AN: Borrowing Myna Kryukov from the wonderful Mira_Jade With a great tease at the end there. I was in the running with Miranda to be part of Captain Kryukov's special investigative task force. She was a Fleet commander but specialized in Intel and Negotiations. I was a communications specialist, and Miranda a psychological/sociocultural one. Either of us would be great picks for an internship. We didn't try to vie with one another for the posting. I was honored to be considered, but I had other priorities, things that were #1 on my list. ~! After the experience with Nero, her offer still stood. "Nyota," She told me, "It is even more crucial that commanders have around them persons that are beyond reproach." She told me. I gave a respectful nod. "This I well agree with and understand, Ma'am. However, I must decline. I have found my true vocation elsewhere." She smiled and reached across to clasp my hand. "Clear skies, to you, Lieutenant. I know you will succeed at whatever endeavor you pursue." Since the slot was still open, Miranda was selected. I sent her my sincere congratulations. She sent a "Thanks, gal! Keep in touch, please!" in reply. "Of course I will, Randi" I would have it no other way" I sent back. ~! I need hardly recount that I was put through serious emotional changes when I thought my love and I were going to diverge our life-paths, for good and all. When he returned to me, I was relieved and accepted his heartfelt tender explanation. I understood the holding aloof, and I did not doubt that he truly loved me. But the fact that he could have even considered a path separate from me, a dissolution of us. I did not question whether he'd had a qualm or several - but still ... On an intellectual level, I comprehended the validity of such a weighing. But something still pulled. So, I told him of my offer from Capt. Kryukov with no small amount of pleasure. "So you see you're not the only one who had more than one viable, fascinating option." I tossed. "Nyota ... that is not how I would phrase the conundrum ..." He began. "Ha! It was a conundrum only to you, not to anyone else. You let it become one. I, however, knew exactly where I wanted to be, from the get-go. Clear and unswerving decision matrix for me, let me tell you!" "For my part, I assumed we had settled this beforehand. I hardly thought you were the type to rehash a grievance whenever it suited." I winced. "Argh!" I exclaimed and let my end of our connection become less obscured. My mischief streak would land me in big Gundark poodoo one day, if not today. "Well, let me just open my mouth and insert both feet!" I groaned. I couldn't even smirk or laugh! "Nyota..." He breathed, and I could tell he wasn't sure whether to be amused or irritated. (Frankly, my father often had the same issue with my mother. I guess I came by it honestly. Kashore was mischievous but she wasn't as incorrigible as I was!) "Forget it. That was one pile of bantha fodderI just laid out there. Can you just ..." Without hesitating, he reached to draw me close, hearing my silent request to be held. I related my conversation with Captain Kryukov, sans editoralizing this time. HE stroked my shoulders as I talked, and I sighed as I concluded. "My darling, darling love. It really is not something that truly bothers me, as to trusting your feelings for me, and so on. Yet, whenever I think we could - that we might have existed without one another from now on ... something inside just ..." I trailed off, at a loss for adequate expression. He answered slowly. "I believe you need some further convincing that I could not have withstood that as much as yourself." I held his gaze eagerly. "Now, that absolutely is fine by me! Bring it on, sweetest!" ++++++ SQUGGLES!