They throw her a going away party, even though they're the ones who are going away, and Jaylah is the one who is staying on Yorktown. She won't be alone there - she's started to make some friends, and Commodore Paris is a steady, reassuring presence - but it's a wrench nevertheless. They are her crew and they are going on without her.
They've all brought her presents, which makes Jaylah worry that she should have got presents for them in return. She confides in Sulu, who reassures her that the party is for her, so that means she's the one who gets presents.
"We did not bring the Captain presents at his party, though," she says.
Sulu thinks about this. "I suppose the party was his present," he says.
"But this party is not my present?"
"It is, but..." He trails off, frowning thoughtfully. This seems to be one of the things that they cannot explain to her, so instead he promises her that every time they go to the same party, he'll tell her beforehand whether she needs to bring a present or not. It is not the same as knowing the rules, and she is still not entirely used to the idea of being given something with no thought of return, but it is better than nothing.
Hikaru is here alone, Ben and Demora having left a few days earlier to be home in good time for the beginning of Demora's new school term. He's brought her a pretty ceramic bowl, from all of them, deep blue with gold accents. "Ben made it, but I helped. For certain values of 'helped'." He smiles at her ruefully, and she smiles back: she's spent a lot of her time on Yorktown with the Sulus, and she can picture it very clearly.
"Thank you," she says, turning the bowl in her hands, feeling the smoothness of the glaze and the little irregularities that make it a handmade thing.
"This is for you, too. Demora drew it, she didn't want to be left out." He hands her a framed picture of her and Demora, holding hands. Demora has painstakingly drawn and coloured in the entire background, to make the white of Jaylah's skin and hair stand out; Jaylah can picture that too, Demora bent over her paper and crayons, a look of intense concentration on her face. It's a happy thought.
"You must go and see them when you can," Sulu says. "They'd love to see you, and I'd be happy to know you're keeping an eye on them."
That last part is a transparent lie - Jaylah knows it is Ben who has been asked to keep an eye on her - but it is a kind lie, and she has learned that these are all right to tell.
Scotty has brought her a piece from the Franklin's engine.
"Stole it while we were looking her over," he explains. "Thought you'd like to have another bit of her for your collection."
"I mended this part," she says, showing him where she's grafted new metal onto the old.
"Aye, I thought I recognised your handiwork," he replies, approvingly.
She runs her hands over the engine part, Federation manufacture and her own craftsmanship, joined together. It will have pride of place in her quarters, she decides, next to the Sulus' bowl and Demora's picture.
Nyota has brought her a padd loaded with a selection of fiction in Federation Standard. "Lots of genres, from all over the galaxy, so you can practice your language and work out what kind of stories you like." She shows Jaylah how to flip between books, how to find the blurbs that will tell her what the books are about, how to search for more books like them.
"I've put my favourite Federation Standard dictionary on there too," she says. "It's not as straightforward as the basic one we've been using, but the definitions are so much more elegant, and I think your skills are easily up to it by now." She kisses Jaylah on the cheek. "Write to me," she says, "in your language as well as standard, I want to practice."
"I promise," says Jaylah.
Spock, hovering behind Nyota, has a padd full of books for her too. "I swear we didn't plan this," says Nyota.
"As Nyota says," agrees Spock. "It seems our minds have merely been running along similar tracks." They look at each other fondly; Jaylah rolls her eyes a little, but only a little.
Spock's gift is a set of the textbooks she'll need for her introductory courses at the Academy. "I have annotated them with some useful notes and suggestions for further reading," he explains, "as well as correcting some of the more egregious errors."
"Thank you, I will enjoy getting a," she reaches for the phrase she wants, "head start on my studies," she finishes, and means it. There is so much more to learn about the galaxy than she knew.
"Indeed," he says. His face doesn't change, but she's sure he's pleased. He lifts his hand to her in the Vulcan salute. "Live long and prosper, Jaylah."
She imitates the gesture, copying it perfectly, yet without any of the formality. "And you, Mr Spock."
Kirk has several presents for her. "That one's actually from all of us," he explains as she examines the largest and flattest. "I just got to give it to you because I'm the captain." He gives her the smile that he uses when he's trying to pretend to be a less responsible person than he actually is, and holds the end of it for her as she pulls the paper off.
