Paul Gadzikowski


T*R*E*K: "The needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many."

Having catnapped, Hawkeye was refreshed and alert when people started leaving the altar area. First were two of the acolytes in the flimsy gowns Hawkeye'd be all eyes for another day, but now they had Margaret between them. She was pale and haggard, but as they took her past him and she said, "I'm all right, Hawkeye," he saw Hot Lips' smile for the first time since the Genesis cave.

Hawkeye had seen Srank look after Margaret, and still wasn't used enough to the new Srank not to be surprised when the Vulcan came to Hawkeye instead of following her. There was gratitude in eyes where Hawkeye had rarely seen anything warmer than duty. It made him uncomfortable so he tried to head Srank off: "Radar?"

"We will know in time," said Srank with cold, logical equivolence; some things don't change. Then he went on with what he had to say to Hawkeye: "Pierce, thank you," Srank said. "What you have done -"

"What I have done, I had to do," said Hawkeye. It didn't warrant any praise.

Srank wasn't so changed as to understand this. "But at such cost? The Enterprise." Even Srank was affected by that. "Your son."

"If I hadn't," Hawkeye explained, "the cost would've been my soul."

Srank nodded; either understanding or satisfied that he couldn't understand. Then he turned as Hawkeye took an involuntary step forward. A thick white hooded robe was being settled onto a diminutive figure standing next to the other podium than Margaret's. The katra disciples bunched around the robed figure and led it off the raised platform and past Srank and the Starfleet officers toward the steps down.

Until the robed figure hesitated and halted, just past the humans, and slowly pushed back the hood till it fell away from the curve of Radar's half Vulcan ears.

Radar's familiar face, not entirely unfamiliar in its innocent confusion, turned back to his shipmates. He approached them slowly, looking at each of them - Father Muclahy, Klinger, Tharlss, Srank, Margaret, Admiral Potter, B.J. - silently; till he came to Hawkeye.

"Th-" Vocal chords never before used for speaking stumbled. "They tell me you have been my friend - you came back for me."

"You'd've done the same for me," Hawkeye said.

Radar wasn't so sure. "I do not understand why you would do this." His memories may have been cleared out of Margaret into him, but he wasn't accessing them yet.

Hawkeye tried to say something that would ring a bell. "I wanted to go on learning from the best."

Radar took a moment to respond. "Still not arguing with me, huh?"

"Yes, Radar," Hawkeye encouraged.

"The ship." For a moment there was a hint of Radar's old animation in his face. "Is it safe?"

"You saved the ship," said Hawkeye (conscious that he was dodging the question). "You saved us all. Don't you remember?" Damn! stupid thing to say, that - Radar wouldn't be able to remember now what had happened after he'd downloaded his backup into Margaret. No wonder he'd found his concern for the ship on top of his piles of memories once he'd located them.

Radar turned and paced away. Hawkeye cursed himself silently again; Radar seemed to have taken his question as an admonition. But the small Vulcan stopped and turned back.

"Hawkeye," he announced. "Your name is Hawkeye."

"Yes, Radar," said Hawkeye.

And Radar gave his old satisfied smile-shrug-nod. And they all gathered around him, laughing and giving him friendly nods or pats. And Hawkeye knew that no longer need he fear death; for, when he most needed to, he had not cheated death, but defeated it.

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