Title: To Boldly Go

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the places that honor goes to Mr. George Lucas, Mr. Gene Roddenberry and Mr. J.J. Abrams.

Summary: While on a routine mission to explore an uncharted region of space the Enterprise and her crew get sucked into a spatial anomaly that leaves them in a galaxy far far away… their new mission; find a way back home in one piece.

Author's Note: I cannot apologize enough for this long delay! Life and lack of inspiration have been a major stumbling block and I don't just want to put out anything, because all of you deserve more than that. Anyways here is another chapter for all of you who have been patiently waiting! Hope it doesn't disappoint and I really appreciate all the support this story has gotten. Thank You!

Chapter 18

Once Anakin had established the connection between Lt. Uhura and the child, he had waited a few moments to make sure neither one of them suffered from any side-effects. When he was sure everything was fine he left, giving the pair some privacy. Although as he turned to view them through the glass division he couldn't help himself from stopping to observe them.

Once the couple believed they were alone, Anakin watched curiously as Commander Spock drew closer to Lt. Uhura. She had picked up the baby and was gently rocking her in her arms. Spock said something that made Uhura look up at him, her smile beaming. In her face he could read the clear emotions of joy and love. She said something in response and Anakin saw to his surprise a small smile (barely perceptible) alight Spock's face.

As he continued to look at them he watched as Spock's whole demeanor changed, even his features seemed to soften as the two continued to talk. This puzzled Anakin and for a reason he couldn't quite say why, unsettled him.

Everything up to this point had him forming an idea of who Commander Spock was. Based on his interactions with the Vulcan Anakin had unconsciously associated Spock as being very like the Jedi: logical, indifferent and somewhat cold. Yet here he was showing a side that shouldn't exist in someone like that.

Clearly these two were more than just colleagues. This revelation shouldn't have bothered him after all he didn't even really know these people, yet it did. However before he could begin to contemplate why, he was startled back to reality by a dry chuckle.

"Spock better be careful cuz it looks like Nyota's getting way too comfortable with that baby." Commented Dr. McCoy as he came to stand beside Anakin.

Anakin forced a smile unsure of what to say. McCoy didn't seem to notice he continued talking, "Although it would be highly entertaining to see Spock flustered by the illogic of a child. He needs his feathers ruffled every now and then. He becomes insufferable otherwise."

Turning away from the couple McCoy looked at Anakin. "How is our littlest patient doing?"

"Better, she's improved greatly thanks to your Lt. Uhura."

McCoy smiled, "Yeah she is pretty remarkable."

"How did you fair overall Doctor?" Anakin asked.

At this McCoy's smile faded. Shaking his head he replied: "We lost 6 patients. Which if you look at it statistically that isn't too bad. Still that's more than I would have liked. Thanks for your help, you made a big difference."

Anakin sighed, "You're welcome but I believe most of the thanks should go to you and your staff. You're right 6 isn't bad but it just doesn't feel right saying that. I suppose it never gets any easier."

"No it doesn't." McCoy replied, "Look I'm starving, care to join me for a quick bite and we can look over the status reports from my staff on the planet while we eat." He added seeing how the loss of the patients was affecting the young man.

Anakin smiled, "Sure that sounds good."

"Good c'mon kid lets go." With that McCoy led Anakin out of the Med-Bay and towards the cafeteria. As they walked they fell into a companionable silence, McCoy was reading a data pad while Anakin took the time to look around him to admire the craftsmanship of his surroundings.

"So what's this Republic of yours like? How many worlds do you got that are a part of it?" McCoy asked as he turned to look at Anakin.

"Well in its height of power it was known to have over 3 million planets from the core worlds and some of the outer rim territories that formed the Galactic Republic, however since this conflict broke out we've been losing more and more planets to the Separatists. As of right now we have about 1.3 million planets that still claim allegiance to the Republic. Between 10,000 to 40,000 planets have broken from the Republic and gone over to the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Then there is the fluctuating number of worlds that claim neutrality. It's all a big mess, but then I don't think anyone ever said war wasn't messy." He replied his frustration clear.

McCoy let out a low whistle, "And I thought 150 worlds was a lot. I do believe your Galactic Republic dwarfs our Federation. You guys got your work cut out for you, but if it makes any difference based on what I've seen so far it looks like you guys can hold your own. I'd sure think twice before crossing a Jedi that's for damn sure."

At this Anakin laughed, "Thanks I appreciate your confidence in our abilities. Maybe 20 years ago just the mention of the Jedi was enough to make someone think twice but now…everything's just so confused and the other side can do what we can too. They're just worse because they have no morals or overall decency holding them back. And the galaxy just gets bigger and bigger…"

McCoy grunted in understanding as they made their way onto the eatery. Anakin followed him up to one of the replicators. "You trust me?" McCoy asked. Anakin smiled and nodded indicating that McCoy proceed. Turning back to the replicator he ordered two meatloaf plates and two southern sweet teas. Anakin watched for the second time as these things appeared apparently from nowhere. "That is wizard, we need these machines on our ships when were deployed. You can only eat so many ration bars before you want to die!"

McCoy laughed as he passed Anakin his plate and drink. They sat down at the nearest vacant table, the viewport showing an expanse of stars. Anakin took a bite of his meal as McCoy was clearly waiting for his reaction. To his surprise it reminded him of a dish his mother used to make him when they had a little more income to spare.

Anakin smiled at the Doctor. "It's good, I take it this is one of your favorite dishes?" he said as he took another generous bite.

