Title: Tempest

Author: Macx

Email: macx@nexgo.de

Website: http://home.arcor.de/macx/index.html

Date: 08/04/02

Category: Slash

Rating: R

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Series Title: Relived

Sequel to: Aphilantropy

Sand stirred.

A dead leaf quivered in the breeze.

A twig shifted and rolled several inches, then stopped, only to move further.

A hint of false twilight settled over the land.


Malcolm Reed stared at the display screen as if he could change the readings by just looking his most threatening. He knew he had no way of altering events from where he was. It didn't do anything but increase the feeling of helplessness.

A mixture of colors gentle wafted over the screen. Red and green and blue, with the occasional yellow stripe. It was beautiful, like an extravagant painting, an expensive, moving work of art. Paint brushed over a dark canvas. But the beauty was nothing but a deadly natural force currently sweeping over the landscape Enterprise was monitoring.

"One hundred and fifty-two kilometers," he reported, voice cool and neutral.

Lieutenant Reed was in charge. He was on duty and he would do it as professionally as he always did.

T'Pol, perched in the captain's chair, looked at the viewscreen. The planet loomed before them, beautiful in its appearance. Smaller than Earth, with two moons and one sun, it was the only one in this system of five planets that had borne life. No intelligent life yet. There weren't even early signs of civilization. Only fauna and flora of lower categories.

"It has now reached the landing site," Reed went on, still calm. "Speed is increasing. I suspect it'll reach two hundred before it starts abating."

The Vulcan nodded, then turned to Hoshi. "Any contact with Captain Archer?"

Sato shook her head. "No. The interference from the storm is too great. I can't even pinpoint the shuttle's position any more."

Malcolm swallowed his worry and fear, concentrating on the readings. The center of the storm was approaching the site.

Please be all right, he thought feverishly. Please.


The storm had come out of nowhere. Within minutes, the sky had blackened, thick clouds forming an impenetrable blanket of churning darkness, and from one second to another, everything had grown still. No birds, no insects, no small mammals in the underbrush. A deadly silence, heralding the powerful force of nature to come.

And then there was only one option: run.

Trip had been in storms before. Growing up in the South, visiting relatives and friends in Florida now and then, had given him some really nasty weather fronts before. He had seen twisters and thunderstorms, had been in hail showers and once even a blizzard when he had gone way north with a friend. But this…this was worse than anything he had ever seen on Earth.

The noise was one thing. The howl of the winds, the grating of stone against stone, the creaking of huge trees bending like grass blades in a breeze, and the screech of something massive being dragged over the rocky ground. The wind that still reached him underneath their meager and really very insufficient shelter was tugging at his clothes, trying to pull him out. He cowered in the deepest corner of the semi-protected cave, praying, hoping, waiting.

Looking at the man hunched down next to him, he tried to assess his condition. Jonathan Archer had been hit by a flying piece of wood. A trickle of blood had dried on his face, but he seemed coherent and was conscious. Over the cacophony of the weather around them, he had no way of communicating other than by touch and gestures. Archer gave him a brief smile and squeezed one arm reassuringly.

Sure. Right. You're okay, Trip thought sarcastically. Archer was just as bad as Malcolm in that regard.

Looking at the small patch of sky he could see from their hiding place, Trip gazed at nothing but blackness. Frightening blackness. The clouds moving towards them had been so impossible huge, coming together like ink poured into water, turning the day into night. Now and then lightning flashed in the sky.

And somewhere past those towering clouds, somewhere far far above them, Enterprise drew its lazy orbit. Somewhere aboard that ship, was Malcolm Reed. Gawd, how he missed his lover. He wanted to be with him, either on the ship or even here. Sit together, share his warmth, touch him. Feel safe and secure. But Malcolm had remained. He hadn't been required for this mission. Only Archer, three scientists and Trip himself had left the ship and flown to this strange new world to explore. The two women and one man had been separated from them as they had run for cover. Trip prayed they were okay.

Around him, the storm increased.


"I estimate we have a time window of one hour. Maybe a few minutes more."

Ensign Lewis studied the read-outs on the screen, looking thoughtful. Lewis was a meteorologist, one of the science crew aboard Enterprise, and he had specialized in storm watching.

"The front is moving very fast, hitting the area with more than two hundred kph, but it's rather small. Smaller than anticipated."

