DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of T'Eros and is copyright (c) 2001 by T'Eros. This is an Alternate Universe story and is Rated NC-17 for violence, language and graphic, non-consensual sexual situations.



The Captain's Woman

T'Eros



Spock pulled his dagger from the gutted body of James Kirk and deliberately wiped the bloody blade across his captain's uniform. Kirk was still on his feet, standing through sheer, paralyzing shock, his hands around his first officer's throat. Cooly, Spock stared into the human's terrified eyes for the long minute that it took for Kirk's heart to stop beating and his legs to give way beneath him. Then Kirk crumpled to the floor and gasped spasmodically, clutching futilely at his gaping belly, his face beginning to turn purple. He vomited blood and his body went into a long seizure of agony, then the man became still, his eyes glazing over as gory organs spilled from his eviscerated torso.

Spock and his bodyguards had stood watching Kirk's death with calm detachment. When it was all over, the new captain of the ISS Enterprise looked up at the horrified woman cowering across the room, pressed back into a corner. She met his dark, cold eyes with fear, certain she would be the next to die.

But Spock merely slipped his dagger back into his sash and addressed his guards. "Clean this mess up and have this cabin stripped. I want my things moved in here by 1800." He turned toward the door, his guards automatically slapping fists to their chests and then extending stiff arms in salute to their new commanding officer. Spock returned it, then glanced back over his shoulder. "Do not harm the woman. See that she is moved to a cabin of her own."

"Sir!" acknowledged a guard.

The woman, Lt. Marlena Moreau, straightened and took a step forward. "Mr. Spock -- Captain Spock, I mean." He turned to look directly at her again. She hesitantly approached him, careful not to step in the blood, pulling the lacy robe she wore up around her, although artfully arranging it so that the cleavage between her full breasts was visible. "I don't know how to thank you, sir ... for letting me live. I am in your debt, Captain."

Spock noticed her ploy and for a second glanced down at her breasts, but then looked back at her face. "I already have a Woman, lieutenant," he informed her softly, no hint of friendliness in his deep voice. "I suggest you peddle your wares elsewhere."

Her black eyes snapped in anger for a second, then she caught herself and her cool expression returned. "You mistake my words, sir," she answered. "I am merely expressing my extreme gratitude. I would simply be very happy to serve you in any way I can."

Her unwavering gaze did not move from his and finally her unmistakable invitation began to affect him marginally. In any case, he felt his groin give a little throb in speculative answer. "Perhaps we can discuss it later, lieutenant," he responded. "When I have the time."

He turned and stalked from the cabin, two of his bodyguards following. The other two stayed and turned to the bloody task before them.

* **

Spock strode onto the bridge and for a second stood surveying the people there. Sulu and Chekov were at the helm, looking as surly as usual. Uhura lounged at the comm station, giving him a sultry look. He ignored it. Scotty, at the engineering board, glanced up at him with blood-shot eyes. He appeared slightly drunk, as usual. The thing about Scotty, though, was that he did his best work after a couple of shots of liquor.

The Vulcan stepped down to the lower bridge level and slid into the command chair, his guards taking up station on either side. Crossing his long legs, he thumbed the shipwide intercom and began, "Attention. This is Spock." He waited a beat then continued without preamble, "Captain Kirk is dead. He has been executed for gross incompetence by order of Starfleet Command. Effective immediately, I have assumed command of this vessel. Mr. Scott is designated Senior Officer and second in command. Mr. Sulu will remain as Security Chief and will serve as third in command."

Scott had swung around in shock at Spock's announcement, then turned to glance involuntarily toward Sulu's cruel, scarred face. The helmsman was grinning at him, but there was something in his eyes that reminded Scott of a cobra waiting to strike. It sent a chill down his spine.

Seemingly oblivious to the reaction going on around him, Spock continued, "All other personnel will maintain their current assignments. Spock out." He switched off the intercom. "Mr. Sulu, lay in our next heading and take us to warp 4."

"Aye, sir."

Spock rose from the command chair. "I shall be in my quarters. Mr. Scott, you have the bridge."

"Aye, sir."

His guards falling into place at his back, Spock stepped into the turbolift and, with satisfaction, let the doors close behind him.

* * *

The bodyguards did not go into the Vulcan's cabin but automatically took up posts at the door. As Spock entered his quarters, he was met by the rush of his Woman throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him soundly. Christine Chapel had heard the shipwide announcement as well and knew what it meant. She had become a Captain's Woman and her status had just leaped accordingly.

Spock pushed her away from him and continued toward the bathroom, stripping off his blood-spattered tunic and throwing it on the floor. "We'll be changing cabins later this afternoon," he said, running water in the lavatory to wash Kirk's blood off his hands.

Christine came to stand in the doorway, clad in a long, diaphanous gown. Her body was clearly visible through the sheer material, the cups of the gown's bodice barely containing her lush bosom. "I figured as much," she replied, standing so that she displayed herself in the most seductive way. "I'll be ready."

She trailed a hand lightly up over one breast, letting it come to rest on her neck. Underneath the fabric, her nipples were beginning to harden, and she glanced at him to see if he had noticed.

He had indeed. The thrill of murdering Kirk, coupled with Marlena's hinted promise, had served to arouse him. He needed an outlet for his aggression, either in more violence or in sex. Possibly in both. And that, after all, was what his Woman was for. To serve him in any way he desired.

