DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Toni Cardinal-Price and is copyright (c) 1983 by Toni Cardinal-Price. This story is Rated PG. Originally published in Insatiable Curiosity, 1983, Martha Bonds editor.

 

TIL THE DAYS GO BY

Toni Cardinal-Price

 

Consciousness. His first sense was that of hearing. Even before his brain recognized and identified the sense, he was conscious of a buzzing noise which grew so deafening in the surrounding silence, his entire body shook with the vibration -- his sense of touch renewed.

 

Sound and touch remained his only link with consciousness until, with a tremendous jolt, his brain ordered him to breathe, and he did -- a deep, painful breath which started the blood roaring through his veins. Surging...pounding... pushing.

 

Intelligent thought came next; awareness of his surroundings, awareness of being alive. Memory of why he was where he was.

 

He was the living proof of the success of Genesis.

 

Remarkable!

 

Entombed in darkness, he reached out blindly, running his hands along the interior of the object which encased him. He found a protrusion, pulled sharply, and heard the resulting groan of shifting metal. Groping once more in the darkness, he pushed forward with rapidly returning strength and was rewarded as his receptacle gave way and opened wide, piercing darkness with light.

 

The brightness was for a moment too bright for his unadjusted vision. He kept his eyelids tightly closed and simply lay there, letting warmth seep into his still cold body.

 

As he lay, he recalled vividly, the moments leading up to his 'death'.

 

Death... resurrection. Perhaps after all these years, he could believe in miracles. Genesis seemed truly a miracle.

 

As warmth penetrated his bones, one name attached itself firmly to his memory. One name which superseded all other thought, even beyond the miracle which was now his life.

 

One name.

 

James Kirk.

 

He opened his eyes abruptly into the brightness, ignoring the momentary discomfort as his dilated pupils protested the assault by welling with tears. He breathed deeply the sweet, moist air which enfolded him, and let his eyes feast on the beauty around him.

 

And it was so beautiful. Lush and green, with plants and flowers of every imaginable hue, towering above him. Everything was covered with wetness as if after a rainfall. A warm breeze rustled the foliage the only sound his ears could decipher.

 

The sunlight was very pleasing, and he looked up at its source. A huge sun shone down upon him, and the fact that it and this planet existed due to Genesis was almost incomprehensible to him.

 

In the midst of so much beauty, he had a moment of vanity. He looked down at his hands that had been so badly burned and useless before his 'death' -- hands that were once more strong and unscarred. With those hands he touched his face and felt deep relief as he found that, too, unscarred.

 

Exhilaration rushed through his body and he climbed out of his receptacle and stood upon the ground. He stretched and twisted, testing each muscle in his body for fitness or injury. He felt good -- very good, perhaps even better than he had felt before his 'death'.

 

For a long while, he became entirely engrossed in his surroundings, surveying with a sharply analytical eye and assessing his gathered information logically.

 

This planet was certainly conducive to survival -- his survival.

 

There were a few insects of varying types visible, however, he could detect no animal life forms. Fruits of different shapes, colors and sizes covered various plants, assuring him of sustenance. He sought and found several streams of fresh water.

 

What he had learned of Genesis led him to the conclusion that there were no harmful elements here he could not overcome. And it was so beautiful.

 

An entire planet all his own. Yet ... he felt something... Loneliness?

 

He had known loneliness before -- many times in his life. The loneliness of being different, unique ... of being an experiment of sorts. No, it wasn't loneliness he felt, although there was a trace of emptiness that clung to him -- a rather vague feeling he sought to overcome.

 

He overcame it by allowing one other thought to gain control.

 

James Kirk.

 

He contemplated that name for a long while -- contemplated the emotional response the name had upon him. It was a response that touched every fibre of his being. James Kirk had been the catalyst for his emotional upheaval for many years and now he recognized the uncertainty of Kirk's fate was the direct cause of the emptiness he felt.

 

A new thought struck -- surely after all these years -- after his pre-occupation with one man -- he would somehow know if that one man still existed.

 

Suddenly frantic with need for that knowledge, he found a place to sit on the damp ground and turned all his concentration inward, seeking an answer within himself. He allowed himself, once again, to recall the moments before his life had 'ended', allowed himself to recall the confusion, the panic, the death and destruction. Images entered his mind. Were they glimpses of reality, or merely fragments of dreams produced in pain-filled delirium? Could he trust what his memory showed him, and believe in James Kirk's existence?

 

Yes! Yes, he could sense Kirk's continued survival. Somewhere deep inside, the knowledge of Kirk's existence filled him with emotion so powerful, he shuddered from the force of it.

 

After a long time, he stood once again and lifted his face to the warm sun. He felt as if he could draw the sun's energy into his own body -- absorb and contain it for future use. He felt a new exuberance, a new purpose fill him due to his confirmation of Kirk's existence.

 

He continued to walk, pondering his future. There was no doubt in his mind that he would be rescued from this planet. Scientists and survey teams would come in droves to study Genesis' miracle. It would only be a matter of time before he and Kirk were ... re-united. All he had to do was wait. Wait and think of that reunion.

 

He walked a few more yards and was brought to a sudden stop as a new sound echoed in the silence of his surroundings. It was a noise he could not quite identify, a noise very close.

 

Was it possible that his rescuers were already here? If so, was he ready for them?

 

Crouching, he moved forward, his inbred instincts taking over, alerting his senses and controlling his movements. He approached the vicinity of the noise, using the huge plants as cover.

 

When the source of the noise came into view, he could barely contain his gasp of surprise. He stood unmoving, and stared at the sight before him while his brain tried to decipher the reason for what he saw. A hundred reasons assaulted him -- a few made sense. The only logical reason brought a thrill of satisfaction running through him.

 

The figure before him now assured him that rescue was imminent -- assured him who his rescuers would be.

 

He had to act quickly -- had to rely on his genetically engineered intellect to devise a plan. He would be reunited with Kirk again ... soon. The tall alien with the pointed ears who stood in the clearing before him would be the lure that brought Kirk back to the Genesis planet. The lure and the instrument for his revenge.

 

Khan Noonian Singh lifted his face to the sun and smiled. This time, he would be victorious.

 

THE END