STAR TREK- The Original Series

"...And She Dreamed Us All Alive..."
(c) June 26,1997 * Rewrite August 13, 1997

Summary: Every Trekkers dream... to be beamed aboard the Enterprise and to be permitted to stay! FYI: This story was originally written twenty years ago by me and in the first writing it has 'grown up'. The original was very teen oriented, Spock was the love interest and everything worked out happily ever after... which just goes to show just how long this stories have been hidden away!

Disclaimer: It is well known that Paramount owns Star Trek and all of it's characters and I would just like to thank them for letting us play....

"...And She Dreamed Us All Alive..."
By Gayle Rochefort-Potts
August 1998


"Captain's log;

While we are waiting for Starfleet to give us our departure date and time, I have decided to keep everyone busy with a CODE 1 check of the systems that have been repaired. Mr.Scott seems to have appreciated this fact and is conducting the test on the transporter system himself. He had made some remark about the system being very touchy and feels that this needs recalibration. As before, I do not question my Chief Engineer on this matter. "

Scottie set the controls of the transporter scanned the test area for the second time, then nodded to his assistant. "All clear, lad." The assistant moved the slide controls to begin the cycle. The first part of the cycle would take whatever matter stood on the discs, change it into energy and send it to the pre-determined destination. The whine of the transport began.

Scottie moved down to the deck level to remove the panel, so he could adjust the frequency. He nodded to himself, "That sounds right now."

"Reversing now." Lt. Dumont stated as the controls were moved in reverse. In reverse, the system would take whatever item it was locked on to, convert the matter into energy and then reconstitute the energy into a perfect replica on the transport disc.

Ryan Dumont had considered it a privilege to work with the infamous Cmdr. Montgomery Scott. When he received the posting on the Enterprise as an engineering trainee, he was beside himself! He also made a promise to the 'Powers that Be' that he would not let Mr.Scott become disappointed in him in the least, so far, so good. Lt. Dumont looked to the platform, knowing it would be empty. It wasn't. "Sir?"

"Aye, what is it?" Scott straightened from the wiring he was working on, down low behind the console. He stood straightening his vest. It was far more comfortable than his uniform tunic. He favored the style of the vest and it had become a regular uniform for him.

Lt. Dumont pointed to the platform, "I think we have a problem, sir!"

Mr. Scott stared at the platform. He pocketed the instrument he had in his hand; he still called them 'spanners'. His hand touched the younger crewman's shoulder. There was indeed cause for concern. "Run and get the doctor! And be quick about it, Lad!" He spoke quietly but firmly.

Scott moved from behind the console as Lt. Dumont left. He had shut the power down, the low hum faded from his ears. His steps were guarded as he moved to the platform, staring at the unconscious female form that lay across the two front discs. He sat slowly on the top stair leading up to the platform. He did not want to disturb her, actually, he was afraid to touch her! By all that he understood in the operations of the transport system, she should not have been there!

He jumped when the hand touched his shoulder. He was relieved, when it was only Dr. McCoy. "Doctor, we were scannin' the area. I checked it three times myself and then...." He indicated the body. "I canna understand where she came from.... she should not be there!" He looked to the doctor's eyes as if to find an answer there.

McCoy nodded then he knelt closer to this female form and checked her lifesign readings with his scanner. The whirling noise happened for only about five seconds and then he turned it off. He checked the readings and looked to Scott, "Well. She's alive! She seems to be in shock. Could be from being beamed up, you know how I feel about these contraptions!" McCoy waited a few moments then administered a light stimulant. He was confident that there was nothing seriously wrong and no medical reason for the unconscious state.

The female took a sudden deep breath, then rolled slightly. She moaned and covered her eyes from the bright lighting. She took another deep breath and then began to sit up slowly. "Not again!" She sighed; sure she had had another seizure.

The men looked to one another confused.

She looked at the timepiece on her wrist, wondering what the time was, checking how much time she had lost, this time. She noticed the flooring. Her hand touched the coolness. "What on Earth ...!" She turned towards the men. She reached a hand out and carefully touched McCoy's chest. "Solid. Okay, I give! Who put you up to this?"

"Up to what?" McCoy asked. He studied her for a moment. From the readings, she appeared to be Terran, dark hair, and few traces of gray. Her dark eyes squinted every now and then, as if her vision was not clear. Her clothing was not too familiar to him, but he was sure he had seen the styling before.

She looked at him, totally disbelieving his very existence. "You are not going to seriously tell me, that your name is Dr. Leonard McCoy, are you?"

"Never had any doubts." McCoy played along cautiously.

She looked to Scott, "Let me guess, Cmdr. Montgomery Scott?" She knew someone had to be pulling her leg! This was too perfect a joke!

She stretched her neck, trying to relieve some of the tension. She faced them straight on. "You are actually going to let me believe, that you are fictional characters from a book, come to life!" She knew her friends teased her a lot about her enjoyment of the Star Trek characters.

This was carrying it a bit too far, even for her! She looked to the faces in front of her. They were very good actors; someone has paid a great deal of money just to pull her leg. The scenery looked authentic as well as real. As far as movie and television background sets went.

"Exact duplicates!" She whispered, appreciating the effort someone had gone to. Her hand touched the surface again; "You can even feel the vibration! This is well done!"

Scottie tapped McCoy's shoulder and indicated that he wished to speak to him in private. They moved away from this woman, but remained close enough to her, if they were needed. Scott had signaled Dumont to stay close to her. Dumont did not seem too pleased with the guard duty.

Scottie lowered his voice. He explained to the doctor, that he had never mentioned any names and he had only referred to McCoy as 'the doctor'. There was no way, that this person should have had any idea of their names.

McCoy nodded then moved to the intercom-unit, his hand hesitated, then rested on the console. He looked to the female. He smiled slightly; he was anticipating the answer of his next question. "I don't suppose you could tell me where you think you are?"

She was now sitting on the edge of the platform, her feet resting on the first step. She laughed nervously then leaned back resting on her hands behind her. Her long dark hair brushed the platform behind her, as she looked to the ceiling then back to McCoy. "Okay, I'll bite! This vessel is the U.S.S. Enterprise, the registration number is NCC-1701 and if this 'land of make-believe' is true to form, then the C.O. should be James Tiberius Kirk and presently holds the rank of Captain." She tilted her head, "How am I doing so far?"

She looked around at the room. Every single detail was there! The console, the seating off to the side, the platform she was on with the discs, everything! Slowly, she shook her head, "When you dream, kid.... you do it well!"

McCoy could not hesitate any longer. His finger activated the tie-in to the bridge, then requested the captain's presence in the transport room. He had also stated, that there was an interesting problem that needed his attention. He closed the circuit knowing that he had piqued the Captain's curiosity just enough! He watched as the visitor attempted to make herself more comfortable. The pant leg was straightened on the close fitting pants. She fixed the angle to the rolled up shirtsleeve. She adjusted the cuff on her sock, and that was the first time McCoy noticed.... She had no shoes on!

McCoy looked to Scottie and then smiled slightly, Scott understood what the doctor's amusement was over, he had noticed it earlier. What was Kirk going to say about all of this!

"Bones, this had better be important! We are on our way out of the system to our next mission." Kirk was no too pleased. "I've got a security check going on and...." He stopped when he noticed the female sitting on the platform. He was just about to say something, when McCoy grabbed his sleeve pulling him to the privacy of the corner.

McCoy bounced on his toes a few times trying to wipe the grin from his face, it wasn't working. "Somehow, she knows our names. Scottie discovered her on the platform after a routine check of the system. The system that I don't trust. All I can tell you for sure, is that she is about forty, seems to be perfectly healthy ... that is no damage from the beam-up. She is of Terran decent and... she is not from this time period."

This mysterious woman watched the men. All were, as they should have appeared! Captain Kirk looked as handsome as she thought he'd be. McCoy was taking this all in and enjoying everyone's confusion a little bit more than the others were. She wondered how much McCoy actually believed. She watched the officer that had been told to guard her. He was young. His blue-gray eyes and his dark curly hair were definitely attractive and she was sure... Who was she kidding? She wasn't sure of anything!

Kirk looked to the doctor and then to Scott. "Does she have any idea what is going on here?"

"Aye, Captain, she thinks she dreamin' and that we are fictional characters in a book."

"Bones, could she be.." He looked at McCoy questioningly, " you know a little.. off?"

McCoy laughed, he shook his head, and "All marbles present and accounted for... Sir." He looked over to the female, admiring her calm. He also wondered what she would make of Spock? Then again, if she knew about them, logic would dictate that she would know about the Vulcan.

"Not funny!" Kirk looked annoyed.

"Sorry Jim, but some things you do have to laugh about or you will go nuts!" He looked past Kirk to the female, "What if we are hallucinations? Where do we go when she stops dreaming?" He was sounding philosophical for a moment.

Kirk frowned at McCoy, he wasn't sure if he was being serious or not. He looked again to the woman, "Shouldn't she be nervous or something?" To him, she just appeared too calm about it all.

"Jim, if you thought something was just a hoax. Would you be afraid of it?"

"No, I don't suppose I would be." Kirk pursed his lips, looked to the female and then to the fellow officers. "Briefing room four. In thirty minutes, we will include Mr. Spock. Give her a complete physical. We will come to a decision after that." Kirk leaned towards them slightly. "Has any one asked her what her named is?" Both men shook their heads. "Okay."

Kirk separated himself from the others. He moved over to the female visitor. He extended his hand, "I'd like to welcome you aboard, I am Captain James Kirk."

"I know. My name is Emma Benix," she accepted the handshake, "..and all I would like to do is get home because my kids are due home from school. So, you can tell whomever set this up, that this is a great trick, but it should have been worked out for a more convenient time."

Kirk nodded his agreement and then added, "We will see what we can do, Miss Benix." He wasn't sure there was anything else he could have said.


"Gentlemen.... what do we do with our visitor?" Kirk looked to the three officers present then looked directly to Mr. Spock. "Spock? Any opinions?"

Mr. Spock had been busy on the computer, checking and rechecking the histories for the name the woman gave them. He had to be sure that her presence here would not change historical events. He looked at Kirk, then folded his arms. "We have determined that she is definitely from Earth's past. From the toxicology report, some of the limited discussions that Dr. McCoy has had with her, we estimate about the late nineteen nineties. She stated that it was nineteen hundred ninety-seven. There have been no significant contributions from her that would affect the time line. There is a possibility that with training, Miss Benix would be able to function in this time period, providing the psychological barriers are dealt with."

McCoy cleared his throat, "Basically, I concur with Mr. Spock, however, I believe that there will be a significant amount of physiological adjustments and I am not sure this will be done easily." McCoy held a hand up to the comment that Spock was beginning to make, "The biggest problem will be convincing her, that we are who we are. Not just a figment of her imagination!" He waited until the understanding showed on all their faces. "Does anyone have any ideas on how to do this? We do not want to traumatize the woman!"

"I do think that given sufficient information and a sufficient amount of time, that this should not pose any problems. Might I suggest that Miss Benix be dealt with as we would any insufficiently educated individual? Her initial testing indicates a high intelligence. With the correct tutor, I believe the time spent would be worthwhile."

Kirk looked to McCoy. McCoy shrugged. Then he looked back to his science officer, "Well then, Mr. Spock, you are hired!"

Mr. Spock raised an eyebrow, "Sir?"

"The tutoring position is yours. Use whatever specialists you need, and I believe you are the correct individual for the job. Your assessment of the situation has convinced me, that you will be a positive role model and that Miss Benix will do extremely well under your supervision." Kirk sat back. "Gentlemen, you are dismissed. We are leaving the solar system shortly. Starfleet has been informed of her existence, and we are to see to it, that she is acclimated accordingly."

Kirk looked to the unmoving officers and then stood. He straitened his tunic. "Is there a problem understanding any of the orders you have been given?" There was no response, "Good! Then back to work, and Doctor, you can see to her full physical as soon as possible." Kirk smiled at his officers, then headed for the bridge.

Mr. Spock stood, with a definite question on his face. He left the briefing room.

McCoy looked to Scottie, "How much would you pay to be a fly on the wall, when Spock tries to convince her that we are not figments of her imagination?"

"I am not sure if I'd wanta be there." Scott stood. "I am still trying ta figure out what happened. Near as I can come to, there was a power surge and the beam somehow bent and just picked the lass out of her time." Scott shook his head. He stood and then made his way back to the transporter room.

McCoy decided that he would allow Spock a little bit of time with Miss Benix before calling her down to sickbay. He still wanted to know how that conversation was going to go!


"Come in." Emma stood as Mr. Spock entered her assigned quarters. When the matter was discussed, it was decided that giving her private quarters would be less stressful on her. McCoy felt that if she had to deal with other crewmember curiosities, that she might feel the time separation more. More explanations and more questions than she should be dealing with at the present time. She needed to make the adjustments on her own.

She watched him, as his head bowed a greeting. She wondered what this man would actually be like. She felt the full effect of his deep, calm voice, as he introduced himself. He explained briefly, why he was here. "Please sit down, Mr. Spock."

Spock took the chair opposite her. He began to realize why he had been given this 'assignment'. He was the only one that could conceivably convince her of the possibilities. He accepted the offered cup of tea, then began to explain to Miss Benix, what exactly had been discussed in the briefing. As he spoke, Emma nodded her head, beginning to smile. He found this to be quite distracting. "Is there something that you find amusing, Miss Benix?"

Emma lowered her head slightly, "I apologize for that Mr. Spock, but I still do not quite believe, that what is happening, is actually real." She was beginning to sense that this was not a dream and that somehow.... this was quite real!!

"I assure you, Miss Benix, I do consider my existence valid." Spock was to the point.

"Mr. Spock, according to everything I have read, you would believe that!" Emma looked to this man. An excellent job done with the make-up, even the attitude was exactly as she had expected it to be. Then again, if this were her dream, of course everyone would act exactly as she thought they would! "Are you as emotionally controlled as you appear in print?"

"If we proceed on the premise that you are 'dreaming' this. Then everything would appear, as you perceive it to be. It is also not considered proper to ask such personal questions of that nature." Spock had managed to answer her question without compromising his Vulcan decorum. "I do not know, how to convince you that this is reality."

"If everything is as constant as I perceive this to be, then the only logical way you could possibly convince me, is to use a mind meld!" Emma had decided to take the plunge. If this were a set-up, then this would be the giveaway. If this weren't a dream, she would be experiencing a mind meld with a Vulcan! Something she had always dreamed about!

"I do not think, Dr. McCoy would appreciate this effort, without his approval." Spock had found himself beginning to wonder, how someone would know about their personalities as well as she seemed to, without knowing them. Perhaps her theory of fictional characters is a viable explanation. He was also beginning to wonder if a meld would not solve many of the mysteries. It could offer solutions to some of the problems. It may also aid their belief in what she has stated. He reached to the communication unit, opening the frequency, "Sickbay."

"Sickbay. McCoy here."

"Doctor, it has been suggested by Miss Benix, that I attempt a meld to convince her of our validity. Is there any danger to her if this is attempted?" Spock began to consider the information that he would have to share with Emma to convince her of the validity of their existence.

"If and I emphasize, if, I agree to this attempt. I think it should be tried in sickbay, after I complete a full physical. Just in case there are any problems. I want to be as prepared as possible."

Spock looked to Emma, he raised an eyebrow and then accepted her nod, "Miss Benix has agreed. What time frame would you need, to be prepared to complete the examination."

"If you could escort her to the sickbay, I should be ready by then."

"That would be most agreeable. Considering that I am required on the bridge for my duty period."

"See you then. Sickbay out."

"Spock out." He looked to Emma and stood, "If you will accompany me, the doctor should be prepared to inflict his particular brand of torture."

Emma laughed slightly, "Not nice, Mr. Spock!" She decided that she would play along with the game until it ended. She was only hoping that the kids weren't too worried about her!


While the rest of the Enterprise crew was busy with duties, Emma sat patiently in the sickbay waiting for Dr. McCoy. She looked around, beginning to wonder if this was reality! There were some things that she could not understand. Like how did she get to this place, if this was an elaborate trick? Besides, who did she know, that could or would, have the resources to accomplish all of this?

Dr. McCoy walked into the main room, with him was Nurse Chapel. "Miss Benix, this is..." He smiled at her interruption.

"Nurse Christine Chapel. She also holds a doctor's degree but chooses to be in charge of the sickbay, rather than just another pretty face." Emma was beginning to love some of the looks everyone's face. She chuckled, "This getting ridiculous!"

McCoy handed her the non-descript sickbay overalls, "You can change in the back room if you want, or here."

"Here will be fine." Emma slipped off her leggings, then slipped on the coveralls fastening them halfway. She pulled the shirt off and finished closing the coveralls. She turned back to Dr. McCoy; "I'm all yours!"

"Now there's an offer you don't get too often!" Nurse Chapel smiled, amused by this woman. She sensed that the rest of the day would be just as interesting!

For the next hour, Emma was treated to a twenty-fourth century physical examination. The blood tests were not particularly painful, no needles! Most of the exam was done with the medical equivalent to an electronic scan of her body. The readings were then compared to that of a 'normal human female'. Emma had not done well at the physical strengths. She was definitely out-of-shape compared to the norm for Starfleet training. She was, however, assured that that could be improved in the ship's gymnasium. They had a full staff of qualified instructors totally prepared to help her in any way possible. She could even arrange for private lessons until she felt more comfortable with everything.

"Any medical problems before I begin. It would make this easier and since some of the problems may have a solution now. We can deal with those as we go along."

Emma nodded, "I have been diagnosed with epilepsy. I have some seasonal allergies and migraines.... and arthritis." She looked to her watch and wondered if anyone was missing her at all. She had this feeling all of a sudden, that if this was the future to her time. Her family would be dead buried and forgotten by now. "I also seemed to have lost my eye glasses." Her voice was a little softer now.

"Mr. Spock just called down, Doctor, he's on his way." Nurse Chapel called from his office.

"Okay, we'll be ready." McCoy stated confidently.

"We will?" Her voice was getting softer.

"Reality setting in?" McCoy teased her slightly. He knew from her blood work and scan, that her body was filled with toxins, which would have been evident in that time frame. He also knew that most of her problems could be corrected over time, due to the advances in medicine. The harder changes that were needed now, were the ones she had to make within herself. Those would definitely take more time. "Do you want to talk about things?"

"You mean the fact that this is not a dream?" Emma looked to McCoy, then smiled weakly. "It's beginning to look like my fondest dream has come true, and all I want to do, is run and hide." She wrapped her arms around herself; "Does anyone have any idea on how I got here?" Her voice was wavering, she was becoming scared.

The answer came from Captain Kirk as he came into the room with Mr. Spock. "As far as we can determine, the transport beam surged. Along with alterations in the frequency, that Mr. Scott was making at the time. It seems to have delivered you to us from your time." Kirk moved to Emma's side, "I have been told by Mr. Spock that you requested a mind meld to help sort things out?"

Emma nodded; her confidence in her original theory was not holding water. She was beginning to feel that she was definitely drowning! She looked to the officers present, wondering if they believed her at all! She wondered if she believed in her own story. She felt that they were waiting for her to say something. She figured now was not the time to lose her nerve. "I think I am as ready as I will ever be...!"

Dr. McCoy showed her to another bed; it was in a ward. No one else was here and he tapped the bed indicating that she should sit down. The bed jumped to life as her body weight registered. She started slightly, chided herself, she knew that was supposed to happen. McCoy was there to calm her reactions. He met her eyes, smiled and then looked to Spock. "Take it slow and easy. Her body has not had time to react to anything yet. She has not been given any medications yet, to control any of her medical problems."

Spock knew that McCoy was giving him a caution about her possible mental state. Spock nodded and then moved closer to Miss Benix. He moved his hands together, only his fingertips touching. He looked to McCoy with a nod. The lighting in the sickbay was lowered slightly. Dr. McCoy moved away, he stood beside Kirk.

Spock closed his eyes for a moment and then began to explain to Emma what to expect. There would be a slight disorientation. Some discomfort would be felt with the intrusion in her thoughts. Spock added that the more she relaxed, the less discomfort she would experience.

Emma nodded slowly and then took a deep breath. "Could I hold on to you?" She was looking for some type of anchor to this reality. Spock nodded. He allowed her to touch his shoulders. Emma was then instructed to breathe deeply and relax. 'Relax' she thought, 'how could a simple thing like that feel so complicated now!'. It had been one of those days at home, if this was her reality now.... then great! Spock's body felt as if he had a fever. In her thoughts, she began to laugh. If someone has set this up, then she was giving him or her exactly the show they wanted! She looked at the other two officers. They were quietly talking to one another; neither showed any signs of nervousness. Emma looked to Spock's eyes as they opened slowly. They held a depth she had never seen before; she was slowly drawn in.

Spock placed his fingertips on both sides of her face, lightly, giving time to Emma to become accustomed to the touch. "Relax. My mind to your mind. Our thoughts are slowly becoming one." He moved slowly into her thoughts. He felt her fears, her panic and the almost reality of this. He told her to breathe and relax; his voice was soft, sometimes having difficulty with the words. He touched on her thoughts of her recent past and confirmed for himself, that whatever she had said she had experienced was, in fact, the truth for her. There was no deception in her actions. He stepped closer to her. His body touched the side of the bed. Emma's breathing was beginning to quicken. He moved in further, he experienced her life, her children, her husband, and the love she had for them.... and her pain of loneliness.

Emma had felt her body tense at his deeper touch. She told herself to relax and then felt his movements within her thoughts. He was looking for the facts, as she knew them. She tried not to slow him down. She was feeling a sense of him, his belief in the reality of the situation and his offer to help her adjust was a genuine one. She felt the loss of balance and her hands tightened on his shoulders.

Reality seemed to be turned inside out and then righted itself again. She 'read' some of his thoughts. Most made little sense to her, scientific knowledge, languages and personal information that seemed familiar. She had understood that Spock was exactly what he said he was an alien. She felt his calm and wished she had it. She began to get a sense of what being Mr. Spock was. It made her wonder how he survived it all! Would she survive it all? If this was reality, where was her place in this? Then, she felt the reassurance that whatever was around her at the time was reality, and that what she knew to be her life... was definitely in the past. She thought of all the people that she knew her children, her husband, and her parents.... all gone.....all dead! They experienced her sorrow over this. She felt her tears.

He added to her thoughts the information that was required to exist here. Spock gave her an understanding of the Standard language that was used on board ship. This, he felt was extremely important for the day to day functioning she had to deal with. She felt his touch move deeper within her to confirm further, the reality that she believed in and then she felt the darkness engulf her!

Spock felt the break in her contact. By intruding in her thoughts, he had accelerated the process of her mental and physical shock at the change in her situation and time. Her body went limp. He held her awkwardly, until he sensed someone else's hold take over. He had moved slowly from her thoughts, then separated himself from her. Kirk stood behind Spock prepared to accept his body's weight. Kirk guided him to the near-by chair. He nodded to Kirk's inquiry and then closed his eyes, beginning to regain the usual control he had.

Dr. McCoy had been prepared for almost any reaction. He had even prepared for the one that was beginning now. He looked to the tray of vials, attaching one to the hypospray. The seizure had begun and the drug he gave her now would control it. He could correct the damage causing the seizure later, with surgery. The hissing noise stopped and slowly, so did the seizure. Dr. McCoy touched her neck with a separate vial. A very gentle stimulant and some nutrients then watched the readings presented on the board above her head. He was not pleased with all the readings, but they were improving.

McCoy moved to Spock and gave him a light dose of similar nutrients that would help him recover more quickly than usually.

"That, Doctor was not necessary." Spock sat up straighter. He took a slightly deeper breath than usual, then stood. He waved off Kirk's help. "She is, who she says she is. Her belief that this is merely some practical joke or a dream is wavering. She does have a flexible mind and it will not take her long to adjust. I have given her the basic understanding of the Federation Standard language, along with a basic understanding of her life here."

"Do you have any idea of what training she may be able to handle?" Kirk looked to his first officer and then to the sleeping form on the bed. "She has a lot of adjusting to do and if we can give her something she is familiar with, then maybe that will make things easier."

Spock basically agreed. "Miss Benix is an individual that has not been trained for a specific career. She does have an ability to handle many tasks. Her memory is quite good and she enjoys being with young children. She would be a definite asset in the ship's nursery or the lower level of education. Other than that, I would suggest that she function as a yeoman for senior officers. Miss Benix would benefit from dealing with the flexibility of acting as command yeoman. She would be dealing with more than one officer and she would have these officers to help her, if she finds it necessary. This would also limit her exposure to too many individuals all at once. Since she has, at present, no reliable knowledge of anything outside this vessel, she does not pose a security risk."

Kirk nodded. "Sounds like a viable training plan to me. That way we can also keep an eye on her." Kirk placed a hand on Spock's shoulder, "How are you feeling?"

"Totally functional, Captain. I shall return to my duty and proceed to our next destination." Spock bowed his head to Kirk and McCoy. He moved out of the sickbay and onto the bridge.

Kirk turned to McCoy, "How do you think she will do?" He moved with McCoy over to the doorway of his office. He accepted the coffee McCoy poured and then they stood and watched the new crewmember.

"I think Spock is basically right. I can not think of any reason, that she can not adjust to this time, except if she does not want to." McCoy drank part of the cup down, he thought a moment, "She has a few physical problems that need to be dealt with before she gets into any training."

"How soon can things be sorted out?"

"As soon as Emma Benix decides. I don't need that much preparation."


Emma had been released from sickbay after four days. After some minor surgery, the seizures had been stopped. Her need for glasses had been altered and her body had begun de-toxifying. She would go from feeling as if she had lots of energy, to feeling as if she had no backbone. She had been given new clothing and had been taught how to use the computer controlled quarters. Simplicity! And yet so many things to remember!

When Spock patiently explained everything, it seemed to make sense, yet two hours later; it was as if she was trying to remember a foreign language! No one seemed to be in too big a hurry for her to know, or remember everything. Kirk had even came by once, smiling at the little notes of instruction all around.

He showed her how to call up the information on the terminal. "Spock not show you how to do this?" He could not believe that Spock had forgotten so simple an instruction!

"Yes, he did. I had forgotten how. You can't ask the computer for an answer, if you've forgotten how to ask. Dr. McCoy has explained that some of my problems with my memory will disappear with time. Is there anything you can't correct in this time?"

Kirk smiled at her wide eyes, "Headaches, and I get a lot of them." He smiled at her. She was definitely a breath of fresh air. He was sitting opposite her and he wondered how she would manage all of this. "Bones, says I worry too much. If I'd leave..."

"...the universe to fate and just worry about the important things, you'd be fine." She smiled, then noticed the shock on his face. "I told you, you are characters in a book!"

Kirk leaned forward, "I'd love to read one of those books!"

Emma nodded. She wanted to be 'at home'. She wanted to.... She started to cry.

Kirk reached to her hand, "Is there anything, I can do for you?" He wasn't sure why she was upset all of a sudden.

"Send me home, if this is real!" Emma took a ragged breath, "If this is a dream, wake me up!" She felt the fear and the loneliness take over. She couldn't stop the tears. The feeling of being so alone in a shipload of relative strangers was getting to her! She pulled away from Kirk. Stood and moved away into the living area. She looked around the room. "I want to scream! I want to find a corner and hide! I want to.... just go home!" Her voice had fallen to almost a whisper. The tears did not slow; she wrapped her arms around herself, sobbing! She just wanted to curl up somewhere and hide until this all made sense!

Kirk moved to her, he offered her the tissues, "I've called Dr. McCoy. He can help you better than I can. You don't need to be told the wrong things right now." He stood close to her, not certain of what to say or do. "I'm afraid I would end up asking the wrong questions. My solutions may not be the ones you need."

McCoy entered as Kirk finished, "You are probably right, Captain." He smiled at Kirk then dismissed him with a look. Kirk excused himself with bridge duty and left. McCoy pulled out the scanner; "I could give you something to help you relax?"

Emma shook her head. "I'll be okay. Sometime this century." She dried the last of the last of the tears as she faced McCoy, "So how much do you believe of my story?"

McCoy folded his arms, "Every word." She looked at him doubtfully. McCoy smiled, "Let's sit down." He sat down with her on the couch, facing her. "I have the medical aspects to deal with. Everything that you have said matches what your body has shown. The pollutants in your body. Your medical history. The medications in your system. The psyche report shows that you are at least sane. You don't have any of those references. You have what you know what you've read.... and then what's here. If it's all the same then it's hard for you to tell which one is reality. There is no way for you to check or verify anything." His hands helped the telling of his story, "You can't open the door and say 'yes, that's how I remember it to be', close the door and know that where you are is real, then to go on."

He smiled at her as he sat back; "We understand what you are saying. We are here to help you through it all." McCoy smiled at the notes still around, "Call up stores and ask for a journal. Writing is still done, but things might be referred to differently. Pen too, mostly fountain pens. Keep track of things the way you are used to. The time period has changed, you haven't. Don't try to change things over night, take your time." McCoy looked around the quarters, "I guess things are a little over-whelming."

"That's an understatement!" Emma was beginning to relax. "Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if so many things were not so different!" She sighed, "I know it will take time."

"Good. Glad to hear it." McCoy stood, "If you need anything, all you have to do is call me. That's part of my job." McCoy headed towards the doors, "Not only am I the medical officer but I'm the shoulder everyone cries on."

"I know." Emma was definitely feeling better.

"How would you... the books!" He said it at the same time as she did. He laughed. "Are you up to learning a position?"

"A job?" She was surprised at the offer. McCoy nodded. "Sure, doing what?" She couldn't imagine anything she'd be qualified for.

"The Captain needs help with the paperwork and records. I believe the nursery could use an experienced mother type person." McCoy would talk to Kirk, now that she seemed ready to begin the adjustment. "It would give you something to do and you would be learning at the same time. You could work on a very light schedule for awhile. Increase your workload as you feel that you can handle more."

"Sounds like it's worth the effort." Emma laughed, "Before you go, Dr. McCoy, would you show me how to make tea in this thing?"

McCoy grinned, "It'd be a pleasure, Miss Benix." He chuckled over this and wondered how many other things she had avoided, merely because she hadn't been shown or forgotten how? He'd check on her often for awhile, just to make sure she didn't starve.

**Fifth day here: I am not sure of the dates yet, so I will probably fill them in later. First entry at Dr. McCoy's suggestion. He has been everything I'd have expected and more, then again.... so is everything else. Except my confusion and the dreams that I wish would stop. I don't need to be reminded of what I left behind or the aching of being alone. I don't need to be reminded of loneliness. I hope I can make the adjustments. I've begun my workouts here. With everything so handy and at no cost, it's easy to do this! I'm amazed at how many things I never attempted because of money! So many things did depend on money in my time... six days ago for me. Three hundred for everyone else!

I had a mind-meld with? from? Mr. Spock. It was to say the least.... interesting.

I miss my kids!!! I miss....MY life!!!!! Maybe this isn't a dream? What do I do now? Put one foot in front of the other??? Hope for the best???? Too many questions and not enough answers! Talk later....**


She had stared at the one-piece uniform. Then decided that putting it on and reporting to Captain Kirk was a good idea. She had managed to assembly her own breakfast. She had managed the shower controls easily. Her hair was no problem; she put it into a French braid and tucked up the end. Now as she pulled on her boots. She paused thinking of all the cadet boots that had been polished in her home... her home was gone now! A deep breath helped get her moving again. She shrugged herself into the top of the jumpsuit, fastened the pressure closing, then headed down the corridor to Captain Kirk's quarters.

Emma had a few days that she could barely face herself in the mirror. There were even days when she thought that her tears would never stop. She had begun to find life within her cabin tolerable and an excursion out was a lot less frightening than yesterday!

Emma was still experiencing the sense that this was a dream. She was also sure that once she was totally convinced this was real, she would wake up and then know for sure that this was just a dream! She felt a shiver as she touched the door chime. She jumped inside as the door opened; Captain Kirk stood there to greet her.

Kirk repeated his invitation to her, then noticed her paling. He reached out to her and managed to catch her, before she hit the floor. He carried her to his couch then laid her gently on the surface.

"Emma?" He tapped her face gently, trying to get a response. He called to her again a little louder this time. A low moaning coming from her rewarded him. He was relieved to see her eyes flutter open. He shook his head as he poured her some water. "I hope you did not forget to eat this morning?" He helped her sit up then handed her the glass. "Drink some, you'll feel better. Do I need to call Dr. McCoy or will you promise me that you will go directly to him."

"I promise." Emma drank down some of the water. "Thank you for the water." She swung her legs off the couch then stood slowly.

Kirk offered an arm for support as Emma straightened. "All right?"

"Yes. I'll be fine." Emma took a deep breath and then released her hold on Captain Kirk. "I've been spending a fair bit of time in the gym. With Mr. Spock working on the computers. Maybe I haven't rested enough. Or it might be the de-tox."

"You check in with Dr. McCoy, then come back and see me. I should still be here. Today is my day to catch-up on paper work and hide from everyone."

Emma nodded. She started towards the door then wavered. She reached out to the room divider for support. She felt a little warm and dizzy.

"How are you doing?" Kirk stayed close enough to catch her if necessary.

"No one seems to be losing their patience with me yet. Mr. Spock seems to be pleased with my progress, he has stopped folding his arms continuously." She smiled at Kirk's smile. "I'm even leaning towards the fact that this may not be a dream."

"Well that's good to know, "He folded his arms and then leaned slightly against the room divider. "If you feel you need a break, please let someone know."

"Yes, sir. I will." She stood at attention, "If that's all sir, I'll report to sickbay."

McCoy looked up, as he usually did, when the doors parted. He liked to be ready for his patients as they came in. Sometimes, he found himself looking forward to the slight injuries this crew wound end up with. It was actually quite boring being a Chief Medical officer on a ship with an excellent safety record and low casualties during battles.

"Doctor. My legs and arms feel like rubber and...." Her knees threatened to buckle, but she found a chair before she went down totally. She was relieved that McCoy did not rush over to her. "I am not sure how much further I can make it." She finished unnecessarily.

McCoy had his scanner out and was giving her the once over. He looked to the readings, "Been eating?"

"Yes. And sleeping, exercising and....." She counted them off on her fingers, then suddenly reached out to his shoulder. Her hand went to head and she swallowed. She was feeling sick, too.

McCoy held onto Emma as he coaxed her to stand, they moved over to the diagnostic bed. He activated the panel and checked the readings, "Take a deep breath and relax for a few minutes." He turned to his ever-ready supply of medications. He lifted a yellow tinted vial, fastened it to the hypospray then touched her neck administering a dose of the necessary help. "Should start feeling better." He watched the readings. "First day on duty?"

"Yes." Emma felt her body began to feel like the one she was used to. She tried to sit up, slowly. McCoy gave her a cautionary look. "I'm fine."

"Don't tell your Doctor, how you feel." He looked to the readings. He noticed another officer entering, "What are you doing here?"

"Came to see how Yeoman Benix was doing. She passed out when she reported to me... unceremoniously, at my door." he smiled at her, "..into my arms." Kirk winked at her.

"You did not mention passing out?" McCoy was slightly angered.

"I almost passed out for you." Emma was sitting up now; her legs hung off the side of the bed. She was facing McCoy. "I'm feeling fine now."

He let her slip off the bed slowly. He folded his arms watching her, "Take things easy." He looked to Kirk, "What is her duty today?"

"Entering reports, nothing strenuous."

"Make sure she eats." McCoy looked to Emma; "You make sure he eats."

"Yes, sir." Emma met his eyes, she appreciated his concern. She just wasn't used to having someone hovering over her. "Promise."

"I'll hold you to it." McCoy allowed both of them to leave and he made a mental note to check on her later today.


The next few months were spent training in her new position. Emma spent half her day working on updating reports and herself. The other half of the day was spent with the young children. That part of her job she needed very little training for, just an updating of the modern methods. Emma was a definite asset to the staff and the children seemed to enjoy her company. Emma handled most of the situations that came up, easily. She enjoyed caring for the babies the most.

She could even manage the bumps and scrapes the little ones ended up with. It made the children handle the traumas easier, with less concern and there was the fact of dealing with a familiar face. They especially liked the cat faces she drew on the bandages. The ears were formed by the tiny edges at the fold and then she drew a face on the fabric. The tears stopped quickly.

