Rite of Passage

by Winter

Alternate Universe - Star Trek


Nathan was sitting in his office finishing his personal log. It had been two days since Michaels tried to kill Vin. The Vulcan was still unconscious and it was driving Chris crazy. Nathan assured him it was for the best. The captain sent word to Admiral Travis about what happened. Admiral Travis listened to Chris's report in silence. They all knew Michaels father was a highly respected rear Admiral and that the Ensign would probably get off. Chris didn't care he just wanted him off his ship. Travis told Chris another ship would meet them to take Michaels off their hands. Nathan sighed as he picked up the morning report and began to read. A few minutes later he was surprised to hear the monitors around Vin start to go off. He got up and walked over to the Vulcan. Vin was beginning to stir and Nathan tapped his combadge.

"Captain report to sickbay," Nathan said. "Lieutenant Tanner is waking up."

Nathan wasn't surprised when five minutes later Chris stormed in followed by the others. Chris moved quickly to Vin's bed and saw his eyelashes flutter.

"Call him Chris," Nathan suggested.

"Vin," Chris called. "Come on wake up."

"Yeah elf," Buck said. "Let's see those baby blues."

Vin heard voices calling him. He wanted to stay in the comforting darkness but one voice was very persistent. Vin struggled to open his eyes but couldn't.

"Hey Vin," Chris said when he saw Vin's eyes open.

"Chris," Vin said confused. "Where are you?"

"I'm here Vin," Chris said touching his arm.

Vin jumped when Chris touched him. What was going on? Vin wondered. Vin reached up to touch his eyes and realized they were open.

"Vin listen to me," Chris said as he watched Vin begin to panic. "It's going to be OK."

"I can't see!" Vin shouted and began to struggle.

"Easy Vin," Nathan said. "It might only be temporary."

Vin wasn't listening as he tried to throw off their restraining hands. The Vulcan wasn't at his full strength but they still were having a hard time holding him. Nathan grabbed a hypospray and touched it to Vin's neck.

"No, don't leave me!" Vin pleaded as he grabbed desperately for anyone.

"I won't," JD said when Vin grabbed his arm.

Vin tried to stay awake but it was no use. In a short time Vin was lying quietly on the bed.

"Nathan," Chris said looking at him.

"I warned you Chris," Nathan sighed. "Hopefully it's temporary."

"But it might not," Buck said.

"It's possible," Nathan admitted. "The damage was extensive. I'm still not sure how he survived."

"Tanner stubbornness," Josiah smiled.

"When will you know it's permanent or not?" Chris asked.

"Can't tell," Nathan sighed. "We'll just have to wait and see."

"I believe Lieutenant Tanner will over come this set back," Ezra predicted.

"How come you're so sure?" JD asked.

"Just a feeling," Ezra said.

"I hope you're right Ezra," Buck said. "I really do."

"The sedative I gave him will make him sleep for a few hours," Nathan said. "You can come back later."

"I'll stay," JD said. "I promised."

"We'll take turns kid," Buck said squeezing his shoulder.

JD settled in next to Vin while the others went back on duty. He knew Chris really wanted to stay but being the Captain had its drawbacks. He leaned back and sighed. A simple trip to a training seminar had turned into a week of disaster. JD wondered what he could do to help Vin. He decided to do a search on the computer to find anything to help the Vulcan.


Buck headed down to sickbay when he got off duty. He just hoped JD hadn't bugged Nathan for the past three hours. Sometimes JD could drive you crazy with all his questions. He walked into sickbay and saw Nathan working at his computer.

"Hey Nathan," Buck said. "JD give you a hard time?"

"Nope, he's been as quiet as a mouse," Nathan answered.

"You're kidding," Buck said.

"Nope go see for yourself," Nathan said.

Buck walked into the main area of sickbay to find JD sound asleep with his head on Vin's bed.

"Hey JD," Buck said shaking his shoulders.

"HHMM What?" JD said sitting up.

"Why don't you go get something to eat," Buck suggested. "I'll watch Vin."

"I am kind of hungry," JD said.

"Then go on git," Buck said. "I won't leave him alone."

"OK I'll be right back," JD said.

