All the great voyagers return

Homeward as on an arc of thought;

Home like a ruby beacon burns

As they crest wind, scale wave, soar air;

All the great voyagers return,

Though we who wait never have done

Fearing the piteous accidents,

The coral reef sharp as the bones

It has betrayed, fate's cormorant

Unleashed, whose diving's never done.

Even the voyager of mind

May fail beneath behemoth's weight;

Oh, the world's bawdy carcass blinds

All but the boldest, rots the sails

And swamps the voyaging of the mind.

But all the great voyagers return

Home like the hunter, like the hare

To its burrow; below, earth's axle turns

To speed their coming, the following fair

Winds bless their voyage, blow their safe return.

The Homecoming by Barbara Howes

The HMS Bounty crew has saved the Earth, but has returned to a planet in crisis mode. The weather has cleared, but the aftermath is still being addressed. Rescue efforts and planet-wide remediation take precedence over gratitude and 'welcome-homes' in the hours and days before Kirk, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov face the charges against them.

All the Great Voyagers Return

by KayCee1951

The small band of Federation outlaws were not quite prepared for what they saw from the search and rescue transport. San Francisco had taken a beating. Blinding rain had obscured the view of the city when the crew of the HMS Bounty ditched the Bird of Prey in San Francisco Bay. Scotty bid good riddance to the foul smelling bucket when he saw the last bit of it being sucked under the water.

The two women and six men plucked out of the water by EMOPS (Emergency Operations) were soaked and chilled to the bone. The water in the bay was cold. The constant churning over the past 18 hours had dredged up the bottom and made the water murky. The salinity was at an all time high due to constant influx of water from the Pacific Ocean; their throats burned from the salty water they swallowed.

Spock felt the worst of it. On the trip in, his voice became hoarse and raspy and by the time the shuttle reached the medical port Spock's voice was non-functional. Jim Kirk felt guilty about pulling Spock into the water with the rest of them. But he would have ended up there, eventually, anyway. The 'bird' sank quickly and the group had to swim away from it to keep from being caught in the vortex created by its rapid descent to the bottom of the bay.

The medical port was a busy place. The scene was not unfamiliar to the crew of the Enterprise. The ship had aided in its share of rescue missions on other planets. But, this was Earth.

McCoy could guess the situation. Each of the others in his or her way realized how close the planet had come to global cataclysm. If it was this bad in San Francisco, what must it be like over the rest of the globe? Another 48 to 96 hours of the constant pounding by hurricane, typhoon, cyclone, and tornado and mankind might not have survived to pick up the pieces of civilization.

Three ambu-shuttles landed and two others took off as they touched down, and there were four more waiting to be dispatched. In spite of his fatigue and being cold and wet, the doctor in McCoy nearly jumped out of the transport before an arm caught him. It was a security guard. He remembered only then that he was still under orders of court-martial. It was just then he got a glimpse, amid the activity on the expansive shuttle pad, of a familiar figure. She was leaning through the open doors of the building, shouting to a pilot over the din of engines being revved and engines being idled, gesturing directions and orders. Then, as quickly as he had seen her, she disappeared back into the building.

The group was herded into receiving through a little used entrance to the emergency facilities in order not to interfere with the stream of injuries coming in through the main and trauma entrances. Those orders had come down from Emergency Ops. Admiral Cartwright was waiting to greet them when they arrived.

"Jim!" Cartwright rushed up to Kirk and grabbed his hand, shaking it wildly. "God, are we glad to see you! Captain Spock…all of you! I can hardly wait to hear how you did it!"

"We're glad to be home, Sam. Damn glad to be alive." Kirk's voice was also exhibiting signs of stress from the ingestion of salt water. "Do you think the prisoners could get some dry clothes or do we need to appeal to the Geneva Convention?"

"Come on, we have a room set up for processing and dry clothes waiting for you. I'm afraid it's just hospital issue scrubs right now – but they are dry. The fleet hospital staff is strained to the limit."

"I can imagine." It was McCoy. He and the rest of the group were shivering under the blankets they had been issued while on the transport.

Spock was cold and wet, but controlling the shivering. Without a voice, he could only observe and comply.

Cartwright motioned for the group to follow him down the hall into a small reception area. Two guards followed and then positioned themselves outside the door.

