DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Pierrette Therene and is copyright (c) 1999 by Pierrette Therene. This story is Rated PG.


Pierrette Therene

The silence was deafening in the huge room. After the danger and exultation of their recent victory, two exhausted Humans and one not-so-fresh Vulcan were wondering what fate awaited them.

"Are they going to keep us on ice until doomsday, Jim? I could use some rest, you know!"

"Couldn't we all, Bones? But this is a new planet, a new race, and I do not dare offend our hosts with a too-hasty departure, especially since we are here to receive our reward."

"I am somewhat curious about the nature of this 'reward,' Captain. We have been, of course, too shortly acquainted with the Berylians to forge an accurate opinion. They do not seem to be far advanced, technologically speaking, but if their cranial development is in any way indicative of their intellectual capacity, this experience should prove to be of interest."

"Yeah, sure, that's your cup of tea, isn't it, Spock? All brains and no joy. I'd rather they rewarded me with a bed of feathers. I bet I could sleep three solar days without even blinking an eye."

"Doctor, surely you must know that while you sleep, the incessant movement of your eyes..."

"Oh, Spock, can it, will you? If we need any lecture on Human physiology, *I* will give it!"

"Gentlemen, gentlemen, would you please..."

The Captain's plea was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a rather strange-looking Humanoid, not so much because of the yellow glow of his skin and gigantic structure, but because of his extremely wide head, covered by an untamed mane of hair.

"Our saviors, we of Berylia greet you. Because of your courage, our world is safe and all of us will honor and revere your names for now and always. Because of your own unselfishness, you have given us more than we can repay you for. You will be rewarded beyond your dreams."

"Well, we of the Enterprise thank you, but no reward is necessary."

"You, whose name is Kirk, leader of your people, we see, know and understand what you are -- and these two, whom you call friends and your heart's brothers..."

A wicked grin appeared on McCoy's face when he noticed the embarrassed blush suddenly covering his Captain's cheeks. *Well, Jimmy-boy, you don't like to be reminded of those "maudlin" feelings right to your face, do you?*

Spock, in the meantime, out of respect for his Captain's privacy, was discreetly studying the artistic floor patterns.

"I, Tabir, leader of the Berylians, have been allowed by my people to give you something that will be priceless ... because you are men who have no price, and know that no gifts of any kind would bring you more joy and hope than we are going to offer you."

At the word "joy," a skeptical Mr. Spock raised one upswept eyebrow.

Tabir very quietly said, "Mr. Spock, we know that the word 'joy' is not spoken often on your home planet, but we have some very well developed telepathic abilities -- even beyond the reach of your Vulcan race. We did probe your mind, without your awareness. I see your shock, but I give you my word of honor that the probe was not in any way and at any time a breach of your privacy. But we have seen joy in you, Mr. Spock. Joy at the spectacle of a beautiful sunset, joy at the satisfaction of a well-played game of chess. Joy when you see the smile on your mother's face when she welcomes you on one of your shore leaves on Vulcan. Joy when..."

"Now, that's enough," an agitated McCoy interrupted. "What are you? Peeping Toms?"


"Dr. McCoy..."

"No, damn them! How dare they probe Spock's feelings, for God's sake? The man's mind is his own, and nothing or nobody should be allowed to toy with it as though it was a ... grocery store full of goodies!"

Tabir decided to stop the eloquent tirade.

"Dr. McCoy, you do not need to feel so strongly about it; we know how much you care for both your friends and of your protectiveness toward them. Toward Mr. Spock in particular, because you think he is not well-equipped to respond under emotional stress, and how literally you will jump in the fire for him, despite all your acerbic remarks."

McCoy's face turned a deep red. "Why, you..."

Kirk couldn't prevent himself from uttering, "Well, Bones, what do you know..."

