Secret Seas

by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2250)

What if Spock had not agreed to Fleet’s ‘devil’s bargain?’

(This is an alternate to the Shadow Captain series.
It begins at the same time as the prologue to Shadow Captain, Did The Full Moon Make You Mad).

Go To Part Two

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continnum

For six days, the Enterprise was in an uproar. Jim Kirk’s disappearance was reported; the rumors started flying, and so did the fists. Spock reported his impression concerning that disappearance to Starfleet Command. His panic was buried in work and bureaucracy and disciplinary decisions, the certainty his telepathy gave him becoming more enmeshed in red tape with each department his concerns were referred to.

And more distressing than any of it was the fact that there had been no time to spend with Ruth. She was as busy as he, taking over the duties he could no longer attend to. Yet he needed to see her, to feel her, to share the knowledge that tore at him. Yet, too, with each hour that passed, he doubted his telepathy more and more. If Ruth had felt nothing - obvious, since she did not seek him out - could his own impressions be valid? Could he rely on the truth of his experience? Was it possible it had, after all, been only a dream, caused, yes, by whatever had happened to Jim Kirk, but unreliable as an indicator of the nature of that occurrence?

No, not possible. I know what I know. She, for all her ability, has not shared the depth of mental connection with him. And it was not to her that he called.

Then came word from Headquarters:

“Commander Spock: The Enterprise is ordered to Starbase 11 immediately. At that time you will report to my office for a conference on the concerns expressed in your communications. Until such time as is otherwise decided, this matter is to be considered privileged information. You are not - I repeat, NOT to discuss it in ANY capacity with ANYONE. This is a direct order from the Admiralty of Starfleet Command.”

“What concerns, Spock?”

Spock turned from the com unit to find his Antari wife standing in the doorway. Her uniform was torn and disheveled, her hair pulling loose from its usual neat bun. He frowned at the evidence that she had, again, been brawling.

“What was said to provoke you this time, Ruth?” he replied sternly, ignoring her question.

“That Jim ran off with an Orion slave girl,” Ruth responded, her voice bitter. “What concerns?”

He tried to school his features. “Since you heard the message from Command, you also heard that I am under direct orders not to discuss…”

“Admiral Fuller said ‘communications’ - plural,” Ruth broke in. “Which means more than one. You’ve sent more than one communication to Command about these concerns in the past six days. I don’t give a damn if it’s need-to-know. What concerns?” Her voice was edgy, her body tense, her emotional control ready to explode.

“Ruth, I cannot…”

“Does it have to do with Jim?”

“I am under orders…”

“Do you know what happened to him?”

“I cannot…”

DAMN IT, TELL ME!” Ruth screamed, then collapsed to the deck, sobbing. Her anguish tore at him and he crossed the room, taking her trembling form into his arms.

As soon as he touched her, their minds joined. Thunder screaming, helpless horror, pleading for help, fearful anguished entreaty. Mind-sifter’s touch, Organia, Canti, too-familiar cold, probing, questions, a voice crying…”Spock!” And when no answer came and more questions, more pain, “Edith!” The Guardian and breaking free and leaping, leaping into…

JIM!” Ruth shrieked, then wailed out a horrible keen of loss, burying her face against Spock’s chest. She wept for a long time as Spock struggled to order his chaotic thoughts.


”Why didn’t you tell me?” Ruth asked. She had changed her ruined uniform and was brushing out her hair with angry, vigorous strokes. Her eyes were still red-rimmed, but her voice was calm.

“I have not seen you but for fleeting moments for six days,” Spock reminded. He, too, had changed uniforms, his own having been thoroughly soaked by Ruth’s tears.

“For something this important, you could have made time,” she admonished.

I was not sure of my impressions, came the telepathic answer. Spock’s mind-voice was filled with chagrin and his uncertainty, and Ruth sighed.

Why do you doubt your telepathy? she asked silently.

It is not objective, neither logical nor provable.

But you know what you know.

Yes, he agreed somewhat sheepishly, but I cannot prove it. And Starfleet will require proof.

“I could have verified it if you had called me right away,” Ruth pointed out. “They have to accept a keheil’s telepathic impressions, it’s in our Federation Membership Charter.”


“Really.” She put down the brush. “What are you going to ask for?”