Buck settled in next to Vin. Only a few short days ago the commander wanted nothing to do with the Vulcan. Now he was worried sick over what might happen. Buck glanced down at Vin and saw his eyes slowly blink open. Buck sat on the bed just incase Vin decided to do something stupid. He was surprised when Vin just lay there without moving. The sight of the Vulcan just staring was un-nerving.

"Hey Vin," Buck said to see if he would get a response.

"Hey," Vin said quietly.

"Want me to get Nathan?"

"No I'm alright," Vin said. "I just want to know what happened."

"Ensign Michaels knocked you out with a hypospray," Buck began. "Then he threw you in an airlock and opened the door."

"Why?" Vin asked. "I never did anything to him."

"Well Vin," Buck said placing his hand on Vin's arm. "He thought you ought to be punished for what you did to JD. He also wanted to be the navigator of the Maverick and would kill to get his way."

"He's right," Vin sighed.

"About what?" Buck asked confused.

"That I should have been punished for what I did to JD."

"Nobody deserves what he did to you," Buck said angrily. "You understand me?"

"What is Chris doing with Michaels?"

"He's holding him for court martial," Buck answered.

"I want to talk to Chris," Vin said.

"Vin," Buck began.

"Please Buck," Vin said finally turning his head towards Buck's voice.

"Aright I'll get him," Buck agreed and tapped his combadge

"So I see you're awake," Nathan said. "How are you feeling?"

"Alright," Vin said.

Nathan looked at Buck and shook his head. Nathan asked Vin a few questions and he gave only single word answers. Buck moved out of Nathan's way and leaned against the wall. Chris entered sickbay to find Nathan checking Vin.

"How is he?" Chris asked.

"He's doing ok," Nathan replied. "Lungs are still bruised but healing nicely."

"I need to talk to Chris," Vin announced.

"Alright," Nathan said and turned to Chris. "Don't get him riled."

Chris watched as Nathan left. Buck caught Chris's eye and he could see Buck wasn't happy. Chris sat on the bed next to Vin.

"I'm not pressing charges," Vin said out of the blue.

"What?" Chris asked confused.

"Against Michaels," Vin added. "For the court martial."

"Damn it Vin he tried to kill you," Chris said angrily.

"Like I tried to kill JD," Vin said.

"That was different," Chris said.

"Was it?" Vin asked. "I tried to kill JD and I wasn't punished. Michaels shouldn't either."

"Even if you don't press charges he still broke a number of Starfleet regulations," Chris said trying to reason with Vin.

"Fine," Vin said. "As long as it's not for trying kill me."

"Vin," Chris said in a barely contained voice.

"Don't challenge me on this one Chris," Vin said.

"Well talk about this later," Chris warned.

"No, we won't," Vin said and turned away from him.

Chris knew Vin was finished talking. He stood up and looked down at the Vulcan. He just couldn't understand why he wouldn't press charges. He left Vin and went to Nathan's office.

"So what's up?" Buck asked.

"Says he's not pressing charges," Chris said taking seat.

"Why not?" Nathan asked.

"He doesn't know why Michaels should be punished when he wasn't," Chris sighed.

"That's ridiculous," Nathan said. "Vin didn't know what he was doing. Michaels did."

"There's something else," Buck said

"What?" Chris asked.

"He think he deserved this," Buck said.

"Hell!" Chris cursed. "I thought he was over that."

"Guess it's going to take awhile for him to accept it," Nathan said. "I'll make sure Josiah knows. He'll get Vin to understand it wasn't his fault."

"So what do we do with Michaels?" Buck asked.

"I'll change the court martial for different charges," Chris said.

"You know they won't stick," Buck said.

"I know," Chris sighed.

Chris knew without Vin's charges Michaels would walk. The captain just wanted him off his ship. He would also tell Admiral Travis no more rookies straight out of the academy. This vessel had a hard job to do keep the peace in Sector 7. It wasn't the place for wet behind the ears ensigns. Chris sighed and took his leave to make a report.


Josiah was a frequent visitor to sickbay while Vin learned to deal with his blindness. The Vulcan finally accepted the fact that he didn't deserve what Michaels had done. He had asked Nathan for all information on Pon Farr so he could know more about it. He discovered it was a chemical imbalance that caused him to attack JD. Michaels attack was for no reason. Chris still couldn't get Vin to press charges against Michaels. Vin just wanted it to be over. Josiah told Chris not to interfere with Vin's decision. Chris reluctantly agreed and they tried to put the incident behind them. The USS Malloy came and took Michaels into custody. Chris made sure the two ships crews mingled so that Michaels behavior would be known. Chris knew that by the time they got Michaels back to Starbase 17 rumors would have spread and no captain would take Michaels on.

