2283

A baby's cry filled the air, "You've got a very healthy son!" Leonard announced in a pleased voice through his surgical mask as he passed the baby, who was sporting a pair of pointed ears like his mother, on to a nurse to be cleaned before turning back to Saavik, who was gazing up at Charlie. "Congratulations!"

Saavik sighed tiredly; she had endured a very difficult pregnancy that included three months of bedrest and assumed it had to do with the time she spent on the refugee ship as a child. The labor had been induced two and a half weeks early for her health and the baby's and it had been a surgical delivery.

"Charles Montgomery McCoy," Charlie spoke softly. "Is that what we're calling our new son, then?"

Saavik nodded, "Joanna produced Lenny and David for your parents and Kathy produced Lara Arianne, so I see no reason why we cannot name the baby after you, especially since Zachary and Valeris named the baby Zakai after the Vulcan equivalent of his name," she replied tiredly. "Are you pleased?"

Charlie smiled, kissed Saavik's forehead, and wandered over to where M'Benga and Carol were quietly wrapping the hybrid baby in a blanket swaddle, "Your son, Lieutenant McCoy," Carol said softly.

"Thank you," Charlie replied, smiling as he picked up little Charles. "Come on, little Charlie."

Little Charlie cooed as Charlie carried him out into the waiting area where Arianne, Valeris, Joanna, Spock, Nyota, Jim, Tuvok, Jaron, Kathy, and Zachary, who was holding a sleeping boy in his lap, sat in wait, all eager when they saw the baby in Charlie's arms because they now knew joy. Zachary and Charlie exchanged a smile before Zachary passed the toddler to Valeris, stood, and quietly left.

"Where's Uncle Monty at?" Charlie asked quietly, frowning when he saw Scotty silently standing at the window with his back to the crowd. "Uncle Monty, do you want to meet your little godson?"

Silence filled the room as Scotty turned and looked at Charlie, deeply confused, "My what now?" Scotty asked in a confused voice, wondering if Charlie was right in the head. "Ye didna just say…?"

"Your godson, Charles Montgomery McCoy," Charlie replied gently. "Do you want to hold him?"

A gasp filled the air and Scotty's eyes filled with tears, shocked speechless, "Saavik said your son was her very first friend on Deneva and we don't know what's happened to him, so she wanted you to have the experience of having new life named after you," Charlie explained quietly, passing Charles to Scotty.

"Aye, thank you, lad," Scotty replied softly, gently stroking the baby's ears. "He is a wee cutie."

Charlie nodded and silently took a photo of the two with his camera before giving them a moment alone together, "That was good of you, son," Arianne spoke gently, hugging her eldest son. "Congratulations."

A sadness in Charlie's eyes prompted him to pull his mother aside, "What is it?" he asked worriedly.

"Oh, your grandmother was brought in because she's got a cough and some minor dehydration and your grandfather's with her over in the Intensive Care Unit," Arianne spoke softly. "He commed me…"

Nodding, Charlie silently went over to Scotty, who relinquished the baby to him, "Uncle Jim, Mom, would you mind showing me where my grandparents are?" Charlie asked in a quiet voice.


"Christopher, you should go home and get some sleep," Kathryn, who was very tired from being given pain medication and fluids for hydration, spoke in a tired voice as she gazed at Admiral Pike, who was resting on the bed beside her with an arm around her. "I'll probably be released in the morning."

Admiral Pike sighed, "The bed will be empty and cold soon enough," he replied softly. "I'm staying."

Kathryn sighed and relaxed against his body, frowning when the door slid open and Arianne came into the room with Charlie, who was holding Little Charles in his arms, "Mom told me you were here and I thought you both might like to meet someone," Charlie said softly. "Charles Montgomery McCoy."

Before Kathryn could reply, Charlie gently passed him to her and Admiral Pike helped her hold him steady, both of them smiling as Charlie took a picture, "He's got his mother's ear and most likely will have his father's attitude," Kathryn said in a tired voice, smiling. "Thank you for letting me see him."

