Once the doors hissed shut on his cabin, he immediately pulled off his shirt and undershirt to throw the wet items into the laundry bin. Eventually he made it to the bathroom and more importantly, the shower. Activating the hot water shower feature, instead of the sonic shower, he stepped under the falling water. The whole shower ceiling was the shower head so it felt more like just warm rain. He braced one hand against the wall and let the other arm hang limply. Behind him a quiet voice read off ship wide status reports and notes that were constantly passing by his electronic desk. The messages would continue until he stopped the flow if something caught his attention. A captain was never really alone.
His limp hand lifted and wrapped around the back of his neck before running over his head, from back to front. Water sluiced down his body and over multiple scars. Unbidden, his mind wandered to his future self and Captain Hemen. What sort of relationship did they have? Did they have kids? A shudder raced through him at that idea. His history did not imply that he could deal with kinds.
"Computer, recite facts about Lopnir," he ordered as he straightened to wash.
"Class M planet, stable environment. No major cities present. Planet inhabitants live in small clusters. Largest cluster numbers two hundred twelve. No stable government. Inhabitants are friendly. Starfleet notes that planet is safe for repair docking."
"I hope this Kilzar has some answers cause we're running out of time."
"Do they know we're coming down? Hate to scare the locals," Kirk asked as they boarded a shuttle.
"Affirmative, Captain. I spoke with the council leaders and they welcome us. They informed us that Kilzar was visiting a nearby village but would be back by this evening. They also invited us to spend our rest cycle with them," Spock said and glanced at Captain Hemen as she followed McCoy onto the shuttle.
"Sounds good to me. Bring enough medical supplies, Bones?"
McCoy balefully looked at Kirk. "These people have only minimal medical knowledge and basic supplies. Who knows what kind of ailments could be lurking about down there."
"Just don't bring anything home with you," Kirk replied with a grin.
A few moments later they were on their way down to the planet with four other shuttles. They would be landing during the morning hours which would give them ample time to explore. Spock wanted to investigate the local flora. McCoy would provide any advance medical aid that he could. The others were there with aid supplies. The two suns were bright when the crew stepped off the shuttle. A council member was waiting for them and curious onlookers were nearby.
"Many greetings, Captain. I am Mulsar, one of the village elders. Welcome to our home," he spoke, and motioned towards the spread out village.
"Thank you, Mulsar. I am Captain James Kirk. This is Commander Spock and Doctor McCoy," Kirk said and continued to identify others from the shuttle.
Mulsar led them down the hill and pointed out vital buildings. The group started to shrink as crew members stopped at areas to help. Kirk was impressed by how civilized this gathering of people were. Usually settlements like this were unstructured and unorganized. But Kirk could see a small class going on for the young ones and a market where people were bartering goods and services.
Kirk and Spock were left at the guest rooms and it wasn't long before Spock quickly departed when he spotted an odd looking plant. Kirk felt the warmth on his back from the suns as he turned to look around him. What to do for the next eight hours?
Around the fire sat Kirk, Spock, Hemen and Kilzar. The old Romulan wore a simple cloth wrapping and multiple arm bands. His body bore scars from old injuries. He was more peaceful looking than most Romulans they dealt with. A patch covered one eye but the remaining one looked sharp as it took in the three Starfleet officers.
"I know why you have come. You came to talk about Creeol. What do you wish to know?"
"We have intelligence that Creeol is planning an attack on the Federation. And you may know something about it," Hemen said and Kilzar sighed heavily.
"Let me first say that I do not agree with what Creeol is doing. He is disillusioned and beyond reasonable thought. All he can think about is absolute revenge and nothing else," Kilzar said and sipped from the mug he cradled in his lap.
He paused for a moment while he organized his thoughts. "On the day of the attack, Creeol will slip a small group of individuals into the embassy. The old plan that I knew of, before I left their company, was a school group. I don't know what it may be changed to now. The group will be small enough to not arouse suspicion and originating from somewhere as innocuous. The plan will extort any weakness. It will prey on your blind areas.
"There will be a signal hidden deep within transmissions that will sync the attack on the ships around the universe. I don't know the wave lengths but it should be easy to find if someone is looking hard for them. There is some reason behind the saying don't make anything too difficult. If you want to hide something well, you hide it in plain sight."
The group passed the rest of the evening hours asking questions and thinking out ideas. They weren't going to let anything fall through the cracks during this mission.
Scattered fires illuminated the village and the inhabitants as the family hours began. Kilzar explained that the last two hours before resting were deemed the family hours and that was when neighbors came out and congregated. Children played games, adults laughed and told jokes. The village as a whole met and interacted as a family; helping each other, exchanging advice and words of wisdom. Kirk and Kilzar were the only ones still seated around the fire. Spock has been dragged off by a group of children asking him science questions they had learned earlier that day in class. The Vulcan was only too happy to help the children learn more. Hemen was playing a game of soccer with a large group of children and a few other Starfleet officers that had come down with the group.
Kirk took another sip from the mug clasped in his hands. A young woman had handed him the mug an hour ago and he was still working on it. The liquid was fruity but potent; he knew he had a slight buzz going on. This was why he was taking his time with it. His elbows were propped on his knees and he was slowly looking around at the multiple fires. His gaze continued to travel back to the soccer game and more importantly, back to Hemen. She was laughing freely as she ran after the child in possession of the soccer ball. In the few days she had spent on the Enterprise, he hadn't seen her that free and relaxed; especially not in his presence.
