"Between Sunset and Darkness"

Author - bat400 | Genre - Alternate Universe | Genre - Deathfic | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home

Author: bat400
Author's e-mail: batfic400@yahoo.com
Archive: Request first please.
Rating: PG-13
Warning: Deathfic/AU
Summary: Little beings randomly moving … this is the way the world ends.
Beta: None, but a tip o’ the ol’ space helmet to “Zeke” at TrekBBS and Five Minute Voyager.
Spoilers: "Twilight"
Disclaimer: Star Trek and Enterprise are copyrighted by Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred. No money was made from the writing or posting of any content on this site.

Note from Li: Even though this fantastically written story contains only one scene with Trip and Malcolm, I liked it so much I decided to post it. Please read it; you won't be disappointed.


When we heard that the Human's world had been destroyed they began to spinning the prayer wheels all over the planet. Spontaneous parties erupted. Fion, my crèche mate, came to the house and yelled up to my mate from the ground. I had been dancing for joy with little Alvina in my arms up in the third level below the tallest branches. She clung to my fur as I hurried down and nuzzled Fion in greeting.

"Isn't it wonderful?" he said, his eyes shining. He took my face in his hands and smoothed the fur out over my cheeks. Then he reached for Alvina, who mewled with delight. "Let me see this beautiful child," Fion crowed. "Alvina, Alvina, the most beautiful Arboreal child. You are safe, safe, safe!" And we all laughed for the sheer joy of it.

Later the communication casts had footage of the destruction. I should not have watched it. The grinning and posturing of the Primates and the Reptilians made it worse. At first I was angry that the Weapon development engineering we Arboreals had performed was not mentioned, but then watching the long-range views of the green and blue world boiling and flying apart, I felt ashamed. The Human's planet had a very large dead Moon, almost a binary system. At night they must have seen it, like a companion, a crèche mate, circling with them around their sun. I had not known anything about the Human world. I had been glad to know their home and almost all of them were destroyed, and I had known nothing about them.

We had all felt, we Arboreals, that there had been a rush to accept the information the Primates and Reptilians had brought us. The physics of the time traveling messages was not something I had understood. I was only a student of engineering, and very practical engineering at that, enclosures, and fasteners, and batteries and field generators. The Primates specialized in theoretical sciences. They all seemed devious to me. Too smart in a way; too able to bend reasoning and rationalize. And now we had accepted and gone along with them.

They said billions of beings had lived on that planet.

I left Fion and Bobt at the viewer and climbed outside and clutched the branches, looking at the stars shining through the leaves. I could hear the happy sounds of our neighbors. Gathering in their homes, the quiet laughter, and the relief of the saved.

Fion climbed out with me. "Bobt has had a bit too much to drink; I think he is feeling amorous for you. I should leave soon." He cocked his head and tried to get a better view of me in the darkness. "Now wait," Fion said, "You are upset. What's wrong, my heart?"

"Oh, Fion," I said quietly. "It is wrong to be this happy to see them destroyed. Even the Primates love their children. Surely these aliens are the same. How many watched as their little children, like Alvina, died?"

"Shhh," he quieted me and wrapped his long arms around me. "We had to do this. But we are safe now. It's over now."

It was not over. As the years went by the Primates, the Reptilians, and the Insectoids were determined to hunt down the Human Colony planets and destroy them as well. We argued against it, the Aquatics with us. Eventually, their superior numbers, and aggression, and haste, made us once again unwilling partners.

Fion and I had completed our training. We had a nice little business. Stasis containers, storage units, for shipboard and planetary uses. Made to meet specialty uses. We were the leaders in our field. I had made Bobt happy in our home, and there was another baby. Alvina was in the crèche, quite the young heart taker, a sharp mind, but also lovely, plump with golden fur.

When we were contacted and required to outfit a small scout ship with stasis containers and go with the fleet into the Human Sectors, I had refused at first.

"This is insane," I told Fion. "Track the aliens down in tiny groups?"

