DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and Rabble Rouser, and are copyright (c) 2002 by Djinn and Rabble Rouser. This story is Rated PG-13 The Babe-a-Week Club by Djinn and Rabble Rouser

Areel Shaw jabbed at the door signal of the hotel suite trying hard to reign in her annoyance. She had a witness she needed to prepare for trial tomorrow and couldn't understand why Nogura would want to meet her here. Nogura's aide, Lieutenant Rand, was at the door. "Commander Shaw don't...." Rand threw up her hands to bar her entry as Areel brushed past. ".... come in."

Areel was brought up short by the sight of the weird assemblage standing and sitting in front of her. Dozens of women of all colors, physiques, and species milled about. Several were in Starfleet uniform but most were in revealing, exotic costumes. One amazonic figure, with white bouffant hair framing a heart shaped face, was striking a pose with hands on hips and feet planted far apart while glaring at all who came near. Another woman with pale blonde hair pulled up tight in a ponytail was twirling around and laughing. "Room...there is so much room to breathe here.to live!" Areel felt a buzzing near her ear and swatted away at the sound. "What is going on here?" she asked.

"Ma'am, I don't know. I was summoned here myself. Once we come in we can't leave. There's some kind of force keeping us here."

"You!" a woman screamed. Areel felt herself tackled from behind and was thrown to the floor. She rolled up and away from a kick her eyes going wide as she recognized her attacker.

"Lester," she squeaked. Before she could react, a Vulcan woman in silver ceremonial dress appeared behind Lester and dropped the woman with a touch.

Areel inclined her head in greeting as the petite Vulcan lifted her off the floor with insulting ease. "I'm Areel Shaw, my thanks."

"I believe the customary answer is 'you are welcome' although no thanks are necessary-contrary to what people may think I do not enjoy watching friends fight to the death."

"We're not friends-well not anymore."

The Vulcan woman lifted a brow in inquiry. Areel shrugged uncomfortably and said, "She believes I stole her boyfriend and later I prosecuted her for...well...it's complicated I'm afraid."

"I am called T'Pring. All of us seem to have been brought here through ruse or through unknown means of which we have no memory. I have been trying to ascertain what we have in common."

Areel looked down at the unconscious Lester and grimaced. "We once shared the same uniform but we have nothing in common."

"You once shared the same man-did you not say that? By any chance was your 'boyfriend' James T. Kirk?"

"You know Jim?"

"Thus far he seems the one unifying factor among us. I once chose Kirk as my champion."

Areel frowned. Champion? "You mean like an advocate in a trial?"

"It was...similar."

Suddenly there was a piercing scream. The three women ran into the next room to see a woman with short blonde hair kneeling over a woman in early Twentieth Century dress.

"Doctor Marcus," Rand said addressing the blonde.

"She's dead, Jan."

------------------------------------

In a reality just a small but very significant distance from the one that Areel Shaw stood in, a lovely brunette watched the blonde doctor kneeling by her body and said, "Well, for goodness sake, can't you at least pull my dress down? It's positively indecent the way it's all hiked up that way."

"I think we have bigger things to worry about," a regal if slightly malevolent-looking black-haired woman said.

"Bigger than shame?"

"Life and death, I think," the other woman said. She held out a wand and waved it at the women still clustered around the body. Nothing happened. "Just as I suspected, they can neither see nor hear us."

"Your little stick told you all that?"

"Well, it's not really mine, but yes, it did."

"Hmm." The brunette collected her thoughts. "Where are my manners? I'm Edith Keeler."

"Sylvia."

"No last name? I get that a lot in my line of work." At Sylvia's elegantly raised eyebrow, she explained, "I help people."

"Helped, I think. Past tense."

"Yes, I guess so." Edith looked at her companion curiously. "What did you do?"

"Oh, I was on a scientific mission. But unfortunately, I lost my life on it. Exposed to the elements, I guess you'd say. So, how'd you go?"

"Truck hit me."

"Truck?"

"Large form of transportation used to move goods from place to place."

"Ow. That must have hurt."

"It did."

"Not as much as love hurts," a hauntingly lovely voice joined in.

