Reaching Eden

by Mylochka and Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2249)

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The shuttlecar groaned to a halt.

“Come on, guys,” Lace said, pointing them to the exit as soon as she and the other Sevrinites entered. “We’ve got to hurry.”

They entered what looked like a long corridor that led to a dead end.

“We’re in the docking bay,” Madvig explained as part of the group broke off and headed into what was recognizably the boarding tube for a small-to-mid sized space-going vessel.

The departing Edenites gave their fellows the “One” sign in parting; the tips of their thumbs and fingers touching, making a nearly trianglular shape.

“Over one hundred ships will be launching almost simultaneously,” Lace explained as they continued down the long corridor. “So even though we’ve got to make it past the local authorities and the two starships, fire won’t be focused on just us. It’s still going to be rough though.”

“Since Starfleet isn’t a military organization,” Stupid Roger sneered, “I suppose there isn’t any point in asking if any of you can operate an aft laser cannon?”

“I can,” Sulu volunteered, pretending to completely miss his host’s sarcasm.

“Go on, T-Paul,” DelMonde urged, giving Chekov’s shoulder a little push. “It your turn.”

The Russian gave his roommate a murderous look before affirming. “I can as well.”

“Great,” Madvig said, directing them to the entrance of another boarding tube. “Roger will show you where to go. The rest of you come with me.”

Paget hung behind until he was beside DelMonde. “What was that about?” he asked softly.

“He know I know somet'ing he not want you to know,” the Cajun replied as Lace pressed a code into the entry port of another boarding tube.

It only took a second for the Security Officer to put two and two together. “I saw you take his communicator. Was he gonna hang onto it?”

The engineer shrugged. “Dunno. It cross his mind that if he delay an' was beamed up in the confusion, it be easy to play it off as an accident.”

The Security officer released a short angry breath through his nose. Lace and Madvig were telling Ruth, Sakura, and Daffy something about the ship they were heading towards. “I don’t fucking need this. What’s his problem? Is he afraid we can’t pull this off? Afraid he can’t do his part?”

“No. He t'ink we can. An' he know he gonna do his part real good. That what bother him. He wanna protect her.”

Paget watched Daffy make an inaudible side comment to Ruth as their hosts opened the entryway to the ship they were boarding. “Which ‘her’? Girlfriend present or girlfriend past?”

“You kiddin’?” DelMonde replied with a snort. “Both.”

Their hosts led them to the vessel’s bridge and saw that they were comfortably strapped into crash seats before take off.

“Why don’t we do this on the ship?” Tamura asked reasonably.

“A civilian vessel doesn’t have as strong of an artificial gravity system as we do,” Ruth explained as the Sevrinite crew quickly went through their pre-flight checks. “They have to worry about falling down and falling up.”

“That and Fleet’s too cheap to spring for seat belts,” Daffy assured her.

The docking bay doors opened revealing a sky full of ships.

“That’s more than a hundred,” Ruth observed.

“They’re not all ours,” the white-haired, blue-skinned young man at the helm answered.

After a moment, police markings on many of the smaller vessels became clear.

The intercom system crackled. “Attention civilian vessels. This is the U.S.S. Hood. Please acknowledge and stand down.”

“They’re blocking our ship to ship,” Lace complained.

“Turn it off then,” Madvig ordered, as they continued to pull forward.

Paget was glad that Greg Halloran, the Hood’s chief communication officer, was not here to witness this callous disregard for communications protocol. Halloran had often made it clear that he regarded failure to answer a properly issued hail as the eighth and most deadly sin.

“Weapons show ready,” a red-haired woman reported from the other side of the bridge.

“Speaking of not being a military organization,” Daffy said as they drew closer to the blockade of police vessels. “Didn’t you guys used to be non-violent?”

“These are defensive weapons only,” Madvig replied, sounding rather defensive herself.

“We won’t fire first,” Lace assured them.


When the other Sevrinites turned frosty stares at this non-party line comment from the white-haired boy, he shrugged. “Well, we won’t fire, but when we hit a buzz line like this, sometimes the yokels freak.”

It wasn’t clear if the yokels in league with the Sevrinites or the yokel authorities freaked first, but screens all around the bridge suddenly blazed into life.

“Weapons fire,” Ruth announced instinctively.

“Go,” Madvig ordered.

