trekwriter151: (doctor who)
[personal profile] trekwriter151
Trip and Malcolm try to puzzle out the TARDIS's systems. They discover some of the ship's history and clues as to whom the TARDIS belongs to. (We know, but our heroes don't. Yet.) Trip finds out one of Malcolm's well-kept secrets regarding Hoshi. Later, they land in a very familiar place, but Trip finds that the ship has her own plans for Malcolm.

That plaque is really located under the floor of the control console of the TARDIS, with that exact inscription. "Authorised" is the British spelling of "authorized", and since that's the original spelling, I kept it that way.

Spoilers: ENT "Shockwave I/II", "Home", "Affliction/Divergence".  Can you guess which of the Companions Trip sees in the vision from the TARDIS?

 

Relative time: Infinity (∞) inside the TARDIS

“Time travel's givin' me a damn headache,” Trip muttered. The next morning (according to ship time), they tried to find out more about this mysterious box and how it worked. Trip was able to squeeze into the floorspace under the console as he traced the tangle of cables and wires. Once he found the path of one cable, he reached into his pocket with one hand and drew out a roll of colored electrical tape. Hours later, he marked every wire with a different color, so he knew where they all went.

"Okay, propulsion system, environmental, life-support...I think. I have no idea what these do, but I can leave 'em be for now. A couple of frayed wires should be easy to fix...I got the feelin' the problem isn't completely mechanical, is it?"

He felt a distinct sense of loss from the ship, one that was so strong that Trip grabbed onto a strut for support. "What is it?" he asked. "What's wrong?"

The images were grainy, like they had been taken by an old-style camera. Trip caught a glimpse of a dark-haired man with a lopsided grin and red sneakers, a blonde woman, another woman with dark skin, a third one with reddish-golden hair. Then one of a strongly-built man with an overcoat...

"Wait. I've seen some of these people before." Trip frowned as he searched his memory. "In those weird dreams...I remember the blonde...what was her name? Rose, wasn't it? Her name is Rose. And...Jack Harkness is that last image, isn't it? The captain."

The police box's mental voice became desolate. Trip reached over and patted the strut. "You miss your crew. It's okay. We're gonna find 'em, all right? But we can't do this alone. We're gonna need some help." With a final pat, he double-checked his work, then sighed in relief.

“All right,” he murmured and raised his eyes to the floor of the control room above him. “It's a start. We'll find out what's botherin' you, girl, don't worry.”

There was a surge of warm gratitude through the walls of the crawlspace that Trip felt on his skin like the heat of a summer's day. “You're welcome. By the way...we've got to find a name for you. I feel weird just calling you 'it', or 'the police box'.”

The lights brightened a little and Trip spotted a small bronze plaque on a box. He crouched down and read aloud:

TARDIS, Time and Relative Dimension in Space, Build Site: Gallifrey Blackhole Shipyard, Type 40 Build Date: 1963, Authorised for use by qualified Time Lords only by the Shadow Proclamation, Misuse or Theft of any TARDIS will result in extreme penalties and possible exile”.

“TARDIS?” he murmured and looked up at the console above him. “Is that your name? 'Time and Relative Dimension in Space'. Cute.” That confirmed his and Malcolm's suspicions of time travel. If he read this right, this place had been built at a place called Gallifrey, and it was built 193 years ago (assuming '1963' was relative to '2156').

Was it possible to go back to this Gallifrey and find Captain Harkness and his crew? He wondered if Harkness was some sort of Time Agent like Daniels. Obviously, Harkness wasn't part of of the same Time Faction, if he and his crew needed a ship like this and Daniels could pretty much appear at will.

Still, Daniels was their best bet in finding out why he and Malcolm had been whisked away in the TARDIS. Trying to locate Daniels was a different story altogether. It figured; Daniels showed up when you least expected him, but remained stubbornly silent when you really needed him.

The second part of the plaque really bothered him. If these so-called 'Time Lords' found this TARDIS machine with Trip and Malcolm in it...misuse or theft of any TARDIS will result in extreme penalties and possible exile.

“Oh boy,” Trip muttered. He climbed out of the trapdoor in the ceiling and popped his head out. “Malcolm, can you look something up in the info database?”

Malcolm tapped buttons on the console. “Did you find something down there?”

“The ship's commissioning plaque's under the control room floor. According to it, this ship's called a TARDIS, and she was built in a place called Gallifrey BlackHole Shipyards.”

“That's a start.” Malcolm input the information and they waited for the response. He raised an eyebrow at Trip and asked, “'She'?”

