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

NOBODY’S CHILD
by Pat McCoy

CHAPTER TEN – You Are Cordially Invited to the Bonding

Pat sees the room change from San Francisco to the transporter room aboard the Enterprise. The Captain greets them with a smile as she asks him, “Permission to come aboard?” “Permission granted and welcome back!”, the Captain replies, “It’s good to see you both, again!” Pat shakes his hand. “And this time, the circumstances should be much happier than the last time!” “I agree.”, the Captain nods, “My officers will escort you to your guest quarters and see to your needs during your journey back to Vulcan!” Two crew-members lead the way to the deck level where they will be staying during the journey. As they head out of the transporter room, the Captain calls out to them, his eyes twinkling. “Since this trip is in anticipation of a happy occasion, I have reserved one suite for the bride and the other suite for the groom. You’ll both see why shortly!” Pat gives Sam a puzzled look. “K’Diwa”, Sam tells her with dancing eyes, “I’ve been doing some research on human wedding customs. Apparently, one of the customs is that the Intended do not sleep together until after the wedding!” Pat nods in understanding while attempting to keep a straight face. “I should have remembered that!” She sends him her thoughts, “Sleeping with you is so much fun that I subconsciously ignored that custom!” Sam looks back at her with a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Pat is led to her guest quarters while Sam is led to a completely separate area for his guest quarters. Upon entering her guest quarters, she sees that everything has been decorated with a bridal theme. Several young female crew-members, from a variety of Federation worlds, appear at the doorway. “Do you like it?”, they ask. Pat is flabbergasted. “It’s … WONDERFUL!” One of the crew-members pipes up, “Your Great-grandfather gave us the idea!” Pat turns toward the group. “I have another idea! Is anyone skilled at henna painting?” One of the crew-members raises her hand. “I can do that! It is a custom among my people to paint the hands and feet of brides!” “Can you also write in Vulcan script?”, Pat asks. The female crew-members look at her quizzically. Pat gestures to them. “Come on in and I’ll explain what I have in mind!” Meanwhile, Sam is being accompanied by a male crew-member.

“Looking forward to the ‘ball and chain’, huh?”, the male crew-member says with a smirk. Sam quirks an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”, he responds coldly. The crew-member realizes he has just overstepped his boundaries. “I apologize, sir. I shouldn’t have said that. Both Doctors McCoy are very special people. I think I’m just being a little jealous. You’re a lucky guy.” “Thank you.”, Sam replies, “I am unfamiliar with human wedding customs. What little I know, is from research.” “You’re having a human wedding?”, the crew-member asks. “Actually”, Sam answers, “We are combining elements of Vulcan, Human and Klingon as she has adopted family members from other home-worlds. She wishes to honor them all … and I concur.” “That sounds like it’s going to be really special, including all of her loved ones in this celebration.”, the crew-member comments. “Since you are unfamiliar with human wedding customs, then you don’t know about bachelor parties?” “I am not a bachelor. I am a widower.”, Sam replies. “Oops! Sorry! I didn’t mean to insult you, sir.” “No insult is taken, crew-man. Pat has encouraged me to research human wedding customs and I have read about the various parties that are held prior to the nuptials. I’ve even read that there are pre-wedding parties where both the bride and groom attend together, if I understand that concept correctly.” “We can do that!”, the crew-man nods. “I’ll need to coordinate it with my fellow crew-members as the women are throwing a party for the bride, even as we speak.” Sam looks intrigued. “Indeed? It appears that my Intended will be the recipient of more than one party as a result.” The male crew-member grins. “And that is NOT a bad thing!” “Then that gives me the perfect opportunity to accomplish my objective.”, Sam comments, “Let us proceed in planning this pre-wedding party.” They enter Sam’s guest quarters.

Meanwhile, in Pat’s guest quarters, she and the young female crew-members are discussing various aspects of the upcoming ceremonies. “Will you have bridesmaids at your ceremonies?”, one of the youngsters asks. Pat pauses. “I hadn’t thought of that. Vulcan ceremonies, such as the Koon-ut-La, normally don’t have bridesmaids.” “Can we be bridesmaids?”, another female crew-member asks, “I’ve always wanted to participate in a wedding!” Pat shakes her head. “I should warn you, this is NOT going to be the usual wedding that you may be accustomed to! Vulcans are not keen on having many outworlders involved who are not close friends or family of the bride and groom. I am not at liberty to discuss the reasons behind that as Vulcans are a very private people.” “Your Intended is VERY handsome!”, another youngster giggles. Pat grins. “Thank you! I think so, too!” “What are Vulcan mates like?”, another crew-member blurts out. Pat gives her a long, cold, silent stare and the crew-member realizes she has made a HUGE mistake. “S-s-sorry.” “Apology accepted.”, Pat replies, “I expect some good natured teasing and risque’ humor leading up to the ceremonies. Now you understand that there are certain boundaries that will not be crossed, especially where Vulcan custom and culture are concerned.” “Understood.”, the crew-members say in unison. Pat looks around. “Now, where can we get henna and start the ritual painting?” The female crew-members get busy.

