Kraith Collected

Volume 5 

Part 1 

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(RBW Note.  Fancy sculptured three pedestal ornament.)






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I hope that you will feel that this volume was worth the wait.

Although it contains no stories which can be fitted into the main series of Kraith, the stories that it does contain are Kraith-ish in content and in some cases a whole new numbering system has been invented to acknowledge their claims to Kraith validity.

There's only one story that I feel deserves an apology. For __years__ I went around saying that one of these days, I was going to get around to writing a story. The plot was exceedingly simple. It can be fully expressed in one, short sentence, so I won't give it here and spoil the suspense. But eventually, Paula Smith got tired of my reiterating this silly plot every time we entered into a discussion of Star Trek writing. After all, it seemed so obvious, but as far as I know it never was done. Paula wrote it for me, titling it, appropriately, "Carol's Ferschluggoner Story." It is here included as a sop to the vanity of the editor and has nothing whatever to do with Kraith. To all Christine Chapel fans, I apologize in advance.

Many problems were encountered in the production of this volume. Not the least of which being a six-month deadlock between Jacqueline and myself on whether or not to include alternate stories at all.

By the end of July, 1975 I had had __a __ Volume five typed. Unfortunately it contained almost equal proportions of stories that were main series Kraith and stories that were based on Kraith-like premises or branched from the Main series at specific points. At that time I had neither enough Main series stories, nor enough alternate stories to make a complete volume. A half-and-half issue seemed the logical compromise.

But Jacqueline, held out, rightly I now think, that the inclusion of Alternate or Spinoff stories along with Main series stories would confuse people on what exactly constituted a valid Kraith premise.

Since I received more Alternate Kraith than Main series Kraith in the following months, the volume that you have in your hands consists entirely of non-Kraith Kraith. (If you think this is confusing, wait till I explain the new numbering system.)

I hope you have as much fun reading this volume as I had compiling it. It introduces some new writers, principally Sheryl Roberts, and has stories by many old favorites. Enjoy!

Live Long and Prosper, [KC05IL01.TIF] (RBW Note. Signature of Carol Lynn) (RBW Note. Signed) Carol Lynn Carol Lynn September 1976

$3.50 - 4th Class $4.50 - 1st Class

Order From: Carol Lynn

(2004 order printed on paper from Agent With Style

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Kraith Collected Volume Five Ceiling Press Publication #20 © May, 1977 All rights reserved to the authors and artists. Not intended to infringe on copyrights held by Gene Roddenberry or Paramount Corp.

Printed by Parnos Productions

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Even co-editors can be.

Whether or not we plan it, editors make mistakes. Then, when it's too late, because we've printed three hundred copies with the error, sold a fourth of them, __then__ we get the phone calls at 3 a.m. telling us what turkeys we are.

You can call back the sold copies to correct them all-if you're rich and know who bought them-or you can correct the second printing and write an apology in the next issue of the zine. I am.

Both "Spock's Decision" and "Spock's Pilgrimage" should have come originally with both Jacqueline's and Sondra Marshak's names.

Sondra, I'm sorry. I never meant to forget you.

Volume Four was finished in a rush, as usual, because the typewriter was due back at IBM. Add we were simply not used to the idea that anyone but Jacqueline was writing Main Series Kraith. So the same mistake can't possibly happen again, we now write both the title and the author on the first page of every story we type.

Live Long and Prosper, [KC05IL02.TIF] (RBW Note. Signature of Debbie Goldstein) (RBW Note. Signed) Debbie Goldstein Debbie Goldstein

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Editor's Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1
Editors are Ghouls and Cannibals . . . . . . . . . .   2
Author's Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
New Numbering  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Komengathor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Challenge  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Sarek and T'Amanda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Kraith Fragment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Servant of the People  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Abortive Attempt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
T'Uriamne's Victory  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
The Affirmation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
A Touch of Spring  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
The Betrothal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
The Marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Come Two as One  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Reflections on His Reflecting Captain  . . . . . . . . 88
Invocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
We Have Kept Our Peace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88
Confrontation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Kraith Chronology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Carol's Ferschluggoner Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
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Editors . . . . . . . . . . . Carol Lynn, Debbie Goldstein
Typing  . . . .. . Debbie Goldstein, Carol Lynn, Marie Lynn
1/4tppgtrsfomh  .  Debbie Goldstein, Carol Lynn, Marie Lynn
Titles  . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . .  John Benson
Layout  . . . . . . . . . . . Carol Lynn, Debbie Goldstein
	Todd Bake  . . . . . . . . .  Cover
	Robbie Brown . . . . 19, 42, 45, 53
	Gordon Carleton  . . . . 37, 49, 55
	D. L. Collin . . . . . . . . . . 67
	JEF  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
	Pat Foley  . . . . . . . . 102, 105
	Mike Kucharski . .  60, 65, 89, 118
	Gee Moaven . . .  9, 27, 57, 73, 75
					85, 88, 93, 109
	Joni Wagner  . . . . . . . . . .  6
	Alice La Velle . . . . . . . . . 19
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The stories contained in this volume are not part of the main sequence of events in Kraith. The facts invented, presented or implied here need not be adhered to by writers of Kraith.

With this volume we introduce two new types of Kraith stories - self-consistent visualizations of STAR TREK based on a number of Kraith postulates and/or splitting off from Kraith at some definite point, here called Alternate Universes Kraith, and the Kraith Spinoff Stories which are inspired by Kraith but which challenge, deny or parody the Kraith postulates.

Both types of stories are important to Kraith readers because they ask serious questions about Kraith, questions which must be answered by Kraith within the Kraith framework. They are also important because they are a lot of fun and just plain good reading in and of themselves. They would not be fun to read though, if they were presented as numbered Kraith stories because the reader familiar with Kraith would be thrown out of the story time after time, saying, "But, no, that contradicts this other fact . . ."

So we present this volume of apocrypha to delight, inspire and perhaps outrage the reader into writing his own Kraith and sharing it with us. Which brings me to the

Procedures for Submitting a Kraith Story:

Many people have said to me, "I'd really love to write a Kraith story, but I just don't write as well as you people." My answer, "Neither do we."

All of the stories you read in Kraith are the product of many minds besides that of the author. Most have been rewritten patiently over the period of perhaps a year or two before the submitted version met Carol Lynn's standards. And occasionally, even after all that, the story will go back to the author for one more reworking before it gets published.

So if you are persistent and can take criticism, you can probably do a Kraith story. If you want to try it, here are the steps in order.

1) Write up a synopsis of your idea with enough detail to place it chronologically in the series, and send that synopsis to me. From new writers I like to see a few pages of manuscript along with it. I will assign you a number and be sure that nobody else steals your topic out of the ether. At that time I will put you on the Kraith Creator's list which will be published in the next volume of the Kraith Creator's Manual. I would advise any would-be Kraith writer to get a copy of the Manual and study it.

2) Then, secure that nobody will steal your idea, you sit down and draft your story. Set it aside for a few weeks or months, and then rewrite it until you are perfectly satisfied that you have done your best. Make as many copies of it as you can. You will need to send out the following: a) __Two__ copies to me: one for file, one to circulate. b) One to Carol Lynn, to alert her to your subject. She considers this a rough draft and may or may not send you a list of suggested changes. (Depends on volume of mail. ed.) c) At least one copy of your own to keep and circulate to friends. d) One file copy which __never__ leaves your possession. This is indispensable.

I prefer the circulating copy you send me to be on onion skin. All copies must be __typed__ __double__ __spaced__. NO HAND WRITTEN OR SINGLE SPACED COPY WILL BE READ! Return postage is always a nice touch.

You've sent me two copies of your best draft of your story. It has a title and a number. I take the circulating copy and put it out on a comment robin. Sometimes four, five or maybe six people will read your story and comment. It can take up to a year for all the comments to come in since many of our best critics are college students with exam pressures to meet. I make up a list of the best people who are specialists in the kind of story you are trying to write, and I send the manuscript to the first on the list who reads it, writes a Letter of Comment (LoC), sends one copy of the letter to you and includes another copy with the manuscript and sends it on to the number two person on the routing slip.


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People write ON THE MANUSCRIPT to save time and elaborate in their letters. When you get the manuscript back, it will have perhaps five letters and a lot of scribbling with it. And it will be a crushing blow to your ego. If you can take what these critics dish out and come back swinging, you're going to have a Kraith story in print one day.

3) With all the comments in you now decide which ones make the most sense to you. I ask each reader to read the story first before looking at the letters enclosed with it. The reader should write his letter of comment (at least in the rough draft) before looking at other people's remarks. Then the most valuable thing the comment robin can do for you is to discuss the other reader's comments and impressions. Most often, no two readers will agree. Where they are unanimous you will have to rewrite.

It is a rare submission, even from an experienced writer, established in the field, which doesn't have to be refurbished and retyped. With beginners, even the second draft may have to be sent out on a comment robin, and then redone again. Some of our best stories have grown this way and become something quite different from the way they started out.

Step three, then is to rewrite, retype and resubmit your story. One copy sent to Carol Lynn, two copies to me, and keep plenty of extras which you'll need for submission to other fanzines. When I'm satisfied with your story, I will try to get it placed for you with a fanzine.

It is very important here to emphasize the need to submit a separate copy to Carol Lynn labeled FINAL DRAFT and dated clearly. We have had some snafus recently in which a story which __I__ had okayed as a final draft was never sent to Carol for publication. (Sigh. ed.)

