"Final Graduation"

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

Author: bat400
E-mail: batfic400@y.....
Date: August 2004
Part: NEW, 1/8
Rating: PG-13, for some violent images
Codes: R, T, M, T'P, A, P, Hayes, violent images, deathfic, AU to canon Xindi Arc.
Betas: Quiz Mistress, M.S.
Archive: Any houseoftucker, Warp Five Complex, EntST*. All others request please.

Summary: The full measure of devotion. Alternate ending of the Xindi Arc. A shorter version of this story appeared under the title, "Graduation Day."

Disclaimer: Characters, places, and various incidents belong to Paramount. No monies were requested or received for this fiction. Heading quotations from the works of Dickinson.


Epilog I

Stirring martial music played as the one hundred and sixty-four cadets to be graduated slowly marched onto the exercise field and took their seats in folding chairs. This was not the regular Academy graduation, but was a commencement exercise for Tactical School.

The twelve month course of study was required for all cadets who had chosen and been accepted to the Command and Security tracks, and strongly suggested for all the branches of the Starfleet officer corps as well as non-commissioned crew. Those who did not choose its rigor, or were invited to leave, could still achieve an overall Academy graduation, but only outside Command and Security, by taking the less stringent tactical courses within the regular course of study.

The Heads of Starfleet Academy and the Tactical School were on the speaker’s platform already, along with guests. This year they included the Vice President of the Terran World Government, and the Federation Ambassador of Andoria.

There was another figure on the platform, less imposing. His dress uniform reflected only a Commander’s rank, and was spotted with only a few service ribbons and medals. He was obviously retired. One could tell not only because of his great age, but because the uniform issue had changed more than once and his was of an earlier era – still with a necktie and lapels, of all of the old-fashioned trappings. He was a small, thin man, with a full head of white hair, neatly trimmed. He was the only person on the platform who had been there every year since the first class of Tactical School had graduated, forty-four years earlier. He himself had not graduated from either Tactical or the overall Academy – neither had been existeded before he had begun his service career.

The students all knew him, though. They called him “The Commandant,” although he did not hold that position at the Academy and never had. He had, at one time or another, managed to speak to them all, and despite his age, his presence at the school was as common and unremarked-on as the ozone smell of energy weapon discharge that hung around the campus or the rain in San Francisco every winter term.

Various presenters rose and spoke. The valedictorian and salutatorian both made speeches. The oratory style of the day had become achingly ornate, martial, and formal. It was too formal for the old man on the platform in his old-fashioned uniform. He thought it was rather ironic, since he had often been accused of being too formal in his youth. And stogy, and cold, and militaristic.

Finally, he was introduced. His introduction was short and to the point. Not that even that was necessary, for his name was on the lintel above the building entrance. His photograph from forty-four years before, alongside the photo of another man (that image was a bit older), was in the front hallway outside the office of the officer who was actually listed as the Commandant in the directory.

“Before we present the graduating class, Commander Reed will speak.”

When he rose the Captain of Cadets bawled out “Attention!” and the combined noise of the students leaping to their feet covered some of the longer time it took him now to cover that path to the podium. The favoring of his left side was much more noticeable now than it had been when he had first crossed that stage. The parents and friends of the students in attendance did crane to see him better. Of the still living crew of the original NX-01 mission (they were loathe to call the ship by its given name these days,) Malcolm Reed was the most public figure for this yearly speech alone.

By the time he was ready and looked out at the students, it had grown very quiet. The birds and the sound of the breeze were noticeable. He began and his voice was low but very serious and strained.

“I have never been a religious man. But here is something that I know is true.

“’Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.’

“Not his planet, not his species, not his creed. But his friends. And in the white heat of danger, the people you serve with and the people you serve are your friends. At that moment, your only friends. They will be your friends whether you ‘like’ them or not. And so will you be, to them.

“The only thing that can corrupt this friendship -- this sacred bond -- is for the one to have to lay down his life for no good reason.”

Here he paused. He had no notes. He did not need them. He had decided the proper thing to say forty-four years earlier, and he had seen no need to change it since then. It allowed him to really look at the students while he spoke. He hoped he could see the future in their faces, and some years, he felt that he had. They were right on the edge, most of them, between being too old to be changed and not old enough to remotely understand him.

“This school was founded to teach you to prepare for possibilities, and position yourself and your command to take the best advantage in any situation. In order to prevent the betrayal of friendship. You who are here, today, have managed to absorb those lessons. You are as well prepared as we can make you.