The crew-members of the Enterprise coordinate with each other to throw a pre-ceremonial party for both Sam and Pat in Ten-Forward and they go along with the party good-naturedly. At one point, during the festivities, Sam asks for silence as he wishes to speak. “I have been researching ancient wedding customs among humans and I happened upon this verse: ‘Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue.’ As some humans have been known to say, a little bird told me that my Intended has found something old, something borrowed, and something blue. However, she has been stymied about finding something new. I hope I have been able to resolve that dilemma.” Pat looks at him quizzically as he reaches behind the bar, produces a small, gift-wrapped box, and presents it to her. She opens the box and gasps in surprise as she finds a brand-new necklace, fashioned in an ancient Vulcan glyph, holding two amethysts. Sam takes the necklace out of the box and fastens it around her neck. “This ancient glyph”, Sam explains, “is from the Distant Red Sands of my home-world. The glyph translates to Ashau … meaning … love.” Pat’s eyes tear up and she is too moved to speak. As all the party attendees applaud, she leans over and kisses Sam on the cheek. She whispers so that only Sam can hear. “Ashau!” Sam whispers back. “Taluhk nash-veh k’dular Ashau!” For the remainder of the trip to Vulcan, Pat and Sam are kept separated but occupied.

Occasionally, Pat would spot her Great-grandfather conversing with Sulu only to see him smile and wave. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of that. Shortly before their arrival at Vulcan, she learns that these two old guys had thrown their own version of a bachelor party for Sam. Pat shakes her head as she mutters to herself. “Can’t fault them for that! The young’uns are TOO energetic and Gramps is entitled to have a little fun during these festivities!” The Enterprise arrives at Vulcan and enters standard orbit. Those invited to the ceremonies beam down and Pat goes into seclusion as she prepares for the Koon-ut-La ceremony. Her dressmaker and her hairdresser assist her with her Bonding dress, her hair, and makeup. The borrowed veil, that was once worn by Spock’s mother for her wedding, is incorporated into her hair and fastened to the removable silk flowers. In the event of battle, they could be lifted away as a single unit and replaced by the helmet. Sam is being assisted by his friends from Investigator Central. He turns to his closest friend, Stark, and hands him a box. “Please hold these for me during the Koon-ut-La, as I will need them during the ceremonies.” Stark is puzzled. “Please explain.” “The reason will become clear during the rituals.”, Sam comments, “For now, let us complete our preparations.”

The dressmaker and the hairdresser make a few last minute adjustments, then step back from Pat. She turns to look at herself in the mirror and is astonished at the transformation. At that moment, she hears a tap at the door, which opens to reveal her Great-grandfather. “Is my Baby Girl ready?” Pat turns toward him and he catches his breath. “Child, you are a BEAUTIFUL bride! Wait until Sam sees you!” “Thanks, Gramps!”, she grins, “I can’t wait to see him and I’m scared of what might happen.” Leonard carefully hugs her so he won’t muss anything. “You’ll be fine, child! Are you ready to walk down the aisle?” Pat gulps nervously. “I think so. I have something old … the centuries old coin from Thanksgiving tucked into my shoe, something new …”, she indicates the new necklace that Sam has given her, “Something borrowed … the veil that once belonged to Spock’s mother, and something blue, the garter that I’m wearing underneath my Bonding dress. Oh! One more thing!” She moves the amethyst promise ring from her left hand to her right. “I think I’m ready now, Gramps.” She picks up the battle helmet and tries to figure out how to carry it. The old doctor takes it out of her hands. “Give me that! I’ll carry it as we are both warriors!” He holds it in the crook of his left arm as he offers her his right arm and they proceed to walk out of the preparation chamber. As they enter the ceremonial area for the Koon-ut-La, the pre-recorded music of T’Ling begins to play. Pat hears some astonished murmuring as the guests react to the music. She manages to maintain her composure as they approach the gauntlet of Klingon warriors as they raise their Bath’leths in an arch. She hears the Lady Sirella recite her McCoy family lineage of warriors as she walks beneath the arch. As she reaches the end of the gauntlet, the Lady Sirella recites Samok’s lineage and the story of how the two of them met, joined in battle to save her family, and fell in love. For the first time, since the beginning of the ceremony, she sets eyes on Sam. He is dressed in the formal Vulcan robes, decorated with the gems and sigils befitting his family and rank and he is attended by Stark and other colleagues from Investigator Central. The moment he sees her, his eyes widen in astonishment and he barely suppresses a smile. She grins wide enough for both of them and brushes his mind with her thoughts … “Hello, handsome!” At that, he is unable to suppress a smile and holds out two fingers of his hand. She relinquishes her Great-grandfather’s arm and approaches Sam, touching his two fingers with her own.