The cloth-like diapers that were used were recycled somehow, along with everything else aboard the ship. She had even asked if there was an original item on board, but the person she made the comment to, did not quite understand her. She let the matter drop. That was something that seemed to happen fairly often.

Next, she had discovered the observation deck and began spending a great deal of time there, especially during her off-duty time. She found that if she watched the stars long enough, she'd relax. She had also discovered that this helped her sleep. At times, she would wake up still in the observation deck, curled up on one of the couches. No one seemed to mind she was never bothered.

It was one of those earlier nights that McCoy had first found her here. She had had another dream and was standing at the viewing port when he came in. She was still crying and was running out of clean space on the tissue. The pocket of her robe was empty of tissues. "Damn it!" She muttered.

"Miss Benix? Everything okay?" McCoy had watched her for a few minutes before he said anything. He had surprised her and then apologized for startling her. "Need to talk?"

Emma dried the tears and then shook her head. "I'm fine. I seem to just start all of a sudden, sometimes I know why it happens, other times I don't." She shrugged. "I guess it's getting easier, somedays I can't tell. Other days it seems like it has been years."

"All of that is fairly normal." He reached in his pocket for the handkerchief he usually kept there. He offered it to her. "I'll walk you back. You need some sleep." He stood as if he wasn't leaving her here. He walked beside her, his hands clasped behind his back.

"I think I'll try some warm milk." Emma stopped at her door. "I'll get this washed and returned to you. Thank you."

His head tilted, "Just doin' my job." He touched her shoulder, "If you can't sleep soon, call me."

"I promise." Emma smiled slightly and then disappeared behind the door.

McCoy took a breath wondering if he should not insist on some type of discussions about things. He looked to the decking for a minute and then headed back to sickbay.


Today, she was to spend the day on the bridge. She had been looking forward to this and had been scheduled so that she worked through a shift change. That way, she would understand a little better, how the bridge functioned. Most of her work up until today had been done in her quarters or in the records office. She had double checked her uniform and then stepped into the lift and set the controls for the bridge.

She had been on the bridge only once before, just after she had arrived. It had been Mr. Spock's way of helping her to deal with some of the realities. It had made a difference! It was very difficult to argue the fact, that this ship was not really in space, after seeing the main view screen. The next place he had taken her to, was the observation deck. That had become her place to think and wonder what had happened to the people in her time. One day, she would see if there was any evidence of her life.... back there.

The lift doors opened suddenly, the bridge was presented to her. She took a breath and then stepped out onto the bridge. She definitely felt different being in uniform. Cmdr. Uhura smiled that welcoming smile, making her feel a little bit more relaxed. She moved to the stairs that would take her down to the command level. She stood quietly at Mr. Spock's side until he had acknowledged her.

Spock turned the chair slightly, "Yeoman?"

"Yeoman Benix reporting as requested." Her head bowed slightly. She had learned that this was his way.

Spock returned the show of respect and then turned his chair to the science station, "Mr. Chekov, give Yeoman Benix a brief, but thorough explanation of how the bridge station's functions. She is to take a full report for all stations. Spock handed Emma the report slate. This one had a stylus attached. He turned back to Emma, "When you have completed this report, at any time. It is to be given to the officer holding command of the bridge at the time of the report."

Yeoman Benix acknowledged the orders. She moved off to learn her next lessons from Mr. Chekov. He seemed to be understanding of her questions.

Spock turned his chair, to face Mr. Chekov and Yeoman Benix, both seemed to be relaxed while dealing with one another. He was aware that Emma had been spending a fair bit of time reading up on the bridge stations, she would find out how well her studying was being absorbed.

Lt. Cmdr. Uhura had received a message just as her shift was ending. She waved off her relief and then turned to Spock. "Cmdr., distress call, U.S.S. Fortress." She listened for a moment to the message, "Captain Paul Langdon. Engine trouble, a possible core breach. Co-ordinates follow."

"Give the co-ordinates to the helm. Inform Capt. Langdon that we are on our way. Give them an E.T.A. Request a list of the exact assistance they will require, that way we can be prepared." He touched a stud on the arm of the chair opening the ship-wide circuit,

"Captain Kirk, Cmdr. Scott to the bridge. Captain Kirk to the bridge. Mr. Scott to the bridge." He closed the circuit then looked around the bridge to the organized chaos.

Yeoman Benix moved towards the center chair, "Sir, do you wish me to remain on the bridge?"

"It isn't his decision anymore, Yeoman. Yes, I want you to remain." Kirk took over the center seat quickly and smoothly from Spock. Kirk was filled in quickly by his crew. He asked Uhura to maintain a channel with the Fortress. Yeoman Benix was to call up the blueprints to the outer hull, also to check the last reported position for the Fortress. He caught the slight indecision in her face, but it disappeared just as quickly. Kirk felt that she would become a vital part of his bridge crew soon. He turned his chair back to face the main viewer.

Emma sat at the library station; her heart felt as if it would either stop or bang it's way out of her chest. She took a deep breath and called up the information that was required of her. She placed the hull's print on the viewer to her left and then called up the navigational chart onto the center viewer. She reached for the clipboard and it fell onto the decking, the carpeting absorbing the sound so no one was disturbed.

Spock looked to her, "Relax. You will do quite well, Yeoman." His head bowed to her as he watched her pick the board up off the deck.

After copying the information needed, Emma moved to Kirk's side and waited patiently. Once he acknowledged her presence, she gave him her findings, "Captain, according to the filed report, the Fortress should not be in this area."

Kirk frowned; Langdon was not the type of command officer that would be that far off his assigned area. Kirk checked her information, then turned to Uhura; "Contact the nearest Starbase and check that there have not been any changes in his orders, or that have not been updated." Kirk turned his chair to face Spock, "Any opinions?"

"My scans indicate there is a vessel out there at the co-ordinates given but a positive ID is not possible at the moment." Spock looked to his screen again; "My suggestion is that we proceed with a caution due to the fact that a trap is not outside the realm of possibility."

Kirk nodded, the same thought had occurred to him.

"Captain," Uhura checked the locations of the signals as they received the message, "The Fortress is not answering our hail. The message we received must have been placed on recorded loop."

Emma transferred the information that had confirmed their last reported location to Uhura's board. She took the report with all the information to Captain Kirk. Kirk accepted the report, then after looking it over. He decided on a course of action. "No where near here at all." He rubbed his eyes, and then he stated his next string of orders. "Sulu, ahead warp factor two. I want a constant scan of the areas and I want to know every move they even think of making." With a tap of his finger, he opened the ship-wide channel; "All hands go to Yellow Alert. All hands Yellow alert!" his movement closed the circuit, "Mr. Sulu, warp two. Mr. Chekov, when we are within sensor range inform Sulu. We will slow to sub-light, do a sensor scan and then decide what to do next."

Everyone on the bridge seemed to know just what to do, Emma felt a little lost still. She knew she would have to do a tour of the stations just after they would arrive at the Fortress. Emma had been amazed with the ease she seemed to have fit into this life style, then again, she was used to thinking for other people and the assignment she held now was just that. She looked to the Captain; he was tapping his fingers again. She moved to the small food processor and programmed a pot of coffee and the eight cups that were needed for the bridge crew. She moved to Kirk's side, "Sir?"

Kirk was surprised, "I was just thinking that a coffee would go down well right about now." He accepted the cup, "Been hanging around Spock too long. Are you learning to read minds now?" There were a few chuckles on the bridge.

Emma mirrored Spock's usual bow of the head with a slight tilt of her head. "Captain." Then she winked at him. He smiled at her. She passed out the coffee to anyone else returned any leftovers to the recycling unit then returned to her station.

The bridge was quiet for a time. The Enterprise slowed then stopped closer to the smaller vessel. "Captain, life-form readings, five with faint readings. The remainder of the crew does not register life. Fifty crew in total." Spock looked back to his screen; "The matter anti-matter is not stabilized. Coolant leak detected."

"Helm, hold our position. We do not want to disturb the space to much." Kirk looked to Mr.Scott at the engineering station, "Safe enough for transport?"

"Aye, Captain. The recovery team needs environmental suits." Scott did not look too pleased with the rescue conditions; it showed on his face.

"Spock, take it easy over there." Kirk received a nod as the Vulcan left the bridge, "Benix, take over Spock's station, Mr. Chekov monitor." This was an excellent training opportunity. "Uhura, notify McCoy that he is required in the transporter, if he wants to beam over he has to in an environmental suit."

"Aye, Captain."

Kirk sat back in the chair, he took a breath and stretched. Sometimes the hardest part of his job was sitting here waiting for things to either happen or not, depending on your preference. He turned his chair to face the science station. Mr. Chekov was leaning over Yeoman Benix's shoulder and instructing her what to look for. They looked comfortable, no nervousness showed on Emma's face, she was concentrating on what she needed to know. Kirk turned to Uhura, "Open a channel to Spock."

"Already done, sir. First report is that everything is as expected. No surprises." Uhura turned back to her station to continue monitoring the connection to Mr. Spock.

The rescue efforts were slow, but the officers had found more crewmembers alive than originally expected. When there was any indication of a change in the ship's status, all movements were monitored before the effort continued. Even the beaming of the crew caused some changes in the space around the ships. As Benix monitored the area, she announced any changes in any of the readings and after three hours of stop and go attempts to seal the leak, it was determined that this was not a viable solution. Mr. Scott recommended that the ship be treated as unrecoverable and then the tasks changed to recover any information that was held in the computers, captain's logs, ship's logs and in the automatic bridge monitoring systems. With all that information, Starfleet would be able to piece together what actually happened, should no crewmembers survive.

Emma noticed some of the readings. She pointed out one to Chekov, "Report it." He nodded encouragement. He stepped out of the line of sight between Yeoman Benix and Captain Kirk.

"Captain, the engine's core temperature has hit the critical level. Explosion of the warp core will be in three minutes." Benix reported carefully. Mr. Chekov was asked to confirm the findings, he did.

"Chekov, navigation. Benix, start a countdown, I want one minute intervals and then a thirty second countdown verbal. Uhura, notify the team. Mr. Chekov, plot a course out of here. Mr. Sulu, prepare maximum speed." Kirk mentally went through what he had to do. "Uhura, set up warning buoys, this area of space will be touchy for awhile. Stardate, co-ordinates and reason for the buoy. Authorization code and date sent." Kirk looked to the screen and hoped that everything would be accomplished in the right amount of time.

Within approximately two minutes, the rescue team was aboard and all-important data had been retrieved and Spock was moving onto the bridge as the thirty second count was continued. He waved Benix to remain at her station and he stood behind her. Spock nodded to the Captain, his signal to him that everything was as it should be.

The Enterprise began to move from the area. Benix had continued the countdown, "20...19...18.."

"All hands stand by for shock waves. All hands stand-by for shock waves." Kirk closed the ship-wide circuit then checked around the bridge.

"10...9...8...7..." Benix continued. Spock altered his balance, his hand held onto the console.

The image of the ship had disappeared from the main screen quickly. The stars fell into the center of the screen.

"4.... 3.... 2...1...Zero. One minute to contact with shock waves." She stood to move to her previous station but Spock told her to remain. Her hand went to the hooded screen for the support she knew she would need. She looked to the screen, "Impact!"

The large vessel shook until Sulu turned the vessel to ride the wave, but the ship lurch before the maneuver was completed, throwing a few of the crew off their feet. Kirk caught out of the corner off his eye, a sudden movement. His chair swung around just in time to witness Benix's back make contact with the handrail! "Uhura, get McCoy up here! Keep her steady, Sulu!" Kirk moved from his chair with practiced handholds to reach Yeoman Benix. Spock was already at her side, instructing her not to move. Kirk remained in the well but knelt at her head, he was almost level with her. "Dr. McCoy is on his way. Do not move at all." He knew he was only repeating what his first officer had just told her, but he said it for his own benefit. Kirk felt the ship steady as the wave moved past them and slowly dissipated. He knew this, because Spock had already moved into his usual position and was keeping the Captain informed of the resulting effects of the explosion.

McCoy burst onto the bridge. He moved to Emma's side to begin a quick assessment of her condition. He touched his comm-badge, "Send up a stasis board, we have a severe back injury." He looked to Kirk, "What happened?"

"She lost her balance when the ship lurched. I saw the impact. She hit it hard." Kirk's voice had softened. He always felt that injuries to his crew were something he should be responsible for. "Will she recover?"

"Back injures are still a tricky thing." McCoy leaned down to her. She had started to regain conscienceness. She moaned, beginning to mumble. "Take it easy. Don't move." He leaned closer to her to try to understand her, "No, Emma. Not a seizure. You've hurt your back." He brushed the tears from her face and then looked to the lift doors as they opened. He leaned down to her quietly explaining what would be done. There may be a get deal of pain but above all, Emma had to remain unmoving. "We will do all the work."

"Doctor." she whispered, he leaned closer, "Can I do the moving and you experience the pain?" The numbness of too much pain had begun. She had only momentary glimpses of anything she could actually remember. She had a sense that someone was touching her, but she could not tell who it was or what he or she was doing.

McCoy smiled at her and promised her that for the next time. McCoy asked Spock to help the orderly, as he monitored her vital systems constantly. She was slowly rolled onto the stasis board. The board had a field that held her body just slightly above it, so that there was no pressure on her back. It also held her immobile, as if in a body cast. The second orderly stepped out of the lift to help carry the patient to sickbay.

McCoy moved behind them, "I'll let you know, Captain, as soon as I do."

Kirk nodded and then returned to his chair. "Let's get to Starbase 14 and get some of these things sorted out. Starfleet will want someone there to check the Fortress logs." He turned to Spock, "Was any information missing?"

"No Captain. Yeoman Benix performed well, the readings have been recorded."

Kirk noted in his log entry, the performances of all his bridge crew including his newest addition, Ensign E. Benix, was up to the usual high standards.


She knew the smell and she began to recognize the surroundings. She tried to sit up but could not. She felt the tears start and the sob that went through her body. She must have been paralyzed! Great! Now what was she going to do with her life! Her hearing picked out someone calling to Dr.McCoy. She heard the quick footsteps as he moved to her side. At least, he would give her the lousy news in person!

"First off, you will be fine! Just relax!" McCoy looked to the panel above her head then touched her neck with the hypospray. "A muscle relaxant. Deep breathe now. You will be given a painkiller soon. I had to make sure you were conscience and there was no other damage, before I gave this to you." He smiled slightly.

"Sort of like waking me before the sleeping pill." She spoke very softly and the pain was evident in her voice. If this was a dream... this was a stupid part to dream!

McCoy smiled at her. "You were on the bridge, do you remember?"

She tried to nod her head but couldn't. "Can't move my head." She felt a little bit of panic, but McCoy's face showed no sign of concern.

"Tell me what you remember, then I'll tell you why you can't move."

"I remember the countdown. Spock was there." She paused thinking, sorting out all the nonsense from the actual events. " The shock wave ... from the explosion. I felt my hand slip! I can't remember any more." She sighed and started to cry as the pained registered again, "It hurts!"

"I know. You lost your grip on the console and hit the handrail. Captain Kirk said you hit it hard. You've broken a few bones in your back, along with a few ribs." His hand dried her tears; "I'm giving you a pain killer. You've been put onto a stasis board. It is designed to give your back support and to keep you still. You have to relax and try to sleep! When more of the swelling goes down, we can assess the damage a bit better. Then we'll see to any repairs." McCoy touched the hypospray to her neck.

Emma heard the noise but could not really feel it, "Can't feel that."

"It's because of the stasis field. I'll get you a drink. Captain Kirk wants to see you and then you will sleep!"

McCoy disappeared from her line of sight, then Kirk appeared but not before she heard McCoy repeat to him that he could not remain long.

"How are you coping?" Kirk smiled at her.

"Dreams are not supposed to hurt!" She tried to smile back but she wasn't sure if she had managed it.

"Does this mean you are finally certain that you are no longer dreaming?"

"If I am, then I'm sadistic."

Kirk shook his head slightly, he was smiling. At least, her humor was still intact. "We won't get into that, but I understand your meaning."

McCoy came back with some juice and then looked to Kirk, "My patient needs rest, Captain." He was half teasing, it was a gentle reminder not to stay much longer.

"Okay, Bones." He looked back to Emma, "Get well, you've done good work.... Ensign Benix. It will be a pleasure to have you back upstairs." Kirk smiled then winked at her.

She was in total shock at the increase in rank, "Thank you, sir."

McCoy half grinned, "The more you get injured around here, the higher the rank." McCoy teased and when Kirk reacted to the comment, he was satisfied.

As they moved off together, McCoy invited Kirk back for a game of chess or to finish a bottle of brandy they had started. Kirk said he would see him later for both.

McCoy helped her sip some of the juice, then he ordered her to sleep. Emma was not about to argue and closed her eyes to drift off. She had little choice in the matter as the medications were beginning to kick in and her entire body was feeling numb. It would not be difficult for her to sleep, it never was.... the hard part was coping with the dreams!


Emma looked around. She was suddenly no longer aboard the ship. The houses and the scenery looked familiar and she began to realize she was home! To her, even the smell of pollution was welcome; it gave her the sensation that she had returned to the even correct time. Someone called to her, she turned around. "Michael!" She ran to him and wrapped her arms around him. He tried to keep his balance as he pulled her tight to him. She inhaled that fragrance she knew belong to no one other than him. "I missed you!" She felt her weight touch the ground again. She kissed him. His hands separated them.

"Every time we have a fight, you walk off. I really wish you would stop!" He was angry and he wasn't sure why she was so damned pleased to see him! She was the one that had to walk off angry, simply because he didn't answer the phone when it rang. Why should he? It was never for him and he had been busy reading, taking it easy. It was the weekend and his time to do as he pleased. "Where did you disappear to this time? We checked all the usual hiding places."

"I was down by the river and the next thing I knew...." She was still wondering if she had dreamed it all!

"You were not at the river!" They began to walk across the park to their home. "The kids have been looking all over the place."

"I thought you said we?" She reached to her side, her bag was gone! She reached to touch her face; her glasses were still there!

"Well, someone had to finish the supper you left behind. The rest of us do get hungry even if you don't! Honestly, I never know how you think.." He was sounding angry again, "..Or do you?"

She sighed, nothing had changed! Why did she expect it to? "I try very hard not to." She whispered. No one had missed her! No one had even cared that she could not be found! Not after she came back. He didn't even want to know what had gone on! She walked up the steps to the house and was greeted by her dog.

A black Chow, his mouth closed around her wrist, not hurting, he just wanted her to know she was welcomed home. At least, someone was glad to see her! The dog's tail swished the air and she sometimes wondered how he could do this without feeling tired afterwards or causing the tail to fall off.

"Get! Out of the way!" Michael shooed the dog. He turned to her. "There are just the potatoes to finish and then you can whip those. I've done everything else for you!"

"I can tell." She looked at the kitchen. "Thanks." Peels left on the counter, the wrapping from the meat sitting there. The sink full of dishes! They weren't there when she had left! Then again, she wasn't sure how long she had been gone, according to here! The phone rang and automatically she picked it up. "Hello!" She turned to Michael, "Is Leslie in?"

"How am I supposed to know, I was out looking for you!"

Emma put the phone back to her ear, asked who was calling and would like to leave a message. She wrote everything down and then hung the phone up. She listened for a minute, to the noises of her house. The industrial music the teenagers were into now. The trumpet practicing, so Leslie was home! She shook her head slightly, not understanding this! Then the blaring of the added music as her husband practiced on the drums. She made herself a cup of tea and wondered how much of any of this was a dream?

Which was the dream? Or was it a nightmare? This? Or was it when she was aboard the Enterprise?

"Well, you've finally lost it, Emma. You told them that the minute you'd start believing it was not a dream, it would stop!" She drank some of the tea, then started the dishes that had suddenly appeared. Things had not changed much while she was away.

Feet banged down the stairs, "Mom! Have you seen my boots?"

"Check by the front door." She stated automatically.

The phone rang again. This time it was for Michael. She called down to him, and he took the call. She went back to the dishes and her tea. She checked on supper, cleaned up the grease on the stove and then Michael came into the kitchen.

"I'm going out. Play some pool. Is supper going to be ready on time today?" He was being sarcastic again but to him, he was just asking a question.

"Yes, it will be ready on time." Emma felt that pain in her chest again, the one she got when she was lonely. "Are you going to be long. I'd like to talk to you."

"About what now?"

"About why I was so angry before."

"You want me to do your job as well as mine. You can't have everything your way, so you disrupt the household." He shrugged his jacket on; "There is nothing to discuss in that! I'm at work. You are here. Take care of here!"

"That isn't the problem, Michael. I just want to be treated like your wife. Be taken out once in a while, spend some time together." She felt the tears again.

"I'm going now. You know why we don't go out! I don't have enough money to take you." He started out the door, "I hope you've got money for milk, because I only have enough for a few pool game and some beer." He didn't wait for an answer because there wasn't any he would have been interested in.

Leslie came down the stairs and asked when supper would be ready, because she was heading out. She agreed to be home in time for supper, or she'd call. She'd help with the dishes when she got in, if she had enough time. Emma thanked her and told her to have a good time.

The doorbell rang, the dog barked and her youngest came barreling down the stairs. "It's for me. I got a ride to practice. Bye!" She was out the door, cadet boots and white top tucked under her arm. Annual inspections were just around the corner and she had won for Best Drill Captain! "I had something to eat while you were gone, so I won't eat later."

"Fine, have a good time!"

Emma watched the car drive off. She went back to the dishes and her tea. She looked to the time and then the phone rang. It was Janice, her oldest daughter. Asking if Emma could be their baby-sitter, she was being taken out to dinner! How could Emma turn her down? "Sure, I'm not doing anything."

The evening progressed. Emma sat with her granddaughter, discussed life with the three-month-old, and ate supper alone. Michael hadn't come home yet, despite the tirade about supper being on time. Leslie had called and said she'd been invited for supper. Her youngest, Tricia had been in and was fast asleep. Drill practices always tired her out. Soon, Janice was back to pick up the baby. She had a good time. Then Emma sat back down to the television and her quilting.

The quilt she was working on was for her granddaughter and she wanted to finish it as soon as possible. She sat back for a moment; her fingers were getting sore. Then began to fall asleep. Leslie had made it in on time, and had headed up to bed. Emma jerked awake again, then decided to head upstairs as well. She turned off all the lights and started up the stairs to check on the kids. Her foot missed the step! She grabbed for the railing but missed and then she fell back, and fell ... and fell. She knew she should have hit the stairs by now!

"Emma? Emma!"

She heard the voice; it was familiar to her. Michael was finally home! "Michael, I fell."

"Emma. It's not Michael. It's Dr. McCoy." He was becoming concerned. She had started to cry out, then stopped suddenly. She had gone into a delayed shock and her body was not reacting well to the medications. "Emma!"

"Yes!" Emma took a deep breath and then opened her eyes. She met McCoy's worried look. "It was a dream!" She searched his face, looking for reality!

"What was a dream?" He needed to know if she meant what she had experienced, was a dream to her or reality? Or was she talking about the fall on the bridge!

"Falling. My chest is hurting." She took another careful deep breath. At least, she felt her tears. "I don't ever want to go back!" She whispered through the tears. "Never. Ever! Don't let me go again!" She just wanted to close her eyes. Have everything stop hurting so much! "Just want go to sleep! .... not dream."

McCoy was confused. He decided he would have to talk to her about this. After she woke up again. "Everything's okay. You're safe now." Her readings showed that she was sleeping now. He brushed her hair away from her face. He was just about to tell her that she had experienced heart failure due to the shock her body had taken. She needed the rest more. He pulled a chair over and sat down. He'd be here for her the next time she woke up. His chin rested on his hand, against the bed. His other hand smoothed her hair. The ship was on nightwatch and he could sleep in this chair, just as well as the one in his office.

Knowing this recovery would take some time had not lost on either of them. McCoy also was also quite aware that she had to start talking about these dreams! Keeping all this bottled up inside was not good for her either. He'd try to think of a way to help her.

McCoy sat straight up at the noise. A skill learned during med school. He tried to identify the sound as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. "Crying?" He mumbled. He frowned; she should not be feeling any pain! He reached for his scanner, "She's dreaming?" He sat back in the chair for a moment trying to wake up fully. He stood. His hands went to her face, rubbing her cheeks.

"Emma. Emma, wake up." She was trying to sit up but because of the stasis field, she could not move! "Emma!" He brushed her hair back with one hand. His other stroked her cheek as he tried to calm her down, without even thinking about what he was doing. She was mumbling in her sleep too. It sounded as if she were involved in an argument.

"Emma!" He shouted and clapped his hands together suddenly.

Her eyes opened. "What is it?" She met his eyes; she was still uncomfortable, not being able to move. She wasn't sure why she had been woken up.

"Any pain?" McCoy was concerned.

"No." Emma was baffled by his questions. "Are you waking me up for a sleeping pill again?" She had kept teasing him about that.

McCoy smiled, "No. Are you remembering any of your dreams?"

"I haven't dreamt in a long time!" Emma's eyes tried to close, "Anything else, Doctor?" She just couldn't stay awake and make sense out of everything!

"No. Go back to sleep." McCoy sat back as her eyes closed. She was too tired to talk right now. After about ten minutes, his head dropped slowly as he drifted off as well.


"Now you are telling me this will hurt?" Emma looked at the doctor. She was ready to try to walk around a bit. The bed had been tilted up so she was now standing on the footboard. McCoy stood beside her, holding the bed in position. He held out his hand to help her. "Which is it?"

"Your muscles will be sore. There won't be any pain in your back, that's fine." He sighed, she was trying his patients and he was enjoying this banter. "Be careful."

Emma leaned back on the bed. McCoy lowered it back. She lifted herself onto her elbows. "Now look, either I can do this or I can't! Which is it?" She grinned at him.

McCoy folded his arms took a long breath and then looked to his patient. "When you get up.." He felt a grin start, but he stopped it. This was the third time he was going through this with her. All he wanted to do was point out the fact that her balance would not be great at first and her leg muscles may be sore. That's it! Somehow, it never got that far, to the end... her standing!

Nurse Chapel had been watching this unnoticed by either the doctor or the patient, from the office doorway. She reached out a hand and pulled Kirk in as he came into sickbay. She put her fingers to her lips, then whispered for him to be quiet and watch!

Kirk did as he was told. He smiled as Christine did. McCoy and Emma were arguing and enjoying every minute!

"Let me get this straight!" Emma finally stated.

"I doubt it." McCoy mumbled as he looked to the decking, shaking his head slightly. "You haven't so far!"

"Doctor McCoy! Really!" She smiled then continued. "You are going to lift this bed. I step off the end."

McCoy nodded after each statement.

"You will be there to catch me if I start to fall on my face?" She stared at him, he nodded, "My muscles will be sore but my back won't be?" She waited.

McCoy nodded, then looked up surprised! "That's it!"

Emma sat up slightly, she shrugged, and "All you had to do was say so."

McCoy held his breath then let it out slowly. He looked up to her, her eyes were bright! She had been yanking his chain all along!"Procrastinator!"

She nodded.

McCoy tilted the bed then held her hand. He looked to her as she waited. "What?"

"You promise?" Her grip tightened slightly.

"Yes, I promise." He was getting annoyed now. Emma was definitely well enough to return to her quarters! She was getting the better of him! "Now!"

Emma took a breath and then stepped off the footboard. She waited for McCoy to return from righting the bed. He held her hand for support as she took her first steps. Her muscles did scream, just a little! Her balance was not the greatest, but getting better. She let go of his hand, but he stayed close. "There. How's that?"

Kirk and Chapel came out applauding! Emma tried to bow, slightly. McCoy had a suspicion that they had been there longer than he felt comfortable about!

McCoy looked to his nurse, "How long have you been spying?"

She smiled. "Not long." She lied. She knew that he knew it was a lie. She tilted her head slightly, informing him that he had been caught being nice to a patient! His cover had been blown!

"And you, Captain?" Emma asked. She was still walking around, more confidently than before.

"Long enough to appreciate the results." Kirk smiled, "I had come down to check on you. And to see if McCoy was interested in a game of poker later?"

"Well, I'm getting there. I've been told to stay away from handrails." She shrugged, she was heading back to her bed, "Can I go?"

"Yes. Anytime!" McCoy grumped at her. "Be back tomorrow, early!"

"Yes, Doctor." She sounded condescending.

McCoy headed into his office and Kirk followed. McCoy busied himself for a minute, filling in Emma's file. He flipped off the terminal and looked to Kirk. "What time is the game?"

"Twenty hundred." Kirk nodded, trying to convince him to join them.

"Sure." McCoy had just made two people happy! Emma, by letting her out of here. Kirk, by agreeing to be picked clean by him tonight! McCoy sighed. "Go away. I've got work to do. Sickbays don't run themselves you know!"


It was end of watch for her. She had waited for the parents that were due to pick up the last of the children. She had picked up the last of the toys, and moved out into the corridor. She always waited until the lights switched off. A habit she had left from the necessity of physically turning lights off in her time. Her back was feeling a great deal better. It had been two months since she had been released from sickbay with a clean bill of health. She had returned to the physical training. She was swimming quite regularly, where she would bump into McCoy quite often. She still had not made many friends, but it was getting easier. As long as the dreams of her lost life would stay away!

The mess hall was busy because of change of watch. She picked out her favorite dinner then moved to a table that was out of the way. It had a viewer near-by to help with the lack of conversation; she could read. As far as Emma was concerned, this beat cooking and doing dishes any night. No matter how awful the food tasted some times.

She called up the book she had been reading, one of fantasy gothic fiction, and then began to eat her meal. Most of her days were spent reading and catching up on histories and sciences. At times, she was at the point where she just wished it would all go away! She escaped into the fictional books but she missed not having one in her hands.

"Do you object to company?" Spock asked quietly.

"No, of course not." Emma turned the viewer off. A conversation with anyone was a welcome intrusion!

"You read a great deal." Spock stated. He knew of her habit due to his monitoring of the flow of historical information being called to the terminal in her quarters. "Have you found all the material necessary?"

"Almost." Emma looked to the Vulcan first officer, watching him for a few minutes. "Is there a way to check on my family?" She was still unsure if she actually wanted to do this!

"There might be. It would depend on how much of the records survived along the way. If you wish to proceed with the inquiry, I could be of some assistance. Perhaps, Cmdr. Uhura would be a more acceptable choice. She would be far more familiar with old Earth records." Spock was almost finished his soup. He had watched the progress that this woman had made. He was impressed with her ability to adjust to the situation. He had however noted that she was very rarely with any other crewmembers. "Have you mastered 3D chess yet?"

Emma laughed slightly, "No, I can barely play the regular game of chess. I prefer Backgammon."

"Would you care to play a game?" Spock had sensed that they had a fair bit in common. Both came from places that few understood and both felt quite out of place most of the time.

"Did someone ask you to.. Apologies, Mr. Spock." Emma finished off her sandwich, "Yes, of course." She sometimes had this feeling that the crewmembers that began to talk to her did so only out of curiosity.

Spock stood. He disposed of both trays of food, then collected the Backgammon board on his return. Emma had programmed a pot of Earl Grey tea and obtained two cups. Spock set the game up and allowed Emma the first move. He poured the tea and they concentrated on the game for a time.

"What is your opinion of your world's accomplishments?" Spock raised an eyebrow as he asked. He was not certain how his question would be received. "I think as a race we seemed to have done it the hard way, but over all, I'm glad the human race survived inspite of itself." She rolled the dice and moved the appropriate stones. Spock was an excellent strategist; he would even temper his abilities when playing with an inferior opponent. Her! She enjoyed their rare conversations. He did not ask about her life. He wanted to know about the time period she lived in. That was much easier to deal with, than what exactly happened to her personally. From that, he probably obtained whatever he needed to know. He was good at asking the right question.

"The hard way? Is that in reference to succeeding even though there are difficulties."

"Yes, and some times it refers to the fact that a more difficult way is chosen." She wondered how much of Spock's curiosity was normal for a Vulcan. She suspected that Spock kept most of his curiosities to himself. Her next move gave Spock an opening in the game, but for her it could not have been avoided. He won. "Well done, Mr. Spock."

"Do you wish another?"

"You don't find it boring playing with such an inexperienced opponent?"

"If you were the only opponent I had, and your game never improved, yes. However, you are not my only opponent and your game is improving, even with the limited time we have played so far. I believe that should we average two games each day, it would take you approximately six months to obtain a draw."

"Six months?" She smiled at his nod, "Makes it seem almost obtainable!" She handed him the dice, respectful of the fact that he did not wish the physical contact. The next few games went quickly. She found the light conversation comfortable. His occasional suggestions at how she could improve her game were helpful.

The two went on playing this game for a good part of the evening. Emma managed to win one out of the fifteen games they did play! Spock then suggested they work on her chess game. The rarely used single level board was produced and they began another three-hour session of game playing. They had also discussed the varied interest that each had. When Spock discovered that she was knowledgeable in some of the handcrafting skills, he turned on the viewer. They were talking about quilting at the time. He tapped in a few notations on the near-by terminal. The screen was turned towards her and she was asked if that was the quilt framing she was discussing. Emma nodded. He informed her that he would speak to the engineering department concerning the possibility of producing a frame for her. Emma had been surprised and pleased at this offer of friendship.

Emma had begun to feel the fatigue in her body. She shifted in her seat a few times, then stifled a yawn, "I'm sorry Mr. Spock, it's not the company."

Spock apologized for keeping her here so long.

Emma yawned again and with a chuckle, excused herself. She headed straight for her quarters, but on the way, she passed by the observation deck. Something, she could rarely avoid! She stood watching the stars for a time, thinking about the things that have changed. She was independent, sort of, and she had less medical problems to deal with. The stars were difficult to watch while they were in warp, but it was one more thing she was learning to enjoy. Instead of the stars appearing as dots, they looked like streaks of light!

She smiled as she thought of the games she played tonight. Spock always managed to make her feel as if she had a friend. She wondered if he meant it in that fashion? When time was spent here, she relaxed. At times too relaxed, she pulled herself awake long enough to make it to her cabin. Thanks to the stars and Mr. Spock, tonight would be one night that she would sleep well. For a change!


Emma tapped on the door, smiled then touched the door chime. The door opened, to a smiling communications officer. "I'm sorry for knocking...old habits die hard."

"That's okay, Lt. Anything I can do for you?" Uhura was off duty and wearing an African dress. It was loose, and looked extremely comfortable. "Mr. Spock suggested that I speak with you about helping me look for records of my family." Emma felt awkward all of a sudden. As if she did not want to do this! "He seemed to think you'd be better at the old Earth files than he would." She looked to the officer's face, trying to find a clue as to whether she would help or not. It wasn't easy.

"Well, we can try." Uhura guessed, that Spock's compliment was more to save himself from the possible emotional reactions she may have. She waved Emma in and offered her a seat. "I've got a whole duty period to waste and I can't think of anything more important." This woman had her sympathies, this must be difficult.

"Thank you, Cmdr. Uhura." Emma felt a bit better, "I hope we can find something. It might help.... deal with things." Her voice fell slightly. She was unsure if she wanted the information. She wasn't sure what to do with it.

Uhura sat across her at the desk. She began to tap in some information into the computer's terminal. "Help yourself to the coffee. Spock manages to find the real stuff sometimes and hides it away for the addicted ones." Uhura smiled then sipped on her own cup. "Tell me about your family and some of the dates and places. Is there anything that might have stayed over time that your children, if any, or your husband might have been involved with."

Emma nodded, as she began to tell Uhura things. Dates, schools, the name of the town they lived in. The data was entered into the computer. "The organization the girls were involved with was Navy League of Canada and the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets."

Uhura nodded, "There are still a few corps in existence. There's one associated with Starfleet HQ and there is one up north. They are referred to as the Royal Navy and Sea Cadets now." She was as surprised as Emma was at the co-incidence. She shared the fact that she had spent a short time in the Sea Cadet Corps in Africa, as a training officer, before she left for the Academy.

"I used to tease them, that I was the only one that didn't have a uniform...." Emma took a deep breath, trying to stop her eyes from watering. She missed her girls! "My oldest had just had a baby..!" Emma stood, shaking, the tears blurred her vision, "I can't do this! I'm sorry, Cmdr."