“One day many of you will have a command. And even if your rank and position is not that of the commander of a vessel, even if the insignia you wear does not indicate ‘command,’ many of you will order others. Being in command means using your resources. Your resources will include the men and women you command. And using those men and women will sometimes mean using them up.

“There is nothing in this that betrays the bonds of service. Sometime there will be no other choice. Sometime there will be no time. Sometime there will be no option.

“But if a commander has not taken advantage of every means available to him or to her; if command fails to prepare for the decisions of each mission by research, consideration, and advice of their specialists; then there is nothing to prevent needless sacrifice but sheer luck and coincidence.

“Needless sacrifice is a fundamental betrayal of friendship. There is nothing romantic or praiseworthy or valiant to the survivors of such a betrayal. There is only waste.”

Reed stopped speaking. He slowly turned and returned to his seat. As he did, he had an unnerving memory of when he had turned, nearly a half century earlier, and had seen Jonathan Archer looking back at him. Finally, on that day, forty-four years ago, Archer had understood him at last.

On that day Reed had returned to his seat as an uncertain applause had begun. Then, as the graduates had been called, Jonathan Archer had spoken to him under the cover of the names being read out and said, “You never have forgiven me.”

Malcolm Reed had turned to him and said, “No, sir, I never have.”


If I should die,
And you should live --
And time should gurgle on --
And morn should beam --
And noon should burn --
As it has usual done --

'Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with Daisies lie --
That Commerce will continue --
And Trades as briskly fly --

Part 1.

Military training, like any training, was intended to make certain actions automatic, so that one would not have to think about how, say, to fire a weapon. You merely fired it, as well as you were able, like an extension of your arm and brain combined. The training to improve your marksmanship had a conscious, thinking process. But when you were being attacked there was no thought. You fired, and fired again. And if the weapon failed, you didn’t think much about it; there was the most minute period of time in which you gauged if you would fall back or continue to attack and then you threw the useless weapon in your enemy’s face, no more than if it were a stone weighing five kilos, and you continued the attack with your fists and feet and weight

On Earth, it was no longer considered appropriate to train people to blindly follow orders, to be total automatons. Even junior officers were supposed to be capable of assessing whether their orders were legal, sane, and dangerous to the crew and mission.

Lieutenant Reed had not realized how automatic his reactions had become as their mission in the Expanse went on, like an animal acting on instinct. That wasn’t what he should have been.

“It’s kind of like we’re not really here anymore,” Travis Mayweather said to him. They were sitting in decon waiting to be cleared to exit. Considering how frantic their schedules had become, it was actually relaxing to just be able to sit, warm and still, and have an excuse not to do anything. They had negotiated via a COM line for a trade – about 100 hours of some late twentieth-century music for vat of some sort of biological sludge. It was a perfect fermenting machine, needed since radiation had killed off the biological portion of the protein resequencing processors. T’Pol had it down in the Shuttle Bay, running diagnostics to make sure it wouldn’t poison them all. They had had no time planetside, the music was apparently pornographic and illegal down there, and they had taken off in a hail of gunfire, with Reed and T’Pol putting emergency patches on the shuttlepod’s interior walls to prevent decompression.

Reed said, “What do you mean – ‘not here?’”

“Well, we wake up everyday. We work, eat, work more, but could you actually say what you thought about?”

“I think about planning to destroy a weapon and the means to produce it. I think about protecting a 'true' first contact team if we can determine who to speak to find out why the hell we’ve been forced to fight these bastards…”

“No. I mean, that’s what the Enterprise’s security chief thinks about. Her helmsman for two shifts a day thinks about how much of the navigational sensors he can still trust. But Malcolm and Travis don’t think about anything.”

“I think I see your point, but I’m not sure what ‘Malcolm and Travis’ can do about it.” Reed cocked a wry smile. “Actually, aren’t ‘Malcolm and Travis’ thinking right now, waiting for this goop to burn off any microbes we’re tracking in?”

“I suppose we are.”

“That’s what I like about you, Travis. Have, ever since Starfleet training. I can sit and speak to you about something – or nothing. When I’m with Trip we always seem to have to be doing something, or we have to be talking about 'something.' Not just 'anything,' but 'something.' Trip is a 'high maintenance' kind of friend.”

Mayweather stared as Reed, a worried look on his face.

After a moment, Reed asked, “What’s wrong?”

The younger man shook his head slowly. He finally asked, “Malcolm? You do remember, don’t you?”


“Malcolm. Trip is dead.”

