Could It Be Magic

by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2253)

Return to Valjiir Stories

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Go To Part Two

The Enterprise docked at the San Francisco Shipyards at 1850 hours, nearly an hour ahead of schedule. Commander Ruth Valley was at the computer console in the main Communications room, programming system data into the computers of the three Nest ships, and so heard the Watch Officer give clearance to the heavy cruiser. She turned in her chair, her face lighting up with delight.

"She's in?" she asked Lieutenant Carl Oberson. "Now?"

The blonde-haired young man finished his conversation with the dockmaster, then turned to the Antari. He smiled broadly. "Yes, ma'am," he replied. "The transport shuttle is on its way."

"Hot damn!"

She was up and out of the small room before the sentence was finished.


"Ma'am, the Enterprise just docked," Ensign Marie Consuela said to the Indiian who was testing the dylithium matrix of one of the Class Two heavy cruisers - also called the Nests.

Commander Jilla Majiir didn't pause in her work. "Has there been any further word from the Drake?" she asked.

"No, ma'am. ETA is still 0300. Sorry, ma'am."

"Thank you, Ensign," Jilla returned. "When Commander Valley calls, tell her I will meet her at the shuttle bay in fifteen minutes."

"Yes, Commander." After nearly a year, Ensign Consuela didn't have to ask how the engineer knew Ruth Valley would be calling.


Captain James Kirk stood on the Bridge of the Enterprise, signing the final papers for crew reassignment. The great ship was to be decommissioned, after over twenty years of service. It was a day of both excitement and sorrow, fond farewells and new beginnings. Jim glanced around the Bridge. Spock was at the Science Station, downloading all the ship's data to the main computer banks of the shipyards. Uhura, at Communications, was coordinating the final reports and shutdowns of ships logs and protocols. Pavel Chekov and David Kelly were extracting the Navigation and Helm data, Geoff Redford doing likewise for Engineering statistics. Scotty, Jim knew, was down in the bowels of the ship, saying goodbye to his bairns. Jeremy Paget was overseeing the transfer of all the Security codes as well as providing for the orderly exodus of all ship's personnel.

Jim sighed deeply. He'd known this was to be the final year of his command of the Enterprise when he'd returned from his recovery on Jude. It was why Spock had been parted from his wife: Ruth Valley had been promoted to Chief of Starfleet Computer Sciences, in charge of programming the new Nest ships, at the same time Jim had returned to command. But now, nearly a year later, it was time for the new ships to be assigned. Jim knew he didn't have much of a chance of getting one. He'd retain some command, certainly - he'd proved himself completely recovered from his two-year-long ordeal - but it was likely to be one of the other Class One heavy cruisers. He'd heard the captain of the Helios was about to retire. He tried not to think about having to lose the crew he'd worked with and grown so fond of over the last ten years. After all, you've dealt with losing Gary Mitchell, M'Benga, Garrovick, Riley, Arex, Sulu... not to mention Ruth and Mrs. Majiir.

But this is different. If I get command of the Helios, I'll be serving with an entirely new group of people.

This crew was once entirely new, you know. He shrugged off the sudden melancholy and cleared his throat of the lump that had formed in it. There was one thing he had to do before everyone disembarked, one crewmember he wasn't about to lose.

He stepped to the Science Station, handing the statboard to Spock. "Call me when the transport shuttle docks, Spock," he said. "I'll be in Sickbay."


"I've made regular reports to the Surgeon General for eight years," Leonard McCoy was grumbling. "I don't see why I have to go through and copy them all again."

"Command needs the full medical logs purged before the ship is decommissioned," Jade Han explained - as though she hadn't said varying versions of this exact same thing several times over the past week. "We wouldn't want anyone's private medical history to fall into some unauthorized hands, nor do we want to inadvertently lose some important data."

"It's the damned department of redundancy department," McCoy muttered.

"Yes, Leonard," Jade replied.

"Hell, you like pourin' over things you've studied a million times before," came the growling accusation.

"Yes, I live to glean psychological insights from years-old medical files," Jade agreed smoothly.

"And why are you so damned calm anyway?" McCoy straightened, turning to face her. "Or don't you realize that we're bein' kicked out of our homes?"

"This home, yes. There will be others."

"Not all together."

"Everything is new and different at first."