"You died of love?" Edith asked.

"Love for him. He awakened me. Gave me life. But it was too much. I died. I, Rayna Kapec, created to live forever with Flint my maker, died when Kirk touched my heart."

"Kirk? James T. Kirk?" Sylvia asked ominously. "That bastard killed me."

"I seem to remember him being involved in my demise also." Edith frowned as something buzzed by her.

"Gave me death, too." A voluptuous long-legged brunette dressed in a fringed doe-skin dress appeared beside them. "But he didn't even know who he was. As far as he's concerned, it was some guy named Kirok that knocked me up and got me stoned to death. I remember my mother's words. 'Miramanee,' she said. 'Don't fall for men with no memory. It never ends well.' She had the sight."

"Well, at least he could remember you if he wanted to. He can't remember me," Rayna sighed. "His friend took that away from him."

"I could use a spell like that," Sylvia muttered.

"He remembers me," Edith said knowingly.

"And all of them too, you think?" Rayna pointed to yet another blonde among the horde of women. "Who's the one doing Shakespeare?"

The blonde, dressed in a white gown with white flowers woven in her long hair, was standing on a chair with her hands lifted into the air. "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that's for thoughts."

A buxom brunette in a Starfleet medical uniform with the insignia of the psychiatric division was trying to coax her down. "Come on Lenore, the play's the thing. Can't keep your audience waiting." The blonde came down from the chair and with a haughty look allowed the other woman to take her by the arm. "Lieutenant Rand," asked the brunette, "have you seen Lester?"

"She's in the common area, Doctor Noel. I'm afraid T'Pring had to nerve pinch her."

Helen Noel shook her head. "It's okay, I'll take care of both of them. We're all sisters of a sort after all," she said wryly giving Areel a speculative look.

"I'm Areel Shaw."

"Ah, yes, Lester has mentioned you. If you'll excuse me, Commander?"

Areel dismissed Noel with a nod and turned to Rand. "I saw some of those women in Starfleet uniform. I believe I rank all of you. Gather the Starfleet officers together; we'll need to talk. Also make a list of everyone here." She looked at the blonde being led away by Noel recognizing her as yet another one of Jim's girlfriends to have landed among the criminally insane. "I want to know their names, how they came to be here, and their connection to one James T. Kirk."

------------------------------

Areel rubbed her forehead and grimaced. She had the makings of the mother of all headaches. There was an intermittent buzzing at her ear that was annoying her no end. She nodded at Doctor Noel as she sat at the table across from her. Noel made five officers at this meeting. Nyota Uhura had shown up not long after Areel's arrival, and ever since she and Rand had stuck together like glue. Lord, she thought, becoming part of Kirk's crew is like being adopted into a clan-or the Orion Mafia. Though Noel didn't seem to mix much with her two former shipmates.

One of the five wasn't exactly regular Starfleet although Areel had included her in the meeting over Uhura's objections. The dark haired woman in science blues had identified herself as Lieutenant Marlena Moreau, also of the Enterprise. She wore a travesty of a uniform, the mini skirt cut low and the shirt cut high leaving her midriff bare. Uhura kept giving her uneasy looks, which the woman pointedly ignored.

Just as Areel began to speak, Dr. Anne Mulhall, who had cited her recent resignation from Starfleet as an excuse to not come to the table, came in the door moaning. "No, no, it's happening again."

"What's wrong with her?" Rand asked.

Mulhall rose and jerkily walked across the room. She tried to speak but her voice cracked. Clearing her throat she tried again. "Hi."

Hi? Areel wondered if everyone in the room was going to turn out to be crazy. "Doctor, we've already met. You didn't want to help out, now go away and let us work in peace."

"I'm sorry to disturb you. Mulhall's voice was higher and she now spoke with a British accent. "Sorrier still to have taken over this poor woman's body. But I really needed to talk to you. We think we have things to offer." Mulhall struck out at something to her left. "No, Marta, now is really not the time for a dance." She frowned again. "I said no! Don't make me send you outside." She turned back to Areel. "We can all help."

"We?"

