I had a few free hours around midnight. Sorry for
the lack of substance, I just wrote until I could go to sleep.
Title: A Tarnished Family Tree
Author: Joules Mer
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (feedback always welcome)
Archive: Yes to EntSTSlash. Anyone else go ahead, just let me
This is a response to post 7213, the "not quite bunny, not quite challenge:
perhaps Mal's family history is a lot less proud than they make out..." which
was offered up by Random Dent. Thanks RD.
"Well I'm just saying it wouldn't be proper."
"It wouldn't be proper." Trip worked his
mouth around the distasteful word as he drew out its syllables. He stopped
in his tracks in the corridor and fixed his lover with a look of utter disbelief.
Malcolm looked back levelly. "Un-be-lievable, you're actually
"Of course I'm serious. As an officer it isn't
my place to..."
"Malcolm! Where d'ya get this stuff from?"
"What 'stuff' would that be exactly?"
Having just lost the last shred of what he normally
called his patience, Trip plowed unwittingly ahead into dangerous territory.
"What exactly hmmm? I'll tell ya, how's about the proper this
and model officer that for a start."
Malcolm's eyes narrowed alarmingly and he firmly clenched
his hands into tight fists before speaking. "If that is your opinion,
sir, then with all due respect I would suggest that we continue this discussion
"Now you're doing it again!" Trip practically howled.
"See what I told ya.." It was at this moment that Malcolm, for the first
time in his life, disregarded his ingrained respect for superior officers
by assaulting one as he manhandled Trip the short distance to his quarters
and shoved him inside. Trip, rather shocked by his rapid relocation,
wisely kept his mouth shut as Malcolm rounded on him.
"As I was saying Commander Tucker, your impracticable
plan is a temerarious attempt to attain a positively puerile goal. It
would be an improper use of the privileges associated with our respective
ranks and could create a full blown interstellar incident. You're so
bloody quixotic Trip."
"And you get all verbose when yer angry." They
both regarded each other as their anger slowly drained away. "Just
drop the demeanor Malcolm, at least when it's only the two of us. I
thought we'd figured out that the Royal Navy doesn't suit ya."
Malcolm sighed and shook his head. "You don't understand
Trip. We Reeds have been in the Royal Navy for generations, I am the
Royal Navy. It's a part of being a Reed."
"Malcolm, just let me ask ya one thing. Where in
the world do ya get this stuff from? You're a million miles from any
ocean, hell, you're the Reed that didn't join the navy."
"Do you know how the Reeds became navy men?"
" 'Cause it was their duty, or for the heroics or something
similarly gallant? Hell, I've heard about your father's ideals and I know
you Mal. Was it giving the family a formal good bye before tally-ho-ing
off to sail the seas for king and country?"
Malcolm's face was strangely unreadable, yet if Trip
looked closely he could almost believe that Malcolm looked distinctly embarrassed.
"I think we'd better sit down because this could take
a while, and if I've left any of my Guinness here I think I could use it now."
Malcolm sat at Trip's desk while Trip rummaged around in what served
as his liquor cabinet. He located some suitable beverages and passed
one to Malcolm before settling on his bed.
"This is the story of Edward Reed, a direct ancestor
of mine." Malcolm paused to take a fortifying swig of his Guinness
before he continued. "He was, well, a robber, but not a very good one.
He tried to rob a pub but he encountered several rather severe obstacles
that foiled his plans." Malcolm paused and examined his drink before
he continued. "The first was that he had been drinking all afternoon
and as a result was quite potted." Malcolm trailed off and his cheeks
flushed slightly. He cleared his throat and continued. "The next
obstacle was the fact that the pub wasn't closed. There was a big football
match that day, I think it was the FA cup, and the pub had a television."
At Trip's somewhat blank look he hastened to explain, "Think of one
of the first televised superbowls." Trip's eyebrows raised at that
thought. "It was the only pub in a rather small town so everyone was
there, including a local bobby."
"Exactly, so he comes reeling in the front door carrying
an empty money sack, a screwdriver and a ring of homemade lock picks. He
takes one look at the crowd and brandishes his screwdriver while telling them
to put their hands up."
"That's a mighty ambitious stick up."
"His next problem was that there had been a skeet shooting
tournament earlier in the day. It seems that most of the participants
had come directly to the pub afterwards. A second later he was the one
with his hands in the air." Malcolm took another swig of his Guinness.
"He took one look at the guns..."
"And?" Trip prompted gently.
"That's when he threw up in the middle of the pub, all
over his shoes too. He was arrested immediately after that." Trip's
expression was wavering between disbelief and amusement. He quickly
tried to mask the amusement as although Malcolm could often be hard to read,
it was apparent that laughter wouldn't be appreciated.
"He sat in the police car singing the North Atlantic
Squadron and something else about the luck of the Irish."
"How's that song go?"
"You don't want to know. Suffice to say it isn't
fit for polite company."
"Ah, one of those songs."
"The final nail in the coffin was that when the policeman
told him to be quiet he declared 'I'm a British bulldog' and started barking.
I've always been a bit skeptical of the verity of that last bit though.
Edward had a history of what one could politely call brushes with the
law so the judge gave him a choice: the gaol or the navy. He shipped
out the next day."
"Sounds like a good choice ta me. How's the naval
dynasty fit in exactly."
"The ease of his conviction was a result of the number
of witnesses. Witnesses who went home and told their families, witnesses
who thought it was the most exciting thing that had happened in their entire
"Witnesses who would never forget?"
"Precisely. Even when Edward had a rather distinguished
career behind him everyone would still say things like 'That's Edward Reed,
know why he joined the navy?' "
"Bit of a sore spot huh?"
"When his son was old enough he joined up and sailed
away. The difference was that he did it on his own free will and he
was going to do it right. Since then it's what the Reeds have
done. You're told this story while perched on your father's knee and
when you're old enough you join the navy and have a long, distinguished career.
It's a matter of pride."
"Gawd Malcolm, that's a couple of centuries of clearing
"Not clearing his name! We can't ever clear his
name, he was completely guilty. That's not what it's about. It's
just, it's about reputation and being in the navy honestly, " Malcolm was
slowly winding down "and, well, I don't know."
"And that 'I don't know' sums up how I feel too. The
whole Reed tradition is based on that?"
"An ancestor trying to rob the local waterin' hole and
takin' the navy over prison"
"Whew." They regarded each other for a while until
the silence was broken by Trip. "I know one thing Mal."
"What's that luv?"
"Ya don't wanna know what the Tuckers are infamous