The Summons of Sarek

A/N: Spock Jr. (aka SJ) son of Spock married Dr. Ana Belham on the Enterprise where they both served for four years. SJ's Human mother was killed when he was a young child and he went to live with Sarek and Amanda until he joined Starfleet like his father. Ana's parent's lived dirt side in Maine.

The past two years SJ and his wife had served on the USS Constitution. They had lost one child while they served on the USS Enterprise and another while on the Constitution. A hybrid birth had been difficult for the couple, even with the help of Human doctors and Vulcan healers. After a long voyage into deep space SJ found it was time for them to return to Earth and begin new jobs. His instinct to protect his wife took precedence over his desire to explore space.

The Constitution prepared to dock in space in orbit above Earth. They had made arrangements with Captain Spock to live with him until they both had jobs and could look for living accommodations. Ana had felt extremely tired and had not felt like herself. She was not pregnant and thought she was just exhausted. SJ made an appointment with Dr. McCoy for her the following day.

It had been a trying day to say good bye to the many friends and associates they had served with for two years. Finally they gathered the small amount of gear and belongings and beamed down to the Academy Transport booth.

SJ helped carry Ana's medical bag and her suitcase.

"SJ, I can handle that bag," she said slightly annoyed, "I'm not injured and weak."

"My Aduna, I am only thinking of your complaints of being tired, I made no assumption that you were injured. My apologies, if you sensed that, though."

"I'm sorry, SJ, it's just been a long month," she looked up at her tall husband and said, "thank you, my Adun."

"No apology necessary, where no harm is intended," he answered.

They looked around campus at the myriad of cadets, officers and members of their ship landing and dispersing.

"Ana, look over there, Father is waiting."

It took all of Ana's determination not to run up and hug her beloved father-in-law. It would not be proper for a Vulcan to express a greeting in public like that, so she would wait.

"Live long and prosper, Father," SJ said with the ta'al greeting.

"May you both have peace and a long life, my son and daughter."

Ana smiled and said, "Father, we have both missed you."

"It has been a long duration, my daughter. Welcome to Earth. If you wish, I will take you home and you may settle in."

They followed Spock to his aircar and it was a short ride to his apartment on campus. They parked on the roof and took the lift to their apartment.

Spock told them the code to the door and led them in.

"This is very spacious, Father," SJ said.

"It will accommodate us quite well, I believe. Your room is down that hall on the left. You have your own bathing area and feel free to use anything you need."

The two took their belongings to their room.

Ana said, "Oh, SJ we won't know what to do with all of this space."

"It's nicer than the ten by twelve foot space we had on board, isn't it?"

"It's luxurious and I'm so tired. Do you mind if I nap for a short time. I didn't sleep last night."

"Yes, my Aduna, I felt your restlessness. It is to be expected, we are making a big transition," he held her to his chest and whispered, "rest well. I will awake you in an hour."

"Thank you," she said. She laid on the bed and SJ covered her and noticed she fell asleep instantly.

He met his father in the outer area.

"Is, Ana resting?"

"Yes, Father, she's sound asleep. I am concerned that she is so tired all of the time."

"The proper tests have been run?"

"Yes, and they show nothing out of the ordinary. I will feel more confident when Dr. McCoy sees her."

"Have you made any inquiries into your future?"

"We have had a few offers from Starfleet, but we haven't made up our minds yet."

Spock walked to his window and looked out. He turned slightly to face his son and said, "I have had contact from, Sarek."

SJ waited.

"He has requested a meeting with me several times in the past two point three months and I have been unable to accommodate him. Last night, over sub-space radio he summoned you and I to Vulcan, as soon as possible."

"But, Father, we have just landed and Ana has her appointment. I don't know what that will bring. She was hopeful for a couple of weeks shore leave."

"I understand, my son. Did you notify Sarek that you would be on Earth?"

"Yes, I told him of our decision twenty-eight days ago. I didn't get a response from him. Do you know why he wants us to come to Vulcan?"

"He only said, it involves the House of S'chn T'gai and that we needed to be there."

SJ sat on the couch and said, "Father, you know I was never accepted by Council because of my three-quarters Human blood. Why would I need to be there?"

Spock walked over to his son and said, "I am not sure, but if Sarek believes that we both should be there, there is undoubtedly a good reason."

