By Lorraine Anderson
Commander Scott stared down into the glass on the bar. He reached his hand to pick it up, then let his hand fall to his side. It was 100 year old Scotch, and he had paid an outrageous price for the small glass... but it wasn't worth it. The whole thing just wasn't worth it.
He looked around the small bar. It was a noisy place. A couple in one corner were gazing into each other's eyes longingly. A small group were yelling at the Dabo tables... or at each other, Scott couldn't tell which. The whole station was alive and happy.
A year ago, he had been released from the transporter beam. Two years ago... subjective time... since Kirk had died. He knew that. He was there, for God's sake, when the Nexus had ripped that hole in the side of the Enterprise B and tore Kirk out into space. He had become reconciled to the fact, and had decided to go far away from Earth... far from the site of Kirk's death and he death of so many others of his friends and relation.
The freak accident that had propelled him so far into the future had been both a blessing and a curse. The new technology was wonderful... he had roamed the galaxy in that bonnie little craft Picard had loaned him, hitching rides from various Federation vehicles. Geordie had thoughtfully downloaded technical manuals and journals into the shuttlecraft's computers, and for many months, Scott had been in heaven.
But it wasn't enough. Scotty was... homesick. And there was nothing he could do about it. He had checked the records two ways from Tuesday. He couldn't go back. He had disappeared and there was no record of his return. And Starfleet wouldn't let him change back to active status... although they did offer him a position at Starfleet Academy, teaching history. Him teaching young whelps history? So he took off across the galaxy, ending up at this noisy little bar on Deep Space Nine.
Oh, it was fine for a while. Chief O'Brien seemed happy for the help, and the Cardassian technology was a... challenge, to say the least.
It wasn't fair!
News sometimes came slowly to DS9. That morning, Commander Sisko had called Scott to his office. He had chewed his lip with sympathy in his dark eyes, as if not sure how to start, then motioned him to look at his viewscreen. Scott stood in front of the desk, uncertain how to take the Commander's unusual reticence. "Commander," Sisko said, motioning to him again. "I really don't know how to tell you about this news report." He sighed. "Please. I prefer you read it for yourself."
It was Jim Kirk's obituary.
It had been published a month ago.
Captain James T. Kirk had died a month ago on ? 3, helping Captain Picard of the Enterprise D stop a madman and save a world from destruction. Picard had buried him.
Scott had staggered, then leaned heavily against the desk. Sisko looked at him sympathetically, then left the room, leaving Scott to his memories. God had given him back an old friend, then had snatched him away. It wasn't fair.
It wasn't fair.
Scott closed his eyes tightly.
"Is there something wrong with your drink?" A voice disturbed his memories. He opened his eyes to see the Ferengi bar owner's face close to his. He recoiled, then caught himself, and smiled slightly. "Ach, no, lad, it's just me. I have no taste for it tonight."
"Would you like to tell me about it?" Quark continued. "I have big ears." Scott smiled. "That's better. That line usually cheers up the customers." Quark sighed. "Why, I'm not sure. I have perfectly normal ears." He shook his head. "But enough about me... would this happen to involve the late Captain Kirk?"
Scott picked up the glass and studied the liquid. "Why should you care? I thought that all Ferengi cared for was their profit margin."
Quark shrugged. "Unhappy customers don't buy drinks. So I listen."
"Aye, it's about the Captain." Scott sighed, then picked up the glass and drained it.
Quark smiled and poured more whiskey in the glass. "Why don't you tell me about him? Even now, Starfleet considers your crew to be demi gods." He rolled his eyes. "I have a hard time believing in demi gods."
Scott snorted. "Starfleet liked us because we always came out smelling like a rose. If our luck had changed..."
Quark smiled as he wiped the bar in front of Scott. "There's a fine line between being a hero and being courtmartialed."
"And that almost happened a couple of times."
"So I hear." He started wiping a glass. "But I also hear that you saved a lot of lives... including the population of Sol III."
"Aye." Scott sighed.
"You don't sound happy about it."
"They were bonnie days."
"But you think they're gone."
"I know they're gone. I'm too old, and even if I wasn't, Starfleet has gotten... chicken."
Quark raised an eyebrow. "Chicken? I'm not sure I recognize the reference."
