Author: Joules Mer
Author's e-mail: email@example.com
Author's URL: http://jmenterprise.popullus.net
Date: Posted to EntSTSlash 9/20/20004
Archive: Will be sent to EntSTCommunity. Everyone else please ask
Fandom: Star Trek Enterprise
Summary: The beginning of a new future.
Series: The Grandfather Paradox (fifth in series, sequel to Uncertainty)
Spoilers: Zero Hour and Countdown (major spoilers), general season 3.
Disclaimer: Enterprise is the property of Paramount. Characters
just borrowed for fun. No profit was, or will be, made by this story.
"Given so much time, the 'impossible' becomes
possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain.
One only has to wait: time itself performs miracles."
The door to the airlock slides open and I'm confronted
with Trip and T'Pol standing by the controls. I notice that they
appear to have something wrong with their skin, but don't dwell on it
in the face of what's happened. "It's done."
"Done?" T'Pol prods me for more details I don't
want to give.
"Captain Archer destroyed the weapon."
"Where is he? Is he okay?"
Trip's gaze flits between the airlock and my face.
I make sure I have his full attention before I speak. I don't want
to say this twice. "Captain didn't make it, Trip."
You can almost see a wave of denial crash over him.
"What do you mean he didn't make it?"
"The weapon exploded..." There's a hitch in my
voice and I have to force out the rest of the words, "before he could
transport to Degra's ship."
He's stunned. Before he can recover from the
shock of my announcement Hoshi pulls him into a tight hug. Not wanting
to break down in front of T'Pol and the subordinates milling around I
hurry off to make myself busy returning my rifle and a spare detonator
to the armoury. Some friend I am. I can't even bring myself
to look back.
It's disturbing to look out the windows and only see
the belly of an alien ship. I feel like Kipling's mariner, swallowed
raft and all by a whale. My mother used to tell me that story when
I was little, and up till now the memory had always been comforting.
We're about five hours from Earth now, and I'm not supposed to be back
on duty for another two. T'Pol relieved me of duty soon after I'd
returned my rifle. I can't help but wonder if she thinks the captain's
death was my fault. An unexpected chime from my door catches me
lost in thought and it takes a moment for me to respond. "Yes?"
There's a short hesitation before the door slides open
and a figure stands framed in the doorway. "Hi Malcolm." Trip
gives me an inscrutable glance before continuing softly. "Can I
It takes me a moment to unstick my suddenly dry tongue
from the roof of my mouth. "Of course."
A few quick strides from the doorway and he collapses
into my small sofa. He doesn't say anything at first, just stares
at his feet. The silence is long enough to make me uncomfortable
and I start to fiddle with the edge of the blanket I'm sitting on. I don't
know what to say so he's forced to finally break the silence. "Do
you want me to go?" My head snaps up at that. Trip's sitting
so close to the edge of the seat that our knees are almost touching across
the gap between the sofa and my bed.
"No. I'm glad you're here." Which it true.
Moping around alone wasn't getting me anywhere.
He cocks his head slightly. "You seemed pretty
surprised to see me."
"No..." There's no use lying to him and I can't
bring myself to anyway. "I just... I thought you'd have gone to
Though the deep lines of pain on his face shines a
ghost of a smile, he's obviously remembering something. "She might
have shared some... intimate information with me, but with the Cap'n gone,"
His voice hitches at that and the last few words come out sounding strangled,
"you're my best friend."
I feel a wave of guilt, even though I don't really
know what I could have done differently. The words catch in my throat,
"I tried, Trip."
"I know, Malcolm." He sounds so tired.
I look down at my hands and the pleats they have made
in the bedspread. "He ordered me to go. To take Hoshi and
I hear Trip take a juddering breath at that and when
he speaks his voice is muffled by the hand he's holding over his face.
"I knew he was going to pull something like that. I could tell.
I should have warned you, Malcolm."
I can't believe Trip blames himself for the captain's
death. Himself and not me. When he lowers his hand I can see
the beginnings of tear tracks on his face which is badly contorted as
he tries to hold his emotions in. I impulsively reach out and grab
his hand, using it to pull him up off the sofa and over to sit next to
me. I curl one arm around his shoulders tightly and speak softly
into his ear. "Oh, Trip. Let it out. Let it all out."
And he finally, after all the months and all the deaths, starts to cry.
Really cry. He's clutching at my wrist hard enough to hurt and making
a mess on my uniform, but I don't care.
After a while his sobs subside until they stop altogether
and he becomes a dead weight against my side. Since he doesn't wake
when I disentangle myself I manoeuvre him into a comfortable position,
pull off his boots, and pull the blanket over him. Checking the
time I decide to go and check in on Hoshi before going on shift.
I leave him sleeping in the bed, setting my alarm for an hour before we're
due to arrive home.
I shift anxiously in my chair at tactical, wondering
if I should comm my quarters to make sure he woke up on time. Even
Hoshi has come up from sickbay, and she still looks far too pale.
I know Trip wouldn't want to miss our arrival home.
The turbolift door slides open and he's here, running
a hand through his hair to smooth it down. He goes straight to the
science station and plops down in the seat normally occupied by T'Pol.
"Mind if we take a look?" When she nods he turns on the main viewer,
magnifying until we can get a good look at what we've fought for.
Raw emotion grates in Trip's throat. "Prettiest sight I ever saw,
and it's all in one piece."
I swallow my emotions as best I can and offer, "The
Captain would be proud."
The moment is broken when T'Pol returns to business.
"Open a channel to Starfleet Headquarters."
The comm beeps a few times before Hoshi comments, "Strange."
"They're not responding."