Admiral Cartwright turned to Uhura and Gillian and pointed to a small room off to the left, saying, "Ladies, for your convenience." It was then Cartwright realized he didn't recognize one of the women. He looked at Kirk for an answer.

"I'll tell you the whole story after we get dry." By now, Jim Kirk's teeth were chattering.

"Fair enough. You did save our collective butts! You can ask the nurse for an additional set of dry scrubs. I'll leave you to it and will come back in a little while. Medical personnel will be ready, just let the guards outside know when you're changed." Cartwright's smile disappeared before adding, "Sorry Jim, regs and red tape will still be here when the rest of us are ashes."

"I know, Sam. We'll be fine. I think I can speak for the rest when I say, we're just glad there's a home left to be court-martialed on." He looked at Sulu, Scotty, and Chekov and got nods of agreement. Spock's face was inscrutable.

"Alright, Jim. "I'll be back in a little while, then we can debrief you all…and quite frankly, I'm looking forward to hearing 'this' story." With that, the admiral strode out of the room with a smile on his face and great purpose in his step.

Uhura and Gillian shed their wet clothes and put on the scrubs. Gillian commented that hospital scrubs had not changed much over three centuries.

"I think the fabric is probably technologically more advanced," Uhura replied.

"Ms. Uhura?" Gillian asked.

"Call me Nyota. I think after 300 years we should be on a first name basis, don't you, Gillian?"

"Yeah."

"So, what did you want to ask me?"

"Oh. Uh, I'm not sure what to expect. Mr. Scott gave me a little background while we were on the ship."

"He told you that sludge bucket wasn't really our ship didn't he?"

"Yeah, in fact that's the first thing he told me. He said that was part of the reason you were all facing court-martial?"

Uhura sighed as she adjusted the pants to the scrubs. "All except Spock, that is. He came back, well because that's who he is, even if he doesn't completely remember himself."

"I think I can hardly wait to hear this story too."

At some point during the initial process, before explanations could be made to Cartwright, one of the nurses figured out Gillian didn't exist – at least not in his records.

Chekov's comment to Sulu was, "I tink I shall go an vait over dare, out of range of de fan!" He motioned to a spot in the corner of the room.

Spock stood at Kirk's side as explanations to Cartwright were made, unable to contribute because he was still trying to reacquire his voice.

Gillian almost didn't get to hear the whole story until Kirk convinced Admiral Cartwright that she was already privy to more sensitive information than she was likely to learn in the course of the explanation. He agreed and Gillian got to stay.

When the debriefing was over, Gillian was no closer to understanding it all than she had been before they started. Oh, she picked up on something here and there, but she was missing too many points of reference to get the whole picture. It was the history, not the technology that was confusing her.

Gillian's head was swimming. She suddenly wondered what she had gotten herself into. Aside from the 23rd century architecture mixed in with old historic buildings, what she had seen of San Francisco on the way from the bay to the medical port was not all that different than the San Francisco she had left only hours earlier. But this San Francisco was 300 years in the future; her future was now her present. 'Oh, my God,' she thought, 'I'm 332 years old!' She was getting a migraine.

She might have been really freaked out had it not been for all the fascinating, wonderful gadgets the nurse was using to check her out. She was especially mesmerized by the medical scanners. Technology had certainly come a long way. McCoy noted the wonderment on her face and started explaining what all the equipment was.

While they waited to be told what to do and where to go, Uhura and Scotty had their heads together talking between themselves; Sulu and Chekov were talking about what they would do when they couldn't be in Starfleet anymore.

Calling their families was the common thread of the group.

The Bounty Seven, plus one, could hear the activity outside the room as they waited in the holding area. Admiral Cartwright was trying to secure their release on their own recognizance and encountering resistance from some of the council members and the Klingon representative who had railed against Kirk in council chambers. Ambassador Sarek was assisting with the releases.

"Well, I wonder what they're gonna do with us?" It was McCoy, who could never bare complete silence. He was pacing now, itching to get out and do what he did best.

Sulu interjected, "Surely, they'll recognize we're not any kind of flight risk. We came back."

"And brought salwation wit' us!" Chekov emphasized.

Uhura and Scotty had been pensively quiet during most of the process to this point. But Uhura could not keep silent any more. "Frankly, I think they are just too damn busy dealing with the aftermath to have any kind of sense what they're going to do with us. It's pretty frustrating, too. We could help."

