The Tell Tale Heart

By: Lopaka Tanu

Disclaimer: I do not own StarTrek, Gene Roddenberry does, even in the after life.

Rating: NCC-1701

Fandom: Enterprise.

Pairing: Tucker/Reed, Phlox/Reed, Tucker/T'Pol.

Warnings: Violence, Language, Sexual Aggression, H/C, talk of Suicide.

Archive: Warp 5, mine own, anyone else ask.

Series/Sequel: Poe Series/Sequel to "Quote the Raven."

Summary: Reed once heard that confession was good for the soul. On the way back to Earth, he decides to put this theory into practice, after all, he has time.

Challenge: Based on a challenge issued by Marie Whi Mitshue on 3/27/03 on EntSTSlash.

Spoilers: Season 3+

Author's Notes: If I make a mistake, please inform me, this is only my second Enterprise fic. Reed's POV


"I once thought that perhaps if we were all alone in the universe, things might have been better. Now I know it. Man would only have himself to blame for all the mistakes he has made. I suppose it might make me feel slightly better about the past.

"No, that's not right at all. Man has only his mistakes to draw upon for what not to do. Vulcans have their own, just like the Xindi, and perhaps a million other species in the galaxy.

"You are wondering at what point I will be getting on to my confession. Well prepare to be disappointed, there won't be one. I made my decisions and I plan to stick by them."

Looking around the small, crudely fashioned cell, I focus down upon my hands. Turning them over slowly, it hardly seems believable. What they are trying to blame me for, like I am some dark demon. Sheer nonsense.

"I was following orders. I was a good Starfleet officer, just doing what I was supposed to. Earth wanted its revenge, I was merely that which carried it out. Now you seek to atone, take back your anger now that you are no longer the righteous offended. Well too late." Growling at them I slam my hand against the bars. "Too late, and damn the consequences!"

"I think that is enough for today. Hoshi, cut the link to Starfleet Command."

I lower my head at Archer's voice.

"Aye, sir. Channel closed."

"Thank you, ensign, I will be in touch." His voice is proper as the channel closes. A minute more and he is walking towards my cell.

I will not look up. He has lost all my respect, as an officer, a captain... as a Human being.

"You disappoint me, Mr. Reed. I would have thought your sense of duty would have prevented you from lying."

"Go to hell, sir."

"After you, Lieutenant." He turns for the door, pausing as it opens. "By the way, Mr. Reed. Your application for resignation was approved by a StarFleet subcommittee. As of this morning, you are no longer a Lieutenant."

That got my attention, this time I did look into his eyes. "I didn't send any resignation papers!" His smirk is evidence enough of who did. I turn away blinking, repeating my personal mantra. "Reeds do not cry, Reeds do not cry, Reeds do not cry..." There is only the sound of the doors closing as he leaves.

All my work, my career, gone. Closing my eyes, I slide down the wall, tucking my knees under my chin.

There is an electric hum as a door opens to deposit my daily rations. I won't get up to eat them. What is the point?

A few hours later a muted beep alerts me the lights will being going out now. Another end to a painful day. Maybe the monsters will get me this time. I wait for the hum of the power drain as the lights go out. When it stops, I stand up and walk to the bunk and pull back the mattress. He is still there, Teddy.

Lying there with his only one eye, he is all I need to feel safe anymore. Grabbing him reverently, I wrap him in my arms and curl up to sleep. Perhaps the monsters will get me this time. Pretty soon I feel the same old ache letting me know I can't spend the whole night in the same position.

Turning over, I hold Teddy closer, protecting him from the hidden eye cameras. It wouldn't do to have them know about my one last weakness. A method to exploit me for a false confession. I hope the monsters will get me this time. After a while, my eyes close, and I sleep.

"An the monsters already have ya, Mal."


Warm hands caress my body, one down my back as the other slides up my neck to cup my cheek. Oh god this feels so right. I can feel his need with each thrust, the want for contact. It makes him angry. That which leads him to drive into me harder.

I throw back my head as he hits the spot again. It hurts, but it feels good too. A pain in my body from the savageness, but the pleasure of being taken. I wanted this, he needed this.

Grunting, his hand pushes me down for better angle for his cock. Hard and burning, I feel each movement of him in my body. His thrusts are getting faster, harder. With a snarl, he grabs my hips and gives into the mindless beast.

I try to move again, but he pushes me back down. This time he wraps his arms around my body. His chest to my back, I feel his deep breaths turn to panting. The hair itches my skin. But I forget that as he presses his face into my shoulder, biting the pressure point while he comes. His hoarse cries are muffled into my skin as my body is filled with his come.