The Sevrinite vessel’s engines whined up to full sub-light speed as they twirled through the line of police vessels with guns blazing. The ship bucked and pulled as multiple hits bounced off their shields.

The Hood and the Enterprise weren’t visible until they’d cleared the outer atmosphere. The big ships looked like two bears beset with gnats. Their phasers lashed out again and again as they were stung by the little lasers of the swarm of tiny ships trying to zoom past them, but there were just too many of them to catch. A few vessels had been swatted well enough to leave them hanging dead in space, though.

The Sevrinite vessel rocked crazily as it was hit by a blue beam.

“Starboard shields can’t take another hit like that,” the red-haired woman reported.

“Ruth,” Jeremy called and thought, They know we’re in here, right? as loudly as he could.

The Antari’s eyes were wide and blank. She nodded and made a ‘don’t bother me’ gesture in his direction. The primary factor that was going to make this mission work was her ability to make contact with Spock via their mental bond. Paget decided it was best to let her concentrate on that.

“All weapons firing,” Lace reported.

“We’re almost past them,” the white-haired boy reported. “Jumping to warp speed.”

Jeremy was happy that neither the Hood nor the Enterprise tried to pursue them. He’d had about all the playing traitor he could stand for one day.

“We’re clear.”

“Deactivating weapons systems.” Lace thumbed the communications panel next to her station. “Roger, you guys can shut down and come up now.”

“Where’s everyone else going?” Sakura Tamura asked as the red-haired girl helped her out of her restraints.

Once past the blockade, the flotilla of ships had broken up. Already no other vessel was visible on their forward screens.

“We’ll hook up later.” The white-haired boy shrugged. “…. Or we won’t.” The door to a small turbolift opened.

“Good work, guys!” Lace welcomed.

Although Sulu and Chekov didn’t exactly look happy, Paget could tell from just looking at them that their mood was elevated. Shooting at the wrong side had the same effect on the adrenal glands as shooting at the right side. He knew from experience that strategic missing was as hard if not harder than strategic hitting.

“Yeah, Roger,” Sulu said. “For someone in a non-military organization, you handle a laser cannon pretty well.”

“Yeah,” Roger agreed, “And I didn’t even spend all morning warming up on a bunch of ki…”

“Okay,” Lace interrupted quickly. “Since you guys are going to be our guests for a few days while everyone wraps their head around what happened on Kostas, I guess we should show you around the ship. This…” She crossed to a panel and opened it. “… is where we keep sidearms. No pressure, but…”

“We don’t mind,” Paget said, surrendering his phaser to the red-haired girl who stowed it in the midst of a very eclectic collection of weapons not usually associated with self-defense.

“Now I see how Roger stays alive,” Daffy commented sweetly, turning over her sidearm.

“I don’t… Unless there’s ear plugs in the next locker,” Ruth said as she filed past. "'Cause if I have to listen to him for too long I could still strangle him."

“That was our bridge. Obviously,” Lace was saying as she led them down a short corridor. “This goes down to our engines. These panels are environmental controls. That’s a little medi-bay through there. Just first aid stuff, really.”

“Because they only use medicine in self-defense, too,” Daffy quipped under her breath to Ruth.

The ex-Clavist pressed a button and the hatch in front of them slid open.

“And this is the main cabin,” Lace announced with an embarrassed giggle, as if she were ushering them into her parents’ basement. “It’s where we hang mostly.”

Jeremy released a low whistle. "Well, shangra-la-di-dah-di-dah," he said, impressed.

In stark contrast to the utilitarian design of the cockpit, this cabin was anything but business-like. No straight line or angled corner was visible. The entire deck was covered in a huge, padded, paisley-covered mat. Rugs and bright colored blankets were scattered on top of the mat. The only pieces of furniture were low wooden tables and big pillows of various shapes and sizes, several of which had been overturned in their recent firefight. Huge sheets of gauzy material obscured the ceiling and walls. This material rested on a rope webbing that stretched from one bulkhead to the other. From this webbing hung woven baskets that contained plants, Caldean glow stones, or bottles of Spican flame gems. Everywhere one looked, there was something natural to soothe and delight.

Chekov put his hands on his hips, stubbornly un-delighted. "What's that smell?"

"Rigellian," his companions answered almost with one voice.

"You've got to take off your..." Roger began.

"We usually don't wear shoes in here," Madvig modulated over him. "If that chimes with everyone?"