Uhura stood with her, "Don't be!" She hugged her; she could not even imagine how awful Emma must feel. "We don't have to do this all at once." Uhura offered her some tissues then leaned against the desk; "I'll put the computer on a search for the girls names. Does Spock know them?"

Emma nodded.

"Okay then, I'll get whatever information he has and when I need things from you, I'll let you know." Uhura watched as she began to calm down, "When you feel like it, maybe you can help me find some of the music you would listen to. It's a hobby of mine."

"I've heard you play and sing. You have a lovely voice." Emma smiled, "I especially like the song you sang about Spock. Something about...he'll steal your heart away." Emma held her breath, from Uhura's reaction she knew she had done it again. "Forget I said anything!"

"But how did you know about it?"

"In my time, there were fictional books written, that were about one man's vision of the future. It was mostly about this ship and this crew. I thought one of my friends was pulling my leg, when I first came aboard." Emma sighed, "That seems so long ago!"

"Anytime you want some company, just holler. Do you play an instrument?" Uhura would find Spock. She would talk to him about some of this, besides getting the information she needed.

"No." Emma sounded disappointed; "I never had the opportunity."

"Maybe you should think about it. On board, we have just about every instrument and someone that knows how to play. We can probable find you a spare instrument or have the processors fabricate one." Uhura could not have imagined her life without music.

Emma nodded, "It's something to consider. At least music hasn't changed much over the years, there are still eight notes to an octave." She smiled at Uhura, "Thank you again for the help. May be I'll drop by later."

"If I'm not here or on duty, I am usually in the rec room."

Emma thanked her again and then went to her quarters. She sat down on her bed, kicked off her boots, took off her tunic then curled up in a ball and cried. She missed everyone so much! The dreams had not stopped. Many times she had woken up screaming because she wasn't sure what was real. She was feeling the separation from her time; she had almost convinced herself that the other Emma was not quite real.

It had been a long time since she had actually separated her memories of each of the people that were left behind. She wondered what each of them had done with their lives.... Had Tricia joined cadets? Did Leslie ever perform as a musician? Did Janice ever return to cadets? Did she and Drew ever marry? Did Michael ever remarry? What had happened to her sisters and her parents?

She felt the pain of remembering those she left behind..... she closed her eyes tightly and wondered if she should not speak to McCoy about these dreams....?


Emma ran down the corridor after the three-year-old. She had to get her before she ran into the officers up ahead. How on Earth, this little one had reached the wall panel to open the door, was beyond her! She reached and pulled the squealing child into her arms. Emma slammed to a stop. She stared at this squirming bundle of energy, the tight dark curls were damp and her eyes sparkled with mischief.

"You are.... a ... little....worm!" Emma tried to catch her breath.

"Are you okay, Lt." Dr. McCoy asked.

She nodded, still trying to catch her breath, but it wasn't working this time. She leaned against the bulkhead, still holding on to the escapee. Concentrate, she told herself. Breathe slowly; hold it... then let it out. She started coughing!

Dr. McCoy came back out of the room; he had not quite entered. He had waited. He ran to her. He took the little one that was now hanging on to him. He helped Emma into the sickbay; she still couldn't catch her breath. "Chapel!" He called out to her, then handed her the child. "Call the nursery!" He helped Emma to the near-by diagnostic bed. All had been done with practiced skill.

McCoy ran the scanner over her. He touched her neck with the hypospray, just as she fainted. He placed her into a more comfortable position then activated the diagnostic panel above her. He activated the terminal at the desk and called up her records. He shook his head; things were not going well!

McCoy moved back to Emma's side. He brushed her hair back. It usually fell straight to her waist. Now, it was in knots and caught up in her uniform. He would ask the nurse to sort out her hair later.

He over-heard the conversation Nurse Chapel was having, with whomever had that little three-year-old. He knew Chapel could handle any problems that had come up.

He ran the scanner over her again, then checked the readings. McCoy mumbled to himself. He could not understand why this kept happening?

Chapel stood by his side suddenly, "Toxins again?"

"Yea. If they don't clear her system soon, she may not survive one of these attacks." McCoy looked to Chapel. "Since she literally beamed aboard out of yesterday, what's it been.... nine, ten months?"

Chapel nodded.

"....her body's been detoxifying. But every now and then, it's as if it's all back again. All at once! Never quite as bad as the last time, but it should have be cleared by now!"

"You've stopped the additional medications?" Habitually, she watched the readings.

McCoy nodded. "I'm keeping her here tonight. You go get some dinner and then you are off duty. I'll grab something here." McCoy shooed her out. He went back to his patient and his meal. He programmed some vegetable soup. He'd start with that, if he were hungry later, he'd have something else. He still found it hard to sit down to a three-course meal. He always had the feeling that he was supposed to be somewhere else!

He sat at his desk, with the monitor on. He could keep an eye on Lt. Benix this way. The soup tasted good, it gave him a little more energy than he had right now. Just as he finished, Lt. Benix rolled onto her back. He wiped his mouth then headed to the occupied bed.

"How are you feeling?"

"Like someone ran a tank over me." She pulled her jacket open as she tried to sit up. McCoy helped her; he tossed the jacket onto the empty bed beside them. "My chest and head hurt and I'm hungry."

"Been skipping meals again?" McCoy shook his head, "You told me that you had brought up three kids and were married -- that tells me you know the rules to follow!"

She shrugged. "Give me a reason to follow the rules! I'm still taking care of kids and sitting in a room by myself." She was adjusting to the time period, but she was still lonely.

"Why in a room by yourself? You were married?" McCoy sat on the edge of the bed; maybe he'd find some answers this time. She seemed more willing to talk today for whatever reason. He tried to act as if the information was not really needed.

"Just because you are married, does not mean you have company, or even someone that still cares." She was angry; "I married for life. We were together day after day, not what you people do now, marriages by sub-space, or not. Not seeing one another for years!"

"With deep-space travel, sometimes it's the only way to hang on to something to go back to. Couples are also given a chance to call it quits before there is too much hurting being done." McCoy thought of his marriage, long since dead but not quite forgotten. He wondered how much of her headache was simple tension. "Sit up a bit, Emma." She frowned, then slowly sat up.

McCoy moved behind her. His hands began to massage the knots from her back and shoulders. He could not believe how much tension she kept there. He'd make sure she came in a few more times to have this done. He would introduce her to the whirlpools as well!

She felt the muscles begin to relax, then she felt the loneliness creep in on her. "Stop please, Doctor." She hadn't realized how badly she had missed a touch of another.

"I've almost got.." He was surprised when she pulled away. Her back was still to him, "Emma?" He leaned closer to her. His hands held her shoulders firmly as he turned her to face him. She was crying. "What is it?" His voice was soft. What could have upset her so easily, so quickly?

She shook her head, sliding slowly off the bed. "You're not leaving here! Not before we have these tears worked out." He swung his legs over to her side and stood in front of her. He reached to the tissue box and dropped it on the bed. He tugged a few out and handed them to her. "I know I didn't hurt you. What's wrong?"

"It's okay, Doctor. Just feeling ..a little lost ..lonely." She tried smiling but it didn't stay long. Besides, there was no way she was going to tell the doctor what she was really missing! She didn't care how much he would understand!

"Have some supper. You'll feel better." McCoy watched this woman. Along the way, he had found out she had many hidden talents, including her ability to handle those kids! He had discovered her in the observation deck with a six-month old. She was talking to the young blue Andorian about life.

McCoy heard her ask the little life what he thought about this century, the baby had chosen that moment to laugh. She nodded, accepted that as a comment, then added that she understood what he meant. She had started to tell the Andorian about her children, but was interrupted by the crying of the over-tired infant. She began to rock him. Soothing him with her voice and the gentle tapping on his back, she managed with one hand.

McCoy had eavesdropped for just a few minutes, but looking back, maybe he should have stayed longer. She hid her feelings, almost as well as Spock did.

"I don't need to be mothered!" She made it sound like an awful thing.

"What do you need?" McCoy watched her deep brown eyes lower.

"For someone to care."

"I care."

"That's your job." She took a breath and tossed the used tissues in the recycling unit. Her arms folded, she continued looking to the floor. "I have very little in common with you people."

"We are the same people!"

"But not the same time!" She was getting frustrated. No one realized how different they were from her! There were things that were so normal to them and it was another world to her! In more ways than one. "And everything I gone!"

"Come on. Come and eat." McCoy guided her into the office, "I haven't eaten yet and I would love the company." He asked her preferences then ordered her meal of fried rice, chicken and tea. He ordered himself a chicken salad sandwich. He was glad he hadn't eaten too much earlier.

They began to talk, very little at first, mostly about the foods they liked. After a time, they found all the 'safe' subjects to talk about and even some to laugh about. McCoy was pleased to find out that she could play poker but lost easily, "Let that be our little secret. I wouldn't want you to be taken advantage of by every poker player on board!"

"Oh gee thanks, just by you?" Emma finished off her tea; she sat back in the chair, smiling.

"I would like you to know, Lt., that I do not take advantage of any woman ...unless she wishes to be taken advantage of.." He wasn't sure that had came out the way he intended it to.

"Thank you Doctor, for the company. It was nice." She meant it; she was ready to leave his office.

"My name's Leonard. What do you mean -- was?"

"Not too many care for my company twice, or for too long. I'm out of time for them. I need explanations and sometimes even explanations need explaining."

"Well, we haven't said anything yet, either of us have had to explain." He felt as if he had been gaining her trust.

Emma smiled, "Maybe that's your.. never mind." She stood, turning away from him.

"My what?" McCoy detected a bit of tact in this lady. He moved around to her side of his desk. He caught the hidden smile, and then it struck him that the one thing they had in common was time. He felt as if he had been born too late in time. He was also one of the older Terrans on board. He tapped her shoulder, "Are you referring to my.... age?" He saw the very slight shudder in her. He smiled; at least she was laughing -- at him, but laughing! "You haven't answered me." He tried to sound angry but he started to laugh. "You are saying that we can relate because I'm old?"

Emma turned to face him, the tears were running down her face, her mouth and body were trying very hard not to laugh. But it wasn't working! She exploded into laughter, "I'm sorry!" She covered her face and began to control this. "I'm really sorry. I did not mean it the way it sounded.... really!" She leaned against the desk.

McCoy shook his head, "Okay, tell the old man what you'd really like to do!"

"Me? Do something? I never really thought of someone asking me...what I wanted..." The veil was starting to come down again, "I always wanted my husband to take dancing lessons." She grinned. "I don't suppose...?"

"Of course, my dear, a good Southern gentleman knows how to dance with any lovely woman." He tried a bow; he looked up without straightening.

"Know any?" She sounded sarcastic.

"Southern gentlemen?" McCoy straightened, sounding slightly indignant with the reference.

"No!" She sounded indignant. She met his eyes, "The lovely woman!"

McCoy realized from her expression that she was quite serious! He wondered what could have happened that would give someone such a negative view of herself? He took her hand and led her into the main room. He touched the terminal and chose some music. "I hope you know how to waltz ...lovely lady?"

"My favorite." Emma held McCoy's hand and then touched his waist. "It's been awhile, so watch your toes."

"I'm a doctor, I can handle these things." He smiled as he began to lead her in the slow movements. "So far so good." He spoke softly. He began to feel her relax and gain confidence in her dancing. She had only tripped once, but McCoy caught her and they laughed about it. Mostly, they danced the slower tunes but there were a few more lively tunes along the way, and that's when she had tripped. McCoy had been taxed to think of the titles or the origins of the songs. Emma knew a few of the so-called 'classics'.

"They weren't classics when I heard them!" She chuckled, "Doesn't that make a person feel old!"

McCoy nodded, understanding what she meant.

Without realizing it, they had moved closer to each other. As the nightwatch began, the lights dimmed slightly, adding to the mood of the evening. They had talked about music, about kids, about each other, Starfleet and time.

"This is one Mr. Spock plays."

"Yea, I think so." McCoy had begun to realize how long they had been dancing. "Want something to drink?"

"Chickening out?" Emma didn't want to let go.

"No. Taking a break. I'm thirsty?" McCoy poured the tea from the pot he had taken from the processor. "Sit. Enjoy!" He sat down with her at the small table. "What did couples do for entertainment in you time?"

"Not a history buff, I gather?" She smiled when he agreed. "Watch television. Sometimes a movie. We'd go out for dinner when he would decide ... no, that's not fair." She flipped her hair over her shoulder, "We played pool, bowling, mini golf..." She smiled at his confusion about mini golf, she explained briefly.

"You should explain that mini golf to Mr. Scott. He might just find a spot for mini golf on board the ship!"

"What do couples do now?"

"On the ship, dinner, dancing. Mostly time together in their quarters. We have the equivalent of movies but you can call them up on your own screen at home. On board ship here, we have a movie theater. I don't think it would have the ambiance yours did."

"Or the gum under the seats!" She smiled at that, McCoy nodded. She wasn't sure if he knew what she meant.

"When we stop at the Starbase, in a few days. I'll take you out on the town. How's that?" McCoy wondered where the suggestion had come from?

"That would be nice." Emma emptied her cup. She sighed, this was very relaxing and she didn't want it to stop.

"More dancing?" McCoy offered. Emma nodded. McCoy reached to her hand. They stood then moved together as the tune started. He held her differently this time, tighter, closer to him. He moved her hair behind her shoulder. He tried tucking it behind her ear. She tilted her head slightly, as she listened to the music. He pulled her in closer; her head rested on his shoulder. Her hand had finally relaxed from a fist in the middle of his back, to a warm spot from her palm. Her left hand lay gently on his shoulder. She had reached out a finger and tickled his neck. It caused him to shiver. He smiled at her. He tried peeking at her face, she was smiling and her eyes were closed. "Tired?"

"No." She raised her head. "You dance very well." She met his eyes, "Thank you, Leonard." This was the first time she had lost the feeling of being an uneducated child!

"You are very welcome, Miss Emma." He touched her head so that she'd rest it on his shoulder again. He was enjoying this! He was also beginning to realize, just how long it had been since he had enjoyed a woman's company. He was feeling less like a doctor and she was becoming extremely comfortable for him. The thought crossed his mind, he wondered if this was the wrong move to make. It did not feel like it!

"Always a Southern gentlemen?" She whispered.

He reached and lifted her chin. "Only with the right woman." He found himself kissing her. And she was kissing back! He held her closer to him. He felt her arms move around him. They were still kissing when he tasted her tears. He guided her head to rest on his shoulder. He kissed her neck, "Are you okay?"

She nodded. "I just forgot how good this could feel!" His kiss had made her remember what it was like to be wanted. She whispered to him. "It's been so long!" She nuzzled into his shoulder, and then she felt the sudden sob. His kiss unlocked the memory of what it was like to be cared about. To be held as if it matters that you were there! She pulled him tight, "Oh, please don't move!"

McCoy smoothed her hair. "I won't." He spoke softly. He found himself at a loss for words as he hugged her. The comment she made made him curious, "You've been here ten months that's not long. I mean for a normal..."

"'s been five years." She whispered, thinking of all the nights she lied beside her husband. Knowing that if she reached out to him, she would have been rejected. "It's not that long when you are alone. But when you have someone beside you, that doesn't want to have anything to do with you .. it hurts!"

McCoy looked at her, "That's not fair ... to either of you."

"Mid-life crisis. Worrying about work, bills. I just wasn't distracting enough. Put on weight? I just wasn't...twenty anymore? I really don't know. All I know is that I was hurting. I hadn't stopped hurting until now." Her tears fell and her eyes brightened. She brushed her tears and then moved slowly away from him. She did not need this problem on top of all the others she had, in her opinion.

She went to the bed and the tissues. "I don't suppose Terrans have found a more elegant way of crying?" She was wiping her nose as he moved to her.

He laughed slightly, "No. We still get the common cold too." He held back her hair then lifted her chin. "I'm sorry if I did anything..."

"You made me stop hurting. You stopped that pain in my chest; I'd have every now and then. You made me feel like I'm more than ... Mom, where's that ... Mom, can you do this for me? Emma, have you done anything today except sit in front of that frame!" She sat down on the bed. "I had just forgotten how this felt." She looked to McCoy, "I hope I haven't messed things up?"

"Not at all!" McCoy reached to the sickbay overalls. "Just a little insecure are we?" She needed to rest and he needed to separate himself from her or he might regret his actions. "They don't do you justice, but more comfortable to sleep in than your uniform." His hand touched her cheek. "I'll tuck you in."

She nodded, accepted the coveralls, and then moved to the other room to change. When the door closed behind her, she let out the breath she had been holding. She felt her tears again; feeling him next to her was almost too much to take! As she stripped off her uniform, she caught his scent lingering on her clothing. She held her sweater close to her face and inhaled, "Oh God, don't let this be a dream!" she whispered.

McCoy moved to the processor, asked for two hot cocoas and he added a touch of rum to both.

The sickbay doors opened, "Bones, how's your..... ?" Kirk stopped, McCoy had a strange look on his face. "Everything okay?"

"Oh, sure." McCoy moved to the bed that had been turned down and placed one hot cocoa on the bedside table. He drank some of his. This felt awkward!

"My office? I have a patient in for observation." McCoy moved into his office, trusting that Kirk would follow. He poured a brandy for Kirk and then added some to his cocoa. He paused in his movements; he shouldn't have done that! He was going to have a difficult time if Kirk decided to ask too much about what was going on. He wondered if Kirk could read in his face, what he always read in Kirk's...that light flush that Kirk kept on his face when he had just left a woman. Were McCoy's observations made only because he was Kirk's physician? Kirk sat down and lifted his glass.

McCoy caught the movement in the monitor; "I'll be right back, Jim." He slowed, he was moving too fast for just a patient!

"Sure." Kirk sat back. He moved the files closer to the monitor then moved the chess set. He peeked into McCoy's cup, "Cocoa?" He peeked at the monitor next, "Curiouser and curiouser?"

McCoy crossed the room. He moved the blankets into place around her, the bedtray was moved over. "Some hot cocoa with a kick. It'll help you sleep."

"I heard Captain Kirk." She looked to McCoy's eyes, kind eyes. "I'll be fine. I have lots of reading to do. I'll read up on the dance steps I've missed.... or is that assuming too much?"

"Relax, Emma, you don't need to try so hard." McCoy tapped the cup. "Doctor's orders. Don't read for too long." He stared into her eyes; his hand touched her face lightly. "Sleep tight. I'll come through and check on you. If you need me, for anything, I'll be in my office... all night." Words were coming faster than he could think.

"Understood." Emma sipped on the cocoa. "It's good." She tried to calm herself.

"I'm glad." He tapped her nose as he left. He walked back into his office.

"Interesting bedside manner..." Kirk indicated the monitor, smiling slightly. "How is she doing?" He sat back after moving his chess piece.

"Not bad. She passed out again today. I've changed her regiment so I'm keeping her under observation." McCoy was pleased Kirk was going for the subtle approach.... that he could handle!

Kirk nodded wondering if there was any more to this.... interest.

"When do we get to Starbase Ten?" McCoy moved his pawn.

"Tomorrow about fourteen hundred."

McCoy nodded. "Physicals are just about done. You should have the final report by twelve hundred tomorrow."

"That will make Starfleet happy." Kirk drank more of his brandy. "What have you been up to tonight?" He was fishing for clues, he wasn't sure if he'd get any. Maybe he was reading more into than he needed to?

"Ate supper here. Caught up on paperwork. Nothing much." McCoy glanced at the monitor, Emma was asleep already. "Lt. Benix's body is not detoxifying fast enough. She seems to experiencing breathing problems every now and then."

"Any particular reason?"

"Could be that she's not following her schedule tight enough. She was chasing a three-year-old when she had this last attack." McCoy laughed slightly, "Benix caught her too!" He sat back looking at the board. "She needs to feel like she has a place here."

"Is that a medical opinion or a personal one?" Kirk figured if McCoy was going to give him that big an opening, he was going to have to take it. He was sorry he said anything, McCoy lost the warmth in his eyes.

"Where did you get your psychology degree?" McCoy barked at him. Kirk was stepping where he had no business being. McCoy was being overly sensitive, but he couldn't stop himself.

Kirk folded his arms, "How come you get to ask those questions of me? And I can't ask them of you?"

McCoy had his best poker face on, "I'm the Chief Medical Officer, I'm in charge of your physical and psychological being. As Lt. Benix's commanding officer, the only thing you need to know is whether or not she's fit for duty. I should not have said any more to you."

"If I have a crew member that's not content, don't you think I should know about it?" Kirk was now miffed that McCoy would be so secretive about a crewmember. Not to mention the comment about needing to know about his personal life.

"The way she feels is not connected with duty." McCoy softened. "She's got a medical problem that I can't solve. It's bothering me and I'm sorry I jumped down your throat." He moved the bishop. "Sometimes as a doctor, I get told things that could be solved if I could share that information with someone. This is one of those things. I should not have said anything to you, because it was told to me in confidence. I needed a solution and I was using you as a sounding board." McCoy frowned at Kirk's move. "Forget I said anything?" He saw his opening and took it.

"I know that your mind is not on the game!" Kirk took McCoy's king; he placed it on the table. "I have never won a game with you in less than ten moves!"

McCoy rub his forehead, his elbow rested on the desktop. He rested his head on his hand. "Maybe all I need is some sleep." Or some one to knock some sense into him.

"You realize that part of Lt. Benix's problems will be solved as soon as she catches up with time?" Kirk moved the chessboard back to the shelf. "She has not shown a preference or aptitude for anything imparticular. She lacks the basic knowledge in most areas and it will take her some time to adjust."

"This much I can tell you, being echnologically educated is not the problem." McCoy poured more brandy into Kirk's glass then pulled out a glass for himself. "Why did you give her the raise in rank?"

Kirk thought a moment, "She's done very well as command yeoman, I thought she deserved it."

"Then why did you not keep her there?"

"Because that is a position that is given to lower ranks. To keep her there, as a lieutenant, would have been insulting." Kirk was frowning now, "Are you telling me that it would have been better to keep her there?"

McCoy nodded, "Look. Think of it like this, you decided, when she... popped aboard, that the best thing for her was to give her a flexible but limited job. I think she still needs that. The cadets that take those positions are usually waiting to aquaint themselves with deep space travel before they move on to their specialty. Space travel doesn't seem to bother her, but being in this large vessel does." He sensed Kirk was beginning to understand, "She loves taking care of the kids. Medically speaking, it is harder on her system...especially when she has to chase them down the hall like that!"

"You think she would learn what she has to, more easily in the yeoman's position than remaining where she is?" Kirk had been reading all of this wrong, McCoy was worried about her id, not her. "I could live with that, besides I don't think I could keep all the things she seems to inside her head. I think she has even surprised Spock, a few times." Kirk drained his glass and then stood. "I think I'll hit the sack now. Are you planning to take any R and R?"

McCoy shrugged, "I thought maybe I might."

"Call me if you do." Kirk left without waiting for McCoy's reply.

McCoy drained his glass then poured a little bit more for himself. He looked to the monitor. He sat back in his chair, drank his brandy slowly and watched Emma sleep. How far should he take this? He didn't know. But he had this feeling that he was almost as lonely as she was!


McCoy watched himself fasten the collar. He pulled down on the jacket slightly, the collar popped open! He tried again. It happened again! He decided he'd check in with Chapel and get her to do this. He looked to his timepiece. "I'm late!" McCoy headed out of his quarters and then down the corridor, into the lift, out and down the other corridor and then into sickbay, "Chapel!"

Her head came out of the office, "You bellowed?" She was surprised at his manner of dress. She looked at him suspiciously, "What are you dressed for?"

"A night out. Okay with you?" He was ready for the questioning.

"Sure! I don't have a problem with it. As long as you are home on time, you know how your dad and I are about curfews...." She laughed at the expression on his face, one of total disbelief!

McCoy raised an eyebrow at her. "Could you fix my collar?"

Chapel laughed slightly, fastening his collar easily. She ran her finger along the edge. "If you'd pull your shirt up slightly, and wear... you are wearing the silk one!" Chapel folded her arms, "Anyone I know?"

"You and I are the head Medical officers, of course you know her!" He lowered his voice and eyes a second. "I just don't care to tell you."

"You are the second one to have a secret rendezvous tonight."

"Oh yea, who's the other?"

"Lt. Emma Benix." Chapel smiled slightly, enjoying the nervousness McCoy seemed to be exhibiting.

"And how were you made privy to that information? Just for curiosity's sake."

Chapel was beginning to fit things together, "Just for curiosity's sake. She asked for help to fashion a dress." He showed no reaction. Then again, she's played poker with this man, if he did not want you to know something, you would not know. "I also noticed that you have booked off for two days... and not with Captain Kirk."

"A crime?"

"Suspicious!" Chapel folded her arms; she was beginning to understand.

"I'm late! I'll argue with you in two days." He touched his pockets, insuring he had everything he needed. "See ya!"

"Have a good time!"

"I will!" He shouted as he left sickbay.

**Well, Journal, I'm going on a date. That's right a D.A.T.E! It's been centuries since my last one! It really has been centuries! Let's hope things haven't changed too much. I am petrified! **

Earlier, when she was fixing her hair, she noticed the woman staring back at her. She resembled that photo she had done, for Michael.... out of character for her, make-up, hair done... her opinion was that she had looked beautiful! She knew her ego needed it, she thought Michael needed a gentle reminder that she was still there and maybe a little sexy! Michael's opinion was that she had spent too much money!

Emma wondered if McCoy would find her... beautiful?

The door chime sounded, Emma took a deep breath. She did one final check in the mirror. Everything seemed to be in place, including the butterflies in her stomach and her desire to jump out the nearest window, "Good thing they are all sealed." She muttered to herself as she moved into the living area. "Come in."

"Sorry I'm late." He stopped dead in his tracks at the change. He smiled, as he admired his companion for the night... and maybe longer? He took in the beauty of this woman. "You look ... unbelievable!"

"Thank you, Doctor." She wore a wine colored brocade gown, off the shoulder, long sleeves that went to a point on the back of her hand. She wore a fine silver-toned chain; it held a wine teardrop that lay between her generous breasts. Her hair was held up away from her face, the length, fell down her back in curls.

"Leonard ... or Len." He lifted her hand, kissed the back of it, then tucked her hand under his arm. "Ready?"

"Do I need anything else?"

"A bodyguard!" He muttered under his breath, "No, not a thing." McCoy smiled, he was appreciative of the change in her. They walked quickly to the transporter room. McCoy held her hand as she stepped up to the platform. "Beam us over, Commander."

"Aye, Dr. McCoy. Enjoy yourselves!" Scottie activated the circuits and sent them on their way.

The dining area they walked into was busy, but McCoy had discovered long ago - wear your uniform and decorations and you usually had the best of everything, especially if you came from the Enterprise!

As they were shown to the table, it became evident that this dining room was designed for entertaining 'significant others', no matter what the supposed gender, race or color was...and their were many colors! Their table was located in an out-of-the-way place, and was elegantly set for Terrans. Emma had noticed that some of the patrons did not have digits, their place settings appeared different. The gauze-like fabric that hung along the walls adding to the softness of the room. The fabric was hung also to separate tables for privacy. The lighting was a soft white. Extra lighting seemed to be added in the flooring where needed.

McCoy seated Emma, then sat beside her on the bench style seating. "What do you think so far?"

"A lot of aliens!" She whispered. She looked around and discovered that this place was, ".. romantic. It's nice."

"Relax." McCoy reached to her hand, it was ice cold. "Why so nervous?"

"First time outside the Enterprise. First time out of uniform. And it's been...." she smiled as the counting went on with her fingers, she leaned towards him, " Three hundred and twenty-two years... since I've been on a date!"

McCoy laughed, "I hadn't thought of that!" He lifted her hand to his lips, "Don't worry, I'll...."

" gentle?" Emma smiled at his raised eyebrow. She was starting to relax a little. She was also really beginning to enjoy those gray-blue eyes. Wearing his dress uniform made him very attractive. She had not seen the dress uniforms too much and she enjoyed the feel of the satiny fabric. The blood-burgundy satin jacket was slightly longer than the 'everyday' one. The shine of the fabric gave the illusion of it being wet.... slightly disquieting, even more so than the regular jackets. The color had been noted to resemble dried human blood!

The tall Terran waiter came over with the menus. After taking a look at some of the exotic meals, Emma decided it would be safer for McCoy to order for her. He nodded in understanding. He ordered the entire meal, then asked her to dance.

McCoy held her close as they danced. He watched for other crewmembers, he did not want to be surprised by any intrusions. "Tell me about Emma Benix. Your likes, dislikes. What foods do you like? What are your dreams?"

"I thought we did this already?" Emma smiled slightly.

"Humor an old man!" McCoy reminded her of her comment a few days ago.

"I like dancing, hand-crafts, reading. I hate washing dishes, being short and being alone. I like almost anything I'm not supposed to eat. Especially white chocolate! My dreams? I haven't dreamt in a long time, except the other night, in sickbay."

"Washing dishes? Times sure have changed. I gather you are pleased with that change?" He smiled at her nod. He cleared his throat, habit when he was nervous, "What did you dream about?"

"You mostly." She smiled at him slightly, "A repeat of our evening without the tears."

"I am flattered!" McCoy caught the movement at their table, "Our dinner has been served but it will stay hot. Special plates." Was McCoy's only explanation, as he pulled her closer, "But my preference is to hold you a bit longer."

"Then I guess we'll stay." Emma moved easily with him. "Do you have any dreams?"

"She's standing in front of me." He sounded serious, as if it meant more than just a simple compliment. He caught her blushing before she looked down. Even McCoy wasn't used to feeling this attracted to someone. Or that open about how he felt! He was beginning to realize why he did not want Kirk to know anything about his plans. He wanted her for himself! After the end of the next tune, he guided her back to the table.

The first part of the meal was eaten in silence; both surprised at how much the other was affecting them. McCoy had ordered the wine, as he poured it he enjoyed the surprise on her face! Rainbow swirls in a pearl-like liquid. Emma tasted it. "This tastes like cinnamon." She drank more, this time it tasted sweeter!

"Do you like it?" McCoy had emptied half his glass already and was pouring himself another. He topped off Emma's after she nodded.

The meal was enjoyed. McCoy had chosen for both of them, a rice dish, some chicken and a Vulcan vegetable the tasted like turnip. Emma seemed to be fascinated by the people and the music. He caught her swaying to the music a few times, her eyes closed. Enjoying the effect of the musical strain. He decided he'd better dance with her again.

"Do you want any dessert?"

"Of course! Isn't that why you eat your meal, to have dessert!" She lifted her glass, saluting the idea, then drank more of the sweet wine. She was beginning to feel the effects of the wine. She was definitely relaxing!

"What would you like?"

"Chocolate, whipped cream and...berries." Emma returned his smile, "I warned you."

"That you did." McCoy called over the waiter and ordered one large dessert. He moved closer to her, "What would you like to do after dessert?"

"Dance.... a walk in a garden?"

"Your wish is my command!" He held her hand; his thumb caressed the back. The dessert arrived and was placed between them. "Dig in!"

Emma picked up her fork. Lifting the largest raspberry she had ever seen, covered in white and dark chocolate and whipped cream. She popped it into her mouth, closed her eyes... savoring the taste. "So far, better than sex!" She caught the expression on his face, the raised eyebrow in disbelief.

"Is that a comment ... never mind." McCoy leaned his elbow on the table, rested his head in hand and watched her savoring this food. He had never noticed anyone, enjoy a particular food, as much as she seemed to. She stabbed another berry and deposited it in his mouth. The taste was quite enjoyable. "Good. Very good!" He picked up his fork and helped. They fed each other, had more wine and laughed.

Emma touched his chin, pulled him closer. She leaned forward, wet his lips then kissed him, "You had some cream on your mouth, but it's off now." She was pleased with herself... and McCoy.

McCoy wanted to hold her again, the safest way to do this right now, was to return to the dance floor. They swayed in time to the music, holding each other close. He did not object when she laid her head on his shoulder. Her hand caressed his back lightly.

When the stretch of music ended, he suggested they go for that walk in the garden. Emma agreed. They moved out into the corridor of the station. McCoy held her hand as they walked slowly towards the garden. He had been careful to avoid the usual crew hangouts and so far, he had not seen anyone he knew. The trip to the gardens took them along the corridors that held some small shops. McCoy had to promise they could come back this way.

The double doors opened automatically. They were met by the scent of flowers and grass. Emma inhaled the freshness of it. The 'ceiling' was clearsteele, giving the illusion of being open to the stars. McCoy was hard pressed to remember some of the names of the constellations. These were stars that Emma had never seen before! McCoy started to realize just how small her 'universe' had been! They went along one path and discovered the rose-type blossoms.

McCoy found one, he picked it for Emma, and it matched the color of her dress and had the scent of raspberries. He presented it to her, "I hope this becomes a memorable of many!" He pulled her close, as he bent his head to kiss her. Her arms went around his neck and held him tight.

The path took them to another area with small benches and trees. Emma chose one bench; she tilted her head back to view the stars. "I had this favorite spot I'd go to when I needed to be alone. I loved to lay in the grass and watch the stars.... or the clouds moving in the sky. It always made me feel as if I could handle anything. I seemed to get strength from that." She lifted her head and caught McCoy watching her. She touched his face, "When do we have to go back to the ship?"

"I booked off two days." He kissed her palm, "You are under my medical care, and I have not released you back to duty yet. So, I suppose we have two days. Is that long enough?" He watched her eyes. He loved her dark brown eyes. They always seemed to know something, sometimes, before he did.

"Long enough for what?" Emma was still afraid of this, which all this would somehow end... before she was ready. The panic was beginning to set in.

He watched her eyes, they moved down. Was he reading all the signals wrong? "To get to know each other. Skulk the corridors." He made her smile, her eyes moved up meeting his again. She nodded. They moved back to the pathway, McCoy's arm went around the back of her waist, she held his to keep the balance. She twirled the flower in her other hand, the petals felt cool against her cheek.

"What would you like to do now?" He waited as she tapped the flower on her lips, thinking.

"Back to the shops? I love window-shopping."

"Okay? What is window-shopping?" They stepped through the double doors back into the station's corridors.

"It's when you look but not necessarily buy."

McCoy nodded, "I was afraid you were planning on buying windows." He enjoyed her laughter.

The shops were fascinating to Emma. McCoy had purchased some gifts for her, on the sly and had them delivered directly to the hotel room. Emma pulled him towards a very small shop, "Leonard, real books!"

"Oh no, not you too!" He laughed and then realized that these would be very common to her. "Jim likes these books. Spock and I try to get him one every now and then. I personally, do not see the attraction." He watched her. She used her hands when she tried to describe the attraction books held for her.

"You can hold them. They have a smell to them, the feel of the paper and the print on the paper. It adds to the enjoyment of reading. You can take it with you, curling up in bed or read in the bathtub."

"Jim never mentioned that last one before." McCoy grinned slightly, trying to imagine her sitting in a tub of warm water with a book.

"Probably because he would not want to take the chance of getting them wet. I had books all over the house and most could be replaced, if they were damaged." She was trying to read some of the titles, "Are there still bathtubs?"

"Some places do. On board ship, it would be impractical, too much space would be needed for the quarters." He moved from the bookstore window with her in tow. "Are you ready to call it a night?"

"It's a night!" She smiled then giggled, "I really don't want to go back yet."

"Okay." McCoy continued the walk. "I was planning on spending the night here on the station." He looked to her for a reaction.

"Oh." She sounded disappointed. She had wanted to spend more time with this man. This was his shore leave as well! Maybe he had something else planned for himself, after all, he knew what to expect!

McCoy heard the change in her voice, he thought a moment, "Emma, I meant for you to stay as well! I've booked a suite for us." He felt a sudden panic at the surprised look on her face. Had he presumed too much? He stopped to move in front of her, "Is this what you want?" His eyes searched her face for some idea of how she felt about this. "I will understand if you are not ready for any of this." He lifted her hands to his lips.

"Leonard, I am not sure of anything. I'm flying high and scared stiff." She leaned towards him, kissed him lightly. She brushed his cheek with the flower, "I know I don't want to be alone."

