Mudd-ying The Waters

by Cheryl and David Petterson

(Standard Year 2253)

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Yeoman DeBrett had never served anywhere but on the Enterprise. He'd come aboard just over a year previously. He'd been competent at his assigned duties, involved with his own circle of friends, and not terribly interested in ship's gossip. He didn't know the command team or the First Watch Bridge crew. The abrupt transition in the command structure of the ship three weeks earlier didn't particularly disturb him, or have a direct effect on the schedule of his normal day. Perhaps that explained why, on one of his few forays onto the Bridge to obtain the captain's signature on a security report, he strode confidently, but erroneously, straight to Commander Spock, who was standing next to the Communications Station.

"Captain," he said, efficiently presenting the statboard.

Commander Uhura looked up, her dark eyes going wide. At a glance from Spock, she put her hand to her mouth, stopping the exclamation. Captain Kirk was already swiveling in the con, extending his hand for the board. Spock placed surreptitious fingers at the back of the yeoman's shoulder, turning him to face the con.

"Sir?" DeBrett questioned.

"Captain, I'm receiving a..." Uhura broke in, making a point of looking directly at Jim. DeBrett colored, and, with a mental sigh of relief, Uhura said, "No, sorry, sir. It was just a glitch."

Jim nodded. "You have something for me, Yeoman?" he asked.

"Uh... yes. Yes, sir...uh.… Captain," DeBrett stammered.

Jim took the statboard, quickly scanning it. "Thank you, Yeoman." He signed, handing it back. "And thank you Miss Uhura, Mr. Spock, but I think I can handle it if a crewman makes an understandable and inconsequential error such as the one Yeoman DeBrett just made." Hazel eyes regarded each of them in turn. "I appreciate the concern, but I don't need the protection."

"Yes, sir," Uhura murmured with a smile. Spock nodded stiffly.

"Understood, Captain."

Jim's lips twitched with a grin. "Don't take it so hard, Spock. One might think you enjoyed the mix-up."

The Vulcan's head tilted. "Indeed?" he asked, his eyebrow lifting.

Jim returned the gesture with smooth precision. "Indeed."


"He did what?"

The Chief of Security, Commander Jeremy Paget, sat forward as he responded to the words from the comm. He had been leaning back, his feet up on the desk in his office when Uhura called.

"I know, I couldn't believe it myself. There's Spock, in his nice blue uniform, and this little - man - walks right up to him and says 'Captain.' With Jim in the con!"


"I thought you trained 'em better than that, sugar."

"I do. Blame Tara for this one."

"That was a joke, Mr. Paget."

"No, Uhura, Yeoman DeBrett is the joke. And I'm gonna be on the butt of it." He stood. "Thanks for the information."

"Anytime, sugar."

Jeremy leaned back down over the intercom. "Name the place, honey," he said with more than a touch of suggestion.

Uhura's chuckle was low and silky. "Sugar and honey might make a sweet combination," she murmured.

"Might at that," he returned, his tone matching hers.

"Call after hours."

"Yes, ma'am."

"I like that."

He could hear her smile, and grinned himself. "So do I. Paget out."

But first, I'm gonna have a little talk with Yeoman DeBrett.


The ranking officer in the Security Lounge, Lieutenant Dysan, rose to his feet as his chief entered. "Ten-hut!" he snapped. Immediately, every being in the lounge came to full attention, backs straight, hands at side, eyes front.

Jeremy nodded to himself, and to Dysan. "At ease," he said, "but not you, DeBrett." He heard the muttered, "oh shit," and grinned. He could tell by the way the officers he passed paled that it was not a pleasant sight. He moved slowly across the room, almost sauntering. When he reached the table at which DeBrett stood, the young man was breaking into a sweat.

"Mr. DeBrett," he began conversationally, "I understand you've been a little confused, what with all the changes of late." His tone grew sweeter. "We can all understand that, can't we?" he asked of the people around him. There was murmured assent. "There is a proper way to deal with this kind of confusion, Mr. DeBrett. Perhaps you were unaware of it. It's called thinking." Jeremy grinned again, but his voice became steel hard. "Try it, Mr. DeBrett. Think real hard." He waited, leveling an unwavering stare at the yeoman. "Now perhaps you'd care to inform us all who the commander of this vessel is."

DeBrett swallowed. "Captain James T. Kirk," he replied weakly.

"Could you describe him, Mr. DeBrett?"