"Ah." Quark smiled. "Another word for cautious. An admirable trait. One that the Ferengi share."
It was Scott's turn to raise an eyebrow.
"Ferengi do not explore for the... fun of it. We prefer others to make tracks for us, while we see what opportunities they leave behind. 'He who runs away lives to trade another day.' Old Ferengi proverb." He had wiped a row of glasses and studied the final one he was holding. "But if you were truly giving up, you would be in the old Starfleet officers' home. Instead you're on Deep Space Nine. Just about as far away from the Federation you can get without getting into Cardassian space. Tell me, isn't the retirement colony some hundreds of light years from here?"
"You think you know a lot about me."
Quark smiled ruefully. "I know a lot about Starfleet. It's good business to know about your customers. Rule of Acquisition 45." He snorted. "Understanding you is another matter."
Quark looked at him closely. "They say you've even travelled in time. It's a grand concept. Think of what an ambitious person could do..."
Scott swirled the liquid in his glass. "Highly overrated."
A glint came to Quark's eye. "But think of the fortunes to be made! Why, I could be Grand Nagus..." He thought a moment. "Well, maybe not."
"Time travel is not to be used for personal gain."
"Yet you went back and picked up George and Gracie and saved Sol. I would say that that was personal gain." He glanced at the new customers coming in, then motioned to Rom to serve them. "After all, the human race would not have been wiped out had Sol III been destroyed. You interfered with time."
Scotty thought a moment. "Aye. Put that way, your point makes sense. But there's a good reason that Starfleet has banned time travel."
Quark stared across the bar. "Yes. But you're not a part of Starfleet, are you?... Tell me, how much problem would it be for you to go back a month?"
Scott stared at him and inclined his head. "You're not suggesting what I think you're..."
"I suggest nothing." He looked at Scott. "Remember that I can get almost everything for you..."
"For a price."
"And that I expect to meet any friends you happen to pick up on your journey."
Scott smiled his first genuine smile of the night. "That I will, lad. That I will."
Quark threw his cleaning cloth over his shoulder. "See? I told you I make my customers happy."
O'Brien looked up from the access corridor at Scott with an odd expression on his face, then sneezed. "Pardon me." He wiped at his nose, making it dirtier, then looked ruefully at the dust. "This isn't exactly the Enterprise. The electrostatic air cleaners don't work too well on this part of the station." He rubbed his nose again, then reached out his hand for the tool Scott was holding.
Scott handed it to him, nodding. O'Brien disappeared back down the hole. "Now," O'Brien's voice echoed up, "you say you wanted to look at some classified material."
"Aye. Since Starfleet thought I died, they dropped my need-to-know status. And, since I'm not employed by Starfleet anymore, they never started it back up." Which was all very true. Scott heard some banging and a muffled curse and smiled. In some ways, DS9 reminded him of the old Enterprise. "And it's not exactly classified material to me, laddie. The report I had in mind is something I've seen before and it's over 80 years old."
"Really?" O'Brien pounded some more.
"Ambassador Spock and I wrote it."
"Really?" O'Brien's voice sounded distracted. Scott heard a clank and another muffled curse. "What's it about?"
Scott debated a moment about telling him, then decided that he probably would be able to tell from the computer logs. Best be upfront. After all, how was O'Brien supposed to know what he had planned? "Temporal Displacement."
O'Brien emerged again. "Really?" He looked interested. "I believe I read that one." He flushed at Scott's look. "Once I got the ranking, I was curious to find out what was so dreadfully important in the classified files. So I went file cruising."
Scott smiled. "So did I."
"Most of it was deadly dull. Yours was interesting, even though I did have the Devil's own time with the math."
Scott sat back. "Spock was far beyond me, too, Miles." Although I do know enough to calculate what I want to do. "I was an engineer, not a bloody theoretical mathematician."
O'Brien disappeared. "Well, then... I don't have a problem giving you limited access. I'll take it up with Commander Sisko after I'm finished."
Scott felt a moment of alarm. Sisko was very perceptive and would put two and two together. "Could you do me a favor, Chief Engineer to Chief Engineer, lad?"
"Put that way... sure."
"Don't tell him why. He might think I'm planning something foolish."
O'Brien emerged again. "Are you?"
"Do I look like a fool, Miles?"
