Legacy by asearcher
Summary:

A TnT yet canon universe view of TATV and beyond that fixes a lot of things.


Categories: Het > Tucker and T'Pol Characters: Archer, Other, Phlox, T'Pol, Tucker
Genre & Keywords: Angst, Bond, Family, Finale Fix, Romance
Story Type: Story
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 5013 Read: 2252 Published: January 14, 2011 Updated: January 16, 2011
Story Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

This story is an answer to the finale and a beyond. There are references to a number of episodes including ‘First Flight,’ time in the Expanse, “Terra Prime,” “Home,” and others.

This is the only TnT story I've written.

1. Chapter 1 by asearcher

Chapter 1 by asearcher

Trip was ecstatic. He hadn't been deluding himself, believing something had to be there when it wasn't. There was still a definite connection with T'Pol. He'd accepted six years before that their relationship had stalled, but he'd always hoped, always believed that there was still something there. But with Vulcans...well...he'd decided to wait and see. He hadn't expected it to take six years.

He thought about that and wondered...since Vulcan's lived so blasted long, it would make sense that six years might be like a couple of months in a human relationship. He remembered Melinda back in high school. They'd been an item through most of their four years but there had been those little break-ups that sometimes went on for weeks.

He smiled as he remembered his teenage sweetheart. They would probably have gotten married if she hadn't decided to go to college, and he hadn't joined Starfleet. He'd never really looked back. Working on the Warp 5 engine had been a dream come true.

What a strange road he had traveled to get to now. He'd been an enlisted man, working in an aerospace engineering squadron. The Warp 5 program had been proceeding along at a snail's pace. The damned Vulcans back then had tried every trick in the book to stop the humans from achieving their destiny to reach the stars. Oh, they didn't have any problem with those few stars in the general Earth neighborhood. No, it was the space that only a Warp 5 engine could reveal to Trip's species that the Vulcans seemed to want to keep off limits. The humans had been forced to simulate this or prove that before being allowed to take the next baby step. He remembered how frustrated he'd been on the day that his life had changed.

He'd been working under the prototype Warp 2 engine, aligning yet another component, and cussing up a storm when Henry Archer's face suddenly appeared to the side of his head, looking out from the edge.

"Something wrong, Sergeant?"

"Uh...no...no sir. Just trying to get this exhaust manifold aligned."

"Well...you can hear your colorful language all the way across the hanger. You might want to tone it down a bit. Never know who's coming in."

"Ah...what does it matter?"

"It matters a great deal. Come out here where we can talk. You can finish aligning that exhaust manifold in a minute."

Trip pulled himself out from under the engine not at all sure if this was going to be a good or bad thing. This was the engineer, the engine designer, the man who had conceived of this project along with Zefram Cochran. That such a man would find the time to seek out a sergeant just didn't seem to bode to well for him. Maybe Dr. Archer was right that cussing a blue streak wasn't the best way to keep off of the reprimand radar. Well, he'd take his licks and hope for the best.

"I was checking the work you've been doing on the engine. I've noticed you've been aligning things quite a lot."

"I hope you don't think I've overstepped my bounds, sir. I know it's your engine and all. I just thought..."

"You thought right, Sergeant Tucker. Your alignments have increased efficiency 20 percent. That's pretty impressive."

Trip blushed. He hadn't expected to be complimented. "Ah...I guess, but it's probably due to something else."

Henry Archer shook his head. "No, you seem to have a real affinity for engineering, son. I'd like to recommend you for the Starfleet Training Corps Engineering Program so you can get your engineering degree and become an officer. But, you'll have to lose some of the more colorful strings in your language. Officers don't generally speak that way."

Trip thought he'd fall through the floor. He guffawed, "Me? An officer? In Starfleet? Oh sir, I think you've got the wrong guy. I'm just a guy who likes to work on these engines."