Spock paced across the room. “Since I have violated their order…”

“Tell them you told me before you got the message,” Ruth returned bluntly.

“That is a lie.”

“So? If I’d come in ten seconds earlier, you would have, right?”

“Yes, but you did not.”

“But I could have. I heard the whole message. If I had even said something when I first walked in…”

“But you did not.”

“You’re nit-picking.”

“I am telling the truth.”

“I hate it when you’re ethical.” She paused, pursing her lips. “So tell them the truth. Tell them I eavesdropped, then got into your head when you refused to answer me.”

“You did not do so deliberately,” Spock deferred. “It was your precarious emotional control that caused…”

“Whatever the reason, I got into your head,” Ruth argued.

“If they believe it to have been deliberate, you will likely be court-martialed,” he reminded her.

“So, new? If they believe you didn’t properly prevent me, you’ll be court-martialed.”


“Spock, just tell them whatever you want!” Ruth snapped. “What are you going to ask them for?”

“I had intended to request first the diversion of the Enterprise to the Guardian planet in an attempt to find Jim. Failing that, the use of the Enterprise’s resources to conduct a search through history for any indications of his whereabouts.”

“I’m coming with you.”

“Of course.”


There was more brass in the small briefing room at Starbase 11 than Ruth could ever recall seeing in one place. The Heads of Starfleet Policy, Security, Operations, Strategic Forces, and Requirements Analysis, as well as the Inspector General himself, had all congregated to discuss Spock’s ‘concerns.’ It was obvious that there was some incredulity regarding his claim, but losing Captain James T. Kirk was a serious blow, one so serious that they were perhaps willing to gamble to retrieve him. But they weren’t willing to gamble everything.

“If the Klingons know about the Guardian, the whole of history could be in grave danger,” Admiral Fuller, Chief of Federation Security said.

“The fact that we are here, discussing it, indicates that they do not know how to activate the portal,” Spock returned.

“A good point, Commander,” Admiral Turez put in. “And we want to keep it that way. Which is why we quarantined the Guardian planet as soon as we got your report.” Turez was Chief of Strategic Forces.

“Which means we cannot grant your request to divert the Enterprise at this time,” Policy Chief Craigson continued. “Such an act would certainly draw Klingon attention.”

“But sir,” Ruth broke in, “that would also give us the best chance of retrieving Captain Kirk.”

“Assuming Commander Spock’s impression is reliable,” the Inspector General said. “Which you, Keheil, cannot confirm, isn’t that true?”

Spock stared straight ahead. Ruth sighed. “Yes, sir.”

“Therefore, the next best course would be to grant the resources of the Enterprise for an exhaustive search through history,” Spock rejoined.

“But, Commander, we can’t have one of our heavy cruisers devoted to that kind of mission. With the possibility of, at the very least, a Klingon attempt to seize the Guardian, the Fleet has to be prepared for any number and type of diversionary attacks,” Fuller argued.

“What if only Commander Spock and I were to make such a search?” Ruth suggested.

“Commander Spock will be given command of the Enterprise,” Admiral Sinsani, the Chief of Requirements answered. “We need his skills.”

“Then just me…” Ruth began stubbornly.

“If the Guardian is breached, we cannot afford to have half of Valjiir otherwise engaged,” Craigson stated.

“We are at a very sensitive juncture,” the Inspector General said. “We need to find the proper balance to safeguard the Federation as a whole. The loss of one man, even a man as important as Captain Kirk, has to be seen in that light.” He sighed. “If there were a way we could reasonably expect to successfully retrieve him, even to know if he is where Commander Spock claims he is, things might be different.”

“Admiral, with all due respect,” Spock returned, “I know what I know.” Ruth smiled proudly at him.

“Yes, Commander, but I still have to justify it to the rest of Command. We cannot take the risk that the Klingons could disrupt all of time. The more we concentrate on this - rescue attempt - the more intelligence the Klingons will be able to garner about the Guardian.”

“There are always spies, Commander,” Fuller reminded.

“The work can be done in secret,” Ruth tried. “No one else has to know what…”

“And can Val keep secrets from Jiir?” Craigson wanted to know.

“Lieutenant Majiir’s help could be invaluable…” Spock suggested.