In the interest of "chiming," the newcomers found places on the floor mat and removed their boots.

"It's kind of like the Clave," Lace explained, gesturing to openings in the wall fabric. “There's little rooms off the main cabin if you want to crash or meditate or you're still connected to privacy for some things. But the rooms belong to everyone as you need it. It's not like that's Roger's room or that's Madvig's room and you can't go in there. Can you guys reach?"

"Yeah." "Sure." came the replies as the group began to wander around and examine their new home.

"It's sort of womb-like," Ruth said, staring up at the webbing.

"You must have done a lot of drugs as a fetus," Daffy commented.

Madvig and Lace shared delighted smiles.

"Sister, that's what we were going for," Madvig informed her happily.

"To get around the cold technological thing, we picture this ship as a living creature who shelters us insider her nurturing woman's belly," Lace said.

"Although," Roger pointed out. "If that were the case, we would be guilty of enslaving and exploiting another sentient being."

"Don't sledge the warm fuzzy, Rog," Lace chided him with a stern smile.

"Who's this?" DelMonde was lifting a guitar-like instrument that had fallen from its hanging place.

"That's Adam's," Roger warned him.

"Oh?" DelMonde ran his fingers over the strings. "An' who he when he be at home?"

"Adam was with Sevrin on Eden," Sulu explained, carefully reclaiming the instrument for their hosts and replacing it. "He's dead."


A moment of painful silence descended on the room. Any remaining warm fuzzy feelings were definitely sledged.

"Hey," Madvig recovered with a smile. "There's no need to be stiff. It's not a relic. It's a Delvian boshzier that Adam boosted from a pawn shop when he was fourteen. It's supposed to be played, not gather dust. Adam would want it to be played."

She took the instrument down and offered it to Del. "Give, brother."

DelMonde cradled the boshzier into his arms and touched its controls. It sounded a melancholy chord. Under his fingers, the strings sang a bittersweet arpeggio. Without making any conscious decision to do so, he began to sing a song so old he couldn't remember ever not knowing it.

Click here for song Apologies for the female voice

I am a poor wayfarin' stranger
A'travelin' through this world of woe
There is no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright world to which I go

I'm going there to see my father
I'm going there no more to roam
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home

I know dark clouds will hang around me,
I know my way is rough and steep
Yet beauteous fields lie just before me
Where weary eyes no more will weep

I'm going there to see my mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
I'm only going over Jordan
I'm only going over home.

Tears glistened on Madvig and Lace's cheeks when the last note faded away. Even Stupid Roger looked subdued.

"Beautiful, brother," Madvig touched Del's cheek gratefully. "Beautiful."

“I can feel him smiling down on us,” Lace said, looking up at the twinkling Spican Flame gems.

Roger blew out a long breath. “I’ll go get the candy dishes.”

“Candy?” Chekov repeated.

Before Daffy could enlighten her lover, Madvig turned to him.

“You were there,” she said. “You were in Eden with us… at the end.”

The Russian nodded slowly, the memory painful to him now.

Madvig put her arms around him and rested her head against his chest. “You reach what it was.”

Chekov returned a helpless I-don’t-know-what-this-is-about look to Daffy’s glare as he awkwardly returned the Sevrinite’s embrace.

Madvig smiled up at him, wiping her eyes. “Irina will be so glad to see you.”

“I didn’t know what everyone wanted,” Stupid Roger announced, returning with what looked like a large fishbowl under each arm. “So I brought a little of everything.”

Gollub forgot that she was annoyed as soon as Roger placed a large glass container full to the brim with sweet-smelling herb in her arms. “Oy vey!” she breathed reverently. “Oy flipping vey!”

“We have more,” Roger said offhandedly, as he put a second container into Sulu’s astonished hands.

“I knowed there be drugs,” Del said in a tone of awed wonder, reaching in and letting the jewel-like pills run through his fingers. “I jus' not t'ink it be all the drugs at once.”

There was a moment of jaw-dropped silence as the Starfleeters contemplated the veritable cornucopia of recreational pharmaceutical pulchritude that had been dumped casually into their laps.

“Got a pipe?” Sakura asked pragmatically.

“We have pipes,” Madvig said, extracting herself from the navigator’s limp embrace. “But we like to use this…”

She pulled a section of the mat up from the deck and pressed a button in the floor. A panel slid back and an ornate silver and colored glass hookah rose majestically from its protective compartment until it reached its full height of nearly four feet. Tubes with silver mouthpieces stretched octopus-like from its round midsection.

