Doctor Leonard McCoy, Chief Medical Officer of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701-A, tugged at his red uniform jacket to make sure he looked his best. Pretty good. Almost as neat and tidy as Spock. The Vulcan stood next to Kirk and the rest of the command crew, the embodiment of uniform perfection. He looked like that every day, of course, but today was special and Spock, more than anybody, should look good.

McCoy checked the little package he had laid on the transporter station. All set. He caught Kirk looking around at his officers and nodding to himself.


The transporter chief, under Scotty’s intense scrutiny, followed the captain’s order and four forms materialized. McCoy grinned as the blue eyes belonging to the woman in the front zipped through everybody standing around the platform and found Spock. He grabbed his package and moved up closer.

The woman raised curved eyebrows, and Spock, taking heed of the silent message, held out his hand to escort her down the steps. McCoy chuckled and jabbed Kirk in the side with apparently too much force, judging from the ‘oof’ sound the captain made.

The doctor didn’t wait for the formal introductions. Stupid idea anyway, he thought, formal introductions. As if they didn’t know her and she didn’t know them! Hell, they had lived in her house not that long ago. And just last month, hadn’t they seen her at the ShiKahr ceremony honoring the retiring Federation President?

Using Kirk as a shield, McCoy opened his small package, tossed the container to the transporter chief (who barely caught it in surprise before it hit her face), and stepped forward.

“Amanda,” he said, bowing in his finest Southern gentleman’s manner and presenting his gift in one hand, “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Amanda took the offered corsage with a wide smile and breathed in the delicate lily. “Leonard, thank you! That was very thoughtful.”

“Well,” he drawled, slipping the flower’s band around her wrist, “I watched Spock the past few days and I could tell he didn’t remember. I couldn’t let it go by, now could I? Just because Vulcans don’t show the respect and admiration their parents warrant… especially their mothers.”

“Doctor.” Spock’s tone equaled McCoy’s drawl and then some. “Vulcans do observe a holiday for honoring one’s parent. It is merely not this day.”

“But your mother’s human and from the culture that celebrates Mother’s Day. And you’re half-human, so your convenient excuse for doing nothing for your mother is blown out the door.”

The others in the room were either chuckling or trying not to with the exception of Sulu, McCoy realized. The soon-to-leave new captain suddenly slunk up to Kirk, looking guiltier than when he and Chekov got lost on shore leave back when the newly commissioned Enterprise-A waited for its first mission.

“Captain,” he asked, “May I be dismissed? I just remembered urgent business.”

Kirk stared at him. Sulu was too good an officer to interrupt ship’s guests. He must have seen that irritated look as he continued in a confidential tone.

“Captain, it’s urgent.

Kirk seemed too bewildered to snap at him, but jerked his head toward the exit in such a way that made it clear: Sulu had better offer an explanation later for the appeal to leave.

Amanda went on like nothing happened. “If I may introduce my colleagues,” she said, gesturing to the Vulcan female and human male that had beamed in to her left.

But McCoy, who hadn’t paid attention to anyone but her since he was so eager to show up Spock, now caught the Starfleet red on the transporter pad that had been at Amanda’s right shoulder. He saw that Spock had noticed long before him, eyes locked as a matter of fact, and Kirk blurted out her name as soon as Amanda finished introducing the doctoral students.


What the hell? McCoy wondered. Last time she was rather dramatically here, Saavik had just received another ship assignment; that followed her surprise arrival at last month’s ShiKahr ceremony. She was supposed to come to Enterprise as Sulu’s replacement, but that got canceled when Command said they already had someone.

But why was any Starfleet officer here besides them? Surely a linguistic conference, even one that boasted of an improved Universal translator, didn’t rate Amanda a fleet attaché when the whole Enterprise was already at her and the conference members’ disposal? Saavik didn’t look too thrilled at being aboard either, in the way that only Saavik could show it.

McCoy got distracted for a second by the whispered argument going on behind him.

