Title: All Stop

Author: Kylie Lee

E-mail: kylielee1000@hotmail.com

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/kylielee1000/

Date: 11/30/02

Length: ~5,000 words

Fandom: Star Trek: Enterprise

Pairing: Archer/Mayweather

Type: M/M slash; graphic yet ambiguous sex scene that could be M/F or M/M

Rating: NC-17

Status: Complete

Summary: Mayweather has been made part of the primary data core.

Feedback: For A_E and EntSTSlash, on list is okay. Everybody else, please e-mail me privately.

Series: Wanting

Previous story: Wanting

Next story: Longing

Archive: Yes to EntSTSlash, Archer's Enterprise, Tim Ruben, WWoMB, Allslash, Complete Kingdom of Slash, Luminosity, ASCEML, and Situation Room (aka the usual suspects). Anyone else, obtain permission.

Disclaimer: Original material copyright 2002 Kylie Lee. This is not an attempt to infringe on Paramount's copyright. No money was made.

Spoilers: "Broken Bow," "Fight or Flight," "Detained," and "Dead Stop." The action of this story takes place during "Dead Stop."

Warnings: None.

Betas: Grrrl, Kim, Kipli, Sarah. They seemed to like it.

Comments: If you've read Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury," the narrative structure makes much more sense. <cough> Good luck!

a noise, and he turns sharply, away from the damaged component, then looks down stupidly at the blue object thrust into his arm, right through the fabric of his uniform. It's like a small dart, about the size and shape of a sewing needle, but triangular in cross section. He looks over and sees his own reflection ghosting in a monitor to the right of the EPS component. His skin is dark and smooth, and the whites of his eyes look whiter than usual. He looks frightened.

"Captain?" he says, and his voice sounds odd—quivery and weak. "Are you here?" He knows he's not. Launch Bay 1 was empty when he came in a second ago.

"Travis, it's the Captain," says the captain's voice.

He leans against the large monitor next to the shorted panel and puts his forehead against the smoothness. The monitor's picture flips, then grays out as it goes off. In the darkened monitor, his reflection presses its forehead against the monitor too. They stay that way for a long moment, forehead to forehead, and then he slides down until he touches the ground, only he can't feel it.

He listens to his heartbeat. He listens to the blood rush. Everything has slowed down.

"Something's wrong," he says, except he can't hear himself. He can't feel his throat, can't feel the sound of his voice inside himself. "Captain. Something's wrong." He'd do anything for the captain. Didn't it work both ways?

"Travis, do you mind coming down to Launch Bay 1?" asks the captain's voice. "I could really use a hand, Ensign."

"Aye, sir," he says automatically, but he can't hear his voice.

He looks up and sees a machine morph, weirdly. It moves with purpose, as though it were intelligent. It moves toward him, angling with a fluid motion that makes it seem alive. He sits and watches, because he can't move. He supposes he should be frightened, but he's not.

The machine comes closer.

"I could really use a hand," the captain's voice says again. It's coming from the machine.

"Answering all stop, Captain," he says in despair, and he looks down at his arm at the needle


jabbed through the fabric.

"Travis, you about done?" his sister's voice calls from the hall.

"Just about," he calls back. His fingers hold the fabric as he manipulates the needle. "Come here, Jack," he calls, and his cousin's son bounds up. "Hold on. Let me tie a knot in the thread. Can you hold this for me? Thank you. Now I cut here." He cuts the thread, then stabs the needle into a pincushion and turns the little tuxedo jacket right-side out.

"Do I get to wear a flower, too?" Jack asks, eyeing the rose in his buttonhole.

"I don't know," he answers. "Hold still. Stick out an arm." He wrestles Jack into the jacket and buttons the single button, then stands back to survey it. The sleeves are now the correct length. "See, yours was too big, and mine is too small." Although it had fit six weeks ago, the jacket is too short and too tight across the shoulders and chest. He puts his arms up over his head, and a long expanse of wrist shows. Jack imitates his movement, then puts his arms down and bounces.

