"Right Place at the Right Time"

Author - ClassicTrek | Genre - First Time | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home

Author: ClassicTrek

Author's email: classic0812@netscape.net

Rating: PG-13 for adult content and situations; nothing really graphic.

Summary: Trip and Malcolm meet...

Disclaimer: Characters, etc owned by Paramount/UPN/Viacom and no copyright infringement intended. I’m not making any profit, just for my own enjoyment, etc.

Spoilers – None really; all of the following takes place prior to the events in the Broken Bow episode.

Author's Notes: Thanks – Many thanks to Li for being beta reader and making suggestions. I’m a long time fan and but more recently a fan fic reader; this is my first attempt at writing. I’ve had this story (plus its continuation) in my head for a while and this is just the first chapter or so. I’d love to have feedback so I know whether to continue with the “adventures” of Trip and Malcolm. Send comments to classic0812@netscape.net


January 2151

“When he looked at me, I knew it was a look I’d see forever. I couldn’t help it.

“It wasn’t just that he was gorgeous. I’d been attracted to good-looking men before. Hell, I just ended what I thought was a wonderful relationship only a few short months ago. The best looking guy in Starfleet, to be sure. But he wanted to just be friends, or so he said. The fire was there, but no desire for commitment. Jonathan Archer’s loss, right, sis?

“I got tired of waiting for Jon to come to his senses, so last night I went out, you know, maybe to start looking again, start the new year off right, right? I don’t know, maybe just to get out. This apartment reminds me of Jon, a lot. I couldn’t sit in here another night. But I didn’t go the 602 Club. I thought Jon might be there and well, no more Starfleet officers for me. That was way too painful. Why would I do that to myself again? Ever…

“So I went to this bar in downtown San Francisco that Ruby had mentioned. You remember Ruby, right? The waitress at the 602? Hot little number? I know, I know, anyway… this other bar was some place she used to work. Some place where I could meet some nice guy, maybe have a drink with, some conversation, whatever… Close your mouth, Lizzy, and just read. It was called The Watering Hole – what a throwback, décor like mid 20th century I’d say.

“And that’s where I saw him, last night. He looked at me, on his way out the door! I was so taken aback by his looks, his demeanor, his eyes, his ass (sorry sis), well, that I couldn’t even bring myself to say “hi”, “how ya doin’” nothin, zero.”

Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker re-read what he had written in his letter to his baby sister Elizabeth. Then he decided to just finish up this one thought and send it off to her.

“Lizzy, I’m going back there tonight. I know it’s ridiculous to think I’ll see him again, that something might happen, but something did happen last night. Something went through me when I saw this guy and if I don’t go back and at least try to find him, I’ll never forgive myself. Wish me good luck. I’ll let you know what happens. Love ya, sis.”

Trip changed into his lucky shirt and looked himself over and over, until, well he’d never be perfect enough for this guy. Then he set off for The Watering Hole.


It was like walking into a time tunnel. Not only did it look like places he’d seen in old photographs of the 1950’s, but Trip realized The Watering Hole looked just like it had the previous night. Trip actually recognized some of the faces he had seen only 24 hours earlier. But not the one he was looking for. “I guess he wasn’t a regular,” Trip thought, frustrated. The bartender was the same though, so Trip went up to him.

“Hi there. Dark ale, wasn’t it?” asked the bartender. Trip looked at him oddly, wondering if he was wearing a sign that indicated his preferred drink. The bartender interrupted his thoughts and asked, “Wasn’t that what you ordered last night?”

“Damn, you’re good”, said Trip, surprised. “Did I make that good an impression last night?”

The bartender chuckled. “Well, it is my job, you know, to serve the customers, remember what they ordered, listen to them, you know, whatever they need. You looked like you needed something last night, but I don’t know. Did you?”


“My guess is you did but you didn’t find it last night, so you’re back tonight to try again.”

Trip was very impressed. “Man, you really are very good at your job. Last night, I was just looking for some fresh air, a drink or two, maybe some conversation, I don’t know. “ Trip suddenly felt really comfortable talking to this guy so he went on as the bartender poured him that dark ale. “Tonight I’m hoping to find the chance I think I let slip through my fingers last night.” The bartender stared at him. “You know, there was a knock at the door, but I was too dumbstruck to get up and answer it”. Trip was hoping the bartender knew what he was saying without having to spell it out any more than he already had.

“Describe him to me,” he said which made Trip breathe a sigh of relief. “I know all the regulars and some of the semi-regulars. I can probably even tell you if he’s available or not.”

Trip blushed and stood up, with his mouth agape. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all,” he said.

“Well”, replied the bartender. “It’s your loss, probably. Most of the guys who come here are really nice, and, like you, just looking for some good company and conversation. Your decision.”

Trip had started to move toward the door. But something made him stop and go sit back down again at the bar. Sometimes in life you just had to take the chance.

“Oh hell,” he thought. “Here’s the thing,” he started, out loud now. “ I saw him for about ten seconds or so, although in my heart it felt like it was a lifetime.” The bartender grimaced and rolled his eyes. Trip had seen that look before from his family, whenever he talked about his latest love. “I know, it sounds stupid, you’ve probably heard these stories a million times, but it’s like that Cupid story, it really happened to me last night. He got me – right in the heart. I can’t explain it. You said you’d listen and help, so just listen, okay?

The bartender nodded, indicating for Trip to go on. “He was shorter than me, brunette, smoldering eyes, slim build, but obviously in great shape. He was wearing these tight fitting black jeans and a deep grey colored shirt that just made his eyes pop and well…” Trip was in another reverie over his mystery man when the bartender interrupted him.

“Did he have a British accent?”

“Don’t know, I didn’t even work up the nerve to speak to him. But I’m not gonna make that mistake again, that is if I ever see him again.”

