"Crossover"

Author - Gigi Sinclair | Genres - Angst - Crossover | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home
 

Title: Crossover

Author: Gigi Sinclair

Author's e-mail: gigitrekslash@canada.com

Author's Web site: http://www.angelfire.com/trek/gigislash

Fandom: Enterprise

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

Rating: PG-13

Category: Slash

Warning: Crossover

Summary: Crossover with Next Generation. Another transporter mishap leads to a temporary switch in security officers. Trip makes friends with a Klingon and Malcolm develops a crush on a counsellor.

Disclaimer: This is a nonprofit fanfic. No copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.

Comments: Answer to the 10 000th post challenge (the Lamo one) and I guess a sort-of, really wussy answer to the 11 000th post challenge (the infidelity one.)

Archived to EntSTSlash on 03/09/2003.
Archived at Trip*Malcolm with the author's express permission.


Malcolm was feeling a little anxious. Ten days on a planet with Liz Cutler and a couple of crewmen, keeping an eye out for unfriendly fauna while they gathered specimens, would do that to a person. Not that Liz wasn't great. Malcolm liked her well enough, even if he had grown tired of her enthusiasm for lichen after the first ten minutes. But she didn't hog the blankets at night. She didn't roll over on him in her sleep, she didn't eat his leftovers without asking, she didn't know how to make him laugh uncontrollably, and she didn't, thankfully, know where to touch him to make him lose control in another way. She wasn't Trip. And after ten days away from him, he really missed Trip.

So when he heard his voice on the communicator, Malcolm nearly swooned. Then, sternly reminding himself he was an armoury officer and not a teenage girl, he answered it.

"How you doing down there, Malcolm?" God, Malcolm thought. Ten days without hearing that voice, and it felt like ten years.

"I think we're about ready to leave." He was, regardless of whether the away team had gathered enough weeds and algae to satisfy their botanical lust. Trip lowered his voice a little and it was definitely Trip, and not Commander Tucker, who replied:

"That's good, cause I think we're about ready to have ya back." Malcolm swallowed hard.

"We'll be leaving just as soon as all the specimens are packed." And he was going to gently 'encourage' Liz and her helpers to get that done in record time.

"That's the problem, Malcolm." Trip sighed. "There's a hell of a storm getting up. T'Pol thinks it'd be too risky to take the shuttle." Malcolm glanced at the purple sky. Sure enough, red and yellow clouds were gathering. That was the other thing that made Malcolm so eager to leave Lamo IV. At first, the blue trees, the pink frogs and the fluorescent orange mushrooms had been fascinating. Now, though, he felt like he'd spent ten days on an acid trip. He needed to see some boring Starfleet grey again.

"What do you suggest?"

"You could wait it out," the strain in Trip's voice showed that option was about as appealing to him as it was to Malcolm. "But that could take a while."

"What about the transporter?"

"If you're comfortable with it..." He was. And he'd make sure the rest of the team was, as well.

Eager as he was to be back on 'Enterprise' with Trip, Malcolm still had a job to do. He was the last person transported back to the ship. He watched as Liz, the crewmen, and most of the specimens shimmered and disappeared before him. Then, the transport stopped. After what seemed like hours, but was actually only about ten minutes, Trip's voice came over the communicator again.

"Sorry 'bout that, Malcolm. Somethin' weird going on in the atmosphere." Malcolm didn't care about meteorological phenomena, weird or otherwise. He wanted Trip. By which, he corrected himself, he wanted to see Trip, and the ship, and the rest of the crew. "T'Pol thinks maybe you should wait a little..."

"No!" Hoshi had done it a few months ago, and nothing had happened to her. "I want get up there now."

"Aye, aye, sir." He could hear the smirk in Trip's voice. He smiled in happy anticipation as he felt himself dissolving.

Since he'd been gone, there had clearly been some redecorating going on. Malcolm came to on a raised platform, surrounded by blinking lights. A bald man he didn't recognize, wearing black trousers and a black and red shirt with some strange insignia, blinked back at him, looking as surprised as Malcolm felt.

"Mr. Data," the bald man turned to another man, this one with a strange waxy pallor, who was standing at a console. "This is not Lieutenant Worf." The waxy man cocked his head and looked at Malcolm with interest.

"Indeed it is not."


