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Golden Lads and Girls
Author - Shouldknowbetter | G | Genre - Action/Adventure | Genre - Drama | Genre - Romance | Genre- Alternate Universe | Main Story | Rating - PG-13
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Golden Lads and Girls
An alternate ending to the series begun with "A Logical Proposal." Check out The Rainbow's End for another version of the conclusion.
This story is part of a series. You may want to read them all in order:
7. Cry Havoc
The Alternate Endings:
10. "Golden Lads and Girls"
Archer leant over to re-fill T’Pol’s wine glass and she regarded him quizzically. “Should I remind you, captain, that alcohol has little effect on Vulcan physiology?”
“Then it can’t do any harm. We’re celebrating, T’Pol.”
“Such celebrations may be premature. Rigel and Andoria have agreed to discuss the concept, nothing more. There are still considerable obstacles in the way of any … federation of planets … such as you wish to see.”
He stared back for a moment, mouth compressed, then shook his head, a rueful smile forming. “You still won’t admit it, will you? Be honest, sub-commander, did you think, four and a half years ago, that humanity would make it this far?”
She raised her chin but the expression in her eyes did not match the arrogance of the gesture. “I did not expect you to reach Qo’noS.”
He smiled back then went to answer the comm. “Archer.”
“Captain,” it was Reed, “we’ve detected something rather strange on sensors. I thought you and Sub-Commander T’Pol might want to take a look.”
“Thank you, lieutenant, we’ll be right up.” He turned back to his first officer who had risen to her feet. “Looks as if we’ll have to postpone that conversation again.”
He only gave her a significant look and a gracious gesture to steer her out of the captain’s mess. He was fairly sure she knew what conversation he wanted to have, the one he had started in sickbay three years before and been working on slowly ever since. Was it his fault that life seemed to have very little continuity and he couldn’t tell from one week to the next how either of them was going to behave?
Archer swung towards the science station. “What do you make of it, sub-commander?”
“At the moment, nothing. It is not a phenomena with which I am familiar.”
“Any danger to Enterprise?”
“We could charge the hull plating, sir,” Reed offered immediately but the science officer shook her neatly coiffured head.
“I do not believe that to be necessary.” Then she stiffened. “Captain, it appears that space is … tearing … in the vicinity of the energy discharge.”
“Back us off, Travis.” Archer’s reaction was instinctive and as the helmsman obeyed Sato began to frown, a hand rising to one ear.
“Captain, I’m picking something up. It sounds almost like …”
“Like Enterprise’s own call sign, sir. Oh!”
“What is it, ensign?”
“I’m receiving an emergency beacon. It’s from Shuttle Pod 1.”
T’Pol straightened slowly, turning to face Archer. “A small craft just emerged from the rift. It appears to be … Shuttle Pod 1.”
Archer recovered first; that was his job after all. “Any life signs?”
“Two. One human,” T’Pol hesitated, “one Vulcan.”
Sato shook her head. “No response, sir.”
Archer exchanged another long look with his science officer and came to a decision. “Malcolm, get the grappler on that shuttle pod and bring it on board.”
The Englishman went to work while T’Pol moved to Archer’s side. “Is this action wise, captain?”
He gave her a lopsided smile. “To be honest, T’Pol, I don’t know, but can you really expect us to pass up a mystery like this one?” Her resigned tilt of the head was familiar from a hundred similar conversations and he smiled affectionately at her before heading for the lift doors. “You’re with me, sub-commander. Malcolm, have a med. team meet us in the launch bay.”
Whatever else it was, it certainly wasn’t their own Shuttle Pod 1, even if that one hadn’t been tucked neatly into its docking bay, still pristine despite some hard knocks over recent years. This shuttle pod looked as if it had been through a firefight and patched back together with more concern for speed than aesthetics. Archer frowned at the sloppy workmanship and depressed the release mechanism so that the hatch swung slowly open. The inside of the shuttle pod was in no better state than the outside; it certainly appeared that no one had done any housekeeping lately and various additional items of equipment had been grafted onto the original structure.
