Every few years, we manage a reunion. Three, Seven and Nine live and work on Earth now. The trip up to McKinley is not difficult. Five is passing through Sol System on her way to Mars, reporting to a new Defiant class ship. I was here with Hawking. I arrived at the view alcove first, and looked sadly across the great bay. Hawk's nacelles were removed, not yet exchanged.
I considered the rumor from engineering. The Admiral's Jacuzzi was not to be replaced.
Seven arrived next. She was dressed as Princess Ann on holiday. She wore a simple long skirt, white blouse, a wide belt and scarf. It was her armor. For years now, she has represented the planet Mudd to the Federation in San Francisco. It has been her duty to see that lives are protected and laws are obeyed in a universe where covert violence seems so often the easy path. She dresses as Princess Ann to remain sane. Her highness would not grow angry, would not lose her temper, would not speak an unkind word, and yet would not fail her planet, or the Federation.
She pulled a cable from her purse. I pulled a mate from mine, and a network hub. We joined, beginning the data transfer. I learned the budget for warships was going up, again. Proposals were being made to shift training away from preventing conflict, towards winning conflict. Unrest was building about Earth's excessive role in setting Federation policy.
Three arrived next. She was dressed as Holly, wearing The Black Dress with tiara and pearls. She was happy. Alone among us, she worked a common job. She was a tour guide and saleswoman. She works the night shift at a store called Tiffany's.
How can Holly not be happy, working there? We smiled, and welcomed our lucky sister. She too pulled a cable from her purse, placed one end in her ear, the other in our hub. We learned of the history of lamps and gems and taxicabs, of tourists, and man made canyons.
Nine too was happy. She was dressed as herself, in a dress made for Joy, not for Audrey. It was a costume, really. A simple costume, a simple black dress over black tights. She too connected to the hub.
We learned it was her "Riverdance" outfit. She was currently working on Broadway. She was not for once reviving one of Fred's old movies, but was in a review exploring many culture's - many planet's - interpretations and variations of the chorus line. Three, Seven and I learned new dance steps. We learned that the chorus line was an art of many cultures. We shared the applause, and learned again why the fighting was necessary.
Five was last, and least happy. Someone in Starfleet had decided we were getting too good at avoiding conflict and strife. The more memories and skills we absorbed, the more we had to forget. If none of us killed, our older and deadlier skills, learned at the cost of so much blood, would be lost and forgotten. Old and least used skills and memories went first. Five was to be a Tac officer and security chief of a Defiant class ship, a killer ship. She was responsible to preserve, protect and defend the Federation Constitution, and protect the lives of those on her ship.
Could she do it?
We thought we could. I had been science officer on a science ship. Seven had borne heavier burdens. We gave her our memory, our experience, our skills. We gave her ourselves.
My own memories brought up the new and perplexing question.
It had not before mattered that we were immortal, and yet our memories limited. If we were slowly forgetting how to kill, then let others kill. Better yet, let people live. Suddenly it mattered that memories get overwritten, no matter how slowly.
The Hawking would get new nacelles, this time. She would get new people, this time. She would fly again, this time. And yet she was to be gone.
Would there forever be Tiffany's? Would Broadway always shine? Would another session of Council always be called? Would the Hawking always sail again?
Our memories, in time, will be overwritten. Yet, while we can, we will remember.
Don't let it be forgot, That once there was a spot, For one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot