David had pillowed his head against Saavik’s shoulder and now snored gently in sleep. Saavik had never heard snoring before—she had slept in close proximity only to Vulcans, who did not seem to suffer from the strange affliction.
It made her smile to see him so defenseless—and happy. They had both thoroughly enjoyed their nights together. She reached out to stroke his face gently, taking an irrational pleasure in the coolness of his body… “like lying in the shade on a hot summer’s day.”
She wondered again what Spock would think of the path she had chosen. He had said he might not approve of her decisions, but would he have approved of this one? Would he have been pleased that she had… fallen in love? And that she had done so with the son of a man Spock had so respected? She would like to think so. She would like to have thought that her happiness was important to him.
And she was happy, happier, perhaps, than she had ever been in her life. But what nagged at the back of her mind? What disturbed her? She had accepted Spock’s death now and had convinced herself that the times she had heard his voice calling her were mere dreams, wish-fulfillment and nothing else. Why did she still feel unsettled? She had no need to, for now she understood what Spock had tried to teach her and had never been able to: she understood what love was.
And where and when had she learned that? Here, in this bed? The knowledge had come upon her by surprise. She didn’t know exactly when she had figured it all out.
Looking again at David, she sighed, wishing that humans didn’t require so much sleep. She would have liked to have spent the entire night testing out “their theory.” But humans—males, especially—required rest, and she must not disturb him even though she was too… excited to sleep.
She gazed about her quarters, realizing suddenly how barren they looked. They had not seemed so yesterday, but now, they seemed much too cold and empty. Her only possessions were a handful of books on her shelf—
—where had that come from? She had never seen that book before. Sitting up carefully to avoid disturbing David, she took the paperbound volume from her shelf and looked it over. It was well preserved, but obviously very old. The spine was cracked and somewhat rolled, and the covers on the cover illustrations—once vivid—were dull and faded.
Saavik looked at the title stamped on the front cover. Had she heard of it before? The Number of the Beast? No, she had not… How had the book gotten here? Had David left it, perhaps, while she was on the bridge? Probably.
But when she opened it, a note in vivid blue ink, obviously not nearly so old as the book, caught her eye. Her breath caught as she read it:
We will meet again.
It was addressed to her! But the initials—T.A.M.? She knew of no one with such initials. Obviously, however, someone with those initials knew her, and he said that they would meet again. And what made her assume it was a he?
In the back of her mind, something still nagged her.
Curious, Saavik leaned back and began to read…
* * *
Sitting quietly in his quarters, waiting for Admiral Morrow to find something for a displaced chief helmsman to do, had grown extremely boring. All Terry had been able to do was think of how furious he was at Morrow for decommissioning the Enterprise—the ship he had hoped to be assigned to—and taking Hikaru Sulu’s command away from him. And of course, there was the anxiety, the wondering. What would happen now that Hikaru and the others had helped Kirk steal the Enterprise? As if they had had any choice! Damn Starfleet anyway!
And so, Terry had come here, to escape the anger and the boredom—to talk to someone. Kevin Carson had been given an assignment here in the main Fleet communications center. It was buzzing right now with ships and stations from all parts of the Federation reporting on a handful of events: a breach of the neutral zone by a Klingon ship which had apparently destroyed an independent merchant vessel, an odd sighting, possibly an explosion, in the restricted Mutara sector, and, of course, frequent questions about Enterprise.
When the signal came through, Kevin almost fell out of his seat with excitement. “Communications to Grissom,” he said to the Vulcan woman reporting on the other end. “We’ve been trying to reach you folks for days! A freighter just picked up a lifeboat with a couple of survivors from a merchant vessel—they claim Klingons raided their ship!”
Terry rolled the name around in his mind… Lt. Saavik from the USS Grissom… It sounded familiar. Kevin continued to talk with her until Morrow himself suddenly “Cut that damned data link! Lt. Saavik! This is Starfleet was heard over the speaker. Commander Morrow. What the hell—”
Terry grimaced at Kevin as he cut the channel. “You don’t expect me to listen to Fleet top-secret communications, do you?” Kevin asked with more innocence than he had had the day he was born.
“I was just interested. You might have left the audio on!”
Kevin adopted his usual “who cares” attitude and went back to monitoring channels.
“You know this Saavik?” he asked casually. “Old romantic failure? There have been so many.”
Terry ignored the insult, although he had to admit that—judging by Saavik’s voice—he might have found her very attractive if he met her in person. “No,” he replied, matching Carson’s disinterest. “I just thought she had a nice voice. She sounded like someone I could be… friends with. That’s all.”
Kevin, fortunately, did not question that remark. Terry was grateful, for he wouldn’t have been able to explain it for the life of him. He had heard that voice before…
* * *
In the dim light of the Vulcan dawn, Spock scanned the faces around him, trying desperately, Kirk could tell, to remember.
He faced Kirk at last, his face holding decision and childlike determination. “Jim,” he said distinctly. “Your name… is Jim.”
Kirk nodded happily, affirming his friend’s statement. “Yes!” The tenseness of the dawn broke, and seven tear-stained faces converged suddenly on the now-restored body of their friend.
As Jim Kirk joined in the happy greetings, his mind could not help but wander over the events of the past day. He thought of David, dead on a world which no longer existed. He thought of the Enterprise, sacrificed in an attempt to turn death into a fighting chance for life.
And yet he felt strong—confident. The anxiety that had nagged him earlier had suddenly vanished. Looking again at the faces of his friends, he realized that he had not lost his command after all. The ship was gone, but they were still with him. And neither Nogura nor Morrow nor any other Starfleet bureaucrat could take them away.
After ten years and three attempts, he had regained the Enterprise once and for all.
The quote about lying in the shade is, again, McIntyre’s.
So Metcalfe and Carson made it into STIII in this manner. Mention also the M’Ress / Arex story.
“Three attempts?” I guess I took each instance of his regaining the ship in the first three films as “attempts.”
Please let me know what you thought! I may writer up some additional reflections next time.