The Priestess steps forward. “Greetings to all sentient beings who are gathered here for this momentous occasion at the bonding of Samok, son of Sulak, to Doctor Patricia Amanda McCoy, Great-granddaughter of Doctor Leonard Horatio McCoy.” The Priestess turns to Sam. “Samok, son of Sulak, are you prepared to be bonded to this woman? Sam nods solemnly. “I am.” The Priestess then turns to Pat. “Patricia Amanda McCoy, Great-granddaughter of Doctor Leonard Horatio McCoy, are you prepared to be bonded to Samok, son of Sulak?” Pat also nods solemnly. “I am. May we symbolize our readiness?” The Priestess nods. “You may.” Pat and Sam approach the Unity Candle, which consists of two slender tapers and one large central candle. The two tapers are lit by an acolyte. Pat takes one taper and Sam takes the other. She holds up her lit candle. “As an enduring symbol of our bond and the joining of our families, this flame of mine will join yours, my K’Diwa. As the Plak Tow takes hold, my love will burn as bright as the candle I hold … the candle I hold for you, my mate … my husband.” Sam holds up his lit candle. “As an enduring symbol of our bond and the joining of our families, this flame of mine will join yours, my K’Diwa. As the Plak Tow takes hold, when my eyes are flame and my heart is flame, my blood and my love will burn as bright as the candle I hold … the candle I hold for you, my mate … my wife.” They both light the central candle together then replace the tapers to their holders. Stark comes forward and hands a diamond ring to Sam, who places the engagement ring on the third finger of Pat’s left hand. He holds up her hand for all to see as he announces to all the assembly, “I have chosen this woman to bond to me!” Pat also speaks up, “And I have chosen this man to bond to me!”

The Priestess steps up. “Come forward and prepare to be bonded, one to another in the ancient ritual of the Koon-ut-La.” Pat and Sam approach the Priestess and kneel on cushions in front of her so that she may be able to touch the contact points on their faces. The Priestess establishes a mind-meld with both of them simultaneously and begins to recite: “Our minds one and together. Touching and yet not touching. Parted but never parted.” Pat and Sam recite together: “We are one.” Suddenly, a new, and much stronger sensation crashes over Pat and for a few moments, she fears she is going to collapse in front of everyone. She looks deep into Sam’s eyes, puzzled, and asks, through the meld, “Sam, what has just happened to me?” Sam answers her within her mind, “It is the beginning of the Plak Tow, the Blood Fever. Do not be afraid!” “I do not fear the Blood Fever as you share it with me!”, she replies to his mind. The Priestess is momentarily astonished. She then steps forward and reestablishes the mind-meld. “His blood burns.”, the Priestess nods approvingly, “This is good! Astonishing! Her blood burns as well even though she is human! Thee may proceed with the Koon-ut-Kalifee.”

Sam shakily gets to his feet and goes over to the ceremonial gong and strikes it once. He strikes it a second time, then Pat shakily gets to her feet. She hears several bell ringers shaking systras as she struggles to remain standing. The Priestess continues, “What thee are about to see, comes down from the time of the Beginning. This is the Vulcan Heart! This is the Vulcan Soul! This is our way … Kali Farr!” Pat manages to regain some control and stares down any would-be challengers. Even the Klingon warriors back away when she makes eye contact with them. Leonard whispers an aside to Spock, “That’s my girl!” After what seems like forever, Sam strikes the gong for a third time. Admiral Akaar steps forward and begins speaking. “I am honored that Doctor Pat McCoy has asked me to conduct the human portion of the ceremony as I owe my life to her Great-grandfather, my namesake, and a revered warrior among my people.” He turns to Pat and Sam. “Samok, son of Sulak, does your blood burn for this woman?” “My eyes are flame! My heart … flame!”, Sam responds hoarsely. The Admiral turns towards Pat. “Patricia Amanda McCoy, Great-granddaughter of Doctor Leonard McCoy, does your blood burn for this man?” Pat cannot refrain from shouting. “I burn! My eyes! My heart! The very blood in my veins! They are flame for my husband!” Spock and McCoy look at each other, astonished.