I repeat that these manuscripts should be typed double spaced. There has to be room to write proofreaders marks around the words, and there has to be room for the comments of the readers.

While you have a story out on robin, or have merely filed an outline with me to hold a number open, you may get other people's manuscripts on robin. Such manuscripts usually have something in common with what you are trying to do in your own story. A lot of friendships have been formed this way.

Carol Lynn and Debbie Goldstein are the editors and publishers of Kraith Collected. I only write this stuff. They decide whether or not they want to print it, when they'll print it, how many and what sort of illos it will get, and very often they find it necessary to make editorial changes at the last minute. It's their money invested in printing Kraith Collected, their necks on the line if the quality isn't up to what the readers have come to expect. So if they ask for changes in what I've okayed, it has to be changed if the author wants it in Kraith Collected.

But conversely, if I have not okayed it, numbered it, etc., Carol and Debbie won't print it. So don't send them a copy of something you have not sent to me.

Likewise don't ask __me__ in what volume your story is going to appear, what volumes are in print, when they'll be reprinted or who has been assigned to illo your story. I don't know. That's not my business. I'm just a writer.

As a writer it is your business to keep Carol Lynn informed where and when your story appears outside of Kraith Collected. Kraith Collected tries not to undercut any other fanzine, but it's hard if the editors aren't kept informed of the printing history of the stories it's trying to publish.

Any fanzine may print a Kraith story if it wishes, provided that written permissions are obtained from both the author of the story and the editors of Kraith Collected. I am more than willing to help a new fanzine by distributing flyers for any zine which used a Kraith story and I make a special effort to help them build their circulation. I do this for many zines which never use any Kraith, but I do want to encourage new, smaller zines to reprint whatever stories appeal to them.

Sime Art

I would like to invite some of the artists who like Kraith and who have found my Sime Series (HOUSE OF ZEOR, Doubleday, 1974) of equal interest to try doing some Sime illos.

The Simes are one subject where one picture is worth 50,000 words. Although the cover of HOUSE OF ZEOR has won an artistic merit award, I, myself, am not satisfied with it. It is not accurate. It doesn't look real. It doesn't look like a photograph.

I would like to submit artwork with future Sime stories - such as UNTO ZEOR, FOREVER, the novel I'm working on now, December 1975 - artwork which depicts real-looking Simes and Gens with anatomically correct tentacles that look like the descriptions I have labored over so hard.


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I have no idea if publishing companies would even look at such submissions. But they might. And it would be a good chance for a beginner semipro to show off a bit. There is, as of now (September 1976) a paperback edition of HOUSE OF ZEOR in the works. The paperback is a second chance to get a good cover drawing for the story, and sometimes, after a few years, they even do a new cover for a paperback. So I would like to have a few such drawings, done to the hardcover or paperback specifications (the right number of colors, the right size, etc.) to push at them when they intimate they want to put out a new edition of any Sime story.

If I can get them to use one that I like, of course the artist would get paid. But there's no guarantee, and I don't intend to return anything sent to me unless the return packaging and postage is included. It could take years and years to get them to look at anything I want used. Authors traditionally have no say in the artwork or packaging, and in Kraith I have stayed out of that department as much as possible.

If anyone wants a live, in-person description of the Simes, feel free to look me up at any convention. Likewise, if anyone wants to attend a Kraith gathering, send me your name and address well before the convention. I'll put everyone who writes to me in touch with one another, somehow, though it would be nice for one person to volunteer to engineer the gathering. At any convention I attend. I am always able to attend a Kraith gathering, formal or informal.

And now to the stories in this volume:

First we have ? (Delta) Kraith, the Alternate Universe by Eileen Roy. Eileen has postulated here that after "Spock's Pilgrimage" Kirk discovers he has an illegitimate son. So Eileen's series is identical with the Kraith universe (Alpha Kraith) through Pilgrimage, and then splits off, forking into an alternate universe in which Kirk has a son complicating his life.

Eileen has outlined five major stories, several novels worth of material, and has already written quite a bit of it. If anyone wants to contribute to Eileen's universe, read the above rules for submitting to Kraith and merely substitute Eileen Roy for Jacqueline Lichtenberg. Her permanent home address is - (omitted for website posting) put "forward" on the outside of the envelope.

Eileen has also brought us "Servant of the People," the first of the Kraith Spinoff stories to be published in Kraith Collected since the Doris Beetam vignettes in volume one. I enjoyed "Servant of the People" very much, and I feel it is very close to Kraith. However, the portrayal of the UFP bureaucracy is I such that the story feels to me more like a parody of bureaucracy than an attempt to portray the UFP of the Kraith universe in all seriousness. "Servant of the People" is a good story, and it wouldn't be right to leave it out. But we can't lock all the Kraith writers into this particular version of the UFP. This is a story to think about.

Likewise, Paula Smith's "An Abortive Attempt" is a Kraith Spinoff, inspired primarily by the problem raised in "Spock's Affirmation" - what do you do if you get pregnant before an Affirmation and don't want to risk your life? It is a very good story, well written, enthralling, and hair-raising -- and very logical in its own way. It is not Kraith, however.

In Kraith, the only danger from pregnancy during an Affirmation occurs when the pregnancy is only hours old at the time of the Affirmation. After the first couple of days there's no danger of any particular moment. The woman's body has adjusted and stabilized, the mind has adjusted, and all is fairly normal.

This does not completely demolish the story premise. The problem could still arise closer to the Affirmation. However, in Kraith, Vulcan would take the issue up with the UFP Council through channels. There would be no way to extradite a human Earth citizen to Vulcan for trial under Vulcan law. Nor would the trial work the way Paula has portrayed it. However, I like what Paula has done here, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Next Sheryl Roberts brings us Beta Kraith, in four stories, offering another possible ending to the Kraith Series branching off from Alpha Kraith at "Spock's Pilgrimage". Sheryl has demonstrated an unusual breadth and depth of mastery not only of the Kraith stories themselves but premises and philosophies behind the stories. This is a haunting presentation. It has an economy and precision, it has a sense of elegance to the plot, and the execution is of the best I have seen in fanzines.

There are only two reasons why this ending cannot be "the" official ending to Kraith. The Kraith Kirk does not, will not, and cannot become Vulcan in any way. He is primarily human and gives up nothing of that, but merely gains a new perspective on what it means to be human. So this Kirk is not the Kraith Kirk, but someone else -- an intriguing someone else, but still different.

Next Sheryl's answer to Spock's personal problem likewise does not resolve the issues raised in the early stories. The incident which brings Sheryl's Sherrith together with Spock would have killed Spock outright in Alpha Kraith.

I also feel that a woman from 20th Century Earth, eidetic telepath or not, would be unable to do for Spock what must be done. Dramatically, as a fiction writer, I feel this particular solution is avoiding the issues of Spock's nature, his true requirements. Sherrith would be to Spock no better than T'Aniyeh, and in some ways a lot worse. It's only another interim makeshift, not the key to unlock Spock's ultimate destiny. I think Kraith has put him through enough agony that he deserves more than a makeshift in the end.


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All in all, though, I feel that Beta Kraith is a brilliant construction which you will enjoy reading and arguing over. I think there really is a lost Vulcan "Book of War", and I think Sheryl has found it for us. I don't know if there's anything more to be added to her universe. (There is. ed.) She's tied up all the loose ends so elegantly -- and that's almost a no-no in Kraith, a radical departure from Tradition.


[KC05IL03.TIF] (RBW Note. Jacqueline Lichtenberg's signature.) (RBW Note. Signed) Jacqueline Lichtenberg Jacqueline Lichtenberg December 1975

[KC05IL04.TIF] (RBW Note. Drawing of Jacqueline Lichtenberg.)


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There are two new types of Kraith Stories.

First, the Kraith Spinoff -- a story based on Kraith premises, but containing elements that make it unable to have a Main series number. Parodies, satires, and stories with anti-Kraith elements are also included in this category. Kraith Spinoffs are single stories only.

Second, Alternate Kraith Universes -- series of stories based on Kraith premises, but containing elements that make it unable to have a Main series number. The Alternate Kraith universes usually branch from the Main series at a specific point.

Since the first category of stories are single stories only, it seemed unnecessary to give them any sort of number. Their place in the Main series is either irrelevant or obvious. The second category of stories is another matter. Since they are chronological series, on the same order as the Main series, they are subject to the same numbering system. How to differentiate the story written by, say, Sheryl Roberts, that occupies the place held by the story written by Jacqueline Lichtenberg in the Main series, was the subject of much debate by Jacqueline and myself.

Jacqueline wanted to use the acronym for either Alternate Universe Kraith or Alternate Kraith Universes. However, everytime I read AKU my mind automatically supplied "Gesundheit," and when I saw AUK, I always wondered who was strangling the parrot. I proposed the system that was finally adopted.

Each new series is designated by a greek letter. Main series Kraith is Alpha Kraith. Sheryl Roberts series is Beta Kraith. Etc. The stories within a new alternate series are numbered with the same system used for Alpha Kraith, but the first story of an alternate series is designated I, no matter where it falls in the Alpha Kraith chronology. The number of the story immediately before the new series splits off in the Alpha Kraith numbering is included after the new numbering. (insert collective groans from the readers) It really isn't as awkward as it sounds. For example, Sheryl Robert's alternate series.

