Tessa and she was now as curious as Marta.

"If you all will give me a moment perhaps I can help Marta settle into the bed for more comfort."

"Of course." The Colonel said looking embarrassed "My home is yours until you are well. I am after all a servant of the people."

"Thank you Colonel." Marta said "You are being very kind."

Once alone Tessa helped Marta undress and slip under the covers.

"Are you alright? What happened?" Her friend demanded.

"I do not fully understand it. Their minds and aura's are so different and so strong. Tessa they are not what they appear to be. I think they are a force for good and they are honorable beings." Marta said she looked away uncertain how much to reveal.

Tessa sat on the bed and took her friend's hand. "What are you not telling me? Are they a threat to the people of the pueblo or the Queen?"

"I do not believe so. I think perhaps they can help us and that they will need our assistance in return. Tessa I do not believe they are from here." Marta explained "I think they are from far away a place
we could only imagine. They are not from our world and Princess T'Pol is not a human as we are."

"What? How can that be?" Donna Theresa asked shocked and concerned.

"I do not know. But Tessa those three are as close as we are. The
woman T'Pol and Jonathan Archer's souls are bonded as one. There is
a bond of deep affection and friendship between the three and a
history that has forged them into family."

"So we must use care." Tessa said. "I will invite them to stay with us."

"I think that would be most wise." Marta said

Part 12 (What Now?) PG-13

"Jon I think that there is something ah… Different about Marta." Trip said

"Yes, I know what you mean. T'Pol has alerted me to the same thing."

Jon did not notice that Trip Winced at the causal reference to their newly formed bond. Trip forced himself to accept what he could not change and to try to be happy for the man he considered his best friend and brother.

"We are going to have to be careful here. We need their assistance but we do not want to unduly influence the cultural development."

"Yeh , like that will be easy." Trip quipped. "At least they are not totally primitive."

He would soon change his mind on this.

The three visitors followed the Colonel to the main rooms.

Each was concerned about the situation but for differing reasons. Commander Tucker was concerned that the people here would not be advanced enough to give them the materials they needed to repair his beloved engines. Captain Archer was concerned that they could somehow influence and harm this society. T'Pol was concerned about Marta and her remarkable insights. She was concerned what this new Earth would mean to the alliance Vulcan had with Earth. Surly they had to extend their protection and aid to this new world. She knew deep down that this planet was also a version of Earth. She had already classified it as Terra-Beta and sent a high beamed coded transmission to the Council. In the past they would have simply begun sending small scout ships every ten or fifteen years to check on the planets progress. The problem was Earth would soon be aware of this world. Would they be content to allow it to develop naturally or would they feel compelled to make a real first contact? What were the implications to such a young world? Yet they were clearly homo-sapiens. How had this happened? Her scientific mind was intrigued.

The visitors were not the only ones with concerns. Colonel Montoya was also concerned. He was pleased at the prospect of additional bidders, yet a part of his was instinctually wary. Something about these strangers made him uneasy. They were too confident to certain of their place and power. There was none of the deference he was accustomed to. Even the local Don's showed a some apparent respect even if it was grudgingly given. He could not fault their manners in any way yet they were not quite right.

Captain Grisham watched the strangers. He now knew what it was that disturbed him so about the woman. She watched them all unblinking. Her concentration was never broken. She took everything in and missed nothing. The men were alert but that he contributed to their being military men. That type of action and alertness was to be expected from highly trained officers even if they were navy. No, they were normal. The woman however unnerved him. Her beauty had almost disarmed him and her casual air of command intrigued him deeply. He could tell she was used to giving orders and she expected them to be obeyed. The Captain was of a similar vein but Grisham had a feeling he was secretly amused at the way everyone was acting. The Commander was simply charming rouge and he looked like he move in on Dona Theresa something that annoyed Grisham. He forgot he had sought out T'Pol and action that had set both men's hackles rising. He wondered if they really would have killed him had she commanded it. He now observed the possessive way Captain Archer was with Princess T'Pol. Yes those two were clearly together and if he hazarded a guess the Commander was also in love with the woman. Amazing …. He could understand it she was striking in her manners and appearance. He was reminded of the Queen in her grace and her elegance. He wondered briefly which woman would prevail in a direct contest. Something told him that this royal was more then capable of defending herself and she knew it well.

Part 13 (Musical Time) G

The guests to the party began to arrive and this forced Montoya to become the gracious host. Captain Archer was surprised to see the number of people attending this party. He had at first thought it had merely been a simple dinner party. Now however it appeared they had been invited to a major social event. He was grateful that Hoshi had insisted on including formal clothing for them. He tugged at the collar of his jacket. Looking over he noted Trip was doing the same. He grinned thinking that it had to be universal no one liked dress uniforms. He watched as Captain Grisham tugged his jacket down. Only Colonel Montoya seemed completely at ease in the formal wear. That made him thinks that the Colonel might be more of figure head. Not that he considered him weak or less of a potential threat. No he was more in the vein of Admiral Forest and that was something that could prove to be very dangerous because Jon sensed none of the Admiral's good qualities in the Colonel. He was charming and presentable but there was something decidedly dark about him and his manner.

T'Pol looked around and noted there was a small band of musicians setting up. She watched as they calmly and efficiently prepared to play. She noted the instruments with some interest. There was a group of several string instruments and several rhythmic types. The one that interested her the most was a harp. She had heard a recital in San Francisco once before being posted to Enterprise and was curious to see if this was a similar instrument. She recalled the event quiet clearly because it had been a rare event. She and Ambassador Soval had attended the concert with Admiral Forest and His wife Miriam. She had been shocked at the invitation and even more surprised when the Ambassador had personally requested she attend with him. Her Uncle rarely attended Earth entertainments and it had been pleasant to share his company in an unofficial event. She had enjoyed the music deeply. While she still preferred JAZZ the harp had been most relaxing and its melodious tunes reminded her of home and Vulcan.

The musicians looked up a little surprised that anyone would take notice of them.

"May we help you Ma'am?" One asked.

"I was interested in this instrument. It is a harp is it not?"

"Yes, it is one of only two that I know of in California. It is a fine piece that I enjoy playing. "

"I have heard this device. I enjoy the way it sounds. I look forward to hearing you play." T'Pol said and bowed slightly. "Musicians are highly valued in my culture."

Taken by surprise then man nodded then bowed back quickly least he cause offence to the Colonel's guest. "It will be an honor to play for you My lady."

T'Pol moved off sensing she made the musicians nervous. She went back to Jon's side.

Jon took in the ornate room. He enjoyed elegance but not at he expense of others. He recalled their walk through the square. Many of the people seemed desperately poor. He forced a smile to remain on his face as he saw the wealth here. Surly some of this could have been used to make the people's lives better? Or was all this bought with the labors of those humble people? He tried to remember his ancient history but he could not recall much. He sighed thinking this was a mission more fitted for Erica Hernandez then him.

Part 14 (Appearances may be Deceiving) PG

Trip watched as the men and women came into the room. All were finely dressed and it was clear that they were the elite of this small society. He noted that most were elderly but they often had younger sons and daughters with them. Men and women who were between the ages of 18 to 40. He tried to recall what he once learned about traditional Spanish society. He remembered his Florida history but California was a more formalized society. He wished Hoshi was here to keep them from making fools out of themselves. He did not wish to insult anyone here. However he would have to be blind not to notice all the lovely women.

"Be careful Trip. We do not wish to insult anyone." The Captain said "Remember this is a very conservative society."

Trip grinned. "Yes sir. To bad it is not an Orion colony."

"If you recall Commander they have a price on our Captain's head." T'Pol said

"Yeh… yeh and so do the Klingon's but who cares." Trip said smiling. "We always win and it is fun to watch their women dance." He winked at the Captain who grinned at T'Pol's annoyance.

"May I remind you that you no longer have the bond to protect you."

"I know. Oh well At least I could have some fun then."

"Enough Trip." Jon said thinking it was now becoming an almost tasteless joke.

Trip swallowed a retort as he saw his words were actually hurting T'Pol. He realized he had some unresolved issues. "Sorry I guess I got carried away for a moment. Mom always said I never knew when to let it drop. I used to tease Lizzy like that."

T'Pol nodded. She did not totally understand but was glad Trip was trying to redefine their relationship. It did not bother her that Trip was thinking of her like he did his late sister. It was in fact in her mind an honor. She knew Jon considered Trip a younger brother and maybe it would be a good thing for Trip to think of her as an elder sister.

Jonathan Archer had a feeling that these people were more then they presented. He noted how many seemed to naturally drift to Dona Alvarado's side. She was very young but clearly already a leader. This was impressive given what he recalled about this time period and culture. He hoped Trip's antics did not offend anyone overly much.

Colonel Montoya was amazed at the apparent familiarity between the Princess and the Commander. He had to admit it reinforced the idea that they were friends as well as allies. He wondered what it would be like to have such companions? He sighed and remembered he did not need anyone other then those that followed orders.

He smiled and greeted his guest giving the impression of congeniality.

Part 15 (What the Doctor Ordered) PG

Dr. Helm went to Theresa side. In low tones he said "Marta will be fine. I think she was just shocked by something. She said she felt something different about our guests. It is as if their souls are all some how connected. The power that they have overwhelmed her. Thessa you know she is very gifted and I will not begin to claim to understand it "He paused concern showing "Whoever or whatever these people are they may well be dangerous. I would advise caution when dealing with them.'

"I tend to agree with you and thank you for your concern. I do not think they mean us harm."

"Maybe not but they could be used by Montoya." The Doctor said reminding her of all the other innocents drawn into the deadly chess game between the Queen and the Colonel.

"Yes, I am aware of that. Somehow I think they will prove to be valuable allies." Tessa said.

"I hope you are right." He replied and then louder for the Colonel's benefit. "Marta just needs rest Dona Theresa. I think the heat over came her. If she rests she should be fine."

"Thank you doctor. Thanks to the Colonel's kindness she can rest a while. I am just glad we have so many people around it would not do for me to be alone here."

"No hardly .I would wish no harm to you." Colonel said smiling. "But surely you know I would guard your honor with my life?"

"Oh ! I do Colonel. I just would not wish to harm your reputation. Everyone knows you are a gentleman. I would not wish to cause you harm after your kindness to Marta and I."

The doctor looked away and rolled his eyes. He could see the colonel preening over this. Score one for Tessa.

Marta laid back content for once to follow the doctor's orders. Her head was still pounding but she was beginning to feel more alert. Her mind had been shocked by the sheer power of the mental skills of their visitors. She leaned back and reviewed what she knew. Their was power there. It was unlike anything she had ever encountered in her life. The Commander was perhaps the easiest to read though it was more body language then mental energy she picked up on. He was very protective of both the man and woman but for different reasons. He acted almost like a body guard to both yet she sensed it was more. He clearly loved and respected the pair. She had noted the way Charles Tucker III had moved between the others and attempted to shield them from the her scans and from the Captain and Colonel. While he shifted more to the woman that could be just a man's protective streak. Yet, Marta sensed love and affection. That did not however mean he would not protect the his Captain. Indeed Marta suspected he would gladly die to protect Jonathan Archer from harm. His mind was capable of blocking her gentle probes and this had been shocking. The wall had gone up hastily and it was crude but effective. She wondered how he could do this as she sensed no natural telepathic abilities of course he may have latent talents she had not detected. Yes , that made sense and someone had taught him to use those gifts.

Marta closed her eyes a moment and considered the other two people.

T'Pol the one that they had called Princess. She held herself like a queen and Marta genuinely believed she was indeed someone of great importance. Her aura was one that screamed power and destiny. She had been so calm and logical. It had been very hard to sense anything from her. Her emotional control was stronger then anyone Marta had ever encountered. There was something alien in her mind and actions. She was different in a way that confused Marta.

The one thing that had been clear however was her possessive nature. Marta smiled as she recalled the brief flash of anger and perhaps jealously when Tessa had shaken Jonathan Archer's hand and held it a moment too long. She had no doubt in her mind that the pair was indeed a couple. She had also sensed a protectiveness toward Commander Tucker. That feeling was more ambiguous however. It reminded Marta of an elder sibling looking out for a younger child. That same feeling came from Jonathan Archer. She wondered who's feelings that was. She drew up short as she suddenly realized what had been disturbing her so much. The Couple had been sharing not only thoughts but emotion as well. Lord they are both connected bound in someway. It is a telepathic link. Marta was suddenly excited and also afraid because she knew of no one on Earth who could create such a bond. She opened her eyes and knew her world had changed forever. No one on Earth. These people were not from Earth she knew it Instinctively. Marta also knew that Commander Tucker and Captain Jonathan Archer were human. Why were they here? More importantly what did they want?

She turned her mind to Jonathan Archer his soul had been the hardest to read. It was almost as if there were three soul's in that body. She sensed T'Pol who was somehow bound to him. Then she sensed Jonathan. It was the third soul or rather the echo of the soul that shocked and confused her the most. That soul was very old and very developed. It was a soul that had shaped a world. She sensed honor and peace in that soul and knew even as a shadow it somehow influenced Captain Archer. It acted almost as a second conscious. She sensed a part of this soul in T'Pol and realized that it was of a similar nature to her own. It was however male and it was … a relative? Yes, that would explain why they felt alike. They were of the same race and the same bloodline. Amazing she thought. What did it mean for them? She just hoped these beings were here with peaceful intentions because Marta doubted even The Queen could beat them.

Part 16 (Ship Side) G

Lt. Malcolm Reed listened to the report. At least the repairs were going as planed. He knew that everything that could be repaired would be done in a few days. The rest would have to wait until the Captain returned with the materials they needed. He sent Ensign Johnson and Ensign Peters to mine a few of the metals from the asteroid field using shuttle pod 2. He hoped that with those materials Lt. Kelby could begin to forge replacement deck plates. The engineer had suggested this and given they were so badly damaged Malcolm had agreed. He did not want to count on internal seals holding. No better to do what repairs they could. He also knew Kelby wanted to prove himself and this initiative was a positive sign.

Lt Kelby sighed as they sealed the last leak. Now all they needed was the supplies from the planet. He hoped it was not as backward as the reports said otherwise it be very hard to get the materials they needed.

Terra - Beta could they not come up with a more original name? Well It was Commander T'Pol that named it and she had no imagination. Then again no Vulcan ever really did.

"Jackson see if you can get that by pass up." Kelby called. He might not be the boy genius that Tucker was but he could hold his own in engineering and he had ever intention of proving that to the Captain. He had gotten over his resentment of the commander but ,still felt he was being underrated. Kelby knew he was a good engineer and he had ever intention of proving himself and gaining his own place as a chief.

Hoshi sat at her station and listened for any unexpected com traffic Just because this world did not have those capabilities did not mean other local powers might not check in on the civilization. So far she heard only background noise and was glad of it. Enterprise was in no shape to go into a fight.

Travis Maryweather kept the ship steady. It was not an easy task give the extensive damage. The boomer however barely noticed as he once more shifted orbit using minimal thrusters. Not for the first time he was grateful for his years in space. He knew his experience was what was keeping the ship in orbit rather then technology. His ability to feel the movements was invaluable and allowed him to make adjustments before they were needed and kept them out of harms way.

Dr. Phlox leaned over and stroked Porthos on the head. The beagle wined and begged. The Denoblian smiled as he reached into his hidden compartment.

"Now you may only have one piece right now. Others wise you will spoil your dinner." The doctor treated the animal like one of his human patients. He had actually become fond of the beast as he often watched it when the Captain was away.

"You know Doctor that mutt has you wrapped around its tail." Crewman Cutler said laughing. "You are treating it like a child."

The doctor looked up a little sheepishly. "He misses the captain."

"I see." She said smiling. " Maybe you should get a dog for your children."

"I have been considering it. My youngest Phon has asked for one. My Wife however is uncertain if he is old enough to care for the animal."

"How old is your son?" Cutler asked always fascinated by tails of the Denoblians family unit.

"He is 7 standard years. Pom thinks he has inherited my love of Animals."

"I would not doubt it. " Cutler said smiling. "I had a dog at 6. Of course my parents helped me care for it. Lucky was with me until I went to college when he finally passed on. He was my best friend."

"I believe having such a companion would be good for Phon. My wife said she would discuss it with the other members of the household. With luck they will agree with me."

"Will you get Phon a Beagle?"

"I am uncertain as to the breed. A collage of mine suggested a cocker spaniel?"

Cutler smiled. "They are nice dogs but I had a chocolate lab. He was a big ole softy."

