REP TOS-AU, The Book Of Peter, PG13, Peter Kirk

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gojirob, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Summary : The orphaned Peter Kirk must leave his uncle's ship. But on Earth, he will face vast challenges and hardships, and only the memory of his heroes will sustain him.

    Paradise Lost - The Book Of Peter

    by Rob Morris

    Book One - Kirks Don't Cry

    DENEVA 3

    Peter was never gladder than when he woke up back in his bed. The nightmare about the Enterprise and his family's death was done. It had to have been a dream. His beloved Uncle Jim would never have thrown him off The Bridge. If Peter asked, Uncle Jim would certainly let him live aboard The Enterprise, for that had been his real dream--to sail the stars at the side of his real father.

    Smiling, he smelled the roasting Thanksgiving meal. Life was good, and he would never complain about it again. Uncle Jim couldn't make it, but Peter didn't mind. In fact, it might be better if The Enterprise never arrived. Something bad might happen then.

    "Hi, Mom!"

    Aurelan Kirk seemed deucedly confused, as though Peter had said something odd.

    "Hi, Peter. Should you be up right now? You were feeling pretty sick, kiddo."

    "I'm fine. I'm gonna take Marc for a walk."

    "Peter--don't go in there."

    "Noper! Rise and shine, big guy! 'Pita' is here to---what are you doing?"

    In Marc's room, a confused Sam Kirk was running an instrument that looked like a salt-shaker over little Marc's sleeping form.

    "Peter--you didn't need to come in here. Jim has already provided positive identification."

    "I'm taking my little brother for a walk, Dad. He likes it when I do that."

    Sam looked at Peter like he had three heads.

    "Stay here, Peter. I have to call your Uncle Jim."

    "Aboard The Enterprise?"

    "Yes, we are-----Oh, My God. Just stay here, son. Don't go anywhere."

    Sam left in a hurry. Peter waited, but then ran out of patience. He picked his little brother up, hugged him, and kissed him on the cheek.

    "Oh, it's the itsy-bitsy baby, the baby, the baby--whoa--Mom must have left you by an open window--ooh, you're so cold. Gonna wrap you up--there! Oh, such a good boy. Why some people complain about having a little brother--I never will."

    Holding the sleeping infant in a sheet blanket, Peter made for the
    door, a proud, beaming Big Brother. What was that word Mister Sulu had used? Onii-Chan. He liked how that sounded, and he liked being one more than anything.

    "Uncle Jim can't come, Marc. He's our daddy too, ya know? Cause our first daddy had some kind of accident. So we get to have two, and it's not like steps, either. But Uncle Jim won't arrive until after all of you are---he'll never arrive. He must never arrive."

    As Peter began his walk, he began to hear screams. In the skies over Deneva appeared three gigantic mouths, with seemingly infinite rows of teeth. They descended, and proceeded to devour the landscape as they did. It was the great enemy of all life-Tricephalos. Everyone ran before it in abject terror. Everyone that is, except Peter Kirk.

    "Be brave, Marc--Kirks don't cry. I have just one word for you, Tricephalos! ENTERPRISE!!"

    With the utterance of the magic word, young Peter transformed into the full adult form of -- Captain Kirk! Sworn enemy of the evil Tricephalos.

    "C'mon, Marc! It--looks--a--lot-like Someone--needs--a--good--orthodontist!"

    Leaping up, the mustard-shirted hero unleashed a barrage of Phaser Vision at the hideous monster.

    "Hmm--no effect. Let's try a---Tractor Beam!"

    Amazingly, the infant in Peter's arms never stirred, even once.

    "Fascinating. It - would - seem - that - motion - affects - the - creature. But - how- do I beat it? I need--Vulcan Girl."

    As the creature came at him, Peter began to shake, and reverted to normal.

    "What's going on? What is this crap? I--no--I--Must-Believe!"

    Resuming the form of Captain Kirk, Peter flew directly at the three mouths, and when they clamped down upon him all at once, those mighty teeth broke. The evil creature, Tricephalos, had fallen in battle and was no more.


    An entire world sang the accolades of the young hero. He was exultant, and his family proud. The UFP President presented him with a medal. Peter found it odd that this man rode in an ancient wheelchair and wore spectacles, but he was the picture of strength earned through adversity, so it was all right. He even got to meet a real King, a tall dark man named Martin of Atlantis.

    "Hate, my young friend. It is Hate that you face down. Conquer it-and be Free At Last."

    Peter bowed before The Great Man.

    "I Will, Your Majesty."

    Something was wrong, and Peter knew it. But life was good again--again?--hadn't life always been like this? Like the time he liberated Khan's Death-Camps? Forced The Klingons and Romulans to hold fair and free elections? Granted, it wasn't all fun and games. Sometimes, the burdens of being a cosmic hero made him feel like he was going to crack wide open. He also wondered why he was still holding Marc--and why the baby was still sleeping. Then---reality began to shift in horrid ways.


    "McCoy to Kirk! Get down here, Jim--Its Peter! It's an emergency!"

    "Bones, can it wait?"

    "NO, IT SURE AS PURPLE HADES CANNOT WAIT! GET DOWN HERE, CAPTAIN! I'll call a psych hearing if you don't. I've already sent Spock up to replace you. Hurry, Dammit!"

    Kirk got up, and turned to Uhura.

    "Nyota--come with me. If something has happened to my boy---I'll need you. I need you--even if something hasn't."



    "This is why I wait for you."

    Not hand in hand, but certainly side-by-side, the two went down to the Sickbay. What they saw frightened them.

    "Jim--Thank God. He's ready to shake apart."

    The three looked, and saw Peter, eyes red with tears, holding a small blanket. In it--was the dead body of his infant brother.

    "Keep away, Uncle Jim. Somehow, the transport aboard Enterprise killed Marc. But, if we beam back down, I can transform and restore him to life. Then maybe Mom and Dad, too."

    "Hello, Peter."

    "Hi, Aunt Nyta. Keep back."

    "I will."

    Jim attempted to lurch forward, but Peter pulled out a test tube that his tired mind saw as a phaser.

    "Unc--please. I know how to use this. Just beam me back down. I can't stay here anyway. They said so."

    "Peter--Deneva is under quarantine. You have to go to Earth--live with Grandma."

    Uhura looked at the small, still form of Marc Kirk.

    "He's beautiful, Peter. You must have loved him a lot."

    "I still love him, because he's my baby brother. It's my job to protect him. I just have to be brave. I can bring him back, then find Tri---then find out what caused this. Auntie--you are so beautiful."

    "Peter, your arms look tired. Can I hold him for you?"

    "He's not heavy. I can hold him."


    Uhura grabbed the tube.

    "Peter, this isn't a phaser. It doesn't even look like one. Can you be brave without it?"

    "Of course I can. I----failed him, Auntie. Marc is gone. My little brother is----"

    As Peter began to shake further, McCoy whisked the body back to Sickbay.

    "No! Bring Him Back! Don't take my baby away! I helped take care of him--I was there when he arrived. Marc--please don't go. Your big brother needs you. I---I'm not going to cry--Kirks don't---"

    He started sobbing, and cried into Uhura's shoulder. She held him, and spoke words of comfort. Carefully handing the boy off to Jim, she stayed and watched the heart-wrenching scene. Jim spoke words that were meant as much for himself as for the boy. Harsh words, but words that were, in the end, quite necessary in a harsh reality where the good guys didn't always win.

    "Your Brother Is Dead."



    "What do you want me to say?"

    The flippant, off-putting manner of the eleven-year old boy when offered help confirmed for McCoy what Jim already had : Peter was The Captain's Son.

    "I 'want' you to say whatever's on your mind, and show some respect to this ship's Chief Medical Officer. Balance the two however you see fit."

    The mannerisms were as eerie as the boy's appearance. Though lanky, and with dark hair from his mother's side--it was as though someone had cloned Jim just in case the real one went missing. Which, when Leonard McCoy thought about it, might not be a bad idea, given Kirk's recklessness.

    "You want what's on my mind, Doctor? Fine. I Want My Life Back."

    Bluntness was not a quality lacking in the Kirk family. Then again, The Doctor was fairly certain his own family had invented the attribute while holding a 'revenuer' at rifle-point. For the moment, he gave as good as he got.

    "I'm CMO. You want miracles, speak to Scotty. You want help dealing with crippling mental anguish, you talk to me."

    Again, the parallels were evocative of time and reality travel. Peter's face was a fountain of mounting defiance. He would be dragged into the light, kicking and screaming, punching and gouging--if even then.

    "Why Am I Here, Doctor?"

    McCoy was fighting a losing battle to maintain his objectivity. Something about the boy caused people to react as though they were speaking to his father. In other words, he was being a little pain in the ass to Leonard McCoy. He clicked his padd-sheet one page, and read from it.

    "Why? Young Master Kirk wants to know why he's here? Alright. I Quote : *Subject has recently endured war-trauma. This resulted from having to kill former classmates in the defense of his own life, utilizing a phaser he claims was in someone's personal collection. Further, this subject has endured the death of his entire immediate family, including an infant brother whose care and feeding he was often charged with. Subject exhibited extreme anger and obvious rage when informed that Starfleet would not allow him to live aboard The Enterprise. Subsequently, subject suffered a complete nervous breakdown, withdrawing into a delusional world in which he was a hero, fighting a monster called Tricephalos. Subject stole infant brother's body, believing it could be restored to life.* Should I go on?"

    But when he saw the boy hanging his head, his face the mask of a lost soul, Leonard remembered at last. Peter was not his father. The arrogance gone, the boy spoke. His eyes were those of one who had beheld The Devil itself.

    "Doctor--they all died because of me. Tricephalos sent out his spore to find me. Those were his cells that killed everyone or made them insane. He's the Beast Of Revelation, and he wants me!"

    McCoy smiled inwardly, for even this delusion was better than complete withdrawal.

    "Big' Un, is he?"

    "A megameter, all around."

    "Oh, I imagine he's much bigger than that."


    "Well, if those things were just castoff cells, the monster itself must be the size of several star systems. Kind of makes you wonder why no one's found him yet."

    Peter's features softened.

    "Er--he can change shape and size?"

    "Maybe. Or maybe you can change your own shape--to one capable of dealing with all this."

    Again, Peter was blunt.

    "I Need That, Too, Doc."

    Sensing an opening, Doctor McCoy went for broke.

    "Peter, you know that this Tricephalos isn't real, don't you?"

    Peter Kirk sat and thought about telling McCoy the truth as he knew it. But nothing good could come of that, so he let it go, and said what his makeshift therapist wanted to hear.

    "Yes, Doctor. But it helped to see The Enemy as something I could hurt back. I'm sorry I worried everyone. I know we'll have more of these sessions..."

    "And we're having more of this one. Sit down, young man."

    In another inherited gesture, Peter turned around, slammed down his fist, and his features became like wrought iron.

    "Why?! Why, Doctor? When we get done here, I'm sure you'll feel a whole lot better. But my Dad, my Mom, and my little heart will still be DEAD! Yes, I went nuts! What would you do if your family was taken for no cause you could understand? What if the baby you held in your arms and took care of since he was born had to be pulled out of your arms? You think my parents took care of him? They were good people, but there was a reason I nearly starved when I was a baby! Mom nearly suffered a genetic crash while carrying Marc. Guess who had his DNA extracted to supplement? Do you understand my connection to that angel?"

    McCoy knew all too well about Deneva's *special system* of labor, where the adults sat back from all responsibilities, using the snake-oil illness *Colony Founders' Exhaustion* as a catch-all excuse.

    "Peter? Are you all right?"

    "I-I just need my supplements."

    "What supplements? I have your medical records, and they listed nothing."

    Peter thought about it, but seemed dazed.

    "Well, Copper, for one. I have a Copper deficiency."

    A thought sparked in The Doctor's mind.

    "Peter--I may know of a -rare- procedure that can cure that deficiency. But what is the other supplement?"

    "Why? Is Anything Wrong?"

    "No. Just the curiosity of an Old Country Doctor."

    Peter assented.


    A blood test would later confirm McCoy's hypothesis. For now, though, he put his hand on Peter's shoulder, and spoke in comforting tones.

    "Kid--you are one tough number, just like your Uncle. But that toughness can only carry you so far. Talk to Jim. He loves you, and needs you--just like Marc did. Remember, he lost his older brother, too. And he thought of your Mom like a sister. We've all faced moments like this. I myself---"

    Peter interrupted.

    "Doctor, it wasn't your fault. You couldn't have known."

    "What wasn't my fault? And you shouldn't interrupt."

    "What you just said about your Father."

    "Er--I--what did I say, Peter?"

    "You started cursing about how, a month after you took your Father off life support, they found a cure for his condition. But you couldn't have known in advance--any more than I could have known about the spores. Is that what you were trying to tell me? That it's okay to feel bad, but not guilty?"

    Totally unnerved, McCoy manufactured a smile.

    "Smart boy. Now, have a turkey sandwich, and get some sleep, alright?"

    "Yes, Doctor."



    "How about Len?"

    "Alright--Uncle Len."

    A tiny bit of his burden lifted, Peter left for food and rest. But McCoy's burden increased tenfold.

    "McCoy to Bridge."

    "Is he alright, Bones?"

    The second time that day, McCoy said familiar words of urgency.

    "Jim---You better get down here. Bring Spock."

    In this matter, Captain Kirk showed no hesitancy. He and Spock were there within five minutes. First, 'Uncle Len' spoke of Peter's silent burden.

    "I talked to them till I was blue in the face, Bones. It took the end of a world to end that slavery, and that makes me sick. That's why I'm ignoring Starfleet and keeping him aboard under emergency rules. I'll make it stick."

    Spock questioned this choice.

    "Captain, the hostage potential of so vulnerable a resident is enormous."

    "If the Klingons contemplate taking my boy, I'll aim where it counts. I made a promise to Sam. I intend to keep it, even if he and Aurelan never kept theirs."

    With that settled, McCoy relayed his next bombshell.

    "Captain, Commander--Peter suffered from a pronounced Copper deficiency - which I cured via an amino realignment patch I surreptitiously placed on his shoulder. It's a common procedure--but he was never offered it. Also--he read my thoughts upon physical contact. Spock, will you view my findings?"

    Spock nodded, and indeed looked the tests over.

    "Hastily done, but essentially correct, Doctor. Indeed--it is fascinating."

    "Gentlemen--since this concerns my flesh and blood, I'd like to maybe know what you know."

    "Sorry, Jim. It's just all so hard to believe."


    "Alright. Here goes."

    McCoy breathed in.

    "Jim--That Boy Is A Romulan."


    KENYA, 2250

    "Upenda, darling. Would you like your grandmother to tell you a story?"

    "Grandmother, I'm fourteen."

    Upenda Nyota Uhura dearly loved her mother's mother, but she still treated her like a child.

    "Ah, I see. My Upenda is old enough to take a lover, but too old for a good story."

    "Oh, God. Father told you?"

    "Oh, more like he yelled it. Was this Jimmy Kirk worth raising your father's blood pressure? Not that I mind seeing that, ya know."

    The girl giggled, as she did each time she thought of her hero on Tarsus Four.

    "Grandmother, he was like a warrior of the old stories--I had to be his first, or have him as mine--but I got both."

    "The old stories, ya say?"

    Nyota, as she preferred to be called, conceded.

    "Alright--tell away."

    "Oh, many thanks for the charity, 'Princess Hump'."

    Nyota gulped. Her grandmother smiled.

    "That Brianna Kirk, she thinks she's the devil. She called me, and say you should never come back. Her Jimmy fears her, too. She'll come to a bad end."

    "Grandmother, Jimmy hates me. Wants to kill me for not telling him how old--or how young I am."

    "PHeh! To me, that is all but a declaration of engagement. When he said that, the wedding became inevitable."

    Nyota grinned, happy for this moment.

    "Please tell your story, Grandmother. I always love them."

    "Alright, I will."

    The great woman gestured broadly.

    "Once, There Was A Great And Hungry Snake. He Was Called The Violator Of The First Places. He Ate Whatever He Liked, And He Liked Everything. He Liked Eating So Much, He Grew Two Extra Heads Just So He Could Take In More. Now, When He Came To The First Places, There Was A Ruckus. Old Shellback, He Flew Out, To Tell Him No. Old Rainbow- Wing, She Also Flew Out To Tell Him No. Her Sister, The Great Batira, Or Darkwings, Went With Them To Tell The Snake No."

    Now, Nyota was hooked.

    "Did they stop the snake?"

    "Well, That Snake, He Was So Hungry And Angry, He Ate The Hearts Of Old Shellback, Rainbow-Wing, And Darkwings. They Fought Him Anyway, But Fighting Without Your Heart, That's Bad. With Them Dead, He Came To A Great Valley. There, Ape-Fish Fought Him, Though To No Avail. Ape-Fish Was Eaten, Too. That Snake Rejoiced, For Ape-Fish Was The Only One Who Could Ever Stop Him. But The Snake Was Stupid, And Ape- Fish Hid A Sickly Whelp From Him. When That Snake Tried To Eat The Whelp, Ape-Fish Said, 'That Is Not My Whelp, Snake. That Is Only The Rock, And Snakes Do Not Eat Rocks.' "

    The story had an eerie timeless quality about it to Nyota, like stories that retold real historical events.

    "The Snake Said, 'I Do Not Eat Rocks, For Though I Gnash Stars Between My Teeth, Surely I Would Find That Upon That Rock Shall My Mighty Teeth Break. Toothless, I Could Even Be Slain. But I Will Mark That Rock, That I May Know It, When I Come Back For More Food.' "

    "What became of the whelp?"

    "Oh, That Whelp Was Plenty Smart. He Knew The Snake Was Chaos, So He Married Him A Daughter Of Order, And Humans Are All Of Their Line. The Snake Will Return, And So Will The Whelp, Bearing The Name Of The Rock. But The Snake Will Strike First, Leaving Its Mark. When That Day Should Come, Only One May Persuade The Rock To Live And Break The Snake's Teeth."

    "Who, Grandmother?"

    "Why, Freedom Of Course. The Rock Will Have Lost Much. Only Freedom Can Help Him Then--By Being Free No Longer. That Snake Has Brothers And Sisters, Whom He Keeps For Extra Food, But Still The Fools Love Him, For He Is Hate, Too. When They Strike The Rock, Only The Memory Of Good Things Like Freedom Will Keep Him Alive. Then, The Rock Will Find The Rock, And Find That They Are Both Children Of Mighty Kings Who Ride In A Great Angel. Together, They Will Slay The Great Snake, Whose Secret Name Is G'dra!"

    And when the story was done, Nyota awakened aboard The Starship Enterprise, many years after the loss of her beloved grandmother. She was charged with a clarity of purpose that excluded details but was heavy on perspective. She dressed, and walked to the guest quarters where Peter Kirk stayed while aboard the ship.
  2. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    "Come in."

    Nyota saw Peter hurriedly turn off his computer station, and assumed that the boy was embarrassed to reveal that he had been looking at sexvids of some kind. But she wasn't there to regulate that.

    "Can I help you, Auntie?"

    She took both his hands in hers.

    "Yes, Peter. I need a favor of you."

    "Anything. You Know That."

    With a gentle look on her face, she spoke some words that frankly blew his pain-wracked mind.

    "Peter Kirk---I'd like for you--to become My Son."

    The boy spoke no words--because there were no words.

    Finally, though, words and questions formed in Peter's flabbergasted mind. Slowly, he gave halting voice to these questions.

    "Lieutenant Uhura---you want me to become your son?"

    "If you want that as well, Peter."

    He had rapidly caught on that she and his Uncle Jim had an undeclared relationship. Till he found this out, Peter had never before hated his biological father for any reason. To Peter, she was the ideal woman.

    Now, though, this ideal woman was asking him to accept a condition that would forever put her out of reach, even of the sketchiest pipe-dream. Somehow, though---the request felt right.

    "What about Aurelan?"

    "Aurelan is dead, Peter. And I will keep the promises she never did. You will never have to wonder, for in my heart, you will come first."

    Her straight, matter-of-fact delivery reminded him of something--of someone.

    "Will you adopt me?"

    "Not legally. What we will exchange here--exceeds mere laws. It will be less of a legal fact than a statement of the way things are between us. Now, you must object. Raise all the objections you want. I must defeat them. For if I don't, this cannot take place. Are you ready, Peter?"

    "Yes, I'm ready."

    But inside, Peter's words felt hollow. Parents were not figures of trust. In this, he found and raised his first objection.

    "Though they are dead, Sam and Aurelan were my parents. They did a lousy job, but they did love me, and taking a new parent so soon after losing them insults their memory."

    Uhura was at the ready, though.

    "Sam and Aurelan were good, loving people. But their irresponsible tendencies drove you crazy. Peter, who took over the housework?"

    A little weary at the thought of all his former chores, Peter nodded.

    "I did. Lady Jaia taught me how to do all that, because she said my folks wouldn't."

    Nyota continued.

    "Who took care of your baby brother, after he was born?"

    Peter's eyes bulged.

    "After?! Try before, and during. Have you ever argued with a holistic nut like my Mom, to get her to take the prescribed supplements? It's no fun. Then she nearly miscarried. They put so much of my DNA into Marc 'In Utero' he was almost more mine than theirs."

    Uhura was furious at her old friends, but conversely found she missed them all the more. Aurelan's voice had been so weak, during that last distress call, Nyota barely recognized in it the fun - loving girl who had walked in on her and 'Jimmy' on Tarsus Four.

    "So did your schoolwork suffer, as a result of these extra duties?"

    "Once or twice. I always caught hell for it. But I was never punished. I mean, what were they going to do, give me extra chores?"

    Peter's anger was beginning to overtake him. Uhura knew this was both a good and a dangerous thing, especially if the boy should turn on her.

    "Sounds almost like you were in lockdown. Did the other children act understanding about how this deprived you of a social life?"

    Peter seemed almost puzzled by this question.

    "Of course they understood. My situation was far from unique. On an advanced colony world, 'Parents Play - Children Pay'. We weren't treated badly-at least there was no hitting--mostly. They knew better than to hit me."

    The problem was, once some parents learned that current technology permitted them to control their kids' behavior, the temptation to use that technology was next to irresistible. The Enterprise crew had actually brokered peace in a children's revolt on, of all places, Tarsus Four.

    "Peter, I have defeated your objection, using your own words. Aurelan and Sam were far from perfect parents, and your need for one is made greater by their lack of skills in that area. You show them no disrespect in seeking out that which you need--Me."

    "Nyota--they weren't bad people. I loved them. I still do. I enjoyed taking care of Marc-most times."

    Seeing Peter fighting back tears was more painful than most anything she had ever witnessed.

    "But you know--I got so damned tired. They didn't understand---I'm not a mule. I just wanted them all to go away."

    The boy lost the fight with his tears.

    "And then they did. And now they're never coming back! Not ever! Because I wis--. Hiii--Dint--Wont-Tem-Tew-Diiiiiii---"

    "Shhhh--Baby, It'll be alright. I promise."

    Uhura grabbed his head. Holding his face in her hands, Nyota wiped his tears away and kissed his forehead, and then his right cheek. She mussed his hair until he smiled.

    "Guess--I sound like a whiner, blaming my folks for everything, huh?"

    Nyota honked his nose.

    "Little Mister--I and I alone will damned well tell you when you've been whining. Your problem is, you are too strong, Peter. Most parents know when to stop, because their child will complain. But I'll bet you never did."

    "Uncle Jim wouldn't have."

    Which seemed to be all the further answer either of them needed.

    "Peter--raise your next objection."

    The boy was not crying anymore, but looked away as he said what he had to next.

    "Nyota--I'm a murderer."

    Uhura nodded.

    "I understand, Peter. But killing in self-defense does not make you a murderer. Your classmates had all lost their minds. One of them even stabbed you in the shoulder. No one who was that badly possessed survived the destruction of the spores."

    Peter absently rubbed his shoulder.

    "Lucy-I didn't even know her last name. She had the twins, and I had Marc. We 'kids with kids' used to meet in the play maze. We all knew our way through it, and we could keep an eye on the kid-kids as they played and slept."

    Now Uhura felt disturbed.

    "At that time of night? Did your parents all know?"

    Peter seemed to be recalling this fondly, despite how overworked he had felt at the time.

    "They knew what they wanted to. Babies cry a lot between Midnight and 6AM. If those babies were in a sound-dampened square, far from the residences, what did they care? They got to sleep."

    Uhura heard the damning evidence on the screen. She remembered a debate she had with Carol Marcus about the culpability of those who had not invented a corrupt system, yet who benefited from it and saw no reason to change it. She looked at the boy, now much less angry.

    "Peter, I'm sorry. Your parents were human beings, and they screwed up. Can you forgive them? And--maybe me?"

    Peter nodded, again fighting the tears.

    "I loved them. I loved my baby brother, and I loved taking care of him. The only thing I hated was the way they kept uppping the ante on chores and duties. It never stopped. As for you--well, all grownups assume its the kid who's lying."

    That last statement chilled Uhura almost more than anything else. She hoped and prayed it wasn't true. She changed the subject part of the way back again.

    "Tell me about Lucy."

    Peter stared ahead.

    "She had it rough. Twins, like I said. A brother and a sister--very loud. Her parents would play with them, lather them up, then hand them back to her. She'd sit and complain about them all, and I'd listen. As dawn approached--usually about 4:30 AM--we'd dance together."

    "What happened to Lucy, Peter?"

    The boy's face lost all color.

    "When I reached the school, a bunch of them weren't wearing anything. Part of the frenzy, I suppose. I noticed that Lucy had sprouted breasts and had pubic hair. That was when she threw the knife in my shoulder. That was when I first fired the phaser I held at something other than the Ghid--than the neural parasites. I remember how hot she looked as she became transparent and disappeared forever. I fired from on top of an incline, and took out seven more of them. I think I killed about a hundred people, if you count those who died when the phaser overloaded. I had no regrets--none at all. I was Death, Death On The Streets, and I was damned good at it. I enjoyed it so much, I would have killed ten thousand, given the opportunity. My only regret till I got home was that I hadn't grabbed Lucy's breasts before I wiped her away."

    "Is that it?"

    "Isn't it enough? I am a murderer. I killed without remorse. I was killing people, and all I thought about was sex. What do you call a person like that?"

    Nyota, though disturbed, lightly smiled.

    "I call him--My Son."

    "How can you? How can you welcome a murderer to your family?"

    "Because I, too, am a murderer, Peter. Your Uncle and I killed the ten thousand you speak of on Tarsus Four. When we were done, I shot Kodos, and I took your Uncle by the hand and we enjoyed our first time together not far from the scene of the great massacre. And we enjoyed ourselves so much, that your grandmother punched Jim and nicknamed me 'Princess Hump'. Sex and Death flow together, Peter. Like Water and Salt. Like Blood and Heart. Like Mother And Son. Your challenge--has failed."

    "Then--you're my Mother?"

    "Seems like."

    "What does it mean, though?"

    She hugged and squeezed him.

    "It means that we each have the other to talk to, about anything we want. All sins forgiven and forgotten, and all letters exchanged. Add to that the knowledge that life holds for you one certain guarantee---You'll Always Have Me."

    Her young heart was asleep, now, so Nyota did what mothers do--she tucked her boy in. She then found it hard to leave him, but the smile on his face said it all. A Dark Corner now knew Light. Her Light. The Light Of A Mother's Love.

    Later, Jim Kirk stopped by her cabin.

    "Is he set, Nyota? What we find when we confront Tom Sorel about Aurelan's Romulan blood may hurt Peter further."

    The traces of hair collected by McCoy prior to the chaos-now classified-that arose on Deneva had been their only clue to Peter's heritage, once the boy consented to allow the dispersal of his little brother's body. Kirk recalled that his boy's look had not been cold, but resigned, and he insisted on operating the dispersal chamber himself.

    "He's ready, Jim. He's just too young to have killed a girl he once cared for."

    He kissed her.

    "You restored my boy's faith, Nyta. You helped him, like you helped me after we lost Kevin on Tarsus."

    She took his hand, her exhausted spirit having done all she could for the boy. She had given him a new anchor. Now it was her time. She smiled a predatory smile at the boy's father-figure.


    He was not the centerpiece of life aboard The Enterprise. For that fact, Peter Kirk was eternally grateful. He dreaded admitting that he liked the story of Mary Sue Johnson, The First Teenager In Space. So it was, as missions came up--Peter clammed up, and stayed out of the crew's way. He exercised a lot, in an attempt to control his restless energy. Having been his infant brother's primary caregiver, he was not used to sleeping late, or sometimes at all. But little Marc was gone, and so were the parents Peter once cursed for their sometime selfishness.

    Some wondered where the boy got his energy and strength from. They wondered whether there was a special 'Kirk gene.' There was, but not how they meant. In fact, Peter was an extraordinary individual. Because all of his family was. His mother Aurelan had passed teenaged nights on Earth, sometimes in the company of the attentive tagalong Jimmy, pushing paranormal forces back where they came from. She was the type of being who emerged only once a generation. Under normal circumstances, there was no way that a male could be born with her abilities. Not even her son. But the strength, speed and fighting savvy of Aurelan Sorel had come from her Human half. She had another. Her son was heir, then, to several strong inheritances. But for all this, exercise was not exorcism.

    Haunted by his actions on Deneva and all he had lost, the boy also wrote extensively in an encrypted journal. He wrote of the monstrous and the beautiful, the demonic and the divine. He showed no one, both for fear of embarrassment and for fear of being locked away as insane. The only person he would ever show this was currently a naked, savage four-year old on a planet called Hellguard. She was the other half of his soul, and she would one day call him back from his own hell. Sometimes--he even thought he saw her, out of the corner of his eye. He wondered what sort of person saw naked, feral four-year old girls out of the corner of his eye. This, however, he left out of his journal. Journals, after all, can be found out, and living on Deneva had robbed him of the expectation of total privacy.

    "Aunt Nyta is still the most wonderful person in the Universe. We go everywhere together. She showed me Auxiliary Control, and how as Console Officer she keeps those panels going and fixes them when they're not. Astrometrics was like a trillion planetariums in one. In the galley, she actually threw whipped cream in my face when I was being a brat. I talk about Deneva-it's all I can talk about, sometimes. She tells me about how she and Dad-Uncle Jim- met on Tarsus. God, they were brave. Braver than I'll ever be, against a menace like Kodos. She clams up, though, when I ask her about why my Grandma Bri calls her 'Princess'. She also tried to fudge her age upward. But I did the math, and realized she must have been only thirteen on Tarsus. Then I saw a picture of her from that period. If I know my Dad--Jim--he must have gotten in a LOT of trouble."

    Peter saw that the computer was still reworking his search on legends of three-headed monsters. He had been more thorough in resetting the parameters of the search. Hopefully--he would find other answers this time.

