McCoy sensed Spock had entered the building. McCoy didn't know how he sensed it but he just did. It was like a feeling. McCoy looked over to see Spock entering, covered in snow, looking like had the look of intent on his face but it was toward Jim. The Vulcan slid the piles of snow off his shoulder. Spock's eyes went over to McCoy, his eyes unsure which memory to pick, with his face so human. McCoy knew Spock well enough that it was easy to realize that since it was so close to Christmas, it was logical to give it now before Jim himself became a rather busy man. Jim had implied he would be busy that Christmas morning. Yet stoic all at the same. McCoy stood up then handed the bowl of popcorn to a friend sitting alongside him. McCoy put a hand on Spock's shoulder.
"Give him what you remember of David growin' up." McCoy said.
There was a faint but visible 'That's it' glow in the Vulcan's eyes.
"I will." Spock said, as McCoy took his hand off the Vulcan's shoulder
Spock came over to the napping man's side then placed his hand on the side of the man's face. David was born in 2261. A little over four years before Jim's five year mission had began and everyone's fates were deterred. Spock close his eyes picking out memories of the child's growth until he was adult. Fond, warm memories. All the things he did for the little one. As it turned out, Spock was the reason why David became intrigued by science. And his mother was the reason David went for a doctorate. Spock had been part of David's childhood. How Spock sometimes babysat him. Attempted to entertain the child with help from some musical instruments. After depositing the memories of the man growing up, Spock took his hand off the side of Jim's face to see the napping captain was smiling. Spock felt like his feet were light enough to fly. The gravity below his feet were obsolete. Internally, there was a relaxation inside. A feeling swept up toward his brain. It felt one of those emotions Spock would experience when laughing but on a greater scale. Spock looked over to see that genuine, priceless expression of happiness on the doctor's face.
"Bones." Uhura said, earning a head turn from McCoy. Alongside her was a gray haired Andorian woman that had a mobile version of the walker rollator without the middle in front of her. It was a customary designed rollator. "Miss Larken has something very important to tell you."
Larken had a small wave.
"May I speak with you, alone?" Larken sounded shy and she appeared to be scared.
McCoy immediately recognized her as the first Andorian Admiral in Star Fleet. She was well revered on Andora, far as he heard, and many of the other Andorians he came across bragged about her climbing the ranks faster than one could say Vulcan. Preferably quicker than the average woman back in the day. She had to be over two hundred years old,no wait, three hundred. He had seen a holoprogram of Larken in her prime when preparing himself for the first admiral/captain banquet. Her gray eyes still pierced through his very being. It had been years since he last spoke with her. The shock on his face was clearly evident. Did he and Spock give her a tour of the place? McCoy managed to get a hold of himself a moment later then approached Larken with his trademark, kind smiles rather than his usual grumpy scowls.
"Of course," McCoy said. "It is my pleasure. I heard lot about you. Did we meet all ready?"
"There is a old Vulcan proverb regarding old age," Larken said. "Old age is a natural occurrence that comes with ill side effects that we are ill equipped."
"Well, that was long ago." McCoy said. "But becomin' forgetful is nothin' short of ill equipped."
"I was the one who assigned you to the USS Centerpide." Larken said.
"I am sorry, ma'am," McCoy said. "But you can't possibly have known what would have happened if you didn't."
"Bon--McCoy," She caught herself. "I had a vision of the future. Everyone in your little group was dead aboard the refit Enterprise bridge." She cleared her throat. "In order to avoid that I reassigned the core seven crew members. But I kept Captain Kirk on his assigned starship because it would have seem suspicious if I did not. Captain Pike personally recommended him." They were in the way. McCoy sat down into the chair looking at her oddly, his hands clasped together, trying to understand a word that was coming from her. "But what happened in the vision never happened."
McCoy briefly closed his eyes.
"You mean to tell me. . ." McCoy said. "You brought into hell because you thought you saw me dead?"
"Why. . . yes." Larken said. "But what you went through is . . ."
"It's cruel." McCoy said. He looked up, hurt, toward her. "Why did you never tell me this?"
"I believed it was my secret to keep." Larken said.
McCoy stood up.
"But why not, why not instead of apologizing to me after I came back? Why not apologize to me when I was a admiral in one of those banquets? Why did you not apologize to me before I came here? Is it because you are dyin'?" Larken looked down, ashamed of herself, with a sigh that said it all. "Well, we are all dyin', but we just need help to die with dignity. You could have told me this lon' ago so I could heal from it. That would have been more appropriate and helpful then!"
Larken, looked up, surprised at the change of tone that was benign.
"You. . . forgive me?" Larken asked, surprised.
"Unless you have done more like this." McCoy said.
"No." Larken said.
"Good." McCoy said, relieved.
"But. . . why?" Larken said.
"Baron Van Sir was sent to a Penal Colony." McCoy said.
"She is dead." Larken said.
"That was fast." McCoy said.
"She has been dead for two months." Larken said.
"Ah, didn't hear about that." His mood had softened. But he was relieved. It was over, all over it, every single bit of Devil's Run. McCoy looked like he was a decade younger. How did he manage to look so young? His baby blue eyes looked back at her. "You should really speak with Mr Spock. He needs to hear it the most from you. But I suspect he would be as Vulcan as usual." McCoy paused. "But then again, you should speak with Scotty, too. . . After all the hell he went through because of transwarp."
"I will." Larken said.
"Bones!" Chekov came rushing in. "We need your arm!"
"Pavel, I am not about to use arm again in a exercise that got it sore in the first place last year!" McCoy said.
"Last year, you vere amazing!" Chekov said.
"That was because that Klingon wannabe insulted my daughter!" McCoy said.
"He is on our team." Chekov said.