Kilzar looked between the Captain and the woman playing soccer. He may have been old but the intense connection between those two was obvious. The only ones that couldn't see it were those two. He shook his head and laughed silently. And the young said the old were slow.
"Take my advice, a beautiful woman will not wait forever for a man to make his move," he said and saw Kirk twitch in surprise at the sudden voice.
Kirk looked at Kilzar and looked to where the Romulan motioned. He looked back to the soccer game and at Hemen.
"There are some things about her that you don't know. Reasons why we can't be together," Kirk replied and took another sip of from his mug.
"What is there to know or not know? You find her attractive; she finds you attractive. Reasons don't matter where love is concerned. Go to her, sweep her off her feet, and give her reasons to never forget you."
"Oh, I don't think she'll have a problem with remembering me. I already have a spot in her future apparently," Kirk replied sarcastically.
"Maybe, but do you have a spot in her present?"
Kirk paused at that and stared at Hemen as she nudged and soccer ball along and dodged around a crew member. She kicked the ball between the two rocks which took the place as the goal posts. The kids and adults on her team cheered and circled around her as she picked one smaller child up under her arm and jogged around laughing. A few strands of hair had escaped the confines of her French braid and fell to her shoulders. Some of the strands were stuck on her lips and across her nose from the moisture.
A gong went off nearby and the kids groaned. It was time to go to bed. Hemen ruffled the hair on the kids as they passed her and she waved bye as everyone started to disperse.
"Thank you for your company, Kilzar. I hope to see you in the morning," Kirk said and took the final sip from his mug and set it on the ground by the long he was sitting on.
"And thank you also, Captain Kirk. I wish we had met under different circumstances. I feel we would have been great friends. And go get that woman. Before I do," Kilzar laughed as he stood and stumbled off away from the guests' huts.
Kirk watched as the old Romulan ambled off and he turned to watch the Starfleet crew members walk towards the guest huts. Hemen was speaking with one of her team mates from the soccer match and laughing about someone's antics. Kirk followed slowly and nodded to the occasional greeting that was directed at him. He noticed where Hemen's hut was but decidedly tried to avoid it. He would not let his hormones make his decisions for him. He was a Starfleet Officer, Captain of the Starship Enterprise; not some hormonal teenager.
That logic only lasted him for about thirty minutes while he paced in his hut. The hut was simple decorated; a small table for taking meals, a chair, dresser and a bed. There was a smaller room attached which served as the private room for the shower and latrine. He wore a pair of black pajama bottoms and loose black tee shirt. Normal sleeping wear for when he was off ship. Muttering to himself that he was just going to check in on her, he slipped on his shoes and opened the door to his hut. Walking across the small clearing and pass the burning fire, he approached Hemen's door and knocked just as he reached it.
A few moments later the door opened to reveal the woman he had come to see. She still wore the cloths she had played soccer in and the loose strands from her French braid still fell to her shoulders. The words he had planned on saying were suddenly stuck in his dry throat and he couldn't focus on anything else except those loose strands.
"Damn the future," he muttered suddenly and took a bold step forward.
His left hand curled around her neck and pulled her close for a deep kiss as his right hand groped for the door to shut it. She gasped and went to move away but his right hand was now free to wrap around her slim waist and hold her tight against him. Despite trying to get away from him, a throaty groan escaped her and her body arched against him as her hands gripped the back of his biceps. While hungrily kissing her, his left hand worked its way up and gently started to loosen the French braid. Dropping the band somewhere, he buried his hand deep into her hair and gently started to loosen the strands. Abandoning her mouth, he started kissing her neck as her hair started to fall around his head in a waterfall of silk strands. She was softly gasping as he continued to attack her neck. Her hands started to stroke his lower back and hold him closer. One of her hands moved up to his upper back and pulled the neck of his shirt off to the side so she could bite down on flesh. A wave of arousal surged through him so powerful he almost cried out in the shock. It took his sexually charged brain to realize what was going on. This was his first time with her. She had been with him, a future him, multiple times; she knew exactly what he liked and how. She knew how rough and in what position he liked the most.
Kirk slowly moved them towards the large bed at his left as her hands worked under his shirt. He stepped back just long enough for her to push the shirt off in one movement before grabbing his hips and pulling him flush against her body again. His hands gently traced up her spine and felt the damp skin from her outdoor activities. He could taste the saltiness on her skin and it made him want to taste her everywhere. His lips moved up her neck and nibbled under her ear.
"Is it like this in the future between us? This good?" he murmured and her hands stilled.
"Good doesn't even begin to cover it between us. Why did you come over here? I thought we planned on just staying professional until we captured Creeol and stopped the attack?" she asked as his hands worked up her body under her shirt.
"Kilzar made a very good point. My future self has his spot with you in your future. I want a spot in your present. I find myself drawn to you. Something about you calls to me. And I'm heeding the call."
Kirk pushed her shirt off over her head and bowed his head to start kissing along her collarbone and across her chest. Hemen buried one hand into his hair while her other gripped his shoulder. She was tired of fighting it; tired of thinking of excuses why this shouldn't happen. If they averted her future then she would never have met Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Why shouldn't she have some fun? A consolation prize for losing her husband.
"Well, my call wants you on that bed under me."