"You're a growing boy," Jack says solemnly.

He laughs. Jack probably heard Uncle Henry say that. The whole ship is teeming with relatives he hasn't seen for eons. It's a relief to hang out with Jack, who doesn't ask irritating questions about his life and plans that he can't answer. "I guess I am," he says. "So are you." He holds out his hand. "Let's go find my sister," he says. "She wanted to know when you were ready."

Jack grabs his hand. He's nervous about his role, so he clutches hard. "Trav, I want a rose. And cake."

"I don't know about the rose. But you can definitely have cake."

His sister sticks her head out into the hall a few doors down as they approach. She looks harried. "Oh, good," she says in relief. "How much time?"

"All the time you want," he says promptly, heading for her.


He grins and checks the time. "Fifteen minutes," he tells her. "But it's not like they can start without you. Jack wants a rose. Does he get a rose?"

"A rose?" his sister asks blankly.

"A rose stuck on," Jack says. He points for emphasis.

"Oh, a boutonniere. Um, yes. Hold on." She disappears for a second, then comes out into the hallway holding a white rose twisted together with a little spray of baby's breath. She looks beautiful. She's wearing a long, full white dress, and she's wearing heels, so she's unexpectedly tall, and her hair has been braided in complex patterns with slender white ribbon and seed pearls woven in. She leans down and affixes the boutonniere to Jack's lapel. "I have that little pillow for you to carry, too," she says. "I'm going to give it to Trav here, and he'll give it to you right before you walk down. Okay?"

"Got it," Jack agrees, craning his neck to look down at his rose.

"You look great," he tells his sister as she rises to her feet. She does. She looks incandescent. "How do you feel?"

"Oh, Trav," she says, and she smiles. "I'm so happy." She touches his shoulder, indicating his jacket. "This doesn't fit so well."

"It fit a couple weeks ago."

"Yeah, well, I guess you've been growing. I guess that's what happens. We all grow up." She smooths his lapel, then steps back. She is almost the same height as him with her heels on. "What happened to me?


What happened to you?"

He's wiping the blood off his face with a rag. "What do you care?" he asks roughly, dabbing his bloody nose.

The Suliban looks guilty. "Danik's been looking for your captain," he says. "Have you seen him?"

"You might try isolation," he snaps, and he doesn't care that it comes out angry and mean. This Suliban drives him nuts. The self-defeat he sees all around angers him, but it's particularly bad in this one. "Still think we're working for the Tandarans? You know, we could have left this place a long time ago, if we hadn't decided to help you."

"I never asked for your help."

"Why?" he asks, and the Suliban looks taken aback. "Because we're not Suliban? Because we look a little too much like Tandarans? I'll admit when I first came here, it wasn't easy to see past my preconceptions about the Suliban. But I did. Why can't you?" He turns on his heel and walks off, fuming, and the Suliban doesn't come after him.

He walks to the cell he and the captain share in the detainment facility. It's a little too cold. He thinks it's odd that they aren't locked in. They can go in and out whenever they want. They are expected to police themselves, expected not go out after curfew, or they're punished. He sits down and tries to get control of himself. He's mad, but more than that, he's hungry, and it makes him testy. He's always hungry. The food here is simply terrible—almost inedible, and he eats a lot. Usually.

He piles up all the straw he can find and sits on it, pulling one of the musty blankets around his shoulders. He puts his arms around his knees and considers. He and the captain have been taking turns sleeping so that one of them could always be on watch. Last night, they had sat close together for warmth as they ate and swapped stories. The captain called him "Travis" and was funny and nice. He treated him like an equal and seemed sincerely interested in his opinion, and their exchanges were natural—person to person more than captain to ensign. There was no sense of superiority. He'd always liked the way the captain treated the bridge crew as competent, and he tended to be hands-off. This new information just reinforced his liking of the fellow. Plus, the captain seems to be a big sports fan—he even knew that a Boomer team was up for the women's fencing finals, which had been news to this Boomer, who didn't follow fencing.

