Captain or Admiral

All crew members waited pensively as they opened their own new orders. Captain Kirk would be leaving to take over for Admiral Ortron as head of Starfleet Academy Instructions for several months. Commander Spock and his wife, Nurse Christine will be returning to Vulcan to meet with the High Command of Spock's planet. Lt. Commander Scott would be in charge of the overhaul of the Enterprise, while Dr. McCoy was sent earth side to teach in the College of Psychiatry at Starfleet.

Ensign Lucas Kirk sat with his wife, Dr. Joanna and each opened their orders.

Lucas said, "Wow, I don't understand."

Joanna said, "We've been sent to Starbase 12. I'm the new physician's assistant. But why the starbase?"

"I've been assigned to the flight deck of the Starbase, but not much detail."

Joanna said, "This would be considered a "cushy" job for sure. Do you think our fathers pulled some strings?"

"Never," Lucas answered.

"I didn't think so."

"I'll try to corner my father, but I know he's busy," he kissed his wife before he left their quarters, "we'll meet up later."


Ensign Spock talked with his wife Dr. Anastasia in her lab. They opened their orders together.

"This is surprising," said Anastasia.

Spock Jr. remained quiet for a minute and then asked, "Anastasia, how big is the science lab on Starbase 12? I've only been there for recreation."

"I haven't seen it, but I've heard it's quite large and modern."

SJ asked, "What department are you assigned to?"

"Assistant physician to Dr. Alan Jones of Alien Specialties."

"That makes sense, it's a midway point in the galaxy for many ships. Are you excited?"

"Yes, this will be interesting, how about you?"

"I'm just a little confused. We're only ensigns and we happen to get a good assignment.'

They looked at each other and Anastasia asked, "You don't suppose?"

"Don't even think it, Father would never put in a good word for us, we have to earn it and I want it that way."

She leaned forward and kissed him, "At least they don't separate married couples and we can be together."

He pulled her closer and said, "Separation would not be an option, my dear."

"Oh, I love it when you talk that way," she teased him.

"Ana," he warned, "don't start something you can't finish."

She laughed and her green eyes sparkled in the lights of the chemistry lab. "Let's go see where Lucas and Jo were sent."


Ensign Kirk buzzed the Captain's quarters.

He heard, "Enter."

The Captain was stepping away from his desk and looked up.

"Hello, Lucas, I didn't expect to see you before we left."

"Yes, I was glad to catch you sir, I had a question about my new assignment."

"Have a seat, son."

"I've been assigned to the flight deck on Starbase 12 and I wondered if you knew anything about it?"

"No, son, I signed off on all assignments. Starfleet knew where everyone would be sent before we came in orbit. Only the top officers had an input on their own assignment."

Lucas sat quietly for a minute.


"It's just that on the outside this looks like a cushy job?"

Captain Kirk grinned and said, "I had no say in it, Lucas, if that's what you're asking."

The Captain stood and grabbed a brief case from the floor.

Lucas stood and cocked his head, "Dad, you will keep me informed?"

"On my decision?"

"Yes, sir."

"Of course, I'll let you know as soon as I know." He shook his son's hand and gave him a brief hug. "I'll talk with you soon, Lucas. Tell Jack and Maria I will try to see them in a few months."

"I will, Dad. We can only stay a month, but we'll be able to help Grandpa Jack with any repairs. SJ and Ana are coming, too."

"Enjoy your vacation." They looked at each other with so many unanswered questions and feelings left unsaid.

Lucas turned away and said, "Dad."

"I know, son, I'll think about what all of this means."

The door slid closed between them.

The decision Captain Kirk had to make would affect everyone in his life. Seven years in deep space had never been authorized for a Captain before. They usually rotated out after five years, but Captain Kirk was young and had a highly trained crew. The Captain had been offered the position of Admiral and he would be in charge of Starfleet Academy Instruction. At the age of fifty one, he knew he would be land bound and probably never fly in deep space again. Spock his First Officer, friend and whom he looked upon as a brother, would be given his own ship to command and Dr. McCoy had many choices in front of him. Both were reluctant to have the Captain desk bound at his age, but knew the decision was his alone. The compromise with Starfleet was he would job shadow for ten months and make a decision afterwards.