JD was a big help to Nathan as they tried to help Vin adjust to his new condition. Vin insisted on doing everything himself. The first time he tried walking he knocked over or bumped into everything in sickbay. JD finally told him to stop being so stubborn and let him help. Vin relented and JD became Vin's eyes. Lila also helped him maneuver by staying close to his legs and leaning against him to tell him which direction to go. All of this took place in sickbay. Vin was reluctant to venture past the security of the area he knew. Vin didn't like to be the center of attention and he knew everyone would look at him. Ezra provided Vin with an ancient Earth artifact that he had the computer replicate. He said people on Earth wore them to keep out the sun or to look sophisticated. So now Vin wandered around sickbay with sleek eye covers known a sunglasses. JD thought they were cool and made a pair for himself. The only thing Vin didn't want anyone around for was when he ate. He tried using a fork and knife but gave it up as too difficult. So now he just ate with his fingers. Nathan informed Chris that Vin would eventually need training to deal with the handicap. Chris knew that but decided for now they would do what they could.

Nathan finally decided that Vin needed to get out of sickbay. Vin didn't want to go but JD said it would be fun. Buck came down to sickbay with JD. They walked in to find Nathan checking Vin.

"How is he Nate?" Buck asked as he pet Lila.

"He's doing good," Nathan said.

"Can we go now?" JD asked impatiently.

"So where do you want to go first?" Buck asked Vin.

"I don't know," Vin said.

"How about the Saloon," JD suggested. "Inez has been asking about you."

"I reckon," Vin agreed reluctantly.

"JD if he becomes short of breath you bring him back here immediately," Nathan instructed. "He lungs are still healing."

"Yes sir," JD said rolling his eyes. "I'll bring him back if he gets a damned paper cut."

"Let em be Nathan," Buck said cuffing JD in the back of the head. "You worry too much."

"Someone's got to," Nathan grumbled.

"Let's go then I'm hungry," Buck said.

"Looks like we get rid of one babysitter and pick up another," Vin whispered to JD as he placed his hand on his shoulder.

"Yeah," JD said. "We'll ditch him later."

"I heard that, brat!" Buck shouted back to them.

JD laughed and walked forward. Vin followed with Lila at his side. JD and Vin made and odd pair. The Ensign was several inches shorter than Vin but seemed more solid. Buck looked back to glance at them. They looked comical with them both wearing the dark sunglasses. Buck figured they'd never take them off. Buck watched as they passed other crewmembers. Before they had looked on Vin with suspicion and didn't trust him. Now they looked at him in pity. Vin obviously didn't notice and JD just tried to ignore them. When they walked into the Saloon Buck was glad to se it was fairly quiet. They walked towards Vin's favorite table in the corner and sat down. Inez followed them to take their order. After they were seated Inez touched Vin's arm to let him knew she was there.

"What can I get you senors?" she asked.

"What do you want Vin?" JD asked.

"I'm not hungry," Vin lied as he lowered his head.

JD knew Vin didn't like to eat in front of anyone. He tried to figure out what he could get that Vin would feel self-conscious eating. JD smiled when he realized what he could get.

"I'll chicken fingers, French fries and a root beer," JD smiled.

Buck grinned when he realized what JD was up to. JD ordered stuff that you could eat with your fingers.

"Sounds good," Buck said. "But make mine a real beer."

"You want the same Vin?" Inez asked.

"I reckon," Vin said quietly.

Vin wasn't so sure this was a good idea. He knew everyone was looking at him since he could hear them talking. Vin moved further into the booth so he was closer to the wall. JD noticed and looked at Buck. Buck jerked his head indicating he should sit with Vin.

"Quit it Buck!" JD suddenly exclaimed. "Stop poking me. I'm sitting next to Vin."

Buck smiled as JD plopped into the seat next to Vin. "Thanks kid, I was trying to get you to move so I could stretch out."

