By Thalia Drogna
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I'm just borrowing them because it's fun.
AN: This is a sequel to "Behind Blue Eyes". You don't have to read that to understand this story but it will help, and wouldn't you like to know what Trip was doing as part of a MACO covert ops unit.
MACO Lieutenant Theresa Arroya walked swiftly down the alleyway that she had decided to cut down. It was pitch black in the street, there were no streetlights and it was already well past midnight. The only light came from the full moon and the stars above.
She'd been out with friends from the MACO base. They'd stayed out late, knowing that none of them had to be up for duty the next day. It wasn't often that they were all able to kick back and relax so it had been doubly enjoyed by everyone. She had left her friends at the restaurant knowing that it wasn't far back to her apartment. They had mostly been going back to base but her apartment was in the opposite direction. Living alone, miles from the base, had been a concession to her independent streak and the product of too much time being spent cramped into small spaces with other MACOs. The restaurant they had eaten at was within walking distance and it was a nice night so she had opted to walk.
Almost immediately she had been sure that someone was following her. The footsteps that kept pace with her own, but when she turned to look there was no one behind her. She had taught a similar technique to her class only the previous week. She briefly considered that it might be one of the new class trying to prove something to their teacher but she dismissed that, none of them would be that stupid. They knew what Arroya could and would do to them if she caught them.
She looked behind her and saw two men. She had chosen the alleyway because it was dark and presented better places for her to hide, but that also worked in the favour of the men following her. She was unarmed, taking weapons to dinner was generally frowned upon, besides it had been years since she'd needed to. Hiding or running was her only option.
She turned the corner and began to run. She knew the area well and the way that the alleys twisted and turned. She knew that she had to find cover and her own apartment block wasn't far away. She turned another corner and there was the fire escape of her building. She jumped for the ladder, glad that she was as tall as she was. She caught the bottom rung on her second try and scrambled upwards. She reached the landing, pulled the ladder up behind her and climbed up the stairs until she reached her floor. It had been a while since she'd broken in anywhere, especially her own apartment, but you didn't forget things like that. She opened the window and scrambled in.
From the window she saw two men run past below and she ducked back into the darkened room. She looked around her apartment, satisfied that she was safe and although she kept the light off. She found her communicator and called Security. She wondered what was going on. She wasn't working on anything classified at the moment, she was just teaching. She waited for the security officers to arrive, suddenly there was knock at the door. It had to be the security officers that she'd called, she wasn't expecting anyone else.
She wasn't even aware of what had happened until her body broke the glass of the window and she found herself falling towards the ground. She knew she'd been stupid, five years ago she never would have let her guard down so quickly. She hit the ground and knew no more.
Arroya's murderer looked down at the bleeding, broken body in the alleyway below. He pulled out of his pocket a padd with a list of names on it and crossed off the first name. One down. He knew the names by heart now, the only problem was finding them all and he knew that the first would be the easiest.
When Trip didn't arrive for their weekly martial arts training, Reed went looking for him. He assumed that Trip had just got caught up in Engineering, he hadn't seen him at dinner either. So Reed went down to Engineering, but Trip wasn't there, nor was he in the mess hall, so that only left Trip's quarters.
Reed pressed the bell and waited. There was no answer. He pressed it again. There was still no answer. He was worried now so he keyed in his override and entered Trip's quarters.
Trip lay slumped over his desk, a glass clutched in his hand which still contained a centimetre of amber liquid, and an empty bottle of scotch beside him.
"Oh Trip," said Reed and went to feel for a pulse. Trip was out cold. He shook him and elicited a groan but nothing else. "What the bloody hell did you do this for?" said Reed and went to the com and called Doctor Phlox, who arrived a few moments later.
"Commander Tucker has had rather too much to drink," said Reed.
Phlox scanned Trip. "Let's get him onto the bed and into the recovery position," said Phlox.
Trip groaned again as he was manhandled onto his bunk. "Well at least he's semi-responsive," said Reed.
"Indeed. If his blood alcohol level was any higher then I'd want to take him back to sick bay for monitoring, but I think it should be okay to leave him here, if you'd be willing to stay with him and keep an eye on him," said Phlox. The doctor prepared a hypospray and injected its contents into Trip's neck. Trip moved slightly as if to get away from the prick of the hypospray but apart from that he remained in the position he'd been placed in.
