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These Are the Voyagers
Author - Jack Daniel Higgins | Genre - Fluff | Genre - Future Story | Main Story | Rating - G | T
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These are the Voyagers
By Jack Daniel Higgins
"Þanon untydras ealle onwocon,**
• • •
CAPTAIN T'Pol Tucker of the NX-01 Enterprise sat comfortably in the new chair that Trip and the quartermaster had installed on the bridge. She wondered why it was, in the two years since Jonathan Archer's promotion to the admiralty and subsequent unwilling relegation to a cushy desk-job, that she had illogically chosen not to replace the captain's old chair sooner. Of course, the answer came to her keen vulcan mind all too quickly: for the greater part of the past two years, Captain Tucker had not been carrying a half-human child within her womb, and the concept of sitting anywhere comfortably had simply been beneath her notice; whereas now, approaching the third trimester of her unique hybrid pregnancy (and with hormones doing their part to erode her emotional control), she had been unable to simply "put up" with sitting in a chair that had been ergonomically designed for a human male, and not a pregnant vulcan female.
Many thoughts of that nature were Trip's fault, she mused. Charles "Trip" Tucker, still a commander, still chief engineer of his beloved Enterprise, had become the stereotypical expectant father--protective, jittery, and always hovering around with the intention of fulfilling T'Pol's every whim. It was only made worse by their psychic bond, for Trip could actually sense T'Pol's "whims" (such as they were) from anywhere on the ship, and lately, her weakened control (and possibly, the bond that was still forming with their baby) had made shielding these thoughts from Trip a challenge. Just yesterday, the stray notion that the captain's old chair "wasn't designed for her optimal comfort" had prompted Trip to march straight from engineering to the bridge and see to the "problem" personally. The bridge crew, naturally, found the whole incident to be, in the human vernacular, a "hoot". This was beyond T'Pol, of course; she just found it annoying... until she sat down and was able to appreciate the results. Suddenly, T'Pol felt a surge of gratitude for her husband, and through their bond she could feel Trip reciprocate with such love that even now, she could often be overwhelmed by the sensation. In a human, such a mood-swing might have come along with tears, but T'Pol had not betrayed any outward sign of emotion in the least.
Those human emotions were still amazing to T'Pol, even now. They might pale next to unchecked vulcan passions, but because they weren't so unwieldy, because of the fact that they could be safely expressed--in balance with logic, rather than in conflict with it--they were, T'Pol had come to understand, part of what made humans, and her k'diwa Charles in particular, so special. "Y'see, T'Pol, humans don't need to bury our emotions to think logically," she remembered Charles saying once, years ago, while they were working on repair schematics together. "Fact is, the way I see it, it would be just as unhealthy for a human to suppress their emotions as would be for a vulcan to let 'em out." Hearing Charles say that had surprised T'Pol, for he had never before expressed such an understanding of the vulcan condition, while at the same time putting humans in such a logical light. She had been duly impressed.
In fact, it wasn't long after that that she had accepted his marriage proposal. Not that it mattered, since they were already bonded, but as Trip had said, they had had a lot of work to do. And so they had eventually married, upon the Enterprise’s return to Earth. Amidst all the fear and bigotry that had infused Earth after the Xindi attack, Trip and T'Pol had stood up in defiance of the anti-alien xenophobia and wed in a highly publicized human ceremony. Trip had regretted the fact that they needed a perimeter Starfleet security details watching the premises during their wedding, but T'Pol had found it perfectly logical. She had had no intention of allowing anyone to disrupt their proceedings, or worse, to bring harm to her husband-to-be. Their concerns had proven to be founded; Starfleet personnel had detained two armed individuals, each working independently of the other. Thankfully, they never got close enough to Trip, T'Pol, or any of the guests to cause any damage.
When Archer had finally been promoted, the Starfleet brass had tried to offer his command to Mr. Tucker, but Trip had been insistent on two points: first, his wife had been Jon's first officer, and she was rightly the next in line for a captaincy; and second, he loved his engines almost as much as he loved his wife. Trip would always be an engineer, so long as he had anything to say about it.
"Captain Tucker," said Lieutenant Commander Sato from the comms station, "we're receiving a transmission from Starfleet Headquarters."
T'Pol realized that she had been reminiscing too deeply, hardly paying attention to anything that had been happening on the bridge around her. I really must meditate soon, she admonished herself. In fact, I shall do so as soon as I am off duty. "I'll take it in my office, Commander."
"Aye, Ma'am," said Hoshi with a grin, patching the communiqué to the appropriate terminal. She smiled because she could see who it was from.
In the captain's office, T'Pol sat down at the desk and activated the comms, not at all surprised to see Jonathan Archer smiling at her. "Admiral. It is agreeable to see you again."
"Likewise, T'Pol," said Archer. Then he got a good look at the vulcan captain, blinked twice, and said, "I think it's been too long... when did you stop cutting your hair?"
Sure enough, T'Pol's hair was well past shoulder-length these days. (Sometimes, Trip wondered if she did it to set herself apart from the three other vulcans which were now part of Enterprise’s crew, all of whom kept their hair neat and short. So far, even with their bond, Trip still couldn't puzzle out his wife's intentions.) Logically enough, T'Pol responded, "I never actually stopped, Admiral. I've merely chosen to do so less often."
"Uh-huh. Well it looks good on you; I'm sure Trip agrees."
"Indeed." Having had enough of pleasantries, T'Pol said, as warmly as her manner ever allowed, "What do you require, Admiral Archer?"
"I'm calling to warn you, Captain Tucker," he said with another barely-suppressed grin. "I'm coming aboard. My shuttle will meet up with Enterprise tomorrow."
Archer was pleased to note that T'Pol's eyes actually betrayed a hint of surprise. She quickly composed herself, however, and asked, "May I ask for the reason behind your visit?"
Archer laughed at that and said, "I would've thought you'd know already. Trip must've figured out that 'shielding' thing after all. The truth is, T'Pol, he invited me to come aboard to watch the test-run."
"I see," said T'Pol stoically. Archer was referring to Commander Tucker's latest engine upgrade, a major overhaul that would--or so Trip claimed--finally allow the Enterprise to safely sustain superluminal velocities above warp 5, and even push warp 6 in emergencies. With T'Pol's permission, Trip had scheduled a "shakedown run" of the new drive systems, two days from now.
"He wanted it to be a surprise," Archer explained apologetically. "You're not going to put Trip in the doghouse because of me, are you?"
"Vulcans would find that concept illogical, Admiral," said T'Pol.
"That's not what Trip tells me."
With her eyes reflecting amusement equal to Archer's, T'Pol said, "Of course, a sehlat-house is an entirely different matter."
• • •
TRIP, T'Pol, and Malcolm were in the shuttlebay, ready to greet Admiral Archer when he arrived. Right on time, his shuttle moved to dock with Enterprise, and Jonathan Archer appeared in the doorway. "Permission to come aboard, Captain?" he asked.
"Permission granted, Sir," said T'Pol with a raised eyebrow.
Archer stepped onto the deck of the ship and noticed that T'Pol was wearing a vulcan robe (he had half expected to see her wearing some kind of "maternity catsuit"). Then he looked at the first officer and the chief engineer, saw them grinning like idiots, and protocol be damned, he was already shaking hands with Malcolm, embracing Trip, and congratulating him and T'Pol (yet again) on the impending birth.
"Well y'know, Adm'ral, it's getting' close. Won't be more'n a couple a' months now. Phlox says everythin's perfectly in order, so whoever's in there'll be healthy when he or she decides to show up."
"'Whoever's in there'?" Archer repeated.
"Yeah," said Trip, "either Lizzie or Charlie IV. Dependin' on whether it's a boy or a girl."
"We have agreed to give our first child a human name," explained T'Pol. "A vulcan name will come next... if we are able to conceive again."
"Well I wouldn't bet against it," said Archer. Even when I was the captain, they were going at it like unrepentant teenagers... now that they're bound, married, and in charge, I can only imagine what it's like for the poor saps who got the quarters next to theirs...
"Admiral, it is approaching 18:00 hours. I assume you'll be joining us in the captain's lounge for dinner?" said T'Pol.
"I wouldn't be anywhere else," said Archer.
T'Pol gave a slight nod, turned, and lead the small party two the captain's mess.
• • •
ADMIRAL Archer and Commander Reed were trying their damnedest not to fall over laughing. Trip and T'Pol had barely spoken a dozen words to each other all evening. A sideways look here, a subtle touch there, and their minds seemed to sync up like one. Malcolm was convinced that they could hold entire conversations that way, even if neither of them had ever been forthcoming about explaining their mysterious vulcan bond.