McCoy licked his dry lips. He did not want to push, but he did want to be alone with her. "Come on, this way." He led the way down the short corridor. It opened into a 'hotel' lobby. He went to the reservation desk, presented his ident-card. The computer terminal was consulted and then the card was returned to him. He was given directions to the room and assured that, "Everything is as requested, Dr. McCoy."

McCoy slid the ident-card into the 'lock' and then heard the release. He stepped in and then held Emma's hand as she followed. The room was large! A sitting area dominated the space and off to one side, was a table with chairs -- two decorated boxes were stacked in its center. There were rooms leading off both sides and there was a lovely view of the stars through a large viewport. The room's lighting had come on automatically.

McCoy touched a control on the wall and music filled the room. He lowered the lighting and asked if she wanted some wine. He poured the 'rainbow' wine into the thin flutes. He handed her one glass and then picked up the larger of the two boxes.

"I had expected larger viewports."

"Too many vessels moving around, you want some privacy. They can be opened some more if you want to." McCoy placed the smaller package on the low table he passed, to join her at the viewport. "To dreams that come true." He lifted his glass to her.

Emma smiled. She touched his glass then sipped the wine. She moved with him to the couch. She slipped off her shoes, "I never thought to bring anything else to wear. I'm not sure why, but I never expected this!" She looked around, taking in all the luxuries! Definitely, a different world than she knew!

"Already taken care of. I took the liberty of arranging a silk shirt, close fitting pants and shoes for tomorrow. Toiletries are in the cabinets near the showers."

"Do this often?" She put her glass down, her fingers moved to the opening on his uniform jacket. "You look so uncomfortable." She helped slide off one sleeve then the other. "Better?"

"Yes." He kissed her lightly, "And I do not usually do this." He gestured to the surroundings. "I usually end up in some awful room, sleeping off the night before, usually alone sometimes with Jim." He chuckled slightly. They had come to that awkward part of the evening. That point in the evening where you either separated or decided on something else. He put his glass down, took the box and laid it on her lap, "I thought you might have needed something for tonight." He took her glass. "I did not want to ask you to bring anything. Just in case, things had not worked well. I did not want you to assume anything was expected." He kissed her hand, "Nothing is expected either."

Emma accepted that. She pulled on the bow that held the box tight. She lifted off the lid and was surprised at the contents. She gathered the fabric and then placed the empty box on the tabletop. The gift was a gossamer thin lace sleep gown. It shimmered in the light and felt like velvet. It was a soft grey and Emma was touched by his thoughtfulness. "I love it!" She reached her arms around his neck, then kissed him. "When did you get this? We just saw this in the store earlier."

"Ident-card and delivery to the room."

"I'll go try it on." She started towards one of the rooms, "Does it matter which room?"

"Not at all." McCoy poured more wine for them. He took off his boots then stretched as he began to feel the effects of the wine, and the company. When she came out, McCoy was pleased. She moved closer then spun, the flared skirt lifted almost too high. He felt his body warm. He coughed slightly, "Do you like it?"

"More to the point.... do you?"

He lifted his glass in salute, "You are.... a dream!"

A slow smile went across her face, "Thank you again.. for all of this." She accepted the glass and she began to sway to the music playing low. She had missed feeling special! McCoy was definitely 'playing his cards right' and Emma found herself wanting to please him. She hadn't felt that, in a long time, either!

He watched her. She knew how to move with the music. Her body knew moves that he thought only the Orion slave dancers knew, green-skinned and very seductive! He remembered loosing himself to them a few times. He smiled slightly at the memories.

McCoy stood, emptied his glass then tapped her shoulder to 'cut in'. She curtsied to him, allowing him to take her glass. After placing it beside his,, he took her into his arms. "Tell me, how you can move as if you don't have a backbone anymore?"

"I practice." She brushed her lips against his as she spoke. "Definitely better with a partner!"

"I am pleased that I can accommodate you... believe me!" They moved to the music. He pulled her tight, feeling her body mold to his. She wet his lips, tasting the wine then kissed him passionately. Her hands moved around his neck and into his hair. They clenched as a shiver went through her. McCoy's touch went along the silkiness of the gown; the heat of her body had warmed the fabric. He felt her moan. She lifted her head breathing deeply, then rested her head on his shoulder. His lips touched her shoulder.

His communicator sounded suddenly! Causing both of them to jump at the sound! "Sorry." He took a breath before he could answer it, "Dr. McCoy here." His voice cracked, he cleared his throat.

"Bones! I have found the most perfect drinking hole!" Kirk's voice was... loud!So was the background noise!

"Tomorrow maybe. Not tonight." He inhaled sharply, his hand grabbed hers, staying her touch that had moved slowly up his thigh! He had been less than prepared! He tried to relax!

"Bones?" Kirk paused, "You okay, Bones?"

"I'm fine!" He kissed her hand then placed it around his waist.

"Listen, Spock's off duty tomorrow. I can't make it then.." Kirk wanted company. "Come on Bones, the book can't be that good?"

"Jim. This is just one of those times.." Her lips touched his neck making him shiver. "....that all I want to....Oh, God!!" He held the comm-unit to his chest as he felt her touch move below his waist. Her touch, hot on his skin. He closed the circuit, tossed the unit onto the couch and pulled her close.

Emma's hands moved up his body lifting off his shirt. Her lips touched his skin.

"You do not ... play fair!" McCoy held her face. His lips touched hers then made a path down her throat. He held her hand and they moved onto 'Emma's room'.

McCoy sat with her, kissing her soft lips. His fingers traced a path down her neck, brushed the thin straps from her shoulders, exposing one breast. He reached up to the combs in her hair. A veil of soft dark curls fell around her shoulders. The fabric of her gown fell to her waist. His touch on her neck made her shiver.

"Tonight, Emma, you will be made love to.. you do nothing, except enjoy!" He promised her with light kisses and whispers.

McCoy laid her down. His mouth began to taste every inch of her body! He slipped her gown off; it was left in a puddle on the floor. He kissed her, his tongue moved in, tasting her. She moaned softly, as his hands caressed her skin, arousing every part of her! She shivered then stretched her body to him. His mouth tasting the sweetness of her skin. His hands moved down her body, teasing. His kisses were at her mouth. Both were breathing heavily. His light touches on her thigh causing her to softly cry out to him.

He held her close, waiting for both to calm their reactions. The gentle attack on her body began again. He felt her impatience as her hips pushed against him. He held her. "We don't need to rush this, Em. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly." His lips barely touched her skin, "Honey!" He lifted his head and met her dark bright eyes, "That's what you taste like, honey?"

"My secret!" Her voice strained to speak even in a whisper. She ran her hand along his body, wishing he would end this delightful torture. He stopped her hand, kissed it then placed it above her head.

She had not been touched this way in a very long time. She had not realized, just how much she had missed it! Emma had been pleasantly surprised at McCoy's physical build. His body was firm, not overly muscular, strong and quite pleasant to cuddle up to! In her time, a person's life expectancy was about eighty, now it had risen to one hundred and twenty five or better! McCoy had a long way to go before he could be considered aging! Yet in her time, he would have been thinking about retirement!

McCoy slipped off his pants. His body was warming, becoming anxious for her. His tongue searched for the honey taste again. He felt her shiver a low growl in her throat. Her hands went into his hair. She wanted to taste his mouth. Her hands clenched, her body reached to him shivering.

McCoy moved on top of her. Her hands pulled at him, impatient for the satisfaction. Her mouth captured his. Both were having difficulty breathing anywhere near normal, and she moaned for him.

Emma's body screamed for satisfaction, she tried very hard not to rush this! She was enjoying his touch! Silently praying that if this were a dream, it would remain so until she was satisfied! Her soft cry caught in her throat as he entered her, her body shuddered in answer against him. "This is definitely, better than chocolate!" she whispered in his ear. Her eyes closed and she moaned in delight of him.

He smiled at her remark, as he tasted the sweetness on her neck. "We aim to please!" His voice barely heard. He moved slowly, he wanted this to be special for her. He felt his body move with an urgency for her. Emma's touch at his hips pulled him tight as his thrusts became strong. His body tensed and then he felt his release.

Her hands moved up and down his back as she shivered. The euphoria took over and her breath stopped as her body arched to him. She gulped in the air, as her body relaxed. Their breathing was somewhere near normal and their heart rates had finally slowed.

McCoy moved slowly from her, both exhausted.

After a time, he found the energy to reach for the covers and pulled them up. Emma cuddled closer to him. Her head rested on his chest; her lips brushed his skin. He held her tight; his lips brushed her hair. She moved her leg to lay across his thigh; she snuggled into him with a moan.

"Len, do it again." Emma sighed, her arm pulling him closer.

"Get some sleep first." He laughed slightly. Amazed that she even would think of it, being as tired as they both were. Then again, he wouldn't mind repeating this right now, if he had the energy to! The gentle touch on her back told him her slow breathing meant she had fallen asleep.

Smiling, he closed his eyes and faintly heard the beeping of the comm-unit again. He shook his head slightly; he'd ignore it. Chapel could handle anything, if she needed him, she knew how to reach him.


Nurse Christine Chapel stood with her arms folded in front of her. She stared at the hazel eyes pleading with her. She sighed and wondered how Dr. McCoy handled this man some days! "I am not telling you anything else, except, he wants to be left alone for the two days that he has booked off. The only reasons I am to get him, is if Spock needs medical attention or we are pulling out!" She could tell Kirk was not buying this!

"I am the Captain. I should be able to reach my senior staff at a moments notice!" He bellowed. Actually, he was so curious as to why McCoy closed the circuit, that he couldn't help himself. McCoy had never, ever done this! So he had a date for the night! That has never stopped him from talking to Kirk before. "But aren't you worried that he won't answer?"

"No!" Chapel shook her head. "You have never bothered anyone like this before! Why can't you leave him alone for two days! Not even that, you called him last night!"

"That is why I am so concerned, because while we were talking, the circuit went dead! I want to know he's okay?" Kirk softened his voice trying an alternate tactic. "Am I not permitted to be concerned about a friend?"

"Of course you are." Christine looked to the floor, then back to Kirk, "And as a friend, don't you think if he wanted you to know what was going on. He'd have let you know?" She met his eyes, "He wants to be left alone, Captain. This time, he needs to be on his own." She would remind McCoy of all she had to go through! "He is old enough to take care of himself!"

Kirk tried to read Chapel's eye; she was trying to tell him something! He held his hands up in surrender, "Fine! When and if you hear from him, tell him I want to talk to him, ASAP!" Kirk turned and left the sickbay, mumbling to himself about friendships and secrets.

Chapel laughed a little bit and turned back to the lab reports she was working on. She jumped at the appearance of another visitor, "Don't scare people like that!"

"Apologies, Miss Chapel." Spock bowed his head slightly. He looked to the doorway that Captain Kirk had used to leave. He had used the door from the lab to enter. "How long has he been questioning you concerning Dr. McCoy's where-abouts?"

Chapel was confused about his inquiry, "Between last night and this morning, about an hour. He hates it when he doesn't know everything!" She leaned against the desk, "And what are you doing here, Mr. Spock?"

"Because of his questioning I received early this morning. I came to inquire if you knew where Dr. McCoy actually was?" Spock clasped his hands behind his back, his head tilted slightly.

"Yes, I know. I also know how to get a hold of him if I need to." Chapel challenged him with a look.

"Since Dr. McCoy wishes the privacy, perhaps you should warn the Doctor about Captain Kirk." He lifted his eyebrow, bowed his head and took his leave of her, "Good-day, Miss Chapel."

Chapel checked the time, it was ten hundred hours, and she'd give him until twelve and then contact him. She decided that with Spock and Uhura's help, McCoy would have his two days of privacy.

Mr. Spock stepped onto the bridge, relieved that Captain Kirk was not. He moved to Miss Uhura, his hand rested on the console, his other hand, he held behind his back. His voice pitched so that she alone would hear him. "I have spoken with Nurse Chapel. She is able to reach Dr. McCoy should he be required. He has chosen the solitude."

Cmdr. Uhura nodded, appreciative and surprised at this information, "Do you know who is with Dr. McCoy?

"Why would you assume that I would have that type of information?" He was still leaning close to her.

Uhura smiled at this man of logic, she leaned her head on her hand, "Spock, a question is the one thing you always have an answer for. Captain Kirk has asked a question, you have the answer. Besides, you love to solve a mystery, even if you never share the answer." Her eyes matched this man's. He was hiding something!

Spock straightened and raised an eyebrow. "Really Miss Uhura! I see no reason to attribute my concern for the ship's physician, as being anything else, but performing my duty as first officer of the Enterprise."

"Sure, Mr. Spock." Uhura was far from convinced of his pure intentions, but if they served the purpose, then his intentions could be argued later. "Do you have any ideas?"

"I have narrowed it to the possibility of three, privacy dictates that I search no further." But Spock had a personal guess at this. If he had been a betting man, his money, so to speak, would be on Lt. Emma Benix! His head bowed slightly, the matter was not to be discussed any further.


Morning did not come with a sunrise in space; it came with an annoying buzzer! McCoy touched the alarm, turning it off. He heard another sound.... the door chime! He moved slowly from her, trying not to wake her! She rolled onto his side of the bed, curled up and pulled the covers in tight. He leaned over and kissed her lightly. She smiled, still fast asleep! McCoy reached to the robe left on the chair, he slipped it on. He would check on whomever would be disturbing him at this hour of the morning. "It better not be Kirk!" He mumbled. He slid open the door to someone from room service, with the ordered breakfast tray. He thought she would have enjoyed the assortment of fruit and berries with cream. This was not his usual fair, but he was open for new experiences.

McCoy stood aside, allowing the steward to place the tray on the table. He peeked down the hallways, checking that Jim wasn't hanging around any of the corners. He thanked the steward, then locked the door after he left.

McCoy moved back into the bedroom, feeling a little guilty about how late it was. She was still sleeping so soundly! He dropped his robe onto the foot of the bed and crawled back in beside her, but on the opposite side he had climbed out of. The pillow and the sheets held her perfume. With great care, he slipped one arm under her; the other wrapped over her. He moved in closer to her, closed his eyes and enjoyed Emma's warmth next to him.

The feelings that he had found for her had surprised even him. He had just planned to be with her to relieve their loneliness.... but it had grown! He wasn't sure where he had been when that happened!

The morning was to be lost to the rest needed to recover from the night's activities. Emma had, at some point, nuzzled him awake and talked him into repeating the performance. Emma took a more active role and it had been fun and satisfying. To make this a permanent situation, he would have to wait awhile. If they managed to lie here for the rest of the day, that would be fine with him.

He pulled her closer; his lips brushed her hair. It was soft, silky and even her hair smelled like honey. He wondered if she found him ... not old?

"If you are trying to wake me up.... it worked." Emma whispered.

"I'm sorry!" McCoy started, realizing just then, his hand was teasing her breast and the other caressing her thigh, "I was trying not to...."

"Doesn't matter, Len." She snuggled in closer to him. "I love waking up like this." She lay perfectly still, content with his subconscious touches. "Don't stop." She moaned slightly, "I always wondered what a doctor would be like as a lover?"

"Doctors do it with lots of patients." He smiled, "Sorry, old joke."

"M-m-m. Even in my time." She could not take the touches anymore! She had to touch him! She turned capturing his mouth; her leg pulled his hips closer to her. She moved slightly and with a suggested nudge from McCoy, he slipped in easily.

"You are good!" He teased her. He enjoyed her.

"You know it!" She pulled him to her, laughed slightly as she settled herself comfortably. Her lips touched his neck then his chin, "Do not move."

"Why not?"

"Just to see how long we can manage."

McCoy shrugged, "No problem." He thought this would be easy. They kissed and then her hand tapped his hip to remind him not to move. He sighed; this would not be as easy as he thought. "Breakfast is waiting."

"Are you trying to get out of this bet?"

"It's a bet now." McCoy became curious, she had a sparkle in her eyes. It wasn't there yesterday. "What is the ... prize?"

"Satisfaction." Emma's tongue wet his lips, then delicately nipped at his lips, then his neck. She felt a shiver travel his body then his body began to react to the slight tease.

McCoy sighed, "I can't do this!" McCoy laughed then kissed her hard, as he rolled with her onto her back, "I want you too much!" His tongue reached into her mouth tasting her sweetness. His movements tried to make up for lost time.

Emma's fingertips ran along his back enjoying his impatience. She tasted the saltiness on his skin as she enjoyed her body's reaction to him. They reached their climax. Emma moaned at the sensation of his release. "You do this so-o well!"

"You are an inspiration." He brushed back her hair, kissed her nose then rolled onto his back. Silence filled the room for a time.




McCoy looked at her, three o'clock in the afternoon and she was sitting in a tub full of very warm water and.. bubbles! The bathtub was large, had jets in it, they were on low and the temperature was very warm! Emma had suggested this last night, but McCoy needed more convincing about trying this!

They had managed three hours of doing absolutely nothing important! They talked, listened to music, danced, watched the stars and held each other. He was just about to join her, when his personal comm-unit sounded. He went to his uniform pants and pulled it out.

"This had better be good!" He was grumpy again. Emma had decided that was how he wanted to be as a doctor. He sat on the edge of the tub, holding the small personal communicator.

"It was suggested that I contact you and warn you." Chapel's voice was clear but quieter than usual.

"Warn me?"

"Captain Kirk does not like not knowing where you are. He has been hassling anyone he can think of." She paused, "He's been in to talk to me three times now. He's got Uhura trying to hail you on every frequency known to man and then some. He's sure something awful has happened to you! Even Spock has been enlisted to find you! I'm surprised that Scott hasn't been ordered to beam you back using the emergency transponder!"

"My regular communicator was beeping all night!" McCoy sighed and then looked to the ceiling, "That boy needs a hobby!"

"He's got one.... looking for you!" Chapel laughed slightly. "I have a suspicion who you are with. If you do not want to be driven crazy, I'd come up separately."

"Spock's in on this?"

"Oh yea, he's been running interference as well. I suspect he's amused by this, not that he'd admit to it!" Chapel was silent for amoment, "Leonard, is that water I hear?"

Emma splashed McCoy, still in his robe. "Yes, with bubbles!" He could just imagine her face with that comment! "This has been an interesting time. I'll call you back later. Thank everyone for running interference."

"I will. Chapel out."

McCoy moved to the bedroom, replaced the communicator, then came back in, "So, I have your guarantee this is good for what ails me?" He hesitated a second in removing his robe. He tried to look worried about all of this!

Emma nodded, then wagged a finger to him, inviting him in, again. "You will get hooked for life!" She smiled as he slipped off his robe.

McCoy slowly lowered himself into the bubbles and the warm water. "I'm in, now what?" He sat still, his arms crossed over his chest. He tried frowning.

She laughed and reached for him. "Turn around." She guided him to sit with his back to her. Her hands ran along his back massaging the muscles. "Relax!" She reached to the liquid soap, squeezed some onto her hand then lathered his shoulders and chest. She kissed his cheek. He turned his head so she could reach his lips.

McCoy pulled her into his lap and held her. She was extremely warm, wet and this definitely felt good! "Okay, I'm hooked!" He wondered to himself if he was talking about the same thing!

Emma kissed him then pushed him under the water. She laughed when he came up sputtering! He reached for her, caught a foot and pulled her under. He loved the sparkle she had in her eyes when she laughed! The water and bubbles were brushed from her face and she splashed him! He reached to her and pulled her close. He kissed her until she pulled away needing room to breathe. McCoy helped her wash her hair then her shoulders and her back.

"You have no idea how good you make me feel!" She turned to face him, her arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled him to her. Her lips found his and she sighed, "So very good!" She whispered to him as he kissed her.

They had spent at least an hour in there, prune fingers and all.

It was decided to check out the shops in the station and Emma had to get her ident-card. McCoy had explained that besides an ID card, it also functioned as a means of payment. She had dressed in the silk shirt, pants and shoes McCoy had bought her, then returned to the Enterprise.

McCoy had walked by a crystal shop; everything in there had crystals of some type. He went in and found the perfect gift for Emma... a crystal ball, to see into her future! A little larger than his hand and the stand was made of sleeping dragons! McCoy nodded and had the proprietor wrap it in silver paper, a box with a silver bow. He had it sent to the room so that she wouldn't see it...until later.

Emma beamed back down to meet McCoy near the shops. They had a marvelous time poking around the shops that lined the corridors. Emma bought a dress, with all the proper accessories. Some fabric, after explaining what quilting was to him. She even found a gift for McCoy, and managed to hide it from him. She bought stationary with dragons and a matching pen.

The decision had been made to eat in the room and then dress for the musical play. As they talked about the adventures the Enterprise had, they ate dinner and then relaxed for a time. McCoy placed the box on the table then told her to open it. He loved the way her face lit up, as she pulled the crystal ball from the wrappings, the dragon stand was an added surprise. She showed him her stationary and that made him smile.

She placed the crystal in the stand then pretended to look into it and actually see something! She smiled and moved to him, "It says that there is a man of magic that will change my life.. If I let him." She smoothed his hair and wondered if she had said too much. She knelt in front of him, "Thank you.... for..."

He kissed her, pulling her up into his arms. They stood arms around each other. He held her tight. Wishing he could just tell her how he was feeling, he knew it was too soon! Silently, he prayed this was not a dream! That he was actually holding her and feeling this way!

Emma felt herself melting into him. He made her feel as if this universe didn't exist.... only the two of them were left, no one else mattered! This felt so-o-o good! She pulled away a moment to breath, then lost herself to him again!

McCoy had stretched out on the couch, and Emma went back to watching the stars. Breathing room! Cool-down time! That's what was needed before the play tonight.

They had teased each other about being too old for all these youthful reactions! It was a playful way to slow the evening, before either said anything they'd be regretting.

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I remember staying home from school to see the lift-offs. I always wanted to see one live. I remember some of the disasters too. The Apollo astronauts that were burned alive, still in their suits, in the capsule. They could not get the hatches open quick enough." Her voice became soft, "The Challenger, it exploded with seven people on board, one was a civilian. There was such an uproar about that!" She watched the small craft get pulled into a bay aboard the station, amazed at the irony of all this! "The first time man walked on the moon!"

"I remember reading about that in history class..." He started laughing.

She reached to the pillow on the near-by chair and tossed it at him.

He caught it and tucked it behind his head, "Thanks!"

She leaned on the ledge of the clearsteele, watching the stars and wondered, "Len, I miss them. There are still some days I want to go home!"

McCoy let the last comment go unnoticed, or so she thought. He hadn't said anything. He knew she missed everyone. She talked in her sleep, even about 'him'. McCoy knew his name, and he kept it to himself. The first time he heard about her family, it had been part of his 'job'. The next time was after her injury on the bridge. He took it more personally, she cried in her sleep and he knew she felt no pain from her back. The last time had been the other night in sickbay, after he had kissed her and planned this shore leave.

He found himself feeling angry with the idiot, who couldn't see what he had in front of him! He vowed never to do anything to cause her to feel that way again!

"Em, come sit with me." She needed to be touched, held, accepted. He smiled as she tucked herself beside him, just barely enough room.

"I miss cooking."

McCoy looked wide-eyed at her, "You can cook!" McCoy was still surprised by her taken-for-granted abilities.

Emma smiled, "What do you think I am.... just another pretty face?" She never knew if he was teasing or honestly surprised. "You find me a place, utensils and food to cook. I'll make you the best food you ever had! Better then the mess food!" She looked to him. "I can even cook on a campfire! Pitch a tent... but I get lost easily."

"I'll find our way back every time." McCoy promised and held her close.


"The play's starting in fifteen minutes!" McCoy called to her. She had insisted on keeping this dress a secret until the last minute. He tried fastening the collar again, but it popped open. "I can do surgery at a microscopic level, but I can not get this collar done up!" He mumbled to himself.

"I'm almost ready. Close your eyes!" She sounded excited and nervous!

"Done." He had them closed; he heard the rustling of movement. He started as her touch went to his collar. "Can I open them now?"

A moment, then, "Open them." She stood smiling. He motioned for her to turn; she did so, slowly.

He whistled, "This I like!" Navy blue shimmering fabric, it looked like she had taken the fabric from 'out there' and used it for the dress. Strapless, formfitting until her hips then the skirt fell into gentle folds. The neckline had a dip in the fabric, exposing a fair bit of cleavage. Emma held a length of matching lace in her hand.

"I need a little help with this." Emma sat on the arm of the easy chair, she gathered the fabric in her hands and McCoy helped her place it over her head. The lace fell just to the edge of the neckline and as McCoy lifted her hair out, he discovered the low-cut back.

"Em?" He smoothed her hair into place, "How does this dress stay up?"

Emma smiled at him; her finger ran along his jaw to his lips, "Magic." She whispered to him, her lips brushed against his ear.

"Your answer when you don't know?"

"It worked on the kids."

McCoy smiled shaking his head, he felt like a kid! If they hurried, they'd make it in time.

The musical they attended was an old Earth classic, 'The King and I'; it turned out to be one of Emma's favorites. The story of an English woman that went to Siam with her son, to teach the King's children more modern ways. Anna and the King fell in love, but it was a love that had to be denied.

McCoy spent a great deal of time watching Emma, watch the play. He found her to be very expressive as she watched the play. He had even remembered to bring the extra handkerchief for her.

She had warned him earlier, that she always cried when the King died. She had explained to him, that it was only fitting that Anna was the only one to see the King die. Because she was the only one that loved the man for who he was, not just as the King. Yet she could never let him know. She held his hand and squeezed it, as she dried her tears. McCoy lifted her hand to his lips; he was falling in love!


McCoy smoothed the fabric to his usual uniform. It was good to be back and he felt well rested. He looked around the sickbay and then heard the noise in his office. He tapped the wall then poked his head in. "Do I need a white flag?"

Chapel laughed, "No. He's been off sulking since I told him off anyway." She ran a critical eye over him. "You look good. Rested!"

"Isn't that what R and R is for?"

"But you don't always accomplish that." She smiled at him. Something had happened in the last few days and she wondered if he would be keeping it to himself forever. "Did your ... companion enjoy the break as well?"

He smiled at her tact. "I know you can keep it to yourself, but I don't want you to be put in any awkward positions."

"If I guess, you wouldn't be telling me, and if you don't answer me, then I won't know if I'm right or wrong.... not officially." McCoy frowned at her logic, then nodded. She thought a moment, "How about Lt. Emma Benix?"

"Oh, that reminds me, you can put her back on active duty. She's fully recovered." He smiled then started laughing, "Was he really driving people nuts?"

"He was in here bellowing about needing to be in constant contact with his senior staff at all times. How he wanted to talk to you ASAP!" Chris smiled; this was a delightful change in him. He deserved a bit of happiness!

"I'll go talk to him." McCoy left smiling. Trying to rid himself of it, at the same time. He stepped in the lift and set the controls for level five. He stepped into the corridor and walked down to Kirk's quarters. He tapped the buzzer.

"Come." Kirk even sounded annoyed! "So, who showed you the way home?"

McCoy looked at him, "Wouldn't you like to know?" He smiled then began to laugh at how ticked-off Kirk was because he did not know what McCoy had been up to. "Sorry, Captain." He tried a straight face for a few minutes, then started to giggle. "You wanted to see me?"

Kirk glared at his medical officer, he held his anger tightly.... until McCoy started laughing then he laughed as well. He pointed a finger at him. "You, Doctor, are looking awfully damn good!" Kirk smiled at him, "A lot better than either of us ever did coming back from shore leave before!" He poured him some coffee then told him to sit down, "Going to tell me where you hid and with who?"

"With whom. The Starbase Hotel in the only suite they had and none of your business... Captain." He sat back and sighed, "At least not yet."

"Accepted." Kirk shook his head and began to tell his side of all of this and how everyone was covering up for him, even Spock! They laughed about it and then they began to talk about the next mission. "We are leaving here in two days, we are transporting colonist to a new location and we have been asked to help them set things up. It will be good to walk on grass for awhile."


Kirk looked to the lists of personnel, equipment and provisions, "You'd think we could figure out a way to do this with less junk by now." He was getting tired!

"It's nice to know there are some problems you haven't solved... yet." Emma shifted in the chair. Going through the lists of everything that had been needed, the duty rosters and the usual departmental reports had taken two hours. These chairs were not that comfortable!

She grinned at him, then looked back to the work in front of them. "I don't suppose we could find time for a break?"

Kirk tossed the slate onto the table with the others, "Actually, lunch sounds good. You?" He stood relieved that he wasn't the one to suggest this.

"Sure, I'm game."

Kirk glanced her way, the sayings she would use occasionally were archaic, and then again they should have been. They walked towards the mess hall. "How are things going for you?"

"Not bad." She had developed a slight friendship with him; they had just begun to talk of more personal matters. "Over the last R and R stop, Mr. Spock had some of the engineering personnel build me a quilting frame, so I've been renewing my interest in that."

"You will have to explain quilting, I've never even heard of this." Kirk took his tray from the processor. McCoy had him on a diet again and he suspected that it was because he had bothered him so much about his activities during shore leave. It wasn't a strict one, just enough to annoy him.

"Basically, you put three layers together, stretch them in a frame and stitch them together by hand. You usually form a design with the stitches. It was an old craft when I learned it!" Emma had placed her meal card in and smiled at the dessert.

"That is not fair!" Kirk looked at her tray and the chocolate dessert that sat beside her meal of rice and vegetables.

Emma looked to the deck. "I don't really have any control over this, sir."

"If you use those eyes on him, you do!" Kirk was mildly annoyed but he was smiling. He decided that after he finished his salad, sandwich and.... tried to enjoy his gelatin dessert, he would have a talk with Dr. McCoy! They moved to an empty table. Kirk placed his napkin on his lap then steepled his fingers in front of him. "What on Earth did you do to him to get a dessert like that!" Kirk didn't even think the machines could produce this!

Emma was suddenly uncomfortable; she would play this out, as if there was nothing to it. Actually, she didn't know if there was anything to 'it'. She knew how she felt, and she was not about to put the doctor in an awkward position over this! She took a breath and then met Kirk's eyes. She could do this! "Nothing that I am aware of!" She wondered if she should offer her dessert to him? No, that may make matters worse! She began her meal; after all she was not guilty of any wrong doings. She was innocent!

"There... That look!" Kirk grinned, he leaned towards her, "That's what you did; you batted those eyes at him and pouf! You have this... very good dessert!"

There was no getting around this now! "Would you like it, sir?"

Kirk smiled at her, he used the one that usually would get him dates. "No, Lt., I'll make do." Kirk began his lunch, still grumbling. Did he have that much power or was he complaining that much? He suspected the latter. He'd better behave or McCoy may but him on bread and water. "Do you think doctors have a perverse pleasure in torturing their patients?"

Emma swallowed quickly, the grin went across her lips then the laughter started... and did not stop! She knew of some of McCoy's pleasures, but being perverse was not one!

"Lt., that's enough." He kept his voice low, but crewmembers were starting to look their way. He had not expected this reaction! He leaned forward, "Lt., enough!" his voice slightly louder and firmer than before. It wasn't helping, and he really wasn't sure why it was so funny.

Emma had reached the 'sore cheeks' stage, she could not stop! "I'm sorry, sir.' She dried her eyes and tried to find some control. She took a deep breath and held it for a second. She had control now! She cleared her throat and picked up her tea, the sip helped. "Sorry, sir." She played with her food, not trusting herself to eat yet.

"Think nothing of it." He had not thought the comment was that funny! She wasn't eating yet. She was giggling again! "I gather that you do not share my opinion of Dr. McCoy?" He kept his smile to himself. This was an interesting reaction to a comment he had made before.

"No, sir." Emma was fighting this! There was no reason for her to think that this was so-o funny, but it was! She felt her control slipping again and a few noises escaped her lips. She could not envision the Dr. McCoy that she knew, as being the same one Kirk knew, and picturing the differences did not help much! The napkin helped hide her smile, but she could feel her body shaking slightly. She could not stop!!

"Excuse me, sir!" She moved from her chair, into the corridor, she still held the napkin. She'd probably need it! She went quickly into the nearest door that would open. The briefing room... empty! She sat in the chair and dissolved into laughter.

Between the fuss he had caused during shore leave and this bit over the dessert, she wondered how this legend of a man managed to command this vessel! She was also surprised at her reaction and the fact that she couldn't stop! The door swished open, she spun in her chair, "Mr. Spock!" The giggling had stopped and she was drying her eyes.

"Do you require anything, Lt.?" He had heard noises in here and had come to check on things, since this room was suppose to be empty. He was aware that Lt. Benix was not upset, but he was unsure of the reason she was here.

"Control, Mr. Spock." She stood, smoothing her jacket and checking her hair. She smiled at him, "I was attempting to control a fit of laughter over...." she paused, feeling the grin start, "...over a comment.." it was threatening to come back! She held her breath for a moment, then spoke quickly,"...a comment Captain Kirk made."

"Then you do not require assistance of any kind?" Mr. Spock understood the reaction, but he was becoming curious as to the comment Kirk would have made to cause this reaction.

"No, sir. I'll be returning to my quarters." She started to move pass Spock and she stopped, "If you see Captain Kirk," she took another deep breath letting it out slowly, "..would you please let him know I will be ready for duty in one hour."

"Would it not be more prudent for you to tell him yourself?" Mr. Spock was extremely curious about this matter. However, passing on the message would give him the excuse to inquire about Lt. Benix's behavior.

Emma bowed her head, "It would sir, but..." she cleared her throat, "I really can't."

"Very well. Carry on."

"Thank you, sir, for understanding." Emma left quickly and headed for her quarters. She moved into the room, "Lights." the lighting came on. She pulled off her jacket, tossed it on her desk then fell onto the bed, laughing even harder than before. She had an hour to rid herself of this image that Kirk had of McCoy. It wasn't working!

Emma started to think of McCoy, as she knew him, that was amusing but in a delightful way. Allowing herself to remember shore leave was definitely helping. The smile he had and his touch. Not to mention the kisses! She rolled over to reach the terminal and she contacted sickbay.

"Sickbay, McCoy here."

Emma felt the emotion wash over her when she heard his voice, "Can you talk for a few?"

"Hang on." She heard the sound of his office door closing and then him returning to the chair, his imaged returned as she sat up. "Okay, we have privacy."

"I have missed you today! And it was all Kirk's fault."

She had peeked his interest, "How on Earth did Kirk manage to make you miss me? By the way, I miss you too." He sighed, wishing he could pull her through the screen and hold her. He then noticed her grinning, "Everything okay?"

"That's why I called, and you will have to use all your patients for this, because I'm not sure how long this will take me to tell you!" She felt the giggling starting. She knew this would brighten up his day, week.... maybe even the month!


Emma poked her head into the sickbay carrying a four-year-old bundle of energy, "Doctor McCoy?"

His head lifted from the work in shambles on his desk, "Oh! Hi, what can I do for you?"

"James has been complaining that his foot hurts," She followed him over to the examining table, "I can't find anything wrong with it. I thought it might be twisted." She sat the boy on the surface. She met James' eyes. "You have to sit still."

James nodded then sobbed suddenly, "Okay."

McCoy stood close to her, "I could use you on some of my big patients." He reached under the table and then ran the scanner. James jumped, grabbing onto Emma's neck as he let out a scream!

"Enough!" She sat James down then looked to McCoy. "They never really grow up." She lifted James chin, "Do you really think the doctor's going to hurt you with a noise?"

"No." James spoke low.

McCoy smiled slightly, he offered the hand-sized scanner to the boy, "Touch that and it will make the noise again." McCoy waited for him to do it, "Now, run it up and down in front of Lt. Benix and I will tell you all about her." McCoy ignored the glare; he took the scanner back after James did the movements.

"Tell me!" James smiled at McCoy.

"M-m-m. Temperature is normal. Heart rate and breathing are a little high?" He leaned forward, "What do you think that means, James?"

James shrugged.

"Usually it means that that person is getting excited..." McCoy laughed at the poke that he received from Emma, "You know, James, just like how you feel when you get a new toy."

"Okay!" James smiled then looked to Emma. "Lt. Benix, did you get something new?"

Emma smiled dangerously at McCoy but answered James, "No. But I am thinking of getting rid of an old toy!" She shook her head. "Can you check his foot?"

McCoy tried to keep the smile off his lips, but it wasn't working. He palmed the scanner, "Well, you've twisted it. Lt. Benix was right." He looked to Emma and laughed slightly, he saw the sparkle in her eyes. "All he needs is some TLC and things should be fine." He looked past Emma as another crewmember entered the sickbay. McCoy turned James around. It was his father.

