"Fire, Mr. Chekhov!" Captain Kirk said.

The ship lurched as a final volley of phaser fire from the retreating ship hit her hull. The crew was tossed in their seats at each hit, and the Enterprise went to a slow warp one.

Kirk hit his comm button, "Scotty, what's going on?"

"Sorry, Captain, the starboard nacelle is off line. We're down to one sided power now. I canna give you any higher speed or for sure we'll blow the other one."

Kirk sighed and said, "Alright, Scotty, nurse her along and give me a report asap."

"Aye, sir."

The bridge crew watched as the retreating alien ship became a small dot in the heavens. Kirk looked towards his first officer and waited for his opinion.

"Captain, she is gone and at our present speed we will not be able to over take her."

Kirk shook his head and said, "Cancel red alert. Shut down all weapons."

"Aye sir," several lieutenants answered.

Kirk continued to watch the view screen, unhappy at the results, but resigned to the ending.

"Spock, gather all damage reports and meet me in the conference room when you're ready." He flipped on the ships comm and said, "All hands, get on repairs and report to your department heads. Kirk out."

Captain Kirk stalked to the conference room and ordered himself a large cup of coffee. Dr. McCoy who had been on the bridge at the last minute walked in with him. McCoy got some coffee and eyed his friend. They sat in silence at the table and McCoy notice the shake in Kirk's hand.

"You okay, Jim?"

"Yeah, Bones, why?"

"Your hands are shaking. Left over adrenaline."

"We were so close," he fumed.

"Who were they, Jim?"

"Unknown. A merchant ship on the run, only they had a lot more fire power than what's on a normal ship."

"How much damage to our ship?"

"I'm waiting for the reports, but if one nacelle is knocked out, it can't be good. We're already two months past scheduled repairs. Scotty is about to blow a gasket about his precious engines."

Mr. Spock walked in and nodded to the Captain. "Captain, most of the reports are in. Mr. Scott is on his way up."

Kirk reached behind him and flipped the comm button. "All department heads meet me in the conference room off the bridge in ten."

Kirk rubbed his forehead trying to placate a headache that had been throbbing for two hours. McCoy reached into his small med kit and took out a pill.

"Take this, Jim, you'll be able to concentrate better," he eyed him with a doctors eye and was not happy with what he saw. The Captain was exhausted, his eyes were blood shot and his patience was not at it's best. Kirk downed the pill with a swig of coffee.

All the head officers in different states of mental fatigue sat around the table. It had been a battle they had fought for two hours, trying to out maneuver and try to capture the swift moving ship. Kirk had thought that on a different day he would have liked to meet that ships captain. In a small way he admired his tactical abilities.

Kirk sat in silence as he listened to each departments findings. Scotty's was the longest and most disturbing.

"Captain, we have to take it slow. I've got a few things we can do to help us limp along, but warp one is the most I'd push the lady."

Kirk smiled at his description of the Enterprise. "Alright. Slow and steady. Mr. Sulu, what is the closest starbase?"

"Starbase Eleven, sir. At warp one it will take us four days and nine hours to get there."

Kirk twiddled with his coffee cup and sat in silence. The others began to look around at each other.

"Captain?" Spock asked.

"I'm just thinking about a nice long shore leave when we get there," he smiled at the officers around the table, "Carry on ladies and gentlemen. Four days and nine hours. Let's roll."

"Aye sir," was heard around the table. Only Spock and McCoy remained behind.

"Captain, you need to rest. I can take over until alpha shift."

"I concur," Bones said.

"I hate it when you two agree, it makes me nervous."

"More reason to get some rest, Jim," Bones replied.

"All right, carry on, Spock." He stood and downed his coffee. "See you in the morning."

"Aye, sir," Spock replied.

They watched as the weary Captain left the conference room. The first officer and medical officer exchanged a knowing look that only the two would understand. Kirk was not to be disturbed for any reason for at least twelve hours.

The four days dragged by as inside repairs were finished up. Kirk was sitting in his chair going over the latest reports from the departments. He was sure there had to be an error. According to the data of the maintenance department it had been almost three months since a repair stop had been made. Kirk got up from his chair and went to Spock's station.

