Trip and Malcolm tackle their most difficult time correction yet, for personal reasons. There are two time jumps in the chapter (2165 and 2153).
ENT "The Expanse","Twilight"
One of the questions I always had w/the whole Xindi arc: Wouldn't Earth have any planetary defense systems when the initial weapon appeared in 2153? I thought the lack of them was pretty weird. If they were destroyed, that fact would have been mentioned.
Doctor Who: "Tooth and Claw", "The Sound of Drums", "The End of Time Parts I and II"
The Time War occurred sometime between the Eighth Doctor (played by Paul McGann, the "last Classic" Doctor Who) and the Ninth Doctor (Chris Eccleston, the first of the "New" Doctor Who). It involves the Time Lords of Gallifrey and the Daleks and ended with the destruction of the Doctor's home. The details of the Time War aren't clear, but the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors imply that he (the Eighth Doctor at the time) made the fateful decision to destroy Gallifrey to save the rest of the Universe. It's implied that the Doctor is now the last of his race.
The whole incident was put under a Time Lock so no one (the Doctor included) could time-travel back to it and change the outcome. In"The End of Time", the Time Lords escape and attempt to take over Earth. Of course the Doctor stops them, but to save one of his Companions, he absorbs over a million rads of radiation (which triggers his regeneration into the Eleventh Doctor).
James MacCrimmon was the name of one of the Second Doctor's Companions. He was a Scotsman from the 1746 Jacobite Rebellion that was saved by the Doctor. The Tenth Doctor used "Doctor Jamie MacCrimmon" as an alias when he and Rose Tyler met Queen Victoria in "Tooth and Claw".
Relative Time to Enterprise NX-01 (January 2156)
Ceti Alpha Five
(+ 8 years, 11 months)
“...we've lost our port nacelle...been ordered to withdraw...can't afford to...need everyone we can to fight the Xindi...”
Trip tensed at the grim tone of Commander Ayla Vaughn, Intrepid's executive officer. Vaughn had reported Captain Ramirez's death in somber tones. The destruction of the ship's port nacelle sparked a chain-reaction that ended at their Bridge. Ramirez had been been standing with his back to the engineering station; the captain hadn't even seen the blast that hit him from behind.
Vaughn's voice suddenly scaled up in pitch and trembled with panic. “Oh God! Oh, my God! They've hit Enterprise's Bridge! Their Bridge is gone! Everyone's gone! Captains Tucker and Reed, Lieutenant Commander Sato, they're all EV! Crewman Daley, can we use the transporter?”
Daley's reply was faint in the background. “No, ma'am. Transporter's inoperative. We can't beam them aboard, even if they weren't instantly killed in the attack. I'm sorry.”
Trip met Malcolm's haunted gaze. It wasn't every day that you heard how you died. Explosive decompression, if the blast didn't kill you first. You might be conscious for a minute or two...then you drown in space instead of water. The Armory officer shivered and turned his gaze away first. Trip couldn't blame him; there were no words to describe the feelings of helplessness, of hopelessness.
Moments later, Vaughn's voice returned, suddenly quiet. “Enterprise just went up. We're all that's left. Crewman Daley, do we have any engines at all?”
“One quarter impulse, and that's assuming we don't fly apart because of the field imbalance, since we left our nacelle floating somewhere.” Daley said with gallows humor.
“The Xindi ships are regrouping and heading for the colony on the surface. We have to stop them...that's all that's left of Humanity.” Vaughn's tone became rock steady as she gave the final orders. “This is Commander Vaughn. All personnel to escape pods. Mister Daley, target the largest Xindi vessel and go to one quarter impulse on my command.”
“One quarter impulse, aye.” Daley replied.
“May God have mercy on our souls. Appending last Bridge audio and Jettisoning log buoy now. Mister Daley, one quar---”
The audio dissolved into static, then silence. Trip realized he was gripping the edge of the TARDIS's console with white knuckles and forced himself to relax. “Jesus,” he whispered. “They went on a suicide run.”
“It explains the debris field,” Malcolm said grimly. “They must have destroyed the Xindi ship, but the others destroyed the colony. The last Human colony.”
Trip nodded. Ramirez's logs had been thorough, detailing the destruction of Earth and her colonies from the Xindi, and the desperate flight to Ceti Alpha Five. The five-thousand or so survivors settled on the surface, and bothEnterprise and Intrepid patrolled the system for Xindi. Unfortunately, their luck had run out. The colony had been discovered and razed to the ground. There were no more Humans; the Xindi had seen to that.
Anger and grief welled up from deep within Trip, and even the TARDIS's gentle warmth didn't erase the pain. His world, his family, his ship, his people...they were all gone. Extinct. The only traces of their existence were a debris field and a log buoy from Humanity's last defender.
“This is wrong,” Trip whispered. “We have to change this.”
“Yes,” Malcolm said, his voice hard as granite. “We must. We can't just leave it like this.”
“Damn Xindi.” Trip flinched at the emotions that bubbled to the surface. He thought he'd made peace with his need for revenge, but the rage roared back beyond his control. I don't care; they're gonna pay for what they've done here. I'm gonna make sure of it---
A sudden force knocked him back a few steps from the console, as if someone had slapped him. His hand automatically went to his cheek. “Hey! What the hell was that for?!”
“What'd I do?” Malcolm shot back. The whole situation had shaken the Englishman's normally calm demeanor.
“Not you, Malcolm.” He glared at the TARDIS. “You didn't have to hit me, you know. You haven't seen your entire world destroyed and your people exterminated.”
The TARDIS gathered herself, as if about to issue another giant slap, but the pain slammed him behind his eyes as she sent a torrent of images. Malcolm swore and staggered backwards, colliding with the railing, but the unseen force held them in its grip.
A great Time War: the red-robed Time Lords of Gallifrey, led by Rassilon, a man drunk with ego and power; The Doctor's horrible decision to destroy his own world, to sacrifice many for the good of the universe, and locking it all away under a Time Lock, and how that Lock was broken and how Rassilion rallied his people and would have destroyed Earth, if it wasn't for the Doctor...
Trip pressed his hands against his temples as he struggled to make sense of it all. “Damn,” he rasped. “Okay, Darlin', I take it back. You do know how it feels.”
“This Doctor must have gone through Hell,” Malcolm agreed hoarsely. “He was alone. Completely and utterly alone. The last of his kind.”
“That's a burden to carry around.” He felt a surge of pain and loneliness from the TARDIS and he gently placed his hands, palm-down, on the console. “It's okay, Darlin', let it all out. We've both held things in for too long. Get it all out of your system now.”
Even in the depths of her own pain, Trip felt her reach out to Malcolm as well, for the first time, and the three of them grieved in silence, but not alone anymore. Trip had no idea how long they stood there, as they mourned the losses of their respective worlds. Finally, it was Malcolm who reminded the other two of their present dilemma.
“What can we do to change this?” Malcolm asked quietly.
“Maybe we can prevent the Xindi's attack in the first place.”
Malcolm gave him a knowing look. “On the colony, or do you mean on Earth?”
“I meant the very first one, Malcolm. The one on Florida and South America.”
Malcolm leaned against the railing and crossed his arms, deep in thought. “You want to save your sister.”
“Damn straight I want to save Lizzie. I wasn't the only one to lose people. Amanda Cole lost her family, Hoshi lost some of her students...if we can go back, prevent that death beam from hitting Earth---” Trip took a deep breath. “There has to be a universe where it never happened, where Lizzie and the others are safe and sound.”
Malcolm's mouth quirked upwards. “Infinite possibilities in infinite universes. Trip, even if we save Lizzie here, it might not mean she's alive in our own universe.”