Archer picked his way cautiously forward, halting when he encountered the two bodies sprawled on the deck, one dressed in a dirty Starfleet uniform, the other in a form-fitting cat suit although not of the familiar grey of the Vulcan space service. You could have guessed, the captain chided himself as he stared down at the woman who was both clearly T’Pol and yet not the same one as the poised and elegant woman behind him. The one on the floor was thin, dirty, her neat bob grown into a longer, softer style that was currently hopelessly tangled. His own T’Pol moved past him, crouching at the side of the man in Starfleet uniform to turn him over. This time Archer was braced for it, but it was still a shock to look down at Tucker’s unshaven face, hair cropped close and with the signs of prolonged strain even clearer on him than on the woman beside him.
Phlox appeared unfazed at having an additional pair of officers in his care. Archer allowed the Denobulan to finish running scans of the two unconscious bodies before asking the inevitable question. “Who are they?”
“They’re who they appear to be. Their DNA patterns match those of Sub-Commander T’Pol and Commander Tucker. Their medical histories over the last three, maybe four years, are significantly different, however.”
The captain wasn’t sure if that helped or not. “What’s wrong with them?”
“Nothing that a few good meals and several weeks’ complete rest wouldn’t cure. They’re both exhausted and their blood chemistry, particularly Commander Tucker’s, indicates that they’ve been operating under severe stress for some time. I wouldn’t pass either fit for duty at the moment.”
“Can you wake them up?”
“If you wish. Once rendered unconscious, their bodies simply took the opportunity to rest.” The doctor pressed a hypospray first to the Vulcan’s neck and then to the human’s and stepped back to wait alongside Archer.
They didn’t have to wait long. The T’Pol, if that’s who she was, stirred and sighed then opened her eyes to stare first at the ceiling and then at the man on the bed beside her. Watching curiously, Archer thought her expression softened as she started to stretch out a hand and he decided that intervention was necessary. “T’Pol?”
The reaction he provoked exceeded expectations. The woman shot upright on the biobed, eyes widening, staring between Archer and Phlox as if she couldn’t believe her eyes. So much for Vulcan inscrutability, the captain thought randomly, then the man moaned softly as he began to regain consciousness and she slid off the biobed to station herself at his side, eyes still on Archer and Phlox. “Charles.” Archer frowned, wondering if he had misheard. “Charles!”
The man groaned again. “Unless it’s an alert, honey …”
“Charles, you must wake up. Now!”
“’Kay.” He hauled himself slowly into a sitting position, yawning, and only when he opened his eyes again noticed where he was … and who stood before him. His reaction was even more extreme than the woman’s had been. Before Archer registered what was happening, he had come to his feet, one arm going around the woman’s waist to pull her protectively close, the other pointing a phase pistol at the watching men. “Where the hell are we?”
The question was directed at his companion who answered calmly, gaze thoughtful as she studied Archer’s face. “I do not know.”
“This is the star ship Enterprise.” Archer decided to take the woman’s statement at face value but his answer only seemed to infuriate the man with the gun. “Maybe it is,” his voice was a lot harder than the Tucker’s Archer knew and devoid of the other’s humour, “but it’s not our Enterprise.” The wide mouth took on a bitter twist. “The last time I saw you, Jon, was when we packed your body into a torpedo casing for burial in space.”
For a moment the other man didn’t react then slowly he lowered the weapon, tucking it back into its holster. “Start figuring then.”
“When are you from? Perhaps we’ve got an instance of time travel here.”
He got a disdainful look from the Vulcan woman; there was something different about her apart from the hair and the fact that she was allowing herself to be pressed close to Tucker’s body, but Archer couldn’t pin it down. “The Vulcan Science Directorate has determined that time travel is impossible.”
