Page 1

House Abukoff

1


A Leap of Faith

One of the great things about Star Trek is that it gives us the opportunity to stretch our imaginations through limitless vistas. And one of the great things about a Virtual Season is that our imaginations ‌ our dreams are not constrained by budgets, ratings, networks, production problems or casting issues. Welcome to my vision of Star Trek: Enterprise, and the season that should have been‌

2


House Abukoff

A STAR TREK ENTERPRISE Virtual Season 5

a leap of faith episode one: a leap of faith episode two: pre q episode three: marianas

house abukoff productions A Star Trek, fan written work The copyrights & trademarks of Star Trek are owned by Paramount Pictures, CBS Corporation and their licensee Pocket Books.

3


A Leap of Faith for more episodes, or information on how to join the production team, leave a comment on the blogsite

startrekenterprisevirtualseasons.blogspot.com To the team members for their continued support and assistance ‌ To the long-suffering Mrs Kapact for putting up with it all and for saving my life ... To my mother Lucille Abukoff who gave me the gift of Star Trek more than 40 years ago ... To the casts of all incarnations of Star Trek who brought the characters to life ... To CBS / Paramount for their tolerance in allowing their fans to play in the world that they own ... ‌ and to The Great Bird Of The Galaxy from whence it all sprang! Production members: (in alphabetic order) Beonewiththeuniverse calla23lil Capt Jim fardreaming Kapact (Writer/Executive Producer) johnfwillis keirianh Mrs Kapact mzsnaz1108 pathsearcher1 Selek (beta) taitlu tpree1951

4


House Abukoff

This novel is a fan written work and is not intended to infringe upon the copyrights and trademarks of Star Trek which are owned by Paramount Pictures, CBS Corporation and their licensee Pocket Books. It is provided free of charge to Star Trek fans for their enjoyment and to foster an interest in the many fine licensed Star Trek eBooks available from Pocket Books which are listed on their website at www.simonsays.com. Any attempt to sell, rent or otherwise make a profit from this work should be reported to the copyright owners or their licensee for their action. This novel was created by House Abukoff Productions who reserve the moral right to be identified as the authors of all original material in this novel. Produced in eBook format as part of Day Eleven of The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas for 2008 by Kirok of L’Stok. For more information see our homepage at www.twerponline.net/12days2008

5


A Leap of Faith

Episode 1 A Leap of Faith From an idea suggested by Mzsnaz

2


House Abukoff

Prologue Terra Prime: Conclusion (Rewrite)

Phlox tore his gaze away from the small form in the sterile chamber. It wasn't any easier to face Trip and T'Pol. "I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do." Those words were the most difficult for him to say, because they meant he was giving up. "But... but why?" Trip sounded empty. Helpless. Scared "It isn't fair, Doc." Phlox saw T'Pol raise one eyebrow, then lower it. An objection raised, then just as quickly discarded. "There is an enzyme in her blood, created by the joining of your DNA that simply is not compatible. It is starving the blood." "But -" Denial spread across Trip's face like a shroud. "You said that humans and Vulcans can-." "There is no biological reason why Humans and Vulcans cannot procreate, given a better understanding of interspecies genetics. But in this case, you two as a couple are simply not compatible. Just as two humans might not be able to have children." He wanted to be able to tell 3


A Leap of Faith

them something else. Something positive. But there was nothing. Their child, unintentional as it had been, was dying. "She will live without pain, quite happily, for a few days. Maybe a week. But then-." "Don't let her feel any pain, Doc." Phlox looked from Trip to T'Pol. "She won't. I promise." Hours later, in the dark solitude of T'Pol's quarters, they both gazed out at the sparkling Earth rotating slowly beneath them. "You hardly said a word." Trip regretted the words as soon as he said them. "What would you have me say? We did not intend to have this child. I have not given birth to her. But she is our daughter. And now we know it is impossible for us to have children." T'Pol wanted to sink into Trip's eyes, but she also wanted to be alone. She wanted to- to be able to be weak for once. A single tear betrayed her. Trip felt the burn of the Vulcan tear against his face. "T'Pol. I thought-." She looked down at his vulnerable face. "It is not spoken of, Trip, but we do have emotions. It is just that we have learned to suppress them." "Until now?" "Until I learned what was impossible."

4


House Abukoff

Episode 1

Romulus Krokton Segment 29th Century

The speaker looked across the small dirty table at his followers with disdain. He had seen Romulus in better days. He had seen the Empire in greater glory than this. What he had proposed might be the only way to return it to those glorious days. "You have all seen the evidence. Our course is clear. He must die." "That is only one solution." This one had small ridges, and barely slanted eyebrows. "There may be others. Going back in time is too big a risk. There are too many variables in both time periods." "You are afraid." The speaker could, from as far away as he was, sense the extreme fear. "The Empire needs us. It needs bold action, and it needs it now. He must die." He glanced quickly at the holo-image in the centre of the

5


A Leap of Faith

table. The face stared back at him relentlessly. The same face that had ultimately cost them the Empire. "He must." Each follower looked at the face that had brought an end to more than a thousand years of the Romulan Empire. That put an end to the dissent. The speaker could see little through the green haze of the temporal communicator. An officer stood before him. He could see pointed ears, and the hint of an angular face. The eyebrow ridges that they had gained in later years were obviously absent. "It could not be a simpler assignment. If you arrive at the set time, they will be unable to stop you. All you have to do is take him and leave. Your contact in the embassy will have the location of the other one. Give him to your contact, and then return home. By the time they know what happened, it will be too late." He wanted to impart the gravity of the situation, but this was a simple creature. It might get nervous and make mistakes. "If you are successful, you'll save the Empire." Before the officer could ask any questions, the speaker cut the communication, and waited for the change. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ She fingered the colorful box nervously. It was supposed to be foolproof. He had said it was simple to operate, and even simpler in function. All it needed was faith and courage. Without warning, an archway of brilliant green energy appeared before her. Just as he had said it would. She ignored the voice in her head that urged caution and leaped into her destiny. There was a crowd in the small room. The walls were sterile white-on- white, just like everything else about the Vulcans. Passionless and empty. She noted quickly the only people in the room who were not gathered around a

6


House Abukoff

biobed. The woman was human. The man was Vulcan. A Vulcan face she knew and hated. Sarek. So she was where and when she was supposed to be. She ran past the startled couple and into the throng of doctors. There were voices still droning on about how critical it was, and something about the blood being unstable. Then she had the baby in her arms, and she was pushing out of the crowd. The doctors were trying to grab her, and the human woman shrieked. Not wanting to get caught in a protracted struggle, she struck out blindly with her free hand. When she was finally clear, she tapped the hand unit. Another archway appeared, just as it was supposed to. Without looking back, she jumped through the archway and was gone. Sarek of Vulcan watched with disbelief as the woman and his son disappeared into the green maelstrom that flashed and was gone before anyone could react. A painful sound next to him forced his attention away from the swarm of doctors and arriving Federation Security forces to the source of the commotion. "Amanda," he murmured, hoping that his voice was steadier than his thoughts. His tone did not end the chaos, but something communicated itself to his frantic wife. "Sarek," she whispered, tears now evident now that the weight of the situation exerted itself further. "Oh God, what happened? Where's Spock? Who was that woman, and where are they now? Where's my baby?" "Unknown," he replied, knowing his response was not a welcome one. "We shall learn more once the security force investigates." "They disappeared," Amanda said, staring at the spot she had last seen her son. "How could that be?"

7


A Leap of Faith

"We shall learn more momentarily," Sarek replied. He wished to say more, but a member of the security force, her identification badge indicating some higher rank, approached. "Ambassador Sarek, I'm Inspector Ivly MacCarver," the petite human woman said. She pulled back a dark lock of hair from her eyes as she examined a readout from a humming tricorder. "We've been unable to determine just what happened; however, at the moment, we must assume that the kidnapping is political in nature." "Kidnapped," Amanda said, exhaling the word in horror. Sarek understood well her fear. It was his worst fear that someone would harm his family in any way, and to take his son There was nothing he wouldn't do to have his child returned safely. He glanced at his wife, and immediately drew her to him. Propriety could wait. He noticed a fleeting smile as he physically pulled her closer to be enclosed in his arms, but nothing could wipe the fear and panic from her blue eyes. "We shall have him back," he said. Amanda nodded weakly. "Yes," she dutifully said, wiping her tears with the back of her hand. "I know we'll get him back. We have to." "Indeed," Doctor T'Pala said stoically. "It is essential that the infant be returned immediately." Sarek could psychically feel the jolt of alarm the doctor's statement evoked from his wife. "What do you mean, Healer?" he asked, preventing Amanda from asking the dreaded question. "The treatment we gave your son just prior to his abduction essentially shut down his immune system," the 8


House Abukoff

healer explained coolly. "There could not have been a worse time for Spock to have been taken." "Interesting," Sarek said. Amanda sharply looked up at him. "Interesting?" she repeated, her tone incredulous. "The healer is telling us that this is absolutely the worst time possible, and all you can say is `interesting'?" "I merely suggest that Spock's abduction would seem to indicate more planning than that of retribution," Sarek replied, sending calming thoughts to his wife. She sighed deeply. "So this might not have to do with a political agenda at all," she said. Sarek was gratified by her logical deduction. "Correct. The person may have other unidentified motives in selecting Spock." "But what reason could there be?" Amanda asked. The investigator, who had been listening to the interaction, interrupted. "That's what we'd like to find out," MacCarver said. "If this is a kidnapping, it might be best for the two of you to return to your home. We'll send a security officer with you. The kidnapper might try to contact you to offer ransom demands." Sarek felt Amanda's shiver even as he nodded in agreement. "We shall take our leave of you, Inspector," he said. "If we should be contacted, you will be notified immediately." The inspector nodded, her dark eyes troubled by the lack of information presently offered. She watched as the Vulcan walked with his human wife toward the exit. They paused near the spot where the `green portal' had appeared, and MacCarver solemnly observed the young 9


A Leap of Faith

woman reach out her hand, fingers trying to find the last place her child had been. Her hand dropped, discouraged, as the empty space offered no answer. They left slowly, and their despair rallied the investigator. "All right, folks," she said to her team. "We need some answers fast. Healer, you said that there couldn't be a worse time. What did you mean by that?" The healer calmly replied. "I estimate that the infant's survival without further treatment would be approximately 12.32 hours. After that, his immune system would be permanently compromised, and he will die." "Twelve point thirty-two hours," MacCarver repeated. Less than a day, and so far there was no indication of what had happened. `Poor baby' she thought even as she spoke. "All right, team, let's get some answers! There's a baby out there somewhere that is in desperate need of medical assistance. Let's find him." The couple rode in silence as their thoughts flowed from one ominous possibility to another. How could this have happened? How could their son just disappear? Who took him? Sarek said nothing about the worst of his suspicions that Spock had been taken and immediately killed by a fanatic with a politically motivated agenda. He could sense that Amanda's gloomy thoughts were moving in a similar fashion. Ill-founded speculation was not logical, but nothing could prevent the maddening fears of what might be currently happening to their child. Nothing would end the nightmare except for their son's safe return. The gates that surrounded the ambassador's residence opened and the occupants of the vehicle were subjected to the customary identity scan. Amanda had become so used to the scan that she generally ignored the `clear' light that

