Uhura fell out of bed landing on her side feeling sweat come down her skin. She had a dream of the USS Slader being damaged beyond repair. The story of Krall's attack on the Enterprise was incredibly well known and well documented, except for Jim's account of the event. Uhura had read those stories in her spare time. When she had been a young woman she gushed over the Enterprise then the Enterprise A. She used to fangirl over it with a few of her girlfriends during sleepovers in her quarters. No, there wasn't the drones crashing against the starship. It wasn't drones at all. In fact what had struck the ship was more damaging and terrifying, deadlier, a different but foreign version of it that is. She could remember the panic. The bright red flashes on the bridge. The captain sending out orders. Uhura hanging onto her station feeling utter terror traveling her body. Large electrical sparks erupting from the engineering stations. The captain clutching to her chair ordering the helmsmen to fire back. Time was passing fast before her eyes. Then the orders to abandon ship were given. There was no choice when she reported several causalities and several decks were beyond the point of return. The bridge officers starting to evacuate. She could remember all of that.
Christine came speeding over to Uhura's side.
"Are you all right?" Christine asked, helping the woman up.
"Just a little sore on the side." Uhura said. "I would be in better shape if I had worked out often in my youth."
Christine had a low, amused laugh.
"I think you look fine," Christine said. "You look fine just the way you are."
"Is it six yet?" Uhura asked.
"No, it is two forty-three." Christine said, as Uhura sat on the edge of the bed.
"Let's go outside. . ." Uhura said. "I haven't been on the balcony since. . ." Her eyes drifted toward the closed doors. The window panels were covered in fog. The figures of outside were blurry. But the night was evident. "Geoffrey died."
"Yes," Christine said. "Let's." She looked over to the mobile walker on the counter then back to Uhura. "Do you want me to help you over or--"
"I will pick you over that machine anyday." Uhura said.
Christine helped Uhura up off the bed leaving a imprint of her legs and lower body on the sheet that slowly rose back up. The doors slid back smoothly. The chairs were folded against the wall alongside the doors on the wall. The nightlit sky was brightly shining down upon them. Christine helped Uhura to the balcony where they both rested at the edge. Uhura looked seeing the bright wavy colors of the aura lights. Uhura felt a tear come down her cheek. The aura lights made her think of her first day. M'Benga was telling her how she would love the aura lights while they were in the middle of playing a cardboard game with Koloth,Marg'less, and Khan.
"What was your nightmare about?" Christine asked
"Catastrophe." Uhura said. "Ship wide."
"That bad. . ." Christine said.
"My station blew up in my face. My captain . . ." Uhura paused. "She was giving us orders to abandon ship."
"Did this ever happen in your day?" Christine asked.
"A catatosphy that nearly destroyed the ship. . ." Uhura said, her hands trembling. "Not as often as you think." She turned her attention away toward the stars. "The things we did to make sure didn't fall."
Christine placed one hand on Uhura's shoulder.
"At least you are here." Christine said.
Uhura placed her right hand on Christine's hand.
"That is true," Uhura said, looking over toward the older woman. "Christine. . . Is there an implement in the nursing home for 'out-of-courtesy-funerals'?"
"I made sure of it long ago. . ." Christine said. "If the destination is too far, the elderly who are attending it must be put in stasis if their conditions are unsuitable to be off the planet for that amount of time." She stopped. "Even if there were nurses assigned and hyposprays used, that would sink their morales."
"Did you know the captain?" Uhura asked.
"Of course." Christine said. "We met on several occasions. . . At least before the Enterprise A was destroyed. I remember that one time he and I were on the same planet. It was Risa." She looked toward the sky where the two moons were close to another nearly eclipsing each other. "He was a great dancer. Most of the men and women at the dance floor wanted to dance with him." She laughed as Uhura let go of her hand then steadied it on the edge. "He was so happy. His first officer, Thelin, was sitting at a table with Doctor Snatcher. They were off duty. I remember that the captain smelled of a nice kind of perfume. It wasn't cologne."
"I didn't know he wore cologne." Uhura said, in shock,
"He didn't always use perfume." Christine said, rubbing the shoulderblade of Uhura. "From what I remember afterwards."
"He never seemed the type." Uhura said. "I never bothered to ask. . . Maybe I should have while translating his biography."
"Since when did he start writing one?" Christine asked.
"Awhile ago." Uhura said. "He was quite the busy man."
"Maybe he is up there, with the others, exploring the other final frontier." Christine said.
"The afterlife is a unexplored part of the universe." Uhura said.
"I agree." Christine said. A tear started to come down Uhura's cheek. "He must be enjoying it."
"Very happy." Uhura said, wiping a tear off her cheek. "I envy him. He's got the Enterprise for the rest of eternity."
"What makes you think he is spending eternity on the original rather than the Enterprise A?" Christine asked.