“Oh, man, you fell for him that bad and you didn’t even hear the gorgeous voice yet? You’re doomed. Here, have another drink, on the house.” Trip looked at his new best friend – this bartender obviously knew who he was talking about. “Alright, calm down. I’ll tell you what I know. His name’s Malcolm, and he comes in here pretty regularly. He sometimes leaves with someone, but it’s not usually the same guy so I guess there’s no one steady for him, as far as I can tell. I don’t know where he works, and I guess he likes what those black jeans do for him cause he’s wearing them tonight with a light blue pullover sweater.”

Trip choked on his drink and sprayed dark ale all over the counter and his new best friend. In between coughs he asked, “He’s here now?”

“Do you want me to introduce you or would you rather just spray beer in his face?”

“I’m so sorry.” Trip was apologizing and trying to wipe the bartender’s face at the same time. “Oh man, did he see me do that?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid he did. He’s now standing at the other end of the bar and I think he’s laughing at you.” And with that comment, the bartender walked down to the end of the bar and talked to the man Trip now knew as Malcolm, all the while pointing over at Trip and well, apparently saying way too much. What could he be telling Malcolm? The only thing the bartender knew about him was that he had fallen for the Brit in ten seconds; geez, he didn’t even know Trip’s name and…

“Hello there, my name’s Malcolm.”

“Damn, the bartender was right. The voice, the accent, it’s as gorgeous as him,“ Trip thought. “I don’t know whether to smother his mouth with kisses or leave it alone so he can keep talking and talking and …”

“Excuse me, I said my name’s Malcolm, and Jack, the bartender, said that you lost something here last night and you think I might have taken it.”

Trip had no idea what he was talking about. It didn’t matter, as long as he kept talking… “Oh shit”, Trip realized to himself, “it’s my heart. He’s talking about my heart. That’s what I lost here last night.”

“My heart”, Trip muttered.

“I beg your pardon. I didn’t quite hear you.” Malcolm was being very serious and quite polite.

Trip got the feeling that Malcolm wasn’t being a jerk, but he would never find out unless he kept going down this path. He cleared his throat and repeated, “My heart. I told Jack that I lost my heart here last night,” and Trip shrugged as he said it. Now Malcolm was looking at him with those eyes and with a smile so sweet that Trip decided, if this was the bait, he was hooked. Trip didn’t have to look in the mirror – he knew he was blushing so much and getting so hot in the face that the San Francisco fire department would be there any minute to put out the flame.

“That’s rather sweet,” Malcolm continued. “If that’s a pick up line, it’s a very good one. Frankly, I’m sorry, but I don’t remember meeting you last night. I didn’t think I had that much to drink, and you’re really rather hard to forget, uh . . .” Malcolm looked at him questioningly.

“Trip. My friends call me Trip.”

“Well, Trip, if I may call you Trip,” and as Trip nodded Malcolm continued. “Trip, as I was saying, I truly apologize for not remembering meeting you last night. Really rather rude of me.”

“You didn’t meet me,” Trip muttered.

“Am I developing a hearing problem or do you just speak rather softly?”

Trip started to laugh, softly. “That’s pretty funny. My whole family is actually a loud and talkative bunch, and usually you can’t get me to shut up. But you seem to bring out the quiet in me.” Malcolm smiled and Trip tried to continue. “Anyway, I was saying, we didn’t meet last night. On your way out the door last night, I thought I caught your eye, as you turned back to say goodnight to someone. I thought, I…well…”

“Yes, what?” prompted Malcolm. “What did you think?”

“Well, actually I stopped thinking at that moment. You know, they say the eyes are the window to the soul, or something like that.”

“So, Trip, you think you saw into my soul with one look?”

Trip knew he had blown it big time. “He’s mocking me now,” he thought.

“Trip, you really do say the sweetest things. I truly hope this isn’t all just one big pick up line, although I guess I’m equally okay with that as well.” And Malcolm smiled again. “Now, may I buy you a good British beer, and promise me you’ll drink it and not spray it over the bar, or me.”

Three hours and a number of British beers later, Jack was asking the last two patrons of The Watering Hole to leave. “Trip, Malcolm, come on, I want to close. Does one of you live near here? Can I call you a cab?”

“Sorry, Jack”, answered Malcolm. “It’s okay. I’ll make sure he gets home. He told me where he lived a couple of pints ago and it’s only a block or two from here. I think he was still sober when he told me.”

“Okay and Malcolm, please, be nice with him. He really likes you.” Malcolm looked at Jack with those little-ol’-me-would-I-do-anything-bad eyes. “Don’t give me that look. Please, I don’t want to lose a potentially good customer.”

“Night, Jack,” said Malcolm as he grabbed Trip off his chair and put a strong arm around the taller man’s chest. “Wow,” thought Malcolm, “this guy’s got a great build, from what I can feel. Stop it, Malcolm, this one seems genuinely nice. Don’t ruin it, again.”

“Ni, Jack, I (hic) a (hic) won-er-fuh eevin”. Trip managed to slur out while Malcolm and Jack exchanged knowing glances.

As they got to Trip’s third floor walk up, Malcolm realized his new friend was not going to make it through the night without getting sick, at least once. And he felt partially responsible, well, totally responsible. It had taken Trip a while to remember his key code to open the apartment, and he didn’t quite make to the bathroom. Trip had gotten sick all over his clothes, (although, Malcolm amusedly thought, with that shirt, it was possible Trip had gotten sick all over it before that evening had even started). Malcolm couldn’t leave him like that; he was forced to remove Trip’s pants and shirt and wash them, and the living room carpet, and him, and, he was right, this guy was really built.

The next morning...

Beep! Beep! Beep!

“Shut up!”

Then came the crash.

Malcolm came into Trip’s bedroom to find the an alarm clock broken in pieces on the floor and Trip mumbling “shut up, shut up, shut up!” He was face down on the bed with only his boxers on and the blanket crumpled around his feet.

