Plenty of cameos from various characters in Enterprise and Doctor Who in this chapter. Any guesses as to the identity of Trafalgar's captain? (The name is a clue.)
Spoilers ENT "Storm Front", "In a Mirror, Darkly I and II"
Doctor Who: "The Three Doctors", "The Parting of the Ways", The Doctor Who Movie (1996).
Technically, Trip isn't the first American in the TARDIS. And surprisingly, Jack Harkness wasn't the first, either. Peri Brown (Fifth/Sixth Doctor's Companion) was supposed to be American, but she was played by an Englishwoman (and wasn't really convincing as as American).
Who is who? (Ha, ha!)
Smoking Jacket= Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
The Hobo= Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)
Bug-Eyed Man= Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)
Victorian Man=Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann)
Tweed= Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)
Three and Eight wear similiar style clothing, Two and Eleven as well.
Time Relative to Enterprise (January 2156)
Zero Point of the Universe
December 31 2155/January 1 2156
(+/- 0 years, 0 months, 0 days)
Trip kept his eyes open as Atlantis entered the breach. He wasn't sure what to expect to within it, much less on the other side of it. Mac's warning about artron energy resonated in his mind. If he and Malcolm absorbed much more, would it mean their deaths? Would it mean Commander Trip Tucker would die, and a ruthless Captain Charles Tucker take his place? And Lieutenant Malcolm Reed become Major Malcolm Reed?
Colors swirled all around him, passed over him and through him. To Trip's surprise, he remembered everything. The TARDIS hijacking him and Malcolm. Pok the sehlat. Risa and Jack Harkness. Lorian and the other Enterprise. The Xindi Weapon and Hayes's survival changing an entire universe. Humanity's last stand in the Ceti Alpha Five system...
He saw Lizzie Tucker's bright smile and Captain Tucker's crew aboard that version of Enterprise. Commander Sato of the Intrepid, Malcolm's wife and the mother of his child...
Wait. What? Oh God. The new knowledge shocked and saddened him. Did Malcolm remember? He understood why the TARDIS erased the memories from their mind, but now, within the Zero Point of the Universe, every possible past, present and future lay before his eyes. Trip saw another Terran Empire, one without the Time Lord Victorious, and instead of an Emperor, there was an Empress.
Empress Hoshi Sato and Captain Travis Mayweather. That was why the Time Lord Victorious wanted to get rid of this universe's version of them. If both of them died, the Emperor's power was secure for all time. That was why Horizon andYamato spearpointed the temporal invasion.
And just like that, time blinked again and something shifted within Trip. His body knew it before his mind did.
He was home.
Alarms blared around him. Trip snapped his head around and tried to shake the cobwebs out of it. It was as if someone had packed his brain in gauze. Somehow, he managed to shout, “Report!”
Novakovich yanked the transtator out of his ear. “Not all the ships survived the transition, Captain Tucker!”
“How much of the Fleet did make it?”
“Only a quarter,” Colonel Archer reported from Tactical. “I'm not reading any debris...it's as if they just disappeared!”
The upper decks of the Bridge exploded into chaos. Trip glanced upward to see the limp forms of several crewmembers being hastily moved aside, and their back-ups smoothly taking their places. He narrowed his eyes at several familiar faces: Jane Smith, Frank Hawkins...His heart twisted painfully as he realized that these people were dead in his universe, and so they didn't survive now.
An Imperial Fleet of fifty-two ships crossed the interdimensional border. Nineteen had made it to the other side. Suddenly, the chances of a successful invasion weren't as good as the Emperor had thought. “Give me a run-down of who made it across, Colonel!”
“Yamato, Horizon, Atlantis, Columbia, Clement, Confucius, Darkhorse, Lexington, Victory, Martinsville, Arizona, Paloma, Trinidad, Guadacanal, Carlotta, Freja, Charleston, Gettysburg and Demonclaw.”