    "Being under Sam and Aurelan was kind of like having a big brother and sister instead of parents. They could be real creeps. Creeps I really, really miss. Nyta actually mothers me. I like it. I feel special. Paid attention to. I feel like I have someone on my side who will never ever leave me. She doesn't dole out her love after rating my chores' performance. She just wants me to be happy. That's all. Eleven years old, and only now do I understand the look on Marc's face when I would come home from school, to take him for his walk. That special person, the one who lived for his smile and fought like hell to get it back, had returned. He knew. Too bad I never did. I loved you, little guy. But caring for you was killing me. I hope everything she's doing doesn't make Nyta hate me. I like being her son."

    So it was that Peter struggled with an odd juxtaposition of family ties and exhaustion. He let the computer continue to collate, using a slower but more selective process. He then heard the call.

    "Civilian Kirk--please report to The Briefing Room."

    A couple of things were odd. One, he had never been summoned in that manner. Jim thought people might get the wrong impression about preferential treatment, and cry nepotism. Two, he knew that his Dad, Mister Spock, and Doctor McCoy were not on board. He did not know that they had caught a transport to meet with his Granpa Tom Sorel. There was a reason for this. But since Sulu had been as kind as anyone else to him, Peter moved to respond quickly. He paused at The Briefing Room doors, till they opened with Sulu looking out.

    "Come in, Peter. There's someone who'd like to meet you."

    Peter saw two men, one middle-aged and one positively ancient. Their noses appeared pushed-in, somehow. He acknowledged them as politely as he knew how. Sulu made the introductions.

    "Peter, in this region of space is a very old world called Bajor. This one gentleman is Ambassador Bareil Menos. Bajor is thinking of engaging in preliminary contacts with The Federation."

    Hikaru's words were properly emphasized, but Peter had no clue as to why he was there. He played it all by ear.

    "A pleasure, Mister Ambassador. Sir, how may I help you?"

    Bareil smiled at the well-mannered boy.

    "Actually, Kirk, it is this gentleman who wishes to speak with you."

    The Ambassador snapped his fingers.

    "Sorry--Peter. Your naming customs are very odd to us. In any event, I will ask you to bow before Yarka Devos--His Eminence, The Kai. He is religious leader for all of our people. His age is well over five-hundred."

    Sulu wondered about that claim, which meant Bajorans might eclipse Vulcans in terms of lifespan. In fact, this was not the case. But The Kai was as old as Bareil said. Peter bowed out of respect.

    "Your Eminence."

    The old man smiled.

    "Come here, Child."

    At Sulu's urging, Peter did just that. The Kai then embraced Peter with surprising strength.

    "Oh, Child! The Prophets Have Kept Their Word. For I Have Lived To Gaze Upon The Rock. For, It Is Written That Upon That Rock..."

    Peter felt The Kai stiffen, and sat him back down. Doctor M'Benga was called in--to no avail. Peter shook, and turned to Bareil.

    "Mister Ambassador--please! I didn't kill your Kai. He hugged me, and then----Ohhh, God!"

    Peter ran out, back to his quarters.

    "Lieutenant Sulu...was the boy upset by something?"

    Hikaru puzzled.

    "Well, yes. Your Kai just died in his arms."

    Bareil shrugged.

    "And? That was the fulfillment of his destiny. The Prophets allowed him to gaze upon The Rock. All is as it should be. He died happy."

    Understanding not a whit of what went on, Sulu concluded their business and escorted his guest and the Kai's body back to their shuttle-sled. He tried to explain about Peter's family, but Bareil brushed him off.

    "Sulu Hikaru---The Rock will face far, far worse before he fights The Enemy."

    A bit overwhelmed by it all, Sulu let the day's events slip away, only mentioning it in passing to Kirk, when he returned. He never told Bareil that in Sulu's native land, names were counted surname first, as on Bajor.

    Calmer when he reached his quarters, Peter saw that the collation was done. Wishing to push his mind away from the bizarre encounter, he called the search results up.

    "Computer--Names--Three Headed Monsters of Myth."

    "Working. Three-headed monsters in mythology were often reconfigured due to a more endemic legend, and fear of its possible truth. For example, Cerebrus was, as a result, only two-headed. Remaining names all refer to one being : Kh'trah, Violator Of The First Places, The Enemy, The Three Roads To Death, King Death, Slayer Of The Devourer-list is extensive. As per previous parameters--restricting. Known among Ancient Terrans and humanoid races as Ghaedros. One name unifies all others: The Ancient Destroyer."

    Peter reset the search to call up all related legends. It was not light reading.

  3. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    STARBASE 200

    Doctor Thomas Sorel nodded at the father of his grandchild, while Spock was again amazed at how much Sorel looked like Sarek in terms of facial structure.

    "What can I do for you, Jim?"

    Kirk's face was a study in anger.

    "You can tell me something--Tom."

    "Of course. Anything."

    Jim just blurted out what he felt.

    "You can tell me one good reason why I shouldn't have you dragged off in irons as a Romulan Spy!"

    Tom nodded again, quite calm.

    "Actually, Jim---I can tell you several."

    The man Jim thought he had known since childhood now spoke of truths.

    "One reason for not dragging me off, obviously, is Peter. So soon after my daughter's passing, it might be a bit much for a young man, don't you think?"

    So like a Romulan, Jim thought, to hide behind an innocent life and use it as a shield. The Romulan Ambassador spoke in just such a manner, before The Council.

    "He'll live."

    "Will he? Marked for life as having suspect blood? Granpa Tom a traitor? Not to mention Granpa George?"

    Kirk was not playing, and was yet drawn in.

    "You have something to say about my father, you say it."

    Sorel's eyes narrowed.

    "He knew. As did Captain April, and Nogura as well."

    "Tom, I'm sorry. But I'm still not hearing one thing that would stop me from turning you over to the proper authorities. I'll keep Peter safe, though. Count on it."

    "Then I have two more reasons for you to maintain your silence."

    "Let's hear them. But I doubt they'll change anything."

    "One is quite simple. I am not a spy. When I came here, I defected. My people think I am dead. I prefer they continue to do so."

    "What you are, Tom--will be determined by Starfleet interrogators. What's your last reason?"

    Sorel nodded confidently.

    "If I am exposed to Federation Intelligence, then I and my grandson will be known, in short order, to true Romulan spies. We will then be targeted and killed. Jim, think less of Romulans and more of Romanovs."

    If Kirk wondered at the seeming riddle, Spock did not. He almost seemed to start at what Tom had said.

    "Jim---Doctor Sorel is in fact, Tasorel, of House Satesk."

    "Satesk, Spock? A Founder Of The Romulan Star Empire?"

    "The same, Captain. Satesk was also Surak's son, though maneuvering by an enemy forbid his acknowledgement. In disagreement with his sire--he left to found a New Vulcan not based on what he saw as a hollow form of logic. Since Surak is also my ancestor---Tasorel and I are related. As are I and young Peter. And there is more."

    Tom nodded again.

    "Much more. You see, my people cannot let me live. Nor Peter, were he to be found out."

    "Because you're a defector and he's a hybrid?"

    Spock shook his head.

    "No, Jim. Because 'Doctor Thomas Sorel' is in fact, Tasorel---Last Emperor Of Romulus. The Vulcan Ambassador's inquiries in these matters were made available to me."

    McCoy was stunned.

    "Then Peter is the heir to the whole danged Romulan Empire! Heh. Rather doubt they'd instate him."

    Tom looked at Leonard.

    "You would be wrong, Doctor. Most Romulans would welcome the return of a balancing power like the throne. But not The Tal Shiar. And certainly not The Senate. They are part of an Old and vicious Order. Jim--in your father's name, do not expose me--or the boy who is all either of us have left."

    Kirk's head was swimming, to say the least.

    "In my father's name---tell me about how you first defected. And I want it all."

    "Then you shall have it."


    Back aboard the USS Enterprise, Peter Kirk sat alone and mourned himself. It would not be the last time he would do this. The New Year was a few days away, and that meant leaving the Enterprise. Leaving his new home. Leaving his friends. Leaving Nyota. Leaving Jim. The boy was hard-pressed to say what hurt the worst. Because it all hurt the worst.

    He tried hard not to be the inquisitive teenager on a starship, but that was asking too much. On some level perhaps more than Nyota, this ship was the lady in his father's life. Like Jim, Peter found her beautiful and awesome. As much as her crew had, The Enterprise had made Peter feel welcome. Leaving her bosom for the company of a grandmother who liked to yell seemed a horrid downgrade. More, it seemed like a punishment.

    But didn't a boy who had failed to save his family deserve to be punished? Nightmare images of Ghidorah still flooded his young mind. If he strained, he could hear a question asked of him, over and over.

    "Will You Fight The Enemy?"

    His answer, under the circumstances, was understandable.

    "No. Go Away. Leave Me Alone. You're Making Me Crazy."

    A buzz came from the door to his quarters.

    "Be one minute."

    It was Sulu.

    "Pete? Can we talk?"

    "Is it about the Bajoran Kai? Sir, I really didn't mean to run off like that."

    "Of Course You Did. Kid, the guy grabbed you and died, spouting some kind of gibberish. I wanted to run off, myself. But that's not why I'm here. Pete, you've been spending way too much time by yourself. Chekov, Scotty and myself are for Near-Null Ball. Now, so are you. Consider that an order, Mister Kirk."

    Peter smiled for friends that refused to let him wallow in his own misery.

    "You've been waiting to give a Kirk an order, haven't you?"

    Hikaru nodded.

    "It has a definite appeal. But Uhura can't make it, I'm afraid. Do You Know Why?"

    "No, Why?"

    He mussed the kid's hair.

    "Because, if she plays null-ball, her skirt flies up!"

    "You'll get in trouble if she hears you say that--big trouble."

    Sulu gestured for his young friend to move along to the Near-Null Ball Arena.

    "Why would I get in trouble?"

    He heard Uhura's angry voice.

    "Because that was MY Joke, Mister!"

    Sulu's heart stopped, but when he turned, all he saw was Peter. The boy grinned.

    "Did I mention I do imitations? The more suggestible the mind is, the better the imitation sounds."

    "Did I mention I like to kick smart-guy under-aged keister all around the quadrant, at Near-Null?"

    "No, sir. But I think I'd like to see you try."

    "I never try, Kirk."


    Thomas Sorel, or Tasorel, began his tale.

    "George Kirk and I first met when he and Robert April took a prototype starship out on a test run, basically to see whether or not it would blow up. Even though it did not, it was still more than ten years away from being the ship of the line it was to become. It went out, and received a distress call from a ship at The Romulan Neutral Zone border. The prototype ship would later be called a Constitution-Class. Its specific name, though, would be Enterprise."

    Captain Kirk nodded.

    "Did the ship giving the signal have a name, Tom?"

    Despite the deceptions, Kirk could not stop thinking of this man as a dear old family friend.

    "Yes, Jim. Its name--and the situation that developed--would also fall into legend. That name---was The Kobayashi Maru."


    The boy saw the near-null-ball arena. Separate areas where opponents wearing grav-boots floated in an anti-grav field. Just enough gravity for momentum in an anything-goes movement arena.

    "So we bounce the ball around with a shield till our opponents knock it into us?"

    Chekov nodded.

    "Exactly. Now, do not become frustrated, Peter. Many times out, a rookie needs to observe quite a bit before even..."

    But Pavel's words were ignored by the boy, eager to find any activity which would drown out the screaming inside his head. For in his mind were the cries of the doomed as galaxies without number fell to King Ghidorah. The monster was so very damned inventive, each fate was many times grislier than the last. Sulu had given Peter the rules : Don't Think; React By Instinct alone. Scotty stared in at the new fighter.

    "Ahh, Thompson, Kyle, and Tejrujinar will have the lad removed as he enters."

    Indeed, the three veterans sensed the rookie's entrance, and comboed to aim the near-null ball at him. But Peter jumped and caught it on his shield. Kyle was removed as the rebound was too quick. Thompson merely laughed.

    "Beginner's luck, rookie!"

    Instantly judging the low-grav field, Peter bounced off a wall and caught Thompson's immediate blockage of the ball. Too close. Thompson stopped laughing and was removed. Peter did not taunt. He said nothing. Tejrujinar was next.

    "Naaames mean next to nothing here, Kidling!"

    Peter didn't know Tejrujinar's race. He could tell she had superior reflexes and vision. But for all that, the tall woman did not have the need to not think. To react by instinct alone. For the boy named Kirk, that need was like air itself.

    Scaling the far wall, Tejrujinar took the shot an inch away from her chest. While the impact rocked her, it had the desired effect. Like the angles on a pool table, the near-null ball's trajectory could be calculated. Peter was surely finished.

    Scotty shook his head.

    "The lad doesn't know it, but he's been paid a huge compliment. Tej only uses her 'killshot' when she thinks she might lose."

    Having finished her shift, Uhura was now watching as well.

    "If she even thinks about using her disqualifier, I will have her on report so fast her skin will go from blue to chartreuse in a nanosecond!"

    A number of crewmen winced. An athletic humanoid, Tejrujinar sometimes had fun 'disqualifying' herself by 'losing' her battle uniform. The stunned opponents of all kinds then paid no attention to the battle. She would then say :

    "An invalid victory is still a victory."

    In the arena, Peter stood like a statue until the ball made what all knew to be its penultimate arc. They wondered, though, how he knew it to be that. Suddenly, he moved and streaked towards it. Tejrujinar was shocked. Vibrating as it was, there was simply no way for Peter to block it. But like a piece of sanding paper, he moved his shield in front of him in a sliding motion. In short, the ball returned to its original position. Tejrujinar ducked her own killshot, but just barely. The look on her face was that of a champion who just didn't care anymore.

    "Time to get serious!"

    Nyota Uhura had taken the boy Peter as her son in a private ceremony. At that moment, as Tejrujinar's clothes hit the arena floor, her feelings were plainly that of an enraged mother-figure.

    " so dead!"

    Chekov almost couldn't breathe.

    " so naked!"

    Tej flitted about in the field.

    "Near-Null-grav does wonders for a girl, doesn't it Peter?"

    But Peter had needs that temporarily outweighed viewing Tej's form. The need to forget. The need for victory. Spinning head-over-heels, Peter shot the null-ball back at her. She blocked it to the ceiling.

    "Here's a clue, youngster! Minus the tunic, I'm even faster."

    But Peter's attention was not on Tej the naked. It was on Tej the opponent. Racing toward the floor as the ball rebounded, his intent was to aim it toward the wall in a series of pincer movements. But suddenly his attention wavered, and he looked up. The warrior briefly became an 11-year old human male. His aim was thrown off. Instead of hitting the wall, the ball struck Tej's unguarded and open legs--from underneath. Ordinarily, the padding and energy-guard in her uniform would have made this merely a winning hit.

    Tej yelped and wailed like a banshee.

    Without a hint of a clue in his voice, the returning warrior in Peter cried out.


    Outside the arena, a mortified Tejrujinar ran for the communal refreshers. Uhura spoke for the stunned assemblage.

    "Guess my boy nailed her!"

    Back in the arena, Peter was now being assaulted by all comers--and loving it.

    Shrugging, Janice Rand suited up.

    "I'll have what she's having."

    Uhura glared.

    "Nyta--I was only kidding! I just want a piece of---I just want to get into it--I just want to play ball---I want to beat him."

    But with Peter now expertly suppressing half the entrants, Uhura now wondered if he could be beaten. Soon, if all sentients were done with, the computer would take over. And there was no way to win against the computer.



    FEBRUARY 1ST, 2233

    "Captain's Log, Robert April reporting. We are skirting the treaty, here. But these new sensors need to be tested and re-tested. George's objections aside, we have seen no sign of any Romulan shipping. I guess after their defeat, they steer clear of this area as well."


    "Yes, Ensign Nogura?"

    "I think you better call Mister Kirk, sir. These readings--are all skewed."

    Out from the null-lift floated George Kirk.

    "Did I hear my name taken in vain?"

    "Any long-range from Earth, Georgie?"

    "No, and no, Heichi. I got the transmat on full gain, too. But no news is good news. Sammy worries about his mother too much. Pregnant or no, Brianna could punch out a Kzin while out-arguing a Tellarite."

    April nodded.

    "Always good to know. But George--take a look at Mister Nogura's readings."

    "Now what could worry the future Commander Starfleet?"

    Nogura shifted.

    "Georgie--just stop that. I'll be lucky if I'm not busted down to crewman."

    "Ahh, you'll make it, Heichiaro. When you do, by the way----"

    Nogura chuckled.

    "I Know, I Know, and I Know. 'Wreck The Goddamned Hall!'"

    The Captain concurred.

    "There is something wrong about that place. Now, about those readings?"

    George looked them over.

    "You called it, Heichi. Those 'phantom ships' are almost a mite too solid. Bob--suggest we pull back to madman position."

    "Do it."

    While against April's wishes, the order made good sense. 'Madman Position' was a distance in a touchy area of space that was far enough out that even a madman, looking to start a war, could not possibly use as an excuse.

    "Continue scans."

    "Captain April--something on Enhanced Comm--using XO Kirk's frequency."

    "Gain it up and put it on, Ensign."

    "Distress call to any Federation vessel! I and my family are disabled in the Romulan Neutral Zone. Need immediate help. Please--hurry!"

    "Captain--Registry calls it for -- 'The Kobayashi Maru'."

    April turned to his First Officer.

    "We go in, we start a war. We stay out, innocents die. Just what do you call that?"

    George Samuel Kirk, Senior spoke his mind.

    "This, Captain--Is A No-Win Situation."


    Sulu came out of the near-null arena cursing a blue streak. He was at first incoherent. Then, he was just mad.

    "Who In The Hell Does That Kid Think He Is? Bouncing around in there like an elastic arrow, that shield like a part of his arm---suppressing all comers?"

    A now-dressed Tejrujinar smiled at the figure of the young man who had unwittingly shown her the wildest time she'd had in ages.

    "He's the best."

    Uhura glared at Tej, but figured she was never going to use her 'disqualifier' again. That would be enough punishment. That, and being---touched---in front of all her crewmates.

    Chekov shook his head in wonder.

    "You vere wrong, Tej. There Ees Something In A Name."

    As he spun and shifted, Peter silently mouthed words, each time he would bat the ball away.

    "Yes, I Will Fight The Enemy."



    "We proceed. Into The Neutral Zone."

    Robert April knew what his First Officer's reaction would be.

    "Sir, that zone has kept the peace with a savage enemy none of us has ever seen face-to-face. There's a reason they call that inviolate."

    George Kirk had his feelings on the subject out for everyone to see. But April was still The Captain.

    "George, there's a family out there. A family of Federation citizens, probably on the verge of being captured by that self-same enemy. Bottom line : We're not leaving them."

    "Sir, If You Take This Route---"

    "By My Side, Number One--Or In The Brig--Your Call!"

    George backed down, fury in his eyes. He spoke his reluctant acquiescence.

    "Directional----set a course for the trianged position of The Kobayashi Maru. Time-Warp Factor One."

    "Aye, Aye, Mister Kirk."

    Captain April motioned George to the null-lift. The cushions of air had them away from the bridge and prying ears.

    At Directional, Heichiaro Nogura gulped.

    "Right now, I would not want to be Georgie Kirk for all the Saurian Brandy in the galaxy."

    The second at directional disagreed.

    "I would. He has a wife at home, a kid, and soon another. My wife won't even let me see Little Brock. Claims I'll contaminate him with 'Alien Thinking.' But she's the one using him, touching him."

    Nogura was still disgusted that abuse like that still existed.

    "Didn't she go to a rehab colony for that?"

    "Not so you'd notice. But I'm the villain to him. Always."

    Heichi knew that his friend and roommate prayed long and hard at night for his son's well-being and for his young soul, already scarred. But Tomas Cartwright would lose the struggle for his son's soul to a creature he thought a myth.

    Below deck, Captain and First Officer entered the Briefing Room.

    "George---thank you."

    "Hey, Bob--no trouble."

    April had known that the crew would be reluctant to follow through with his plan. So he arranged to tell his XO in private.

    "My only worry was that someone would side with me. Luckily, you squashed the opposition pretty good, sir."

    Bob chuckled.

    "Oh, please! Let me never become the kind of Captain who dismisses their First Officer without comment. Like that Katie Falk, on The Colombo? What a number she was."

    The hours passed, and the senior officers returned to The Bridge in time to watch the passage into The Neutral Zone. April commented on it.

    "This is Caesar at The Rubicon, people. Remember this day."

    The ship in question was found relatively quickly. But the questions would not be lost or put off.

    "Now, how do you suppose they avoided detection till now?"

    April shook his head.

    "You'll find out, George, when you take the shuttle over to grab them."

    Kirk looked at his Captain, who shrugged.

    "Did I mention you just volunteered?"

    Heichi made the mistake of laughing.

    "You too, Mister Nogura."

    Heichi stopped laughing.

  4. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...

    The trip was brief. George and Heichi linked the two small ships' airlocks, and entered The Kobayashi Maru. George noticed a small girl, cute as a button, about Sam's age, with jet-black hair.

    "Are You Human?"

    "Yes, kiddo. We are. What's Your Name?"

    As though she had to think about it, the girl's brow furrowed.

    "Aurelan Sorel. Yeah, that's my name."

    Heichi Nogura smiled at her.

    "Are your parents here, honey?"

    "Sure. They're asleep. Should I go and get them?"

    George Kirk nodded.

    "Let us come with you. We have to leave here, very soon."


    "You know, I have a little boy, just about your age, named Sammy."

    Aurelan stopped and turned around.

    "What kind of name is Sammy?"

    George just shrugged.

    "Well, his real name is mine, too. George Samuel Kirk. But everyone kept calling him 'Little Georgie'---he hated that. So he told us to call him Sammy, instead."

    She smiled, as though George had entrusted her with a great secret.

    "I wanna meet Sammy--and the other one, too."

    "What other one, Aurelan?"

    She folded her little arms, indignant.

    "The one you're specting' soon. The Baby. I like babies."

    George and Heichi kept on, but wondered how this little girl knew that Brianna was pregnant again, back on Earth. Neither had felt a telepathic 'brush'. Inside the main cabin were her parents.

    "Father! Mother! The Human people came for us! We're gonna go to The Earth!"

    The little one's infectious enthusiasm earned a glare from her mother.

    "Just shut up, Aurelan. Stop always talking, talking, talking! GIVE ME A MOMENT'S PEACE!"

    The child ran into her father's arms, sobbing. George could tell this was a familiar situation. The Father, a powerfully built man, acknowledged his rescuers.

    "I am Thomas Sorel. This is my wife, Helen. Our ferocious guard you have already met. This situation has been a terrible strain on all of us."

    George asked the obvious.

    "Mister Sorel, how did you avoid detection by The Romulans?"

    "A Chameleon Effect. Utilizing energies unique to this region. I'm something of a physicist, Mister----"

    "The name is Kirk--George Kirk. I'm XO on the ship we all have to get to, now. This is my shipmate, Heichiaro Nogura. May I suggest again we all leave?"

    They did all leave. As they shuttled back, George wondered at the glares between husband and wife. They seemed endemic rather than merely situational.

    Back aboard The as yet unnamed ship, Kirk and Nogura escorted their guests to The Bridge. While this was unusual, April wanted all three present for light interrogation. He felt that isolation bred silence, rather than nerves.

    "So this is our lost party. I'm Robert April, Captain for this mission. Mister Sorel, what's your story?"

    "Captain, I became hopelessly lost in this region. My instinct was to head as far away from The Neutral Zone as possible. As it stands, my sense of direction was not very good at all."

    April nodded.

    "Mrs. Sorel, will you verify your husband's story?"

    A sleeping Aurelan was held by newfound friend George Kirk, who realized quite painfully how much he missed Sammy.

    Helen Sorel shook her head.

    "No, I Will Not Verify It. First, he's not my husband. My name is Helen Stiles. Members of my family were captured and kept as slaves during The Romulan War. I was given as a slave to The Imperator himself--Emperor Tasorel! It's all over, you bastard! We're on a Human ship now, and I am Free."

    Sorel nodded.

    "As we agreed, Helen. Why are you exposing me?"

    Kirk got in Tasorel's face.

    "Better question--why did you lie to us?"

    "A fair question, Mister Kirk. Simply, I seek to defect."

    Tomas Cartwright questioned this.

    "From Emperor To Citizen? That's kind of a downgrade, even for the blessings of individual freedom."

    But Sorel was ready for this.

    "A step down, to be sure--for creature comforts. But better citizen than corpse. The Senate and its allies were moving against me. Despite her understandable rage, Helen is important to me--as is our daughter. My 'other', Romulan wife turned my son and heir, Tared, over to The Ta-- The Secret Police for reeducation. My one child is lost to me. I will not lose his sister. Send me back to my ship, if you must. But take them with you."

    Helen wasn't buying.

    "It's a trick! He's trying to shame you into helping him. Because of him, I was born a slave! The only thing his rape lacked was direct brute force!"

    Thomas stood up.

    "The Senate installed slavery! My ancestors have stood against it! I May Not Love You, Helen--but I care for you, as I did for your brother. Please accept that."

    "How'd you even manage it with a woman, YOU....."

    George held a laser pistol at Helen's face.

    "Lady, he could be Khan Singh himself, holding Pierce's head in his hands while smothering the infant Cochrane--but I wouldn't care. Your daughter is trying to sleep-- and somehow I don't think she gets a lot of it. Translation : Stop It."

    She was tearful.

    "You don't understand what he did to me. Pretending to be kind--causing me to fall in love with him---only to find out that I will never be what he wants--even if I were Rihannsu?"

    Sorel said nothing at that moment, his face all shame and guilt. He hadn't meant to break Helen's heart. The truth was even worse than any Human knew, or would know, on that day.

    Nogura checked sensors.

    "We have company--three ships, closing fast enough that we should probably worry."

    April looked at his XO.

    "Well, George, it looks like your No-Win scenario is coming to pass."

    George handed off the sleeping Aurelan to Tomas, whose heart also ached for an absent little one. He assessed the situation.

    "Aye, Captain. But, now, how do I beat it?"

    George Kirk considered his options. The Federation was plainly in the wrong, with them having crossed The Neutral Zone to rescue a family consisting of a defecting Romulan Emperor, his Human former slave/wife, and their hybrid 5-year old daughter, toward whom Kirk felt very protective.

    But George had no options to offer his Captain, Robert April, except a flight that would either result in death or capture. He had nightmare images of their Secret Police torturing him and his crew. For such enforcers were invariably paranoid, and unwilling to believe simple truths.

    "But...complex truths......what the Hell?"

    April nodded.

    "Some last words, XO?"

    George smiled.

    "Captain....I Have A Plan."

    The First Officer motioned to the Romulan defector. None of the crew ever guessed that Tasorel's Human appearance was not the Romulan norm. Not wishing to betray his people any further, the man who would become Thomas Sorel never advised them of their error.

    "Sorel, can you disguise your voice?"

    "Somewhat. If it is muffled by something, then all the better."

    George tore off a piece of his own cuff, and placed it over the Comm-Unit's Voice-Link.

    "Speak to those ships, and translate my every word as precisely as the language barrier allows."

    The Comm Officer established a wide beam, and Sorel looked over at his 'wife', as though pleading with her to remain silent. This time, she did. As George whispered the basic concepts, 'Thomas' translated.

    "You Are Interfering In A Tal Shiar Mission Of Infiltration. Advise to Retreat before you are detected by Federation patrols. If You Fail To Comply, Your Families Will Be Visited In The Night."

    To the shock of everyone except George and Sorel, The Romulan ships withdrew and were rapidly gone from even extreme long-range sensors. Heichi Nogura shook his head.

    "Georgie--no wonder you always win at poker."

    April gave his own orders for retreat, then turned to his XO.

    "Aiming for my job, Number One?"

    "No, sir. Just aiming to get home. In fact--we better head back, early. If those same Romulan ships encounter us again, somehow--the jig is up."

    "Agreed. Besides--this cruise proved it--The Constitution-Class is an enterprise well worth the effort."

    Sorel spoke, too.

    "A grand ship--and an equally grand bluff, Mister Kirk. Acting on their fears as you did was quite inspired."

    "Nobody likes the Secret Police---Tom. But you can tell them all about it at your debriefing, on Earth."

    Sorel shook his head.

    "There can be no debriefing, as you call it. My people have spies within your Federation. I know no identities--but they would find me very quickly indeed. Helen would be safe--but I and my daughter would be assassinated."

    George nodded, not liking it but accepting this harsh fact for now.

    "Bob----did we risk our lives---not to mention war---just to have these people killed in the night?"

    April made a choice.

    "Mister Sorel, George is going to debrief you. Here. We'll cull what we can verify from what you've said. We're months from home, so take awhile--you'll need it. If he says you're a spy--I'll shoot you myself. But if he says you're alright--we'll tell Starfleet that your info came from intercepted transmissions. Documentation, and all that, we can obtain. Acceptable?"

    "With one add-on, Captain. My wife should be reunited with her grandfather's family, and our marriage legally ended. Helen, you are free of me and Romulus. We shall discuss Aurelan's custody as we go."

    Helen Stiles Sorel glared at her 'husband'.

    "Like Hell! I Own YOU now. Try to dissolve anything--and I'll expose us all."

    "And what of Aurelan?"

    "Born the way she was, of a father who only pretended to love me? She's better off dead!"

    Sorel knew that chattel slavery had broken this woman's spirit--and perhaps her mind. He knew that it was partially his own fault. 'Non-Productives', as people of his sexuality were called on Romulus, had to go to great lengths to hide what they were, or at least give a public appearance of 'propriety'. That Helen was hurt by all that hurt him in turn. But Emperors were expected to marry and use slaves, and the woman now called Helen had always been his favorite.

    "Then we shall remain married."

    Her rage turned to joy in one chilling instant.

    "Oh, Darling! We'll make it work! I'll make you so happy."

    Only poor, tortured Helen believed that.

    That evening, as George slept, he felt something in his bed.


    The innocent eyes looked up at him.

    "Please, Uncle George? They yell all the time, and I just gotta get some sleep."

    George would get a female crewmember to pinch-hit for him---the next day. For now, George felt his stomach being used as a pillow by a little angel, and thought again of his Sammy.

    George thoroughly debriefed 'Thomas Sorel', and came to the proper conclusion that he was no spy. By the time their journey ended in August, 2233--Sorel was friends with almost the whole crew. His burden lifted at last, The Imperator became just Tom. His wife lived in a delusion, but he felt he owed her that much. This feeling would not last forever.

    AUGUST 15, 2233

    With an ally in Starfleet Command playing file-seeder on Earth, all were informed of the rescue of the ‘famous' Doctor Thomas Sorel. When the ship docked, Brianna and Sammy came on board to greet George and their friends. George immediately took note of Bri's stomach.

    "Honey, what're you--in your tenth month?"

    Bri shrugged. She was as capable of sleeping in a delusion of peace as Helen. In later times, George would be pleased to meet young Nyta Uhura, seemingly breaking the curse the men he knew had with their significant others.

    "So he's a little late. He was waiting for you, George."

    Bri then yelped, and her eyes bulged. Thomas Sorel made a guess.

    "It would seem he is through waiting."

    Young Sammy was greatly concerned as his mother was taken to Sickbay.

    "Daddy, can I go and see Mommy?"

