Disclaimer: As we all know Paramount and Viacom own the universe we love to play in. The characters and Star Trek in general are theirs. Only the storyline is original. Copyright (c) 2004 Kiristeen ke Alaya. Rated NC17. This story deals with Amnesia, Slavery, Dominance and submission, and some medium level bondage. It does not deal with sado/masochism for those who may confuse bondage with S&M. Mainly it centers around having hidden desires that a very large percentage of people have and won't admit to (G)(at least to anyone other than themselves) and then only in the deepest darkest hours of the night.

Realms of the Forgotten

Kiristeen ke Alaya



Captain Kirk paced the dirty cell angrily. This landing party mission had been a disaster from the get go. Cultural misunderstandings and miscommunications had created many stumbling blocks to its completion. It had been his own stubborn refusal to give up that had landed them here. If he hadn't been utterly convinced they could come out of the early misunderstandings and complete their mission successfully, they would all be safe on board the Enterprise instead of separated and incarcerated.

He, Spock and Lt. Nelson were cooped up here with several native men and had been for the last two weeks. None of them had any idea where the women were being held or what was happening to them. It was frustrating in the extreme.

Their time in here had been an exercise in patience. With their equipment confiscated, they had been left with only the subcutaneous translators. While they were a marvelous tool, they were limited in scope. They readily translated the language spoken by those around them, so the three men had no trouble understanding. Unfortunately, the miniature versions had no way to translate what they spoke.

They had learned some of the local language. Spock, having been the most successful, was working with them to increase their own store of useable words.

"Captain," Spock said quietly.

Kirk spun around, ready to take his anger out on the first handy person, but as he completed his turn, the fire died from his eyes. "I know, Spock. I'm not doing anyone any good by wasting energy."

"Quite correct, Captain. However, that was not what I was going to say."

"Oh?"

"It appears we are going to have company," he said, pointing toward the opposite end of the corridor. As the three turned to look, everyone else in the cell rose, seemingly as one.

* * *

Kaytla surveyed her appearance. Her slave had done his usual wonderful job on her makeup and hair, but just as she had for the last two weeks, she still felt something wasn't quite right. It still felt like something was ... out of place ... or perhaps missing. She sighed deeply and caught the young man flinch away. She thought about ignoring his reaction, but something undefinable nagged at the back of her mind.

She knew she shouldn't care about a mere slave's feelings, but that 'something' would not let her hold her silence. "Relax, Aavar, you've done a wonderful job."

A tentative smile formed and he took a half step forward, still careful, she noted cynically, to stay out of arms reach. "Perhaps, Mistress, I could help you solve what is bothering you?" he asked hesitantly.

She turned to look at him fully, in absolute shock. "I appreciate the gesture," she said finally, wondering if perhaps he actually cared about how she was feeling. Of course not, a cynical little voice answered her. It's in a slave's best interest to keep his master or mistress happy. "But I really don't see how you, a mere slave, could help me."

Aavar flushed deeply and stepped back, his head down. "You're right, Mistress. Please forgive my presumption."

"Oh, it's quite all right, Aavar," she replied lightly, rising. "You were only trying to help."

"You are too kind, Mistress."

"Yes," she said, nodding in agreement. "And please do something about covering that bruise. It is most distasteful to look at."

Just because she'd had to discipline him, didn't mean she had to look at the results. Really! He should have more consideration for her station, she thought.

A light scratching at the door made her turn and resume her seat.

Aavar, crossed quickly and opened it. "Mistress Aora," he said respectfully and bowed her into the room.

Kaytla rose and rushed to the woman. "Aora!" she said happily, giving the dark skinned woman a tight hug.

After returning the hug, Aora pulled back and looked at her critically. "What's wrong? Is that problem we discussed still bothering you?"

Kaytla sighed and worried her lower lip. "Yes, I still can't get over the feeling that--"

Aora placed a finger on Kaytla's lips, stopping her mid-sentence. "Aavar, leave us. Your mistress will summon you when you are needed."

"Yes, Mistress," Aavar replied, quietly slipping out of the room.

Aora waited until the door closed behind him before removing her finger. "Go on."

Kaytla blushed. "I keep forgetting not to talk about it in front of the slaves."

"Yes," Aora responded. "It's quite natural to ignore their presence. Now go on," she said, leading Kaytla over to sit on her bed.

"It's just that, something doesn't feel right. I feel ... " Her voice trailed off.

"You feel like you've forgotten something important and if you only try hard enough you'll remember what it is."

"Yes, Exactly! How'd you know?"

"I've been doing a lot of thinking since the last time we talked about it and I have to admit that lately I've been feeling the same thing."

"Really?"

"Yes," Aora nodded. "But, you can't let it take over your life. You've got to snap out of this ... depression you've fallen into. Eventually, everything will fall into place and that 'thing' you can't make sense of will suddenly become clear."

"That's easier said than done."

"No, it's not," Aora answered firmly, then a bright grin spread across her exotic features.

"What?" Kaytla asked suspiciously, her own answering grin threatening.

"I know just what you need to cheer you up."

Then she did grin. Her eyes lit up like a child about to get a surprise gift. "What exactly did you have in mind?"

"We are going down to the pens."

Kaytla frowned. "Why ever for?"

"A new slave is just the thing to distract you from your problems," she answered with a grin.

* * *

A grin spread over Kirk's face as he realized just who the visitors were. Evidently those who'd so vehemently disagreed with them had not held it against the women. He quickly wiped the grin off though, realizing that being happy to see them, just might wipe out what good they'd managed to accomplish.

Watching them approach, he did wonder just what they had managed. As they drew nearer, his eyes widened in surprise.

"Wow!" Lt. Nelson said softly.

"Agreed, Lieutenant," Kirk said, his surprise coloring his voice. "I didn't know either of them could look that good."

"Lieutenant," Spock replied quietly. "I do not believe their attire makes either of them any more aesthetically pleasing."

Kirk and Nelson turned to him in surprise.

Nelson knew when to keep his mouth shut, but Kirk couldn't resist.

"Remind me sometime to ask you whether that means you don't find them 'aesthetically pleasing' now, or whether you already found them so."

Fortunately the arrival of the guards prevented Spock's reply. He gratefully turned his attention to them.

One guard unlocked the door and opened it, stepping back. "Everyone out!" she ordered.

Everyone there did as instructed and lined up along the corridor. This was not the first time in the last two weeks this had happened. Each time had left Kirk with a cold feeling in his gut. Each time offered one more chance that their party would be separated even further.

This time however, he stepped out with a sense of hope, albeit right along side a healthy dose of curiosity. He watched closely as the two women acted the parts they'd assigned themselves. But as they drew closer, he began to have second doubts. He leaned close to Spock and whispered, "They're laying it on pretty thick."

Spock didn't answer, but rather continued listening to the women, and wondered how they had managed such a swift command of the local language.

"In fact I think they're actually enjoying themselves."

"Indeed, Captain," Spock replied equally quietly. "Both seem to be exhibiting a greater talent for ... acting than I gave either of them credit for. However, my main concern is the function of the rather large gentlemen accompanying them."

"Yes," Kirk answered. "Is he their keeper or their bodyguard?"

"If he is their 'keeper', I do not rate our chances of escaping him highly."

Kirk nodded. "He does appear to be in excellent shape."

"Affirmative, Captain."

Kirk's attention refocused as Uhura and Chapel came close enough for him to hear them.

"Oh, Aora. They're all so, so ... plain. They're much better suited to manual labor."

"Unfortunately, I think you're right, Kaytla. This doesn't seem to be a very impressive lot."

Kirk frowned, but forced his misgivings down. After all, with the three of them at the end of the line, they had to have some reason for bypassing all the others. Even so, his stomach did an uneasy flip as Uhura and Chapel stepped in front of Spock. He relaxed when Chapel smiled. "Now, these seem to be different."

Spock stood stock-still, uncomfortably aware of Miss Chapel's eyes as they slowly traveled down, then up the length of his body. He could not remember a time when anyone had so frankly, observed his physical attributes. Fully aware of the apparent need for secrecy regarding prior knowledge of one another, his only outward reaction was the slightest tightening of his lips, but he made a mental note to mention at the debriefing that perhaps it is not always necessary to through oneself so fully into a role.

Kaytla leaned over to Aora and whispered. "This one is absolutely delicious. He fires my loins." Her eyes widened in surprise when the tall exotic man reacted with shock to her words. "He heard me."

Spock schooled his features.

She stepped forward, stopping only a hair's-breadth away from him.

He steeled himself not to step back.

"You," she said slowly, "have excellent hearing."

Spock remained silent.

"Are you good at anything else?"

Spock's eyebrow cocked upward. She was enjoying this far too much. "I good at many things," he answered haltingly in the same language.

"Really," she responded rather breathily. "Speaking doesn't seem to be one of them. Give me a good reason to purchase you."

Spock felt Kirk stiffen in outrage at his side and suspected he would not have to say anything about the encounter during the debriefing as the captain would say it for him. He fell back on the only answer he had. "I no want to be 'purchased' by anyone." She laughed, surprising him once again.

"Of course you do," she said slyly, circling slowly around him. "You cannot honestly tell me that you would prefer to remain here in this ... filth, to being purchased by me."

Spock found himself caught by her phrasing. "Logical," he grudgingly admitted. He almost winced slightly as Lt. Uhura laughed. He found it difficult to believe that she, too, would be enjoying his discomfort.

"So, give me one good, or to use your words, logical reason to purchase you."

Kirk moved forward, but before he could complete his action, the man who'd accompanied the two women wrapped a very large hand around the back of his neck pulling him effortlessly backward.

"Don't touch," he said, waiting for Kirk's nod before releasing his tight grip.

Kirk reached up and massaged the red hand-print warily.

Spock sighed almost imperceptibly. "Only that you want to," he answered finally, finding no other reason that could be stated aloud.

"Perceptive," Uhura replied with laughter in her voice.

The smile faded from Chapel's face and she suddenly reached up and grabbed hold of his chin turning his head to the side. He gasped softly. Raw, unadulterated, sexual desire flooded him with her touch and he struggled to control his own reaction to it.

"I like the ears," she said, turning her head toward Uhura, seemingly oblivious to Spock's reaction.

"They add a certain, unique quality, don't they?" Uhura responded thoughtfully. "Do you intend on purchasing him?"

"Yes, I believe so. You were right, Aora. This is just the thing to get my mind off my troubles," she said brightly, stepping back towards Uhura. "Do you see one you like?"

"Well, this one has fire," she answered pointing to Kirk. "I like my men to start with some fire in them. Makes it more fun to tame them." She laughed as Kirk's face tightened in anger. "See, he understands me perfectly well. He's even putting on a show."

Kirk's jaw dropped in stunned surprise. What the hell is she up to? he thought. This is beyond ... beyond. He couldn't even think of an appropriate word. When this was over that woman would be sorry she'd ever set foot on his bridge; they both would.

He seethed inwardly as the two women walked away still laughing.

As she turned to leave Kaytla saw Spock lean close to the fiery one and whisper something she couldn't hear. It was obvious they knew each other well. She wondered if they'd met before or after their enslavement.

"Attendant, we want numbers 33 and 34. Have them dressed in the appropriate house clothing," Kaytla said and handed the woman the appropriate talisman.

* * *

Spock shifted uncomfortably. What the 'attendant' had given them to wear was highly inappropriate. It covered far too little of him for any level of comfort. In fact it was no more than a loin cloth covered ... if it could be called that ... with a very sheer layer of free flowing material that gathered at his hips and ended well above mid-thigh.

He and the captain had been separated as soon as the reached this dwelling. It had not set well with the captain, nor himself, if he were completely honest. He had been mentally reviewing the actions of both Miss Chapel and Lt. Uhura, and in retrospect it caused him new concern. Taking stock of his situation, he looked around him. It was obviously a feminine boudoir. The vanity desk held various jars of scent and colored paints, as well as several tools that looked to be concerned with hair styling.

Everything in the large room was ... well, dainty, for lack of a better description. He continued his slow survey. Well, perhaps with the single exception of the rather large bed. His eyes slid away from that, well aware of what would have been expected, if he had really been purchased. One corner of his mouth quirked upward in ironic appreciation. He had to admit he never thought he'd be grateful to Miss Chapel for 'buying' him.

Frills and lacy material draped in every conceivable place. Definitely not the kind of setting he would envision her in... If he'd actually ever envisioned such a thing, he hastily amended to himself. He frowned. There was something more going on here, than met the casual glance. He was certain of it now. Much as he was ... uncomfortable with Miss Chapel's feelings for him, he knew beyond doubt that she would not have 'gone as far' as she did at the slave pens without some extenuating circumstances. What they may be however left him ... concerned.

What had happened that he and Captain Kirk were unaware of? The opening of the door interrupted his musing. He turned and faced the opening, unable to completely quell a strange fluttering in the pit of his abdomen. What he saw when Miss Chapel stepped through did nothing to ease his ... apprehension.

She had changed clothing and while her attire actually covered more of her than his did, it did not leave much more to the imagination. The outer layer was nearly as sheer as his, yet it hung in heavy, satin-like waves, hugging her every curve. The garment beneath it, darkly contrasted with it and covered just enough to incite control than he did, of course.

"Miss Chapel--" he stopped as she frowned.

"What did you call me?"

Was there someone eavesdropping? How could they communicate if their every word was monitored? Unsure as to, exactly what the appropriate response was, he remained silent.

"That's better," she purred. Moving forward slowly, her hips swaying with each step, she stopped only when standing no more than two inches away from him.

"From now on," she said, her voice dropping to a husky whisper. "You will refer to me as Mistress Kaytla, and then only when I require you to speak."

Spock swallowed before speaking, her nearness disturbing on several levels, some of which he had no desire to probe into. He forced himself to answer in the 'appropriate' manner and language. "Yes, Mistress Kaytla."

"Much better. You deserve to be rewarded," she said, circling behind him. As she moved, her gown brushed lightly against his skin, sending surprising tingles that radiated in all directions. He clamped down firmly on his response. Now was definitely not the time for that.

He nearly gasped at the feel of her fingernails as they trailed lightly down his spine, stopping only when she encounter the material flowing from his hips. Suddenly he was thankful for that flimsy piece and wished that perhaps it didn't feel like it might fall off with his next move.

He fought a sense of panic. He'd never been so out of control in a situation like this. He'd had his share of seductions, either under the influence of something or in the course of his duty, but in all those times, he had been or, at least had been made to appear to be, the aggressor. This was entirely new and it came with unexpected results. Breathing slowly and deeply he found his center and fought down all the conflicting thoughts.

He closed his eyes as her nails lightly scratched back up to his shoulders, gratified by his own non-responsiveness. Her hands stalled. Then he gasped in surprise as her bare hands palmed their way back down. Her lust washed over him, threatening to overwhelm him.

"So, something does get to you then. You like being touched."

"No!" he said firmly, only just preventing himself from shouting. "No," he repeated quietly. "I do not like being touched." Thankful, for being able to understand her, and for his quickly growing ability to decipher the proper grammar of the language.

Her caress turned hard and her fingernails bit into his skin. "How did I tell you to address me?" she asked, her voice suddenly turned steel.

