Author: Gigi Sinclair
Archive: Ask first.
Disclaimer: The usual stuff about not owning anything except my name and these
socks, and one of those is leased.
This is a nonprofit fanfic. No copyright infringement is intended or should be
Note: An astute reader
informs me that, since Enterprise is set 110 years before the Original Series,
it would take some doing for James Kirk to make an appearance at the end. So, if
you're a purist, it's not James Kirk, it's Lance Kirk, an unrelated person. If
you're not a purist, well, it can be You Know Who. So everyone's happy.
Date: January 2003
Archived at Trip*Malcolm
with the author's express permission.
The moment he set foot in the dimly lit restaurant, Jonathan
Archer's eyes fell on Trip. He would have liked to think that was because, after
thirty-five years of friendship, he could have found Trip blindfolded in a
crowded room. Really, it was because Trip was the only person talking loudly,
sawing his way through an enormous steak, and trying to show the waiters
pictures of his family.
"Johnny!" He grinned as Jon sat down across from him.
"Thought you'd never get here." Jon glanced around, but Trip
appeared to be alone.
"Where's your entourage?"
"Caroline's not coming. But the others should be here any
minute. Here, I've got pictures." He slid a padd across the table to Jon, who
took it with only the slightest of inward cringes.
"Beautiful as ever, Trip." Jon scrolled rapidly through the
many, many photographs of Trip's perfect family. He paused when he reached a
picture of Caroline in her Starfleet medical uniform. To look at her now, there
was no trace of the little blonde, 38 years Trip's junior, who had nearly
destroyed Jon and Trip's friendship. "There's a few of the ranch on there, too,"
Trip added, through a mouthful of steak.
"Oh, yes." Jonathan made appropriately admiring noises as he
glanced through the pictures of Trip's new home in western Texas. When he
reached the last photograph, of Trip and his spouse cuddling on a porch swing,
looking as much in love as the day Jon had married them, he returned the padd to
"How long do you two have now?" Trip beamed.
"Three months till we're both retired and we can spend every
"You'll go nuts." Trip laughed.
"That's why we have the horses. I can always go for a ride if
I need to get away." The idea of Trip needing to spend any more time away from
the love of his life was laughable, even to Jon. "Steak's great, by the way."
Jon shook his head.
"Not hungry, thanks." Trip gave him a sympathetic look, then
went back to eating. After a pause, Jon forced a smile and said:
"So why isn't Caroline joining us?" The grin that spread, yet
again, across Trip's face told him that had been the right question to ask.
"Oh, you know. She's real busy with work and stuff." Although
he was obviously trying to sound casual, Trip was practically bouncing off his
chair. "That, and she's been having a rough time with morning sickness lately."
"That's right, buddy!" Trip whooped, loudly enough to earn
concerned glances from the other patrons. "I'm gonna be a grandaddy!"
"Congratulations, Trip. That's terrific." Jon tried to sound
happy for him. And deep down, he supposed he was. Even though it didn't make him
feel any more youthful to hear his former student was about to become a
"Malcolm cried when she told him. Good thing he was in his
ready room and not on the bridge. He never would have lived it down."
"Another generation for the Tucker-Reed Starfleet dynasty?"
As well as Caroline, a medical officer on Jupiter Station, Trip and Malcolm's
daughter Gemma was a tactical officer on board her father's "Minerva", while
their son Charlie was a helmsman on the "Admiral Forrest."
"Not exactly. They're giving the kid his dad's name." Jon
tried to remember the name of Caroline's partner, but it was one of the many
things he couldn't seem to retain any more. Trip obligingly added: "Crusher. I
told Caroline she could always add another hyphen, but she wasn't real keen.
Can't think why. Kid's going to be picked on anyway with a name like that."
"Who's this?" Jon looked up as a tall, grey-haired man
appeared beside them.
"Trip and Malcolm's grandson."
"No way! Congratulations, man!" Captain Mayweather slapped
Trip on the back.
"Thanks, Travis." Trip stood up to embrace the man, who then
extended his hand to Jon.
"You on your own, Travis?"