Gasping for breath, he lets go of his bite. He licks the bite and kisses my neck. Groaning from the friction on his overly stimulated cock, he pushes into me one last time, then it happens. My body shudders, as a pressure builds up behind my eyes. I clench around his cock from the force of my body's reaction. Suddenly, all the world blackens as I cry out my own orgasm.

My body shudders a few times as I silently whimper. I can't move but to curl up on myself, drawing my knees to my chest. The surges from the orgasm still cause nerves to fire and twitch.

He wraps his body around my own, keeping his still hard member inside me. Quietly whispering words I can't understand, he kisses me up and down my neck and face. The hand of the arm he is leaning on to look over me strokes my hair as the other caresses my lower body.

I feel contented. I know I should feel strangely, but I don't. I like this. It is right. He is dominant. Turning my head, I look into his warm blue eyes and whisper my utter devotion to him. There is a metallic tinged voice that growls at the air and his eyes widen. He growls back at the voice and shoves me aside. Rolling, I hear the same metallic voice yelling at me. One word.


Before I can ask why, he is gone. I am alone. The others are gone and I am alone. He didn't want me.

He didn't want me. May be the monsters will.


It is to another warm hand touching the tears on my cheek when I awaken. Seems like this is now a ritual between us. I don't open my eyes, there is no need, I know who it is. Turning over from the grasp, I let the hand trail over my body, moving to allow access to certain points.

"A little further, Lieutenant."

"Don't call me that." But I comply by stretching out my body to my full length on the narrow cot. A small smile flits across my face as he runs a tickling hand across my belly. "Stop that!" This time I do open my eyes and look at him.

"Still sensitive, I see. Are there any other symptoms," Phlox asks as he strokes my hair back from my face. Gentle, continuous strokes that serve to both soothe and maintain contact. "Still have the same night mares?"

"Yes," is all I manage to get out as I curl up again. It always takes me a while to get over them, now is no exception. May be one day after this is over... I'll be dead. You don't get convicted of this without being executed.

Phlox picks me up to hold in his arms before he sets me back down on the bunk. I hate feeling so bloody worthless, but its these damn hormones. "There, now, Mr. Reed, you are safe. I won't let them harm you."

"How do you know..." Leaning back from his embrace, I stare at him questioning, trying to fight back the tears. Damn hormones!

"I am a pretty good judge of your emotions. Or I had better be by now." There is a quiet moment as he trails a hand down my face, wiping away the tears that escaped my control. "You are not to blame."

"I am. I knew what would happen. I just wanted it to be over."

"That is not what you said when they first brought you to me."

"I was confused. We all were." Okay, so that was a weak excuse, but it is the truth. Partial, but still the truth.

His look says he doesn't buy it for a minute. Damn. Which is another reason why I chose him. Be that as it may, he does not contradict me, letting me believe the comfortable lie. Or so I think. "I quite agree, at the time it happened, you said you were confused."

"That is not what I said."

"Then enlighten me."

"I told you I wasn't in control of my own actions..." And I knew it. He could always drag out the littlest things from me. I should have remembered never to play word games with him. Never in my life had I met someone so good at beating my defenses. A very unReed like thing to do, getting close to someone.

"As I stated, you are not to blame. Now, if you would just accept it. Both as your physician and friend, my word should count for something."

Crawling around to allow Phlox room on the bunk, I wait for him to sit down before curling around him. Up to nearly a year ago, I would have avoided all contact with others minus the occasional hand of concern on the shoulder. Then five months ago something inexplicable happened. I became a totally different person, literally.

The effects of which I have yet to, and probably never will, get over.

There are times that I forget that I am supposed to be Human, that there are customs between individuals that must be followed. A quiet dignity must be maintained when available. This is harder to accept the more time that passes during my incarceration.

Phlox has spent the better part of that time trying to find a cure, however every time he finds one that might work, my immune system rejects it. He is a good doctor, he won't give up on this, won't rest until he get's it right. Until then, he will just have to accept our current relationship. After all, it is his fault.

"Lieutenant, I do wish you would at least try and make some effort in maintaining a certain degree of control." He sighs with what I have come to learn is his acceptance of a futile request. It really doesn't effect me, at least not in the way he hopes.

In my effort to adjust, I have had plenty of time to observe Phlox. One can never be too careful when picking a Dominant. They must be someone on whom you can totally depend. Someone who is protective, reasonable, and well intentioned. In the end, it was only logical that I chose him.

