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Malcolm reveals what happened on Risa. The two expand on the Schroedinger's Cat (or in this case, Schroedinger's Sehlat) theory The TARDIS gives a partial explanation of why Trip and Malcolm were "chosen" out of the Enterprise crew. They discover where the ship's engine is located...as well as the elusive Control Flight Manual.

Spoilers: ENT: "Two Days and Two Nights", E², Shockwave I and II, Countdown
DW: "Journey's End" The Doctor Who Movie (1996)

"Journey's End" reveals that the TARDIS was built for six pilots to fly her, but the when the Doctor fled Gallifrey, he was the only one who knew enough to do it. The Tenth Doctor needed all his current and former companions to fly the TARDIS to save Earth in "Journey's End."

The ivy-covered corridors are called Cloisters. The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) told his companion Adric not to bother him if he decided to go there. The Cloisters lead to the Cloister Room, which is where the TARDIS's engine is (the Eye of Harmony). You don't see the Cloister Room until the 1996 Doctor Who Movie and the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann). And yeah, seeing directly into the Eye of Harmony can be hazardous to your temporal health.

The "TARDIS Flight Manual" was first discovered by Romana, one of the Fourth Doctor's companions. The Doctor never liked doing anything by the book. Peri (a friend of the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker) found it, propping open a vent. The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) said he eventually threw it into a supernova because he disagreed with it.

Infinity (∞) inside the Tardis


Trip leaned back in one of the kitchen chairs and pressed his hands around the steaming mug of coffee. Malcolm crossed his arms with a thoughtful look and leaned against the edge of the counter. Both men were silent as the tea kettle began to sing. Malcolm poured himself a cup of the hot water and left the tea to steep until it was ready. Trip used the moment to collect his thoughts.

“So...you actually felt T'Pol and Lorian and you knew they were in trouble. Since we intervened with the TARDIS, they survived their battle with the Kovalaans, but they ended up somewhere else in the universe.”

“That's why we still remembered them when we got back to our own time. They were still alive, somewhere.” Trip took a deep breath and added, “I always wondered about that, why they simply weren't erased from our memories after we made it to Degra's rendezvous.”

Malcolm made a face. “Time travel makes things more complicated than it should.”

“No kiddin'. I'm tryin' not to analyze it too closely because I'll just give myself a headache.” He shook his head, then reached for the coffee pot on the table. “And don't ask me how I managed to fly the TARDIS. I have no idea. It was as if somethin' had taken over my body, and knew exactly which buttons to push.”

“Perhaps the TARDIS felt your sense of panic and urgency, since it concerned your loved ones. She helped you in whatever way she could at the time.”

Trip looked up at the ceiling. “Thanks, Darlin'.” He felt a gentle warmth and a sense of You're welcome. He smiled and shook his head. “I don't get how the crew's able to get by on one pilot. The console's too damn big. You'd have to run circles around it to get to all the controls.”

“Maybe the TARDIS needs more than one pilot on duty at the same time? The console's divided into six panels, around the central column.”

“Six pilots? Cross-trainin' makes sense, then...in case someone gets sick or kicks the bucket or somethin'. But that still sounds like a pain in the ass.” Trip paused and took a sip of his coffee. “Another thing I've noticed...we've gotten more access to the ship systems now. We should go back and see what we can figure out--”

“Agreed. At least I can decipher what the exterior scanners are trying to tell me.” Malcolm finished his tea.“We should get back to the control room.”

Trip raised a hand to stop him. “Just a sec, Malcolm. We've got some unfinished business to take care of.”

Malcolm raised an eyebrow. “Unfinished business?”

He grinned and reached for the coffee pot. “You know, you never told me how you managed to hook up with Hoshi on Risa. C'mon...I told you what happened to me and Cap'n Harper. Your turn.”

Malcolm flushed crimson. “I need more tea. Just a moment, Commander.”

Trip hid a smile as he busied himself with the teapot. “It's not 'Commander', Malcolm, it's 'Trip'. I'm askin' as a friend, not as your superior officer. You can choose to tell me as much or as little as you want.”

He sighed and took a seat at the table, directly opposite Trip. “But you'll still pester me for the details like a stubborn bull terrier. I might as well get this over with now.”

“I'm hurt, Malcolm. I'm not stubborn. I'm persistent.”