In many ways, Charles Tucker III was an old-fashioned man. He'd been raised to respect certain standards of behaviour, and one of those standards dictated that, if you'd been sleeping with someone for nearly three years, and if you felt about them the way Trip felt about Malcolm, then the honourable thing was to do something about it. Make a commitment. And Trip was very ready to commit to Malcolm.

Standing in the shuttle bay, he wiped his sweating palms on his jumpsuit. He knew he should probably be a gentleman and offer to help Liz cart her specimens down to sickbay, but he wanted to be there when Malcolm came in. So he decided to be an officer and a gentleman, instead, and directed two crewmen to help her.

Proposing in the shuttle bay, in front of the Captain and T'Pol and a few crewmen he didn't know by name, was out. While they'd made great strides with Malcolm's shyness, Trip knew he wouldn't go for that, not in a million years. So instead, once Malcolm had given the report Trip knew he would insist on delivering to the Captain, they were going to head back to Malcolm's quarters. Where Malcolm would get into the shower, alone because Trip didn't want to tire himself out for later, and emerge to a private dinner of his favourite foods.

At first, the plan had been for Chef to bake the simple, latinum engagement band into the pineapple cake, but he had been dissuaded from that by the Captain's vivid description of Malcolm choking to death on his own engagement ring. So instead, when Malcolm took the silver lid off his smoked salmon, there would be a ring on the side of the plate. And Trip hoped to God Malcolm would put it on.

He couldn't believe how nervous he was. After all, Trip told himself sternly, this was Malcolm. Malcolm, who knew every one of his annoying habits intimately, and, while he'd frequently bitched about them, he still stayed with him. There was no reason to think Malcolm didn't want commitment as much as Trip did. No reason, except for the minor fact that they'd never seriously discussed formalizing their relationship.

He cleared his throat as a shimmering light indicated the transport was coming through. The hell with the Captain and T'Pol, he was going to hug Malcolm when he arrived. They hadn't seen each other in ten days. Not even Malcolm could object to a little hug. He was waiting, arms at the ready, when the transport completed and Trip found himself staring at a Klingon.

"Jesus!" He jumped back, glancing at Jon, who was gaping in a manner more befitting a goldfish than a Starfleet captain. The Klingon gazed around the shuttle bay. Trip wished Malcolm, or at least one of his security people, was there, but they had thought this was going to be a routine transporting. Just as Trip was wondering if he could call for help without being killed, the Klingon stiffened and, eyes forward, declared:

"I am Lieutenant Worf of the Federation starship 'Enterprise.' That is the only information I will divulge."


Name, rank and ship. That was all they were trained to give up, and Malcolm knew from experience that it caused nothing but problems when you tried to get fancy with lies about genetic modifications and the like. Trip had been furious when he'd heard the story Jon and Malcolm had concocted to try and escape execution. Not that it had worked. And not that Trip had been too angry to put that invisible hand to good use when they got home.

Thinking of Trip, Malcolm stood up straight and said:

"I am Lieutenant Malcolm Reed of the Starfleet ship 'Enterprise.'" The bald man started a little, and exchanged a glance with the waxy man. After a hesitation, the bald man smiled and took a step forward. Instinctively, Malcolm stepped back, and the bald man stopped, extending a hand instead.

"Lieutenant Reed. My name is Jean-Luc Picard. I'm the captain of...this ship." He nodded at the other man. "This is Lieutenant-Commander Data." The waxy man smiled in a way that Malcolm found more than a little disturbing. Instinctively, he backed up until he hit the wall. Picard's eyebrows furrowed a little, and he looked at Malcolm with what Malcolm, if he hadn't known better, would have interpreted as concern.

"Lieutenant Reed, I can assure you, you are perfectly safe on board my ship." He paused. "I think it would be best if you could accompany me. There are...things we need to discuss." The strange-looking man, Data, stood up, and Malcolm didn't see that he had much choice. Data looked like the kind who could break half your bones without exerting an effort, and Malcolm's strategy when faced with danger had always been to keep as many of his bones intact for as long as possible.

The ship was unlike anything Malcolm had ever seen. The walls were beige, and at intervals there were electronic screens that Malcolm couldn't have interpreted even if he'd spent all day looking at them. Everyone, he noticed, was wearing the same insignia as Picard and Data, although some of them had blue shirts. Like the woman who was awaiting them at their final destination, a computer-filled room that reminded Malcolm of sickbay.