10


House Abukoff

allowed the limo to enter the gates. Now, she found the entire issue of security a moot point. What purpose was served by checks, scans, force fields, and guards if a person could appear out of nowhere and leave without a trace? They entered their peaceful home without a word, too dazed to speak. Ee-chiya bounded forward, her body shaking with an enthusiastic welcome. She stopped to sniff at her master's hand, and then a low whine began. It was too much for Amanda to bear, and she ran toward the hall that led to the rest chambers. Sarek knelt to pat the confused sehlat's head and rub the creatures' ears. Once Ee-chiya calmed, he strode to the hall to find his wife. He knew without calling for her which room she would be in. The silence was broken by the tinkling sound of a music box. Sarek stopped just outside Spock's bedroom door to listen to the strangely melancholy tune. Amanda had told him the song's title was `Rock A Bye, Baby', and he had commented on the rather absurd image of a child being rocked in a cradle on a tree branch. He watched from the doorway as she clung to the top rail of their son's crib, staring at the empty space in a vain attempt to will the boy to appear. "Down will come baby, cradle and all," she whispered, her voice cracking. "He will be returned to us," Sarek said, but he knew his insistent statement would do nothing. "What if-" Without warning, a glowing portal appeared against the wall opposite the crib. The couple stared, transfixed by the unexpected manifestation. Sarek's logic and intellect warred with his desire to retrieve his son, and he wasn't

11


A Leap of Faith

surprised by the end result. Before the portal disappeared and without an explanation, he grabbed Amanda's arm and dashed forward. He could feel no sense of trepidation within her only the hope that the portal would lead them to Spock. They disappeared into the void, and less than a second later, darkness again filled the room. The only sound that reverberated through the house was the howl of a baffled sehlat. Amanda felt a sharp pain as her left knee hit the hard marble floor. Then she felt something even more disturbing... an emotion. An uncharacteristic emotion was coming through the link she shared with Sarek. It was very brief and only lasted a moment before Sarek's emotional shields snapped back into place. She wondered what emotion it was and then she knew... Astonishment. That was it. What could possibly have this effect on her husband? Amanda frantically looked around. She had just lost her son. She could not bear to lose her husband as well. "Sarek, what is it? What's wrong?" Amanda tried to go to her husband but a wave of disorientation swept over her. She was feeling very lightheaded, but it wasn't from the pain in her knee. Slowly, as she got used to it, the dizziness began to clear. "The gravity here is less than Vulcan. This place... it seems so familiar. It feels... feels almost like..." Sarek finished her sentence for her, "Earth. We're on Earth. I know this place... I've been here before. Its the old Vulcan embassy. But this is not the Earth we know. When we stepped into the portal, I had assumed that it was just an alien version of the transporter, but no transporter could have brought us here."

12


House Abukoff

Amanda wasn't quite convinced. "Isn't it possible that some culture has mastered sub-quantum teleportation and it was they that brought us here?" "You do not understand, my wife. The Vulcan embassy hasn't looked like this since before the Federation was formed. No, we have not merely traveled through space, but through time as well." While they were speaking a crowd had been forming around them. But the crowd parted to let one man step through. He extended his hand to help Sarek and his wife up... "The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that time-travel is impossible." It was then that Sarek noticed the clothing of this man who was helping them. It identified him as a member of the Vulcan diplomatic corps... A diplomat that looked extremely familiar, but he couldn't quite place him. Then slowly realization of who he was began to dawn. "Ambassador..." The man looked impossibly young. Sarek's mind couldn't latch onto it... he simply had to say the name no matter what his mind was telling him... "Soval." Soval's left eyebrow arched upward at hearing his name spoken by this stranger who he had just met. "You have me at a disadvantage. May I ask your name and your business here?" The answer was immediately on Amanda's lips, "Spock..." Sarek continued the explanation, "Our infant son has been kidnapped. We have traveled through time and arrived here. We have reason to believe he may be here, somewhere."

13


A Leap of Faith

Soval replied, "Your story is highly illogical. Not only is time travel impossible as I've already said, but there has only ever been one Vulcan-Human hybrid, and she is dying... Vulcans and Humans are apparently incapable of interbreeding; therefore, you could not have had a son together. I don't know why you would, but I can only conclude that you are lying to me." Sarek didn't have the time to convince Soval he was telling the truth. Then an idea occurred to him, "I'm invoking diplomatic protocol alpha-133-1334." Once again Soval couldn't help but to raise an eyebrow at this. He stood still for a moment considering alternatives but whoever this man was, he did know about the diplomatic code signifying grave danger and requiring him to comply immediately. Soval went to the nearest console, "Security, this is Ambassador Soval. Seal the building. We have a kidnapping situation. Search the building for..." Sarek supplied the rest, "A Vulcan woman and an infant boy which also appears Vulcan." Soval continued into the comm unit on the desk, "Look for a Vulcan woman and infant. Use extreme caution. We don't know if she is armed or what type of weapons she might have." Then, turning to Sarek and Amanda, said, "Come. We will go to my office. We will be able to talk there... privately." Once they were in the office, Soval again addressed Sarek and Amanda, "There is much here that you must explain. For example, the protocol you used has only been recently been agreed upon -- a result of the dissolution of the High Command. It is not yet in common usage. How did you know of it?"

14


House Abukoff

"I am a diplomat myself. The interim protocol has become common knowledge to Vulcans of my time." said Sarek. "Ah yes, the time travel story again." Soval couldn't help adding, "You sound like a certain human captain I know." Meanwhile, elsewhere in the building, a green glowing portal appeared in one of the back rooms. Out of it tumbled a Romulan female carrying a small bundle. But unlike Sarek and Amanda, she seemed used to this kind of travel and easily kept her footing. The baby, on the other hand, began to softly cry, immediately getting the attention of the Romulan female holding him. "Don't worry little one. I will not harm you. My orders are to turn you over to the temporal agents in this time period. I cannot guarantee that They will not harm you, but know this, your sacrifice will not be in vain. If everything goes as planned, not only will the Romulan Empire come to own this miserable planet but also the world I took you from -- the one which spawned my race. Think of it... Vulcan and Earth... the two worlds you call home, both part of the new Romulan Star Empire." With a smile, she pulled out a small comm unit, "This is Spark calling Flame... Our package has arrived." Commander Solak saw the display light up, and was genuinely surprised. The intruder alert, showed an unauthorized communication from the newly installed transporter device. There had been no intruders indicated earlier, and now there was one near the center of the complex, and he or she would have had have passed through the typically stringent embassy security. It was simply illogical that someone could have made it so easily. Not impossible, obviously, since they had... but 15


A Leap of Faith

highly improbable. Unless-. Then he heard Soval's announcement. 'Spark' held the infant in her arms, willing it to be quiet. "Go quietly, child. Vanish quietly into history." And do not give me away! The 'whoosh' of doors opening startled her. A Vulcan stepped through, and she almost panicked. "You're late." He cast an angry glance at her. "There's a problem." "What?" Her mind quickly ran through a series of possible disasters. Each seemed to end in her capture. "The offspring in this time period is female. You'll need to keep that," he indicated the infant in her arms,"in hiding until the other one is dead. Otherwise they'll realize they've been switched." "But why switch them at all? Why not just let him die?" "You are not supposed to ask questions, Commander. But if you must know," he glanced over his shoulder, as if expecting to be caught talking more than he should, "the other side has temporal agents too. Even a cold war needs two sides. We must make them think we haven't succeeded." "But if they suspect something anyway-" "There won't be enough left to check." He thought he saw her face go a shade yellow. That meant the same with all Vulcanoid species. Shock. "Get on the platform." He moved to the console and input the coordinates he'd been updating for the last twelve hours. He saw that she was standing on the platform with the infant in her arms.

16


House Abukoff

"They detected your transmission. I'll probably be caught, thanks to you." She was about to answer him when her stomach started to churn, and she wanted to be sick. Then she flopped to the floor... She was no longer in the embassy. She had transported. To the Enterprise, if all was going according to plan. Now it was a simple matter of hiding until the other child died, and switching them. Soval followed the security personnel into the transporter chamber. There was nobody there. He stepped to the control panel as Sarek and Amanda... the people who claimed to be from the future, followed him in. "Where are they?" The human woman, stridently and shrilly emotional. Soval wondered at a Vulcan diplomat who would marry one. "Obviously 'they' are not here." "My wife." Sarek used as gentle a controlling voice as he could. Then he turned to Soval. "Ambassador, is there a record of the last transport?" "You are well versed in transporter technology." "Transporters in the future are-" "Ah, yes. Time travel." "Mister Ambassador," Amanda interjected, "an ancestor of mine maintained that if you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." "Human logic is unique, Madam." Soval cleared his throat. "In any case, the device retains a record of the last transport." He tapped the controls quickly, and his 17


A Leap of Faith

eyebrows rose in unison. "Somehow that does not surprise me." "Where is my son, Ambassador?" "Aboard an orbiting starship called Enterprise." Somehow, Soval thought, it always came back that ship. Sarek felt a glimmer of hope for the first time since this ordeal had begun. "You will arrange to transport us to Enterprise." Within minutes, Soval, Sarek, and Amanda materialized in the Enterprise's transporter chamber. Soval stepped forward to meet Captain Archer. "We have a critical situation, Captain." Archer didn't feel the distrust of the Vulcan that he once had. "I understand that, Ambassador. There is a deck by deck search of the ship in progress." "I'm sure your officers are doing their best, Captain." Amanda answered. Soval tried to temper his natural instinct to take the lead with the humans. As rash and illogical as Captain Archer could be, he had also demonstrated a tenacity and dedication to duty that Soval grudgingly respected. "A security team from the embassy is standing by to assist, Captain." Archer sighed. "Ambassador, our MACO team is capable-." "I am aware of that." Soval answered. "But we are dealing with a Vulcan. It would be prudent." "Please, Captain Archer." Amanda pleaded. "There isn't time to argue. My son is dying."

18


House Abukoff

"We'll find your son, ma'am." Archer crossed the room to the comm panel as Soval and the others stepped off of the platform. Major Stiles, report to the bridge." When Stiles acknowledged the order immediately, Archer smiled and turned to Soval, Sarek, and Amanda. "Major Stiles leads the Enterprise's MACO security team." He gestured towards the door. "Please follow me." When they arrived on the bridge moments later, T'Pol nodded to Archer and moved from the Captain's chair to the science station. "Internal scanners went offline just after you left the bridge, Captain." She glanced quickly at Soval, who did not seem to have noticed her. "Get on that right away, T'Pol. We don't have much time." Archer was very conscious, not only of Soval's impression of his performance right now, but of the sheer presence of the Vulcan named Sarek. He seemed young, and not as downright arrogant as the other Vulcans, but there was something imposing about him. Something T'Pau had shown on Vulcan. Something that made him want to stand a little straighter and work a little harder. Major Stiles arrived in the turbolift at that moment, stepping onto the bridge and walking over to Archer. "Reporting as ordered, Captain." "Thank you, Major." Archer appreciated Stiles' crisp military bearing. He'd even found a way of working with Lt Reed. "Have you found anything yet?" "No, sir. Decks A through C are clear. Teams are working D through G now." Stiles seemed eager to get back to work. "Getting a signal from the Vulcan Embassy, Captain." Hoshi Sato announced.

19


A Leap of Faith

"Put it on screen." Archer saw all eyes turn to the viewscreen. "This is Commander Solak." The Vulcan security chief looked almost agitated, for a Vulcan. "Our teams are prepared to beam up." "Captain-" Major Stiles objected. "The Vulcans are familiar with our intruder, Major. Take advantage of what help they can offer. That's an order." Archer turned to Commander Solak. "We can beam your teams up anytime, Commander. Major Stiles will meet you in the transporter room." Solak looked doubtful. "Ambassador?" He said to Soval. "Commander, there is no time to debate. Beam your teams up immediately." 'Spark' held the infant in her arms and listened intently. "Shhh." It seemed to be growing anxious. As if it knew its time was coming to an end. It was cramped and uncomfortable in here, but with security teams swarming all around her, it was the only place to hide. Moments later, Archer was with one of those Vulcan security teams, not just because he knew the ship better than anyone alive. Jonathon Archer just wasn't the kind of man to stand around when a baby's life hung in the balance. That was also why Trip and T'Pol were helping. "Captain? I think I know something that can help." That was one of the MACO's. He seemed to be hanging back to talk to Archer. "There isn't time to be shy, crewman. Speak up." Archer prided himself on his accessibility. The fact that

20


House Abukoff

anyone could talk to him, anytime. But now he was in a hurry. "Please, sir." The crewman took Archer by the arm and pulled him around a corner. Before Archer could react, the crewman pointed a tricorder at his face, and activated it. Under a blue glow, the crewman's face changed. "Daniels?" Archer recognized the familiar face of the temporal agent. "I thought we'd seen the last of you." He thought of the search team getting far ahead of him now. "If you know anything about this, talk!" "You might be seeing the last of me now, Captain. The baby that you are searching for must be found." "We're trying, Daniels, and you aren't helping right now. So if you know something-" "Okay, listen. The first Vulcan team that beamed up-." "The team with Commander Solak?" Archer remembered the suspicious looking Vulcan beaming into the chamber. "Yes! Follow them, Captain. One member of that team is a temporal agent who will be killed when she enters enter the crawlspace between decks E and F just before they reach the launchbay. If I try to save her myself, I'll be recognized. You'll have to go in for me." "Daniels, I saw you die almost a year ago." "I did die. But the man we're trying to save right now saved me, centuries from now." Daniels seemed urgent to get Archer moving. "Jonathon, I can't tell you anymore. Just get to that crawlspace, before my agent does." Without waiting for Archer to answer, Daniels applied the tricorder to his face, and disappeared around a corner.