Cutler's eyes widened in surprise. “Only one of those ships is Romulan. Admiral Tonek's.”
“I doubt Tonek mentioned the dangers of crossing dimensions,” Trip muttered.
“Even if we're suddenly outnumbered, Captain, we have a mission to complete!”
Trip was about to retort, but Archer shouted, “Captain Tucker, we have hostiles incoming! Several ships, Intrepid-class, NX-class, K'Dyr-class, and others I don't recognize--
“What?” Trip exploded out of the command chair and went around to look over Archer's shoulder. “I thought they didn't know we were comin'!”
“I bet that probe we saw made it through!”
Trip hid his utter relief. “I want ID's on those enemy ships.”
Archer nodded and tapped his board. The viewscreen resolved itself into a Tactical plot, similar to the one Trip had seen on the TARDIS, with Imperial ships in red and Starfleet ships in green. The names appeared next to their respective dots, and first and foremost was Enterprise.
Novakovich looked over his shoulder. “They're hailing us.”
Trip swallowed hard, but he walked back down to the command chair on steady legs. He ignored Cutler's curious look and said, “Let's see who we're dealing with. On screen.”
The viewscreen shifted from the tactical plot to a view of a familiar bridge and a familiar crew. Captain Jonathan Archer stood in front of his command chair, behind Ensign Travis Mayweather at the helm. Trip saw Commander T'Pol at the science station, and at the Tactical station, in Malcolm's place was...
“Daniels,” Trip muttered under his breath. The Time Agent met his gaze and nodded slightly. I don't think I've ever been more glad to see this guy's face.
Cutler hissed, “You know that man?”
“He's an old 'friend'.”
She narrowed her eyes at him, but before she could say anything, Captain Jonathan Archer spoke. “Enemy fleet, this is your one chance to turn around. We've got you outnumbered and outgunned.”
Trip glanced over at Colonel Archer at the Tactical Board, and suppressed a smirk at the dumbfounded looks from the junior members of the crew. Archer, for his part, ignored the stares in his direction. In a low voice, Archer said, “He's bluffing. Even with nineteen ships, we've got the superior technology.”
“Thought so.” Trip thought about the glowing core in the middle of Atlantis's engineering. “I'm seein' some Andorian and Vulcan ships over there, and a few I don't recognize."
“We'll cut through the non-Human ships like butter, Captain. Just give me the word.”
He shook his head once and said, “We've got our mission, Colonel. The Emperor—and Admiral Tonek—want your counterpart alive. To do that, we need to get within transporter range for Major Reed's teams. Focus on that and let the rest of the fleet take care of 'em.”
Archer flinched at the stern reminder. “Aye, Captain.”
Trip stood up and looked over at Jon. “Is that supposed to be a threat, Cap'n? Because it's not a very good one.”
Jon's mouth twitched at the drawled-out nickname. He gave Daniels a look a amusement, then addressed Trip again. Trip pressed his lips to keep from laughing aloud, for he saw the twinkle in Jon's green eyes. “Captain Tucker. I understand you're under orders to capture me alive. I invite you try. Enterprise, out.”
The transmission disappeared. Then Tonek's voice growled over the comm, “All ships, fire at will! For the Empire!”
“The gauntlet's been thrown.” Trip sat back in the command seat. “Helm, ahead one half-impulse. Get us within transporter range of Enterprise; I don't care how you do it. Battle alert. Colonel Archer, ready photon torpedoes and phasers.” He hit the comm button. “Major Reed, status?”
Malcolm's voice replied, “Strike teams are ready at your command, Captain Tucker.”
“You and your MACOs hang tight for a minute; we're gonna try to get you in transporter range.”
Okay, Jon, I sure hope you've got a plan because I'm supposed to kick your ass and bring it back to Future Guy. Trip dug his nails into the armrests of the command seat at Atlantis's helmsman threw the ship into a tight arc, heading for Enterprise.
