"Of Times Gone By"
Captain Robert April (1701's first captain) is an Englishman. Sarah Poole was in The Star Trek Animated Series “The Counter-Clock Incident” and later became April’s wife. And yes, George Kirk is James T. Kirk’s father.
Archer’s last statement to April mirrors McCoy’s line to Data in TNG’s “Encounter at Farpoint”. And this story ignores TATV, so Trip Tucker survived to command several starships.
Please R&R. I’d like to know what you think of this.
“Quite the beauty, isn’t she?”
Jonathan Archer smiled as he saw the new Enterprise floating in Spacedock. Definitely a new shape, but Jon could still see traces of the old NX-01. Of course; Starfleet had included him in the new ship's design. Two slim nacelles, attached to the main section and the saucer section. From his vantage point, he could see the newly-painted "U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701" on the saucer's hull. Looks were deceiving; this Constitution-class ship was actually bigger than his own Enterprise, with a crew complement of two hundred and three, about two and a half times the number of Archer's crew.
Captain Robert April had insisted on taking a shuttlecraft to his new command; it reminded Archer of the first time he’d gotten to see NX-01 with Trip Tucker. He knew what was going through April’s mind at this moment: the awe, the pride, the responsibility.
“Yes, she is,” Jon replied. “She is definitely a beauty. I remember when Trip and I took the shuttlepod and saw the NX-01 before her launch, and Trip accidentally bumped the ‘pod into the ship. He never did get around to repainting the hull.” He chuckled at the memory.
April joined in the laughter. “Trip? You mean Captain Tucker, sir?”
“Yes. He was a brilliant engineer...and a good friend.” Jon missed his friend; Trip would have jumped at the chance to see this new Enterprise, with its new warp 9 engine...he could hear Trip’s voice saying, “Hot damn! Don’t think you’re gonna pull me outta this engine room! Just gimme a tent and I’ll just camp out here. Tell the cap’n I won’t be a bother. Not much, anyway...”
Jon grinned to himself. Yes, Trip wouldn’t be a bother, if April’s chief engineer had the patience of a saint. Jon would have given up his advisory position on this Enterprise's construction to Trip in a heartbeat, and Trip would have had a field day. Once an engineer, always an engineer, never mind if the engineer had become a famous Starship captain in his own right.
April smiled gently. “I’m sure he would’ve loved to see this ship.” The comm channel crackled with static, then April’s first officer’s voice came on the line. As April replied to the hail, Jon heard the soft English accent underneath. April came from Coventry, not too far from where another familiar Englishman had been from, and again, Jon heard the voice from the past:
"They have two settings: stun and kill... It'd be best not to confuse them." Malcolm Reed, long gone, but not forgotten. Archer wondered if April even had an Armory Officer. No, wait, they didn’t call them Armory Officers anymore...
“Shuttlebay One is ready for you, sir. Welcome aboard.”
“Thank you,” April replied. “President Archer is eager to see the old girl.”
Jon gave the captain a sideways glance. “I’m not President of the Federation anymore, Robert. You don’t need to call me that anymore.”
“Just plain ‘Mister’ seems rather disrespectful, sir.” April’s blue eyes sparkled with humor. “How shall I refer to you, then?”
Jon snorted. “I was ‘Mister’ Archer long before I was ‘President’, ‘Ambassador’, ‘Admiral’ or even ‘Captain’. That’s fine. You remind me of your great-great-grandsire. He didn’t know what to call me when I retired from the service, either.”
“Very well. ‘Mister’ Archer it is.” April laughed. “And off the record, he called you ‘that sodding idiot who never took enough security with him when he was traipsing around the galaxy’.”
“Yes, that sounds like him.” Jon’s voice was dry, but he felt another pang of long-forgotten grief.
April piloted the shuttle into the bay with a practiced hand. After the bay finished its repressurization cycle, he cracked the hatch and gestured for Jon to precede him. As soon as his feet touched the deck, about a hundred booted feet snapped to attention and the bosun blew his whistle.
“President, Captain on deck!” the bosun called out in a deep voice.
Jon glanced back at April with a bemused expression; the captain only shrugged. He addressed the sandy-haired man standing next to the bosun. “Permission to come aboard?”
“Granted, sir.” The man saluted then extended a hand, which Jon shook. Jon noticed the confidence radiating from him and the rakish look in his eyes. “Commander George Kirk, sir. First Officer.”
“Pleased to meet you, Commander Kirk,” Jon said. Kirk, in turn, introduced the members of the command staff. The chief medical officer, Doctor Sarah Poole, busied herself with checking Archer’s vitals, as if she expected him to topple over at any minute. Her firm but gentle ministrations reminded Jon of another doctor of another Enterprise.
“I feel fine, Doctor Poole,” he said, not without a touch of irritation. “I can still get around fine.”
“Just a precaution, sir,” she replied. “It helps to be prepared, just in case.”
“Shall we show you around, sir?” April asked, before Jon could retort.
“After you, Captain,” Jon replied. He was back on board an Enterprise, and that mere fact energized him. He felt giddy with excitement and joy and didn’t bother to hide it. He saw Doctor Poole and Captain April exchange amused expressions as he followed them with a spring in his step.
There were so many changes. No longer did Jon have to duck his head in the captain’s Ready Room or sidestep others in the halls. There was plenty of room to maneuver. Sickbay was larger and more spacious, with the latest medical technology.
“No osmotic eels or Pyrithian bats, Doctor?” Jon teased.
“No menagerie, sir,” Doctor Poole said with a smile, “but we learned a lot from Phlox’s writings and recommendations.”
The Armory was now the Weapons Room, fully staffed by Security, but without a station on the Bridge for that purpose. Engineering was easily twice the size of Trip’s Engineering, and the warp core a vertical column instead of a horizontal tube. April’s chief engineer seemed impossibly young to have gotten the position; then again, everyone seemed impossibly young to Jon.
The lift could now move in two directions, both vertically and horizontally, to reach the various decks. It opened onto Enterprise’s Main Bridge. Everyone snapped to attention as Archer, April, Kirk and Poole stepped onto the deck. “President, Captain on deck!” a voice shouted.
“At ease, everyone,” Jon said. “I’m just here for a brief visit.” He glanced around him and couldn’t help but compare this Bridge with that long-ago Bridge. At least the captain’s chair was in the same place, in the middle of the action. The helm station was forward, just like NX-01. When Jon looked in that direction, he swore he saw a grinning Mayweather in the chair, who swiveled around and waved at him. Then Travis was gone, and April's helm officer was there, going over pre-flight checks.
The science station and communications were on the opposite side of NX-01's, to the right of the turbolift, where Malcolm’s Tactical station would have been. Engineering was to the left of the lift. A quiet voice murmured something in Vulcan, and Jon’s head snapped in that direction. A young woman in a red uniform sat there with her back to him, long black hair piled on her head, receiver pressed into her ear.
Hoshi? He blinked as Hoshi Sato’s image turned and smiled at him. Then he blinked again and Hoshi was gone, and April’s comm officer sat in her place. Jon sighed; his mind was playing tricks on him. Neither Hoshi nor Travis were actually there; Jon Archer was the last of the original Enterprise Seven, had been for long time. He felt a pang of loneliness, but shoved it aside. It had no place today, on this happy occasion.
“...And this is my Science Officer, Lieutenant T’Pris. Lieutenant, Mister Jonathan Archer, former captain of the Enterprise NX-01.”
T’Pris glanced up at him. Jon was surprised at how tiny she seemed, but what startled him more was the cool but composed expression on the Vulcan’s face that reminded him painfully of another Vulcan Science Officer.
“I am honored to meet you,” T’Pris said, giving him the Vulcan salute. “Minister T’Pau wishes me to send you her greetings.”
Jon smiled as he returned the salute. “Tell her thank you from me, Lieutenant.”
“I shall.” T’Pris retreated back a step to allow her captain to move past her. God, she even sounds like T’Pol. Will the similarities ever end? Jon thought.
“So, what do you think of her?” April asked brightly. “Think she’s shipshape enough?”
Jon gave the Bridge another look. He saw the past and the future, the triumphs of years gone by and those to come. Captain April and his crew of the Enterprise were taking up the mantle of exploration that Archer had begun, all those decades ago.
“I think she’s a beauty, Captain,” he finally replied. “Treat her like a lady and she’ll always bring you home.”
Jon Archer clapped along with the other dignitaries as he watched Enterprise NCC 1701 leave Spacedock and head out towards the stars. He let out a deep breath of satisfaction. Another generation, another exciting era in Starfleet history. It was time to let others continue the tradition.
“Sir, are you ready to go?” asked his aide.
Jon stared at his reflection in the window, calmer than he’d ever been before. He noted the white hair, the wrinkles on his face, the slight tremble of his hands, the sudden weakness in his legs. But he was content. A new Enterprise and the Federation were in good hands.
It was time.
He turned to face his aide. “Yes, I’m ready.”
United Federation of Planets Associated Press
Today we mourn the passing of a great statesman in Federation history. Jonathan Archer, former Federation president, ambassador, and Starfleet officer, died in his sleep last night at his home in New York State. He was the captain of the original Enterprise NX-01, and during his illustrious career, saved Earth from the Xindi probe and orchestrated the United Federation of Planets. He also was an honorary member of the Andorian Imperial Guard, being instrumental in forging an alliance with the Andorians, as well as countless other peoples. After retiring from Starfleet, Archer served as Starfleet ambassador to Andoria, first Federation president, and consultant to the newest Enterprise, NCC-1701, under the current command of Captain Robert April.
More than one person has commented on the auspicious timing of Archer’s passing, just one day after Enterprise’s commissioning and launch. It seems appropriate that such an accomplished man would have chosen this time, after passing the torch to the next generation.
Archer is survived by several great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. His funeral will be private, but a memorial is scheduled in San Francisco in two days’ time. Representatives from Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar have stated that they will be present to honor a man, whom they considered a friend.
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