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Trip helps turns the tide against Future Guy and the Time Lord Victorious. Another version of the Doctor and Daniels reveal just who Future Guy might be. Team TARDIS is reunited, and Malcolm meets an unexpected visitor.

Quotes from various ENT episodes are in bold.

ENT: "Shuttlepod One", "Shockwave I and II", "First Flight", "The Expanse", "Similitude", "E2", "Home", "Affliction", "Divergence", "Terra Prime"

DW: "The Parting of the Ways", "Doomsday", "Utopia", "Human Nature", "The Family of Blood", "Time Crash" (Children in Need 2006, featuring the Fifth and Tenth Doctors),"The Last of the Time Lords"

The Cricketer=Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison). [I wanted to sneak him in there somewhere, as he's one of my favorite Doctors, not to mention Peter Davison is David Tennant's future father-in-law]

Time Relative to Enterprise (January 2156)

Zero Point of the Universe

December 31 2155/January 1 2156

(+/- 0 years, 0 months, 0 days)

Whenever he flew the TARDIS, Trip focused on the immediate goal. She aided him in that purpose, but he remained himself, Charles Tucker the Third. He was aware of his own personality, his own hopes and desires, but the TARDIS was the catalyst. Their strengths meshed together into a seamless whole, and each individual made up for what the other lacked.

It was very much like a Vulcan marriage bond, in fact. Little wonder the TARDIS had picked Trip as her pilot, and not Travis or Jon. It was more than just physically manipulating the controls. It was a total fusion, body and soul. The TARDIS was intimately connected with Her Doctor, but Trip was a close second.

This ship, this Romulan/Gallifreyan behemoth, was its antithesis. It was an empty soul, taking what it needed and leaving chaos in its wake. The worst thing about it was its sheer power, the sheer inhuman power that didn't care about anything but its ultimate goal: domination.

My God, it's one hell of a design job. Trip saw it with different eyes, the chains of energy that flowed from the four control consoles in the engine room, all the way to the flight deck several stories above his head. Those chains linked the Time Lord Victorious, the Master, and Future Guy. It was a poisonous web that choked out any mental connections to anyone else.

The Tenth's Doctor's link to the TARDIS was fading fast. Trip traced it to a small object hanging out of the man's front pocket. The fob watch! It's something to do with the watch!

There was a start of surprise from the Time Lord Victorious, a mental jolt that nearly kicked Trip back out to reality. At first, Trip thought the Tenth Doctor had detected his presence, but he heard without hearing...several voices at once:

Doctor...the fob watch! Just like last time! You need to open the watch!

Doctor, come back to us! Please...I love you!

Oi, Spaceman! Get your skinny arse back here before I really do some damage to you!

I've waited a century for you to show up in Cardiff, remember? Don't make me wait another hundred years!

The ship shuddered all around Trip, as it recognized its enemy. He heard Future Guy's roar of anger, and that rage kicked the ship into high gear. It slammed into Trip worse than a shot of adrenaline; his heart raced as the deck beneath his feet shifted slightly. The vibrations from the glowing columns shivered up his spine as the ship altered course.

Heading for a collision course for Enterprise. Future Guy was determined to alter every possible timeline, subjugate every possible universe under his heel. A temporal explosion of this proportion would be more than enough to do that...Future Guy had the power to survive it. The crew of the Enterprise did not. Even Daniels had proved he could physically die. All incarnations of the Doctor, and his Companions, past and future...

Hell no! I'm not gonna let this happen! Desperation gave Trip the strength he needed. He poured every iota of thought into preventing this catastrophe. He thought about T'Pol, how she was his soulmate, his other half.

Why don't you just say it?”

“Say what?”

“That you want me to come back.”

“I believe I did. I think your presence here would be extremely beneficial to our operations.”

“No. That you want me back.”

“I don't know what you mean.”

“My mistake. See you around.”

“Wait, Trip. I want you to come back.”

“Then I'll think about it.”

“Trip!”

And she'd kissed him. It showed the depth of her love for him, more than words could.

About Lorian, his son:

It's the strangest thing. I look at you and I see my father. Right here, around the eyes. Now the ears, those are your mother's...wait a minute, you smiled.”