Vin smiled as Buck began to make fun of the commander. Buck winked at JD as Vin joined in the teasing. Inez arrived with the order and placed the food on the table. She placed Vin's drink away from the plate so he wouldn't knock it over. JD dug into his food as he chatted away. Buck made an occasional comment as he watched Vin. The Vulcan quietly ate the chicken, being careful not to make a mess. Buck knew Vin liked ketchup on his fries and reached for the bottle Inez brought.

"Want some ketchup Vin?" Buck asked.

"No that's alright," Vin said. "It's fine."

"Look squirt," Buck said placing his hand on Vin's. "Doesn't matter if you make a mess. You're supposed to eat this stuff with your fingers."

Before Vin could protest any more Buck poured a generous amount of ketchup over Vin's fries. Vin sighed and began to eat them.

"Um, Buck," Vin said.


"Can I have a drink?" Vin asked.

Buck grumbled good-naturedly and asked if he had to do everything. He took Vin's hand and placed it around the glass. Vin carefully picked it up and took a drink. They didn't notice when Vin went to put the glass back on the table he was too close to his plate and he ended up spilling it. Buck and JD scrambled to contain the spill before it went off the table. Inez saw them and came over with a towel. She also heard people talking about Vin. Most of them were sympathetic to his plight but some thought it was what he deserved.

"I want to leave," Vin said.

"It's OK, Vin, Inez can bring another root beer," JD said.

"No," Vin said ducking his head. "I want to leave."

Inez jerked her finger over he shoulder to the crewmembers at the bar. Buck wasn't sure what she was trying to say until she pointed to Vin then to her ears and back to the group at the bar. Buck finally realized the crewmembers must have been talking about Vin. With the Vulcan's superior hearing he heard every word. Buck clenched his jaw and nodded.

"JD why don't you take Vin back to his quarters," Buck suggested.

"OK," JD agreed understanding what Inez told Buck. "Come on Vin."

JD slid off the bench and Vin followed him. Vin gripped JD's shoulder and followed his out the door with Lila close by. Buck watched them leave then glanced around the Saloon. Sometimes his glared was worse than Chris's was. It was expected from the captain but never from the friendly first officer. Right now Buck was anything but friendly and the other crewmembers quickly looked away. Buck nodded to Inez and left the Saloon.


JD just wanted to hit some people. He tried reining in his anger and he walked with Vin through the corridors. The Vulcan didn't say anything as he followed JD. He knew the other crewmembers didn't know what to think of him but he would try not to let it bother him. He was deep in thought when he walked into JD.

"Sorry, Vin, waiting for the turbolift," JD apologized.

"Oh Ok."

Lila bumped against him and he reached down to pet her. When the lift arrived the got in and JD asked for Vin's level. The turbolift stated up and Vin grabbed onto JD.

"Sorry," JD said. "I should have warned you."

"That's OK," Vin said. "It's just weird when you can't see."

They finally arrived on Vin's level and JD led him down the corridor. They made it to Vin's quarters and went inside.

"So what do you want to do now?" JD asked as he brought Vin to the couch.

"I'm kind of tired," Vin said.

"Alright, " JD said. "I'm on duty in an hour. I'll let them know you're in your quarters."

"OK, JD, thanks," Vin said.

After JD left Vin carefully pulled out the holoprojector from the cabinet and placed it on the table. Vin switched it on and turned up the sound. He could hear his parents talking and laughing. Another familiar voice could be heard and Vin smiled remembering the man he was named after. The Vulcan sighed and stretched out on the couch. Lila lay on the floor in front and began to purr. Vin reached over the side and ran his fingers through her fur thinking. He tried to decide what he could do if his eyesight didn't return. Vin fell asleep realizing he had absolutely no ideas.


Vin knew he couldn't just hang out on the Maverick forever. It didn't look like his sight wold return after all. Nathan said to give it more time. It had been almost a week since the accident and there was no change. Vin decided it was time to talk to Chris. He no longer needed JD to guide him around. Vin was able to navigate the ship with the help of Lila and a hand trailing along the walls.

"Computer give me the location of Captain Larabee," Vin said.

"Captain Larabee is on the bridge."

Vin would have known that if he were part of the duty roster. Since he was technically on sick leave he hadn't kept up on the duty roster. He sat in his cabin trying to decide if he should wait until Chris got off duty. He asked the computer when Chris was off and the computer said six hours. Vin decided he couldn't wait that long. He wanted to get this over with.