"He said so himself to me when I asked." Uhura said, teary eyed.
We can see a scene of Uhura going on a translating spree on her free time with a padd. She came over to the man who was ready to doze off. One eye was half open and the other was not. Half of the residents were there in the room sitting down on the floor or in chairs watching the latest movie adaption of Sherlock Holmes of Vulcan. They had wide eyes fixated on the screen. Uhura placed a hand on the man's shoulder.
"Jim." Uhura said.
Jim's eyes came open.
"Y. . . yes?" Jim said.
"I am unsure how this will sound in Swahili." Uhura said, gesturing toward the line.
"Oh," Jim said. "That line?" He had a laugh to himself. "I must. . . Ack, I made an error."
"No,no, I like the sound of it," Uhura said. "It's just that it doesn't flow well in my native language."
Jim thought it over.
"I rather spend eternity somewhere I belong." Jim said. "A friend of mine told me that some suffering is good for the soul. I believe it was. . . Bones? No wait," He shook his hand. "Refer to him as McCoy in that." He turned his attention to the screen then briefly had a look of bewilderment. "Why is Sherlock chasing after a carnivores bunny?"
"Jim." Uhura said. "You didn't answer the question."
"Course I did." Jim looked over. "Oh, right,that part." He pointed toward the padd with his index finger. "But . . . being somewhere that brings them joy is entirely better than suffering. Compared to that. . . it is heaven. Their personal heaven."
Uhura had her free hand leaned against the rollator.
"Got it." Uhura said. She looked up toward Jim. "Which is where?"
Jim beamed back at her, brightly, with a smile that nearly sent her tumbling back. It was magnificent. She hadn't him smile in a while since he started becoming lethargic lately. It looked like he was fifty years old rather than a century old man. His hazel eyes had joined in on forming the smile. Caring, brash, optimistic, and kind. It was like his old self had crawled into the light. His eyes were aimed back at her.
"The original Enterprise, of course." Jim said. "No A,B,C,D, or E."
"The Enterprise E doesn't feel like the original." Christine said.
"What does the inside of her look like?" Uhura asked.
"Wider, generally," Christine said. "Big enough for a van from the 21st century."
"That's specific." Uhura said.
"I often wondered why during my initial tour." Christine said. "But then it was pointed out to me that the starship would have capacity for 2,000 people to be on it. Anyone, really." Her face softened. "Christopher has been sending me holovids. The boy's living in his glory days." She had a sad sigh. "The Enterprise D is being refit for a hospital starship. Medical field needs all the ships it can get."
"I like the sound of that." Uhura said. "She is going to go far."
"With the best engineer in the fleet I am sure of that." Christine said. "To think in the beginning I thought the Enterprise wasn't going to make a big splash in Star Fleet's history when she returned from her five year mission."
"I knew it when they returned to space after the refit." Uhura said. "To think I could have had the opportunity to see beautiful sights like this on a star fleet authorized vessel . . ." She had her arms leaned against the balcony. "It was fun. But you never knew if someone was against section 31."
"But section 31 wasn't well known then." Christine said.
"Oh, there were, trust me." Uhura said. "I met a few during my shore leaves."
"What was Abdella like?" Christine said.
"Gorgeous." Uhura said. "She was very understanding. But she carried doubt some of her missions in the beginning until she wasn't doubtful but assured of her decisions. She was like my aunt except she didn't bake cookies when people became upset. My aunt Dora did that when my parents were having a pickle." Christine laughed. "Abdella very deadly when it came to her Muslim Bikini being stolen by some anti-religious nutcases who were making sure that a robot controlled their civilization. That happened a few times actually. Five, maybe. Can't be sure since it has been so long."
"Poor woman." Christine said. "I didn't hear of those stories."
"I went with her," Uhura said. "And so had the first officer to make sure she didn't . . . uh. . . make a even bigger mess."
"Sounds as though you made quite the team." Christine said.
"Us women didn't bat an eye when it came to a Klingon challenge," Uhura said. "Abdella was the best of the group at handling a bat'leth." Christine raised an eyebrow. "Our head doctor made sure that the opposing Klingon and our captain didn't die. He extracted something called Endrophrosis . . . It was exotic and unheard of that lasted up to three hours and forty-three minutes."
"Do tell me about the first fight." Christine said.
"We were captured by a group of rogue Klingons." Uhura began. "We were attempting to rescue a admiral from certain death. I had done my part in getting the small group into the camp. We were lucky it wasn't a Romulan nor a Cardassian camp." She briefly closed her eyes. "Abdella volunteered for a fight with the leader of the camp in exchange for the admiral. If she lost, the Klingons could keep the group. If they lost, however, they had to release the admiral. Apparently they gave Abdella a young Klingon boy to fight against. Doctor Clay and Chief Engineer Lt Cmnder Kaine worked together to create the serum and the device that administered it. It later became known as Kaine's cane and often used by Doctor Clay when we got ourselves into pickles." She looked over to see Christine had a eyebrow raised. "Back to the story in hand: Commander T'Tullip advised against engaging in battle with the bat'leth. We did not have offical translators given to us as part of being in section 31. I was the translator. I voiced the captain's concerns about fighting a child but the Klingons dismissed it."