Beta Kraith I-VD --- "Affirmation" IA-VD -- "The Betrothal" IB-VD -- "The Marriage" II-VD -- "Confrontation"

"Affirmation," therefore, is the first story in the Beta Kraith series. The background is identical with Alpha Kraith up to and including the story VD, "Spock's Pilgrimage." "Confrontation," similarly, is the second major story of the Beta Kraith series, which is identical with the Alpha Kraith series up to and including story VD. With this system you can know at a glance to which alternate series the story belongs, where it splits off from the main series, and how long ago, by internal chronology, the split took place.


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an epic poem from Pre-Reform times by Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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Kneel in Gateless Valley Komengathor of the bloody hands. Suffer long the Linger Death As you crouch here in the sands.

The world for you has shrunk To the narrow, burning floor. Look to right or left See only dead rocks soar.

Reluctant hands withdraw The long, condemned man's ladder. Not a soul remains Your solitude to shatter.

Here among the howling winds Their voices seem to scatter. But with the memory of your sins, It doesn't seem to matter.

In farthest isolation It's best you die privately Lest your thoughts disrupt anew Those who yet live quietly.

Erase the very memory Of your dreadful crime On the field of Challenge At your rightful time.

Those who saw the throat of him Bit by your lirpa's bite, Will scour their minds in haste To repress the heinous sight.

Lest from racial memories Their children might learn What happens if we spurn The power when we burn.

Horror broke your fever then At what your hands had done. The right to self-condemn Was the only freedom won.

Death lurks within your veins Slowly to consume in flames The body that betrayed, insane, The man that you became.

Komengathor of the healer's art Spent his youth alone, apart, While his father labored, dawn to dark That his son might make his mark.

In such a family who'd expect Among the sons to find, A father who'd neglect The foundations of our kind.

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But since it was indeed the case, Who would dare to level blame Against the one who had to face That unremitting flame?

One lies dead midst barren stone. The other, blood upon his hands, Surrenders to the Linger Death And kneels on Valley sands.

To die by Lirpa's bite Could never be the worse Than to live but half preserved To play out Nature's curse.

For surely had it been reversed, And father vanquished son, Gateless Valley would receive The elder, who had won.

Final justice does assert A fundamental symmetry To prevail upon all life Preserving Nature's harmony.

A man who leaves alone His unmated son With wife and mother of the home Deserves what he has won.

Into the books of fate Komengathor's name goes down To be entered without disgrace And with a hallowed sound

For every act of his performed With unfettered will, To every lofty test conformed He dies not unfulfilled.

A healer he was in life. A healer he remains. Since the lesson of his strife No man has yet been slain.

Though his real name be lost Komengathor lives on. It is here we count the cost In the whispers of this song.

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[KC05IL05.TIF] (RBW Note. Drawing of James Kirk.)

Eileen Roy


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The wind had risen in the night, sweeping all before it, and it still whined fitfully outside. The morning had dawned darkly clear, like the inside facet of a ruby. Kirk came down to breakfast whistling tunelessly. It was the last day of his long-awaited three-day leave from Dakainya; he had plans enough to fill an extra week of freedom.

Sarek was staring at the vis-com downstairs, looking somehow--odd. He turned at the sound of Kirk's footsteps.

"There was a call for you, S'chames. A message."

"A call for me?" Kirk said, puzzled. He accepted the message chip Sarek handed him, slipped it in the proper slot, and pressed the play button.

A crisp Vulcan woman in some kind of uniform appeared on the screen. She said: "Spaceport Darnayshe to Captain Kirk of the family xtmpreqzntwlfb. Your two children arrived here early this morning. They are at the Star Blazon terminal--unescorted. Transfer to your custody at the earliest convenience is requested." The image faded and was gone.

Kirk could only stare at the screen for a moment, brow furrowed. Employees of Vulcan were not noted for mistakes, and it surely wasn't a joke.

"Sarek . . ."

"I have already confirmed."

"What is it?" Amanda asked sleepily, coming up behind them. Silently Kirk replayed the tape for her. Amanda swallowed, suddenly seeming completely awake.

"Well, there's not much we can do to straighten it out here," she said briskly. "At least Darnayshe is only twenty minutes away, instead of half the planet. Sarek, will you get the aircar while I get dressed? Breakfast will have to wait."

Kirk closed his mouth and meekly went with Sarek to get the aircar. It looked like some of his plans were going to have to be postponed, at least for the present.

From the air Darnayshe was a stylized sunburst of buildings, but from the inside it was like every other spaceport Kirk had ever been in--endless kilometers of corridors and echoing, cavernous spaces alternating in a floor plan seemingly designed by a Betelgean octiputal three-eyes one step from a nervous breakdown. Even Sarek had to stop and ask directions twice.

The Star Blazon terminal was crowded, even at that hour. Apparently a Class O liner, able to carry up to 10,000 passengers at a time, had just 'docked.' Kirk patiently waited the five minutes or so until the efficient Vulcan attendant was free.

"Miss," he said with his most attractive smile, "I'm Captain Kirk. A message was sent to me from this terminal, concerning some children? I think there has been a mis--"

"Ah, yes, Captain Kirk," she said, reaching for something from an overhead console. "This message tape was left for you. Sign here, please. The children are in Alcove 32C, by the north wall."

Kirk automatically signed the form, accepted the tape, and rather desperately leaned forward to intercept the attendant: she was already turning to help someone else.

"Excuse me, there must be some mistake. I don't __have__ any children."

"No?" A coolly raised, unbelieving eyebrow answered him. "The woman who left them here was quite clear. Perhaps the message will clear up any confusion."

Kirk stepped back, rather dazed by the swift procession of events, then shrugged and looked for the nearest wall-reader. It couldn't hurt to read the message.

When the screen lighted up, he carefully studied the image of the woman who had made the tape. She was dressed in the bright, rather-bedraggled outfit of a Denebian pleasure flower. Blond, slight, neither tall nor short, she might have been in her middle-thirties; she was pretty, in a shallow kind of way. Once she must have been very pretty indeed, but now she looked somehow worn, and her eyes and the slump of her shoulders were defeated. Kirk had never seen her before in his life.

He started to listen to what she was saying. He voice was soft and drawling, with an accent Kirk couldn't place.

"You prob'ly don't remember . . . It don't matter. Th' boy's yours. I read on th'


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newsfax ya got a home now, a place ta light. I've housed, fed 'n' clothed him for eight years alone. You kin have him 'n' his sister for the next eight."

Kirk stood motionless for a second, an unreasonable anger starting to wash with a welcome warmth through his veins. It couldn't be true. Where were those children? He'd find them . . . find the truth . . . It wasn't possible! He couldn't have--.

An image floated to the surface of his mind, and plucked insistently for attention. It was a picture of his nephew. After the death of Peter's grandmother, he had been shuffled from one set of cousins to another. Once in a while Kirk got letters from him. They were models of decorum and form--and never really said anything at all. And the image in Kirk's mind grew evermore lost and puzzled and alone. Kirk suddenly became very quiet.

He hadn't bothered to turn the privacy screen on; Sarek and Amanda had been silent witnesses to the tape. But when Kirk turned to try to say something--what, he wasn't sure--they were gone. Kirk took two steps forward and chaos absorbed him, as he was caught in a swirl of tourists and carried along in spite of himself. A babble of strange tongues assaulted his ears, musky and pungent scents his nose, even as alien, totally incomprehensible symbols invaded his mind. Grimly fighting to maintain emotional control, he tried to avoid as best he could random physical contacts. He was just beginning to realize the difference this unwelcome gift was going to make in daily living.

The crowd ejected him near the alcoves meant for meetings, and Kirk stepped, panting slightly, into an islet of calm. Then he saw them, the two children, and the scene stretched and froze as if caught in a block of polished crystal. Irrationally, it seemed that he knew them immediately, without possibility of doubt. He wasn't surprised to see Sarek and Amanda standing off to the side.

The boy had been pacing nervously from side to side. Now he stood, half-leaning against a wall, eyes dark upon Kirk. He was perhaps eight or nine, thin, with careless dark brown hair. He looked half-familiar to Kirk, like someone glimpsed dimly in a dream or memory.

The girl sat beside him, impassively studying her feet, which dangled a good foot above the floor. She seemed about five years old, thin, with white-blond hair that curled limply at the ends. There was no rigidity to her anywhere. She looked like a rag doll left to droop forlornly in a corner.

The boy swallowed convulsively. "Captain Kirk?" he asked. His voice was clear and steady, Kirk noted, without a trace of his mother's accent.

By rights, the boy should have relaxed. Instead, he tensed further, gathering himself like a coiled spring. Then, almost visibly shaking himself, he steadied himself, calming himself.

"I'm Jai. This is Embry." Lightly he touched his sister on the shoulder. She gave no sign of feeling him. "Our mother, Amalthea, left a message for you?"

"Yes. I've got it."

Sarek seemed about to say something, but Amanda interrupted him.

"Not now, Sarek. How long has it been since you two children have eaten?" She took their silence as answer enough. "There's a snack bar with human foods on a lower level, if I remember correctly. We can talk later."

With something like relief, the boy nodded. He spoke to his sister in a low, murmuring language, taking her hand. She wearily slid to her feet.

On the way she uttered on low, wordless plaint. The boy stopped and looked around him, then up at Amanda.

"Is there a 'fresher nearby?" he asked half-apologetically. "Embry . . ."

"This way," Amanda said, grasping the situation with the immediate intuition granted all who have taught small children.

Sarek leapt on the opportunity for speech as if it had been delayed far too long for his taste.

"Is this true, S'chames?" he asked. his face and voice rock hard "Are those children yours?"