It's a frame full of pictures of her and the crew from their few weeks in Yorktown. The first one she spots is from a dinner party at the Sulus' a few weeks ago. She's sitting on their sofa, legs stretched out, Demora in her lap. Nyota is perched on the back of the sofa, Spock standing next to her, and Ben and Hikaru are on her other side, arms around each other, Hikaru's head resting on Ben's shoulder. Apart from Demora, who is asleep, and Spock, who is Spock, they're all laughing - she can't even remember at what, but she remembers the feeling and it warms her nevertheless. She runs her fingers lightly over it as she looks at the others. There's one of her and Nyota, heads bent as they try and work on a particularly tricky difference between her language and the many that Nyota knows. There's several from Kirk's birthday party, and one of her looking up at the Franklin where it rests in the river. She doesn't even remember half of these being taken.
"We all contributed. I took that one," Kirk says proudly, pointing to one of her and Scotty sitting on the floor surrounded by the pieces of a toy of Demora's that they were trying to mend. She'll hang this in her quarters too, somewhere where she can look at it often and remember all the happy parts of this strange, complicated time.
The first of the presents from Kirk himself is a new sound system to replace her one from the Franklin, which hasn't been the same since they used it to destroy Krall's swarm. The computer in her quarters will play music, but there's a slight hollowness to it, and she's never been able to get it as loud as she sometimes needs it. Someone - she's not sure who, but she has some suspicions - arranged for her to get one of the better soundproofed rooms, the ones usually reserved for parents with small children, and now she'll finally be able to take advantage of it.
The other present is a data chip, with a ribbon tied round it.
"It's a mixtape," Kirk explains, unhelpfully.
"I do not know what is a mixtape," she tells him forbiddingly.
"It's a selection of songs that I think you'll like," he says, and she must have looked skeptical, because he adds: "It's a traditional Earth present. People have been making these for their friends for hundreds of years. The challenge is to choose songs that the recipient likes, and hasn't heard before, and that work together as a cohesive whole."
She nods uncertainly. "I will listen for all of those things."
"And make sure you write to me and tell me which ones you like," he says, and she understands the gift a little better.
"I will make one for you too," she says, "and you can play it loudly and annoy Scotty and Dr McCoy and Mr Spock, but they won't be able to complain because it was a present."
"Jaylah," says Kirk, "I like the way you think."
On a whim, she pulls the ribbon off the data chip and tries to loop it round her ponytail as she's seen Demora do. It's harder than it looks. Sulu, sitting behind her and seeing her struggle, leans over and deftly ties it for her, and then Kirk produces a piece of string from one of his pockets ("Why do you have that?" she asks. "Honestly, I have no idea," he replies.) and he and Sulu sit on the floor at her feet and teach her to tie bows, then double bows, then all the knots they can remember, accompanied by a lot of mistakes and bickering, until she's laughing so hard her sides ache.
Chekov brings her a bottle of his favourite Scotch and tells her the story of the little old Russian lady who invented it. She's heard it before, but that's a nice feeling, so she doesn't stop him.
"You will make friends with many excellent people if you take this to a party," he tells her. "Many excellent Russian people."
"You know that story about the Russian lady isn't true at all?" says Bones when Chekov has gone. "I think he just tells it because it annoys Scotty so much, and he's hilarious when he's irritated."
"A noble goal," says Jaylah solemnly.
"Here, I got you something too." He hands her a small box, neatly wrapped. She tears the paper off quickly (she's getting the hang of presents now) and opens it. Inside is a small, flat, metal model of a starship, with a pin on the back to attach it to her clothes. She realises with a jolt that it's the Franklin, as it would have looked before it crashed. She can't speak.
"It's a commemorative pin," Bones tells her. "They used to make hundreds of them whenever they launched a new starship, and I managed to track one of the Franklin's ones down. Do you like it?"
"I like it very much," she says, a little choked, and then, impulsively, she hugs him. Hugging wasn't something her people ever did, but it's part of her new life, and she finds she likes it.
Later that night, she puts on her mixtape and wanders around her quarters, finding places amongst the things she saved from the Franklin for her bowl and her engine piece and her pictures. She pours herself a glass of Chekov's whisky, curls up in her armchair, and thumbs through the books from Nyota and Spock, trying to decide where to start.
Her new music thrumming in her ears, she fingers the badge pinned to her shirt, her old life and her new life in one. And she knows that no matter what happens or where she goes next, her crew will go there with her.