"They're still doing it," said Archer aloud, convinced that Trip and T'Pol were so engrossed in each other that they wouldn't even notice. "It used to drive me crazy."
"I suppose it proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same," said Reed.
"So, Malcolm, I guess with T'Pol in command and Trip keeping the engines running smoothly, it's fallen to you to keep everything else running smoothly--First Officer Reed."
Malcolm shrugged. "I'm fairly sure that the only reason I got the job was because Trip didn't want to be his wife's second-in-command, and Starfleet agreed."
«They have been talking about us for the past 23.8 minutes, t'hy'la,» T'Pol thought.
«I know. I've been lettin' 'em have their fun.»
«I believe now would be a good time to let them know that 'the gig is up'.» T'Pol interrupted the conversation by saying, "Nonsense, Mr. Reed. You were the logical choice for first officer because you are the most qualified."
«It's 'cause when he inn't blowin' anythin' up, he can be almost as uptight as a Vulcan,» thought Trip.
«I am not 'uptight'.»
"What are you smiling about?" Reed asked Trip.
"Nuthin'. Nuthin' at all, Mal."
Out of sudden curiosity, Archer glanced at T'Pol, and as he suspected, her eyes were smiling as broadly as Trip's mouth. Oh, yes... those two were made for each other.
• • •
JONATHAN decided to take a stroll through the corridors of his old ship once their dinner-party finally adjourned, close to 01:00. He ambled along a hallway on C-deck, wistfully running a hand along the bulkhead as he walked. Enterprise wasn't the newest ship off the line, but she was still in one piece and running better than ever. She was Starfleet's flagship, the most well-known and respected vessel within a couple thousand light-years, and in Archer's option, the best in the fleet--and she always would be.
He wandered up and down the ship for several long minutes, and somehow he eventually found himself strolling into the deserted mess hall. Check that... almost deserted. Hoshi was seated at one of the corner tables, staring intently at a padd and occasionally looking between that and one of a stack of books at the table.
"Hoshi," said Jon. "What are you doing up at this hour?"
Startled, the linguist looked up. "Admiral! ...I was just brushing up on my Romulan."
Jon sat down at the table next to Hoshi. "Where'd you find books on the Romulan language?"
"On Vulcan," said Hoshi. "They weren't easy to get a hold of."
Jon noticed that a soft blush had crept onto Hoshi's cheeks when he sat down by her. He hoped that he didn't look the same way... he had known her since before she joined Starfleet, after all, and had always--
"Sir?" she interrupted.
"Please, Hoshi... 'Jon'. It's too late at night--or, early in the morning for formalities."
"You're making fun of me, aren't you?"
"Sorry... Jon. I couldn't resist." An awkward silence followed, until Hoshi suddenly yawned. "I'm sorry," she repeated. "I'd better get some more coffee."
"Allow me," said Jon, rising to find something caffeinated for the both of them.
It's going to be a long night, Hoshi thought to herself. ...I hope.
• • •
"THIS is it," Trip announced to the engineering crew. "All the simulations ran smoothly. All our diagnostics show green lights. Everyone here has done some amazin' work, and whether or not things go as planned, I'm proud as hell of each and every one o' ya." He hit the comms and said, "Engineering to the captain."
"Go ahead, Mr. Tucker."
"Everythin's ready, Mrs. Tucker."
Both on the bridge and in engineering, crewmen had to hold their breaths or cover their mouths to stifle laughter.
T'Pol had learned to take this sort of thing in stride, chalking it up to typical human behavior. She took a quick look around the bridge... Lieutenant Commanders Sato and Mayweather were at their stations, as were Commander Reed and the science officer, a male vulcan, Lieutenant Sulek. As she expected, the lieutenant was the only person on the bridge who hadn't cracked a smile at her husband's comment. What she didn't expect to see was Archer, gazing at Hoshi out of the corner of his eye and looking away with his cheeks red whenever she returned the gaze. She decided that that would require further consideration, when she had the time. "Commander Mayweather, please take us to warp 4.5."
"Aye, Ma'am." Travis took the helm and gently brought the Enterprise up to its former maximum cruising speed.
