MEDAL OF VALOR
A HUGE thank you to my beta, Simplymare, who stuck it through for the entire story. Her encouragement, editing, and suggestions were my gift.
The disclaimer is the usual with the exception that the original characters and creatures are mine.
A/N: This is it, the final chapter. So, read slowly.
Kirk squirmed in his red tailored dress uniform. He knew he looked good, but he sure would feel a whole lot more comfortable when he could change back into his working uniform. The occasion did make it worth the discomfort though, as he stood on the Enterprise hanger deck waiting for the doors of the newly arrived shuttle to open. It was not often that a Starship captain had the honor of an admiralty visit, and considering there was no admiral he'd rather welcome onboard than Christopher Pike, he knew he could deal with his uniform's snug collar a little longer.
Pike had hooked a ride on the long distance shuttle Roddenberry, and was just in time for tomorrow's Medal of Valor Ceremony on New Vulcan honoring the Enterprise's First Officer, Commander Spock. The Enterprise was buzzing with excitement. Tonight there would be a dinner at the Earth Embassy hosted by Ambassador Eastcott and Ambassador Sarek to welcome the Admiral. The diminutive peace-brokers, the Addie Ures would attend with their principal negotiator, Friwis, as well as the few remaining dignitaries who had stayed on New Vulcan. It would be a much smaller event than the previous state dinner, and although it was still a large affair, it had a cozy, more personal feel to it. Kirk thought perhaps later, after the dinner, he could coax Pike into a drink in his quarters, and there they could talk informally and freely. He looked forward to it.
Standing next to him was Spock. The First Officer's arms were relaxed at his side but his posture was ramrod straight. Beside Spock stood the ship's CMO, Dr Leonard McCoy, with a small group of his handpicked medical staff to attend to Admiral Pike if needed.
On Kirk's other side stood his Chief Engineer, Commander Montgomery Scott, and beside him was Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, ship's Chief Communication Officer. Kirk could not imagine a finer group of officers or crew for that matter, than these people whom he had the honor of commanding.
The doors to the shuttle Roddenberry opened, and all those on the hanger deck snapped to attention as Admiral Christopher Pike emerged. Even seated in a wheelchair, Pike epitomized dignified authority. He was dressed in admiralty white, and looked fit and healthy. Experience and intelligence were reflected in his handsome lined face, and his wavy graying hair added a touch of humanity to the rank he carried so well. He fixed his brilliant blue eyes on the young captain as Kirk stepped forward to greet him.
"Welcome aboard, Admiral Pike. It is our honor to welcome you to the Enterprise."
"And my honor to be here. I hope you've been taking good care of her, Captain."
"Yes, Sir, but only with the help of the best crew ever assembled." Kirk stepped back to introduce his Command Staff, who waited at attention behind him.
"My First Officer, Commander Spock, whom you already know of course."
Pike gave the Vulcan salute to Spock who returned it. "Spock, you are a hero to your people, and to me. I am deeply honored to be here for the Medal of Valor Ceremony."
Spock spoke, his eyes still facing straight ahead as he continued to stand at attention. "Your words are most kind, but undeserved, as any Vulcan would have performed in the same manner if they had been in the situation."
Pike smiled warmly, fully appreciating the undemonstrative style of the Vulcan. He said softly, "I am more than glad that you have recovered. You would be hard to replace."
A slight dip of the head was Spock's only reply.
Kirk moved on to the doctor. "My chief CMO, Dr Leonard McCoy."
"I am pleased to see you again, doctor. You are a credit to the Medical Core." Pike reached out to shake the doctor's hand.
"Thank you, Admiral. You look terrific, if I might say."
"Thank you doctor… however I see you brought some of your 'friends' just in case I should start to get a little space sick?" Pike said with a grin.
"Like a Boy Scout, I'm always prepared, Sir." Pike responded with a sly grin. It would out of character for the doctor not to be prepared, especially with an disabled admiral onboard.
He then moved on to the next officer awaiting his greeting.
Kirk said, "I do not believe you have met my Chief Engineer, Commander Montgomery Scott, known on board as, Scotty."
"Admiral, it is my privilege to meet you, Sir."
"Commander Scott, I have heard much about you", Pike said with a mischievous smile.
Scotty looked slightly nervous for a moment before refocusing his usual confidence. "Well you can't always believe everything we hear now, can we Admiral." He flashed a charming boyish grin as he shook Pike's hand.
