Part 1.

"Captain's Log, Stardate 5956.8. Shore leave at Starbase 7 has been cancelled under new directives to travel to Beta Koris 2, a dilithium mining colony at the frontiers of Federation territory. After three months of physically - and emotionally - gruelling missions, the crew could have used a much longer rest than they were allowed. However, this sector has the good fortune to have experienced peaceful trade for the past seven years. It may not be the kind of rest the doctor ordered but a routine pick-up should not be of undue concern. And ... some members of my crew appear to be looking forward to this mission more than they were anticipating shore leave. End log."

Captain Kirk nodded to Yeoman Rand who departed the Bridge with a smile. He then turned to ruefully eye the man standing next to his chair.

"Aye," Lieutenant Commander Scott grinned enthusiastically at the gentle dig the Captain had slipped into his log. He was bouncing gently on his toes as he spoke and Kirk shook his head in half-hearted despair. "The purity of Koris 2 dilithium is something else, Captain. You see, the crystals have a near-perfect alignment that allows for maximum yield. I can tell you, sir, it'll make a difference to the warp core, and that's for sure. Why, even the amount of trilithium resin left over from the decrystalisation is minimal. The engines will be purring, Captain. You will never want the regular crystals again!"

Kirk laughed at the Chief Engineer's excitement. "Well, Mr Scott," he managed at last. "If they mean that much to you, the least I can do is give you the Bridge!" he winked at the delighted Scotsman and strolled away into the turbolift, watching the Second Officer settle comfortably into the command chair even as the doors isolated him from the hubbub of activity. His smile remained relaxed and cheerful until he reached the privacy of his quarters, whereupon he slumped down next to his computer with a sigh.

Well, he thought glumly, remembering the passionate joy on Scott's face. At least some of us are happy.

Wearily, he flicked a computer switch and stretched back into his chair.

"Personal log, James T. Kirk. Three months since Platonius and I still don't know what to say. We've had so little time to think about it. What happened there, the consequences. For myself, I think I've been lucky. I've always known there's a beautiful and charming woman behind my efficient communications officer and she has, more than once, joked with me about the Enterprise's dashing and handsome captain," his attempt to smile at his joke failed as his voice wavered slightly. "Computer, pause log entry," he ordered.

Rising, he moved over to the fresh water jug that lay on a table near his bed and hovered there, unsure of whether or not to pour a glass, or even whether he was thirsty at all. Furious with his indecision, he thumped the wall next to his bed once and turned back to his desk. "Computer, resume log entry!" he demanded, his voice rough with irritation.

"Log entry resumed," the computer replied placidly.

He didn't sit back down and instead found himself pacing as he fought to find the words to express what he was feeling, fought to understand what he was feeling.

"We're friends. We work well together. That the Platonians chose her was of no surprise to me. That they chose her image - the methods of tort-- intimidation they would force me to use against her - was of no surprise to her. Based on his talks with Alexander, Bones speculated that the choice of women had to come from the minds of their captives - they had great power yet their strengths were not limitless. But once the women had been brought to them, the most effective torture would be that which affected the women most. It was the best way to get a rise out of us. To make us break, they had to break Uhura and Chapel first. And that ... that had to come from their minds not mine - or Spock's," he stopped at the mention of his first officer's name. "Dammit! Computer, pause log!"

This time when he stopped beside the water jug, he curtly poured some water. It tinkled into the clean glass, shining like a crystal jewel in the muted lighting of his quarters - a shard of ethereal beauty in a world dulled by the pain of helplessness that had become his unwelcome shadow. He strode back over to his desk, and this time forced himself to sit down.


What on earth could he say about Spock?

He sighed. "Computer, resume log."

"Log entry resumed," the computer repeated in the same bland tone and Kirk had to admit the lack of emotion in the mechanical voice was beginning to annoy him.

"Uhura and I have an understanding. There's something there, I think there always has been. It's not something that'll grow into anything. It's a little bit of teasing, a bit of flirting - a bit of fun. Maybe the Platonians misinterpreted it as something more than it is. Maybe the Platonians didn't need any more than what they found. I don't know. I just know that ... that ... I'm fine. Uhura's fine. We were stronger than they were. It worked out for us in the end."

He stopped, thinking about what he had just said, resisting the urge to run the log back, to delete it all and forget he had said any of it. But he couldn't - his memories were not so easy to wipe away, he had to say what was on his mind. Even if no one else ever heard his thoughts. Even if it grew old and stale, locked on a tape that gathered dust in a forgotten drawer. He needed to get it off his chest.

"Not all of us have been so lucky."

He stopped again. There was so much he could say, so much he should say.

"It's been three months ... and I still don't know what to do about that."

He was silent for a moment, then he sighed. "Computer, end log."

There was so much he didn't know how to say.