Henry smiled. "I don't know of a better recommendation to get you into the program. If we're ever going to get anything going, ever get to the stars, I need men who can figure out an engine like it was the back of their hand. You have that talent, Sergeant Tucker. But as long as you're enlisted, you'll only be able to act on a technical expert level, not as a true engineer."

Trip had been humbled that Henry Archer, the man he looked up to as one of the finest engineers that had ever graced the Earth, would want him to become an engineer himself. "I don't know what to say, sir."

"Just tell me I can recommend you for the program."

"All right, sir. If you think I'd be good at it, I certainly trust your judgment."

Four years later, Trip had graduated from the STC Engineering Program as an ensign. His parents and sisters had been in the crowd beaming brightly, but so had Henry Archer, his mentor. After the ceremony, Charles Tucker, Jr. had shaken the hand of Henry Archer. "Thank you, sir, for helping our son. You know it's always been a dream of Trip's to work on a starship engine."

Returning the handshake, Henry Archer had assured, "He'll be doing more than that, Mr. Tucker. From what I've heard during Trip's program, he had some pretty good design ideas. I think we can put him to work on fixing some of the glitches that seem to pop up. I just wish the Vulcans would help us a little more. It takes so long to get anywhere. Sometimes it feels like for every two steps forward, we drop back one. I think Trip can help move that along."

Charles Tucker, Jr. smiled broadly. He'd questioned whether going into Starfleet had been a good idea for his boy, but now? Now he could see this was the best direction his son could've taken.

Trip had been assigned to Captain Jeffries engineering team. They worked at getting a stable Warp 2 engine and also working on the mock ups for a Warp 3 engine. Trip thrived on figuring out improvements and trying to speed up the innovations and the progress. He knew that the slow pace bothered Henry Archer. He also noticed when things really started to take a turn for the worse for the man, health wise. Three years after graduation, Trip was promoted to Lieutenant. But this time, Henry Archer wasn't there. Indeed, Henry Archer had seldom been around for two of those three years, and eventually he was not there at all.

Jeffries team had taken up the slack when it became more and more obvious that Henry Archer would not be able to continue working on his ultimate goal of a Warp 5 engine. Six months after making Lieutenant, Trip had heard that Henry Archer had died of Clark's Syndrome. He'd gone to the memorial service but stayed to the back of the church where it was held. There were so many people filling the space. He just paid his respects and left.

Behind Henry Archer, Jeffries was the best starship engine designer in the world. Once Archer was gone, he was the best. Trip had worked with this engine with what he termed "the cream of the crop." However, it had been after A.G. Robinson had taken the first test flight, reaching Warp 2.3 that Trip had turned onto the path that had eventually led him to Enterprise.

The Vulcans had, as always, been adamant that the engine had been unsound. They were counseling slowing down the program again. Trip had been so upset at hearing them badmouth the engine he knew would work once the intermix ratio had been fixed that he'd burst into the ongoing conversation that he wasn't a part of. Sure it had been considered rude, especially by the Vulcans, but his pride in the engine had impelled him to speak. He also saw the small hint of a smile from Jonathan Archer, a man he'd never actually met but had heard about in some of his conversations with Henry. Later, Jonathan had offered to buy him a beer at the 602 club.

Trip had been his regular upbeat self at the bar. He remembered Jon's body language and tone during that first beer. It was almost as if he was sizing Trip up. The younger Archer had several of his father's traits but he certainly wasn't a clone of the man either. Trip had realized early on that Henry Archer was an extrovert, which was probably why he and Cochran had gotten along so well. His son was more of an introvert and was harder to read. The fact that he had a reputation of doing things by the book didn't make getting to know him any easier. When Jon had thanked him for his help, indicating how much his father would have appreciated it, Trip wondered if he should tell him about the fact that his father had been his mentor. He decided against it. For some reason, it just didn't seem like the right time to mention that fact, that the man across from him might be a little too possessive about his father to appreciate the connection.

