Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c) 1988 by L. P. Santos. Originally published in Abode of Strife #10, Bill Hupe editors. Rated PG13.



L. P. Santos


Nurse Chapel remained silent as she awaited his next move. He had been here so long and still he could not make the pliant, limp thing move. Its slender cylinder shape lay unmoving beneath his skillful fingers. Despite his best efforts, it would not move. It seemed as if it was unwilling to cooperate with his gentle ministrations. Perhaps he needed encouragement, she thought as she placed a hand tenderly on his shoulder.


"Spock," she tried to voice in a manner of concern and not condemnation. "Perhaps it would work if I helped."


With a look of total dismay he shook his head. "I assure you that I am quite capable of making it function," he spoke slightly agitated by its lack of response.


"Sometimes these things happen," she tried to ease his tensions in the only manner she knew how.


"I've heard that failures such as these occasionally occur if when one is concentrating too much on completing a task." She tried to reason with him as his hand worked feverishly over the flaccid flesh. So far he had done everything conceivable to bring the unwilling form to life, yet it still lay unmoving.


"Perhaps with a bit of stimulus," he said as he began to rhythmically stroke its length. To both of their amazement it began to slowly grow in size as his hand stimulated it further. Slightly twitching it began to show signs of life as they looked on with relief. She knew as well as he, how embarrassing it would have been if it had not wakened to his stimulus.


She watched in pleasure as it grew with each stroke of his hand. In a manner close to triumph he looked at her in a half smile. He knew how important it was to bring it to life with full energy and growth. He too longed to see the limp flesh rise to its full height and dimensions.


"I knew you could do it," she said as she gave a silent sigh of relief.


With a slight smile she looked up at him as she moved closer.


"Did you ever doubt my abilities?" he asked with a certain smugness as it twitched and continued to grow without manual manipulation. Holding its now rigid form he poised it as he moved to fit it in.


"Never," she answered with slight amusement.


"Now if it will only fit," his voice came in slight gasps as he tried to fit its enormous size into the small opening. Never had he imagined that such a simple task could be so difficult. Rather than admit his difficulty, he continued his ill efforts at inserting the engorged flesh through the tight crevice. With a silent prayer to the gods of his ancestors he gave a gentle shove against the opening.


"Please, let me help," she pleaded when she noticed his clumsy attempts. Slightly miffed with his efforts at penetrating a relatively simple entrance, he looked down at her in dismay. Then, as if to call on the help of an outside force he gave one last shove of the rigid flesh. With a gentle ease its head slowly slipped through the tight opening.


"Despite what is said of Vulcans, I assure you that I am quite capable, if not knowledgeable, in this matter." His annoyance rang clearly through his raspy breaths. "It is a little known fact, Ms. Chapel, that Vulcans do have experience in this field," he explained in slight grunts as its stiff, rigid head pushed through the tightness and slipped the remaining way in without hesitation.


Looking slightly pleased with himself, he glanced down at her in satisfaction.


"No, Mr. Spock, I never doubted either your knowledge or expertise in this matter," she exclaimed as a feeling of relief set in. Finally, after their constant efforts, it was where it belonged -- Where they both wanted it. Now they werre able to begin the real aspect of their task.


Nodding, he gave her a half smile as he closed the door to the caged A'zitre. The small snake-like lizard stretched and recoiled as it continued to flourish in size. In a mood which could be considered agitation, it hissed and growled as it paced nervously around the small confinement.


After calming down from the alien contact, it sat in the corner of the cage. With an air of disgust, it looked out at them. It had not been successful in taking its life, but the next time would be different. It would coil into the smallest form it could manage until it suffocated.


Better to die than be caged and gawked at, it thought as it turned its cylindrical body away from the two giants who stood gazing down at it.