Behind Blue Eyes
By Thalia Drogna
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I'm just borrowing them because it's fun.
Author's note: This idea came to me while watching Trip's ineptitude in combat training. Then I went to see Suzanne Vega and she sang "Behind Blue Eyes", originally by Pete Townshend of The Who but also recently covered by Limp Bizkit, and the song fits so perfectly with what I had planned, I just couldn't resist.
This has nothing to do with the "Nanite Saga", I decided I needed a break before I wrote part three of that.
This is set post season three ignoring the cliffhanger ending, I'm assuming it all worked out and everything got back to normal. Spoilers for pretty much everything in here but especially season three.
Archive: yes to EntSTcommunity, everyone else please email me for permission.
No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
– Behind Blue Eyes, The Who
"You really could try a little harder, Commander," said Reed. Standing in the middle of the exercise mat in the Enterprise gym.
"I'm doing the best that I can, Lieutenant," replied Trip, who was currently lying in a rather undignified position on the floor where he'd just been thrown by Reed.
"I saw how Corporal Cole threw you onto that mat during our training sessions with the MACOs. Do you really want her to be able to throw you around like a rag doll?" asked Reed.
"To be honest, I wasn't complaining," said Trip, smiling mischievously.
"That's not exactly the point," said Reed. "You should at least be able to defend yourself properly."
"Hey, I do alright," said Trip.
"Yes, but "alright" could get you killed," said Reed.
"Okay, Malcolm. Let's go over it again," he said and pulled himself up off the mat. Reed showed Trip the blocking move again that he'd been trying to get Trip to perfect. So far the Commander wasn't doing very well at learning the move. Reed had been a little over-zealous on his last attack and sent Trip sprawling onto the floor. However the Lieutenant wasn't about to be deterred by a small set back and he persevered, this move could well save his friend's life and maybe those of anyone he was with. Finally after another hour of falling flat on his ass, the Chief Engineer had conquered the move and Reed was prepared to call it a day, feeling that they'd accomplished something.
"So tomorrow we're working on target practice, right?" asked Trip.
"Yes, that's right. At least you're normally better at that than hand to hand combat," said Reed, with some slight exasperation.
"Well, they don't usually expect Engineers to have to fight," said Trip. "All the training I got was the basic self defence stuff they teach everyone. It's your job to be good at this stuff, Malcolm. Exactly how many times has anyone beaten you in a fair fight recently?"
"Never, although Major Hayes came close," said Reed, and then added quietly, "he was a good soldier."
"Yeah, he was and he brought Hoshi back safe and sound." There was a pause as both men remembered their colleague. "Want to get some dinner with me, Malcolm?" asked Trip as they wandered back towards their quarters.
Reed recognised Trip's attempt to lighten the mood. "Why not," said Reed.
A third of Enterprise's crew had joined them after they had docked at Jupiter station and at least in Engineering, it was taking a little while for them to get settled in. That meant extra work for everyone else and Trip had been having a hell of a day. It was already two hours past the end of his shift and he was just wondering if he could get out of target practice with Malcolm in order to concentrate on the engine, when the com sounded. He was being called to the bridge. It had already been a long day and he was more than a little tired, but he made his way to the turbo lift and on to the bridge.
"What's up Captain?" he asked as he approached the gathering in the situation room.
"We've been asked to change course and rendezvous with Endeavour," said Archer.
"The NX-02? They've only been out of space dock for a couple of weeks," said Trip. "They can't be in trouble already."
"They are not in trouble," said T'Pol. "They have a passenger for Enterprise."
"A passenger?" asked Reed.
"Yes, a Colonel Darwin of the MACOs," said T'Pol. No one noticed Trip stiffen slightly at the name.
"MACOs?" said Reed. "I thought the decision was that Enterprise no longer needed a military contingent on board."
"Apparently Colonel Darwin has a mission for Enterprise. We're to rendezvous with Endeavour and then proceed on to a destination which will be supplied by the Colonel," said Archer.
"Why can't Endeavour do it?" asked Trip, slightly more abruptly than he'd meant to.
"Apparently only Enterprise will do," said Archer, giving Trip a look which meant he was wondering why Trip looked so nervous. "And we're not doing anything urgent at the moment. I guess the survey of that binary star system will just have to wait."
Trip had a sinking feeling that he knew exactly why only Enterprise would do and it was going to cause him a lot of trouble.
"I really don't like this, sir," said Reed. "Why won't he give us the details of the destination now?"
"Apparently the mission is of a highly sensitive nature and they didn't want to broadcast more details than necessary over the sub-space relay," said Archer. "We'll know soon enough where we're going Lieutenant."
It took Enterprise two days to reach the designated rendezvous co- ordinates. Endeavour was waiting for them when they arrived before it headed away to its own mission. Trip had spent the two days wondering what he was going to do. He didn't think that there could be two Colonel Darwins in the MACOs and, if this man was who he thought he was, he'd hoped never to see him again.