"The girl--no, sir. The boy--I don't know."

"You--don't--know." Sarek repeated it slowly. Kirk winced inwardly, and wrapped the shield of composure his Idlomputt lent more tightly around him.

"The time--it's possible. I was on Deneb IV nine years ago. I had just gotten the __Enterprise__, and it was the time of Spring Festival." The truth now. With Sarek's eyes on him, more freezingly cold than he had ever seen them, nothing else was __safe__.

"I was drunk. Later on, more than drunk. There were women. I do not remember the woman on that tape. But--it is possible. There is no proof . . ."


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"Try a mirror," the boy said tersely, brushing out of the 'fresher door.

In the snack-bar the boy ate ravenously, managing to feed his sister at the same time. She accepted the food apathetically. The adults were silent. Amanda was absorbed in watching the small girl. Before the meal was over, Amanda asked, "May I?" gently touching the boy's hand. He looked at her searchingly for a moment, then relinquished the spoon and went back to his own food. Embry accepted the change of attendants passively, but when Amanda tried to coax the girl to feed herself, Embry only stared at her with wide, empty eyes.

The meal finished, Amanda matter-of-factly sent Kirk to get the children's luggage. The luggage center was probably the most 'logically' designed system in the entire spaceport, inanimate objects taking a ruthless attention to order much more placidly than most sentient beings. In the few minutes it took for Kirk to collect the pitifully small metal trunk, he came to the inescapable conclusion that his future, somewhere in the last hour, had been as suddenly deflected and reordered as any box or bag. And he didn't know why.

When he found the others again, Amanda was taking the children though customs. Kirk joined Sarek, waiting outside. Vulcan's sister planet loomed overhead, pale and ominous in the early morning glow.

"And now?" Sarek asked stiffly. Kirk studied him for a minute, seeing the rigidity in position and stance.

"What I did," Kirk said deliberately, "was, according to the laws and customs of the time and place, not wrong."

"Yet wrong was done."

Kirk looked at the children for a fleeting instant. "Wrong was done," he acknowledged, almost inaudibly. "And restitution must be made."

Amanda approached, the children following slowly. "The girl is going to need help," she said simply. "The boy has adjusted fairly well to the situation, but she is confused and frightened--she's retreating. She needs to be settled and secure, for once in her life. She needs a home."

Looking against the light, Kirk focused with difficulty on their faces. "But, it's your home . . ."

"It's your decision to make, James."

"Yes." He looked away, to the children. "Will the double room in the north wing be all right? I don't think Embry will want to be alone at first."

"It shall be as you wish," Sarek said formally, but seeming to have relaxed all of a sudden. "Come. I will get the aircar."

Amanda held out a hand to Embry, smiling gently. "Come with me?" she suggested. Embry hesitated visibly for a second. In the first independent action Kirk had seen her make, she looked to the boy for guidance. They traded glances for a long moment before he noncommittally looked away. Gravely, Embry took Amanda's hand and plodded off beside her.

For a silent, awkward moment, Kirk was alone with the boy.

"I'll take the trunk," the boy said shortly.

"No, it's too heavy . . ."

"__I'll__ take it," the boy repeated fiercely, picking up the case with a jerk.

Kirk shook his head as though to clear it. That emotion was unmistakable. He moved to look at the boy, really look at him as a person for the first time.

"You hate me," he said with honest bewilderment.

"Why shouldn't I?" the boy said. "You don't even remember my mother, you--" He spat a stream of something in Denebian which, perhaps fortunately, Kirk didn't understand. "I didn't have to come. I could have made it on the streets. I've seen younger."

Involuntarily, Kirk reached out to touch him; the boy dodged his hand as if it were a blow.

Slowly, Kirk lowered the hand to his side. "Why did you come, then?" he asked quietly. "And why did your mother leave you here in the first place?"

"She had a __chance__--a chance for something __good__. But not--not with kids hanging around. I had to come to take care of Embry."

Seeing Kirk begin to understand, the boy made a last desperate plea.

"Be good to Embry and I'll stay in your house and eat your food and obey you and call you sir. Hurt Embry and--" He couldn't voice the threat, but it could be read clearly in


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his mind and eyes and trembling, tense body. Kirk shivered faintly, somehow not finding it ridiculous at all. The archetypal crime had been old when man was new.

"Fair enough," Kirk said, moving to take the trunk effortlessly from the boy's grasp, "--Jai?"

The boy tilted his face upwards to look at Kirk squarely, with a curious lop-sided smile. "That's Embry's name for me. My mother's was James. James Kirk."

The sun had just lifted above the complex of buildings when the aircraft rose, bearing the small group to D'R'hiset, to home.


Strong, silent, his presence Always a part of me Reassuring, guiding me Each moment we are one, and I Know I am his, and he, mine.


T'Amanda Alety Mopenk Afvee Nokyts Delpah Aselkee

(RBW Note. The following portion of the page is in two columns.)


__Alety__ - here, harmony (and) creativity expressed

__Mopenk__ - thoughts (of) tradition communicated (in) nature('s) blending(s)

__Afvee__ - here, control logically excluded (from) pattern

__Nokyts__ - time('s) tradition (of) blending expressed (in) society

__Delpah__ - logic(al) harmony communicated here

__Aselkee__ - here, beauty blended (into) pattern

(RBW note. column break)



In her, harmony and creativity is expressed,

evoking thoughts of tradition communicated in nature's blendings.

In her, control is logically excluded from the pattern.

As the age old tradition of blending is expressed in society,

a logical harmony is communicated in her.

In her, beauty is blended into the pattern.

(RBW note: column break, return to single column)

NOTE: The two poems are intended to have been written by Sarek and Amanda about each other. __T'Amanda__ is in pure __Vulcanur__, that is, the sememes __work__.

Fern Marder

EDITOR'S NOTE: A partial list of the sememes is included in the __Kraith__ __Creator's__ __Manual__ # One.


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McCoy, Kirk, Scotty, Sulu, Chekhov, and Spock are sitting down at a table in a __very__ entertaining bar in the spaceman's district of some planet

The waiter comes over and takes everybody's order. They take advantage of the cosmopolitan and expensive place to order the most exotic drinks they like. They have been talking and comparing notes on mixed drinks throughout the Federation. Spock has been noticeably silent taking their ribbings about not being very knowledgeable in the area of booze-and-fun.

The waiter then turns to Spock, "And what would you like, sir?"

"I'll have rylait, thank you."

"Certainly, sir. We pride ourselves on fulfilling all our customer's wishes." His attitude suggests unmistakably that rylait is the most exotic he's had in weeks, but it will be filled!

The drinks come, but Spock is left waiting. Curiosity builds until McCoy can't stand it anymore and asks, "Rylait, hey. I'm not familiar with the effects of that on the Vulcan metabolism.

Spock looks him in the eye and calmly supplies, "Total, instant insanity."

Before the shock has had a chance to completely register, the waiter is back with two big bruisers who stand ready to escort Spock off to the exclusive back-rooms of the establishment. Quietly, he goes with them.

About twenty minutes later he returns unescorted and rejoins the party as if nothing unusual has occurred.

By bits, over the next few days, the bewildered shipmates find out the story of rylait. It's an exotic import, so the encyclopedias claim, from some as yet unidentified planet beyond the Federation's frontier. It's come passed from race to race along so long a chain that its origin will probably always remain unknown. It's effects are different on different species -- but as a drink it is used only by the Vulcanoids, the Elloq, Rigellians, etc. The Romulans, as far as is known, don't use it. For most species, it's a pharmaceutical of limited usefulness. For some, like the Schillians, it's a good antihistamine with no side effects. For others it's a deodorant. Only for the Vulcans is it a quasi-vice. Spock had heard of it, and took this opportunity to try it out on his metabolism. It worked.

With Vulcans, the immediate effect of ingesting rylait is total, instant insanity. Thus, it is taken in the padded cells usually used for drug addicts or violence cases. Secure restraints are necessary. Ten to fifteen minutes later, the insanity passes, leaving the Vulcan's emotional control, physiological control, and general speed of thinking heightened for a period of several days. It has not been found to be addicting or harmful and is sometimes used to augment self-healing efforts, when the initial effect wouldn't be harmful.

Scotty's comment: "Only a Vulcan would get drunk on something which gives you the hangover __first__!"

Jacqueline Lichtenberg 3/13/73


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[KC05IL06.TIF] (RBW Note. Picture of a Vulcan.)

Eileen Roy


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Mr. Y'Laten was a civil servant born and bred. A distant ancestor of his had been a clerk to William the Conqueror, in 1066. His family had been scribes and clerks, secretaries and civil servants for more than a millennium. Though his particular branch of the family had moved to Aldebaran after the rebellion left that planet with a rather uncertain democracy, other lines had held the fort after the Genetics War, propped up governments on more than a dozen otherwise hardy pioneer worlds and even--Mr. Y'Laten would suck in his breath with pride at the thought--helped to found the massive computercomb know as Centroll. Memory Beta may hold the galaxy's store of knowledge, he often said, but Centroll contained the __records__. Of course, the small way-station where Y'Laten held the office of Chief Clerk in Charge of Documents was nothing like Centroll--but it would grow, it would grow.

