REP TOS-AU, Aegyptus, PG13, Sar, Saav, Peter K, Q

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gojirob, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Summary : Peter Kirk has been rescued after ten years. But before James Kirk can be told this, Sarek must shuttle him and Saavik to safety on Vulcan. The corrupt Admiralty and the enigmatic Q will make sure this is a flight to remember.

    Aegyptus

    By Rob Morris

    1

    It is so cold, now. Before that, it was pain, red and raw. Some of it was my pain. Some of it I caused, when I was made to be in pain. I asked them to stop. When I start hurting back, it doesn't happen in a way I can control. Something wants out of me, then. It's my responsibility to never let it, until the last battle. I don't know when that is.

    I cannot remember the morning anymore. I cannot remember my name anymore. They try and tell me I never had a name, but I know that isn't true.

    I can't hold out much longer. As bad as what's inside me is, there's something else, something worse, and they want me to call to it.

    Then, the long nightmare ends. Just like that. The most beautiful girl I've ever seen pulls me out of that place. She says her name is Saavik, and that one day soon, she'll take me to see-a great man-was his name Jim? Was he someone important? First, we have to see Mister Spock's father.

    Please, God, let her be real.

    -----------

    2

    Sarek of Vulcan had lived through a dozen nightmare scenarios in his own mind, before the message came through.

    *Father, I have him.*

    Sweet, wonderful Saavik, patient and obedient child, had achieved her objective. Sarek fought to regain his composure, lost imagining his unacknowledged granddaughter added to Admiralty Hall's sub-Terran trophy room. Before her voice was heard, Sarek heard Cartwright's taunts, Amanda's wails of mourning, and the rage of Captain James T. Kirk, for risking another child of his while keeping silent on the fate of another.

    A private transporter chamber was one of many privileges afforded to an Ambassador, particularly one of Sarek's standing. But it was rarely used, and Sarek had no intention of making its use a regular thing. The day he could not leave the embassy by the front gates would be a very sorry one, he had always reasoned. While a sorry day was not at hand, it was yet a day of dread. Sarek calibrated the chamber to the arranged upon signal, then activated it.

    Materializing within the beam were the adopted daughter and son of a man who was like a brother to Sarek's second son. The girl was wearing a black jumpsuit, and it took Sarek a moment to realize that her features had reverted to her true Vulcan appearance, rather than the nanoprobe-induced Human disguise he had given her. She was holding the boy, who was wearing only a pink robe and was shivering, his face containing a look of both wonder and terror.

    "Father, we must get him proper clothes. This robe is filthy-or rather its true owner is."

    Sarek ignored her until he had wiped the transporter records on multiple levels, including sending a self-destruct signal to the transport boosters that had seen Saavik and her charge out of Admiralty Hall. They would still be of use to any investigator who found their residue, but only in the long term. In the short term, Sarek planned to be off Earth and on Vulcan.

    "Father?"

    "Fa-the-r? Is Jim here, Saa-vik?"

    "Saavik, be patient. We must move with alacrity."

    Sarek contacted one of his most loyal aides, a Human woman of decades' service to his embassy.

    "Emily, I need you in my private chambers."

    Emily Harrison emerged, carrying a shopping bag she had been asked to quietly fill.

    "Ambassador, who is that boy with Saavik? He looks hurt."

    Saavik's look grew sharp.

    "He has been hurt. By experts. I will clean and dress him."

    "Saavik, Emily has raised three boys. She knows how..."

    "Father, I will not defy you, but nor is this a matter for debate. I will be quick. You may find he does not trust anyone besides me. Peter? Will you let me take care of you?"

    The boy nodded, only speaking halting but telling words.

    "Trust you. Love-you."

    As Saavik withdrew with the boy, Emily turned to her employer.

    "Sarek, is that boy Peter Kirk?"

    The Ambassador sighed.

    "Emily, it is best for all of us if I do not answer that question. There are concerns here that trump even the trust you have earned and deserve."

    She looked at the doorway where the children had stood, only moments before.

    "It is him. I remember holding my grandson when the news of his disappearance came. I was haunted by that face when they showed on it holovid. Was he on Earth all this time? Why isn't he any older? I..."

    She stopped herself.

    "Thirty years working with Vulcans, and I know nothing of privacy. My apologies, sir."

    She produced a second shopping bag.

    "These baskets are for you and Saavik. There's one for Amanda, too."

    Sarek shook his head.

    "Baskets, Emily?"

    She nodded.

    "Yes. After all-its Easter morning."

    Sarek worked hard to put any associations or implications well out of his mind. He found he had to do this again, later that same week.

    "Of course--the Easter Holiday. I had forgotten your Earth customs."

    "Do you want me to report back here after services, and breakfast with my family?"

    "No. All staff is on standby. The consulate here must be shut down for a time. Your salaries will continue to be paid."

    The longtime employee breathed in.

    "It's really that bad?"

    Sarek felt he owed her an answer, however indirect.

    "Adjacent to Starfleet Academy Proper, there is a structure of fifty years endurance. Officers of very high rank work and congregate there. It is a place of note."

    Emily knew, then. Admiralty Hall was the only structure Sarek could be talking about.

    "I'd-heard that it was noteworthy. I'll try and make sure my grandchildren never breach its security perimeter. You know kids."

    "Yes, I believe that children would do well to give these noted officers a wide berth."

    Saavik returned, also wearing a change of clothes. Peter Kirk looked at her.

    "Sor-ry."

    "It was not your fault, Peter. I should have anticipated your need for relief. The jumpsuit has been recycled. Father, we are ready."

    Peter ran forward, and shocked all by embracing the Ambassador.

    "Thank You! Thank You for getting me out-out of that place! THAT PLACE!!!"

    The boy pulled back, shivering.

    "Do I have to go back now? Please don't make me go back! I hate it there."

    Saavik responded.

    "That will never happen. It will never be permitted."

    Sarek was taken aback both by the embrace and by the fierceness of Saavik's response. He was to be taken aback one more time. Emily kneeled before Peter. The older woman tenderly touched a finger to his nose. The boy did not flinch, but nor did he look comfortable.

    "Don't be afraid, Peter. We've been waiting for you to arrive."

    She removed a pendant with a small rock from beneath her blouse, and held it as she kept on.

    "Blessed Rock Of Prophecy, your small arms hold the burden grown men shrink from. It falls to you, to slay that old dragon, and it is upon you that those horrid teeth will shatter like merest glass. He who is The Rock-"

    Saavik saw a woman she had known for years look at her with reverence.

    "-and She who is The Rock join together, and together they are The Rock. You will rise, a face seen as though over a hill, and when the last hope has failed, and the shell is again broken, then and there you will make your stand."

    She then took the pendant off, placed it in Saavik's hand, and then placed Peter's hand in hers.

    "Emily, what is the meaning of this?"

    The Human woman smiled.

    "A common thread among many faiths and legends is the presence of the rock. Mount Olympus. Simon Peter, who was a Rock for Jesus Christ. The Mosque Of The Rock. The Stone Tablets passed to Moses. The stone that was rolled away from the tomb on the first Easter morning. The stone into which Excalibur was drawn from, and then placed back into. Some say even the Grail itself was a stone. In the Far East, a Stone Monkey became a godlike being after a long hard journey."

    Peter spoke words that belied his muddled state.

    "Sun-Wukong. Son-Goku. Monkey King."

    Emily smiled.

    "The Order Of The Rock doesn't worship you wonderful children. But in all people who believe in a better universe free of hate, there exists those who wait to follow you against the Ancient Destroyer."

    This was a wrinkle Sarek had not known of. But after dismissing Emily, he knew there was no time to wait any longer. The Shuttle Surak took off ten minutes later.

    Ten minutes after that, armed soldiers violated every treaty imaginable as they searched the Vulcan embassy. Finding no one and nothing, they returned empty-handed and were ordered executed by an enraged Grand Admiral Cartwright. This had the happy benefit of destroying the scans they had made, preventing them from being analyzed further by Hall scientists. Sarek had already erased his staff lists.

    The hunt for Peter Kirk was on.

    ----------------

    3

    I am free.

    I am with her.

    I will not be taken again.

    Uncle Jim, where are you?

    Why did Mister Spock's father come for me, instead of my own?

    It hurts to think.

    But I saw the morning as we left Earth.

    There is still a sun in the sky.

    I wish we were aboard the Enterprise.

    God, help us. Because the devil's servants are after us.

    I won't let them touch her.