Mayweather watched as Reed’s face went through a curious set of changes. He looked puzzled, as if he were not certain what the words meant. Then his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open slightly as if he were about to speak. Then a look of pain, and finally a sort of hard set moved over his features.

“Well, yes, I know that.” Reed snapped, with an annoyed tone. “I’m not mad. I know that. What are you getting at, Travis?”

“Nothing. Nothing. You just sounded -- odd.”

“Odd?” And Malcolm gave a sort of dissatisfied grunt.

Of course. Trip was dead. They had a funeral a month ago, Malcolm thought. It was sad. It was horrible. But they just had to get on with the mission as well as they could. The Captain might wander around the corridors in the middle of the night like a bloody ghost, and bite everyone’s head off during the day, but he would not. He had to keep an even strain. Just keep on doing the job. For the ship. For everybody. Especially for himself.


When Major James Hayes had been assigned with his team to the Enterprise he knew it was going to be a challenge. He had not dreamed how much of it would be the challenge of interacting with a ship load of Fleeters. People who knew they were about the best Starfleet had to offer.

Before he came on board, Hayes had been given a roster of the Starfleet crew and a file of information cleared to his level of security. Captain Archer had said that he wanted the Major to have an understanding of the resources that would be available for the mission into the Expanse, including the crew. Hayes was pragmatic enough to understand that he had a definite opinion of his abilities and those of all of the MACOs, a very high opinion. And he was equally realistic to understand the pang of intimidation he felt as he read through the roster.

The Starfleet crew were generalists to a high degree due to the uncertainties of just what skills they would need in the original mission of exploration, but Hayes had not expected to see the level of cross-training and expertise. Men who had signed on as stewards who were skilled cartographers, wilderness orienteerers, or experts in geology or botany. Pilots who were engineers, computer geeks who were medical technicians, anthropologists who were demolition experts. And bizarre and eccentric skills as well: Animal trainers, divers, mountain climbers, musicians, brick layers, chess grand masters, jugglers, dancers, potters, sculptors, gardeners, habitat construction, terra forming. Every one of them was rated "proficient" in small arms; everyone of them could fight a fire, or start one; every one of them could set a broken leg, and with the help of some manuals and an interactive computer program they all could have whipped out your appendix and closed you up successfully, too.

Captain Archer's piloting skills were well known. Hell, who hadn't seen reprints of that old photo on the cover of New Life magazine, with Henry Archer in the co-pilot's seat next to a smiling thirteen-year-old and the caption, reading, "Archers Hitting Their Targets?" But he hadn't realized that the Captain was a systems engineer as well. And Tucker, the third in command and Head of Engineering -- he might speak like a corn-fed rube, but he appeared to be considered an expert in every engineering discipline from advanced Warp Theory to bio-deconstructors to radio communications to old-style hydraulics and internal combustion engines.

And Reed, the Weapons Officer and Head of Security. Jesus, two full-time jobs handed to the same man. What the hell had Starfleet been thinking? Reed had an Engineering degree, specializing in energy weapons and electro-magnetic theory, and he'd been a Technical Lead on the final development of the new style Phase Pistols. To top it off he was Navy; he'd served on board an Earth Defense Force frigate and had actually seen combat during the Chilean-Australian Police Action, before joining Starfleet. What else was there? Sailing, navigation, mechanical engineering, piloting impulse engine craft, optics. Wrestling? History? English Literature? He played the piano? And yes, there it was: he'd been a damn Eagle Scout!

Hayes had thrown the PADD into the nearest wall. Then he'd picked it up again. If Reed had any obvious deficiencies it was in Security, and certainly not weapons. Hayes resolved that he'd have to advocate to keep his team involved in as many actions as possible, and promote his own ability to lead in combat actions. If he didn't, these Fleeters would run right over them. The MACOs would end up sweeping floors and cleaning toilets otherwise.

Months later, as the mission into the Expanse had gone on, Hayes had been gratified by his people's abilities, but generally only on surface missions. They'd been damned sloppy in two shipboard engagements and he was mortified that he himself had been as unprepared in simply dealing with being closed up in this tin can for so long.

He'd probably brought that damned stupid dustup with Reed on himself. He never should have tweaked the little prick during those training sessions. In his own first target practice session on "the meatball" Hayes himself had spent a day before he'd pinged the damn thing half a dozen times. He had actually been amazed that Reed'd gotten four hits during the first try, but he hadn't wanted to give the stuck-up pissant the satisfaction. As for the sparring sessions, Cole and Chang had asked him beforehand if they'd be using head protection and joint guards for the newbies, and he'd waived them off. Stupid, stupid. Was he so damned insecure that he'd had to make sure his people would have the advantage on some of the techniques the Fleeters had never practiced?

