They were sitting at the breakfast table, chatting and eating. Lisa was playing with her cereal in her bowl; Ian was talking about his new toy and taking an bite now and then. Dad told both of them to eat their breakfast, before taking a sip of his coffee. Mom was busy with Lizzy, who looked adorable with her shiny blond hair with a pink ribbon on top and her pink flowery dress.
Suddenly there was a banging at the door. A man shouted and called out Dad's name. A small explosion followed, and the door smashed open. Five men dressed in black military uniforms marched in the room. Two of them rushed to Dad, grabbing and cuffing him. “Charles Tucker, you're under arrest for treason against the Terran Empire,” one soldier declared. A plate fell on the floor and smashed into a thousand pieces, Lisa and Ian screamed, and Lizzy started crying big tears. Dad was taken away.
A theater. They were standing before a window, in a perfectly straight line, viewing the empty theater floor. Mom was holding Lizzie close to her with one hand and the other hand was for Ian. Lisa was clutching his mother’s leg. Only he, the eldest, stood alone.
“Don't cry,” his mother hissed to them. “If you cry, they are going to take you, just like Dad.”
At the scene before them, five military men marched in and made a line as well. Two other men walked in, holding Dad between them. Dad looked gray, thin and old. They placed him on the red spot on the floor. The five men in line took their phasers and aimed. A blast of phaser fire hit Dad. Electrical currents consumed Dad’s body and then he fell. He knew his father was dead and in his mind the phrase repeated, “Don't cry, Trip, don't cry. They're going get you if you do.” He swallowed his tears and the darkness of the world suffocated him...
With a scream Charles Tucker woke up and stared in the darkness of his room.
He’d had that dream again. That dream about Dad's execution. Sweat was dripping off his face. He felt gross. Charles stepped out of his bed, the floor underneath his feet felt cold.
In the bathroom he looked at his gray, worn-down face. His ugly face. Half of it looked normal, but the other side looked melted, full of ugly scars. His bad eye was prickling again. “Hello monster,” he grinned to his reflection in the mirror, “you look handsome today.”
He threw some water on his face and walked to his bedroom. It was only two o'clock in the morning. He didn't want to go back to sleep again, but he had too. He only had given himself four hours of sleep, before he returned to work again. He needed the sleep, but he’d only had one hour.
He returned to the batch room again, took some sleep medication and dragged himself back to the bunk. On his bed he stared to the ceiling in the darkness without seeing. And finally, sleep came.
He was dreaming again. He knew it, this was a dream, but he couldn't stop the pictures in his mind. And it wasn't his dream, but hers. Her memory. He saw a Vulcan man, tall, black hair, dressed in a burgundy red robe. A woman, dressed in a light blue robe, her brown hair cut half way. They were having breakfast; he ate some kind of porridge and had a steaming cup of tea in front of him. The woman ate a fruit salad and she also drank tea. They ate in a peaceful silence.
An explosion at the door, a door smashed open. Five men walked into the room, blue men with antennas on their head. They ordered the family to stand up. The man protested loudly, as the soldiers grabbed the woman. Suddenly, one of the soldiers took a phaser and shot him. The man fell on the floor. Blood dripped from his face. The woman broke free and rushed to him, but two soldiers pulled her way. They slapped her face. They kicked her down. Then, as she was on the floor while a soldier knelt down and held her, another tore her robe. Then the tallest of the soldiers climbed on top of her, while the other two held the woman down. The woman screamed.
The world became black and contained nothing but the sound of cries. Cries of despair, and every one of them makes him feel like dying. Every scream breaks him down, every cry is like a stab in his heart. Waves of fear, terror, disgust and total despair washes over him. He is lost in a see of pain, as the child in him is dying....
The alarm pierced through his nightmare and he opened his eyes. He felt sick. Slowly he returned to his own world, retreating from this world he had just seen, T'Pol's world when she was a child. As he took a shower – there wasn't any use trying to go back to sleep again – he tried to shake of the feeling of horror. Was his dream her memory? It must have been. He shivered under the warm beams of water.
Then he pulled himself together. Whatever happened to T'Pol in her past, that didn’t change the fact she was now a lying, manipulative bitch that had treated him as dirt, no, less than dirt. She had invaded his brain and used him like disposal waste. Two days in the agony boot for him, two weeks for her, and now months in an isolation cell. Why Sato hadn't executed her for treason was beyond him. “Let her rot there, Tucker, he thought. “Keep her out of your life.”