"Yeah, David's at college and Deb's taking a shipment out to
Vulcan." Jon smiled.
"I thought the point of owning the company was so you didn't
have to do things like that." "I can't keep Deb from doing it. Damn boomers." He
smirked. "I've got pictures, though." Trip and Travis exchanged padds and Jon
looked over his friend's shoulder as he scrolled through the images of
Mayweather's red-haired, leather-clad wife, their huge, strapping son, and the
ships of the Mayweather Transport Fleet.
"Anyone heard from Hoshi?" Travis asked, as he perused Trip's
"She's writing a book about regional dialects on Risa," Jon
"Or that's what she says," Trip put in, with a suggestive
"I told you, Jon, me and Malcolm ran into her and one of her
'research assistants' on our second honeymoon. And Mal's damn lucky it was a
honeymoon, or he would have been sleeping on the couch. His eyes damn near fell
out of his head when he saw that guy." Trip fumed at the memory. "Plus the fact
he was young enough to be Hoshi's son. If it was a guy. We never quite
"Good old Hoshi." Travis sighed nostalgically. "I always knew
she'd be the most successful out of us."
Trip finished his lunch and a forelock-tugging commander
showed them to a private waiting room. There was another uniformed officer
standing behind the bar, and all three of them had downed a few glasses of
scotch by the time the others arrived.
Jon hadn't seen Malcolm in person for a long time. When
Caroline was born, it was Trip who abandoned his career to be with her. Malcolm
had continued to explore the galaxy and climb the Starfleet ladder, coming home
just often enough, it seemed to Jon, to have flying visits with his kids and
provide the genetic material necessary to make another one. Malcolm's husband
didn't mind. Jon knew he missed Malcolm, but Trip didn't even seem to notice
he'd raised their children practically single-handed.
Not that he hadn't done a great job. Jon knew all about the
career exploits of Lieutenant Caroline, Lieutenant Gemma and Ensign Charlie
Tucker-Reed. It was also extremely clear which of their fathers the younger two
each took after. While the tall, blond Charlie bounded into the room, flung his
arms around Jon, and cried:
"Uncle Johnny!" the smaller, darker Gemma saluted him sharply
"An honour and a privilege, Admiral Archer."
"Oh for God's sake, Gemma, he changed our diapers." Charlie
moved on to hug Trip while Gemma, as a concession to their closeness, clasped
her hands behind her back and widened her legs into the 'at ease' position.
"Admiral Archer," Jon turned away from Gemma, the girl who
had requested – and received – a 1/10 scale working model of a pulse cannon for
her 10th birthday, and looked at the man who had given it to her.
"Captain Reed." Malcolm hesitated.
"It's a sad day." Jon nodded, then, after the briefest of
pauses, reached out to put a hand on Malcolm's shoulder.
"But life goes on. I hear you're getting a grandson."
"It's a boy?" Malcolm looked over at Trip.
"Caroline went for the holo-sonogram yesterday."
"That's—" Malcolm blinked. "That's bloody amazing. A
grandson." Trip laughed and pulled Malcolm in for a kiss. Considering the amount
of interest he'd shown in his actual children, Jonathan wasn't sure why Malcolm
was so excited. Still, Jon plastered a smile on his face and hovered with Travis
while Trip brought an enthusiastic Charlie and a stiffly unwilling Gemma into
"Excuse me, sirs." The same kow-towing commander who had
placed them there reappeared in the doorway. "We'll be starting the ceremony in
twelve minutes." Jon thanked him.
"You know what this means, Mal," Trip released his children.
Charlie, Trip's son in far more than name, headed for the bar while Gemma
returned to standing reverentially behind Jon. "We'll have to get another horse.
For when the little guy comes to visit."
"He can have mine."
"Don't be such a baby."
"Travis will support me on this." Malcolm smiled at
Mayweather. "There's nothing natural about sitting on an animal for recreation,
"That depends on the animal. Once, Deb and I were
transporting a herd of Telurisian sheep to a market on Deltara Prime – " Jon
looked past Travis, out one of the large observation windows. The bay doors had
opened and a very familiar ship was being brought into the hangar. Jon cleared
his throat, said:
"I'll just visit the washroom before we get started," and
excused himself. No one questioned it. After all, they were all men over the age
He'd made it halfway down the hall when he ran into the
odious commander coming in the opposite direction. He was about to ask him for
directions to the men's room when the commander's companion said:
"Admiral Archer," and Jon looked up to see T'Pol.