Sakura’s lips formed into a delighted “O.”

“And I thought the Giant Bong of Sumatra was only a myth,” Daffy said, falling to her knees before it melodramatically.

Sakura joined her, putting her hands together in a gesture of reverence. “Thank you, Buddha. I do believe in karma. I do believe in karma.”

“Let me assist you, ladies,” Jeremy said, taking the bowl and loading the giant hookah. “I read a book once on how to do this….”

“Oh, yes, wise one,” Daffy said eagerly. “Teach us of your Earth custom called ‘getting stoned’ please.”

Del was still sifting though the container of pills. As he lifted his hand, he and helmsman watched the rainbow colored tablets drop as if hypnotized by them. At last only two remained in his palm.

One was deep, sparkling blue. One was a dark golden yellow.

Sulu’s breath was taken by the sudden strength of his desire to have the amber inside him.

“It fate, non?” Del asked his eyes fixed on the sapphire.

“There’s Rigellian,” Ruth said, seeing her comrades in peril.

“Is there anything to drink?” Chekov asked.

“Water?” Lace offered. “Tea?”


The Sevrinites looked at each other doubtfully. “There may be something in the hold,” Roger said at last.

Sulu and DelMonde were still transfixed by the inviting pair of pills sparkling in the engineer’s hand.

“C’mon guys,” Ruth said. “Let’s do a bowl together.”

“Let them do what they want to, Spike,” Jeremy chided her.

No, Sulu thought, shaking himself. “Let’s do a bowl first, Cajun,” he said, tipping the engineer’s hand.

“Yeah,” DelMonde agreed, although his eyes were still on the sapphire. “No need to go in the deep end headfirst.

Sakura puffed contentedly on a silver mouthpiece. “This is what we on the Enterprise call ‘medical grade’ herb.”

“I doubt Starfleet approves the medicinal use of Rigellian,” Stupid Roger scoffed, taking a place on a cushion next to her.

“But they do approve the use of Rigellian doctors,” Ruth informed him archly, taking a dainty puff.

“Do a bowl with us, Chekov,” Sulu said, taking a mouthpiece off the hookah and offering it to the only member of the party left standing.

The navigator folded his arms. “I’d rather not.”

The Sevrinites looked at the Russian as if he were afflicted with a dread disease.

“Don’t mind him,” Daffy said. “He was taught to party by middle-aged accountants.”

“Loosen up, Chekov,” Paget said, his easy tone covering an order. “Join in.”

The Russian ignored it. “No, thank you,” he said, taking a seat a good distance away from them.

“C’mon, Moscow,” Daffy patted a seat beside her. “Be a mensch.”

“I’d rather not,” the navigator repeated stubbornly.

“It’s okay,” Lace soothed, rising from the circle around the hookah. “I think I can find something for him.”

DelMonde had retrieved Adam’s boshzier and was playing a teasing melody as he smoked. After blowing out a long cloud of smoke, he sang in an exaggeratedly raspy voice:

Click here for song

Want some whiskey in your water?
Sugar in your tea?
What’s all these crazy questions
You askin' me?
This is the craziest party
There could ever be.
Don’t turn on the lights.
'Cause I don’t wanna see.

Recognizing this Valley Collection tune, Ruth joined him on the chorus.

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
That ain’t the way to have fun, no uh-uh

The Russian folded his arms and frowned as Del continued:

Open up your window
Let some air into this room.
I think I’m almost chokin'
From the smell of stale perfume.
And that cigarette you’re smokin'
Well it scares me half to death
Open up a window, sucker
Lemme catch my breath

Laughing, Daffy joined them on the chorus this time.

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
That ain’t the way to have fun, son

Just in case his metaphor was too subtle, Del struck a chord and pointed to his roommate on the word “son.”

That ain’t the way to have fun, son

The radio is blastin'
Someone’s knockin' at the door.
I’m lookin' at my girlfriend
She’s passed out on the floor

Gollub obligingly feigned unconsciousness to great effect at this point.

I seen so many things
I ain’t never seen before
Don’t know what it is
But I don’t wanna see no more.

Sakura, Madvig and Jeremy and even Sulu joined in on the chorus this time.

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
She said, that ain’t the way to have fun, son
That ain’t the way to have fun, no.