The Battle at Zero Point had begun.
Reports came through fast and furious as Imperial and Starfleet ships wove in and out of the battle arena. Explosions blossomed through space as the torpedoes found their targets, and casualty reports began to mount. Trip kept an eye on Enterprise, Yamato and Horizon. The latter two had survived the first wave and were in the process of picking off the smaller ships on the defenders' flanks.
“More ships coming into the sector!” Colonel Archer shouted. “Two-zero-one mark five and two-zero five mark nine! They're not in the Imperial database.”
“Lemme see 'em.” A secondary screen on Trip's command chair popped up and information scrolled down it. He suppressed a chill as he read the specs on the incoming ships. Their designs weren't familiar to him, but each one was the equivalent of a single Imperial ship.
“Friend or foe, Captain?” That came from Cutler, who was busy scanning her own screen.
“Not sure yet. Gimme a minute...”
“Captain Tucker, Demonclaw's got a positive weapons lock on Enterprise!”
Trip's heart plunged into his stomach at Archer's report. “Disablement? Admiral Tonek wants Captain Archer alive.”
“No, sir, it looks like several torpedoes are locked onto Enterprise's port nacelle!” Colonel Archer smirked slightly at the mention of his counterpart. “I suppose the Admiral's changed his mind.”
Trip quickly tapped his screen controls. Atlantis was too far away from Enterpriseto do much good, and there was no time to send a warning--
Suddenly, one of the incoming ships angled itself between Enterprise andDemonclaw, just as the torpedoes jumped out of the Romulan cruiser's tubes. The torpedoes slammed against the ship's fully-powered shields, and the ship passed by Enterprise as quickly as it appeared, leaving Enterprise free to maneuver out of harm's way.
“What the hell--?” Archer burst out.
Novakovich glanced over his shoulder. “Captain Tucker, they're identifying themselves as the United Earth Coalition Ship Trafalgar.”
“Trafalgar?” He exchanged looks with Cutler, who shook her head. “Definitely not one of ours, but whoever it was, they just saved Enterprise. Colonel, add that to the watch list. Helm, are we within transporter range yet?”
“Another two or three minutes, Captain.”
“We might not have 'another two or three minutes'!” An Andorian ship fired a volley of phaser fire into Atlantis's forward shields. The bridge shuddered in its wake, nearly knocking people off the upper decks.
Trip jumped as a voice growled over the comm. “You're getting sloppy, Tucker!”
“Shran,” Cutler muttered.
Trip shook his head. Thy'lek Shran? Jon must have called in some old debts for Shran to be here. “He's trying to distract us from Enterprise. Don't let him. Stay on the primary target. Novakovich, open a channel.” At the comm officer's nod, Trip shot back, “Out of my way, Shran, I'm busy!”
“Too busy for a chat? I'm offended.”
A smaller screen at Trip's elbow lit up with the image of the Andorian captain. And Trip nearly fell out of his chair at the sight of Rose Tyler standing slightly behind and to the right of Shran. Rose winked, activated a Time Vortex Manipulator on her wrist, and vanished. Shran's face gave no indication of her exit, but his antennae stood straight up on his head in grim amusement.
“Whaddaya want? Say it quick before I shoot a torpedo up your backside.”
Shran narrowed his eyes at Trip and replied, “What's the Earth saying? 'Time is just a hop, skip and jump away'? You've just run out of time, Tucker.”
“What's that supposed to mean--?” Proximity alarms rang as Shran's Kumaripeeled off to reveal a solid wall of Vulcan ring ships and Andorian battlecruisers directly in Atlantis's way. Trip's eyes widened and he shouted to the helm, “Evasive! Hard to port--!”
The joint Vulcan/Andorian fleet fired a wave of torpedoes, and Atlantis couldn't avoid them all. Even with superior shields and other defenses, one Imperial starship couldn't withstand that kind of onslaught.