SJ shook his head as he remembered how he was treated in school and by his own clan. He did not wish to experience further humiliation. His Father was very aware and on one occasion went to

T'Pau to insist that his son be treated with respect. With some Vulcan's it did not matter. The belief in an IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination) life style to many meant it was conducive as long as they did not have to live it. Modern day Vulcan had changed, but many held onto the ways of their tradition they have held for centuries.

"Don't be troubled by this, Spock. Sarek is aware that we will return when it is convenient."

"Father, I have no wish to go."

With only a slight reaction on his father's face, Spock responded, "It is not a suggestion, it is a summons. I suggest we discuss this at a later time. I have several meetings to attend to. Will I expect you for end meal?"

"I'm not sure, Father. Perhaps we will see you in the morning."

Spock nodded his head and said, "Until then, good day, Spock."

"Thank you, sir."

Thirty three minutes later, SJ woke up Ana. She slowly arose from their bed and said, "I feel better, SJ. Is Father still here?"

"No, he had meetings. He wondered if we'd be here for end meal, but I said, no. I thought perhaps that we could tour the campus and have our first meal here together. I would also like to reach Lucas and Joanna, first."

"Let me clean up. Can we use Father's computer? It's larger than our PADD's."

"I am sure he would not mind."

After Ana took a long hot shower and dressed in a clean uniform, she met SJ in the kitchen.

"I have made tea and some toast for you," SJ said.

"Both sound really good, thank you." She carried her toast to the table that face the large wall of windows. SJ joined her with tea and they sat in silence trying to adjust from artificial gravity to the real thing. The time change would take care of itself, but Ana felt a feeling of malaise.

SJ reached over and offered his two fingers as he stroked her own, "You are quiet?"

"I guess, I'm having some trouble adjusting to not being on the ship."

"I suggest we try and reach Joanna or Lucas, that will make it more real."

She smiled and they went to Spock's computer. They put in the proper numbers and sent a message. Ana wiggled in her chair, waiting to see if they would return a message when the vid screen peeped.

Ana pressed it and Joanna's face appeared. "Jo, you're home, it's so good to see you."

"Are you in San Fran?"

"We got in just a few hours ago."

"Hold on a second, I dropped something," Joanna said. She left the screen and Lucas took her spot.

Ana and SJ laughed.

"Are you two booking off for the day?" SJ asked.

"You're slipping, SJ, it's 1600 hours for us. How does it feel to be back? When can you come for a visit?"

SJ smiled a small Vulcan smile and said, "It has always been a annoying habit of yours to ask several questions at a time without waiting for an answer."

Lucas smiled and said, "Life is short, SJ, I gotta talk fast."

"Give us three days to get settled and then we will contact you about a visit. Would that be sufficient?"

"The sooner the better. Take care you two," Lucas said.

"Ana, I hope you can come for a long visit," Joanna said.

"We'll try, talk to you both in a few days."

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SJ and Ana spent the rest of the afternoon walking around campus and saw new improvements everywhere. She had put in a long call to her parents before they left, and her mother cried with relief that they were back on Earth.

SJ looked down at his wife and smiled a small smile.

"What?" Ana asked.

"I am enamored with your beauty and I feel like I'm the luckiest man in the universe," he said and stopped her on the walk way.

He took both her hands in his and kissed them. Ana looked around and was surprised at his outward gesture in public.

"SJ, you surprise me."

He cocked his head and raised one eyebrow, "Can I not claim my wife in public?"

She leaned in towards him and said, "You may, but it's very un-Vulcan like."

"Indeed." He took her hand in his and they continued on their way considering her comment.

Later for dinner, they went to a favorite restaurant of theirs that served the best vegetarian meals in the area. Food in space tended to be replicated and not as flavorful. It was pure heaven on a plate.

They returned to Spock's apartment and retired early in the evening.

SJ had avoided another conversation about going to Vulcan. He had only his wife and her health on his mind, and did not wish to deal with Vulcan and Sarek.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The following day at Ana's appointment, Dr. McCoy ran a series of tests. Dr. McCoy returned to Ana's room after she had dressed. SJ sat with her as they waited for the results.

Dr. McCoy's deep blue eyes sparkled when he walked in the room. He pulled up his rolling stool and faced the couple.

"In general, your health is very good. You're a little on the anemic side as you said, and you're about 1.2 months pregnant."