“It’s not my fault you forgot,” Uhura protested. “I’m supposed to get you a live connection for something like that?”

“Uhura,” Sulu pleaded. “I need this.”

“It’s your culture, not mine. And I wasn’t dismissed!”

“Uhura, please.”

Amanda was looking up at Saavik with a huge grin on her face. Kirk had just asked what McCoy had wondered: why was she assigned to this mission? “Go ahead,” Amanda said, “tell them.”

With a deep breath and a look at Amanda that most people would quell under, Saavik uttered each word as if it soured her tongue. “She won me. In a card game.”

McCoy’s laugh started to burst out, but Saavik’s eyes landed on him and he choked it back down. Amanda smiled at all of them as if this announcement rivaled the happiest in her life. Even Sulu and Uhura stopped fighting, too stunned to do anything but stare.

“Never,” Amanda advised, “play poker with someone who has lived the majority of her life amongst Vulcans.”

Spock started to admonish his mother, but she pinned him with a stare. “Something you wish to say, Spock?”

With an apologetic glance to Saavik, he shook his head.

Kirk cleared his throat, not fooling McCoy at all. Jim’s mouth worked, holding in a smile. “There must be a... story to go with-- with... this.”

Saavik drew up tighter inside her uniform and clamped her hands behind her in the stiffest parade rest McCoy ever saw.

“I don’t know if you can say it’s a whole story,” Amanda said. She drew on soft, long gray gloves that went with her Vulcan style dress. The ship’s temperature was just a bit low for a human that came from Vulcan’s heat. “Just a small incident. Her new captain, a lovely woman, very charming, was into the pot for quite an amount, and I suggested this temporary assignment in lieu of what she owed.”

“I argued,” Saavik said, “that it violated the Federation’s anti-slavery laws.”

“She lost.” Amanda’s smile mocked Saavik’s glare. “Since it was an order and assignment, not an actual bill of sale. It wasn’t like you were shipping out right away, Saavik.”

McCoy decided it must have been some fun around Amanda and Sarek’s home during the months Saavik lived there after Spock’s fal-tor-pan. He was pretty sure he understood why the Ambassador found a reason to turn down the conference invitation.

Amanda glanced around the room, taking in Spock’s pained look and the choked sounds Jim, Uhura, and Chekov made behind their hands. Eyes alight with laughter, she said to McCoy, “So much coughing. And my son appears to have a headache, Doctor. It appears you will be occupied in Sickbay for quite awhile.”

Okay, so the flower thing didn’t get the rise out of Spock that he had hoped, but McCoy’s spirits still stayed high with the endless possibilities he envisioned in the days ahead. It almost made him rub his hands eagerly together. He had a wealth of tidbits to use against Spock, and he was going to have the fun he’d planned since he first heard they were escorting Amanda. He was going to get something good out of carrying Spock’s damned katra in his head. Well, besides him being alive again.

He offered her his arm. “Madam, let us leave behind this lowly bunch of coughers and pointed eared frowners -- not meaning, of course, your good associate, and I’ll show you to your quarters. Afterwards, Jim’s planned a wonderful dinner in your honor.” He smiled at her. “I look forward to a great evening.”

“It sounds lovely.” Pausing near the transporter room door, Amanda called over her shoulder, “Saavik, be a dear, get the luggage.”

He chuckled and whispered, “Won her in a game?”

“Well...” Amanda lowered her voice. “I wanted to spend some time with her before she shipped out, and getting her to take leave--”

“Say no more.”

“And I can’t nag her to take time off like I can Spock. Not that I said that to her captain, of course. I only asked if she was available for this assignment. And since Saavik was reporting early and they weren’t shipping out until their refit is finished, it worked out well. This way, if Enterprise is needed somewhere else, the conference still has a Starfleet presence.” She smiled.

Just like he thought. A Starfleet captain didn’t really bet her officers.

“And the poker game?” he asked.