    "Not right now, Sammy. Hey, there's someone who'd like to meet you."

    The two children stared at one another.

    "Wanna Play?"

    Said Sammy.


    Said Aurelan.

    George mumbled to himself jokingly.

    "I can hear the wedding bells already."

    As George walked off to Sickbay, Aurelan asked a question of her new friend.

    "Where did they take your Mommy?"

    "To See The Doctor. He'll get the baby out of her."

    "What's a doctor?"

    Sammy smiled mischievously.

    "We'll find someplace, and I'll show you all about it. Most of the crew's back on Earth, so that'll be easy."

    Aurelan stared at Sammy.

    "Ohhhh, NO! If I take off my stuff, You Gotta Too!"

    As they walked off to find a room, Sammy half-wondered how she knew what he was thinking. Then, they found the room and the question was forgotten amid giggles.

    In The Sickbay, Brianna gave birth to the first child ever born on what would become The Starship Enterprise. She held the cooing bundle up and smiled. But he would grant her no more control over George than the lonely Sammy had, and she would never control this boy.

    "Welcome To The Universe, James Tiberius Kirk."

    She handed him off to George, who only stopped smiling at his second son for an instant. He looked around for the first one, who had been paged--twice.

    "Where's Sammy?"
  5. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    STARBASE 200, 2266

    Thomas Sorel concluded his story, and handed over the documents altered on his behalf, all those years ago. Jim nodded.

    "Tom--you are coming with us--to say hello to Peter. He'd love to see you."

    "And I him, James. I am pleased that you believe me. My dear lost daughter often said that you were as much a father to Peter as Sam."

    From this, Kirk gathered that Tom knew who Peter's biological father was, and let it go. McCoy nudged his Captain.

    "Jim, how come you never told me you were born in my Sickbay?"

    Spock queried the former Romulan as well.

    "Doctor Sorel, you are taking Aurelan's death in an almost Vulcan-like manner. How do you manage the loss of one so close?"

    "Spock--ask yourself who I look like, and that will tell you who once showed me some basic disciplines. Beyond that, I will say no more."

    Again, Spock thought Sorel looked like a humanized Sarek. But Kirk and McCoy had not yet met The Ambassador, so Spock also said no more. Except on one subject.

    "Captain-as the Doctor pointed out, do you not consider it ironic to serve aboard the very ship on which your mother gave birth to you?"

    Jim smiled, relieved that Tom was no spy or traitor.

    "No, Spock--Bones. I do not consider it ironic at all."

    Jim saw his ship, now in orbit over the Starbase, and gloried once again in its beauty.

    "You see, she's always been there for me."


    On board The Enterprise, the boy was in his glory. In the eighth hour of Near-Null ball, he was alone against the computer. Fight The Enemy, The Voices Told Him. So in his mind, that ball became The Ancient Destroyer. Against Ghidorah, Failure was not an option. After much unconscious planning, he knew every motion in the field, every last graviton.

    Jim watched his boy, as did much of the crew.

    "Eight HOURS, Sulu? He beat everyone?"

    A still-sheepish Tejrujinar quickly responded.


    Kirk turned to Uhura.

    "She didn't use her-----"

    But Uhura nodded.

    "Sorry, sir. But the ball wasn't the only thing bouncing in there."

    Kirk glared at the young ensign.

    "Mister Spock--did you not request a line-by-line code review of the ship's library computer access mechanism?"

    "Indeed I did, Captain."

    Tej gulped, and turned back to the show. She would have to enjoy herself now.

    Making his move, Peter slammed the ball into the right wall, and waited for it to complete a few arcs. When it was just slowed enough---Peter Kirk performed a flat-out miracle.

    "Keptin---he's going to do it!"

    All knew what Chekov spoke of. The boy batted the ball one way, and then raced over to meet it at the other side. Moving in a perfect circle--Peter essentially trapped the ball in one place. As he did this, a countdown began. The computer recited the words almost reluctantly.

    "10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1...GAME OVER!"

    The ball disappeared, and Peter fell to the floor, exhausted but exhilarated. He smiled, and looked up at Jim, who grabbed him up and hugged the stuffings out of him. Both realized goodbye was not much more than a day away.

    "Uncle Jim--why did it stop?"

    "Because, pal--You Beat The Game!"

    Spock gently threw in.

    "After a certain point, the computer reaches a determination that an opponent simply may not be beaten. It then concedes defeat."

    Peter then saw another familiar face.

    "Granpa Tom!"

    Tasorel The Fifth, Once Imperator Of Romulus and Remus, took simple pride in his posterity, and remembered holding his Aurelan the same way. He tried hard to remember only the good times.

    As each of his friends congratulated him in turn, Peter felt the rush of victory. Their congratulations were sincere. Peter had accomplished the impossible-game or no game.

    Later, sulking a bit, the whipped and self-stripped former Junior Champion Tejrujinar felt Peter press a note into her hand. It said merely two words.

    "THANK YOU!"

    She smiled, knowing precisely what she was being thanked for.

    "Ahh--It Was Worth It."

    When Peter was asleep and exhausted, Tom Sorel asked Jim a question.

    "Jim, how was Near-Null-Ball developed?"

    "Well, its guiding principle is that eventually, the ball will find you. What he did--is not theoretically possible. It's based on an exam given to Cadets on The Command Track."

    Tom raised a familiar eyebrow.

    "You mean to say that game's guiding principles were based on----"

    Kirk smiled, and looked at his sleeping boy.

    "The Kobayashi Maru. I guess he doesn't believe in The No-Win Scenario, either."

    "Genetics will out, in the end."

    "Whose genetics, Tom?"

    "Jim---let's not go there."


    JANUARY 2, 2267

    "All Your Things?"


    "Are You Alright?"

    "No, sir. Please let me stay."

    Jim had hugged Peter a lot, of late. But now he fairly crushed the boy. They knew this would be goodbye for now. Neither knew it would be twelve hellish years before they again met face-to-face.

    "If I could, I would."

    "I know you would, sir."

    "Goodbye, Peter."

    "Goodbye, Uncle Jim."

    No one else was present. Peter had already said goodbye to Uhura, and then the rest. Jim activated the transporter.

    "Goodbye, Son."

    Materializing at The Transport Station, Peter got off the pad and looked up. Through the pressure dome, he saw the great ship depart with his family.

    "Goodbye, Dad."

    Later, a passenger on the Transport to Earth saw him writing a letter.

    "Who to?"

    Peter thought of Nyota, and the promise they had made together.

    "My Mother."


    Book Two - Not Into Temptation


    Tevara shook her head at her daughter, Nyota Uhura, in pure disbelief.

    "You adopted Jimmy's nephew--but then sent him to live with Brianna? Nyota, how could you? By law, he could have been sent to live with us--and been a lot happier, as a result."

    "Mother, Brianna is the boy's grandmother."

    "Upenda Nyota--Brianna Kirk is no mother. Child, I'll be blunt. The decisions we made on your behalf after Tarsus- -were no more ours than yours. Bri threatened a lawsuit. Threatened our lives, and our livelihood. Threatened to say--that it was all your father's fault. The University would have had him dismissed, forever. You would have been taken from us, and we would have had to fight to get you back--and maybe not only have lost, but then been forbidden to see you again."

    Nyota received a bundle of legal cyber-documents, proving her mother's claim.

    "Mother--who is this woman? Police and ambulances, considering her house a routine trip? I never liked her, but what was she after, in all this?"

    Tevara again shook her head.

    "Fear, Nyota. Fear of her sons. Particularly Jimmy. From mercifully short talks I had with her, I've gathered that Peter is really Jimmy's son. Is that why you feel the attachment? Did you so need to reclaim what should have been yours? I'm sorry she panicked us, and I'm sorry for what we did. But she is a queen of terror, and you have sent an innocent boy into her clutches."

    Uhura was close to tears.

    "This conversation is over, Mother."

    After breaking the connection, the young woman, all grace and light, strode to the Captain's Quarters.




    "Jim, I have a question for you. A highly personal one. But if you do not answer it, then I will file a request for transfer."

    "That big, huh? Ask away."

    She gathered her courage, attempting to see her sometime-lover apart from his lofty position. This provided the crux of many of their difficulties.

    "Did Brianna beat you?"

    Jim forced a weak, phony smile.

    "How else was I supposed to learn how to play Chess? She's quite good, you know."

    Nyota shot him down in flames.

    "At playing Chess? Or people?"

    "Your point, Lieutenant?"

    She gathered herself yet again. There was no way to temper the next blow.

    "Jimmy--three months after Tarsus Four, on my fourteenth birthday--I found out I was pregnant."

    He sat down, flabbergasted.

    "Nyota--I'm sorry. I knew I might have used the protection incorrectly, but I wanted you so badly, I couldn't think."

    "Neither of us could. Those were squeals of pleasure you heard, after all. Besides--I don't think it was your fault. Remember how your mother peeled you off me suddenly, the second time? I think it caused the accident. Jim--my parents compelled me to end it--and I did. I've never had a greater regret. But that was topped by what I just learned from my mother."

    "That Brianna cajoled them into it?"

    "Wait. If you didn't know about the--pregnancy--then how could you know about Bri's threats?"

    Jim stared away, angry at his mother once again.

    "Because I know her. The way she operates.. She is the same person who tried to talk Sam and Aurelan into not having him. A cousin my father referred to as The Bright Lady said she once went further than that. Did you know that Peter wouldn't let little Marc near her? He said he loves his grandma. He just doesn't like her very much."

    Nyota knelt in front of Jim, and gently repeated her question while holding his hands.

    "Did she beat you? Will she beat him?"

    His answer was blunt.

    "Yes. And No--Not If She Knows What's Good For Her. She's been through all the
    programs---supposedly she's changed."

    Uhura left to perform her duties, noting a total lack of conviction in Kirk's voice about his mother's reformation. Nyota recalled as she walked that striking a child in her family was unheard of, save for her troublesome cousin Hagia Tanabe. When she was alone in the turbolift, she voiced the words of her soul.

    "Peter should have been my son."

    In half-remembered dreams, she had left that sterile place, and ran after her boy's spirit. She found it in Aurelan's hands. Nyota demanded it back.

    "I won't be the best mother, Nyota. But I'll take care of our boy, and then you can have him back."

    Nyota turned in her dream, and saw a face dart out from behind a hill. A face like no other. It was her son.

    Then the doors parted.

    Once on the Bridge, only Chekov was there.

    "Uhura, I am quite sorry. But every console on this Bridge needs recalibration, and all your assistants are laid up. Sulu and I shall be in Aux-Control. Again, I am sorry."

    She looked at all the work before her. Work that would not permit her a single chance to think about anything else. She smiled.

    "Pavel, leave it to me."



    Behind the room's divider, Aurelan snuggled with her boyfriend, Sam.

    "Boy, your Mom and Jimmy really went at it, last night. He's still not awake."

    "It's Funny. Nyota's Dad, when he called, apologized for punching me out, back on Tarsus. But something he said set Mom off. I've only seen her like that, once. He's got school, soon. I better wake him up."

    "Good. Cause I'm not dressed."

    Sam grinned.

    "Reilly--are you shy? Cause if Jimmy sees you au naturel--that'll wake him up in a damned hurry! Pop! Goes The Weasel."

    She grinned, not telling Sam that Jimmy already knew her body's unclad look.

    "I'll do it."

    Opening the divider, Aurelan crept across. Jimmy Kirk was like a little brother to her-but once in a while she liked to remind him that they weren't related.

    She bent over and kissed him on the cheek.

    "Hey, Jimmy--what do you think of this new dress?"

    Jimmy didn't stir.

    "C'mon, pervo! Either you get up--or I'll find me a nice seat!"

    Sam was stifling wild laughter. This was the best of both worlds--a joke on Jimmy that beat all and would not garner his eternal resentment. But still, Sam's younger brother did not stir.

    "Jim-my! Can you count to two? Look at me, and tell me how to count to two."

    Sam shrugged.

    "Turn him over. Whatever he's got planned, he's earned my respect for holding back."

    So Aurelan turned Jimmy over, expecting him to attempt a grab or a kiss on some awkward spot. Instead, what she saw had her running to grab her robe. She barely made the refresher in time, before throwing up. Sam shook with fury.

    "Mom--how could you?"

    Jimmy's face was swollen, and both eyes were closed. His chest and back were covered in fresh bruises. He was a bloody mess. Sam held a crying Aurelan, and made his choice.

    When Brianna Kirk saw the ambulance outside, she ran to shoo it off. But Aurelan pushed past her, and guided the medics in. Daring to look betrayed, she stared at Sam. But the prankster was gone, and a protective older brother was in his place.

    "Don't start. He's going to a real hospital. Your pet doctor is not going to be brought in on this. And Dad has already been informed. Funny how we didn't know he was in San Francisco. If Jimmy survives, he's going to do an Inner-Rim tour with Dad aboard The Constitution. As for us--we're heading for Deneva early. Basic terraforming is a pain, but there are two bonuses--more money and less you."

    Brianna grabbed Sam's wrist. Aurelan broke Brianna's.


    Aurelan frowned.

    "The word is Slayer, Brianna. I kill monsters--remember that."

    So it was that both her sons left her house for good. After The Constitution, Jimmy-now Jim, entered Starfleet Academy. Eventually contact resumed - but it was always tinged by the day the medics dragged off a comatose Jimmy.

    No police came. Just a woman that Bri in her worst rage would never lay a hand on. Afterwords, the warning Bri received had her wishing the police had come. The Bright Lady, as George called her, was just that way. Her words sobered the raging matriarch. But they could not break old habits. Not entirely.


    EARTH, 2267

    Peter stared at the mountains of discs.

    "Four Months Of Homework? Grandma, I wasn't even here for those classes. Doesn't my work on Deneva count for anything? I mean, this is a lot of work to do before the February resumption."

    "Then I suggest you get started. Peter, your easy life on that backwater is done. The Days Of Wine And Roses Are Over. Now, take four hours and reduce that pile some. Then, you can begin your chores."

    The boy spoke haltingly.

    "I was--hoping to relax a little."

    "You hoped wrong. Grandma's house is not a fun place. I am not going to wait on you hand and foot. You've got to pull your weight, here."

    "What about your weight?"

    A slap across the face almost put him into shock.

    "That's what a loose tongue gets you. Now, the timer-lock on your room is set for four hours. Make use of that time. Good use."

    "But Timer-Locks are used on people under house-arrest--prisoners."

    "Don't flatter yourself. Your parents' letters were full of your antics, Peter. You're not pulling them, here."

    Peter didn't dare imagine the truth. That she was bluffing. There were no letters that said anything bad about him. So he acquiesced. As he did, he wondered what he could have done to upset his parents. Absence was already rewriting the harshest memories.

    "Yes, Ma'am. What did they say about me?"

    Bri started to grow nervous, wrongly sensing that her bluff was being called.

    "Oh, you know what it was about, Little Mister. I don't need to hear a poor man's version of it. Now, get in there."

    He did, and she knew what she would see when the door opened. Four hours later, she was proven wrong.

    He was asleep. But fully half of the discs were finished. She angrily checked them for errors, and found none. Far from being proud of this accomplishment, she raised her hand intending to strike him awake, and then to chastise him for starting his chores late--by about ten minutes.

    But as her arm descended, it was grabbed. Gently but firmly holding it was The Bright Lady--whom some called Jaia Littel. The deceptively-aspected titan stared at Brianna with eyes that held next to no mercy.

    "Child--we have to talk."

    Jaia Little effortlessly strode through bitter cold. She was not uncovered by any means. But she was also not the 'snow-mummy' that many people became when January's unregulated Iowa Winters struck home. Brianna Kirk resented her this ability--among many other hidden resentments she harbored. Those were legion.

    "This walk is quite bracing, don't you think, Brianna?"

    "Jaia--I'm freezing. Please tell me why you're here."

    The elder woman's eyes looked askance at the woman who was her junior in many ways, and on many levels.

    "Do you intend to raise Peter By Hand?"


    Little rethought her words.

    "I forget minor details, from time-to-time. Phraseology changes so quickly, after all. So I ask again --- Do You Intend To Beat Peter?"

    Brianna Kirk's response was disturbingly nonchalant.

    "If it's required. I mean, look at Jimmy. I kept him in line. Jaia, I only use it as a back-up, as I'm sure you know. Jim needed it. So will his son."

    Jaia stopped.

    "You do not and cannot fool me, Brianna. I'll ask you to show enough respect to not even attempt it."

    Bri seemed to almost pout.

    "So I get into it on occasion. Boys tend to push. You have to push back. I've raised two sons, Jaia. I've never seen any of your children. I don't think you have any."

    Jaia shook her head.

    "If I were to cry out to my children, the foundations of the firmament would shake with their reply. I have raised my voice to them. Once--I slapped one, and the sparks formed The Aurora Borealis. But then--I was their real mother."

    "Sorry, Jaia. But I didn't allow my absentee husband to tell me how to raise Jimmy. I won't have you--position or no--telling me how to raise Peter."

    "Child, you do not need to raise him. He has already been a father and a mother to an infant who adored him. He is neither the irresponsible intellectual that Sam was nor the stubborn lone wolf that James can be. The Boy needs only your love and attention. He is infinitely strong. But his patience is not."

    "Jimmy--never raised a hand to me, even when I went off. Neither will Peter."

    "Are you crazed? Jimmy owed you life. You were all he knew. Add to that, I placed a safeguard in him to prevent him from harming you."

    "Then place it in Peter."

    "No, Brianna. I cannot."

    "You cannot, or you will not?"

    "Both. You see, Peter could possibly destroy me. What he is--was never meant to be controlled. It is a wild thing that is aimed in Ghidorah's direction. Plus---"

    Jaia looked her straight in the eye.

    "I will not permit you to murder Peter again."

    Brianna shook her head.

    "Murder Peter Again? Look, I may just be a wife of 'The Line', but I am deucedly tired of your mumbo-jumbo and talk of super-powers and such. Make your case to me, if you want to change my mind about my brand of discipline. But I'll request that you speak plainly."

    Jaia seemed to be analyzing Brianna, like a virus under glass.

    "I speak quite plainly enough, for those who hear--and bother to listen. And the only members of The Line with your 'super-powers' are Peter and Saavik. Do you know what you risk by speaking to me in that manner?"

    Brianna seemed to calm a bit, at that. Oddly, Jaia Littel was not threatening her, per se. She was not speaking merely from a pride of place. It was as though the same warning would be given to someone trying to melt the polar ice caps. It just wasn't a good idea to cross some lines.

    "Well--all I meant was, I don't understand this charge you make that I once murdered Peter."

    Again, the maddening inscrutability.

    "It Is Not A Charge. It Is A Fact. You Compelled Nyota Uhura's parents to end her pregnancy. That child would have been Peter."
  6. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    "They were both kids. I did them a favor."

    "They would have been better parents than you, Sam or Aurelan. Just as Peter was to Marc. Poor little one. He thought Peter had sired and given birth to him. He thought Sam and Aurelan to be older siblings. Having someone to care for would have tempered even James."

    Brianna kept her enforced calm.

    "Peter--is a freak. He should never have been born. You don't know how I tried to talk Sam and Aurelan out of letting Jim sire their children. Even one of Sam's idiotic jokes couldn't change their plans. You should have let me take care of things. It would have looked like crib death. We would all be safe."

    "And who, then, would save us from King Ghidorah? James? He would put up a fight, to be sure. He could even kill Ghidorah. But only one may destroy him. Peter and his born-bondmate are What Lies Beyond The Last Hope. Ghidorah may play no more tricks, then. King Death must then either win or perish--as it is for all of us. Against the Rock, he is mortal."

    Bri's eyes showed not an ounce of acquiescence.

    "Jaia---it can still end quietly. Residual nerve damage from the parasites. People on Deneva are still dying, as we speak. Jim will grieve--and then move on. As he always has. This Rock could prove just as great a danger as Ghidorah itself."

    Jaia closed her eyes, patience on the verge of being spent.

    "No, Child. I prevented you from harming the nascent Rock. While you cannot kill him, now, still you will do immense damage if not warned off. I so warn you now. Ghidorah is coming. In some worlds, he is a minor threat, or a major one. In some others, he is an actor in a rubber suit, shown to amuse and terrify. Here, though--He Is The End Of Time. He can be stopped, though, at Meggido. Do not seek to bend him through beatings, Brianna. It can't be done."

    "When Jim was born, you came to me--and you said he was dangerous. Wouldn't his son by a Half-Vulcanoid be even more dangerous?"

    Jaia began to walk away.

    "Child, do not twist my words--or I will beat you myself. I said that James would be dangerous, If he went on the wrong path. So far, I find his path acceptable. That may change. But Peter has only one path. Again, I warn--stop putting yourself in it."

    She left with a question on her lips.

    "Will You Fight The Enemy?"

    "Will You Fight Ghidorah?"

    Bri ran inside, frozen on much more than just a physical level. Jaia Littel spoke to one unseen.

    "No, not yet. Peter is her great fear--and her last shot at redemption. Let it play itself out. In its own way, all this will serve Peter Kirk well--when Hell takes him prisoner. From that Hell he shall emerge as The Rock. And Upon That Rock Shall Those Mighty Teeth Shatter."

    Inside, Bri raged.

    "She would never have spoken to Winona that way. Real Mother----"

    As his father had learned before him, Peter Kirk stayed in his room and was quiet. He was also scared, wondering how all this yelling and hitting began. The answer lay just beyond him---and had shaped his life as he knew it since before he was conceived.

    The woman who chose to call herself Jaia Littel felt a tug. She smiled.

    "Of course. Our two lines have had old and joyous associations, after all."

    By her own ability and of her own free will, Jaia entered a white void. Beings now stood in front of her fashioned in the images of James Kirk, Nyota Uhura, and Peter Kirk. Jaia gave a tilt of the head, which was returned by her hosts.

    "You do not have to assume the forms of those I know. I can easily take in your true forms, should you choose to allow it."

    'Jim Kirk' spoke first.

    "We Of The Temple Need These Forms To Traverse Your Linear Paths."

    "Oh, yes. I had forgotten that you have such limitations. How may The Line help the Bajora on this occasion?"

    'Nyota' spoke next.

    "The savage beats the boy."

    "We are aware of this. Brianna is evil-- but she is a necessary evil, much as the irritant sand helps the oyster forge a pearl. The Order placed one of their own inside The Line. She did bear Sam and James for us. That placed us in her debt, her treachery and monstrous actions aside--but that debt is largely paid. Brianna has lightly squandered every chance at redemption we have offered her. Peter is her last opportunity."

    The Prophet in the form of Peter Kirk stepped forward.

    "Why is the Brianna the boy's caregiver? What Of The Winona?"

    Jaia nodded.

    "Winona is dead--murdered by her twin sister, so that George's affections would be turned her way. Barren, she took the parts she needed to bear children from dead Winona. Brianna has never understood what this violation cost her."

    'Jim' asked another question.

    "Does she love her children at all?"

    "A twisted and a possessive love, but it is there. It is not enough to save her, in this instance. There have been signs, and yet the end will strike her like a thief in the night."


    "Will The Boy Become The Rock?"

    "After he endures Temptation and the Wilderness, yes. Then, The Rock will be forged in flame."


    "In flame? Is this necessary? The Boy is already obedient. So respectful is he of authority, The Brianna is hard-pressed to make up her excuses. Why then, must he enter Hell?"

    "By law, you have no right to ask that of me."

    "We are aware of this. But we only ask this--we do not demand."

    Jaia almost hesitated.

    "Though a guardian of sorts, I am chiefly a tester of my line. Peter does not need to learn anything--especially obedience. But passage through the fire will show him that evil can be gotten through and opposed. He knows this, too. Hell will reinforce it. He will be given Hell, and keep it until the day he and his woman give it back to Ghidorah."

    'Nyota' spoke one last time.

    "What does the savage one fear?"

    "She is like the old 20th Century Male, living in fear of a woman's power. Brianna fears male power. Their willfulness, their prodding nature. The way that they all leave her. Never comprehending of course, her own role in those departures. She fears Peter, most of all. This may be my fault. When he was born, I tried to quell her fears. I showed her what Peter really was. It is a sight that can inspire wonder--or terror. It was my first sign that she had lost the battle with her fear."


    "She saw the face. The Face That Stares From Over The Hill."

    'Peter' bowed in courtesy and spoke as Jaia left their company.

    "Justice, Like Lightning, Must Ever Appear--To Some As Hope, And To Others As Fear."

    Back in what we call reality, Jaia attended to her other business, as a being of her responsibilities well might. But she kept watch on Peter and Brianna. It was not a happy watch.


    MAY 1ST, 2267

    Peter couldn't believe what he was hearing.

    "Inspect my homework? No. I get straight A's."

    Brianna smacked him back, pushing the chair he was sitting in over. She struck a familiar command on his console.

    "That's all your good work, deleted. That's what a fresh mouth gets you. Just like your father."

    She smiled.

    "Jim was your father. Not Sam. That's why you're a monster."

    Peter sat on the ground, pretending to shake. He didn't tell her that he did his work before leaving school, and kept it on his file there. That was also where he sent correspondence from. He knew his worst fears were true when after the first correspondence he sent from school was mailed, Nyota responded by saying how long it had been since he had written. Brianna had been deleting his letters.


    JUNE 1ST

    "You said Seven was my curfew. Its Six-Thirty. Now, I'll be back in fifteen minutes. I just want to talk to Bonita."

    Brianna slammed the door before he could exit.

    "When did I give you permission to see girls?"


    JULY 1ST

    "Heh. Boy, Petey--you're just as clumsy as your uncle Jim. I was his doctor, too."

    As the Doctor chuckled and gave rose-colored reminiscences, Peter noticed that his leg was beginning to heal. He took note to make Brianna think it was still sprained.

    "Boys do tend to fall down stairs, though."

    "Our house has no stairs, Doctor."

    "Don't sass me, kid. I believe in discipline, same as your grandmother."

    He stared at the screen.

    "Now, when did Bri order a DNA workup done? Well, let's see what projections have you looking like in about twenty years."

    He looked. He took it all in. He stared at in horror. The Doctor removed an old scalpel from his drawer. He pointed it at Peter.

    "Bri was right! What in the hell are you?"

    He ran at the boy, who ducked. The Doctor went straight through a nearby window, and crashed outside with a thud. He had been two stories up, and not a young man.

    As all ran out, Jaia quickly entered and erased both the DNA scan and the order for it. Within a month, many parents who had brought their children to this doctor found themselves under arrest for child abuse and failure to report same. But not clever Brianna. She had been at this game for far too long.



    She marched straight into his bedroom, to wake him. He was late. But then, she knew he would be.

    "Get up. I'm sorry I got like that, but you don't know when to stop pushing, Peter."

    He never pushed. If he ever had, a series of broken and sprained parts would have stopped all pushing long ago. Last night had been special, though.

    He had seen a girl behind her back. It was nothing, and nothing had happened.

    Bri went after him with a frying pan. Hit him with everything she had. She then threw the bloody carcass into his bed. Now it was time for the verbal follow-up.

    "You know, if you didn't keep trying to act as though my rules were suggestions, then we might have an understanding. Until that happens, then this happens, too."

    But when she checked the bed, it was empty. Peter returned later that day--with nary a scratch.



    She hated him. With Jim, she could be latent, and let it out when he would rebel. She could keep the mask of respectability that was so very important to her.

    But Peter was like his name implied--a rock. She was failing--failing to do what the Order had asked of her, in exchange for gaining her sister's life. Jaia had been right. The beatings would not work, though Brianna kept at that end of it.

    So she piled on restrictions. Then verbal abuse. She got desperate, and even began to tell interested girls that he would not be interested in them. But like William Tell, Peter neither openly rebelled nor bowed to the tyrant.

    Brianna realized that Peter was now better at taking her abuse than she was at dishing it out. This chilled a woman who did not realize how close her time really was, and how little of her soul was left.

    It was an offhand remark that set it all off.

    "So now I can't meet Jim and Nyota in San Francisco? I thought I earned that in our agreement."

    He no longer used any name other than 'you' when speaking with her.

    "Besides, Nyota said that you were her friend. I thought you'd want to see her."

    As she left for the day, Brianna sealed her fate.

    "That little whore is no friend of mine. Now clean up the house while I'm gone."

    Typically, Brianna did not understand where the lines were. It was a simple line, but very clearly marked. Beside this line read a rule: Never come between a boy and his mother. When Brianna left, the first thing Peter did was rip the access-timer right out of his door. He pulverized every possession of Bri's except one. This was a vase that she warned him never to break, or he would 'really get it.'

    She arrived home, and saw her house. Peter stood there, holding the vase.

    "Is this yours?"

    He put it safely inside a cabinet. Then he looked at her, and stamped his foot down. Peter pulled back his arms and balled his hands into fists.

    "Bring it on."

    She came at him and shoved him down. Furiously, she rabbit-punched him almost two-hundred times, till she was physically spent.

    The boy rose up, smiling.

    "My Turn."

    He backhanded her into the wall and left like his fathers before him.

    Hours later, Bri had a visitor.

    "Je--Jaia? Oh, I'm glad you're here. H-he turned on me, like some kind of animal."

    "Child, your life is over. Show some dignity. Do not lie."

    "Nooo...The Boy Must...."

    "The Boy must crush tiny monsters like you on his way to the big monster. You could have been his grandmother. Now, you are nothing."

    "I--was--this family's glue."

    "You are wrong. It went on despite you, not because of you. You were but a useful tool, for the purpose of polarizing James, and then Peter. You and your Order--yes, we knew--showed them the wrongness of true evil. Now, you have been judged and found wanting. Ashes to ashes."

    Jaia removed the vase that Peter had not smashed. She poured the contents of the vase into Brianna's mouth.


    As Brianna died with her sister's ashes in her throat, Jaia made a slight, odd gesture. Suddenly, Brianna sat up. She was healed, and her anger-lines erased.

    "Jaia--is it done?"

    "Indeed. Welcome Back, Winona. Enjoy your year of life--and use it to repair your children's hearts. I shall cast Brianna's soul-fragment down."

    Winona looked out, and tried her damndest not to hate her dead sister.

    "Will Peter return, Jaia?"

    They both looked out.

    "After he endures Temptation and The Wilderness. Do not worry, Winona. Your grandson will return."

    Winona looked out at her home's condition.

    "Why couldn't she leave him be, Jaia?"

    "You are Love, Winona. If that is so--then ask yourself what your late twin embodied."

    "Will Peter be all right?"

    "He Is To Be The Rock. He Will Endure. One day, death itself will fall at his feet."

    "But for now, Jaia?"

    "For now---he is just a scared, angry boy."



    He put ice in his milk. Lots and lots of ice. Not chilled milk. But Iced Milk. The taste was fantastic.

    "Enjoying yourself, Peter?"

    Her name was Teresa. Definitely an 'older woman'. Very definitely good looking. She made all the kids nervous. With a rack like hers, whoever didn't want her wanted to be like her. She moved with assurance and absolute self-confidence. Around her, the boy was willing to overlook his instincts. Instincts that screamed to him she was wearing a mask.