"Dad!" The officer kept his balance as James stood and wrapped his arms around his neck. "I checked Lt. Benix. She's exited and my foot is okay."

"Glad to hear it, Jam." Lt. Sung stated as he picked him up into his arms. "I was just in to pick him up and they told me you had brought him here. Thanks." Lt. Sung turned after listening to James shouting good-bye to both the officers.

McCoy leaned his hip on the table and faced Emma, "Are you off duty?"

"Why?" She was trying to stay slightly angry with him. She folded her arms across her chest, her head tilted, "I should be very angry at you!"

"Why? You should know by now that kids don't have the same understanding as we do." He brushed that one strand of hair behind her ear; it was always falling loose. "Besides, if you were off duty..." His hand moved down her arm then held her hand. ".... I could think of a few things we could do. If you still have duty...."

"...then you'll do them...?" She was smiling at him, teasing.

McCoy shook his head, his grin was ear to ear now. "...later." He laughed at the look on her face, "What did you think I'd say?"

She shrugged, "Maybe they were things you could do on your own?" She moved closer to him, "Or are you not that desperate yet?"

McCoy sighed heavily, "No, not yet." He lifted her chin, then kissed her. "Are you off duty?"

"Do you make house, sorry, cabin calls?" She frowned, it sounded awful! "Quarters calls?" She giggled, "That sounded wrong too."

"Does your mind work like that all the time?"

Emma stepped back, hands on her hips. "Well at least it works!"

McCoy frowned, "Are you insinuating that something doesn't work?" This hurt his brain!

Emma laughed, "No? Not unless there is something that doesn't work that you haven't told me about?"

"Have you had any of these conversations with Spock?" McCoy was definitely getting confused. This started out as a hopeful invitation to her or his quarters.... what it was now, he wasn't sure. "My head hurts!"

Emma moved closer to him; her hand went to his cheek, "Poor little doctor."

McCoy smiled as he shook his head. "Where were we?"

"I asked you if you make house calls?" Emma rested her arm on his shoulder, her own private leaning post.

"He can now that I'm here." Christine laughed when they both jumped. "Sorry."

McCoy felt his face warm and saw Emma blush. They both laughed.

"Get out of here before I toss you both in the regen tank!" Christine shooed them out. "Get!" She saw McCoy paused, "What?"

McCoy pulled Emma closer; he raised an eyebrow, "The regen tank?" He was thinking. He tapped a finger on his lip as he debated.

Emma looked to his eyes, she wasn't sure if she liked this. "What is a regen tank?"

McCoy continued thinking as he began to explain, "It's a tank..a bathtub, so to speak. It contains a solution of regeneration gelatin." His voice was soft and he began to consider the possibilities, " It's set at body temperature and it is thick enough that it will suspend us."

Emma nodded slowly, "Both of us?"

"Should be big enough."

"No!" Christine was eavesdropping again. "No way, no how. Not on my shift!"

McCoy shrugged, "We will have to do it some other time."

"I'll survive."

Christine poked McCoy. "Act your age!"

"Shouldn't you be telling her that!"

Christine laughed, "Get out of here!"

McCoy wrapped his arm around Emma, then headed out of sickbay. He walked with her to the lift. He had dropped his arm but as the lift doors closed, he leaned over and kissed her. His hand moved to the controls and stopped the lift...between levels. He pulled her closer. "Mine or yours? Better make it yours, mines a wreck!"

"I would be there to see you, not your quarters." She brushed his lips with hers. "Yours next time."

"Deal." He kissed her again then took a deep breath then released the lift.

When the doors parted at one level, Kirk stepped in. "McCoy?"

"Captain." McCoy bounced on his toes, waiting for his level. He tried to ignore Emma. This was a game they had decided to play, see how long they can keep their rendezvous, a secret. Especially, from Captain Kirk.

"Benix." He frowned. "How did your day go?"

"Fine, sir. Yours?"

"Other than having to wait for this lift, everything has run as smooth as silk."

Emma coughed slightly, "Glad to hear it, sir." She moved to step out ahead of McCoy.

Kirk caught McCoy's arm as Emma stepped onto the deck, "Bones, how about that game of poker you've been putting off?" He caught a flicker of something in McCoy's eyes. "Later?"

McCoy was hesitant. Should he commit himself to something that he wasn't sure he'd manage? "Tell you what, I'll call you later. There is some paperwork I have been trying to get caught up on and I'm not sure how long it will take." He raised an eyebrow, hoping Kirk bought it all.

"Sure, I've got duty for the next four hours. I'll stop by if I don't hear from you."

McCoy nodded not really paying attention to what he was agreeing to. "Fine." McCoy stepped out of the lift and waved to Kirk as the doors closed. He breathed a sigh of relief and then double-timed it to her quarters. The doors opened for him. He stepped in then laughed as the doors closed behind him.

"You..." McCoy pulled her to him. She laughed as he kissed her, then made a path down her neck, ".... make me feel like a kid again!" He began to unfasten her tunic, tossing it onto her desk. Her hands had made short work of his tunic, tossing it on top of hers. Her boots were already off.

He was right! They did act like two kids half the time, but they were having fun! She stopped kissing him, "Len?" He mumbled something and kept kissing her, "The regen tank, the gel.."

McCoy started to laugh, "Don't get on that track again." He smiled at her and thought of the possibilities. "I know of one med student that tried it."

"And how was it?"

McCoy shook his head, "Wasn't me! I couldn't get anyone to try it with me."

Emma's hands worked on his shirt, then lifted it over his head, "Too bad you did not know me back then."

"I have a suspicion that if I knew you then, the only thing I would have passed would have been Reproduction 101." McCoy's lips touched her neck.

Emma held his hands and then moved to her bed. She sat down then pulled him to her. "You would have passed more than that, I would have made sure of it."

McCoy held his head up. "You would have denied me a session in the regen tank...."

Her fingers touched his lips, "No. That would have been your reward everytime you passed a test."

McCoy smiled, "I like the way you think." He helped her off with her sweater. Her skin was warm under his touch. Her pants we next and then he rid himself of the remainder of his uniform. He loved touching her skin. He felt her shiver, as his touch moved lower then she moaned.

Emma lifted his face, her lips brushed against his. He made her feel very different; she ran her hand along his body and then moved on top of him. She lowered herself slowly; his hands held her hips tightly. His eyes were closed and as he breathed out, he whispered how good this felt. She lay down against his chest and kissed him. "Don't move." She did, slowly, very slowly. She sat up and closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of him.

McCoy found her to be a pure delight, his hands moved slowly up her body, his fingers teasing her. He pulled her slowly down then held her tight as he felt his release.


The scenery was breath taking! The rolling hills, the grass, the trees, even butterflies and birds! Emma held onto the tricorder and moved from the beam-down point. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and botanist Daniel Chambers had beamed down at the same time. Her tricorder was strictly for reports and notes...paperwork. McCoy and Spock held the scanning types. The whirling sound was one she was beginning to understand. Spock signaled for her to follow him for a moment. He held the tricorder within her line of vision and began to explain some of the readings.

Spock would always take the time to explain what the equipment was capable of doing and occasionally he would allow her to work with him. He usually had the extra time, the basic knowledge Emma was lacking and the patients no one else seemed to possess, for the amount of questions she sometimes had to ask.

Captain Kirk activated his comm-pin and confirmed beam-down with the Enterprise. He and Mr. Chambers headed one way to find the best place to beam down the supplies needed.

McCoy stood for a moment, watching Emma. It amazed him, that she always seemed to know when he was watching her. Her head turned from Spock for a moment and she smiled at him. He smiled back and then caught up with Kirk. He checked his tricorder against the inoculations he had scheduled for everyone, before the colonists and the Enterprise party beamed down. He had given the established general inoculations to Emma before coming down; she was the only one never to have had any.

Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock would be on an alternating duty rotation of twenty-four hours each. Dr. McCoy, Mr.Scott, security personnel, a colonization team as well as Lt. Benix would remain on the surface for up to a two-week period. The colonists were here for as long as they wanted to be some would inevitably beam back up not wishing to remain on this planet. There were eighty colonists all together and they needed only fifty to remain here by Federation standards.

There were only a few parameters to follow; the colony had to set up more than one 'village'. They had to be far enough apart that disease would not transfer, but close enough that help could be provided.

The Enterprise and its crew acted as the jumping off point for the colony. The Enterprise could provide almost anything they would need to survive. A ration of food would be left, usually a month's worth, in case of problems and it would give the Federation a chance to get a vessel there to help. Medical supplies were left and regularly re-stocked as well as the transfers of personnel and equipment as needed. A lot of people volunteered for this as a way to improve their way of life or a way to start again after a personal hardship.

The sun was warm and after a time, with Spock's permission, Emma began to explore on her own. McCoy found her lying in the grass near a brook, her arm shielding her eyes. She peeked up at him when she felt his shadow. "How long have you been there?" She was enjoying the sun's warmth.

"Not long." McCoy sat down beside her. She seemed to be bothered by something. "A penny....?" He had picked up a few of her sayings and some of them they had kept between them.

She didn't sit up; she covered her eyes again. He knew she had been crying.

"It's easier on the ship. I can forget... no, tuck it away easier." She had her jacket spread out on the grass; she was laying on it. "This seems too much like...home." She had debated taking off her boots, but she did not think that Captain Kirk would approve, if he found her that way. "This is exactly what I was doing when I was snatched up by the Enterprise." She had a feeling; McCoy was being her doctor right now, and that made it easier too. "What am I supposed to do with all the unresolved things. The things I cannot shake. The wonder about, what did happen to them? Did anyone ever look for me or even miss me?" That was the thought that started the tears again.

"If he didn't, he's stupider than I thought he'd be!" McCoy surprised himself at that remark. That was not a remark for a professional to make! He had really tried hard not to give her any impression of what he thought of her life back then.

Emma sat up and stared at him, the tears just rolling down her face. Sometimes, he had the feeling that Emma wanted him to make all the memories go away... he couldn't, and that's when he was the angriest. Angry that he could not help erase the past! He could only help her with her present and her future.... their future?

"You've never said anything before...." She watched his face go from the softness she knew to a coldness she had never seen before. "I never thought you were really listening." She accepted the handkerchief; she tried a weak smile. "That isn't what I mean. I never thought you had an opinion about my other life."

McCoy looked out at the landscape for a moment. "The hardest part has been listening to you at night, sometimes crying so hard, there's no comforting you while you slept...." He sighed, relieved those dreams had ended. "You don't do that anymore."

"Isn't this an awful conversation to be having here?" She hadn't realized that she still talked in her sleep. "I didn't want you to be hurt by my memories." She closed her eyes, wishing she had no past to worry about.

"That's what..... friends are for." He met her eyes, he nneeded to know how she really felt about being here, in this time, and how she felt about him. "to understand.." He took a deep breath and stood, he held out his hand to her, "To accept you, as you are. To be there, when you need someone."

Emma accepted his help, she moved closer to him, and a part of this felt as if she had no choice...she had to be near him. She kissed him, then ran her fingers along his lips, she moved closer to whisper in his ear, "I may hate myself for telling you this. You may hate me but..." her lips touched his ear, "..Leonard McCoy, I love you!" She felt him shiver and his arm pulled her close.

McCoy closed his eyes, thanking the Powers that be!


The temporary shelters belonged to the Enterprise crew; the more permanent and larger shelters belonged to the colonists. Everyone had been busy, with the beaming down of all the equipment. The advantage they had was that the daylight hours were going to be a little longer than a regular day. The timing seemed to work within a twenty-four hour day; it just meant that nightfall would be closer to twenty-one hundred hours and not eighteen hundred hours. Later, the colonists would re-arrange whatever they needed to.

One temporary shelter was being used as a play area for the younger children. Lt. Benix was busy teaching them tag. The kids chased and chased one another until they were tagged. Emma laughed at the near misses and the tags that were made. She looked to the time and then announced it was time for lunch. She did not have to say anymore. Kids everywhere and anytime wanted food above all.

"Sit quietly, or you are not eating." She threatened. She looked to the bright eyes and eager appetites. They had sandwiches and fresh vegetables for lunch along with their choice of milk or juice. The low-level table was quickly covered with plates of food and little hands eager to poke at everything in sight. She wondered if any of these kids felt the fear that she did at the new surroundings? They probably thought it was the same, as she would have felt about moving across an ocean in her time, an adventure!

A colonist came in carrying a four-month-old baby, "Lt. Benix? I was told that you would be able to manage this little one just for about an hour. Her bed was left on board, accidentally. Transporters are busy and I'm needed to help assemble the third shelter."

Lt. Benix moved to her, "Absolutely, no problem." She accepted the bundle with a remembered skill and then checked on the munching children. She moved a few chairs over and laid them on their sides. She placed the baby in the protective area on top of a folded blanket. She turned her attentions back to the others, and did a quick visual check of everyone. She began her own lunch. She would be relieved in twenty minutes, but she did not feel like eating on her own.

McCoy was busy setting up the hospital area and would not be back at the camp until nightfall. Most of the other officers were busy with the colonists; this was definitely a high-energy job right now.

"Lt.!" One of the older children called to her, she looked up and started to stand, "Emily's choking!"

Emma tapped her comm-pin as she moved quickly, "Medical Emergency, we have a young child that is choking. School building." She took the pin and handed it to the older boy, "If they ask anything, Kyle, try to answer them." She lifted the little girl and began the chest thrusts that would help her breath again. She heard Kyle talking to someone. She had checked Emily's airway again. As she reached, gingerly, into Emily's mouth, she was rewarded with a large piece of carrot.

Emily took a breath and then started to cry.

Emma held her and told her everything was fine now. "Take your time eating, Emily." Emily nodded, sobbing a little less now. She jumped at the touch on her shoulder! She turned, it was Dr. McCoy. She smiled at him, then handed Emily to him. Emma knew that McCoy would check her over now.

She took a deep breath; relieved the emergency was over. She moved back to the little bundle, just beginning to wake up. She lifted the baby out and held her, rocking her. She had just started to cry and was probably getting hungry. It had been almost an hour and her mother was due back. She looked to McCoy still talking to Emily and then to Kyle. Emma spotted the colonist that had brought in the baby girl.

"Everything is fine. She's getting hungry." She watched the baby respond to her mother. "What's her name?"

"Patricia." Her eyes met Emma's. "Mine is Rebecca Stevens."

"Emma Benix. She was no problem, Patricia can visit anytime." Emma moved from the woman as she left. Emma felt the tears start and nearly walked into Dr. McCoy. "Sorry!" She smiled at him and dried the tears. "There are some days that I think I'm using someone else's feet." She nodded to her relief. "Can we have lunch?"

McCoy nodded. "You did well in there." He handed her back her comm-pin.

"You sound surprised." Her hands replaced the pin. She wanted to hold his hand and walk; instead she clasped her hands behind her as Mr. Spock was always doing. "The baby's name is Patricia." It seemed like nonsense information, but a part of her had to at least say it.

"Most people rely on medical personnel." He remembered one of her dreams taking to a 'Tricia'; he had assumed one of her children. These were the times he wanted to make the memories go away.... when they hurt her.

"When I grew up, medical personnel were usually too far away or transportation was difficult. You learned emergency first aid." She felt her body begin to shake, her arms folded across her chest, "I was hoping I'd get to sit down before this started." Her chin was shaking now, "It's nerves that's all!"

"From what?" McCoy head his scanner out, he was smiling at her, her teeth were chattering now. He started to laugh.

"Cut it! It's from dealing with.... Emily." She took in a deep breath and then it all stopped. She shook her head at him. "What am I to do with you?"

"Ask me after supper and I'll have a few suggestions by then." He looked to the scenery and then back to her, they were smiling at each other.

"All medically sound, I suppose?" They reached the 'mess tent'; she went in ahead of him. "How about if I cook dinner tonight?" She moved to the temporary processors. She wanted to ask what the food was made from but, something told her, she did not really care to know. She chose apple pie and some tea.

"Should I bring my medical bag?" He was laughing now.

She gently punched his arm, "If you are going to make comments about my cooking again, you'd better!" They sat down with the trays carrying the plates of food. "You'll need the bandages...and maybe even a sling!"

He looked around the space making sure no one else was listening and then he leaned closer to her, "Actually, I was thinking we could make use of it, after dinner!" He raised an eyebrow then nodded his head slightly.

Emma leaned close, "You, Doctor, are incorrigible!"

"That, is one of my more redeeming characteristics, my dear!" With that comment made, he lifted his napkin and snapped it open then laid it on his lap.

The meal she had prepared was far from elegant. McCoy seemed to be fascinated that she could do this so easily. He had even taken his life in his hands and suggested that she cook for the crew! Emma made some comment, wondering if this was his wildest dream..her chained to the stove, bare-foot and pregnant! He was definitely confused about this one!

She had made a vegetable stew and for dessert they had berries and ice cream. McCoy had made a few remarks about feeling a little funny after eating and even had the nerve to suggest that she had added something to the stew.

"You are feeling funny, because you ate three helpings of stew!" She laughed at him. She had shared her 'tent' with one of the security officers, but tonight they would be together. He had arranged it with Spock, somehow? She wasn't sure she wanted to know what he had told the Vulcan.

They moved to the edge of the water and sat down. The stars were just becoming visible in the sky and McCoy pointed to something that looked like a moving star. "That's the Enterprise." He sat behind and wrapped his arms around her. "Supper was good, by the way."

She leaned against him slightly, "With the amount you had, I thought it was at least palatable." She turned and kissed him. "I'm glad you enjoyed it."

They sat like this for a long time, listening to the water and the diminishing noises from their camp. He brushed her stray hair back from her face; the breeze had moved it. He kissed her. "Do you remember the other day when we first arrived?"

She nodded.

"You had gone off by yourself and when I found you, you had been crying." She added, 'yea' to her nod this time. He was feeling the knot in his stomach begin to tighten. "Remember what you had whispered to me?"

Emma nodded again. She was getting nervous. She sat up and faced him, "I remember." there was an uncertainty in her voice, she looked to his eyes hoping to find a clue to what he was getting at. He was looking at the ground. "I told you that I loved you."

His head nodded, "Do you?" His eyes met hers, "I mean.... I'm not sure what I mean." His hand touched her face, "I do not know...." McCoy smiled. He shook his head and met her eyes again. She looked terrified! He wanted to say this, but what if it was the wrong thing to say? The wrong...time? He stood then offered his hand to her. "Let's walk." He helped her up; he held her hand as they walked towards the camp. He knew he was driving her crazy!

Some of the crew had built a campfire and a few others had their instruments out and were tuning up, Spock among them. McCoy stopped before they reached the camp and before anyone noticed them. He turned Emma to face him. He felt awkward! The music had begun; the crew had finally found something in common! McCoy finally had something else to listen to except the silence and the voice in his head.. and the pounding of his heart!

McCoy was not usually this tongue-tied, Emma was getting nervous. She went to say something but his fingers touched her lips. "Em." He pulled her a little closer, his hands gently held onto her arm. He took a very deep breath and let it out slowly, "Em...will you marry me?"

He held his breath and silently prayed to the powers that existed that she would at least answer him!

Emma felt her body go numb, she looked in his eyes and found her place. "Oh yes!" She wrapped her arms around him, "Oh God, yes, I'll marry you!" She felt her tears and then she started to laugh nervously.

McCoy pulled her close and then held her, "I love much!" He whispered as he kissed her passionately. He felt as if he were kissing her for the first time! He stepped back, his hand went into his pocket and he presented her with the case. She held it and started to shake, McCoy opened the case and took out the ring. He smiled at her. "I can manage any surgery, in almost any conditions.. let's see if I can manage this.. without dropping it!" His fingers held the ring tightly, then slipped it onto her finger. Before he let go, he paused and met her eyes, "Are you sure? This would be your last chance to back out!" She shivered and nodded.

The silver toned ring was cool against her skin but it would warm quickly. She looked at it. A single large oval diamond placed along the band. She hugged him. "It's beautiful. It feels like it should have been there.... a long time ago."

Kirk looked to the two figures off in the distance. It looked like McCoy, but he wasn't sure who was with him. "Spock, do you know who is out there?"

Spock lifted his head and looked to the two figures that Kirk was referring to, "Yes, Captain, I do."

Kirk cleared his throat; the Vulcan looked up at him. At this moment, there was no one that could convince Kirk that Vulcans did not have a sense of humor! He crouched down beside Spock, then refilled his coffee cup, "Are you going to tell me who they are?"

"You did not ask me to tell you who they were. You asked me...."

"Spock!" Kirk was sure it was McCoy. Who ever it was with him, they were getting especially friendly! The two figures moved closer, they were holding hands. Kirk stood slowly as he realized whom the couple was. He tapped Spock's shoulder, "How long?"

Spock looked to Kirk, "Since our stop at the station." He stated it, did not guess at it. Inwardly, Spock was pleased for both. He also knew, due to his acute hearing, what had just transpired. This, he was surprised about, his personal estimation had been two days from now, when they returned to the ship. He also knew that he had won the 'bet' he was pulled into with Uhura and Christine. It would be most amusing to see the faces as this result was revealed and the stakes to be collected.

McCoy and Benix moved into the circle and were standing beside Spock, opposite to Kirk. McCoy was bouncing lightly. He felt Emma squeeze his hand, he lifted it and kissed her. McCoy finally looked at Kirk and he grinned.

"Doctor, may I talk to you?" Kirk walked away from the group slightly, he waited for the officer to catch up with him. He tried to sound serious.

"Yes, Captain. You had something to discuss?" He was smiling and bouncing.

"You look very pleased with yourself?" Kirk kept his control; McCoy looked as if he would burst!

"That I am."

"And would you care to tell me why?"

"Sure. Do you want to know?"

Kirk grinned at him, "Since shore leave, eh?" He shook his head slowly, wondering if this crew could deal with a 'pleasant' Chief Medical officer.

"Yea!" McCoy leaned closer to him, "But there is something else."

"And that is?"

"Emma's agreed to become Mrs. Leonard McCoy!"

Kirk looked to his friend, he was beaming! It was infectious! Kirk started to grin and then started to laugh, "That's how she got her desserts! That's why she laughed so hard at the torture joke!" Kirk pounded McCoy's back. "It's all beginning to make sense now!" Kirk moved over to Emma, he tapped her shoulder, as he straightened his expression. "Lt. Benix, your hand!" Kirk looked at the ring then nodded. He handed Spock his cup then wrapped his arms around Emma, "Captain's prerogative." He kissed her. "Congratulations, Emma." he glanced at McCoy, "If he becomes a problem, let me know.... I can transfer him for you!"

Emma laughed, "Thank you, sir. I'll remember that." She smiled McCoy's way and then looked to the fire. She felt the tears again and then she felt his hand on hers.

"Care to dance?" McCoy pulled her close as Spock played a waltz for them; it was the one they had danced to that first night in sickbay.


It had taken one week just to finish the hospital, the rest of the buildings were being worked on but were no where near completion. The problem they had run into, was that a portion of the foundation had begun to sink.

Quickly, the hospital was redesigned and the area that was presenting the difficulty was altered to become a terrace. The area was not able to withstand the weight of the building. There were no underground water supplies in the area nor were there any air pockets. The remainder of the building was going quickly and by the engineer's estimation, the hospital would be ready for its first patient in four days.

McCoy had returned to the Enterprise to collect all that was needed to supply the hospital. The Enterprise had on board, ready for delivery, twelve diagnostic beds, complete medicinal and small equipment supplies. Cases of sheets, blankets and pillows. Scrubs, operating supplies as well as tricorders and hand held scanners. It was quite a collection of cargo cases that had to opened and checked, repackaged if necessary and then beamed down to the hospitals location.

Emma climbed down the outside of the large cargo case and then handed Kirk the confirmed list of supplies. She was getting tired and it was near the end of her day. She had switched duties with Lt. Davidson and allowed him to 'relax' with the kids. There had been fewer children to take care of day by day.

As the colonist's homes were built, the children returned to their normal routines of being cared for by their parents and relatives. Dr. McCoy had the pleasure of assisting at one birth, the first on the planet. There was a celebration that night and McCoy, Kirk and the colonist stayed up late. Captain Kirk had raided the stores for the mostly liquid celebration and it seemed that a good time was had by all.

The second village had been started at the end of the first week. They had begun to spend days over at the other location, as well and that was becoming confusing. The cargo cases that were beamed down had to be checked through as well and since she had just completed the job, Emma would be heading over that way, with Kirk, in the morning.

Emma had stood outside of her shelter until the sun had set. That was something she had missed, sunsets and rises! She found she had missed breezes, the kind that seemed to brush along her cheek and move her hair. She had found a small grouping of trees that gave her some cover from the cooling breeze. She moved from there and had begun to feel how cool it had really become; the evening temperature had begun to bother her.

She moved inside, climbed under the covers and then pulled them in tight. She knew that McCoy would be in soon and she would be warm for sure. Kirk had watched Lt. Benix head into the shelter, he turned to McCoy, who was just saying goodnight to the new father.

Kirk waved to the departing figure and then refilled the two glasses with the dark amber liquid. He handed one to McCoy, "To a shared life." McCoy accepted the toast and then the two sat down a little closer to the fire. "Have you set any date?"


"We never got to talk about this until tonight." Kirk laughed slightly, "How did you keep it so quiet?"

"I am really not sure how we managed it after shore leave or why no one else noticed." McCoy smiled, "When Spock was involved, I thought for sure you knew and were playing dumb."

"Maybe I was dumb." Kirk looked to his friend, "Why did you not enlighten me about Lt. Benix."

"I did not know how she was really feeling until we beamed down that first day, the four of us beamed down. Emma had gone off on her own for a bit and when I found her... she had been crying and she was upset."

"About? Or should I ask?"

"You know in some ways Emma's adjusted well to this change in her other ways, like trying to deal with the past...hasn't gone so well." McCoy drank more of the brandy, as he looked into the fire. "She enjoys doing the work she is doing. She is thriving on your workload. Her body is finally detoxifying. But she's lonely for what she was. As unhappy as she was, it was her life.... this is a poor substitute for not having your husband or your kids beside you." McCoy took a ragged breath, realizing he had not spoken about this to anyone but the psyche file. "I'm hoping I can make-up for what ever she's missing."

"I thought she had left behind a family. I relied on you to be nosy for me. You never really said too much, so neither did I." Kirk swirled the liquid in his glass. "Should I have asked more?"

"Whatever she wanted to share, she did. Emma told me more, because, in the beginning, I was the most familiar face, I was her physician. After the time I had her in for observation, just before shore leave, that was when she started talking about what it had been like...nothing awful, just not complete. Her family did not seem interested in what she wanted, or needed. She just wanted to be accepted for who she was, not what everyone wanted her to be."

McCoy finished off the brandy; he debated on some more. He'd wait. "I could not make any moves. I realized, I was attracted to her long before she was to me. As a doctor, some of those feelings you have to ignore. It had to be done in her time. All of it." He laughed a bit, "I bought that ring for her while we were on shore leave. Do you realize how much you would have teased me, if you had known then?" McCoy looked to Kirk.

"I apologize in retrospect." Kirk filled both glasses again, both of them needed an excuse to stay and talk. "What about these so called characters in the books that she used to talk about. That was getting a little scary there for awhile?"

McCoy smiled, "Now that is an interesting thing. Do you remember when Spock did the mind meld?" Kirk nodded, "He had told us that everything she was saying was truth to her. Well, Spock has spent.. at least three months looking for evidence of these stories. He finally found the time frame, the creator of these characters, the actors, and there is evidence of this series of writings she kept talking about. But it seems that there were no writings that survived to make it into our records."

"Did anyone ever discuss it with her?"

McCoy coughed, "That was even more interesting! When Spock informed her of his findings, just before the accident on the bridge, she just looked at him, shrugged and said that there must be a reason for all those books to have disappeared." McCoy grinned and chuckled. "I think they have been looking ever since."

"So when did you decide that she was marrying material?" Kirk was surprised at McCoy's silence, he expected him to answer right away.

"I'm not sure." He swirled the brandy, "All I know is that, one day, it dawned on me, that marrying her had became a possibility. I don't think I really decided, until the words came out tonight and the only reason I hesitated, was because I was afraid of doing exactly what had been done before...I wanted her to want it first."

"Does she talk about her family?" Kirk knew what it was like to lose a family. His father, mother and brother were all gone; the only family he had left was a nephew.

McCoy shook his head. "Not directly. When she was in sickbay and while we were on shore leave, she would.... talk in her sleep. It did not always make sense." McCoy drank a good portion of the brandy; he hadn't realized how much this affected him. "I suppose the hardest part, is that she didn't bury them, or even leave them! She just vanished from their lives, and she was dropped here. When we go home, I want to help her find them. Maybe we'll wait until then to marry."

"That may be a long time, Bones."

"Emma's decision, not mine." McCoy smiled, "The only thing I ever decided for her.. was the first time we made love! We did it the way I thought.. no, knew she deserved." McCoy stood, enough had been said. He emptied his glass, "Good-night, Jim."

"Night, Bones." Kirk emptied the glass; placed them back in the box they were stored in and then headed to bed. He'd leave the fire dousing to security, he knew they'd probably enjoy the warmth.


Kirk stepped out into too much sunshine. He covered his eyes for a moment, waiting for them to adjust. He carried his uniform tunic over one arm and headed for the mess tent for some breakfast. He wondered why they still had the habit of calling these things 'tents'. They were far from it! He had used a tent before, with McCoy, when they went camping. These were not tents!

Kirk programmed his breakfast, poured himself some coffee and then looked for a quiet place to wake up. There wasn't one, but there was a space across from Lt. Benix. He weaved through the tables and chairs and then put his tray down. "Good-morning, Lt." He tried to sound awake.

"Good morning, Captain." She smiled slightly, "Did you match him brandy for brandy?"

Kirk was surprised she knew, he expected her to be fast asleep by the time McCoy wandered 'home'. "McCoy doesn't usually drink and tell." The coffee tasted good this morning, he felt a little bit of life creep into his brain.

"He didn't." Emma pushed aside her empty plate, poured herself some more tea as she continued, "Dr. McCoy tends to take over the bed when he has had brandy and last night.... I slept on the floor."

Kirk smiled and then chuckled, "Sorry."

She had kept a straight face for a bit then grinned, "Do boys ever grow up?"

Kirk shrugged, "Personally, I try not to..." He drank his coffee then began on his breakfast. He caught Emma frowning at his food, "A problem.... Lt.?" He leaned forward slightly.

"What is that supposed to be?" She was checking it over her cup as she drank some down.

"Scrambled eggs." Kirk was taken aback. "Why?"

"Tell you what, tomorrow for breakfast, program just the raw eggs and I will make you scrambled eggs." She took a breath, "You know, that's the only thing that hasn't improved.... the cooking." She poured a fresh cup of coffee, then stood. "I am going to wake him up now."

"He gets coffee served to him in bed?" Kirk was making notes; McCoy would be teased about this forever and a day. He was envious of this attention!

Emma walked over to his side; she leaned close enough to whisper in his ear, "Some times, he even has...." She looked around for witnesses, causing Kirk's grin to spread; she knew what he was expecting,"..breakfast in bed!" She nodded then winked at him.

Kirk watched her leave, he was still smiling. She had him going for a moment and she enjoyed it! He'd have to watch this woman from now on. She's performed well as a command yeoman, she seems to be doing well with the kids, and her physical improvements have been noted, she has a sense of humor and.... she can cook! "Why didn't I notice her?" He mumbled to himself. He'd have to start playing more attention to his crew, maybe there is another treasure walking around his ship! He emptied his cup, maybe that's why McCoy kept this all hush-hush! He didn't want the competition!

The two beams of light formed the solid figures of Captain Kirk and Lt. Benix. Both moved towards the temporary shelters that housed the secondary village. Mr. Chambers met them.

The hands shook as the usual greeting of 'good mornings were exchanged. Benix handed Kirk the list of supplies that were to be beamed down and also highlighted the cargo cases that had to be checked once the were down. He walked with Chambers to find a suitable location, actually the only large enough space near the hospital. These colonists had chosen to keep most of the vegetation intact and to fashion buildings around the large trees. Kirk had waved for Benix to catch-up once they found the area, Kirk asked her to do a reading of the underground support.

In Lt. Benix's opinion the ground would hold anything that was required. She asked Mr. Chambers to verify her readings before the commitment was made. Mr. Chambers agreed with her findings and they moved from the area to allow the beaming down of the equipment.

The large cargo cases were beamed first; the smaller cases were placed around the camp closest to their destinations. All of this took about hour, then Benix had the task of climbing into the largest cargo case and beginning the boring task of counting the contents. She had been at this for awhile now and Kirk had climbed in to see how she was doing.

"I think there are some things a captain should not do." He had felt awkward dropping down from the edge of the cargo case, it was a twenty-foot drop to the bottom and luckily, it was filled halfway in most places. He looked around, trying to discover where exactly Lt. Benix was. "Benix, how do I get to where you are?"

Emma laughed slightly, "Are you sure you want to?" She stood on the casing she had been sitting on, she could barely see above the large case in front of her, "In my next life, I want to be tall!"

"So noted." Kirk climbed up on the crate, then down onto the longer crate. He pulled himself up on the case that had been slightly behind him, then looked down on Benix. "I decided long ago, for my next life, I want to be a Vulcan." He smiled at her and then dropped down beside her. "But don't tell Spock."

"Mum's the word." She looked to the slate she had, touched a few of the sensor pads. The screens changed and she looked to Kirk, "The only thing that appears to be missing is the water filtration unit. I do know we have a spare on board.. unless it's in another casing." She leaned against the crate behind her, then looked up to the sky, "Storms moving in? I thought we had clear skies for the rest of the week?"

"That is what my science officer told me." Kirk began to climb out and helped Emma on the way. Outside the wind had picked up and the trees were almost bending in the wind. The cold air blew in suddenly, giving both of them the shivers. "It's dropping fast!"

As they neared the point where they could pull themselves out, a large limb came loose and slammed down on the casing. The mechanism had been hit and the sliding hatch closed quickly! Kirk's hands were on the ledge ready to pull himself out. He hadn't seen the hatch closing behind him! Emma pulled on his tunic, hard, causing him to fall back into her. The slate went flying, she sat down heavily, and Kirk landed on her legs. Both had the wind knocked out of them.

Kirk took a breath, "That hurt!" He rolled off of whatever he had landed on and looked towards Benix, "Are you all right?" He reached out a hand to make a connection in the darkness. "Don't move."

"I won't." Emma assured him, "Should I tell you now that I am lousy in the dark?"

Kirk sat up slowly, "Not according to Dr. McCoy!" He smiled then looked in Emma's direction, "I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist a line like that!"

Emma sighed, "Yes, you could have." She ran a hand down her leg and then hit a tender spot. "My leg hurts, but I don't dare move it." A part of her suspected that it was broken. "If I move it and it's broken, we won't be able to see anything to splint it."

Kirk agreed, "Can you remember what was in the cases around us at all?"

"We are sitting on the diagnostic beds." She tried to remember what she had been reading when the casing closed. "Sorry I pulled on you so hard."

"Don't worry about it. Sorry, I landed on you!"

Emma covered her ears at the sudden pelting of the rain, it echoed in the space that was left and she knew Kirk was yelling something! She reached out and then carefully moved closer to him. She leaned closer, "Can't hear what you said." She felt his nod then his head turned to her.

"I said it was noisy." Kirk felt her lift his hand and place it on her face and nod. He took her hand afterwards and leaned back, waiting for the noise to die down.

She moved slightly closer to him, tapped his shoulder. "I was serious Captain, I do not do well in total darkness."

Kirk heard the fear in her voice. He put his arm around her and pulled her close, "Is that helping?" She nodded and reached for his other hand, her hand was ice cold! He turned to her, "Try closing your eyes. Pretend your sleeping." She nodded. By the way she dropped back her head slightly, he knew she was trying.

Emma lifted her head, "The tricorders are in the case we are leaning on, she stopped him from moving, "The power units are not." She felt his body relax. He understood. And neither of them was armed.