“I wasn't raised with the same inhibitions most Vulcans have. My human side has allowed me to find a balance between emotion and logic. I've even been known to tell a joke on occasion.”

Lorian and his ship had survived the Kovalaans and had explored the stars in a different part of the galaxy. Trip knew that they'd meet again, sometime. If not here, then somewhere else.

About Jonathan Archer, how they met during the NX-Project:

If I had my own ship, I'd sign you up in a second.”

I'm gonna hold you to it.”

Thanks, Trip.”

Jon had kept his promise when he received command of NX-01. He'd made Trip the Chief Engineer on their voyage...and in the Expanse, Jon saved his life, several times.

And of course, Malcolm Reed, that time in Shuttlepod One, when he'd tried to shut himself in the airlock, to give Malcolm a fighting chance, and Malcolm had pointed the phase pistol at him:

Who the hell do you think you are?”

Your Armory Officer, and perhaps your friend.”

“Friends don't shoot each other!”

“I've invested far too much time trying to figure you out, Mister Tucker. I'm not about to accept that it was all for nothing.”

The memories came fast and furious and filled the void between him and the Gallifreyan ship. Good and bad, some when Trip had been actually present, and others where he hadn't. He saw the entire thing with Sim, and realized why neither Jon nor T'Pol talked about it. He saw Malcolm's deals with Harris during the Klingon Incident, and understood why Malcolm had kept that part of his past hidden. He remembered standing helpless as T'Pol married Koss, putting aside his own desires for the greater good...

Watched again as Baby Elizabeth took her last breath, his baby girl. His daughter...

Saw the Xindi death beam bear down on Florida and vaporizing everyone in its path, including Lizzie. She'd been at her home in Panama City, packing to join the rest of the family in Mississippi; if she'd been an hour or two sooner, she would have lived...

Felt that sickening sensation of a climb rope giving way, the slackening of the metal pieton and crampon; clawing at nothing but air. Trip experienced A.G. Robinson's last horrible seconds of life, as he fell, the icy wind biting at his skin, as the sheer cliff face of Mount McKinley whizzed past him...

Memories, experiences, good and bad, from many viewpoints and many lives. Was this what the TARDIS saw, what the Doctor saw, what Daniels saw?

Was this what Future Guy saw?

No wonder the man was insane, with all of time and space at his doorstep. The sense of invincibility that came with the knowledge. You could stop people from dying. You could erase the bad and just dwell on the good. You could heal the sick, bend people to your will, pick and choose the technology you wanted. Future Guy employed the Suliban, then discarded them once they served his purpose.

But even Future Guy wasn't omnipotent; certain people and events were fixed points in time, and couldn't be altered. Jonathan Archer and his Coalition, for one. Trip and his relationship with T'Pol. Malcolm's with Hoshi. A.G. Robinson and the NX-Project.

The Doctor and his TARDIS. And his Companions. Jack Harkness's Immortality. Rose Tyler's Parallel Universe. The Master. They were meant to be.

Time can be changed. The Universe can be rewritten. Future Guy wanted to change the immutable and in the process, he was destroying the fabric of space-time. In the end, no one would survive.

Trip felt another surge of energy through his hands. The opportunity was there for the taking. He could simply think, Disappear. Future Guy and his minions would all vanish, the universe would be saved. It would all be an easy fix, easier than a cranky Warp 5 engine...

Where would you draw the line, Commander? Where would you stop? You know what happens with the best of intentions.

He recoiled as if slapped. There were others there with him, now. He felt T'Pol's steady presence, Jon's enthusiasm, Travis's optimism, Phlox's zest for life, Hoshi's warm empathy. Malcolm was there, too, an intensely private man, yet risked much for others.

The TARDIS has said that Trip could see the wonders of machines, and Malcolm, the wonders of the soul. She was more accurate than Trip gave her credit for.You are the mirrors for each other.

Trip felt temptation pull at him again, to strip Future Guy of his powers and appropriate them for himself. It would be so easy...

Then the TARDIS slapped him upside the head. Again.

Bloody sodding idiot. Get your head screwed on straight. I'm not going to let you go after everything we've been through. Her voice softened. Trip. You know what is right.