"Lieutenant, this is Dr. Crusher," Picard introduced them. Malcolm was briefly proud to have identified the room, then realized there was nothing to be proud of. It was just a testament to how much time he spent in Phlox's sickbay. "Doctor, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed." The doctor's eyebrows went up. Out of the corner of his eye, Malcolm thought he saw Picard shake his head, and the doctor's eyebrows went back down.

"Why don't you have a seat here, Lieutenant?" Solicitously, Picard indicated what looked like a biobed. "We'll just be a moment." Beckoning the doctor and Data with a jerk of his head, Picard went into another part of sickbay, behind glass windows. Malcolm could see them, but, despite his attempts to lip-read, he couldn't make out what they were saying. After a few moments, another man, this one bearded, entered the room and Malcolm saw him look over his shoulder, in Malcolm's direction, before joining in the conversation.

A lot of people thought Malcolm was fearless. That wasn't true. While, before 'Enterprise' and at the beginning of the mission, he'd been willing to take great risks, stupid risks some might say, that wasn't fearlessness, that was the feeling he had nothing to lose. Now, he had a great deal to lose. A position he loved. A career he was proud of. And Trip. Watching these people discussing him, Malcolm was very afraid all of that was going to be taken away from him.

"Malcolm?" The woman spoke softly, but Malcolm nearly jumped off the biobed anyway. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you." She sounded genuinely regretful. Malcolm turned towards the voice, and was met with a vision.

She was beautiful. Long, wavy black hair, big eyes, an outfit that showed off more cleavage than a typical string bikini. If they had been on 'Enterprise', Malcolm would have requested she be reprimanded for unprofessional attire, but this wasn't 'Enterprise'. And, who he thought, trying not to drool, was he to judge the clothing standards of an alien race?

"My name is Deanna," the goddess spoke, and Malcolm picked his tongue up off the floor. Only to lose it again when Deanna smiled brightly and took one of his hands in hers. "I hope we can be friends." Right, Malcolm thought boorishly, not even aware he sounded like Trip on a bad day. Friends. If that's what they're calling it these days.


Jon was losing it, Trip could see that. And he couldn't blame him. He was getting pretty sick of the silent treatment, too, but since he didn't think that pissing off a Klingon would do much to get Malcolm back, he pulled Jon aside.

"Why don't you take a break?"

"I can't. That stubborn son-of-a-bitch..."

"Captain." Trip forced a small smile. "Let me play good cop for a while."

"Do you really think it'll help?"

"I've got to try." Laying a hand on his friend's shoulder, Archer sighed heavily and left the ready room.

Trip, who hadn't thought of a plan much beyond that, looked at the Klingon. He had been sitting in that chair, arms over his chest, for the better part of two hours. On the rare occasions when he did speak, it was only to repeat that he was Lieutenant Worf of the Federation ship 'Enterprise'. Which is exactly what he said when Trip sat down on the Captain's desk.

"Yeah, I got it. Thing is, that's not really helpin' us figure out how you ended up here." Worf looked back, impassive. Trip ran a hand through his hair. The Captain had already asked the Klingon what he'd been doing immediately before the transport, if they could contact his Klingon ship, if he knew how said Klingon ship happened to have the same name as this one. The answer to all had been silence. So Trip decided to try a different tactic.

"Ya see, Lieutenant, when you showed up, we were kinda expectin' someone else. Our Lieutenant. Malcolm Reed." Trip wasn't really familiar with Klingons they all looked the same to him anyway-but it didn't seem like this one was impressed. He took a deep breath and, hardly believing he was saying this to anyone, let alone a Klingon, went on:

"Thing is, this guy, Malcolm, he's real important to us. To me." He remembered hearing that Klingons had sexual relationships, although he couldn't picture it. Nor did he want to. "We're...mates," he admitted, not knowing if 'lovers' would be a word a Klingon could understand. "I'd really like to get him back." He smiled, an all-guys-together grin that had no visible impact on Lieutenant Worf. Still, Trip soldiered on. "Do you have someone on your ship? Someone you really want to see again?" The silence was prolonged. Just as Trip was about to give up and call the Captain back in to scream for a bit, Worf uncrossed his arms.

"There is...someone. Deanna."

