DISCLAIMER: "Enterprise" and the characters within are the property of the Great Bird of the Franchise, Paramount. No profit is intended in the writing of this story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to Sue and Steff for beta-ing this.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
No matter how much T'Pol persevered she could not attain the third level of the t'han-sahat. The elementary stages had been achieved with only minor difficulty, first blocking off the noise from the poorly designed vessel, then the undisciplined mental babble of the humans that always flickered on the edge of her senses. But inner detachment proved elusive; deconstructions that had seemed effortless only days before now required all her concentration. Rather than begin again T'Pol struggled for dominance, trying to clamp down and isolate each feeling, each physiological response. They slipped around her mind like chimeras, wisps of curling smoke that vanished whenever she grasped at them. Frustration clawed at the edges of her self-control; in a cascade reaction her mental walls collapsed and the outside environment poured in: the primitive ventilation, unshielded electronics and door chime cutting into her sensitive hearing. T'Pol tried to ignore the sound but it chimed again; a harsh, irritating noise drumming against the tympanum until she turned and screamed "WHAT?"
The door slid open, revealing the human female, Hoshi Sato. Her mouth was open in an 'O'.
"Can I help you, Ensign?" T'Pol asked, her voice soft now. The outburst had been humiliating, yet cathartic as well, for a brief moment.
Hoshi's mouth worked like a gasping fish, then eventually words tumbled out. "Uh . . . Sub-Commander. We've rendezvoused with the D'Kyr. They're ready to take you on board."
It took T'Pol a moment to comprehend. The starship D'Kyr. Taking her to Vulcan. To Koss.
The meditation candle was extinguished with an abrupt pinch of thumb and forefinger. Her satchel was already packed with the few personal items she needed. Hoshi quickly stepped out of the way as T'Pol pushed past her, striding down the corridor, her movements urgent, like an addict anticipating the next fix.
'Yearning for the freedom of anarchy, to be able to smash her fists against this rude, smelly, ill-disciplined rabble she was cooped up with. Something deep within revelling in the thought, a creature ancient and uncivilised, thousands of years buried but still not conquered. Struggling against its confines, slithering out in nightmares and moments of physical weakness . . . '
Hoshi was staring at T'Pol as she hurried to keep up. "Are you all right?"
"I am unwell. I must return to Vulcan for treatment." T'Pol pulled her robe tight, an illogical reaction to her k'oh-nar that only angered her further. There were too many eyes, she was too exposed, even these insensitive humans realised her lack of control.
"I'm not sure you'll make it to Vulcan. Maybe you should see Doctor Phlox before you go."
"I must return to Vulcan." It was like a mantra in her mind. 'I MUST return to Vulcan.' The imperative driving out all others. Doors were a frustrating hinderance. The turbolift took an eternity to arrive.
The turbolift hissed open and T'Pol stepped inside, hoping for momentary solitude. But Hoshi slipped in as well, pressing the button for the starboard docking port.
"It's started a real fracas."
"What has?" T'Pol asked, her thoughts elsewhere, looping in endless repetition. 'Structure cannot stand without a foundation. Logic is the foundation of function. Function is the essence of control. I am in control.'
"Finding a replacement for you. Right now there's a major diplomatic squabble going on between Northern China and the New African Republics. Everyone wants in on this mission."
T'Pol turned to stare at Hoshi. Her scent was over-powering in the confined space, like the stench of a rutting Vulcan male. The thick atmosphere felt stifling, its humidity clogging her lungs.
"Well, I guess that's the price of liberty eternal politics." The bridge of Hoshi's nose crinkled in a frown. "You know Sub-Commander, I really think you should go to Sickbay. You look awful."
"I am fine."
"You don't look fine." Hoshi placed a hand over T'Pol's forehead, the casual breach of her personal space shocking in its intimacy. "You're running a high fever."
Her palm felt like a soothing breeze against the raging heat of her body. Without conscious thought T'Pol reached out and touched Hoshi's forehead, drawing the coolness from her skin. She could sense the ebb and flow of the human's bioelectric field, the gentle whispering of her mindspill. Her fingers slid over the temples, instinctively seeking the kwi'lari points on the side of the skull.
Hoshi's eyes widened. "Whatwhat are you doing?"
She had always found this one . . . fascinating.
and then she was plunging into hoshi's mind like an orgasm that can't be stopped, seeking fusion with the ecstasy of release the pressure of days, years, thousands of years of pent-up emotion bursting forth in unstoppable floodtide anger frustration joy hatred love fear lust seven years of hunger craving the release of seed into my body red fire in the sky and burning heat in my veins, sulfur and ash and savage exaltation as i watch my chosen mate swing the blade into his rival, green blood spurting, green blood mixing with the sweat of his body as he turns to claim me not through crude fumbling penetrations of body parts but true love-making, the pleasure given and the pleasure received known to us both as our minds entwine and slide through each other in liquid oneness seeing my eyes through hoshi's eyes dark and aflame with the blood fever . . .
Hoshi's knees buckled and their link severed with cruel finality. T'Pol staggered back against the side of the turbolift; shock, guilt, self-loathing overwhelming her - WHAT HAVE I DONE?
The turbolift doors opened and she fled through them, grey metal corridors and pale faces sliding past in rapid procession, something wrong sub-commander? hey where's the fire?
The sound of running footfalls behind; T'Pol quickened her pace but Hoshi caught up with her at the airlock hatchway.
To T'Pol's horror, Hoshi spoke in Vulcan. "Take me with you."
"Return to your station, Ensign!"
She could see it all on Hoshi's undisciplined face; confusion, fear, lust - it was a mirror that repelled her. She shoved Hoshi backwards, her Vulcan strength slamming the ensign hard into the bulkhead. T'Pol turned and stumbled into the airlock. Hands shaking as she keyed in the locking code.
"T'Pol please . . . please, what WAS that?"
T'Pol jumped at the sound of Hoshi's voice. She had forgotten the intercom system.
"Pon farr," she whispered.
"I don't . . . I don't understand."
"No," T'Pol replied. "You cannot."
The airlock sealed shut behind her, mercifully cutting off the human's entreaties. The D'Kyr's docking portal was empty. No Vulcan was present to witness her shame. They would avoid her for the rest of the voyage, for fear of contamination.
T'Pol moved like an automaton through empty corridors, her mantra a sinner's prayer for forgiveness.
'Structure cannot stand without a foundation. Logic is the foundation of function. Function is the essence of control. I am in control. I am in control. I am in control . . . '
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