The last time he'd seen her had been the day, twenty-seven
years, four months and eighteen days ago, when the 'Enterprise' had returned to
Earth. They'd all been suffering from mixed feelings, not to mention hangovers
from the previous night's farewell party/impromptu wedding for Malcolm and Trip.
Jonathan had made a brief speech over the comm link, and had then shook every
crewmember's hand as they disembarked. Finally, only the two of them, he and
T'Pol, had remained. He'd smiled at her and said:
"A pleasure working with you, Sub-commander."
"Likewise, Captain," had been her response, and that had been
it. There had been periodic crew reunions since then, and natural gatherings for
such occasions as Travis's wedding to Debra and Phlox's heavily alcoholic
Denobulan wake, but T'Pol hadn't attended any of them. Her career had been well
known publicly, of course, but the only contact Jon had received from her had
been a very brief recorded message when he'd been promoted to Admiral.
"Ambassador." She, of course, had barely changed in
twenty-seven years, but he was very aware he had gained weight, lost hair, and
looked like his skin could use an ironing. "I didn't expect to see you here."
"It is a momentous occasion. The decommissioning of the
"Ten minutes, Admiral. Ambassador." The commander bustled off
again, leaving them in the hallway.
"Are the – " T'Pol paused. "Have the other officers arrived?"
"Travis is here. And Trip and Malcolm brought two of their
"Yes. I received Mr. Tucker's annual Christmas newsletter for
many years. I was most disappointed when I could no longer access them. Tell
me," she blinked, her face expressionless, "Did Caroline make the varsity
basketball team her senior year?"
There was a large turn-out, much larger than Jon had
expected. Rows of cadets, younger than Gemma and Charlie, sat eagerly awaiting
words of wisdom from Starfleet's first deep space captain. Or maybe, Jon
thought, they were just looking for an afternoon off from classes.
They all seemed impossibly young, but then so did the
commander who led them onstage and even the 'Enterprise's' last captain,
Christopher Corrigan, who introduced them.
"What is it a sign of when the captains start looking young?"
Jon murmured to Trip, who clapping politely, replied:
"Advanced senility," and pushed him toward the podium.
When he received the news about the decommissioning of the
'Enterprise', Jonathan had spent three weeks working a speech, full of literary
quotations and historical statistics to deliver at the ceremony. He had
meticulously copied the entire thing onto a PADD, which was still sitting, along
with his best hearing aid and a book he'd promised to lend Travis, on his
bedside table at home.
"Today," he began, after a lengthy pause during which many of
the audience members—and some of the platform party—exchanged nervous glances,
"We're saying good-bye to a ship that changed the course of human history."
Another pause, which was quickly filled with applause started by someone behind
him. "But more than that, it's a ship that changed the lives of everyone who
served on her. 'Enterprise' was a place where careers were launched," he glanced
back at Travis, "Lifelong relationships were begun," Trip and Malcolm smiled
back at him, "And old prejudices turned into personal growth." He looked at
T'Pol, who looked back steadily. "It was more than an historic ship, it was a
community, a family, and that's what I'm going to miss." It was what he had
missed every day for the last twenty-seven years, four months and eighteen days.
When Jon realized the audience was waiting for him to continue, he added: "Thank
you," and sat down, to renewed applause.
"That was perfect." Trip leaned over to pat Jon on the back.
"Just what I feel." Trip nodded thoughtfully.
"And it was real short."
The reception was a lavish affair, almost as over-the-top,
Jon thought, as the Denobulan wake. Someone handed him a drink with a miniature
spaceship on a stick in lieu of an umbrella, and he was immediately sucked into
the conversational vortex of Captain Corrigan. Jonathan had never liked the
'Enterprise's' last captain, a boring boor who seemed to have made it his
mission to bed every living thing in the universe. As soon as was remotely
polite, Jon left Corrigan and his hangers-on (including his protégé, a young
ensign called, Jon thought, Kirk or something like that), abandoned the drink on
a table, and went out on the balcony.