"Great!" Trip jumped on this, not pausing to wonder, at the moment anyway, why a Klingon woman would have such a human-sounding name. "The way I figure things, if we work together, we got a way better chance of getting back with Malcolm and...Deanna?" Worf nodded brusquely. "Deanna." Trip grinned, then faltered on his pronouns. "I bet she...he..."

"She," Worf snapped.

"I bet she's real anxious to have you back, too. So, what were you doing right before you ended up here?"


Malcolm was sitting at one end of a long table, surrounded by people in those multi-coloured uniforms. A black man with something over his eyes was to his right, and Deanna, holding his hand comfortingly under the table, was to his left.

"Now, Lieutenant," Picard, at the other end of the table, began, in a warm, friendly tone. "My staff and I have spoken, and we believe there are certain things you need to know. Hopefully, you will not become too alarmed." Deanna squeezed his hand and Malcolm knew Picard could say anything and he wouldn't bat an eye. "Firstly, you are in the twenty-fourth century."

"What?" Picard held up a hand, and Malcolm, who obeyed superior officers no matter what century they were in, shut up.

"I know it must be difficult for you, Lieutenant. This is Starfleet's flagship." He hesitated a little. "'Enterprise'." God, was Malcolm's first thought. Are they that uncreative? Then he considered it a little more, and the significance of the name sunk in.

"Oh."

"You'll understand we can't go into details, Lieutenant. But we are doing everything we can to get you returned to your ship, and to get our missing crewman returned to us. Lieutenant Commander Data believes that the atmospheric storm over Lamo IV interfered with the transport. He's looking into it as we speak, and Commander La Forge's engineering team is making every effort to assist him. All our resources are dedicated to this." Malcolm was touched, and felt a little bad. He hadn't been raised to expect so much attention.

"I'm sorry to be an inconvenience, sir," he apologized, automatically but sincerely. Picard looked surprised.

"No inconvenience, Lieutenant. It is our duty to one of Starfleet's pioneers." He got a look from the bearded man when he said that, and continued quickly: "Meanwhile, I would like you to be as comfortable as possible while on board our ship."

"Counsellor Troi can show you to the guest quarters," the bearded man put in. Malcolm looked at the still-smiling Deanna and, for a moment, he was tempted to ask if she came with the quarters. Then he regained his senses.

"With all respect, sir, I would prefer to help find a solution to this problem." After all, it was his problem. Picard shook his head regretfully.

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant. We can't permit you to see any of our technology."

"But don't worry, Malcolm," Deanna squeezed his hand again. "You and I can have a nice chat." Malcolm's heart skipped a beat as he wondered why he was always drawn to the beautiful, talkative types.

Malcolm had never had much success with women. He was attracted by them, he just didn't know what to say to them. Not that this was a problem reserved only for women. Until Trip, Malcolm had never met anyone he felt comfortable talking to. Trip was very comfortable, but even he seemed about as emotionally open as a Vulcan compared to Deanna.

"So you're lucky your parents are distant," she told him, laughing, as they sat in guest quarters that were more spacious than Captain Archer's. "At least they don't embarrass you. Constantly." She had just finished relating an anecdote about her mother, who seemed, to Malcolm at least, to be the most humiliating person in the world. Apart, perhaps, from Trip's mother, who insisted on kissing the communication screen every time she sent a message to her son. And who had told several humorous toilet-training stories the first time Malcolm had spoken to her.

"At least she cares about you, though." And at least Trip's mother cared about him. Malcolm wondered, if his parents would even be bothered if he didn't get back to his own ship. He was still having trouble wrapping his mind around the "his own time" concept, so he chose to ignore that.

"You're cared about as well, Malcolm." He knew that was true. Trip loved him. But for how long? Until he stopped being a novelty? Until they left the ship? Until they didn't have work in common anymore?

"Lovers come and go." Truth be told, he'd rather have steady, familial love.

"Not always." Deanna smiled secretively, like she knew something he didn't. Malcolm was reminded of his smug married friends on Earth, and asked:

"Are you married?" She blinked, like this was an abrupt change of subject.

"No."

"But you have a partner." Probably some ridiculous he-man who didn't come close to appreciating her, he thought. That was the way these things generally worked.

"Yes. He's the man who is missing."

"Do you think he's on my ship?" Deanna's smile, which had faded slightly, reappeared with a vengeance.