    ------------------------------

    4

    We're going to Vulcan.

    I always felt a connection to it, but I don't know why.

    I remember seven great heroes, who sailed the stars, and made me feel at home.

    Or were they just a holovid fantasy that I got lost in?

    The Ambassador, Mister Spock's father, apologized to me for the cot-bed I have to lie down in. But it feels so soft, so warm-and Saavik is here with me. Why would he apologize?

    Is Ambassador Sarek in pain? And why are there two other people inside his head?

    They tell me that they've been in his head all of his life, and that they have to get out.

    The world doesn't make any sense.

    ----------------------------

    5


    Saavik stared in wonder at the readout.

    "Father, there is a planetary body on sensors. There should not be one here."

    Sarek took in the readout, then nodded.

    "That, Saavik, is the legendary Sol-X, or Sector 001-10."

    The girl was not the scientist her unacknowledged birth-father Spock was, but she understood this well enough.

    "A tenth planet in Earth's solar system? Why does no one know of it?"

    Sarek looked in on the sleeping boy Peter Kirk, so deprived for over a decade that the cot-bed in Shuttle Surak seemed to him like a downy mattress in a luxury hotel.

    "Because, as with your brother, the Order Of The Ancient Destroyer did not wish anyone to know of its existence."

    Saavik Brianna Kirk seemed to become nervous.

    "Father, I have yet to inform Peter of our family connection. In his fragile state, I feared his mistaking my adoption by Uncle Jim for his being replaced."

    This was not the whole reason, and perhaps Sarek sensed this, but he did not question her given reason.

    "You will need to inform him, eventually. Perhaps when his sense of self and time passages is clearer."

    Saavik also presented Sarek with the recording of Hall activities as regarded Peter Kirk. The Ambassador winced openly at the record of the boy's brutalization, and subsequent retaliation before his final capture.

    "Father, if this Colonel West is to be believed, Peter's acts of fierce resistance ended plans for a political coup and a general purge of Starfleet officers not loyal to the Order. They apparently had plans to target Uncle Jim and his crew, first and foremost."

    Sarek looked over at the boy. He then thought of Spock, so savaged on Hellguard that he could not recall having become Saavik's father. The Vulcan and master of peace-making fought back the urge to feel joy at Peter Kirk's retaliation.

    "Then, it is life-kind itself that owes him a debt, Saavik-kam. A debt he will be owed again, I fear."

    Saavik nodded.

    "I also came to the conclusion, Father, that this Colonel West must have been your contact within Admiralty Hall."

    Sarek gazed upon his unacknowledged granddaughter with appreciative eyes. He had never told her he had such a contact.

    "He would be in such a position. Tell me-were you forced to take a life, as I feared would become necessary?"

    Saavik looked down.

    "Their means of holding Peter was a blood-simple one. Doors of great mass and density were situated along the sloping downward path. At one of them were perhaps two hundred armed guards. They saw past my technological disguise and attacked me. While they could not kill me, any one of them could have sounded further alarms. I was forced to act decisively."


    Sarek felt regret at this, but the stealth of their effort was its paramount asset.

    "Were there any other casualties?"

    "I cannot imagine that the lobby guards that allowed me in will do very well in a short time. Then there is Admiral T.E. Bunson. She-had draped her nude form over Peter's cryo-chamber. She very nearly defeated me. Peter awoke, and used his abilities to de-limb her. Those limbs proved to be cybernetic, something she had done to herself. She is alive, but until they find her, she is in no condition to give them information."

    Sarek recalled accepting this loathsome woman's handshake at a ceremony, and sensing no thoughts at all from her. This now made sense.

    "Though a hateful sort, her life guarantees the stability of the Hall's structure and power. In this, our Colonel West was correct. Saavik, I will guide the ship manually through the cloaked fields surrounding the tenth planet. I will be in the cockpit area. Will you stay with Peter?"

    Her simple answer gave him pause.

    "Always."

    *What had passed between them?*, thought Sarek. Perhaps, he mused, Saavik simply liked having someone to care for, a not uncommon thing for a child as lonely as her. When the two were alone, Peter woke up. On the floor on a futon next to him, Saavik took note of this.

    "Are you well?"

    "Guess."

    His tone clearly indicated that he meant ‘I Guess' rather than challenging her to some riddle game.

    "Peter, I could sing a song Aunt Nyta taught me."

    "Okay."

    Recalling the words and tone Uhura had shown her, Saavik began.

    "Maybe far away; Or maybe real nearby; He may be pouring her coffee
    She may be straightening his tie. Maybe in a house; All hidden by a hill;
    She's sitting playing piano, He's sitting paying a bill."

    She saw his tired eyes already closing again.

    "Good night, Peter."

    "Saavik?"

    "Yes?"

    "Aunt Nyta drinks tea. Uncle Jim doesn't wear ties."

    "Go to sleep, Peter."

    "Good night, Saavik."


    6

    In the control area, Sarek found he could not bear to watch more than a few minutes of the footage of Peter Kirk's brutalization by the Admirals. This boy was the son of his son's brother, and the brother of Sarek's own granddaughter. Emotions he had spent decades telling Spock Vulcans did not have now assaulted him mercilessly.

    "I am a Vulcan. There is control. I am control."

    Yet suddenly Sarek no longer felt in control of his own memories.

    -----------

    2222, Vulcan

    "I stand before you today to proclaim that the last words of Surak are fulfilled in me. I am The Rock Of Prophecy, meant to bring low the beast Gh'draeh and his hateful Order Of The Ancient Destroyer. I will begin my..."

    Sarek felt the touch of his grandmother, the Lady T'Pau, and then he felt immense pain. He saw the face of his new bride, T'Rea, cold and impassive, and he saw the face of his grandmother, heavy with contempt and disgust. Before losing consciousness, he realized she had used a forbidden technique on him. This was his last conscious thought for five years.

    -------------

    2278

    When he awoke after those five years, he had been told that the heretical T'Rea was gone, his marriage annulled. Sarek could not help but feel true rage at the manner in which Sra Sra T'Pau had summarily shut down his mind, to prevent him from ‘spouting on' about the Rock Of Prophecy.

    *You and I are not so different, Peter. Lost time, followed by awakening to a world no longer the one you knew.*

    He was dispatched as junior consul to the Vulcan Embassy on Earth. Staven, who had almost allowed the use of General Order Seven to go unchallenged some decades ago, was still Ambassador. Sarek found him challenging, and now he would find him difficult. Perhaps even insuperably difficult.

    Sarek would face a choice.

    ---------------------

    2227

    "I merely believe, Ambassador, that, while necessitated on a practical level, the Kzinti Containment Area called by some The Dead Zone may in fact be incompatible with nothing less than IDIC itself."

    Staven dismissed Sarek's words nearly before they were said, and it was not the first time.

    "You may find, young one, that IDIC itself is incompatible with reality. The idea that all things may even be combined has largely proven to be an idealistic fantasy."

    In an absurdly challenging tone to use on an underling, Staven asked Sarek a telling question.

    "Will you now report this to your lady grandmother?"

    Sarek shook his head.

    "I was reminded forcefully of protocol during the Koren case. I will not violate it again."

    Staven nodded in apparent triumph.

    "Yet I would have you report to her on other matters, Sarek. Go to my aide, Sunel. He will deliver to you an attaché case, and you will then take a shuttle and pilot it back to Vulcan with all haste. There are matters in those files that may not be transmitted."

    "It will be as you say, Mister Ambassador."

    ---------------------------

    2278

    Staven's openly mocking tone and virtual invitation to report his anti-IDIC, very nearly Anti-Cthia, diatribe raised Sarek's hackles. So when handed the attaché case in question, Sarek noted that the one Sunel kept for himself was identical. A quiet switch was made. Sarek's shuttle made it to Vulcan, the switched case containing evidence of attitudes far worse than the one Staven spoke of openly among many of his senior staff, not to mention the Ambassador himself. Staven and Sunel also left Earth by shuttle.

    That shuttle exploded for reasons no one could discern. Newly appointed Ambassador Sarek tried to reassure himself that he had not assassinated, he had avoided assassination and had only handed back Staven's own property to him. It was a hard sell, and over fifty years later, he still didn't completely buy it.

    *Yet for all such drama, Staven's death paled in significance to two more meetings that same year. One I did not recall until recently. The other, I pray that I am never so feeble as to forget.*
     
  2. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    --------------

    2227

    The Starfleet Cadet spoke with some fervor. He was a man convinced that he was preserving something precious, and trying to prevent something apocalyptic. He was correctly concerned on both fronts.

