DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of SterJulie and is copyright (c) 2005 by SterJulie. Rated PG.



After the Credits - The Wrath of Khan (Return to Tomorrow)

SterJulie



Spock/Henoch: Hello. Oh, you are a lovely female. A pleasant sight to wake up to after half a million years.

Christine: Thank you.

Spock/Henoch: You're welcome.



* * *



Doctor Christine Chapel hitched her carry bag higher on her shoulder and rushed to catch the next ship to Vulcan. She was still reeling from the awful news of Spock's death aboard the Enterprise and the profound emptiness she felt, but she was drawn to offer condolences to Sarek and Amanda. "Poor Amanda!" Christine thought.

Rounding another corner, Christine plowed headlong into a robed, hooded Vulcan male.

"Pardon me!" she breathed, trying to pull back quickly. A warm, strong hand caught her arm.

"Miss ... Chapel?" came a familiar voice from under the hood. Christine dared to peer into the hood.

"Ambassador Sarek!" she exclaimed. "I was just heading to Vulcan to offer my condolences to you and your wife." Christine saw something flare in Sarek's eyes, a flash of anger, of grief. Sarek's arm tightened a fraction, then he slowly, consciously extricated his hand and dropped it to his side. Christine understood the grief, but the anger both surprised and worried her.

"You were coming to Vulcan?" Sarek asked bitterly. "That is more than I can say of your former Captain." Red flags went up in Christine's mind. She did not want to be Jim Kirk right about now. "He has not contacted me," Sarek continued. "He has not come to me, so I am coming to him."

Sarek finally noticed that he was losing control in as public a forum as a crowded spaceport. /My logic is at fault,/ he thought. /I should never have used public transportation./ "Is there somewhere more private where we may continue this conversation?" the ambassador asked aloud.

Christine considered as her shuttle was about to close the gate. /Too bad,/ she thought, stuffing the ticket into a pocket. "Let me commandeer a conference room, Ambassador."

"You have the authority to do this?" Sarek asked.

"Between your diplomatic status and my rank, we should be able to find something, sir," Christine said with a small smile.

* * *

After they found a small lounge, Sarek turned to Christine.

"Miss Chapel ... "

"Please call me Christine," she interrupted.

"Only if you call me Sarek," he replied. "I am not here in an official capacity. I am merely a grieving father." Christine's self-control slipped at that. Sarek gave her a moment to compose herself before continuing. "What happened, Christine?" Sarek pleaded.

"I do not know anything beyond the official report, Sarek," she replied. Sarek's somber eyes looked even bleaker.

"You are not assigned to Enterprise?" he asked. Christine merely shook her head.

"I am a medical doctor now," she explained, "assigned to Starfleet Emergency Operations." After a moment to stifle a sob, Christine continued, "I was not aboard when Spock died."

Sarek's gaze fell to the floor and stayed there a long while.

"Why are you here, Sarek?" Christine asked gently. Sarek's ominous glare frightened her.

"I am here to get answers," Sarek said vehemently, "from Kirk."

Christine immediately felt sorry for James T. and briefly considered warning her former captain.

Sarek pulled himself together with effort. He turned gentle eyes to Christine.

"And you, Christine," he said quietly. "Why are you heading for Vulcan?"

Christine dabbed at her eyes which were treacherously shedding the tears she so desperately tried to control.

"I am compelled, Sarek," she responded.

"Compelled?" he echoed.

"When I felt Spock die, I was compelled to go to you, to Amanda, and stand with the family," Christine answered.

Sarek raised his head. /Felt Spock die?/ he thought. /Stand with the family?/

"Daughter," Sarek breathed, "were you Spock's T'hyla?" Christine sobbed.

"I don't know what that means," she cried.

"An imperfect translation is 'sibling,' 'friend,' even 'lover,'" Sarek responded. "My wife prefers to translate it as 'darling.' Were you two bonded?"

"I don't know," Christine said. "All I know is, ever since we met Sargon, Spock and I had a sort of ... connection."

Sarek led Christine to one of the settees in the room.

"Perhaps you should start from the beginning," he prompted as they both took a seat.

Christine took a deep breath. She told Sarek the tale of the noncorporeal being Sargon and of how he drew the Enterprise to his planet. She told of how Sargon used three of the landing party to host the three remaining members of their race as they built android bodies for themselves to occupy. Android bodies were, to them, far more preferable than being trapped far below the surface of their wasted planet, shut into receptacles that sounded, to Sarek, very much like Vulcan vrekatras.

Christine took another breath and told Sarek how the evil Henoch decided to keep Spock's body, and of how Henoch used her to try to kill Sargon as he inhabited the body of Captain Kirk. Christine had to pause before telling Sarek how Thalassa hid Spock's consciousness in the then-nurse's body and of how they tricked Henoch into fleeing Spock's body.