"I do not like being touched ... Mistress Kaytla," he responded through tight lips. This time, however, better prepared for her completely unrestrained emotions, he sensed something else. This was not Christine Chapel, at least not the one he knew. They were not being overheard and she was not acting.

"I don't think that's quite, true," she purred leaning against his back. "You're reaction tells another story. Don't you know you're not supposed to lie to your Mistress?"

"I do not lie, Mistress Kaytla," he answered carefully. "I was only surprised by your touch."

He realized he was now in a very precarious position. The question was, what could he do about it?

"Hmmmm," she responded sounding thoughtful, her lips pressed against his back. "I suppose that is possible." She darted her tongue out to lick the base of his neck.

He stiffened and stepped away from her.

She hissed. "Stop right there!"

He turned. "I am much stronger than you. Probably stronger than you realize. What is to stop me from simply walking out of here?" he asked, hoping to find a topic to turn her mind away from its obvious path.

Surprisingly, she laughed a full throated, confident laugh. "Oh, just the guards outside the door and the guards strategically placed over the grounds. Slaves who attempt to escape are not well treated." She moved closer to him once again. "Besides, I don't think you're going to do anything to jeopardize your friend's life."

Spock's eyes narrowed. "Are you threatening him?" he asked carefully.

"No," she said with a shrug. "I don't need to. You seem to be intelligent. I'm sure you're aware that if you even tried to escape, it would not go well with your friend. It's only one of the best ways to keep control of new slaves."

She was right and Spock knew it. Until he could find a way to contact the captain, he was well and truly trapped. If only he could figure out what had happened to her, then he might actually be able to get somewhere.

He watched her thoughtfully a moment. "Perhaps you could tell me how long you've lived here," he asked finally.

"So," she said silkily. "You've decided to play nice." She laughed lightly. "One of your 'many talents', isn't small talk, is it?"

"No," Spock admitted ruefully. "My people don't usually engage in 'small talk'. We do not consider it ... logical."

"There's that word again. There's nothing logical in this room. And you," she said, trailing a finger along his cheekbone. "Forgot something again."

He wanted to debate that, he was logical and he was in the room. However, risking angering her was not the most logical course of action at this point, so he remained silent.

"You know, I've got a much better way to get on my good side." Taking one step closer she leaned against him running her hands over his bare chest.

How did she function with that level of sexual arousal, he wondered as he threw up his mental shields tightly, blocking out as much as was possible. Unfortunately it was beginning to dawn on him that it wasn't only her arousal that he was fighting.

He sighed, closing his eyes. Now was really not the time to discover this, he thought for the second time today. "Indeed, it seems that is the only thing you think about ... Mistress."

"Of course it is, right now anyway. I'm..." Her lips twitched upward. "...to use your word again ... aroused."

"I had noticed," Spock responded drily, catching her wrists as her hands made their way a little too low for comfort.

With a quick unexpected movement, she snapped her wrists free of his hands. "Don't do that again. You forget your place. Do not mistake the occasional leniency for softness. If need be--"

"There will be no need, Mistress," Spock said quickly. This was getting entirely out of hand. He had to think of something, and soon.

"That's good, I really prefer it that way. I dislike misbehavior," she cooed softly. Her hands once again wandering. She pulled back suddenly, pouting. "You really aren't interested, are you?"

"I did mention that earlier," he said calmly.

She turned and stomped off to the other side of the room.

Spock kept his sigh of relief strictly internal, but was very thankful that she was not the touch telepath.

"I know I'm attractive, what could ... Oh!" She turned suddenly. "You don't like girls, do you? You like--"

"No!" Spock retorted a little too quickly. He did not want to find out what she would plan if she really believed it.

"Are you sure?" she asked her eyes narrowing.

"Quite sure."

She stared at him at a moment, obviously not sure whether to believe him. "Do you have any experience?" she asked after a moment.

Spock drew himself up at the intrusive question. "I will not--" he stopped, realizing that only one answer would reroute her thoughts. "Yes."

"Oh, I understand now," she said cryptically and grin spread across her face that Spock did not care for.

"You do?" he asked uncertainly.

"Oh, yes. I do." She approached him again, this time with a definite twinkle in her eyes. "I've never thought to try it this way before, but it just might be fun."

"What ... might be fun?" he asked suspiciously.

"Well, first off, I'm going to give you three days to ... get used to ... being here. I'll even allow you to spend your first night here in the slaves quarters ... instead of here with me."

"Very ... generous, Mistress," Spock responded, gratified he'd managed to keep the dryness out of his tone.

"I thought so," she replied sincerely. "For those three days..." She looked pointed toward the bed. "I won't require your ... complete submission."

Spock sighed mentally in relief. They should be able to be long gone from here in less time than that.

"But..."

Oh no, Spock thought, what's the catch?

"I'm going to have fun seducing you in the meantime."

Spock ... wilted.

"Of course," she continued silkily, running her fingers through the hair on his chest. "If, at anytime during those three days, you feel you've acclimatized, feel free to let me know."

"If that should occur, Mistress, I assure you I will notify you," Spock replied.

At a scratch at the door, she jumped back and clapped her hands. "Oh, goodie. Now your training begins."

"Training?" Spock asked in dismay. "Mistress."

"Surely you did not believe you were fit to be a slave as you are now?"

"Of course not," Spock answered drily.

"Get the door," she ordered, as she settled herself leisurely, on the couch.

Spock nodded, heading for the door, wondering just where this day would end. There had to be a way to discover whether this was an incredible look-alike or whether this was, indeed, Christine without her memory. The irony of that, should the latter prove true, was not lost on him.

He accepted the tray of food that was handed him at the door, took a deep centering breath and returned to the room. 'Kaytla' was right where he had left her. He placed the tray on the low table in front of her.

"Very good," she said with a smile. "Now remove the lid and set it aside."

He did as he was bid, stood back and clasped his hands behind his back, noting the absence of any kind of meat.

"Come," she said softly. "Don't be so formal. Sit down here with me."

Spock hesitantly stepped forward, irrationally wishing for the ability to transport away from here right now.

"No, not on the couch. Right there, on the floor next to my feet."

As Spock seated himself, cross legged, he recognized the psychology of the unequal positions even as he fought against its impact. He had never before realized that not being completely in control of the situation could be so ... erotic. He mentally shook his head. He must not think such thoughts. He was a Vulcan and completely in control.

It had been much easier when she had been forcing it, and he had been concerned with the possibilities of what she might actually try to make him do. Now that she had 'backed off', in a manner of speaking, and he was no longer so concerned with that aspect, he was beginning to find he was fighting himself more and more, simply to will his body not to respond.

"Now, the proper position for you," she began as she pulled up his arm. "Is leaning against my leg, like this and draping your arm across my lap, just so," she said, placing his arm right where she wanted it.

Spock tensed at the close contact, but forced himself to relax his body, while keeping his shields up tight. He hoped her meal would not last long. Prolonged physical contact was going to make
this ... difficult. She was an incredibly passionate woman.

"Why don't you tell me your name?" she said, palming her hand down his arm to intertwine her fingers with his.

He started to pull his hand away, but she tightened her grip until he relaxed.

"If I like it, I may even let you keep it."

He instinctively rebelled against her 'right' to take away so basic a thing as his name, but knew it would not be wise to debate it. "I am called Spock."

"Spock," she said, letting his name roll slowly off her tongue. "Oh, I like that. I like the way it feels, when I say it. It makes me use my whole mouth."

Spock swallowed drily, wondering why that sounded like a sexual statement. "I am ... glad you approve."

He watched as she took three slow mouthfuls, his hopes of a quick meal, dwindling as she showed no inclination to hurry her repast. Then she set down her fork and looked down at him. Was that all she was going to eat?

"Now," she said, reaching across with her right hand and cupping his chin.

He forced himself not to pull away, but flinched, involuntarily.

She smiled. "It's time for you to learn that you are completely dependent on me for everything."

"That had already occurred to me," Spock answered.

Her hand tightened.

"Mistress."

Her hand relaxed. "Oh, I imagine it has," she began softly, raising her free hand and lightly caressing her finger over his temple. "Here. Where you need to learn it, is here," she finished, trailing her finger to the center of his chest.

He was almost afraid to ask. "And how do you intend to ... teach me this?"

"I was hoping you would ask. From this point forward you are not allowed to take food by your own hand. What you eat is what I give you," she said picking up a small chunk of what appeared to be fruit with her fingers and bringing it towards his mouth.

He remained still.

"Do you prefer punishment to leniency, discipline to food?" she asked sweetly, reminding him, despite her soft approach exactly who was in charge.

"No ... Mistress," Spock responded tersely, opening his mouth to accept the morsel.

"Much better," she said soothingly, pulling her finger back slowly, only after he had closed his mouth. "Besides, if you do not play by my rules, I may just decide not to allow you those three days."

After he finished swallowing, he looked up at her. "Let me see if I understand the rules. If I do not do everything 'required' of me, short of ... sexual intercourse, you will back out of your end of the bargain."

"That's right," she replied brightly. "I knew you were intelligent."

"I see, in other words, you are making up the rules as you go along."

She laughed delightedly. "Not quite. The one remains firm, for three days, unless you don't hold up your end."

She repeated her earlier move, this time maintaining eye contact as she ever so slowly brought that same finger back to her mouth and suckled it. Steadfastly ignoring the erotic nature of her move, Spock chewed slowly. Unable to be anywhere else, he watched as she continued eating, sucking the juice from her fingers one by one, in between each bite, apparently completely ignoring his presence. It was only their close contact that allowed him to detect the ruse. She was very aware of him.

Unfortunately, much to his dismay, he was growing more and more 'aware' of her as well. As a result he was less and less able to block her out. Even a Vulcan's control was not limitless. She drew out every gesture, making each move slow and seductive. On it continued, forming a pattern. She would take three bites, licking every drop of juice, real or imagined, from her fingers, then feed him one.

To his chagrin he found that by the time the meal was three quarters done, his mouth began to water as she placed the third piece of fruit in her own mouth. He tried suppressing the automatic reaction, but soon realized he was fighting too many battles at once and accepted the response as the lesser of three evils.

Just as he was being lulled into the routine, she changed tactics on him. She slid off the couch and straddled his lap, in one fluid movement.

He opened his mouth to protest and found another piece of fruit popped into his mouth. As he chewed, she lightly traced his lips with a single juice-covered finger. With her free hand she gently massaged his chest.

She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "It gives a whole new layer of meaning to eating, doesn't it?"

Spock had to admit, it did, indeed, add a completely new dimension. However he refrained from answering.

She laughed lightly. "Don't want to answer that, huh? Well, I suppose I don't blame you. You're fighting this with everything you have. If you were to admit even the tiniest thing, it would put a chink in that armor of yours, wouldn't it?"

His eyes widened. What had he done that made her suspect he was having any difficulties?

"Don't worry, I won't make you answer ... yet," she said reassuringly, laying a finger across his lips. "But, it's time to up the ante."

'Up the ante,' he thought and couldn't stop a slight flutter of ... concern in the pit of his stomach as he watched her pick up a piece of the fruit and place it between her teeth. His eyes widened as she leaned forward, bearing the fruit to his mouth with her own.

He leaned back and she caught both sides of his face in her hands. She brought her mouth to his, popping the fruit into his mouth with her tongue, deliberately brushing his top lip as she drew her tongue back out.

"Ah ah!! Remember the rules," she murmured against his lips as she gently nipped his lower lip between her teeth. Releasing it slowly, her tongue darted out and using only the tip, she licked the fruit juice from his lips.

As she pulled back to capture another piece of fruit, it began to dawn on him just what humans found so enticing about kissing. It was incredibly intimate, more so even than ... He stopped that train of thought in its tracks, but realized with just a touch of real fear that if this continued much longer he might not be able to maintain his pose of complete indifference and, unfortunately, she was in a position to notice it immediately.

She dropped her head slowly, inch by inch toward him, drawing out the tension until he suspected that if it were a tangible thing, it would snap. Finally, her mouth touched his, but when he attempted to accept the piece she held it between her teeth breaking it in half, each of them retaining a part.

She dropped her head lower and nuzzled his neck with her moist lips. He barely managed to stifle his gasp as she moved lower and hit that bundle of nerves where his shoulder met his neck. She lifted her head and laying her hands on both sides of his face once again, she began lowering her head.

"This time, you participate."

"Wha-at?" Spock asked, his voice cracking in the middle of the word.

"I said," she whispered against his lips. "This time you participate."

"That's what I thought you said," he responded, trying to put off the inevitable. He was having a difficult enough time with actively helping her.

"Now, now, no stalling," she teased and when he opened his mouth to protest, she pounced, pressing her lips firmly against his and darting her tongue inside, effectively prevent him from closing his mouth.

Almost unwillingly, he began responding to the caresses of her lips on his and her tongue's teasing movements within his mouth.

The instant he did so, her desire, battering against his shields jumped higher, and she moaned, moving slowly against him, her hips rubbing against his. He couldn't prevent the moan that escaped past his lips. He felt her sudden elation and knew he would soon be utterly lost.

To his complete astonishment, she stood up suddenly, a broad smile on her face.

He blinked twice, before it penetrated that he'd been given a very surprising reprieve.

She stepped forward, her expression softening as she softly caressed his cheek. "I got what I wanted, for now."

She walked across the room and pulled a cord, Spock had not noticed before. The door opened immediately afterward. She ignored the young man who entered, turning to Spock instead. "I'm tired, I am going to retire now. You may leave. Aavar will show you where you will be sleeping tonight."

Spock rose slowly.

She grinned, knowing full well, no matter how little it showed outwardly, she'd gotten under the skin of this exciting man tonight. "Unless of course, you'd prefer to stay, Spock," she invited, saying his name for only the second time tonight.

"No," Spock replied quietly. " ... Mistress, I would prefer to sleep elsewhere."

She shrugged. "Very well, Spock. Go now."

Spock nodded, and followed Aavar out of the room, feeling like what he was running from was not going to stay behind. As the door closed behind them, he took a deep cleansing breath and pushed all illogical thoughts from his mind.

Five steps down the corridor he heard the door open.

"Spock."

He stopped, reluctantly, and turned, his eyebrow raised in question.

"I thought I should let you know, that breakfast will be served in the main lounge. I will expect you to behave yourself and not embarrass me."

He blanched. "Like here?"

She looked surprised. "Of course," she replied. "What else did you think I was training you for?"

"I..." he began, then didn't finish when he realized there was no logical response to her question. What indeed?

She turned to reenter her room so Spock turned to resume his walk.

"Oh, and Spock," she called again.

He sighed and turned once again. "Yes?"

"If you forget my proper address in public, not only will I be forced to discipline you, I will also consider it a severe breach of our 'agreement'."

Spock merely nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

She cocked her head and stared at him expectantly, her eyes turning hard as blue steel.

"Yes, Mistress Kaytla," answered through clenched jaw.

She smiled and disappeared into her room.

He did not move until after he heard the door close.

* * *

Spock followed Aavar silently, ignoring the little dirty looks the young man kept throwing his way. He was a loss to explain them, but had no desire to find out why someone he didn't even know didn't like him. It could not possibly be based in logic, so there was no reason for him to inquire.