Kirk continued. "And last but far from least, my Chief Communications Officer, Lt. Nyota Uhura."
"Ah, yes, Lieutenant. I meet you briefly on the bridge that fateful day."
"Admiral, it is good to see you again." She took his offered hand.
He continued in Vulcan, "Vesht sarlah nash-veh pon gart'eg rihag tu." ("I know these last few weeks have been difficult for you.")
"Ha. Nemaiyo mesh-vel-raul." ("Yes. Thank you for your concern") Her tone was hushed, but gracious.
Addressing the larger gathering, Pike said loudly, "At ease ladies and gentlemen. It's good to be back on board the Enterprise".
He looked over the assembled Starfleet officers and enlisted men and women as they relaxed their posture, seeing faces young and old, filled with possibilities and hope. He smiled and continued, "May all her future voyages be on smooth seas, with a fair wind. You are a credit to Starfleet, your countries, your people and your parents. May God bless you all."
Applause broke out among the crowd, and the Admiral waved high in the air, first with one hand then both, acknowledging their respect and appreciation.
As the applause subsided, Kirk leaned into Pike's chair and added, "Admiral, I'll escort you to your cabin where you can freshen up a bit and change to a working uniform. I've scheduled an engineering tour with Commander Scott so you can see firsthand just what we've done with the Enterprise. I have a small reception planned to officially welcome you this evening before we beam down to New Vulcan for Ambassadors' Eastcott and Sarek State Dinner."
"Thank you, Captain. I shall look forward to it."
As the admiral maneuvered his brain- actuated wheelchair ahead, Kirk stepped out behind him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Uhura touch Spock's arm and steer him away from the dispersing crowd. She hadn't looked happy for the last week, and he was quite certain he knew what the problem was.
Sarek had told the young captain of the Re-Population Initiative and Spock's potential role in it. Kirk hadn't talked to his First Officer about it and didn't know what Spock's decision was. It was a private decision, being made by a private person, from a very private race of people.
But he felt he already knew what Spock's choice was, and he could only imagine how Uhura was feeling. She'd been quiet; kept to herself on the bridge, but her work continued to be exemplary. As far as he knew, she still spent her nights with Spock.
Kirk had already received approval from Star Fleet Command that, as concerned the Initiative, Spock had carte blanche approval. The rebuilding of New Vulcan and the survival of the Vulcan race was a top priority to Starfleet as well as the Federation. As of right now, considering the horrific losses they'd both suffered, all bets were off as to whether the Vulcan race or the Federation of Planets, for that matter, would survive to the next century.
There was no shortage of Federation rivals that would like to take over. The Romulan threat had always been present, but now they could literally be at the Federation's door step just waiting to make their move. The drama they staged just weeks ago over New Vulcan was fresh in everyone's mind. And the Klingons were a wild card; no one could predict just where they might show up.
The sudden picture of the fleet's destruction at the hand of Nero flashed across Kirk's mind, causing him to involuntarily shutter as he walked through the shuttle bay doors. The one thing he felt sure of; was nothing was sure.
Pike spent the afternoon being amazed, astonished, and occasionally dumbfounded by Scotty's engineering accomplishments. Many technologies, like the engineer's transwarp beaming formula, were far beyond the Admiral's knowledge base. It was later, at the Captain's reception that Pike exclaimed how amazed he was at Scotty's acumen. Kirk had to agree that few could follow the gifted Chief Engineer's thinking other than Spock, Ensign Chekov and a few of Scotty's own staff.
The Enterprise's command staff was all present, with the exception of the First Officer, who had beamed down to the planet surface in preparation for that evening's dinner at the Earth Embassy. Everyone was dressed in Starfleet dress uniform, and the energy in the room was barely contained by the Observation Deck's walls and windows. Although many of the higher- ranking officers would need to stay onboard for tomorrow's Medal of Valor Ceremony, tonight they all could attend the Embassy dinner, while a junior staff took over the ship's systems.
Pike soaked up the young crew's energy, and they gravitated to him like asteroids to Jupiter. Conversation and laughter filled the space as everyone celebrated their fellowship and the coming event.
Kirk noticed that Lt. Uhura was there, beautiful as always, but her mind was obviously somewhere else. She had spoken briefly with the Admiral but clearly wanted to move away, unlike the rest of the Enterprise staff that just wanted to spend the evening it seemed, in orbit around Pike.