Malcolm sighed. “Oh my goodness, I was right. This man is gorgeous,” he admitted to himself. “Calm down, Malcolm, ol’ man. You met him in a bar. He was looking for a one-night stand, as were you. Well, maybe when he’s over this hangover, in a year or so, you can get together with him.”

“Oh please, make the noise stop, please.” Trip was mumbling and pleading at the same time.

Trip looked so pathetic and cute that Malcolm was amused. “It has stopped, Trip,” he said softly. “You threw the clock on the floor and smashed it into a million pieces, and, well, the alarm has stopped.”

“Well, somewhere in this building or this town, an alarm is still going off cause I can hear it in my head and it’s not stopping and it’s way too loud.” Malcolm laughed, but as softly as he could. He certainly didn’t want Trip to feel any worse than he already did. The laugh was loud enough for Trip to hear though and he looked up at Malcolm. “You know, I have a bathrobe just like that. We have a lot in common.”

“Trip, this is your bathrobe. My clothes got somewhat soiled, and I’m waiting for them to dry so I can put them back on.”

“Oh, shit, Malcolm. Did I get sick all over you? “ Trip knew he had when Malcolm reluctantly nodded. “I am so sorry. What a great impression I made. That wasn’t what I had in mind for a first date. Can I make it up to you? Please??” Trip stopped talking and looked up at Malcolm; that adorable Brit was just staring at him. “What’s the matter, Malcolm?”

“A first date? That usually implies a second, at the very least.”

“Well, that was my plan. But I don’t know how I’m gonna top last night, though. Vomiting all over you like that. Musta been quite a show.”

Malcolm came out of the bathroom, having gone in there to dress. Trip was still talking.

“And you cleaned me all up, too, didn’t you? And put me to bed, and … well, I gotta make this all up to you. How about tonight?”

“Trip, I already have plans for tonight. Dinner with a friend from Starfleet Academy. I was going to go back to The Watering Hole afterwards, but I suppose that place can do without me for one night, can’t it? Would you like to meet somewhere, at about 9 or so?”

“Why don’t you just swing by here after your dinner? I’ll probably still be hung over, so no Watering Hole for me. But maybe we can watch a movie or something.”

“That will be lovely. I’ll see you then. I need to be off now, Trip. Are you going to be all right? Do you have somewhere you need to be this morning? I mean, the alarm was set and all.”

“I think I need to take a sick day, Malcolm, but thanks for asking. I’ll see you later.”

After Malcolm left his apartment, Trip sat down and held his head between his hands. “I suppose it’s possible that just his friend is in Starfleet, right?” he thought. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that he is, does it? Oh, stop shaking your head, you idiot. Go call Jon and tell him there’s no way you can meet with him today to talk about potential officers and crew for the Enterprise. And then go take about a million aspirin.”

Later that day...

It was the longest day of Trip’s life, or at least it had felt that way. After Malcolm had left his apartment in the morning, Trip took some aspirin, called Captain Jonathan Archer, cancelled all his appointments and meetings, and went back to sleep. He dreamt about Malcolm. It was so cute that Malcolm had actually looked excited at the prospect of more than one date with him. “Did I really just think about Malcolm being cute? Oh, man do I have it bad!” thought Trip.

But was Malcolm merely a one-night stand kind of guy? Trip hoped not, but, well, that idea wasn’t too bad either. Just the thought of getting that gorgeous Brit into his bed was enough to get Trip very excited and he woke up needing either some personal relief or a very cold shower. “Hell, I’ll kill two birds with one stone and take care of this in the shower,” he thought. “Just wish Malcolm was going to be in the shower with me. Damn, this is ridiculous. I don’t even know if he likes me. Well, he must, he’s coming back tonight, isn’t he? I really do have it bad for him, don’t I? What had Jon said when I called him this morning? ‘You sound like there’s more going on than just a hangover, Trip.’ As if that wasn’t enough. Did Jon know? Did he care? Was he jealous? Do I care? No, I’m so over Jon, well in that way anyway. I’ll always care about him, love him in some way. But I can tell that what I’m already feeling about Malcolm is so different. How can I know that already? “

“Oh, Malcolm!” he shouted as relief came in the shower. “Well,” Trip thought, “if the windows are open, Malcolm and everyone else in San Francisco will now know how I feel about him.”

The rest of the day proved to be a very restless one for Trip. He didn’t know what to do with himself. It wasn’t that big an apartment; how many times could he vacuum and how much could he straighten things up. He still had hours to go before Malcolm came by, and that’s assuming that Starfleet friend didn’t keep him longer at dinner than expected. “Trip, old man, you’re not jealous of this ‘friend’, are you?” he asked himself. “Calm down, take it slow. First find out if you even have anything in common. One horrible night of getting sick on a guy does not a long-term relationship make.”

First things first. Malcolm would have already eaten, so food wasn’t necessary. But how about some dessert. That would be a good sign if Malcolm skipped dessert with this ‘friend’ and had it with him instead. Mom had sent him a pecan pie just a few days earlier. “Not everyone likes pecan pie, Trip. Think, man, think.”

He thought harder. Malcolm had mentioned some fancy bakery around the corner from The Watering Hole. “How am I supposed to remember anything from last night?” Trip wondered to himself. But that would really impress Malcolm if he could remember. How many fancy bakeries could there possibly be in this neighborhood? Trip decided to take a walk in the area, ask a few neighbors, try to find this bakery. How long had he lived here and he didn’t know about this place. He was pathetic. He needed to get out of his engine rooms every once in a while.

Trip figured he’d go back to The Watering Hole and do a one block sweep in all directions. “That’s good tactical thinking, Trip. Gotta remember to tell Jon that if he doesn’t find a suitable person for Enterprise’s tactical officer position, I could double up as chief engineer, first officer and tactical officer. Guess that would be tripling up. Hah, that’s appropriate for me…” Trip was so busy chuckling to himself and making stupid puns that he ran right into Jack, the bartender from The Watering Hole.