O'Brien snorted and smiled. "Guess not." He disappeared and started banging again. "Besides, if you wanted to break into the computers, I'm sure you could do it... somehow." Scott heard a clank. "Damn it!"
Scott stared incredulously at the big, hairy Noteteth. "'Millennium Falcon'? Really?"
The bear-like alien dropped his jaw in a smile. "You seem surprised."
"Star Wars is a centuries old Terran tale."
"And I'm a student of Terra."
Another one? Scott thought. Were Terrans that interesting?
He took a drink of his synthehol. "Your ancient myths are quite fascinating. Not only that, but provide me with a number of tools to prepare me to deal with you humans."
Scott smiled. "Luke Skywalker and Han Solo are not ancient myths. The characters were only created a few centuries ago. In fact, I wouldn't call the story a myth at all."
"Aren't they?" The alien leaned forward, and Scott got a whiff of his last meal. Noteteths were carnivores... with a vengeance. Even worse than the Klingons. Nevertheless, Scott forced himself to stay forward.
"I would call them archetypes, myself. The hero, the mercenary who learns better, the beautiful but gutsy Princess..." He smiled and leaned back. "I could discuss mythology all night, but I suspect Quark had you contact me for another reason."
Scott sat back. He wouldn't have minded continuing the discussion... Star Wars was offered as part of the mandatory performing arts class at the Academy, and he had surprised himself by liking it... but the Noteteth was right. "I understand you have a fast ship for hire, Mr..."
"Call me Chewie. Short for Chewbacca." He smiled at Scott's look. "Another affectation of mine. Much easier for Federation citizens to pronounce, although most don't get the reference. And yes, my ship is fast and is presently empty, Mr. Scott. It runs faster than it's namesake, by the way." He pulled out a compad. "This is the price. Latinum. Paid in advance."
Scotty looked at the figure in shock. Paying Chewie would clean out his savings. And, if Starfleet caught wind of what he was planning, his pension would be gone, too. He tried not to let his feelings show in his face. "Don't you think that's a bit high, laddie?"
Chewie grinned. "You're Starfleet... or were, about eighty-some years ago. You need more than transportation - you can with your status, you can hitchhike on a Federation ship - so I'm betting that what you propose is illegal and dangerous. I don't risk my skin for little to nothing, Commander Scott."
"If your ship is as good as you say it is, your skin will not be damaged."
Chewie cocked his head to one side. "But it's still illegal, eh?"
Scott considered. Temporal displacement wasn't exactly illegal... just high proscribed and very classified. "No. Not precisely. But I'm sure I can find someone who will help me for a cheaper price. I can wait." But, he thought, it would be quite a while until another one like Chewie came to DS9. He had been watching some of the wrecks that had docked at the pylons.
Chewie laughed, crossed out the price, and put another down slightly lower.
"Like I say," Scott leaned back. "I can wait."
Chewie stopped smiling. He put another, lower price below the second. "But I can't. I have another... commission... from Quark that I can take, if I want."
Scott studied him. Chewie obviously wouldn't go down any lower... and it was quite a thing Scott was asking him to do. "It's a deal."
Chewie's grin returned, leaving Scott to wonder whether he had been hasty. "Then it's a deal. Buy me another drink?"
Scott sighed, then smiled. "How much commission are you paying Quark?"
"And I'm paying him, too."
"Why, the little double-dealer."
"He's a Ferengi."
Chewie laughed. "True."
"So do we really need to buy our drinks from him? Can you drink Scotch, lad? I have some in my cabin."
"I have a passion for Scotch," Chewie said. "But I can rarely afford it." He stood up. "Lead on, McDuff."
"You read Shakespeare?"
Chewie shrugged. "I have eclectic tastes."
After they exited the bar, a chair at the next table morphed into Odo. He sat down at the remaining chair and looked thoughtfully at the table. He hadn't meant to overhear their conversation, but he had been practicing his morphing, and he often overheard things at Quark's bar.
That had been an interesting meeting. Interesting indeed. And startling. Odo had been curious about Scott - after all, he had shown up out of nowhere in a shuttlecraft nominally assigned to the Enterprise. So, after some thought, Odo had looked up Scott's record. Apart from a few bar fights and some other well- publicized incidents (which included his disappearance and reappearance), Scott's record was exemplary. Not entirely spotless, but his eccentricities were overlooked in light of his engineering abilities.