"Small?" Malcolm echoed, staring at the huge blob on the screen, blotting out the landscape.

Lewis smiled. "It's rather violent, yes, but the size is moderate. I've seen worse storm fronts, lasting for days. This one is fast and furious, destroying everything in its wake, but it'll be over in a flash. What worries me are the approaching fronts."

He pointed at little dots, speckling the edges of the screen. "These are new storm centers. Judging by their size now, they'll grow, feeding on the rim off the current storm. And they'll hit the area within the next hour or a maximum of ninety minutes after this one has passed."

T'Pol had been silent throughout the explanation. Now she looked at the scientist.

"Can a shuttle land in the conditions between both storms?"

Lewis met her dark gaze. "The winds will still be strong, but it is possible. The shuttle has to go in the moment the winds let up, pick up our people and head out immediately. The danger that it is caught in the gusts is immense."

She nodded. "Lieutenant Reed, prepare Shuttlepod Two for emergency departure. Ensign Lewis will give you the launch window."

"Understood. How do we know the away team is still in its last position?" Reed asked.

"We don't. Ensign Sato will continue to raise the captain," T'Pol answered, voice calm and collected. "You have to prepare for a change of coordinates."

"I see. I'll be in the shuttle bay then, waiting for the window."

Malcolm walked briskly over to the turbo lift. A launch and rescue window of little over an hour. It wasn't much. Heck, it would take fifteen to twenty minutes to launch and fly to the last known position of the team. He calmed his nerves.

We can do it.

They are alive and we can do it.


It was a vision of complete destruction. Trip stood in the middle of what had once been a small forest and now could only be described as a pile of tooth picks. If at all. The storm had cut an alley as wide as at least ten kilometers through the landscape, turning over everything. It had uprooted tall trees, lifted rocks and flung them aside, and it had covered the grassy ground in sand and debris.

"Jeeezus!" he whispered, running a hand through his tousled hair.

The wind was still present. A breeze compared to the former storm. But it was strong, stronger than a real breeze, and it spoke volumes. Trip had grown up around storms and he knew from childhood experience that this wasn't over yet. It wasn't the eye of the storm; the storm was gone. But he suspected there was another one coming. The horizon was jet black again while the sky above was a murky gray. Not a drop of rain had fallen.

Archer wasn't far away from him, talking quietly to the three crewmen who had shakily crawled out of their hiding place, one of them cradling a broken wrist. It was a miracle no one had been seriously injured or even killed.

The only loss was the shuttle.

The storm had picked it up like a feather weight and tossed it god knew where. They were stuck.

Well, not completely. Now that the worst was over, Enterprise could locate them, as well as what remained of the shuttle.

Trip sighed.

His team would do overtime to repair the damage, if it was at all salvageable.


The quiet voice made him jump and he turned to look at his captain.

Now, in the twilight, Jon looked a lot better than in their hole in the ground. Not good, but better. The cut on his forehead had crusted over and except for a few tears and a bruise on his cheek, he looked okay. Trip had escaped remarkably unscathed.


"I managed to get through to Enterprise. Communication is still a bit difficult. Atmospheric disturbance. They're sending down another shuttle, but we have to hurry and be careful. There's a new front approaching."

"Oh fun," Tucker muttered.

Archer smiled grimly. "T'Pol says our resident storm expert estimates our time window being somewhere around seventy minutes. The shuttle is on the way."

The wind tugged at his hair and Trip wrapped his arms around his upper body. It was cold and smelled of dry rain and wet earth. His eyes searched the dark sky for any sign of the shuttle.

"There is is!"

The cry from one of the crewmen let him whip around and a smile spread over his grimy features as he discovered the search lights of the small shuttlepod. It was swerving wildly in the wind, trying to keep on course, going lower and lower, skimming over the tops of the few remaining trees. The pilot fought against the forces of nature and Trip bit his lower lips as the shuttle bucked, drifted sideways, and nearly hit an uprooted tree that lay in an awkward angle against the still standing neighboring one.

Rather gracelessly, the pod touched down, engines whining against the strain, dragging a few meters over the ground.

"Come on!" Archer yelled over the increasing wind.

They raced toward the shuttle as its hatch opened, herding the three other crewmen ahead of them. The sky was turning darker again, the inky blackness swallowing the last of the gray color.

