Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c) 1981 by Cheryl Rice. Originally published in Gateway, Martha J. Bonds, editor Rated PG.

 

To Rule In Hell

(An After Story)

by Cheryl Rice

 

I was a sculptor once... I'm warning you, don't come any closer. Now, what was I talking about? My memory isn't what it used to be. But then, why should it be when everything else has changed?

 

Oh, yes, that's right. I was a sculptor. Not first rate at all if you compare me to the masters, but I had some talent for catching expressions. It's hard to believe now, but that's part of the reason I found Khan so attractive at first. He looked so heroic. His head properly belonged chiseled in stone or on a coin from some savage civilization.

 

No! All of you, stay back. Stay away from me. It was a long time ago, but I took the standard weapons instruction at the Academy and I remember that very clearly. I put a fresh power pack in it this morning, right after he told me… I don't care what he's been telling the rest of you. They haven't been all used up. You should know what kind of leader he's always been -- keeping the best for himself. Other than me, of course…

 

Keep away. I'm warning… there, convinced I'm serious? No, she isn't dead, but she would be if I had wanted. It was on heavy stun that time. Now it's set to kill. And if I hold it like this for too long it well may overload and take out this whole corner of the building. No, it's not a threat, just the truth. You people see that so rarely you can't even recognize it when it points right at you.

 

There, that's a good idea. Let's all calm down. No reason to panic. Khan is, how to put it? Resting. That's it. Resting all comfortable in his own bed. He told me earlier that he didn't want to be disturbed and I'm going to see that he gets what he wants.

 

But then he always gets what he wants in life, doesn't he? The only problem is that sometimes he doesn't know what to do with it after it's his.

 

Like me. He needed me... I was a 'superior' woman … at least on the Enterprise. When I think of the things I did for him. He could have had a starship. Do you realize what he could have done with power like that?

 

Well, yes, I suppose you do.

 

Really, the Captain was much kinder than I deserved. I could have been court-martialed for mutiny at least and if things had gone that far, for murder. He was so kind -- though I wonder if he had any idea how things work out for me on this hell-hole. I almost cost him his ship. This would have been a very sweet revenge. But, no, Kirk wasn't the kind of man who would plan anything like this. He wasn't vicious.

 

No! How many times do I have to tell you? Khan is … resting and this door will stay closed. It's the least I can do. Yes, thanks, I'm fully aware that there hasn't been much I've ever been able to do here, but it isn't all my fault. I never pretended to be knowledgeable about anything other than history. And at that I forgot that no one ever really trusts a traitor. Neither side. And I managed to betray everyone. Most of all myself…

 

Joaquin, for the last time, stay away from me. This door is locked and it will stay that way until Khan wakes up. And that could take some time. I don't understand all the fuss. So what if you had a meeting with him? He forgot or changed his mind. You didn't have to round up this mob to try to scare me.

 

I'm beyond being scared. I've been frightened for … it must be almost four years since we arrived here. As exiles. Four years of wild animals, and the crops that died and everyone being so damned superior. Everyone better, smarter, stronger than me. Bullies, that's what you are. It must have been great fun, heaven for you, when you were back on Earth in the old days and could look down on everyone else. On this godforsaken rock all you have is me. Do you have any idea how tired I am of hearing about your heart-valve action and renal function and who knows that else? If any of you had been content to do some hard work around here instead of complaining and whining about the glorious past, we could have made a go of it. Instead, we go on simply using up the supplies the Enterprise left us. The way it's going we're all going to starve. That is, if some of those timer-amphibian things don't manage to pick us off one at a time. When I think what Mr. Spock would give to be able to study them…

 

Don't you dare say that. They were more than generous to you. To us. They didn't have to give us anything. There was no debt. You aren't out of our past. Everything the Federation is based on is opposite to your beliefs. You should have seen Khan's face the first  time I tried to explain all that to him. I'd never seen him so furious. He seemed to think the galaxy was just sitting out there waiting for him to come along and run everything his own way. I still don't think he at heart believe me, or that history didn't much care what had happened to him or the rest of you.

 

Still, he never should have hit me like that when I told him. It isn't my fault if Fate treated him unkindly. Maybe in a way I did deserve it, though. I loved him so much and all I did was let him down. I'm twice-traitor and it didn't work either time.

