PEACE AND GREETINGS,
First off, I want to apologize for the lateness of this volume. I know I promised it for end of summer 1973, but the "best laid plans, etc." Since I spent the summer studying Medieval English History at Oxford University, my co-editor, Debbie Goldstein was going to spend her summer typing __Federation__ __Centennial__. Unfortunately, Debbie developed a pinched nerve in her elbow and was given doctor’s orders not to type. Period. There went all our plans.
But all is not lost. Debbie successfully underwent surgery at the end of the summer and is now industriously typing away at Volume IV. Hopefully, finances permitting, we’ll be able to have that one in print by March or April.
Since Jacqueline never got around to writing a preface to this volume, I feel I owe you a few words of explanation about the stories it contains. __Federation__ __Centennial__ is not one of Jacqueline’s recent efforts, so if any of you are expecting great, exciting, new revelations about the Kraith universe, forget it. There aren’t any.
__Federation__ __Centennial__ was conceived and written as an action/adventure novel aimed at a commercial market, proving to the people who publish such things that pro-ST fiction did not __have__ to consist of script re-writes. But due to contract limitations, it can’t be published pro.
Since __Federation__ __Centennial__ was written for the general reading public and not for a hard-core group of Kraith devotees, it is somewhat toned down from Jacqueline’s usual style. Also, it was written well before the Lichtenberg/Marshak alliance and subsequent blooming (if you’ll forgive the expression) of radical ideas. Personally, it has always been one of my favorite Kraith stories, and I am ecstatic that it is, finally, in print.
"Ssarsun’s Argument", also in this volume, is a more recent effort, and was previously published in __Babel__. It is a milestone in that it marks the first of the "Kraith for grups" stories. Being privy to the events to come, I’ll give you a hint -- watch "Spock" carefully. He shows up again in a very important context.
On another vein entirely, those of you who are sticklers for consistency will no doubt be annoyed to learn that the type faces change on page 13 of __Federation__ __Centennial__. However, I can guarantee, that by the time you’ve struggled through 13 pages of broken typewriter, you will have completely forgotten about complaining. Since it was a choice between re-typing those pages and having the zine ready for ISTC 3, I think I can be forgiven for not re-typing them. Many thanks to AAA Typewriter Rentals for exchanging typers and giving me an Executive at no extra cost.
Special, __special__ thanks for this volume goes to Mr. Harold Stack of the Natural Science Department at Montieth College, Wayne State University. Montieth, bless its heart, is an experimental college that believes in giving students two quarters of directed studies on whatever project pleases their little minds. Harold is my advisor and is giving me four, count them FOUR, credits for this volume. Up till now I’ve always felt slightly guilty about the time I’ve taken to do up the fanzines. But, for this quarter at any rate, it is schoolwork. My conscience is assuaged nicely. Thank you, Harold.
Until next time, Live Long and Prosper and Enjoy, enjoy!
(RBW Note. The following message is on the left of the signature in the white space.)
Not intended to infringe on copyrights
held by Gene Roddenberry or Paramount.
All rights reserved to authors and
artists. Copyright February 1974.
Signed: Carol Lynn
(RBW Note. The following area of the page is in two columns with dark black lines on the top and bottom and between columns.)
Nancy Cleveland: 3, 10, 27, 39, 54, 61
Janice Scott: 23
Robbie Brown: 19, 73, 74
Mike Kucharski: 19, 23, 31
Todd Bake: 79, 80, 88
Doug Herring: 78, 92
John Benson: cover, titles
Marie Lynn Carol Lynn
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Editor’s Preface ................ 1
Kraith Master Plan .............. 2
Federation Centennial ........... 3
Ssarsun’s Argument .............. 79
KRAITH COLLECTED VOLUME TWO
Ceiling Press Publication #21
cost: $3.25, fourth class
$4.25, first class
(2004 availability from Agent With Style)
(column break, return to single column)
THERE ARE NO TYPOS IN THIS ZINE, ONLY LAPSES INTO VULCANUR
EXPLANATION OF THE NUMBERING SYSTEM:
aI---------- stories that occur, according to internal chronology, before "Spock’s Argument"
I----------- Main Stories. Eight planned, five written to date. All are titled "Spock’s Something-or-other".
IA---------- Sub Stories occurring between the main stories. For example IA occurs between I and II, etc..
I(1) or IA(1)-- Sub-stories occurring as an epilog or a postscript to another story with no time break between.
AI or AIA---- Sub-stories occurring simultaneously with another story in the series describing events relating to the other story, but not contained within the story.
Stories that appear in Kraith Collected volumes I-IV are marked KCI, KCII, KCIII, or KCIV.
Unless otherwise the author is Jacqueline Lichtenberg.