Now would come the real test. It seemed as if everyone on the bridge were holding their breath while Captain Tucker ordered, "Helm, warp 5."
Travis increased the warp factor again, and the ship still ran smoothly, without so much as a rattle from the engines. "Steady as she goes, Captain," he said.
"Engineering, report," said T'Pol.
"She's runnin' like a beauty, beautiful," said Trip. "Kittens purr louder than these engines."
Archer was surprised to hear T'Pol let a pet-name slip by without comment. Unless she was reproaching Trip telepathically, in which case, he positively didn't want to know what she was telling him.
«It's not 'xactly illogical. You are beautiful.»
«Very well. You may continue to call me 'beautiful' in the future, but only in private, is that understood?»
«Aye-aye, Captain Beautiful.»
«Shouldn't we try for a little more speed now?»
«...Agreed.» T'Pol turned to Mayweather and said, "Lieutenant Commander, warp 5.5."
"Aye," said Travis, swallowing and throttling up the controls once again, ever so slowly raising the warp factor beyond anything the ship had ever taken before. Tiny vibrations could be felt through the floors and in the bulkheads now, but so far, nothing that felt like it would tear the ship apart. "Warp 5.5," announced Travis.
"Trip?" asked T'Pol.
"We could hold this speed for a couple a' minutes in a pinch," he said. "But I don't know how long for sure... still, I think we can hit warp 6 for a few seconds without causin' any damage."
"How certain are you?"
Those were good odds... and T'Pol trusted her husband's ability as a chief engineer to outweigh any irrational human "need for speed". "Very well. Helm, take us to warp 6."
"This is it," said Admiral Archer.
"Indeed," said T'Pol.
Travis sucked in his breath and did just that. The engines were starting to shake in earnest now, though it wasn't even as bad as it had been the time that a klingon computer virus had forced their engines up to warp 5.3. The words, "Warp 6, Ma'am, and holding," were just coming from Lt. Cmdr. Mayweather, when something burst in the ceiling and a shower of sparks filled the bridge.
Outside of the ship, if it were possible to see the fabric of subspace, one would've seen the "subspace bubble" that comprised the ship's warp field collapse outward and become a tunnel. The Enterprise shot forward at unimaginable speeds-- if anyone had been there to measure, they would have picked up warp factors in the triple-digits.
Aboard the Enterprise, it felt like the laws of physics were throwing the universe a loop. Everything was... stretching out. "W h a t ' s h a p p e n i n g?" said Archer, his voice sounding deep and slow within the sub-spatial anomaly.
"T ' P o l," came the report from the bridge, "t h e e n g i n e s c a n ' t t a k e m u c h m o r e o' t h i s!"
"C a p t a i n," said Lt. Sulek calmly, "I t a p p e a r s t o b e a n u n s t a b l e w o r m h o l e."
Early in the days of experimental warpdrive, the vulcans had run into this problem. A warp field colliding with an unseen subspace curvature could collapse the field into an unstable wormhole, typically with unpredictable results. She knew precisely what to do, and gave the order for Trip to immediately cut power to the engines. She didn't have to tell him twice.
At once, the Enterprise came to a dead stop... in the middle of nowhere. Electrical surges all over the bridge and engineering caused consoles to short out and occasionally catch fire. Coughing, Archer asked, "Where the hell are we?"
"I'm working on that," said Mayweather, who was trying to bring navigation back online. Several minutes went by in silence. Then Travis's eyes went wide.
"Report, Commander," said T'Pol.
"According to this, we're somewhere in the Beta Quadrant... more than 25,000 light-years from Earth!" said Travis.
Lt. Sulek announced, "At sustained warp 5, it would take us 116.98 years to make the return voyage."
"Would it be possible to... I don't know, recreate that wormhole?" asked Archer.
"Highly unlikely, Admiral. The conditions necessary for creation of a wormhole are rare and not fully understood, even by vulcan scientists."
"You folks all right up there?" asked Trip. When he got an affirmative from T'Pol, he said, "I doubt we'll be goin' anywhere for a while. We're dead in space, and it looks like at least a week's worth of repairs ahead of us. Just lettin' ya know."
"Understood," said T'Pol.
"Are you all right?" asked Archer.
"I'm fine, Admiral," said T'Pol. A hand drifted down to her belly and she amended, "We're both uninjured."