DeBrett stared. "Sir?" he asked.

"Eyes front, mister!" Jeremy snapped. DeBrett obeyed.

"Describe the captain of this ship."

"Well... he's about five foot ten, in his forties, I guess, weight about 165. His hair is sandy, graying at the temples, hazel eyes..."

"What species is he, Mr. DeBrett?" Jeremy interrupted.

DeBrett blinked. "Human, sir."

"What color shirt does he wear?"

"You mean uniform, sir?"

Jeremy abruptly grabbed DeBrett's tunic. "This is red, it's why we're called red-shirts!"

"Yes, sir!" DeBrett said, flustered. "Command - the captain wears gold!"

"Not blue, DeBrett?" Jeremy's voice was a whiplash. "Does he have pointed ears? Is his skin green, is he over six feet tall, is his hair coal black?"

DeBrett's face was flushed and sweating. "No... no, sir..."

"Does he sit in the con on the Bridge, Mr. DeBrett?"

"Yes, sir..."

"And his name is...?"

"James T. Kirk."


"Captain James T. Kirk," DeBrett repeated.

"What?" The word was a phaser burst

DeBrett looked confused. "Cap - Captain James..."

"Captain James T. Kirk WHAT!?" Jeremy shouted at him.

DeBrett gulped, stiffening. "Captain James T. Kirk, sir!" he responded crisply.


"Captain James T. Kirk, sir!"

Jeremy leaned forward, towering over DeBrett. "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"


He turned to the rest of the lounge. "Who's the captain of this ship?" he said.

"CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK, SIR!" came back in a satisfying, deafening chorus.

"NOT Commander Spock?" he asked.

"SIR, NO, SIR!" was the reply.

He again faced DeBrett. "Not Commander Spock, Mr. DeBrett. You got that?"

"Sir, yes, sir!" DeBrett shot back immediately.

"Next time you forget it, I'll tattoo it on your ass with my boot, you understand me, mister?"

"Sir, yes, sir!"

"As you were, Mr. DeBrett." Jeremy turned, walking away to give the yeoman a chance to sink into his chair without the scrutiny of his chief. "As you were, people," he said to the rest of the lounge as he moved to the door.

"Jesus H Christ," an unidentified voice muttered.

"You think that was rough," Lieutenant Dysan replied, "wait till he's in a bad mood."

Jeremy chuckled all the way back to his office.


Jim stretched briefly as the end of watch shift change began. He nodded 'good afternoon' to departing as well as arriving crewmembers, getting up from the con to step up to the Science Station.

"Y'know, Spock," he began, folding his arms, "even with all that's familiar, there's so much missing."

Spock immediately turned his full attention to his captain. "Missing, sir?" he enquired.

Jim inclined his head towards helm and navigation. "I'm always expecting Sulu, for one." A smile pulled at his lips. "And I find myself waiting for Ruth to bound onto the Bridge and announce, 'my turn, Boss.'"

Spock nodded, and Jim recognized the slight wistfulness to the Vulcan's answer. "Yes, I quite understand, Captain."

"I miss hearing Scotty's fond instruction to his 'lassie,' I miss trying to ignore Sulu's greeting and farewell kisses to her, I miss her calm demeanor." Jim chuckled. "Mr. DelMonde's glowering is a poor substitute."

"Yes," was all Spock said, but Jim was certain there was an edge to the word.

"Which reminds me," he continued, smoothing his tunic. "We haven't yet finished our conversation on your captaincy."

"No, we have not," was the toneless response.

"Do I need to make an appointment, Mr. Spock?"

One eyebrow rose. "No, sir."

"Then at your earliest convenience - today - Commander."

"Yes. sir."

"And Spock?"

"Yes, Captain?"

"Do you think you could please call me, 'Jim'?" Before Spock could protest, Jim held up a hand. "We are on equal footing, no matter Starfleet's official position on the matter. I'd feel a lot more comfortable. Things have changed in two years," he grinned crookedly, "and frankly, you're making it too easy for me to think they haven't."

Spock straightened, his head inclining slightly. "Your words have much merit," he replied. "Very well - Jim."

The grin became full. "And you needn't pause before it either. It's just my name. Jim."

"Jim," Spock repeated firmly.

Jim turned to head back to the con, then stopped, facing Spock again, a twinkle in his eye. "Of course, if I ever get possessed by an ancient, amoral being again, we won't be able to use my reaction to your calling me 'Jim' as a code, but I suspect we'll manage."