As the evening progressed, things had gone from bad to worse. Commodore Forrest had delivered the news to Jon that the NX Project had been put on indefinite hold. Trip had been shocked that Starfleet would accept this recommendation from the Vulcan advisors. He lent his support to Henry's son, almost begging him to do something to assure that his father's life's work would have meaning. Trip continued to stay with Jon long after Commodore Forrest left. Neither of them wanted to leave because if they did, the reality of the situation would take its ugly shape. Instead, they just nursed beers until closing.

When A.G. Robinson arrived near to closing time, Jon was in a mood fit to be tied. All it took was A.G.'s statement that Henry Archer had built a lousy engine to set his son off. Trip had stood back, wanting to whack Robinson nearly as much as Jon but knowing this was his fight. It wasn't until Ruby told him to do something that he stepped in and helped pull the two men apart. He was sure that A.G. and Jon would never speak to each other again. Thus, when both Jon and A.G. showed up at his door the next day explaining a plan to steal the second prototype, he'd been shocked.

That was when he found out something about the man who would become his best friend. While things could and would stir his passions, the man would eventually take a step backwards and reanalyze the situation. If he was wrong, he'd admit it but he'd also expect to find an answer to the problem. If that meant putting aside anger, he'd do so. And if he was right...then he'd find some way to get the other party to see it too. Trip knew this was a man who he could trust, absolutely and completely. He'd also been impressed that neither one of these pilots were willing to go softly into the night. No. They'd prove Trip's theory sound and get the NX Project back on track. Trip was in, knowing that if this didn't work, his career was definitely at an end. He'd figured he could always go back to fixing motors on the cigarette boats in Florida. That continued to be a lucrative profession.

Instead of failure, the test was a success. Well, as successful as one could be when the result was a three month suspension for the pilots. He was just lucky that they had covered for him, telling the brass that they shanghaied him into the test. Ultimately, both Jon and A.G. had sucked it up and stuck it out. Jon and Trip had also stayed close, becoming fast friends over the years. When Jon had been given the captaincy of Enterprise, he'd lived up to the promise he'd made on that fateful day the three of them had saved the NX program and had asked him to be his engineer. He'd accepted happily. What could be better than serving on the first Earth ship of exploration with his best friend as the captain?

Then, the Vulcans had tried to throw another monkey wrench into the works. They'd insisted that a Vulcan be sent with Enterprise in the role of Science Officer. Trip had not gotten along with T'Pol at first, having almost as much animosity towards Vulcans as Jon did. However, over time, he began to see something more in T'Pol. Eventually, they had turned to each other and a relationship that had meant more to Trip than any other he'd ever had bloomed.

Trip had been in such anguish after his sister died...no...murdered. The sheer ugliness of the unprovoked Xindi attack was more than Trip could handle. When T'Pol had come to him to suggest neuropressure, he'd been leery. But over the months, as their relationship deepened, Trip found himself falling in love with the woman who had truly made his life bearable again. And, he had found that even as the belief that Vulcans had no emotions was unfounded, so too did he find that the idea Vulcans couldn't love was also false.

As he and T'Pol continued to explore the reality of their love for one another, T'Pol had initiated a bond. He'd never felt such peace as when it was established. It was as if T'Pol's serenity entered his soul, making its home there. He found that he was with her more than just when they were physically together. They weren't sure how long they had; especially after the Xindi attack on the ship that almost destroyed it, after Jon had taken off on a suicide mission. From that point on, it was one crisis after another. Trip had seen those days almost destroy his best friend. He was thankful that he and T'Pol had found a haven in the madness. When the crisis was finally over, Trip had believed that he and T'Pol could continue their relationship in a more normal manner, not with the sword of Damocles over them. He'd thought it was a good sign when she took him home to meet her mother.

