35

A/N: In my world, Lucas Kirk is Captain Kirk's son who is married to Dr. McCoy's daughter, Joanna. They left Starfleet to begin a new life on Earth. Mr. Spock has a son Spock Jr. (SJ) who married a doctor he met on the Enterprise. They are now transferred to another ship as the Enterprise was decommissioned. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy are back at the Academy teaching.

Not Again

"Lucas, you have a message coming through," Joanna called from the kitchen.

Lucas ran to his office at the sound of the ping. The transmission was waiting for him to answer.

"Evening, Dad. How are you?"

"Afternoon, Lucas. I'm very well. Hey, are you busy for the next two days?"

"No, Dad, I have nothing scheduled, are you coming for a visit?"

"Yes, if it's okay with you and Joanna?"

Joanna turned the corner and saw her father-in-law on the screen, "Hi, Dads, are you really coming?"

Captain Kirk laughed at her excitement, "If it's not too much of a bother."

Joanna said, "No bother, Dads, is Dad coming, too?"

"Possibly, he'll let me know tomorrow. Around noon time, your time tomorrow. Is that okay?"

"You're beaming here?" Lucas asked.

"Yes, it's the fastest, as long as Bones doesn't argue, too much."

Lucas laughed, "I'll be waiting. We'll have lunch ready when you arrive."

"Dad's, I have patients in the morning, but hopefully I'll be here for lunch."

Kirk smiled and said, "Good, we'll see you both tomorrow, then."

"Good night, sir," Lucas responded.

As the picture faded, Joanna hugged Lucas from behind, "I hope my father can make it. It'll be fun to have the two of them here."

"If not, I'm sure he'll come back soon. Is dinner almost ready?"

"Yes, dear, you can set the table and it will be ready in a minute."

The quiet evening went by. Lucas stood out on the back porch sipped some hot tea watching the stars becoming brighter and brighter as the sun dipped to the west on the other side of the house. The door slammed shut behind him when Joanna joined him. He smiled down at her as she cuddled next to him.

"It's a beautiful view, isn't it, Lucas?"

He looked down at her and said, "Yes, she is."

Joanna gently punched him in the ribs, "You're a smooth talker, aren't you?"

"I'm just speaking the truth," he said.

Together they stepped out into the backyard and Lucas pulled her to his chest. "Look, up there, SJ, Ana, Mick and Mary are out there somewhere."

"Do you miss it, Lucas?"

"Sometimes, but after last months escapade with Mr. Spock, it reminded me of all the things that can and will go wrong. I'm still up for it, but I love it here, Jo. You?"

"I have days that I miss the adrenaline rush, but, I'm so busy right now, I'm very happy here. Besides, we have plans to start a family in a short while, too."

He whispered in her ear, "How about now?" He kissed the back of her neck and she turned into his arms.

She kissed his lips gently and said, "Lucas, we thought waiting a year would give us time to settle in."

The damp fall air made her shudder in his arms and the new moon was starting to rise from the eastern sky.

"I know, but practice makes perfect," he kissed her warmly and then she responded.

The evening was peaceful.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Lucas kept watching the clock as he tried finishing some paper work. At noon sharp he walked out onto the front porch. He smiled as he watched two bodies shimmer in the transporter field.

Divot started to bark from his guard post under the tree. "Easy, boy, friendly beings. Stay."

The Captain and his companion beamed into place and he smiled as he watched his son's reaction.

"Dad, welcome, and Ambassador Spock?"

"Correction, young Kirk, Commander Spock, but please address me as Mr. Spock."

Lucas looked from Spock to his father who was grinning from ear to ear.

"Dr. McCoy had no intention of coming, did he?"

His father laughed and said, "No, he couldn't get away, but he'll visit, soon."

"Mr. Spock, please tell me, you're not here to hire me for another medical delivery, are you?"

"No, young Kirk, I am not aware of any deliveries at this time."

Lucas mumbled to himself, "At this time."

"When did you get a dog, Lucas?" his father asked.

"Didn't I tell you? Come, Divot," he called.

Divot slowly got up and stretched his aging muscles. "Divot came with the house. He ran off right before they moved, but they asked us if we'd take care of him if he returned. They're off planet and won't be back. He's a good ole dog. He stays outside. I'm going to build him a warmer dog house for the winter, though. His bones are getting old."

He waddled up to the Captain and Mr. Spock. The Captain patted his head and scratched his neck. Mr. Spock refrained from any physical contact, but Divot leaned his heavy body against his leg.

"Divot, go lie down under the tree. Good boy," Lucas said as he watched him wander back.

"Come on in, I'll show you around and take you to your rooms." Lucas eyed the two with suspicion.

"I love the wrap around porch, Lucas."

"We use it a lot to watch the sunset."