As soon as he met the Colonel everyone was going to know that they'd met before and then there would be questions. Trip had better think up some damn good answers that would fool a security officer as vigilant as Malcolm and his best friend of ten years. Both Reed and Archer were getting uncannily good at spotting when he was being economical with the truth. He hated this lying but there wasn't much he could do about that.
He waited with Captain Archer apprehensively for the Colonel's shuttle to dock.
The Colonel was a man of about fifty with greying hair and the build of a military man. He wore a MACO uniform which bore the insignia of his rank and more than a few medal ribbons.
"Colonel Darwin, a pleasure to meet you," said Captain Archer, shaking hands with the officer in front of him.
"Captain, permission to come aboard, sir," said the Colonel.
"Permission granted. Allow me to introduce my officers. Sub-commander T'Pol, my Science Officer. Lieutenant Reed, my Tactical Officer and this is Commander Tucker, my Chief Engineer."
Trip decided that there was only one way to do this and that was to get it over with. He snapped off a salute. "Colonel, sir."
"At ease, Commander," replied Colonel Darwin, returning the salute.
"Sir," replied Trip.
"That's more saluting than you ever did under my command," said Colonel Darwin, with a slight smile on his lips.
"It's been a long time, sir," said Trip and held out his hand, which was shaken warmly by the Colonel.
"It certainly has, Commander," said the Colonel.
"I take it that you two know each other," said Archer. "Why didn't you say something, Trip?" Archer didn't know what had shaken him more, the salute, or the simple fact that Trip hadn't told him that he knew the Colonel. They hadn't really talked about the up coming mission but it was very odd that Trip wouldn't have even mentioned the possibility that he knew the Colonel.
"Well I wasn't entirely sure that this was the same Colonel Darwin," said Trip, hoping that Archer wouldn't question him too closely on this.
"The Commander served under my command for three years. We were both in the Special Projects Unit. That was over ten years ago now though. You're lucky to have him, Captain, he's a fine Engineer," said Darwin.
"Thank you, sir," said Trip, blushing slightly at the compliment.
"Special Projects Unit?" asked Archer.
"Yeah, it was an combined-forces unit, we were based on Mars colony," said Trip.
"Perhaps Trip could show you to your room," said Archer, "I'm sure you two would like to catch up."
"Unfortunately as much as I'd like to continue this re-union, my mission is urgent. I need to brief you immediately about the situation," said Darwin.
"Okay, let's go to my ready room, everyone else is dismissed," said Archer, handing the Colonel's bags to a waiting crewman.
Archer offered Darwin coffee when they got to the ready room, but the Colonel declined.
"I would like to say that it's an honour and a privilege to be working with you and your crew Captain," said Darwin. "When I heard what you went through to save Earth, I couldn't believe it."
"Thank you, Colonel. It was a tough few months. Although I noticed that your record is impressive as well," said Archer "So tell me about how we can help you."
"Unfortunately this situation is very sensitive and I am only authorised to give you a limited amount of information. My orders are to proceed to Deneb IV. We lost contact with the Earth Survey Ship Venture about a week ago now and I have reason to believe they came across something interesting," said Darwin. He handed Archer a padd. "This is the confirmation of my authority from Admiral Forrest."
"That seems to be in order," said Archer as he looked at the padd. "What do you think they found?"
"That is classified," said Darwin.
"Classified?" asked Archer.
"Yes, Captain. I'm sorry but I can't give you any more details," said Darwin.
"What can you tell me?" asked Archer.
"I guess I'd best start at the beginning. The ESS Venture was making a routine sweep of the sector when it encountered mechanical trouble and had to make a detour. Deneb IV was the nearest planet with a breathable atmosphere. They detected an alien ship crashed on the surface of the planet."
"What kind of alien ship?" asked Archer.
"That's what we're not sure about," said Darwin. "But if the information we've received is correct then there is the possibility that it could be a very important discovery and we definitely don't want the Klingons to get there first. Anyway, the last we heard from them was that they were going down to the surface to make repairs and for a look at this alien ship. Then we lost contact with them."
"What else can you tell me?" asked Archer.
"Not much, I'm afraid," said Darwin. "I will tell you more if I can, as and when it becomes relevant. There is one thing that I must make clear, I am in command once we reach Deneb IV and I expect your full co-operation once my part of this mission has begun."
"You'll have it," said Archer.
"I know, but it has to be said," replied Darwin.
"I understand," said Archer. "Why did you need it to be Enterprise for this mission?"
"Because besides myself, there's only one other person who knows more about what we believe is on that planet and that person is on Enterprise," said Darwin.
"Who would that be?" asked Archer.
"Commander Tucker," said Darwin.