"Magnificent insight, Doctor. Remind me to quote it back to you when you're made CMO on a Nest and Jim's captain of some damn transport."

"Oh come on, Bones," Jim Kirk's voice chimed in. "Don't you think I'll at least get a scout?"

McCoy scowled, but his blue eyes were twinkling. "Just makin' a point here, Jim."

Jim stepped into the office and turned to Jade. "I need to speak to you, Doctor," he began. "And I know you still have a lot of work to do, but this is of a rather pressing nature."

"Of course, James," Jade returned. She handed McCoy a stack of data tapes, smiling warmly at his renewed grumbling. She took the few steps from his office to hers, then faced the Captain. Before she could speak, she was in his arms, being kissed thoroughly and passionately. She smiled under it, clinging to him, looking up into his eyes when their lips parted.

"I want to have this logged before we're officially off the ship," he said. "Contrary to what Bones may think, I'm not taking the chance that you'll be assigned as CMO on a Nest while I'm captain of some damn transport." He grinned. "And though what I'm about to say may indeed mean you'll have to forego that cushy CMO job, I'm not sure I care. Because what I care about is you." He paused, and Jade found herself holding her breath, though she was certain she knew what he was going to ask. "Jade Melissa Han," Jim murmured softly, "will you marry me?"

"Of course, James," she replied, then smiled, kissing him again.

"About damn time!" came McCoy's voice from the other room and both Jim and Jade burst out laughing.


It was customary for a ships' senior officers to take a transport shuttle to the offices of the shipyards at the decommissioning of a ship. The rest of the crew would use the transporters. There were, however, two additions to the usual number: Dr. Jade Han accompanied the captain, and Lieutenant Commander Daphne Gollub accompanied the Chief Navigator, Lieutenant Commander Pavel Chekov, "because I'm not about to let him disappear in some accidental bureaucratic mix-up" she had maintained. The navigator had tried, obviously with some embarrassment, to convince the chemist that he would not 'disappear,' but Gollub was adamant. Chekov had apologized, and Jim had waved it away.

"It's a big change for all of us," he sympathized. To which Gollub had replied, to Chekov, "See, he's a mensch."

Scott sat at the back of the shuttle, looking mournfully at the Enterprise - until the webs of light and girders that contained the Nests came into view. Then, as Jim knew it would, his face brightened and a light of excitement returned to his brown eyes. "Ach, just look at 'em!" the Scotsman exclaimed. "What beauties! The lassies have done well by 'em!"

At the mention, however obliquely of his wife, Spock's head came up, his eyes lit with something very close to pride. McCoy slapped the Vulcan on the back.

"It won't be long now, Spocko!" he cackled.

Jim noted Uhura scanning the docking facilities of the yards. "Looking for something, Uhura?" he asked.

"Oh, I just wanted to see what ships were in port," she replied, far too casually.

"Leather is over there," Gollub announced, pointing helpfully.

"Thanks, Daffy," Uhura scowled.

"Like it's some big secret?" the chemist returned.

"I don't see the Drake," Jade commented.

"Command reports that the Drake is due in approximately eight hours," Spock remarked.

"Poor Jilla."

"I'll keep her company," Jeremy Paget assured easily.

"Is Sulu cool with that?" Gollub put in with a wicked leer.

"Daphne, must you?" Pavel murmured.


Ruth was already pacing nervously in the shuttle bay when Jilla arrived. The Antari had changed out of her usual work coveralls and into a dress uniform. Jilla's eyebrow rose. Without even looking at her, Ruth said, "Like you won't be wearing a ball gown and every piece of jewelry Roy's ever given you when he gets in."

"But a uniform?" Jilla returned.

"He'd be embarrassed if I wore what I really wanted to."

"Which is?"


Jilla nodded sagely. "Yes, that would embarrass him."

"Come on, come on, can't you fly any faster than that?" Ruth muttered at the approaching shuttlecraft.

Jilla kept both her sigh and her smile to herself. Her friend's excitement and impatience were completely understandable. Indeed, her own anxiousness was difficult to keep at bay, though she had another eight hours to wait. As it was, she was more than content to see old friends again - particularly Mr. Scott and - she had to admit - Jeremy Paget. Ever since the security man's selfless endeavor to bring her to the Drake for a four-day leave five months previously, she had grown quite fond of Sulu's oldest and dearest friend.

