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) 2003 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG13.



JOURNEY TO BABEL: RECOVERY

Cheree Cargill



Stardate: 3844.9, Personal Log. First Officer Spock recording.

I was being consumed by fire and there was nothing I could do about it. The fire came from within me. It fed on my brain, my heart, the very blood in my veins, and I was slowly going insane from the torment I could not ease. It surged through every part of me, crisping my skin, shriveling my lungs, searing my internal organs to wisps of ash and I knew of only one thing that might quench the firestorm that was devouring me alive.

I had to connect with the one who was made of snow and ocean breezes and sanity. I had to let her sink into my very soul and vanquish the fires with her touch and voice, with the soothing depths of her exquisite femininity.

And she was standing before me, offering me sustenance. It was part of the tradition of bonding, for a man might only be served food by a woman who was his. The tray she carried would contain water to represent purity and life, tikh bread to represent health and sustenance, plomeek as the symbol of home and hearth, and finally a leaf of the blue haga plant to stand for her sexuality and fertility.

The woman standing now before me was purity and life. The scent of her skin had the same fresh quality as new-baked bread, wholesome and filling. The odor of plomeek filled my nostrils as she lifted the cover of the soup dish on the tray, and the liquid was the color of the Vulcan sky, stretching over the Place of Mating. And finally she was dressed entirely in blue, more than a leaf of haga but the entire bush, her readiness to receive me overwhelming the last vestige of control I hung onto.

I thrust the tray aside and pulled her to me, desperate to drown my fire in her soothing coolness and drenching rain. My mouth covered hers, my hand found her temple, and my mind thrust itself into the open halls of her own. I knew that she was startled but I could not stop myself. I turned us and had her on the top of my desk, vaguely aware that my free hand was clawing at the clothing separating us, hers and mine.

Abruptly I found myself on the sands of Vulcan, in the Ring Stones, and a body lay dead before me, slit open by the lirpa still clutched in my hands, green blood forming a spreading pool around the corpse. It was T'Pring and I had more than killed her. I had savaged her, released all my pent-up frustrations and the years of immersed hatred I had for her. I had purged myself and did not even feel the horror I should have. I was finally free of her, utterly free. She no longer had any power over me. I felt nothing but regret that I had not done this many years ago.

The dead woman opened her eyes and looked up at me. "So you finally accepted the logical conclusion," she commented, her black eyes still icy with her contempt for me. "Why did you not do this when we came of age? When you knew that neither of us wanted the other?"

I dropped the lirpa and backed away. "I could not," I managed from a dry throat. "I was afraid."

"Yes. Always running from what you know is right. Hiding behind duties and tradition." She got up and dusted herself off, ignoring the huge rip across her middle that still gushed blood. "Well, our Bond is severed now. Live long and prosper, Spock. I know I shall!" And she walked out of the Ring.

There was someone else in the Ring, standing on the sidelines, and I turned to face her, dazed. She was tall and blonde, dressed in blue, holding a tray with water and bread and plomeek. With reluctant steps, suddenly weak, I began to walk toward her.

* * *

I awoke in the night to find someone standing beside my bed. For a split second I was confused, for I did not recognize my surroundings, then my head cleared and I realized that I was not in my cabin, but Sickbay. It had been nothing but a vivid dream. Brought on by the trauma of the day, the medications. I remembered it all then. The jumble of images from the day's events came flooding back -- the attack on the ship, the attack on Jim, my father's surgery, my own part in it, the resolution of it all.

Sickbay was darkened with only utility lights shedding a bare illumination on the ward. I could hear my father's soft breathing from the next bed and Jim's snoring from across the room. I could not detect my mother. Evidently she had gone back to her cabin to sleep. All was quiet and in order, the instruments murmuring in the background. I was aware of the drip of the IV next to my bed, feeding hydration into my body, parched and drained by something other than blood fever. That had been long ago. I had not experienced it again.

Then the almost inaudible rustle of fabric attracted my attention again and I rolled my head toward the tall figure standing beside me.

Nurse Chapel. I recognized her clean, fresh smell. No perfume as some of the women were want to use but only the scent of antiseptic, warm skin and the crispness of her uniform fabric. Opening my eyes, I peered up at her, the darkness no barrier to my night vision.

She was looking not at me but at the instrument panel above my head and then jotted something down on the noteboard she carried. Of course. She was on duty and making her rounds. For an instant a different scene flashed before me, of awakening to find her bowing over me, radiating love and concern, then turning silently to go, thinking she would leave without my knowing she was there.

I had stopped her then but only total control on both our parts had prevented what might have been a disaster. There was no doubt of the emotions surging between us that day, for the blood fever sang in my veins and it met its perfect partner in the heat that reflected back from her. Of course it could not be. I was betrothed ... on my way home to my wife. I could not take what she so willingly offered, although it tore my heart loose from my side to send her away. It would have been sheer madness to break the Bond when I was on my way home to fulfill it. I had no choice but to dismiss Nurse Chapel that day. She could only feed the flames in my body, not extinguish them.

Her presence beside me now, however, was like a cool breeze, refreshing. I shifted in bed and instantly she was bending over me, peering into my face so that she could see me better, her vision not as acute in darkness as was mine.

"Mr. Spock? Are you in pain? Do you need anything?" she asked in a whisper so as not to disturb the ward's other patients.

I cleared my dry throat. "Water," I murmured. "Might I have ... water?"

"Of course." She reached to my bedside and retrieved a lidded mug with a straw. This she held to my lips and waited as I drew several long sips.

"Thank you." I lay back down on the bed, surprised at my weakness.

She saw. "It's alright, Mr. Spock," she said in a soft, confidential voice. "This is a side effect of the Trinumerine. It's because you lost so much blood during the transfusion and because your body is working so hard to restore it. The weakness should pass in a day or so."

I nodded and felt my eyes closing. Sleep was claiming me again.

"If you need anything, I'm just around the corner at the nurse's station. And I'll be making rounds again in two hours," I heard her voice tell me.

I nodded again, fast drifting off to sleep. Before I did, though, I heard myself mumble, "Christine ... would you make me some of ... that plomeek soup...?"

There was a low-pitched, indulgent chuckle and a cool hand rested against my forehead, pushing my sweaty bangs off my face. "Tomorrow," she whispered with a smile in her voice. "I promise. Sleep now..." Beloved. She didn't say it. I felt it through her touch. "Sleep..."

I did. And I suddenly understood my father's comment earlier in the day about the "logical thing to do."

THE END