"They still have their flagship," Fion said, "The Primates say -"

"The Primates say, the Primates say! The aliens are Primates themselves. Why are we following the Primates? Dirty little monkeys, led around by their genitals. We ought to have nothing to do with this." I was so angry. "Travel to the galaxy's end! They can't make us do this," I said hotly.

Fion said bitterly, "They can't if we are willing to have our business confiscated. Our mates or parents censured. Your child removed from the crèche."

And of course that did it.


The Human colony world was in an orbit closer toward the star. The battle was ranging in the outer reaches. When we defeated their ships our fleet would attack the planet with another, newer version of the Weapon. There would be no remains, so we were forced to do our dirty work as the battle ranged around us.

The-Left-Defender-Of-The-Long-Tunnel is enraged. She pilots the little ship between the attacking Reptilian battleships and the vessels of the Humans. "Not the dead ones! I am better than this! Oh, disgrace, disgrace to pick up dead pieces."

We had never understood exactly why the Warrior should be out like this, alone, so far from the Hive, without other Insectoids. I had always thought they traveled in groups. But Left Defender is a strange one. Fion had speculated that she might have been exiled for some crime. She might be mentally unhinged. And that seems possible. The translator never seems quite right when she is speaking. The only thing that is clear about her is that she is angry.

I am angry too. I have been angry for months. Fion and I had come close to again refusing the command. We were willing to lose everything when we had learned what our stasis containers would be used for and what we were expected to do as we followed the Fleet. But Fion's parents and my mate Bobt had begged us and we had relented.

Now light years from home, dodging the brunt of the battle, I wished we had refused.

"Lefty,” I say, "Here! Here's another cluster!"

She maneuvers the ship toward the sensor splotch. Fion confirms, "Yes, more remains. I'm opening the retrieval bay."

"Bones,” the computer translates Lefty's high pitch chatter. "Dead bones. Disgrace."

Fion and I glance at each other before opening the retrieval bay. It is the second time. The first capture had been stomach turning. They told us they wanted intact remains, both male and female specimens. But it didn't seem possible. On the first retrieval we had found nothing but tissue; burnt, then frostbitten, with a few shreds of clothing.

This one is worse. "Oh, no," says my dearest heart, "I can't, I can't, I'm sorry." And Fion scrabbles across the deck away from the bay.

My voice quavers as I say, "I'll do it."

I am wearing protective clothing, an apron and gloves. I made sure the stasis container was large enough first, and now I lift the Human arm up out of the bay and into the container. They appear to look like the primates, hairless, and colored like earth or rocks. But all the intact skin has been burnt by frostbite to a dead grayish finish.

The rest of it is just bits, like we'd seen before. I take a sampler and biopsy the arm. The scanner buzzes its data analysis and I down load it into the memory of the container. Then I close, seal and activate the container and ram it back into the storage unit, locking it in place.

I peel the gloves off and leave them on the deck. I push myself along the floor to the bulkhead and lean against Fion's shoulder.

"It was a female,” I say.

I begin to scratch at my facial hair in agitation. "I can't believe they've blackmailed us into doing this. This is insane! They've got Reptilians boarding some of these ships; or they will be. Why have they made us do this?"

"Maybe because they can,” Fion says heavily. "Because collecting samples for a Primate biologist is beneath a Reptilian Warrior. I don't know!"

He howls to me, "I wish we'd never come! I'd rather be on our planet, homeless and censured than be here."

We cling together for a moment. The ship wildly bucks as once again, Lefty tries to keep us from annihilation by the weapons of the Humans and the Xindi alike.

"We are eating their flagship. Destroying. We will find something there?" Left Defender shouts to us.

Fion crawls toward the cockpit. "Let's get this over with. Yes, Lefty, take us in close. If the frigates manage to hull the Human ship we may be able to pick up something nearly whole. Then we can leave. Leave."

I come forward too, and latch myself into a safety harness. The smaller, mobile Reptilian frigates are tracing the big Human star ship with fire. The Humans are not fighting back; their weapons must have failed. It shouldn't be long now.