But then life had again taken a 180 when T'Pol suddenly told him she had to marry a Vulcan man who she'd been betrothed to since she was a child. He understood it was for duty and he knew that as a Vulcan, she would not turn away from what she felt was necessary, even if it robbed her of the happiness she had sought with him. Trip himself was unable to deal with the feelings that her marriage to another man caused and he choose to join Captain Hernandez on the NX-02 as her Chief Engineer. He was not expecting the bond to continue, but it did. He couldn't believe how much he still loved her. Eventually he came back to Enterprise. He didn't want to be away from her. He felt she wanted to be close to him as well. After her marriage was dissolved, Trip had held out a hope that maybe they would be able to regain what they had lost.

When their daughter was discovered, having been created through the insane actions of Terra Prime, T'Pol and Trip had again been thrown into a more intimate situation. They had both found the other again and pulled strength from the bond. T'Pol knew that Trip would be there for her, that he loved her. Trip felt T'Pol's willingness to continue their relationship again, that she too loved him. They had begun to make plans as to how they would raise their daughter when they found she would not live. It devastated them both. At the memorial service for Elizabeth, Trip and T'Pol had clung to each other, their love providing the healing balm that was necessary for them both.

After Elizabeth died, something seemed to break in T'Pol. She had, at first asked him if he would want to have another child with her. Her memory of Lorian, a man that was composed of both Trip and T'Pol's DNA, provided a reason to go on. But that different reality also scared her. She was scared of the strength of the feelings that Elizabeth's loss had brought about. Scared of the intensity that Trip's love had brought to her. So Trip had waited, giving T'Pol the time and space he felt she needed to heal enough to love again.

And then today.

Today on the shuttlepod as they headed through the atmosphere of Rigil to save Shran's daughter he'd felt the tendrils of the bond reach out, touching him again softly. T'Pol had turned to him and asked him if he'd missed her, missed their relationship. He'd been cautious in responding, reminding her how long it had been. When she continued on, his heart had skipped a beat. He knew without question that she wanted to rekindle what she believed had been lost. He had always known the seed was there, waiting to be watered, but he had not sought it fearing to scare T'Pol away. Now he knew. They would have another chance at building their love. He smiled. He'd convinced her that not all was lost.

When they returned to the ship, Trip had gone to T'Pol's quarters to talk. What he'd told her on the shuttlepod that they would be able to stay in touch. Now he wanted her to know exactly where he stood. He would do anything to assure that they were together. Once he got the captain back to Earth, to the ceremony they all had worked to bring about, then he and T'Pol would have their own ceremony. They'd talked for a while about it. T'Pol wasn't sure how Starfleet would address a married couple but Trip persuaded her that it would work. They were in different fields. They could serve on the same ship just as they had on Enterprise. He'd seen married couples do it before. And he knew that he had some favors that could be pulled in to assure that they would serve together. She'd been happy. Trip loved it when the bond sang with her happiness.

He was thinking about this as he went to talk with Jon. Yes, it had come full circle. He walked into the room. Jon had pulled out two glasses and a bottle of very old Scotch.

 


 

Pain...all she felt was pain. Why had he done this? Why was he dying?

T'Pol was devastated. She knew before Archer had called her to meet him in sickbay that something had happened to Trip. She was already on her way. She'd felt the searing pain in her chest only minutes before. As she rushed in, she saw Dr. Phlox and Captain Archer grimly looking into the imaging chamber. She could feel Trip inside.

T'Pol turned to Archer, her eyes showing fear. "What happened?"

Archer shook his head, pain evident in his eyes, "I don't know exactly. I'd been knocked unconscious but when I came to, I found Trip gravely injured and carried him here."

"What about the intruders?"

"I think he killed them. There were dead bodies near where I found Trip in an engineering relay room. They were charred beyond recognition."

T'Pol analyzed the facts quickly, "What did he do? Connect the same polar ends of the plasma conduits?"