They stepped inside and the first thing they saw was the living room with the tall stone fireplace. A couch and several chairs were in a half circle in front of the fireplace. Lucas had a small fire going in it to take the chill out of the room. He was glad he had started the fire, Mr. Spock needed a warmer climate and he would start up the furnace, if needed.

"Obviously this is the living room, over there is the kitchen and where we eat. The long dining table was built by a craftsman I found." He ran his hand over the shiny smooth surface. "There's the kitchen, and I want you to help yourself at anytime."

He led them up the stairway, "Here's your room, Dad. They all have an attached bathroom, Mr. Spock, you can bunk in next door."

"Here, sir is the command for the temperature setting. Put it on any temp you want. Each room has it's own heating elements, so you can't over heat us if you turn it up."

"Thank you, young Kirk."

Lucas stepped out in the hall and said, "Get settled in with your things and come on down. Jo can't make it, there were two emergencies, but she'll be by in awhile. We can have lunch and then I'll show you around."

The Captain smiled and nodded to Spock.

Lucas entered the kitchen and set out the sandwiches. He warmed up a container of plomeek soup that Jo had stored in the freezer. He sliced a tray of vegetables and glasses for water.

"You have a very comfortable home, Lucas, you must be proud of it?"

"I am, Dad, we were so lucky to find it. Come on sit down and help yourselves, and I hope you can explain why Mr. Spock is now back in Starfleet."

His father chuckled and said, "I was just as surprised as you, Lucas. Perhaps Spock would like to explain everything?"

They took their seats and first filled their plates. Lucas asked, "I'd like to say a blessing."

"Go ahead," his father said.

"Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the food you have provided and safe journey of my father and Mr. Spock. Amen."

The Captain answered, "Amen."

Mr. Spock tasted the soup and commented, "Delicious, Lucas."

"Jo got the recipe from Christine a long time ago," he glanced Spock's way.

"She has duplicated it quite well. I will thank her later. I am aware you are waiting for an explanation."

"Yes, sir. the last time we met, we were taking your father back to Vulcan, and you had left Starfleet to be his assistant. I want to thank you for having my shuttle repaired. She looked great."

Spock nodded and said, "I apologize for the subterfuge, but it was critical that I did not represent the Federation at that time. But when I first returned to Vulcan and had discovered my Father's abduction, it was imperative to find him. Your father and Dr. McCoy were unaware of my plans. Only the admiral knew. I am sorry for any worry I may have caused you and your family."

"I see, and now you're back teaching at the Academy?"

He nodded.

"Does SJ know?"

"Yes, I was able to explain it to him before I returned to Earth."

"How is he doing, sir?"

"Very well, he has healed from his injury and they have continued on their mission."

Lucas finished his lunch in silence, and his father finally spoke, "And now this brings us to why we are here at this time?"

"Oh, no, Dad, not again? You just said you didn't need me for any medical deliveries."

Spock said, "At that moment we did not. While we were unpacking your Father received new orders."

"The job is slightly different this time, Lucas."

Lucas saw a sparkle in his father's eyes that he hadn't seen in almost a year.

"Explain."

"Spock and I will be commanding the Enterprise with a group of cadets and we'd like to have you and the St. Jude aboard. We'll take you as far as we can and then the three of us will arrive at our location and begin a search for…things."

"Things?"

"Yes, things."

"I get it, that is all that you are permitted to tell me at this time."

They both nodded and his father tried hiding a smile behind his hand.

"What am I to tell, Jo, this time?"

"You can tell her we are on a cadet training mission and we needed you and the EAC along."

"She isn't going to buy it, Dad."

They both sat in silence. "And if I turn you down?"

"That is your prerogative."

"Dad, Starfleet has it's own Emergency Aircraft, why me?"

"Because you can be trusted, and because I asked for you in particular."

"For what reason?"

He grinned at his son and said, "Lucas, I happen to like you," he laughed out loud.

"Dad, no wonder you can smooth talk anyone, your so full of it," he emphasized, "it".

Lucas and his father laughed as Mr. Spock raised his eye brows.

"Spock, here agrees with me. Besides, we both like to play with new toys."

"Hardly, Jim," Spock ruffled.

They were laughing when Joanna came in the front door. She ran around the corner and stopped when she saw Mr. Spock.

"Ambassador, I had no idea you were coming, welcome, sir and welcome, Dads."

Captain Kirk stood and hugged his daughter-in-law, "Good to see you, Jo, you look great."

"Thanks." She walked up to Mr. Spock and gave him the Ta'al greeting for Vulcans.

"Live long and prosper, Mr. Spock."

"Peace and long life, Dr. Kirk."

"Please call me, Joanna," she said.

Mr. Spock nodded, "And you may address me as Mr. Spock."