"Come on Lila," Vin said slipping on his sunglasses.

Lila came over and stood next to his side as he walked towards the door. She guided him around the furniture and out the door. Vin headed for the turbolift counting the doors he past. When he found the one he wanted he stepped into the lift and asked for the bridge. A few minutes later the turbolift opened on the bridge. All the sounds were familiar to Vin as he quietly walked off the lift. Ezra turned to see who came on the bridge and was surprised to see Vin.

"Hello Lieutenant Tanner," Ezra greeted.

Chris turned at Ezra's remark to see Vin standing by the turbolift. The rest of the bridge crew turned and stared at the Vulcan. Josiah was seated next to Chris and noticed the reaction of the crew.

"I believe you all have work to do," Josiah said kindly and they quickly turned back to their consoles.

"What can I do for you Vin?" Chris asked.

"We need to talk," Vin said quietly

"Alright," Chris agreed. "Josiah you have the con."

"Aye Captain," he replied as Chris led Vin to the ready room.

Chris watched Vin as he entered the ready room. Lila led him towards the table. Vin held out his hand until he felt one of the chairs and pulled it out to sit down. Lila curled up by his feet to wait. Chris wanted to help Vin but he could see the Vulcan had everything under control. Chris joined him at the table and sat down.

"What is it Vin?" Chris asked.

"I've decide to leave the Maverick," Vin said.

"Why?" Chris asked in concern.

"I'm of no use to this crew," Vin stated.

"Nathan said to give it time," Chris reasoned.

"How much more time?" Vin demanded. "I can't keep stumbling around like this. I need proper training. I need to find something I can do for the rest of my life."

"Alright we can get you the training," Chris said. "But you don't have to leave the ship."

"There's noting I can do here," Vin said.

"I'll find something," Chris snapped.

"Chris, this is a combat vessel," Vin explained. "There's no room for a blind crewmember. You need to be able to count on the whole crew."

"I don't care about the rest of the crew," Chris shouted as he stood up and began to pace. "I can refuse your resignation."

"You can," Vin agreed. He took off the sunglasses and looked towards Chris. "But Starfleet won't."

"Damn it Vin!" Chris cursed.

The captain looked into Vin' sightless eyes and knew he was right. A combat vessel was no place for a blind crewmember. Chris sat back down and sighed.

"We can wait a little longer," Chris pleaded. "Nathan still has you listed on sick leave."

"It's better if I go now," Vin said. "There's a lot I need to learn. And somethings I need to relearn. It's better if I got started right away."

"You've been thinking about this a lot?" Chris asked

"Yeah," Vin said.

"So where have you decided to go?"

"Wavern Colony," Vin answered. "They have an extensive program for the blind. I've already contacted them. They're holding a place for me."

"What'll you do afterwards?" Chris asked dreading the answer.

"I don't know," Vin admitted. "Starfleet is all I know."

"You know we'll always be here,' Chris said.

"I know," Vin said with a smile. "And I appreciate that. My parents left me their place in Texas. Maybe I'll go back and raise horses."

"Sounds like fun," Chris chuckled. "Maybe I'll join you."

"Well I better go," Vin said standing and putting the glasses back on. "I've taken up enough of your time."

Chris watched as Vin stood and made his way to the door with Lila close by his side. The doors opened and Vin walked out followed by Chris. Ezra glanced at Vin as Lila led him to the turbolift. The security chief could see Chris wasn't happy. He watched as the captain returned to his chair.

"Ensign Corin set a course for the Wavern Colony," Chris said.

"Aye sir," she answered making adjustments. "Course plotted sir. We can be to the colony in two days at warp seven."

"Lieutenant Rankin," Chris said addressing helm. "Warp seven."

"Warp seven Aye sir," she said.

Josiah looked towards Chris to try to catch his eye but the captain just looked straight ahead. The counselor looked towards Ezra but noticed he was busy at his station. Josiah sat back and watched. He could see Chris wasn't pleased after his talk with Vin. He was contemplating asking Chris what was going on when a light flashed on his console. The counselor turned on his computer and information about Wavern Colony appeared on the screen. Josiah scanned the information and sighed. So Vin has made his decision Josiah thought. He glanced up at Ezra and could se the security chief wasn't happy. Josiah could also tell that Ezra wanted to say something about this to Chris but Josiah shook his head no. Ezra glared at him but said nothing. Josiah turned his attention back to Chris. The captain sat in his command chair not looking at anyone. The counselor watched as the muscles around Chris's jaw rippled from clenching it so tight. Josiah sighed thinking it was going to be a long and silent shift.