"Spock, did you read this?"

Spock glanced at the data report on scheduled repairs and nodded affirmative. "Yes, Captain, I signed off on that report three days ago."

Kirk said, "We should have had systems checks months ago. Starfleet always wants to push us just another star system down the road."

"Captain, it is unlikely that we could travel down a road, let alone be pushed."

Kirk stifle a chuckle, "I stand corrected, Spock, thank you."

"Yes, sir. Anything else?"

As Kirk went to answer there was a loud bang and a jolt to the ship.

"Mr. Sulu, what's going on?"

"Not sure sir, but we dropped out of warp speed."

As Kirk reached for his comm button on his chair, as a call came in from Scotty.

"Captain, Scott here."

"Please tell me that loud sound was made on purpose."

"Sorry, sir, but power was cut to the last nacelle. There's no fixing it out here. We'll be able to travel on impulse power for another two hours and then we'll have to shut her down and ask for a tow."

"Okay, Scotty, we'll call for a tow truck. Keep me informed."

"Aye, sir."

Kirk made a ship-wide announcement as to the sound and shift they felt.

"Lt. Uhura, get a hold of starbase eleven and see if they can meet us for a tow."

"Yes, Captain," she answered. She glanced over at Mr. Spock. His head was down and he was concentrating on his work. Everyone was tired, but everyone was more concerned for their captain. He had been under a lot of pressure, but usually looked like he was always holding it together, lately the exhaustion showed on his face.

"Captain, Commodore Feldman is on frequency 12."

"Thanks," Kirk flipped his comm button, "Commodore, how are you?"

"Well, I"m much better than you are right now. Can't you just kick the tires and get a few more miles out of her."

Kirk smiled and said, "If I could, I would."

"We have a ship on the way, Jim, it should be there in three hours. Your engineer has already sent a detailed list of repairs and supplies he needs. It looks like you'll be here at least two weeks. A nice shore leave for everyone."

Kirk liked Commodore Feldman, he had given up being a captain of his own ship when his son was killed in action. He took the position at the starbase and ran a very meticulous base. No ship left missing parts or with a fatigued crew.

"We're looking forward to it, Dan."

"We'll get together for dinner once you're organized. Feldman, out."

Kirk left his chair and said, "Spock, you have the conn."

"Acknowledged, sir," Spock replied and glanced over at Lt. Uhura.

Kirk left the bridge and made a quick walk through to engineering to get a better idea of what they were facing. He returned to his quarters and laid down. Two hours later he was awoken by his first officer.

"Kirk, here."

"Captain, the USS Valiant is ready to put the tractor beam on us."

"On my way." Kirk splashed cold water on his face. He was amazed how well he felt after a nap.

The Valiant was an older, smaller class starship and she was used for protection at the starbase and for the occasional tow. The Enterprise

looked enormous next to the Valiant, but the Valiant was like the 'little tug boat that could'.

They eased into dock and Sulu gracefully steered her into port. All docking ports were set and the silver lady's engines came to a silent perch.

Spock had been working on shore-leave schedules. All personnel would leave the ship, except for engineering, maintenance and communications for a brief time. Getting almost four hundred people off the ship in an orderly manner took some planning, but it was a smooth transition with Mr. Spock's talent in seeing the bigger picture.

The first day was busy with many questions being filtered through Lt. Uhura's communications system. By the end of the day her fingers hurt, her voice was weak and her ear piece had left her ear raw.

Spock turned to her and said, "Lieutenant, don't you think it's time you took a break?"

"Yes, sir, it's been a busy shift."

Spock asked, "Did the Captain get off with Dr. McCoy?"

"Yes, they were the first two off, with a few threats of doctor's orders and a return of insubordination claims. It was quite a show in the transporter room, I hear."

Spock shook his head in acknowledgment.

"Mr. Spock, will you be remaining on the bridge?"

"No, will you route all calls to my quarters or the lab?"

