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Star-Crossed

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Archer tapped a nail absent-mindedly against the side of his command console. Months. It had been months since their last lead on the weapon, and he was frustrated.

He had tried keeping himself occupied, but the mundane daily requirements necessary to run the ship only took up a fraction of his time. The rest left him waiting for something to happen. Anything. And when it didn't, he wasn't sure what to do with himself.

"Captain," T'Pol prodded quietly.

Archer sat up immediately and turned towards her. She was standing next to him. 

"Yes?" He asked eagerly.

"We can handle things here if you would like to perhaps, rest?" She glanced at the crew members around them, seemingly not wanting to be overheard.

"No, I'm fine," he replied. He was needed here. "If something should come up..."

"We would let you know over the com," she assured, almost eagerly.

Archer gave her a questioning look, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Are you trying to get rid of me?"

T'Pol's shoulders straightened some, a strange allusion to unease. "I believe you're making everyone uncomfortable," she muttered.

Archer glanced around. The crew was seemingly busy at work, though he did notice how they seemed to avoid his gaze. He briefly wondered if T'Pol had become more adept at reading the room than him.

"Your frustration has been steadily growing the past couple of weeks," she muttered. "I believe the crew can sense it."

He sighed. It was true. He’d been on edge lately. He hadn't realized how it would affect his crew.

"You're probably right," he said, standing. "I think I'll try and get some rest."

T'Pol nodded, apparently satisfied with his reply, and headed back to her station.

He nearly made it to the lift door before a beep sounded at T'Pol's station.

Turning on his heel, he headed straight towards her instead.

"We've picked up a small craft that’s just dropped out of warp .02 light years from here," she said, her eyes locked on the screen before her. "They're heavily damaged."

"Biosigns?" He asked.

T'Pol shook her head. "I can't get a proper reading."

There was another beep from Hoshi's station. He turned to her.

"They're sending us a transmission, Sir," she reported.

"What does it say?"

"They're transmitting in several languages," she paused. "I don't recognize any... wait. One of them is Andorian.

"Emergency assistance required. Were attacked. Injured crew. No medical staff."

"Attacked?" Archer turned to T'Pol. "Anything on long-range sensors?" He asked.

"Negative," she said without looking up.

"How long will it take us to get there?" He inquired.

"Fifteen minutes at warp 5."

He nodded. "Ok.” 

He’d decided. 

"Keep an eye on those sensors. I want to know if any other ships show up."

"Yes, Captain."

He turned to his helmsman. "Travis. Take us there."

"Aye, sir."

"Archer to Phlox."

"Phlox here, Captain." Came the reply.

"We're responding to a distress call. Be ready to attend to injured."

"Understood."

Turning back to his com officer, "Hoshi, send the following reply in Andorian.

"We have received your distress call and will be arriving to help in less than fifteen minutes."

He watched as she sent the reply. Not soon after came theirs: a simple, "Understood."

Once that was settled, Archer spent the remaining minutes hovering over the sensors, hoping the aforementioned attackers wouldn't show up.

When they finally dropped out of warp, T'Pol spoke up.

"Captain, there seem to be three biosigns aboard. Two are erratic. They might be seriously injured."

"Understood," he said. 

"Hoshi, I'll need you to translate."

She nodded. "Aye, captain."

"Hail them."

The view screen turned on. He didn't recognize the species, though the entity before him was humanoid.

"This is Captain Jonathan Archer. We are ready to take on your wounded and can offer engineering assistance if needed," he began.

Hoshi translated and waited for their reply.

There was what he could only describe as a puzzled look on their face.

"You aren't Andorian. I had hoped, from your reply…" There was a pause. "It doesn't matter. We're glad for the help. My name is Thelano."

"You mentioned you had injured?" Archer inquired.

"Yes. My two colleagues were damaged-" Hoshi paused, "hurt," she corrected, "in the attack."

"We can send medical staff to you if they are unable to move." Archer offered.

Thelano wasn't able to reply before an explosion sounded from behind them. Looking frantically at the consoles, Thelano muttered something Archer couldn't understand. But he *could* recognize the expression of dread that crossed their face.

"Captain." Thelano said after but a few moments. "This ship isn’t going to make it. If you would, I wish transport my crew to you. I ask that you send me the coordinates to your sickroom."

The view shook violently.

Without pause Archer nodded to T'Pol.

"Do it," he instructed.

Reed was at his side almost instantly. "Sir, I must protest," Reed muttered to him. 

Archer raised his hand to interrupt. "I gave my order," he said.

"Sir." Reed insisted.

Archer ignored him and turned to T’Pol, "I said do it."

"Aye, Captain," T'Pol acknowledged.

"Aye." Reed relented, moving back to his station.

"Thank you," Thelano replied. "I'm doing what I can but this ship won't survive much longer. Its core is unstable. And after the Reptilians attacked..." Thelano trailed off as another alert sounded.

"Xindi?" Archer asked.

"Captain." T'Pol urged from behind him. "As soon as the crew is on board, we must polarize our hull and back away."

"I can buy you time." Thelano said.

He looked from Thelano to T'Pol for a moment while the blaring of sirens sounded through the viewscreen. He nodded.

Thelano was speaking again. He turned to Hoshi.

"Please tell her, my captain, that it was an honor."

"I will," he promised.