ENT WIP: Finding Home 7a/? R/S [R]

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Philippe de la Matraque

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Title: Finding Home
Author: Philippe de la Matraque
Part: 7a/?
Series: ENT
Rating: R (for discussion of violence and torture)
Pairing: R/S light
Archive: Yes to Trekiverse.org, otherwise, please ask.
Contact: pdelam...@gmail.com
Web: http://gabrielle.sytes.net/Trek/stories/findinghome1.html
Summary: Sequel to Alien Us. Malcolm Reed barely survived to see to be
reunited with Hoshi Sato. But things have taken a downturn and now he
needs a new heart and a way to heal.
Author's note: I deliberately use italics like this *in text** just
because it makes conversion to HTML so much easier.


Star Trek: Enterprise

Finding Home
by Philippe de la Matraque
Sequel to *Alien Us**

Chapter Seven


Trip entered Malcolm's room and found him back in his bed asleep. There
was a covered plate on the tray at the side of the bed. The white noise
device was off. Trip quickly checked the plate. Untouched. Malcolm's
eyes--both of them--moved side to side under his eyelids. So he was
asleep and not unconscious. Dreaming.

Trip hoped it was a good one this time. He carefully picked up the
white noise generator and set it to a campfire and wind. Malcolm had
been an Eagle Scout. Maybe he'd find it nostalgic and soothing.

Malcolm might wake in an hour or three. He'd probably be hungry and
need the restroom. Mom and Dad weren't expecting Trip until after 2200.
So he decided to head to the canteen to grab a quick dinner before
returning.

A half hour later, he was back and Malcolm was still asleep, so Trip
got comfortable on the loveseat and pulled up some schematics he wanted
to go over before his time with R&D the next day. Reed woke up a couple
hours into it. He didn't jerk awake so Trip thought maybe he'd found a
good combination of white noise.

"Morning or evening?" Malcolm asked, as he raised the head of the bed.
He lifted the lid off the plate to see what he'd been served.

"Evening," Trip replied. "You sat over here after breakfast, remember?"

"Not easy to keep it all straight here," Malcolm said.

Trip waved it off. "I get it. Especially when you gotta sleep
irregularly and half that time you're unconscious. You seemed to wake
up a little easier this time."

"Can't remember much," Malcolm told him. "But I think it wasn't as bad
as usual." He must have decided the food was still good so he tucked in.

"Sorry for running out early on you yesterday," Trip offered.

Malcolm smiled. "Was the catfish good?"

"The best. Nobody makes it like my mom." Trip grinned. "You might
even like it."

"I don't like fish, remember."

"At least you admit it," Trip told him. "Nothing wrong with admitting
your likes and dislikes."

Malcolm's expression changed. The smile was gone and Trip wondered if
that wasn't the way he was brought up. Maybe he wasn't allowed or got
in trouble when he gave an opinion. Trip really wanted to just out and
out ask Malcolm, but he was sure Malcolm wouldn't give him a straight
answer. He could ask Dr. MacCormack if his parents had called at all,
but the doctor would probably tell him that it was none of his business.

"You know, I wish I could stay longer. I'd love to have you over to
meet my parents, my brother. He and his husband have a boy they adopted
from Ireland. Kid still has a little bit of a lilt to voice. They live
out of state but come over for visits on the weekends sometimes."

"Maybe another time," Malcolm said. He washed down his meal then hit a
button on his bed's controller. He started to get up, so Trip jumped up
to help steady him. Malcolm was only a little more stable than this
morning. By the time he reached the restroom, he seems to be worn out.
Trip could understand. Malcolm had hardly walked fifteen steps before
the heart attack, and hardly had reason to walk or exert himself in the
eleven months before that. And of course, he ended those fifteen months
in a very much worse condition.

Trip helped him get around the arm of the loveseat. "You get back to
the bed by yourself?"

Malcolm shook his head. "Trevon helped. I, um, didn't have the energy."

