The white blocks of stone gleamed in the sunshine, making the silver etched words almost illegible in the brightness. Malcolm walked slowly across the path, looking left and right at the reams of names that were forever frozen in time- his destination was further down, nearer the newer memorials that had been put in place since their first mission started.
He came to a stop, squinting in the morning light as he looked down at the stone marker; he wasn't there of course, but he wouldn't want to bother his family, not for something like this.
'Morning, Commander…' he murmured, before chuckling dryly to himself- why was he talking to him? It wasn't like Trip could hear him.
He put a hand inside his jacket and brought the book out, 'Huckleberry Finn.' Malcom read, smiling at the memory of Trip catching chapters here and there, whenever his shift allowed. 'You never did get to finish…' he said, opening it up to where the bookmark was kept.
It was in the shape of a fish- Trip had thought it was hilarious that it was a catfish, considering his love of it to eat.
'I, um….well, you know I'm not very good at this…' he started, clearing his throat as his eyes misted a bit. He turned away, not wanting anyone else to see- but Trip had been his friend, despite their ups and downs in the past.
He had been as upset as the rest of them when he passed, but being the atypical British officer, he had had to 'stiff upper lip', as it were, and control himself, to comfort others in their sadness. God knows he had to let it out sometimes, most often than not it was alone in the shower. Now he was back at Starfleet Base, and the first thing he had wanted to do was visit Trip's memorial.
He lifted the book again, eyes scanning the familiar words in a burst of nostalgia. The times when he had threatened to spoil the ending and tell him what happened were uncountable, and each made Malcolm grin- Trip was a real hothead when it came to spoiling his books or films.
'You're probably wondering what happens at the end….' He muttered, voice low. He looked down, at the words on his friend's stone. 'Well, hang on then…' he hitched up his trousers and sat, cross legged, on the path in front of the stone.
'I know you're not there,' he muttered- Trip's remains had been taken back to Florida, as Captain Archer had commanded. 'but I'm sure you can hear, wherever you are…' he muttered, looking skyward. He cleared his throat, eyes roving over the page for a good place to start. 'Right…' he started, swallowing hard. He began to read, not caring if anyone heard or not. Trip hadn't got to finish, so it was his duty that he made sure he did.
After a few minutes Malcolm was so engrossed in his reading that he didn't even sense the figure standing behind him, a fond smile on his face, before he walked away, as quietly as a ghost…..
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