So why was he making a deal with a low-life like Chewie?
At least Chewie was an honorable low-life. A smuggler, yes. A liar, yes, but only when involving his operations. Scott could have done worse.
Odo shook his head. What was he thinking of?
His com-badge spoke. "Odo?"
"There's a report of a fist-fight down on Deck 2, section 47. Can you investigate?"
"On my way." As he got up, he once again glanced at the table. He should keep watch of this development.
"Commander!" Chewie ran down the promenade walkway, catching up with Scott. "You really must give me some sort of a time schedule. I do have some very important clients of Ch'emma V who would like... to avail themselves of my services."
Scott sighed and shook his head. He didn't dare take the smuggler into his confidence yet. "I can't give you a schedule, lad. And I wish you would call me Scotty. I'm retired from Starfleet." He hesitated at Garak's clothier shop, walked on, then turned back, almost running into Chewie.
The Noteteth was almost jumping up and down. His client must be rich. Scott wanted to reassure him, but he didn't dare. "How are your modifications coming?" After touring the Millennium Falcon, Scott knew it was completely structurally sound for the trip and the warp engines were everything Chew claimed, but the computer system was completely inadequate. It was fine for warp speed, provided one didn't sleep too long or too often, but it used its entire resources to do only two things at one time... and Scott hoped to do at least three or four things at once. Unfortunately, in order to bring it up to speed required part of the money Scott had saved.
In addition, Chewie didn't have a transporter. Scott had to buy a portable one from Quark... at an additional expense. And the thing had a number of things wrong with it... nothing that wasn't fixable, but fixing took time and expense.
Scott took the Noteteth by the shoulders. "Don't worry, man. If all goes well, your schedule won't be disrupted in the least." He looked past the alien into Garak's shop. "Excuse me," he said. "I have to pick something up."
"He bought clothing?" Odo drummed his fingers on his desk. "And what's so unusual about that? You do, after all, run a clothing store."
"Excuse me, Mr. Odo," the Cardassian smiled, "You did ask me whether I noticed anything unusual with Mr. Scott."
Odo inclined his head. He wasn't generally in the habit of using shop owners as ersatz spies, yet this was not the usual type of operation. And, while Odo wouldn't generally trust Garak with station secrets, he was useful in other ways.
"Well," Garak continued, "He didn't buy clothing for himself. In fact, the height and weight he gave didn't really match any of his known acquaintance on the station."
"Maybe he was getting clothing for a friend."
Garak nodded his head. "Undoubtedly - but why at my humble shop?" Odo looked at him. "Surely there would be clothing stores where his friend lives so that he might obtain a more precise fit."
Odo sat back. "I see your point."
Garak leaned forward and put his hands on Ode's desk. "Might he not be aligning himself - with the Maquis?"
Odo had already considered that. He had dismissed it, but not entirely. Stranger things had happened. The Maquis would certainly find Scott's engineering skills and battle talents indispensable. "Mr. Garak... I would appreciate if you wouldn't spread any... rumors. Do you understand?"
Garak smiled slightly. "Completely."
"Thank you, Mr. Garak."
"Your servant, Mr. Odo." Garak bowed slightly. "I needed some excitement. One does find one's lifelong passion to be a bit tedious at times." He straightened and left the room with a smile.
"I'll bet," Odo said, staring intently at the retreated Cardassian.
"Were you followed?" Chewie said, closing his the Millennium Falcon's doors behind Scott.
Unnoticed by both of them, a small white mouse slipped in. He looked back at the closing doors, then scurried under a panel, positioning so that he would get a good few of both participants. Odo sighed. He still had no idea what Scott had planned to do. He looked around the room, and was pleased to notice a phaser on the opposite wall... the only problem with changing forms was that he couldn't transport phasers.
Scott set his pack down. "Of course I was followed. I told the whole bloody station I was leaving."
Scott smiled at the Noteteth. "Did you think, lad, that moving my shuttlecraft onto your ship was going to go unnoticed?"
"Why, then did you move it on the sleep shift?"
Scott sighed. "Because I couldn't sleep, lad. I'm not a young man anymore. And... was getting nervous." He muttered the last almost to myself. "Are we all set to go?"