Kraith I Spock’s Affirmation KCI
Kraith IA Shealku KCI
Kraith IB Zyeto KCI
Kraith IC Yehaena (unwritten)
Kraith ID A Matter of Priority Anna Mary Hall KCI
Kraith E The Lesson (outline only, see Kraith Creator’s Manual I)
Kraith F Ssarsun’s Argument KCII
Kraith IG The Way Home Anna Mary Hall
Kraith II Spock’s Mission KCI
Kraith II(1) The Learning Experience Jean Sellar KCIII
Kraith IIA T’Zorel KCI
Kraith IIB The Disaffirmed Ruth Berman KCI
Kraith IIC Operation Transplant Lori Dell
Kraith IID ----------- (Ruth Berman, hypothetical sequel to The Disaffirmed)
Kraith IIE Initiative KCIV
Kraith IIF Ni Var Claire Gadzikowski
Kraith IIF(1) ---------(unwritten sequel to Ni Var)
Kraith IIG Diana Pat Osborne
Kraith AIII The Tanya Entry Pat Zotti KCI
Kraith III Spock’s Argument
Kraith III(1) The Obligation/Through Time and Tears Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Joan Winston KCIII
Kraith IIIA Federation Centennial KCII
Kraith IIIB Secret of Groskin KCIII
Kraith IIIC Coup de Grace KCIII
Kraith IIIC(1) Coup de Partie Ruth Berman KCIII
Kraith IIID Jh’nfreya Debbie Goldstein and Carol Lynn
Kraith IIIE Operating Manual, Anna Mary Hall KCIV
Kraith IV Spock’s Nemesis KCIII
Kraith V Spock’s Decision KCIV
Kraith VA --------- unwritten Ssarsun story
Kraith VB --------- unwritten Ssarsun story
Kraith VC --------- unwritten Ssarsun story
Kraith VD Spock’s Pilgrimage KCIV
Kraith VE The Maze Joan Winston (unwritten)
Kraith VF The Punishment (outline only)
Kraith VG T’Lel’s Option (outlined only)
Kraith VH Spock’s Defection Sondra Marshak (outline approved)
Kraith VI Kirk’s Cure-All (outline only)
Kraith VJ Beom Interlude (first draft)
Kraith VJ(1) Kirk’s Auction (outline only)
Kraith VK Spock’s Temper Tantrum Sondra Marshak (outline approved)
Kraith VL ---------- (somehow we’ve got to end this line of development)
Kraith VI Spock’s Command (outline only)
Kraith VIA Edifice of Value (Outline only, may be scrapped soon)
Kraith VII Spock’s Challenge (story idea only)
Kraith VIIA T’Uriamne’s Decision Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Sondra Marshak (outline only)
Kraith VIII Spock’s Memory (story idea only)
Laughing gently, Amanda seized her husband’s hand and pulled him over to the promenade’s railing, "Oh, Sarek, just look at the view! We’re enthroned at the very top of the world! It’s like . . . it’s like . . . oh, doesn’t it make you want to hold your breath and listen to the lesser peaks pay homage . . ."
Catching sight of his grave, unmoved expression, she composed herself, "No, I don’t suppose it does." She sighed. "But just think what you’re missing!" Gathering her Vulcan-style cloak about her, she schooled her features into Vulcan repose.
"Yes, my wife," said Sarek at length, "the view is . . . fascinating."
They stood alone on the promenade of the ninety-seventh level of the Tower of Babel which adorned the top of the tallest mountain peak like a two mile high royal wedding cake . . . or like the impudently terraced Tower of Babel for which it was named. But, unlike the original Tower, this one neither threatened the sky nor collapsed into rubble but served as a neutral meeting ground for gatherings such as the current Constitutional Convention at which Sarek was chief of the Vulcan delegation.
Clasping his hands behind his back he added, "One doesn’t often find such a good vantage point from which to observe the record of a Planet’s evolution."
Momentarily puzzled, Amanda searched the view for some clue to what Sarek meant. The ice crowned peaks marched away below them, descending slowly to distant foothills now lost in darkness. By night, the Tower’s lights illuminated the raw, broken crags nearest them and the slice of silver moon etched the view with elfin lace. The promenade itself was dimly lit so she could see the striations on some of the nearer peaks. The clarity of the view was unmarred by the highly sophisticated semi-permeable force field that protected the promenade.
Then she understood. A planet’s history as recorded in the strata of its rock skeleton.
She sighed, "Oh, Sarek, sometimes I think you’re hopeless. But I love you anyway."
The Vulcan took that meekly and followed his wife as she moved along the terrace. On either side of the spacious walkway, benches peeked invitingly from the lush green foliage. But at this hour none were occupied and, in spite of the fatigue that weighted her feet, Amanda wasn’t tempted to sit. After weeks of banquets, meetings, conferences, and speeches she was heartily sick of sitting.
She resumed her place at her husband’s side and said quietly, "You know Sarek, in a few months I’ll be sixty-two years old . . ."
"Seven months, nineteen days."
"Yes. Well, Spock is almost forty now . . ."
"Forty-one point six __Standard__ years."
"Counted in any kind of years, it’s a lifetime . . ."
". . . and he’s still not settled down, I keep wondering if I’ll ever see a grandchild of mine. I worry much about him. The one time he really needed us, we were a hundred light years away . . ."
"We were not needed. We had done our part."
"But not well. T’Pring turned his Marriage into a Challenge. She wasn’t the right choice for him after all."
"Nevertheless, our part is completed. He has not requested our aid, therefore, it is no longer our concern."
"Sarek, dear Sarek. Spock is your son, yes, but he’s my son too. Where can he turn now? He has your pride and your stubbornness. Would he request your aid in finding a wife . . . even if he needed it . . . desperately?"