"Aye, they have to need all the hands they can get," Scotty sighed, folded his arms over his chest, and shook his head slowly.

Spock watched the group, changing his view from friend to friend, with a quizzical look on his face. Gillian noticed. She wondered why no one else did. Maybe this was typical behavior with his species, like a curious puppy or something. After a few seconds, she saw that he again became more introspective.

Gillian whispered to Kirk and McCoy, "What is he doing?"

Both men sneaked a peek at Spock, who was now looking out the window, hands behind his back, as if he were searching outside.

"He looks like he's looking for something," Gillian said, almost as a question instead of a statement.

McCoy raised his eyebrow and offered, "He's been acting kind of strange ever since we got here – even for him."

Kirk spoke up first, "He may be looking for his father." He realized Gillian would need an explanation and said to her, "Captain Spock's father is Ambassador Sarek, the Vulcan ambassador to the Federation."

"Ohhhh." Gillian said, widening her eyes in mock fashion, as if she was supposed to know how significant that was.

Kirk chuckled, and then added, "Don't let Spock's present…ummm…lack of concentration influence you. He's not been completely himself lately."

"So Mr. Scott said, something about a soul transfusion?"

"Well, sort of, but not exactly." Kirk scratched his cheek lightly with his fingernails trying to think of a good way to fill her in on katras and fal-tor-pan. It had taken him 20 years to have the understanding he did, and wondered how he could explain it to Gillian in a few minutes. He decided it could wait for another time.

"He does seem like he's looking for something….or someone. He already knows he'll be seeing Sarek soon, Sam told him that. Who else would he be looking for? All his friends are….."

Kirk and McCoy looked at each other, then at Spock, then back to each other. McCoy shook his head and furrowed his brow.

"No, Jim, can't be."

"Who else?

"Look how long it took him to remember us. And I still don't think he's completely warmed up to us. He's just being Spock – not the old Spock, the new Spock."

"You're sure about that, Bones?"

"Reasonably." McCoy was not sure, reasonably or otherwise.

Kirk decided to test his theory. After all, it might help spur Spock's memory even more. He directed his inquiry towards the nurse who was putting the finishing touches on Gillian's bruised knee. "Ensign Calvechio."

"Yes, Sir." The nurse was obviously a little in awe at being in the company of so many living legends at once.

"Do you know Dr. Chapel?" Kirk said it in a distinct and loud enough voice the nurse wondered if the admiral had not gotten water in his ears. Admiral Kirk looked over to see if he could get any reaction from Spock. The Vulcan was striding over to where Jim Kirk stood with Gillian, McCoy and the nurse.

Calvechio answered, "Of course, she's on call for Dr. Sobonne occasionally, but Dr. C, I mean Dr. Chapel, works at command headquarters, EMOPS."

"Jim, you're reading too much into it." McCoy whispered out of the corner of his mouth.

Kirk barreled on, "Well, nurse, why isn't Dr. Chapel here? I would have expected her to be on the transport pulling us out of the drink."

Calvechio started to get a little nervous. "I don't know anything about that, Sir. All I know is she signed the orders instructing where to take you after pick up. I think she has a lot on her plate right now." He looked as if he was trying to defend her.

'One of her nurse-novitiates,' McCoy thought. He had encountered several over the years, those upon whom Christine Chapel had been able to have great influence.

"I see. You're excused, Ensign." Kirk turned only slightly to watch, out of the corner of his eye, Spock's expression. At that, Spock turned on his heels and went back to his window.

"See, I told you, you got nothin'" McCoy was triumphant, almost as if he had wanted to get nothin'. He liked being right, especially when it came to Spock. Kirk acquiesced.

"I guess you're right, but he does seem a little off balance."

"How could you tell?" McCoy chortled.

Gillian whispered to Uhura, "What was that all about?"

Nyota whispered back, "Long story."

"Sad story?" Gillian sensed something.

Uhura sighed, "Depends on your perspective."

Kirk ignored the exchange between Uhura and Gillian. "Alright, Bones, you win, I just thought maybe if he had some sort of reaction, it would mean…."

"It's possible he doesn't want to remember," McCoy offered.

By this time Gillian was more intrigued than confused.

Kirk finally said, "Come on, Bones, we both know there was something."

Just then, Admiral Cartwright entered the room, followed by Sarek, and ceased all conjecture about what Spock was remembering or whether he wanted to remember or not.

