"Please!" Lynne Hoskins begged her best friend.
But Lauren Warfield shot her down, her dark brown hair swinging around her shoulders. "No! Stop asking!"
She caught the turned heads in their direction and lowered her voice. "You know why I can't," she whispered fiercely.
Hoskins moved her pleading gaze to Dannan Stuart, her second best friend.
"Don't even think about it," the first officer said, her blue eyes and longer blonde hair lighter than Hoskins'.
The three of them were half in uniform, but then they served in the Aerfen squadron. Border patrol already had laxer rules and Captain Hunter relaxed them even more.
Dannan leaned forward. "They're your nieces! You tell them! Isn't that why your brother sent them here? To have a woman's point of view when they don't have a mom?"
Several families visited the crew for the weekend, including several children. Lynne's nieces, one thirteen and one twelve, watched a holovid in the corner. They looked quite a bit like her which made her next statement surprising.
"He's not really my brother," she waffled. "So anyone could-"
"Wait a minute!" Dannan moved to the end of her chair. "All this talk about the great brother Josh. Story after story about the two of you terrorizing your hometown of London! Now suddenly he's not your brother?"
"We grew up together," Hoskins explained. "He was literally the boy next door. He is family, but… we're like family too, so why can't you tell them?"
Stuart turned to the weapons officer. "Why aren't you telling them, Lauren? Since when are you shy about talking sex with anybody?"
"I can't," Warfield insisted.
"She slept with Josh," Lynne said.
Lauren told Dannan, "See? It's weird. Why can't they learn from the bad girls in school like the rest of us? Or a class? They must be getting classes soon on it."
Saavik heard this back and forth. She hadn't intended to listen, but one, Vulcan hearing was Vulcan hearing; two, they sat right behind her; and three, she was confused why they hesitated.
Warfield pointed out that Lynne was the communications officer, so she should have no problems communicating. Hoskins replied that was different.
"We're grown women here!" she argued. "One of us should be able to talk to those girls."
Unnoticed, Saavik got up and crossed the room. She asked the two girls, Isla and Jesse, if she could talk to them privately. When she revealed why, the older one scoffed and said she already knew everything. Saavik asked Jesse then if she had been taught anything and found a holovid with interactive summaries that the girl liked. She noticed the older sister pretending not to listen but by the end, Isla asked questions too. Saavik answered all of them, no matter what they were, and when the girls said they had nothing more (but could they come to her if they did?), she returned to her seat and her reading.
First, she must let the girls' aunt know. She waited for the woman to finish her statement:
"Fine!" Hoskins shouted. "I'll do it! But what do I say?"
And then spoke up. "I talked with your nieces. You should do the same as a family member so you may see I missed or did not emphasize a point as you would. They are intelligent children and you will find no need for awkwardness."
"You did what?!" Lynne asked. "What were you thinking?!"
It was like the aftermath of an explosion.
"Look," Lauren got to her feet too, her dark blue eyes snapping, "you're new here. You probably don't get this, but you really blew it. That Vulcan clinical, cold hard facts approach doesn't work in something sensitive like teaching kids – human kids - about growing up. Their dad could give them a medical report if that's what he wanted."
Behind them, both girls left the rec room.
"Easy, Lauren," Dannan said before she turned to the Vulcan. "You didn't mean any harm and we did say someone should tell them. But here's the thing, Saavik-"
"She's still here!" Isla shouted from the door into the corridor.
Jesse led a pack of kids ranging from ten to fourteen into the rec room. She pointed to Saavik like a prize discovery. "Go ahead, ask her anything! She never gets embarrassed, never! We tested it! And she don't pawn you off on somebody else! Oh." She addressed Saavik for a minute. "My dad says thanks and you were right to tell us to go over it all with him, especially dating and stuff." Her voice dropped to what she considered a whisper but everyone could hear. "I even told him like you said, about Billy and me. How I don't got to do it even though I love him. He's the one! That it's okay to wait until I want to and I'm ready. Did you hear that, Billy! It's not happening for like a long time! But I love you!"
Twelve-year old, sandy hair Billy looked relieved, then his fair skin blushed before he affected what he clearly thought was machismo.
Isla swept her little group with a hand. "Everybody asked their parents and they said it's okay if it's like how you told us. They got questions, like lots of them!" She gestured for Saavik to bend down so she could also whisper at a near shout, "The boys wanna know if a guy could talk like you do. They got their own, you know, questions."
"Questions are good and we will find a suitable man," Saavik replied. She looked again at the three women chastising her. "Should I teach them grammar as well?"