    "I like Iced Milk, Teresa. I used to make it at home, on Deneva. But when I got to Earth, my grandmother said it was a waste of good water. Anything I liked was a waste. When I would object--she'd slap me--no matter how I tried to explain myself. If I pleaded--she'd slap me harder."

    "And If You Cried?"

    Peter sipped his milk.

    "Then she'd give me something to cry about."

    Teresa held the boy's face in her hands. He felt a chill he mistook for attraction.

    "How anyone could make a young man as hot as yourself cry is beyond me."

    She left, and he immediately downed the rest of his milk, ignoring the ice headache that followed. He had to get to his quarters. HIS quarters. Actual privacy. He could read without endless chores waiting at gunpoint. He could sleep in, when there was no schoolwork. He could put his hands beneath the covers and think about hot women like newly appointed Admiral Teresa Bunson.

    There would be no insistent knock at the door, or bed-checks to see if his hands were under those covers. The one time Bri had caught him--he didn't even like to think about the threats she made--and where she chose to hit him. But there was none of that in here. It was like Madelynn Moonachie said when her family offered to take Peter to this retreat.

    "Out there is Chaos, Pete. In Here Is The Order."

    He wanted for nothing in this place. Food, books--more. Madelynn even hinted that maybe she wanted to actually do it with him. But he wasn't quite ready for that.

    Part of him wanted to call Jim, and let him know that he was alright. But he was angry with Jim. Jim had sent him to live with Brianna. His father had abandoned him to the same woman who had put Jim in a coma, once.

    Before he began, Peter found an envelope in his room. In it there were pictures---of Teresa, sent by Teresa. In them, she was smiling--and that smile was the only thing she was wearing.

    On monitor, Admiral Bunson viewed the boy's expected response to the newfound treasure. With her stood Madelyn.

    "When he wants it, girl--you accede to his every request. Up, down, spread, closed -- wherever he wants to place that wonder, that's where it goes. Remember - whatever you refuse to do for or to him--I'll do to you."

    The twelve-year-old folded her arms, as though she had been insulted.

    "Admiral---who was it that brought Komack into The Order, three years back?"

    Bunson smiled.

    "He still asks for you. You must be amazing."

    "I AM my Daddy's little girl. Look, until I get to nail that little boy lost---have you got anything else for me? Anything--alien? I like to rev em' up, so then the boys can come around and splat their skulls while they're into it."

    Bunson slapped her.

    "No---and I mean--NO--ALIENS! No miscegenation--at all. Just keep on that obscenity. Subject Six, Room Five. But there is something upcoming we'll need you for. Carol Marcus is pregnant again. When she gives birth--she'll be informed of her miscarriage. No one will pay attention to a twelve-year old taking her baby brother for a walk. We've missed this opportunity three times---"

    Madelyn smiled, the innocence of youth long past twisted beyond measure.

    "There won't be a fourth. A son of James Kirk will be heart-sacrificed to Lord Ghidorah. Humanity Prevails, Admiral."

    The Admiral who had literally slept her way to the top smiled back.

    "Humanity Prevails."
  7. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...

    He couldn't dart back to Earth whenever he felt like it. On those occasions that brought him near Earth, he tried to visit his family. There had been good times, and bad, during each visit. In a short eight months, he would bury the people he was now trying to visit.

    For a Starfleet Mission, James Kirk wanted Spock by his side. But this was private. That meant he wanted someone who loved Peter as much as he did. That meant Uhura.

    She nodded.

    "Comm-suppression field up, Captain."

    "Good. She's not calling anyone, this time. I used my old remote code to turn all sound dampeners to above max. Then they'll brown out for good. She'll find it hard to suppress a child's screams with them gone."

    With that, Jim Kirk soundlessly kicked in the door to his childhood home. Nyota Uhura replaced that door, and used a phaser to seal it shut. Without verbal communication, the two entered Brianna's bedroom. Jim saw his mother, and fought to keep from making a fist.

    Nyota held a phaser at Bri's spine. Jim placed his weapon straight up to her nose. This would cost them both their careers, but right then they didn't much care. Brianna O'Reilly Kirk had to answer a question.


    Without a hint of humor or irony, Jim used the words that would ring in his skull as Bri would deliberately rouse him from a sound sleep as punishment for sins real and imagined.

    Winona opened the eyes of her new body. She looked upon her son for the first time with physical eyes. She loved him, and wanted to make everything right again. But the hate in his eyes told her that Jaia was right about the damage Bri had done. She would have to literally repair her children's hearts. For now, though, she merely heard Jim's simple question.

    "Where Is Peter, Mom? Where Is My Boy? Hint--I had damned well better like your explanation."


    In his new home, Peter wanted for nothing. His chores had actually been reduced, as time went on. The previous night, Madelyn had let him kiss her on the lips--although she almost seemed annoyed when he wouldn't go under her shirt. She was cute, and would probably be even cuter as time went on. Probably even very pretty. But there was something in her that caused him to recoil. He couldn't know that this was caused by the near-absence of her soul.

    Then there was Teresa. She reminded him of his grandmother in a younger body--and a good public mood. Plus--she, too, seemed interested in taking him to bed. Peter Kirk had a healthy amount of self-esteem and confidence, as one might guess. But that ego was something time and experience helped him keep in check. He said it out loud, where he was certain no one could hear him.

    "If a woman who can have anyone wants a twelve-year old--then there's something wrong."

    Not giving him chores was a mistake on the part of Peter's hosts. While his parents and Brianna had overdone it, he did have an incredible amount of energy that needed to be contained and directed. Left undirected-- he began to explore the large facility.

    He caught the rhythm and speed of the monitors. He knew how to remain out of sight. He knew how to make it seem like he was supposed to be where he really wasn't allowed at all. He began to reason things out, using snatches of conversations that he knew when to stop listening in on. In short, he learned what being the son of James T. Kirk really meant.

    He learned other, darker things as well. For the conversations became quite frank when new residents were not about.

    "Terraform Vulcan? Nah. As long as the Pointies remain in their sector, I say let em' go. Sides'--imagine the trade in captured females about to pop off."

    "Wrong--we'll be doing them a favor. When he comes--any world that isn't mainly a Human one will be destroyed, anyway."

    "Is that statue for real? Does he really look that powerful?"

    "Eh, he's not real. Just a rallying cry for a good cause."

    "No--he is real. Pike's shuttle took pics of him that the Order confiscated. After him and his wife went nuts."

    "What Species is that Number One chick, anyway?"

    "Was. She was native Alpha Centaurian. Another one of God's experiments he walked away from."

    "Hey, I don't like aliens--but God's experiments?-that's a bit much, don't you think?"

    "No, no. Didn't you read 'The Tricephalan Papers'? It shows conclusively that Green's theory of 'Evolutionary Abandonment' is true for all but one species."

    "Then--Humanity Prevails."

    "As it should be."

    "Why do the Fedavores keep all this stuff from us?"

    "Fear, my friend, fear. It can rule your life, if you're not careful."

    "Whatever. But we have to save the Tellarites, in my humble opinion."


    "Cause--you always need pigs for a Barbecue!!!"

    Peter gently made his way back to his quarters--and threw up.

    The next week proved that this conversation was no fluke. Recording grunting sounds and
    faking his presence under the sheets with a pillow, Peter saw things get worse and worse--or perhaps he saw them as they truly were for the first time. Sentient life that was not Human and in complete agreement with these people was regarded as worthless.

    Other things of great value to Peter had similar small value to his hosts.

    "Daddy--please--you promised to let me stay with you tonight!"

    It was Madelyn talking to her father. But the tone was not one of a father and daughter.

    "Madelyn--have you gotten the Kirk boy yet?"

    "No--he keeps backing off. It's not my fault."

    "Then go in his room, and lay naked and prone, if you have to. If you don't get him, we won't have him. And then, not only won't you have me--but I'll give you to Teresa Bunson-for a whole month!"

    "Why is Peter so important?"

    "The Order won't say. Rumor goes--the boy may be a threat--to Him."

    Madelyn calmed a bit.

    "But--no one can threaten Him. He's Invincible."

    He held her chin, a tender gesture in the middle of an almost supreme obscenity.

    "He--needs you to do your part. Show Peter Kirk a good time, and-- who knows--we might even get his Uncle in. You'd like that, wouldn't you-- a real man?"

    Peter felt his intestines knot at the next words Madelyn said.

    "I want You. Make Love To Me, Daddy. Please."

    "After, kid. Not before."

    The door shut, and Peter withdrew to the sounds of the girl he thought he knew pounding on her father's door, begging for his company, alternately cursing and pleading. One day many years later, Peter Kirk would meet a young couple, siblings, who had entered into an incestuous union in isolation from their family. When asked whether they were insane in his opinion, Peter assured them that their rather tender relationship--was almost a breath of fresh air.

    Wandering by the day-care center, he learned where he was for the first time. Even before the children began singing their little songs, Peter remembered for some reason that 'Ring Around The Rosie' was actually a song about The Great Plague that almost depopulated Medieval Europe.

    "All right, Children. Arms up--and bobbing. Now, how many heads do you have?"

    Merrily, the little ones, some no older than Marc had been when he died, all responded at once.


    "Very good. Now, we sing."

    Peter found a dark corner and sat down. The song confirmed that he was surely in Hell.

    "Ghidorah----Ghidorah----Coming soon on golden waves---gonna make some alien graves---Mighty Mighty Ghidorah! Now, The Enemies Fall---And Bright Humanity Prevails---Now We See Three Heads Within Our Sight---Go Now, Dragon---Fight, Fight, Fight! Wait Til The Traitors See His Face---Then They're Breathing Their Last---Ghidorah Of Two Great Tails---Watch Us Give Him All Our Hails--How We Love You, Ghidorah!"

    As the teacher smiled, the small throats warbled an eerie wail. Peter saw Teresa Bunson enter--and the children stopped smiling. She pointed to one, and departed with him through a rear doorway. He frowned as he went, and mumbled.

    "Not fair, wasn't my turn!"

    Like what was about to happen was merely another chore.

    That same night, Peter used the console skills his mother-in-spirit, Uhura, had showed him. By finding the most guarded offices, he also found a terminal that revealed almost everything of why he had been brought there--but nothing of The Prophecy Of The Rock, which any Ghidoran understandably found hard to acknowledge. Checking the place's layout, he found something else disgusting, but on a far more mundane level. It would prove his means of escape--but that would be after the upcoming rally. For the young man was now determined to call this place for what it was to its face--no matter the risk. He said it out loud.

    "These people--are The Enemy."



    Winona observed the anger on her son's face, the anger brought by the false mother. To get Jim to pull the phaser away, she said some simple words.

    "Jim--I'm sorry I hit you, and hurt you. I'm sorry I hit and hurt Peter. I wish I could take it all back. But I can't. I'm sorry."

    Captain Kirk was stunned. She did not demand that he pull the phaser away, nor threaten him, nor insult him. No speeches about how difficult he had been as a child, or how much she had done or sacrificed for him and Sam. No complaints about George's spacefaring life. Not even a lame defense of 'You Know How I Get'. Just the apology Jim thought certain he would never hear from a woman he loved but could never like--until maybe now. Maybe.

    Jim pulled the phaser away, and offered his hand up, as he would do with any enemy-who had just made a startling and sincere proposal of peace. Still, his and Uhura's guard remained up. Peter was still missing.

    "Mom--Let's Talk. About A Lot Of Things."


    It was the night of the rally. No new recruit had been told what it was about. Only that, in this land of do as you please - you had to attend. A small price to pay, most thought. But Peter Kirk's thoughts were of Pinocchio--and Pleasure Island.

    Madelyn stopped him.

    "Hey, Pete--you are attending, aren't you?"

    Like the spy he now regarded himself as, Peter kept his cool.

    "Actually, Madelyn--I'm going to bypass the rally--in favor of you. Meet me in my quarters, at that time?"

    He held her hand, and squeezed it a lot more gently than he wanted to.

    "You have no idea what I'm going to do to you tonight."

    "Ooooh, I can imagine."

    Madelyn grinned. Mission Accomplished. She'd catch it for missing the rally--but they would adore her for getting Pete on record with a fellow under-aged. Maybe, she thought, just maybe--Daddy might finally leave Mommy for her. Through a telepathy he was unaware he had, Peter felt her immense torment. He wanted to snap her neck and end it. But she had betrayed him, had dared to pose as a friend.

    As the rally began, the girl entered Peter's quarters, and stripped down. She checked her butt-and breast implants, meant to stun a would-be target, for she often wore oversize clothing. She looked good, she decided, although the pubic 'sewing' she had done still itched. Every man and boy wanted a virgin, though---so it was worth it. She remembered with pride all the beauty and talent shows she had been in since infancy. She would sing, and parade, and got to wear bright costumes. What some people said that made her look like didn't matter--she had Daddy's approval. Climbing into Peter's bed, she waited.

    An hour into the rally, she wondered where he was. She saw an envelope.

    "To Madelyn--From Pete."

    She opened it--and found a twenty-credit slip. She shook with anger and horror.


    She tried to exit, but found the room now locked, and a comm-suppression field active. The guard who was watching the monitor was just enjoying her show. Sound dampeners were locked at max.

    Madelyn was alone. She hated being alone. Alone--she had to let go of her comforting delusions--and remember she was just a little girl that other people used and abused for their pleasure--as her parents wanted it.

    At the rally, a young man was introduced.

    "We shall not preach to you, here. We shall only tell the truth, and let you judge for yourself. To those who don't think we are being crowded out of our own Federation--I give you a young man whose career was cut short--by so-called rational Vulcans, acting on behalf of our Romulan enemies--who, everyone knows, are their true brothers. I give you the hero of the Neutral Zone--Paul Stiles!"

    Paul Stiles was a man Peter knew. He had been tossed off The Enterprise for flagrant demonstrations of bigotry, directed at Spock, as well as later abandoning a fellow crew member in a grim crisis. He had been put off the same time as Peter, though the two never spoke. Through Peter's maternal grandmother, they were also distant cousins. He looked like a man lost, or one who was content to be a small bigot. Peter felt his shock at finding out how many were really like him-- and how many were far, far worse. Perhaps he had been counting on the process of living life in the universe to drag him into the light. There was no light in that rally, though. Only The Shadow Of The Beast.



    Winona Kirk had asked Jaia Little, as she was brought back, why she had to bear the brunt of Jim and Peter's hatred of Brianna and her brutality. Jaia reminded Winona that she had known her twin to be evil. When Brianna arranged the accident that cost Winona her life, she should have known something was up. Her misplaced trust cost the family a great deal. Winona accepted this--but swore to heal her children's hearts at any cost in the time she had remaining.

    Jim turned and looked at her. He was obviously still skeptical of her apparent sea-change in attitude.

    "Just like that--I'm supposed to forgive you? Ok--I'm game. But let's put it all to the test. When I was sixteen, three months after Tarsus--why did you beat me into a coma?"

    Winona chose a surprising tactic to end the direct questions that only damned Brianna could answer.

    "I was a bully, Jim. I operated using a bully's tactics, and thought using a bully's logic. I was afraid of you. I was afraid of your sons. I was jealous of Nyta. I was afraid if I let you take responsibility for her pregnancy--you'd leave me. Nyota--I'm so sorry, honey. You and Jim would have been perfect parents. Peter wouldn't have been doing chores since he could think--in a time of automation. Sam and Jim wouldn't have dreaded coming here."

    Shockingly, Jim grabbed her wrist.

    "Maybe I'm buying your line, Lady--maybe I'm not. Let's try the acid test."

    Lightly, but not gently, Jim struck the woman he thought to be Brianna across the face. He let her hand go. When she did not retaliate, Jim knew.

    "Who Are You? You're Not My Mother. Brianna would have belted me before I raised my hand. What's going on here?"

    Nyota Uhura saw how nervous this was all making Jim. So she spoke up.

    "Brianna--I'm pregnant again. Jim and I are going to be married. We discussed it before we came here."

    Kirk fell into line with the lie immediately.

    "I'm going to have another child, Mom. How does that make you feel?"

    Winona teared.

    "I wish it were true. But you two aren't ready. You both need time to prowl. One day, though--you will both be ready. I wish I could be there to see it. Jim, your Cousin Jaia came by, after Peter left. She brought me up out of the darkness. Brianna Kirk was judged-and found wanting."

    Nyota puzzled at her words, but Jim did not. He knew that even Jaia or any Chosen could not transform a soul this radically. Questioning her no more, Jim knew he was in the presence--of his real mother.

    "Welcome Back, Mom."

    As they embraced, Jim fought back notions of exactly what had happened. The Line's mysteries were not his to understand yet-- they might never truly be. But he knew this woman well, as he never had Brianna..

    Jim left to damp his face, and Winona stopped Nyota.

    "Nyota--apologize to your parents for me. What I did to you and them, playing rational while making threats--I can never make up for."

    Uhura nodded.

    "I'd say you're making a good start, Bri. But one thing."

    Nyota's slap was not gentle. Neither was her face.

    "Don't You Ever Touch My Boy Again."

    Winona took it, as she had been instructed.

    "I promise."

    Forgiveness had begun, but would take time Winona did not have. She accepted this-for on this night she held her son and his woman in her arms, and talked for once of gentle subjects. Every time Jim tested Winona, with Nyota's help and wordplay, she came through with flying colors. Finally, Jim raised a glass.

    "To the worst mother there ever was!"

    Wondering if her efforts had been for naught, Winona fought down her temper and raised a glass to join him.

    "To Myself."

    As they left to rejoin the Enterprise, Jim explained that he was there absent leave, and had to leave before The Hall found out. Winona promised to find Peter--and bring him home.

    This would prove easier said than done.


    Paul Stiles stood up and spoke. He was as nervous as a young man could be. Small bigots react two ways to large bigots. Either they sense a kindred spirit and become large bigots themselves - or they realize that their own hate was a luxury and a crutch. Paul was on the edge.

    "All I did was point out that Vulcans were keeping something from us. And they were. Romulans--are simply Vulcans by another name. A good man--who was to be married--died in that attack. I was punished for my opinion of Vulcans and a minor error in battle. I asked my Captain whether he wanted me to be dishonest about my feelings. He told me that's exactly what I should do. Space isn't open for the free exchange of ideas---and it's not open for Humans, either. That's all I've got to say."

    The thunderous applause he received calmed Stiles a bit--then he sighted Peter Kirk. He wondered whether he would be called out as a liar. In fact, Captain Kirk had never told him to lie--merely to show courtesy and respect towards others. And his 'minor' error nearly cost The Enterprise the battle. Peter let Paul pass--but not without a look Stiles would never forget.

    The podium speaker returned.

    "Now, to speak to you, is Captain Brock Cartwright--another man who committed the interstellar felony of being born human in an alien's Federation."

    Peter saw the elegant man take the stage. But it was an arrogant elegance, suggesting mere toleration of those around him-never acceptance.

    "Hello, everyone. Have you ever been in a situation where making a hand gesture - or failing to make a hand gesture-- got you in trouble with some alien or other? How often have you had to apologize for not knowing some Andorian feast day or fast day? We increasingly dwell in a time when we must put our culture aside in favor of ones that are utterly incompatible with and contemptuous of us--and all that we have accomplished. The Tellarite Day Of Ice started because Tellarites were deathly fearful of their children participating in the human Holidays celebrated in December. As if sitting in Santa's lap, spinning a Dreidel or passing a Spirit-Staff around was going to destroy their little piggies. Pity it isn't that easy!"

    The chuckles that emerged made the moment seem lighter than it could possibly be. Half the time, Peter felt a burst of nationalistic fervor; the other half of the time, his stomach turned. He had heard Jim mention Cartwright--disciplined for allowing Insectoid Pilgrims to be slaughtered by colonists who had no claim to the world in question. He had been a Commander, then. How had he become a Captain?
  8. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    The powerfully infectious speech continued.

    "What can one species, however blessed, do in a galaxy where they're always right and we're always wrong? Well, we can fight, and we can win--but we'll need help. And That Help Is Coming."

    Peter didn't like letting his advanced mind go on automatic--it felt too much like cheating. But he needed a layer of instant analysis between himself and the line he was being fed.

    "Already, Galaxies Full Of Ugly Monsters --"

    Precious life, Peter thought, with whom we could celebrate our differences.

    "...Have Been Sent To Their Deserved Doom. Cultures with incomprehensible rituals and practices..."

    From whom we could have learned so very much.

    "....Have Been Tossed Upon The Scrap-Heap Of History. In short, The Universe Is Being Cleansed."

    In short, the Void is growing.

    "When That Cleansing Is Done---Then Shall We All Cry Out--Humanity Prevails!"

    If the right people like you.

    "No more bowing and scraping and telling bugs and animals that they somehow have worth---their hybrids will be the first we take care of, rest assured. When we find other Human cultures--we will be free to raise them up--and call them brothers, rather than listening to some Vulcan ideal and Directive about intervention. Let us raise our voices now to he who will make this all possible."

    Whereas the Children's song had seemed almost bouncy, this one sounded to Peter like a twisted Church Hymnal.

    "Our Cosmos Is Infested; But Destiny Has Vested; One Species To Hold Back The Night; Humanity Prevails And This Serves The Right; With Three Heads He Approaches; With Two Tails He Broaches; Our Enemies He Will Rout; When His Mighty Wings Spread Out; Then We'll Fill Up The Cleansed Universe!"

    A Chant Began. Peter looked around at the empty faces, seemingly without souls behind them.

    "Humanity Prevails! Ghidorah! Ghidorah! Ghidorah! All Praise The Ancient Destroyer Of Humanity's Foes! HUMANITY PREVAILS!"

    Cartwright spoke again.

    "Another young man is with us, who has suffered horribly at alien hands. I give you...Peter Kirk!"

    The applause and his name startled Peter, who was led onstage. Taking note of his avenue of escape, he joined Captain Cartwright on stage.

    "Peter's family was killed on Deneva 3 by parasites we now know were genetically engineered by the barbarians of The Klingon Empire. Peter-- tell us how you feel about Humanity's Enemies."

    How big a fool did Cartwright take Peter for, he thought. Did he think that 'exposing' the Klingons would get him to speak, out of shock? Did he think to embarrass him into saying what they wanted? Gathering himself, Peter spoke.

    "Thank You, Captain--Your Information Which Names The Klingons As The Architects Of The Madness On Deneva Is To Say The Least, Interesting. It's To Say The Most---A Lie. Ghidorah killed my family."

    Before they could cut him off, Peter finished up.

    "Humanity's Enemies are all around me, as I speak. Its NEW Life And NEW Civilizations we seek, people--not ourselves. How sad a Universe you people are praying for. I'll have to do what I can to make sure you never get it. You haven't been putting up with us-we've been tolerating you!""

    Finding the disposal chute he'd spotted earlier, Peter Kirk was gone before the first boos and hisses started. Paul Stiles sat--and did not dismiss Peter's words.


    Exiting the disposal chute into the garbage area outside the facility, Peter made a distance run while expressing gratitude for people so paranoid that they refused to use a modern garbage-cycler, whose energy-patterns could be detected. The dump smelled horrible. But, Peter felt, at least it was only a physical smell. Inside, even the spirits were rotten.

    Cartwright fumed.

    "A good assassin is in order. Yes, I think so."

    Across the New American Wilderness, Peter Kirk headed home for Iowa. He could handle Grandma, now, he was certain. He was correct in this--but The Wilderness was vast, and held many secrets. The journey would be long.


    In 2268, the middle of what was once called The United States had long since been reclaimed by nature. The trees and growth all looked as they had before humans arrived on The North American Continent. It was a 250-mile stretch of true forest primeval. It was a triumph and culmination of man's new technology allowing the old respect for nature to seep through, aided by a generous donation of Denobulan ‘rad-absorber' plants.

    For one lone young man, though, it was a journey through a green hell. Alone, afraid, and hungry, Peter Kirk found that life without Human companionship and the distractions of 23rd Century Life was not all he had once thought. The land was beautiful. Like a dream. But he was alone.

    Alone, he began to hallucinate.

    "Peter? Why aren't your chores done?"

    The man asking the question was George Samuel Kirk, Junior, also known as Sam. In life, he had been Peter's legal father.

    "Peter--I asked you a question. I expect an answer. Now, why aren't your chores done?"

    Peter turned and looked at Sam.

    "Go To Hell."

    Trudging on, Peter still saw Sam get flustered.

    "What--did you just say to me?"

    "What part of 'Go To Hell' don't you understand, Sam?"

    "That's 'Dad'--Son."

    "That's 'Nephew'--Uncle. Jim's been more of a father to me in the five seconds we've been together than you were in ten years."

    "Here we go again, about, poor, put-upon Peter. We've all heard this one before."

    "You're Right, Sam--you have. So why don't you go and sleep with your wife while I'm telling

    Aurelan appeared, quite upset.

    "This attitude won't do, Peter."

    "What are you gonna do, Aurelan? Send me to bed without supper? Hell, I MADE supper."

    No answer came, and soon he was alone again. But just over the next hill, he saw four mounted, masked riders on horseback. He said one word, which chilled him, despite everything he'd been through.


    The Mounted Riders surrounded Peter, who merely shook his head at what he knew to be a mirage induced by the endless greenery. One of them dismounted and unmasked. Skinny and psychotic, he howled wildly in Peter's face.

    The boy was not afraid, and howled back a hundred times louder. Like the dog he truly was, The One Called Famine yelped and ran to the side of gauntly-masked Pestilence. The Leader looked at Peter askance.

    "You've upset my Brother. You've frightened him terribly."

    Pestilence punched Famine in the face, knocking him out cold. He smiled.

    "I never liked my Brother. He's quite mad, you know. But I like you."

    Pestilence removed his mask, and revealed longish, jet-black hair over a cunning face with no real flaws, save for a scar that ran below and above one eye.

    "I Am Called Kronos. The piece of yelping meat before you is called Caspian. The bag of fat straining that poor horse's back is called Silas. Then there is Mounted Death--whom we call Methos."

    Peter walked past them all.

    "I have to get home."

    Kronos drew his sword, and held Peter in place.

    "I'd rather you listen to my offer first. In fact, I insist upon it."

    Peter was tired, well beyond caring how real the sword by his neck felt.


    "So Arrogant, and you not even 15 yet. I like that, too. I shall be quick."

    He tossed his sword to the Death-helmeted Methos.

    "Give Up The Dragon. Certain Powers have asked that I speak on their behalf. They would prefer that you join them. But you have a nasty habit of refusing to abandon those who have so mistreated you. Hence our presence."

    Peter tried to logic this apparition away.

    "No one has mistreated me. I'm just a bit of a whiner."

    The one called Methos dismounted and unmasked.

    "A whiner? A boy who endures slavery and beatings without complaint? You waited until your enemies were dust, Peter. Then you moved on. The sign of a winner, not a whiner."

    While Caspian continued to cower, and Silas maintained what was likely a regular silence, Kronos spoke after Methos was done.

    "Come with us---there's a world back there that will cower at your feet. Forget this doomed one. Ride and be a Force Of Nature."

    The half-blue faced Death nodded in agreement.

    "Heroes--from Gilgamesh onward--tend to suffer and die. Lose that inherent naiveté. Come be one of us, and ride whole rivers of Blood to glory."

    Peter Kirk shook his head.

    "But what happens when that life is no longer enough?"

    Kronos moved to speak, but Methos henceforth remained silent, as though Peter had introduced a thought quite alien to him. A thought that, like a Pink Elephant, could not be gotten rid of once planted.

    "That life provides its own nourishment. Now, ride as a god over ants---or be taken from behind like a whore whose clients have decided not to pay. Leave this place to Ghidorah. Its his, anyway. He Is The End Of Time."

    To his shock as much as any others, Peter belted Kronos and grabbed his sword. He held it at The Horseman's throat.

    "Ghidorah Is Nothing. Now Get Out."

    Reacting not as a warrior, but as a man caught in a bad dream, Kronos got up, and rode off. The others followed, and only Methos looked back, his face non-committal.



    Kronos awoke with a start.

    "What the hell kind of dream was that? I didn't even have a chance to say, 'Good Punch, Boy!' Damned mushroom stew!"

    Methos stared out at his camp and attendants.

    "What Do You Do--When That Life Is No Longer Enough?"


    EARTH, 2267

    The Horsemen gone, Peter Kirk wandered forward. He knew that Southeast might gain him Iowa. But only a vague sense told him he was headed in the right direction.

    "Peter, why aren't your chores done?"

    Sam Kirk's image again queried the son of his heart.

    "Because-Dad--you and Mom and Marc have been dead for a year, now. So the chores took a low priority, you understand."

    Aurelan was there, and shook her head.

    "You watch that smart mouth, Peter."

    Peter looked them both over.

    "Or what? You'll pile on more chores? I was willing to help out--but you both carried it too far."

    Sam folded his arms.

    "You know, when you arrived--there was no instruction manual included."

    Peter kept walking.

    "No--just a practical joke book."

    Aurelan tried to stop him.

    "Can't you just hear our side of it--this once?"

    He looked at his mother in blind fury.

    "What about My Side? You two worked me like a slave--you didn't care how tired I got-so long as you could save money on your automation bill. You had it good. Well, I'm not going to thank you for it. Sorry. And Goodbye."

    Peter then felt an odd sense of movement. He smelled burning fuel, and felt like he was riding in a vehicle.

    "You'll be spying on a Communist Sympathizer named Doctor Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce. The CO--and everyone else--are to be regarded as his allies. You do this right for me--and things will go right for you. You got me, Soldier?"

    The man with Peter in the jeep wore a 20th Century Colonel's Uniform. He said a name.


    The Colonel smiled.

    "Flagg's the name, kid. Though I've also gone by Nick Scaeratch, B.L. Zab, and R.E. Mann. Now, will you keep an eye on Pierce for me? It'll keep you away from - other responsibilities."

    Peter shook his head.

    "Doctor Pierce is a hero of mine. He opposed Khan in 2003--he and Colonel Houlihan are considered among the Federation's Founders. Their thinking helped drag the reins of power away from people like you."

    The man was unimpressed.

    "Let me clue you into the way things are, Peter. Ghidorah is coming to clean house and take names--and he doesn't know how to use a pencil. Now which side you want to be on?"

    "Upwind of you."

    With fury, Flagg turned and looked into his eyes.

    "Punk, you have no idea of what it is you're up against!"

    "Someone overly fond of clichés?"

    "Yeah, well here's a cliché, smart guy. Those who oppose The Ancient Destroyer - end up forgotten--not to mention dead."

    "I have a saying too, Colonel."

    Flagg smirked.

    "What might that be?"

    Peter looked out ahead of the jeep.

    "Try not to drive through the mine field."

    Flagg puzzled.

    "What kind of advice is that?"

    Peter Kirk jumped out, and saw the jeep and its occupant enter oblivion as the mines went up.



    MASH 4077th, 1951

    Trapper looked at his unwanted patient, bandaged from head to toe.

    "He drove WHERE? Congratulations, Flagg. That's a new level of nutsiness, even for a man who specializes in it."


    As Peter walked, he tried to ignore the apparitions that appeared with greater and greater frequency.