"I thought you'd be spending time with your brother seeing he's off to Qo'nos tomorrow on the Excelsior," Admiral Pike said quietly. "He's Starfleet's youngest diplomat, but he's gifted."

Charlie nodded, "Zachary and I spent time drinking Romulan Ale and stargazing together last night since Saavik was induced tonight," he replied calmly. "He left right after delivery, but Valeris and Zakai are still here in the waiting area. The Excelsior's allowing the crew to take their families with them this trip."

"It might make negotiations easier if the Klingons can see that Starfleet has similar family values to them," Admiral Pike replied quietly, returning Charles to Charlie as Kathryn drifted off to sleep.

Arianne sighed, "Dad, you're exhausted," she spoke softly. "Let me give you some relief time."

"You can bring me supper, but I'm staying here," Admiral Pike replied in a firm, sad voice.

Arianne nodded, "Michael's on his way here," she replied softly. "It…it was negative."

"Michael ate radioactive ice cream when he was a child," Admiral Pike replied softly. "It's…"

Arianne gave her father a hug, "Rebecca's with him," she replied. "She's not angry at all."

"She's very good for him," Admiral Pike replied tiredly. "Thank you for coming, Charlie."

Charlie nodded and silently left the room, holding his newborn son close as he returned to the Delivery waiting room and saw that Spock, Nyota, Jaron, Tuvok, and Joanna had gone while Scotty stood in the corner, hugging Kathy tightly and crying softly. Kathy gave Charlie a look and Charlie silently moved on.

"I took Little Charles to see Grandma Pike," Charlie explained as he came into the room and saw Saavik resting while his father closed her abdomen. "Mom told me she was here and unwell."

Leonard nodded and sighed, "Don't forget to call your Grandmother McCoy," he replied calmly.

"Dad, Grandma McCoy got here this morning," Charlie spoke calmly. "Did you forget? She's probably at her hotel right now and will visit tomorrow."

Leonard sighed heavily, "I did," he replied softly. "I've been busy overseeing this delivery and…"

"Grandma looks bad," Charlie interrupted softly. "Does Zachary know what's going on?"

Leonard scowled, "Your grandparents want him to focus on the mission he's been given," he replied in a firm voice. "I don't like that Zachary's being sent into Klingon space as a diplomat, but I have no say because he is over 18 and capable of making his own decisions. Put Little Charlie to bed and then go home and have a rest, kiddo. You look beat and Saavik will lecture you if you don't rest."

"His nutritional supplement," Charlie began in an anxious voice as the baby yawned. "I need…"

Shaking his head, Leonard silently took the baby from Charlie, "I'll feed him," he argued. "Go."

Charlie sighed, kissed Saavik's forehead as she slept, and then silently left the hospital room.


U.S.S. Excelsior

"Michael, I don't like that you didn't let your parents know about your new assignment," Rebecca said in a concerned voice as she lingered beside her husband as he sat at the Helm. "Your parents…"

Michael sighed, "If they knew I was Gamma Helmsman for this mission, they would lose their minds with worry and they don't need that right now," he replied softly. "Especially not my mother…"

Rebecca scoffed, "Michael Christopher Pike, that is such crap!" she replied in an upset voice. "Your parents will be proud of you for this even if your mother is dying! To not tell them is dishonest…"

Michael's eyes widened in shock, having been taken aback by the realization that his mother was truly dying now and he could lose her any day, "Michael," Rebecca replied softly. "I didn't mean to…"

Tears filled Michael's eyes and he let out a loud sob, prompting Rebecca to pull him against her and hug him, "Shh," Rebecca spoke gently, gently rubbing his back. "We should hurry and get out of here…"

The turbolift door suddenly opened and Hikaru and Pavel came on to the Bridge with PADD's in hand and looked surprised to see Michael and Rebecca there, "Sirs," Rebecca said anxiously. "We…"

Michael froze, "Your mozzer eez not vell, I take eet?" Pavel said, seeing that Michael was crying.

"She's in the hospital with dehydration and chest pains," Michael spoke softly as he stood up and faced his commanding officers. "To be honest, sirs, I haven't exactly told them that I'm going."