He found her standing alone to the side of the large observation window watching the dusky red planet slowly spin below them. Kirk quietly approached her.
"Nyota, if you'd like to talk about it, I'd be glad to listen."
She continued looking out the window, her thin shoulders bent forward, as if she wanted to draw into herself.
"Thank you, Captain. I think I might take you up on that." She lifted her face, a faint smile tugging at the corners.
"I'll do whatever you and Spock might need to make this work. It's important to you, to Spock, to me, and Starfleet", he said somberly.
"Nero still hasn't finished spreading grief and suffering, has he?" She asked rhetorically, turning to face him.
"No. No, it's not over yet." He paused a moment and quietly considered the view. "You'll come to the Ceremony tomorrow?" He asked.
"Yes, of course. And to the dinner tonight. I might lose Spock, but Spock has already lost so much more: his mother, his home, his planet, his people… maybe forever."
She turned back to the window, her posture becoming taller, straighter. Her voice gained confidence and resolution.
"I've worked hard for what I've achieved. I've committed my life to Starfleet, which is what I've always dreamed of doing. I travel the stars. I communicate with beings that we might have never known existed if I wasn't here. I have a gift that can't be wasted. I need to make a decision, Captain. Yes, I'd like to talk."
He flashed back in his mind to a time shortly after he'd become Captain, when he'd approached her in the turbo lift. It was when he first realized she and Spock shared a bed. He didn't know the Vulcan well, and was unsure of how to approach him. She had been hostile almost insubordinate in her defense of Spock's privacy. Now, she not only was willing to but wanted to share her feelings with him. Things change and people do to, he thought.
He gave her a gentle squeeze on the arm and said, "Anytime. Just let me know."
The Earth Embassy sparkled in the New Vulcan twilight like a grand, but miniature galaxy of its own. Light spilled out the open windows, along with laughter and music, like waves to lap at the darkening red sand of the desert. Guests were arriving by foot, hover cars, transport beam, and a few low altitude shuttles. The air had cooled from its day time oven-like temperature to a pleasant warmth. There were members of the Vulcan Defense guard stationed at the door but they seemed to be there more to keep a few curious psherks from inviting themselves in, than for any serious security threats.
The Enterprise party materialized a short distance away, and Kirk took a few moments to enjoy the solar warmth of the breeze, and the anticipation around him. The Orion delegation, which had stayed on the planet were just arriving, looking especially alluring in their usual provocative formal dress attire.
The Enterprise crew followed them in, gaining appreciative looks and seductive smiles from the Orions, who clearly enjoyed the visage of the youthful, fit crew. Once inside they quickly dispersed to socialize with the variety of guests, Uhura notably sticking with Lieutenant Sulu.
Earth Ambassador Eastcott quickly caught up with Pike and Kirk.
"Admiral Pike, I am more than pleased that you were able to join us tonight and for the honor of tomorrow's ceremony."
"Thank you, Ambassador. You couldn't possibly be more thrilled than I am, though. A chance to get away from Starfleet bureaucracy and sitting at a desk all day is better than getting a slingshot tour of Saturn's rings."
Eastcott turned toward Kirk, her black eyes sparkling in the hall's lights. "Captain, I'm so glad to see you again, and for seeing to it that the Admiral made it here safe and sound."
She extended her hand and offered a firm hand shake. She was dressed in a cobalt blue dress, highlighted with shimmering beads at the rounded neck line that emphasized the rich mahogany tones of her skin. She was a good deal shorter than Kirk, but her carriage was strong, almost regal. He'd never been able to pinpoint her age as her skin was flawless, but she'd had a long career in the diplomatic core having started as an aid to the previous Earth Ambassador to Vulcan and working her way up as a translator, policy advisor and Deputy Ambassador. And although she would never be described as slender, she had a grace that understated her intelligence, quick thinking, and calm competence under fire.
"Captain, I'd like to thank you for allowing Ensign Prince to transfer to my Embassy. All Federation and Starfleet installations are terribly short staffed due to the loss of life from the Narada's attack on Vulcan and the fleet, so for you to give up one of your finest security officers, I'm sure, is a notable loss."
"It is Ambassador, but I believe that the Ensign will have a more satisfying career on New Vulcan. As you know he has taken quite an interest in Vulcan culture. By the way, you should ask him about his nickname. It was quite popular on the Enterprise."