The captain gave her a slight nod. "Yes. I think so. Pieces of the conduit were fused to his hands"

T'Pol was sickened and amazed. She couldn't understand this. "Why would he do that? He knew better than anyone the danger in doing that. I know that normally, it would only create a sizable concussion blast but with the final purges for decommissioning, those conduits would be full. If the plasma ignited..."

Archer stopped her. Putting his hands on her shoulders he looked into her eyes. "T'Pol. I don't think Trip knew there would be that much plasma in the conduits. I'd just signed off on the first of the decommissioning protocols a few hours before. His staff had started the work but Trip didn't know. He didn't do this intentionally."

T'Pol violently shook her head, "I knew this whole thing was wrong, Captain. If we hadn't helped Shran..."

"Then there would have been a dead little girl. Trip didn't want that. He'd buried his sister and a daughter. Even though I decided, he told me we needed to do this. He was sure we could outrun their ship."

T'Pol nodded. "I know. Trip wouldn't want anyone else to feel that type of pain."

They said nothing more, but stood together, waiting for Phlox to pull some miracle out of his bag of medical tricks.

 


 

The scan was finished and Commander Tucker was pulled out of the Imaging Chamber. He was still barely breathing but his eyes sought out T'Pol's. He barely could gasp each word, but his message was clear. "Want 'ta marry you, T'Pol." He looked to his friend, the request begging in his eyes. Archer looked over to T'Pol. When he saw she too wished to marry his dying friend, he turned his gaze back to Trip and nodded.

In that moment of brief, infinite time, he watched as T'Pol lovingly took Trip's hand in hers. He repeated the words that ship's captains had the honor to say since the first sailing vessels had traversed upon the sea, but did so quickly, knowing that time was short. He knew without a doubt that this was a love for the ages; that these star-crossed lovers had been cheated their full measure of time together. He pronounced them man and wife. He watched as T'Pol bent to kiss Trip's lips and then knew that during that intimate gesture, Trip had lost the fight, his body going limp.

He heard soft roar of grief flow from T'Pol as she held the man she had loved. She'd thought in Vulcan terms of time and now had wasted the six years they could have had together as she came to the realization that she loved him. She'd in the same moment of their union lost the years that she'd counted on to have him grow old with her, to build the memories that would sustain her over those many years to come. Trip was gone.

T'Pol had insisted on spending time alone in her husband's room. Archer hadn't felt it wise for her to be alone but he respected the need of the Vulcan woman to process her grief differently than humans. She would need time to come to terms with the loss of her mate. When Archer had eventually come to see how she was, he was reeling himself with grief and with guilt. He'd pointed out to T'Pol that the speech he would be giving in a few days would talk about how worthwhile it was to be out here, exploring. He certainly didn't feel it was worthwhile at the moment. He'd lost Trip too. They were both in abject pain; although he understood hers was the more exquisite. He was amazed that she was able to tell him while deep within her own grief that Trip would have said it was worthwhile. He looked at T'Pol and decided to believe her words; that Trip would, although he still had his doubts.

Later, at the Alliance signing ceremony, T'Pol and Dr. Phlox had stayed with him waiting for the moment when he would enter the hall and the Charter would be signed. He thought how right it was that the two non-terrans on the ship would be with him at that moment. And yet he knew how wrong it was that Trip wasn't there to share this moment with him. Trip had wanted this for him even more than he wanted it for himself. As he started to walk toward the doorway into the great hall, T'Pol said to him, "You look very heroic." He stopped for a moment, realizing that Trip would have said something similar, although not necessary in that way. He went back to her and hugged her for bringing Trip's presence to him as he prepared to give a speech that at once filled his heart with elation and with sorrow. He knew how badly she was hurting as well, knowing that Trip should be standing by her side. Then he turned and stepped into the applause that lost much of its meaning for him since he now understood what the cost truly had been.


