REP TOS-AU, Saavik's Tale, Teen/Mature, Ancient Destroyer

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gojirob, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Summary: In 2268, Captain Kirk's nephew and adopted son Peter vanished from his home in Iowa and was presumed killed. In 2278, Captain Kirk's adopted daughter Saavik undertakes to recover Peter, who may or may not be a figure of prophecy, and who is held by the corrupt upper echelon of Starfleet Command itself. As she enters a hell on Earth, Saavik recalls her past and how it may not be her brother who truly needs saving.


    Down Through The Circles - Saavik's Tale

    by Rob Morris


    "They cry in the dark, so you can't see their tears; they hide in the light, so you can't see their fears; Forgive and forget, all the while; Love and pain become one and the same

    In the eyes of a wounded child; because hell; Hell is for children" - Pat Benatar



    THE PAST - 2269


    I was about to receive what the other children called ‘The Drill'-again. I was their favorite target; to the point even the worst bullies gave me food out of sympathy. I knew what the drill really was. Despite my eyes being closed shut tight, I knew. I had deprived at least ten of the guards of theirs, to the point that even a favored target could be passed over, at least sometimes. But always they returned, catching and binding me first. I was not yet seven years old, and yet I knew what rape was, even better than the other children on Hellguard. Its Romulan name was Gh'drh. Its name was that of the mythical Ancient Destroyer Of Worlds.


    My father named me Saavik, while a bound and helpless, dazed captive and yet willing lover of the cruel woman who bore me, as a sign of her power. My name refers to the stone that he was bound to, the one thing that had never betrayed him, on that cold cruel world. He held me only once, but poured what was left of his spirit into me, and let me know that, however I had come to be, I was loved by at least one, always and forever. But my father was now long dead, or it was whispered, he had escaped, and lived as the right hand of an even greater man feared by all cruel and petty beings. Though, I could never remember where I heard these particular whispers. Perhaps even a child on a dungeon world needs to believe in fairy tales.


    Somehow, life was always just cruel enough to remind us of that fact, to never let us become inured to deprivation and depredation. That made it all the harder for me to believe that things would get worse after they had gotten better. Worse, as always, is a relative term. The guards sometimes used us for target practice. Once, despite my admonitions, little T'Shura stood up from behind a rock, distracted by the bisected body of would be-bully T'Aik as it flew by. The little one's head was cleanly vaporized, and her body fell at my feet. She was not yet five. On the day that I finally left that place, I saw her out of the corner of my eye, playing happily in a great city. It was only then I finally managed to cry for her, and for the little bully torn apart by ones far greater.


    When that day came, a guard prepared to make me ‘pay' for some imagined slight, a sign of how much they hated being there. Yet someone else made him pay-and more. He was in a golden tunic with dark pants, and he alternately pounded on the guard and taunted him with ‘You're Not Fighting A Child, This Time!' I would have never known that both I and the guard outclassed him in terms of raw strength. I rejoiced, not at the end of my captivity, but at the imminent return of my father. For surely this was the king he served with, the man described in the whispers I now knew to be real. When he removed his outer tunic, I was briefly fearful, till he placed it on me. I knew not of shame or modesty, but I knew of cold, and I knew that this king had favored the child of his good right hand. A hand that then made its first appearance, or so I thought.


    "Captain, we have more time than initially believed before Romulan reinforcements arrive, but there is a message from Starfleet Command."


    "Is it my head, or my privates, Mister Spock? Which do they want?"


    "I must assume, sir-that they want it all. You have given them a prime excuse to act against you."


    "If Komack wants my extremities on a platter, I guess I can't blame him. He gave everything he had to the Hall a long time ago."


    "You refer, as always, to his refusal to allow young Peter to live on board the Enterprise."


    I briefly wondered who ‘Peter' was, but before that, my heart leapt to see the Vulcan. At last, the one who had given me the means to survive that awful place, till he could retrieve me, had returned.


    "Sri! SRI! Sriiiiiiiiiii!!!"


    My embrace and shouts of ‘Father' put Mister Spock well off his mark. Then he put me off mine.


    "You are wrong, little one. I am not your father. Captain, I fear that her rampant emotions, while quite understandable cause me great discomfort. I will see to the interrogation of the surviving guards."


    At his simple but clear rejection, I began to wail, as powerful arms held me tight and a tender voice told me "It's all right. You'll see. Everything's finally going to be all right."


    Through my grief, I could barely hear this man, who had literally given me the shirt off his back, and, who, before the year was done, would give an unwanted orphan, an embarrassment to two worlds, the greatest gift possible. Captain James T. Kirk gave me his name, and that of his late mother, a woman he mourned despite her immense difficulties. In time, I would call him Uncle, and even ‘Daddy'. But for then and there, I hated him, because of who he was not, and could never be. It was a very long time before I chose to believe that Spock spoke the truth about not being my father.


    It was an even longer time before I realized that I understood all their words when I had never heard an ounce of Federation Standard before that day.



    THE PRESENT - 2278, VULCAN CONSULATE IN SAN FRANCISCO


    While a consummate diplomat, Sarek was also not known for using art in saying what needed to be said, when the time for action at last eclipsed the need for preparatory words.


    "There are no transporters that can, in and of themselves, reach down to the area where Peter Kirk is held. He is not heavily guarded, nor really, is he guarded at all. This derives from two harsh facts. The first is that, in the unlikely event he should awaken and escape, there is no force that could hold him. Also a factor is that guards must be at least partially informed about what it is they guard. It is not in Admiralty Hall's interests to have their captive's identity known to any but their utmost elite. "


    Saavik again fought back such questions as how Sarek knew these things.


    "What is the second harsh fact, Father?"


    "There are no turbolifts that descend to where he is kept. There are no stairs, per se. Starting from what is publicly known to be their lower-most sub-basement, there exist fifty lower levels, made using stratus-forming technology well beyond what they have allowed the public to know of. These are accessed only by a series of sloping walkways. One level leads directly into another. It is designed to make descent a hardship and ascent a near-impossibility."


    Saavik Brianna Kirk attempted to emulate her adoptive father. She managed only the tone.


    "So I will be facing impossible odds, exponentially stacked against an intruder like myself. Sounds like fun."


    Sarek ignored this.


    "You will need to plant a series of transporter booster devices as you descend. You and they must not be noticed. Despite my prior words, merely freeing young Peter may not be enough. The lag time between his awakening and his recovery is an unknown that will inevitably play into the hands of his captors, and perhaps make them your captors as well. This cannot be permitted."


    Saavik abandoned her attempt at levity.


    "Father?"


    Sarek rose, and did the unthinkable. He embraced the granddaughter he could not identify as such, even to her. He then looked deeply into her eyes.


    "My logic concerning my children has always been of a compromised nature. This has not changed. Age only makes it more apparent that, on occasion, this must be demonstrated without worries about decorum. Now, Saavik-kam-are you prepared?"


    She viewed the device he offered her with trepidation.


    "This will truly change me?"


    "Your outward appearance, and any scans made of your DNA with a portable device. You will be in a den of the worst sort of xenophobes, and a member of the species they hold in special contempt, their dealings with T'Pring aside. This is necessary."


    "This is Iconian technology? Part of Doctor Archer's ‘Red Shift'?"


    Sarek now took on a look as grave as his previous one had been tender. Truly for the first time, Saavik wondered if something was wrong with him.


    "Doctor Archer, I am reliably told, was an honorable man extorted into ‘discovering' that ‘lost cache' of ‘Iconian' technology. But whatever the true origin of these specialized nanoprobes, they are not Iconian. Professor Taoru Uhura has proven this in papers that, tellingly, stalled his career."


    Saavik had never met her ‘Aunt Nyta's' parents. She hoped that she would live to alter that fact, and to introduce them to the adopted grandson they had also never met. She contained her fear, and activated the nanoprobe injector. Had the hive mind that once controlled all such technology not been made extinct by the Ancient Destroyer, it might have been dangerous. But the Borg was merely among many great powers the Federation would never encounter.


    "How do I look, Father?"


    Her hair had lightened considerably. Her face was now, more than ever, the younger face of his beloved Amanda. He nodded, and tried to avoid smiling.


    "So...Human."


    Still, he inspected all her features, not merely the obvious markers. He then bid her let him cut her. As hoped, the blood was the red of an iron-based system, not the green of a copper one.


    "You are prepared. My final instructions to you: Use your special talents only if you must. This is the sort of enemy that you may only surprise once. Live Long And Prosper, Saavik Kirk."


    "I will do this, and I will return with my brother. Peace And Long Life To You, and to Mother as well. Uncle Jim tends to make his own peace and prosperity, so I will instead wish some of his luck to myself."


    Saavik transported to a pre-arranged site out of anyone's view, in line with the plans they had made. Once alone in his private offices, Sarek saw his right hand begin to shake. He was minutes in calming it, and was an hour more in calming his upset over seeing this.


    "No...Please. I am a young man. It is too soon. It is too SOOOOONNN!!!"


    Once he was certain of his calm, Sarek made a note to order a new vidscreen, to replace the one he had just shattered.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  2. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    "Give a little bit; Give a little bit of your love to me
    Give a little bit; I'll give a little bit of my love to you
    There's so much that we need to share; So send a smile and show you care."



    Supertramp, Give A Little Bit




    THE PAST


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


    2269, the USS Enterprise


    "Saavik, Aunt Nyta and I were just....helping each other."


    "Can I Stay Here Tonight?"


    "Aaaaaahh...sure. Of course. Always."

    I often knew full well that I was interrupting Uncle Jim and Aunt Nyta, but I did not care. I was a delight in his eyes, and I liked being that. I still do, even when I realize that this is no longer enough. Uncle Jim-Daddy-as Doctor McCoy would say you did your damndest to save me.


    I am determined to repay that debt. Before I descend fully back into the muck you found me in, your unworthy child will restore to you the son you truly loved. You gave me so much, so freely.


    I recall how he struggled to teach me about Surakian wisdom. Though that wisdom would prove hollow, from him I believed every word.


    "We must remember the path we have turned away from."


    "We must choose to flow as water, which is scarce."


    "We must choose to shift as sand, which is plentiful."


    "We must choose the cold calm of the sunless places."


    "We must choose the omnipresent heat of The NoonDay Forge."


    "We must choose to belittle the pain of no one."


    "We must choose to believe that there is no pain."


    "We must strive to know true control while accepting that true control is a falsehood."


    I asked a question.


    "Why?"


    He fell over in laughter, and then held me tenderly. He almost made me forget Spock. But Spock's rejection was as thorough as it was anticipatory of my rejection by an entire world. Sadly, Uncle Jim was not above telling me fairy tales.


    "I know you want to stay with me. So did Peter. But honey, you'll like Vulcan. There, people behave themselves, and do everything according to what best makes sense. They have complete control over their emotions, and they'll teach you how to control yours. There's no misery there, and no loneliness. People care for others, and no one has to say that they do, because it's just a given. For Vulcans, a half-smile means delight. A chuckle means guffaws of laughter. So long as you obey the laws, they protect you. No one is cruel. It's all based on logic."


    No, Daddy. You are logical, as are Sri Sarek and Sra Amanda. But Vulcan, and the rest of the universe, can stew in its own corruption, or it can burn. Either way, I am past enduring. The compact you spoke of is long past broken, and I am past enduring. I will retrieve my brother, and then his sister will vanish in the night. My hope has already done so. For that is what Vulcan taught me.



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


    THE PRESENT


    2278, STARFLEET ACADEMY DETENTION FACILITY


    The Cadet-Master stood over the seated girl, shaking his head.


    "Do you have any idea what happens to cadets that strike at one of the elite?"


    She looked up with the same glare she had once given T'Pring's niece T'Nanc.


    "I'm not a cadet! Your precious guidance counselors claimed I wasn't *enlightened* enough."


    The confident-looking young man seemed to hear something he liked.


    "What answer didn't the xenophiles like?"


    Saavik shrugged a disinterested one that was the only thing she actually had to practice. The rest of the act came from her life.


    "I called Vulcans, and I quote the biggest bunch of hypocrites in the universe, and nothing to be admired or worshiped. Now, I'm no fan of James ‘Tomcat' Kirk, but ya know, he adopted one of the little pointy rug rats, and she gives him a hug, and all of a sudden, to hear the points ruckus' you'd think that Doomsday Machine was over Mount Selene!"


    "Seleya. It's Mount Seleya."


    The bigot was correcting her. This could only mean good things. Her Human appearance was one thing. Selling it was another.


    "Whatever. They strut and preen, masters of all, but a kid acts like a kid, and they're apocalyptic."


    "Apoplectic, but maybe you were right the first time. Look, do you know why that loser hit on you?"


    "He was horny, and I'm hot?"


    She recalled crewmen aboard the Enterprise joking like that. It was a little less natural than expressing her anger.


    "Sort-of. See, he barely made the cut as Cadet-Master. He had the zeal, but not the hitting power. When the little people rise up, you need a firm hand to bring them back down. A hand he never had, and never will."


    "Except in his locked bedroom, right? Wait-did you send him out just to get slammed down?"


    "You're crude, but bright. So you don't love the alien, and you like to hit things, and the Academy brown-noses tried to make you ashamed to be Human. You want his place?"


    She smiled.


    "No. Not his place. If it's a choice between that and prison, I'd rather be at the bottom of an openly hostile totem pole than one that talks rules but is basically the same as stir."


    He leaned close to her.


    "Then how about the Palace? I can place you in the Hall itself. Now, it would only be the lobby guard, but prove yourself there and..."


    "I'll take it."


    He placed his hand on her, as if expecting payment. She giggled, but gently moved it off her.


    "I once ruined a very good thing by playing that game too soon. The newbie is always charged with favoritism. If you actually want that, then get me in there for a while. I know how to deliver both payment and punishment."


    She almost expected to be struck, and calculated how she would react. But this proved unnecessary.


    "Yeah, that's actually wise. But when the time comes...I collect however I see fit."


    Saavik had identity chips prepared to back up everything she said, and every check they would doubtless make. Yet what struck her the most was the cosmic-or was it comic? irony of her recruitment being based on hitting, bigoted statements and slimy innuendo. Either she had been flagged by Admiralty Hall's security already, or The Order's power was simply so vast, they did not fear infiltration by these or any other means. She greatly feared it was the latter. But in that fear, she found hope that she could ride that overconfidence, however justified, straight down to the secret holding area of Peter Kirk.
     
  3. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    People see me; I'm a challenge to your balance; I'm over your heads;
    How I confound you and astound you; To know I must be one of the wonders
    Of God's own creation; And as far as you can see you can offer me; No explanation - Natalie Merchant, Wonder


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


    THE PAST, 2270


    They greeted me with eyes full of wonder. They are polite to this thing of no-house, and they act as though they truly want me here. I shall always hold Mother Amanda and Father Sarek - Sra and Sri - as dearly in my heart as I hold Uncle Jim-Daddy. Even the supposedly dour and grim Sarek treats me as though I were his own child.


    "T'Pau has called you ‘the unfortunate child'. But you are fortunate, Saavik. As are I and my wife. It is our pleasure to have you here."


    "Sarek is right, Honey. We don't care what your name is, young lady, we'll never turn you away."


    If only all my life could have been as that first year after Hellguard. But whether I knew it or not, I had enemies.


    -------


    The events of that first day at school stay with me. At both Sri and Uncle's urging, I had modified my looser manner of talking into what Jim called a ‘Vulcan isotope', something more formal than formal. It was the task of other Vulcans to accept me. It was my job to make myself as acceptable as I could muster. It was explained to me as a social contract. Both Daddy and Sri noted each in their own way that their own acceptance of me was unconditional. Poor Father Sarek. He at times seemed to be trying to make up for the dismissal I received from the rest of his planet, even to his grandmother, T'Pau.


    "How goes your first day, Saavik of No-House?"


    I thought it odd that I had been warned to stay clear of T'Pring's nieces, T'Akih, T'Hrka and T'Mhya. I thought it even odder when I heard whispers among schoolmates that T'Pring's brother, father to all three girls, had been ordered to produce as many children as possible, so that T'Pring herself would not be sidelined by pregnancy. I even heard-let us just say it was worse, far worse. I asked Mother Amanda why T'Pring was so lowly regarded, and not just by Spock's family. Was she not a pioneer for the rights of women on Vulcan? No, I was told. There were such pioneers, seeking to expunge from the books laws that still allowed even a man as gentle as Sri Sarek to mutilate a disobedient wife or female child. T'Pring and what Mother called her ‘drama queen' antics at the bonding ceremony should not be counted among those women. For T'Pring, the mantra was not IDIC, nor was it Peace And Long Life. Hers was a mantra my rapist birth-mother would have understood. *It's About Power.*


    "It goes well enough, daughters of House Setekh. Thank you for your concern."