She looked at him with a twinkle in her eye. "Ah, yes… my favorite dessert!"
She continued, "Now, I know this isn't the time or place for lengthy discussions, but I am an ambassador, and this type of event is where I often get my best work done." She scanned the room, and finding Sarek along with Spock and Dr McCoy on the opposite side, she said, "Gentlemen, if you'd be so kind as to accompany me, I think I see my first target."
As they crossed the large room, Kirk could see the Addie Ures delegation talking to another group in the middle of the room. Of course he didn't actually see them, but saw their wildly colored and extremely tall hats they wore as part of their customary dress. The cone shaped hats towered above the guests and wobbled a bit, like a stand of trees in a gusty wind, as he could only surmise that their owners must have been involved in animated conversations. He would have to catch up with Peace Finder Friwis before the night was through. She'd be easy to find, he thought as her hat was the tallest, and had a gently tinkling bell attached to the top.
Spock was dressed in his Starfleet dress blues, and looked the best Kirk had seen him since the attack. He was almost fully recovered, and other than needing McCoy- prescribed-and-enforced rest breaks during the day, he was back to full time duty. The doctor would personally show up on the bridge like a school truancy officer, and basically harass Spock until he acquiesced and went to his quarters.
They would bicker and argue like an old married couple, Spock arming himself for the word battle with logic and argument, and McCoy with sheer willpower and belligerence. Of course once Spock returned to his cabin, he went back to work at his computer, reviewing scans, and analyzing data as if he'd never left the bridge. But McCoy was happy because he reasoned Spock wasn't hopping around the bridge, and running off to engineering, so he was "resting" more than he would if he was still on the bridge.
Those two had a funny dynamic, Kirk reflected, but beneath their pugnacious attitudes toward each other there was an honest foundation of respect and friendship.
"Ambassador Sarek, Commander Spock, and Dr McCoy, I am pleased and favored by your presence here tonight", Eastcott said with a slight bow.
"As we are complimented by your company, Ambassador", Sarek replied.
"Commander Spock, you look well. I was devastated by your injuries, and am most gratified by your recovery. Your CMO must be extraordinarily competent." She extended her hand to McCoy. "I am pleased to meet you doctor in person."
"My pleasure, Madam Ambassador. Now if you'll excuse me, I can see business written all over this little caucus, and I'm not looking for any more customers right now."
He quickly slipped away and disappeared into the crowd like a man running from a wild, hungry Jovian mesh-ta'll.
Sarek spoke next. "Ambassador, I am well advised that what brings you to me is not just a social visit, but has a much stronger purpose. Would you be so kind as to state what your true mission is?" His face was calm and relaxed, and although his words sounded like a challenge, - coming from a Vulcan they were only to discern her ultimate purpose."
"You know Humans so well Ambassador Sarek, and it is our gift that you do." She gracefully stepped back as in invitation for Admiral Pike to speak.
"Ambassador, I speak for the Starfleet Command when I tell you we and the Enterprise will do all that is necessary to help with the rebuilding Of New Vulcan, even if it includes the temporarily assigning Commander Spock to the planet. We do not want to put the Commander in the position of having to chose between his people and Starfleet; so we are willing to accommodate him with whatever staff and equipment he might need to take up temporary residence on New Vulcan."
Pike took a purposeful glance at Spock, but the Vulcan only nodded his acknowledgement.
"Thank you, Admiral Pike. We will try to be judicious in his services, as I am acutely aware of his value to Starfleet", Sarek said.
Kirk wanted to go over and shake Spock into saying something… anything, but Spock just continued to stand stoically silent.
It was one of the many things he and Pike talked about later that night in Kirk's cabin over drinks. Commander Luf'Tiea had also been at the dinner, but she never went near Spock or Uhura. And Elder Spock was nowhere to be seen, although Sarek reassured them that he was well.
Kirk and Pike spent most of the night talking politics, strategy, and how the Vulcans were an admiral people, but exceedingly difficult to understand some times. They both agreed that the Vulcans probably felt the same way about Humans.
The next morning, the twin suns were rising in the sky, so the day had not yet reached its full heat potential. This was a good thing, McCoy said to himself as it was too blasted hot down here to stay outside for more than a few minutes. It was one of the factors the Vulcan High Council considered when they decided to stage the Medal of Valor Ceremony outdoors in the morning before the suns reached their full glory.
