Star Trek: Enterprise -- Optimistically Projecting Through Space

Disclaimer: the author does not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from "Enterprise" or any "Star Trek" entity. These properties expressly belong to the Paramount Corporation, the UPN Network, etc. Any other characters contained in the original story are the author's.

Author's note: Excited from the 30-second trailer, I wrote a quick draft and did the barest minimum of research to avoid being spoiled for the new Star Trek franchise, "Enterprise". Welcome back to T.V., Scott Bakula. e.c. 01 aug '00




Optimistically Projecting Through Space
by Evan Como



If he closed his eyes long enough he could almost imagine being stationary, standing at the top of the recently rebuilt Eiffel Tower, his hands high above his head and grasping at atmosphere. He could do that, you know; project himself elsewhere. It had been his ambition since childhood - exploring wonder in all of its forms.

"Captain."

A smile warped across Captain Jonathan Archer's slim face, distancing him a decade from his actual age. Unruly waves of sandy hair and clear hazel eyes and his tall athletic build gave off a youthful impression anyway. And he'd been called 'wiry' more than once in his career; but he'd always taken that as a compliment for being able to command his way out of trouble.

He blinked once and met eyes with the Vulcan officer. "T'Pol," he stated flatly, mimicking her humorless Vulcan inflection. He'd been unable to repress the amusement in his voice so he forced himself to appear stern. Although, even after the three months, his First Officer's imperturbable features had yet to reveal her approval or disapproval of his reactions.

T'Pol drew a lengthy breath and presented the Data Padd. "The anomalies in this sector have been charted, Captain Archer. Shall we move on to the next?"

The Captain of the Enterprise took the electronic device and scrolled through the binary information. One glance up to the view screen at the front of the bridge put all the numbers into perspective: one galaxy, six planets, forty-thousand stars, billions of living beings.

With her wrists criss-crossed at the base of her spine, T'Pol remained at her version of 'at ease' until Archer nodded a dismissal. He rose with his sight fixed ahead and, behind his navigator, instructed, "Mr. Mayweather, full impulse to Sector Twenty Six."

-0-

"Captain's log --"

Archer inhaled above a cup of chicken soup. He took a sip and winced. At some point in time, the flavor would have to become less wretched as it became more familiar. He swallowed grimly. No amount of expended imagination could think the rank aftertaste away.

"The replicators are functioning, but to what degree..." He shook his head and reared in his chair with his feet up on the narrow desk. The small room, with its meager furnishings was, at least, wide enough to recline in a bit. He thought back to a tour he'd taken of an old Earth atomic ocean vessel, how spacious the Officer's quarters had been. Even on the Enterprise, an Admiral would have to suffer through a night's rest in stressful confinement. The technology hadn't been invented yet that allowed the crew to be as comfortable as the mechanicals of the ship.

Too bad the warp core couldn't multitask -- chart the stars *and* propel at the same time.

"Personal log. Captain Jonathan Archer.

"This detail should bore me - mapping the Calph-Hedron galaxy. But it's not."

Interlacing eight fingers behind his neck, Archer opened his chest to the ceiling, stretching his pectorals. He reached back before hugging his shoulders, before balling his fists to tuck into his elbows. A spontaneous laugh was deep; it was heartfelt.

"I'm the guy. I still can't believe that I'm *the* guy - the first Captain of the first extended-expedition vessel. This isn't some rinky-dink scull running interplanetary relay junkets; it's the genuine article. And I'm at the helm."

He picked up his soup and watched his reflected happiness melt into dismay. If the rations on a mining frigate were edible, shouldn't they be even better on the flagship?

"And I'm scared," he continued, setting the soup beside the computer console and pushing it aside. "My First Officer, T'Pol, isn't making this any easier, of course. That's not why a Vulcan is born - to make the world an easier place to live in. And maybe we'll never be friends, but we're allies. And we're co-officers..."

He looked to the wall, brows crossed in confusion.

The blip sounded again.

"Yes?" he asked, wary.

"Captain Archer. Starfleet communications have scheduled repair down-time over the course of the next fifteen hours. If you have anything you need to transmit - "

"No. Nothing, Sato," he replied. "You've forwarded this morning's logs and fuel consumption reports?"

"Yes sir." Communications officer, Ensign Hoshi Sato's voice was decidedly feminine, decidedly efficient. "Our supplies will be waiting for us at Starbase Three-Three where the Columbia will be waiting. Starfleet Operations has determined our time of arrival to be in five days."

Archer let the implied directive sink in: get a move on. "Thank you." He held his breath, lifted an ear towards the speaker.

"You're welcome, Captain." The accompanying click was as faint as her "Goodnight".

Flatfooted and leaning forward with his forearms hinged on his thighs, Archer yawned. By rotating his chair he was able to arch back onto his bunk.

"Close Captain's log," he said. A blip complied.

"Lights." Another blip. Most of the lights flickered off.

Jonathan Archer closed his eyes. Concentrating, he visualized himself on a massive vessel, hurtling through the cosmos. The tight crew under his command would be courageous, visionary, and full of faith in the humanity of all mankind.

Even if they weren't human. Even if they weren't men.

Hands clasped under his pillow and his legs bent just enough to keep his heels on the mattress, Archer peered through the tiny porthole. The bed was just as uncomfortable as it had been every time he'd spread out on it. One day it would become familiar, one day he'd have to be able to sleep.

But until that occasion, he'd just have that much more time to dream.

-0-

Feedback: evancomo@netscape.net