DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Penny Jones and is copyright © 1999 by Penny Jones. One copy of this story may be downloaded for the private, personal enjoyment of the reader but may not be reproduced nor distributed further without the express, written consent of the author. Contact Penny Jones at Subtrek@AOL.com.



Creations

Penny Jones



Blue eyes searched the dimly lit room. They searched for familiar faces. Her nose flared as the smell of sweaty bodies mixed with the aroma of alcohol drifted through the open door. She smoothed down a non-existent wrinkle in her skirt and took a small step forward. Never had she felt comfortable in these places, and yet she had agreed to meet her friends here. Not for the first time did she wonder how much they might have changed since their last meeting.

Taking a deep breath she forced herself to take the next step, allowing the door to close behind her. After all it wouldn't do for a commander, let alone a doctor, to be late. She smiled slightly as she realized how long it had taken her to go back and get her degree. Now she was returning to her friends and the only place she really felt at home.

The dark dampness of the place enveloped her as she scanned the room. Suddenly the room filled with a heavenly voice. The young woman who was now taking center stage was graceful and used her voice and body to relay the mood of the music. Christine smiled as she moved forward. Uhura had always entertained them with her songs. However it was not often she took to the stage in a place like this. For a moment Chris paused and allowed the words to wash over her, warming her beyond reason. With a gentle sigh she moved toward the other end of the room. Someone bumped into her as a hooded man stepped in her path. His face remained hidden from view, but she could feel his eyes boring through her.

Her hair rose on the back of her neck as she moved to go around. His voice stopped her in her tracks. It seemed to float around her pulling her in as it echoed in her mind. "Soon, very soon my dear." Shivering, she turned toward him but he seemed to blend into the smoke. She blinked her eyes and scanned the room but the crowd seemed to have swallowed him up.

On trembling legs she moved toward the stage, unable to shake off the feeling of being watched and having met the man somewhere before. Closing her eyes she took a deep breath then opened them as she took the last few steps out of the crowd. Her heart rate increased as she caught a glimpse of her friends. She had waited three days for their ship to dock. Uhura was the only one who knew she was coming back and had asked her to meet her and Rand here.

She stumbled as her eyes followed Uhura back to her table. There seated in the far corner of the bar were all her friends. She remained where she was as she silently watched them. Her eyes searching their faces for one in particular. A tender smile lit her face as she spied him. He hadn't changed all that much. Had she really expected him to? Yes, she knew she had matured in the last five years and the rebound love that she had felt for him was gone as something else settled in its place.

She shook her head wondering if time had passed at all as she listened to the friendly banter taking place. Finally she felt as if she were coming home. Here she could try to figure out what was happening and hopefully heal again.

Remembering the recent advice her friends in medical school had given her, she squared her shoulders and took another step forward. One more step would put her in their line of sight. Taking advantage of the opportunity, she slowly compared each face with the one from her memories.

Captain Kirk was seated at the head of the table as usual and his face had a few more lines along with some gray in his hair, but his eyes still sparkled with an inner strength all their own. To his left and grumbling about slow service, voice gruff with a hint of tenderness sat Dr. Leonard McCoy. Uhura had taken the seat next to him. Her sleek black figure remained as graceful as ever. At the present she was using her charm to its full advantage with the burly man sitting next to her. His Scottish brogue seemed a little thicker with each swallow. Chief Engineer Scott raised a brow and his laughter roared through the room. Sulu was busy teasing Lt. Rand and Chekov was turning red from his neck to his hairline.

A smile graced her lips as her eyes moved to the man seated at the Captain's right. Her eyes lit with surprise as they met and held dark brown ones. His brow was arched slightly on his face. It would be the only hint she would get at his surprise at seeing her. Letting out the breath, she didn't know she was holding, she took the final step forward and gently put a hand on Sulu's shoulder. She was shocked by how steady and clear her voice sounded to her own ears.

"Is this a private party or can anyone join?"

Within seconds she found herself in the warm embraces of her friends and they each took turns in greeting her. It was then that she realized just how much she had missed them. This was where she belonged. These people were her family. They would always be there when she needed them. Quickly she pushed those thoughts away. Tonight would be hers. The other could wait until she was safely aboard the Enterprise.

The evening passed quickly, filled with laughter and warm memories. It wasn't until she turned to argue a point with Scotty that she realized her mistake as her head began to spin. McCoy and Scotty had taken turns spiking her drink. It was done in good fun and not in heavy doses, but to someone who didn't drink very often and who hadn't slept much in the last couple of months it was enough.

She could feel her defenses starting to crumble as sweat rolled down her neck to disappear under her shirt. Her heartbeat quickened as a voice floated into her mind. His words slammed into her brain as her head jerked upward. She knew that voice, had in fact heard those words before, long ago and more recently. Her eyes darted around the room. He was there somewhere, watching and waiting.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Somehow she had to regain control. Memories of a time long past learning to do just that and recently relearning them with her roommate came to mind. Opening her eyes she met Spock's across the table. The question in them told her that he knew something was wrong, but not what.

Before he could utter a word she stood and made her good nights, promising to report on board in the morning. She remembered promising Uhura and Rand that she would meet them for breakfast as she moved across the room. Without looking in Spock's direction, she made a hasty retreat, her calm voice belying the war waging inside her mind.

When she entered her temporary quarters she locked the door then sank to the floor. Quickly she began her Vulcan meditation exercises. That would be the last thing she remembered that night.

Later that same morning, she awoke with a severe headache. Cradling her head in her hands she sat up, trying to remember what had happened. The sheet slid down over her naked body. She moaned slightly as fear gripped her. She had hoped to have left that behind her on Earth. Now she knew it really had started again as she stared at her arms.

* * *

The warmth of the room caressed him as he wrapped the robe around his damp body. His hair, still wet from the shower, dripped softly on his robe, leaving it a slightly darker red. He gracefully slid behind his desk as he rubbed the towel through his hair. With a flick of his wrist he initiated the intercom.

He had to admit to a certain amount of curiosity. Selar was the adopted granddaughter of T'Pau and although they were related, they had rarely spoken. Why she would be calling him now peaked his interest. However, he knew the answers would soon be forthcoming.

Her lean face soon appeared on his screen with head bowed. Smiling slightly she met his gaze. "It has been too long, Spock."

"Indeed, Selar, and to what do I owe the honor of this call?"

The smile quickly faded as deep blue eyes met his. She looked away then met his eyes again. "I have a request of you that is not entirely logical and to a certain extent is out of pure curiosity and friendship."

Spock's eyebrow rose at a steep angle as he steepled his fingers and leaned forward. He knew of Selar's background and realized that after twenty years of being with humans it would take considerable time for her to fully accept the Vulcan way, although even the scholars had to admit she had made a lot of progress in the last eight years. With that thought clearly in his mind, he leaned back. "What is your request?"

For a brief second a smile lit her face, which she promptly tried to compensate for by biting her lower lip. Her eyes, however, sparkled with her excitement. Spock continued before she could utter a word of apology. "Due to the lateness of the hour, I can assume this issue is important."

She nodded and glanced around her. "Oh, yes, Spock. You see it all started about four years ago." At his raised eyebrow she stumbled over the next few words. "Maybe I should just get to the favor?"

At his nod she continued. "I need you to keep an eye on a friend. We went through medical school together and she has been experiencing extreme nightmares. We have tried various medications and nothing seems to work. The last week of school she didn't sleep more than one point two hours a night. I know that humans cannot go for long periods of time without sleep and I am worried about her."

Selar took a deep breath and stared right through him. "I started teaching her how to meditate and she learned quickly. It was as if she already knew how but needed to be reminded." Shaking her head, she brought her eyes to his. "It is hard to describe what I felt while trying to teach her. Also I'm afraid her condition might worsen and I can't let anything happen to her."

Spock had not taken his eyes from her face and later would remember this conversation with chilling clarity. When she had finished, he leaned forward. "I will keep an eye on Dr. Chapel for you. However, there is something you are not telling me."

Selar glanced around her then leaned forward and lowered her voice. "It has to do with T'Pau. We were discussing school and I mentioned Christine and her problem along with some other things she had told me. Suddenly Grandmother was sitting straight up in her chair and asking me question after question. I have never seen her like that. She did not wait for me to say farewell, merely that she needed to speak with someone and would get back to me. Spock, I think something else is going on and it involves Vulcan and Christine. I have just been informed that I am to meet and accompany Ambassador Sevek back to Vulcan."

Spock tilted his head to the side and raised one eyebrow. If what Selar said was accurate then indeed something was going on. Nodding he leaned back and bowed low. He needed to do some research to find out if there was a connection somewhere. "I will let you know if anything happens. It would be wise to keep what we suspect to ourselves until we know more about it. Peace and long life, Selar." He replied as his fingers took on a familiar V shape which was copied by the young woman on the screen.

"Live long and prosper, Spock."

The screen went blank as Spock leaned back. Resting his elbows on the chair, he brought his hands together in front of him with the first fingers steepled. His brows furrowed in thought. Vulcans were known for their logic and rituals. For one such as T'Pau to forget was unheard of unless something was indeed wrong. After spending several minutes considering his options, he finally sat forward and began typing.

As first officer he could access any crew member's records at anytime, but never before had he looked past their Starfleet records. That was about to change. As Chapel's records appeared on the screen, he realized that he had never accessed them before.

It took him an hour to read through her recent schooling. His respect for her and the other three interns rose considerably. The rest of her record took only a few minutes. It was not up to Starfleet standards which in itself brought on more questions that needed answers. Adjusting his monitor he began the real search as he zipped through files that should be under heavy security. They gave way under his careful administration.

After several minutes the screen began to flash and the words "Access Denied" ran across the screen. A half hour later and he was no closer to opening her file. It was sealed and could only be opened by voice command. That was not what bothered him. It was *whose* voice that brought the frown to his face. The information must be very important for the President of the Federation to be

the only one who could access it. It was turning out to be a very interesting challenge.

He called up a few more things then dressed as he placed a call to T'Pau. He was quickly informed that she would call him back. A few minutes later, he left his quarters and headed for the starbase.

* * *

Her head was spinning wildly as her body shook from the cold. Suddenly she jumped from the bed pulling the sheet tightly around her as she ran for the bathroom. Her body screamed in protest at her jerky movements, but another part of her was controlling this war. Seconds later found her bent over the toilet relinquishing her supper. Though she would love to blame it all on the alcohol intake of the night before, she knew better. The nightmares she could handle but the radiation poisoning was beginning to take its toll.

Her time on the Enterprise had lulled her into thinking that it was all in her past. When she had left to finish her schooling, it had all started again. She knew she should be in sickbay, but also knew it wouldn't get really bad for a few more days. However, until the nausea passed, she wouldn't be going anywhere. For once she wished she could wake up with her clothes on. It always worried her as to what was happening to her besides the radiation.

Through a wave a dizziness the door chime registered in her mind. Vaguely she remembered making a breakfast date with Nyota. She debated on whether or not to let her in. The bruises and needle pricks were barely visible and did it really matter? No, besides she could always blame it on the alcohol.

Before she could change her mind, she yelled, "Come in." Getting to her feet, she wrapped the sheet tighter then brushed her teeth and ran a cool cloth over her face, her eyes closed as she tried to fight the wave of dizziness that crashed over her.

Not bothering to turn around, she called to her friend. "Nyota, I need you to get me some anti-nausea medicine from sickbay."

"Lieutenant Uhura is not present."

The voice was deep and soft, seeming to echo through the small room. Christine groaned and spun around. Which in itself was not a smart move. She knew that voice only too well. Had in fact heard it in her dreams for years.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Spock," she replied as she raised a hand to try and stop her spinning head. She opened her eyes to see him standing in the bathroom door staring at her with one eyebrow raised and for a brief second concern showing in his eyes.

Her head and body hurt too much to ask what he was doing there but she stored the thought away for another time. She held out a hand as her world began to spin faster. His voice seemed to be coming through long tunnel, but his warm breath brushed her cheek and a hot arm wrapped around her as blackness swept in like a tidal wave.

* * *

He curled deeper into his bed, shoving his head under his pillow. All he wanted was for the noise to cease, so he could return to the woman in his dream. Cursing loudly he threw the pillow across the room as he sat up. He quickly glanced at the clock as he made his way to the intercom. 0430. Hell, he had only gone to bed an hour ago. Someone was going to pay dearly for this. He punched the button on his desk as he sank into the chair. "McCoy here and this better be dammed good."

"Doctor, your services are required on the starbase."

"Spock, you pointy eared Vulcan, is it that you just don't sleep and think the rest of us don't need any either?" he grumbled as he threw on his clothes. He knew Spock would only call if it was important. Which could only mean, someone form shore leave had gotten hurt, but Spock was not scheduled for duty tonight.

He splashed cold water on his face and took a deep breath. Spock's next words sent chills down his spine and stopped him in his tracks. "Doctor, I know you just got in. However Dr. Chapel is in need of your expertise in her quarters."

McCoy's right eye brow rose in a good imitation of Spocks'. Picking up his shoes, he tried to keep his feelings from taking over. "What in blazes are you doing in her quarters at this time of night?"

He sat down heavily on the bed, knowing it had to be bad. Chris would avoid having Spock call for help at all cost. In fact she would avoid having him in such close quarters.

"Not what you're thinking and an explanation will be forthcoming as soon as you get here. You might want to get an anti-nausea hypo on your way."

McCoy nodded and moved to leave, his thoughts turning to Christine. He knew her better than anyone else had. In fact he had become very attached to her. They had become close friends before she left and had kept in touch throughout her schooling. She had told him about Roger and her feelings for Spock. He had in turn told her about his ex-wife and how their marriage had failed. She was like a daughter to him, had in fact helped him get closer with his own daughter. He had sensed something was wrong earlier but had put it off as jitters at seeing her friends. Now he was kicking himself for not following his instincts. Christine would be the first person to let him know that.

Spock's voice brought him back to the present. "I would advise you to hurry, Doctor."

He checked his med kit as he raced for the doors to Sickbay. A slight wave to the nurse then he stuck his head inside his office. "M'Benga, I'll be on the starbase if you need me." He grabbed a hypo spray off his desk and injected the vial's contents into his system. The alcohol fog began to lift around his brain. He needed to be sober for this.

Within minutes he was standing at her door. A silent prayer passed his lips as he announced himself.

* * *

Spock closed his communicator then lifted Christine into his arms and headed toward the bedroom. A frown marred his face as he took stock of the room and its contents. Something was out of place but he couldn't quite figure it out. The woman in his arms began to stir, bringing his attention back to her. She was lighter than he thought she would be. Her blonde hair curled gently around her pale face. His eyes were drawn to her lips as he remembered the last time they had been alone together all those years ago. A slight smile crossed his face as he remember the feel of her lips against his. As she moved again, he glanced down into beautiful blue eyes filled with fear.

Christine awoke to movement and a voice screaming in her head. She tried to block out the sound by turning toward the warmth that covered her right side. Trying to bury her head in its softness and failing, she shifted her body. Arms tightened around her back and legs as she groaned.

Opening her eyes she saw a blue-clad shoulder. The heat emanating from the body was too warm to be human. Cautiously she raised her head and met brown eyes set in a finely chiseled face. Fear coursed through her as her eyes swept over the face and came to rest on pointy ears. She pushed against him then raised her fist swinging it toward him. "No!" she screamed.

Suddenly her feet were swinging free as her hands were trapped between their two bodies. The voice in her head grew louder. Her voice was childlike and full of fear as she tried in vain to free herself. "Please don't hurt me. I won't do it again. Please let me go. I have to find them."

She felt as if a boa constrictor had wrapped itself around her. The hand on her arm moved up cupping her face as his other arm tightened around her waist keeping her firmly in place. Gently he raised her head to look at him. His voice remained low and soft. "Dr. Chapel... Christine, it is I. Spock. You are safe now. Whom do you need to find?" He moved so that her toes barely brushed the floor but didn't lessen his hold on her.

In her mind a new voice was making itself heard. She couldn't tell him, she couldn't let him find what she had kept secret for so long. Spock's voice seemed to be coming from far away, repeating itself along with the new voice. "Christine, you're safe. It's me, Spock."

A chill swept over her as the other voice grew louder almost drowning him out. "Forget." She shook her head and blinked back tears as the voice repeated the word over and over. Leaning her head against his chest, she took a shuddering breath. "I don't want to forget."

Spock raised an eyebrow and spoke quietly, keeping his eyes trained on what he could see of her face. "Forget what?" He readjusted his hold on her as he felt her stiffen in his embrace.

Pushing back against him, her brow wrinkled slightly. "I don't know." Her free hand flew to her head as she cried out in pain. The buzzing of the door could barely be heard above it. Calling for the doors to open, he once again swept Christine into his arms and carried her to the bed. Gently he laid her down and pulled the blanket up to cover the slipping sheet.

Tenderly she brushed a finger across his brow and whispered to him. "Help me. Please make this stop." Somehow the words touched something deep inside his mind. Stepping back he took a deep breath and stared at the woman now unconscious on the bed. At the cough from the door he turned to find McCoy staring angrily at him.

As Leonard rushed past him he got the glimpse of a smile lighting the older man's face. Knowing that McCoy would take care of her, Spock moved to the living area. His hands were shaking as he closed his eyes to meditate. He had to regain a sense of balance, but mostly he needed to purge himself of the fear he had received through his contact with Christine. Being a touch telepath, he often felt others' emotions, but mostly he prepared himself before hand and the contact would be just an impression. He did not have time to prepare himself for such a strong reaction as hers had been. Her fear was so strong and inbred that it had barreled its way through his barriers. The thing that bother him the most was just before he left. It was as if for a brief second her mind had touched his. He knew that couldn't be. However logic dictated that it was so. For now he needed to regain control. He would think about the rest when time was not an issue.

* * *

Half an hour later McCoy entered the living area his face was worn and haggard more from the last few minutes than his night out. He took a deep breath and plopped down in the nearest chair. His anger was in full gear as his eyes met Spock's.

"So, would someone mind telling me what in the bloody hell is going on around here? That girl is exhausted from God knows how many sleepless nights. Along with suffering from radiation poisoning which is damn near impossible to get these days, and to top it all off, I find you here and her with nothing on but a sheet. How long has it been since she slept? How did she get the radiation?"

Spock waited until McCoy had taken a deep breath and leaned forward before beginning. "I will start with your first question. I don't know."

McCoy could only stare with his mouth open. "Well, I'll be damned. For once you don't have all the answers. So what are you doing here?"

Spock chose to ignore the sarcasm as he continued. "Dr. Chapel seemed extremely nervous tonight. I took it to be from seeing her friends. However, I noticed her constantly scanning the bar. A gentleman in a blue robe followed her out of the bar. He seemed to ignore her so I did not pursue that. No one else left until Uhura and Rand did." Spock steepled his fingers and leaned forward as he explained how and why he came to be there. "So you see, she assumed I was Lieutenant Uhura when she let me in. The rest you already know."

McCoy rubbed his hand over his face. Standing he paced the room. Finally he came to a stop near the doorway to the bedroom. His eyes misted as he turned toward Spock. His voice was low and full of venom. "Damn it, Spock, some of the stuff done to her I've never seen before." He waved his hands to encompass the whole room.

"Where has she been for the last two hours that the computer says she wasn't here? More than that, the poison has been in her system for three days. Granted, the symptoms get progressively worse and there is no way she could have known, not with the small amounts she's been receiving. Where did she get it? Who in the blazes would do such a thing to another human being?"

Again he collapsed into the chair. "Unfortunately, Doctor, she was unconscious most of the time and incoherent when she wasn't fighting me. I don't think she is aware that she was even gone or where she is now. If we require more information, we will have to ask her."

McCoy nodded and leaned back in the chair. "Well, that will have to wait. I gave her a mild sedative. She should be out for the next couple of hours. I'll let Jim know and we need to get Uhura over here to get her stuff. I need to get her transported to the ship as soon as possible. Hopefully she'll be safe there."

Spock stood and walked to the window, seemingly engrossed in the stars. "If they can reach her through the starbase's shields, she will not be any safer on board. However, I can arrange to have the computers monitor her at all times."

McCoy agreed as he turned to stare at the open door. "Fine. I want them set up so that if she blinks, I'll know it. I want to know if she disappears and where she goes. No one has the right to do what they did to her." Rubbing sore eyes he continued. "She has bruises all over her and needle holes as well. Some are full of radiation while others I can't tell what is there."

Sighing, he placed his head in his hands. "Maybe it's better that she can't remember." His eyes snapped open as he stood. "Some son of a bitch is using her as his guinea pig and I want to rip him apart and feed him to the Klingons." His voice was rising steadily until he was almost yelling. "Damn it, Spock, what kind of person can do stuff like that?"

Spock could find no answers so instead chose to inquire into other matters. "What would be the purpose of ripping them apart? I fail to understand why you would want to do such a thing as to bring yourself to their level."

Leonard's mouth dropped open and his eyes grew large. "Tell me you can look at her in her present condition and not want to bang someone's head in."

Spock turned toward him. "I did not say that I did not see the need humans have for releasing their anger. What I fail to see is how that would help you feel better. I too would like to see the culprit caught."

McCoy rolled his eyes and leaned forward. The words he meant to say was silenced by a piercing scream. Both men were up and in the next room before the sound ended.

Spock knelt next to the bed trying to wake her. Suddenly she bolted up, a look of pure terror on her porcelain face. Her eyes scanned the room, coming to rest on Spock. A scream died in her throat as Leonard blocked her view. For a brief moment her eyes were filled with an unknown horror before her mind latched onto who and where she was. Brushing back a strand of blonde hair, she moaned softly then leaned her head on her bent knees.

Leonard rubbed her back until her breathing returned to normal and she gazed up at him. "Are you okay, Chris?"

She nodded and looked up to see Spock handing her a robe. A blush began on her chest and blossomed across her face as it dawned on her that she was still draped in a sheet. Both men politely turned away so that she could cover herself. Touching McCoy's shoulder when she was done, she curled her feet beneath her on the bed. Her head remained bent as he began speaking.

"Chris, you're suffering from radiation poisoning. It isn't severe but it could be. Do you have any idea what is going on?"

She looked through her lashes at the open door, wondering if she could make it. Sighing with resignation, she shook her head and stood facing Leonard.

"They never give me enough to kill me."

She reached out a hand to steady herself as Spock spun her around and Leonard yelled. "Who?!"

She looked at both men in confusion and fear. Spock took a step forward and lowered his voice. "Who are they? Who is doing this to you?"

She shrugged her shoulders and tried to see the images that seemed to float just out of reach. Shaking violently she slumped to the bed. Her voice was low and shaky. "I don't know. It's like the answers are there only when I try to remember they disappear." Rubbing her temple she looked up at her long-time friend. "I've been hearing other voices in my mind. Unless there aren't any to begin with, in which case I am going crazy. I can hear them but I can't remember what some of them say. I just don't know what to tell you."

Leonard shook his head. this was not what he had expected when this night had begun. His eyes narrowed slightly as he glared at her. It finally dawned on him what was nagging him in the back of his mind. "Young lady, just what are you doing awake? That sedative should have kept you out for a few hours, unless the nightmares are that bad?"

He leaned back against the wall, his eyes roaming from her to Spock. It wasn't often he got to see these two together and he planned to study the hell out of both of them. Spock seemed to be inspecting the room as if it would give some kind of clue. Yet he never moved from Christine's side, while Chris fingered the belt on her robe and would constantly glance in Spock's direction.

With a deep sigh Christine met his eyes. "Mild sedatives don't work very well. I seem to be able to block them when the need arises."

McCoy crossed his arms across his chest and glanced toward Spock. "How long have you been having these nightmares?"

Christine glanced between the two men. "Most recently?" She raised a brow as Leonard nodded. "Off and on for the last four years. However, the first time I had one was when I was twelve. Recently I learned that they weren't part of my medical record. I fail to understand how they were omitted. Dr. Metel at Starfleet Academy knew about them. However, they ceased shortly before I was assigned to the Enterprise."

Spock straightened his shoulders and placed his hands behind his back. "Your medical records are substandard for Starfleet's normal requirements. However, I cannot access anything before the age twelve without voice confirmation from the President of the Federation. I found that piece of information to be quite fascinating."

McCoy nodded. "I got the same results when she first came on board ten years ago. Also your records from twelve to twenty were fairly bare too. Is there a particular reason for this?"

Christine shrugged her shoulders and smiled. "I don't know and I can't seem to find out anything more than you two. I don't remember anything prior to waking up in the hospital in San Fransico on the third of November. The nightmares as you call them started six months later." She tried to hide a yawn behind her hand but failed miserably.

Leonard stepped forward and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Why don't we talk about this after you get some rest?"

She would have loved to do nothing more right now, but knew it would be impossible. Standing she turned him toward the door. "Why don't you two go back to the Enterprise? I'll grab a quick shower then meet you on board in an hour. Just tell me where my quarters are and I'll be there."

Spock stood in their path and would not budge. "That would be an illogical step at this time."

She peered around McCoy's shoulder and met cold brown eyes. "And why is that?"

McCoy turned and answered for him. "Because, young lady, you were missing for almost two hours. Spock and I aren't leaving without you."