"No." McCoy said.
"Then we need a judge on some of our icicle pickles." Chekov said.
"You mean icicle statues?" McCoy said.
"Yes, that!" Chekov said.
"Not like you made a statue of Russia's greatest queen." McCoy said.
"Koloth made Kahless the unforgettable and his mate." Chekov said. "It looks gorgeous in my opinion."
"Hold up a second!" McCoy said. "I usually am told these thin's!"
McCoy had become the official judge of icicle statues replacing Nurse Chapel five years ago. He claimed to have a fine taste in art which was true on its own. They set up prizes starting McCoy's first year in the Nursing Home. They ranged from: getting to know about a fact about McCoy (Which showed his reluctance to talk about his past), the winners having to make a gift for certain nurses with the materials inside the building and the losers getting to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer Reborn or My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic that-has-a-being-called-DisQord. Most of the losers leaned on watching My Little Pony instead of Buffy because of the overall message. The losers also had to send a holo-message to any living relatives who were still around and mention how much they love them. The winners, on the other hand, had the opportunity to make necklaces and other kind of wearable garments for various purposes that were optional.
Next, was Spock. Spock was staring at Larken, stoically, as she explained the story to him. He raised an eyebrow at the vision part, skeptical, regarding the story. If at all, it seemed like he had a grain of belief and a gallon of disbelief. He lowered his eyebrow, listening, as though interested. There was more to the story then what she had told McCoy and Uhura. Vulcans were well known to need proof before they believed it. Some humans referred to them as the alienization of Dana Scully in the beginning of X-Files. There was silence between the two old aliens once she had finished the story.
"Why did you decide to tell me now?" Spock asked.
Larken's eyes were trained on him.
"Because I could not keep this secret anymore." Larken said. "Nearly to the end of my lifetime." She briefly closed her eyes then reopened them with a shaky breath. "I should never have played a hand in your fate."
"That is illogical." Spock said.
Again, Larken was surprised with eyebrows raised.
"Why?" Larken asked.
"I have lost more than you could have imagined. I have gained more because of it. I have a aesthetically pleasing family. I could be a great great grandfather any day now if one of my grandchildren decides to have a child or adopt one." Spock explained. "Think about it from my perspective. I still met the ones who would have mattered the most, but later, very later in my life. I had a loving, understanding female mate who allowed my continued survival. I was a father. I was a father to the best Security Officer there ever was." His voice started to break. Apparently, Spock had seen other memories of his son in action than he had let on in the mind meld he had with Jim. "If I met. . ." Spock paused briefly. "Them." He considered it for a beat. "I would likely not had children quickly as I did. They would have become my one. . . true family in Star Fleet."
Larken lowered her eyebrows.
"I see the logic in your reasoning." Larken said.
"No matter what you would have done to our reassignments: we would meet. Kaadith."
What is, is.
Larken had heard that during her time serving on Star Fleet vessels and off, as well. She had known few Vulcans who were stoic, and appeared unemotional, and lied in her face. These days, they didn't make it as obvious they were lying. They had gotten better at it, Larken would give them that, which makes more ambiguous if they were straight up lying. She heard that phrase when discussing the death of a fallen friend of theirs taken down by a Klingon. Her friend was long gone thanks to Bendii's after a long, hard clawed fight against it. But hearing the phrase being muttered in the same sentence of 'no matter what you would have done' made a florescent light bulb go off in her head. Humans had a saying about ideas coming and the florescent lightbulb was a old saying.
"You believe in destiny?" Larken asked.
"Affirmative." Spock acknowledged.
"I have not heard a Vulcan allude to destiny in that manner before." Larken said. She couldn't tell if he was lying to her. She had lived so long that she thought she could tell when these newer Vulcans were lying to her. But this was a much old,worn one. His emotional control was non-existent. "I always thought Vulcans did not believe in destiny."
"For an Andorian so old, I would have thought you came across a Vulcan who talked about it."
"I did not. Your species were a private one."
"I had a friend who was a Vulcan. I mean, acquaintance. We did not breach deep topics that often."
"Oh, then what did you talk about?"
Larken shared a sly smile.
"Our common gift: psychic. Well, most of the time. We complained to each other about the disadvantages of being one. We actually started a support group for others like us on the first ship we served together on." Larken shared a fond smile and she looked like she was looking off into the distance. Her attention was somewhere else. A memory of the past replaying in her minds eye. Spock understood that nostalgia. That look. He had seen it often upon his arrival to the sweet hill nursing home. There was a brief light of joy in her eyes. It faded just as it had appeared in her eyes. "I am sorry," She apologized, shaking her head. "My friend never talked about her personal life. She served Star Fleet even after she married. She was very insistent that she serve despite the norm at the time. She fought hard to stay long after bring pregnant."
"She was beautiful." Larken said.
"I grieve with thee." Spock said. "I had been fortunate to meet her . . . but briefly. She was T'prings maid of honor."
"Thank you." Larken said.
Spock left Larken to join the group in watching the Sherlock Holmes of Vulcan. Next, it was Scotty. Larken told him the story, and the Scotts man was unable to form a reply. When she had finished, Scotty was staring at her, his jaw gaping. He shook his head then left her while he was trembling from the story. Larken didn't see Scotty until it was time for dinner. Scotty was the most silent of the group. Jim was awake enough to eat then. They had all been paid a visit by Larken. Jim talked about a dream he had that was unusual. Mentioned how he was on a planet with a landing party and discovered that there was a machine controlling the civilizatin. He mentioned that McCoy was in it including Chekov and Sulu. Spock's eyebrows rose up at the direction the story was going. McCoy rolled an eye at the absurdity of it. It sounded implausible when Jim threw in the setting of the planet being 21st century.