(RBW Note. Fancy metal flame holder with IDIC on neck chain draped around the base.)
Ceiling Press publication #23 April 1978
KRAITH COLLECTED Volume three is available from Agent With Style on paper.
Copyright 1973. All rights reserved to the authors and artists. Not intended to infringe on copyrights held by Gene Roddenberry, Paramount, or Norway Productions.
Table of Contents
Editor’s Preface --------------------------------------------- 2
The Learning Process ----------------------------------------- 3
The Obligation/Through Time and Tears ------------------------ 7
Jacqueline Lichtenberg and J. M. Winston
The Secret of Groskin ---------------------------------------- 19
Coup de Grace ------------------------------------------------ 33
Coup de Partie ----------------------------------------------- 39
Spock’s Nemesis ---------------------------------------------- 47
Kraith Chronology -------------------------------------------- 90
(RBW Note. The bottom portion of this page is in two columns separated by a thick vertical line.)
Marie L. Lynn
Robbie Brown -- pp. 18, 32, 43, 73, 85
Cara Sherman -- pp. 6, 49
Alice E. La Velle -- pp. 2, 45
Nancy Cleveland -- p. 46
Elizabeth Dailey -- pp. 21, 47
Robbie Brown, John Benson, Carol Lynn -- cover
TO MY MOTHER:
the ten fingered, without whose assistance this zine would still not be typed.
(RBW Note. Drawing of black haired lady bust to the left of "Editor’s Preface.")
PEACE AND GREETINGS
‘Here it is, fen, the third installment on my way to insanity. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing I’m taking my friends along with me.’ That was valid back in June of ‘73 when I first wrote it, and it’s valid now, except that this reprinting makes it the twenty-third installment.
Most of the rest of the original preface is terribly outdated now, so I’ve deleted it. Except the plea for artwork. ‘Zines can always use artwork and Kraith is no exception. Unfortunately, I have this thing about stories that are illo’ed with random portraits. Yaargh-phooey! The artwork ought to illustrate the story. So, if there is anyone out there who would like to draw for Kraith, send me a sample of your work and indicate what kinds of things you like to draw (space shots, women, people, faces, odd alien devices, etc.) and I will do my best to match up artists with appropriate stories.
I tend to be very slow in returning artwork, so if you prefer, you can send me good xeroxes instead of originals. This tends to be safer all around. (In the above sentence, for ‘xerox’ read ‘photocopies’. Sorry about that Xerox.)
In case you are wondering which of the sketches on this page is me and which is Debbie, the answer is neither. We just couldn’t let these lovely sketches go to waste.
(RBW Note. Drawing of blond haired lady bust to the left of the signature and closing.)
Live long and Prosper,
(RBW Note. Signature of Carol)
Signed -- Carol
Jean Sellar Kraith II(1)
The cramped sickbay of the __Halbird__ hummed in a muted bass. The tiny ship didn’t absorb sound in the way of the massive __Enterprise__, but Spock rested comfortably nonetheless.
Ex-ambassador Sarek stood looking down at his unconscious son. Spock’s facial bones were sharply delineated by fever-taut skin and his lips were broken and dry. The battles at his childhood sickbed were vivid memories to Sarek as he stood there. Spock’s dual physiology was usually beyond the help, or even understanding, of conventional Vulcan physicians. Though hours would go by as Suvil and Sarek guided his immature efforts at self healing, always it was Spock’s growing knowledge of the contradictory forces within him that triumphed.
He fought thusly now, with only the assistance of McCoy’s transfusions. Primitive though the technique was, it did seem to be helping. He was coming out of it, and Sarek wondered what he would say to his only son when those eyes opened once more. He’d never in his long life been so at a loss for expression.
The door whispered open behind him. McCoy was standing in the opening, watching him. "He’s doing well. The antibodies you gave him are increasing rapidly, and his vital signs are stabilized. I was afraid . . ."
Sarek’s arched brow encouraged the doctor to continue.
"I . . . well, he whispered T’Rruel’s name a few times. Something akin to delirium in humans, I suppose. I was afraid the grief her death must have caused was surfacing and would interfere with his will to live."
"You postulate a human reaction, Doctor. Most illogical when applied to a Vulcan."
"Spock’s not only Vulcan . . . sir! You ought to be proud of all he’s done since the __Kraith__ was stolen, but all you talk about is logic!"
"Logic," replied Sarek mildly, "is the dominant factor in both our lives, as is fitting."
"You . . . you." A passion he’d repressed until then surged up within McCoy and he couldn’t stop. "When you fathered that child, you assumed a responsibility . . .but you and your precious logic failed in that responsibility. You failed to teach him what his human half needed to survive sanely. You cast him out! No thanks to you, he managed. Now you’re perfectly willing to take credit for the fruits of his genius. You ought to be ashamed!"
Sarek felt the storm of the doctor’s words and emotions but schooled his features and mind so as not to inflict his own reaction on McCoy. It was a consideration so ingrained he was not conscious of it as he said, "I’ve taken no credit from Spock. What he has achieved, I presume he would have achieved without my help."
At that moment, Spock moaned, head tossing from side to side. Sarek reached over to the tray and picked up a spongestraw, wetting his son’s lips and mouth with it. It was a simple compassionate gesture, one which the Vulcan had performed many times in the last hours. He dried the lips and applied the light balm McCoy had scrounged from somewhere.
Spock’s tossing became more pronounced. Sarek positioned his fingers around Spock’s skull, somehow emphasizing his awareness of those aesthetically pleasing lines. A moment later, strong Vulcan fingers locked into position. Spock’s hands rose toward Sarek’s face, contacted, and father and son mutely gazed at one another.
Gradually, the rigor went from their arms, and fingers withdrew. As if continuing an uninterrupted conversation, Spock said, "One should not speculate from an inadequate factual basis."
"A lesson well worth relearning. However, a father’s responsibilities exclude making learning difficult; especially they exclude the omission of vital facts.
"Difficulty is inherent in the learning process, and the systematic search for data is a part of learning."
McCoy got the distinct impression he was listening to some strange sort of informal zyeto match. Despite the mild tones and abstract words, these two were into an argument not ten seconds after Spock woke from a quasi-coma.
After several firmly ignored attempts to interrupt, McCoy beat a hasty retreat. He found Kirk in the Control Room and with two well chosen words, brought the captain on the double. The words had been "Spock’s awake."
Kirk surveyed the battlefield from under beetling brows. Assessing the situation as basically hopeless, he gathered his strength and bellowed a hearty, "Well, Spock, welcome back."