"If he is, I'm sure they're taking excellent care of him." And if he looked anything like his girlfriend, Malcolm thought, he hoped Trip wasn't taking too good care of him.


"I do not understand why I am here. I would be of more use on the bridge." The Klingon perched on the ridiculously small mess hall chair, arms over his chest once again.

"I think you were makin' the Captain kinda nervous." And, truth be told, seeing a Klingon standing, glowering, at Malcolm's station had made Trip nervous, as well. But while Trip was used to working with distractions-he'd been doing it with Malcolm for three years-the Captain needed to be able to focus. "We haven't had the best experience with Klingons." Worf grunted and poked at his resequenced meatloaf. Trip swallowed and continued: "I mean, I guess in the future there are Klingons and Romulans and all sorts in Starfleet..."

"There are no Romulans in Starfleet," Worf growled. Trip sighed.

"Sorry." Worf grunted at his meatloaf again. Trip forced a smile, trying to sound friendly without sounding like a ninny.

"So I guess things are really exciting in the twenty-fourth century, right?" The Captain had nearly died when Worf had admitted that little fact to them. Right away, Trip had thought of Daniels, but Worf had never heard of him.

"I cannot tell you anything about it, Commander."

"Right." And there went a great big 'No Entry' sign onto that avenue of conversation. Trip would have been tempted to leave Worf alone, but Jon had put him in charge of Klingon-sitting. And, from the looks they were getting from the rest of the crew, and from the looks Worf was giving them, it was a necessary job.

"Although the food is better," Worf admitted. Trip looked up, wondering if that was a joke. Worf's face was impassive, and Trip was reminded of the first time Malcolm had joked with him. He'd told Trip he slept in his uniform, and it had been three hours before Trip was certain he hadn't been serious. Of course, since then, Trip had had plenty of opportunity to observe that situation first-hand. The memory brought back thoughts of Malcolm, thoughts he'd been trying very hard to repress. T'Pol was certain the atmospheric storm over Lamo IV had caused the problem, but she didn't know how to fix it. Which meant that it was possible, not likely, but possible, that Malcolm might never come back. And that really wasn't worth thinking about.

"Deanna must be a really special person," he said, vaguely, because he had to say something and that was better than asking the question he wasn't thinking about. He hadn't met many Klingon women, but he had to admit, Bu'kaH had been hot, in a scary kind of way.

"Yes." Another conversation killer. Or so Trip thought, until Worf continued: "As is Malcolm, I am sure." Trip nodded and felt himself beginning to choke up. Special didn't begin to describe him.

"I was going to ask him to marry me." Which said it all, right there. Trip knew most people, who obviously had nothing better to discuss, considered Malcolm to be the more experienced of the two of them. He wasn't. Until they'd met each other, Malcolm had been straight and Trip had been indiscriminately promiscuous. Now look at them.

"Congratulations," Worf replied, gruffly. Trip smiled.

"Do you think he's on your ship?"

"I don't know," was Worf's abrupt, not particularly comforting reply. Trip nodded. He wasn't about to cry in front of a Klingon. He didn't even do that in front of Malcolm. Although now, he was kind of wishing he had taken the chance when he'd had it.


Deanna had gone to get them something to eat and Malcolm was alone, sitting on the couch and looking out the window, when the door trilled. He got up to answer it, then remembered he didn't have to and said:

"Come in." The door helpfully opened itself and the engineer with the metal thing over his eyes entered.

"We think we've got a plan, Lieutenant." Malcolm looked at him. Out of politeness, he started off by looking into his "eyes", but it was like staring into the grille of an antique car. So he focused on the man's chest insignia instead. "But we need your help."

"Of course."

"We think if we transport you back to the surface at the same time your ship transports Worf, the wires might uncross themselves." It had taken that long to come up with that? Malcolm sighed. Things didn't bode well for the future.

"Sounds good," Malcolm replied, making sure to enunciate clearly.

"Thing is, we need to do it before the atmospheric storm clears. And they have to do it at the same moment."

"Which means..." Malcolm had an idea, but he asked anyway.

"We need to contact them somehow. What ultra-frequency are your communicators positioned at?" Malcolm had no clue. He just used the damn things.

"I'm not sure," he admitted. Then added: "Trip would know," as if that was in any way relevant. Commander Laforge hesitated, then said:

"If you don't mind me asking...what's he like?"

"Who?"