He memorized every detail of the trip, studying each maze-like turn minutely. 'Better than thinking,' some hidden portion of his psyche commented sarcastically. But he denied the thought. He had no intention of not being able to find his way out.

He noted as the decor changed from luxury to standard to sufficient. He noted also as it changed from spotlessly clean and in immaculate repair, to neat and in decent condition, to slightly unkempt and in need of several minor repairs. It was fascinatingly obvious exactly where the demarcation between upper-class, servant class, and slave class began and ended.

Three distinctly different class substructures under one roof and so well defined. If it were possible, he mused it would be a fascinating change to study the differences between the people raised in each one.

Aavar stopped in front of the first plain door in this section, interrupting his thoughts. "You're to stay in there until called," he said shortly, pointing to the door, then turned to go back the way
they had come.

"You don't stay down here?"

"No," he answered angrily. "I'm to go to my new Mistress."

Ah, Spock thought, that explained the looks. The young man 'fancied' Mist... He shook his head. 'Fancied' Christine.

He opened the door, disappointed to find it was a dormitory style sleeping quarters. Pushing that aside, he quickly scanned the room for an available bed. There were several unoccupied, but only three were stripped with bedding folded haphazardly on the ends.

He took one next to the wall.

With quick economical moves he made it, then immediately sat down on in it, crossing his legs under him. With a deep breath, he dropped into the light, first stage of his meditation. One by one he began picking apart the days events and storing them in neat little compartments.

Then dropping deeper he began trying to sort through his experiences this evening. Finally, believing he had labeled each thought and inappropriate feeling he'd had and he began his ascent back out of meditation, a stray thought taunted him elusively. He paused, searching it out, but when, after several minutes, he could not bring it into focus, he roused himself.

Vaguely unsettled by not being able to pin down that last errant thought, Spock quietly climbed under the covers and closed his eyes.

He startled awake, only to find himself not on the narrow cot, but instead on a rather large bed, surrounded by fluff and frills. His arms stretched out to the side and above his head. He started to sit up only to find his wrists were tied, he jerked on the bonds, once, twice. It accomplished nothing other than to make them tighter.

"Spock?"

His head jerked to his right and saw ... himself. Both eyebrows shot up to his hairline. "Who are you?" he asked.

He watched as the image of himself smiled openly. "I'm you."

"That is ridiculous," Spock responded. "There is only one me."

"Nevertheless it's true. I'm you and I know your little secret."

"You are not me," Spock insisted. "And I do not have a 'little secret'."

"Forgive me," the image replied sardonically. "You're correct. You don't have a little secret, you have a very big secret."

"I do not," Spock replied, growing annoyed. This conversation was not remotely logical.

"Of course it isn't," the image responded. "Conversations with your subconscious rarely are."

"What?"

"Haven't you figured it out yet? You're dreaming."

"Vulcan's do not dream."

"You're not fully Vulcan."

"I have never dreamed before," Spock stubbornly insisted.

Then dropped his jaw in shock, as the image laughed: loudly. It was very ... odd watching himself laugh.

"Yes, you have, but like most people you simply don't remember them. In fact you probably won't remember this one either."

"Something to be grateful for," he replied, once again testing his bonds.

"Oh, you won't be able to break them."

"Why not?"

"Because they are the chains of your mind."

"That does not make sense."

"Yes, it does."

Spock remained silent, not wanting to get into another 'yes, no, yes' argument.

"Do you want to know why it makes sense?"

Spock shook his head, no.

"Yes, you do," his image taunted. "So, I'll be nice and tell you. It makes sense because..." His image looked from left to right, then leaned down close to Spock's ear, lowering his voice to the merest whisper. "It makes sense because I know the secret you keep even from yourself."

Spock opened his mouth to deny the secret once again, only to snap his jaw shut, refusing to continue this childish debate.

He watched as his laughing image faded from view. He blinked twice, trying to clear his eyes. Giving in to the obvious, he was forced to admit he had to be dreaming. It was either that or he'd gone completely insane. The former was definitely preferable to the--"

"Spock?"

He jumped, surprised both by her sudden appearance on his left and by his own lack of ability to control his reaction.

"Nur--" He frowned, noting her clothing. "Mistress Kaytla?"

"Can you imagine my surprise at finding you here?" She sat on the edge of the bed beside him and reached out to trace one ear with her finger. "Did someone tell you I just love surprises?"

"No," Spock answered uneasily. "I am not here of my own free will. You said I had three days," he continued, then frowned when it came out sounding too petulant for comfort.

"Oh, you do; when you're awake. I don't control your presence here. You do. If you truly wanted to leave, you would."

Spock tested that theory.

"Still here?"

He did not answer the obviously rhetorical question.

"Well, that must mean you want to be here."

"It means no such thing. It indicates I am tied to this bed and unable to rise under my own power."

Kaytla chuckled low in her throat. "Don't you know that anything is possible in dreams. You just have to want it enough."

Spock gazed at the woman, who was now leaning over him, her hair falling down around the sides of her face. He was beginning to have difficulty separating the knowledge that this woman was Christine, yet was not. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. You just have to want it enough, he thought. Well, he definitely wanted out of this situation.

Seconds ticked by, then Kaytla laughed, startling him.

"See, you do want to be here."

This was as useless as the last argument he'd been in. It was entirely circular.

"Why do you continue to deny the obvious? Even I know the secret you keep," she said straightening and trailing her hand along the edge of the bed as she stalked slowly down the end. Grabbing hold of the ornate bedpost she swung her self around to the foot.

He watched her warily. "There is nothing obvious here, except that you obviously do not understand Vulcans."

"Your body tells me a different story," she said with a sly grin, her eyes traveling his body.

He followed her gaze and only then realized he was completely nude, without even the dubious protection of the flimsy attire he'd been wearing when he went to bed. He also noticed something else. He was most certainly not in control of his body's reactions!

Shame flooded him for his lack of control and he seemed unable to control his reaction to that either as heat and color flooded his face.

"Mmmm," Kaytla murmured, licking her lips with the tip of her tongue. "You look so absolutely ... edible. Just like your name, it would let me use my whole mouth."

"Wha-at?" Spock asked, a strange mixture of panic and heat suffused his body. His eyes were glued to hers as she slowly leaned forward. Her hands descended towards his ankles and he tried curling up, but couldn't move. His legs would not obey his commands.

She curled the fingers of each hand around his ankles massaging gentle, and her touch set electric charges up his legs. He gasped as her passion surged through him, mingling with his own rising desires. As she worked her way up to his knees, his mouth went dry, rendering him speechless. He swallowed quickly, several times, in an effort to make his vocal chords respond, but it was no use.

He could only watch in horrified fascination, as she worked her way higher inch by slow agonizing inch. He was torn between conflicting desires that she stop and that she move more quickly. His mind still rebelled against all that was happening and wanted nothing more than to find himself back in his cot, or better yet wake up on board the Enterprise finding the whole thing had been a dream.

An instantaneous thought flashed through his mind, that even if that unlikely event happened, he could never look at Christine Chapel in quite the same way.

His body, on the other hand, was screaming for her to move more quickly. The flesh of his swollen member ached with a need that was beyond suppressing. Every nerve tingled with an electricity as if with a life all their own.

She brought her knee up and climbed onto the bed. For the life of him, he could think of no better comparison than a leopard stalking its prey, with him as the prey. He licked his lips, hardly aware he was doing it, as her mouth lowered and nibbled on his inner thighs; first one then the other.

She licked, lipped, and nipped her way up the sides of his thigh to one hollow in his hip. She lingered there, nuzzling and sucking lightly, before turning her attention to the mirroring one on the opposite side.

He barely managed to prevent his body arching up in protest, resulting in a small twitch instead. He heard a groan and as he heard and felt her flicker of amusement, he realized it had been him that had made that desperate sound.

She rose up just slightly, then slithered her body up his, stopping only when her chest rested on his.

He moaned in protest. "No."

She stopped moving, resting her full weight against him. "No, what?"

"I," Spock began, then hesitated. "I don't ... know," he admitted, unable to reason past the fever of his body to figure out just what he was protesting.

"I know that," she said, dipping down and nipping his shoulder, then kissing and licking away the slight pain.

It sent shivers down his body, straight to his inflamed groin. "Mistress ... please," he heard himself plead.

"Very ... good," she responded between trailing light feather-like kisses up his neck to the base of his ear. "Tell me what you want," she whispered teasingly. She alternated between suckling on his earlobe and breathing hot, moist breath over the sensitive flesh, as she waited for his response.

He shook his head in desperate denial.

She lifted her head, to stare deeply into his eyes. "Tell me what you want," she whispered again, her voice firmer.

"No."

Her eyes hardened.

"No ... Mistress."

She dipped her head, teasing his other ear. Her hand darted down between them and firmly yet gently grasped his manhood.

He gasped in stunned surprise, as his flesh turned to molten fire.

"Tell me what you body wants."

That was easy, he thought, and, unfortunately, should be fairly obvious, But even as he sought to deny it, he found himself responding. "My ... body wants ... you."

She smiled, lifting her head to once again gaze at Spock. Caressing his cheek with one palm. "That wasn't so difficult, now was it?" she said softly. Not waiting for a response she knew she wouldn't get, she moved lower, teasing his nipples with her teeth and tongue.

He knew what was going to happen. His body ached, nay, burned for it. He desperately wanted to say something, anything, to stop it, but at this moment in time, his body's needs ruled his mind and wouldn't let him say a word.

He tensed as that nimble, moist tongue darted out, circling his navel and taunted him, searching out and ably finding each and every spot that could inflame his senses, beyond what he'd ever thought possible.

He arched up against her as, once again, she purposely avoided what his body demanded.

On and on it continued as both his and her sweeping desire rode him in waves. She teased and taunted, drawing out the pleasurable torture until he felt like his heart would burst from his chest; until even his mind stopped protesting and joined his body in the desperate need for completion.

"Please," he whispered fiercely and he felt a jump in her desire that made his body tremble and his mind spin.

He gasped sharply as her mouth closed over the tip of him and a hand encircled his testicles. The instantaneous sense of relief was quickly obliterated by an intense, building tension. Every nerve, every sense, every thought focused solely on that one portion of his anatomy as she took him, all of him, into her and moved slowly up and down the shaft. Allowing her teeth the gently graze over the ridges before once again swallowing him to the base, she continued stroking below, alternating between fingering his tightening testicles and circling that nether hole.

His mind blanked out as his body exploded.

He arched and awoke, trembling as his climax spent itself, covering him with sticky wetness. As the tension in his body eased, he took several deep, centering breaths in an attempt to control his trembling. To his surprise he couldn't stop it completely.

"Don't worry, it happens to everyone the first night here," came a quiet whisper.

"What?" Spock asked, looking up suddenly. He hadn't realized anyone else was awake.

"Nightmares," he said, rising to one elbow, his covers slipping down to his waist. "Until you get used to being here, they will bother you. But you do get used to it."

He started to deny having a 'nightmare', but realized doing so, might provoke further conversation with this man and that was not what he wanted right now. "Indeed, These circumstance do have certain 'nightmarish' qualities," he acknowledged.

"If you want to shower undisturbed this morning, you'd better get in there now," he said, glancing over his shoulder. "These guys'll be awake very shortly. It's the door at the end of the room. Oh, and they deliver new clothes every morning."

Spock frowned at the knowing look in the man's eyes, but did not question what he thought he knew. He was not sure he wanted to know. Instead, he rose, keeping the blanket wrapped firmly around himself. "Thank you," he said and strode down the aisle formed by the ends of the cots with as much dignity as he could muster, while wearing not much more than a blanket.

* * *

As Spock grabbed one of the folded towels and quickly undressed, he was grateful for his neighbor's advice. The room was completely open, with fifteen shower heads along one wall and one long bench along the opposite side. Even the waste facilities had absolutely no privacy features.

Turning on the nearest shower, he stepped in, regardless of the cold. However, the shock of the nearly freezing water made him gasp and he cleaned himself off as quickly as was possible. The water warmed slowly, never reaching more than tepid.

He stayed under the water, ignoring his body's reaction to the less than satisfactory warmth, unduly gratified by his ability to do so. But, no matter how much he scrubbed, or how much water flowed over him, he could not make sense of the dream. Without thought, he stopped cleaning and pressed both palms to the wall, allowing his head to drop between his arms. The water flowed freely down his back.

Dreams often did not make sense. He knew that. They most often had absolutely nothing to do with reality. He knew that also. Unfortunately, he also knew that dreams often were the subconscious mind's attempt to work out some inner turmoil. Nevertheless, he'd never had one quite so ... disturbing, on so many levels.

Why had he said 'Vulcans don't dream.'? They did. He had; many times. Why had the mocking image, so obviously meant to be some hidden part of himself, responded with "You're not fully Vulcan"? That had nothing to do with anything.

Now, fully awake and rational, he had no trouble deciphering what the 'little secret' supposedly was. The symbolism of the dream had not exactly been subtle. However, as a Vulcan, there was not even the remotest possibility of it being true. He sought through his psyche. Having ruled out the obvious, he sought some deeper symbolism.

After several minutes, he realized he was getting nowhere. The dream had been overtly sexual, brought on by the bizarre events of the day that had preceded it. It was nothing more than that. Not even a Vulcan could control the contents of their dreams after such disturbing events.

As soon as he was absolutely sure no trace of the unthinkable remained, he stepped out of the lukewarm spray and turned it off with more force than he intended. He took a deep, centering breath as he reached for his towel.

Spock looked up at the sound of the door opening. As the men filed in, all noisily talking to one another, he finished securing the blanket around himself and headed out to see if new clothing had indeed been supplied.

It had. To his immense relief, he saw items of a more substantial nature than what he'd worn the night before. As he reached for one set, he heard a familiar voice.

"Better watch which one you take."

He turned to face his neighbor and, apparently, self appointed guardian. "Pardon me?" he asked.

"Each set of clothing is for a specific person. The set you were reaching for belongs, I believe, to Amarat. You don't want to get on his bad side. He's head slave, mean, and big as a horse, and none of it excess fat."

Spock's eyebrow shot up. "Surely an exaggeration."

The man laughed heartily. "Perhaps," he replied. "but not by much."

"Indeed," Spock responded, turning to face the piles of clothing once again. "So how is one to know which set is meant for whom."

"They're labeled," he replied as he rose from his position leaning against the wall. "Usually in the slave's native language."

"In my case," Spock answered, carefully searching through the nearest pile of clothes. "I do not believe that will be possible."

"You'd be surprised what's possible here," he said, looking around Spock's shoulder to the clothing. He moved to the side and began inspecting the outfits on the opposite end from Spock. Three piles later, he pulled out a set. "These must be yours."

Spock's eyebrow went up and his hopes went down. Pushing down his distaste for what the other man held, he reached out for them. "Why do you say that?"

"Well, I don't recognize the language and I know at least a smidgen of the native languages of everyone else here. Besides which," he continued as Spock took the clothing. "They look identical to what you were wearing before."

"Unfortunately, that is quite true," he said inspecting them. Then he froze a brief second as his name, written on a piece of paper in Vulcan. He looked up at the other man. "How?"