The Admiral holds out his hands in blessing and speaks several words in ancient Hebrew. Then he changes over to Standard. “Samok, son of Sulak, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, forsaking all others and bonding only to her, as long as you have breath?” Sam responds, “I will!” The Admiral faces Pat. “Patricia Amanda McCoy, Great-granddaughter of Doctor Leonard McCoy, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, forsaking all others and bonding only to him, as long as you have breath?” Pat responds, “I will.” Stark again steps forward and hands the groom’s ring to Pat. She takes the ring, raising it for all to see, then takes hold of Sam’s left hand. “With this ring, I thee wed and bond only to you, my husband.” She slips the groom’s ring onto the third finger of Sam’s left hand. Stark hands the remaining ring to Sam, who takes it, raising it for all to see, then takes hold of Pat’s left hand. “With this ring, I thee wed and bond only to you, my wife.” He slips off her engagement ring, slides the wedding ring on, then slides the engagement ring back on the third finger of her left hand. Then the bridal couple recites their Vulcan vows for everyone to hear, “Parted and never parted. Never and always touching and touched.” Admiral Akaar hands a glass chalice to Sam, who gives it to Pat. She takes a sip, turns it and subtly indicates to Sam where her lips have been. With a slight smile, he takes the chalice, drains it, and hands it over to the Admiral, who wraps it in cloth, and places it on the floor. “In ancient times”, the Admiral announces, “There were a valiant people who symbolized the beginning of a marriage by the groom breaking a glass underfoot. Doctor Pat McCoy has requested to perform this ancient custom in order to honor many of her Uncle Spock’s Jewish ancestors. Samok, son of Sulak, you may proceed.” Sam stomps on the cloth and everyone hears the glass break. “Shalom! Mazeltov! L’Chaim! Peace, prosperity, and long life to both of you!”, the Admiral proclaims, “By the powers invested in me by the Federation, I now pronounce you husband and wife!” “And by the powers invested in me by the Klingon Empire”, the Lady Sirella announces, “I declare that these two are now married!” Pat places both of her hands on Sam’s face and kisses him deeply. “Pon Farr!”, the Priestess exclaims, “The time of mating! These two are now bonded as one. The Plak Tow has taken hold! All wedding guests will retire to the Reception Room to give this husband and wife privacy! They will join you shortly!”

The wedding guests head over to the Reception Room as the newly married couple head to the ceremonial bridal chamber within Mount Selaya. They are accompanied by the Priestess until they get to the door of the chamber. Both Pat and Sam are affected by the Pon Farr and Pat is ready for combat should anyone attempt to interfere. Sam turns to the Priestess. “Under traditional circumstances, the bridal couple would be much younger, able to produce children, and be accompanied by the matriarch of the male. Today, those circumstances do not exist. We are much older, too old to produce children, and my matriarch is dead and gone. Your journey ends at this door. You may leave as my new wife and I require privacy.” Pat fixes a glare on the Priestess. “I had no idea, until now, how strong the Plak Tow could be! I am his wife, NOT a spectator sport! What I give to my husband is for his eyes only! No one should interfere!” The Priestess bows her head and silently withdraws. Sam scoops up Pat in his arms and they cross the threshold. Once Pat and Sam enter the ceremonial chamber, they shut and lock the door. The newly married couple gaze at each other, breathing in fits and starts, as the Plak Tow grows stronger. Sam removes her headdress, with the veil, and sets it aside. Pat gasps, “Now I’m beginning to understand what the concept of ‘Mate or Die’ means, my husband! And this is only the beginning?! My logic and reasoning are nearly gone! I want to make love to you, NOT harm you!” Sam slowly approaches her and holds out two fingers to her. “Do not be afraid! We are safe, together. Let the Blood Fever run its course, my wife!” As she touches his fingers with her own, he notices, for the first time, that both of her hands are covered with intricate patterns painted in henna. He had been so focused on the ceremonies that these decorations had not registered in his consciousness. He holds one of her hands closer to his face to inspect these patterns further and realizes the patterns are made up of minute Vulcan script and glyphs, with intimate messages meant solely for him. Upon closer inspection, he discovers more henna paintings in Vulcan script and glyphs starting at her collar bones and cascading down her body in a Trill-like pattern. By this point, they are both deep in the Plak Tow, their logic gone, and instincts completely take over.

At the wedding reception, Spock notices that Leonard is looking worried and approaches him. “You appear to be … disquieted … on a day when you should be celebrating. Your Great-granddaughter is now married. What concerns you?” The old doctor sighs. “You’re right. I should be celebrating my Great-granddaughter’s marriage. I’m also mindful of how powerful the Plak Tow can be! I had no idea it would affect her the same way it affected you. Who knew that a Human could go into Pon Farr?” Spock nods, looking bemused. “I see your point. It is astonishing that she was affected so. When I watched the holo-vids of the wedding of my late parents, neither of them were affected in that manner in the midst of their ceremony. Everything appeared as a normal wedding celebration. Fascinating!” “Spock, do you remember when she was still a child, how her body temperature was constantly elevated and she preferred warmer room temperatures?”, McCoy asks. “Yes.”, Spock responds, “When she visited me, she appeared more comfortable with Vulcan room temperatures than human room temperatures.” “Exactly!”, Leonard gestures emphatically, “When I had the room temperatures adjusted for my comfort, she would be freezing, even though she rarely complained to me about it. I never understood why she preferred Vulcan temperatures or why her body temperature remains so high. I had always thought she was suffering from some infection that I couldn’t find.”

