Chapter 26
The Way Forward

Seleya and Ashan were in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Kirk was alone in the garden with Spock. The Vulcan had requested two glasses of mint julep from the replicator and had placed one in Kirk's unresisting hand.

Kirk took a tentative sip of the sweet liquid and grimaced. "How could he drink this stuff?" he choked.

Spock took a long draught of the sickly beverage. "I find it most refreshing."

Kirk shrugged in a non-committal fashion. "So - Have you contacted Admiral Landsbury and filled him in on the details?"

"Indeed. He was most happy to hear of your... reincarnation."

Kirk frowned. "Why would he even care? He doesn't know me. I don't know him."

"Joshua grew up hearing tales of our adventures. He feels as if he knows you personally."

"Seems to me like everyone I meet feels that way." Kirk said uncomfortably. Living up to the title of 'living legend' had never been something Kirk was at ease with.

"In Joshua's case, the tales he heard were probably more accurate than most. His mother knew you well, Jim."

Kirk cleared his throat nervously "Oh? How well?"

"Only you could answer that. Her maiden name was Rand."

Kirk nearly choked on his drink again. Spluttering, he stared at Spock in disbelief. "Janice Rand?"

The Vulcan did not try to conceal his amusement. "It would appear that some women do get over you, Jim."

"More than a few Spock, more than a few. So - Janice had a son?"

"And two daughters, all of them are currently serving in Starfleet. Janice was always a remarkably skilled storyteller."

Kirk nodded in agreement. They sat in comfortable silence for a while then Kirk fixed his old friend with a piercing look. "Spock - why did you agree to come back for me?"

The Vulcan carefully placed his glass on the marble table and steepled his fingers while he contemplated exactly how to answer that question. "Why did you risk your Starfleet career to come to Genesis to retrieve my body?"

"Because Sarek asked me to. He believed there was a chance to save your Katra, and I had a duty to your memory to do everything I could to help."

Spock regarded him through hooded eyes. "Those are pretty words Jim. Was not the real reason, simply that you were my friend? Sometimes, a friendship can be worth risking ones career, or even ones life for."

Kirk smiled and nodded so slightly that the Vulcan could barely discern it. He dragged the back of his hand over his eyes and shook his head "God, Spock - you're getting sentimental in your old age."

"I came for you because you are my friend. If there was a chance that you were still alive, I had to know. It was not for the good of the galaxy or the future of mankind, nor anything so noble. It was for me. And also for you. As you say, I am growing more sentimental as the years go by."

Kirk picked up his glass and held it up to Spock who lifted his own glass to the toast. "Here's to sentimentality. It's what makes the world go round."

"Gravity, and the tidal pull of the sun, makes the world go round, Jim."

Kirk grinned and raised the glass to his lips. "You have your beliefs, I have mine."

Montgomery Scott pressed the door buzzer and stepped back. He wasn't sure why he had decided to drop in on Spock before picking up his ship. They had said their farewells on Earth, but somehow, Scott could not come to Vulcan without paying his old friend another visit. And then there was the small matter of a faulty force field generator that he had promised to fix. When he made a promise - he kept it. (At least it was a good enough excuse).

The door opened and Scott gasped. For a moment, the tall, slim, dark haired Vulcan male had looked like Spock, but a very much younger Spock. Scotty got the impression that he had seen the young man before somewhere, but couldn't place him.

Recovering slightly, Scott twisted his fingers into the Vulcan formal salute. "Peace and long life, son. Ma name's Scotty. I'm looking for Mr Spock?"

As the words left his mouth, Scotty suddenly remembered where he had seen the boy. He was one of the Romulans that had shipped in with Spock.

The young man returned Scott's salute in perfect Vulcan manner. "Live long and prosper, Mr Scotty. My father is in the garden - please, come in."

Scott remained rooted to the spot. "Yer father?"

"I am Ashan, Spock's son."

Scott blinked several times then his brows drew together in a scowl, "That sly, green-blooded, devious...." Scott trailed off when he realised that the young Vulcan was looking at him with disapproval. He sighed and shook his head, "Never mind, son - lead the way."

Out in the garden, Kirk took another sip of the ice cold drink, and grimaced. He could not fathom why Spock had developed a taste for the noxious brew. Spock heard the force-field crackle and turned to look at the newcomer. The old engineer however was paused in the doorway, running his hand down the door seal, and murmuring softly, "Aye it's a crossed circuit right enough. I might need to lower your power grid ...."

Kirk stood and took up a position next to Spock.

"...or maybe I could re-route the whole matrix to...."