The Englishman pulled a face, then took a sip of fresh tea. “The TARDIS left you on that street so abruptly that I didn't have time to react. She transported to the alleyway behind the hotel, that first night of our shore leave. I did some searching and I found her on the hotel's patio. She was having dinner with a man named Ravis.”

Oh, hell. I hope Malcolm didn't pound him into the dirt. “Ravis? Someone she just met?”

“I assume so. I managed to overhear some of their conversation...”

“You eavesdropped on them. Malcolm, shame on you. Who are you, James Bond?” Malcolm winced, despite the fact that Trip had said it in a teasing tone. He took pity and said, “Sorry. I won't interrupt again.”

“Thank you. Anyway, they were comparing languages, so I assumed this Ravis was another linguist. I nearly walked back out to the TARDIS when I saw how he was looking at her.”

Trip promptly forgot his promise not to interrupt. “Ouch. You didn't actually walk out, did you?”

Malcolm smirked and replied, “I didn't have to. Another woman walked onto the patio and spotted him with Hoshi. She was...not amused.”

Trip nearly choked on his coffee; this was getting good. “Wife? Mistress? Sister? Keeper?”

Malcolm laughed and sipped his tea. “I don't know, but the look she gave Ravis could have melted pure duranium. The whole situation was odd and absurd at the same time. I acted as if I'd just come onto the scene and was concerned about Hoshi's safety. Of course, Ravis was trying to explain the whole thing, and Hoshi looked ready to throw him into the pool at that point.”

“She should've. I'm surprised she didn't.”

“The entire affair brought the attention of hotel security, for Ravis's companion was screaming at him in a high-pitched, rambling language. The patrons were leaving in droves to spare their eardrums.” Malcolm sipped his tea with a smirk. “So security removed both of them from the premises.”

Trip grinned as he imagined the scene. “Hoshi was all right?”

“Aside from a ringing of her ears, she was unharmed. Just embarrassed. We ended up chatting at the bar, shared a few drinks...” Malcolm cleared his throat. “The rest is history, so to speak.”

Trip's smile widened and he made a futile attempt to hide it behind his coffee mug. “She got you to admit your feelings for her, and she returned them. Damn, she really did practice some new conjugations, didn't she?”

The Armory Officer blushed fiercely, but didn't deny it. “Let's just say she's full of surprises, and I will never underestimate her again.”

“About damn time, Malcolm.” He chose not to tell Malcolm what he had seen through the courtyard gate that following morning.

“I was a fool not to consider certain possibilities earlier, yes.”

“At least you admit it now.”

Malcolm's eyes sparkled with mischief. “Infinite universes and infinite possibilities. If I'd joined Hoshi in our universe, instead of going to that bar and ending up tied up in a basement with you--”

Trip laughed and made a rude gesture with his free hand. “Hey now! Neither of us knew they were shapeshifters who ended up robbin' us bare. Uh...almost bare.”

“But it still happened, in our universe. That's why we still remember that night in the basement, even though you also remember Captain Harper and I remember the altercation with Ravis.”

“Yeah, I still remember both of 'em. That's weird. I guess time-traveling changes your way of seein' things.”

Malcolm frowned as he thought aloud, “There's still a universe where Captain Harper is still alive, but you aren't. And one where he survived being struck with the energy whip and both of you ended up spending the night courtesy of the Risan authorities.”

Trip shook his head; the possibility that Harper was still alive somewhere eased the sense of guilt at his death at the hands of Krem. “That's a comfort, at least. It's mind-bending, but still a comfort.”

Malcolm stared into the depths of his tea cup, as if trying to read a possible future. “And there are two universes on Vulcan: the one where we saved T'Pol's sehlat, and the one where the sehlat didn't survive his encounter with the le-matya. They co-exist next to each other and neither one cancels the other. Normally we wouldn't remember the other branch, but since we're observers out of time, we do.”

“Ugh. Schrodinger's cat, or sehlat in this case.” It was a while since Trip had worked with advanced quantum physics and he tried to remember the details. “Every time we make a decision, the universe branches off into two different ones? Like there's one where I didn't return from Columbia, or T'Pol never served on Enterprise, or---”

Malcolm's mouth twitched. “Or I joined the Royal Navy instead of Starfleet. Or the Spanish Armada won, or Nelson was never born. The possibilities are endless.”