Chewie looked unhappy, and Odo was puzzled. He didn't think he ever saw Chewie unhappy. "We are. Although I wish I knew what you were planning. I don't like putting in course headings without checking them over first."
"I'm protecting you, lad. It's a big thing I'm dragging you into. We're breaking one of the bigger Federation laws. In fact..." he pulled out a tricorder "I'm recording this."
Chewie went to grab it, and Scott pulled back, just in time. "I'm recording it for your own good. Smuggling is illegal." His face twitched. "Some people would call this worse."
Scott deliberately ignored him. "Falcon to station. Permission to undock." He pushed some buttons on the control panel, and sat down at the control panel. Chewie sat beside him in the co-pilots seat, looking none too happy.
"You're already loose, Commander," came O'Brien's cheerful voice. "Good sailing! O'Brien out."
This had gone on long enough. Odo crawled from under the panel and morphed back into his usual form. As the vehicle moved away from the station, he grabbed the phaser, went forward and put a hand on Scott's shoulders. "I don't think so, gentlemen."
Scott's hand darted forward. The ship suddenly leapt into warp, jerking the bridge. Odo staggered back, falling on the floor, and Chewie picked the phaser out of Odo's hand before he could react, turning it around so that the business end faced Odo. "I think we have a stowaway, Mr. Scott."
Scott turned around. "Don't hurt him, lad!"
Chewie kept his eyes on Odo, who was still sitting on the floor. "Then what are we going to do with him?"
Scott looked at Odo, chewing his lip. "You aren't Starfleet, are you?"
Where was this going? "No, my allegiance is with the Bajorans, although I'm under the command of Commander Sisko."
"As I thought. What I'm going to do is not illegal under Bajoran laws." He lifted the tricorder. "For the record. You know nothing of what I'm going to do."
Odo shook his head. "All I know is that what you are going to do is somehow illegal, and I hope to stop you if I can." He looked around. "Even though the only thing I saw coming aboard this ship was a few computers and the shuttlecraft." He looked out the forward window. "Where are you taking me?"
Scott looked at Odo, and felt the back of his head hurt. All he needed was another witness... and he certainly hoped time-travel wasn't illegal under Bajoran laws. Still... "To an empty star system ten light years away."
"To dump me."
Scott knew Odo was a suspicious sort... O'Brien had told him in not so many words. Yet he had not heard that he was fatalistic. He shook his head and smiled. "Of course not. What do you think I am?"
Odo shook his head again and looked at Scott, wary. "I'm not sure. What are you?"
Scott sighed. "Lonely." He looked at the control panel. "Chewie, keep your phaser trained on Mr. Odo. I'll guide us through."
"You were anyway," Chewie grumbled, but he kept the phaser trained on Odo.
Scott concentrated on the panel, then pressed the button to allows the calculations flow in from the shuttle computer to the Falcon's. He didn't see any choice but take Mr. Odo. Hopefully, if something went wrong, he wouldn't regret bringing the shapeshifter.
More than likely, if things went wrong, non of them would live long enough to regret anything.
He double-checked the feed. It was coming in just fine... another reason he had the computers changed. The shuttle computer's and Chewie's were incompatible.
He sat looking at the figures, then had a thought and smiled. This might be a boon. He had a niggling thought in the back of his head... Odo's appearance might be the solution to that problem. He turned around.
"Lad... how are you at impersonating people?"
Odo stared at Commander Scott with shock. "You must be joking."
"I'm completely serious." He turned back to the board, then back to Odo.
"Why would I want to impersonate a dead man?"
"Aye. There's the rub." Scott smiled. "Can you impersonate him?"
Odo considered. If Scotty had asked two months ago, he would've said no. But since the incident with the fake Kira, he had been practicing. And it would do no harm to tell Scott. "Yes. I can. Although I fail to understand why."
Scott looked sad. "You'll understand." He turned back to the board. "You'll understand." His fingers flew over the board. "Coming up on the star. Brace yourselves."
Chewie looked at the window before the metal guard came down to block the approaching star. "You're diving right into the sun! Are you crazy?" He turned the phaser on Scott and fired.
"The phaser is empty, son," Scott said calmly. "You really should check that more often. "Hang on."