"Yes, Jim, I suspect we will," Spock returned.

Jim nodded, and caught the faint upturn of Spock's answering smile.


Dr. Leonard McCoy came on the Bridge with the shift change, sauntering down to the con to converse with the captain. He was very aware of certain crewmembers' eyes following him. Those who had served on the Enterprise the last time Jim Kirk had been captain weren't surprised. They'd all been expecting McCoy to once again become a fixture of Kirk's Bridge. The others, McCoy was certain, were wondering just why the CMO found it necessary to hang around anywhere but Sickbay. To which McCoy's response was a cackling, "let 'em wonder." He was enjoying having Jim back far too much to give a damn what anyone might think.

"Slow day, Jim?" he asked.

"If I remember what 'slow days' in the con are, yes," Jim replied with a grin.

"Hell, it's like riding a bicycle," McCoy returned. "Once you learn how..."

"You tend to fall off a lot," Jim cut in.

McCoy scowled at him, "Two years off turn you into a pessimist on me?" he asked.

"Call it realistic."

"I get enough of that from Spock." He glanced up at the Science Station to make certain the Vulcan was listening. Spock obligingly turned his head from his board so that McCoy could see his raised eyebrow. McCoy chuckled. Jim shook his head with a tolerant smile.

"Call coming in from Headquarters, Captain," Uhura said..

Jim sat up straighter. "So much for slow days, Bones," he said. "On screen, Commander." Admiral Jose Mendez's face resolved on the screen before him and smiled broadly.

"Good to see you back in the con, Jim," Jose said.

"It's good to be here, Jose," Jim replied. "What do you have for me?"

"Nothing too complicated..."

"Famous last words," McCoy muttered. Jim stifled a grin.

"...but the situation calls for some protocol," Jose went on. "There's a problem with a Federation citizen and the Gwindias government."

"Gwindias is in negotiation for Protectorate status, Captain," Spock related.

Jim nodded acknowledgement. "Go on, Jose," he said.

"What Starfleet wants is for you to get our citizen out of Gwindias jurisdiction before he interferes with the negotiations, "

"Which won't, I take it, be as simple as providing taxi service," Jim commented.

Jose grinned. "Well, no, now that you mention it. As I said, delicate, but not complicated. It just needs a little of the old Jim Kirk finesse."

Jim scowled. "I won't thank you, Jose."

Jose chuckled. "Just get it done without a fuss, Jim. "

"We'll do our best. Who will we be discreetly removing?"

On the screen, Mendez took a deep breath. "One Harcourt Fenton Mudd. "

"Mudd?" Jim repeated after a moment of shocked silence. "Harry Mudd? With all due respect - "

"You're not going to decline this assignment, are you, Jim?"

Jim clenched his teeth. "That's not an option, and you know it."

"Not usually, but..." Mendez's voice lowered as he leaned forward. "Exceptions can be made - given the circumstances."

Jim stiffened. "What 'circumstances,' Admiral?"

"Don't get your back up, Jim. I'm just trying to..."

"I know what you're trying to, Admiral. If you don't think I'm up to the demands of my commission, say so and be done with it. I won't accept preferential treatment."

Mendez settled back into his chair. "I didn't think you would, Captain," he said, smiling.

Jim blinked, awareness dawning. "Jose, you..."

"It stopped the protest you were about to make, didn't it? A briefing's on its way. Good luck, Jim. Mendez out."

"That son-of-a…"

"Got you that time, Jim-boy," McCoy chuckled.

"Don't be so smug, Bones," Jim grumbled. "You get to deal with Harry Mudd too."

McCoy made a consternated face, then muttered, "Well, so does Spock. I guess that makes up for it."

Spock looked over from the Science Station. "As does the reverse, Doctor," was the bland reply.

McCoy humphed, and Jim couldn't stop the snort of amusement. He realized they were doing it quite deliberately - and appreciated it, more than either of them would know. It meant they were pointedly refusing to walk on eggshells for him, and that was the best display of confidence he could have asked for.


Jade Han sat in her office, waiting for the captain. They had agreed it would be good for him to have a definite period each day in which to discuss his thoughts, feelings, and reactions with his former therapist. The end of his usual watch period, just before dinner, seemed a logical time. Plus, it gave Jade an excuse to suggest dinner together afterwards.

