DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of JM Lane and is copyright (c) 2003 by JM Lane. This story is Rated R.



A SHARING OF CONSCIOUSNESS

By JM Lane



One of the most bizarre, if unforgettable, experiences of Christine Chapel's career -- perhaps her entire life -- happened on stardate 4768.3, when she shared consciousness with Spock. Even so, their mental communion had been extraordinary and beautiful; she had hated to see it end. If their mental union was any indication, their physical union was likely to be every bit as wonderful ... provided she could ever bring Spock around. She had always found him physically attractive, but after sharing consciousness with him, she knew that he was equally attractive mentally.

The only thing which had made her uneasy was the fact that Henoch, one of the energy beings from the dead planet Arret, had occupied Spock's body. To her dismay, he not only used his own abilities but her own feelings for Spock to control her. In fact, that had been the means he had used to get her into bed ... Christine's face flamed at the very thought. She had known that the arms holding her were Spock's, as were the lips which had kissed her and the hands which had caressed her, not to mention the body which had possessed hers -- but the life-essence inhabiting that body had not been that of the one she loved.

Even so, there had been no way for her to resist. The combination of Henoch's hypnosis and her love for Spock was too powerful. She would have liked to say that it had been rape, but the hypnosis, coupled with her own feelings, had made her an all-too-willing partner. Of course, it would have been wonderful if it had indeed been Spock who had bedded her ... indeed, that would have been the realization of a dream she had had ever since first coming aboard the Enterprise. There was no way for her to change the past, but she would have avoided Henoch/Spock altogether had it been possible. It had been both immoral and obscene to have used both her and Spock's body for his own pleasure. One thing was for sure -- not even half a million years could change a wolf.

And Henoch had been a wolf as well as evil, since he had forced her to administer the wrong formula to the Captain's body while Sargon inhabited it in an attempt to kill him. Had it not been for his wife Thalassa's assistance, she, Christine, could easily have been implicated in not one but two murders. The only good part of the whole thing had been sharing consciousness with Spock. Oh, hell, this rambling wasn't getting her anywhere. Maybe the best thing to do was go back to the beginning, rehash everything she had been told by Uhura and McCoy, then subsequently experienced -- particularly the mental communion with Spock. Perhaps then she would be better able to sort it all out, put it into some kind of perspective.

It took considerable time for her to go over everything that had happened so far -- or at any rate, what she had been told happened. She had had no idea that anything could have happened like what did happen -- and she wasn't sure whether or not she, Spock, the Captain, and Anne Mulhall would ever live it down. She had been told to prepare three beds for the Captain, Spock and Dr. Mulhall. The three globes containing the essences of the Arretians' minds were placed on stands beside them. Chris stood beside her superior at the head of the Captain's bed.

"You must keep in mind that with the transfer, the power of the alien minds will drive heart action dangerously high. All body functions will race at many times their normal metabolism, so these panels will have to be monitored carefully."

The situation had shaken Christine to her very core, particularly when she learned that Spock was involved. It was all she could do to maintain her facade of professionalism. "Yes, sir," she replied.

The Chief Surgeon sighed deeply and spoke to Kirk. "Well, I guess we're as ready as we'll ever be."

Kirk turned his head to the globe beside him. "We're ready, Sargon."

The three receptacles immediately became active, light fluctuating inside them ... then three flares of light so bright they hurt the observers' eyes entered the three bodies on the Sickbay beds. All three jerked as the aliens entered, then settled down again. Spock -- or rather, his body and the alien now inhabiting it -- awakened first. She was unable to help making her way over to his side. He turned his head upon sensing her presence, then did something he had never done before -- he smiled! That shook her more than anything ever had, especially when she saw the look in his eyes. She could have sworn that he was mentally undressing her! She had to fight to remember that this wasn't Spock, no matter what his outward appearance.

"Oh, but you are a lovely female. A very pleasant sight to wake up to after half a million years."

Christine couldn't help blushing. "Why, thank you."

"You're welcome," Henoch/Spock smiled again, then looked around the room after getting up, watching Thalassa/Anne's own awakening. At first she touched the face of her surrogate body, savoring the feel of the soft skin, then breathed deeply.

"I'd almost forgotten what it felt like even to breathe again," she said, then turned her head to look around. "Sargon, where are you?" She first looked in the direction of Henoch/ Spock, then toward the third bed.

Sargon/Kirk sat up. "Here ... in this body, beloved."