21


A Leap of Faith

Archer didn't stop to shout at Daniels. As he ran to the nearest turbolift, he thought about what to do. Would he help anything by running headlong into the group? Probably not. When he got to the turbolift, he made up his mind. "Archer to T'Pol." T'Pol stopped when her communicator beeped. "Yes, Captain." She watched with consternation as the security team she had joined moved ahead of her. "I've just had a visit from crewman Daniels." He quickly repeated what Daniels had told him. "I'm on my way, T'Pol, but I need you to keep an eye on things until I get there." T'Pol raised one eyebrow. "What would you suggest I do?" "Just stop them. If any shots are fired, the baby could be killed." Archer switched the channel. "Archer to Lieutenant Reed." He was hatching a plan on the fly. "Stop." T'Pol felt unsure of herself at that point. But the entrance to the crawlspace was in sight. All five Vulcans, as well as the two MACO's stopped. "Sub Commander." It was Solak. "There is no time for this illogical behavior." Just as Solak was about to turn away from T'Pol, another member of his team pointed a phase pistol. "All of you back away." He pulled a communicator from his belt. "Spark, this is Flame. Code Praex. Stand by." 'Flame' began to back towards the crawlspace access. He was prepared for this, and the Tal Shiar Commander in the crawlspace would be too. If they got caught, everyone died. Explosive compounds incorporated into her uniform

22


House Abukoff

would put a hole in the primitive starship so big that not even their DNA would be found. Archer came running around the corner, to see one of the Vulcans holding a phase pistol on the rest of the team. He flipped open his communicator and touched the alert signal button. Then he closed the communicator and stepped up. "Don't do anything rash." 'Flame' was happy to keep things stalled. In less than an hour the infant would be dead. He wasn't expecting the sudden heat on his back that quickly went numb. He dropped to the deck, stunned. Malcolm Reed lowered his phase pistol. "You can relax, Major Stiles." He was glad to show up the MACO officers. They may have been useful against the Xindi, but now they were superfluous. What he wasn't prepared for was rifle butt that hit him in the back of the head. He dropped to the deck. 'Spark' was out of the crawlspace. "You'd all better stand still." She was holding the phase rifle in one hand and the infant in the other. "Nobody has to get hurt." "Except for Spock." Everyone turned at that. It was Amanda, with Sarek right beside her. "Why are you doing this?" The Tal Shiar Commander looked at the human woman. "For the Empire." She had two duties left. The first would be easy. She pointed the phase rifle at the stunned 'Flame' and fired. The body disintegrated. "For the Ro-." Her words were cut off by the Vulcan security officer who slammed into her. She felt the infant slipping from her grasp, and the Vulcan was struggling for the rifle. As

23


A Leap of Faith

she squeezed the trigger, she heard the human woman scream. Sickbay was tense. Dr. Phlox had the infant Spock in a stasis field as he ran a number of scans and computer simulations. Finally he made an angry sound and turned to the crowd. "I have to have quiet. You two," he looked at Sarek and Amanda, "can stay. The rest of you have to go!" He wasn't looking forward to facing the parents. Archer pulled Daniels, along with Trip and T'Pol into the outer office. "Answers, Daniels. Now!" "The only answers that mean anything are in that room." Daniels pointed to where Phlox was talking to Sarek and Amanda. "That baby can't be allowed to die." "I want to know who those Vulcans were?" "They weren't Vulcans." Daniels had to be careful what he told Archer. "They were enemy agents. Captain Archer, the only thing that matters is that baby in there. If it dies, then those agents have won anyway." Archer was getting a headache. "Just a minute." "Captain Archer, Trip, T'Pol." Phlox was calling them back into the examination room. "What is it, Doctor?" "Captain, this baby is dying. There is nothing I can do. Its immune system was shut down as part of a surgical procedure twelve hours ago. Since then, random microbial enzymes have begun to attack-." "In English, Doctor." Archer's headache was getting worse. "His blood was being engineered. The two kinds of DNA were being adapted to each other. When that

24


House Abukoff

procedure was interrupted, the two elements began to attack each other. Now the war is minutes from being over, and there's nothing I can do." He looked at the infant Elizabeth, in her own chamber. "Unless..." "What?" Trip and T'Pol spoke in unison. "A small sample of Elizabeth's blood might strengthen Spock enough to stabilize him. He would still need attention, from wherever he came, but at least he would live long enough to get it." "Why ask, Doc?" Trip sounded like he already knew the answer. "Just do it." "Because she won't survive the procedure. She is too weak." But she's already dying. He wanted to say it... but he couldn't. Trip looked at the infant. Then he looked at Archer... there was nothing there to help him. Sarek and Amanda standing there, looking... like he felt. T'Pol had turned to stone. Fire. Ice. Everything he loved about her, but no answers. No help. And Elizabeth in there... dying anyway. Dying anyway. "Give us a second." He took T'Pol's hand. "Commander." Phlox muttered. "Trip..." Archer hated the fact that he could do nothing for his friend. "Please." It was all that Amanda could say. Sarek touched her arm, and reached out to her with his mind. Nothing else could be done. "Would you just give me a second?" Trip led T'Pol out of the room. From the relative solitude of Phlox's office. T'Pol looked into Trip's eyes. "There's no point, Trip. She's dying anyway."

25


A Leap of Faith

"It isn't fair. Why should their son live... and Elizabeth has to die?" Again. She had been named after his sister. "Sometimes you have to believe that you make some kind of difference... even after..." She was almost out of strength. "Faith, Trip. You make a leap of faith." "I know." He let the tears flow finally. Then he looked at Sarek and Amanda. She no longer looked determined. He no longer looked so imposing. They looked like... they looked like he had not long ago. They needed a miracle. They stepped back into the examination room. As a couple, they faced Sarek and Amanda. Trip heard himself tell the doctor to do what he had to. An hour later, it was Sarek who approached Trip and T'Pol. "My wife is in sickbay with our son." "Is he okay?" Trip was trying to think about anything but what happened. T'Pol had trouble meeting Sarek's imposing gaze. Her instinct was to correct Trip. But there seemed little point. "He will live long enough to get him home." Sarek hesitated for a moment. "According to Doctor Phlox, the blood from Elizabeth has been absorbed into Spock's, and filtered out. There is no longer any trace it in his blood." Both of T'Pol's eyebrows shot up. Trip spluttered angrily. "Why the hell did you have to tell us? Now there's nothing left of her!" She put a hand on his shoulder. "I meant no offense, Commander. My wife wishes to have an image of you to give to Spock. So that he will always know."

26


House Abukoff

Epilogue Romulus Krokton Segment 24th Century

The small apartment that Spock had fashioned for himself in the city was orderly, if rather cluttered. He had found that as he brought young friends around to learn about Vulcan, he had to continuously show them small trinkets and images. Some of general or cultural interest, and some from his family records. So as time went by, one small table had become covered with these things. The table was always a source of interest. So he was not surprised when his friend Renak held an image up to the light. "Mister Spock, who is this?" Spock looked at the sad-looking couple. A human man, and a Vulcan woman, in attire that was two hundred years old. "Let me tell you a story about a little girl, her mother and father, and a leap of faith that they made."

27


A Leap of Faith

Episode 2 Pre Q Capt Jim (prologue), Kapact (everything else), Selek (beta)

28


House Abukoff

Prologue Isley was playing with her dog Persephone when she heard a loud noise and then a great commotion outside. She walked to the window to see what was happening. People were running every which way. There was another loud thud. She noticed a crack forming in the pressure dome. How could this happen? The dome was supposed to be unbreakable. It's what kept the colonists safe. Not only did it keep the colonists safely inside, but it kept bad things out, like the planet's thin and poisonous atmosphere. Isley's attention was so fixed on crack in the dome and the danger it represented that she didn't realize that danger could be in the very same room she was in. She wasn't aware of what was happening right behind her. An energy field had formed. It hovered right behind Isley, seeming to look her over but left her almost purposefully glided over to her dog, Persephone. It hovered over Persephone just like it did with Isley. Persephone was interested in the glowing sphere, but when it began to move rapidly toward her fear overtook

29


A Leap of Faith

the creature. The dog took a step to get away but wasn't fast enough. It was enveloped in the fast-moving field. The electric glow of the field and all it's visible manifestations died away almost instantly leaving Persephone unchanged. Isley thought she heard a strange sound and turned from the window. She ran to get her dog. Scooping Persephone up in her arms she said, "Come on. We have to find mom and get to some place safe." The dog smiled a crooked smile as she carried her out of the room.

30


House Abukoff

Episode 2

"Captain's starlog, June tenth, 2155. The Enterprise is approaching Aldebaran 3, in response to a distress signal from the terraforming colony there. Starfleet Command isn't saying who attacked the colony, but I have to think the Klingons know something about it. They've been quiet lately. Too quiet." Archer switched off the recorder and glanced at T'Pol, who rolled her eyes. "Something you'd like to add, Commander?" "There is no reason to suspect the Klingons, Captain. They have never expressed an interest in this area." "They never expressed an interest in the Donatu system until one day they laid claim to it. There's always a first time." Donatu was a diplomatic nightmare right now that could easily blow up on them someday. "Perhaps. But Aldebaran is much further from Klingon space than Donatu. In any case, the ship's log is hardly the place for such... speculation."

31


A Leap of Faith

Archer sighed. It didn't matter how long they served together, T'Pol was always T'Pol. And sometimes all you could do was hit back. "Maybe you'd like to go through the rest of my logs and correct what you don't like." T'Pol raised an eyebrow and struggled to suppress a smile. "That would require more time than the current duty schedule permits." Archer heard Hoshi giggle, and he gave her a stern look. "Two points, Commander. And Hoshi, one yellow card for unauthorized giggling." She was still giggling when she answered. "Aye, sir. The colony is hailing us, Captain." "On screen." After the last four years, Archer had learned the value of a bit of fun on the bridge. But now it was back to business. A tall woman with slightly unkempt red hair appeared on the viewscreen. Behind her, people could be seen working frantically. "Greetings, Enterprise. My name is Susanne Walsh. I'm in charge of the colony." "Captain Jonathon Archer." He gave her his most charming smile. "What can we do for you?" "We've got a crisis, Captain. The attack left cracks in our protective dome, and our atmosphere generators are down." She sounded like she was trying to sound calm in the midst of chaos. "In the meantime, I have thirty colonists, along with eight children and an assortment of animals." "Animals?" T'Pol asked. Archer smiled at T'Pol, then looked back to the viewscreen. "We'll be happy to take everybody on board the Enterprise while repairs are being made. In the 32


House Abukoff

meantime, I have an engineering team standing by to transport down." "Thank you, Captain." She looked relieved. "l look forward to meeting you." Her image vanished. Archer stood up and headed for the turbolift. Then he turned back to T'Pol. "You have the bridge, Commander." "Captain..." T'Pol answered. "Yes?" He allowed a hint of impatience into his voice. As she moved to the command chair, she spoke. "Has it not occurred to you that the ship's Captain might be too valuable to beam down for every mission?" "Yes, it certainly has." He kept a straight face and entered the turbolift. "Oh!" Malcolm Reed was in the turbolift, heading for the bridge. "Forgive me, Captain. I was hoping I might have a word with you." "E Deck." He knew that Trip would already be waiting in the transporter room. "What can I do for you, Malcolm?" Reed looked uncomfortable. "Sir, perhaps we could talk somewhere a bit more... private?" "I'm in a bit of a hurry, Malcolm. Can it wait?" "I suppose so." Reed's clipped british accent sounded typically formal and uncomfortable. "Malcolm, if you're worried about something..." "No, sir. It can wait." At that point, Reed clammed up and looked elsewhere. When the turbolift stopped, and the doors opened, Reed offered a curt. "If you'll excuse me sir."