Trip let his eyebrows climb. "You must have discussed something a bit
more difficult than yesterday.

Malcolm frowned. "The first, uh, time they--"

Trip decided not to make Malcolm go through it twice in one day. "I
think I know." The first time they cut him open unconscious. "Still,
Malcolm Reed actually opened up to a therapist."

"If you must know," Malcolm replied, rolling his eyes, "he caught me in
a flashback." He indicated his right eye. "Had a bigger one when we
got to this. I got impatient with the bandages."

Trip nodded. "It looks a little sore."

"I've seen it," Malcolm said. "And I can see with it. It'll heal. But
yes, I talked to him. Hoshi told me I needed to and I trust her."

"How do you feel after?" Trip asked. Of course, Malcolm had only talked
to the guy twice.

"Worn out." Malcolm tried to cross one leg over the other but winced
and reconsidered. "Still waiting for all the weight to fall off my
shoulders."

Trip smiled and shook his head. "It takes time. It's not magic."

"Trevon said it was," Malcolm argued. "At least things were mostly
easier for a bit after that."

"Easier how?" Trip didn't want to push too hard.

"Well, after we healed some, Hoshi and I got to stay together," Malcolm
began. "Our hair had grown out. We let it dangle in front of our faces
and whispered very quietly. It was the most open communication we had
until--" He hesitated then touched his temple.

"She was already in Buftanis by then?"

Malcolm nodded. "They tried to get me to communicate by showing us
children's programs."

Trip grinned again. "With little toddler Raptors and such?"

Malcolm smiled a bit, too. "Some. And some were more like lizards.
Like monitors. I never saw any of them in person."

The Council! Trip knew about this. "They *were** Monitors. Third
species. All three had representatives on the Council. The country you
were in had a very stratified culture. The smaller ones were under the
bigger ones. Each species had its own spheres. Like a caste system.
Wingeds were science; Raptors were military; and Monitors were
administration, media, and the like."

"So you read the notes where they talked about us," Malcolm commented.
"Why'd they move Hoshi?"

"Buftanisian spy," Trip told him. "This envoy showed up and said they
knew Zheiren had some aliens. Gave an ultimatum. They got Dr. Enesh
and Hoshi. But Zheiren wouldn't let them have their spy back. In
return, the Buftanisians agreed to keep quiet and gave the location of
your communicator. Oh, and they'd share scientific information back and
forth."

Malcolm took a deep breath. "That explains a lot. We weren't just lab
rats, we were political pawns. Maybe someday I'll want to read those
reports."

"Therapy," Trip reminded him. "Right now, it would be too triggering.
But I think small doses of the larger picture may help you get a new
perspective. Those Wingeds, for example, tried hard not to get your
tortured. Worked most of the year. The Raptors were sure we were gonna
invade. They wanted info now, while the scientists had more patience."

Malcolm seemed to consider that a moment. "I never thought of the
scientists as evil. Well, except for that Enesh. We didn't think they
knew we were awake. Still wouldn't have been any fun but they weren't
trying to be cruel. Except maybe at the end. The Raptors, though, the
big ones...." He shook his head again. "I *was** afraid of the
scientists, of going through that again. But it was a different fear.
PTSD, I guess. T-Rex though. He wrapped one hand around my entire
neck." He looked away. Trip noticed he was breathing harder. "I was
terrified of him. And Sauron."

That was quite an admission coming from Malcolm reed. "You had good
reason to be. Especially when they were hopped up on testosterone and
coming into power. I'm very sorry we couldn't get you sooner."

Malcolm nodded them met his gaze. "But I survived."

"Yeah, you did." Trip grinned. "You are not an easy guy to kill."

Malcolm chuckled. "You say that like you're up for the challenge."

Trip held up a finger. "No, never. I'm just glad you're on our team."