"Those of us who've crossed over."

"They really are dead, Jan," Uhura whispered to Rand.

"You can work from Dr. Mulhall's body? What about the doctor, does she mind?"

"Does that matter?"

"I think it matters to Dr. Mulhall."

"But think of the unique perspective we can bring to the table here."

"We? Who is there with you?"

"Well, it has gotten a little crowded here. And not all my companions seem to agree on what is proper behavior when faced with this sort of circumstance. What do they teach young ladies these days?"

Areel cleared her throat to hurry her along.

"Right. Well, I'm Edith Keeler. That was my body in there. And with me are Sylvia, Miramanee, Marta, Nona, Martia, Rayna Kapec, and Andrea."

"And you all have some link to-?"

"James T. Kirk," Edith finished for her. "Yes!"

Areel frowned. "James T. Kirk. It all comes down to him. Though the common denominator is obviously more than just a working relationship with him."

Rand visibly colored. "My relationship with Captain Kirk was strictly professional."

Noel gave Rand a disgusted look. "Oh sure, you were such a professional, Janice, with your 'look at my legs, captain' nonsense."

Uhura glared at Noel. "At least Janice never put the captain in danger by planting romantic fantasies in his mind," she retorted.

"At least I never uttered the words 'I'm frightened, Captain.' Several times. I can take care of myself."

"Enough," Areel snapped, sweeping all of them with a glare. "We're in enough trouble. You're all officers. Civilized people." Well, most of us anyway, Areel thought as she caught Moreau playing with a dagger. ".and I expect you to leave your petty jealousies and rivalries at the door. At least until we can exit at the door."

Moreau smiled cynically. "You expect people to put aside their passions for the common good."

"I don't suppose you'd understand such concepts as duty and loyalty," Uhura answered heatedly.

"And I don't suppose you'd understand passion," Moreau said, flashing Uhura a mocking smile.

"Ladies," said Areel warningly. "Right now the common good is finding out what has happened to all of us and getting out of this flytrap. Moreau's a chemist. We can use her scientific expertise. Now, all of us seem to be linked by having had a romantic involvement with Captain Kirk."

Uhura shook her head. "My relationship was..."

"Strictly professional," Noel supplied tartly.

Uhura ignored Noel and directed her answer to Areel. "We were the 'entertainment' for telekinetic aliens. Fortunately the captain was able to break their hold and we never went further than a kiss."

Moreau laughed. "My condolences." Uhura bit off her retort at Areel's raised hand.

"Rand?" Areel prompted.

"The captain was split into two by a transporter accident. One was an animal." Rand shuddered. "He forced a kiss on me, that's all."

"Noel?"

"I'm sure you know about Doctor Adams. He used the neural neutralizer to make the Captain think he was in love with me. So you can add me to the list of those thoroughly kissed."

Areel couldn't stop touching her own lips in memory. One of Jim Kirk's kisses...ooh la la...her whole body tingled with the memory. She forced her attention back to her surroundings only to notice Moreau smirking at her knowingly.

All eyes turned to the dark haired woman who stretched languorously and smiled with a cat-in-the-cream expression. "I was the captain's woman aboard the I.S.S. Enterprise. And my Captain Kirk and I shared far more than a kiss."

Areel saw Uhura flinch at the purr in the voice. "I'm sure you couldn't say the same about our captain." Uhura said pointedly waving at Moreau dismissively. "The Captain, Doctor McCoy, Mister Scott and I were trapped for a time in the universe she's from."

"Oh all I needed was a bit more time," Moreau said silkily. "Though from the look on your face a while back, Commander Shaw, you seem to have fonder memories to draw upon."

"We were involved some years back. Intimately," Areel conceded. She couldn't help being pleased that the other women had shared no more than a kiss. Although she was sure that wouldn't be true of most gathered in the suite.

