A/N: Ok my loyal and faithful followers, this is it. I decided to end this saga before it got out of hand (and reached the 1 year anniversary of the beginning). Big thanks to all who had the patience to stick through the *entire* rambling thing and indulged my psyche with warm reviews! This story has set many records: it is the longest I have ever written, had the most traffic, and the most reviews! Yeah! Not bad for a crossover I was sure no one would find…Thanks again- love you all!
Chapter 67- Back to Life
"Well, don't you look a hot mess." Sylar sneered down at Peter who was covered in blood from his patients and looking generally disheveled from triaging the wounded.
Peter glanced at his nemesis and noted the streaks of blood hastily wiped away from his face. "You're not so bad yourself."
"Alright everybody." Jim sighed with exhaustion. "I called you all to the bridge to first and foremost commend you all on your outstanding efforts to fight this battle. I know it wasn't any of your business, but every one of you stepped up and did your part to help this crew do its duty. I don't think I'm alone when I say we couldn't have done it without you." The Starfleet crew cheered and seconded their leader's remarks. "However," he said in a lower voice "we now have to figure out what to do with you. I have two Federation ships that will be here shortly and they don't know who you are."
"It's just as well." Noah smiled. "I think we have overstayed our welcome. It's probably time we went home."
"I wouldn't say that. We kind of like having you around." Uhura shrugged. "You kinda grew on us."
Chekov agreed whole heartedly. "Yes. I vish ve could have known each other under less stressful circumstances. Like vhen people are not trying to kill us."
"Or us." Matt said without thinking. He nervously glanced at Nathan and muttered, "Sorry" although in a way he really wasn't. Sylar's lie detector went off and he scoffed.
"I'd hate to see you go too." Jim lamented. "But is it safe for you to go back? I mean, an agreement is an agreement."
"I don't know that it will ever be safe." Peter admitted glancing at Hiro. "But I think we'll be ok."
"Well, you can always come back. It is safe for you here." Sulu stated. Scotty gave him an incredulous look that prompted him to add, "I mean relatively. When we aren't being blown up or chased…or invaded…or…" he trailed off and slowly turned back to his station clearing his throat.
"But did you get what you needed?" Mohinder asked. "An agreement was indeed an agreement."
"I think we got enough." McCoy answered. "I don't know if we ever could unravel the question of what makes you all tick even if we had eternity to do it."
"I believe the mystery can be solved with enough data and patience." Spock countered. "Unfortunately in this study we did not have a sufficient supply of either to come to a firm conclusion. Further testing will be required to fully address the issue."
"So you're saying you want us to come back?" Claire asked with a smile.
Spock nodded slightly. "Despite the circumstances of your introduction to this time and the difficulties that were experienced, I do believe this has been a fruitful exchange with mutual benefit."
"Sir, the rescue ships are approaching." Sulu warned.
"Alright, I guess this is it." Jim summed turning to face his unusual conscripted crew. "It was a pleasure having you aboard. Hopefully this won't be goodbye despite the fact that we probably shouldn't have met in the first place."
"Karma is a strange thing." Mohinder warmly smiled. "Time is circular, you know. Fate may find a way to bring us together again."
"Let's hope so." Jim nodded while everyone in the group huddled together to depart.
"I'm not holding your hand." Sylar warned Peter in a low voice.
"C'mon," Peter playfully teased, "You know you want to. It doesn't make you less of a man."
Sylar's dark eyes flashed with anger. "I'll kill you when we get back. You know that, don't you?"
"You can try." He replied unconcerned.
In the blink of an eye, they were gone and the bridge seemed unbearably empty. After a moment of silence Chekov observed, "And then just like that, they are gone back many years to their own lives a long time ago."
"Yeah," Sulu noted furrowing his brow, "and I used to think crossing thousands of light years with a warp drive was pretty freaky. What just happened is pretty messed up."
Jim leaned in close to whisper in Spock's pointed ear, "Still think we violated the Prime Directive?"
Spock thought about it and calmly replied, "A technicality."
Everyone appeared in Peter's dark living room mostly because there was nowhere safer to be, but that wasn't saying much in his neighborhood. Sylar looked around in amazement and taunted, "Nice place, Petrelli. When do you actually move in?"
"You could let him borrow your IKEA catalog." Noah deadpanned. Sylar shot him an evil glance that he promptly ignored.
"Seriously, Pete." Nathan agreed. "You need a maid." He paused to look back at the folding chairs and card table that served as a kitchen set. "And some furniture."
"Ok everybody, you made your point now get out." He groused.
"I like the rug." Hiro said hopefully. "Very soft when I fall on it with strange men from the future."
"Sounds like a fetish." Matt grumbled. "TMI."
Mohinder laughed despite himself. "I'm sorry my friend, but you walked right into that one."
When the laughter died, Claire solemnly asked, "So where do we all go from here? I mean, how do we just pretend that none of this just happened?"
"The same as we always have." Ando answered placing his hand on her shoulder. "At least we got to see a future where we are known. That makes it easier to hide for now, knowing that one day we will be accepted."
"Hai." Hiro nodded with conviction. "It will be because of us and our actions that the future exists."