“Hey, how are you doing, Trip?” Jack asked. “I’m kind of surprised to see you up and around today. You were pretty bad off last night. Malcolm get you home okay?”

“I’m sorry about that, Jack. It must have been that stuff Malcolm was buying me. It was Guiness, right? I think I’ll stick to American beers from now on. Unless I’m not even welcome at the bar anymore?”

Jack laughed. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen a lot worse, a hell of a lot worse. I’m just glad Malcolm was there early enough in the evening to find out your address. Did he take advantage of you?”

“Rather personal, don’t you think?” Jack was about to apologize when Trip continued. “No, never mind, it’s okay. Malcolm was a perfect gentleman, from what I remember. Besides, I was too busy being sick to be taken advantage of. I can’t believe he agreed to see me again but he’s coming over tonight. I was just looking for a bakery he was telling me about in this neighborhood to get some nice dessert to serve.” As Jack started laughing, Trip asked, “What’s so funny?”

“First, you don’t notice Malcolm standing at the end of the bar, and now you don’t notice the bakery. You really don’t know when things are right under your nose, do you? Turn around Trip, but I don’t think you’re going to get any kind of ‘nice’ dessert in there.”

“Oh, shit. He couldn’t have meant this place, could he? An erotic bakery? Tell me this isn’t the only bakery around here, please.”

“Trip, let me come in with you, please.” Jack was practically begging. “I’ll help you pick out something extra special for dessert.” Jack was continuing to laugh at Trip.

“Okay, come in, but you gotta stop laughing at me. And you can help by answering this - what do you get for a man who recommends you buy your cakes from an erotic bakery?”

“Why don’t you just give him the man who’s going into the erotic bakery and buying something just because this other guy suggested it? You look so uncomfortable, Trip, and yet here you are. You have got it so, so bad for Malcolm. All you have to do is let him know that you came in here despite being so uncomfortable, and I think he’s just going to want you for dessert.”

“Very cute, Jack, very cute. You gonna help or not?”

The more Trip thought about it, the more he felt Jack was right. Malcolm did seem like the kind of guy who would be impressed with what Trip had done. Not the fact that he had bought the cake shaped liked a guy’s ass. (Trip was wondering how they made that mold!) It was more that Trip had paid attention to something Malcolm had mentioned only briefly in conversation. At least he hoped Malcolm would be impressed, after he went through that ordeal. “I’ll never be able to set foot in The Watering Hole again without Jack laughing at me or pretending to put frosting on my ass.” Trip was laughing at himself now, but was interrupted by the doorbell.

Trip looked at the clock. 9:01 p.m. Damn, the man was nothing if not punctual.

Trip opened the door and just stood there, speechless. Malcolm had on black pants again, but this time they were leather. They weren’t too tight, but they clung in all the right places. His shirt was a charcoal grey button down, but he wore it totally open so the tight fitting black tee shirt underneath could be seen and his obviously well-toned chest muscles could be detected under the tee shirt. His hair was messy in all the right places, and a little wet. It must have been raining out. Trip thanked San Francisco for its timely weather. He had some kind of boots on, but Trip didn’t really care about Malcolm’s feet at this moment.

Malcolm finally broke the silence. “May I come in?”

It was too much for Trip. Hearing that voice once again pushed him over the edge. He grabbed Malcolm by the arm and dragged him into the apartment, closed the door, and gave Malcolm the most sensuous kiss he had ever given any man or woman. And Malcolm responded. And it seemed as if this first kiss would go on forever. And it only took a few minutes for Trip to find out that Jack had been right about dessert.

The next morning...

Trip felt sore, the most complete and utterly wonderful soreness he had ever felt. He turned over in his bed and realized he was alone. “It couldn’t have been a dream,” he thought. “I’m in much too much glorious pain for it to have been a dream. I can’t believe he left already.” Just then, he heard noises coming from the kitchen; the refrigerator door was being shut, the coffee maker was going, and then there was the whistling. “The man whistles. Son of a bitch, that has got to be a good sign.” Trip was smiling to himself. He called out, “Malcolm? I hope that’s you in the kitchen.”

“Yes, sorry, Trip. Just thought I’d make some coffee and get some breakfast. Hope I didn’t wake you.”

“It’s okay. I had to get up anyway. You know all those meetings I put off yesterday ‘cause of my, uh, sick day? Well I had to reschedule them for this morning. Did you find something for breakfast?”

“Well, actually, I was just grabbing a rather nice piece of your ass, that is unless you were saving it for someone else.”

Trip started laughing, realizing Malcolm had found the cake. He came into the kitchen and found Malcolm standing there in nothing but his boxers. “I did get that for last night’s dessert, but if I had known at the time I bought it what kind of ass you were really looking for, I could’a saved some money.”

Malcolm turned to face Trip, all the while stuffing a piece of frosted cake in his mouth. “I haven’t been at someone else’s flat for breakfast in a really long time. This is nice. And, by the way, so was last night.”

Trip blushed and started to speak though he knew he might be going too far. “Malcolm, just so you know, and this is no line. Last night, well, I knew it would be, but, well, you gotta know that, well…”

“Yes, Trip? What are you trying to say?”

“Well, it was the best sex I ever had. There I said it. Is that lame?” Malcolm was just staring at him. “I know, it sounds like such a line, but I…” he attempted to continue, but Malcolm shut him up with a kiss, a wonderful, warm, lingering kiss.

“You were right what you said at the bar the other night. You really do talk too much. But I think I found a lovely way to keep you quiet.”

“Malcolm, I’d like to see you again. And again and again and again.”

“Trip, you don’t know anything about me. I’m really not the kind of guy to get involved in a long-term relationship. They don’t work out for me, ever. I prefer meeting different people and just trying to have a good time. Like we had last night.” As Trip tried to be calm and listen to him, Malcolm continued, “Plus I’m trying to get a posting that will take me off planet, into deep space hopefully. Well, that wouldn’t be fair to you, to either of us actually.” When Malcolm saw Trip starting to turn pale, he asked, “Are you all right? Still feeling a little hung over, are you?”

