Mission To Oz
Epilogue: Back Home
"There's no place like home," Archer mumbled groggily.
"Doc!" Trip shouted, waving the Denobulan over to where Archer lay on the biobed. "He's waking up."
"No need to shout, Commander. I'm right here." Phlox hurried over, pushing past Trip and Reed to get to his patient.
"Perhaps we should all give the doctor room to work," suggested T'Pol from the other side of Archer's bed.
Reed nodded. "Yes, we really ought to clear out." But he, like his two superiors, failed to move more than the bare minimum away from their captain.
"There's no place like home," Archer repeated, louder this time, and steadier.
Phlox looked pleased. "Indeed there isn't, Captain. Welcome back."
"Sir?" ventured Reed.
"Malcolm?" Archer opened his eyes, squinting at the bright sickbay lighting. "Guess we're not in Oz anymore."
"Cap'n? You alright?"
Archer shifted his gaze to his best friend, smiling. "Trip?"
"Yeah, it's me. But, you know, the line is 'We're not in Kansas anymore'. Hey, I thought you hadn't seen that movie?"
"Commander, I'm sure the captain is tired, perhaps the movie quiz can wait?" T'Pol said, her tone gentle. She turned back to Archer. "It is good to see you well. I was... concerned."
"Thank you T'Pol."
"You should rest. I'll speak to you in the morning."
She turned to leave, but Archer lifted a weary hand to her arm to gently stay her. "I just want you to know that I do appreciate your opinions and I'll try harder to look at things from a less emotional point of view."
T'Pol raised an eyebrow, and nodded regally. "Thank you. Good night."
As she left, Archer caught Trip and Reed exchanging puzzled looks. "And you two: I trust both of your judgements. Trip, I know your mishaps could've happened to anyone and I trust you as an officer as well as an engineer. Malcolm, I'm sorry I don't always take your advice on security matters. I should know better."
"Er, thanks, Captain."
"Jon," Trip said, leaning in closer to Archer's face, "Are you sure you're feeling okay?"
"I feel fine. Well, mostly. Anyway I just thought you guys should know."
"Much appreciated, but there are a few things that need my attention in the Armoury. Feel better, sir." Reed mock-ordered as he turned to leave.
"Hey, wait up Malcolm, I'll walk down with you." Trip called out. He turned back to Archer and patted his shoulder. "Rest up, y'hear?"
"I will. Actually, I may take tomorrow to recuperate too. You and T'Pol will be okay running things without me, right?"
"Sure. Take as long as you need. Enterprise is in safe hands. 'Night Cap'n."
Archer relaxed against the bed, yawning cavernously as the two men left together, already bickering quietly with each other. "Doctor, you'll never guess the dream I just had."
"I doubt I could. A pity that you missed the movie you were looking forward to so much. You seemed on the verge of sleep throughout and by the time your visitors arrived you were fast asleep." Phlox frowned. "I shouldn't really have let them in, I am sorry Captain, but they all wanted to see you were doing well."
"It's okay, Phlox. It was nice to see them; especially after that peculiar dream. It was so vivid."
"Hmm, yes. That is one of the side effects of the analgesic I gave you earlier, I'm afraid. I hope your dream wasn't to distressing?"
"It was a little, but I think I needed it." Unable to fight it anymore, Archer left his eyelids drift shut. "Thank you."
It only took seconds for sleep to claim him, so Archer never heard an amused doctor respond, "Well, that's what I'm here for."