    As I ate my lunch, I rightly doubted their concern for me. I wrongly thought, however, that this lack of concern was also indifference. They were not indifferent to my fate. Like the man I embarrassingly can never settle on a title for, they had a plan. But Daddy's plans saved lives. Their plans ruined them. They would ruin mine. Yet like all such things, they needed me to make the first move, and that is exactly what I did.


    "Does it go so well? That boy empties your food tray, even now. Does he mean you to starve?"


    Damn them, doubly damn their weakling and possibly perverted father, thrice damn their Uncle Stonn, and damn down to Hell T'Pring. For she knew exactly how to push the buttons of a girl for whom food once meant life itself. I should not have reacted the way I did. Vulcan was not Hellguard. I had eaten that morning, and would eat again that night. Logic should have told me all that.


    "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"


    I seized the boy, whose name was Solon, and held him against the wall. With the other arm, I broke one of his like it was cardboard. I had contemplated ripping it out of his socket. His whimpering words took only seconds, though, to penetrate my maddened brain.


    "But they had said-that-you had finished your meal, and had-aaahhh-forgotten to clear your tray."


    There was laughter behind me. I knew then, and felt still greater rage. But also, I remembered being warned about T'Pring. If this was her idea-and it would prove to be-then would she sacrifice her brother's children, to prove I was a savage? That I imagined she would was the only thing that kept them from being so sacrificed. I turned to a stunned-silent class monitor.


    "You must seek medical attention for him, and custody, for me. I will not resist, nor move from this spot until you do."


    Upon analysis, it was shown in my favor that I had thought of another's well-being first, my other actions aside. But those actions, taken in front of the whole school, marked me as nothing else could.


    On my first day of school, I marked myself as the atavistic symbol of Vulcan's shame.


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


    What followed was a non sequitur, but of the rare, positive sort. I should have known better than to trust it, even if the people involved were sincere in their intent, and possessed no ill will towards me.


    "Then you do not intend to press charges?"


    "No, Mister Ambassador. Far from it. We know that both the girl, Saavik, and our son were manipulated by the daughters of Setekh."


    If I were surprised by the words of Scharl, the words of his wife T'Rae would stun me entirely.


    "Girls that we have repeatedly instructed Solon not to associate with, any at all. We wish our son no harm, but if this pain drives our lesson home, it will achieve at least some small worth."


    I rose in fury, but this time, it was a controlled fury, and directed in the defense of one I had so wronged.


    "You cannot hold him responsible! You cannot be angrier with him, than with me!"


    Scharl raised two fingers in the air, calming me.


    "Child, we are not angry with either of you. Even if this had been purely a mistake, for you, one forced to live on nearly no food, it would be likely forgivable. That it was the result of sinister actions and scheming only magnifies this."


    I was struck. No talk of how anger was ‘a Human emotion'. The only reference to my upbringing a sympathetic one. Did people like this even truly exist, outside of my immediate circle? I was more than struck. I wanted to cry, but I had shamed all involved enough that day.


    "I promise to also keep away from your son, in perpetuity, even to my own discomfort and inconvenience."


    Yes, people like this did exist, and these were genuine. These people were the embodiment of decency. Was it that which made them too fragile to survive what was to come? I recall a song that Doctor McCoy made Uncle Jim listen to, upon losing a bet. It was called ‘Honey', and it too, was about a creature too fragile to live. We both rolled our eyes at it, while the Doctor chuckled. But for being good sports, he then flipped the ancient petroleum-based disc over, and played the song's polar opposite, a ‘rocker' called ‘Little Things'. I later wondered if both songs, by the same artist, one Robert Goldsboro, might be about the same fragile woman. Solon, T'Rae and Scharl were to prove so fragile as well.


    "May I ask a question of Saavik?"


    It was Solon himself, speaking this time. I merely nodded, feeling unfit to speak.


    "Why is your name Saavik?"


    Again, his parents seemed more aghast at him than at me. They were not cruel, that I could see. Yet I found this highly objectionable.


    "It is not an untoward question, Solon. My name is Saavik because that is the name my father gave me, when briefly we touched, just after I was born. He was a bound captive, and stated that he had been betrayed-by a brother? Or was it a sister? Both? I cannot recall with full clarity. In any event, he named me for the stone to which he was bound, for it was the one thing in that awful place that had never betrayed him. Therefore, he named me Svik, which means-"


    T'Rae interrupted me, as though she had struck upon some great insight.


    "The Rock. Your name means The Rock. And the Rihannsu named what we call Hellguard for the Ancient Destroyer Of Worlds-The Gh'drh, what Klingons call the Three Heads Of King Death. Ambassador, Lady Amanda-we must speak without the children present."


    Sarek consented in this, and we were escorted away. I saw his arm, kept immobile by gravimetric splints, and so I spoke to Solon at last.


    "Are you in pain?"


    "I am. That is to be expected, and will pass. I inquired about your name, because it is unusual for Vulcan. I mean no disrespect by that."


    "I broke your arm. You should not explain yourself to me."


    He shrugged. I do not think that I have seen many Vulcans do so.


    "It seems I always explaining my actions for some reason, and then I am criticized for explaining my actions too often. It seems that, even on logical Vulcan, a male who is slightly indecisive is also a target."


    I then saw rage on his face, and wondered again why it was not directed at me.


    "I hate this place, as do my parents. It has become so small; it may as well fit into a crevasse on T'Kuht! Father Surak does not rule here. Vile Setekh does."


    I did not know how to answer him, this seeming kindred spirit. The thought that this could be a pose, meant to net T'Akih more information, came to mind.


    "Would you leave Vulcan?"


    "We would. But my parents insist on making a stand against T'Pring's ways. We have no ground left to stand on. The Order has put paid to Logic, to C'Thia, to the Truth Of Reality itself."


    I began to feel very, very cold inside.


    "Solon, the guards on Hellguard also belonged to the Order. As did my birth-mother."


    How wonderfully odd, to converse so freely with one I had done grievous injury to, when those I had never done harm plotted against me, like I was a princess, and not a pauper. I take that back. To Uncle Jim, I was just that royal. But I would not see him for another year.


    "They seek the shadows, but always the shadows in the halls of power. They are holders of that power, manipulators of that power, and wielders of that power. And that power is an end unto itself, like their hate of all things not exactly themselves."


    I had thought I was listening to a wise young man, one who had contemplated and given much thought to weighty matters. It never once occurred to me that I was listening to one who had merely given up.


    "My Uncle Jim says that the wrong will fail, the right prevail, and peace in sight of the stars will come someday."


    "He is a great man. No one who was the barbarian of dismissive talk could have seen himself, his ship, and his crew through so many odd and terrifying situations. That as great a man as Spock would follow him speaks to this as well."


    To speak against Sri and Sra's son to anyone else was not in me, even at my worst.


    "Spock has said that all the crew is of this caliber."


    That was Spock all over. A kind word for anyone, as long as it was not his best friend's daughter. It could have been worse. My early error could have been wrong, and he could have actually been my father. Then perhaps, I would face summary execution.


    "Know this, Saavik. Many have wronged me. Few are those who have apologized so readily as you, without prompting or coercion. My arm will heal. But your accountability I will recall with some fondness."


    Perhaps Mother or Aunt Nyta could have told me what was going on inside Solon's head, to speak to me in such a manner. But all that was about to become moot. Our parents and guardians reemerged. Solon's parents looked pleased, Sri Sarek a little less so, and Mother not at all. Sarek spoke for the decision rendered.


    "To end this incident in the most positive way possible, it has been decided to make a united symbolic stand against those who deal in whispers and cloaks. Solon shall represent his house in this, and Saavik shall be the chosen representative of House Surak."


    A chosen representative, but not truly one of the most prestigious houses on Vulcan. Again, what am I to T'Pring? It is not as though I am set to inherit T'Pau's position.


    "Father, what is this decision? What must we two do, as we represent your houses?"


    Sri Sarek now actually seemed reticent.


    "Your bond has been arranged. You and Solon are to be betrothed, shortly after your lessons in mental restraint are completed."


    My mind swam so fast at hearing that; my diction fell quickly from regular Vulcan to Terran slang.


    "What? But we're like, eight years old, and I broke his freakin' arm!"


    I looked around at the stunned faces of the Vulcans, and one smiling Human. I do not know if I blushed, but it seems likely. As does the thought that ‘freakin' is a memory-filtered euphemism for a harsher, even less-acceptable word.


    Yet I noticed that Solon did not seem to mind, and I had wronged him. Plus, he was pleasant, and easy to talk to. Would it be so bad, I thought, a life with one so thoughtful and expressive? We could leave cruel Vulcan together, perhaps.


    Sri Sarek suggested I inform Uncle Jim, as my parent, and Spock, as the executor of my legal affairs.


    Sra Amanda then suggested that he be the one to make such a call. Actually, she did not so much suggest this as she demanded it. But I still spoke with the great man, months away from finishing the mission that would define his career.


    "Honey, is this what you want?"


    "I like Solon, Daddy. And my circumstances make finding another bondmate unlikely. I am not unhappy. And the rights of women have already expanded to include us in the Kahs-Wan. This is not enslavement, but a choice I'm making."


    "He's your friend?"


    "A very good and understanding one. I-broke something of his, but he forgave it."


    As the Doctor would doubtless say, I would make a good fertilizer salesperson. Or maybe Uncle Jim knew anyway, and just let my lie go.


    "So long as you are happy. But I will be there for the official betrothal. I don't know if outsiders are allowed in, and I don't care."


    "Will Spock be there as well?"


    His face and features sharpen a bit. Why, I wondered, then and now, do I continue to look to one who has never been there for me, while dismissing the one who was? I am sorry, Daddy. The old delusion never ended. When I look to see the face of my forgotten father, I see Spock.


    "I will try-No, I will get him there, if Bones has to knock him out first to do it!"


    He met my ingratitude with a declaration of still-greater love. Perhaps I, reasoned, I was unfit to bear even his name.


    So it was that I resolved to, at our next meeting, to make mine a declaration of both love and gratitude so fundamental, it would erase all memory of my foolish inquiries about a man who was son to those who housed and cared for me, a brother to my father, and to whom I was worse than nothing at all.
     
  4. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    AUGUST, 2271


    The Earth rejoiced at the successful return of the USS Enterprise, commanded by Captain, soon to be Admiral, James Tiberius Kirk. I rejoiced for my impending reunion with the man I could never love enough, yet often seemed to wrong as badly as I had Solon. I regretted that he could not be there with me. I cannot say that I ever felt love for him, but he was pleasant, and did not deserve what was to come. No one did. Yet at that point I was focused on the man coming down the Shuttlecraft Galileo's ramp to cheers wide and deep.


    "DAAAADDDYYYY!!!"


    Not Sri. Daddy. This was an Earthman, and a good father whose child loved him, and wanted to show it, in no uncertain terms. T'Akih and her goons had made my life at school difficult, but here, they could not touch me. I ran into his powerful arms, and was scooped up delightedly, amidst an exchange of hugs and kisses. All seemed bright.


    Only an hour later, the newsfeeds showed me what a naive fool I was.


    *Dozens of Vulcans who eye-witnessed the exchange between Captain Kirk and his adopted daughter expressed disgust at what they called a vulgar, emotional display. It is said that the planetary population of Vulcan is united in denouncing this little girl for greeting her father. As they say, Sol is Sol, and Eridinai is Eridinai, and ne'er the twain shall meet...*


    Inside his San Francisco apartment, Uncle Jim asked questions of his friends and crew, who should have been eating a celebration lunch.


    "Nyta?"


    Uhura had comforted me since the tongues had begun wagging. I knew that her relationship with Uncle Jim was not what it once had been.


    "Jim-even by media standards, this seems wrong. In an hour, a planet-even Vulcan-is united by news this fast? There are some fast slippery hands behind this."


    "Bones?"


    "Jim, Vulcans have firm beliefs. But that polite euphemism said, they are not like Humans, to be distracted by a child's lack of control, even if cameras were recording and broadcasting it. We may like sensationalism-they don't. This is one big non sequitur, except we all know it isn't."


    "Spock?"


    "While Saavik's comportment leaves much to be desired, the fact remains that the reports of dozens of Vulcan eyewitnesses to this sorry event is and must be a falsehood. There was one Vulcan present, and that was I. I fear the Doctor is correct in his unstated suspicions."


    "Vwhat unstated suspicions? There ees not von seengle aspect of this that I am not incredibly confused by."


    "Pavel's right, Jim. I don't get it either, and well, Scotty took time out from the refit to say that the Vulcans he's working with allow for children's antics."


    I was supposed to be asleep in the guest bedroom. I was not, and heard it all as Daddy explained.


    "People-when Bones and I faked my death on Vulcan, we not only saved my life and Spock's, but unknowingly short-circuited a greater plot on the part of Lady T'Pring. That labyrinth mind of hers is nothing I'd ever want to walk through."


    "What the Captain refers to is the scandal that would have resulted from my murdering him during my struggle with Plak Tow. Both I and Sarek would have been forever disqualified from inheriting T'Pau's position on the Vulcan Council, a position some have likened, not entirely inaccurately, to the throne of Vulcan. T'Pring would have then advanced her name for that position, and the followers of House Setekh, willing and otherwise, could have helped her to achieve her goal very quickly."


    "Whole damn thing was a power grab-a coup d'état!"


    "Doctor, I believe I just said that. Jim-she said that she would not forget your role in thwarting her designs."


    "And so she hasn't. The proof of that is crying her eyes out in the next room."


    I hated myself anew for the sadness I heard in Uncle Jim's voice. Sadness I had caused, even when I had wanted to bring him only joy.



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


    THE PRESENT, 2278


    Disguised by specialized nanoprobes whose origin she could not account for, the now Human-appearing Saavik moved against her squad-leader and first opponent. She wondered how Admiralty Hall's guards differed from any other elite force. She knew the Hall and its inhabitants to be vile by way of the talk of her heroes aboard the Enterprise. Yet even Vulcan teams pledged to the security of top ranking officials were known to have tests such as these.


    "You going to circle me all day, newbie, or throw down? "


    Saavik knew to wait for just the right opening. Her strength was five times that of most Vulcans, though why this particular hybrid quality had shown up only in her, among the many Hellguard orphans, was as great a mystery as Sarek's nanoprobes. This strength meant that she had to struggle not only with her opponent, but with her facade of being a normal Human, albeit one with speed, skill and the ability to deliver blows. Having to fight ‘street' style might have been another problem, but in fact it was almost natural for a girl who grew up a scavenger in a place where food was scarce, not to mention wretched when it was found.


    "I'm ending this, rookie!"


    The opening came, and Saavik pushed the young woman over, masking this simple tactic with exaggerated motions, making it seem like some obscure martial art attack. Her ‘sponsor' approached her, smiling about her victory.


    "Congrats, Squad Commander."


    Saavik did not have to fake her surprised reaction to this news.


    "But I thought this was merely...ya know, just to earn my place in the lobby guard."


    The defeated opponent stood up, and without looking over, began to remove her clothes.


    "No. Each bout is all or nothing. The way Human warriors used to fight. You took the win, rookie."


    She finished undressing.


    "Now I have to take it everywhere else. Squad! HERE'S YOUR PET LOSER!!!!"


    Men and women-though they seemed scarcely much older than Saavik herself-descended upon the defeated former squad commander. Happily realizing that the thugs probably expected a ‘newbie' to recoil, Saavik did just that and turned away. Her sponsor grinned at her the way bullies did, when they thought they had something on a weaker target.


    "It is a bit rough to take, at first. But you've earned her place. So get down there."


    He pointed at the path leading to the sloping walkways, the ones Sarek said lead to Peter Kirk.


    "I take it my patrol will be recorded, and me disciplined, if I don't do it right?"


    She put on her best ‘been there done that' face regarding the hideous punishment her opponent was now taking, but it failed just enough to seem like a facade, which proved to the sponsor that he was manipulating her as he desired. Saavik Brianna Kirk would never know just how much her unknown Human blood was saving her. An act just slightly more polished than hers would have been easily seen through.


    "No cameras down there. Not even sensors. Lucky you, you're headed into the most sensitive part of the Hall. Whatever's really down there is known to Cartwright, Bunson, Komack, Colonel West, Osborn, and maybe their aides. They say it's what drove Garth insane, but I say he was batshit before they brought him down there."


    Saavik mentally calculated the timeframe of Garth's insanity. If what was down there was Peter Kirk, then it very nearly fit. Though why and how a frozen, helpless boy could accomplish the mental breaking of a starship commander of Garth's caliber was flatly beyond her comprehension.