    "This Admiralty Hall is a violation of our democratic values in the Federation and our traditions here in Starfleet. Democracies fall fast and hard, history tells us, when the leadership of their militaries or like services begin to separate themselves from those they lead. Admiral Forrest, mourning his late friend Jonathan Archer, stated flatly that such proximity reminds the low of where they may end up, and the high of where they started. Are cadets, Captains or Commodores allowed to simply seal themselves off and talk only with people of a like burden and opinion. If no one is present to tell the top echelon that they may be wrong, then wrong will often seem like right, until that sad and sorry day that wrong becomes right. We must make our opinions known..."

    A man with a sharp shrill voice came up, interrupting the man on stage.

    "What about the opinions of the Admirals themselves? Or are you saying that only a bunch of ungrateful cadets, who, like all of us, owe their lives to the Admiralty, should hold any sway?"

    The cadet on the podium stared at his heckler.

    "You'll have your turn to speak, Cadet Gill. This is my time."

    "Why? Are you afraid that I'll prove that the construction of a single building isn't going to cause universal Armageddon?"

    In the crowd, Sarek again noted how one mountain in Israel kept being used to describe the end of time. The original speaker stood his ground.

    "You're a good debater, John. But whether you prove that or not, you will wait to do so until I finish."

    Men of dubious standing emerged in the crowd, chanting against the original speaker.

    "LET HIM SPEAK! LET HIM SPEAK! LET HIM SPEAK!"

    An old tactic, thought Sarek, older than Humans, Vulcans, Bajorans or possibly Iconians. If the original speaker allowed himself to be shouted down, he was done. He was also done if he allowed the shouters to portray themselves as defending free speech while denying him the right to do so as well.

    "He'll have his scheduled chance. You bunch are not on the schedule. Now, it just so happens I have people in the crowd, too. You want them to start shouting? Because if they do, Mister Gill's turn might never come around."

    The speaker held out his hand, palm raised, as though imploring them to trigger the other side's shouters. Things quieted down, and he finished. The one called John Gill took the podium next.

    "To start with, I'm sorry that my esteemed opponent had to resort to petty threats to finish his backward thinking speech."

    The first speaker smiled at Gill.

    "It wasn't a threat, Mister Gill. It was a bluff. I have no operatives in the crowd. This is a debate, not an Ian Fleming novel."

    Gill's face reddened, and Sarek saw the jaws of his apparent followers nearly drop off. Gill now seemed in a huff as he resumed speaking.

    "History teaches us that our leaders bear awesome responsibilities. In the old United States Of America, who did serving Presidents turn to? Former holders of that same office. A like set of experiences unite those who serve in our Admiralty. They have risen to our highest rank by already being head and shoulders above the rest of us. This isolation some small minds fear is already a reality. Admiralty Hall will merely be a place they can work and be at peace while they make the choices that affect all our lives. Is this asking so much, when they have given their lives over to us already?"

    The debate was over soon enough, and the general consensus seemed to be for the first speaker. But when Sarek spoke with this young man, he shook his head.

    "Thank you, Mister Ambassador. But I think and fear it's largely a case of win the battle, lose the war. The decision has already been made to put that Hall up. There is nothing I can reasonably do to prevent it. Those admirals will go in there, and there will be no one to ground or contradict them. People with that kind of power, isolated to just their own? Not a good thing. Maybe in fact, a very bad one."

    Sarek understood one part of the man's argument, but not the other.

    "How would it be that bad?"

    "Well, sir-haven't you noticed that there simply are no non-Terran Admirals? A streak of xenophobia has always persisted at the highest levels of this ‘Fleet. Giving the old boys' network its own clubhouse is not going to remedy that. Far from it."

    Sarek was taken aback. In fact, he had never noted this exclusion.

    "Still, you must recall that the Federation Charter is no older than myself, that not all planets joined at the same time, nor have all worlds disbanded their exploratory and defensive fleets in favor of joining Starfleet."

    The man shook his head.

    "That's a reason for not having very many non-Humans in the top echelon. It's not a reason for having none of them at all."

    Sarek was very impressed with this man's sagacity.

    "Cadet-I am in need of a Human cultural liaison. You seem to possess a singular understanding of your own people, both in their strengths and in their weaknesses. Would you be interested in this position?"

    Sarek expected any number of reactions. The man gave none of them.

    "Move!"

    He and Sarek barely ducked in time to avoid the small shuttle-bus that barreled toward them. It halted, and then came back at them again.

    "You know, you offered me a job, but never bothered to ask my name."

    Sarek knew well the potentially grave reason why he might make so fundamental an error, but kept his tone even.

    "I offer apology, Mister...?"

    The man then committed his own error, and offered his hand to a Vulcan.

    "George Samuel Kirk, of Riverside, Iowa. Now let me take this, if you would."

    The shuttle-bus came straight at Kirk, and thuggish men inside laid down weapons-fire. Since Sarek saw no reason to die, he found cover. Kirk, for his part, waited directly in the path of the shuttle-bus. Just as it was about to strike him, he impossibly grasped the vehicle's front end, and lifted it above his head.

    "You're not hunting children, tonight!"

    In one motion, Kirk threw the shuttle-bus at a Commons wall, smashing it and sending the occupants fleeing in terror. Kirk smiled.

    "Where *have* all the soldiers gone? And when will they ever learn?"

    Sarek pointed at the carnage.

    "How did you do that?"

    "I eat my vegetables."

    Sarek raised an eyebrow.

    "Humor-a most difficult concept, made more so when the humor in question is lacking."

    Kirk's head turned like that of a dog or sehlat, hearing something past even Sarek's range.

    "Mister Ambassador, were you told that an applicant for Terran translator would meet you here?"

    Sarek realized what was being said.

    "I now believe that this applicant will be what you Humans call a no-show."

    George Kirk nodded.

    "But some of his friends are on their way. I know how Vulcans are about violence, so can I ask if you'll sacrifice a bit of dignity so that we can avoid a fight?"

    Sarek suddenly drew back his right arm, connecting with a would-be attacker.

    "I fear that such may no longer be possible."

    "How the hell did he get that close? Never mind-just take enough of them out to give us an opening to escape."

    "Kill the race-traitor if you can, but take out that damned Vulcanian trash!"

    As the attackers descended on them en masse, Kirk was like a mountain, shrugging off batteries of blows and effortlessly pushing them back. Sarek was a gliding master of avoidance and of using blows with just enough force to get the job done. He also found his sash to be of use against their attackers, and cut quite an impressive figure with his outer robe flowing behind him like a cape. He grabbed one attacker, and held him up before him.

    "This wasn't my idea, Pointy! Don't kill me!"

    "I do not desire your life. Merely deliver a message to those who sent you. I will defend myself if forced to, and I will do so with a terrible efficiency."

    "The way you move-even for a Vulcan! What the hell are you?"

    Sarek pulled the squirming man close.

    "Do you not read your own racist literature, concerning the origins of we Vulcanians? It is now night-time. Obviously, I am a bat."

    Sarek threw the man well away, and fairly soon, between him and Kirk, the attackers were wholly dispersed. This time, Sarek moved slowly and did shake his partner's hand. He also staggered into his arms, the realization of the violence he had engaged in taking hold.

    *It will be my time soon enough. I cannot allow the savage days to come early.*

    The attackers shouted varying levels of pointless invective at the finest of two worlds.

    "Get em' on the ground and stomp on his face!"

    "Don't let them hit you, you idiot!"

    "We'd better move, Mister Ambassador. These punks scare easy, but they seem to have a lot of friends to call on."

    "They do seem a lot bound by false myth and ignorant fear. You spoke of an affront to my dignity. I will take my chances on that, if you would."

    Kirk then threw Sarek's arm around his shoulder, and jumped straight up. As they descended and then leaped again, Sarek shook his head.

    "You can cover a third of a kilometer in one bound?"

    "Aw, hell. I could clear the Seattle Space Needle. But one-third K is safer for passengers, and easier for control and stealth. Well, here's your embassy."

    Sarek walked through the presumed safety of the gates, and asked Kirk a question.

    "Again-the source of your abilities?"

    Kirk nodded.