"Message coming in for the captain," Ezra announced.

"On screen," Chris said.

"It's tagged for your eyes only."

"I'll take it in my ready room," Chris said as he got up and waked off the bridge.

"Counselor what are we going to do about Vin?" Ezra asked as soon as the doors closed behind Chris.

"What can we do?" Josiah asked. "I think Vin should be commend for making this decision."

"It's unacceptable!" Ezra said defiantly. "He belongs here."

"What can he offer the crew?" Josiah said playing devil's advocate. "He can't pilot the ship. What is he supposed to do?"

"We can find and appropriate post aboard this vessel. Ezra countered.

"This is a combat vessel, Ezra, where would be put him?" Josiah asked gently.

"Damn Michaels," Ezra said in defeat.

"Lieutenant commander Standish, Lieutenant Sanchez report to my ready room," Chris voice said over their combadges.

"You wanted to see us Captain," Josiah said as he and Ezra stepped into he room.

"Come in have a seat," Chris said and they complied. "That was Admiral Travis. He had information on Michaels."

"The ensign had been picked up four days ago and taken to Starbase 17 for court martial. Obviously the verdict wasn't to Chris's liking as Josiah watched him pace.

"What's up?" "Josiah asked.

"Damned punk got off too light!" Chris growled. "The stripped him of his commission but his father got him and appointment on his staff."

"Appropriate," Ezra commented dryly. "Politics is the perfect place for his kind."

"At least he won't be on another ship," Josiah said.

"Vin should have nailed his ass to the wall!" Chris said angrily.

"Chris you know Vin's reasons for not doing it." Josiah said.

"I know, I know," Chris said dropping into a seat. "It just isn't right. Michaels career is saved and Vin's is ruined."

"I understand how you feel captain," Ezra said sympathetically.

"I'm sure Ezra has figured out where we're going," Chris said.

"Yes we know," Josiah said. "Vin has accepted his fate and wants to take charge of his life again."

"What does he plan to do after rehab at the colony?" Ezra asked.

"He doesn't know," Chris said. "Said his parents left him some land in Texas. He might go back there and raise horses."

"He'd be good at it," Josiah smiled.

"That's unacceptable!" Ezra declared. "He belongs here!"

Ezra stormed out of the ready room and Chris watched him in surprise. He knew the security chief was fond of Vin but never realized how much. Chris looked at Josiah for an explanation.

"Ezra doesn't have many friends," Josiah said. "When he was young his mother wasn't around much and placed him in various boarding schools. He was never in one long enough to make friends."

"Now he has them and doesn't want to lose them," Chris surmised.

"Exactly," Josiah smiled. "Vin and Ezra make and odd pair. You'd be surprised how much Vin likes Ezra."

"Vin comes to talk to you?" Chris asked surprised.

"Vin?" Josiah laughed. "He hardly ever comes. This is actually the most time I've ever spent with him. Vin is pretty easy to read once you get to know him. He treats Buck like an older brother and JD like a younger one. Nathan he respects and he admires Ezra. Me he's not so sure of, I'm sort of a father figure."

"What about me?" Chris asked.

"Josiah laughed heartily and looked at Chris. "Do you really have to ask?"

"No, I guess not," Chris smiled.

"So, Chris, don't try to change his mind," Josiah suggested. "If you push the issue you know Vin will stay."

"And be miserable because there's nothing for him to do," Chris surmised. "I know. I won't say anything but it doesn't mean I have to like it."

"No you don't." Josiah smiled.

"Let's get back to work," Chris said.


Buck and JD were told about Vin's decision when they came on duty. They were also told about Michaels. Buck called him a few choice words but left it at that. JD didn't say anything and spent the rest tour o duty quietly sitting at his console. When he was off JD quickly left the bridge without saying a word. Buck was about to go after him when Josiah grabbed his arm and told him to let him be. Buck sighed and agreed.