    "Garth? I heard he was a complete maverick, worse than Kirk, when it came to the Hall's power and authority. One of your little Academy counselors just did not know when to shut up."


    "Tell me their name-tomorrow. As to Garth, my guess is he's been offered Izar's survival when the time comes. Or maybe he just wants to be the one to give the victory speech when Y*AD 1 starts."


    "Ummm...Y*AD?"


    He pointed again toward the sloping walkways.


    "His mysteries aren't for someone who hasn't even completed her first patrol."


    Saavik managed to give the kind of snarky smile that her Uncle Jim loved, and that was certain to provoke the ‘Lady' T'Pring at gatherings.


    "I gotcha. Actually, I'm looking forward to it."


    As the young woman who had faked, lucked and cybered her way into the fortress of a very nearly satanic power walked exactly where she wanted and needed to, her opponent, defeated so recently and seemingly punished for her failure, got up and began to dress. She glared at her attackers.


    "Totally weak. Grow some backbones, or some kind of bone, anyway. I barely felt you."


    She looked at where Saavik had been so recently.


    "Bunson went down there already?"


    The ‘sponsor' nodded.


    "She's always especially hungry after her time down there. Sweet but strong little thang like that should just about satisfy even her, though."


    Saavik attributed her hearing, beyond the range of even most Vulcans, to the rules of survival on Hellguard. But while its origins, like her own, were not what she thought, it was as useful here as it was on Vulcan, avoiding those who wished to give her grief. She had been set up, but only the frame of the trap was a surprise, not its fact. Even the vapid novel heroine Mary Sue Johnson could have foreseen this, minus any ‘miracle leaps' in deductive reasoning.


    *They so should have pushed her out the airlock in that first story*


    Though, she mused, Uncle Bill Kirk had shown her the same author's ‘Hidden Prince' series, and that she had liked. Putting aside nerves and the memory of her time with George Kirk, Senior's older, more than slightly eccentric brother, Saavik continued her journey downward to reclaim a brother she had never met. The walkways down were neither wide nor tall, and they were not well ventilated. There was a stench that reminded her of living flesh made to burn.


    *You are in a living hell, brother. But I was born in one. In a way, I have always been headed back there. I see that now. But before that happens, I will restore you to the arms of our father.*


    She had not had to kill, as yet. She doubted that would remain the case. The past and the present were as one, guiding her ever downward, at least in her mind. A being of great worth was in pain, and in her despair, considered herself quite worthless. The best efforts of her family and heroes had not been able to change that, and she thought certain nothing could.
     
  5. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Never mind the forecast ;'Cause the sky has lost control ; 'Cause the fury and the broken thunder's; Come to match my ragin' soul ; Now I don't believe I want to see the mornin'

    - (Going Down To) Stoney End, Laura Nyro, covered by Barbra Streisand



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


    THE PAST, 2273


    Solon had an innate sweetness about him. He would address me without redress, and he honestly always seemed glad to see me. I suppose that part of this was the pressure his parents put him under to always achieve the very highest grades, including all possible extra projects. I was a relief to him in this regard. He was a relief to me because in his eyes, I was not an outcast thing to be scorned or pitied. The one I had done the greatest wrong to was my greatest ally. I cannot say that he was my joy, though being around him made me look forward to the day my lessons in control would be done, and our pre-bonding carried out. For then and there, walking home with him after school was a great joy, perhaps one of the greatest I had ever known.


    In retrospect, one such as I should really have known better.


    "Your recent test scores were excellent."


    He always blushed a bit when I paid him a compliment. He thought this unseemly on his part. I thought it-cute. Yet still, he did not blush on this day.


    "Father and Mother have never thought so highly of me as you, Saavik. Scores that break no records seemed not worth noting, in their eyes. The Ambassador's son, Spock, still holds so many records; I fear they are beyond anyone's ability to touch."


    Thoughts of Spock, like talk of Spock, were not and are not my subject of choice. So I changed the subject to one I thought safer.


    "I once had a brother. His name was Peter. Uncle Jim says that, much like you, his parents asked far too much of him. But like you, he always kept trying."


    He began to scowl, but not at me. The scope of his baleful gaze seemed to take in all of creation.


    "I know well about your brother. I envy him. For his struggle is done."


    I had seen a slow downward shift from the optimistic boy I had known. But nothing could have prepared me for his words.


    "His struggle is done because he is dead, Solon. How can you stand there and tell me you envy the dead?"


    In fact, I would come to envy my fallen brother as well, through the days that followed. Solon's words alone were prompting that.


    "Think upon it. His place in legend is secured. The only survivor of Deneva. A mere boy permitted for two months to ride aboard the Federation's flagship-"


    "That was only to make certain he carried no trace of the parasites that caused the Denevans----"


    "-and to make certain of his legend, he disappeared and perhaps died in the night, a killing no one can explain, right in the heart of the capitol planet. Governments across the quadrant rushed to offer aid for the investigation, and to deny responsibility. Songs are sung of him, and sightings have been made of him by those who need to see such things. Conspirators regularly flood the galactic networks with ideas about how it happened, ranging from time travel to his being the legendary Rock Of----"


    I placed my hand over his heart.


    "Solon, I do not care about such things. My concern is for you."


    He took that hand off of him, and smiled a smile not deep, but wide. Even Humans don't smile that wide, unless their arch-foe is a vigilante detective clad in black body armor.


    "You need not be concerned for me, Saavik-kam. I am past enduring. See, they are here already."


    Security forces approached us, and bid me stand back. Solon, they held at phaser-point.


    "Solon Of House Srepam-you are under arrest for crimes unimaginable."


    The smile, that mad smile, still affixed upon his face, Solon shrugged.


    "I did leave their bodies recognizable, didn't I?"


    As shock filtered through my entire being, the words of the officers barely reached my ears.


    "We shall offer you the very best care, to address your affliction."


    "Then you are cowards. I am a mad sehlat, and should be put down as such. You can't save everyone. Look at the wondrous being who was to have been my bondmate. A mere political pawn to Lady T'Pring and my late parents. Scorned and held in contempt by almost all the rest of Vulcan. She is wondrous, and I grew mad from watching this wonder dismissed out of hand. Of course, having hovercraft parents was a fair aid to that process as well, I must admit."


    As he was led away and I was left alone, the shock and horror took a surprising back-seat to logic. There had been no signs of this breakdown, I told myself. Certainly not any sort of mental aberration that would cause a young Vulcan to murder his parents. He was just a boy. A boy under pressure, to be sure. But while I had not melded with him, and while one being can never truly know another; I would have made book on Solon's nature as easily as I would the skills of the Enterprise crew, or Sarek's mastery of diplomacy. Yet in this instance, that bet would have not paid off, and the how of that actually exceeded every other question, at least for the moment.


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


    Out of Saavik's sight and hearing, the sinister reasons for the absurd break in Solon's behavior and character were spelled out.


    "It seems so simple a device."


    "It is, my lady. Its creator, a Doctor Mohiro Kitoh, designed it for simplicity. He said that, all too often, such techniques tend to be complicated to the point of almost handing the target the ability to resist."


    "A Human?!"


    "Part of Cartwright's exchange with us, for our aid in acquiring the Kirk boy. He thought of the device as a cast-off, a means of honoring his debt without truly doing so. The good Doctor delivered it himself, insistent on explaining its true potential, especially to Vulcans. He feels that we, being more versed in telepathy, could exploit the device past its current limits."


    "A useful Human, then. Well, as they say with stopped chronometers, such things are statistically inevitable. The results are obvious on the boy Solon, our greatest success since Sybok. The methodology, I will concede, eludes me."


    "Again, the Doctor sought elegant simplicity. Unsurprisingly, he originally designed it for use against the Kirk boy. It bypasses all such efforts as implanted voices in favor of erasing simple tolerance. Instead of oversized lies such as ‘all who know you hate you', which require time and isolation to work, it makes one overly aware of such trivialities as the creaky opening of a door, or the eating habits of a family member. Annoyances normally dismissed as a matter of course are now unable to be shut out. By the end of one day, the mind of one once sane and stable can be as mulch in its consistency. Reason is not shut down-it is quite voluntarily shunted aside."


    "In other words, little things mean a lot."


    "Lady T'Pring is nothing if not incisive."


    "Did our expatriate Doctor give his device a name beyond the technical?"


    "He did, although he allowed that it was not truly correct to its literary source. He calls it ‘The Unforgiving Minute'. I found it most appropriate."


    "As do I. Tell me, what was its success against Peter Kirk?"


    "Its lack of success against him led to its creator's essential banishment. Against a telepath of his raw power, or against those well-versed in mental defenses, it encounters problems. While our scientists chafe at the thought of working with a Human, they are in awe of his efforts to improve past these problems. Within five years, even House Surak itself could be undone by the device. Doctor Kitoh asks only that he live long enough to review the results of that effort."


    "Hmph. A very wise Human, indeed. His request is to be fully honored, conditions allowing."


    "Lady? Shall I target the girl Saavik next?"


    "Akab! Her power likely equals that of the other one, and she cannot so easily be made a captive."


    T'Belia winced. *Akab* was a pejorative reserved for a clumsy thing that dropped a plate, not a major-domo.


    "Relax your stance, T'Belia. Even one so favored as you must be shown your place. No, dear Saavik of House Surak requires my personal touch. The lessons I learned against both her fathers will serve well here, I think. She would be an angel? Then I shall sacrifice demons to rid myself of her."


    T'Belia now looked stunned and confused. T'Pring shrugged.


    "Why do you think I told my brother to produce so many children, after all?"


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


    In an utter daze, I answered questions posed by Security Force personnel until they were satisfied that I could offer no insight on Solon's sudden insanity. As Sri Sarek showed them the door, I was still in a daze as Sra Amanda offered me words that could be no comfort. As it was brought home how utterly alone I was, I forced myself to meditate, for I too was beginning to envy the brother I had never met and never would, outside of ShaKaRee.


    If there was a dark force behind this insanity, it would be exposed and punished.


    But what if there wasn't? I knew that House Surak had an unspoken member, a man dead by Vulcan law. He too, had gone insane, and committed crimes even greater than Solon's. What if that was that, and madness was just madness? Was a race that posed as philosopher over-beings doomed to occasionally fall that much harder and further, Pon Farr and Plak Tow be damned? What if that breakdown became more than merely occasional?


    I fell asleep that night, but it was in spite of, not because of, these thoughts. My dreams were fitful, including one where I attended Peter Kirk's funeral with Uncle Jim. There was a sealed casket, though he left no body behind, and the coffin would shake every so often, as though someone were trying to get out.


    "Saavik of No-House. Do Not Ignore Me!"


    But ignore her I did. That next morning, I was exhausted, a bondmate I had never really known and a brother I had never known at all weighing on my mind. The Enterprise had taken ‘point patrol' on the so-called ‘Dead Zone', where the common borders of Orion, Kzin, Klingon and Romulan territories all met, owing to the vagueness of treaties. In short, Uncle Jim and Aunt Nyta, and even Spock, were beyond my ability to contact. I had been alone most of my life, but never had I felt so alone.


    "I said you will not ignore me, damnable Rihannsi Witch!"


    Her punch was full force. Had it connected, even I would have felt it, and I have a high threshold of pain. But I have always also been faster and stronger than most, even on Hellguard. When ‘drilled', it would take three to hold me down while the fourth did his work. Even then, it did not always help them. The thuggish T'Hryka could not have known this.


    "I am of a mood to ignore you. Thank the One Of ShaKaRee that this is so."


    Her second, seventh, and tenth blows connected no better, and her fury began to grow. I felt nothing. One who I had contemplated giving myself to, katra and all, was now in permanent custody, alternately sobbing and laughing hysterically. What could a clumsy effort like this hope to do to one so numb inside?


    "You mean the God who the Terrans say watches over sheep? There are no sheep on Vulcan, No-House Refuse!"


    I seized her fist at this casual blasphemy, and tossed her aside.


    "You say there are no sheep. Yet I must endure your bleating."


    My thoughts that day were converted into words. I was done with restraint, as regarded these animals.


    "Tell me why, daughter of House Setekh. Tell me why a gentle, loving creature like T'Shura had her head vaporized before she was yet five, and yet such as you endure. It is a crime against nature, and one I am sorely tempted to correct."


    Her sneer was practiced, as was her probable response.


    "My heart bleeds for your precious mudbaby. May she.."


    A kick to the chest shut her up. I grinned.


    "The bleeding of your heart can be arranged."


    Two hands met the juncture of my neck, in precisely that region, the one that produces sudden, certain unconsciousness. I was as surprised as anyone when this tried and true technique failed.


    "What is she?"


    "Remember, don't use energy weapons. She may be just like the other one!"


    I recalled an adventure novel of Uncle Jim's. The lesser protagonist, named Richard Grayson, had wandered into the wrong neighborhood. The writer showed signs of strain in working out this scene, as his hero openly wondered if every single person in that neighborhood belonged to the gang attacking him. I always empathized with a writer who made his limits so plain to a sophisticated audience. I now also empathized with that hero.


    "Each one of you, grab a section of each limb on her, then four more for torso and shoulders. Do not allow this thing the slightest amount of leverage!"


    It was T'Akih, the oldest and worst of T'Pring's nieces. I understood T'Pring all too well, at this point. Even my mother had joyed in creating new life, to some extent. T'Pring was only a destroyer, much like the beast she worshipped. T'Akih thought herself heir to this false strength, but the young would-be queen was just another pawn. Oh, but how she strutted inside her delusion.


    "This one on the ground before us is as an animal. Lower than Sehlat or Lemataya. Animals do not go clothed among people."


    Twelve held me down, strategically placed. Beyond them were more under T'Akih's sway, keeping those who might report what was happening away or warning them to silence. As my clothes were torn off me, I gave in and cried. This was my dignity. I was in a civilized place, with civilized rules, and this should not be occurring.


    "Saavik of No-House? You expressed a desire to have children one day? Yet how do you intend to feed them, when some of the boys here exceed you in chest size?"


    I told myself that the spears she cast into me would only penetrate her own heart. I told myself that her foolish hate and complete lack of self-control, which made mine look mountainous by comparison, would be her undoing. I told myself that if Spock had survived his bullies, I would survive ones ten times worse, and have that stick in his neglectful craw. In utter shame, I would be more Vulcan than any of them.


    "I am not developed in that area, as you say. I am naked, and taken aback by this. I have no House, as you often taunt. Even your fallen comrade spoke true, for I do dwell on that little one's death too much. Yet I possess something you cannot rob me of. The true and unconditional love of those I call family. Though I am brought low this day-and your puny efforts are as nothing compared to those of the Tal Shiar-I still stand as though on Seleya's very summit."


    Those holding me revealed their thoughts to me by way of skin contact, and I swear that I could almost see beyond them to the crowd. Its mob mentality was fading. I knew this. So did T'Akih.


    "Listen, then, to the skinned animal that talks! Listen then, to the little princess of Vulcan!"


    "I AM A PRINCESS! As are all girls who are held in affection by their families. My true father told me that, when I was born. My Uncle Jim told me the same, when he gave me his name. As did Sra Amanda and Sri Sarek, when I came to dwell with them. Your Sry T'Pring is a Master Planner, T'Akih. But in her plans, has she ever told you or any of those she sets against me, her own blood, that they are princesses? Has she indeed told you anything other than ‘Do Not Fail Me'? Well, has she?"


    To me, T'Akih was as a cold machine, programmed only for my destruction. Yet how many stories of my adoptive father end with ‘and he tricked the computer into destroying itself'? My only mistake lay in underestimating T'Pring's total hold on this poor fool.


    "Poor Solon is not here, is he? I think that this length of test tube will be your first lover, instead."


    "Does my deluded tormentor think herself more capable than hardened Romulan soldiers? Were I Human, I would laugh."


    I laughed anyway. Assaults and threats of assault could not break me. The thoughts of those who held me down, though, were a different story.


    *This must be*


    *We will be next, if it is not this one*


    *She has no House. Is this truly a crime?*


    *She walks too proud, for one who is nothing.*


    I was betrayed by classmates, and kept my control. I was held down and stripped, my dignity robbed for the sake of egos petty and malicious. I was taunted and threatened with violation. None of that broke me inside. The cowardice and prejudice of the minor players in all this did all that in a heartbeat. For a time, I could not recall how it was that so many of my attackers were cast away, as though by a great wind. Those that came at me met their fate at the feet whose sandals they had stolen.


    "Because you are not worth soiling my hands on!"


    One by one, I threw T'Pring's nieces over the nearby hill. Then, I seized T'Akih. I squeezed her hand inside mine, the hand that was holding the test tube. Green began to flow from it. I was naked, but it was they who ran in shame as their leader screamed in agony.