Logic, something I do not need anymore of. Not especially during this particular time in my life.

So lost to my own musing, I had forgotten I was draped over Phlox like some absurd giant Porthos. His indignant grunt was enough to drag my attention back to his face. A patently disgruntled look only he seems to possess.

I can only smile at him.

Sighing, he rolls his eyes and gently runs a hand through my hair. He was a good choice. Much better than the others.

I frown. They had no right to me. Archer was dominant because he was the one, the other male. He was not truly dominant, merely aggressive. It takes more than anger and abuse to be a dominant.

Again, Phlox's sounds bring me back to the present. Perhaps I should try harder to control my thoughts. Some, not much, just a tiny bit.

"Come now, Mr. Reed, let me finish the examination then you can continue to roll around until my time is up."

I open one eye and glare at him. "If you must, but I am not getting up."

"Of that I had no doubt."

"Good. Make it quick." With that, I lay back over him and the cot, spreading out to cover both. I lift first one leg then the other as he runs a hand over them, checking for changes or damage. A grunt as he reaches the space between my pelvic bone and hip joint is my response to his probing fingers. That and a leg lock around his hand.

"Malcolm! Let my hand go this instant." He waits impatiently, wiggling his hands to tickle the sensitive skin along my inner thigh. This makes me tighten my legs around his arm, pinching his hand until his fingers no longer move. "Very well." His next move comes completely unexpected and catches me off guard. "You leave me no other choice," he doctor tones at me as he runs his free hand up under my shirt to tickle my side.

Twisting into his grip, I try to out maneuver his fingers, but he seems to have developed a new appendage or three. At least that is what it seems like when I rush to grab the offending hand only to grab air. Opening my eyes, I stare into his amused face with promise of retribution. He seems unaffected, so I uncross my legs and let his hand go.

His tickling doesn't stop. Not until I am rolling off the cot and onto the floor to get away from him. "Are you through playing, Lieutenant?"

"I'm not a lieutenant."

"That isn't what I asked. If you are not sure, I could always go back to what I was doing."


"What was that?" Straining over the edge of the cot, he is leaning out, hand against his ear.

"I said, no, I am through."

"Good. Now, your arm, if you will Mr. Reed." I put out my right arm which he ran both hands down then switched to my left. He repeated his actions, stopping at the shoulder. "It seems you are in perfect health considering your present circumstances."

"I should say so. Not much chance hurting myself in a cell with absolutely nothing but a cot and layers of padding over everything. I can't even shave myself, the damned zoo keeper of a Maco has that privilege."

His fingers lightly squeeze the muscles at my shoulder. "It isn't all that bad. You know how dangerous it is to let a prisoner with your level of training and skill anywhere near technology, even something as primitive as a razor. You should consider a compliment."

"No, I should consider it what it is, a way to demoralize me. To break my spirit. Safety considerations have nothing to do with it."

Phlox stands, letting me go. "As you wish it, Lieutenant. I was only trying to lift your spirits."

"And I appreciate that, Phlox, but lying to myself won't solve anything." Crawling into a ball, I sit up against the cot. "The fact of the matter is I really have no choice in this. They are going to get what they want irregardless of the circumstances or events."

"Surely not everyone is against you. There are billions of people on your world, don't count all of them among those at StarFleet who wish for your death."

"This is Earth we are talking about. They invented the word paranoia." Trying to be as small a target possible doesn't seem to help the situation, nor my lower back. The only concession I make is letting my head rest on the cot as I stare up at the ceiling. "Face it, Phlox, when it comes to being scared, the people of Earth are easily manipulated. In that way, they are no better then the Xindi. Perhaps it is why things happened the way they did."

Sitting beside me, he tries to sooth me by petting my hair once more. "I don't know, Mr. Reed. Frankly, none of us do. The best we can do is look at the evidence and make a judgment based upon the facts. A guess at best, no matter how educated."

"And that is where I get hung." His fingers stop their motion, but stay in my hair. My near shoulder length hair, another thing I should probable do something about. May be I'll braid it. Half a dozen dozen, enough to make locks out of. Or curl the ends under, make my hair like a curtain around my face. Something to obscure it from view.

"Come now, you must stop blaming yourself."

"I will if you will."

He doesn't reply. We both know he is even less guilty than I, though we both committed the crimes. It wasn't our fault. How were we to know that...

"Time's up! Come away from the prisoner, Doctor."