JD made his way quickly to Vin's quarters. The Vulcan spent most of his time there since the accident. Hell not accident, Damn Michaels had tried to kill Vin. JD still couldn't understand why Vin hadn't pressed charges. Right now that didn't matter he needed to talk some sense into the Vulcan. When he got to Vin's door he found it locked and pressed the call button.

"I know you're in there Vin," JD called. "Let me in!"

The door opened and JD entered. He was surprised to walk into chaos. Obviously Vin was trying to pack but things hadn't gone his way. For some reason Vin collected just about anything. Vin must have been trying to figure out what to take and got frustrated when he couldn't decide. Books were thrown against the wall. JD knew some of them were quite old. Clothes were stuffed into various travel bags. The only item that sat in a clear space was the holoprojector on the table. JD knew that was precious to Vin since it contained images of his parents. JD couldn't see Vin anywhere.

"Vin where are you?" JD called.

He headed for the bedroom to find Vin sprawled across the bed staring at the ceiling. JD walked over and sat on the edge.

"Want some help?" JD asked.

"You're not here to talk me out of it?" Vin asked surprised.

"At first I was," JD admitted. "But you probably thought real hard about this and don't need me to make you doubt your decision."

"What else can I do?" Vin asked. "I'm no use here."

"I understand," JD said. "But you know you'll always have friends here."

"I know," Vin smiled. "Even if they are pains in the ass."

"Just for that I should let you do this yourself," JD said punching him.

"Thanks JD," Vin said sitting up.

"Anytime," JD smiled.

They got to work on Vin's clothes first and then graduated to Vin's various collections. Three hours later everything was in order. JD reminded Vin it was poker night. The Vulcan took a quick shower and they were ready to for the Saloon. JD and Vin were the last ones to arrive and they took seats a Buck was complaining to Ezra.

"How was I supposed to know she was married," Buck protested.

"You could have enquired," Ezra said as he shuffled the deck.

"Where am I supposed to get a singing crystal?" Buck asked.

"That my good sir is your problem," Ezra smiled showing his gold tooth.

"You lost the bet," JD said in shock.

"Lieutenant Phillips is married," Nathan said.

"She still could have gone to dinner," Buck grumbled.

"Right Buck," Josiah laughed. "Every women on this ship knows what happens after dinner."

"Can I help it if I can't turn off this magnetism." Buck lamented.

"Gentlemen have we come to play cards or talk?" Ezra asked.

"Deal the cards brother," Josiah said.

No one mentioned Vin's decisions as Ezra dealt the cards. They knew Vin hated to leave and didn't want to make things harder for him. Vin picked up his hand and fingered the edges where Ezra had marked the deck for him so he could play. The only thing he wasn't aloud to do was deal. They never guessed Vin could count cards and when he dealt he always won, much to Ezra's surprise. The game proceeded for a couple of hours when Vin started to feel pressure behind his eyes. He blinked a few times and stared at his cards. The Vulcan was surprised when the cads actually came into focus then faded out. Vin stared harder and felt a terrible pain lance through his head.

"Vin are you alright?" Chris asked when he saw the Vulcan cringe.

Vin didn't answer as the cards came back into focus. The pain increased and Vin fell into darkness.


Vin slowly woke up wondering where he was. He blinked his eyes and stared at the ceiling. Vin couldn't believe it he could actually see the ceiling. He heard voices off to his right but ignore them. Vin quickly sat up and looked around.

"Easy Vin," Chris said and moved to his side.

"Chris," Vin said in excitement and touched his face.

"What is it Vin?" Nathan asked in concern.

"I can see you," Vin said as he smiled at Chris.

"What!" Chris said in surprise and grabbed Vin's wrists.

"I can see you," Vin said again as he tried to get off the bed.

"Whoa Vin easy," Nathan said. "Let em check you over."

Vin reluctantly let Nathan examine him. Nathan shook his head in amazement at the read out. Vin's eyes were back to normal. When he programmed the tissue to regenerate he never thought it would work. Vin admitted everything was a little blurry but Nathan was confidant that his vision would be fine.

Chris couldn't believe it. This was the best news he had in two weeks. Vin wanted to get up and look around. Nathan refused and said he wanted him to take it easy for a few hours. Vin refused and appealed to Chris for help.