    "I was born aboard the USS Enterprise NCC-01, second starship to bear the name. As my mother was giving birth, a maniac named Melvin Koren started shooting up the ship. My mother placed me in an escape pod. That pod skirted Jupiter's gravity well. The Vulcan Doctor who analyzed me upon recovery speculated that the forces at play changed me, or maybe activated a recessive gene."

    "Koren? I attempted to defend him for those very crimes."

    "Well, everybody deserves counsel. Point is, Doctor T'Nia said that I was a genuine miracle. So I took that miracle and swore upon my parents' graves to make war on people like Koren, and the Order Of The Ancient Destroyer he served."

    Sarek seemed shocked.

    "But T'Nia is my own great-aunt, and raised me for much of my early life. And you are saying that the Order has taken root on Earth?"

    "Actually, Ambassador, they've been here for many millenniums, if not longer. Oh, and one more favor?"

    "Of course."

    Kirk spoke one word, as his eyes glowed silver and his voice echoed.

    "Forget."

    ---------------------

    The next morning, Sarek was informed he had an appointment. He felt physical strain, but could not account for it. He had talked with a man named George Kirk, but what had they spoken of? Was Pon Farr hitting him that soon?

    The applicant's credentials were stellar, even coming from a Minnesota family that produced many translators of non-Terran tongues, with her great-grandmother having served under the estimable Hoshi Sato, prior to the original Enterprise's disappearance during the Romulan War.

    "You wish to join my staff as our Senior Translator?"

    "Yes. A distant cousin of mine from Iowa said the Vulcan embassy needed one, in addition to a cultural liaison."

    Sarek was not skeptical, but still guarded in his enthusiasm.

    "It would be unusually fortunate if you could fill both positions."

    Amanda Grayson smiled, and Sarek felt a stirring at this.

    "Let's face it, Mister Ambassador. You just hit the jackpot!"

    ---------------------------------------

    7

    2278

    Sarek felt a stirring, but it was neither romantic nor sexual. It was a feeling of peril. With the controls now locked for a time, he ventured out into the shuttle's main area, to check on Saavik and Peter. Saavik had moved onto the upper bed with Peter, and both slept soundly. A man in a Starfleet uniform lay where Saavik once had been. He glanced casually at Sarek, waved a little ‘hello', and then began to sing.

    "Hush, Little Peter, don't throw fits; But your birth presaged the apocalypse; A big scary dragon is coming for you, and he will eat up all you knew; And if you don't stop things from getting worse; You two will be left alone in all the universe; You and Saavik will be quite annoyed; As you go mad in the starless void."

    Sarek asked the extremely obvious.

    "Who are you?"

    The man smiled.

    "The better question might be, Sarek-"

    The intruder began to sing while pointing at the younger occupants' sleeping area.

    "What Children Are These?"

    Sarek glared at the disrespectful reference. The man shrugged.

    "What, too soon? I mean, it's been over two mill..."

    "Tell me who you are."

    The man got up, and waved a shaming finger.

    "Testy, testy, Mister Vulcan. Bendii Claus coming early, to drop off his gifts of memory loss and emotional chaos?"

    Sarek showed his shock at this openly. The man chuckled.

    "Yes, yes, I know all your deepest darkest secrets. It's who I am, it's what I do, really it's all I know."

    He stopped Sarek from speaking.

    "Yes, yes-who am I? Allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and tast---oooh, wrong ID. Our mutual friend Jim knows me. So does Saavik. She should. I did try and kill her three years ago."

    Sarek knew then. The entity before him had once called himself Squire Trelane, but now chiefly called himself by the name of his species and native continuum.

    "Q."

    -------------

    7

    She is beside me, and everything feels right.

    I am at peace.

    But they now that I have escaped them.

    I will not let myself be taken back.

    That Q is a jerk.


    ---------------------

    I want to walk the peaks of Seleya.

    I want to walk the Bridge of the USS Enterprise.

    I want to see Admiralty Hall burn to nothing.

    I want my Daddy, I want my Mommy, and I wanna go home.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    8

    Q raised a finger in the air.

    "To begin with, the Continuum is no longer interested in killing either of the children. We acknowledge the need for their services."

    Sarek was very far from impressed.

    "How kind of you."

    Q conceded something Sarek had surmised anyway.

    "It's also a limitation thing. We're not sure our power could kill them, and were they to act in defense of each other-let's just say it wouldn't go well, and leave it at that."

    "You have come merely to make this statement?"

    "Far from it, Sarek of Vulcan. I have come to offer my aid, in your campaign against the Ancient Destroyer and its followers."

    Q flashed, changed into clothes like those of French peasants during the 1789 Revolution, and began to sing. Music accompanied him.

    "Will you join in our crusade, who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond King Ghidorah is there a world you wish to see?"

    Sarek was suspicious of the entity's intentions, to say the least.

    "With your power, surely Ghidorah and his mortal followers are mere clay pigeons in a shooting gallery."

    Q shrugged.

    "You would think, wouldn't you? But the damned thing's power exists on such a basic level. It kills and eats energy resulting from those kills. It grows stronger from this. It adapts to attacks against it, both negating and also utilizing those methods of attack in its further defense. That's why the kids have a chance against him. Their power is also very basic, though it takes longer to develop. Drawn up to their full height, they will mock Ghidorah like a pun-ee leetle girlie-drag-on."

    Sarek understood, but pressed his challenge on another front.

    "The creature is beyond your power. But what of The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer?"

    "Mere mortals, right? Right. Problem is, they actually have gotten the attention of the great beast on a psychic level. It searches out any energy it can feed upon, and the life force of its worshippers is just such a source. See, you have to be careful who you pledge soul-oaths to. As a Roman senator learned of Caligula, ‘My Life For You' is all fun and games until your would-be deity calls in his markers. In short, we of the Q attack them-their demon senses our energies. Game over, and not just for us. Energy-based intelligences across Creation would soon learn that the Croc wants more than Cap'n Hook's one hand."

    Sarek looked at his unwanted visitor.

    "You do realize that peppering your attempts at conversation with colorful Terran references will eventually result in my not *getting* the joke?"

    Q shook his head.

    "Have you not gotten one yet? Don't make me go all Dennis Miller on you."

    Sarek conceded the basic point and moved on.

    "What aid would you offer, and what are the nature and number of the conditions involved?"

    Q put a finger to his chin.

    "I ask that we of the Q be consulted before you undertake any sort of missions. Not to veto, but to vet, and to offer our considerable input. The nature of the beast means we can spy on neither it nor its followers safely. So far, it only knows we exist. A creature that big is not one for subtlety, and that is the only thing we have on our side besides the kids."

    "What form would this vetting and input take?"

    Q took the finger from his chin, held it in the air, and twirled it. There was a bright flash.

    "Interactive."
     
  3. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    8

    2268

    Sarek saw the battle rage in Admiralty Hall. He had seen the footage that Saavik had obtained. But this was up close and personal.

    "Q? Is this the night of Peter Kirk's violation?"

    "Yes. And-No, both. This is a projection of an alternate timeline. Our sick little universe doesn't have actual alternate timelines. We are quite unique in that."

    "That is impossible---every decision made causes---"

    Q cut Sarek off.

    "Blah-Blah-Yackedty-Smackedty-Taz like Dingo, and all that. I just said we're unique, didn't I? Anyway, Peter makes his fateful choice---now!"

    The battered boy raised up his power and shattered the foundation of Admiralty Hall. The corrupt and fetid place came down around his kidnappers and rapists. Q pointed.

    "In the history we know, Peter chose to stay and draw out his tormentors' forces, decimating them while protecting their top tier. For the briefest of moments, he gained an instinctive insight into what his enemies were planning, and stayed past a brutal atrocity to endure captivity where I can assure, they turned every resource to breaking him. They came closer than they knew on several occasions."

    The boy in the image fled the wreckage and sought help.

    "But not here. Here, he did what any other kid with his power would do. He killed the bastards to a one, and ran like hell to get in touch with the one adult he knew he could trust. Nogura was forced to resign for his appeasement of the Hall, and the new Commander Starfleet was-you guessed it."

    Sarek watched as Admiral James Kirk stood with his assembled senior staff-minus one.

    *What was done to my son here will never be repeated. A brave and capable young man put paid to a hideous plan. It is up to we so-called grownups to carry the ball from here on in.*

    "Q, where is my son?"

    "I'm afraid Spock went quite mad. Peter, unable to control his telepathy, saw the truth about Saavik in his mind. And it gets worse."

    "Worse?"

