with Love and Thanks
for all her Energy, Enthusiasm and Support
~ An NC-17 Pictorial Story ~
by Delta Story & Camryn
Disclaimers - All things Trek are the property of Paramount/Viacom/CBS; what we
do here is for personal pleasure, not pilfering from any profit of theirs.
Look out into the stars - try to imagine their endless numbers; try to travel through their boundless space. A billion lifetimes would never be long enough to explore their wonders or comprehend their beauty.
So it is with some love stories, tales that transcend time and place, tribulation and impediments. Even when two people deny the destiny that fate has intended for them, even when they create their own obstacles, there comes a time when there are no more excuses - the universe is too omniscient and formidable for mere mortals to refute what is meant to be.
So it was with a woman and a man forced to live together aboard a starship lost in the far reaches of their galaxy. Politically sworn enemies yet drawn together by powers they could not understand, they parried and thrust, attacked and retreated until only one path of action remained - that they let all pretenses and facades fall and fade into the dark space around them and succumb to the wills of their fates.
Each of these persons felt foremost bound by honor and duty, willing to sacrifice their own hopes and dreams for the safety and protection of the one hundred and fifty crew who served under them. She was wracked with guilt for having brought them all into this unknown part of their galaxy, submitting them daily to possible annihilation and death... with little hope of returning to the place from which they came. He was cynical and bitter, cursing the fates that brought him into her world... until he took it upon himself to support her, to counsel and console her, to become a fortress for her despair.
Even though the ship was large, it was infinitesimal compared to the vastness of space through which they traveled. Two lives, as far apart as opposite sides of the galaxy, were thrown together, as if being dared by some unknown being to learn to survive together. Common needs merged divergent ambitions into one goal, and unification brought duty and structure into their lives. But duty quickly became concern and concern became comfort. Soon, the inevitable could not be denied - there was love.
Were they to allow themselves to be drawn into the maelstrom of emotions with an intimate relationship? How would it affect their duties to the rest of the crew or to daily decisions that might become biased? Could they allow themselves the luxury of personal feelings while sharing the responsibility of their ship and crew? Or - would those same people suffer because of their denial?
The questions loomed over them for months, like weapons at the ready to doom their love before it could begin. But a forced exile on a lonely planet freed them from the constant concern for their ship and crew. The planet proved idyllic, with all necessities provided either by what they had with them from the ship or by what they devised from their own ingenuity. All was provided except human contact; they had only each other.
One man and one woman - once two among many, now two alone. As dreams of rescue faded, other dreams grew. Questions of duty became needs for survival and so it was that love, long dormant within them, grew and unfolded like the blossoming plants around them.
Each day brought with it new adventures in their explorations of the feelings so long buried within them. Fears of being alone on their too-perfect world soon became fears of being rescued, of having to retreat again to their individual prisons of rank and protocol.
"What will we do if they do come back - if we are cured of the affliction that put us here?" she murmured in a moment of panic.
"When that moment comes, we'll face it together; and we'll make the right decision," he said. "You are not alone."
That moment did come and with its arrival, they knew that their world was gone, that their love must be sublimated once more for the good of their mission.
So it was that overtly they kept their feelings masked from those around them. But a fire of emotion such as theirs, once ignited, could not die. It was like the daily disappearance of the sun at twilight, slipping behind a sheltering horizon, only to reappear in another place and time, brighter and more glorious than ever.
Just as their positions of command necessitated constant innovation for survival in their journey, so their love sparked creative ways to nurture their spirits and souls.
At first, it was a secreted holodeck program, based on their wonderful private world of exile - a few stolen minutes of respite in their ever-demanding lives. But they discovered that these times together, however brief, replenished their waning strength, allowing them to better serve their crew and face the constant struggles of their journey.
Buoyed by these reprieves from public duty into private rejuvenation, each of them approached a couple of talented staff members to design 'relaxation programs for my off-duty times'. No questions were asked, no eyebrows were lifted at first - didn't their senior officers deserve time to relax as much as the rest of the crew? As each request had been made by their captain and first officer individually, the fact that the simulated scenarios were being used jointly was not suspected.
However, as the requests began to include more secluded settings, including luxuriant indoor rooms, the two staff designers, who were not unknowing when it came to matters of the heart, began to have their suspicions. In spite of an agreement between each other not to share their thoughts and theories regarding the purpose of these programs, they could not help but share their secrets with 'trusted' close friends.
Soon the whispered stories made their way back to the senior couple - sly innuendos had become knowing smiles and more whenever many of the crew saw them heading to the holodecks, even when they planned their arrivals and departures separately. It was within the solitude of one of their programs that they broached the rampant rumors.
"Do you think there is anyone aboard who doesn't suspect our relationship?" he sighed.
She shook her head in despair. "No; even the Vulcan looks as if he's smiling at us."
He drew her close. "Is it too terrible that we should let everyone know? Certainly it couldn't be any worse than what is already being said."
She sighed with resignation. "It's just that it's never been before; how can I explain it when we get back to Earth?"
"Nothing on this journey has been done before," he reminded her. "Besides - has our relationship hindered anything regarding our performances of duty?"
"Then don't worry about things that haven't happened yet," he smiled before kissing her.
And so it was that the command couple made an official announcement about their growing love to their long-suspecting crew.
"Now - was that too difficult?" he asked as they finally escaped the celebratory reaction of their friends and colleagues.
"No," she grinned as she walked into his waiting arms. "But you know what they're thinking whenever we close doors behind us,"
"I should certainly hope I know." He confirmed his response with a welcoming kiss.
But the greatest comfort of all came in knowing that not only was their love acknowledged but also that the one hundred and fifty of their fellow travelers supported them.
No longer would either of them need to sink into lonely despair with the heavy burdens of responsibility. Just being there together, even in complete silence, gave them strength beyond what either of them could manage separately.
Burdens of sorrow and sadness, although still numbing when they occurred, weighed lighter when borne by two rather than one. When tears came - and they did - their bitterness burned less when brushed away by the other.
JOY IN THE MORNING continues...