"I spoke to Doctor Marcus earlier." Areel continued. "She will act as the science team leader. Rand, take Moreau and gather together the other women with scientific expertise." She looked down at the PADD. "Doctors Miranda Jones, T'Pring, Gillian Taylor, Janet Wallace, Ruth Weiss and...." Areel hesitated for a moment. "...Janice Lester." Jim always did go for the brainy type. There were more scientists among them than anything else. "We need to know what's holding us here and how we can counter it. Uhura, I want you to find out what resources we have here and how we might be able to get a message out to the outside. Noel, continue to gather information from the rest of the women. Particularly how they got here and what skills they have between them. Dismissed." Areel then turned to Mulhall-or whoever had control over her. "We've got to talk."

-----------------------

"I tell you it doesn't make any sense!" Noel told Areel. "I've been compiling the data on the people here as you asked. Some of these women aren't even in our timeframe."

"What do you mean?"

"Gillian Taylor for one. She's from the Twentieth Century and doesn't intersect with Kirk until he's a good decade older than either of us know him now."

Areel groaned. "Oh, great. A temporal anomaly. They make my stomach ache." God, and the forms I'll have to fill out when I get out of here. She then looked up to find trouble barreling down on her. A petite, exotic-looking woman stalked up to where Areel was sitting and stamped one foot in rage.

She pointed at Rand across the room. "That woman told me you are in charge. I am the Dolman Elaan. These conditions are unacceptable. Not only will none bow down in my presence but no servant has been assigned to me, I don't have my own rooms-"

Areel sighed and let her run down before trying to get a word in. The woman had actually worked herself up to tears. She knew Jim's taste could be eclectic, and admittedly the woman was striking, but she didn't know how he could have stood a minute with this brat without wanting to give her a spanking. Her own hand itched to slap her.

Suddenly Areel found herself alone with a partner moving in a close dance to a heated rhythm. She slowly lifted her head from a shoulder. Jim! She moved closer finding she couldn't say a word out loud and shivered as he moved a strap down her arm and kissed a shoulder.

"Noooooooo." She felt Noel shake her. Damn. She had to come back just when she was getting to the good part.

"What happened to you? You were a million light years away."

"I was with Jim." She looked around puzzled. "Where's the Dolman?"

"Oh that woman? Drusilla helped wipe her tears and the next minute was her willing slave. Weird." Suddenly Noel slumped in her seat her face going slack. Areel shook her hard and she snapped back to wakefulness. "NO!!" Noel yelled.

"Did I interrupt something interesting?" Areel asked.

"It was like being in a holovid - one of your favorite fantasies come to life only you're speaking someone else's lines." She smiled widely "but it was very nice.." Her voice trailed off wistfully.

"Jim Kirk?"

"Uh huh."

"Like being in a holovid? A preview? Coming attractions?"

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know. Just a feeling."

-------------------------------

Meanwhile another group were undertaking other methods of investigation. Edith tried and failed to get comfortable in her cross-legged position. "I'm not sure it's right to take part in a heathen ritual."

Sylvia shot her an irritated look. "Almost all of us here by your definition are heathen." Sylvia glanced over at Nona who was already rocking back and forth and emitting a eerie wail. "Some of us can even be called witches. If we're going to pierce the veil we'll have to do it together. "Come," she said taking Miramanee's and Rayna's hands. "Let's link hands." She glared at Marta who was whirling about the room wildly.

Andrea stood up, forced Marta to sit down, and took one hand in a steely grip that made the other woman wince. "Sorry," she said breathily. "Sometimes I don't know my own strength." At least with Martia on the other side gripping the Orion woman's hand, Marta could be managed.

"I call to thee, oh spirits dark and profane!" Edith suddenly said loudly. Seven pairs of eyes turned to glare at her. Nona just kept wailing. "Sorry," Edith said, "I've always wanted to do that."

Sylvia rolled her eyes. "Try to restrain yourself."

Rayna smiled at Edith. "I think restraint is not always your natural state, is it?"

Edith sat up straighter. "Why, I don't know what you mean."

"Anyone who was once involved with Jim has to have a passionate side," Rayna whispered.

"Well.certainly I-"

"Ay-yay-yay-yay would you please shut up!" Nona interrupted her primal noise to open one eye and stare pointedly at Edith.

With an offended, hmpph, Edith looked away.

Rayna smiled secretively.