But it was strange how the mind worked. He got dressed and walked towards work, but his feet found the way to the holdings cells. Tucker was so deep in his own thoughts that he only realized it when a soldier addressed him and asked him what he was doing here.
It was Corporal Cole, a fierce soldier, an attractive brunette, and an old girlfriend of Colonel Reed. Quickly he searched his brain for a plausible explanation. “We think T'Pol can help us with the investigation of the Vulcan computer viruses,” he answered. “I’d like to speak with her.”
Cole raised an eyebrow. “I don't think you get much out of her. Tolaris did a real number on her.” She smiled widely. “Not that she doesn't deserve it.” She then gave him a nod as a gesture that he could pass.
He walked through, his mind reeling, his stomach in a knot. Tolaris was one of the Vulcans who collaborated with the Terran Empire. He had heard Tolaris used some kind of mind technique to harm Vulcans. He was praised for his torture techniques by Sato. And Tucker knew all to well, how hurtful and traumatic an invasion of the mind could be.
Cole had followed him and guided him to the door. She opened it. “Here it is,” she said. In her eyes he saw a glint that she was mocking him and he knew she was going to tell Reed right away about his visit. This move of his could get him in a lot of trouble. The door was closed behind him and he could hear that Cole had engaged the door lock. He was in the cell.
The room smelt - like any cell he’d ever stayed in or visited - of urine, although this odor was more pungent. The cell itself was chaotic: paper towels and clothing, a prison overall and underwear, was splayed across the floor. There were two water bottles: one still stood, but the other had fallen, spilling water. The water had crawled underneath a filthy looking mattress on the floor, and the toilet bucket lay upside down on the floor. The mess took him by surprise. T'Pol always had been a organized person.
In a corner of the cell a slumped figure sat. He immediately recognized it as T'Pol.
Gone was her straight posture. She was sitting like a rag doll, her shoulders huddled, her arms loosely next to her.
He treaded softly towards her, squat down and said to the huddled figure. “T'Pol, can you hear me?”
There was no response. She just sat there with her head bowed. It moved him. He felt all the fury, and the anger that was burning inside of him, fade away.
He looked at her. Normally, he only had to see her and her perfect body to feel desire for her. He always had been attracted to her but ever since he had done her that “favor”, ever since he had had touched her during her pon farr, the longing for her had been in his blood. The pulse of desire went through his veins if he saw her and it had driven him mad. But now he only felt pity - the emotion of the weak - watching her being totally numb.
Charles noticed a glint of urine on the floor she was sitting and the discoloration of her skirt. It spurred him into action, without thinking. In boarding school he’d had plenty of experience with cleaning up dirty stuff. He grabbed the towels, took the water and cleaned the floor next to T'Pol. Then, with some hesitation, he gently took off her wet clothes and quickly cleaned her. He tried not to think so much about it and T'Pol was completely passive, he just acted. He dried her, looked for other clothes. He managed to find and get some dry underwear on. He put her t-shirt on; it was dirty, but dry. Then he took the water bottle and gave her a swig of water, trying hard not to spill any. T'Pol responded by drinking the water quickly, as if she was very thirsty. “T'Pol,” he said, but she seemed to have returned to her passive state.
Charles went on to get her in the dry overalls. When he stood behind her, trying to get one of her arms in the overall sleeve, her head went up. She looked at him, but didn't seem to see anything. Her brown-green eyes almost looked black and empty. Gone was her passion, the fire, that spark, that drive for life, she always had. All that was there were two empty eyes. “T'Pol, can you hear me?” he asked again. But her stare stayed focused into nothing. There was just emptiness in her gaze.
Not knowing what to do, Charles decided to clean and dry the floor and sort the cell out, so it looked more ordered. He straightened the toilet bucket. It was empty. T'Pol hadn't been able to use it. Then he stood up. There was nothing else for him to do. He could try again to speak to T'Pol, but he knew she was too far-gone.
He paused at the door, trying to get his emotions in check. “Calm down, Tucker,” he thought. “She was punished for a reason. A very good reason.” He took a deep breath and an old mantra came to mind.“Keep your emotions to yourself, they're going to get you if you don't.” The words his mother had said at his Dad's execution.
So he called Cole, who had been waiting. She opened the door, looked into the cell. Cole gave him a skeptical look, but he kept his face straight. “I got nothing out of here,” he said to Cole. Then he walked back to his cabin, as the words went on and on in his mind. “Keep your emotions to yourself, they're going get you if you don't.”