Sarek stopped and turned to confront her. His face was all stern, vertical lines and deep shadows in the harsh light. "My Wife, it is no longer our concern. T’Pau may be trusted to fulfill the obligations of her office. If our aid is required, it will be sought. Put the matter from your mind. It is not proper to dwell upon such thoughts."
"Yes, My Husband." She had learned to cherish the ideals of his culture. She’d known her words an invasion of her son’s Vulcan Privacy. Yet she knew that she had instilled some of her human feelings in her child. She was perhaps the only one who understood how his human half would be suffering from his Vulcan divorce . . . except possibly for Jim Kirk.
They strolled on. After awhile she said, "Thank you, Sarek."
"For taking rooms on the M-I floor. For squeezing in time to walk out here among real, leafy greenery, in spite of the yellow lights and the Terran chill. For enduring . . . me . . . these last few . . . difficult years."
He considered that. Then he nodded, "You want something."
She smiled. She’d married a man of tremendous sensitivity and insight. And he’d spent forty . . . no forty-two __Standard__ years studying her. "And don’t you think it’s time we took a vacation? A long vacation. Together."
He thought about that for ten paces more. "On Earth you mean?"
She chuckled. "I really would like to visit Earth again. Blue sky and infinite, restless oceans. New mown hay on a summer breeze. Ponderosa pine, redwoods, and eucalyptus. Cities thronging with people . . . human people doing human things for illogical, human reasons."
He said thoughtfully, "You have travelled with me everywhere I have been assigned . . . Using your talent for interpreting emotional nuances for the good of Vulcan . . . and of the Federation . . ."
She glowed warmly. It had been years since he’d expressed any pleasure in her. Suddenly she felt her heart racing at a daring thought. His increasing awareness was always the first sign. Then his hot, dry fingers would seek hers and she would respond to his need. It always made her feel young again. But, though she looked little over forty-five, she was almost sixty-two. Would his relentless Vulcan glands drive him to take another wife . . . a fertile one?
The thought chilled her. She was no Vulcan, but the years had given her an attachment to the fierce monogamy that was the core of Vulcan society. "But I’m getting old. So are you, my dear. Neither of us should work so hard or long any more. Do you realize that almost half my life is gone?"
He paused, turning to look down at her and she detected the deep tenderness behind his formal reply. "The Grace of Age Lies Comely on Thy Brow."
"Thee hides Thy heart in the Words of Others." She quoted back at him in her best Vulcanur, relying on the Universal Translators spotted everywhere in the Tower to make up her linguistic deficiencies.
Sarek replied, "This Heart Cannot Be Hidden From Thee, For It Dwells Within Thee."
She chuckled again. The subconscious telepathic link that bound them in marriage worked both ways. "I should know better than to duel quotations with you." Then another thought struck her. His choice of phrasing implied that the link was about to be re-awakened, or did it? She shook herself. Best to change the subject.
"Sarek, when will the Convention be over?"
"Perhaps ten years from now."
"No. I mean this session. I know you won’t come up with a complete, new Federation Constitution this year . . . you’ll be lucky to hammer out something acceptable for the Centennial. Ten years is not so long for such a project. But we won’t be staying here for ten years."
"I would estimate that we will be here another three or four months. The Star Fleet Subcommittee must still interview the crews of the __Enterprise__, __Exeter__, __Hood__ and __Kongo__. The __Enterprise__ is due in tomorrow. The __Kongo__ and the __Hood__ are already in orbit. The __Exeter__ is due after the __Yorktown__ and the __Potemkin__ regain their stations."
"Then we’ll be able to see Spock again."
"He will be very busy."
"I’m sure he’ll find time for us."
"Re-organizing all of Star Fleet and rewriting the entire book of Star Fleet Regulations is no small task. Every Officer will be deeply involved."
"But it doesn’t have to be done overnight."
"True. However, the __Enterprise__ testimony, and particularly Spock’s, will weigh heavily. He’s not the only Star Fleet Officer of mixed heritage, but the Subcommittee expects him to add much to our understanding of the problem. You realize, I was appointed to the Subcommittee largely because of Spock."
"And," Amanda picked up smoothly, "after participating in such an arduous teak, would it not be proper to seek refreshment and diversion?"
Sarek almost smiled, "On Earth?"
"I really would like to see Earth again."
"I will see what can be arranged. When we finish here, the Committee will disperse to hold hearings and collect testimony. Perhaps I’ll be assigned to Earth."
He cocked his head quizzically and looked down at her.
She ironed an incipient grin off her cheeks. When Sarek said "perhaps" he could do something, it generally meant it would be done. She was satisfied.
They walked along quietly for awhile. Amanda was still trying to construct a logical argument to convince Sarek he must aid Spock in his search for a wife.
Rounding a curve, they came in sight of a large, glass doorway that spilled cheerful light across the walk. Beyond the doorway, a vined arbor arched over the promenade creating a dark tunnel into the night.
Suddenly, the doors flew open and eight men spilled out onto the promenade, pushing each other and laughing among themselves. They were all apparently human and all fairly young. Probably a liberty party from one of the orbiting Starships, though they weren’t in uniform and might have been Babel employees.
Abruptly, Amanda stopped, "Sarek, let’s turn around."
He paused, "Why? We’re almost back to our rooms."
"I don’t like the look of that group. They’re drunk."
"You recently expressed a desire to be among human people engaged in illogical actions. Has your desire evaporated so swiftly?"