Noah and Peter exchanged uneasy glances over Angela's prediction. No one knew what the future now held for them, but they chose to believe they could shape it.
"Incoming hail from Admiral Pike." Uhura announced.
Jim nearly sighed with dread. "Onscreen."
Despite what he may have actually been thinking, Pike had a pleasant smile on his face. "Kirk. I see you managed to limp back to Federation space being towed by a tractor beam. Nice job in not totally destroying the flagship like a drunken sailor out for a joyride."
"Thank you, Sir." Jim uneasily replied.
"However, I see we have very different ideas about not looking for trouble in enemy airspace. Somehow a humanitarian rescue turned into a Klingon/Romulan war with you stuck in the middle and a massive repair materials bill from the Klingon Empire! Did I not make myself clear?"
"You did, Sir, but things got a little crazy."
"As they always seem to with you occupying any space." Pike scowled. "As soon as you get back to Earth's orbit to dock for repairs, I want you and Mr. Spock to personally deliver your report at Headquarters front and center. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, Sir." Jim answered defeated. Another go to Jesus meeting for another ass chewing.
"One more thing, Kirk." Pike said looking disturbed. "We got a transmission from the Romulans regarding some strange stuff that went on out there. Something about magic humans? What the hell is that about?"
"Yeah," Jim sighed glancing at Spock but finding no obvious support, "we did take on some humans that said they had special abilities."
Pike frowned. "What? Like….evolved humans? You know that's a myth, right?"
"Yeah." Jim quickly agreed seeing a possible way out of his situation. "We did some testing on them, but the data…"
"The data showed nothing special." McCoy interrupted.
Pike seemed to notice him for the first time despite the fact he hadn't left the bridge since the rescue team arrived. "Christ man, you look like hell."
Bones looked down at his blood soaked uniform and ran a hand through his hair to try to make himself look less like a wild man. "Yeah, well it was a rough battle, Sir."
Pike nodded with empathy. "So the data you have was negative?"
"Yes, Sir. The two individuals I tested were just normal human males. I can send the data to HQ after I get the sickbay back in working order."
"Not necessary, I believe you. It's just that the Romulans were making claims that these people you picked up could read minds, use some invisible force to move things and shoot fire from their hands and all manner of insane things. What's more is they say they saw them do it and they're running around the whole damn galaxy telling everyone." He sighed wearily at the stupidity of it all. "Anyway, where are they now?"
"They are unaccounted for at this time, Sir." Spock spoke up. "If they are not located, per protocol it will be assumed that they perished in the battle. Many decks sustained heavy damage and some of the crew were known to have been evacuated into space when the hull was breached."
"I see." Pike said solemnly. "Battle's a hell of a thing, Gentlemen. Dr. McCoy, forward your known casualties list as soon as is feasible so we can notify the families. Kirk- I don't know how in the hell you get yourself in and out of these kinds of situations, but keep it up and you won't live to see retirement. Pike out."
Chekov turned in his seat to face his superior. "But Commander, ve do know vhere they vent."
Spock regarded the little Russian with a stony expression. "Are you willing to attest to your theory in an official report, Ensign?"
Chekov reddened slightly when he realized how crazy it would look on paper. "No, Sir. I guess not."
"Spock! You amaze me. And they say Vulcans don't lie." Jim beamed.
"I did not directly contradict the facts." Spock clarified. "I merely stated protocol. They are not on the ship, we do not in fact know of their exact location, so they will be presumed dead. It's all a matter of perspective."
"You are my hero." Sulu chuckled.
"May I suggest another role model with better attributes to aspire to." He was slightly embarrassed and hoped no one noted the slight blush of green that swept his pointed ears and cheeks.
"I think you do just fine." Uhura teased.
After a moment of reflection, he nodded slightly. "I see. This has become a game- a game I do not wish to participate in. So, I suggest you find an appropriate activity to engage in or I will be forced to assign unappealing tasks to keep you occupied."
"I've got some plants to watch grow." Sulu volunteered.
"Yes. I can do…calculations…of some kind." Chekov mumbled.
Uhura got the hint. "Probably should brush up on some Andorian slang. You know, keep my skills current."
McCoy simply waved him off as if he dared the green blooded hobgoblin to do anything to him.
After the crew sneaked away from the obsidian eyes of their boss, Jim swiveled in his seat chuckling. "You are evil."
"On the contrary. I gave them an opportunity for freedom and wisely they accepted it. That is the very definition of magnanimous."
Jim looked confused. "Mag…whatever. So, do you think we'll ever see them again? The humans?"
"I am not certain." He admitted. "However, the chances are increased so long as the ability to time travel is retained by Peter and Hiro."
Jim smiled at his First Officer. "Admit it. You thought I was crazy at first."
The corner of Spock's mouth turned up ever so slightly and his eyes lightened just a bit. "What I have learned, Captain, is that any attempt at rational thought around you only results in headaches."
"Jim!" He howled. "Jesus, why can't you just call me Jim?"
Spock smiled to himself as he left the bridge. It was his way of poking Jim in the arm repeatedly and he saw no logic in stopping in the near future.