Kr'trkla Square was alive with people moving to catch the best viewing positions. The plan was to create an unbroken serpentine chain of people who would participate in honoring all those who were killed in the Narada's attack by either holding hands or joined in meditation. The living chain encircled the platform, and snaked about the Square, coiling onto itself through the neighboring streets, and finally out to the desert margins.
Kirk stood near the stage with Uhura and McCoy next to him, and Admiral Pike seated in his wheel chair on his left. Elder Spock had shown up moments before, dressed in common clothing. His appearance was a surprise to Kirk, who had not seen him since the Clet-pa's attack at Sarek's home. The elder man reached out to the captain and put one hand on his shoulder, giving him a gentle squeeze. He simply said, "Jim, live long and prosper", as he gave the Vulcan salute with his other hand. Kirk would have said something, but the Elder Spock immediately moved on to Uhura, and held out his palm to her. She studied his face tentatively for a moment, and he responded with a gentle smile. She laid her palm on his and closed her eyes, as did he.
Kirk watched with concern mixed with envy as they stood motionless for many seconds. Finally she lowered her hand, and said thank you. Before Kirk could react, the Elder Spock was gone, moving through the crowd and disappearing as quickly as he had arrived.
Kirk turned to Uhura to ask what had transpired between the two of them, but the deep echoing clash of a gong interrupted him.
Sarek, Spock and members of the Vulcan High Council took to the platform. The sanctification was in Vulcan and Uhura silently mouthed the translation. It was hard to see what was happening, but that was part of the design as Spock said he was not to be the focus of the event.
An senior Council Member spoke, his words ringing through the square, breaking the silence of the crowd.
"We, the people of Vulcan from all time before, to this day, to all time forward, grant to Spock of Vulcan, son of Sarek and Amanda Greyson, the Medal of Valor.
His actions on the Day of Destruction were logical. But more than logic drove his behavior."
The steady, deep voice continued to boom out through the crowd and carry onto the desert wind.
"Our heritage, culture and history of the millenniums were saved due to his courage.For this and all time, we of Vulcan are grateful."
The Council Elder opened his palm to the sky, and from it, a small shimmering disk flew out over the crowd.
"For all other brethren lost, let us meditate or pray, as your culture dictates remembrance."
Kirk could feel the energy and the emotion of the crowd pass through him as the crowd began to mediate, pray or do whatever they wished to memorialize those lost to Nero's madness. It came to him as waves of grief, hope, and fear with tingling sparkles of individual memories: a father teaching a son, a mother feeding a baby at her breast, feelings of love springing from a lost soul. Simple things like a meal with friends, and complex things like a mathematical formulas all washed over and through him like swimming in a warm sea. He became lost in his thoughts as well as the thousands who were gathered with him. He saw Spock's rage as he provoked him into the emotional outburst that caused Spock to relinquish his captaincy to him, the podium at Starfleet Academy when he received his captain bars, the Enterprise, Spock falling from a direct disrupter blast to the chest, and Uhura's love as she lay by Spock's side as he struggled for life.
He clutched the hands on both sides of him for fear he would drown in all the emotions and recollections that swirled around him. He could see Uhura's thoughts and fears: fear of losing herself to another, anger for letting herself fall in love with a man who would forever be haunted by loss. He felt Pike's constant physical pain that radiated through his body, but he fought like the demon within so as not to give in to its overwhelming despair.
The small hovering disk that passed over his head pulled him out of the rushing stream of thought that encompassed him. He watched it as swooped and slipped silently over the heads of the thousands that were gathered. It would disappear and then shimmer as it reflected the suns' brilliant light. Although its flight was erratic, it undeniably had a purpose as it flew out to the desert edge and returned again to hover over Uhura. As Kirk gazed at it in wonder, it suddenly flew directly up until it disappeared in the glare of New Vulcan's sky. It then reappeared as it slowly glided down to the low platform in the middle of the Square, to finally rest in the out stretched hand of Ambassador Sarek.
"The Medal of Valor now belongs to us all, as it contains all our hopes, fears, loves, and the memories we carry of those lost."
He threw the disk in the air where it spun, and sparkled high above the crowd, before settling in Spock's hand.
The assembled continued in silence as Spock spoke in Federation Standard.
