Prologue “Our minds to your mind.”

Location: T’Pol’s Quarters Enterprise  

Year : 2155.60

T’Pol sat on her bed in her quarters, her chin resting on her hands. Her face was tilted to one side, looking blankly across the room, looking at nothing in particular; taking nothing in. She had been in this pose for many hours.

In the early hours of the morning, she had revived herself, dressed in her Vulcan Mourning robes and sat down on the bed disconsolate, almost in a trance.

Why had she been sat in the same position for several hours, clutching her mother’s pendant that celebrated the Vulcan ethos of Infinite Diversity, utterly bereft? It was simple. Her feelings, the circumstances she was in, did not make sense. She was grieving for the loss of a child, a child which she had not borne, as if it were hers. It was not logical.

The child was a wicked construct of the terrorist organisation, Terra Prime and had been cloned from two sets of stolen DNA samples, one being hers. It was not her child and yet it was. No, it was not logical.

What made it harder to bare, was that the terrorists had not only used her DNA but the DNA of the man that she had become Bonded to in the last two tumultuous years of her life. A man that, one day, might by choice have become the father of her natural child. She had been robbed of this cloned child, robbed of the right to chose whether her and the Human might decide to have a child of their own. They had both been robbed of the most precious, most intimate part of a Vulcan or a Human: their reproductive DNA.  

She could not even begin to start to consider which of these matters she should try to deal with, as she sat numb, burdened with real grief. She knew that meditation was beyond her and then, she sensed his presence moving toward her.

The entry chime sounded.     

T’Pol did not move. She simply offered a resigned, emotionless, instruction in her beautiful musical voice, “Come in.” He stood there looking entirely bereft. His arm was in a sling, which only added to his sense of vulnerability. Where was the cheerful confident man she had sparred with when they first met? Where was the man that had circled her and, if she were honest, she had danced around for the last two years? Gone. Replaced by a broken vulnerable soul.  

He began to speak, desperately trying not to cry but failing. “The delegates at the conference, they’ve asked about the service for Elizabeth. They want to attend.”  T’Pol, again utterly dispassionate, offering agreement to the proposal in the starkest way possible. “She was important.”

That clarity gave the man something to work with. He moved toward her, sat down next to her and began speaking between broken, agonising sobs.

“There’s something else. I spoke with Phlox. It turns out there was a flaw in the technique that Paxton’s doctors used in the cloning process of Human and Vulcan DNA.” He turned to look at her. T’Pol moved her head, looking at him, acknowledging the intensity of her interest in what he was going to say next. “Phlox says there’s no medical reason why they can’t combine….” He can barely keep it together now, as she sends out waves of calm deliberation. “So if a Vulcan and a Human ever decided to have a child, it’d probably be okay. And that’s kinda comforting.” As he finished the word ‘comforting’ she reached out and placed her hand on him offering just that ….comfort and without any hesitation or the uncertainty between them of the last two years, he grabbed her hand and wrapped his fingers around hers.

Location: Jonathan Archer’s Quarters. 

Jonathan Archer smashed the baseball against the wall for the umpteenth time. On this occasion when he caught the ball he looked down at the dog. His dog, Porthos. He looked at the dog’s expression and wondered was he able just to sense his keeper’s distress or that of everyone on the ship. He certainly looked a picture of sombre, mournful, reflection. 

The intercom burst into life. “Captain Archer? “ “Hoshi, what is it?” “Ambassador Soval would like to speak with you?” “OK, I will fire up my Pad.” “No – he is here in person.”  The Captain wondered what that was about? “OK, Hoshi, Give me five, Archer out.”

The entry chime sounded.

“Come.” The door drew back, the only sound the soft hydraulic noise of the movement of air as it was expounded from the cavity into which the door withdrew.

Archer stood up. He looked at Soval with a frown and beckoned him to take a seat at the Captain’s Table. “What’s on your mind?” Soval remained standing, “I know this is a difficult time for the Enterprise but I wish to offer some guidance.” Archer’s face twitched: what the hell kind of guidance do they need right now? And then he verbalised, “Ambassador, be warned: I am not in the mood for a Vulcan lecture right now… but it’s you, Soval,” acknowledging their mutual respect for each other, “so… ” gesturing, “Please take a seat.” “Thank you, Captain.”

Soval sat down, placed his hands on the table, folding the fingers into each other and began. “You hardly need me to tell you, Captain, after all these years, that whilst Vulcans offer an implacable exterior, they are merely controlling profound and deeply felt emotions.”

Archer nodded.

Soval continued, “Part of the ritual of suppression has created a deep seated desire for privacy, particularly regarding intimate matters.”  “Yes,” Archer responded, “I had experience of that whilst T’Pol was dealing with Pa’nar syndrome.” “Well, Jonathan,” carried on the Vulcan, the Captain’s eyebrow raised at the unusual way in which Soval addressed him. “I believe the latest sequence of events have done far greater damage to T’Pol than all of the other matters she has had to deal with under your command. Not least because they are all beyond her control. They are as much an attack on her psychological privacy as her physical privacy.” Soval warmed to his theme, “Her DNA sequencing for reproduction has been stolen, combined with a human’s DNA and, in an act of propaganda, a child produced. I cannot think of a greater potential invasion of a Vulcan woman’s privacy or her soul, her Khatra… Then, there is the confusing and disturbing matter of her grieving as if she is the child’s mother. Which she is not.”

Jonathan Archer sat back. Not for the first time the Ambassador had taken the wind out of his sails. He realised he had been focusing on the child, its misuse and death and not really considered quite separately T’Pol’s other challenges. He also began to consider the other person in this tragedy.

Archer relaxed, realising this was the real reason for his visit. “So, what do you suggest?” Soval looked down at his hands and then straight at Jonathan Archer, their eyes meeting. “I have taken counsel on this matter. I am told it is imperative that she be relieved of her command position on the Enterprise and return to Vulcan. She must travel to Mount Seleya and seek out the Order of Surak. Only there can she find restitution…. balance. We believe if she does not, she may die… or worse still for a Vulcan in her despair, succumb to madness.”    

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