Her brow wrinkled as she glanced between the two men. "Two hours. Are you sure?" She waved off their comments before they could form them. "You're serious about staying, aren't you?"

Spock rocked slightly on his feet and nodded. "Yes, the doctor and I will wait while you shower and change."

Christine blushed again as she pulled the robe closed. Gathering her stuff, she slipped into the bathroom. As the warm water flowed over her so did her tears. It had started again, only this time was worse than the others. This time she could almost catch a glimpse of a face. Like all the other times she felt used and helpless, only this time she knew would have to end differently.

Concentrating on the voice she tried to picture the face of the man in the bar as his words played over and over in her mind. The face remained a mystery, but his laughter filled her along with a brief glimpse of tangled thoughts. A tingle began at the base of her neck and spread over her as her hair stood on end. A deep baritone reverberated throughout her mind. "Soon enough."

Shivering she jumped out and dressed quickly. Suddenly she wanted very much to be on board the Enterprise.

Leonard closed his communicator and looked over at Spock. He had spent the last few minutes casing the room. "So what is bothering you?"

Spock turned toward him and raised a brow. "I don't know. Something seems out of place here but I am unsure what it is."

McCoy nodded and looked around. "I thought the same thing. Only it seems different now then when I first entered."

Spock nodded and turned back to work as McCoy spoke. "So, is the computer ready to track her?"

Spock faced him and cocked his head to one side. "Yes, however the chances of us preventing them from taking her again are ninety nine point nine..."

McCoy held up his hand. "I know, Spock. Jim's got Scotty working on that too. I plan on keeping her in sickbay for a while. That should give him a little time."

Spock turned back to the bedroom doors, deep in thought. He knew that some of the answers could be found in Christine's records. First he needed to get in touch with Dr. Metel. His eyes met McCoy's. "Doctor, when you first noticed the discrepancy in her records, did you contact Dr. Metel?"

McCoy sat back in his chair and nodded. "Yeah, Tom told me that he was told to cease any and all inquires into her past. The word was brought down by Vulcan and Starfleet agreed in the name of Federation Security. He informed me of the nightmares too."

The 'v' in Spock's forehead deepened as he leaned back against the wall. "That is the second time Vulcan has been mentioned in connection to Dr. Chapel. If we also take into account her violent reaction to me earlier, then the only logical conclusion to make is that Vulcan is indeed involved."

Leonard sat forward. "What do you mean violent reaction? I know she was terrified when she first came to a few minutes ago."

Spock pushed away from the wall. "When I first arrived, she passed out in the restroom. While I was carrying her to her bed, she became conscious. Upon seeing me, she began to swing her fist and kick at me. Then she asked me not to hurt her." He walked over to the window and stared out into the stars.

Leonard continued to stare at Spock's back trying to make heads or tails out of this whole situation. He caught a movement out of the corner of his eye and turned just as Spock did the same. There was nothing there. The two men looked at each other then moved toward the spot. Just then the door opened and Christine stepped into the room.

A smile lit McCoy's face as he moved toward her. "Chris, you look great."

Shaking her head and smiling slightly she moved to meet him. "Len, you never could lie well. My stuff is packed and ready to go. If you're ready."

Leonard turned to Spock who nodded and moved to join them. Leonard clasped her hands within his and headed toward the door. "Uhura and Janice are on their way to get it. You are to come with me directly to sickbay where you will remain for quite awhile."

She rolled her eyes and nodded. "All right, let's get this over with. The sooner we get there the quicker I can get out."

Leonard cradled her elbow in the palm of his hand as he propelled her out the door. Spock took his place on the other side. McCoy leaned in close and staged whispered to her. "Who said I was going to let you leave? We have some catching up to do, but not until you get some much needed rest. After that I may let you out. It depends on how good you are while your there."

Smiling she hugged his arm. Her voice was low and soft. Both knew that Spock could hear them but continued anyway. "What you really mean is the quicker I drive M'Benga up the wall, the faster my recovery will be." Her blue eyes shone with laughter as she winked at him. His laughter echoed in the empty corridors as he winked at Spock, whose eyebrow was almost touching his hairline. "Ah, Chris you wound me, and how I missed you around here. M'Benga has been bitching for three weeks now of how you would probably get assigned here. He swears that you'll come in and totally rearrange the sickbay just to get even with him. Just what did he do before you left?"

Christine's laughter wafted through the air as she shook her head. "That is between him and me. Ask me again in a few weeks. Maybe by then I'll have gotten my revenge." Laughing and joking they made their way to the base's transporter room and back to the ship.

* * *

McCoy made his way to his quarters. They had beamed aboard a few hours ago. After running quite a few tests, he had ordered everyone to get a few hours sleep. Christine had surprised him by hopping up on the biobed and telling them to get out. His thoughts returned to the results of one test in particular, wondering again if Chris had any idea what these people wanted from her. He shook his head as he entered his quarters. He hadn't wanted to leave her there alone. However, everyone had reminded him that there was a nurse and M'Benga on duty. She would be safe for now.

He flopped face first onto his bed as the doors swished closed behind him, his mind refusing to shut down. He thought back to his attempted conversation with Tom Metel. The man had refused to answer any questions, had in fact hung up on him. Leonard knew the man well enough to know the pressure was being brought to bear from higher up and that Tom wanted to talk but couldn't risk it. All the more reason for him to worry about what was actually going on.

Turning onto his back he threw his arm over his eyes and asked the computer to lower the lights. Somehow Vulcan had become involved and their role was a very large piece of the puzzle. He had spent the last hour studying their history and trying to find some connection. Closing his eyes he sighed deeply knowing the answers might never come. Sleep over took him quickly.

* * *

Christine pushed back from the desk and stretched. The Enterprise had left the starbase three days ago and it had taken everything she had to lie in the sickbay pretending to rest. Tonight though she had had enough. It had taken her only a few minutes to talk Nurse Kali into getting her a change of clothes. The stimulant she had given herself had countered the sedative.

Smiling she raised her arms over her head. Poor Leonard. He had taken to giving her one every night so she had no choice but to take the stimulants. M'Benga had reluctantly agreed to let her leave sick bay if she promised to get some rest. She had agreed and now six hours later she was still in the computer lab trying to make heads and tails out of her life.

Shaking her head she stood and stretched again. Where had the night gone? On slippered feet she turned off the computer and headed for the door. She had gotten no closer to finding out about herself than when she had started except for the fact that she couldn't find a birth certificate anywhere. It was like she had never been born. The communique she had sent to Dr. Waymire was still unanswered. She wondered briefly if he was still alive. The other two messages would take longer to reach their destinations but she hoped they at least would be helpful. Hopefully she would learn the name of the doctor who had treated her all those years ago.

Sighing she flexed her shoulders to work out the kinks. It seemed that nothing was going right lately. Nothing had gone right since she had returned to Earth. Calling for the computer to cut the lights, she glanced around one last time. She needed to get to her quarters before Leonard learned she hadn't gotten any sleep again. He had spent the better part of the afternoon regaling her with reasons why the body needed sleep. Like she didn't know already. They had even talked about the different drugs to control the nightmares, all of which had failed in the past.

She knew that they weren't nightmares in the sense that everyone else thought they were. It was more like a living nightmare. A part of her that refused to stay hidden. It was like there were two separate beings pulling on her, trying to make her see what they wanted. Lately she was hearing some of the crew's voices. She knew it shouldn't be possible but it was and in a way it was driving her crazy. Shaking her head she stepped out into the hall.

The air was knocked out of her as she collided with a warm body. His hands automatically grabbed her arms to keep her from falling back through the open doors. Her eyes met Spock's, who immediately masked the look of concern on his face as the doors closed behind her. His voice showed not a trace of the emotions he felt whirling through him at this contact with her.

"Are you all right, Dr. Chapel?"

Christine took a deep breath trying to regain control of her scattered wits. His fingers felt like tiny flames where they met her skin. Taking a step back to break the contact, she collided with the doors. She wanted nothing more than to duck back into the other room away from his prying eyes. The voices in her head were getting louder and she didn't want him to know about them. However, he retained his hold as he turned her toward the lift.

Her voice shook slightly as they walked. "I'm fine although I should learn to watch where I'm going. What brings you down here at four in the morning?"

She shivered as his eyes moved over her. Then he trained them straight ahead as he pushed the button for the lift. "Dr. McCoy and I agreed to have the computers keep an eye on you until we could figure out how you disappeared off Starbase 12."

She tensed then forced herself to relax as they stepped inside the lift. Her eyebrow raised in perfect imitation of his as he requested sickbay then met her eyes. "The computer was also keeping tabs on your sleeping habits. Since you have managed to get half the crew to aid you in disobeying the doctor's orders, we deemed it necessary."

Christine rolled her eyes and leaned back against the wall hoping to dislodge his hand that still held her arm. "So, are you my watch dog sent to make sure I get to sickbay?"

Spock tilted his head then raised an eyebrow. He took a step closer to her. "Yes, and to make sure that you stay there." He leaned forward a fraction of an inch, putting his face within an inch of hers. "Regardless of the nightmares, the human body requires more sleep then yours is currently receiving."

The lift came to a stop and Christine pulled her arm free and strode quickly down the corridor. Spock kept pace at her side. She wanted nothing more than to just get away from him. She needed to release the emotions that had been held at bay for the last couple of years, but Spock's persistence prevented that from happening. He had been ordered to take her to sick bay and he would see to it all the way. Suddenly she stopped and whirled around to face him.

"It isn't necessary for you to go any farther. I am quite capable of getting there by myself."

Spock nodded. "I have no doubt that you can. However, since you have not slept in the last twenty-four hours and only an hour prior to that in the last seventy two, it would seem that someone needs to make sure that you stay there."

She placed a shaky hand over her face. How far back had he checked on her sleeping habits? Knowing Spock, the inquiry would be very meticulous. So he would know exactly how long it had been. Christine stepped back and leaned against the wall to allow a crewman to pass. Her brows furrowed in thought as she gazed at him. Another image formed of him standing in an open doorway.

Shaking her head, she met his gaze. "Tell me, Spock. What brought you to my quarters on Starbase 12?"

Spock raised his brow and moved closer as two more crewmembers passed them in whispered conversation. His eyes followed them until they turned the corner with a hurried look behind them. Only then did he turn to meet her eyes. He knew she couldn't have heard what was said, but her eyes told him she had in fact always known what was said about her. Sadness seem to envelope her as she turned away. His touch was gentle on her arm.

He watched in silence as she blinked rapidly several times, took a deep breath then met his eyes with a smile. A smile that never quite made it to her eyes. Her voice was low and hushed. "I promise to stay in sickbay and try to sleep. You don't have to stay."

"I know," was all he said as they moved down the hall, his hand gently supporting her. She took a deep breath and stepped into sickbay. The hiss of a hypo greeted her at the door. She turned to see M'Benga's retreating form. Slowly she made her way to the biobed. Trying to quiet her panicky mind, she lay down and turned on her side to stare at the cold white wall that surrounded her.

Spock's voice sent a chill down her spine. He was so close yet he didn't touch her. "I came to your quarters because a mutual friend was worried about you. I had promised to keep an eye on you. However, my first inquiry said you were not there. When the computer informed me of your return, I decided to check on you."

Christine turned to face him. He had moved a chair to the side of her bed. "Selar always did worry too much. I thought I was bad but she's ten times worse." Christine yawned and closed her eyes. Maybe she should just give in to sleep and let the dreams have free reign. She never could remember what they were about, but the terror and hopelessness remained with her during her waking hours. She tried to blink back her tears but one succeeded in escaping. Quickly she brushed it away. Now was not the time to give into her tears. Selar and Timon had spent too much time in the last four years for her to ruin all their work by crying now.

Their methods might have been consider going overboard but they had helped. After all, doctors needed to have a firm grip on their emotions. It wouldn't do to break down while telling someone what their chances were. At least that was what she kept telling herself. The last year she had improved greatly and with the time spent on Caltair 4 Timon had mentioned that she could pass as a Vulcan. Selar had laughed for twenty minutes on that one. Now, though, all Christine could do was pray for a peaceful night's sleep.

Spock sat down on the chair and stared at his hands. Slowly he sorted through the jumbled impressions and thoughts. Raising his head, he watched the woman on the bed, her wrinkled brow slowly smoothing out as sleep at last won the battle she so vigilantly fought. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he sensed her jumbled thoughts. Ignoring them he moved on to the other voices he sensed. Some he knew although he had never heard them before, while others seemed to flit away as he drew closer to them.

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he began his meditation ritual. Soon he found his mind drifting. The thoughts were jumbled and he realized that like before they weren't his. He tried to understand what they were saying but they just became like a mist that parted as you drew nearer.

Suddenly nothing made sense as other thoughts merged and became louder. His eyes snapped opened as his head jerked up to stare at Christine. She had begun to toss and turn and he knew it wouldn't be much longer before the dream became unbearable for her. He contemplated melding with her to find out what exactly was going on. Somehow he knew the answers were there locked up tight inside her.

A movement to his left brought him back to his surroundings. McCoy stood in the doorway with arms crossed, staring at them a worried frown adding to his weathered features. "They just won't leave her alone, will they?"

Spock raised an eyebrow as he joined him at the door. "I find it interesting that you should phrase what is happening to her in that way," he replied to the doctor's question.

McCoy glared at him as he stepped further into the room. "Now just what do you mean by that? Do you know something that you're not telling?"

Spock shook his head as he joined Leonard at the foot of her bed. "Only that her thoughts are not her own. There are many voices that tend to merge, although one seems to be louder than the rest, yet I cannot make out the words."

McCoy stared at him and took a deep breath before running a shaky hand through thinning hair. "You didn't meld with her, did you?" he asked as he turned to leave.

Spock glanced down at the floor then at Christine. "No, she seems to have developed some form of telepathy in the last few years."

McCoy waited until Spock joined him at the door before commenting. "Actually from previous scans, it would seem she has always had the ability. She was just lacking in knowledge." They walked across the hall and into McCoy's office. Spock stood in front of the desk with his hands behind his back. "How could she not know, Doctor?"

McCoy leaned back in his chair and put his feet on the desk. "I don't know. All I do know is that she seems to have it now and she still doesn't know it."

They sat in silence as each tried to fit the pieces together. A piercing scream rent through the room. Both men jumped to their feet and ran to where Christine sat screaming on the biobed, eyes still closed in sleep. She was unable to wake from the nightmare. Quickly McCoy jabbed her with the hypo. They watched as the scream died on her lips and her eyes softly fluttered open.

She searched their faces and knew that it had only been a short time since they had knocked her out. The dream was a vague impression of terror in the back of her mind. She shivered and drew her knees up as she pulled the blanket tighter around her. Sighing she leaned back and closed her eyes.

McCoy stomped off muttering to himself about finding something that would help her sleep and yet keep the nightmares away. Spock ran his eyes over her face once more before following the doctor out. He too needed to do some research before meeting with the Captain.

* * *

Spock sat next to Captain Kirk waiting for McCoy to finish his conversation with Dr. Waymire. It had been three hours since he had entered sickbay. The Captain had arrived a few minutes ago after receiving the list of Vulcans that would be beaming aboard at Starbase 11. They had received orders to pick them up at that time. Things were definitely not what they were suppose to be.

Kirk had merely taken a seat and waited. It seemed that Dr. Waymire was a most popular man. McCoy had just finished explaining the reason for his call and was now informing him of her condition and the treatment they were trying.

Suddenly the man's voice seemed to bounce off the walls in the small office. "How long has she been under? Didn't she explain the side effects of a sedative on her at this point? We tried that when she was fourteen and nearly lost her. Those may be dreams she's having but they are dangerous to her. It's as if someone wants her to remember while something else fights to make her forget. In essence it is a battle of wills inside her head. I can't tell you anymore than that. Maybe things will be different now that she's older. The one thing I do know is that those people were in no way her true parents. Their DNA didn't match. I know, I did the test myself."

McCoy glanced up at the men across from him. "What made you do a DNA test on them?"

The old man shrugged his shoulders. "It was just the way they acted. Don't get me wrong. They cared for Christine very deeply but do you know a single parent that doesn't know what day her child was born. Oh, they knew the next time they came and a few other details to boot, but I wasn't fooled. There was this Vulcan that was always waiting for them outside too. Oh, he never let Christine see him but her parents would send her off ahead while the talked with him. Then he would just disappear until the next visit. Strange things happening with that one, but since it was a Vulcan I kept my mouth shut."

The old man shook his head and smiled. "Boy, how I do go on. Listen, you take care of that girl and give her my love. Seems she is trying to get a hold of me, too. Tell her I don't recall the name of the doctor who saw her in the hospital but I remember her folks saying something about they should have stayed on Vulcan a little longer. Well, gotta go. Seems an Ambassador Sarek needs to talk to me. Never in my life have I had so many official calls. Oh, one other thing. I made some copies of my files I kept on her. I copied them into the computer. You should be getting them at any moment. It's a good thing I kept most of my old records on paper. Seems someone broke in yesterday and destroyed everything on the computer. Boy, didn't that piss me off. Now I have to get a computer guy to retrieve it all. Well, Leonard, you find out what they're trying to hide from that girl and send me your recipe for mint juleps and we'll call it an even trade. Be seeing you."

McCoy sat back and shook his head, a smile playing on his lips. Now there was an old country doctor. He noted the file that was being upload as he turned to his guest. "All right, Jim, what's going on with this envoy?"

Jim Kirk stood and than began to pace. "It seems not only will we be bringing an envoy on Vulcans and rather esteemed ones at that but there will be twenty young ladies joining them."

Both Spock's and McCoy's eyebrows shot up as they glanced at each other. McCoy decided to bite and get it over with. "So, who are our guests?"

Jim turned to look at Spock but spoke to McCoy. "It seems, Bones, that Ambassador Sarek and his wife will be joining us once again. They will be accompanied by Dr. Selar, a recent graduate from medical school, and none other then Dr. Selek, the head of the Vulcan Science Academy who just happened to be visiting in the area. It seems he will be bringing six other healers with him. Now if I were playing cards right now, I would say this hand was stacked."

Leonard shook his head in agreement and watched as the two fell into step as they left. He called the nurse and asked for a stimulant and placed it at Chris' bedside and to always have someone in the room with her. He wanted to try to hold off on giving it to her until she got at least a little more sleep, but he also wanted to be prepared. After what he had learned so far today, he was certain that the Vulcans were involved but how to prove it? Calling up the files that Dr. Waymire had sent, he set off trying to find what was wrong with his friend.

* * *

Spock sat down at his desk and bowed his head slightly in respect. T'Pau waved her hand and got right to the point. "Spock, I know your ship has received its orders by now. Ambassador Sevek will be joining your father on his return trip. We have requested that the Enterprise convey them to us. The Federation has agreed."

Spock steepled his fingers in front of him and leaned forward. Never in all his years had he seen anyone do what he was about to do. However it seemed necessary. "It is illogical to have the Enterprise deliver them when the Intrepid is in their vicinity and could be on Vulcan within five days."

T'Pau nodded and glanced off to her right. "Now is not a time to question why we do what we do. Your presence has also been requested on Vulcan. Live long and prosper."

Before he could return the saying, the connection was broken from her end. He leaned back in his chair, his thoughts returning to days long ago and a visit to Ambassador Sevek's house almost twenty years ago. The ambassador had just returned from a planet that no one would name. All the healers of the city had gone to the mountains shortly after his arrival. He remembered that day because his father had returned with him. All conversation would come to a halt whenever the children got near.

The Science Academy had been silent for the next three weeks. No one knew what was happening and one was not supposed to show curiosity in such things. It was then that he had informed his father that he was joining Starfleet. He knew that what had happened on Vulcan then had to do with what was happening now. He realized that there were still some pieces of the puzzle missing.

* * *

Kirk paced his quarters as Spock filled him in on his recent conversation with Dr. Selar. It had been a week since they had left Starbase 12. Later tonight they would arrive at Starbase 11 and beam up the envoy to Vulcan. Selar was worried about her friend and although Kirk knew of the unusual upbringing of Selar, it still shocked him when she was so open in her concern. No doubt there had been more to the conversation then Spock was telling but then he trusted Spock and knew if it was important he would be told.

One thing was clear. Christine and her friends had also sought relief for her symptoms with a sedative. He could not help wondering why she had not mentioned it to McCoy. There were quite a few things that bothered him about this. The fact that Spock had reason to believe that Vulcan was involved disturbed him more than he would say. They were the backbone of the Federation. They were looked up to for their scientific knowledge and their logical outlook on everything. They made the best diplomats because they never got emotional. They would look at each side objectionably and then discuss changes so that both sides would be happy. To think that now they had something hidden in their closets would rock the very foundation of the Federation.

He sank down in his chair and gazed at Spock. "So the two of you have come to the conclusion that Vulcan has something to do with Christine Chapel's childhood. Something that they don't want to become public. Isn't that a guess, Spock?"

Spock cocked his had to one side. "I do not guess, Captain. I have spent the last week searching every database I could access from here. Everything points to Vulcan's involvement."

He leaned back, steepled his fingers and gazed at the chronometer hanging on the wall behind Kirk's head. Kirk realized how much that look irritated him at times like this. When he himself wanted to do something, anything beside sitting here doing nothing. Kirk nodded. "All right, the envoy will be brought aboard at 1900. I want a full briefing ready by 1700. I think the senior officers might be of some help. Maybe they can think of something we might be missing." Kirk jumped up and headed out the door. He was due on the bridge in five minutes.

* * *



Christine pushed the computer display panel away and swung her feet over the edge of the bio-bed. McCoy had insisted that she be in sickbay resting every couple of days. She hated sitting there doing nothing, but there wasn't much she could do. After the last two times he had made sure there was no way for her to sneak out. Spock had been sent to retrieve her again only this time from the rec room, where she was beating Ensign Thorson at a game of shoks. Thorson had discovered the card game two years ago. Christine had picked it up quickly and before the end of the day had beaten him in the last five games.

She sighed loudly as she jumped off the bed. She looked around for her robe and then remembered Leonard had taken that too. She glanced down at her nightgown. It would be fine for where she was going. Carefully she stuck her head out the door. When she was sure no one was around she walked across the corridor and into McCoy's office. Halting in front of his desk, she placed her hands on her hips and waited for him to look at her. The longer it took, the more her anger boiled. She knew he knew she was there. The alarm would have sounded the minute she stepped out of sickbay. Finally when she could stand it no more he looked up.

"Aren't you suppose to be resting?"

"Damn it, Len. I can't stand sitting there doing nothing. You of all people should know that." She crossed her arms over her chest and began to pace.

McCoy slowly stood and walked around to the front of his desk. His eyes took in her appearance. Her face was flushed with anger and her blue eyes flashed lightening at him. He smiled slightly as he noticed the nightgown that swished around her when she turned. Once again he was reminded of just how beautiful she was as she paced back and forth. The light blue gown with white lace around the bosom complemented her pale face and vivid blue eyes, which were throwing daggers at him right now. Laughing, he held up his hands to defend himself. "If you don't want to be gawked at, you shouldn't run around in that gown."

She rolled her eyes and let out a long sigh. "I don't know which one I'd like to strangle more -- you or Nyota. I can't believe she picked this one." When his grin threatened to spread again, she raised her finger and wagged it at him. "And you ... you're just impossible." Taking a deep breath she turned and began pacing again. "I am still mad at you." Her anger had not disappeared even though she knew he had been trying to do just that.

Leonard cocked a leg on the corner of his desk and relaxed. He knew she needed to vent and how could he refuse her in her current state of dress? "Permission to speak freely, Christine."

"Like that would have stopped me." She ran a shaky hand through her hair and as she passed him again her voice began to rise as she finally got to the problem. "Who the hell gave you the right to keep tabs on me? I can't believe you would do that without telling me. I'm a big girl, Len. I can take care of myself. I've been through this before. It'll pass." She took a shaky breath and came to a stop in front of him. "It always does." Her voice was almost a whisper on the last words. She turned toward him and held her hand out. "Trust me on this, Len. I know the different stages by heart." Her hand dropped back to her side.

Leonard stood and placed and reassuring hand on her shoulder. "How often has this happened?" Neither one had heard the door open nor saw the two standing there as she spoke.

"What does it matter?" she asked shrugging her shoulder as she took a step back. "It has nothing to do with the fact that you didn't trust me. Damn it, Len, you aren't my father or my husband. Who said it was all right to go and sic Spock and that damn computer watch dog on me?"

Laughter filled the room at her statement. She opened her mouth to scold Leonard when she realized he wasn't the only one laughing. Turning she saw Kirk leaning against the wall holding his side. Spock stood to his right with one eyebrow raised. "I fail to see the humor in this, and for your information, Dr. Chapel... Dr. McCoy did not 'sic' me on you." Spock's other eyebrow joined the first as his friends again erupted in peals of laughter.

Kirk tried to stop laughing but never quite succeeded. "The image from that might be enough to make this whole mission worth it." McCoy nodded in agreement before falling into his chair.

Christine crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head. "Sometimes I think they deserve each other," she muttered as she lowered herself into the other chair. Gazing from the captain to the doctor, she lowered her voice. "All I wanted was to go back to my room. I can take care of myself."