“Valjiir has been known to go off half-cocked before,” Turez rejoined. “In the current situation, we can’t risk that.”

“So you’ll just let it go, leave Jim stranded in the past and do nothing?” Ruth burst out.

“Miss Valley…” the Inspector General began.

“How can you? How can you ask Spock to stand by, ignore what he knows, what he feels? What are we supposed to tell Jim’s crew?”

“You will tell them nothing,” Fuller said sternly.

“The hell I will!” Ruth blazed.

“Miss Valley, that is insubordination!”

“Ruth,” Spock began quietly.

“No, not this time, not this way,” Ruth rejoined. “They can’t deny us this, they can’t!”

“We can, Lieutenant Valley,” the Inspector General stated, “and we have. We will continue to deliberate this situation, but, as of now, you are refused permission to do anything concerning this matter. Should the situation warrant a change, we will inform you. That is all.”

“You can’t…!” Ruth cried.

“That is all, Lieutenant, Commander. Report back to the Enterprise.”

Spock rose, but Ruth stayed seated. “No, sir,” she said.

“I beg your pardon?” the Inspector General replied.

“I said, no.”

“You are refusing a direct order, Miss Valley?”

“I’m refusing to agree to a travesty. I quit.”

Ruth?! Spock’s voice thundered in her mind.

If this is all Starfleet is willing to do, I’m no longer willing to be a part of Starfleet.

My wife, I understand the emotion, but…

I have to do this. I’m sorry, love, but I can’t support this kind of callousness. Aloud, Ruth said, “I resign my commission, sir, effective immediately.”


In order to avoid a summary court-marital, Ruth was forced to sign several non-disclosure agreements, carrying the strictest of penalties. She was given severe travel restrictions for the next six months. She would not be allowed to return to the Enterprise to retrieve her personal belongings; they would have to be packed and transported down to her. She was to be confined to the base for one month, and finally, she was placed under a restraining order against seeing any Starfleet personnel for a period of six months. It was at that point that Spock objected.

“She is my wife, you cannot prevent her from contact with me,” he said.

“Your wife should have thought of that,” Admiral Fuller muttered.

“I will not allow her to agree to such a thing.”

“She doesn’t have to agree.”

I will not agree to such a thing, Admiral.”

“The order will be enforced, Commander.”

Spock took a deep breath. “Then, Admiral Fuller, I respectfully tender my resignation from Starfleet Command, effective immediately.”

It was Ruth’s turn to gasp out his name, and his to mentally argue with her. I will not be parted from you, wife.

But… your career…

You are more important. Surely you know that.

In the end, Spock was placed under the same restrictions as Ruth, and a formal censure was sent regarding both.

“We’ve really done it now, husband,” Ruth commented as they sat together in a holding cell.

“You were right,” Spock told her. “Any organization which shows such disregard for its own personnel is unworthy of our loyalty.”

“What will we do? We can’t abandon Jim.”

“We are still who we are, with the same abilities,” Spock returned. “We will find a way.”


“They did what?!” Sulu exclaimed as Uhura reported from Communications.

“Resigned, both of them. No reason given. We’re supposed to have their personal effects packed and beamed down, immediately.”

“Without talking to them? No way in hell!”

“Orders, Sulu,” Uhura replied.

“Fuck that,” Sulu muttered. “Uhura, call Jilla, have her meet me in First Officer’s quarters.”

Sulu fumed all the way to Spock and Ruth’s cabin - former cabin. What the hell was going on? Had the whole galaxy gone crazy? First Jim disappears, then Spock and Ruth resign? “And we’re not supposed to talk to them, ask them why?” he said aloud as he stepped into the cabin. He went to the wardrobe, pulling out the valises and duffels stowed there. The past week had been sheer hell, and he wasn’t about to follow any more orders that didn’t make sense. If there was something serious enough wrong to make both Ruth and Spock resign, he was damn well going to find out what it was!

“Sulu, what…?” Jilla’s voice began, then, “What are you doing?”


“But these are…”

“I know.” And he told her of the orders from the Base.

“That makes no sense,” she stated flatly. “It is illogical.”

“Which is why I’m going to deliver their things personally, orders or no orders.” He stopped packing long enough to look straight into her eyes. “Are you going to help me?”

“Of course.”