Last night, right before he took first watch, the captain put an arm around him and drew him close. "We'll get through this, Travis," he predicted confidently. "You're doing great." He kneaded his shoulder, then patted him and stood up to lurk by the door. While the captain stood watch, he'd wrapped himself in his blanket and curled his legs in front of him to hide his erection. He had to face it: he was incredibly attracted to the captain. He hadn't realized the extent of it until the captain had put his arm around him and pulled him close. Then it hit. The captain's touch had ignited him. He had been glad of the dark.

Now, sitting on his pathetic pile of hay, wondering where the captain is, he remembers his captain's warm body pressed against his, shoulder to shoulder; his smile; his easy way of talking, as if he really cares. Maybe he does. He has a way of engaging people. He'd do anything for Captain Archer. Last night, he lay feigning sleep, breathing deeply and regularly, cock throbbing, watching the shadows until he'd really fallen asleep. Now, he's alone, depressed, hungry, and hard. He puts his head down and imagines the captain putting an arm around him and drawing him close. "We'll get through this, Travis," the captain says, and his hand kneads, but instead of patting, it slides over. He looks over at the captain, and the captain looks at him. Their faces are close. The captain hesitates, as if making a decision, then leans forward and—

He leaps to his feet and paces. The captain must be fifteen or twenty years older than him. And he's his commanding officer. Hero worship. It's hero worship. Hero worship combined with lust. Of his commanding officer. The captain. Who is fifteen or twenty years older than him. And incredibly attractive.

"Argh," he says in agony, and the door creaks open. He swings around, pulling the blanket around his shoulders so it strategically covers him to the knees.

"Travis?" The captain peers in. "Are you all right?"


"Yeah, I guess so." He pulls at his collar, then leans down to pick up his pack. They're a few meters behind the rest of the group. "What about you?" He slides the pack on.

"You don't sound convinced."

"Stop psychoanalyzing me."

"There's nothing else to do."

"Think of something," he suggests. "Break's over. Let's go."

Lord, it's hot. Death Valley in July. Just his luck. But clearly that isn't the survival part of the survival training. Clearly the real test is putting up with Maureen O'Hara. He was at first charmed by her Irish accent, and then he figured out how annoying she really is. She never shuts up. And her specialty is psychoanalysis. She hopes to be an analyst. And if she keeps it up, his fate is to be an analysand, because they'll definitely put him in therapy once he kills her. Although, come to think of it, no jury would convict him.

"Well, then, tell me about your girlfriend," O'Hara says.

"She's a kickboxer," he says instantly, even though he hasn't mentioned any girlfriend. "She's an insanely jealous, kickboxing girlfriend, one who does all her own stunts. One who kicks first and asks questions later—if at all. The strong, silent type of girlfriend. Did I mention she was jealous?"

"Insanely jealous."

"That's right."

"If you're not interested, just say you're not interested."

"I'm not interested."

"Why aren't you interested?"

"God!" He strides ahead.

"Travis! Wait!"

He takes pity on her, because it's amazingly hot and her voice sounds honestly panicked. He stops and waits for her to catch up, and they struggle on.

"Well, tell me about a dream," O'Hara suggests after a while. "I can analyze one of your dreams."

"No, thanks." "Just a short one. I could use the practice."

He sighs. "Okay. One time I dreamt that an incursion was detected in the primary data core."


"I was trapped and I couldn't get out. I felt like I was dreaming, only I was awake. But I guess I was only dreaming that I was dreaming while I was awake."

"No dreams of flying, or of cigars? Or explosions?"

"Not a one."

O'Hara sounds disappointed. "I don't know what it means," she admits.

"I do," he says.


"It means that I fear losing control."

