Of Simple Moments (We Remember)
Author's Note: This is the last, final little story in my Ilori-as-Spock-and-Uhura's-son series. This, unlike the others, does not really much stand alone, it requires you to read the previous fics. I took A LOT of liberties with this; I mean, although the ST2009 is a reboot some people might not be too happy with some details I added. Hopefully you all will like it anyway. It's something I've been working on for a couple of weeks. I beta'd it myself, so any mistakes are my own; the tense(s) are a little difficult but I think I fixed everything to how I wanted it.
This is cheesy, ridiculously so, and long - the longest fic in the series at 6,000 words.
Previous fics in order:
1. 0600 HOURS
2. SOFT AND FLEETING
3. A SMALL HEALING IN SMALL HANDS
4. SPIES ON THE ENTERPRISE
It was one of those quiet days on the Enterprise, a Sunday by Earth calendars, and Ilori, nearly five and constantly curious, had just finished up his portrait of the ship and its' crew, and ambled into the main room of his family's quarters to show his Mom and Dad.
It's on the couch he finds them, his father reclined, his mother lying against him. It's rare to see them as tightly snuggled close as they are, but he's hardly deterred by their soft voices and inclined heads. His father has his forehead pressed to his mother's temple, his hands splayed over his mother's growing belly, where Ilori was ecstatic to learn there was a sibling- an automatic friend to be born in seven months, two weeks and three days, approximately.
His Momma spots him and reaches out; he goes without question, toeing off his slippers to crawl into the space under her arm. He tucks his head under his chin and reaches out to place his hand next to his father's on her belly.
The family is quiet for a moment, sweet and contemplating. It's Ilori who finally interrupts.
"Mother, father –" He says matter-of-factly. He looks up at his Momma with his large, inquisitive brown eyes, "May I inquire to where babies come from?"
There's a stillness in the air suddenly that sucks the easy nature of the air right out, and suddenly his momma laughs.
"Oh, boy," She laughs, and leans back away from him a bit, hiding her face in his poppa's neck. At closer inspection, his Poppa's skin has flushed green, much like Ilori's himself when he's run a lot or when Uncle Kirk tickles him mercilessly.
His momma's hand reach up to cup his poppa's cheeks and she leans in to kiss the side of his face, her body shaking with laughter.
"I do believe this is a father-son talk, Mr. Spock."
When McCoy informs Spock and Uhura they are, in fact, expecting twins, Spock goes a little green along the gills in the most uncharacteristic manner. McCoy is fucking ecstatic he'd been able to make Spock expose the most human reaction he'd ever seen out of the Vulcan and laughs a whole lot, the kind of laughing that causes him to throw his head back and excuse himself from the exam room.
Later, he finds out Vulcans don't have twins, there's not even such a thing, which is what caused the reaction. Luckily, Uhura thinks it's funny too and spends the rest of the afternoon explaining to Spock she wasn't surprised; she has had many twins in her family; her aunt was one.
McCoy, at this point, is just loitering to fuel his own amusement, but he gets to hear his friends tell Ilori, who's face lights up in excitement and makes this afternoon one of McCoy's top five moments on the Enterprise.
Aiden Kirk is seven pounds three ounces when he's born, and he's got Jim's eyes in ways that make every woman holding him already swoon. Uhura, eight months pregnant with two babies herself, curls him close to her and sighs in contentment.
"I believe we're becoming a regular family starship," McCoy jokes, with a tinge of softness in his voice. He pats Kirk on the back before lifting Ilori to see his "cousin".
He's born from Kirk and a very beautiful woman named Zay Lynn, a linguistics officer who joined the Enterprise's mission two years late because she'd been on leave to take care of her parents.
Jim Kirk, for the first time in his life, fell very very much in love.
She'd died during childbirth, and is it a bittersweet moment for them all. Kirk, who's eyes are soft with tears and happiness in the most tragic way, allows Spock and McCoy to lead him out of the corridor before he truly cries.