Clovis Y'Laten was in many ways a typical member of his family. Fortyish, he was spare in body and humor, possessing a pair of bright, lively eyes which were his greatest asset. He had only three passions--his niece and godchild, who he rarely saw but loved dearly, his collection of halo fish, and, of course, his work. He liked sitting down to his desk each morning, dusting the bright plaque "Servant of the People" which hung behind him and turning to attack the new day's work, and he left that desk with a faint sigh of regret each evening. He enjoyed plotting ever more devious and winding paths from one necessary form to another. (His proudest achievement, he felt, had come when he had discovered a way to trace through sixty-seven different papers before reaching the form that allowed one to order more forms.) He loved filling out questionnaires where one's grandmother's maiden name and the number of cavities incurred since the age of six were two of the more trivial and easy-to-answer blanks. Naturally, conscientiousness, dedication to duty and punctuality were his bywords.

He was therefore perturbed when Semet, one of his junior assistants, was absent one day. The semi-annual quarterly inventory was coming up soon; he needed every person. Semet's quarters gave back only the recorded message that Semet was indisposed, but on checking, Y'Laten found no doctor had been called. The few Vulcans he had met in the Service had seemed responsible and methodical workers, as Semet himself was; he couldn't understand why there weren't more of them. But to become ill, at such a time! Y'Laten himself had never suffered a day's illness on the job. It was all most upsetting.

The third time he stormed through the outer office muttering angrily, a filer 4th class timidly volunteered the information that Semet had been trying to get early home-leave a week or so ago. At this, Y'Laten's irritation was replaced by bafflement. Home-leave? He rolled the words on his tongue like an unfamiliar fruit. None of his family ever took home-leave. In fact, very few of them took vacations at all. He went back to his office in a puzzled silence.

But by the third day the anger was back, fed by a gnawing conviction that the Vulcan was malingering. When the fourth day and begun and still only a recording answered his call, that conviction flowered into full certainty.

That afternoon, during his lunch hour, Y'Laten tapped angrily at the door of Semet's quarters, determined to have it out with him. When Semet's expressionless voice in still another recording replied that he was indisposed and wished no visitors, Y'Laten was not deterred. Fitting his master key--given him on the proud day of this promotion and used now for the first time--under the door panel, Y'Laten slipped quietly inside. The room was hot, and filled with a dim ruby glow. It was still with a graveyard silence that was shocking after the busy hum of the corridor.

"Semet?" Clovis Y'Laten called querulously. "Semet, this must not. . . ." His voice faded away as the slight Vulcan lurched into view from the sleeping quarters. Semet had always been thin, he was now gaunt, with skin pulled so tightly over bones it seemed their dry whiteness might gleam through at any minute. Semet's eyes had drawn all the life his body had lost: they burned with a hectic fire, flickering restlessly from one thing to another, accentuated by shadows like bruises under his eyes and cheekbones. Semet's teeth were gripping his lower lip so tightly that new rivulets of green now started to flow, matching older stains on his shirt and fingers. He leaned on the doorframe for support, and his hands shook.

Y'Laten looked at him, frozen. As he looked, gathering in the details and the whole, Y'Laten's eyes slowly died.

Some seconds or years later, Y'Laten asked harshly, "What do you need?"

The Vulcan replied, in a tone of dull apathy gone far beyond despair, "To get to Vulcan." With a delicate emphasis like the last closing of a coffin, he added, "Within . . . four . . . days."

They stood like two statues there, the slow running of green blood and the trembling of Semet's hands the only movement. Y'Laten blinked once, carefully. Then he moved like a robot to the view screen. His fingers punched in a familiar number, that of Argus Marin, head clerk of the Portmasters's division, chief rival in the raising of halo fish, and friend since boyhood.

Argus appeared on the screen, thick spectacles sliding to a precarious postion (sic RBW position) as he


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thrust his face forward into the screen. "Clovis! Why, I was just going to call you. My __Dischelios__ __mendoscious__ . . . ."

"Argus," Y'Laten said steadily, "I need a passport and all other necessary papers for a Semet of Vulcan to leave here and go to Vulcan. Now."

Argus stared at him, perplexed. "Clovis, you know that's impossible. Send him over to Immigration, Medical, Administration, and of course, Personnel will have to approve, and maybe in a couple of weeks . . . ."

"Argus, he has to get to Vulcan within four days."

"Well, Clovis, you know I'd like to help--but my hands are tied. There are procedures to follow, forms to fill out . . . . You know all that!" Argus waved his hands helplessly in the air.

"You won't do it, then, not even for me?"

"Clovis . . . ." But his voice died away, and he didn't seem able to continue.

"Very well, then. Do you remember . . ." and Y'Laten went on to recount the tale of a summer long past when they had both been fourteen and the world a less censorous (sic RBW censorious) place than it now seemed.

Soon Argus was gasping, "No, Clovis, no! It would ruin me! It was all so long ago. You wouldn't tell anyone, would you? Please, Clovis . . . ."

"Get the papers, Argus."

Argus moved with frantic haste, gathering papers, crossing out whole pages, initialing, signing, stamping, and sealing. The whole packet was finished and sent via air tube to Semet's quarter's in less than fifteen minutes.

"That--that will get him past the scanner at the port." Argus said, his voice wavering noticeably. "But--but, Clovis, Vulcan is five-and-a-half days away at warp eight!" he almost wailed.

There was a pause. Semet's breathing was loud, and small trembles had started to envelope his whole body. His head was down; he appeared to be tracing the pattern of the carpet with his eyes--totally uninterested in anything else. Y'Laten breathed a very small sigh.

"How many mail shuttles do we have at this moment?"

"Three, but--."

"They can reach warp twelve, can they not? He'll need a life-support belt, and some air."

"Clovis." Argus leaned closer into the view screen, his face looming palely. "The mail shuttles are for __federal__ __business__ __only__. Occasionally, a courier on special dispatch might use them for transport, but for an unauthorized, well, person--!" He lowered his voice to an asphyxiated whisper, "Clovis, that's __illegal__."

"I'll take the responsibility, Argus," Y'Laten said gently.

"If there is anything I can do . . . ," Argus said helplessly, eyes very large and dark.

"No. Just set the shuttle for home-in on Vulcan Space Central, take-off for twenty minutes from now."

Y'Laten clicked off and turned to Semet, his lips rigidly together. "Semet," he said expressionlessly. "Semet."

The second time the Vulcan heard him, and raised his head blearily.

"The papers are there." He indicated the corner of the desk. "They will get you through the port scanner, and there will be a mail shuttle waiting. Warp twelve should be uncomfortable, but not insupportable. There is a locker inside the port with life-support belts and cans of air; my master key," he laid the small piece of plastic on top of the papers with a small, last click, "will get you inside it."

For a moment Semet was rigid, his eyes changing to something too puzzled for surprise and too incredulous for hope.

"Go," Y'Laten said harshly. There was a rush and Semet was gone. Y'Laten turned his head away as the Vulcan passed.

After a while, Y'Laten managed to rise and leave the room. He automatically turned the lights, heat and air off and sealed the room behind him as he left. Somehow, he didn't think Semet would be back.

Outside in the corridor, Y'Laten noted clinically that he was sweating badly and his knees were shaky. "I broke the rules," he said suddenly to the empty air. There was no reply. He shuddered and found his way slowly to his own tiny cabin. After so many transgressions, going


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back to work seemed a pitiably useless thing to do.

Inside his room, he went directly to a bottom drawer. There, wrapped carefully in a sweater his mother had knit for him when he was twelve, was a small flask of genuine Terran Scotch given him by his niece long Christmases ago and cherished ever since. Methodically he pounded the top off and took a long swig. It burned in his throat and stomach, but it failed to thaw the frozen numbness he'd felt ever since seeing the Vulcan.

A half-an-hour later, the bottle near empty, he was pacing the room talking slowly and steadily to himself. It was dark; only the light from the fish tank which formed one wall kept him from stumbling.

Halo fish are possibly the most beautiful and certainly the most delicate aquatic life in the galaxy. They cannot be taken alive from their native state; they can only be raised from eggs. Once "hatched," the slightest change in environment or routine will cause them to loose all vestige of their famous radiance. A great enough change will kill them. And even a seemingly trivial change may be great to a halo fish.

Y'Laten paced the room, talking to himself. The level of alcohol in his bloodstream could be told only by the increased care with which he enunciated each word. "Duty," he said. "Responsibility." He paused to think. "My family. I betrayed my whole family." His tone was too dull for anguish. He paused again. Thinking was difficult, but not yet impossible, unfortunately. "Argus. Forgive me?" The silence answered him.

He took one last swallow and set the bottle down carefully. Sitting, he scribbled a few lines and sent the note to Argus' quarters. Argus would read it some time that evening; the fish would be all right until then. He kept metal-flex rope to suspend the tanks, and there was a tall stool at his work desk. It took him a while to fix the rope the way he wanted it; his fingers fumbled at the unfamiliar task. Finally, he had the loop attached to a ceiling hook. He clambered awkwardly onto the stool. For a moment he stood there, head high and back straight.

"I broke the rules," Clovis Y'Laten said suddenly. It was accusation and admission of guilt, condemnation and sentence, all in one. He put the loop around his neck and kicked the stool away.

Argus Marin got the halo fish, his niece the rest of his belongings, as Y'Laten had written in his brief will, in which he also exonerated Argus of all blame in the affair. His body was flash-dried, burned, and sent home to Aldebaran in a container about the size of a cigar box. Not many employees requested it, but that option had been a part of Y'Laten's contract and he had exercised it when it was signed. A bluff cousin, serving as current head of family, held a small memorial service.

"Clovis Y'Laten died in space, an employee of the same great government he had worked for, faithfully, steadfastly, loyally, since he was nineteen years old," he finished up. "Now, maybe, Clovis' death wasn't all it should have been--."