He had served with Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy for over nine years in different departments and then on the Enterprise. His son, Lucas, Commander Spock's son, Spock Jr. and his daughter in-law, Jenna McCoy Kirk had graduated from the academy and were assigned to the Enterprise four years ago. Dr. Ana Spock, Spock Jr.'s wife came a year later. He was not involved in his son's early life, because he was busy with his career in Starfleet. He had gotten to know him in the last few years and wasn't anxious to give up their time together. Life in Starfleet meant being able to accept being sent anywhere at anytime, with no consideration of your personal life.


Ensign Mick Cooley ran to engineering with his order papers and snuck up on Ensign Mary Sampson.

She jumped and yelled out, "Oh," she turned and saw Mick grinning from ear to ear.

"I've got me orders." He pulled her aside behind a huge machine that recently had been shut down for overhaul or repairs. "Someone in the upper echelon thinks I'd be a good instructor for the cadets. I'll be right at the academy in San Francisco." He looked at her trying to read her face. "Darlin' please tell me they haven't shipped you out to the far reaches of the galaxy?"

She wouldn't meet his eyes. He stepped closer to her. "Mary, my love," he said in his Irish brogue. "Speak to me, me heart is ready to burst, Lass."

She looked up and gave him a wide smile, "I've been assigned to Mr. Scott's overhaul group."

"That means you'll be here, in orbit, close by?"

"Yes," she grinned, "Now I know Mr. Scott will not allow me a lot of time off in the nine months, but I'm sure I'll be able to get away here and there, plus we have two months vacation to start with."

Mick jumped in the air and spun around, "I can't believe it, darlin'."

She laughed out loud and said, 'Well, you best get packing, we have a lot of places to visit before we have to be back. There is still only one problem that I see."

"Name it, darlin', I'll fix it."

She took his hand in hers and said, "I don't mind traveling with you, Mick, but I can not stay with you. It's important to me, and I hope you'll be on your best behavior."

"Aye, Lass, I've got it all worked out. Two rooms where ever we land, and I promise to behave me self. I wouldn't want to have ye parents mad at me, now would I?"

"No, my Father would have your head on a platter."

"Aye, what a fine picture that puts in me mind. Come on, darlin', and see where all me blokes have been sent to. Dinner is scheduled in a few minutes, I canna be late for me last dinner on the Enterprise. No tellin' where we'll be sent to after the ship is ready."

"Mick, do you think we'll be transferred?"

"Don't know darlin', only Starfleet knows."

"Yes, the next eleven months we'll all be busy, after that… ."

"Let's not worry, now, Lass, me stomach's a growlin'."

"You're stomach is always growling," she laughed.

In the mess hall they all learned where each other would be sent. They had been lucky but some of their classmates would be sent to other ships for training.

Lucas said to his group, "Has anyone heard from David Nyler?"

SJ said, "I spoke to him in the hall way, he's not too happy about his assignment."

"So, where's he headed?" Lucas asked.

SJ laughed, "He's in charge of recruiting senior school students into the academy. They're sending him all over to find new recruits."

Lucas said, "Here he comes."

They all looked at him as he filled his tray with food and plopped down at the remaining seat at their table. He looked around and said, "I suppose SJ told you, I've been given the most distinguished assignment in the whole fleet," he threw his dinner role down on his plate.

Lucas started to chuckle, "Well, David, the Captain always said you had a nose for finding many things including trouble."

"Do you suppose this is punishment for being left behind on Regulan II? I tried to meet the beam up point, but I got delayed by a certain, well,…you know the story."

They all laughed and SJ commented, "I just think they hope someone young and experienced would be a good recruiting tool for them, and you're it. You and Mick will probably see each other and may run into the Captain fairly often."

David continued to pout, "I guess it could be worse, Ensign Weaver is being sent on a cargo ship and won't be back for nine months."

Lucas said, "All in all we got lucky, what the future will hold I wish I knew."

They all agreed the options were open for all of them to be separated and assigned to different ships.


Captain Kirk stood up from his seat as the Admiral reached over to shake his hand.

"Jim, I wasn't privileged to say anything to you sooner, but I'm glad you made this decision."

"Admiral, there was no other decision to make. I want to thank you for the assignment package you gave me, too, sir."