"Nathan he's not sick," Chris said.

"But he passed out," Nathan argued.

"I know," Chris said. "I'll keep and eye on him."

Nathan reluctantly agreed. Vin jumped off the bed and headed for the door. Chris followed him but said nothing. He was pretty sure where Vin was headed. He walked at Vin's side as they wandered towards the deserted corridors at the back of the ship. Vin stopped at the door he wanted and Chris smiled. This was Vin's favorite place, besides the holodeck. They walked in and Vin hit the button to open the doom. This was the old stellar cartography dome and Vin liked to come here and watch the stars. The Vulcan took a seat and sighed. Chris followed and sat next to him.

"Never thought I would see them again," Vin admitted.

"Wasn't sure you would either," Chris said.

"Chris I just...." Vin started but stopped.

"I know, Vin, that's what best friends are for," Chris smiled.


Vin stood on the wind swept moor watching the army before him. He could feel the kilt wrap around his thighs. The cold wind swirled around Vin's bare legs and he shivered. Vin held down the green and black Wallace plaid thrown over his shoulder. He was dressed in the traditional clothes of a Highlander fighting at the battle of Culloden to restore Bonnie Prince Charley to the thrown of Scotland. Vin was about to tell the computer to begin program when he heard the doors open behind him. He turned to see the captain approaching up the hill. Chris was dressed in the dark blue and green black watch kilt. He came to stand next to Vin carrying an ornate broad sword.

"Can anyone join the party?" Chris asked.

"We'll need all the help we can get," Vin smiled.

Vin had missed playing in the holodeck when he lost his eyesight. The captain knew Vin had a fascination for ancient Earth history. The battles of Scotland were his recent obsession. The wind howled across the moor and Chris cursed.

"Damn Vin," Chris said holding the kilt down. "Did you have to make it so realistic. It's cold."

"But that's how it was," Vin said confused.

Chris shook his head and told Vin he was ready. Again Vin went to tell the computer to start when they heard the doors open.

"Hey Vin," JD said striding up the hill in his red, blue and yellow Buchanan tartan.

"Nice legs there Vlad," Buck said as he followed JD in the brash bright yellow and black of the McLoed tartan. Vin gave him a dirty look for the remark.

"Damn it's cold," Nathan complained.

" I see Vin wanted things authentic," Josiah said.

"Too authentic," Ezra said brushing the mud off his kilt.

"What a minute," JD said, "Why'd you call Vin Vlad?"

Vin smiled as he watched Nathan and Josiah in the red black and white Royal Stewart tartan. Ezra was dressed in the more subdued hunting blue, gray and gold Stewart tartan. Vin hoped no one heard JD's question.

"Let's get started," Vin said quickly.

"Wait a minute," JD said. "Why Vlad?"

"It's the lieutenant real name," Ezra said.

"I don't get it," JD said confused. "Where do you get Vin from Vlad?"

"You don't," Buck laughed. "Vin's full name is Vladimir Illya Nemudrovich Tanner, VIN Tanner, get it?"

"Whoa that's a mouth full," JD smiled.

"That's why my ma called m Vin," he sighed. "I'm named after a good friend of theirs."

"He still around?" JD asked curiously.

"Yeah," Vin said.

"Might I suggest we get started before we freeze," Ezra said quickly knowing Vin didn't like to talk about his past.

"You might regret it," Josiah said. "If I recall this was a rather messy battle."

"Be as that may can we get started," Ezra said. "I believe I am sinking as we stand here on this infernal moor."

"Keep your pants on Ezra," Vin said and Ezra raised his eyebrows. "I mean skirt."

"Kilt, my friend, kilt," Ezra corrected.

"Computer start program," Vin laughed.

The highlanders around them came to life with a wild scream. They could hear the British officers yelling orders from across the field. The seven officers of the Maverick got ready for the charge. They highlanders let out a blood-curdling yell and raced down the hill. The seven all gave a yelled and raced after. The battle was fierce and they were soon separated. Chris remained with Vin and watched as he engaged a British officer. It was good to see Vin back to his old self. For awhile there Chris thought he would lose his fun loving friend but now everything was all right. While Chris was watching Vin he almost had he his head taken off by a sword. He turned to join the battle with a yell thinking it was good to have everything back to normal.


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