Breaking off in mid-sentence, Spock returned, "Thank you, Captain. You have little conception of how glad I am to __be__ back."
Kirk performed one of his ever-so-disturbing intuitional feats: "Bad dreams?"
Sarek stepped between the two. "Vulcans rarely dream."
Kirk snorted and paced to a new position from which he could see both Vulcans. "We’ve just established communications with the __Kongo__. They’re headed for Vulcan, so Starfleet Command detailed them to pick us up. Rendezvous in four hours twenty minutes."
"Then," said Sarek, "I’d better gather my reports. If you’ll excuse me . . ." He exited past McCoy with a glance that might have been friendly. Whatever it was, McCoy was certain he’d scored a point with the ex-ambassador. He followed Sarek out into the hall, leaving Kirk and Spock alone.
Spock looked surprisingly at his captain. "You didn’t take another Flame."
Kirk avoided Spock’s eyes. "No. It hurt, but Sarek and Tanya helped. I’ll make it."
"The Protestant ethic from old Earth -- you are imbued with more than your share, considering."
Kirk laughed in relief. "Oh, is that all that’s wrong with me?"
Spock tilted his head to one side, in the manner he had with specimens. "You were thinking there was something wrong with you?"
"No. I was thinking you’d think I thought there was something wrong with __you__."
"Oh?" Spock annunciated with exaggerated care.
"Would you care to elaborate, Captain?"
"Well . . . sometimes when a person gives a gift that’s rejected, he thinks that he is being rejected -- rebuffed if you will."
"I recall reading that somewhere. Do you realize that what passes for healthy among humans would be considered pathological among Vulcans?"
"I had gotten that impression on occasion. In fact, I’ve run into humans who’ve said the same thing about Vulcans."
Spock half smiled. "Incredible."
"Well, anyway. I’m glad you’re not hurt at my not taking another Flame."
"Hurt? No. Although I did expect it. You are the one who will be hurt. But that is a matter for the future. For now I would like to get out of this bed."
"I’ll get Bones to check you over." Kirk left, pondering that odd remark. The loss
of the Flame was already fading. Why should it hurt in the future?
The next day, with the __Halbird__ safely aboard the __Kongo__, Kirk found McCoy in the tiny galley which had come to serve the ship as a combination rec-room and waiting room. Hands on hips, he sniffed the air, following the wafted scent to its point of origin -- the cup McCoy held between two hands as he sat at the table. Kirk sniffed once more. "I don’t believe it. Irish coffee?"
"Just programmed the chef for it. Use the blank button on the end. I’ll make a label later."
Kirk accepted the invitation and drew himself a cup of the steaming, enticingly fragrant liquid. He sat down opposite his friend and sipped.
"How’d you find me here?"
"Wasn’t hard. I just asked myself, ‘Aboard a ship full of logical Vulcans, where would you find Bones?’ The logical answer: ‘Wherever Vulcans weren’t!’ But why the Irish coffee?"
"Come on. You’ve got a Starship’s sickbay at your fingers, and a really top-flight crew to man the labs. Why aren’t you up there, running tests or studying something?"
"I’m thinkin," drawled McCoy.
"About . . . ?"
"Oh, Sarek mostly, I guess."
"What about Sarek?"
"Well, yesterday I kinda gave him a piece of my mind. Not too gently. I just got through talking to him a few minutes ago. He didn’t seem offended. In fact . . ."
"In fact," said a voice from the doorway, "I wanted to extend an invitation to stay in my home again before returning to active duty."
Kirk turned and started to rise from his chair. "Sir!"
"Please remain seated, Captain," said the elder statesman smoothly. "I did not mean to intrude, but I did want to ask the doctor if he perhaps had any idea why the Romulans held me so long, undamaged."
"No, sir," said McCoy with guarded deference. Sarek took a seat at the end of the table looking from one human to the other. "I thought perhaps the nature of the infection we picked up might have given you a clue."
Kirk excitedly broke in. "You mean they might have __wanted__ you to be rescued? To infect the rest of Vulcan?"
"They’re no longer contagious," said McCoy.
"Well, then, maybe to study the cross-immunity factors? Biological warfare?"
Another voice joined them from the door. "I hardly think so, Captain," said Spock, quietly entering. "It seems far more likely that they would have planned to use the Ambassadorial rank as a bargaining tool in some future negotiations."
"I had thought of that," said Sarek. "But what negotiations?"
"I have a theory," said Spock. "The theft of the Kraith was only a small part of a much larger plan. We were not intended to discover who the thieves were, nor were we supposed to recover the Kraith. To us, the theft was the important event in itself. Putting aside our own values for the moment, what might be accomplished by such actions?"
Sarek’s eyes became unfocused as he stared at the blank bulkhead. Kirk and McCoy could almost see the circuits shunting. At length, the ex-ambassador nodded gravely. "Yes, we will have to gather much more data, but it is possible that they are plotting a long-term disruption of the ties between different Federation humanoids."
Whistles and raised human eyebrows greeted that.
Spock nodded gravely. "We must not underestimate the Romulans. You will bring this to the attention of Federation Council, father?"
Sarek looked at his son and nodded, his face asking a question.
"I regret, father, that I will not be able to help you present the case. I have received my continuance with the __Enterprise__, and I have accepted."
Sarek appeared neither surprised nor pleased. "Then the matter is settled . . . for the time being." He rose. "I will prepare the dispatches." At the door, he paused and gazed somberly as his gaze flickered momentarily from Kirk to McCoy, then back to Spock.
McCoy rose placing his cup in the wall receptacle. "I guess I’d better get on up there and see whether S’Dimgru needs some help." He sidled around Sarek and disappeared down the companionway. Kirk pulled on his coffee, preparing to go. Sarek chose that moment to speak.
"Spock, I share your regret at T’Rruel’s death."
Kirk could feel the words being jerked out of the older man, but Spock mutely refused to face his father.
Sarek finished with, "Her loss is an immeasurable one for Vulcan . . . and for you."
Spock’s gaze was fixed firmly on the blank center of the table, and Kirk could see the taut neck muscles. The words came from a tight throat. "Then let us not attempt to measure it."
Sarek waited almost a minute longer, but nothing else was forthcoming. He turned and walked silently down the companionway.
(RBW Note. Kirk and McCoy)
Jacqueline Lichtenberg &
J.M. Winston Kraith III(1)
The ruddy skyglow, overture to a Vulcan sunrise, had washed the valley in shades of pink by the time the silent aircar landed before the ancient stone edifice called D’R’hiset, the ancestral home of Xtmprsqzntwlfb.
Kirk and McCoy emerged from the front doors of the house to watch Spock and T’Aniyeh approach across the rotunda under the canopy of dancing silver birds flocking to meet the sun. The pair didn’t look like triumphant conquerors marching to a celebration. They looked weary.
With typical Vulcan practicality they went straight to the oval greenstone table where Amanda was setting out a hearty breakfast. Sarek came from the kitchen with a tray laden with items for which Kirk knew no names. Vials, covered bowls, plastic containers, thermoses steamed and frosted, and packets of what looked like sliced cold-cuts. It was a heavy tray. Kirk suspected Sarek had selected all of Spock’s favorite breakfast dishes for the buffet-style homecoming.
Seeing the state of preparations, Spock silently went to a concealed cupboard to one side of the draped colonnade and brought back disposable plates and utensils. Feeling compelled to do something, Kirk fetched glasses from the kitchen and poured juices for everyone.
Trading a warm glance with Amanda, McCoy lifted his glass and said, "I know it’s not exactly a Vulcan custom. but I would like to propose a toast. To diversity without destruction."
Standing side-by-side, Sarek and Spock seemed to freeze for a moment. Then Spock raised his glass. "To diversity without destruction."
They all drank to that. And then the customary silence of the Vulcan meal took over. As they circled the table, plates in hand, and selected their feeds, Kirk could sense the weariness and tension draining away. For a moment, he even fantasized that the walls were porous sponges that soaked up strife and exuded peace. Gradually, the weary stoop faded from Spock’s shoulders and the spring came back to Tanya’s step.
At one point, Spock paused, hand suspended over the array of delectables as if searching for something commonly placed on the table --- as a Terran would expect salt or butter. Sarek awoke from his reverie with a start. "I’ll get it." And he was off to the kitchen and back in a moment, murmuring an apology. He placed a wide-mouthed jar-and-ladle beside the bowl of tiny red beads. Spock accepted a generous helping of a gelatinous white sauce. (Kirk tried it and found it impossibly bitter.)
After the meal, the table was cleared with the sort of quiet cooperation one sees only in the intimacy of a family. Kirk said, "Do you suppose it would be proper to issue shore-leave passes to the crew for the day?"
"I don’t see why not," said Sarek.
Amanda put in, "We should all get some sleep now. So you may as well let them come aground and stretch their legs." She turned to Kirk and McCoy. "Your rooms are made up just as you left them. And T’Aniyeh, we can open the third-floor guest suite for you. No problem."
McCoy said, "I think I’ll take a walk outside while it’s still cool enough."
Like a good Vulcan guest, Tanya set off after Amanda without a word of protest. Vulcans never argue over hospitality. It’s never offered insincerely and never declined politely. Kirk ordered Scotty to set up shore-leave rotation and register their departure tentatively for late the following day. Then he climbed the stairs together with Sarek and Spock.
It wasn’t a long climb, but to Kirk somehow it was a very symbolic climb. He ended up walking between father and son, never sure how that had happened, The Vulcans walked slowly with many pauses for Kirk to catch his breath, although they always found some plausible excuse for the rest stops other than Kirk’s breathlessness. They knew he wasn’t on tri-ox.
They spoke in low voices of the family history as preserved in the various pieces of sculpture and artifacts displayed in niches along the wide sweeping staircase. They spoke of peace and of bridges. They spoke of planetary crystal plates of the pressures grinding those plates together, and of the growth of mountains.
Their words, Kirk knew, were meant for him. Yet the speech was interspersed with Vulcanur terms. He gathered that he was expected to follow the conversation, and somehow, he did seem to understand they were discussing many problems on many levels of abstraction. The two Vulcans did all the talking, yet Kirk did not feel left out, or talked around, or even talked-about despite his certainty that one of the problems they were obliquely discussing was Kirk, himself. (Though how he could be a problem, was a mystery to Kirk.)
Kirk’s room, adjoining McCoy’s, was indeed just as he’d left it. It was very much a homecoming for Kirk. This time Sarek lit the tiny flame that Kirk might never know confusion in this house. The flame reminded Kirk of the flame-sphere he’d lost, but the pain of loss was awakened only for a moment. As he gazed at the light Sarek had kindled, he was warmed and comforted, and unconfused.
That first time, it had been just a flame, a quaint but foreign custom. Now, the flame seemed to speak to something deeper in Kirk. He looked up to find Sarek staring at him intently. He said, "I must thank you. I must."
Sarek’s gaze flicked momentarily to Spock who immediately began inspecting the ceiling for leaks. Then the father said, "I . . . understand . . . now." He seemed to be addressing Spock, though his eye remained steady on Kirk. You will sleep well, Captain."
And Kirk did sleep well. In fact, he couldn’t recall sleeping so well since his last visit. He was still sleeping as the sun lowered in the ruby sky throwing sharp black shadows along the valley floor.
Sarek found Spock on the roof pacing the Gardens of Thought, pausing now and then to examine the setting sun. Sarek hitched himself up onto the parapet railing, and sat, feet dangling to wait for his son. It was only moments later when Spock noticed him and completed the circuit of the Gardens, to stand beside his father at the railing.
Sarek opened without preamble. "I’ve arranged utsulan for you this evening."
"Appropriate. T’Aniyeh is also entitled."
"If she will accompany you, I’m sure she’ll be admitted."
"Not at Anurash, unless the rotation of attendants has changed things."
"No, not at Anurash---Beom."
"Beom?" repeated Spock with one raised brow. "Yes, that would be . . . appropriate." Beom was the largest and oldest utsulan still functional on Vulcan. It was the proper place for Spock to go to celebrate his victory, to discharge the energy of Joy his triumph had created. He did not know, at that time, for what compelling reason he would eventually retrieve that energy.
"There is another purpose for you at Beom."
"I will accompany you. Afterwards, we will enter the wheerr for Pattern Search."
Spock saw instantly what his father meant. Sarek had seen and understood what was happening to the Captain. Spock had great difficulty containing his reaction within the bounds of good taste. After the surge of happiness had run its course, he put it aside to donate to the utsulan along with his victory. All he said aloud was, "Yes, Father."
They chatted a few more moments until the sun had kissed the horizon. Then Sarek entered the Gardens and Spock went below.
It was almost midnight in the hemisphere where Beom was located, by the time Sarek steered the aircar off the Controlled Lanes and skimmed the rocky hills that cut the Beom valley off from the rest of the world. All was in readiness for their arrival. The place was evacuated save for the trained Vulcan Attendants and Residents, and the utsulan was already beginning to function, obscured beneath its shielding sphere of purple light.
They could barely make out the pyramidal shape with the jutting posts at right angles to each surface, supporting strands of glowing objects. But the small geodesic spheres that topped each of those posts were already pulsing ever brighter as Sarek grounded their car beside the corner entrance to the pyramid.
The barren, desert valley sands intruded even here beside the utsulan. Spock stamped his feet to shake the sand from his sandals. He was dressed for the occasion, as they all were, in desert garb, hooded and cloaked against the desiccating air.
The green-robed Chief Attendant met them. The vibration was already too intense to allow speech. He conducted them swiftly to the entrance.
The unusually narrow stone corridors within the utsulan seemed to compress and intensify the vibrations, urging them on as if there were no time to waste. They went single file, Spock in the lead, Sarek following and T’Aniyeh bringing up the rear. They skirted two sides of the pyramid at ground level, and came to the corner gallery from which narrow corridors snaked upward to the crystal that occupied the entire central shaft of the utsulan.
The Chief Attendant selected a corridor for each of the contributors. Then he left them. Spock’s eyes met T’Aniyeh’s briefly. He knew she was deeply apprehensive of her ability to perform this peculiarly Vulcan exercise. But she had Affirmed. He had faith in her. He had to have faith. If she faltered, he would not be able to reach her in time.
Each of them would approach the crystal through a gallery separate from the others. Contributing to utsulan was both a public duty and an intensely private affair. Spock gathered his cloak and began to climb.
The way was so narrow his shoulders brushed the walls on the turns. He had to circle the crystal, and his sense of direction told him that he’d been given the highest gallery access portal on the north side of the crystal. That was an honor he hadn’t expected and he found strangely that it awed him. For the first time, it hit him just what he’d done in Guardian Council.
He let the feeling grow, nursing it and feeding it as one would a campfire of stubborn green wood. He turned his accomplishment around and around in his mind, examining and appreciating every ramification. As he climbed, he built in his mind an acasomy model of the effect of his act and for the first time he let himself experience a total personal reaction to what he’d done.
All the while he climbed, the vibration increased. The dark corridor was lightened by the dull purple glow from the walls. His very bones were vibrating now, his flesh singing the tune of ages his mind charged with a flaming Joy for which there was only one conceivable expression.
His steps pounded in his ears, his stride lengthening until he fairly flew up the flat stone steps. At last when he thought he could stand it no longer, he rounded a bend and came in sight of the brilliant orange glow of the main crystal, the "storage battery" of Vulcan experience.
Two steps, three, five, and he was at the crystal face. He tore aside the insulating hanging and fell against the cool surface, both hands spread flat forehead grinding into the vibrating surface. The crystal face that was exposed to this gallery tilted slightly away from perpendicular, so that the contributor had to lean out over the crystal. Spock looked down into flaming, orange depths.
His teeth vibrated. His whole body seemed a fluid without definable surface. He gasped for breath. The planes of light below him represented the internal facets of the crystal. He understood crystal-lattice theory on the highest levels of science. Yet, at that moment, he was no scientist analyzing a phenomenon. He was a Vulcan.
Deliberately, he allowed himself to flow into the crystal, to become one with it through time. He was his ancestors who had built the Beom utsulan. He was their descendants who had guarded it through the most turbulent times of Vulcan history. And he was himself, Guardian and Master of the First Realm Tradition. And he was in Joy.
As he began to feed that Joy into the repository, the vibrations increased. But now they were his to modulate. They no longer shook him, they resonated with him. He knew the exact moment when the Attendants below ceased to pound out the rhythm on the glass cones that energized the utsulan. The utsulan was his, and he took it up the scale higher and higher, up the scale of harmonics until it had consumed his Joy.
As the flow began to ebb, he felt the Attendants pick up the rhythm at exactly the right point. He let himself ride that current down, down, down into soft happiness, the wake of the unbearable Joy, contentment. He was glad Sarek had chosen Beom now. He hadn’t realized just how high he’d have to go to get down. He doubted if Anurash or any other utsulan could have managed to catch him. The Beom Attendants were the best, and they’d just barely been able to reach him.
It was many long moments before his heart slowed to normal, and his breathing subsided. At length, he pushed himself away from the crystal, drew the curtain across the window-like opening, and turned to go back down that long corridor.
Only then did he think what his soaring flight had done to the others riding with him. Thought of T’Aniyeh quickened his steps until he was almost running. He burst forth into the lower gallery to find Sarek emerging from another tunnel-mouth, a wilted T’Aniyeh in his arms.
As he came toward her, she raised her head. "That Impressioning will last until the crystal is dust! If I hadn’t been in it, I’d never have believed it possible."
Seeing her revived, Sarek set her feet down. "I must agree with you. There is nothing like it in my memory. Spock, you . . ."
Suddenly, T’Aniyeh crumpled. Moving in from the archway, the Chief Attendant scooped her into his arms before Sarek could move. Utsulan experience had a tendency to slow the reflexes. "I’ll take her to the infirmary to recuperate. She is only weakened from the violence of this Impressioning."
Spock held himself in check by main force of will. Such collapses were common. She was not injured.
"No," said Sarek, "before you shut down, we’d like to Search the Pattern."
The Attendant gave Sarek a piercing look, hesitating. But he wasn’t about to tell __these__ two kataytikhe what was customary and what was not! Cradling the slight woman in his arms, he sidled to a wall recess and elbowed open a hinged door revealing an intercom grill. He nudged the switchplate with his elbow and ordered, "Attendants, shut down the eighth harmonic, kill the pulse and rig for Pattern Search. Mind the wheerr. Cone rooms ignite the back-currents. Count five to silence."
He cast a glance toward the two men, but seeing no change in their plans, the Chief Attendant gave the count back from five. When his orders had been obeyed, as evidenced by the subtle changes in the vibration, he said, inclining his head toward the two, "Your wheerr," and left.
Spock followed his father up the narrow, twisting stairs steep ones this time, and despite his weariness, he felt a sharp twinge of excitement. He couldn’t fail now. Couldn’t.
Up they climbed, up and up to the very peak of the enormous pyramid where the great geodesic dome englobed the special room known as the wheerr. It was floored by the sheered off top of the truncated pyramid. The walls and ceiling were the hemispherical geodesic dome, each section of which was a thick colored glass panel, some concave, some convex, all now glowing in rainbow splendor, though not nearly as bright as at the peak of Spock’s contribution.
They entered the wheerr through the canopied kiosk that jutted up through the floor. The center of the room was occupied by the faceted top of the enormous central crystal that was the pride of Beom. It rose fully waist high from the floor and was surrounded by a collar of insulating material with a dull gray sheen and protected by loops of rope strung from uprights set in the floor around it.