The babies, Spock and Uhura's, are named Gaila and Gray, in remembrance; Kirk has to excuse himself when they tell him. Ilori is only steps behind him as he follows the older man out into the hallway. He watches as Kirk leans against the wall, then slides down, hands covering his face.
"I do not understand your distraught, Uncle Kirk," Ilori says, looking very much like a four year old as he peers down him, "I believe the birth of my siblings is a cause for celebration, isn't it?"
Kirk has to wipe away his tears, but he knows Ilori has seen them. He reaches for the boy, and is happy when Ilori curls into him without another word. Ilori might be the smartest kid he's ever known, but he still has a lot to learn.
Gaila and Gray are disgustingly attuned to one another due to not only the fact that they are twins, but they have inherited Vulcan telepathy, allowing them to speak to one another without saying even one word. Ilori, having fought his way into their bond to remain close is not bothered in the slightest.
It does not, however, sit well with McCoy.
"Jesus Christ that might be the weirdest thing I've ever seen," He exclaims as he watches the four year olds go back and forth between their silent discussion, Vulcan and Federation Standard as they sit at a table in the mess hall.
"I believe the correct word would be is unusual," Ilori says, looking up at his uncle, eyebrow raised, very much on the road of being a sarcastic smart-ass like Spock, "They are two of a kind, remember, Uncle. The only two quarter-Vulcan twins."
"Remind me to tell your parents they're insane." He smirks, teasing. Ilori smiles broadly, before carefully scolding his siblings to eat their dinner in the clipped southwest dialect of Andorian.
Ilori's twelve when he and Spock leave the Enterprise for the first time without their whole family, to see to the Vulcan colony. Walking down the desert streets, lined with shops and buildings so inexplicably logical, Ilori's aware of the eyes on him; on his civilian Terran clothes, on his father's tall gait, of his Starfleet uniform. He doesn't need to be told that he's different, despite his ears; his understanding of Vulcan culture, he can see it in their eyes. Shame, insecurity - it can't even be hid behind Vulcan eyes.
He's sure if he was a different person, he might have collapsed under their gazes, succumbing to whatever some of them might perceive as weakness.
Instead, he walks taller, chin up, and smiles. Let them stare.
They're on a year break in-between missions on the Enterprise when Ilori requests he spend the summer months at the Vulcan Colony with Sarek, who'd apparently extended an invitation.
He's fourteen; has only seen the colony once, and is rapidly cycling into distinct curiosity for his Vulcan heritage. While Gaila and Gray speak more liltingly, more human, Ilori's maintained his speech patterns and exclusivity for vocabulary since he was born. He looks very much like his father nowadays as well, while the twins look more like Uhura.
"Are you certain?" Spock asks. Nyota has paused with the fork half-way to her lips, eyes locked on her eldest son. Gaila and Gray have fallen silent as well, although she's certain they're gossiping away to one another in their heads.
"I am," Ilori insists, looking away from Spock to his mother. His eyes are filled with assurance.
'I'm not abandoning you,' They say, 'I am proud of my family.'
They let him go, and although Nyota cries for the first week that he's gone, late at night with her head on Spock's chest, she trusts him.
Ilori's fifteen when he spends his first and only year at a school on Earth, in a suburb outside of San Francisco. The Enterprise is on a yearlong break before it's next mission and his parents are teaching at the Academy. It's here, at this public school, that Ilori realizes the true nature of what he's experienced in his life, what kind of people, beings, he's surrounded with, people he calls family.
"Look," He murmurs to Gaila and Gray in the hallway after school. His history PADD is displaying text upon text, photograph upon photograph about the Enterprise, about Nero, about the USS Kelvin. The twins are silent, contemplating. They know what their parents have been through; what their extended family has seen, but until that moment, didn't really quite get how far of a reach the Enterprise and her crew had.