Time is a hop, skip and jump away. You've just run out of time, Tucker. Trip finally understood the meaning behind Shran's cryptic message.He glanced up at the science deck, at T'Pol, who only nodded at him and mouthed, Good bye.
He took a deep breath and smiled at her. At the last possible minute, he pushed up the sleeve of his black uniform and activated the Time Vortex Manipulator on his wrist.
The scream of shredding metal overwhelmed the screams of the crew, and they halted abruptly as...
..Trip materialized in the control room of the TARDIS. He stumbled several steps forward, only to be caught by Rose and Malcolm. A welcome hum buzzed deep within his mind. Welcome back.
“I'm startin' to get tired of these really close scrapes,” Trip whispered. His hands gripped the edge of the console as his body began to shake. The severing of his bond with the Imperial Universe's T'Pol hurt, but he felt another presence reach out for him. Instinctively, he grabbed it and held it close to him. The warmth washed the ache away.
“Cap—Commander. Trip. Are you all right?” Malcolm sounded rather shaken himself.
“Gimme a minute.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Atlantis? Are they--”
Mac's tone was quiet as he replied, “They're gone, Trip. The Andorians and the Vulcans blew them to pieces. You barely got out in time.”
“Shran doesn't do subtle messages well.” Trip throttled down a surge of guilt forAtlantis's crew. He finally opened his eyes and met Mac's gaze across the control console. Then Trip realized that Mac was actually looking past Trip to a point behind his left shoulder.
Trip turned to see Rose, whose Time Vortex Manipulator was strapped prominently on her wrist, and she still gripped Malcolm's arm with tight fingers. Malcolm saw how Mac and Rose stared at each other and somehow pried her hand off his arm.
They haven't see each other in a long time. Not as he was, then. The TARDIS's gentle tone echoed in Trip's mind. He looked at Mac, then at Rose, then he finally got it. “Um...”
She all but ran into the Ninth Doctor's arms and buried her head into his chest with a muffled sob. Trip smiled, then turned to give them privacy. “Malcolm, you okay?”
“Considering I was yanked through space and time, I'm in one piece.” He narrowed his eyes at the tactical screen above the console. “Rose popped in the transporter room, grabbed me, and we jumped back here, just a moment before Mac appeared, then you.”
Trip frowned at the information that appeared on another screen. “We're back in our home universe. The Cap'n contacted Atlantis, and Daniels is on Enterprisewith him.” He tersely filled Malcolm in on everything that happened since the Emperor's fleet-wide announcement and the dimensional crossing. He tried to remember all that he saw and felt while in the breach, but it was all fuzzy and confusing.
“The battle's still raging,” Malcolm said. “Enterprise is about one hundred and fifty thousand meters off Demonclaw's port bow. There's a group of unidentified allied ships still engaging the Imperials—”
That reminded Trip of something. “Malcolm, see if you can find a ship called theTrafalgar.”
“Trafalgar?” He frowned and tapped buttons. “Not one of ours, Starfleet or Imperial.”
“They saved Enterprise from being blown up by Demonclaw. They're somethin' called 'United Earth Coalition Ship'.”
“Coalition? I remember hearing something about that on the alternate Risa. They're probably from a universe where Captain Archer managed to cobble together an alliance.” Malcolm smirked. “Sounds like Daniels recruited some extra-dimensional help.”
“Yeah. Wait...there it is.” Trip pointed at a green dot. “They just hit Demonclaw.”
“I'm reading multiple hull breaches on Demonclaw's lower decks, but their power output hasn't changed at all.”
“Whatever Romulan ships are made of, they could give Sherman tanks a run for their money.”
The Ninth Doctor shook his head and explained, “They're also using Galifreyan technology. Your fleet could shoot a million torpedoes into it and it would still keep goin'.”
Trip frowned. “There's gotta be some sort of weakness, Doc.”
Malcolm shook his head grimly. “Demonclaw just activated some sort of tractor beam. Enterprise is caught in it.”