"Klingons grow faster than humans." Christine said.
"She was just a child on the crisp of maturing." Uhura said. She didn't know who she was facing. She didn't know she was facing a crazy prepared captain. She didn't know she was facing someone who had actively been part of sword fighting classes. She didn't know that this woman could kill her for the sake of her life in a rather dishonorable way. She and the other Klingons were not aware she knew how to handle a bat'leth. Abdella's babysitter had been a refugee Klingon."
"That is a level of crazy prepared." Christine said.
"Yes," Uhura agreed. "It is."
"How did the close contact get started?" Christine asked.
"Easy," Uhura said. "Fainting." She winked at the retired nurse. "My acting is what I take great pride in."
"You are a very good actor," Christine said. "I was there when you were in the Vulcan Acting dig. The one with the 'illogical' Vulcan and the 'Logical' human who had a scar on the side of their face."
"That one is my favorite," Uhura said. "I got to play a Vulcan on the stage complete with prosthetics." She looked at Christine. "You were there? But that was in 2289, I wasn't in the spot light then nor on a starbase. . ."
"You didn't think that woman who whistled would forget that beautiful singing voice, didn't you?" Christine asked.
"How were you there?. . ." Uhura said, stunned.
"Lisa, Phlox, and I wanted to have some fun." Christine said. "Phlox's fun. . . though. . . was more of treating people at the local ER that was swamped." She had a laugh to herself. "Lisa and I went out on a treat for ourselves. I was the one who tossed the card to you with my comn number, too, the one with the hypospray picture on it."
"Were you bonded with a Vulcan with a strange accent?" Uhura asked.
"Yes." Christine said. "But he was a Romulan/Vulcan hybrid. He was a very . . . complex individual." She looked at Uhura with a rather pleased look. "So you did pay me a call."
"You left me a rather gorgeous compliment." Uhura said.
"What did he say?" Christine asked.
"We had a little misunderstanding," Uhura said. "On his end."
"Ooooh." Christine said. "Were you the one speaking in Klingon?"
"Yes." Uhura said.
"I could never get him to get that so confused in the time I was bonded with him." Christine said.
"For someone who seems like they'll know the ins and outs of a Vulcan, I find that hard to believe." Uhura said.
"He was a tough cookie." Christine said. "Vulcans are, in private, honetsly the most flirty and passionate people you will ever have for a lover."
"It seems Bones will have that possibly." Uhura said.
"Bones who?" Christine asked.
"It's a little nickname we have for Doctor McCoy." Uhura said. "The man who is usually around Ambassador Spock."
"Ah," Christine said. "From what I know about the Ambassador . . . He is very passionate when he on duty."
"I think that Bones is lucky." Uhura said.
"I didn't take the Ambassador for someone who was interested in the same gender." Christine said.
"You should have been there when Bones talked about that big damn kiss." Uhura said. "It was like he was on a sugar high and a young man again. Except, we had this conversation on the way to the theater for Beauty and the Beast play being done by Klingons and some humans." She waved her hand. "I quite enjoyed it. They had one Aurian as the little boy."
"And Bella?" Christine asked.
"Human." Uhura said. "The beast was portrayed by two actors. One, a human who was stuck between forms which was supplied by prosthetics. I really liked how the art department decorated the man. The second, a Klingon. The Klingon was the beasts natural form."
"It has been fifty-three years since I last saw that production," Christine said. "The last time I had time for it . . . It was when . . ." Her face saddend looking toward the stars. Her hands clenched onto the edge of the balcony. "My wife passed. She changed her gender after being honest with herself and me. She changed her name to T'Pryia."
"Wait, your spouse was Pry?" Uhura asked. "That Pry?"
"Yes." Christine said.
"The one who went missing proving that artificial wormholes were real?" Uhura said. "And that they can be used to go to different galaxies?"
"She was stubborn," Christine said. "Stubborn to the end." Uhura placed a hand on Christine's shoulder. "We talked through our bond after her disappearance. She was excited and could not wait to return to tell the Vulcan Science Academy, "Any more questions?"." Christine had a faint smile that faded. "I felt her death three months afterwards. I had to go to a Vulcan healer to repair the broken bond."
"I know how you feel after a difficult loss like that." Uhura said.
"Surprisingly more difficult than waking up after a loss like that." Christine said.
Uhura paused. "What was the bond like?"
"Loving," Christine said, looking over toward Uhura. "Very loving."