He straightened and reached for a towel to dry his hands then said, "Come here."

She did, gliding toward him. As she came within arm's reach, he seized her and pulled her to him, kissing her hard, forcing his tongue into her mouth. His hand went to her breast and covered it, massaging it roughly.

She squirmed and tried to pull away, for he was hurting her. It only spurred him on. Grasping the front of her gown, he ripped downward, tearing the sheer fabric open. He took a breast in each hand and squeezed hard enough that the nipples and areolae protruded through the circle made by his thumbs and forefingers. Then he bent and moved from one to the other, licking her, sucking her into his mouth, biting her nipples a little harder than she found comfortable.

Again, she tried to shove him away, but he had her bent back over the lavatory cabinet and her feet were barely touching the deck. Just when she was about to start fighting him in earnest, he abruptly lifted his head and grabbed her upper arm, spinning her around away from him. Before she could react to that, he shoved her forward at the waist and yanked her gown up out of the way, exposing her buttocks to his sight, even as he was using his other hand to open his pants.

She knew instantly what he wanted and had barely set herself before he grasped her waist and mounted her, plunging his hard shaft deep into her. She wasn't ready for him and his huge erection slamming into her dry passage brought a cry of pain from her lips. He paid no attention to her, pumping again and again as deeply into her as he could. The feel of her tight, clinging vagina excited him and he worked her even harder.

By now, she had begun to lubricate and his pounding rod moved more easily within her, finally allowing her own arousal to build. By the time he had brought himself to climax, she was on the verge of enjoying it and gave a cry as he filled her with his hot essence. After his initial eruption, he continued to clasp her waist and thrust deep into her a few more times, as if to force every last drop of semen and pleasure out of his body before his penis finally deflated and he pulled out of her.

But the violence still lurked within him. The quick, hard coupling hadn't satisfied him and he stood behind her thinking about what he wanted to do next, when she unwisely looked around at him, frowning slightly. "That hurt," she complained. "Why didn't you wait until I was ready to take you?"

His face darkened with anger and his hand flew to grip her throat, just short of doing her real harm. "I take you, bitch -- not the other way around! Anywhere and anytime I choose! If you can't understand that, then I'll rid myself of you and find a Vulcan woman who knows how to be silent and obedient and in her proper place -- on her back with her legs apart!"

Christine's expression registered her fear. He would carry out his threat and she knew it. Clutching at his iron-hard hand at her throat, she answered, "Spock, please, I'm sorry. I only want to please you. Let me help you relax. Come lie down on the bed and I'll suck you off. You always feel good after that."

Slowly he released her, but he remained standing in an unyielding stance, naked from the waist up and his pants still gaping open, exposing his genitals. To persuade him, she moved closer and reached down to stroke him. His penis and the hair at its base were wet and slick and her hand slipped easily up and down his shaft while she gazed up into his cold, dark eyes. He began to stiffen in her grasp and the coldness gradually faded in conjunction with his growing erection. She finally felt assured enough to smile coyly up at him.

"Or do you want me to do it right here?" she whispered and sank down onto her knees before him.

As she leaned forward to guide him into her mouth, he abruptly reached down and grasped her hair, yanking her back. "If you bite me, I'll break your neck," he hissed. He released his grip and leaned back against the cabinet, his legs spread to brace himself.

Her heart pounding, she turned back to her task. Fully erect, he seemed enormous but she had done this many times. It had been disconcerting at first because of his coloring, but she had quickly become used to the verdant flush of his skin and the darker green tint of his sex organs. Otherwise, he was remarkably like the human men she had known and he responded to her subtle manipulation and hot tongue just as they did.

She bent that tongue to work now while her hands tugged his pants down a bit more, exposing his scrotum and buttocks. As she licked and lapped at the juices still clinging to him, her hand slipped between his legs, her nails ever-so-lightly tickling his balls. Then massaging him carefully, she took hold of his engorged penis and worked the skin up and down as she teased the tip of her tongue around the smooth, sensitive head.

He groaned and leaned back farther against the cabinet, his eyes closed. His penis was hot and throbbing in her hand and finally she leaned forward and guided him into her mouth. He flinched involuntarily and pushed his hips forward, but she had her hands on his pelvis and stopped him before he choked her. Taking as much of him as she could, she began a gentle sucking, working him between her tongue and the roof of her mouth. At the same time, she slipped her hands around to his buttocks and grasped his cheeks, kneading firmly.

He reached down and gripped her hair again, but this time it was to hold her in place as she brought him toward a rapidly building climax. He couldn't control a slight thrusting of his hips and she picked up her pace as she felt him nearing the end. She could scarcely breathe but did not slacken her actions as he stiffened to an incredible hardness, the pressure building up in him.

Then he clenched his fists, nearly causing her to yelp in pain as he yanked her hair hard. She heard him make a gasping, groaning sound deep in his chest, and at the same moment, her mouth was flooded with a hot, salty liquid. He held her firmly in place as he pumped into her and she swallowed frantically to keep from gagging.

He kept her there until he had no more to give then he released her and pulled himself from between her lips. She sank down and knelt before him, coughing a bit, and getting her breath back. When she ventured to look up at him, he did indeed look less tense, although no less cruel.

"Wash me now," he ordered her and she scrambled to retrieve a warm, wet cloth. Still on her knees, she carefully cleaned his genitals and dried them with a soft towel. When she was done, he pushed them back within his pants and settled the trousers into place, sealing the fly. "I'm hungry now, woman," he commented. "Clean yourself and fetch my dinner." With that, he turned and walked out of the bathroom.