But Reed was about to drive him to murder, with that smug attitude of his. Although how Hayes might manage it he didn't know. The runty swabbie was paranoid as hell. Probably had a pistol stuck up his ass for protection, and a lock-pick in a hollow tooth like friggin' James Bond. As well he should, seeing how badly some of the Enterprise's first missions had gone. What was this about almost being hung? Had that meant by the neck? With a rope? Sweet Christ, these aliens were just snakes...

Hayes had thought that was odd, as he read the briefings. The goat-ropes they'd gotten themselves into. Captures, outright abductions, botched recovery missions. There were a lot of "reasons" and hell, it was a new, really new, situation every time, but there was something about it that had made him wonder who was screwing the pooch and just getting damned lucky every time.

And then, as they'd neared their objectives -- the Xindi, the weapon -- everything had gone into a tailspin all at once.

He'd never suspected that the Captain might be, what would you call it, "doped"? "Doped" into protecting a "nest" of the enemy to the detriment of the ship. Hayes knew he'd messed up big-time. He might have ended the mission right there, with only the excuse of "following orders."

He'd had no idea that Archer was giving away their fuel source and precious spare parts out of engineering. He berated himself after the "mutiny," and he still berated himself. He should have known something was wrong when Archer had speculated that Reed was trying to wreck the mission. What an idea! The Captain had just as quickly rejected that they investigate any possible sabotage to their weapon systems when Hayes suggested it. Why the hell hadn't he done something more, gone to Tucker, for instance? Or hell, even questioned Reed to try to determine what the hell was going on?

Hayes had no interest in having Reed's job, not with the kind of "attention" the Lieutenant got from the Captain. Archer was always bitching at Reed's caution, instead of bitching at Reed's attitude. Then Archer would do something that made you understand why Reed was cautious.

Archer sometimes acted, what? Manic? Blowing hot and cold? Hell-bent on the mission, the mission alone, and then picking up religious fanatics and letting them trot all over the ship? Letting those blue aliens wander all over? Only Reed had prevented the Andorians having free run of the place.

And then, well into Xindi space, after they'd seen the Weapon Prototype, Enterprise found yet another disabled ship and aliens with a sob story.

This time it was different. This bunch said they knew the Xindi; they had all sorts of sad stories about having been subjugated by them, forced to work in weapon factories. Fix our ship, they said, and we'll tell you all about it. Sure, it was a good idea, and even better when it was Rostov and Kelly over there with Cole and Chang and Reed's man Tanner in tow to make sure everything was going as planned. But Rostov kept calling over to Tucker -- asking advice, getting guidance. And the alien Captain asked for the amazing Mr. Tucker, fussed about the security, and Archer had sent his third in command over to personally get the work done, and withdrawn the security people.

The rumor mill had later related the story. Reed had had a figurative fit on the bridge when Archer ordered that, biting his lip, grimacing, reminding Archer about some mission they'd had in the past where Tucker had been abducted. The Captain had chewed the Lieutenant a new one and put him back on his post. Tucker would be in contact, they'd be monitoring the alien ship at all times. And he was, and they did, right up until the moment the ship took off, headed straight for a patch of anomalies to get lost in.

Hayes put half his people at the transporter and half in the Shuttle Bay, ready for any boarding actions they might be able to take. Suddenly the COM traffic indicated that the enemy had ejected something before disappearing into a dense field of anomalies just after Reed sent two torpedoes climbing up its tailpipe. The Sub-Commander was on the horn to the transporter technician, positively screaming instructions to lock on to co-ordinates and beam in a cubic area of space. The tech needed a mass of a specific size or a tracking signal; the thing wouldn't work without them. She tried anyway and there'd just been that damned buzz, like a swarm of bees, and a sudden pressure differential causing everything loose to be sucked up on the platform. T'Pol's voice was a frightening sound, and Hawkins had muttered, "Listen to her -- just like on that zombie ship."

His people in the Shuttle Bay were ordered to stand down, and the helmsman and the Captain himself took the craft out, to pick up what the other ship had left in space. Reed stood outside with two crewmen and a stretcher, waiting for the return. The doctor had been there too, but Reed, looking like death warmed over had ordered him to wait in sickbay. "We won't be in any rush." And Hayes then realized what had been jettisoned and what the Captain was bringing back.