Trip laughed aloud as he heard T'Pol's mental voice: Thank you. And the TARDIS's unspoken reply, the feeling shared by two women who loved the same man.

Thank you, Darlin'. Both of you. Trip gathered all of his will and thought a single word at that boiling maelstrom of anger and temptation.

No.

Time and space paused for a fraction of a second, then obeyed the command.


The Big Bang didn't even compare to this.

There was no explosion, no lightshow, no debris. Things just stopped, then slowly dissolved into whiteness. It reminded Trip of T'Pol's meditation 'white space'. He caught a shadow out of the corner of his eye, but before he could react, that shadow gave a muted grunt and fell like a stone.

“So sorry about that. You all right?”

Trip blinked at the blond man that stood behind him. He wielded what looked like a flat wooden paddle in his hands, obviously the weapon used to knock his attacker unconscious.

Trip peered at the woolen pullover, the Panama hat and the beige-striped slacks. It only emphasized how young he appeared. Trip guessed he was perhaps thirty, older than the Tweed-clothed Doctor, but not by much.

“Uh, yeah. Thanks. Lemme guess. You're the Doctor. Which one are you?”

The young man chuckled and tipped his hat in acknowledgement. “Let me see...if I'm reading the timestream correctly, that puts me as number Five. You must be the TARDIS's newest companion.”

“Yeah, I'm Trip Tucker. Am I dead?”

“No, not dead. Not really. I think a lot of people would be cross with you if you were, actually.” Five frowned at the slumped person on the ground, then at his paddle. “Oh, dear. I think I'm going to have to replace my cricket bat. He's put a crack right through the middle of it.”

“You play cricket?” Trip suppressed a shudder. He never could understand the appeal in cricket, but of course, he'd never say that aloud to Malcolm.

Five's eyes crinkled in humor. “Ah, that's right, you Americans don't play, so you wouldn't know the uniform if you saw it.” He sobered as he regarded the unconscious man. “Have a close look...I assume this is your friend, 'Future Guy'.”

Trip's eyes widened as he stared down at the figure. He was no longer 'Admiral Tonek', but the man's features were still blurred and indistinct, as if someone had used a huge eraser and smudged his face. It shimmered and changed with every second. First, it was a young man; now it was a grandfatherly sage, and now it was a young woman.

“He's a shapeshifter?”

“Yes, you could say that, but he not only with physical space, but also in time. This is what he looks like, out of the normal space-time continuum.” Five looked up at him. “He's...in between forms, so to speak, and not exactly rational. Not quite Time Lord, not quite...other, either.”

“You mean he's...stuck where he is.” Trip narrowed his eyes at the unconscious form of 'Future Guy'. “And he's gone a little nuts.”

Five's mouth quirked upward in a manner eerily similar to the other Doctors whom Trip had seen. “I believe I just said that.”

“Sorry.” He took a deep breath and asked, “So now that we've got him, what're we gonna do with him?”

A second voice interjected, “Take him home, where he belongs, and where he won't cause any more trouble.”

Trip nodded as another person stepped out of the whiteness. “Daniels.”

Five inclined his head at the newcomer. “Hello, Jack. I see that you're none the worse for wear, considering all the chaos you had to arrange at such short notice.”

Daniels bowed slightly at the unspoken criticism in the Doctor's tone. “I'm duly chastised, sir, and I promise I'll clean up after myself.” He smiled at Trip. “It's good to see you again, Commander Tucker. I knew you and Lieutenant Reed would come through in the end.”

Trip shook his head and said, “So that's it, then? We save the universe, you haul Future Guy away, and everything's all back the way it's supposed to be?”

The Time Agent had the good grace to look chagrined at the tone. “Ah, not exactly. I promised the Doctor here that I'd tie up all my loose ends. Well, as best as I can, anyway. Things have changed a little...but I think you'd approve of those changes.”

“Really.”

Daniels chuckled at Trip's skepticism. “Really. I can't really tell you what's in store for you in your future...that'd be spoiling the ending.” His eyes softened as he put a hand on Future Guy's shoulder. “I can say that you, Jonathan Archer, Malcolm Reed and the rest of the Enterprise crew...you're all destined for great things. Things that are possible...and a few that are impossible.”