Thalassa/Anne got up and began walking toward him; he moved to meet her. They met in the middle of the room; Thalassa/Anne moved to touch Sargon/Kirk, smiling tenderly at him. "The body does not displease me, my husband. It is not unlike that which was your own." She then moved one hand up to caress his cheek. "It's been so long," Thalassa/Anne whispered. "So very long." The couple moved into each other's arms and kissed lingeringly.

Christine turned to find Henoch/Spock approaching, smiling and testing the latter's superb body. He looked up to find the Doctor watching him. "An excellent body, Doctor. It seems that I have received the best of the three. Strength, hearing, eyesight, all above the Human norm. I'm surprised the Vulcans never conquered your race."

"Vulcans prize peace above all, Henoch," McCoy tartly informed him.

"Of course ... of course. Just as we do."

At that moment, Thalassa/Anne sank back on her bed; a short time later, Sargon/Kirk began to sway and was helped back to bed.

McCoy said, "Henoch, you'd better go back to bed too."

Henoch/Spock shook his head. "Unnecessary at present, Doctor. This Vulcan body is accustomed to our higher metabolism."

Christine tore her eyes away from him and checked the wall scanners; their readings were alarmingly high. McCoy seen it also, and whirled toward the bed which held Sargon/Kirk. "It won't work, Sargon! You've got to get out of their bodies before you kill them!"

The answer was weak. "We will... vacate... until you can administer... metabolic-reduction injection."

"A what?" McCoy demanded, exchanging an uncomprehending look with Christine.

Henoch/Spock came up to the bed. "I will prepare the formula, Sargon."

"Henoch... your condition...?"

"I can remain in this body for several more hours."

"Excellent. We will -- vacate at once."

The globes beside the beds of Kirk and Anne Mulhall flared with light again. Henoch/Spock turned toward McCoy. "I will need help to prepare the formula. This woman will assist me." He nodded toward Christine. "Take me to your Pharmacology Laboratory." The Chief Surgeon and Head Nurse again exchanged glances before she followed Henoch/Spock out of Sickbay.

* * *

Back in Sickbay, Kirk and Mulhall were slowly recovering from the effects of the aliens' possession. After a long moment, the Captain's eyes fluttered open; his voice was barely above a whisper.

"Bones..."

"It was close, Jim. You and Anne barely got back alive. Unless the formula works, we can't risk another transfer."

* * *

In the Pharmacology Laboratory, two filled hypos lay on the table. Henoch/Spock worked on the third one while Christine stood next to him, watching.

"This formula will reduce the heart action and the bodily function to normal. You must administer one injection of ten cc's every hour while the bodies are occupied," he told her, placing it in her hand.

He then picked up the other two. "This hypo you will codemark for Thalassa... and this hypo, you will codemark for me."

"Yes, sir." She affixed the appropriate seals to each, then returned to the one she had been given first... frowning upon realizing that the formula in it wasn't the same. "But this hypo doesn't contain the same formula."

Henoch/Spock smiled charmingly at her, but something in that smile made her shiver -- and not with suppressed longing. "Yes, that's correct... but since I will arrange for you to administer the injections, no one else will notice."

"But without the correct formula, the Captain will die," she pointed out.

"Sargon would never allow me to keep this body. It is therefore necessary for you to kill your Captain in order that Sargon may die with him," she was told.

Christine stared at him in shock and tried to protest, but Henoch/Spock touched her forehead and her head swam... making her forget what she had been about to say. Totally entranced, she could only look at him helplessly.

Henoch/Spock spoke softly, beguilingly. "You wish to speak, my dear?" The latter's velvet eyes seemed to look into her very soul; she trembled in spite of herself.

She frowned as she strove to remember what she had wanted to say and failed. "I... wanted to say something, but I've... forgotten what it was."

He touched her brow again. "You were about to say that you watched me prepare the formula and fill each of the hypos."

She frowned again, then nodded. "Yes... that was it. I will tell Dr. McCoy that each hypo is properly filled for each patient." She turned for the door; he stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"And after our work is done, there will be time for us... Christine," Henoch/Spock said, reaching to stroke her cheek with Spock's fingers.

She shivered in spite of herself, fighting to remember that the man before her wasn't Spock, even though he looked like the one she loved and even sounded like him.

"Please -- don't..."

He didn't seem to hear her. "You are very beautiful... and I am well aware of your feelings for the Vulcan. I have also read in your mind that he ignores you, avoids you, even mistreats you. I, on the other hand, have no emotional reservations, and could give you the love and attention he denies you."