Lucas said, "I hope you're not too disappointed your dad couldn't come today, Dad said he'll be by someday soon."

Joanna shook her head and hid her disappointment, but she said, "I get the feeling this is not a normal visit. Am I correct, Dads?"

"Relax and sit, and we'll fill you in."

"I'll change out of my scrubs first. I'll be right back."

Lucas glanced at his wife and he knew she had a lot of questions.

"Dad, which one of you is going to break the news to her?" he said with a wry grin.

"I'll tell her, Lucas. How do you think she'll take it?"

Lucas smiled and said, "You'll find out."

They could hear her steps on the stairway and Lucas stood to fetch her a cup of tea.

She sat next to Lucas and he said, "Hungry?"

"No, but go ahead, what's going on?"

Kirk with his smoothest voice and innocent look explained what he could of the mission, and why Mr. Spock was back in Starfleet.

"Would you be okay with Lucas being gone for a few days?"

She looked Captain Kirk in his green eyes with her intense blue eyes and said, "As long as you bring him back in one piece, Dads, and I'll hold you personally responsible for him. If he comes back injured again….well, I don't want Mr. Spock to know what kind of a temper I can have in times of anger, yet."

Captain Kirk swallowed and said, "Yes, Ma'am. I promise I will bring him back in one piece."

Lucas covered his smile and glanced towards Mr. Spock, who only raised an eye brow again.

"Come on, Dad, and I'll show you around."

The three men escaped to the hanger and Lucas opened the door to show off his EAC. They climbed inside and his father looked around.

"Very nice, Lucas."

"Mr. Spock, how is your father?"

"He has recovered and is back to work, much to the unhappiness of my mother."

Teasing, Lucas asked, "Will Ambassador Sarek be joining us this time?"

His father said, "Funny, Lucas. At least we can't say anything about it, yet."

Lucas moaned out loud and continued the tour of the large and mostly empty hanger.

"Someday, Dad, I hope to have another shuttle and hire another pilot. I was hoping SJ would be interested and Ana could be an additional doctor. We have several alien families living in the area, and her expertise would be welcomed."

"That would be great. Lucas, I have to say, Miriam would be very proud of what you two have done."

"Thanks, Dad. Come on, I'll show you the new family cabins I had built, too."

They walked across the grassy area that separated the hanger from the house. He unlocked the front door and let them in. Inside each cabin, included a small fireplace, living area, kitchen, two large bedrooms and one bathroom.

"I had these built if family members of patients needed a place to stay or you could take any of these and make it your vacation home, too. There are lot's of hiking trails behind here. I haven't marked all of them, but I will by next spring."

"Very nice, Lucas. What do you think, Spock?"

"I think that Dr. McCoy and you will be dragging me camping some time soon."

Kirk and his son, laughed, "Come on, we'll pick up Jo and I'll take you down to the beach."

It was a warm fall day and as they neared the beach, Lucas watched his father's reaction.

Wide-eyed and excited he ran to the shore. He picked up some flat rocks and skimmed them along the surface. A light breeze picked up and his bangs blew off his forehead. The Captain glanced each way

down the beach and scanned Lake Huron.

"Very impressive, you two. I could spend a week here."

Lucas watched as his father's shoulders seemed to drop. He whispered, "Anytime, Dad, anytime."

They spent sometime on the beach. Mr. Spock examined the many rocks that the glaciers had stirred up centuries ago. Lucas and Jo sat on the sand and waited for the two to return.

"Your Dad sure is enjoying himself. And Mr. Spock doesn't seem to be in any hurry either."

"That's good. I think they needed time just to be together. Let's go back to the house and let them explore." He took Jo's hand to help her stand and they returned to the house.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

When the others returned Lucas was reading in front of the fireplace. He looked up from his book when his father sat next to him.

"It's beautiful out there, Lucas. I don't know how you get any work done."

He smiled and said, "It's been a blessing, and we have a lot of work left to do. But winter is coming, so some of it will wait."

Mr. Spock sat at a chair across from them and said, "What other plans do you have?"

"Short term is clearing the trails, getting the out buildings ready for winter. I'm making more contacts with other hospitals to be available if they need an emergency transfer off-planet. I've got all my clearances with Starfleet and the Federation. Long term is just increasing the business and hiring more help if needed. That will take time. I've been pretty busy the last few weeks, so it's starting to pick up. Jo has been very busy, too."

His father leaned back in his chair and said, "I better go for a run before I get too sleepy. Spock are you with me?"

"Certainly, Jim."

"Lucas, are you up for a run?"

"Already ran this morning, but go ahead. I'll help Jo around here. We'll have dinner in an hour or so."