They watched the Enterprise depart from the holding cell. Sulu sighed, and was the first to look away. Jilla moved to him. “It is the proper course, Sulu,” she said.

“I know. I don’t have to like it.”

“You were the one who insisted on knowing, Roy,” Ruth put in as she, too, took a seat next to him.

“Like I had a choice?” he returned.

“You did, Mr. Sulu,” Spock reminded.

“Not a decent one,” Sulu replied.

“I am gratified at your sense of decency.”

“Thanks,” Sulu muttered. There was silence for a while, then he asked, “So what do we do now?”

“Well, cool our heels for a month, first of all,” Ruth said. “Then line up some civilian work. We gotta eat, y’know.”

“Yeah, and Antaris take a lot of feeding,” Sulu said.

“My husband’s a rich man,” she returned smugly.

“My father still controls the family estates,” Spock stated.

“Won’t he be happy you’re out of Fleet?”

“Perhaps. But he will find my reasoning flawed.”

“He finds everything you do flawed,” Ruth growled.

“Yes. My point is that we cannot rely on my inheritance.”

“So like I said, civilian work.”

“There were restrictions placed on Valjiir design work,” Jilla reminded softly.

“I can teach at Alterra,” Ruth said.

“As can I,” Spock rejoined.

“And commercial pilots are always in demand,” Sulu added. “So are commercial engineers.”

“But how will any of this further Captain Kirk’s rescue?” Jilla wanted to know.

“We’ll work on that in our free time,” Ruth replied.

Sulu frowned, his face suddenly tense and contemplative. “She’s right,” he said. He got up, started pacing. “We’ll need a ship, eventually, and the ability to warp in time when we do discover his whereabouts…”

“Ships are expensive,” Jilla said. “To afford one with the capabilities we will need could take years of savings. I was under the impression that time is of the essence.”

“So we’ll live frugally,” Ruth said. “One step at a time, okay?”

“Given our restrictions, even that may not be enough,” Sulu returned grimly. “You know Fleet is going to be watching us, waiting for us to make a slip somewhere.”

“Research is the only tool we have available at the moment,” Spock put in.

“But no equipment, and I’ll be willing to bet our last salary credits will be wound up in red tape for months,” Sulu said. “And with travel restrictions, I’ll have a hard time getting a commercial contract.” He sat back down, his hands coming up to rub his face. “Shit,” he murmured, almost inaudibly.

“Give us some time to think, Roy,” Ruth soothed. “We’re stuck here for a month anyway. We’ll come up with something.”

“I hope so, Ruth,” Sulu said softly. “I hope so.”


They were given a small cabin in the military wing of the base, guards posted outside, with no communications or computer terminal. There were four bunks, and Sulu immediately took the mattresses from two of them, placing them together on the floor.

“She’ll blind us, Roy,” Ruth observed.

“If we’re going to be living together, we’d all better get used to it,” he returned.

“There’s a thought,” she mused.

“Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?” Sulu said as he began moving the other two mattresses. “Expenses will be cheaper that way, and Valjiir can work whenever they get an idea.”

“Mr. Sulu, perhaps we should discuss…” Spock began.

“And that’s another thing. We’re not in Fleet anymore, so it’s just Sulu.” He grinned at Ruth. “Or ‘Roy’ if you prefer.”

“Taking over, are you?” Ruth rejoined, grinning back at him.

“It is his way of dealing with his worries,” Jilla explained. She was arranging the sheets and blankets on the make-shift double bed.

“It is logical, my wife,” Spock returned. In her mind, he added I will adjust.

They can be - uh - loud, Spock.

I am aware of Mrs. Majiir’s propensities in such activities.

Ruth found to her surprise that Spock’s matter-of-fact attitude made her blush.

“What did you say to her, Mr. - Spock,” Sulu wanted to know.

“He said he knows how loud Jilla can be,” Ruth said airily, trying to cover the embarrassment. Then, as Jilla’s skin silvered brightly, “Turn it off, Jilla.”

Sulu was frowning. “Yeah, I’ll just bet he does,” he murmured. Then a gleam came into his eyes. “But since I know how much noise you make…”

“Touché, Roy,” Ruth said. She leaned forward from her position, sitting cross-legged on the small desk. “Spock’s not exactly silent either, y’know.”

