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Kirk welcomes her to “the family” and is talking about the crew of the Enterprise. It's a bittersweet moment, because he knows she has just lost all that had been left of her family in the worst way possible. They share a sad smile, because he understands.

At least she has a place to stay and work now, a new mission, and no time to dwell.

She doesn't really understand it. Not until during a major crisis, alarms blaring loudly in her ears, she watches the doctor and the first officer bickering, while the young captain of their ship just smiles along with a bemused expression, giving the occasional order without interfering with the arguing men behind him. The rest of the bridge crew is working away at their respective stations, but some members take the time to throw in a word or two.

Bantering in a crisis.

She should probably be scared. She isn't. And it seems that neither is anybody else.

Kirk sits up a little straighter then, winks at Uhura, who rolls her eyes at him, although Carol can't tell if this is about Kirk's behavior or about the two men standing behind him.

“This is not the time for emotions,” Spock is saying and the doctor looks like he's going to retort something in anger.

Kirk waves a hand over his head. “Bones, I need you down in the transporter room.”

“Expecting at least two injured,” Checkov informs them.

The doctor grumbles something and follows orders without another word of protest, but glancing at a smiling Kirk with a frown before walking out.

“Do you have to wind him up?”

“I'm not familiar with the concept, Captain.”

“Oh yes, you are,” both Kirk and Uhura say at the same time. And Kirk add. “And actually you're quite brilliant at it.”

She can see smiles on the faces of the remaining bridge crew, watches Kirk go more serious and order Uhura to hail the colony down on the planet. He looks even more serious when he demands that the colonists stop their attack on the ship. “The moment the delegates are back on board, we're going to back up,” he says sternly, and when they can no longer hear him adds: “For now. We're here to help.”

Sulu smiles. Uhura smiles. Spock very much doesn't smile, but also doesn't make any remark, just nods his head slightly.

This is when she understands it.

These people aren't just a tight nit unit. They're not just an exceptional crew.

They're a family.

Kirk smiles at her and nods. He has known this all along, of course.

She smiles back and thinks that maybe she has found a new family, too.