"No, of course not. But . . ."
"They’re in a rowdy mood, . . . and there’s been so much . . . ugliness lately."
"All humans are not criminals. And Babel has been free of such unfortunate incidents. It’s reputation . . ."
"Yes. But there is no Security Surveillance here. And a reputation is scant protection against . . ."
"We’ve walked almost all the way around the building. It would be illogical not to continue." He glanced toward the group who were now laughing uproariously and passing a bottle around with much backslapping. "They have as much right to use the promenade as we do."
Amanda nodded, "And we have as much right as they do. Logically, I know. But do __they__ know that? Let’s at least go in these doors."
"This corridor doesn’t lead to our rooms. We would have to make a wide detour." Sarek resumed walking. "Come, My Wife, it is late and there may be calls awaiting me."
As they approached the group of humans, Amanda caught the word, Vulcan, said with the knowing leer she associated with the bluest anecdotes told at stag parties. Undoubtedly, Sarek had heard even more clearly but he gave no sign.
As they approached, Amanda squinted against the light coming from the doors. They’d been walking in darkness too long. The men were only silhouettes against the light.
It wasn’t long before the humans had to part to let the strolling couple pass. Sarek, continuing at a measured pace, nodded graciously, acknowledging the group with reserved dignity.
But at the sight of the Ambassador’s proud head and upswept ears, the leader of the group fell in behind him trying vainly to imitate his walk while holding his fingers in points above his ears. However, he only lurched drunkenly from side to side. His followers laughed uproariously and began imitating the imitator, strung out behind their leader in a ludicrous snake dance.
Amanda moved closer to Sarek’s side, a sudden chill stiffening her spine.
Then they were through the doors and into the deeper shadows of the arbor. The silvery moonlight and ice capped peaks visible to their right no longer seemed a serene elfin wonderland. They’d become cold, implacable manifestations of a capricious Nature. Amanda shivered. The whispers behind her back sent tight goose flesh rippling across her scalp.
Sarek walked on, neither slowing nor hurrying. The door that led to their corridor was only a few hundred yards farther along. She wanted to run. Instead she reached out and gripped Sarek’s hand in a most improper gesture. The shadowed greenery that had given her such joy a few minutes ago suddenly seemed oppressive. Denevian palm fronds tossed restlessly in the attenuated breezes casting sinister, moving shadows against the unoccupied benches spaced carefully under the canopy of leaves.
She could hear a rustling behind them now, as if some of those men were following. Sarek returned the pressure of her hand, but she wasn’t reassured.
They passed a heating vent, one of the hundreds that strove to maintain temperature and pressure on the promenade. Sarek frowned and held her hand more firmly. Now she was really frightened, but she dared not look behind.
Abruptly, two of the restive shadows ahead of them detached themselves from the greenery and barred their way. Sarek stopped. Four more shadows moved in from the sides. She sensed two more behind her. They were surrounded.
The shadows closed in. Amanda couldn’t make out their faces in the dim light, but from the way they moved she could tell they had just sobered enough to make them really dangerous.
One of the shadows said, "See, I was right! A Vulcan and a human. What d’ya know!" His gazed dropped to their clasped hands and his leer was unmistakable. He drawled "Hey, Vulcan." But then his voice sharpened. "You like Earthers, Vulcan. Maybe you need a few lessons how to go about it?"
While the shadow men laughed, Sarek stood poised and aloof, an if he’d accidentally walked onto a stage and expected the actors to ignore him and go on with the play.
The leader signed with one hand and suddenly a rock hard fist severed Amanda’s hand from her husband’s. She reeled off balance and hands grabbed her arms. Struggling, she found herself helpless against their strength.
Two other men seized Sarek’s arms while a third aimed a judo chop at the Vulcan’s neck. The blow landed squarely, but Sarek only shook his head and heaved himself upward, sending his captors sprawling to either side.
Then two men rushed him, bearing him back against the railing.
Amanda gasped, It was a long way down! The two men could throw Sarek’s body over the railing, clear of the safety fields. For one horrible moment she thought that was what they were doing, but abruptly they swung the Vulcan around, away from the rail and held him fast while the third took more careful aim at his skull.
Suddenly, Sarek’s knees collapsed. His weight bore his captor’s to the floor. Then he twisted his right arm free and went for the other’s shoulder delivering a nerve pinch that dropped the human unconscious.
Another of the men rushed to grab Sarek, but Amanda lunged forward just far enough to trip him with an outstretched foot. The men holding her tightened their grip again, and the pain in her shoulder brought tears to her eyes.
As Sarek scuffled with his other captor, the thwarted judo expert raised clasped hands over his head and brought them down on Sarek’s neck with all his weight behind the blow.
Instantly, Sarek crumpled to the floor at Amanda’s feet. Certain his neck was broken, she loosed a scream of rage that surprised even her. She would see them all dead.
A hand clamped over her mouth and strong arms pinioned her elbows to her sides.
The leader, straddling the Vulcan’s limp body, called, "Where’s that bottle?"
The bottle they’d been drinking from was passed up from the rear of the group. He grabbed it and Amanda could see it was a cheap imitation of a Coridian distilled wine, complete with a basket for propping up the round bottomed flask.
The leader picked at the basket, unravelling one strand, and handing it to one or his men. "Here, pull on this."