“No, I’m fine,” he lied. “So you’re with Starfleet? What a coincidence. So am I. I’m with the engineering division.” Well, it wasn’t a lie; just not a complete truth. How was Trip going to tell Malcolm that he was already assigned to that same deep space mission he was hoping to get posted to. “I guess we didn’t get to the topic of careers the other night at The Watering Hole.”

“No, we didn’t. Let’s see, you told me about all your wonderful family, your love of pecan pie, your first girlfriend named Lisa, and your last boyfriend who I believe was someone named Jon. I told you about my parents, whom I don’t care for, and my terrific sister Madeline. I told you I’ve never tried pecan pie, and that I haven’t had a “steady” boyfriend in quite some time given the fact that my last relationship ended quite disastrously. Fortunately, you told me where you lived and that you lived alone. I took that as an invitation at the time.” Trip was blushing now. Malcolm kept going, “You told me you had never drunk Guinness before and I now think you probably never will again. Oh, yes, I mentioned a particular bakery – good cake, by the way. You should have some. Plus you told me you liked the blue sweater I had on and I tried not to tell you how hideous your shirt was. I probably missed a few things but telling me you worked at Starfleet was not one of the many things you mentioned. I wonder you forgot about that.”

“Well, Malcolm, I don’t think you told me you were with Starfleet either. You didn’t even tell me your last name.”

“No, I didn’t and it’s Reed. Malcolm Reed. Now that you mention it, you didn’t tell me yours either, but I saw the mail to Rebecca Garrett so I figured that was your last name. One of your sisters?”

“Uh, yeah. Lizzy’s the youngest and then Becky.” Again, not a lie, but a hell of an omission. Trip didn’t bother telling Malcolm that Becky was his married sister and Garrett was her married name. “She spent some time here when she took some classes at a local college. Some of her mail still comes to my place.”

“Listen, Trip. Last night was really lovely and I would like to do it again. Just don’t expect too much from me, please. You seem like a really sweet guy and I don’t want to see you hurt. And I have sort of a history of doing that – hurting people. I promised Jack I’d be nice to you.” Malcolm could tell that Trip was about to ask when they could “do it” again so he said, “I must get dressed and get going to some appointments, but I’ll see you later. Promise. How about The Watering Hole at 9?”

“Another dinner with a friend?” The question came out of Trip’s mouth before he could even stop it. “Sorry. Uncalled for. Won’t happen again.” Malcolm smiled. “Watering Hole’s fine. I’ll see you there at 9. Need to shower or shave?”

“No thanks. I need to get home and change into my uniform. I’ll shower there, but thanks for the offer.” By this point, Malcolm had put on the black leather pants and grey shirt.

“Damn”, thought Trip, “he better leave now before I rip those pants off him.” And with that, Malcolm was out the door.


A half hour later, Trip was standing outside Jonathan Archer’s office at Starfleet Headquarters. Why was he so nervous? He took a deep breath and knocked. He heard his commanding officer, friend, mentor and former lover tell him to come in. That’s why he was nervous – too many people waiting for him inside that office.

“Good morning, Cap’n. I need to talk to you about something.”

“What’s with the rank thing, Trip? I thought we were friends, even after everything that’s happened.”

“If we’re going to be working together on Enterprise, I’d like to show you some respect. I’d like other people to show me respect and I’d like them to think that I got my position before of my abilities, and not because of friendship or anything else. I don’t want special treatment because of our past relationship, no matter what it was.”

“What do you mean, ‘if’ we’re going to be working together? Of course we’re going to be working together. And of course you got this position because of your abilities. And I can’t promise no special treatment, because you are my friend, aren’t you? What is this all about Trip? Are you having second thoughts about being on Enterprise?”

“No, of course not. I just needed to tell you that I can’t fulfill some of my duties as your first officer.” Archer looked perplexed. “I can’t sit in on interviews for senior staff or give you recommendations about some of the people you’re considering. You see, I know some of them better than others and I don’t think it would be fair.”

“Trip, if you know someone well, don’t you think I’d want to know things that you know, things that might help me decide whether to pick this person or not. We’re talking about Enterprise here; the first human ship into deep space. You’ve got to tell me everything you know so I can pick the best people and…” Suddenly realization dawned on the captain. “You’re sleeping with someone I’m considering, aren’t you?” When Trip didn’t reply, he continued, “Damn, Trip, don’t do this to me.”

“Don’t do this to Jon or don’t do this to Captain Archer?”

“I’m only thinking about Enterprise right now, Trip, that’s all.”

“Jon, Cap’n, I can’t use my feelings or my knowledge about certain people to persuade you one way or the other. I want everyone who gets these positions to get them based on their merit, just like me,” he looked up to see Jonathan Archer rolling his eyes. “And, besides, I know you can make those decisions without me. You don’t need my help for that. But if you want, I’ll look over your list after you made your decisions and let you know if I think someone you’ve picked doesn’t make the grade. How’s that?”

Jonathan Archer looked at his chief engineer, first officer, best friend, and former lover as he stood at ease in front of him. Trip was quite the package and he didn’t know what to do about the fact that this package had feelings for someone else. Someone else who might be aboard Enterprise for however long they were going to be in deep space on this mission. “I guess I can live with that. We’ll talk about my selections after I’ve made them then. I’ll let you know. I guess you’re dismissed, Commander.”

Trip stood there for a moment, waiting for Jon to look up at him, which he didn’t do. He turned around to leave thinking that this was going to be very, very complicated.

Later that night...

Trip was already at The Watering Hole when Malcolm strolled in at 9:00. He looked happy and Trip was pretty sure of the reason why.

Malcolm went up the bar and asked Jack, “Have you seen Trip here tonight?”