    A man with a tobacco stick.

    "Mister Kirk, the right people want this quest called off. On your part that would be-a good idea. You could sleep in. Meet girls. I could even help you find your sister."

    Peter stopped.

    "I don't have a sister."

    The man took a puff of his death.


    As the code-talker vanished, Peter again saw Sam and Aurelan.

    "If you guys ask me about my chores again--I'll find a way to destroy you."

    But Sam spoke, anyway.

    "End this and we'll come back. Even Marc."

    Aurelan, now.

    "You'll be three again--but no chores this time. You can play with your little brother whenever you want."

    Brianna appeared.

    "No beatings. No berating. Hell, no homework."

    Jim was suddenly in front of him.

    "Summers aboard the ship. You could even command a few missions."

    An Uhura with cold hands touched him.

    "Adventure. Fun."

    The office of the UFP President opened up before him. All voices said one word.


    Peter said one word.


    Through endless clearings Peter pressed, never stopping, and wondering how he was doing so. In one that seemed the last, he collapsed, exhausted, angry, and afraid.


    "Go away."

    "I will not. We need to talk."

    "I won't do any chores. If you want to beat me, do it here. I need some seriously demented sleep patterns."


    He did that, refreshed and alive. He realized anew that he had gone to and stayed with Uncle Bill in Montana. Bill's business kept him away, but he made it clear that Peter had use of his home and made an offer of putting Brianna in jail for the rest of her life. Peter had declined, wanting to confront her himself.

    He saw who had roused him. Her skin tended towards dark, but she was the man Sam called The Bright Lady. He ran to hug her.

    "Jaia! Oh, Jaia! You came back, just like you promised."

    She wiped away his tears of joy, and held her youngest kinsman with a soul that rivaled her own in age.

    "Peter--if you only knew how sorry I am. Those chores I suggested--those two lazy fools took it too far. You bore it well, though. And you took such good care of Marc. That one little soul held so much love for you."

    "I failed him, Jaia. He's gone. They all are."

    "Brianna isn't. And she's changed. She's going to make it up to you."

    He remembered her visit well, when he was three. It was as though all light and all life had left with her when she went.

    "Lady Jaia--Who Am I?"

    She looked down, and shook her head.

    "That I cannot tell you. But one day, you will be roused from a long fitful sleep. After that, a man will ask if it is you. You shall call that man Father, though it is not James. He shall bid you read a story, which you will make true by your reading. Then you shall know."

    Peter got down on his knees.

    "Are you here to judge me for Deneva?"

    She shook her head lightly.

    "No. You alone of all The Line have leave to kill as you see fit--well, you and one other. She is the one you have seen, running as an animal. One day, you will lie like animals together."

    Peter ignored that for now, and asked another question.

    "Are you here to show me the ways of The Line?"

    "No. You already contain too much, Peter. The Mysteries will not serve you in this instance. You know all that you must."

    "One last question. Who will stop King Ghidorah?"

    Jaia Littel smiled, hugged Peter anew, and kissed him on the forehead.

    "I will think upon it, and leave the answer with James. Now, are you ready to face Brianna again?"

    "I guess. I love you, Jaia."

    "I wish that I did not love you so well, child. It would make what is to come easier. But your light shines so, I cannot help it."

    She tapped her heart.

    "Remember Me. Even beyond starlight's rim."

    "Lady Jaia--I could never forget."

    Then she was gone, but the boy felt no sadness. A beautiful being he had not even been sure was real had returned, and suddenly life felt right again.

    He began to run. He felt the slimy hands of The Order fall of him. He felt the ghosts die. He felt his baby's smile. He ran, and he ran, but to his destiny, and not away from it. For now, he was again a young man, cocky, powerful, and stupid with ego and desire. In other words, happy again.

    When his run was done, so was The Wilderness. Before he could blink, he was upon his grandmother's house. He entered, determined to face whatever came at him head-on.

    Peter saw Brianna by a griddle, with flapjacks and sausages and eggs at the ready. Her entire demeanor and being had truly altered.

    "Peter, I want to use these hands to do nice things for you, and hug you. I want to use this mouth to say nice things to you, and kiss you. My name is Brianna Kirk. And with your permission--I'd like to be your Grandma."

    Her tears were real, he decided, and so a forgiving embrace followed.

    "Don't you ever hit me again."

    "Never. Not ever again. That person is gone for good."

    "I know, Winona. I know."

    Later, Peter would wonder where that name came from. For now, he ate and he slept, and was spoiled by a woman who had less than six months to repair a human soul. But she enjoyed her work. For it was long overdue.



    Jaia Littel had decided to visit with one whose birth she had opposed. Her father, ever a mercurial being, had chosen to give her a sister, to ensure The Line's presence in the other half of The Rock. She now visited her half-sister, whom customs beyond knowing kept her from publicly acknowledging.

    "Jaia! Oh, You Came Back. Just like you promised. I've missed you so."

    "And I have missed you, little sister. Tell me, how is life being married to a famous Vulcan Ambassador?"

    Amanda Grayson's smile was a billion miles across.



    Captain Cartwright was not at all happy to see his guest. But as a member of The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer, he was obligated to show respect to The Mistress Of The Vulcan Order. Or at least civility.

    "Lady T'Pring, I will be blunt. I called Vulcan not for you, but for your assassin, Soltec. I need a job done, and I need a professional to do it quietly. Now, is our money good? I paid twice the going rate, you know."

    T'Pring checked the unsigned, coded request.

    "Captain--all of this trouble over a young Human male?"

    Cartwright was not at all amused.

    "Peter Kirk embarrassed me in front of a huge Order rally. That isn't done. Not without consequences."

    T'Pring tossed the request down, casually.

    "Peter Kirk---is The Rock."

    Cartwright was unimpressed.

    "I'm concerned, Lady, with those who cross The Order. Not with old myths. Lord Ghidorah is invincible. A boy who will be dead of old age by the time He arrives is no concern of mine--or even of yours, despite Vulcan aging."
  9. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    T'Pring sighed.

    "Your own people, including former Order-Master John Gill, have had such suspicions, which you have dismissed. Captain, I had heard that you were an innovator, that you, unlike many of your fellows here was bold. What if--we could ensure that Lord Ghidorah's path is not a meandering one of centuries, but a relatively straight one of less than two decades?"

    Cartwright nodded.

    "That would be a dream worth dying for."

    She agreed.

    "Indeed. Whoever he finds worthy will survive his coming. We each have - shall we say - differing opinions on that, but I feel it shall be one of our two worlds."

    "As do I. But how does this involve the Kirk brat?"

    T'Pring handed Cartwright a datachip, which he inserted and read. His eyes went wide, and his jaw dropped.

    "What the hell is this?"

    "Emotions, Captain. Keep them in check, please. That--is a DNA-based hypothetical future image--of Peter Kirk. Do you still say he is no threat to Lord Ghidorah?"

    Cartwright handed the chip back.

    "If this image is potentially true--then it makes it all the more important we kill him now, before---whatever this is, comes to pass."

    T'Pring retained her icy calm.

    "Captain-don't be so limited. If Peter Kirk is The Rock, he has a special connection with Lord Ghidorah. In short, we may be able to use him as a psychic transmitter of sorts-and hasten Threeskull's passage through our galaxy. Kidnap him. Make his oh-so ecumenical Uncle believe he is no more. Then--we will make the boy who is the Rock into a cornerstone for the palace of the new masters of all that is. Through him--The Ancient Destroyer will return within our lifetimes."

    Cartwright voiced his suspicions.

    "What do you want in return? No offense meant, Lady T'Pring."

    "None taken, Captain. My terms are twofold--One being Vulcan participation in the psi-experiments you will need to conduct."

    "And what is Two?"

    T'Pring actually smiled.

    "The boy's Uncle crossed me. But for him, the lands of House Surak would now be mine. That old witch, T'Pau, even forced me to purchase him a citizenship. When you take the boy captive--I wish to be there as he is used. I wish to use him myself, and watch as Captain Kirk's male heir writhes in agony. Declare a Bacchanalia--with him as sole subject."

    "He'll bleed to death, and you just said we need him."

    "You saw the image, Captain. You can't kill him. Only Lord Ghidorah can."

    Cartwright thought about what accomplishing this would do for him. He could even, if successful, declare himself Master Of The Order. He smiled.

    "Lady, I'll arrange it all. Oh, to see the look on Kirk's face, when he finds out his boy is gone...priceless."

    She nodded.

    "It shall be the greatest day since Lord Ghidorah rid the Universe of those filthy Saiyajin monkeys. The Order Prevails, Captain."

    "The Order Prevails, Lady."

    And when they had parted company, they each said out loud who they truly thought would prevail, when really only Ghidorah would.



    Commodore Bob Wesley looked at the report handed to him by Commodore Jose Mendez. He shook his head, as he often did.

    "Did they recruit Jim's nephew, Jose? Did the Order get him, the way they did Bill Komack?"

    Mendez actually turned his mouth upwards, though he did not smile.

    "We debriefed that slacker, Paul Stiles, afterwards, Bob. He's almost too anxious to sing. A lot of it is gibberish about an old legend--best not gone into. We made him stay in, as a mole. But he told us one thing quite flatly. Peter Kirk told Captain Cartwright and all his would-be Nazis where and how deeply to stick their beliefs. Our pal Brock even tried to hire an assassin---a renegade Vulcan named Soltec. But no luck."

    Bob Wesley continued to look over the report.

    "Is all this useless? Jose, you and I both know that Nogura won't allow the publication of any evidence that might rip Starfleet in two. A hate group whose new local leader is a xenophobic officer, and who tried to recruit the kin of Starfleet's best and brightest, is, in my humble opinion, just such evidence. Never mind the assassin. Do we sit on our thumbs - again?"

    Mendez shook his finger in the air.

    "The Order never forgets those who cross them. Never. Just look at what happened to Finnegan. We could protect the boy, and Jim's mother. Or--we could take a darker option. It's not one I care for, though."

    "Go on."

    "Bob, I say we go to a passive surveillance of their Iowa home. Not enough to scare the Order--or 31--off. But enough to catch them in the act. Red-handed. Old Man Heichi would have to act, then."

    Wesley looked straight at his friend and fellow April alumni.

    "Jose, that is a very dark option indeed. But I see no other way to expose these monsters. For the good of The Federation, then---Peter Kirk must die."



    On the Messenger headset, a boy spoke with his favorite older cousin.

    "Jaia, why did I see your skin as being so dark, in that glade? Its TerraTone, right?"

    The reply.

    "Yes, Peter. But don't worry. You had been travelling in that lush forest for better than two weeks, when I found you. Green blindness, as it's called, makes colors go off the rational scale, perception-wise. Especially in our case."

    "Okay. But why did you tell me that I have leave to kill whomever I want? No one has that right--right?"

    Her smile could almost be felt through the minimal link.

    "You were angry, Peter. I wished to see how much of you it had consumed. As always, you passed the test by asking the right question. You do have greater leeway than some---but that is a slippery slope. So act as you have, and remember that only those who are truly lost may be destroyed. Judge carefully, on the peril of your soul, just who that may be. Defer to mercy, but remain prepared to act. It is life you defend, and it is ill defended by those who delude themselves into believing that they are agents of vengeance or mercy while twisting necks. We may be both those things, in our time--but it is not by our judgment such is decided."

    The boy had one last question.

    "Jaia--is Ghidorah real?"

    "Jaia? Jaia?"

    But by design or by accident, the connection was severed.

    The transport set down in Egypt. Peter and Brianna got on a smaller transport, which took them directly to their destination, inside what was once Israel.

    The disguised Winona Kirk hoped that a visit to a place such as this, in late December, would help heal Peter's spirit.

    "Grandma--I feel like I know this place, somehow. Where are we?"

    She smiled.

    "Surprise, Peter. We're in Manger Square. My family's Bible tells us that something wondrous happened here, over 2000 years ago."

    Peter Kirk saw images, then. A great light, turning back the night. A procession of fealty, including both the strong and the meek. His soul knew it all, even without his grandmother's information. He said one word, with so many meanings beyond its use as a place name.


    The religious imagery all but overwhelmed the young man with so tired a soul. He had a hunger, a need to believe in something positive. Something greater than himself. Something that his superior intelligence wouldn't raise alarms about. On that day, in the City Of David, Peter Kirk found that something. A faith in the wonders of Creation itself. He would need that faith.

    Brianna--or more precisely, Winona Kirk stared at the smile on her grandson's face. The tired parent whose infant had died on Deneva was fading, as was the young tough forced to endure random beatings. Here, for one last time, he was a little boy in the midst of beauty.

    "Grandma--how did you afford this? Christmastime trips to The Holy Land are incredibly expensive."

    Winona chose not to reveal that she had used the bulk of miserly Brianna's life savings. After all, she knew that her new life was to end soon. Jim had no use for the money, in his chosen life. Peter, as sole survivor of Deneva, would always receive a large stipend for the mining of its moons and asteroids. But all the credits that Brianna had refused to spend on simple luxuries and treats would now be used to repair the boy she tried to break.

    "I got a waiver for some of it, Peter. The family came up with the rest of it."

    For 'hot sites' like Manger Square in December, Mecca during Ramadan, Tiananmen Square on Democracy Day, and others, Earth's government had slapped vast surcharges on tourists who wished to physically be there. For most, Live HoloProj footage sufficed. This always kept the number of pilgrims and tourists down to manageable levels, preserving the sites and keeping the locals from resenting their benefactors.

    Some Mullahs had resented the restriction on Mecca, to be certain. But others had pointed out that, in a time when even a person of the most modest means could travel anywhere on Earth within an hour, Mecca could be visited at any time by anyone. Conversely, without restrictions of some kind, the Holy City could be overrun during Ramadan. No one wanted a repeat of 'The Great And Horrid Air Depletion' of 2107. It was 15 years of sad pilgrimages to Medina before Mecca was re-opened by The Arabian Protectorate, after the loss of so many.

    But now, Peter, Winona, and a group of about 100 tourists walked freely through another Holy City, which one Holy Book stated was the birthplace of The Messiah.

    After hearing the Midnight Mass, all went outside to see The Holo Recreation of The Adoration before The Manger.

    "Look, Peter! Look!"

    At Winona's suggestion, Peter looked up and saw the sky part. From the hole in the clouds, a pure, gentle light shone down upon The Holy Family. Peter smiled, knowing that, except for depictions of the miraculous, this Holo had been razored down by historical experts. For example, the birth was shown to take place in the sleeping chambers of the animals' attendants, not around the animals themselves. Words and music resounded through the sky, sea and ground as the angels in the projection sang out. One of the designers of the HoloProj had said that while this scene could never convert an atheist or a person of a different faith, it would still transmit to them what a believer would feel, if only for that one moment.


    Then came a moment that brought tears to everyone, even to a boy who had sworn he would never cry again.

    In the image, a boy in beggars' clothes wandered up, with two empty bowls in hand. Bowing before the child, he then pulled two stretched animal skins from his pouch. These he placed tightly over the bowls, so tightly that a small pebble bounced off the tops. The boy placed the skin-covered bowls in his lap, and raised his hands up over them. Peter remembered this, from an odd antique vid he had once viewed.

    "And one came who had nothing to give but the sweet sound his sounders made, when his hands struck them just so. The One Child smiled upon this."

    Then, all were silent as The Little Drummer Boy began to play.

    When his music was done, Peter turned. Next to him was a man, a Priest.

    "Can I help you, Father..."

    The Priest had a gentle look about him, truly a man of God. He nodded.

    "Peter Kirk--I am Father Francis Mulcahy. The Child, O Rock. The Child is in desperate danger. Will you aid him?"

    Peter couldn't say what spoke for him then.

    "Of Course."

    Father Mulcahy nodded.

    "I am not of your timeline. But this event is common to both. Realities diverge, but they also converge, as well. Here, take this sword."

    Peter stared at the weapon.

    "Why, Father? And where are we going?"

    The Priest gestured.

    "Blessed Saints, Angels--not to mention Prophets---help me deliver this young Rock to the year we call 5 Before Common Era, there to oppose The Master Of The Night."



    Peter smelled blood and flesh everywhere. His sponsor Priest was nowhere to be seen.

    Below, an angry mob had cornered two mounted riders, a fat one and a skinny one, with long spears. Peter knew them.

    "The Horsemen. But where are...."

    In that way he had, Peter suddenly knew. It was the last night of Herod's Slaughter Of The Innocents. His soldiers, Roman and native, had refused to do it. So Herod lied, and told the Horsemen their missing brother was hiding in Judaea, and that only the killing of small children would draw him out. But Methos was on the road to Egypt, unlikely protector of a tiny life. The two now captured were the dumb henchmen, so to speak.

    "So the maniac I see riding Eastward below me is none other than...."

    Peter Kirk's heart sank, to realize what kind of danger The Child was really in. He said a name as his voice broke in terror. The scarred barbarian was known as Pestilence, or The Master Of The Night. But Peter had met him before. One of history's most evil Immortals.


    Peter ran, as he had through The American Wilderness of his time. History was literally at stake.

    But he found Kronos before he was able to overtake The Child. A cruel word from Methos had broken the barbarian's heart. As Kronos revived from death, though, he shouted out.

    "That blasted child has put a spell on my brother! I'll give him a man's fate, then, as I cleave this Jes---do I know you, boy?"

    Peter stood, wondering how he knew how to hold the sword he had been given.

    "Yeah, jerk--you know me. You tried to tempt me, in some weird vision. Word to the wise : You're not going near the baby. I won't let you touch him"

    Kronos fumed.

    "Yes--it was your words that first made Methos act oddly. All right, then. You'll die, before him. We have a saying among my kind; There Can Be Only One."

    Peter Kirk was amazed at the way he held his own. For a very brief time, it seemed as if he might best Kronos. Then, he felt two sharp slashes across his back. He fell to the ground, in agony.

    "Ooh, look--your spine is coming right out of your back, boy! Such pain. Let me end it for you."

    Bones were indeed protruding from Peter's shoulder blades. But he stopped Kronos' sword from descending. He looked up.

    "I Don't Think So."

    Grabbing back his own sword, Peter saw it glow with brilliant starlight. His eyes glowed like the tails of comets. His clothes became golden armor. The bones from his shoulders drew in feathers from all around the world. They became like down when they formed around his bones. Peter Kirk looked himself over.

    "I'm----an angel?"

    Now, the battle was easy. He batted Kronos back, and the Horseman suffered dirty breaks of every bone in his body. The barbarian looked up at his transformed opponent.

    "You Are The Rock. truly. You, who have lay over creation--restore my brother to me, that he may witness my destruction."

    "I Cannot."


    Peter fluttered his great wings, causing a wind that sent Kronos to the other side of The Earth.

    "I'm sorry, God. I know what he's done. All the people he's hurt. But in the end, one of the greatest villains of all time -- just wanted his brother back. Like me."

    Peter Kirk returned to his own time without further incident. He told nothing of his odd side-trip to anyone. There was a lesson there--but not one he could figure.


    APRIL, 2268

    "....So, Uncle Jim, I hope to see you soon. Maybe we can talk--about time travel, cause I...wait. There's a noise in the living room. Grandma, is that..."

    Captain James T. Kirk turned off his son's last recorded message. He was not yet cried out.

    Spock attempted to comfort Jim. But this was impossible.

    "We have yet to ascertain whether that was the sound of the intruders harming Peter, or merely that of his finding your mother's body, Captain. There is still hope."

    Kirk looked up. His eyes were dead.

    "Hope, Spock? My mother is dead. My son is dead. I've had dreams, Spock. In those dreams, he cries out to me. Daddy, I'm In Hell--that's what he says. Why won't you come and get me out of Hell?"

    "Jim--Peter is not in Hell. Forgetting logic for this moment, he has done nothing to earn damnation."

    Kirk looked at his friend.

    "Spock---lots of people end up in Hell, that don't belong there. Maybe not The Hell---but there are lots of them. And sometimes the demons--look just like you and me."

    Jim lay down in the bed that was his, and then his son's, and withdrew to such a degree that Spock was at times uncertain he was still alive.


    Despite his enormous grief, Jim's mind was still working, as though it could never shut down entirely.

    Who were they, these people that had killed his family? Why kill Brianna and leave her body behind, while taking Peter's? How had they gotten in, undetected? The Bright Lady was nowhere to be found at this time, and Kirk simply had no idea what that signaled. Jim began to hate his mother anew, this time for changing as radically as she had, only to finally abandon him, once and for all.

    As the grief retook him, Jim still kept one small rational thought : How had the killers gotten in? How had they struck with such impunity at the heart of the Federation?

    But that question went unanswered again, and when it had been asked for the millionth time, Jim was asleep, and both the saintly child and the reformed sinner were still quite dead.



    Unable to take in any more, Peter Kirk put down the iced milk and cookies his grandmother now always had at the ready. The change in her was genuine, and the snacks were simply the most overt sign of that. There were no more beatings, and barely a raised voice. Homework was no longer inspected--and a locked door was now respected. Peter now even had hopes of having a companion behind that locked door---one of these days.

    Chores that Peter had not even known could be done by automation were now taken care of well without him. He had friends at school. Madelyn Moonachie's parents had been arrested at last, and Peter had gotten her back by publicly calling her an 'enlightened individual, an ally in the fight against xenophobia'. Her bigoted friends deserted her in droves.

    As Peter scribed a tele-transmit to his Uncle Jim, his fate was being decided, once again, without him.

    Playing her part as Brianna The Traitor, Winona Kirk was not at all surprised when the camo-clad Section 31 agents snickered about not needing her anymore. As her second life ended, Winona had no regrets, for she knew her children could endure the very worst. As the phaser trigger was pulled, she did, however, wonder if Brianna ever honestly thought these people would let a co-conspiring eyewitness live. As her soul went into her grandson's mind, she saw George again, and decided that Brianna was such a creature of lies, she may as well have been a lie herself.

    Though not pointed, Peter's ears were still quite sensitive, a result of his Vulcanoid heritage--among other things. He heard the intruders, and emerged into the living room.

    "Hello, Peter, long time no.....yearrrrgghhh!!!"

    Not thinking, the boy put the phaser-wielding Madelyn Moonachie right through the wall with one punch, killing her instantly. The twisted girl reasoned, as she died, that at least she wouldn't have to visit her parents at rehab anymore.
  10. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    As it often did in fight-or-flight situations, something older than humanity took over in Peter Claudius Kirk. The creature that was his ancestor had been destined to sweep aside the armies of the earth, laughing off their mightiest weapons. But Ghidorah had come, and the Gojirasaurus died tens of millions of years before the invention of atomic weaponry. But some things are stronger than altered history.

    The attackers from 31 were trained for brutal efficiency---but Peter had been bred for brutal efficiency. By the time all blows had been traded, and all phasers emptied, Peter stood above them all. The second string emerged to collect him, and dispose of everything except Brianna/Winona's body. Blunt force from duranium batons brought his valiant defense and resistance to an end.

    The boy who would be The Rock was now held by forces loyal to The Enemy.


    Book Three - Inferno

    He awoke to feel a knife by his butt, almost touching the skin there. Someone was cutting his trousers off.

    "Bad little boys don't get to keep their pants."

    An almost clockwork mechanism within Peter Kirk's mind would record what was to follow, and show it to him when he was ready.

    But another part was completely unable to deal with the brutal gang-rape that followed. Throughout time, those who suffered this ultimate violation had been said to send their minds elsewhere, to a fantasy life, while it occurred. Peter's mind was powerful on a great many levels. So who is to say that a mind that powerful could not do more than just fantasize? Would evil, then, need a coping device?



    The Archangel Ebeniel heard the rebellious words of haughty and beautiful Lucifer Morningstar. With Jet-Black hair tied back into a ponytail, he walked as a ruler himself, though in Heaven there was but one ruler, their father.

    "Ebeniel, if you will act, our father may be persuaded not to create these creatures, these bipedal mud-packs. You are known to be his favorite."

    But Ebeniel, That Rock Of God, knew better than to allow Lucifer's words.

    "Go from here, Bright Morningstar. Your words puzzle and affright me. Why do you seek the One's place?"

    Ebeniel saw Lucifer grow distant.

    "He tasks me. He tasks me as he does not point-eared Michael, gruff Raphael, or beauteous Gabriele. He tasks me and I cannot have this. An Evolution of power is coming, Ebeniel. I will not be a slave here."

    Raphael emerged from the Center Light, which leads to the Great Bridge of Paradise.

    "Lucifer Morningstar is less interested in self-liberation than slavery for others. He should speak my words, which guide my soul: An Archangel I Am; Not Yahweh."

    Michael, who knew all and frequently told all, emerged with his ears at a sharp point.

    "Lucifer, we are what we are. To seek to be otherwise denies The Truth of Reality."

    With dark-toned Gabriele always at his side, came The Father, who smiled at Ebeniel. He had no smile at all for Lucifer.

    "Morningstar--Have I Your Fealty?"

    Lucifer was noncommittal.

    "Yes, my liege. You have that fealty."

    The One stared right into those hungry eyes.

    "But for how long, Lucifer? For--How--Long?"

    Ebeniel stared at all this, as though he knew somehow how it would all play out, even though not even The One knew that. He also saw an odd one behind Lucifer, an advisor to the difficult one. He wondered under his angel's breath about this seeming stranger.

    "Ho--I have never seen an angel who had more heads than one--and I have traveled every inch of The City."

    There was something about the newcomer. Something false and dangerous. Ebeniel would not be proved wrong in these feelings.


    In a small house, Upenda Nyota Uhura did some cleaning. Not out of nepotism, implied or explicit. Not out of love or devotion to the man who now owned it, though she felt that at times as well.

    No, this was a form of last rites. Last Rites offered to a young man--whom she felt in her heart should have been her son.

    There was no logic, merely a dream, to back up this claim. The dream of a fourteen year old who had found the other half of her soul and gotten silly.

    Some silliness has consequences.



    The world was a flood of sounds and images.

    "Thirteen? YOU'RE THIRTEEN?!"

    "Yes, Nyota, we've dropped the charges. Now please stop bragging about Jimmy's gifts."

    "No, I don't hate you. I--hope you don't hate me. God, you are so beautiful. Look -- I will call. Just don't call us first. My Mom---well, you've seen my Mom."

    "I realize that today's your birthday, Nyota, but the doctor called. The tests were positive."

    "We tried calling Jimmy Kirk. All I got was his---mother----and later, the police. I didn't think much of him on Tarsus, I'll admit. But I honestly think he would call if he could."

    Taoru flatly refused to tell his little girl that Jimmy Kirk was in a coma, having been beaten within an inch of his life by his own mother. He remembered all too well Jimmy's response to his professorial question about Nyta's possible condition, after their fun.

    "Then, Sir, I will support the child, and ask for Nyta's hand, when she's of age."

    There was an intensity and clarity about the young man that made the anthropologist remember the old stories. The Tales Of The Line, one of the pillars of creation.

    In short order, Nyta's pregnancy was ended. In a dream brought on by heartbreak, she saw herself leaving the Med Center, chasing the soul of her child.

    Flighty Aurelan Sorel Kirk ran past her, and scooped the soul up.

    "Mine now."

    But the boy appeared as a teenager, and smacked the thief aside.

    "You cannot contain me, Slayer."

    Then, those eyes like comets turned and looked at Nyota.

    "I am and have always been your son. But I need her to birth me. Clothes only, Sweet Freedom. Hers is the line of C'Thia. But you and I will find each other again. Nothing can prevent that. For when I walk as a true King against the false King, then you will be revealed as The Queen Of Angels, and your wings shall be the rainbow."

    The thief said nothing as she departed, and her cockiness was gone. Nyota wept, as she did in the seven or so other versions of this extremely odd dream.


    IOWA, 2268

    She knelt and prayed by his bed, unable to comprehend what in her starship community would be an expected occurrence. Because Peter Kirk had been living in Paradise. People didn't meet death in the night from unseen assassins on Earth.

    She wouldn't let this break her. She was among the strongest people in the quadrant. But for now, she merely offered up a question to whatever power oversaw the creation.

    "I had him. I lost him. Then, those --fools-- you placed him with gave him a baby of his own. Then, you took that from him. He came back to me, a broken thing. So I re-welded him, showed him that your Universe still made sense. Now---you've taken him again. Forgive my hubris, or don't. But just how many angels do you need?"

    As a Starfleet Officer, she found her center. A young man had died, as young men do. All was as it always was. And nothing would ever be the same again.



    As Peter Kirk felt his privates, skin, and hair shake with revulsion, the invasion continued. Laughter echoed as his face was pounded into the marble floor. He could no longer feel his backside, and for that he was thankful.

    A man with a powerful speaking voice taunted him from the sidelines.

    "It's a fair exchange, boy. You ruined my speech--so I'm taking your life. You're dead now, Peter. Your uncle can't help you. No one can."

    He saw that his taunter was Cartwright.

    "Welcome to Hell."

    Someone who was enjoying themselves hurting the boy found themselves hurled overhead. Not for the last time, the wounded young man had to be peeled off of Cartwright. More animal than human now, he shouted a word, one of obscure origin.




    Again, the violated young man became The Archangel Ebeniel, and he called out the same name.

    "Morningstar? Lucifer, where are you?"

    The boy sensed the presence of his haughty superior, but something was odd.

    "Lucifer, I have come to ask you to renounce your talk of rebellion. No good can come from this."

    Ebeniel tripped on something. He looked down, and felt revulsion.

    "Morningstar? Oh, You Are Slain, and some fiend unknown has cut off your beautiful face. Fare thee well, Rebel that shall never be. But who could slay such as you?"

    Into the chambers of the dead one came pointy-eared Michael, so grievously wounded, though not unto death.

    "Ebeniel? You are here? How is that thing possible, when Lucifer Morningstar leads you in rebellion against The One?"

    Ebeniel pointed Michael to the impossibility that was Lucifer's body.

    "Lucifer is slain, Michael. I know not who the others are, but I desire to know that."

    By The Great Bridge Of Paradise, Ebeniel saw a silent Lucifer leading his rebels against the Great Silver Bird that served The One. By his side was--Ebeniel himself. Enraged, The Youngest among The Archangels slashed at the other Ebeniel with his wings as he passed.

    "Oh, you impostor! Now you stand revealed."

    The false Ebeniel's skin burned away, revealing a thing of metal and gears. Angered that such a one should impersonate his favored son, The One gestured. The Mechanical-Ebeniel was no more. But True-Ebeniel was not done.

    "Ho, you Rebels! For you too have been deceived! Behold, The Actual Darkness!"

    Belial, Beelzebub, Etrigan, Zarathos, and Azmodel all gasped. Ebeniel tore away foolish Lucifer's dead face, revealing not one head, but three, which reached out to eat them and all the rebels. It stood defiant, and cocky.

    The One shouted out.

    "What Are You, You Monster? For You Were Not Made Of Me."

    All those assembled Archangels froze at this mere thought, for what could be made that was not of The One? Ebeniel cried out, in the midst of this.

    "Father, he is The Enemy! Who shall smite him, that dragon of three heads?"