“Oh, the poker game was real. And her captain really did throw a padd with Saavik’s orders into the pot. Lovely woman.”

And a good joke with a particular someone’s human mother. That boded well for his plans.

“Besides, all the teasing will prepare her for the lighter atmosphere in the border patrol she’s joining. But speaking of people who rarely take leave.” Amanda raised her voice. “Spock, don’t just stand there, help her. Those trunks seem extremely heavy. I think I overpacked.”

McCoy patted the hand on his arm. “It’s going to be a great evening.”

He made sure he was the first one to show up for dinner in the ship’s formal dining room. He wanted the best seat in the house… well, second best seat. If he could sit at the head of the table, he’d really be able to see everything; but that was Jim’s seat, so he settled for sitting Spock on his left (“I don’t care if you’re the first officer. You got here after me.”) and Kirk on his right at the head. Amanda was across from him, so he still got a good view of mother and son as he waved everybody else to hurry up and take the other places. Saavik almost succeeded in slipping by and sitting far out of reach, but Amanda grabbed her and plunked her down in the chair on her right. Her colleagues had elected to remain in their cabins, to prepare for the conference. That was fine with the doctor; they played no part in his plans.

McCoy didn’t even wait for the food to come out. “So!” he exclaimed the second everyone sat down. “Amanda, we never got the chance to really talk while we were on Vulcan.”

Because, quite frankly, despite the miracle of having Spock back, things were miserable, what with Starfleet hunting us down and Spock’s marbles not all quite in the bag. But he wasn’t bringing that up and ruining the evening.

Amanda glanced over the rim of her champagne. “Did you have something specific in mind?”

He glanced at the Vulcan next to him. Poor clueless Spock. Or maybe not: those dark eyes searched his blue ones warily. He smiled. Oh, I’m going to have fun. “Well now... after this whole katra business, I just have a new appreciation of you and Sarek, and, of course, Spock, and what with it being Mother’s Day, I thought--”

“Doctor,” Spock interrupted. “I believe you have had this discussion before -- during the Coridan mission.”

Amanda smiled at him. “And didn’t you have enough after actually seeing a sehlat?”

“Quite up close, in fact,” Spock added.

McCoy glared at Saavik. “That was your fault.”

Saavik’s eyebrows went up. “Doctor, I heard you ask Captain Kirk if he had seen a sehlat. I merely provided you with the opportunity to view one.”

“By bringing one into the house, with no warning whatsoever!” McCoy bellowed. “When I suddenly turned around, and there was this monster staring at me in the eye, even from all fours! The thing tried to take my head off!”

“It merely yawned, Doctor,” Spock clarified. “At which point, its four year old owner led it home.”

Uhura giggled further down the table and exchanged laughing looks with Chekov. Sulu was the only one not laughing; in fact, he looked pale, for some unknown reason.

McCoy scowled over his plans stumbling a bit so early into the dinner. It didn’t help that Jim was grinning at him. “Nobody can blame me for being surprised when those things are called teddy bears!”

Saavik looked confused. “Teddy bears?”

Amanda’s explanation about stuffed toy animals only made Saavik’s winged brows snap closer together. “And you equate such a toy with sehlats, Doctor?”

She needn’t be so smug, McCoy thought, since Saavik had never been to Vulcan before the fal-tor-pan. Not like she grew up around the damned things.

“That would be my fault,” Amanda admitted, although she didn’t look too guilty about it. “I first made the teddy bear description.”

“Why?” Saavik asked.

“My point,” McCoy exclaimed, “had nothing to do with sehlats. It had to do with Mother’s Day and Amanda.”

“I want to get back to the sehlats.” Uhura looked innocent, but McCoy knew she wasn’t at all. “I wasn’t at the house when Saavik brought one in.” She leaned her chin on her hand and smiled sweetly down the table. “Exactly what happened?”

“Yes, Bones.” Kirk didn’t even bother making his smile innocent. “Why don’t you take us through the experience step by step.”