This was a Terran school, not related to Starfleet in the least. The three if them were three of only a handful of students who weren't born completely human, and certainly the only mixed race students in the school. Although Gaila and Gray could stand to blend in (both were rebelling at eleven and wore their hair long to cover their ears), Ilori stood out like a sore thumb. He wore his hair in more of a traditional Vulcan haircut (well, as much of one that his hair would lay in – if it were a more logical feeling he would be bitter at his siblings who'd inherited their father's pin straight locks), and despite having full-eyebrows, stood, spoke and seemed very Vulcan.
Their father had insisted on discretion; they now knew why.
"We are very proud of our family," Gaila said, seeing the thrill and possibilities, "Why not tell anyone?"
"We are not braggarts," Gray insisted, and instantly Illori is grateful, "It's important to be proud but not arrogant."
Gaila frowns but the discussion is over. The three siblings stand in the hallway as their classmates leave for the day, completely in awe of the text they read.
Up until that point, Ilori hadn't been quite sure what he was going to do after completing his elementary schooling. He had many interests, academic or otherwise. He was extremely intelligent and well aware of the opportunities he had available to him.
As he looked upon the PADD in front of him, however, he made his decision.
That very same year, at that very same school, Illori met Neela White. She was in his Space History class, and she was his very first crush.
He liked her smile best, he would think, but he also enjoyed the way the sun caught her blonde hair, making her seem to light up in the sunlight.
She was from an Old-Earth family, he'd learn, when she shy-ily approached him at recess one day – none of her family has even been off Earth. He tells her what he can – he comes from a family in space travel, he's part Vulcan, he's academic but likes running and sports at leisure.
She finds him just as intriguing as he finds her and at the end of the summer, with the sun setting in front of them, he receives his first kiss.
It's chaste, light, perfect.
He's elated and excited to see her again, and when he approaches her door two days later to take her on a walk, she opens the door with tears in her eyes.
"I can't see you anymore," She chokes, a tear rolling down her cheek, "My parents won't allow me to."
He's baffled, but it's times like these that he allows himself to tap into the Vulcan control he'd carefully learned from Spock.
"May I ask why?" He asks, resisting the urge to reach out to her. Instead, he locks his arms behind his back.
"They don't like that you're…" She trails off, unsure of what to say. There's subtext in that silence, he knows. Foreign? Alien?
That summer, in retrospect, was one of my firsts. Unfortunately, prejudice was one of them.
Ilori's sixteen when it happens, and he locks his brother and sister in the bedroom of their quarters on the Enterprise with a vocal lock. He hears them yelling at him from the other side, can hear Gaila's tears through the door, but he proceeds with his plan anyway.
The distress signal had wrung nearly fifteen minutes ago – there were intruders on board, and his parents were on shift on the bridge.
He finds his father's only spare phaser in a locked safe behind a painting. He was only told its' location a week ago, having been instructed by Spock to only touch it if it were an emergency.
It'd been a big step; a show of severe trust. Ilori had been honored.
And yet, he had never thought he would have had to actually use it.
Weapon in hand, Ilori goes to the door of their quarters, sliding out.
"Ilori!" A hushed voice yells, bringing Ilori to attention. He raises his phaser in direction of the voice until he physically sees it's owner. The phaser goes down, his eyebrow goes up.
"Aiden?" He asks, as the other boy approached him. Aiden was a couple of years his junior, but Ilori often felt he owned the world very much like an adult. With a cocky but somehow-humbling swagger and a sharp wit, he continuously commands attention and draws eyes to him upon entering a room.
This is hardly surprising, as he is Jim Kirk's only son.
"What are you doing?" Ilori asks, eyeing Aiden's own phaser at his side.
He raises an eyebrow and smirks; it raises Ilori's own confidence.
"I do believe we need to do some saving ourselves this time."
In the end it's terrifying, powerful, exhilarating and the best time Ilori's ever had while also feeling hopelessly lost. The Klingons never saw them coming; the two sons of the senior Bridge officers, and went down with a couple of shots and a very well-placed Vulcan nerve-pinch.
