DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Sue Bursztynski and is copyright (c) 1981 by Sue Bursztynski. This story originally appeared in R&R #16, Johanna Cantor, editor. This story is rated PG.
by Sue Bursztynski
He lay in a cheap hotel room, his skin like fire, but the burning inside him worse. He had deliberately chosen this cheap, vulgar place, though he could have afforded somewhere far more elegant; when he was found, it wouldn't matter so much. Things like this happened all the time in this part of town. At least he wouldn't be ruining the reputation of a decent hotel.
There was a clinking at the door, the sound of a key being fitted into a lock. The staff coming to rob the room? But they knew he was up here. The maid coming to change the sheets? A fit of weak laughter shook his frame at that irony.
She stood in the doorway as if hesitant to enter--then resolutely came in and shut the door behind her. She walked slowly toward him. He wanted to say something, but could not; he was too far gone.
"I won't let you commit suicide," she whispered, "I won't…"
Again he tried to speak, again failed. Finally he gave in, submitted wearily. For four years he had carefully eluded her. Four years. All over now. He was no longer capable of resistance.
* * *
"Well, you're okay for another few years," the doctor said, "until it chooses to make its appearance again. I suppose this round has shown that you can't count on seven years. If I were you, I'd marry--now. Though why you had to go down to the planet during shore leave instead of telling me, letting me help--"
"What could you have done, Doctor? You have nothing in that witch doctor's store of yours that could have helped me. I went where I would hurt no one--"
"To die! Fool!" McCoy snorted contemptuously. "Still, you found a way in the end, didn't you?"
A brow rose. "She told you?" He turned his head away. "Ms. Chapel came to me when I had neither power nor will left to resist--and saved my life. She asked nothing of me, refused my offer of marriage afterwards. But I did not ask her to help me!"
"She didn't tell me either. I examined her. I suggest you repeat that offer, though I'm not sure she'll accept even now. She wouldn't take advantage of the situation, not her. She's leaving Fleet -- to raise the child."
Spock's head whipped around. "That's impossible, Doctor. I am sterile. You know that. You have examined me yourself. It's in all the records."
"Correction. You were sterile. The foetus tests out part-Vulcan. It's yours all right."
"But--how--?" He was truly bewildered now.
"The last time I tested you was shortly before Omicron Ceti III. Afterwards, I experimented with a sterile laboratory rat. The result has been several litters. It didn't occur to me at the time to make links. Why should it? I just recorded the phenomenon, along with everything else. You know that the effects were permanent. Teeth grown back are healthy as ever, organs functioning perfectly. In fact, the plants are being used extensively in medicine these days. So why shouldn't they provide a little fertility for the infertile?"
Naked amazement and a kind of horror were spreading across the usually expressionless face. "If this is true..."
If this were true, it opened up all kinds of possibilities he did not like to consider. Leila … Zarabeth … the Romulan Commander on the way to Starbase·... and other women, under one circumstance or another.
He was a slave of duty. Duty had taken him from the women he had loved and duty might take him back to one of them. But which one? What if all had conceived? All given birth?
His orderly mind reeled....
* * *
A bright-eyed boy ran through the grass of a colony world. Already he had begun to suffer the scorn of the others for being different, but most of the time, life was pleasant. A butterfly landed on his arm. He laughed with pleasure and tried vainly to link with it.
* * *
On a snowbound planet, far back in the past, a small girl wrapped in furs learned the use of bow and arrows. Her midnight hair was a contrast to her mother's golden tresses, but her eyes were the same color, their blue strange under the tilted brows.
* * *
In the Romulan Empire, a tiny female child sat on her dormitory bed in the institution where she was being raised and wept softly; she wanted no one to hear, for it would only add fuel to their taunts, but life was hard for the child of a Commander executed for treason and one of the hated Federationers.
"I will be a warrior!" she vowed softly. "I will wipe out my mother's disgrace!"
* * *
Light-years away from all of them in space--and time--their father went to meditate before his firepot. It would be along time before he would get over his shock...