The ship shook wildly. As the first wave of... something... hit, Odo felt his body dissolving...
Scott awoke first. He was hoping he would; he was the only one that knew what was coming, and he had prepared himself with a mild stimulant. He glanced down at the chronometer, then spoke aloud. "Computer."
"Stardate ... . ..."
The lump that was Odo moved, then collapsed, then slowly morphed into Odo's familiar form.
"I did." Odo looked at Scott. "We travelled... backwards in time?"
"For heaven's sake, why?"
Scott told him.
Odo turned and paced back and forth in the small cabin. He looked at Commander Scott, started to say something, then made a small noise of exasperation and turned away. The human must be mad. Must be. Yet he looked into his face and saw a calm and determination that Scott had lacked in his whole time at DS9.
He's lying. Must be. Yet usually Odo could tell when a human was lying. He didn't get that sort of vibe from Scott. And why would he make up such an incredible story?
Odo paced back and forth, his thoughts darting to and fro. Finally, he stopped and looked at Scott, who had been waiting patiently. "Why?"
Scott sighed. "Lad, I could give you a dozen reasons. Kirk being too young to die. Kirk being a good men who has much more to give. Many more reasons." He sighed. "The fact is... I was lonely. My relation are gone, McCoy's an old man, Spock is saving the Romulans, the rest are scattered or gone, Starfleet won't take me back..."
Chewie had woken up by this time, had glanced startled at the chronometer, and started to say something. Odo motioned him to silence. "I think you may have felt guilty, too."
Scott considered it calmly. "Aye. There was that."
Odo paced to the back of the bridge, then turned forward again. He should be mad. He was not. "Time travel is not a Bajoran offense. I could charge you for kidnapping, but I was an involuntary passenger, not a deliberate one."
Scott seemed to relax. "Do you mean you'll help?"
"I will try." He lowered his voice. "But have you considered that it may be his time to die?"
"Aye." Scott lowered his head. "I have. But at the least, he'll know I'm there."
Scott slammed his drink down, stared at the man in front of him, and exhaled forcibly.
"I take it I did a good job?" Odo said drily. He walked around the table of the mess hall to stand in front of Scott.
"Beautiful." Scott swallowed. "My word, lad, if you can do the human form so well, why..."
"Do I keep the form I do." Odo sighed. "It's familiar. It makes humanoids pause." At Scott's questioning look, he added. "Because they're not sure where to classify me. And humanoids love to classify things."
"Hmmm." Scott was still staring at Odo.
Odo stood still for a second. "Should I change back?" he said finally. "I seem to be making you uncomfortable."
Scott shook himself. "I'm sorry. No, you said you needed to see how long you could maintain... him." He looked away. "It's uncanny on how much you even sound like him."
Chewie walked in, glanced at Odo, then did a double take. "Who in the hell is that?"
Scotty glanced at Odo, amused. "It's Odo."
Chewie sat down. "Jesu Christus."
Scott picked up his drink, wiping up the mess before him with his napkin. "No, just Odo. This is the man we're going to pick up."
"And you say this is not illegal? Impersonating Federation, kidnapping..."
"Why are you so nervous about illegalities, all of a sudden," Odo said. "I've seen the reports on you."
"Smuggling sten bolts to Arcturus is not exactly the same." He bent his head, and Scott noticed that the fur on the back of his neck was standing up.
"Would you prefer to be dropped off someplace?" Scott said softly.
Chewie looked up sharply. "You're serious?" He looked like he were considering, then stiffened up. His fur flattened out. "No. I'm the captain, and I'll stay with my ship." He grinned. "Besides... I don't think you've figured out my transporter yet."
"Why, you..." Scott grinned and leaned across the table as if to throttle the hairy humanoid. Odo laid a hand on his arm and smiled, looking so much like the Captain that it sent a pain through his heart.
"There they are." Scott's hand clenched convulsively. God, the Enterprise was a beautiful sight.
"I see 'em." Chewie muttered. He flipped a switch and sat back.
"What are you doing, Lad?" Scott's tension made his voice go high.
"I turned on my cloaking device."
"Cloaking device? I didn't see any blinking cloaking device!"
Chewie grinned. "You didn't pry the bulkheads out."
"They can still track us," Odo interjected.