"No... please... I can't."

Her voice was a plea. The presence of the one she loved (or at least his body) was almost unbearable and all but impossible to resist, even though she knew the one speaking was not Spock.

Henoch/Spock lifted her chin, eyes lingering on her lips. "Why not, Christine? It would be illogical for you not to take this opportunity to obtain the attention you desire. If you turn it down, you may not get another chance."

Damn him, why did he have to sound so logical, so much like Spock? It would have been so much easier to resist him...

Henoch/Spock sensed her resistance ebbing away and pressed his advantage, pulling her gently into his arms, lips only a fraction of an inch from hers. "Come to me in the Vulcan's quarters when you are off-duty," the alien crooned in Spock's rich baritone.

"Yes..." Christine finally said, not wanting to resist any more. "Yes... I'll do anything you say."

Henoch/Spock then bent the Vulcan's dark head and claimed Christine's lips in a warm, lingering kiss. She could not help but respond as she had always longed to do, in spite of the knowledge that the man holding her and kissing her was not the one she loved. But for now, all that she saw was the look in his eyes -- Spock's eyes -- all she felt was his arms around her and his body close to hers; all she tasted was his kiss... This was all she had ever dreamed about -- almost. The only thing it lacked was Spock. If only it could have been him!

All too soon, she found herself standing dazed and confused at the door of the pharmacology lab with the taste of Spock's lips still on hers and his voice saying, "Until tonight, my dear." Where had he gone anyway? He seemed to have disappeared into thin air... She seemed frozen in place, unable to move; it took Leonard's impatient voice to release her.

"Chris...? Christine, for God's sake, what's taking you so long with those hypos? It's time for the next injection!"

"Sorry to keep you waiting, Leonard. I'll be right there," she replied apologetically, hurrying into the next room where McCoy and their three patients waited.

* * *

Christine couldn't help but feel a mixture of fear and anticipation as she prepared for bed that evening, not really intending to go to Spock's quarters despite what she had said. When Henoch/Spock was so close to her, she had been unable to refuse... but once out of his vicinity, her common sense returned. However much she may have wished otherwise, it had not been Spock who had propositioned her, but an alien who had appropriated his body and who would stop at nothing, even murder, to keep it.

Be that as it may, he could easily gain entrance to her quarters should he take it into his head to do so... particularly with Spock's strength. If he did, she would be all but defenseless -- in more ways than one -- to stop him from having his way with her.

* * *

The sound of her intercom beeping insistently startled her out of her reverie. She was almost afraid to answer it, certain that she knew who it would be.

"Christine," came Spock's soft, seductive voice. Had she opened the line unconsciously? She must have; that was the only answer that made any sense. "Christine, we have a date. I am waiting most impatiently for you. Don't make me wait any longer; I need you."

In spite of his tone, she sensed a veiled threat. If she refused, it would definitely not go well for her. Henoch/Spock might even come here and kill her. After raping her, that is -- and he would kill her in the way a Vulcan would.

"I'm... on my way," she found herself saying.

"I will be expecting you," came the reply. "I am looking forward to spending a deliciously sexy evening learning all the pleasures of your body -- and can promise you pleasures such as you have never known."

She closed the line before he could say anything more. Before, she had merely been uneasy around him; now she was frightened to death. Unfortunately there was nothing she could do to resist when he was in the body of the one she loved.

* * *

He greeted her at the door, sparing her the chore of calling to him. Hell, she didn't even know what to call him!

"Christine," Spock's voice said. The alien smiled with the Vulcan's lips, looking her over lasciviously. "You are even more beautiful with your hair down, wearing only a flimsy nightgown and robe."

She noted that Spock -- or rather his doppelganger -- was wearing a long burgundy-colored robe with a rope-like sash. The Vulcan's arms were held out to her. "Come to me, my lovely one." Something (Christine had no idea what) propelled her into them. He pulled her close and kissed her passionately, holding her tightly, almost too tightly, against him. His tongue pried her lips apart to intertwine with hers; she was unable to stop a moan of pleasure against Spock's lips. Even so, she felt her stomach turn over with revulsion at this horrible parody of one of her fondest dreams. This was what she had wanted ever since she could remember... but not like this. Never like this!

The next thing she knew, he was slipping her robe off to fall on the floor in a heap -- then Spock's hands began to lightly trace the curves of her body, stroking her back down to her buttocks as he continued to kiss her. The hands then cupped them and pressed her lower body close to his.

