Disclaimer: Paramount/Viacom own Star Trek. Copyright 1977 (c) by Caroline Nixon. Originally appeared in Son of Grope, a British `zine produced in 1977 by Ann Looker. PG13-R.
The Ultimate Birthday Present
I am lying in bed, frustrated, for it is far too early to rise. I watch the first grey light of dawn begin to lighten my curtainless windows – curtainless so as not to shut out the night sky I so love. My thoughts wander, meander, switching from one topic to another, and I idly start to wonder what gifts I will have today. A delicately worked woollen shawl perhaps, for an old and venerable lady -- and from there, despite myself, my mindd opens that forbidden door and explores the pathway I had long denied myself --
I think back to the time when my hair was not yet grey, but gold and gleaming, and I was called beautiful, – no doubt, the flattering of obsequious courtiers, but be that as it may, I was not hard to look upon. I look back to that other birthday, so long ago, when I was given -- the ultimate birthday present.
I woke early on that morning also, not because my body rejected sleep, as today – I was young and could have slept on, but I had disciplined myself to early rising. Even though it was my birthday, I had much work to do. I rose, dressed, and entered the audience chamber where I sat for long hours, receiving the loyal greetings of my subjects, and gift upon gift, ranging from the eggs or fruit baskets of the countrywomen, to the jewelled necklaces of the noble.
Until all had come forward, all gifts were given – apart from the usual gift from the Council of Advisers. Last year it had been a complete new library – all my old favorites in new exquisitely bound volumes, and many works I'd never opened but had longed to read. And this year -- nothing?
All day I wondered, and all day I kept counsel and the Chief Adviser acted as if nothing was amiss. Well – the Treasury would benefit from my loss.
The State Banquet began, course upon course, which I hardly touched, preferring to give my attention instead to the musicians who had been hired for the occasion. And then came the usual toasts and speeches, and the Chief Adviser was talking quietly to me above the festive clamor ---
"We have not forgotten your present, Majesty, but thought you would prefer to receive it in private. We have taken the liberty of putting it in your bed chamber."
Bedchamber? My head was whirling with tired confusion. What got into the Advisers this year? In dazed submission, I followed her lead, along the corridors again and up the wide staircases to my own apartments. At the door, the Adviser turned, bowed, and disappeared. No servants were there to help me retire for the night. Taking advantage of the unwanted privacy, I kicked off my shoes somewhat peevishly and looked around for my present.
I shrugged and went into my inner chamber – and there it was, a sculpture, a most exquisite life-size sculpture - placed upon my bed. Fashioned from palest jade, the naked figurine gleamed in the dim light. My eyes traced the lean back, the shapely buttocks, and the long, slender legs. The unknown artist had fashioned a cap of hair like polished jet inlay, so expertly worked that each strand stood out separately – so soft and silken I yearned to touch it with my fingers.
Without realizing, I found I'd been holding my breath. I let it out in a quiet sigh, taking a step nearer -- and the statue moved.
Of course, then I came out of my semi-hypnotic trance and understood what was going on. I could see his ears now, and the slanting brows, and I knew it was a Vulcan. So, the Advisers were back at their old game! I'd always disdained the usual practices of highborn ladies on our planet, dallying away the days with pretty slaves. And my Council longed for me to emulate them, and leave the reins of power in their eager hands. So, they had, in the past five years since my coming to the throne, searched far and wide for tempting toys to tickle my fancy, and I had laughed in their faces. How others could lower themselves to indulge in such intimacies with slaves, I didn't know. It was not for me, and I kept my power.
And now they had played their trump card. Few Vulcans were ever seen on our planet, but when one fell into our hands, he was much prized. Vulcans are a cold, unemotional people, unless one knows the secret of unlocking that hidden savagery that lies under the veneer of civilisation. A savage, an insatiable untiring being they become then. The delights of their lovemaking were legendary. All thanks to a simple device – an irrevocably locked collar round the neck which stimulated the sexual centers of the brain, in response to the mere thought command of his mistress.