“Or the Xindi never attacked Earth.” Trip closed his eyes in pain. “There's gotta be a universe where Lizzie's alive and safe.” Just not mine. But at least I know she's alive and well somewhere. The thought was bittersweet, but a blanket of warmth eased the pain, just a little. Thanks, Darlin'. I needed that.

“Yes.” Malcolm's voice became hushed. “All of time and space...where would you start?”

“If everything's possible, then why do we have to go and fix things so certain things happen?” Trip opened his eyes and saw Malcolm's smirk. “What?”

“You didn't take statistics in university, did you?”

Trip scowled. “Hell yeah, I did. I hated every minute of it too.”

“It's probabilities. If one event happened in a majority of the universes...it could influence the rest of them. I presume that's why Daniels was so obsessed with making sure Captain Archer didn't fall into Suliban hands, or saving him when the Xindi Superweapon blew up.”

Trip thought about that, then slowly nodded. “Makes sense. So...savin' the universe, one little piece at a time. That's a lot of power to have. What's that old saw...'with great power comes great responsibility'.”

“Indeed.” Malcolm's face was sober. “It's not one to be taken lightly. It definitely puts Daniels, Harper, the Doctor, and the others in a new light, doesn't it?”

“And now we're in that exclusive club. The question becomes, why us? Why were we chosen?” Trip raised his eyes to the ceiling. “You know, Darlin', I never did ask you that, didn't I? So...why me and Malcolm? Why not the Cap'n or Hoshi or even Travis?”

Because you are both special.

Trip jumped at the unexpected words. A quick glance at Malcolm confirmed that he'd heard it too. “'Scuse me? What do you mean, 'special'?”

You see wonders within the mechanical, and he sees wonders within the soul of people. It was no accident of the universe that you were destined to meet and become the other's mirror.

“Mirror?” Malcolm asked. “I don't understand.”

Trip cocked his head to the side, but the TARDIS was silent once more. “I think that's all she's willin' to tell us right now.”

“Riddles and more riddles. Now I'm getting a headache.”

Trip looked at the refrigerator and was tempted to snatch Captain Harkness's bottles of Guinness, despite the warning note. At the end, he decided that being sober on this trip was probably the best thing.

“You're an engineer...so you'd 'be able to see wonders within the mechanical'.”

“And accordin' to the TARDIS, you 'see wonders within the souls of people'.”

Malcolm sighed and finished his tea. “No, I can't. I'm not a people person, like Hoshi is.”

“You'd be surprised, Malcolm.” Trip ticked off the reasons on his fingers. “You're trained as a security officer, so you notice stuff other people don't. You listen to your instincts and zero in on trouble before anyone else even knows it's there. And how many times have you been right, even if the Cap'n thinks otherwise?”

“Too many times to count,” he muttered. “Sorry, Trip, I know Captain Archer is your friend--”

“He's my friend, but he isn't Superman. Jon's got his faults just like everyone else.” Trip leaned back in his seat with a frown. “And ever since the Expanse, we haven't been as...close as we used to be.”

“I've noticed. The Expanse has changed him, and you.”

Trip sighed and regarded his coffee cup. At least the nightmares about his sister and the Xindi weapon had finally eased. The thought reminded him that he'd been having some weird dreams lately. If only he could remember half of them!

“You know, speakin' of Daniels...it's strange that we haven't seen him yet, considerin' this time-travelin' thing...”

Malcolm frowned. “Are you sure we haven't? I keep getting the feeling that we already might have, or that he's just about to pop around the corner.”

“You sure that isn't your usual paranoia at work?”

“If anything involves Daniels and time-travel, wouldn't you be a bit paranoid too?”

Trip opened his mouth, then closed it again as he considered the words. “You know, you're right, especially now that we know Future Guy—and probably the Suliban—are mixed up with this too. Unfortunately, we don't know where Future Guy is right now...but I bet who does know.”

“The Doctor and he's gone missing.”

“Exactly.” Trip finished the rest of the coffee in his mug. “Somethin' tells me that we're gonna find out what Future Guy wants...and it isn't gonna be pretty.”


Trip's impromptu attack on the Kovalaans did more than just rearrange some of the TARDIS's systems. Malcolm found more information on the 'Time Lords' and 'Gallifrey' in the database. The Doctor's people became victims of their own arrogance and as a result, Galifrey was destroyed in a 'Time War'.

The more Trip learned about the Doctor, the more he was convinced that he was the TARDIS's master and not Captain Harkness. Then what was Harkness, merely a passenger along for the ride? Somehow that didn't sound right, either. Malcolm wondered if Harkness was like some sort of military advisor, but then why was TARDIS without weapons?

Thankfully, there were no more crises for a while, and Trip was able to take a new inventory of the systems. The internal scanners revealed a glowing space deep within the TARDIS. It was accessible through a series of passageways that snaked deep within the bowels of the ship. Trip took a PADD and ventured down those hallways. Many of them were overgrown with ivy, with the occasional wooden bench and stone pillar.

I bet no one's been down here in a while. Either that, or the Doctor needs to hire a gardener and a landscape architect. This whole place needs a major makeover. Trip turned a corner and walked straight into a tangle of low-lying branches. He swore and managed to untangle himself with only a few scratches to show for it.

“Commander? Trip?”

“Down here, Malcolm.” Trip narrowed his eyes at the readings on the PADD. “I think I'm getting' closer to finding the TARDIS's power source.”

Malcolm pushed aside a cluster of vines and joined Trip. He'd had his own battles with the errant vegetation, if the green stains on his clothes were any indication. “This is an odd place to put a ship's engine. If I didn't know better, I would have thought we were in some sort of outdoor maze.”

“Bigger on the inside than on the outside,” Trip agreed. “I wonder if the TARDIS did it to keep people out of here.”

“So, of course, you decide to come down here anyway.” The Englishman's tone was humorous and without rancor. “You're lucky she likes you.”

“Yeah. I can see how someone can get lost.” He came to a huge set of double doors set into a nearby wall. “This is it. The readings originate from here.”

“The engine room?”

Trip nodded. “Looks like. Though I don't see a lock on the door. I wonder how you get inside--” He laid a hand on it as he shifted the scanner to his left hand. The doors flew open so abruptly that Trip nearly fell inside. “Whoa!"

“Trip!” Malcolm grabbed his arm and stopped his fall. “You all right?”

“Yeah. Just startled.” Trip regained his footing and straightened under Malcolm's grasp. “Damn, take a look at that!”

The room seemed to stretch up, up, up to infinity. Flying buttresses stretched from each corner to support the massive ceiling. A green carpet of leaves and moss covered the floor. It was a strange combination of Notre Dame and the Elven forest in the Lord of the Rings.

Lorien, Trip thought with a small smile.

At the center of the room was a square-shaped stone slab. Four blue pillars stood at each corner, each one emblazoned with a strange figure-eight emblem. Trip made his way up the center ramp and looked down at the stone.

“I recognize the symbol from the database,” Malcolm murmured. “It's from the planet Galifrey.”

They stared at it for a long moment, awed at the sheer power radiating from it. The four pillars pulsed with some sort of energy; Trip thought that lingering here for long might not be a good idea. Who knew what kind of residual radiation this thing put off?

“So that's your engine, huh?” he whispered. “Wow. What kind of power source are you usin', Darlin'? I don't see any way to open it up and take a look. For all I know, you might not be able to do it--”

Malcolm shook his head. “Even if you could, I don't think you should. It feels almost like a sacrilege. This whole room reminds me of a cathedral.”

“Like Saint Paul's or Westminster Abbey or somethin'?”

“I don't think I've felt like this even in those places.”

Trip nodded. “All right, we'll leave it alone for now. I don't want to mess with it any more than I absolutely have to.” He smiled and patted the stone. “Thanks for lettin' us take a look, Darlin'.”

“At least we know where to go if we need to make repairs.” Malcolm glanced all around as if putting every detail to memory.

“C'mon, it's a long walk back up.” He gave the stone a final pat and led the way out of the room and back through the ivy-covered corridors. Neither man said much as they retraced their steps.

They emerged back into the control room. Trip looked up and he spotted a ventilation shaft he had never noticed before. It was partly open; cool air circulated through it and balanced the temperature in the room. Trip frowned as he went over to it. Something was jammed in a corner of the grate, preventing it from swinging closed.

“What's this?” he murmured. The object was rectangular and about the size of his hand. “Damn, this thing is jammed in here good. No tellin' how long it's been stuck--”

“Need some help?” Malcolm asked.

“Nah, I think I got it--” He pulled on it, and when that didn't work, he yanked on it. Finally, he used both hands and the object came free. The effort knocked him backward on the floor.

