Enterprise, January 2155

The lights in her quarters were dimmed to soften the pain that weighed down her heart, like a rock tied around her neck.  In her hand, she clutched tightly the symbol of hope that her mother had bestowed to her.  She closed her eyes and relived the moment she hung this same hope on the side of the glass enclosure that encased her daughter, as she struggled to live.  Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination, T’Pol thought despondently.

She opened her eyes slowly and stared into empty space, wondering how she would cope with such a deep loss.  None of her Vulcan training had prepared her for the bond that she formed with her daughter in such a short time, it wasn’t logical.  But logic went out the door as soon as she laid eyes on her child. She was stirred from her thoughts at the sound of her door chiming. Though consciously not wishing for company, her instinct encouraged a soft reply.  “Come in.”

Her gaze remained staring into the void as Trip entered, his arm still supported by a sling.  He stood silently in front of the closed door, his face awash with sorrow.  “The, uh, delegates at the conference, they've, uh, asked about the service for, um...”  He faulted and raised his hand to his heart to stop the knife-like pain from tearing it apart.   He tried for a deep breath before he continued, “for Elizabeth.  They want to attend.”

Still unable to meet his eyes, T’Pol replied.  “She was important.”

“There's something else,” he began as he walked slowly toward T’Pol and sat down gently next to her; silent tears fell down his cheeks.  “I spoke with Phlox.  It turns out there was a flaw in the technique that Paxton's doctors used in the cloning process.”

T’Pol moved her gaze slightly to look at Trip as he neared.

Clearing the lump that sat deep in his throat, he continued.  “Human DNA and Vulcan DNA... Phlox says there's no medical reason why they can't combine.  So, if a Vulcan and a human ever decided to have a child... it'd probably be okay.”  With his overwhelming grief swamping him, Trip struggled to finish.  “That's sort of comforting.”

T'Pol's mind raced; his words stabbed at her heart as sure as a knife would.  In the split second of awareness, she reached out and grabbed his hand, anchoring herself to his touch. Her need to share her grief and hope with the man to whom she bonded with superseded her need for Vulcan appearances.

******

April 7th 2157

Over the din of the loud explosions, the young lieutenant stared frantically at the readings in front of her.  “Sir, it’s no use,” she yelled in panic as she spun her head to her commander, “we have nothing left to defend ourselves.”

The seasoned commander stared at his subordinate in stunned silence, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the disaster that was unfolding outside.  The noise of the explosions and the screams of those dying nearby echoed in his ears making it impossible for him to think.  He shook himself out of his inertia and turned to his communications officer.  “Send an SOS to Starfleet.  Tell them we’re under attack by unknown aggressors.”  Before he could finish issuing his orders a bright beam cut through the ceiling, causing pressure to build through the room that drew the breath from his lungs.  The concussion from the resulting explosion threw his body into the air.  He didn’t have time to scream before his body impacted the wall.  He was dead before he hit the ground.

The young lieutenant lay in a bloody mess covered in dust and debris.  In the distance she could still hear the screams and panic of those trying to find refuge from this vicious attack.  She whimpered as her thoughts drifted to her young children.  “God,” she cried.  “Please...  my babies!” 

Her body rocked gently as the concussion from another explosion struck nearby.  She opened her eyes and stared at the blue sky above, and watched impassively as a grey bird flew across her vision.  “Please!” she whispered as her eyes closed again and succumbed to the waiting darkness.  Her last thoughts were of her young.

The communication’s officer dragged himself to his feet and struggled to reach his console.  Ignoring his pain, he reached for the button and forced air into his burning lungs.  “Mayday, mayday, mayday,” he gasped, “We’re under attack, repeat we’re under attack.”  His body started to fail him; he could no longer draw breath to utter another word; his legs buckled under him.  He slid down the panel, back to the ground, and let the darkness take him.

Around the now still bodies, explosions continued their devastating onslaught from above, and chaos reigned outside.  The communication console’s green light pulsed like a heartbeat, bleeding out to the universe, waiting to be answered.

*****

Admiral Gardner paled as he listened to the garbled message.   He looked up to his secretary.  “Get me Captain Archer.”  His ears echoed to the sound of screams.

*****

 

Click here to read Chapter One 

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