At least an hour had past, the rain did not sound as if it would let up at all. Both of them had drifted off to sleep a few times, Emma woke panicked at one point but Kirk's touch calmed her.

The noise had become deafening with the thunder and occasional crack of lightning, both felt that ringing in their ears.

Kirk had drifted off again and he had the sensation the things were tilting. He thought he had been dreaming, then woke suddenly, as he realized it was reality! He pulled Emma close to him, "Hold on, if this goes I want you where I can find you."

He heard the groaning that was starting as the metal casing argued the lack of support it was getting. Kirk had tried his comm-pin a few times knowing it wouldn't work. These cases were made so that nothing could be beamed out of them without going through the openings. The rain must have been awfully heavy because, he had not heard anything outside, except the rain. The casing groaned louder, then the load started to shift. Kirk pulled his legs up and with a quick apology, he pulled Emma's up. He didn't want either of them trapped anywhere. She inhaled with the pain!

Kirk felt the case behind him start to slid their way! No, couldn't have gone the other way! He had visions of the two of them squashed against the wall of the metal casing. He tapped Emma's arm. "We have to climb up. I'll help, just move fast!" He did not wait for a response from her! He pulled himself up onto the crate they had been leaning on, then reached down to Emma. He pulled as she pushed herself up and then she was on top with him! They had moved just in time, the case they were on started to slide towards the wall. He reached in back of them, checking for another case. None! His feet touched the wall as they bounced and rolled against a large crate, it started to move and Kirk pulled them out of the way! The biggest problem was they could not even hear the boxes!

Between the rain and the groaning of the casing ... he could barely hear himself think!

The final jolt sent them both flying. Emma held on tight to Kirk's uniform, but the belt loop tore from the jacket and she went flying off ... somewhere! She made contact with the corner of a crate and that was the last she remembered.


Spock had been sleeping, the first time he had required sleep in four days. His comm-unit sounded, he knew that was for the second time, he chided himself for being so inattentive. He reached to the button, "Spock here."

"Cmdr., there's been an accident on the surface. Sudden rain storm hit, the cargo casing we had beamed down has slid off the ledge and has been buried part way."

Spock nodded to the air. Uhura would not be giving him useless information, unless there was a reason. "Injuries?"

"Captain Kirk and Lt. Benix were last seen inside the cargo casing doing the inventory check. We do not know for sure if they have been injured."

"No use wasting time, Cmdr., you have the comm. I'll beam down immediately. Spock out."

"Aye, sir."

Spock heard only the beginning of the answer. He was already out the door and fastening his jacket as he moved to the lower levels and the transporter room. Scott was ready with the co-ordinates. "I'll be puttin' ya down at a safe distance from the location. McCoy's there too, he's a might upset."

"I do not doubt your word, Mr.Scott. Energize!"

Spock's form materialized approximately one hundred meters from the shorn off ledge. Spock moved quickly to the edge, inspecting the area. The casing seemed undamaged, the ground was soft and the opening to the casing was buried. He heard movement behind him as he turned. "Mr. Chambers, do you know that Captain Kirk and Lt. Benix were definitely in there?"

"To my knowledge, they were in there when I headed over to get the help to unload the casing. The clouds rolled in so quickly and so heavily, that no one had time to come back for them." Mr. Chambers had already put out the call that would bring all the personnel on the surface with the hand tools. Colonists and crew had arrived and were now forming the groups that would work non-stop until the two officers were freed.

Spock looked to the sky, "At the last readings I took, the storm was travelling much slower." He faced Chambers then nodded, "It would be advisable to move to the lower level." Spock noticed McCoy standing away from the digging site, pacing. Spock moved quickly down the slope and to the doctor's side. "Have you heard anything?"

McCoy turned suddenly, "Spock! They have to be okay, because...."

"One would hope so." Spock had to close himself off from the fear that McCoy was projecting. He had felt it from everyone but it seemed to only affect him near McCoy, it was most likely due to the intensity of his emotion and their history of friendship. "Has anyone attempted to communicate?"

"How? Our tricorders don't register through that stuff." McCoy was not thinking clearly.

"Tapping the casing. A code." Spock touched the comm-pin. He received Uhura's voice. "Miss Uhura, the code that was used to tap out messages."

"Old Earth, Morse code."

"Was there an emergency code, a mayday."

"Three dots, three dashes, three dots."

"Thank you Lt., do you know if Lt. Benix is familiar with the code?"

"She might be, but to my knowledge, I am the only other one on board.... unless one of the colonists might know."

"We will inform you. Thank you Miss Uhura. Spock out." Spock moved closer to the casing; this would present a problem. They needed to find a way to tap out the message without it sounding too loud. If they were able to signal back, it had to be done in a reliable manner.


The air was stale. It was damp. And it was too quiet! In his mind, he knew one part of him could move, but his brain had not yet found that part. He tried moving his head, he moaned with the pain. His brain had finally found the path to his hand; he lifted that up to touch his head. He couldn't see anything, so he rubbed the fingers was sticky and tasted like copper. He was bleeding! Not that it was a big surprise, but he was hoping! He didn't feel any weight on his body so he assumed nothing had landed on him. He tried moving again; the movement caused a great deal of pain!

Then he remembered, "Lt. Benix!" He breathed deep. "Lt. Benix!" his louder voice hurt his head. He tried listening for her breathing... nothing! Then again with all that noise before, his hearing could be off. His hands moved around trying to find another flat surface to move to, just so he could say he could. "Emma! Emma! It's Jim Kirk. Can you hear me?"

Kirk pushed at the cases and nothing moved. His hands reached up and then he pulled himself up. His chest hurt now. He was standing but leaning back at an angle, not by choice. He coughed, "Emma!" He tried stretching slightly, then stopped. Everything hurt! "Emma!!" he shouted at her that time, "McCoy will hate me forever, if anything happens to you. You don't realize how many salads he could make me eat! I hate salads!" He mumbled as he searched around him by touch. "You know that fear you have of the dark? I think you gave it to me." He started to reach as far as he could, 'looking' for Emma. "You know, if Bones were here, he'd tease me about being in a dark room with a beautiful woman and not being able to find her. Not a great thing to happen to someone with a reputation with the ladies."

He kept talking to attract her and to help him deal with his fears. "You have got to be here somewhere because I remember you being here when this ride started." He moved cautiously onto another case, his hands still searching for Emma.

He leaned his head against the wall, "Please... please, don't be under something!" That was his fear that one of his crew would die and he would live! "Don't make that one come true." He reached up and back and touched .... a hand! "Oh...Emma...!" Kirk felt his body relax slightly, he had found her! He held his breath, what if he had only found her body? He adjusted his stance and then reached forward up her arm to her neck, he held his breath and then touched her neck just under her ear. He felt it! A pulse! "Emma, come on. Wake up!"

He brushed her hair back. He ran his hands along her body checking for injuries. Her leg was at an odd angle; it may or may not have been broken. She had a head injury that could have been keeping her from waking up. His hands moved around to find one of the smaller cases. He twisted it around until he found the releasing mechanism. His hands went inside, he racked his brain trying to figure out what this was? "Blankets!" He pulled at the fabric and then moved back to Emma and covered her. He pulled out two more, another one went over her and then other he wrapped around himself. "At least the rain has stopped. That noise was unbelievable!" He lifted himself up onto the case she was on; he rested against the wall. He wanted to sleep and even though he knew he shouldn't, his head dropped slowly and his eyes closed.

"Don't tell me I've been beamed somewhere else?' She thought to herself. She started to move and could feel the pain! She cried out! Her leg and her chest seemed to be the worst of it.... until she tried moving her head! The hand that lay under her had fallen asleep, that felt worse than her leg! She stretched out her hand and touched something! She held her breath! "Captain?" she whispered, but even she didn't hear her own voice. She tried turning over and she did it very slowly. She tried a deep breath.. she couldn't. She sat up suddenly and his hands were there!

"It's me. Kirk. Are you okay?" Her hand was tapping his arm; he leaned closer touching his face to hers. "Okay" He raised his voice slightly.

"Trouble breathing!" Emma whispered. "Can't take deep breath!"

"Okay." Kirk moved in back of her, he placed her with her back to him, a leg on either side of her. "Lean back." His hands opened her jacket and then carefully tried to find the broken rib. She winced then held her breath.

"That's it." She leaned back a little more; it relieved the pressure and made it less painful to breathe. "What happened?"

"We went on a ride. My guess is the rain softened the ground enough and we went over the edge." Kirk moved the blanket from between them; he was getting too warm. "I thought I told you to hold on?"

"The belt loop came apart. I lost my hold on your jacket." Both listened to the other breathing, "How long do you think it will take them to get us out?"

"They've probable started by now. If we landed the way I think we did, we may actually be underground. Tell have to dig us out and that will take awhile."

"I hope you brought the cards because 'I spy with my little eye' is definitely out!" Emma tried to laugh but it hurt too much. "I wish Len was here."

"Thanks! I don't think I've been given a chance to be charming and amusing yet! Don't write me off so quickly!" Kirk felt her hand on his.

"No, not that. He has the drugs to stop this pain!" Between her head, her rib and her leg, it was becoming unbearable. She had felt her body begin to cool and that meant shock was setting in. She also suspected that Jim had taken his nap already. "I just want to sleep and let this pain go away!"

"We can't." Kirk took a breath, "Let's keep talking to stay awake. You can ask the question first. Any subject."

"Are you sure that we will stay awake?" Emma laughed slightly and so did Kirk, but it hurt her to laugh, "No, jokes!"

"Not intentional ones."

Emma smiled, "Okay. How long have you, Mr. Spock and McCoy been friends?"

"I met Spock for the first time when I took command of the Enterprise and I did not like him at all! He was a show-off, as far as I was concerned. Dr. McCoy, I met before I took command, he came with me from my previous ship. The triangle has existed for almost fifteen years, I hope it will go on forever." Kirk thought a moment, "Why McCoy?"

"Because he stopped the pain I had from being alone. More from being lonely. He accepted me.. as is. He understands me when I talk about time and feeling out of place." She tried to breathe slowly, "He is so different when we are together. Len makes me feel complete. It was the night we danced, in sickbay. He was holding me as if I would break, and he made me feel so safe."

"It's time Bones found someone, he's been alone a long time. He deserves someone special." Kirk shifted slightly, his body was relaxing too much. Kirk rested his head against the wall again. "Okay your turn."

Emma smiled to herself; the darkness was a positive thing right now, "Are we going to get out of here alive?"

Kirk frowned, "Of course!" He thought a moment, "I don't have any doubts, why do you?"

"Because I'm tired and hurt and I hate this darkness." Emma's voice was shaky.

"What was your family like?" Kirk had always wanted to ask.

Emma sighed; she knew how hard it was to talk about this! "I will try. My children were ages eleven, seventeen and twenty-two. All girls. All very good in school. My oldest just had a little one, three months old. They were all Sea Cadets; at least I am presuming that my youngest went. The seventeen-year-old was the corps bugler and she was good! My favorites were 'Duke of York' and 'Heart of Oak'. The youngest was learning the clarinet and drums. She was awarded the top Drill Captain, little thing with this huge voice! Her sisters trained her well. My oldest was an officer for a time." She felt the tears, breathed slowly a few times, and then hoped this would all be over soon! She felt Kirk squeeze her hands slightly, just enough to know she had his support.

"What about your husband?" Kirk was aware that he might not have an answer. He felt her breath slowly.

"He was not awful, when we were first married he was in the naval reserve...."

"I always wondered why you never asked about the traditions, bells, hours."

Emma laughed slightly, then moaned, "That hurt. Along the way, I found out he did not really want three kids. He wanted me to be just like his mother and he was more worried about his friends and work...than me. After awhile, I stopped fighting it, I just flowed with it. I had lost myself somewhere and in helping others, I started to realize that there was no one to help me. When I was tired or fed-up, everyone else was too busy to notice or care." Emma held her breath; she hadn't talked like this before, not even with McCoy! "I broke my wrist in a fall one time, it seemed to inconvenience everyone that I had done this?" This talk was helping but it was hurting! "We hadn't been.. together for almost five years..." She felt his hands tighten his grip on her arms, his chin touched her head. "The hard part is that to me, this was only two years ago. To everyone else it's three hundred years ago."

"I know the feeling."

"Edith Keeler." She felt his body tense. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Freaky, but okay." Kirk sighed. "If you ever need someone, don't hesitate."

"Thank you." Emma leaned back slightly.

He heard something. "Sh-h-h. Listen!"

Emma strained to hear the noise. It was far off. "Scraping?"

Kirk nodded, then realized she couldn't see him, "I think so."

"Good." Emma sighed and settled back in silence.

Spock reached down and pulled, testing the panel they had finally uncovered. He braced himself, placed both hands on the edge and pulled, using the Vulcanoid strength. The door finally creaked opened. It was almost nightfall. "Captain?"

"Where else would I be Spock?" the voice tried to sound not so tired and not so painful, but it wasn't working.

"Is Lt. Benix there as well?"

Kirk shook his head, he couldn't resist, "She was here for awhile but she got hungry. She went home."

"I gather from that, Lt. Benix is there?"

"Sorry Spock, air's getting thin. We both need help getting out."

Spock nodded, "We will be down momentarily, Captain."

McCoy held onto Spock's arm as he looked in, "That's the last time I let you go anywhere with her." He cleared his throat, "How bad?"

"The worst thing..." Emma tried to breathe slowly, " that Captain Kirk is not as good a dancer as you are!"

Spock helped lower the rescue cage into the opening, then easily dropped down into the mess. His eyes could see in this lowered light. He met Kirk's eyes, bowing his head he acknowledged Kirk's preference. Spock looked up to McCoy. "Lt. Benix will be first."

Spock moved easily across the cases, his hand guided the cage to the pair. "Shock, broken rib and possible broken ankle." His hands had moved along her body quickly. "This will be painful." That was of course an understatement, Spock supported her while Kirk moved out from behind her. Together, they lifted her as carefully as was possible. As she was moved, she cried out, then passed out.

Silently, Kirk was grateful, it would be easier to move her this way. The cage was lifted out. Then with some help from Spock and a strong arm from above, Kirk made it out easily.

Kirk sat back as he watched McCoy fuss over Emma, he looked to Spock, "Either we change the design of these or I am leaving a standing order that people are not to enter those things without personnel on the outside!"

"Understood, Captain." Spock touched his comm-pin. "Four to beam up, Mr.Scott."


Sickbay was a comfortable place right now. Kirk and Benix had been checked, scanned, and drugged. Emma had been privileged to have also received casting over her broken ribs and her ankle. The sedatives had finally taken effect and both were sleeping soundly.

McCoy looked up from his desk as Spock entered. "They are finally asleep."

Spock produced a rolled bundle and handed it to McCoy. McCoy looked confused. "I had to promise Lt. Benix that this would be delivered to you as soon as possible. She would not co-operate until this promise was made. It seemed particularly important that you receive this."

McCoy nodded his head, "Thank you, I'll wait until..."

Spock shook his head. "You must open this now, it was promised."

McCoy shrugged. He pulled on the ribbon holding it. He unrolled the fabric, the quilt was revealed. McCoy found the note inside. She had bought the notepaper on the station; it had dragons in the corners. Her handwriting was old-fashioned. He smiled, as he unfolded the paper. He read it to Spock. "This is for you. A thank you for your friendship and your caring. People sometimes put quilts on display without using them. You have to promise me it will be used! Use it when you take those 'I can't stay awake' naps or after a tough surgery! Or when you feel you need a hug. There's a label on it, read it. Emma"

McCoy looked over the quilt and then found it, "To a Southern Gentleman, every lonely women needs one. Her name, date and the fact that it was made while on board the Enterprise." McCoy opened the quilt completely. It was colorful! The pattern according to her label was called "A Crazy Quilt", no two pieces were the same shape or size and yet it all seemed to work together!

The sharing had honored Spock, his head bowed, " A work of art. Enjoy, Dr. McCoy."

"I will, Spock, don't worry!"

Spock headed out of the sickbay; McCoy saw him stop and check on Kirk. McCoy waited until Spock had gone then moved into the room with the quilt. He covered her with the quilt, kissed her lightly and then went back into his office. The ribbon and the note went back into the envelope; he would put that away later.

He poured himself a coffee then returned to the paperwork, the monitor screen would help him keep track of his patients. When he'd decide to nap later, he'd use the quilt, but if she woke up before then, she'd know he would have seen it.


McCoy poked his head into her quarters, "Emma?" It was the middle of the night, where could she be? He walked down the corridor towards the observation deck. He remembered that she enjoyed watching the stars for hours some times. He heard some music playing softly. It was coming from an observation pod; she hadn't activated the soundproofing. He checked the controls; she had not locked it. His hand touched the release; he stepped in, without disturbing her... somehow? He smiled, folded his arms and leaned up against the bulkhead.

She was dancing, by herself. The music she had playing was from her time, 'country' she called it. Emma had told him that one singer called dancing by yourself.... slow dancing with the moon! She had the stars!

He felt his heart quicken as she turned towards him.

"Your reflection showed in the glass..."

"It's not glass." McCoy smiled at her, those are the types of things that made him remember where... or rather when she was from. "You are supposed to be sleeping." He pursed his lips, she looked upset. "Anything I can do?"

Emma nodded, "Hold me." She felt his arms pull her close to him. He was always so warm, compared to her. He smoothed her hair then kissed her. His eyes were warm and she could see that he was tired as well. "How come you are not asleep?"

"I got lonely, so I headed over to see you." His fingers moved along her lips, then down her neck, "I expected to crawl in beside you. Snuggle up nice and close... and fall back to sleep." His lips brushed her neck. "But I had to come looking for you.... again." He was concerned about her inability to sleep lately. "I nap a lot. Have since medical school. You do not have that excuse, so why are you here...dancing with the stars?"

"You were on duty." She shrugged, "...just not tired, I guess." She kissed him; he was annoyed with her for being here. "I tried reading. Warm milk. I just am not tired."

He stopped himself from pulling out his scanner and checking her over. She told him off about doing that one time. "One dance and we go to your quarters. It's three hundred hours, you start duty in four." He ran his hands along her back, his hands moved into her hair then pulled her close as he kissed her. They started to move to the slow music.

"I want this forever." She looked to the ring on her finger; her head rested on his shoulder. "Can we plan the wedding?"

McCoy sighed; he closed his eyes as the feeling of relief washed over him, "Name the day, Em." He tried to sound calm about it. "Then I'll tell Jim." He had also kept it a secret that he had bought the wedding bands as well. The song ended and Emma reached to the wall control and turned it off. McCoy matched her eyes. "I love you."

Emma smiled, "It feels so good too!" She kissed him, "I love you."

"Come on, time for sleeping." He held her hand and guided her back to her quarters. He pulled off his tunic and his boots as he helped her prepare for bed. She made a comment about his manner of dress. "You need sleep. I need some control." He smiled then took her in his arms as he lay down beside her; she turned to him and began to remove his shirt. Her hands and lips touched his skin; he resigned himself to the fact that he had lost control to her.... again!


The ship's chapel was used for many events; this was among the most enjoyable. Kirk looked to the two, in all the years that he had performed this ceremony, he wasn't sure it had meant so much to him, as it did this time. How many times had he performed this ceremony? McCoy had almost dropped the ring and Emma could not stop grinning.

They had repeated the older Earth-style vows and exchanged the customary matching rings. Spock had served as 'Best Man' and inspite of the comments made, took great honor in the position. The room had been decorated for the occasion and the room was filled with fellow crewmembers.

McCoy had worn his dress uniform and Emma wore a gown of ivory lace, Old-Earth Victorian style.

"By the powers entrusted to me by the law of the Sea and the Federation, I, Captain James T. Kirk, do Hear-by State that Emma Helena Benix and Leonard James McCoy are now, and forever, to be husband and wife." He closed the book that he read from, "You may kiss your bride."

McCoy ran his hands up her arms to her shoulders then pulled her close, "I love you." His lips touched hers and he felt her arms wrap around him. His arms pulled her tighter, kissing her longer.

"Bones." Kirk leaned slightly forward and whispered. He cleared his throat, this time a more normal tone, "Bones!" Kirk started to grin and then Mr.Scott came forward slightly, he had had the honor of escorting Emma down the aisle.

"Capt'n, I can have the bucket of cold water brought." He had stated this matter of fact and with a degree of certainty. "If ya think is necessary."

Kirk shrugged then looked to Spock. Spock raised and eyebrow then tilted his head slightly.

"Ye just hafta give the word."

Emma started giggling, but McCoy kept a straight face, almost serious. They stopped kissing, Emma's head rested on McCoy's shoulder, and she was still giggling! McCoy stated to Mr.Scott, without looking his way, his eyes still on Emma. "You, sir, are interrupting the kissing of my wife!"

"The rest of us are waiting for the reception. We have food and cake to eat. We have dancing and celebrating to do." Kirk was grinning still and he was shaking his head, "We can't do this without both of you!"

Emma whispered into McCoy's ear, he nodded, "She said just this once!"

McCoy tucked her hand into the crook of his arm and they faced the audience.

"May I be the first to introduce.... Dr. and Mrs. Leonard James McCoy."

Everyone applauded and then the rice was thrown. The couple made their way through the well-wishers and rice pelters, then out into the corridor. The party was being held in the recreation room and had been decorated with an Old World charm, for Emma's enjoyment.

The room had been re-arranged for this event, tables had been covered with ivory linens, silver napkins and the facsimile of candlelight. The food was served buffet style, to accommodate the shift change and to make people feel more comfortable. Emma and McCoy were seated at a table with Kirk, Spock, Scott and Christine Chapel. Stewards served their meal, poured the 'rainbow' wine and when it was time brought out the wedding cake.

The five-tier cake was of traditional style and on the top was the crystal ball, signifying dreams and the future.

McCoy sat back wondering when they could slip away from here. He thought of the night he had bought her the crystal ball, their first night on the station. That was two years ago! He wondered where the time had gone? Her touch on his hand brought him back to here. Emma wanted to dance, and dance they did.

As if no one else in the room existed, with a familiar ease, and an obvious pleasure in each other, they danced for a time. They whispered secrets, comments and laughed. And they relaxed with each other again. They were called upon to cut the cake and perform the ritual of feeding each other. No disasters but a bit of laughter was heard. Soon, they just would be on their own. They began their rounds of 'thank-yous' and 'good-nights'. The party would go on officially for another hour and unofficially, until the food ran out!

McCoy walked her to his quarters. He kissed her, then lifted her into his arms and stepped through the doors. McCoy placed her gently onto her feet and then held her for a time. He had kept his promise of letting her decide and he was surprised it had been planned so soon. He was really surprised! She wanted this so much, earlier than he had thought. He was very pleased!

"I love you." Emma whispered. She was feeling euphoric. Between the nerves, the pleasure of the day and the wine, she was totally relaxed. She unfastened his jacket and tossed it onto the couch. She kissed him; her head rested on his shoulder as she sighed. Her hands touched the soft silk of the shirtsleeves moving down to hold his hands. She moved towards the sleeping area, occasionally kissing or being kissed.

"Well, my dear, you are now all mine. This makes me very happy!"

"And you remember, if I'm not happy I can get you transferred!" She leaned closer to him. " I think I'd torture you first." She nodded agreeing with herself.

McCoy tilted his head, "Well before you become too unhappy...Could we try the torture first? On a part time basis, if that pleases you?" His lips brushed her cheek.

They laughed.

Emma's touch continued to undress him, as she was undressed.

They made love. Slowly, with practiced pleasures, satisfying every need each other had. They whispered to each other as their bodies rested. Then they made love again.

The lighting had dimmed a long time ago and they had found their usual sleeping position. Curled up together, Emma's back against McCoy and his arms around her. Sleep came easily. Any dreams were of one another and their future.


"I don't care if you are the Chief Medical Officer, you are not doing Emma's physical! Regulations!" Chapel laughed at him; he had tried this last year too, so he knew better! "I am now her doctor of record. You have four hundred and twenty-eight... you can leave me the two I do have!"

She took the slate from him, waving it in front of him a few times, she continued, "The moment you said 'I do', you lost her as a patient. And you can't do your own physicals! Although you do try!" Christine smiled at this man; this was an exact duplicate of the argument last time. "Anyway, after this length of time, I would think that you'd know if there was anything serious to check on."

"Chris, are you insinuating something?" McCoy grinned at her then pounced on his toes, "Emma is perfectly healthy and there is not a thing wrong with her!"

"The only thing I am insinuating is that... you play doctor enough with her. I'm probably being redundant doing a physical on her."

McCoy was grinning ear to ear, "Well, she is my wife!"

"As such, she is off hands to you as the doctor of record!" Christine shook her head, "Go find something to do. Emma's due soon and I don't want you hovering and messing up all her readings!"

"Fine then, I'll go have lunch" He sounded indignant, but it was the game that was played every now ant then about someone. He turned to head out of his office and walked right into Emma's path, "She's ordered me out! So I don't mess up your readings!"

Emma laughed, accepting his kiss, "When do you mess up my readings?" She pretended to be holding a fan, waving it over her face. Then in the best imitation of a southern belle, she curtsied. "Why, sir. It is merely the heat of the Georgia sun that makes me swoon so. I would not allow the attentions of any gentleman, no matter how handsome, to affect me so!" Her curtsy was low and as the southern gentleman, he held out his hand to help her stand.

McCoy looked to Chris, grinning. "See I told you it wasn't me, it's the Georgia sun messing up her readings."

"You are a big help!" She glared at Emma, then shook her head. "You, Doctor, go have lunch. You...." Chris tossed a coverall set Emma's was, "...go get changed."

Both snapped to attention and saluted badly, "Yes, ma'am!" McCoy kissed Emma's cheek then added a 'See you later.' Emma nodded then moved off to change.

While Emma changed, Chris called up Emma's file. Emma's system had finally rid itself of the toxins but there had been some damage. Most of it was not repairable, but not life threatening in the least. Emma usually had three check-ups a year, one more then most of the crew. That had been done to monitor for any problems that may have cropped up. Since coming aboard, Emma had lost the extra weight, toned up and had become a familiar face at Sulu's fencing lessons and Mr. Spock's t'asumi classes, (Vulcan equivalent to tai chi).

McCoy did a fair bit of swimming and Emma was often found near-by. Now the only concern Chris had was getting the combination of vitamins and inoculations right. A regiment of adding one nutrient or medication to her system had started only six months ago.

"So far, so good." Christine moved over to the nearest bed as Emma sat down. "How have you been?"

"Okay. I have one question but I'll ask it later." Emma waited for Chris to finish the scan. Chris did the scan a second time. Emma said would do some reading about her question, on her own and then talk to Chris about it. Chris shrugged and then continued.

Blood samples were taken, endurance was tested and then she was given whatever vitamins her body lacked. They indulged in some small talk and giggled over some of McCoy idiosyncrasies, like transporters and machines. Emma understood, she shared some, but that was expected. She had not grown up with this technology. "Are you looking forward to getting home?"

"Sort of." Chris stated. "I have a few old friends I look up, but other than that, I don't have a sense of coming home some have. I suppose you only get that if there is something pleasant to go home to."

"I guess." Emma understood that, after almost three years, she had found herself dreading the day she would stand on Earth again. Even now, Emma still had a sense of this being a dream, not reality. She kept those feelings inside. To walk on Earth again would tell her, that her former life was completely gone. Right now reality was being on this vessel, not being in the future. That had still not quite hit home, not really. "Does McCoy have any usual habits when he goes home?"

"Just looking up colleagues and checks on medical advancements. Spends time complaining to the Head of the medical department. He used to spend a fair bit of time with Jim and Spock. The three of them always think of something strange to do." Chris was referring to the camping and fishing trips they would talk each other into. "What are you planning on doing?"

"Staying aboard as long as I can." She met Chris's eyes. "I really do not want to go down there." She felt that fear she had, that this was all a dream and soon she'd wake up and Len would be gone. She shivered slightly.

Chris had not even thought about this. She switched off the equipment, she was finished anyway. Pulling over the chair she sat facing her 'friend' now. "I thought all of this had been resolved?"

"So did I. The other day, I was in the mess and a few people were talking about going home, visiting people. Things like that." Chris nodded, "I started to think, yea it would be nice to see how things are going on Earth. But, Chris, I wasn't thinking- home, where I came from, my past, my starting off point. That's the way the others feel. It's not there for me. I am going to expect it to be as I left it!" She sighed, "I just want to stay up here. Len can go down. I don't mind. He can go off for as long as he wants. I just don't want to go down!"

Emma met Chris's eyes, "How do I tell him?" her voice fell. She shivered again. "He's talked about all these plans and until today I was looking forward to them!"

The intercom sounded and made them jump. Chris smiled and then opened the frequency, "Sickbay, Chapel here."

"Miss Chapel." It was Captain Kirk. "I was told that Lt. Benix was there. Could you ask her to report to me as soon as she's done."

"Already told, sir, she's sitting right here."

"Okay. Kirk out."

Christine closed the circuit, "Well, I'm officially done. Want to get together later?"

"Okay, I'll call you when I'm done with Capt. Kirk. He's got a problem, I can tell, it's in his voice." She slipped off the bed and changed. She had no idea why Kirk would want to see her and less of an idea on what about. She changed quickly then headed to Kirk's quarters.

Emma touched the door chime, his voice told her to, "Enter." She stepped in and noticed his frown. "You wanted to see me, sir?"

Kirk nodded, he waved her to the chair opposite him and then he sat down. He poured her some tea, something he rarely did and then sat back. He folded his arms and then looked at Emma, "There is a problem... no, not a problem. A glitch that has cropped up and you need to be prepared for it."

Emma felt her nod as her body felt numb, "Sir?"

This was obviously hard on him. "There had been a security leak." he saw her react and he had prepared for it, "You have done nothing wrong. I want to make that clear." He saw her panic rising, he sighed, "Somehow, your existence has been made available to the public back home. Starfleet is not sure how, why or even who is to blame ...but this may be a problem for you. It's become a problem for them!" Kirk shifted in his seat. "When I sent my reports I had included all necessary information, and when you appeared as you did..." Emma expected him to smile about that, he usually did. "I placed as part of my report the fact that you knew us."

Emma nodded.

Kirk stood suddenly and paced into the other room and back, "We have four months before we fall into orbit, to deal with this. I was going to wait to tell you, but the more I thought about it the more I realized, that if I were in your place, I'd want to prepare."

"Prepare what?" Emma could not move.

"Prepare for what waits down there." Kirk paced again, "You see, Earth now is.... well what you would call 'the local news' is actually global."

The door chime sounded, then his door opened. McCoy did not stand on ceremony, "What is going on?"

"What makes you think anything is going on?" Kirk looked at him a little ticked that he just walked in.

"Chapel says you wanted to see her. Emma was to join me for lunch and she didn't tell me she wasn't showing. I find out you were supposed to be on bridge duty. I come in here. You should see your faces!" McCoy looked from one to the other, "What is wrong?"

"I was just telling Emma that there has been a security breach at Starfleet and certain information about her appearance has been leaked to the public." Kirk looked to McCoy. "Starfleet wanted to see her first. Without this.... circus!"

McCoy knew what the media was like now! The Enterprise had completed two five-year missions, they were legends! The only vessel to bring home most of the crew, the entire senior staff, not to mention the ship itself intact. They had all learned that if word get back to Earth that one of them sneezed, they'd turn it into a field day!

"The thing that bothers me is that, the media has a copy of her first physical! Psyche-report and all!" Kirk shrugged at McCoy, "What do we do?"

"Why didn't you discuss this with me first?" McCoy asked a bit nervous. He remembered after the first return, they even tried to get his ex-wife to be among the people to greet them! He was the last thing she wanted to be reminded of at that point.

"Why?" Kirk stared at him. "I wanted to give Emma time to deal with this. You and I and the rest of the crew for that matter can close our doors and hide. We've done it before!" Kirk felt like screaming! Ideally, he like to turn the ship around and find some war to fight, so they would be busy while all of this calmed down.

"I don't understand why you are so concerned." Emma sounded calm about this, she wasn't. "I was not planning on setting foot on Earth. That solves that problem." Emma had sounded settled, as if she had solved the problem. "Except for talking to Starfleet."

"That might be okay for a time, but at some point all personnel have to be off the vessel. When we are at dry-dock, the ship's life support is shut down. No one can be on board then, they vent the ship and replace the air supply." Kirk had already considered her remaining on board.

"Then all we can do is turn to Starfleet for secured quarters for her."

"If we do that, you will not be accommodated with her."

"Why not?" McCoy looked to Kirk. "You did send them notification of our marriage, didn't you?"

Kirk nodded, "And with everything else, they informed me that, and I quote, 'due to the circumstances, the marriage should not be considered a legally binding one until Starfleet has determined the validity of her identity' ..end quote." Kirk rubbed his forehead, he was getting one of those headaches and he knew this one would be a whopper! "Look, we've got four months to deal with this! Let's drop it for now!" Kirk closed his eyes and sighed.

"Let's try to finish the job we were sent here to do and hope that this will die down a little." He felt like he had aged ten years just being here. He realized that Emma had said very little, "Are you okay?"

"I think so." Emma stood slowly, "It's like its happening all over again!" She looked to Kirk, "Am I dismissed, sir?"

Kirk nodded, he touched McCoy's arm, "Later, back here. I'll get Spock. We can put our heads together." He knew sometimes that would solve everything!

McCoy reached for her hand; it took a second before it registered that he was holding it. She smiled at him. He hadn't seen that fear in her eyes, since she came aboard. "Captain Kirk will do as much as he can. We'll get secured quarters for us somehow." He stopped and turned her to face him, "Are you okay?"

"I just want to sleep." Emma looked to his soft eyes. "I'll be okay." She moved to her quarters, she turned to McCoy once they were in, "You go see to your patients. Let me sleep for a few hours and then we'll talk. Okay?"

McCoy nodded, "Let me tuck you in." He walked with her into her bed and waited as she took off her jacket and boots, she was not doing well. Her movements were mechanical. She was shutting herself off; this was not something she could not deal with right now. He covered her and then kissed her, he whispered that he loved her and that everything would be just fine. She whispered that she knew things would be.

McCoy planned to check the media coverage so far, maybe that would give them a clue as to how to deal with it. He'd call in a few favors he was owed and maybe everything would work out. He'd also talk to Chris; she might have some insight as to how to handle some of it.


"Good, I was just about to call you!" Nurse Chapel folded her arms and then looked at the doctor.

McCoy looked up; he had been studying the decking on his way in, "What?"

"Would you care to tell me why on Earth, the Chief Medical officer would forget his own monthly shots of vitamins and inoculations?" Chapel could tell by the look on his face, that he really had forgotten. She watched him move to the terminal, punch up his own file and then looked sheepishly at her. "I may be your doctor of record, but when you keep doing everything on your own...its gets hard!

"You do have a standard lecture you give your staff when they forget routine stuff?" She knew he did! She had suffered through it once or twice, in the years they had served together. She had heard it so often, that she could recite it verbatim. "Care to stand in front of the mirror and give it to yourself?"

"Don't be ridiculous!" He looked again to the report, "I've only missed the.... last three! Nothing to get panicked over!"

"Tell me, Doctor, what is in those monthly shots?"

"Look, I've got another problem on my hands now, somehow someone leaked the information about Emma. We are in for a bad shift at home!" McCoy sat down in front of the terminal; this was usually considered Chapel's desk. His eyes scanned the information left on the screen as he looked back to Chapel. Half of his brain continued to spout off, while the other half was busy attempting to answer her question.

"The facts are there in black and white. The media will be twisting them all out of proportion and turning her into some freak! The only thing I'm afraid of is..." He went silent and then looked to the screen and the list of medications and vitamins that were in his formula.

"I wondered how long it would take you?"

McCoy covered his face, then he looked up to Chris. He leaned back into the chair, he did not know what to say, "Please tell me that you were looking at my records when you discovered this."

Chris thought he would have had a different reaction than this! "Okay, I was checking..." She stopped, "I thought you'd be happy?"

"I am."

"So this long face and this attitude is actually your way of showing it?"

"No. I'm just thinking of the media circus that is waiting for us." McCoy frowned, "Why did you check?"

Chapel sighed, "Why would you check? And I haven't told her yet. Knowing how quick she is, she probable suspects."

