Title: A Time To...
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: adult themes, violent themes, character death
Category: ENT, angst, alternate timeline
Codes: Everyone, especially Archer, a smidgen of R/S
Spoilers: The Expanse
Summary: He has nothing but time.
Disclaimer: The almighty Paramount encircled by twenty-two stars owns this particular show, but I own the story.
Archival: Link to my website, please.
Author's notes and dedication at the end.


He has nothing but time. Nothing but time with its dust and its memories.

He once was what he now despises--an ignorant man, full of prideful platitudes.

It is an irony that he can still remember.

It is the nature of time that he can.

It is the cruel mercy of time that Archer cannot. He does not see what is to come, what waits in the expanse, the darkness and pain.

Each of his crew, whom he loved, more than himself. They all fell.

T'Pol. The madness took her, along with a half of his crew. Some survived. She did not.

Tucker. No one could reach through his anger and his vendetta ended with the Xindi blade that took his head.

Mayweather. His smile no longer shone, until Archer wrested the knife from him. While Mayweather smiled, Archer wept, his hands red.

Phlox. He died in agony, the bacteria eating all his flesh. Archer forced himself to watch from without the glass.

Reed and Sato. Archer found them, after the blast. Reed had tried to shield her, holding her close. The black char that was their flesh and bone disintegrated at a single touch.

Porthos.

Earth would never know what they had found, what they had faced. Did not know that they were helpless in the war.

Archer whispers in his head: all is vanity, all is vanity, that which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, there is nothing new under the sun.

The Suliban who found him called him Archer. He may bear that man's face, he may think his thoughts, but he is not Archer. He will not believe the lies of the past. He knows better.

Time is his, now.

He will use his once enemy.

He will change the future.

He will become the Archer that he needs to be, so that the Archer he is now will cease.

Then time will pay him what he deserves.

End.

Author's Notes: This grew out of a discussion at the Linguistics Database Forum, concerning "The Expanse." Paradox proposed that the shadow figure from the future is Archer. I happened to agree. So, Paradox, I dedicate this fic to you.

The first title I chose was "Fall-out." Anyone familiar with the '60's television series "The Prisoner" would understand what my original intent was, however as I wrote, the intent changed, and so the title had to change as well.

The phrase "all is vanity" is repeated throughout the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible and the specific verse used is Ecclesiastes 1:9. The title is also a phrase from Ecclesiastes.