It was empty, but not for long. Jon barely had time to catch
his breath when he heard the door open behind him. He turned around to see
Malcolm, holding a spaceship drink and looking as enamoured of it as Jon had
"Sorry, sir. Am I interrupting?" After twenty-seven years of
marriage to his best friend, Jon was amazed Malcolm still called him 'sir.'
Force of habit, he supposed. And it wasn't like Malcolm had been around for most
of the birthday parties and vacations and Thanksgiving dinners he'd shared with
Trip and the kids.
"Not at all, Malcolm." He joined Jon at the railing. Despite
the brevity of his own remarks, the decommissioning had gone long. It was
already dark, the only light coming from the Starfleet Marina below.
"I wanted to tell you how much I liked your speech this
"Thank you." Malcolm swirled the fluorescent pink liquid in
"And to ask whether I'd ever told you of the profound effect
you've had on my life."
"Malcolm – "
"Sir." He looked up. "I know we didn't always—" a discreet
pause, "See eye to eye when we worked together." Jon smiled at the
understatement. "But that's precisely why I accepted when they offered me a
command of my own."
"To make sure there was at least one decent captain in
"No. I'd always known I could never be the utter bastard I
wanted for a captain back then. You showed me I could be human and still be
"Well, you're welcome." Jon tried to inject some enthusiasm
into his voice, and was less than successful.
"Of course," Malcolm continued, "I did have to make other
sacrifices." Jon gritted his teeth. There were things on that subject he'd been
waiting 27 years to say, but had held back for Trip's sake. Now wasn't the
moment to let them loose. He restricted himself to:
"That was your decision to make, Malcolm."
"Mine and Trip's. But you helped us make it. When Trip
decided to stay on Earth with Caroline, I was going to leave Starfleet along
with him. It was Trip who insisted I take the job on the 'Copernicus.'" But it
was still, Jon thought, Malcolm who had taken it. "He told me that whatever I
did, he'd be fine because you'd always be there to help him out if he needed
someone." "Don't you think you should have been the one to do that?" Jon
couldn't repress it any longer. He hadn't minded spending the time with Trip and
the kids. They were the closest he was ever going to get to a family of his own
and, after his promotion, his career had dwindled to paper-pushing and the
occasional public appearance. But, "You're his husband."
"And I'm a far better starship captain than I am a father.
Ask Gemma. The kids were Trip's dream, not mine. It was thanks to you we were
both able to get what we wanted out of life." Malcolm cleared his throat. "Thank
you, Jonathan." Jon coughed.
"You're welcome. Both of you." There was an awkward pause.
Finally, Jon reached out and put an arm around Malcolm, who stiffly hugged him
"What the hell is this? Years of saintly devotion and I find
you putting the moves on my best friend?" Grinning despite his mock anger, Trip
came out and joined them. Jon released Malcolm and smiled as Malcolm transferred
his arms to Trip.
"I was just thanking Jon, love."
"For what? Not letting me file for divorce that time you
brought half of Starfleet command home for dinner?"
"They wanted to see the new resequencer you were working on."
"Damn good thing it was working, too, or the admirals would
have got tapioca and baby food. Although given the age of them, that was
probably about all they could have handled. By the way, you'd better get in
there and defend your honour. Travis is telling Charlie and Gemma about when you
went undercover as a Denobulan woman to rescue Phlox from the Klingons."
"That was a brilliant plan!" Malcolm looked perturbed. "It
was that, darlin'. Although, to be honest, you didn't have to wear the outfit to
the reception for Admiral Forrest." Malcolm withdrew his arm and scowled.
"I told you, I was assured it was a costume party." He
stormed back inside.
"It wouldn't have been so bad if you'd worn the makeup
instead of just the dress," Trip called after him.
"It's OK." Jon grinned at the memory of Forrest's face when
he, trying desperately to remain serious, introduced his sarong-wearing head of
security. "At least it didn't come as a complete shock when I told Forrest about
your getting married."