"I told you, you'd be surprised at what is possible here."

"Indeed," Spock answered absently, returning to his cot to change into the clothing. It was after all better than the blanket, or nothing.

Just as Spock was settling onto his cot for an attempt at meditation, three loud bell tones sounded. He looked questioningly at the man on the next cot.

"It's the five minute warning. We've got that long before we need to head out."

No sooner had he finished speaking than the end door opened and the other men came piling out. All of them headed for the clothing. However, at a deep, bass growl from someone in the crowd, everyone stepped aside, forming a path ... for the largest humanoid Spock had ever seen.

He turned to his neighbor to find him grinning, somewhat ruefully. "I must admit, you're exaggeration was a small one," he said, very quietly. Vulcan he may be, and stronger than most humanoids, but he had no intention of coming to the attention of this specific one.

After another moment's contemplation of the situation, he returned his attention to the man. "I am Spock."

"I am known as Koran."

"Known as?"

Koran grinned slyly. "Yep," was all he said.

Spock followed the rest of the men, who were dressed, more or less, just as he was. They had been separated at the dormitory door into four groups. At that time, it became readily apparent that attire was directly related to 'job description'. It made him decidedly ... uncomfortable with the knowledge that everyone who saw him would know exactly what was expected of him. He knew beyond any doubt that most, if not all, would assume he was already ... fulfilling his 'duties'.

He fell toward the back of the group, being in no particular hurry to reach his destination. He had been unable to meditate this morning, due to the barrage of highly person questions that had been thrown at him from all sides. Of course they'd never seen a Vulcan before and were quite fascinated by his ears.

That, he could handle. It was when they began questioning him regarding Kaytla/Christine that the questions became intrusive. Apparently, everyone here knew of Kaytla and the fact that she'd been recently adopted into the high family. It was also apparent that there was a certain amount of prestige involved with being, Spock shuddered, the 'body servant' to a member of the high family, as well as an equal amount of fame.

So, now, while he had the chance, he began some of the easier centering rituals; ones that could be accomplished on the move. He was only half way through the second set, when their group entered the large dining hall. Surprise caused him to lift an eyebrow. He had expected a family dining situation, not this ... banquet hall setting.

As instructed, he scanned the room, looking for Kaytla. He was further dismayed when he spotted her. She was sitting at the head table, which was in turn on a raised dais. He steeled himself to feel nothing. It had to be done. It was duty and nothing more. Logic dictated that since he could not get out of doing it, he should do it with dignity.

With squared shoulders and an easy, even gait, he strode up to the dais. It was then, he took the time to notice the other 'body servants'. All of them really were draped across their master or mistress's laps, just as Kaytla had instructed him last night. He had, illogically, hoped, she had been less than truthful about the circumstances.

He hesitated at the base, not sure of the protocol. The last thing he wanted was to offend her by doing something inadvertently. If there was a point he would draw a line, and step over into 'disobedience', he wanted it to be with full knowledge before hand.

A fraction of a second was all it took. A young woman, dressed very similarly to himself, stepped past him and up onto the dais. He followed suit. The woman hurried to the far end of the table and gracefully seated herself. That made him the last person standing.

He headed for Kaytla's seat. He was startled by an odd fluttering deep in the pit of his belly. He almost stopped, to analyze the sensation, but remembered where he was and continued forward without a noticeable hesitation. As he neared, Kaytla looked up, her gaze steely.

He kept his features expressionless as he sat, just as he was supposed to, but had to fight his reaction to her presence. It took him completely by surprise. He had never reacted this way in her presence before. Why was he doing so now? He resolutely pushed the issue to the back of his mind. He would have to decipher the puzzle later, there was not time, now.

As he settled into place, his own sense of perfection noting he did not accomplish it with the same grace as the woman just prior to him, Kaytla leaned down to whisper in his ear.

"Do not be the last one again. It makes people believe you are not eager to serve me. You have begun the day with a black mark against you. It is my advice that you do not earn another."

Spock barely managed to prevent a sigh. In his effort not to do anything wrong, he inadvertently had. It seemed to him, this was a no-win scenario. Caught between the proverbial 'rock and a hard place', he sat still, carefully taking his clues from the others on the dais, who were in a like position. Though, he refused to emulate two of them, who seemed to be fawning over their 'owners'.

To all appearances, Kaytla virtually ignored him, for which he was grateful. He was busy trying to understand himself to have to fend her off without offending her. Not all of the 'owners' present were doing so. Unfortunately for him, he was all too aware of the fact that his presence was not forgotten and was, in fact, a very prominent feature in her state of mind.

He could not understand how she could function 'normally' with her seemingly constant state of high arousal. Right now, it was all he could do to keep it from overwhelming him. He was pulled from his concerns when two things happened at once. The older man sitting on Kaytla's right turned and asked her a question, and Spock noticed the captain out of the corner of his eye. He was making his way toward the dais, carrying a large tray of food.

Previous to this moment in time he would not have thought it possible, but the captain was wearing even less than he was. "Is your new slave not behaving himself?"

Spock winced, just slightly. Kirk neared their position as she turned to the gray haired man.

"Quite the contrary, he has been behaving himself very well. He is everything I could have hoped for in a body servant."

Spock noticed the captain's surprised hesitation, which he covered quickly by offering the first 'couple' their food.

"Considering the fact that he has been a slave for a very short time and he lacks expertise in many areas, I am certain that given time, he will be the best slave I've ever owned," she answered, absently petting his arm.

He noted that the captain's face was as expressionless as he'd ever seen it, as he served Kaytla her food.

"Then why do you ignore him? Surely, if you have him as well trained as you claim to, he deserves a reward."

Spock studiously ignored the conversation taking place about him, finding it surprisingly difficult to control the rush of blood to his face. He managed it, but it was not easy. Too many personal assumptions were being made on his behalf.

Instead, he watched the captain as closely as he dared, and noticed that he moved with just a touch of stiffness. It was then Spock realized, he had not once wondered how Jim Kirk had been fairing in all this.

Had he been able to suppress his proud independent spirit, or was the stiffness he was displaying actually pain? Had he been punished for disobedience? Spock knew, from past experience, that Kirk was entirely capable of maintaining his stubbornness beyond what was logical for his well being.

"Your attention is supposed to be centered on me, Spock," Kaytla whispered fiercely. "Perhaps you need another lesson."

Spock blinked, brought his attention back to her and found himself caught in her angry gaze. She was holding a fork full of some type of vegetable. With a guilty start, he realized he didn't know how long she'd been holding it there. He leaned forward and carefully pulled it off with his teeth, never once breaking eye contact and acutely aware of Kirk's sudden attention.

Kaytla petted his arm approvingly, before returning her attention to her meal. He nodded to himself, satisfied he'd regained a step to her good graces. Perhaps the more he did 'right', the less likely she would be do require something of him he would be unwilling to give. At least during his 'grace' period, he added reluctantly.

This time keeping more attention on Kaytla, he returned only a portion of his focus to Kirk, trying to discern whether or not he had been harmed. He could not decide. The possible causes of his apparent discomfort were too many. None of which he could rule out, most of which he did not care to contemplate.

He absently accepted another mouthful of food and was startled when a surprisingly strong hand gripped his chin, forcing his head up once again. Of course if he had resisted she would not have had the strength to do so. However it was not the time, nor was it important enough to risk the time she had allowed him.

"I see you do need a lesson as to where your attention should be." Never releasing her grip on his chin, she lowered her head.

She was going to kiss him, he realized with a start. Was this the line? No, it was not. It was only a kiss.

Her lips touched his still ones.

He did not respond.

She pulled back until her lips just barely brushed his. "You are breaking the rules," she said quietly enough that only he could hear.

The threat implicit in her words came through loud and clear. The question was, did it really matter? It was not as if she could really carry through on her threat. Besides touching him, what could she do? It was not as if she could arouse him against his will and without that, her threat of 'ravishment', held little power. No sooner had that thought completed itself when an image from the dream flashed behind his eyes and he was no longer so absolutely certain she could not coax exactly the response she wanted.

When her lips once again pressed against his, he responded, parting his lips and allowing her agile tongue entrance. It was either kiss her now, he reasoned, or quite possibly pay for it later.

It began as a gentle, seduction, but deepened quickly. A quick shudder traveled his body as he felt a tingling begin deep within him. Images from the dream slammed full force into his thoughts as he remembered them doing exactly the same thing then. He struggled against his body's response. It was not appropriate.

He should be shamed by his behavior. He should pull back and refuse to participate in his own enslavement. This was entirely against his will, regardless of his participation. Why then did his body not remember that? Why did it turn traitor to his mind's commands?

He could not make sense of it and before he could even come close to understanding, she pulled back, her eyes twinkling brightly. "Much better," she said, stroking his cheek lightly.

To his growing horror, he realized he was feeling pride at her approval. This could not be, he thought vehemently. I am Vulcan. He felt out of control and had no idea how to stop the spiraling. Each moment built on the one before, never quite going back to normal before the next instant put him further off balance.

He realized then that he would have to concentrate solely on his objective if he was to remain impassive. For the moment, he needed to push his concern for his captain and friend out of his mind and concentrate only on the need to control himself. For the first time this morning, he turned his full attention to the woman who called herself his Mistress.

It was then he realized the full extent of his distraction. There was meat on her plate. Relief coursed through him that she had yet to try to give him any. What would he do if she did? At this point he was no longer sure of anything.

His entire adult life he had spent completely in control of who he was and what he did. Joining Star Fleet against his father's wishes had been that first step. Each time he followed orders of those higher in his chain of command, he did so willingly. It was his decision to do everything he did.

Now, for the first time in his adult life, he was doing things solely because someone else told him to. It was ... disconcerting. No, Spock thought, it was more than that. If he was completely honest with himself, it was an experience he would never forget. Somehow he knew, this captivity, no matter how brief it turned out to be would have a profound affect on the rest of his life.

The meal took on a surreal air. Kaytla controlled the pattern, she controlled everything. There seemed nothing he could do to prevent any of it. Each time she fed him, she kissed him, requiring him to respond in kind. And while he was busy struggling with his own ethics, and hoping she continued with solely vegetarian foods, life went on around him.

It was halfway through the meal that it penetrated his self absorption that she had caught him in a trap of his own making. His mind was becoming as enslaved to her commands and his physical self was enslaved by circumstances. It was becoming automatic to do exactly as she asked, as soon as she asked it.

He saw Kirk only three times during the rest of the meal, which seemed to be quite the drawn out affair. He could not remember any other event where time had seemed to pass so slowly. Despite his ability to precisely measure the passage of time, each minute seemed to drag on, inordinately long.

Just as some small portion of irrationality inside of him began to wonder if this ordeal would ever actually end, Kaytla pushed her plate away and made to rise. He pulled back to allow her to do so, gratified by the chance to be alone inside himself once again.

Just as she stood, a loud crash and the sounds of shouting startled everyone at the table. Spock turned and if he'd still been capable of being surprised by the constant unexpected turns of this situation, he would have been now. As it was he felt the muscles in his shoulders loosen and lower.

Kirk was struggling between two large men, in front of a well dressed man, who was covered in gravy. The silver tray and the broken remnants of the gravy bowl were scattered over the table and floor.

"I ... have ... had ... it!"

Spock watched Uhura, or rather Aora rise, her face tight and angry.

"You," she said in a low, barely-controlled voice, then pointed directly at Kirk. "Are untrainable. Perhaps some time in the mines will make you realize just how lucky you were to have been here."

The mines? he thought, then grew concerned as Kaytla gasped quietly beside him.

The two men pulled Kirk from the room, fighting them the whole way.

Kaytla turned to him and surprised him with her touch. Her eyes were filled with sympathy. "I'm sorry about your friend, but some people simply cannot adapt," she said softly then turned and left the room.

Spock stood right where he was for long moments. Kaytla's act of sympathy both confused and concerned him. From his interactions with her, he had not noticed that sympathy and kindness to 'slaves' was one of her strong suits. It touched him, in an odd way, that she would do so now.

It also made him worry about Jim's safety. What was so much worse about the mines that she would be driven to offer that sympathy? As he stared at the door through which Jim had been taken, he unconsciously worried his lower lip.

A light touch on his arm jerked him back to his own situation. Turning in the direction of the touch, he had to look down to see who had sought his attention. A humanoid female that stood only as tall as mid-chest, looked up at him with large sad eyes. "Yes?" he asked.

"It's known that you and that other male were brought here together," she began hesitantly.

"Yes," he responded, nodding once. "We were."

She gave him a half smile, that never reached her eyes. "I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend."

Spock's eyes narrowed. Loss? "What--"

The young woman's head snapped around at a call from across the room. "I'm sorry, I've got to go now," she said as she backed away quickly. "Again, I'm really sorry."

He wanted to question her further, but as he watched her race across the now nearly empty room, he realized that there was going to be no chance of that. Taking a deep breath, he scanned the room, wondering if there was some way he could expedite their escape.

At the moment he could think of absolutely nothing. His only ... hope ... was that the Enterprise would discover what had happened to them ... and soon. Now, left to his own devices, he was not quite sure what he should do. He headed back toward the dormitory. He made it half way across the room.

"Halt!"

He did so, looking to see where the command had originated from and whether or not it was directed at him. As he did so, he could not help but notice he was the center of attention of those still remaining. All of them slaves or servants, as far as he could tell. Most of them, were either shaking their heads sadly or simply staring at him in what appeared to be an equal mixture of sympathy or pity.

He raised an eyebrow, making sure not to let any of his discomfiture show. Under the current circumstances he did not think it was a good sign to be under such close scrutiny. He completed half a turn, then noticed the person who had obviously called out.

He was coming directly toward him and was not looking sympathetic. He stopped right in front of Spock. "Where do you think you are going?" he demanded harshly.

"Under the absence of direct information to the contrary, I was going to return to the dormitory," Spock answered smoothly, omitting the fact that between here and there he had fully intended to explore what escape opportunities might be available.

The calm logical answer seemed to fluster the man momentarily, however, that did not last long. "You are a body servant. You will report to your Mistress's quarters and wait upon her pleasure! Now!"

"Very well," Spock answered and turned to follow the same route he had before this man had stopped him.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" The same man bellowed, striding after him.

Spock turned reluctantly. "I am endeavoring to follow my instructions," he answered with great, apparent, patience.

"That's not the way!" he said, continuing to yell, despite the fact that he was mere inches from Spock.

Preventing himself from flinching away from the overly loud and obnoxious, man, he also had to resist the sudden and illogical impulse to reach up and quiet him with a quick, quiet nerve pinch. That would serve only to further the trouble he was in.

"It is the only route I am currently aware of."

The man, obviously a supervisor of some sort, rolled his eyes in annoyance, then snapped his fingers. Immediately a child, who could not have been more that 10-12 Earth years of age, appeared at his side.

"Take this ... incompetent, to Mistress Kaytla's quarters."

"Yes, Sir!" the child answered bobbing his head in a quick acknowledgment. Immediately turning toward the main door, he headed out at a fast pace.

Spock ignored the man's slur and followed the child out of the dining hall.

* * *

"Now, that's jist the way things is around here," the boy continued.