Malcolm eventually had had to return to the bed, and the dreadful IV
and monitor hook-ups. But at least Dr. MacCormack had decreased the
sensitivity again, so he might just get more sleep this time. But as
yet, he didn't feel sleepy, and he'd already watched the entire Lord of
the Rings extended cut. He wasn't sure what to watch now. He checked
out the local news and flipped channels for an hour or so.

He really wanted to talk to Hoshi. He couldn't think to her. He
couldn't call her. But he could write a letter. And Trip could deliver
it. He used the call button to get a nurse then asked for something to
write on.

*Dear Hoshi,

I miss you so much. It hurts not having you to talk to. I have Trip
twice a day and he's been great. But he's not you. He's not nearly as
pretty. I know we spent most of that year apart, but those few days
back on *Enterprise** when I could see your face and feel the touch of
your hand, that was worth surviving for.

But now, I can't reach you. And the hours I lay awake without Tirp or
my new therapist are so quiet. He's a Betazed, my therapist. Dr. Koy
Trevon. I can't say as I've ever heard his own language. He speaks
pretty good English though he's only been on the planet for a little
over a week. Betazoids, Hoshi, are all telepaths. Though it seems he
can't do some of the things we did together.

It hasn't been easy but you told me I needed to talk to someone. So
I've talked to him. Just a few times so far. He comes every day. Trip
in the morning, then Trevon after lunch. Trip comes again after he's
done with R&D for the day. Still, that leaves a rather long afternoon
and a very long night. The nights are the hardest. We patrolled each
other's dreams, remember?

I hope your nightmares are not too troubling. And that the captain
isn't pushing you too hard. You may have emerged from the planet in
better condition than me, but you need time to rest and recuperate as
much as I do.

I got my new heart the day after Trip and I arrived. Got a few other
things, too. Nerves in my wrists and ankles, some part of my eye. They
said they strengthened my sternum, too. They're all doing well. I, on
the other hand, am rather, well, weak. I started it, hoping to slow
them down. They finished it in spectacular fashion. I get winded just
walking to the other side of the room. But at least I can walk. My
wrists are still splinted because those spikes were quite large, but my
fingers all move. They're a bit stiff. Well, everything is. So even
after they release me from the hospital, I'll have a lot to do to get
back in shape. But if that's what it takes to get back to you, I'll do it.

I miss you so much. That mission came at the wrong time. You should
be here with your parents. And of course, you could still visit. Or
not. I know this hospital might not be somewhere you want to visit.
Maybe I could eventually visit you in Japan. If you're amenable to me
meeting your parents, of course.

Does the quiet bother you as well? Do you miss my voice in your mind?
I miss yours in mine. I miss you sharing your quarters, the mess,
everywhere but Sickbay.

Well, it's late. If I want to be awake when Trip gets here, I should
really try and sleep. I hope I'll dream of you.

Love,

Malcolm**


Trip woke up early. If he was going to find Madeleine, he'd have to
consider the time differences. He was surprised and not surprised to
find his mother already up. "Mom, did you even try to sleep last night?"

"I did, Trip," she replied. "Why are you up so early?"

"I wanna try and talk to Malcolm's sister. She's British, so--"

"So you'll need some coffee," Mom decided.

Trip sighed and sat down at their comm console. He started in England.
He knew that Malcolm's parents were in Malaysia but Malcolm still
seemed to consider England his home. Maybe his sister did, too. There
were actually a few Madeleine Reeds, so he had to find something to
narrow it down. He knew what she looked like, so he put her platinum
blonde hair and her height in to the search. That narrowed the results,
but not far enough. So he tried age, and set the parameters to five
years on either side of Malcolm's age. That did it. He had an address.
But he got no answer when he tried to call. He thought maybe he could
try and find her friend, Darlene, but he didn't even know her last name.

He thought of calling Malcolm's parents but dreaded that idea. Hoshi
had found an uncle and a couple of aunts. But again, he didn't have
enough information. The uncle's name was Archie, but was he from
Malcolm's father's side, and thus a Reed? Or was his from his mother's?
Trip didn't know her maiden name. He didn't even know the aunts'
first names.