"All right, let me say good bye."

"Make it fast."

Phlox lets go of my hair. "There is a Denubulan transport on an intercept course coming to pick me up before Enterprise reaches Earth. If you requested it, I am sure he would offer you sanctuary. As my..."


"Don't decide yet. Think about your health, your life. They are going to execute you on grounds that no sane species would condemn a being on." Standing, he brushes a hand down the side of my face. "At least consider my offer before rejecting it out right. Remember, you always have a place in my home, with my family."

"And I thank you, but I can't. There isn't any point. Besides, the risk of political implications wouldn't be worth the trouble." He tries one last time, but the cell opens and two Macos step in armed. I can't watch as he is led from my cell. Just wait for the sound of doors closing and I know he is gone.

The buzz of food coming sounds but I'm not hungry. Curling up once again, I lay down on the floor and wait for the monsters.


My next conscious thought in a while is that my stomach hurts, again. Searching around for something to eat, I find myself wishing that this was an ancient Earth cell. At least there I was guaranteed to find something my stomach could digest. Probably burrowing through the walls.

All I find is cold rations and water. Stuff hardly fit for a Klingon. Perhaps next week Phlox will.... Phlox might have brought me some today! Quickly I crawl over to the bed where he had been sitting. There is nothing on the covers so I lift them up.


In the middle of the blankets, a whole nest of them. So beautiful. Each one more precious than gold. Mine, each of them.

Loque'eque Tree-Fruit Larvae.

They have another name, but I can't seem to recall. I never got that far in my transformation. As the submissive male, mentality was not one of the things my transformation was primarily focused on. Guess it doesn't matter, what is the point, they are about all I can eat.

I don't know how Phlox got his hands on them, but it doesn't really matter. He is the dominant, his ways are his own.

Gently, I pick one up. Sniffing is the next step in proper etiquette. One must savor the first grub. A sweet, woody smell because of the tree-fruit that is their sole source of nutrients. Taking another sniff, I slide the moving grub down the tip of my tongue. The taste alone makes me shudder in ecstasy.

Slowly, I suck the grub in my mouth, taking my time to enjoy the full flavor. With each chew, I close my eyes. The larva has my whole attention. When I swallow, it is with some regret. Each grub must be cherished as there is one less.

An unintentional yet devastating side effect of my being locked up is that Phlox can only visit once a week. Which means that my only supply of grubs comes but once a week. They search him before he comes in and the small pouch he carries his hypospray has only so much extra room in it. They think he gives me a weekly shot of the antiviral agent to keep me Human when in reality he is delivering the one thing keeping me alive.

Long ago he had dealt with it. The virus was dead, but the changes it had wrought were permanent. Phlox's cosmetic skills are the only reason I look Human now. If they knew his visit was unnecessary to insure the safety of the crew, I would die from starvation. Well faster than I already am, for I hold no delusions, I am dying. At least this way I have some false hope.

I realize that while lost in my ruminations over this, I have eaten half of my grubs. Damn it! Bloody hell, my hunger has finally started to over come me. It takes more effort then I have known to hide the remaining pile of grubs behind a small panel in the wall.

Panting once done, I turn my back to the bunk and sit down. Placing my hands in my lap while drawing my knees closer, I rest my head on them. This is hell, truly I have gone to hell. No other explanation is possible.

Perhaps I should just end it all.

No! A Reed never commits suicide, that is the same thing as surrendering. Accepting the charges against me counts as suicide for the penalty for my crime is death. I speak of hope, like there actually might be. No hope, no surrender, just death.

How damn depressing. Yeah, depressing. Good stuff, that depression. Makes you do fool hardy things. For example, considering Phlox's proposal. As in the real thing, not just an offer.

Another thing that depression makes you, desperate. If I actually considered Phlox's proposal, then I must be desperate. Not like he isn't genuine with his offer, just... What is wrong with it? It's not like there is a whole lot of people who would give a good god damn.

Yes. That is what I am going to tell him next time I see him. Good. A week will give me the time to work up the actual courage.

For the first time since this night mare began I am actually feeling there is a chance for a future. Now that I have made my decision, that weight is gone. I just might actually survive this one.

Oh god, I think I can.

Blasted hormones, a Reed does not cry!

The buzzer sounds, sleepy time.

For once the darkness doesn't seem so bad. May be the monsters won't be either.


"I swear, I had no idea, Mal. It jus happened."

