This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: “light”, used in any way we please.
For the rest of September, I’ll be playing SOCS a little differently. I decided at the eleventh hour to play along with the Story A Day in September challenge. OK, maybe it wasn’t so much me who decided, but the Vulcan and human in my head, who’ve been wanting me to get on with it, and write more of their stories, so they can be together…
Or, in the case of this story, apart, and somehow together, anyway…
I’ve used the “light” prompt here, and also this prompt from the Story A Day folks:
Your character is alone in the woods and finds blighted trees, drooping plants…rot and slime everywhere. It once was beautiful but overnight is turning into a swamp–its not natural. Your character must get to the bottom of this and stop it before something they love very much is threatened also. Extra points if your character actually doesn’t know this forest and ends up getting lost. Maybe the trees have turned evil and… *gulp* developed something of an appetite?
Will your character make it out alive?
Start writing, quick, so we can all find out!
I don’t own any part of Star Trek, but Trip and T’Pol own space in my imagination, and so…this scene happens in the six-year gap, so no real spoilers. Those who want to read more of this story arc can try these:
“Trip! Commander, stand down! That’s an order!”
“Can’t. Stop. Have. To -”
“Liuentenant Reed, stun grenade!”
You hear the words, but they make no sense. From another place, another life. Not here.
Where am I?
Nothing and no one answered. Should there be such silence, in a forest? Surely there had been life here, yesterday. Yes. You can remember. There was a bird, and it sang to you, and you – both of you listened.
Your hand goes to your abdomen, low, protective. Not both of you. All of you.
“What happened, Captain?”
“He broke out of her quarters -”
“I strongly suggested a guard -”
“You didn’t suggest they wear combat armor. That would’ve been a good idea.”
“In what way?”
“It seems that neuropressure and mind melds aren’t the only Vulcan skills he’s picked up – she’s taught him the damned neck pinch!”
No. You peer at the trees. Their leaves are swollen. There is a human word; you learned it from his movies, and there is a series of images to match it in his mind. Grotesque. The leaves are grotesque, like something that would be used as a setting detail in a horror movie.
There was a time when you didn’t understand horror movies, or him. Now, you don’t understand this place, how the forest where you walked in the sunshine, and in the light of his small silver moon’s full disk, could be this fetid, festering place, reeking of decay….
“The smell, the smell -” It’s only a small whimper, taken by the chill damp of thick fog, which pulls it from your throat, forcing tendril fingers in, and you retch, double, vomit bile – yet again, yet again. But you won’t complain. Worth any price, these new lives you carry within you.
For them, you must find your way…
“What precipitated the use of a stun grenade, Captain?”
“He was trying to steal a shuttlecraft. No – he was stealing it. If we’d been a minute later, he would have been gone. What the hell’s wrong with him, Phlox?”
“Perhaps a great deal, Captain. Or perhaps nothing.”
Candlelight playing across his skin, your fingers reading the bioelectric signature that is his alone….your minds blending, moving closer to Attunement, to oneness….”never and always touching and touched…home….”
In the stillness, you hear the bird – only it isn’t a bird. No….and the music…it twists into and through the fog, like it did that night in San Francisco, and you were compelled to follow where it led…
To a different kind of home.
To a new life…
Two new lives…
“This isn’t the time for your Denobulan riddles, Doctor. My best friend’s incoherent and seems bent on getting himself killed. My First Officer, has been abducted.”
“I know all of this, Captain. I’m not being cryptic. It is quite possible, however, that these symptoms are caused by nothing other than T’Pol’s circumstances. They were very deeply joined when she was taken. It may be simply that the Commanders are pursuing her rescue with their typical determination.”
It wasn’t a bird. It was a harmonica, silvery and welcome, calling you, leading you….
But what of this rotted forest, and the place you remember, in sunlight, and in shadow?
“Trick of your mind, pepperpot. Or maybe mine. Ignore it…ignore everything but me, and the babies, and the music….can you? So I can feel you?”
You stop moving – you didn’t know you were running, tripping on roots, falling, tangling in thorny vines, until now. “The smells..”
“I know, I know. Can you remember what home smells like?”
“Mating. With you, and the candles…I remember….”
“Aw, hell, pepperpot, me too….gotta get to you…”
“Parted from me, and never parted…”
“What’s that alert, Phlox?”
“Their minds, Captain. See here, on the scan….”
“I’m not sure what I’m looking at.”
“This is a composite brainwave, Captain.”
“Composite? Of what?”
“I believe it is a composite of the Commanders – that they have, essentially, become one being, with the skills and memories of both. If I am correct, this may make it possible to find Commander T’Pol, and bring her home.”
Home. We gotta get home.
Home. Out of the sickened forest, out of the dark sucking fog and the shadows that meant to consume….
Will T’Pol make it home?
Will the babies be safe?
Where is she?
Read a revised and extended version of this story, with links to others in the “Not Jealousy” story arc.