Afterwards, the Bridge was silent for moments, eyes wide at the enemy's bodies crumpled on the floor and the two barely-adult boys standing above them before Kirk let out a whoop and crushed the two of them to his chest in a tight hug.
Over his uncle's quick congratulatory words and Aiden's laughter, Ilori's eyes caught Spock's, and then his mother's.
He detached himself from Kirk and soon was swallowed by both his parents. Through the slight telepathic connection he held with his father, Ilori was blinded by the pride.
It wasn't too surprising when Ilori announced he'd been accepted to Starfleet for concentration in the command track with a minor in the sciences. It was also not very surprising, when, the summer before Ilori is to leave for the Academy, it becomes very public knowledge Gaila and Aiden have become inseparable and have fallen very much in young love.
It is, surprising, however, when Gray returns from his fourth summer visiting his grandfather at the Vulcan colony and announces he's planning on purging all of his emotions in kolinahr and eventually planning on attending the newly re-risen Vulcan Science Academy.
Ilori spends the afternoon after this announcement on the Bridge with his father, meticulously picking apart Spock's emotions by what little he exposes through his eyes.
"I suppose the colony is not the Vulcan I was raised upon," Spock finally says to him, as he prepares the daily ship report, "Do not look at me that way, sa-fu, I am not offended nor upset at Gray's choice."
They lock eyes, and Spock's are calm, cool.
"I will not be my own father."
It's the first and only time Spock has openly spoke of the tense relationship he and Sarek had once had; what they still have, to a point. He nods.
"Would you like me to complete the report?" Ilori replies, changing the subject, "I would be happy to. It is good practice, after all."
This time, Spock's eyes are undoubtedly grateful. Ilori's unsure of his brother's choice, but will love him regardless.
It's only the second week at Starfleet Academy, he's already submerged himself in classes, and naturally avoids the eyes on him and the whispers that follow when realization hits who he is. Luckily, his roommate is a well-mannered Southern Andorian who joined Starfleet on a dare and could care less of his infamous childhood, and for that, Ilori's grateful.
It's that week, that second week, as he exits the Communications building after his class, when he sees her.
Across the courtyard, blonde hair haloed by the sunlight, his eyes are caught and he stops dead in his tracks. Like a magnet, her eyes seem to find him, and a smile brightens her face, makes him nearly faint.
It's she who crosses the yard with soft footing, a shy smile, and it is she who reaches up to touch his face.
He finds his voice.
"Neela?" He whispers, in awe of the figure standing before him. She's older, yes – but more beautiful then he could have ever imagined she'd grow up to be. She nods, the smile, if possible, brightening even further.
Her laugh is musical when he pulls her into a hug.
It was after graduation, after seeing Gray off to the newly erected Vulcan Science Academy, after he'd brought Neela home and introduced her as his girlfriend, and even after Nyota and Spock had retired from the Enterprise to teach at the Academy for the remainder of their years together.
It was after both Ilori and Neela had been assigned to the USS Tremor as the youngest First Officer in Starfleet history (beating out his father by three years) and Navigator respectively that it happened.
It was fast, and hardly painful, lots of bright colors, no warnings. The ship was doomed, way before Ilori abandoned his post in search for his girlfriend, the girl he had a ring buried deep in his sock drawer for. The escape pods had been destroyed in the blast, they were too far away from anything remote to beam off the ship. The closest sister vessel was the Enterprise, ironically enough, but she was still several light years away and now considered a senior ship. She simply would not move as fast as the newer, updated ships to arrive in time.
They were doomed. Ilori knew the implications of such an admittance of defeat, knew this was it. As he held Neela's clammy hand, as he tucked her body close to his, he couldn't help but feel disappointment rather than fear or acceptance. He was to die at the hands of a surprise attack, with no real battle to speak of, at only 23 years old. It hardly seemed fit of anyone nonetheless him. He'd grown up on the Enterprise, seen and heard of bravery beyond anyone's wildest dreams. He'd lived amongst the brightest most brave, he'd learned to love and accept and grow to know who he was and who he would be, to love his family, and another.