SJ moved slightly and Ana said, "But Doctor, I did a pregnancy test and it was negative."

McCoy took her hands and smiled, "You know there can be false negatives and false positives all the time. No telling why your test didn't show positive," he looked at her shocked face, "Come on, darlin' you can be happy about this."

"But we've lost two babies already. I'm not sure I can stand to loose another one," she said tearing up.

SJ put his arm around her and rubbed her shoulder. "I am here, Aduna."

She leaned into his chest.

McCoy said, "Ana, we've had very good results with hybrid births in the past few years, and between me and a Vulcan healer that I have been in contact with this year, I expect a very healthy baby in about eight months. Give or take a day or two."

Ana relaxed as she looked at her past boss. He always made his patients feel relaxed because he was honest and knew how to deal with their emotions.

"Thank you, Dr. McCoy. I feel better knowing that."

"Congratulations Mom and Dad. Now, we'll set up weekly visits for now and get the correct vitamins and hormones traveling through your system. Then once you're stabilized we can have monthly appointments. How does that sound?"

She smiled and squeezed his hand, "Sounds good and thank you, so much."

"Hey, I'm just the messenger, SJ had a lot more to do with this than me," he chuckled at SJ's blushing face. "All right you two, get out of here and I'll see you back in one week."

SJ said, "I think we will wait until she is further along before we announce it to anyone, other than my father and her parents."

"That's up to you," McCoy said aware of the Vulcan tradition of not announcing a pregnancy to anyone outside of the clan until it was obvious.

SJ and Ana walked out of the clinic in a daze. They did not speak to each other for a few minutes. The day was warm and sunny and they walked the campus listening to only their own thoughts.

Ana stopped and put her hands to her mouth and whispered, "Oh my gosh, SJ, we may be having a baby."

SJ glanced around at the many cadets and members of Starfleet roaming the campus. He pulled his wife gently into his arms. She put her face on his chest and felt the warm flow of his emotions running through their bond. He sensed her fear and squeezed her a little tighter.

He whispered to her, "Aduna, I am here. We are strong together, perhaps this time Dr. McCoy will help us work a miracle. I love you, no matter what."

Ana broke down in tears and she didn't stop crying for a few minutes. Several people walked around them, glancing away giving them some privacy.

Ana wiped her face and SJ handed her his handkerchief. "Thank you, my Adun. I love you, too. I am scared, but I am hopeful after listening to Dr. McCoy."

"Should we see if, Father is in his office?"

Ana nodded and they walked slowly through the campus tree-lined sidewalks. As they walked, Ana felt herself get more excited about their future parenthood, but held herself back with a small amount of fear that this pregnancy would end as the other two.

Spock's faculty office was on the fourth floor with a magnificent view of the campus. They rode the lift upward and walked through the outside door. His Vulcan aide looked up from her desk. She was an extraordinarily beautiful Vulcan. She had long, straight black hair that was pulled back in an unusual pony tail. Most Vulcan women wore their hair more blunt cut. Her dark brown eyes were expressive, but did not give any strong emotion away.

"Yes, may I help you?" she asked.

Ana smiled and looked at SJ, "Yes, we'd like to see Captain Spock if he is free?" she said.

"Do you have an appointment?"

SJ said, "No ma'am. I am his son, Spock and the one who is my wife, Ana. If he is free, we would like to speak with him."

The woman's face revealed no shock or remorse.

"One moment, please," she said and left her desk.

SJ and Ana waited with a slight amount of contained humor.

The woman came out of the inner office and said, "Please come in, and I apologize for not recognizing you."

"No apology necessary, where no harm was meant," SJ said, "And, I also do not know your name."

"I am T'sar. I am here to serve."

"T'sar we are honored to meet."

Captain Spock had come around from his desk and waited for the exchange to end. He closed the door after they entered.

SJ said, "Father, are we interrupting?"

"No," he knew they had come from Dr. McCoy's office and he waited for them to tell him their news. "I assume you have news from Dr. McCoy?"

Ana stepped forward and raised her eyebrows to ask permission to hug her father-in-law.

"Yes, Ana, I am prepared," he said.

Ana was a very demonstrative person, and she always tried to warn her father-in-law before she hugged him.

"Father," she said, "we have news."

Spock looked over his daughter-in-laws head at his son, who gave away no clues.