    "It seems my would-be lover is a broken man."


    Her right knee gave a satisfying pop, but I did not relent. Having taken above enough, I kicked that same leg off at the knee. Its flight from her body seemed almost comical.


    "Tell me, T'Akih. How powerful do you feel now?"


    I had violated every lesson a student of Surak could. But I had not yet given up on walking back into the light.


    "Please, let there be no one else. I am as repulsed by what was done here as you. So if you may not befriend me, at least abide me. This will be the last attack on my person. If this is not an example of why war is pointless, then I know not of any such example that is capable of showing this."


    Those who had never needed to be my enemies lay broken around me, some in pieces. I dared feel superior to them, because I wanted to care, although I could not manage it. Was it perhaps this hubris that brought about the first question asked of me by the arriving Security Forces?


    "Child, what have you done?"
     
  6. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Three Months Later


    It was called a hearing. To me, it felt largely like a trial. Sri Sarek played my defense in a manner I had not seen from him before.


    "This child is Vulcan's Neediest Heart. She has been spurned and deliberately targeted. Shall we compound her sorrows? If so, those sorrows rest upon the hearts of all present, and indeed on all Vulcans, everywhere."


    He had invoked one of the most dread and obscure prophecies concerning the final words of Surak. That, when Vulcan's Neediest Heart was turned away, then soon after, Vulcan itself would quit the sight of T'Kuht, its dead sister world.


    "Ambassador Sarek raises such a hoary old legume in the presence of his fellow Vulcans. I say then, let her sorrows be upon us, and on all our children, in perpetuity, for her actions mark her as a threat to all we would give those children."


    Later, I would learn that T'Pring, her anti-Human biases aside, had chosen in this instance to paraphrase a Terran Biblical passage often used as a pretext for hate against the Jewish people. I learned of this while preparing a school paper on the so-called Dreyfus Affair. The parallels have lost none of their ability to chill me. But if Sri had chosen to combat emotion with emotion, his wife, my loving Sra Amanda, chose logic.


    "I direct my questions to Lady T'Pring. Lady, are the actions taken in planning this effort against Saavik Kirk by the daughters of House Setekh in dispute?"


    "They are not, Lady Amanda. Although, the girl Saavik's emotionalism caused my nieces to become themselves unbalanced..."


    T'Pring thought herself untouchable, especially by a lowly Human ‘cow'. But in fact, gender aside, she faced a bull.


    "Then the actions in planning this effort are not in dispute. Is the carrying out of this effort against Saavik Kirk by the daughters of House Setekh in dispute?"


    "I was not permitted to explain my position!"


    "Lady T'Pau, my questions are concise and coherent. They are phrased respectfully. I ask only of what is in dispute, and what is not. May I continue, and expect concise, coherent and respectful answers of the Lady T'Pring?"


    The chamber hall was silent. Sra Amanda had never even raised her voice.


    "We direct that the questions given by Amanda of Surak be answered in such a manner by T'Pring Of Setekh. Thy further explanations and positions will wait till this is done."


    "I...the carrying out of this effort is not in dispute."


    "To clarify, Lady T'Pring : Are the parts of this effort that included an overpowering by means of sheer numbers, a stripping of Saavik Kirk's clothes, and an indication of unwanted sexual intrusion in dispute? That is to say, do you dispute that these things make up the components of this effort against Saavik Kirk by the daughters of House Setekh?"


    "They are not in dispute. Nor is it in dispute that members of my house were maimed by that walking atavism!"


    Sra Amanda nodded.


    "While we object to the emotionally-based labeling of Saavik Kirk, we do not dispute her actions after freeing herself from those who restrained and stripped her. Lady T'Pring, do you dispute that these actions of hers came only after the enacting of the undisputed effort against Saavik Kirk by the daughters of House Setekh?"


    Sra Amanda was no Vulcan. But she knew Vulcans, and knew how to play by their rules. There was bile in T'Pring's response, the only response she could give.


    "The timeline presented as such is not in dispute."


    At this, the chamber began to buzz with whispers. Not all of them were friendly towards me. But they all spoke of my beating the charges. My actions were wrong, but they would not have taken place without equally disturbing provocations. Stonn shot Sra Amanda a glare, and it was a glare that was met and turned back. The huge man was honestly afraid of the tiny woman, and it felt delicious.


    "We must needs retire to chambers, and seek the answers to these questions."


    T'Pau withdrew, but it seemed decided. I had, I reasoned, faced my own Kobayshi Maru and beaten the no-win scenario, as befit the daughter of James Kirk.


    "Didn't I tell you this thing could be beaten, young lady?"


    "You did, Sra. I should have listened."


    "This thing is still not yet decided my wife. Saavik, you must express remorse for your actions, and do so contritely."


    "I will, Sri. The only thing I will not do is apologize to House Setekh."


    "I doubt that such will be required of you, and that it would be accepted, should T'Pau ask it. A simple agreement of avoidance should suffice, and so will end a foolish effort to broker peace on my part. I have never said such before, and hope to never again. But there are, it seems some beyond Surak's wisdom to help."


    "Oh, c'mon, you two. We beat the little witch-again. We've proven better than her best. The way you two are acting, you'd think somebody had just fallen off a cliff. This dear, sweet, lovely little girl who is adored by her gr-guardians has gotten some justice for a horrendous wrong. We Won!"


    My sense of dread would not pass so easily. It was sadly fulfilled when I saw Lady T'Pau emerge from chambers-and a not-unhappy T'Pring following closely behind her.


    "Child, Thy Unfortunate Condition Of Birth And Initial Upbringing Has Worked To The Detriment Of Thee and Of All Our People. Thee Awakens, Through No Fault Of Thine Own, The Worst Of Our Nature. We Who Are Vulcan Must Ask That Thee Be Put Out From The Sight Of T'Kuht, This In Perpetuity. Thy Efforts To Become Vulcan Are Called For Commendable. We Hope That Thee Will Continue Their Pursuit Elsewhere. But In This, We Obey The Oldest Rule Of Law; That The Needs Of The Many Must Outweigh The Needs Of The Few."


    Her words, all in Vulcan High Speech, were enough of a challenge to follow. Their concept had Sra close to fainting. The hammer struck full with T'Pau's closing words.


    "The Needs Of The Few-Or The One. It Is With Sorrow We Do This Necessary Thing, Saavik Kirk. Thee Are To Quit Vulcan Ere A Fortnight Has Passed. It Is Done."


    The medics came for Sra Amanda. Sri Sarek looked horribly torn. I could not bear to see them so reduced.


    "Ambassador, attend your wife. I will address this gathering myself."


    "Saavik-kam, I cannot...."


    I allowed a tear to show, only to this great man.


    "Father, please take care of Mother. For me?"


    "I will resign my post in protest."


    "You would complete her victory? No. Logic dictates that how we face defeat is at least as important as how we handle winning."


    Where I was finding these words, this appearance of strength, I could not say. But I was determined to keep it up as long as I could.


    "We will arrange that you stay with Amanda's relatives in Minnesota."


    I could have told him not to say that in earshot of the hateful one who had taken this day.


    "Lady T'Pau-is not House Grayson on Earth also part of House Surak? Is this not the law, which you have sworn to uphold?"


    T'Pau now looked hesitant, but gave in yet again.


    "This arrangement Sarek speaks of is unlawful. House Grayson is known under T'Kuht's sight. One taken from that sight may not lawfully abide there."


    I seized control myself. I had nothing left to lose.


    "My father, James Kirk, while a Vulcan citizen, is of no House, despite connections to House Surak. He has an uncle in Montana, on Earth, a William S. Kirk. I will stay with him, as per standing invitation. In this, I accept the judgment of Lady T'Pau, and express my concern for Lady T'Pring."


    Her response was deliciously predictable.


    "We need none of your concern, outworlder."


    Gotcha.


    "My concern is for Lady T'Pring's artificial right eye. Its calibration seems off to me. It should be adjusted forthwith."


    Her hand began to move towards said eye. I do not know how I guessed this of her, but it seems it was true. More, I could tell she had not lost that eye in a mere accident. Someone had taken it from her. Shaking, she withdrew. It was then T'Akih stood up, her new leg as artificial as her aunt's eye.


    "Beast!"


    I regarded her with that worst of all emotions used against the corrupt-pity.


    "Ironic, T'Akih, that your Sry was more concerned with my destruction than your preservation. A pity also that the wild sehlats found your leg before the medics could. A last word to you: Should I see you on Earth, you will find yourself quickly equipped with many more such replacements. To the gathered people of Vulcan, I say this: "


    They all waited for the meltdown. I chose to disappoint them. I held up my hand, and arrayed my fingers in the appropriate manner.


    "Live Long, And Prosper. That is all."


    I strode out of there, asking only to be taken to the hospital where Amanda was attended to, and recovering. I had been given two weeks to get off of Vulcan.


    I did so in two days, before Sri and Sra could return from seeing to her swooning, and try to appeal what I knew to be a lost cause. As I departed, word came that Solon had been found in his cell. He no longer needed to envy the dead. I fought hard not to do so as well. I would not give T'Pring's spies the pleasure.


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


    Again, outside of Saavik's hearing, words were exchanged.


    "With this, we end our alliance with House Setekh. To target the girl so was vile, and unworthy of the lowest of Houses, let alone one of the great ones."


    T'Pring, who now had control over her twitchy eye, seemed not displeased.


    "Our alliance has crafted the tight immigration laws that keep Vulcan for Vulcans. Indeed, my House has aided you in keeping even those few who did emigrate here from staying. That will not change anytime soon, indeed, likely, ever. This alliance, dating back to your accession and your oh-so easily manipulated fear of Human influence, has done its work brilliantly and never more so than today."


    The younger woman shrugged at the much older one.


    "You end our alliance, but it is you who are irreparably damaged. For I have caused you, under threat of allowing the immigration flow to start again, to banish your own heir. Lady T'Pau was forced to turn away her own great-great granddaughter-a relation that is from both her parents, if I recall correctly. She is my enemy, in all her houses. I may take any action I see fit, and hold no regrets. But she is your blood, your kin. Yet still she is gone. You end our alliance, Lady? No, I end it. For House Setekh does not ally-with losers."


    A very old woman felt all of her two-hundred-forty years at this dark moment.


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


    THE PRESENT, 2278


    Saavik emerged into a room much larger than any save Admiralty Hall's upper entry lobby. Two hundred armed guards awaited her, though only a few indicated that they noticed her presence.


    "Let me guess-first patrol?"


    "Y-Yes. They told me to go as far down as I could. Please tell me I haven't screwed it up, first time out."


    Her Human persona was as much a cover as the alterations provided by Sarek's nanoprobes. But it was working, or at least it seemed too, so far.


    "No. You've done exactly what they told you. Are you really ready for this?"


    "My patrol? I am ready to keep safe the center of the Human resistance to the alien infestation, sir!"


    The guard waved his hand.


    "Kid, don't do propaganda in front of me. It buys you nothing, here. We've already been vetted, even you, within a centimeter of our lives. You do realize by now that there is no patrol, right?"


    Saavik thought fast, and used what she had overheard when sent below by the other guards.


    "The upstairs guys said something about feeding Bunson? She's an Admiral, right? So I fetch her sandwiches?"


    He tugged at her tunic, and then let it snap back.


    "You feed her you. She likes them young, and she likes to hurt them-or think she is, anyway. So exaggerate whatever she does. If you can fake agony and really sell it, you might even become one of her favorites. Then-you're really in trouble."


    "Thanks for the advice."


    "She's a terrific administrator, and a great public spokesperson. She is the mask this Hall uses to keep the United Force of alien-loving Perverts off our backs, till the big day arrives. But all that said, I never had a happier day than when she lost interest in me. I stopped rising through the ranks as quickly, but I could sleep nights again."


    Saavik made a show of forcing a smile.


    "I can take pain-plus I'm a good actress!"


    *I really hope*, she thought.


    "Well, whether you're just tonight's meal or her regular, she'll grab you when she emerges from her time in the floors below."


    "Umm-errr-sir? I was told not to ask about or listen to talk about anything down this far. So please don't get me in trouble for hearing that?"


    The lead guard again shook his head, and laughed.


    "Geez, you are a stiff. What are you, one of those new kids who took the soul-oath without even being here a week?"


    "Sorry for being a stiff, sir. But no-they wouldn't even tell me what the words were to the oath. Said I wasn't ready or worthy to hear them, for a while."


    The guard looked incredulous.


    "That is sad. Those jamoaks just send you right on down to feed Bunson, but no pomp? Well, with Sudenz and his ilk running things in the easy sector, laziness and slackerdom is to be expected. You know what I didn't expect?"


    Every guard in the room raised their weapons, and aimed them at Saavik.


    "I didn't expect a Vulcan spy to be so stupid as to use nanoprobes to try and sneak in. Amapola! EMP her to deactivate them."


    As the electromagnetic pulse struck her, Saavik thought little about her rapid reversion to her true form. She had never understood how the probes worked in the first place, or where Sarek had obtained them. Her concern now was for her mission, and for her life.


    "I can't believe T'Pring would send something so clumsy. She knows we can detect and purge those little buggers."


    Saavik kept silent as the one called Amapola spoke to their leader.


    "Maybe this is another one of her nieces, sent to be killed for her failure? Remember the last one-threw her bionic leg at us before breaking down."


    If she died here, Saavik decided, she would neither implicate Sarek nor be listed as one of T'Pring's pawns.


    "I am no servant of T'Pring. I came here to fulfill the wish of my adoptive grandfather, George Kirk, who sought this place's demolition. Captain Kirk knows nothing of my activities, and if you try to implicate him, my history of mental instability will be pointed out. He will survive in any event, so kill me now."


    The lead guard chuckled.


    "I don't believe this. An imitation Human, an Imitation Kirk, and even an Imitation Vulcan. Killing you is almost pointless. You're nothing but a long list of imitations to start off with. You're not even worth raping."


    The beam-rifles' discharges all converged on her. Saavik shook her head.


    "Idiots. Energy weapons do not work on one cursed never to die!"


    That horrible day, Saavik had learned two even more horrible facts. T'Akih's thugs had kicked, punched, and even stabbed her repeatedly as she was held fast. Yet not only was she alive afterwards, but no sign of these brutalities remained. Shaking from the incident, Saavik had gotten hold of a phaser when she was told about the kangaroo-hearing being called. Several attempts and an overload later, she gave in and saw Healer T'Nia. Terms like ‘transwarp regeneration', ‘hyper-pro-active immune response' and worst of all, ‘cellular and functional immortality' had been tossed around. Sarek's concern for her life had been for capture and study, not death.


    "You have called me an Imitation This and an Imitation That. I say to you all, better an imitation than a parody."


    That night after seeing T'Nia, Saavik had wept openly and prayed to the God of ShaKaRee, asking why he had created one to suffer and yet never die. She did not wish to become a monster, yet this seemed inevitable. From hell she had come, and it was to hell she would find her way back.


    "Keep shooting! She has to fall sometime!"


    As her memories of the incident cleared, she looked back in horror at the things she had done, whatever the provocation. She also remembered and learned the second horrible fact. Her attackers, the ones who held her and stripped her, had not merely been tossed away by adrenalin-fueled strength of arm. To do what she did that day required more than mere muscle.


    "And now, for my next imitation..."


    She closed her eyes, and when she opened them, those eyes glowed with a silvery sheen. Her voice echoed unto itself.


    "....my impression of Commander Gary Mitchell!"


    The air pressure in the room was perfectly regulated. Yet now, a hurricane emerged within it. Men and women corrupt and cold, were hurled at hard walls at top speed. Two hundred stood, all prepared to face what lay below them, should it ever awake. But the one who took them apart, one and all, was going in the opposite direction. Telekinetically piling the bodies at the passageway access she had entered through, she staggered as she shifted her abilities downward. Blood rushed from her nose and ears, and tears from her eyes at having to kill yet again. She only wished that the blood loss could truly end things for her.


    *I am close to my goal. No alarms, no rushing of new soldiers. They truly were isolated in this place where they die-where I killed them.*


    The rooms beyond had a usable computer. Seating herself, the exhausted Saavik used skills more mundane to hack the files. Though better protected in their sense than the passageways, she still found them largely unprotected, relatively speaking. A man with a moustache and an eagle-like aspect to his face appeared onscreen. He was smiling.


    "If you're seeing this, then you are either myself, someone with massive clearance, or a spy more unstoppable than the bastard grandchild of Bond, Blaise, Croft and Jones. If you are that spy, I salute you. This is really quite a feat. So what do you wish to know? Colonel Rene Endicott West at your disposal."
     
  7. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    The man seemed to have a sense of humor, but Saavik inputted only the questions she needed to have answered.


