“There’s my baby boy!”

Jim winced at his mother’s exclamation as he entered the restaurant on Rigel 9 to meet her. She had stood up from the table and had come around to the aisle to embrace him.

As he hugged her, he noticed the brightly wrapped boxes on the table.


“What?” She followed his gaze as she let go of him. “Oh. Those. Well, Christmas just passed, you know, and your birthday is only days away. It’s not like I’ll get to see you again after tonight,” she said wistfully.

He frowned as he slid into the booth across from the glass of red wine he assumed she’d ordered. She got in and picked up the glass to take a sip.

“What do you mean by that? We’ll see each other again.”

She nodded. “I know. That’s not what I mean. I mean it’ll be a long time. You’re…out there. And knowing you, you’ll sign up for another five years when this one is done. It’s a miracle we get to have this time. There won’t be any opportunities for presents for a while.”

“You make me feel guilty I didn’t bring you anything.” He picked up the menu.

She waved that away. “You with me right now is all the gift I need.”

Jim snorted. “How come that didn’t work both ways?”

“You’re my son, I get to spoil you when I can. I didn’t nearly enough when you were younger, and now the opportunities, as I said, are rare. Order what you want. My treat.”


“There’s that voice again. I can do it as I’m the mother,” she insisted. “Speaking of…”

“Wait.” He gestured to the waitress. “I’m going to need a drink for this.” He ordered one, and then, when it was brought to him, he said, “Okay, proceed.”

“It’s not that bad.”


“Are you still seeing that girl?”

Jim stared at her blankly. “What girl?”

“The blonde one. The admiral’s daughter.” She lowered her voice. “You know, the evil one.”

“The evil blonde or the evil admiral?”


He rolled his eyes. “If you mean Carol Marcus, no. That ended…actually, it never really began. I thought about it for half a minute and so did she, but ultimately, she left Starfleet to concentrate on her scientific career.”


“Why the interest in my love life anyway?”

“When you get to be my age, you start to think about grandchildren.”

Jim choked on his drink. “Yeah, that’s not happening. No time soon, anyway.”

His mother sighed as the waitress approached to take their food orders. “So no special woman in your life?”

“Certainly not.”

She took another sip of wine. “Well I hate to think of you all alone.”

“Who said I’m alone?”

“But…wait. So you…you are seeing someone?”

He shrugged.

“It’s not that lovely Doctor McCoy, is it?”

Jim laughed. “Um. No. No.”


A shadow fell across their table. Jim glanced over.

“Mister Spock.”

“Captain. Forgive the interruption. Admiral Fremont insists on having a quick word with you. I did say you were dining with your mother but…”

Jim shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. It’ll just take a second.” He smiled at Spock.

“Oh!” His mother exclaimed. “It’s him.”

They both glanced, startled at her.


“I can see, Jim. You’re glowing just talking to him.”


She smiled at Spock. “But he’s doing the same thing right back at you. Why don’t you have a seat, Spock, while Jimmy deals with that pesky admiral?”

Jim almost laughed out loud at Spock’s wide eyed deer caught in the headlight look. Ah, hell he did laugh. Slid out of the booth and touched his fingers to Spock’s discreetly. “I’ll be back as quick as I can. Keep the seat warm for me.”


Jim merely smirked and left the restaurant to handle Admiral Fremont. As he looked back through the glass of the restaurant, he couldn’t help but grin as Spock sat across from his mother.