McCoy smiled and sat forward. "That might be but allow the rest of us the right to worry over a friend." Spock stepped forward as the captain lowered himself into the opposite chair, still smiling.

Jim smiled at her as he motioned to Spock. "Why don't you escort her to the briefing room while I bring McCoy up to date?"

Spock nodded and offered Christine his hand.

Ignoring it Christine stood and looked around quickly. She spotted her robe on a shelf by the door. Turning she rolled her eyes at both individuals as she retrieved the item. Slipping it on quickly, she glanced up at Spock in time to see his eyes move up her body. She turned away to hide the blush that rose to her cheeks, then she activated the doors.

The briefing started fifteen minutes late due to the absence of Kirk and McCoy, who entered with huge smiles on their faces. Personally Christine thought they both needed some R & R badly. She brought her thoughts back to the meeting as Spock stood and nodded to the Captain.

"In a few hours we will be escorting a group of Vulcans to Vulcan. In the last week ships heading to Vulcan have increased. In the last forty eight hours, over two thousand Vulcans have returned home. This hasn't occurred in over twenty years. Everything that has taken place in the last week has been done since Dr. Selar mentioned Dr. Chapel's current sleep problems." He walked to the other end and pointed to the screen. "This is Ambassador Sevek and Healer Selek. The last time both men were on Vulcan at the same time was 19 years, 8 months, and 3 days ago. No one knows where they were before their return. Recently Dr. Chapel's extra sensory powers have increased in the telepathy department. I have come to the conclusion that the voices she is hearing are real, further data is required to be 100% certain."

Christine let out the breath she didn't know she was holding. Finally she could stop wondering if she was crazy. Now all she had to do was figure out how to make them stop. She rubbed her head. The headache had started a few seconds before the meeting and had been steadily getting worse. Right now it was tolerable but that wouldn't last very long.

She brought her attention back to the events at hand, realizing that she had missed parts of the briefing. Spock was just finishing up with the Vulcan envoy and was moving to the next part. She cocked her head at the mention of the twenty young women that would be accompanying them.

Spock glanced up at Kirk as he continued. "There is very little known about them. The only information I can find indicates that they are human, between the ages of 35 to 45. All other information is secured in the interest of the Federation." Spock took his seat as his friends' murmurs grew around the table.

Kirk stood and held up his hand. "All right, folks, we all know that is the highest security there is. However, it will not do us any good to speculate. I suggest we take this unique opportunity to get to know these young ladies as well as their escorts. Scotty, you will be in the transporter room. Let's keep this as quiet as we can for as long as we can. Spock, Bones and Chapel will be on hand to greet them in one hour. Needless to say, we seem to be coming up with more questions than answer; so keep your eyes open. Dismissed."

Dr. McCoy's hand on her arm let Christine know she was to wait. She motioned Nyota to her and whispered in her ear. Uhura shook her head, grinned and walked out. Christine's eyes moved between Kirk and McCoy as they waited for the room to clear. Jim sank into his chair and leaned forward arms resting on the arm of the chair. She followed his eyes to Spock then quickly looked away.

Jim sat staring at him with his chin resting on his hand. Suddenly she found herself to be the victim of those intense brown eyes boring into her. His voice was low and all trace of his earlier humor was gone. "Dr. Chapel, can you please tell us why T'Pau has asked for your presence on Vulcan?"

Christine jerked forward. "Sir?"

Jim nodded. "It seems that they want you down there as well. What is it that connects you with Vulcan?"

Christine shrugged her shoulders and leaned back. "I haven't got a clue. I have never been to Vulcan and the only Vulcans I know are Mr. Spock, Ambassador Sarek, Selar and Master Sters."

Kirk watched as Spock eyebrows rose slightly at her mention of the last name. "Who is this Master Sters?"

Christine sat forward and leaned her elbows on the table. "He was a friend of my parents. Every afternoon for eight years he would come by and teach me different things. He helped me through high school after my parents died. In fact I stayed with him for a few years but he was very private. I don't know anything more than that. I saw him once a week after I started medical school and then when I was dating Roger it became a once a month thing. We keep in touch still. In fact the last time I saw him was right before my residency." A shiver ran up her spine at the memories of their ill-fated residency to Caltair 4.

Spock turned to the Captain and lifted one eyebrow. "Master Sters is well known on Vulcan. He was absent for seventeen years. T'Pau said that he was on assignment. He was to be my sponsor for the Academy but was called away unexpectedly. So there is not much more I can tell you about him. I do know that for the last eight he has reclaimed his titled as Grand Master at the Science Academy."

Kirk shook his head and rubbed his eyes. "All right, it looks as if we aren't going to get any answers until they are ready to give them. Dismissed."

Christine stood and looked to Leonard. "Go on," he said as he motioned her out the door with his hands. "Change your clothes and meet me back in sickbay." She smiled brightly at him and gave him a quick hug as she flew out the door.

Half way to her quarters she met Nyota carrying two very big sticks. A smile lit her eyes as she took them from her. "Thanks. Did Snarl say anything?"

Nyota smiled and nodded. "Yes, she said she would meet you the gym in four hours. She will just be getting off her shift and could use a good work out." Uhura wrapped her arm through Chris's as they headed toward her room. "You aren't thinking about taking Snarl on right now, are you? I mean you haven't rested in days. She could tear you apart before she realized you were down."

The doors to her quarters swished closed behind them. Chris set the staffs in the far corner, then grabbed her uniform. She stepped into the bathroom to take a quick shower. "I am hoping that it will wear me down enough to help me sleep. And don't worry -- I can handle Snarl."

Nyota nodded. "You're probably the only one. Well, except for Mr. Spock." She held her breath waiting to hear the answer. She knew about Chris's affection toward Spock and hoped that the time away had cured her of them. Chris's laughter rang out around her. "Not working, Nyota. If you want to know, just ask."

Nyota shook her head and sat down. "All right, so how do you like being back?"

Her answer was muffled by the sound of the water, but still managed to make sense. "I am glad to be back, but I wish they would turn that stupid computer off. I can't even blush without them getting a printout on the damn thing. Other than that, it's great to be home."

Nyota sighed and rolled her eyes. She raised her voice just as the shower quit. "What about Spock?"

Chris's head poked out around the divider and glared at her friend. "You don't have to yell. I mean these walls aren't all that sound proof."

"You didn't answer my question."

Her head disappeared for a few minutes then she reappeared fully dressed and combing her hair. "We are friends and nothing more. I managed to realize that I was using him to hide. Sort of a rebound from Roger. I still care for him very deeply but that's all it can ever be and I do know that, Nyota."

Nyota shook her head. She understood her friend maybe better than anyone else. Look at Janice and the Captain, and herself. Maybe that's the way it was meant to be. "Don't worry, Chris, your secret's safe with me. So, tell me what was it like on Caltair 4. I heard they went nuts."

Chris shivered and turned toward the door. "I have to get to the transporter room. I'll see you later." Seconds later Nyota found herself alone in the empty room. Shaking her head she whispered to no one in particular. "What did I say now?" Shrugging she went to the bridge for the docking with Starbase 11.

* * *

Ambassador Sarek and his wife Amanda stepped down from the dais and greeted the captain. Dr. Selar and Ambassador Sevek took their places next to them as they waited for the next group. Dr. Selek would arrive after all the women were on board. McCoy grabbed Christine's arm as she sagged next to him, her eyes never leaving Ambassador Sevek's face. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she smiled up at Leonard as he put her between him and Spock, as the first of the women was beamed aboard.

Silence filled the room as the three women materialized. They were all blonde with blue eyes of the same build and height as Christine. The facial features were different but other than that they seemed to be the same. As the three of them stepped down and moved toward the group, there were four screams of pain and the women along with Christine grabbed their heads and fell to the floor.

McCoy rushed forward as Spock lowered Christine to the floor. Ambassador Sevek grabbed two of the women and pulled them toward the door. "We must separate them," he said as the doors swished open. Dr. McCoy grabbed the third one and with Dr. Selar's help managed to get her out the door. As the doors shut behind them Christine moaned and shook her head. On shaky feet she rose with the aid of her Captain.

Seconds later the doors opened to admit Ambassador Sevek back into the room. His eyes scanned the room then stopped with the Captain. "Captain Kirk, I must request that she leave the room now." His hand moved up to point at Christine. "There can be no more than three women in a room at any given time. It causes them extreme pain, as we have just witnessed. There is no way we can authorize the transfer of the others until she has gone." His eyes seemed to bore into her very soul. Slowly he circled her like a lion with his prey. His eyes rose as the command crew planted themselves between him and her. With a raised brow he turned away. "I refuse to cooperate as long as she is here. Her kind seems to have a strange effect on men."

Christine felt her temper rise but held it in check. The man might be Vulcan but he was quite rude, something she had rarely seen. She turned as a gentle hand touched her arm and met the warm blue eyes of Lady Amanda. "Come with me, Christine. I think they have a few things to discuss." Christine nodded and let herself be led out the door.

As she passed Ambassador Sevek she could not resist a parting shot. "They are sentiment beings and should be treated with a little respect, Ambassador."

Amanda's hand tightened on her arm and pulled her through the doors. As they closed behind them she heard a slight tinkle of laughter coming from Lady Amanda. She glanced at the woman who smiled and patted her arm. "I have been wanting to say that to him for the last week. I'm glad someone finally did. I am curious to know what planet you come from. Sarek has not answered me."

Christine could only shake her head. She had never been alone with Spock's mother and was not sure how to react to her. Wiping her sweaty palms on the side of her uniform, she shrugged her shoulders. "I am from Earth. At least I thought I was. I don't know where they are from." Her hand was shaking as she grabbed the handle in the turbolift and requested the VIP quarters. She glanced over at the rather petite woman standing next to her and noticed the soft smile on her lips.

"Why don't you stay and talk with me a while? Sarek and the others will not be done for quiet some time," Amanda commented.

Christine nodded as they walked down the corridor. She could use a friend right now.

* * *

Christine changed into shorts and a t-shirt, then headed to the gym. Her talk with Amanda had been interesting but did nothing to help calm her. Snarl was already warming up when she entered. They nodded to each other as Christine began. She was actually looking forward to it. It had been a long time since she had worked with someone she didn't have to worry about. Though Snarl was good, it was her strength that challenged Christine and that is what she needed today.

Grabbing her staff she turned and bowed to her colleague. Snarl bowed then snapped out a command to the computer. Immediately the room shifted gravity. Christine felt it pull on her and smiled. Vulcan gravity, this she could handle. Lt. Snarl grinned showing those canine teeth her race was noted for. The fur on her neck stood on end as they circled each other. Neither paid any attention as the doors opened and the computer set the warning of the gravity to the entrants. Their thoughts were only for each other.

Snarl swung the staff up and over. Christine countered and the resounding crack echoed in the room as the two staffs met in mid-air. A low growl came next, causing Snarl to pause and take a step back. Christine lowered her staff and shook her head. "What's the matter, Snarl? Forget how to fight?"

Shaking her mane of hair, Snarl raised her staff and bowed. "No, merely forgot." They both nodded and this time the cracks seemed to fill the room as they came together and slid apart only to connect again. Christine smiled as the muscles in her arms bulged every time they connected, her mind planning her next move before she completed the first. With a swiftness Snarl had never seen, she swung her staff out. The top half connected with Snarl's then suddenly the bottom was knocking her feet out from under her.

Snarl lay on the mat breathing heavily. Christine offered her hand but Snarl knocked it away. "You putta," she growled at her. Immediately Christine backed up, her staff at the ready. The first time Snarl had lost at this, Christine had a nasty gash in her thigh. She had since learned to always be on guard.

Her voice was low as she took a step back. "It's your fault for not practicing while I was gone. Would you like to go again?"

Snarl leaned on her elbow and gazed at her friend. With a sigh she waved Christine forward. "You are right but you need to work off some aggression and I refuse to be at the receiving end." Snarl stood and shook her head. "There are enough Vulcans on board. Why don't you use one of them, or are you afraid they might win?"

Christine's laughter rang low and sweet. "Oh, Snarl, I only worry that they won't use full strength. With you I know I get the full force and I am sorry. I shouldn't have taken it out on you. Am I forgiven?"

"Yes, and if you hadn't made me mad once and not stopped until I had calmed down, you still wouldn't know. Now it would be dishonorable to give less." She bowed then stood up and nodded to the people behind Christine. She turned to find Spock, Sarek and Sevek staring at them.

Sarek stepped forward and nodded to them both. "I find it interesting that a human and Caitian are in a gym with Vulcan gravity fighting with Kantian staffs. At what level do you practice and who taught you this?"

Snarl bowed low to them and turned to Christine and bowed even lower. "I will leave them to you. I request a new lesson tomorrow." Christine nodded then turned to put the staffs away.

Sarek stepped forward and motioned toward the staff. "May I?"

Christine smiled and handed him hers. "They are both made from Trainian wood found on Kantian."

Sarek nodded and tested it for balance. "Nicely done. Who taught you how to make these?"

"Master Seers and Wantran. It is tradition for a Master of Kantz to make their own staffs."

Christine held in her laughter as the men's eyebrows rose as if they were triplets. Sarek asked for the other staff and tested it. Nodding, he moved into the center of the room and practiced for a few minutes. He turned to Christine and bowed. "Would you do me the honor?"

Eyebrows raised she moved into the center of the mats. "Only if you promise not to hold back."

"As the Lieutenant said, it would dishonor a master to do less. I have reached the advocate level."

Bowing, they began to circle each other, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the other. Christine knew that Sarek was stronger than she was but she had youth and quickness on her side. Her weakness was that she hadn't slept in so long that she wasn't sure if she would be able to last very long. She knew with him she would not be thinking of her next move until it was time to do it. Finally she would be able to use the knowledge Wantran had given her.

She led with the first thrust and was quickly countered. She felt the pain of the staffs connecting down to her shoulder and each jolt thereafter only add to her pain. She knew that each clang of the wood would stay with her for a day or two. Still she continued, countering each attack as he swung. He was not holding back and she knew that if it didn't end soon she would lose.

She saw the staff coming toward her left side about waist high. Instinct and training took over. She brought the end of her staff down on his using it for support she swung herself up and over. As she hit the ground she brought the other end of her staff around connecting with his legs. He struck the mat with a resounding thud. Christine stepped back breathing heavily. She had definitely had a workout tonight. Sarek came to his feet and bowed.

"Fascinating," he replied, then turned to Spock. "There will be a meeting at 0700 tomorrow. Your mother and I expect to see you later this evening."

Spock nodded and watched as his father and Sevek left the room. Christine could swear that she saw a small smile flit across his face. However, when he turned toward her, there was no trace. His eyebrow was almost reaching his hairline. "At our last lesson, you did not mention that you had studied under Master Wantran as well."

She smiled and leaned on her staff for support. It had taken more from her than she wanted anyone to know. She knew that even at full strength Sarek would have won if she had not have used that little flip at the end. However, right now she just wanted Spock to leave. Mustering what strength she had left, she moved to the corner and placed the staffs in her locker. "No one ever asked me." She shrugged her shoulder and moved toward the changing rooms. "I spent five years with her. She entered me in the Kantz championship games when I was twenty. I took top honors against Soron of Vulcan. Though I went by the name of Wan two at the time." She turned facing him waiting for his reaction.

It wasn't what she expected. "Impressive. You are the only human who has achieved that honor. Though I do not understand why you would change your name. Did you not know the importance of the title?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "I was dating Roger at the time and he was not very big on strong women." She waved her hand. "He didn't mind us using our brains a little but God forbid we use some bronze. I guess in a way he is why I did not go on to med school to start with. I..." She shook her head and turned to the doors. "I am too tired to talk and all I seem to do right now is babble. So, if you'll excuse me, Mr. Spock, I think I just might be able to get some sleep."

Spock bowed low and turned to leave. "Thank you for showing me that my father is not always perfect. Also, I seemed to recall you offering another lesson. Perhaps we will be able to do that soon."

* * *

Christine spun around, however the room was empty. She shook her head, realizing some things had changed. Smiling she managed to change then headed to her quarters. She lay down but sleep was a long time in coming and when it did it was filled with images and cries that woke her screaming. Glancing at the clock she realized she had only gotten a half hour sleep. She punched the pillow and tried again. Two hours later she gave up, dressed and headed to the observation room. There was only a few hours to go until shift change.

* * *

Uhura glanced around the bridge. It was turning out to be another boring run. Not that she minded it with all that was going on with Christine. She just hated not having anything to do. Sighing she turned around to glare at Sulu and Chekov who were silently chatting away and pointing at their boards. The Captain had left her in charge while Spock and he attended a briefing with Ambassador Sevek. She shivered at the thought. The man was very polite but tended to make her gut clinch. She knew there was no reason for it but she could not change what her guts thought about the man.

She shook her head and rising made her way to the to men in front. "Is there a problem, boys?"

Sulu smiled up at her and pointed at Chekov's board. "It seems we have a ghost. The readings match ours perfectly only they're about a light year away. We were just deciding whether to tell you or run another test."

Uhura smiled and turned away. "Well, now I know so why don't you run your little test? I want to know what that is by the time the Captain gets back."

Thirty minutes later and they were no closer to what was there than when they started. Chekov turned around, his accent thicker than normal. "There is no way that thing is coming from us. I think we are being followed."

Uhura took a deep breath and called the Captain. When he arrived with Spock, she filled him in on what they knew so far. Spock immediately set to work at the science station, relieving the ensign that was there. Kirk waited patiently while Spock ran his test. Then looked around at his crew. "Suggestions?"

Spock was the first. "We need to get closer to be certain who it is. However, by doing that we take away our element of surprise. I suggest we wait and see what they do. If they are the ones who took Dr. Chapel from the starbase then they will surely try again."

Kirk nodded then turned to Chekov. "I want to know where that ship is at all times. If it gets within transporter range, it might be able to beam her out with our shields up. They had no problem getting through the shields of the starbase."

Chekov nodded and turned back to his board. Shift change would soon be over and he was ready for a good workout. Sulu had promised to teach him some different fencing moves and he was getting good at it. Then he would make a trip to the rec room. The Vulcans had come aboard last night and he had caught a glimpse of the women that had accompanied them. This was definitely going to be a very good trip.

Sulu shook his head and jabbed Chekov in the ribs. The man had not changed at all. The smile on his face let everyone know just where his thoughts were. He knew Chekov loved his job in security but occasionally he would do a stint up on the bridge. As he put it, he wanted to be sure he had a job to go back to in case security didn't work out. Sulu stood and let his relief take over, nudging Chekov again to get his attention. He laughed gently as they moved to the lift. They really needed to get that boy a girl at the next stop.

Uhura joined them in the turbolift and into the mess. Laughter abounded, as in the far corner sat three of the women with a fair amount of the male crew surrounding them. Sulu had heard from Chekov that they were all blonde and a little older than Christine, but he was unprepared for the beauty he saw before him. They seemed to shine and something inside of him yearned to get closer. He shook his head and glanced around the room. It seemed he wasn't the only one affected in that way.

With a gentle hand on Uhura's arm and a tight grip on Chekov, he pushed them back out the door. The longing on Chekov's face was mirrored on his. It was as if they were calling to his soul. Uhura was glancing between him and Chekov. Her words seemed to agitate him. "You two look like your best friend just died."

He shook his head and tried to explain what he felt in there. Chekov could only nod as it dawned on them both that something had to be done and quickly, before the whole male contingent started fighting over those women.

Minutes later the senior officers along with Christine met with Ambassadors Sarek and Sevek. It was agreed that the women could have the deck above the mess to themselves. Dr. McCoy would run some tests on the women to see whether they were doing it on purpose or naturally. Against Ambassador Sevek's protest Christine was giving permission to help. The testing would start immediately.

It didn't take long for McCoy to realize that the women only seemed to have the effect of a siren's song when there was two or more in the same room. However, this did not have the same effect if the third woman was Christine. Finding that small piece allowed them to move on to the next step. One small consolation was that Vulcans seemed to be immune to this. However, he was not taking any chances.

It took McCoy and Chapel a day to find that it was a type of hormone that the women secreted. It was genetically encoded in their DNA. Age-wise, it seemed that Christine was the youngest, born one year after the youngest of the others. The genetic code for this hormone seemed to have been missing in her.

McCoy stared at these findings. All the clues seemed to point to one possible answer, yet he was hesitant to bring it up. He wanted to be absolutely sure of his findings. He knew if he was correct, Christine's whole life was about to be turned upside down.

Christine left sickbay and headed to her quarters. She was supposed to meet Janice there twenty minutes ago. Janice would still be waiting knowing that she would be there soon. As she exited the lift, she passed Spock and his mother. The doors to her quarters opened automatically as she passed its sensor. Racing forward she yelled for Spock before the doors could close all the way.

Spock entered to find her kneeling next to Lieutenant Rand. The woman was pale and barely breathing. Amanda stood in the door watching as they called for a stretcher. Christine continued to work on her friend and co-worker, knowing that it should have been her lying there. A single tear rolled down her cheek as Janice was rushed to sickbay. Spock looked around her quarters, then stared at the far wall. Again the feeling that something wasn't quite right nagged at him, but like before he couldn't see what it was.

The investigation didn't last very long. The ship that had been following them for the last few days had disappeared only to reappear an hour later at the same distance away. Janice had survived, but like Christine she couldn't remember anything. Ambassador Sarek offered his services for a mind meld, hoping that it would give them some clue as to whom they were dealing.

Christine leaned against the door jam watching intently. She had heard Spock mention it and knew he had done a few on Kirk but had never seen it done. As a doctor she was very interested in this procedure and how it would affect a non human. However today she opted for staying back out of everyone's way. Healer Selek was seated on the second bio bed. He would be supervising. McCoy took up a position behind Janice and Sarek. Spock was in McCoy's office talking with the Captain, as they continued to track the other ship. Whoever was trailing them had decided to take their time to move again.

The doors behind Christine opened and the Captain came to a stop beside her. She nodded to him and turned back to watch. Sarek moved forward blocking Janice's face from Christine's view. Though she couldn't see the placing of the hand, she felt it. The words spoken sounded through her mind. Her face paled as she took a hesitant step back. Her eyes met those of Healer Selek and a chill went through her. Her voice was low as she spoke the words at the same time. "My mind to yours mind, my thoughts to your thoughts."

Body trembling, she yelled "no" and turned to flee. She impacted with Spock. Shoving him away she ran out of sickbay as if someone was chasing her. When she entered the observation lounge, she sank into the nearest cubicle.

A gentle hand rested on her shoulder. She turned to see Lady Amanda sitting in the corner. "You seem to be having a lot of problems lately. Would you care to talk? It's the least I can do since you listened to me last time."

Christine smiled and shook her head. "I don't know where to start."

"How about at the beginning? Problems tend to be easier to deal with when shared."

Christine took a deep breath and told her everything that had happened to date. She spoke of the fear and pain, of the voices and sickness, of friends and loved ones. Neither paid attention to the comings and goings that surrounded them. When she could talk no more, they merely sat and gazed at the stars around them. They had dropped out of warp earlier to see if they could improve on the shields and the stars lit the eternal darkness of space.

Amanda's voice was no more than a whisper but cut the silence like a bomb. "Does he know you love him?"

Christine returned her eyes to the stars. "Yes and no. I told him a long time ago, but time changes one's outlook on such things."

"One's outlook, yes, but your heart will not lie." A deep sadness filled her eyes as she gazed at the young woman. "My son is very bright about most things, but somehow I have forgotten to teach him about matters of the heart. I fear he will grow old alone, when I have found that I want grandchildren more than anything else in these last years. Still it is his life even if I don't like the outcome. His father is proud of him and that is all that will matter to him in the long run." Standing she offered Christine her hand. "Why don't we go see how the mind meld went? Maybe they have found out something useful."

Christine shook her head as another shiver ran up her spine. "You go on. I don't want to see them just yet." In silence she watched as Lady Amanda glided from the cubicle to disappear into the darkness of the lounge. Taking a deep breath she stood and ran a hand across the window as if she could grab a star and hold on to it. She jumped as a voice came from out of nowhere. Looking around she saw no one, yet the voice came again over and over as it resounding in her head. It grew louder until she could no longer stand the pain. The darkness from outside seemed to wrap around her, helping her descend into its territory.

Uhura heard the scream and entered the lounge within seconds of the scream dying. Glancing around she detected nothing out of the ordinary. Seconds later the lights had been raised and the room was being searched. A few seconds after that Kirk, McCoy and Spock raced into the room. McCoy grabbed Uhura arm and spun her around. "Did you see Chris?"

"No. I got here as the screams died and there was no one here." She felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice water on her. The scream had been filled with pain and to know that it had come from her friend made it all the worse. Her eyes met Bones. "She's not on board, is she?"

McCoy rubbed a shaky hand over his face. "No, the computer set the alarms off about the time your call came in."

Uhura sagged into him. "There was so much pain in her scream. It felt like someone was tearing her apart." A tear fell from her brown eyes onto his hand as he ushered her to the nearest seat.

"Just relax and take a deep breath. We know where she is. We just don't know how to get to her."

He glanced up and glared at Spock and Kirk as they joined him. "So, what's going on?"