"After that incident, things changed between Spock and myself," Christine reminisced. "I thought it was uncanny that I could sense his presence the moment he entered a room. I could anticipate his needs whenever we worked together, or whenever he was sick or injured. We didn't realize the connection until ... " Christine faltered.

"Until what?" Sarek prompted.

"Until the Platonians," she finished in a whisper.

"Who are the Platonians?" Sarek asked.

Christine cast her gaze about. How could she tell this grieving father that she and his son were forced to share intimacies before an audience?

"We came across a planet of long-lived people with psychokinetic powers who decided they wanted to keep Doctor McCoy," Christine related stoically. "When the captain refused to let him stay, they used their abilities to humiliate the captain and Spock ."

"Humiliate in what way?" Sarek asked ominously.

"They made them dance and sing and strike themselves," Christine related. "When this proved to be insufficient, the people 'upped the stake,' as it were. They looked into the minds of our officers. They found me in Spock's mind. The beamed me to their planet along with another crewwoman who just happened to be walking down the corridor with me." Christine lowered her head and paused to summon some courage. "We were forced to change into beautiful garments, as were our other officers, and it soon became obvious that the Platonians were going to force us to perform."

"Perform?" Sarek repeated.

"Sexually," whispered Christine. The rest of the sordid tale came out in a rush. "Spock kept apologizing to me, but he needn't have. I knew that the Platonians were using us as puppets. Both of us were helpless to control our actions." Christine paused to wipe fresh tears from her face. "Afterwards, Spock asked one of our tormentors why they paired the two of us together. She told us that they saw me in Spock's mind."

A small smile crossed Christine's lips. "You know, Sarek, your son could be quite dense at times."

"Dense? As in stubborn?" Sarek asked.

"That, too," Christine snickered. "I noticed the connection between us, but Spock didn't, not until that moment. As he looked at me I knew he was searching back for the one moment when this link began. He said one word. Henoch." Christine fidgeted. "Actually, Spock said more than that. He also said, 'We need to talk.'

"After we got back to the ship," Christine continued, "after things calmed down, we talked about our link. He melded with me to examine the link and told me it was 'an imperfect bond.' Then he asked me something so astounding. 'Do you still love me?' I was flabbergasted! I didn't know what to say. If I said yes, would he reject me and my all too human emotions? If I lied and said that I no longer loved him, would reject me still? Spock saw my hesitation. He said that only a Healer would be able to either sever or repair our bond. Spock wished to know which I preferred."

Christine paused. Sarek merely cocked an eyebrow for her to continue.

"I told him that a marriage built on an accident had little chance at success," Christine said at last. "However, I said I preferred to leave things the way they were. Sarek, forgive me for speaking of the unspeakable, but I then told Spock that it was only a few years until his Time would be upon him again and he would be needing someone. If he had no one else to turn to I would be willing to see him through the fires."

Sarek had dropped his gaze at the reference to pon farr. Now he raised eyes full of admiration to this remarkable woman.

"Daughter," he said soothingly, "did my son realize that you are a treasure? He was a fool to not pursue you."

Christine's lips twitched in amusement.

"I thought so, too," she began before being overcome by more tears. "I thought patience was a virtue, and I was willing to wait for him. Its seems I waited too long!"

Sarek placed his hands on Christine's shoulders as she wept.

"I grieve with thee, Daughter Christine aduna Spock," he whispered.

"We grieve together, Sarek," Christine replied in the traditional manner.

After Christine had regained some composure, Sarek released her, opened his communicator and conversed briefly with someone in Vulcan.

"Christine," Sarek began gently, closing his communicator, "you still need to be seen by a Healer. There may be some damage to you from this 'imperfect' bond. I have made arrangements for the diplomatic shuttle to take you to Vulcan. You will stay at our home in Shi'Kahr. I am certain that you and Amanda will be a great consolation to each other."

Christine was perplexed.

"Sarek, why are you doing all this?" she asked. Sarek seemed surprised that she even asked.

"Family cares for family, Daughter," he replied.

"How am I family?" Christine queried.

"A bond is a marriage," Sarek replied. "You are as much my family as Amanda is." Before Christine could formulate a reply, other than the grateful tears that filled her eyes, Sarek picked up her travel bag and moved her to the door. "Please tell Amanda that I will be returning shortly."

"How can I ever repay you for your kindness, Sarek?" Christine asked innocently. Sarek was about to give the stock refusal, that it was not kindness that moved him but rather duty to family, until a different idea came to mind.

"You can repay me, Daughter," Sarek replied ominously. "Tell me where I may find Kirk."

-FIN-