His father and Spock dressed and stretched out their muscles and then disappeared down the road. Jo was in the kitchen preparing a casserole for Mr. Spock and chicken to fry on the outdoor grill. Lucas walked up behind her and put his arms around her.

"Upset, Jo?"

She stopped slicing vegetables and turned to face Lucas. "I just worry about you."

"Of course, you do, you're my wife and I expect nothing less, but I'm with the two most experienced officers in the fleet, and we've been out there. You know what it's like, Jo. We'll be back before you know it."

She looked up at him and smiled, "And you love it, don't you."

"I love flying and with Dad and Mr. Spock, you never know what to expect."

"That's what I'm afraid of. But just promise me to come back in one piece and I'll be alright."

He leaned down and kissed her gently, "Keep me in your heart."

"Lucas, I always do."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

That night Lucas and Jo had a bonfire on the beach. They brought chairs, blankets, and refreshments with them. The stars were brilliantly clear and they sat in silence as they watched the flames and talked quietly.

Jo sat forward and said, "I better go in, I have to be to work by 0900 hours. Good night, Dads and Mr. Spock."

The Captain stood and said, "I'll walk you back, Jo, I have to use the bathroom. Spock and Lucas, will you be staying?"

Mr. Spock nodded along with Lucas. Lucas stood and kissed Jo good night. "I won't be too long, Jo."

The night-time bugs chirped as the water lapped quietly at the shore. Mr. Spock sat up and said, "Lucas, I have a question about your faith."

"Sure, go ahead, Mr. Spock."

"How is it, that you believe without scientific proof."

Lucas smiled to himself and stared at the fire, "The age old question, Mr. Spock. I may ask you, you feel the breeze, you do not see it, and yet, do you believe it is there? God created a longing in our souls at our conception, to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him, so that we can be with Him for all of eternity. He only needs us to do His will. I believe because without my faith, there is no satisfactory explanation for the purpose of life. No monetary gain, no personal gain would make me happy without willingly serving God, so I can be with Him for eternity."

Mr. Spock remained quiet. Lucas could hear his father tramping down the path with a flashlight in hand.

Quietly, Lucas heard a response, "Indeed."

Near the midnight hour, the three men put out the fire and returned home. Showered and fell asleep.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jo hugged her father-in-law good-bye and gently hugged Mr. Spock. She looked up at him and said, "That was from, Ana. She misses you."

"Thank you, my dear."

"Remember, Dads, return him unharmed."

"Yes, dear, I will."

Lucas walked Jo out to her air-car. "I'll call you as soon as we're off. We likely will not leave until later this afternoon. If anyone asks, I'm transporting medical supplies off-planet. I love you."

"I love you, too, Lucas. Be safe, have fun and call me once you're back in orbit."

"I will," he leaned down and kissed her. He held her longer until she broke away, "Keep me in your heart."

"I always, do," she replied.

Lucas, his father and Mr. Spock spent the morning following a trail to a small pond. The day was partly clouded but was still warm enough not to wear a jacket.

"Lucas, do you have plans of having horses? I see a nice area near the house for a barn and small corral."

"I've been thinking of that, but I've been so busy, I haven't had time to make plans. I was planning on drawing up some plans this winter. I'll take any suggestions you have, Dad, and maybe Grandpa Jack will come and help coordinate it next spring."

"A good idea, son. We better head back, we need to contact the Enterprise soon and make our escape."

"Dad, I think you're loving this, too much," Lucas smiled.

"Oh never too much," he laughed, "come on Spock, we have to pack up and get moving."

"I believe Lucas may be correct, Jim."

Captain Kirk chuckled as he led the way back down the trail.

Lucas was sure he saw a twinkle in Mr. Spock's eye. He was beginning to recognize the slightest change in his expressions. SJ and he were a lot alike. He missed his friend and hoped to contact him from the Enterprise.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"Everyone buckled in?" Lucas asked.

"Yes, Captain. Take it away."

Lucas smiled at his father in the co-pilots seat. Mr. Spock was in the aft section going over something on his PADD. The shuttle hovered slightly in the grassy field as Lucas remotely closed the bay door to the hanger.

As they broke away from the atmosphere Lucas contacted Earth Central Space Control.

"This is Captain Lucas Kirk of the EAC St. Jude departing Earth."

A voice came back and said, "Godspeed, Captain."

"Captain Kirk, out."

Lucas balanced out the shuttle and felt her settle into a slow orbit around the Earth.

"Here's your new coordinates, Lucas," his father said.

Lucas glanced over at his PADD and entered in the numbers. He settled back and made sure all systems were working as intended.

The awesome feeling of being in space could not be described if you hadn't been there. There is silence, brilliant stars, twinkling stars and a total meeting of space, time and yourself.