Kirk shook his head. "The ship disappeared a few seconds before the alarms went off. We don't know where that ship is now. I'll keep you informed as soon as we know anything. The computer is set up to notify the three of us the minute she is returned."

McCoy ran his hand through his graying hair. "Let's just hope they decide to return her. What the hell happened to the damn shields? Don't they work anymore?"

Spock walked over and sat down in the nearest cubicle. "We knew they could get through a starbase's shields. There was a 98% chance that they could get through ours as well. Mr. Scott was working on improving them."

McCoy grabbed Uhura arm and headed for the door. "Well, there is nothing we can do until we find that damn ship. Uhura and I will be in sickbay."

Kirk turned to stare out the window. Once again he felt helpless. Someone had taken a member of his crew and he had always taken that personally. The question now was how to get her back and keep her. He sighed loudly and turned to his first officer. "So what can we do to keep them from getting her again?"

"I suggest she have someone with her twenty-four hours. They have only taken her while she has been alone. The computer said that Healer Selek and my mother where the only other people here before her disappearance and both said they did not hear anything."

Kirk nodded. "So that clears them."

Spock sat forward and placed his fingers under his chin. "You believe that they have help from someone on board." Kirk took it to mean that he had been thinking alone the same line. "I too thought that they had someone helping them. Actually the odds of it are..."

"Spock, all I want to know is a list of people that might be working with them."

Spock nodded and sat back. "I will have it downloaded to your quarters. Healer Selek is on the list, so is Ambassador Sevek. We do not know the speed of that ship but I calculate that it can go at least warp 9.6. That would give both of them enough time to get to Starbase 11 a day before us."

Kirk walked toward the door. "Damn, and here I thought we would only have to worry about the ten people we picked up on Starbase 12. Just how many people are we talking about, Spock?"

"With the twenty women and the Vulcan envoy, it would bring the total to 43, sir."

The doors closed on his parting words leaving Spock to consider them in total darkness. "I want to know who's behind this, no matter what." He gazed out at the stars. Somewhere that ship lay waiting for them. He didn't know where but he knew it was waiting up ahead. Janice had been knocked unconscious seconds after the beam began transport. She had been early and had gone into Christine's room to wait for her. As soon as the doors closed behind her, a light began to dance around her. It had been very painful at the beginning and she remembered hearing a voice telling her to forget but that was all. The next thing she was waking up in sickbay.

He stood and headed out the door. They had to return Christine somewhere and he would be waiting, but first he needed to ask Janice one question. Who had overheard them setting up the date?

An hour later Spock left sickbay with a blanket and some interesting information to sort through. His mother and father had joined Leonard and Nyota in sickbay. He noticed that his mother was taking it hard. She had mentioned the fact that she had talked with Christine for a few hours a couple of nights ago and then again a few minutes before she disappeared. Fleetingly he wondered what they could have in common that would formulate such devotion. It seemed that he would never understand women which he deemed highly illogical. His father informed him that women were one of the only things that logic did not apply to whether they be Vulcan or Human.

It was late into the third shift when Christine reappeared in the observation lounge. Spock was at her side before the beam disappeared. Carefully he wrapped the blanket around her and picked her up. The doors opened as he neared them and in rushed the congregation from sickbay along with the Captain. Spock raised one eyebrow and moved past them.

They fell into step behind him, informing the crew who had been visiting the lounge to go back to what they were doing. Bones' sarcastic words echoed in the corridors, helping release some of the tension. "If this keeps up, she isn't going to have any clothes left. The least they could do is send her back with what she left in." Amanda reached over and took one of his hands in hers as Uhura did the same. Both ignored the tear that rolled down his face.

Everyone was startled by Christine's scream as she swung her hand toward Spock's face. Within seconds she found herself pressed tightly against his body. Her hands were pinned to her side as she tried to get away from the creature that held her. Realizing that her feet were swinging freely she swung them back and then forward, trying to kick her captor in the shins. He was quicker than she was and she found herself caught between the wall and his body as his voice tried to calm her.

Her breathing was ragged as she tried in vain to get away. She felt the cloth that surrounded her to be slipping further down the harder she fought. Suddenly near her ear she heard the soft hiss of a hypo and wondered briefly where it had come from. Slowly her head began to clear and she gazed into two very worried brown eyes. Through the ringing in her ears, she made out the whispered words that brushed her cheek with warmth. "Christine, it's alright. You're safe now."

She groaned loudly as she realized that the warm body pressed so intimately to hers belonged to the one person she didn't want to find her like this. Taking a deep breath she leaned her head back against the wall and tried to move the rest of her. It was at that point that she knew that only Spock's body and the wall kept her from falling. It also was the only thing keeping the blanket in place.

Off to her right she could see Captain Kirk and Leonard. Both wore matching expressions. She closed her eyes and felt the darkness surround her once again.

Voices filtered through her thoughts. Some she knew, some she didn't. All seemed to call to her. Pain filled her as she moved toward the nearest and loudest, yet another called to her soul and briefly she turned to it and felt its fear. Its cry for help ripped through her defenses and tore at her heart. Somehow she knew that she must find the owner of the voice. She had to solve the puzzle, had to fit the small pieces that her mind was desperately trying to hold onto. The answers however were not where they were heading.

The light from the room blinded her as she cried out. "I have to find her. Help us." She sat up and pushed at the hands trying to hold her down. Her breathing heavy, hair disheveled as in wide-eyed amazement she glanced around her. Slowly her whereabouts began to take shape and she took a ragged breath and reached out and grab McCoy's arm. "Leonard?"

His voice was soft and low. "You're on the Enterprise, Chris. Everything's okay, relax and let the medicines do their work."

She shook her head and glanced around the room. She let her eyes settled on the two men standing in the corner. Shaking her head, her eyes never left where Spock and Sarek stood. "No, it'll be too late. I need to talk to Ambassador Sarek and Spock. We can't go to Vulcan."

Spock stepped forward. "Your memory has returned?"

She shook her head. "No, but I know the answers aren't here. Please, if we go there then the dreams will always be there and neither I nor Vulcan will know the truth we all seek."

Sarek moved forward and bowed low. "I must confer with T'Pau before I agree."

Christine nodded. " The only request I make is that T'Pau tell no one of my request not to go to Vulcan." At Sarek's nod she glanced at the Captain. "I know I don't have the right to ask this Captain, but if T'Pau agrees, will you turn the ship around?"

Kirk glanced at Spock and then gave a dip of his head. "If it will solve what is going on, yes, I'll turn around." He glanced at the people in the room. His eyes meeting each ones as he spoke his next words. "I expect that what has been said in here will go no further." Everyone agreed including Sarek and Lady Amanda.

Suddenly the doors open and in rushed Doctors Selar and Selek. Selek stopped and glared at Kirk as Selar rushed to Christine's side. "The computer informed us that she had been returned. How is she doing?" As soon as the words were spoken, the doors opened to admit Ambassador Sevek.

Kirk shook his head and smiled. "Well, now that we are all here, she is fine and in need of rest. So shall we call it a night? Dr. McCoy can take care of his patient without all of us."

McCoy nodded and shooed them out the door. His eyes met Janice and Uhura's as the doors closed behind the others. "Well, if you two are staying, I suggest one of you get some sleep. I'll be back in a few hours. Also I'm putting this room under quarantine. The shields should give you some added protection." Smiling he walked out the door.

He sighed loudly as he stepped into his office. Things would be slow going for a little while. He sat back in his chair and put his feet on his desk.

He didn't budge when the doors opened to admit the Captain and his first officer.

"So, what have you two been up to?"

Jim took a seat and leaned it back on two legs. "Just doing some thinking. Could it be possible that whoever is kidnaping Dr. Chapel put her up to asking us to take her somewhere else?"

Spock took the other seat and rested his chin on steeple fingers. "There is a fifty percent possibility. As in all things, there is no logical way of knowing without doing a mind meld."

"Oh, no, you don't." McCoy's feet hit the floor with a loud thud. "We have no idea how powerful her esper rating is now and if they are controlling her mind then they might be able to get to you. I don't recommend it, nor will I condone it."

Spock raised an eyebrow then leaned back. "Your concern is logical and I will not attempt it. I merely offered it as a course of action that we may have to utilize. Dr. Selar and Dr. Selek are the most sensible choices for such an undertaking. However, they are on the list of possible accomplices."

McCoy rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I just can't believe that Vulcan could somehow be involved in something that so clearly hurts someone else. By the way, when Christine is in sickbay, it almost seems as if something else is there also."

Spock stood and walked toward the door. "I have also noticed such a phenomenon. Every culture has those who digress from the norm. As for Vulcan we are no exception, although ours are not as common as others." The doors closed behind him as he made his way down the empty corridors.

McCoy just shook his head. "I think he wants the answers as much as Chris does." He leaned back and put his feet back on the desk. "I think we are going to have our hands full with them."

Jim stood and began to pace. "I know. I've been waiting for him to mention the mind meld. We talked about it earlier when Dr. Chapel ran out of sickbay. Spock may be the only one she'll trust."

"Yeah, I thought of that too. You know what really bothers me, Jim? Those women they brought on board. They are as much a part of this as Chris and the Vulcans, but they don't seem to care. It's like a part of them is missing."

"What do you mean Bones?"

McCoy shook his head. "I hate to sound cliché but to steal an old saying from the 20th century, they are the equivalent of a dumb blonde." Placing his hands behind his head, he looked up at the ceiling. "Twenty women with no brains, what a waste."

Kirk stopped and smiled at him. "That depends on how you look at it. Some would love the idea. Especially with the hormones they produce."

That caught Bones attention. His feet hit the floor as his hands hit the desk. "That was the other thing I wanted to talk with you about. Those hormones are only produced by Deltans. And then we have their physical shapes which are perfect in all proportions. Got me to thinking so I ran a few test and matched some data. You wouldn't believe the genes those women carry. Even Chris has them though someone did a much better job at it with her."

Jim turned and took his seat. "Does Spock know about this?"

McCoy punched a button on his files and nodded his head. "Yep, seems he just got my message."

Jim leaned back trying to make himself comfortable for what he took would be a long conversation.

"All right, out with it. Just how many different species are we talking about?"

McCoy shook his head. "We're not completely sure. We've counted five but there are ten other genes that we've never seen before. Of the ones we are sure of, four of them have a high esper rating. They consist of Vulcans, Deltans, Melkot, Kaferians. Add to that the one planet in the Federation that is genetically perfect."

"Ilyria?"

"Yep. I heard Captain Pike's first officer was from there. They are perfect and designed to fulfill certain jobs in that society. About sixty years ago, they broadened their codes to allow for people to go off planet without interrupting their society. Seems to have paid off for them."

"Any guess of the other genes inside them?"

"Oh, I have a few ideas but I'd like to get some sample to be sure. One thing, there is three years' difference between the youngest of them and Christine.

She just might be their last experiment before something went wrong. If that's the case, she might know something that they want kept quiet." He rubbed a hand over weary eyes. "Then again they might need her to continue, by seeing what she can tolerate and is capable of they can create better and brighter beings than their first batch."

* * *

Spock waited patiently at the transporter, awaiting the return of his father. T'Pau had requested that he accompany the Enterprise on its current mission. However, she wished to speak to him first. Spock had met with her briefly before returning to the ship to oversee the transfer of the women. His mother had requested to stay onboard and await Sarek's return. Spock's curiosity had been peaked this trip and he was finding it difficult not to find fault with the way Vulcan had handled the crisis twenty years earlier. He still had no information on what happened all those years ago but T'Pau's reaction to his question had been enough of an answer. It was time he and his father had a nice long talk.

The ship that had been following them was still waiting out beyond Vulcan's sensor range. Spock had told the Captain that it would wait for them there. Dr. Chapel would be safe for the time being. He knew that there were Vulcans on board but he needed proof. Actually they needed to find out who had started all of this and where he was right now. The other part of this trip that he found interesting was their heading. Christine had been unable to give them an exact location, just a direction to take from here. She was the other part that interested him. Lately she had surprised him in quite a few things. He had always been attracted to her but knew that it could never go any further and, with her attraction to him, he had avoided her. Now he realized that she wasn't what he had thought. A part of him warned him not to get much closer but another part wanted answers to more than just her past.

His thoughts were interrupted by the intercom. Lt. Uhura's musical voice filled the room. "Mr. Spock, Ambassador Sarek requests three to beam aboard, sir."

Spock tilted his head to the right then acknowledged her. In seconds his hands sped across the board and the lights sparkling on the pad began to take shape. He had been correct. When the forms on the pad had finally taken shape, there stood his father along with Ambassador Sevek and Healer Selek. He was informed that they would be accompany them on this part of the journey since they knew more about the goings on inside these women's mind. Dr. Selek had been dealing with them for the last twenty years. At Spock's questioning look at his father, Sarek nodded and stepped through the doors with Spock close behind. After everyone had been returned to their quarters Spock and his father headed for the briefing room.

Sarek took the seat nearest the door and waited while Spock took his. The two sat facing each other as if gauging an opponent. Sarek took a deep breath and steepled his fingers. With eyes closed, he began in his ambassador's voice.

"Twenty years ago on a planet that Sevek, Selek and I were visiting, I found a young child. Next to her were three bodies. One was T'Lar, daughter of T'Ser, sister to T'Par. The other two were Vulcan-related. After tests were run, it was shown that both were related to T'Lar -- one, a daughter whom we called T'Ral and the other a granddaughter San. Though both had been genetically tampered with, the granddaughter was more human than Vulcan. Only San was proven to have carried a child. That meant that T'Ral and San had been genetically produced from T'Lar's genes."

His eyes met those of his son. Spock nodded for him to continue. There was no use in asking questions without knowing all the information. He watched as his father rose and stepped to the far wall. With hands behind his back he turned toward him. "Throughout our investigation the child kept repeating that she had to find them. Eventually we found the underground lab on Sierra 3. There were forty children ranging in age from ten to eighteen. San's daughter was the youngest at seven. Later tests would show that she was the only one not born from a test tube. Her father was found on Sierra 3 two weeks later. It seems that all four adults had been murdered. The planet we were visiting held an inquiry into the deaths. Their law states that no outsider can conduct an investigation into a murder. Their murders remain unsolved to this day. We took all the children back to Vulcan where they were reconditioned. It seems that they were bred to hate Vulcans in any form and would become quite violent around us. The people on Sierra 3 would tell us nothing other than the fact that the people that ran the lab looked very much like us. The planet is uncivilized and lawless and further investigation was proven illogical at that time."

Spock raised an brow and leaned back. "You said that further investigation was illogical at that time. You went back?"

Sarek nodded. "Your mother insisted that we do what we could to help the children. It seemed illogical but then humans can be at such times and she had a weakness for one of them in particular. She was with me when the child was found."

"Christine... Mother always liked that name."

Sarek nodded. "Yes and now that she knows what has become of her she wishes to help. Even before that she would see a blonde child and ask about them. We went back to Sierra 3 five years ago. An old woman remembered us and told us that the lab had recently been visited by the others. I checked with Sevek and Selek and found that they had continued with the investigation and were checking to see if the owners had returned. They had not."

Spock nodded and stood. "Twenty years later and you may be able to find who did this. Interesting." Bowing he turned to the door. "Dr. Chapel should be informed of this. I leave the choice up to you."

The doors swished shut behind him as he made his way to the bridge. He needed time to think through this new information but duty called and it could wait for a few hours.

* * *

Christine stared at the doors as they closed behind Sarek. Slowly she turned to look at his wife. "So everything I have grown up believing is false. The Chapels aren't my parents?"

Amanda shook her head and squeezed her hand. "I wish there was another way to tell you but Sarek doesn't always understand that tact is sometimes needed for things like this. Remember, even though they are not your biological parents, they did love you." She leaned forward and patted her hand. "If there is anything I can do to help..."

Christine shook her head and turned away. Right now she just wanted to be alone but since they had broken orbit an hour ago, she knew that would be impossible unless she was sneaky about it.

* * *

McCoy shook his head to try to clear away the images. Spock and Jim had just left after informing them of Sarek's revelation. Things were looking worse and worse. The only thing that made any sense at all was Vulcan's handling of things. Though how they could think that they were involved just because one of the murdered women was a Vulcan, beat him. It would explain why Christine was having such a hard time remembering. If the ones responsible knew she was remembering, would they come after her? Did she know who killed her relatives? Is that why so many were interested in her?

Sighing he stood and walked to the door. There were too many questions and not enough answers. He figured Sarek would be finished soon and headed toward sickbay. Christine could probably need someone to talk after learning about her past. He could only hope that it helped her. His biggest fear was that it would traumatize her if she remembered it too quickly. Though if he knew her, she would be trying to piece together the pieces even before Sarek was finished.

He came to a stop just outside the doors' sensors and took a deep breath. Deep inside he wished that this was all a bad dream and he would wake up tomorrow to find that it had been induced by his alcohol intake. Running his hand through his unkempt hair, he took a step forward and came face to face with Christine.

He knew by the look on her face that he was not supposed to be here. "Going somewhere?" Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath she turned around. Leonard kept pace behind her. "You know, Chris, if you want to leave sickbay, I can always find someone to sit with you in your quarters. However, I will have to have the computer keep tabs on you again and that means Spock, too."

He chuckled as her groan reached his ears. "Listen, I know you need some time to think so I'm going to do you a favor. You can leave." She spun around so quickly that he almost ran into her.

"Are you serious?"

He looked into her deep blue eyes. "Yeah, on one condition. You only go where there are other people. You can sit in a quite corner of the rec room and think. No one will bother you. If you go to the observation room, then you have to go with someone else. Deal?"

He smiled as her eyes lit up and she hugged him. "Deal, and thanks, Len."

Shaking his head, he waved a hand at her. "If I didn't you would have found another way out. I suppose you got the computer to believe that Nurse Tenton was you."

She only smiled, kissed his cheek and flew through the doors before he could change his mind. Silently he watched as Amanda stepped out the door behind her.

Suddenly the alarm blared and he cursed softly. That poor computer would need some serious work if he knew her. Automatically he called Spock. Within moments the computer informed him of Christine's whereabouts.

He knew Kirk and Spock would do everything to keep an eye on the unknown ship, which had once again fallen into place parallel to them. Silently he prayed that they could keep Christine safe but wasn't counting on anyone. Rubbing his chin he realized he needed a shave and badly. On his way to his quarters he stopped to consult with the lab. There were a few more tests he wanted them to do today. The last scan he had done on her a couple of days ago didn't match the ones from a week ago. He knew something was different but couldn't quite figure out what it was. The lab should be able to figure it out in a few hours that gave him enough time to shave and eat.

* * *

Christine sat in the far corner of the rec room and listened to Uhura sing. Her soft voice flowed with the music from the lyre almost sounding as one. It had a soothing effect and, though she needed to bring her mind back to her current problems, she knew that she needed to relax more than anything. She closed her eyes and let the music lull her into a semi-conscious state. She could hear others around her but they seemed far away and drifting farther as her mind began its own journey down a long forgotten path.

Suddenly her eyes flew open and she glanced around the room. Her eyes stopped for a brief second on the group of Vulcans standing off to the right of the room. One was Dr. Selek, the others must have been new to the ship because she did not recognize them. As she continued to survey the room, her eyes met those of Ambassador Sevek and Sarek. Sighing she stood and turned to leave only to come face to face with the Captain and Spock.

Kirk smiled slowly and motioned for her to join them. Shaking her head she smiled at him. "Thank you but I think I will go work off some excess energy. It seems I have a lot of it since spending so much time in sickbay."

Nodding Kirk took a seat next to the chess table. "I understand how you feel. I hear you are a Master of Kantz." She nodded as Spock took his seat across from the Captain. "Would you give me a demonstration?"

Christine thought for a moment then nodded. "If I can find a partner, I'd be delighted."

Spock lifted his head and glanced between them. "Will I suffice?" At her nod he continued. "Then we will meet you in the gym in thirty minutes. That should be long enough for our next move."

Jim nodded then rubbed his chin as he stared at the board. Christine turned and headed away. She could hear the whisper of conversation as she went. From the betting, she figured the gym would be quite full of spectators. It would do her body good and maybe afterward she would be able to sleep. Her mind was already going through the motions in her head. She would need all her wits about her on this one. The trick she used with Sarek could not be used again and she needed to try her alternate one. Though she wasn't as proficient with it, the bend still threw her opponent off guard. Tonight she would need every trick she knew.

* * *

Spock had the advantage over Sarek of knowing his opponent as she knew him, but that didn't always mean anything. She realized there was much that neither knew about the other. Today they would pit their strengths and weaknesses against each other in a way she never thought they would. Christine had never thought she would find herself in combat with him let alone with half the crew watching. As she continued stretching, her eyes caught the deep brown eyes of Nyota's, who was walking toward her with Amanda. They both smiled as they reached her side.

Nyota's voice was light and full of laughter. "I placed my bet on you so don't let me down. In fact I think half the female crew picked you."

Lady Amanda leaned closer and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Spock told your Captain that he might want to bet on you." Chris's eyebrow rose in an exact imitation of Spock's, causing both women to giggle. Amanda pointed at her staff.

"Sarek spoke quite highly of your skill with the Kantain staffs. Not many humans can bring a Vulcan down in battle. I wish you luck."

Chris smiled and glanced around the room. She smiled to herself as an idea began to form in her head. If things went as planned, she would take him out within twenty minutes or he would take advantage of the move and win.

Spock stretched and watched as several crew members tripped over the gravity shelf. He knew that being raised on Vulcan gave him an advantage and she would keep her moves at a level even with his. A Master's job was first and foremost to teach while learning at the same time. For a brief second he let his eyes drift to her. She stood with her back to him as she conversed with Uhura and his mother. Taking a deep breath he picked up the shaft next to his corner and tested it for balance. His brow rose as he noticed the intricate design carved into the center. Small roses entwined with thorns ran down to join with a Le-matya who encircled the staff. He raised a brow, impressed with the delicate and accurate carvings. Did the same hand that held the other staff do such dainty work?

His mind raced at how much he did not know about her. Slowly he looked around the room. His eyes took in the others that he considered his friend and wondered if he knew as little about them as he did about Christine. Slowly he shook his head no. He knew the others pretty well. They would spend time together off duty, which allowed him time to study them. He then realized that Chris kept mostly to herself and was not one to be anywhere near him except in sickbay, and those few times when she had been there he had been engrossed in other things.

Clearing his mind he stepped onto the mat and bowed low to his opponent. The silence that filled the room was interrupted violently by the clash of their staffs. As the jolt shook his body, Spock raised a brow realizing that again he had let size lull him. Logic dictated that he should have remembered how easily she had taken out his father. Though she was human, she had been training in Vulcan gravity and had learned to regulate her breathing to handle the thinner oxygen. As the staffs connected again he brought his thoughts back to the exercise.

He was impressed that each of her moves stayed within his level of training and she had managed to stay within a tight circle in the center of the mats. Though on his last two leaves he had begun training at the next level, he was not certified at that level but he now knew that he would be before they returned to starbase 12.

She lunged at him, throwing him off guard. He swung his staff downward only to find hers already there.

His arms began to ache as the staffs came together time and again. He glanced at her face for a second. Beads of sweat were breaking out on her forehead and her breathing was becoming labored. A small smile lit her face as his eyes met hers. Her staff came forward and arched up toward his shoulder. He countered and spun around behind her only to see her flip through the air and land behind him. With a quick flick of her staff she snapped one of his legs out from under him.

Suddenly they both toppled backwards as the ship shook and the gravity in the room dropped.

Spock found himself lying across her legs. He tried to move but suddenly felt the beginnings of a transporter. His eyes met blue ones filled with fear. His head began to pound and her scream rang through the air. Suddenly the room around them disappeared and a large dim room with a table in the middle took its place.

Spock quickly got to his feet and helped Christine to hers. Searching around he found the left side of the room to be filled with equipment. He moved to the nearest one then slid behind it, his eyes taking in the advanced looking computers. Something felt wrong with the whole setup. He had never seen anything like it before.

As he made his way deeper into the room, he came to a computer screen. He touched a few keys but what came up was mostly gibberish. The few words he could make out were a different form of Vulcan. He reached toward the screen and froze as a new sound entered his mind. He heard doors open.

Slowly he made his way back to where Christine was. He flinched as he heard her scream inside his head.

Christine whirled around as doors whooshed open behind her. She opened her mouth to warn Spock then thought better of it.

Figures moved toward her, their gray robes flowing around them like gossamer wings. Large hoods covered their faces. As they neared, she raised her hand, aiming at their hoods. The air around her began to tingle. She stepped forward but was held in place by a force field. Her captors circled her then reached through the field and jabbed her with a hypo. As she tried to turn to face it, a voice echoed through her mind.

*Forget* Shaking her head she tried to push the thought away. She screamed inside her head, at the same time the two surrounding jumped and stepped back.

Christine felt herself falling and knew that she had failed again.

Realizing that they did not know that he was there, Spock remained hidden and watched as they lifted Christine onto the table. In silence he watched as they stripped her of her clothes and a domed machine drifted down from the ceiling to encompass her body. Tubes ran from the machine up into the ceiling. When the machine connected with the table, several screens came to life around the room.

Spock slid further into his hiding place as the people turned to the machines. He watched in silence as they began punching buttons. Trying not to let anything interfere with his thoughts, he concentrated on which buttons they pushed, hopeful one of them would tell him how to get Christine out of this.

