Title: Second Chances
Date Posted: May 2012
Codes: J Archer/T Tucker
Archive: Here anywhere else. Please ask first
Disclaimer: Paramount and Viacom own Star Trek and all Characters of Star Trek. The story is mine. I am not making a dime on this. I am doing this and other stories for purely mine and others enjoyment.
Summary: What happens when Shuttle pod One disappears with the Captain for an hour, and how will Trip and the crew adjust with what they find when it reappears?. Feedback is welcome.
There was a weird silence on the bridge as they all saw the shuttle disappear into the anomaly, taking their captain with it. T'Pol was the first to speak as she calmly said
"Mr Reed, are there any readings on the shuttle?"
"No sub commander, It has just disappeared."
The Brit said in disbelief. Now Trip spoke from behind him and said
"We need to find the Cap'n...need to scan that thing again."
It was obvious he was worried. The Captain was his best friend and he didn't like the idea that he had insisted on going alone to check that thing out. He could still hear Jon's words as they had walked to the shuttle bay.
"You can't go alone...let me come with you."
"Trip, nothing will happen, and I need you on the bridge to make sure nothing goes wrong with the engines. You know that last run in we had did some damage to the warp coils."
"But Cap'n that can be handled by Hess.."
But before he could continue, Jon laid his hand on his shoulder and said
"Trip please...I just need a little time to myself is all. It will be okay."
Trip looked at his friend and captain and saw the sorrow in his green eyes. He knew the news of the death of Admiral Forrest had hit him hard. He had looked up to the Admiral, who had taken a young Archer under his wing and mentored him after his dad had died. It had been like losing his father all over again. They had reached the shuttle bay and were now standing outside of the shuttle. Trip laid his hand on Jon's shoulder and said
"I know how you feel and this need to go off by yourself, and I respect your feelings, but I can't help but have a strange feeling about this...that something bad is gonna happen."
Jon smiled at his friend and said
"Don't worry, Trip, I'll be careful and who knows, maybe that thing out there has some secrets to give up."
Even after the horrors they had gone through in the Expanse and the things they had been forced to do to accomplish their mission, Jon had never really lost his need to explore and still found new wonders exciting. Granted he wasn't the same man who had taken command of the first warp five starship, but deep down he still had the yearning to see new things. There had been times during the hunt for the Xindi weapon and their mission to save Earth, that Trip had wondered if the same Jonathan Archer still existed. Maybe this was also his way of coming back. Trip knew that Jon had to make some difficult decisions and he also had seen the toll it had taken on his best friend. It had broke his heart to see the pain Jon had endured to keep them all together and focused on the mission. There had been times when the old Jon had completely disappeared and that had scared Trip so much. He was afraid that the old Jon was completely gone. But since their return to Earth, slowly he had seen the old Jon peaking out and that had thrilled him.
Now Jon was climbing into the shuttle and he said
"I'll only be out there for an hour to get as many readings as possible, don't worry so."
He had then given Trip a wide smile and closed the shuttle door. Trip had retreated to the door so the bay could de pressurize for launch. He still had a nagging feeling that something bad was going to happen, but he tried to push that feeling aside as he watch the shuttle lift off and out of the bay. His last thought before returning to the bridge was 'Be careful Jon...We need you'
Now Trip was on the bridge and feeling helpless. What had happened to Jon? Was he okay? He saw T'Pol go to her science station and begin to check readings. To anyone who didn't know her she looked completely detached, but he knew better. The set of her shoulders and the way she looked. He could see she was worried. In the five years they had served together, T'Pol had become an important member of the crew and she had grown quite close to the captain. Her friendship and trust in the human was something that was legendary. Several times she had come to their rescue when the Vulcan High Command had tried to derail them. She had always stood by the captain and the crew, even though when they had first started out, most of the Humans had distrusted her. It had taken a long while for them to trust her, but it had been the Captain who had done so first. Trip had followed suit, and now they enjoyed a relationship that could be considered romantic. He knew he had deep feelings for her, and he was sure she had for him. It was the way he had caught her looking at him when she thought he didn't know. And how she had helped him through the death of his sister, Lizzie, had been the beginnings of their bond. They had drawn closer at the death of their daughter Elizabeth and had grieved together. He wasn't sure what the outcome would be, but he hoped that they had some type of future.
Now she turned and addressed Ensign Mayweather
"Please hold our position here.."