So he decided, he'd have to do a deeper search for Madeleine. And he
couldn't do that from his parents' comm console. Starfleet Command
could do it though. Hoshi had found her so he could, too.

Mom fixed him a breakfast burrito so he could eat as he flew to San
Francisco. It was still dark when he landed. But Starfleet Command was
a twenty-four hour establishment. So he found an empty terminal and
pulled up Malcolm's personal file. Then he looked up his family. There
were his parents and his sister. No aunts or uncles. So he stuck with
his plan and looked up Madeleine.

He found articles from her graduation. She'd gotten top scores in her
architectural school. Trip froze. Elizabeth had been an architect. What
were the odds that Malcolm's only sister was one, too? So he tried to
find where Madeleine worked.

She'd worked in two firms since graduating, and the second one had been
one of the companies contracted to work on the "Reclamation Area," the
area destroyed by the Xindi prototype weapon. Another article told him
that all such work in the Reclamation Area had been cancelled for
medical reasons. Madeleine had said she was sick.

So Trip dug further into that and found it was a new kind of brain
cancer that didn't respond to any known treatments. In fact, those
treatments made the tumors worse. Maybe that's why she hadn't answered.
Maybe she'd gotten worse since he'd seen her at the hospital.

Well, either way, this wasn't good news for Malcolm. Staying with
Madeleine wouldn't be an option if she was that sick. But now he had a
dilemma. How could he tell Malcolm his sister had an incurable brain
cancer? Madeleine seemed to really care about Malcolm. Maybe she was
the one person Malcolm had gotten close to in his family. True, he
never talked about her and she never called the ship, so he couldn't be
sure.

Trip shook his head. He just couldn't understand Malcolm's family.
Given, he only had a little hints, like having only seven pieces to a
thousand-piece puzzle. Even then, it was like he couldn't be sure they
were even pieces of the same thousand-piece puzzle. And that hurt. Trip
hurt for Malcolm. Whatever his family was, it wasn't normal. If he'd
had a loving relationship with his family, would he ever have kept it so
hidden?

The crowd began to pick up, and Trip realized he'd spent several hours
on the computer. At least Starfleet Medical wasn't far. As he walked,
he made up his mind. He'd already told Malcolm that Madeleine was sick.
He didn't have proof that she had that Xindi cancer. Malcolm didn't
need guesses or theories about the potentially terminal illness of his
sister.

He found Malcolm still asleep. Or unconscious. There was still that
possibility as long as that IV was in Malcolm's arm. The white noise
device was on. Trip got comfortable on the loveseat and waited. Malcolm
needed all the rest he could get. And not just because he had surgery
just a few days ago. But therapy was going to be rough. Trip's own
therapy wasn't like that so much, but he'd just been bullied. Malcolm
had been through a lot more than that.

Malcolm began to stir. "Morning, sleepyhead," Trip called out.

Malcolm started to rub his eyes but stopped. He reached for the
controller and raised the bed. Then he hit the call button. "Morning?"

"Yep."

Malcolm looked at the empty tray. So breakfast hadn't arrived yet.
"How long have we been here?"

"Five days since surgery," Trip replied. "So just under a week."

"Would've been nice to have a window," Malcolm said. "Then I could at
least see the sky."

"Well, you keep healing well and they'll move you out of here," Trip
replied. "Probably to a place with plenty of windows."

"It's just hard to keep track of the time."

"I *am** sorry about that," Dr. MacCormack said from the door. "I'll
be sure to get a clock in here. However, if everything looks good on
this scanner, I think perhaps Commander Tucker could take you out to the
courtyard for a few hours. We have a small park there."

"In that case, I hope I pass."

Trip hung back while the doctor checked Malcolm over. It must have
gone well because she turned and told Trip there was a wheelchair in the
hall.