    "Peter Kirk? I helped oversee that sorry affair, I'm afraid to say, and I aided with the cover-up. Not my proudest moment, delivering a 12-year old boy into the hands of his rapists. I tried to warn them. Put him into cryo right away, I said. Peter Kirk was a survivor from Day 1, and his power limits had never been tested. I had no desire to conduct those tests. But Admiral Cartwright wanted generational vengeance on George and James Kirk. Also, the boy had committed some personal slight against our Brock Cartwright. While he himself did not participate in the sexual assault that followed, he made sure to taunt and pulverize the boy."


    Saavik accessed some of the files for footage of this horror. She forced herself to watch, though tears made that difficult. She saw what she needed to: her brother had been gang-violated repeatedly and care had been taken to enhance his pain as they went. The looks of shame and horror on Peter Kirk's face were soon all she could see.



    "He took it, and took it. Blood loss was staggering. There were thirty admirals joining in that so-called ‘Bacchanalia'. Our esteemed Vulcan visitor, who should be credited as telling us who Peter Kirk really is, made sure to take her turns as well. How one supreme bigot ever persuaded another to allow this is beyond me, but then, I'm not a member of their Order. I do what I do for Earth. The damned thing is coming, and I need to protect my world. If that means common cause with the darkest powers, so be it"


    Saavik slowed the footage, and caught the ‘esteemed Vulcan' on still. She already knew who it would be.


    *T'Pring! One day, I will make it all right. On that day, neither Sarek nor Surak himself will keep me from making you pay.*


    West kept talking.


    "As I said, thirty of them, each taking about ten or so ‘turns' apiece. Finally, one of them muttered an insult against James Kirk."


    *Does it hurt, punk? Well, if we could-we'd get you pregnant! What's more-I only wish it were your xenophile uncle on the ground in front of me. You take it pretty well, but him I'd make squeal......aaaaaaaaggggghhhhhh!!!....he tore off my....*


    "The boy rose with a fury. For himself, he cared nothing. For his heroes, he cared everything. Fifteen of those admirals present fell almost instantly. One thousand of our best security men also went down, as wave upon wave was sent to their deaths by Cartwright, Bunson and Komack as they shrieked for help. Three days of hell were to prove the boy's high-water mark. But the top three he let live. In Bunson's case, this was particularly hard to figure. She had stripped him, and made every effort to further humiliate him, and if anyone knows how to do that, she does. Oh--The Vulcans got their Lady out-almost in time. The eye was a lost cause."


    The footage ceased as Peter Kirk rose up. Apparently, the Hall didn't like the part where the sheared and butchered lamb took its revenge.


    "At last, it came to me. Those three are the worst sort of opportunistic cowards. Yet without them, this Hall would not function, and the field crazies would rise up at last, the radicals who want an anti-alien pogrom here and now, not then and there. Peter Kirk knew somehow. He knew that ripping out half the Admirals that night, and killing so many of the elite guards meant to carry out and oversee the coup would delay that coup for years. As of the ninth anniversary of his kidnapping, it was still on hold with no date certain even under discussion. Only Nogura's death and Cartwright's accession to the Grand Admiral's position can be called victories for them. Yet they are sated monsters. They've taken their vengeance on the Kirks and the Enterprise crew in the form of that boy. So that is why a boy with the power to escape at any time only made a seemingly futile last stand. The pain and shame he endured and has endured all these years served a purpose. A little boy was Kirk enough to figure out just how to best sacrifice himself to save those he loved. I must keep and hold you here, Peter. It's part of my oath, odious though it all can be. But I will salute your sacrifice, soldier. And I will give my highest praise of all: Well Played."


    Saavik appreciated the thoughtful man's conflict, but switched now to a scientific readout, based on scans and efforts to control Peter Kirk. Her recovery was complete, and she would soon enter the very deepest chambers. Yet Sarek would surely want these files, so she was thorough, while keeping watch on all positions. The synopsis was telling, and to Saavik, quite shocking.


    *Subject is functionally immortal. Subject is a radiovoric being, feeding off of energy, even down to background radiation. Subject is a level-twelve psionic, possessing vast psychokinesis and telepathy exceeding Betazoids or Vulcans. Subject has speed and strength surpassing either the 20th Century's Over-Men or the 22nd Century's augments. Terra Multiplier Twenty-Five has been speculated at, placing subject far above Vulcans or Klingons. Subject may be the most powerful bipedal sentient in existence. Physiology demands may cause bouts of mental instability. Advise keeping in cryo at all times.*


    More followed, but Saavik paid it no mind. As she left to perhaps finally retrieve Peter Kirk from his captivity, and perhaps deal with the hateful Bunson, as well, she allowed herself to say words out loud, words that were either spoken in abject despair or the greatest hope. She could no longer tell.


    "My brother. He is-he is like-like-me. There is another like me."
     
  8. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    In The Clearing, Stands A Boxer, And A Fighter By His Trade, And He Carries The Reminder Of Every Glove That Laid Him Down Or Cut Him, Till He Cried Out, In His Anger And His Shame, I Am Leaving, I Am Leaving, But The Fighter Still Remains - Paul Simon, The Boxer


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


    THE PAST, 2274


    Montana, Earth


    "I am your grand-niece."


    The man who answered the door to the ranch-style home looked for all the world like an older version of my father, which made sense, as he was his father's brother. His weight and girth were both greater, and he seemed to speak each sentence as though with a pronounced pause.


    "Yes. I can-see the family resemblance."


    William S Kirk claimed that the S stood for whatever he wanted it to. He did not look like the sort who took himself or much of anything else seriously.


    "Obviously, I am adopted."


    His smile seemed smug and self-amused. His eyes darted around, as though he was confused.


    "Obviously, you have no sense of humor. Jim told me you did. But he was right about one thing. You are a pretty one."


    I began to blush immediately, and shook my head.


    "I am not pretty. I have come to accept that. You do not need to exaggerate on my behalf."


    "Are you calling me a liar?"


    "Humans are prone to worry over offering offense. You need have no such concern with me. I do not have-"


    The door then slammed in my face. After five minutes, I knocked again. After five more, I was on the verge of knocking it down, when he once again opened it.


    "Am I a liar?"


    I was perhaps already caring for this man.


    "We are of differing opinions, but I will respect the honesty of yours, and apologize for offering offense. May I dwell in your house?"


    "For-how long, Saavik? For-how-long?"


    My face lost a bit of its composure, then and there.


    "For-ever. I have no other place to go."


    He sat me down on his couch, what he called a futon bed couch. I told him why I must stay with him. Because I felt I could, I told him everything.


    "Do you want me to talk to T'Pau? I'm-quite the negotiator. Promise."


    If I had always felt on the outside of life's sense of humor, this was a man who was very much on the inside of the joke. He seemed perhaps dangerously savvy.


    "There is no negotiation with the Sra Sra of Vulcan."


    The man I would soon call Uncle Bill chuckled.


    "You do realize that her title translates as ‘The Mother Of All Mothers'?"


    "That is a disrespectful way to refer to-"


    "The woman that banished you, after being attacked by a group of thuggish bigots, all so those same bigots can keep their self-control, which is supposed to be a given for most Vulcans?"


    I turned away from him, and hung my head in shame.


    "I told you what I did to my attackers."


    He put his hand on my shoulder.


    "Yeah. Somewhere on Vulcan, there is a girl, barely in her teens, who is missing a leg for no other reason than you got pissed off. You have to live with that, the other injuries you know of, and more than a few you don't., and some you may never know of, but caused just the same, in a fit of rage that, regardless of where you were born, is something you knew would be looked down upon on the world you once called home. You have to live with that."


    He then turned me around, and held a finger tenderly under my chin.


    "Now, you have to also remember: None of them had to do what they did. They chose to attack you, when they could have just left you alone. This T'Akih, the girl whose leg you took? Whatever her aunt demanded, she chose to try and molest you with a length of glass tube. What you did was wrong. But it didn't occur in a vacuum. And that part about the sehlat cubs taking the leg before surgery could be performed? I happen to know about Vulcan fauna, Saavik. How many wild sehlats are within the perimeter of a public school?"


    I felt more than somewhat foolish, when I considered his words.


    "Then T'Pring lies, even to her own, and is so much a liar, she is as a lie herself. How can I

    prevail against such as her?"


    Bill held me close.


    "By surviving. I've met her type before. In the end, they hate our ability to endure. They laugh about it, but they know that what we put up with, they never could. Now, how about some Vegetarian Barley Soup?"


    The meal was simple, but it was a sign to me that I was welcome in this man's home. However, I was still to learn why Uncle Jim had called his father's brother ‘A Trip'. I found it hard to sleep that night for two reasons. One was my thoughts of an older couple on Vulcan, people who were no longer permitted to say my name in public. Several times, I stopped myself from calling Sra Amanda. The only thing that stopped me was the possible use such an intercepted call could be put to by T'Pring and her ilk, seeking to remove Sarek from his post.


    The other thing that kept me up that night was the oddest of noises.


    "Fly me to the moon, and let me play among the stars-let me see what Spring is like on Jupiter and Mars-in other words, hold my hand, in other words, simply kiss me; Fill my heart with joy, and let me sing forevermore, you are all I long for, all I worship, and adore; in other words, please be true, in other words-I Love You."


    I emerged to find Uncle Bill singing into a microphone-based system, called by some for karaoke. This odd man had accepted me into his home without even really checking who I was. I would be a while in accepting him.


    "You were slightly off-key."


    He squinted a bit in response.


    "Only slightly? You should hear my rendition of Elton John's ‘Rocket Man'. It nearly brought down the house at an awards ceremony I attended. And by that I mean they wanted to demolish the house, so the memory of my performance could be erased. I am the new evangelist of bad opera's rebirth."


    "If you know that you have no skill in this, why do you persist?"


    He bowed to me. Again, I was struck by how much he looked like nothing less than James Kirk, the man I called Daddy, albeit forty or so years past his prime, and yet seeming all the happier for it.


    "I have a lot less than no skill, Saavik. I have mad bad skills. I am a horrible singer. Yet I sing. I sing a lot. I will probably be singing a little diddy when I'm just about to join my brother, your late grandfather."


    I echoed my first few meetings with Uncle Jim.


    "Why?"


    He shrugged.


    "When I was twelve, and I learned my parents were never going to return from their mission aboard the second starship named Enterprise, but a newborn little brother I hadn't even known of was, I sang. When that brother entered Starfleet Academy, I sang. When he was held back a year for punching out a little egghead crypto-bigot named John Gill, I sang. When he married Winona O'Reilly and then when he lost her and married that monster Brianna, I sang. In short, I sing. In good times and bad."


    I looked down again.


    "My middle name is Brianna."


    Again, that gentle chuckle.


    "I know. Who do you think suggested that name to Jim? We were both determined that there would be some good and love associated with that name."


    I asked about a name I had not heard before.


    "Who was this Winona Kirk?"


    Bill accessed a picture of two women, identical in their appearance, standing next to George Kirk. While his hair was dark, like that of my late brother Peter, theirs was the sandy auburn of Uncle Jim.


    "So Winona and Brianna were twin sisters, and Grandfather married them both?"


    "Well, it was at different times. He married Winona, and she met with an accident. Grieving, he married Brianna. Saavik, there are aspects of this I will not discuss with a thirteen year-old girl. Not even one who has seen the horrors you have. Suffice it to say, everything your grandfather did, he did out of love for Winona and the survival of their children."


    I was immediately struck by the implication: Brianna was not the mother of Jim and Sam. Yet at no time had Uncle Jim ever mentioned her as a stepmother, and had even told me the story of his birth in the sickbay of the yet-to-be-christened USS Enterprise. His birth by Brianna. I accepted Bill's words and asked no more, at least not outside of my own mind.


    I sang with him into the night, and if not a Kirk by birth, my less-than-angelic tones in rendering Richard Carpenter's ‘Sing' did not exactly pay best homage to the memory of his sister Karen, whose voice has challenged some Vulcans to fight back tears. But I honored and obeyed his lyrics, and did not worry overmuch whether my singing was good enough. I merely sang. I was happy in this man's home, and wondered quickly what fate would do to take him away from me, as well.


    That next morning, I was to learn that I had to earn my keep.


    "Clean the horse stable? I am your grand-niece, and you would have me shoveling..."


    "It'll be good practice, if you should enter politics. Now don't breathe too deeply-and try to use the shower by the pool area, ‘kay?"


    I cursed him several times with words I'd heard from the soldiers on Hellguard. But the truth was I welcomed the work. Cleaning smelly but majestic animals will tend to drive thoughts of illogical logical worlds and people I could never speak to again. As I finished late that evening, as I disposed of the last shovelful of horse ‘duty', I even dedicated it to an old acquaintance.


    "Eat hearty of this offering, Lady T'Pring. It is largely vegetarian, and contains many nutrients. Of course, Mister Edward Post sends his regards."


    Tired, smelly, sweaty and dizzy, I stumbled to those outside shower stalls, where a hastily-set curtain provided me with privacy, and a towel, a robe and a note awaited.


    "Dear Saavik: Your uncle is a dirty old man, so be sure and cover up before coming in. Love, Bill."


    I did indeed-until the next morning.


    "You have seven more stables?"


    I glared to no avail at a grinning Bill.


    "How about I let you peep, and we'll call it even?"


    He shook his head.


    "I lied. I'm a weird old man, not a dirty one. Besides, you haven't sprouted yet."


    I had been insulted in that manner on Vulcan. But here, it made me laugh, and seeing him laugh made me remember that he had said-‘yet' with an expectant tone. He pointed outside.


    "You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?"


    I did and do love my Uncle Bill. But at that moment, I wanted to kill him-playfully, of course.


    "For just a second there, yes, I believe I did."


    It really didn't matter to me. I was in an odd bind. Because of Vulcan educational standards, no Earth school short of university could really offer me anything. I am not a fan of Vulcan by any means, but when it comes to actual subject matter and quality of content, as well as teaching method, its pride is not an undue one. My problem comes from the lecture that would automatically follow such praise, focusing endlessly on the thought that Vulcans do not feel such ‘Earth Emotions' as pride.


    Educational standards aside, for me to enter a university would have required contacting my legal guardians, two of whom were still returning from the Kzin Dead Zone and was forced to maintain comm silence for the duration of that journey, and two others, who by law I could no longer speak to. I could stay with Bill Kirk, but legally he had no way to act as my proxy. So I shoveled.


    I also met some of Uncle Bill's friends, from his long and varied careers. There was Lenny Grayson, his former partner when he was a policeman with the Terran Constabulary Force. He turned out to be a relative of Amanda's who promised not to tell about meeting me, except directly to her at an upcoming family reunion. His resembled nothing less than Spock himself, were he completely Human. There was also a Kate Muldaur, from his time as an attorney, with the worst case of transporter phobia I have ever seen. But when an associate from his days in Starfleet Intelligence came to visit, I was asked to not be in attendance. I respected this wish, and would only later find out that this man he met would play a role in all our lives. I would see this man's face for the first time when I undertook to rescue my not-so-late brother, some years later.


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


    "You want me to arrange a meeting with who?"


    Rene West, Bill Kirk's trainee partner in Starfleet Intelligence, including a branch never mentioned or even whispered of by most, spoke the name again.


    "Sarek Of Vulcan. Can you do it?"


    Kirk shook his head.


    "I don't even know the man. I hope that you're not asking me to impose on my niece. She's been through enough."


    West waved a hand in the air.


    "I'm not a fool, Bill. That girl can't even speak to Sarek, or his wife, or any member of his wife's family on Earth-with one exception. T'Pring is a royal bitch-almost worse than Bunson. No, I need you to talk to Lady Amanda's second cousin, Leonard Grayson, like myself, a former partner of yours. Just have him get Sarek to the place I will relay to him. It's that important."


    Kirk and his partner had not parted amicably. When George Kirk, among many others, died aboard the USS Constitution the very day George became a grandfather, Kirk resigned from his high-ranking post in what he and others euphemistically called Prime Eleven, also known to those few that knew of it at all as Section Thirty-One. Disgusted by the way so many good officers had been ‘redlined' by forces that undertook a campaign of whispers and then dumped onto the aging Constitution-prototype, Kirk told his partner that he could no longer serve in the shadows. West had called him a fool.


    "Is this the kind of thing where you'd have to kill me, if you told me what this is all about?"


    Kirk poured a stiff drink, for himself and for a man, bitterness aside, he had lived and died beside, any number of times. West took it and downed it. Kirk knew then it was serious. Teetotaler West maybe raised a glass at ceremonies, but only just that.


