A Thousand Years

Disclaimer: Enterprise doesn't belong to me, I wish it did. The only thing I get out of this is someplace for my imagination to run riot.

Rating: PG-13

Archive: yes, just ask first.

Spoilers: all four seasons

Pairing: T/T'P

AN: This is the sequel to Desert Rose, read that first if you want to know how Trip survives TATV.

"We stand here today on the edge of a new future for the peoples of the galaxy. We have given ourselves a difficult task, to forge a lasting alliance between eighteen races that will ensure freedom and liberty throughout the known universe. A difficult task, but not an impossible one and one that we cannot, will not, fail in.

When I was asked to give this speech I knew with complete certainty that they had picked the wrong guy. I've been called many things over the months that it has taken to put together this charter, some of them complimentary, some of them less so. I have been described as the "Architect of the Federation Charter", and that is something that I certainly am not. There are delegates from eighteen races signing this Charter, it is far more than the work of one man. To say that I'm responsible for this historic occasion ignores so many people who have contributed and without whom I would not be standing here today.

We have faced adversity and trials to bring us to this point. Lives of loved ones and friends have been sacrificed for what they believed. We have walked through fire together and shown that we will not crumble. We stand united knowing that we are all aiming for the same goals of peaceful exploration.

When I was appointed Captain of Enterprise ten years ago, I never dreamed that I would be signing a document which lays the ground work for co-operation between so many species. We stepped out into the galaxy, knowing so little about what faced us, but we made many friends on our travels. I am proud now to be able to officially call those friends members of the Federation that we have worked so hard to create.

To say that this will be the end to all our problems would be overly optimistic, but we will face future problems by using all the resources available to us. This charter is the beginning of a greater era of co-operation that we pass on to our children and our children's children. We give them the gift of peace, a gift that we have known precious little of during our own life times.

This will not be a military alliance in conception but, should the need arise, we will take up arms together against aggressors. Those who are strong among us will protect the weak, and we will be proud to do so."

Excerpt from Captain Jonathan Archer's Address to Federation Charter Signatories, January 28th 2161

Trip breathed. He would have liked to be doing something else as well as breathing but even the slightest exertion resulted in pain and difficulty catching his breath. If he lay completely still then he felt fine, but if he tried to sit up or even roll over he found that his damaged body just couldn't cope. When they had moved him out of the Intensive Care Unit he'd felt that he was on the road to recovery. He had even celebrated with his friends, as much as he was able to given that he was attached to every medical monitoring machine known to man. Everyone had told him that he still had a lot of healing to do and that he'd need to be patient, but he just wasn't a patient man. Hospitals were dull places, especially if you had limited mobility.

Beside his bed sat a pile of pads that T'Pol had brought for him a few days ago. Some of them contained Engineering projects that he'd been working on before the explosion. He'd been helping out the designers of the new NC class of ships with their reactor designs. Other pads contained novels and news. T'Pol had wanted to bring him a variety of reading material. None of them were appealing at the moment, however.

Everyone had gone back to work after the Federation Charter signing ceremony. Trip couldn't help but feel left out of all the festivities and a little jealous of his former crew mates, who all seemed to be going on to bigger and better things. By all accounts, Travis Mayweather had two Captains vying for him to take up the position of helmsman on their ship. It came with an automatic promotion if he accepted either. Malcolm Reed was being offered a high powered Security job that gave him power to make policy for the whole of Starfleet. Trip didn't think he'd accept it though, he'd want to be back on board a ship as soon as possible. Hoshi had decided to go back to her first love, teaching and she was going to be Head of Xenolinguistics at her Brazilian University.

Scuttlebutt was that Captain Archer had been offered his Admiralty but everyone knew, or thought that they knew, he'd want to command a ship. Except the more Trip thought about it, he wasn't sure that Archer did want another ship to command. Enterprise had been special to them both. To Trip because Enterprise was the ship he'd looked after for the past ten years and no one knew her like the Chief Engineer; to Archer because it was his first deep space command. It had been home and there was nothing that could replace that. Trip had seen the tiredness in Archer's eyes and his toast to "the next generation" hadn't been lost on Trip. Space exploration was a young man's game and Archer was in his fifties now.