Spock looks thoughtful. “Given that she has been conducting genealogy research for several years, has she ever done any DNA tests on herself?” Gramps shakes his head. “No, she didn’t. She didn’t want to touch ANYTHING that could provide any information on that woman who married her father … and I didn’t blame her. That witch put her through HELL! You saw what that monster did to her brother! We were able to verify her relationship as my Great-granddaughter through official documentation such as marriage certificates and birth certificates … along with my DNA.” “I can understand her reluctance.”, Spock comments, “As her Uncle, and as a Vulcan, this will be a topic that she and I will need to discuss. If the evidence that we have both observed supports my hypothesis, then she will need to explore this further.”

Leonard gives the Elder Vulcan a concerned look. “Why should she?” “Because of potential medical history that is genetic … especially for Vulcans.” Spock pauses, attempting to hide his feelings of awkwardness at what he is about to say. “During one of our many conversations, Patricia-Kam mentioned something that I had not considered.” “Oh? What do you mean, Spock?” The Elder Vulcan looks at his old friend. “Do you recall our encounter with the colonists on Omicron Ceti III?” The elderly doctor whistles. “Do I ever! Those spores wreaked havoc with everyone in the landing party and then all over the ship!” Spock nods. “Do you recall Doctor Leila Kalomi, the botanist?” Gramps thinks for a minute. “Now that I think of it, yes. She was quite an attractive young lady … and quite smitten with you, as I recall.” Spock attempts to hide his discomfort. “If you recall, there was more to it than that.” Leonard looks thoughtful as he searches his memory while Spock continues. “You gave each colonist a physical and found them all in perfect health.” “Yes!”, the old doctor exclaims, “Even though Sandoval had an appendectomy, his appendix grew back!” Spock nods. “As for Leila, there were additional … factors.” Leonard gives him a bemused look. “What are you getting at, Spock?” “Patricia-Kam mentioned that she had been researching your medical logs from Omicron Ceti III and noted that the results from Leila Kalomi’s physical indicated that she was quite…” Spock hesitates, “… fertile … and was not taking anything to suppress that fertility.”

Leonard goes wide-eyed. “What?!” Spock continues. “You had conducted those physicals right before we were infected by the spores, so that fact didn’t really … what is that idiom? … show up on your radar. You had no reason to comment further about that fact because she had no interest in mating with any of the other colonists who were on the planet with her. Therefore, the need to take fertility suppression was a moot point. Why take unnecessary medication when there is no real requirement for it? Therefore, I am not blaming you for overlooking that detail. If anyone deserves blame, it should be me.” The old doctor gives him a concerned look. “And why should anyone blame you, Spock?” Spock is having more difficulty hiding his embarrassment. “Because I made the mistaken assumption that I was … sterile … that as a Vulcan-Human Hybrid, similar to a mule, I could not sire any children. And you have often quoted that saying about the word ‘assume’. I came to realize my assumption was in error when we encountered Zar, the son of Zarabeth of Sarpeidon.” Spock pauses. “MY son.” “I’ve often considered you stubborn as a mule”, Leonard replies, “But I never considered you the same as a mule! I could probably get a lot of mileage about your mistaken assumption making someone an ‘ass’ out of you and me, but I’m not going to do that to you … as I think I’m beginning to see where this is going … and how it might impact Patricia. I should have realized something might be in her background, given that her middle name is Amanda. You and I don’t see that name used much anymore … that plus some decidedly Vulcan traits.” Spock nods. “Indeed. For now, we will need to wait until a more appropriate time to discuss this with Patricia-kam.”