Turning to Malcolm she continued
"Lt Reed please continue scanning the area for any signs of the shuttle...I'll be in the captain ready room if you need me or find anything."
Before she left the bridge, she locked eyes with Trip and he saw the pain in them. She then turned and headed to the ready room. It only took a couple of minutes for Trip to follow her. When he entered, he saw her standing by the port much in the same spot that Archer would stand. He watched her a moment before coming up behind her and gently laying a hand on her shoulder. For a moment, she didn't move but then she turned and he saw...a tear trickle down her cheek. She quickly raised her hand and wiped it away, but he saw the pain and despair in those lovely brown eyes. He pulled her into his embrace and for a moment she stiffened, but then she relaxed into the embrace and allowed him to comfort her.
"Don't worry darlin' He'll be found. Jon's not one to be lost and not try to get back."
She finally looked up at him and softly said
"I am aware of that fact...but I feel responsible. I should have insisted that he take someone with him."
"Now you know how stubborn he can be. And besides, if someone else had gone we'd be searching for both."
Trip again drew her back into his arms and this time she didn't protest. She was surprised at how safe she felt in his arms. This human who had made her early days on board Enterprise so difficult had turned into a true friend and just maybe...She knew it wasn't logical but it felt right. They stood there for several minutes like this, each drawing strength from each other as the bond between them seem to strengthen. Then, T'Pol stepped back and said
"Commander...Trip...Thank you for the..."
But she wasn't sure what she was thanking him for. He looked down at her and smiled that lazy grin at her and said
"My pleasure darlin' and don't worry, we'll find Jon."
Again she drew strength from his words and then straighten and said
"I know we will. If he were dead..."
She paused and then continued
"I would feel it. We share a bond of friendship and although not as strong as the mating bond..."
She looked at him and he felt a surge of emotions from her...
"It is strong enough to be able to know that the captain is still alive, although I can not ascertain his condition."
He again grinned at her and said
"That's what I want to hear, Jon's okay and we will find him."
He took her hand in his and lightly rubbed his thumb over it. She felt the surge of emotions from him and returned her's to him. For just a moment longer, they held each others eyes and then Trip said
"I'll go see what Malcolm has come up with."
He raised her hand to his lips and gently kissed it. And then he had turned and strode out of the ready room and back to the bridge. She had watched as the door slide shut and then had raised her hand to her cheek and lightly drew it along her cheek and did something very unvulcan like...she sighed and allowed another tear to escape.
It had been two hours and they had found nothing. Both Trip and Malcolm were getting frustrated and had begun snapping at each other when they heard Hoshi's slight intake of breath. They both looked over to the communications officer and saw she was staring at the view screen. In unison, they both turned and saw that the anomaly seemed to be fluctuating. Malcolm opened a com and said
"Sub commander please report to the bridge."
Within moments the Vulcan appeared out of the ready room and strode to the captain's chair.
"Sub commander, there seems to be a disturbance within the anomaly."
She walked to her station and began to scan it. After a moment she turned back to the screen and watched as it began to ripple and then they all saw the shuttle emerge from it and hang there in space. A collective sigh of relief could be felt on the bridge. Calmly she turned to Ensign Sato and said
"Can you raise the captain?"
Hoshi turned and began to try and hail the shuttle. After a couple of minutes she turned with frustration on her features as she said
"No response. The channel is open and I can hear background noises but I can't seem to raise the Captain. I can hear what almost sounds like...whimpering?"
T'Pol raised one of her elegant eyebrows and then said
"Can we grapple the shuttle in?"
Malcolm nodded and she said
"Lt bring the shuttle into the docking bay."
She turned to Hoshi and said
"Contact Dr Phlox and have him meet us in shuttle bay two."
She turned to Trip and said
"Commander will you accompany me. Lt Reed you have the bridge."
Trip followed her off the bridge as Malcolm began grappling the shuttle into the bay. When they arrived, Dr Phlox was already there waiting for the bay to pressurize. Once it had, they all went in and went to the shuttle. Trip opened the door and climbed in, with the doctor and T'Pol on his heels. They could all now hear the whimpering and it sounded like crying. But the captain was no where to be seen. Where was he? Trip cautiously moved towards the crying, which seem to be coming from the pilots seat. When he got there, he looked and what he saw startled him to his core. For there on the large pilot seat was a small child, maybe five years old. He had sandy brown hair and when he looked at Trip he saw that he had deep green eyes. The child was most certainly scared and immediately he reached out his arms to be picked up, the tears freely flowing down his cheeks. But the most alarming thing was he was almost swallowed up in a blue uniform. Trip only took a moment to regain his composer as he lifted the child up and felt the tiny arms and legs engulf him. The child had begun to cling to him and he automatically began comforting him. Dr Phlox has begun to run a scan and his face took on a worried look. Trip turned to the doctor and said
"Doc...What happened? How did this child get into the shuttle pod? Where's the captain?"
