Author's Note: Thank you as always for the reviews; I treasure them. This is a very short one, but the one that follows will make up for it.
"There's a difference between keeping an open mind and believing something because you want it to be true.”
“What the hell's that supposed to mean?” Trip followed T’Pol out of the turbolift on their way to Engineering to assist Daniels, as Archer had ordered.
“It must be quite appealing, when a situation is confusing, to believe that the correct path has been laid out by some wise, all-knowing time traveler from the future.”
She was using that intensely bland tone he thought of as Patronizing Vulcan, so he countered with Plainly Irritated Human: “It might also be quite appealing to believe that what you’ve been told by the Vulcan Science Directorate all your life is true even when the evidence in front of your own eyes contradicts it.”
“I have yet to see any evidence that contradicts it.”
“If this guy wanted to lie to us, he could have claimed that HE saved the ship instead of the Suliban.”
“Then there would be a chance he could be caught in his lie.”
Trip knew he’d never win this one, so he changed the subject. “I still can’t believe I didn’t notice anything.” He had been so embarrassed by his mistaken assessment of their guests’ knowledge of warp engines that the only thing on his mind had been to redeem himself with a more sophisticated discussion. In retrospect, he might have been a little too quick to share sensitive information and a little too casual about having a bevy of aliens in Engineering. But then, Starfleet had never been particularly protective of its warp program. Why bother when they were still at least twenty years behind the Vulcans?
Of course, that wasn’t the only embarrassment. He’d never felt quite as helpless in his life as when he’d seen that antimatter cascade jumping towards the warp reactor and realized there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop it. Patronizing your guests was really nothing compared to blowing them up.
He’d already spent considerable time trying to conceptualize a failsafe mechanism that could prevent such a disaster in the future. Thankfully, he knew that wasn’t his failure alone. Not a single warp engine in the fleet would have been immune.
“You cannot possibly see everything that goes on in Engineering at all times,” T’Pol said. She had been surprising him with her supportiveness in recent weeks.
They ducked through the hatch into Engineering and were greeted with a slightly embarrassed smile by Crewman Daniels. “Sub-Commander, Commander. I’m looking forward to working with you both to get this equipment up and running. Needless to say, time is of the essence.”
“This is quite a departure from serving the captain his breakfast,” Trip said. He’d chatted with Daniels enough to privately wonder why he was content to be a steward when he clearly had a very lively, curious mind.
Daniels smiled. “Yes, though time is often of the essence with that, too, sir.”
Yes, Trip thought -- time-hopping temporal agent was definitely a better fit for the man, though it was a little odd that Daniels was still calling him sir with apparently genuine deference. He exchanged a look with T’Pol, whose face had gone utterly blank.
“Well, let’s get on it then,” Tucker said, uncomfortably certain of her continued reluctance.
He hoped like hell this wasn’t another mistake.
Author’s Note: It wasn’t easy to find a good spot for a missing scene in this one, so my apologies if this one is fairly unexciting. I was intrigued later when Daniels said, “You two should go” when Silik was in Engineering -- but the whole episode also pretty much stopped making any sense at that point, so I decided to avoid it. (Seriously, how could they just run off and leave a murderous Suliban in Engineering by himself, not even notifying security until they got to the captain’s quarters and revived him?)
Next installment: Silent Enemy.
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