DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Guinn Berger and is copyright (c) 1984 by Guinn Berger. This story is Rated PG-13. It was originally published in It Takes Time on Impulse, Volume III, 1984.
Chapel looked around the laboratory with blue cat's eyes -- siamese blue. Everything was in order, just the way McCoy insisted it be. He did have his peculiarities, the old horror. Neatness was one of them; she'd seen him knife a nurse yeoman in the middle of an operation once, for tossing down a used clamp and missing the tray. Sadistic lechery was another.
Chapel at least had no need to submit to her immediate superior's sexual demands. She had more than an inkling of the unpleasantness she was missing and daily congratulated herself on McCoy's grudging hands off attitude. He would have liked matters to be different, but did not dare insist, for Christine Chapel had an ace up her sleeve and he knew it.
Spock was that ace. The first officer protected her, cherished her, and provided her with an incorruptible Vulcan bodyguard. All she had to do was pretend for him.
They had been working together in the lab that first time when tentatively, almost casually, Spock had touched her. She had not expected advances, not from the cold, aloof, rather forbidding Mr. Spock, and was therefore unprepared to conceal the shocked revulsion which raced through her.
"Are you unwell?" His eyes mirrored concern for the alarm which so clearly showed in her face.
"No -- no, I--" Surprise made her usually glib tongue falter. This was unfair! She had never suspected! The calculating looks which followed her from other pairs of eyes had been easy to read, and confrontations simply had not occurred because of her carefulness to avoid them; but with Spock there had been no warning ... he wasn't even human for God's sake; how dare he!
"You need not be afraid," he assured her in a husky tone which shocked her by its very tenderness. "I have no wish to hurt; not you." Then he actually attempted to kiss her and she pulled away in panic, covering her face with her hands. Oh, God -- not him!
His voice grew icy cold, and very quiet, dangerously quiet. "Do you find me repulsive, Lieutenant?" Christine's scalp prickled as she became suddenly aware her real peril; Spock was Vulcan. He was also executive officer aboard the Enterprise and could not be offended with impunity.
"No!" she lied desperately, "No, it's not you, it -- it started a long time ago..." She continued to talk, in a halting fashion, saying whatever came into her mind, whatever she thought he wanted to hear, and her imagination wove for him a fiction she hoped would be convincing enough to neutralize her stupid and dangerous blunder of moments ago. Her success exceeded her wildest expectations.
"I understand that I have been too abrupt," he said at last. "I had not realized that your experience of men had been so very unpleasant." His face grew grim for a moment, then that expression and all others vanished. "Another time, when you have had an opportunity to prepare yourself."
They had continued their work as if nothing had transpired between them, and Chapel's heart had begun to bound with the realization that he was going to take "no" for an answer. He believed her.
Over the following months, she had refined her story, making full use of her considerable talent for deception to play poignantly upon the oh-so tender heart he had surprisingly shown. Just today she had again put him off, for about the thousandth time. "...Please." The tears had hung glistening on her lashes. "...Please, you don't know what it's like for me." Get your filthy hands off me, you Vulcan slop. "Those other times ... I can't get them out of my mind, they were so awful..." A single sob had escaped her trembling lips. "Please," she whispered humbly, "I can't..."
Unhappily, but resignedly, he let her go.
"I am patient," he said in a quiet voice. "I can wait."
She nearly laughed in his face, but managed to keep countenance. Oh, you'll wait a long time, never doubt it!
After he was gone she had laughed, low to herself. He really thought that one fine day... She laughed again, then stowed away her traces of self revelation. She could not afford the luxury of letting her true thoughts show, it was too dangerous a habit to indulge. She had walked a tightrope all of her life and walked it well, but one slip -- one small misstep -- would send her plunging down. If Spock, for example, were to see her for the liar she was, he would leap upon her like a gore fanged panther and tear her throat out before she could cry for mercy. No, he would have no mercy for the woman who had made such a fool of him for so long. The sniveling, mealy mouthed ones never did. She had seen it happen often enough. The soft men never cut their losses and took a kiss off philosophically. They were the kind who went in big for revenge, when they could. Chapel intended to see to it that by the time he found out, his opportunity for hurting her would be long gone.
Why he simply did not take what he wanted was beyond her capacity to understand. She understood brutal and selfish men. She even held a rough respect for them. They let nothing stand in their way. If they wanted money, position, a woman, they reached out their hands and took. This Vulcan's wheedling and wooing sickened her nearly as much as his alienness. How could he imagine that she would allow herself to be touched by something like him? Only if she had to.