“My wife, such details are private…” Spock began sternly. Sulu was again smiling, this time with warm affection.

“Like I said, we’d all better get used to it.”

“And to each other,” Jilla stated. She began making up another make-shift bed.

“I didn’t ask you to do that, Jilla,” Ruth said, getting up to help her.

“Do you wish to sleep apart?” Jilla asked, her voice revealing her surprise.

“No, but if you let me, I’ll let you be the wife.”

“I am a wife, Ruth,” Jilla admonished.

“She means she’ll take advantage of you, hon,” Sulu said.

“I’m used to having a yeoman, and a maintenance crew,” Ruth explained.

“Good thing Jilla and I like to cook,” Sulu mused.

“Until we are released from quarantine,” Spock reminded, “we will no doubt be given Base meals.”

“Just thinking about the future, Spock,” Sulu returned.

“I do not mind caring for a home, Sulu,” Jilla rejoined.

“Home!” Ruth suddenly exclaimed. “I know where we can live!”

“Your house in Berkeley,” Spock said, nodding. “I had forgotten.”

“I won it in a poker game,” Ruth explained. “It isn’t very big, but it’s on top of a hill and there’s a lot of grass and trees around it. I’ve got most of the usual house-stuff, dishes, towels, sheets…” she paused. “There’s only one bed, and it’s just a futon, really.” She thought some more. “It’s pretty much furnished, table and chairs, a couch, a hammock - the porch has a swing.” Suddenly she looked up from her musing, her eyes gleaming. “And,” she grinned wickedly, “I have an old computer set-up there.”

Sulu smiled broadly. “Sounds like a great place to start.


As predicted, their salary credits were held up in red tape. After four weeks on the Base with only each other to talk to, a surprising amount of personal relationship problems had been ironed out. Jilla and Spock had fallen easily into Vulcan positions: he, head of the household, she, homemaker. Ruth, as she had warned, didn’t mind in the least not having to contend with maintenance chores. She spent most of her time making music, or plans with Spock and Jilla for how to go about their time research, or games and exercises with Sulu. Sulu seemed amiable enough at first, but it soon became apparent that he wasn’t about to consider Spock head of anything. That had been the first real clash. It was resolved by Spock and Sulu agreeing to look upon each other as equals, with a common interest and goal.

The second came when Ruth noticed that Jilla had a tendency to try and mold her into being a proper Vulcan wife. Ruth screamed, “I’m not Vulcan!” and Spock commented that he did not wish her to be. Jilla said that she was and could not be otherwise. They agreed not to try and force anything on each other, and to forgive occasional slips with comments of, “push. Push, push.”

The third was over Spock’s discomfort with Sulu’s undeniable tendency toward physical demonstrations of affection, which was followed closely by Sulu’s annoyance at Spock’s tendency to lecture. Sulu assured Spock that he didn’t mean to imply anything other than affection, and that Spock should feel free to gently remind him when it started to bother him. Spock apologized, explaining that retreating into Vulcan patterns had always been his refuge, and Sulu should feel free to state, as Ruth did, “Minneapolis.”

Spock was hapless witness to Jilla’s rare but vitriolic reaction to Sulu’s over-protectiveness. Jilla was embarrassed by Ruth’s blatant seductions of her Vulcan husband. Ruth grew angry at what she perceived as Sulu’s attempts to manipulate Jilla into allowing sexual contact, until it was explained to her that this was almost a ritual between them, a necessary transition to allow for Jilla’s sense of damnation. When she understood that Sulu allowed himself to be the ‘bad guy’ to ease Jilla’s burden, she hugged him fiercely, telling him she forgave him for LiLing.

The natural embarrassment of facing each other after a night of obvious sexual activity soon likewise became a ritual, with Spock being stoic, Ruth lewd, Sulu exuberant, and Jilla feigning ignorance, each accepting with good humor that they were dealing with it in their own ways.

When the month of quarantine was over, they were on solid ground with each other and with their plans for the future.


“Damn!” Ruth exploded as she turned from the com unit. Jilla was still arranging their belongings in the small house that overlooked San Francisco Bay.

“What is wrong?” Jilla asked anxiously.