Pat rolls over in bed, hearing her joints snap, crackle, pop, and she groans. “Oh-h-h-h, I’m finding muscles I never knew I had! OUCH! I’m not 20-something anymore!” Sam gives a low chuckle as he lays beside her. “I concur, K’Diwa! I could assist you with Vulcan Neuropressure to ease the pain. At the same time, we need to get dressed and rejoin our wedding guests!” Pat looks at her new husband. “Can you help me up and help me get dressed? My body is being uncooperative at the moment.” “Certainly, K’Diwa.”, he says, “My pleasure, my wife!” Pat grins at him. “Thank you, my husband!” They both get up, slowly, and Pat limps around the room, picking items of clothing up off of the floor so neither would trip over them. Sam goes over to a closet and brings out other ceremonial clothing. “It is a tradition, among my people, to wear these to the reception after the Koon-ut-Kalifee.” He helps Pat to get dressed, divides up the silk flowers so that she would carry half in her hands and the other half is replaced in her hair with the veil, replaces the garter on her leg, then he dresses himself. She checks her make-up in the mirror and applies some touch-up. Sam nods approvingly. “You are still beautiful! Are you ready to join the party, my wife?” Pat nods. “I think so. Probably a waltz or two will help work the kinks out of my creaky joints!” Sam walks over to her. “Let us see if your hypothesis is sound.” They leave their bridal chamber and walk over to the Reception. As they enter the room, their guests notice their arrival and begin to applaud. Pat begins to blush at the sound and she sends a thought to Sam’s mind, “I’m not used to this, K’Diwa! It feels like sensory overload! So many people and so much noise!” Sam sends his thoughts back, “I am here, K’Diwa. I share my strength with you, my wife!” Pat sends her sense of gratitude back to her new husband. Martok stands up and holds his cup of Blood Wine aloft. “Congratulations, to the bride and groom!” Pat nods and smiles at him. Sam leads his bride over to the head table and helps her sit down. She is unable to stifle a wince of pain as she sits. Leonard, who is sitting nearby, leans toward her. “Are you all right?” Pat leans toward her Great-grandfather. “I’m not as athletic as I used to be when I was younger. I’m going to be finding muscles and joints I forgot about during the honeymoon!” The old man nods and smiles knowingly. “I can give both of you something to take care of the aches and pains.”

Pat catches Spock’s attention while still speaking to her Great-grandfather, “Just don’t give us something that’s going to cause an upset stomach as a side effect! That would be one hell of a buzz-kill when we are in the mood! Spock gives a slight smile and nods toward Pat as Gramps starts to scowl, then catches the risque joke, and grins. “Got it!”, the old man chuckles, “Maybe I might include an aphrodisiac!” Pat rolls her eyes and huffs. “Gramps, we are functioning JUST FINE in THAT department, thank you! We may be considered old but we are NOT THAT decrepit!” She notices that Spock’s eyes are twinkling in amusement. Before the two McCoy’s can debate any further, waltz music begins playing. She takes a couple of bites from her plate then turns to Sam. “When would you like to have our First Dance, my husband?” Sam indicates her plate. “As soon as you are able to finish eating, my wife. There is no rush. We can simply enjoy the company of our family and friends while listening to the music.” “Sounds like a plan to me!”, Pat nods. She continues eating while listening to conversations around her. Suddenly, in the Q’onos tent, she hears a brawl erupt. She looks over at Martok, who has also heard the ruckus.

She looks about for Worf, who is heading toward the tent in question. Martok approaches the bride and groom seated at the head table. “I knew it was too good to last, McCoy!”, growls the Chancellor, “I will see to it that those who started this disruption will be duly punished!” “Based on my past experiences with these young’uns”, comments Pat, “I’m sure there’s going to be finger-pointing and declarations of ‘He or she started it!’ and ‘I wasn’t there!’ and so forth. Did you bring any paintball guns in your arsenal of weapons?” Martok looks at her quizzically. “Of course, I keep your tools on stand-by! For what purpose do you inquire about them now?” Pat gives him an evil grin. “Break out the paintball guns and start marking every single warrior who is brawling. Once they are marked, they can’t claim they weren’t there in the middle of the mess!” Martok chuckles. “With relish! This will be glorious!”

He motions to a few other warriors to accompany him on this impromptu mission. Leonard, Spock, and Sam all turn to Pat with questioning looks. “Don’t you wish to join them with the paintball guns, my wife?” Pat shakes her head. “Nope! This is MY … correction … OUR wedding and we have better things to do! I haven’t had my first dance yet and we still need to cut the wedding cake! Then there’s the bouquet and garter toss! Martok and Worf are perfectly capable of handling a bunch of unruly young’uns!” Spock is impressed. “Indeed!” In about five or ten minutes after Martok and Worf, along with other warriors, descend on the Q’onos tent, Pat hears howls of protest. Then a group of young warriors, smeared with a riotous color of paint, are marched to stand in front of the head table in a line. It is all Pat can do to keep a straight face at their hilarious appearance! Martok steps to the front and barks at the brawlers in Klingon and the young’uns hang their heads in embarrassment. One by one, each brawler steps forward and apologizes for disrupting the festivities. Pat scowls at each one and barks back in Klingon. Then the brawlers are marched off to return to their ship and be incarcerated in the brig. Spock is highly amused but manages to keep a straight face. Leonard is holding a napkin to his face while snickering. Sam is both amused and puzzled. “K’Diwa, what did you say to them?” “I recognized quite a few of the young’uns from the water drills on Deep Space Nine”, Pat explains, “and how they objected to ‘taking a bath’. I told them since they don’t like baths, they will wear their paintball markings, untouched, for the next week and EXPLAIN EXACTLY how, where, and why, they got hit with the paint-balls to whomever they encounter … whether it’s family, friends, Star Fleet officers, etc.! After that, it’s Kitchen Patrol with a LOT of potatoes to peel! For now, they will sit out the remainder of the party … in the brig! If that’s not a time-out for unruly children, I don’t know what is! I ended my tirade with the reminder that I am NOT THEIR MOTHER and I will be the WORST DRILL SARGEANT THEY WILL EVER FACE!”