Chekov was the only one not caught up in the levity as Del and Ruth riffed on “Mama told me’s” together for several lines, before all his comrades pointed at him for a final:

That ain’t the way to have fun, no.
That ain’t the way to have fun, son.

“Wow,” Lace said, smiling as she re-entered with an assortment of bottles. “You guys are great. This is going to be like a big, happy slumber party.”


Several hours later, Jeremy Paget took inventory of his people. Daffy was either asleep or actually passed out near the hookah. Ruth reclined on pillow beside her. Although the Antari’s eyes were open, she didn’t seem any more aware of her surroundings than her friend. Chekov was brooding in a corner with a bottle of Saurian brandy. Del was teaching his new instrument how to sing a lonesome melody about a brothel in New Orleans.

Lace and Stupid Roger had gone on duty. Their other three hosts had enjoyed a few convivial puffs of Rigellian with them before retiring. Madvig was stationed near Del, smiling at nothing.

Jeremy was sitting with his back supported by a large red velvet bolster. Sakura’s head rested on his thigh and Sulu’s against his shoulder. He thought both of them were asleep until Tamura’s hand slowly groped for the mouthpiece connecting her to the hookah and brought it to her lips.

“How you feelin', girl?” he asked, fondly stroking her thick black hair.

Sakura blew three perfect smoke rings before answering, “Like I’m finally exhaling…”

”…And realizing that I’ve been holding my breath,” Sulu finished for her.

Paget smiled, although he was watchful of how readily most of his charges were able to shed their Starfleet skins. Over-assimilating could be as dangerous for them as under-assimilating.

“How are you, Jer?” Sulu asked, sleepily putting an arm around his friend’s shoulders.

The gesture was painfully charming. “Well,” Jeremy said, sliding into the protective shell of Lieutenant Commander Paget. “I’m startin' to think it’s about time for our boy Pavel to get a Come-to-Jesus speech.”

Sulu laughed drowsily. “A what?”

Jer nodded to the Russian who was frowning at Madvig’s feet. “Tovarish over there needs to repent of his wrongdoing, get his heart in the right place, get his mind on the greater glory, and get his pouty little ass in gear.”

“Oh, give him time, he’ll…” Sulu looked at the stubbornly down turned corners of his helmpartner’s mouth and sighed. “He’s going to be a problem.”

Paget had not yet gathered enough momentum to extricate himself from his all too pleasant companions when Madvig rose and crossed to the Russian.

“My, my,” Jeremy said, settling back to watch this unexpected development. “I’ll be damned if the mountain ain’t sashayin' right up to Mohammed…”


Chekov wasn’t aware he’d been staring at the Sevrinite until she spoke to him.

“Are you looking for the scars?” she asked, wearing the same maddeningly cryptic smile as Irina had habitually worn.

From this range, the telltale light streaks of healed tissue on her feet were visible. She obligingly turned them back and forth like a model displaying fashionable shoes. Their current health couldn’t erase the horrible blistered wounds they bore in his memory.

“I’m sorry,” he said, turning back to his bottle. “I did not mean to stare.”

“It’s all right, brother,” she said, sitting down next to him. “You were there.”

Chekov still didn’t know what to say in response.

“Irina’s feet look about like mine,” Madvig said as matter-of-factly as if he’d asked the question aloud.

Again, Chekov had nothing to say. The thought of his former lover made him feel sick. Circumstance and Irina’s foolish devotion to this insane cause had put his feet on the path leading to the inevitable moment when he would betray her.

Madvig smiled as if she understood. “Irina said you were burned too.”

“Yes. My hand.”

She unwrapped his hand from the bottle. After having stared at her feet, Chekov felt obligated to submit to her examination. Madvig’s fingers were cool as they traced the almost invisible white lines on his palm.

“You can barely see them.”

“I was treated almost immediately,” Chekov replied, then couldn’t stop himself from adding. “There’s something to be said for medical technology at least.”

“Sometimes it’s harder when the scars are only on the inside,” Madvig’s habitual smile faded for a moment. Her gaze was painfully penetrating. “And no one knows that they’re there.”

The lieutenant found himself at a loss for words. “You would have been crippled if you had not received treatment,” he said, trying to force the conversation away from his pain.

“You think I’m not?” Madvig smiled, but moisture pooled in her eyes. “You were there. You know what we saw. You saw Adam. You saw Sevrin die. You saw our dream die.”