"You deserve to have your crew mostly intact. There is no reason to shift personnel unnecessarily. You have fulfilled your obligation and of job shadowing and giving us a lot of useful information. Good luck on your next two year voyage. Return safe, Jim."

"Thank you, sir."

Captain James T. Kirk whistled happily all the way down the hall. In the center of the huge gathering area were his First Officer and Chief Medical Officer waiting for him.

McCoy spoke first, "Jim, this calls for a huge celebration. Will it be Jason's Cove for brandy, or Mindy's Middletown for a variety of goods and services."

Mr. Spock stood at parade rest with a raised eye brow, "Really, Doctor, I thought you would have outgrown your need of alcoholic celebrations by now."

"Now, Spock, don't deny me this one drink with friends," McCoy answered.

Kirk said, "Some things don't change, do they gentlemen. I suggest the closest bar and that makes it down the hall, out the door and into the doorway of Jason's Cove." Kirk led the way.

Inside, the bar was filled with cadets of all ages and ranks. The aisle way cleared as the now famous Captain Kirk and Commander Spock waded through the crowd of people.

They found a booth in the back and slid in.

The waitress arrived quickly and said, "Well, gentlemen, I haven't seen all three of you in here together in a very long time."

Kirk looked up and smiled at the waitress, "Sara, I'm glad you saved this spot for us."

"Of course, Captain, I knew you were coming today," she teased back, "what's your poison, gentlemen?"

Kirk looked at his friends and said, "Saurian Brandy, all around, and make it doubles."

McCoy smiled and said, "I've missed these special times together."

"Before we start celebrating I have to reach, Lucas, I promised I'd tell him as soon as I knew. Excuse me for a moment," he jetted out the door where it was more quiet and put in a call to his son.

"Captain, this is Ensign Kirk," Lucas answered.

"Hello, Lucas, I told you I would tell you my decision as soon as I knew," he paused.

"Yes, sir?"

"I am the new captain on the USS Enterprise."

"New captain, sir?"

"I've been dropped in rank from appointed Admiral to Captain."

"Dad, I'm glad. None of us have received our new orders, yet."

"I know, but you will within a few days. I'll talk to you then. Kirk out." He knew where his son was heading and did not want to tell him before the other crew members knew.

He returned to the booth and they talked through out the evening of their previous nine months and the orders to come.

By the end of the evening the Captain needed some assistance in walking a straight line. He tried to stand still while Spock held his elbow, but Dr. McCoy was in need of more assistance.

"Jim, if you could help me with the Doctor," Spock whispered.

Kirk was aware of the cadets in the room eyeing the senior officers. He reached over to help with Dr. McCoy when he felt a sturdy hand on his arm.

"I'll be a helpin' ye, Captain, if'n I may," he heard a familiar Scottish accent in his ear.

"Why, Mr. Scott, how kind of you, but perhaps, Spock needs help with Dr. McCoy more."

"Don't worry there, Captain, the young lass, Sara has his other arm, they'll make it out without much trouble. Stand straight, sir, and smile, we wouldn't want your reputation to come to any harm."

"Never, Scotty, never. I'm glad you're here, I'll have you know I'll be returning to the 'silver lady'."

"Aye, Captain, I believe you already called half of the crew tonight, sir, that's what brings me here, Commander

Sulu thought you may need a little encouragement to leave."

"Lead on, Scotty."

"Aye, sir."


The next morning brought the reminder to Captain Kirk of the wisdom to control his alcoholic intake. His head felt like a tuba had played in his ears all night.

"Kirk to Bones."

"Morning, Jim, what can I do for you?"

"You sound chipper, where's your cure for a hang over?"

"Look on your kitchen counter, there's a green pill sitting there for you."

"Thanks, Bones, you're the best."

"Yea, that's what I hear. See you ship board shortly."

"Not real soon, Bones. Kirk out." He could hear the doctors quiet chuckle as he hung up.


All crew members returned to the Academy in San Francisco. Hundreds of officers mingled with cadets of every class. Trying to maneuver campus took some planning.

Lucas and his wife, Dr. Joanna, SJ and his wife, Dr. Anastasia sat quietly with Mick and Mary in the privacy of the library science room with their new orders in hand, unopened.

Lucas broke the silence, "Let's get this done, my friends."