"I've made... modifications."
"But that's illegal, lad."
Chewie grinned at Scott. "Any more illegal then smuggling... and travelling in time?"
Ouch. "You got me there." Scott bent over the board. "Launching probe." He turned back to Odo. "Any sign of the Klingon ship?"
Odo bent over his board. "No... wait... there they are."
"Any chance we'll be hit when they're blown up?"
Odo checked the positions and with the records Scott had downloaded onto the Falcon's computer. "Ten percent possibility. But if we go out any further, we'll be out of transporter range."
"Our shields can handle it." Chewie checked over Odo's shoulder. "And the wreckage should be stable when we have to drop shields to transport."
Scott checked the progress of the probe. "Almost down... four, three, two, one. We're down." They waited two minutes for the probe to cool down.
"Status of the Enterprise?"
Odo looked up from his board. "Just a moment... alright, they'll be too busy from now on to pay attention to us."
Scott sent a signal that opened the probe and started the camera and other sensory devices. The screen in front of him faltered, then started to transmit a picture. He adjusted it until he focused on Soren's installation. "Got him." Soren was looking down at Picard, who was caught in a opening. Soren dispassionately aimed a phaser at Picard and fired. Scott flinched. But when the smoke cleared, Picard was climbing onto the catwalk to face Soren... and Kirk was right ahead of him.
Scott felt a moment of triumph. "Get a lock on Kirk."
"Trying..." Odo muttered. "Trying..."
Scott turned around. "What's wrong?"
Chewie looked over Odo's shoulder. "He's covered with... the computer identifies it as Chronoton particles."
"The lock keeps fading in and out." Odo muttered. "It's going to be touchy."
"There goes the Klingon ship." Chewie commented. Then, a couple of minutes later. "And there goes the Enterprise."
Scott felt a pang as he watched the saucer section of the Enterprise plunge into the planet's atmosphere. He sighed. There will be another Enterprise. Starfleet won't let the name die after this many years.
He turned his attention back to Kirk. Picard was reaching out to Kirk on one half of the broken bridge. After pulling Kirk to safety, they looked pointedly at the other bridge. After some discussion, Picard left to deal with Soren, Scott supposed. He kept the probe focused on Kirk. Timing was everything.
"Are you getting a lock on him?"
Odo inclined his head. "Better than before, but he still keeps going in and out."
Scott looked at Odo. "Let's trade." If I lose him, I'd rather it be me than you, Scott thought.
"Suits me." Apparently, Odo had been thinking the same thing.
They changed places, and Scott looked at the display. Odo had been absolutely right... but Scott knew a few tricks. Then he had a horrible thought. "Chewie, we are quite far away from the Nexus, aren't we?"
"Of course," came the indignant answer. "How can I make a profit if I'm lotus-eating in some space singularity?"
Odo barked a short laugh. "Quark would be proud of you."
"Don't bring him up." Chewie turned diligently to his controls, leaving Scott to wonder what had happened.
"Kirk has jumped onto the other half of the bridge," Odo reported. Scott redoubled his efforts. "And... Soren's machine has reappeared. The bridge looks about ready to give way..."
Scott started the transport sequence. The readings flickered... then steadied. He started the transport. The readings flickered again. "Damn!"
"The bridge..." Odo yelled.
The readings steadied... and transport started. "I've got him!" Scott yelled. He kept watching the guages. "Transport complete." Yes, but in what sort of condition? Scott literally rose out of the chair and ran to the portable transporter... which, fortunately, was not far down the hallway.
He opened the door slowly, uncertain of what he would find. He looked in... and there was Kirk, sitting up on the edge of the transporter, blinking his eyes free of dust and looking wary.
Scott grinned and rushed up to him. Kirk looked up, startled. "Scotty? What in the hell..." he did a double-take. "What in the hell are you doing here? Picard said this is the future."
Scott grinned until he felt his face about ready to split open. "Picard was right, Captain. I'll explain later." He went to the door and yellled down the corridor. "Odo? Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be," muttered the shapeshifter as he came down the hall.
"You have your communicator?"
"Right here, Mr. Scott." He looked Kirk up and down, then morphed into a replica of him.
"Oh, my." Kirk said, stunned, as he circled Odo. "Scotty, you've developed some interesting friends."