Pavel's eyes widened and Hikaru sighed, "You really ought to do that since we're leaving for Qo'nos tomorrow," Hikaru said calmly. "Commander Chekov and I were just going through checklists."

Nodding, Michael put an arm around Rebecca and they left the Bridge together in silence, "Do you seenk he found ze bottle?" Pavel asked worriedly as he hurried over to the Helm. "Eef he deed…"

Hikaru frowned, watching closely as Pavel opened a compartment under the Helm console and carefully extracted a bottle of sparkling apple cider that he had stashed there days ago, "Eet's here," Pavel said in a relieved voice, carrying it over to Hikaru. "Do you vant to open eet yourself, Keptin Sulu?"

"To new adventures," Hikaru said in a calm voice as he took the bottle and carefully opened it with a corkscrew he had hidden in his jacket along with a couple of plastic glasses. "To diplomacy."

Pavel smiled as Hikaru filled the two glasses and handed him one, "I steel can't believe that Keptin Targa and Meester Vorf told ze Kleengons zat ve vere ze reason zey decided to seek peace veeth ze Federation," he said in a pleased voice. "I vas so afraid zey vere going to keel us on zeir sheep."

"Anywhere was better than on that horrible planet in that wreckage," Hikaru replied softly.

Pavel nodded and Hikaru sighed, instinctively placing his hand over his abdomen, "Are you all right, Heekaru?" he asked worriedly, wondering if Hikaru was having pain. "Do you need ze doctor?"

"Doctor M'Benga's probably not coming up until tomorrow," Hikaru replied calmly. "I just get twinges sometimes and Daanan usually gives me a heat pad for them. For now, let's toast to adventure."

Pavel smiled as he and Hikaru clinked their glasses together, "To ze great unknown," he replied eagerly.


"Call for Arianne McCoy from Dalva Tenori," Arianne heard the computer say as she sat in her home office, waiting for Carol and M'Benga to show up for their pre-mission chat. "Urgent."

Arianne frowned and tapped the computer, revealing an anxious looking woman on the screen, "You should be on your way to San Francisco, Dalva," she said in a worried voice. "What's wrong?"

"I can't do it and I won't do it!" Dalva replied anxiously, her British accent clipped. "I can't work for a terrorist lover and I most definitely cannot leave London to go off into Klingon space! It's dirty!"

Arianne scowled, "What do you mean terrorist lover?" she asked. "Captain Sulu is nothing of the…"

"My decision is final," Dalva interrupted anxiously. "I will be sending an email to Captain Sulu."

The screen went black and Arianne cursed; counselors were in such high demand in Starfleet now because space travel was stressful and people had problems in the black. However, there were so few counselors in Starfleet at the moment simply because people didn't see it as a noble career to pursue.

Suddenly, the door slid open and Carol and M'Benga came in, "Oh, goodness, I lost track of time," Arianne apologized in an anxious voice. "I still have to contact Captain Sulu and tell him that he doesn't have a counselor for the mission. Just before you came, Dalva phoned and resigned her assignment."

"Resigned?" Carol asked in a stunned voice. "I don't understand; she was looking forward to it."

Arianne sighed, "There are so few counselors in Starfleet and even less who want to work off-planet, so I might have to end up taking this mission on myself," she replied softly. "Leonard won't like it."

"Or I can do it," M'Benga spoke kindly. "I honestly don't mind the extra work, Arianne, and you should be here for your mother right now. You're the Head of Counseling and you're very much needed."

Arianne nodded, "Are you sure you wouldn't mind, Geoff?" she asked. "Won't it tire you out?"

"Everyone in Starfleet knows you're doing double the workload with all the stuff you do in counseling and the time you put in at the school," M'Benga replied calmly. "You're practically Vice Principal."

Carol chuckled, "Geoff, be kind," she replied softly. "However, everyone in Starfleet is aware…"

"I can't say I don't appreciate the help," Arianne replied softly. "Do you need a prescription refill?"