Ana leaned back and smiled, "Father, you are going to be a grandfather in seven point five to eight months."

"I am pleased. I have many questions, also."

"Father, for some reason, Ana got a false negative on the pregnancy test she ran and Dr. McCoy is confident that with the help of a healer that he has worked with, that she will have a better chance to carry this baby to full term."

Spock had not released his daughter-in-law. He had strong familial feelings for the wife of his son. She pleased him with her sense of humor and innocence. She was a gift to their family and especially to his son.

"Dr. McCoy is to be trusted."

"Yes, Father," SJ said, "but we want to keep it quiet. She will have weekly appointments for awhile."

Spock released her and took her hand. "I am sure that you will have the best of care. Will we dine tonight?"

Ana said, "Yes, Father. We'll have a meal prepared when you come home."

"That will be sufficient. I have a class to teach in fourteen minutes, I must be on my way."

Ana and SJ walked out with Captain Spock.

Spock said, "T'sar, would you make sure that tomorrow's cadets have been notified of the new location for the noon class?"

"Yes, Captain."

Once they were outside SJ asked, "Father, how long has T'sar worked for you?"

"She has been here for one year. Her studies include astrophysics and biology. You wonder why she is my assistant?"

SJ said, "No, Father, it's just that you had never spoken of her. Is she full Vulcan?"

"Would it matter, my son?"

"No, sir, of course not, it is simply my curiosity."

"I see, she is full Vulcan, good day," Spock said with a hint of a smile on his face.

Ana and SJ watched as Capt. Spock walked away,

"You know, SJ, sometimes I think your father has the best sense of humor in the world, if people would only pay attention."

"Explain."

"He just teased you about being nosy and you didn't even catch on."

"Catch on?"

"Don't be silly, I know you know what that means," she said poking him in the ribs.

"Indeed."

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The next two days SJ spent his time talking with the human resource department about his options. Ana was contented to stay home and catch up with some medical journals and do more intensive research on hybrid births between Humans and Vulcans.

That evening when Capt. Spock returned home they enjoyed dinner and SJ discussed his placement options with his father.

"Father, I am not sure I have enough experience to be a teacher."

"SJ, your experience in deep space is enough to be qualified to teach. I find many of my students have questions that only those who have traveled in space can answer with confidence. Is there something else you would be interested in?"

"Starfleet has proposed several options in the Science lab. Most of the details are top secret, but I find those to be most fulfilling."

"This is a decision that you alone should make."

Ana said loudly, "Ahem," and looked toward the ceiling.

SJ smiled and asked, 'Yes, my Aduna, a question?"

"I thought in a marriage it was important to discuss large decisions with the spouse," she said looking pointedly at her father-in-law.

Spock placed his tea cup on the table and said, "I stand corrected, SJ, you must discuss this with Ana and decide together."

Ana smiled and said with energy, "What a great idea, I guess, I'll leave you men to further discussion, oh and the dishes, too, I'm feeling tired tonight," she smiled as she left the table.

SJ watched as she left and said, "Father, I believe we have been put in our places."

"Indeed."

After taking care of the dishes, Spock turned to his son and said, "I have heard from Sarek again. Have you given much thought to his summons?"

"Yes, and as much as I do not wish to go, I find we must respect grandfather's request. When will we leave?"

"Would the day after tomorrow be sufficient?"

"I don't want to leave Ana home and she shouldn't be traveling that far. I will speak with her and let you know."

Spock nodded and SJ went to their room.

Ana was dressing for bed and combing out her long brown hair.

SJ walked up behind her and said, "Aduna, I have something to discuss with you."

Ana turned from the mirror and smiled at her handsome husband, "Is the topic your future job?"

SJ ducked his head and said, "No, my love. Let's sit."

Ana curled up on the bed and SJ sat facing her. "Grandfather has summoned my father and I to Vulcan as soon as we can come. He has tried to get father there for months but his teaching schedule would not allow it."

"Oh, I see, and he asks that you come, too?"

"Yes, Aduna."

"Do you know why?"

"It has something to do with the clan. That is all that he said. Grandfather is a man of few words. I would like you to come, but that is not wise right now and I don't want you alone."

"How long will you be gone?"

"I am not sure, I hope less than a week."

"I can stay here, SJ. Dr. McCoy is a phone call away."

