DISCLAIMER: Star Trek and all the characters belong to Paramount, Viacom and whoever else had a finger in Roddenberry's pie. The story is copyright (c) 1991 by Joanne Seward. It originally appeared in Idylls 6. This story is rated PG.



Interlude

Joanne K. Seward



Captain James T. Kirk went about his usual nightly rounds, listening to the silence of his ship. Most of the crew was on shore leave while the ship orbited space dock. Only a small contingent remained aboard to crew the stations which required constant vigilance.

By day the ship rang with the voices of the technicians and maintenance people involved in the routine checks and upgrades or several systems, but during ship's night the space dock workers left the Enterprise, turning the huge starship into a space-going ghost town. Kirk could recall other times when his ship had been this empty, but they had been few and far between, and seldom had they been auspicious occasions.

There had been the time when a former friend, Benjamin Finney had tried to frame him for murder, and again when his crew had been affected by the spores of a plant which grew on Omicron Ceti III, making them leave their duties behind and desert the ship. The memories of those incidents were enough to leave Kirk feeling slightly twitchy as he paced the corridors of his ship.

Even Spock and McCoy were gone, Spock to take care of some family matters on Vulcan, McCoy to visit with his daughter Joanna, who he hadn't seen in quite a while. It was unusual for Kirk to find himself without one or the other at his side, and, he admitted to himself, he was missing them.

The captain turned his steps toward the observation deck. He never tired of the view from the giant portals. It had become a habit in the week since the majority or the crew left the ship, to end his day by spending a short time on the observation deck, winding down and going through some of the meditation disciplines Spock had taught him during their years together. While meditation would never come as naturally to him as to the Vulcan, he had learned to appreciate the sense of tranquility it brought.

The doors to the deck slid open, and Kirk stepped through, his eyes on the revolving blue planet visible through the clearsteel windows. Earth. The home he seldom visited, but never forgot. Just seeing her, floating serenely above the Enterprise brought a tingle to his skin. He'd promised his mother he would try to get down to the family farmstead in Iowa for a visit, if at all possible. Right now he wasn't sure if he would be able to, but simply being this close made him feel as though he'd touched base with who he was and why he was out here. He crossed the deck, eyes on the beautiful planet in front of him.

"Ooof!" The captain's toe met with something that was soft, yet resistant. A gasp and a scrambling motion followed. Kirk pitched forward with the impact. He struggled to regain his balance, caught himself then looked down to see what he had nearly fallen over. His eyes relayed an image of twisted arms and legs, then he quickly resumed his focus on the cloud draped world spinning in the viewport.

"I would suggest that you find a more private location for your present activities." Kirk's voice was silken-soft, but only a very new crewmember would be unaware that the softer the captain's voice, the more carefully one had better carry out his orders. He couldn't quite blame the young couple on the floor, he was no saint himself, and the observation deck did offer a certain appeal as a trysting spot, but as captain, he certainty couldn't allow himself to condone their behavior.

He stood straight, hands clasped behind his back. "I will overlook this -- ahem," hazel eyes widened slightly, "breach of propriety this time. See that it doesn't happen again."

The captain turned on his heel and left the deck, allowing them to avoid the embarrassment that would be felt by all three were he to discover precisely which of his presently very small crew had been making love in the naked light of the stars.

Damn! he thought. What could Starfleet be thinking about, sending him these infants. Don't they even know enough to pay attention to the captain's habits! He returned to his quarters. Now he really needed to meditate! In all the years he'd commanded the Enterprise nothing like this had ever happened before. The captain prepared for bed, a quirky smile touching his lips. It was a good thing he had been the one to discover them. Had it been Spock... The smile lit his eyes as he dimmed the lights, a mental vision of Spock's ebony eyebrow reaching previously unknown heights floating in his mind. Kirk chuckled softly, then closed his eyes and prepared for sleep.