"She's sleeping." It had started to register, through all the other grief that was about to happen. "She's going to be pleased. I'm pleased." He started to smile, his anger was gone. He grinned at Christine; he sat up a little, "I'm going to be a father.. again! Neat!"


Chapel looked to her patient. She smiled slightly. "McCoy wanted to tell you, but as your doctor of record, I over-ruled him." She took a breath, "Now this doesn't usually happen this way now. But when you involve an absent-minded doctor, these..."

Emma sat back, "I'm pregnant." She felt numb. "I should have known." She rested her head on her hand and looked to the floor, all the signs had been there...dizziness, eating, and clothes fitting funny. "After having three of my own, you'd think I'd be smart enough..." She felt the tears, the panic and then McCoy's touch. She turned and smiled at him. "I hope you realize twins run in my family and I tend to have short deliveries."

He was drying her tears. He had been worried that Emma may not want this. Chris and he had designed a signal. If Emma were upset, she'd signal his office. He hadn't waited; he came through as soon as Chris had begun to tell her, he saw her reaction. Chris stood and left her office. He moved in front of her. He leaned on the desk,holding her hand. "Are you.... happy?"

"I'm not unhappy...." She looked to his face, he was thrilled! "Give me time to absorb this." This was not something she had planned on, her age and....this little one would never get to know the sisters. "Isn't this a little bit of a gamble... at my age?"

McCoy laughed, "At three hundred and forty-six? Don't be silly!" He made her laugh. He shook his head, "With the equipment now, Chris can tell you the date within two days, the sex, hair color, eyes, blood type...."

"Genetic defects?"

McCoy nodded, "Most can be altered now. There are no problems...."

"...yet." She took a deep breath, "I hadn't expected to be a mom again." She finally found the nerve to stand. Her arms went around his neck, her lips found his. "I'm happy. Honestly." She had seen the doubt in his face, then it brightened. "I don't suppose I'd have to ask Chris how far along...?"

He shook his head; he pulled her close, "Three months." He whispered in her ear, "This is my fault."

"What do you mean?"

"Those monthly shots I harassed you about..." She nodded, "I missed three of mine. Stupid me never added the birth control back into yours, because you reacted so badly to it in the beginning."

Emma nodded, then her eyes twinkled, "So you do want me chained to the stove, bare-foot and pregnant!" Her arms went around him and she hugged him. Some of her tears were of happiness; some of them were there because she still missed everyone!


The Vulcan watched the Terran, watch the stars. He knew to look for her here. She had told him once that she could loose herself in them. He felt the computer slate in his pocket, it was the latest media report on her and this infamous crew. The report had included pictures of her family, reports of what happened were exaggerated and a great deal of speculation. It was as Captain Kirk had said it would be 'a media circus'.... this would not help considering Emma's present physical condition.

Emma was leaning on the ledge at the clearsteele viewing port, "Are you going to stand there all day, Mr. Spock?" She turned smiling at him.

"I did not wish to interrupt your meditations." Spock went to her side. His hand went out, offering his support if needed. Emma's movement had been awkward lately; she had one month longer before her pregnancy would end. He walked with her to a near-by chair and he sat across from her. "You appear to need rest."

"I suppose I do." She sat back, feeling the movements inside her. "Am I becoming so predictable that you look for me here now?" Spock shook his head. They had become friends and at times she confided in Spock about her feelings of uneasiness. Spock had been the first one she told about her pregnancy. "How long until we are in dry-dock?"

"We will be entering the system by four hundred hours tomorrow. Orbit will be achieved by twenty hours and dry-dock, if they are prepared for the Enterprise will be within two hours of orbit." This last month had been difficult for her. Emma was not one to favor the attentions of any world, even if it was her own. "Captain Kirk is attempting to arrange for transportation from the vessel to the quarters." Spock hesitated, "If this is something he has trouble with, I have made alternative arrangements."

"And that is?"

"That you accompany me, as my... courtesan." Spock raised an eyebrow at her smile. "My father has arranged accommodations and has awarded you sanctuary on Vulcan soil, the Embassy."

"Have you spoken to McCoy about this?" She felt herself relaxing. She needed the protection the Embassy would allow her. "If he is agreeable, so am I."Spock reached into his pocket producing the computer slate. "Dr. McCoy has left instruction that this information not be given to you. I, however, feel this is something you should decide on."

He placed the slate down, "The information is somewhat sketchy and at times totally inaccurate. If you chose to, I could help you make an official statement that could be released."

Emma nodded, tears beginning. She placed one had on her stomach and then looked at Spock, "It's getting harder and harder to relate to what was. This is my life now, and I want it to be that way. I am not a freak of nature. It's not as if I fell asleep somewhere and woke up here! Or I have somehow lived all this time! Surely that has been understood."

Spock nodded, "It has. But with it comes the speculations of the possibilities. Humans are not always factually minded. The media especially."

Emma leaned her head on her hand, "I can not do this, Spock. I can not stand there and be grilled by whomever, not now." She sighed, "Captain Kirk has not informed them of the pregnancy?"

"No. Miss Chapel refuses to release your records and has placed her position in jeopardy. I know of a way around that as well."

"I thought you might."

"As my courtesan, all the records will be sealed. You would only be required to give the information you wish to." Spock was beginning to sense her acceptance of this plan. Spock tapped his comm-pin, "Captain Kirk. Dr. McCoy. Report to the observation desk."

The Vulcan moved to the food processor, for tea for Emma. He placed it on the table, then handed her a napkin to dry her eyes. He stood as the officers entered.

"What is it Spock?" Kirk asked, McCoy had moved to Emma's side.

"Mr. Spock has come up with a viable plan that should end almost all the problems." Emma held McCoy's hand and squeezed it. "This will work." She had some confidence in this!

"My suggestion is to accept Lt. Benix as my consort. I have spoken to my father and have arranged for accommodations for Miss Benix her personal physician, Dr. McCoy and myself. We will be housed within the Vulcan Embassy. As well, once this has been accepted, no information can be released unless I have authorized it. To control the damage that has been done, I can produce a statement of fact that the Vulcan Embassy will deal with."

Kirk nodded. "This sounds good." He looked to the doctor, "Bones?"

"That would also absolve Chris of her problem." McCoy looked to Emma, "I'm not pleased that you will not be introduced as my wife, but I suppose they don't really care about the truth do they?" McCoy looked to Spock, "What about the marriage?"

"I do not think you understand, she will not be my wife, merely a courtesan."

"Property." Emma interjected.

Kirk laughed, "Spock's property, McCoy's wife...."

".... and the Captain's yeoman." Emma added, laughing.

They all laughed, except for Spock. He understood the amusement, he did however, lift the customary eyebrow. Obviously, this was a more preferable plan. He stood, "I will begin to put this in place. The traditional Vulcan attire will be prepared by tomorrow. I will inform my father and Starfleet. The reason for the change in status will be due to my disapproval at how this matter is being handled."

McCoy sat in the chair Spock had vacated, he picked up the slate, "And this is?"

"A copy of the latest report. Spock felt that I should be prepared but that was before we talked about his plan."

She stretched slightly, "I'm going to sleep for a little bit. Come tuck me in." Emma waited for McCoy to stand and then to help her. "Captain, does this work for you?"

"It's a lot better than Starfleet's offer." Kirk stood as well, "Just remember, Starfleet will want to talk to you but now, they may have to possibly agree to a Vulcan doing the questioning. That will be easier on you."


The foursome moved onto the platform, the officers wore their duty uniforms and Emma was dressed in flowing robes. Her hair braided and fastened up high, a veil of matching fabric falling down her back. Spock moved in front of her, he lifted the veil to reposition it to cover her face. This would be an interesting day!

Scott was at the controls; he would be remaining almost until the last person was off the vessel. "Will ya be long, Captain?"

"Probably about three hours, I'll be here before we go into dry-dock." Kirk moved into position beside Spock. Emma stood behind and McCoy, beside her. "Energize."

"Aye, sir." Scott moved the controls and caused the disappearance of the four, he received the signal that would let him know they had arrived safely.

The officer that greeted them was young. "Earth welcomes you home, Captain Kirk. Admiral Collins is waiting for you." The young officer waved Kirk to a doorway close-by.

"The media?" Kirk asked firmly. The officer pointed through the larger doors, the four headed out those doors. The officer called to the Captain and was ignored.

Lt. Davidson gave up; he slapped his hands to his sides. He remembered Admiral Collins's words,'Do not allow Captain Kirk near the media!' He'd lose his position if not his rank for sure! He touched his comm-pin, "Admiral Collins. Kirk is out with the media. I could not stop him." He was ordered back to the office, he was in trouble!

Kirk signaled to the security officers, the burly officer looked down at him, "Sir?"

"Under no circumstances, are you to allow any of the media to touch." he emphasized the word, "...or talk to any of my officers, crew or guests." He double-checked the ranking, "If any of them are harassed, I will have your rank reduced to Plebe! Do you understand me, Lt. Cmdr. Linsey!!"

The officer snapped to attention, "Yes, sir. My duty period ends in one hour. I will remain here until the ship's complement is done, sir!" He saluted the Captain.

"Report to me personally when you are done." Kirk returned the salute, "As you were!"

Linsey barked commands and the security detail formed a path to the aircar waiting for the four.

The amount of people that were there were unbelievable! Kirk wondered what had happened, and what was reported that would make Emma Benix so very interesting! Why would Starfleet allow the stupidity of this? He waited as the others entered the car. As he moved towards the car, he managed to hear a few of the questions being thrown at his officers.

"Captain Kirk, is it true that the sole purpose to bringing her here is for genetic manipulation?"

"Miss Benix, what is it like living this long?"

"Miss Benix, your baby, a genetic improvement or hybrid?"

Kirk looked at the reporter and laughed. "I feel sorry for you. You actually believe this!" Kirk shook his head and then climbed into the car. He looked to his friends. "Have these people become stupid or what?"

Emma leaned back, "I think it's the what part." She was tired and it showed.

Kirk touched the control to speak to the driver, "Take us straight to the Vulcan Embassy."

"Sir, my orders are to..."

"I don't care what your orders are, you will take us to the Embassy!"

"Yes, sir."

The trio was dropped off at the Embassy and Captain Kirk went on to report to Headquarters. They had discussed the fact that if there were any problems; Spock would speak on her behalf. That would leave Dr. McCoy with Emma in case anything happened. Spock touched the ident-panel and the door slid open. He stepped in and then moved aside allowing Dr. McCoy and Emma entrance. "The room on the right, Doctor."

McCoy walked with Emma into the room. He helped her remove the flowing robes and her veil and then helped her into bed. He ran the scanner over her and then insisted that she sleep. He waited for her to fall asleep; it did not take long. He went back out into the sitting room. Spock had poured him a brandy and handed it to him. He accepted it and then sat heavily in the chair. "I want to thank you for this, Spock."

"You are... welcome." Spock had indulged in a brandy himself, not something he did very often. "Have you seen any of the reports?"

"No. Why?" McCoy did not enjoy sensational journalism. He pulled off his jacket, tossing it aside.

"It might be something you should prepare yourself for." Spock touched the viewer and they watched about five minutes of it, then McCoy turned it off.

"Do you think this just might be a dream?"

"That would be most desirable at the moment."

The comm-unit sounded, Spock reached to the control, "Spock here"

"Spock, can you come to Headquarters? We need to sort out something."

"I am on my way, Captain."

Spock traveled quickly to Headquarters, he had pre-arranged clearances. He bowed his head to Lt. Davidson; he allowed Spock entrance to the Admiral's office. He bowed his head to the Admiral and took his place on Kirk's right hand side.

"To begin with, I'd like a total explanation of the strings you pulled to do all this paperwork in one day!" Admiral Collins, an obvious deck-jockey from way back, waved his hand over the collection of papers, mostly in Vulcan.

Spock sat back, his hands pyramided; the fingers touched his chin. "As you can see Admiral, the papers were dated for one month ago. This is when it was brought to my attention that Starfleet had handled this matter improperly." Collins went to say something, but the look Spock gave him, stopped him. "I did contact Ambassador Sarek concerning this matter and he took it upon himself to arrange the formalization for my consort. The fact that I did not share this news with Starfleet is a personnel matter and as a Vulcan citizen, I am not required to share any matters that I claim as private. My courtesan's files were sealed, as is my right. She is my property, Admiral." Spock stated this as if this was something the officer should have known.

"You know for such an advanced race, Vulcans have some archaic beliefs." Collins looked to the translations of these papers. "I need to verify her identity."

"You have her identity on record. You have a retina scan, medical scan of her, as well as a copy of her psyche assessment. The image that is being used in the media release is incorrect. You have her correct image on file as well as part of the Captain's report." Spock's hands went to the arms of the chair. "We will be returning to the vessel as soon as physically possible. Captain Kirk is aware of my requirements on this matter and has made accommodations."

"Cmdr. Spock, I do require her identity...."

"Admiral...." Kirk attempted to stop Collins from finding himself in trouble. Spock was not one to threaten.

".... I require her identity so that I may confirm the outrageous story that is..."

"Admiral.. a moment?" Kirk was ignored.

"..circulating concerning the origins of this person. And now I am told by my aide that she's pregnant!" Collin's voice had risen progressively in pitch. He also sounded as if this was another made-up story. "And I suppose the paperwork on her so called marriage to Dr. McCoy is to legitimize the whole situation!"

Kirk shook his head at Collins, "That you should not have said!"

Spock stood, he straightened his jacket, his hands clasped behind his back. His voice did not rise at all and Kirk had found, as Collins was about to, that sometimes that was worse than a screaming match. "Admiral Collins. I am most assured that you had, at some point, control over this information or we would not be here now. Her identity is a matter of record. The reports that are being circulated are inaccurate. Some are total fabrications. Not to mention the whole matter is four years past. I can not believe that you would not have insured the accuracy of the account."

Spock produced a computer slate from his tunic pocket, "This is the accurate information, without any of the colorful additions the media has seen fit to report." Spock's hands went to his side, Kirk stood ready to leave with Spock, "Rest assured that this will be the last time, she will step onto Terran soil. The Terran vehicle will no longer be required. Arrangements have been made with my government to ensure her safety and my privacy."

Spock moved quickly from the office and did not stop until he stood in the main lobby. He waited for Kirk.

Kirk had stopped to answer a page. He quickened his pace to catch up with the Vulcan. He tried to hide his grin, but Spock saw it and raised an eyebrow. "It worked. Nogura wants to see her personally and will met with her in the Vulcan Embassy."

Spock was satisfied at he results. He touched the near-by communication station and reached Dr. McCoy. He passed on the information and informed McCoy to expect Admiral Nogura in thirty minutes.

Kirk looked around and noticed that the lobby was fairly quiet, "Was the media here when you came in?"

"Yes. A few were still here when I first entered the area, just a few moments ago. It would appear that the threat of removing her from Terran soil... worked."

Kirk moved to a public terminal, and tapped in the address for the daily news. Kirk moved aside allowing Spock to speed-read the information.

"It is the information that I gave him, verbatim. The ploy worked." Spock tapped another series of buttons, "Captain, had you noticed that the image they had of her was incorrect."

Kirk looked to the screen. This image was blonde and had blue eyes. He shook his head. "Makes you pleased we live out there, doesn't it?"


Kirk looked out the large window that showed the landscape, "Did you ever find her family?"

"Yes, I gave her the slate shortly after her discussion with Cmdr. Uhura. Due to her reaction at delivering the information, I was concerned they may have been a similar reaction, therefore, I encoded it with a signal that would register if the slate were viewed. It has not been done to date."

Kirk was pleased. "Let's go meet them, give her some moral support and then call up to the Enterprise and see how Scott's doing."

Spock agreed. They used the aircar that Spock had obtained for his use, from the Embassy.

Admiral Nogura arrived on time and after a quick introduction and a few questions, the matter was settled. Nogura apologized, placed the information concerning her marital status, as McCoy's wife, as well as her status as Mr. Spock's consort in the files.

"As I pointed out to Captain Kirk earlier, it might be helpful if you would spend some time with our historical archives. Helpful for both Starfleet and yourself. Totally up to you. This is not a matter I wish to enforce. Your record of service is impressive considering your background. Captain Kirk is not an easy man to please."

"I find no problem in that area, Admiral." She smiled slightly. Nogura nodded slightly. "At least none to date."

Kirk coughed, almost choking on his coffee. "I'm finding you another job." Kirk wiped his mouth with the napkin then turned his attention to Admiral Nogura, "So everything will be kept quiet. Lt. Benix records are now sealed?"

Nogura nodded, "Fleet Command eyes only." Nogura stood, "This way the records will not become public record again. Again, apologies for the sloppiness of the records department. We have found the person responsible, we found the information was not released to do harm. In fact, the person we thought did not release it to the media. It was someone that this officer had told. We have a formal apology on record and this person has been banned from assignments with sensitive subjects." Nogura shook everyone's hand, "I trust that will satisfy everyone. Enjoy your trip up north, Miss ... Mrs. McCoy."

"Everything will be fine once I return to familiar surroundings." Emma appreciated the effort this officer had gone to. Kirk had been right about Admiral Nogura's honor.

McCoy and Emma just wanted to spend time relaxing! McCoy had planned to spend some time with some colleagues, talk about any new research, equipment, or promotions.

McCoy was pleased when Emma agreed to go with him when he went to report to his boss, Admiral Banting, MD, Chief of Starfleet Medical Corps. He was quite a character! He had even mentioned that it was nice that McCoy had found someone to rein him in.

"He hasn't been this complaint free in years!" Edward looked to this young woman. "Let me know if you don't want to answer, but, how has this adjustment been?"

"Not too bad. The most difficult part was getting the toxins and then the inoculations sorted out. There has been a lot for me to learn. The officers and crew aboard the Enterprise are most accommodating."

Ed laughed, "I can see that!" He winked at her, "You've put back that spark in his eyes, I remember seeing that a while ago." Ed refilled McCoy's glass and then poured more tea for Emma, "How is Mr. Spock doing?"

"Fine. So is Kirk. Chapel is studying for her upgrade and should make senior staff by the time we are ready to ship out." McCoy held Emma's hand, "How's Charisse?"

"She fine. We had the great grand children over for a few days and she was thrilled. My grandson just accepted a posting on Mars and he will be heading up the medical clinic on the lower settlement." He leaned forward, "Charisse would never forgive me if you did not come to dinner at least once, Len?"

"Call us with a time and day and we will see what we can do." McCoy drained his glass and then placed it on the desktop. "Well, we have unpacking to do and a little sight-seeing."

"I suppose the cities have changed a great deal for you, Mrs. McCoy?"

"Please, call me Emma." She felt McCoy's hand squeeze hers lightly, "In three hundred years you'd expect there to be changes."

"The end of the month there will be a commemoration of the early days of Space flight. You might enjoy it?"

McCoy smiled, "She could probably educate us about those days.." He laughed at the poke he received from her. He stood, then turned and helped Emma out of the chair. "I think we should call it a day, Eddie."

Ed stood, "Sure. Are you staying in your usual quarters."

"Sure. You can reach me through the Enterprise as well." McCoy shook his friend's hand and they promised to get together before McCoy shipped out again.


McCoy touched the lock and the door opened as it identified his handprint. He carried the larger satchel in and dropped it by the door. His hand held hers as they stepped in, "Welcome home, Mrs. McCoy!" He smiled at her surprise. "You thought it would be a one room mess!"

Emma grinned, "Could be. I like this." She looked around the large room. "Here everyone seems to like lots of room."

"I think it comes from being in cramped quarters for years at a time. Just when you start getting used to this, it's back to the ship.... and it feels like home." McCoy noticed that she was looking tired. "Go relax. I'll make you some tea and then we can talk about what to do for the next month."

Emma moved awkwardly to the large armchair, a small footstool sat beside it. She moved that around and then got comfortable. After the rest at the Embassy, she had changed into more comfortable clothing. Pants and an oversized shirt, the sleeves were rolled up and she had taken off her shoes. She leaned back her head, her hand resting on her stomach feeling the baby's movements. "I'd like to see where you grew up."

"That can be arranged." McCoy filled the old style teapot with the tea, followed by the hot water. This apartment had been set up in a slightly primitive standard for this time. "What cities had you been to before? I thought you might like to revisit some of them."

"I was born in Montreal and we moved to a town outside Toronto. That's it." She had her eyes closed now. "Too much depended on money and we did not have any extra." She sat up as McCoy came over with the tea. "Besides, I hated to travel. Too many people." She took the cup, "Thank you."

"Well, we can figure everything out in the morning." He sat down on the near-by couch opposite Emma, he looked at his timepiece, "Jim's stopping by, with Spock and Scottie. I think it's Uhura and Chekov's turn to pick up supper. Are you up to all this company still?"

"I can excuse myself anytime and go to bed, anytime. Don't shorten your night just because I'm here." Emma placed the cup on the small table near the arm of the chair. She closed her eyes again; the baby was doing somersaults now! She shifted in the chair.

"Okay?" He doubted her nod; he put his cup down then moved to her. His hand went to her stomach, "Sure?"

"Just moves too much, it starts to ache." Her voice was getting sleepy.

McCoy knelt down beside her then began to massage her stomach. He enjoyed her smile, "Why don't you sleep for a little while now. I'll wake you up."

Emma opened one eye, "Sure?" He offered his help to stand. She laughed as she tried on her own then accepted his help. "Before they come, okay?" She stepped into the bedroom and looked at how inviting the bed was, "Maybe I won't get up?"

McCoy pulled her as close as he could, he smiled at her, "If you want to sleep for the next month, that's fine with me." He kissed her. "Do you want some company?"

"If you want to." She held his face, smiling at the blue eyes. "There is nothing I like more than your company."


The 'gang' showed up on time, the meal selected was Chinese! They even had found Sulu along the way. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. Even Spock seemed to be enjoying the camaraderie. It was amazing how much everyone's behavior had changed.

Emma's stomach was beginning to hurt from all the laughter. She looked to McCoy every now and then and she could see how much he had relaxed over this. All of the officers had to report to the divisional heads, they talked through some of the reports that had been submitted, their time was now their own and Emma began to realize how much these people depended one another.

Sulu and Chekov were the first to leave, they had mentioned something about finding the drinking hole they found the last time, the only clues... it had a red door and it was on a hill.

"Doesn't sound like one we've tried?" Kirk looked to McCoy and they laughed.

"You mean there might be one or two we haven't been in?" McCoy saw them to the door, then clapped his hands together, "A game of poker?"

"Aye, Doctor, that sounds like a bonnie idea." Scott began to move the dishes and the containers of leftovers.

Emma stood, "I'll take care of this, Scottie." She began to do the cleaning up in the kitchen. "Then I am going to bed." She looked to McCoy, "Len, a question...?" He looked at her from searching for the cards, "How do I wash up and where does all this food go?" She looked at all the shocked faces. "Don't anybody say it." She saw the smiles and then Uhura stood.

"I don't know why you'd want to learn how to do this. Normally, they do the cleaning up. I let them! You will be taking away a distinct pleasure of mine." Uhura winked at Emma as she moved into the kitchen area. "Watching them clean up. Dishes go in the cleaner, it's done with sound." She smiled at Emma's interest as she showed her where things were. "The food goes into this cooling unit." She reached under the cabinet.

"The men know how to do this? They have come a long way in three hundred years!" Emma acted impressed when Uhura nodded, "Well, I'll give them a break this time." She began to place everything in the appropriate places. "What I used to have to do is wash dishes by hand, then dry them, then the food was put in the freezer or the fridge." She caught McCoy's grin, "Make one comment about reading it in history class and you can do everything!"

McCoy found the cards, "Got them!" He kept the grin as he moved over to the table, now cleared off for the card game, "I wasn't going to say a thing about history class...." He handed the cards to Kirk to shuffle. "I was going to mention that I had seen the units in the museum." He started to grin, and then slowly the others began to laugh, except Spock. McCoy stood and moved over to Emma as she came out of the kitchen. He was still giggling!

"You expect me to talk to you after that?"

"I don't think he's worried about the talking part!" Kirk added helpfully.

McCoy met her eyes, he held back the grin, and he spoke low, "He's got a point."

Emma kissed him, "Stop. Before you dig yourself in so deep, you won't be able to climb out." She looked to the others, "Good-night, gentlemen and Uhura." She met his eyes, "Tuck me in, and maybe I will forgive you."

McCoy agreed and then they left the room, arms around each other.

"Don't forget to come back, Bones! We need your credits!" Kirk reminded him. Uhura tapped his shoulder, telling him off!


The next month was spent relaxing and doing some sightseeing. They managed two nights over at Dr. Banting's, both very enjoyable for Emma and McCoy. Their final stop was to be up north, in Canada. The changes that had happened were interesting. As the world had become borderless, Emma was pleased that countries seemed to retain their individualities. Languages were still used; the common language was now Standard. The other noticeable change was how essential items were used with no charge. The credits were spent on more elaborate things.

When they beamed into the area that Emma knew as Streetsville, they were issued outerwear that would protect them from the colder weather. McCoy had looked at her almost questioning her sanity, when he saw the snow through the observation window.

"You expect us to go out there in the cold, willingly?" The pleasure at his discomfort was evident on her face. "You planned this?"

"I can not control the weather." She accepted his help as he held the coat for her. "You knew it was cold here." She grinned at him. "It's beautiful out there. This is a lovely day for this time of year."

"Is this my punishment for teasing you about your age?"

Emma laughed, "Could be." She leaned to him and kissed him.

She moved along the walkway that had been cleared of snow. They moved into the cemetery, or at least what passed as a cemetery now. She had found the records on file, then the location. Now, she stood in the doorway, McCoy stood with her.

Emma looked to the wall, her fingers ran along the names and the dates that made her feel better. The girls had lived long lives. They had all married and had kids. She found his name as well and from the writing she had discovered he had remarried. She was pleased and she hoped he had been happier than with her.

After a time she turned to McCoy, "I want to go home, Len."

McCoy looked to the large building that contained the tiny plagues, remembering loved ones that had past on. "Are you glad you came to see for yourself what happened?"

"Yes." Emma turned her back to the remembrances. "I'm glad, I know what happened to them to a point. I wish I could somehow, tell them what happened to me." She shook her head, "I can't. They are gone...long ago. I have my memories, I know the truth and now I have you, and this new life." She touched his hand to her stomach, "You've given me the strength to look to our future. I knew I had to do this!"

"As long as you are content." McCoy held her tight after her nod. He felt the movement against his body, "Active?"

Emma nodded; she reached up and kissed him, "Home?"


McCoy nodded, and then they headed back to the beaming point. "Sure there isn't any other place you'd like to see?"

"Could we find out if the Cadet program is still going on?"

McCoy pointed to a small booth with a computer terminal, in the corner of the building they had come to. He went in, typed in the information and then waited for the printout. In a few seconds, the machine produced a paper-like strip. He looked at the writing; he handed it to her. "Just around the corner. Do you want to go?"

"It's still the same corps name." Emma tilted her head, "Maybe just a quick peek." She reached for his mittened hand and squeezed it. "Come on!"

McCoy shook his head wondering how anyone could think of a place that was frozen, as home! The shops in some places had held on to the near original looks. Doors that still had knobs and actual key locks were evident on many of the shop doors. They had even passed by a cenotaph, built in the twentieth century. Emma stopped for a moment and shared the memories of her daughters participating in Remembrance Day ceremonies.

"Is the date still honored?"

"Yes. It is." McCoy knew it was here on Earth. "On board ship, calendar days are lost. It has something to do with travelling in the warp speeds." They turned down one street and then were presented with a fairly large building. "Here it is!"

Emma nodded. She took a deep breath and held it. She read the name, Royal Navy and Sea Cadet Corps, the familiar crest in yellow and black held the equally familiar name, Haida. "Named after a battleship in the Second World War. A native Indian tribe as well, from the other side of Canada. She heard talking and she turned to face approaching teens. All were carrying duffel bags and clothing bags. They were a mixed group; one of the girls opened the door to the building.

"Are you waiting for someone?" The tallest boy asked.

"No. We just came to see the building and we were a little curious about the history of the corp." McCoy spoke quickly.

"We are practicing for our drill competition. You're welcome to watch!"

"Yea, Collins always does better with an audience!" Another on teased as they moved through the doors.

Emma nodded. She felt a bit of apprehension, but it left her as she stepped into the building. Emma opened her jacket; her mitts went into her pocket. She was grinning. Her girls would have loved this place!

She reached to McCoy's hand as the cadets that entered with them, showed them where they could watch from. The set of stairs went up half a level, to a balcony that went all the way around the large drill deck.

"This is impressive!" McCoy sat down close to the railing. He saw all the cadets in groups all around the room. "What are they doing down there?" He looked to a group sitting in a circle.

"From the smell, I'd say shining boots." Emma smiled. She slipped off her coat. She started to walk around reading all of the plaques that hung all around. She waved to McCoy after a time, "Leonard. Come see!" She was standing in front of an older plaque. Her finger went to one name. "Here's Tricia's name, three times! Best Drill Captain." She grinned. She felt the lump in her throat. "Len?"

"It's okay. We can leave if this is too much." Bones saw the tears starting in her eyes. He had taken his coat off and also forgot he was in uniform!

A cadet came along the balcony, he slowed and then saluted. "Sir!"

McCoy grinned inwardly as he returned the salute.

The cadet then double-timed it to the stairway down to the deck. He saluted another officer and then spoke to her. The officer looked up and then saluted the cadet.

"You are in trouble now!" Emma said to McCoy. She stepped back slightly as the officer approached McCoy.

The officer saluted. "Sir, welcome aboard. I am Captain Ann Benix." She offered her hand to McCoy.

"Pleased to meet you, Captain Benix." McCoy held Emma's hand tightly, or was she holding his tightly? He couldn't tell, "Dr. Leonard McCoy, this is my wife, Emma. We are heading back to duty and Emma mentioned that she was involved with the Cadets in the past." McCoy appreciated the face that everything he was saying was the truth! Just a long time ago! "We meet some cadets coming in and they mentioned that they were practicing for competition. We did not want to disturb you in any way."

Emma inhaled sharply! Her hand over her mouth, "Len! They are using the Blues for their uniforms!"

"Yes, ma'am. These uniforms are reproductions from the twentieth century, when the cadet program began."

"Eighteen ninety-five in Canada, before their own Navy." Emma watched the cadets. Her hand went to her stomach. "I think I've done too much walking today."

"It was a pleasure to meet you." Captain Benix shook Emma's hand. "Cmdr. McCoy. Please, come again!"

"We will." He shook the officer's hand and then went with Emma to where the coats had been left. He helped her with the coat. The bugler filled the large room with the sound, Emma turned to watch and listen, just a little longer.

A cadet ran along the balcony, he stopped beside McCoy and saluted, then handed a small package to Dr. McCoy. "Sir, compliments of the Captain. We all wish to extend our wish for a safe voyage."

"Thank you Cadet. I'll see that Captain Kirk gives this a special place." He watched the grin spread on this cadet's face! As suspected, the package held a corps crest.

"The Enterprise, sir?" The cadet was almost speechless. He saluted again. "Thank you, sir!"

McCoy's hand went to his forehead. The cadet offered to escort them out. McCoy accepted. He slipped his coat on and the three of them headed out. The door was held open, and a final salute was exchanged.

McCoy laughed, "I haven't saluted that much since the Academy!" He lifted Emma's face, "Was this a mistake?"

"No. Not at all!" She kissed him. "Let's go home!"

"Sure. We can beam up from here if you want."

"Let's return the coats first."

They started the short walk back.

"I'll get Uhura to send compliments to the corps and wish them luck in the competition." McCoy remembered the face of that cadet.

Emma did as well. "They will like that!"

After returning the coats, McCoy tapped the comm-pin, "Enterprise, two to beam up."


Kirk had been pacing, pleased at the large open area in sickbay. Spock waited patiently in the chair. Spock's hands were steepled; his fingers rested on his lips. "You are expending a great deal of energy, Captain."

Kirk stopped, tried standing still then began to pace again, "This waiting is ridiculous!" They had left Earth's system only two days ago.

"At this rate you will not need to perform your daily run." Spock raised an eyebrow.

"Why does this have to take so long?" Kirk had been sleeping when Uhura notified him that Emma had gone into labor. He stopped, "You do not have to answer that." He knew Spock would have the answer.

"I did not think that you required the exact reasoning. I had assumed it was a rhetorical question. That you were merely impa ..."

"Spock!" Kirk shook his head. He continued pacing.

Both looked to the room beyond when they heard the baby cry. Kirk grinned and relaxed. Spock tapped his lips lightly, the only sign of his impatience. He stood as McCoy came out beaming. He waved them in, then his hands rested one on each of his friends' shoulders. Kirk smiled as he saw Emma cradling the baby. She looked exhausted. It had been about ten minutes since they heard the baby's first cry. Kirk folded his arms across his chest. "You look.... beautiful!"

Emma managed a weak laugh, "You lie well, Captain." She knew what she actually looked like, but she knew what he meant. The little bundled moved again. She gave the bundle to McCoy. "He's a natural." She couldn't help but smile, as he held the newborn. He was beaming; he usually had to give up the babies he delivered.

Chapel came into the room, fresh scrubs, then placed her hands on her hips. "I don't remember giving permission for visitors yet!" She shook her head and moved to Emma's side. "Are you up to it?"

Emma shrugged then rested into the pillows more.

Chapel checked the readings, "Gentlemen, this new mom needs some rest."

Spock moved closer to Emma, his head bowed, "An honor, Lady Emma."

"The name?" Kirk realized that he did not even know if it was a girl or boy!

"Alexander James Spock McCoy." Bones stated proudly. This had to be the happiest day in his life!


McCoy walked into the quiet quarters; he expected Emma to be fast asleep, as well as Alex. He moved into the sleeping area.... no Emma or Alex! He moved into the living area, but they were not there either! The quilt was also missing. McCoy stood, thinking, nodded then headed out. He moved to the small observation room on this deck. He stepped in and smiled. They were both there, fast asleep. Emma had wrapped the quilt around herself and held their baby close to her. Her head rested on the back of the chair; her feet tucked up inside the blanket.

McCoy knelt in front of her. He wished he could freeze time, she looked so peaceful and content. She cared for Alex with an obvious ease, and he knew she had been a caring mother, just as she was now. He brushed back her hair, then peeked inside the quilt at his son. He hoped this had made her as happy as he was. He leaned forward and kissed her cheek, "Em. Time to wake up." His hand brushed her cheek, trying to wake her gently. "Emma."

She finally stirred and slowly opened her eyes, "Hi." she whispered. One hand appeared from the blanket and touched his face, "What time is it?"

"Four hundred. How long have you been here?"

"Since about midnight." She moved slowly, "No wonder I'm so stiff!" She laughed a little. "The scenery was getting boring. Alex wanted to see the stars."

McCoy took the warm bundle from her.

Emma stood, re-arranged the covers around her then walked with McCoy to their quarters. "Alex should know by now, that when he wants to see the fall asleep."

Emma smiled sheepishly, then tucked her hand around his arm. McCoy put Alex to bed then moved to her. He reached into the cover still around her, "Why don't you wear your robe?"

"Because this is warmer ...besides there is no room for you inside my robe." She opened his tunic and then slipped it off his shoulders. She pulled him into the covers, wrapping the covers around his back, "Now, if you didn't have your uniform on, this would be much more fun!" She kissed him reaching into his mouth tasting him.

"I believe I can rectify that." His sweater was off, his boots were kicked off and then her hands reached to his pants, they dropped to the floor. "See, almost done." He gathered her nightgown up and lifted that over her head, the blanket never leaving her shoulders!

He pulled her close and kissed her long and hard, her body warming against his. "How's that?"

Emma brushed his lips with hers; her touch went to his chest, "I think it will do.... in fact, I'm sure it will."

McCoy lifted her and laid her on the bed. They adjusted the cover for them both, their bodies molded together. The whispers of their love for each other, their pleasure with each other and their dreams of the future came in between the lovemaking.


Emma touched the screen; it had been ten years to the day, since she had last seen these faces. There were two pictures that had been taken of the whole family, one after the birth of her granddaughter, the other did not include her and the baby was a toddler.

McCoy walked in and stopped. He held his breath, felt the sinking feeling in his stomach, then smiled at her. Her hand reached out to him, holding hers tight.