The First Officer absorbed himself in the intricacies of the floor patterns as if his life depended on it, wishing that he were a thousand light-years away working with a computer that would not display such emotionalism, and wondering why Tabir's last words brought so much incredible ... delight. Tabir looked his way with one of those smiles that seemed to start and end in his eyes. That sounded right. The mind probing, the teasing... There was no malice, no desire to hurt in the alien mind, just a curiosity and an extreme will to please and honor those he considered his planet's saviors -- an all-encompassing and understanding love.

Spock finally felt the need to speak. "Gentlemen, I think we should listen to Mr. Tabir and stop this 'bickering,' to use the colloquial term."

Both his friends looked at him in astonishment.

"Thank you, Mr. Spock. I will now proceed. What you are about to see has been an ability of our race for centuries. We never speak of it to outworlders because we know of the greed and envy of mankind, what chaos could result if the knowledge was made public. However, we have judged you and understand that we can trust you with our very souls. We of Berylia have inherited the ability to foresee the future -- for anyone and at any time. That is what we want to show you: a glimpse of your own future."

"Our own future?" Kirk asked incredulously.

"Fascinating," said Spock.

"Don't know if I want to see that. Wouldn't it be like cheating or something?" was the third response.

Tabir adopted his most reassuring tone. "Doctor, there is nothing in your future or your knowing of it that you should fear."

"Bones, if you'd rather not participate in this experience, we can say 'no' and beam back to the Enterprise. What do you think?"

"Jim, I'm just Human. I'm already dying of curiosity, and I guess our First Officer is also ... under that great non-emotional Vulcan mask, of course."

A grin spread on Kirk's face. "Tabir, we're as ready as we'll ever be."

"So I shall begin. I shall project mental images and use this wall as a viewscreen for your benefit. What you are to see will take place thirty standard years almost to this day, on the bridge of the Enterprise. Not on the ship which is yours, but the NCC-1701-B, the third of its class."

As the viewscreen came alive, the three men discovered a familiar scene -- a starship bridge -- but a closer look was enough to underline a few discrepancies: more modern technology, differently tailored uniforms on the crew manning the stations. This bridge was also obviously bigger. Their attention was then diverted to the young man sitting in the center seat.

"Captain Jack S. Kirk, end of log."

His face was sufficiently exposed for Spock to raise a startled eyebrow. The hair color, hazel eyes and lopsided grin -- it was the face of his Captain when he had appeared on the transporter platform of the Enterprise all those years ago. *18.6 years*, corrected the well-trained mind. Surprise was an excuse for imprecision.

The bridge lift door opened, and another man made his entrance onto the Bridge. "Hi, Bones," the younger Kirk said. "Glad to have you back."

"I'm glad to be back in one piece too, Jack; those transporters give me the creeps. Not natural, if you ask me."

At those words, a man seated at what seemed to be the science station turned in his chair. A dark-haired Vulcan with eyes of the bluest blue. Those eyes were a dead giveaway, twinkling animatedly in the austere face. "Doctor, the odds of transporter malfunction are..."

"No odds-quoting before breakfast! Chief Medical Officer's orders, Sendet. And speaking of breakfast, your shift's ending in five minutes. What about joining me, gentlemen? I'm famished."

"Glad to, Bones. I could eat a horse."

"I must decline, Doctor. I am not in need of nourishment at this time."

"Poppycock, man! Your blood might be green, but your sweet mother, bless her heart, had the good sense to add enough Human genes in your makeup to make it necessary for you to eat after six days of fasting."

Jack Kirk gave a sharp intake of breath at this and asked with a worried frown, "You have not eaten in six days, Sendet? Are you all right? Is something wrong?"

"Do not concern yourself on my behalf, Jack; I assure you that I am in perfect health. A series of experiments needed my full concentration, and I could not spare the time for sustenance. My food intake will resume its regular schedule at 1800 hours tonight."

"You sure?" Jack Kirk couldn't keep the worry out of his voice, deep concern for his friend written all over his face, appealing to his other friend. "Bones?"

"Stubborn as a mule, as usual. Look here, my elfin friend, First Officer or not, I am your CMO, and am pulling rank on you right now. I will not settle for your eating anything less than a full cup of cottage cheese! What do you say?"