Watching Rayna and Edith closely, Marta suddenly leaned forward and said, "Would you like to learn how to dance like an Orion slave girl?" She demonstrated, and even sitting cross-legged she managed to convey the image of limber seduction.

"Oh, that's very sweet of you to offer, but I look dreadful in green." Edith's tone was not as resolute as her words, in fact she watched Marta undulate somewhat enviously.

"I look good in green," Miramanee said tentatively.

"Don't need to learn, I can just become an Orion slave girl," Martia said. Then she demonstrated, turning into Marta's twin. When Marta eyed her with interest, she snarled, "Don't even think of it, green girl."

Nona suddenly pushed herself to her feet. "You are all impossible! No self-respecting witch would give you the time of day. Come on!" She hauled Sylvia up and dragged her out of the room, muttering, "I'm the daughter of priestesses and I wind up here? There is no justice."

Edith watched them go. "Well, I guess that ends the séance."

Andrea looked confused. "Did it begin?"

The others shook their heads.

Andrea brightened. "In that case, can we learn the Orion dances?"

They all looked at Edith.

"Oh, very well," she said as she stood and attempted to get her hips to make the sensuous circular motion Marta was demonstrating so effortlessly. "But not one word of this once we get out of here."

---------------------------

Hidden behind a one-way mirror two men dressed in thousand-dollar late Twentieth Century suits were observing the motley group. One suit shook his head. "I still don't understand how you could screw up with that dead body."

"Well, I was trying to pull Edith into here before the truck hit. I thought this time for sure I could reel one of them in while still breathing."

"I told you it couldn't be worked that way if they had died in the episode. And really! T'Pring? What were you thinking?"

"Hey Vulcans are really popular. Thought a Vulcan chic might make a good choice. She's austere yet sensuous. I'd do her. And she fits. Didn't she choose Kirk?"

"In a manner of speaking."

"I really like the brunette in that outfit with the criss-crossing straps. She's hot. Put her in a catsuit on Voyager I bet the ratings would jump by mucho points. Especially if we dyed her hair blonde. She aged much better than any of them."

"Andrea? She's an android."

The other suit pouted. "So? We don't need much personality to hit the demographic." He waved in her direction. "We could make her a borg instead."

"For Kirk? Wrong series."

The other shrugged. "Who'll notice?" Uhura chose that moment to primp in the mirror and he pressed his nose to the glass the better to ogle. Unfortunately another part of his anatomy pressed against a certain button and the wall they were hiding behind retracted into the ceiling.

------------------------------------

Areel came running at Uhura's shriek and stopped so short at the sight of the two men that Noel and Rand almost crashed into her.

"Well, if it isn't the wizards from behind the curtain." Gillian said.

The first suit looked nervously around the room as the women ominously crowded around them. "Ladies, please. Nobody intended for this to be against your will. We just needed to get you all together."

"Why?" Areel asked, barely containing her temper.

"Answer quickly," Vanna groused, pulling out a mining spade. "And make it good, unless you relish the thought of me burying this in your heart."

Shahna beamed approval at her.

The second executive stepped forward. "There will be no burying of anything in our vital organs. We're here to do one of you a favor. A very big favor." He looked around the room, smiling valiantly at the sea of irritated faces. "One of you is going to get to spend eternity with James T. Kirk."

No one made a sound.

"Kirk. Your boyfriend. Remember?"

Gillian pushed to the front. "I'm really not sure you could call him my boyfriend. I only ever kissed him on the cheek."

The first suit replied, "But you were with him last."

Mulhall/Keeler pushed forward. "Martia says she had that honor."

"Yes, but we're not sure he liked her very much. We know he was fond of Dr. Taylor."

"You keep saying 'we.' Just who are you, anyway?" Uhura asked.

"It's a little hard to explain."

"Try," Moreau urged as she fondled her dagger.

Mulhall/Keeler spoke again. "Nona sees you. She says you work magic with stories, bring them to life, make them move, shine with light. Stories on the wall."

Gillian frowned. "You mean like the movies." At the looks around her, she clarified, "You know, vids? Films? Entertainment visuals?"