He'd been thought to accomplish great things, he was a strong asset to Starfleet and had worked hard to live up to his parents' legacies.
Instead – instead, he was going to perish, here, on a ship that was helpless, burning from the inside out, standing with the love of his life.
So be it.
He contemplated for mere moments comm-ing his parents for a final word, but it seemed selfish. He knew he wouldn't have wanted to receive that message.
He thought about a lot as the ship came to pieces around them, down to the very first time he'd been on a ship's bridge, sitting on his father's lap as he "directed" it to warp. He remembered his mother and her soft stories of the United States of Africa as a child, remembered hearing stories of his parent's unique courtship, their love. He'd always felt blessed to have had them, knowing the difficulties they'd gone through. He often wondered if he would've ever been able to stand tall and together like they had in the faces of adversity. He wondered if he would've been able to love his children unconditionally like they had, down to every quirk, flaw and unique decision.
He thinks of his twin siblings, each pursuing a life without one another physically but always supportive of one another emotionally. Of Gray, flourishing in the Vulcan Colony, despite once arguably being the least Vulcan of them. Of Gaila, in her first year at University, studying to be an educator of children with a concentration of inter-species relation, of her strong bond with Aiden, who's love for her often makes him glow.
He thinks of the woman in his arms, who, at the last moment, lifts her head up to capture his lips with hers. She's faced many a roadblock in her decision to join Starfleet, to come back to him. She's lost her family, but gained a new one.
He presses his fingers to the pressure points in her face to join them as one in a meld as everything white-washes around them.
And then that's it.
They don't hear about it from Jim, who's aboard the Enterprise and the first to respond. They don't hear about it from private communications in their quarters or from uniformed Starfleet officers with stoic expressions and a manila folder.
Spock is in his Advanced Phonology lecture, a lecture that seems to always bring back the sweetest memories of his courtship with Nyota. It hardly feels like nearly thirty years later; the information he's teaching is fairly much the same, the faces of eager and bored students mirror those from when Nyota used to sit at the assistant desk near his podium. The only difference now, though, is that the uniforms have changed, just slightly, and she's no longer in her designated spot, but in a lecture a few feet down the hall. When the students are bent over tests or reading, Spock sometimes closes his eyes and imagines he can hear her clear voice speaking in whatever language to her first years in her own classroom, and it brings him comfort in a small way.
It's that day, as he's got his eyes closed, searching for his bonded's mind through the melee of the day's work when an emergency beep sounds. His eyes fly to the podium where the computer indicates a very important message to all Starfleet staff and students, and a quick glance tells him all of his students had also received the message.
And then chaos erupts.
It's simple, direct and emotionless. It simply states the USS Tremor had been destroyed in a surprise attack by an unknown force and that the USS Enterprise had been sent to respond to the emergency call. As of that moment, communication with the Enterprise was down and that they weren't sure of her status, but that she'd been very far away from the Tremor.
The sentence he keeps re-reading, however, is the last two.
"We believe, however, at this time that there are no survivors from the USS Tremor, and are unsure of the status of the Enterprise's crew as well. We will remain in communication transmission to keep you aware of all updates."
No survivors on the USS Tremor. Unsure of the Enterprise. No survivors. No-
Above the din of the cadets speaking rapidly with one another Spock is dimly aware of the door of the lectern at the top of the stairs opening.
He feels her then, and looks up.
Nyota is there, and their eyes are locked. She's gone at the sight of him, tears erupting from her eyes unlike anything he's ever seen before. She's a rare crier; usually saving tears for happy moments rather then succumbing to sadness.
He couldn't blame her, this time. He was crying too, inside. The waves of grief that was threatening to overtake him was making his hands shake, and he tried to suppress it, tighten it back.