"Christine... Christine... I must have you..."

Warm lips found her neck, then the wildly throbbing pulse in her throat. Deft fingers slipped the straps of her nightgown from her shoulders, then the flimsy garment from her body so that she was naked against him. To her incredulous horror, she soon felt a hand directing hers to the large bulge at his groin.

"Feel it, my beautiful Christine. Feel how much I want you."

Spock's voice was husky with the alien's desire. In spite of herself, her hand gently closed around him. He unselfconsciously arched against her palm, soon shrugging off the burgundy robe so that it too fell around his feet. She was then picked up in Spock's arms and carried to bed, his body following hers down...

* * *

Once the couple came back down to earth, the alien spoke in Spock's voice. "To think that that extremely pleasant interlude is what the Vulcan has denied himself all these years. I cannot help but seriously question his sanity, particularly when such as you is within reach." The man beside her sighed and cuddled her closer to him. In spite of herself, Christine was warmed by the compliment. Certainly Spock would never have said anything like that to her! She lifted her head from his chest, suddenly reluctant to move, but knowing she had to.

"I... I must get back to my own quarters. I'm -- on duty at 0530, and need to get some sleep."

Somehow the alien in the body of her beloved seemed to understand, drawing her close for one last kiss before allowing her to get up and dress. As soon as Christine reached her quarters, she jumped into the sonic shower, cleansing herself of all evidence of what had so recently happened. She wrapped herself in a fluffy robe and lay down on her bed, taking no chances as she carefully locked her door. She didn't think she would be able to sleep, but she was out like the proverbial light within moments of her head hitting the pillow. Her last waking thought was, Thank God I had my birth control injection!

* * *

She walked in on Sargon/Kirk and Thalassa/Anne sharing a chore together the following morning, unable to help thinking of the night she had spent as she noted the intimacy between them. Even so, she didn't stick around; she had too much else on her mind. Henoch/Spock came in not long afterward, unable to keep from gloating at how he had possessed that lovely woman. Christine Chapel, that delicious creature with honeyed lips, immensely dextrous fingers and silken, fragrant body which had given the Vulcan body he inhabited indescribable pleasure. The Vulcan was a fool for not having claimed her for himself long ago. How very much he had missed -- and how much he would never know!

Even so, he was angered at the intimacy between his two companions. If he could but rid himself of Sargon, Thalassa could be his as well! He forced himself to keep working as they began to talk together.

* * *

Hours later, Thalassa/Anne found herself alone with her husband in a Deck Six briefing room. They sat close as Sargon/Kirk spoke with the Doctor and the latter had promised to come to the Briefing Room -- then Sargon/Kirk stood up weakly, shaking on his feet and almost stumbling to the center of the room.

"Sargon...?" Thalassa/Anne asked with a worried frown.

He held up a hand to silence her after cutting off the intercom to Sickbay. "I merely wished to confirm the formula, my wife. Do not be concerned."

"Feel the touch of my hand, husband," Thalassa/Anne said, putting a hand on Sargon/Kirk's cheek. "After waiting so long, how could we possibly give up these living bodies now and lock ourselves into machines?"

"Beloved..." Sargon/Kirk's voice trailed off, almost a moan.

" 'Beloved' ?" Thalassa/Anne echoed. "What will that word mean to a machine?"

"Our thoughts will intertwine," he replied quietly.

"Will they?" his wife retorted bitterly. "Can two minds press close like this? Can robot lips do this?" She pressed her body close to his and kissed him passionately.

"Thalassa..." Sargon/Kirk moaned, then stiffened and fell to the floor, not breathing.

"Sargon!" she exclaimed, alarmed, just as McCoy and Christine came through the door and knelt beside Kirk's prone body. "Doctor, you've got to help him!"

McCoy's face was grim as he gestured toward Christine, who automatically administered an injection. No response.

"Doctor?" Thalassa/Anne asked, dreading his answer.

"He's dead," said McCoy.

* * *

For a long time McCoy was unsure whether he should list one death or two. Kirk's body was dead, but his consciousness was still in the receptacle which had contained it since the aliens' occupation began. He put it on full life support, feeling angry and helpless. Sargon had been too distant from the receptacle to transfer back into it, so he was gone, having died when Kirk's body died. McCoy swore under his breath and wiped the sweat from his brow, then checked the wall scanner to ensure that the life support unit was working properly -- for all the good it would do.