After a moment Phlox said
"I'm afraid, Commander, that you are holding him."
"What are ya sayin'?"
He turned to look at T'Pol who had just raised both eyebrows.
"I'm saying that this is the captain. The DNA matches exactly with the captain. How this happened though is a mystery. I will need to run some tests in sickbay."
The doctor reached for the child, but he clung tighter to Trip so the doctor said
"He seems comfortable with you Commander. I suggest we take him to sickbay."
They all climbed out of the shuttle and then moved off to sickbay. Luckily they met no one on the way. Trip wasn't sure on how to explain this to the crew. When they arrived, Trip tried to place the child down on the bio-bed, but he would have none of that. He clutched at him so Trip finally hopped up on the bed and placed the captain on his lap. He looked down at him and said
"We need to get him dressed in something that fits better."
Phlox nodded and went to the storage room and rummaged around and soon returned with a pair of sickbay pants and top.
"They're not exactly meant for a child, but its the smallest I can find."
Trip began to take the captain's uniform off. When he did the captain whimpered again and Trip said soothingly
"Jon...Jonny we need to get you into something that fits better."
He looked at Trip and then turned and looked at T'Pol with a look of hesitation on his face. He didn't say anything, but it was obvious he didn't want an audience. T'Pol raised an eyebrow and then turned and left them with Phlox in tow. They retreated to the other side of sickbay and began to talk in hushed tones. Trip was able to take the uniform off and get Jonny into the pants. They were too big, but luckily they had a drawstring and he rolled the legs up so they come just above his ankles. The shirt almost swallowed him up but with a little adjustments it would work. Once he was done, he folded the uniform up and placed it at the bottom of the bed. He stood back a little and surveyed the child. He looked a little better. Jonny was watching him and those green eyes held a look of confusion and fear. Trip smiled at him and after a moment Jonny smiled back. After a moment Jonny leaned forward and whisper
Trip smiled again and said
"Well I like you too."
Jonny again smiled but it then turned to a sad face as he said
"Where's my mommy and daddy? Are they lost?"
Trip looked at him and said
"No...no they aren't lost..."
Jonny looked scared and said
"Am I lost?"
"No you are not lost...you're just on an...adventure."
Trip was at a loss as to what he should tell Jon. How could he explain that he was actually a grown man and captain of this ship? He didn't have a chance to continue as Dr Phlox entered and said
"I see you have gotten...Jonny dressed. Now we can run those tests."
He cheerfully began running the scanner over the captain. But the captain was not too thrilled with the doctor. He shied away and looked at Trip. Phlox stopped and said
"Now Cap...Jonny, don't be afraid. I won't hurt you, I just need to run some tests is all."
Jonny looked at the doctor with suspicion and said to Trip
"He looks funny, he's not from Earth is he?"
Before Trip could answer, Phlox smiled and said
"No I'm not. I was born on a planet called Denoblia and that's why I look funny."
He smiled again and continued
"I am the chief medical officer on this fine Earth vessel and as such I'm responsible for the health of all on board."
Jonny seemed to be warming up to the doctor. He said shyly
"You're not going to hurt me?"
Phlox said kindly
"No no I'm not."
Jonny finally relaxed and let the doctor run his tests. He wasn't to keen on letting him put him in the imaging chamber, but after both Phlox and Trip said it would make a picture of his insides, the curiosity was too much to deny and he let them put him through it. When he had come out in one piece and in no pain he decided the doctor was okay. He had sat on the bio bed staring at the images of him, fascinated. Trip and the doctor had discussed the tests and Phlox had said he needed twenty four hours to come to any concussion. Phlox had wanted the captain to stay in sickbay, but at the look on Jonny's face and the determination on Trip's face he had agreed that the captain would be more comfortable in his own quarters with Trip. They had decided that T'Pol would make a ship wide announcement on the captains condition as soon as Trip had him safely in his quarters where he would not hear it.
They had reached his quarters and as Trip reached to open the door, Jonny took and wrapped his arms around Trip's neck and buried his face into his neck.