To hell with subtleties, McCoy decided. It was ambush time. “I’ve got better things to talk about. Like how Amanda called Spock Taluhk when he was little.”

Spock actually blanched.

“Oh, that!” Amanda laughed. “Nothing wrong with that.”

Even Saavik, who was the only other person who got it, looked interested. “She called you Taluhk?” she asked Spock.

Kirk asked, “What does taluhk mean?”

McCoy answered in a singsong voice, “Precious,” and made goo-goo faces at Spock.

Spock shot a look that strangled Uhura’s “Oh how sweet” in mid-sentence and throttled Chekov’s laugh within the first second. Kirk was shaking as he stared down at the floor, finding his boots of great interest. Even more so when Amanda said, “Well, he was. Especially when he tried to suck on his toes.”

Her son looked like he wished he had never been reborn, preferring death to living at this moment.

“He was always grabbing his toes,” Amanda elaborated, “so I painted little faces on them. He used to wiggle them around, trying to curl his body so he could get them in his mouth. The way he squirmed about, he looked like a turtle rolled over on its back.”

McCoy, on the other hand, told himself he could die at this moment the happiest of men. His mission in life was fulfilled.

“Doctor McCoy appears not to have realized that carrying my katra has given knowledge in reverse,” Spock said, his voice deep and slow which warned his intended victim. He looked at McCoy, who suddenly began begging silently Oh no, Spock, not that. I swear I’ll do anything if you don’t--

Spock flicked up an eyebrow as if firing a phaser. “His mother called him sugar bugger. Until he was five.”

Nobody bothered to hide his or her laughter now. Kirk collapsed against the table, struggling to breathe, but Scotty barely getting out, “Sugar bugger!” sent the captain gasping again with laughter right into McCoy’s face.

I am not going down alone! “Jim’s mother called him Tibby!” McCoy shouted. “And I’m not talking about just when he was a kid. I’m talking at his induction ceremony for the Enterprise!”

Kirk stopped laughing. In fact, he had looked far more congenial when he had faced the Gorn than he did right now glaring at McCoy.

The “glaree” didn’t care. He leaned over into Kirk’s face. “Ha, Jim!”

“I do not understand,” Saavik said, her attention now focused on the captain. “Why would your mother use such a name?”

Chekov spoke. His eyes held tears of laughter that he attempted not to shed in front of his glaring captain. “Your mother never called you by a pet name, Mr. Saavik?”

“Why would anyone address me with the name of a domesticated animal kept for companionship?”

Amanda, who was immune from any glares coming from Starfleet captains, Vulcans, or Chief Medical Officers, answered. “Pet name is meant differently in this case. It means a term of endearment or affection.”

“The captain clearly does not feel affection for the name Tibby, Amanda.”

“That’s not the point. She called him that name out of love.”

“Even though he preferred her not to do so? Why?”

“Because she’s his mother, that’s why.” If Amanda believed she’d left no room for further discussion, she was sadly mistaken as Saavik asked the last question that anyone in the room expected.

“Is this the reason why your mother called you Mumpsey?”

Amanda almost dropped her champagne flute while Spock visibly perked up. Even Kirk stopped pouting a bit as another person sank into the ranks of victim. “Saavik, how did you ever learn about that?”

“One evening, your aunt attempted to contact you through your office. I was waiting for you per your request, and as the call was labeled high priority, I answered it for you.”

“And she told you about Mumpsey?”

“Her exact words were ‘Who are you and what are you doing in Mumpsey’s office?’. She was expecting your assistant. As I did not understand the Mumpsey reference, other than the obvious connotation in conjunction with your office, I requested an explanation.”

Amanda picked up her champagne again. “That woman knows no mercy. I see I’ll have to make some calls after dinner.”

Spock couldn’t stand it any longer. “Mother, I have never before heard this... term of endearment.”