After exchanging the traditional, and what seemed to Gillian cold, greeting with his son, Sarek welcomed back the other members of the party. Spock's only effort to use his voice was when he hoarsely replied to his father in the same manner. When that was done, Kirk directed Sarek toward Gillian to introduce her as the newest member of the 23rd century.

Gillian was amazed at the man's composure. Admiral Kirk could have been talking about a new recipe for all the reaction this man emoted. She liked him though, for all his formality; he had kind eyes. Come to think of it, his son, the brooding one, had kind eyes.

Sarek turned to Dr. McCoy and said, "I bring greetings to you, McCoy, from Dr. Chapel. She asked me to convey her apologies, but her duties prevented her from being here to meet you when you came in. Commander Rand is also very busy assisting in the rescue efforts and sends her greetings as well."

McCoy started to look concerned. "If we knew what was going on around here and whether we could get out of this holding area without being stunned silly, we could help too."

"Yes, Doctor. I believe your services could be utilized better in the rescue operations. In fact, part of my assignment is to see to it that you are released to do just that." Sarek was as inscrutable as ever.

"Your assignment?" McCoy queried.

"Why yes, my staff and I volunteered to perform certain necessary functions in the rescue effort."

"So when can you spring me from here Mr. Ambassador so I can join my esteemed colleague in the trenches?"

"Immediately, Doctor McCoy, as I, too, must return to duties associated with rescue operations." Sarek saw the rest of the crew as interested as McCoy in lending a hand and followed with, "We have secured releases for the rest of you, with the exception of Dr. Taylor, to assist through the duration of this crisis." He motioned to Cartwright as his partner in the 'free-the-Enterprise-seven' caper.

No one on the outside knew about Gillian yet and she was already beginning to feel abandoned. "What about me? I'm not a physician, but I am a scientist. I can do something."

Cartwright offered, "Maybe we could find something you could help with here. We need to keep you under wraps until we can figure out how to explain you or even whether or not we should explain you."

Kirk added, "She's pretty good in the clutch, Sam. I think she can be trusted to find something useful that doesn't involve premature exposure. Besides, if she told anybody, they'd send her down to section C."

McCoy winced. "Don't mention that place. It gives me the heebie gebies!" When he saw Gillian's quizzical look, he added, "Spent some not so quality time there a few months ago….You don't want to go around blurting out to just anyone' when' you came from."

"Ahhhh," Gillian replied.

Sarek nodded to Gillian and added, "May I suggest, Admiral, Dr. Taylor might be assigned to Dr. Chapel. She might be of service to her and have trustworthy, and discreet, supervision at the same time."

Admiral Cartwright nodded in agreement. Kirk and McCoy looked for any reaction from Spock and Gillian just looked spaced.

'Again with this Dr. Chapel chick!' Gillian's mind was racing. These people had lots of secrets. This was better than Luke and Laura's adventures on General Hospital!

Spock had watched the whole exchange without adding anything to the conversations, or rewarding anyone with an expected, or unexpected, reaction. He still looked as if he was trying to figure something out. But his concentration on that was interrupted by his father's voice, "Spock, you have not been charged with anything and are free to do and go where you wish."

"I will be standing with my shipmates, father." His voice was beginning to come back, but even these words stung and caught in his throat. The minor treatment the nurse had applied was apparently working.

Sarek bowed only slightly in recognition of his son's choice.

Jim Kirk took charge. "Okay, Spock can go with me – we can do search and rescue. Bones, I take it you will be in medical, and the rest of you…go…do what you do best….Wait…" He turned to McCoy, "What about Chekov, Bones? Is he recovered well enough?"

Before McCoy could answer Chekov declared, "It vill take more dan a fall from de deck of de Enterprise to keep Pavel Chekov down!"

With that, Chekov, Sulu, Uhura, and Scotty were on the move, each knowing where he or she would be needed most. They were out of the door and gone before Kirk could turn back to Gillian.

"Dr. McCoy will take you to Chris…Dr. Chapel. She'll put you to work; you can bet on that. In fact, you may wish you had stayed in the 20th century after a few hours on her payroll."

"Thanks, Jim." Gillian nodded to both Cartwright and Sarek, and then gave Kirk a quick peck on the cheek. He blushed. McCoy noticed; Spock noticed; the jury was still out on whether or not Sarek noticed that kind of thing.


