Jacqueline Lichtenberg

          It was on Starbase III that Ssarsun and Scotty finally met again, to drink and yarn as old friends. About half way through the evening, the engineer found himself talking about the Melkotians and the weird time he'd had in their version of Tombstone, Arizona.

          Since Melkotians, Schillians and Vulcans had only one thing in common, it was inevitable that the conversation should wander around toward telepathy. And since Ssarsun had become the Enterprise's greatest living interpreter of Vulcans (with such blithe remarks as "It was just a bunch of Vulcans sitting around and gossiping and telling jokes.") It was equally inevitable that Scotty should find himself telling Ssarsun of Spock's solution to the Melkotian hallucinations.

          It was something he'd never told anyone before, but he rationalized that it was no breach of privacy to tell Ssarsun. After all, the Schillian had been in sustained, deep telepathic linkage with Spock for weeks. There could be no secrets between them. And, what Scotty had experienced was only the briefest flash, a single frame out of a movie. The engineer had been reluctant to discuss it with anyone else only because of the aura of intense disturbance that had surrounded Spock's severing of that contact.



Vulcan's high provinces
With chill welcome wind
To bid the young Kataytikhe
To camp upon their slopes.
With ebb of bright day's light
One ever apart, seeks out
The highest place in sight
To dwell on deepest thoughts.

Shrill of Queark-horn blown
By mountain lads who herd
The hearty gubmendik
As did their distant ancestors.

Rich bell-banner symphony
Rebounding from peak to peak
Gather wedding celebrants
Onto time-hallowed ground.

Measured peal upon peal
Multitudes of chanting bells
Enough to set any heart
Asmolder, if not aflame.

Mountain Tribes, so different
Yet so much the same
In custom, tradition, and
.... .... .... biology.

This one apart called here
To be trained in Mountain
Lore and Liberty finds
So very much to . . . envy.

Yes. This he must admit
Within the sealed privacy,
Envy . . . and a shutting-out
From what ecstasy, he'll never know . . . ?

At least such was the doubt
Of those who gave to him
A heritable, blended gene
And set upon him the name,
"Founder of Dynasties."

But might there yet arise
The ancient drive
To pass on the burden
of his legacy.

He sincerely hopes not.

For to his father's kind
All ecstasy that can be known
Is of the sort that blooms
With cessation of . . . the agony.


          Scotty took a deep shuddering breath and looked up at the Schillian. For once, the aura of jolly camaraderie that usually shrouded the amphibian was gone. All his eyelids were down and Scotty could read the deep disturbance in the way he held his head . . . or was that some wisp of lingering telepathic contact?


          No, the engineer thought. The link had been snapped clean. Then what . . . Suddenly, Scotty gasped. The one other thing that Schillians and Vulcans shared was a profound reticence about sex. The shock washed through him like a douche of ice-water, leaving him suddenly cold-sober and ashamed.

          "Ssarsun, I . . . didna' . . ."

          The Schillian relaxed gradually, but spoke stiffly. "There is no need to apologize, Scotty. Your need to share was great. Better that it should be I who received this. You did well."

          "I never thought about you . . ."

          "It doesn't matter. What matters is that you feel better now."

          It wasn't a question, but a statement, and Scotty realized he did feel better. It was as if he had been a magnetic bottle containing a plasma ten thousand degrees too hot. The inevitable rupture had occurred, the pressure was released, and the wound healed, instantly. He took a deep breath, essayed a tremulous smile and said, "Have a bottle of Schlugtamer on me. You've earned it!"

Uhura dancing with Schillian.



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