Hastily, Christine washed herself and then rinsed her mouth and throat with liquid dental cleanser. Shedding the torn gown, she slipped on a more opaque robe and hurried to order his meal from the food slot.

She hated him when he acted this way, but he was undoubtedly full of his own importance at the moment. He had successfully murdered the Captain and taken his place, and he had every right to demand whatever he wanted of anyone on board. And he had the power and the ruthlessness to back up any threat he made, including replacing her. She'd worked long and hard to be by the side of the man she loved and she intended to stay there, even when he beat her or treated her like his property. Discounting Spock's innate streak of cruelty, that was how Vulcan men treated their women and he expected her to behave accordingly.

It stuck in her craw sometimes, but the idea of some Vulcan slut crawling at his feet was more than she could bear. She'd kill any woman who tried to take him from her. And she'd kill him if he tried to replace her with another. She realized that she would die, too, of course, either killed by him as his last act or, more likely, executed at the hands of his bodyguards. But she had vowed to herself long ago that if she couldn't have him, no one else would either.

* * *

Marlena Moreau was at her station in the science lab, brooding silently over the abrupt turn of events in her life, when Security Chief Sulu walked quietly up behind her and slipped his arms around her, grasping her breasts.

Instantly, she spun and had her dagger out of her boot top, pressing the point up under his chin. "Don't ever touch me like that again!" she snapped.

Sulu only laughed and backed away a little. "Why? You're free for the taking now, aren't you? You're not the Captain's Woman anymore. What's the big deal?"

"The big deal is that I don't like you!"

Sulu grinned and crossed his arms over his chest. "You could get to like me," he answered.

Marlena's eyes were as hard as obsidian. "Go fuck yourself."

"I'd rather fuck you." He chuckled again and moved around her to lean insolently up against the counter top. "Seriously, Marlena, why don't give me a try?"

"Because I've been a Captain's Woman and I intend to be one again," she hissed. "You don't qualify."

"Oh, I see," the security chief replied. "And you think you have a chance in hell of getting Spock? Christine will tear your heart out with her bare hands if you go near him."

"That pathetic little slut?" Moreau slipped her dagger back into her boot. "I'll bet she licks his feet if he wants her to."

Sulu grinned again. "Toe-sucking is good," he commented.

"That's not what I meant and you know it. She's a subservient little cunt."

"That's the way he likes 'em," Sulu answered. "Believe me, Marlena, you're not his type. He's into bondage and dominance ... as long as he's the one doing the dominating. Now, me ..." Again, the horribly scarred face spread into a wide grin.

She eyed him harshly but the extreme edge of hostility was fading. "Oh, yeah, I know you, Hikaru. You don't care what anyone is into, as long as you get to stick your dick somewhere."

"See? We're perfect for each other. You just want a dick stuck in you. What difference does it make if it's mine or Spock's?"

"Like I said, you're not a Captain. That's the difference."

His black eyes hardened into the cold, merciless gaze of a born killer. "I will be. Maybe sooner than you think."

She peered back at him appraisingly. "Do you think you'll live that long? Spock will be even warier than usual. And he's got the Tantalus device now." She leaned closer, tauntingly. "Maybe he's watching you right now. Maybe his finger is on the button even as we speak..."

Sulu violently seized her upper arms and nearly lifted her off her feet. "If I didn't have plans for you, I'd slit your throat, you fucking whore."

Marlena was unimpressed and answered cooly, "But not fucking you, that's for sure! Go screw Uhura. She'll fuck anything. Or better yet, fuck Chekov. He's got the hots for you."

Sulu abruptly released her, so suddenly that she nearly staggered. He moved toward the door then turned back and pressed his mouth against her ear. "I do," he whispered and quickly kissed her, then was out the door before her palm could connect with his face.

* * *

As Spock entered sick bay, flanked by his ever-present bodyguards, he found McCoy engaged in a heated conversation with someone on his desktop computer screen. "And I'm telling you that's a lousy offer," the grizzled doctor was saying. "I want 10,000 for the heart."

"Ridiculous," answered the man's accented voice. "You must be crazy to think I would pay that."

"The Klingons would pay that just to use it for soup," McCoy responded.

"Absurd!"

"You think so? Eating the heart of your enemy is big medicine and the more powerful your enemy, the more powerful you become," McCoy answered and paused for a second. "Kirk was very powerful and he had a lot of enemies."

"Well..." The man on the screen stroked his full beard. "I'll think it over and get back to you."

"Don't wait too long," McCoy advised. "I might make soup myself." He switched off abruptly and looked up at the tall Vulcan standing before him, his face like stone. "Well, Captain, what can I do for you?"

"What were you doing?" Spock asked, his voice deadly quiet.

"What do you mean?"

"Just now. What were you doing?"

"Making a deal, whaddaya think? No use throwin' away perfectly good organs." He rose and went to the shelf that held his liquor. Pouring bourbon into two shot glasses, he strolled back and held one out to Spock. "Here, have a drink. Just what the doctor ordered."

Spock did not move except to fix his eyes on the human's face. McCoy shrugged and poured the contents of one glass into the other. "Okay, no use wastin' perfectly good whiskey, either."