It was late when Jim and Spock finally packed it in twelve hours later. They had helped to dig people out from under their homes and from under mudslides. They had helped to clear debris, carry injured to the ambu-shuttles on stretchers, and ferry medical personnel to and from the worst damage.

Of course, Spock could have gone on, but Jim Kirk was spent. It was not as if they had gotten lots of rest on the way into San Francisco Bay. On the contrary, it had been draining both mentally and physically. But here they were, sitting on a curb at the top of Knob Hill, still in the hospital scrubs they had been issued; and, at least one of them was wondering how the hell they had managed it.

Before Jim could even get the thought finished, Spock suddenly stood up and declared, "I must go."

Jim stared up at Spock, since he didn't know if he could make it up under his own power. "It's after midnight, Spock. Where are you going? I thought maybe we could find some dinner…breakfast...I know you may not be hungry, but I could eat the…well, I'm hungry."

"I am not in need of sustenance at the moment. However, the officer's mess at Starfleet command appears to be your best option, considering the damage and the late hour."

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

"I will accompany you as far as command headquarters."

"You still didn't tell me where you're in such an all fired hurry to go."

"I simply must go, Admir…Jim."

"Okay, Spock, I won't press." With that Jim Kirk thrust his arm, hand extended, up towards Spock indicating he needed help getting up. "It's not the years, it's the light years."

"Indeed."

They walked down to the ground transport that was going toward the area of Starfleet Command and looked quite the pair doing it, both dressed in scrubs, now soiled, with dust on their skin and under their nails. The grey dust was more pronounced in Spock's jet black hair.

The scene at command had calmed down somewhat as Kirk and Spock headed up the steps into the building complex. At least Jim Kirk headed up the steps. When he noticed Spock was not doing the same he stopped and turned to look back at his friend.

"I must go." Spock had a resolute look on his face that Jim Kirk knew well.

"Where, Spock. Where must you go?"

"You said you would not press."

"Yes, I did, didn't I? Well, Spock, I have no idea where we are going to be tomorrow - today. Hell, I don't even know where I'm going to be an hour from now. But we'll work it out."

"Yes, Admiral."

"We're back to Admiral."

"Yes, Jim."

"That's better. It probably won't be hard to find us. I'm sure they'll get us all rounded up and in the corral before the sheriff comes after us."

Spock looked quizzically at Kirk. "San Francisco does not have a 'sheriff,' and even if it did, why would the constabulary…"

"Never mind, Spock. I thought you had somewhere you 'must go.'"

"Yes, I must go."

"Yeah, that's what I hear…Goodnight, Spock."

"Goodnight, Jim."

Kirk had one last thought of following him, but the growling in his stomach over-rode the impulse.


The hallway adjoining the surgical theatres felt hollow and empty, a limbo between death and life. The sound absorbing construction intensified the emptiness, as if air and sound and life had been sucked out the ends – a vortex between the end and the beginning.

Environmental controls were working perfectly, but Christine felt cold leaning her back against the wall, head tilted back, crystal blue eyes closed, one foot braced against the wall to keep her body from succumbing to the exhaustion.

Sixteen hours at Starfleet Command during the height of the crisis, five hours of rescue coordination and eleven hours in emergency screamed for payment from her. In the hours after the weather let up enough to mount full rescue ops, Starfleet Medical took in fleet and civilian patients alike. There were a lot of them and they were still coming in.

She'd not had the luxury of celebrating the return of her friends or the saving of Earth. As director of Starfleet emergency operations, she could have been on the transport she sent to pluck them from the bay but her duties lay elsewhere at the time. She would see them tomorrow. She could be joyful tomorrow. At least there would be a tomorrow to be joyful in. Right now, her head was pounding. She heard the blood pumping through her brain and did not notice the footsteps beginning at the end of the corridor, getting closer, until the footsteps slowed and stopped.

With eyes still closed, she sensed, rather than saw him standing a few feet away from her. Immediately feeling the tightness in her throat, she swallowed hard. When Christine felt as though she could face him without falling down, she turned toward the tall object of her affection and opened her eyes.

She was staring at him; but then, he was staring at her. Neither made a move to advance, or to speak. Sarek, whose insight and compassion had taken her by surprise, warned her of what to expect – Spock's memories of her might not have the same connection or context as before. Studying one's history and remembering it are not the same.

