"Spock! I never thought I'd see you again!" Kirk emerged from the low set mud hut, a broad smile on his face. His beard was long, and his shirt bore dirt stains, obviously scrubbed at in vain.

McCoy caught a whiff of unwashed body, but ignored it. "Jim!" McCoy rushed forward to clasp Kirk's arms, but was pushed back by Spock. Spock extended an arm.

And Kirk collapsed slowly as the Vulcan's hand left his shoulder.

McCoy stood open-mouthed. "Spock?"

"That is not the Captain."

McCoy looked down as the form shifted into an androgynous humanoid shape.

"How did you know?"

McCoy glared at Spock, who Mccoy swore looked smug. "I scanned him when we landed on the planet. The readings were mostly humanoid, but there were slight differences in readings."

McCoy grunted.

No. That's not how the story should begin. Where's the description? Where's the punch? Where's the smells? Where's the beautiful girls hanging on Kirk's arm?

Scratch that. No, don't scratch that. Delete that. Can't scratch a computer screen.

Kirk emerged from the hut, a beautiful native girl on either arm, a broad smile on his face. Spock pulled his phaser and stunned the trio.

"Jealous, Spock?" McCoy said.

"Vulcans don't have emotions," Spock said tonelessly.


Sigh. This is classic Trek, and McCoy can't swear. They never swore in 1960s TV. And what's this stuff about Spock never having emotions? Didn't they ever see "This Side of Paradise"? Or "The Cloud Minders"? Didn't they ever see T'Pol and how poor a Vulcan example she was?

Oh, yeah, guess they didn't.

Picard emerged from the hut, a beautiful native girl on either arm, a broad smile on his face.

Yeah, right, dream again. Picard? He knew his share of babes, but did he ever make a move?

Well, maybe this opening will be different.

Janeway emerged from the hut, a beautiful girl-

Not Janeway. Not that opening. Can't see it.

Janeway emerged from the mud hut, a beautiful boy -

Wasn't she involved with Chakotay? Well, she did have children by Tom Paris once, even though they were amphibians and ugly as sin. Well, there was that Mark Johnson…

Oh, I have to get Callan McLeod in here, too. I promised her I'd put her name in a story. How can I fit her in?

I'll think about that later.

Pphtt. There must be a beginning of a story here someplace. Well, if all else fails, go back to the beginning.

Kirk emerged from the mud hut-


Spock emerged from the mud hut-

Well, I can see a girl on either arm. Beautiful, eh, maybe. Ugly, well, there's very few ugly girls on TV. Besides, Spock would have devised something better than a mud hut. At least a two story log cabin.

McCoy, however…

McCoy emerged from the Tyrolean castle, a beautiful girl on either arm.

And one of them had better be Yeoman Tonia Barrows, damn it.

Wait a minute…

Trumpets sounded. The drawbridge lowered. Doctor Leonard McCoy walked across the bridge, Tonia Barrows on one arm, Natira on the other, and Nancy Crater following close behind.

Captain James Kirk, just turning towards Spock, was struck by the look on his face. He turned towards the drawbridge and nearly dropped his communicator.


"Look what I found!"

Kirk looked around for a white rabbit, or maybe a tiger or two. He then walked up to Tonia Barrows and laid a hand on her shoulder. "She seems real. But I know she transferred to the Constitution last week."

Spock opened his tricorder. "She scans human."

"You better believe I am, bucko!"

Hey, I may have something here! Strange New Worlds, here I come!