On two of the screens several formulas appeared that Spock knew. He was shocked because each was for a disease that they had long ago found cures for, with a few slight variations of them. Suddenly he understood that these people weren't from their time. It was the only explanation he could find that fit all the pieces.

A few minutes later the people left and Spock moved forward, coming to stand next to the table. He could see Christine through the top of the machine. Her blue eyes were wide with fear as they met his. Nodding to try and reassure her, he began looking around the table for a release mechanism. When he failed to find one, he turned to the machines and stopped.

Something flickered across his mind. His brows came together on his forehead as he concentrated on the disturbance. Slowly he turned back to Christine as her voice in his head became stronger. When his eyes met hers, he saw a small smile flit across her face as her voice caressed his thoughts.

//I wasn't sure I could do it.//

Spock raised one brow and moved closer. //I have heard your thoughts before but only when you were in danger.//

She closed her eyes. //I'm sorry.//

//It is illogical to apologize for something that you did not know you had and therefore could not control. Do you know how to open the machine?//

//No, and don't worry about me. I'm no good to them dead. Just find out why they are doing this and how we can stop them.//

Spock nodded and moved away. Her voice seemed to fade out of his mind the further away he got. Briefly he wondered if she could only speak telepathically near another telepath or if she were weakening from the different experiments.

Half an hour later, Spock managed to obtain access to the alien computer. Quickly he scrolled through the database until he found Christine's name.

There was very little information in it. However there was a reference to a new beginning. Every once in awhile he would pause to check on Christine but she had been knocked unconscious by the drugs now infesting her system.

Glancing around, he typed in the file name. Twenty minutes later he was still trying to access the file when the doors to the room opened and the men in gray robes rushed in followed by a man in a blue robe.

Spock stood and turned with hands raised. The grays were holding a small oval object in the palms of their hands, directed at him. The man in the blue robe shook his head as he came forward. His voice seemed to echo in the room.

"You're not to know just yet, Mr. Spock. I'm sorry but you must return to the Enterprise. Dr. Chapel will join you shortly." He nodded to one of the men and stepped back.

Spock took a step forward. "Why are you doing this to her?"

The man held his hand up. "You will know in time, Mr. Spock. Everything will ... shall we say come together. All things will be perfectly clear soon enough." With the lowering of his hand Spock felt his mind go blank as the hiss of a hypo echoed in the near empty room. As sleep claimed him, he heard the man's voice surround him. "Soon enough."

* * *

McCoy was the first one to reach the spot where Spock and Christine had disappeared. Kirk reached the comm. panel on the wall and quickly yelled into it. The reply was the same as before. No one knew how the other ship was getting through their shields and there was no way to lock on to Spock or Chapel. Kirk turned toward McCoy and shrugged his shoulders, turning he spoke to his crew.

"I need everyone to clear this room and report to your stations. We need to find a way to stop this from happening again. If any of you have an idea, please take it to one of the senior officers. With all of your help, we will find a way through this." Kirk's eyes met those of Ambassador Sarek's as he moved toward Scotty. With a nod and a short movement of his head to the right, Sarek joined him. McCoy and Uhura joined them a few seconds later. Together they waited for the room to clear then began making plans for Christine's return.

McCoy agreed to be in the gym waiting while Scotty would try to lock on to their beam while they were transporting. If they were lucky, they would learn what frequency they used and be able to set their shields to block it. Sarek gave them a few more missing pieces that he had obtained in the last hour from Ambassador Sevek.

Kirk glared at the man. "You mean to say that five Vulcans are on record stating that they gave permission for Dr. Alvin Stienman to use their DNA for test purposes? Then those same Vulcans disappeared to never be heard from again until T'Ser was found on Sierra 3?"

Sarek nodded then turned to Dr. McCoy. "Doctor, in our searches now as before, we can find no record of a Dr. Stienman. The only logical conclusion is that he doesn't exist. However, to have five prominent Vulcans state that it was necessary for him to conduct his test means that whatever proof he showed them was verified by Vulcans. Since he was a human, maybe you can find out more about him?"

McCoy nodded and rubbed his chin. "One thing bothers me. Jim."

Jim shook his head and looked around. "Only one thing, Bones? I'm impressed."

Leonard shook his head and took a deep breath. "I wasn't talking about all that's happened to our people. I talking about those five Vulcans. Actually, T'Ser. If she was so for this research then what was she running from and who killed her? I think the research might have been valid at first but somewhere along the line things changed. I don't think that youngest one was suppose to get pregnant. And that was why they were after them. Only Sarek and his friends arrived before they could finish the job."

Sarek turned toward the Captain. "I believe Dr. McCoy may be on the right path. However, after several conversations with the other young ladies, I have come to the conclusion that during the DNA factors, they lost something. In turn they brought into this world forty very lovely but dense women."

Uhura took a step closer. "I think the Ambassador is right. I also think that Christine is what they were trying to achieve and now they are using her to further their research."

McCoy's head bounced as his mind sped through the last results of Christine's test. "You know, Uhura, you might have something there. Jim , I noticed on Christine's last test that radiation levels in her body were almost back to normal. In fact everytime they have taken her, her system has almost purged all of the radiation from it."

Scotty smiled as he thumped his head. "That's it, Doc. Why dinna I think of it?" His eyes were glowing as he began to let different equations run through his mind, only to be interrupted by the Captain's hand on his arm shaking him.

"What are you talking about?"

Scotty looked over at the Doctor and smiled. "Tell me, how do you tell one human from another on a ship the size of the Enterprise?"

Uhura shook her head. "If they are the only humans on board, it would be easy."

"But if most of the crew were human, then what ya gonna do?"

McCoy's face lit up as it dawned on him. In his best southern accent he bowed to the chief engineer. "Why I do believe I'd give her a dose of something like radiation so that I could find her with no problem."

Kirk laughed out loud. "And to think we thought they were trying to kill her."

"Christine tried to clue us in. She said they didn't want her dead. I think subconsciously she knows a lot more than we think." Kirk nodded as McCoy's words sank in.

"You know, Bones, I do believe it is time for a long talk with that woman when she returns."

Sarek stepped forward as they turned to leave. "Captain, you might want to consider having someone mind meld with her."

Kirk stared at the man, remembering the panicked look on her face as Dr. Sevek performed a meld with Lt. Rand. "I will have to think about that. After her earlier reaction, it might prove dangerous for all parties involved."

Sarek bowed slightly. "The results would outweigh the risks involved."

"They might at that, Ambassador, but I think she has the right to say yes or no."

As Sarek stepped through the doors his voice was low but carried with discipline and dignity. "Circumstances may prove otherwise."

McCoy glanced from Sarek's retreating back to Jim's furrowed brows. "I do believe we were just told that it might not be up to us or her."

Jim threw his hands up and walked toward the doors with the others behind him. "What is up to us in this whole fiasco?"

McCoy shook his head and moved off to sickbay. There were a few things he wanted to have on hand in the gym. He had no idea what shape Spock would be in when he returned. Christine was another matter altogether. He knew exactly what he needed for her. If the aliens kept to their schedule then he should have around one and a half hours before they would be returning. He entered sickbay and set the computer up to inform him the minute Spock or Christine returned to the ship.

The computer's voice interrupted McCoy's steady pace to the gym. "Commander Spock is in the gym." He raised his brow as his pace picked up. A few seconds later he stepped inside the gym and bellowed at the computer. "All right, already. I know Spock is back, you can cease your useless prattle."

* * *

Spock awoke in the middle of the gym with McCoy leaning over him. His voice was low and raspy. "How long were we gone?" McCoy raised an eyebrow then turned back to his tricorder. "You have been gone for sixty four minutes."

He quickly glanced at him then turned away trying to hide the pain in his blue eyes. However, Spock had already deduced the true facts. "Dr. Chapel has not returned yet?"

The silence was his only form of confirmation. "I spent thirty minutes accessing their computers. There are a few things I need to look into before I can explain what I found. So, if you are through, Doctor, I need to be going."

"Look here, you pointy eared devil, you'll do no such thing. Right now I want you in sickbay." McCoy grinned and ran a tricorder over him as the doors opened to admit the Captain, Sarek and Lady Amanda. Spock raised his brow and met his mother's eyes. McCoy continued, "Well, you look healthy but then what do I know? There's no telling what they did to you over there."

Spock nodded and turned to the captain. "I am unable to explain the last twenty minutes of my time on board their ship. However, there are a few people I need to talk to before we decided which course of action to take."

Jim nodded and moved forward. "Are you sure you're up to it?"

Spock's nod was interrupted by McCoy's loud outburst. "He may think he is but until I run some tests on him, he isn't going anywhere but sickbay."

Spock started to protest but was soon quieted by the captain himself. "I agree. After the shape Christine has been coming back in, we need to know exactly what they did to you." Spock gave no further protest as he was escorted to sickbay.

* * *

Christine glared at the people standing around her. They had removed the covering a few minutes after Spock had disappeared. She tried to turn her head away from them but couldn't move it. The drug they had given her earlier paralyzed her body while letting her mind and vital organs remain functioning. Snatches of their conversation were recognizable. Dread filled her as she realized just what they were using her for. She closed her eyes and prayed that nothing would come of it. However, from a few words she understood that it was already too late. Years too late.

Suddenly a picture formed in her mind. Bright lights shining down as a warm hand brushed her brow. Mentally she jumped as a greenish brown face with pointy ears leaned into view. She felt fear race through her as the face came closer. She trembled as the man grabbed a handful hair and hissed into her ear. The words spoken were strange yet a part of her knew what they meant. "Why you? Of all of them, only you remain."

Then in a blink of an eye she was in another room with small recess in the walls. In each recess was a small bundle hidden from view by the low lighting. A small hand reached for the button along the wall. It was like she was seeing everything from someone's else's viewpoint. A slab slid out from the alcove activating the light above it. A scream echoed in her mind as her eyes took in the twisted, bloated mass that lay staring up at her with her own eyes.

* * *

She blinked and found herself gazing up into the blue robed man's face. She could just make out his teeth as he leered down at her. "Soon enough, Christine. The time is near when we will no longer need you. Then and only then will you learn why." She tried to pull away but couldn't as she felt his breath on her cheek. "Such a pity" were the last words she heard as the sides of the table opened and pierced her skin.

A bright light shining in her eyes brought her back to her surroundings. Only they were different, familiar lights. She looked around as the gray walls of the Enterprise gym seemed to close around her. Her eyes met those of Doctor McCoy's.

The smile on his face seemed to melt away as he ran the tricorder over her. "Well, at least they had the decency to send you back with some clothes."

Chris smiled and shook her head as she tried to sit up. "I bet that spoils your day."

Leonard laughed and nodded as he gave her two shots with the hypo. "Yep, sure does. This should help with the nausea and the other will start fighting the radiation," he replied. "Sometimes it makes me think they know more about us then we do."

"I think they might at that." She shivered and slowly came to her feet with his help as he handed her a blue robe. McCoy let her know that he needed to report to the Captain and Scotty. "They just might have a way to stop them from taking you again. I'll let you know what they find out." Chris squeezed his arm and shooed him away. "I'll go straight to sickbay, I promise."

He stared at her as if he could see into her very soul, which she sometimes thought he could. When he was sure, he nodded and turned away. "I'll call M'Benga and let him know your on your way."

Alone in the turbolift she let her thoughts return to the images she had seen. They seemed so real with a slight touch of deja-vu. Stumbling slightly she made her way to sickbay. While no one was around, she ran a diagnostic on herself. Her eyes filled with tears as the readings she had hoped weren't there began to slowly heal as she watched.

Somehow they managed to do what couldn't be done in this time period. A single tear rolled down her cheek as she let the implications of what she had learned begin to seep into her mind. The tricorder soared through the air and shattered against the far wall as she collapsed onto the biobed.

Ten minutes later M'Benga entered and glanced briefly at the shattered remnants of the tricorder. Slowly he made his way to her side. With a flick of a switch, the biobed hummed to life. M'Benga frowned at the findings. Quickly he grabbed a tricorder and rechecked his findings. They were the same. After giving her the necessary medicine, he walked out of the room in search of Dr. McCoy.

Briefly he wondered how they could have missed this on all the other scans. Then he knew. Never before had they gotten to her so soon or paid attention to anything other then the radiation. Stopping at the CMO office he called up her other charts and notice the same readings. He frowned as he drummed his fingers on the desk. It wasn't like McCoy to miss something like this. Suddenly he knew. McCoy hadn't missed it. He had probably noticed it the first time but neglected to tell anyone until he was sure. Shaking his head, he turned off the computer just as Leonard walked into the room.

M'Benga continued to drum his fingers on the desk causing McCoy to stare down at him. Understanding dawned a few seconds later. "You ran all the tests on Christine, didn't you?" At his nod Leonard stepped further into the room. "So, now you know. I thought it best to keep it a secret. Chris had enough on her mind and doesn't need this added to it."

M'Benga shook his head as he stood. "It's too late, Doctor. I think a tricorder smashed against the wall means she knows."

McCoy ran a hand over his weary face. "Damn, did she say anything?"

"No, she was out like a light when I got there. I for one don't want to be around when she wakes up though."

"That makes two of us. Maybe we should go run some of those experiments we've been putting off."

M'Benga nodded and headed out the door with McCoy hot on his heels.

Neither man really needed to worry. Christine awoke forty minutes later to an empty sickbay and a killer headache. The headache she could deal with. As for the empty sickbay, she was glad for it. That way no one would stop her from leaving.

She grabbed a change of clothes then quickly made her way to Ambassador Sevek's quarters. There were questions she needed and wanted answers to and, after her last trip to that ship, she knew Sevek had them. Taking a deep breath she signaled the occupant.

The door opened and Sevek stood just on the other side and motioned her in. "I knew you'd come eventually." She shivered, checked the room then stepped inside moving forward just enough to allow the doors to close.

* * *

Amassador Sarek stopped and turned toward Kirk and Spock. "If I am correct, then you assume that one of the people that you picked up at starbase twelve is involved in everything that has happened in the last twenty years?" At Kirk's nod he continued. "I fail to understand why you need me to be present while you question them."

Kirk nodded and stepped forward. "We are hoping not to offend any of them."

Sarek turned to look at his son. "Did you explain to him that it would be illogical for us not to be a suspect?"

Spock nodded, "Yes, Father, but he persisted that you at least be present."

Just then Christine came running past them with tears streaming down her face. All three men called to her but she continued on as if she hadn't heard.

Spock raised a brow and turned toward the others. Without another word they turned the corner and rang for admittance to Ambassador Sevek's quarters. After the third attempt, they asked the computer for his location and were informed that he was in his quarters. Captain Kirk used his override and stepped into the room. What they found shocked them all.

Ambassador Sevek was sprawled on his bed with a Klingon ceremonial knife protruding from his heart. Spock queried the computer for the last visitor to the Ambassador's quarters. The answer was what he had expected. Christine had been the only visitor since ten that morning. Sevek had returned to his quarters only twenty minutes ago.

Jim called for McCoy to do the autopsy. They would wait to talk with Christine until all the results were in. Spock moved toward the far wall and tentatively reached out his hand. For a second he thought he felt it shift but, when he moved his hand again, he only met solid wall. Puzzled he turned to the computer terminal on the desk for some much needed answers. However, none were forthcoming.

* * *

Christine couldn't believe the words that had issued forth from the Ambassador. They had hurt and she just wanted to forget she had ever heard them. She closed her eyes and let the sonic shower massage away her troubled thoughts. There would be plenty of time to think about them later. Right now she just wanted to relax. When she felt relaxed and drowsy, she turned off the shower and grabbed her dark blue satin robe and wrapped it loosely around her. Slowly she leaned into the mirror staring into light blue eyes. Her thoughts turned inward. Somewhere deep inside herself were all the answers they needed. The question was, did she have the guts to look there? She shivered and took a deep breath as a single tear slid down her pale cheek.

She stood and wiped away the traces of her tears. Halfway to her dresser a chime announced that she had visitors. Calling out she learned that it was the Captain and Commander Spock. She grabbed the sash on her robe and pulled it tighter as she turned to her guests. They quickly scanned the room before their eyes met hers.

The Captain moved slightly forward. "Dr. Chapel, we have to ask what you were doing in Ambassador Sevek's quarters?"

Christine shrugged and turned toward her desk. "I needed some answers and I thought he might be of some help." Shaking her head she ran a finger gently across her desk as she took a deep breath. "He wasn't. Why?"

The last few seconds had allowed her to pull herself together so that she could face them. Kirk took her arm and led her toward a chair. "Ambassador Sevek was found in his quarters dead. You were the last person to see him."

Christine sank to the chair, hand covering her mouth. "H...How? Who? When?" she asked as her eyes moved between the two men. When nothing was forthcoming, she wrinkled her brow in thought. Seconds later her eyes grew wide. Mouth open she stared at Spock and then turned to the Captain. "You think I did it, don't you?"

She couldn't believe this was happening. How had things gotten so bad? Had she changed that much in the last few years? She voiced that question in a low voice as her eyes once again met Kirk's hazel ones.

He sighed and looked away. "You were the last one to see him and you came out of his quarters just seconds before Spock, Sarek and I found him."

She shook her head. "I can't believe this. He was alive when I left. Standing in the middle of the room..." She looked up at Spock. "I admit he was very rude and he did say some things that upset me, but I could never kill him anymore than I could kill one of you."

Spock placed his hands behind his back and stepped forward a little. "The Ambassador returned to his quarters three minutes before you entered. There was no tampering with the computer. You were the only one to enter his quarters."

Kirk sat down next to her and placed her hands in his, drawing her shocked gaze away from his science officer. "Dr. Chapel... Christine, until we solve this, we are going to have to place you under arrest for murder. The knife he was killed with was a Klingon ceremonial dagger from the Caltair 4 incident. The same one you requested to keep when you left there."

Christine pulled her hand away and jumped up. It took her only a minute to reach the decorative box above her bed. She opened it to find it empty. Shaking she dropped the box and closing her eyes. She took a couple of deep breaths. Her voice was low but steady as she stood and looked at the two men.

"I'll change then accompany you to the brig."

Kirk waved his hand. "We've decided to place a guard outside your door and place you under house arrest. Dr. McCoy will be by later to talk to you. Think long and hard about what he has to say. I think it's time we got to the bottom of this one way or another."

With that said he walked to the door, with Spock falling into step beside him. He stopped in the doorway and turned toward her. "If it helps any, I don't think you did it. I'm sorry for all of this."

Palm up he motioned to the area in general. Seconds later the doors shut leaving her to the silence of an empty room and head full of voices that never went away. Throwing herself onto her bed she finally let the emotions surface. She had been trying her hardest to control her emotions somewhat but now she realized that it was a useless battle.

When all her tears were gone, she arose and grabbed a hypo out of her drawer. Leonard had given it to her that second day aboard and told her to use it when she really needed it. She knew she should let him know but somehow she knew he would try to stop her. Especially in her current state of mind.

Without further thought, the hypo hissed against her tender neck. Slowly she sank to the bed. This time there would be no one to stop the nightmares. She needed to know the answers and this was the only way. One last tear made its way slowly down her cheek as the black nothingness closed in around her. She exhaled a finial shaking breath before placing herself in the care of her own dreams and past.

* * *

Selar paced the room before coming to a halt in front of the mirror. With a shaky hand, she brushed the dark brown tresses out of her eyes. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. No matter how many times she looked in the mirror, she couldn't get use to the face staring back at her. Her medical team had done a fabulous job with her disguise, right down to a Vulcan DNA overlay on her. The real Selar was hidden and well taken care of on Vulcan. If everything worked out then she would be returned to her own time and the real Selar would wake up none the wiser. As for the others, they would wonder but not really understand. As for herself and her other crewmates, they should be sent back through the Guardian a few minutes after they left.

She flopped down on the bed and leaned back. If history was correct then Christine should have been placed under arrest by now. Leaning back on the bed, she stared at the ceiling trying to figure out what her next move should be. Espionage was not her forte. The Captain's maybe but not hers. She smiled to herself.

Yes, he would love to be in her shoes right now. The only thing good about all this was T'Pau. She was the only one who knew what they were doing back here. They had needed Vulcan's help to stop him before all of Vulcan became obsolete. The Captain had taken a chance and in return they now had a vessel that was just out of range of the two ships who were even now playing their cat and mouse games. Oh, how she missed the quiet of sickbay. At least there she knew what to do next.

She rolled over and pulled out a gold piece of jewelry. Tapping it gently she waited. A few seconds later his gruff voice filled the room. "Doctor, do you have a report to make?"

They had agreed early on in this mission that names would never be spoken. That way if anyone overheard them, they would not comprise the future.

"Everything is right on track. I think it's time I had a talk with the Commander. Hopefully I can get him to see the logic in a meld." She hesitated for a second then with a bravado she didn't really feel continued. "I still think we should at least tell him, Captain."

His voice softened and she could hear the smile that accompanied the words. "We have already discussed that and the answer is still no." She heard his sigh through the combadge. "However, if your plan doesn't work, we may have to. Keep us informed and be careful."

She closed the channel and closed her eyes. Hearing his voice had comforted her like nothing else could. A few minutes later she made her way to sickbay. As she entered she could hear Spock's and McCoy's voices droning on in the background. Though she couldn't make out their conversation, she knew it had to be about Dr. Chapel. Squaring her shoulders she forged ahead into McCoy's office.

Selar glared at the two men in front of her. How could they be so damn dense? Didn't they understand that the longer they waited, the less chance they would have of succeeding?

With eyes blazing she plopped down into the chair. Crossing her arms she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Letting her temper have free run wouldn't get her anywhere. She opened her eyes and met warm blue ones surrounded by a lot of laugh lines. He would be the easiest one to deal with. All she needed to do with him was appeal to his compassionate side. She turned to the other pair of eyes. His were cool with one slightly raised brow as he met her gaze unblinking. Somehow she needed to get him to understand that this was the only logical course of action. They needed to know that to do nothing they would lose a valuable colleague, but how to do that without letting them know how she could know such a thing? In order for her to accomplish her mission, she needed to remain calm. Sighing she again tried to explain to them why they needed to meld with Christine.

Selar let her eyes shift between the two men. Spock had realized the logic of the meld, now he was trying to convince McCoy. Their bickering seemed to be a release mechanism. A way for them to release the tension as well as reassure each other that it would work right. Not only that but it was a way for them to get their points across.

Every once in a while McCoy would come very close to shouting and he tended to pace constantly, using his hands to emphasize his point. Spock on the other hand would raise an eyebrow or steeple his fingers or fold his hands neatly on his lap as he stressed his point. It didn't take long for her to realize that their little displays were their only way of expressing their feelings. She knew it was also their way of saying they cared about each other and the crew. In their own way they were no different then the crew from her own ship.

She shook her head as McCoy made another circle of the room. She knew he would eventually bring his attention back to her. Then she would bear the brunt of his displeasure. Her reprieve was short lived as McCoy turned angry blue eyes on her. His hand shot out toward her.

"If you're so dead set for this, then why doesn't one of the others meld with her?"

Selar leaned back in the chair and met his steady stare with an equal one. "Chris trusts Spock implicitly. The information she has stored inside is the only way to stop..." She bit her lip and looked from McCoy to Spock whose eyebrow was touching his hairline. Her eyes returned to McCoy's as he stepped toward her.

"And just how in the hell do you know what's in her head?"

Her audible sigh seemed to echo in the small room. "I don't know what is in there. I just know that there has to be a reason why she doesn't remember anything."

"Then why don't you meld with her?" McCoy hurumphed as he crossed his arms and leaned back on his desk.

Spock raised a brow and tilted his head to the side, waiting patiently for her answer. Selar leaned back and closed her eyes. She needed to relax and tell them enough so that they would not ask her to do this again. Yet not so much that they would become suspicious of her. When she opened her eyes again, she realized that it was too late for the latter. "I haven't the complete training needed to do a meld correctly with a non- Vulcan."

Her eyes remained fixed on the far wall as her words seemed to hang in the room. Spock stood and motioned for McCoy to follow him into the other room. Selar leaned back and sighed. She knew that what she had said was true but it would be weak considering Selar had melded with Timon and a few other cadets in order to help them deal with the Caltair 4 incident. Hopefully they would not push it. She didn't need them to know that she could not do it, although she was beginning to think Spock already knew.

A few minutes later Spock returned alone. He took the seat next to hers and just sat there looking at her. When she could take no more, she leaned forward almost touching him. "Just understand that I just want to help her. You must believe that."

Spock leaned closer and raised his hand. "Prove it." She noticed the spread of his hand and knew that it was useless to say no. If she didn't allow the meld then they would not meld with Christine and she was the answer to this whole puzzle.

Slowly she nodded and closed her eyes. His hand was warm on her face and his voice was low. "My mind to your mind. My thoughts to your thoughts." She felt his mind slowly enter hers and recognition dawned in his as he touched her thoughts. Soon though he pulled back as he encountered the thoughts of T'Pau. Her message to Spock was short and Selar could hear him repeating them as his mind pulled gently away from hers. She opened her eyes and met his.

"I didn't think you would believe me."

