NOBODY’S CHILD: The Saga of Doctor Leonard McCoy and Family-Chapter Eight

NOBODY’S CHILD
by Pat McCoy

CHAPTER EIGHT – Homeward Bound

Sam looks about the transporter room. “It would appear to be so. I have heard much about the different incarnations of the U.S.S. Enterprise!” Pat looks back at her Great-Grandfather, who is scowling. “What?” “Would you mind stepping off so that WE can get off?! You know I don’t like transporters and don’t want to stand on them any longer than I have to!” Pat shakes her head and steps off the transporter pad. She is aware that Gramps had plenty of room to maneuver and is trying to figure out why he’s suddenly grumpier than usual. The others step off with her. The old doctor looks at the Executive Officer. “This request may be belated but … permission to come aboard?”

“Permission granted, with pleasure, Doctor McCoy!”, the XO replies. “Well, now that we have that out of the way”, McCoy says, “Which way to our guest quarters?” Pat is still gazing around the transporter room. “This is a newer version than the one I remember from childhood.” She turns to the XO. “Are we going to get a tour of this ship?” “First things first, child!”, the old doctor growls, “I want to get settled into my quarters! THEN we can take a look around!” Pat looks at Sam. “I think you will find this ship intriguing!” The Executive Officer gives Pat a questioning look. “And you are …?” She holds out her hand. “I’m Doctor Pat McCoy”, she replies, then indicates with a thumb over her shoulder. “His Great-granddaughter!” Then she indicates Sam. “This is Samok, of Vulcan … my significant other.” “I am Shr’ell”, the XO responds, “the First Officer. Glad to make your acquaintances.” “Thank you. I’m glad to meet you.” Sam looks at Shr’ell. “You are Andorian?”, he inquires. “That is correct. Not that many of us in Star Fleet working on the command level.”, the XO replies. Pat nods as she and Sam walk toward the door and pause there. “I haven’t had the opportunity to meet many Andorians anywhere.” “Hmph!”, the old doctor growls again, “Do you MIND?! I’d like to get to my quarters within THIS century!” Pat jerks a thumb over her shoulder at the elder McCoy. “Gramps is in a hurry to get where he’s going! At his age, he needs to make frequent trips to the head! The elder McCoy is shocked at her wisecrack. “CHILD?!” She gives him an evil grin. “Yes-s-s-s-s-s-s?”

Sam’s eyes show a hint of amusement at this exchange. First Officer Shr’ell indicates the corridor. “If you’ll follow me, please?” He leads the group out of the transporter room to where the guest quarters are located. Each guest is shown to their assigned quarters and they settle in. Sam turns toward the XO. “Commander Shr’ell …” “Yes?”, the Andorian answers. “Pat tells me that quite a few star ships have Holodecks. Does that include this ship?” “As a matter of fact, yes, it does …”, the XO replies, “On level 10 … the recreation level.” “I see …”, Sam says as he contemplates this. Pat is gleeful. “Oh goodie! Waltz lessons!” Sam looks over at Pat. “Yes, of course. I am looking forward to learning this aspect of human custom and culture.”

Pat’s expression becomes somber. “Commander Shr’ell, what is the proper procedure to make funeral arrangements aboard this ship? Do I discuss them with you or with the Captain?” Shr’ell looks concerned. “Why do you ask? Who has died?” Pat indicates the urn she is carrying. “My brother passed away on Vulcan. This urn contains his ashes. I was wondering, if it were possible, to arrange to have the ashes sent into the sun when we arrive in Earth’s solar system?” The XO gives her a sympathetic look. “I am sorry for your loss. I will speak to the Captain about this matter.” “Thank you.”, she responds. Shr’ell leaves for the Bridge. Sam gives her a look of concern. “Pat, are you all right?” “I’ll be fine.”, she says, “You want to go to Level Ten and look around after I put my things away?” Sam nods. That is agreeable. Now is as good a time as any.” She proceeds to place the urn on the table in her quarters and takes the rest of her luggage to her bedroom. Then they head to the nearest turbolift and enter. “Level Ten!”, Pat calls out and the turbolift takes them there. They walk around the corridors, checking out the locations of the Holodecks and the Ten-Forward Lounge. Pat nods in approval at what she sees. “Not bad! Not bad at all! Sam, would you like to take a closer look at the Holodecks or have a drink in Ten-Forward?” Sam shakes his head. “Not at the moment. I would like to unpack and then meditate for a little while.” “Okay.”, she says. They return to the deck where their quarters are and she starts to head back to hers.

Sam softly calls out to her. “Pat, you don’t have to leave right away.” She smiles and walks over to him. “Would you like for me to help you unpack?”, she asks flirtatiously. Sam gives her a slight smile. “I have no objection. You might find my quarters uncomfortably warm. I’ve set the temperatures higher than what humans are accustomed to.” The door to his quarters slide open and they enter. “The temperature in here is not too bad at all!”, Pat comments, “In fact, I find it comfortable! Believe it or not, I found the temperature on your home world comfortable even though Gramps found it too hot.” “Fascinating!”, Sam replies, “That is unusual for a human.” Pat shrugs. “I’ve always been that way. Every time I set the room temperature to my comfort level, everyone else complains it’s too hot. When they set it to their comfort level, I feel like I’m FREEZING!” Sam gives her a rare grin. “Maybe you are a Vulcan and do not know it!” Pat laughs. “Maybe you’re right!” They find his luggage on the floor and they carry it into the other room and unpack.

Once they’re done, Pat looks around. “Everything looks all right.” Sam quirks an eyebrow. “What?” She grins at him. “No chaperone around. We’re alone! Gramps is occupied elsewhere!” She walks over to him, wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him. He returns the kiss and feels her respond. “Have you reconsidered about the Koon-ut-La?”, he asks her. “We still have to find that Promise Ring as a symbol that we are going steady.”, she replies then pauses, “And there’s a few more things that I need to tell you …” “And what are they?”, he asks. “Well, I grind my teeth in my sleep … I kick and thrash in my sleep …I sometimes talk and/or yell in my sleep, I occasionally snore, and I’m a somnambulator … I walk in my sleep. When you need your rest, my nocturnal activities would wreck that.”

“You mentioned, earlier, that you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Are these nocturnal activities related to that?” Pat nods. “Unfortunately, yes. I’ve tried different medications in the past and the side effects were worse than the conditions they are supposed to treat! Because the medications made it impossible to function, I just stopped taking them. My nocturnal activities never bothered Quon because his sleep-wake cycles were different from mine. He was Caitian and he had the ability to nap when and where-ever he needed to. What are your thoughts about this?” “Knowing about this does not present a problem for me.”, he replies. He kisses her again and caresses her. Shall we have a try-out this evening?” Pat smiles in anticipation. “I was hoping you would ask! I have to admit, I’m a little apprehensive. I don’t want to accidentally give you a black eye during the night!” “Please do not worry.”, Sam replies, “If it happens while you are sleeping, I’ll know it’s an accident.” “Still …”, she says, “I’m nervous!”

During the night, Pat has another nightmare. She awakens Sam by her yelling, kicking and thrashing and he quickly realizes she is still sound asleep. He gently places his fingers on the contact points on her face and waits patiently as he silently shares his thoughts with hers, reassuring her that she is not alone; that he is facing down her enemies alongside her. Finally she calms down as he sees, in her mind, the enemies being vanquished. They cuddle closer and he closes his eyes. After several hours, she opens her eyes and gazes at him as he lays beside her. She cuddles closer to him again, sighs, and rests her head on his shoulder. He reaches up and gently strokes the side of her face. “I love you”, she whispers to him, “and I apologize for waking you.” “You have nothing to apologize for.”, Sam tells her, “We vanquished your enemies … together. We are stronger … together. Do you not agree?” Pat kisses him. “Agreed!”

“About the Koon-ut-La …”, Sam continues. “I know …”, she replies, “I just want us both to be sure before we solemnize our relationship because the Koon-ut-Kalifee would be the point of no return.” “You are still afraid …”, Sam comments, “That I will reject you.” “Yes …”, she says hesitantly. Sam looks at her. “Why would I reject you now?” “I … don’t know.”, she replies, “I look at the logic of everything about me and … you have seen it all … the good, the bad, and the ugly … and you still accept me … love me in spite of it all. I think I’m trying to reject myself even though that is an illogical thing to do!”