Dr. Phlox nodded not understanding why humans named their animals after desserts. "Are they not larger animals?"

"Lucky was 80 pounds. Yet he was gentle and protective of me. I could roughhouse and play for hours."

"My son is might like that. I will consider a chocolate lab as well." Phlox said.

Cutler nodded pleased to have helped the doctor. She had grown quite fond of him. It was a shame he was married. She grinned talk about falling for a married man. He had two wives. She mentally shrugged and resolved to remain his friend. Dr. Phlox watched Cutler and sighed. To bad she was human. She would never agree to a multi-marriage. He found he wished to be more then her doctor or friend.

Part 17 (Fresh Air) PG

Tessa watched the participants in the party. Many were locals and good friends of hers. She did however note a several people she did not recognize who seemed to be on the edge of the party. Several were clearly Americano's and several were British. This was not something she was pleased with. It was one thing for a wealthy Don to purchase the mines and exploit them and an other all together for a foreigner to do so. She watched as Captain Archer and Commander Tucker conversed with ease with the various people present. The Princess was far more reserved and seemed content to simply observe. Somehow Tessa felt that this was by design rather then shyness. There was clearly a sharp mind at work her and she was taking in information to be used at a latter time. She was concerned about those three even more then any of the others. It was clear that they were different in some way and that they were here looking for specific items. Several times she heard Commander Tucker ask about a certain metal or alloy. While she was no expert it seemed that they were more interested in obtaining those items them making a profit. The mine was simply a means to finance the items they wanted to purchase. Why were these metals so important to them? Tessa decided the Queen would make a visit to them latter this evening.

T'Pol slipped away from the crowded room. So many humans in such a confined space was very difficult to deal with. Their erratic emotions pounded her sensitive shields and the smell despite the nasal inhibitor was almost overwhelming. She mentally thanked Dr. Phlox for increasing her dosage even at this higher level it was barely working. She sent a mental call to Jonathan to let him know she was going to check out the gardens.

Jonathan I must step out for some air.

Are you ill? He asked suddenly stopping his conversation with Father Roberto

"Excuse me." He said slipping away and heading to join T'Pol.

The priest was shocked at his sudden departure. He watched as the Captain headed straight to his wife as if he had been called. He had noticed an almost silent communication going on all evening and he was concerned. At first he had thought it to be the communication between husband and wife that sometimes developed after years together. Yet this was somehow more. He filed it away and reminded himself to mention it to the Queen if she visited later for her weekly confession.

Tessa noted that T'Pol had slipped out. She did not see Captain Archer follow.

Jonathan went to follow T'Pol only to be stopped by a portly Don Juan Vegas.

He had no alternative but to stop and make polite conversation.

T'Pol are you alright? I am stuck here.

I am alright Jonathan. I just need some air. Do not worry about me. It is important we make a good impression.

Jonathan frowned. "Sir I am afraid we are only visiting. We are here to make some investments and perhaps take samples home. I do not think we will need to purchase property at this time. Though it is kind of you to suggest your assistance."

The portly Don smiled and nodded taking the frown as consternation and consideration by the American.

Captain Marcus Grisham watched the woman slip out. He was determined to get to know her better. He was not put off by her being married in his experience it made little difference. The game was perhaps more intense but the conquest was all the sweeter for stealing an other man's woman. It would be interesting to see if she was more then that cool exterior.

Tessa saw Grisham follow the princess and she slipped away. She quickly changed into the Queen of Swords to help if needed. She slipped into the garden to hear the exchange.

"Your highness may I escort you around the garden?" He smiled and looked pleased at finding her alone.

T'Pol's brow rose at this. "I stepped out for some air; I seem to have acquired a headache. A tour of the local fauna would not be logical at this time of the evening. One can not observe the flowers as well at this time."

Grisham was taken aback. "Well perhaps a walk would clear your head?"

"Perhaps, I will do so in a little while when my mate joins me. He enjoys moonlit walks."

"A romantic is he." Grisham said as he moved closer. "I have to say I can understand why he would enjoy walking in the moonlight with you."

The Queen rolled her eyes at that tired line. Surly Grisham could be more original.

"Jonathan understands that walking is a healthful endeavor. It is good exercise for the body and it allow for clearer thinking." T'Pol explained as she watched the Captain warily. She had a feeling he was intent on more then conversation. "We do not often get to take such walks."

"No of course not. Not if you are on a ship. Then I suppose it must be nice to walk the decks with a cool sea breeze blowing." Marcus said "I myself have never been a great sailor but some say it is pleasant."

"Unless one becomes ill." T' Pol said remembering Lt. Reed and his motion sickness. "Jonathan and I are fortunate not to suffer such an affliction."

"That is why I did not join the navy. " Grisham said " I am afraid I disappointed my father in that." He frowned recalling his father's anger at his turning down an appointment to Annapolis and seeking one for West Point instead.

'A friend of our suffered a similar fate. He found a good career in the ….Army and is a fine officer. It seems that you have done equally well. This is a prosperous area and the Colonel seems to be a good leader."

Marcus Grisham stopped his approach. It had been a long time since anyone admired his achievements. Yes , he had done well enough given his near disaster and the Colonel while being hard and perhaps slightly unethical was in his own way honorable. "I have tried to redeem my life." For the first time he recalled why he had taken this post.

He been disgraced. He had not committed the crime he was accused of doing. He would never murder anyone and steal a payroll. Damn Colonel Paxton.

"General Sheridan I swear I did not do this sir. You know me." A younger Lt. Grisham said

"You have been found guilty Lt. Grisham and will be stripped of all rank and privileges. You will be shot in the morning."

He been dragged out in disgrace his own father looking away and not even allowing his mother to say good by.

"You are a disgrace to that uniform Army or not and a disgrace to my name. You are no longer my son."

Marcus had shivered. "Father I am innocent."

His father had merely walked away. He bowed his head and vowed to redeem himself and to make a new life and name. Latter in his prison cell his mother slipped in.

"Oh Marcus. I am so sorry." She said She held him and wept on his shirt. He been embarrassed at his captivity and so glad she had come.

"Marcus your father may choose to disown you but you are always my son. I know you did not do this thing." She kissed his cheek and slipped him a pouch full of money. "I bribed the guards to let you escape. There is a horse and saber at the end of the street. It was your grandfather Grisham's. Go with my blessing and make a new life. Here is a name of a man that can help you. He was a friend of your grandfather." She then slipped away.

Marcus had escaped and he run. He ran all the way to California to find the man now a Colonel. He been given a job and a second chance. He looked away suddenly ashamed of his choices.

"I have done my duty." He said trying to make himself believe it.

T'Pol sensed that neither he or the Colonel were truly evil men. They simply had a ruthless streak and a desire for power that was consuming them. In many ways they were like early Vulcans.

Coming back to himself Marcus once more was intent on seduction he was not by nature a reflective man and he honestly was more interested in T'Pol now then before. He slipped close to her.

"Surely you are chilled?" He said gallantly.

T'Pol used to the much warmer temperatures of Vulcan merely stated. "My robes offer sufficient warmth."

"Are they silk? I have never seen such lovely attire." Marcus said meaning it sincerely.

The Queen watched and was surprised at the effortless way T'Pol deflected Captain Grisham's questions. She was learning a great deal by simple observation.

T'Pol sensed an others presence but did not react. She could not sense hostility so she was content to allow that individual to observe.

Jonathan was frustrated as he continued his conversations. He was making good contacts but learning very little about what was to be auctioned and the standard rates.

Part 18 (Testing the Waters) PG

The Queen shifted and moved closer still. She watched as Marcus Grisham attempted to corner T'Pol.

"Captain I am afraid that it is inappropriate for you to touch me. I am bonded and it is forbidden to engage in relations outside the bond."

"Come now Princess surly you are as interested as I am? I have seen how you have been watching me."

"Observation of others is the way we learn about other cultures." T'Pol said

"Well personal interaction is far better." He said attempting to gather her into his arms.

T'Pol stepped back. "Captain I have no desire to injure you but your behavior is not appropriate."

T'Pol drew Grisham's sword before the Queen could react. "What is it you wish to discuss?"

"Why are you here?"

He laughed and tried to grab her. T'Pol sidestepped and caught him before he fell and quickly and efficiently applied a nerve pinch. The Captain was heavier then he looked but T'Pol had no difficulty setting him on the nearest bench. It would look as if he had fallen asleep.

"That is an interesting trick." The Queen said

T'Pol spun around and was faced with the Queen her sword drawn.

"I only wish to talk." The Queen said

"Indeed, why is that? What interest are we to a bandit?" T'Pol asked "And why would a sword be necessary for conversation?"

The Queen grimaced "Lets just say your answer determines if we can be allies."

"Why would I wish to become the ally to a bandit and thief?"

"Look Princess T'Pol I am no thief and I am not a bandit. I am justice for this pueblo. "

T'Pol circled around getting away from the fallen form of the Captain. "Indeed, and that is why there is a thousand pesos reward on your head?"

"Exactly." The Queen said

She stumbled and T'Pol took it as aggression and reacted. His blade went up to guard her. Seeing this Queen rolled to the side and sliced out. It was purely reflexive and defensive. Her sword connected with the one T'Pol now held. Shocked she rolled away. She attacked hoping to disarm her opponent. T'Pol jumped back. Her natural grace saving her. She avoided the strike and swung the sword the flat of the blade connecting with the arm of the Queen. She cried out as she jumped back.

"That hurt." She said

T'Pol's brow rose.

Jonathan suddenly felt a surge of adrenaline in T'Pol. Something was wrong and he went to find her. He signaled Trip and both men headed for the gardens.

Angry the Queen advanced. "You should not have done that."

Colonel Montoya saw the men turn and run for the gardens. He looked around and realized the Princess was missing. He signaled the Sgt of the guard and followed.

His progress was hindered by the crowds.

T'Pol parried with ease. While this was not a weapon she was familiar with it had balance and it was very light weight. If anything she had to slow her strokes down. She determined it would be best to allow this individual to vent their anger and frustration before further attempts and commutations could occur.

The Queen was shocked at the almost casual way the woman wielded the sword. It was not a light item as she knew well. She was shocked to see that the Princess did not even appear to be exhorting any real effort. If she did not know better she would say she was being humored.

The Queen sliced at T'Pol to remove the blade from her hand. Her intention was to disarm her. T'Pol jumped back and away over the bench and Grisham without even looking. The Queen was both shocked and impressed.

"You are highly skilled." She said "Who was your instructor?"

T'Pol cocked her head and said "It is simply a matter of balance and my teacher was Master Suvon. " She did not explain that he had taught her the Lirpa and not the sword.

"Look I am only concerned for the peons." The Queen said "I have no desire to fight you."

"This is not a fight. "T'Pol said considering this a spar and no real challenge to her skills.

Just then Grisham awoke. T'Pol dropped the sword in his lap not wanting him to see her skills. He grabbed it and pushed her behind him. The action was impressive and almost honorable.

Then Jonathan and the others came our. The Queen saluted them. "Until latter then Princess." She bowed and slipped away. Her last thought was this was not going to be easy this princess was a warrior as well.

Part 19 (Pursuit) PG

Colonel Montoya came running out. He sent soldiers after Queen. The Queen of Swords evaded Montoya's men with practiced ease. It did not hurt that she only had to slip out of sight and once more become Dona Alvarado.

"Are you alright your highness? A concerned Colonel asked "What happened here Captain?"

"The Queen came out of no where." A shaken Captain said.

T'Pol not wanting to many questions asked stepped in "The Captain defended me most bravely. I am certain the situation could have been dangerous had he not leant me his assistance."

"Good work then Captain Grisham." Colonel Montoya said uncertain he believed the story but he could think of no reason for the princess to lie.

What happened? Jonathan demanded.

I had a brief altercation with the woman they call the Queen of Swords. I believe we will be able to identify her positively now. I injured her right arm.

The bandit? What did she want?

Jonathan I do not believe she was a criminal. At least not in the sense one would expect. I tend to believe she is more a defender of this place.

We will discuss this latter. "I am glad you are not hurt. Perhaps it would be wise to return to the safety of the house."

"A wise suggestion Captain." The Colonel agreed." Captain Grisham sweep the area."

"At once sir." He replied eager to escape the questions of his commanding officer.

The Queen of Swords fled over the wall. Her right arm throbbed and she knew she would be sporting a large bruise. She silently cursed as climbing was painful. At least it was the falls and cooler so wearing long sleeves for a few days would not be noted. She knew however she be forced to remain home. Perhaps it was just as well that Marta was ill. It would be a perfect excuse return and to remain at her ranchero.

Marta heard the commotion but could not go out to see what was happening. She looked up in shock as the Queen entered her room and quickly tossed her mask and sword. She slipped them under the covers as The Queen hurried to become Don Alvarado once more. Just then Dr. Helm came in. He looked away quickly and checked the door.

"Really you should knock Doctor."

"If I had known I would have. "He said blushing deeply.

"Tessa is decent now. "Marta said she motioned for her friend to sit on the bed. The doctor moved to her side and set her shawl over her shoulders.

"That looks painful. Did Grisham get lucky?"

"No he did not." Tessa said ruefully. "T'Pol is very skilled with a blade. She turned it at the last minute to hit me with the flat side. Given the speed of the attack that took great skill."

The doctor and Marta paled each realizing how badly their friend could have been injured.

Part 20 (Concerns)

Colonel Montoya looked over the crowd he noticed several people were missing. The Doctor had not yet returned and Dona Alvarado was no where to be seen. He frowned at this and went looking for them. He feared sometimes that she might be the Queen. He knocked and entered Marta's room and found all three talking quietly. There was a pensive almost fearful look on Dona Alvarado's face.

His suspicions were immediately dismissed as he noticed how fearful she was. Of course she could not be the Queen as she was to much of a lady. He chastised himself for grasping at straws. He put on his most charming face.

"Is everyone alright in here?"

Tessa was afraid of being caught so her look of fear was real. She however simply said. "I heard you shouting for the soldiers. I came here to check on Marta. I knew Dr. Helm be here and that he could keep us safe."

"What happened Colonel?" The Doctor asked He seemed to be preparing a drink for Marta.

"The Queen Of Swords made an unexpected appearance. It seems she wished to kidnap our guest."

"How horrible." Dona Theresa said "I hope you captured her?"

"Unfortunately Captain Grisham was only able to scare her off. My men are searching for her now."

"This is so disturbing. I can not believe she would be so brazen as to attack someone in your home." Marta added. "Your men are very brave to chase after her."

"My men will always do their duty. They are good men if not as competent as I would like."

"Well colonel surly loyalty matters as well." Dona Alvarado said

"Indeed you are correct. Most of them are simple men. Loyal to me and the crown as they should be. I just wish I had the resources to train them better."

"We all know how seriously you take our safety." She replied.

Colonel Montoya bowed thinking that was a compliment. It was all Theresa could do not to roll her eyes.

Trip joined his Captain and first officer and noted T'Pol slightly flushed look. It was a good thing that it was nighttime or they might have a hard time explaining the slightly green flush. He watched as the Captain of the Guard ran after a woman in black. He was concerned for T'Pol.

"Are you alright?"

He noticed that she was leaning against the Jon something he would swear he had never seen her do. It was clear that what ever had happened had been shocking to her.

"Violence is never the answer. It was disturbing to me."

"Did you get hurt? Should we return to the ship?"

"I am uninjured though I fear I may have damaged The Queen of Swords." This said in a low tone so no one else could hear."

"I know you do no like violence and all but isn't she a bandit?" Trip asked in the same low tones.

"I am beginning to believe that she is not." T'Pol said "Look at the people here they seem more concerned for her then their soldiers."

Trip looked around and found as always T'Pol's observations were on the mark. He looked at his Captain who seemed deep in thought.

"We should learn more about this Queen of Swords. We do not wish to aid an unscrupulous government. I do not trust this Colonel Montoya for some reason he is to smooth and to polished."

"I agree he reminds me of a used flitter salesman." Trip said .

"What does that have to do with the situation?" T'Pol asked not understanding the reference.

Both men looked at her and smiled. Sometimes they forgot she was Vulcan and not familiar with all of Earth idioms.

"It means that the Colonel appears to good to be true and is to slippery. He is a lot like an Orion." Jonathan explained. "Untrustworthy and unscrupulous in his dealings. We will need to use caution and care with him. He is shrewd and dangerous to have drawn such an opponent. Trip do you remember the Legend of Zorro?"