    The One was seen to weep.

    "Oh, son, he is called Ghidorah, and it falls to you to stop him. Let your face be seen, as though over a great hill."

    And Ebeniel wanted not this thing. But he was obedient, and inverted his wings against his back, so to form a great spine.

    Along that spine, great and awesome energies churned. When they were through building, Ebeniel released all that power through his mouth, as a great column of blue fire. Still was this Ghidorah unmoved, and only put back a little.

    Ebeniel then knew what had to be done. He turned back, and looked at The One, and wept as he did. Beauteous Gabriele knew, and wept as well, for she was Knowledge. He wished to kiss them both, but there was no time.

    "Goodbye, Father."

    Running wildly, Ebeniel pushed Ghidorah off The Great Bridge, firing his blue breath behind him as they fell, so The Evil One could not regain his heights.

    Ghidorah entered the newborn Universe below, and Ebeniel entered Hell, his sacrifice sung of by the Choir led by Gabriele. To Dragon and Slayer, Paradise was now lost.

    But in Hell, Ebeniel noted the rise of another spirit, so like his own. He heard the voice of The One.

    "For yours was a divided birth, Ebeniel. As you fall, you purchase her release, for she is also The Rock, your other half."

    But now scarred Ebeniel, his wings and beauty gone, thought better of his decision.

    "Father, I Am In Hell. Father, Please Come And Ransom Me. FATHER!!!"



    With one broken arm, Brock Cartwright slammed shut the lid of Peter Kirk's cryo-chamber. It had cost him. Fourteen dead Admirals. An unwanted alliance with T'Pring. But now he was Master Of The Order. And Lord Ghidorah was coming at last. Now, nothing could prevent that.

    "Damned right you're in Hell, punk! And Daddy is too."

    T'Pring wandered in, having taken the boy 38 of the 300 times he was raped. She smiled.

    "Captain Cartwright, have they begun the mixture of genetic accelerants yet? I'd like our prize's psi-talents to be magnified as quickly as possible."

    She had not come through unscathed. One eye would have to be replaced with a cybernetic one, courtesy of Peter's quick fingers. But she had revenged her house and herself. All was well.

    "Lady T'Pring--its all started. We should make first contact very soon."

    She regarded him.

    "Keep to the agreement, Captain-and we will know at last who he favors."

    With the drugs keeping him aware, and his mind playing back what had really happened to him, Peter's eyes looked up at the empty, soulless shells of two people who hated each other as much as they hated him. He felt an unbearable cold.

    The Rock Had Been Cast Bodily Into The Fire And Ice Of Hell.


    The little girl looked at the object.

    "It's so nice. Is it mine?"

    Her father of eighteen days nodded.

    "Yes. He would have wanted you to have it."

    She looked concerned, as though she had done something wrong.

    "It was his? The boy who died?"

    "Yes. It belonged to your brother."

    She held it almost gingerly, like a sacred relic. Like a brave little warrior, she made a determination, and stuck to it.

    "Uncle Jim, I shall not keep it for myself. Rather I shall keep it for the boy, when he returns."

    He wanted to scream at her, tell her for the seventeenth time that the boy she had seen Jim within the holo-still was dead, and never coming back. But he couldn't squash her spirit. He wondered if anything ever could. So he just put his finger underneath her chin. It was a tender gesture, perhaps too human. But he was sure that on a place that defined tolerance and embraced diversity, this small thing would not cause her to be less Vulcan.

    "You--are gonna break some hearts someday, booful."

    Her little eyebrow raised.

    "Why would I seek to do such a thing, Uncle?"

    Kirk realized he had forgotten himself again.

    "It's just a phrase, Saavik."

    She still shook her head.

    "Yes, but to do as you described would lead to coronary failure--"


    "Brain death, collapsed lungs---"


    "---and silly love songs."

    "Saavik it was just a turn of---"

    He saw that she was smiling. He realized then the little con artist had taken him for a ride. She opened her arms, and he picked her up. As she hugged him, Saavik said words that reawakened his soul, which he had thought buried in a plot in Iowa beneath a mismarked headstone.

    "I Love You, Daddy."

    He sat her down in the chair nearby, feeling forced by these words to gently lecture her.

    "Now, we've discussed this. On Vulcan, you can't go hugging people. Also, open expressions of emotion such as you just gave are wrong. Most of all, you can't let yourself be swept up by the moment. C'Thia isn't just the way you act-it's supposed to become who you are."

    She shook her head.

    "Then I do not wish to go there. I want to stay here with you, and Spock, and Uhura, and Sulu, and Scotty, and the Doctor, and the man whose people invented everything. He is most intelligent."

    Kirk reminded himself to brain that most intelligent Russian.

    "Saavik, Vulcan is a wonderful place. In exchange for keeping your emotions in check, you get to stay in a place where other people do the same. No one teases you, and when you make a mistake, they just say Kaidith---what is, is--whatever will be, will be. You will be accepted, as you are, so long as they know you are making a sincere effort to be--logical."

    Kirk wasn't sure if he believed his own words, but was certain that a child with Saavik's background would be given a break of some kind. And after all, it had been a generation since Spock's childhood. After those shameful episodes of taunting and hitting, certainly parents had long past told their children how not to behave. Unlike Earth in the late 20th Century, Kirk could not imagine Vulcan parents teaching their kids hate in the basement.

    "If it is like you say, Da--Uncle, then I will go. But may I ask one more, highly personal question?"


    "The boy, Peter. Is he in Heaven?"

    Jim held himself together at this, the one comforting thought to emerge from the tragedy of last year.

    "Yes, Saavik. Peter is in Heaven."

    Jim decided to again recite all he had learned of Surak's teachings, while Spock was on Vulcan already, preparing his parents for the child they would care for. Each time he faltered, he allowed himself the comfort that he was sending one child to live in a paradise of sorts, while the other certainly dwelled in the real thing.

    Except that this was true in neither case.



    Commodore Cartwright looked out at the staff. The one that, one year ago, had been charged with finding the proper frequency for contacting Ghidorah. The one that had failed to do so.

    "I am Master Of The Order. I demand from you the means to bring the Lord Destroyer here within our lifetimes."

    The lead scientist stepped forward.

    "With regrets, Order-Master, I report that the boy yet resists. But given time, we can break him. Being part Vulcanoid, we can excite his latent telepathy by isolating his appropriate engrams."

    Cartwright looked up.

    "He's not entirely human?"

    "Sir? Part of his gene structure--is not even remotely human. Its DNA has not been seen on Earth since Lord Ghidorah's first visit."

    "Have you tried a mind wipe? Obviously, that would break his resistance."

    The group looked nervously at each other. The leader spoke again.

    "Order-Master, we have tried several forms of mind wipe. Finally, we resorted to applied strobes, using strontium-9000 as their power source."

    Commodore Cartwright slammed his fist down, like a thunderclap.

    "Pity's sake, man, we want a psionic transmitter, not a pile of goo! Is there even anything left?!"

    "Sir--the radiation had no deleterious effects. In fact, we believe that he thrives on radiation. Like Lord Ghidorah, he may be some kind of radiovore."

    The big man with the angry face came out from behind his desk, and slapped the lead scientist hard across the face.


    Cartwright sat, shaking from anger.

    "The Universe Be Cleansed, the animals driven back to meat, the planets opened back to the one true species--Humanity Prevails."

    Each scientist responded in kind immediately, calming the ham-fisted future Grand Admiral.

    "You said no negative effects. Are you saying that the rad-levels had positive effects?"

    Again, the trading of nervous looks.

    "PK, sir."

    Cartwright shrugged.

    "They're his initials. What of it?"

    "No, sir. Psycho-Kinesis. Mind over matter. We now keep him under an active psi-suppression field. Also, his telepathy has magnified to an insane degree. We are hard-pressed to direct it in the direction of Lord Ghidorah's probable path. This is such a unique opportunity. We are learning more about genetics than at any time since the Singh Ascendancy."

    Cartwright knew then, what to do.

    "Put his cryo-pod in the Rad Chamber. I want to up the ante a bit on our snot-nosed punk hero."

    Outside the chamber, he asked a question of the lead scientist.

    "Doctor, how high is up? What can this chamber do?"
  11. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Unknowing, the leader shrugged.

    "At Grand Max, this puppy can make it just like you had uncorked and then replugged a warp core--without benefit of a suit."

    "Good. Go In, and make certain that all is perfection."

    "But sir---"

    "Do it, Doctor."

    Annoyed, the amoral scientist joined his fellows inside for the unneeded reassurance. Behind him, he heard a door seal and lock.


    "I'm increasing your power allocation by 1000 percent, Doctor. Your successors will tell me how the Kirk boy held up. Tell me, do you possess his genetic structure? Because you don't have his insane luck."

    Switching on the rad strobes, Cartwright watched the screaming scientists melt against the walls. It was four days before the chamber could be entered, even with rad suits.

    Cartwright looked down at the boy. His hair was still in place, as were his nails. No diminishment in extremities. A year after Peter Kirk's rampage, and Brock Cartwright's arm still hadn't fully healed properly. But those damnable Kirk good looks wouldn't leave the punk, even in the heart of a small nova. He slammed the cry-pod, risking his suit.

    "Bring In The Vulcans."

    As the Vulcan Psis, all in the employ of Vulcan Order-Mistress T'Pring, entered the Cryo-Chamber, the rapacious Admiral Teresa Bunson looked them over, and thought about relenting her personal ban on what she called 'miscegenation'.

    The lead Psi bowed, and spoke.

    "I am T'Pringneagl--property of Lady T'Pring. We are not interested in your intimate company, Lady. Now leave the hybrid to us. I personally oversaw Spock's mental breakdown on Hellguard. This one will be no challenge at all."

    Bunson did just that, hoping that fate would wipe the arrogance from this bunch. It would--with help from their prisoner.

    "What level are his shields?"

    The Psi known only as Two probed Peter Kirk's mind.

    "He has none. As expected."

    Three then began his work.

    "The entrance is made. Odd. I would have thought any torturer with a prod could have broken one so unprep---"

    Three began to shriek, and One skillfully withdrew him.

    "The boy is part Vulcanoid, Three. He has defenses, and is capable of setting a trap. Combine that with his Human animal cunning, and we have the reason we were brought here. Now, I have cleared the entrance Three has made. Four?"

    Four combed Peter Kirk's non-personal memories. In a minute, he had all he wanted.

    "One, these are events of the sort we are used to dealing with. Luckily, he has a passion for this planet's history, and is well aware of the path that history took. It should serve us well."

    Five took what he needed from Four, and selected among the memories.

    "One---use this. It is an odd one, a juxtaposition of so-called rugged individualism and the historical guilt that followed a period of expansion by a medieval power."

    One sneered as he implanted the selected memory.

    "A wonder they emerged from the mud huts."



    "Colonel Crockett?"

    Davy Crockett turned and saw Jim Bowie holding a man at knifepoint. He pushed Bowie off.

    "Now, Jimmy, you want to go and test that new knife of yours on someone else? The battle's not hardly begun, that I can see."

    The Messenger regained his dignity and grew stiff, after Bowie did as he was asked. Crockett looked at the man.

    "Does Senor General De Santa Anna wish to surrender, Amigo?"

    The man grew stern.

    "Colonel, the General wishes to be generous. He is willing to offer the people here their lives and their freedom if they merely leave this Mission, and vacate Tejas with all deliberate speed. Now, what shall I tell him?"

    Davy Crockett then realized that he was really Peter Kirk--and in deep trouble.



    Spock sat with his stunned parents. Amanda gulped a lot of water, very quickly. Sarek asked the question.

    "Spock--would you please repeat what you have just said?"

    Spock nodded.

    "Certainly, Father. Simply put, the girl, Saavik, is no mere foundling. She is my daughter, whom I have elected to keep silent about until this day."

    Sarek pointed to Amanda's water pitcher, for he found his own throat had gone dry.


    Davy Crockett had many problems. Among them was leading a fractious, disunified group of mostly American settlers holed up in an ancient Mission. Others certainly included the many thousands of Mexican soldiers that waited just outside the walls.

    But the biggest problem faced by the King Of The Wild Frontier was that he was not Davy Crockett at all. He was Peter Kirk, inserted by corrupt Vulcan Psis into a situation that history told him could not be won. What the Psis failed to realize, though, was that a Kirk didn't believe in the no-win situation. Before 'Crockett' was the messenger for General Santa Anna. In one second, Peter Kirk realized his situation. In two, he had thought it all through. In three seconds--he had a plan.

    "Senor Messenger, you Mexicano or Tejano?"

    The man shrugged.

    "Tejano. What of it?"

    The Crockett that wasn't shook his head.

    "Oh, it makes no never-mind to me. But I've heard tell that it matters a great deal to General Anna and his direct subordinates. That you Tejanos never know who's gonna treat you worse--the US Government or the folks who still act like nobility in Mexico City."

    The messenger sneered.

    "We do better than your Negroes, chained here, and disregarded there, Senor Colonel. And even if this were not so, what does your rapacious country offer that Mejico does not, merely by default?"

    Crockett grew contemplative.

    "The right to say 'That Ain't Right'. It doesn't always help, and it don't always change things. But ya never get arrested for not liking it, and saying so. This country of mine ain't perfect, but I figure as one day we're gonna make it there. And when we do, the more the merrier."

    Peter Kirk extended his hand, which the Tejano messenger took, but for why he couldn't say.

    The Lead Vulcan Psi, known as One, awaited the outcome in the role of Santa Anna. Two approached him.

    "We have encountered---a difficulty."

    "What manner of difficulty?"

    "The Tejano soldiers have defected to Crockett's side, and he is forcing even the most prejudiced of his troops to honor and respect them."

    "How is that possible?"

    "I am not certain. But the scenario has already bypassed us. Crockett has become Texas Governor and declared it a slavery-free zone. When he is elected President, he prevents Civil War by punching out a man named John Calhoun. By 1865, he leads a democratic Confederation that extends over the entire Hemisphere. Kirk has won."

    One bristled, but showed no emotion.

    "Have Five select another memory."


    WARSAW, 1943

    One saw that he was in a prison cell.

    "Two--am I or am I not a German officer in this place, charged with destroying a certain sub-culture's 'Ghetto'?"

    Two looked badly confused, as well.

    "Kirk led an uprising by targeting those soldiers and leaders who feared they might be next on the German leader Hitler's list of enemies. We--are scheduled to be executed. That has only been delayed by the soon-to-be successful repulsion of Stalin's troops."

    One nodded.

    "Next scenario."



    One saw Peter Kirk ride up, shocked that he was still alive.

    "General Custer, sir. I had heard you had passed."

    "Mister Governor---my new friend Sitting Bull--and his 10,000 troops--wish to discuss the honoring of all treaties upon this land. I suggest you listen to him."

    The sea of horses, and of former enemies sitting side by side, made Operative One wonder what it would take to destroy this enemy.



    Gun in hand, Peter Kirk shouted out.

    "IT'S OVER, GREEN!!!"

    Cocky smile on his face, Colonel Green turned and shook his head.

    "Oh, no, Mister Kirk. It's merely begun. With a turn of the key, the missiles are away, and the dreams of Singh, Hitler, and En Sabah Nur come to pass at long last. Now...Goodbye, Mister Kirk. The missiles are.....the key?"

    Kirk smiled.

    "That 'harmless' explosion before? I shredded over 1 ton of magnets, and placed them in that small bomb, Colonel. The equivalent of an electro-magnetic pulse over every square inch of your facility."

    "I don't believe you. That's not physically possible."

    Peter threw a grenade.

    "Then take my spare."

    Though he ducked the grenade, its magnet-fragments inundated Green, and he felt a tug. He looked up.

    "What? The air system?"

    As the man who failed to initiate a Nuclear Holocaust screamed, he was shredded by a giant steel air-fan.

    "Mister Kirk? This is HQ. Did you get Green?"

    Kirk spoke to his superiors.

    "Colonel Green stepped out for some air."



    "Those men were soldiers in a bad situation---you had no call to stop them!"

    Kirk did not flinch.

    "My oath, General--doesn't call for slaughter. I've been in platoons all over this humid little map. Most of them fight like hell to keep the collateral damage way down. These men didn't."

    One tried to break him.

    "You've crippled the war effort by going public. What will we tell people about My Lai?"

    "That in order to save the war--it was necessary to destroy it."



    Peter watched as Ghidorah's lightning tore the Earth to pieces. Jim was livid.

    "Some champion. Our home is gone, Peter. All because of you."

    Peter looked at his father and hero, and said two simple words.

    "Screw You."

    The bigger man went to strike Peter, who batted him away. The crew was stunned.

    "Security to Bridge!"

    Peter shook his head.

    "None of you know him. If you did, you'd know that he takes everything personally, and blames himself even when it isn't his fault."

    The five Psis resumed their true forms.

    "Die, Human."

    Before they could begin their attack, Peter sat in the Captain's chair and held on for dear life.

    "No, thanks."

    Blasting a hole through the outer casing of the hull, Peter allowed the hard vacuum to claim his tormentors. Too deeply bound up in their own illusions, they died in the real world as well. Bunson discovered the bodies. She turned to the guards.

    "Inform Commodore Cartwright that we should begin work on Operation: Thorne. Also, I want some top-notch torturers--not spiritual or mental, either. I want bamboo shoots and electric prods. Pain. That's what will break our little friend."

    When the guards were gone, Teresa Bunson indulged in her favorite vice--undressing and lying on top of the boy's cryo-pod, knowing that he could somehow see her. Each time he would become aroused, the sensation would be shut down by medical regulators. Peter Kirk was in Hell, but his jailers could not relax their efforts for even one minute.



    "The others on Hellguard were executed, as soon as they gave their Romulan captors children, in one way or another. I was kept alive for the amusement of Linviaj, the Camp Commander."

    Spock's delivery was one that even Sarek felt he had to define as cold. Beyond Logic, beyond even Kolinahr, his son's delivery was as though he was speaking about the rape and imprisonment of another person. Amanda wondered if even T'Pau could be that distant, when describing events so very sordid and ugly.

    "Linviaj may in fact have held true feelings for me. But these became moot mere moments after she placed the infant Saavik on my chest. Her mother appeared. Her name was T'Rea. Father, it was in fact the dead one's mother."

    Sarek said the name.

    "Sybok. Then T'Rea was Rihannsu, a planted agent. I would wonder how this was done, but our cousins knew us when we did not know them. Add to this, the arms of the Order extend everywhere."

    Still detached, Spock continued, as though he was not disturbed at all.

    "Indeed. Even more alarming was the identity of Linviaj's father."

    Amanda's eyes showed a flash of sad intuition.

    "It's you, Sarek. T'Rea kept some of what she needed, from that first conception. My God, is there no end to their depravity?"

    Spock was as calm as ever.

    "It would seem not, Mother. For Linviaj herself was unaware of her full parentage. Hellguard was a place of primal violations. After my escape, I suppressed all knowledge of this incident."

    Sarek stood up, at that. Perhaps his later emotional deterioration was then evidencing itself, or perhaps Spock's detachment was far too suspicious.

    "Incident? My son, this was an ordeal of many horrid months. I fear incident connotes none of that."

    "And yet, Father, it was and it remains an incident. Much as the incident involving Linviaj and the cloaking device."

    Amanda winced.

    "She was THAT Romulan Commander?"

    "Yes. She attempted to begin a true romantic relationship between us; not realizing that the Spock she spoke to was not the Spock she tortured on Hellguard. I am quite certain I now suffer from Katra Tow, or as humans call it, Dissociative Identity Disorder. Later, while transporting her to a Starbase for imprisonment, Linviaj's taunts broke down the memory barriers. While this caused me to recall Saavik, it also resulted in her death, as it shall result in yours, should you attempt to force me to acknowledge the girl."

    A shudder ran through their bond as Sarek and Amanda saw their son's main personality reassert itself. This one had no daughter, had never been on Hellguard, and was only bringing the girl known as Saavik to their house as an act of compassion to a houseless orphan.

    "Jim should be here soon."

    Spock got up and went outside, as though avoiding the spot where his dread secret had been revealed. Amanda motioned for her and Sarek to enter their room. The sound dampeners were set to full.

    "Sarek, husband---he's gone mad!"

    "No, wife--he has avoided going mad. But while I do not believe he would harm us, his mental state is dependent upon his indirect denial of his parentage. Until he is ready, we must create conditions that allow him to maintain that denial."

    Amanda shook her head.

    "What about the girl? Sarek, she's our granddaughter--yours twice over. Won't this denial hurt her? You once told me that a Vulcan who lacks identity has no meaningful possessions."

    Sarek nodded.

    "Having failed three children, including a daughter I never knew, I believe I must seek a new approach, wife. Will you support me as I do?"

    Amanda wondered at this, but smiled in support of a man she now realized was more shaken by Spock's words than even she herself was.

    At their front door, they greeted James Kirk, Nyota Uhura, Leonard McCoy--and the most beautiful little girl the couple had ever seen. Sarek looked down at her.

    "You are Saavik. I welcome you to my home."

    Saavik looked at Jim, who nodded that this stranger was a good man.

    "Yes, Ambassador Sarek, I am."

    Sarek continued, noticing Spock's sudden absence.

    "You will refer to me as Father, and to Amanda as Mother. And Saavik, there is something else you must always know."

    The little one looked at Jim, again taking from him silent approval of Sarek.

    "Yes, Father?"

    Sarek walked straight to the edge of Vulcan acceptability with his very small but obvious smile.

    "You are welcome here. Always. My home is your home. Barring something unforeseeable and therefore irrelevant, you will always be able to stay with us. Know that here, you are accepted and cared for."

    Saavik brightened up at this, and her nervousness vanished. Jim had taught her that Vulcan speech was to be read for deeper meanings and nuances. What Sarek had just said amounted to a declaration of purest joy and love.

    "Thank You, Father. I felt the same way during my journey aboard the Enterprise. Would you like to hear about it?"

    Sarek regained his full control, but remained attached to the granddaughter he could only give identity through his direct and active concern.

    "Saavik-kam---I can think of nothing that I would like to hear of more."

    As Amanda seated her guests before the presentation to T'Pau, she looked with wonder at the man who loved his family so well, he was perfectly willing to sacrifice a little personal dignity to help its most needy heart. And she would need that help, in years to come.


    2270, Operation: Thorne

    The three-year old was being batted about and used by a group of six-year olds who had been promised relief from Admiral Bunson's attentions. They kicked, beat, and pulled at him savagely. Their sexual use of him was, in a word, brutal.

    Then their neural locks kicked in, and they were rendered helpless. The three-year old checked for traps, and then started to kick and punch at his tormentors with no conscience and sick abandon. But he had done this before, from the time he was able to stand on his own--at three months.

    "C'mon---it's an easy follow-through."

    Teresa Bunson had personally taken over this project, seeing it as the only real long-term way to break Peter Kirk.

    "Yes--do it!"

    For some reason, misogyny had been harder to fully breed into this child than misanthropy. Then, she saw. The sick woman who depended on the good graces of an Order cosmetic surgeon to keep the looks that were half her ticket up saw what she had been begging to see.

    "The subject is pulling down the little girl's trousers. Its mere humiliation and titillation--but as soon as he has the equipment--I'm sure he'll do them

    Bunson left them alone, hoping to come back to at least one dead body and at least two more denuded. She saw the bulletin board, and a simple word:


    She smiled, realizing Peter Kirk had been broken for the first time. He would break the transmission off, by force of will. But now they knew--he could be used to call Ghidorah to them.

    "Seems it's a good day all around."
  12. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...

    Grand Admiral Nogura was cleaning out his new office in Admiralty Hall, the one he had only just moved into, after years of coaxing.

    "I--am going to blow this place off the face of the map."

    But Bunson decided to try and persuade him otherwise.

    "The boy's not in pain, Heichiaro. Using him in this manner is a waste of carnal prowess, I'll admit. But he is our final solution to the Klingon and Romulan problems. When Ghidorah comes--The Federation will out-and-out own this quadrant."

    Nogura shook his head.

    "Forget about the evil of all this, to torture a young man like that. Forget about genocide on a galactic scale. Forget about the madness of calling on a fairy-tale dragon to solve all your problems, by making a quick wish. Even if I forgot about all that, Teresa--that boy is the grandson of the first Executive Officer I ever served under, a great man. I appointed his Uncle a Starship Captain not two kilometers from here! I was close friends with his grandmother, Brianna."

    Bunson lightly smiled.

    "Brianna Kirk was one of us, a member of The Order. She betrayed her grandson right into our hands. That made her a loose end, of course. One that we tied up rather neatly. She used to tell me--you were a lousy lover."

    "That was once--after she and George div--"

    "George S. Kirk, Senior died at the hands of Lord Ghidorah, who blasted The Constitution to scrap metal in one blow."

    Nogura sat down, and began to wheeze. Bunson sat right in his lap, and playfully pulled at his hair.

    "We pull aside cadets of a like thinking. We OWN the next generation of Starfleet Captains. Those that don't think like us--sayyy, Finnegan, Mendez?"

    He felt her overly-enhanced body parts against his, and began to lose more heartbeats, in concert with these shockers.

    "That 'missing' time on Pike's shuttle? Here it is, sir."

    Nogura's heart finally stopped--at the sight of The Ancient Destroyer. Bunson started laughing, and singing lightly.

    "Fairy Tales Can Come True--It Could Happen To You!"

    The sick individual saw that a part of the dead Grand Admiral was still at attention, and began to disrobe, to make a final use of that attention.

    "Waste Not, Want Not."

    In a move that no one could either fully comprehend or even partially counter, the dying Nogura was revealed to have named as his interim successor Commodore Brock Cartwright. Eventually, that appointment became a permanent one. Suddenly, The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer was no longer heavily infiltrated into the Starfleet power structure.

    Now, the Order-Master on Earth was Grand Admiral, and The Order was Starfleet Command. In a heartbeat, the ancient policy of In Loco Parentis was instituted at Starfleet Academy, and cadet-masters appointed from The Order's younger members. Starfleet and its learning ground began losing its best and brightest. Those that remained did so in poor postings and stagnant career tracks. Unless they joined The Order, that is.



    He strode, like the prim and proper Ambassador's son that he was.

    The party was full of overstuffed dignitaries, and officers scamming for promotion.

    Calmly, the eight-year old reached under a table, and pulled out a phaser rifle, tuned with an extremely fine beam.

    He fired off thirty bursts.

    At first, nothing seemed to occur. But one by one, the guests heads fell straight off their bodies, still carrying chatty expressions as they did. Sixty more bursts were fired, before the torsos could fall. The bodies now had no hearts, and their crotch regions were merely gone.

    "Now--go for sheer carnage."

    The room was bathed in red and the other many colors of blood within a few minutes.

    Cartwright nodded.

    "Teresa---I think I may like Peter's little brother."

    The second son of Carol Marcus and James Kirk smiled at what he had done.



    "Every day, an old painted whore puts herself within my sight. Physically, she's quite attractive. But I can see her soul. It almost isn't there. One day, she didn't come around. I relaxed--and the contact with Ghidorah resumed. Why am I so weak?"

    "I am in Hell."



    "I have rejected the teachings of Surak. He was a well-meaning fool. The people he saved lied to his katra. Their Infinite Diversity does not include me."

    "They have stripped me again. I have only modest signs that I am a teenaged female. Supposedly logical Vulcans obsess over chest size, and laugh at me for not having what they do. Last month, my eventual bondmate committed suicide, saying he was disturbed at the thought of blessed union with me. Only visits from Uncle Jim and offworld trips with Mother and Father save my soul, and those are all too infrequent. Spock barely acknowledges me, except to chide me for reacting to the taunts."

    "I Am In Hell."



    Cartwright looked out, as the boy mingled.

    "Bred of The Order. Raised by hand in an Order family. Is he ready, Terry?"

    "Brock--he was waiting for me in my shower last night---he took me, when I wasn't looking!"

    She smiled, and nodded.

    "He's ready. Through him, we'll break dear Peter--and live happily ever after in a cosmos cleansed of filth."

    The 10-year old boy pushed his way in front of David Marcus in the food-line.

    "Hey--didn't anyone ever teach you to wait?"

    With a monstrous cuteness, the brother David had never truly known about looked at him and shook his head.

    "I don't like to share, David. Once The Rock is gone--you're next."

    David walked quickly back to his mother's table.

    "What--a little brat."

    Carol nodded.

    "Tell me about it. David, he tried to grab me--on my upper torso. Eh. Diplomats kids are all like that."

    "Isn't he an Ambassador's son?"

    "Yes. Ambassador Thorne's son. If I'm not mistaken--his name is Damien."

    Damien Thorne then left the party with his sponsors, having confirmed that even his very closest family was not safe from this monster.

    And if they weren't, then Peter Kirk most certainly was not. Brother would soon be set against brother.



    The children of the local school system were having a pep rally. From kindergarten to 10th Grade, they were there to cheer one and all for the 50 locals who had been chosen to attend Starfleet Academy.

    But no children cheered.

    No teachers shushed them.

    No prettier-than-average cheerleaders of any persuasion gyrated and roused the crowd.

    Not a word was spoken, except by one young man, who floated above the crowd, in a blood-soaked glory.

    "Beautiful. Just beautiful."

    The boy who would have been called James Marcus, but instead was called Damien Thorne, then rose above the small town, home to two famous Iowans, and annihilated it with a psychokinetic burst.

    "Except for the family graveyard. That's due for a major expansion. Abyssinia!"



    "Who's there?"

    Carol saw a silhouette. It was the silhouette of a woman, or rather of a being that chose to look like a human woman.

    "You were warned. Warned not to have a second child by James."

    Carol knew, then. It was the woman named Jaia Little. Carol always wondered why Jim referred to her as 'The Bright Lady'. Because the aspect she showed to Carol never was bright.

    "Get out. I'm not part of your evolutionary pot-boiler. My God, sometimes I think it was as much the presence of you people as anything else that kept me and Jim apart."

    Eyes that may well have beheld King Ghidorah's first assault on Earth narrowed in genuine anger.

    "You bear not one but two children of The Line, and dare to think that you are no part of this? Carol Marcus---beware. Taurelan Srani Tasorel was necessary, to give Surak's line its due. She might have lived, but for Deneva. But you have been expendable from the day you bore David. Because Nyota loved you as a friend, I spared you from the pain that should have consumed you. But I told you on that day, not to repeat your trick again. James almost never marries you, no matter how The Infinite Paths turn. You almost always part in bitterness. The child you conceived in despair--the one you have allowed yourself to forget--is now a monster. If Peter Kirk dies at his hands, or is forced to kill him in any but the prescribed way, I will return for David, and mate him with the girl. Hopefully, I can ready their child in time for the Day Of The Beast."

    Carol sat up in a blind rage.

    "One--leave my boy alone. Two--if you didn't WANT me to have a second child, you should have prevented it with another long speech about a history no one else seems to know about. That'd kill even Jim's sex drive. Three -- in case no one told you, both Peter Kirk and my second baby are already dead."

    Jaia shook her head, noting that even the hateful Brianna spoke to her with more respect, despite her innate stupidity.