T'Pol's plans were still a mystery to him, in fact he'd barely seen her this last week. That didn't surprise him, he always thought that she'd been visiting him out of a sense of duty. He was sure that he'd find out soon enough where she was going and that she would be offered something worthy of her amazing talents. Beautiful, intelligent Vulcans weren't exactly a dime a dozen around Starfleet. In fact, even seven years after T'Pol had become the first alien to serve in Starfleet, there still weren't many non-human Starfleet officers. Now that they'd signed the Federation charter that would probably all be changing. It was going to be an exciting time to be part of Starfleet. He doubted T'Pol would be hanging around on Earth much longer, despite her reassurances.

Given the circumstances Trip was well aware that he'd never be signing on to another starship, no matter how hard he pleaded with Starfleet that they give him Chief Engineer of one of the new warp seven ships. His health would never now be up to serving on active duty on a starship again. It was what he'd been offered before the incident, or accident, or explosion, or suicide attempt, or whatever they wanted to call it. The psychiatrists had already been round to discuss the latter and he doubted he'd get away completely with "it seemed like a good idea at the time", as an explanation for his actions. So far he and Archer hadn't really talked about why he'd done what he had. To be honest, he'd been spending a lot of his convalescence wondering if he could have done something else, so perhaps it was just as well that Archer hadn't asked.

It was amazing how things could change. A couple of weeks ago he'd had several options for where to take his shining career in Starfleet. He was the acknowledged warp practise expert. No one else had been Chief Engineer for as long or contributed so much to warp engine design as Commander Tucker. It was depressing to think that he'd never get to leave Earth again, at least not as Chief Engineer. He'd worked pretty damn hard for that title and one thoughtless action had blasted his career into oblivion.

"T'hy'la," said a voice in his head. "Thinking this way will not help your recovery or serve any purpose."

Damn, he'd been broadcasting again. The first thing T'Pol had taught him after they realised that they were bonded was mental shielding, except he seemed to be having trouble with it at the moment. At first the pain medication had compromised his mental acuity so he couldn't help but broadcast his thoughts, T'Pol just shut him out when she needed some peace. Lately he couldn't blame it all on the pain medication, that had been stepped down considerably, mostly he thought that he was probably just distracted by his situation and a subconscious desire to have T'Pol with him.

"T'Pol, sorry," replied Trip. "I'll try to keep the shields up a bit better."

T'Pol was at Starfleet HQ today. She was very carefully keeping hidden what she was up to. Her mental shields seemed to be rather stronger than his own.

"I was not chastising you for your lack of mental discipline, although we should perhaps address that at a later date," said T'Pol.

Trip couldn't help a burst of indignation at T'Pol's remark but he quickly hid it as he realised firstly that T'Pol would feel it over their link and secondly, that she was right, he did lack mental discipline. "Yeah, I think I need to work on it. I guess I don't have much else to do at the moment but think."

"I will be returning to the hospital later this evening, we can discuss this and your earlier thoughts then," said T'Pol. It was obvious that she was engaged in other business and didn't need him distracting her. "You are tired and should rest."

Trip was always tired at the moment. He woke up tired and slept fourteen hours a day. He knew that T'Pol was politely telling him to leave her alone so that she could work. He really regretted the fact that he caused her so much trouble and he was probably only going to cause her more. He certainly wouldn't be leading a normal life any time soon and even when he was fully recovered, Phlox had indicated that he'd always have a reduced lung capacity. It didn't seem fair to burden T'Pol with his recovery, but as she'd be getting her new posting soon he was fairly certain that he wouldn't have to worry about that anymore.

Trip carefully erected his mental shields so that he wouldn't intrude on T'Pol's work again and decided that sleep wasn't such a bad idea. There wasn't much else to do after all.

T'Pol felt Trip drift off to sleep and noted that he slept soundly. She always allowed a small trickle of thought from her bond-mate to enter her mind. It allowed her to keep a mental eye on him and had come in useful on many occasions. Even before their bond had been so strong she had always been able to monitor Trip's mental pulse. When his shuttle had crashed in the swamps of Vevrom she had known immediately that he was in trouble and had felt the frantic nature of his actions and an impression of his fear. It was all faint, but she went to the Captain and asked him to launch a search party. Archer, knowing the nature of her connection with Trip, had agreed without hesitation.

The feelings of frustration, rising depression and boredom that she now received from Trip worried her immensely. She had done some reading into human recovery patterns after serious injury, and so far his reactions seemed normal, but at the same time all her reading had stressed that everyone coped in their own way. At first Trip had just been happy to be alive, but as the days wore on and he realised how badly he'd been injured, and what it would mean, he had become more and more depressed.