“That tears it, then. You two will have to prevent Future Guy from taking Captain Archer prisoner. Rose and I will focus on the so-called Time Lord Victorious and the Master,” the Ninth Doctor said.
Trip nodded at Malcolm. “Got it. C'mon, Malcolm, let's go kick Future Guy's ass.”
“With pleasure, Commander.” Malcolm put his hand on Trip's arm as Nine punched the proper coordinates into the Time Vortex Manipulator. “Good luck, Doctor.”
Nine grinned widely. “And you, Major...ah-Lieutenant. Sorry.”
“Don't push your luck,” Malcolm growled good-naturedly.
Trip smiled at Rose, who returned it. “See ya both later.”
He hit the button, and his environment dissolved in a flash--
--and they reappeared in a cavernous room deep within the bowels of the Romulan ship. A group of four tall cylinders dominated the center of it, all immersed in a net of golden energy. It was so bright that Trip couldn't look at it directly; he reached out and his elbow hit a switch. The light dimmed to a tolerable level.
“Four of 'em. How're we gonna destroy four of 'em?” Trip narrowed his eyes at the complicated controls at the bottom of each column. They were similar to the TARDIS's, but thick cables ran from the consoles to huge generators at the far end of the room.
“There's got to be some sort of override or failsafe that activates when something's wrong. If we can find it--”
“It should shut down automatically. Good idea, Malcolm.” Trip made his way to a nearby console and tapped buttons. A nearby screen cleared, but filled with indecipherable symbols. “Dammit, this must be Romulan. I can't make heads or tails out of it.”
A quiet voice interrupted, “No it's not. It's High Galifreyan. I can help you with it, if you'll permit me.”
Trip jumped at the unexpected words. A tall, gray-haired man leaned in the doorway, with twinkling blue eyes and a hawkish nose, and wearing a frilly blue smoking jacket and cape. It was so out-of-place that Trip stared at him.
“Oh, for Gallifrey's sake, out of the way,” grumbled another voice. A much smaller man in a rumpled suit pushed past Trip and peered at the console. Trip's first thought was, He looks like a hobo. “Look at this...I haven't seen this version in a long time. I'd thought they'd stop producing this model. Quite inefficient, in the long run--”
Smoking Jacket rolled his eyes and stepped past a dumbstruck Malcolm. “Leave the technology to those who are more familiar with it, and fill those chaps in with what's going on, will you.”
The Hobo narrowed his eyes at Smoking Jacket. “I'm older than you, so don't be impertinent. I can do this as well as anyone else.”
“At least you don't have that ridiculous flute of yours--”
“I'll get myself a new one, eventually. And it's a recorder. And it helps me think, thank you very much.” Hobo glanced at Trip. “My apologies for my colleague's bad manners. Here, push and hold this button. Ah, yes, thank you. So, I understand you're the TARDIS's newest addition. She's never chosen a non-Englishman before. So, what are you? Scotsman? Welshman?”
Trip blinked, still reeling from the rapid-fire questions. “Uh...American. Southern USA. Florida.”
The Hobo's head went up at that. His tone sounded scandalized. “American?”
“Oi!” shouted a voice from the engine room floor. “Americans are cool!”
Smoking Jacket laughed from his position at neighboring console, but he didn't look up from its screen. “Taking him along was your idea.”
“At least he has some fashion sense, unlike some others I know. What did our predecessor call you? A dandy?”
“He called you a clown.”
Trip raised his voice at the constant bickering. “Excuse me! And can I let go of this damn thing now?”
Hobo shook his head and shot back, “Not until I say so. So, your name is Charles?”
“Trip,” objected Smoking Jacket.
“Both,” Trip said.
Hobo rolled his eyes again as if he was in great pain. “Charles is a perfectly good name. And yes, you can let go now.”