He started to down the drink when Spock struck with the blinding speed of a snake, backhanding the drink out of McCoy's hand and across the room. Then, before the startled physician could react, Spock had double handfuls of his tunic and was lifting him off the floor. "This meat market will cease now! Do you understand me, Doctor? You will dispose of Captain Kirk's body in an appropriate manner and with all respect due him!"

McCoy struggled in the Vulcan's grasp. "What's wrong with you, Spock?! It was Jim's idea in the first place to harvest and sell the organs of dead crewmen. He got a 40% cut out of each sale." The man's rheumy blue eyes widened. "Oh, that's it, isn't it? You think I'm gonna gyp you outa your share? Well, you can have the same--"

Spock growled and shook him violently. "Silence!! There will be no more of this flesh peddling on my ship! Or your body will be the next one to go on the auction block!"

"But the Captain--"

"I am the Captain!"

McCoy's face hardened and he stared coldly back at the man who still held him. "I would remedy that if I could," he answered evenly.

With a roar, Spock slammed him against the wall and then flung him bodily across the room, where he landed in an unconscious heap. Breathing heavily with fury, the Vulcan took a moment to collect himself and then ordered one of his guards, "Throw him in the brig and leave him there. No food or water for three days. Then we'll have this conversation once again."

"Aye, sir." Two of the four grasped McCoy by his arms and legs and carried him away.

His face still flushed with anger, Spock glanced around to find Christine standing in the doorway to the infirmary, her eyes wide. He'd forgotten that she would be on duty now. As he spun toward her, she backed away, afraid of him when he was this enraged. He stalked after her.

She ran into one of the diagnostic beds and could go no further. Seizing her arm, he demanded, "Did you know about this?"

"Yes -- yes, Captain, but it was the Captain's orders -- Captain Kirk's orders," she stammered. "Dr. McCoy was right. They were splitting the profits. He ordered it! No, Spock-- !" Terrified, she cowered away from him and tried to shield herself, afraid he would beat her for her participation in the gruesome business.

He had been in the process of raising a rock-hard fist but seemed to catch himself in mid-act and let his arm drop once more. "I will not punish you this time," he said after a moment, his voice deep and husky. "If you hadn't followed your orders, I would have sentenced you to a full course in the agony booth for insubordination."

Still shaking, she looked back up at him, encouraged a bit, but still too intimidated to speak.

"Where is Captain Kirk's body?" asked Spock.

"In stasis, sir. Nothing has been removed yet."

"Very good. Have the orderlies prepare it for burial in space. And if I catch or hear of a single instance of mutilation or mishandling, I will space that man with Kirk's body. Whatever he was, he was the Captain of this ship and he will be treated as such."

"Yes, sir. Right away, sir." Christine took a deep breath and stood on trembling legs as Spock turned and strode from sick bay. Stunned, she turned to pass his orders along to the rest of the medical staff. Spock had never acted like this before, not in all the years she had known him. Kirk would have stripped a body of everything worth selling and then jettisoned the remains out a photon tube with no more ceremony than dumping garbage or purging the sewage tanks. And Spock would have stood by without a word and ignored it. What was going on?

* * *

With the cold calculation that they had come to know in him, Spock leaned back in his office chair and appraised Scott and Sulu who were sitting on the other side of his desk. Two of his ubiquitous bodyguards, one enormous human and a slimmer but no less formidable looking Vulcan, stood behind him. Scott was decidedly nervous and smelled as if he'd fortified himself with alcohol before the interview. Sulu betrayed no obvious emotion although Spock could smell death on him as surely as if the act had already occurred. The Vulcan's eyes narrowed slightly, locking on Sulu's. Yes, they understood one another, all too well.

"I want it clear what I expect of each of you," the Captain said. "Mr. Scott, your rank alone has brought you to the position of Senior Officer. I find your constant drunkenness unsatisfactory and you will take steps immediately to curtail it. I will not have you incapacitated at a critical moment."

"Och, ya know I've never failed ya, Captain," the man protested. "I only take a wee nip to stop m' hands shakin'."

"Your hands shake because you're a drunkard, Mr. Scott." The dark brows lowered dangerously over Spock's stone-hard gaze. "You remain on this ship for precisely two reasons. One, you happen to be an excellent engineer and I value that service. And, two--" Spock's eyes slid over to rest on the security chief's face. "-- were you not in your position, Mr. Sulu would be but one step away from the captaincy. And that is a position I intend to see that he never achieves."

Not while you're alive... Sulu finished the unspoken sentiment mentally.

Spock raised an eyebrow and stared at him pointedly. So piercing was the Vulcan's glare that Sulu backed down a bit, convinced that Spock had somehow read his mind. Vulcans were telepathic, he knew, but he'd never heard of their being able to hear thoughts without actual touch. Still, Spock's unblinking stare continued to pin him like an insect and he finally shifted nervously.

"Mr. Sulu is ambitious," the Captain finally said, his gaze never wavering. "He thinks that all he has to do is eliminate you, Mr. Scott, and then a quick strike at me and he is captain of this ship." Spock leaned forward slightly and the venom in his voice fairly dripped. "Hear me, Mr. Sulu, and attend well, for you will not gain a second chance. Neither you nor your operatives will harm Mr. Scott. I need his engineering expertise and I shall be most displeased if harm comes to him. I am capable of terminating your existence anytime and anywhere you may be on this ship, without a second's warning. And should you manage to get me first..." He leaned back again and stared cooly at the other man. "...Stanik here or another member of my family will avenge me. Stanik is my blooded cousin on my father's sib line. Harm either one of us and blood vengeance upon you and your family will continue until every member of your family is wiped from existence. There is no truce, no halting it once begun. Remember that."