33


A Leap of Faith

"Sure thing, Malcolm. See you when I come back." Archer entered the transporter room to see Trip, Phlox, and two engineers waiting for him. "Captain," Phlox said. "This... thing..." He indicated the transporter chamber. "Something wrong?" Archer looked from Phlox to the transporter to Trip. "Well, Captain. I mean, it is approved for bio-matter. And we have used it increasingly, but-" Phlox seemed to be backing away from it. "We can't bring up thirty colonists and their animals through the shuttlepod, Doctor. Not as fast as we need to, anyway." Archer stepped onto the pad. "Come on, folks." Suddenly there was a familiar noise that distracted Archer. "Porthos?" The beagle had appeared in the corridor, and ran to join Archer. "What are you doing here? How'd you get loose?" He automatically looked at Trip. "I don't know anything about it, Cap'n." Trip looked at Porthos, who seemed happy to be out. "I can check out your door when we come back." "Okay." He picked up the dog. "You know, there won't be any trees down there. But on the other hand, maybe the kids would like to meet you." Then he turned to Phlox. "Time to go." The rest of them joined him on the pad. "Energize." The first thing that Archer noticed was the noise. Animals... goats, cats, dogs, and a few that he didn't recognize. Porthos barked and squirmed in his grasp, and finally jumped free as a group of children ran past them. "Porthos!" "Captain Archer?" The woman he'd spoken to a few minutes ago appeared, coming from where Porthos had

34


House Abukoff

just disappeared. "I'm Susanne Walsh. He'll be okay, really. It may seem a little crazy right now, but we're letting the kids run a little before we evacuate." Her glance took in Trip and the engineering team. "Our engineers are about a hundred yards in that direction." She pointed down the rock-walled corridor. "We appreciate anything you can do." "We'll go have a look, Captain." Trip smiled at the woman. "Ma'am." "Madam," Phlox asked, "Do you have any casualties?" "This is Doctor Phlox." Archer thought that the Denobulan still looked uncomfortable about the transporter. Walsh smiled. "Nothing serious. A few varieties of burns, and a broken leg." She led them to the infirmary. Not far from them, two colonists sat in the abandoned cafeteria. One of them was an elegant, dark-skinned ElAurian woman. The other was a member of the Q continuum. "Why are you smiling?" The woman asked. "Are you up to something?" Q smiled wickedly. "Up to something? I haven't done anything, here.... yet." "Puck." She said. "Trouble maker. Mischief maker." "Not very imaginative. But I suppose it beats.... what are you calling yourself now? Jessica? Ruby? Gloria?" "Better than Q. That's just a lettter." "Q is not just a letter. It is the letter!" "Meddler. God of chaos. God of lies." "You wound me."

35


A Leap of Faith

"Whatever. Don't you think there's been enough tampering with these people?" "I'm not tampering, yet. I could. Just by telling them who did it." "Don't you dare." She liked Q's sense of humor, but he was wild. Sometimes he was downright mean. "We agreed that we were just here to watch." Q yawned. "Boring." "I've never seen anything like this, Cap'n." Trip closed his tricorder as Archer and Walsh arrived. "Nuclear fusion has degraded the atomic structure of this dome. We can patch it in about an hour, but there are microfractures spreading out from five points." He indicated spots they had marked on the inside of the dome. "It needs to be replaced." "We've got the raw material, Captain." Walsh said. "Are you sure you've got room for us up there?" "It might be a little cramped for a few days, but we've been through worse." He was thinking about days spent in the warp nacelle catwalk. "Why don't you go make sure your people are ready to beam up?" He turned from her slightly as he opened his communicator. "Archer to T'Pol." "Go ahead, Captain." "Stand by to beam the colonists up, Commander." T'Pol entered sickbay and was immdiately assaulted by the smell of animals. Small, domesticated. Quadripeds. "Doctor."

36


House Abukoff

"Hello, Commander." Phlox seemed to have recovered from his transporter experience. "I was hoping you might stop by." "Is there something I can do for you, Doctor?" "It seems that we're missing somebody." "Persephone!" A small girl appeared at T'Pol's arm. "I can't find Persephone!" T'Pol looked from the girl to Phlox. "What is a Persephone?" "Persephone is a dog," Phlox answered dryly. "We can't find her." T'Pol fixed a serious gaze on the girl. "What is your name?" "Isley Howard." "Isley Howard, I do not have Persephone." She struggled to restrain a smile. "I will ask the Captain." When Isley left T'Pol's side, the Vulcan turned to Phlox. "The Captain would like a report on the colonists' health inspections as soon as you complete them." "I'm just waiting for the last group. I should have the reports in an hour or so." He looked at a group of dogs playing in a corner of sickbay. "Are you sure you don't have Persephone, Commander?" She answered with a raised eyebrow, and left sickbay. "Come." Archer always knew when it was Malcolm on the other side of the door. Just an air of... uncomfortable. The door opened to reveal Lt. Reed. "Come on in, Malcolm. What can I do for you?"

37


A Leap of Faith

Reed walked in, but didn't sit. "Captain, I am sorry to bother you. It's really just a personal matter." "Go ahead, Malcolm." Archer thought about ordering him to relax, but decided it wouldn't help. "Really, sir. It's just a-." "Out with it, Malcolm." "Yes, sir." Reed stopped looking around and finally focused on Archer. "It's about Major Stiles." "You didn't hit him, did you?" Archer was referring to a fight that had broken out between Reed and Major Hayes almost two years ago. "No, sir." Malcolm looked horrified. "He wants to take over security. He feels that being the head of MACO, it would be more efficient." "I wouldn't worry about it, Malcolm. I'm not sure that MACO.is here to stay. And if they are, nobody 'takes over' anything." "Thank you, sir." "Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Was there anything else?" "Actually, sir. I was going to ask about the dogs." "It's just temporary. The colonists need some place to stay while Trip helps repair the dome. It won't be long." "Understood, sir. Thank you." "Anytime. Dismissed, Lieutenant." As Malcolm was turning to leave, T'Pol entered. "Come in, Commander." In the mess hall, Q activated a PADD and showed it to his companion. "Watch this, Gloria."

38


House Abukoff

On the small screen, they could both see an Enterprise crewperson walking along a corridor until she found a small dog laying on its side. "Porthos? Is that you?" She picked the dog up. "Are you okay? What's wrong?" The dog could be heard whimpering. "Well, I'd better get you to sickbay." Next, she could be seen entering sickbay. "Doctor Phlox?" Phlox appeared from his office. "Yes? Well, hello Ensign Lynch. What can I do for-?" Then he saw the dog. "Porthos?" 'Gloria' laughed, despite herself. "Oh, you're bad. You're really bad." "Sickbay to Captain Archer." Archer had been listening to T'Pol alternately report on the condition of the colonists and complain about the combined smell of dogs, goats, cats, and people that seemed to spread throughout the ship. The interruption was a relief. "Yes, Doctor?" "Captain, I'm sorry to say this, but there seems to be something... amiss with Porthos." Archer glanced at Porthos, who had been asleep at his feet. Porthos awoke at the sound of his name. "What seems to be the problem?" Archer smiled. The Doctor sounded hesitant. "It might be better if I spoke to you in person." "I'll be there in a moment." Archer scooped up Porthos. "Coming, Commander?" T'Pol raised interesting."

one

eyebrow.

39

"It

should

prove


A Leap of Faith

Archer and T'Pol arrived in sickbay a moment later. "So, what is it, Doc?" Phlox stopped in his tracks when he saw Porthos. "But-?" He quickly ran his fingers along Porthos' belly. Without another word, he walked to a small cage and retrieved the dog that Ensign Lynch had brought in. "This was brought to me a short time ago." Archer could see that the dogs were identical aside from one major difference. "Pregnant?" The dog that Phlox was holding had noticably grown. Then he looked Porthos in the eye. "Porthos!" Porthos answered by wagging his tail happily. "It hardly seems possible." Phlox answered. "The resemblance is startling, in any case." T'Pol simply rolled her eyes. "Maybe we have found Persephone." "Keep an eye on her, Doc." "Captain's starlog, supplemental. Commander Tucker has repaired the colony's protective dome, and has returned to the ship to repair the atmosphere generator. Doctor Phlox has completed medical checks of the colonists and has found, with the exception of one anomoly among the canine population, that everyone is in good condition. We anticipate getting underway soon." Archer switched off the recorder. Porthos was in his bed, half asleep and still wagging his tail excitedly. "It can't be you. You know that, don't you?" "Captain?" It was Hoshi. "There's a call coming in for you, from Captain Rosa of the Australia." "Pipe it in here please, Ensign." Archer had been waiting for this. The Australia had been sent to trail the

40


House Abukoff

mysterious ship that had attacked the colony since it had been closer to the scene. Her dark face appeared on the monitor seconds later. "Ariela. How did the hunt go?" "Good and bad, John. This will be in the official report in a few days, but since you said you wanted to know, I'll give you what I have. We tracked an ion trail for twelve parsecs, and finally caught up with a ship." "Klingon?" "No. At least they didn't look Klingon. You owe me a case of Andorian ale. We never got a positive ID on it. It was roughly cylindrical, with a bird painted on the underside." "Is that the good news or the bad news?" "That's the good news. The bad news is that it had atomic weapons that went right through our hull plating. We're going to need something better to take them on." Archer didn't have an answer for that. "So what happened?" "We managed to get a few torpedoes through their hull. I tried to get them to surrender, but they destroyed themselves." "I think I'd rather take on the Klingons." Archer answered without enthusiasm. "Hopefully we won't see too many more of them." He looked into her eyes. "I better get back to work. Thanks, Ariela." "Anytime, Jonathon. Australia out." "Captain Jonathon Archer, I'd like to introduce you to Isley Howard." Archer kneeled down to shake Isley's hand. "Pleased to meet you. Is this Persephone?" He looked at the dog that 41


A Leap of Faith

was now very heavy and very pregnant. "Doctor, how can she...?" "I don't know. Persephone is a normal beagle, and yet somehow, within the last few days, she has become pregnant and almost completely carried the puppies to term. There is physically nothing unusual about Persephone except for this." "Can you tell if Porthos...?" Archer hadn't believed it possible, but obviously Persephone was an unusual dog. "Not without being more invasive than I'm comfortable with." Phlox grinned widely. "Never mind, Captain. Hope springs eternal." "How long do you think it'll be before she gives birth?" "I can't be sure, but based on the accellerated growth rate, I'd guess a few hours at the outside." The doctor turned to Isley. "Would you like to stay and watch?" "Yes, please!" Isley was overjoyed. "I will keep you informed, Captain." Phlox told Archer. As Archer left sickbay, he thought he saw a small black beagle. "Hey, Doc?" "Yes?" He thought about it for a second. "Nothing. Nevermind." Afterall, there were a bunch of dogs on the ship. Hoshi Sato had finished a long shift on the bridge and was looking forward to a hot shower. So when she climbed into the stall and turned on the hot spray, she closed her eyes. So she didn't see the quick flash that

