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) 1986 by Karen Bates Crouch. Originally published in Nuages 5.
Karen A. Bates-Crouch
Perhaps if he had protested stronger, they would never have beamed down to the planet. He shouldn't have ignored his feelings of premonition, warning of impending danger. The ship might not have been destroyed after he'd gone planetside with a rescue party, taking Scott, Uhura and Chekov to their everlasting. Such a waste of life, good friends gone forever in the twinkling of a moment. If he had gone with the original landing party, there wouldn't be the twisted, mangled bodies lying here in lifeless repose. Sulu scattered about the clearing, security personnel flung aside like so many rag dolls. McCoy wouldn't be lying over Kirk's body, dead from the blade meant for the Captain. His Captain. No more would the sparkling hazel eyes glance at him in their knowing way, telling him "I understand." No longer would the void be filled with the vibrant personality that was James Kirk. The terrible emptiness only minutes old was devouring him, ravaging his tormented soul. The sun glistened on the sharp edge of the small stiletto clenched tightly in his hand. The mind blocked out all but the face of his friend as the knife came home. Perhaps...
* * *
"...and let your father die and I'll hate you for the rest of my life."
* * *
Amanda stopped in the middle of the
Vulcan. A planet where she was still the foreigner, the alien. Over two thirds of her life had been spent on its arid surface, yet she was still just an "Earther". //There must be some part of me in you. Some part that I still can reach.// On Vulcan, she wasn't Amanda or Mrs. So and So, no. She was Sarek's wife. Maybe she should have changed her name to "Wife" and everyone would have been happy. Strike that. Nobody's "happy" on Vulcan. She had even missed her son's disastrous marriage because T'Pau, knowing Sarek was off-planet, had not seen fit to inform Amanda of the proceedings. After all, she was only his mother, his human mother. //Sarek, you and your son are tearing me apart again.//
"Sickbay to Amanda."
"This is Amanda, Doctor."
In a moment the tears were wiped away and only the serene expression of a Vulcan Ambassador's wife remained in their stead as she left the cabin.
* * *
"What did they offer you, Uhura?"
"Oh, just immortality."
* * *
Immortality. The very word had a flavor that sort
of stayed on your tongue after you said it. To be young and
beautiful forever. Forever. What a nice word.
Just think of the possibilities. With that kind of life expectancy, why not
consider at least an Admiralty, after a command of her own, of course. All the
scientific breakthroughs she could witness first and, not just have to dream
about them in a wistful "I wish" frame of mind. But most importantly,
not to have to wake up one day and look in the mirror and see an age-ravaged
face staring back at her. Not to feel her body become gnarled with arthritis or
any of the other disabling diseases. To be unsusceptible to the myriad of
plagues and illnesses encountered at every turn while exploring. All the
adventures she could store up to tell her children and children's children ad
infinitum. To see the wonderment in their young eyes as she recounted the
pioneering exploits of the
Her children. There would be no children. She would appear as a woman, function sexually as a woman, but there would be no children. No offspring to comfort her in her sorrows as her friends died one by one. But then, what man would want an android for a wife anyway? But, she wouldn't be an android. She would be Uhura ... in an android's body. When he touched her, all he would feel would be an inanimate shell casing of the real person buried deep within. There could only be friendships that would become less important as the years passed, becoming trivial interruptions in the flow of her existence. She would become as one of the many stars glowing coldly in space. Untouched and unaffected, yet existing in concord with the universe until the spark eventually went out. The unbearable loneliness. Immortality. The bitter taste could no longer be swallowed.
* * *
Spock joined the Captain and Doctor as they walked to the hangar deck for the fifteenth time in as many days. As usual, all three dress uniforms were impeccable and the respectful dodging around diplomats was done unconsciously. Kirk and McCoy conversed en route, taking their third member's silence as customary procedure.
//Eighteen years, fifty point three percent of my
life. He has refused to acknowledge my existence all these
years since I turned down admission to the
//Sarek is as imposing as ever. He has not altered with the passage of time. You really have not changed, have you? Still you refuse to recognize me as an officer in Starfleet. Your rudeness is most unbecoming of a Vulcan, Father. Mother. Subservient as always to a man who will not bend. Do you not grow tired of playing servant to a man, even if he is yours? I am sorry, Jim, for not telling you before. I can read the shock in your face. It is of no consequence. I have made all the proper motions and mouthed the correct platitudes. Ambassador Sarek has snubbed me in the face of all present, so I can now do as he did so long ago--I can walk away, knowing I have observed all the traditions and honored all the customs. I can now return to my duty. Protocol has been served.//
* * *
How dare you? Why do you always have to be so damned determined, so
obstinate in whatever you do? Everything was under control, moving in
accordance to logically conceived plans, but even as I laid them out, I knew you
would destroy them ... and me. You could not allow me this one last dignity;
instead, it was necessary to obtain a shuttlecraft and follow the
The computer has just informed me of the fuel consumption data for the craft. Long ago I chose death as the only possible recourse to my actions, but before surrendering myself to Dr. McCoy to stand trial for mutiny, there is something I will do in these last few moments of freedom. It is not the Vulcan way, but this once I will not resist the emotion I feel within me right now. James Kirk, I hate you.
* * *
Spock, I know you have my ship. I want to know why. Why you thought it
important enough to strand me on a starbase, important enough that I now have
two hours before the oxygen supply diminishes to nothing and I die. You stole
my ship. My
Mendez is convinced we will due out here in space, but I know better. I can
feel you inside me. I could easily forgive you for causing my death, but I will
see you destroyed, my friend, for taking my ship. The tractor beam is towing us
now, into the welcoming arms of my
* * *
Sometimes, when the bridge is real quiet and all that can be heard is the humming of the ship's heartbeat, things take on a different perspective. You can sit back in the chair and watch the stars go by, with a twinkling that make it look as if they're winking at you. It's times like this, too, when the Captain will gaze out into the emptiness, chin cupped in hand, and you wonder what it is he's really seeing out there or what twisting paths his thoughts are taking.
Most of the time, though, it seems that things are just plain hectic, an organized state of confusion, one could say. Everything hanging in the balance and all 430 lives suspended on the single thread of one man's decisions and words.
But the moments of chaos pass and serenity returns once more to the bridge and its occupants. The stars begin winking again as they journey past to places unknown and the ship murmurs a soft lullaby as you sit and watch the Captain dream his visions and ponder the yet unwon glories.
When it's quiet, things take on a new perspective. Sometimes.