“And you never would have if I had had anything to say about it. And no, I won’t tell you what it refers to.”

But Saavik did. After all, Amanda had cleared the pet name discussion herself just a minute ago. And, McCoy figured, Saavik still held a grudge on the whole ‘won me in a game’ thing. “Your great-aunt said Amanda had rotund cheeks as a child.”

“Rotund? She actually said my cheeks were rotund? Chubby, maybe, in a sweet way...”

“They connected this feature to the old Terran disease of mumps. Hence, Mumpsey.”

Spock lifted an eyebrow. “Indeed?”

Amanda jumped in. “Quiet, Spock.”

“Mother, I only said indeed.”

“Like my family or anyone else has even seen a case of the mumps in the past couple of centuries,” Amanda mumbled under her breath.

McCoy began to worry his ribcage wouldn’t hold back his laughter any more. In fact, it looked like a common problem around the table. Kirk excused himself to request that the meal be served, but since he couldn’t talk without erupting into laughter, he could only wave it in.

“So,” Sulu plunged in, gallantly trying to move the topic away from Amanda. “Your mother didn’t have a pet name for you, Mr. Saavik?”

Oh, that’s going to bring the evening to a crashing halt! Bringing up Saavik’s childhood! Not to mention making Saavik very uncomfortable, something McCoy sincerely didn’t want to cause her.

She surprised him by answering with a simple, “No, sir.”

Chekov asked, “Really? None at all?”

“None, Commander. Based on this evening’s experience, I count myself quite fortunate.”

Amanda’s smile was back. “I, on the other hand, call her my--”

Saavik cut her off, as Amanda clearly expected, judging by the flash of white teeth. “That is not a term of endearment.”

“Of course it is.”

Sulu played chivalrous again, interrupting what seemed to McCoy to be a helluva good argument. “I wouldn’t worry, Lieutenant, whatever that name is. Everybody has one. Nyota’s mother called her Molasses.”

He’s a dead man, McCoy judged. Sulu knew it too, as Uhura gripped her coffee cup like it was his neck. Scotty should have seen that before putting the noose around himself.

“Aye, for being so sweet, dark, and slower than a turtle.” His chuckle died a quick death as he backpedaled under her glare. “I nae meant that we did not all have our lazy days, lass.”

Uhura glanced from him to Sulu and picked her prey. “Scotty used his mother’s best lace tablecloth as a cape, put a bucket on his head, and called himself Captain Helmet. On his first ‘adventure’, he got lost in the dark and cried for her to come find him.”

Now we’re having fun! “Don’t worry about it, Scotty,” McCoy said. “Other than the fact that you should have come up with a more creative name for yourself. Jim stole the boxes from his mother’s lab machines. You’ll never imagine why.”

Amanda smiled at the captain. “Let me guess. You made them into a starship.”

“No, he didn’t. His mother said -- sorry, Jim, you tell them what you wanted to be when you grew up,” McCoy said sweetly as an incoherent grunt was aimed in his direction. “A little louder, Jim, you’re mumbling.”

“A dock worker!” Kirk shouted.

“There you go!” McCoy beamed. “His mom said he used go around the farm all day stacking things in some cockeyed system that nobody else could figure out. They had to come to him to find anything, and he’d boss them around, telling them they had to sign his little homemade manifests.”

Kirk made sure the doctor saw his eyes flick down one seat. “Mr. Spock, if you please.”

“By all means, Captain. Dr. McCoy has no right to criticize Mr. Scott on the issue of creativity. His imaginary friend was a cat called Psst Psst.”

The doctor pounded the table with a fist. “It wasn’t a cat! It was a tiger!”

“A tiger called Psst Psst,” Spock continued smoothly. “His mother complained frequently that he expectorated whenever he made the sound.”

“I did not spit! And I was two years old! And whenever my mom called our cat, she went psst psst!”

“And what sound did she make when she called tigers, Doctor?” This from Spock nearly sent Kirk to the floor.

“You think that’s funny, Jim? All right!” It was time to bring out the big guns. “Jim’s mother told me that the first time he tried to kiss a girl, he tripped over his own stupid feet and gouged both of them with his teeth. His mom had to seal up both split lips and explain to the girl’s parents why she had blood all down her shirt. Take that, Tibby!” McCoy crowed as Kirk scowled at the memory.

Amanda was the only one to laugh freely, but over something else. “The split lip reminds me of the time when Spock--”

Those words alone made her son close his eyes and brace himself.

“--was little, and he was pretending to be some great hero of Vulcan and took his lirpa to one of my rose bushes. He scratched himself up terribly and utterly destroyed my flowers. It took Sarek and I a year to find the right soil mixture to make that bush grow on Vulcan, and when I disciplined Spock for stepping all over it, he pulled out all the seedlings and brought them to me to say he was sorry. I didn’t know if I should hug him or strangle him!” She wiped her eyes and caught her breath. “Thank goodness Sarek isn’t here. He doesn’t let me tell these stories. That’s why he had us leave the banquet on the way to Coridan.”

Let me try to remember, McCoy thought, the last time I saw Spock wishing his father was nearby.

“You’d think,” Amanda continued, “that he’d realize the trouble I could cause on this trip.” She smiled at the painting of Sarek right across from her in the portrait gallery running along the upper walls. “Although he did just figure out my devious behavior of having us waltz together before we were married.”

She didn’t knew really need anybody’s encouragement to explain that statement, but she gracefully acknowledged everyone’s display of anticipation. “Sarek was always getting invited to diplomatic functions, and, most of the time, they included dancing. Earth and Vulcan were in the heat of their ‘making friends’ period, so Sarek hesitated at refusing the invitations, even though he recoiled at the dancing. So I volunteered. He knew me to some degree already, and I was one woman for one dance at each function instead of a multitude of strange people. And Vulcan acknowledges Terran practices.”

More choked sounds echoed around the table, choked off because Spock, apparently like his father, didn’t get it. His eyebrows were drawn together in confusion. “I do not see why you classify this behavior as devious, Mother. It sounds as if you discovered a most diplomatic solution to the problem.”

But Saavik’s eyes narrowed at Amanda as if someone from across the Romulan Neutral Zone suddenly appeared next to her. “She did not seek diplomacy of any sort. She sought repeated physical closeness to Sarek.”

Spock refused to believe it. McCoy bet that if Spock was the type to clamp his hands over his ears and go “La! la! la! I can’t hear you!”, he would.

Amanda’s grin was wicked, not pulling any punches for her son’s sake. “I was going to wait until you were a hundred to tell you this, Spock, but my diplomatic, very human intention was to publicly grope your father.”

McCoy wondered if he needed to resuscitate the Vulcan. At least the total mental shutdown kept him from hearing the snorts and giggles going on around the room.

Except for Saavik, of course, who suddenly started to speak, but then sat back, her stiff arms crossed over her chest. “We need to discuss a related topic after dinner,” she said to Amanda.

McCoy remembered Saavik and Spock being orchestrated into a dance at the ShiKahr ceremony -- orchestrated by Amanda who now raised her eyebrows at Saavik. “Yes, you wish to ask me something? No, changed your mind?”

Somebody had better say something, the doctor thought, or he was pretty sure Saavik was going to have this out with Amanda now. In front of Spock no less!

His wish, such it was, came true. (Although, he began to think better of having Saavik and Amanda interrupted again. Because, after all, Spock’s expression would be priceless.) The other end of the table, despite hanging on Amanda’s every word, was apparently involved in some verbal sparring of their own. Someone either scored on Chekov or he got tired of someone else’s attitude because he leaned over the table to Uhura. “Did you know Hikaru’s mother asked him if he vashed behind his ears for his first Academy inspection?”

So Sulu must have taken a shot at Chekov, McCoy decided. Still... Bad move. He knew what would come next.