All together they opened their orders and smiles were all around. All six were assigned back to the Enterprise. They were to gather in the conference room 12B in the building they were in, within fifteen minutes.

Mick said, "Well, Ladds this is truly a fine day, we all get to serve together and I have an announcement to make."

He stood and took Mary's hand in his. She stood next to him with a smile on her face. "I'd like to formally introduce you to my wife, Mrs. Mary Cooley."

There was stunned silence for five seconds and then congratulations were shouted from all around.

"When did you get married?" Lucas asked.

"Two months ago. It was just a small affair. We had the Captain marry us and Mr. Sampson walked this wonderful girl down the aisle. I wanted to have you all there and Lucas I wanted you as me best man, but we just couldn't wait any longer. We flew her parents in and now we'll never be separated."

SJ said, "We understand. We'll have to celebrate later."

"Agreed," Mick answered.

Lucas said, "We better get going."

They all gathered around the new couple and congratulated them. Joanna took Mary's arm along with Ana and they laughed all the way to the conference room.

The room was large and when they arrived several other ensigns had gathered. They talked about their new orders and congratulated the newly married couple.

"Mick, how did you talk Mary into marrying you? How much of a bribe did it take?" one teased.

"Now, Lad, she's a might of a good catch, now isn't she? She wasn't near as hard as her dear ole Da. Now that one took some convincing."

They all laughed and one of them noticed the Captain had come into the room with Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Uhura.

"Attention," the ensign called out.

Fifteen ensigns scurried into a line and stood at attention.

"At ease, ladies and gentlemen," the Captain said.

Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Uhura stood in line next to the Captain looking very serious.

The Captain walked up and down the line of ensigns deep in thought. Lucas began to feel anxious and looked straight ahead as the Captain passed by him.

The Captain continued to pace and said, "I am generally pleased that when it comes to discipline on my ship, I have dealt with the punishment fairly and quickly. After spending eleven months as Admiral and reviewing the records of my crewmen on the Enterprise it has been brought to my attention that I have ignored a fair amount of behavior." he said. He paced back and forth in front of the line of ensigns.

He stopped in center of the line and looked left and right.

"The Admiral and I have had a long discussion and it is with pleasure that I can announce that all fifteen of you have been promoted to Lieutenants." The Captain grinned as he heard a loud sigh coming from the line in front of him.


"Thank you, sir," was heard from the group and smiles were held in check.

The Captain took an armful of envelopes from Dr. McCoy and one by one shook each ensign's hand and handed them their new papers.

"Inside you will find my letter of recommendation, a letter of congratulations from the Admiral and your pay scale information. You will also have the uniform slip to turn into stores for your new uniforms, and your schedule to return to the Enterprise," he paused and said, "Alright, Lieutenants, take three steps backward and set your envelopes on the floor."

He waited until they were in line at parade rest and said, "Lt Uhura, front and center, please."

Confused, Lt. Uhura stood in front of her Captain at parade rest.

"Please help me congratulate our new Lt. Commander Nyota Uhura," he chuckled.

The lieutenants whistled and yelled and clapped for their much loved Uhura. She smiled and nodded to all of them while the Captain, Spock and Dr. McCoy shook her hand.

Captain Kirk said, "My only stipulation in her promotion was that she remain on the Enterprise and since I have not received a transfer request, am I to assume you are happy to remain on the Enterprise with us?"

She smiled and said, "Oh, yes, Captain. I am very happy to remain. Thank you, sir."

He hugged her and said, "You're very welcomed."

Kirk looked at the lieutenants and said, "Dismissed."

They lingered around as Commander Spock, and Dr. McCoy spoke to each crewman and congratulated each one.

Captain Kirk said, "Lt Commander Uhura, the three of us would like to take you to a celebratory dinner right now if you have no plans."

"I would be honored, Captain."

Dr. McCoy stepped forward and put her arm through his, "And I would like to personally escort you, ma'am."

Uhura laughed and said, "Why thank you, Dr. McCoy."

"Leonard if you please, we're the same rank now."

"Leonard it is, thank you," she smiled.

The Captain led the way to the elegant Air of the Night restaurant. They were seated and Uhura looked around with surprise.

"Captain, I've never dined here before, it's beautiful."

He chuckled and said, "And the food is great, too."