It was a mess all right. The Captain acted as hard and dead and cold as any human could be imagined. He out-Vulcaned the Vulcan, who, rumor had it, spent several days breaking things: dinnerware, PADDS, elevator controls, her chair on the bridge.

Chang had come to him a week after the funeral. He'd gotten friendly with Tanner, and Tanner said that Reed was more screwed up than anyone in charge of the Armory ought to be. Forgetful, dazed, frantic in a sort of buttoned-down-about-to-turn-into-a-crazed-maniac way. Hayes couldn't have all three of them going pear-shaped on him at once, and Reed was the only one he had a good excuse to speak to.

Hayes found Reed in the Armory, projects started and unfinished around him. Simulations were running without anyone watching them, reports scattered around -- the PADD screens blinking on standby, two phase rifles disassembled on a work bench, an uneaten sandwich lying to one side right on the deck plating. Reed leaned against the worktable, running his hands through his hair and staring into the air.

At a distance, Hayes coughed to attract Reed's attention. Jesus, the man looked like hell. Had he slept in the last week? Had he eaten? Hayes started asking about routine scheduling, and Reed made a visible effort to give Hayes his attention, as if he was happy for the distraction, if nothing else.

Finally Hayes came right out with, "Is there anything else we need to discuss, sir?"

Reed looked damned puzzled, as if he'd mislaid something, and said, "I don't believe so, Major."

"I don't mean to overstep --"

"Then don't," Reed snapped.

"It's my obligation to. I failed earlier when I didn't question the -- state of the Captain when I was following his orders."

"What is wrong with Captain Archer now?" Reed asked, his voice ramping up about half an octave.

"Nothing." And to Reed's puzzled look, "But what if there was? How would the mission continue? The Sub-Commander has never been in command of a starship, and hasn't even been familiar with ship operations before her assignment to the Enterprise."

"Why, she'd rely on myself, and the rest of the junior officers."

There was a long silence, which, gratifyingly, Reed did not break. Good, Hayes thought, maybe you realize what I'm here for.

Hayes tried to pretend he was talking to one of his own people in a similar fix. "It's difficult to focus, sometimes, for a while, when you lose a crewmate, sir."

Reed looked as if he were going to explode, and then suddenly sorted of "deflated." He went back to servicing the rifle he had on the work table, and muttered, "Major, you needn't worry about my mental health. I'm just having a bit of trouble -- concentrating. I need to put certain things out of my mind for a while."

Hayes jumped at it. Here was something he might be able to help with -- if Reed would let him.

"There's an exercise, we've been taught, sir, to sort of break a -- recurring thought." Hayes didn't want too say "panic attack," or "compulsion."

Surprisingly Reed looked attentive again, "This just isn't some sort of biofeedback thing, is it?"

"No, it's not a relaxation exercise or anything like that. It just helps break your concentration on a thought you need to drop for a while. After a while it gets automatic."

He showed Reed how to do it, an old trick. It was practically inducing a physical tic, along with a mental command to "Stop." Hayes had used this one before, when he was first being trained -- passing his thumb over the tips of his fingers, each in turn -- a short, sharp tap.

Reed was ready to grasp at anything. He practiced it with Hayes, visibly relaxing as they went over it.

"I'll try it," Reed said. "I, we, need to get over mental clutter. There's too much at stake here. Too many people are counting on us. Too many people have died for this." And Reed went through the exercise again. "Thank you, Major." And he actually said it as if he was grateful.

A few days later he asked Chang what Tanner said about the Lieutenant. Maybe a little better, and at least Reed's autopilot was working again, and not taking him around in circles. Hayes was satisfied. He did need to tell the Doctor about it. There was only so much you could do with mental gymnastics.

But the next day they approached the Hive World. And the pooch was screwed again.

Hayes never had a chance to talk with Doctor Phlox.


At the time, Reed had not realized that he had somehow stopped even trying to assess what was happening to their mission and their commander. He did his job. And their situation had only become more desperate, insane, and fatal after that point.

It didn't even seem that strange, after the mission to the Xindi Hive World, to wake up in a haze of pain killers, vaguely hearing Phlox protesting and Captain Archer's voice, rough and strained.

"He has already told us the locations of the egg chamber and the central food store. I must let him rest now."

"I need him in the Armory, now! With Fuller dead, and the Lieutenant unconscious, Tanner doesn't know enough to safely design a warhead that will disperse the virus. Phlox, we have to wake him up now. I need him sharp."