The rest of the floor was covered with a fine mosaic tile design, complex to the eye, yet somehow fittingly peaceful. For here, in the very top of the utsulan, was the only place where all telepathic noise was damped out. Here was a silence and a privacy unobtainable anywhere else. And here was the only place where the embedded patterns of the main crystal could be monitored.
Sarek said, "Do you remember the previous pattern?"
"Yes, I saw it when I interred the Kraith. I think I must have been the last Interment, so any differences major enough to show ought to be due to tonight’s contribution."
Sarek approached the crystal and circled it peering intently downwards along each of several axes. Had he been human, he would have given a low, appreciative whistle when he’d completed that circuit. There had indeed been changes.
Spock could see that for himself. His had been a major contribution. What concerned him more, however, was the significance of those changes.
He turned from his inspection to see Sarek seated in the lone chair, elbows propped on the chair arms, fingers steepled in meditation. That was of course, the purpose of the wheerr, so Spock seated himself on the dais which raised the chair high enough for the occupant to see down into the crystal. Waiting for Sarek, he rested.
It was some time before Sarek said, "Can you factor out T’Aniyeh’s contribution?"
"Yes I think . . . no, I’m certain that she is responsible for the three reflections. She is quite human, you know."
"I believe you are right."
"We will have to adopt him."
"That doesn’t follow."
"You saw what’s happening to him. On the stairs, he dropped en rapport with us and didn’t even know it. And he picked up on the Guesting Flame immediately. That’s only his second time, too."
"Merely because T’Aniyeh can contribute higher harmonics doesn’t mean that Jim Kirk can do the same."
"No, of course not. But what of his children?"
"True. Why him?"
"I have no choice. If I do not adopt him, then I have destroyed him.
"His sensitivity is latent. It would have remained buried under the barriers he erected to endure his childhood environment. He was taught to believe that his is no esper. In order to save his life, my own life, and sometimes the entire crew of the Enterprise, it has been necessary for me to penetrate those carefully learned barriers. The penetrations are slowly destroying his barrier-reflex. It is my responsibility."
"Agreed. However, the responsibility could be discharged with a simple Warder-Liege pact."
"You forget, Jim Kirk is human."
"Observe the Pattern. T’Aniyeh has been reconciled to an extreme telepathic sensitivity from infancy. She has been trained as a Daughter to the best of her not inconsiderable ability. Yet look at what she has done to the Pattern!"
"She is not logical."
"Neither is Jim Kirk. In fact, he is even less logical. He believes that the core-essence of the beauty-experience is subjective human emotion. To show him otherwise will not be easy."
"It should be unnecessary."
"Ordinarily, it would. However, I know his mind. He has a very powerful will. And he is flexible. But he does have a breaking point. He will not accept his condition without a fight. And if he loses that fight, if he rejects his new sensory channels, he faces insanity. If at that point, he values emotion far above logic, he will have no tool powerful enough to adjust himself."
"I begin to see."
"I do not propose to teach him to value logic above emotion, but merely to show him the meaning of a life which does so value logic. If he can see that there is beauty in our way of life, then the adoption will provide the necessary emotional strength to face the ordeal he must go through."
"I do not understand emotional strength."
"Neither do I. But it exists. It is real, and powerful. Since I cannot give him the strength of logic, I must give him the strength of emotion."
"How will adopting him do this?"
"He has no family of his own save a nephew too young to help him and a mother too old to be relied upon even to live until then. His ties to these people are tenuous at best." He turned his head to look up at his father, suddenly aware of the fact which Sarek might have missed. "With a human, ‘family’ is a thing of the emotions."
"Ah, yes. So I have discovered. But adoption, especially of an adult, would not ordinarily evince such an emotional component."
"True. But surely you’ve noticed that the component is already budding."
"If it flowers without formal adoption, so much the better."
"It will not flower. Jim has never been able to express to me how he feels about our home. He will not allow himself to grow further in this direction without a change in status. That is my considered opinion."
"Would not a simple invitation suffice?"
"No. There is another aspect. It is not only necessary to give him a focal point for his familial emotions, it is necessary to establish a formal structure of responsibility and authority. Father, he will be like a child, not knowing which way to turn for advice or what to do for himself just to survive. I must provide him several dimensions of emotional security, but I must do it in a way which will not be obvious to him. He must not know what we want to adopt him . . . until afterwards."
"I see. This is your judgment."
"You do not require my agreement to carry it out."
"True. But I . . . would prefer . . . not to act without your agreement."
Sarek rose to pace once more around the top of the orange crystal and to observe closely the pattern of planes, and lines of light that glowed within. When he turned to gaze back at Spock it was with a great respect for the man he had sired. "Your purpose is to provide him with stable familial ties and simultaneously to bring alive in him an understanding of our way of life."
"It is your assessment that without these two things, the final awakening of his awareness will destroy him."
Spock remained seated on the step before the chair. Sarek approached across the wheerr and stood looking down into Spock’s eyes. At length, the older man gave the peculiar left rotation of the head that was the Vulcan gesture of negation, hardly more than a glance to the left.
Spock said "Why?"
"T’Pau would never allow it. The life and sanity---the happiness of a single human being---is not worth the risk."
"It is my obligation my responsibility. She cannot intervene in such a case."
"True, his condition seems to be your doing. However, had you not penetrated his natural barriers, the condition would not exist. He would be dead. He has enjoyed several additional years of life, and that was your gift freely given. His possible death at some future date cannot lay upon you an obligation to act further, and in so doing jeopardize our family name, and possibly All-Vulcan as well."
Spock rose, frowning into his father’s eyes, searching. When he blinked, it was as if a human had snapped his fingers. "That is T’Uriamne’s argument."
"She would be adamantly opposed to adopting Jim Kirk, and it is her name, as well as ours, that we would be giving him."
"Sometimes I think she is not quite . . . logical."
"Therefore we shall require the power of impeccable logic on our side of the proposal."
"I am not well enough versed in human psychology to check your results. I will assume that you are correct. If you are incorrect, what harm might be done?"
"I have been unable to extrapolate any adverse effects on Jim Kirk. Tsaichrani is another matter. His successful contribution to tsaichrani may make the difference between survival and death for All Vulcan. There is at least a ten percent chance that his contribution will be pivotal."
"Then a certain risk will be in order to insure his successful emergence from training."
One Spockian eyebrow popped upwards. "What risk?"
Sarek told him.