Blinking to get the sleep from my eyes, I focus on my breathing. Regulating it, keeping it even so that he thinks I am still asleep. I know the moment he realizes I am awake he will leave. In the six weeks I have been here, he has repeated this very thing four times.

The gentle squeak is his hand on the glass trying to touch me. Whether it is an unconscious gesture or a deliberate attempt at something more, I don't know. He doesn't stick around long enough for me to ask. May be one day, he will tell me.

"She was there, I was needy, I swear it wasn't yer fault, Malcolm. You just weren't what I need, no matter how much I wanned ya ta be."

Or may be not.

He breathes heavily for a bit, too over come with emotions for words. I'm not much better myself.

I just want to ask him why. Why not me? What was it he needed so bad that only Princess Ice Vulcan could give him?

"Phlox says were compatible. Can you believe it? Me an uh Vulcan. The damnedest things." Like a bloody mind reader from hell, that fucking ass hole! To top it off, I can hear the grin and pride behind his words. It takes all my mental discipline not to roll over and try to reach for him through the food slot. Make no doubt about it, if I tried, I would succeed in getting his back stabbing, two timing, worthless, ignorant brute of a bloody yank ass in here.

"That's part of the reason I came to see ya." He pauses. I know he is standing there rubbing his head in frustration. "Now that I'm here, I dunno how ta say it."

I wait. There is no way he is getting out of this one by me waking up. More time goes by as I finally lose my temper. 'Just spit it out, you ignorant sod,' I want to yell at him. But I realize that is what he is wanting. Turning a little, I take another breath and settle in the blankets. Let him sweat it out. He'll either confess or not.

After my breathing has leveled out for about a minute, he exhales rather loudly.

"Ya know how we're bout six months out from Earth? Well see, there's this thing with Vulcans. The reason they don't go round like Humans is cause like any other animal, they have a matin season, cycle, or somethin. Only thing is, they have it once ever seven years. Damn that's a long time between sex now that I think bout." He makes a non committal grunt. "Well back to tha mat'er at hand. Ya see, T'Pol, she's not been with one for a long time. Anyone, at all. Sure she and this guy she's supposedly bonded to has done the horizontal tango, but they aint ever had the commitment ceremony that makes them man and wife.

"I guess what I'm gettin at is this, she's comin inta heat soon, an she want's me to... ya know, with her. We're too far from home for her to be with that T'Vulcan guy, and she don' want anybody else." Trip sighs deeply again. I can tell this is hard for him, but I'm not going to make it any easier. "I figured I'd talk with you before'n I made any decision. Ya don't know how hard it is, Mal. I've never felt like this before. I'm mean, there is a very real chance a Charles Tucker the fourth could come outta this.

"An b'sides, it would save her life. Yeah, turns out they gotta mate or they die. Sour persimmons kinda thing if you ask me, but it don't bother her. Like my momma says 'it's justa thing'. Guess she is right." The quiet intrudes again. This time, neither of us is willing to breathe.

His hand streaks against the glass again. "I've enjoyed talkin with ya, again, Mal. Helped make things a little clearer. Guess I oughtta let you get yer sleep. I'll come back later an tell you what I decided one way or another." The sound of the door opening makes me clench my eyes tight. "I uh... See ya, Malcolm." The door slides shut.

Pulling the blankets over my head, I curl up around my bear. "I love you, Charles Tucker the third."

I don't pay attention when the guards come and go. The blanket stays in place when Archer comes in to scream at me. All their broad cast will show is a lump under blankets, moving up and down in time with my breathing. It doesn't matter.

All I had is now officially over. Those silly Earth songs were right, it does feel like the end of the bloody Universe.

Buzzer sounds, lights go out. So what, the monsters don't go away just because it is on.


All the next day I just lay there, same place, unmoving. My bladder is killing me but I don't care. Time just passes. Some how I keep breathing, but I can't feel my body. A disassociate disorder, wonderful, goes great with heart broke, mutated, and genocidal.

The door opens on the outer part of the cell. But I won't move to greet my current tormenter. Even if I had the strength, I wouldn't.

Controlled, purposeful strides, a tapping on the deck plates. Heels? The inquisitor stops just at the barrier next to the food slot. They can wait for hell to freeze over before I respond.

"Mr. Reed?"

"T'Pol?" It isn't until after the fact that I realize I said it aloud.

"It is I, Lieutenant."

"Not a Lieutenant anymore."

For some strange reason I can picture her eyebrow rising at that. "I was unaware you had resigned your Starfleet commission."

"I didn't. Captain Archer did me the honors."

"Did you wish this?"