42


House Abukoff

illuminated her quarters. Her thoughts drifted, and she did her best to think of nothing. No comm networks. No data or message packets. No signals to interpret. Nothing. Nothing except for... scratch, scratch, scratch. What? Had she fallen asleep? "Hello?" There was no answer. It was possible. She might have essage drifted off for a second, and the first sound of an incoming message packet sounded like scratching. Hoshi laughed nervously. That must be it. Scratch, scratch. "Hey! Who is it?" She turned off the spray and opened the door. "Who's there?" Just as she was stepping out, something ran in. She screamed, and then saw what it was. "Porthos?" No, it wasn't Porthos. It was jet black, and just a puppy. The puppy glanced up at her with bright eyes, and wagged its tail quickly. "You aren't Porthos. Who are you?" It answered br running around and around her feet, and finally jumping into her arms. Then it disappeared in a flash. Hoshi jumped, and then swore. So much for a relaxing hot shower. In engineering, Commander Tucker had finished work on the atmosphere generator and was running a series of diagnostics on it when a bright flash near the top of the warp core caught his eye. "What was that?" he yelled. Every tech turned to him, but nobody knew what had happened. "Check the board, folks. That's what it's there for." He was actually the first one to the board. "It looked like a discharge of some kind, but I don't know what." He checked every function, even the power flow to the atmosphere generator. Everything was clear. No low pressure. No power fall-off's. No red lights. "Okay," He thought out loud. "What could it be?" He was answered by a barking. "What the hell? Porthos?" He looked up, and 43


A Leap of Faith

sure enough, sitting on top of the matter/antimatter reaction assembly, was a beagle. But it wasn't Porthos. It was a black puppy. "Where did it come from?" Tucker wasn't sure who had asked the question. It could have been anyone of six technicians. "It doesn't really matter. It has to come down." He looked up at the puppy. "Hey! Come down from there!" The puppy just wagged its tail and barked. "Well, my Dad always said, you want something done right, do it yourself." And he started to climb. By the time Trip reached the top of the core, he saw that the technicians hadn't moved, but the puppy had. "Where'd he go?" "Down the shaft, Commander." His gaze followed six pointing fingers. Sure enough, it was about three meters down, chewing on a steel handrail. "Don't chew on that!" The pup glanced up briefly, then began to growl as he chewed on the rail, like it was trying to kill it. "Oh boy." He stood up and began to carefully walk towards the puppy. Then he stopped and turned back to the technicians. "You know, you could do something. Or better yet, don't touch anything. Especially the core." When he turned back to watch the dog, he saw that it had abandoned the handrail and was venturing further back along the core. "Come on pup! Don't go down there!" Trip finally reached the end of the core, only to see that the puppy had somehow appeared on an access walkway about a meter over his head. "How did you get up there?" There was a bracket that the pup could have jumped on. "You aren't gonna just jump down, are you?" The pup barked, then disappeared in a flash of light. 44


House Abukoff

"Damn." Trip sat for a moment, watching the spot where the pup had been. Archer was on the bridge when Phlox called. "Go ahead, Doctor." "Captain, there is a new family on board I'd like you to meet." The sound of barking and whining puppies was easy to hear in the background. "I'll be right there." He rose and moved to the turbolift. "Commander, would you like to join me?" T'Pol moved to the command chair. "Tempting as that sounds, I believe I'll stay here." She sat, then turned back to him. "You will be sure to tell me all about it." "You bet." Archer stepped into the turbolift, only to see a small black beagle pup waiting for him. "Where did you come from?" The pup looked up at him and barked. When Archer left the turbolift on his way to sickbay, the puppy took off in the other direction. He assumed that it was headed back to the colonists. He arrived to the sound of whining puppies. "What's all this noise in here?" he asked with a smile. "Captain Archer, this is Elizabeth Howard, and her daughter Isley." Phlox made the introductions. "And this is Persephone, and her new family." Archer looked into the small pen that Phlox had indicated. "Well, that's fine looking-." He did a double take. The black puppy that he'd just seen seemed to be in with them. "I'd swear I've just seen this one in the corridor. Is there anyway that one of these could have gotten loose?" "Not a chance, Captain. I've been with them the whole time." 45


A Leap of Faith

"I suppose there could be another," he said. Then he turned to Elizabeth. "I'm pleased to meet you, Ma'am, Isley. You must be very proud of Persephone." Elizabeth smiled at Archer. "I hope we haven't been too much trouble, Captain." "Not at all. We're happy to be here for this," he looked at the puppies, "although rumor has it we may have contributed." "I beg your pardon?" "Considering the rate at which the pregnancy came to term," Phlox explained, "it is possible that Porthos is the father. I can find out easily now." "Thank you, Doctor. Let me know what you find out." Archer smiled to Elizabeth and Isley, and left sickbay. "Okay, Q. You've had your fun. Now leave them alone." "I haven't even started." Q had put himself in an Enterprise uniform. "I like it here. I might even stay. I'd have to do something about these drab uniforms, though." He snapped his fingers, and was suddenly wearing a bright yellow shirt. "What do you think? Mid twenty-third century command. I think it suits me." 'Gloria' looked around quickly. Fortunately the mess hall was empty. "Stop it! You're being foolish." She was just about ready to leave Q once and for all. "I want you to put everything back the way it was." "Okay. You win." He snapped his finger, and his uniform changed back. "And the puppies." "Nope." He smiled, and vanished.

46


House Abukoff

Jonathon Archer had just settled into bed when he heard Trip call for him. "Engineering to Captain." Archer sat up and keyed the comm panel next to his bed. "Aren't you working kinda late, Trip?" "Cap'n, you've got to tell Phlox to keep those pups under control. I just chased them out from under the warp core." "They seemed to be pretty penned up, but I'll talk to him." Archer cut the channel and looked at Porthos. "Is this all your fault?" Porthos wagged his tail in response. "Great. Well, I guess I better talk to Phlox." He rose and left for sickbay. Although she would never admit to it, T'Pol was grateful to retreat to her quarters at the end of the day. She respected Archer, and yet he always insisted on challenging her discipline. She... cared for Trip, but he was too much a distraction. His love was too strong to ignore. So meditation at the end of the day was invaluable. After changing into less restrictive clothing, she sat cross-legged on a mat on the floor. She must shed the distractions of the day. The accumulated, suppressed emotions. Let go. Release. Reject. Embrace the cold perfection of dispassionate logic. She still felt Trip nearby, as it seemed she always would. Jonathon Archer was there, to a lesser extent. She felt his desire, and the denial that he clung to so stubbornly. That elicited a smile. Each of these ties she felt, and each she released. Finally, peace. Silence. Solitude. Serenity. A flash of light alerted her to the intrusion. But it didn't prepare her for the six puppies that clambered over the top of her. Tails wagging. Tongues licking. Puppies making... 47


A Leap of Faith

puppy smells. She allowed them to flow over her, like a wave. And then they left as quickly as they'd appeared. Archer arrived in sickbay to find Hoshi, dressed only in a short robe, peering into the pen. "I don't care! I know they were in my shower! They tracked water all over the place!" "I'm sorry, Ensign. It is simply impossible that these puppies could have burst into your shower. I haven't taken my eyes off of them." "Good evening, Doctor, Ensign." Archer was hesitant to join in. "Captain, there seems to be a bit of confusion." Phlox was obviously put off balance. "I'm not confused," Hoshi insisted. "These puppies, including this little black one, just pushed into my shower and ran around my feet!" "They did not." Phlox countered calmly. Archer quickly looked for water on the floor, or on the puppies. "I'm not sure what happened, Ensign, but I'd say they're definitely locked up now." He was just turning to retreat when T'Pol entered wearing a loose robe. "Hello... Commander," he almost stammered. "Out for a... late night stroll?" She raised one eyebrow at him, then turned to the Doctor. "You must maintain control of those puppies." Phlox turned from Hoshi to T'Pol. "I beg your pardon?" "The puppies burst in on my meditation. You must keep a closer watch on them."

48


House Abukoff

"That can't be!" Hoshi insisted. "They just left my shower!" "You must be mistaken." T'Pol answered calmly. "They could not have-." "Both of you ladies are mistaken. The puppies have not left sickbay." Phlox began to walk to the door, hoping to lead Hoshi and T'Pol out. That was when the door opened, and Trip came in. "Doctor, you gotta round up those pups. I just chased all six out of engineering. Again!" "Look at him! He's helpless!" Q laughed joyously. "He's completely at a loss!" "Grow up, Q," 'Gloria' said. "You know, you think you're so superior." "Correction. I know I'm omnicient. There's a difference. Maybe I should help Archer. Take him under my wing." "Just leave him alone. He'll do fine without your interference." Q continued unabated. "Or maybe I should just replace him." "Don't try it." She raised one hand, just as Q snapped his fingers. They reappeared on the bridge. There was a crew on duty, but they were frozen in time. "Who should we get to replace him? Kirk?" He snapped his fingers, and James T Kirk appeared in one of the blue jumpsuits. "No. Too obvious." He snapped his fingers again, and Jean Luc Picard appeared. "No. Too boring." "Q!" 49


A Leap of Faith

"What's the matter? Do you have a thing for him? Ohhh, how 24th Century of you. Okay." Picard vanished. "So who goes there? Me?" Another snap of the fingers, and he was in the command chair. "Hmmmm. Entry level. Benefits. Early retirement. Just a bit dead-end. No." He snapped his fingers, and was back by her side. "Well, we can't just leave it empty. Can we?" "I think I've had enough of you Q. I'm not travelling with you anymore." "How dare you!" Q sounded insulted. "Dare what? Leave you? You're nothing but trouble, and if I never see you again, it'll be too soon!" She turned to walk away. "Put everything back the way it's supposed to be." "Or you'll do what?" "I'll make you pay for it, if it takes me another two hundred years." "Well I can't fix everything. Someone made a terrible mess before I ever showed up." Q smiled. "Oh, okay. Back to the way it was." He snapped his fingers, and they vanished. "Captain's starlog. June 14th, 2155. The protective dome and atmosphere generator have been repaired, and the Aldeberan 3 terraforming colony is back to normal. The Enterprise is also back to normal, with the return of the colonists. There were some conflicting reports of a large number of puppies loose on the ship," he paused to glance at T'Pol and Hoshi. Were they still mad? "but they haven't reappeared. So all seems quiet." Archer looked at T'Pol. "How did I do?" "It was adequate, if unimaginative." 50


House Abukoff

"Right." Archer rose. "You have the bridge, Commander. I have reports to compile for Starfleet." When he entered his ready room, something struck him. A smell. A puppy smell. "What the-?" It was there, on his desk. A poo in the shape of a Q.