Spock nodded and pulled back. "It would be highly unlikely that you can fake T'Pau's thoughts. I have shared her thoughts before. I will not question your loyalty again but, know that if T'Pau had not left me a message, you would even now be sitting in the brig."

She nodded and leaned back. "So are you going to meld with her?"

Spock nodded and stood. "I think now would be the most prudent time. I don't think they will wait very long if they know what we have planned."

Selar nodded and moved to the door. "You should have one other with you during the meld."

Spock nodded and entered the door's sensor range. "Thank you Doctor. We will. Now if you would return to your quarters, we will notify you as soon as everything is over."

* * *

Spock stood in front of the Captain and stared straight ahead with his hands behind his back. McCoy stood to the right and slightly behind the Captain's chair with arms crossed in front of his chest. His eyes bored into Spock's as the Captain leaned back.

"I don't care what Spock says, Jim, we know absolutely nothing about this woman other than she came from the future to right a wrong that may or may not destroy Vulcan. I for one just can't take her word for it."

"Jim, if we are to find out what is happening to Dr. Chapel, then we must assume logically that we should start with Dr. Chapel. As for the Doctor we know as Selar, I do not believe that she could have T'Pau's thoughts in her mind unless T'Pau put them there."

Jim Kirk held up his hands to forestall any more conversation between the two men. Placing those same hands on the desk he stood and leaned forward.

"We can solve all of this by one call to T'Pau."

Spock straightened his shoulders and glanced at McCoy. "She has already confirmed the woman's story."

Jim nodded and turned toward McCoy. He could not agree with Spock. Nothing he had said so far convinced him to risk Spock's life with a meld. Kirk was inclined to agree with McCoy.

"Spock, there has to be a better reason. We can't just take the word of some woman, because she has convinced T'Pau that she is telling the truth. Those other five Vulcans had believed in Dr. Cantan's words and convinced T'Pau in the rightness of the experiments and look what's happened to them."

Spock nodded and took a step forward. "Captain ... Jim, the woman we know as Selar is a Doctor from..."

Kirk jumped from behind his desk and raced around to the front. McCoy was right on his heels. Spock was on his knees with his hands pressed to his head. As they neared him, he looked into their eyes and slowly rose.

Only one word passed his lips as he bolted out of the room. "Christine."

Kirk and McCoy slid into the lift just as the doors were closing. It whisked them through the heart of the ship and opened on Christine's deck. Spock squeezed through the doors before they had completely opened and sprinted down the hall. His fingers flew over the sensor lock as he entered in his security override. The two security guards stared at Spock as the doors opened and McCoy and Kirk breezed into the room on Spock's heels.

Christine's scream of agony ripped through the air causing the hair to stand up on their arms. McCoy grabbed Christine's med kit from the storage unit by her desk and headed toward the adjacent cubicle. As he rounded the screen, he found Jim and Spock on the floor trying to hold onto Christine's flying arms and legs as she desperately fought the demons in her dreams.

Jim glanced up at the wrong time and Leonard winced as her foot connected with Jim's jaw. His eyes moved to Spock who seemed to be having as much trouble holding onto her hands. Green blood dripped from a split lip to land on Christine's forehead and slid down to mix with the red blood that seeped from the cut above her right eye. His eyes quickly scanned her body, taking in to account her disheveled appearance. Her robe was twisted around her body giving glimpses of bare flesh and blue underclothes as she twitched and bucked against the hands that now held her down. Her long legs were covered with holes and bruises from her last visit with the other ship but were quickly being over-shadowed by the new ones as she continued her struggles.

"Why isn't she waking up, Bones?"

McCoy glared at Jim then quickly ran the tricorder over her. "Damn," he swore as he threw open the med kit and pulled out a hypo spray. As he reached for the medicine, he noticed two pairs of boots standing behind and to the left of him. He shot the guards a dirty look and snarled at the Captain. "Jim, I don't think we need an audience."

Jim glanced over his shoulder at the two men. "Return to your posts. We'll call if we need you."

They hesitated then turned and left, as Jim returned his attention to the problem at hand. "What's going on, Bones?" McCoy pressed the hypo against her neck and the hiss seemed to echo throughout the room. Then he replaced the empty cartridge with another one.

"Besides the fact that her heart is about ready to burst and her breathing is almost non-existent, she went and gave herself the largest sedative a human can handle safely. Nothing much," he growled as he once again pressed the hypo against her flushed skin. "Lucky for her we got here when we did."

His eyes met those of Spock's. "Speaking of which, how long have you been hearing her thoughts?"

Spock watched McCoy's hand as he ran the tricorder over her again. "The first time was in her quarters at the starbase. However, I hear them mostly when she is highly disturbed."

McCoy nodded and continued to run the scanner. He jumped and nearly fell back as her eyes flew open and she jerked forward trying to sit up. Quickly he regained his balance and nodded to the others. "You can let her up now."

Christine sat up and ran a shaky hand through her limp brown hair. Her eyes met Kirk's then Leonard's. Slowly she brushed away the blood that trickled into her eye. She took note of the green smears mixed in with the red. Just as quickly she noticed the bruise that was even now turning a dark shade of purple on Kirk's jaw. In an instant she knew that she had caused all of them some pain. She lowered her head and in a shaky voice she gazed at McCoy.

"What happened, Leonard?"

Bones shook his head and stood. "Don't Leonard me. Get changed and meet us in the other room." He turned and quickly left the room with the others following him. No one said a word as they waited for her to arrive.

Christine jumped into the sonic shower and just as quickly jumped out and grabbed the first outfit within reach. She glanced down at the calf length skirt and matching shirt. Some day she really needed to redo her wardrobe. Slowly she moved into the other room and met three pairs of eyes staring at her. She made her way to the couch and the only empty seat next to Leonard. As she sat down he jumped up and began pacing the room..

"Just what were you thinking of, young lady?" he growled as he turned to face her. "You could have killed yourself. Did you lose your mind in the last few years?"

Christine closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She had known this was coming only now she didn't know how she was going to explain this to all of them. McCoy she could handle and he would understand. At least, she hoped he would. The others she wasn't sure of. Sighing, she leaned forward and rested her head in her hands.

"I just wanted to know the truth." She opened her eyes and looked up into Leonard's. Her voice was small and weak. "After Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock arrested me for killing Sevek, I wanted this whole ugly thing to end. I took the sedative to see if the dreams would tell me anything." She looked down at her hands and tried to still their shaking. "I thought if I couldn't wake myself, maybe I could find something in the dreams to help me."

She met Kirk's steady eyes as she tried to make them understand. "I'm sorry about your face, sir. I didn't want anyone to get hurt. " She held her hands out to him to try and get him to understand. "I just needed some answers."

Kirk nodded turned to look at Spock, then met her eyes again. "Did you learn anything?"

Christine shook her head. "No, the dreams seem to fade quickly when I wake up. All I know is when I think about the dreams... I'm filled with a terrible fear and the terror is a constant companion any more."

McCoy hurmphed and hiked a leg up on her desk. "Damn fool thing if you ask me, but nooooo. I'm just the CMO. My opinion doesn't count. Damn it, Chris, you could have died just now."

His voice had risen as he stood to face her. Christine was on her feet and almost next to him before he could finish. Her voice rose to meet his. "What the hell do you expect from me? I've played it safe for twenty years. I'm tired of them using me as a guinea pig. I've had it with the nightmares and days and weeks without sleep." She spun around with eyes blazing to glare at the other two men. "I'm tired of them using me to create those creatures that haunt me. It's *me* they're using and I have the right to know why and to use whatever means I deem necessary to achieve my goals, as long as no one else gets hurt."

Her temper cooled with the last word and she met the shocked gazes of her commanding officers. Her eyebrows rose and she shook her head before returning to her seat on the couch. This wasn't how she had wanted this conversation to go but she had to admit she felt a lot better. Her eyes locked with Leonard's and she noticed the sly smile that graced his wrinkled face. His voice held none of the anger from earlier.

"About time you told us how you really feel. It was still a damn fool thing to do. Why didn't you call and let me know?"

She shrugged her shoulders. "You wouldn't have let me do it."

McCoy nodded and looked at Spock. "Seems everyone wants to endanger themselves today."

Christine followed his eyes and met the piercing brown gaze of the first officer. His voice was low and well modulated and seemed to vibrate all the way to her very soul.

"The doctor is right about one thing. It was a very dangerous thing to do. However, I understand your curiosity. I would like to suggest that we try a mind meld. It is the only logical course to take since all else has failed."

Christine could not believe her ears. She looked at her favorite men and found that for once all agreed, although they seemed a bit hesitant about it.

"What kind of danger would you be in from the meld?" she asked as her eyes moved slowly back to his. Spock steepled his fingers and leaned forward knowing that by her question she was at least willing to listen to the prospect. That in itself let him know just how desperate she was. The fear he felt radiating from her was constantly battering against his shields. If they agreed to the meld, he would need to meditate for an hour before they could begin.

"The danger is real, however, I consider it to have only a twenty percent chance of doing any permanent damage to either of us. The only unknown factor is the voice from whomever is telling you to forget. He doesn't want you to remember for a reason and will feel threatened as the meld takes hold. I cannot predict what his reaction will be, therefore the danger may be greater than anticipated. However, the outcome if we succeed would be worth the risk."

His brow raised slightly as he leaned back. She felt all their eyes boring into her. Slowly she glanced up to meet Leonard's concerned face. She needed to know and so did they but did she have the right to endanger Spock's life?

Slowly her eyes moved on to the next man. As Kirk's eyes met hers, she knew he didn't like the odds but trusted that Spock would do the right thing. Taking a deep breath she turned to meet Spock's, only to find them closed and him looking as if he was in deep thought. She hated to interrupt him but she too realized that the meld was the last step open to her. However, she wasn't sure she wanted Spock to know everything that was in her mind.

She heard her voice as if she was a long way away. "I agreed to the meld but I don't want any more people here than necessary." When Spock opened his eyes she continued. "If at any time your life becomes endangered, you have to break the meld." Her eyes rose to meet Leonard's over Spock's head. "If he fails to do so, I want you to promise to break it for him. Is that understood?" At McCoy's nod she continued. "I do ask that Selar be there. She is the only reason any of you found out about this and she deserves to know what is going on."

When everyone had agreed, Spock rose and headed toward the door. "I require an hour to prepare. I suggest that you try to meditate also, Dr. Chapel. Dr. McCoy can prepare everything else."

Within minutes her quarters seemed a whole lot bigger as all three men left. Christine let out a deep, drawn out breath and raised her arms over her head as she stretched tired muscles. Her insides felt like jelly. She closed her eyes and tried to relax.

After two tries, she dressed and headed to the gym. She need to relax in her own way.

* * *

Christine was out of breath as she entered sickbay. She had been so engrossed in her Tae-bo exercises that she had completely forgotten about the time. McCoy's untimely page had brought her back to reality with a resounding thud as she missed her swing and landed hard on her rear.

She knew she must be a sight in her skin tight gray exercise outfit. With a shaky hand she brushed a sweat soaked strand of brown hair out of her eyes and glanced around the room. Sarek, Amanda and Selar were seated off to her left, while McCoy and M'Benga had their heads bent over their tricorders near the right wall. Slowly her eyes moved to the center. Spock sat in one of the chairs while the Captain paced the room behind him.

For a brief second she thought the wall shimmered off to her right out of the corner of her eye. However when she turned to look at it fully there was nothing there. Slowly she moved forward. Now that the moment was finally here she wasn't so sure she could go through with it. She took a deep breath and sat in the chair opposite of Spock. His eyes had remained closed since she had entered. She knew instantly that he was meditating. Taking a few shaky breaths she closed her eyes and tried to convince herself that what she was about to do was right.

However, a voice deep inside her warned her that to do so would endanger Spock more than she could possibly know. Thoughts of her five years with the Enterprise slowly manifested in her mind only to be replaced with her last five. Shivering, she pushed those thoughts away and concentrated on relaxing. Still the voice was persistent and, try as she might, she couldn't deny that the possibility existed and Spock or she might not survive. She opened her mouth to speak only to feel warm fingertips touch her cheek.

Her eyes flew open as his words spoken aloud replayed in her mind. "My thoughts to your thoughts, my mind to your mind."

Suddenly she felt his thoughts burst through her mind. At first they flooded her mind, then just as quickly they were gone and yet she could feel him all around her. She took comfort in that, although she could feel something else moving toward her. It was dark and fear gripped her. She tried to pull away, to hide, only she couldn't.

Suddenly she saw Spock beside her, his hand in hers. His voice was low and filled with strength. She heard his words though he never opened his mouth. "Trust in yourself. You are safe and I am here. You do not have to face this alone anymore."

She so wanted to believe him but her thoughts shifted to the earlier warning. No sooner was thought formed than she received his answer. "The warning may be a tactic used to keep you from taking this step. If you wish to stop, I will withdraw."

Christine felt his hand in hers but more than that she felt briefly his fingers on her cheek. Through him she saw all her friends, worried etched on each face, and she knew she couldn't back away from it now. She felt more than saw him nod.

"We must start in your past. Think back to the first thing that you can remember. To before you woke in the hospital."

Suddenly she could see the white cold room. At first she thought she was in the hospital until something in red walked past where she lay. She tried to sit up and look around her but found that she couldn't. Suddenly a tiny fist was in her view as it moved toward her mouth. She looked up into warm brown eyes and clear ice blue ones. She knew these people but didn't. A part of her knew them from another time. She pushed her mind, trying to grasp on to what she know was right there. A warm voice whispered into her ear.

"We need to go forward. You are too far back."

With a gentle sigh, she let her mind move forward to another time. Without warning she gasped as pain shot through her brain. Spock gasped too as she felt the pain shoot through him. She realized that he was feeling it from her. She tried to shield him from it by pulling away to end the meld. His free arm shot out and wrapped around her waist and pulled her closer to him.

"If we do not continue then they will have succeeded in whatever plans they have for the future." The words she heard flowed in and out with the images he had received while linked with Selar. "Vulcan needs you, Christine, for only you have the ability to end this."

A tear rolled silently down her cheek and melded with his fingers. She knew now that there could be no quitting. Slowly she let her mind drift to the start of her dreams. Hopefully her mind would take it from there.

The room seemed to darken around her as she stood and slowly made her way down the hall. Her father stood at the far side and pressed his fingers to his lips as she neared his silhouetted form. "Hey, kitten, what are you doing up this late?" he whispered as he picked her up.

Suddenly his face changed and she looked into dark brown eyes. A scream tore from her lips as his voiced echoed through her mind. "Soon, Christine, very soon."

She tried to pull away and then Spock was there beside her, his hand joined with hers. "I am here." A calm flowed through her and she once again looked into the brown eyes of nightmare.

His face was hidden by the hood of his dark blue robe, yet she could just make out his lips which right now formed a frown. His eyes shifted from her to something beside her. She turned to follow his eyes and out of the corner of eye, she saw Spock standing, his hand in hers. She turned back to look at her demon to see him turn away. His voice seemed to echo through her mind. "Too soon. It won't go any further."

In shock she turned toward Spock. "He means to stop us."

Spock only nodded then motioned for her to move forward. "He may try, however the odds of him succeeding are only 32%."

Christine giggled and turned back toward the darkness. She knew she needed to finish this but her fear of what was waiting seemed to be pulling her back into another place. A place filled with lights and drawers. Where tubes and machines hummed with a life of their own. Slowly she made her way toward one of the drawers and with a shaky hand she pushed the first button. She turned away as the drawer opened with a loud *psst*. Suddenly she knew what was awaiting her if she turned around. Looking around she realized she was alone.

Frantically she searched the room, always staying away from the now open drawer. Spock was here somewhere. She knew he was; he had promised she would not go through this alone. Slowly she turned toward the now open drawer and cautiously made her way toward it. She swallowed hard and closed her eyes. Her hands trembled and her breathing increased as she got closer. Finally she stood over the drawer. Biting her lower lip she opened her eyes and looked down. A scream welled up in her throat. She jumped and spun around as a hand came to rest on her shoulder.

"Damn you. You scared me to death. Where were you?"

Spock nodded and moved forward. His eyes searching for answers that he knew were there but still hidden in the recess of her mind. Her thoughts jarred him back. "Spock, where were you? You've closed off your thoughts. Before I could feel you near. Now it's as if you're here but not here."

He turned toward her. "I had to take care of something. If you look, you'll know what I did." He turned back to look at what was in the drawer. "Are they all like that?"

Christine took a nervous step back and nodded. "The ones I've seen are." She moved to the next drawer and pushed its button. The drawer slid out and inside lay a small inhuman body. It was twisted and parts that should be inside were out. Christine shuddered as she looked down into clear blue eyes that so mirrored her own.

Spock reached down and touched the small form. Images flooded through him and instantly he knew that their thoughts were hers and yet not. He pulled back and reached for her hand. Using it, he pulled her closer. "You must open your mind."

Her brows wrinkled as she looked at him. "I have."

Spock shook his head and pushed her backward. Instantly she was up against a wall. "Look around you, Christine. What do you see?"

Pursing her lips together, she turned her head to the left. A wall rose before her and continued as she looked around. Suddenly she could feel them closing in. Slowly moving toward her, trying to wrap her inside. Threatening to seal in all her fear and pain. "Don't let it, Christine. The closer the walls, the more you push me away. If they succeed in cocooning you, then my life will end if I can't find my way out."

Christine closed her eyes and willed them away only to open them and find that they had not receded but were no longer moving forward. "How do I..."

Spock's body was pressed tightly against hers and his voice seemed to caress her as he turned to look at the now still walls. "You have to understand that there is nothing you can keep hidden. We will only access the information we need."

Unbidden, her dreams of Spock floated to the surface. Quickly, she tried to squash them down. "No, don't. They need to be free so that you will understand that it doesn't matter. I have always known."

She could feel his body pressed against hers. Yet she felt a draft caress her skin. His hand moved over her cheek. "Christine, free your thoughts to me. Your dreams are your own. I will not access them unless you agree to it."

She closed her eyes and thought back to a time when she was with her dad. Together they walked down the dark corridors. "Someday, little one, you will leave this place far behind. Just remember all that you see. You may be the only thing that stands between them and the end of the Federation." He stopped by the door to a huge room and bent down to her level. "You should not have been. I should not have fallen for her." His eyes looked past her to the empty corridor. "I have doomed my time." Slowly his eyes met hers. His touch was soft as he rubbed her cheek. "Trust no one, for the enemy will be hidden from you." His sigh echoed through the empty halls. "You were our pride and joy and now I must let you go."

He stood and walked toward the door. His hand wrapped around her smaller one. T'Ral will take good care of you and hopefully get you off this planet." He froze suddenly and spun around. T'Ral stood off to his left and with her were two of her offspring. A third stood by the outer doors.

T'Ral stepped forward and held out her hand. "Come, child, there is no time for good-byes." Her eyes met Timmons. "Will you return to your time?"

He shook his head. "No." He touched his daughter's head and quickly looked away. "I have destroyed that chance."

T'Ral looked at the child and nodded. "She was not to be."

"She was why I came. I was to make sure she never was. Once here, I couldn't destroy her. She is after all a part of me. Teach her all you know. She may be your only hope." T'Ral nodded and boarded the small shuttlecraft. Two of the women joined her; the third touched his cheek. "Be careful, my love. I wish that we could go together."

"As do I, T'Ling, but you must go with T'Ral and the others. See our daughter to safety and then look for me. We will meet again. Believe in that and my love for you and S'lena."

"Someday she will remember this day and all that goes with those memories. May she be old enough to understand and young enough to stop what will come."

Slowly the doors shut and the shuttle lifted off. Christine's voice seemed to come from far away as she spoke her first words in three hours. "It took us three weeks to get to Sierra 3. All that way just to die. We didn't know. How could we not know of that base?"

She felt him slip from her thoughts like a lover's caress. A part of her felt empty and hollow as her thoughts were once again her own.

Her eyes flew open and she stared at the man across from her. He sat unmoving with pointer fingers steepled and resting just below his lips. His eyes remained closed. "Spock, are you all right?" she asked, moving forward slightly. He nodded as McCoy stepped forward.

"He's fine. The two of you have been at this for quite a while, you need a break. I could have sworn I heard that stomach of yours growling a few minutes ago."

Christine nodded and stood. Selar and Lady Amanda met her at the door. Amanda's voice was gentle and gave her a sense of security. "Why don't we go get something to eat? By then you two might be ready for another round."

Chris nodded and with a backward glance allowed herself to be led from the room. Spock remained exactly as she left him.

* * *

McCoy leaned his chair back against the wall as he sipped on a warm cup of coffee. He didn't know where things would go from here but he knew that there was nothing he could do but be there for Chris when this whole thing was over.

Slowly he let his chair fall forward without making a sound. He quickly glanced at his tricorder then around the room. Standing he quietly left the room and returned a few minutes later. Nodding at M'Benga he returned to his seat. Yawning he let his gaze sweep over everyone that was present. All eyes were trained on the center of the room, yet he could have sworn that they were being watched.

* * *

Christine sat in the mess hall and gazed at her friends. Something didn't feel right. They were with her and saying everything she expected them to.

That was what bothered her. They did nothing new. Slowly she stood and moved toward the exit. Uhura stopped her with a hand on her wrist. "Christine, you hardly ate a thing."

Chris smiled and patted her friend's hand. "I'm not done. I just need to go to the restroom."

Uhura smiled and moved to join her. "Well, let's go. Besides you haven't said a word about what it was like to meld with Spock."

Christine could only stare at her friend. How did she get here? When she had left sickbay, Selar and Amanda were with her. Then she was here with Uhura and Rand.

Nodding she quickly moved out of the room. Silently she began to set up the walls that had always been there. As they entered the restroom, she smiled at Nyota then stepped out of the room and slammed her palm on the close switch. She quickly punched in Spock's security code that she had received through the meld. Rubbing her hands, she took a deep breath and headed down the corridor in search of Spock.

* * *

Christine strolled the now empty corridors. She knew something was wrong only she didn't quite know what it was. All she knew was that she needed to find Spock. When this whole thing had started, she had left him in sickbay. With a snap of her fingers, she turned around and headed for the nearest lift.

The doors swished opened and she stepped inside to barren walls and slowly glanced around. There was nothing there. Even the doors were gone. Understanding finally dawned as she stepped out of the lift and found that she was where she wanted to be but hadn't gone anywhere.

Taking a deep breath she turned toward sickbay and froze. Standing in the middle of the corridor with an outstretched hand stood her nightmare. The blue robe seemed to float around him as if it weren't really on him. His face remained hidden in the dark shadows it formed as it lay over his forehead.

Turning she began to move off the other way. Halfway down the hall, he was there again. Her breathing quickened as she turned to run back the way she had come from only to find him there as well moving toward her.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Slowly she turned back to the way she had been going. As she opened her eyes she realized the way was now clear.

Glancing over her shoulder, she saw him moving silently toward her. With no further thought, she moved forward. She knew it would take longer this way but she would eventually reach Sickbay.

After twenty minutes of walking and not getting any closer to her destination, she halted near the turbolift and concentrated on Sickbay. Opening her eyes, she was disappointed to find herself right where she had started out. Air blew out slowly from clenched teeth as she turned to find the blue robed man blocking her path, his hand still held out waiting for her to accept it.

She bent her head then bit her lower lip. When she looked up again, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Spock stood with his hands behind his back, one brow raised, staring at her. Slowly he moved forward as the man in blue did the same. Spock stopped a few feet away and motioned to the other man with an empty hand.

"It's all a trick of the mind, Christine. Come with me so we may end this."

Christine took one step forward and stopped. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end as she looked into Spock's empty eyes. She shook her head and turned to look at the other man. He had stopped a few feet away. His hand was still held out but he made no move to grab her.

Christine knew that this was all happening in her mind. She had realized that back with Uhura. What puzzled her was finding that Spock had been allowed to appear. If this being who now controlled her mind was in charge, then why didn't he stop her from getting to this point? Why stand there with outstretched hand as if the choice was up to her?

Slowly she turned around and moved toward the man in blue. She needed to see his face if only to know who he really was.

Spock's voice held her motionless for a brief second. "Christine, you need to shut him out of your mind. Build the walls up so that he must leave to survive."

Christine whirled around with brows knitted. She glared at Spock. Suddenly she knew what she had to do.

With one thought she pushed the blue robed man back and grabbed Spock. Slowly she pulled him closer and closed the walls around them. Her voice was low and full of venom.

"Why are you doing this to me? What more could you possible want from me?"

Spock raised a brow and leaned forward. "I'm afraid, Christine, that you have mistaken me for someone else."

Christine shook her head. "No, not this time. You're not Spock. He wanted to find you to get the answers, not shut you out. If I had done as you said, I would never find my way back to where I belong. You are the one that created this ship and everything in it. Why?"

He shook his head and tried to step back, only to run into a wall. His eyes searched the area for a way out.

"You can't go anywhere. I learned from the real Spock how the walls can keep you from returning to yourself. Now, you will tell me what I need to know."

His laughter echoed throughout her mind as he shifted to his true form. "You are my creation and his destruction. Through you I have created the ultimate disease and his father will be the first to fall victim to it. You and your offspring will be the downfall of Vulcan."