Where the accepted norm of heavier musculature would have repelled me, the Council had chosen well with their offering of lithe, slender grace. He pleased me and I actually felt what I'd never felt in my life before – the first stirrings of desire for a man.
And in obedience to my unguarded thoughts, he turned his head to face me and at the sight of those dark, tortured eyes, all feelings but pity left me. Vulcans are supposed to control their expression, but he had lost control, and his vulnerability was plain. He had beautiful features – upswept brows, luscious lips and aristocratic nose, but the eyes, the beautiful velvet eyes belonged to one who had looked into hell.
When I went over, he flinched – and I shuddered, wondering what had happened to him, and not really having the experience to know. So, I did the first thing that came into my mind to reassure him – I took a fold of the silken coverlet and pulled it over his naked body.
"I will not hurt you," I said.
Those dark, expressive eyes showed he didn't believe me.
"I promise you," I said. "Do you know where you are?"
"Then no one can come here but me, and I will not hurt you. Who did?"
It was a stupid question. I don't expect whoever it was had stopped to exchange names --
"What happened?" I persisted. He didn't speak. He didn't need to, for I looked closer and saw the marks on his body, carefully disguised with paint, and powder, but visible to a closer look. So, someone had sampled the goods before they were passed on, like a mouse at the cheese --
"It's all over now," I said. "I'll get some water. Those scratches will fester with paint on them."
He shied away when I tried to bathe him, and I had to will him into immobility though I hated to do it. Even then, he trembled, and would not turn over without my prompting. There were livid scratches around his groin. And my tears came falling fast.
I dealt with him, and covered him again, much to his relief.
"I don't expect she fed you either?"
His eyes dropped. Starvation too.
I went and got the fruit and rolls I keep near me, for I often miss meals, and want to eat before sleeping. He wouldn't take the food, so I fed him like a baby, making him open his mouth and chew at first, and then allowing him his own will when he realized he was hungry.
And when he'd eaten, I knelt down at the bedside and asked him who he was, and how he had come here, but he wouldn't answer. "Then we will talk in the morning. Sleep now. You shall go home, I promise you."
He watched me enter the anteroom where my maid usually slept, those big black eyes disbelieving.
And in the night, he cried – screamed in nightmare - and I wakened, confused, and then remembered. He was threshing about, and trembling, and I gently slapped him awake.
"Bad dream, " I told him. "Was it so awful then?"
He nodded and spoke for the first time, his voice deep and low, broken, "I wish to kill her--"
Vulcans are pacifists I knew. That he wanted to kill was a measure of what had happened to him. And yet – what had happened? But then perhaps, to a proud Vulcan, to be a plaything was the ultimate degradation.
I lifted the covers, climbed in beside him, and made him come close to me. I put his head on my breast and wound my arms around him, kissing him gently on the forehead. He quivered.
"I have not forgotten my promise," I reassured him. "A hand can heal as well as hurt, tend as well as tear. You are safe with me. No-one can hurt you now."
Gradually, he calmed and slept.
When morning came, I questioned him again about his identity and where he came from. He avoided answering until I took him to a hangar where my private yacht lay. The reason for my question, I told him, was to learn if he could pilot a spaceship.
"I can," he said, "but I can never go home now. Not like this."
Understandable – he had lost his self-control and his self-respect. How could he face those who knew him in such a state--? I told him not to worry, that he would recover and the ship would be waiting for him.
The days passed, slowly the tormented look faded from his eyes, and he began to hold up his head again when he walked.
The council members were rubbing their hands gleefully. I spent all my time with him and they thought they had succeeded in their plot to divert me from the `cares of state'. At night, he would spend long hours in the garden, seated on a stone bench, staring up at the stars, and I knew without him telling me that this was his home – no one planet, even his home planet of Vulcan – the whole galaxy had become his garden.
But at dead of night, the nightmares often returned and eventually we took to sleeping as we did that first night, and I found deep peace in his nearness and warmth. It was well that he was improving – if he did not leave soon, perhaps the Council would succeed. I was fast becoming over fond.