    "No, Bill. It's the kind of thing that if I told you, you'd have to kill me. And I'd let you. You were right, damn you. You said the game had begun to stink. Well, the stench you smell is coming from Hell itself, nowadays. They say in bad times there's the devil to pay. The devil's apprentices are in charge. Perhaps literally."


    Kirk sighed.


    "The Order. Is their sacred boogeyman for real, Rene?"


    "Don't ask me that, Bill. You deserve to sleep at night."


    Kirk sat the shaking man, who looked on the verge of tears, down in his best easy chair.


    "I'll do it. But I need something in return. And it's not about Peter."


    West looked almost suspiciously relieved at that last part.


    "I will do-what I can-on that front, in any event. In fact, I had plans to use your request as my excuse for coming here, should they ask. I'll say we argued about the Hall dragging its feet in the investigation. But what's the favor?"


    Kirk looked outside, and saw the girl he had grown to adore cleaning up and looking like she enjoyed it.


    "Rene, when she was put on trial on Vulcan, not one of the other kids Jim rescued from Hellguard spoke up on her behalf. I can accept most. I can accept almost all. But-not-one-did?"


    West looked down, and held up his empty glass for refilling.


    "If I'm right, there probably aren't any left to have spoken up. During one of T'Pring's visits with Cartwright-don't ask-she bragged about your niece, the disposability of her brother's children, and of how Saavik's banishment completed the lifting of the stain that was Hellguard. As like as not, the attack on your niece was not the first on one of the Hellguard children. It was the last, and the noisiest."


    Kirk felt his blood boil.


    "Their families?"


    West put his hand to his forehead.


    "Remember, Saavik's Vulcan family never came forward to claim her. Those families that did likely did so reluctantly, and were either apt to ask no questions or to be easily persuaded not to ask them. Hellguard to most Vulcans was not the rape of individuals by individuals, but the rape of Vulcan that is by the Vulcan that was. A sore subject. T'Pring is a monster-but she represents the darker will of a civilized world, to make all the inconvenient things and people simply go away. See? They really are just like us."


    Kirk would make the arrangement for the meeting that would lead to freedom for the brother of the girl he now cared for. But later that evening, he bid that same girl listen to a story he had to tell.


    "You are certain of this? I am the last of my-group?"


    "My source is a reliable one."


    Saavik held back both tears and rage.


    "What about subjects not discussed with a thirteen-year-old?"


    He put his arms on her shoulders.


    "My niece is a Kirk, through and through, which is to say, she's strong as hell. She also deserved to know what kind of evil she was up against."
     
  9. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    I fell asleep in those old but strong arms, staring at an iconic portrait of George Kirk on the Luna Colony, the Federation Flag waving behind him, standing like a statue. When I awoke, we were no longer in Montana.


    "Uncle Bill, what is that noise?"


    He had transported me in my sleep to somewhere on the western coast of Canada.


    "That, niece of mine, is the Trans-Canad Limited, aka the Twilight Train, famed in song and story. Rebuilt under the direction of one Charles Tucker, while recovering from wounds taken in his service aboard the first Enterprise. I actually met his sister, at the centenary dedication. They had a falling out when she joined the Terra Prime movement, but she later denounced all forms of big..."


    "Bill, what are we doing here?"


    He looked hurt.


    "Don't you want to take a trip with me?"


    "I don't like surprises. I don't like set-ups, or pranks, or blind dates, or anything that is chiefly for the amusement of the planner, which I am then somehow obligated to be grateful for. My life is chaotic enough."


    He sat down next to me on the train station's bench. Winter was a month away, but that far North, you do not need to be a Vulcan to feel the chill that is already dominating the air.


    "You're right. I should have told you we were doing this. I wanted to surprise you in a good way. Saavik, if we get on board that train, there are no whoopee cushions, no thumb-tacks on the seats, and no false friends waiting to hurt you, just because they can. My late nephew Sam had one of the sickest prank-driven senses of humor around, and I, his father, his brother and your brother all told him so. The worst you'll ever get from me is poking my head inside the shower room to move you along, and I can't see anything for all the steam. Trust me?"


    I felt small, petulant and bratty. I was not chained to a wall, and we hadn't even gone that far from home. Was I to be haunted and restricted by my past, even when staying with one who accepted and loved me without a whole planet staring us down?


    "No more surprises?"


    "Ehhh..,one more. But it's another good one, and you'll be wide awake for it."


    The train ride was slow, but the ride across the length and breadth of Canada was a breathtaking one. It was then I learned that trains can take you places. They can take you away. My love of trains, in every genre of literature one can imagine, is something I plan to keep with me, even in my exile to come, when going other places is all I can manage. I will still read of trains where clever murderers wait for cleverer sleuths to unmask them, where an outcast may become a wizard, and where a child can believe once again. Even when I have nothing else, I will keep this.


    I do not know if the original Twilight Train ended in Newfoundland, but that is where Trip Tucker had apparently taken it through. Scotty delighted in talking of him, but oddly, only over pieces of pecan pie. I asked Bill if we would now be headed back to our quiet corner of Montana.


    "After all, the horses must be tended to."


    "Nope. You and I, Saavik, are headed for Scandinavia. For the entire month of December. Culminating with-wait for it-Christmas At The North Pole!"


    For once, I had hit the limits of my cultural familiarity with Earth.


    "Would not Bethlehem or Rome be more appropriate? What association has the North Pole with Christian beliefs?"


    Bill looked a bit thrown, but found his voice quickly.


    "Well, to some, nothing at all. Unless you take into consideration just how a Bishop from ancient Turkey managed to survive in the coldest place on Earth, and yet somehow manages to deliver toys to children all over the universe. Some believers say this detracts from the true meaning of the holiday."


    "And you?"


    "Me? I don't know what I believe, anymore. But if I were to say I believed in the specifics of the holiday, I'd call the legends of Saint Nicholas a primer. Kids get gifts to learn about the joy of getting, and then the joy of giving. The idea is that Human Charity is a reflection of Divine Charity, summed up by the concept of what God gave Humans out of Love : His Only Begotten Son. Kids need to be walked into this. It's actually a fairly big concept. Hell, most adults don't really get it, except as something to hold over someone else."


    I raised an eyebrow without realizing I had done so. My blood is still copper-based, proclamations aside.


    "For someone who doubts his level of belief, you speak with some conviction."


    Bill shook his head, and for the first time, he looked rather sad.


    "Your grandfather was a believer. So was your brother. But Jim and myself? I wouldn't say we're atheists, but we require a lot more proof than some. The Second Coming ever happens, we're apt to ask for some ID."


    He closed his eyes, and began to look rather misty.


    "George was a miracle, and he lived a wonderful life. Peter held on to what he held dear. His parents nearly let him starve, and he held on. They worked him to death, and he held on. They left his little brother's care all to him, and he held on. He went through the death of a world, an abusive Grandma, all that and a bag of chips? Never gave in. I just wonder, if, on the night he was taken from us-did he give up then?"


    It was my turn to be strong, and guide someone in pain to our next destination. The joy of giving was not lost, even on a soul as lost as mine. I also had occasion to ponder the many stories of Father Christmas. I came to the conclusion that, in a galaxy as stark as ours, there are far worse myths to teach a child than one about a kindly old man who does nothing but think first and last about the welfare of children everywhere. There are those who would say its sets children up for a harsh disillusionment. I say, and this is from experience, that such a harsh reckoning comes anyway, absent any talk of toy-making bishops and the Carpenter whose faith that bishop once spread.


    Like a welcomed virus, the idea of the man in the red suit invaded my psyche. How little I realized of my own state of mind. I had seized upon the legend of Saint Nicholas only partly because of the odd charm and warmth of the stories. For all I had seen and done, for all the greatness and horrors I had witnessed, for all the demons and angels I had bumped shoulders with, I was yet still a child with a savaged soul. My need to believe in something kind and gentle-and perhaps even jolly-was as profound as the little boy in the Polar Express, or the girl whose mother dismissed Kris Kringle as a bearded eccentric in that ancient cinematic.


    When we arrived in the Scandinavian Freeholding, Uncle Bill delighted me by introducing me to a real part of the legend of Santa Claus. Not everyone was as impressed.


    "He's all shaggy and smelly. And his antlers are all crooked!"


    I petted the reindeer, delighted with its reality and lack of perfection. I looked at the little boy critic.


    "He is what he is. Father Christmas thinks well enough of him."


    A girl I took to be the boy's younger sister looked at both me and the deer in wonder.


    "Lady, are you a Christmas Elf?"


    An elf. Given Spock's experience with the Coms and Yangs, I suppose an elf beats out being taken for Lucifer.


    "No. I am a Vulcan."


    Another child from the same group stepped up and pointed at me.


    "You can't be a Vulcan. Vulcans are like grumpy robots, and they never smile, and they speak like computers!"


    I was about to say something choice when Bill stepped in.


    "Young man, have you ever actually met a Vulcan, besides my niece?"


    His muted response was predictable.


    "No."


    Bill proved to be a diplomat to rival Sarek himself.


    "Do you know who her father is?"


    They all shook their heads, and the adults semi-governing them also took interest.


    "This young lady is Saavik Kirk, daughter of Captain James Tiberius Kirk of The USS Enterprise!"


    The first little boy to speak up now did so with far greater enthusiasm than he had for the reindeer.


    "Your Dad is the coolest guy in the universe! Maybe even the whole world!"


    What could I say?


    "Indeed. I have always thought so."


    I turned my attention to the other boy, the would-be fount of misinformation.


    "Are you going to pet the deer, or what? He will be too busy to allow this, in just a few weeks."


    The carrots and apples in their hands and the joy and wonder in their hearts seemed to be appreciated by the gentle creature. Yet somehow, having all this happiness and a place I was simply accepted made me feel all the emptier inside, and all the more fearful that once again, it would all be taken away. I still had fun that day, with the deer, and with other dumb animals.


    "Hey, kid? Why doesn't your Dad man up and take out those Kzinti lions once and for all, instead of just coddling them in the Dead Zone? Make rugs out of them, is what I say!"


    I waved Uncle Bill off, and took this one myself.


    "Uncle Jim would never do that."


    "Why not?"


    I shrugged.


    "He is allergic to cat dander."


    Expecting some logical argument he could then dismiss, this obnoxious man was somehow confused by my quip. As we walked away from that scene, Bill whispered to me.


    "See? I told you-at Christmas, everyone's a child again. Some more than others."


    In the joy and laughter, I was able to ignore my feelings until the 21st of December, when we stood as far north as the European continent would allow. The line of the Arctic circle was well below us. I stared at the frozen wastes even further north of me, and it was then I must confess, the insanity of the past year made me go briefly insane.


    "Every legend has a basis. Sometimes these legends have tangible sources. If Saint Nicholas is real, then surely he will take me in, and I will never have to leave."


    Bill would later tell me how he lost track of me, as I began my trek to meet Santa Claus at the North Pole.


    The really strange part is, to this day, I believe I found him. And while he did in fact send me away, that dear old man did tell me that one day, I would have someone who was just for me. Someone who was to be mine and mine alone.


    Hypothermia has been known to cause such delusions, I am reliably told.


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


    The Kzin Containment mission, a contentious joint effort between the Federation and The Klingon Empire, was a rousing success. Captain James Kirk even received a special commendation directly from the Federation Council itself for convincing the Klingon Captain Kang that destroying the Kzin Home World might only trigger some manner of failsafe plan by the lion-like aliens. Federation member Tellar, whose diplomats proved to be the pipeline the Orions were using to arm the Kzinti, suffered an embarrassment it would not soon forget, but they would live, and the Kzin's fabled Day Of Tall Grass would be put off once again. Actually, it would be put off forever, but no one at that time knew this. While arguably one of the greatest and most complex triumphs of a great crew to date, it almost went unnoticed amid all the other triumphs associated with the mighty USS Enterprise.


    The instant the ship left the aptly-named Dead Zone, Communications resumed with the rest of the galaxy. Its Console Officer had not been idle during this period. She had undertaken a very secret project, granting the veteran senior crew the ability to converse without fear of scrutiny from the dark powers that a messenger probe had informed them had taken command of their beloved Starfleet. But now her primary task resumed, and one of the first messages was for their captain. It was not the worst news, but it was not at all good news.


    "Jim, it's about Saavik."


    The Captain of The Enterprise then announced the ship was going to make best speed for Earth, under his authority and with him taking full responsibility. This message was passed directly to Admiralty Hall by means both official and some very, very unofficial. Nyota Uhura collected all evidence of these unofficial means, and gave this to the ship's First Officer. After strict vetting to see who might simply be objecting to controversial orders and who might have other agendas, the senior staff had choices to make concerning the reporting officers, and these choices made some of them physically ill, to live in such a time and place.


    Yet still the Enterprise made best speed for Earth. The Kzin Containment, while again not the parade-inspiring triumph it might have been, protected Kirk from all but a formal reprimand. Kirk noted amusedly that, his wishes aside, they still hadn't demoted him from Admiral, a title he refused to use out of disgust with Admiralty Hall's publicly known policies. Had he known their secret policies, especially toward his own son, Kirk would have ordered his loyal crew to fire upon the Hall with all banks.


    But so far as Kirk, his crew, and ninety-nine percent of the galactic population were concerned, the boy for whom the Top 75 Ballad, *Peter, Did You Make Any Plans?* was written, was just as dead as that sad song implied at the end when the lyricist wrote, ‘no need to make plans for tonight, the man is coming round for you'. So Kirk concerned himself with the living daughter whose heart had been ripped out, and who, like her brother, he could not be there for when the worst occurred.


    "Captain? There's a message from your Uncle."


    "Dammit! Spock, the instant we make orbit, scan the Arctic Circle around Lapland. She's out there, and we're going to find her."


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


    When the Captain of the Enterprise found his little girl, she had gone an incredible distance before the inevitable occurred. A man who was not quite an old country doctor was not too surprised when she began recovering almost immediately.


    "Yeah, she's Jim's all right. Nearly pushed her luck all the way to the North Pole."


    While James Kirk made it clear to William Kirk that he was not to blame for such an unbelievable episode, and while William Kirk undertook a secret journey, Spock Of Vulcan entered the Sickbay and sat silently, watching the sleeping form of the child he had denied to her face on several occasions. His thoughts fairly buzzed with secrets kept at great cost.
     
  10. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    *I had been betrayed into captivity by Sybok, and held by the woman called Linviaj-the very Romulan Commander we later stole the cloaking device from. I came to love her, and she me, for we each found something in the other. Yet we could not bond. Some unknown factor prevented this, and in her rage, she assumed my reluctance was that factor. I was used for her pleasure, and in a means and manner that precluded any of my own. Many months later, bound to a stone slab, I felt something crawl upon my chest. It was smelly, filthy, and clawed at me unmercifully, till it settled near my heart. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. You still are. In my fevered delusion, I saw downy wings upon your tiny back.*


    *I had not begged throughout my ordeal, in honor of the Vulcan men desexed after they had served their purpose, and for the Vulcan women, delimbed into brainless incubators after they had served theirs. But I begged then. I begged Linviaj to take our child away from there. I begged Sybok, whatever scraps of him remained in his madness, to protect her-and then I threatened him if he did not. Linviaj, laughing and in control, learned how little she really had when her own mother and superior officer approached her. This woman was named T'Rea, and she had been a Romulan spy sent to marry a Vulcan-one of several spies our lost siblings sent among us when we did not yet know them, and yet they knew us. The Vulcan she had been sent to marry was named Sarek, and from mating with him she bore a son named Sybok. The original T'Rea was disposed of handily, I am told, and easily so by means of the fact that Romulus kept to the ancient marriage arrangements between clans. Many Vulcans as a result have doppelgangers on Romulus, and many have met them-exactly once. But T'Rea, my daughter, was far craftier than any dared guess. For she also took what she needed from Sarek during an extended illness and from this material produced a daughter-Linviaj. Linviaj's face turned ashen at the realization of her mother's cruel deception. Before her training reasserted itself, I felt a flash of regret in my sister's soul, regret for her actions, and regret that we could now never be together. Understand, child. Your parents did love each other. Just not at the time of your conception. And we could never have bonded. Even IDIC does not allow for this.*


    *An argument began between mother and daughter. T'Rea wished to sacrifice you to their wretched monster deity. Linviaj wished to corrupt you, make of you yet another weapon of deceit against Vulcan. With no time for a proper meld, I began a process in you by which I gave up part of my own strained mind to ensure that their best or worst would not affect the true you. My gambit succeeded, but it came at great cost to us all. I have been worthless to you since the day we met once again, and, as the years passed, I have been of less and less value to the man you call Father, and whom I call Brother. Worst of all, I betrayed the one who saved you that first day of your life.*


    Spock watched her for signs of consciousness, then kept on with his private mental account.