"117 years," Archer sighed. "Are you sure you don't want to name that baby Lorian?"
"What do we do now?" asked Hoshi.
"Cleary, the only logical course of action at present is to finish repairs to Enterprise," said T'Pol, "and begin our return journey to the Alpha Quadrant."
• • •
TRIP plodded into his quarters after an inordinately long and grueling shift in engineering. T'Pol had been sitting on the floor meditating, but her eyes opened when she sensed Trip approach. He didn't even bother to look in her direction, though, as he trudged towards the shower. «Evenin', Polly,» she heard him think in her direction. «Helluva day.» She could feel his fatigue in his thoughts... and something else, something eating at his consciousness that disturbed him, just enough to disturb her too.
Without another thought, T'Pol disrobed and followed Trip into the shower. Her husband smiled when he saw her and put his arms around her loosely. While they kissed, Trip tried to just let go and relax... but he couldn't, and now T'Pol could feel why. «What happened was not your fault, k'diwa. There is no way to predict the formation of a wormhole.»
«Maybe. Then again, maybe it was somethin' I did to the engines. Like ya said, no way to tell.»
«You must not think this way,» thought T'Pol, offering all the love and comfort she could through their bond.
Trip found himself drawing strength from her loosed emotions and returned them in like measure. Trip was surprised, though, to sense something in T'Pol: uneasiness. Nervousness. Fear. «T'Pol, honey, what's wrong? You can tell me.»
«I... I do not know what to do, Charles. It very much appears that we will not see our homeworlds again within a century, and yet all I can do is show bravery for the sake of the crew.»
Trip suddenly felt a great deal of sympathy for T'Pol's position. He also recalled the older version of her that they had met in the Expanse, the one that had lived for so long aboard the Enterprise, watching generations go by... and now it seemed as if their fate was meant to be the same. Only this time, they had traveled over a distance of space, not time. Their would be no other Enterprise to warn, no means of fixing what had happened.
Trip did his best to send soothing feelings to T'Pol, to try and calm his beautiful wife... when suddenly, they both felt a burst of emotion that was at once familiar and altogether new. It was the most simple, unconditional love. «What was that?» thought Trip.
«Our baby,» T'Pol responded.
Suddenly, Trip couldn't feel guilty and T'Pol couldn't feel afraid. This was too wonderful, too exciting.
Perhaps things weren't so bad after all.
**The following is from the online translation of Beowulf by Benjamin Slade,
Have a comment to make about this story? Do so in the Trip Fan Fiction forum at the HoTBBS!
A whole mess of folks have made comments
It had to be 117 years, didn't it?
Looks like Archer will end up with Hoshi this time. Hope MORE than just a third of the crew are women this time, too.
Cool idea. I look forward to the next chapter.
^^This looks a standalone to me. There was no indication of continuation.
Bucky is quite right, this piece is a standalone. That does not mean that there isn't a sequel already in the works, though.
I hope you write a sequel :D
Oooh, very interesting. I want more. It would be like a remake of Voyager with Ent characters. Except be logical by being a generational ship.
Wonderful story - would love to see a sequel (hint, hint) If they're stuck wonder who's got dibs on Hoshi? ;)
I don't know Bucky... I think this is a perfect story to do a sequel on.. The getting back could be just as exciting as the accident that got them there. Great job Jack......Keep it up....T
Mmmmmmmm, very interesting!! Hadn't expected that one. Please don't leave them out there!! Find a way to get them back to their own galaxy!
I really loved this twist and now wonder if that isn't Lorian in there after all! Very good story, I am hoping you will write a sequel or better yet, several. After all, you have 117 years to cover... Ali D :~)
Great story! 117 years, huh? This is gonna be goood!!!!! Sequel, please???
Loved your Story!!! Great work .be looking for more .
Very interesting... A little bit ENT meets VOY! LOL
I hope to see a sequel, though!
Agree on the sequel-bait part! Awesome!
I agree, awsome and needs a sequel
Realy great and I aggre definetly needs a sequel
Don't waste a one-in-a-lifetime chance to explore a bit of Beta Quadrant and meet some interesting aliens before they start back. Who knows? They might meet a people with the knowhow to get them back quickly. This would be a good topic for a sequel.
Recently rediscovered this and ... correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Romulus in the Beta Quadrant? That could be really messed up...