Trip could have laughed in joy as he discovered the pilot waving at them to hurry up. Malcolm Reed grabbed the first of the scientists, hauling her inside, yelling something at the woman over the noise of the wind. Archer stopped at the hatch and gestured at Trip to get in, which he did, then followed.

"Good to see you, Lieutenant," the captain coughed, hair streaked with debris and sand.

"Good to see all of you, too, sir," was the tense answer. "Please strap in. This is going to be a bumpy ride."

While Enterprise had no safety belts, as Hoshi had complained throughout their first mission, the shuttles had straps to secure their passengers to the hull. It had been a later addition instigated by Trip, after a ride through an ion storm had ended with broken bones and contusions. Now the away team strapped in, with the three scientists on the bench in the back, Trip and Archer taking the seats behind the pilot. Malcolm powered up the engines for lift off and the moment the shuttle rose from the ground, the wind nipped at it, trying to push it off course. Trip grabbed a hold as they were flung sideways. The engines whined under the stress and a first alarm went off.

Malcolm ignored it.

Outside, the world was black again. In the distance, the first lightning bolts flashed across the sky.

Fighting the wind, Reed manipulated the shuttle controls, edging them around the storm, trying to stay away from the buffeting wind that was reaching gale force. Trip felt his stomach flip-flop as they fell into an empty pocket, the engines suddenly screeching. Malcolm's face was a mask of fierce concentration as he pulled the shuttle up—right into the increasing storm again.

Thank god I don't get sea sick, Trip thought at the rolling and twisting motions.

He heard quiet gasps from the scientists in the back and darted a quick look. One of the two women looked decidedly pale, holding her stomach, the other was clinging to the seat, eyes tightly shut. Their colleague wasn't faring much better. He was fearfully staring out the forward window into the inky darkness. Another shudder ripped through the shuttle and the metal creaked and groaned. Stress levels of the hull were rising and Trip clenched his teeth as he saw them rise to dangerous peaks. They were tossed sideways as the storm gripped them, tumbling head over heels, and Tucker was glad for the belts. He heard screams, felt his head slam against the seat, hands digging into the console, and then they were out. From one second to the next, the air was quiet and calm. Malcolm exhaled sharply and some of the tension left the slender frame. Like everyone, he looked pale as a sheet, his features drawn from concentration. He turned the shuttle slightly, then increased speed and they headed out into space. Back home, to Enterprise.


Trip fingercombed his wet hair into a semblance of order. He felt revived, like a new man, and he enjoyed the feeling of being clean. No more sand and dirt, or dead leaves and twigs. His uniform had been a complete loss, caked in mud and torn in too many places. Oh well.

Walking into his quarters, completely in the nude, Trip picked out a pair of loose pants and a simple, blue, long-sleeved shirt. He was off duty for the next two shifts and he knew exactly where he would spend at least some of that time—aside from in bed and sleeping. Tucker grinned and left his quarters, almost bowling over Jon Archer.

"Whoa, sorry, Cap'n," he laughed.

Archer smiled. Like Trip, he was out of uniform. Porthos was at his side, wagging his tail as Trip joined them for a late evening walk.

"You're going to see Malcolm?"

Trip shot him a raised eyebrow. "Nosy, aren't ya?"

Archer chuckled. "Kinda."

"Yeah, I was planning on some nice dinner and then some."

Jon smirked. "I see, but I think he's still not back from the salvage mission yet."

Trip raked his brain and then faintly remembered reading something like it after Decon and before his shower. Shuttlepod One had been found and it had to be brought back. Malcolm and some others had flown down to see how badly the shuttle had been damaged and to figure out how to get it back to the ship.

"Oh." He sighed. "Oh well. Dinner alone it is, then."

"In case you're bored out of your mind, I was planning on watching the rematch between California and New York tonight. You can come over if Malcolm's busy," Archer invited.

He shrugged. "Sure."

They parted at the turbo lift and Trip took it to the mess hall level, where he had a quick dinner. He ran into Ensign Cutler, who was smiling at him, inquiring about his well-being. He was fine; just fine. Waiting for Malcolm, he thought to himself. From her expression, she knew that.