Sulu's hard, scarred face had paled somewhat at the prospect but he answered without challenge, "Yes, sir."

"Very well. You are both dismissed." The two officers rose and left the cabin office, going off in opposite directions, flanked by their men. When Spock was sure that they had gone, he stood and his own guards came to attention. "That will be all tonight. I am retiring for the evening. Once your relief arrives, you are dismissed."

"Aye, sir. Thank you, sir," the men replied and went to stand guard at the Captain's door. Christine arrived from her duty shift and they allowed her in.

She had recovered from her shock at Spock's earlier rampage in sick bay and now found him in the bedchamber of their new quarters. He had stripped off his tunic and sash and was sitting on the bed, pulling off his boots. She leaned indolently up against the doorframe and reached up to take the pins out of her upswept hairdo, letting her blonde locks fall around her shoulders the way Spock liked it.

"Rough day?" she asked softly as she watched him strip off his boot stockings and then stand to take off his pants. For a moment, she let her eyes range over his sculpted, naked body, scarred from his many years of service and survival in Starfleet.

He picked up a black meditation robe from the bed and slipped it on, leaving it open down the front. "They are all rough days," he answered harshly, staring at her challengingly.

"I know," she soothed him and let the short skirt of her uniform drop around her ankles. His eyes flicked down to follow its descent, then came back up to her face. The sleeveless, abbreviated uniform top came off next, leaving her clad only in sheer bikini briefs and her tall black boots. Languidly, she moved to the bed and reclined on it. "Although sometimes ... I like it rough."

He let his eyes move over her in an appreciative gaze. Her smoky blue eyes held him as she slid one arm up behind her head, her full breasts firm and inviting. Her nipple rings glinted silver in the cabin's soft light and the thought of what he did with them sometimes encouraged the surge of excitement building in him. Almost unconscious of his action, he reached down and took hold of his stiffening penis, stroking as it throbbed up into erection.

She smiled ferally and copied his action, sliding her fingers down inside her panties to fondle herself. He moved at that, releasing his hold on himself and stepping quickly to the bedside. Yanking her hand away from her crotch, he growled, "Only I touch you there." But it was more of a sexual growl than anger.

He shoved her legs apart and knelt between them, his hands going to the filmy briefs she wore. With a swift movement, he seized them and ripped them open, baring her to his gaze and touch. He flung the torn garment away and bent over her, setting to work with his hot tongue, licking and probing. He sucked hard at her most sensitive parts until she was twisting beneath him, part rapture, part agony. He held her in an iron grip, keeping her from reaching an orgasm by inflicting a judicious amount of pain each time he felt her nearing it.

She gripped the bedspread and moaned in frustration until finally she could stand it no longer and arched her hips up against his wonderfully punishing mouth. He broke off his actions and raised himself from her. "No!" he ordered and was immediately stretched atop her. "I did not say you could climax yet. I have not given you permission for that."

Sweat was beading on her forehead. "Please, Spock. I'm going mad!"

"Mad?" His cruel eyes peered into hers. "You don't know the meaning of the word. You have not seen me yet in the throes of pon farr." He reached up to stroke his fingers down her face, pressing a bit too hard, his teeth bared a bit too close to her throat. When he spoke, his voice was a deep, gravelly whisper, delighting in his brutality. "You were not on the ship during my last pon farr, were you, Christine? My Woman died from enduring my madness then." He repeated the hard caress down her face, watching her closely to gauge her reaction. "They locked me in maximum security with her or I would have destroyed the ship in my madness. Instead, I destroyed her ... in the end. After I had raped her repeatedly for four straight days and locked her mind in such a pattern of insanity that she was a brain-dead vegetable, I showed her mercy by snapping her neck. She would not have survived in any case." Christine's face had gone white with fear as his fingers slid down to caress her throat. "I promise you, however, that I will show you the same mercy, Christine." He smiled with glacial cold and stroked her throat once more.

Trembling now, she closed her eyes and begged, "Spock ... why do you say things like that to me?"

"I like what it does to you," he responded in his husky whisper. "It makes you so pliable and soft when I do this..." Without further warning, he kicked her legs farther apart and jammed himself into her, so hard that she cried out in surprise and pain. "Taste my madness, Christine. A small sample of it anyway."

He slapped a hand over her mouth to silence her cries and pounded into her with a savagery she had never known him to show. He was right. This was rape and it went far beyond the bondage and domination games he was so fond of playing. His Vulcan strength made it absolutely impossible for her to fight him and, when he finally slammed into her and unleashed the flood of his orgasm, she had dissolved into helpless tears, sobbing at his blatant violation of her.

He withdrew from her ravaged body and crouched between her limply spread legs, observing her. He was surprised to see that she was bleeding and realized for the first time that he had injured her. That shocked him, for the entire episode had been merely a little rougher-than-usual sex game to him.

He got up and went into the bathroom, returning a few minutes later with a wet cloth and a hypospray of painkiller. She hadn't moved, save to cover her face with both her hands, trying to keep him from seeing how devastated she was. Gently, he cleaned her and determined that her physical injuries were minor. Then he gave her the shot of painkiller and laid the hypospray on the table beside the bed.

