Author - Gigi Sinclair | Genres - Humor - Raising The Kids | Main Story | Rating - PG
Trip * Malcolm Fanfic Home

Title: Decommissioned

Author: Gigi Sinclair

E-mail: gigitrek@gmail.com

Web site: http://www.angelfire.com/trek/gigislash

Archive: Ask first.

Rating: PG

Pairing: Tucker/Reed

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 inferred.

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.

"Afternoon, Trip."

"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 his friend.

"How long do you two have now?" Trip beamed.

"Three months till we're both retired and we can spend every minute together."

"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."

"Morning sickness?"

"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 grandparent.

"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 family album.

"She's writing a book about regional dialects on Risa," Jon replied.

"Or that's what she says," Trip put in, with a suggestive eyebrow wiggle.


"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 established that."

"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 and said:

"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 the hug.

"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, is there?"

"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 of fifty-five.

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 'Enterprise.'"

"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 kids."

"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 been.

"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 afternoon."

"Thank you." Malcolm swirled the fluorescent pink liquid in his glass.

"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 Starfleet?"

"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 successful."

"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 back.

"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 tonight."

"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 perspective.

And T'Pol's perspective was always accurate, sometimes painfully so.

"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 to do."

"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 man's funeral.

"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 active."

"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."



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


Feedback? Comments? Thanks! Drop us a few lines: tm_comments@gmx.net


T*M Home :: Image Gallery :: FanFiction :: Miscellany :: Bulletin Board :: Contact


Content by Li, wychwood and sky-fits-heaven unless otherwise stated. Part of the House of Tucker.
We don't own Trek; Paramount does (please read our disclaimer).