"What would you have me say, Doctor? You pulled rank, and I learned long ago -- thanks to my father's wisdom -- not to enter into a fatuous and ill-advised discussion with a McCoy."

"Good. Gramps was right; with you pointy-eared guys, one has got to be forceful to be heard, but I'll show you how reasonable I am. If you don't eat cottage cheese, you can have plomeek soup."

"There is just one word, coming from my childhood memory and vocabulary, which can qualify what I think of plomeek soup, Doctor: Yuck!"

Under bouts of laughter from the bridge crew, the three men started toward the lift. While the doors were opening, a few exchanges could be heard:

"I don't know what you have against plomeek soup, Sendet. I personally enjoy it, especially your mom's."

"That's because being born and raised on Vulcan, you have developed different tastes. Jack, I agree with Sendet for once. Praises be -- the stuff is disgusting."

The viewscreen suddenly went blank as the mental projection ceased. Spock, McCoy, and Kirk looked at each other in awe, the images they had just seen whirling in their minds.

Tabir started to speak. "Lieutenant Commander Warren McCoy-Jones is today a two-day-old embryo in the womb of your daughter Joanna, Dr. McCoy. A born physician, he will become CMO of the Enterprise in 26.7 years. Captain Jack S. Kirk will be born in 1.9 years and will become the youngest starship captain ever, breaking his father's record by nine months. His deep-space exploration missions will bring him honor and glory, and his crew will think of him as their beloved leader. As for you, Mr. Spock, Commander Sendet, First Officer and Science Officer on board the U.S.S. Enterprise-B, will be given to you by your Human wife in 1.4 years.

"His Vulcan inheritance will give him an extremely intelligent and clear mind, his Human blood allowing him to rely on his intuition will make him able to accomplish scientific discoveries unsurpassed for decades to come. His name will be honored in the Vulcan history books as one of the greatest Vulcan scientists of all time. This will be a source of joy to you, Mr. Spock. Your harmonious and long-lasting relationship with your future wife will bring you peace and fulfillment, mending the scars of loneliness.

"These three men will share a very deep friendship. Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy-Jones will decide in adulthood to become telepathically linked with Commander Sendet in a brothers-bond that will reinforce those ties to the point of perfect symbiosis. And you, gentlemen, because you will live to a ripe old age, you will all witness and rejoice in their accomplishments. This is the reward beyond price that we of Berylia have decided to give you."

With a lump in his throat and at a loss for adequate words, Kirk uttered, "We are very grateful to you, and will cherish and remember your people with fondness for as long as we live."

"Thank you, Captain. Now you may go as you came -- in peace."

After the curt order to beam up, the men materialized in the transporter room. Leaving Lt. Commander Scott's side, Dr. Christine Chapel stepped forward. "There you are, finally. I was worried sick. What happened?"

"Not to worry, my dear assistant. All is well in the galaxy. Did I ever tell you that you have the nicest, bluest eyes in the universe? Just the right shade, wouldn't you say, Jim? I do hope that you like the name Sendet, Christine. By the way, Jim, if the S. for the middle name of your son stands for what I think it stands for, I'll never forgive you. I have to run to my quarters now. I think we're still in visual range of Centaurus. I want to see my daughter's face when I inform her that she is two days pregnant."

Almost running, and with a wide smile on his face, Leonard McCoy exited the room, leaving a puzzled Christine Chapel behind. "My eyes? Sendet? His daughter pregnant? Would somebody kindly tell me what this is all about?"

"A very long story -- and a secret, I'm afraid, Dr. Chapel. Incidentally, we're not getting too many comments from you, Mr. Spock."

"I am just exercising the wisdom by which I will best be remembered, Captain. I am learning not to enter into a fatuous discussion with a McCoy."

The Vulcan mask was well in place, but deep down, little twinkling lights of joy and hope could be seen in the dark brown eyes. One day very soon, the loneliness was to end. That day was worth living for...