“Starfleet,” Ruth snarled. “They’ve indicated to Alterra that they don’t want Spock or me teaching there, at least not anything to do with Sciences. I can get a post in the music department, but only as an assistant professor.” She made a face. “I don’t have a degree in music,” she continued with a sneer. “So what that I was teaching there five years ago.”

“Can Starfleet do such a thing?” Jilla asked incredulously.

“They can’t make Alterra turn us down, no,” Ruth replied. “But they can sure as hell pressure them, and Alterra has a lot of Fleet contracts.”

Both fell silent, then Jilla ventured, “Still, a teaching position, even assistant professor, is a source of income, Ruth.”

Ruth sighed. “I know, and I’ll probably end up taking it, but… hell.” She reached for her guitar.

Jilla silently returned to her work. They had decided to curtain off a portion of the living room to create a second sleeping area. She was doing her best to make it both as private and as attractive as possible. She had created shelving for her and Sulu’s clothing and other belongings, and Sulu’s family had given them a bed as a gift for their unheralded and unsanctified union. After living in two small rooms for a month, it seemed that Ruth’s house would provide them with all the space they needed. Jilla had made plans to begin a garden so as to grow at least some of their own food. Still, meat was essential for Ruth, and they had to pay for water, heat, electricity, com links and computer equipment, as well as access to information services. Plus, save for the purchase of a ship. Spock had been right about his father’s reaction. There would be no help from the estate of Sarek Sepaklrn. Ruth’s family was willing to help them get started, but they were not wealthy. Sulu’s family was in the same position. And, of course, contacting her father was unthinkable. The engineering firms she had so far contacted had been more than interested, and sympathetic, but most had extensive contracts with Starfleet. She had heard, “Mrs. Majiir, we’d love to have you work for us, but we can’t afford to have Starfleet pull out on us. We’re truly sorry,” too many times to count. And with each passing hour, Jim Kirk’s future grew less certain.

The enormity of what they had done suddenly overwhelmed her, and Jilla stopped, tears springing to her eyes.

She felt Ruth’s arms coming around her. “It’ll be all right, Jilla,” Ruth soothed. “We’ll make it.” Jilla didn’t question the empathy that allowed Ruth to know what was wrong. “After all, we’re Valjiir,” Ruth continued. “We cured a cordrazine addict once, remember? And invented warp shuttles? And the Cloak?” She grinned. “What’s a little old thing like making a living to us? Besides,” she hugged Jilla warmly, “we’ve got Spock and Sulu to help this time.”

A smile broke through Jilla’s tears.

“Come on,” Ruth went on. “House cleaning can wait. Let’s make some music.”

Jilla nodded, unpacking her lyrette, as Ruth began a light riff on her guitar. They were still playing when Spock and Sulu arrived.


“I could get a job as a taxi-pilot,” Sulu grumbled as he and Spock walked up the hill to Ruth’s house. They were carrying all the groceries they had been able to afford. “But with the travel restrictions, no commercial service can use me. In six months, sure, but we need credits now.”

“I had not anticipated Starfleet’s attempts to control our access to the scientific community,” Spock returned quietly.

Sulu shot him a sympathetic look. “How about research and development?” he asked.

“All of the corporations I contacted have Fleet contracts,” Spock replied. “Understandably, they do not wish to jeopardize such lucrative ventures.”

“And government work would have the same problems,” Sulu mused. “Damn.”

“I will apply to Translations at Alterra,” Spock said. “That is not a science department, and the salary will not be that of a professorship…”

“But any little bit helps,” Sulu sighed. “Which means I’d better get a chauffeur’s license.” He fell silent.

They were almost to the house when he spoke again. “Spock.”

Something in the tone of his voice made Spock stop, turning to him. “Yes, Sulu?”

"I - might have - another source of income.”

“Indeed?” Sulu was obviously struggling with something, and Spock waited, letting him speak at his own pace.

“I could - race,” Sulu finally murmured.

“That is illegal,” was Spock’s immediate counter.

“I know. But I could make a hell of a lot of credit with very little outlay.” He took a deep breath. “You see, I already own a needle.”

“The Kamikaze, I believe,” Spock said.

“Ruth told you,” Sulu scowled.

“We are telepaths,” Spock explained. “And what you propose is still illegal.”

“The travel restrictions won’t matter to the Clave,” Sulu said. “And with side bets, we could have the credit we need for a decent ship in a matter of months, certainly by the time our restriction is up.”