I check my own scans in confusion. "You'd think
they'd be waiting with bated breath."
"Try another frequency."
Confusion turns to concern when Travis speaks up.
"I'm not picking up the orbital platforms."
Still hoping there's a rational explanation for the
silence I offer one thing I know for certain. "The Reptilians destroyed
My hopes are dashed when Travis slowly shakes his head.
"It's not just Yosemite. There's nothing coming from any of them."
The comm gives a final chirp and Hoshi looks up.
"I've rotated through all the frequencies."
T'Pol paces around the bridge, for a Vulcan she seems
agitated. "Contact the Lunar 1 colony."
"I already tried."
Before I can request to lead a team T'Pol turns to
Trip. "Prepare a shuttlepod. I want you and Ensign Mayweather
to get down to San Francisco. Find out what's wrong."
After what seems like an interminable wait Hoshi announces
that we're being hailed. "Shuttlepod One to Enterprise." Trip's
excited voice squawks through the bridge speakers accompanied by an odd
metalic clattering sound.
"Enterprise. What's your status, Commander?"
T'Pol's voice from the captain's chair is a sorry reminder of what we've
"We're under attack!"
I straighten in my seat at this unexpected information,
a thousand questions on the tip of my tongue prompted by sudden fear for
Trip and Travis. "Who's attacking you?"
"We're being fired on by projectile weapons.
They're not doing much but making noise. There are airplanes- just
like in the old history books."
"Return to Enterprise."
"We're on our way." Trip cuts the comm channel
and silence fills the bridge. We've made it home, but it's clear
something is very wrong.
"... and the bridge was there, but when we closed in
we saw HQ was missing. There were these planes coming at us in formation
just after we broke through the clouds. They had *propellors*!"
For a moment I stop focusing on Trip's raving and just allow myself to
be relieved they made it back to Enterprise safely. When he finally
winds down I lean across the table in the command centre and start to
speak. "So Earth appears to be pre-warp. Have we somehow gone
back in time?" I shift in my seat as my frustration at an incomprehensible
situation mounts. "Why is it like this?"
"Because it was in their interest to hold back the
level of technology." As one we turn to face the man standing in
the doorway of the command centre. Daniels takes another step inside
and continues to speak as he moves to join us at the table. "You
haven't travelled anywhere in time. A species called the Agrios
is behind the change in the timeline."
T'Pol merely raises an eyebrow at our unexpected guest.
"Am I to presume you know what has happened?"
"The Agrios are going to annex Earth."
That doesn't make sense to me. "Then why have
they made it like this rather than just gone and annexed it properly?"
"You'll notice we tend to only send back one or two
people or a small vessel at a time. The energy required for more,
depending how much time you want to skip over, is prohibitive. From
what I can tell an invasion force will arrive about sixty years from now.
That's about as far back as they can send a large amount of personnel
and supplies. Normally we monitor the Agrios very carefully, they
have always been militant expansionists, but with recent events we were
not as diligent as we should have been. My guess is that they knew
your Earth of 2214 would have been able to defend itself against such
an attack. To get around that it appears they sent teams of individuals
back to the 20th century and somehow managed to prolong the second world
war without allowing substantial increases in the level of technology.
This Earth is no match for their technology and will be overrun.
My future no longer exists."
My forehead furrows at the subtleties of time travel.
"Then how are you here?"
"I was in the past when they changed the future."
Travis gets an odd look on his face and speaks up,
"Wait, then how are *we* here?"
"From what I can tell the spatial anomalies in the
Expanse can also be temporal. The probability of it happening is
almost nonexistent, but if their meddling coincided with a temporal anomaly
you could continue to exist in this new timeline." Even T'Pol seems
skeptical of that explanation. Daniels shrugs. "It's the best
I can come up with, and it isn't impossible."
Casting aside suppositions I try to turn to practical
matters. "So what do we do?"
"We get Captain Archer and try to stop the initial
Agrios incursion. With some help I should be able to modify my equipment
enough to take a small team."
"The Cap'n's dead." Trip fixes Daniels with a
dull stare. "He was killed destroying the sphere, I don't see how
you can undo his death without letting Earth be completely destroyed."
"Captain Archer is alive."
"What?" I can't stay the outburst. How
dare he give Trip false hope when I don't see how the captain could have
"How do you know he is alive?"
Daniels seems relieved to be able to turn and answer
T'Pol instead of confronting my disbelief and anger. "My organization
implants transponders in key historical figures. I'm picking up
a signal from Captain Archer's. He's on Earth."
"And he's not dead?" There's a distinct tremble
in Trip's voice which he tries to hide.
Confidence is plain in Daniels' tone. "It wouldn't
work if he were."
Everyone allows a measure of relief to show on their
faces, but I don't think any of us can truly let ourselves believe the
captain is alive until we see him in the flesh. After a moment another
question presents itself to me and I shift uncomfortably. "Just...
how many of us have you put transponders in?"
Daniels merely gives me a funny smile before changing
the topic completely. "If I tie in my equipment to Enterprise's
scanners we may be able to pinpoint the captain's location on the surface.
I'll need some help reconfiguring a power source so that my equipment
will work. I have to warn you, though, this isn't a sure thing at
all. We can try to reduce the risks, but moving a group of people
with something designed for a single person is dangerous."
"But we have to try." I can tell by the faces
of my colleagues that they all agree with Trip's statement.
Seeing that the meeting is about to break up I speak
up, "Technology usually increases dramatically during wartime. It
was during World War Two that the atomic bomb was created. How could
they keep Earth this primitive for over two hundred years?"
Daniels frowns. "I don't know, but maybe we can