As the indicators for the shuttlecraft's arrival blinked on, she prepared herself for the flood of tia that would accompany the long-awaited reunion between Ruth and her husband.


"Spock, before you officially start your leave," Jim said as the shuttle came to a full stop and the rest of the senior crew of the Enterprise began filing out, "there's something I want to ask you."

"Yes, Jim?" Spock returned.

"It's something you once asked of me, and I want to return the favor and the honor."

"Indeed?" the Vulcan's gaze remained steady, but Jim was certain he had somehow silently acknowledged Jade, standing at Jim's side.

"I would like you to stand as the Best Man at my wedding," Jim said. "Jade has consented to be my wife."

Spock's entire expression softened, a smile actually pulling at the corners of his mouth. "I would indeed be honored, Jim," he said warmly. "Congratulations." He turned his attention to Jade. "I am happy for you, Jade. I do not believe Jim could have made a better choice."

Jim smiled as his bride-to-be actually flushed. "Thank you, Spock," she said quietly. Then her dark eyes smiled up at the Vulcan. "Can I be there when you tell Ruth?"

One elegant eyebrow lifted. "If she gives me the opportunity to tell her, certainly."

Jim chuckled, knowing that Ruth Valley would very likely glue her mouth to her husband's immediately upon seeing him - and that there would be very little else exchanged between them for several hours. He noticed that there seemed to be some jostling in the small knot of people exiting the shuttle - then Spock's wife pushed her way past Chekov and Gollub.

"Hi, Bwana, hi, shrink, good to see you, you're getting married, how wonderful, congratulations, get out!" she managed before throwing herself bodily into Spock's arms.

Jim glanced down at Jade, saw that she was staring at him. "Bones," they said together, then easily took each other's arms, and left the shuttle to the passionately embracing couple.


As Chief of Security, Jeremy Paget's last official duty was to see the senior officers of the Enterprise safely to the shipyard's shuttle bay. When the shuttle's hatch opened, he took a position just outside it, standing at attention, his final act of honor and service to the people he had served, even if it had only been for a year. He did give a nod of greeting to Ruth and Jilla before returning his attention to the disembarking passengers. When Commander Uhura stepped out, he whispered, "Leather's at docking bay 14-C," and winked at her eager expression. He smiled indulgently when Montgomery Scott quickly crossed the space between the shuttle and Jilla, beginning an excited series of questions. His grin got broader as, immediately upon leaving the shuttle, Dr. McCoy leaned over and whispered something into Ruth's ear. The Antari's eyes opened wide and she said, "Really?" McCoy nodded and Ruth added, "How did she ever convince him? Never mind - Gollub, get the fuck out of my way!"

"What an appropriate choice of words," Paget murmured to himself.

"So are you gonna guard Starfleet's most valuable science officers while they screw like venus-crazed weasels?" Daffy asked as she exited the shuttle. Jeremy pretended not to notice Chekov's resigned sigh. Don't take it so hard, Tovarish, he thought. You could be similarly engaged any minute now.

"Well, since I'm technically not off duty until Commander Spock actually sets foot in the Yards..." Jeremy began.

"It'll be a while!" Daffy called over her shoulder. Then Captain Kirk and Dr. Han stepped out of the shuttle, arm in arm.

"Congratulations, sir, ma'am," Jeremy said.

Jim looked surprised, and Jade's eyebrows lowered. "How did you...?" she began.

"A good security man knows everything, Doctor," Jeremy replied, then winked.

"Congratulations?" a soft voice repeated, and Jeremy grinned down at his best friend's lovely Indiian wife.

Captain Kirk smiled warmly. "It's wonderful to see you again, Mrs. Majiir."

"James has asked me to marry him," Jade rejoined.

The Indiian's face lit up - literally - with a glow of pure pleasure. "Cort'ya hargontay!" she exclaimed and grasped Jade's hands, touching the back of the doctor's fingers to her forehead. It was, Jeremy knew, the traditional Indiian acknowledgement given to an engagement. The meaning of the words was 'eternal great blessings.' The gesture was a little more difficult to accurately translate. It had to do with the preparing of the hands of the betrothed for the vow of eternity, a giving of mental strength and emotional fortitude. For a moment, Jeremy reflected wryly that Jilla hadn't even asked what Jade's answer had been.

