Fic: Stranger Than Fiction (ST:E/GQ, gen)

Author’s Note:┬áThis is what happens when you watch “Enterprise” and “Galaxy Quest” too close together and notice the parallels are even stronger than they are with GQ and TOS. *g* ‘Ships left open to interpretation (although some of my biases did creep in a little).

It wasn’t unusual to see the chief engineer pop onto the bridge, so the rest of the crew looked up at his appearance with only mild interest. By the time he’d crossed to Hoshi’s station, most of them had gone back to whatever they were doing and almost forgotten that he was even there. Only the comm officer herself noticed when he reached her and leaned into her personal space to stare at her console.

“Didja get it?” Trip asked hopefully.

That got everyone’s attention, and the enigmatic smile that appeared on Hoshi’s lips riveted it. Her hand disappeared for a moment, then reappeared with a handful of message chips.

“Hot dog!” the chief engineer exclaimed, beaming.

“What do you say–think we can get the movie lounge for an all-day marathon on Saturday?” the linguist asked, her own smile broadening.

“Hell, yeah. I’ll pull rank if I hafta.”

“I don’t know about that, Trip,” the Captain interrupted. “I had considered booking the lounge myself to watch the game.” His eyes twinkled with mischief.

Trip looked crestfallen. “Aw, Cap’n…”

Archer nodded at the handful of chips. “What’ve you got there?”

The chief engineer exchanged a conspiratorial glance with Hoshi, then decided to confess. “Galaxy Quest. Original and ‘The Journey Continues,’ all 250 episodes.”

“You had Galaxy Quest and you weren’t going to share it?” Travis blurted out in amazement.

Trip looked at him, surprised. “You know Galaxy Quest?”

“Of course I do,” Mayweather grinned. “I was practically raised on it. I mean, honestly, do you know any series even from this century that’s nearly as appropriate for a kid growing up on a spaceship?”

Hoshi laughed. “You must’ve loved Laredo.”

“Oh yeah, he was my hero! A kid just about my age steering a starship?” He grinned. “You wouldn’t believe how disappointed I was to find out the Academy didn’t admit ten year olds.”

Laughter rippled around the bridge and Trip turned his eyes back to the Captain. “Well?”

Archer grinned. “All right. Galaxy Quest marathon on Saturday.” He wagged a finger in the engineer’s direction. “I’m counting on you to pick the best episodes of the series.”

Still grinning, Trip saluted. “Aye aye, Cap’n.”

Several (Galaxy Quest) episodes later…

“I’ve never understood why Laliari fell for Chen,” Malcolm complained as the mysterious female alien’s first episode concluded. “Ingersol is much more interesting.”

“‘More interesting’?” Trip echoed incredulously over the rim of his glass of iced tea. “He’s ’bout as much of a pessimist as you, though I admit he’s funnier about it.”

The armory officer glared. “Very funny, Commander.”

Commander Tucker grinned. “‘Sides, what kind of a name is ‘Roc’ anyway?”

“I dunno, what kind of a name is ‘Trip’?” Archer interceded on Reed’s behalf, grinning as he tossed a piece of popcorn in his mouth.

“You tell me, you’re the one that pinned it on me,” the chief engineer retorted.

“Ooh, now that sounds like an interesting story.” Hoshi smirked.

The Captain cocked an eyebrow at his friend and Trip looked embarrassed.

“Y’know, now that I think about it,” he changed the subject. “There’s an awful lot of similarities ‘tween them and us.” He gestured towards the screen.

“How so, Commander?” Phlox interjected curiously. He’d been invited to join them after expressing an interest in “early human views of space travel.”

“Well, for one thing, Dr. Lazarus is like a cross ‘tween you and Malcolm with a dash of Klingon,” Trip pointed out. “And there’s a lot of you, Cap’n–” He turned to Archer. “–in Taggart. That whole ‘never give up, never surrender’ thing for one.” The smile on his face widened into a grin. “Not to mention as Malcolm pointed out, the chief engineer is an alien babe magnet.”

Several of the people in the room suppressed sniggers. “Though I don’t recall any of them getting him pregnant,” Reed interjected, amused.

Now it was Trip’s turn to glare. “I’m serious–hell, even their uniforms were kinda like ours.”

“So who am I–Tawny or Laliari?” Hoshi asked.

“Depends–you want me or the Cap’n?” Trip’s eyes danced with mischief.

“I think I’ll decline to answer that on the grounds that I may incriminate myself,” the linguist shot back.

The chief engineer grinned again. “If we go strictly by who does what, the Cap’s Taggart, Phlox is Lazarus, Hoshi’s Tawny–‘cept she does a lot more’n just repeat the computer–I’m Chen, Malcolm here’s Ingersol, Travis is Laredo–”

“–and T’Pol is Laliari.” Mayweather concluded with a smirk of his own.

Trip’s face fell. “On second thought–”

“Oh come on, don’t tell me you’ve never entertained a fantasy about the Subcommander,” Travis demanded. Fortunately for him, T’Pol had declined to join them.

“May I remind you, Ensign, that we’re in mixed company?” The chief engineer nodded in the direction of Hoshi and Cutler.

The helmsman looked abashed. “Sorry, ladies.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” was Elizabeth’s breezy reply. “Hoshi and I were just about to start discussing the finer points of Commander Tucker’s ass.”

Trip choked on the sip of tea he’d just taken and Hoshi turned bright red. “Look–” Now it was her turn to divert the conversation. “–wasn’t Lieutenant Madison the one all the men on the Protector were drooling over?”

The Captain, Commander, Lieutenant and Ensign all looked at each other. Still looking slightly embarrassed, they nodded.

“Right. So T’Pol is Tawny,” Malcolm conceded.

Trip slapped Archer on the back. “Looks like you’re stuck with her, Cap’n.”

The Captain chuckled. “Is that relief or jealousy I hear in your voice, Commander?”

They all laughed.

“It is interesting, though,” Hoshi admitted. “The parallels. It makes you wonder–how did they know? How is it that almost two hundred years ago, they knew what kind of crew it would take for this type of mission?”

“It has been my observation that your species can be quite perceptive at times.” Phlox smiled.

Archer smiled. “We try, anyway.”

“It is pretty amazin’,” Trip agreed. “Not so much that they sorta predicted this, but their vision of the future came true. You gotta admit, back then Earth unitin’ and venturin’ out into deep space musta seemed like a pipe dream.”

“Perhaps Galaxy Quest itself is part of the reason that vision became a reality,” Reed suggested. “It gave people something to strive for. Possibly it made this sort of future seem less unattainable.”

“Could something designed for entertainment really have such a profound influence?” the doctor asked curiously.

The Captain smiled. “Sometimes anything that gives us reason to hope can have an influence.”

Phlox nodded. “In that case, my compliments to the creator of this endeavor.”

The human members of the crew nodded. “He was an amazing man,” Hoshi stated.

A thoughtful silence fell, broken a few minutes later by Captain Archer. “So. What’s the next episode, Trip?”

Tucker grinned. “The one where the digital conveyor goes all wiggy and turns that pig-thing Taggert’s fightin’ inside out.”

The Captain raised an eyebrow in unconscious imitation of T’Pol. “Are you sure that’s a good idea, as leery as half the people on this ship are of the transporter?”

“Why do you think I’m showin’ it?” he retorted. “I may be chief engineer, but I don’t trust that thing further’n I can throw it…”


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