"You think this Queen is a female version of the Fox?" Trip asked.

"Maybe, We will have to do more research but it is a reasonable assumption." His friend said

T'Pol looked confused.

"Zorro was a Spanish version of Robin Hood." Trip said knowing she had seen that movie.

"A vigilante that robbed the rich to aid the poor?" T'Pol asked

"Yes, I find it highly likely." Jonathan said "I do not think the people would protect a criminal."

Part 21 (Checking In) PG

The evening wound down and the trio managed not to draw more attention to themselves. They retired to the hotel. Captain Archer slipped out to the stables that were empty at this time of night and removed his communicator. He knew Malcolm would be concerned as they were about tem minutes late checking in. He smiled when he thought of his security officer. He would be sorry he was not here because he was a gifted fencer. He debated calling Malcolm and Hoshi down. If things became more complicated he might well do just that to give them backup.

"Archer to Enterprise."

"We are here Captain. Is everything alright?" Malcolm asked

" Everything is secure. We are proceeding according to plans. Unfortunately it has not been easy to find to a secure place to check in. Malcolm I want you to prepare a small security team and be ready to beam down. No more then two of your people. If I call you leave Travis in charge and you and Hoshi be ready to offer assistance."

Lt. Reed Stiffened having a strong feeling that the Captain was not telling him everything. "Sir should we come down now? What type of weapons?"

"Phase pistols but keep them hidden. Bring your sword and have Hoshi bring her Katana and Commander T'Pol's Lirpa."

"Sir, Why?"

"We need to be armed but I would prefer to not contaminate this culture. I know you and Hoshi are proficient in the use of weapons that would fit this time period on Earth." Archer said

"Yes Captain. That would mean I would need Keller and Hendricks. Both are skilled in unarmed combat and staff fighting." The Security Chief explained.

"Agreed, do as you think best. Just be ready. I do not anticipate a problem but, I would rather be prepared." Archer said.

"Yes sir we will be ready if you need us."

The communication ended and the remaining bridge crew looked at each other.

"I told you so." Maryweather said smiling.

"Yes those three just can not stay of trouble." Malcolm agreed. "Travis you have the bridge while I go inform my team. Hoshi can you secure the proper attire?"

"Sure thing and I will get my Katana and the Commander's Lirpa as well." Hoshi said smiling.

"Good that would expedite matters." Malcolm said "Swords …." He shook his head "Who would have thought we would need them out here?"

Travis laughed." Malcolm that is why we trained on so many types of weapons on my Dad's ship. One never knew what was out here and what one would have to do."

"I see what you mean. I just wish my father could see this." Malcolm said smiling. "Sword work was the one naval tradition I excelled at. He thought it was a waste of time."

'Well clearly it was wise of you to learn." Hoshi said smiling.

"So it would seem Hoshi."

"You had better get ready." Travis said "Knowing the Captain he will need the Calvary soon."

Both officers nodded and headed to prepare. Beta shift came up to relieve them and Travis took the Captain's chair.

Tessa sat next to Marta and allowed Dr. Helm to clean her wound. Granted it was just a large bruise but the poultice he was applying would make it heal faster and perhaps fade. She sighed and knew she have to arrange an accident to explain the mark it was to warm to wear long sleeves for long.

"Tessa you have to be more careful." Marta said "You can not be so foolish and careless."

"I know but how could I guess she would be so strong and powerful. Marta it was like getting hit by Grisham or worse. I could tell she was not really familiar with the saber but she has had some weapons training . It makes no sense that they would side with Montoya. They seem like good people."

"Maybe you should simply ask them what they plan to do?" Helm said "It is not unusual as you are a community leader? "

"Maybe Doctor …" Marta looked away uncertain what it was that disturbed her. "It could be dangerous to trust them blindly if they are all that skilled."

"I hate to agree but I do need to proceed with caution." Tessa said

The Doctor looked at her sharply. Using caution would be a first for the Queen

Part 22 (Introspection) NC-17

Captain Marcus Grisham returned to the hotel disgusted with his men and himself. Once more the Queen had evaded capture. He had no idea what had happened but he knew he had not been the one to fight the Queen and win this time. He poured himself a stiff whiskey and sat down. His booted feet were hanging over his bed as he swallowed the burning liquid. He wondered how one woman could continually frustrate his life and his plans at redemption?

He set the glass down and picked up the letter from his mother. She still wrote him at least once a month. He owed her several letters so he forced himself to pick up a pen and write one. Maybe just talking to her would help him regain his perspective? Princess T'Pol was right he had come here to get a second chance and maybe it was past time for him to do the right thing. The easy way was proving complicated and unproductive. He sighed and began to compose a letter telling his mother about the party. He would of course have to omit the part about the Queen of Swords and the fight but she would like to hear he spoken to royalty. He wished for a moment that he could actually talk to her face to face. He sighed and knew that would never be again. He could not go home unless he found the men who had stolen that payroll and his leads had ended long ago. He just hoped she keep writing and keep reading his letters. He sends them to her personal solicitor and he would send hers to him. He was still grateful she alone had faith in his innocence. He was the first to admit he had often bent the rules but he had not killed Second Lt. Peter Thomson and taken the payroll. Peter was his friend and he was a good man. He still could not believe someone had stolen his sword and drove it into his friend. He pushed that morbid thought aside and began to write.

Dearest Mother….

Malcolm Reed smiled as he looked over the men he was taking down with him as a defensive team. Keller and Hendricks were both solidly built men who height was around 60 inches. Their physical appearance and stature was the slightly taller then the norm for this time period and neither man was overly developed. Each was dressed in a uniform of a royal guard and each man carried a sword along with a knife in each boot. He was well pleased with the highly polished look that they had and he nodded his approval. Hoshi Sato joined them and once more he was floored by her beauty.

Lt. Kelby manned the transporters himself and motioned for them to get ready to go. Malcolm mounted the pad and motioned for Keller to join him. They would transport down first and secure the area.

"Lt. Kelby transport me and Chief Keller down first then Yeoman Hendricks and Ensign Sato. Hoshi I hope you are right that they have not found trouble yet."

Hoshi smiled as she secured her tri-corder and phase pistol. " Commander T'Pol is there Sir she should keep them out of trouble."

Keller grinned and Malcolm shook his head. "Like that worked on Aziti-Prime?"

They would beam down set up camp and joint the Captain and the command crew in the morning.

Trip undressed and sighed sadly. He wished T'Pol was with him. He laid down and tried not to think of her with the Captain.

Jonathan Archer looked at T'Pol and wondered what next? He could feel his desire for her grow but he fought it back. He was no animal to just take even if he wanted to. T'Pol looked at her Captain and lover with longing but looked away just as quickly. She could not even claim Ponn Farr as an excuse this time for her desire. She could tell he was aroused and her nostrils flared for once she was grateful for her heightened senses because Jonathan was trying hard to block his desire and to control his reactions to her. He was willing to forgo his need to ensure she was comfortable. While they had told Commander Tucker they were together he had no intention of acting unless she wanted him with the same intense desire he wanted her. T'Pol however knew it was far more then simple lust that drove him. He wanted her safe in his arms and close so he could protect her. That thought was touching when she knew full well she was stronger and more sturdy then he was. While he was blocking his thoughts she could feel his love and even his lust. She moved to his side and gently touched his faces with her fingers. His arm moved to pull her close and he just held her for a moment. He rested her head onto his shoulder.

"Shall we retire? The bed looks comfortable enough for two."

"I think that would be most wise Jonathan. " T'Pol's voice was husky and Jonathan wanted to pull her into his arms. Control however was going to be

his watch word. He was going to show his bond-mate he could be as controlled as a Vulcan if it killed him. I can do this.

Jonathan you do not have too. T'Pol sent as she went to his open arms.

Thank you for your respect you honor me. However denying what we both want and need is not logical. Her fingers traced his face intimately and he shivered. He caught her hand and kissed her palm.

I just did not wish to force you. If we are together it will b e because we both desire it.

Jonathan if I did not desire you I would not be here in this room. She wrapped her hand around his head and kissed him shyly.

That was all the proof he needed and he lifted her to the bed beside him.

"I love you T'Pol."

"I cherish you as well Jonathan."

"Perhaps while we are here we can make this union legal...by human standards that have a priest in town. "

"Would he not question this as you introduced us as being married?" T'Pol asked

"No….Not if we tell him I wanted the blessings of the church. I can explain we had a civil ceremony and that no priest was available. You would not mind?" Jonathan asked. "the priest will agree because the holy church sees marriage as its function. He will also understand and respect that you want to honor my culture as well as your own."

"If it would please you I have no objections. Would Starfleet recognize such a union?"

"Admiral Forest is Catholic T'Pol he would have to." Jonathan said.

"Then we will ask the priest to marry us in the morning." T'Pol said

Jonathan smiled but soon forgot about formalities as he was lost in her arms.

Part 23 (Unlikely Answers) PG-13

Robert Helm was concerned with the turn of events. As he prepared for bed he considered theses strangers. They were different then those that usually passed through. Each of them was extremely confident and controlled. They moved and worked with military precision. With the men this was understandable if they served together as naval officers, but what would make a woman act so? Robert Helm had been around royalty and while there was something different about this T'Pol it was more then her simply being a royal. He turned it over in his mind but could not decide what it was. He resolved to stay closer to Tessa and Marta over the next few days and to keep an eye on these strangers.

Robert Helm was determined to protect his friend and to make certain that these strangers did not endanger either Tessa or The Queen of Swords.

Marta laid out the cards. She was very concerned about the situation as she had never before been so stunned. Generally she could assess a person and decide if they were good or evil by looking at them. In all of her years she had never been so thoroughly blocked and then scanned in turn. Now that she was feeling better and had time to consider the situation she knew that T'Pol had checked her out as toughly as she done T'Pol. What bothered her more was the feeling that somehow some way T'Pol knew Tessa was the Queen of Swords. What would she do with this information?

Malcolm Reed stood watch over the camp. He had just relieved his Yeoman he

took a deep breathe enjoying the cool clear unfiltered air. Looking around he could almost believe that they were in the south western part of what was once known as the United States of America. He was fascinated by history and this was a chance of a lifetime. A small part of him wished that they could go check out the Empire but he knew that they did not have time, What were the odds? Two identical planets and two civilizations emerging almost the same what but hundreds of years apart? He sipped his hot tea and listened as a wolf howled in the background.

The Queen saddled her horse and prepared to ride out. Something felt off. She wanted to scout the area and find out what was wrong. She rounded the bend and stopped surprised to see several small tents. She noted a guard and dismounted quieting her faithful horse. She slipped into the small camp.

"Malcolm put that away. We really are not going to need Phase pistols." Hoshi said.

"I just want to be prepared. I have no intention of being caught off guard like we were on Vega IX."

"Malcolm this is a pre-warp society. They uses swords for Sagan's sake." Hoshi said grinning. "If anything you should be sharpening that antique of yours."

"Antique I will have you know this is a blade made of the finest Toledo steel. That Katana of yours did not just fall out of the forge either. I would wager it is even older then this blade."

The armory officer had to admit she had a point. He put the phase pistol away and began sharpening his blade. He come in to check on the light in Hoshi's tent and found her lovingly sharpening her blade. He decided checking his weapons was a good use of time as he could not sleep either. Besides it was not often he just had a chance to talk to the Enterprises communications officer. He was fond of her and was hoping this trip would give them a chance to become closer.

Hoshi rolled her eyes. "You are probably right but I would wager Commander T'Pol's Lirpa is older then both our blades combined."

Malcolm laughed "That I would not doubt. Lord knows Vulcan's have been weapon masters since humans swung in the trees. They likely forged the first blades before we found fire."

"You have to admit Malcolm it is a thing of beauty." Hoshi said

"I did not know you liked weapons?" He said a little surprised as she always seemed timid. "I mean these weapons must be over 500 years old. "

Hoshi grinned. "I like the art of the blade Lt. Reed. I just hate modern weapons. A katana or a lirpa now those are things of beauty. I hope the Commander will teach me to use this. I asked her and she said she would consider it. A blade demands skill and it is not something anyone can learn easily. It is as much about grace as brute force."

"Really! "Malcolm said excited. "Maybe she agree to teach me as well?" He considered her words. "I agree though a phase pistol takes practice."

"It can not hurt to ask." Hoshi said "Not on broad beam."

"Indeed." He said smiling. He agreed on that point. Then he heard something. "What is that?" He rose abruptly and the queen quickly retreated and slipped away. She was surprised she been detected. Malcolm ran out his blade drawn but he saw nothing in the dark night.

"Someone or something was here. " He said as he called the team together. "Do a scan of the area."

"Aye sir." His two crewmen said They split up and began to search.

The Queen watched as the men walked around they seemed to be holding a small box in front of them.

"Sir I have two life forms 20 meters south of us."

"Stay put Chief I am on my way. Hoshi we have a visitor." Malcolm said

"I will circle around. "Hoshi said before he could object she was out and gone.

"Damn it." He swore Why could she not be the same timid ensign who signed on? He ran after Hoshi as he directed the Maco's to move in and try to corner the intruder. Sometimes he thought T'Pol was a bad influence

The Queen saw the men coming toward her and she moved back slowly.

"Hold it right there." A voice demanded.

The Queen swung around and was facing a petite woman holding a nasty looking blade. The Queen could count on one hand the number of women she had meet who could use a sword. What were the odds of finding an other at this time? She did not even want to guess. Given the woman's appearance she had a feeling she was from the same place as this "T'Pol"

"What are you doing on Dona Maria Theresa's land?"

Hoshi was taken aback by the request but decided it was a chance for a peaceful resolution of the situation.

"We arrived in the area just after dark. It was to dangerous to head into town. We had no intention of trespassing we are merely traveling to meet our Princess."

The woman's Spanish was flawless….if it had a slight accent. The Queen wondered if this was the whole truth. It did make a certain sense camping rather then traveling in an unfamiliar area at night.

"It is unwise to come armed into an other's land."

"Freeze." Malcolm said "Step away from Hoshi." His voice was firm. "Put your sword down and step away from it."

The Queen cursed silently but spun around. "I think not."

"You are out numbered." Reed said

"That is normal Sir." She said "Come on then if you wish to try my skill."

The Enterprises armory officer smiled. "As you wish. En Guard "

The Queen saluted him and then attacked.

Her speed was a bit of a shock. Malcolm however was skilled with the blade and caught hers.

"Nicely done Seniora Bandit."

"I am no bandit Senior but an instrument of justice." she said. "I prevent the colonel from overly exploiting the population."

Their swords clashed and the Queen grimaced as she realized this was no bumbling soldier but a man skilled with the blade.

Hoshi moved around to help if needed. The Queen spun and swung her cape up and over Malcolm's head and used the flat of her blade to knock him out. He fell like a brick.

"Sorry about that friend but I have to go now."

Hoshi cried out. She saw one of the Maco's drop to check their commander and she launched herself at the Queen. Rage was showing.

"You injured Malcolm you will pay for that."

The Queen suddenly found herself retreating. An easy escape was not going to happen. The young woman attacked her with no regards to her safety. Clearly the man she had knocked out mattered to the young woman. The Queen felt herself on the defensive something she rarely had to do one on one. She jumped back and felt her arm sting as the blades locked.

"Look it is just a bump on the head. I did not do him a life threatening injury."

Hoshi glared and swung the Katna slicing through the sleeve of her left arm.

The Queen cursed as that arm still ached. It was as if the woman knew she had been injured.

"First you attack T'Pol now Malcolm. That is hardly the actions of a peaceful person. I think I am going to stop your reign of terror Queen. "

Hoshi was skilled with the blade but it had been years since she had an extended workout so she was tiring fast.

The Queen noted this and switched tactics to make her use more energy. For once her rounds with the guards were serving her well. It was an even bet on who would win this battle.

Part 24 (Surprises and Trophies) PG-13

Hoshi noted the switch in tactics and took a deep breath. She knew she would not be able to outlast the Queen so this battle had to end quickly. She already had one or two minor cuts and did not wish to be hurt nor did she wish to harm the Queen. They had to end this so they could talk in a more amicable way. Hoshi's anger over Malcolm had begun to cool once she been told he was only out cold. She allowed the Queen to push her back and thus give her more room to move around. Until now it had only been a battle of swords. While Hoshi was skilled with a blade her real area of expertise was hand to hand combat. As an Akido champion she was certain she could win in that area. Hoshi slipped and that allowed the Queen to hook her blade and disarm her.