Jim arrived promptly, as he had every day since returning to command. She rose to greet him.

"Good evening, James," she began. "How are you?"

"I just came to tell you I won't be able to make our session today," Jim interrupted. Jade frowned.

"James, it's important for us..."

"I know, but there's something else that's important, too. I won't make a habit of this. I've been trying to get Spock to talk to me about his command. He has time now." He shrugged, a hint of a smile on his face. "You know this whole issue's been driving me crazier."

"You're not crazy, James."

"Thanks for the diagnosis. So it's not disastrous if I miss today." The smile became full. "Right, Doctor?"

Jade smiled back. "Quite true. Next session we'll discuss the ethics of manipulation."

"Or the question of whether openly confessed manipulation can still be manipulating."

"Obviously it can. Get out of here, Captain."

Jim's voice was suddenly wary. "Jade, I've been teasing. I do want to talk with Spock, but..."

"I know, James." Jade sat back down. "I've been teasing, too."

"Sometimes it's hard to tell," Jim replied with a hint of relief.

"Good. That should keep you on your toes." She smiled again.

"You're the doctor," Jim agreed. "Tomorrow, then."

As the office door closed, Jade sighed. It would be nice sometimes, James, she thought, if you would forget that.


There wasn't much going on that required the CMO's attention. The experimental tissue cultures were developing nicely. The normal number of minor scrapes and bruises were being adequately handled by the medical staff. McCoy checked on everything anyway, satisfying himself that he really wasn't needed, did a quick check of paperwork to make certain there were no reports or record updates to do, then wandered once more through Sickbay to make absolutely sure he was temporarily irrelevant before deciding, with a sigh, to call it a shift.

His wanderings ended outside the door to Dr. Han's office. She normally kept it open when she wasn't busy counseling someone. A closed door was her discreet way of letting everyone know when privacy was required - unlike most people who kept their doors closed as a matter of course. The alternative to being constantly interrupted by trivialities in therapy, she'd said, was to have Engineering rig up a 'Please Disturb' sign - the more conventional phraseology being inappropriately daunting for patients of a psychologist.

The door was open. McCoy scowled and leaned into the office. "Jim stand you up this evening?" he asked.

Jade, sitting at her desk, looked up from a statboard. "Not exactly. He came by to say he wasn't coming. He's talking with Spook,"

"Ah." McCoy stepped inside, taking a set in front of the desk. "That explains why he said he'd be late."

"He?" Jade asked.

"Spock. For dinner," McCoy clarified. At Jade's frankly surprised gaze, he added, "Can't very well let him get used to solitude just 'cause Ruthie's not here. She'd never forgive me if she had to retrain him."

Jade nodded, suppressing a grin. "I see."

McCoy suddenly leaned forward over the desk. "Why don't we both wait for both of them? I'll fulfill my duty to Mrs. Spock, and you can work on becoming Mrs.…."

"Or we could have dinner together," Jade cut in quickly. "What James had to discuss is likely to..."

"Don't see why you object to the truth, Dr. Han," McCoy stated back just as quickly.

Jade's glance narrowed suspiciously. "You've spent too much time around Indiians, Leonard."

"I'm just callin' a spade a spade," he drawled.

"Call it what you will..."

"...we can wait and all have dinner together." The blue eyes twinkled. "Unless you'd care to deny it."

"Would it do any good?" Jade sighed.

"Nope," McCoy replied with a grin.

"Then I don't have much choice."

"You could admit it. "

"True." Jade's dark eyes sparkled back. "But that would spoil all your fun."

McCoy leaned back, contented. "We wait," he announced,

"We wait," Jade agreed.


Jim found himself nervously rearranging the things on his desk while waiting for Spock. He was well aware of the reason for his discomfort. In order to fully understand what had happened in the past two years, he had to pry. His normally gossiping crew was strangely silent on too many points. It was difficult under the best of circumstances to get Spock talking about personal subjects - and Jim had been out of practice for two years. Plus, he suspected that his old self, the person Spock knew, would've never asked. Which would make it even more difficult.

Sighing, Jim rubbed his hands over his face. "It's tough being a grown-up," he muttered to himself. When the chime sounded, he made a childish face before straightening and answering, "Come."

"You wished to see me, Captain?" Spock said.

Formalities. He knew very well Jim did. Which meant he knew Jim would be prying and was prepared to Vulcan his way out of it.