Not that she can't feel it, he added fondly.

For her part, Dr. Han smiled and gave Jilla a brief but fierce embrace. "I finally told him," she murmured. And Jilla returned the smile and the embrace. Then she turned her gaze to Captain Kirk.

"Captain, I wish you only the best," she said. Jim grinned at her, then bent, softly kissing her cheek.

"Thank you, Mrs. Majiir," he murmured, then straightened. "Now, if you'll excuse us, Mr. Scott's dying to go up to your new beauties." He nodded in Scott's direction, and Jeremy couldn't tell if the Scotsman's grin was for the newly engaged couple, or for his 'wee lassie.'

As Jim and Jade stepped away, Jeremy leaned over. "Go ahead, Lady," he said. "I'll keep track of the Drake's ETA and let you know if anything changes."

Jilla's grey eyes softened as she looked up at him. "Thank you, Jeremy," she said, and he shivered - as he always did - at the way she pronounced his name. He nodded, and watched - wryly reminding himself that Sulu had said he could - as she returned to Scott's side, then as the two engineers walked toward the construction transporters.

With a deeply satisfied sigh, he closed the shuttle's hatch, then leaned casually against it. "Have a good time, Spike," he murmured. "You got till 0300."


Tomor Rand was leaning casually against the docking ring at port 14-C, a large cigar clamped between his teeth. He'd already warned both the crew and the proprietor of the HTE Leather that anyone who disturbed his reunion with his Ebony Beauty would find out exactly and in precise detail just how much he enjoyed his work. When he caught sight of the red-uniform-clad curves undulating toward him, he forgot all about renowned Haven imperturbability. He took the cigar from his mouth and, with several racing steps forward, lifted Uhura bodily into his arms. He pressed his face against her abdomen, then let her body slide downward until he captured her mouth in a deep, thorough kiss. She was breathless before he let her go.

"Mmm, honey, I missed you, too," she said, her voice a low, sensual whisper.

"Let's not waste any more time," he growled, but he was smiling.

"Oh how I wish," she returned," but I have a check-in report and logs to oversee and..."

"I thought you were gonna be on leave," the big Haven frowned.

"I am, sugar - just not for another hour or so."

"Saford's Hell!"

"Get a suite planetside - a nice, luxurious, expensive one - and leave word with Conners in the Communications Station," she said. "I'll be there as soon as I'm all logged out."

The grin returning to his face, Tomor bowed. "Your wish is my command, Beauty," he promised, then, as she turned to leave, he gave her rounded ass a swift smack.

"You'll pay for that," Uhura promised as she looked back at him over her shoulder.

"I hope so, honey," Rand returned.


Ruth's fingers were tearing at Spock's uniform, her lips moving over his mouth and throat murmuring repeatedly "I love you, I missed you, I missed you, I love you." Spock's hands held her shoulders firmly.

"Wife, there are things I must attend to..."

"Like your wife's rather desperate physical needs..."

"And if she wishes me to do so at leisure and length, she will allow me to make my final reports to Starfleet Command."

"Just a quickie, first? Please, husband, I'm dying!"

"Will you stop after such a brief interlude?"


"I thought not. Only an hour or so more, my wife."

"I hate you."

"Indeed. Then I have all the time I..." He winced as Ruth smacked his arm.


"I do not approve of such casual use of physical violence," he admonished with a frown.

Ruth opened her mouth for a teasing retort, then stopped at the look in her husband's eyes. "You're serious," she said.

He nodded. "I am."

"Have you been away from me too long?"

"Yes, but that is hardly the point. I understand and appreciate your verbal assaults, accusations and attacks - indeed, I find them nearly always charming in an affectionate, teasing, familial way. However, that opinion does not extend to actual and unnecessary displays of physical displeasure."

Ruth regarded him silently for a moment. "So the 'womprat' was charming and the smack on the arm..."

"Will not be repeated."

"You have been away too long."

One elegant eyebrow rose. "This request is that difficult for you, Ruth?"

"First," Ruth said, folding her arms, staring up at him, "it wasn't a request. Second, if you were any stiffer you'd be your grandmother. Third, I expected a little more by way of a greeting than 'there are things I must attend to.'" Her voice got tighter as she spoke. "And fourth, you haven't told me you love me, or that you've missed me." She watched, relieved yet still irritated as his gaze softened with chagrin.