Now that sounded familiar. “Sorry to disagree, sub-commander, but you’re wrong. What date do you think it is?”
The two exchanged a quick look then the man said reluctantly, “8th March 2156.”
Archer grimaced. “Same here.”
The door behind him opened and his own T’Pol came to his side, raising an eyebrow at the sight of her counterpart still standing in Tucker’s embrace. “Captain,” the other woman had straightened although she made no attempt to move away from Tucker and her eyes on Archer’s first officer were hostile, “I have performed a metalurgical analysis of the shuttle pod we retrieved.”
“There is a phase offset at the atomic level. It seems that these … people,” she didn’t seem impressed with the pair, “are from another universe.”
“Excuse me?” Tucker plainly didn’t think much of that explanation. “I thought alternate universes were just some authors’ gimmick for when they couldn’t think of anything better to write about.”
“On the contrary.” It was his own T’Pol. “The existence of other universes parallel to our own has been hypothesized for some time. It is a plausible explanation - unlike time travel.”
“Whatever. How do we get back?”
“Until we discover how we arrived here in the first place, that is impossible to answer.”
“Let’s get on it then.” He finally withdrew the arm around her waist but only to take her hand, while his eyes went to Archer’s. “We’ll need a download of all your sensor data, Jon, and access to Shuttle Pod 1.” Archer’s surprise at Tucker’s easy assumption of authority was clear and a bleak smile touched the younger man’s lips. “Count the pips, cap’n. They gave me your job.” He anticipated the next question. “They wouldn’t let T’Pol take command, not when the Vulcans had pulled out of Earth.” The look he threw the woman beside him was both tender and regretful. “She stayed anyway.”
Archer had managed to recover his composure following the revelation that this version of Tucker and T’Pol were far closer than Archer had managed to get to his first officer. “Before I let you loose on my ship, Captain Tucker,” and that sounded weird, “I want to understand how this came about. Sub-commander,” he turned to his own T’Pol, “set up a briefing for the senior staff,” he barely hesitated, “and have Malcolm send one of his security teams down here.”
“We have a unique opportunity to chart parallel development,” Archer’s first officer pointed out. “If we can pin point the moment …”
“I don’t give a damn, sub-commander! Maybe our universe diverged when the Suliban decided not to implicate Enterprise in the destruction of the Paraagan colony. Maybe it was when Jon forgot to order scrambled eggs for breakfast. I don’t care. I have a ship to get back to and that’s all that matters.”
“We want to get you back too, Captain Tucker,” Archer said firmly and then more gently, “Back off, Trip.”
The man who looked so much like his friend and yet behaved so differently met Archer’s calm gaze and for a second he saw the fear and desperation behind the temper and realised that there wasn’t as great a difference as he had thought. Push his own Tucker too hard, for too long, make him face intolerable loss and heart-breaking decisions and maybe the tough, resilient, light-hearted man that Archer had known for years would turn into this too.
“You don’t understand.” Tucker came back to the table, leaning across it as he held Archer’s gaze. “Earth’s losing the war with the Klingons, Jon. There weren’t enough of us; Starfleet didn’t have enough ships to ever stand a hope against a society totally geared to warfare. It didn’t matter that we were more adaptable, more cunning. They just kept coming – and we know they’re still coming. There’s a Klingon armada on its way to Earth right now and Enterprise is one of the few ships left to try to stop it. I have to get back.”
“The Vulcans …” Archer began slowly and Tucker laughed although it was a bitter, humourless sound.
“They washed their hands of us a year or more ago. Said we’d brought this on ourselves.” He looked to the Vulcan woman who was watching him sadly. “Maybe they were right.”
“The crimes of one individual should not seal the fate of an entire species,” she said gently and he grimaced, stretching out a hand to touch her cheek lightly.
“We could have been more conciliating.” It was clearly an old debate between them and Archer felt again a flicker of something approaching jealousy. This Tucker and T’Pol were so obviously far closer than he was to his T’Pol that it hurt.