The man retreated into the shadows as the basket spun in the leader’s hands paying out a fine clear filament. At last, the strand came free of the basket weave and the leader gathered up a double length, testing its strength. "This ought to hold a Coridian snoul in rut . . . or a berserk Vulcan. Here, help me get him tied up before he comes to."
The judo expert said, "Forget it. He’s finished."
"Like hell." retorted the leader, "his eyes are moving. Now hurry it up. We want him nice and pretty for the lesson."
Amanda stamped hard on the foot of one of the men holding her and then twisted with all her might, trying to line up her knee for a telling blow to the groin. Her dress tore with an alarming sound leaving her waist suddenly bare to the chilling breeze. Then rough hands forced her tortured shoulders back and she stood captive again.
The leader looked up from securing Sarek’s legs, "We’re not going to hurt him . . . much. Nor you either." He rose and approached her, "Just looking for a little fun. . ." His alcohol breath made her want to retch.
One hand toying with her face, the other slipped under her dress to stroke the rounded breast beneath.
She bit him.
It was a futile, childish gesture. Sarek wouldn’t have approved of the indignity.
The man retreated with a yelp, then wiped his fingers on his trousers and came back to her. "If you turn nasty, you may get hurt. It’s up to you."
The judo expert straightened over Sarek’s body. "He’s coming around already." A hand went up to deliver another blow.
Startled, the expert dropped his arm. The leader turned to examine the recumbent form. "No. How’s he gonna learn if he can’t see us demonstrating the techniques. Prop him up over there."
There was a chorus of enthusiastic whoops, and a voice called, "Pass that bottle over here."
The leader turned his attention back to the captive woman and she tried in vain to back away. He took a handful of her dress at the waist where it had torn. "You’re gonna like this."
Out of the corner of her eye, Amanda saw Sarek’s head come up, eyes open, watching. At least he was alive, though at the moment she thought he might be better off dead . . . it would be worse for him as witness than for her as victim. Especially if his instincts were indeed about to override his logic. There was only one thing left that she could do for him to ease the pain.
Resolutely, she closed her eyes and whispered the opening phrases of the Kalkahm Fii, making it loud enough that he should understand what she was trying to do. She wasn’t Vulcan by birth, but she had absorbed some training over the years. Sometimes she could attain a measure of the Fii, the inward turning in which the mind seems to leave the body far behind. And she had no desire to experience the coming ordeal if she could retreat from it.
Faintly, as if from a great distance, she was aware that someone was saying something obscene.
She continued to chant Kalkahm Fii to herself and felt nothing more.
Kirk took a deep breath, glanced to his right to see that Spock had arrived safely with him, and descended from the transporter platform as he surveyed the spacious Transporter Lobby of Babel Tower. There were perhaps two hundred people using the facility but it wasn’t crowded.
"Mr. Spock, do you suppose we should try to call your parents again or should we register first?"
"I believe it would be best to register first. It is early evening here. They are probably out now. We aren’t expected until tomorrow."
Kirk nodded and moved out into the hall looking for somebody to question.
A smooth voice interrupted his thoughts, "May I help you, sirs?"
Kirk turned to see a tall young man in a green uniform offering him an orientation tape. Kirk held out his hand to accept two of the tapes and handed one to Spock. "Yes. I am Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. __Enterprise__ . . ."
The young man’s face lit up with such surprise that Kirk revised his age estimate downwards. Either boys were starting to work younger these days or he was getting older.
"Captain Kirk! You weren’t due until . . . but, well, you’re here! What can I do to help you?"
"You could direct us to the Accommodations clerk . . . and a public comm unit."
"Certainly. The Accommodations Clerk is located in the main lobby, just off the Concourse of Planets. Public comm units are located at every corridor intersection. Step right this way, please."
Given something familiar to do, the boy calmed down and gained back a few years maturity which comforted the Captain a bit. Kirk motioned his First Officer to follow and they trailed their guide past plushly furnished transporter platforms. The spacious feel of the elegant, civilian environment brought home to Kirk just what he’d given up to pursue a Service career, and he found himself relaxing in anticipation of a pleasant evening.
Their guide led them through one of the many classically simple, Roman style arches and into a long, red carpeted, white walled corridor. The walls were coarse like rough stucco and, as everywhere, the ceiling was constructed of contoured baffles dropped downward as if all the panels of an ordinary ceiling had fallen open on hinges. Kirk started to think of it as a Babel-ceiling.
They approached a large intersection and the guide pointed out the public comm units. Then they mounted a moving strip and rode on to the Concourse of Planets where their guide indicated the entrance to the main lobby and returned to his post.
Spock observed, "It seems illogical to place the Accommodations Clerk so far from the Transporter Lobby that a guide is required."
"Oh, I don’t know," answered Kirk. "Dignitaries enjoy being escorted. It makes them feel important. This whole place seems designed to make one feel important." Kirk glanced sideways at his First Officer to see if he’d scored with that one. Sure enough, long, slanted eyebrows arched upwards in surprise. Kirk estimated that his comment was enough to keep the Vulcan’s logic circuits busy for another ten minutes and led the way across the Concourse towards the main lobby.