"Yes, sir. I just transferred all other calls to my quarters," Uhura responded. She stood and stretched her back muscles and stifled a small yawn. The two took a final glance at the empty bridge and rode the lift to their floor.

"Lieutenant, would you care to join me for dinner in the mess hall?"

"Mr. Spock, that would be nice, but I can fix us a meal in my quarters, that way we'll be close to my computer for calls."

He raised an eyebrow a short way and said, "That would be satisfactory."

"I'll see you in an hour, then," she smiled as she opened the door to her room.

Spock nodded and continued down the hallway to his room. He answered any emails and calls that had come in and took a sonic shower. He spent twenty minutes in meditation and promptly rang Uhura's door on the hour.

"Enter," she called.

Spock's eyebrows flew up at the sight of her in a multi-color caftan. The bright blues, burgundy's and yellows swirled in a pleasant pattern. Her eyes twinkled when she turned to meet him.

"Come on in, I set the table and we can start dinner."

Spock walked to the table where he saw two small candles lit and a pot of his favorite tea ready to be poured. Uhura brought over a small bowl of poltar soup for Spock and tomato bisque for her. When she passed him the salt their hands briefly touched. A current passed through her and she pulled her hand away.

"I'm, sorry."

"No apologies needed," he tasted the soup and found it different than what is served in the mess hall. "This is much more favorable than what is served on ship. Did you alter it?" he asked.

"Yes, I added a few spices your mother gave me, I hope it's not too much."

"No, it is quite palatable," he said.

Uhura tried to hide a smile behind her hand as she finished her soup. She hoped in Spock's world palatable meant the same as it did in her world, and she took it as a compliment.

They each enjoyed a small vegetarian meal. Spock helped her to clean up the dishes when a call came in on Uhura's comm.

"Uhura, this is the Captain. Have you seen, Spock?"

"Yes, Captain, he's here with me having dinner, do you need to speak to him?"

"No, I'm outside his room and I couldn't find him." He paused and added, "I forgot my toiletries, uh is everything okay, with the ship, that is?"

Spock tried not to roll his eyes when he leaned into the comm unit, "Captain, all is fine. You are on shore-leave and I'm sure you could have bought toiletries in any of the multitude of stores on base."

"Well, yes, but I wanted to make sure the ship was okay."

"Did you call my comm unit?"

"I thought I did...that is, well at least I found you. Are you okay?"

Spock raised an eyebrow and said, "Why wouldn't I be, Captain? The lieutenant and I are just eating and we will be going over tomorrow's schedule."

Kirk cleared his throat and said, "Good, don't work too long. I expect to meet you the day after tomorrow."

"Yes, Captain, as planned. Anything else, Captain?"

"No, that's all, good night."

"Good night, sir."

The comm went dead and Uhura tried not to laugh out loud. "He's like a little boy with his hand in the cookie jar sometimes."

"Cookie jar?"

"Yes, he had to make up an excuse to come aboard and check out the ship and he got caught."

"I see," Spock cleared his throat and stood next to Uhura.

Uhura stood and stared into the deep brown pool of his eyes. Her heart began to flutter faster. She felt like a school girl in her mind, but like a woman in her heart.

Spock took one step closer and placed his hands around her waist and rested them near her hips. He looked down at her. He recognized the quickening of his respiratory system and his temperature began to slowly raise by a few degrees. Her chocolate brown eyes brought him into a deeper trance.

Uhura placed her hands on his chest and he lowered his face to hers.

"Now, where were we?" he asked.

"We were just about here," she said smiling.

The first of his kisses were soft and questioning. She held herself back, but the soft touch of his lips sunk lower to her neck and she felt her reserve go. Her knees almost gave out and he held her tighter to his body. He moved back to her lips and the passion from both of them shrouded their bodies with desire and welcoming.

Spock pulled away and walked her towards the bedroom. On the way Uhura flipped on the 'do not disturb' sign and locked her door.

Their two bodies welcomed the familiar embrace of their new relationship. It had taken months to acknowledge that there was an attraction between the two. They both had had many losses and did not know what the long range plans were, but connect they did.