    *T'Rea had prevailed, and you were torn from my chest and set to be sacrificed. In a flash of light, a Human boy of about seven years appeared and warned that he would lay waste to Romulus, were you ever brought to harm. He freed me with but a thought as he held you quite tenderly. He warned T'Rea that, should she even attempt to harm you, he would tear off her remaining arm. When she-quite logically--pointed out-that she in fact had two arms, the boy altered his statement to say he meant her other arm-and then tore her right one out of its socket. He apologized to you for not being able to do more, then vanished. The guards saw my freedom, and fired upon me. Struck by a stun beam, I was only able to refocus long enough to seize back the spacecraft I had been captured on and escape. My mind reeled that I had to leave you behind. But logic demanded of me to recognize that my recapture or death could not serve you at all. Yet by the time Captain Pike found me again, my savaged mind, ringing with betrayal, deprivation and the insanity of that boy's inexplicable appearance had driven all surface thoughts of my child from me. Shame that I allowed this only drove thoughts of you ever deeper. I would not see you again for seven years. That strange boy, though? Him I would see a scant three years later. He was the son of my new Captain, James Kirk. His name was Peter, and while I would not send him to Hell, it was by my hand he would stay there.*


    A brief exchange with McCoy concerning any changes in Saavik's condition ended, and Spock kept on when he was once again alone.


    *At Peter Kirk's funeral, I received information on a dream had by David Marcus, the boy's half-brother. On a hunch, I transported to just outside Admiralty Hall, and made contact with the boy's powerful mind. He begged me to tell his Uncle, and to remove him from the place that was already replete with the souls of slain children, taken in sacrifice to a killing machine that likely knew nothing of either its victims or its worshippers. They had broken The Rock Of Prophecy. I could have freed the boy. I could have brought low a conspiracy of unimaginable proportions and the vilest depths. But you see, Saavik-kam, my mind had constructed a warden of sorts to keep my Katra Tow in check, and keep me from splintering into several different personalities. This warden keeps my secrets, and enables me to function. This warden would not in the end permit me to do more for Jim's child than I had been able to do for my own. As his cries for help and release grew louder and yet more distant, I abandoned Peter Kirk.*


    Spock began to trail off. Even thinking these thoughts was activating his ‘warden'.


    *So it is, Saavik Of House Surak, that I can never be your father. But you will always have my love, hidden though it is behind remarks harsh and unneeded. I do not regret giving up a piece of myself for you. I regret only its results. I love you, daughter. You are still the most beautiful thing in all of creation, in the eyes of Spock, Father Of Saavik.*


    As she finally awoke, events resumed their sad course, dictated by a sacrifice that gave a child the means to endure anything, including the seeming indifference of the one who had made that sacrifice.


    "Spock?"


    "Saavik-your adventurism was gravely foolish, and caused your family great concern. I must advise against its recurrence. In fact, I must strongly advise this. That is all."


    Before she let a more healthful sleep take her, Saavik muttered a comment at the departing First Officer, one that briefly cut through all mental guards and barriers.


    "Nice to see you as well, Spock."



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


    VULCAN, The Council Of Elders, Mount Seleya, The Work Chambers Of Lady T'Pau, Sra Sra


    T'Aca pointed at the Human intruder.


    "The Lirpa Honor Guard will attend us soon. You are advised to try nothing."


    William S. Kirk smiled the family smile.


    "Lady T'Pau knows who I am. Lady, haven't you ever told this young woman about her predecessor?"


    "T'Melia? What of her?"


    T'Pau seemed particularly incensed by this intruder, but finally spoke.


    "T'Melia, gone from us twenty-five years, did not die in an off-planet accident. She was a Romulan agent, killed while trying to end our life. Killed by this man, when he served Starfleet Intelligence."


    T'Aca sat down at these words.


    "But she was my aunt. I am no Romulan. At that time, we did not even know who the Romulans really were."


    "Yet child, it was that Those Who Left knew well who we were, and in this wise, they drew their plans against us."


    Bill Kirk moved a open calming hand within a foot of T'Aca's face.


    "Your aunt was killed and replaced. It's a long story, but she had a perfect duplicate on Romulus. Many Vulcans do. It's happened before. Steps have been taken to see that it doesn't happen again. Your aunt was among the last to be so victimized."


    T'Aca looked up at the Human.


    "Thank You. My Lady, why was I not told of this?"


    "We sought to spare thee, child. Thy aunt, my boon companion of many decades, was already no more. Thy focus was best spent on replacing her, a task thee has ably fulfilled."


    T'Aca asked to withdraw, a request her mistress granted.


    "Thy nephew James, some years after, showed the grace thee never gained, and offered apologies for his actions. Why dost thou return?"


    Bill Kirk shook his head.


    "Vulcans are often accused of callousness. I know that the vast majority of such talk is the province of people who are the spiritual heirs of the ‘Cochrane faked warp-flight' bunch. But currently, I'm caring for a girl who seems to embody the worst beliefs about Vulcans. A girl who was attacked, and yet somehow, she was the one punished. Did you know that she almost was lost in the Arctic, chasing a children's legend? Did you know that she did this solely to find someone somewhere beyond the power of governments to turn her out?"


    Before she could respond, Kirk placed a data wafer on her desk. Without words, she scanned and read its contents.


    "Thy information?"


    "Accurate. Deadly accurate. Saavik may have violated the law, and decorum, though I'd debate that, given how she was assaulted. But the other children were not the proverbial square pegs my great-niece is. They had no silly Humans putting wild thoughts in their logical heads. No incidents. No citing for emotionalism. If Saavik will never be a proper Vulcan in your eyes, these kids surely were."


    Kirk then turned away.


    "Yet they are dead. Killed by the people Saavik stopped from ever carrying out any more such attacks. Lady, the people you've tried to appease cannot be. I suggest that the time has come to cast them off. Call their bluff. Humans might get away with the muddle caused by armed revolt. I doubt the efficacy of such an uprising on Vulcan. At least for now."


    "There are many considerations in these matters. An edict may not be so casually unmade."


    Bill Kirk fought off laughter, knowing full well who he was dealing with.


    "There always are many such considerations. In this case, consider how long you want the story of a despondent Vulcan girl banished for poor cause wandering the North Pole looking for Santa Claus to remain in the media. Frankly, I see it lasting weeks, if not months. Did you know she's getting fan mail from children on Tellar, Andor and about fifteen other worlds? With nothing to do on Earth, she may feel she has to work the talk-vid circuit to respond."


    Kirk let those words hang in the air as he left, passing T'Pau's personal physician as he went.


    "T'Nia."


    His smile was met with hers.


    "William. You seem well."


    "Hanging in there."


    T'Pau glared at her much younger sister, and the implications of the exchanged smiles. T'Nia was having none of it.


    "Do not knock what you have not tried for over one-hundred and fifty years, Sre-Kam."


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


    Back aboard the Enterprise, Saavik met with her adoptive father.


    "Uncle Jim, I am so sorry. I feel I must have lost my mind."


    He hugged her for just a moment, then kept hold of her hand.


    "You boldly went where just about every kid in Terran history has only dreamed of going before. Exploring is in the surname, I guess."


    "Hardly every child. Christianity is only two millennia old, and not every Terran child is of that belief system, and even those who hold to it are in disagreement as to whether the idea of Santa Claus calls attention to commercialism and away from the Christ-child..."


    She stopped. They both knew who she was sounding like.


    "I will never have his acceptance, will I?"


    "Let him come to you. Speaking of which, there's two people here to see you. You might know their son."


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


    Sarek and Amanda had come to claim me, in the company of Bill Kirk, who merely whispered to me :


    "I told you I was a good negotiator."


    Sra Amanda held onto me for dear life.


    "My baby. You don't know how hard it's been. I am so sorry."


    I had made the mistake of thinking myself merely a well-liked guest in their home. I, who often wept that I had no house, had my choice of them, and they all chose me.


    "But how can you be here? The edict was clear."


    Sri Sarek raised his hands in salute.


    "Live long and prosper, Saavik Of Vulcan. The edict has been rescinded. My grandmother can still surprise me, it would seem."


    "Live long and prosper, Father. Live long and prosper, Mother, Daddy, Uncle Jim, Uncle Bill, Aunt Nyta, Doctor M---"


    That same doctor now silenced me with a finger over his lips.


    "Young lady, it is still Christmastime. So there's a much easier way of saying what you want to."


    I puzzled for a moment, till I recalled the exact quote.


    "And May God Bless Us. Everyone."


    For the first time in my life, I felt truly blessed and did not think upon sorrows to come-except in the case of T'Pau. If she had changed her thinking, it was a fair bet others had not. What price might she pay for defying House Setekh?


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


    T'Belia read the proclamation to Lady T'Pau.


    "Since the Lady T'Pau has proven largely unmindful of the peace that has existed between our Houses, my mistress is left with no choice but to invoke the specter of Plak Mu, unless the barbarian child is once again turned out."


    Plak Mu, a phrase unknown on modern Vulcan. Deepest conflict between two great and powerful houses. A Terran might translate this term to mean Blood Feud, and in this they would be reasonably accurate.


    "Thee will approach me, this to bear back my response to thy mistress."


    As the haughty servant of an arrogant house approached the old woman, thoughts of her Lady's delight at once again making T'Pau back down filled her head. This was broken by a sharp pain to each of her cheeks, as two fingers from T'Pau's hand met them in two separate slapping motions.


    "Thee will tell thy mistress this : If she should wish to bring about the specter of Plak Mu, I urge that she should not bother with specters. If she would bring Plak Mu, I tell her then to bring it."


    Thoughts of who might succeed her filled T'Belia's head as she left to deliver bad news to a woman not known to react well to it. For her part, T'Pau sat back and closed her eyes.


    "This cannot end well, and yet it must end."


    In five years time, it would do just that.


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


    The new year, counted as 2275 by some, went far better for me, save for an incident involving the bizarre entity known as The Q, who accused me of being a future threat. Uncle Jim said that this may not have even truly concerned me, but rather was some manner of test that the arrogant creature, once known as Trelane, liked to subject him to.


    I attended a new school, less prestigious than my prior one, but with, shall I say, a great deal less institutional dislike of me, and all I represented. I strove ever harder to be a proper Vulcan, both for Father Sarek and for the memory of those others from Hellguard taken in the night, as had been my brother. Yet the stain of what I had done, when I met carnage for carnage, would not leave me so easily.


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


    2276


    "You are Saavik Kirk."


    I saw the Starfleet Lieutenant walk in my direction, but did not think he was there to speak to me.


    "I am, sir. You are?"


    "I am Xon of House Rustim. I am here to direct you to refrain from speaking to my young cousin, Tuvok."


    I kept my temper back, hoping that this was not another simple-minded bigot. He was not, but I would gain no comfort from this.


    "I know of Tuvok. Indeed, we had both listed a career in Starfleet as a goal, when this was asked of the students."


    "I would recommend against that for you, Saavik Kirk. My service requires discipline. Something you were obviously never taught."


    He was either truly disenchanted with me, or merely taking me apart by the numbers. Either way, I would never care for this man.


    "That sir, comes very close to a disparagement of my father, who is your superior on a great many levels, not the least of which is tact."


    That seemed to hit home with Xon. No, he was not a simple bigot. He was in some respects, worse. He was not the sort of Vulcan who would have held me down that dark day. He was the sort of Vulcan who was just as happy to see the likes of me put out from the sight of T'Kuht.


    "I of course mean no disrespect to Captain Kirk. But you cannot deny the savagery of your actions towards the children who accosted you. A true Vulcan would have understood that such actions only continue the cycle of violence."


    "And what of my attackers, Xon of Rustim? Have you approached them and also directed that they not infect members of your family with the prejudice that drove them to believe I could be attacked with impunity, or worse, that I somehow deserved it?"


    The allegations concerning the other Hellguard survivors were just that, in the eyes of the law, so I did not raise them to Xon. But I could see behind his speech, that he knew well of their fates.


    "I am sorry that you were attacked. T'Pring has flouted decency and propriety on far too many occasions. This is known and understood. But I cannot hope to appeal to one such as her and those like her. I can only speak to you, in the hopes that you have such decency at your core. Tuvok has struggled with his emotions, to the point of causing an incident with a young woman. He should not associate with someone who has plainly foregone her struggle."


    I closed my eyes, and breathed in.


    "I will respect your wishes. That is to say, I will respect the wishes of one who tasks only one who will listen to him, while giving relief to the ones who caused the actions that are objected to. In addition, I will offer up a prayer on your behalf. I will pray that, should you ever find yourself in a state remotely similar to my own, that your judge is nothing like yourself."


    "You show visible signs of upset. An Ear---"


    "If you say Earth emotion, I will then demonstrate the full gamut of such emotions upside your head!"


    "You speak to me in such a manner? You are just a girl."


    I walked away from him and his logical contempt.


    "Don't I wish."


    I was approached in my despair by the only student to regularly speak with me. I was now let alone, as I had wished, but this meant not neutrality but isolation, save for this one girl.


    "He was unnecessarily harsh and judgmental. I believe he may have issues concerning his more personal endowments."


    I shook my head.


    "Unlikely. My actions that day have added to my own nightmares of Hellguard. His flaw lies in thinking that my absence from his cousin's life will spare him a struggle that we are all supposed to undergo."


    "I still say, he tends small in more than his patterns of thought."


    She once again gave that odd tilt of the head, according to her a nervous tick she said that she picked up during the Klingon raid that killed her parents.


    "Are you not afraid that associating with me will place you into the position of having to either abandon me under pressure, or betray me to satisfy the small-minded?"


    There is something odd and off about that girl, but who am I to judge or talk?


    "On that front, you need never worry, Saavik."


    She openly smiled at me.


    "Valeris is your dear friend, and will never betray you."
     
  11. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    2278


    Father told me a story of his past. He then made an odd, even an untoward request of me.


    "You wish me to enter Admiralty Hall, using the stealth and survival skills I gained from Hellguard.?"


    "Indeed."


    "To what end, Father?"


    "To this end, Saavik. Before you, Captain Kirk adopted his orphaned nephew."


    "Peter Kirk. I have been to his grave, next to that of my namesake grandmother, Brianna Kirk. Uncle Jim roared at the fact that Peter's middle initial was an incorrect ‘R', rather than ‘C'."


    "Saavik, your adopted brother is alive. He is the prize you will seek to liberate, from the deepest, most shielded parts of Admiralty Hall. His ‘death' was a kidnapping, staged by the Hall and its allies in Section Thirty-One. For ten years, they have held him, and attempted to twist his existence to their purposes and goals."


    Of all the many ways I had heard about my brother, this one surely took the proverbial cake.


    "Their dislike and contempt of Uncle Jim is legend. He cites it as the reason the members of his senior staff have not advanced further. But why direct so much effort against a mere boy, whoever his family is?"

    "That his name is Kirk is almost irrelevant. Suffice it to say that the Order worships a being who is as the devil. On the day Peter Kirk was born, King Ghidorah shrieked to know that the one who would end his reign had arrived."


    Ghidorah? Sri Sarek, the embodiment to me of all things positive on Vulcan, was speaking as though the Order's hideous deity was real.


    "Father, I will gladly rescue my brother, if only for the delight it will bring to Uncle Jim and to all his crew. But to rely on old myths as our guide is not logical. Also-it kind of scares me."


    "Will you do it?"


    To accomplish what he asked of me would require completing my journey back to the muck and savagery of Hellguard. Despite Bill, despite Uncle Jim and his crew, despite Sri Sarek and Sra Amanda, I still had no one. Despite her oddity, Valeris had remained my friend, and yet I felt I had no friends. With dying not an option for me, I came to a conclusion : With Peter Kirk returned, the need for Saavik Kirk was in dire question. But I would respect those I loved and get my brother out of that living hell.


    Then, I would disappear back into the hinterlands of the galaxy, my dark circle complete.


    "Yes, Father. I will rescue my brother."
     
  12. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    "The Powers That Be, That Force Us To Live Like We Do; Bring Me To My Knees; When I See What They've Done To You." - Chrissie Hynde w/ The Pretenders


    The Present, 2278


    Anticipation had seized the young soul of Saavik Kirk. Anticipation at finding Admiral T.E. Bunson and pounding her into sehlat feed was first on her mind. Running a close second was anticipation of at last meeting her adopted brother, Peter Kirk, ten years a prisoner at Admiralty Hall. Saavik wanted to find the one who was like her, a fellow freak of nature cursed never to die. To say that there was much she did not understand was the hugest of understatements.


    She had thought about using stealth to approach the lowest of the Hall's many sublevels, but threw that aside. The corrupt and in some cases, corrupted heads of Starfleet Command had made the entranceway to this underground hell the entirety of their defense.


