T’Les got down and embraced her Mother saying, “I love you too, Mommy.”
Squeezing her tightly, T’Pol said, “I love you.”
T’Les then asked her mother if they could look at pictures.
“If you want. Go get the reader.”
As T’Les rushed away, T’Pol explained that she had been taking pictures since the first day they had arrived, thinking they might help him get a sense of how events had transpired. “There are pictures of the times before the wedding and pictures of T’Les as a baby.”
“Wedding?” Archer stammered.
With the Vulcan half smile on her lips, she continued, “We had a wedding utilizing an old Earth tradition, and it was performed by Captain Charles Tucker III aboard Enterprise.”
“Trip, Captain, wedding …” Archer was saved from further stammers by the return of T’Les holding a small screen.
Pulling him toward a chair she told him, “Sit down, Daddy.”
As soon as he was seated, she scrambled onto his lap, handed him Porthos, and entered what appeared to be a date into the screen. When a picture appeared, she informed him it was from the previous day. He saw that it showed the same handshaking scenario that had taken place just before. Evidently that was standard daily procedure. She quickly entered another date and informed him that picture showed the last time they had been at the park. He saw what appeared to be old fashioned swings made out of materials from the stripped ships. As she continued showing him pictures of their adventures in the past, he marveled how she seemed to have accepted the strange situation in which she found herself. Then he realized she had never known anything different. But yet …
“Here’s a picture of me as a baby,” T’Les stated, interrupting his reverie. Batting her eyes, she said, “Wasn’t I beeeutiful?”
The picture was a classic family photo with T’Pol sitting, holding T’Les with Archer standing behind them. “Yes, you were and still are today.”
“Daddy,” she said reprovingly, “You say that every time.”
Archer felt a pang of sadness as he realized he had done this before and remembered nothing of it.
Apparently done with the pictures, T’Les handed him the reader, retrieved Porthos, and climbed down from the chair. “What are we going to do today?” she asked her mother, “Can we go to the park?”
“Do you not remember T’Les, I told you yesterday that an old friend of your Father’s and mine was going to visit us today and we would be busy all day with grownup things, and that you would be spending the day with Myra.”
“Sorry, Mommy, I guess I forgot, guess I take after Daddy.”
Both T’Pol and Archer looked away so she couldn’t see the hurt in their eyes. Turning back, T’Pol said, “In fact, it is time that you went over to Myra’s, our guest will soon be arriving. You can show your Father the way and he can take you, while I straighten up the house.”
“OK Mommy…let’s go Daddy,” she shouted as she headed for the door.
As Archer started to get up, he was suddenly hit again with the realization that Earth was gone. The joy of discovering T’Les and what it meant about his relationship with T’Pol had driven it to the back of his mind. But now, he suddenly felt overwhelmed and sank back into the chair.
T’Pol noticed and from long experience knew what he was thinking. She had always been amazed how Jonathon had been able to continue to function each day through the years. As a Vulcan, she had been able to accept the fact that the Earth had been destroyed. Even the other humans had been living with it for eleven years and had time to adjust, to come to terms with what had happened. But Jonathon had to face it new every day. Thousands of times he had to deal with the death of billions of people and the possible eradication of Humanity.
“DADDY, where are you? Let’s go.”
T’Les’s cry brought Archer back to the present and jolted him out of his reverie. His child. HIS CHILD was waiting for him. He got to his feet and told T’Pol, “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
She nodded gratefully and watched him go out the door to join T’Les.
T’Les was waiting for Archer as he exited the dwelling, “Sorry, Honey, Daddy was day dreaming.”
“That’s okay, Daddy,” she said as she took his hand, “We go this way.”
She then set off along the dirt road that passed for a street. They walked silently for about the length of two city blocks when T’Les released his hand and pointed to the right, “That’s the school.”
“Do you go to school there?”
“No, I don’t go to school; Mommy said it would take too much time away from the day. Mommy teaches me at night when you are…asleep.”
When I am forgetting that you exist, Archer thought ruefully.
“Where is the Park?” he asked, immediately realizing it was a wasted question since he wouldn’t remember later anyway.
T’Les pointed back the way they had come, “That way, by where the shuttles land.”
“Have you seen shuttles land?”
“Yes, Daddy, we all go over there a lot, especially when anyone from Enterprise comes down. Captain Tucker even gives me rides sometimes.”
Trip, captain of the Enterprise, even though it made sense; it still seemed so strange.
Suddenly, T’Les announced, “There’s Myra’s house.”
As they approached, the door opened and a slightly plump woman looking to be in her fifties, smiled and waved. “I saw you coming,” she said as they come up to the door.
“Hi Myra,” T’Les said.
“Hi T’Les, glad you could come over. Hello Cap’n Archer,” she said, seemingly a little warily.
Archer stopped himself before saying either, I am not a captain or nice to meet you Myra; as he realized he had probably met her a hundred times. He thus settled for, “Hi Myra.”
She looked relieved and said, “Mrs. Archer said she wasn’t sure how long it would be, but don’t worry, T’Les and I will find plenty to do, won’t we dear?”
Archer, bemused by the Mrs. Archer, said, “Great, we’ll pick her up as soon as we can. Goodbye, T’Les.”
“Goodbye, Daddy, give me a kiss,” as she puckered her lips.
Archer bent over and gave her a peck on the lips. As he walked away, he heard T’Les ask if she could look at the flowers and the last he saw them they were standing in a garden in the front of the house. He set a brisk pace back, curious as to whom the visitor might be.
As he approached the house, he heard voices through an open window. He quickly opened the door and stepped inside.