She's in his arms then, crushing him, holding him tight; intact as he broke into little pieces under her fingertips. She's pressed her forehead to his, ignited their bond to share his grief and collect it with hers to lessen the pain.
No one else exists then, he's poured himself into her, into containing himself and their connection - of mourning, of his broken family.
He whimpers, she swallows it with a kiss.
It's reassurance he's not alone in his grief, but not without acknowledgement of what they've lost. It took him back, to the day in the lift on the Enterprise; his planet massacred and his mother slipped through his fingertips.
He survived that, he knows, but it's painfully honest when he thinks he's not sure how he's going to survive this.
Through their bond, he's not surprised to find out she feels the same way.
It happens like this – the Enterprise is the old hag of the fleet, years beyond the newest ships and more often then not, limping along as best she can. She's been reduced to short, two and three year Exploration peace-keeping missions, and is often no more then a handful of light years away from the majority of the fleet lest she break down and have to be hauled away. Captain Jim Kirk is still at her helm, and is most often thought to most likely be there until the end of his days, and there's still the majority of the original crew with him, save for Spock and Nyota and Chekov, who, at 38, had been transferred to a mainland post after his son was born.
She was still an incredible ship, a powerful asset to the fleet, but she was passed by, often, for post requests by new cadets because she wasn't the prettiest, shiniest one anymore.
That suited Jim just fine.
It made the Enterprise a comfortable work place, gentle and easy to grow old on. He still got his adventure, but held his familiarity.
Aiden had skipped Star Fleet Academy altogether when he'd requested to Command that he simply just join the Enterprise as staff, arguing that since he grew up on her that no one else could understand how the ship worked like he did. They, in a rare move that showed their respect for Jim Kirk still long-standing, allowed such a move, and Aiden worked steadily as a science officer.
The emergency comm from the Tremor startles Jim; it'd been years since an attack of that nature on any Star Fleet ship.
It'd been a quick decision to punch it to warp to get there, but Sulu's expression wasn't too positive.
"Captain, we most likely won't get there in time," He says, and there's unspoken words in the air about Ilori, about how dreadfully aware they are that he's onboard with Neela.
"Punch it," Kirk replies, determined.
It's two days, and Spock has fallen ill with grief in a way that Nyota has never seen. While he's speaking very easily, like he's fine and coming to terms, she's very aware to how much pain he's bearing, not only because she's bearing the same amount; but because she could feel it through their bond.
Gaila arrived first, crying since the moment she'd been enveloped in her mother's arms. Gray is there less then a day later, stoic and so Vulcan for a moment Nyota's breath is taken away. He had very much purged everything, and while at first it angered her for his lack of emotional reaction towards what seemed to be the loss of his brother and quite possibly his extended family through the Enterprise, it turned out to be a rock and grounding. The rest of them were breaking enough for him; they needed someone to react logically.
There's no still no transmissions from the Enterprise by the third day, and the entire community had been assuming the worst. It was a common belief that the Enterprise should've been docked years ago, and this was only confirmation of that belief.
Then, it happens.
The computer communication board in their quarters on campus flickers to life, and although there's static in the viewscreen, there's certainly a voice over the crackling.
"Spock, Uhura!" It's Jim, for sure, and the collective breaths seem to exhale.
"Yes, Jim? Can you hear me?" Spock answers, leaning in close to hear.
Then it's a different voice.
"Father," It's Ilori, oh it's most certainly Ilori despite how hoarse and emotionally compromised he sounds, "I am here. Neela is here. We are okay."
Then, it's Kirk again, who's got a smile in his voice.
"I got them. We're on our way home."
What had happened is this:
The USS Tremor, arguably the newest, most beautiful ship in Star Fleet, had been attacked by an injured Romulan war-bird who mistook it for the enemy. It had destroyed the ship; utterly and completely.