As a tear rolled down Madvig’s cheek, Chekov remembered holding Irina in his arms as she sobbed, heart broken by the death of that evil madman.

“It changed us all,” Madvig was continuing, almost to herself. “It changed me. It changed her. It changed the dream.”

Cold fear ran through the navigator’s veins. How had Irina changed? This was the question that had haunted his thoughts since Paget’s briefing. He couldn’t bring himself to ask. Mission be damned. He didn’t want to know.

“Sorry, brother.” Madvig wiped her the tear from her cheek apologetically. “I’m bringing you down. You’ve got your own heavies to drag. Your head’s not clear. You need time to adjust your mind.”

He was grateful when she rose to go.

“Don’t worry, brother,” she said, turning back to stroke his cheek gently. “She’s going to be so glad to see you.”

Although he knew that she meant well, Madvig couldn’t have chosen a worse assurance. Irina would be glad to see him. And that, he knew as he watched her friend exit into one of the side cabins, was when the real trouble would start.


“What was that all about?”

More company was the last thing Chekov wanted at this moment. He shrugged as Jeremy Paget sat down next to him. “We were talking about her feet.”

Paget gave him a superior officer un-smile. “I’m not just being nosy.”

Chekov sighed and picked up his bottle. “She thinks Irina will be glad to see me.”

“We certainly hope so,” Jeremy replied. “Anything else?”

The Russian shrugged again and took a drink.

Paget gently but firmly took the bottle from him. “Don’t stonewall me, Moscow.”

“Don’t call me that.”

Paget didn’t back down. “What did she say?”

Chekov shrugged again. “She attaches a significance to my witnessing Sevrin’s death that I do not.”

“If that’s an in,” the Security officer said as kindly as he could, “then you’re going to have to play it. You understand that. Right, Pavel?”

The Russian nodded, hating this miserable assignment. So now in addition to betraying Irina and hurting Daphne, he was expected to dupe Madvig. “Don’t expect me to smile about it,” he said, reaching for the brandy.

Jeremy kept it out of his reach. “I expect you to do your job.”

"What else can I do?" the navigator asked bitterly.

“Hey, Jer.” Ruth tapped the security officer’s shoulder. “Can we talk for a minute?”

“Sure,” he said, reluctantly leaving the Russian with his bottle.

The Antari took his hand and led him casually into one of the side cabins where Sulu was waiting.

“We’re going to have an opportunity to improve our credibility soon,” she informed them carefully.

Until she got the signal Paget was satisfied that there were no listening devices on the ship, Ruth was under orders not to refer to the Enterprise or her telepathic link with Spock directly. An opportunity to improve their credibility had to mean that they would be encountering a Federation patrol soon.

“A big opportunity?” Sulu asked.

Ruth eyes went vacant as she consulted her contact. “A small opportunity.”

One ship. Looking into his friend’s eyes, Paget knew Sulu had made the same translation.

“So what do you think, Jer,” the helmsman deferred. “Do we make the most of it?”

Paget weighed the pros and cons of another display of loyalty from his people. They’d already actively aided in one battle. No need to overplay it… especially with Chekov in the midst of a big Slavic sulk.

“Just be cool, babe,” he decided, patting his friend on the arm. “We’re gonna be cool,” he informed Ruth to relay forward.

“Okay.” The Antari’s huge purple eyes went unfocused again.

Jeremy and Sulu were out the door into the main cabin when she called, “Hey, wait!”

They turned.

“It’s for him,” she informed Paget apologetically.

“Sure,” Jeremy said easily, as if knowing Sulu’s wife was calling didn’t hurt him at all.

“Yes?” Sulu turned to her with an eager smile.

“You are a greatly loved person,” she informed him giggling a little from the force of Jilla’s projected thought.

The helmsman’s smile became even sunnier. “I have a lot of love for other people too.”

Other people know that,” she replied after a second. “It makes them all glow-y.”

“It makes me all glow-y too… on the inside.”

Ruth leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “The kiss is from you-know-who,” she whispered into his ear. “That it’s not on the lips is from me.”

Sulu repaid her chaste peck with a breathtakingly happy embrace. “And that’s for both of you.”


Go To Part Three

Return To Part One

"Wayfaring Stranger" as recorded by Emmilou Harris
"Mamma Told Me Not To Come" as recorded by Three Dog Night

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