Sam lovingly pushes her hair away from her face. “Have you considered where you learned how to reject yourself … how you learned to consider yourself unlovable?” Pat thinks for several seconds. “I guess I unconsciously absorbed that kind of twisted thinking, from she who abandoned me, from the slavers who used and abused me … long before Gramps found me and took me home. I remember thinking, while I was growing up, that Gramps would discover, at any moment, what a defect I am, that I was actually garbage, and throw me away. I believed that so strongly that I hid inside a trashcan convinced I belonged there. Gramps and Uncle Spock persuaded me to climb out and not do that anymore. I was always puzzled why he never threw me away. I didn’t know how to include love in the equation. Uncle Spock tried to help me understand but there were still some things I needed to figure out on my own.” “Will you allow me to love you”, Sam asks, “Until you learn how to love yourself?” “Yes.”, she answers, “I just don’t want you to grow tired or impatient and walk away while I struggle with accepting myself.” “That would be an illogical reason to leave you …”, he replies as he kisses her, “given what we have been through … together.” “Then I have no logical reason to say ‘No’.”, as Pat returns his kiss. “What do I do? What should I expect? Are you permitted to tell me, given that this is considered a taboo subject in polite Vulcan society?”

Sam again places his fingertips on the contact points on her face. “During the betrothal ceremony”, he explains, we would touch each other’s minds like so. “He places her fingertips on the contact points on his face. “Repeat after me”, he says, “My mind to your mind. Your thoughts to my thoughts.” Pat repeats the words. “You live in my thoughts …”, Sam continues. Sam and Pat say together. “We live in each other’s thoughts, parted from me and never parted. Never and always touching and touched.” They pause and gaze at each other, still holding their fingers on each other’s faces. Pat caresses his face. “I never want to leave you.” “You are a part of me!”, he replies. She kisses him. “What happens next … after this?” “On Vulcan, a priestess solemnizes this, formally recognizing our bond, by melding with us, before witnesses of family and friends. If we were at the usual betrothal age of seven, she would instill the Pon Farr that would draw us together at the appointed time for mating about 21 years later. Given that we are much older, the Pon Farr might happen sooner than that.”

“And then what?”, she asks. “Then our betrothal bond must be tested with the Koon-ut-Kalifee … Marriage or Challenge.” She looks concerned. “I remember Gramps describing what happened to Uncle Spock when his wife divorced him through the Koon-ut-Kalifee.” “Fortunately, divorce is relatively rare among Vulcans.”, Sam explains, “During Pon Farr, I would experience the Plak Tow, the Blood Fever, where I must mate or die. You might find that frightening.” “Would I experience the Plak Tow, the Blood Fever too, given the mind-meld?”, she asks. “I do not know.”, he replies, “It is difficult to predict if or when a human woman will experience the Pon Farr and the Plak Tow as Vulcan females have done. These things have never been discussed with outworlders and rarely discussed among ourselves. When Ambassador Sarek married Amanda, their relationship was, obviously, very private. It is unfortunate that you are unable to discuss any of this with Ambassador Spock’s mother. She would have been the perfect person to talk to, if she were still alive.” “In the meantime”, Pat smiles, “We can explore the possibilities.” She gently traces a finger over one of his ears. Sam caresses one of her ears and whispers, “Yes, my dear round-eared one …” They kiss again … then their kisses become passionate, and they begin making love. Afterward, he notices that she looks thoughtful.

“I have another apology to make.”, she says as she caresses him. Sam gives her a puzzled look. “What is there to apologize for, my love?” “As you have just experienced, during our lovemaking, I get … loud!” Sam smiles at her. “You were enjoying the sensations I was giving to you. There is no shame in that. I am pleased that you have enjoyed my lovemaking to you, K’Diwa.” Pat strokes the hair on his bare muscled chest. “You called out K’Diwa when we … what does it mean?” “K’Diwa means ‘Beloved’ in my native language.”, he replies as he kisses her again. “K’Diwa”, she repeats, “Beloved. You have no idea how much joy that brings to hear you say that to me!” She kisses him passionately. “I want to make love to you again … my K’Diwa!”, she whispers. Finally, they fall asleep from exhaustion.

Leonard and Captain Sulu are touring the newest version of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Sulu is impressed. “What do you think of the newest designs and equipment in Sick Bay?”, he asks the old doctor. Leonard scowls. “Hmph! The fancier the gadgets, the less the doctor’s touch and the less required bedside manner! I dread the day when doctors are completely replaced by machines!” That last comment makes Sulu curious. “Have you seen the EMH … that Emergency Medical Hologram?” McCoy’s scowl deepens. “Yes, and I know the doctor that EMH was modeled after … arrogant son of a …” At that moment, the current Captain of the Enterprise and the ship’s Chief Medical Officer come around the corner. Out of habit, Sulu automatically comes to attention. The Captain waves affably as he smiles at his guests. “At ease, Mister …, I mean, Captain Sulu?!” He turns and looks at Leonard. “And you must be Admiral McCoy! It is both an honor and a pleasure to have both of you aboard!” They all shake hands. The Captain then turns and indicates his CMO. “Allow me to introduce you to my Chief Medical Officer … Doctor Lal Soong Vee Two. She is an updated version of Data’s daughter.” Leonard is stunned. “An ANDROID?!” Sulu is biting the inside of his cheek to avoid smiling or saying anything in reaction to McCoy’s outburst. “Of course.”, the Captain nods, “Given that a newer version of Data has risen in the ranks of command, and having an Emergency Medical Hologram available in case Sick Bay becomes overwhelmed in battle, it was only logical to also have an Android doctor as well. Wouldn’t you agree, Doctor McCoy?” “To be honest with you”, McCoy replies, “I’m Old School. Nothing against Doctor Lal, but give me the human touch and a professional yet empathetic bedside manner any day! I have had the pleasure of meeting the original Data, Lal’s father, on the Enterprise-D. I just never imagined all of this!”

“We try to keep up with the latest developments in technology throughout the Quadrant.”, the Captain explains. “By the way, my First Officer tells me that funeral arrangements are needed?” “Yes.”, McCoy nods sadly, “For my Great-Grandson, James Yuri. He died on Vulcan under unfortunate circumstances. My Great-Granddaughter, Doctor Pat McCoy, possesses the urn with his ashes. She wants to make arrangements to have the ashes sent into Sol once we enter Earth’s orbit.” The Captain nods sympathetically. “That can be arranged. Has there been a decision on who will officiate the funeral?” The old doctor hesitates. “Uh-h-h, no. It’s a long story …” “I see.”, replies the Captain, “By the way, where is Doctor Pat McCoy? I would like to meet with her to discuss this.”

“I’m not exactly sure where my Great-granddaughter went off to. The last time I saw her, she was touring the ship with Samok, her Significant Other.” My ship’s computer has the capability of locating her, the Captain replies as he taps his Comm-Badge. “Computer, locate Doctor Pat McCoy!” A mechanical voice responds, “Doctor Pat McCoy is in Samok’s guest quarters.” McCoy scowls at this information. “I know she’s grown but I still think of her as my Baby Girl!”, he growls. The Captain gives him a look of understanding. “I also have a grown daughter and, yes, I tend to get overprotective too. She is recently bonded and was quick to inform me that her choice of mate is HER decision, not mine! It IS difficult to let go and allow them to fly on their own.” Leonard nods at this. “You’re right, and I’ve come to think of Samok as my Great-grandson-in-law. He’s good to her. I couldn’t wish for better.” He smiles, “Yes, she’s all grown up!” The Captain pauses. “Doctor, you’ve said that Samok is her Significant Other. You mean he is her mate?” McCoy nods. “More or less. They have not made it official with a public Vulcan ceremony … yet.” “Give them time.”, the Captain replies, “Vulcans are not known to rush into things impulsively … until it is logical to do so.” McCoy smiles at that. “At times, my Great-granddaughter has been known to dawdle too … until it is the logical time to act. She tries to be as Vulcan as that old hobgoblin that she adopted as her favorite Uncle!” The Captain smiles at that. “Your Great-granddaughter sounds like a delightful person. As far as I can see, I don’t have a problem holding a funeral for your Great-Grandson while your family is aboard.” McCoy nods. “Thank you. I’m sure Pat will appreciate it!”