The Enterprise, pushed beyond it had ever been in years, had shorted itself out in the trip to save the Tremor and it's crew. She was hob-knobbling along, just barely, when she got there, and it was utter chaos. Aiden had beamed onto the decaying Tremor and began getting as many people out as he could. He'd stumbled upon Ilori and Neela in the midst of their goodbyes, and without so much of anything, beamed them right out of there.
As soon as Ilori had realized he'd gotten saved and it was one of his oldest friends that had done the saving, he'd pushed a hyperventilating Neela in McCoy's capable hands and went back to the ship with Aiden and Kirk.
All in all, they'd saved 300 of the Tremor's 500 passengers. While it truly not really being enough, it was better than the fate they'd resigned themselves to and he and Neela had clutched one another on the bridge.
The Enterprise had to be towed along one of NuVulcan's transportation vessels back to Earth, but she had made it, although she'd been officially forced into retirement.
It was bittersweet for them, as they'd taken their last steps off of the Enterprise for the very last time.
However, the sight of his family waiting for them at the dock erased the sadness from his eyes. He and Neela allowed themselves to be folded into embraces, which even included Gray.
He allowed himself to cry, a luxury he hadn't indulged in since he was a child.
The doors swished open; in stepped his First Officer, his friend, his brother-in-law. His eyes were serious, his stance ridiculously similar to one the man's father would hold.
"Captain," He addressed Ilori, stepping closer to the Captain's chair as he sat down at the Science station, "We have been informed by command we are ready for take off."
Ilori swiveled in his chair to face Aiden, who's dropped the serious expression for a more familiar smirk. His eyes cascade over the shiny new bridge, the floors, just mopped and shined, the consoles, completely hand-cleaned, the windows, clean and clear. He couldn't believe this was happening.
"Lieutenant White," He looks at Neela, who's expression is concentrating and professional, "Are we ready to go?"
She nods, her eyes twinkling.
"Then, Lieutenant – bring us –"
"Wait." Aiden says, and all eyes on the bridge swivel to the man before them. He stands, pulling a small bottle of champagne.
"Our parents were never able to give the original Enterprise the pomp and circumstance she deserved on her maiden voyage," He says, locking eyes with Ilori. His voice breaks as he continues, "In fact, I'm not quite sure anyone truly knows what incredible people they were, except maybe those of us who grew up on the ship…"
Ilori's eyes snap from Aiden's, to Neela's, to Lee Sulu's, who was standing on the bridge a way's back, having come up to the bridge from engineering. Ilori can feel the others too, even if they aren't there right that moment; his twin siblings (one of which Aiden Kirk is married to), the others who work on other areas of the ship that are kin to original and other members of the original Enterprise.
"But for my whole life, despite our differences and bumpy roads, we have strove to be like them; to live and love just like they did." He starts pouring very small glasses of the bubbly liquid and passing it out.
"…And we will. We will live, love, and continue to strive to be like them. We will love one another like they did, we will persevere like they did, and we will grow like they continued growing." Aiden's eyes are tearing now, and Ilori watches as a tear falls. The other man is hardly abashed; he lets it fall.
Finally, Ilori speaks up, raising his little cup.
"To the next generation." He says. Aiden's eyes lock with his and they share a smile.
"To the next generation." Everyone repeats. Ilori removes his gaze from his friend's, but not before catching a wink, before turning to sit back down on the Captain's chair. He smirks at Neela, who looks as moved as he feels, as the serious tone falls on the Bridge once again.
With a continuous smirk at his bondmate, Ilori touches his two fingers from his left hand to his right in a sign of affection before addressing her professionally.
"Lieutenant White," He says, looking ahead at space, which stretches on and on forever. It reminds him of simpler days, of the moment he'd first step foot on a Bridge and sat in a Captain's chair; his father's quiet approval in his ear as his uncle told him to order the ship to warp. It hit him like a warm wave; it touched him and made him want to laugh, cry, run away and embrace. Instead, he held onto his Vulcan resolve and continued:
"Take us out."