And with a nod of his head and a flash of light, Daniels and Future Guy disappeared from view. The Fifth Doctor sighed and murmured, “I do hope he's more careful in the future. He means well, Jack does, but things get complicated anyway.”

“Yeah, no kiddin'.” Trip sighed and said, “Well, I guess that means you're takin' me and Malcolm home.”

Five laughed and pointed into the whiteness with his chin. “You're half right, Trip. The Doctor's taking you home, but it's not me. Your ride's over there.”

Trip looked nearby to see a tall form standing in front of a familiar blue police box. Trip recognized the flyaway brown hair and the neatly-pressed suit. He looked just like the Emperor, the Time Lord Victorious, but the man's stance, his body language, his friendly smile...it was completely different. This was a completely different man, a transformed man.

Free of Future Guy's and the Master's control.

"Don't worry about the Master," Five said quietly, his heavy tone a contrast with his youthful demeanor. "He'll be taken care of in due time."

Trip breathed out a sigh he didn't know he'd been holding. He glanced down at the red Converse sneakers and broke out into a genuine grin. “Doctor? Number Ten?”

The man's smile had a touch of craziness, much like the one of his immediate predecessor, Number Nine. Yet there was a deep sorrow within his eyes that belied the easy cheer. He knew what had happened to him and was struggling to deal with it, but his voice betrayed none of those dark shadows.

“Yes, I'm the Doctor. Just the Doctor is fine...you can drop the number.”

“Okay, just the Doctor, then.” Trip paused as he saw Ten nod at a point behind him. He turned to see Five nod back, shoulder his cricket bat, and slowly vanish from view, like the Cheshire Cat. Trip turned back to Ten, whose smile softened at the gaze.

“You're not wearing your glasses.”

The Doctor laughed, a booming laugh that was unexpected from such a tall, skinny fellow. “The brainy specs? I only wear those when I need to look clever. Blame Five; he started me doing it.”

“Ah, I get it.” Trip relaxed at the man's charm; he could see hints of both Five and Nine in the dark chestnut eyes, despite the obvious physical differences. Strangely enough, he had the feeling that this Doctor was a lot older than he looked, and he still carried a heavy burden on his shoulders.

He seemed to detect Trip's unease, and the smile broadened. “Hello, Trip. I'm glad to finally meet you...I reckon you've had a long day. Mostly my fault, sorry about that.”

“It's okay. We all have long days,” Trip joked. “I guess we saved the universe, huh?”

“Well, mostly.”

“Mostly?”

This time, the Doctor's eyes sparkled with mischief. “Well, yeah, wibbly wobbly, timey-whimey stuff. Speaking of...we've got those loose ends to tie up.” The Doctor extended a hand. “C'mon. You've got some people who wanna see you.”

Trip nodded and put his hand into the Doctor's. The Doctor cocked his head, winked, then pulled him into the TARDIS. Warmth wrapped around them, a sense of homecoming. The column above the central console glowed a soft blue and polished metal sparkled in the lights. Trip stopped just off the ramp, his eyes widening.

The control room was crowded with people. A red-haired woman squealed in joy, ran towards them and threw her arms around Trip. “Cowboy! You think we were gonna just jet off into the sunset without sayin' anythin'?”

Trip nearly passed out from lack of oxygen, but managed to mouth, “Uh...can't breathe.”

Donna Noble let him go, but put her hands on his shoulders in a motherly manner and smiled. “Told y'that you can do it, didn't I.”

“Yeah,” he coughed, “you did.”

Jack Harkness slapped him on the back in welcome. “Good to see you in one piece. Oh, and thanks.”

Trip found himself blushing again under Jack's smile. How the hell does he manage to do that?

Donna elbowed Jack and snarked, “Oi, stop it. He's got a girlfriend, remember?”

“The more the merrier,” Jack snarked back. “Unless you want to join?”

Donna elbowed him again, harder this time, and Jack winced. The Doctor hid a smile as he leaned against the console next to Rose Tyler. She reached over and squeezed his hand. Trip nearly started at the expression on her face: one of love lost, and now returned.

Wait, I thought...that's the same look she had when she saw Nine. Or am I just seeing things? Trip sighed and shook his head. He guessed Nine wasn't around anymore, so Rose had taken up with Ten when he had assumed the Doctor-ship, whatever that entailed. A part of Trip was glad that Rose had found someone else in the universe to love.