    "In an ideal realm, Nyota would have been mother to all three children. But The Enemy was expecting that. So we found three others, whom The Order would never believe we would so entrust. Shattered Aurelan, who retreated with her husband into a second childhood of sex and parties, while her boy became a slave. Hollow Linviaj, who ended up loving the brother she was abusing, and subtly protecting the child she bore as a weapon. And then there is you, Carol. One day, poor Nyota will find herself undoing the damage you have done to David, with your barbed words, aimed in the direction of your dead father. But she is Freedom, so such is her lot."

    Before Carol could react, Jaia continued.

    "One--you were told what David was, and that his place was at the side of his brother and sister. Two---we do not control actions in so disgusting a manner. You were offered a choice. You chose poorly. We had no full soul set aside for that one. Three--Peter Kirk merely sleeps, till his sister's kiss shakes his slumber--and your son grabbed your breasts a month ago."

    "No, David--did no----Oh, My...."

    Carol remembered then. The cruel face on the obnoxious little boy. She knew, then, and she pleaded.

    "Save him!"

    But Jaia was gone. In her place was a man, also familiar to Carol. His eyes were glowing.

    "Don't listen to her, Carol. WE think you did just fine. We have big plans for your boy. By the way--thanks for keeping Jim and Nyota apart--just like we planned. Oh, and keep on slamming David down, ok?"

    Carol shook, as lightning illuminated his face.

    "Gary Mitchell?"

    Carol then started falling down a long corridor, towards a wall. She woke up screaming.

    David's voice came over the intercom.

    "Hey, Mom--are you okay?"

    Carol tried to sound calm, despite the savage dream and all it implied.

    "I'll be fine, David. Just as soon as someone removes the protomatter from my coffee-maker's matrix."

    She then cut off the link, and tried to resume sleeping, hoping that her father's face would not be waiting in her nightmares.

    David, working on the Genesis trigger-matrix problem, thought of his mother's words, and repeated one of them.




    Damien Thorne looked at his two sponsors.

    "If I fail--death. But if I succeed--the women, Uhura and Marcus. My old mother died from my attentions."

    Bunson nodded.


    Thorne entered the cryo-pod, smiling.

    "Let's do this."


    Peter Kirk wandered a deserted Earth, with only buildings, no people.

    His sense of loneliness was eating him alive. But it would never break him, and his enemies knew that.

    Twice they had contacted Ghidorah. Twice he had broken the link. One of the Orion Masters Of Pain hired to break him with cellular explosions died proclaiming that this boy was truly The Rock.

    But now The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer was through fooling around. So it was as Peter rounded a corner, he was stabbed in the shoulder, and then the heart. Above him stood the gloating Damien Thorne, now almost his twin.

    "Greetings, Brother!"

    VULCAN, 2277

    Amanda kept her tone respectful, despite it all.

    "Grandmother T'Pau. I Crave A Boon. Will Thee Hear Me?"

    She who was rightly described as all of Vulcan in one package nodded.

    "Thee Has Leave To Speak, Granddaughter-By-Law. On what matter would thee ask thy boon?"

    Amanda bowed, and got to one knee, her face not meeting T'Pau's. On this day, she would be all custom--even if it killed her.

    "It concerns the matter of the unfortunate girl, Saavik Of No House. She is abused by her classmates, and by her teachers. I ask that you extend your protection to her, and direct these misguided souls away from their most Un-Vulcan course."

    T'Pau barely seemed to breathe.

    "Then she continues to react to their taunts? To react with--emotion?"

    Amanda wanted to scream at this woman. She wanted to say that her own great-great granddaughter was being beaten and stripped by other girls, and that maybe--just maybe--T'Pau should be concerned about their actions, and not Saavik's reactions.

    She did not.

    "To eschew emotion, Grandmother, the girl must be given time to calm herself. But in the seven years since she came to live with us, the incidents have gotten worse, and become more strident, and casual. To eschew emotion, she must be calm. To be calm, she must find her center. To find her center, she must breathe. Her---adversaries grant her no time to do so. I beg thee. Intervene."

    T'Pau lightly shook her head.

    "I am governance over all of Vulcan, not merely one small girl, who forgets herself. The actions of the others are irrelevant. Were she truly Vulcan---their taunts would fall upon her deafened ears. The Boon Is Refused."

    Amanda got up to leave, her face calm. T'Pau was surprised.

    "I did expect thy humanness to rule, once I had told thee of my choice. Have you nothing to say?"

    Amanda nodded.

    "Yes. I do. Tell T'Pring she's still wearing that cheap perfume she did when she was six. It still smells simply vile."

    Amanda walked out, refusing to give anyone a show.

    When she was gone---T'Pring emerged from the shadows.

    "You told her of our alliance?"

    T'Pau turned.

    "We, girl, are not thy ally. Thy Order makes outsiders aware that they should seek other worlds to inhabit. We support this, for the good of Vulcan. But thy sick devotion to a dragon of delusions means that thee shall ever only be a threat to thyself--and a girl who has never once crossed thee."

    T'Pring smiled, shocking T'Pau.

    "Poor old woman. As deep into our hands as Sybok, but only one-tenth as aware. Oh--and Lord Ghidorah is quite real. We Of The Order Of The Ancient Destroyer Thank Thee For Thy Support."

    T'Pring left, actually laughing.

    T'Pau wondered exactly when her fear of outside contamination had become so great that she would allow a girl who was her twin at that age to suffer degradation at the hands of a house that was an avowed enemy of her own.


    In Peter Kirk's mind, he quickly threw off his grave wounds, and looked at Damien Thorne.

    "What did you call me?"

    The monster grinned.

    "I called you brother. As I now call you corpse."

    Damien lunged out, but Peter kicked the knife from his hands, then struck him.

    "If somehow you were my brother, you would never try to kill me. Now get out. I don't wish to destroy you, but I will if left no choice."

    Damien punched Peter in the crotch, leaving him writhing in pain.

    "You are left no choice."

    Damien then proceeded to punch, kick, and throw Peter around like a rag doll.

    "Peter, Peter. Didn't you train with all those fighters, down in your City? I know about them--But I haven't told."

    Peter punched Thorne, square in the nose, in an upward motion.

    "Good. Now you never will. Nose-into-brain syndrome tends to do that."

    But Damien merely batted Peter back.

    "That wasn't nice, Peter. What would Mark or David think? Maybe they'll tell me when I roast their souls."

    "You leave them alone, you...."

    Gathering his incredible life-force, Peter unleashed a torrent of energy.

    Damien was unhurt, and unimpressed. He fired small bolts at Peter, knocking him back, tens of feet at a time.

    "You see, Peter? My hate for you exceeds anything you could possibly feel for me. To you, I'm just a kind of Anti-Rock. An enemy, to be defeated. But to me, you are the barrier to purity. Not the racial purity those fools speak of. But the purity of true evil---where the whole of the law is my will. Mine. Not anyone else's."

    Peter was upset. He had no clue as to how to defeat this foe--and it felt like he was, in fact, his brother. Twisted beyond redemption--but still family. That enraged Peter even further.

    "Die, Antichr------"

    "No names, alright? Just Hello and Goodbye."

    Damien drew his brother close, and cut out his heart with a dagger.

    "Goodbye, Peter. Hello, Ghidorah."



    The contact was made again, and the directionless rampage of King Ghidorah once again gained direction. Cartwright smiled, as did they all.




    Healer T'Nia relayed the news to Sarek and Amanda.

    "The coma has her fully. She will not survive the week."

    Amanda fell apart, and servants had to take her home.

    Sarek went in to see his comatose granddaughter, and kneeled by her side.

    "I pray you to live, Saavik-kam. Live. Child--my beautiful girl--I love thee unashamedly. So brave. Be brave once more."



    "The coma has him fully, Carol. He won't survive the week. I'm sorry."

    Carol Marcus felt her heart turn to lead.

    "We all have work we can be doing, people."



    "I'll be blunt. The coma has a dramatic hold on him. I've never seen the like. Nyota--he may not survive the week."

    Uhura held the still hand of her Captain, and lover, and hero, and cried tears over it. She whispered.

    "Come back into my mirror, Jim. Just like last time. I'll be waiting."

    McCoy then checked on Spock.

    "Please don't tell me you're all okay after that mind meld fiasco. Because I'll call you a liar. What did you feel in there that made you scream?"

    Spock made no attempt to mask his pain and exhaustion.

    "Doctor--Leonard---it felt very much like--"

    "Like what?"

    Spock shook his head.

    "I can only describe it as--The triumph of pure evil. The dying of the light."

    No one slept well on The Enterprise that night.
  13. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    Surprised to find he was alive on any level, Peter Kirk awoke. Four men stood before him.

    "Welcome, Peter. We four minstrels are here to show you how to beat that brat. And to think--I was against spankings, back when."

    One with small glasses nodded.

    "I am Jahon. This is Pol, that mystic-like one is Gorge, and the not-so-bright is Rengot. We are the Lone Hearts. We get about in our Golden TransAqua Vehicle."

    Peter was massively confused.

    "Er--thanks. So how do I beat Damien Thorne?"

    Jahon gave an answer.

    "You have All You Need."

    Pol nodded.

    "Pete knows Best."

    Gorge winced.

    "That was poor. But My Sweet Lord, Peter. You know the Something that sends Thorne's lot packing."

    Rengot threw in.

    "It's all in the mind. Not to mention the heart. I know that, and I'm the dumb one."

    Peter decided that he would need more, if he were to return to fight Thorne anew.

    Peter followed Jahon and Pol, while Gorge and Rengot made camp.

    "The person who killed me--I think he's my brother."

    Jahon nodded.

    "You have to remember that, if you are to beat him. You can't go about thinking of him as a common enemy, Pete. Now me, I think of war as pointless. All blood-letting and silly war songs."

    Pol chimed in.

    "You'd Imagine that people would have enough of silly war songs. But to look around us I can see it isn't so. Oh no."

    Jahon quipped back.

    "Instantly, it strikes you right in the head. Remember when War is Over, Pete--we all shine on."

    Pol nodded.

    "It's Coming Up, and you can't let them say goodnight tonight. Anything but."

    Peter didn't even attempt to hide his confusion.

    "I have no idea what the two of you are talking about. How can I defeat Damien Thorne?"

    Pol shrugged.

    "Well, you can't run for the hills. Up there, you'd simply be a fool. Then there's the problem that with Thorne, the hate you make is equal to the hate you'll take."

    Jahon shook his head.

    "We shouldn't continue this. Peter, remember that part of him is your brother. Then you'll find all you need."

    Peter almost begged.

    "He was once my brother--but now I think he's the devil. Please, show me some hidden way to beat him."

    Jahon smiled.

    "The devil, you say? Nope, can't help you. You see, there's nothing you can know that isn't known."

    "Then just show me a clue."

    Pol shook his head.

    "There's nothing you can see that isn't shown."

    "Then just show me how to get back to where I once belonged. Before I came here."


    "Rock, lad---there's no where you can be that isn't where you're meant to be."


    "Cept for that Damien-git. He's really nowhere, man."

    "Why are you two talking in riddles? Why must this always be so difficult?"


    "It's not difficult. It's Easy. All You Need Is That which you already have, as regards any brother or sister of yours, Peter. When you see that little moron--think of Marc."

    Peter thought of Marc. And he knew exactly how to defeat Thorne.

    "Who are you four?"

    Jahon looked up.

    "Four Chosen, like Lady Jaia. We came to stay in the early 1960's. We kind of never left. It was just a group. But it was a damned good one, at times."

    Pol pointed up.

    "Now, you have found it--go up and get him--and remember, don't let him into your soul. Because only the Rock can make it better. You're just waiting for someone to perform with. She Loves You."

    Peter nodded, sensing the never-met other half of his soul.

    "And I Love Her."

    From the land of blues and meanness, Peter began the voyage home.

    Rengot saw him ascend.

    "Gorge, who was that boy?"

    "One of what we all are, Rengot. Just a drop of water in an endless ocean, drifting through time and space, looking for answers. But sometimes--the drops sparkle."



    "The contact has been interrupted--how did Kirk's heartbeat restart?"

    Damien, who was just about ready to kill his sponsors and seize the Order, got back into his own cryo-chamber.

    "He doesn't learn. But he will."


    In Peter's mind, Damien went looking.

    "Back up for more, Peter? You should have stayed dead!"

    Peter emerged, smiling.

    "Shut up, you pimple. Just shut up and give me my brother back."

    Damien drew his knife again, but it sank harmlessly into Peter's hand.

    "Neat trick, brother--but it won't save you."

    Peter honked Thorne's nose.

    "We--are not brothers."

    Thorne pulled back, quite annoyed.

    "You think this is a game, Peter? Well, I always win at games."

    Peter shrugged.

    "I never played games. I never had a childhood. You see, you were given everything a brat like you could ever desire. Me--I got nothing. The only joy I had was taking care of my little brother. So I can take not having my way. You can't."

    Enraged and confused, Damien leaped at Peter and drew back his dagger, stabbing at Peter's position over 100 times.

    A voice came from behind the miniature thug.

    "Did you get him?"

    "Yeah. I got him. I------"

    Thorne turned around, to see Peter merrily chomping on a carrot.

    "What's Up, Dam?"

    The anxious monster then began to chase Peter, but he could never reach him. Peter turned around and looked at Damien, before darting off.

    "Meep, Meep!"

    In the distance ahead of Peter, Damien became a giant.

    "I'm going to swat you like---"

    But Kirk just smiled.


    Jumping inside his foe's giant form, Peter thought of Marc, and of all his family, no matter the troubles he had encountered with them. At Thorne's center, he found a pinprick of molten light amid the primordial darkness of hate and selfishness. It was the one part of the demon that actually was Peter's lost brother. Damien saw this, and laughed.

    "Oh, go ahead and tear it out. It's what keeps my power from being pure, anyway. But if you do--you'll kill your own brother."

    To Thorne's shock, Peter did just that, and cradled the infant soul as it went to the city.

    "My brother was already dead, Damien. They twisted him, and birthed you. I saved what was left of him."

    Thorne screamed out.

    "I'm--I'm collapsing! What have you done? How did you beat me?"

    "That impurity you so wanted to be rid of was the only thing keeping you alive. We all have a balance--you just lost yours. As for how I beat you-let's just say I loved my brother--any brother---too much to let him live as you, monster!"

    The shadowy thing cried in agony, as it was consumed by its own darkness.

    "What are you babbling about?!"

    Peter felt his heavy heart lighten.

    "To beat the devil--All You Need Is Love."

    Thorne's energy formed a giant spectral head, intent on punishing Peter.


    Peter then saw a golden light appear, and witnessed a bolt of lightning utterly disperse Thorne forever.

    "Punished your failing servant, didn't you Ghidorah? Now it's me you want, isn't it, you three-headed bastard? Well, come and get me!"

    From inside the now-visible Golden TransAqua Vehicle emerged The Four Minstrels. Jahon grinned.

    "Good throw down, Pete. Need a lift?"

    Rengot shook his head.

    "This isn't a lift. It's a submarine."

    Peter smiled at them, whoever they all really were.

    "No thanks, guys. I'm ready to leave this place, on my own. At least I'm ready to try."

    Peter would not rejoice in this victory. It involved killing his own younger brother, in order to save a mere fragment of his soul. But it was a victory, nevertheless.

    The scars fell away, and wings burst out from his back. So it was that the Archangel Ebeniel began the long journey home. Below him, Hell was more of a ghost town than ever. But escaping it once and for all would require help. Help that was only one year away, now.



    The now-soulless, blank-eyed Damien Thorne said nothing as the sword was brought down. Each Admiral punished his failure in turn, with a savage cut. Cartwright sneered.

    "No one fails The Order."



    His own emotional control nearly drained, Sarek tried to comfort Amanda, after their decision to withdraw life support from the comatose Saavik.

    "Amanda--at least she will know peace, now. Plus--James will be with her, if Spock was correct."

    "Sarek--she'll die, never knowing that we were her own----"

    "Mother? Father?"

    In a hospital robe, wandering in a daze was a perfectly healthy girl, now completely recovered from her mysterious coma. Amanda embraced her. Sarek merely nodded, but Saavik knew that nod contained a million hugs, and was comforted greatly.

    "Greetings, Father."

    "And to you, Saavik. When you are well--we must talk. I have a task for which you are uniquely suited."

    That unspoken task was the rescue of the adopted brother Saavik had never met.



    "Guess I had you worried, huh?"

    Carol nodded at her son.

    "What were you doing that caused this, David?"

    "Nothing. I've been working on..."

    To hide her concern, Carol left in a huff.

    "The Physic will be doing a narco-scan, David. We'll see what it finds."

    David sat in his bed, alone and upset.

    "Yeah, right. I love you too."



    Taking enforced rest seriously for once, Jim Kirk lay alone in his bed, and dreamed. Later, Uhura would stop by--and all rest would cease. Happily so.

    But in his dream, Jim saw the Kirk family plot in Iowa. This time, the gates were not blocked, as in previous dreams.

    Tending the many graves was a sweet, tender woman Kirk had known only briefly. He had never really known that the soul of his twisted mother Brianna had been replaced with that of her slain gentler twin, Winona.


    She smiled the smile of a mother who could barely contemplate slapping her son's hand.

    "Hello, Jim. It's good to see you again."

    "Mom--I'd like to see Peter. I just want to say hello to my son."

    Winona gently shook her head.

    "Then you're looking in the wrong place, Jim. You won't find Peter in this place."

    As he woke up, Jim struggled to hang onto the dream.

    "What do you mean?"

    As Winona's smile was replaced by Uhura's, Kirk heard his mother's voice say mundane words that conveyed much hope, for those willing to listen. The tone was one of hope, and of despair conquered forevermore.

    "He Is Not Here"

    Book Four - And Deliver Us From Evil

    BAJOR, 2272

    Ambassador Sarek shook his head at the Kai's words.

    "Bareil Menos---if Bajor does not now wish to join The Federation, then why was I asked here? I mean no offense, but I am in the middle of delicate negotiations with The Legarans, and........"

    The Kai pointed up.

    "The sun--blotted out. The beating of wings. The remembrance of The Three. Sarek of Vulcan--will you fight the Enemy?"

    Sarek puzzled at this statement.

    "By enemy, I suppose you mean the Pagh Wraiths, the enemies of your Prophets."

    The Kai shook his head.

    "Your own granddaughter shall wave her hand, and they shall be as no more. No, the enemy I speak of is--The Enemy."

    Sarek spoke plainly.

    "I am a Vulcan. Bred to peace. Any war, even the very holiest, is to be regarded with suspicion that another way could have been found. Wait--granddaug--?"

    Suddenly, Sarek was in a great, pure void.

    Amanda spoke to him.

    "You Are The Sarek. You Are The Teacher."

    Spock, now.

    "The Teacher molds the boy who would be The Rock. The Teacher molds the girl who would be The Rock."

    James Kirk.

    "Together, They Are The Rock."


    "And It Is Upon That Rock That Those Mighty Teeth Will Break. I Am The Rock, But I Need The Rock."

    A young man with jet-black hair and Kirk's features appeared.

    "The Teacher Frees The Boy. The Sarek frees The Peter. With The Saavik, The Peter is The Rock. Soon is the time."

    Back on Bajor, Sarek saw the Kai nodding.

    "Now, do you understand?"

    Sarek was just a bit dazed.

    "No, Eminence Kai, I do not--but I shall."



    The 13-year old girl looked up at Sarek, from her bed in Sickbay.

    "Father, I did find him! I found Saint Nicholas. He said he couldn't give me anything, but that he would give me someone someday. Someone who was just for me."

    Sarek was amused, as well as upset, but kept both things well to himself.

    "What you found, Saavik, was pneumonia, from the extreme cold of Norway. You worried Amanda and myself greatly."

    "It was not my desire to worry you or Mother, Father. I offer apology."

    His fingers lightly brushed her forehead, as tender a public gesture as Sarek's dignity would allow. She knew this, and gained a small smile from it.

    "We ask not for your apology, Saavik-kam. Only that you regain your health. Now, rest you, as Doctor McCoy has ordered."

    "I shall, Father."

    Sarek left for Captain Kirk's quarters. He knew better than to look for his son, who avoided Saavik rather than face the memories of her conception on Hellguard. Sarek wondered if, in another world, Spock had not been her father, had not been the Vulcan so painfully humiliated, whether they would be closer. If Spock, and not the able but non-Vulcan Kirk had taught her of Vulcan civilization, she might have had an easier time of it. Spock would never have made Kirk's mistakes.

    Oddly, Sarek did not count among those mistakes Kirk's playful and physical bonding period with the little girl. That was an important part of her socialization, coming from a place like Hellguard--and its practice of ritual sexual abuse of children. A few hugs, kisses, and tickles were not going to present an obstacle to her Vulcan instructors.

    No, James Kirk made a mistake in preparing Saavik for life on Vulcan that only a human would. He told her it was a wonderful place, of peace and tranquility. Spock would have understood that Vulcans do not struggle to keep an existing inner peace--Vulcans struggle to achieve that peace. Non-emotionalism was no more a Vulcan's inborn state than civilization was for humans. Naturally, in that struggle, some did better than others. No, Vulcans had emotions, which they fought to control. But Spock, unlike Kirk, would have understood that Vulcan was no planetary support group upon which one could call for emotional containment. It was a battleground, fierce and bloody, against emotions savage and wild.

    Then again, Sarek reasoned, who could have prepared Saavik for the out-and-out hostility she was subjected to? This, on a world that was at least supposed to offer a veneer of civility? The sad answer was no one at all.


    "James--I would speak with you."

    Kirk nodded.

    "Of course, Sarek. Is it about Saavik?"

    "No. James---please tell me about your nephew."

    Jim breathed in, and said a name.


    Kirk sat down.

    "Ambassador--my mind is not clear on this subject. I might become a good deal more emotional than you may care to deal with."

    Sarek sat, and nodded.

    "Still, I would hear of it all. James, the death of a child is not a subject on which any sentient would likely care to speak. I will not judge you, nor take offense at anything you might say."

    Kirk nodded his whole head, readying himself for the unique pain of memory.

    "The worst part is when the dreams come. He cries out to me. Says that--he's in Hell. Begs me to come and get him, like its around the corner from Starfleet HQ. But you want the facts. Sarek--I am about to give you a great many facts, but they all boil down to this : My Peter is dead, killed by I don't-know-who, and I don't even have a body to put under a mismarked headstone. A person who may or may not have been my mother is also dead, and my feelings on her are so damned mixed, I feel like I'm the one who's in hell."

    It was a long evening, and Sarek found nothing that would aid his quest. At least not directly. But had he spoken to his son, the next four years of their lives might well have been very different.


    In Spock's quarters, he recorded a second private journal. This one he never showed to anyone--nor did he play it back to himself. The words spoken were of a dark and loathsome nature. For they spoke of a deliberate failure. A failure he could undo with a few simple words, but never would. For the lie to conceal this failure was the keystone to his sanity.

    "Peter Kirk, my Captain's son, is alive, but he is not well. He is the captive of corrupt forces within Starfleet Command, kept for use in unholy experiments. I could free him. I could save the young man that has already known so much pain. Perhaps he and the daughter I will not and can not acknowledge could become friends, and he could lighten her sweet heart. So very much good could come from merely telling what I know."

    "But I will not."
  14. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    DENEVA 3, 2265

    Spock observed the odd ritual, and felt that odd was a thoroughly apt term.

    This new Captain was still well beyond his comprehension, and Commander Spock thought certain he would always remain so.

    The limping hulk called The Enterprise had barely made it back from Delta Vega. The Barrier had hurt it badly, on the pass through. Mitchell's actions had ended the lives of twenty vital crewmembers. So its second refit was moved up by five years.

    Spock himself was promoted to First Officer. The Communications Officer, Uhura, had been promoted to Console Officer. Never again would Kirk permit the Bridge to be crippled by exploding panels. Indeed, Lieutenant Uhura was a past master at slaving panels and boards to other consoles, an expertise Kirk had said she developed during the infamous massacres on Tarsus Four. Doctor Piper, who had distinguished himself by not distinguishing himself, was replaced after his death by the emotional tinderbox called McCoy, with whom Spock sensed no commonalties. A rather bold assertion that his guidance could have gotten Enterprise safely through The Barrier netted Assistant Physicist Sulu the coveted Helmsman's position. Illogically, instead of choosing a Navigator then and there, Kirk opted to cycle through a series of junior officers, to see who might show some of what they needed at that station.

    But now, Spock was confounded most of all. He actually understood the need of many Humans to celebrate Christmas, even when the event had nothing to do with their own personal beliefs. Philanthropy, such as was embodied by one of the holiday's more secular symbols, a Nicholas by name, was the least human of all the human beliefs Spock had encountered. A gift for a smile, his mother had told him. He had seen much evidence of it, and of its positive benefits.

    But none of this explained why The Captain had virtually insisted that his new senior crew come with him to visit with his brother and sister-in-law and their two sons. Why, Spock wondered, would Kirk want his family to meet his crew?

    The small house was immaculate, and the spread of food and drink wide and diverse, including many vegan selections, which Spock found that not only he enjoyed.

    "Mrs. Kirk. As you humans say, my compliments to the chef."

    "It's Aurelan, Mister Spock. And--er, thank you."

    The woman seemed very nervous about the compliment, which Spock was certain he had phrased correctly. So Spock made a logical deduction. She had not cooked the meals in question. Why she chose not to identify the meal-maker was not apparent to Spock, but it would be.

    McCoy opened his gift, and smiled awkwardly.

    "Saurian Brandy? Aurelan--I don't that reptilioid life forms and I have the same tastes."

    But he drank, and he enjoyed. But McCoy showed an almost Vulcan annoyance and disdain when a supposed can of candy given to him by Sam Kirk turned out to be full of a harmless but noxious vapor. It was a form of humor that no one except Sam seemed to appreciate.

    An awkward moment came when Engineer Scott insisted that Sam Kirk open Scott's small gift. The elder Kirk brother then threw it down, proclaiming loudly that the jovial Scotsman had no sense of humor.

    The infant, Marcus Aurelian Kirk, was a source of curious joy to all. But to Spock he was simply new life, and all the cooing and cheek-pulling escaped him entirely. He did observe that Uhura had a prior relationship with The Kirks, and held the baby like it was a lost possession of untold value. Then Spock realized that while he had heard another nephew mentioned, he had not seen or heard from him, a definite departure from the norm for human children.

    Noting that the 'vegan' cookies--prepared without the use of a captive bovine's product, were running low, Spock decided to broach the kitchen area, to see if any more were in evidence. For some reason, among Humans, such an intrusion was almost expected.

    The kitchen was clean, but not immaculate. This was as one might expect of a cooking area during mealtime. Spock saw a tray of cookies, and despite himself, went to grab one. But a voice stopped him.

    "Don't--please--they're still hot."

    Spock saw a boy of ten years, and was struck by how much his face resembled that of his Captain. And not just his face.

    "What're you doing in my kitchen, Mister?"

    "I am not in your kitchen. This house belongs to your parents, as does this kitchen."

    The boy, handling three pans and four trays almost simultaneously, shook his head.

    "No--way. They are not making a mess in here again. You think either of them know how to cook?"

    Each tray of food was being arranged exactly as Spock had seen it in the main living area. Each pot and each pan was being cleaned as soon as it was done with.

    The boy's face was one of exhaustion and pain. Spock then looked at the cookie he was holding, the indulgence he had so greatly enjoyed. He now felt like he had been eating sentient flesh. In the day and age they all inhabited, in the Federation, on a colony world as advanced as Deneva 3, there was no excuse for child labor. None. Spock's tolerances for Human customs ended then and there.

    "Captain--I would speak with you."

    "Yes, Mister Spock?"

    "Is your nephew under some form of punishment?"

    "Peter? No. Sam would have told me."

    "Then--is it customary in your family for an underage child to prepare a large meal of many courses for as many as ten people?"

    Captain Kirk's jaw dropped. Spock saw rage behind his eyes.

    "Where is he, Spock?"

    Realizing that his Captain had not in fact known of this, Spock guided him towards the kitchen. A pan was burning, which Spock put out. The boy, Peter, was crying.

    "The onions...I'm supposed to sauté', not burn them. Now, we can't have the toasted pierogies---Uncle Jim, I'm sorry."

    Kirk wiped the boy's tears, and looked at him.

    "Mister--don't you ever apologize to me. Now, c'mon--we're going to my hotel. Grab something to bring with you. You're getting some sleep, young man."

    "But the cleaning---"

    "Will be done by the people who are supposed to do it."

    Grabbing some night clothes and his baby brother, Peter left amid a heated argument between The Kirks. Sulu and Scott were also disgusted that a child had been forced to do all that. McCoy and Uhura had left early, a combination of Sam's incessant joking and a barbed comment from Aurelan about how Uhura had no children.

    As they all walked to the hotel in the nearby city, Spock asked the Captain's nephew a question.

    "Peter, could not your parents have taken better care of your brother?"

    The boy was surprisingly rational and coherent.

    "I'm an older brother. A good older brother doesn't leave his little brother behind."

    He was surprisingly rational and coherent. And his words tore right through the mind of another little boy, whose elder brother had left him. A little boy named Spock.



    The boy had been spending an excessive amount of time in his cabin. In this instance, Spock volunteered to rouse him.

    Inside, Peter was dreaming, so Spock merely tapped his hand. But Spock had forgotten Peter's recently-revealed Vulcanoid heritage. Psionic contact was immediate, and savage.

    Spock's mind swam with images of a great shadow, devouring all light. Three hungry mouths, firing rays forged from Perdition's Flame. It was the sight of countless worlds dying. It was the glimpsing of an unending Line Of Blood.

    Then, things got worse. Peter began to mutter in his sleep.

    "How could you? Father, how could you leave me behind?"

    Spock gathered himself. It was obvious that, whatever problems they had, Peter had loved the dead Sam and Aurelan Kirk. His grief over the infant Marc was apparent to all. But Peter was not being obvious.

    "Father--how could you leave me on Hellguard? Father, please come back for me. It's cold and I have nothing to wear. I know you love me, Father. But where are you?"


    "My name means 'The Rock."

    Indeed it did--for both of them, the Vulcan realized.

    Spock noticed that his hand was beginning to shake--and that he could not stop it. The boy's eyes opened.

    "Father--how could you leave me on Hellguard!?"

    Spock got up, and left. For the remainder of Peter Kirk's brief stay, he made damned sure to avoid physical contact.


    IOWA, 2268

    "Can I speak with you?"

    The young man addressing Spock was David Marcus, the son of Doctor Carol Marcus, and it seemed likely, of Captain Kirk himself. The sad occasion was the funeral of Peter Kirk, killed in the night, his body never found. Spock wisely decided to sidestep the question of whether or not young Marcus knew that it was his own half-brother being buried that day.

    "Of course."

    "Mister Spock--I know how this is going to sound--but Peter Kirk is alive. I've seen him."

    Spock felt a pull at his heart.

    "You will explain yourself."

    David was slightly intimidated, but pressed on.