She nods wisely, then stumbles. He puts out a hand to steady her. She talks too much; it's no wonder she's getting winded. But with her milk-white skin and her red hair—she's not cut out to handle the heat, even in her suit.

He takes in her face and feels concern. Her face is red, as red as the


red substance in a sample container, sitting in the middle of the decon chamber.

Hoshi's voice sounds doubtful. "It seems kind of…blobby."

He waves his tricorder. "Well, I told you it was a gelatinous life form. I am definitely getting signs of an attempt at communication." He shows her. "Look. There's this kind of subcellular sparking, invisible to the naked eye, and I think it—this stuff—can control the pulses."

"Oh, my god." Hoshi is reverent as she takes in the data. "It's flashing in patterns."

"That's why I thought it might be sentient. The captain needs you to figure out how to communicate with it," he says earnestly. "So what do you think?"

Hoshi leans over the sample container, excited.

"Don't get too close," he admonishes. He doesn't want her to get a whiff of it and realize what it is. Not yet. He casually brandishes the other tricorder he's doctored, and Hoshi glances over. She's convinced. The two display the same readings.

"Travis, this is…this is amazing." Hoshi links the tricorder output to her UT. "Where did you say you found this life form?"

He resists the urge to say, "In the kitchen." "I just scraped this off a rock down on the planet. I was running some recalibration tests on the tricorders when I noticed this. What does the UT say? Is it language?"

"Just a second." Hoshi looks from the red blob to the tricorder to the UT, then does it all again, and again. "Okay, wait, it's starting to come through. It's definitely language."

"Wow, that was fast," he says.

"It's a simple binary structure." Her voice is absent. "You know, on and off. One and zero. This is an amazing find, Travis. Good work."


"Well, I'm just glad you realized it was sentient. The captain will be really excited, don't you think?" Her eyes are sparkling.


"Wait, this can't be right."


"This—this translation."

"What? What's it saying?" He puts excitement and curiosity in his voice and looks over her shoulder at the UT.

"'Greetings, earthling! We seek bananas,'" Hoshi reads. She repeats, "'Greetings, earthing, we seek bananas'?" She looks at him accusingly.

"Or how about, 'Greetings, *earthling,* we *seek* bananas'?" he asks, putting stress on all the wrong words. "Doesn't that make more sense?"

Hoshi leans over and sniffs the red blob, sticks out a finger and jiggles it, and then pokes it firmly. She puts the finger in her mouth and faces him, then removes the finger and swats him. "Strawberry," she announces. "Strawberry gelatin."

"I like to call it 'sentient strawberry,'" he replies, grinning.

Hoshi starts to laugh. "I admit it, Ensign Mayweather," she says. "You got me. You got me good. You fixed up these tricorders?"

"Yes, I did," he says. "Gotcha, Hoshi.



He turns and kisses his lover. "Yeah, you got me," he says.

His lover pushes him away. "It's no fun if you don't try to get away."

"Why would I want to get away?"

"H'm. Good question." Their lips meet, and his lover straddles his legs. They're on the couch, where they ended up after a tussle. "How much time before you go on duty?"

"An hour."

"Just enough time," his lover purrs. Face rubs against face, and his lover's hands are busy at his waistband. Then his T-shirt is being lifted off. He hitches his hips and his lover tugs down his jeans, freeing his erection. "Oh, nice."

He likes his lover's undisguised appreciation. He also likes his lover's perfect body. "Let me help you with that," he suggests, and he tugs at the other's clothes. "You're warm."

"I'm hot."

"Yes, you are."

His lover kisses him, hard and desperate. It's always like that between them: hard and desperate. Even though he knows they can't possibly sustain their relationship over the long term, he keeps it going, because the sex is so good. Like right now. His lover's hand rubs up and down his cock, and he strokes his lover's soft body, squeezing his lover's ass cheeks together, opening his mouth under his lover's. And suddenly he can't wait, not another second, because he's going to explode. He grabs for the lube in the box on the coffee table, and his lover smiles, sly, triumphant, and willing. Willing.