"Oh," came the collective reply.

Carol Marcus ignored her. "So let me get this straight. You brought us all here to...audition?"

The exec nodded.

"Yes. And you'll be one of the first ones we want to talk to, Carol," the other suit soothed.

"What exactly do you want us to do?" Rand asked.

"It's really nothing hard. Just hang out in the Nexus. It's this sort of holodeck-like thing-" At the stares of incomprehension, he shook his head. "See, this is why we need to leave your time behind. No holodecks, no ready room, no wormholes, no replicators, no Ferengi, no pips. It's really just too bad we can't erase the whole era, starting with James T.-" He was cut off by the second exec's elbow hitting his stomach with some force.

"You don't like Kirk?" Areel's eyes narrowed. "You want to get rid of him?"

"Well, that sounds so negative," the second exec smarmed.

"You're going to kill him?" Lester laughed. "Do you know how many of us have tried that? The boy's got more lives than a cat."

"A man can die but once," Lenore offered.

"Not the time for Shakespeare, dear," Noel replied patting her arm.

"I don't think they plan to just kill him." T'Pring studied the men in front of her. "I think they first need to diminish him."

The two executives squirmed.

"That isn't fair. It isn't right." Ruth looked at the others for support.

Janet Wallace nodded. "Hasn't he been through enough?"

Mulhall/Keeler stepped forward. "Miramanee wants to remind you that Kirk was a prince."

"Oh yeah, he was that all right." The second exec laughed mockingly. "You think we need his kind around here anymore?"

"There will always be a place for a Kirk," Mulhall/Keeler replied quickly. "Even in my time, he had great things to do."

A chorus of "Yeah," and "Same here," echoed through the room.

"You think Kirk was a loser, don't you?" Lester stepped close to the second suit. "Do you think I would have spent nearly my entire life trying to get his life if he was a loser? I may be crazy but I'm not stupid!"

"Nobody said he was a loser." He was saved by Lenore who pushed the crowd of women aside and smiled winningly at him.

"So you are casting for a part, kind sirs?" she called out, falling into stage persona and projecting her voice perfectly while dropping into a regal curtsy. "Perhaps in your search for a leading lady you should consider a classical education and profound real life experience performing the bard."

The suits looked at each other in confusion. "The bard?" said one.

"New dance step. Makes freaking look tame," the other replied.

The first one nodded in belated recognition. "Heard about that. Banned in five states, eighteen counties, and most high school dances, wasn't it?"

The suits' attention being taken up with Lenore, they didn't notice that four of the women had circled behind them. Just a few hand signals and glances from Areel had T'Pring, Shahna, Vanna, and Moreau moving towards the executives. Suddenly both men found each of their arms gripped tightly by a very angry, very strong woman.

"Hey watch it-that's an Armani suit."

"Ladies," the other laughed nervously. He looked down to see Moreau had unsheathed her dagger then looked back up to see her feral grin. "There's no need for this" he squeaked.

Areel walked up to them and began circling them. "Considering you brought all of us here against our will, I would tend to disagree."

"Considering all of you owe your existence to us, I think we'd deserve more respect."

A new voice startled all of them. "But that's not exactly true, is it, my dears?" A young woman of indefinite age and dressed in a Starfleet captain's uniform sat cross-legged in the air. She had long blonde hair gathered up in a chignon and startling lavender eyes. The hairstyle revealed elegantly pointed Vulcanoid ears. A golden aura pulsed around her.

Carol crossed her arms and shook her head. "Yet another of Jim's girlfriends?"

"Not exactly. Sometimes, I'm Kirk's, but more often I belong to Spock. Every once in a rare while Chekov or some other character gets a shot at me. Sometimes I'm not even the girlfriend but his daughter-or son. After all, often I'm not even female. Hell, more than half of the time I'm in a Kirk or Spock suit paired up with one or the other of them."

"Such qualities seem paradoxical and thus not logical," T'Pring observed.

"Sounds schizophrenic to me," Noel added.

"I'm Mary Sue Q."

"You can't be" yelled one of the suits, struggling against T'Pring and Vanna to no effect. "That's the TNG era!"