* * *

The captain woke full of energy the following morning. He stretched; then thought about all the mundane duties he would have to perform that day. Forcing back a groan, he threw off the bedclothes. No sense putting it off. Kirk quickly showered and dressed. He'd try to catch Scott at breakfast, get an estimate for how much longer they'd have to hang around here. Floating around in space dock didn't suit his nature at all. He pulled on the green/gold tunic then he headed for the turbolift, smoothing his hair back with his hands as he entered the car.

When he exited the lift on the recreation deck, the first person he saw was Montgomery Scott, about to enter the mess hall.

"Mr. Scott!"

Scott paused and turned. "Captain, good mornin' to ye."

"Morning, Scotty. You're just the person I wanted to see."

"Well, here I am."

"How much longer do you think the maintenance work is going to take?" The two men headed for the food dispensers.

"Och, three days, maybe four at the most. Why, Captain? Are ye planning to go down for a visit? Ye know, while the cat's away, the mice will play." Scott removed a tray from the food dispenser loaded with all sorts of things McCoy had declared verboten.

"So I see." Kirk nodded significantly in the direction of the tray. Then he went on, "Seems to me, the mice don't even wait for the cat to go away before they start playing."

"What would ye be meaning by that?"

"A couple of very young mice were playing extraterrestrial 'Lookout Point' on the observation deck last night. I disturbed them."

"Surely ye're kidding, Captain. Who would do a thing like that?"

"I don't know, and I don't want to know."

"Aye, I can see your point. Ye can't say they didn't pick a scenic location, though."

"No, but it would have shown a certain degree of forethought to scout out the land first."

"Captain, are ye getting deft in your old age? They didna' have forethought in mind, only foreplay!"

"You're right, Scotty," Kirk chuckled, "and don't remind me of my age. They made me feel about a hundred and one!"

"Och, ye're nobut a lad, when all's said and done."

"Thanks, Scotty. I'll try to remember that."

They spent the rest of the meal talking about the repairs that were under way, and how much there was still to be done. The subject of young lovers was forgotten as Scott described the communications equipment that he expected to be delivered that day and the new medical equipment McCoy had ordered that would be installed within the next shift. The two men placed their trays in the recycler, then they parted ways, Kirk headed for the bridge, and Scotty to meet the space dock workers who were due in the transporter room in a few minutes.

The day passed slowly for Kirk, who had little to do but sign datapadds and okay a variety of requests from engineering. Maybe Scotty was right, there really wasn't any reason for him to be here. Scott was every bit as able as he to take care of these matters -- more so really, since they fell under his jurisdiction as chief engineer. Maybe he'd beam down to Iowa tomorrow after all, see his mother and his nephew Peter. He turned the bridge over to the young lieutenant who relieved him and pointed his steps toward his quarters. He didn't feel like eating in the mess hall tonight; he'd bring a light meal back to his cabin, then make an early sweep of the ship. He wanted to make sure that whoever had been so busy on the observation deck last night knew that he meant business.

Kirk ate his dinner; then taking a hard cover book from his small collection, stretched out on his bunk to read it. He read a few pages, then closed the book and his eyes, allowing the feeling of relaxation to pervade his body. It was seldom that he had the opportunity to just let himself drift like this.

Thud! The sound of his book hitting the floor woke him. "Damn!" He'd intended to start his round at 2000 hours. Now it was 2130, and he was still in his quarters. Not that it really mattered. Whoever had been on the observation deck last night probably wouldn't come back tonight.

He picked up the book and lovingly smoothed the pages which had become crumpled, then putting a marker between them, closed it and returned it to its place on his shelf. He stretched, then exited the cabin. He'd start at the observation deck tonight, instead of ending there.

The corridors seemed even quieter than last night as he paced them. He was probably wasting his time, but a trip to the observation deck was never really a waste. He stepped through the doors as they slid open, eyes once again riveting immediately on the beautiful jewel floating in the darkness of space. He paused for a moment, drinking in the sight, then the captain stepped to the control panel on the wall and passed his hand over it several times, intensifying the lighting slightly. If there was anyone here, he didn't want to fall over them again.