When their laughter subsided, Trip looked at Jonathan.
"You OK, Jon?"
"Fine," Jonathan replied, automatically.
"Come on. Mal doesn't get away with that and neither do you."
"Really, Trip, it's all right. Life goes on." For the rest of
them, at least. "I just don't need any more reminders of how old I'm getting."
Trip smiled and punched him lightly on the arm.
"You think it's bad now, wait till you've got some little
Crusher calling you 'Grandpa Jon.' You will be with Mal and me when he's born,
right? That's what Caroline wants." Jon nodded.
"I wouldn't miss it."
Moments later, after a burst of laughter from inside, Trip
went to support his husband (or, as Jon thought more likely, to share some
humiliating anecdotes of his own.) Jon remained outside, looking out over the
marina. In very short order, he heard the door slide open behind him.
"Let me guess. You told them about Malcolm puking his way
through our first contact with a wormhole and you need somewhere to sleep
"Although I recall Captain Reed's difficulties with space
turbulence," T'Pol replied, implacable as always, "I did not choose to recount
that particular incident. In addition, I have adequate accommodations for this
evening." She moved to stand beside him and, as was usual these days, Jon was
struck with a sudden, decades-old memory, this one of their first meeting. He
had been less than pleased to learn that instead of Trip, who he knew better
than anyone, his first officer was going to be a Vulcan woman. He couldn't think
of anyone he'd have less in common with. At the time, that had seemed like a bad
thing, but it hadn't taken him long to realize the benefits of a different
And T'Pol's perspective was always accurate, sometimes
"You seem disproportionately melancholy for such an
occasion," she commented. He sighed.
"You know how it is." "I do not know, but I can surmise. You
have been professionally and personally identified with the 'Enterprise' for so
long, now it is out of commission you feel your existence no longer has any
purpose." Jon blinked.
"Comforting as always, T'Pol. Thank you." If he hadn't known
better, he'd have said T'Pol looked hurt.
"I am simply expressing that of which you are already aware."
"I know." Jon found himself feeling bad. "It's just—" he
hesitated, then decided if he was going to spill his guts to someone, he may as
well be the Vulcan he hadn't seen in twenty-five years. "Everyone else seems to
have moved on. Hoshi and Travis have their careers. Trip and Malcolm have their
family. You're an ambassador. And I don't have anything." No real family except
his ancient dog, D’Artagnan, no job since he'd retired ten years previously,
after an unsatisfying post-'Enterprise' career.
"Perhaps you have simply accomplished what you were intended
"And I should just wait to die?"
"Essentially, yes." Jon opened his mouth, closed it again,
and finally came up with:
"Ever consider becoming a ship's counsellor, T'Pol? You'd be
great at it."
"You misunderstand me, Admiral. In my culture, the later
years of one's life are often the most rewarding, as they are spent sharing
one's accumulated wisdom with others."
"So you're saying I'm supposed to sit back and bore people to
death with old stories." Jon remembered his grandfather's penchant for such
anecdotes. He also remembered the atmosphere of relief that had attended the
"I am saying that it is not necessary to consider yourself of
no worth simply because you are no longer seeking out new experiences or making
new discoveries. In the museum, the ship will continue to educate and enrich the
lives of others. It is not considered useless simply because it is no longer
"You say the sweetest things." But it was still hard to think
he and the ship both belonged in a museum.
"I merely meant that decommissioned does not mean dead."
"I appreciate that, T'Pol. Really." Jonathan glanced inside.
Gemma, from her body language and expression, seemed to be fending off unwanted
advances from Ensign Kirk. He had a flash of sympathy for the man, who, knowing
Gemma, was about to receive a knee to the groin. Although he knew that paled in
comparison to what any of her family members would do if they were to look over
from where they were laughing with Travis. At least, Trip and Charlie were
laughing. Malcolm looked mostly annoyed. Jon turned back to T'Pol.
"Feel like buying an old-timer a real drink?" She lifted her
mouth in what, if he squinted his eyes, Jon could almost believe was a smile.
"A most logical idea, Admiral."
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