"Call me the Muse then if you prefer." She flashed a dimpled smile. "Thalia I think in this incarnation. Or maybe that should be T'Halia." She unfolded herself from her cross-legged position and glided down to the floor. "They didn't create any of you. They're just feeding off the creativity of others. And you have your own independent existence now."

"You're nothing without us! We could do anything we want to any of you!"

"It's too late for that. Millions of people's imaginations have made them real. Do you really think you can control other's dreams? Especially when your continued existence depends on those dreamers? Strange you chose this forced way. Did you think of asking Kirk himself? Of waiting quietly open to whoever might show up? But then you don't really have a feel or fondness for Jim or any of the others, do you?"

Edith/Mulhall turned to this strange being. "I don't understand. Miss.?"

"Oh bother.I do not like working through intermediaries." Mary Sue snapped her fingers and suddenly eight more women appeared in their midst.

One Areel recognized as the woman whose dead body they had dealt with earlier. Most took deep breaths looking at each other with faces wreathed in wide smiles. A scantily dressed green-skinned woman however immediately threw her arms around one of the men and pressed herself closely to him. Noel gently disengaged her from him. "One of mine I think. Come along."

Mulhall stood shaking. "I'm free."

"You all are. You always have been. Humans. All of you taken from that template have such limited minds. Don't you see? It doesn't matter really if their universe created yours or yours seeped into theirs. You're linked now and their doing this, inadvertently gave you all a choice."

Another snap of the fingers and that incessant buzzing resolved into the figure of a blonde woman in a high-necked gown. "Either give them dominion to be set into this little scenario." the Vulcanoid entity continued, ".or walk out again through that door. I'll hold them for you." A final snap of her fingers and the two execs hung ten feet in the air with their heads bumping the ceiling.

T'Pring was the first to speak. "This has been a fascinating experience but if you ladies will excuse me I am only tangentially related to James T. Kirk. I gladly choose a limited lifetime with Stonn over eternity with a man with whom I have no real connection." She was the first to cross over the threshold and disappear.

Areel saw a group of women queue up behind. Many from what she knew of them were little surprise-all women in whose lives Kirk was nothing but an adversary, a flirtation. Who even if he loomed large at one point in their lives (or even ended it) was not a figure that touched at their soul: Kelinda, Andrea, Miranda, Gillian, Eve, Mulhall, others.

Leonore lined up after Mary Sue whispered in her ear. "What, no star billing?" Noel pushed Lester firmly toward the exit. She paused as she passed Areel. "It was great getting to know you, Shaw. Stay in touch." She indicated the struggling Lester with a jerk of her head. "Nothing Jim Kirk ever did in his lifetime deserves the sentence of spending an eternity with her." With that Noel shoved Lester firmly past the exit. Uhura hung back for a while then hugged Rand and left.

Areel found herself lingering in a much smaller group. Only Rand, Marcus, Moreau, Wallace, Ruth and three of the women brought back to the living still stood with her. Edith Keeler introduced herself as well as Rayna and Miramanee.

"A lifetime with Jim Kirk, huh?" Rand got a dreamy smile as she contemplated it. "But um what's this Nexus?"

The suit tried to smile ingratiatingly from his place skimming the ceiling. "It's a place that's very peaceful, serene."

"Doesn't sound like Jim's kind of place," Marcus said sourly.

"Certainly doesn't sound like my sort of place," Moreau said and walked out the door.

"Anything you want simply is," one of the suits added.

"Anything I want?" Rand asked.

The other suit coughed. "Uh, well, in this case, it's anything Kirk wants, but same difference."

"Anything Jim wants?" Carol Marcus shook her head. "I've heard enough." And she was up and out the door before anyone could respond.

Rayna looked down sadly. "I love him, but I died because I wanted a choice. I cannot now just give that up and let him control the rest of my existence. I may as well have stayed with Flint." Her eyes narrowed. "I choose." With a sad wave to Keeler, she walked out the door.

