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Love is a world itself.
Either you are in, at the center…
either you are out, yearning.
Once the colonists were completely situated and provisioned, our job was done and we began the long trip toward Earth, toward what most of the crew considered ‘home’. I wasn’t at all sure I still considered Earth home, myself.
While everyone else aboard seemed to get more animated and excited as we sped onward, I felt myself withdrawing. I spent a lot of time journaling and contemplating, but mostly I was just chasing my tail, going over and over the same worries, without resolving anything.
Sometimes it just feels like there’s too much going on in your life to process of it. In my case, this involved overload on several fronts, all of them beginning with “what to do about…”
What to do about where I was going to go; about who I was becoming; about this nagging fear that someone, somewhere, was still after me. What to do about the illogical contradiction between feeling horribly alone in the universe, and at the same time being surrounded by too many people I felt a useless, inconvenient and uncomfortable attraction toward. No matter how I chewed on these things, I couldn’t seem to make any headway at all toward clarity, and as the Enterprise sped toward Earth, I knew I was likewise speeding blindly toward some profound and irreversible turn in my life.
Let’s start with the most obvious matters. Jim had kissed me. Then Bones had made it clear he was hurt by my scheme to divert his attentions elsewhere; made it clear with that hand on my thigh. What the hell was going on?
This simply would not do, I told myself over and over. It was plain wrong. Even more wrong was the fact (I would barely admit this even to myself at the moment) that, whenever I let my memory play over either of those incidents, I found myself smiling, goofily, and pleasantly a-tingle.
That is so wrong, Hani.
And I couldn’t stop myself from thinking in old ways. I admit this, Reader, only because I’ve sworn to tell you the truth. Sometimes I drifted off into fantasies about what it would be like to fall in love, to marry, even. Who, you may ask, was the subject of these girlish reveries?
Apparently that was something I wasn’t capable of doing myself.
What would it be like to marry a Starship Captain? (or Physician, or… whoever). The romance of that idea didn’t stretch very far.
Really, think about it: me, the little wifey, just sitting around some planet waiting for my guy to decide to show up whenever he likes, every few years, with his tall tales and his dirty laundry, then wham, bam, thank you ma’am, he’s off again and there I am, alone. Again.
No, Hani, no. Of course, the bigger joke was that there never existed a pool of less marriageable men in the entire history of, well, men. Every man jack of them married already – to their ship, their jobs.
Which led me to an even less expected admission: as much as I’d like to have some dependable affection in my life, I was beginning to believe I might never want to marry again.
I was beginning to face the evidence that I might, after all, be a born nomad. And I was oddly okay with that.
There was just this one other little messy bit of intuition, these little recurring hits of certainty that were annoyingly persistent and consistent: I was viscerally aware that there was some remaining piece of karmic business yet to play out with these guys.
I had no idea what it was, what it would look like, or feel like.
Just as well. I would have totally freaked if I’d had any idea what was coming. And sooner than I imagined.
The nagging fear part wasn’t helped by an off-hand comment from Uhura one evening when we were sitting together over a quiet drink.
I’d already been silently working myself into kind of a state, thinking, yet again, about how Spock had spirited me away so quickly from the mayhem on Virgilian, how odd it had seemed, how… protective. But protective against what?
“I suppose the Captain told you they may want you to testify before the Board. It’s okay, though, I think he’s convinced them it’s not necessary.” Uhura tossed this bombshell in casually, just being helpful.
I froze. This was the first I’d heard of any Board, any hearing. She must have assumed Jim was keeping me updated, but I’d been halfway avoiding him since we left Virgilian. Good thing I was a master at the open-ended non-response response. I just nodded and said something vague, and so she went on to offer that it wasn’t the first time Jim had been before a Board of Inquiry, and that he was a favorite of a lot of the Starfleet command, the former field guys who identified with his boldness. It was some of the bureaucrats in the Federation who apparently didn’t like him, like that man Culpepper, the one who’d requested the formal review, but their influence wouldn’t go too far with Starfleet, she assured me.
Was it Jim he was after, or me?
What, exactly, was I going ‘home’ to?