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Marnita Howald


Stardate 8334.2

Kirk was in trouble. Again. He'd been in trouble before, but never like this. Never so deeply, never so completely. The situation had felt wrong from the very beginning, and it had only gotten worse as the hours had passed by. Before he had always been able to count on his officers for assistance. But now no one seemed to be able to help him.

"This always happens when you agree to something like this," McCoy exclaimed as his shifted at Kirk's side. "I tried to warn you, but would you listen? Nope, you had to run off and get yourself into somethin' you couldn't get out of." McCoy ended in a huff and then sat in brooding silence.

Kirk gave him a knowing look and then turned to his senior officers. "All right, gentlemen. Opinions?"

Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura looked acutely uncomfortable. Saavik seemed to be unsettled by the outright question, but recovered an answered first.

"Sir," she began, "it would appear that you have managed to create a situation in which you are being forced to admit o your rather fragile plan and less-than-perfect strategy. This will force you to show your experienced knowledge by making a command decision that concludes your plans here and gracefully admits to—"

"Defeat, Lieutenant?" Kirk interrupted, his stare making her catch her breath. "The situation isn't over until you've reached a point where you can go no further. The end isn't the end until you reach the end. Do you understand?"

Saavik looked as if she didn't and remained safely silent.

"I think I do, Admiral," Uhura answered for Saavik. "And as I see it you're getting very close to the end of the end, sir," she finished, looking a bit flustered.

Kirk gave her a dangerous look. "Thank you, Commander."

Sulu and Chekov came to her rescue. "Sir," Chekov began, "you must admit, the situation looks very...bad."

Sulu nodded, agreeing with Chekov. He presented the grim statistics. "No, sir, the situation isn't very promising. All of your strategy has been played out and backfired. Most of your men have been taken or rendered useless. You've run out of manpower, ideas, and time," Sulu finished uncomfortably. He wasn't used to having to present news this severe to his captain, and it showed.

Kirk sighed and settled back in his chair. "Then it's agreed." He sat deep in thought for a moment, then pulled himself up, straightened in his chair. With the cool calm of command, he made the only decision he could, the final decision. "All right, Mister Spock, it's in your hands now." He stood to leave the residence and step outside into the hot Vulcan afternoon.

Spock nodded and ended it all with a simple gesture and a single word: "Checkmate."

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