"Cap...Commander Tucker. I mean, it's one thing to read about him in the history books, but to meet someone who actually knew...knows him..." History books? Malcolm repeated to himself. Dear God. There really was no hope for the future. Trying not to sound too proud of Trip, he said:

"Most of the time, he's actually rather irritating." But in a nice, comfortable, sexy way. "Sorry to disappoint you." La Forge smiled widely, and Malcolm was briefly reminded of Travis. Just one more reason to get back. If he wasn't around, it was quite possible Mayweather might see some action from time to time.

"No disappointment. It can't be easy being married to a scientific genius." Malcolm must have looked surprised, because the smile disappeared from La Forge's face. "Shit. Did I get my dates mixed up?" Malcolm had been so shocked to hear Trip, his Trip, described as a scientific genius that the first part of the sentence had totally escaped him. But now, thinking about it, that was even more interesting.

"No, it's fine," he said, hoping to reassure the man.

"I'd better get back to engineering. I'll let you know as soon as we know what we're doing." He left quickly, so quickly he forgot a flat piece of electronic equipment on the table. Picking it up, Malcolm was about to go after him, when he looked down and saw, amid the lines of obscure technical formulas and writings, the words 'Tucker-Reed meta-synapses.' He had no idea what that meant, although, after watching Deanna interact with the computer, he had an idea of how he might go about finding out. Although he didn't know if he should.


"Our best chance is if we transport Lieutenant Worf back to the surface at the same time as the other ship transports Lieutenant Reed." It was the best idea they had come up with so far, and, to Trip, that wasn't saying much.

"We don't even know if Malcolm is on that ship." T'Pol glanced at him.

"I think that is an assumption we have to make, Commander." Trip didn't know whether making that assumption made him feel better or not. On the one hand, at least he was with Starfleet people. On the other hand, what if the future Starfleet, a Starfleet that had Klingons in it, was totally different from this one? "And we must act fast. Within eight hours, the storm will have completely cleared and we will have lost our chance."

"Couldn't we just wait till the next one?" The Captain asked. T'Pol's eyebrow flickered a little.

"The next atmospheric storm of this magnitude is predicted for the eleventh of April." The Captain glanced at Trip.

"That's not so bad. Sure, it's a few weeks, but..."

"2512," T'Pol finished. The Captain didn't need to swear. Trip did it for him.

"Shit."

"Indeed," T'Pol agreed. "Our most immediate problem is figuring out how to transfer a message to this ship, letting them know when we will be effectuating the transport."

"I guess we can't just send them an e-mail." T'Pol blinked.

"No, sir. However," she glanced at Worf, who, Trip was surprised to see, nodded back. "The Lieutenant and I have come up with a plan."


Malcolm knew he shouldn't. Pandora's box, and all that. Trip wouldn't. They'd once had a conversation about it. Trip had been vehement that he wouldn't want to know what the future held for him. But, on the other hand, he told himself, it wasn't like he was looking up his own life. That would still be a surprise. He just wanted to see what Trip had done to make engineers in the twenty-fourth century think he was a genius.

And if he wanted to find out, he was going to have to do it fast. Deanna had already been gone ten minutes. Clearing his throat and feeling a little self-conscious, he announced:

"Computer," to the empty room. A musical note indicated that the computer was listening. He coughed again. "Could you...could you tell me about Charles Tucker the Third? Please?" The computer beeped again.

"Captain Charles Tucker the Third. Born 21 February, 2117. Died 11:55:12 PM, 17 March 2155. Developer of the warp five, warp six and warp six point five engines. Inventor of the Tucker warp plasma injector system. Father of Captain Madeline Tucker-Reed, inventor of the Tucker-Reed meta-synapse. Spouse of Admiral Malcolm Reed. Joined Starfleet 2139. Served as chief engineer on board the 'Enterprise NX-01', 2151 to 2156, Captain Jonathan Archer. Served as chief engineer on board the 'Olympian', 2158-2160, Captain Eliot Burgess. Served as chief engineer on board the 'Copernicus', 2161-2164, Captain Malcolm Reed."

"Stop." Malcolm demanded. The computer complied. He sat down on the couch, trying to take it in. He was going to marry Trip. They were going to have a daughter, Madeline, who was going to be a Starfleet engineer. He, Malcolm, was going to become a captain, then an admiral. He smiled. Career success and familial love. Everything he'd always wanted. But something didn't feel right.