Checking the schedules, he discovered that Shuttlepod Two was on its way back, carrying its storm-damaged twin. With a smile, he bounded down to the hangar and watched from the gallery as the rescue operation docked. Pod One looked really bad, he mused. Its stubby wings had been torn off or bent and twisted. The hull had taken a beating, looking like someone had repeatedly smashed a giant fist into it. Estimating repair time, Trip sighed. This would take the better part of a week if they really put their backs into it. More if there were interruptions.

Spotting Malcolm as he walked around the wreck, he felt his grin widen. He waved at his lover as Reed looked up, delighted at the answering smile that lit up the other man's face. The lieutenant said something to one of the crewmen now swarming over the damaged shuttle and the man nodded. Malcolm took another twenty minutes to finally detach himself from the work crew and Trip waited patiently. The moment his lover came up to the gallery, using one of the catwalk staircases, he shot him another grin.

"I see you found it."

"It wasn't hard, actually. It was the only lump of metal in the area. Everything else is rock or wood." Malcolm shrugged. "The engine looks fine. Your guys should be able to repair it. The hull has taken some structural damage, but its not as bad as I initially thought."

"Good. From the looks of it, I'd say about a week or two, dependin' on interruptions."

Reed nodded and they walked toward the lift, passing some of the crew, nodding their greetings. "You had dinner?"

"Yep. Din't know when you'd be back. The Cap'n told me you were planetside, shuttle-huntin'."

Malcolm smiled. "I'm back now."

Trip leaned forward and pressed his lips against his lover's. It was brief, a chaste kiss, and it was over before the doors of the lift opened again.


"A bit."

"How 'bout I get you somethin'? You can freshen up," Tucker suggested.

"I'd like that," was the soft reply. Malcolm sank deeper into the pillows, pulling Trip with him. Trip snuggled closer, wrapped into the arms of his lover, holding him against his chest. He loved the feeling of Malcolm against him, around him, beside him. The hard, muscled body, the warmth, the softness of the skin, the regular beat of his heart…So unlike any of his prior lovers. Most had been female. The few male lovers he had had, Trip had never cuddled up to, been together in the afterglow of their lovemaking, or had simply enjoyed the physical nearness. With women, it had been different, but something had been missing. Laying in his very much male lover's arms, he knew what. Malcolm Reed had been missing.

Trip had briefly told the captain that they wouldn't come over for the game, receiving a knowing smile in return. Of course Archer knew what they were up to. Well, so far, they had only sat together, enjoying the laziness of the evening, watching a short movie, and letting their hands do the exploring. Malcolm had an advantage since he was sitting behind him, legs left and right of Trip, his arms around his chest. Tucker had contended himself with rubbing a lower leg, tracing gentle patterns on strong thighs, and snaking his fingers into Malcolm's loose hold. His lover had answered the playful teasing with nuzzling his neck and ears, or exploring the firm stomach he had access to.

"Cap'n's thinkin' 'bout another day trip to the surface," the blond said sleepily.

"Oh? Whatever for?"

"Looks like some of them science heads wanna have a go at it again. They were fascinated by the storm."

A snort. "Right. You going, too?"

"Nope. Had enough of wind and weather for now."

Malcolm rested his head on Trip's shoulder. "I can believe that."

Tucker turned his head and pressed a sloppy kiss against the corner of his lover's mouth. "Got my own lil' whirlwind right here."

Reed laughed, a pleasant, warm sound. "Thank you…I think…"

Trip twisted around and kissed him more firmly. "They can go storm hunting all they like. Got mine right here."

Malcolm answered the wet kiss, meeting the playful tongue, drawing his lover close. Trip wrestled him to lay on the bed, laughing as the dark-haired man squirmed underneath him. If he wanted to, the armory officer would be able to get out, but he was very far from it. Gray eyes sparkled warmly and the blond engineer leaned down to explore the sharp-angled face, draping his body over his lover's. He kept his weight on his elbows, resting his forehead against Malcolm's. Reed wrapped his arms around him and Trip let himself sink down, sliding to one side.

"One tornado was enough for this engineer," Tucker murmured and played with the hem of Malcolm's shirt, finally sliding a hand underneath it.

"Uh-huh. So, no whirlwind for you?" the lieutenant teased.

Trip grinned, pushing the shirt further up, revealing naked skin. A hungry expression appeared on his face. "I'm known t'make exceptions."

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