"Captain, 'sharp' is hardly possible, and mobile is an impossibility under any circumstance. I've had to reattach the lower gastro-intestinal tract as well as repair damaged nerve and blood vessels. Even with medication the chance of blood clots makes the Lieutenant susceptible to vascular blockages and tissue damage. I can't …"

"You don't have a choice! We don't have a choice. Degra's not going to help us; we can't prevent them from launching the weapon unless we convince them that we can hit them just as hard. Don't tell me you won't allow a patient to be sacrificed because I know you better than that, Phlox. Everyone on this ship is expendable, and no one knows it better than you."

"Wha--, what do you me--"

"Earth is going to be cracked like a walnut unless we stop this weapon launch. You're in this with us, Phlox. The Denobulan Medical Association would find personal logs from this mission -- interesting. You won't have any more options than we do if we don't stop the Xindi."

Reed didn't make sense of much of it, and later forgot most of it. Just an argument, just the threats -- threats to people, a threat to Earth. -- All swimming by in deep water, drowning him.

Coming to the surface, Reed was strapped into an inclined stretcher, his still useless left arm tied up across his chest. Doctor Phlox was on one side of him, Tanner on the other, holding up a PADD. It hurt every time he took a breath.

"Sir?" Tanner was saying, "Sir? Doctor Phlox says the virus is susceptible to heat. If we have a containment vessel in the warhead, here? Will that work? I think we can use titanium panels, held in a mild steel frame work. If we use shaped charges here, and here, will the thermal reaction be pushed outward?"

He was bucking the current. "Check the database … Trip'll help. On cluster bombs, twentieth century. Get Commander Tucker -- to help you. -- shape's all -- wrong. He'll understand."

And then he was under the surface again. Clawing at the eddies. Was he alone in the water? Had anyone else fallen in? Where was Trip? Gasping for air again. The touch of a hypo at his neck.

Reed heard Phlox say, "This pattern of blast, it should give maximum dispersal for the spheres holding the virus."

Tanner was speaking to him, "Lieutenant, will that yield be adequate to split open the spheres?"

Clarity and pain and a horrid feeling that something was broken inside him.

"Yes. But, Tanner, move the charges to the nodes. That's right, the intersections of the frame work."

"And we can use one of the standard torpedoes if it's fitted into this capsule? With the secondary charge?

"Yes, that will work. It ought to work. Steep trajectory. Nguyen should plot it."

Haze over his eyes. He gasped and struggled to stay afloat.

He was back in sickbay, supported on his side. There was an oxygen tube taped near his upper lip. A barely audible hiss. He tried, and could weakly clench his left hand.

"Lieutenant Reed," said Phlox, only mildly happy. Something bad must have happened. "You're with us again."

"Tanner--" like a nail being pulled out of the wood where it was buried. Phlox used a pair of tongs and set an ice chip to his lips and he took it greedily. He tried again, "Did Tanner -- complete the design? Did Captain Archer have it --?"

"Yes," said the doctor. "The launch was successful. We're in orbit around a major population center of Reptilian and Humanoid Xindi. The Captain is in communication with the council."

Reed considered. He hadn't been drowning. He had thought he had fallen, into the sea. That was wrong. Trip hadn't fallen either. He had forgotten.

Reed looked up and Phlox was still there. At the glance the doctor bent down toward his patient.

"It all really happened, didn't it?"

"Yes. You were captured, and then rescued. We've been --"

"No. I know," Reed interrupted. "Trip is dead, isn't he?"

Phlox nodded.

When he checked on Reed a few minutes later, the Lieutenant was not really awake. But he was agitated, clenching his hands over and over again. Phlox gave the man a sedative and then checked the drainage tubes again. Humans were beginning to exhaust him. But if their luck held out, the Enterprise might succeed yet.

Our luck, he thought. Denobulans were not normally an ironic people. I have to get away from this. I am so tired of it all. I wish I were home.

End Part 1.

Final Graduation (Part 2) is a continuation of this story.


This material is posted here with the author's express permission. Please do not repost this material without permission directly from the author.


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A handful of people have made comments

i like it a lot 'graduation day', this extended version is great,please continue it.

"Graduation Day" was great, and I like that you're extending it to include Season 3 events. Can't wait for more.

Well done. Looking forward to the next part.

This was great!
So emotional!
Cant wait for part two...

What a story!  I was absolutely enthralled.  And I've only read half of it.  Where are chapters one to four?  I was so engrossed in this I couldn't stop until I had finished, and then like a previous reader, I had tears running down my face at the end. It is a real page-turner.


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