No, she had her sight set higher than the Vulcan. The signs lately were that the captain himself was growing restless. Kirk had ceased paying quite so much attention to Marlena. She was on her way out. It was just possible that the dark exotic type no longer fascinated him. Perhaps a blue-eyed blonde was more to his taste. Christine licked her lips. What she couldn't do if she were picked as Marlena's replacement! But, it would require finesse. She knew it would be relatively easy to secure Kirk's interest. The hard part would be convincing the first officer to give her up without a fight. Even keeping Kirk interested later on would seem simple, comparatively. Oh, Spock would be wild! To have waited for months and then have his prize taken from under his nose. That would be her coup de grace.
* * *
Chapel generally paid little attention to the intrigues and small coups around the ship, mostly because there was no need. She was not a line officer, and it was less likely that her position would become so attractive to a junior officer that an assassination would claim her life. Furthermore, she was well enough protected by Spock's ever vigilant operatives to have no serious fear of anyone on board. Still, she suffered a momentary panic each time she heard mention of an attempt, albeit a foiled attempt, upon Kirk's life.
If Kirk died, then Spock would become the captain, and while she aspired to be the Captain's Woman -- not necessarily Kirk's -- she still scrupled as to whose command she ornamented. She scarcely favored Kirk on his own merit, but he at least was Human, and therefore to be preferred over Spock.
Lately, there had been two attempts against Kirk in one day. The first had been relatively minor and had been thwarted by Spock. The second, however, had nearly been successful. The second attack had occurred in the transporter room and had involved junior officers, including the recently dead Lt. Sulu.
It was increasingly obvious to Chapel that Kirk needed careful management, and Chapel was an excellent manager. She had after all, connived her way out of the slums of her birth, into a position near men of power, and she intended to climb even higher if possible. The Imperial court, perhaps even the Emperor's bed one day -- but for now, Kirk. There was nothing to gain, she decided, by waiting any longer. The fool was liable to get himself killed and that definitely did not fit into her plans. It was time to make her move.
Her luck was running. McCoy was busy sleeping off the effects of a Southern Comfort marathon he felt compelled to stage the day after Kirk's double brush with death. The old man's nerves must have taken quite a jolt, Chapel decided. It was well known that McCoy and Spock did not get along, and in fact there were few commanding officers in the fleet, other than Kirk, who would have put up with the surgeon's idiosyncrasies. The thought of losing Kirk and being left to serve under Spock scared him straight into the bottle.
It suited Chapel to be left alone in sickbay and it took very little thought to come up with a plausible pretext for luring the captain down from the bridge.
"You wanted to tell me something," he stated, rather than questioned. His eyes glided back and forth, taking in every detail of the room as if suspecting a trap.
"I heard you had a close call yesterday, Captain. I'm glad you came out of it unhurt."
Kirk's eyes narrowed and he frowned slightly. "You said it was urgent," he replied levelly, not returning her smile.
"It is," she said, undaunted, never breaking eye contact.
Kirk stared back, surprised. He was used to women taking the initiative; it was a benefit to a woman's social position to be noticed by a starship captain; but he never had suspected this one, the "Ice Maiden" as the crew called her. Eyes cold enough to deflate the hottest...
Slowly, Kirk began to smile. "I have a feeling I want to hear every word you have to say," he said.
Kirk was looking at her in open appreciation now and Christine smiled an invitation. Without a word, she turned and walked slowly toward the back office. No one would dare pass Kirk's guard to enter the sickbay, and there was a small cot in the back.
She paused at the door to see if he was following her and nearly laughed. He was right behind her, breathing hard. How easy this was going to be!
She knew where McCoy kept his special supply of liquor and as Kirk watched her mix drinks, he thought to himself how attractive it was to see a woman fussing over the glasses instead of simply button pushing. Marlena was becoming machine addicted and lazy. She should know enough by now to realize a man like to feel pampered.
Kirk was amused, but his eyes were on the soft round breasts straining against her uniform bodice and his smile had a predatory look. "Spock wouldn't like it," he grinned.
She did not pretend to misunderstand. "Since when do you care what he thinks?"
"He's a Vulcan. I understand they can get downright nasty over other men moving in on their women."
"I am not his woman," she said through clenched teeth, then laughed self consciously. "Anyway, the scuttlebutt around ship is that you can be pretty formidable yourself. In fact, Spock might even disappear mysteriously, if he isn't a good boy."
"He's protected you for some time now," said Kirk seriously, "Don't you feel anything for him?"
She laughed a hard laugh. "Certainly. Disgust, loathing... He's a clown. A stupid, sentimental, fool. I'd sooner let a milksop Klingon slobber over me."
Kirk laughed then. "Sure," he said. "Sure, he'll disappear if he gets in my way. I'm the captain here. I take what I want." He gulped the rest of his drink and stood up. "Come here."