Christine grabbed his blue robe and slammed him against the wall. "Tell me where the children are!"

He shook his head and turned away. With a long sigh, Christine opened a small door in the wall and held out a trembling hand.

Making his way carefully through the opening, Spock joined them in the dark corridor of her mind. His fingers made contact with the psychic points on the man's face as he finally came into view for her to see.

She gasped and took a step back as his blond hair slipped from beneath the robe and his crystal blue eyes stared into hers.

At her gasp Spock glanced her way and probed her memory for his face. He latched onto the fleeing memory.

A small hand was clasped in a large callused one. Blue eyes smiled down framed by long curly blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. His words echoed through both their minds. "You know, little one, some day you'll change the universe. I know because I came from a time where you did just that."

Spock's voice seemed to blend with that of her father's. "Christine, a person can take many forms in the mind. Remember that."

Suddenly the image and the man began to fade from her mind. In the split second between his disappearance and his reappearance, one word hung in the air. Spock snatched it with his mind and tucked it safely away.

The man reappeared but seemed slightly shaken as he stood near Christine. Things were not going as planned and Spock and Christine could tell that something was wrong. He was there but he was slightly transparent. The man's grin showed straight white teeth as he slowly solidified and moved toward Spock.

***

Selar stood and stretched, then slowly made her way toward where Kirk and McCoy were. She too had noticed the shimmer of that wall. Now she was determined to find out just what was going on and who was behind it. With her fist tightly held against her side, she let it slam into the wall.

Slowly the wall rippled out from where her hand had struck. With furrowed brow, she slowly walked to the door and into the hall. One tap of her left chest activated her hidden comm unit. Her voice remained low as she filled them in on what she suspected. When she was done, the other ship moved forward just enough to scan the Enterprise to confirm her suspicions.

Now that she knew what was going on, she just had to figure out a way to deactivate the hologram. Boldly she walked back into the room and moved to McCoy's side as he leaned back against the wall with his chair. She was hoping that she was at the right spot. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, she waved Kirk over.

She wasn't sure if she could convince him but she knew she had to try. Quietly she asked him to fire his phaser at the wall where she was pointing. His brows just about went through his hair as he glared at her. "I can't do that. It would damage the ship."

"If you don't, Captain, you could endanger your First Officer's life." Kirk's eyes searched her face looking for something -- she wasn't quite sure of what -- but he must have found it for he raised his phaser and fired.

McCoy's chair hit the floor with a resounding bang. Kirk swung his phaser to his left, pointing directly at the robed man that somehow appeared where the medical analyzer was a second before. In a flash the man disappeared, leaving the room filled with gasps as he went.

McCoy rolled off his back and slowly stood. "Damn it, Jim, next time give a fellow some warning."

"Sorry Bones, but that might have ruined the surprise for our uninvited guest. Which reminds me, Dr. Selar, you have some explaining to do as soon as this is all over."

She nodded and slowly made her way back to the others, all the while wondering how she would explain this to him without revealing too much of the future. Taking a deep breath she sat down to wait.







He knew he was in trouble, knew that Kirk and the others had found his hiding place. Still he had to finish before it was too late. Spock had proven to be stronger than he had given him credit for. He would have to use the few precious seconds to put a halt to this meld. His eyes narrowed as he moved closer to Spock. Swirling around, he grabbed hold of Christine's mind and pushed violently forward.

Instinctively Christine screamed and began to quickly bring up her walls.

Spock understood and quickly began to withdraw as he whispered, Do it. The walls grew and began to tighten until blackness surrounded her.







McCoy rushed forward as Spock and Christine collapsed backwards with enough force to send both of them to the floor. His tricorder at the ready, he quickly scanned them, then slowly rose.

"They seem to be fine. I won't know for sure until they regain conciseness," he remarked as he summoned four orderlies to transfer his patients to the next room. He shooed everyone away but Kirk who joined him in his office for a night cap.

McCoy studied his friend as he slipped into his chair. The tell-tale smudges under the eyes told of sleepless nights. The blood-shot eyes and small wrinkles made his face seem years older. Neither man spoke as McCoy filled the glasses and handed Kirk his. Sighing heavily, he rubbed the bridge of his nose as he plopped his feet on the corner of his desk. Closing his eyes he leaned back as he spoke.

"They really are fine, Jim. I thought I saw a facial muscle move on Spock just before he jerked backwards."

Jim nodded, stretched his legs and crossed them at the ankles on the other corner of the desk. He raised his glass and took a long draw off it before speaking.

"Yeah I saw that, too. Let's just hope they found what the needed so we don't have to do this again."

McCoy nodded and took a long swig then rolled his neck to relieve the tension that had set in. "So, are you going to tell me how she convinced you to fire your phaser in my sickbay?"

Jim smiled and closed his eyes. "Not yet. I'm still not sure why I did it myself. But looking in her eyes, my gut told me to trust her." His smile grew as he turned those vibrant eyes on McCoy. "You know I could never resist a beautiful woman."

McCoy's laughter seemed to echo in the small room. Yeah, he knew how his friend was with women but never had he let one talk him into doing something that could endanger his crew. However, he knew that part of it was the fact that Spock trusted her and McCoy would bet doughnuts to diamonds that had more to do with it then her looks, but he would keep that to himself. Sighing, he closed his eyes and let the liquor and the dimness lull away his aches and pains. All they could do now was wait. It could be a few hours or a few minutes before they would come around.

He awoke with a jerk, slightly disoriented. His boots hit the floor as he rose from his chair. He was half way out the door with Jim on his heels before the alarm finished its second round. As one the flew into sickbay in time to see the last tell-tale signs of the glistening light of a transporter.







Spock came to slowly, trying to quiet the pounding in his head. It took several minutes for it to dissipate and a few more for him to orient himself. As he opened his eyes, the blinding light was the first thing he saw. He heard the soft murmurs of others. Carefully he lifted himself up and glanced at the room around him.

McCoy, Kirk, and M'Benga were gathered around the other bed. None spoke until Kirk turned toward him. "Bones, it seems Spock has recovered."

"'Bout damn time," McCoy mumbled as he moved toward the bed. His gruff words and precise treatment let Spock know that there was something wrong. The indicators above his bed blinked red and yellow at a pace inherently fast for a human but which were slightly slow for Spock.

As the men gathered round, he noticed the sheet that was draped over the other bed. His eyes searched McCoy's face but the man refused to meet his eyes. Quickly he turned toward Kirk. "What happened?"

McCoy shook his head but answered him slowly. "Damned if I know. I thought the meld was ending when both of you were thrown head over heels in opposite directions."

Spock nodded. "Yes, whoever was in contact with her is a very adept telepath. He attacked Christine, causing her to immediately raise a barrier to protect herself. I rushed back to myself to avoid being caught inside. However, that does not explain your current lack of enthusiasm."

McCoy's eyes hastily scanned the room as his breathing increased. His voice was icy and low. "Those bastards took her not more than five minutes ago."

His hand slammed against the wall. "She hadn't even regained consciousness."

Spock's eyebrow rose slightly as he glanced from one man to the other, finally stopping at Jim. Jim nodded once and began to pace. "Leonard and I think they might have done it to prevent another meld. If that's the case then they won't be giving her back anytime soon."

Spock leaned back against the wall as the silence surrounded him. The tension in the room a tangible thing that weighed heavily on all present. He shut his eyes and let his mind begin to sift through the images and thoughts he had received from Christine and the mysterious man that haunted her thoughts. As the images swirled around his thoughts his mind sorted them into categories of importance. Then, as if a bright light had gone off, he quickly sat forward and wrinkled his brow in thought as one word seemed to drop from the air into his lap. Sierra 1.

The place had popped into Christine's mind just as the stranger disappeared and just as suddenly had fled. Only he had heard it and locked it away before the man could reappear.

His eyes flew open and he swung his legs off the bed. McCoy's hand hit the center of his chest with just enough force to get his attention. "Just where do you think you're going?"

Spock merely pushed the hand aside. "I need to verify some information I received through the meld and..." His eyes met Jim's. "...we need to head for Sierra 1. Everything points to the fact that they were only a week's travel from Sierra 3 and the corridors I saw in her thoughts were designed for underground inhabitation. It is possible that they built a underground base on a planet that is not suitable to sustain life to keep others from learning that they were there."

Jim didn't say a word merely turned and walked to the comm unit on the far wall. "Bridge, this is the Captain."

"Bridge here, sir."

"Set a course for Sierra 1, warp 8." He turned to look at his friends as he disconnected the call. "Let's hope they decided to stay with us. Otherwise we may not get Dr. Chapel back."

McCoy nodded then his brow creased in thought as he wagged a finger at Kirk. "You know, Jim, if they were trying to keep us from learning about Sierra 1 and we are now heading there, they might give her back knowing that the gig's up."

"Highly unlikely. Doctor. They would then be admitting to the fact that is indeed their base. The odds are 87.32 percent that they keep her in hopes of making us wonder if we are indeed correct."

Just then the intercom whistled, forestalling any further conversation. "Bridge to Captain Kirk."

"Kirk here."

"Sir, the other ship is veering off and going... Sir, this can't be..."

"What is happening, Lieutenant?"

"Sir, they are going faster than warp 10 by our scale and that just isn't possible."

Silence reigned throughout sickbay as each man contemplated the consequences if this was accurate. Kirk turned to look at Spock who only nodded. "It would stand to reason that if indeed these men are from the future then they would bring the technology of the future with them to use here. Otherwise they would not succeed."

The intercom crackled again as the lieutenant's voice once again broke through their thoughts. "Sir, I show a smaller craft of Vulcan registry following them."

With those words Spock was off the bed and half way through the doors before Kirk could acknowledge it.

Spock knew that the one person who might know what was happening was on this ship and it was time to get some answers from her.

* * *

Kirk headed for the one person who could help solve this whole thing, if she chose to do so. However she was probably prohibited from telling them too much about the outcome. So they would be pretty much on their own. He eyed his first officer who hadn't spoken a word since they had left Sickbay. He seemed as if he were having a hard time thinking and for Spock that was not a good sign. Quickly he glanced over at Bones and nodded his head toward his first officer. McCoy just shrugged and shook his head.

Together they all came to a halt in front of Doctor Selar's quarters. Spock signaled for her and was granted immediate entrance. She stood in the middle of the room staring at a small piece of jewelry in her hand then looked up at them. The sadness in her eyes did not go unnoticed by the three men who crowded into the small room.

She absently pushed back a lock of coal black hair and tucked it behind one small pointy ear. Her voice was barely above a whisper. "I take it they took her and left?" At their nod she glanced back to the object in her hand. "Well, that explains that."

Spock tilted his head to one side. "From what I have gathered from you, the Vulcan ship that is following the other ship has some of your friends on it."

She nodded and walked to the bed and sat down. "Please sit down and I'll fill you in on what I can."

Once they were seated, she hid the small device on the underside of her shirt. Taking a deep breath, she gazed steadily at each man. "I guess I should start at the beginning. You already know that I am from the future and that we were sent back to straighten up a mess done by someone from the future. We were ordered to the Guardian of Forever by Starfleet due to an imbalance of one of the scientists there." She blew out a breath of air and glared at the ceiling as she tried to arrange her thoughts as to just how much she could tell them. She knew names had to be withheld because that would endanger her future and whether or not she got back to her own timeline or another one.

Kirk moved forward and sat on the couch across from her. "We know about the Guardian. It's nice to know that it survives into the future."

She smiled gratefully at him. "Oh Starfleet's not going to endanger that. They will probably still be studying it long after I'm gone."

McCoy sat down next to her and patted her hand. "Just take your time, little lady. This must be as hard on you as it is on us. Just tell me one thing -- are you really a Vulcan, cause you sure don't act like it?"

Selar laughed and grabbed his hand. "Let's just pretend you didn't ask and leave it at that."

McCoy nodded but didn't release her hand. She turned back to the Captain. "To make a long story short, this scientist along with three others went through the Guardian within minutes of us beaming down. Whatever they did back here changed our past and we could only come back and try to change things. One of the younger scientists took it upon himself to try it first. We waited for a day and when they didn't return, we assumed he had failed. Upon coming to this time, we learned he was found on Sierra 3 dead almost 20 years ago. However, the change in the time line didn't happen then so we asked the Guardian and it sent us to now. We can only hope to stop whatever is to come."

Spock leaned forward and steepled his fingers. "How do you know what needs to be changed? You yourselves might be the reason your timeline has been changed."

She nodded and glanced from Spock to Kirk before settling on McCoy. "One of the people who came back with us is ... has what could be described as the mind of a computer." She bit her lip as she realized just how close she was to revealing just what Data really was. "He compared his memories of the past with the computers on the ship. The differences are our only clue. I know there are some things we've changed. In the computer, Spock never melded with Dr. Chapel. In fact she never made it back to Vulcan a second time. She disappeared in-flight."

Kirk leaned forward. "Why don't you just tell us where their ship is heading?"

She chuckled softly as she fingered the edge of her shirt. "I wish I could. We don't have a clue where their base is or which one of the three is responsible for all of this. The only thing we could hope for was if we could get you to meld with her and hopefully learn the location from her or that we could be close enough to follow them."

Kirk stood and began to pace the room. "So your friends are trying to keep up with them, only problem is they are going to0 fast for our ship to follow." He stopped pacing and spun toward her. "Your friends modified that Vulcan ship to keep up with them, didn't they?"

Her brows wrinkled as she sat a little straighter. "What does that have to do with any of this?"

Kirk came to a stopped directly in front of her and leaned forward so that he was literally breathing in her face. "So why can't you do the same for us?" Kirk leaned back and waited. Willing her not to say the wrong thing.

She shook her head and stood, causing him to take a step back. Standing so close to him, she realized that she was just a tad taller than he and she decided to take full advantage of it. Glaring down at him, her voice no more that a whisper. "We both know I can't do that even if I knew how. I'm a doctor, not an engineer. Besides we can help but we can't interfere. Even if we do follow them, we can only take the people into custody from our time. The others need to be stopped by you. We don't know how this will end anymore than you do, now that we've come back and changed that one item. The reaction from that minute action has had far reaching effects and how it ends is anyone's guess."

Spock nodded and stood. "She is right. One small change in a river can create a lake. The ripple effect from that one actions goes in many directions."

Spock nodded to Selar and motioned for Kirk and McCoy to join him as he headed out the door. "We will let you know if anything else happens."

* * *

Meanwhile on the Highwind, Christine awoke to a dark empty room. Instantly she knew something was wrong. Her mind immediately searched for anything that was familiar only to come upon the one person she hoped never to encounter again. His soft chuckle was cut off as she once again built up her walls. She did learn a few things from Spock during their brief meld. He had left her with enough information to teach herself how to raise a barrier to keep others telepaths out. She had taught herself how to keep out most of the thoughts of her crewmates over the years but even that had taxed her dearly. She had never told anyone, afraid of what they would do to her. Now she realized she might have prevented a lot of pain on her part and just maybe this whole ordeal could have been prevented.

As her head cleared and her eyes became adjusted to the dark, she pulled herself up to a sitting position.

She ran a shaky hand through her hair and tried to make out the different shapes in the room. She suddenly realized that she wasn't alone. In that same instant the lights came up in the room and sitting in the corner with his blue robe on stood the man of her nightmares.

Slowly he moved forward and came to a stop beside her. His hand trembled as he reached out to touch her face. She pulled away to the far corner of the bed. He chuckled as he sat down on the only other piece of furniture in the room.

The silence seemed to lengthen as they sat across from each other. Christine took the time to examine the room. The room was about 4 by six. Barely big enough to hold the bed let alone the small toilet her capture was now sitting on.

She took a deep breath and turned her attention to him. His hood blocked his face but she could feel his eyes drilling into her. Her head began to hurt as she felt him battering against her defenses. She knew that if things kept going that he would eventually win, so she decided to end it here and now.

"Just what is it that you want from me and why now? Why not three years ago?"

His shoulders pulling back were the only clue that she had indeed surprised him.

"Does it really matter?"

It took everything she had to stay where she was instead of pouncing on him. "It does to me. I at least deserve to know what it is you are using me for."

He nodded and stood. "You're right but the time isn't right yet." He walked toward the door then spun around when she grabbed his arm.

"I know you're not from our time. I also know that you intend to destroy Vulcan. Why do you hate them so much? My father said it was because you could have been like them. Is that true or do you just enjoy destroying innocent people."

He grabbed her hand that still held his arm and pulled her forward. As she fell toward him, she reached up and snagged his hood with her free hand. Her eyes grew to the size of saucers as she got her first look at her own personal demon. His cold blue eyes bored into hers.

"Yes, I hate them that much. Because of them I could never be anything but second best. Now look at me. I am at the crossroads of creating the perfect virus. One so specifically tailored that it will take years before they realize what is destroying them and by that time it will be too late. But more than anything else, they are the reason why my world was banned from the Federation. Sarek and his son destroyed our only chance so it is only fitting that I destroy them."

Christine shook her head. "I can't believe that. Sarek and Spock would never do that unless they had reason to believe that it would be harmful to your world. However, that doesn't explain why you would use me your own flesh and blood to destroy them."

His laughter seemed strained. "You are not my flesh and blood. My cousin was a fool to fall for that half-breed. However, his stupidity is my gain. Everything was going just fine then I hit a snag and I thought I would fail." His touch was soft and almost caring. "His last good deed was to give me you. Without you I couldn't have gotten this far. Though something else is wrong. The new ones seem to be no better than the others are. No matter what I do, I can't seem to make them think for themselves. Something in the virus seems to destroy a part of them. Each batch is different."

His hand moved to cover her stomach. "However thanks to Spock and you, I might still succeed."

Christine recoiled in utter horror. "NO!"

He moved forward and grabbed her upper arm. Christine tried to back away but ran into the far wall. "Tell me, my dear, what else did your father say to you? Did he tell you how much you look like my late wife? How she died at the hands of our worst enemies? How if Sarek had agreed we would have had the weapons to destroy them long before they destroyed us? But, no, we had to get our weapons from the cardis and then have them turn on our world and all but destroy us."

Christine was breathing heavily as his body pressed against hers. His breath was hot on her cheek. Suddenly his gripped loosened and his hand caressed her cheek then moved to the side of her neck. If his lips hadn't been biting on her ear, she might have missed his next word. "Cassandra."

She pushed against him trying to get his attention toward something other than herself. "I don't think Cassandra would have wanted you to exact revenge in this manner."

His laughter echoed throughout the room as he turned away and opened the door. "Just where do you think I got her DNA? She came to this time with me. It was her idea. It seems she fell in love with a certain Vulcan but he didn't want anything to do with her. I loved her but he ruined her. She couldn't return it, and for hurting her it is only fitting that his offspring help in bringing down an empire."

The room seemed chilled and smaller with the closing of the door. Christine could understand how Cassandra had felt but that did not make what they had done right. Once again Spock's charm had gotten to someone else, only this time the woman was slightly crazy. Question was ... if their planet wasn't ready, then how did they obtain the knowledge to do what they were doing now? Somehow she knew that there were still some pieces of the puzzle missing. Slowly she moved toward the door and tried the handle. Sighing she moved back to the bed. Sitting down she placed a hand over her stomach and wondered if what he said was true. Was she even now carrying his child and would this child be the harbinger of death and destruction for all of Vulcan?

She closed her eyes knowing that no matter what, this child could never be born. She couldn't take a chance that that mad man would succeed. A single tear made its way down her cheek to drop softly on her tanned knee.

Her hand angrily swiped away the remaining evidence of her tears as she leaned back. Somehow she knew she needed to find a way out of this mess, before everything she cared about was destroyed.

* * *

Spock followed the Captain onto the bridge then took his place at his station. Kirk sat down then nodded toward Sulu and Chekov. "Set course for Sierra 1. Warp 8.9."

No one made a sound until the ship jumped to warp. "Course laid in. Three hours and ten minutes to arrival."

Kirk nodded and stared at the screen. They needed to have a plan and he knew that they couldn't leave the ship unprotected. Spock, of course, would go down. He knew that was not a subject for debate. However, he couldn't help but worry. What if this madman had finally found what he desperately sought? The man had been at it for almost twenty years. Should he take a risk on Spock's life? Then again Spock had already been in the man's clutches and had come back seemingly unaffected. Turning to look at his friend he realized that all his questions were mute. Spock would go because Vulcan was in danger, as would Sarek. Kirk wanted to go but was unsure whether he should leave someone else in charge with an unknown adversary in the vicinity. His mind made up he looked around the bridge, deciding on who would go and who was needed onboard. With his mind made up, he called for a briefing in two hours then quickly left the bridge.

In his quarters he contacted Sarek and Selar to inform them of the meeting. Slowly he let his mind and body relax for a few hours. He knew he would need all his strength for this next meeting. The only thing that kept him from relaxing completely was the fact that if they were heading to the wrong place then everything would be over.

* * *

Christine jerked awake as the door opened inward. There standing in the glare of the corridor light was him again.

He held out his hand. "Come, Christine, it is time for you to return home. There are quite a few people waiting to meet you."

Christine shuddered but stepped into the corridor. She pulled her arm out of his hand and moved off behind the guards. "This is not my home nor will it ever be."

"That is a shame, my dear. Dr. Calvin was very committed to making a being that could fight this disease I will unleash. The poor man didn't suspect a thing until it was too late." His eyes met hers as they stepped onto the transporter. "What a shame he didn't live long enough to meet you."

The smile left his face. "Then again he would have caused more problems. It was better that he died. Just like all the others."

As the transporter grabbed them, Christine asked only one question. "Even Cassandra?"

When the beam released them, he grabbed her arm and pulled her to him. "You know absolutely nothing about her. She died fighting for what she believed in. Nothing would please her more than to know that he would be the cause of his destruction long before they ever met." He released her and took a step forward. "I suggest you keep any other thoughts to yourself. Let's get moving. The others might become a bit impatient."

Christine hesitated and quickly glanced around. A shiver ran down her spine as she recognized this place. It was the last place she had seen her father. The shuttle bay did not seem quite as big now as then but she had seen it enough times in her dreams to know where she was.

The room seemed to grow darker as she heard the clacking of shoes against the tiled floor. The woman who looked down at her seemed older than time yet her face was serene. Her voice was calm and quiet as her eyes searched Christine's face. Finally she must have seen something in her eyes for she nodded and spread her fingers. Gently she touched her face and the world went dark. Christine gasped and found herself face to face with her abductor.

"So, tell me little one, do you know who I am yet?"

Christine glared at him then suddenly his name popped into her thoughts.

He smiled and walked away. "I see you have begun to put things together on your own. I knew you would. That's why I took you with me. Let's see your friends find you now."

The door opened and, as he stepped into the corridor, her words brought him up short. "What makes you think they don't know where I am? You aren't as smart as you think you are, Ventura. You won't win. I won't let you and without me you lose."

Seconds later Christine found herself thrown halfway across the bay. Just as suddenly she was picked up with a hand around her throat and slammed against the wall. "I will win." He hissed in her ear. "There is nothing that can stop me now."

Christine tried to take a breath but found that his hand was cutting off her air. He released his hold and let her fall to the floor. For a few seconds she sat gasping in fresh air. Suddenly a sharp pain knifed through her stomach. Biting her lip she carefully got to her feet and followed him out the door. Deep inside Christine knew that whatever happened from this moment on would decide the fate of the Federation and Vulcan. Her mind made up, she finally knew what she had to do. She didn't know if anyone knew where she was and something inside told her that she couldn't rely on anyone but herself. This was her Kobyaashi Maru. There was no backing out of this one.

She walked down the empty corridors and knew that she had tread this same path before many years ago yet nothing had changed. The ghosts of those before still kept pace with her, only this time there was an air of urgency about their presence. Almost like they knew this would be the deciding ending. The playoffs were here and the ball was up in the air. Would it be caught or would this be the last game for Christine?

Doors lined the corridor but it was the last door on the right that Christine shied away from. She could hear the voices calling to her. Begging her to come inside and help them. However, Ventura took the corridor off to the left and led her to what had been her room as a child. Some of her memories seemed to come rushing up like a fast ball. Others were like a curve ball that looked head on but suddenly a part came out of nowhere and smacked her upside the head. Still others seemed to come out of left field and had absolutely nothing to do with where she was and what she was trying to remember. Like the smell of her mother as she rocked her to sleep or the color of her eyes. The deepest green Christine could ever remember seeing.

She sighed deeply and carefully sank onto the bed. The cramps in her stomach had increased in intensity but that was one thing she would never let Ventura know. The cramps were proof that he had indeed used Spock without his knowledge. In silence she asked for forgiveness, knowing that this child was not meant to be and thankful that it was not her that would end its life.

She leaned back on the bed to let nature take its course. Tears slid unchecked down her cheeks as she thought of all that could be but that she could never let happen. As the tears fell, the small little voices comforted her, letting her know that she was not alone. That they knew her pain because they had felt it before many times and knew that the end was near, and that she would be better off in the end. In her mind she heard the lullaby that they sung to her. The same one her father had sung to her so long ago. It didn't take long for her to fall into a restless sleep.