As we watch, a small bulge on the giant disk of the ship flies apart. You can see a flash of light from inside their hull before the little area that had been breached goes dark, and then a whole segment of the running lights on the ship disappears from view.

"There," says Lefty, taking us into a turn that mashes me into a corner, my harness squeezing the breath out of me. "There are more dead bones. We will eat them." And she moves us into retrieval range of a large blip on the sensor grid.

We get the mass onboard and Lefty takes us out again, away from the Human flagship. The Reptilians will take it soon. Then the other remaining Human ships won't have any chance at all. This would be the end perhaps. After we destroy this colony there will be no Humans left, except, some few, serving on alien ships.

Fion and I get one of the largest storage units ready. We glance at one another and then open the retrieval bay.

"Thank the Tree and its Roots," says Fion. "There are two of them. Please, please let them be a male and a female"

The bodies are very nearly intact. One of them has lost its foot, and the skin of both is discolored by the nearly instant freezing and drying of vacuum.

There is something very unnerving. "Look," I say, in a hushed voice. "That's why we got both of them."

The bodies lie on their sides in the bay, one behind the other. One is held tightly in the arms of the other. The arms of the one behind are under those of the other, the hands tightly gripped across its chest, the whole body in an attitude of encirclement, of protection. We elevate the floor of the retrieval bay flush with the decking. The cold that radiates off of the Humans condenses the moisture out of the cabin air and beads on their damaged skin.

Fion reaches out and pushes against the shoulders, rolling them more or less face up. I begin making a visual record. I speak quietly, not in the way I had when we had taken the earlier remains, "It's unnerving how much they look like Primate Xindi. The pictures in the briefing, they were so - sketchy - like looking in a medical text at schematics."

Fion nods. "To think they were both alive only a minute or two ago." He too speaks very quietly. "Why are they like this?" and then he gestures. "Oh, I see. Look."

He points to the one in the arms of the other. Now we could see the damage to the clothing, shards of metal and plastic, jutting out, high on the creature's abdomen.

"It was working at something - controls. They must have exploded or ruptured. And this one,” Fion gestures now to the figure holding the other, "it was trying to move the dead one. Maybe to take over for it. Look. Their uniforms are almost the same."

"Not dead. It wasn't dead yet," I counter, and reach out, almost touching where the wounded one has reached up and clutched, with one hand - I see more damage, two of the fingers are gone - the uniform of his peer. The fingers grip the cloth hard.

"So this must have happened, maybe only a few seconds before the compartment decompressed,” Fion says. "They were still trying to fight on. This one was trying to replace the other at whatever job it had been doing."

"Or maybe not,” I say. I reach for the biopsy sampler. "Maybe it was trying to comfort the other one, or save it."

Fion and I glance at one another. The two figures are similar; their clothing is nearly identical. Perhaps like us. Perhaps they have been working together all this time, on the Human flagship, for at least twelve years. Perhaps they were friends, or mates, or like the Primates, a mixture of the two. But it seems certain that they were unlikely to have had anyone else left except the ones they served with. They might have seen images very similar to the ones we had seen, of that planet being torn apart. But it had been their home, and their families.

I take the one free hand of the four in my own gloved hand. I pause for a moment before I press the sampler to the wrist and pull the grip to cut out the biopsy of flesh and bone.

We both wait a moment, and the analyzer buzzes. "It's a male,” I say. "And look. You can see it has facial hair, like the Primate males do."

Fion's voice rises, "Then maybe the other's a female. Its head has no hair except the fur on the top and look, its coloration is different - light instead of dark. Quick, make the sample, my heart. If it’s female we can pull back until the battle is all over."

I take the sample from the wrist with its back to us, griped hard, holding this creature's fellow against its own body. It had tried to move him or save him, and he had, as he was dying, tried to hold on. And then they had both died, together. I thought of Fion and myself. If I were dying, I would want Fion to hold me, to help me. A selfish thought. But who wishes to outlive all one's children, crèche mate, friends? These two Humans had certainly come to that. What a burden for the one still alive to see this one dying, maybe all around it dying, as it had seen its planet die before it.

