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.



THE NAKED TIME: SORRY

Cheree Cargill



Stardate: 1704.5. First Officer Spock recording.

What has she done to me?! I cannot think! I cannot focus! I feel a cauldron of emotions boiling out of me faster than I can identify them -- fear, sorrow, longing, need...

I must control! I must ... Christine, what have you done to me?!

I'm sorry... I cannot love you. I cannot! I don't know how ... what to feel for you. I must get out of this corridor, must hide myself. I must regain control! We only have a few more minutes to live! The ship ... spiraling down...

But then why don't I go back to her? Spend our last minutes together? It is so easy to turn and go back. Christine? How can you love me? How?

No! I must regain control of my emotions! I know what this is! The disease ... I've got it! She gave it to me! But how ... when ...

She took my hands and they tingled. Her hands were damp and mine became damp, too. That is not possible. Vulcans do not sweat except under the most extreme heat.

But is this not such heat that I feel within me now? I burn for her! Christine! I'm sorry ... I'm sorry ... I cannot ... love you ...

I am for another... One who does not set me aflame as you have done. One who has never touched me as you have done. Slipping your hands up on either side of my face, unafraid of the Alien, the non-Human ... you touched me like a lover, as an equal, with no rank or barrier between us. Simply as a man and woman together... So soft ... your hands are so soft...

"I love you..." you said. "...just as you are."

The honesty tore my soul apart. How can you know what I am? I have been careful to distance myself from all others aboard, to make myself aloof and apart. But somehow you penetrated through my shields, my defenses.

"I see things ... how honest you are..." you said. Oh, but I am not honest! I have allowed you to believe the lie of what I am. Don't you know that I cannot return your love? That I am forbidden to do so? Oh, Christine, I want to love you but I can't. I can't...

Grief wells up in me and I cannot stop it. I must get out of this corridor! Now! Before I lose all control.

I can barely see through the tears blurring my eyes but I realize I am beside the entrance to one of the briefing rooms. Quickly, I duck into the empty room and slap the lock, then fall heavily back against the doors. Tears burst free, blinding me. This cannot be happening!

"I am in control of my emotions!" I say aloud, forcefully, but they will not be denied. "...control ... of my..." I put a hand over my eyes, ashamed. Vulcans do not weep! Why can't I stop this?

I'm sorry ... I cannot love... It is impossible!

More lies! I try to deceive even myself! I have known love. Leila loved me and I loved her in return. But I could not tell her ... couldn't even touch her... couldn't caress her ... hold her...

Stop! Focus! We have only minutes left!

I straighten and pound my fist into my palm. "I am an officer!" I declare loudly, trying to get myself to listen. "...an officer..."

It doesn't work. I can't control it. The tears blind me even more and I stumble across to the conference table, encountering my chair at the computer console. I sit and grasp the comp. "My duty is to ... my duty..." I shake my head, trying to clear it.

"I'm sorry..." I say again, but this time I'm not even sure to whom I'm speaking. To Leila because I rebuffed her and drove her away? To Christine because I cannot give her the love she asks of me? To my mother because her only son is dying without saying to her what he should have? To Jim because I've failed him, failed my last duty to him ... to the ship?

I must get control of myself! I try a basic math table. "Two ... four ... six ..." I'm losing the last tenuous grasp of control. I feel it crumbling to dust and blowing away on the wind of grief. "Six ... six ..." The tears come unchecked. "I'm sorry..."

I give up. Laying my head on my arms, I allow the sorrow to wash over me and drown me in its rising waves.

Sobs wrack my body, cleansing me, purging me. Only minutes left now. Too late to do anything. Tired ... so tired now... of pretending. I will wait quietly now for the end. Only a few more minutes... Christine, you will never know now... I can love you. I do love you. But I can never tell you now...

I'm sorry...

THE END