Malcolm awoke just in time to see the blade go flying. The Queen moved in to pin Hoshi to end the fight. A mistake given that Hoshi had allowed herself to be disarmed. As her blade came in Hoshi reached out and caught it between her hands and kicked up. This sudden move was unexpected and knocked the Queen back. Her blade went flying and landed only a few meters from Hoshi's. This meant that both women were unarmed.

"Surrender Queen of Swords." Hoshi warned.

The Queen had to get away. She did not know or trust these people and it was clear they were well versed in combat. She dove at Hoshi and found herself flying through the air as the young woman caught her and send her flying. She landed with a thud but rolled retrieving her Blade and Hoshi's. She whistled loudly and a large Stallion came running in. She mounted before any of the startled officers could react.

"It has been interesting." She said as she rode off.

Hoshi ran to grab a phase pistol not believing that the Queen had taken her sword.

"Damn it!" She shouted. The Queen was to far away for a god shot.

"Nicely fought Hoshi." Malcolm said sheepishly extremely embarrassed to have been knocked out cold.

"She got away Malcolm. I can not believe she stole my sword."

One of the Maco's came over. "I think it was more of a trophy Ma'am."

Hoshi spun around to face him. " Maybe, But I still feel like a fool."

"Why you beat her Ma'am. She ran because you were winning."

The Queen rode hard back to her hacienda and was cursing he whole way. She had been beaten soundly for the second time in as many days. She just prayed these people were not here to help the Colonel.

Part 25 (Queen's Plan A) PG

The Queen tossed her dirty clothing into the laundry and went to the hot spring that was in her cave. She climbed in and allowed the rich mineral water to ease her aches and pain. Once more she wondered how
she had fallen so easily. Was she getting careless or were theses people really that much better then she was?

She eased herself into the healing waters and reconsidered her options. As much as she disliked the idea she was going to have to risk being honest with the Captain and his Princess. If those two were in charge she might stand a chance. She had noticed how kind Princess T'Pol had been to the civilians when she had talked to them. She had sought to disarm her and not cause injury. Then there was the fact that her agents Hoshi and Malcolm had not attempted real injury either.

Yes ,she had a few small wounds but that was to be expected when one spared with a new opponent. The only real danger had came when she knocked out the male. A tactical mistake because it was clear that this Hoshi had feeling for him. Given how she felt about her own lover she could hardly fault the woman. She had been trying to protect her love and that was a natural reaction. The Queen sighed as she dried off and decided first thing in the morning she would invite the group to her rancho and open a dialogue. She had no choice if she was going to protect her people. If these strangers sided with Montoya the battle was over because she could not defeat them alone.

She began to plan how she would approach them. She decided that the best plan was to tell them about why the Queen was important to the people. If they seemed receptive then she would properly introduce herself. If not then the Queen's might have to eliminate them. Tessa winced at that because she never killed with ease. It bothered her that she considered it an option. Was she beginning to believe that the ends justified the means? If so she would soon be no different then her sworn enemies.

Part 26 (Doctor's Orders) PG

(Disclaimer: I do not own Highlander either.)

Tessa pulled off her robe and prepared to slip into bed. Strong arms surrounded her and she froze.

"Tessa it is just me."

She relaxed and leaned back. "Robert that is a good way to get killed." She tuned to berate him some more but was stopped by a searing kiss.

The heat and fire rose as it always did between them. He broke off the kiss and looked her in the eye. "Why did you ride out? You are injured and Marta is not here to tend you."

Tessa sighed and wondered why she thought he just come for a night of love. He was here to heal her and to lecture her on acting foolishly.

"Robert I just have a scratch or two."

Alarmed he stepped away and pulled her to the bed. She was forced to sit down as he went into full doctor mode. "I knew you were hurt. Let me see the wounds."

His tone refused any arguments and Tessa knew she would have to give in or he would go ballistic on her.

"These are not just scratched. Who did this to you." He sounded enraged. "Where did you go?"

"Robert I was on my own land going for a ride. I ran into some trespassers. I believe that they are friends of the Princess. As to my injuries lets say that I miscalculated and someone took it personally. She did not injure me to badly and in truth I think her attempt was to disarm. I merely slipped on the sandy soil. It is just a scratch."

"A scratch that could be infected. Here let me clean it. Tessa you know better."

"I would have cleaned it." She protested even as she agreed she had been careless.

Helm sighed as he prepared to clean the wound. He for once did not mind that the disinfectant in this case Irish whiskey would hurt her. She deserved it for scaring him half to death. He noted the small cuts were clean almost as if a scalpel had been used by someone with great skill.

"What did this?" Dr. Helm asked.

Sighing Tessa rose and went to retrieve the blade.

The man she knew as Dr. Robert Helm gasped. It was not possible. He took the Katana from her hands.

"No this is not possible."

"Robert what is wrong?" Tessa asked as she noted his pale appearance.

He swallowed hard. He looked at his beloved and then away. It seemed his past had caught up with him.

"This blade who wielded it?" he demanded. He spun around his eyes suddenly steely cold. "I must know."

"A woman her people called her Hoshi." Tessa said frightened of his intensity.

"I see." he said sagging in relief. "Tessa there is something I need to tell you. I have to explain. Better yet maybe I should show you. "

Before she could react he removed a knife and drew it across his wrist.

Tessa screamed and ran to his side fear showing.

She froze as she watched the wound heal in front of her.

"Robert what is this?" She demanded.

"You have a secret beloved and so then do I. My name is not Robert Helm but Methos and I am immortal."

Tessa was stunned. She looked at him in utter shock. Then recalled Marta's first impression an old soul. One that had been tempered by fire and pain.

"That is not possible." She said "How.. Why?" She instinctively stepped back. Fear showing on her face.

He tossed the blade aside and went to her. "Tessa Please let me explain."

"Tell me the truth then Ro…Methos."

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair.

"I am over a 1000 years old. My life has been… complicated. I found this place and you and thought maybe I could begin again and right the wrongs I have done. Perhaps save my soul or at least clean it up a little."

Tessa listened as he told her the truth of his life. She paled but then took his hand. Now she understood so much. Of course he was a healer he wanted to make up for his past as "Death".

"If you believe nothing else know I love you. I would gladly spend my life with you."

"Robert I will grow old and die." She said suddenly sad.

He kissed her and pinned her to the bed. "No Tessa you will not. Or at least…. You do not have to."

"What?"

He smiled a little sadly. "Tessa you to are immortal or rather you will be once you die."

She looked at him in utter shock.

"We are born mortal. Our first death triggers the change. Then there after we can not die unless we lose our heads."

"But…." he covered her lips with his fingers.

"I stayed to help you when I realized the truth. It is a shock and it can be painful because there is a cost to living forever. Tessa we can not have children."

She froze and paled. "Children? Robert no…" tears formed as she suddenly longed for a child. "That can not be…"

He kissed her with passion. He could not would not explain about the game just yet. This was shock enough and he knew he would never hurt her. She had become his soul and heart.

"Remain calm beloved." he ordered " I will tell you all in the morning. Let me love you."

Terrified and in need of comfort she followed the doctor's orders and gave herself up to this loving care. Desperate to prove he was wrong. She so wanted his child.

Part 27 (Methos's Musings

Methos also known as Robert Helm wondered why this woman touched him so deeply. He had many lovers over the centuries but most he left after only a year or two. It was not that he was cruel or inhumane at least not since he had tried to walk on the right side. It was more because most of the women, he loved wanted families and that was something he could never provide them. Instead, he helped them find loving husbands who could give them the lives they deserved. In a few cased he checked up on them now and again from a distance. His last lover Ruth Helm married a farmer and now had six living children and ten grandchildren. He never regretted the choice as Ruth loved children.

He took the name of her husband to honor his dear friend Joseph. The man had become like a brother to him and it made him feel less alone. Of course, Ruth never knew the truth the man she loved Victor Branson was killed in a cave in the coalmines of West Virginia. He helped stake Joseph so they could move to more fertile land in Ohio and have their own little farm. Joseph of course knew the truth but because he wanted, Ruth kept it to him. Instead, he invented a long lost brother Robert and then wrote him now and again. It had been a sad day for Robert when he died three years ago. Maybe that was why he had stayed because he knew Maria Theresa would live forever. He could have the life partner he desired. Children might not be possible but then maybe they could adopt. He had not thought it all out only knowing he would stay close to keep her safe. Oddly, he was in no hurry to see her fall and die for the first time. Instead, he waited and would let it happen naturally. Unless of course it took to long, he decided that if she had not died by her 25h birthday he would assist. He knew that was a good age as she is young enough to remain healthy and strong but old enough to not feel ridiculous as the ages went on.

All night long, he held her and showed her he loved her. He knew what she was trying to prove but did not care. It was almost amusing because if it were possible for her to have a child her days as the Queen would be ended. He wondered if she considered that possibility.

What am I doing? Tessa thought, as she lay exhausted in Robert's arms. I must be insane. We are not even married and I want a baby? She rolled back and looked at him. "Robert maybe you had better start at the beginning. I think I am in control now. Are you certain?"

He sighed, "Unfortunately I am." He kissed her lightly. "I would trade my life for a child but it is not possible. " He then explained the game the rules and the reason he had chosen to stay even before he fell in love.

Tessa listened and learned. She was afraid but knew deep in her heart and soul she trust Robert. Who he was before was not her concern. It was not fair to judge him by modern morals and standards. If what he said was true, he been born long before Christianity and he had no guiding light. What she knew was a man who had helped her and protected her. Some how if it came down to just them she knew the game would never finish because he would not hurt her anymore then she could hurt him.

"So I just have to die to live forever? That sounds crazy."

Methos laughed. "Try falling in battle and waking up after. There was no one to explain it to me and I went a little power hungry for a while."

"YOU ARE A GOOD MAN.":

"I am trying to be Tessa but for a long time I was more evil then Montoya could ever be. I was a monster without equal. I have learned because of that sword. The man who forged it saved my life. He helped me see I was not a god just a very blessed man. He taught me to be good. In a sense he forged the man I am now."

Part 28 (Acceptance and Unwelcome Visitors) PG

Methos held nothing back as he old her of his checkered past. He half expected her to pull away in fear and anger. Instead, she held him and offered her love and solace.

"Robert / Methos perhaps a year ago I might have condemned you. Maybe even a week ago because I had not faced such a thing. "She paused. "Last night I faced my own darkness and found myself thinking maybe, it be easier to just kill the strangers. Not that it was right but easier. I now can understand how simple it is to make or consider making a wrong or evil choice because it is simpler and less complicated. If I could do that, consider murder and option how can I condemn you? Every person has the potential to be good or evil. My father once said the difference is a thin line and sometime it is simply a matter of the path we choose to walk. That good and evil are subjective and that is all too easy to stumble into the darkness and very hard to come back. You made a mistake one that I think haunts you and one that you are trying to make amends for. It is not my place to condemn you or judge your past. I was not there. If I knew who killed my father and had been here who is to say they would not be dead? Who is to say I will not still kill them. "She hung her head. "I want justice and perhaps revenge, as did you. Maybe it is a good thing you did those things. Maybe with your help I can truly seek justice and leave the revenge and judgment in higher more qualified hands."

He held her." I will be at your side Tessa I swear it and I will never leave you regardless of your choice."

"Then let us find a way to be at peace my love. Robert help me find a way to make peace with these people. I think maybe they could be allies." She said changing the subject.

"So do I. There is something off about them however."

"Robert I would swear that… well that they are not of this time."

"Tessa I have a feeling there is a lot more to this then we can see." Robert Helm said

The Klingon Battle Cruiser Golan and Scout ship Herat Moved swiftly through space. It had suffered some damage in a skirmish with the several Romulan War Birds. The smaller scout ship had appeared at a critical moment and surprised the Romulans who had been certain of victory. The Herat had attacked and destroyed one of the two ships before they had been detected. It's Captain a young warrior named Morag now escorted the larger ship out of the main traffic lanes to make safe repairs.

Captain Mortak had to admit he had never been more pleased to see his younger sibling. He did not even mind the good-natured ribbing he had received in private. Now however they had to repair his ship and return home. He had been sent to resupply the Herat as it had been scouting this region for potential new colonies and other supplies the Empire needed. He knew his brother loved to explore and was perfect for this assignment. He had been annoyed to go at first but now he was glad because it gave him a chance to see the youth in action. He truly was a fitting warrior for his house. He still could not believe he had been caught so off guard. That scanner officer who had failed him had been killed in the first attack. A fortunate thing because he would have spaced the fool for failing his captain and endangering the ship. Now he would be seen as an honored dead. A distinction he did not deserve but given the family connections would serve Mortak better.

Morag had told him of a mineral rich world that had a primitive population. It was perfect to find the supplies they needed and to consider as a possible colony or protectorate world.

He was not pleased to learn that the Earth Ship Enterprise was in Orbit. Had Earth made contact with the population who for all intensive purposes could be human?

Why was it that blasted little ship always showed up?

Travis Maryweather took Enterprise to tactical stations as they detected the two uncloaked Klingon ships.

"Ensign George hail them."

Part 29 (Small Talk)

Travis stood up as he greeted the Klingon Captain.

"Welcome to Terra Beta Captain. I am Travis Maryweather may we be of some assistance. I can see your ship has suffered some minor damage." He deliberately left off his rank to not risk insulting the Klingons.

Mortak had to admire the young Captain. He showed no signs of fear and yet showed respect. He did not insult the Klingon ship and yet was offering friendship despite the past dealings Klingons and humans had had.

"You are not Captain Archer. Where is he?" He demanded not liking that he was being addressed by a junior officer.

Travis smiled and stood a little straighter and lied outright. "Our Captain is on shore leave. This planet has a human population that has welcomed us and offered us trade."

Ensign George looked down not quite believing the cleaver stretch of the truth that Travis Maryweather offered.

"Humans are living on this world? Is it an Earth colony then?" Mortak asked. He frowned.

"It has a human population Captain. As you know Starfleet has a primary mission of exploration and diplomacy. We hope to establish relations with this world."

"You have named it Terra-Beta are you so certain then that they will join you?" This was said with a slight growl.

"No sir. I admit I am no diplomat. I myself prefer to simply fly a ship. We scanned this world and as it is very similar to my home world …we added the Beta To the name. Captain with respect the people of this world call the planet Earth. Myself I just follow the designation My Captain choose for it." He shrugged clearly saying he had no right to question a command decision.

Mortak leaned back in his chair a reasonable answer and again showing respect. He liked this human despite himself. "Your offer of assistance is most noble. As you say our damage is light. We will be making repairs here and see no reason why our two vessels can not co-exist in peace. When your Captain returns perhaps we could discuss this planet together."

Travis was slightly stunned that this had not become a shooting incident. His instincts told him that the Klingon ship was badly damaged or he would have fired first and asked questions latter. Travis however was pleased because maybe they could get out of this alive. "I am certain he would be honored to do so sir."

Mortak laughed "You will do well warrior. "He cut off the transmission and sent a scrambled one to the scout. (Stay cloaked, silent and stand down.) He went to discuss this with his brother who was waiting for him in the officer's mess.

"Sir what was that all about?" Ensign George asked

"That was poker Ensign and for the moment we are both standing on the edge." he activated the ship wide com system.

"This is Ensign Maryweather to all ships personnel. We are face to face with a Klingon war ship. We are standing down from tactical alert but I want all hands to man their stations. I do not wish to provoke the Klingons but neither is we relaxing our guard. I want them to register us not being a threat. I repeat we do not want or need a fire fight but remain vigilant on case we must fight."

Morag had told him of a mineral rich world that had a primitive population. It was perfect to find the supplies they needed and to consider as a possible colony or protectorate world. The report had not included detailed scans of the population as the scout had just recently encountered this world. Mortak would need more information before he challenged the humans. It seemed that perhaps they had already established a relationship with this world. While he did not mind a battle or even a war the prize had to be worth the price of a Klingon warrior's blood.

Mortag listened to his elder brother and frowned. "Mortak On my honor I received no intelligence suggesting any species had visited this world before. I have never encountered a human but this species seemed to match the data base. Perhaps this human is bluffing?"

"That is possible. We must make repairs and then consider our options with care." Mortak agreed "Perhaps this is a lost human colony world. Or perhaps they simply appear to be human. They could be like those Betas we have heard about."