* * *

In the lab, Henoch/Spock was working on a nearly completed android robot. It looked sexless, having no hair, eyebrows or anything else which would give expression to a Human face. Thalassa/Anne watched with a mixture of grief and weariness.

"Henoch, why pretend to work on that thing? You know you have no intention of giving up Spock's body."

"This is your new home, Thalassa," her companion said. "As soon as you are inside, I will add hair, eyes, breasts... pad the hips..." His voice trailed off. "You'll want the android to at least appear to be a woman."

She looked at the robot-thing with revulsion. "No! I can't live in that thing!"

"Sargon would have expected you to move into it at once," Henoch/Spock told her. "Surely there's no reason for you to keep the host body any longer."

"No, I won't do it!" she vehemently declared. "Never!"

* * *

McCoy was standing over the lifeless body of his Captain and friend. Tears burned his eyelids as he stole glances between the globe where Jim's consciousness still shimmered faintly and the body's waxy face, when Thalassa/Anne entered. He didn't notice her arrival until she spoke to him.

"Doctor, would you like to save your Captain Kirk?" she asked.

"But you said that was impossible," he reminded her.

"We have many powers Sargon did not permit us to use," she replied.

"What did you have in mind?"

"The body I have pleases me. I intend to keep it."

"I see," said the Doctor. "And Henoch intends to keep Spock's body, of course."

"Henoch's plans are his own affair," she dismissed. "I wish merely to exist in peace as a living woman."

"Are you asking for my approval?"

"I require only your silence. You and I are the only ones who will know that Anne Mulhall has not returned to her body. Isn't that worth your Captain's life?" She frowned at the look on McCoy's face. "Doctor, we can take what we wish. Neither you, this ship, nor all your little worlds have the power to stop us!"

The Doctor looked down at Jim's lifeless body. To have his Captain and friend alive again -- experience his vitality, his smile; his courage and affectionate "Bones." All the same, this was a choice between loyalty to his dearest friend and loyalty to himself -- and McCoy knew what his friend would want.

"Neither Jim nor I can trade a body we do not own. It happens to belong to a young woman --"

"Whom you hardly know... almost a stranger to you," Thalassa/Anne pointed out.

"I will not peddle flesh," McCoy declared. "I am a physician!"

The woman's eyes flashed blue lightning. "A physician? In contrast to what we are, you are a prancing, savage medicine man! You dare to defy someone you should be on your knees worshiping?" She made a contemptuous gesture. "I could destroy you with a single thought!"

A ring of flame formed around McCoy; he flung his hands before his face to shield it from the fire.

As he did so, Thalassa/Anne cried wildly. "No! Stop!" The flame died as suddenly as it had appeared; there was no indication it had ever been there -- not even the smell of smoke. The distraught woman sank into the nearest chair and wept. "Sargon was right. The temptations within a living body are too great."

I am pleased, beloved. It is good you have found the truth yourself, Sargon's voice said approvingly.

Her head lifted. "Sargon! I thought you destroyed by Henoch!"

I have powers even Henoch does not suspect, my wife.

She placed her hands on her temples, smiling, then opened her eyes and rose to face McCoy. "Sargon has placed his consciousness within your ship."

To the Doctor's surprise, Christine entered and moved to stand beside Thalassa/Anne. Before he could say anything, she said, "Sargon has a plan. Leave us; we have much work to do."

The moment the door closed behind McCoy, a dull explosion came from inside the sealed room; the ship shuddered once, then the sound came again... and again. He raced to his intercom. "This is Sickbay. Get me --"

Behind him, the door opened. An empty-eyed, zombie-like Christine Chapel emerged, oblivious to his presence. "Nurse Chapel! What the devil --" He rushed inside the room... and came to a dead halt. Jim Kirk was standing there smiling at him. "Jim?" he asked tentatively.

"I'm fine, Bones," Kirk said.

McCoy looked at the woman standing nearby. "Thalassa?"

Anne spoke quietly. "She... is with Sargon, Doctor. I'm Anne Mulhall, back in my own body."

The Doctor looked past them to the three globes. Each was broken, melted, black -- and dead. He gave Kirk a look of utter horror. "Jim! Spock's consciousness was in one of those!"

"It was necessary," came the emotionless reply.

"Necessary? There's no Spock to return to his body! You've killed your best friend, your most loyal officer!"

"Prepare a hypo, Bones. The fastest and deadliest poison to Vulcans. Spock's consciousness is gone; we must kill his body. The 'thing' in it..." Kirk's voice trailed off ominously.