    "Well, the night he was supposed to have died, I saw this guy in my closet. At first he wasn't making any sense. Then he did, and he said that they were holding him at The Hall, and that I should tell Captain Kirk. He was bleeding--from his butt! I read my Mom's medical journals--I think he had been--ya know--raped?"

    Spock nodded, unsure why he was listening.

    "Go on."

    "Well, then my Mom calls me, and shows me a picture of Peter Kirk--and it's the guy I saw in the vision. Mister Spock--I swear that she told me after my dream--not before. Now, my Mom won't let me near Captain Kirk to tell him. I don't much like the guy--but if his nephew is alive--then I thought I should tell someone."

    "David--what part did not make sense to you?"

    David nodded.

    "The part about King Ghidorah. Will you tell Captain Kirk?"

    "Since we need all possible leads, David--I shall do just that, when the time is right."

    The boy walked off, feeling his mission had been accomplished.



    Spock stood before the monument to corruption known as Admiralty Hall.

    His mind reached out, and touched that of a boy with a powerful mind, not unlike that of his captain.

    He was drugged, beaten--and sexually assaulted--but he was alive.

    Walking well away, Spock grabbed his communicator. But before he could speak, a voice inside him cried out.

    "Coward--will you now do more for this child than you have ever done for your own? If you speak on this--you must speak on all of it. The girl is dead. The boy is dead. Such is fate. Let them play together in the boneyard."

    But one year later, Spock would raid that selfsame boneyard to find that the voice was wrong. It would be wrong again.


    VULCAN, 2269

    In the market commons, one could encounter anyone. For all that, Spock was surprised to see T'Pring there.

    "I had expected that you would have had your servants perform these tasks."

    She almost seemed to smile.

    "Some things, Spock, call for the personal touch. Such is Plak Mu--Blood Feud. Such exists betwixt our houses, since Surak gained his voice."

    Spock shook his head.

    "An odd place, Lady T'Pring, to renew so old a fight."

    "Oh, it is not a renewal, Spock. Our Plak Mu is unending. It began when Surak declared that truth was reality and reality truth--accepting the unacceptable--and when Sindel declared for Ghidorah."

    Spock fought back the connection.

    "The Ancient Destroyer is only a myth."

    "Not to the bold. Not to the strong. To the strong---he is C'Thia. He paves the way for true Vulcans to rule over a cleansed universe."

    "A delusion, Lady. Nothing more. Now I must go."

    "To see your daughter, Saavik?"

    Spock could not fight back his surprise. But he could lie.

    "Saavik is the adopted daughter of my Friend and Captain. I wish her well, but she is not of my line."

    T'Pring seemed eternally on the verge of actual laughter.

    "Stonn was apprenticed to the Rihannsu on Hellguard. He enjoyed hurting your daughter Spock. As he took her, she made the most adorable sounds of pain. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the destruction of Peter Kirk. Your daughter--your Captain's son--both alive, both violated by The Order. Both of you powerful men helpless to stop it. Vengeance, Spock. Vengeance Unending. Plak Mu."

    Spock had a sudden vision, as his rage was successfully--albeit barely contained.

    "You and your Stonn will see a face over a hill--then you shall see no more."

    T'Pring left, uncomprehending of how her attempt to goad Spock into an attack had failed. Back at her estates, though, a shattered statue of her father easily stirred her own rage.

    Spock beamed back to The Enterprise, and set up in a corner of the ship's access tunnels where no one could find him. Meditation was difficult, at best.


    Spock concluded his secret journal.

    "I could help Sarek find young Peter. But I will not. Because to admit one failure is to admit them all. I am no longer strong enough to do so. Father, Brother, Daughter--and nephew, of sorts--may you all one day forgive me."

    Spock then hid the journal, and forgot he had ever recorded it. Only the journal knew that the professional First Officer regarded himself as a coward, despite all common sense.

    Sarek and Kirk parted ways, with no real information found--because it was contained within the locked mind of a living legend.


    In the marketplace, Lady Amanda heard an approach. She smiled, and decided it was time.

    "Sra T'Pring Sri Sra Sindel. Vok abut teh utude?"

    T'Pring was as contemptuous as ever.

    "Speak your English, woman. You dishonor proper Vulcan with your jabberings. You attacked my niece."

    Amanda continued to gather her vegetables.

    "Your niece never stops attacking my granddaughter. Yes--I know you know."

    "That--thing is Rihannsi. That thing is human, like you. All is allowed in the path to her destruction."

    Amanda now sported a true grin. The conditions had been met. A child of The Line had been plainly and simply threatened with destruction by someone who had the will and means to do so. She looked at T'Pring.

    "Shut the hell up, you ignorant, bigoted little bitch!"

    Amanda then slapped the woman who had humiliated two generations of her children hard across the face, sending her sprawling. T'Pring stared up, stunned.

    "You--you are an old human cow. How is this possi-"

    Amanda grabbed her up.

    "I am part of something older than either of our races."

    T'Pring was then thrown down yet again.

    "Guards--honor guards--attend me!"

    But the vicious planner looked about her. Not only were there no lirpa-wielding titans around--there was no marketplace. Amanda laughed.

    "Ever wonder what the world looked like before it was made? Or what it may look like, after its redeemed? Something like this, Lady T'Pring."

    Her mind was assaulted by sounds and colors that made psychedelic hallucinations seem stable by comparison.

    "Please--I beg you-cause this to stop."

    Sighing, Amanda did just that.

    "The taunts--the strippings--the jokes--the snide innuendoes--all stop now, T'Pring--or else."

    Her pride back in full force, the foolish younger woman asked the obvious question.

    "Or Else What?"

    Amanda shrugged.

    "Or Else--I'll repeat this--with the help of my older sister. And in her case--I do mean Older."

    Saavik would gain no friends at school as a result of this incident. But she would know peace, to an extent. T'Pring began to plot a hideous means to avenge her humiliation--notably without confronting Amanda again.


    Sarek ran a gauntlet. A long gauntlet.


    "Well, obviously, I wish no ill will on a young boy. But--if his death keeps Kirk thinking about the consequences of his bullying actions, wouldn't you say that's worth it?"



    "Ambassador--we firmly believe The Terran authorities have done all that it is possible to do in this matter. We of Vulcan's Intelligence Community see no need to offend our brethren on behalf of one dead child."



    "Peter Kirk? Well, of course we've all heard of him. It hit all of Starfleet hard, Ambassador. That boy's life represented continuity to we folk stuck at the outer rim. His grandfather died almost the day he was born--another victim of The Hall's favoritism. But not only was the kid murdered--he was murdered on Earth. Earth! How are we all out here supposed to feel safe when Jim Blessed Kirk's own kin can be gunned down in the heart of Paradise?"



    "Sarek--you know who I really am."

    Sarek nodded at Admiral Pierson.

    "You were once called Methos The Immortal. But I fail to see what--"

    "I was among the first humans to set foot on Vulcan. The peace I found there was so profound--even Cassandra forgave my many sins against her. But The Order was there, Sarek. The Order is always there. The Order is older than me. I'm close to 6000. I don't like things older than me. Because they tend to be even more cunning. Take it from a former monster--avoid these people. If the kid isn't dead, they've broken him by now. I don't know where Peter Kirk is. Poor little bastard would have been better off joining me and Kronos, back when. Just like you'd be better off not rousing the dead."

    Sarek shook his head.

    "For one who has lived a thousand lives, your suggestion--is quite illogical."

    Sarek then parted ways with the old family friend. Hours later, he heard a grim news report.

    "A passengers list has been obtained from the wreckage of Admiral Adam Pierson's transport, mysteriously destroyed while in spacedock. Besides the maverick, non-Hall resident Admiral himself, names include : Macleod, Duncan; Macleod, Connor; Raven, Amanda; Constantine, Marcus...."

    Sarek shook his head.

    "And what if in the end, there is no one at all? Is The Prize lost?"
  15. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...
    VULCAN, 2276

    Under guise of attempting to seek justice for his son's Captain, Sarek had made a habit of sending out correspondence after correspondence, asking for information on The Kirk murder case. He now knew better than to expect any real breaks. But what he hoped for was a simple show of nervousness on someone's part.

    That was exactly what he got. Form Mail after Form Mail came back to The Ambassador--and one personal message. "Mister Ambassador--you don't have any idea how this nightmare has affected all of us here. Was it Klingons? Romulans? Even worse, homegrown terrorists? That boy's passing touched all our lives here. Have you found anything, sir?"

    Sarek made a choice.

    "I am attempting to track down a band of Orion mercenaries called The Bladeless Edge. They specialize in silent murders, and James Kirk crossed them on three occasions, early in his career. I am specifically seeking one of them who had a falling out with the others."

    "Wonderful news--it would be The Orions, wouldn't it?"

    Sarek had never before regarded keeping his face neutral to be an arduous chore.

    "In many respects--who else could it be?"

    "Good search, Ambassador. Cartwright out."

    Amanda came in to see her husband.

    "Sarek--anything wrong?"

    "No, my wife. Merely the same old diplomatic cycle, played out as it always has. Someone has taken something which does not belong to them, and has all but screamed their guilt by offering up empty words and condolences."

    Sarek had a culprit--now he needed a motive. This part was sadly simple. The private xenophobia of those occupying Admiralty Hall was whispered widely. In short, they were of The Order, and sought to twist the one being who could stop Ghidorah to their ends.

    Culprit and Motive were established. But now where was the boy, Peter Kirk?



    Sarek kneeled by the bedside of Saavik, now seemingly in an irreversible coma. Not only had the last year yielded no logical, verifiable place that Peter Kirk might be kept--but now the granddaughter that Sarek could not acknowledge was dying as well.

    "Child--have I failed you as well? My indulgence, to sometimes hold you when I sensed you needed it--was never a sadness to me. As your dear short life ebbs away, I hold your hand, as I was told I should not. You will be sorely missed. By all who held you dear."

    But as Sarek took her hand, he could not know that Saavik was beginning to slowly emerge from her coma. She was still a day away from awakening. But Peter Kirk's triumph over his evil brother was slowly reviving her, James Kirk, and David Marcus, just as his temporary death had almost taken them all. But the eerie link between the two halves of The Rock was a primal one. As Sarek now found out.


    The boy stared at Sarek.

    "I bear the mark. You bear the mark."

    Sarek knew that he was not merely dreaming, so he took the chance.

    "Who are you?"

    He seemed very tired, and glassy-eyed.

    "My name?, that's someone else. I have a name, don't I? At least I used to. What is my name? James? Samuel? George? Marcus? Aurelian? Savik?"

    Sarek saw psychic scars on levels few others could have. A battle had been waged inside this young man's soul. Perhaps even The Battle.

    "Is it you, Peter?"

    Tears streamed down the psychic image's astral eyes.

    "Yes. I am Peter Kirk. I'm alive. They tried to break me--but I was too strong for them. They want to use me. Use me to call The Ancient Destroyer. I've fought them--but I can't hold out much longer."

    Sarek nodded.

    "But you will. Because you have. You are stronger than they, Peter. Hear now my words---I am coming to get you out of this place. But I need to know where it is."

    Peter shook his head.

    "I---it's a bad place. I'm in Hell, because I wished my parents were dead. No--not Hell---Hall. The Hall. The Admirals, they brought me here---and they--they--"

    Sarek broke contact as images of that hideous first night began to replay themselves. Watching the young man held down, The Ambassador thought of Spock and Saavik, and their pain.

    Never before had Sarek Of Vulcan actively wanted harsh, multi-leveled revenge on anyone or anything. But he wanted it now--in spades.


    When Saavik's illness had passed, she came to see Sarek.

    "Father, you said you had a task for me?"

    "Saavik--you are aware that Captain Kirk adopted a child before you?"

    "Yes, Father. Uncle Jim adopted his nephew, Peter, who was killed a year before I was found."

    Sarek gathered himself.

    "Saavik--your elder brother is alive. He is a captive of The Order, which ran your camp on Hellguard. I know where he is--but I need your help to retrieve him. Will you aid me in my cause?"

    Saavik nodded, and her expression was unreadable.

    "Father--it shall be so."

    After Sarek had left, Saavik muttered under her breath.

    "I am not alone. I have a brother. My brother."

    Though he would be far more than a sibling to her, Peter Kirk indeed awaited his sister's rescue--and he would not wait long.


    "Saavik's questions to me at first were simple ones, as I might expect anyone to ask, in such a circumstance. But they should have told me that something was greatly amiss in her young heart."


    "Father, why do we simply not tell Uncle Jim that Peter is alive? Surely he deserves to know."

    Sarek nodded.

    "Agreed, Child--when the boy is alive. Until Peter Kirk is recovered from his captors, James Kirk is better off believing what he has for the past decade--that his nephew is dead. His rage at learning that his own superiors at Starfleet Command engineered this entire travesty might cause him to play into their hands. Their guise of respectability removed, their actions could become even more violent and unpredictable."

    "They do not know the arts of subtlety and restraint as you do, Father."

    Sarek almost started at this compliment, but chose not to even raise an eyebrow at it. Inside, though, he felt his beloved granddaughter saying that her grandfather was invincible, and pride was allowed to surface, however briefly.

    "You give me much credit, Saavik-kam. But I do know that James would face an insuperable crisis of control, one that even his professional detachment would not allow to pass without incident. I know this because I have faced one."

    Again, that glow of pride in her young eyes, disbelieving that Sarek was anything but a perfect Vulcan.

    "Father, surely not!"

    "As such. Three years after you came to be among us here, you spoke of your ill treatment on Hellguard in depth for the first time."

    Saavik nodded.

    "I recall it quite distinctly. I embarrassed you with my emotional outburst."

    Sarek gently shook his head.

    "You did nothing of the sort. I felt rage for you, and on your behalf. One I care for had been violated by savages who walked as men. I withdrew from this house for the next week, not out of embarrassment for you, but because of my own lack of control. I am not the perfect creature you have raised me up to be, Child. But it pleases me that you have thought of me as such."

    She nodded, the pride no lesser for his confession.

    "I always have."


    "I would not say that she had been so obvious as to become sullen, or withdrawn. But I now know that she had reached a point of no longer caring what others thought of her. But in praising me for being a supposedly perfect Vulcan, she was in reality condemning herself for not being one. This acceptance stage of her unfairly imposed outcast status was not the healthy development it otherwise seemed, as I learned when speaking with my wife."


    "She dreamed this, you say?"

    Amanda looked at her own journal, where she had written of the disturbing discussion.

    "Sarek, the dream was uncannily real, to hear her tell of it. She was nine years old again, and all of the children she knew from school were descending on our house, attacking it."

    "How did it conclude?"

    Amanda wiped away tears.

    "With her cutting every last one to pieces with a phaser rifle. She was most greatly disturbed by how angry she was at them--and how much she enjoyed hurting them. She was certain she had at least that much control over her rage."

    Sarek sought a ray of hope.

    "Still, my wife--perhaps you are overly concerned. She is in a new school now, where T'Pring's manipulations hold no sway. She has some actual friends, and the instructors seem content to teach, and not harass her. This dream, which she had during that time of difficulty...."

    Amanda interrupted.

    "Husband--you're wrong. She didn't have that dream last year--she had it last week, a full six months after entering her new, peaceful school environment. She told me that when she went to sleep that night, she had never felt safer or more at peace."

    And then Sarek was at a loss for words.

    For he realized anew that Saavik and the captive Peter were not merely abused children--they were the prime victims of a great and final war. In that war, evil could no longer be called an intangible. Moreover, its face was not so easily defined as that of the creature with three heads.


    "At my son's estates, outside of Amanda's gaze, I trained Saavik in the killing arts. I showed her how to best utilize a combination of mere stealth and the camouflage technology that would see her past sensors and alarms. She knew how to throw a punch, and take a throat. I reawakened the girl she was on Hellguard. I now realize what James must have gone through, making her ready to dwell in my house. More, I realize the heartache he must have endured when he learned, as I did, that she contained within her a level of pain that only a miracle could erase. I had shown her how to kill and rescue her brother. But who would show her how to live and be free herself?"


    "What are you saying?"

    Sarek scarcely believed Saavik's words.

    "Is it not self-evident? Surak was a foolish dreamer, Father. His vision requires sheep, and Vulcan has only rams."

    A mild comment by Sarek about how this seemingly bloody mission still served the greater truth of C'Thia had somehow elicited a sarcastic retort from Saavik.

    "Saavik-kam, I am certain that you do not mean that. The Reality Of Truth, And The Path Of Logic And Reason, are those things which make us Vulcan."

    Pride was still in her eyes, but now rage was taking over.

    "They make you Vulcan, Father. You are the only Vulcan I know worthy of the name. You are Surak's sole student on this planet. As to the others, they can hang themselves, for all I care. When has C'Thia been there for me? For Spock? Logic as they lay it down is a set of rules that I must obey but they may ignore it at will. On this world, I have you, and I have Mother. I pray all others find the Midday Forge, with no water or food."

    Sarek kept his control, but not necessarily his calm, at Saavik's harsh words.

    "Child, to what extent do you submit that Stern Vulcan has turned you away?"

    Her next words were both beautiful and terrible, as they spoke volumes to Sarek about the hole in Saavik's heart, poked out by needless cruelty.

    "I Love You, Father."

    As she prepared to leave for Earth, Sarek meditated to regain himself. She would save Peter Kirk's life, he was sure. But who would rescue her soul, which used words of joy to wound and lash out?


    "Was another child lost to me? How deeply did my failure run, in Saavik's case? Could I have done something more? As I begged Amanda on bended knee to remain at the large estate, surrounded by the living lirpas we call Honor Guards, I wondered if any aspect of the quest to save young Peter would offer true redemption--most especially for the girl who is my child's child--and whose emotional, shocking words I fully and joyfully reciprocate."



    The predator entered The Hall Of The Enemy as prey.

    With her features and form well disguised, Saavik posed as a failed cadet applicant at Starfleet Academy. The nanites were painful, but necessary, and ultimately, they served their purpose. A grim profile of those cadets who had been targeted by the Hall for the 'feeding' of the pedophilic Admiral Bunson had been correct.

    With instructions from the boot-licking upperclassmen known as Cadet-Masters, she went into the Hall with five others. Some knew what was coming; None of them seemed pleased about it. Saavik reasoned that despite a young human male's pronounced interest in sexual relations, no one cared to be taken. Even when that taker was a woman who had remained young-looking for years after her supposed prime.

    The Hall had no restricted access, but it was a labyrinth, and no maps existed that outsiders had access to. It was by design, so that disorientation would serve The Order against any intruder. But Saavik had been born on Hellguard, where her captors knew how to lay in wait. So she learned to do it better than them--better than any.

    Had the paranoid Admirals in charge of Security, Osborn and Komack, allowed Section 31 to place its people as guards in The Hall, Saavik would have been killed early on, and never heard from again. But Cartwright shared their suspicions of the secretive organization, and for once, these were valid suspicions. S31's agenda and membership, however, were concerns for another day.

    Around every 50 meters, Saavik placed a series of small devices, devices that would only aid her if she were successful. Sarek had instructed her that The Hall would be using one on Peter Kirk, and that she should follow it to its source. The bottom floor was not the nigh-infinite security net that the upper floors were. It didn't need to be. It was too far down. Plus, this was where the Admiralty kept its greatest treasure, one they did not want any spirited-away recordings of.

    Neither terraform digger, nor small army, nor transport beam could have gotten through to the objective. But Saavik, born of Spock, and adopted of James Kirk, had done so. She knew which room her adopted brother was in. What she didn't know was that someone was in there with him.

    "Peter--now don't pretend you don't notice me--or my chest. You'd like these, wouldn't you? Any young man would."

    Saavik knew the woman. In a recording she had briefly viewed on an upper floor, she had been outraged at what The Admiralty had done to Peter Kirk, the night he was taken. But this woman--Admiral Teresa Bunson--had been the absolute worst of the lot. She had taken special care to hurt the boy, at one point breaking his jaw.

    Now she had draped herself, quite nude, over the man stuck at 13 for the past decade. Saavik saw the metabolic monitors record his interest in her, despite the cryo-fog he was in. She then saw the device shut that reaction down, repeatedly. Bunson was gaining enjoyment from his pain, each time his sexual response resumed. Now, the sick Admiral spoke again, holding up her chest playfully as she did.

    "We've been doing this awhile, now, Peter. But you've never told me what you think of them. Aren't they nice?"

    Saavik could bear no more.

    "If the boy were conscious, I believe he would tell you that they sag."

    Before Bunson could turn, Saavik shoved her face into the cryo-pod beneath her about twenty times. She slumped off, in a heap, as the pod opened up. Saavik was briefly taken aback. A combination of sexual segregation on Hellguard and her feral status when first brought to Vulcan meant something odd but simple. Peter Kirk was nude, and Saavik had never seen a nude humanoid male before. Added to that was his pronounced resemblance to her dear adoptive father. She almost forgot herself--but not entirely.

    Awakening at last, the young man looked up at her in wonder, and gratitude. He then saw himself. His words were guttural, but understandable.


    Fighting back some small disappointment at his modesty, Saavik grabbed the robe Bunson had used, before she came in.

    "This should satisfy your odd need. The Admiral will not miss it."

    As she helped him get up, she realized his strength, in that he was able to get up even part way by himself. He donned the robe, and smiled at her.

    " me. So boo-ful. Love you."

    She hid her emotions well, but she felt them, not too far below the surface. Wonder at so striking a figure. Joy that he told her that she was pretty, and that he loved her--even though logic told her this was bound-up in hero-worship.

    Then, she saw Bunson again, and it all turned to rage.

    "Peter, I am called Saavik. Ambassador Sarek sent me. We shall leave here, soon. But before we go--I am not a full Vulcan, and understand the need and desire for revenge. That woman raped you, Peter. I offer you the chance to bring her pain. To pay a rape back with a rape."

    Saavik would watch as this evil being became all of her tormentors, begging for mercy. The boy was little better than an animal, now. His desires would have him riding the woman's body like it was a toy. She would only allow it to stop when Bunson was bleeding, and a good portion of her hair ripped out. At first, when Peter rolled her onto her stomach, it seemed a sick show was about to begin.

    But instead of entering her plump backside, Peter merely kicked it, and never removed his robe.

    "She's not worth it. Can do better...I am better than her. No want revengeance. Just go from here. Just want to go home."

    He was starting to cry, and Saavik felt her soul return, as though from a long journey. She could tell that he wanted both sex and revenge. But he would not let that delay his leaving that horrible place. Saavik held him, and spoke.

    "The spear you cast into the other's heart is the spear you feel in your own. And even if you survive and your foe does not, how much time have you wasted healing and resting, when you could have simply went home?"

    The failure of Surak's students was not his failure. Scores of hypocritical instructors had failed to show her what one wounded boy did in one motion. That vengeance was to be foregone, not for the sake of the wrongdoer, but for the wronged. Suddenly, all the pain was greatly lessened. The tauntings, the strippings, all of it. Her brother, newly risen from the dead, had given her a gift beyond price. He had brought back her soul, and she would love him always, for that. She whispered to his sleeping form.

    "No one will ever be allowed to harm you again."

    Saavik then activated the series of devices she had strewn throughout the Hall. They served a dual purpose, first triggering a shutdown of all machinery and tech within Admiralty Hall, then serving as a transporter relay, beaming the weary duo back to a waiting Vulcan Embassy.

    Sarek nodded at Saavik.

    "Well done, child. Now, we must make for the transport. I suspect our acquisition will not go unnoticed for very long."

    He looked at Peter.

    "So is my promise fulfilled. May you know only happiness, now, Peter."
  16. Gojirob

    Gojirob Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 10, 2001
    Going Super Diclonius 4...

    Cartwright stared at the readouts. The ones that made Peter Kirk's escape almost irrelevant. Smiling as no one thought he would, he made the dread pronouncement, the death-knell of a quadrant and a civilization.

    "We no longer need a transmitter. Within the next decade--Lord Ghidorah will be among us, to bring about that thing of which we have all dreamed--The Cleansed Universe. His path is now unmistakable. Humanity Prevails! Ghidorah!"

    And Ghidorah would come, although none of them would live to see it.

    Armageddon lay 8 years and 5 months away. Nothing could stop it, now.



    Aboard the consular ship, Sarek closed his eyes, and attempted to figure out what to tell Amanda about their guest. Until Peter was coherent, there was still no point in telling James Kirk.

    In the back of the ship, where he lay sleeping, Peter had a guardian angel, fierce and devoted to him. Sarek had noted the change in her demeanor, and had asked her about that, and her earlier words about Surak.

    "I spoke in haste, Father. I ask forgiveness. As to what happened, let us merely say that Peter Kirk showed me something, down there, and leave it at that."

    Now, she noted him begin to shake, and rise up in terror.

    "You are safe, Peter. We are going home."

    She found that when he embraced her, she did not mind the intrusion at all. She decided to return the embrace, hero hugging hero, holding on against the darkness for dear life, each depending on the other, for then and for always.

    And somewhere, somehow, in that tender, sweet embrace of two children who had known far too much pain--then and there was Paradise Regained.



    VULCAN, 2279

    Life became better.

    Life became worth living.

    He had a home, in which no unfair chores awaited him.

    He had parents that acted like it, and who often struggled to put his interests ahead of their own.

    He was not being hit, or used.

    He had someone who he cared for, and who cared for him, just as deeply.

    Uncle Jim knew he was alive, as did Nyota. They had even risked their careers by coming to see him.

    But all was not light and joy.

    A great shadow still loomed large over God's Creation, and it was up to him to stop it. He had a destiny. He Was The Rock. Upon that Rock would even the gnashing teeth of Ghidorah shatter like glass. But now he knew, and would prepare for that destiny as best he could.

    Without an ounce of regret, Peter Kirk recalled the twelve months since his rescue.



    "Who is she? The girl? She looks so familiar--and so beautiful. I'd like to be happy in this place--but every time I've been happy, something bad happens."



    "I did something to upset her. I'm upsetting all of them. The nice Lady--nice like Grandma was at the end--gets angry looking at me. Maybe I should leave. The man--he's a Vulcan--went through something painful because of something I did. Why were there people inside him--why are there people inside me?"



    "I'm at the house of Ambassador Sarek--Spock's father. I thought he'd be cold, like Spock--but I like him better than Sam. Why did he come to get me, and not Jim? And how is it that Jaia is Amanda's half-sister? Is that even physically possible? I'dve asked Jaia, but then she might have explained it to me, and my head already hurts enough."



    "I finally spoke to Uncle Jim and to Nyota. I didn't feel alive again until I told him I was. He's close to Saavik, too, but she won't say how--yet. I don't mind, though. I can't be close enough to her. I want her so badly--she's my hero. She got me out of that--that--that--"

    The recording ceased while the tears again started. He would be a while controlling them.



    "How can anyone be that attractive and that pig-headed, too? She complains about my barging in on her shower, and then she does the same thing to me. I want off this planet--away from her. She's trying to drive me nuts. That's it. That must be it. Why else would she be pulling all she's pulled, start arguments with me at the drop of a hat, punch me, complain about everything I do, and then stare at me with those---eyes?"



    "I told Saavik about what they did to me, at The Hall. She told me about Hellguard. How could I ever have condemned her? It's a wonder she's sane at all, considering. Our talks are lasting longer and longer into the evening. Our talks are helping us to cope with the past abuse. Our talks are the reason I keep breathing."



    "Thank God for Sarek. I thought I was going to be reading everyone else's thoughts forever. But restraint is so simple, so logical. I asked Sarek whether he regretted the removal of his parents' katras, which precipitated his emotional illness. He then spent all the rest of that day instructing me on the worlds of meaning contained within one simple word : Kaidith. I choose to call him Father, as Saavik does. He had no objections to this."



    "Amanda and I finally agreed to a compromise--we cooked a meal together. I served a completely Vegan variety of Toasted Cheese Pierogies, and she served an astonishing vegetarian meatloaf. She has many responsibilities as Lady Of House Surak. I have my training with the lirpa, psycho-kinetics, and telepathy, not to mention school. We don't cook very often. But when we do, she tells me of the mysterious Sybok, and how my coming changed Saavik for the better. When I told her about Marc, she cried and had to sit down. Now that I'm no longer being guilted into it, I find that I enjoy cooking. It's an act of creation, so different from what my life has been--and what it will become."



    "Two unbelievable things happened this Christmas. Those people that looked like Jim's crew but spoke in that odd monotone? Sarek says that they are called The Prophets Of Bajor. Bajor again. I don't know what they want from me. It's not like I can move the planet out of the way when Ghidorah comes. The second thing--Christmas Night, Saavik and I slept together. We didn't do anything--I think. But--she was there. As I slept, I held another sentient being. I wasn't alone. I was with the one I love."



    "I am very depressed. Everytime I try to even contemplate Ghidorah, the sheer size of the monster overwhelms me. I think about Sam and Aurelan, and I wonder if I've been unfair. But then I get angry again, and it all becomes so muddled. I want to honor them, for what they did do for me. But I don't know how. I am very depressed."



    "Ten years. They stole ten years from my life. Told Jim--my father--I was dead. Hell, I was dead. I want to kill them all. I want to--be free. I want to go back to the days when anger didn't rule my life. I just can't remember when that was, anymore."



    "Did she and I agree that her next birthday would be our first time? Do Amanda and Sarek know? They're not dumb. How could they not? I want to show them respect. But I already feel like I've waited a lifetime."


    He stared out at the stars, and at last she joined him.

    "Peter-Kam--you said you had something to show me?"

    He smiled.

    "Saavik-kam, you know how I can levitate myself and move objects about with my mind?"

    She nodded yes, although he and Sarek kept the true extent of his powers hidden.

    "Yes, I do. Two remarkable abilities."

    Peter breathed in.

    "Actually--just one ability. I hope this works. Wish me luck."

    Saavik was confused.


    Peter took two steps, and leaped on the third--and never touched the ground. Saavik stared up in wonder, as he continued to ascend, in complete control of his motion.


    Even as he descended, he swooped in, only to rise again. He reached down and picked up the one he loved best of all.

    "Saavik-kam--come with me!"

    He held her under her back and legs--for the most part.

    "Peter-your hand is wandering---"

    She sighed, and decided his hand could wander where it wanted--so long as he continued to hold her tight, and share their thoughts as they read each other's minds.

    "What do you think?"

    "I--Peter Kirk--think--this!"

    She kissed him, full on the lips, as they made for the sparse clouds of Vulcan's night sky. For this one moment in time, they were both happy at last.

    So it was that the young boy who had never been permitted a childhood was granted in its place the dream of every child, summed up in three simple words that shook through the night sky as he and his loved one soared towards the stars that were their destiny.

    "I CAN FLY!!!!!"



    At the core of many of our myths and fables are seven great stories, from which all others derive. Among these is that of 'The Hidden Prince.' The son of The King, The Prince is raised elsewhere, must overcome numerous hardships, learn of his destiny, Woo and Win his one true love, Restore The Kingdom--and of course, Slay The Dragon. All the rest of the details fall into the hands of writers, be they Mallory, Lucas, Siegel&Shuster, or even someone like me.