Jim gestured to a chair. "Sit down, Spock. We've got a lot to talk about. And it's Jim. "

"Yes, Jim."

It sounded very natural and Jim smiled, taking a seat opposite the one Spock chose. "I could spend a lot of time in trivialities, Spock," he began, "but I don't think either of us needs to play that particular game. I've asked you if there were any difficulties in your captaincy. Let's cut to the chase. I know there were difficulties, if only because no one's been regaling me with stories about it."

Spock stared rigidly straight ahead. Jim leaned forward, resting his hand on Spock's knee. "Spock, you know I wouldn't ask if I didn't think it important. It will affect the way you're treated as my First Officer, it will affect the way I'm treated as Captain. I don't want to pry, but you're leaving me no choice. I'd rather hear the whole truth from you than try to piece things together from snatches of overheard conversations. I know the situation surrounding your assumption of command was hardly ideal. Just tell me what happened."

Spock took a deep breath, and Jim braced himself for a torrent of excess Vulcan verbiage.

"It may take more than one such session, Jim," Spock said, without looking at him.

"Then it will. We have to start sometime."

Spock squirmed without moving a muscle. For a moment, Jim was certain the Vulcan would tell him, politely, to mind his own business. Then, squaring his shoulders - also without moving - Spock began to speak.

"There were rumors of desertion after your disappearance......"


Jim listened to the quiet voice, and, when he wasn't reacting, found himself wondering why and how he had ever thought Spock to be dispassionate or unexpressive. True, there were no expletives, or tell-tale adjectives coloring the Vulcan's words - yet it was clear that he reacted to the events, and even to the retelling of them, in a fashion as emotional as any Human. It was also clear that in most cases he refused to let those reactions effect his decisions - even when it might have been appropriate to do so.

People had thought he'd deserted. That made Jim more than angry. After what the Klingons had put his crew through, that anyone could even think that of him… The fighting of his crew in his honor filled him with perverse pride. After all, if he'd been there, he would've read them the riot act for brawling.

Spock had been unable to convince Starfleet to give them more time for a search - even though, at that point, it wouldn't've done any good. Jim had already jumped through the Guardian Portal...

"You heard me?!" Jim exclaimed. The tips of Spock's ears flushed green.

"Yes. When I confided this to the Admiralty, I was instructed to keep silent. To my detriment, I obeyed. I did not even tell Ruth. If I had, much of the - trouble - could have been averted."

Jim stared in disbelief. "Spock - how the hell did you keep something like that from your telepathic wife?"

"I - kept distant from her."

"How did you manage..."

"I allowed her to think I had wrapped myself in Vulcan rigidity in order to deal with my emotions. I made her every advance an affront, her every show of concern an assault on my stoicism." His voice became nearly inaudible. "My behavior was disgraceful."

Jim let the implications of that sink in for a while, "It must have hurt her badly."

"Yes," was the simple response. "I nearly destroyed her." And after a pause. "And Jilla and Sulu."

Spock's litany of unforgivable offenses was chilling. Jim could barely believe the things Spock's inexorable 'logic' drove him to. He found himself alternately bitterly angry at and achingly sorry for his Vulcan friend. And wondering just how in all the hells of the universe he ever managed to repair the damage done to all the relationships that had ever meant anything to him.


Listening to the account of Spock's second year in command was much easier. Jim followed with satisfaction the slow rebuilding of trust with Bones and Scotty, the developing and deepening friendship with Sulu, the reunion of marital bliss with Ruth, and even the severing of the inappropriate link with Jilla. Spock himself seemed to become more 'Human,' or at least more aware of how the Humans in his command reacted - and he took those reactions into account. He'd even begun to take them into account when they occurred within himself. Then Jim realized his own ethnocentricity and laughed out loud, causing a raised Vulcan eyebrow until he explained. No, Spock wasn't becoming more Human, simply more mature. Mature Vulcans didn't discount emotion as a factor - but they didn't give it undue weight either. It was, it existed, and therefore it would be illogical to deny it or to refuse to take it into account. That was what Spock had learned.

But in all the time they spent - a good three hours - Spock had mentioned Noel DelMonde only once; to report that the engineer had transferred to the shipyards, only to transfer back a year later.

Which didn't explain either one's reactions.

Jim was about to ask directly, when the door to his office hissed open. McCoy's head leaned into the small room.

"Are ya'll gonna stay holed up in there all damn night?" the gruff voice asked. "A man could starve to death, y'know!"