* * *

Spock took his seat next to the Captain and watched as his mother and father entered, followed closely by Selar. When everyone had taken his or her sears, the Captain stood and began to pace. "Long range scans show nothing at this time. We can only hope that we are headed in the right direction. Dr. Selar has told us that she does not have any clue as to the location of their home base. However, we have reason to believe we are heading in the right direction. Ambassador Sevek, if you have any thoughts that might be of help, please feel free to speak."

Kirk turned to face Spock and McCoy. "If they are on Sierra 1 then we need to have an away team ready to beam down. The only problem is that Sierra 1 is an L class planet. If they are indeed there, then it may be impossible to beam you down outside of their base. Spock will be leading the team along with Dr. McCoy. Ambassador Sarek, I can not keep you from going but I do ask that you think seriously about this. If what Selar says is true, then the entire Vulcan population will be wiped out by a virus and you are its first victim."

Sarek nodded, his voice was calm and low. "I understand the consequences and am fully prepared to do what is necessary to ensure the safety of Vulcan."

Kirk had turned away but glanced over his shoulder at the Ambassador's words. Yes, he would die if he thought he could save Vulcan. Not for the first time, he wondered if he was doing the right thing by letting these two go. Shaking his head, he turned back to his crew. "Chekov, pick two members of security to accompany Spock and his team. You will accompany the Ambassador along with Uhura. I expect both teams to keep in constant contact. We are here to stop this mad man. Let's just hope he still hasn't perfected his virus. All right, we'll be there in twenty minutes. Get what you need and meet in the transporter room in ten minutes. Dismissed."

Kirk held out his hand as Spock stood and motioned for him and the rest of his crew to stay behind. "I don't want any of you taking any unnecessary chances. You are to find Christine and that mad man and get out. Don't touch anything else. Is that understood?" He held each of their eyes as they nodded, then stood and left the room.

* * *

Spock walked silently down the corridor, his mind clearly not on his surroundings. If he were totally honest with himself, his mind had been engaged elsewhere for almost 2 hours. He knew Christine was awake, had in fact felt her initial fear. He still couldn't make out anything but her feelings at this distance but he had felt her pain not more than an hour ago. In fact still felt the pain she was enduring. He knew she didn't know he could feel her. Still a part of him had called out to her, knowing that right now she needed to know that she was not alone. However, what bothered him now was the outer calm he felt radiating from her. There was no fear; in fact he felt her presence but no emotions at all. This worried him more than anything else did.

The shrill sound of the intercom coming to life greeted him as he entered the transporter room. "Spock, we're in luck. Most of their base is underground. We'll beam your team down in the shuttle bay and Chekov's team down near their energy source. We are not to keep any data on their technology. Is that understood?"

After affirmatives all around, Spock's team stepped up onto the transporter and disappeared in a blaze of glittering lights. Seconds later they appeared in the darkness of an empty shuttle bay.

* * *

Christine awoke to a small mess.

Quickly she cleaned herself up and changed her clothes. If she were careful, Ventura would never know that his plan had been spoiled until it was too late. As she brushed her hair back, she felt a small tingle at the base of her brain. She stood up straight and grabbed the edge of the sink for support as the room swam around her. She spun around and moved toward the door. Outside she heard the shuffle of feet as they moved away from her door followed by tiny giggles.

Christine paused then reached out and waved her hand in front of the door. It automatically slid open. She jumped back and the door slid shut. Cautiously she stepped into the door's sensors then slipped into the hall. On silent bare feet, she made her way slowly down the corridor back the way she had come. At the crossroad she turned to the left and made her way to the last door on the right. Taking a deep breath she palmed the door.

* * *

Sarek glanced around the empty room. The equipment here was similar to that of their own time but slightly different. He knew that to keep the time line clean all of this would have to be destroyed. Quickly he turned his thoughts back to the problem at hand. They were here to find Dr. Chapel and the doctor responsible for all of this. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed something moving off behind the workstations and the sound of laughter. However, when he turned to look there was nothing there.

Chekov spun to his left and ran around the power grid but came up empty handed. He looked around and took a deep breath and heard another noise off to his right. The noise was coming from a spot near the place he had just vacated. Soft giggles were the only noise besides the breathing of the away team that could be heard.

Each man took up his station around the Ambassador. Uhura stood with phaser drawn at his side and shivered slightly. The voices reminded her of small children playing a game. Only thing was these children were raised to hate all Vulcaniod beings. Which put both away teams in danger. Glancing back to Chekov, she nodded toward the other room. "Pavel, they seem to be playing with us. I suggest we move out of here and try to find the others."

Pavel returned to his group and together they moved forward. "I think this place is full of gremlins."

Sarek glanced around and then stepped forward. "It would seem that the good Doctor did not cease his experiments twenty years ago. It would only be logical that he continues since this base was never found. It will be interesting to find out just who he is."

Pavel looked over to Uhura as the skitter of tiny feet could be heard in the background. "At least he doesn't quote us the odds for success."

Sarek merely raised his eyebrows as they moved into the control room. They quickly went to work with Lt. Thomas taking his place behind one of the consoles. His hands flew across the board then stilled. "Sir, this shows that there are only eighteen life forms. Six here, one lifeform about three hundred feet from Commander Spock's group and five more three doors down from us."

Pavel moved forward. "That can't be right. I know we heard something in the other room and they couldn't have left here already." Just then a small giggle was heard a few feet away followed by another then another until the laughter completely surrounded them. Then just as quickly it was gone.

Pavel nodded to the security guards as they moved toward the door. It was time to get things moving. They now knew where everyone was and needed to move fast before they lost them.

* * *

Kirk took his seat and watched silently as the planet swirled in vibrant orange colors. They seemed to blend from a deep rich orange to a near radiant neon. Still something in his gut told him that something was about to go seriously wrong. Sulu sat at his seat keeping an eye on the two vessels the orbited the planet. Each had taken up a point on opposite sides, while the Enterprise took up a station at the pole. It was the only place they could keep an eye on both ships and remain unseen. Kirk turned his attention to his communications officer. Ensign Bendall shook his head at Kirk and turned back to his board. Kirk understood the man would let him know when the away team contacted them. He was beginning to see why McCoy didn't like being left behind.

He stood and took three steps to the right then six steps back. Time seemed to stand still as he waited for his people to let him know how things were going. He slammed his fist into his palm. "Damn it, I should have gone with them."

Sulu smiled and spun around. "There isn't anything you could do down there, but if that ship moves, we'll need everything you have, Captain."

Kirk smiled and came to a stop directly in front of his helmsman. "I know that, Sulu, but it doesn't make the waiting any easier."

As Sulu turned back to the screen, the comm board came to life. "Sir, both parties report that they have arrived safely and that they will let you know as things develop."

Kirk nodded then resumed pacing.

* * *

Spock heard the tinkle of laughter as his group made their way silently down the corridor. His eyes remained fixed on the lone door at the end of the corridor. He didn't understand what was happening but he could feel her fear and knew she needed him. He had vowed to help her and could not even if he wanted to turn back now, though a part of him told him it was not just for Vulcan or himself that he had to do this for.

His thoughts went back over the years. Years of her sitting by his bed in sickbay, quietly reassuring, without saying a word. Sometimes just her presence was enough to calm him. Then the last few years while she was gone only to see her again a few weeks ago. He hadn't realized how much he missed her until he saw her making her way through the crowd. Many a time he had thought of her after seeing someone who looked or walked the way she had and in those instants he had ached to see her again. Then she was there but not the same, she had matured, and he often wondered if she still loved him.

Illogical as that was, still he had wondered. Suddenly he had heard her thoughts but they were jumbled and frantic. That and her fear had invaded his world. Just as he felt her, she had shut him out and left the club. He not been able to meditate and had even been grateful when Selar's call had come in. However, as their conversation had continued, he had felt his throat tighten and the fear he had felt through Christine had returned, mixed with his own. Until this moment he had ignored the fact that it had been his fear that had led him to her door that night. Fear that something had prevented her for reaching out to him. His tricorder beeped bringing his mind back to the task at hand. Silently he counted the number of lifeforns in the base and raised his brow. The away teams had both reported the strange laughter that followed them since their arrival yet the readouts still read only 18 lifeforms. He knew someone or something was blocking their sensors. When he glanced up they were at the last door. Dr. Selar stood beside him with a frown marring her lovely features. Slowly he moved into the sensor's range, allowing the door to swing open. Christine stood in the middle of the room frozen.

Christine couldn't move, she knew that she needed to open the drawers but another part of her warned her that the dream was about to become reality.

She didn't know how long she had stood there silently listening for the voices. All she knew is they weren't answering, yet she could still hear their laughter. Then suddenly it all stopped and she felt their overwhelming hate. A part of her screamed at them but they wouldn't listen. They just keep telling her that the enemy had arrived and revenge would soon be theirs.

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she frantically searched her mind for a way to stop what was about to happen, knowing deep down that if she didn't then nothing else would matter. She searched the empty corridors but they had shut her out. She knew then that in order to get them to listen, she had to go to the leader. That was what now held her frozen to the center of the room. A part of her did not want to see what was about to unfold, while the other part told her it was the only way. She only wished that Spock or someone else was here to help her.

She jumped as a hand gently touched her arm. The heat from his touched seemed to radiate through the silk robe wrapped around her still damp body. Slowly her eyes met his. "Selar, Sarek and you are in danger and they won't listen to me." A tear slowly made its way down her damp cheek. With a gentleness she had only seen him use with children, he wiped it away.

"It will be alright. We will get them to understand." Christine took a shaky breath and took a step forward. Stopping she looked back at Spock and held out her hand. "Will you help me?"

Spock nodded and took the hand, together the approached the middle drawer.

Christine took a deep breath and with a shaky hand pushed the lower right button. The drawer slid open and the being that stared back at them caused her to jump back a step.

She was hideous. All her internal organs were present but on the outside.

She had no mouth and no ears but the eyes were filled with pain. Christine let out a small gasp as the creature looked at her than gazed at Spock.

Hatred shone from the eyes for a brief second then they slowly turned back to Christine. She felt the voice again caress her thoughts. "So the lost one has returned. We knew you would be back." The eyes darkened as the voice hissed inside her mind. "Why did you bring the evil ones here?"

The door swished open and the other away team entered followed by Ventura and his men."Isn't this a nice family reunion. Grandfather, father and son. Oh but then you probably didn't know about the latest one, did you? Oh well, let's just say that the newest member should prove to be quite promising." On silent feet he moved into the room and looked down at the woman in the drawer. "How does it feel seeing the lost one again. I told you she would return and then vengeance would be ours."

Christine pushed him away. "NO. You're wrong on all accounts. There will be no newest member. Your revenge is unfounded." She turned away from him and glared and the woman in the drawer. "Ventura's revenge isn't yours. He's the reason you are like you are. The Vulcans had nothing to do with it. You must open your mind to me and see for yourself."

"Don't listen to her No. 2, she has been corrupted by them. Look inside my mind and see what they did to her when she was young."

Silence filled the air as a smile curved over his lips. Thinking he had won he turned to his guards. "Kill Sarek first. I want Spock to see his father die and know that because of him all this has happened." Christine grabbed his arm. "NO!" As two of the men grabbed Sarek, she released him and turned to the woman in the drawer. Searching through years of walls, she finally found what she was looking for. "My sister, many nights we spent in this room talking, making plans, laughing at each other as more and more of us were made. On that last night we made a promise to each other." Christine closed her eyes and tried to remember how it went.

Spock's presence behind her brought with it a sense of calm and she drank it up as she again let her mind travel back through time. Suddenly she felt Ventura as he tried to slip into her thoughts and just as suddenly she felt Sis push him back.

Eyes stilled closed, Christine began to speak. "Someday when we meet again. Our lives anew we well begin. All we learn throughout the years. We will share together in gentle tears. For our thoughts will belong to one another. This is a promise we make to each other. May not a tear fall in sorrow? For we are only parting until tomorrow."

Christine gasped and fell into Spock's arms as Sis rushed forward to meet her friend. Ventura moved forward but stopped when the room came to life with small half bodies. Uhura and Selar gasped and moved closer to the center of the room. Ventura's men aimed their weapons and fired but found them harmless. Everyone waited in silence as two souls collided and melded, old friends relieved lonely nights and a lover's embrace.

Spock slowly lowered Christine's limp body to the ground but continued to cradle her in his arms. No one knew how long this would take. Carefully he studied the strange creatures around him. Some had no eyes or ears while some had no legs or arms. Each was incomplete as a being yet all seemed to be able to with the help from the others to move freely. Those with eyes seemed to be listening to an inner voice yet none took their eyes off the room's inhabitants. Over the years they had learned to communicate telepathically in order to get around. He wondered if Ventura even knew what these people were capable of.

Spock didn't know how long they had been here. He only knew that with each passing moment he felt disgust at this being who claimed to be human yet had created these innocent beings and taught them to hate, then used them for his own hateful revenge. As time crept by, each of the creatures would venture forth tugging on his, Sarek or Selar's clothes then just as quickly dash back. The ones with no eyes or ears carried those creatures that had no legs. They used each other in equal balance in order to survive. To that he knew went a great deal of thought on their part.

Slowly his eyes met his father's. Sarek's brow was arched in imitation of his son's as yet another of the creatures came forward. This one however laid her hand on Sarek's as the creature that she carried stared into his eyes.

Slowly Sarek knelt, allowing her to meld with him. Spock held his breath then glanced down as Christine stirred in his arms. He helped her to sit then again looked toward his father. After a few seconds he too stood as the creatures again retreated to the dark.

Christine slowly stood and made her way to the drawer. Tears silently slipped down her cheek as she stared at what used to be her only friend in a world full of pain and loss. Gently she reached down and touched her cheek.

"I shall always remember you and what you did for that little girl who had nowhere to turn."

No one moved as one by one the drawers in the room opened. Like a clap of thunder they covered the ears as they spoke with one voice into their minds.

"Leave now or never leave."

Christine nodded and walked briskly to the door. She glanced back as the doors opened. In her mind she could here them singing a soft lullaby.

Several of them ran into the corridors ahead of them. They would make sure that everyone went where they were supposed to go. At the last minute Ventura pushed one of his guards into the crowd and ran toward the power grids.

Chekov turned to follow only to be stopped by Sarek. "There is no need to seek him out. They will make sure his plan does not succeed. Then he will be returned to his own time."

No one spoke a word as they entered the shuttle bay. Christine bent down and took the hand of one that had accompanied them. "You don't have to do this. We can find a way."

Sighing gently she stood and faced the others. "I thought it was worth a try but they have made up their minds."

Spock nodded and hailed the Enterprise. "Seventeen to beam up."

They waited as the prisoners and Chekov's security team beamed up. A few seconds later the rest of them stepped off the transporter only to be met by Jim himself. "Spock, what happened down there. We were just about to send down another security team when your call came through?"

Spock glanced at the people around him, taking into consideration that Selar had yet to return to her period. "I suggest we move to the briefing room to continue, Captain. It would seem we have quite a bit to tell you."

Jim nodded and headed toward the door, only to be stopped by McCoy. "Well, you guys can discuss this all you want. However, I know one young lady who needs to get some rest and I want a complete physical."

Christine groaned but knew it was for the best this time. As her eyes met Spock's, he raised a brow then looked straight at Leonard. "There is a matter of a statement made earlier that needs to be cleared up..."

McCoy gave him a dirty look and, grabbing Christine's arm, propelled her out the door. "I'm sure that can wait until she has gotten a little rest."

Silence reigned as the doors swished shut behind them.

* * *

Sarek and Selar sat in the rec room a few hours later watching a game of chess between Kirk and Spock, in which Kirk was losing and praying for an interruption. McCoy sat off to his right and kept up a running commentary on the beauty of a simple sunset. He had yet to get even a small rise out of Spock and soon lapsed into silence.

The chirp of the comm unit was a welcome respite for the Captain. "Sir, a Dr. Ventura wishes to speak to you."

Everyone in the room was on their feet and out the door before Kirk could finish his sentence. "I'll be right there."

* * *

Christine stretched and slowly slid her feet off the bed. She quickly glanced around then jumped down and grabbed her robe. In three long strides, she was sliding out the door only to be stopped by McCoy.

"I was just coming to get you. Seems Ventura is calling to talk to the captain. I thought you might want to be there?"

Christine nodded and pulled the robe tighter. They entered the bridge a few moments later to a smiling Ventura and the shocked looks of the rest of the crew. All eyes turned toward her as she stepped down toward the captain's chair. Ventura's voice was cold and husky. "Oh look and there's the little mother to be now."

Christine swallowed the lump in her throat and walked toward the screen. Her voice was low and filled with pain, but in spite of all that it was calm. "I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your revenge will never take place. Your Cassandra and all the others died for nothing." McCoy stepped back and leaned against the rail. He for one knew this would be a very interesting discussion.

Ventura's smile never left his face. "Oh, but you are mistaken my dear. Before we got to Sierra 1, I impregnated you with Spock's sperm. Only thing is I left a messenger in his DNA string. When he is older, it will begin to break down and then all of Vulcan will die."

Christine shook her head. Her voice was almost hollow. "I hate to be the one to disillusion you but that child will never be born."

Ventura leaned forward. "Oh, but it will, my dear. Vulcans do not believe in killing a child. Any child, regardless of what that child may do in the future. Isn't that right, Sarek?"

Sarek moved forward and placed a hand on her shoulder. "He is correct, my child. The child will be born. We can find another way to fight him."

Christine smiled up at him then turned back to the screen. Ventura was scowling at his helm officer then slowly she could hear the soft voice of a computer as it counted down. "Ten seconds to auto destruct."

A sad smile spread across her face as she gave the final blow. "I miscarried. There is no baby."

Ventura turned from the screaming men around him to stare at her. Seeing the truth in her eyes, he threw himself at the screen. "Damn you. Damn you all to hell."

The hood of his robe fell back to reveal pointy ears and blonde hair. His next words shocked them all not so much in many as in language. "May the blood of my fathers forever torment your souls." It took a few seconds for the translator to translate the words from Romulan to Federation Standard. However, by the time they did, his ship was obliterated by a flash of bright light as the destruct sequence finally made it to zero.

All eyes turned away from the blinding flash. When things had calmed down, Christine again found herself the center of attention. Selar had moved up to her other side. "Are you sure?"

Christine nodded and then looked to McCoy, the others glared up at him. "She's telling the truth."

Sarek nodded then looked over at Selar. "That still does not explain the continued presence of Dr. Selar."

Selar shrugged her shoulders and moved back a step. "Evidently not all has been put right."

Spock nodded and looked down at the planet. "The ability to continue Dr. Ventura's work still exists as long as the base does."

Kirk nodded. "But do we have the right to destroy their only home."

Christine turned away from the viewscreen and walked into the lift. "You won't have to."

Her whispered words sent a chill down the spines of all present. Spock stepped into the lift before the doors could close. Sulu's words barely reached them. His hand shot out to hold the doors open. "Sir, there's been an explosion on the planet. The base is completely gone. No trace of lifeforms."

Kirk jumped from his chair. Sarek spun around. Christine's eyes met Selar's and bid her a fond farewell.

* * *

Selar stumbled to the ground. She glanced up as a gentle hand grabbed her hand and helped her up. A smile lit her face as she again found herself on the surface of the Guardian of Forever. Its cold voice echoed through empty space. "All is as it was." Beverly turned around and threw herself in his arms. "We did it, Jean-Luc."

He smiled and pushed her brown tresses out of her face. "Yes, you did. You know I kind of like you with pointy ears."

She smacked him gently and then slowly brought her lips to his. The kiss was quick and sweet and full of promise. "Just think what you'd be missing if I stay this way."

His laughter brightened her soul as she tried to shake off the sadness she had seen reflected in haunted blue eyes. Taking a deep breath she buried her head in his shoulder. "Take me home, Jean-Luc, I need to know what happened so long ago."

He nodded and turned to Data. "Data, you heard Dr. Crusher, see if the Enterprise is up there."

His arm still around her waist, they materialized on board the Enterprise-E and slowly made their way down half empty corridors, each lost in their own thoughts.

* * *

Spock felt the shift in the current in the air as Selar disappeared. In that split second, he knew that the future was safe in the next generation's hands. He stepped back into the lift and allowed the doors to shut. Christine stood beside him gripping the handle. Slowly she spoke her deck. Spock stood silently watching her, and for the first time since he had seen her in the club he could no longer hear her thoughts.

The lift doors parted and Christine began the short walk to her quarters. She was exhausted and just wanted to relax. Her head pounded as she again relived the last words spoken to her by her friend. "You will be the only one left. The others will follow me. You must shut your mind to us, for my next words are not for you to hear. You are what we can never be so live for us S'Christa."

Christine felt the tears start and wished for the first time in her life that Spock would leave her alone. She did not understand why he was with her now.

The doors to her quarters silently opened as she neared; slowly she moved inside but stopped inside the doors sensors to keep them open. "You may come in for a few minutes, Mister Spock, but I am really tired and would like to get some sleep."

Spock nodded although her back was to him then entered on silent feet. Christine moved forward then quickly swiped at the tears rolling down her cheek.

Seconds later, she found her face buried in Spock's uniform and his arms holding her tight. "You must not keep all the pain inside. You knew they were going to destroy the base?" At her nod he stroked her hair and continued. "Why didn't you say anything? We might have been able to save some of them."

Christine stepped back but his hands did not let her go far. Her blurry blue eyes met his. "They wanted it this way. They were tired of not being able to do anything without the help of one of the others and Sis could never leave the drawer. It was better this way."

Spock nodded. "I cannot hear your thoughts any longer. I thought once they were gone I would be thankful. Now I find I miss them."

Christine couldn't hide the smile that lit her eyes. "Why, Mister Spock, who would have thought you could say something so nice?"

His brow rose slowly as he released her and took a step back. "I have come to realize a number of things lately. One of which is that I missed you while you were away." He placed his hands behind his back and leaned back as Christine crossed the room to him. She moved so close that if he took a deep breath they would be touching. Spock found that this disturbed him but not in the way it normally did with humans.

She didn't touch him, didn't dare for fear that he would bolt like a deer seeing the bobcat. Instead she let herself get as close as she could then slowly moved back. "Truth be told, I missed you too. I owe you a debt of gratitude and am not quite sure how to repay you."

Spock moved forward, missing the smell of her and her nearness. He stopped just shy of touching her. He found he enjoyed this game of no touch but felt a yearning for something that he hadn't felt since his first year aboard the Enterprise. "You owe me nothing, Christine. I did what was necessary at the time."

Christine turned and walked over to her bed, then slowly sank down to sit on the edge. "Oh, yes, I do. You didn't have to come to find me on the starbase and, after the way I treated you when I first came to, I'm surprised you stayed." She plucked at the seam of the comforter and she absently stared at the rose sewn in the corner. "And above all that you melded with me to try and help me find the answers even when all the evidence pointed to me as Sevek's killer. I don't understand why you did any of it."

She felt his hands on her arms and glanced around to find him kneeling in front of her.

The warmth of his hands seemed to burn through the thin material of her blue green robe. Her eyes strayed to his lips, which were now inches from hers. Oh, how long had she yearned to feel them against her own again? Slowly she leaned forward then remembered who he was and leaned back glancing down at her entwined hands.

Spock stared at her then reached out and gently lifted her chin with a finger until her eyes met his. "I have thought about this day ever since our lesson all those years ago. As illogical as it seems, I find myself wanting to be with you and, when I am not. I am thinking of you."

Standing he brought her with him. Slowly he moved away. "You create chaos where logic once ruled. I am at a loss to figure out why this is so. For the last two weeks, I have meditated to try and figure out how to control these feelings." His pacing brought him back to face her. "I always walk away from each meditation wanting to see you again."

Spock turned and stepped into the door's sensors. His eyes met hers then he was gone.

Christine sank to her bed and let out the breath she didn't know she had been holding. With a shaky hand she brushed a stray strand of brown hair away from weary blue eyes. For a brief second she wondered if she had imagined this conversation. Shaking her head and still unsure of what was going on, she showered and crawled into her bed. She knew no nightmares would find her tonight. She closed her eyes.

Four hours later she threw the bedcovers off and climbed out of bed. Quickly she changed into a pair of shorts and shirt and headed for the gym. Damn Spock and his talk. She had spent the last few hours tossing and turning, trying to figure out if he meant what her heart wanted him to, or if she had simply wanted him to mean that.

Entering the gym she adjusted the controls and then grabbed her stick from her locker. Slowly, rhythmically, she forced her body to go through the rituals. An hour later, with muscles sore, she paused in the middle of the room. Taking deep breaths, she closed her eyes and felt a familiar presence behind her.

Turning around Christine took a deep breath and opened her mouth. Spock placed a finger over her lips. "Sshhh, Christine. Now is not the time for words."

Seconds later his lips replaced the soft caress of his fingers.

Christine found herself spiraling out of control and opening her mind once again to his. He felt her sadness and new-found joy. She felt his love and sorrow. Together they would bridge the gap and heal the wounds of all the lost years they spent fighting against their natural attraction.

Her Kantian stick dropped to the floor behind her as her hands slowly moved up his arms to wrap around his neck. A flame shot through her body igniting small fires as his hands moved to cup her breasts. Two hearts from different worlds rapidly beat as one and destiny was fulfilled in the stars.



THE END

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