    "What is James Kirk without Spock? And just because Peter killed all the generals, doesn't mean he got the foot soldiers. Not by a long shot. The coup was stopped. The civil war erupted in earnest. Oceans of blood, dogs and cats living together---errr-yeah. Our kids won, eventually. Bloody mess, though. The Federation was so weakened, the other powers got ideas. Again, our wacky kids prevailed. Having loyal children who can split stars in two helps. Now, though-everybody is weakened."

    A gigantic image now filled all of Sarek's vision. Three heads, two tails and scales like ablative armor shone in space. Q nodded.

    "Guess who's coming to dinner?"

    --------------------------

    2278

    Sarek nodded.

    "Thank you. But I had already ascertained that Peter had made the correct choice."

    Q sighed.

    "I had to start with the choice he did make-before we go to the choices before you now."

    "What would you have me do?"

    "I would have you-decide on a basic strategy."

    Sarek closed his eyes.

    "Normally, I would make entreaties to our foes, to see clearly the folly they are engaged in. But no such option exists. The lines drawn between good and evil are too stark to be ignored."

    He opened them.

    "James Kirk must be told of the threat before us."

    Q grinned.

    "Oh, there's good news tonight!"

    --------------------

    2283

    On the Bridge of the USS Enterprise, on-screen a starship exploded.

    "Scotty, how long until we can re-engage cloak?"

    "Cap'n, its one minute less than when ye asked before. And sir, even when it's up, we'll still need to change our position. No cloak is that good, even mine."

    The ship rocked.

    "Spock, do we have Reliant's shield codes?"

    "Doubtless, they have been changed since the start of hostilities."

    "Spock, don't you get it by now? Jim's counting on that."

    The codes were introduced, and oddly, the other ship suddenly lowered shields. Sulu stared in wonder.

    "That shouldn't have worked."

    Kirk was in his glory, however grim the work involved.

    "It didn't. Helm, fire a spread of photon torpedoes around them, one-one-hundredth yield. Follow exactly thirty seconds later with a double-yield, and make it count."

    The spread came, and the Reliant, under the command of the forces of hate and reaction, seemed to be taken out of the fight.

    "Chekov, move in slowly, but keep our chin exposed, so to speak. Sulu, manual only on that double yield."

    The corrupted crew of the USS Reliant was likely chuckling about Kirk being tricked by one of his own best gambits. But Sulu made the last torpedo as close to a complete surprise as possible, and the shields Reliant had lowered playing possum were not raised up in time. In fact, as Kirk had hoped and calculated, the torpedo was actually caught in the shield matrix as it was forming, taking out the hardened target as nothing less than a warp core breach could have done.

    "Cap'n, we've got our cloak back, and the residue from scrapping those toads will mask us verra nicely."

    Sarek saw all the crew, even to Spock and other Vulcans, express facially what he could only call joy at the destruction of the bigoted ‘toads' as Captain Scott had called them. Q saw his discomfort.

    "Yes, it's been a long hard war. It's hardened all these souls."

    "What happened?"

    "You happened, Ambassador. You informed Captain James T. Kirk and his crew that a boy they held very nearly as one of their own was raped by a power structure they already thought might be the devil. Did you really expect Jim Kirk to let it go? They touched his boy. His rage was so great. He probably didn't do his cause a lot of good by bombarding Admiralty Hall from orbit."

    Sarek allowed that the Q entity might be playing with him, and so questioned the disturbing premise and facts presented.

    "James is methodical about matters pertaining to such campaigns. While he defies many known parameters in going about this grim business, he is efficient and I will say, even logical, as he showed just now by seeing through the enemy ship's use of his own ruse."

    Q shook a finger in the air.

    "As a wise man in one of the myriad alternate timelines I've scanned once said, His logic was strained and imperfect, as regards his son."

    "Where are Saavik and Peter?"

    "On Vulcan, with you. Jim wouldn't hear of them helping out. Said it was time for the grown-ups to start acting like it. They know a war is being fought in their name. Taking care of your great-grandchildren keeps them occupied though. Cute little rug rats. Pity what happens to them when Ghidorah arrives. The war had only been settled one month when he shows up. Peter is no more logical about the death of his son than Jim was. He...welll, think Mel Gibson in The Patriot. Just rent it, or whatever it is you 23rd Century types do."

    Sarek took away at least one implication from Q's chatter.

    "They have feelings for one another?"

    Q's face dropped.

    "I honestly had to tell you that a boy and a girl of similar experience and essentially the only two members of their unique species with several levels of family connection would fall for one another? Wake up, Ambassador! Who else are they going to play with?"

    Q briefly changed into a man dressed in an oversized suit and tails, with bushy eyebrows and an equally bushy moustache, and smoking a big cigar while stooped over.

    "And boy they will play. It's a common word, found around teenagers' households. It has four letters, and when it gets really warm, it takes one off. Some people consider it illegal and immoral, and for the young lady, it can definitely be fattening."

    --------------------

    2278

    Sarek was again less than taken with Q's antics.

    "Julius Marx was a comedic artist of great talent and timing. You possess neither."

    Q turned back to his usual form.

    "Geez-what a Groucho."

    "Was that an accurate representation of what would happen if James Kirk were to be told the identity of Peter's abusers?"

    Q moved his opened hand back and forth.

    "More or less-the spin doesn't matter though. He would not take it well, and his ability to act thoughtfully would be extremely hampered. His every effort would be driven by the sheer certain knowledge of how he was unable to protect his boy."

    Sarek moved upon an omission implicit in Q's statement.

    "You say the sheer certain knowledge would drive him to distraction. What if that knowledge was uncertain, and based upon his own suppositions, lacking in final confirmation?"

    Q smiled.

    "Wow. You know Jimmy's fun to play with. But I sometimes wish I had a more intellectual sounding board. Maybe British-maybe French-maybe a British man with a French accent, or..."

    "Q?"

    "Sorry. A boy can dream, can't he? But to answer your question with my best guess, which is to say the best guess anywhere, yes. He could like as not keep himself under control if he figured it out for himself. He's a bright lad. Up till now, the only thing keeping him back from the truth is his grief and his sense of duty. The former will soon give way to joy, and the latter has been under strain for over a decade. Also, those dolts at the Hall will probably just give the whole thing away and not even catch that they've done it. But they do know how to hurt people, don't they?"

    Sarek thought long and hard before asking Q his next question.

    "If we keep James from actively knowing, and prepare these children for what must come, including dealing with the Order as need seems to demand, what will face us?"

    Q rubbed his hands together, and Sarek felt correctly that he was in for it.

    "Now here's something we hope you'll really like!"

    ---------------------

    2286

    Sarek watched the news-feed.

    "This is Tasharana Yarskov. The silence from Romulus has now been joined by that of Q'onos. The Federation Council has been dissolved by President Ydennek after they demanded that Captain Kirk capture and not harm the life form that seems to confirm the legends of the Ancient Destroyer Of Worlds. With the coup on Earth a recent and destructive fresh memory, the fate of anyone and anything is now in question. Rumors persist that Andor and Tellar have fallen, and that another menace has arisen, allegedly the cylindrical planet-killer stopped by Captain Kirk decades ago. The fate of as many as eighty worlds now is in question. While the words of Peter and Saavik Kirk stating that their power is at the service of all the living are reassuring, these young champions cannot shake the feeling held by so many that the final darkness is fast upon us. This just in - vid footage sent out from Q'onos prior to its destruction confirms the existence of King Ghidorah. On an evening on which all is uncertain, I wish and urge you to find the rest you can. We will all need it."



    ----------------------------

    2278

    Sarek fell back into his chair.

    "I see. Now tell me what may be done to avert that."

    Q held his arms upward in a shrugging motion.

    "You really don't want to avert that one."

    "As many as eighty worlds lost before any signs of an ending arrive? Why would I not wish to avert that?"

    Q made a show of breathing in.

    "Because that, my dear Sarek, was your best-case scenario. That was the one you all just might survive. All the others head down a path so dark and dank and unremittingly grim, Ghidorah's victory is not an if, but a when. Make no mistake; it is the monster's victory we're talking about. Its followers are their own worst enemy-except for all the innocents they'll take with them as they fall."

    Sarek felt his own panic, and fought it down at terrific cost.

    "Can the children stop him?"

    "They can, given time and experience. When they encounter the Young Traveler, they'll take a journey down the Infinite Paths with the Two Space Children Of Jupiter and a young man, a military clerk named Sonar, Sensor, or something like that. That will give them the experience."