51


A Leap of Faith

Episode 3 Marianas

52


House Abukoff

Episode 3 "August thirteenth, 2155. Friday the thirteenth." Alan Fitzgerald tugged at the high collar of his uniform. "Erase entry, computer. Start over." He was alone on the bridge for another few minutes while the morning shift ate breakfast. "Captain's log. August thirteenth, 2155. Captain Alan Fitzgerald, UESPA freighter SS Marianas enroute to Sadarin colony for resupply and recreation. We are approaching the Alpha Seven Echo star desert. Thirty lightyears of empty space, after which the United Earth Space Probe Agency will resume its role as Starfleet's poor second cousin by providing low cost, low profile support to the outer colonies while the warp five fleet boldly finds new enemies to fight." Fitzgerald looked into the blackness stretching out in front of him. "Computer, erase everything after 'empty space'. Log complete." Fitzgerald looked at the mostly black field on the viewer. They were just minutes away. "I don't want to talk about last night's poker game," the first officer, Commander Alexander Krilenko, was saying as the turbolift door opened. "I won't play poker with you again." 53


A Leap of Faith

Four more officers entered the bridge behind Krilenko. Among them, Lieutenant Commander Tessa Joiner, the chief engineer, laughed, and answered back, "Because you can't beat me. I see through those mad Russian eyes too easily." "No. It is because you cheat." Krilenko laughed also, to show he wasn't mad. "Russians are the best poker players. We invented poker. Anyone who beats Russian must be cheating." The discussion ended as they took their stations. "Mister Gallo," Fitzgerald said to the navigator, "take us in." Guiseppe Gallo fired up the impulse engines, and the SS Marianas entered the Alpha Seven Echo star desert. "Take us to warp two. I want to finish this." Several hours later, as the freighter passed the halfway point of the region, the utter darkness was suddenly lit up. At the same time, the Marianas dropped out of warp. "What the hell is that?" Fitzgerald stood quickly. "Report, Alexander." "Massive gravitational fields. At least a dozen!" Krilenko studied the sensor station. "It's as if a bunch of stars just materialized. The gravity wells collapsed our warp field." "It can't be natural," Fitzgerald said. "Tessa, get down to engineering." He saw that she was already moving. "Get the warp field back up. I've got a bad feeling about this." "Captain," Gallo reported, "we've come to a dead stop. Even maneuvering thrusters won't move us." "Ship coming in," Krilenko said. "Configuration unknown."

54


House Abukoff

"Lieutenant Nichols, send out a distress signal." The tall, black communications officer spent a moment working at his console. Then he stopped. "Too much interference, sir. I can't get through." "Prepare to launch flight data recorder buoy." It was a last shot. Not to save them, but to get word out. "Ready," Krilenko reported. "Launch." As the unknown ship approached the Marianas, a small cylindrical object was ejected. But it traveled less than a yard before slowing to a stop. From the bridge, Fitzgerald saw the buoy stop as the alien closed with them. Without hesitating, the alien fired a white energy beam at the buoy, destroying it instantly. Then it opened fire on the Marianas. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Communication from the surface, Captain." Archer was in a shuttlepod, inspecting the final repairs to the Enterprise's hull with Commander Tucker when Hoshi's voice came through the comm panel. "Admiral Gardner." "Put him through, Ensign," Archer answered. After glancing at Trip, he spoke again. "What can I do for you, Admiral?" "Captain Archer, I need you in my office right away. The Enterprise will be leaving orbit within the hour." The channel was abruptly cut.. "He's a regular ray of sunshine," Trip commented. Archer smiled. "I don't think he ever really forgave you for the incident over Vulcan. I wouldn't worry about him, Trip. We'll be out of here soon enough."

55


A Leap of Faith

"Aye, sir. Taking her down." The shuttlepod moved gracefully away from the spacedocked Enterprise and dropped from orbit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "What's taking him so long?" Admiral Peter Kirk, head of the Earth force's United Earth Space Probe Agency, paced back and forth in Gardner's office. UESPA, the predeccesor to Starfleet, existed parallel with the larger, more modern space fleet in a role not unlike the merchant marines of the twentieth century. Their uniforms were starkly different, though. Where Gardner wore a uniform incorporating the Starfleet uniform with a neck tie, Kirk's uniform was a simple navy blue high-necked tunic with the UESPA emblem; a five pointed star, with the top point elongated over his heart. Four solid braids around the cuffs of the sleeves denoted his rank. Black slacks and boots completed the naval uniform. "Captain Archer was in a shuttlepod conducting a final inspection of his ship when I spoke with him," Gardner answered defensively. "I'm sure he thinks its important that all the paint matches," Kirk countered, "but I've got people missing out there, and I'd like to see a bit more urgency from your captain." "He'll be here any--" He was interrupted by a chirp at the door. "Enter." Archer entered quickly. "I apologize for the delay, Admiral. There was a bit of confusion on approach." "That's got something to do with why you're here. The head of the United Earth Space Probe Agency is in from Riverside, Iowa." Gardner gestured to Kirk. "Admiral, this

56


House Abukoff

is Captain Jonathon Archer. Captain Archer, Admiral Peter Kirk." "Pleased to meet you, Admiral. I've heard a lot about you." Archer reached forward to shake Kirk's hand. Kirk gave Archer a quick, bone-crushing handshake. "How soon can you be underway, Captain?" "Immediately, Admiral," Archer answered abruptly. "Can I ask where we're going?" Gardner stepped between them and led Archer to a wall display. "The UESPA freighter SS Marianas has disappeared enroute to the Sadarin colony. Starfleet monitoring stations lost track of the Marianas as it entered the Alpha Seven Echo star desert. I want you to start looking there." "I'll be commanding the mission," Kirk stated bluntly. "Are you sure that's wise, Admiral?" Gardner asked. "UESPA needs you--" "The Marianas needs me more. We don't abandon part of the family when it needs help, Admiral." "With all due respect, Admiral," Archer countered, "you can trust Enterprise to get the job done. We'll bring them home." "All the same, Captain," Kirk answered, "the ship is yours. The mission is mine." Archer glanced quickly to Gardner, then back to Kirk. "Anything you say, Admiral." ~~~ "Enterprise starlog, August 16th, 2155," Archer glanced toward the turbolift door. "Enroute to the Alpha

57


A Leap of Faith

Seven Echo star desert, in search of the SS Marianas. Proceeding at--" he stopped as the door whooshed open. Admiral Kirk stepped through with an impatient look on his face. "We're proceeding at warp 4.5, with an ETA of 96 hours." As Kirk stepped around to address Archer, he leveled a steely, impatient gaze at him. Archer switched the recorder off abruptly. "Something I can do for you, Admiral?" "This is Earth's first warp five ship?" "Yes." Archer struggled to keep the impatience from his voice. "Was there something I can do for you, Admiral?" "You can explain to me why you haven't ordered warp five." Archer glared at Kirk, an angry retort frozen on his tongue. Then he rose and turned to T'Pol. "You have the bridge, Commander." He turned his back on Kirk and stepped toward his ready room. "Join me, Admiral." Then he left the bridge. Admiral Kirk moved past T'Pol, eyeing the captain's chair, and catching the gaze of everyone on the bridge. Then he turned on his heel and followed Archer into the ready room. "This is my ship," Archer said with quiet fury in the privacy of the ready room. "You have no right--" "This is my mission," Kirk countered. "And those are my people out there. If you won't do what is necessary to get to them, you can be replaced." "THIS IS MY SHIP!" This time Archer shouted, not caring if the crew heard. That caught Kirk off guard. Then he continued in a normal tone of voice. "I don't care if you

58


House Abukoff

disagree with me, or question my judgement. But if you ever do that in front of my crew again, I'll confine you to quarters." "You wouldn't dare." "Try me." Archer realized that he was standing nose to nose with Kirk, and moved to his desk. "You might be an admiral, and you might be in charge of this mission. But you don't have the right to question me like that in front of my crew." Kirk's jaw worked, and his eyes blazed. Then he turned from Archer and examined the pictures of previous Enterprises on display. "Agreed," he muttered. Then he turned back to Archer. "Why 4.5?" "I've done the math, Admiral. That point five difference will get us to Alpha Seven Echo twelve hours sooner." "Twelve hours." ".that could save their lives. I know." Archer paused, trying to imagine what the crew of the Marianas was going through. "I'm concerned about what we're going to find when we get there. I think someone took the Marianas, and I want to make sure the Enterprise is ready for whoever we're going to find." "What if you're wrong?" This time there was no anger in Kirk's voice. No accusation. "Then their blood will be on my hands." Archer looked into Kirk's eyes, but his thoughts were in the past. Specifically to the innocent Illyrian crew he'd stranded in the Delphic Expanse in his hunt for the Xindi weapon. Stealing their warp coil had been one of the most difficult decisions of his career, despite his desperate need and

59


A Leap of Faith

assertion that he'd do it again if necessary, and it had haunted him ever since. Then he was back in the present, and he saw something in Kirk's eyes. Something like the piracy that he'd carried out. Something that haunted the admiral. Without thinking about it, he tapped the comm panel. "Travis, make it warp five." Kirk nodded gratefully. "Thank you, Captain." ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Captain's personal log, supplemental." Archer looked over at Porthos, who was sleeping on his bunk. Time to go to bed. He saw the stars streaking by outside, and all he could think of was a small, nervous crew stranded in a small, helpless ship, not knowing if help was on the way. He wasn't just thinking about the Marianas. He was also thinking about the crew he'd attacked in the Expanse. He still believed it had been the right decision, and he'd do it again if he had to, but that didn't make it easy to live with. Finally he found the words for his log."I don't spend too much time revisiting my decisions. Nobody's perfect, but I can't command if I can't move on from a decision. So why am I pushing my ship to the limit to shave twelve hours off of our trip? Because for some reason Admiral Kirk needs me to. And I'm not going to let him or that crew down." After switching the recorder off, he lay in the dark for twenty minutes waiting for sleep. Then he gave up and got out of bed. "Archer to engineering." "Evening, Captain," Tucker answered. "Aren't you up kinda late?" "I could ask you the same thing." "I would be asleep, but someone got it into his head all of a sudden to fly the ship apart. I'm just trying to keep it together." Then Trip chuckled. "I wasn't sleeping anyway,

60


House Abukoff

Captain. I'll see if I can't squeeze a little more out the engines." "Thanks Trip. Then get some sleep. Archer out." He smiled, knowing that Trip was working on it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Engineering to Captain Kirk!" Captain Peter Kirk, commanding the USS Enterprise XCV 330 Warp Testbed, knew from the worried tone of Chief Kelley's voice that things weren't going well. But he also knew that from the constant shuddering of the ship under him. "Go, Kelley." "I'm having trouble stabilizing the rings. The ion storm--" Kirk could hear shouting in the background, as well as the monotone of Vulcans telling them all what to do. "I know. How bad is it?" "Bad enough, Captain," Kelley answered. "If I can't lock them down, they'll go." It was time for a decision. "You've got one minute to stabilize or get out. Kirk out." He looked around the small dark bridge that lay at the heart of the command pod. Six UESPA technicians looked to him for answers, just as six Vulcans seemed to be waiting for him to make mistakes. "Helm, disengage from the warp engines. Stand by on maximum thrust from the fusion drive." "Your decision to go through the ion storm was an error," Setal, the chief Vulcan advisor said. "I'm aware of that, Advisor," Kirk snapped back. "Unless you have anything constructive to add, please

61


A Leap of Faith

keep your seat." Then he turned to the operations officer. "Mack, give me reverse angle on viewer." What he saw didn't improve his mood. The rings that were attached to the cylindrical hull were spinning faster than they should, and they had acquired a noticable wobble. Engineering Chief Kelley would be in that section of the cylinder, working frantically with a staff of twenty specialists to stabilize the rings, while Kirk and the command crew in the small command pod on the forward end of the cylinder waited and watched. The rings weren't stabilizing. He tapped the comm panel built in to the arm of his command chair. "Chief Kelley, evacuate engineering. Get out of there." Get out!! He wanted to shout, but didn't have to. They all knew. "It's okay, Captain," Kelley answered. "I can--" An explosion cut Kelley off, and engulfed the warp rings. It would destroy the entire ship in seconds if he didn't act quickly. "Emergency separation, Mack! Helm, engage fusion drive!" Kirk watched as the aft half of the Enterprise fell away in a shower of explosive bolts. The remnants of the rings broke up, and the cylinder started to drift back into the grasping tendrils of the ion storm. Twenty-one people would know that they were going to die as their captain escaped. And with them, he feared, the death of Earth's warp fleet. Enterprise XCV 300, which had been envisioned and even named by Zephram Cochrane, had been flying for almost a year, having launched a short sixty years after First Contact with the Vulcans. It was the first real fusion of Earth and Vulcan science, and he was watching it die. The United Earth Space Probe Agency would be a minor footnote, and the