Trip happily went to the hall and wheeled the chair in.

MacCormack had unhooked Malcom and was walking beside him as he moved
to the restroom.

"He's getting stronger," Trip commented.

"He is," MacCormack replied. "And he's taking the transplants well. No
sign of rejection. He'll have to have regular checks for the next five
years, you know."

"Five whole years?" Trip questioned. "Just to be sure?"

"Yes, but we've come a long way in regard to transplants," she
reassured him. "Rejections only happen in point two percent of all
transplants globally. The lieutenant's donor was a close genetic match.
If he gets through the next three months, he'll very likely have no
problems at all."

Malcolm emerged and eyed the wheelchair. Dr. MacCormack went to the
bed to retrieve the blanket. "Have a seat, Malcolm," Trip offered, smiling.

Malcolm sat down and got his feet up. "Breakfast?"

"A man's gotta eat," Trip told the doctor.

"I'll have someone get you something portable," MacCormack answered as
she tucked the blanket around his thighs. "Try and stay in the shade.
You do *not** need another sunburn."

"Will do," Trip promised.

"Thank you, Doctor," Malcolm offered as Trip backed him out of the room.


"Well, this feels slightly familiar," Trip commented as he pushed him
down the corridor.

"Except last time I ended up nearly dying again," Malcolm retorted.

"After a lovely date with Hoshi," Trip reminded him. "Besides, that
was your old heart that nearly killed you. You got a new one now."

Malcolm knew that, of course. But, truth be told, it felt just like
his old heart. Well, how it used to feel, before the crash, before the
surgeries, before the end. He hadn't been outside since then either.
He'd only seen it through Hoshi's eyes.

There was a set of double doors ahead, and he could see green beyond
them. Grass, and, as they got closer, trees. Their leaves moved in a
breeze. He leaned forward in the chair.

"Been a while, huh?" Trip asked.

"Hoshi showed me." Malcolm kept his eyes on those doors. "Trees and
fields of a cottony crop, snow."

An orderly stood by the door. He had a box and a bottle. He
approached them as they neared. Malcolm took them. The box was warm
and the bottle cold. Breakfast. He was hungry. But he wanted to be
outside more than anything right then.

The doors parted and the breeze hit him. He could smell the grass,
hear birds chirping. Ducks! He heard ducks. There was a small pond in
the center of the space. Malcolm looked up and saw a blue sky with a
few wispy clouds.

Trip parked him next to a bench in the shade. He took the box and the
bottle and motioned to the bench. Malcolm pulled back the blanket and
put his feet on the ground. The grass tickled his toes. It was still a
little damp from the morning's dew.

Trip sat down and put the food between them. "Better'n a window, huh?"

"Very much better," Malcolm agreed. "It's one thing being on the ship
in the stars. Being free. But in that lab, I never saw the sky with my
own eyes. No window, except the ones in the doors. And they only
showed a hallway. Or a face."

"Maybe Dr. MacCormack will let you come out here more often," Trip
suggested. "Ya might want to eat before it gets cold."

Malcolm opened the box. Sausage and egg in a roll with cheese. It
smelled good. "The food is definitely getting more interesting."

"No more gelatin!" Trip was grinning.

"What about you?" Malcolm asked.

Trip held up his hands. "Enjoy it. Mom sent me off well provisioned.
Are you cold?"

"A little," Malcolm answered. Then he took a bit of his sandwich. The
flavors. He could taste them all. The slight spiciness of the sausage,
the melted creaminess of the cheese, the thick breadiness of the roll,
and whatever one called the taste of eggs.

But it was also a little dry. So he put down the sandwich and reached
for the bottle. Milk again.

Trip had retrieved the blanked, and Malcolm covered his legs with it.
He picked up the sandwich again and took in the scenery while he ate.
There was a mother duck on the water with nine little ducklings paddling
furiously behind her. He could still see the walls of the hospital all
the way around, but he felt this was a little oasis of nature, and he
was glad to be in it. "I wish I could share this with Hoshi."