The Captain was relaxed and working on his PADD while Mr. Spock brought each of them a cup of coffee.

"Thanks, Spock, I needed this."

Lucas nodded his thanks and monitored his radar screens. "Dad, is the Enterprise at these coordinates?"

His father smiled and said, "You'll know as needed, my son. Be patient."

Lucas felt a slow burn in his gut. He knew his father liked the suspense of the situation, but he was becoming annoyed with being kept in the dark.

After one hour Lucas had a call on his radio.

"Enterprise to EAC St. Jude, come in."

"This is the St. Jude, Captain Lucas Kirk speaking."

"Hello, Captain. You are twenty-two minutes out and we are making arrangements for your entry. We will contact you in about twenty minutes. Any questions, sir?"

"No, I'll await your communications. Kirk out."

"Dad, can you at least tell me how long we'll be on the Enterprise?"

"Yes, Mr. Spock, do you have that figure?"

'Young Kirk, you may expect to be on the Enterprise for 2.4 days. Then we will shuttle to our destination."

"Which is?" he slipped in.

His father laughed and said, "In due time, Lucas."

Twenty minutes later the Enterprise called Lucas. "Captain, prepare to enter the hangar bay."

"Aye, sir."

They could see the hangar deck door open and Lucas landed smoothly. He shut down the shuttle and they gathered their gear.

"Oh my gosh, Dad, I forgot to call Jo before I left."

He smiled and said, "We'll make arrangements for a quick conversation. Hope you're not in too much hot water."

Lucas mumbled to himself, "I can't believe I forgot."

Mr. Spock said, "Will Dr. Joanna not understand your preoccupation?"

"I don't know, sir, she's a woman and I promised her I'd call."

Mr. Spock responded, "Indeed."

Once the Captain and Spock were settled in their quarters, they let Lucas on the Bridge and he put in a quick sub-space communication to his wife. He was introduced to the Bridge crew and then made his way back to his quarters. He settled a few things in and then walked the halls of the greatest ship in the fleet. Newer, larger ships had replaced her, but no one had the special crew that had served on her for over ten years.

The next two days passed slowly as Lucas found things to occupy his time. He had meals with his father, but preferred to stay off the bridge. The new cadets did not need him watching their every move along with the Captain and Mr. Spock.

After dinner on the second night Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock requested Lucas to meet them in the Captain's quarters. He had hoped the aim of the mission and the plans would be made known to him.

"Have a seat, Lucas. What we will be discussing of course can not be repeated."

"Yes, sir."

"Lt. Commander Chekhov left the USS Constitution for a private mission to a small mining settlement. On this planet there was one informant who would work with him to discover how minerals were being stolen and taken off planet."

"Yes, sir."

"Two weeks ago, the informant was late for his check in with communications. We quietly did some investigation and it seems Mr. Al Sanders can not be located. We assume since Chekhov has not been able to contact us, he is either in trouble or his communicator is missing. It just so happens that medical supplies were scheduled to be delivered this week, thus your involvement. We also have some equipment they have asked for and we'll include them in the shipment."

"Why not send your own EAC in? Why, me?"

"It would have the markings of Starfleet. We will act as supply agents who trade many goods and services. Hopefully they will take the bait and in doing so, we can also locate Mr. Chekhov and Mr. Sanders."

Lucas stood up from the table and walked around his father's old quarters. He stood at the large window that faced the open space sky and thought about the mission given to him.

He turned and quietly asked his father, "Dad, why is Starfleet giving me these missions?"

Captain Kirk glanced at Mr. Spock and sighed, "They want you back, Lucas."

Lucas sat down and looked at his father, "I thought so."

"I'm not sure it's the best thing for you, but you're smart, talented and you have the training that we could use."

"Dad, I left Starfleet because I was being called to do other things, Joanna and I want to start a family, and being out in deep space is not conducive to a happy family life. No. I will not return. Who do I need to talk to, to get the message across?"

His father held up his hands and said, "I know, Lucas. I told them all of that, but they wanted to try, anyway. Is that your answer."

"Yes, sir."

"Very well. Do you want to finish this mission?"

"Yes, sir. I will help you find Commander Chekhov and Mr. Sanders"

"Good. Let's prepare for tomorrow."

The three men talked about their plans, and went over it several times to make sure Lucas was familiar with every option available to them. They would deliver the supplies and discreetly make inquiries about other sales and services to be offered.

Dressed in the local clothing the three took the shuttle to the surface and began their day.

"This is Captain Lucas Johns of the EAC St. Jude requesting permission to land."

"Captain this is hangar deck 3, land when you are ready."

"Aye, sir." As soon as he said 'aye' sir he knew he had slipped. That is a military answer and he hoped the controller would ignore his response.

He said to his father, "That was a slip. I'll be more careful."

"Don't worry," he said, "We hear that answer quite frequently out here."

Lucas landed the shuttle and they began shut down procedures. When they departed from the shuttle they were met by the agent for supply locations. Lucas handed him the supply list and the three helped him to unload everything onto a cart.

"I have instructions to lead you to the main office. Follow me."

The three followed him to a large building. The dark colors of the halls and rooms were depressing and Lucas thought if he had to work here, he would not be very happy. His father and Mr. Spock led the way and he observed signs on the doors and hallways.

The agent knocked on a door and opened it for the three men.

"Our medical supplies have arrived along with some parts for the drill."

"Good Mason, deliver them to their areas."

Lucas spoke up and said, "I'd like to deliver the medical supplies, there are controlled substances that I need to see are delivered to the doctor."

"Very well, follow Mason."

The man turned to the Captain and Spock. 'I'm David McHenry, have a seat gentlemen. You've traveled a long distance can I offer you a meal or beverage?"

Kirk said, "We would be grateful. This is my business partner Sarek and I'm Jim.

McHenry looked at Mr. Spock and said, 'We have a few choices for Vulcans that I'm sure you will enjoy."

Spock nodded and they follow McHenry into an adjoining room.

They sat and began eating a small meal. Kirk said, "Mr. McHenry, we've only been out in this area of the galaxy a few times. You are situated a long distance from any star base. Do you run short on supplies frequently?"

"As you say, we are isolated and at times we must wait for a trader to go out of their way to bring us supplies. Usually Starfleet makes sure we have all that we need, but as you see, we are not close to a hub."

"Is there anything that we could transport or deliver for you?"

McHenry looked up at Kirk as if he were sizing him up. "You are an independent trader, what other things besides medical supplies are you willing to transport or deliver?"

"My business partner and I have many connections, it all depends on what your needs are." Kirk responded. They were playing the 'I'm feeling you out' game. They both had to be very careful. Kirk so he didn't blow their cover and McHenry so he didn't walk into a trap.

Lucas was led back by Mason and he was offered a meal. As he ate Kirk continued the conversation.

"My pilot here is very discreet. Sometimes we have to look away when objects, such as spirits, are loaded into our cargo area. We are not large, but we usually have no trouble maneuvering throughout this sector."

McHenry looked at the three men. Lucas continued to eat and seemed to not be concerned with the conversation.

"Perhaps you could help us. I have a shipment that needs to be delivered in two days. We could accommodate you while we wait for the material to be finished. Would that be something you would be interested in?"

Kirk smiled and said, "We could use a few days off. We've been busy this past month."

"There is not much in the form of entertainment other than movies and a small work out area. You are free to roam the upper levels, but it's too dangerous to go down to the mines."

"Oh, I had never seen how dilithium is mined. I am quite curious," Mr. Spock said.

Kirk smiled and said, "I tell him that one day his curiosity will be the death of him, is there anyway we could be taken on a tour? Or that is all I'm going to hear from him is how he missed a rare opportunity."

McHenry smiled and said, "It can be arranged for tomorrow. In the meantime, I will take you to your quarters."

They went outside to another building and took a lift to the second floor. The rooms were small with two sets of bunks and a table. A community shower and bathroom was at the end of the hall.

"Thank you Mr. McHenry."

"Get settled and I will see you for dinner at 1900 hours. It's located on the first floor."

After he left they shut the door and went over their plans.

"Lucas, were you able to see anything on your way to sickbay?"

"Not really, the infirmary was down the hall three doors. The doctor looked worn out and disinterested. I'm not sure if there is a nurse or he works alone. Mason led me back, but I did notice a lift near the infirmary that said, "Protective Equipment Needed". I assume it would lead down to the mine, the floor had a worn look to it."

"Okay, we'll go back to the shuttle and grab our belongings. Then we will take a slow stroll around with the tri-corder. If anyone asks, it's a medical tri-corder."

They left their gear in their room and slowly took a tour of the area. The building they were staying in housed half of the crew, a second building was next door. The office was in line with their quarters and a large building which probably held the transportation equipment for the mine.

"Captain, I am not reading anything out of the ordinary. Most of the miners must be below. If Chekhov and Mr. Sanders are here, they are not right now in any of these buildings. Everyone we have met is accounted for."

"I suggest after we eat and everyone goes to bed we'll do some more

checking around. Lucas, go back to the infirmary and see if you can get the doctor to tell you about the type of injuries he sees here."

"Yes, sir, I'll be back later."

Kirk and Spock went back to their rooms and waited.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Lucas casually walked back to the medical building and walked into the infirmary. The doctor was reading his PADD and looked up.

"Hello, back so soon?"

"Yes, I guess we'll be here for a couple of days and I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Captain Lucas Johns."

"Yes, I saw your name on the shipping label. I'm Dr. Ben Carson. Can I help you with anything?"

"No, I just wondered if there were any other supplies that I could bring back to you on another trip?"

"Well, Captain, we are not allowed too fancy of equipment around here. In fact I have a miner coming in with a compound fracture. My bone healer is working, but the dermal healer is not. I asked for a new one six months ago and it's yet to arrive. Sometimes I get the feeling my requests get thrown away."

There was a commotion at the door and the doctor stood, "You'll have to excuse me, I have a patient."

Lucas stepped aside as a young man was brought in writhing in pain. He could see the tip of a bone sticking out at the surface of his leg. He felt the room get warm and he quickly left. Once outside he took some deep breaths. He knew he had a small dermal healer in the shuttle craft. He ran to his shuttle and opened the door.

Above the bunk was a first aid closet. He grabbed the battery and put it in the dermal healer. It was working fine. He ran back to the infirmary and walked in.

Doctor Carson was in the next room running the bone healer over the miner's leg. The young man had been given a pain shot and was sleeping. Lucas stepped into the room.

The doctor looked up and said, "No further, Captain. This is a sterile field I have up."

"Doc, I have a spare dermal healer and I think you'll need this on his leg. I can let you have it, along with the charger."

The doctor looked surprised, "Captain, you'll leave the device behind?"

"Well, yes, Doc. It's not as large as you can use, but it will come in handy, I'm sure. I better let you get back to your job. We'll talk later."

"Uh, yes, thank you, Captain."

Lucas nodded and set the tool on his desk. He went back to their quarters and explained to Captain Kirk what had happened.

Kirk smiled and said, "Good, you've made an ally. Tomorrow you can go back and see what you can find out."

"Dad, the sun is setting and as I passed each building a security light went on. People were just beginning to come up from the mine."

"Yes, we'll have to try and be more careful tonight as we look around."

At dinner McHenry showed them the way to the cafeteria. "Enjoy yourselves, I have some work to catch up on, but make yourselves at home. Mr. Sarek I have arranged a tour for you tomorrow after morning meal. Meet my agent outside my office at 0900 hours."

Spock answered, "Thank you, I will be prompt."

After a hurried meal the three left and went out the main door. It was dark, but many of the miners mingled around talking and some playing a ball game.

"This is good, we won't look obvious as we wander around." Kirk led the three towards the huge storage building. They looked around and it seemed that no one was watching them. Without any trouble they slipped inside and waited for their eyes to adjust to the dark.

Mr. Spock ran the scanner and said, "There are only two people here, Captain. To the left near that office."

They could hear two voices speaking and they hid behind a pile of crates. One of the voices was McHenry.

McHenry said, "I told you to get rid of him. What is taking so long?"

The other voice was Mason. He replied, "I don't see the reason to get rid of him. He has done nothing wrong and he is a good worker."

"He knew that Sanders, he must be involved some how."

"A lot of us knew, Sanders, and we're not involved. Chekhov is a new employee who was trying to fit in."

"Get rid of him. I have that EAC ready to take some contraband out for me, the day after tomorrow. Get rid of him tonight."

Kirk looked at Spock who had quietly been recording the conversation between the two. Lucas had stirred up some dust and was frantically trying to subdue a sneeze. His father looked at him as he pinched his nose and buried his mouth in his upper arm. A muffled sound escaped Lucas's mouth. The three froze in position.

McHenry said, "Did you hear something?"

"We've got cave rats running around here bigger than a cat. I've set up traps and keep catching them as fast as they are killed."

"Set up some more, I can't stand the creatures with their florescent eyes. And get rid of Chekhov."

"Yes, sir."

McHenry walked close by them as he went out a side door. Kirk looked up to see Mason walking in the opposite direction. Kirk motioned for them to follow him. The supply building was huge with sections divided by movable walls. A ramp ran down the center to the huge bay door for possible loading of air crafts.

They heard a door opening and slamming shut. Mr. Spock put his ear up to the door to listen.

He whispered, "I believe it is safe to go through."

Kirk opened the door slowly. They came out to a hall way with two directions to pick. In the distance they heard another door slam shut. They ran in the direction of the sound and Spock once again listened at the door.

Kirk slowly opened it, but stopped as he heard Mason's voice talking to a second person.

"Come on, boss said to get rid of him tonight. Let's get this over with."

There was no response, but Kirk opened the door slightly to peer out. The two men dragged out Chekhov from a room and headed in the opposite direction. Kirk and Spock pulled out their phasers.

Kirk said, "Set it on low stun. Let's go."

Lucas was third in line and watched their backs. They ran down the hall and the Captain slid to a stop.

"All right, Mason, hold up." He and Spock aimed their phasers at the two men.

Mason spun Chekhov around in front of him, but Spock fired on the other man and he fell.

The look on Chekhov's face was relief and worry at the same time.

"Let him go, Mason," Kirk said in his command voice.

"Who are you? You're not just traders," he said as he pushed Chekhov aside.

"Thank you, Captain."

"You're welcome Mr. Chekhov," he said, "I'm Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise and we're here to collect our officer. It will go easier for you, Mason if you cooperate and give us names and details of the scam that's been going on. I'm sure Mr. Chekhov can fill in some details, too."

Mason looked toward the door and Spock said, "I would not attempt to circumvent your capture by slipping out that door. Phasers can be painful."

Mason held up his hands. "We're glad you see it our way," Kirk said.

"Now Mr. Chekhov, you and Lucas can put his friend in the room and be sure and secure him so he can't leave or talk."

"Yes, Captain. Good to see you, Commander Spock and Lucas."

"Like wise, Commander," Spock responded.

Lucas shook his hand and smiled. They dragged the unconscious man to the room and secured him tightly.

"Mason, where's Al Sanders?"

Mason remained quiet, but as Captain Kirk took two steps closer to him he blurted, "I'm afraid, he is no longer with us."

Kirk shook his head, "Let's make our way to the shuttle"

They took Mason out a side door and walked to the shuttle as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Once inside, Lucas prepared for takeoff.

"Captain Kirk to the Enterprise, come in."

"Captain, this is Lt. Jones."

"Lieutenant, we are preparing to leave planet. Have a ten man security team prepare to beam back down, and make haste to meet us in orbit. What will be your eta?"

"One hour, Captain."

"Good, we'll be in standard orbit, waiting. Kirk out."

Mr. Spock secured Mason to a seat so he wouldn't try to escape from the shuttle. Lucas powered up the shuttle and lifted off with no trouble. They entered orbit and he put the shuttle on auto-pilot.

Lucas turned to his father, "Can I get you some coffee, Dad?"

"Yes, sounds good. Coffee, Spock?"

"Yes, Captain. I'm sure Mr. Mason would like a cup, too."

Lucas prepared the drinks and they uncuffed, Mason's one hand. They drank in silence as the Captain talked with Spock.

The Enterprise appeared and contacted the shuttle.

"Enterprise to the St. Jude, come in."

"This is Captain Lucas Kirk."

"Prepare to enter shuttle door in two minutes."

"Aye, sir."

Mason looked up and asked, "Captain Kirk?"

The two men answered, "Yes?"

Mr. Spock interrupted and said, "Yes, Captain James Kirk is the co-pilot and Captain Lucas Kirk owns the craft, he is the pilot."

Mason looked down and shook his head.

After the shuttle landed they disembarked and the Captain gave orders to the lieutenant. "Spock and I will go down with the security officers. I want them broken up into two groups. One will go with Mr. Spock to the office of the mine and I will take a group to the living quarters." They ran to the transporter room.

Lucas followed and watched as each group beamed down. Before his father left he said, "Lucas, thanks, we'll have a meeting, once we return."

"Yes, sir," Lucas responded.

It took several hours for the guilty parties to be seized along with records and proof that half of the minerals that were mined were being sold off-planet.

Starfleet in the meantime had sent an investigative crew along with reinforcements to get the mine working and supervised by better people.

After spending several days in orbit the Enterprise was ready to head back to Earth with her crew.

Lucas spent most of his time in his quarters. He had prepared his version of his report and included a meticulous letter explaining his lack of interest in returning to Starfleet.

He sent it to his father and waited his reply. He was listening to some music in his quarters when someone buzzed his door.

"Come, in."

Captain Kirk entered the room and asked, "Got a minute, Lucas?"

"Sure, Dad. Have a seat."

They sat across from each other and Lucas watched for any hint of how he felt.

"I just read your report and it is quality work. Then I read your final letter to command and I want to make sure that you're sure you want this letter to be sent?"

"Yes, Dad, I'm sure."

"All right, son. That is all. We should be in orbit tomorrow morning at 0800. Have morning meal with me before you leave."

"I will, Dad."

His father stood and said, "I know I didn't say this very often when we served together, but I want you to know that I am very proud of you, Lucas. I understand that you have other dreams you want to fulfill, and I'm glad you have the courage to go through with them."

They stood and his father hugged him, "See you in the morning."

"Aye, sir."

Lucas went to bed thinking of the past few years that he served on the Enterprise. He had learned so much and had met many great women and men who served flawlessly and with determination. There would always be a yearning for the stars, but he knew flying the EAC would fulfill that yearning. God had led him elsewhere, and as he told Mr. Spock, he willingly served Him.

The engines hummed softly as he drifted off to sleep.