    This blunt strategy, combined with secretiveness and bone-deep ruthlessness had kept the son of James Kirk dead and buried for a decade. But as Captain Kirk had once warned a group of her classmates, dismissing the skills of his little girl was a fool's bet. The fools in this case were the xenophobic Admirals themselves, who had no beeps or buzzes or surveillance to catch one who got through.


    Saavik mentally conceded that part of this was logical; alarms were apt to be noticed by those not in the know about Peter Kirk, and ran the risk of someone somewhere catching on and not being dealt with in time. Saavik did not know that each successive entryway to the lower paths was fitted with doors that weighed many metric kilotons, secreted in the Earth itself and frustrating any scans that may have gotten through, were any such scans to be made.


    An enemy or untrustworthy ally might know or guess that the Hall kept a treasure down below, but not its nature, and, in the corridors of power, who didn't keep such things. Like the child-seeking and sometimes child-keeping sexual predators that were their true ancestors in many respects, the residents of Admiralty Hall depended on the denseness of both walls and people, and rarely had either failed them. After today, Saavik realized, that would change. Her victory here would be the wake-up call the arrogant fools would have no choice but to heed. This was an enemy she did not wish to make stronger or wiser. The loss of their greatest prize would surely have at least that latter effect.


    The sound of a voice, though a great distance away, caused her to resume stealth and caution in her approach. The thought struck her that, while neither she nor her target could die, the presence of an innocent hostage, even Sarek himself, was not out of the question. She could hear the Ambassador's voice within such a grim scenario.


    *Logic dictates that you keep to your mission, Child. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.*


    *Unacceptable. How low would you have me sink, Father? Is this why you accepted the refused trash of another House into yours? Did you further the lessons of Surak that Uncle Jim began, even amidst the worst of it, only to place me in a situation that demands I reject them all? Peter Kirk may leave here. I fear I never will. Worse, I fear I never have. I am nearly a decade removed from Hellguard, and yet I am still there. My journey into the light was an illusion, a dream had by a demon who wished to torment herself with the thought of better things.*


    Fighting off despair for the moment, Saavik questioned why a man who seemed as thorough as Colonel West had not prepared endless trips and traps for an intruder who had gotten as far as herself. Two answers came to her. He had been overridden by his superiors so often, the message she had found had been a bitter surrender to the inevitable, and an escape he would like as not be blamed for, in any event. The second answer startled her. Who else would have been able to give Sarek the information and technology that got her in far enough to even get within striking distance of a secret few even within the Hall knew of?


    *If that is so, I hope that you are gone from this place, Colonel. I also hope that one day, my brother has the chance to thank you for your change of heart. I will be off somewhere, away from people who live calm happy lives.*


    Crouching in areas with direct view of adjacent ones, making certain her footfalls did not betray her, and just plain moving with cognizance, Saavik at last made her way to the source of the voice. It was in the last level of all, the dead bottom of a place dedicated to a killing machine fueled by death and hate. It was where the forces of Hell kept one of the young princes of Heaven.
     
  13. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Location:
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    "There we are, Peter. You can still see this, can't you? Does it make you want me? I know you do, and I know it does. We've studied your engrams. We've made a study of you. We've made a field of study of you. Do you know what we've expended, in blood and treasure, to find out what makes you tick? But you still won't give us sustained contact with our Lord, Peter. Why do you persist? Why?"


    There, on top of a cryo-stasis chamber laden with more wires and tubes than any jury-rigging dreamed of by Cochrane, Tucker and Scott, was Admiral T.E. Bunson. She was lying on top of it, looking into the frozen face of the figure inside. There was a robe and her uniform hanging on a hook. The Admiral herself was nude, and was pressing her chest against that same faceplate.


    "Remember the day that I showed you to Nogura, Peter? You were so helpful, causing his heart attack through the simple shock of seeing you. You brought us to power, Peter. You placed Brock Cartwright in the center seat of Starfleet."


    Saavik ran forward and seized the vile Admiral by the back of her head. She repeatedly shoved her face into the faceplate of the chamber, rolling her off when she seemed unconscious. When Bunson struck the floor on her chest, Saavik noted a bounce that indicated artificial enhancements in that area.


    "Yuck."


    She set about to deactivating and disabling the mechanism that held the figure frozen. When all was done, she opened the chamber, and saw the face of Peter Claudius Kirk, late of Iowa and Deneva Three. The controls indicated that he should be conscious, yet his breathing had not resumed.


    "Whatever we are, we still need to breathe-I think."


    She pressed her lips to his, seeking to restore the rhythm of his body before proceeding. Yet at the mere pressing of lips, his eyes snapped open. Saavik took immediate note of this, and of one other fact. In cryo-stasis, he had not been issued a jumpsuit, or any kind of cover at all.


    "Just great. Now had to be the time."

    She had seen all manner of medical manuals and other such literature, of course. But her life had lacked one minor thing in terms of real experience. On Hellguard, the boys were kept separate, to sate the sexual appetites of those who wanted them. The guards had a standing threat to gouge out the eyes of any who looked upon them while being used, and this was one form of defiance even Saavik had been unwilling to engage in. James Kirk had narrowly averted the curious child's determined efforts to lovingly embarrass him, and however much Sarek departed from the expected norm for Vulcan males, states of undress around a child would never be among those departures.


    "I will fetch you the Admiral's robe. She seems to not be using it at the moment."

    Her blood was pumping, and thoughts came to her unbidden. Why, she wondered, did the first male she ever saw naked have to be her own helpless brother? It wasn't a huge distraction, but it was still a distraction she didn't need and couldn't afford. Was he average for a male his age? For a Human Male? For A Vulcan? Her lack of experience in this matter made her feel very much like a little fool. It also left her wide open.


    "Oh No You Don't!"


    Saavik was struck in the back of the head by an enraged Admiral Bunson. Grabbing back her robe, she tried to move in on the reeling intruder.


    "T'Pring trying to steal my little trophy? That's a big No-No!"


    Saavik pushed her back, and her glare could have melted neutronium.


    "For the last time, I am not from T'Pring, and as to theft, you monster? That ‘trophy' as you refer to it, is my Brother!"


    Bunson seemed to puzzle at this, till she apparently did some mental math.

    "The other one. Oh, there's good news tonight."


    Bunson moved forward at a speed and with a strength that took Saavik completely unawares. Holding her down, Bunson began to tug at her clothes.


    "There there, sweetie, Let Nana undress you, so we can have a party, before you join our dear Peter."


    Blows to the head were coming in such succession and with such ferocity that Saavik could no longer ensure she stayed conscious. Her foolhardiness in not securing this monster seemed like it would be her final regret in conscious life.


    "Nana?"


    A third voice joined the two previously heard.


    "Nana?"

    Bunson looked away from her intended victim, and straight into the eyes of her organization's worst nightmare.


    "Nana? That you?"


    Bunson raised her hands slowly, showing she at least knew how to try and calm someone.


    "Get back into bed, honey-bun. I'll even tuck you in. It's me. Its Nana."


    Shivering and unsteady, the awakened Peter Kirk looked at Bunson, and then laughed lightly.


    "No You're Not."


    Kirk's right hand came up, and pushed her back to the nearby wall. His eyes began to glow silver. Saavik regained her full composure in time to see Bunson raised upward by the young man's mental power. Her robe fell away.


    "Nana?"


    Bunson's right arm came off, and fell to the ground below.


    "Does it hurt, Nana?"


    The left arm.


    "Does it hurt, Nana?"


    Bunson's face made it very plain that it did.


    "Does it hurt, Nana?"


    The phrase was repeated twice more as her legs were removed. Saavik had heard the woman use the phrase ‘Does It Hurt' in the vid made of Peter's assault. She did not know whether to be disgusted or heartened at this grim justice. Then, she noted something about the severed limbs.


    "There is no blood. And they are still twitching. Cybernetic?"


    Saavik looked at Bunson. She had seen no evidence in the horrid rape vid that Peter Kirk had taken her original limbs. Her mind reached a logical but still sickening conclusion, and she stated it right to the limbless monster.


    "You did this to yourself?"


    Bunson took on an absurdly defiant air.


    "A sacrifice that gives me strength. I decide who is a victim. I never am. I..."


    Peter Kirk dropped her to the ground, where she fell silent. Saavik could still see her breathing, and decided that this was a regrettable thing within her power to change. But not before the Admiral suffered. She took the robe back, and gingerly helped Peter cover himself.


    "Peter-I am Saavik. I am your-"


    The carnal images that had bubbled up earlier came back full force. She did not feel sisterly towards him, in this moment, so she changed her words.


    "-your friend. Sarek sent me here to get you out of this place."


    The boy could barely speak.


    "Home?"


    "Yes. Home. To Iowa, or to Deneva, if that is your wish."


    He shook his head fitfully.


    "No. Home. To The Enterprise."


    She saw the confusion turn to pain on his face.


    "Things were good there."


    Saavik realized anew what this boy's life must have been like, to see a starship, and not a living planet, as his true home.


    "I promise that will happen. First, though, we must go to Vulcan. Then, we will tell Uncle Jim that you are alive."


    The boy's eyes lit up, not with weird power, but with joy.


    "Uncle Jim? Aunt Nyta? The crew? The ship? Alright? "


    Saavik realized what he was asking.


    "They are alive. They are safe."

    Her own eyes teared as she added one more detail.


    "They are all safe. Because Of You. Because you chose the path of self-sacrifice, and this has made all the difference."


    The boy actually smiled.


    "Go home now?"


    Saavik looked over at the silent figure of Bunson. How many days, Saavik wondered, had this woman compounded her crimes by her disgusting draping over what was in essence the coffin of a child she had raped and murdered?


    "No. Soon. You must first revenge yourself on the Admiral. Hurt her---"


    Saavik forced the dark words out of her brain, and out of her throat.


    "-hurt her as she hurt you. Make her pay."


    Peter Kirk looked at his rescuer, and uttered a single word.


    "no."


    Saavik grabbed him by the shoulders.


    "You idiot. She is a monster! She has no concern for all those she has harmed. You must pay her back for what she has done. You must pay her back in kind. She has harmed others since you. Perhaps even small children, to scan the files I have seen. They scream out for vengeance. You are a Human teen male. Do what comes naturally, particularly in light of her shaming and humiliation of you."


    Again, perhaps even more easily than before, the boy replied.


    "No. No, Saavik, No."


    She pushed him back, growing ever more angered by his refusal.


    "Despite her condition, she is comely. Despite her apparent tolerance for pain, you can deliver enough force to make certain she feels it. Do you not want revenge, for yourself and for our-for Uncle Jim? Is she not pretty in her way?"


    "No. Because I'm better than her, and you're prettier. Lots prettier."


    With rage in her heart, Saavik slapped Peter across his face. His compliment seemed only to fuel her anger yet further.


    "They are barbarians! Do you imagine if Nyta, Christine, Janice or any of those ladies who were our friends were in their hands, they would hesitate to use them, as they used you? You sacrificed your innocence and dignity to protect them, Peter! Now I demand that you reclaim what she took from her own miserable hide. "


    She attempted to strike him again. Instead, he struck her back, sending her sprawling.


    "Don't hit me for no reason. They are barbarians. We choose not to be."


    Saavik rubbed her sore face as she got up.


    "We are no better than they. Look at how many people you and I have killed. We are barbarians."


    Peter looked at her with pity.


    "But not today. Besides, she's helpless."


    "She is a rapist of children, and should be repaid in kind!"


    He struck her harder with his next words than any blow he could land.


    "Then you do it."


    "Fine, perhaps I can accomplish what you are not man enough to..."


    Before her vitriolic statement could be completed, she at last caught herself. She at long last realized that she had been urging a victim of rape to become a rapist, and had even struck him when he showed the decency and wisdom she had abandoned. She fell to her knees, and began to weep.


    "All well and fine for you, Peter. You are an angel, while I am a beast. I have at last arrived back where I started."


    He knelt down with her, raised up her chin, and then kissed her.


    "So you had a bad day."


    Suddenly, the fact that she was nearly sixteen, and that the boy was both thirteen and twenty-three, shattered inside and nearly her brother left her, and she kissed him back, full force.


    History speaks of shots heard round the world. This was a kiss felt across the universe.


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


    ORGANIA


    There were no lower-evolved beings about. Yet every Organian had fallen out of their energy forms and into the humanoid disguises they sometimes wore. Ayelborne looked at the stars above them.


    "It would seem the last chapter has begun."


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


    BAJOR


    Kai Bareil Menos stared in satisfaction, and yet also with a little trepidation.


    "The Vedek Council will issue no statement in this matter. It could be misinterpreted."


    Before departing the forbidden area, the Kai stared one more time at the ice that had formed over what had been called The Fire Caves.


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

    THE CONTINUUM


    Q watched as the dog began to bark, the ladies and gentlemen began to sweat and grow chill, the wind began to blow and even the pages of the magazine began to rustle. He made an observation.


    "They're Here!"


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


    WHAT WAS ONCE THE BETA QUADRANT


    The devil shrieked, as it had before in 2255 and 2262. But this was different than the mere births of the male and female halves of its great enemy. This was an alignment.


    Ghidorah The Three-Headed Monster, The Ancient Destroyer Of Worlds, was, as much as it could be, a very scared entity. It had good reason for this


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


    Saavik found herself in front of the gates of a great city. A small girl approached her.


    "T'Shura?"


    Little T'Shura, who had died shortly before Hellguard was liberated.



    "But the beams took your head."


    "Sra Saavik, do you still remember T'Shura?"


    The little one had called her Sra. She had called her Mother.


    "Always, T'Shura."


    The little girl folded her arms.


    "Then why does Sra think herself a bad person? T'Shura knows that Sra Saavik protected the littlest on Hellguard, and gave up her food for them. If Sra really remembers T'Shura in love, then she must recall that T'Shura did not love a bad person. Promise me you will not forget this, ever again."


    They held each other, and the near-woman at last recalled that it was the despair that was an illusion. But how had she spoken to T'Shura? The little girl gently pushed her off and smiled.


    "Go and be with your brother, Sra. I have a brother in this place, too."


    T'Shura pointed to a boy who looked like a younger Peter Kirk.


    "Hi. I'm Marc."


    As the children walked off to play in a garden just inside the city gates, Saavik felt herself pulled back.


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


    A silent Peter waited for Saavik. She looked at him.


    "You sent me there, didn't you? You knew somehow, it was just what I needed."


    He seemed less focused than before. Perhaps the effort on her behalf had been draining, in his condition.


    "Can we go home now? I want to see the sun again."


    When she found herself at a loss for words, he began to plead.


    "Please. I-I cannot remember the morning anymore!"


    She grabbed him up, and they stood together. *What a pair we are, brother.*


    "Yes, Peter. Let's leave this place behind us."


    At last activating the network of boosters she had strung throughout Admiralty Hall's environs, Saavik contacted Sarek.


    "Father, I have him. Beam us out."


    No guards, nor ghosts, nor words delayed the freedom of two young people one second longer. From a savage past and to an uncertain future, the children of James T. Kirk were taken by the father of Spock to one of the few places on Earth the Admiralty held no sway.


    If not a happy ending, it was at least a happy moment.


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


    ONE WEEK LATER


    Concluding Private Journal, Saavik Brianna Kirk


    My brother has been nearly silent since his rescue, but he has a smile I now think is strictly for me. I still have not identified myself as his sister. Until my more hormonal feelings are able to be put aside, I will avoid dealing with this. Perhaps by the time we contact Uncle Jim, I will be ready at last.


    The Shuttle Surak has taken a circuitous route back to Vulcan, out of Sri Sarek's concern about pursuers. He seems out of sorts, but I ascribe to his burdens. Yet again, though, I did note that nearly all the furniture and equipment in his private office at the Embassy had been replaced. I have not addressed this, but feel like I should.


    I have abandoned entirely the thought of leaving and hiding. Peter needs me. He will be as I was, so many years ago. He has, through the vision he provided me, and through his refusal to commit an atrocity, showed me more Surakian principle than an entire planet of eyebrow-raising sometime-hypocrites. I have spent this past week at last recording my journal. I conclude this hastily-assembled diary with these words to you, Peter Kirk.


    For what you have given me, for what you have shown me, I swear, so long as Saavik can move and draw breath, no one will ever be permitted to harm you again. Brother or more, whether you adore me or cannot stand the sight of me, I love you.


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


    With a steady hand guiding their voyage home and a fierce desire to protect their rescuer in each of their young hearts, the children of James T. Kirk slept the sleep of the just, and for that time, their dreams were all good ones.
     
  14. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Another smashing tale. You're plunging forward in your pace of revelations now, where before you merely hinted and alluded to things.
    Pretty cool!