"Actually," Odo said. "He kidnapped me." He stepped onto the transporter. "Ready, Captain Chewbacca." He transported out.
"Chewbacca?" Kirk's eyebrows were about ready to raise through his hairline.
"Another long story, Captain." Scott hustled him out and towards the control room. "I've given Odo a communicator that he's hidden within his body... but you have to talk to Picard. Picard is going to think you're dying..."
"Scotty," Kirk said as he settled down into the bridge's communications chair. "I'm not sure what you're doing or what you've done... but I'm glad you did it."
"I said I was going to bring you back safely, didn't I?" Scott smiled.
Two men sat in the bar at Quark's on Deep Space Nine. Kirk was ogling some of the ladies at the Dabo table, and Scott, while doing the same, was also eyeing Kirk. They had gotten back to DS9 earlier than he had expected. He had wanted to wait in real-time the three months it would take to get them back from when they started, but Chewie had insisted that they redo the time trip... if Scott wouldn't cooperate, Chewie was going to charge him triple the down time it would take for them to hide out. In the end, Scott had capitulated. Fortunately, he had the forethought to figure out the return trip calculations, and they had returned about a hour later from the origin time.
They had to time it close. Odo would have been missed.
They returned to the station with little fanfare, and, after settling into a room by a tired ensign, had headed straight to Quark's bar.
"Scotty," a voice came behind him. "What are you doing back here?"
"I changed my mind," Scott said. He saw O'Brien look at Kirk, and a frown start on his face as he looked back and forth between the two men. "May I introduce James T. Kirk... Captain Kirk's great-nephew."
Kirk looked at O'Brien steadily. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. O'Brien."
O'Brien cocked his head, looking at the two men, then pulled up a chair. "Call me Miles."
"And I'm Jim."
"Are you now?" O'Brien smiled, relaxed, and sat back in his chair. "I am pleased to meet you." He looked at Scott. "I take it you found your nostalgic trip into the computer files useful." "Aye, Miles. Thank you." Scott looked down in his glass a bit guiltily.
"I'm glad." O'Brien smiled wistfully, then shook his head.
"Chief!" They heard another voice behind them. "Could I borrow you for a moment?"
"Yes, Commander." The three men turned. Sisko was behind them.
"Mr. Scott!" Sisko said. "I thought we sent you off." He looked at Kirk sharply.
"Jim Kirk, sir," O'Brien said. "You know, he's Captain James Kirk great-nephew."
"Ah," Sisko said, looking sharply at Scott with the same wistful look O'Brien had gave him. "I see." He went up to Kirk and offered his hand. "Pleased to meet you, sir. May I talk with you in greater detail later... about your... uncle?"
"The pleasure would be mine, Commander." Kirk looked straight at Commander Sisko, and Scott knew that he wasn't fooled one bit.
"Then we'll leave you for a moment. I need to borrow Mr. O'Brien for a fix-up job on Docking Ring two."
O'Brien grimaced. "Again?" With a grunt, O'Brien got up and left with Sisko.
Scott looked at Quark. The Ferengi was arguing with an oriental looking man in a starship uniform. "You know, it was all his idea."
Kirk snorted. "Him? He's worse than Harry Mudd. Do you know that already he's tried to sell me Spican flame gems?"
"His motives may be less than altruistic, Jim, but he was the one."
The oriental man was being gathered up by a tall, sandy brown haired man, much to the Ferengi's disappointment. Kirk looked wistfully at them. "I think they're from that new ship, 'Voyager', that we saw when we came in," Scott said. "I asked before I left."
"Aye." He looked down at his glass again. "What are you going to do now?"
Kirk exhaled. "I don't know. I seem to be a man without a country. I wouldn't mind joining Spock..." He smiled. "... but I look lousy in the ears, as he so pointed out."
"I'm not ready to retire, either."
"Neither am I."
"Care to... explore some more?"
Scott smiled. "Lead on, Captain. I'll follow. Where to?"
Kirk looked ironic. "First star on the right. Straight on 'til morning. Maybe we'll find our Neverland."
"Aye, Captain." Scott felt more content than he had in a long time. He looked at Kirk as he got up to join the crowd at the Dabo table. Kirk looked happy, too.
At least Scott hoped he was.