"Alex still asleep?" He pursed his lips, trying to hide his concern.

"Yes, but he should be waking soon." She looked to the screen. "I suddenly wanted to know...maybe because it doesn't matter anymore." She stood and wrapped her arms around him; she brushed her lips against his. "Can we get Chris to watch him tonight? It's been so long since we had some time together."

McCoy pulled her closer, he still wondered, "Why today?" he looked to the screen.

Emma turned, she looked at the image, and her hand reached to the off-color button and pressed it. The information was erased. "It seems like it's someone else.... not me." She searched his eyes, "Len, I love you." He looked as if he needed to hear it. "Do you want me to ask Chris or not?"

"Now how would it look if I turned you down, on the tenth anniversary of your appearance into my life?" He smiled at her, maybe that was his answer. He brushed her lips with his; he gathered her into his arms and kissed her passionately.... pleased that she had stayed in his life. "I'll take him down, Jim wants you in his quarters for something."

"A yeoman's work is never done." She kissed McCoy lightly and said she'd return soon.

She started to the door but a little voice stopped her, "Can I go too?"

Alex stood there rubbing his eyes, barely awake.

"Where do you think I'm going?"

"Captain's quarters." Alex smiled.

She looked to McCoy, "Well?"

"I guess I'll wait here. I'll warn Chris about tonight." McCoy lifted his son up. "You behave."

"Yes, Dad." He wrinkled up his nose and held his father's face between his hands, "Are you going to behave too."

"Definitely." He looked to Emma. "You ask your mom how good I can be sometimes."

Emma reached for her son. "Your father has a strange sense of good behavior sometimes." She shook her head slightly. There had never been a day that she had regretted any of her choices.

McCoy folded his arms, "You haven't complained so far."

Emma leaned slightly to him, Alex balancing on the opposite hip. "I will call you if I am any longer than thirty minutes." She reached to whisper in his ear, as she put Alex down. He was too heavy for her to carry. "Naked and willing."

McCoy laughed, "Always." he promised. He kissed her and then she left holding Alex's hand.

Alex ran into the officer's arm's, almost toppled him over. Alex saluted, "Hiya, Captain."

"Hiya, Alexander." Kirk laughed.

"Was this something official. I thought I had finished my duty?" She teased trying to act annoyed. "I have other things I'd like to be doing?"

"Bones can wait." Kirk winked he knew by her tone what she preferred to be doing. He put Alex onto his lap as he sat down, "I have a problem and I need your help. I have a junior officer that deserves a promotion; this officer keeps turning down positions offered. I really feel this officer is worthy of something a little more than coffee and reports." Kirk gave Alex the data pad to write on. He looked to Emma. "You deserve a raise in rank and a better position, Em."

"I am happy right here." She understood his position; she sat down opposite him. She watched her son. Kirk would have made.... does make a great dad. Alex was growing up with three father figures and about two other mother figures. He had the best surrounding him as he grew up.

"You have served as command yeoman for eight years. If there were another area that you'd be interested in, what would it be?"

She shrugged. "Why do you want to get rid of me?" She was teasing. "Jim, we have this conversation every six months, why bring it up again?"

"How about engineering?" Kirk was pleased at her surprise. "Mr. Scott's gone through four assistants in as many months, can you give it a try for awhile and then decide?" He stretched the rules as far as Emma went he never should have kept her here for so long.

Alex wanted to get down; he headed over to the collection of toys that had been left here.

Emma suspected his motives, she tried a hunch, "Those assistants, do they really exist?"

Kirk shook his head, "No, but Scott's frustration is building because he can't find one."

"Six months... no longer."

"Look at it this way, you'll be closer to sickbay." Kirk tried, he smiled. He sighed with relief when she nodded, reluctantly. "Thank you."

"No raise in rank!" She waited. "I don't want to ever run a department or anything like that. If I stay a Lieutenant, then I am content."

"Deal!" Kirk leaned forward, "Will you go and speak to Mr.Scott now, he's in his office."

Emma nodded, "Come on Alex, we'll go visit Dr. Chaapel." She waited until Alex tidied up his toys then headed out. Alex waved good-bye and so did Kirk.


Emma had spoken to Scott and he tried to get her to start then and there! She smiled at him and told him she'd be here first thing in the morning. She had already dropped Alex off with Chris and then returned to the shared quarters and found McCoy as she had requested. She poured the brandy for them both; she stripped and curled up with him under the covers.

"What did Jim want?" McCoy leaned back on the pillows and swirled the brandy.

"A new position for me." Emma wondered where the time had gone. It seemed as if a lifetime had past since he had held her for the first time. "Scott needed an assistant. His office is scary." She drank down the last of her drink then shivered. "Why is it always the last of it that gives me the shivers?"

"Be careful. Engineering is not the safest... forget I said anything." He drained his glass. "I don't know why it gives you the shivers." He put both glasses on the shelf above the bed. "I only want to know that I give you the shivers." He pulled her close to him.

"That could be taken the wrong way.... shivers as in scary. You being a doctor and everything..." McCoy kissed her. "I gather that is a closed subject. Doctors and scary things." She let him pull the pins that held her hair, shaking it loose. He nodded to her as his lips began a path down her throat. "When do you have duty next?"

McCoy rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling, "I thought you said I was to be naked and willing?"

"I'm sorry." She moved to him, kissed him, "I am so pleased things worked the way they have." Her hand ran along his body, "Can we find a colony planet some where and hide away?"

"Why?" McCoy enjoyed her touch on him. He closed his eyes.

"Because I want to grow old with you. Because I don't want to lose you or..." She felt the tears. She sat up suddenly and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry!" His hand rubbed her back. "I shouldn't have said anything."

"It's a fact of life here.... on these space missions." His touched urged her back, "Take my job for learn how fragile human bodies really are." McCoy smiled at her. "It's funny the times that you start thinking about it. I remember it used to occur to me when I was in the shower. That was the one place I didn't want to die."

"I don't want you to die." Emma felt his warmth; she was losing the fear again.

"That makes two of us." McCoy sat up, he knew this would not work right now. "Care to dance?"

"I love you." Emma kissed him, "I'd love to dance." She reached to the scrubs that McCoy habitually wore around. "You wear the bottoms and I can wear the top."

McCoy laughed, scrubs would never be the same after this. He moved off the bed then pulled on the pants. Emma had slipped on the top; it was just barely long enough to long as she didn't move too much! She tapped in the coding for the music, then turned to him. "Would you like music from my time?"

"That would definitely be different?" He was surprised at the suggestion. He moved over to the terminal, "I'm surprised that Uhura hasn't picked your brain about that." He tapped in a few codes then thought a moment, "Type of music?"

"Rock and roll."

McCoy repeated it mumbling. "Artist and title, if you know it?"

"The Beatles. When I'm sixty-four." She laughed. The beat filled the room and she began the familiar dances.

McCoy smiled then started listening to the words. "Trying to tell me something?"

The song was all about a couple growing old together. "...will you still need me, will you still please me when I'm sixty-four!" She thought of a more romantic one. "Len. How about.. Meatloaf... I'd do anything for love...."

McCoy typed it in. The music was softer but it still had the beat. She pulled him from the chair and began to dance. He watched her, she placed his hands on her hips, "Are you sure you have never been to Orion for lessons?" It seemed as if she had no backbone with some of the seductive moves. She moved close to him and began to dance for him! "Did you do this in public?"

"Only when I'd have a partner. The rest of the time, I danced alone, at home." The music changed but still from the same era. She remembered the music; the beat was in time with her heart and her hips swayed in time. She could lose herself in this! "There was one type of dancing that was called 'Dirty Dancing'.. now that was fun!"

McCoy rolled his eyes, "I can imagine!" He was enjoying this and he could tell she was as well. He touched the controls that would change to the slower music next. She moved slowly to him. Her hands went up his body; her moves began to resemble an exotic dancer's. She was good! "Another hidden talent of yours?"

She nodded slowly, "You just have to be watching at the right time." Her body teased his, as she remembered the distant pleasures she had. "This is much more fun with a partner." She kissed him, smiling when he held her close to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she continued to grind her hips, teasing him.

The next song was a love song about remembering how a lover, touches. She knew the words; she whispered them to McCoy. His breathing had deepened as his need to hold her increased. He lifted her and carried her to their bed. He lifted the top over her head and kissed her, awakening every nerve to his touch. She pulled him close, her mouth capturing his. Her hands removed his pants and then she straddled him. Neither of them patient for the satisfaction or the need to feel alive! The satisfaction came quickly and they lay in each other's arms.

Emma still lay on him. He pulled the covers around them, kissing her he felt her body move slightly. He moaned as his body reached into her again. He made love to her again, slower this time, savoring the moments.

Emma cuddled closer to him, she was tired. "Len," smiling she rested her chin on her hand, his eyes were closed, he acknowledged her with a mumble, "...can we do this again?" She reached and kissed him.

"Later," McCoy smiled, "You know for someone that three hundred and fifty, you sure have a lot of energy!" He laughed at her reaction. "I'm only seventy, I'm getting worn out!"

Her fingers ran along his lips, "You are not worn out." She whispered, "I just can not get enough of you...even after all this time!" She reached up and kissed him, he rolled her onto her back then somehow found the energy... and the strength to do this again! "I love you, my Southern gentleman."

"I love you.... my lovely lady." Their hands caressed each other as they fell asleep. "I told you I could find one!"


She was now standing in the engineering office and she wondered where to start. She also wished she were still curled up in bed with McCoy. Mr. Scott may be the best engineer in Starfleet and Kirk's miracle worker but his office looked like a bomb had gone off in it!

Blueprints seemed to be the biggest problem, then there were all the reports that never seemed to get filed away. One of Scottie's quirks was his appreciation for the physical blueprints, and there were enough of them! She rolled them together and put them aside then tackled the files. She sorted and stacked the computer slates and began to enter them into the ship's files. Emma had also found misplaced tools under some of the mess.

Scott entered the office, not looking forward to breaking in another assistant. He stopped in his tracks as it opened to reveal his partially tidied office. "Lass! How early did you come in?"

"Good-morning sir. My duty watch begins at four hundred. I've been at this for about two hours now." Emma sat back from the console. "If you haven't had anything to eat, go eat. I should be done in about two hours then we can find a way to store these." She pointed to some rolls of paper.

"Aye, Lass. I'll get a quick bite." Scott was in shock, he had not eaten this morning and he wondered how she had known. He headed for the mess and he wondered if Kirk would be there as usual.

Scott chose his breakfast and then sat opposite Kirk. "You will be a sorry man for givin' her up!"

Kirk looked to his half eaten breakfast, scrambled eggs a la processor, not as good as Emma's. "I already do, Mr.Scott." He looked to the time. "She has half the room tidied and most of your files done."

"Aye, she has." Scott drank some of his coffee, "Captain, maybe if things are organized, ya can have her back?"

"Don't give her up too quickly, Mr.Scott. You will be sorry." Kirk finished off his coffee. He leaned forward; maybe Scott could tweak the processors to produce better tasting eggs! "Scottie, have her make you scrambled eggs one morning... then fix the food processors to match the taste. You'd be doing the crew a favor." Kirk picked up his tray.

"What's wrong with them, sir?" Scott had match the taste to the one's he enjoyed at home, what was wrong with that!

"They are lacking a taste and a fluffiness." Kirk smiled, "Trust me on this one!"

"Aye, Captain." Scott looked to his eggs and black pudding. "There is nothin' wrong with these eggs!" He spoke to himself, he drank some of his coffee, "But now ta have a home cooked meal...that's somethin' ta consider!"

Kirk tapped on the door as it slid open. He smiled as she straightened with the armful of slates, obviously they had fallen over. She dropped them onto the desk.

"You, sir, are not very nice to your lowly yeoman. One of these days I will get you back for this!" Emma put her hands at her hips exaggerating the annoyance she felt.

"I think you already have.... I had the ship's eggs this morning.." He shivered. "Boy, they are bad!"

"I suppose you've already told Mr. Scott about them?" She wasn't surprised when he nodded. "Do you have Rollins or Whittier replacing me?" She knew his preference but she knew which would do the better job.

"Rollins. Why?" Kirk frowned; he had this sudden feeling that he had chosen wrong. "You never left a recommendation."

"And when did I have time?" She sat down and began entering the data. She may not have understood half of what she was putting in but she always managed to put it in the right place. "Rollins is fast, but Whittier is more accurate and more comfortable on the bridge and around you."

"Actually, I have both on split shifts. Neither one felt they could handle what you did on your own." Kirk looked to the floor. "Neither were willing to make eggs for me."

Emma laughed, "You are the one that wanted me out of there, I wanted to stay.... You remember that!" She looked to the stack of files, "How does he manage this when his engine room is so..perfect."

"I think it has something to do with his personality and coming from such an old area of the world." Kirk started to laugh at her reaction; he couldn't help but continue. "The two of you should get along fine!" He ducked the rag she tossed his way and then headed off, laughing, to his office.

Emma looked at the time, she had been her for about six hours now and she was getting hungry. Mr.Scott had been in already and they had discussed hanging the blueprints on the bulkhead in that way they were easily accessible and stored out of the way. Mr. Scott was off designing a hanger to the style they had discussed. The paper would hang from supporting tubing, that would slide onto an arm pivoting from a main hanger that would be fastened to the wall. Mr. Scott seemed pleased.

She looked at the slates that were left and decided to finish this off, pick up Alex and then see McCoy. She went to the pot of coffee that Mr.Scott kept filled and poured herself some; she stretched a little and then went back to work. Mr.Scott came in looking for the coffee. He frowned then checked the time.

"Your duty period ended an hour ago. Why are you still here?" Scott looked around the room; it hadn't been this tidy in a long time. "Ya do a good job, Lass."

"Thank you, sir. I just thought if I spent the time, I could get this done. I have about four more files and then we are up to date." She sat back in the chair, "How did you get so far behind?"

"I'm not easy ta work under and I think my reputation may be slightly negative."

"I heard you were a pussy-cat?" Emma smiled, "The others heard differently, but then everybody thinks McCoy is miserable."

"Aye, he is." He smiled back.


Engineering had become an interesting place and Emma began to train under Mr. Scott's guidance. She was quick to pickup what the correct readings were, so Scott assigned her to the environmental station for a time. His office was in order now and other than a weekly tidy up, Emma only went in there to file reports.

"Lt. Benix, can ya run a diagnostic test for me.?" Scott came over with the report. "They are haven' trouble on deck fourteen, keeps getting cold."

Emma took the report, "Aye, sir." She started off, then stopped, "Did you want the report done as well, that's due tomorrow." Scott nodded and smiled. Emma headed to the deck and then entered the Jeffries tube to begin the calibration of the system.

Of all the chief engineers that Emma had met in the last ten years, they all seemed to have put weight on, yet all the places in engineering were small.. and no one ever wanted to change this! She giggled to herself as she recorded the readings before and after the change. She nodded; satisfied that was the problem.

She headed back to engineering and Scott nodded at the report. "Put on our list of needed supplies the pumping mechanism for this. She going ta go again."

"We should have one left from our last restock." She was sure she remembered the figures right. "I'll check on it."

"Aye, Lass. Then give it to Bennings, he needs things to do with his hands... he's good." Scott looked to her as he handed the report back, "Are ya interested in doin' a shift on the auxiliary bridge?"

"Sure. Manned during alerts?"

"Aye. She functions exactly the same as the bridge." Scott paused, he remembered the first time he saw her on that platform, and he smiled. "I had been worried about you for a long time, Lass. Ya scared years off my life that day! I didn't know if you'd make the adjustment."

"Mr. Scott, I'm still making the adjustment. I had given up on updating myself and instead worked backwards ... much easier. All of you have made the adjusting simple."

"Ya make it easy, Lass, for us. Ya have an ease about yourself." Scott gave her another slate. "The procedures for the auxiliary. Read it over." Scott started out of the room, "If ya have hesitations about any of it, let me know. We've got other jobs for ya."

Emma nodded as she began to read the slate, nothing unusual; most of this was common sense. She stopped at the office and double-checked the pump that was needed; there was one in stock. As the engineer monitor, there would be nothing to do except if the controls on the bridge went out. The patrols that they managed now were quiet ones. They were heading home to Earth now; they should arrive in about two months. She touched the comm-pin, "Mr. Scott, Benix here."


"The pump is in supply and will be delivered by sixteen hours. I'll be in the auxiliary bridge going over this, if you need me."

"Aye, Lass. When you are done, so is your shift."

"Yes, sir." Emma moved to the doorway to the auxiliary bridge, tapped in her security code and stepped in. The room was set up to resemble the bridge. Not as colorful or as spread out. She sat down at the station chair and began to run through the general procedures that she would use. It took her about an hour before she felt comfortable with this; she looked to the environmental control... that's the spot she usually occupied.

She had learned a great deal. She remembered that first day she had been left on her own and she could only remember how to program in her breakfast. She had bagel and cream cheese for three days running, until she found the instructions on her terminal. Now she considered those terminals as her lifeline and her way to ask the 'dumb'questions. As much as she honestly believed that an unasked question was the only stupid question, there were times when she felt stupid asking the questions. She had been surprised that the one person to make her feel comfortable about her lack of knowledge, was the person that seemed to know the most...Mr. Spock.

Emma turned in the chair and then headed out, reviewing the slate as she headed to her quarters. Alex would be in classes for another two hours and McCoy had duty for another three. She'd have the quarters to herself for a time. She would indulge herself and read her book, McCoy had bought her on her birthday. It was an Earth classic, 'Gone With the Wind', all about the south! He had slipped a piece of stationary in wishing her a happy three hundred and fiftieth and it was addressed to 'His lovely woman from a southern gentleman.'

She pulled off her uniform and slipped into some silk loungewear, she took the quilt and curled up on the couch with her book and a cup of tea. She set the timepiece on her wrist to sound the time in ninety minutes. She opened her book and lost herself to the south and the fire that was beginning.

McCoy had called it a day a few hours early, so he decided to pick up Alex and then planned to surprise Emma. He was listening to the day's events from the six-year-old and was amazed at the detail he would use. Alex ran ahead of him, into the quarters then poked his head back out.

"Mom's asleep." He whispered loudly. He put a finger in front of his lips. "Can we go to the rec room?"

McCoy nodded, then held his arm before he ran off, "We leave a note first." McCoy looked over at her, smiled then scribbled the note. He put it in front of the terminal. The alarm on her watch went off! He moved to turn it off. He saw her eyes open, "Go back to sleep, Alex and I are going to the rec. room. I think he wants to learn chess."

Emma kissed him, then opened her book. "Have fun. I am going to attempt another chapter." She smiled at his disbelief of her success. She loved watching the two of them together. "I'll meet you in an hour." McCoy nodded then waved as Alex began asking him about the chessboard. She opened up her book going back to Atlanta, Georgia... Len's hometown.

Next time they were on Earth, she'd ask him to take her there.


"Captain's Log,

We have been patrolling this sector for six days now, we have another four days and then we head to Starbase Fourteen, and some much-needed shore leave. There has been reports of some pirate raids on smaller vessels in this area, we have been asked to look into it. This seems like a waste of a Constellation-class ship, but as McCoy is fond of reminding me.. Ours is not to reason why..."

"Keptain, scanners report nothing in the area." Chekov sat in at the science station. He shrugged, "Vhat now?"

"Keep scanning. Uhura, anything?" Kirk looked into the empty coffee cup, he was sure he had just filled it. He looked around the bridge and realized that everyone was as impatient as he was. A touch at his elbow, he smiled. "What are you doing here, Lt.?"

"Engineering station." Emma shook her head. "Doesn't your yeoman know when you need coffee yet?"

"Not as well as you apparently?" Kirk rested his chin in his hand; he smiled at her, "Care to come back?"

"What and leave Mr.Scott without me?" Emma laughed, "You are the Captain. My six months ends in one week. You can make any changes you care to. Why ask me?" She held the coffeepot in one hand and his report in the other; she handed that to him. "Fuel consumption."

"If you are deliriously happy there.... I'd leave you there." Kirk signed the report. He drank down most of his coffee then motioned for a refill.

"I'll think about it." Emma poured the coffee for Sulu, Chekov, Uhura and then back to Kirk. She replaced the pot in the recycler and then moved to her post. She ran the cycle of checks and then recorded any that had changed.

"Keptain, something just entered scanner range. Four varp powered wessels. Armed and shielded."

"All hands red-alert. This is not a drill! I repeat all hands red-alert!" Kirk hated the sound of the siren that went off. He motioned to Uhura to lower the noise, "Get me any of them on a frequency. Instruct them to stand down weapons."

"Lt. Benix, shields and weapons on line."

"Done sir. Switching weapons to navigation." She looked to Chekov now manning the station beside Sulu. Spock had entered the bridge and was now sitting at his station.

"Captain, I have Captain Mulara, of the lead ship."

"On screen." Kirk straightened his jacket and looked to the screen, "Captain Mulara, this is Captain James Kirk, U.S.S. Enterprise. Could you please tell me why you are attacking ships in this area?"

Captain Mulara flipped back the long auburn hair and smiled at her counterpart. "Captain Kirk. You are as handsome as the rumors go. We have also heard the rumors of your first officer, Cmdr. Spock." She sat back in her chair. Her finger ran along her lips, appreciating her view. "Your question has an answer but..."

"Captain, if you want to discuss the matter, stand down your weapons." Kirk sat back slightly. The scenery behind her let Kirk know that she did not have a large crew but she had a ship that was up to date. Kirk turned in his chair. "I want the auxiliary bridge manned fully." Lt. Benix nodded, touched the control that would connect her to Mr. Scott and then stood. She placed the board on stand-by; she waited for her replacement.

Mulara motioned to someone off to the side.

"Confirmed, Captain." Spock stated his eyes remained on his screen, he spoke quietly.

Kirk nodded. He looked back to the screen; he had a bad feeling about this encounter. "Now Captain. An answer to my question."

Mulara smiled. "We have a need. We use whatever resources we have. Our resources are our ships and their weapons, our needs...vary." She watched this man knowing she would not get far with him and her people had to give up or die. She wasn't quite prepared to give up and as for the other matter.... she wasn't sure.

"You have small crafts. We do not want to have a fight over this. The items you need could be negotiated. Lives should not have to be the price."

"I suppose in your world it doesn't." She sighed; she knew how her people felt.

"Beam aboard, Captain. We can talk and then speak to the Federation about your needs."

"My people have listened to the talk. We almost starved to death waiting for the Federation." She felt some regret at her next words, "Captain, I have my orders and the people that I answer to. Those people want the fight." She tilted her head slightly, "If this were another time...another place....? My orders stand, as I'm sure yours do. Until a more peaceful time, Captain Kirk." Her head bowed as her image disappeared from the screen. The ships moved away and then circled around.

"Armed and ready for combat, Sir." Spock reported, "Also Klingon bird of prey coming into range. It appears their cavalry has arrived!" Spock's head lifted to look to the main screen.

Kirk felt his throat dry and his stomach tighten. "Prepare for battle. All hands Battle stations."

Uhura repeated the command on ship wide channel. She prepared herself for the difficult job ahead of keeping all the communications going during this. The damage, injuries, deaths and operational reports all came through her board as they happened and she had to keep everything together. A message buoy was loaded and ready for release at any time, updates of the ship's activities were placed on automatic, in case of the ship's destruction. An automatic beacon and the transmission of the full file were also loaded in to be cycled through after release. All this was prepared in less than three minutes.

The replacement officer for the engineering station was here; he caught the movement as Lt. Benix left the bridge. Kirk looked around checking his people to make sure everyone was ready and alert. He knew he would not make the first move.

The first beam of energy hit the shield and the fight was on, they were fighting the Klingon cruiser. The smaller ships had docked with the larger vessel and after scanning, they discovered that there were no Klingons on board. Hails went unanswered and these people fought to win, but then again so did Kirk.

"Evasive maneuvers, Mr. Sulu. Fire at your discretion, Mr. Chekov. Disable them only."

"Aye, sir." Sulu and Chekov said in unison.

"Shielding down to sixty percent." Lt. Mathers reported, as he was Benix's replacement. He was one of Scottie's protégés.

"Damage reported on decks nine to sixteen. Mr.Scott says the power will be dropping. He's having a problem with a cooling unit." Uhura reported evenly.

"This is ridiculous!" Kirk slammed his fist on the arm of the chair. "We are not fighting over anything!"

"Captain, lives have been lost. That was why we were sent out here." Spock pointed out.

"That isn't what I mean, Spock. It is slightly out of proportion to be firing on a Klingon cruiser with the possibility of sustaining...."

"Shields down, thirteen and fourteen." The fingers flew over the controls, "Re-configuring in ten seconds."

The cruiser swung around close to the Enterprise and fired a volley at her hull. The warning lights went on all over the board. The alarms sounded and then Uhura reported. "Captain, damage to the hull on decks fourteen and fifteen. Medical personnel have been requested. Ten crews involved. Auxiliary bridge is being evacuated, coolant leak. Mr. Scott reports the leaks are being sealed."

"Sir! They pulling away!" Sulu reported, totally surprised.

Spock solved the puzzle, "Their torpedoes have been exhausted and they have developed a problem with the core. If they do not adjust the flow...."

The screen flashed a brilliant light; everyone covered his or her eyes against the glare. The Klingon vessel's wreckage flew in all directions, some hitting the shielding.

Kirk had an awful feeling this was a battle he should have run away from. "Stand down battle stations. Repair crews report to divisional heads and..."

Uhura looked to Kirk, "Captain, Dr. Chapel requests your presence in sickbay. Mr. Spock as well." She paused, "She's added that this is a formal request, sir." Uhura's voice had softened a request like this usually meant that a senior officer was critically or fatally injured.

"We are on our way." Kirk stood and moved to the lift, Spock fell in step beside him.

Dr. McCoy?

Mr. Scott?

They looked to one another then to the walls of the turbo-lift. No point in guessing.

Captain's Log,

Accommodations as follows:

Lt. Gordon Mathers, injuries sustained in battle.

Lt. Yolanda Rollins, injuries sustained in battle.

Lt.Cmdr. Gabriel Sung, full military honors, Died In Action.

Lt. Emma Benix-McCoy, full military honors, Died In Action.

Captain's note: as to McCoy's infamous quote ".. Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die.. this battle was not worth the cost."

Kirk flicked the switch closing the circuit. He had redirected his channel into sickbay. McCoy had been in the stasis room for the past hour. He had broken the news to Alex. McCoy held his son, allowing Alex to cry as much as he needed to. Soon Alex fell asleep; Spock took him to his quarters, remaining with him.

Every now and then, he saw Chapel peek into the stasis room, after the third time, she spoke to Kirk.

"He can't stay there much longer. With all the surgery he's done today and the shock of this.... go to him now, Jim."

Chapel rubbed her eyes; she was beginning to feel the day's toll on her. "Luckily, I went to auxiliary, not him. He was just coming out of surgery." She held back the tears that would happen later when she had the luxury of time.

Kirk stood took a breath, picked up the box and letter he was required to deliver. He gave Chapel a quick hug, "Officer's mess later." He felt her nod. He moved to the door to the stasis room, hesitated then stepped through.

Kirk hated the stasis fields. It might have preserved the bodies, but it gave off such an eerie glow, that it made his skin crawl every time he saw one. Seeing Emma lying there was especially disquieting. No outward signs of the damage, she looked as if she would move any time now.

His hand reached to his friends shoulder, he squeezed it. Kirk didn't even try to wipe his tears away; he felt the guilt as well.

"Do you know how many times I have stood where you are?" McCoy's voice barely stable. "Wondering if this person standing here, had been here...too long." He sighed.

"I understand, Bones." Kirk held down the sob that threatened. He knew the pain his friend was feeling. He had been there. His brother, his father and his mother. Bones had been there for him and he would be there for him. Spock could take care of the Enterprise.

"She stayed. She inhaled too much of the coolant. Poisoned her entire system!" McCoy was holding her hand and absently brushing her hair back. "She wanted me to leave the Enterprise, find a colony and hide away, she said." He took a ragged breath as he lifted a folded paper to Kirk. "She had just enough time to write this. Scottie said she insisted." His hand was shaking, so was his voice.

Kirk took it gently. He blinked to clear his vision. She had managed. 'To my Southern Gentleman...Thank you." It was obvious from the writing; she had a hard time with it.

Kirk had taken the time to return to his quarters, after he had heard, but before he went to McCoy. It was the Captain's duty, sometimes, to be responsible for last requests... this was hers. "Bones." his voice cracked, he cleared his throat. "She left this for you."

McCoy released his hold on her hand. He squeezed it gently then placed it at her side. He accepted the familiar looking box. The note, he read it to Kirk, "We won't get into the obvious of why you have this. Open it and believe me that after you gave me that gift at the station, the crystal ball? I had to give you this when I knew you would need it the most. I bought this, the same day you bought me the crystal ball. On the station, when we were doing shopping on our own. The other item is mine. I had kept to myself to remind me what had actually happened to me!" McCoy put the paper under the box in his hand. He had trouble opening it. He moved the paper, "Oh my God!" his knees gave out.

Kirk held him. He reached behind for the chair, then made Bones sit down. "What is it?" His eyes grew big when he looked inside. "How could that be...?"

Nestled inside the tissue was a crystal ball, an exact duplicate of the one McCoy had given to her! She had even purchased it on the same day, from the receipt; she bought it twenty minutes after he bought hers! Reflected through the glass was a picture. He lifted it out.... a book! Published in the twentieth century, Kirk called it a pocket book. Marked at the top were the words, 'an exciting new adventure of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, the title ".. The Entropy Effect...!'.


"McCoy here." He touched the comm-pin as he stood looking out the observation port, at the small transport vessel moving away from the Enterprise.

"Lt. Alex McCoy has beamed aboard, sir."

"Thank you, Lt." McCoy moved from the room and down the corridor, to meet his son. After ten years, they had finally found the time and he had found the strength to complete a request. He walked in and stared at the taller-than-he-was figure that had her eyes.

Alex had Emma's quilt tucked under his arm; this had been the first chance he had to return it to his dad. Alex had entered the junior academy when he had turned ten. They had seen each other only twice since and the span of time between was too long.

McCoy wrapped his arms around his son. "You look good. How's your duty going?"

"Not bad. We can talk later if you want. I have managed to get a few weeks to myself.... sort of, and I thought I'd ask Captain Kirk if he'd mind an extra body on board." Alex had been worried about his father; he knew how much he had missed his wife. He kept his hand on McCoy's shoulder.

"I would not mind at all, Alex." Kirk walked in and hugged the young man. "You've grown." He smiled, "Spock's waiting planetside for us." Kirk did not want to prolong this duty.

The three stepped onto the platform and were beamed down to the planet's surface. The breeze blew gently and the sun warmed their faces. The others were already here, Chapel, Uhura, Mr.Scott and his bagpipes, an honor guard stood at attention, Kirk had even managed to arrange for a bugler. Spock held the small non-descript box. He handed it to McCoy.

McCoy held the treasure and knew he was doing the right thing, she had wanted both of them to be here. Maybe he should have agreed to this the night she mentioned it...just left the Enterprise and raised their family here.. now it was too late.

They all stood near the same spot that Emma had stood when she told McCoy she loved him. McCoy had never regretted a single moment with her, only the ones without her. He looked around and was surprised that even some of the colonists were there! Mr. Chambers, as well as the then-young mother of Patricia and Patricia. The once little girl, Emily and a few other faces that she would probable have known.

His fingers ran over the engraving, her date of birth... He smiled slightly, remembering how they would tease her about her age! Her date of death and her name, rank and serial number...because she had died in the line of duty, she had been awarded, posthumously, the rank of Commander. She would have hated it, she would have been put in charge of something! He smiled slightly.

As Kirk conducted the service, the flags of the Federation and a duplicate of Emma's country of origin, Canada, were laid out. Mr.Scott began to play a lament; he had considered this an honor.

McCoy opened the casing and with Alex scattered her ashes... as the bugler played, 'Last Post' and then 'Heart of Oak', songs that were still played in navel ceremonies.

It was Captain Kirk's way to honor her.


McCoy looked to the empty bottles, he wasn't even drunk. By every medical fact he knew...he should have been comatose by now! He wiped the tears that did not want to stop and then with a sigh, sat back in the chair. Kirk looked into his empty glass and knew that McCoy needed to be alone with Alex.

Alex sat back in his chair, totally sober and worrying about his father.

Kirk stood, "You know where to find me if you need anything."

McCoy nodded. He looked up to his friend, "Thank you, Jim."

Kirk looked to Alex. "Same goes for you. Anytime."

Alex nodded. He watched Kirk leave. "Dad, how about some sleep now?"

"I understand now why she hated dreams so much." McCoy folded his arms across his chest, the tears kept falling but he did not feel upset! "All those nights I would find her in the observation deck... dancing or holding you.... she'd blame it on you, you know!"

Alex smiled and nodded. "She'd tell me that I was to say it was me. But I didn't know it was because of dreams." He took a breath. "Were they about her other family?"

McCoy nodded. "Promise me something...Alex...?"

"Name it."

"If you find a lovely girl that likes to.... dance. Hang on for dear life!" The real tears began, with the crying. He looked to the ceiling wishing he could stop.

"Have you cried before now?" Alex had his suspicions.

"No,...I just couldn't." McCoy felt his son's arms around him.

"You gave me permission years ago,.. guess it's time I give you that same permission." Alex felt his father's body give in finally give in to the grief. McCoy put one arm around his son kneeling beside him. "It's okay Dad, I'm here."

McCoy finally let the pain and the grief engulf him, it had hurt so much, for so long!


As McCoy adjusted the collar...again, he remembered the message that was waited for him a week after Alex had returned home. " Dad, the girl I told you about, Rebecca. She can dance.... so I'm taking your advice and we are getting married. Thanks Dad... and Dad, I thanked Mom too...for the crystal ball. How do you think she knew I'd want one too? Thanks again, Dad. We'll let you know the date. All our Luv, Alex and Rebecca."

So here they all were, one year later! Himself, Kirk, Spock, Chapel and Uhura, all decked out in the finest Starfleet silk, Alex included, and they waited for the strains of the Bridal March to begin. Everyone stood as she entered the chapel. Christine tapped his arm; he passed her the handkerchief, then smiled remembering why he always had one with him.

Alex had been beside himself all evening and into today. McCoy and Kirk teased him unmercifully, but they all laughed.. except Spock.

They talked about Emma last night, no tears! They told Alex the story of the crystal balls and then McCoy gave him a parcel... "Your mom had made a quilt for your wedding day. We promised each other that you would not get it before then. She promised twice...then gave it to Spock to take care of. I guess she didn't trust either of us."

He opened it; the label named the pattern 'double wedding ring'. Emma had placed his name and hers, McCoy's and left a sealed marker for the fabric, 'for the date and your bride's name'. Alex opened the package and filled it in.

Rebecca made a beautiful bride, long dark hair, dark eyes; she was definitely a beauty. Her dress was Emma's; she had wanted to honor her.

McCoy felt his chest hurt, he held his breath. He could almost feel her touch and swore he smelled her honey powder! He wondered what his life would have been like had he met Emma when he was twenty-five. He looked to Alex's face and knew the joy his son was feeling. He let his breath out slowly.

Rebecca moved elegantly to Alex's side, she bowed her head slightly to McCoy and then turned her attentions to Alexander James Spock McCoy.

Kirk leaned forward to whisper in McCoy's ear, "I think Emma would have approved of his choice."

McCoy nodded then added, "Especially the ears."

"We are gathered here today to join Alexander James Spock McCoy to Rebecca T'Lar, House of Tapek of Vulcan in Holy Matrimony...


"Beep, beep, beep, beep, be..." Her hand turned off the alarm on her watch. She dried the tears that fell. "I hate when dreams are so real!" She rolled over and then dragged herself out of the bed. She nodded to herself, "This would make a great story...I can call it.. '..and she dreamed us all alive.' Wouldn't it be weird if my life was just someone dreaming?"

She decided she had to stop having conversations with herself.... tomorrow. Today she would have to get the story down on paper before she forgot! " Let's hope no one bothers me while I do this!"

Young feet came running down the steps, "Mom, have you seen my boots, I have cadets today!"

She sighed, "Check by the front door!" She smiled; annual inspections were coming up. Things were going to be busy soon!