Meanwhile, back in Samok’s guest quarters, Pat sits up and squints at the chronometer. “What time is it?” Sam pulls her back down into bed and murmurs in her ear. “Too early to get up!” Pat starts giggling. “I would tend to agree! Just looking for a point of reference since my nightmares got in the way during the night.” Sam gives her a passionate kiss. “Plus, officially, YOU are not on duty.” She smiles at that. “True!” Sam snuggles closer. “And it’s time for both of us to just … be … together.” Pat gives him a passionate look. “I agree with that idea, too!”, and they resume making love. Too soon, the chronometer sounds, waking them both, and she groans. “I don’t want to get out of bed!” Sam smiles at her. “Understandable.”, as he caresses her. Then the smile fades. “You have an appointment you need to follow up on. Correct?” She nods sadly. “Yes. I need to discuss, with the Captain, the logistics of my brother’s funeral.” She shakes her head with a puzzled look on her face. “How is it possible to be both happy and sad at the same time? Maybe I’m just weird!” Sam takes her hand and kisses it. “Leave my K’Diwa alone! She’s perfect just the way she is! Come! We must get dressed!” She pouts at him. “I want to stay in bed with you!” Sam looks pleased. “We will have time to resume our … discussions …”, he nuzzles her suggestively, “later, K’Diwa. For now, there are matters that must be attended to.”

Pat and Sam have both gotten up and gotten dressed. After she inspects herself in the mirror and straightens her tunic, she turns toward her lover. “Sam?” “Hmmm?”, he replies, as he makes the bed. She walks over to him and wraps her arms around his neck. “I’ve been thinking …” Sam quirks an eyebrow. “About what?” “I’ve been thinking”, she continues, “That once you complete your training at Star Fleet Security and prepare to return to Vulcan, I … could be ready for our Koon-ut-La ceremony … if you are still willing.” Sam kisses her passionately. “Parted from me but never parted.”, he breathes. “Never and always touching and touched.”, she whispers back. “We can plan for the betrothal ceremony during the time we are working on our respective assignments.”, he comments.

“And, I think, after that, we could also plan on a human ceremony as well”, Pat adds, “… or a combination Vulcan and human ceremony. I was thinking that after our Koon-ut-La, if we experience Pon Farr, at a point in time where it will be nearly impossible to return to Vulcan for the Koon-ut-Kalifee, I would like for us to have some sort of ceremony, to be officially married in all regards. What do you think about having everything documented and in order, just in case? Who knows”, her eyes gleam as she waggles her eyebrows, “I might experience the Plak Tow before you do … maybe within the next hour or so! Human women have been known to do that even though it is not called Plak Tow among my people!”

Sam smiles and nods. “That is logical. I think I should tell you that what we experienced last night is a mild version of the Blood Fever. When the Plak Tow begins in earnest, it will be more intense! Do not be afraid when that time comes.” He kisses her again. “Until then, aren’t you supposed to meet with the Captain and/or his First Officer to follow up on your request? We can be distracted with other things … later!” She kisses him back and smiles suggestively. “Yes. After that, we need to see if a Holodeck will be available to us for our first dance lesson. In the meantime, keep my kisses on your lips!” She kisses him again and heads out of his quarters into the corridor. Sam holds his fingers to his lips and smiles.

Pat walks down the corridor, gazing about. She finds her way onto the turbolift and calls out, “Bridge!” The turbolift doors open and she sees First Officer Shr’ell and the Captain. They both turn and acknowledge her presence as she steps onto the Bridge. She approaches the two officers. “Good day to you both! I hope I’m not intruding.” “Not at all, Doctor McCoy!”, the Captain replies, “I’ve been hoping to meet you. My First Officer told me about your request earlier and your Great-grandfather also discussed it with me. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your brother.” She gives a somber nod. “Thank you. I hope my request isn’t too much trouble. I wasn’t sure what else to do.” The Captain gets up and gestures toward a nearby conference room. “Let us discuss the details in my Ready Room.” They walk up the ramp, enter the Ready Room and the door slides closed behind them.

“Go ahead and make yourself comfortable.”, the Captain gestures toward the chairs. “Would you like some coffee?” He starts to program the food replicator. Pat pauses for a few seconds. “I think I better wait a bit on the coffee.”, she comments, “I’m trying to regulate my caffeine intake to a lower level. You have no idea what a Raktajino can do to your nervous system!” The Captain chuckles. “Understood. Sometimes I have had too much caffeine.” He finishes punching a code into the food replicator and a steaming cup of black coffee appears on its platform. He takes it out, sips at it, places it on the desk and sits down. “Now, how can I help you with this?” She pauses again. “I won’t go into the details regarding the circumstances surrounding my brother. It would take too long and there are many things that I’m not comfortable disclosing. Suffice it to say, my brother had no real ties to anyone or any place. He had no connection with any organized religion, that I know of, so I don’t feel comfortable asking a clergy-person to officiate. I think the best thing I can ask for is a photon torpedo casing to place his urn within it and send it into the sun. Before then, I plan to sit with his ashes, as part of the funeral ritual, as one warrior to another. In spite of all of his difficulties, I feel he deserves to be treated with honor … if that makes sense.”

The Captain nods. ” “Makes perfect sense to me. Do you plan to have an Irish Wake or a Klingon Death Ritual?” “Maybe a little of both. I’m not sure.”, she responds, “I guess I’ll have to play this by ear. I want his spirit to rest easy in the afterlife since he didn’t have an easy life on this plane of existence.” The Captain consults his computer and nods. “I can spare a torpedo casing. Did he serve in the military at any time? If so, I could procure a Star Fleet flag for his urn. She shakes her head. “He wasn’t in Star Fleet and I have not been able to ascertain whether or not he served in the military on any Non-Federation worlds. From what I learned about him, if he enlisted … he wasn’t able to stay long. He had a lot of … psychiatric issues … that would interfere with his abilities to carry out any military duties.” “I see.”, the Captain quietly replies. “The only thing that’s left is to figure out who wants to say what over his ashes before we send them on their Final Journey.”, Pat states. “I’ll leave that part of the ceremony up to you and your family”, replies the Captain, “and I’ll take care of the other logistics. Is there anything else I can do concerning your brother’s funeral?”

Pat pauses for a few seconds then shakes her head. “I can’t think of anything else at the moment regarding that. If I do think of something, may I get back to you?” “I won’t have a problem with that at all, Doctor.”, he replies, “I know this is a difficult time for you and your family and I’ll be as supportive as possible.” She gets up from her chair. “Thank you!” She suddenly realizes she needs to ask one more thing and she turns back toward the Captain. “Captain, may I ask a favor? My Intended and I have been discussing our future together but we have not made any official announcements as of yet. I was wondering if we could have access to a Holodeck?” The Captain gives her a curious look. “May I ask why?” She smiles. “I need to teach him the Waltz. Once we make our official announcement, and we have our ceremonies, he will need to know how to Waltz during our first dance as husband and wife.” The Captain grins at that. “I see. I will ask my Number One to make these arrangements for the two of you. Anything else?” She shakes her head. “Nothing else that I can think of, at the moment and … thank you again.” She leaves the Ready Room and returns to her quarters to think.

The door chime sounds. “Come!” The door slides open and Sam enters. Pat smiles at the sight of him. “Missed you while I was gone, K’Diwa!”, she says and recites the Vulcan vows, “Never and always touching and touched!” Sam smiles back. “Parted from me and never parted, my K’Diwa.” His smile fades. “Did you meet with the Captain?”. Pat nods somberly. “Yes. The logistics are in place. The only thing that is left is the decision of who is to say what for the final rites. There is no point in contacting any clergy person nor can I ask the Captain to say anything because none of them knew my brother. That basically leaves you, me, and Gramps as family … but basically only me, to try and figure out what can be said … given the circumstances.” Sam sits down beside her. “And what has led you to draw this conclusion that it is basically only you?” She sighs as she rests her chin in her hands. “Gramps, you, Uncle Spock, and Sulu didn’t know my brother until you encountered him on Vulcan. The first and only impression you have of him was from the psychotic behaviors you all observed. I have some vague memories of him, from childhood, before the Queen Monster screwed him up permanently. He wasn’t always like what you saw. He wasn’t born that way. God only knows what the Queen Monster did to him that resulted in that awful mess that you witnessed! I don’t want to send him off on his final journey with only negative memories of insanity and suicide. Am I making any logical sense at all with this?”

Sam nods as he takes her hand. “I see your perspective. He never asked for what was given to him and he never deserved what he got.” “Precisely!”, Pat replies, “That could apply to both of us!” “What do you plan to do?”, he asks. “The only option that I can see is for me to speak on behalf of my late brother.” She pauses. “I just don’t know what to say … yet. I’ve never been a public speaker. Being an Aspie makes it difficult for me to step outside of my comfort zone and stand up in front of a group of people, especially strangers, and speak. As Captain, I’ve had to speak to my crew on many an occasion but those circumstances were … different. I had a mission to focus on and an objective to achieve. But … this is a social situation … and an intensely emotional one at that. You’ve seen me struggle with communicating when I’m dealing with emotional overwhelm or sensory overload. A situation, such as this, would be a nightmare for anyone with Asperger’s Syndrome.” “You’ll have me by your side, K’Diwa.”, he whispers to her. Pat is unable to speak and she kisses him instead. He hungrily returns her kiss. When she comes up for air, she pauses. “There is something else … just for us.” “And what is that?”, he asks. “Arrangements are being made for us to have access to a Holodeck for our Waltz lessons.”, she smiles. Sam quirks an eyebrow. “Indeed. This should prove to be an interesting experience!”

