DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Karen Bates Crouch and is copyright (c) 1984 by Karen Bates Crouch. Originally printed in Nuages Three.


Karen A. Bates-Crouch

Zarabeth's Lament

You came that day from far away. It is fortunate I even found you, or you would have died here. Our time together was short, but filled with emotion and, though you would deny it, love. It was so painful to watch you leave, knowing I would never see you again. To never feel your touch, or hear your voice...

Now I am alone again. The only voice I hear is mine, the only touch I feel is that of my own hand. At night I try to picture your face in my mind, but the vision is blurring with the passage of time. The child you planted within me could not survive the ravages of my world. I held him in my arms and felt him die.

Perhaps you no longer remember me, now that I am dust in the past. Your life is crowded with people, mine is silent. When you reach out, your hand touches someone who loves you, my hand caresses the empty air. Your children will revere your memory and speak of your great deeds, my son lies in a shallow grave beneath the ice.

You came that day from far away.

I wish you had never come.

* * *

"Never lose you. Never."

The Enterprise, sleek and beautiful even after all her years of service. Innumerable modifications had altered the graceful lines, yet had left the general configuration the same, always recognizable as that proud vessel. Many commanding officers had stood at her helm. Men and women, some human, others alien, had steered her among the stars, yet the greatest of them had not been her first, nor her longest in command. He had been the most adventurous, most daring and intuitive, his exploits legendary, his affinity with the ship unequaled.

Some claimed he still walked the corridors on quiet nights in the wee hours of the morning, as if meditating profound questions and decisions. Others spoke of his presence on the bridge during a crisis, as if to protect his ship from the incompetent fools that had succeeded him.

Now time had caught up with her. No longer could they continue modernizing, changing her to keep up with the rest of the fleet. A floating museum piece, they called her, an antiquity. So, gradually she was dismantled and dispersed to the many corners of the galaxy until nothing remained to remind them of her former glory.

There are some who tell of seeing a ship reminiscent of her deep in the uncharted sectors of space, mapping and exploring. No proof of this has ever been found and, in their sober moments the morning after, all storytellers somehow forget their indiscretions of the night before.

* * *

Fairy Tale

"I've lost you, haven't I?" All of her dreams shattered in an instant. Leila kept hearing the words echo over and over in her mind. Without the spores there was no acceptance of himself and his feelings for her. Why did it have to hurt so much to know she meant less to him than the man on the bridge he served? It was the hypocrisy that hurt the most. Under the spores he could admit to love. Without them he denied he was capable of such things. What facade would he destroy if he allowed himself to be any less than the perfect, emotionless Vulcan?

At least he had taken away her innocent illusions of love and life. Her memories of their time together on Omicron Ceti III were carefully wrapped up and placed in the darkest corners for storage. Clouds always appeared strictly as clouds to her now. Dragons were for fairy tales.

A fairy tale. All her life she'd been the beautiful princess waiting for the daring knight to carry her away from the tower prison. Her knight in shining armor had turned out to be an alien that denied love, and her tower prison was the lonely life she led. Omicron Ceti III had given her the chance for a happily ever after ending. Only the knight hadn't wanted her.

Leila smiled as she rolled over onto her side. Six months was long enough to cry. Fairy tales were for children. Some day she would tell her little girl about the dark, handsome knight who'd carried her mommy away from the tower prison ... for a day.

Did Vulcan children like fairy tales?

* * *

All the King's Horses

She was gone now. Forever removed from his life. This time there was no way to cheat death, no way of changing the rules of the game to make things turn our the way he wanted ... instead of the way things really were. How many times had he simply walked away smiling, knowing he'd beaten the grim reaper? A dozen? Two dozen? A hundred?

Had the reward been worth the price of her life? She had done nothing to deserve the fate of death. Her loyalty had been unquestionable, her value beyond measure. Now she was gone.

David had paid the price, too. Paid for his father's obsession to regain that which had been given up freely. Perhaps he could not measure up to the legendary stature of the one whose life he bought... The scale of life and death had balanced against him. A son for a son, only one son had more worth than the other.

All had been sacrificed to regain the single pearl of great price. Careers, lives ... and her. There was no way to put the pieces back together again.

No words of gratitude had been expressed, only faint acknowledgement of the price. A simple thank you, perhaps ... but one does not thank logic. It is done, and over. Life must go on from here. He has been restored to live, but all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put her back together again.

{For Teri Heyer, a remarkable woman who introduced me to fandom eight years ago. For everything. Teri, thank you.}

* * *


Spock stared at the limp body of his Captain, hanging by the ahn-woon strap. The fever was gone, but its havoc remained. McCoy was telling him to get his hands off, that Jim was dead. His head pounded. This couldn't be happening. Jim couldn't be dead...

"...Stonn wanted me. I wanted him." How dispassionate her voice sounded as she explained the logic behind choosing Kirk as her champion. "You would not want me for I had dared to challenge."

"T'Pau." He kept his voice steady, hiding the anger and pain inside.

"Yes, Spock?"

"I claim the woman, T'Pring."

"Thee hast that right," the old one acknowledged.

"No!" T'Pring objected. This wasn't the way... It was not logical...

"By the laws of thy forefathers, as victor, she is now thy property."

T'Pring grew smug again. She may be his property, but he would be gone, and Stonn would still be here. Logic was in order once more. It would not be the same as having Spock's name, but everything would work out.

"Spock to Enterprise."

"Enterprise, Uhura."

"Two to beam up." He raised his hand in parting. "Live long and prosper, T'Pau." Seizing T'Pring's arm, he propelled her away from the others. "Energize."