Trip sighed and made his way to the railing that overlooked the floor below. He froze as he saw a tweed-clothed young man rushing from column to column with what looked like a version of the sonic screwdriver in his hand. Another long-haired man in a frilly Victorian outfit lay on his back under the third control console, yanking out wires and twisting the remains into all sorts of configurations.
“How are you faring, Eight?” shouted Tweed.
“Almost finished, but there's so many extra connections here, it's redundant.” Victorian Man's voice was muffled, since he held his sonic screwdriver between his teeth. “The Master's handiwork, the bloody sod.”
A few meters away was a figure wrapped in an impossibly long scarf from head to toe. The curly, brown-haired man tapped controls on the fourth console. He read the results and his eyes widened in shock and surprise, huge like a bug's.
“Chaps, it seems that we might have a problem,” Bug-Eyed man announced. “The usual shutdown codes appear not to be working.”
“They've upgraded the software,” confirmed Tweed. “All that Vista rubbish. You'd never find that in my TARDIS.” He glanced up and met Trip's gaze. “I'm going to need your help, Charles. Take your friend down here too...always handy to have a look out while you're doing something...unkosher.”
Trip grinned at Malcolm and made his way down the stairs. Malcolm murmured, “Those all can't be--”
“Remember Nine said there was a One through Eight before him? And there's a Ten, Eleven and a possible Twelve? I think we're seeing some of them. I recognize their clothing from the TARDIS's closet. It looks like some of the Doctors happen to wear similar styles.”
“It's a miracle that one hasn't tripped over that scarf, or has it caught in a door.”
“Maybe it's supposed to be a weapon.” Trip grinned as Malcolm appeared to seriously consider that. He reached Tweed's side. “'Kay, what can we do, Doc?”
“Mister Reed, I want you to keep an eye on that door over there. If anything pops through it, use this.”
Tweed reached into his pocket with a distracted air and pulled out what looked like a phase rifle, except this one had a target sight and bigger buttons. As Trip goggled over his seemingly unending jacket pocket, Malcolm caught the rifle one-handed, nodded and went to cover that exit.
“He's a warrior,” Tweed murmured. “Let him do his job.”
“There's nothing wrong with that,” Smoking Jacket agreed from above them. “Sometimes a little 'convincing' is necessary to get things done.”
Bug-Eye and Hobo sighed in resignation. Victorian Man—Eight, Trip thought--doggedly concentrated on his work, but made no comment.
“All right, Charles, I need you to listen and listen well. This behemoth of a ship runs on stolen Gallifreyan technology, similar to the TARDIS. Those times when you 'flew' the TARDIS, what were you thinking at the time?”
Trip frowned and answered, “That people I love were in danger, like T'Pol and Lorian--”
“That's it. Your crew, your...girlfriend, your captain...they're in danger now, and if we don't stop the Time Lord Victorious and Future Guy, no amount of spaceship power will prevent them dying. Time can be rewritten, universes can change...you can manipulate machines in ways that even I can't comprehend.”
Tweed nodded at a set of controls. “Charles, you need to take hold of those and think about stopping this ship from harming your loved ones and your friends.”
“This thing is bigger than the TARDIS--”
“Size doesn't matter.” Tweed paused, winced at the words, then plowed on. “It's the same basic principle. You can do this, Charles. You have to do this.”
Eight scrambled out from under his console. “That's done it...try it now, Four.”
Bug-Eyed Man tapped more controls, then shook his head. “No change. We're running out of time.”
More arguing broke out on the upper deck, and Trip took a deep breath. He nodded and said, “Okay.”
Tweed clapped him on the shoulder. “Good man.”
He went up to the controls and eyed them with trepidation. I'm the only one who can do this. I gotta do this. For T'Pol, for the Cap'n, for Malcolm, for everyone. Trip glanced over his shoulder at Malcolm, who nodded his support.
“Okay, here goes...” He placed his hands on the touchpads...
...and pain exploded behind his eyes.