Spock sat immobile for long seconds after that bombshell. Offer Jim Kirk the kraith of adoption? He turned the idea around and around in his mind. "T’Pau would never consent."
"Leave T’Pau to me."
"It will contribute to weakening his barriers."
"The older he gets, the greater the risk of the breakthrough. Therefore, the sooner the better."
"I need time to prepare him."
"You should be able to prepare him within the time it takes me to instruct the Guardians. It will have to be a very carefully balanced meld. I will oversee the construction of the kraith of adoption myself."
"It would have to be very well trapped."
"It will be. I will hand-pick the group." He looked at Spock wryly, "My grandfather trained me well. Come. Your mother will be waiting for us."
Spock followed with one backward glance at the pulsing, orange crystal. If the welling joy that possessed him now was any measure, one day he would return to Beom to deliver an even greater Joy to the utsulan. Perhaps Kirk would be with him on that day.
When the aircar carrying Spock Sarek and the revived T’Aniyeh arrived back at D’R’hiset,
dawn once again reddened the sky. Amanda was waiting for them, standing on the wide front porch and shading her eyes to peer upwards as the car settled on the rotunda. Without waiting for the occupants to climb down she ran toward them.
"Spock, come quickly."
Instantly alert, Spock jogged toward her. "What’s happened?"
Spock took his mother’s shoulders in his big hands and almost shook her. "What happened!?"
"His mother. He just got a stargram. She died two days ago."
It took a few seconds for that to sink in. Spock’s first reaction was relief, followed by annoyance at his mother for calling a Red Alert over nothing. The duration of those reactions was less than one second. Next came horror at what the sudden news might do to Jim Kirk. Finally, before T’Aniyeh and Sarek had caught up to him, Spock himself had reached Red Alert status and was planning action.
His long, purposeful strides took him into the house. He found Kirk in the living room leaning over the table with the stargram still in the viewer before him. It couldn’t have been more than five minutes since he’d first read the contents.
Spock came up beside him, standing just at the edge of Kirk’s vision, not intruding but there if needed. A few minutes later Sarek and Amanda came through the archway on the far side of the room. Glancing up, Spock motioned them away. After a moment, Sarek took Amanda’s fingers and guided her from the scene.
Spock examined his Captain’s face. There was a blankness there. The blankness of shock. Spock knew enough human psychology to recognize the shock which precedes the full realization of a loss. Starfleet’s mysterious custom of granting home-leave upon a death in the family suddenly became understandable. Kirk was in no condition to command.
Gently, he withdrew the stargram cartridge from the viewer and placed it in Kirk’s hand. He had to curl the fingers around it before the Captain gripped the capsule. Then Spock guided him to a seat which commanded a view of the gardens beyond the veranda.
Moving steadily now, Spock used the viewer to call Vulcan Space Central and have a message sent direct to Starfleet Command as per regulations. He waited beside the Captain as morning shadows gave way before the rising sun.
It wasn’t long before Kirk struggled to speak against the rapid currents of his private thoughts. "Spock . . . the __Enterprise__. We’re supposed to leave orbit at . . ."
"I’ve informed Starfleet Command of the news, Captain. I took the liberty of ordering Scotty to continue with the shore leave rotation until we receive our new orders. The only question remaining is, "Do you wish to go to Earth immediately?"
Dazed, Kirk slowly turned his head to look out upon the gardens and the arching red sky, the flaming sun. "Earth?"
"According to the stargram, the funeral was held yesterday. It is Starfleet’s custom to grant home leave on such occasions. But I think you should stay here, with us, for a few days." He refrained from adding that it would be illogical to travel half way across the Federation to visit a burial site or farther to visit a child who had never really known the deceased.
"Not much point in going to Earth, now, is there? I missed my chance. I missed. It’s too late . . ."
The chime signal interrupted, but Kirk didn’t notice as his thoughts once more hurtled down corridors of memory . . . of vital things left unsaid.
It was Uhura’s face, steady and calm, that gazed out at him. Spock saw the sympathy in that gaze. ". . . the Captain is . . . meditating," he offered.
"We’ve received our orders, Mister Spock. The Captain is on-leave, effective immediately, for the next two weeks minimum. The __Enterprise__ is assigned to Recruitment Duty under Vulcan Starbase Command. We’re to hold open house, and then stand by for an Admiral’s Inspection after the Captain returns. What are your orders Mister Spock?"
Spock nodded. As the newest Starship in the fleet, the __Enterprise__ was the logical choice as a showpiece, "Have Mr. Scott draw up plans for any maintenance or repair procedures he deems necessary. I’ll be up later to prepare a duty roster. Meanwhile, continue the shore leave rotation. I’ll want to see all Department Heads this afternoon Spock, out."
He turned from the viewer. He’d have to wake McCoy. Then he could get some sleep. He was tired. In no condition to command, himself. But his Captain needed him. He would manage.
Kirk sat in the Gardens of Thought staring down at the sundrenched valley of D’R’hiset. His every nerve ending reached out for the peace he had always found here at this house, but this time the bonds around his mind and heart did not loosen and fall away. They were still there as tight and painful as the moment he had first read of his mother’s death. His mind still could not accept the finality of the fact. She couldn’t be dead. His mother was one of the most alive and vital human beings Kirk had ever known.
All the guilt flooded in on him like a black miasmic cloud, dimming the bright sunlight. All the times he could have - should have - gone home on leave and didn’t. The time Sam and his wife died he had meant to go, but something happened, as usual, and he sent a tape instead. He didn’t even want to think of the times he had forgotten her birthday.
Logically (how Spock would like that), he should not feel this way. She had lived a satisfyingly rich life, had seen and done more than most. Her death had been sudden, a stroke, no pain or discomfort, she had passed away in her sleep.
He just couldn’t accept the reality that she was no longer there. At home. She had always been there and he had never given thought to the time when she would be gone, and that he would be alone truly alone. Alone in a way he never felt before.
He sighed, walked across the roof and downstairs.
From his own corner of the garden Spock watched his captain as he walked away. Spock’s eyes were dark and heavy with pain. He might not be able to completely understand what Kirk was feeling but his mental antenna could register the depth and intensity of it. "I grieve with thee," he thought.
McCoy paused with one foot on the stairs. "Jim, I was just coming to get you. We’re going to have lunch."
"Uh, Bones, I really don’t feel like eating now. Maybe later."
"Look, Jim, you’ve got to eat sometime and one of the many good Vulcan rules is - no conversation with meals. Just come on and enjoy the food."
