Trip and Malcolm find themselves stranded on an alien world while the crew are held hostage. It's not that bad… until Mal falls ill.
By Emiliana Keladry
Disclaimer: Enterprise belongs to ParaMount, not me. I make no money from this.
Author's note: I started this a long time ago and thought I would try posting it. It's basically finished, so I'll post regularly. I hope you enjoy it and review!
Thanks to my beta, Sita Z!!
Chapter 1 - Crash
Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III listened intently to the only man in the room speaking. His blue eyes were focused on the view-screen, which showed a small planet of green and blue. Eighteen continents decorated the surface of the uninhabited world. He couldn't help but imagine a chance at getting off of Enterprise and getting away from the daily disasters of his engine. Captain Jonathan Archer stopped speaking for a moment, noticing that Trip was staring at the screen and no longer paying attention. Lieutenant Malcolm Reed elbowed the Commander.
"Are you listening Trip?" Jon teased. "You can't leave until I finish briefing you. Now, the substance you are collecting appears to have a unique composition. The Vulcans haven't studied anything like it. I picked you two to go because I'm tired of you both snapping at each other. You both need a break."
The lone Vulcan on Enterprise raised one eye-brow and spoke. "You will be landing on the continent with the highest concentration of the substance. It has a diverse population of flora and there appear to be no fauna that will pose a risk to you or the Lieutenant," T'Pol said, tracing her delicate fingers around a medium sized continent on the southern part of the planet.
"Me and Mal, spending an afternoon collecting stardust sounds wonderful," Trip muttered with a grin from ear to ear.
"Assuming everything goes as planned, you and the Lieutenant should be gone only a few hours. But, just in case, I had Doctor Phlox add extra painkillers to the medical kit, and Chef added more ration packs. With the record of you two, I wanted to be prepared," the Captain announced. "You depart from Launch Bay Two in twenty minutes. Dismissed."
Commander Tucker hurried to his quarters and prepared a small bag with a clean pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. One could never be unprepared for an away mission with Lieutenant Reed. At the same time, Malcolm was checking the phase pistols for charge and making sure they would work for them. He put a scanner in the bag with the weapon. Twenty minutes later, both men were in Shuttlepod One. Trip seated himself at the helm and Malcolm sat at the science station.
"Have a safe trip you two," Jon joked from the bridge. "I don't want to see either of you in sickbay when you get back."
"I cannot make promises for the Commander, but I promise not to be in sickbay for quite a while," Malcolm replied, with a smile.
"I'll remember that. Archer out."
Malcolm ended the communication, focusing on the planet in front of them. Trip was navigating towards the surface. Silence filled the inside of the shuttlepod as both men concentrated on the task ahead of them. The commander couldn't contain his excitement. He sighed, attempting to get Malcolm's attention.
"Yes, Commander?" Malcolm asked.
"Isn't this great, Mal? A few hours on the surface of a new planet, breathing in the fresh air and getting exercise without any engineering or armory problems to solve."
"You know it'll be a miracle if we don't get into trouble. I heard there's a bet in your department how long we'll be in Sick Bay this time. Lieutenant Hess bet two days before we drive Dr. Phlox crazy."
Trip laughed, "You're behind on your gossip, Loo-tenant. The whole ship is making bets about our away mission. I even heard the Captain is in on it."
Malcolm shook his head in astonishment. "What does the winner receive?"
"Two movie night choices, your choice of a meal from Chef, two hours off of duty, and a spot in the next shore leave: it was tempting not to place a bet on us, just to see if we could win the prize."
The Lieutenant chuckled, returning to his scans of the surface. He detected a thunderstorm that would approach the landing site in a few hours. Since it posed a minimum risk, he wrote it off, storing the thought in the back of his mind. They would land soon. The shuttle entered the lower atmosphere as Trip looked for the location that T'Pol had chosen for them to land. It was supposed to be in a clearing in the dense forest of the continent. Suddenly, an alarm went off on the console telling him a ship was approaching fast. Before Malcolm could warn Trip, an explosion rocked the shuttle.