"Forgive me, Dei'larr'ei, you are correct. We have grown unaccustomed to one another." He paused, and Ruth could see something warring in his eyes.

"Okay, No-Longer-Boss, out with it."

"I could point out that after a year of undeniably deserved yet equally undeniably preferential treatment, you show little respect for or understanding of the dictates of Starfleet on those of us who are not engaged in the highest levels of its endeavors. You may be given considerable latitude in the completion of your mandated objectives, but I can assure you - and I assumed you would remember it - I am not. And, in fact, Command has been particularly - exacting - concerning the behavior of the command and crew of the Enterprise."

Ruth pursed her lips. So Fleet's been on your ass - and Jim's, she thought, careful to avoid sending it to him. What has that got to do with us? "And you still haven't said you love me," she reiterated aloud. "Or that you missed me." His eyes closed briefly.

"I love you more than life, my beloved," he murmured. "And I have missed your warmth, your beauty, your wit and your company far more than words can convey. But that does not alter..."

That's what I wanted to hear. "I'm sorry I smacked you on the arm," Ruth interrupted, "and I won't do it again. But as to this allegedly preferential treatment..."

Spock held up a hand. "I have no desire to argue with you, my wife. Indeed, at this moment, one desire is overriding all others - a fact which, however, cannot be allowed to interfere with my duty." He took a step closer to her. "Particularly if I am to merit the captaincy of one of the Class Two heavy cruisers."

Ruth blinked, all her annoyance forgotten. "You mean it?" she whispered.

"There is a better than 80 percent chance."


"As I willingly complied with Starfleet's decisions concerning Jim's return to..."


"Yes, my wife. Really."

She let out a squeal of delight that she knew would hurt his sensitive hearing, but she couldn't help herself. She again threw her arms around him, covering his face and neck with kisses. Then she took a deep breath, pulling away, a smile stretched across her face from ear to ear. "Well then, you'd better get that report logged, mister!" she beamed. "And make it snappy!"

"Aye, ma'am," Spock returned crisply, then extended two fingers. Ruth's entire expression softened and she placed her fingers on his.

"God, I've missed this," she said happily and walked with him from the transport shuttle.


"Lassie, they're perfect," Scott breathed reverently as he gently skimmed his hand over the force-field of the dylithium chamber of one of the Class Twos. "Beautiful, efficient, well-balanced and at optimum pitch." He turned, smiling at the now-blushing Indiian. "Not that I expected any less from ya, girl."

"Ruth has enabled much more precise computer monitoring," Jilla replied, "without sacrificing the precision needed for the manual interfaces."

"Clever, that one," Scott agreed. "I don't suppose you had anything to do with that lack of sacrifice, 'ey?"

"Of course," Jilla returned immodestly. "As intelligent and talented as Ruth is, she would have preferred everything defer to the computerized controls."

"And here I thought the lass didn't like Daystrom."

"She insisted that computer control is not the same thing as computer decision," Jilla clarified. "I insisted that engineers need to keep hands-on options open."

"An' she of all people should know that," Scott replied with a wink. Jilla again flushed. Scott turned slowly around, taking in the entire engineering room. "Ach, I hope one of these bairns will be mine to look after," he sighed.

"I cannot imagine that Starfleet would want you out of an engine room, Mr. Scott," Jilla said.

"I was with the Enterprise from the very start, too, y'know," Scott stated with pride. The Indiian nodded. "Are they lettin' you choose which one of the three you'll be mistress of?"

"I do not know if I will be accepting such a position," Jilla murmured.

For a moment, Scotty looked shocked, then his eyes softened with understanding. "Aye, you'll be wantin' to serve with Mr. Sulu - Captain Sulu, beggin' your pardon, lass." He chewed his lips thoughtfully. "I know Captains Kirk and Spock'll pull all the strings they can," he mused, "And I'll be addin' my voice too, for any good it can do."

"Captain Spock?" Jilla questioned with a tilt of her head.

Scott leaned down, lowering his voice. "Just between you and me, lassie, he's a shoo-in for the command of one of these beauties."

Jilla smiled faintly. "Ruth will be pleased."

"And as I'd like to stay with Jim, and Noel's not an option, perhaps you could take the Chief's job for them..." He paused, then went on. "Sulu and Ruth made a great command team."