“Yeah, I know, but at least I'll know that she'll be safe somewhere.” His heart tightened in pain even as he said it. Malcolm was right; Lizzie could still be dead in their home universe, in their original timeline. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Damn, I understand that Vulcan quote now.
He shook his head, then he looked up at the TARDIS again. “Okay, Darlin', let's make that difference. Take us where we need to go and we'll do it.”
The TARDIS left the desolate scene of destruction and arrived in a wholly different place...
Relative Time to Enterprise NX-01 (January 2156)
Enterprise, Sol system
(-3 years, 2 months)
“Where are we?” Trip asked. The TARDIS hadn't made that wheezing noise as it landed at their destination. “The outside scanners are dark.”
Malcolm frowned and went to the double doors. Slowly, he cracked them open and craned his head out. A minute later, he looked back at Trip. “We're back onEnterprise.”
“What? You're sure?” Somehow that didn't sound right. Why would the TARDIS return them to Enterprise when they needed to correct the biggest mistake in the universe? A dark sense of disappointment welled up within him, despite his best efforts.
“Yes, but we're not in the Cargo Bay.” Malcolm stepped aside so Trip could take a look at their new surroundings.
Trip instantly recognized the diving helmet and the Frankenstein figure on the shelf above his bed. Engineering journals littered the already-messy desk, on top of schematics and half-written reports. As familiar as his own quarters felt, there were subtle differences. An ancient scroll of Vulcan calligraphy adorned one wall, next to another shelf with meditation candles and a thick volume bound in red. Trip walked across the room and picked up the book.
“The Kir'Shara, annotated edition, translated by T'Lin and Sukok?”
“Your...counterpart here has a book on Vulcan religion on his bookshelf?”
Trip chuckled softly and shook his head. “I think the Vulcans regard it as more than just a religion.”
Malcolm smirked, but said nothing more about it. He picked up a holophoto on Trip's desk that showed the two of them and Travis Mayweather. Both he and Trip wore yellow stripes and four pips on their uniforms, while Travis wore three. Trip raised his eyebrows at the picture.
“Hang on, lemme check the closet.” Trip opened the door and sure enough, the uniforms were all command gold with captain's pips. A name was stenciled in gold lettering along the right-hand stripe: Tucker, C. III. “Yup. Looks like I got a promotion, and so did you.”
“Two captains on the same ship? We can't both be in command of Enterprise.”
Suddenly, the comm chimed, startling them. Trip automatically touched the wall speaker. “Tucker.”
“Captain Tucker, Intrepid is signaling ready for our rendezvous,” came the voice of Hoshi Sato. Her tone was amused. “If you and my husband are finished with your strategic meeting, I'd like to get back as soon as possible.”
Trip smirked at Malcolm, who couldn't hold back his astonishment. It took all of Trip's self-control not to laugh as he smoothly replied, “He's on his way.”
“Tell him I'll meet him in the transporter room in ten minutes. He owes me a vacation to Risa. Commander Sato, out.”
Trip cut the connection, then burst out laughing. Malcolm only raised an eyebrow and sighed in long-time suffering. Trip shook his head and looked down at his own red-striped, three-pipped uniform. “I think we both need to change. There's a captain's uniform in the TARDIS's closet, and I bet it's got your name on it now.”
Malcolm shook his head again and stepped back into the TARDIS. Trip pulled one of the captain's uniforms from the closet and put it on. He noticed more subtle changes: the fabric was softer, more pliable, it was a two-piece and not a single jumpsuit, and in place of the ship's patch on the shoulder was an arrowhead-shaped emblem.
He called up his previous logs on the computer and quickly scanned the information. Enterprise was returning from a string of First Contacts on the frontier. The last one involved a medical emergency, where they assistedIntrepid in finding the cure. Captain Reed and his executive officer, Commander Sato completed their mission with great panache. Captain Tucker and his exec, Commander Mayweather, were transporting the Reeds back to their ship.
No T'Pol and no Archer, Trip thought. He made an inquiry of the ship's computer and learned that T'Pol, his bondmate was on Vulcan as T'Pau's aide, and Jon Archer had accepted a promotion to the Admiralty...
His mind skidded to an abrupt halt. Wait. Bondmate?!
A shrieking noise jolted him out of his thoughts. It sounded worse than Malcolm's 'Reed alert' back on their own ship. Trip winced at the piercing klaxon; who the hell installed that on his ship? The intercom came to life again, this time with Travis's voice.
“Red alert, all personnel to battle stations. Captain Tucker, Captain Reed, to the Bridge. Red alert. This is not a drill.”
Malcolm hurried out of the TARDIS, still affixing the last pip to the collar of his uniform. “What's going on?”
“Trouble,” Trip answered grimly. “Come on.”
Travis glanced over his shoulder as Trip and Malcolm stepped out of the lift. He nodded briskly at both of them as he stood up from the command chair. “Sensors detected an object approaching the Sol system at impulse speed.”
Trip exchanged a sharp glance with Malcolm as he stepped down to the command chair. Travis moved to the helm and relieved the junior officer there. Trip glanced across the Bridge to see Hoshi at the comm station, consulting with a young man sitting there. “What is it?”
A familiar voice replied, “It appears to be a ship, spherical, and at least twice the size of Enterprise.”
Trip snapped his head around to look at the man at the science station. The brown-haired man only regarded him with a steady look as he went on, “It will reach the Sol system boundary in ten minutes.”
“Keep tracking its course, Mister...Daniels,” Trip said tightly. He deliberately looked over at Travis. “Plot an intercept course, Travis, best possible speed. Comm, inform Intrepid of our change of course.”
Malcolm glanced at Hoshi, who looked back at him and nodded at some sort of unspoken cue. “We should get back to Intrepid.”
Trip nodded. They had a better chance at stopping the Xindi ship with bothEnterprise and Intrepid. “Go. We'll catch up later. Good luck, Malcolm.” He watched as both Malcolm and Hoshi went to the lift and caught Malcolm's nod as the doors closed.
Trip glanced at Daniels again. The Temporal Agent's eyes mirrored his concern and worry, but there was a steely determination that matched Trip's. The expression on his face reassured Trip, We'll stop it from happening this time. A beep from the science console distracted Daniels's attention.
“The sphere is approaching Pluto Station---”
“Sir,” the comm officer interrupted. “I've just lost contact with Pluto Station.”
Daniels looked sharply at the man. “All frequencies, Lieutenant DeClerk?”
DeClerk nodded, his blue eyes wide. “Yes, Commander Daniels. They just...dropped out.”
Trip scowled and said, “Well, they've made their intentions loud and clear. Tactical, standby weapons---”
“Yes, sir,” said the man at Tactical, and Trip recognized the MACO uniform and his heart sank. Corporal Hawkins. No, wait, Major Hawkins. I wonder if Malcolm recognized him and that's part of the reason why he left the Bridge.
“They're changing course,” Daniels said abruptly. “Heading towards Io Station and the Ganymeade Depot.”
“Adjust to intercept. Inform Intrepid.” Trip hit the comm on his chair. “Engineering.”
A British-accented voice replied, “Engineering, Commander MacCrimmon, sir.”
Trip started as he recognized the accent from his dreams. No, wait, it can't be.Yet there it was, both young and ancient at the same time. It took Trip a moment to find his voice, and somehow the man's first name dropped naturally from his lips, as if he already knew it. “Any way to step on the gas, Jamie?”
“I can boost it up to a shade above full impulse, but we're too close in-system for warp. Can't do it too close to Earth---”
Trip interrupted him before he started rambling. “Give me your best, Jamie. We're gonna need it.”
“Yes, Captain Tucker. Engineerin' out.”
“Captain?” Daniels asked.
Trip regarded Daniels again. “Jack?”
“We'll stop them.” The implication was clear in his tone. We'll stop them this time.
Trip nodded and muttered, “We damn well better stop them.”