* * *

But that was not entirely true; Christine was already bathing in the beauty of her mental union with Spock. Spock, is it really you? she asked from inside herself, tears of happiness misting her eyes.

I am here, Christine, his voice echoed in her mind. But we must be careful, lest Henoch discover what has happened. Please speak no further.

But I must tell you what -- she began.

There is time for discussion later, he admonished. We must get to the Bridge immediately.

* * *

On the Bridge, Uhura screamed upon seeing the evil in Spock's eyes, then slumped against her board, trembling. Henoch/Spock nonchalantly made his way to the command chair and sat down. Christine entered the Bridge and went to his side. Sulu turned around, ready to jump him.

"Must I make an example of you too, Helm?"

The Asian turned around again, forewarned and unwilling to take further chances.

The 'lift doors swished open; Kirk, Anne and McCoy stepped out, the latter keeping his hypo well hidden. The alien in the command chair didn't bother to turn around; he merely said, "Pain, Captain... exquisite pain. And you, my dear," he told Anne.

Both doubled over, holding themselves, as the Doctor stealthily headed for the command chair. Barely a foot away, Henoch/Spock held up a hand to stop him. "I know every thought in every mind around me," he boasted with a feral smile. "Chapel, take the hypo from him."

Christine did so, feeling somewhat nervous... but Spock's calming influence quickly eliminated it. She held it up. "Good," Henoch/Spock said. "Now inject him with it."

She aimed the hypo at McCoy -- then obeyed Sargon and Spock's silent orders, whirling to drive it into his body's right shoulder. Henoch/Spock stiffened immediately. "Fools!" he shrieked as he leaped to his feet. "I'll simply transfer to... another space, another body!" Then the 'poison' took effect; Henoch/Spock staggered.

"Sargon, no!" he called. "No, Sargon, please... please let me trans... fer --" Spock's body crashed to the floor as the alien essence departed. Kirk rushed to the fallen body and knelt beside it. He lifted it and cradled it in his arms, choking on tears.

"Spock... my friend, Spock. If only there had been some other way."

A moment later Sargon's voice reverberated through the entire Bridge: I could not allow the sacrifice of one so close to you.

At this point, Spock's consciousness re-entered his body and he got to his feet.

McCoy was both incredulous and happy. "But there was enough poison in that hypo to kill ten Vulcans!"

No, Doctor. I allowed you to believe that to be true, so Henoch would read your thoughts and believe it also. As a result, he fled the body, and has been destroyed.

"Jim," McCoy called when Christine staggered against him.

Kirk didn't seem to hear him, concentrating on the unbelievably wonderful fact that Spock was alive. "The receptacles, Spock. They were destroyed. Where was your consciousness kept?"

Spock gave a half-smile and nodded toward Christine. "In the one place Henoch would least suspect."

She nodded back, smiling tenderly at him as the others turned their heads toward her. "That's right, Captain. That's why I was called to Sickbay, Doctor. Mr. Spock's consciousness was placed in me. We shared consciousness together."

We now know that we cannot permit ourselves to exist in your world, my children. Thalassa and I must now depart into oblivion, Sargon told them.

"Is there any way we could help you?" Kirk asked.

Yes, my son. Allow Thalassa and myself to enter your bodies again... a last moment together.

Both Kirk and Anne felt the heat of transfer as Sargon and Thalassa moved into their bodies. Thalassa/Anne, in Sargon/Kirk's arms, said, "Oblivion together does not frighten me, my husband." Sargon/Kirk bent his head to kiss her, holding her close. "Promise me that we will be together forever."

"Forever, beloved."

They clung together one last moment, then were gone. Anne, still clasped in the Captain's arms, stared at him -- then both flushed and released each other.

Kirk cleared his throat. "Thank you, er... Dr. Mulhall. I'm sure Sargon was pleased by your... cooperation."

Anne's sapphire eyes smiled back. "I was -- glad to oblige, Captain."

Christine's own eyes misted with tears of happiness. "Just as I was..." Her voice trailed off. "It was beautiful," she said, looking tenderly into Spock's eyes. "Thank you, Spock."

His cheeks turned a pale green and he turned away, embarrassed, as she projected a description of what she would have done had they been alone. Kirk only smiled before turning to his command chair and sitting down. Spock moved to stand beside him after McCoy and Christine departed, still puzzled at what had happened.