They go to the Holodeck on Level 10 for their first Waltz lesson and Pat ensures that they are alone. They practice to the tune of the “Blue Danube” and “The Skaters Waltz”. Then, impulsively, Pat requests some lively music and performs a belly dance for Sam, and is delighted to see his reaction as both his eyebrows nearly disappear into his hairline. She laughs until she is breathless while Sam shakes his head in astonishment. “You are certainly full of surprises, K’Diwa.”, he says. When she recovers from laughing she asks, in all seriousness, “Sam, is there any Vulcan music that is in 3/4 time that is amenable for Waltzing?” He considers the question. “I believe there is. I could ask the Captain for access to their music database to research that possibility. I remember some music but it has been awhile since I permitted myself to listen to any of it. It brought up many memories of my late wife. She was a professional musician, who had made many recordings.” Pat gives him a concerned look. “Are the memories painful? If so, I could scratch the idea of having dancing, or music, or …”

Sam puts his fingertips on her lips. “Shhhhhh …”, he says, “The memories are no longer painful. Just as you miss Quon, I miss T’Ling. They would wish us to be happy with each other, would they not?” Pat nods. “I agree. Would it be out of line to suggest the possibility of finding any music recorded by her? Could that be a way of honoring her memory and having her bless our union?” Sam finds himself blinking rapidly as he unexpectedly chokes up. Pat sees this and embraces him. “That would be … beautiful.”, he whispers hoarsely, “In what way could I honor your previous mate, Quon’s, memory?” She thinks for several seconds then looks blankly at Sam. “Come to think of it, Quon never had any special rituals or symbols. We were just simply … mated … as per Caitian custom … nothing elaborate or even obvious, for that matter. It wasn’t really a conscious thing that occurred between us. It was just … there … by mutual agreement. When he was killed, the shock of separation was almost unbearable but I couldn’t explain why. Caitians have a curious … what is the word … physical attraction based solely on pheromones. Those who are single, and searching for mates, exude a special pheromone that indicates they are available. Once a Caitian has mated, the pheromones change where they send out a message that this Caitian is no longer available. It is all unconsciously done. They are not aware of it as it occurs. In a sense, the Caitian people and the Vulcan people are a contrast of custom and culture based on what I have researched.” Sam looks at her. “This is intriguing! What did you find in your research?”

“Caitians”, she continues, “do not have any rituals for various life stages, that I know of, while Vulcan society has numerous rituals to recognize various aspects of change, or rites of passage … the Kahs-Wan, the Koon-ut-La, the Koon-ut-Kalifee, the Fal-Tor-Pan, the Kohl-i-nahr and so forth. The Vulcan people are not known to be … in the human vernacular, ‘touchy-feely’ due to being touch-telepaths. That could lead to sensory overload … and I KNOW about sensory overload because of my Asperger’s, which is an Autism Spectrum Disorder! Whenever touching is permitted, in public, it is very restrained, as I’m sure you know from growing up.” She grins suggestively at Sam. “OUR touching is VERY SPECIAL! I can’t wait to make it official with the Koon-ut-La!” Sam looks around then grins back at her. “We must take care that we do not trigger the Plak Tow where we could be discovered!” She continues to grin and waggles her eyebrows. “Being caught in a compromising position, in public, would be em-BARE-ASSING!” Sam shakes his head and continues smiling. “Are puns another of your many quirks?” Pat nods and continues to grin. “Yes, as Gramps will probably tell you!” Sam quirks an eyebrow. “I am considering myself … warned!” He kisses her and she responds. When they come up for air, she calls out, “Computer! Change venue from a Ball Room to a bedroom on Risa!” The room changes to a luxuriant bedroom. They lay down on the bed and start making love again.

Later on, in a room set up as a chapel, Pat is arranging flowers on the table where her brother’s funeral urn is resting. Sam is with her, assisting with feedback on various items on and around the table. If something isn’t quite symmetrical, he helps with its adjustment. Gramps and Sulu enter the room. The old doctor admires the arrangements. “This is beautiful. I wish your brother could have been able to appreciate this.” Sam nods. “I concur. It is aesthetically pleasing.” Pat sits down near the table to contemplate. “I wish things could have been different between my brother and me. I wish he could have been capable of hearing me when I tried to talk to him.”

Various members of the crew enter the Chapel and express their condolences to Pat and her Great-grandfather. When all the seats are filled, Pat gets up and faces the room. “I am grateful that you have come here, today, to share in the sorrow that Gramps and I are experiencing at the death of my brother. I won’t go into the details surrounding the circumstances as they are still a great source of pain. I can only imagine what kind of pain my brother was forced to live with during his lifetime. Suffice it for me to say that if his death brings more attention to the consequences of what child abuse can do, maybe his death won’t have to be for nothing. Those who know me, and know my history, understand what I endured and struggled to overcome. My brother was not so lucky. What he was forced to endure finally broke him, in the end, and it cost him his future.” She pauses and swallows hard. “I was trying to think of how I could honor the memory of the brother I once knew, as a child. How I could honor the suffering he endured at the hands of an abuser. Then I found this song. I hope it touches you the same way it has touched me.” She plays the recording of “Remember the Child” by Dick Wagner. While it plays, she sits down and silently weeps, not daring to look at anyone, just looking at the urn holding her brother’s ashes. Gramps reaches over and gives her a hug. Pat waits several minutes, after standing, before she can find her voice. She is unable to look at anyone as she struggles with her emotions. “Thank you for coming to this wake. I’m hoping that everyone can see the hurt child that he was instead of the sick and troubled adult that he became. I’m hoping that, even in this day and age, we can stop the ravages of child abuse once and for all so that his death won’t be in vain.” She is finally able to make eye contact with Sam and she sees a single tear sliding down his cheek as he nods silently to her. She hears his voice in her mind … “I am proud of you, K’Diwa. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for!”

Sam surreptitiously wipes the tear away and gets to his feet, standing beside Pat. “Thank you for honoring the McCoy Family. You are welcome to remain, for as long as you wish, while we hold a final vigil before sending James’ ashes on their final journey.” Various crew members get up, whisper to Pat and Gramps, before leaving the Chapel. Finally, the only people left are Pat, Gramps, Sam, and Sulu. “I think this is what a Klingon’s Vigil of Ak’Voh, is like.”, she says as she looks around, “Keeping watch over the body of a slain warrior. I need a Warrior’s strength to get through this.” Sam stands close to her. “It is not logical to expect yourself to be strong as a Klingon or as logical as a Vulcan. You are only human and I can see you are exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. Go and get some rest. I will continue the vigil in your stead. You will need your strength for the final ceremony tomorrow.” He gently nudges her toward the door.

Pat shakes her head and protests. “But …” “Child”, her Great-grandfather interjects, “It’s time to yield to the logic of the situation. You are exhausted … I can see it for myself. You’ve had prior health issues stemming from the same problem. I’m giving you doctor’s orders to go and get some rest.” Pat gestures toward a spot beside the table holding the funeral urn. “Can we set up a pallet on the floor here? I don’t want to leave my brother until it’s time to say Good Bye.” Sam and Gramps look at each other then at Sulu. Sulu nods at them, quietly takes his leave and goes back to his quarters to rest. Sam looks back at Pat’s Great-grandfather. “It is only logical that she honor her brother in this manner. I will get bedding to make her comfortable during this final vigil.” He heads to his quarters to bring back what is needed to set up a bed on the floor for her. She sits and gazes at her brother’s urn. “I wish I had more memories of him. BETTER memories of him. I was so little when our father died and the monster was in total control. God only knows what that monster did to him, after she abandoned me, to turn him into what we saw at the end.”