Gramps is laughing harder. “I love it! I hope they caught this on the holo-vid!” Pat starts shaking her head and then starts to snicker. Unable to help herself, she tosses her head back and laughs out loud! Finally, her laughter subsides as she wipes the tears from her eyes. “Sorry, my husband, I couldn’t help myself. They DID look hysterically funny!” Sam’s eyes are twinkling and he gives a slight smile. “I concur, my wife!” Pat puts down her fork. “K’Diwa, I’ve eaten as much as I want. Would you care to dance?” Sam nods in agreement, helps her to her feet and leads her to the dance floor.

The music changes to one of T’Ling’s recordings in ¾ time and they begin to waltz as they had practiced many times before. Pat hears murmuring among the guests and she gazes at her husband. Sam brushes her thoughts with his. “K’Diwa, many who are aware that T’Ling had been my first wife, are astonished that her music has been chosen to be played here.” “Are they offended?”, she asks. “No, not at all.”, Sam replies, “They find it … touching … and honorable. I believe T’Ling would have been pleased to have her music recognized.” Pat smiles. “I’m relieved and very glad.” Other guests, including Captain Uhura, join them on the dance floor, much to Pat’s delight. Leonard approaches the bridal couple and taps Sam on the shoulder. “May I cut in and dance with my Great-granddaughter?” Sam steps back. “Of course, Gramps.” The old doctor begins to waltz with his Great-granddaughter. Pat quirks an eyebrow at him. “I remember, when I was first learning how to waltz, you didn’t want join in the dance lesson because of your arthritis. Now you’re able to waltz, even though you’re older. Why is that?” Leonard grins at her. “Because, child, when you were six years old, you were a lot shorter and I couldn’t have you standing on my feet. Now that you’re taller, it’s easier.” Pat shakes her head with a smile then glances about at the other wedding guests. “So, Gramps, what do you think about how the wedding ceremonies came off?” “I’m enjoying myself, child! You planned this well! All the sentimental homages to our combined ancestors, adopted family members, and so forth were a nice touch!” He chuckles. “The Klingon young’uns were fun, too!”

Pat snickers. “I didn’t plan for THAT to happen, even though I halfway expected it. When you combine Klingon young’uns, with raging hormones, plus Blood Wine …” “Then a brawl is sure to follow!”, Leonard finishes for her. “Exactly!”, exclaims Pat. They finish the waltz and Sam returns to reclaim his bride from his Great-grandfather-in-law. They hear someone shout an inquiry regarding the bridal bouquet. Pat walks over to the head table where she had placed half of her bouquet then walks to the front of the room, facing all the guests and holds it aloft, shouting, “Is THIS what y’all are asking about?!” Several young and rowdy guests call out in response to the question. Pat looks over at her Vulcan guests, shrugs and shakes her head as if say: “Kids! Who taught them how to behave in public like this? What can be done?” She turns back to the crowd and continues: “In ancient times, on Earth, the custom had the bride toss the bridal bouquet to a group of unmarried females. Whoever caught the bouquet was considered next in line to be married. The lucky catcher could be young or old! Do you understand this custom?” Several guests nod their understanding. “Now …”, Pat inquires, “which unmarried females wish to compete for the bouquet?” Several females stand up and begin to gather. To Pat’s delight, she sees both Grilka and Karenna join the group. Pat turns her back to the group and announces, “I’m going to toss this bouquet, over my shoulder, so I can’t be accused of favoritism! Get ready! On the count of three! One! Two! THREE!” She tosses the bouquet high in the air and the unmarried females rush forward to catch it. Before she can finish turning around, she realizes, with dismay, that the silk flowers have all been torn to shreds. Everyone in the crowd either has a petal or a stem. She shakes her head at all of them and sighs. “I really was not expecting to see the bouquet destroyed! So much for that outcome!” The crowd realizes that they have simply defeated the purpose of the custom and that nobody has won the competition. They are clearly disappointed. Sam steps up to speak. “My bride has informed me of another custom that was often practiced on ancient Earth where the groom would remove the garter from his bride’s leg and toss it to the group of unmarried males.”