 

Can't do anything right … don't try slipping around to my blind side, Ling. The eye may be damaged, and I know it doesn't look pretty, but I can still see motion. And it will probably head without much of a scar. One of our brave leader's latest gifts. I was lucky at that. Last time he hit me with his fist like that he almost broke my jaw and I did lose two teeth. I don't think he's been so angry since we discovered I couldn't have any more children. Motherhood was all I was ever good for and now I can't even manage anything that basic. And after I watched three die in my arms from whatever that disease is that kills most of the newborns here. They wouldn't live anyway … why was he so made at me? Did he have to have more blood sacrifices at his altars to his ego? And then he forces himself to tell me that he's been sleeping with every available woman practically since we've been here. Passing his 'superior' genes around. So I had to do something. Even I have some pride left.

 

I think he fell out of love with me, and I'm using the term very loosely, when he found out I didn't have naturally red hair. I hadn't meant to life. The subject never came up. But when the color wore off … he was totally unreasonable. I mentioned that he was getting a little grey himself and he slapped me so hard he almost knocked me across the room. No sense of humor. The only way he has of dealing with unpleasant truths is violence.

 

And that is one thing I really miss. On the Enterprise, we had our problems but someone they were solved without people running amok, trying to show their own power by hurting others. We worked hard but it was worth something. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't perfect, wasn't heaven, but it wasn't an endless waste like this is and there was affection and decent, ordinary people. And to think I gave it all up for this! I had everything, the universe if I wanted. And I gave it all up for a man with a heroic profile.

 

The saddest part is that I did it all deliberately. I threw it all away with both hands and I can't begin to blame anyone but myself. Then I didn't spare a backward glance. Now all I can seem to do is think about the past and try not to cry. We all have to play the cards we've been dealt. For me it's end game and no way back to all that's been lost.

 

I guess it shouldn't be so bad. That's what life is … a long series of losing things. Everyone loses. But the only kind of loss that destroyed you, keeps breaking your heart, is the loss you cause yourself. That's what I did and I'll have to live with it.

 

I am not hysterical. Calm. I am calm. I did what I had to … this? You should recognize it … it's a knife. Khan's knife. You know how he always carried … carries it. For protection or to show authority or whatever. He's resting now, he doesn't need… Yes, it is stained. But then blood is very hard to wash off.

 

Stay back… NO … leave me alone. All right. You are quicker than I am. So now you have a phaser. Kill me and get it over with. Do you think I care? I've been mortally wounded for years only it never occurred to me to die.

 

No, I don't have a key. Search me if you want. Oh, go ahead and break down the door. It's only wood. No match for a superman.

 

There you go … good work! Right off the hinges. Now don't the whole group of you go trooping in there and waking him up.

 

Don't shake him like that … he's fine. As soon as the pills wear off. I had saved all sorts of drugs we had brought with us. And that was always a very safe sedative. I may have given him one or two too many but I had to be sure that they would work. He's Khan … what could hurt him? Good thing for me he always liked his coffee strong and bitter. At least this time he didn't have to worry about it keeping him awake.

 

The blood? Oh, I have to admit I thought about it. It could have been clean and easy. Cut his throat from ear to ear as the saying goes. An old saying, that one. But I couldn't. He was still so beautiful and I was a sculptor, you know.

 

He was being so patronizing and superior. I was sick of it but you must understand it wasn't revenge … really … it was making things even.

 

So I used the knife. Don't everyone go in there, I'm trying to explain. Careful when you turn him over … Don't tell me some of you superior people are actually going to be sick. You can't fool me. Nausea doesn't snow affection.

 

He shouldn't be dead unless he's lost more blood than I thought he would. I hadn't meant to cut so deep, but once I felt the weight o f the knife in my hand and how easily it slipped through his flesh and remembered all the things he had done to me… After all, I'm only human. The 'only' part has always been my cross here. Like Kirk who sent us here. He had to know how Khan would choose with his devilish pride. When the pills wear off he'll wake up. Screaming, unless the knife did go too deep.

 

And I still do love him. Me, the romantic fool. If he recovers, I'm sure we can be very happy. Not that he will be so superior any more. He'll have to forgive me … all we will have is each other.

 

I don't like the look on Joaquin's face. He seems angry for some reason. He is very handsome himself. Almost like a sculpture. Wonder if he would ever consent to sit for me? He's coming this way. I'll have to ask him. Not hat I like the look he has on his face right now. I don't know why he should be upset with me… After all, I didn't cut off his…

 

Oh, well, he will have to understand. It was just to make Khan and a poor ordinary woman even. Maybe I can't have children, but now, neither can he…

 

THE END