“I also wish that things could have been different for him.”, the old man answers. She gets up and starts to wander around the room. She looks back at her Great-grandfather. “At times like these, I wish I were Vulcan and be able to have complete control over my emotions.” Sam enters the room carrying what is needed to make a bed on the floor and hears Pat’s comment. “K’Diwa”, he replies, “Contrary to what you may have learned, Vulcans have been known to lose control of their emotions under extreme circumstances. Grief is one of them.” “Sorry, Sam.”, she replies, “I should have remembered that.” Sam proceeds to arrange a bed on the floor near the funeral table. “It is illogical to expect yourself to be able to remember everything.”, he replies as he works, “Especially while enduring grief after the death of a family member. Now, come and rest. You have your brother’s funeral tomorrow.” Pat walks over to the bed, near the funeral table, and lays down with a sigh. Within moments, she has fallen asleep from exhaustion. Sam stays with her, stroking her back. Leonard observes this and quietly comments, “I’m glad you’re staying with her, Sam. This has got to be rough given everything else that she’s lived through!”

“She is my K’Diwa.”, he replies, “It would be illogical to do otherwise.” The old doctor gives Sam a puzzled look. “K’Diwa? I couldn’t help but notice that you have called her that more than once.” Sam gives the old doctor a small smile. “Contrary to popular belief, we do have terms of endearment for those we love.” The old man smiles. “I’ll have to remember that word … K’Diwa. In spite of the verbal sparring that you have seen between me and Spock, we are friends … more like brothers. Having any Vulcan accept you as a friend is special. Being loved by a Vulcan is beyond words. I can see that she loves you, also … deeply” Sam continues to stroke her back. “I would do ANYTHING to make her happy, as illogical as that may sound.” “You are K’Diwa to each other.”, replies the old doctor, “As far as I can see, that is perfectly logical. She needs you now, more than ever, given the loss of her only sibling. As painful as it is to say it, there will come a day where my age will catch up with me and I won’t be able to be there for her any longer.” The vigil continues into and through the night hours. The old doctor bids “good night” to Sam and retires to his quarters to rest. Sam lays down beside Pat closes his eyes for the next few remaining hours before the final ritual. After awhile, Pat sits up, and looks around. The room is empty except for her and Sam. “Sam?”, she whispers. Sam opens his eyes and sits up. He places a hand on her shoulder. “K’Diwa, it is time.” She nods and sighs. “Yes.” She gets up and begins the final preparations to take her brother’s funeral urn to the torpedo bay of the ship. Leonard quietly enters the room. “Did you get enough rest last night, child?”, he asks.

“Yes, Gramps. Thanks.” She silently picks up the urn and quietly proceeds out of the room and down the corridor to the turbolift. Leonard and Sam silently march behind her. They are joined by Sulu. Various crew members of the Enterprise stop to watch the procession in silence. When the McCoy family enters the turbolift, it is Sam who briefly breaks the silence by giving the turbolift the command to take them to the torpedo bay. Within the torpedo bay area, various crew members are there, including the Captain, in dress uniform. Pat immediately becomes self-conscious. “I’m sorry. I guess I should have been better prepared.” “You’re fine.”, the Captain quietly answers. “This is to honor you and your family during this time of grief.” Pat chokes up and can barely speak as she replies, “Thank you. Is the torpedo casing ready to receive the urn?” “Yes.”, the Captain responds, “You may proceed.” Pat walks forward to the torpedo casing that has been placed in readiness in front of the launch tube. She turns her back to the group that is gathered there to give herself a few more moments of privacy. “Good bye, James, my brother. I wish things could have turned out differently. Rest in peace, wherever your soul has gone.” She turns back around and sees that Sam has heard her final words to her late brother as he nods to her. She gently places the funeral urn within the body of the torpedo casing. Two Enterprise crew members step forward to secure the urn in place, then the torpedo casing is sealed shut and pushed into the launch tube.

Pat turns to the Captain. “Is there any way to safely watch as my brother goes on his final journey to Sol?” “Of course.”, the Captain replies as he indicates a nearby view screen that is immediately activated and given a protective shielding against the sun’s intensity. “Thank you.”, Pat murmurs, “By the way, may I request that ‘Amazing Grace’ on bagpipes be played until the end?” “Yes, of course.”, says the Captain, “Computer, Scottish bagpipes playing ‘Amazing Grace’.” “Amazing Grace” begins to play as the torpedo launcher powers up and the rumble of the torpedo can be heard as it moves down its launch tube. Sam places his hand on Pat’s shoulder. “K’Diwa”, he murmurs, “Are you all right?” Pat places her hand over his. “Yes, K’Diwa, I’ll be fine.” She turns to watch the view screen as the torpedo is launched and a nearby crew member begins counting down to when the torpedo will reach the gravity well of the sun. Finally, it is announced that the torpedo, and its contents, have become vaporized within the sun’s corona. The music ceases. She turns to the crew of the Enterprise and thanks them all for coming before she chokes up again. Then the McCoy family returns to their guest quarters.

“I’m going to rest awhile.”, the old doctor says. “We’ll be nearby if you need us.”, Sam replies. Pat hugs her Great-grandfather. “I’m going to need some time to contemplate … everything.” She reaches out and takes Sam’s hand. He nods as her thoughts touches his. Pat and Sam enter her guest quarters. “I know it may sound illogical …”, she says to him, “I feel like … staying silent for awhile.” “K’Diwa, it is perfectly logical.”, he replies, “You’ve just sent your brother’s ashes on their final journey and they have been consumed within the sun. His journey is over but your grief is still here.” With tears pouring down her face, she begins stimming with her hands, unable to speak. Sam sits down with her and holds her closer. “I’m here, K’Diwa. Let your emotions flow. You are safe with me.” Eventually Pat is able to calm down after she finishes crying. As she wipes her eyes, she looks up at Sam. “After all of this illogical, emotional display, you still want to marry me?” Sam smiles at her. “Yes, K’Diwa, I still want to marry you. I have also been considering having you stay with me, on Earth, during your grieving period. You will need emotional support through this painful time.” “We could ask Gramps.”, she suggests, “He holds the rank of Admiral so he could possibly know if I can or cannot. I’ve been away from duty for quite a long time, first with my medical leave, then Uncle Spock’s abduction, and now with the death of my brother. Star Fleet Medical might take a dim view of my leave of absence being extended.” “For now, K’Diwa”, he says, “you must rest. Sleeping on the floor last night was not conducive to the type of sleep you should have had.” He picks her up and carries her to bed. After making her comfortable, he goes across the corridor to the guest quarters of her Great-grandfather and presses the door chime.

“Come in!”, the old doctor calls out. The doors slide open and Sam enters the room. “Oh, it’s you!”, the old man grins, “How’s my future great-grandson-in-law?” “I’m as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”, Sam replies, “I’ve come to speak about your Great-granddaughter and the possibility of having her stay with me, on Earth, for awhile.” Leonard sits down and gestures for Sam to take a seat. “I don’t see why not. I have the authority to grant her a medical leave of absence for as long as necessary … especially given that she’s just lost her only sibling and the last link to her past. She needs time to work through her bereavement, without the pressure of being in command. I don’t want her in the position of having to stuff down her feelings in front of subordinates while her grief is still raw.”

Sam nods. “Thank you, sir. I am grateful. I’ve noticed that Pat tends to try to remain strong, on the outside, in spite of the stress that she is feeling. I’ve also noticed that when the stress reaches a certain point, she has … what she refers to as a … meltdown?” Leonard nods. “Yes. That is part of the Asperger’s Syndrome that she was born with. Tell me, son, wouldn’t the Mind Meld, that you have had with her, given you that information?” “Yes sir.”, Sam replies, “Given that I am not a doctor, I have to admit that I don’t completely comprehend the Syndrome even though my K’Diwa has attempted to explain various disorders and diseases to me. I thought you might help me understand it.” “I don’t expect you to understand all the various aspects of human psychology and/or neurology.”, the old doctor replies, “I presume that Vulcan still does not have any similar cases to hers.” Sam considers this. “Given that I am an Investigator, not a Healer, I presume there might be a Vulcan form of Autism, just as Bendii Syndrome is analogous to Alzheimer’s Disease in humans, but health issues are rarely discussed in public among my people.”

“I understand.”, Gramps responds, then he gives Sam a smile. “Speaking of which … do you plan to have a Vulcan ceremony or a Human ceremony?” There is a hint of humor in Sam’s eyes. “I think Pat will have the last word on that decision.” Leonard chuckles. “Yes, especially given that she has also been adopted into the House of Martok!” Sam pauses at that, looking bemused. “I had not considered that! Once Pat feels better, we will need to discuss how we want our ceremony … with elements of Human, Klingon, and Vulcan combined!” The old doctor grins. “Now THAT sounds like it’s going to be one FUN party!” Sam nods. “Yes … I’ll need to discuss this with those who would be involved with the ceremony on Vulcan. Given our philosophy of IDIC, this should get interesting. Before I return to my Beloved, is there anything you need … Gramps?” McCoy waves him off. “I’ll be fine! Besides, I need to give Spock a call to wish him a Happy Hanukkah!”