There was a brief stir in the audience. The scandal had barely been hushed up. The cousin pressed on desperately. "But we've got to remember his __life__. In the end, the greatest honor we can pay him is to remember him as he was throughout all but the last day of his life. Friends, family, beneath everything and above all, Clovis was--a public servant."

There was an appreciative murmur from the assembly. Slowly, people began to rise and file out.


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[KC05IL07.TIF] (RBW Note. Small picture of female.)

[KC05IL08.TIF] (RBW Note. Larger picture of Vulcan female.)

Paula Smith


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"Now, remember, no sonic showers for a while. I want you to __bathe__, with water, even if it is expensive, if we're going to clear up that vaginal infection." Dr. Joyce Wagner tilted her patient, Ms. Brophy, off the examination table. "Here's the antibiotic for the douche; it's new and your particular strain shouldn't be resistant to it yet. Wash once in the morning __after__ you've voided." The woman, nodding dully, took the small container; the door retreated and she clomped out.

Dr. Wagner settled her compact body before the information system terminal, reaching for the "on" switch. Almost immediately, her nurse, Dea Paterson, swept in. "One last one, boss," she said. "Name's Taht."

"Tot what?" Wagner asked inattentively, addending to Ms. Brophy's file. She clicked off the recorder and turned to face the woman Nurse Paterson had ushered in--the __Vulcan__ woman Nurse Paterson had ushered in.

"Taht's all," the nurse said and exited, chortling at the doctor's stupefaction.

Dr. Wagner shook her head in recovery. "Won't you be seated?" she said, waving her small brown hand to one of the two chairs in the room, and took the one behind the desk herself. The Vulcan folded abruptly and exactly into the seat, and stared at the doctor stonily.

"Ah, can I--how can I help you?" Wagner asked, very much disconcerted by Taht's deadpan gaze, and not much less so just by her very presence. What could a Vulcan want of a Terran gynecologist?

"I am pregnant," Taht announced. The slightly cockeyed necklace about her throat, glittering, provided the only sign of animation about her.

"That's nice," the doctor responded inanely. "But why come to me? I'm not an alienist, nor even an obstetrician. I--"

"I wish not to be pregnant," said Taht.

"Oh." Wagner felt vaguely better at coming to a familiar topic. "Well, still--why me? Why not a Vulcan M.D.?"

"The last is impossible," answered Taht, who hadn't yet so much as twitched in her chair. "I come to you, Dr. Wagner, because you practice in this city of Ottawa, in which I also reside as a member of the Tsaichrani delegation to Terra; because you are known as a competent abortionist; because Terrans have no objections to the performance of abortions, there having been done on Earth a total of 8.154 x 10 E 6 such operations in the past standard year; and because, as a Terran private doctor of medicine, your records are unavailable to Tsaichrani."

"What you just said;" objected Wagner, "that my records are unavailable to Vulcan. Why don't you want them to know?"

"They would not approve."

"Why not?"

"It is not the Tsaichrani way," Taht said with finality.

"Then why do you want an abortion?" Wagner persisted.

"My reasons are my own, Dr. Wagner. I will pay." Taht suddenly changed her posture slightly, straightening even more, betraying a minute of agitation.

Wagner leaned back. "I'm sure you will, but that's not the point. I want to know why you want an abortion. I don't mind doing them; a woman's body is her own. But I won't terminate a pregnancy on essentially a whim--my patients must have good reasons. Life is too good to waste."

Taht sat silently. Wagner considered the small, thin, black-draped form and began to feel peeved at the alien's stubbornness. Folding her arms, the doctor resolved to wait the Vulcan out. Finally, Taht spoke again. "I shall tell you my reasons, Dr. Wagner. I trust you not to speak of them again to another. There is soon to be the Affirmation, a time of stress for us, physical stress, whereby my pregnancy is a liability to my survival. Further, my duty to Tsaichrani in another respect has been discharged; this child I bear is my third." She spoke evenly, unemotionally. "The fetus is unnecessary, in fact, threatening, and I wish to live. We cannot both survive the Affirmation, therefore, the fetus must be removed."

"How far along is the pregnancy?"


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"I enter, as you say, the second trimester."

"Which, for Vulcans, is the fifth month, but fourth month equivalent." Wagner stared thoughtfully at the wall behind Taht. "I see why you don't transplant to an artificial womb. Too late to avoid damage to the fetus. And it's too early to survive a premature birth." The doctor stood up from her chair. "Okay, you've convinced me. I'll schedule you for next week." She reached for the stylus on the desk.

"No." Taht shifted in the chair. "It must be done immediately. Now."

The doctor regarded the Vulcan. The symmetry of the alien's black hair was vaguely off; the unpretty narrow face was set rock-hard. "Tomorrow at the earliest," Wagner said at last, frowning. "I've never aborted a Vulcan before and I have to look up the correct abortifacient. I rather doubt that the human hormones would do you much good, and the prostaglandins, I know, have undesirable side-effects in Vulcans."

"Then tomorrow morning," Taht conceded, rising from her seat.

"Fair enough." Wagner signaled for the nurse. "Tonight, I want you to get plenty of rest, and I'll see you first off in the morning." The lanky nurse entered. "Nurse Paterson, clear my calendar for early tomorrow morning, and put down Ms. Taht for a termination. Good day." The doctor smiled as the two left the office. Then, sighing, she sat down at the computer terminal and requested, "Vulcan. Pregnancy, termination of."

Dr. Wagner returned to the clinic early the next morning. As she had ordered, the nurse was already there. "Morning," Paterson called, looking up from her doodling. "Taht's already waiting for you in your office."

"Jaychrist, that woman's in a hurry," the doctor answered, stalking past Paterson, who rose and followed.

In the room, Taht sat in the same chair, with the same attitude, as on the previous afternoon. She did not respond to Wagner's hurried "Good morning."

Wagner sat down herself, and Paterson relaxed against the back wall. "Oddly enough;" the doctor began, "I could find no recommended chemical abortifacients in Amando's translation of Sukil's __Anatomy__, nor in any tome on Vulcan physiology. But I did locate a reference under __morbid__ __partus__ to the old physical method we Terrans call D & C, 'dilatation and curettage.' I don't want to induce premature labor--I'm not even sure I could this early, with you a Vulcan and all. But D & C is quite reliable at this stage, and still not too risky. So we'll go with that," Dr. Wagner finished, and stood to run a fast examination of the Vulcan's belly with her medical probe. The results agreed with her newly-refreshed knowledge of Vulcan norms, so Wagner turned to Paterson and said, "We'll use the differential field generator. Get her ready, please."

Nurse Paterson breezed past to lead the patient to the anti-gravity "chair." "The old stretch-n-scrape, eh?" she snickered.

"That's enough, Dea. Just do your job," Wagner said reprimandingly, gathering her instruments.

"Yessir," Paterson replied, helping Taht strip from the waist down and enter the operation area. Then she activated the controllable gravity field. Within the machine's open cubic frame, Taht's weight slowly faded, and uncharacteristic nausea arose in her stomach. "Hold on," said the nurse, as she programmed the complicated field necessary to supply Vulcan normal gravity to Taht's upper torso and head, and .25 G to her abdomen, while keeping her suspended where Paterson positioned her, 1 1/2 meters above the floor. "Spread your legs," she told Taht, and anchored them in another flux of the field.

Dr. Wagner was ready. "Sterile field," she ordered; Paterson snapped it on. Stepping up to the levitated body, the doctor placed her hand on the Vulcan's pelvis to steady her approach. With her separator, she gently dilated the neck of the uterus, and began to abrade its walls carefully with the light scalpel. The flow of green from the vagina distracted her slightly, but she ignored it. "Local field to 2, please, nurse," Wagner said. The mucoid blood ran faster.

Finally, the last of the uterine contents had been flushed out. Dr. Wagner ordered null gravity on the abdomen and quickly ran the healer's beam around the inside of Taht's womb.

"Finished. Clean her up, give her back her pants, and write up the bill," Wagner directed to Paterson, stepping into the office washroom. The nurse mock-saluted, and after allowing herself a moment to snigger privately at the sight of the helpless Vulcan floating in midair, legs apart, and the crotch a blotched green, did as she had been ordered, settling the alien on her feet and handing over the clothes. While Taht was refastening her robes, Dr. Wagner returned in a clean, light blue tunic.

"Do you feel any discomfort, any nausea? Cramps, twinges, feeling of heaviness?" the doctor reeled off, and Taht responded in the negative to each.

"Good. But I still want you to rest a couple of hours here. Let you go about noon," Wagner added, pulling the black tail of her hair out of her collar.


(page break)

"Doctor Wagner, I am perfectly fit. I wish to go now," Taht insisted, sliding away from Nurse Paterson's hand.

"Maybe so, but I want to keep you under observation for a short time. Most of my patients jump at the chance to relax during the day." Wagner smiled, taking Taht's upper left arm while Paterson took the right, and the two escorted her to a small room with a bed, off the examination area. "Now, relax. Doctor's orders." The door snicked shut.

"Good grief," Dr. Wagner exclaimed, grimacing. "Vulcans."

"I think Meow Ring is here already," Paterson noted, hustling toward the reception area.

"The contraceptive implant. Right. Show her in, then clean up the theater, will you, Dea?" Wagner asked, setting up the file on the terminal viewer.

Ten minutes later, after Ms. King had come and gone, Nurse Paterson ran into the examination room. "Guess what," she said, panting, to Dr. Wagner.