“Yeah, he’s got the back table there. I think he has something to talk to you about.” As Malcolm walked toward the back, Jack called out, “Hey, how was the cake?”
and then started to laugh.

This earned a sneer from Malcolm, but his mood was not going to be ruined by a snide comment from his friend, the bartender. Malcolm found Trip sitting, nursing a beer, most likely one of those weak, American ales.

“Good evening, Trip. I see you’ve started without me.”

“Evenin’ Malcolm. Actually I told Jack to bring you over something as soon as you walked in. There he is now.” Trip acknowledged the bartender and the Guiness he had brought for Malcolm. “Thanks Jack.” He returned his attention to Malcolm. “You look like you had a good day.”

“Yes, wonderful interview today. I’m sure you’ve heard of Jonathan Archer, captain of the Enterprise. Well, that’s who I was meeting with today and it went rather well. He said my qualifications were excellent and my references verified my resume, and …you don’t look happy for me.”

“No, that’s not it.”

“Trip, I told you this morning that I was very interested in this deep space mission. The Enterprise is the opportunity I’ve been looking for. I’ve become very fond of you after only two days, but I’m not going to give up this career opportunity on the slight chance that there might be something happening between us. I told you that I’m not very good with relationships anyway and…I don’t think you’re even listening to me.”

Trip looked up from staring into his glass, giving Malcolm a half smile. “I need to tell you a few things. And I need you to listen to everything I’m tellin’ you and not say anything til I’m done. Okay?”

“This sounds serious.”

“Could be, I don’t know yet. Okay?” Malcolm nodded his acceptance and Trip continued. “Did you happen to notice Cap’n Archer’s first name?”

“Jonathan, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Jonathan. His friends call him Jon. So do his former lovers.” Malcolm put down his glass of beer and just sat there, staring at Trip. “Jon and I were friends for a long time before we ever slept together. I don’t think I was ever in love with him, even after we became lovers. I loved him like a friend, and I guess I still do, and the sleeping together, well, I think we both just needed to relieve some sexual tension. Well, more than some. But it ended months ago, partly because he didn’t want a commitment but mostly because it just wasn’t right for us. And now we’re back to being friends. At least I hope we are. There’s some awkwardness there still, but it’s getting better and easier every day.”

Trip looked up to see if Malcolm was still paying attention. Oh boy, was he ever paying attention. It was a good thing they were in a public place. “Malcolm, I knew the moment I laid eyes on you why things didn’t work out with Jon, and that’s because they weren’t meant to. What I felt for you the first instant I saw you, I knew it was so different, and well, I’m sorry. I’m rambling and I’m getting off the subject.” Malcolm’s eyebrows went straight up. “Yeah, there’s more. I don’t know if Cap’n Archer explained why he was conducting the interview alone. Usually, the Cap’n and First Officer of a ship do the interviewing together. Well, in this case, the First Officer of the Enterprise made himself unavailable because of some potential conflicts. You’re sitting across the table from that First Officer.”

Malcolm immediately stood up and Trip could see he was seething, the anger building up inside. “Malcolm, please sit down and let me finish. You did agree to hear me out.” Slowly, deliberately, Malcolm returned to his chair. Trip continued, “It wasn’t just your interview that I didn’t attend. That would have been kind of obvious, don’t you think?” No reaction from Malcolm. “I explained to Jon, to the cap’n, that I had a personal involvement with some of the candidates and I didn’t think it fair to any of them to be judged on anything other than their merits and qualifications.”

“And he bought that story?” Malcolm’s voice was a disturbing whisper.

“He assumed that I must be sleeping with one of the people he’d be interviewing, but I didn’t confirm it. He’s gonna tell me his choices after he’s made them, I repeat after he’s made them, and I promised to let him know if any of the choices were bad ones. And I’m gonna only advise him on a bad choice based on qualifications, I swear. He’s a very fair man, Malcolm; if you merit the position, I’m sure he’ll pick you. And I’ve seen your qualifications, Malcolm. You do deserve this position. Unless now that you know I’ll be there, you don’t want it anymore.”

Malcolm didn’t know what to think. He was trying to figure this whole thing out, when Trip interrupted his thoughts. “There’s more,” he said. Malcolm looked at him incredulously. “My name, it’s not Garrett. That is my sister’s name, but she’s married. My name’s Tucker, Charles Tucker. The third. That’s where the Trip nickname comes from, you know, the third, Triple, Trip. I purposely didn’t tell you because in case you saw the ship’s roster before I could tell you, well you’d know I was the first officer, and then you’d jump to the wrong conclusions, which is probably what you’re doing now anyway, and I’m talking way too much.”

“Is there anything else, Mr. Tucker?” Malcolm’s use of his real last name wasn’t lost on Trip.

“No,” Trip said sheepishly. “I think that’s really enough, don’t you? Do you have anything you want to say to me? Anything you want to ask?”

Malcolm stood up once again, much too calmly for Trip’s taste. “I think it’s safe to say that I’m in a little bit of shock right now. I didn’t think anyone could surprise me so, but you’ve done it. I’m going to leave now before I say something I will regret later. I think you should consider yourself fortunate that I don’t have any part of my pistol collection with me this evening.” He started to walk away from the table, but then turned back. “Oh, and, thanks for the drink” he said while throwing the beer in Trip’s face, “but I’m really not thirsty.”

Jack had chosen that moment to come over to Trip and Malcolm’s table, and was in range of Malcolm’s firing shot of beer, the result being that some of the brew landed on his pants. “Boy, don’t you two just drink your beer like the rest of us? You guys really provide first-rate entertainment. Do you do kids’ parties?”

Trip just looked up, slowly turning his head to meet Jack’s stare. He was smiling. Jack couldn’t believe it. “What are you smiling at? The man just threw beer in your face, and table and floor. And on my pants. Why are you smiling?”

