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Story Notes:

Inspired by Watchmen by Alan Moore (the comic book, not the crappy movie). Rated PG.

GAIN THE WORLD

It's September 6th, 2252. Dusk. Chilly weather. You are wearing a light jacket and are standing with your arms wrapped around you.

You're talking about the future.

Your eyes are tilted heavenward. You're talking about a posting at a research station. You say it will be easy for us to get assigned together, with our marks.

I say, "That's great."

--

It's April 3rd, 2252. Morning. Admiral Tilton has called me into his office. I'm nervous, but I sense that I am about to be recognized for my accomplishments. I don't know that the words he is about to say are the ones which will end your dreams.

--

September. I already know that I am going to leave you.

--

It's April, and Tilton is making me his protegé.

--

April 4th, 2252. Night time. We're two cadets, out past curfew, making clumsy love in the back of a transport van. In a few hours we'll hack the Academy security system (again) to cover our tracks.

--

It's April 4th, 2267. You have a fever that does not respond to medication.

--

It's September, sixteen years ago. You say you have an obligation, but you can dispense with it. You say, "I should like to be with you always."

--

It's 2267. You have returned to Vulcan to marry a woman you do not know and do not love.

--

It's May 7th, 2254. 1007 hours. A bright, sunny day. I receive my diploma. I have graduated with honors, command concentration. I will ship out tomorrow with the rank of Ensign.

--

It's May 7th, 2254. 1053 hours. You have just received your diploma, concentration science. The access chit for the shuttle Soledad, which will convey you to your first assignment, Enterprise, is curled in your hand. You avoid my eyes as you step down from the rostrum. No one from your family is present to congratulate you.

--

September, 2252. I say your name softly. For a moment I feel uncertainty about the path I know I want to take.

--

Today. T'Pring challenges the marriage. Is this the outcome of all my pretty dreams?

--

April 4th, 2252. Tilton tells me a tactical mind like mine is needed too badly to be wasted in sciences. That I have a natural gift with people that suits me for command. That my late father would be proud of me.

--

September, 2252. I am about to betray you.

--

Now. Stonn is demanding the right to be T'Pring's champion. The right to kill you.

--

Then. I'm already killing you. Killing us.

"I'm going to put in for command. They're telling me I have a good chance--I might even make captain. I'll have to move around a lot, to move up in the ranks. If I post on a station I'm through."

--

Now. Your eyes are blank, their gaze turned forever inwards.

--

Then. The light goes out of your eyes, never to return--at least not for me.

--

Now. T'Pring and T'Pau reject Stonn's bid. Already I am rationalizing the actions I am about to take.

Please forgive me. I never did know how to let you go.



"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" -- The Gospel According To Mark

Chapter End Notes:

End notes? I get to write end notes?

Ironic, huh? I mean in the sense that I didn't really know how to end this one. Seems so final, but then ... the second chance. Eh, what the hell, I didn't write this story anyway. Blame Ted Sturgeon, the Lion of Scifi. Seriously, look him up. He wrote some good stuff.

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