    Q seemed a good deal more serious, so Sarek did not challenge his very strange statement.

    "What do you know of their destiny?"

    Q looked like he appreciated and was even impressed by the question.

    "Beings once existed that were so unlike bipedals, even Medusans would go mad to look at them. They explored an area of space said to still be like the time of the Big Bang. There they found two things: Ghidorah, and what Jimmy's bunch calls the Doomsday Machine. Both activated and began their rampage. This universe is less than twenty percent as full of life as it could have been, but for them, and that number has fallen as they made their next passes. These beings, these Old Ones, all perished before the Q made our ascent. It is known that one of them made a prediction-based on probability forecasts, not astrology-that someone whose name would be Rock would be part of Ghidorah's possible downfall. Lesser minds turned the whole thing into a prophecy. You have no idea how many civilizations fell holding up some stone or gem, thinking it would turn the trick on Ghidorah. Peter and Saavik both have names that mean ‘The Rock'-but that has nothing to do with why they have such power."

    Sarek asked the next question.

    "What is the extent of their power?"

    Q began to fade.

    "The Book Of Kahless says that their power is the same as their worth-and their worth is no more and no less than the worth of one child."

    As Sarek reeled under that parting shot, Saavik ran in to the compartment.

    "Father, Peter is crying out that they are after us! I also sense multitudes of minds approaching our position."

    Sarek checked that position. The talk with Q had taken them halfway to Vulcan. But that was not to prove far enough.

    "Saavik-kam, check the long-range sensors."

    "Father, what sort of starships have three nacelles and an overall size twice that of a Constitution-Class?"

    Sarek fought down the panic once again.

    "Dreadnought-Class. How many approach us?"

    ""How many are active?"

    He thought and searched.

    "Starfleet currently has seven of these ships on active duty, five more under development. Your father James complained of the low caliber of officers these were given to."

    "Father-there are twelve such ships in active pursuit of us."

    Sarek sat down, at a loss for what to do.

    "That would be then---all of them."

    ---------------------------

    9

    Twelve Dreadnoughts. Brock Cartwright doesn't fool around, does he?

    They won't be enough. I won't let them take either of us. We've only just found each other.

    Uncle Jim always said, aboard a ship, everyone has a special job that's just for them.

    This looks like a job---for me.

    ---------------------------

    How does that song go again? One of the few useful things Sam ever gave me was a love of songs from the distant past, before we tried to destroy ourselves. I remember now.

    *The jig is up, the news is out they finally found me; The renegade who had it made retrieved for a bounty; Never more to go astray; This will be the end today of the wanted man*

    But I've been there, and done that. I'm not going away again, even if they send the whole damned fleet my way. That song, by the way? It's by a group called Styx.

    Styx is the name of a river in Hell.

    They're about to be reminded of who my real father is. The man even these renegades fear.

    The Judge Will Have Revenge Today. The Judge Is The Wanted Man.



    -------------------

    10

    Sarek remembered an absurdist animated comedy James had insisted upon showing Saavik. In it, a cat was being sexually harassed by, of all creatures, a skunk with a poorly-done French accent. Sarek had tried to ‘get it' and succeeded largely, with many an animation of this sort. But this one, in which the plodding, steady skunk always maintained pace with the cat who was running at top best speed, actually disturbed him for some reason-though not so much as the one with the gigantic, mentally challenged baby duck. Even James skipped over that one.

    "They are still with us, Father."

    "They are likely to remain so, Saavik-kam."

    The shuttle Surak was at its best speed, and perhaps a bit past that, as Sarek had long ago had the shuttle modified against sudden incursions by the Federation's enemies. But their pursuers were twelve Dreadnought Class starships, top of the line not for an enemy, but the Federation itself. The skunk did not need to exhaust itself. The cat would be caught, soon enough, and it would not be smothered with kisses when this happened.

    "Father, is there no maneuver that can shake them?"

    Sarek felt his control slipping, worse than before any of his Pon Farrs save the first. But for this girl, he would not permit her last memories of him to be anything less than his best.

    "Saavik, we are a shuttle with some small warp capability. They have us on sensors, and have perhaps unguessed-at warp capabilities to access. We are in space that I chose deliberately for its remove from the beaten path most vessels traverse."

    Her face showed that she understood their peril.

    "Will they arrest us?"

    He had to be honest with her. Perhaps even tell her the truth about her parentage.

    "Their most current plans, as taken from the data you liberated, do not seem to yet call for a coup, so the propaganda value of my arrest would be negligible."

    She shook her head.

    "What of myself and Peter?"

    A shot rocked the ship. Saavik turned her attention to sensors.

    "They are no closer than before. How are we within weapons' range?"

    Sarek knew all too well.

    "A demonstration of their power. I would lay odds that the warhead of that torpedo was at its maximum yield and distance, and we felt it just as though we were right in their sights."

    Sarek considered the worst and lowest of options, at this point, and rejected them, not for their loathsome nature, but because of impracticality. Ramming one of the starships, even at a moment of greatest opportunity, would be beyond pointless. Killing the children was likewise pointless, as they were likely immortal. He began to internally tick off his regrets. First of these, he gave to Peter Kirk. Certainly to be taken again so quickly was the cruelest fate imaginable, his liberation lasting not even a week. Next went to Saavik herself, so briefly hopeful at finding her brother and looking forward to telling their adoptive father his son was alive. Amanda he tried to have no regrets for, save not knowing their fates or why they so suddenly vanished. As he wound through his list, he wished Spock an easier path, remembering their post-Babel talk about Spock's self-perceived lapses, including one that happily proved effective when the shuttlecraft Galileo and its party seemed doomed, in a decaying orbit that Spock could not correct.

    "My Son...you did the right thing."

    Sarek struck at the controls like a master pianist, now knowing exactly what he must do. The forces loyal to Admiralty Hall were assaulting the Ambassador with the hard fact of their overwhelming force and inevitable victory. They were bludgeoning a Vulcan with logic. In some cases, this might prove enough.
     
  4. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    *I have, to hear T'Pau tell, nearly always been atypical, since the day I was born at---*

    Sarek realized he had no idea where he had been born. Before this untoward thought could immobilize him, he finished his task at the ship's controls. The tiny shuttle surged forward at a pace none were prepared for, and this included their slow pursuers, whose snickering Sarek actively hoped he put a stop to, even for ten minutes. Saavik pulled herself from the floor, coming back from checking on Peter Kirk.

    "Father, what did you do?"

    Sarek turned away from the controls.

    "In the short-term, absolutely nothing. In the near-term, I have almost certainly doomed us."

    Her stare amused him, just a bit.

    "However, I tend to think in the long-term."

    Slower this time, he put out messages of every type in every direction he could think of.

    "There. Help may not arrive in time, but our passage will no longer go unmarked."

    "But will that truly help us, Father?"

    Sarek's response was cut off by a third voice.

    "No. Because they let you send out that signal."

    Standing, and seemingly wide awake and fully alert, was the prime object of both their rescue mission and the current pursuit. Again, Sarek put aside any sense of wonder to address his words directly.

    "Peter-why do you believe this?"

    "Because, Ambassador-that's the same thing they did to me. They created an artificial break in the action, and left me a communicator with which to send out one last message."

    Saavik did not bother to hide her delight in the boy's revival.

    "Peter! But Father created his own opening in this. They could not have anticipated so desperate a throw of the dice on his part."

    Sarek raised a hand, shaking his head as he did.

    "I fear he is correct, Saavik-kam. Their sensors would have detected our actual movement, even if I successfully masked the power build-up. Moreover, my effort used up our remaining power."

    The girl moved to the boy's side, and both exchanged the quickest of smiles before Saavik repeated an earlier question.

    "Father, what will become of us?"

    "My life is at an end. I accept that. They will attempt to bind the two of you back to Admiralty Hall. Do not let them. Be as-forgive me-as brutal as you must. Into your hands, I commend the future."

    Saavik did not look well-disposed towards this news; Peter seemed even less so.

    "Mister Ambassador-you can't give up. You're Mister Spock's father. He always comes through-almost always. You have to have a plan."

    In an odd way, Sarek found it almost heartening to hear that the boy had retained his naïve hero worship.

    "Peter, you are, I fear, mistaking me for your uncle. I have taken my calculated risk, and as you yourself pointed out, this was likely part of our enemies' calculations as well. Likely, they realized I would force a window open briefly. Now our mystery will include this obscure region of space as the last known location, where we sent out a frenzy of messages prior to vanishing entirely."