"I wish for you to have someone with you. It is my duty to be sure you are safe."

She leaned forward and stroked each side of his face. He shuddered softly at her touch. "I appreciate you wanting to watch out for me, but it is not necessary."

SJ eyes became dark and he said, "It is. It is my wish, Ana. I have a suggestion."

She lifted her chin in defiance, "SJ..."

"This is not open for discussion," he said raising his voice.

"SJ?"

He ducked his head again and said, "I am sorry my, Aduna. I have no desire for anything to happen to you or our baby. Please grant me this wish."

"SJ, you've never been this way before."

He took her hands in his and stroked her middle and index finger on her left hand. "I am sorry, will you meld with me?"

"Yes, my Adun."

He placed his fingers on her psi points and they immediately joined in their marital bond with their minds. SJ assured her his insistence came from a deep Vulcan tradition. It was his duty to protect his family. There was no deeper sense of duty other than to the clan. His emotions fluctuated between his Vulcan side of duty and his Human side of love and respect. Ana fell under his spell of love and duty and truly understood his intent. She gladly respected his need to protect her and she knew he did not believe his demand made her any less a woman. He also showed her the many times while they served together on the Enterprise and the Constitution that he secretly inserted his request for a safer duty chore.

At this thought, Ana began to pull away with some anger. SJ continued with the meld and tried to assure her that neither captain's nor CMO's listened to him. The love and respect they had for each other continued to envelope them and SJ slowly pulled away.

They both sighed and touched foreheads as they eased back to reality.

"My, Adun, you amaze me."

"Wife, explain."

"It's like you take me up this mountain of feelings and emotions and tease me with more, only to slowly descend the mountain with short stops along the way, and I don't want to come down. It's most pleasant."

SJ smiled and said, "It is the Vulcan way, my Aduna."

She sighed again and said, "And what a pleasing way." She leaned toward SJ and he kissed her.

"My suggestion, would be for you to stay with Joanna and Lucas while I am gone. You can go to the clinic and rest there. Is that acceptable?"

She nodded with sleepy eyes and said, "Yes, my Adun, that is acceptable."

"Rest, and I will contact Lucas and Joanna." He kissed her goodnight and lowered the lighting.

She was asleep before he left the room. He checked the time and put in a call to his friends.

Lucas came on the vid screen, "SJ, are you coming soon? That's all Joanna will talk about. It's really becoming quite a bore," he teased.

"You're an idiot, Lucas."

"Yes, you've said that before. Well?"

"I have to make a trip to Vulcan with my father for family business and I was wondering if I could transport in tomorrow with Ana so she can stay with you for the duration of my trip. I hope to be back within a week."

Lucas grinned from ear to ear and said, "SJ, please, come, name the time and I'll send you the coordinates for our front yard. Joanna is asleep right now. I'll tell her tomorrow or she won't get back to sleep."

"Thank you, Lucas, I will contact you tomorrow."

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Spock came home from teaching that evening and went to his office. He sat at the computer and responded to the latest comm.

SJ & Ana were finishing up the dinner preparation and setting the table.

Spock said, "SJ, there will be a days delay. Sarek is sending his private ship to pick us up."

"That's good, Father, that way I can spend an extra day with Lucas, Joanna and Ana. Can you pick me up from their home?"

"I believe that would be no inconvenience. Ana, did Dr. McCoy give you clearance to beam out?"

"No, Father, his exact words were, "Under no circumstance am I to beam one molecule of my body while I am pregnant, or he would pull rank on any commander or captain who tried to out-rank him," end of quote."

"Indeed, he is most clear on the topic."

SJ grinned and said, "Lucas is coming to pick us up tomorrow morning."

They enjoyed a quiet meal together and Ana cleaned up while SJ and his father played a few games of chess.

"I'm off to bed. Good night."

SJ looked up and said, "I will be there shortly, I have to beat Father at least one more time."

Spock raised an eyebrow and nodded to his daughter-in-law, "Good night, Ana."

The following morning SJ carried their duffle bags and went to wait for Lucas on the air strip outside of campus.

"Excited?" SJ asked.

"I'm afraid I'll be a blubbering mess."

"You are so cute when you crying," he commented.

"Oh yes, red nose, red eyes and mucous flowing like a river, of course you'd think that was cute."