"They did," Jilla agreed, "but it would mean a demotion for Sulu. He worked very hard for his chance at a captaincy, Mr. Scott."

Scott put an affectionate arm around her. "Aye, that he did, and deserves it too. But lass..." The engineer gently squeezed the small woman's shoulder. "Takin' a year's sabbatical hasn't hurt Spock's career. And I canna believe the lad can stand much more time away from you."

Jilla did not respond, and Scott let the matter drop. As he again began to sing the praises of the new ships, Jilla swallowed, wondering what her mentor and teacher would say if she told him she would step down from her position as Chief of Starfleet Engineering before she would allow Sulu to jeopardize the thing he loved most in all the universe.


"Come on, come on, can't you fly any faster than this?" Captain Takeda Sulu stood in front of the con of the U.S.S. Drake, badgering his Chief Helmsman. Lieutenant Zel didn't even turn around.

"Call Engineering," he said. "I'm doing the best I can with what they're giving me."

Sulu reached back, stabbing one of the switches on the arm of the command chair. "Rivi, can't you squeeze any more juice out of this thing?" he demanded.

From Engineering, Rivka Mazar's voice answered immediately. "We're breaking the laws of physics as it is, Captain."

"Invent new ones," Sulu muttered.

"Maybe with Valjiir's help..." the engineer returned.

"If you had Valjiir's help I wouldn't be in this situation."

"Shee-it,mon Capitain," Noel DelMonde's voice added, "if Valjiir here, that give us a whole 'nother set o'..."

Mazar cut him off, the difference in her tone making it clear she had turned from the intercom. "That's enough, Mr. DelMonde." Her voice grew louder as she tured back.

"Such is life, sir," she said.

With a frustrated growl, Sulu closed the channel.

"Take it easy, Captain," Jerel Courtland's voice said from behind him.

"At this point..." Sulu began.

"Any way you can get it, I know, sir," Courtland finished. "But it's only another six point six three hours."

"What have I told you about the Spock imitations, Jerel?" Sulu asked absently.

"Perhaps you should get used to them again," the First Officer suggested. Sulu turned to blink curiously at the Equian.

"Oh? Why's that?"

Courtland motioned him back towards the Science Station. "Because, sir," he said in a low voice, "a return to being Spock's First Officer is likely the only way you'll be able to serve with Mrs. Majiir again."

Sulu scowled. "Don't remind me." Jerel's eyebrow rose in a manner that was suddenly uncomfortably familiar.

"Was it so onerous?" the Equian asked.

"No - at least not the second year," Sulu returned. "It's just that - I'm not sure how well I'll do in the job after having a command of my own."

"From all the reports, he's done just fine," Courtland reminded.

"That's him. He never really wanted a command." Sulu glanced around the Bridge - his Bridge - and sighed. "Damn. I'd miss this."

"We would miss you, sir," Jerel said.

"If I could get Fleet to allow Jilla to serve here..."

"We have no doubts about that at all, Captain." Courtland grinned. "Though I suspect Lieutenant Commander Mazar would have something to say about it." The Equian paused, giving a short whinny. "Although I'm sure Lieutenant Commander DelMonde would be thrilled, as long as a recommendation from you supporting him as Chief for one of the Nests came with it."

"Hell, Jilla hasn't got an ambitious bone in her body," Sulu snorted. "She'd be more than happy to take an assistant's position as long as she got to work on engines."

"Well, be that as it may, sir, Fleet's not going to allow her to serve on anything other than a Nest. And I'm quite sure you're going to have to call in every favor there is in order to get them to let you take that demotion."

"I thought you just said..."

"I said it's likely the only way you'd get to serve with Jilla. I didn't say Fleet would jump at the opportunity."

Sulu sighed again. "God, I hate this, I really do." He glanced again around the Bridge, then raised his voice. "Zel, can't you coax just a little more speed from..."

"Hargon ca, Captain, will you stop!" came the sudden exclamation from Communications. Sulu let out a long breath, turning his gaze to his Chief of Communications, Tristan Vale.

"You need a break, Tristan?" he asked, trying to tone down both his concern and his annoyance, and ignoring the fact that the man had just said 'holy shit' to his captain..

"No, sir," the Indiian said, his face losing some of its bright flush. "If you can just - relax, sir..."