He was little better than the Vulcan, she supposed. He certainly was cruder. His kisses were rough and his hands fumbled with the fastenings of her clothes in his hurry to have them off.
When she was naked, he stood for a few moments just staring at her, gloating, before pulling her down to the cot. He stood again a few moments later to remove his own clothing. Grinning, he pulled his shirt off over his head and vanished.
She stared for a moment, uncomprehendingly, at the spot where he had stood.
Then she started to scream.
* * *
Spock closed the distance between the lift and sickbay with long, easy strides. The Tantalus Field had worked just as the alternative universe Kirk had said it would -- swiftly, silently, leaving no trace. He had taken out the two guards, and then...
He overrode the lock and let himself into sickbay. There was a muffled sobbing from within the recesses of sickbay and he followed the sound to where she knelt, cringing, still naked , between the desk and wall.
He said nothing, just walked to where she was crouching and pulled her roughly to her feet. Then he hit her twice across the face -- not hard. He could have broken her jaw with a mere open handed slap if he had chosen, but this was a teaching method, not a punishment. He wanted to demonstrate to her just with whom she was dealing, and what would be proper behavior in the future.
"Mine," he said quietly, "in everything you say, and everything you do, in everything you think, you belong to me. Do not forget that."
When he pushed her onto the cot and began removing his clothes, she scarcely dared move. When he came down on top of her, she closed her eyes tightly and gritted her teeth. He reached out and stroked her face, while odd thoughts began to race through her mind.
...take this body and bend it to my will ... pale shoulders and breasts and soft belly... THAT ISN'T ME THINKING THIS!!...
No, she realized, catching fire in spite of herself and digging her fingers into his shoulders until the knuckles went white; those thoughts, and even the sudden desire she felt so strongly, were his. She made a half-hearted attempt to resist the surges of pleasure tingling along her nerves, to fight the alien intrusion and hide from the probing tendrils of his thoughts, but only succeeded in learning that his mind could overcome hers as easily as the strength of his body had mastered her own.
She realized then how profoundly in error she had been to imagine he was weak, when in fact he was more strong, more powerful than she had ever dreamt. Alien? Yes, of course he was alien, what human could perform such marvels and posses such powers? He was like a god, there was nothing he could not do, he was...
She was becoming aware that he was guiding the direction of these thoughts, and as if he recognized that awareness, his governance of her mind relaxed somewhat, but did not leave her altogether. He had said she was his, and that had proved to be absolutely true. Even the mind she had heretofore kept to herself was completely accessible to him. What was more, (worse), he could make her want the things he did to her, and welcome the invasion of her mind and body. Indeed, it had to be that way, it was the nature of his race to share with the mind and pleasure of his beloved, or find no joy himself...
She had never held much with love. Only her mother had ever loved her, and that had been very long ago... Christine was inclined to think it had been a bad mistake on the poor woman's part. Precious little had it done for her except work her into an early grave, trying to see that Christine had enough to eat and a chance to escape the dismal poverty and squalor in which she had been raised.
I did escape, she thought fiercely. I am the captain's woman, now that Kirk is gone.
They had climaxed and lay quiet. He severed the mind link unobtrusively, so he might take out some thoughts he preferred to keep to himself.
What a savage she was, he decided wonderingly. She had to fear a man to respect him, and that was perhaps the closest she would ever come to love. He had frightened her very thoroughly, then given her more pleasure than she could have imagined. That combination made her his, at least as long as he took care to keep her in line.
He had not really killed Kirk solely for her sake. He even considered, briefly, killing her too. She would require close watching, after all, for he was now too well acquainted with the workings of her mind to imagine that he would ever be able to trust her. It had been foolish of him to expect such a luxury in the first place, he decided. Besides, it had made it so much easier to press the button as he watched Kirk's hands on her flesh and heard the words of betrayal from her lips.
She would continue to serve a purpose. There were some who would be outraged by an alien's possession of a human mate, as he knew first hand from observation of his parent's suffering. It had been a very long time since anyone had dared refer top Spock as "half-breed" and he intended to see to it no self-appointed guardian of racial purity would ever attempt to hinder his relationship with Chapel.
There were others who would actually respect and admire his ability to collect a woman of the Imperial race itself, a full blooded human. She would enhance his prestige greatly and he wanted that. But, beyond all that she could gain for him, all that she represented, he still wanted her. I do not know why, he realized. She has no notion of honor. There were however, some dreadful, empty spots in his soul. Somehow, she made them seem less awful.
She was like a child, a spoiled, vicious, self-serving child, but one he might lavish with the love his mother had taught him. Perhaps she could even be gentled in time.