She had little idea how to deal with this. She had already spoken to him logically and explained that he should not worry about things that he could not change. What he could do was concentrate on his recovery and attempt to get well by looking after himself. At the moment he seemed to have completely ignored her advice and was not concentrating on getting well, instead he was worrying about his career in Starfleet. T'Pol felt the grief at nights particularly, she sensed Trip lying awake and regretting the fact that he'd never be Chief Engineer of a starship again. His weakened condition made it hard for him to hide his thoughts from her and she was glad of that. If he had kept all this pain hidden away with no one to support him then she didn't like to contemplate what might have happened. Instead she did her best to talk him through the blackest moments, sending reassurance, love and support through their bond.

What she didn't understand was why that didn't seem to be enough. He had friends and a future. He was still alive. She tried to understand him, but nothing seemed to help. Trip was doing his best to hide how he felt, everyone still got the "Good Old Trip Tucker" treatment. He smiled and joked and pretended that he was coping fine with it all, when he obviously wasn't, and people who didn't know better fell for it. Trip still wasn't able to fool Malcolm Reed and Phlox knew too much about how Trip dealt with pain, mental and physical, to be taken in. The other person who was immune to Trip's charms was, of course, Captain Archer, who hadn't been fooled for a minute. Archer and Trip had been friends for nearly twenty years and there wasn't much they could hide from each other. T'Pol doubted that she would have been as quick to spot it without the benefit of their bond. Before they had accidentally created the Vulcan marriage bond she and Trip never had been good at expressing their feelings to each other.

As if to highlight her point, she was currently hiding her purpose for going to Starfleet HQ from Trip. She only hoped that Trip would understand once she explained why she was doing what she was doing. She loved him very much and she wished that she was better at telling him so but her Vulcan side was too strong.

Lieutenant Malcolm Reed came to the hospital bearing gifts. It wasn't much, just Trip's Go set and an intention to play a couple of games with Enterprise's undefeated champion. Chess was more Reed's game but he certainly wasn't averse to playing the odd game of Go with Trip, even if Trip always won hands down.

"How is the Commander today?" Reed asked the nurse on duty.

"His breathing has been a little better today, but he's sleeping at the moment," said the smiling nurse and Reed nodded in understanding. Despite his weakened condition, Trip had still managed to work his charm on the female half of the nursing staff. Reed made a mental note to ask how he managed it.

"Is it okay if I wait for him to wake up?"

"Sure go ahead," said the nurse.

Reed thanked the nurse and went into Trip's room. He quietly sat down in the uncomfortable armchair that Starfleet Medical provided for patient's visitors. Trip lay, fast asleep, in the bed, swathed in anti-burn dressings, with various IVs running into his arm. He was also breathing a mixture of pure oxygen and aerosol medication through a nasal cannula. Reed had come to see Trip several times since his admission to hospital and although he looked infinitely better than he had in ICU, his skin was still pale, except where it was marred by burnt scar tissue, and he had definitely lost weight. Reed gave a small sigh, Trip's recovery was going to be a long one and the longer it was, the less likely it was that his friends would be around to support him. Travis had just today announced that he'd be shipping out on the USS Dauntless within the week, having finally made his choice of ship.

Malcolm got out a padd and settled down to read. Trip slept a lot at the moment but Reed doubted that he'd have to wait too long. He wasn't in a hurry in any case, he had been given leave until he would be beginning his next assignment. He was still in two minds as to which of the postings he had been offered he should accept. He would have liked to wait until Captain Archer made his decision and serve with him once again, but with Trip in hospital, he didn't think that Archer would be hurrying to make up his mind. Reed briefly wondered where T'Pol would be posted next, but again she wouldn't want to leave Trip if she could help it, which would limit her options. The rumours that were going round Starfleet were that she was being given another deep space assignment. If that were true, then perhaps he had overestimated her feelings for Trip.

Trip stirred and yawned. He rolled his head in the direction of his visitor and opened his eyes.

"Hey, Malcolm," he said sleepily.

Reed looked up from his reading and smiled. "Commander, good to see you finally decided to join me."

Trip patted the bed with his hand as if he was looking for something. "You seen the bed control?" he asked Reed. Trip was still not sufficiently recovered to sit up unaided and he hated talking to his visitors lying down. It was bad enough that he was still lying around in bed.

