Spoilers: Shuttlepod One, minor for Broken Bow
Pairing: Tucker/Reed, Reed/?
Disclaimer: Owned by Paramount. I just like messing with their minds...
Summary: Not everyone loves a good wedding, do they?
Scientia (Lat.): Knowledge
Gone out. Be back later. No need to wait up.
Malcolm Reed looked at the little scrap of paper stuck on the kitchen's
noticeboard, and sighed. This sort of thing had been happening more and more
often lately over the past six months. Brief notes like this one appearing on
the noticeboard, often accompanied with little or no explanation when she did
come home. He knew that he himself had been working later and later at Starfleet
recently, but he knew for a fact that the hours he had been putting in were
substantially more compared to how long she worked.
He had his social life outside work, and he knew that Hoshi had hers as well,
but still... he was beginning to understand the real meaning of the "life in a
small town" analogy that Lieutenant Petersson in Weapons Division liked quoting
on an almost weekly basis. Malcolm and his wife had clearly been seeing too much
of each other, and that was how the story went, so it seemed. Now, it seemed,
things were apparently cooling off, so to speak.
Walking out of the kitchen, Malcolm grimaced slightly. He had several reports
to read and approve by tomorrow's staff meeting, and each of them would take
some time to peruse thoroughly.
Due to his semi-recent promotion to head of Starfleet Weapons & Research
Division, Commander Malcolm Reed had found that often, the only solace he found
nowadays was buried deep in a mountain of administrative work.
Going into the living room of the apartment that he and his wife shared,
Malcolm's eyes fell on one of the photographs hung on the wall. It had been
taken on the day he had married Hoshi, in a small cathedral in Arundel, in the
south of England. Standing in the sunshine with the Gothic walls as a backdrop,
four friends stood smiling for the camera man - Malcolm and Hoshi, the bride and
groom; a friend of Hoshi's from college who had been the maid of honour, whose
name Malcolm could barely remember, let alone pronounce; the best man, Trip
Tucker. One of Malcolm's best friends in as long as he could remember. Trip
Tucker, who had insisted on telling everyone assembled at the wedding reception
how and about what exactly Malcolm had talked in his sleep while stranded on
Shuttlepod One a mere seven months into Enterprise's mission. For some reason,
that had always stuck in Malcolm's mind. More so because of what had happened
the second time the pair of them had been left drifting a few long light-years
It wasn't something he cared to recall or remember very often, because of the
memories he had associated with the days immediately following the event, rather
than the event itself. Just eleven months left to go until Starfleet's flagship
had been due to return home in a blaze of glory and smug looks in the general
direction of the Vulcan High Command, and for the second time, the ship's chief
engineer and armoury officer had been stuck together in a shuttlepod... this
time without any alcohol to make the time pass more quickly.
But this time, Malcolm thought, bourbon wasn't exactly high on the list of
requirements. This time around he and Trip had had the benefit of nearly four
years' friendship going for them, and for several hours they had simply talked
until the armoury officer had succumbed to his usual maudlin tendencies and as a
joke had started envisioning gruesome, creepy and generally bizarre deaths for
the two of them.
And then, without really thinking about it, he had come out with a truly
snide remark about how he would like to go. And then, without really thinking
about it, he had acted upon that instinct.
It had been good, that much he remembered. He recalled being surprised that
Trip had been as good as he was, and... Malcolm also recalled what an arsehole
he had been when they had finally reunited with Enterprise.
Terror, he thought, still looking at the photograph. That would have been an
appropriate description for what he had been feeling. Terror of what he had done,
after having sworn off men after the last relationship he had been in before
boarding Enterprise. Terror, mostly, of what he was afraid could happen this
Malcolm Reed was no fool. He had known whom on the ship had had... feelings
for him, having been trained to notice and respond appropriately to deviant
behaviour in individuals around him. He had therefore known that a certain
someone had been staring his way on more than one occasion, but he had also
refused point-blank to let anything take root in his mind, and merely resigned
himself to letting things carry on as normal.
Then, after the shuttlepod, everything had changed. Trip's feelings for him
had become so much more real to him, and as a person, the engineer had become so
much more real to him that Malcolm had started finding it hard to breathe, both
figuratively and literally. So then he had done the only thing that he knew how
to do - he called things to a head and ran away from it all.
He had broken Trip's heart, Malcolm realised, eyes still on the photograph on
the wall, this time only focusing on the two men... and for the first time he
noticed the expression in Trip's eyes.
They had looked desperately sad and lonely, despite the smile on his face as
he had, seemingly effortlessly, slid a friendly arm around the groom as they had
posed for the person behind the camera, and for the life of him, Malcolm
couldn't realise how he hadn't seen that before, however many times he had
looked at that image with a happy smile.
Or maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough, his mind supplied, and Malcolm
breathed out, only just realising how long he had been holding it in. And maybe
I've only just cottoned on...
Two weeks after the wedding, Trip had taken up the post offered to him on the
Enterprise's second mission, another five-year deal. Malcolm and Hoshi had
declined the chance to re-board the ship, the former to focus on work behind the
scenes at Starfleet, and the latter to refocus on the teaching career that had
been cut short the first time around.
Something needed to be done. Now. Before he talked himself into changing his
Malcolm made up his mind. Settling down in front of the computer console he
began the process that would start to record a vocal message that could be sent
through subspace... that could be sent via the Echo probes to a starship thirty
light-years and fifty-four months from home.
The computer chirped its readiness to begin, and almost nervously Malcolm
cleared his throat and began to speak. Because he had to talk to Trip, to try
and repair what damage he had done... however wittingly or unwittingly.
But the burning question still remained... did he have any feelings left for
Trip? God only knew he loved Hoshi, but it wasn't the same kind of love that had
left him crying himself to sleep for nights on end after simply dismissing Trip
on Enterprise. And right now, that was all he knew.
Finally the first words tumbled out, and after that it became a little easier
"For the attention of Captain Charles Tucker..."
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