"Jim, I do not understand," the Vulcan told his friend.

"Sargon did -- which I think is one reason why your consciousness was placed where it was. Who knows, someday Christine just may teach you what 'together forever' means. Maybe even as soon as your next mating cycle..." Kirk's voice trailed off, his own cheeks reddening when Spock gave him a glance which went right through him.

The Vulcan stiffened his back and made no comment, simply nodded in the Captain's direction and strode back to his station. Kirk's eyes followed him affectionately, then the Captain sighed and turned around to face the viewscreen. Oh well, I guess that's the way the ball bounces -- at least for now, Kirk told himself. He turned toward Sulu.

"Take us out of orbit, Mr. Sulu," he said. "Set a course for Starbase Six, warp factor two."

"Warp factor two, sir," the helmsman repeated, laying in the designated course and speed. Within seconds the Enterprise leaped forward toward her new destination, soon leaving Arret far behind.

* * *

At 2100 that evening, Spock looked up from his personal computer console at the sound of his door buzzer. It was rather late for callers, but had been known to happen. He shut the computer down and said, "Come."

The door of his quarters swooshed open; he was only mildly surprised to see Christine Chapel step through. She steeled herself for a moment against the heat, then stepped away from the door so it closed behind her.

"What brings you here, Christine? I was preparing to meditate."

"I -- need to talk to you, Spock." Her cheeks turned pink at his penetrating gaze.

"About what?"

"What happened to me -- between us -- that is, when your body was occupied by Henoch. He... said he found me attractive."

"Indeed?" An upswept eyebrow rose even as he gestured to the extra chair near his desk. "Would you like to sit down? Could I get you a drink?"

"Yes, thank you." The nurse sat down before her treacherously weak knees betrayed her, hands demurely folded in her lap. Because of the intimacy of the subject she was to discuss, it was difficult to look Spock in the face; instead she intently studied her folded hands.

"And?" the Vulcan prompted as he returned with her drink.

She took a good long swig to moisten her throat. "I -- just want you to know that I don't... hold you responsible in any way for -- what happened."

"What happened?" Spock inquired, hands tightening around his own drink.

Christine felt herself turning crimson to the roots of her hair. "He... seduced me."

There was a long awkward silence as the Vulcan bowed his head and closed his eyes, clutching the still-full glass in his hands. "I see," he said at last. "So what do you expect me to do?"

"I'm not asking you for anything," the nurse denied. "I -- merely wanted to tell you what had happened while Henoch... controlled your body."

"And you would like to repeat that action, what you did with him?"

Christine blushed at his frankness. "You must let me finish. I... didn't want to go along with it, but was -- unable to resist. Particularly when he used my... feelings -- to... ensure my cooperation. If I hadn't gone along with him, I was -- sure he would have killed not only me, but you, the Captain, and Dr. Mulhall. That is, he would have -- destroyed the globes which... contained your life-essences."

"So you are saying that you... only went along with Henoch in order to spare our lives?"

She nodded. "Even so, he nearly killed Sargon. If he hadn't -- fled into the ship..." Her voice trailed off. "As I told you on the Bridge, our sharing consciousness was a beautiful experience for me. I cherished every moment and hated to see it end. But it would have been so much... better if we could also have --" She couldn't seem to speak further.

Spock took a good long swig of his drink, then set it down and surprised them both by placing a gentle, comforting hand over hers. Once over the initial shock, Christine looked up and smiled; he allowed himself to smile back. "You would have -- preferred it to have been me," he finished quietly. She sensed that he was just as embarrassed as she.

"Intellectually, I knew it was your body, your voice, your arms, hands and lips -- but it was not you. That is what... spoiled it for me. It was -- a mockery, a cruel parody of what I... so longed for. Not to mention obscene to not only use my body but yours for his own pleasure," she declared angrily. "The -- only things I liked were the compliments he paid me. Something you... would have no doubt considered illogical."

The Vulcan nodded thoughtfully, choosing not to notice that he was still holding Christine's hand. "Particularly if they were untrue."

She looked up at him, wide-eyed, unable to believe what she had heard. "What did you say?"

"That they must have been true. It would have been most illogical for him to have perpetrated deliberate falsehoods."

"You... mean that you agree with what he said?" She sounded incredulous.

"Why is that so surprising?"

"For one thing, you're a Vulcan... and besides, you don't even know what he said," she pointed out.

"Could you not... tell me?" he gently prompted.