The scanner buzzed. I curse as I read it and hold the screen to Fion.

"Damn! Damn!" He shouts, "Another male! Lefty, Lefty, take us back in again."

"No. Don't,” I cry, "We'll tell them that we didn't know. I’ll, I'll break the scanner."

"We haven't gone through all this horror to lose everything we own because we didn't get them what they wanted."

Left Defender shrills, "What and what? Back? Away? You silly hairy things, it does not matter to me. Damn Humans; eat their bones!"

Fion shouts, "Back, as quick as you can." And I do not argue.

We ready the stasis chamber, as the ship lurches its way back. Fion and I are trying to decide how to put the two Human corpses into the chamber when Lefty screeches, "We are close. Almost." Then the little ship shudders violently, knocking us both to the deck.

An alarm comes on. A shriek that cuts to the marrow. Fion and I stare at each other for an instant, then he leaps up and stumbles to Lefty's side.

"Radiation,” Lefty’s chittering translates. "Too much. This vessel's containment. Cracked, Damaged. Too much radiation.

I get up on my feet. "Fion, what can we do? Can we eject the reactor?"

He comes toward me, and for an instant I think he has stumbled. But instead he knocks me over into the open stasis chamber. When I try to stand, he pushes me back, and slams the door shut.

"What are you doing?" I scream, hammering my fists on the walls and lid. "Let me out, Fion! Fion let me out!" He has not turned on any of the controls. He has just locked me in.

I press my face against the port in the wall. At first all I see are the dead Humans still lying on the deck. Then I see Fion's face. He puts his hand on the port. I can see his mouth moving. I am sure he is saying, "Alvina." And then he is gone.
"No," I scream, and call his name again and again. I realize what he has done. The chambers are insulated. The radiation level inside will be substantially lower in here, no matter how quickly Fion and Lefty might be able to eject our reactor. He is trying to make sure I will live.

I pound on the walls, and then I lay still, peering out the port. Where was he? How close were we to the flagship now under attack? We might all be killed entirely by accident. I look at the Humans, locked together in their death. I don't want to die alone in this box.

Why were we all here?

I think, "Someone should have stopped this. Someone should have prevented all of this from happening."

And then the universe is exploding, and something twists and tears.


Alvina has come to the workshop. She has brought her crèche mate, Zanat, along with her. Zanet is a good little female. Very bright. I wonder for a countless time what they both may do when they are grown. Not everyone has a crèche mate as compatible as are Fion and I.

How different it was when she was born. We had all been so frightened of the Humans. I shuddered to think what might have happened had we not discovered the truth with their help. Fion and I calibrate the unit.

"My dearest heart; all done,” I say.

End --


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A handful of people have made comments

um, wow, i guess the trip/malcolm scene was the two dead men. Saddening really, at least it made the xindi have feelings and proove that theyre not all bad, Don't juge a book by its cover or a person by its species.

Cool. Sounds a lil' crass, I know, but I love this sort of gruesome-y type stuff. And with the other person, methinks the two dead humans were our boys (which would make perfect sense).

Well done.

Oooh, wow, that was ... different. But in a really good way! Thanks for sharing!

Wow, that was so amazing. Thanks for sharing

Thank you for your kind comments.

Yesterday my beta told me to run out and check the cover story of 14 June 2004 issue of World Weekly (the tabloid newspaper.) She accused me of already knowing about the dramatic Roswell discovery only revealed this week. She suggested that it was the inspiration for this story (and not the Enterprise episode "Twilight".)

I feel compelled to deny this. My association with the Black Ops section of the Pentagon ended long ago, and I have absolutely no access to Project "Puce." My trips last year in the South Western United States and my 2003 purchases of excavation and surveying equipment at the Durango Quality Farm and Fleet have had absolutely nothing to do with these findings reported in Roswell.

Thank you for your time to set this straight.

the bat


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