“Remember you told me that I don’t know when things are right under my nose. Well, you’re wrong – I do know that Malcolm was right under my nose. And I know I’m not going to lose him. Jack,” he said, with the smile never leaving his face, “I’m gonna marry that man and be with him a long, long time. We’re going to grow old together and probably spill beer on each other for many years.” Then he proceeded to wipe the beer off his face, and the table, and the floor.

“Man, I knew you were crazy the first time you walked in here. But you’re so much fun to have around, Trip. So much damn fun. You better get him back, Trip, because it’s my fault you’re together in the first place. And you can have the wedding right here, if you want. I’ll even supply the beer, provided it doesn’t get all over the tables, the floor, or my pants!”

One week later...

Jonathan Archer walked into Commander Tucker’s office at Starfleet Headquarters. Trip was deeply involved in some engineering schematics, until a throat-clearing cough caught his attention.

“Can I interrupt you for a second, Commander?”

“Sure, Cap’n. Have a seat, if you can find one.” As Archer cleared off one of the two chairs, Trip noticed that he was holding a list of some kind. “Is that the senior officer list?”

“Yes. You were right. I was able to pick what I think is a wonderful senior staff, even without your input. You did promise to look it over though.”

“I’m sure it’s a terrific bunch of people,” he said as Archer handed him the list. Trip read each name, his expression never changing even as he saw Lieutenant Malcolm Reed listed as Tactical and Armory Officer. Pretty ironic that at one time he thought he might have to triple up as armory officer, chief engineer, and first officer. Guess that really wasn’t so funny after all. Everything was very complicated indeed. But even with all that, Trip couldn’t help but being overjoyed, knowing that he and Malcolm would be forced together, serving on the same ship, for at least a few years.

Trip’s thoughts were cut off when Archer asked, “Is he…or she…on the list?” Trip looked at him, obviously trying to come up with the right thing to say. “You’re not going to tell me, I can see that. Just let me know, is it okay? Do you have any problems with the people who are there, or who aren’t there? Does the list please you?”

“Does it please me?? Cap’n, you’re not doing this for me. You’re doing it for Enterprise, for Starfleet, for Earth.” His friend looked away, almost embarrassed. “This list looks great. There’s some really qualified people here. You got the best people that I know of. I’m looking forward to working with these people. And with you, Cap’n.”

“Thanks, Trip. I’m looking forward to it, too. It’s all a little overwhelming, though, don’t you think?” When his friend didn’t answer, Archer cleared his throat and continued, “Well, I’m scheduling a meeting of all the senior staff for Friday, just so they all meet each other and you. We’ll go aboard Enterprise and try to answer any and all of their questions, about their positions, whatever. Friday okay with you?”

“Just tell me what time, sir, and I’ll be there.”

“I think I’ll make it 0900 hours. I also think that you calling me Captain is bad enough; please don’t start with the ‘sir’ crap.”

“Actually I call you Cap’n,” Trip replied laughing as Archer smirked. “But I’ll try my best. I’ll see ya Friday, 0900, sir.” Archer gave Trip a glaring look. “Whoops!”

That same night...

When Jack saw Malcolm come into The Watering Hole, he immediately got on the phone to call Trip Tucker. “He’s here, and he’s not alone. There’s a gorgeous and extremely well built younger man with him and they came in together.”

“Is he black, with short hair, and a smile that goes on forever?”

“Yeah, that’s him. Is that the Starfleet friend, you think?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure it is. I’ll be there in about 15 minutes. Can you have a couple of beers waiting for me? Make sure they’re real cold too, okay? And, thanks a lot, Jack. I owe you.”

“Again, you mean. You owe me again. I want to be the best man, or at least the maid of honor at the wedding, okay?” As he was hanging up the phone, he could hear Trip laughing on the other end.

Fifteen minutes later, Trip came into the bar, grabbed the two beers that Jack had poured for him, and walked right over to the table where Malcolm and Travis Mayweather were sitting and quietly, but obviously, celebrating. They both looked up when Trip plopped down at their table, along with his two beers. Their celebration was interrupted but it looked like the evening’s entertainment was just beginning. At the other end of the bar, Jack got comfortable to watch.

Trip took one of the beers and drank it down in a couple of gulps. He slammed the glass down on the table, and then grabbed Malcolm by the shirt and brought the smaller man towards him. As passionate as their first kiss had been, it couldn’t compare to the intensity and force of this one. Trip was trying to maintain his cool, all the while treating Malcolm to all the fervor and desire he could muster. His free hand was now reaching down between Malcolm’s legs and Trip could feel that he was achieving the results he had intended.

Trip broke off the kiss and put his mouth next to Malcolm’s right ear, away from Travis’ earshot, or anyone else’s, for that matter. “As you can tell,” he whispered, “you’re not going to be able to walk out of here very easily, at least not right now and not without anyone noticing how you really feel about me. So I’d like you to do as I ask, okay. I can make it easy on you or hard. Guess I’ve already done that though, haven’t I?” Trip was nibbling Malcolm’s earlobe now, and Malcolm was beginning to writhe. “Tell me to piss off, or something equally British, and I’ll throw that very cold beer on you, right down where you need it poured. Then I’ll leave. But at some point you get rid of your friend, and come over to my place so we can talk. No matter what time it is. Deal?”

The entire bar was quiet now, and yet Malcolm’s “piss off” could barely be heard.

“What did you say?”

“Piss. Off.” This time there was no question that everyone in The Watering Hole had heard what Malcolm said.

Trip stood, took the full glass of beer, and slowly and deliberately poured the contents down Malcolm’s shirt and onto his lap. The beer was so cold that Trip knew that the most obvious sign of his affection would be gone pretty soon, but he also knew that he was running a great risk. Sure, Malcolm would come by his apartment later; he knew that for certain. But would he come by to talk, forgive him, make mad passionate love, or beat the crap out of him. He’d have to wait to find out. In the meantime, though, he would just put the empty beer glass down and walk calmly out the door, no comment to Jack, no undignified parting shot, none of that “I’m not really thirsty” crap. Man, now he really wasn’t going to be allowed in this bar, at least not for a very, very long time. This was one of the most embarrassing things he had ever done in his life, but it got Malcolm’s attention, and that was what was important.

“Damn, almost midnight and he’s still not here,” thought Trip. “And he thinks he screws up relationships! I’m the champion of screwups, the king, the…” The front door of his apartment was being opened.

Trip was trying to remember if he had given Malcolm the combination when he heard someone saying, “I believe I’ve made you squirm long enough, Trip.” It was Malcolm and he was entering Trip’s apartment. “Plus, my pants have almost completely dried, and Travis was finally reassured that I was well enough to go off on my own. Now, Mr. Tucker, would you care to finish what you started over there in the bar?”

Trip couldn’t move and Malcolm was still standing by the front door. Trip was tentative, almost scared. “You mean you’ve forgiven me? For everything?”

Malcolm came over and sat on the couch, inviting Trip to join him. “After Captain Archer gave me the good news about my posting and my promotion to Lieutenant, he went into this whole explanation of why his first officer was not part of the interview process, but that I would be meeting him this coming Friday with the rest of the senior staff, etc, etc. I think he was fishing for information such as if I already knew you and how well, and all that. I could tell by the conversation, Trip, that you obviously had never mentioned me to him, or used any influence to get me the post, just like you told me. I realized that I had jumped to conclusions, although I think it was perfectly logical of me to have done so at the time. I can’t begin to imagine what’s going to happen with us, but all I know is I liked that feeling when you kissed me tonight. I’ve never felt anything like that before and I want to experience it again. Is that enough for you, for now?”

“I’ll take whatever I can get, Malcolm…for now,” and with that, Trip continued with what he had started at The Watering Hole, without the spilt beer.

The following Friday, 0900 hours...

Standing at attention on the bridge of the Enterprise, earth’s first deep space warp 5 starship, was the senior staff that Captain Jonathan Archer had chosen. Archer’s best friend, Commander Charles Tucker, chief engineer and first officer was by his side. Facing them was the pilot Ensign Travis Mayweather, a boomer with more years in space than anyone else here; communications officer and translator extraordinaire, Ensign Hoshi Sato; the armory and tactical officer, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, an enigma with excellent professional credentials but not too heavy on personal references; exobiologist and senior ranking science officer aboard Ensign Liz Cutler; and numbers two and three in the largest department on the ship, engineering, Lieutenant Sharon Hess and Ensign Michael Rostov. While not technically part of the senior staff, Hess and Rostov were at this meeting at Trip’s request. “Oh, no,” Archer thought, “why didn’t I think of that before? There would be real problems if the person he’s involved with is under Trip, uh, I mean in Trip’s own department. Shit, I can’t even keep my own thoughts clean. Now I’m going to have to keep a close eye on what’s going on in engineering.”

“Cap’n, I think the troops are ready for inspection.”

Everyone laughed and was a little more comfortable after that remark from Trip, except for Malcolm.

“It’s all right, Lieutenant, at ease,” Captain Archer assured his rigid tactical officer. “I prefer my senior staff to be comfortable around me.”

“Yes, sir, I had heard that, sir.” Trip didn’t even blink at that comment from Malcolm, but he was pretty sure it had been directed at him and was about his prior relationship with the captain. Fortunately, it could also be interpreted that Archer had a reputation for being somewhat lax regarding discipline.

“Um, well, then let me proceed. I hope you’ve all had a chance to meet each other, and let me introduce Commander Charles Tucker III, Trip to his friends. Commander Tucker is the chief engineer so, Lieutenant Hess and Ensign Rostov, you’ll both be working closely with the Commander, obviously.” Archer searched both their faces for anything out of the ordinary but saw nothing strange. He continued, “Commander Tucker will also be my first officer and, therefore, if anyone of you has any personnel, or personal, problems in your departments, please feel free to speak with him directly.”

Again Archer searched everyone’s faces. Ensign Mayweather looked like his eyes were going to pop out and explode, but the captain couldn’t see Trip and Travis together. But who knows? Trip could be sleeping with anyone and everyone on the whole damn ship! “Everyone except me, that is. Stay focused, Archer,” he mumbled, apparently aloud because the next thing he heard was Trip asking if he was all right. “Yeah, I mean, yes, I’m fine. I think it would be a good time for each of you to check out your individual departments and areas. Report to either Commander Tucker or myself with any questions or problems. Dismissed.”

As everyone dispersed as per the captain’s instructions, Travis cornered Malcolm. “That Commander Tucker is the guy from the bar the other night.” Fortunately Travis was whispering. “Care to explain how you’re going to serve on a ship with a guy who practically sucked your tongue out of your mouth and then drowned you in Budweiser?”

“I talked with him and we’ve settled everything, Ensign. It’s all straightened out and there’s no hard feelings between us.” Malcolm winced at the horrible pun, but continued. “It’s even possible that we could become good friends, the commander and myself.”

“You giving odds on that, sir?”



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A whole bunch of folks have made comments

More! More!

Wow, this is FANTASTIC! As the other person said, MORE MORE, and soon please :-)))

wonderful!!!wonderful!!! i want more-PLEASE--Soon~thanks for the great start :)

Annoying addictive. I hate to sound so impatient so early in the morning, but I would very much like to see what happens next!


New to this shippage, but I LOVE THIS STORY! OMG! Bravo, author! And, please, keep it coming!

ARGH! hilarious! more! more! more!

Add my voice to the clammoring horde **politely requesting** that you sate our seething, burning need with more of this arc, and make it LARGE one, please...

wow send shivers down me cant w8 mooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeee

Please write more! Lots,lots more!!

Please write more! Lots,lots more!!

Is this actually going to get a continuation?

Plz say yes



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