I had explained to him that I wished to remove that hateful thing he wore about his neck, but I feared what others might say. What I didn't tell him was I feared he might do something foolish when free, like senselessly trying to flee, or to harm himself. But finally, it was possible to free him of it, and I symbolically buried it in the garden, though the emeralds it contained were worth a fortune!
"You will be all right alone tonight," I stated, and he padded off to the anteroom. It was cold and lonely without him, but I was pleased that he was so much more stable. I tossed and turned; chilled, dreaming of cold winds and hard-packed snow. Then, finally, the sun appeared and the snow melted away.
I woke to find him there beside me once more. Unthinking, I kissed his cheek. He moved closer to me and sighed in his sleep, like a child might. He looked so vulnerable that my arms went around him. He nestled against my side and I felt his body stir – as did mine.
It woke him and he cried out, his eyes accusing, remembering all the old pain he had suffered.
"I did nothing," I told him. "Have you forgotten your neck is bare?"
His hands went involuntarily to his throat, eyes narrowed in confusion and doubt.
"Hush now and lie down again. You should welcome your reaction. Is it not the reflex of a healthy body? It means you are well. Greedy Mother Nature is blackmailing us into making more babies for her. Go to sleep now.
But sleep would not come for him - or for me. Again, I took him into my arms but he drew back, though his body was far less sure that's what it truly wanted.
"What are we going to do?" I asked him. "You'll catch pneumonia if you have a cold bath, and you can't exercise if off at this time, you'll wake the whole place."
"Dope, it won't be like it was before." I began to kiss him gently, on the brow and cheek. "It's supposed to be pleasurable, you know. Before we humanoids perverted it that's how nature got male and female together."
I took the delicate tip of one pointed ear between my lips and gently nibbled it. He trembled still, but no longer with fear. Encouraged, I brushed his lips with mine, caressed his body, and called him silly love names. Slowly he began to respond, the passive lips growing supple and heated - and greedy.
He flinched when I trailed my hand down his body to stroke the delightful hardness that pressed urgently against me – burning steel in a silken sheath – then moaned. I laughed softly against his ear.
"It feels even better when you put it where it's meant to go."
He hesitated and so I pulled him gently onto me. A little more encouragement and he gently parted my thighs before entering me, slow and dreamlike. I floated for a time on cotton-wool clouds until he found his rhythm and the tension built – and built. The legends were correct I'm glad to say, and certainly no figment of an over-heated imagination. Savage he undoubtedly was, but it was a sweet, insatiable savagery, one I welcomed. Whoever had taught him his technique was a Mistress in her own right, though I doubt anyone on my world had been responsible. Heaven could not have compared to his lovemaking that night.
When it was over and I could breathe once more, I kissed his ear and whispered: "Well, what do you have to say now?"
And his lips curved into a gentle smile as he said, "More."
We spent a hand of days in my apartments. When our passion eventually spent itself we talked and he finally told me a little about his previous life. His name was Spock. My darling, Spock--
His mind had truly started to function, freed from the clinging cobwebs that had dulled it for so long and a new side of him started to emerge – one I adored even more – so serious and logical! Not my beautiful, birthday gift at all.
It was way past time for him to leave. I was besotted. I think for a glimpse of one of his rare smiles I would have sold my whole birthright.
When I watched my shining space yacht lift itself gracefully from its landing ramp, the thought that I had been able to give him back his self-esteem was a little consolation. That and a week of pure joy --
"Well, now to spoil the day for those scheming Advisers," I thought grimly and set off purposely for the palace. There was no satisfaction to be had from their patent disappointment at seeing me back in charge, however, and that night when I went to my bed alone, the smell of cinnamon still clung to the sheets where he had lain. I howled like a sick bitch until dawn.
And today I get a pair of woolly bed-socks to gladden my heart. He won't have changed much in fifty years. Humans do – but Vulcans don't. I lie here and wonder whose bed my ultimate birthday present is warming now. Does he sometimes spare his Royal owner a passing thought? Maybe our daughter will find out some day.