Number one had come to know her shipmates well in the four years since she'd been assigned to the Enterprise. She wasn't surprised that Captain Pike had remembered her birthday. He was just that kind of person, warm and caring. It was what made him such an effective and inspiring leader. What she hadn't been expecting was for the entire bridge crew to erupt into a lively rendition of "Happy Birthday", closely followed by "For she'd a jolly good fellow" that morning when she reported for duty.
The entire bridge crew, that is, except for Spock. The Young Lieutenant sat with his arms folded and the barest trace of amusement on his face.
She made her way to her post, straight faced as always. Anyone who didn't know her would have thought her completely unaffected by the thoughtful gesture. Inwardly though, she was deeply touched and they all knew it. She was thirty-three today. The number didn't bother her. In their modern age, medicine had extended the human life to nearly a hundred and fifty years. Thirty-three was barely mature, Number One was secure in the knowledge that her best years weren't through yet. Her reasoning was almost Vulcanian, she thought with some small measure of amusement, glancing at Spock, the only person in the room who could rival her in intensity.
She took her seat, her back ramrod straight, doing her best to remain focused on her duties. Captain Pike moved to stand next to her, teasing her jokingly about her serious demeanor. Not much had changed between them since Talos IV a few days ago, for which she was thankful. Although she wouldn't admit it, the Talosians revelation of her feelings for the captain had caused her some measure of distress. She'd spent many years building up an image of herself, and for it all to come crashing down….she couldn't allow it. Her honor demanded no less.
Kelso's replacement, an exuberant young officer by the name of Daniels punched her lightly on the arm. "Loosen up", he said, before turning back to his station. Gradually, the teasing stopped and the officers moved away and she was left to herself.
If only they knew, she thought to herself. She hadn't always been the tight laced, stiff-lipped ice-queen that everyone knew her as now. She'd been young once. She'd been stupid.
For the first time in years, she allowed herself to remember the events that had shaped her into what she was now.
She'd been eighteen, attending Starfleet Academy in accordance with her parents wishes. She'd been more concerned with having a good time than living up to her parent's expectations. Looking back, she supposed that she'd been no worse than any of her schoolmates. The difference had simply been that she was less lucky.
There'd been a party, a few parties actually. And a boy, just the one. But all it took was once. One bad decision, one instant of bad luck.
It had taken weeks for her to admit to herself that she was pregnant. She could only live in denial for so long, blaming the changes in her body on stress or sickness. Being the smart girl that she was, she analyzed the situation and decided that further denial would do more harm than good.
The hardest part had been telling her parents. The look of disappointment in their eyes had weighed heavily on her. More effective than any punishment could ever be. She wished they'd yelled at her, screamed, cursed her out, even hit her. Anything would have been better than that heavy silence that had descended after her confession.
When they had spoken, their tone had been measured, their words selected carefully. She came from a very well respected family that was deeply involved with interplanetary affairs without one whiff of scandal all the way back to first contact.
They pulled her out of school for the duration of her pregnancy, arranging for her to attend her classes via video conference, a service usually reserved for non-terrestrials with specialized living requirements not conducive to Earth's atmosphere.
That was the first time she could remember throwing herself into her studies. In those few months she discovered a whole new world of knowledge and ambition she'd never even knew existed. It was during those long months of isolation that she decided what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
She couldn't deny the deep connection that she felt with the child growing inside of her, but there was no room for a child in the life of a Starfleet Officer in active duty on a starship. Her decision wasn't an easy one, but it was a necessary one. And she'd always been a tough girl.
She sincerely wanted her unborn child to have the best chance possible for a full, good life. Her parents used their connections and all the privileges that came with their status to find adoptive parents worthy of their daughter's high standards.
She handled the adoption process with a maturity that they had never seen in her before. She was objective and decisive, holding no romantic notions about her situation. Her situation had forced her to grow up a quickly in those months. Perhaps too quickly, but she reminded herself, that it was her own decisions that had brought her there, and it was her own responsibility to handle it as she saw fit.
Looking back, she knew now how lucky she had been to find a ready and willing couple of the same species. The Chapels were a young and friendly Martian family that met all her standards. Mr. Chapel had been born and raised on Earth before his work in Biochemistry took him to Mars, where he'd met his wife.
Mrs Chapel was a well regarded journalist who's work took her to political gatherings all over the federation.
The couple was well off and of a high social status. After five years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive, they had turned to adoption, and were overjoyed to find a willing candidate so quickly. Number one was sure, that with them, her child would have a well rounded education and every opportunity.
She'd been barely nineteen years old, when she'd placed her newborn daughter into the loving arms of Cynthia Chapel. The simple action had torn her apart inside, but she hadn't let even a sliver of pain show on her face. She'd given her child no parting kiss, no goodbye, not even a name. They'd kept the transfer as brief and businesslike as possible. Emotionalism at that point would have been illogical.
Maybe there was some Vulcan in her family tree, she mused.
After high school, she'd joined Starfleet Academy and put the whole incident behind her. She was determined to never again be the stupid irresponsible child that she'd started out life as. She closed her emotional doors and followed the path of logic and ambition. Her parents made sure that word of her "mishap" as they'd called it, never got out. And she'd never spoken of it as long as she'd lived.
She never wasted any thought on what could've been. There was no point in dwelling on what ifs. She'd had no further contact with the Chapels since that day. She'd made it very clear that she wanted nothing more to do with the child she'd given them. Her daughter, their daughter, would never know the truth about the circumstances of her birth. The Chapels hadn't minded. But she often found herself wondering about what had become of the child.
What had they named her? She'd never found out. The child would be fifteen now, almost sixteen. Did she look like her? Was she in Starfleet, or had she gone into the sciences like her father? Or into media like her mother. Or had she gone completely her own way? Was she anything like the mother she'd never met? Would she fall hopelessly in love with an unattainable man as she had fallen for Pike?
Maybe their paths would cross someday, she mused while staring out into the blackness of outer space on the screen in front of her. Or maybe they wouldn't. Perhaps her child would one day walk these very halls or stand in this very room. Work with these same people.
But what were the odds of that happening?
My first Star Trek fanfiction, I was inspired to write this after coming across a fanfiction that portrayed Christine and Number One as sisters and I decided I wanted to do something a little different. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Yes. I went back and edited the story. I'm worse than George Lucas. I'm not proud of it, but that's just the way it is