Sam gives him a puzzled look. “Hanukkah? We do not have that on Vulcan.” The old doctor smiles. “It’s an old family tradition that Pat started years ago. Spock’s mother, Amanda, had Jewish ancestry. Pat has made it a point to honor her memory, and her ancestral tradition, ever since she learned his genealogy.” Sam looks intrigued. “I will need to learn more about such Human traditions.” “And Pat can share that with you.”, Gramps replies, “One of her passions is family history. In spite of what you have seen with her brother, and what you have learned about the woman who gave birth to them, there is much more to learn within the McCoy Family Tree! She’s been able to trace our ancestry all the way back to the American Revolutionary War and beyond! One of our ancestral families had soldiers in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War … on both sides of that conflict! In fact, it was a distant relative who wrote the Star Spangled Banner while he watched the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 while two other relatives fought at the Battle of North Point!” Sam’s eyebrows rise in astonishment. “Indeed!”

Leonard nods. “She shared that song during one of her missions with the Klingons. One of the young’uns was foolish enough to insist that humans had no songs to commemorate a battle! She sang it back at him! She also shared the background that the tune was originally a drinking song … a perfect combination for any Klingon! Martok was VERY impressed! He loves her spunk! It was one of the many reasons he adopted her into his family.” Sam nods thoughtfully. “I think it will be wise to include Martok on the guest list for the wedding.” The old doctor grins. “I would strongly agree!” Sam rises to his feet. “For now, I will need to take leave of you, sir, and attend to my K’Diwa. Rest well … Gramps.” Leonard gets up and walks with him to the door. “And you do the same, son. Tell my Great-granddaughter that I love her no matter what. She needs to be reminded of that … frequently.” Sam nods in agreement. “I will do that, sir.” He leaves Leonard’s guest quarters and re-enters Pat’s. She is still awake, sitting up, hugging her knees and staring sightlessly at nothing. Sam sits on the bed with her. “K’Diwa, I thought you were resting.” She gestures. “I’m still feeling … all mixed up … not sure what I should be feeling now. So many things to think about … what I should be doing or not doing … so many conflicting thoughts and emotions.” “You’ve been through a lot within a short period of time.”, he replies, “It would be illogical to expect you to be as stoic as a Vulcan through it all.” He reaches out and strokes her hair. “Besides, I wouldn’t want you to pretend to be someone that you are not. I love you as you, K’Diwa. As I left your Great-Grandfather’s quarters, he asked me to remind you that you are loved … by both of us … no matter what.”

Pat takes his hand and kisses it. “I love you, too, K’Diwa.” She continues to hold his hand. “I feel grief and, at the same time, I know I need to work through it and put it behind me, then it hits me again. I try to ignore it and think ahead to our wedding and it hits me, from out in left field again, and I feel guilty for trying to ignore the grief. Then I think on what Uncle Spock taught me and …” Her voice trails off as her eyes become wide. She gasps in horror. “Uncle Spock! Oh no! I lost all track of time! What day is it?!” “If you are just remembering that it is Hanukkah”, Sam replies, “Your Great-Grandfather is contacting Ambassador Spock to relay your traditional greetings to him, my round-eared dear one. I’m sure he will understand if you are one minute late.” He lifts her hands to his lips and kisses her fingers.

She grips his hand. “But I feel so bad, K’Diwa, for forgetting something that is so important!” Sam looks at her. “Then let us contact him now.” Pat gets out of bed and pads, barefoot, over to the comm-system as she exclaims, “I’m there!”. She presses a button and an Enterprise crew member appears on screen. “May I be put through to Ambassador Spock of Vulcan, please?”, Pat asks. “Of course, Doctor McCoy.”, the Communications Officer responds, “Just a moment.” Within a few moments, Spock’s image appears on screen. “Happy Hanukkah, Uncle Spock.”, Pat greets him, “I’m so sorry I’m late with my traditional family greeting. I promise to be more punctual next time!” Spock’s eyes dance with affection. “You are never late, Patricia-kam. Given what has been happening among our family members, I would have understood if you had chosen to observe your brother’s passing instead.” “But I shouldn’t ignore you, Uncle!” The elder Vulcan holds up his hand. “Let us not debate what we cannot control. Are you well?” “I’m on the mend, emotionally, even though it is a slow progress to be endured.” She looks at Sam, then back at Spock. “Also, Sam and I have been discussing the Koon-ut-La and the Koon-ut-Kalifee ceremonies.” Spock quirks one eyebrow. “Indeed? And why is that?” Pat suddenly finds herself blushing. Sam quietly interjects, “I will leave you, for a short time, so that you and your Uncle can speak privately.” He leaves the room and closes the door behind him. Pat looks back at Spock. “Uh-h-h, um-m-m-m, Uncle Spock, there have been some new developments that I will need to discuss with you … if you have the time.” Spock nods as he gives her a stern look. “I have the time. What are your … questions … regarding these ceremonies? You are aware there are strict rules in regard to discussing such things, especially with outworlders. You have something to tell me … Patricia-kam?”

She blushes more. “Against all logic, Sam and I … we …” She gestures. “I’ll be blunt. Sam and I have … mated. Uncle, this was the LAST thing I EVER expected to happen! After Quon was killed, during a mission, I gave up on love, I gave up on living. I gave up on just about everything! I preferred to hide within my work! I NEVER expected that love would find me! I never expected to fall in love ever again and I certainly NEVER expected to have Sam … Samok … fall in love with me! I’m old! I’m ugly! I’m … defective! And yet, he desires me and wants me to be his wife! I love him and I want him to be my husband! It is all so illogical!” Spock’s eyes soften. “I see … and you have many questions in that regard.” Pat nods. “Yes. I know all about Vulcan physiology and Vulcan biology from medical school. I had to memorize that if I was going to be able to treat battle wounds or illnesses that could befall a Vulcan crew-member. I also studied Gramps’ notes about Pon Farr in case I encountered the same situation he did …” she hesitates, “… with you. I understand that if one of my Vulcan subordinates entered such a state, why it would be imperative to return to Vulcan or death could occur. But NOTHING explains the EMOTIONS that are tied in with … mating … especially mating with a very HANDSOME Vulcan! I can’t ask Gramps those kind of questions because he doesn’t understand everything Vulcan except what he learned from treating you through your … difficulties. I know there are … things … that are not discussed with outworlders and rarely discussed among the Vulcan people themselves, especially regarding ‘the TALK’ about the ‘Birds and the Bees’! I know! I know! We are not birds or bees! I’m a human and you are Vulcan. It’s just an old euphemism from way back when. I’m sure this is especially awkward for you given that you only know the male perspective … from the two times you have mated … with a human woman.” She pauses to breathe for a few moments. Spock nods at her solemnly. “Go on, Patricia-kam.”

Pat resumes. “When I was studying the various Enterprise logs from way back when, I read about how you and Gramps were affected by the spores on Omicron Ceti III … and you fell in love with Leila Kalomi. According to the logs, she had been in love with you since before you reunited with her. The only way you could return that love was because of those spores. This is … embarrassing … Uncle, given that you are my Elder, but as I was studying the medical logs from Omicron Ceti III, there was mention that you and Doctor Kalomi … got physical … gave each other your … virginity. Imagine what it was like for HER, even without the effect from the spores! And then there was the mission to Sarpeidon, where you encountered Zarabeth and you … mated with her. That union, on Sarpeidon, produced a son … Zar.” She pauses. “I guess the point I’m trying to get at is, how is it possible for a Vulcan, like Sam, to fall in love and mate with … something” she pauses as she points to herself, “… like me? In the past, you often encouraged me to ask questions, no matter how dumb they were! Now I’m faced with asking questions that you may not be able … or willing … to answer because of the Vulcan taboos surrounding them! If I can’t ask YOU, regarding Vulcan issues that are … personal …, especially given that I am now mated, and contemplating marriage, with a Vulcan, who CAN I discuss these questions with? Your Mom is gone so I can’t consult with her regarding human-Vulcan sexuality!” Pat notices that Spock has started to blush.