"I... suppose so," she stammered, cheeks flaming once again. "But that doesn't mean you would ever --" She broke off, sure she had said too much. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."

"Complete your sentence," he entreated softly. "What wouldn't I do?"

For a long time she couldn't bring herself to speak; it took a gentle but firm order to loosen her tongue. "You would... never have paid me such compliments," she told him. "Not that I'm blaming you, though. It is an emotional, unVulcan thing to do. Besides..." Again, her voice trailed off.

"Besides what?" he again prompted.

"You never gave me more than the time of day before; why should I expect things to be any different now? Especially after what's happened... and since it wasn't really you anyway --"

"So you believe that I am not -- attracted to you as myself?" he smoothly interrupted.

That caught Christine off-guard, to put it mildly. "You -- you mean that you are?"

"I would not be a man if I weren't." He again covered her hand with his. "I have always found you attractive; it is because of my Vulcan training that I have been unable to demonstrate it or tell you so."

"You're telling me now," she pointed out.

"We are alone now," he reminded her. "There is no one to overhear."

"You mean that you... would have told me earlier if there had ever been an -- opportunity to do so?"

"Precisely." He squeezed her hand this time.

She reached to tentatively stroke his cheek with her free hand. "Then would you be willing for us to... share physical love? I mean, this time it would be right. It would really be -- you instead of... simply the manifestation of someone else's -- desires."

Again there was a long, awkward silence, then he looked up and smiled. "If that is what you wish, Christine." There was a strange new tenderness in his voice.

"I do... but only if you want it, too."

"I would not have told you otherwise." Christine was both happy and frightened, particularly when Spock said, "Christine, I am waiting most impatiently."

"Please... don't say that," she bit out apprehensively.

"Why not? It is the truth."

"Because... it was what he said," she confessed. "And you -- said it just the way he did."

This time he touched her cheek with a comforting hand. "And that frightens you?" She nodded. "I am sorry."

Christine shook her head. "You have nothing to be sorry about. It's just that I'm so -- jumpy after what Henoch put me through... that it's going to take me a while to work through it."

"What could I say that would not frighten you?" The aforementioned hand stroked her hair this time.

"Say anything you wish," she answered. "I'll tell you if it bothers me."

"But I wish to avoid frightening you."

She smiled. "I know, but I can't know for certain that what you say will be anything like what he said. After all, the two of you are as different as night and day."

"Logical." He raised an approving eyebrow. "Very well, then. I shall do as you ask -- but make sure to tell me if anything I say frightens you."

"Count on it," she assured him.

"Then let us not waste any more valuable time. It is already 2200," he informed her. "And we go on duty at 0600."

"Which still leaves us eight hours." Christine gave Spock a sly wink.

"Indeed." He shocked her by returning the wink before motioning her toward his sleeping alcove.

* * *

The night with the real Spock was a study in contrasts. Whereas his doppelganger had only had his own pleasure in mind, Spock was gentle, tender and considerate of her pleasure. His kisses and caresses were somewhat reminiscent of that other time, but this time he did not expect her to give him pleasure without having already given her pleasure. His first kiss was soft and gentle, his tongue gently parting her lips to intertwine with hers even as the kiss deepened and one hand found the zipper of her uniform. Almost before she realized it, it was in a heap on the floor and he was stroking her bare back with one hand while holding her close with the other.

Her heart pounded so hard against his chest that she was sure he could feel it. This time, she was the one to remove his uniform shirt and undershirt; they soon joined her uniform dress on the floor. Her hands lightly stroked his bare skin; first his shoulders and arms... then his furry chest. His hands then found her buttocks and pressed her lower body close to his.

"Christine, what you are doing to me..."

His lips found the wildly throbbing pulse in her throat as long, slender fingers loosened her lacy bra. It fell to the floor, as did her bikini panties a moment later. After she had finished undressing him, he swept her into his arms and carried her to bed.

* * *

She had no idea how much time passed before they came back to the real world. She smiled as she felt his body gently relax against hers before kissing her deeply in gratitude.

"Thank you, Christine. You were wonderful."

"As were you." She marveled at the differences between her two experiences. Henoch would never know how wrong he had been. Spock indeed knew a good thing when he saw one, and had at last claimed her for his own. The time just hadn't been right until now... and their physical union had been nothing short of divine. She giggled wickedly as she snuggled close in his arms and prepared for sleep. Of course, if she played her cards right, she would have him like this not only tonight and tomorrow morning, but every night and day for the rest of their lives.



THE END

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