Right on cue, Sulu snarled, “Pavel’s mother asked if he had on clean underwear.”

McCoy was all ready to talk about Jim’s first inspection -- per his mother’s description -- when Amanda cut in.

“Speaking of cleanliness.” She suddenly licked her thumb and started reaching for Saavik’s cheek. Saavik’s hand shot out and stopped her.

“Amanda, what are you attempting to do?”

“You have dirt on your cheek. I was going to clean it off.”

Saavik’s return gaze stated that Amanda was clearly insane. “First, it is not dirt, but a bruise from carrying your definitively overpacked trunks. I am healing it. Second, what possibly convinced you that saliva is a cleaning fluid? The human mouth has eighty-two germs and bacteria such as Streptococcus gordonii in order to convert the sugar in your food to acids.”

Amanda smiled. “And you wondered why I insisted you come to dinner, when you bring such sparkling conversation to the table.”

Saavik ignored that. “The presence of such micro-organisms produces severe infections in a bite wound from a human, often much worse than bites from other Terran mammals. And you propose to rub this into my skin?”

A comm signal chimed low over the speakers, and most of the crew exchanged looks with each other. Dinner parties were never to be interrupted unless the situation warranted it. Uhura cleared her throat to command everyone’s attention.

“Captain, if I may?” She aimed a smile of pure evil at Sulu even as she continued talking to Kirk. “I believe you will want to see this.”

Kirk looked at her, and then his own mouth twitched at one corner. “By all means then, Uhura, pipe it down here.”

McCoy remembered the time he had told her, “I’m glad you’re on our side!” He wasn’t so sure she was anymore.

Two panels on the wall behind Amanda’s side of the table slid back, and a delicate woman with gray streaked black hair appeared on a large viewscreen. Her exact resemblance to Sulu was unmistakable. She wasn’t smiling.

Uhura was. “Mrs. Sulu, thank you so much for accepting my call. I know it’s Mother’s Day,and I didn’t want it to go by without Hikaru contacting you in some way. I hope we’re not too late, what with you being in San Francisco.”

Brutal! McCoy thought with happy gusto. Nice to see I was a good influence.

If a spear had come through Sulu’s chair and impaled his body, he couldn’t look more stunned… or more immobile.

Uhura was shaking her head, and McCoy figured Sulu must have gotten her when he had gotten Chekov. “I really think it’s such a shame that he forgot, after all you’ve done for him,” she pressed, ever relentless. “You were in labor with him for how long?”

“Over twenty-two hours,” his mother answered. “He is small now, but he was a large baby. I almost died,” she stressed to her son.

Amanda remarked to the few sitting near her, “Well, if we’re going to talk about almost dying in childbirth, I--”

Mother,” Spock implored, “it is not a competition.”

Sulu had scrambled to his feet, trying to placate the formidable, petite woman on the screen. “I didn’t really forget. I put in the request to contact you myself, Mom, Nyota didn’t make me do it.”

“You put in your request for a comm connection at the last moment. You forgot.”

He shrunk a bit under that stern tone. “I... things are very hectic with my transfer to the Excelsior. I have to prepare for my captaincy.”

“Demora contacted me. It is nice to know my granddaughter, at least, is such a good child. She must get it from her mother since you also forgot last year.”

“I couldn’t avoid that.” Sulu appealed for help from those sitting near him. “There was the Genesis issue, you can see how important that was. After all, Captain Spock had died.”

His mother looked to where Amanda was sitting. “You are Captain Spock’s mother, correct?”

Amanda smiled pleasantly. “That’s correct.”

“I apologize for my son blaming his failings on your family.”

Amanda’s smile got a little wider. “That’s quite all right. I have one of my own. I know what they can do to you.”

“Mom,” Sulu begged, “I wasn’t blaming--”

She didn’t even look back at him. She spoke to Chekov. “Hello, Pavel.” He rose to his feet, beaming at her. “It’s good to see you again. I’m sure you never forget your mother.”