"That's so cool that you could do that," Trip remarked. "What's it
like? Does it sort of superimpose on what your own eyes are seeing?"

Malcolm had to think about that. It had been awhile. "Yes, and no,"
he answered. "When she shared her sight with me, what I had to see was
a lab wall or something similar. Then, it was like seeing it. Like a
daydream that could replace what I was seeing if gave it attention. It
was the same in Sickbay. I didn't want to see Sickbay."

"What if you're someplace nice like this?"

Malcolm shrugged. "I haven't been in someplace nice like this."

"Okay, I'll give you that," Trip said, giving in. "but you can share
memories, too, right? So take this in. You can share it next time you
see her. Or the next time she's in range."

It wasn't a bad idea, but Malcolm shook his head. "She should be in a
place like this, too. Maybe the Buftanisians didn't cut her up but she
didn't like what they were doing, putting things inside her."

"I know," Trip agreed. "If they hadn't needed her for the mission, she
would be. But I'm sure Phlox is letting her know what they were trying
to do. They were trying to clone you."

Malcolm stopped watching the ducks and faced Trip. "Clones of me? They
were mutants, malformed."

"Cloning isn't an exact science, and they are pre-warp."

"They are very good at life support," Malcolm told him, turning back to
the ducks. "And that pink salve really worked." He spread the fingers
of his right hand. "No visible scars."

"Maybe, but Phlox said they never got a viable embryo."

"They didn't value females," Malcolm commented. "That's why they never
even tried to communicate with her. The Buftanisians only got a female
and my genetic material. So they had to try and make a male."

Trip smiled. "And since that wasn't workin' out, they were workin' on
a plan to abduct you."

"Oh really?" Malcolm hadn't heard that. "Do tell."

Trip was still grinning. "They were plannin' to set the two of you up
in an apartment, with lots of cameras, of course. They were even tryin'
to design more appropriate furniture. The long term plan was that you
two would set up house, and nature would take its course."

Malcolm shook his head and looked at the ducks again. "Don't think
we'd have much liked being zoo animals either."

"Yeah," Trip agreed. "Too many cameras for my taste, too."

"Did you see any drawing of the furniture?" Malcolm asked. "Or did you
get a look at what Zheiren used for toilets?"

"Nope, but now I'm trying to imagine how one of the Raptors might go
about that."

Malcolm chuckled. "I never saw them do it, but it seems like they'd
sit forward on it. It was very awkward for us."

Trip laughed. "More for Hoshi, I'm guessing. You only had to try and
sit half the time."

"Either way," Malcolm told him, "I didn't watch. We tried to give each
other whatever dignity we could." The mother duck was leading her
babies to the shore now. "You think she has a nest here somewhere?"

"Probably," Trip guessed. "The little ones are cute, aren't they? They
have to waddle so fast to keep up with her."

They sat together and talked of small things as Malcolm watched the
squirrels and the small ripples the breeze made on the water. But
eventually, the sun climbed higher in the sky and the tree's shadow that
had shaded the bench moved away from it. Malcolm was left in the sun.

Trip moved to the chair and released the brake. But Malcolm didn't
want to go back to the windowless room. He knew he'd have to
eventually, but he wanted to stay here in the courtyard as long as he
could. So he stood up, taking the blanket with him. Instead of going
to the chair, he walked to the other side of the tree. He tried to sit
down slowly but his legs just weren't strong enough. Trip caught him
before he fell and lowered him safely to the ground.

He knelt beside Malcolm. "You know I've gotta leave and get to R&D,"
Trip told him. "You were supposed to head back."

"She wasn't specific on when," Malcolm retorted. "Let Dr. MacCormack
know I'm here. Trevon, too. Seems as good a place as any to talk to him."

"I'll leave the chair," Trip said. "Just in case."



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