“Don't start, Malcolm. Ships are referred to 'she' and 'her'.” Trip couldn't help but grin at the old joke. After all, it wasn't his fault that the TARDIS seemed attached to him. Though he felt a twinge of guilt as he looked at the sadness behind Malcolm's teasing. It's not fair to him.

“She seems to be quite enamored with you. Why can't I be liked by strange time ships?”

“I didn't suggest blowing out one of her bulkheads.”

Malcolm winced. “Point taken.”

Trip elbowed him gently. “Hey. I'm sure someone's out there, Malcolm. Someone like a certain Communications Officer, maybe?”

He blushed and shook his head. It wasn't often that he was taken off guard and Trip couldn't help but grin at his discomfiture. “Um...I don't think so. She only regards me as a friend...and I'm her superior officer---”

“Malcolm. She's not in your direct line of command. She's Sciences and you're Operations. The only time that it matters is if the Cap'n, T'Pol and me are all off the ship at the same time. And that doesn't happen very often.” Trip raised a hand as Malcolm began to protest further. “'Sides, when you're in a ship with eighty-odd people for five years, you think nothin' is gonna happen?”

“We aren't on a Boomer ship, Commander.”

“Doesn't matter. We're all Human...well, except for T'Pol, Phlox and Porthos, anyway. Life's too damn short for regrets.” Even as Trip said the words, he realized how much he meant them. After the Xindi War, T'Pol's marriage to Koss (and subsequent divorce), and his brief tour aboard Columbia, not to mention Baby Elizabeth, Trip no longer believed in waiting around for opportunities.

At least, as long as a certain Vulcan agreed, but the jury was still out on that one. Trip ignored the painful twinge under his heart at that thought.

“But--”

Trip raised an eyebrow at him. “But?”

He refused to look directly at Trip. “I'm Head of Security. I can't afford to divide my attention from protecting the crew. I can't be...compromised.”

Trip frowned at the dark tone. “C'mon, Malcolm---”

“I can't. I just can't. I don't want to put her in danger because of what I do.”

Trip crossed his arms and leaned against the console. “Does this have anythin' to do with what happened last year, when you ended up in the brig? I was wonderin' what the hell was goin' on.”

“It's a long story, Commander, one that don't care to relate at the moment.”

“I could order you to tell me.”

“I'd prefer that you don't...sir.”

Trip winced at how Malcolm was shutting him out. He thought that their friendship had evolved to the point where Malcolm felt secure enough not to do that, but obviously Trip had stumbled over a painful chapter in his friend's history. Trip decided to drop that particular subject for now. But it didn't mean he couldn't pump his friend for certain information.

“How long?”

He blinked at the change of subject, which wasn't really a change. “Excuse me?”

“How long have you liked her?”

Malcolm's face reddened even further, but he answered, “Since we left Spacedock.”

Trip stared at him and tried to hide the smirk. “I'll be damned. Nearly five years? That's a while to carry a torch for someone and not act on it.”

“As I said, Commander, I'd rather not be discussing this right now.”

The warmth in the back of Trip's mind became tinged with a note of regret, but that melted into one of odd anticipation. If he could put words to it, they would be, Damn stubborn Brit. I'll show him. Trip had the distinct feeling that the TARDIS had made up her mind to set Malcolm straight.

Suddenly, Trip remember those days when his sisters Michelle and Lizzie tag-teamed their practical jokes on him, when he was a kid. Except this time, he was a co-conspirator instead of a victim.

Trip struggled to keep a straight face. What are you plannin' on doing to him, Darlin'? Nothing hurtful, I hope? There was a surge of indignation as if she said, Of course not, I'd never hurt him. Trip grinned and shook his head. OK, just checkin'.

He shook his head. “Fine, I'll drop it for now. But this discussion isn't over, not by a long shot.” The computer chimed softly as information scrolled down the screen...then stopped abruptly. Trip read the short paragraph. “Wait. This can't be everything.”

Malcolm frowned too as he tapped the controls. “Gallifrey...home of these 'Time Lords'...but almost nothing else. Strange, considering that's where this ship was built.”

“Maybe it's classified information?”

“If it is, I haven't the foggiest idea where to access it.”

Trip shrugged. “That's all right. I think we've got time to figure out the ship's systems.”

“What if someone erased it from the ship's memory as a security precaution?”

Trip opened his mouth to protest, but closed it again. Of course, Malcolm was thinking tactically. “You think the TARDIS was boarded at one point, and Harkness's crew wiped the ship's memory.”

“It's a possibility. It's exactly what I would do if Enterprise was boarded by hostile aliens and I couldn't regain control of the ship.” Malcolm shook his head and manipulated more of the controls. “I can't seem to access any footage from security cameras, so...”

“We're basically back to square one.” Trip thought hard for any other solutions to their mystery. “Maybe we can find this Gallifrey on a star map.”

“Assuming the navigation computer wasn't the first thing that was wiped.”

“It's worth a try. Can you pull one up on the screen?”

Malcolm nodded and tapped the keys, but after several tries, he shook his head. “Nothing. This might take a while. If there is some sort of security lockout, I'll have to disable it from the main console itself. Since I have no way to know where to start, I can't promise a quick by-pass.”

“That's okay, Malcolm. Do what you can.” He clapped the Tactical Officer on the shoulder. “I'll do my best to help you, in any way possible.”


After lunch in the Galley, both men went back to assessing the TARDIS's systems. Malcolm had made some headway in puzzling out the main computer system, but Trip was nowhere close to figuring out the source of the TARDIS's engine problems. He couldn't find the source of that awful grating sound she made as she landed, or just why they couldn't control her flight. It was as if some other force was pulling the TARDIS to her various destinations, but what was it?

“I don't get it,” he said aloud, his voice echoing in the crawlspace. “According to everythin' I've seen so far, you should be functionin' normally, but you aren't. I feel like I'm doin' a crapshoot in the dark. How 'bout givin' a hint?”

There was a hesitant pause, then he felt a definite surge from the engines. Something rattled from above, but it wasn't the walls of the TARDIS. It sounded more like a...typewriter? Or a computer printer?

“Trip, get up here! I think we're receiving a message!”

He pulled himself back onto the main control level. “A message? From whom?”

“I don't know.” A sheet of paper slid from the printer next to the keyboard and floated towards the floor. Malcolm grabbed it and looked at the message. “What the--?”

Trip asked, “What is it?”

“Does this man look familiar to you?” Malcolm showed the somewhat fuzzy image on the paper. It was of a man with spiky brown hair, intelligent-looking chestnut-colored eyes framed by spectacles. Trip's first impression was college professor, especially with the pinstriped suit, long red tie, and brown overcoat. Strangely enough, the man wore red sneakers on his feet, and not a formal set of shoes, like a professor would wear.

“Can't say the guy rings a bell, but---” Trip snapped his fingers, “--his outfit sure does. I saw some of those suits and ties in the huge closet, and those shoes. Looks like he does a lot of running around, considerin' the state of those things.”

“So he's part of Harkness's crew, at least, and probably the owner of all those clothes? Half of those things in there don't fit him.”

“It's probably a communal closet, then.” Trip shrugged. “I bet he's Harkness's science officer, like T'Pol is for Enterprise. He just has that...geekiness to him.”

Malcolm smirked. “He does indeed. Or the ship's engineer.”

“Wearin' that get-up? Not if he doesn't want that coat caught somewhere, like a door or a engine manifold.” Trip shook his head, but he couldn't stifle the smile at Malcolm's good-natured insult. “But why would the TARDIS print out a picture of this guy?”

“We probably need to find him to fix the ship. Makes sense, if he knows the systems.” Malcolm eyed the control console. “It's a start, but we really a hint as to where he is.”

The TARDIS lurched to the left, then to the right, before settling with a bone-jarring thump. Trip grabbed the railing as Malcolm clutched the console. They stared at each other, then at the walls of the TARDIS.

“Y'know, we really oughta figure out how to fly this ship,” Trip muttered.

“Agreed. These landings can't be good for us, as well as the TARDIS.” Malcolm straightened from the computer terminal. “I wonder where we ended up this time.”

“Can't find out just sittin' here. C'mon, Malcolm.” Trip carefully stepped onto the walkway leading from the control console to the double doors. “Maybe we'll find this guy wherever we're at now.”

“Commander, wait---”

Trip cracked the door open, and waited for the sound of gunfire, inclement weather, or any other threats to their lives. Laughter and soft music floated past, and the fruity smell of tropical drinks wafted past his nose. He frowned and pushed the door open all the way and poked his head out.

A virtual paradise, next to the ocean, with people milling about in the skimpiest clothing imaginable. Trip spotted several non-Humans lingering on a bench, as waitresses served drinks to their customers. He narrowed his eyes at a particular sign, The Jolly Pirate. Established 2125.

“I know where we are, Malcolm. We're on Risa!” Trip glanced over his shoulder. “Malcolm?”

The TARDIS had disappeared and Malcolm was gone with it. Trip's jaw dropped; it was as if neither of them had existed. 

Trip stood on a beach boulevard on Risa, all alone. He looked up as the wind gently swept through the palm trees and muttered, "Just great. What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

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trekwriter151

May 2012

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