"I'll stay with him. Someone obviously needs to look after him," said Reed.
"Have you any idea what precipitated this?" asked Phlox.
"No. I've never known Trip to get this drunk, especially not on his own or when he's meant to be on duty the next day. There's been the odd occasion on shore leave when he's drunk a bit too much and needed someone to help him back to his room or there's been some loud out of tune singing, but that's about it," said Reed.
"Well there isn't much I can do for him that will really help. I've given him a vitamin shot and something to help with the dehydration but that's all I can do for the moment. The best thing to do is let him sleep it off. I'll leave some painkillers for when he wakes up and let the Captain know that he won't be on duty tomorrow," said Phlox. "I don't think he's going to feel up to it tomorrow."
"You're not going to tell the Captain why, are you?" asked Reed worriedly. He was never quite sure how far doctor-patient confidentiality extended in these sort of situations.
"No, no, of course not," said Phlox. "If he asks I'll direct him to Commander Tucker. Do you know if he's vomited yet?"
"There wasn't any sign that he had when I arrived," said Reed.
"Well it's likely that he will," said Phlox. "The important thing is to make sure that his airway remains clear."
"I know my basic first aid, Doctor. We'll be fine," said Reed. "And I can always call you if I'm worried."
"Yes, of course. Well, I'll leave you to it," said Phlox and with that he left Reed alone with Trip.
It was still only about 9pm ship's time, so Reed's plan was to sit at Trip's desk and get some work done. First he had to clear away the debris that littered his friend's desk though. There was the empty bottle to begin with and then the usual clutter of padds and tools that Trip always had on his desk. Reed wasn't sure why anyone would need a microcalibrator in their quarters but Trip always had one sitting beside his monitor. Once he'd cleared some space he was finally able to get to the desk and the monitor.
He was about to log on to the computer when he noticed that Trip had been reading something on the screen before he passed out. It was a letter. Reed felt a bit guilty but he did wonder if it would shed any light on why Trip was lying on his bed in a drunken stupor, so he pushed his ethics to one side and read the letter.
I'm sorry to start this letter with some bad news. I was informed yesterday that Terri Arroya died when she fell from the fifth storey window of her apartment. They think it was a burglary. Terri had been out with some friends and must have come home and disturbed the burglar. The police are trying to find the guy but they don't have many leads. All the teaching staff at the base are devastated, they're a close knit bunch there. I can't believe what happened, especially after all those dangerous missions that we pulled off together. It just seems so unfair. I know she was really enjoying the teaching though and passing on her knowledge to the next generation of MACOs. The Colonel has just contacted me to say that he's coming back to Earth for the memorial service (you know what Terri thought about funerals).
The letter went on with other mundane details about when and where the funeral was, although the writer knew that Enterprise was too far out for Trip to make it back. It finished with "Love and best wishes, Ellen".
Well that at least explained the whisky. Trip had obviously been trying to drown his sorrows at the death of a friend. He wasn't going to be able to get back to Earth for the funeral and that must have hurt. It had probably brought back memories of Lizzie's death as well, something which Trip had only recently got over.
The names from the letter rang some bells and the mention of "the Colonel" gave Reed a big clue. A quick check of the database confirmed his assumptions. Theresa Arroya was a MACO. She had been a teacher at the MACO training base and before that a member of the Special Projects Unit. That was how Trip knew her, they'd both served in Special Projects. "Ellen" who had written the letter was Major Ellen Hathaway who had been second in command of Special Projects and now headed up her own unit. He knew from Hoshi that Trip had been writing to her for some time.
"The Colonel" was, of course, Colonel Robert Darwin, Unit Commander of Special Projects, who Reed had met only a few months ago. Captain Archer and Colonel Darwin were not on the best of terms after their last mission together. Each of them blamed the other for the events which had taken place on Deneb IV. Reed wasn't exactly sure who was to blame or that there was anything to take the blame for since it had all worked out in the end.
Reed knew at least some of the feelings that Trip had about his time as a member of Special Projects, but if nothing else he'd made a few friends who he still kept in touch with. He had a feeling that when Trip eventually woke up he was going to need strong coffee, painkillers and someone to talk to. Luckily, Reed was currently in a position to provide all three of those things, he just hoped that Trip didn't decide that he didn't want to talk about it. He knew what happened to Trip when he tried to work through things on his own and it wasn't pretty.