Spock pauses then sighs. “I see your point, Patricia-kam … and your dilemma. There are no Vulcan female elders, that I know of, who would be willing to sit and talk with you regarding your … situation, especially given the fact that you are human. I am very happy for both of you.” Pat smiles. “Thank you, Uncle. But, how do I prepare for marriage to a Vulcan? I can’t expect Sam to teach me about Vulcan sexuality, even though he has been explaining what he can, based on his own experiences. He’s been married before, according to Vulcan tradition. But, that’s not fair to him! He shouldn’t have to be placed in that position … to explain EVERYTHING to me! Plus, many things have changed since your mother married your father! You have no way to know what transpired between your parents because that was kept private … as it should have been. But, based on my observations, your parents had healthy boundaries as well as a healthy marriage … otherwise, your Mom would not have stayed with your Dad. Human females don’t wait seven years before being able to make love with their husbands.” Spock nods at that and, in spite of blushing a deeper shade of green, he comments, “That IS a logical conclusion! My mother was very happy to be with my father! If she had not stayed in the marriage with him, I would not have been born.” Pat smiles at that before continuing, “Besides, being a human female myself, I can’t wait to jump Sam’s bones again! Pardon the pun!” Her smile fades. “Unfortunately, both of your parents are gone so I cannot turn to them for advice. You wanted to stay with Zarabeth, but couldn’t because it would have meant that Gramps would remain trapped back in time and you could not do that to him.” She pauses again. “Uncle, if you were given the opportunity to marry Leila, today, what would you have done? What would you have said to her in preparing for such a marriage? She would need to know about what to expect when the Pon Farr and Plak Tow reoccurs with you. It would not have been fair, to her, to be blind-sided when you go into Pon Farr again.”

Spock considers this. “I do not know. We lost touch with each other after we left Omicron Ceti III. She is most likely dead by now. It would be illogical to speculate on things that never occurred.” Pat hesitates. “Uncle … let me try to phrase the question in a different way … as if I were your daughter instead of your adopted niece. What would you do if you were a widower, with a daughter and she approached you with these same questions? What answers could you give her? She would need to know SOMETHING!” Spock shakes his head. “Since I do not have a biological daughter, and I no longer have a wife, given that I am divorced, it would be illogical to attempt to answer such a question. It would not be appropriate for me to give you advice in this matter. Pon Farr is DEEPLY personal!” Pat sighs in exasperation. “For myself, I guess I still have to figure out some things on my own … just like I did when trying to figure out why neither you nor Gramps threw me away as if I were garbage. Remember when you convinced me to climb out of that garbage can when I was only six years old?” She notices Spock’s eyes become unreadable at that memory.

She pauses. “To change the subject a bit … Uncle … I don’t know if Gramps ever told you this … or not. While all of you were on Omicron Ceti III, and Gramps was conducting medical examinations on the colonists there … he determined that Leila was … fertile. She was not taking any medications that would suppress her … fertility … as she had no interest in mating with any other colonists there. She wanted only you and no one else and, for years, you were physically unavailable. Therefore, she had no reason to suppress her fertility by taking unnecessary medications. Add the fact that the spores gave everyone perfect health, including you …” she pauses, “Those facts present implications, for you, we need to discuss in the future when things settle down. For now, I need to ask for your understanding as I ask additional questions that are going to get more … difficult … if not awkward.”

Spock thinks silently for several seconds. “If a child was born of that union with Leila”, he answers slowly, “then she, or he, would be much older than you. That offspring may have already discovered the answers you seek.” Pat smiles. “As you are my Uncle, then she or he would be my cousin! I wish I could have the opportunity to meet your offspring, have more family members to interact with. But for now, since I have no female relatives to turn to, what do we do concerning our future … mine and Sam’s … as husband and wife? What should I do or expect when he enters Pon Farr?” “For now”, Spock replies, “We plan for a betrothal and a wedding! We will discuss Pon Farr … later. Please ask Samok to return.” Pat smiles. “Yes, Uncle.” She gets up and summons Sam to return to the room.

Spock looks at both of them. “Patricia-kam … Samok … I will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements here on Vulcan. The two of you can organize the guest list. Then all of us, including your Great-Grandfather, can plan on how the ceremony can be conducted.” “What about the catering?”, Pat asks, “Providing enough food and beverages to guests from all over the quadrant is going to be a challenge given the fact that some friends are strict vegans while other friends eat food while it’s still alive and squirming on the plate!” “Plus have enough security when several of Pat’s Klingon friends get enough Blood Wine to start fighting among themselves!”, Sam interjects. “Oh, Lord!”, Pat groans, “Just what I need! Having to patch up my friends … AGAIN … on BOTH my Betrothal and Wedding Days!”

Spock’s eyes twinkle with amusement. “I believe we can plan ahead to avoid that possibility.” Pat nods. “Well, one of the things I CAN do, in planning ahead, is contacting Martok and Worf. They will know what to do regarding their troops. I’m just hoping that the Lady Sirella doesn’t give ME a hard time!” “Sirella?”, Spock and Sam ask together. Pat nods. “The Lady Sirella is Martok’s wife and SHE can be a HANDFUL! Martok loves her deeply. I’ve often wondered if she really returns that love or not. She’s hard to figure out given the way she always insults him.” “Given that Martok has adopted you into his family, then he must be invited to both ceremonies”, Sam comments, “… and given that the Lady Sirella is Martok’s wife, she must be invited as well.” “I just hope she doesn’t try to take over everything and force me to do both ceremonies HER way!”, Pat replies, “That is aggravation that I do NOT need!”

Sam looks at her with a hint of amusement. “I think I would have some say as there is another factor that she might not be familiar with … Pon Farr. If the Koon-ut-La triggers the Plak Tow, she will have no voice in the matter!” Pat chuckles. “She’ll have to learn how to duck … FAST … if she gets in the way!” Spock smiles slightly. “I will plan for such a contingency. I will need to cut this conversation short as your Great-Grandfather has been on hold the entire time we have been speaking. We both know what that does to his mood.” Pat chuckles. “How well I know! Again, Happy Hanukkah, Uncle Spock. I wish there was some way to give you a present for each of the Eight Nights like I used to do when I was a kid!” Spock’s eyes twinkle in response. “Helping to plan your Koon-ut-La and your Koon-ut-Kalifee are gifts enough for each night of Hanukkah! Live Long and Prosper, Patricia-kam!” “Love you, Uncle Spock! Talk to you later!” She breaks the connection and Spock’s image fades from the view screen.

Sam picks up a nearby PADD. “It appears we will need to begin work on the guest list immediately so we don’t accidentally insult anyone.” He starts to punch in information. “Guest list … include Martok and his wife, the Lady Sirella … who else?” “Then there is Worf and his son, Alexander, as Worf’s possible guest … Grilka and Quark, as her possible guest, the Klingon crew members that I have been training, Captain Benjamin Sisko and his family …” Sam punches in this information. Pat gets up and paces the room. “Which reminds me, I need to double-check with Ben as HIS son is getting married. I don’t want to accidentally schedule OUR ceremonies on Vulcan around the same time that Ben will need to travel to Earth for his son’s wedding!”

Sam nods in agreement. “Logical!” He punches more information into the PADD. “And then there are your guests, such as Stark and your other colleagues from Investigator Central.” Sam punches in more information as she continues her train of thought. “Of course, Uncle Spock and Gramps Captain Uhura, Captain Sulu … other members of the Enterprise who have known me since I was a child … We need to call Martok … to get his feedback on how to minimize the damage from a mob of rowdy Klingon guests …” Sam gives her a quizzical look. “Is he back on Q’onos or on his flagship … what is it called?” “I believe it’s still the IKS Rotarran … if it hasn’t been battered to pieces in another battle by now. One way to find out is by putting in a communication to Q’onos.” She walks over to the comm-system and re-activates it. A communications officer appears on screen. “May I be put in touch with Chancellor Martok on Q’onos?” “Right away, Doctor McCoy!”, the officer replies. Within a few moments, a Klingon warrior appears on screen.

“Who DARES to contact the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council!?”, the Klingon barks angrily. “Doctor Pat McCoy, the adopted daughter of the Noble House of Martok! And WHO are YOU to STAND IN MY WAY?!” She glowers at him. Sam tries to hide his amusement at this exchange. The Klingon does a double-take. “THE Doctor Pat McCoy?!” Pat glares at him. “What’s the matter? Do you need to have me perform surgery on your eyes in order to be able to SEE who you are looking AT?!” The Klingon’s attitude instantly changes. “I beg your pardon! I will put you through to Martok immediately!” The Klingon insignia appears on screen as Pat is placed on hold. Sam is unable to suppress a snicker and she grins at Sam. “I can’t resist having a little fun now and then! You should have seen me and the Klingons during the last couple of training missions! The Young’uns had NO idea what to think!” “I am beginning to understand your connection with the Klingons …”, Sam nods. He is interrupted when the Klingon insignia vanishes and Martok appears on screen.