"I was not aware you were awaiting our presence, Doctor," Spock replied.

"The hell you weren't. I told you we'd eat together, didn't I?"

"I believe I informed you I would be in conference with the Captain.

"And I said let Jim join us. So come on, I'm hungry!"

Jim stood up with a crooked smile. "We can finish this later, later, Spock. After all, you did say it might take more than one session."

Spock, too, rose, inclining his head in acquiescence.

"I'll tell Jade to meet us at the turbolift," McCoy rejoined, then cackled at Jim's renewed smile. "Don't take a mind-reader to see it, y'know, Jim-boy."

"No, I don't suppose it does," Jim returned. McCoy cackled again, and was gone.

"Jim," Spock began as they headed out "you once remarked to me how fortunate you felt that there was no one of sufficient rank on board the Enterprise to the perform a ceremony of marriage for you and Dr. Han."

"Yes, Spock?" Jim replied. "And?"

"It occurs to me that no part of your statement is, at present, accurate."

"Does it, Captain Spock?"

"It does, Captain."

"Well, we'll have to wait on the lady's pleasure."


Jim just smiled.


"Shee-it! I be gettin' out o' here."

Jeremy and Noel DelMonde were sitting together in the rec room. Del had just tuned his guitar and nodded at a request from Daffy Gollub. Then he'd heard the opening door.

Jeremy glanced up while his hand reached out to grab at Del's rising form. Captain Kirk was entering the rec room, accompanied by Dr. McCoy, Jade Han - and Commander Spock. Which explained the engineer's reaction.

"You can't walk out on your own concert," Jeremy told him.

"Non? Watch me."


"Cobra, I have to serve on th' same ship as that bastard, but I not have to socialize wit' him an' I certainement not provide entertainment fo' his enjoyment!"

Jeremy sighed. "Ain't it about time you dropped that particular grudge?"

Del glared at him. "Jus' 'cause you found perfect compassion an' understandin'..."

"I didn't say.. . „ "

"The Ice Queen never use you!"

Jeremy bristled. "I told you before, don't call her…"

"Fuck you, Paget!" DelMonde shook off the restraining hand, pushing forcibly away from the table. His guitar hit it with a resounding thwang! All eyes turned toward him as he stormed from the room. Jeremy bit his tongue, exhaling deeply.


"That's what I'm talking about, Spock," Jim pointed out.

Spock was just as pointedly silent. Behind them, Jade sighed and McCoy bristled. In the short ride in the turbolift, Jim had casually mentioned that Spock hadn't really explained Noel DelMonde's obvious antagonism. Jade had silently complimented Jim on his tact - and his tactics. Asking Spock why he was so antagonistic would only have elicited a raised eyebrow and some Vulcan variation of 'Who, sir, me, sir?'

It occurred to her McCoy had no need to worry about Ruth having to retrain Spock.

"Well?" Jim said, determinedly ignoring the meaning behind Spock's silence.

"I would not presume to analyze Mr. DelMonde's motivations, Captain," Spock replied at last, and more than a little formally.

"I'm not asking you to analyze him, Spock..."

"Let's eat," McCoy broke in. "I'm starved."

Jim glared. "...I just want to know if there's something..."

"Now, let's not get started or we'll never..." McCoy began again.

" know that I don't that might explain why..."

"What's past is past, Jim-boy, and I don't see..."

"...Noel DelMonde can't seem to stand being..."

"If the man doesn't want to talk about it..."

" the same room with you Bones, WILL you shut up?!"

"Dr. McCoy," Spock began, "while I appreciate your loyalty..."

"I won't stand here and listen while someone who's not even here to defend herself..."

"Herself?" Jim interjected, "I thought we were talking about DelMonde."

"I am capable of deciding what I will and will not discuss..."

"Not the way he's badgerin' at you."

"That he will, at some time, need this information is a point well taken."

"I told you, I won't hear it without somebody in it on her side!"

"And am I not on her side, Doctor?"

"Jade," Jim said wearily, "What the hell are we talking about?"

Jade took a deep breath, then let it out in a sigh.

"Gentlemen," she interrupted Spock and McCoy, "I think you've made 'when' a moot point. Accept it, and tell him."

Spock and McCoy exchanged glances. McCoy frowned. Spock folded his arms.

"Alright, alright," McCoy conceded. "But you'd better tell it right!"

Jade gestured to a nearby table. "Shall we?"


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