Sitting beside her, he pulled her hands away from her face and peered down at her blotchy, swollen face. She sobbed raggedly and bit her lip to silence herself, but her eyes were still swimming in tears. Her expression held horror and betrayal and he couldn't blame her for hating him just now.

"I am sorry, Christine," he finally said. "You did feel my madness just then, the madness of every bloody murder and punishment I have meted out today. I had no cause to take it out on you in this manner."

She blinked and sobbed again, but the irrational love she felt deep inside for him began to wend its way through her emotional desolation. "You really hurt me this time, Spock," she answered, tears still streaming down her face. "You weren't playing."

"No ... no, I was not," he responded, looking guiltily away from her. "I lost control. The events of this day have driven me to the very edge of my disciplines and beyond. I am grateful that I did not kill you in my furies."

That brought an incredulous little laugh from her, surprising them both. "You're grateful?!" she echoed, then, "Gods, I'm bleeding on the bed. Please, let me up."

He did and she went to tend to herself. When she came back, dressed in one of her long sheer gowns and a pair of panties underneath, she was surprised to see that he had changed the sheets himself and was lying back against the pillows, clad in a clean sleeping robe. The whole picture was so bizarre that her head was swimming, although it might have been from the drug he had given her. Spock, who normally slept naked and who a few moments before had been a raving madman, now waited for her modestly clad, his expression mild and even a little apologetic.

Slowly, hesitantly, she moved toward him, still wary. But he assured her, "I will not harm you again, Christine, I promise. I give you my word. And I will not ask anything else of you sexually until you are healed from this unfortunate incident."

She swallowed to wet her dry throat, then got into bed beside him, shaking despite herself. He only said, "Computer, lights" and the room lights faded quickly to darkness. She lay rigid beside him and for a long while there was silence. Then he confided softly, "I do not intend for this to happen again, Christine. I ... I want things to change on this ship."

She stiffened even more. "Then you are tired of me. I have displeased you by failing to ... to enjoy your ... your ..."

"No, no," he answered impatiently. "I have told you. My loss of control caused what happened tonight. You are my Woman, Christine, and you have not displeased me. If you had, I would not have brought you with me into the Captain's Quarters. But today has shown me vividly that things must change. We have all grown so fearful of assassination that it has overwhelmed all aspects of our lives. Not just on this ship, but throughout the Empire."

She raised herself on one elbow to stare at him incredulously. "Spock! You have gone mad! Do you want to die for treason?"

"It is not treason to want a better way of life, Christine. Captain Kirk ... the other Kirk, the stranger ... He convinced me that it is not logical to go on the way we are. Such destructiveness is the height of illogic and insanity."

"So you think you can change the way we are? By yourself?"

"He said that ... there is always a man with a vision ... that one man can summon the future. Christine, I think I am that man. But it's got to start here, on this ship. The killing and hatred we practice on one another must stop." Spock rolled on his side toward her, his voice intent with emotion. "I did not realize how deeply ingrained that violence is until I ... I hurt you with such blatant disregard. I swear to you ... it will never happen again."

She was skeptical, however, and only answered softly, "I ... I don't know if I can believe you."

He sighed. "I don't know if I can believe my words, either, but I will try. I promise that. I must continue to captain this ship with iron discipline, however. I cannot afford to show an ounce of weakness to anyone, particularly to Mr. Sulu. He will kill me if he gets the chance. I have no doubt of that."

She lay back and found herself pulled into Spock's arms. He only wanted to hold her, however, and she finally sank against him. "Then I must watch your back, my love. Together, we'll hold out until we figure some way to bring about the future you want. Somehow."

* * *

Marlena started as the buzzer to her door sounded. "Who is it?" she demanded, her hand on the hilt of her boot dagger.

"Hikaru," came the familiar voice. "Mind if I talk with you?"

She hesitated, then opened the door. "What do you want?"

"Just to talk, like I said," Sulu answered and sauntered into her quarters, his bodyguards taking up station outside. As the door slid closed, the security chief said, "I was just wondering how you were coming along in your quest for Spock?"

"Go to hell," Moreau responded acidly, her shapely brows coming down over her black eyes, and spun away from him.

He grinned at her. "Oh, not so well, I see. Too bad." He moved up behind her and slid his hands up her bare arms. She flinched away, but he tightened his grip and moved to nuzzle her neck. She tried to jerk away but couldn't. "I'm much better for you than he is, Marlena," he murmured, kissing her ear and teasing the tip of his tongue along its edge. She squirmed. "He can be so cold and heartless. So Vulcan. Don't you know how they treat their women?"

"Leave me alone!"

"Vulcan women are like slaves," Sulu continued softly, moving his lips down the side of her neck and onto her collarbone. "The men literally own them. A Vulcan woman has no rights at all. She's little better than a concubine, locked in a harem until her man decides he wants a fuck. Then once he's through with her, he can trade her to a friend, sell her, even kill her if she's pissed him off." Sulu slid Marlena's uniform down off her shoulder and let his lips trail along her bare flesh. "Is that what you want, Marlie? To be Spock's slave? You're too much woman for that. Too much woman for him."

Marlena was listening and, despite herself, she was responding to his caresses. "And you think you're the man for me?" she snapped.

"Try me and see," he whispered and turned her to face him, taking her in his arms and pressing a deep, hungry kiss against her lips. She stood stiffly but unresisting for several seconds, then her hands slid up his back and she leaned into him and kissed him back. Her mouth opened underneath his and their tongues danced and probed against each other as the passion of the kiss grew.