"On your knees."

His lover obediently crawls off his lap and settles on hands and knees. He's shaking as he greases his cock, and he grabs his lover hard when he sheathes himself.

"Oh, yes, Travis," his lover moans. His lover likes it rough.

He prefers this position. He doesn't have to see his lover's face. Because it's just pleasure. They can't love each other. They can only make love. It's been enough for a year. It's enough for right now.

"Oh, there," his lover says as he pushes deep inside, gasping, ready to come. "Faster, Travis. Please. Oh, god. Faster.


Faster!" Stedman shouts. "Damn it, we're going to win. I swear we're going to win."

"Watch it!" Johnson snaps, making an adjustment. Her voice is loud in his ear.

"I see it, I see it." He senses, rather than sees, his fingers input the course correction. He's flying by pure instinct. His eyes see the obstacle, and somehow he knows exactly how to get around it. He's driven this bucket enough times—he knows exactly how much she can get out of her, and he can't get more. They're at the absolute limit. They're flat out. He sees Stedman's craft jog slightly as it barely misses a buoy. They are still flying in tight formation, the variations they're making from each other as they pass through the obstacle course differing by not more than ten kilometers. Out of the corner of his eye, he watches the time they have to beat. It's running out fast.


He's the captain, and he's flying point. He sizes it up: a large natural asteroid, integrated into the obstacle course. It takes him only a split second to see the way around. "Half spiral, counterclockwise, on mark one," he orders, his fingers flying as he sets course. The computer automatically extrapolates. They have less than a minute. "Rotate back in in a wave, one by one, on mark two, and slide on through." That's for sheer effect. They're almost out of the course. He watches the asteroid steadily. He can feel the other members of Red Squad, precisely in formation, their ships one thing. "Mark one."

They do it. They do it perfectly. Their ships simultaneously turn, skimming bare meters above the asteroid, pulling up as they ride it. Their speed is insane. Then they're around and shooting off the other side, pulling back into tight formation. Chang comes out a fraction of a second behind them, and they automatically compensate. They're together when he says, "Mark two," and he rights his ship. His four teammates do the same in a wave, one, two, three, four, tick tick tick tick. And they slide on through.

The buoys flash white as they pass the finish line. They starburst out, then loop back, just showing off. Because they did it. They beat the previous record for the obstacle course, a record that had held for sixteen years. They beat it by four seconds.

The com is crowded with shouts and laughter. The official tally is almost an anticlimax. Two more teams need to run through, but it's a given.

"God damn, Mayweather," Stedman says, over and over. "Brilliant. That was fucking brilliant."

They dock, and he steps out onto the launch bay platform. He can't stop grinning. He undoes his helmet and lifts it off his head, then tosses it inside his craft. Mayweather, Stedman, Johnson, Chang, and Projansky. There was one for the record books. Suddenly he's in the middle of Red Squad as they scream and cheer and hug and scream and cheer some more. Johnson, the only female Red Squad member, kisses everybody soundly on the lips and smiles.

"Cool under pressure," Chang says over and over, and Stedman keeps on saying, "God damn." He can hear chants of "Red Squad" from the gallery, and he can see reporters behind the yellow line. Before they are released to join friends and family in the gallery, they pose for a few pictures. He stands behind Chang and Johnson, one arm around Stedman and the other around Projansky, and they don't have to be told to smile or say cheese because they can't stop smiling.

"Their vital organs appear to be functioning," one reporter calls. "Hold still." She snaps the picture. "Thanks. They've suffered severe neurological damage. Their synaptic pathways have been reconfigured, integrated into the computer core."

Projansky elbows him. "Well?" he hisses.


"Can you grant an interview?" the reporter repeats.

"Oh—sure," he says, uncertain. "I can meet you in, um, a half hour."