Spock reminded himself that this boy was merely a child, raised in this society. He had been raised to accept his lot in life and not question whether or not it was right. A boy that had not stopped talking since the dining hall doors had closed behind them; 4.567 minutes ago.

"Ya need jist pay no nevermind to that pitza that was a yellin atcha. Jist let it go in one ear and out ta other. As long as ya don' yell back, hit 'im and ya does as ya's told, ya'll have no probs."
Three turns and four corridors and the child's constant chatter later, Spock began to recognize his surroundings and knew he could find his way from this point. They had been brought through this corridor when they'd arrived yesterday. He also came to two separate conclusions.

"Now, Mistress Kaytla she be new here, but..."

Whoever had designed this building had either intended it to be extremely confusing, or didn't know the first thing about architecture. And, this place was a lot larger than it appeared.

Holding up a hand to, hopefully, pause the boy's nonstop monologue, Spock turned toward him. And breathed a sigh of relief as the boy actually stopped talking. "I now know where I am. You can go back to your other duties as I can find my way from here."

The boy shook his head earnestly. "Oh, no. I can't do that! I was tol to take ya there, an that's jist what I's goin to do. I'd as like to get in trouble if'n I didn't. Besides," he said with a grin. "Talkin wa ya is ever so much more fun than a doin my chores. I like you. Yer differnt."

Spock's eyebrow shot up at that last. It was the first time he'd been told he was 'liked' because he was 'differnt'. "Indeed, young man. I am different. You may proceed."

"Oh thankee!" The boy grinned and resumed both walking and talking.

"Nother thing I like about ya, is ya talk all proper like." The boy turned his head to glance at him. "Would you be mindin if I tried to talk like you?"

Spock was suddenly at a loss for words. It lasted only moments, but the surprised pleasure he felt at the boy's charming request would be remembered a very long time. "I would be honored if you attempted to emulate my speech."

The boy grinned widely. "em ... u ... late," he said slowly, rolling the word around his tongue. "I like that un." He cocked his head and frowned slightly. "What's it mean?"

Spock almost smiled. Instead, he answered the boy's question. "It means to copy or try to be like."

"Oh, okay. I'll have ta member that un."

Spock watched as the boy continued to mouth the word silently several times. It kept him busy and quiet for all of 15.4 seconds, then he launched into a narrative about how he'd come to live here. It was quite convoluted, filled with he dids and she dids, along with a plethora of and then I was withs, followed by but they didn't want to keep me, sos.

It was so confusing that Spock was actually having trouble following it. Either the child was making it up as he went along, or his improper grammar hid an intelligence that Spock regretted would probably go to waste here.

"Well, here we is," he said triumphantly, stopping at Kaytla's door.

"Well, here we are," Spock absently corrected.

"Are," the boy obediently repeated.

Spock nodded approvingly and stepped toward the door. Unfortunately having a 'tour guide' had prevented his original exploration intentions, but there was nothing to be done for it, at the moment. He was sure he would get another chance.

"Oh, before I go, I jist wanted to say I's sorry bout yer friend."

Spock froze, his hand only half way to the door. He turned and faced the young boy. "May I ask you a question regarding that?"

"Oh, fer certain. Go right ahead."

"Thank you. What ... kind of place are the mines?"

The boy shook his head. "You don never wanna go ta the mines! Them's a bad place. I heard tell that no one survives more'n a week there. And if'n they do, they's never the same." He leaned toward Spock and lowered his voice until even Spock could barely hear him. "I saw someone who survived a week. They's owner decided they's been punished enough and he was all bent and practly crippled! He never said nother word rest his life."

"He was old, then when he was sent to the mines?"

"No, Sir," the boy responded earnestly. "Leastwise, not what you'd consider old. I spect he was about yer age."

"Thank you," Spock answered turning back to the door. "I expect you need to be returning to your duties. I would not want for you to get in any trouble for assisting me."

"Ah, I's won. I'll run back," he answered with a mischievous grin. Then, true to his word, he turned on his heel and sprinted back down the hallway.

Spock slipped through the door and into the quiet empty room.

* * *

Spock paced the room restlessly. Somehow, he could not manage to contain it as he should. Too many different ... concerns were coming at him at once; many of which he was not used to experiencing.

He was used to the captain being in trouble. That he could deal with. It was routine almost. He was not, on the other hand, used to worrying about his ... 'virtue', nor was he used to worrying about the welfare of children. It all combined into a rather ... unsettling mix.

He tried the door several times, but each time there had been at least one person passing by, which did not allow him the chance to slip out unnoticed. Besides, he had no way of knowing, precisely when 'Kaytla' would return.

He selected a position on the floor and assumed a position for meditation.

* * *

The opening of the door, pulled him up from meditation. Before she was completely in the room, Spock was standing, hands clasped behind his back, trying to appear as relaxed as possible. He watched her enter, silently appraising her mood.

His meditation had done him some good. He'd been able to come up with a solution of sorts, but wasn't sure of the exact manner it could be executed. After all, he wasn't in her best graces.

How did one go about asking a favor that (A) went against every fiber of your being; i.e., asking someone to purchase another sentient being, and (B) asking it of someone to whom you are extraordinarily answerable? Hopefully only temporarily, he added. She was humming to herself as she wandered the room. It bode well for her frame of mind. The question he had was, did he dare address her first and risk losing any chance at his request being granted, or did he wait until she deigned to address him?

Never having been a slave before, he was having some difficulty judging the proper protocol. Watching her ... flitter ... about the room, he couldn't help but wonder what had happened to put her in such a good mood. She had seemed genuinely upset by what had happened earlier. It was on the tip of his tongue to ask, but he restrained himself. Now was probably not the right time.

"Well, Spock," she asked, finally coming to a rest on the couch. "How did you enjoy your first morning amongst us?"

"It was a ... unique experience," Spock answered diplomatically.

She laughed. "I imagine it was," she said softly. "I've been doing a little bit of studying."

"Indeed," Spock murmured. "Any subject in particular?"

"Yes," she answered, grinning broadly. "Vulcans."

"And just how much have you learned?" he asked in Vulcan, wondering how much she knew. " ... Mistress," he finished, using the closest equivalent known to his native language. He must tread carefully if he wanted any chance to rescue the captain before too much damage occurred. He could no longer afford to wait until the Enterprise rescued them. Loss of dignity was of a far different category than possible permanent injury or death.

She grinned again. "Probably more than you would care for me to know," she answered in kind. Spock's eyebrow shot up. He'd expected her to perhaps understand a word here or there, but not this expression of nearly flawless Vulcan. Only her pronunciation was incorrect, and even that was close enough to be understandable. That was ... unexpected.

"Yes," she said, reverting to the local language. "It was I that figured out what you are. And I that told the allotment master how to spell your name. Well, the one you gave me anyway."

"It seems I have underestimated you."

"That does not surprise me," she answered thoughtfully. "Most men do." She narrowed her eyes and gazed at him a moment before continuing. "For some reason, that I can't even explain to myself, I expected more from you."

Spock latched onto that statement with more hope than he'd ever allowed himself to experience. It was quite possible some of her memories were returning. He decided to risk a question. "Do you ... " he hesitated, disliking the way it sounded like one the many human 'pick up lines'. "...ever have the feeling that we've met before?"

He watched as she mimicked his earlier raised eyebrow. It was obviously intentional, her eyes shown with mockery. "Well, I can't say that I do, but ... I'd be happy to 'get to know you' now. But," she continued, her voice turning steely. "You really should keep addressing me properly."

Spock shoved his disappointment to the back of his mind. It served no purpose here. Instead, he focused on the expediency of the here and now. "Forgive me, Mistress."

She grinned as suddenly as she'd become upset. "That's much better. Now, something tells me you have ... something on your mind."

"You are perceptive. I ... wanted to make a request of you, Mistress," he answered carefully.

She rose slowly and walked toward him. "Yes, I imagine you do and I'd be willing to wager that I know what that request is."

"Pardon me ... Mistress?"

"But of course I will. Have I not been lenient with you thus far?" she responded generously. "I have only one question. What do I get in return?"

"I do not understand, Mistress."

She grinned mischievously and Spock could not help but compare this seductive, calculated humor to the young boy's open sense of fun. "Of course you do. What do I get, if I purchase a slave that will give me nothing but trouble? We both know, he cannot be broken. I suspect, you know it even more than I."

Spock started to respond immediately, when he realized he had no ready answer for that. What would she gain? Looking at it from her current perspective, what could possibly induce her to spend her money on an investment she knew would not ... 'pay off'?

Only one solution came to mind and Spock could not prevent the sinking feeling deep in his gut. He argued with himself; something he'd rarely done before. In fact only once, during his entire life came to mind. With Captain Pike and his decision to assist him back to Talos IV. That had not been a logical decision, but he knew, even now, it had been the 'right' one.

"I have only one thing to offer," he said finally. "And that is my complete cooperation, my Mistress."

"I have that now."

"With all due respect, Mistress. You do not. You have my acquiescence, nothing more."

"Is that not one and the same?"

"No, it is not. Without my ... cooperation, you will not be able to get from me that which you want."

"Oh, is that a ... challenge?" she asked.

"No," Spock answered a little to quickly for comfort. "Merely a statement of fact. If you have studied Vulcans as you claim to have," he continued with more confidence than he truly felt. "You are aware of our ability to separate mind from body."

"Yes," she responded. "There's only one problem. I already have proof that, with effort, it is possible to, shall we say, circumvent that ability."

Spock thought carefully, realizing he was on somewhat shaky ground here. "Would it not be ... preferable to ... work so hard." He took a deep breath and continued, despite his natural protests against this line of reasoning. "If I were to ... " his voice trailed off.

"Willingly participate?" she asked.

"Yes," he answered after a long moment of silence filled with more internal debate.

"Prove it," she said.

"Pardon me?"

"I ... said," as she rose and crossed to the bed, lying down, raising her arms leisurely above her head. "Prove it."

Spock stood stock still for several, eternal moments. He had not expected this. In fact, he had expected the opposite. He had expected, that with his offer, she would 'take the lead', so to speak, allowing him to simply 'go with the flow' as the human saying went.

This was beyond what he had pre-prepared to ... allow. Now, with her simple actions, she had moved the stakes higher. Now he had to do more than 'allow' it to happen; he had to initiate it. He stood there, staring at her in numb non-focus.

He had done many things during the course of his career that had contradicted, or at least, did not coincide with his upbringing. He had long ago come to terms with them. This, however, was so far outside his range of experience, it froze him, until her challenging gaze spurred him forward.

Her look said she didn't think he was capable of following through. He could not let that pass unanswered, he thought as he stepped forward.

He moved toward the bed, one, slow step at a time. He knew of course he didn't really have anything to prove, but this was obvious merely the fist condition toward getting the captain released. All personal considerations must be put aside.

He discovered as he approached the bed, however, that his body did not have as many reservation as his mind did. With each step he took an anticipatory tingling began and grew in his gut and groin. Considering the situation, he did not concern himself, overly much, about controlling that feeling, but a lifetime's habit was difficult to break and he found himself, unwilling to or perhaps it was unable, to release his control on his body's response to it.

She watched him closely; a look in her eyes that said, 'I'm ready. I dare you.'

He felt very much akin to an animal walking into an unknown danger it could sense, but had no way of knowing where, exactly, it was going to come from. He reached the edge of the bed and her eyes alone moved, once again freely traveling the length of his body. A shiver passed through him as the tip of her tongue darted out and licked her lips in anticipation.

He paused there, unsure exactly where to begin. It wasn't as if he had no experience. No, that was not the problem. It was her, lying there, stretched out before him, expecting him to 'prove his worth.' It was ... disconcerting.

A smile curved her lips.

He reached out slowly, surprised to find that his hand was trembling, just slightly. Grazing his fingertips along the side of her cheek, he almost snatched his hand back as a whisper of what she was feeling leapt through the touch. He gasped softly. Trailing his hand gently, tenderly, down to her neck, he sat beside her.

First brushing her hair back from her face with his free hand, he then used that hand to brace himself, on the pillow beside her head and leaned forward until his lips lightly brushed against hers. Her lips parted under his and he drew back until he just felt her warm breath wafting across his mouth, but to all outward appearance, she remained passive; watching and waiting for him to continue.

He dipped his head, once again brushing his lips against her soft, eager ones. They parted further beneath his renewed kiss and, seemingly as natural as breathing he began exploring the moist confines of her mouth with his tongue.

Just as he was about to pull back, her tongue began a slow seductive duel with his. It was then he allowed the hand he had held absolutely still at her neck, to travel down to the rounding of her shoulder, caressing and exploring.

Some part of his mind that was still sitting back and refusing to relinquish its more and more tentative grasp on rationality, was busy noting all the fascinating reactions his body made to the feel of her soft skin under his hand and lips. It noted his own eroding ability to control those reactions. He ignored it.

The kiss deepened as both pressed more closely together. His hand continued on, up the underside of her bared arm, until reached her hand. Never once pausing in his teasing of her mouth, he intertwined his fingers with hers, feeling the soft skin between each digit.

He moved his hand until it was palm to palm with hers and as that contact was made, felt the familiar electric tingle flow from it and the corresponding rush of heat that leapt through her body, igniting an answering one in his.

They gasped simultaneously against each others mouth's. Spock broke his mouth away from hers, and trailed soft intimate kisses down the side of her jaw to her neck. She arched her head back, baring her throat to his ministrations. With that move came an unexpected surge of power within Spock. She was so fragile, so vulnerable beneath him. Part of him was suddenly very aware of the fact that he could easily over power her. Even if she had placed guards in the hallway again, he could move quickly enough that they would never know the difference until it was far too late.

The only thing that had truly held him here was his own ethics and sense of loyalty, knowing that his actions would have repercussions beyond merely himself. They would also affect his fellow captive. Those very ethics that kept him from abusing anyone unless absolutely necessary, much less a fellow crew member.

He gasped when she brought one hand against his thigh. In his distraction he hadn't even noticed she moved her free hand. His breath froze in his throat as that hand slid slowly up his inner thigh. His body, now with a will of its own, escaped the last threads of his tentative control.

Her hand stopped mere inches from his groin and he could breath again. He forced his attention away from that most intimate of touches and moved his lips down to the hollow in her throat.

His mind grew foggy. He found it difficult to believe he was actually in this situation, despite the reality of it. Then through the haze a sensation of guilt began to rise and force its way to the fore.
He didn't understand it and didn't want to think about it. The woman below him had become tantalizing and very much the center of his current focus. He was merely doing what he must to assist in their survival. He was taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself to insure both he and the captain survived their captivity here.

Taking advantage ...

'Christine will never forgive me for this,' floated through his still hazy thoughts. Christine! When had he stopped thinking of this woman as a crew member and as 'Kaytla' instead? This woman was not who she thought she was. She was Christine Chapel, not Mistress Kaytla and she was not in her right mind, not capable of giving consent.

A horrified shudder of what he almost done ran through him as he jerked back from her, his breath coming in short gasps as he fought to regain his control.

She followed him up, almost as quickly. "Why did you stop?" she demanded in harsh gasps as she too, tried to regain her breath.