Sulu pulled away from her and reached to hit the lock on the door, then pulled her back against him, capturing her mouth once more. His hands slid down her back and across her hips until he found the edge of her short skit. He reached underneath it and slipped his spread palms over her firm, shapely buttocks, kneading and simultaneously pulling her harder against his groin.

In response, she moved her hand down and rubbed him through the rough fabric of his uniform trousers. "Mmmm," she murmured. "Is that as big as it feels?"

"Oh, it'll get even bigger when you let it out of its cage," he grinned back at her and brought his lips back onto hers. He moved his kisses down her throat than bent a bit lower. Her low-cut uniform top displayed her ample cleavage to great effect and dropped his mouth to kiss the tops of her breasts, running his tongue down between them.

"Wait," she said and pulled away from him long enough to peel the uniform top off over her head, freeing her large, full breasts. Then stepping away further, she released the closure of her skirt and dropped it, too, along with the briefs she wore under it. Naked now except for her thigh high boots, she went to the bed and sat down on the edge, leaning back onto her elbows and holding one foot up. "Help me, will you?"

He stood drinking her in for a long moment before he moved, the long black hair spilling over her shoulders, the coffee-colored tips of her breasts, the dark thatch of hair between her legs, the dusky tone of her skin. He pulled his tunic over his head and dropped it on the floor and came to her, his erection pulsing hungrily within the prison of his pants.

Taking the heel and toe of her boot in his strong, corded hands, he pulled and the long expanse of leather slipped off her leg, leaving it bare. He repeated the action with the other one, his eyes never leaving her inviting body. As she lay back farther onto the bed, he quickly sat down and yanked off his own boots and socks, then stood to open the fly of his pants.

"Oh, no, let me," she murmured, sitting back up. He grinned, eager to comply, and stood before her, his hips thrust slightly forward.

Slowly, with great deliberation, she let her fingers trail down the closure, unsealing it, and then spread the garment apart. His penis sprang out, fully erect, and Sulu gave a delighted little moan to finally be free of the confining trousers. Quickly, he pushed them down his legs and stepped out of them.

He pushed her back onto the bed and knelt between her thighs, bringing his mouth down onto her dark folds, running his tongue into her secret places, tasting her delicious womanhood. Her pubic hair was clipped and shaped to perfectly set off her sexuality and he discovered to his absolute delight that she sported a little golden ring piercing one of her labia. He played his tongue over it for a moment, then turned to her swollen clitoris, sucking it into his mouth and teasing it with his tongue.

She moaned and moved beneath his mouth, running her fingers through his hair. Her musky odor filled his senses and he aroused her further by slipping the middle finger of one hand up inside her, thrusting it in and out. It wasn't long before she was panting with excitement and practically thrashing under his manipulations.

He couldn't wait any longer to have her. He lifted his head and stood between her updrawn legs and just the sight of her hot wet pussy waiting for him nearly made him come. "Oh, baby," he said in a deep, feral tone, setting himself into position, "I've wanted to fuck you for so long." And with that he mounted her, shoving himself in hilt-deep.

Marlena had to admit to herself that she genuinely enjoyed his performance. He was much better than Kirk, who'd been so vain that he was always more interested in how he must look fucking her than the actual act. Sulu didn't have that problem. He was hot to be using her as a woman, working away hungrily inside her, and she did find his hard, tawny body, glistening with sweat, very pleasing. If only his brutal, scarred face, now so near to hers, were more attractive.

She hadn't changed her mind about Spock, though. She fully intended to be a Captain's Woman once again but she had decided to hedge her bets where Sulu was concerned. Spock was the Captain now and she would have him. But Sulu was determined to have command of this ship and, when he did, she still intended to be the Captain's Woman.

Meanwhile, she closed her eyes and savored the feel of Sulu's sweat-slick chest moving against her breasts and his pelvis pounding bruisingly into hers. With her eyes closed, she could imagine another man above her, slamming into her, bringing himself to a glorious climax within her, and that his dark eyes were alien and otherworldly, and that his soul burned with the fires of Vulcan.

* * *

At precisely 0800, Spock stepped before the brig's security holding and stood with his hands behind his back, as straight and unmoving as an oak. "Release the prisoner," he said quietly to the guards on duty. "Provide him with food and water."

The security guards shut down the door's force field and stepped inside to where McCoy hung by his wrists from shackles imbedded in the wall. The wrist cuffs turned loose and the doctor collapsed onto the floor of his cell, barely conscious.

Spock stood placidly, his dark eyes cool and expressionless. "Clean him and have him in my office in one hour," he said, then turned and walked out the door.

The Captain was at his desk waiting at 0900 when McCoy was dragged in by two guards and plopped down into the chair facing Spock. He was still weak and groggy and the guards stood on either side, both to catch him if he fell and to insure that he did not attack the Vulcan who now gazed calmly at him.

"Now, Dr. McCoy," Spock began, leaning back in his chair, elbows propped on the chair arms and fingers folded together. "Let us discuss the changes that will be made in your department." The doctor looked up blearily at him, trying to get his eyes to focus. "First, as I informed you, the sale of organs will cease immediately. Bodies will not be mutilated and they will be disposed of properly, either returned to their families for proper funerals or they will be buried in space with due honors. Second, your rank insubordination toward me will also cease immediately. Captain Kirk found your insults and sarcasm to me quite amusing. I do not. You will address me properly and show the respect due a senior officer."