The décor was elegant without being stuffy. Linen table cloths and napkins with white and silver plates adorned the table. A fine blend of mixed cultures in the décor made the many different peoples feel at home. The menu had foods from five different worlds. If you went away dissatisfied it was your own fault.

They enjoyed an intimate dinner as they discussed the past and future of the Enterprise. Dr. McCoy's deep blue eyes seemed to linger on the smooth and delectable face of Lt. Commander Uhura. They were equals now and there was no code of conduct that forbid them from seeing each other.


Lucas and his group had decided to celebrate their promotions and the marriage of Mary and Mick by having dinner. They returned to their rooms and changed into their new uniforms with the gold single stripe of a lieutenant.

Lucas called and made reservations and they arrived for dinner at the Air of the Night an hour later. They laughed and started out with hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Salads came with another drink.

Lucas stood and said, "To the new couple, may they be as happy as we have been and may Mary not put him out at the first starbase."

The main course was served with another drink and before they started to eat, SJ stood for a toast, "May we be the best officers that we have been trained to be and may Lucas not lead us astray."

Mick laughed and stood and said, "Aye, Lads, truer words were never spoken. And to the love of my life, may I see you turn gray and combing the hair of our grandchildren."

"Aw," said Joanna and Ana together.

They continued to laugh and enjoy their meal together, when six glasses of champaign arrived at their table.

SJ said to the waiter, "Uh, sir, we didn't order…."

"Compliments of the table across the way, sir."

They turned to look and the Captain waved to them and returned to his conversation.

"Tell, the Captain and the table, thank you, sir."

The waiter answered, "I believe you'll be able to tell him yourself."

Lucas looked up and smiled at his father. The Captain stood behind Mick and Mary with a hand on each shoulder.

"We send our congratulations to the new couple."

Mick stood and shook the Captain's hand.

SJ asked, "Were we getting too loud, Captain?"

"No, not at all. I happened to look up and saw a familiar face," he said smiling at his son, "Continue on ladies and gentlemen."

The men stood as the Captain turned to leave when Lucas stopped him for a second.

"Captain, a minute, please." He stepped aside and said, "We are scheduled to arrive on the Enterprise tomorrow, are you free around 2000 hours?"

"Give me a call before you arrive to make sure I haven't been delayed, but if not, I will meet you."

"Thank you, Dad," he whispered.

Dinner could not have been better. They left a sizeable tip for the waiter and returned to their quarters.

Lucas continued to pack one final box when he noticed Joanna was quiet.

He walked up to her and hugged her from behind, "I'm here to listen," he said.

She turned in his arms and sighed.

"You're sad, we're leaving Earth?"

She nodded.

"Let's place one last call to your Mom. We'll be too busy tomorrow."

"I'd like that." They placed a call and caught her mother at home.

"Hello, Mom, we're calling to say good bye and to show you something," they placed their sleeves up to the camera to show their new stripes.

She smiled and said, "Oh congratulations. That makes you lieutenants."

"Yes, Mom, we just found out this afternoon."

"I'm proud of both of you."

Lucas said, "I have some packing to do yet, so I'll let you two visit in private. See you soon, ma'am."

"Lucas, call me Linda, not ma'am."

"Yes…Linda. We'll talk soon."

She smiled and bid him farewell.

Lucas took the rest of their boxes to the loading site to be transferred to the ship. The night was a comfortable seventy-five degrees. The moon was at half crescent and the stars twinkled from afar.

He went into their room and called for Joanna. She came out of the bathroom with red rimmed eyes. Lucas went to her and pulled her to his chest.

"I know it's hard, Jo. Come on outside and lets go for a walk."

He took her hand in his and they quietly walked around the campus. He took her to a darkened area near the quad.

"Look up, Jo."

She held her breath and whispered, "Lucas, isn't it amazing that we'll be out there soon? Mom doesn't understand the beauty of the galaxy, all she sees is that it took me away from her."

"She made you feel guilty tonight, didn't she?"

She nodded and said, "Yes, and I'm mad at myself for letting her."

"Would it help to bring her aboard and let her see the Enterprise?"

Jo paused and said, "It's not the same as being out there."

Lucas pulled Jo toward him and said, "Sometimes it's hard to convince someone of something when they've already made up their mind."


The following day the six friends beamed aboard the Enterprise and spent a short time settling in. It was chaos in most hallways as new Ensigns were walking around lost and they helped them get to where they belonged.