    Saavik squeezed Peter's hand, then spoke.

    "But Father-if they planned for Peter the night he was taken, and they planned for your surge, what guarantee do we have that they have not also planned around our resistance when they try and take us?"

    Sarek was brutally straight.

    "None at all, I'm afraid. There remains the very real possibility that the two of you will taken back to Admiralty Hall."

    Saavik seemed to shudder at this thought. Peter actually grabbed at his own head.

    "I won't go back."

    His eyes flashed silver, and then golden.

    "You don't know what it was like there. No light. No warmth. The only minds for kilometers around diseased and twisted by pure hate."

    Saavik showed her fear at this change, but refused to leave his side. Peter Kirk looked at her, and his regard was for something absolutely precious.

    "I won't let them take you. They did things to me there. They got inside my head. Made me doubt what was real, or even if I really had a name. They tried to convince me that maybe I was something made in their labs. That I was the reason for all the bad things that have happened. That I was the-"

    The ship rocked again, and this time not from any long-range shots. A despondent Sarek barely glimpsed at sensor scans.

    "With us the entire time. It would seem the Treaty Of Algeron, regarding cloaking devices, is in danger of abeyance."

    Peter Kirk was now howling.

    "I won't go back, and they will not keep hurting the people I care for, not now..."

    His hair spiked and turned red. His voice seemed to echo in mockery of the dark airless void surrounding them.

    "...NOT EVER!!!!"

    Sarek was shaken to see this transformation, but Saavik seemed transfixed by it, reaching out to Peter despite his energies shoving her back. The boy opened his hand in front of himself, looking into his palm. Inside a crown of fingers appeared an image of their shadowed pursuer. It grew ever more solid. Sarek realized too late what was happening. Peter slammed his hands together. In space, an explosion came from no apparent source. The shuttle was unharmed.

    "Peter, the other ships are closing on our position."

    "I know, Saavik. I won't let them hurt us."

    Sarek stood up, and approached Peter.

    "You must not do this. If you possess the power, get us out of here. But if we kill beyond self-defense or vital necessity, we become little better than they."

    "I won't kill them, Ambassador. Not right away."

    Eleven capitol ships moved into positions they assumed would end even the remotest thoughts of escape. The crews aboard knew their fates should they fail, and in any event, relished what they were doing. The feel of a wild hunt had emerged between these acolytes of the Order. They were doing God's work-not the triune ‘sheep-God' who embraced just about anyone-but the three-headed deity who knew that only Humanity should prevail.

    It should be noted that, allowing for the existence of that more inclusive God, it is said that one of his rules-really his first rule---disallows placing others before him. It should be further noted that, in the pursuit and enforcement of that first rule, much narrative relates the sending of representatives to make this clear. Lastly, it should be noted, the usual process of getting to know the crews sent by Admiralty Hall will be bypassed. They were all of a type, and of a kind, and of a nature, and that is why they were selected above your average loudmouthed bigot.

    In short, they would not be making plans for the next 25th Of December, whether they celebrated it or not.

    "Peter-what are you doing?"

    The scene inside the shuttle had shifted. Peter Kirk stood floating above them all, energy strings leading from his hands to what seemed over 1000 individuals. Sarek realized this was all an astral projection, and that none of them occupied their bodies at present.

    "I won't kill them, Ambassador."

    He smiled, and that smile comforted Sarek not at all.

    "I'm sending them straight to Hell. Avoiding the middleman, as it were."

    A pit opened beneath them, in that place that was no place at all. Ice beyond arctic seemed to emanate from it, as did heat well past Vulcan's Forge at NoonDay. The would-be masters of the universe struggled not to look down. Sarek fell to his knees.

    "Peter, hear me! This is wrong. If that pit before us is Hell itself, or if it is just a conjuring made from your anger and their fear, it does not matter. You cannot make yourself the judge of a soul's final destination. That is not given to us."

    Saavik had joined Peter at his perch, and this at last seemed her natural place. Together, the two lost children were home. Her voice echoed as well.

    "No, Father. They are his...they are ours to judge."

    The energy strands turned to lightning in Peter's hands, and each soul at his mercy shrieked.

    "Judged In The Name Of God, Ye Found Guilty! You nightmares of the Id, who for eons have run away from the mysteries of His space---let that judgment of your celebration of self-destruction now be invoked!"

    Sarek had gambled all before, and failed. He did so again, and prayed to a God who did not ask for genetic ID to aid his cause as he called out a being who seemed placed between them.

    "Are you the son of James Tiberius Kirk?"

    The boy, for all his power, had been struck true where he lived.

    "Yes, sir."

    The master diplomat had his opening, and would not let it go.

    "Would he, even at his most outraged, have approved of what you are now doing?"

    The boy did not prove so easy a target.

    "Do you know what they have to do to get placement on one of Admiralty Hall's pet starships, Mister Ambassador?"

    Sarek knew better than to cut him off, especially since he could not refute an argument that had not yet been offered up.

    "What is their criterion?"

    Looking confident, Peter nodded.

    "Everyone there hates, and everyone below Commodore gets used by Bunson, if they're part of that mess. Everyone is ready to serve in ‘their army' when the time comes that they are tired of ‘putting up' with the likes of us."

    Saavik added in.

    "To contrast them from the present, in which they have been in danger of beatification."

    Peter kept on.

    "To get a prized slot aboard their ships, each one of them must, without being told to first, seek out and kill non-Human Starfleet Cadets. Not just any ones will do. They must be Cadets of great promise, ones who could have proven that all the hate-filled rhetoric that's like air to them is a lie, even to their own. They earn their place, Sarek Of Vulcan, by killing promise. They earn it by killing truth. Without prompting, and of their own free will. No one has implanted controls in them. No family or loved ones are held against their behavior. It's against Cartwright's rules, and Gill's before his, and for generations unending. They know that the controlled can be freed. They want the grinners, the ones for whom the Starfleet catchphrase Yes We Can becomes Because We Can. These are the exact people I am set to give what they deserve, sir. What words do you have now, Mister Ambassador?"

    Peter would learn in months to come to *never* ask Sarek of Vulcan that sort of question.

    "I have asked you two questions. You answered yes to the first, and the second you cried pardon of. In my last one, I will not relent."

    "Ask. But do it quickly. I have some deliveries to make."

    "Very well. Ten years ago, you were deprived of your freedom, and by definition your free will. So it was for Saavik, in her early life. Moreover, your parents on Deneva mistreated and deceived you. Your life, even to possible prophecies about your birth and destiny, has been one marked by choices you have been deprived of. Can you, the son of James Kirk, do so to others and still say it is yours to walk with heroes?"

    The boy's face softened, and he turned to the companion he had only just met, but to whom he already felt closer than anyone could.

    "Saavik, I recharged the shuttle. Go back, and get us to Vulcan. The Ambassador-"

    He looked at Sarek, and smiled.

    "Father and I will see to these reprobates. Okay?"

    The girl nodded and vanished, but not before embracing him.

    "Father-how should we do this?"

    The boy's honorific was no mere aping of Saavik-on this plane, Sarek felt its utmost sincerity.

    "You who have stood with the Order. We will spare your lives. But look below you. This sort of place is where you will eventually dwell, that is, unless your hate snuffs your spark entirely when you are done-or even before that. We challenge you to embrace the mysteries of space, and all the challenges that will make first contact between our peoples seem like a backyard cook-out. Consider taking your great ships and leaving the life you have known behind. Because you will be kept unconscious until we are clear of you. Now choose between the summit and the pit."

    -----------------

    11

    Saavik awoke, and moved the shuttle clear of the silent behemoth starships with all speed. She still felt twinges of the power Peter Kirk had awakened in her, and fought back the urge to try and wipe the enemies away. There were times, she honestly wondered, if she could even make it emotionally on Romulus.

    *And Peter is of the same nature. What are we?*

    Again, she felt the oddity of it all. She was just shy of sixteen, and he had been frozen when he was not yet thirteen-or was he just shy of twenty-three? Also, he had called Sarek ‘Father', just as James Kirk was their common adoptive father-something Peter did not yet know. She was certain she wanted more than just a brother from him, but how much? Also, how much of her destiny was bound up with his, in defeating Ghidorah? This much she knew. She was glad this was nearly over. She never wanted to allow him to come to harm again.

    "Soon, we will be on Vulcan again, and speak to Mother about all this."