Kirk was just about to refuse when he realized how worried McCoy looked and it suddenly occurred to him that he couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten. He could almost hear his mother’s voice saying, "Jamie, I don’t care what you’re doing, you have got to eat. Now come in this minute."
McCoy saw the far away look in Kirk’s eyes, sighed and was about to turn away when Kirk seemed to come to with a start.
"All right, Bones, just let me wash up and I’ll come right down."
"Right, fine, I’ll tell Amanda."
McCoy found Amanda in the kitchen and told her the good news. Her face glowed as she turned to him.
"I’m so glad. I was really starting to worry. Maybe he is coming back to us. He has been so distant - so far away. Almost unreachable."
McCoy’s sensitive face was filled with concern as he told Amanda of his distress over Kirk’s condition.
"I have never seen him like this. The closest he ever came, (this was so difficult for him to say because he in a way had been responsible), was when Edith Keeler died. But it didn’t last as long and wasn’t this deep."
. . . Lunch was over and Sarek suggested a game of chess to Kirk remarking that anyone who could so consistently beat his son would be a worthy opponent. Kirk declined and retired to his room. Even Amanda could not get him to come down for dinner. No one seemed very hungry that evening. "Not very logical," had said Spock, "but nevertheless very true."
Amanda, especially seemed quite depressed. Sarek looked after her departing figure as she went for a walk in the garden. He knew how much she felt for Kirk, how disturbed she was over his unhappiness. He remembered her telling him of her feelings on Kirk’s first visit to their home.
"It was when he took the ceremonial cup of water from me after I had said the words of welcome. Something in his eyes and manner, I just knew that he would mean more to me, us, than just our son’s friend and commander. Perhaps it is because he reminds me of the son I might have had back on Earth if I hadn’t let a certain Vulcan sweep me off my feet."
Sarek had remarked that Vulcans did not sweep females off their extremities. They were a very logical and well-controlled species. Amanda had just smiled.
The walk in the garden had made her tired but it had not relaxed her. She was still worried, still concerned. As she walked down the hallway leading to the stairs to Sarek’s and her room, she heard a noise. It seemed to come from the adjoining passageway. As she peered into the darkness she could just make out the doorway at the end of the hall. It was a voice, calling. She
could not hear the words but she could make out the tone. She realized it was Kirk’s room. If either Amanda or the occupant of the room had been Vulcan, she would not have dreamed of entering. But she was human and so was Kirk.
As she swept aside the arras she discovered she could see quite clearly by the light of the guesting flame. The bedclothes were half on the floor, kicked there by restless legs. He was still tossing and twisting as she moved closer. She could hear words now. "No . . . please . . . I’m sorry . . . so sorry. Please forgive me."
As she bent over the bed to brush the damp hair off his flushed face his eyes opened. Unfocused and disoriented, all he could see was a female form silhouetted against the starlight. His eyes filled with tears as he whispered one word and suddenly started to cry with huge, racking sobs. The one word had been, "Mother."
Amanda gathered him into her arms, holding him close as she had not dared to do with Spock, the many times she had longed to do so. All the emotion that she had denied herself for so many years welled up within her and flowed out to this fine warmly sensitive young man. She could feel the spasms shake and tear his body, and she stroked his head and crooned to him, as mothers from time immemorial have done. She remembered his mother’s pet name for him and said it over and over. "Jamie, Jamie, Jamie."
Finally, he regained command of himself and pulled away from her gently. It had been as if they had been through some sort of catharsis together and had attained a euphoric release.
"Jamie, please let me help you the way you helped me when we thought Sarek was dead. Your sympathy - no, it was more - empathy - was such a comfort to me. Don’t take this moment away from me. I need to give you this as much as you need to receive it. Please, Jamie, let me help."
As he lay exhausted, Kirk suddenly thought back across time and tears to when another deeply sensitive woman had said those same words to him. Edith. Edith Keeler. But she was dead, too. All the women who ever meant anything to him seemed to be dead or gone beyond reach. But Amanda - Amanda was here.
"Amanda," he whispered, "Stay with me, stay."
They talked for a long time, about everything and about nothing.
"You and she would have liked each other very much. She could even understand my dreams and ambitions. I didn’t realize until much later how terribly lonely she must have been when I went off to the Academy. I can still see her face when I told her of my first space mission. Sam had been gone for over a year and now I was leaving. I never really gave much thought to her loneliness, just my own excitement at my first long trip." He bit his lip, "I never realized how selfish I’ve been."
"No, not selfish, you mustn’t think that. Think instead how proud she must have been. You were the youngest in your class and you were graduated first in your class with every honor the academy could bestow. She must have known you would get your own command one day and be away from her for long periods of time. Your father had been in the service and you could pay him no finer tribute than to follow in his footsteps.
"What was your father like, Jamie?"
Kirk told her all he could remember about the big, jovial, suntanned man who had been his father. His memories were warm and happy ones and he was glad to share them with her. They had never been afraid to say, "I love you" to each other. He almost felt that that was the most important legacy his father had left him. That it was not shameful for two men to feel deeply about each other, that a man could have as meaningful a relationship with another man as with a woman without any overt connotations - as in his friendship with Spock.
Amanda gazed at him thoughtfully. Does Spock realize how fortunate he is to have such friend? Yes, he does, I am sure of it.
Kirk finally fell asleep looking very young and peaceful.
Sarek was awake when Amanda entered the room. He was instantly aware that something of import had occurred. He did not question her, he knew that she would tell him in time.
"I’ve just come from Jamie’s room." She said, completely unaware that she had used that name and not the more formal, James. "He is feeling much better and I think we will see a vast improvement tomorrow."
Any other man but Sarek might have been a bit disturbed to hear that his wife had just come from spending several hours in the room of a very attractive and virile young man. However, Sarek being Vulcan, and knowing his Amanda and Spock’s Kirk, knew no unrest.
"I’m so happy I was able to help him, Sarek. For a while it was as if we had a second son." She smiled, "So different from our own Spock, but dear all the same."
Sarek suddenly swung around to face Amanda. "Would you like him for a son?"
Startled, she stared at him. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, to formally adopt him into our family and become one of us."
Amanda sat down on the bed, weak-kneed. It was all so sudden. Then joy flooded through her as she looked up at Sarek with tears in her eyes. "I never knew that you cared so much for him."
"I have the utmost respect for the Captain and his accomplishments. He will make a most satisfactory addition to our family."
She smiled at him, well aware he would never admit his feelings but knew quite well they were there, perhaps different from human feelings but in their own way just as intense. It would not be until later that the full political implications of this move would occur to her.
Suddenly her smile faded and she looked up at him worriedly. "Sarek, can it be done? Will it be allowed?"