Reed found the small remote control on the floor beside the bed and handed it to Trip. Trip thumbed the control with the ease of someone who had done this action several times, and raised up the head section. He shifted his weight a little so that he was more comfortable.

"I brought your Go set," said Reed. "I thought you might like to play a game with me."

"Sure," replied Trip. Reed had hoped that the sight of the Go board might cheer Trip up a little, but it didn't seem to have helped. "So any news from the outside world?"

"Travis decided to take up Captain Romanov's offer and he's going to be shipping out on the Dauntless in a few days time," replied Reed as he set up the board and placed his first counter.

"I thought he would. I knew he wouldn't be able to resist being helmsman of the newest ship in the fleet. The first ship out of the new Utopia Planitia yards as well."

"I suppose everything is on a rather larger scale now. The NX class are all due for decommissioning over the next five years."

"Doesn't seem fair. These are the ships that did all the work and now they're just being tossed on the junk heap."

"I think NX04 Atlantis is being kept as a museum ship."

Trip sighed and shook his head as he placed his counter. "NX01 took a lot of my life. It's hard to see her decommissioned."

"It took a lot of all of our lives," replied Reed.

"So what are your plans, now? Did you ever decide between the Security Liaison job or Armoury officer on the Excalibur?"

"Excalibur doesn't leave dock for another month, I've got a little time to make up my mind," replied Reed. "I'm finding that it's a hard choice to make."

"At least you have a choice," said Trip.

"It's not as bad as it seems, Trip. If you'd been given the choice you might have decided to stay at Research and Development anyway."

"I seriously doubt that," replied Trip, bitterly. They played Go silently for a couple of minutes, Reed unsure what to say to his friend.

Trip eventually broke the silence. "I keep replaying the explosion in my head and trying to work out if I should have done something differently."

"It was an impossible situation. You took the best course of action that you could."

"How would you know? You weren't even there," Trip spat and paused for a moment, before he looked up at Reed, blue eyes meeting grey in an intense stare. "You know, that's another thing that I keep wondering. When those aliens boarded the ship, where the hell were you, Malcolm? I mean, there's an intruder alert and you're not rushing to the rescue? That's not exactly like you."

"If I could have got there any faster, don't you think I would have done?" retorted Reed angrily. "This may surprise you, but I was asleep in my cabin when the alert sounded. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a robot, I do need sleep, and no, I don't live permanently in the Armoury."

"You've got officers under your command. I guess they were all asleep too," said Trip with biting sarcasm.

"None of us were expecting trouble. My men were at their duty stations and they reacted as quickly as they could. The area outside the Captain's quarters isn't exactly the top priority for most aliens attacking the ship. It took us a while to track them down and by then it was too late. Trip, you have to realise that we were on our way home, and the aliens supposedly weren't fast enough to catch us anyway. Of course, in hindsight, I shouldn't have believed what Shran said, but we had no reason to think that he was lying to us."

"You're making excuses, Lieutenant," said Trip, breathing heavily.

"No, you are," said Reed. "Did you stop to think, before you blew yourself to hell, what a bloody stupid idea that might be? Or if there were any other alternatives, like leading the aliens towards the nearest security detail? Or putting into practice some of the training that I've been trying to instil in you for the last ten years? There had to be other possibilities than just putting two incompatible cables together. The problem is that you're always the martyr. You don't value your own life and you don't see why anyone else should."

Trip had his eyes closed and was shaking his head, as if he didn't want to hear what Reed was saying. Or perhaps he just didn't want to relive the incident.

"Go to hell, Malcolm. You've got no idea," said Trip, between laboured breaths.

"Haven't I?" Reed blundered on regardless, Trip needed to hear this and they'd all been tiptoeing around it for too long. "I've got news for you, Commander. This isn't the end of the world, you're still alive, despite your best efforts, and you have a hell of a lot of friends who want to see that you remain that way."

"Well maybe I don't want to live my life like this!" shouted Trip.

"That's just tough, because none of us are going to let you just give up," replied Reed.

Suddenly Trip wasn't just breathing heavily he was actually struggling, gasping for each breath.

"Trip?" asked Reed, worriedly.

Captain Archer came into the room just in time to catch the end of the argument and see Trip struggling for breath. An alarm began to sound and a nurse appeared at the door a half second later and quickly paged a doctor for assistance after briefly checking Trip over. Phlox bustled into the room, barely casting a glance in Archer and Reed's direction. He adjusted the medication in Trip's inhalant and then injected him with a hypospray full of clear liquid. Trip's breathing eased a few moments later and he seemed to be calming down.