"I accept this tribute with humility and honor for all Vulcans and all races of people who seek peace and tolerance. Let the words of Surak continue to lead us as we heal and multiply in our new home."
He raised his free hand, making the Vulcan salute.
"Live longer and prosper."
The Vulcans returned his salute as they echoed his words. Representatives of other cultures made their own unique salutations and the Enterprise crew returned the Starfleet salute. Then, unlike an Earth assembly, the crowd quietly broke up. There were a few cheers but most of the gathering simply left. A few walked forward to speak to the officials on the platform, while some stood patiently to touch the unfinished memorial that would hold the Medal.
The Medal had been given to Spock, but his intent was to immediately bequeath it to the Vulcan people, for all those who lost their lives trying to defend Vulcan. He had accepted the honor now, but the Medal was to be placed in a special memorial in Kr'trkla Square for all to possess. This time Spock had no opposition to his wishes, as the Council voted unanimously to accept his decision. He had said from the beginning he didn't merit it, but agreed to accept it to begin the healing process, and unite a people that were quickly dividing into opposing political factions. Toward that goal, he had been successful although it had almost cost him his life.
Kirk, Pike and the Enterprise staff continued to stand until the crowd had dispersed enough for them to see the platform. Admiral Pike lead the way to where Spock and Sarek continued to accept well wishes from visiting dignitaries.
"Congratulations, Commander Spock… although I know you don't feel you deserve it, please excuse my need to say it", Pike said.
"Likewise", added Kirk. "Make that three", McCoy chimed in. "I knew there was a good reason to save your disagreeable hide", he added with a big grin.
The mood turned more somber as Uhura reached forward and discreetly touched his fingertips. Their eyes meet and words were passed silently.
Sarek broke the awkward silence saying, "Gentlemen, if you care to join me, I have four senior Council Members who would like to meet you." Not waiting for a reply, Sarek motioned for them to follow him, leaving Spock and Uhura standing on the now deserted platform. Kirk held back for a moment while the others moved along. "Spock, I'll see you before you take your new temporary assignment here on New Vulcan?"
"Yes, I will provide you with the details when I return to the ship later today", was Spock's reply. Kirk looked at them both trying to get a reading of what was happening, but only felt a profound sadness.
Later that day, Spock beamed aboard alone. Uhura had returned hours earlier, Kirk read in the transporter log. He met Spock at the transporter pad, and they walked together silently to the Commander's quarters. He was greeted by many congratulations, and deep bows from the crew members they passed in the hallways, and Spock acknowledged them all with either a nod or a slight hand wave.
The doors to his quarters swept open, and they moved inside.
"So, Spock, this is a temporary assignment isn't it? I mean I know you're going to be involved in some private details which is none of my business, but you are coming back, aren't you? " Kirk asked.
"My intent is to return, but the affairs of the Vulcan race are complex, and I would be ill advised to predict with a hundred percent accuracy when and if I will return." He began collecting small personal items and putting them in a bag.
"And what about Uhura? We'll be here another few days, but I don't know what her thinking is."
"You will have to talk to the lieutenant about her plans. I do not believe I am in a position to speak for her." He continued packing items, his back to Kirk.
Kirk took a step closer, his voice dropping to almost a whisper. "I'm sorry Spock. I'm sorry for all that has happened to you, to your people. I hope I'll see you again."
He lightly touched the Vulcan's shoulder.
"I know this isn't the standard farewell for your people, but it is for mine when we say goodbye to a best friend. Spock, can I hug you?"
The Vulcan turned to face him, his normally flat affect tinged with emotion. He slowly spread his arms and stepped up to the Captain. Kirk gently pulled him into a hug. He was initially flooded with images and feelings, but they all quickly stopped, and he could feel Spock's rigid body soften in his grasp.
After a moment Spock pulled away. "Thank you, Jim. I hope to see you again also."
Kirk reluctantly turned and waited for the whoosh of the opening door. He walked into the hallway, and kept walking to the bridge turbo-lift.
Well, there you have it. This is the first full length story I've ever written, and I have such an appreciation now for the time and effort that goes into making a well crafted story. If you liked it, please let me know. Your words mean a lot, even if they're only a few words.
As you might guess, there is a second story here, which I will start this fall. Any ideas or thoughts, send them along.
Till then, Live Long and Prosper. 9/2010