"What the hell!" Trip yelled.
"They came out of nowhere," Malcolm answered, attempting to figure out where they came from.
"The engine is failing! Malcolm!"
"I can't do anything. I've lost control of the weapons!"
The shuttle began to spin out of control as they plummeted towards the surface fast.
"Tucker to Enterprise. Tucker to Enterprise! Mayday, mayday! We're under attack, the engines have failed and I am attempting to land using thrusters. Enterprise, come in!"
More shots hit the shuttle and a fire started in the back of the pod. Malcolm quickly went to put it out, since he could do nothing at his station. That's when a monitor broke loose from the shuttle, smacking the Lieutenant's head. He let out a yell and grabbed his head. The world was spinning. Managing to focus for a moment, he saw the ground had completely filled the front window. They were about to crash.
"Malcolm, are you okay?" Trip yearned to know, turning his face away from the looming doom for a moment.
The man didn't have a chance to respond with "I'm fine" before the shuttle crashed into the planet's surface and he lost consciousness.
Captain Archer was sitting in his Ready Room, reading through a PADD about Lieutenant Reed's latest list of upgrades that would improve the ship. This current report was about upgrades to the security system in place around the armory and engineering. The last report he received, two days ago, said a lot of the same things, but he could tell in this report, Malcolm had included the opinion of his staff and engineering. He sipped his coffee, wondering about the bet he had placed that morning for his two friends spending two days in Sick Bay. Suddenly, an explosion rocked the ship. Spilling his hot coffee onto the desk, Jon ran to the bridge, abandoning all thoughts of the bet.
"Report! What's going on?" he demanded, stepping in front of the captain's chair.
"An alien vessel de-cloaked and is targeting our warp core," T'Pol replied, pointing out the obvious with her Vulcan nature.
"No response sir. They are jamming our communications," Hoshi announced.
"Polarize the hull plating and return fire. Target their weapons!" Jon ordered.
Captain Archer grabbed his chair as another explosion rocked Enterprise. A fire started behind him. The ensign on duty at tactical looked flustered as he attempted to get through the shields of the other ship with no avail.
"Hull plating is at twenty percent. The phase cannons are offline," T'Pol replied, holding onto her station as the ship rocked.
"Engineering to Captain Archer," the frantic voice of Lieutenant Hess called over the comm. "The warp drive and impulse are offline. Sir, it's not looking-" The comm cut her off.
As quick as it started, the firing stopped. A tractor beam attached itself to Enterprise, shaking the damaged ship. The vessel approached Enterprise, hooking up a docking port. A rapid alarm went off, signaling that the new species was cutting through the doors to the airlock and going to force themselves on the crew.
"Sir, we're being boarded," the young linguist declared.
"Send as much security as possible, Hoshi. Don't let them get in." Jon walked over to the young woman, placing his hands on the rail in front of her. "Are sensors still functioning?"
"Short range scanners are still working," Hoshi answered, fumbling with the controls, and trying in vain to keep calm at the prospect of Enterprise being boarded with no clue who their enemy was.
"Scan for Shuttlepod One. Are they in range?"
"No sir. I'm detecting weapons fire on the surface."
"Damn it!" the Captain yelled, slamming his hands down on the bar. "Can you hail them?"
"The comm is still being jammed. I can't get anything through, not even to security. There's nothing I can do."
Jonathan looked up and happened to see a pale vapor pouring in through the air-vent. Before he could alert anyone, all the members of the crew located on the Bridge began to cough as the chemical filled their lungs, making it feel like their insides were burning. T'Pol and Hoshi slumped over at their stations. Jon stumbled forward and moved Travis's limp body to the side. The Captain quickly entered his security code, locking up helm control and all the other stations on the bridge. Struggling to breathe and stay conscious, Captain Archer fell to his knees beside his chair. The darkness pulled him in.