"The injection I just gave you will make you sleepy," said Phlox to Trip.

Trip struggled to keep his eyes open and shook his head. He didn't want to sleep now, he had things to say and he'd spent most of the day sleeping already.

"Don't fight it. You need the rest," said Phlox, in answer.

The medication pulled Trip under despite his best efforts. Once Phlox was sure that his patient was stable again and sleeping peacefully he turned to the Commander's two visitors and ushered them out into the corridor.

"Perhaps one of you could tell me what triggered such a severe respiratory episode?" asked Phlox.

"It was my fault. We were talking about the explosion and he wanted to know where I was. I'm afraid I got defensive," said Reed.

"And he became agitated?" asked Phlox.

"Yes, we got into an argument," said Reed. It wasn't anything that they hadn't done before. One of the things that Reed enjoyed about their friendship was the friendly banter and debate, but this hadn't been friendly, more angry and bitter. Given Trip's condition, he should have known better than to excite an ill man. "I'm sorry, Doctor. I didn't think."

"It was bound to happen sooner of later. The Commander is still far from well and he has a lot of unresolved feelings surrounding the explosion. I suggest if the topic comes up again you pay more attention to any sign that he may be becoming agitated. Now, T'Pol will be calling me in about ten seconds to find out what upset the Commander," said Phlox. Sure enough, Phlox's communicator beeped at him and when he answered it, it was T'Pol. Phlox moved a little way down the corridor so that he could reassure T'Pol more privately.

"The bond that they share still amazes me sometimes," said Archer. "That T'Pol can be halfway across the city and still know that something is wrong with Trip is just beyond my understanding."

"Indeed," said Reed, taking a seat heavily on one of the plastic chairs in the corridor.

"What exactly were you two arguing about?" asked Archer.

"It started out that he wanted to know why I wasn't there when the aliens boarded Enterprise, but it was really about why he did what he did. I told him that he doesn't value his life enough," said Reed. "I guess that sounds hypocritical coming from the person who's in the line of fire more than anyone else, but there really were alternatives to what he did. There must have been."

Archer could see Reed struggling with himself, unwilling to believe that Trip had to be hurt. His job was to protect the crew of Enterprise and, every time he failed in that, he took it personally, even when there had been no chance for him to do anything. His assertion that there must have been alternatives was aimed at his own actions as much as Trip's.

"Trip and I haven't discussed exactly what happened, but I know one thing, he didn't have much time to plan what he did. He may have made a bad call but given the situation we were in, I'm not sure there was much else he could have done. To be honest with you, if I'd thought of it first then maybe it would be me lying in that hospital bed. He has this perception that I'm more important than he is. It's wrong. He's every bit as important as I am."

"But the Charter…" started Reed.

"Would have been signed by someone else if I hadn't been there," said Archer. "In fact that incident might even have served as another example of why we should be co-operating. In my speech I tried to make it clear that I wouldn't have been here if it hadn't been for everyone who helped me along the way, and Trip is one of those people. I'm only one man, Malcolm, and I'm nothing without the support of my friends and I never would have been given the chance to sign the treaty without Enterprise's crew backing me up."

Phlox approached them. "T'Pol will be coming over as soon as she is able to leave her meeting. I explained to her that it was nothing to worry about, but she wanted to make sure in person."

"I'm sure that Trip will be pleased to see her," said Reed. "Perhaps it would be better if I don't come to visit again. If you could convey my apologies to the Commander…"

"Malcolm, Trip's going through a difficult time and he needs all his friends by his side," said Archer. "He doesn't know what he's saying at the moment. He's not well and still in pain a lot of the time, but too stubborn to admit it."

"After the argument that we just had, I doubt that he'll want me to visit again," said Reed.

"On the contrary, I'm certain that you have helped him to resolve some of the feelings that he has regarding the explosion," said Phlox.

"If you feel that badly about this, then you can apologise in person. I'm not doing your dirty work for you," said Archer. "Besides you're the only one who can give him a decent game of Go."

Reed nodded. "I suppose that is true. Which means that when he wakes up, I need to have a talk with him."

"I don't expect him to sleep long," said Phlox. "I suggest you come back in an hour or so."