McCoy tucked into his own plate. "Reminds me of home, my mother used to make a mean meatloaf, this one here is pretty close. You should try the sweet tea, its a little taste of Georgia too."

"Georgia, is that your mother's name?" Anakin asked curious.

Chuckling McCoy responded, "No, Georgia is my home state. I was born and raised there and because of my line of work it makes it hard to visit often. So any piece of home is a welcome distraction."

Anakin nodded understanding the sentiment. "Do you have any family left in Georgia?"

"Got my Pops and my daughter Joanna and that's all I really need. Unfortunately don't get to see them as much as I'd like."

"You seem to have chosen a strange choice of work if you don't like being away from home."

"Yeah while my crazy ex-wife made the choice not so much a choice. A word of advice if I may be careful around the fairer sex. When things are going good they're all sunshine and flowers, but as soon as things start to go bad they'll be your worst nightmare." Replied McCoy dryly.

Anakin put down his fork and looked pensively at his half empty cup before speaking. "Can I ask you a difficult question?"

"Sure, good ahead."

"What if we can't get this weapon to get you back home? What if you're stuck here and can never see your father, your friends or your daughter again?" he asked somberly looking intently at the older man.

McCoy sighed and glanced out the viewport briefly before returning his gaze to Anakin. "Honestly that's a possibility I've ignored because I don't know what I'd do. I mean we sign up with Starfleet knowing the risks that come with the job. We all know that there might be a day when we don't come home. I knew that when I became an officer. To be faced with that reality now is sobering. I guess I can only deal with that possibility if it comes true one step at a time."

"But what about your family, your daughter…?" Anakin asked a slight note of desperation in his voice.

McCoy frowned, "I never said it'd be easy. The idea of being separated from them forever is unbearable. That little girl, she's my world and what I love most in it. I haven't been the best father but I've tried my best to make sure she knows how much I love her. If I can never see her again then I guess I must be comforted with the fact that she knows how much I love her and everything I've done I've done for her. Besides I'm not gonna take this layin' down. I'm gonna do everything I possibly can to find a way home even if it kills me. But even at that kid you gotta know when you're beat and when you gotta let things go, cuz it'll drive you crazy otherwise."

Anakin nodded but didn't say anything. They fell into contemplative silence for a few minutes before McCoy cleared his throat. "So…how about you, where you from?"

"Tatooine, it's a planet on the outer rim. Ironically enough it's not part of the Republic. It's a dry and lifeless place that takes more than it gives." He replied a little more harshly then he intended.

"I guess you don't have fond memories of your home planet. What about your parents, is Obi-Wan your father?"

Anakin smiled slightly but shook his head, "My mom died a few years ago. As for Obi-Wan I guess you could say he's the closest thing I have to father. He raised and trained me when I came to Coruscant and has been with me ever since. I owe him a lot."

McCoy nodded, "Sorry about your mom." Anakin inclined his head in response. "So when did you decide you wanted to be a Jedi? When did you start your training?"

"Well I guess I always had dreams of being something great like a Jedi. I started training late though I was 8 when they brought me to the temple and started my training." He said.

"8 years old is late, Jesus at what age do they usually start?" asked an incredulous McCoy.

"Since birth practically, once a child is identified as force sensitive the Jedi go and speak to their parents. Usually the parents choose to hand over their children to the Jedi. A force sensitive child is then raised at the temple with other force sensitive children. Then when their old enough they are chosen by a Master to continue their training until they become Jedi Knights." Anakin explained.

At this McCoy couldn't help the snort of disbelief that escaped. "So these parents just give up their kids and then these kids don't have a say of whether they want to be Jedi or not, they just get trained? Then what happens to those who don't get Masters?"

Anakin held up his hand in a placating gesture, "Look I'm sure this sounds harsh but the parents know what they're getting into and they can refuse. Besides it's an honor to be taken to become a Jedi. Then it's not as if the initiates don't have a choice, but very few choose to leave. Being a Jedi isn't something you do it's who you are. It's not something easily given up. As for those who don't get chosen for further training they can choose to go their own way or they can join the Service Corps and use their skills for the betterment of society. I'm sure this sounds strange and unpleasant but being a Jedi isn't easy. We aren't monsters though."

McCoy sighed, "I know and I'm not accusing you, I guess I just don't understand. It all just seems so foreign."

"Thanks for being so candid with me; I find not a lot of people are as willing to be so open with a Jedi now-a-days." Anakin said liking Dr. McCoy more now that he actually interacted with him.

Bones smiled, "You're welcome, although I think Jim would argue that I'm too candid at times."

"Well," Anakin laughed, "I don't mind it. It's nice to talk to someone who isn't trying to gain something from you or whose going to judge you."

"As long as we're here I'm willing to be a listening ear, but I won't sugar coat anything just so you know."

Nodding Anakin replied, "Thanks I'll keep that in mind."

McCoy was about to say something when a flushed looking Chekov came rushing up to them.

"Sorry to interrupt but I think we've made a break through with the weapon, we would like your input and help with some details since you know their systems. If you could join us we would appreciate it greatly." He uttered in a rush.

Both McCoy and Anakin stood up quickly, "Of course please lead the way. Anything I can do to help." Anakin answered in response.

"I think I'll check up on my patients and my staff planet-side. Keep me posted gentlemen." McCoy said as he began making his way toward the exit.

Before he left Anakin called out to him, "Thanks again Bones, I appreciate it."

McCoy waved away his thanks but smiled none the less, "Anytime kid, anytime."

Once McCoy left Anakin quickly followed Chekov through the other exit, if there was anything he could do to get this crew back home he was going to do it. After all there is no try.