Scott had finally dragged his eyes from the door to look at his host. Then his eyes met Kirk's, and for once in his long life, the engineer was absolutely speechless.

"Hello, Scotty," said Kirk, smiling.

"H-hell-hello." Scott stammered, wide-eyed.

Spock pointed at a chair, "Perhaps you would care to sit down, Mr Scott?"

Without taking his eyes off Kirk, who was now smiling broadly, the shocked engineer groped for the chair, and sat down heavily. Kirk and Spock sat also, and Spock cocked an eyebrow. "Would you care for a drink?"

"Whisky - double." Scott growled.

Spock requested the finest quality double malt the replicator could produce, and watched as it materialised before the unusually mute engineer. Again, without removing his eyes from his former Captain, Scotty found the whisky, and swallowed it down in one gulp. Then said in the same monotone, "I just met yer son - ye owe me another."

Spock repeated his request, and watched in fascination as the engineer disposed of his second drink with alacrity. Scott scowled at the now empty glass, and then at Spock, then back at Kirk. He began muttering to himself, "Concussion, or maybe radiation exposure, or I could be goin' space-happy. It happens when ye spend too much time on yer own - I suppose I could be goin' senile. Then again, it's probably just a hangover. Tell me I'm just hung over, Mr Spock."

"I have no data with which to confirm or deny that statement engineer, however going on past experiences - the probability is high."

Kirk laughed merrily, as he watched his former engineer fix the Vulcan with a venomous look. "Mr Scott, you old space dog, you look great!"

"Aye - so do you, sir - for a corpse!"

Spock allowed himself a small sigh, before dialling the replicator to furnish them all with a whisky. The two men looked questioning at him as the drinks materialised.

"You have a saying which seems appropriate - It's going to be a long night."

Many hours later, when 40 Eridani had sunk below the horizon, in a spectacular sunset rivalled nowhere else in the Galaxy, the three old friends sat in comfortable silence, each consumed with their own thoughts. They had moved inside when the sky darkened, and the first bright pinpricks of light begun to pierce the velvet night.

Seleya had lit the huge open fire in the grate, then left them to their silence. Scott glanced up from his contemplation of the dancing flames, in time to notice the strange look Spock was giving Kirk. The Vulcan's eyes met the engineer's, and they seemed to say - I am worried about him.

Scott nodded slightly in agreement, and then noisily cleared his throat to break the pensive mood. "So, Captain - dae ye have any plans?"

Kirk glanced up at Spock, who was suddenly fascinated with his own fingernails. The Captain pulled himself to his feet, and went to look out of the window, at the glittering night sky.

Spock watched the back of his Captain's head, and when Jim failed to answer, Spock said, "I believe that Captain Kirk is contemplating re-entering the nexus."

Kirk wheeled round, and advanced on Spock, his eyes reflecting the fires' brilliance. "Am I Spock? My life is not over yet. Just because I don't wear braid on my sleeves, doesn't mean I can't make a difference anymore does it?"

"I agree. Never-the-less - my original statement stands."

Kirk firmly clasped his hands behind his back, and began pacing the living room. "Okay, Okay - I'll admit it. The thought has crossed my mind. I feel as if I'm drowning in this century. Everything is so different and I hardly know anyone."

"You know me, and Engineer Scott, and...."

"Spock - we both know that you have a job to do. You've made it your life's work to re-unify your people, and that means eventually you'll be going back to Rihannsu."

Kirk turned beseeching eyes on his friend "I'm ancient history in this century Spock. I said I could make a difference, but how? I don't even know how to fire a Goddamned phaser."

"You can learn. Mr Scott did," said Spock reasonably.

Kirk glanced at Scotty, who was sitting quietly, staring into his half-empty glass.

Spock stood slowly and laid his hand onto Kirk's shoulder. "Consider it a challenge. There are always possibilities."

Seleya, who had been standing in the doorway, stepped forward. "Captain Kirk - the Universe it a very vast place. Somewhere out there, trouble waits for you. I have faith that you will find it, or it will find you. Either way, your future has yet to be written. Do not close the book so soon." She stepped into the room and came to stand next to Spock. "Besides - my husband went to a great deal of trouble to get you out of the Nexus - I would consider it a personal insult if you returned to it. And Romulans are well known for holding grudges."

Kirk stared at Spock's wife silently. His growing affection for the woman had just doubled.

Scott thumped his glass down loudly on the table. "Captain - I'll be leaving in the morning. There are still a few places in this vast universe that this old relic hasn't seen. Would ye care to accompany me?"

Three pairs of eyes snapped round to focus on the engineer. Kirk looked questioningly at Spock who raised an eyebrow.






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