There was a sound from somewhere far to his right. The captain cleared his throat. He saw something moving and quickly crossed the open room. There was someone seated on the floor leaning back against the bulkhead. A woman. Alone. Kirk moved closer.

"Uhura?!" Kirk was more than surprised at finding her here.

"Captain!" She sat up straighter.

"What are you doing here? I thought you were on shore leave."

"I was. But the new communications equipment was delivered today, and I want to be here to supervise its installation. I thought you would be visiting your mother."

"I was thinking about going down tomorrow possibly. I'm not really needed on the ship as long as Scotty's here. I'm sorry if I startled you."

"More like woke me up. I must have dozed off. Sometimes I feel as though I need a leave to recover from leave! Why don't you sit down?" She patted the floor next to her.

"I know the feeling. Let me lower the lights again, they sort of ruin the effect this way," he nodded in the direction or the giant windows. Kirk quickly walked toward the panel and readjusted the lighting to its former level, then returned to sit on the floor next to his chief communications officer. They sat in companionable silence, watching the beautiful planet revolving in front of them.

"Sometimes I think I could just stay here forever." Uhura spoke in a dreamy voice.

"Mmm. I know what you mean.

"The observation deck is one of my favorite places on the Enterprise."

"Mine, too." Kirk's voice was soft, distracted.

"Captain, why did you turn the lights up when you first came in?" The question had just occurred to Uhura.

"Hmmm? Oh. I was Just checking to see if anybody was in here."

"But why?" Uhura looked at him, puzzled. Everyone knew the captain made a habit of checking his ship before he retired for the night, but it was odd that he would enter the observation deck and raise the lights, interfering with anyone who might be there's ability to see out. Kirk was an unusually sensitive captain, treating his crew with a degree of courtesy which some 'fleet commanders considered unnecessary. This was distinctly out of character for him.

"Oh, well there's a story behind that."

"So....?" She waited for him to tell it.

"Wellll... Last night when I came onto the deck I sort of tripped over some very young crewmembers. Two to be exact." He looked at her and widened his eyes, allowing her to make her own deductions.

"Ohhhh. The Enterprise as Noah's ark! Well, you can't blame them for trying it."

"Nooo, I certainly can't, but I can't let the observation deck become a sort of scenic overlook for pimply ensigns and their little playmates."

"Of course not. It would be different, of course, if no one else wanted to use the deck." She looked up at him.

"I suppose." Kirk looked into her velvety eyes. They were like bottomless pools in the earthlight. He reached out a hand and touched her cheek. It was like touching velvet.

"Or if you knew how to lock the doors... " She returned his gaze; the light reflected by the earth made his eyes look even more golden than usual. "...so you weren't interrupted..." Her voice trailed off at the expression on the captain's face.

"Mmmm..." Kirk could feel his heart beating, his breath coming faster at the sight of her, soft rounded body relaxed, eyes shining in the darkness, a pulse beating in her throat. "Like the captain does." Kirk's voice was deeper than she had ever heard it. He pushed himself to his feet and crossed the lounge to the control panel where he made several adjustments. Then he returned to her side. "If that were the case..." Kirk leaned over and touched his lips to Uhura's. "...And the people were two mature adults..." he deepened the kiss. His voice became barely audible. "...that would be completely different."

"Mmmmm."

* * *

The following morning as Kirk strode into the mess hall, he heard his name being called from behind.

"Captain! Well, I saw you took care oi the wee problem with the observation deck last night.'Twas all locked up nice and tight when I stopped by to talk to Uhura about the equipment that's bein' installed today."

"Oh--"

"Morning, Captain, Scotty." Uhura came up behind the two men, a brilliant smile on her face.

"Uhura, lass, I'm that sorry. I must have missed you on the observation deck last night. It was all locked up by the time I got there. I was hopin' you weren't stuck inside."

"Oh, no, Scotty. I wasn't 'stuck' at all. The captain told me he was going to lock up." She gave Kirk a sly smile. "I knew exactly what was going on."

Scott, intercepting the look, replied with a twinkle, "Aye, lass, I'll just bet you did."

THE END

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