"Up to now it has only been done in extreme cases and with very young children. Of course, there are many things to take into consideration. I must confer with T’Pau and discuss precedents and the effect on the council." He had to be sure of his ground before setting such involved legalities into motion.
"Spock." Amanda cries, "What about Spock and the effect on him?"
"I believe Spock can be convinced."
A society based upon pure logic. How would Kirk react? He knew Kirk to be an excellent commander who could control himself with an almost Vulcan-like strength but who also could be a most volatile individual at times. He was strong, but was he strong enough? Would he submit to the rigorous training involved and who would be his instructor? Would he be able to see with full perspective the entire effect his action would have on the Federation and Vulcan? Yes, there were many questions and he would have to think deeply and well to arrive at the correct solutions.
When Sarek arose the next morning his thoughts were clear and concise. The first person to be told of his decision would be Spock. This he owed to his only son.
He put the communicator screen on Spock’s wavelength and set it for shimmer. If Spock were awake he would see it, if he were asleep it would not disturb him.
Spock answered almost immediately and Sarek received permission to visit the roof-top aerie.
After the amenities, Sarek and Spock faced each other in silence and Spock waited, patient and relaxed for his father to speak.
"The kraith of adoption will necessitate the Warder-Liege compact and the Interim afterwards which will train him."
Spock picked up the train of thought. "And if he is so instructed, he will not act to further destroy tsaichrani. That is what you will bring to T’Pau."
"Yes. We will have to convince her that the Warder-Liege training will insure that he will understand the purpose of Surak’s Construct. He will learn the Vulcan heart and the Vulcan soul as no other man before him. But he will not become Vulcan. He will be the other half of the bridge which your birth created."
"In the eyes of the Federation, he will be Vulcan. The entire galaxy will be viewing his every move. He will have to go through a vigorous and exhaustive training period to prepare him for his acceptance by the Vulcan Council. No longer will any faux pas be excused. We must choose his teacher with utmost consideration."
"Precisely. That is why I have chosen you."
Spock’s eyebrows shot upwards and lowered slowly as the implication sank in. "Logical of course, but difficult, also. I would become, for this time, his commander. It would be a very trying time for both of us."
"Can you do it?"
Spock noticed his father did not say, "Will you do it?"
He pondered a moment before committing himself to something quite in excess of what he’d planned. He turned the situation around and around in his mind, looking for flaws. At last he came to see that with any other Liege, it wouldn’t work. He suspected, not for the first time, that his father understood human nature much better than he did. "If he agrees to it, yes, I will."
Sarek pursed his lips, eyes unfocused as if gazing deep into the future. "With the training you could provide, he might be able, if he lived that long, to share in the next Affirmation."
Spock shifted to English, "I think Mother would say, ‘Let us cross our bridges as we come to them’."
Sarek rose decisively. "She does have her logical moments. I will go to see him now."
"May I suggest that you first ascertain whether he has had his coffee? For some reason, that seems to make a great deal of difference in his personality in the morning."
"Indeed. Your mother is much the same way. It has something to do with the blood-sugar, I believe."
Kirk was indeed drinking his second cup of coffee when Sarek found him in the study toying with the intricately carved chess set, a gift from the Schillian Ambassador to Vulcan.
Sarek started the conversation. "I am concerned with the direction the Vulcan/Federation relationship is taking."
Kirk agreed with the older Vulcan that the situation was precarious.
"Would you do anything that was in your power to change the situation?" Sarek asked.
"That’s a strange question. Of course, I would. It would be my duty as an Officer in Star Fleet and a human being."
"What if this same solution would also create Joy for some people whom you cherish?"
Kirk had no idea what Sarek was leading up to, but if a plan had all those virtues . . .
Sarek told him the plan.
Kirk’s first reaction was numbed surprise. He realized the honor offered him. However, as Sarek continued to speak he began to see the terrible responsibilities he would be shouldering. He was used to responsibility, what Star Ship Captain wasn’t - but the inroads on his privacy - his every movement. He had spoken of making people happy, did he mean himself and Amanda? What about Spock? Then his thoughts turned to Vulcan and the all-encompassing peace he had been able to find there. He smiled inwardly . . . to have a place to call home again.
Kirk sat silent after Sarek finished. He wanted to say something but his thoughts were still in a jumble. It was a great honor but Star Fleet - how would they react to this? Of course if the Federation Council agreed, Star Fleet would have to follow suit. He needed some time to mull this over.
But Sarek wasn’t leaving him time.
"You see, Captain, there are many facets to this plan. Adoption on Vulcan is not taken lightly, and what we propose is not adoption in its simplest form. It will be a Joining which is . . . something more than the joining of two families in marriage. What we propose is to give our name into your safekeeping. Your performance will show all Vulcan what a human is."
"I’m not sure that I would do honor to that name. I can see the bridge you are trying to build but I . . ."
"We realize we would be asking a great deal of you, Captain. We would not expect you to assume such a burden without instruction. Spock will explain it all to you, later. For the moment, the important thing for you to decide is, will you call D’R’hiset home? That must be a decision based upon your own private values and I cannot help you with it."
"I would like a little time to think."
"I am afraid time is at a premium, James. T’Pau is leaving on a pilgrimage this evening and I had hoped we could see her before she left. She will be gone for several weeks and your leave will be up before then. Spock has often commented on the speed with which you are able to make decisions. I believe that is a prerequisite to being a Star Ship Captain?"
"What time is T’Pau leaving?"
"Four point five hours from now."
Kirk got up, flexed his knees and walked over to the chess set. He knew Sarek was right. Making decisions was his business but never had he had to make one of such galactic proportions before.
Kirk took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Will you want me with you when you call on her?"
"Yes, but I will go in first to prepare the way. I suggest that you wear the new tunic Amanda has had made for you. Your appearance in Vulcan attire would be most pleasing to her."
"The start of my Vulcan training, Sarek?"
"I did not mean it to sound that way, James."
"I’m sure you didn’t but I will take it as such. If I may ask - who will be my instructor? You?"
Kirk was startled for one fraction of a moment, then raising one eyebrow, just to show he could, said, "Indeed."
Sarek could not prevent the gleam from showing in his own eyes. He was sure T’Pau would agree that here was one worthy to be an adopted son of Vulcan.
(RBW Note. Drawing of McCoy.)
(RBW Note. Drawing of Kirk.)
All rights reserved to the authors and artists. Not intended to infringe on copyrights held by Gene Roddenberry or Paramount Corp.
Get Kraith and Jean Lorrah's NTM fanzines on paper: