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) 1984 by Toni Cardinal-Price. This story is Rated PG-13. It was originally published in It Takes Time on Impulse, 1984, Harriett Stallings, editor.
Harry Morrow extracted his glass of Soluvian Brandy from the kitchen wall processor, and, very slowly, took a sip. The brandy was strong, smooth -- exactly how he liked it. He took another sip before setting the glass down.
Turning his attention to the cooking unit before him, he checked the temperature on his baking bread and added grated cheese to his spinach quiche. Sniffing the mouth-watering aroma and nodding with satisfaction, he began setting the dinner table.
Five minutes later, he paused to study his handiwork. The table was a picture of elegance -- candlelight adding its own romantic touch.
Checking his wrist chronometer for the time, Morrow pulled out a chair and sat down, patiently waiting for his wife of twenty years to come home from work.
* * *
Itta Mondatta shifted her briefcase under one arm, trying her best not to tip the dessert box she carried. She stepped into her apartment lift and gave the spoken code for her stop. A few moments Later, the lift doors opened and she stepped into her hall foyer.
"Harry? I'm home."
Her husband appeared a second later. As usual, he smiled with pleasure at seeing his wife, and, as usual, he kissed her tenderly.
"Harry!" she laughed in mock protest. "You'll crush the dessert! Here, take this box." She handed him the dessert box, then placed her briefcase on the couch. Following his retreat into the kitchen, she gratefully accepted the glass of brandy he gave her, then looked closely at him. "You look tired," she said quietly. She reached out and touched his face. "And sad." Her dark eyes wrinkled with worry. "How was your meeting with Jim?"
Morrow sighed heavily, frowning down at the drink he held.
"Harry ... what happened?" his wife asked softly, concern touching her ebony face. "Come sit down. Tell me."
They walked to the living room and sat on the couch. Itta Mondatta turned to her husband, to watch him as he spoke.
"Babe ... I ... It was just..." Morrow stammered for a moment, then shook his head. "He wanted me to break Fleet rules," he said finally, a trace of anger in his voice. "He wanted me to convince council to let him take the Enterprise back to Genesis!"
"Genesis?" Mondatta shook her head. "I don't understand. Why does he want to go to Genesis?"
"Because he's convinced that Spock's still alive," Harry Morrow retorted, standing up suddenly and pacing in front of the couch.
"Alive! What?... How?"
"It seems Spock's father came to Jim late yesterday," Morrow said, draining his drink as he paced. "He told Jim that Spock had some kind of ... 'living spirit' that has to be brought back to Vulcan so Spock's 'soul' won't be lost. A bunch or Vulcan mumbo-jumbo, and now Jim's convinced that if Spock's body can be recovered on Genesis, he can be re-united with this... spirit."
"But...where's Spock's spirit supposed to be?" Mondatta asked, trying to follow her husband's explanation.
Morrow gave a short, sarcastic laugh. "That's the real topper! Jim says Leonard McCoy's got Spock's spirit inside him !"
A short silence passed between them.
"What does Leonard say about it?" Mondatta asked finally.
Her husband shrugged. "He's retired to his apartment ... supposedly suffering from exhaustion."
"And has anyone from the council spoken to Ambassador Sarek about this?"
Morrow turned to her, slightly irritated. "Don't tell me you think there's a chance..."
"Don't get excited, Harry. It's not good for your blood pressure," Mondatta calmly cautioned, picking up her drink and standing. She walked into the kitchen, her husband following, and programmed them both another drink. She handed a glass to Morrow.
"There are several Vulcan rites which have been documented," she began quietly. "True, they're steeped in mystery, but reports of certain ... 'powers' abound. The Hall of Ancient Thought, while cloaked in privacy, is a documented fact, where a deceased mate's essence is somehow preserved forever."
Morrow was looking at his wife, open-mouthed with awe. He slowly shook his head. "But that's not what Jim wants, babe," he argued. "He wants to go back to Genesis, to get Spock's body, and then have Spock's 'spirit' rejoined with it!" The black man paused and rubbed a weary hand across his face. "Gods, now I sound as irrational as Jim." He sighed with irritation."The point is, Starfleet's not going to let him have the Enterprise back to go off on some ... 'wild goose chase'. He's just going to have to accept that!"
Itta Mondatta smiled sadly. "He won't."
"He'll have to!" Morrow almost shouted. "Look ... the Fleet recognizes the strain Jim's under ... the 'relationship' he and Spock shared. But they're not going to put up with any irrational nonsense by him." His dark eyes grew incredulous. "You know what he told me earlier, Itta? He said he'd find a ship, 'hire' a ship to take him to Genesis if necessary. He's willing to break Fleet orders and go back to Genesis on some pathetic ... ghost hunt."
"Of course he is, Harry!" his wife interrupted, her own voice rising. "They were bonded mates -- committed to one another, just the same as you and me! If Genesis offers Jim even the slightest chance that Spock's ... 'body' may be alive, then Jim's bound to try and recover it. You'd do the same if it were me, Harry. Wouldn't you?"
Harry Morrow's eyes widened at his wife's question. He hesitated, then said, "Babe ... I'm a Starfleet officer. I don't break rules..."
"Bullshit, Harry!" Mondatta angrily retorted. "Maybe you don't break rules ... but you can bend them. And you can at least try to understand what Jim Kirk's going through!"
They both fell silent for a moment as anger permeated the air between them. Finally Morrow reached out and gently touched his wife's arm.
"Yes," he said, softly, his voice low and uneven. "if it were you, I'd do exactly what Jim's doing."
Mondatta reached forward suddenly and pulled her husband into an embrace. She held him tightly and felt him tremble in her arms. When their embrace ended, she looked into his eyes and found a heart-rending sadness there. She reached up and touched his face, then smiled through the wetness in her own eyes.
"Come on," Morrow said. putting his arm around his wife and leading her to the dining area. "No more sadness tonight. I made your favorite dinner. Let's sit down and eat."
Itta Mondatta stopped her husband before the table and turned once more into his arms. She kissed him, slowly, seductively -- a long kiss that kept them both breathless when it ended. She reached out and began unfastening the buttons of her husband's shirt.
"Can't dinner wait?" she whispered, teasing his neck with her lips.
"And ruin my quiche?" Morrow answered with mock offense. He chuckled softly, then let his hands move slowly down her back until they came to rest on her buttocks. He caressed the softness there, pressing her body tightly in his own, and buried his face against her shoulder.
They were undressing when the intercom interrupted them. Morrow grimaced and his wife shrugged, moving to the device and pressing the audio control.
It was Janice Rand on the comm. A close personal friend of Mondatta's, she had sought the services of the black woman's law firm on several occasions.
Rand's voice was quiet, controlled as she spoke, but Mondatta heard the tension and worry in it.
"Jim Kirk's taken the Enterprise ." Rand informed. "The Excelsior was sent to stop him ... but they must have sabotaged her engines. Itta ... he's going to need a lawyer..."
"What?!" Harry Morrow had recovered from his initial shock of the information and had moved closer to the intercom. "Rand, when did this happen?"
The woman on the other end of the transmission hesitated, then said, "Only moments ago, sir. There's a lot of confusion here. I ... suspect Nogura will be contacting you shortly."
Harry Morrow turned away from the comm then, angrily slapping his hand against his naked thigh.
Mondatta reached down to the comm button. "Okay, Janice. I'll work on it. Thanks. Oh ... this conversation never took place, all right?"
"You've got it!" The woman on the other end sounded relieved.
Mondatta switched the comm button off.
A moment of silence followed, broken finally by Morrow's curse.
"Damn him! I can't believe he's done this! Damn him to hell!"
"Harry..." Mondatta began quietly.
Morrow swung around. His face filled with anger, concern, pain.
"This is the end of his career, Itta!" he said, his voice trembling with fury. "They'll court martial his ass for this one. Damn him!"
"Maybe not..." his wife said suddenly, her face intense. "It seems to me that there have been other incidents..." She walked to her personal computer console and began punching up data.
"I'm telling you, they'll crucify him for this," Morrow insisted, drawing up next to her. "Sabotaging and stealing a starship! He must be insane !"
"If I recall..." Mondatta was saying, totally ignoring him. "...there were some precedents set. I'll get the computer to compile those precedents and start work on them in the morning." She turned then and put her arms around her husband's waist. "Now ... where were we?"
"Itta!" Morrow grabbed her arms, extracting himself. "Don't you a realize what this means? Jim's career is through! He's ... a ... a criminal!"
"Oh, Harry ... you don't believe that any more than I do," she chastised. "He's a desperate man ... and if he feels there's one chance in a million that Spock's alive, then I'm all for him !"
Morrow opened his mouth to protest, when a buzzer sounded on a private line on the intercom panel.
"That'll be Nogura," Morrow said, agitated. He started towards the comm.
"Harry," Mondatta grabbed his arm, turning him back around. "Don't answer it."
Her husband stared at her, incredulous. "Itta, they'll want me in council. They need me to decide what to do."
"You can tell Nogura that the comm was malfunctioning" Itta Mondatta said suddenly. "You can tell him you couldn't hear it."
"They'll just send someone personally in a few minutes."
"Then we still have time." The black woman suddenly smiled, her face mischievous and seductive. " Let's go to bed, Harry. Let's make love." She moved closer to him, reaching for the waistband of the briefs -- the last of his clothing. She slipped her hand inside.
"Babe..." he protested, but his voice was weaker, losing its authority.
"Each second of time Jim Kirk can get, will help him," Itta Mondatta said softly, running her hand along her husband's muscular arm. "I know a perfect way we can help stall for time."
Morrow's face looked angry at first, then the lines of anger relaxed as he shook his head with wonder.
The buzzer on the comm sounded with irritating insistence.
Morrow pulled out of his wife's embrace and moved towards the comm. He reached for the blinking button.
"Harry..." Mondatta watched him, holding her breath.
He hesitated for a moment, then grabbed an ornament on a nearby table, jamming the sharp edge of it into the comm. It shorted out in a slower of sparks.
Morrow turned to face his wife then, and a slow smile touched his lips.
"That damned thing's been acting up lately anyhow," he laid quietly, shrugging innocently.
Itta Mondatta laughed and held her arms open as her husband crossed the room and gathered her into an embrace.
"We don't have much time," he warned her as she reached down to caress him.
"Why Harry," she teased in return. "You always perform best under pressure."
She laughed then and grabbed his hand, leading him to the bedroom.