"The sun has gone nova," Wagner answered uninterestedly, not looking up from her writing.

"No, Taht has disappeared. She's gone," explained the nurse.

"Damn it, I told her to rest," said Wagner angrily, then shrugged. "Oh, well, if she's recovered enough to run off, she's certainly recovered enough to leave. Send her bill to the Vulcan Embassy. And Dea," she added, stopping the tall woman, "be a little--ah--'sub-tile,' y'know? Don't scrawl on it 'One Abortion, 25 Cr.' Remember how paranoid she was. Call it a 'treatment' or something."

"How 'bout 'Removal of a Growth'?" She took in the doctor's somewhat exasperated expression. "No, I guess not."

"Vulcans," Wagner repeated, shaking her head. "Next maybe Klingons. Or Gorns." She turned back to her desk.

"I wonder what kind of gynecological problems an intelligent saurian would have," Paterson mused idly, as she went to dispatch the dun.

"You're doing fine, Ms. Brophy; keep it up for another week. Come by again in about six days," Dr. Wagner reassured the woman, who shrugged under her thick shirt and slumped out.

"Call for you," came Nurse Paterson's voice over the intercom, sounding rather apprehensive. "Number three."

Strolling over to the com, Wagner depressed its third button. The screen resolved into a seated Vulcan man. "Record this," the stranger stated without preamble. After a instant of hesitation, Wagner slipped a cartridge into the recording slot. "On," she said to the screen.

"This is an official notification of the Tsaichrani people to the people of Terra that the Terran citizen known as Joyce Wagner, of Ottawa, Terra, gynecological doctor, is given two Terran days to settle her affairs, after which time she is to report to the Earth registry ship __Castoulette__, departing Stardate 3942.5 from space station __Neil__ __Armstrong__. This ship will bring her to Tsaichrani, where she will stand trial for the crime of murder against the citizen of Tsaichrani known as the unborn child of Taht, also citizen of Tsaichrani. This notification ends." The screen blanked.

"Da--what?!" Wagner bellowed, hit the intercom key. "Paterson, is this supposed to be some kind of a joke?"

"No, boss. I think it's for real." the nurse answered unhappily through the speakers.

"Shee-it! Get me my lawyer. I want to find out what the hell's going on." She snapped off the intercom angrily, and slumped against her elbow on the table. "They're insane," she muttered unbelievingly.

Finally, "Mr. Neeb on two," Paterson announced.

"Dick, I just got the craziest thing. I'll play it through for you." Wagner stuffed the cartridge into the slot and the recorded scenario reran on the screen. "What do you think of that?" she demanded when it ended.

"Is it true?" Neeb asked, lips pursed.

"Well, three days ago, this Vulcan woman named Taht waltzes in here and asks for an abortion. That's down on tape," Wagner stressed, canting her head at the viewer. "I did it the next day, then she disappears from my office and I forget about it. I figure it's 25 credits down the sink, but that's all. Then this guy just called a minute ago and tells me I'm wanted for murder. Dick, have I gone crazy or what?"

Neeb toyed with the stylus on his desk. Then, looking up, he said, "Well, frankly, Joyce, you're in a lot of trouble. The Vulcans have the right to call you up on this, since they call it


(page break)

murder. Terran law is superseded by the alien system when the crime charged is homicide or its equivalent."

"__Homicide__?! Dick, I did a simple __abortion__, for God's sake! With the consent of the mother--I got that on tape. That hasn't been illegal on Earth for over two hundred years!" the doctor yelled, flailing her solid brown arms about.

"Now, Joyce, don't get hysterical," Neeb said soothingly.

"Hysterical. I'm charged with murder and he says don't get hysterical," Wagner said to no one in particular. She stabbed her index finger at the screen. "You shyster, I pay my premiums; you got to get me off the hook."

"I can't, Joyce," Neeb said sadly, folding his hands.


"Attorneys in general, and Terran lawyers in particular, are not recognized by Vulcan jurisprudence. There's nothing I can do. You'll just have to face this by yourself. Good luck, honey." He signed off.

Paterson walked in to see Wagner sitting stunned before the blank com screen. "I'll kill him," the doctor said slowly. "I'll do an orchiectomy on that rat Neeb. I'll rip his heart out."

"What are you going to do?" asked Paterson, tucking a stray wisp of dark blonde hair behind her ear.

"I don't know," Wagner said bewilderedly. "This is ridiculous. It just doesn't happen!" She propped her cheek on her knuckles. "Who do you see in a case like this? Supposedly, I have only two days."

"The Omsbuds," supplied the nurse.

Wagner snapped her fingers and grimaced at Paterson. "The Omsbuds, of course. Try to get me an appointment for tomorrow. Tell them how urgent it is." She leaned back in her chair, closed her eves, and exhaled in relief.

"We have the brief from the Vulcans," began the Omsbuds, Rosa Velasquez, circling behind her desk, "and we do understand your apprehension. But, as your Mr. Neeb said, there is nothing we can do." The salty-haired woman lifted the resume from the pending file.

Wagner rolled her eyes at the ceiling. She lifted her hand, then dropped it heavily. "Why not?" she demanded. "Abortion is __not__ a crime. As a matter of fact, without it and the conception control methods, Earth probably would have overcrowded itself to death hundreds of years ago. We still need it today; no contraceptive is sure to the last digit for everyone. I fail to see the point of their charge."

To Vulcans, it is--liquidation of one of their citizens. This is their law. Throughout the Federation, a charge of--homicide--is always respected. I'm afraid you must stand trial. There is nothing we can do," Velasquez repeated sadly, closing the brief folder.

"But it's not a fair trial!" Wagner shouted. "It's on Vulcan, run by Vulcans, and the Vulcans are the aggrieved party. I don't even understand Vulcanir. I don't stand a chance!"

"I'm terribly sorry." Velasquez's lined face showed deep sympathy. "But we simply can't do a thing. The Vulcans are within their rights."

On board the __Castoulette__, Dr. Wagner was angry, disgusted, and very scared. During most of the eight day voyage, she stayed in her room, grappling with a quickie course in Vulcanir. Rest periods were spent sleeplessly wondering what would happen after the trial. There was no chance she knew, of acquittal. The whole case was flawlessly, fatally clear: she had stopped a life, even though it was a parasitical one, couldn't have survived on its own, and the mother had given full permission. The only question was, what would they do to her?

During the few times Wagner left her cabin, she would sometimes talk to one of the crew, an Ensign Seidl. He was on her side.

"That's such a drek," Seidl snarled on one occasion. "Who the hell do they think they are, ordering you away from Earth for doing one of their lousy bitches a favor?"

"Well, it's their law, after all," Wagner put in, nervously glancing at the walls. Every day, they seemed to close in more.

"One of these days, the Vulcans are gonna find out just whose laws count in this galaxy, promised the ensign, leaning back, nodding knowingly.

Wagner coughed. "That's not a very cosmopolitan attitude."


(page break)

"Arr." Seidl leaned across the table and spoke conspiratorially. "Look. Most of the guys on this ship are for you, you know. We could drop you off somewhere along the way. New Home, say."

"Uh-huh. And then try to explain to the Vulcans how I happened to disappear in this space. They know I got on the __Castoulette__; one of their own escorted me to my cabin," Wagner explained sourly. "Besides, me on the run? On a colony planet? Thanks, no; I'm just a simple gynecologist from Earth. And more, I want to get this over with."

"If you reconsider . . . ," Seidl offered.

". . . I know where to ask. Thanks, kid." Wagner patted his hand.

Dr. Wagner's first impression of Vulcan, upon beaming down, was of unbelievable heat. Sweat began beading on her forehead almost as soon as she had materialized. She plucked at her already damp tunic, and stumbled into the shade of a peculiar tree, falling onto the stone bench under it. She looked around at the desiccated orange landscape. Depressing. From the nearby port building, a for-a-Vulcan-plump young man emerged.

"Doctor Joyce Wagner of Terra," he said flatly.

"Yes?" the doctor confirmed.

Come with me, please. I am Selt." The short Vulcan turned and placidly walked toward a ground car.

Wagner gaped after him. "Hey, wait," she cried, starting to run, and tripping because of higher gravity. "My stuff." She gestured at the traveling case that had come with her.

Selt supported her as she stood up, brushing her sodden hair back. "It will be attended to. Come." He half supported, half dragged her to the car.

Inside, the temperature approximated Earth normal. 35°C--still decidedly hot, but better than the furnace outside. The gravity, however, was still oppressive, and pulled at her belly and breasts. Wagner struggled into the least uncomfortable position, while Selt started the car and programmed its itinerary. He then nestled under a laprobe.

"I am here to supply you with information you may wish to have. Do you have any questions?" offered Selt. Though obviously a very young man, he seemed to be in charge of the situation.

Wagner snorted. "Oh, hardly. Two weeks ago, the farthest I'd been away from home was cislunar flight, and now I'm an infanticidist a zillion kilometers away."

"Three hundred trillion kilometers. In that case-."

"Of __course__ I've got questions, dummy! What's going to happen to me?!" the doctor flared.

"You are to stand trial," Selt explained patiently.

Wagner put her hand over her eyes wearily. The gravity didn't help. Neither did Selt. "All right. Because I killed the kid, I know. But why is that so horrible? Why do I have to come so far for an essentially private matter between Taht and me?"