"Computer," he asked, and it came to attention again. "Could you repeat that first part, please?"

"Please be more specific." Malcolm sighed.

"Just say it again."

"Captain Charles Tucker the Third. Born 21 February, 2117. Died 11:55:12 PM, 17 March 2155. Developer of the warp five, warp six and warp six point five engines. Inventor of the Tucker warp plasma..." March seventeenth 2155. The day he'd been scheduled to come back from Lamo IV. Which meant that Trip was already dead. But...

"Stop." He bit his lip. "Later, you said that he served on ships after 'Enterprise'. So how could he have died in 2155?"

"Please rephrase your query."

"How can we have a child if Trip's already dead?"

"Please rephrase your query." Malcolm rubbed his eyes, not entirely surprised to find that computers weren't much more helpful in the twenty-fourth century than they were in the twenty-second. 11:55:12 PM. He couldn't understand the clocks or the calendars they had on this ship, but that had to be soon. It had been about three in the afternoon when he'd tried to transport back to 'Enterprise', and that had been several hours ago now.

"Here we go, Malcolm." Deanna reappeared, tray in hand. "Guinan was dying to meet you, but I told her we couldn't risk it, unfortunately. She sent some of her special pineapple cocktail along as compensation. She wanted to add a little Spanish fly, but I told her..." Deanna set the tray on the table in front of Malcolm, who barely saw it. Spanish fly. Spanish Armada. The conversation he'd had with Trip when they'd found that thirty-first century ship. Years ago now, back when they were both still in the closet and had still been making a point of acting ultra-straight in public, even when there was no one around to hear. Trip, who didn't want to know what was going to happen to him. Malcolm, who did. And Trip who knew that.

"Deanna, could you get Commander La Forge, please?" She blinked her beautiful eyes at him, and Malcolm felt his heart skip a beat. Then promptly return to its original rhythm, when he reminded it that they were going home, to the twenty-second century and Trip.

"Of course, Malcolm. What is it?"

"I know when my ship is going to transport your partner."


"I wish you could tell me what you did." Trip tried not to sound sulky, but it was hard. He hated being out of the loop, especially when the loop could very well end up forming a noose around Malcolm's neck. T'Pol was unmoved.

"Commander, I have told you, it would not be wise."

"Just..trust us," Worf put in. Which might have been more convincing, Trip thought, if it hadn't come from a Klingon.

"Captain, I don't think..." Jon stopped Trip with a hand on his shoulder and comforted him with the same mindless, almost denial-ridden, platitudes he always favoured in crisis situations.

"Relax, Trip. We'll get him back."

"How?" The Captain wandered away.

T'Pol seemed to be very sure of herself, which Trip supposed was something. She was usually right. Usually.

"It was nice meeting you," Trip said, automatically, as Worf prepared for transport. It was true. It was especially nice to know that, by the twenty-fourth century, there was at least one less enemy to watch out for. Although Trip had no doubt they'd met many new ones.

"Indeed." Worf looked at him. "I hope things go well between you and Malcolm."

"You and Deanna, too." For a brief, insane moment, Trip wondered if he should hug him. Then, deciding he'd rather not lose the use of both arms, he limited himself to a wave as Worf dissipated.


Malcolm tried not to breathe too deeply as Deanna hugged him.

"Good luck, Malcolm."

"Thanks." He smiled at her, deciding not to think about how nice it had been to have some breasts-especially ones as awe-inspiring as Deanna's-pressed against him, and Picard thrust a hand in his direction. Malcolm regretted leaving him as well. He hadn't seen much of Picard, but he seemed like the kind of captain Malcolm could respect.

"I'm only sorry you couldn't stay longer, Lieutenant. I would have loved to hear a first-hand account of the Suliban War of 2160."

"The..."

"Good-bye, Lieutenant Reed," the bearded man, whose name Malcolm never had learned, put in, and a moment later, Data pressed a button and he felt himself disappearing.


If it didn't work, Trip was going to kill himself. Well, maybe not, but he was definitely going to leave the ship. Hess could take over. They needed more women in command positions, anyway. But he really hoped it was going to work.

The seconds-and it was only seconds-between the disappearance of Lieutenant Worf and the appearance of Lieutenant Reed was the longest period of Trip's life. Trip couldn't breathe. He couldn't even bear to look. The consummate Starfleet professional, he stood in the launch bay, his eyes tightly shut, until he felt an arm around his waist and a familiar voice in his ear.

"Miss me?" He opened his eyes and kissed Malcolm hard. Then, abandoning his grand plan of private romance, he dropped to one knee in front of T'Pol and the Captain (but more directly in front of Malcolm) and ordered:

"Marry me." Malcolm smiled, not looking the slightest bit embarrassed.

"Of course." Trip kissed him again, longer this time. When they finally broke apart, he decided he had to ask.

"Hey, did you meet someone called Deanna?" Malcolm started a little, and Trip relaxed. Clearly, she had been a typical, ball-busting Klingon woman.

"Yeah."

"Her boyfriend was here." Malcolm raised an eyebrow.

"He wasn't too...attractive, I hope." Trip choked.

"I managed to restrain myself."

"Good." Malcolm's smile went right to Trip's crotch, making a brief pit stop at his heart on the way. "So did I."


Malcolm left Trip exhausted and asleep and, pulling on jeans and a shirt, went to find T'Pol. She was alone on the bridge, looking at scans.

"Good evening, Lieutenant Reed."

"Sub-commander." She didn't look up from her computer.

"What brings you here? I would have expected you and Commander Tucker to be...otherwise occupied this evening."

"I wanted to thank you. How did you know..."

"It was Lieutenant Worf's idea. He suggested that we send a message to the future by saving erroneous information in Commander Tucker's personnel file."

"So that mistake was in there for...two hundred years? What if someone had noticed?" If Malcolm hadn't known her so well, he would have thought he saw T'Pol smile.

"The Starfleet database is not known for the accuracy of its personnel files. I doubted that would change in two centuries."

"But what if..."

"It was a calculated risk, Lieutenant." He could appreciate that. He'd done much the same thing himself, in the launch bay earlier in the evening.


Madeline Tucker-Reed was, to use a technical parental term, a handful. Three years old, and the only thing that could keep her attention, apart from disassembling all of her father's prototype plasma injector systems, was the video of her parents' shipboard wedding. Specifically, Malcolm was horrified to note, the part where the karaoke-hogging Captain Archer had broken into a drunken rendition of "I'm Too Sexy." Which was only slightly better than his drunken rendition of "Danny Boy."

"How was she today?" Trip came home late, as usual, after Madeline was in bed and Malcolm had tried, unsuccessfully for hours, to get "I'm Too Sexy" out of his head.

"Same as always." He leaned back on the couch as Trip went into kiss his daughter goodnight. He emerged a few minutes later, wearing the same sort of dreamy, touched expression parents always wore when they only saw their children sleeping.

"She's like a little angel."

"Right." Malcolm agreed. A blonde, blue-eyed, destructive angel. "Wait till you see what she did to your new plasma injector."

"What!" Trip's eyes darkened.

"Just kidding. I sacrificed my eardrums for your work." Trip collapsed onto the couch next to him.

"And I appreciate it."

"Prove it."

"You want co-inventor credit?"

"I'd settle for something a little more immediate." Laughing, Trip positioned himself until Malcolm's head was resting on his lap. After a moment of very nice stroking, and just as Malcolm was getting in the mood for a little more physical gratitude, Trip said: "I wonder what she's gonna be when she grows up."

"Trip."

"Come on, Malcolm. It's been years..."

"I swore I wouldn't tell. T'Pol was very insistent."

"Fuck T'Pol." Malcolm smiled up at Trip.

"If you want, but she's on Vulcan and I'm right here."

"Dammit, Malcolm..."

"I thought you didn't want to know. Remember that conversation about our future wives? You were adamant you wouldn't want to hear it."

"That was cause I already knew who I was gonna marry. And I was right." Malcolm raised an eyebrow, knowing that Trip wasn't serious. It was tradition, and had been almost from the very moment Malcolm had come back from the twenty-fourth century.

"Really? Cocky, aren't you?" Trip smiled and abandoned that line of questioning for now. Hell, he thought. He had twenty years to talk it out of Malcolm. Right now, he could think of better things to do with his tongue.

"Very. You've never complained about it before."

"It's why I love you," Malcolm agreed and let his eyes slide closed. He'd been right. Familial love was the best, especially if you could combine it with regular hot sex.

 
 

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