He looks over at his colleagues from Investigator Central. “For all males who are unbonded and unmarried, I would hope to see better behavior and that the garter would remain intact for the winner to catch it. I would now like to invite all unbonded, unmarried males to step forward and form an orderly crowd.” Several males step forward, including Quark, Jake and Nog. Sam escorts Pat over to a seat and helps her into it. She looks at all of her guests, “This custom is a bit risque, as it does allude to human sexuality.” She notices several elders look shocked. She continues. “In the ancient of days, rituals were often more blatant than this. I trust my husband to protect my modesty!” She gazes at Sam and brushes his mind with her thoughts. “Have some fun, Babe!” She grins as one of his eyebrows shoot up before he realizes her joke and he returns a slight smile to her as his eyes dance. He kneels down beside her leg, raises it on his knee and carefully pushes back her garment to reveal the garter but not much more. Much to her shock and surprise, he grasps it in his teeth and pulls it toward her knee! She claps one hand over her mouth to stifle the belly laugh that bursts forth. She doesn’t DARE look in the direction of the elders for fear she would totally lose control and laugh out loud. Sam tugs the garter past her knee with his fingers. Pat is unable to stifle her giggles. He finally pulls the garter down her leg and off of her foot. “I’m sure all the Elders are SHOCKED!”, she telepathically tells Sam. “They have observed their own children mating during Pon Farr.”, he responds, “This playfulness would be considered ‘tame’ to them. As you have often observed, we are old enough to be considered ‘Elders’ ourselves and you did state to ‘have some fun, Babe!’, did you not?” Pat is now giggling uncontrollably and Sam looks at her with his eyes dancing in amusement. He eases himself to his feet then helps Pat to stand. He looks at the garter then looks at her quizzically. “How do we launch this garter toward the crowd?” Pat thinks for a few moments. “Let’s see what is available in my arsenal.” She motions to Martok, who approaches her. “Martok, do you have my crossbow and/or my slingshot?” “I have both stored on my ship.”, the Klingon replies, “I’ll have them brought immediately!” He motions to one of his warriors.

“Thanks, Martok!”, she says, “I’m trying to determine which way to best launch this garter overhead for the males to compete for!” The Klingon chuckles in response. A warrior returns with both the slingshot and the crossbow. Pat test-fires the slingshot and shakes her head. “Not enough momentum.” She test-fires the crossbow, looks at Sam, and nods. “This has enough force. Let’s load it up!” With Martok’s assistance, Pat and Sam load the garter onto the crossbow and Pat aims it high overhead of the males gathered for the competition. She fires the crossbow and watches the garter’s trajectory reach maximum apogee before it begins its descent. The group of unbonded and unmarried males jockey for position as the garter falls toward them and disappears into the crowd. After several minutes of scrambling and wrestling, one person stands … victorious … holding his hand up with the garter in his grip! Pat grins broadly when she recognizes the victor as Jake Sisko! She shouts, “Hey, Jake-O!” Jake turns in her direction. “Now YOU have NO excuse to dawdle about scheduling YOUR wedding!” Jake grins in embarrassment as Nog slaps him on the back and laughs. Pat turns and notices Captain Sisko and his wife, Kassidy laughing heartily. Pat turns to her bridegroom. “It appears, dear husband, that our guests are enjoying themselves!” “Because, dear wife”, he answers, “you know how to entertain family and friends! I believe it is about time to cut the wedding cake.” “Agreed!”, she nods. They walk over to where the wedding cake has been set up and she notices that both a mek’leth and a d’k tahg have been laid out on the table awaiting their use in cutting the first slice.

Pat picks up the mek’leth and shows Sam how to hold it with her. Together they make the first slice into the wedding cake. She sets down the mek’leth and picks up the d’k tahg. Pat and Sam grip its handle and make a second slice into the cake. Using the d’k tahg as a cake wedge, they slide out the slice and place it on a small plate. Pat notices that it is the Vulcan Carrot Loaf provided by Sam’s former schoolmate. They each take a fork, pick up a small morsel, and feed each other. Then they each take turns making additional slices of the cake to feed to their guests. Soon, the party begins to wind down as the guests are fed, exhausted from dancing, or, as in the case of the elder Klingon guests, sleeping off the Blood Wine. At this point, Pat and Sam quietly withdraw, unnoticed, from the wedding reception. She turns to her new spouse. “Where to, my husband? Traditionally, a newly married husband and wife sneak away and go on a honeymoon. Should we go to Casperia Prime or to Risa?” “I think we have enough time to travel to both planets.”, he responds. Pat grins. “Sounds like FUN!” Sam looks about to see if anyone will see them leave. Finding no one, he silently gestures to Pat to follow him as they sneak away.

Back at the party, Spock and the old doctor are walking about. “You appear tired, Leonard. Are you feeling all right?” “I think all of the festivities have caught up with me. I’ll be fine.” The old man looks around. “It appears that the bride and groom have snuck out! Good for them!” “Patricia-kam has planned well.”, Spock comments approvingly. “Even in spite of the uproar in the Q’onos tent, the party was a success!” Leonard grins proudly. “That’s my girl!”

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