o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
The last words of the message faded into nothingness, and Charles Tucker (Trip to his friends)
sat back on his chair in an almost stony silence. He had already downloaded it onto a padd so that he could read it at his
own pace, but something inside him had pressed for the oral version as well...
And the content of the letter... well, to say that Trip was merely surprised was probably
the understatement of the year, if not the century. He had initially grinned at Malcolm's formal tone and introduction, but
the smile had quickly faded when he'd heard what the man had had to say, and the final few parting words still danced in his
"Can I honestly say that I do or don't regret all of my actions? Most of them, most of
them I do, and I like to think I could somehow try and make amends." Pause. "I love you."
Those three words, when he'd heard them, had sparked an insurgence of emotions inside him.
Only some of them had names that he could put to them, the rest leaving him confused to say the very least.
Part of him now hated Malcolm and those goddamned British attitudes of his. A year and a
half - seventeen months! - that man had had to say or do something - anything! - and a whole year before Trip had reboarded
the Enterprise, this time as her captain. So what had changed? Why now? Why dredge up a series of events that he would really
rather try and forget had ever happened?
Trip looked down at the padd in his hands, and scanned through to the end of the letter.
"I love you." That was why, and the explanation
was there in the letter.
But again, there was the question - why now? Why did Malcolm feel that now had to be the
time to churn everything up once again... as if he expected Trip to be waiting for him, to be almost desperately waiting for
some sign of reciprocation from the younger man?
And more importantly, why was he letting it get to him like this? He'd made the decision
already, that Malcolm was in the past... and that that was the way things were going to be... both back then and for evermore.
Life goes on.
That was the lesson Trip had learned, a lesson compounded by his limited experience as a
starship captain, a lesson that he had always come back to, every time... every time his heart was broken, and he had thought
that everything should have ended there and then, rather than finding the strength to give tomorrow a second chance. And in
some small way, he hoped that Malcolm would find the same sort of strength as well, if he was to move on at all as well.
Life goes on, Trip m'boy. Just keep rememberin' that...
He put the padd back on the desk and looked up at the ceiling of his quarters. The captain's
quarters. Sometimes he had to pinch himself to convince himself that this was all real, but here he was... he'd managed to
move on, right? Wasn't that the point of having tomorrow?
Unbidden, his mind wandered to something he had been given by one of his new senior staff,
and called the text up on a computer. He'd originally grinned at the idea of being presented with a poem that his science
officer had written, especially one that clashed with her seemingly cheerful disposition, but now that he thought about it,
the more he realised that maybe she was smart in more ways than one.
I don't believe the strings we pull
Will change what we have seen
I don't believe
A long-forgotten dream
I don't have faith in Romeo's
I won't be Juliet
I won't let myself down no more
be left in the wet
I won't accept that "us" is gone
I'm missing my old friend
I won't forget the songs
I know the wounds won't mend
I won't admit that I'm afraid
I'd rather be alone
I'm scared to heed the future's
Can't face it on my own
I don't believe in parting ways
To each a different road
I do believe we'll meet
The princess and the toad
I can but hope the skies are blue
Wherever I may go
I don't believe I'll feel the
And I may never know
I don't believe the roads ahead
Are any easier
I won't give up on what I know
makes things no less clear
I won't look back as I move on
Or be caught in the past
I don't believe the void
Will ever truly last
I don't believe you'll ever know
What you could truly be
I don't believe we'll flap
And fly above the seas
A noise behind him pulled Trip out of his reverie and he turned around, a smile forming on
his face as he did so, then shook his head as he switched off the computer, taking the poem with it as the screen went dark
He crossed the distance between the computer and his bed in a matter of seconds, and an instant
later he was safely beneath the warm covers. Without warning, strong arms wrapped themselves around Trip's chest and shoulders,
and the captain leaned into the other man's sleepy embrace.
"Sorry, Mal," he whispered to oblivion, feeling tiredness come over him, "but life goes on."
Within seconds, he was fast asleep, the endless field of stars rushing past outside his window.