    She realized there was no one conscious to answer her, but she got an answer nonetheless, when Sarek and then Peter cried out. Sarek seemed to catch himself after a painful thirty seconds, but Peter Kirk kept right on. After another twenty seconds, Sarek managed to speak. It was not much above a hoarse cough.

    "Saavik, pull him out. Do what you must."

    Normally, facing a mind at least as powerful as her own would prove a challenge for Saavik. But two facts worked in her favor. Restraining her own active, non-touch telepathy meant that cutting loose was easier than it seemed. Second, she and Peter already had formed a connection that she exploited and he sensed, his mind almost swimming towards hers. His eyes opened, and they were again the eyes of the hurt little boy she had pulled out of a cruel stasis. The confident hero was gone, eaten alive by whatever he had seen.

    "Saa-vik?"

    She helped him to his cot, and Sarek to his chair. Their course was locked in, and markers for Vulcan-controlled space had already recognized them. Any pursuer would have to do it openly, and the Order preferred shadows.

    "Father, what happened in there?"

    Sarek drank some water, and then unsealed his favorite tea mix. This he drank in one gulp, in deep contrary to his custom.

    "We-gave them back their lives. We offered to aid them in building new lives, lives that would not lead to that horrific pit."

    Sarek stared ahead through the viewport, into space.

    "One and all, they chose to enter that pit. They chose the pit. They chose the Beast. Like Inspector Javert or Setek The Resister, They chose death over a life that did not adhere to their beliefs. The Hell that I only kept open as a reminder-they jumped into en masse. Some of them did it-with apparent joy. Because the universe we challenged them with was too much to be borne. They would rather be in a Hell made up of their own kind than even exist elsewhere."

    Saavik took this in, or she seemed to be. She looked back at the boy shaking in his bed.

    "What of Peter?"

    "He bore the brunt of the pain as they sought out damnation. Perhaps that pit was to the actual Hell. Reflected in their cries, I could see imagery of things---"

    Saavik turned and looked back at Sarek, fury and tears in her eyes.

    "How could you make him do that? You have opposed the Order longer than we have been alive, Father! You know what they are like, their level of commitment to their foul beliefs. Did you really believe that they would change, even under direct threat of spiritual oblivion?"

    He tried not to be harsh with her, but his exhaustion ran deep.

    "Do you really believe we can fight this war, abandon every last ideal we stand for, and still have a civilization that was worth the trouble?"

    She shook her head as she got up.

    "Your ideals are grand ones, Father. They do you honor, and they are worth fighting for."

    He was wise enough to brace himself for the words he knew would follow.

    "And as with every other idealistic adult in his life, you have told Peter to do the heavy lifting. Work the household for us, Peter. Accept that you can't stay, Peter. Accept abuse, Peter. Die and burn in hell for the greater good, Peter---five, six, pick up sticks. Unless you want him to do that too. I have sworn an oath to see to it that he never knows harm again, Father. Do not place yourself between me and that oath. Do not make me choose between the two of you."

    Sarek, tired and now a little bitter as well, was blunt.

    "What transpired between you and him, after his recovery?"

    She looked down.

    "Father, I am-"

    "As am I, my child. This dispute is best forgotten, or put aside for another day. Perhaps I did place an innocent barely recovered in the line of fire."

    "There is no perhaps to my need to curb my sharp tongue."

    He took her hand, gave it one light squeeze, enough to make his love for her clear, then released it.

    "He needs an advocate, and a friend. Especially now, when we must bring him to Seleya and the Kolinahri adepts to be made well. Go to him now, Saavik-kam. I will take us the rest of the way."

    Sarek's fight with exhaustion once the door closed between the two compartments seemed a losing one, until all at once he felt recharged.

    "You again?"

    Q flashed in next to him.

    "All I did was clear out your fatigue poisons and such. Child's play for a member of the Continuum, like---"

    "Like getting rid of eleven Dreadnought Class starships, floating in the void?"

    Q waved dismissively.

    "Already done. Once the Order members had all-given up the ghost-they were safe for me to do that voodoo I do so well."

    Sarek prepared himself.

    "Are you not here to tell me of how I mishandled this?"

    "Weeeelll---that part about Jim not letting his rage run him was kind of bone-headed, particularly when I just showed you a future where it did exactly that."

    Sarek shook his head.

    "Peter holds to the ideal James Kirk. Outside of the issue of his son, James has on many occasions sought a better path. It is with pride that I say that he is a brother to my son."

    Q surprised him a bit.

    "I think you did okay. Permitting an angry boy and the girl that adores him---for reasons you'll have to get from her---to play Big God On Cosmos is just a bad idea. Congratulations. You nipped this thing in the bud, Andy!"
     
  5. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Sarek was still not sure.

    "What now?"

    "Now? Give him a stable home, maybe the first he's ever known. Keep the fire hoses out for him and your granddaughter, figure out what story you're going to tell Jim, and keep it straight. He'll start to see through any lie, anyway. I don't have to tell you that the Order on Earth and Vulcan will have the long knives out for you, do I?"

    Q looked back at the door leading to the other compartment.

    "Jimmy once described me as a very bad little boy. I believe that kid is probably his definition of a very good one."

    "He has a great deal of his father in him."

    Q started to answer.

    "That's what worr-nahhhh---I'm not going to say it. It's too easy, and besides, you'd never get it."

    "I am thankful for this. Tell me, can he perform feats like he did today at any time he chooses?"

    Q shook his head.

    "Maybe someday. That whole ‘drag them to Hell' thing was a nervous reaction to the button-pushing thought of being taken back to Admiralty Hall. He was agitated into a condition that gave him access to abilities he won't be able to handle consciously for years."

    Sarek nodded.

    "In other words, he entered his Avatar State."

    Q looked puzzled.

    "His what?"

    Sarek had just been through a long day, and so took what satisfaction he could get.

    "It is a reference from Earth's early 21st Century. Look it up."

    Q actually snorted before fading out.

    "This---is going to be fun---ya know, except for the whole universe ending situation. That could put a damper on things."


    12

    The door between compartments opened again, happily after the entity had vanished.

    "Father-he wishes to speak with you."

    Locking the controls, Sarek went to Peter's bedside.

    "Peter, you wished to speak with me?"

    The boy took his hand, and gently squeezed it.

    "Thank you-Father. It was-the right choice."

    Sarek allowed a small smile, and prepared to request clearance for landing, since T'Khut was now in sight. But Peter grasped his hand again.

    "Peter, Father must go."

    "But-what about the people?"

    Sarek felt queasy, but answered.

    "The Order-Members made their choice, Peter, horrible though it was. We could not alter it."

    "Not them! The people that are inside your head."

    The boy pointed to Sarek's forehead.

    "Ka-tras. Skonn and T'Lara. They put them in you-on Vulcania."

    The boy would still need the help of the adepts in Seleya, but after these words, he slept at last, looking more like an angel of mercy than of wrath. Saavik waited until they were in the control cabin before speaking.

    "Father? Can what he said be true? Who are Skonn and T'Lara?"

    Sarek guided the vessel to his home planet's capture beam and let it take over before responding.

    "Skonn was the son of T'Pau, and T'Lara the daughter of Staton, who was the first to greet Zephram Cochrane after the flight of the Phoenix, and our world's first Ambassador to Earth."

    Saavik knew in her heart what words were to follow next.

    "They were my parents. They conceived and bore me on Vulcania Colony."

    "But Father, no one knows the exact fate of Vulcania, even after repeated expeditions."

    Sarek sat back down.

    "I do. King Ghidorah destroyed it. He killed my parents."

    Saavik felt something in her core, yet felt compelled to ask.

    "There are those who say that the Ancient Destroyer is only a myth."

    "Not to me he's not."

    On the surface of Vulcan, Lady Amanda's heavily guarded transport arrived at her home just in time to see her family arrive home-and then some. She was so glad to see Sarek, she forgot for the moment to be angry with him for locking her in the large family estate while they were away.

    "So-did you galactic travelers at least pick up something interesting?"

    Saavik helped Peter Kirk to the front door.

    "You could say that. Welcome home, Mother."

    Peter stopped before entering the house.

    "Is this home? It looks easy to clean."

    With that odd statement in the air, Saavik helped him to Spock's old room. Amanda pointed.

    "Sarek-who is that boy, and why does he look so familiar?"

    His face shifted emotions a few times, and still he had trouble speaking. Finally, Amanda spoke again.

    "Is this going to be one of those long stories?"