62


House Abukoff

names Kirk and Enterprise would be associated with failure. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Admiral Peter Kirk awoke with a start. That terrible moment, more than thirty years later, never left him. He suffered through the same dream at least twice a week every week. He'd gotten off lucky. Enough had been learned from the warp testbed to lay the groundwork for the NX program, and they kept moving. And Kirk the hero had ended up running UESPA. But he also vowed to never abandon another crew. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Approaching the Alpha Seven Echo star desert," T'Pol announced quietly. Archer glanced at Kirk, and took a breath. He'd arrived on the bridge an hour early, only to find Kirk wandering from station to station and questioning the gamma shift crew. He hadn't made any comments, but the understanding that they'd reached early in the mission seemed to have diminished in the last few days as they'd been forced to wait. Now there was a cold silence between them that Archer felt powerless to broach. So he let it go. "Warp two, Travis. Intensive scan ahead, T'Pol." After a quick glance at Kirk, he turned to Reed. "Malcolm, polarize the hull plating." The stars began to recede as Enterprise slipped into the star desert. Two hours later, they were still waiting for something to happen. "Nothing," Admiral Kirk said as he paced the deck behind Archer. "We should be doing something. Going faster." "According to the plasma decay rate of the Marianas' warp trail," T'Pol said, "the ship was travelling at warp 63


A Leap of Faith

two when it entered the star desert. If we hope to recreate the circumstances that led to the disappearance of the Marianas, logic dictates we must do the same." "What?" Kirk asked. "She means that--" Archer began. "I know what she means," Kirk snapped. "This isn't a science experiment, it's a rescue mission." "It's an unknown disappearance, Admiral," Archer measured out his words carefully, to avoid losing his temper. "We might have already lost one ship. We either do this my way or we don't do it at all." Then he deliberately turned to T'Pol. "Are you still following their warp trail?" "The trail has just vanished, Captain." One eyebrow raised meaningfully. "Unnaturally so." "What do you think caused it?" "Impossible to--" T'Pol was interrupted by chaos on the bridge as the ship was slammed out of warp. At the same time, the viewscreen flared with brilliant light. "Tactical alert!" Archer yelled as picked himself up from the deck. Then he lurned to T'Pol. "Report!" "Gravitational fields have collapsed our warp field." She seemed glued to her science station. "Twelve devices materialized in our path." "Engineering to bridge!" Trip's voice erupted from the speakers. Archer tapped the comm panel. "Go ahead." "Warp field collapsed, Captain." Trip sounded busy. "We've got to clear those gravity wells."

64


House Abukoff

"We're working on it, Trip. Bridge out." Archer cut the channel quickly. "Reverse course, Travis. Full impulse." "No response," Mayweather answered. "We're at a dead stop." "Dampening field in effect, Captain," T'Pol reported as she looked into the hooded science viewer. "Reading debris ahead." After a moment's silence, she straighted and turned to Archer. "Polarized duranium hull fragments." Kirk's face darkened, and he cast an accusing glance at Archer. "We're too late." Then he turned to T'Pol. "Full scan." T'Pol glanced quickly at Archer, who nodded. Then she went back to the viewer. "Insufficient mass to be the Marianas. No bodies. No plasma residue. It appears to be the outer casing of the ship's flight data recorder." "Is the black box intact?" Archer asked. A reference to twentieth century avaiation technology, the black box was the protected memory core of the ship's sensor data. It was the last chance to get information if all else was lost. "Scanning," she answered. "Ships coming in," Reed reported. "Unknown configuration. They're firing." White energy beams shot from three ships consisting of twin outrigger hulls, connected by small pylons. The outriggers glowed yellow with power. Enterprise rocked under the assault, and the ships sailed past them. "Hull plating down to eighty percent." "The black box is intact," T'Pol reported. "Travis, bring us around," Archer ordered. "Follow them." 65


A Leap of Faith

"Manuevering thrusters aren't responding, Captain. We're dead in space." Mayweather sounded frustrated. "Acknowledged." Archer turned to tactical. "Malcolm, phase cannons. Computer lock and fire." "Aye sir," Reed answered crisply. Then he swore softly under his breath. "Would you like to repeat that, Lieutenant?" Archer asked. "Sorry, sir," Reed said. "The sensors can't lock on. Too much interference from those devices." Archer absorbed this and turned quickly to T'Pol. "What are they?" After gazing into her viewer for a second, T'Pol answered. "Atomic fusion generators. Energy output totals the equivalent of a G-type star." "They're coming around for another pass," Reed reported. "Stand by on the grappler, Malcolm," Archer ordered. "I think we've got one shot." "Standing by, sir." Reed watched, trying to avoid a feeling of helplessness. Then the alien ship suddenly appeared on a course that would take it in range of the grappler. "Firing," he said quietly as he fired. In less than a second, the grappler shot out and attached itself to the other ship. "Great," Archer said. Then the ship was wrenched from its position, throwing everyone on the bridge from their seats."Phase cannons." Phase cannons fired even as the Enterprise was dragged along behind the fleeing

66


House Abukoff

enemy. Two quick flashes of light were seen from the careening bridge. "Enemy shields at seventy-five percent," T'Pol reported. "And the others are coming around," Reed reported. "Photonic torpedoes," Archer snapped. "Maximum yield. Quickly!" Two photonic torpedoes belched from the forward emitter, catching the struggling enemy as it squirmed to free itself. "Release the grappler," Archer ordered. But it was too late. The still-unidentified ship exploded, taking the grappler ends with it. Enterprise drifted along on momentum, as the remaining enemies swung around cautiously. Archer turned to T'Pol. "Scan one of those generators. Can we destroy it?" T'Pol took only seconds to find an answer. "If we did, it would set off a chain reaction that would destroy us and severely disrupt the local space-time continuum." Then she stood up. "Fortunately, we are not capable of destroying it." "Fortunately," Archer repeated, with more than a hint of sarcasm. "Continue scanning the black box. I want an." As he said that, the bridge rocked from another attack, and Archer felt the bridge dissolve around him. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ". swers." Archer felt angry and helpless, even before he was fully aware of his surroundings. He'd materialized inside of a large chamber, facing seven aliens who resembled, more than anything else, bipedal cats. "Who are you?" Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Admiral Kirk standing still with barely contained fury.

67


A Leap of Faith

The tallest of the cats opened its mouth to hiss at Archer, showing a mouthful of sharp teeth and long fangs and speaking to him in a voice that sounded like a hellish version of a cat his dad had owned when he was a kid. Then it brandished a long, elegantly deadly rifle at him. Archer glanced at Kirk, and found himself gaining strength from the ramrod straight legend. "Where is the crew of the Marianas?" He couldn't help but wonder what was happening to Enterprise. The cat snarled at him again, then spoke to the others. Six more of the rifles were raised, and pointed at Kirk and Archer. The message was unmistakable. Move along or die here. So he moved along with Kirk, as they were marched down a corridor that was similar to those on Enterprise, except that the bulkheads were covered with animal pelts and weapons of infinite and alien design, suspended in webbing. They finally found themselves herded into a large cargo bay. There were numerous cargo cases with the UESPA logo still prominent behind scorch marks, and a corner of the bay was caged off. Kirk and Archer exchanged glances, and studied the cargo. "Pirates," Archer whispered. That was rewarded with the crash of an alien rifle butt on Archer's back. He stumbled forward, falling against a very low-tech cage. "Admiral Kirk!" Captain Fitzgerald dragged himself up to attention. His face was haggard, and showed signs of having been beaten with the same rifle butts. Seconds later, Kirk and Archer were shoved into the cell with Fitzgerald. "What happened?" Kirk asked.

68


House Abukoff

Fitzgerald recounted the attack on the Marianas as it traveled through the Alpha Seven Echo star desert. "They're called 'Lyrans', according to my comm officer. Dozens of them boarded the ship as soon as we were disabled. Then they dragged the ship back through a portal of some kind. It wasn't there before we were stopped." He looked at Kirk, then to Archer. Archer couldn't help but think of what was probably happening to Enterprise right now. "What happened to the Marianas?" "It's still here," Fitzgerald answered. "I saw them moving her into the middle of a bunch of other ships. Just before they dragged me off of their bridge." He looked at a far bulkhead, as if looking in the direction of his ship. "The crew--" "Where are they?" Kirk as gently as he could. "They're in the cargo module." "Are they..." Archer let his words trail off, unwilling to say the word. Dead. "I don't know," Fitzgerald answered. "It's pressurized, and with life support." "There might be a slave trade," Archer said. "We've run into Orions doing the same thing." "We need to get to them," Kirk said bluntly. "And then retake the Marianas." "First we need to get out of here," Archer said. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Lyrans boarded Enterprise at the same time that Archer and Kirk were transported out, taking over the bridge and engineering simultaneously with surprise and 69


A Leap of Faith

strength of numbers. "Where is Captain Archer?" T'Pol demanded. One of the aliens raised a rifle and hissed at T'Pol before shrieking in its own language that reminded her of her pet sehlat. "Ensign?" Hoshi raised her eyebrows. "It's a little early to tell," she answered. Then she was surprised to see one of them moving to her station. It manipulated the universal translator unit briefly, then turned to the other Lyrans and howled angrily. "You are prisoners of the Lyran White Fang Duchy," the leader now was able to tell them. "Resistance will be rewarded with death." "Where is Captain Archer?" T'Pol repeated. "Your vessel is being towed to a salvage station," the big cat said. "Instruct your crew to surrender if you want them to survive." T'Pol was silent for a moment, as the logic of the situation became apparent. "Put me on shipwide, Ensign." "Commander!" Reed objected. "Ensign..." T'Pol repeated, without taking her eyes off of the head Lyran. Hoshi gulped, then complied. Then T'Pol continued. "All hands, stand down. Mister Tucker, take special care with the--" she paused briefly, as her thoughts raced, "--hoodwink generator." Tucker managed to keep a straight face as he listened to T'Pol. "You heard her," he said to the Lyran pointing a rifle at him. "If I don't lock it down, we'll have a paraborg cascade in the bermanbragganater!" "What is a bermanbragganater?" The voice, filtered through a universal translator, sounded too human for Trip

70


House Abukoff

to associate it with the cat-like creature holding an exotic rifle at him. "Well, that's what keeps the canon from aligning." "The canon?" "Yeah," Trip said. "See, the canon fires up the input outflow manifold, and resequences the fecal ejection through the oscillating blade. If the bermanbragganator cuts out and lets the canon align, nothing stops the shi..." He paused, as the Lyran tilted its head in confusion. "Well, you end up with a hell of a mess in your face." "What do you have to do?" "Well, see this here?" He pointed to a manual EPS flow regulator. "Now that we're moving again, we've got to be real careful it doesn't become--" He slammed the control open and cowered in mock terror. "Get away from it!" Explosives danced harmlessly from the warp core to panels along bulkheads all around them. He tapped a comm panel. "Tucker to bridge! Look out!" Then he lunged at the guard, who was looking around confused. Seconds later, he had the rifle and was pointing it at his captor. "Tell 'em to drop their weapons." He put the barrel against the Lyran's head. "Now!" After a few snarls that the universal translator failed to interpret, the rest of the Lyrans in engineering gave up. The pyrotechnic display reached the bridge in seconds, blowing out the engineering station but distracting the Lyrans enough for Reed to draw a phase pistol and stun them. "Good work, Lieutenant," T'Pol said. Then she tapped a comm panel. "Security to the bridge." On the

71


A Leap of Faith

viewscreen, they could all see as the Lyran ship was towing them into a circular device that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. "Ensign Mayweather, stand by. If we are able to manuever once we pass through that device, we'll need to react quickly. Mister Reed, prepare to target enemy vessels." As Enterprise passed through the Lyran portal, T'Pol noted that the fusion generators that had pulled them from warp seemed to vanish. Then she saw the cylindrical Marianas floating nearby, along with a single cargo module attached to its aft quarter. It reminded her of the basic design of most Vulcan starships, as well as the early warp testbed ships that Earth and Vulcan had built together. Major Stiles chose that moment to arrive on the bridge, flanked on both sides by MACO's under his command. "Commander?" "Take these to the brig," she indicated the Lyrans sprawled on the deck. "And relieve Commander Tucker of his as well." "Acknowledged," Stiles answered. Without another word, the officers lifted the stunned Lyrans and hauled them to the turbolift. "Scan for lifesigns on the Marianas," T'Pol ordered Reed. "Scanning," Reed answered. "Thirty lifeforms in the main body of the ship. All Lyran." He turned to face her. "And we're out of 'hoodwink generators'." T'Pol raised one eyebrow. "Scan the cargo module." The ship that occupied her attention, however, was the large twin-hulled catamarran craft towards the center of

72


House Abukoff

the formation. It was easily the size of a Vulcan Selek Class Heavy Cruiser. "Scanning beams are being dispersed. There's no way to tell," he answered. Then he turned the scanner to the large ship. "I've can't scan inside the cruiser either." "Discontinue scanning, Mister Reed. If they realize we're--" But it was too late. Disruptors from the Lyran heavy cruiser slammed into Enterprise. "Evasive manuevers. Target their weapons." ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Archer, Kirk, and Fitzgerald were all thrown backwards as the ship rocked under them. "It's about time," Kirk said. At that moment, two Lyran guards approached the makeshift cell with their rifles drawn. One opened the door while the other covered the prisoners. "Fitzgerald. Come" While the second kept the group covered, the first entered the cage and pulled Fitzgerald out by the neck. Archer tensed on his feet, wanting to take some kind of action while the door was open, but Kirk stopped him with a hard look and a quick shake of his head. "Not now," he whispered. They both watched helplessly as Fitzgerald was dragged away across the rocking deck. When they were alone again, Kirk spoke softly. "Thanks, Captain, but we would've been killed. Do you think Enterprise can take these Lyrans?" "It's a good ship, and the best crew in the fleet," Archer answered. "We've been in tougher scrapes than this. I also think that they've boarded the ship, unless they've got their own universal translator. But I'd say--" he paused as the ship rocked again, "--we took the ship back."

73


A Leap of Faith

"We need to find a weapon," Kirk said, "and be ready to move when we get the chance." They both turned to the haphazard piles of equipment littering the cell. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Captain Fitzgerald found himself transported to the last place he expected. The bridge of the Marianas. He glared at the Lyran officer that materialized next to him. "What the hell do you want?" "Computer codes," it answered. "Command codes." "Go to hell," he answered. The Lyran hissed at him and pointed a small tricorder at the viewscreen. "Your crew." On the viewscreen, Fitzgerald could see his crew packed into the cargo module. "Release the command codes or we'll destroy them." Fitzgerald answered by throwing himself headfirst at the Lyran. "Get off my ship!" It felt like he was attacking a tree trunk with muscles, but Fitzgerald was happy to be finally fighting back. "It doesn't matter what you do," the Lyran said as it picked Fitzgerald up and threw him against the helm console. "We've taken over this ship." Fitzgerald felt the manual steering yoke dig into his side, and quickly snapped off the restraining bolt. Then a quick counterclockwise snap freed it from the console. Finally, as he heard the Lyran stepping towards him, he whipped it around, catching the big cat on the side of its head. Another swing under the chin yielded a satisfying 'snap' and a splash of blood. As the cat shrieked at him, Fitzgerald grabbed it's head and kicked up with one knee.

74


House Abukoff

The Lyran finally slumped, and Fitzgerald dropped it to the deck. "One at a time," he said. Then he found himself looking frantically around the bridge for something to do that would make a difference. He knew there would be at least thirty of them on the ship, and they would be between him and his crew. He needed help. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Maintain fire, Lieutenant. We need to bring those shields down." T'Pol was standing next to Reed when the comm panel beeped. "Enterprise! Enterprise!" Hoshi jumped as the voice came out of the speakers. "Put it on screen, Ensign." T'Pol turned to the screen. "Captain Fitzgerald?" "Enterprise, the Lyrans have cut the connection from my bridge to the cargo module. I can't disconnect them, and I--" "Is your crew in the cargo module?" "Yes," Fitzgerald answered. "You're going to have to use your weapons to break the module free." "That will damage the Marianas," T'Pol cautioned him. "Perhaps beyond repair." "This isn't about the ship, Commander. It's about my crew." "Understood, Captain. Do you know where our captain is being held?" "I can send you coordinates," he said. Just then, an explosion behind him made him turn around. The turbolift

75


A Leap of Faith

door rattled and came off its track. The rest of the Lyrans were coming through. He quickly transmitted the coordinates. "I'm running out of time, but I'll to try to get the Lyran shield down first." He gave T'Pol a hard look. "Get my crew to safety, Commander." "Acknowledged," T'Pol answered. "Enterprise out. Mister Reed, target the juncture between the Marianas and its cargo module. Minimal power on phase cannons." Then she tapped the comm panel. "Engineering, what is the status of the grappler?" "We've been a little busy down here," Trip answered. "But I found time to fix it for you." "Good work," she said. "Bridge out." Then she turned to Reed. "Fire." She watched as the phase cannon struck the Marianas. There was a small explosion, and the cargo module began to drift free. "Can you get a lock on the captain?" "Negative," Reed answered. "Even if he does bring their shields down, I might not be able to get a lock. And our hull plating is down to twenty percent. A few more hits and we're done for." "I may have a way to get a transporter lock," T'Pol said. "Bridge to Commander Tucker." ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fitzgerald felt shrapnel from the turbolift door hit him in the neck as viewscreen showed the Enterprise catching the cargo module with two grappler lines. "There you go," he muttered. "Get 'em home." Then he activated the impulse drive, and set a collision course with the Lyran cruiser. "Come on, baby," he said as he looked around the bridge. "One more job to do." Then he heard the Lyrans pushing onto the bridge. "This isn't your ship anymore," 76


House Abukoff

he turned to face them. "It's an Earth ship." That was when the Lyran rifles flared, and he felt his legs cut out from under him. Seconds later, they were all slammed forward as the Marianas crashed through the Lyran shields. "Shields are down," Reed announced. "They've stopped firing." Then he tried to scan for Archer and Kirk. "Still no lock on the captain." "Transporter room, energize," T'Pol ordered. "Keep a lock on that transmitter, Mister Reed. It's all we've got." Kirk and Archer were testing the laser torches they'd found at the bottom of the pile of equipment when the Lyran ship dipped to one side, and they suddenly found themselves slammed against the locked gate. "We can cut our way out," Archer said. "Then find some way to contact the Enterprise." That was when a Lyran went skidding across the deck, finally catching hold of the gate. "Stay where you are," it hissed. "Go to hell," Archer answered. Then he pointed the torch at the Lyran and fired it up. The Lyran screeched in pain. At that moment, the deck righted itself, and they all fell again. Archer took advantage of the distraction to cut the gate open. "Let's go!" He pushed the door open, and started to rush out when the Lyran guard slammed into him again. This time, claws scrabbled to get to his face, and he had to struggle furiously to avoid them. As Kirk saw Archer struggling with the Lyran, he suddenly heard the whine of a transporter behind him. A communicator with a tricorder attached to it was on the deck, sliding around as the ship continued to take fire. He ran for it, and ended up sliding around himself before he managed to get to it. "Enterprise!"

77


A Leap of Faith

"Admiral Kirk?" It was T'Pol. "Is Captain Archer with you? We have to beam you out quickly." "Stand by," Kirk answered. He noticed that the communicator was jury-rigged open, and obviously using the tricorder to boost its signal, so he took care not to close it. Then he ran at the Lyran with his laser torch in front of him. He hit the Lyran at full speed, just as its claws were cutting across Archer's face. One quick flash of the laser made the Lyran jump away. Then Kirk wrapped an arm around Archer and spoke into the communicator. "Enterprise, beam us up!" ~~~~~~~~~~~~ "Transporter room, report!" T'Pol demanded. "We got 'em, Bridge," Trip answered. "Is the cargo module secure?" she asked Reed. "It's attached to the port ventral hard contact point with a magnetic coupler. As long as we don't shake it around too much--" he answered. "That is sufficient. Ensign Mayweather, take us through that portal at full impulse, then go to warp as soon as we're clear." "Acknowledged." Mayweather started to bring Enterprise around as they built up speed. "The Lyran is coming around." "Target its drive system, Mister Reed. Photonic torpedoes." T'Pol watched as the Enterprise started to pass through the device. Suddenly the bridge rocked as disruptors slammed into them. Seconds later, they emerged into the star desert. Without warning, the fusion generators reappeared,

78


House Abukoff

stopping the Enterprise dead in space. "What's going on?" It was Captain Archer. T'Pol moved away from the captain's chair quickly. "The Lyrans have reactivated the fusion generators. There does not appear to be a dampening field in place." "Target their warp core, Malcolm," Archer ordered. "Fire all weapons." A full spread of photonic torpedoes slammed into the Lyran ship, along with phase cannon beams. In seconds, the huge ship was blown apart, creating a shock wave that pushed the smaller Enterprise out of the area. At the same time, a series of explosions tore through all twelve fusion generators. The result was a colorful nebula that Enterprise was lucky to be tossed out of. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ A short time later, Archer and Kirk sat in his office, watching the stars fly by as they warped back to Earth. "The crew of the Marianas is alive, Admiral," Archer said as he poured two whiskeys. "Captain Fitzgerald gave his life to save them and us." "And that's what's really important," Kirk answered. "You know, I never thought there'd be a Starfleet. I thought we'd never make it this far." "We made it," Archer said. "We made it because of people like Captain Fitzgerald. And because of Captain Peter Kirk." "You read the logs," Kirk said without bitterness. "I had to know what was pushing you, Admiral. And you know, you did what was right. You helped to push us out here. There'd be no warp five engine without a Captain

79


A Leap of Faith

Kirk to pave the way. No NX program without the first Enterprise to prove we could do it." "To the Enterprise," Kirk raised his glass. "To all of them." Archer touched his glass to Kirk's. "To the Enterprise."

If you liked this fan-written novel then you’ll enjoy the officially licensed eBooks now available. Checkout the following eBooks on Simon & Schuster website, www.simonsays.com ‌

80


Star Trek: Destiny Gods of Night by David Mack Half a decade after the Dominion War and more than a year after the rise and fall of Praetor Shinzon, the galaxy's greatest scourge returns to wreak havoc upon the Federation -- and this time its goal is nothing less than total annihilation. Elsewhere, deep in the Gamma Quadrant, an ancient mystery is solved. One of Earth's first generation of starships, lost for centuries, has been found dead and empty on a desolate planet. But its discovery so far from home has raised disturbing questions, and the answers harken back to a struggle for survival that once tested a captain and her crew to the limits of their humanity. From that terrifying flashpoint begins an apocalyptic odyssey that will reach across time and space to reveal the past, define the future, and show three captains -- Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise, TM William Riker of the U.S.S. Titan, and Ezri Dax of the U.S.S Aventine -- that some destinies are inescapable.

Star Trek: Destiny Mere Mortals By David Mack On Earth, Federation President Nanietta Bacco gathers allies and adversaries to form a desperate last line of defense against an impending Borg invasion. In deep space, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Ezri Dax join together to cut off the Collective's route to the Alpha Quadrant. Half a galaxy away, Captain William Riker and the crew of the Starship Titan have made contact with the reclusive Caeliar -survivors of a stellar cataclysm that, two hundred years ago, drove fissures through the structure of space and time, creating a loop of inevitability and consigning another captain and crew to a purgatory from which they could never escape. Now the supremely advanced Caeliar will brook no further intrusion upon their isolation, or against the sanctity of their Great Work....For the small, finite lives of mere mortals carry little weight in the calculations of gods. But even gods may come to understand that they underestimate humans at their peril.

A Leap of Faith  

Three episodes from a new Star Trek: Enterprise, Virtual Season 5 ... Two babies of mixed Vulcan and human parentage: one is doomed to die w...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you