“Ma’am,” Chekov said, “no Russian vould ever do such a thing.”

Sulu rubbed at a sore spot between his eyes. Migraine, McCoy diagnosed. “Mom, Pavel has forgotten his mother’s birthday three years in a row!”

She looked back at him now. “Do I have to point out how childish you sound? Do I need to say, If Pavel jumped off a bridge, would you--”

“No, ma’am,” her son mumbled. McCoy waited for him to scuff his feet on the ground, but apparently Sulu hadn’t reverted that much. “I don’t mean to change the subject...”

Yes, you do. The doctor snickered.

“... but did you receive your invitation to my induction ceremony?”

McCoy’s smirk was now aimed at Kirk. “Maybe you should give them some tips, Jim. Let them know what your mom did.”

“Shut up, Bones!”

Sulu’s mother didn’t let that diversion defrost her. “Yes, I did. I also received a letter from your cousin. Such a good son to his mother. He spent the entire day today, making it special for her. To show her how much he honors all she has done for him.”

“Mom, if I could have reached Earth--”

Based on her bearing and the unwavering expression on her face, McCoy decided Sulu’s mother and T’Pau of Vulcan were twins separated at birth.

“He wasn’t on Earth either, Hikaru,” she was saying. “But he arranged his plans to be here today. He made his mother a priority.”

Oh, she’s a pro! McCoy reflected. If I was Sulu, I’d throw myself on one of those swords he has hanging in his cabin.

Saavik had stayed suspiciously quiet, either sulking -- he debated the fun of accusing her of it out loud -- or writing a paper in her head. The Psychological Effects of Terran Motherhood on a Child. ...Actually, that’s not half bad. Maybe I should do something on that. But she now said in an aside, “Amanda, your aunt spoke of similar letters which your mother sent to you. Comparing you to your sister, is that not correct? She cited examples of this comparison, including--”

“You,” Amanda stated, “are not allowed to talk to my aunt anymore.”

Sulu tried rallying again, speaking -- McCoy guessed -- in Japanese, but it only made his mother stiffen more.

“Did I raise you to be so rude as to speak in a language foreign to the people around you? You should have at least asked their pardon first. I’m sure Nyota does, and Pavel too. I’m certain that he speaks in English when he talks with his mother in a room of non-Russians. Don’t you, Pavel?”

Chekov emphatically agreed. “Ve inwented English in Russia, ma’am.”

That remark made the tiniest smile break through the ice in her expression. “That was the worst one you ever said, Pavel. Or the best, I can’t quite decide.” She went back to her son and winter spread over her features again. “Hikaru. I will see you at your induction ceremony.”

He humbly signed off, and turned a menacing glare on Uhura the second the comm screen blanked out. McCoy hid his grin behind his drink. Oh, there’s no joy in Mudville tonight!

Amanda, on the other hand, radiated happiness. “It’s been such a nice evening, hasn’t it?”

McCoy figured that, overall, he had scored a point or two ahead of Spock tonight. So he toasted her comment with his glass. “Yes, it has. If we were any nicer, we’d be sharks at a feeding frenzy.” Her laugh chimed good-naturedly over the storm clouds brewing at the other end of the table.

Spock gave something suspiciously like a sigh. “Mother?”

Her eyes slid over to him, balanced somewhere between humor and wariness. “Yes?”

“Happy Mother’s Day.”

With all the Vulcan dignity she had gained over the years, she nodded to him, her eyes sparking. “Thank you, my son.”

McCoy took in a contented lungful of air. “What do you think, Amanda? Shall we do this again next year?”

Thank you! to mzsnaz for being such a good beta-reader, and for letting me use the childhood pet names she created for Spock and McCoy in her story "The Imposters"

McCoy's thought of "Last time she was rather dramatically here, Saavik had just received another ship assignment" refers to the story Are You With Me?