T'Pol had met with Trip's parents after the signing ceremony. In addition to addressing the final arrangements for Trip's funeral, she needed to see if they would take kindly to the fact, as Trip would have said, that she was, in truth, his wife. She needn't have been concerned.

Trip's mother took her hand and held it within her own. "T'Pol, you are a Tucker now and we care for our own."

Ever logical, T'Pol reminded them of the circumstances. "Trip only lived a moment in the state of matrimony."

His father spoke with the same conviction that Trip often showed. "It doesn't matter how long he was married. What matters is he wanted it. Those were his last wishes and by God, we will honor them." He paused for a moment, wondering if he should go on and decided that his new daughter-in-law should know. "Trip once told me that someday he was going to marry you, T'Pol. He knew it as sure as the sun rises in the East. He said you were his destiny."

T'Pol felt tears coming to her eyes and she swiped at them quickly. Trip's mother hugged her. "Child, you go ahead and cry. Trip loved you and we know how much it hurts to lose him."

They talked for long hours. They decided together that Trip would be buried next to his daughter, Elizabeth.

The memorial service was attended by the Starfleet's elite, many of the ambassadors, and the many friends that Trip had made over the years. Full military honors were bestowed at his funeral. As the folded United Earth flag was placed into T'Pol hands she felt a strong hand on her shoulder, promising her without words and with the strength of a friendship forged through many years that she would always have a friend to turn to. One who too had loved Trip. As a friend; as a brother.

After all the activity of the day had past, she was left alone to her thoughts. As she pulled together her meditation candle and mat, she contemplated the full knowledge that she had found family again and steadfast friends. As she meditated, a thought came to her. Lorian.

About a week after Trip had been laid to rest, she had met with Dr. Phlox. He had told her that Trip had years ago, after Elizabeth's death had his sperm frozen. He'd felt that someday it might be important. T'Pol knew that now it was and thanked Trip silently for following his engineer's logic to be prepared for anything. She knew that Phlox had continued to work on the concept of a stable human/Vulcan hybrid, one that would survive. He told her that while a human woman could not at this time handle the gestational period, it was possible for a Vulcan woman.

Thirteen months later, Lorian Charles Tucker was born. She named as Godparents Jonathan Archer and his new wife, Bethany, the schoolteacher T'Pol and Trip had met on the planet in the Expanse with kidnapped humans. Bethany had come to Earth during the seventh year of their mission and she and Archer had developed a relationship after Enterprise had been decommissioned. They had married three months before Lorian's birth.

The concept of Godparents initially confused T'Pol. She remembered several movie nights many years before when a series of movies beginning with The Godfather had been shown. She knew she wouldn't wish that type of lifestyle on her son. When she first told her in-laws this, they had laughed until they cried, reminding T'Pol of Trip. They had explained the concept that Godparents would help the parents steer the child, to assure that he would be the type of man that Trip would want his son to be.

After that, T'Pol realized that humans needed to build these ties of pseudo-family as well as blood relationships. She'd heard the human expression that it took a village to raise a child. The ties meant that Lorian's village would be there for him, to see that Trip's legacy would thrive and have people he could count on. Trip's parents had decided to move to San Francisco to help T'Pol raise him to, for which she was grateful. She had obtained a position as an instructor at Starfleet Academy and so it was that she continued Trip's legacy into the future. Trip would survive through his family, through his son.

She had a stable life. Trip's family passed on stories of their son's life and kept his memory alive. Jonathan was right. She now knew where Trip got his sense of humor. This family taught her how deep Trip's love must have been and how patient he was to allow her the time to choose. She knew his plans had been always to live this life with her, so it was that she honored with all her heart the gift that Trip had bestowed on them all with the choice of his final moment. And she found that her words on the shuttlepod were true. She missed him. Deeply.

T'Pol found that she dreamt often of Trip, feeling that he was still with her somehow and she finally understood what that older T'Pol had meant about seeking a relationship with Trip. Trip had been her salvation. He would always be her love.

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