Archer nodded in acknowledgement before he steered Reed away to the hospital canteen to get some coffee.

Trip awoke with a headache, feeling worse rather than better for his enforced nap. He blinked at the bright light and winced at the pain emanating from his head, and shut his eyes again.

"Trip?" asked a familiar voice. "We need to talk."

"Now is not a good time, Captain," said Trip, his eyes still shut.

He heard some shuffling and a moment later someone else was in the room.

"Are you in pain, Commander?" asked Phlox.

"My head," murmured Trip.

"I'll increase the analgesic in your medication. Just give it a minute to take effect."

Trip did as he was told and waited. Eventually he prised his eyes open. The light didn't hurt and the throbbing in his head had decreased to a manageable level.

"I'll leave you two alone," said Phlox and left the room.

"It's been a bad day, Captain. I'm not sure I'm up to a heart to heart."

"Trip, we've avoided this for too long. We need to discuss some things," said Archer. "I caught the end of what you said to Malcolm."

Trip did his best to fold his arms over his chest despite the IV lines. "He should have been there."

"Don't do this, Trip. I know you've been thinking about what happened and second guessing yourself isn't going to help anyone. What happened, happened, and it wasn't anyone's fault that you were put in that position, except those aliens who boarded us. Malcolm, did everything that he could have and should have done. You know as well as I do that he's a fine security officer and so are his staff. Don't try to blame this on him."

"What do you want me to say? That I wanted to die? Hell, I've got psychiatrists coming out of my ears because I tried to blow myself up. They asked me if I was trying to commit suicide, or if I had a death wish, and one of them even asked me if I thought I was indestructible. Everyone wants me to talk about this, and I don't want to."

"I know that you weren't trying to kill yourself, and I know that your emotions are confused right now, but you can't take it out on Malcolm."

Trip looked Archer in the eye and suddenly it was as if all the fight went out of him. "I know. He kept us safe for ten years, and it was my choice to do what I did. I shouldn't have tried to make out that it was his fault. I made a decision and I'm paying for it."

"You saved my life, and I can never repay you for that. I wish it hadn't cost you so much," said Archer.

"We're even," said Trip. "You've saved my life more times than I can count."

"But you nearly died, Trip," said Archer. "I don't know what I would have done if you had. If it wasn't for T'Pol, then we wouldn't be talking now. I never want Phlox to tell me there's nothing else that he can do ever again. I can definitely say that was the worst moment of my life to date."

"You're not the one that gets the nightmares," said Trip.

"I know that, and I want to make one thing really clear. Your life is just as important as mine. Don't give it up lightly. I want you to promise me that you'll never do something like that again."

"You know I can't make that promise. If I had to, I'd do exactly the same thing again. If it had been T'Pol, I'd have done the same thing. I can't just stand there when my friends are in danger."

"Just promise me that you'll at least try and protect yourself," said Archer.

"That I can promise you. I don't like getting hurt, Jon."

Archer nodded. "I don't like you getting hurt either, and neither does T'Pol."

"T'Pol? I haven't seen her for more than five minutes for days," said Trip.

"She's been busy at Starfleet HQ but she'll be down this evening to visit. I talked to her earlier, your respiratory episode this afternoon scared her a bit."

Trip ran a hand through his hair. "I still forget that she can feel it too." T'Pol's mental shields were always up at the moment that he wasn't getting any feedback from her. She had to be up to something and Trip wasn't sure that he liked the implication that she didn't want him to know what it was. He almost had to mentally shout at her to get her attention at the moment. "She'll be gone soon and I won't have to worry about it anymore."

"I don't think she's made any decisions about her next posting yet," said Archer.

"You're kidding me, a smart woman like T'Pol? She won't be staying on Earth, that's for sure," said Trip.

"Have you actually talked to T'Pol about any of this?"

"She's been having meetings at Starfleet HQ for the past week. You don't have meetings all week to get posted to R and D," said Trip.

"Why don't you find out what she's been doing before you start jumping to conclusions?"

"I can't, she's had her shields up all the time, and she's too far away for me to get anything…"

Archer held up a hand to stop Trip before he went into intimate details.

"There's this thing the rest of us call talking. Maybe you and T'Pol should try it. Now, Malcolm's waiting down the hall for you to apologise to him. Do you want me to help you sit up or can you manage?"

The fact that Malcolm was actually waiting to apologise to Trip was information that he wasn't going to pass on.