Mortag shivered at that. A race ruled by women that was telepathic and warlike. The Klingon Empire had one war with them and then actually sued for peace. The young warrior winced recalling his military history professor remarks. "It is a fool that allows appearance to lead him. Better to face a 100 Romulans then one angry Beta warrior."

The Klingons had lost 4 squadrons outright and 2 more to madness. No better to leave them to the humans if they were Betazoid.

"Sir we need to inform the Captain about this." Ensign George said

Travis leaned back and considered this. Looking at the ensign he said "I agree. Corporal Cole please report to the bridge."

Corporal Amanda Cole cursed silently as she sat down her coffee. She had just gotten up and came to the mess to eat before her shift. She went to the com unit. "I am on my way sir."

"Lt. Kelby is the Transporter on line?"

"Aye sir it is fully operational once more. "

Travis smiled as he decided to beam the MACO down to give the Captain a briefing.

Part 30 (Peace Offerings)

Fifteen minutes latter Amanda materialized outside of town.

Great just great . She thought as she walked in. Just once I would like not to have to walk. Amanda jogged into town and found the command crew sitting down to breakfast.

Trip looked up and was surprised to see the MACO. More over he noticed that Malcolm and Hoshi and the others had also entered the restaurant.

"Captain…we have company." He said

T'Pol looked up and noted that the Corporal went straight to Lt. Reed. The Amory officer frowned and so did the communications officer.

Her Vulcan hearing caught the conversation.

"Lt. Reed Sir we have Klingon's in orbit. Sir I was to inform the command staff but I thought you should know first sir."

"We had better inform them. " Malcolm said he had to agree that the MACO was right in this case. After all she had seen them first. However the Captain had to know what was going on. He already knew that he had to go back to the ship at once.

Jonathan we have Klingon's in orbit. T'Pol sent.

Jonathan Archer stiffened and rose from his chair he strode over to meet his arriving crew members. Trip noted the sudden unease in his two friends and followed them. Something bad must have happened for the others to have risked leaving the ship. He just hoped nothing had happened because of his engines. He noticed Amanda Cole and frowned he had a bad feeling about this. The MACO always seemed to bring trouble unless Soval was around.

"What do you mean Admiral ? How could Enterprise simply disappear!" The Ambassador from Vulcan demanded.

Admiral Gardner felt like a small school boy being called to the carpet. Yet he would not show it. He could not believe the Ambassador's apparent emotionalism.

"The Enterprise was scouting an area on the edge of the Vulcan Data' bases defined space. Given the lack of intelligence on the region I ordered further investigation. I know that Vulcan has given us a lot of useful data but this area seemed harmless and who knows it could provide planets we could colonize. "Gardner said shrugging and trying to show confidence and certainty he did not feel.

Soval looked away truly annoyed. He wrestled with the sudden emotion he felt. He took a calming breath. " Thank you for the information." With a flourish of his robes he strode out before he did something regrettable like flattening the Human fool.

He reached into his pocket and removed a communicator in Vulcan he gave a sharp order and the Admiral watched in shock as he dematerialized. Soval appeared on the bridge of the Vulcan Diplomatic currier Surak and gave an order.

"Captain T'Vol we are going to find the Enterprise."

The Vulcan captain merely inclined his head and gave the order to take the ship out. Soval turned and headed for his quarters to inform his sister T'Pau. He as not pleased with this turn of events and she did not need the added stress at this time. However she had taken and active interest in the Enterprise and her crew. His orders were strict inform her and the council of any events involving that ship and her crew. Soval sighed and wondered what kind of trouble the humans had found this time? He would never admit it to anyone but he too was fond of that ship and her crew. His Mettee T'Pol still served on the ship and he was also growing to respect her captain and chief engineer. He sat at his desk and steepled his fingers and pushed out the image of a certain laughing MACO. Yes he would be pleased to see Amanda again as well.

Dona Maria Theresa smiled at the innkeeper wife Maria and said " It was most kind of you to send over those muffins for Marta and I. They went so well with Rosa's breakfast."

The woman blushed and looked away. "Marta is a good friend and Rosa asked me to make the muffins as she knows that Marta loves them."

The women chatted as they stood to the side. The part of her that was the Queen noted the additional outsiders and she wanted to curse with frustration. For the first time she almost hoped Robert was right because if she ended up having to fight she would need nine lives. She grinned as she recalled an other legendary Vigilante Al Gato the Cat.

Marta forced herself to smile as Colonel Montoya came in to check on her.

"Good morning I hope you are feeling better?" He asked.

Marta was slightly shocked at the genuine concern she picked up from this man. He was easy to read and generally he was very self centered and cold. Today however she noticed he really did seem concerned.

She forced a smile and decided maybe not every action he took was self motivated.

"I am feeling better Sir. I am certain I will be able to leave soon. Dr. Helm is coming to check me out this afternoon."

Lois Montoya shocked himself and said "There is no hurry. I am certain you should rest. After all you will not get better if you do not rest."

He had come in to hurry her on his way but had been struck at how fragile she appeared. Something deep inside him had stirred to life. A protectiveness he did not know he had or even recognize. As she lay there half asleep he had for the first time noticed how lovely she was. She did not have the sharp aristocratic features of her mistress but, she was striking none the less. Like a wild rose that grew strong on a mountain trail. He been stunned and concerned for her well being. For the first time Lois had seen her as a woman and not simply as a servant. He had always been annoyed at her loyalty to Maria Theresa but now he wondered if perhaps it was because he had never known such a thing? What would it be like to have a woman like this be so loving and protective toward him?

"You are a citizen of this Pueblo and as such you are entitled to my care. Please do not think you must hurry on your away. " He smiled now with genuine intent." I would welcome the company."

Marta was a little stunned at this. For a moment there was an awkward silence until she said "Would you like to have some coffee with me. Tessa went to thank Maria for the muffins and in fact I still have several here. Would you like to try one. Rosa will not be offended as she asked Maria to make them."

Lois smiled and said " I think that would be nice. " He took a seat across from her bed and took a cup of coffee. For a moment he forgot his duty , his greed and just was a man enjoying a lovely woman's company.

Marta sensed that for the first time in a while the Colonel was at peace and not a threat to anyone.

Marta found she was curious about this man who had for so long seemed like a monster to her. She wondered if perhaps there was a small chance he could be turned back into the good man she sensed a few minutes ago? Maybe she would try to find out what drove him so hard? After all if she could turn him around then Tessa would no longer have to risk her life to be the Queen.

"Klingons when did they arrive?" Captain Archer asked he was stiff and on alert.

T'Pol was looking around and so was Malcolm it was clear neither was certain that this location was safe and secure.

"Sir about an hour ago. Mr. Maryweather sent me down to give you a briefing and to request that you return to the ship. We stood down from tactical alert."

Malcolm stiffened and was pleased to see even the MACO' disagreed with this choice.

"He said we did not want to appear threatening but told all hands to remain alert."

Malcolm relaxed a little and had to admit Travis was using a good strategy for Klingons.

"Mortag I want to beam down to this planet and check out the locals. We need metals to repair my ship as well as intelligence. "

"With respect sir perhaps I should be the one. You can not be risked."

Mortak looked at his younger brother and was well pleased. "I think it will be a simple mission but your concern does you honor. However given my appearance perhaps It would be wise to lead the team myself."

His brother nodded understanding. Both men had suffered from the virus that had infected the Klingon people. Both looked almost human. Mortak especially had a human appearance unless you considered his size. He would stand a head taller then the average human.

"I do not question sir. But there is an other reason I should go. The human ship does not know my ship is here. If they contact you again and find you gone to the surface they may think it is an attack."

Mortak leaned back and considered his brothers words with care. The words made a lot of good sense. Like most of his kind he enjoyed a good fight and he loved to conquer and win. There was however no doubt his ship needed repair and he would be at a disadvantage in a fight even with his brother's ships assistance. He did not wish to appear weak or foolish.

"Go then but you are to remain in contact. Ever Hour you will check in. I do not wish to explain to mother that you have been injured or worse killed. She would have my head on a platter." Mortak said smiling.

"Yes sir." He said saluting his brother and head of house.

"I believe I will contact the humans. If memory serves me the doctor that helped cure our people serves on that ship. He may be able to help with our wounded."

Mortag nodded and had to agree. Unlike many Mortak was concerned about his crew. He genuinely respected them and did not see them as pawn to advance himself or his house. It was one of the reasons so many vied to serve with him.

"The doctor was called Phlox I think. I wonder if he found a way to return our true appearance?"

Mortak shrugged unconcerned he was Klingon and appearing human was merely an annoyance. Sometimes it was a useful tool as well. "Go brother learn what you can. Perhaps we can find an alliance with these humans as well. I think it might be wise to have a safe haven away from the Empire."

Mortag nodded. He to was growing concerned about the rising influence of House Druras.

"Maybe our appearance will actually be a benefit?" He saw the plan his brother was considering and smiled. Yes it could work well if the population/humans did not realize they were in fact Klingon. He wondered if maybe this could become a chance for real peace with humanity? Something to consider as they observed these people if they were indeed human.

Mortag left and Mortak contacted Enterprise.

Travis stiffened as he heard the hail.

"On Screen Ensign George."

"Mr. Maryweather do you have a Dr. Phlox on board?"

Travis was stunned by the question but replied. "Yes Captain. Would you like to speak to him?"

Captain Mortak nodded. "Yes, I would . I could use a doctor of his skill. We ran into a Romulan ship and as you noted we were damaged. The ship can survive this… my crew needs a doctor. Ours was wounded in the attack. I would accept your honorable offer of aid."

Travis was surprised at this honest but he could see it was hard for the Captain to admit a need. "One moment and I will call him to the bridge. " he signaled Ensign George." Dr. Phlox to the bridge."

Part 31 (Envoy) PG-13

Dr. Phlox entered the bridge and faced the Klingon Captain.

"How may I be of assistance?"

"Doctor I understand you once did a great service for my people. I must ask for your help once more. We engaged a Romulan ship and I have several severely wounded crew members. My own physician has been critically wounded and can not attend them. I know that you owe us no favors and perhaps even have reason to dislike and distrust our people. " he paused. " I must ask for your help. If you do this I will owe you a favor one you may collect at anytime in the future. I am the head of my house and offer my word of honor."

Phlox stiffened a moment. "I will transport over at once. I can not make any promises Captain other then I will do what I can."

"That is sufficient doctor and I pledge my word not to act aggressively to Enterprise or her crew as long as they remain peaceful as well."

"There is no need for that Captain." Travis said " I can see you are an honorable man. I give you my word I will not attack you or your people. There is no trouble between our houses and I see no reason for there to be. This time could prove to be a new beginning for humans and Klingons if you choose. Earth could do worse then have your Empire as a friend."

Mortak took no offence at the words of the young human. He nodded "Well said and perhaps you are right. I think perhaps we have been mislead by Duras as so far you have acted respectfully and with honor. Perhaps your captain and I can indeed begin a new Era."

Travis hoped so. He looked at the doctor and said "Your call Doctor."

"I will head to the transporter room after I have picked up my medical bag. May I bring an assistant?"

Mortak was shocked at this generous offer. " Any assistance would be appreciated."

Phlox nodded and left the bridge and headed to get Lt Cutler. He had a feeling he would need the woman's support.

Part 32 (Wheels within Wheels) PG 13

The Romulan Commander was not pleased at all. They had suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of those Klingon Targs. He paced as he considered his options. His ship was almost repaired but he had lost two of his squadron. He could not return to Romulus in defeat it would mean the end to his ambitions. He would need to secure a victory and to that he would need help. As much as he hated the idea he needed to contact his allies the Duras family.

Commander Sartell of the Imperial Romulan fleet made a call to his ally Duras. He knew full well that Duras wanted this family line ended so they could not challenge the growing influence of his own house. He did not care for Klingon politics except when it benefited him and the Empire. Duras rising to power was a good thing because the Klingon was a greedy fool and he would easily be crushed. If he ruled the Klingons then their empire would become slaves to Romulus and he would gain vast wealth and territory and then personally execute the Klingon traitor and his family. Such dishonorable creatures had to be eliminated after their usefulness was done.

"I need your help. It seems you failed to inform me of the second ship."

Duras looked perplexed. "What ship?"

"Duras you fool. The ship that Mortak was meeting. We fell into a trap. If I did not need you I would kill you myself."

The Klingon flinched. He might be using the Romulan to obtain power but he knew full well in the end one of them would kill the other.

One hour latter Duras was on his way to meet the Romulan war bird with new intelligence to where their mutual enemy was. He fully intended to help kill off this family once and for all and he had just the weapons to do that. He smiled evilly as he considered his prisoners. He held the entire family of Mortak and he would use them to draw out the others. Then he would crush them and take over the council as was his right. The Klingon people needed a strong leader to carry them forward into the future.

Melanie struggled against the bonds that held her. She silently vowed to kill Duras herself. How dare he break the code and violate sanctuary? She had to get free to protect her infant son and her mother in law. Duras had violated Klingon Law and seized the family at the celebration of Kalass. He had taken them by drugging them and as they left Duras had swooped down and killed her escorts. Only a few survived the massacre. She wanted to weep for the loved ones lost but that would come after revenge. Only Mortak's youngest cousin Morg had escaped. He had been with Leonardus training for flight school. The youth was only twenty and she was glad he had been away. The boy was brave but he would have been killed like the others. Melanie was a little surprised that her son's still lived. Somehow she had a bad feeling about this and knew it was not honor that kept them alive rather some twisted plan of the Duras family.

Melanie however knew her worth was she not descended from the Great Kalass herself? She two could plan and prepare even tied as she was her mind turned over the facts. Wheels with in Wheel and she knew there was more going on then meet the eyes. Kliar awoke and looked at her battered daughter in law. She had fought well despite being drugged. She had saved her son and two small daughters in doing so their house. Kliar feared for her sons as she fought her bonds. He movement alerted Melanie who looked at her.

" I have gained some room to move in my hands. "

"I am bond tightly on my hands but the fools left my feet free." She rolled and sprang up. She walked to the door and listened to see if she could hear a guard.

"There is at least one guard outside." She slipped back and kicked off her boot. Her heel slammed down against the back of her boot and the heel came off reveling a small blade.

Melanie smiled at her clan leaders mother. And rolled over to her.

Part 33 (Enemy ) PG 13

T'Pol I need to contact the Enterprise." Archer said He slipped out and went to the stable.

Tessa followed him at a distance and watched as he removed a small communicator. Robert felt her presence and joined her. The couple slipped into the stable and hid.

"Archer to Enterprise."

"Captain it is good to hear your voice sir. Has Corporal Cole arrived?"

"Yes, She has and the report is most disturbing." The Captain said.

Travis started shocked at how calm and controlled the Captain sounded almost like Commander T'Pol.

"Sir it seems to be alright. While I believe we may have two Klingon ships here they have been …. Friendly. One is still cloaked and the other was damaged in battle. It seems they ran into Romulans." Travis explained.

"Has Dr. Phlox offered his assistance?"

"Yes at the request of the Klingon Captain Mortak. Sir he seems to want peaceful interactions. I told him you were on shore leave and negotiating a treaty. I know it was out of line but I did not want the Klingons to think this world was open for colonization."

"Travis that was well done. Good thinking on your part. I believe I will try to meet with this Captain. Perhaps I will beam back up."

"Sir one more thing. They look like augments." Travis said.

"Damn … alright I see. Do you have the frequency to talk to them." Archer said.

"Yes sir. I told Corporal Cole to bring it down and give it to Hoshi. Sir I think they may need metals as well. Maybe it be best if you negotiate with the Klingons . Find out what they need so maybe they do not come down?"

"I take that under advisement Travis. Keep on alert. I am sending Chief Keller and the Yeoman back to the ship along with Corporal Cole. "

"Aye sir." Travis said feeling better with the thought of the Maco's returning.

The Klingon ship Putak raced toward the coordinates given by the Romulans. Soon they would destroy the house of Mortak.

Commander Sartell watched the scanners. So the humans and Klingons were together here. He watched as the Enterprise orbited the planet. Scans showed that this world had human inhabitants. This was not a situation he could allow to continue. They would have to destroy the Ships in orbit and then the planet. He briefly considered colonizing the world but it was to far out. While humans would bring a reasonable price on the Orion slave markets he had no time to cull the best ones. No he would not allow this colony world to thrive better to eradicate the population then in fifty years or so they could return and colonize this world for the Empire.

He leaned back and considered his options a biological weapon would be most efficient. He rose and went to speak to his doctor to see what they had that would kill both humans and Klingons.