“Martok! Q’Pla!”, she grins. “Q’Pla! What brings my honored daughter to contact me today?” Pat tries to mask the twinkle in her eye. “I need your help, my honorable adopted father.” Martok looks concerned. “What is the problem?” “How do I prevent Klingon troops from getting too drunk, fighting among themselves, and destroying both a betrothal and wedding ceremonies that they will be attending as guests?” Martok looks bemused. “Whose betrothal and wedding ceremonies?” She gives him a sly smile. “Mine!” Sam hides a snicker behind his hand and Martok grins with delight. “You have FINALLY found a mate! Good for you! Who is the lucky warrior?” Pat gestures to Sam and he steps into view. She takes his hand and kisses it. “Meet Samok, of Vulcan, my intended bond-mate and husband!” “Q’Pla, Honorable Martok!”, as Sam salutes him. Pat grins. “And he’s a wonderful warrior in my book!” “I will not argue with you about that!”, Martok replies with delight, “Now, as to the question of behavior among my warriors. I will see to it that they treat you with the respect you deserve at your ceremonies or they will experience the wrath from BOTH of us!” Pat smiles at that. “Thank you, Martok! I plan to have a separate area for the Blood Wine and all that goes with that. If any one or more of the warriors ignore your instructions, and start fighting among themselves after having too much Blood Wine, then they need to understand that I am NOT going to interrupt either of MY ceremonies to patch up their boo-boos! If anything, I will KICK BUTT when I return from my honeymoon!” Sam struggles to keep a straight face but his eyes are dancing with amusement.

Martok grins. “And I will join you in this ‘kicking butt’ if they disrupt your ceremonies in any way that was NOT planned! Tell me, will it be a Klingon ceremony as it was with Emperor Kahless and his Lady Lukara?” Pat responds with a sly grin. “As in my jumping on my intended mate like a crazed vole?” Sam blushes a deep green while Pat snickers. “Only YOU could make me blush, McCoy!”, Martok chortles as his face changes color, “I didn’t mean the PRIVATE moments AFTER the wedding! I meant the PUBLIC ceremonies. I’m sure Worf could instruct Samok in that regard.” She shakes her head. “Thanks, Martok! Sam and I are designing our own wedding which will incorporate elements of each world, and each ancestry, that our family members are from, including yours. I don’t want to leave anyone out when they have touched our lives in so many profound ways.” Martok nods approvingly. “I like what you have in mind, my adopted daughter! I will prepare my warriors and ensure that they will be on their BEST behavior during the ceremonies!” “Thank you, Martok, and please give my regards to the Lady Sirella. I sense that you must get back to your duties with the High Council.”, Pat replies. “That I must!”, laughs the Klingon elder, “Until your ceremonial day, Q’Pla!” “Q’Pla, Martok, dear adopted father!” Pat gives him a Klingon salute as his image fades from the view screen. She looks at Sam. “Can you be ready to deal with rowdy Klingons?”

Sam smiles at her. “I believe I can … with you by my side!” Pat grins, stands up and kisses him passionately, then comes up for air. “I will always stand by your side, my handsome warrior!” “We have more planning to do for our wedding.”, he whispers huskily, “If we’re not careful, we could find ourselves in an uncontrollable Plak Tow before the ceremonies!” She softly growls, “And I could make the Blood Fever FUN! Remind me to run the holo-program of Emperor Kahless and Lady Lukara. Then you’ll be able to understand the reference regarding ‘crazed voles’ jumping on each other!” They start making love when the door chimes, interrupting the mood. Sam reluctantly responds to the sound while Pat makes growling noises in her throat. “Come in!” The door slides open, admitting the Captain of the Enterprise. Pat and Sam self-consciously step apart, she’s blushing a deep red and he’s blushing a deep green. The Captain quickly realizes he interrupted a romantic interlude … “Oops! I apologize for this intrusion. I just wanted to let you know that we have entered Earth’s orbit. I didn’t want to disturb your family until it was necessary. Star Fleet has sent a message inquiring about the arrival of Mr. Samok.” He looks at Sam. “I thought I should let you both know.” “Did they send the coordinates for our lodgings?”, Pat asks. “As a matter of fact, they have.”, the Captain replies, “When you are ready to beam down, I’ll make sure you know where those lodgings will be.” He turns to leave. “One more thing before you go, Captain …”, Pat says. He pauses. “Yes?”

Pat gazes at Sam then turns back to the Captain. “Sam and I were planning our betrothal and wedding, before my brother died. When he finishes his studies at Star Fleet, we will need to return to Vulcan for the ceremonies. Could the Enterprise be available for our transport back, along with our wedding party who were previously crew members of the Enterprise … like Captains Sulu, and Uhura?” The Captain grins. “I’d be DELIGHTED! I’ll have to clear it with the Top Brass. When is the Big Day?” “We’re still working on that logistic given Sam’s studies plus whatever is required on Vulcan.”, Pat replies, “Uncle Spock is making arrangements there. Then we have a group of Klingon warriors, along with Chancellor Martok and Ambassador Worf coming.” The Captain whistles. “That is going to be SOME wedding party!” Pat grins. “I’m working on making sure that the party doesn’t become TOO wild! After all, Vulcan is hosting and I don’t want to be the cause of any diplomatic incidents!” “I understand!”, says the Captain with a grin. “In the meantime, let me know when you’re ready to beam down.” He exits the guest quarters. Pat turns to Sam with a sigh. “Looks like we’ll have to postpone our stimulating conversation until we get to your place!” Sam cannot suppress a grin. “I’m looking forward to further stimulation between the two of us!” Pat waggles her eyebrows.

She finishes packing up her belongings, with Sam’s assistance. They go to his quarters and pack his belongings as well. She stops by Leonard’s guest quarters. “Gramps? You ready?” The old doctor sets the last piece of his luggage by the door. “I’m ready to go to my other home … NOT the transporter! I HATE that danged thing! Aren’t you ready? By the way, where’s Sulu?” “Sam and I are ready to beam down.”, she replies, “We just need to haul our luggage over to the transporter room. Oh, here he comes now! Are you ready to go home, Sulu?”

“I’m ready to relax and spend some time with my family.”, Sulu grins, “I don’t know about you, but it seems the older I get the more difficult traveling seems to become!” “You and me both!”, Leonard interjects, “I can’t wait to get to my California home and put my feet up!” “This will be my first visit.”, Sam comments, “Will I be able to call on one of you if I need assistance in navigating the area?” Pat taps him on the shoulder. “Aren’t you forgetting something, K’Diwa, … or someone?” She kisses him on the cheek. Sam gives her a slight smile. “I could never forget you, K’Diwa! I thought you might be busy while we are within walking distance of Star Fleet Headquarters.” “I guess I should check in with Star Fleet”, she sighs, “Given how long it’s been since I was sent on shore leave … per doctor’s orders!” She gives a pointed look at her Great-grandfather. “Child, you WERE having serious health issues, which REQUIRED me to order leave for you!”, he growls back, then pauses. “Besides, you will need some Family Leave time for both bereavement as well as planning your wedding. Which reminds me … Sam … you need to find an engagement ring to place on my Great-granddaughter’s finger to inform everyone that she is now officially OFF the dating market!” “Sam”, Pat asks, “Can’t we use either the Promise Ring or the Engagement Ring as part of the Koon-ut-La ceremony?” Sam considers this. “How about my obtaining two types of rings? One to wear pre-ceremony and the other, the official bridal set?” “Plus a matching groom’s ring too …”, Pat adds, “With a special message engraved inside!” Sam nods at the suggestion. “We will need to look at rings and see what engraving can fit inside, K’Diwa.” “I see what you mean, Beloved.”, she responds, “Let’s look at what is available at the jewelry shops after we beam down.”

They all carry their luggage to the transporter room where they are met by the Captain. “Thank you for hosting my family and for permitting us to hold my late brother’s memorial service here.”, Pat tells him. “You’re very welcome.”, the Captain replies, “I’m looking forward to your wedding trip back to Vulcan in the near future!” She nods and smiles. “Permission to disembark?” “Permission granted!” They ascend onto the transporter platform with their luggage and Pat looks around at everyone, noting Gramps’ discomfort with the transporter. “I think everyone’s ready.” The Captain nods then turns toward the crew member at the transporter controls. “Energize!” They disappear from the transporter platform within sparkles of light and re-materialize on another transporter platform in San Francisco.

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