"No. Yes. I don't know. What does it matter, it happened, is done, over with?"

The irritation in my voice doesn't phase her. "Then it is my understanding that captain Archer has done so against your wishes. That is a criminal act, one he could lose his command over, why would he risk such a threat?"

"He hates me. They all do."

"I do not understand. That is not grounds for which to do this."

"Brush up on Human history, Sub commander, you'll find that Humans are irrational beings. They do brash things when it comes to avoid facing their own horrors."

"Of this, I am well versed. Ambassador Suval has taken great pride in pointing out the flaws of your species during his many talks. I have had little in regard on which to base an opinion, there fore on such occasions, it is his talk. I politely ignore him for I find it far easier than to point out his many vocal redundancies."

I think in another life time she and I could have been very good friends. "That sounds about right on all but one point." Finding the strength, I pull the covers from over my head. I shift so that I am looking at her, but still curled up. Putting a finger up to my eye, I quickly poke at it.


"I told you," pulling my finger back, contact lense attached I blink at her. "I am no longer a Lieutenant." Another blink then I open my eyes to focus on her. "Or Human for that matter." Her shocked expression is all the proof I need to know that my eyes are still the unnatural shade of dark blue with black etching.

Her face resumes the emotionless mask as she composes herself. "I see. I had thought Phlox reversed your condition along with the others."

"Well, apparently not. Something in your Vulcan immune system was toxic to my own. He could only synthesize a cure for me. Which is why it took me longer to be cured, but the damage could never be reversed."

"I am sorry."

"Don't be. I'm not." Sitting up a little, I smile sardonically at her. "Kinda makes things a little easier to take. Persecution just seems easier when you really are different than everybody else."

"On that, I am afraid we are agreed."

"Nice to know that being alien doesn't really make us special." My world spins a little so I lay back down. "Why are you here?" My voice is tired which hopefully will take the sting from my rudeness.

"I have disabled the recording devices, so you need not fear about what you have revealed to me. But I must admit, I did have an ulterior motive." She pauses, most likely being an almost emotionless being hasn't prepared her for being uncomfortablely emotional. Her voice took on a lethal tone. "You are undoubtedly aware of my latent affections for Commander Tucker. I have come to find out if you would challenge me for the right to mate with him. If so, have no doubt that despite your current incarceration, I will fight you."

"Commander Tucker has made it blatantly obvious where his *affections* lie."

"You did not answer my question."

"You didn't ask me one."

She took a step forward. "Do not play games with me, Mr. Reed."

In the next moment I was off the bed and at the glass. My hand having broken through, was lifting her off the floor by the throat. "Do not threaten me, Sub Commander, you will not win." To emphasize my point, I shake her once before dropping her. It takes a moment, but I realize I have gone feral and was speaking Loque'equesk. However, her wide eyes as she nods tell me she got the message. I also realize I have yet to return my contact lense. My bi-colored eyes must seem strange even to her.

Good, makes the threat all that more real in her mind.

Pulling my hand back from through the glass, I turn away from her. "Take him. His fate is no longer of any concern to me." Sighing, I force back the tears, I will not cry this time damn it. "Mate with my blessings, and may you be graced with strong children." And so much rubbish. Bloody Vulcans and their damned traditions.

Sometime during my ritual sacrifice, she has gotten to her feet. I know this because her hand is touching my head, stroking my hair. "I am grateful for your acquiescence, Mr. Reed. I consider you a friend and an equal, else I would not have felt so... threatened by your presence."

"Thank you. If you don't mind, I'd like to be alone now."

"I understand." Her hand withdrew. The sounds of her footsteps are softer this time, less intimidating. She pauses at the door. "Mr. Reed, for what it may be worth, I do not believe you are guilty."

Doesn't matter, but I won't tell her that. "Do me a favor, Sub Commander?"

"If I am able."

"Contact Captain Archer. Tell him," time to face the music as they say. "Tell him I am ready to give him what he wants."

I hear her gasp. "Surely you do not mean..."

"Don't call me Shirley." Trying for a mock laugh only comes out a small cough. "Just, please, don't ask, just do it."

"Very well, I shall do as you ask." As the door starts to close, I swear I hear her call me Shirley. A Vulcan with a sense of humor. Will wonders never cease?

Perhaps may be later, right now I'm feeling kinda weak in the knees. Has my heart always hurt like this? May be I should sit down. Yes, that sounds good. May be I'll...

"I have seen the monsters, Mal, an they were us."

The End..........


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