Lucas, Mick and SJ took a three hour shift on the bridge. They had been trained with the new computer systems. All of the positions had new updated screens and computer systems to become familiar with in a short time. Mr. Spock worked at the Science position with SJ and Lucas sat at the helmsman position trying not to laugh too much with Mick.

Lt. Commander Uhura was busy at the communications board transferring calls through out the ship and back to Starfleet Command. Captain Kirk and Mr. Scott were in and out all day on the Bridge.

After dinner Lucas and Joanna retired to their quarters to laugh about the day. They couldn't remember looking so young as the many Ensigns did. Joanna talked non-stop about the modern facilities in the sick bay.

"Dad was very sure it was supplied correctly this time. He was pretty calm compared to most days of moving in."

"Jo, I have an appointment with the Captain in a few minutes. I don't know how long we'll be so don't wait up for me if you get tired." He kissed her and said, "Keep me in your heart."

She smiled and said, "I always, do, Lucas."

Lucas had called the Captain and he was waiting for him in his quarters. Lucas heard him call out, "Enter."

Captain Kirk smiled as his son entered his office.

"Wow, Dad, nice digs. This is a great improvement."

The room was twice as large with a huge desk, meeting table with computer terminals, and a small kitchenette.

"Come on in my private quarters."

The Captain led the way and Lucas laughed out loud. "Dad, this is really nice."

A full wall of windows lined the one side, a private sleeping area and bathroom. The Captain's few personal belongings hung on the wall and shelves.

There was a table near the window and the Captain pointed to a seat. "Do you want anything to drink?"

"No, Dad. I just wanted to hear about your year and make sure you're happy."

The father and son talked non-stop for over an hour. They laughed and at times shared a quiet sigh together.

"Dad, I can hardly wait to get going. Just think, two more years together."

The Captain laughed and said, "You'll have a lot more responsibility too, Lucas."

"Yes, sir. Dad, I have a favor to ask you."

Kirk looked at his son. He had matured in the past year and was more confident around him.

"Go ahead."

"Is it possible to bring Joanna's mother aboard the Enterprise when we leave so that she'll get a taste of what it's like out there. We could beam her back before we got out of range." He studied his father's face for a reaction.

"Can I ask why?"

"She's trying to make Jo feel guilty about leaving her and I thought if she could experience a little of what's out there that she would begin to understand why we do what we do."

"I don't think Starfleet would recognize this as a humanitarian event. I'll think about it, Lucas and let you know tomorrow. We won't be shipping out for a few days yet."

"Thanks, Dad, I thought it would make it easier for Jo."

Kirk smiled and said, "I wonder what , Bones would say."

"I'd keep them apart, Dad, and it would only be for an hour or so."

"The only way I'd let this happen is if I opened it up to all crewmen. I'll let you know tomorrow."

Lucas stood and shook his father's hand. "Thanks, Dad."


Two days later the Enterprise was opened for a tour of a one hour excursion around the solar system. Over one hundred parents and grandparents were beamed aboard and took on a tour by their adult crewman. It went over so well, that the Captain advised Starfleet to include this for any starship that was scheduled for a long term voyage.


When Joanna walked with her mother back to the Transporter Room they talked about the tour.

"Jo, I can see why you love it so. I will still worry about you, but now I have a better idea of what you'll be doing."

"Just remember, Mom, that sick bay and the bridge are the most protected areas of the ship."

"It is a beautiful ship, Jo, but don't tell your father I said that." They gave each other one last hug and kiss. Her mother shimmered away on the transporter pod.

Even though Dr. Joanna felt a small emptiness when her mother left, she felt more confident in leaving her. She was appreciative that Lucas had arranged this for her and continued to be amazed at his kindness. When she left the Transporter Room her father met her in the hall way.

"How are ya doin' darlin'?"

She hugged her Dad and said, "I'm okay, Dad. I hate goodbyes."

He squeezed her and kissed her forehead. "I understand."


In her private journal that night she recorded some thoughts.

To love without self interest is the most holy love.

You search for the good in all you know,

You know no unkindness in your own soul.

I am sure that I do not deserve your love,

but you would never allow me that thought.

I breathe each day to only love you, and

Serve our God.