The Concourse of Planets was a long, wide corridor with a vaulted ceiling that created the unmistakable effect of a cathedral. To their right as they crossed the Concourse, enormous double doors, heavily carved with vines, shrubs, and trees led to the Hall of All Planets. To their left, far in the distance, the Concourse narrowed to an ordinary Babel corridor. They continued straight across the Concourse and through the archway that led to the main lobby.
Here again, there were many people moving about, but there was no sense of crowding. What better atmosphere, thought Kirk, to house touchy, possibly explosive negotiations.
As he approached the Accommodations Desk, the Captain counted fifteen staff uniforms working at screens. He chose one and identified himself.
The clerk said, "Enterprise? You’re early."
"By a few hours. We wanted to get settled."
"Well, of course. I have your reservations right here, but I’m afraid the room isn’t made up just yet."
"That’s all right. I have some other things I want to do first."
The clerk nodded. "I’ll have your room attended immediately." He turned to Spock, "And you, sir? Will you be staying the night?"
"Yes." He gave his name.
The clerk worked the computer console and then shook his head. "I’m afraid accommodations in the M-IV section are unavailable tonight. We’ve had some difficulties with the environment stabilizers and maintenance is working there right now. But I have a lovely room with a spectacular view in the M-I section, if you wouldn’t mind the inconvenience?"
Stiffly, Spock answered, "That will suffice."
"Then I’ll order both your rooms prepared immediately." Once decided, the clerk erupted into a flurry of activity, taking their voice prints and pore prints to program their door locks and providing guest cards for the credit computers as well as guidebeams that could be set to point the way to any destination in the Tower.
At length, the formalities concluded, Kirk turned to Spock. "Well, where to now? Shall we try to get your parents on the com?"
Kirk spotted the nearest bank of com units and led the way. "Their room number is . . . uh . . . 225734-I, right?"
"No Captain. It is 227534-I."
Kirk keyed the corrected number into the com board and punched for the connection reflecting that eidetic memory was often very useful. The viewscreen flashed on and off several times and finally cleared to reveal a large, square jawed human in green Staff uniform who said in a deep gravelly voice. "Yes? May I help you?"
Kirk blinked. Spock make a mistake?
The First Officer moved into the pickup. "I would like to speak to the Ambassador."
"I’m afraid that’s impossible. May I take a message?"
"If the Ambassador is not available, I’ll speak to his wife."
"I’m afraid that is impossible as well. Whom may I say has called?"
Spock frowned. "To whom am I speaking?"
"Lieutenant Southridge. Babel security. Whom may I say has called?"
One slanted, Vulcan eyebrow arches upwards. "It is extremely improbable that both the Ambassador and his wife would be simultaneously unavailable."
Kirk eyed his First Officer speculatively. The Vulcan had little use for bureaucratic pomposity, true, but still he should have identified himself.
Southridge said coldly, "Nevertheless, sir, it is so. May I take your ID number and name now or must I have this call analyzed?"
Spock’s face assumed that wooden impassivity that Kirk knew masked strong feelings. And suddenly, he thought he understood why Spock had chosen to fence with the human security officer. But he couldn’t believe that the sense of interspecies hostility that was increasingly prevalent among civilians had penetrated the Service! "Lieutenant. I’m Captain Kirk and this is my first officer Mr. Spock. Is anything wrong?"
"Nothing that concerns you, Captain. I’ve been asked to monitor all calls to this receiver. May I ask your business with the Ambassador?"
Spock said tonelessly, "He is my father."
The human’s businesslike expression collapsed into unprofessional surprise. "Oh, I see! I’m sorry. You should have said so before. I’m so sorry!" He collected himself, consulted something outside the scanner range and continued, "You must go at once to the Hospital Section JQT-C7-I."
"What’s happened?" Kirk said.
"A slight accident, nothing serious. Mr. Spock, did you get that section number?"
"Affirmative. I shall go there."
The screen blanked.
"Spock, what do you suppose could have happened?"
Spock set his guide beam. "I suggest we go and ascertain that personally."
Kirk nodded. Spock didn’t seem upset but Kirk knew that the very lack of reaction indicated just how severely agitated the Vulcan was. They set off following the floating arrow mounted in the guidebeam’s tiny window. It led them through corridors and turbo-lifts that Kirk scarcely noticed until finally they confronted a Hospital receptionist in a spacious waiting room. She said, "If you’ll take seats over there, gentlemen, I’ll inquire about the visitor status of the patients."
They sat. Kirk fumed while Spock inspected a point in mid-air between them and the blank door that led into the wards. Except for themselves and the receptionist, the waiting room was empty.
Presently, the doors slid aside and a short man wearing a caduceus insignia on his uniform approached looking from one to the other. "Gentlemen," he greeted and then zeroed in on Spock. "You are the son of Ambassador Sarek?"
Spock rose, "Yes, doctor. I would like to see my father."
"That should not be difficult. He’ll be out shortly. My name is Harrington, Dr. Simon Harrington."
Spock drew himself to his full height, dominating the human both physically and psychologically. It was a technique
The Schillian Ambassador & Sarek
the First Officer had only recently mastered and, Kirk noted, he employed it well. But the Captain was very disturbed that his friend thought it appropriate in this instance.
Spock said, "Then I would like to see my Mother."
"I’m afraid that’s impossible, Sir. She’s under heavy sedation at the moment."
"May I inquire as to the nature of the difficulty?"
"I would prefer to let your father explain. I assure you there’s no cause for alarm. The Lady Amanda will probably be discharged in a day or two. If you will excuse me, I’ll see what’s keeping the Ambassador."
Harrington retreated with obvious relief and Spock resumed his seat. Before long, the outer door slid aside to admit a Schillian wearing Ambassadorial insignia on his carefully tailored tunic. A humanoid with the body proportions of a toad and the suppleness of a lizard, he had the dull gray-green skin of later middle age.
As the Schillian’s gaze fastened on Spock and he approached with a slight limp, Kirk hastily reviewed what he knew of Schillians. Schillia was an M-II world. A warm planet with large, shallow oceans and pleasant beaches. The Schillians were amphibians, trisexual, and telepathic. They all preferred to be addressed in the masculine gender. They were a relatively new power in space and it was they who had given Babel to the Federation. And that was nearly all he knew about Schillians.
The Ambassador bowed from the hips, "I am Ambassador Ssarsam. I have the pleasure of addressing . . . ?"
Kirk rose, "I am Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. __Enterprise__ and this is my First Officer, Mr. Spock."
"The __Enterprise__?" He focused his independently mobile eyes on the Vulcan and raised both pairs of nictitating membranes, "Ambassador Sarek’s child?"
As the Schillian was about to respond, the outer door flew open again, this time admitting Lieutenant Southridge and two security guards in Starfleet uniform and Shore Patrol armbands. Simultaneously, the inner door whispered open to reveal Sarek disentangling himself from a solicitous human nurse who seemed convinced he was an invalid.
Both Sarek and the Lieutenant saw Spock at the same moment and converged on the First Officer.
However before Spock could offer greeting to his father, Sarek raised his right hand, fingers spread in the Vulcan salute . . . but toward Ssarsam, not Spock. "May You Live Long and Prosper, Ambassador."
Ssarsam bowed, "A Peaceful Life, Sarek. I am informed that distress invades your family. I am deeply grieved. I attend that I may offer my hands if there be need."
"At this moment, there be no need. Your kinsmen have done all that was required."
"Then I retire leaving only my token that you may summon me in haste should need arise." He offered his hand, two of his webbed digits extended to touch Sarek’s fingers.
In that instant Kirk noticed that Sarek’s wrists were bandaged. They had done a good job matching skin tone, but the spray adhesive didn’t conceal several rows of angry green welts just below the cuffs of his sleeves.
Then the Schillian was gone and Southridge took a deep breath but before he could utter a sound, Sarek’s gaze fastened on Spock and they traded greetings solemnly.
Southridge smiled thinly and took another deep breath but this time Sarek turned to Kirk, "Live Long and Prosper, Captain."
Kirk returned the greeting steadily but he was becoming more worried by the minute. Was Sarek pointedly snubbing the Lieutenant?
Then Sarek turned his somber attention to the Security Officer and for a moment, Kirk thought Sarek wasn’t going to offer greeting. Southridge was smoldering under the strained smile he wore.
Then, as if reluctantly, the Vulcan Ambassador included the Lieutenant and the two Shore Patrolmen in his sedate ritual and Southridge said, "Ambassador Sarek, I’m glad to see you’re all right. There are a few details I’d like to clear up with you this evening, if you don’t mind."
"I do mind . . . Lieutenant . . . very much. I have recorded my statement for the authorities. I have nothing further to say." He turned to Spock and included Kirk in the private invitation, "Come," and started for the door.
"Ambassador," said Southridge, "I really must insist on just one more formality. Your rooms, Sir. I must be certain there has been no burglary."
Sarek placed his hands together at his waist, fingers touching tip to tip, "Lieutenant, I’ve been given to understand that Babel’s Security . . . what there is of it . . . is breach-proof."
That disconcerted Southridge. Kirk speculated that the man had been a Starfleet Junior Security Officer before being assigned to Babel and had probably received only the most perfunctory training in diplomacy. Finally, the Lieutenant stammered, "Y-yes, Mr. Ambassador, of course it is! But you must understand that what is unbreachable this year is so much Coridian cheese the next. We must be certain our guests retain the maximum protection possible."
Kirk nodded. Text book answer. He had the man pegged.
Sarek consented stiffly, gathered Kirk and Spock with a glance and marched out the door. As he followed, Kirk thought he detected a slight irregularity in the Vulcan’s walk . . . as if he desired to favor both feet and would allow himself no such luxury.
Spock used his long legs to catch up with Sarek and started to question his father but was curtly motioned to silence.
A turbo-lift shunted them into the M-I quarters and they marched another thickly carpeted hallway wide enough to parade an entire Academy Graduating Class for inspection. At one of the widely spaced doors, Sarek palmed the indentoplate, keyed the voice lock and ushered them into a large living area furnished with deep, comfortable chairs and handcrafted bentwood tables from Altair VI.
The whole room was done in shades of bronze and gold with one wall hidden by a tapestry depicting a Berengarian dragon in full color. Leaving the Security men fidgeting by the door like gatecrashers at a lodge meeting, Sarek motioned his guests to chairs and went on into another room.
Spock seated himself across from the Captain, managing to seem both at ease and at attention at the same time while Kirk took the opportunity to study his First Officer. What strange thoughts might be passing between those pointed Vulcan ears?
Kirk stiffened, shocked at himself. Even in his own mind, people were dividing into ‘we’ and ‘they.’ It was an attitude alien to his upbringing and yet, there it was, an insidious thing that proliferated in the dark recesses of the mind where conscious thought seldom ventured.
The Captain’s reflections were interrupted by Sarek’s return. He made a quick circuit of the room and then approached Southridge, "Lieutenant, you may report that no breach of security has occurred here."
The Security Officer drew himself up and all but saluted. "Yes Mr. Ambassador, and thank you. I trust you will rest easily. Good evening."
Southridge hesitated. "Oh, I almost forgot, Sir. I’ve been instructed to post these two men outside your door tonight. I’m afraid I have no choice even if you do object."
Sarek waved him out, "Very well then."
With the door finally closed, Sarek turned to survey his son. Spock met the gaze unwaveringly and the silence stretched until Kirk rose, "Mr. Ambassador, I see it’s getting late and I have a number of things to attend to so I think I’d better go."
Still holding Spock’s eyes, Sarek answered, "Captain, please don’t leave yet. There is much that remains to be said here."
"In that case, I guess I can spare a few more minutes . . ."
Sarek faced the human squarely, all the way, the polarization gone from his manner. "Remain with us, Captain."
Kirk resumed his seat and the Ambassador paced the carpet between the two seated men. "As a Starship Captain, you know that privilege and responsibility are inseparable. But you are human. You define both ‘privilege’ and ‘responsibility’ differently than we do. So allow me to explain."
Kirk nodded. There it was again. Human/nonhuman. But this time it was merely a ‘difference,’ and ‘difference’ to a Vulcan was a virtue.
"Amanda has convinced me that you are much more than a superior officer to Spock. She regards you as an adopted son. Such a relationship is a ‘privilege.’ And with it go many . . . very grave . . . ‘responsibilities.’ The time has come either to acknowledge those responsibilities or to sever the relationship."
He paused, lending his words emphasis. "I must speak now as I would only rarely and then only within family walls. I’ve asked you to remain with us. The choice is yours."
"If you want me to stay, I’d consider it an honor."
Silently, Sarek turned and walked away from them to stand facing the tapestry, his back straight with tension.
At length, Spock prompted, "What happened tonight?"
Without turning, Sarek selected each word painstakingly, "Amanda and I were walking on the M-I terrace here," he nodded toward heavy gold drapes that veiled the windows. "We were attacked by a group of eight, young human males. I was bound hand and foot and forced to watch them . . . rape . . . my wife. They fled at the approach of a group of Schillians who freed me and escorted us to the hospital."
Spock’s expression didn’t change but Kirk could feel the tautness in the Vulcan’s body. The horror of the crime was an electric shock. __Amanda__? __Raped__?
Mouth dry, Kirk felt the human/nonhuman gulf opening like a mouth threatening to swallow him. He forced himself to assume a professional detachment he didn’t feel. "Did you recognize any of the men? Could you identify them if you
saw them again?"
"No. It was too dark. However, apprehension of these individuals would in no way reduce the probability of similar occurrances involving others. They were intoxicated and had become bound in what you call the ‘mob psyche’."
Spock said, steepling his fingers in contemplation, "And Mother?"
"Good. Though I had not thought her so skilled."
"I believe it was only the second time she had achieved the totality."
"The need was great. Was she harmed?"
"Physically, no. Otherwise, I do not know."
As Sarek turned to face them again, Kirk made a mental note to look up Kalkahm Fii. The translator had passed it as a proper noun.
Sarek eyed them each in turn. "There is another far more grave matter which requires attention. The behavior of these men was symptomatic of the schism which is developing between human and nonhuman members of the Federation. If any blame must be affixed, it should be to those most responsible for that schism."
Spock nodded, "At the current growth rate of the schism, I calculate a 21.67% rise in the incidence of this type of assault within the next five years."
Kirk sputtered, "Now wait a minute! Humans aren’t __all__ bad!" Here they were glibly discussing a 20% rise in a crime that had been practically zero when he was in school.
Sarek answered, "It’s not a question of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. However, your reaction illustrates our problem. This family stands in grave peril if the general rift is allowed to sunder our walls." He eyed Spock, "Tomorrow, you must speak before the sub-committee on Starfleet re-organization. Your words will be reported to higher councils where they will be weighed carefully."
"Yes, Father, I understand. I will do my best."
Sarek’s eyes rested on Kirk a moment, then he said to both of them, "Go then, my sons, and meditate deeply on what must be done."
The Ambassador seemed to withdraw from the room without actually moving. Kirk thought Sarek must be more profoundly disturbed than he wanted to admit. Vulcans were so . . . possessive . . . about their women. And logic was such a poor substitute for revenge.
Almost before he realized it, Kirk found himself headed toward his own room, uncomfortably aware that the hours had flown. What had started out to be a pleasant evening had turned into a nightmare from which there’d be no waking. It was unbelievable how isolated life on a Starship could be. Racial tensions. Rape. Bigotry. Ideas so far from his ordinary thoughts that they seemed unreal.
In a numb daze, he forced himself to look up Kalkahm Fii and then, mind whirling, he threw himself onto the bed where he fell asleep only to be haunted by a nightmare of a vast conspiracy threatening to rot the very foundations of the Federation.
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