Quickly seeking some way to rectify the situation without resuming their earlier activities, he made eye contact with her, allowing the corners of his mouth to turn up ever so slightly. "You asked ... told me to 'prove' myself. I believe I have done that, Mistress."

Taking a deep shaky breath, she chuckled softly then smiled at him. "I suppose you have at that."

Spock nodded once, very grateful she agreed with him. "I take it that means you will grant my request?"

"Oh," she responded offhandedly. "I've already arranged for that. I doubt he even made it all the way to the mines."

"What?" Spock asked incredulously, a spurt of anger shooting through him, just enough to make him jolt up off the bed, before he managed to suppress it. It served to remind him how out of control he'd allowed himself to become, however. And served to assist in his efforts to regain it.

She too, jumped up off the bed, glaring at him. "Don't take that tone with me!"

Sharply reminded of where he was and what he stood to lose, Spock made himself bow his head to her. "Forgive me, Mistress."

She let out a heavy, heartfelt sigh and Spock dared to raise his head. She was shaking her head and staring at him in what appeared to be utter mystification. "What am I going to do with you?" she asked softly. "There's just something about you. I think I would probably forgive you almost anything. Why do you think that is?"

Lifting a surprised eyebrow, he counted himself fortunate to have such a prime opportunity to reopen the question of her true identity. "I believe I know the answer to that, Mistress."

She looked at him curiously. "You do? Well, then. Tell me what your opinion is."

"It goes back to--" Spock started to answer, but was interrupted by a sharp, loud knocking on the door.

"Oh, the devil take it!" she sputtered. "Get that."

No sooner had he opened the door, than an older, elegantly dressed woman burst into the room, shoving the door into Spock. She strode past him as if he was not even there.

Silently he followed behind, curious about what had so angered the unknown woman. "Mother!" Kaytla exclaimed, rising suddenly. "What can I do for you?"

Mother? Spock thought, suddenly wishing, once again, he were anywhere but here.

"What in the world were you thinking of!?"

"What ever do you mean, Mother?" Kaytla responded, her voice all innocence and smooth silk.

As Spock's eyes narrowed in suspicion, he noticed that the woman Kaytla called mother was doing the same thing.

"Oh don't use that trick on me, young lady. You know exactly what I'm referring to." She turned and looked at Spock with a look of disgust. "It's bad enough," she continued, returning her angry gaze back to Kaytla. "It's bad enough that you prefer these slaves to taking your rights with your husband..."

Husband?!

"But WHY did you buy that slave that Aora sent to the mines? It does not make any sense."

"I have my reasons," Kaytla answered defiantly.

"I'm sure you do," her mother sneered. "But this time it backfired on you, Kaytla Alindree."

"What do you mean by that?" Kaytla demanded instantly.

Yes, Spock thought, please explain.

"That ... slave, had just been brought to the mine entrance when your messenger caught up with them. In the confusion, he escaped."

"How?" Kaytla demanded hotly. "He should have been in leg irons."

"He had help," her mother responded just as angrily.

"Who?"

Spock's hope surged.

"We don't know. They weren't recognized, but that's not the only consequence of your stupid actions."

Kaytla visibly bristled. "Mother, if you wish this discussion to remain anywhere near civil, I would request you not refer to me as stupid. I can name call too."

The older woman took a deep breath and her manner calmed, but it was obvious her anger had not abated at all. "Very well, my dear, you will have this slave prepared to leave in 5 sentues."

"I will not!"

"Yes," her mother said. "you ... will. His people are now demanding him back."

A dismayed look crossed Kaytla's face. "No," she said, a slight quiver affecting her voice.

The older woman melted her rigid stance, slightly. "I'm sorry, Kaytla, but I believe I have mentioned before, what comes of actions that are not well thought out."

"Oh, it's just like you, to say 'I told you so,' at a time like this." At that Kaytla turned and fled the room.

"Mistress?" Spock called in an attempt to halt her flight. If he were rescued so would she be, even if she didn't yet realize she needed it. Separating at this time was not a good idea. He started after her.

"Freeze, slave," the woman said, grabbing Spock's arm in a stronger than expected grip and he was brought to a halt. He could have broken free, if given time, but before he could try, she released him.

At that same moment two armed guards came through the door and he was forced to give up on the thought of going after Ka-- Christine.

* * *

A guard on each side, holding an arm, Spock was escorted from the dwelling. The woman strode ahead of them, her mounting anger evident with each movement she made. As they reached the perimeter of the house grounds, she whirled around, impatiently tapping her foot until they caught up with her.

She brought her hand up quickly and Spock winced as a sharp pain sliced through his shoulder, prior to his controlling the unexpected burning. When she dropped her hand away, he glanced down and noticed blood streaming from a small wound.

He glanced up at her, fully intending to demand she explain her actions. But as he made to do so, she held up a tiny metal object.

"If you would have stepped beyond this gate while this was still implanted, you would not have done so on your feet," she said, then not allowing time for response she whirled back around and headed through the gate. She obviously expected them to follow, and the guards pulled Spock between them.

Only moments later, they came into sight of four Starfleet Officers.

McCoy, stood toward the front, obviously agitated and impatient for their arrival. When they were close enough and before McCoy, or any other officer, could say a word, the woman gestured impatiently and the guards thrust Spock forward, straight into McCoy. He was a little concerned that the Captain was not with them. It did not bode will for his having been rescued by them. But now was not the time to find out exactly how they had found him.

"Go now. You've gotten what you came for. Leave immediately."

"With pleasure, Madam!" McCoy responded tartly.

"No," Spock answered sharply and Doctor McCoy looked at him in shock.

"What?"

"I said," Spock repeated, calmly this time. "No, Doctor. We are not quite ready to leave."

"Why not?" he asked in obvious confusion. They still had Christine and Uhura to find.

Spock did not answer, he turned instead toward the retreating backs of the three who'd brought him out here. "Wait!" he called out. They did not stop. "If you do not release the two women Kaytla and Aora, you will regret your decision."

McCoy's jaw dropped. He'd have never believed it, if he hadn't witnessed it for himself. What in blazes was going on here? The woman froze and turned slowly. Even at this distance, he could see her eyes blaze with renewed fury. She stalked straight up to him. "How dare you speak to me that way," she said, her barely restrained anger, reducing her words to a hiss.

"I dare," he responded in utter calm. "Because I am no longer a slave here. I am First Officer of the USS Enterprise, Flagship of the Federation. The Federation your people were trying to gain membership to, need I remind you."

"Why should I turn over two of our citizens to you?" she demanded.

"They are not your citizens as you well know, Madam. They are Federation citizens and will be returned ... now," he responded, staring at her, calmly watching her color turn several shades darker.

"They have been adopted into my family and will be much better off here," she answered finally. "I have no intention of releasing them to your control."

"Where they would be 'better off', is highly subjective and is a decision best made by them."

He watched the anger drain from her as she began to laugh. "Well, we'll just call them out here then. I already know what their answers will be!" She turned to address the guards but Spock interrupted her.

"With their memories intact," he said softly.

McCoy gasped quietly beside him. No doubt, he'd just realized who Spock had been negotiating for.

She turned slowly, her mouth still open from her last uttered word. She closed her jaw with an audible snap, glaring at him again. "I will not let you have them."

Spock stepped forward. "The Federation will not allow membership to a world that traffics in slaves. You have already lost that. Do not make it worse by making us enemies."

"You would go to war over two people, who are, in your world, insignificant? That would be like--"

"No one is insignificant!" McCoy retorted hotly.

"Doctor, please."

McCoy bristled, but stepped back, allowing Spock to handle it.

"However, emotionally stated," Spock continued, looking back to the woman standing in front of him. "The Doctor is quite correct. If any one person is treated as insignificant, the society that does so is diminished."

"I do not believe you," she said firmly. "You may believe that, but your government will not."

McCoy groaned.

"Very well. If you insist on a demonstration." Spock turned and held out his hand. "Doctor, you communicator please."

McCoy did so warily, wondering what Spock was up to. There was no way Spock would order or even allow a 'demonstration' of the sort he was intimating.

He flipped it opened with a slight snap of his wrist. "Spock to Enterprise."

"Spock!" came Sulu's voice over the open frequency. "Enterprise here," he continued more professionally.

"Lock phasers, wide spread yield, 400 yards due north north west of my position."

"Sir?" Sulu responded in surprised confusion.

"That is an order Lieutenant."

"Aye, sir," Sulu snapped back with military precision. Seconds ticked by. "Phasers locked on and ready to fire, sir."

"That's the heart of the city!" she exclaimed in outraged disbelief.

Spock merely cocked an eyebrow at her and waited.

"You wouldn't dare," she retorted, but her voice held uncertainty.

"Why wouldn't I?" Spock asked reasonably. "You were certainly willing to keep me as a b ... slave, were willing to allow my fellow captive to die in the mines. You are willing to continue holding two, possibly three of our citizens. I have no reason not to."

"Three?"

"Nelson and the captain are both on board the Enterprise," McCoy inserted quickly.

Spock nodded, without looking back at him. "Two of our citizens then." He watched the woman waver between several distinct emotions and noticed immediately when fear won out.

"All right!" she snapped. "Guards, fetch Lady Aora and Lady Kaytla out here immediately."

The two guards who'd stood behind her uncertainly this whole time, snapped to attention. "Yes, Lady Greeaytan," they answered in unison, and turned with parade ground unity, setting off for their dwelling at a ground devouring pace.

McCoy relaxed visibly beside him and Spock felt something internal, that he hadn't even realized was tense, relax also. He turned toward the Doctor, now completely ignoring the 'Lady' completely. "Why did the Captain not beam down?"

"He's in sickbay."

Spock's gaze sharpened, but before he could say anything, the doctor raised a hand.

"He'll be all right, Spock. I confined him there, so he could actually recuperate. I didn't want him doing something stupid to try and rescue you."

Spock nodded. "Understood. Why did he not mention that Lt.'s Uhura and Chapel were being held with us?"

"Well, when he had Nelson were beamed up, neither were in good shape. They managed to make us understand the name of the house, but not much else. We all assumed that since this was a female dominated society, Chris and Nyota were in hiding somewhere, and that it was you that we needed to most concerned with."

"Well, why not after you worked on him then?"

McCoy looked down at the ground a little sheepishly. "We came down before he woke up from the sedative I gave him. Arguing with him would have only delayed us in getting down here."

Despite his best effort to restrain it, the corners of his mouth twitched upward momentarily. The picture of the doctor sneaking out of his own Sickbay in order to avoid a 'shanghaied' captain, was ... worth remembering. However, he did not comment on it. "And Lt. Nelson?"

McCoy looked up, frowning. "He's gonna take longer to heal. He's still sedated too."

Two loud, easily recognizable voices drew their attention away from each other. McCoy winced. "It doesn't look like either of them are real happy about their 'rescue'," he remarked sarcastically.

"Indeed," Spock replied. "However, I have every confidence that as soon as their memories are restored they will be more ... grateful."

McCoy's answer was lost as Kaytla stormed up to Spock, Uhura right behind her. "So," she sneered. "The tables will be turned now. You just couldn't resist, could you? How like a man to want revenge."

Revenge for what, was the look on McCoy's very interested face.

Spock ignored the look, as best he could, although he remained acutely aware of it. "This not about revenge."

"Sure," Kaytla sneered, then turned her back on Spock, clearly not believing him.

He was grateful for Uhura's silence, but upon reflection wasn't sure if it was rationality that made her hold her peace. Her eyes spoke as many volumes of her anger as Kaytla's outburst.

* * *

The turbolift doors closed behind the others who had transported up from the planet, leaving Spock alone with his thoughts. McCoy had wanted him in Sickbay also, but he had insisted he needed to go to the Bridge first. With the Captain still out of commission, it was his duty to make sure the ship ran smoothly.

There were myriad reports that had to be filed about their mission and subsequent captivity. There was no doubt these people would be denied membership in the Federation, but the detailed reports must still be filed.

He stepped onto the bridge and received big smiles and a round of welcome backs. He nodded his acceptance and stepped down to the command chair, appearing as calm and unruffled as ever, as he began the First Officer's Log.

Inside, however, his thoughts were in turmoil. When asked, the doctor had informed him he would not know how much the lieutenants would remember of their time planet side, until he knew exactly how their own memories had been repressed. Spock found he would rather they did not remember it at all. He bit back a sigh, realizing that was not a logical goal.

* * *

McCoy turned and left two very mortified women. They had not been willing to talk to him about what had happened, but he suspected it would have been quite a story. His very natural curiosity was eating him alive, but he didn't push the issue. Palming the door closed behind him, McCoy crossed to his desk and keyed on his medical log.

"Nurse Christine Chapel and Lt. Nyota Uhura have both had their memories restored. Unfortunately, I know of no way to remove the implanted ones. I cannot even detect how it was done. According to the last Federated Medical Journal, Starfleet Research and Development is working on a way to suppress or erase recent, short term memory, but any solution from that quarter will come far too late to be of service in this instance.

"For now I'm officially noting them fit for duty, but am ordering two days off duty to begin ... 'working through' any possible repercussions of this incident.

End of log."

* * *

Beta shift was making its way to their individual stations and Spock rose from the command chair as his relief stepped up to him. He only had half his attention on the change of shift protocols. They were routine and did not need his entire focus after all.

However, the place the rest of his attention lead his thoughts was not a place he usually visited. Deliberating timing his departure so that he was the last to leave the Bridge, he found himself, gratefully, alone in the lift. Taking a deep breath, he attempted to redirect his thoughts. Dwelling on the events of the past few days would do him no good. Therefore it was illogical that he could not seem to cease thinking of those events.

"Deck Five, Officers quarters."

Spock closed his eyes, the better to focus his continued efforts. He was sorely tempted to lean back against the wall of the lift. He felt curiously adrift as if he'd lost some essential part of his center; his balance. Although the stop at his quarters before coming to the bridge to change back into his uniform had done wonders to returning him to his normal equilibrium.

As much as he tried, his thoughts kept returning to one essential question. 'What do you intend to do about your new self knowledge?' Long before his shift on the Bridge had ended he given up denying what the last two days had rather forcibly revealed to him, about himself. It was illogical to continue denying that which could not be denied.

Nothing, he reasoned. Several different aspects factored into this, quite logical, decision. Several of them were not entirely logical, but were, he believed equally valid. He was, quite simply, not willing to take the steps necessary to find a partner willing to ... indulge such ... irrational desires, even should he be willing to overlook the illogic of wanting to indulge them in the first place.

This evening's meditation would finish off any residual concerns, then he could return to his normal patterns. That decided, he felt certain he could put this aside once and for all. He opened his eyes only seconds before the lift opened onto deck five. No more than five paces out of the lift, Dr. McCoy's voice came over the intraship com system.

"Sickbay to Commander Spock."

He strode the few remaining distance to his quarters. As the door closed behind him, he was already at his desk and tapping on the intercom in his room. "Spock here."

"You're late."

"Doctor, the slight wound I received on the planet surface is superficial and will heal satisfactorily on its own. There is no--"

"Don't do my job for me, Spock. You will report to Sickbay, and you will do it now."

"It is unnecessary, Doctor."

"I will decide that, Spock. Maybe I should go up to the Bridge sometime and tell you how to do your job, and whether or not it's necessary for you to be there?"

Spock's eyebrow shot up. "You already do, Doctor."

McCoy's laugh carried quite well. "I guess you've got a point there," he conceded. "However, that doesn't mean you're getting out of this exam. You, here, five minutes." He paused. "Or I come looking, armed for bear. McCoy out."

* * *

Spock strode through the Sickbay door and found Dr. McCoy ready and waiting for him.

"Just hop up on that bed right there and this will be over with before you know it."

He silently did as he was told, thinking perhaps, he would get out of here more quickly if he did not rise to the good doctor's barbs. He pretty much ignored McCoy's murmured comments until he pulled back and hopped onto the next biobed over.

He sat up and looked over at him curiously. "Are you finished?"

"Nope," McCoy answered with a shake of his head. "I'm sure you're aware of the fact that I'm not only responsible for this crew's physical health, but for their mental health as well."

"I assure you, Doctor, you need not--"

"Let me finish, dammit!"

An eyebrow shot up. "Very well, Doctor," Spock responded quietly.

McCoy shook his head slowly. "I'm sorry, Spock. It's just that I'm worried."

"You need not, Doctor."

McCoy chuckled despite his worries. "It's not you I'm worried about, Spock. I'm sure you'll come through whatever happened down there, with your usual Vulcan ... flare."

A second eyebrow joined the first. "Why, thank you, Doctor," Spock responded in acute surprise.

The doctor snorted. "You would take it as a compliment. It's Chris I'm talking about."

"Miss Chapel?"

"Yes, Spock," McCoy answered drily. "Miss Chapel; Lt. Uhura also, but she seems to be fairing much better than Chris."

"Did the memory restoration not proceed correctly?"

"No, no. That went fine. Beyond that, I'm not at liberty to discuss. What I need to know, is what you know about what happened to them down there."

Spock stiffened. "What did they tell you?"

"Nothing," McCoy snapped. "And I can't help them unless I know something. What happened?"

He stood suddenly. "I'm not willing to discuss it, Doctor," he said coldly, then turned abruptly and headed toward the door.

"Spock?"

Something in the Doctor's voice made him stop and turn around.

"If it makes any difference, I've already made some assumptions about part of what happened."

"Upon what information did you base these ... assumptions?" Spock asked warily.

I'm not blind, McCoy thought, but opted for a more diplomatic answer. "Certain ... visual clues, such as the way you were dressed as opposed to the way Jim was dressed. Certain comments made by you." McCoy paused. "Need I go on?"

"No, Doctor. You do not. However, I remain unwilling to discuss what happened. I am sure that given time--"

"Well, I'm not!" McCoy interrupted hotly. "She's in bad shape. Uhura's not exactly tip top either." He stepped close to Spock. "And judging by your response, I'd be willing to bet you aren't as immune to what happened as you'd like everyone to believe."

"That is not your concern, Doctor," Spock replied shortly and once again turned to leave.

"Spock, Dammit! If I can't find any other way to resolve this, I'll order the four of you, perhaps Nelson as well, into group therapy." Spock froze then forcing his muscles to respond, turned and stared at McCoy in something akin to horror.

"You cannot be serious."

"Oh, I assure you, I am serious -- deadly serious."

"That ... will not be necessary. Perhaps if I spoke with her?"

It was McCoy's turn to be shocked speechless. "I don't see what good that would do."

"With all due respect, Doctor. You do not know what happened, either."

McCoy sighed. He had a point and it was a sore one! "All right, Spock," he said softly. "I'll give you this shot, but if it doesn't work ... "

"Understood, Doctor. Where is she?"

* * *

Spock stood in the entryway to the semiprivate area of Sickbay, still unsure exactly how to broach the subject. The very thought of discussing this subject with anyone, let alone Miss Chapel, sat ... uneasily. It too readily evoked such conflicting sensations inside him, most of which he had thought he had already dealt with.

Apparently not, he thought, with just a shade of sarcasm. He had yet to be noticed by the two women, who were deep in conversation. They were speaking low enough that even he could not hear them and he wondered, specifically what they were discussing. While it was not in his nature to eavesdrop, he found a nearly overwhelming desire to step just close enough to over hear, without being detected.

Instead, he stepped forward, into the open. Lt. Uhura was the first to notice him. As she was facing his direction, it was inevitable. She looked up and with an expression he could not identify, stood suddenly, almost awkwardly. "Chris, I ... uh ... need to ... go for a moment. Will you be all right?"

He watched as Miss Chapel, nodded, still not turning in his direction.

"I'll be fine, Nyota. I'm just being maudlin is all." A shaky smile appeared on her face. "I'll get over it." She laughed, but it was one without any trace of humor. "I've done it before. I can do it again."

Uhura frowned. "Platonius," she said flatly.

Christine nodded. "Yes, Platonius," she responded, her voice making the planet's name a sneered epitaph. "And Psi 2000, and..." She paused her voice fading away slowly. "One other time," she finished lamely. "I always seem to be--" She broke off suddenly, turning in Spock's direction. She turned pink and quickly looked away.

Uhura, obviously not sure if she should stay or leave, headed for the doorway.

Spock nodded to her.

"Nyota!" Christine hissed.

Uhura paused at the plea in her friends voice, but Spock's polite; "Thank you Lieutenant," made up her mind and she left hurriedly, feeling like she was leaving her friend alone to face the lions. He waited until he was certain Lt. Uhura had left Sickbay, then stepped forward. "Miss Chapel, I believe there is a matter we need to discuss."

She turned toward him in sharp surprise. Her faint blush blossoming to full tilt red. "I don't see any reason to discuss anything. It just needs to be relegated to the past, like ... all the other incidents." She jumped up off the bed, gave him a patently false smile, and tried to dodge past him.

He turned as she moved past him. "I was of the same opinion, until ... just recently," he said quietly, effectively stopping her in her tracks.

She turned slowly, still red from embarrassment, but with her curiosity, at least temporarily, outweighing it. "What made you change your mind?"

"Dr. McCoy."

"Oh, great!" she responded in exasperation. "That's all I need. Well, don't worry about it. You can go back and tell him we had our little heart to heart and you're off the hook." Her eyes narrowed. "I suppose you actually told him what happened?"

"No, I did not."

"Good, so we're all off the hook, then."

Spock sighed before continuing. "Miss Chapel, this has obviously upset you a great deal. I..."

"Oh, Spock, you wouldn't understand. You couldn't possibly understand what has upset me or why."

"Given ... our history, it would be logical to conclude that you found and are finding the experience to be embarrassing." Spock's eyebrow shot up as she laughed. "May I inquire as to what you find humorous?"

"Your use of understatement for one," Christine managed, surprised by her ability to laugh. "And secondly that you think I'd be this torn up just because I'm ... embarrassed. It's not like it hasn't happened before. After Platonius I thought it might actually be possible to die from mortification, but I got over it. Just goes to show, I suppose, how little you really know about me."

"Indeed," Spock responded, an odd note of curiosity in his voice. "Perhaps you would care to enlighten me."

She let out a laugh that was more bark than anything else. "No, I don't think so."

"Why not? It's obvious you cannot or will not speak to Dr. McCoy, and from your parting comments to Uhura, I'm ... guessing, you did not reveal all that happened to her either. Who better than the person who went through it with you?"

"Not you, that's for certain."

"Why? Is it because of your ... feelings for me?" he continued, surprising himself with his ability to actually calmly discuss this with her.

"No," she responded, sounding a little surprised, herself.

"Then why?" he asked again, genuinely puzzled.

"Because..." she said, trailing off with a deep sigh. "Because you're Vulcan."

"I see," he replied, tightening his lips and actually frowning. "I would never have thought I would discover that you were bigoted, Miss Chapel."

"What?" she asked in shocked, dismay. "That has nothing to do with it!"

"Your statement indicates otherwise."

"Not if you knew where I was coming from. Mr. Spock, you just wouldn't, couldn't understand."

"Perhaps, perhaps not," he said quietly, stepping closer to her. "I believe the expression is, 'try me, you might be surprised'."

Christine's jaw dropped in shock and she fidgeted uncomfortably for a moment.

"It might interest you to know," Spock said casually, into the growing silence. "That Dr. McCoy threatened 'group therapy', if the problems arising from the incident cannot be resolved without intervention."

"What?!" Christine gasped in shocked outrage.

"Yes, he is ... worried about you," Spock said, then some little inner demon of honesty made him continue. "And me, for that matter."

Christine's eyes widened and she remained tense for several moments longer. Suddenly realizing she wasn't going to get out of it. It was becoming very clear to her, that Spock could be as tenacious in getting what he wanted as he was in avoiding what he didn't. Maybe she could get away with a less than 'full' explanation.

"All right, Mr. Spock, but not here. I don't want any possibility of being overheard."

"Understood," Spock replied, in complete agreement with her. He too wanted as little known about their time planet side. "Where do you suggest."

Christine bit her lower lip. This was going to come out wrong no matter how she phrased it. "I can think of only two places where we'd be guaranteed no one would overhear."

Spock believed he knew where she was implying, but let her suggest it. It was ... odd, being in the position of being the one who was not avoiding time alone with the other.

"Your place or mine," she finally said in a rush.

Spock's eyebrow shot up at her phrasing, but ignored the innuendo. "I believe you would most likely be more comfortable in your quarters," he answered, hands clasped behind his back.

"My place it is," she said, the turned abruptly and strode out of the room.

Spock followed behind, not sure where this would lead, only that he could not allow a fellow crew mate to suffer because of something *he* had a hand in; however unwilling it had been.

* * *

Standing just inside Miss Chapel's door, Spock once again found himself ... uncomfortable. He was, much to his dismay, acutely aware of the bed that could be seen through the doorway to her sleeping alcove. Chapel paced nervously over to a small cupboard.

"Would you like something to drink?" She asked, her voice sounding unnaturally calm.

Spock's eyebrow canted upward and he wondered just how surprised she would be if he answered yes, and that a saurian brandy would be just what he needed. "No, thank you, Miss Chapel."

"Well, I do," she answered with a nervous laugh and pulled out what looked suspiciously like Saurian brandy.

"Liquid courage, Miss Chapel?"

She did not respond until after she'd poured herself a shot and upended it, swallowing it in one long gulp. Then she turned to him. "Something like that, Mr. Spock."

"Now," she said, crossing to a chair and dropping down onto it. "If I'm going to be 'spilling my guts' here, it would be a lot easier if you would call me Christine," she said, then at his expression quickly added, "at least for the duration."

Reasonable, Spock thought. He could see why it would be difficult. He had trouble imagining himself revealing private things to anyone, let alone someone who referred to him as Commander Spock. "Very well ... Christine." Then realizing that his rigid posture standing just inside her door was probably not helping either, he crossed to the chair across the table from hers and seated himself. Trying not to remember the last time they'd shared a table.

Christine shifted uncomfortably and pinked.

Somehow being aware that she was obviously remembering the same moment, made it more ... intimate. Spock almost rose to dispel the illusion, but forced himself to remain seated. Taking that action, brought on by an emotional response, was not only illogical, it would probably only bring more attention to the sudden increase in tension, not lessen it.

"I am assuming you have full memory of what took place?"

"Ye-es," she answered in a strangled voice. She cleared her throat and began again. "It's almost as if I've lived two different lifetimes and been two different people."

"Fascinating," Spock replied, unable to resist the scientific ramifications of such a thing. "Will that in itself give you problems?"

"Fascinating to you perhaps," Christine retorted. "A pain in the ... oh, sorry."

"No apologies are necessary, Christine." He paused and gazed at her, his own discomfort momentarily forgotten in his curiosity. "Does it truly feel like you are two people?"

"No, I suppose not; not technically. I mean it's not like I've got two voices inside my head pulling me in different directions. It's more like ... two sets of rules of behavior, both of which are given
equal amounts of ... rightness, by my dual memories."

Spock stilled. That had such a familiar ring to it. So different and yet so amazingly similar to his own upbringing and the differences of 'acceptable' behavior from one parent to the other. Silence grew, each lost in thoughts unknown to the other.

"It's so very strange. I'm so angry that it happened, yet, there's nothing I can rebel against. It's all ... I don't know ... me," she said morosely. "It's difficult to explain."

"Perhaps you could begin by explaining that which you think I will not understand."

Christine looked up at him, a startled, fearful look in her eyes. "What bothers me most about what happened actually has nothing to do with you." At his expression of surprised disbelief, she added, "Well, it does, but only in a very round about way." Then she looked down at her hands, clenched before her on the table, took a deep breath and continued in a low, nearly monotone voice. "I discovered something about myself a very long time ago. It has gotten me into more trouble than I care to recount, especially right now, so I buried it inside myself; deeply. I locked it away where it couldn't affect me."

She looked up to see any sign of ... awareness of what she was referring to, but found none. Unknowing whether it was simply because he was not allowing it to show, or because he truly didn't get it, she hastily lowered her eyes and continued.

She couldn't believe she was telling this to anyone, let alone him! "Those people suppressed the memories of who I really was, took what I'd buried and provided false memories that not only justified it, corroborated it, but enhanced and added to it as well. They took a part of me I'd chosen to suppress and ignore about myself and made it an integral part of the woman they wanted me to be." She paused, taking several deep gulps of air, trying desperately to control the anger that was surging up inside of her. Now was not the time for it.

She risked a look up and to her surprise she found, not the closed mask of incomprehension she'd expected. Instead she saw astonished and dare she think it, sympathetic understanding. "You do understand," she gasped in a breathy whisper. "How?" she asked in wonder. She reached out without thinking and laid her hand on his.

He jerked it back and stood suddenly, turning away from her.

"I'm sorry," she said, instantly contrite.

"That's quite all right, Mi-- Christine."

"Could you tell me something, now, Mr. Spock?"

He slowly turned back to face her, his expression carefully neutral. "You may ask," he granted.

"Back on the planet, when you were trying to rescue the captain by ... yes, well, anyway. What made you stop? It seems as though, before that moment, you were ... uh ... going to comply."

Spock shifted uncomfortably, suddenly remembering with vivid clarity the feel of her skin beneath his hand, the feel of her lips beneath his, the feel of her hand inching its way up his thigh. His groin tightened and he closed his eyes, concentrating on pushing it all away.

"Never mind, Mr. Spock."

"No, you have the right to know, however ... difficult it may be for me to speak of it."

Christine nodded and resumed her seat.

After a moment he began. "You are quite correct in your assumption that, at first my intention was to do whatever it took to prevent the captain from serving in the mines. I fully intended to 'comply' with ... Kaytla's demands of 'proof'." He paused and swallowed, his mouth feeling extraordinarily dry. It was astounding to him that this was both, far more difficult and, at the same time, far easier than he could have imagined it would be.

"However, at a point just prior to my pulling back, it penetrated my ... preoccupation that however demanding and desirous of the interlude, Kaytla was, the body she was ... using, for lack of better wording, was not hers, it was--"

Christine rose suddenly, turning away. "I get the picture, Mr. Spock. You do not need to go any further."

Spock frowned at Christine's back, the pain and sadness in her voice confusing him for just a moment. The moment the confusion cleared he stepped forward, tempted to turn her around to face him. "No, Christine I do not think you do. In fact, I believe you are completely misinterpreting my unfinished words," he said, his tone daring her to let him finish.

She turned around just as slowly as he had only moments earlier. "All right, Mr. Spock. You let me finish uninterrupted. I suppose I owe you that same courtesy."

"I did not stop simply because the body was yours, as you have obviously assumed," he continued. "But rather because you were not there, to give consent to ... what was happening." He paused, his gut churning. "It would have been tantamount to rape."

Christine's jaw dropped in utter surprise. That was the last thing she would have expected him to say. "But it wasn't as if you had any choice in what happened either."

"Yes, I did," he answered in rebuttal. "As I proved by stopping."

He had a point, Christine thought, one that left her with little to say in response. "Thank you for clearing that up," she said finally.

"You are welcome," he answered formally, an awkward silence settling around them after he spoke, with both of them suddenly realizing just how close to the other each was standing. They both took one step back, simultaneously.

"Has this issue been resolved to your satisfaction?" he asked suddenly sounding stiff and overly formal, even to his own ears.

"No," she answered, surprising him.

"What else do you need to discuss?"

"I asked a question earlier that, due to an action on my part, you never answered."

"What was that?"

"How? How did you understand so readily what I was talking about and what it meant to me?"

Spock once again turned from her, but not quickly enough for her to catch an odd expression flash across his face. She'd never seen it there before and it took her a moment to identify it.

"I do not wish to discuss that," Spock answered. "If that is everything?"

Fear. That's what it had been. Why would he 'fear' that question? "That's why," she suddenly exclaimed. "They did the same thing to you."

"They did not take my memories," he said stiffly. "As I know you are aware."

"I know," she replied softly. "But, they did take a part of you, you either pushed away or maybe didn't even know about and bring it into the open ... didn't they?"

"I said, I do not--"

"Wish to discuss it," she finished. "Yes, I know, but like me, you're going to have to deal with it; come to terms with it."

"I already have, Miss Chapel."

So, they were back to formality. Well, this time she wouldn't let it stop her. This time it was him that needed help. "Have you? Is that why it's so difficult for you to speak of it?"

Spock sighed. "One has nothing to do with the other. It is simply a very ... private matter."

"And what I revealed wasn't?" she exclaimed.

"That is different."

"How?"

"Humans discuss these ... types of things much more readily."

"Not the ones of this nature, I assure you," Christine denied. "I've never told anyone, who wasn't directly involved, about it before. It isn't something that's ... talked about much. There has to be a lot of trust first."

Spock turned, for the first time truly realizing how difficult her admissions had been. "I am ... honored," he said finally.

One corner of her mouth quirked upward. "If I may so bold, it might help me with my own situation. What do you plan on doing about your ... discovery?"

"Doing?" he asked, surprised once again, both at her question and the very fact that this conversation was continuing. "Nothing."

"Why?" she asked.

"I have several reasons," he answered, not believing he was doing so.

"But what are they?" she asked again. "Perhaps your reasoning will help me figure out a way to resolve my own problem."

"It's not logical," he answered firmly.

"Well, that's a given," she replied dismissively. "It's emotional. What else?" she asked, not quite sure why she was pressing so hard.

Spock blinked at her matter of fact agreement and the implied notion that that alone was not reason enough. In fact he had to call her on it. "Is that not enough reason?"

"Nope," she answered without hesitation. "Just because something doesn't start from logic, doesn't mean there's a logical reason not to do it."

Spock started to respond, then stopped, thinking about what she'd said. "True," he acknowledged finally.

"So, I ask again. What else?"

"I am simply unwilling to go through the ... preliminaries necessary to finding someone ... willing to 'indulge' ... these things."

"That's a good one," she responded.

"I believe I should go," Spock said, turning toward the door.

She watched him walking toward the door, ready to leave her quarters. She knew this would probably be the last time they ever had such an open and honest discussion. She didn't want it to end,
but knew of no way to prolong it. Then inspiration hit. It would be a great risk, she thought, but what wasn't, in this life? Nothing of any great value, certainly.

"But," Christine continued as if he hadn't spoken. "What if you didn't need to?"

"What?" he asked in a hoarse whisper. "What do you mean by that?"

"You already know someone," she whispered back.

"That is quite impossible, Miss Chapel," he responded, nearly voicelessly.

He sounded certain, she thought, but noticed he hadn't yet taken another step toward the door.

"No," she replied. "It's not." She could almost see him arguing with himself. The tension visible in his back and shoulders.

He started for the door again, this time without saying a word.

She debated furiously with herself. It was now or never. Pleas did not work, knowledge of her feelings certainly didn't, but she knew what might. The only problem was, if she used it and she was wrong. Well, the result simply didn't bear thinking about. She knew if she tried and failed in this, she would not be able to stay on board.

It took only seconds to come to a decision, but he was already at the door; it opening at his approach.

"Stop," she ordered, allowing none of her fear or the shaking of her knees to stop her, or flow into her words.

He did, right there in the middle of the doorway. A flash of heat flashed through her, turning her knees to jelly. It was quickly followed by a wave of fear. Oh shit! Was she ready for this? What now? "Turn around."

Spock heard her words and froze. He knew he should leave. He should continue on out the door as if he had not heard a thing. He didn't leave. 'Turn around' she'd said, no, commanded. It was obvious what she was doing and he didn't want to admit it, but it was working. The question was, did he want to go down this road? No, that was not right, what he wanted wasn't an issue, what he wanted was painfully clear. It was more appropriate to ask, could he afford to want it? He turned, not realizing he'd done so until it was an accomplished fact.

She licked her lips with the merest tip of her tongue showing and Spock's eyes riveted on her mouth. He swallowed. He should say something, he thought. He should end this before disaster ended it for them. It couldn't possibly work.

One of them higher in the Chain of Command in public, the other Commanding in private. Surely it would never work. Surely it spelled catastrophe waiting to happen. He said nothing. "Come here."

He moved forward, to all outward appearances, of his own accord, barely registering the door swishing closed behind him. But something, deep inside, was compelling him forward. He could no more commanded his own body to turn and leave right now, than he could survive walking out an airlock.

By the time he reached her, something else was becoming clear. He no longer commanded his body at all. She did. He tried using his Vulcan discipline to control his arousal, but he couldn't concentrate on them. His focus was centered solely on the woman standing in front of him and what she would demand of him next. He stopped only inches away from her, unable to tear his eyes from her still moistened lips.

He could smell his and her arousals. The scent mixed within his nostrils and was nearly his undoing. The intensity of it fueled his growing desire. It was breathtaking and he found he could barely breathe. His breath was coming short and quick. He raised his hand to caress her cheek but stopped it before he had moved it even an inch. She had not given him permission to touch her.

He froze, the sudden full realization of what he was doing; what was going on here, made him gasp and was making him want to run from this room and never again stop running. He did not run. Something inside him knew it was far too late for that.

Christine pressed her hands to his chest, luxuriating in the freedom; in the heady power. Slowly, incredibly slowly, she inched her hands up to his shoulders, resting them there. Then on up and around his neck. She clasped her fingers tightly, pulling him towards her.

His chest where she'd touched him tingled with a fire all its own. He felt the pressure behind his head and thought one last time to resist this insanity. He was far stronger than she. He should pull away. And this time he did try. But her arms were like steel bars around him, he felt ... weak, as if what was surging between and through them, robbed him of all strength.

He stopped fighting it. It was useless to resist the now overwhelming desires within him.

Their lips met and his were crushed to hers in a passionate exchange that surpassed all that had gone before. He was drowning in it. What he was feeling, what she was feeling, passed over and through him in heady, dizzying waves, but he could no longer find it within himself to care. This was what he wanted. This, and more, was what his body was swollen with aching need for.

Her hand roamed freely over his body. She took a step forward, then another; backing him up until he was against the wall, next to the door. She reached up beside him and slapped the privacy lock, before returning to exploring his body. "Touch me," she demanded, without pulling away from his mouth.

Something inside him released and he wrapped his arms around her, running his hands up and down her back. He reached down cupping his hands over her buttocks and pulled her full against him.

Christine gasped as he pulled her roughly against him. She felt his hard length pressed against her stomach and reveled in the knowledge that it was her that had caused that reaction. She was the one that had brought him to this point beyond his normal control. Suddenly she pulled back, pushing on his chest, then leaving them there. "Wait," she gasped.

He froze and it was the most difficult thing he'd ever done. He swallowed convulsively, waiting to find out why she'd pulled back.

"Code-word," she said after she'd managed to catch enough of her breath to speak.

He blinked uncomprehendingly. "What?" She growled, running her hands down to his stomach then trailing her fingers along the waist band of his pants. "We need a code word." When he still obviously did not comprehend why, she continued. "To use in case something, anything goes too far for either of us." To emphasis her point, she slipped her hand down and cupped him intimately.

Spock gasped and took a deep shaky breath. "Agreeable," he said, not entirely certain whether he was referring to her comment or her touch. "What would you..."

She slipped her other hand under his shirts and worked it up to a nipple, rolling it between two fingers.

" ... suggest?"

Wondering if maybe this could have waited one day, she sighed. "It has to come from you," she said, leaning close to him and lightly nipping along his jawline.

Spock was finding it ... difficult to think amid her effective ... distractions. He said the first thing that came to mind. "Kroykah."

Christine immediately dropped her hands and stepped back, her chest heaving.

"What's wrong?" Spock asked, stunned and slightly concerned about her abrupt withdrawal.

"You said your code word," she explained in between breaths.

"But I only meant it as a selection. It was not intended for actually use," Spock protested, seriously wondering, with some small portion of his thoughts, about whether there was any data about blood loss to the brain during sexual arousal.

"Doesn't matter. That's why you choose one you wouldn't ordinarily use. Tonight, you have to 'take it back', if you want things to continue."

"Very well, I ... take it back."

"Good," she replied firmly. Moving quickly forward, she pinned his wrists to the wall on either side of him, rubbing her body against his. "Now, don't ever say it again ... unless you mean it," she said, stepping back and pulling him with her. "Usually once it's said, it's over ... at least for the night."

"Follow me," she said, dropping her hold on his wrist.

Spock complied, caught as he never had been before by the gentle sway of her hips, the shapely length of her legs, and the gentle curve of her thighs as they disappeared underneath the short uniform skirt. As she disappeared around the corner of the divider, he quickened his pace. He couldn't quite tell why, but he didn't want her out of his sight.

He rounded the divider to find her standing beside the bed facing him. Her feet shoulder width apart, she had her hands planted on her hips. "Strip," she ordered him.

Electric shock shot through him, leaving him a touch weak in the knees. Very direct, he thought, then swallowed. It was unnerving being uninjured yet not entirely certain he could remain standing. He hesitated only a moment, then reached down to remove his boots first and was not surprised to see that his hands were trembling. It felt as though his entire body was vibrating with intense energy.

Christine was shaking. It was all so much so fast. Watching him obey her commands was exhilarating, no it was more than that, it was intoxicating and it was nearly unbelievable. She no longer had to hide so much of what she was and what she felt, from the one who meant more to her than life itself. Stepping forward, she took a long, slow, shaky breath and tried to slow the pounding of her heart.

She stepped forward just as he straightened. He'd grabbed the bottom hem of both shirts. "Slowly," she commanded! "I want you to do it slowly, one item at a time," she continued as she circled around behind him. She didn't touch him, not yet.

He pivoted in place to watch her as he pulled only the uniform shirt off.

"No, don't turn." She watched a shiver travel though him. It excited her further. She wanted him now! No; slow, that's the way to go. She finished her slow circuit around him, just as he removed
his black form-fitting shirt. She made her way to the bed and lounged across it. Supporting herself on her elbow she rested her head on her hand as she used her other to ever so slowly travel over her fully clothed body.

She could see Spock's eyes watch her every move. It was almost as though she could feel his eyes caressing her; as if her hand were his eyes. It was the most erotic thing she'd ever experienced. Then his hands went to the waistband of his uniform trousers and she stopped breathing. She had to forcibly remind herself to start again.

And then there he stood in all his glory, she licked her lips again and had to swallow before she could speak. "Come here," she said, as firmly as no breath would allow.

Spock let the last article of clothing fall, very conscious of their different states of dress. He had to admit, she knew what she was doing. Her amazingly calm 'come here,' had him stepping toward her even before he'd realized he was moving. It was incredible. He stopped next to where she was lying, and before he knew what was happening, she had pulled him down onto the bed, with his wrists pinned out to the side.

Christine leaned down from her position, straddling Spock's hips. She placed her lips close to an ear. "You hesitated when I told you to strip," she whispered. "Don't let it happen again."

"Yes, Christine," Spock murmured.

She tightened her grip on his wrists and rose up swiftly. "What did you call me?" she asked fiercely.

"Christine."

Her eyes narrowed as she glared at him.

His eyes widened in utter astonishment. Surely she didn't mean ...

"What are you supposed to call me?"

He continued to stare, shocked to his core. He hadn't expected this.

Christine frowned and let go of his wrists. She started to roll away. "Very well," she said as casually as she could manage. Inside it was killing her to pull away. "Don't move until I call and tell
you, you can."

Wha...?

She got up off the bed.

"Mistress," he said at last, his eyes nearly pleading for her to come back.

She smiled broadly. "That's better." She slowly, one item at a time, began removing her clothing. She ran her hands delicately up and down her body as she did so, drawing it out, teasing him unmercifully.

Spock watched her, completely unable to move. It was if her command had frozen him into immobility. His breathing grew more ragged as she climbed cat style back onto the bed, inching her way forward until she was once again straddling him.

"Touch me," she said, freeing him to do exactly what he'd been burning to do. Together they explored each other. Touching and being touched. Caressing with hands and lips; trailing moist kisses and playful nibbles to sensitive body parts.

On and on, Christine explored at her leisure allowing Spock to do the same. But every time he tried to take it the next step, she pulled back, not allowing him that satisfaction ... yet.

Spock felt her with every fiber of his being. She pervaded him down to his soul. It was almost more than he could bear. She was everywhere, except the one place he most needed her to be. He couldn't speak except in low, short gasps and groans that he couldn't believe were coming from him. He had not know it was possible to this aroused outside of Pon Farr.

It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. It thrilled and threatened to panic. "Mistress ... please!" he finally managed to gasp.

Christine rose up and with the decisiveness of someone who'd dreamt of this for years, impaled herself on him, taking him all the way in, in one swift movement. She gasped with the intense pleasure of it. She was whole. They fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. Then she slowly began rocking against him.

His hips rose up to meet hers and together they climbed higher and higher. Faster than she could have imagined possible, the rush of her climax hit and washed over her in wave upon wave of intense, nearly painful release.

Spock clenched the covers in both fists as she clamped and released around him, driving him over the edge. In one final thrust upward, his body shook as his climax over took him and released his seed inside her.

Both trembled in the aftermath, as Christine lowered herself down to rest against Spock's chest. She listened to his heart beating so fast, until both their breathing slowed and their hearts calmed.

A sense of lethargy overcame both of them and they slipped easily into the sleep of the completely sated.

The end