DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2001 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG-13.


Cheree Cargill

Stardate: 1672.8. First Officer Spock recording.

Alpha 177 falls behind us. It is a world of no consequence and will soon be lost amid the endless lists of recorded planets we have charted and forgotten. Too far off the beaten track, too barren to support human life without environmental domes, nothing to warrant the building of such domes. Merely the one hundred and seventy-seventh M-class world we have charted in the Alpha Quadrant. At that, it barely qualifies as Class M. Perhaps suitable for terraforming at some future date, but it is highly doubtful that effort will ever be expended here when more suitable Human worlds await.

It is worthy of only a passing remark in the annals of Starfleet exploration. A mere footnote, again hardly worth mentioning except that regulations require it and it is a curious example of a technical malfunction. Here, on the edge of explored space, a crewman transported aboard in a contaminated uniform and this contamination caused the transporter to burn out a relay circuit. The next person to transport aboard caused that circuit to loop, forming his matrix into a duplicate pattern. Why it happened the way it happened may never be known, but to whom it happened is a fact. Captain Kirk was split into two men, opposite personalities, each incapable of functioning on his own.

Captain Kirk came near to collapsing, his power of decision and will torn from him by this accident. I watched him intently as he fought to hang on, scrambling to know what to do. His "good" side was kind and compassionate but forgetful and weak. His "evil" side proved to be willful and forceful, but also thoughtless and cruel. It shocked me immeasurably to see these two sides of his personality so cleanly divided. And I did not realize how much the ugly side of him, the dark side of his ego, was submerged until he attacked Yeoman Rand.

As she escaped him, I was the one to whom she ran in her panic. Perhaps because she automatically sought the highest ranking officer she could find, perhaps because the administrative ratings work underneath my command as First Officer. Perhaps because she is my yeoman as well as Kirk's, handling my clerical duties, and she simply trusted me to help her. In any case, she blundered into my office without announcement, disarrayed and sobbing, obviously in tremendous agitation

It startled me and left me fumbling for a moment. Such blatant emotion always does, but as she blurted out the reason for her unnerving appearance, I acted quickly. Taking her shoulders, I sat her down in my desk chair and made sure that she would not dissolve into complete hysterics, then I called sick bay and turned her over to Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel. Once they had arrived and were ministering to her, I called security and went to Rand's cabin to investigate.

It was obvious that there had been an altercation there. Things were slung about and out of place. Most disturbing was the open Saurian brandy bottle I discovered. Leaving the security officer to handle the investigation of evidence, I took the bottle with me to Captain Kirk's cabin.

I found him shirtless and befuddled, but he quickly denied any part in the attack. Nor did he admit knowing anything about visiting sick bay and demanding the brandy from McCoy. We proceeded there to get more information.

As we walked into McCoy's office, Yeoman Rand started visibly at the sight of Kirk, terrified, but Nurse Chapel administered a sedative and the yeoman calmed enough to talk. Rand sat sobbing as she related her story, torn between loyalty to the man she had admired and violation at what she had endured at his hands. The Captain stood before her, proclaiming his innocence and I wondered myself whether he was lying or not. A man capable of doing such a thing would certainly be capable of lying about it.

However, it did not take us long to unravel the mystery. The transporter malfunction had created a duplicate of him. It was the only logical answer. And this duplicate was acting in a manner wholly atypical of Jim Kirk's usual demeanor, completely opposite of his normal manner. It had split him into two men, one "good" and the other "evil."

And it made me wonder something else ... what if I had been the one beaming up when the transporter malfunctioned? Would I have been split this way? Would I have been torn into my Human and Vulcan halves? Would one have been "good" and the other "evil"? And which? By what standards would one judge such a thing? I live among Humans who are naturally prejudiced that "Human" means "good." Many equate "non-Human", by any definition, as "evil." I have served in Starfleet for over thirteen years and I still find myself encountering this same bigotry among these people on an almost daily basis.

But I consider myself Vulcan. I am a product of Vulcan culture and society and it, to me, is "good." Thus, if I were fully Vulcan, would that part of me also be "good" to those with whom I live and work? Would my Human side then be the "evil" part of me?

As I listened to Rand tell her story, I happened to look across the room and see Nurse Chapel standing back out of the way, waiting to lend her support to the other woman. The sudden thought crossed my mind: If I had been split in two, might I have sought her out the way the "bad" Kirk did his yeoman? Surely it would have been my Human half that did so. I cannot conceive that a Vulcan could do such a thing. I cannot conceive that I would do such a thing, but then neither can Captain Kirk believe himself capable of it.

I see Chapel most days as I make my inspections of the labs. We work closely together and I note that she tends to watch me with an expression that she supposes I do not notice. Does she think of me the same way that Rand thinks of the Captain? Is there an attraction there that cannot be returned?

I do admit that she is an attractive female, but so are many of the women with whom I work. I find Lt. Uhura and Yeoman Rand attractive as well, but it is only Chapel whose notice disturbs me. She has never been anything but completely professional, yet there is something in her eyes that I cannot identify which makes me wary.

No, that is not true. I can identify it, for I have seen it in other eyes. Leila looked at me the same way when I knew her six years ago on Earth. She wanted what I could not give and so does Christine.

I catch myself abruptly. Why do I suddenly think of her by her given name? It is not proper. Such familiarity would only be appropriate if we were pledged and that is an impossibility, even if I wished it. I am promised to another in a bond that cannot be broken. This woman is a crewmember under my command, nothing more. I will cease to even think of her any other way.

Chapel notices me looking at her and meets my eyes. The questioning look is there once more. Hurriedly I look away, back to Rand but my mind will not focus. Why do I not simply tell Chapel that I am betrothed? That what she hopes will never occur. No, to do so would be to meet her on a personal level. I prefer to keep it strictly professional. I must keep it strictly professional.

Rand has finished her tale and I dismiss her. Pointedly, I ignore Chapel and turn to the Captain, discussing the situation with him. We leave sick bay to track down the Imposter, as we have begun to call him. I can feel Chapel's eyes on me as I walk away but I do not acknowledge her.

* * *

I can still feel her eyes on my back. Why has this incident unsettled me so and turned my thoughts onto this path? There is no logic here. It is an emotional reaction that I struggle to contain.

Then sudden insight is like a nova bursting in the blackness. Of course there is no logic here! Why did I not recognize the roots of my dilemma before this? I had even argued the dispassionate factor with McCoy--"Being split in half is no theory with me, Doctor! I have a Human half, you see, as well as an alien half. Submerged. Constantly at war with one another!"

But I have been too close to the problem to see the simple solution. It is my Human half that has me agitated, that cannot stop thinking of Christine Chapel's intensely blue eyes locked on mine, that finds the prospect of a dual nature so disturbing. My Vulcan half has no such conflict. It waits in serene composure, secure in its cocoon of logic, sheltered from the storms that surround it.

I draw a deep and cleansing breath and re-center myself before the fire of the Shrine. Now that I can see the problem clearly, I take control once again, inexorably forcing my Human half back behind the locked shields of Vulcan truth and clarity.

It ceases to trouble me as once again I become whole.