"Right now is better," the reporter insists.

"I want to wait until the last two runs are done," he says firmly. "It's not polite otherwise. A half hour, in the gallery."

"Thanks," the reporter says, resigned, and pulls her camera bag over her shoulder and follows everyone out.

He and Stedman hang back. His arm is still around his teammate, and they pull in for another hug, hard and tight. "God damn, Travis," Stedman says into his ear. "You were great."

"So you were you." Stedman kisses him on the side of his neck, then just in front of the ear, then grabs his head and kisses him on the lips. They lean in close, and he doesn't care who sees. "Come on," he whispers, grabbing Stedman's hand and turning. "I want you to meet my sister."

Stedman follows him into the gallery, and he spots his sister standing on the metal platform near the huge video screen, her husband next to her. He knows his parents are here, but he can't see them. His sister's husband catches sight of them first. He waves, tugs at his wife's sleeve, and points, and his sister turns around and smiles when she catches his eye. She leans down and reaches over the edge of the platform,


extending a hand. He takes the engineer's hand and shakes it as Trip Tucker says, in response to Malcolm Reed's introduction, "Our space boomer."

"How fast have you gotten her?" he asks.

"Warp four," Tucker says, casual. He isn't fooled; he recognizes that look of pride in the engineer's eye. "We'll be going to four-five when we clear Jupiter. Think you can handle it?"

"Four point five," he repeats, and laughs. It beats a cargo ship all to hell. He won the jackpot when he got posted to *Enterprise*, that's for sure—the first warp five ship in the fleet. He could handle it, all right.

Malcolm says, "Pardon me, but if I don't realign the deflector, the first grain of space dust we come across will blow a hole in the ship the size of your fist."

"Keep your shirt on, Lieutenant," Tucker says. Malcolm turns and shares a smile with him: Malcolm predicted that Tucker would say exactly that, and in just that accent. "Your equipment will be here


in the morning."

"Thanks, Subcommander." Ensign Elizabeth Cutler takes the padd, walks around the fire, and sits down on the end. They're all sitting around the fire. "Sorry, Travis. Go ahead."

He resumes his story. "Keep in mind, those cargo vessels weren't equipped for rescue operations, so the captain wasn't sure what to do when he picked up the distress call. But it wasn't a ship that sent the signal. It was a life pod from one of the old Y-500 class freighters."

"Those were retired decades ago," Tucker says, as if on cue.

"Exactly," he confirms. "The pod had been drifting in space for sixty-three years. Bioscans showed one life sign inside the pod: human. The assistant engineer, George Webb, a friend of my uncle's, was assigned to open it. It took him over an hour to cut through the hull. He said the metal felt…strange. Cold to the touch." "Of course it was cold," Tucker puts in. "It was floating in space for sixty years."

"He could hear a tapping noise coming from inside," he goes on. "But when he finally got it open, the pod was empty. No body. Nothing."

T'Pol glances over. "Vacate this section or your vessel will be compromised," she says in her precise voice.

He pauses, confused, but when she doesn't go on, he continues with his story. "A few days later, Webb started acting strange, getting into fights with the crew, muttering to himself in some sort of alien language. Then one day he locked himself in engineering and overloaded the impulse reactors. He almost destroyed the ship. Then he sealed himself in a life pod and ejected it."

"I assume the captain went after him," Elizabeth Cutler says.

He shakes his head. "The reactors were too badly damaged. Some people say it was an alien life form that got into him. Others think it was the ghost of the dead crewman. I never knew what to believe. But Webb is still out there, drifting. When the subspace noise is real low, some com officers say they can still hear the echo of his distress call." He pauses, then makes his voice high and weird. "Beep. Beep," he says mysteriously.

"Oooh," Tucker says, and turns it into a laugh. Everyone joins in, chuckling nervously.