“It is illegal,” Spock reiterated. “And, if I am not mistaken, dangerous.”

“I’m very good at it, Spock,” Sulu admitted quietly.

“Jilla will approve?”

Sulu hesitated. “No. But we’re running out of options.”

“Perhaps Ruth or Jilla have had better luck finding lucrative employment,” Spock rejoined, ignoring Sulu’s last statement.

“Bets?” Sulu muttered, and Spock was struck by the similarity to Ruth’s reactions.

“We will discuss it, of course, Sulu,” he went on, “but it is…”

“Illegal, I know,” Sulu sighed. They had reached the top of the hill, and heard the music of guitar and lyrette coming from inside the house.

“Sounds happy,” Sulu mused. “Maybe there’s good news after all.”


They sat at the kitchen table, eating the meal Jilla had prepared. It was simple, rice and vegetables, with a good-sized steak for Ruth. Sulu and Ruth drank coffee, Spock and Jilla fruit juice.

“I can get 1600 a month,” Ruth said. “Without a degree in music theory, that’s all they’ll pay an assistant professor.” She was entering in the numbers on a stat board.

“Translations has offered 2400 per month, due to my experience in the Diplomatic Corps with my father,” Spock added. Ruth nodded, adding in the figures.

Sulu scowled. “Cabbies don’t make much. Only 8 credits an hour, plus tips, and they only guarantee 20 hours a week.”

“I am afraid I have not found allowed employment for which I am suited,” Jilla murmured. “I am sorry. I can cook and garden and clean. That will save us those expenses.” Ruth shot her a sympathetic look.

“That adds up to about 56,000 a year,” she supplied, “before taxes. 42,000 after.”

“Not much to buy a ship on,” Sulu muttered.

“I can upgrade an older model for far less than a newer one would cost,” Jilla offered.

“And Spock and I can do any computer work necessary,” Ruth reminded.

“Still, even a small, old ship that’s space-worthy and able to be converted for a time shift is going to run us several hundred thousand,” Sulu rejoined. “Even if we had no expenses, we couldn’t afford one for years.” He exchanged glances with Spock, who frowned.

“That’s right, Roy, think positive,” Ruth muttered.

“Sulu is leading up to a proposition, my wife,” Spock informed her, his voice stiff.

“One you don’t like,” Ruth returned. “Okay, Roy, what is it?”

Sulu took a deep breath. “Racing,” he said.

Jilla had risen to clear the table, and her strident “No,” came on top of Ruth’s “That’s crazy!”

“Can you think of any other way we can get a ship sometime in the next six months?” Sulu demanded.

“It is illegal,” Jilla insisted, putting down the dishes she had picked up.

“Not to mention dangerous,” Ruth added.

“Who’s LeRoi, Spike?” Sulu wanted to know.

“There has to be some other way,” she insisted.

“I’d like to hear it,” Sulu said grimly.

“I… I could sell the Spike,” Ruth said.

“Okay, done. How much will you get for her?”

“I don’t know, 50,000 maybe,” Ruth said uneasily.

“So it will only take us five years living on nothing, assuming we can find a decent ship for 200,000, and not taking into account any computer or special warp or navigational rigging,” Sulu pointed out. “Help, but still not enough.”

Ruth looked around helplessly. “Spock? Jilla? Think of something!”

“I will not allow it, Sulu,” Jilla said. It was the tone of voice she used just before an emotional explosion, and Sulu stood, moving around the table to take her into his arms.

“Hon, I know what I’m doing,” he tried to reassure. “I’ve raced needles…”

“They are dangerous toys for ignorant adolescents!” she nearly snarled.

“I know,” Sulu soothed, “and if there was any other way…”

“There must be!” Jilla shouted.

“If we can find one, great,” Sulu went on. “But we can’t dismiss out of hand…”

“NO!” Jilla shrieked, and broke from his embrace, racing to the area she had curtained off. Sulu sighed, shrugging at Spock and Ruth, and followed.

“She’s right, it’s too dangerous,” Ruth murmured.

“And illegal,” Spock agreed. There was a pause. “However, we must face facts. Sulu may be right.”

Ruth scowled, then stood up, finishing the job of clearing the table.

Go To Part Two

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