Malcolm smirked. “You seem to be living up to your nickname today.”

Trip rolled his eyes. “Gimme a break.” He glanced down at what he'd found. It was a book, bound in cracked black leather and stamped with peeling gold letters. The cover read TARDIS Control Manual, Type 40 Mark II, Galifrey Shipyards. In smaller letters was printed: Information on Pilot Certification included.There were tell-tale rings deep within the leather, as if someone had used it as a drink coaster.

Trip grinned. “Jackpot!”

Malcolm matched the smile. “Our missing Control Manual. What was it doing in a vent?”

“I dunno. Hell of a place to leave it.”

He flipped through the pages. They were stained with engine fluid, mashed banana, soot, and water; the ink ran in places, but it was still legible. Someone had scribbled out the print and jotted down notes in the margins. Other pages had been torn and repaired, still others were nibbled at the corners. In all, the manual had been misused and abused.

Little wonder it had been used to prop open a vent, of all things. One of the pilots (perhaps the Doctor himself) must have done a little do-it-yourself project and promptly forgot he used the manual for it.

To their good fortune, it turned out.

“Believe me, I'm gonna be readin' this--” Trip held up the book. “--from cover to cover."


Trip was barely a quarter of the way through the manual when the TARDIS shuddered and bounced along the 'walls' of the space corridor. He jumped up from the bucket seat and went to the other side of the console. Panic flooded his mind; not his, but from the ship. Whatever was going on was beyond her control as well, and she was just as terrified. Trip automatically reached out and tried to reassure her.

Easy, girl, just ride with it. If you keep fightin' it, you'll damage your systems even more. How can I help you? Show me what to do. And just like that, Trip felt a surge of power go through his body, and it left a giddy feeling, as if he'd downed a whole bottle of champagne in one gulp. He had the mental image of a spiral, like the cone of a tornado, and the TARDIS rotated on the outer edge, going down faster and faster with frightening speed.

Where are your brakes? Trip gripped the edge of the console, his fingers finding the blue buttons inset in the edge and he pushed them. The horrible grinding sound rose all around him and split his eardrums, but the TARDIS slowed, throwing colored sparks in his mental vision, before it touched down with a violent thump.

Trip opened his eyes to find himself planted face-down in front of the double doors again. Malcolm lay sprawled near the bottom of the spiral staircase, clear across the room. Trip managed to lever himself up to a sitting position.

“Are you all right?” Malcolm asked.

“A little shaken up, but I'm fine. I wonder where we are this time.” He pulled himself up to the door and pressed an ear to it. “I'm not hearin' anything outside.”

“Better to be safe than sorry. Let me go first.” Malcolm made his way to Trip's side and cracked the door open. The minute he did, weapons fire slammed into the door. He yanked it shut and shouted, “Get down!”

Trip automatically hit the floor at the clipped order. Several minutes later, they both heard the rumble of booted feet running away from the TARDIS, and it faded into silence. Trip's heart pounded in his ears. “We've landed in the middle of a war zone.”

“Where and when?”

“Dunno about you, but stayin' here is startin' to sound better and better.”

Malcolm frowned and cracked the door open once more. When there was no reaction, he cautiously looked out. “We're in a corridor on a ship. It looks familiar for some reason...”

“You know where we are?” Trip peered over the edge of the door to see a beige and gray hallway. The TARDIS was tucked into an alcove, out of direct view. There was another rumble of feet and shadowy figures ran past them. The soldiers didn't notice their presence at all, but both Trip and Malcolm got a good look at them.

“Xindi Reptilians,” Trip hissed.

“Phase rifles,” Malcolm hissed back. “Under the third bucket seat of the console.”

Trip scrambled back and found the phase rifles stashed under the bucket seat. “Always prepared, huh?” he called as he tossed one of them to Malcolm.

“Eagle Scout,” Malcolm shot back.

“Yeah, yeah. Obviously, we're supposed to do somethin' here.” Trip grabbed a scanner and came back to the doors. “But what?”

The Xindi ship shuddered under multiple blasts and nearly dumped both of them out the doors. Then a metallic voice grated on the speakers: “Intruder alert, deck six. Intruder alert, deck six. Time to jump point: ten minutes.”

Trip and Malcolm realized it at the same time. They were on the Xindi Superweapon.

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May 2012

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