"Commander we have the report sir. This world is resource rich."

He stopped and changed his mind. No first he would check this world out for himself. Perhaps he could find a use for the people human or not. It was not that he cared about them but that they might be useful as labor. Slaves might be of value after all. If he could keep this world a guarded secret perhaps, he would have his own empire.

Mortag and his men walked into town. They looked around and were shocked at what they saw. This world was primitive and underdeveloped. Hey walked into town carrying only their knives and maces. The scans had shown that this was typical weaponry and while the Klingons had not concerns about contaminating a culture neither did they wish to create a panic. Mortak's orders were clear get the supplies as quickly as possible without bloodshed. Morag knew his brother was wise sometimes trade was more efficient especially with a human warship in orbit. He had no doubts that Enterprise would defend this world if they attacked. It was more efficient to trade and gain the needed supplies. Mortag was impressed as he watched a man mold metal. The man was forgoing a blade from raw metal. He stopped to watch as the man in uniform ordered an other to pump more air.

"Roberto pump more air. I want this fire to remain hot. You know I must get these swords forged by Friday or the Captain Grisham will have my head on a pike."

While Mortag did not know what a pike was it was clear that this man's captain was strong and demanding. The worker was a big man for a human and it was clear he was concerned. Perhaps these humans were not as weak as the Duras family claimed? Mortag stepped up and looked at a long stick with a metal blade attached to it.

"This is a fine weapon." He said in stilted Spanish. The translator making him understood.

Sgt Pablo Estebeon looked up from his work. "Thank you sir. It is for the garrison for guard duty. Much more efficient then a musket sir."

"Yes there is nothing like a strong blade." Mortag agreed. He removed his own knife and handed it to the human. "This was given to me by my father. "

Pablo took the blade and looked it over. "Fine work sir. I do not think I would have the skill to forge such a fine piece."

"Do not be so certain. If you had the right tools perhaps." Mortag said smiling. "Now to business. I have come to purchase metals. Who would I speak to about this?"

Pablo looked up at him. "Colonel Montoya sir. Captain Grisham is his Second and he is on his way over here. I could introduce you."

"Good." Mortag said "That would be helpful." He watched as a well developed human came striding over.

Trip stepped outside and noted the strangers. "Mal it looks like the Klingons are here. We had better head over and tell the Captain."

"Wonderful… Now all we need is the Romulans." Lt. Reed said

Hoshi laughed and said be careful what you wish for."

"Yeh Malcolm that would be a big problem having them show up. It be almost as bad as the Vulcan's showing up here. No offence Commander."

"None Taken and I quite agree having all four species in close proximity would indeed be a problem." T'Pol said

"I do not know." Hoshi said "remember the old saying. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend and Frankly Humans, Vulcans and Klingons do share one thing. We all have issues with those Romulans,.

"It would still not be logical to hope such a confrontation would occur." T'Pol answered.

"Robert what is a Klingon, or Romulan and what does the god of Fire have to do with anything. Is not Vulcan a myth?" Tessa asked.

"Tessa I have no idea what they are all talking about. The Only Vulcan I know is a myth well… A friend of mine pretended to be the God of Fire once but that was about 300 years ago in Africa."

Tessa rolled her eyes. "Well we better figure it out quick those newcomers are headed to see Montoya."

As they moved from their hiding spot Trip stepped in front of them.

"The Captain and T'Pol want to speak to you."

"We would be happy to latter." Tessa said.

Trip did not move and Robert felt a strange stirring. No it could not be…

"The commander asked you politely. Given that you assaulted me I would not make him ask twice." Malcolm said.

"Also I would like my sword back." Hoshi said moving in. "The katana has been in my family for over a thousand years. I will not allow a bandit to take it. "

Methos / Robert Helm flinched "Tessa they know ." He allowed them to be pushed back into the stable as he drew a blade.

Part 34 (Openings)

"Remember what I said Tessa ."

"Robert I can not fight them as myself." She put a restraining hand upon his chest. "Perhaps it would be wiser to talk this out."

Jonathan Archer came up with T'Pol.

"I believe we can talk over there." T'Pol said "There is shade and no one would comment."

Archer looked over and had to agree. There were several tables set up clearly for socializing.

"Shall we go or would you prefer we have a conversation with Colonel Montoya."

Methos stiffened and spun to face the speaker. "Do not threaten us."

"I would say sir it is you who have threaten my Captain. And it was the lady that took Lt. Sato's property. That makes her a thief and a criminal regardless of your claims to be justice." Malcolm said firmly. "I also have a rather large bump on my skull assault I believe it is called." There was no humor in his voice just a coldness that chilled Methos. He knew full well this mortal could be dangerous and then there was that Tucker. How had he missed that before?

"Easy Malcolm let the lady talk." Trip said

Archer moved forward "We will discuss this and perhaps we can assist each other and the new comers as well. I must warn you that they can be dangerously unpredictable. "

"Lovely just what we need." The Doctor said as he allowed them to be guided out. He returned his sword to the scabbard under his jacket but remained alert.

"Alright you seem to know about me. Perhaps it would be best if you properly introduced yourselves. It is clear that you are no simple investors." Donna Theresa replied.

"I am Captain Jonathan Archer of the Starfleet vessel Enterprise. We are as you have guessed not from this… area."

"Captain do you take us for fools?" Robert asked "It is clear you are either not form our time or not from this world. Which is it?"

The bluntness of the demand took the Enterprise crew off guard.

"Do not toy with us Captain or you maybe surprised at what you find." Robert warned.

Tessa put a restraining hand on his chest. "Robert remain calm. Losing your temper will not aid us in working this out."

T'Pol was impressed as she watched the Doctor force his emotions down. She was even more impressed that a simple touch from the woman calmed the male.

Hoshi watched the interaction and instantly knew that this pair were lovers. She tapped Malcolm and whispered. "They are a couple Malcolm. He is very protective of her. "

"Yes, I can see that."

Even as Hoshi was observing their reactions so then was Tessa watching them? She winced as she noted the way this couple leaned close to communicate. It was more then clear that they were intimate. She suddenly understood the dynamic she stumbled into when she knocked out the male.

"We are not from this world." T'Pol said abruptly. "We are not from this time. Or rather the Earth we know is 800 years ahead of your world."

"Our Earth?" A stunned Robert Helm said. He knew the advances 800 years could create. More then any other human alive he knew. He was one of the oldest and he was still stunned at the words even if he had expected this answer.

"800 years ahead of us? How can there be two Earths? Do you take us for fools?"

Archer shook his head. "Doctor if I had an answer for you I would give it. Do you think it was not a shock for us to find a world that is almost identical to our own? A world that physically could be a clone of our world where the history people appear to be as ours were? Time travel would be easier to accept." he said with a rueful shake of his head.

"I guess such a thing is common in your world. Time travel that is?" Tessa asked curious.

Malcolm snorted

"Yeh ,on occasion it is and it a pain in the ass…" Trip said. He shrugged at his Captains glare.

Mortag walked to the Cantina to gather information. He ran into the Sgt of the guard. The man foolishly pushed him aside.

Mortag was not amused and pushed back. A fight quickly broke out.

Malcolm looked over and saw the idiot strike out at the Klingon.

"Sir it looks like our friends ran into trouble."

Archer looked up and cursed then motioned for Malcolm and trip to follow him. There was no way they could let this get out of hand. He knew the Klingons would and cold easily kill the troopers. The last thing he needed was for the local humans to start a war. They ran over and caught a group of men who were joining in. Malcolm trip stop them. This is not a fair fight 4 against 20. T'Pol raised a brow.

Robert Helm went to help but T'Pol stopped him. "Do not interfere Jonathan knows what he is doing."

"It is still 8 against 40 now." He said as about a dozen or more men enter the fray.

"The odds are unfair to your troopers but the Captain will handle it and try to keep them from getting killed." T'Pol noted the other male MACO's had joined the fight. Corporal Cole having been ordered to guard them.

"Those men are not super human."

"No they are not but the first four are Klingon and they are four to five times stronger then a mere human." T'Pol explained and it was demonstrated a minute latter as one warrior lifted two large men one in each hand and tossed them across the way.

"As you can see the Klingons could easily defeat your troopers on their own. It would however not be wise to draw undo attention."

"As if they have not already commander." Corporal Cole said forgetting to use the proper titles.

"Commander?" Tessa asked

"Captain how soon will we reach the Enterprise?" Soval asked.

"We are 2.2 days away at maximum warp. At our current speed we are 4.2 days away."

"Get us there in 2.2." Soval ordered he did not know why but he was certain the Enterprise would need their assistance. He sighed thinking he had been around the humans to long. He recalled what Amanda had said about "Gut feelings. Or a Gut Instinct." The latter term was far less emotional.

Part 35 (Olive Branch) PG

"What do you mean stronger then a human?" Robert asked

"Klingons are not human they simply have a similar external appearance." T'Pol explained calmly.

The group watched as a Klingon went down Captain Archer jumped in and took a blow for him. He swung up with a closed fist and the offending soldier went down. He offered a hand to the downed warrior who took it and was pulled to his feet with ease. Even as this happened Colonel Montoya and Captain Grisham were running over shouting for their men to stand down.

"Stand down ."Montoya shouted as he noticed who was fighting. He could not believe his troopers had been so foolish. Their actions could easily start a war with the Captain's government.

"You see doctor the conflict is ending. Jonathan can be a most efficient diplomat for a human when he wishes to be."

The doctor was still trying to absorb the fact that T'Pol had said the Klingons were not human. "For a human? Are you implying that you are not human?"

Hoshi smiled at the way T'pol's brow shot up. Amanda grinned and looked away for the first time enjoying this mission.

"I am Vulcan." T'Pol said firmly.

"Robert did not mean to insult you." Tessa said quickly.

"Offence is an emotion." T'Pol said regaining her center quickly and shooting the MACO a harsh look.

Amanda grinned and Tessa got the feeling that the two women were not fond of each other at all.

"Commander T'Pol is Vulcan and she is royalty we did not deceive you in this. They are a far more logical species then we humans." Hoshi added quickly. "Vulcan has been a strong ally to our Earth for over 100 years. "

"Vulcan has been most helpful. Ambassador Soval has been true friend to our world. " Amanda said smiling. She enjoyed the look of annoyance that passed her Vulcan commander's face.

'Are these Klingons also allies of your world?" Tessa asked.

"Unfortunately no they are not." Hoshi said "We have had … interesting relations with them."

Tessa and Robert looked at Each other then at T'Pol "What about your government T'Pol are they allies of the Klingons?"

"No though we have formal relations with them. Klingons are by nature an aggressive warlike species. They have a strict code of honor but our value systems are different. This makes meaningful cultural exchanges complex."

Somehow Robert did not doubt this statement. He also could sense an uneasiness between the women as if they had a history that was not to pleasant. He wondered if this was an added danger to them.

Colonel Montoya pushed several soldiers aside. They stopped fighting the moment he and Grisham entered the fray.

"What is going on here!" he shouted "How dare you brawl like common Peons! Well I want an explanation now."

The armory sergeant came forward and said "Colonel Sir these gentlemen came to my shop to ask about purchasing some arms. I told them that that was not an area I had authority in. That you were in a meeting and that maybe they should get coffee and wait. They thanked me and came over here and that idiot ran into the gentleman. He then struck the man and started the fight. These men were defending themselves and then the Captain and his men came to help break up the fight."

Montoya listened and was impressed. Pablo was an honest man and it took courage to stand against his fellow soldiers. Clearly these strangers had impressed him for him to risk this.

"Is this true sir." Montoya asked Mortag.

"Yes colonel it is. While we did not necessarily agree to this coffee we did come here to seek your direction and an appointment with you. "

Montoya looked at Archer. "Do you know these men?"

"Not personally Colonel. But I recognize their dress and they are men of honor. I was acquainted with some of their peers and thought it only fair to offer assistance in ending the violence. I saw what happened and as far as I could see they were only defending themselves."

"Corporal, Sergeant escorts these men to the brig. Captain Grisham deal with them. Fighting in public is a dangerous thing and it is a breech of discipline I will not tolerate. These people are our guests they must think us uncivilized animals. "He looked at Mortag. "Please accept my deepest apology and assurances that the offenders will be dealt with harshly. I regret this could harm relations between our nations."

Mortag was impressed with Archer and even with this Montoya " You seem to be a man of honor Sir. Perhaps we can simply call it a cultural misunderstanding."

Jonathan sighed with relief as Mortag offered his hand to the Colonel and then to him in turn.

"Your assistance was most welcome Captain. It allowed us to not need to employ lethal force."

"It was an honor to fight beside such great warriors." Archer said

Mortag inclined his head " We should speak Captain. Colonel perhaps we could arrange for trade soon. I was sent by my commander to meet with Captain Archer. "

"Indeed." Montoya said not liking this but knowing he gotten off lucky. "If you gentlemen will excuse me I will attend to my troops. Perhaps you could stop by for dinner it is the least I should offer after this rude welcome."

Mortag looked at the human and nodded. " We were welcomed most politely by your Armor. He seems to have great skills with the forge."

Montoya smiled at this. "He is a true craftsmen. I am fortunate to have him. "

Montoya was grateful for the change of topic and the understanding.

"1900 hours would be most convenient for us." Archer said

"1900 it is then. " Montoya said smiling as he slipped away determined to ring his troopers necks.

Part 36 (Scoping out the Competition) PG

The Colonel bowed and left them.

Once he was out of hearing range for even a Vulcan T'Pol said " Areyou injured Sir?"

"I am fine T'Pol." Archer said smiling. He turned to the Klingons and said "Jonathan Archer Captain of the Starfleet Vessel Enterprise." he offered his hand to the Klingon.

"Mortag second in command of Task Force Zeta one. We are explorers who ran into several Romulan war birds. " he deliberately did not name his vessel. He wanted to keep its existence hidden.

"I am pleased you survived. Romulans seem to be the bane of every civilized race." Archer said "I have meet several of your people and found them brave and honorable. If we can offer any assistance to you we would be happy to."

Mortag smiled and said " Perhaps we can find common ground Captain. We have not dealt with this world before. I thought it unclaimed and hoped to approach the people here about an alliance. Is this a colony of Earth?"

Jonathan Archer considered his answer with care. "No but the population is human and this world could easily be a clone my world. We would not wish to come into conflict with your empire but neither will we abandon these humans."

"We would not expect that course of action. My family head in on his ship. Any discussions should include his input."

"That would be the proper course. This is a developing world and perhaps it could benefit from both our worlds help. The resources are plentiful and there is no reason we could not trade. If we declared this neutral territory both our peoples could perhaps find common ground." Archer said. "This is what I intend to suggest to
your leader. Perhaps he would care to join us?"

Tessa listened and felt uneasy she looked at Robert who was clearly standing defensively.

As an immortal Robert Helm had seen Empires rise and fall. If he was honest he had helped several do both. Somehow he was uneasy beings seemed to look on this world as something to be conquered. He had felt that he was facing an dangerous situation that had rules he could not understand. He moved closer to Tessa and for the first time in many years was glad to be Immortal. He wondered if perhaps his kind might be this worlds only true defense as they could not die.

T'Pol could sense the humans' fear but for the moment she would not reveal she could read his thoughts.

"This land is not open for colonization we belong to Spain." Tessa said firmly. She moved in front of the men and they were forced to stop. Robert moved to stop her but her eyes were blazing so he waited to see what she would do. "I will not allow you to carve it up."

"Donna Maria Theresa we should discuss this in private." T'Pol said

Mortag was impressed this little female had fire. "We shall talk. Trade can be valuable. Would you not wish to enrich these peasants?"

Jonathan Archer was impressed with this Klingon Warrior he was different. If his commander was the same perhaps Earth would find its first Klingon contact. Peace had to start somewhere as did trust. Terra Beta might just be the place.

"Fine then you will come to my Hacienda. There you can explain who and what you all are. I am the protector of these lands and if you wish to be here you will answer to me." She glared and Mortag and Archer both just shrugged.

Malcolm was impressed as she was facing off a Klingon and he had to admit that took guts. He looked forward to seeing this play out. He looked at Hoshi who now seemed less hostile.

Hoshi Sato was impressed. It was either very brave or very stupid to challenge a Klingon warrior. She had a feeling this was a mix of both. Yet if this woman was willing to take on unknown foes to defend these people and this place perhaps she was not all bad. She would reserve judgment and if she got her Katana back she even
apologize for calling the Queen a thief.

Part 37

The group road out to the Hacienda with Dona Theresa and Dr. Helm. Juan ran to inform the colonel of this fact and knew he would gain more of the Colonel's trust. The man was going to make him a gentleman and he would help the Queen. It was in his mind a win , win situation.

Montoya was concerned about these strangers but for the moment they took a back place to his anger over the fight. He read the men the riot act and hoped they think about their actions. He tossed the lot of them in the brig for a week on bread and water.

The ride to the Hacienda was silent and uncomfortable for all concerned . Morag's warriors were edgy but alert. He was not afraid of betrayal but he was concerned about not completing his mission.
However the human female seemed concerned and hostile so calming her fears might be wise.

The arrived and entered the massive structure. Mortag was impressed as it looked well maintained and large given the technology available. As they entered the rooms were cooler. Perhaps these people were not so backwards if they could engineer such a building.

Soval was reviewing the reports on the system that Archer and his crew had entered. His brow rose at the code on the bottom of the report. He tapped in a special code and a more detailed report appeared. What had the old High Command hidden behind this apparent non-descript log and map. He opened the classified file and began to read. He scrolled down quickly reading the report then stopped cold. He returned to the top of the report to ensure he had the report he expected and not a report of first contact with Earth. No ...the report was accurate there were two planets in systems that were identical except that they were half a quadrant away from each other. The one thing that was consistent and perhaps shocking was that both worlds were equal distance from Vulcan in on opposite sides.

This is not possible Soval thought. He read the report and found that this world was well behind the Earth he knew and served on. If Enterprise found this world then there would be massive complications. He took a deep breath as he considered how difficult life could be with two Terra especially if they decided to join
forces. One human world seeking out new life and civilizations had set the quadrant on its toes. What would two such worlds mean?

Soval opened a long distance channel to Vulcan and he encrypted the
message.

What in Surat's Name have we done! What will we tell the Humans?

He knew T'Pau and the council's brows would rise at this but such an
outrageous statement was certain to ensure they got back to him
quickly.

Tessa called several servant to her. She sent them to get Tea and other refreshments for her guests. She decided that there was no need to be uncivilized about this. Perhaps if they relaxed some she would learn more about who they were and what they wanted with her country and world.

Methos shifted to a more defendable position. He shoved Dr. Helm away and his appearance changed subtlety. T'Pol noticed that he had removed his outer coat and was now more able to move. Mortag was
impressed at the physical condition of this human. He was very muscular and he was wearing a short sword. The Klingons were not disturbed by this because it was not any threat to them.

Tessa went to a chest and opened it up. She removed a wrapped object.

"I believe this Katana is yours." She said to Hoshi as she handed it
over. "I never intended to keep it. I just was hoping Robert could
place the blade and tell me if you were who you said you were. It is
a fine weapon."

"Yes it is. "Hoshi said She looked over at the Captain and the
Klingons. "This blade has been in my family for generations. Would
you like to see it?"

Jonathan Archer was curious but he did not wish to appear
threatening to his host or to the Klingons.

"If Dona Theresa does not mind I would like to see this blade."
Mortag said. His mind already considering the news that Humans
valued blade weapons as well.

"It is a most impressive blade sir. " Dona Theresa said "It belongs
to the young lady and frankly it as much a piece of art as a weapon."

Hoshi blushed as she revealed the blade. She turned it blade facing
herself and offered it to their Clinton Captain. "Sir I would
appreciate your option. I am told your people are master blade
makers."

Mortag swelled with pride. He admired these humans they showed no
fear. He could not believe the trust she showed. He took the blade
and he examined it. It was fine blade. It did not matter that the
blade was not different it was an exceptional piece.

"The being forged this exceptional." Mortag said

"I am pleased. Craftsmanship is one of the things our people share."
Archer said

"Indeed Captain this blade shows this. I would value a trade with
your people and the people of this world." Mortag said

Part 38 (Blood wine and Buddies)

Archer smiled back. " I would be pleased to trade with you Captain. This land however belongs to Dona Maria Theresa's people. We came her to find certain metals and elements to trade in and to perhaps forge a friendship. While this world was not to our knowledge colonized by our Earth the beings here are human. "

"I would feel the same way Captain Archer." Mortag said "Any being would feel drawn to their kindred. " he turned to the human who had so bravely invited him in. "How would we go about securing trading rights? We have no desire to steal your world. " At least not now. I think it would be most unwise to provoke these humans. Sometime diplomacy is a swifter blade.

Tessa looked at Robert uncertain she believed either group. The problem was they were clearly far more advanced and it would not be politic to anger them.

Tessa responded with guarded optimism. "I think that trade could be most beneficial to our peoples. What is it you require and what would you be willing to offer in trade? I am not an official but I could introduce you to the Dons and the Colonel. While I admit to not always agreeing with Colonel Montoya or his policies he is our governor. I can assure you he would be pleased to find new sources of income and markets to sell in. We have several very strong industries and our ranchos produce many differing agricultural products along with several very good wines."

"Wine?" Mortag's second said smiling. "What type of wines?" He was thinking that their stores of blood wine were running low.

Tessa looked at Robert "Robert could you go get a few bottles from the cellar. A red white and maybe that whiskey we got from the Americans. What was it called Jack Daniel ? And that Jim Beam as well."

Trip, Malcolm and Jonathan all grinned. "JACK DANIELS?" Trip said he looked at the Klingons. "It is not as potent as your blood wine but it has a nice smooth taste. Or at least it does on Terra-Alpha."

Methos's brow rose at this uncertain he liked being rated second. While Tessa called him Robert he was shifting back to his Methos's persona just on case. If he had to he could become Death once more. He almost shivered at that thought. Somehow he had a feeling that these klingons could have given he and the other Horsemen a run for their money. He smiled as he thought of that god awful Scottish brew Mc Cloud gave him. He had no idea what Blood wine was but this stuff was made from Fermented sheep's blood. Maybe they would enjoy it. The drink had been a clan specialty or so Connor had said. He and Mac were the only ones he knew that really liked it. He wondered where his friends were and if he should try to reach them?

"Lt. Malcolm Reed is it? Could you give me a hand." he asked. "I do not wish to drop the bottles."

"Yes sir it be an honor." Malcolm said as he followed the oldest human down to the cellar. Malcolm was impressed at the size and scope of the cellar. He watched as Robert Helm chose 2 bottles of red wine and two of the white along with a jug of something. That jug was covered in dust but looked like it was very old. Then he was handed the whiskey. Malcolm grinned this Tessa certainly had the right idea to make friends. A good drink went a long way to easing tensions.

"What is in that jug if I might ask?"

"Well Lt. Reed it is a drink a couple of friends of mine make. It has a terrible taste and made out of sheep's blood. Your friends said they liked blood wine so I hope this will do. It is the closest we have to something like that. I stored it here because I do not have a cellar at home."

Malcolm grinned "Well Doctor at least they will know you tried. It will be a good point for you. Your attempting to honor them. Remember that no matter what Klingon's value honor."

"I will try to keep that in mind."

"Do so. Also remember they never give in and give no quarter in a fight. Generally they are the most dangerous adversaries you could face."

"Well then let us hope this wine and Tessa's silver tongue make us allies." Robert quipped. The men walked back up stairs.

"Robert why did you bring that? We want to make friends not enemies." Tessa glared at the large jugs he held under his arms.

"Captain Mortag your man said you drink a blood wine?"

"Yes this is true." Martog replied.

Malcolm grinned he had head of this drink and even tried it once in college on a bet. His friend Connor had given it to him. He knew it was as bad as the Scottish dish of Haggish. However from what he recalled the Klingons might actually love this drink.

"Well Captain a friend of mine family brews this drink. Now I admit it is potent and it is different. It is made from fermented sheep's blood. If you would like we can crack open this jug. I only have the two but as we are making friends it be well worth it. Then perhaps if you enjoy the brew I can get Mac to make some more for you?"

No so primitive then. Martog thought. "We will drink together as warriors should."

Methos smiled this drink had one advantage it was potent. He could use it to knock out their guests for a while so he and Tessa could think about what to do.

Malcolm moved to the Captain side. In low tones he whispered. "Sir if that drink is like one my friend used to serve it will have a kick worse then the blood wine."

"Alright Malcolm we will take small drinks." Archer replied back. He mentally told T'Pol the information. He would need her alert to offer assistance if needed. As much as he hated it she was the one with the best chance against these Klingons if a Physical fight broke out.

Mortag sniffed the wine. It had a strong order and he watched the Human sip his drink.

"It has a potent kick gentleman."

Tessa rolled her eyes. To the women she said "Let's leave them to their drinking I would love to show off my home."

"That would be most agreeable." T'Pol said She and Hoshi followed Tessa out.

Well at least you and Hoshi will stay sober T'Pol. I have a feeling we might just need that.

Be careful Jonathan you have no idea of the potency of these distilled beverages. T'Pol sent back.

Jon smiled and Trip looked at him as if to ask what?

"The Princess just reminded us not to enjoy these drinks to much." He said softly so their host would not notice. He noted that the lady treated this Dr. Helm in a very familiar way. Almost as if they were together. This he sent to his mate to inquire about if she could tactfully.

I will seek that answer. It may explain the dynamic we are seeing. They act almost as a bonded pair.

I agree with that. It could just be they are good friends but I do not think so. We need to know .

"Spoil sport." Said the laughing engineer grateful to no longer be receiving the mental lectures.

Oddly he was starting to feel better about losing T'Pol Here on Terra- Beta he could see just how much better Jon was for her. Then again maybe he had just realized he missed having to guess what a woman was thinking.

Robert took the role of host and cracked the jugs open. Then he expertly popped the corks and opened the bottles. "Which first gentlemen?"

"In honor of our Klingon friends the sheep's wine." Archer said he tried to hide his trepidation.

Mortag laughed and handed over his mug. "Maybe you should poor the wine for the humans. I will not be offended I know they have weak palates and have a hard time holding their drinks." He slapped Jonathan on the back good naturedly and he stumbled.

"Now that sir sounds like a challenge." Malcolm said he handed over his glass.

"I agree with Mal. Pour me some of that jug." Trip said smiling.

Methos sighed and decided he could live with drunken sailors once more. He was grateful for his early centuries of debauchery It would perhaps spare him to bad a hangover.

Jon handed his mug over and said "A contest then. If you are game?"

Mortag still laughing said "Yes I think that would prove interesting."

The men all began to drink the wine.

Mortag took a sip and smiled even broader. "This is a strong drink!" he declared "Worthy of a Klingon warrior. Who did you say made this?"

"My friend the Highlander Connor Mc Cloud of the Clan McCloud and his cousin Duncan."

"I would meet these humans." Mortag said taking a long drink.

Archer took a sip and was surprised that it had an interesting taste. It was not as strong as blood wine it was smoother . "More please." he said

His crew smiled and the drinking began in earnest.

Malcolm smiled as he watched the Klingon's drink. He could hold his liquored so he was not worried. Maybe this would prevent bloodshed?

Trip pondered the idea on how often males of differing species became friends over spirits? Must be a universal genetic marker. He slugged down his mug actually liking the taste.

Methos was stunned these people liked this drink? Aw well they were young yet. It had taken him over 500 years to appreciate a fine wine. He joined the game as the larger Klingons began to sing.

Part 39 (Making an Impression) PG 13

T'Pol let the ship know we have made contact. We will have the supplies soon I think.

Yes Captain. T'Pol said amazed that this drinking and singing might achieve more then diplomacy. "Is there a facility I may use?"

Tessa nodded and lead her to a water closet. It was one of the few in the California. She was for once pleased the devise. It made her feel less primitive.

T'Pol entered the room. Given the time period she was most impressed. She looked the equipment over for a moment and then placed the call.

Mortak was most impressed with Doctor Phlox and the nurse the Enterprise sent over. The woman especially impressed him with her no nonsense attitudes. She was taking no rudeness from any warrior. She had actually slapped one warrior across the face for taking liberties. She had gained a dark look from her doctor and Mortak was certain she would be lectured on it but in truth the fool deserved it and he was going to privately tell the doctor so. This woman was clearly a strong female. He looked over and saw his second son Martog
watching her intensely. He smiled at this having to agree that for a human she was most impressive.

Liz Cutler looked up and was surprised to be observes so closely by the Captain and that Lt. Martok. Both were impressive to look at but she felt oddly drawn to the Lt. He was striking in his masculinity and she kept stealing looks. He was injured and she had yet to treat him as his wounds were minor compared to his shipmates. He stood there quietly and did not complain. Liz had to admit it was impressive as that plasma burn on his arm and leg had to hurt very badly. Liz watched him stiffen as she struck a young crew man who had tried to get to friendly. At first she though he was angry with her until she saw the crewman pale. What ever he had growled out
worked because from then on she was treated with the up most was amused because until now his son had shown no interest in any female. Well at least not the type of interest that would gain him legitimate grandchildren. The more he witnessed the more he approved. This female had fire and courage. If all humans had the qualities he had witnessed he could not understand why the High Council was so determined to clash with them.

They had courage, honor and compassion. The last was not a trait his people had in abundance
but it was one that in this case was most helpful. While he was uncertain they would ever be friends there was no need for them to become enemies. Once more he wondered at the lies and misinformation House Duras was peddling.

Travis was nervous at the situation. He however was determined to keep Enterprise safe. He looked up as Lt. Kelby joined him.

"Lt. Kelby are the repairs finished ?"

"Yes sir. At least all we can do without our supplies. We now have minimal warp. Maybe 1.2 and we have front Torpedo tubes 1 and 2. The phasers are out until we get new Crystals and the hull is still on force shield on deck 4 section k. We need metal to seal that area. The force shield should hold and we locked down those compartments as an added safeguard. How soon before we get our supplies? We would be in no shape to take on one bird of prey much less two."

"I know but you have done an excellent job with what you have. Soon I hope. The Sub Commander T'Pol's last message said they had made contact with both the humans and Klingons. So far all looks like it will be peaceful. Let us just hope we do not get any unexpected surprises."

At that remark Kelby looked at him sharply. "With all due respect sir we are on Enterprise."

Travis laughed." I know that is what we are staying alert. Any chance you could boost the scanners? I have a really, really bad feeling."

"I can try sir. I have to go back to engineering for some extra equipment. Give me 10 minutes to find it and I will do my best."

"That is all anyone can ask for Jamie." Travis said smiling. "Have you eaten yet?"

"No sir."

"I will have chef bring you a sandwich too then. I ordered them for the command crew. I do not want us to leave the bridge."

"Understood sir. Make mine ham and cheese."

Travis nodded and had Ensign George relay the additional orders.

Methos was most impressed at his companions ability to drink sing and joke all at the same time. He found the Klingons were not so different then the Mongol's he had rode with across the steps of Asia. He found he liked both the humans and Klingons and against his better j judgment began to trust them a little.

Tessa was very impressed with Hoshi's manners. Now that they were not fighting she could see the young woman was truly friendly and outgoing. Clearly the early incident was only a misunderstanding.
Sometime first impressions could be off. She offered her more refreshments and they began to talk of family and tradition awaiting Princess T'Pol's return.

"May I ask if She is really royal? She seem like a queen to me."

Hoshi smiled. "I am not certain if Vulcan's have royalty but she is highly placed in her government or was until she agreed to stay with us on Enterprise. The Sub Commander is a unique individual and frankly next to the Captain the one I most trust on our command staff. She has taught me a lot over the years and I am deeply honored to be allow ed to serve and know her. I know she scarf iced a lot to stay and help us. I just wish we could repay it in some small way. But the truth is my Earth can never repay the debt we owe. The sad
thing is most people on Earth fail to see how good and decent the Vulcan people are. The fail to appreciate the generosity of spirit and keen insight. It has saved us may a time and frankly I would be afraid to serve on the ship if she thought to leave us. We are all better for her being there."

T'Pol was coming back and her keen Vulcan hearing picked that last part up. She blushed green and paused. She did not wish to embarrass Hoshi Sato.

Part 40 (Plans)

Mortak watched his son as he moved to be treated. He had to admit he was most impressed with his reserve. The wound he had had to be excruciatingly painful and he did not scream. He watched with admiration as the small human female carefully cut away the damaged uniform.

"Lt. I have to clean this burn and cut away the damaged flesh. I would like to give you an anesthetic so you do not have to suffer this."

"I am a Klingon warrior I can bear the pain." Martok said.

Liz looked at him sharply. "I am more then certain that you can sir. The fact is I am not the most skilled nurse. This is my secondary specialty. I would just feel better if you were unable to feel my work. I know you could endure the pain easily enough but it would not be so easy for me to do this properly if I thought I was hurting you.
I am a healer not a butcher. Please let me do this. For my sake not yours. I promise the affects will only last about half an hour."

Both Klingons noted the humans obvious distress.

"Do you perhaps have a local form of this anesthetic. I am sorry to cause you distress but I must remain alert." Martok said softly. His fingers pushed her chin up. "It means much that you would spare us pain. Your care to my people has been most kind."

Liz looked up into his eyes in shock. He did not seem like any Klingon she had meet before. He seemed gentle and kind. His chocolate eyes enticed her. She blushed as she wondered what it be like to kiss this man.

"I can ask the doctor. Excuse me." She slipped away before she made a fool of herself.

Mortak came to his son's side. "She is lovely my son."

"I would have her father. You would not mind?"

"No, She would be a fitting addition to our house human or not." He replied.

"Good because I intend to make her mine." Martok said " Malliak has a Klingon Bride and 4 son's so it should not matter my choice."

"If you choose one who was unworthy I would object Klingon or not. This human however has spirit and compassion. Perhaps an alliance would be beneficial. "

"I know not if she comes from a powerful house?" Martok said

"It matters little. " Mortak said "It might be best is she was an orphan no one to challenge or object to your taking her."

Martok was stunned at this concession. " Indeed it would be simpler. Perhaps the symbolism will be enough to improve relations with the humans."

"We shall see. This ship Enterprise is not as we have been lead to believe. The Denoblian doctor, Vulcan and the crew are most loyal to this Archer. If he was the pirate Duras claims this would not be so. I am beginning to think we have been lied to and lead astray by Duras."

"I agree father. I worry what they are up to with us so far from home." Martok said

"I know this. I will just have to trust your mother and grandmother to keep the family safe. They are brave women. Now do not give the human to much trouble my son. You will find sometimes it is simpler to bend to ones mates wished. " Mortak said grinning.

Liz came back and wondered what had both Klingon male s smiling for. She suddenly had a feeling she had been the object of discussion.

Dr. Phlox followed Liz over and noted the Keen interest the Klingons had on Liz. He felt a little uneasy as he recognized desire on the younger males face. He also saw approval on the elders. This could get very complicated if what he suspected was true.

Part 41 (Healers Touches)

Dr. Phlox went to help Liz and said "Use the hypo spray. The drug should allow Lt. Martok to remain alert but sufficiently numb the area so you can work more efficiently. Lt. Martok this may sting a little."

Martok sucked in his breath as the doctor began cleaning his wound as Liz prepared the medicine. If he did not know better the doctor had done that on purpose.

Liz injected him and began to cut more of the ruined uniform away. She gasp.

"Oh by the lords that must hurt. I do not even know how you can stay conscious." She carefully opened a container and removed a squirming ell.

"What is that?" Martok asked. He was shocked that the nurse had a living creature in her hands.

"Dr. Phlox uses natural remedies when possible. This is a Vulcan sand ell. It is a scavenger and it will clean out your wound. It coats its feeding ground with a thin shell. That is it will eat the ruined flesh and ignore the living. Then it will cover the living with a shell to protect it. That will act as an artificial skin until your own can grow back or until we can clone some for you. "

"Does this work?"

"Oh yes it works well. " Liz rolled up her sleeve and showed him a healed scar. "See this was burned about six months ago when a conduit exploded. As you can see it is almost healed. It was almost as bad as your burns just not as large. The little things hit all my ticklish spots but it worked well."

Martok swallowed hard as he saw her shoulder and arm she was a well formed female.

"I trust this. Proceed "he said. He gave her a grin.

Liz smiled and set the ell on him. He was not bad for a Klingon.

"I am sorry if this is uncomfortable but it is the fastest way to heal fully."

The Doctor looked up and sighed as he could see Liz was winning this warrior over.

He placed an ell on his patient and moved along. He looked at the Captain.

"Captain Mortak sir the injured members of your crew are all treated as soon as Crewman Cutler finishes with Lt. Martok. Will you be needing anything else?"

"No Dr. Phlox I believe we will be fine. Your assistance had been most appreciated and we will not forget this. "

Phlox bowed slightly. "It is my duty as a healer to ease suffering. I care not if who I aid. But if this small act will encourage peace between our peoples and perhaps the humans and their coalition then I am honored to have helped. Peace is a much more beneficial action."

Mortak scoffed but nodded. "Perhaps… I will consider this. It is true that we do have common foes. It might be wiser to not engage one an other and concentrate on defeating the Romulans. I will consider suggesting this action to the High Council. After all you helped us when you had no need to. This is not an action of a foe."

Phlox sighed and knew this was the best he would get. He just was not a diplomat. "I am certain a beginning is enough for now. After all we do not know each other well. It takes time to understand an other culture. We may have common foes but our cultures are different. It seems we could learn much form your people. I was most impressed with the laser scalpel Dr. Goran used. It was much finer then the ones I have available on Enterprise. Perhaps an exchange could be conducted with yours and Captain Archers Approval of course."

Mortak straightened up. He was pleased at the complement. While Denoblians were pacifists it they were considered some of the best healers in the galaxy. While a laser scalpel was not a weapon it did honor the craftsmanship of his people. A doctor of Phloxes ability and reputation being impressed was enough to make him smile.

"I will speak with your captain about this possibility." He replied.

T'Pol returned to join her hostess and Hoshi. She was pleased to see both women seated at a table talking quietly. She took a seat and picked up her cup of hot tea.

Luis Montoya returned home in a foul mood. He could not believe his troopers had picked a fight. He entered the house and tossed down his coat and gloves. He was dusty from the yard and wanted to clean up. Without thinking about it he headed for his room stripping off his shirt as he went.

Marta heard a load crash and got up out of the bed. She was suddenly concerned something had happened. She stumbled into the hall just as Luis was climbing the stairs. She stopped in her tracks and was stunned. While it had always been clear that the Colonel was in good shape this she had not expected. She swallowed hard and looked away.

Luis looked up and swore under his breath. He quickly slipped into his room and grabbed his robe. "A thousand pardons Seniora. I ..Forgive me. I thought you must be resting and was not thinking. " He blushed red truly embarrassed. As the Colonel he might have a million bad sides but as a man he had always tried to be a gentlemen. He was embarrassed to have acted so impolitely.

Marta could see his genuine contrition. Any angry retort was lost. "That is alright Colonel this is your home. Perhaps I should be leaving?"

Montoya blushes. "No, No rest. I am just unused to having guest and acted foolishly. Please forgive my forward behavior. I was just hurrying to get cleaned up. Would you join me for a luncheon? I mean once I am cleaned up and decent again? I am truly honored to have you here."

Marta looked at him and oddly enough she believed him. "I would like that Colonel." He really is a good looking man. I wonder if maybe he is not so bad? Maybe he just needs someone to care about? Marta politely looked away as she returned to her room. " I am sorry to incontinence you."

Luis caught her arm and turned her to him gently

"I like having company. Let me go clean up and we can have lunch and talk. Marta I … I really did not mean offence."

"I know ." She said smiling. "You simply forgot. Go clean up colonel before someone sees us and jumps to conclusions. You have a reputation as a gentleman to protect."

He smiled pleased she was concerned for him. "Maybe but you are a lady and I would not harm your good name either. " he took her hand and kissed it lightly. "I will see you in a little while. We can eat on the Terrace. The fresh air will make you feel better."

Marta blushed oddly liking his concern. "I would like that Colonel." She said

Part 42(Reports)

T'Pol pulled back from the meld. She could sense Jonathan growing wary.

"Are you alright Jonathan?"

"I am fine. It is just so hard to believe. Even reviewing it through our shared memories it seems impossible. Did I really engage in a drinking contest? I mean I remember the hangover but still….."

T'Pol quirked a brow " I believe Charles said that it was a universally accepted way for males to bond. He reminded me that Zephraim Cochrane gave the first Vulcan's Whiskey. He also suggested the earlier fight at that bar may have encouraged the friendship to form. I also somehow I believe the Kilingons may have responded better then their Vulcan counterparts to the offer of spirits."

Jonathan grinned as he laid back. He put an arm behind his head and drew T'Pol down to rest on his chest. "You know I think that would be an accurate guess. I know it worked but I am not so certain it would be wise to include that in the report?"

"I would not include that Jonathan. "T'Pol said "Perhaps it would be wiser to praise the Doctor and Crewman Culter's humanitarian aid. I am certain that the actions they took encouraged a more measured approach."

"Maybe …. Then again the Klingons plan to trade for that wine. Maybe I should just say we sampled trade items?"

T'Pol brow rose at this evasive choice of words. It seemed that Jonathan was learning the art of subterfuge. Then again he had been observing her and Soval for most of his life. Sometime he could almost act like a Vulcan. In this case however it was not one of their better qualities he was imitating.

"You are tired Jonathan. Perhaps you should sleep and begin again in the morning. It may shed a better option."

"A better light on the subject." Jon said smiling. He loved that she tried to use idioms but somehow she still tripped over them. "May I stay here?"

T'Pol looked at him. She had intended to meditate but he looked so lost and tired. "If you wish."

She cuddled in and decided meditating could wait. She had to work on a plausible report.

"T'Pol ignore it. You are right we can begin it again in the morning." He kissed her head and rolled to blow out the candle. He was not going to care. Instead he was going to spend the night with his wife. Starfleet could wait.

Part 43(The Hearts Desire)

Marta sat down with Luis and began to eat her noon meal. She had been quite surprised that he had returned and impressed at his manners. He was not so bad when he was not trying to run and rule everyone. As she talked with him over their meal she found him witty and charming. She could almost forget he was at times very ruthless.

"Marta is your meal alright?" He asked. Luis had noticed she had not been eating much.

"Oh it is wonderful Colonel. I suppose I never expected to be your guest."

He smiled and nodded had anyone told him a month ago he would be entertaining Marta and enjoying her company he could have laughed.

"I am no one special Marta." He said then he took a sip of his wine.

"That is not true colonel. You are an important man. You are the voice of the King in this community. We depend on you for our safety and justice." Marta said

Luis blushed as he remembered that this was supposed to be his function. He looked away and wondered when ambition had begun to cloud his judgment?

"I am not an important man." he said He might have been the son of a noble but legally he was just an ordinary man.

For the first time he was not angry over that. He watched the woman across from him and found he was enjoying her company. She had a natural grace and kindness. Maybe being a simple man was enough? What good was wealth and power if one was always alone? He thought for a moment and realized he wanted a home and family even more then power and wealth.

"Tell me Marta do you have a desire for a family?"

Marta looked up sharply at him. "I think every woman has that wish. I just have not found a man who wanted a family with me. I am to old to opinionated to suffer a weak fool."

Luis smiled at that. "No you would need a strong male. One who could listen and respect your mind."

"What about you Colonel? Why are you still single? You are one of the most eligible men in the territory."

Luis preened. "I have not meet a woman who would stand up to me." He answered with total honesty. "I do not wish a doormat or a slave but a partner."

"It is ironic is it not then Colonel that the one woman who dit that is the Queen of Swords"

He scoffed at that idea "She is a wayward child immature and impulsive. I want a woman. My name is Luis you may use it. I like the way you speak to me. "

Marta blushed. "Luis I am being to forward?"

"Never….Plain speaking is perhaps best… "He sipped his drink and made a decision. "It is best if one intends to court a woman. May I court you Marta?" He realized suddenly that this woman could be his hearts desire.

Martok caught the Liz Cutler's hand when she was finished working on him. He looked into her eyes and brought it to his lips. Liz heart almost stopped as she thought he was going to kiss it. Instead he sniffed it briefly and then licked it. His tongue tracing each finger. Her heart skipped a beat at this erotic action. She wondered if this was his intention or if she was being considered as an object for dinner. Looking into his eyes that thought disappeared. She was pulled against him and any questions she had were tossed aside as she felt his intentions.

Martok growled out in broken English. The Translator working hard to keep up. " I would claim you. May I know you. I would make you a member of my house."

Liz was stunned. She swallowed hard and looked around for help. The Doctor was gone as were the other crewmen. Damn she thought Who would have thought a Klingon might prove to be her tall dark Prince?

"I….I do not know what it is you want?" She stammered "Do you want a healer?"

"I would claim you." He was clearly looking for the right words to convey his intentions. "I would make you my mate/ wife. Ally our houses and peoples. You have courage and honor and fire. I want that."

Liz blushed. "So you wish to court me to see if we could be a family?"

Martok cocked his head. "Court… Is this a human custom?"

"Yes."

"I would prove I am worthy. This is what you demand?"

Liz shook her head afraid she had offended him. "I know you are a worthy male. An honorable Klingon. But I do not know you personally. Humans learn about each other to see if we can be a good match. I might not be worthy of you or your house." She looked down.

"I am an orphan and have only this ship and crew as family."

He held her hand and pulled her closer still. "I will gift you with my family and my house. Together we will found a new house as well. I will honor your custom and court you. You will see I am worthy and I will prove to you that you are perfectly matched to me."

Now the translator worked better as it adapted to his speech patterns.

"You will lean Klingon." He said "It is more precise then this English."

Liz laughed and had to agree most languages were more accurate then English. "If that is your heart's desire."

Martok smiled realizing he had already won this human female she was just challenging him to prove he could match her fire. That was alright he would enjoy the challenge. He stroked her hair and vowed soon she would learn about passion and fire. He would teach her Klingons and family were one. He knew she was his heart's desire and he would build his house with her. He would always serve his family and father and brother but with such a female at his side he could build a dynasty. A dynasty that would protect both their worlds from the Romulan threat. Their union would forge a blood alliance and Peace with the humans. Yes, this was his heart's desire to be more then just a second if well loved son.

Part 44 (Bridges)

Tessa watched as T'Pol and Hoshi sipped their tea. Both woman had clearly been raised in households that were of the nobility. Hoshi Sato may assume the role of a junior officer but Tessa had no doubt she came from a noble family.

The women manners were to precise to delicate to belong to common people.

"So Hoshi how is it you speak my language?"

Hoshi sipped her tea and then set the cup down. "I study languages. Spanish was the third language I learned. Japanese is my native tongue and Protegeese was the language of my homeland."

"I thought you were from Japan?" Tessa asked confused.

"My family is from Japan but we lived in Brazil."

"How was this?"

T'Pol answered." Earth has become one people. "

"I do not understand?" Tessa said confused.

"Earth still has nations but overall it is ruled by a central government. It is also part of a larger group of planets. While we have planetary independence we all work within the Federation." Hoshi tried to explain.

"So on your Earth there is peace?"

"Yes it is." Hoshi said

"That would be a wonderful thing." Tessa said "Peace is a dream we have long wished for."

"It is a worthy goal." T'Pol said. "It has taken Earth many years to achieve it."

"I hope we find it one day." Tessa said. " Tell me about this alliance your people want?"

"Captain Archer will explain this better. But we need supplies and are willing to trade for it. The arrival of the Klingon's have complicated matters. They are a noble people in many ways but they can be conquerors." Hoshi said

Tessa looked at T'Pol "Are they dangerous to my people?"

"They can be. Enterprise however will not abandon you. We will protect you because you are human." T' Pol said

"I do not understand how you are here. How can I believe you? How is it that they would invade us?" Tessa said

"We have no proof that this would happen. It is just that is possible." T'Pol said with total honesty." As we have said the Klingons are honorable people. They are however an empire and empires seek to grow. It could be they may seek a peaceful alliance. "

Hoshi looked away and took a deep breathe "I agree with the Sub-Commander if they seek to have peaceful relations that might actually be in your world's best interest. They are a powerful and few would seek to harm a world allied with them."

"Are you by chance suggesting they may be better allies to have?"

Hoshi shrugged." In all honesty they have a more powerful military. The difference is in culture and custom. They are not human but as we found with our allies the Vulcan's , Denoblians ,Tellerites and Andorians that does not mean they are not worthy. "

T'Pol was impressed with Hoshi's honesty. " It may well be that this world could become a bridge between all our peoples. Peace is always better and if indeed we could work together here then perhaps peace would spread. That possibility is what the Captain hopes to explore. Of course your world would need to help with this. Your leaders would need to choose to become the bridge."

TBC

Review if you want more lol!

TBC

Review if you want more lol!

TBC

Review if you want more lol!

TBC

Review if you want more lol!