M'Benga nodded and Arianne quickly wrote one out, "Will you keep an eye on Zachary for me?" she asked, handing M'Benga the prescription. "He's the youngest diplomat in Starfleet and I'm worried."

"The Romulans are quite capable of disrupting these peace talks," Carol commented worriedly.


Romulus

"Even after three years, you still hold hope that your precious daddy will come with Starfleet and rescue you!" David Marcus roared, snarling as he lashed Charlie Evans-Scott, who was kneeling on the floor with his hands held upright by a chain that was attached to the wall. "Why won't you submit?!"

Charlie Evans-Scott screamed as he felt the whip lash the uniform he had worn every day against his will for the last three years, "I could kill you now and send your body to be food for the Remans in the mines," David snarled as he delivered each lash. "You're a worthless bodyguard and should die!"

There was a heavy silence and David exhaled sharply, "As it stands, my father told me not to get blood on my hands," he said in a sharp voice, breaking the chains from the wall with a simple snap of the whip before moving away. "You're going to be exiled into space and I don't really care if you die out there."

Charlie Evans-Scott screamed in agony as guards entered the room and grabbed him roughly by the forearms, "Your pod awaits," David snarled in a heartless tone. "Get him out of my sight!"

As the guards dragged Charlie Evans-Scott away, David silently left the torture room and entered the chamber where his father, newly elected Praetor of Romulus, was sitting at his regal desk busy with paperwork while Joachim stood near the wall in a clean uniform with his hands behind his back.

"It's a shame you had to exile your bodyguard," Jeris said calmly. "However, he was disobedient."

David sighed, "I met that putrid Montgomery Scott when I was on Earth and he is nothing compared to you, Father," he replied in a disgusted voice. "I cannot imagine why that Augument would want to…"

"It was his choice, David," Jeris replied calmly. "You gave him five years worth of chances."

David nodded and Jeris looked amused, "We have received intelligence that the Klingon Empire has reached out to Starfleet because of some sort of positive interaction they had with Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov years ago," Jeris said in a more official voice. "Starfleet is sending an ambassador to negotiate peace with the Klingons and I think we should invite ourselves to the negotiations."

"Father, I am the last one to question your wisdom, but surely Romulus has better things to do than bother the Federation and the Klingons?" David asked quietly. "Why take an interest in this?"

Jeris smiled, find himself deeply amused at David's inquisitive nature as he silently typed a few commands on his computer, "The youngest diplomat in Starfleet will be heading the negotiations," he said smugly, smirking as a picture of Zachary appeared on the screen. "Lieutenant Zachary McCoy."

"I will do whatever I must to help you, Father," David replied, stunned by the new information.


Starfleet Medical – San Francisco

"Have you come to tell your mother and I about your position as Gamma shift Helmsman on the Excelsior, Michael Christopher?" Michael heard a tired voice ask as he and Rebecca came in.

Michael blinked and sighed as he saw that his father was sitting on the bed beside his sleeping mother reading a PADD, "How did you know that?" he asked in a shocked voice. "I didn't tell anyone."

"Did you really think Captain Sulu wouldn't tell me?" Admiral Pike replied in a tired voice, peering up at Michael and Rebecca through his reading glasses. "Your mother was very excited to know that you were actually going to put your Starfleet training to use instead of piddling your talents away at the school."

Michael scoffed, "I'm also assuming that you and Rebecca will be seeing what the Klingons can do about your inability to have children?" Admiral Pike asked calmly. "I know you're angry about the negative…"

"I'm hoping to get Captain Sulu's permission to look into it, but we're still trying," Michael replied.

Admiral Pike gave Michael a look, "You ate a bowl of radioactive ice cream when you were a child Michael and you were told that it would have permanent effects, so while I commend you for trying, I do not think you'll succeed without medical assistance," he replied calmly. "You need to accept that."

"I'm trying," Michael replied in a pained voice, sighing when his father motioned for him. "What?"

Admiral Pike gently gave Michael a hug and then hugged Rebecca, "Be safe out there," he said softly.

Nodding, Michael hugged and kissed his sleeping mother before leaving the room with Rebecca.


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