Sulu grinned. "Try being away from your wife for a year and see how relaxed you are."

"I'm not married," Vale responded. "You know that."

"Then imagine it."


"Never mind and please, god, don't say you never do."

Jerel whinnied and Sulu moved to sit down in the con. He actually stayed there for nearly a full five minutes before getting up and again hovering over the Helm.


"...and Dr. Han and I would like to request Starfleet's permission to be married." Jim smiled at Poul Bradigan. He had given his final report, sitting at ease in a chair before the Admiral's desk. The large picture window showed the Golden Gate Bridge, the water of San Francisco Bay sparkling beyond it. He waited, expecting the expression of shock on Poul's face.

"Married? You?" the Admiral exclaimed.

"I'm forty-three," Jim replied. "I think it's about time."

"And Jade Han'll have you?"

"So she says."

"No ethical problems with that, huh?"

"She hasn't been my therapist for nearly a year."

Poul shook his head, but Jim detected a little hesitation. "Well, then, congratulations, Jim. I'll get the paperwork started."

"We'd appreciate that, Poul," Jim returned. "And thanks." He took a breath, deciding to trust his intuition. "So what's the problem?"

"No problem..." the admiral began, and Jim frowned, cocking his head. Bradigan actually flushed. "Well, alright, there's a small one." He straightened. "Have you considered that there's often an attraction that develops between patient and doctor that might not be - well - the genuine article?"

"Do you really think that Jade Han wouldn't have thought of that?" Jim asked mildly, with no sense of rancor. "Or that we wouldn't have discussed it?"

"And she's okay with that possibility," Poul said dubiously.

"She wouldn't be if there was one," Jim replied, then grinned, leaning forward. "Poul, I've been in love with the lady since - oh - about the third month she was on board the Enterprise."

Bradigan again looked shocked. "No kidding, Jim?"

"And she felt the same way before my accident."



"You sure kept it a secret."

Jim shrugged. "She was a member of my crew. I thought, at the time, that it made a difference."

"But you don't think so now.'

"That kind of thinking is very outdated," Jim stated easily, then smiled again. "Particularly with the completion of the Nests. If people who serve together aren't going to get married and have children, Fleet's just wasted a whole hell of a lot of credits."

Poul chuckled. "Well, there certainly is that." He stared thoughtfully at Kirk. "You've changed, Jim."

"I was hoping you'd notice," Jim joked, then stood. "If there's nothing else, Admiral, I've got wedding plans to make."

Bradigan stood as well. "Congratulations again, Jim. And please convey my best wishes to your lovely bride-to-be."

"I'll do that, Poul - although I'm sure you'll be seeing her yourself."

The admiral smiled. "I'm sure I will."


Outside the office of the Surgeon General, Jade smiled and handed the data disk containing her final report to Leonard McCoy. He raised his eyebrow. "You're not coming with me?" he asked.

"No," she replied.

"And just why's that?"

"You're the Chief Medical Officer for the Enterprise," she reminded him.

"So I'm supposed to do your work for you?"

"You're more than capable, Leonard."

McCoy grunted.

"And you were complaining earlier about redundancies."

He scowled.

"And I have a wedding to plan."

His face crinkled in a grin. "Now that's a reason I can agree to," he cackled.

Jade smiled and leaned forward, kissing his cheek. "Thank you, Leonard." She walked away from him, knowing without looking that he would be bouncing on his heels.

First things first, she thought as she made her way through the corridors of the shipyards. I'll need a dress. I'm not going to wear my uniform at my own wedding. I suppose I'd better contact my mother. Should I remind Jim to tell his parents? Or Peter? No, I'm sure he'll think of it. He asked Spock to be Best Man. He'll probably want Scotty and Leonard as groomsmen. Hmmm... I think I'll speak to Jilla about being my Matron of Honor. I'll have to see if Robyn can make it here from Jude. And I'll want Uhura... but if I don't include Ruth, neither she nor Jim will ever forgive me. He'll just have to come up with another... well, there's Sulu, of course, but James is more fond of Chekov. Of course, where Mr. Chekov goes, so goes Lieutenant Commander Gollub. She smiled again, thinking of the chemist's vise-like grip on the navigator's arm as they left the Enterprise. Then she realized that if she let it, her wedding could turn into the social event of the decade. After all, she was marrying James Tiberius Kirk.


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