Malcolm leaned on the far railing, next to Martha Jones. He smirked at Jack Harkness and commented, “You like living at the edge of danger, Captain Harkness. Sir. ”

Jack turned his brilliant smile on him. “It's how I've always lived, Lieutenant. You've probably guessed that by now.”

Malcolm's smirk widened a fraction. “There were a few clues, yes.”

Trip rolled his eyes at the by-play between those two and decided he didn't want to know. “Geez, Jack. By the way, what are you thankin' me for?”

“You gave us the final piece of the puzzle in freeing the Doctor.” At Trip's quizzical look, Jack clarified, “The fob watch.”

“The pocket watch with the chain?”

Martha Jones nodded from her place beside Malcolm. “There was a time when the Doctor had to escape from a Family of Blood...beings who wanted to kill him. He used something called a Chameleon Arch to hide from them. It...changed the Doctor, made him a Human. He really believed he was a Human. As a failsafe, he put his real consciousness, his real identity into a perception filter in the form of a pocket watch.”

Trip suddenly understood. “So when you opened that fob watch...you remembered who you really were. It was a matter of just reminding you.”

The Doctor winced again and shot Martha a look of apology. “'Reminding' me wasn't a pleasant experience. The Master and...Future Guy interfered with my timestream, and I knew what could happen to me. I needed a way for my Companions--” He smiled at Jack, Rose, Martha and Donna, “to bring me back.”

Donna grinned. “You and Bomb Boy count in that select few, now.”

“'Bomb Boy?'” Malcolm huffed.

“You have to admit, it's a pretty accurate description of you, Malcolm,” Trip said with a laugh. “Donna gives nicknames to everyone.”

Malcolm only raised an eyebrow at the redhead, who only stared back with a hint of challenge in her eyes. Martha murmured in a low voice, “Maybe it's good they aren't the Doctor's Companions at the same time. They'd drive each other batty.”

“I'd like to see Donna give him a run for his money,” Trip answered in the same tone. Martha rolled her eyes, but grinned at the words.

The Doctor clapped his hands, startling everyone. “So...one brief stop before we head back to the mid 22nd century...the early 23rd century, around 2200 or so.”

Malcolm frowned. “Why are we going to 2200?”

The Doctor tapped a few buttons on the console, then jerked his head at Malcolm. “Move a couple of steps to your right, Malcolm. Over there.”

“What?” He traded mystified looks with Trip, but did as the Doctor asked.

“Good. A few minor adjustment to the TARDIS's shield harmonics and--”

There was a brief shimmer of the transporter effect, then a woman stood in the exact same place where Malcolm was only moments earlier. She was a fraction of an inch shorter than Malcolm, with long, dark hair nearly braided and pinned up into a bun. Her golden shirt and black pants looked like some sort of uniform, but Trip couldn't place it.

I know her from somewhere. Even as Trip had the thought, the woman regarded him from head to toe with a smirk. His heart froze as he met a familiar set of dark brown eyes. Trip glanced back at the Doctor, who leaned against the console with a knowing look on his face.

“He's never met her, but his heart knows who she is,” he murmured to Trip. “You would always know your own flesh and blood.”

Trip only nodded. He had known Baby Elizabeth was his and T'Pol's child at the first minute he'd seen her. Granted, Elizabeth hadn't been conceived the 'normal' way, but she had been much Trip's child as if she'd had been. Trip had felt an instant connection with the child. He had known.

Malcolm looked like he was about to faint, but Donna and Martha put steadying hands on his shoulder. “Easy, Bomb Boy,” Donna murmured. “Take it easy.”

“I'll be fine, Donna.” He took a deep breath and looked at the visitor again. “My God, you're the very image of your mother.”

She smiled—Hoshi's smile—and shook her head slightly. “I may look like her, but everyone tells me I act more like you.” Her English accent was a softer version of Malcolm's. She held out a hand and Malcolm accepted it within his own. The almond-shaped eyes softened as she said, “I'm Captain Elizabeth Yoshiko Reed, of the Earth Coalition Ship Trafalgar.”

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May 2012

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