Image courtesy of Paramount and moi
"Computer, view screen on," he ordered softly, no need to raise his voice over the quiescence. The front screen lit with just a moment's hesitation, its shuddering flicker perhaps a symptom of surprise that it would ever be called to life again.
The view was as expected, a reassuring but unsatisfying image of Earth as seen through the cross hatch of girders that entombed Enterprise in her decommissioning berth. No interior mooring for her anymore, instead she was banished to the fringes--rejected, retired. Refused admittance to the light and glory as befitted a ship who had once again diverted disaster, a war with the Klingons, a war he might have once welcomed. It was not pretty, the bitterness that festered in his heart since David's death, but ironically, Gorkon and Azetbur had lanced his wound, allowing the pain to scab over in some semblance of healing.
His life was at a crossroads. His ship, too damaged to repair, was being mothballed. With no word of a new command being offered, did he join her? Or did he go back to the Admiralty and pick up the painfully mundane life he had endured on and off for years?
"Computer, viewer angle sixty degrees to starboard." He stepped to the Conn, needing the brilliance of the stars to comfort and soothe him as he said his goodbyes.
The ship was empty, the crew gone save a few, those finishing with the initial shutdown procedures before leaving on the last shuttle. The captain was superfluous to such duties but required by tradition to be the last person to leave. Sitting in his command chair for the last time, Kirk was not sure if all of him would ever leave. His ship was home, a safe haven, his rampart of protection from both without and within. He had been forced away before but it had never left him. Why would this time be any different? What or who did he have waiting for him downside?
He had no real answers. Starfleet was schizophrenic in their reaction to his and McCoy's rescue from Rura Penthe and their thwarting of the plot to assassinate the Federation president. In one camp they were ecstatic that war and chaos were averted. The other camp was chagrined that one of their own was the leader of the conspiracy and a ship gone rogue had been their only salvation. He became their proud embarrassment again, the prodigal who kept returning home just as they thought to give him a hero's farewell. He came back, inadvertently painting their failures for all to see.
Kirk was unsettled when thinking of his own personal future but too much an officer to deny the Corps. He expected to be retired, a gilded thank you for years served and services rendered coupled with a hurried handshake and a firm shove out the door. Could he fight them? Did he even want to anymore?
The opening of the lift doors broke his reverie. Uhura hesitated for just a moment, giving her eyes a chance to adjust to only star shine before stepping onto the bridge. "We're almost done, Admiral. Mister Scott wanted me to tell you he would be finished and in the shuttlebay by 1900."
Kirk glanced at the chronometer embedded at the base of the view screen and realized he had barely forty-five minutes to say a lifetime of goodbyes--to his crew, those who gave their lives for him and those who made it home, to all the ships he had served aboard, from the Farragut to this reincarnation of his best Command. It was definitely an ending but possibly a beginning. He turned his chair in order to squarely face Uhura, her dark outline barely distinguishable from the bulkhead behind. The apparent merging of her and the ship no stranger to his thoughts.
"I'm not sure I like that smile." Whether she could really see it or not, Uhura knew it was there by his body language: a tilt of the head and his forward posture. She made her way to the foot of the Conn, trashing the professional facade normally maintained between them when aboard ship.
"Oh?" Kirk's smile widened, focusing his interest on the woman before him rather than the ambiguity of his future.
"I expected you to be sad but instead I find you giving me 'the look'". Her hands came down against either side of his on the chair arm consoles.
"Maybe I'm just happy to see a beautiful woman that I know won't morph into a grizzly bear." His grin was colored with just a tinge of real embarrassment; McCoy had wasted no time in telling tales once the excitement was over.
"You've just never caught me--" She leaned in for emphasis, daring him.
"Perhaps," his hands covered hers, holding her in place, "maybe I need to remedy that."
She eased onto the platform, meeting his lips as he sought hers. "You realize the video log was discontinued when we officially logged into this berth... ."
"You are a wealth of knowledge," he whispered against her neck, his hands sliding up her thighs, pushing the fabric of her skirt up as he pulled her astride his lap.
"Yes, I am. Just like I know that the computer will still respond to your voice command if you order it to lock down the lift." Her own hands were busy making short work of his jacket before moving down to address a particularly uncomfortable belt buckle.
Leaning back, Kirk spoke to empty air, "Computer, secure the lift and lock out the bridge exit. Advise before acknowledging any request for communications. "
"Sounds like you covered all the details." The sound of ripping silk and a flagrant toss was her only answer.
Uhura laughed, feeling no shame for the several hundred regulations she was sure they were breaking. She lowered herself onto him, glorying in the feeling of completion as he pulled her head down, kissing her deeply as his hips thrust against her thighs. It was brief, it was fiery, it was a fitting farewell. The idea of a symbolic menage a trios was not lost upon either of them. What the Enterprise thought she kept to herself.
Resting her head against his shoulder, Uhura questioned, "Were you saying your goodbyes to me too?"
Kirk turned his head, scanning her face for emotion before looking solemnly into her eyes. "I was once accused of holding you back, keeping you from advancing. I don't want that to ever be true--but I don't have a ship anymore; I have no promises left to keep."
Uhura's eyes crinkled from the melancholy smile his words invoked. Her mind filled with memories of a promise made a lifetime ago: to keep her safe, to keep her close, to keep her at arm's length. It had nurtured her all these years. Was she ready to let him go?
"You know, since you don't have a ship to run or some crisis demanding attention, I think it's time we took my brother up on that offer to go sailing." Her eyes told him she did not care about promises or goodbyes--just the now.
His face shed years of worry as the corners of his mouth curled up into that little boy grin, the idea of tomorrow gleaming just a bit brighter as he answered, "Sounds like fun."