He squeezed her waist as they watched the St. Jude land. Lucas came out of the cockpit and ran into the building.

When the three saw each other, there was a screech from Ana and she ran into Lucas's arms.

"Welcome home, you two," Lucas said with tears in his eyes, "it's been a long time."

"Two point 2 years," SJ answered as he shook his hand.

"Let me check in and record the next flight, use the bathroom and we'll be on our way."

When the three boarded the shuttle, SJ said, "Wow, Lucas, this is not your normal shuttle, warp drive, plush seating, fold down bunks, wash room and supply area."

"I bought it off a gentleman who special ordered it and then took a job off planet. I think my step-mom was looking out for me, it was her generosity that allowed us to start this venture."

Ana found a seat in the second row and let SJ co-pilot with Lucas. After they did the pre-flight check they were given the okay to depart.

One hour later they were landing in Michigan. Lucas controlled the bay door from the shuttle and it opened as they approached. SJ and Ana looked around from the port windows and were impressed with trees that surrounded their home and area.

They shut down the shuttle and grabbed their gear. From outside Ana could hear Joanna calling to them. She went out the door and Joanna was sprinting across the short field that separated the house from the hangar.

Ana and Joanna hugged and cried. They had worked together for three years on the Enterprise and they were close friends in college.

"Jo, you look the same, I've missed you very much."

Joanna hugged her again and said, "It's been too long. Come on, I'll show you our house."

Joanna and Lucas took them on the tour of the four bedroom home, they showed them their room with it's own bathroom and no one could get a word in without talking over another. They finally gave in and laughed at themselves.

Lucas said, "Let's take them down to the lake and then come back and talk until we have no energy left."

Joanna said, "Here are some jackets, it's still cool down at the lake and you're used to a warmer climate."

When they turned the corner in the path and saw Lake Huron, they went to the water's edge in wonder. Multi-colored stones were at the water's edge as the lake lapped onto the shore. The slight breeze of spring gave their noses a tinge of red.

Ana said, "This is beautiful, it's so blue. Do you go swimming in the summer?"

"Sometimes, but it stays pretty cold until almost August."

SJ examined some fossils he found.

Lucas said, "That is a angel wing, and those may be small quartz."

"Yes, from the glaciers that formed many years ago. They dragged all these rocks and minerals from the northern portion of the hemisphere."

They walked down the beach and then retreated from the cool air back to the house.

Joanna made tea and put on some soup to simmer. When they had gathered in front of the fireplace they laughed at the many stories they told each other. It was like they had left off from two years previously without a pause. Joanna served soup and tea as they talked.

Ana glanced at SJ and he nodded. "We have some news to share with you," she said quietly.

"Don't tell me you've taken jobs in deep space again?" Joanna said.

"No, but we are going to have a baby," she said smiling.

Joanna jumped up and grabbed her friend, "I knew there was something different about you, and the way SJ was being so careful with you, I just knew it. Congratulations."

Lucas smiled at SJ and SJ replied, "That's why I couldn't leave her alone. Dr. McCoy is working hard with us and a healer that he is familiar with, so this baby has a better chance of surviving."

Lucas said, "And that's why you couldn't transport here. I bet Dr. McCoy had a say in that," he laughed.

Ana replied, "He was very definite about me not beaming here."

"She'll be in good hands while she's here, SJ, don't worry. Can you tell us why you're going to Vulcan?"

"No, Grandfather has just said it is clan business, so Father thought that we should honor him and see what this is all about."

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In bed that night SJ held Ana and told her to be careful while he was gone.

"You will tell, Joanna if you have any odd symptoms?"

"Is that a question or an order?" she asked smiling in the dark.

"Aduna, I am only trying to keep you safe. I do not wish to worry about you while I am gone. Promise me you will be careful."

"Yes, my Adun, I will be careful and don't let Grandfather push you to do something you don't agree with."

"I will not," he kissed her and they fell asleep.

The following afternoon, Lucas received a comm that said, Mr. Spock was ready to beam SJ aboard.

SJ gathered his gear and said good bye to Joanna and Lucas. Ana walked him outside.

"Aduna, you will be in connection with me in our bond, so you may contact me at any time."

"I'll miss you. Return soon," she answered.

He stepped away and nodded to her. She saw him shimmer away and felt a loss that she knew would be there until he returned home.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx