The two opposing captains eyed each other warily; the battle was to the death. A victor would emerge only after all enemy ships had been destroyed.

Captain James T. Kirk, commander of the flagship, pride of the fleet, felt by no means assured of victory. Used to commanding the Enterprise alone, he now had authority over five ships, including his own. All five ships relied upon his commands, his strategy. It was a heavy weight to bear.

His opponent gave nothing away. He sat calmly watching Kirk, quite content to let him see his face the entire time they had been in battle. It was almost an arrogance, a cockiness few commanders Kirk had ever met possessed. His face was completely expressionless and some part of Kirk wished that Spock could see this impassive face. Yes, Spock would be impressed by a face like that.

But, the Vulcan wasn't standing at Kirk's side, facing the enemy with his captain. This battle would be fought without Spock's help.

In an unprecedented situation, the enemy captain was able to keep a visual contact with Kirk while keeping his fleet cloaked. There was no way for Kirk to get a lock on his opponent's position; he had no sensors. He had destroyed two of the enemy ships by guesswork alone. His intuition would have to aid him in the destruction of the rest.

Hit after hit he had taken, the enemy captain making it clear he meant to win. Explosions had pounded all five of Kirk's ships; four had been obliterated. In an odd sort of way, Kirk did not mind. He had always fought at his best when in charge of just his ship. When has the Enterprise ever needed outside help?, he thought proudly. As long as he had that one ship, that was all he'd need to gain victory.

A minute later, Kirk knew he had lost. Four explosions had buffeted his last ship and he knew that one more was all it would take. He had no shields, no final miracles. The enemy would have to be a poor marksman indeed to miss him now and he was woefully aware of how skilful his opponent had been.

He could not watch. He lowered his head into his sweaty hands. The battle had been fierce and tense and, finally, the better man had won. For a brief moment, he wondered how James T. Kirk had got it wrong, how his famous luck had simply run out.

It came at last. The enemy captain issued one last order before the explosion sounded and the entire fleet was lost.


"Captain?" The eyebrow was raised.

"Dammit, Spock! You beat me three out of three games!"

"Indeed, Captain. It was a matter of logical deduction."

"Logical, my foot! It's a game of luck!"

The Vulcan steepled his fingers thoughtfully. "While I confess to a certain degree of… good fortune, I believe it was my logical reasoning which ultimately determined victory. You must admit that it seems entirely too fortunate for me to have won simply by 'luck' three times in a row."

"Yes, I suppose you're right, Mr Spock. But I have to say, it's rather embarrassing when the 'Great Captain Kirk' can't defeat his second in command at a game of Battleships." He smiled ruefully. "Remind me never to buy antique games again."

"Of course, Captain. Would you care for a game of chess?"

"You bet! I can beat you at that!"

The Vulcan's second eyebrow joined its mate, climbing steadily into a neat black fringe of satiny hair.

The captain laughed. "Honestly, Spock, that was the best poker face I've ever seen. Pity you couldn't see yourself." Kirk let his lips spread in a huge smile of affection.

As the first officer set up the chessboard, he marvelled once more at his friendship with his captain – not for the unusual way it seemed to melt his Vulcan reserves as the Sun melts ice, but because he now wondered how he could ever have lived without it.


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