Day 9 2156.285
Location: Trip’s Cell 0900
His eyelids flickered open. He was lying on the floor, his head turned to the left looking at the entrance to the cell, the door was open. His hands were free and he tried to move them to give him support to lift himself. He was too weak, he couldn’t do it. He tried rolling over on his back. He pushed his body over, putting all his weight on his right shoulder as leverage and fell back. He groaned, “Aaagggh.” In pain, he stared at the ceiling, trying to collect himself and gather his thoughts.
The Previous Day Day 8 Location: Torture Room
Just seconds ago he had called Valdore an animal, sat on the floor next to the dead body of Valhoth he considered him properly for the first time. His behaviour was that of an animal but by God, as he took him in he realised he was actually physically ugly too, even for a Romulan. For many reasons, he offered his capture a disgusted sigh.
Valdore was not the first or the last torturer that realised he was not succeeding and the gambit with Valhoth had achieved nothing. He did not understand Trip, who had lost his sister and his daughter, was not afraid of death. He thought he could grind this man, who seemed to charm women, down he had miscalculated badly.
Valdore was running out of time and he now knew he would never get the confession he was looking for. He tried to humiliate Trip. “Commander, you are free to go. It turns out you are of no value. Even your so called ‘girlfriend’…” he spat the word out to give emphasis to the implied sense of betrayal, “has given up on you. She has left.” He came and stood over Trip and put his hands on his shoulders and looked down at him. “It seems, Trip,” flaunting knowledge of what only his friends called him but loaded with irony, “that your mission has been a miserable failure. A total and utter failure.” Trip, his eyes half closed, lifted his face to meet Valdore’s, and snarled at him, “I !..don’t!..believe!..you!”
Valdore let go of him turned and left. As he got to the door he turned. “If you could go back to the cell it would be appreciated. We need to clean this room of your stench for the next ‘visitor’. Any difficulties, my colleagues will help you.”
Trip went to move forward but he was utterly spent and fell down. The Romulan guards picked him up as if to support him, and then smashed him in the stomach. He fell to the floor again and they began kicking him: his face, his ribs, his groin, his back. They then stamped on his stomach, his legs, his arms and finally they threw him in the cell and left him for dead. The Third Phase. It was all over in barely ten minutes.
T’Pol was there.
I am nearly spent. I need to be out of here.
The tears rolling down his face..
I cannot take much……He passed out
The Next Day Day 9 Location: Trip’s Cell
Lying on his back, he eased his way to the wall, propelling himself with the bottom of his feet. Finally, his head hit the wall and he began dragging himself up until he was sat against the wall. He looked in front of him. Opposite was an old man, battered, bruised, wide eyed, sores on his face, wearing dirty, filthy rags. He couldn’t see properly and whispered to him. It was then he realised he was talking to himself. He was looking in a mirror that must have been activated. The entire wall reflected back at him.
The filthy, unkempt, old man was him. The pitiful creature he was looking at was Charles Tucker III. Trip, the ladies’ man, Commander Tucker, the perfect gentlemen. The one the girls all fell in love with. What would Kaitaama make of him now? What would any of them make of him now?
A tear fell down his cheek and then he began to sob uncontrollably. He lifted his arms and rested them on his thighs. The pain was excruciating. His muscles were torn and desperately tender from the constant electrocution. He withdrew his hands to his skivvies and, as he moved his hands upward, he came across a raised fold on the left side, he felt around it with his thumb. Something was definitely there. Terrified, he tore at whatever it was. He realised it was ‘inside’ his undergarments. He looked for an opening to get at whatever was there. Maybe a tracking device? He tore at the material and ripped off the pocket and pulled it out. He shut his eyes and opened them and began weeping again. It was Hoshi’s charm, his “Guardian Angel.”
He shook his head disbelievingly. He gripped the charm tightly in his left hand and did not let go. The tears came again.
Sometime later – a minute, an hour, a day, a week?
He opened his eyes again. Someone was in the room, very close, looking at him. He tried to focus one eye. He must be dreaming: it was a MACO medico. The apparition looked at someone who was by the door. The medico was shaking his head from side to side, a grave look on his face. The female MACO he was looking at spoke first, “We cannot leave him here. We have to take him back with us. He doesn’t stand even a chance of survival otherwise.” “What you mean is we have to take him forward.” Her eyes rolled, “Don’t be a pedant.” The medico came to some kind of decision and nodded, “You know, you will make a sentimental old fool out of me yet.” He paused. “Get their things, go ahead.” He nodded disdainfully, “I will deal with these dunderheads.” She smiled at him. “Good decision. By the way, you might want to change. But don’t take this as a decision that I want to hook up with you again. This is for them.”
Location: Senate Room 0915
T’Pol turned to face the Praetor looking for a response. He rose with the Sceptre in his left hand, that could only mean one thing… war. She had guessed right. She shut out the other personality entirely.
She stood resolute, waiting for his judgement: the end of the mission, the end of her and the end of Trip. If only she had brought the weapon into the Senate she would have the Monster that was her father. But most of all, she wanted the Romulan that had brought so much to pain to her… Suddenly, she was aware of an outcry from the Senators behind her. The Presidium stood as one and looked at something beyond her. She turned, took in what she saw and ran toward them. But the figure dressed in thick set white robes that had appeared out of nowhere shook his head at her, communicating to stay where she was.
His voice filled the senate room with its rage. “This is outrageous! outrageous!!” And then quieter, more deliberate. “Humans remain on trial. They always will. They are always capable of backsliding, even though they have been doing rather well, recently. Vulcans are just too dull, but you blockheads win the barbarian stakes, hands down.”
He carried the broken, battered, bruised body of Trip around the Senate Floor. “Look, just look at the result of your Credo. You need a new one: to boldly go and brutalise everyone.” He looked at T’Pol and indicated he wanted her to approach. “I am afraid he doesn’t weigh very much.” T’Pol held out her arms as his broken body was handed over to her. Speaking to her quietly, with sympathy. “I will finish off here. You get along, there isn’t much time.” And with T’Pol displaying her Vulcan strength, cradling Trip’s body in her arms, she simply vanished.
“What makes me so angry? Well, many things make me angry, but let’s start at the beginning. Here is the thing… And listen very carefully, especially you holding the poker,” looking at Atare, “It just hasn’t occurred to some of the slow ones here that these two were genuine, has it? And those of you bright enough to work out they were – what was your reaction? Terror! So for the slow ones in the room and the beast skulking outside somewhere, who was trying to extract a confession from the Human, I will repeat myself.
“They came for exactly the reasons they stated. To give you free reign to be numbskulls, whilst they actually make some modest progress.
“Let’s get down to what makes me really, really, angry. Not that thousands of your glorious warriors, generals and admirals and all you other self important dimwits will die in the next four years. But it’s the others: thousands of millions of others that did not want to fight, yet are forced into this senseless nonsense.
“If you want to go round the Universe with your dreadful line in tailoring,” looking at Tolsek with his vainglorious uniform, “Shoulder pads really are so two centuries ago – ‘civilising’ the Universe in your uniquely uninteresting way, that’s your affair. But know this, one day you will want the help of people like the two you think you have outflanked,” once again looking at T’Pol’s father, “And… they won’t be there for you, mark my words.” and with that, he too vanished.
One Minute Later
Praetor Atare smashed his Sceptre on the wooden arm of his chair and walked swiftly to the floor. As he passed the closest consul, he bent down and spoke quietly, “Bolt the doors. Nobody leaves.”
Atare attempted to be breezy, dismissive. “Senators, as my Presidium are aware my concern about this visit was simple: it would sew confusion. Today has proved, conclusively, that my fear was justified. Do not concern yourselves. Commander Tolsek has experience of these kinds of Vulcan mind games and will debrief each one of you, offering guidance and support on any matters that concern you before you return to your … Regions.” They all picked up the deadly threat to their families.
He beckoned Tolsek to him and spoke to him, alone. “I believe your acquired Vulcan skills with the mind will be perfect for the occasion.” Tolsek looked at Atare, “Indeed. Once the surveillance record is destroyed, it will be as if this visit never happened.” Atare began walking away, stopped and turned, “Tolsek, next time, don’t hide behind the Tal’shiar’s Oath of Secrecy, give me the facts immediately.” Tolsek bowed, acknowledging but not agreeing with Atare’s final request. Some loyalties remained unmovable.