Always the hopeful optimist, she focused on the positive. He was alive and still had a chance to 'be,' to grow as old as a Vulcan should, to fulfill some enormous destiny she had always believed was awaiting him. If she mourned the loss of anything, it would not be the few private moments they had shared over 20 years. The loss of all the ordinary moments would hurt the most.

But he 'was' standing there, in this lonely, isolated corridor of the hospital, at 3 o'clock in the morning. That alone was reason to hope.

She inspected Spock from his boots to the top of his head. His boots were mortar gray with a thin layer of dried mud. Specks of dust still clung to his hair and clothes. Some of the old 20th century buildings, and their inhabitants, had taken quite a beating. He stood as he always stood, as if he had been born in the stance – straight framed, hands clasped behind his back.

Spock reacted to Christine's scrutiny. "I apologize for my appearance."

"I …heard you've been transporting the injured." Her voice broke slightly but the wary, schooled expression on her face remained unchanged. Tears were within a mili-second of spilling out onto her cheek, but she somehow held them back and beat back the lump in her throat.

"I understand you triaged my last patient." She said finally, her voice a raspy whisper.

"I 'am' certified and time was crucial. I could not wait for a medical professional to make the determination."

"A memory you were able to save….saved her life."

"If that is so, then it is because I had an excellent instructor." Spock gave a slight nod in Christine's direction.

She took a few seconds to compose herself before she could speak. When she found her voice again, it was slow and deliberate. "I remember…at the time…you took some exception to a few of my instructing methods."

"You will have to admit, they are somewhat…unconventional." Spock appeared to relax with hands now loosely clasped behind his back.

He had not said 'illogical.' Settling in to the comfort of a familiar exchange, Christine projected a hint of hope in her smile. "I can live with unconventional…Although, I prefer innovative."

"Achieving the latter often requires the former."

"I suppose it does…..Will you be going out again?"

"Yes." Spock answered, and as he watched Christine reach out with her left hand to steady herself with the wall, he added, "And you? Will you be staying here much longer?"

"No. Thirty odd hours pumping adrenaline without enough sleep does not a good physician make. I'm packing it in."

Spock contemplated his response for a few seconds, as if searching his memory banks and then simply stated, "You do not know how to quit…..but…you have always known when to stand down."

Years of practice were almost lost at that moment. The emotions between hearing the news of Spock's rebirth and what passed for a compliment from this Vulcan threatened to catch up with her.

Salvation presented itself in the form of a young ensign who catapulted herself into the corridor from the doorway in the space between Christine and Spock and came to a halt as if suddenly applying the parking brake. Spock did not move. Christine removed her hand from the wall and regained her balance, a last drop of adrenaline gathered for the purpose.

The young woman looked back and forth from Spock to Christine to Spock and then back to Christine. "Uh, I'm sorry to…I mean, I didn't mean to….Dr. C, they're calling for you from Starfleet command, need you there stat. I reminded them how long you've….."

Christine swallowed hard, again, and interrupted her. "Thank you, Leeza, tell them I will be there as soon as I can."

The spell was broken. Spock had unclasped his hands, arms now dangling at his sides, ready to move, or depart.

"Yes, Commander." With that, Ensign Leeza Bridges disappeared as quickly as she had appeared, lowering her gaze to mask the smile of one who has cracked a secret code.

Duty kicked in and Christine finally found the ability to move. She started to turn away from Spock toward the other end of the corridor and then turned back to him. "I knew you would come back."

"Then…you knew more than I."

Christine's smile broadened into one she had not worn for some time and affirmed, "I've been trying to tell you that for twenty years."

"Welcome home." Christine said, while allowing herself one last small measure of appreciation of the aspect he was revealing. Then she turned back to walk down the corridor on her way to Command.

Spock watched until Christine rounded the corner and he could see her no more, as he had watched her, unseen, in emergency only hours earlier. It had only been a glimpse amid the hectic traffic in the ER, but it had been enough.

Then, he too turned and walked away in the opposite direction.


"Hey, you, a few minutes ago you were complaining about how tired you were. What's with the sudden perkiness and Cheshire cat grin?" Gillian put her hands on her hips and chuckled. She was addressing Ensign Bridges.

"I'm still tired, but it was worth it to be in the right place at the right time."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Oh, nothing. It's just that I know the answer to the question of the century, that's all."

Gillian thought, 'This is way better than Luke and Laura!"

THE END