"It's tempting, a life of ease, and not up to me to steer the course?" Keeler said. "And with Jim Kirk?" Her eyes took on a glazed expression. She shook herself. "But I can't. I have my work...at least until that truck." She grimaced, turned to the others. "It's been good working with you. I always like to help." At that she marched to and out the door humming a hymn under her breath.

"So, we have no choice at all in what happens to us once we're in the Nexus?" Areel asked.

The suit shrugged. "Pretty much all up to Kirk."

Mary Sue Q snickered from where she was leaning on the wall. "Oh, come on, ladies. Is this even something you have to think about? These two, who neither like nor understand your era or the man in question, want to place you for eternity in a place where you'll have no say in what happens to you. Give me a break."

There was a chorus of, "She's right," and "How dare they!" One by one the remaining women turned and walked out the door. Areel and Rand linking arms and chattering away were the last out the door. "We have to get together with some of the others when we have a chance." Areel was saying as she disappeared out the door.

"None of them will even remember this," Mary Sue Q said sadly.

The first suit looked over at Mary Sue Q. "I don't suppose you want to volunteer?"

"Yeah, right! With your version of Kirk, no thanks." She snapped her fingers and Kirk appeared. "I can have the real thing, whenever I want." With another snap, the two disappeared, but not before sharing a very passionate kiss. As she disappeared, the two hovering execs found themselves falling abruptly to the floor.

"Well, that was a brilliant idea," the first suit said rubbing his backside and wincing. He began to pace. "Why I ever listened to you when you said, 'I know, let's lock all the chicks Kirk ever bagged in one room and let them fight it out.' Just friggin' brilliant."

"It could have been. If they'd been the bimbos we thought they were." The second suit ran his fingers through his hair.

"So what now? We need a chick. No one would believe that Kirk would imagine a paradise alone!"

"What's Spock doing these days?" The second suit's voice trailed off in a speculative way.

Then as one they both said, "Nyah..."

"Who'd believe that?" the first suit said.

"And how in the hell would we get it past the distributors? We've got the heartland to consider."

"Not to mention some pretty powerful lobbies."

"Right." The second suit stared up at the ceiling. "So, okay. We make her up."

"Huh?"

"We make her up. She's the love of his life. And in the Nexus, he can have her back."

"And no one has ever heard of this 'love of his life' before?" The first suit frowned.

"We won't even show her. She'll just be this shadowy figure off in the background. It's perfect." The second suit pursed his lips as he thought it out. Then he began to nod. "Maybe this could work. There's all those years between the movies that nobody's ever explored." As one they corrected, "Nobody except those fanfic freaks."

"What'll we call her?"

"I dunno. Let's pick something regal. Roman sounding. Something that goes with Kirk's middle name."

"Claudius?"

"Tiberius, you moron. Don't you ever read the background info?"

"Not really. I know you will." The first suit grinned. "So a name...how about Octavia?"

"Or Livia?"

"Agrippina? Or no...Antonia." The first suit slapped a hand down on the table in counterpoint. "Antonia. I like it. Don't you like it?"

"I like it." The second suit stood up. "I think we've just solved our little problem."

"Now to solve our next problem. How creative can we get with the accounting for this little debacle so that nobody ever knows what we tried to do here today?"

Suit number two just smiled. "Leave it to me."

"Do I want to know?"

"Believe me you don't." He smiled, and the expression covered half his face. "B&B will be so proud of us."

The first suit smiled and began to hum the theme to Voyager.

"Wrong tune," the second suit pointed out as they got up and walked to the door.

"I know. But right era. The only era. Our era."

With a smile the second suit hit the lights, his voice echoed in the dark room. "Hey, maybe we could do a prequel. Really get some course correction done?"

"A prequel?"

"Yeah, you know before Kirk and his crew came along and mucked it all up." The second suit laughed. "If we do it right, we might be able to write him completely out of existence."

"You're thinking temporally again, aren't you? I'm glad they decided to transfer you over from the Asian office." The first suit laughed evilly. "Soon it will be Brannon, Braga, Smith," he touched his chest proudly, "and...what was your name again?"

The second suit put his arm around Smith's shoulder. "Singh. But you can call me Khan."

FIN