Selt looked at her a moment expressionlessly. Then he spoke. "For us, for the Tsaichrani, an abortion is not a 'private matter'. All beings of our race are cherished even in the womb, even before birth."

"The children belong to the State, is that it?" interrupted the Terran.

"No," Selt corrected, his black eyes seeming to deepen. "It is only that most children are planned for generations ahead. Taht's third child was to be a woman who would produce a Daughter. Now we must plan for another, lest we lack that Daughter and her wisdom one hundred years from now. Ours is not a populous planet, Dr. Wagner," he continued, speaking as if he himself were generations away. "There are only two million of our kind, the Tsaichrani, in the entire galaxy, and we decrease. We must need strive to continue our existence; we dare not sacrifice even one. Taht had been corrupted by, or at least during, her sojourn on Earth. She set her own existence above that of our people: she was not sane."

"Because she wanted to live," Wagner scoffed. "What did you do to her?"

"She is being cared for," Selt answered quietly. "Taht feared to die in the Affirmation--needlessly; the possibility of death was there and high for a pregnant woman, but not insurmountable. We would not have let her die, but she worried too greatly about her personal safety. It is hoped that we can purge her of her corruption, that overweening concern for self, and perhaps reclaim the necessary mother of the Daughter to come. We cannot afford the luxury you Terrans have of independent procreation. 'We live on the knife's edge', as it is said, between survival and extinction," Selt finished, and stared at the Terran.

Wagner looked at her hands. What could she say. "When does my trial begin?"


(page break)

"As soon as we arrive at the General Hall," Selt answered.

"What? But--but my translator is in my luggage, and I only just got here--," Wagner sputtered, waving her arm back toward the port.

"'Soonest begun, soonest done', as I believe you Terrans say. Moreover, your trial will be held in English," Selt said dispassionately.

"Wagner slumped back in her seat. "Thanks," she grunted. Then, "I don't believe this whole thing. This just can't be happening to a nice, normal person like myself." She set her mouth grimly.

Selt regarded her with raised eyebrow, but said nothing the rest of the way.

The General Hall, amazingly, had not only climate control, set to a very pleasant Earth normal, but even gravity control, also set to Terran norms. For the first time in almost two weeks, Wagner relaxed slightly, reflecting with part of her mind that the Vulcans must be rather uncomfortable. Then she noticed the decoration--if that's what it was--on the wall: a long-handled, semi-circular axe crossed with a wide-bladed sword. __Logic__, she emphasized to herself desperately, __logic__ __is__ __the__ __basis__ __of__ __Vulcan__ __culture__. All right, she answered, __but__ __I__ __just__ __hope__ __they__ __don't__ __consider__ __executions__ __logical__.

Selt directed her to the backless seat in the center of the octagonal room, and stood behind her. Wagner tugged her tunic straight, wishing that the whole thing were over, no matter what the outcome. Soon, she heard the jingle of hundreds of bells, counterpointed by an intermittent coppery "whong;" random as sea noise, and somehow as calming. There entered several tall, apparently middle-aged Vulcans of both sexes, pacing a rhythm in the bells' ringing Wagner hadn't been aware of until they denoted it. Then, through the entry strode an old Vulcan woman, with pure regality, total self-confidence, and complete strength. This, Dr. Wagner realized, was T'Pau, the Oldest One, who had guided Vulcan almost as long as Earth had been acquainted with the planet. Immediately, her incipient ulcer gave a twinge; if T'Pau was here as judge, she thought irrationally, the case must really be serious.

T'Pau settled in the bare wooden seat in the center of the semi-circle before Wagner; the remaining four chairs were filled by the other undoubtedly important Vulcans. Physically, T'Pau resembled Taht, small and slight. But the matriarch exuded a presence of calm, of absolute sanity and rationality, completely missing in Taht and only dimly echoed in Selt.

"Thee, Joyce Wagner of Earth, did twelve of your days ago destroy the unborn child of Taht of Tsaichrani?" T'Pau began suddenly.

Wagner looked at the old, old woman, responsible for the continued existence of the Vulcan race. "I did," she confessed at last.

"Thee, Joyce Wagner, was aware thy intervention would destroy the child?"

"I was," the doctor admitted. Her fear solidified as a cold chunk in her stomach.

"Thee, Joyce Wagner, was aware of our prohibition on the taking of fetal life?"

"I was __not__ aware," Wagner objected, jerking forward.

"I have read Amando's translation of Sukil's __Anatomy__, which was Dr. Wagner's reference, T'Pau," Selt injected smoothly. Wagner looked up at him, holding her breath. "The English version has been expurgated of ethical concerns; Tsaichrani's stand on all moral matters had been eliminated. Dr. Wagner could not have known directly of our objection to abortion."

"Yet was thee not intrigued by the absence of abortifacients, nor any list of abortion methods in the __Anatomy__?" T'Pau addressed Wagner, squashing the Terran's nascent hopes.

"Morals have nothing to do with medicine," The Terran said unthinkingly.

"They do not?" asked T'Pau, pulling back.

"Well--all right, all right, I'm wrong. They do," Wagner retracted. "There's the Hippocratic Oath, and all that." Her abdomen was tightening unendurably. "Of course I sort of wondered about the absence of methodology, but I __assumed__ your state of biochemistry--or hystero-surgery . . . . The __Anatomy__ didn't say anything about--__I__ __didn't__ __know__!" The human's face was a white-eyed skull of fear.

T'Pau raised her wooden scepter. "Enough. Thee were aware of immediate consequences and should have been aware of ethical consequences. Thee has destroyed a child of Tsaichrani. Thee are guilty of its __murder__." Back rigid, the Vulcan closed her eyes.

Oh, Lord. Oh, God in Heaven. This can't be happening to me! Not to __me__! Wagner closed her eyes as well, dragging in deep breaths to calm herself. Other than that, the room was very quiet.

T'Pau came out of her reverie, and the audience straightened to attention. Wagner leaned


(page break)

forward, dreading the Vulcan's next pronouncement, half-welcoming it for the release it would bring. "Thee, Joyce Wagner, who are the murderer of the child of Taht, may never henceforth treat as patients citizens of Tsaichrani." The silence closed back down again over the heads of the Vulcans bowed in acknowledgement. Wagner, still hunched forward waiting for the crash, looked up startled as the court rose and individually drifted out. Selt bent down and whispered, "You may go now, if you wish."

"Go?" she asked, astonished. "You mean, that's __it__?"

"If you mean, is the trial at a conclusion, yes, it is," Selt answered mildly. "Return passage to Earth aboard the __Ramayana__ has been reserved for you, leaving--."

"You mean __that's__ __it__?!" Wagner repeated louder, rising from the chair, staring uncomprehendingly, anger nascent, at the soft young man. "No sentence? No--no punishment? Just--just 'leave'?"

"How may retribution correct the situation?" T'Pau had remained behind seated on her dies. "How may the child live again? Let other physicians of Terra heed thy example. It is enough that thee will never repeat thy crime, for thee may not minister to Tsaichrani," the matriarch concluded quietly.

"I never did __before__!" Wagner exploded. "And I __damn__ well won't after this, you can be sure. But if that's all you wanted, th'--then why in God's name couldn't you have said so, back on Earth? Why drag me a zil--'three hundred trillion kilometers'--" with a disgusted glance at Selt, "--just for this--this--farce?!" she demanded, stomping across the room to glare at the Vulcan.

T'Pau raised her left eyebrow at the angry human. "It is required that the transgressor be present at his trial. Have you not the same custom on Terra?"

"But--. Do you seriously mean that I am the first Terran to be called up by your kangaroo court? Do you expect me to believe that I am the __only__ Earth doctor ever to abort a Vulcan fetus?"

T'Pau suddenly seemed to age. "Thee are as yet the only," she said slowly, a dry husking whisper. "But the corruption from outworld contact is deepening. We halt it where we can, but we must yet determine its cause." Her bottomless eyes bored down into Wagner's brown ones. "__Thee__ are Corruption, Joyce Wagner. Thee have murdered."

Unwittingly, Wagner shrunk under the alien's profound power, an ancient power she couldn't, and suspected she never would, comprehend. She took a step backward, stopped. Summoning her own, Terran, dignity, she spoke, quietly, but forcefully. "I can't accept that. I did not __murder__. I didn't act out of murderous intent, and I don't consider what I did wrong." She raised her hand to forestall an objection that wasn't there. "Oh, I won't abort any more Vulcan fetuses, not after this, but that won't stop me from human ones, when there's need to. And I'll tell you this: if I came across one of your people sick or injured, I probably would go ahead and treat him because I'm a doctor. But I respect your objections to abortion, now that I know about them and I'll refrain. I'd suggest, however, that you give non-Vulcan doctors a little more information so we won't go blundering into more situations like this one," the human finished sourly, folding her arms across her breast.

T'Pau looked back dispassionately. "Thee must go."

Shaking her head, Wagner said, "Don't worry; I won't be back." She headed about toward the hexagonal portal, her dark face darker with her wrath. "Joyce Wagner." T'Pau's call halted her, turned her around halfway to the door.

T'Pau stood alone in the high-ceilinged gloom, Selt having faded off somewhere. The black-white, frail woman, made smaller by distance, inclined her head pedantically. "Infinite diversity in infinite combinations creates all paths of the Universe. All have good. But not all __are__ good."

The human stared back with a mixture of disgust and indignation, then as T'Pau brought up her hand in a curious gesture, spun on her heel and stalked out. T'Pau watched her go, saying abstractly above her up-raised Salute, "Live Long and Prosper."




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