“The fact remains,” his science officer said coldly, “that unless we ‘waste our time’ understanding how you reached here, Captain Tucker,” and her distaste at having to use the rank was clear, “we will be unable to return you.”
“Then I suggest that you allow us to commence research on the question,” the other T’Pol had a good line in sarcasm,” rather than undertaking pointless debate.”
“I agree,” Archer said firmly before a full-scale argument could develop. “Malcolm, have Captain Tucker and T’Pol escorted to their shuttle pod. I’m sure they can make a start on their research without our assistance.”
“Naturally.” The Vulcan reached out a hand to tug gently on Tucker’s hand. “Charles?”
He withdrew an angry glare from Archer to look down at her and nodded slowly. “Fine. Let’s go.”
“Her behaviour is disgraceful, shaming and inappropriate.”
He tried to hide the smile but couldn’t quite manage it. “I meant about the plausibility of returning them to their own universe.”
She glared but gave him the benefit of her opinion. “As my … doppelganger …. stated, the existence of such parallels is a valid theory although transfer between them was not thought feasible. However, it clearly is possible. I recommend that we return our visitors swiftly before their presence here damages the stability of this universe.”
Archer frowned. “You think it could be that serious?”
“Further investigation is required but the energy needed to perform such a transfer would be immense. I do not believe that we should underestimate the risk.”
“Then it looks as if Captain Tucker will get his wish.” Archer looked speculatively at the woman before him. “T’Pol, have you and Trip …”
Her head came up sharply. “Most certainly not!”
“You really don’t approve of the idea of a Vulcan with a human partner?”
There was definitely a pause before she answered and less edge to her voice – unless Archer was just reading something into nothing. “Such a thing would have to be undertaken with … discretion.”
“Discretion’s my middle name.” Archer wouldn’t resist the juvenile rejoinder even though he knew he deserved the glare that resulted. “Get started on a way to return these people to their own universe, sub-commander. Even if they come up with their own solution, I want to be certain that we understand it.”
“No,” but he was sucking the back of one hand and she came to check for herself, stroking his face once she had reassured herself that the burn was minor.
“You should rest.”
“Charles, you are too tired even to re-wire a fused circuit correctly.” He sighed and scrubbed both hands over his face and she took the opportunity to draw him aside to a chair, seating herself on his lap to hold him in place. “You have not slept in nearly three days.”
“I’m getting used to it.” He leant his forehead on her shoulder. “You haven’t meditated either.”
There was a pause and he could feel her sadness through the bond between them. “There seems little reason to do so.” A warm hand was caressing the back of his head.
“I’m sorry I cut my hair.”
“The new sensation is not unpleasant.”
Tucker raised his head to meet soft brown eyes. “I’m sorry anyway.”
T’Pol knew it was not the severe hairstyle for which he was apologising. “I am not.” She leant forward to kiss him. “I do not regret that I chose to be with you, Charles.”
“Thank you,” he whispered and closed the distance between them for another long, gentle kiss.
The embarrassed scuffling in the doorway alerted them to the fact that they were no longer alone although it didn’t hasten the end of the kiss. The time when T’Pol refused to allow Tucker to touch her in public was months in the past, along with a good many other prejudices and customs that no longer seemed important. Regretfully they turned to face the newcomer and found Enterprise’s chief engineer watching them with bemusement. For the first time in far too long, T’Pol felt a flicker of amusement from her own Tucker as he deliberately hugged her closer, enjoying his counterpart’s confusion.
“You were looking for us, Commander Tucker?”
“Uh, yeah.” The other man, who looked a good deal younger than her lover to T’Pol’s critical eyes, appeared not to want to look at them. “T’Pol said … I mean, the other one …”
“We understand you.”
“Eh, yeah. Well, she said she wanted a sample of the anti-matter you’re carrying.”
“Indeed?” T’Pol cast an amused look at the man on whose lap she was still seated, willing to encourage his brief enjoyment of the situation. “Charles, you never fetched things for me.”
“Always fixed your sensors, though.”
She flicked an eyebrow in acknowledgement and looked back at the traumatized engineer. “I will take the sample to the sub-commander. It would be of more use if you spent your time assisting Captain Tucker in repairing this shuttle pod.”
“I can do that, I guess.”
“Good.” She pressed a final kiss to her lover’s mouth and headed for the external cargo locker. “I will find the sub-commander in the science lab?”
“Yeah.” The Vulcan gone, the two Tuckers eyed each other for a long moment before the commander grimaced and took a assessing look around the shuttle pod. “What’s the problem?”
“Fused relays, mostly. She didn’t stand up to the shock of transfer real well.”
“Nothing we can’t fix.” The chief engineer was already peering into the open compartment, starting to pull out damaged components, and Captain Tucker left him to it. His counterpart’s obvious energy and enthusiasm for any task made him even more aware of his own exhaustion; he hadn’t felt like that in years. “Why were you carrying so much anti-matter?”
“To re-stock our torpedo payload.”
“Anti-matter torpedoes?” Commander Tucker looked around in shock. “They’re on the list of banned weapons. The treaty of Altair …”
“We’re fighting a war we can’t win, commander. We threw out the rule book a long time ago.”
The other version of himself hesitated and turned back to his task. “Does everyone call you Charles?”
“You and she really are … uh …?”
“Best damn thing that ever happened to either of us. Didn’t happen in this universe, I guess?”
“No. T’Pol and the cap’n are real close, though.”
Caption Tucker gave a brief grunt of laughter. “Yeah, I thought that once. Won’t happen. Unless this universe is real weird, she’d never wanna be with him. Jon never could make her laugh.”
“Sure. Maybe you never looked close enough to see it.”
“Maybe I never got the chance.”
“Then you should have done.” The engineer returned to his task with a shake of his head and the captain regarded him thoughtfully. “She likes ‘The Time Machine’ and extra salt on her popcorn.”
The other man paused for a moment then continued working. “She always goes to movie night with the cap’n.”
“Have you ever come right out and asked her?”
With two T’Pols glaring at each other across the situation room table, it wasn’t the most relaxed atmosphere Archer had ever encountered at a briefing and it wasn’t improved when the Tuckers arrived, both armed with coffee mugs. The one with the fourth pip got a disapproving stare and he shrugged as he came to stand beside his Vulcan, a hand automatically going out to caress her. “Yeah, I know, I drink too much coffee. Have you worked out how to get us back?”
“With your permission, Captain Archer,” the shorthaired Vulcan said pointedly, and at his nod turned to Captain Tucker, “we have not.” He scowled and opened his mouth and she continued smoothly, “However, a worrying phenomena has developed.”
“Get on with it, honey,” she was encouraged. “We’re short of time here.”
Enterprise’s crew was treated to the rare sight of their first officer actually struggling to retain her composure as their chief engineer’s counterpart effortlessly disturbed her calm.
“The rift through which your shuttle pod emerged appeared to close behind it.” Her tone was chilling. “However, it is now clear that it did not. An energy drain is apparent in this vicinity and it is increasing exponentially.”
“There’s an energy drain from this universe into theirs?” Archer asked for clarification and his science officer nodded briefly. “What are the consequences?”
“If not halted, I project that the energy transfer will continue at an ever increasing rate with catastrophic results for both universes.”
“Can we close the rift?”
“Research indicates that it can be closed as it was opened, by the detonation of warp plasma at the exact epicentre.”
“Klingon scout ship,” Captain Tucker muttered half to himself. “It was chasing us; Enterprise took it out.” Then he scowled at Archer. “You can’t close that rift, Jon, not until we’re through it.”
“How long can it safely be left in its current state, T’Pol?” Archer was watching his fellow captain.
“In two hours twelve minutes, the energy drain will start to affect the nearest solar system; it contains approximately 1.2 billion individuals.”
“No!” They all jumped at Captain Tucker’s violent objection as he slammed his hand onto the table. “We’ve got two hours before we have to close it!”
Sub-Commander T’Pol regarded him with disfavour. “Logic dictates that you must remain here. You have nothing to return to.”
“I’ve got a ship and a crew and a planet that needs us.”
“You do not.”
The T’Pol at his side raised her head to his, eyes sad. “We were able to use the modulations in the energy drain to infer information on the area of space on the other side of the rift. Charles … Enterprise is no longer there. It seems that that area of space is occupied by the Klingon fleet.”
He stared back, shocked despite the blows of the past eighteen months that should have blunted surprise at appalling news. “Enterprise has been destroyed?”
“We could not tell. Commander Reed may have been able to withdraw.”
“Jeez,” he muttered and turned away, a hand rubbing over his cropped hair. “Jeez, I hope so.”
“Captain,” Archer said cautiously, very aware that this Tucker came with a ‘handle with care’ label, “I can’t risk damage to my universe. T’Pol, what would happen if Captain Tucker and his T’Pol stayed here?”
“No.” Tucker had returned to the table, fiercely intent. “I’ve still got a job to do, Jon, and you’re not gonna stop me.” He turned a burning gaze on the shorthaired of the two Vulcans. “You said a warp plasma explosion would seal the rift. Would it re-open before closing for good?”
She eyed him with grudging respect. “Very probably.”
“OK. Malcolm, I’m gonna need ten torpedo casings and detonators and,” he pointed at his counterpart, “ten litres of warp plasma in addition to whatever T’Pol says is needed to seal the rift.”
“That’s enough,” Archer said firmly. “Trip, I don’t know what you’re planning …”
“He is intending,” the T’Pol who wasn’t his first officer said quietly, “to return through the rift with sufficient explosive capability to destroy the Klingon fleet … and any shuttle pod in the vicinity.”
“I have to.” Tucker caught her chin to tip the lovely face up to his. “T’Pol, darling, I have to. Earth’s a sitting duck.”
“I cannot condone a suicide mission.” Archer was struggling to maintain a grip on the situation but failing as Captain Tucker swung on him, abruptly furious.
“It’s none of your business, cap’n. This isn’t happening in your nice, bright, shiny universe, where you have treaties against the use of weapons of mass destruction and your crew don’t get killed in accidents or fire fights with other Starfleet ships or bloody wars with Klingons who think dying in battle is a good thing. Hell, probably the Vulcans in this universe wouldn’t even bat an eyelid if you and T’Pol got married! But it’s not my universe. Mine’s a lot less safe than this one … and maybe today is a good day to die because life was getting pretty damned intolerable.” He stopped, panting, teeth clamped hard on his lower lip as he glared defiantly around at his shocked, silent listeners and ended on his lover. “I’ll be in the shuttle bay,” he finished softly, barely disguising the shake in his voice and headed for the bridge doors.
Archer drew a deep breath, caught his first officer’s eye and looked to the other Vulcan who was staring after Captain Tucker. “T’Pol.” She turned slowly to face him and he was shaken to see the tears in her eyes. “I’ll see that the supplies Captain Tucker needs are made available.” She inclined her head and he continued hesitantly, “T’Pol, you’re welcome to stay if Trip won’t listen to reason.”
“He has never listened to reason.” The tears were sliding silently down her cheeks. “But he is my t’hy’la,” she switched her gaze to meet that of her counterpart, “whom I love,” and she too left the rest standing there.
“OK, people,” Archer spoke crisply to snap his officers out of their stupor, “you know what’s required.” They filed out onto the main bridge although he held his first officer back with a twitch of his head. “T’Pol, your … other half … she seems very emotional. Why is that?”
“She has ceased to meditate regularly and,” the distaste was clear, “she is bonded to the man. She allows his emotions to affect her.”
“She’s one of the … what do you call them? … V’tosh Ka’tur?”
“She claims not but,” T’Pol’s voice dripped disapproval, ”she admits that her behaviour has led to her estrangement from all other Vulcans.”
“You’ve spoken about it?”
“Whilst we worked on the analysis of the spatial rift. She appeared to find my surprise at her relationship with Captain Tucker amusing. I questioned her conduct.”
“So knowing that a Vulcan can admit she has feelings for a human doesn’t encourage you to experiment?”
“She has gone altogether too far. If you will excuse me, captain,” and she left Archer to wonder if that was encouraging or not.
T’Pol returned to the shuttle pod after a brief status update that Captain Tucker had refused to attend to find him testing the interface between the torpedoes and the pilot’s console. He was so focussed on his task that he didn’t notice her approach and she took the opportunity to study him. Despite the degree to which he had changed over the last year, she still loved him with a depth and a passion that shamed her, but she no longer cared about the illogic of her choice. She had ceased to care about her people’s opinion of her months before when she had been ordered to leave Enterprise and had finally and flatly refused, admitting at last that there had only ever been one reason why she had stayed. He would not leave however logical the arguments and so she had chosen love over duty. Now it was nearly over and the grief and rage at the futility were almost too much for her to control. She and Charles had deserved years longer to be happy together and it mattered nothing to her that there were thousands, perhaps millions, of others who would lose just as much in this war that neither she nor her human had ever wanted. She had never realised just how selfish she could be.
It was her roiling emotions that alerted Tucker to her presence because she had not moved. He looked up from the console, hesitated then moved towards her, pulling her tightly to him. T’Pol pressed her face into his neck and concentrated on breathing. Exiled Vulcans might occasionally cry, but Tucker hated it. “You should have gone home when you had the chance.”
“I did not wish to leave you.”
“Maybe you still could. If you stay here …”
She raised her head, defiant. “No!”
“Jeez,” he said softly, “what have I done to you?”
“Nothing I did not condone.”
“Then why are you crying? Vulcans don’t cry.”
“Because I love you.”
“Aw, hell.” Tucker knew that T’Pol loved him but he could count on two fingers the number of times she had told him so. Once, long ago, when they had still had time and energy and a future, he had teased her unmercifully about it.
“You are supposed to say that you love me too.”
He choked, half with laughter, half with grief; that was his line. “You know I have feelings for you.”
“Very deep feelings?”
He did laugh that time, for the first time in far, far too long. “I love you.” His hands slid up to cup her face. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone,” and he lowered his head to kiss her.”
“You are finished here?”
“Your counterpart believes that it will take him another hour to be ready.”
“And I never over-estimate, do I?”
“No.” T’Pol’s hands slipped up to stroke over his cropped hair. “Make love to me, Charles.”
“T’Pol …” She was crying again and he was little more composed.
“Ssh.” His mouth was moving gently over her face, kissing away the hot tears. “Ssh.” Then his lips closed on hers and they both allowed love and lust and need to blot out anything except each other.
“They’re at the target distance, captain,” Mayweather reported and Archer nodded, not taking his eyes from the screen.
“Fire when ready, Lt. Reed.”
“Sir.” The armoury officer’s expression was grim as he set to work. “Firing now.”
The energy beam shot out and scored a direct hit on the container of warp plasma that had been deployed at the location of the spatial rift. There was a massive explosion and T’Pol peered into her scanner.” The rift is opening, captain.”
On the screen, the shuttle pod began to move.
“Can you get any readings from within the rift, sub-commander?”
“Confirmed. The Klingon fleet is still there. The shuttle pod will emerge within 100km of it."
The bridge fell silent again and Archer became aware that his hands were clenched into fists on the arms of his chair. This wasn’t an easy thing to watch, however much strangers those other versions of their friends had been.
The shock of transfer was less intense this time, perhaps because they were returning to their own universe, and then there were Klingon warships ahead of them. Tucker didn’t waste time looking at the scanner, just headed for the fleet; the torpedoes were programmed to seek out the largest targets in their field of view and the force of the ships’ destruction should cause a cascade effect right through the fleet. The shuttle pod lurched as it was struck by incoming fire and Tucker knew it wasn’t worth waiting any longer. He stretched out a hand and felt warm, familiar fingers grip his tightly. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” and he pressed the newly wired button in front of him.
Archer turned towards her, needing reassurance that his own T’Pol hadn’t changed into a strange, almost emotional creature who loved someone else and Sato said desperately, “Is there any chance that they survived, captain?”
Archer was still watching T’Pol and it was she who answered, seemingly unmoved. “None at all.”
The captain turned back to the screen, sensing the depression of those around him, which pretty much reflected his own mood. Perhaps later he really would sit T’Pol down and have a serious discussion about inter-personal relationships. He definitely needed to release some tension.
He looked up, startled. “Sure.”
T’Pol perched on the edge of a seat, a mug of mint tea clasped in her hands, and chief engineer and science officer regarded each other for a moment, perhaps with speculation although the scrutiny did not last long enough to be sure. “I believe that tomorrow night is movie night.”
“That’s right.” Tucker hesitated. “We’re showing ‘The Time Machine’.”
There was a pause. “Are you attending, commander?”
“I was thinking maybe.”
“As was I.”
Another long silence. “Might see you there then?”
“It seems likely.”
“Then I’ll bring the popcorn.”
A whole mess of folks have made comments
Both endings are excellent! Prefer the one with the children, beautifully imagined.
Absolutely excellent but so sad! I loved that it was our T'Pol asking Trip to movie night. I kind of expected this ending but had assumed it would be Trip asking her. Very well written, just wished the other two had survived in their universe. Thanks for a great story, Ali D :~)
Very good...this is episode script worthy. Most fanfic writers do good work, but their writing tends to move in a direction of their own choosing and doesn't conform to the road mapped by series episodes. This one does...it's been used
Both endings are brilliant. I think I prefer this ending though, it's so bittersweet. It kinda reminds me of an episode of TNG.
This was definately an alternate ending, so different from "The Rainbow" yet just as good.
Does this mean it's their destiny to be together no matter what alternate universe they're in?
Love it, love it, love it!!
Absolutely wonderful. A nice alternate take.
just what the hell was that??? sorry momentary lapse of control. liked the other one better.
Great story and so well written. This would make a great episode. I love alternate universe stories as they allow you to see "your" characters as you really want them without screwing too much with the "real" universe. I was a little confused though since this was more of a stand alone story; it didn't really seem to follow Remember. I'm going to go read the alternate ending now. Please write more!
Very nicely written, although I preferred the happy ending of the other version.
I had to laugh, though, at Commander Tucker's bemused expression of seeing Cpt Tucker kissing T'Pol. Maybe it's given him some ideas...
Loved the ending. Thanks for all your hard work.
you've managed to surprise me yet again! to be perfectly honest i wasn't expecting to like this very much. mainly because you indicate that you borrowed from Yesterday's Enterprise, and that episode isn't one of my favourites. i really loved this though. it seems as though trip and t'pol are meant to be together...in any universe. thanks again.
Excellent! An AU story which allows the tragedy to be playe out but permits us to retain our beloved Trip and T'Pol, with the hope that someone will knock Trip upside the head and get him with the program! Keep writing. I love your stories.
OK, i started readin 'Cry Havoc' but kept being pulled away from the computer. The next time I had any time on the computer I find out you've written four more stories!
Anyway, the entire serise is good and I love it. This ending was interesting but it took me a few minutes to figure it all out.
I think I like it better though. It was like reading about one relasionship that could have happened and then they died and then there was hope for a new and different relasionship between the two.
Good job and I hope you keep writing. (Continuing the serise or otherwise)
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