T'Pol looks up from her work. "It's highly doubtful that a distress beacon can function continuously for sixty-three years."

Tucker looks at him, and they both laugh. "Let me guess," Tucker tells T'Pol. "No ghost stories on



"Well, still," Captain Archer says doubtfully.

"What, he's going to check?" The captain starts laughing. Encouraged, he goes on. "See, that's part of it. I get two at once." He's been busted, so he waxes poetic as he ticks the two off on his fingers. "First, I get Commander Tucker, but I frame Subcommander T'Pol. So they go back and forth, each confusing the other, convinced the other is guilty. Nobody can play straight man better than the Subcommander." He anticipates quite a reaction from Tucker, who finds T'Pol's imperviousness incredibly irritating. He taps the console. "But this is the kicker. When he queries 'Vulcan language' or 'Vulcan database'—"

The captain holds up his hands in protest. "No, stop, Travis," he begs, regaining control. He wipes a tear from his eye. "You can't do it."

"Sir, it's perfect," he argues. "It took me a week to think of how to get Commander Tucker back after that Swiss cheese incident."

"You're right. It's perfect. But you can't do it."

"Can't, sir, or shouldn't?"

"Well, can't, technically, because you don't have the override codes." The captain cocks an eyebrow. "You don't have the codes," he says, making it a statement. He takes in the Boomer's steady gaze and tries again. "Do you have the codes?"

"I have the codes," he confirms.

"How did you get the codes?"

"I'll never tell."

"This is a security breach! Lieutenant Reed will have your head. You're only an ensign, for god's sake!"

"A really, really clever ensign," he agrees. He raises his eyebrows, suddenly struck. "Of course, Commander Tucker will never believe it was just me," he says thoughtfully. "He'll think someone helped me out by giving me the codes. If he ever finds out it was me."

"Oh, he'll find out all right," the captain says darkly.

"Yes, he'll think his good buddy Jonathan Archer sang like a bird," he continues. "All for a really, really good practical joke. Which this is. A really, really good practical joke."

"Travis. You wouldn't."

"Respectfully, sir, yes, I would." Had the captain not been in the mess for the humiliation of the Swiss cheese incident? How could the man forget so easily?

"You're blackmailing me," the captain says incredulously, and he starts laughing again.

"Yes, sir," he agrees. This is why he likes Captain Archer: the man has a sense of humor, a sense of the absurd, and he can take a joke. Add it to the list of everything else he likes about the man—everything he'd realized when they were in that detention facility. "Are you in or out?"

The captain puts his hands on his knees and waves at him ineffectually as he laughs. "I'll change the codes," he gasps.

"Won't matter, sir," he says dismissively, and he knows he has him. He grins. "Well? In or out? Captain?


Captain? Hello?" He walks into Launch Bay 1. It's empty. And he is certain that it is supposed to be a restricted area. It was on the schedule T'Pol handed out. But the captain clearly specified Launch Bay 1. Uncertain, he walks further in, past a shuttlepod.

It looks like the place is currently under repair. There's no one here. The captain just called him a few minutes ago. He was getting dressed when Captain Archer called him on the com and said, "Travis, it's the Captain. Do you mind coming down to Launch Bay 1?"

"I thought that section was off limits, sir," he responded.

"Not any more. I could use a hand, Ensign."

"Aye, sir," he said, and put on a uniform and left in a hurry. He saw Crewman Hayes on his way to the launch bay, but he only waved as he dashed past.

But he must have misheard, or maybe the captain meant Cargo Bay 1, which is not currently restricted. "Hello?" he asks again. He's about to go when he hears an odd sound, a kind of hissing. There—it's a panel shorting out. He walks over and sees a hole in one of the control panels, sparks running up and down the ragged edge. He looks at it curiously, and his sixth sense tingles. It isn't right. It looks like something to do with the EPS grid is down. He knows better than to touch it. He'd fry himself, no question about it, with all that power flowing through.

He hears

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