McCoy's face had settled into a sullen frown. "That'll be the day, you green-blooded freak."

Spock merely shifted his gaze to the guard standing to McCoy's left. The big man took his agonizer from his belt and slapped it against McCoy's neck. Immediately, the doctor lurched out of his chair with a scream as searing pain seized his entire body. The punishment only lasted a couple of seconds but it seemed like an eternity to McCoy.

When the guard took the agonizer away, McCoy slumped back into his chair and shook for a few minutes, his head down and his eyes closed. Spock sat patiently, waiting for him to recover. When at last he raised his head once more, the Captain spoke. "You will find that my tolerance is at an end, Dr. McCoy. I have endured your offensive remarks and attitude as long as I am prepared to endure them. Is that understood?"

McCoy was still short of breath, glaring at Spock. "Yes, you... Yes, Captain."

"Very good. Now, let us continue. I have reviewed the records of the medical department for the past year and find that the level of medical care is substandard. Too many patients have died of neglect or incompetence. Your department has devolved into a torture chamber. I find that you have been using patients for medical experiments and for your own sadistic amusement. As of this moment, if I find that any one of your staff has engaged in such activities, I will have that person ejected out the nearest airlock. That includes you, Dr. McCoy. Actual medical care will be practiced in your department and you will behave with the decorum adherent with your position of Chief Medical Officer of this ship."

McCoy was on the verge of growling out a retort but at Spock's icy glare, he backed down and merely muttered, "Yes, Captain."

"Excellent. Now, you will go to your cabin and stay there the rest of today, recovering. I will expect you on duty tomorrow. That's all. Dismissed."

The two big guards didn't give McCoy a chance to reply, but seized him underneath both arms and dragged him to his feet, hustling him from the cabin. Spock had not moved from his position and still sat introspectively as Christine timidly appeared from the bedroom of the office suite, dressed in her duty uniform.

"Be careful of him," Spock said softly without changing his pose. "I will send Stanik with you from now on. I do not trust Dr. McCoy to carry out his orders nor to quietly accept the punishment I have given him. He will attempt revenge on me by harming you."

"I'll watch out," she assured him.

"Very good. You may go to sick bay now."

"Yes, my love ... Captain," she corrected herself, but she let her fingertips trail along his rigid shoulder as she moved past him. He did not respond, too deep in thought to acknowledge her.

* * *

Marlena looked up from her station in the science lab as Spock, his yeoman, and two of his guards entered, continuing the inspection tour that the new Captain had been conducting throughout the ship. His eyes missed nothing and he dictated quietly to the yeoman who scribbled frantically on the memo board she held.

The technicians in the lab had all snapped to attention at Spock's entry, including Marlena, and he spared her a quick glance as he walked past. Did she see something in his eyes that went beyond an impersonal inspection? She could have sworn that there was something else there, something that spoke to her directly.

She couldn't contain the secretive little smile that pulled at her lips and she watched him finish his sweep of the science lab and move onto his next destination without looking back at her. Maybe it was time to make her move.

* * *

Spock was back working at his desk, going over the reports he was compiling on the crew and their assignments, noting who needed to be replaced, who promoted, who eliminated completely. The deeper he looked into the workings on the ship, the more disgusted he became. He had never realized how much corruption Kirk had encouraged, how many illicit deals he was involved in, not only here but on over a dozen different Imperial worlds. Kirk had percentages in prostitution rings, gambling, transporting illegal drugs on the Enterprise itself, gun-running to worlds that were allied with none of the major powers. There was even a suggestion that he profited from the Rimworld slave trade.

And he wasn't alone in it. A cut of his percentage moved on up the chain of command into Admiral Komack's pocket and Spock had little doubt that other Starfleet leaders were involved, and that the corruption went into the Senate and the Imperial Palace. Undoubtedly, the corruption worked both ways with all involved lining their pockets as the gold and latinum continued to flow unabated into their various coffers.

He sat back with a tired sigh, thinking that more than a little of that wealth had flowed his way as well. One didn't become a senior officer without playing the game. It wasn't logical to do otherwise. Why then had he suddenly decided to do the illogical? The impossible? Why should the words of a stranger stick in his mind and refuse to be silent?

Spock had no real answers. Just something that the Other Kirk had said to him. Mr. Spock, you're a man of integrity in both our universes. Well, that was debatable. He wasn't exactly sure that their respective definitions of "integrity" were the same and if he actually fit the Other Kirk's description. But it had started a feeling within him, something that he must do, no matter the cost. But it would take one step at a time.

The buzzer to his office sounded and the door slid open to reveal Yates, the big human who worked for him. He saluted and said, "Lt. Moreau to see you, Captain."

"Very well. Send her in."

Yates stepped aside and the beautiful Latina woman entered. "Thank you for seeing me, Captain. May I talk with you? Alone?" She looked up meaningfully at the guard.

Spock didn't answer for a moment, then replied. "Affirmative." He nodded dismissal at the guard, who moved back outside the doorway. It slid shut. "What is it, Lieutenant?"

"Sir, I noticed you in the lab this morning," she began, her voice soft and a little husky. "I hope there was nothing that displeased you." She took a step toward him, almost casually.

He eyed her closely, aware that she had some motive for being here. "I found much that displeased me, Lt. Moreau. But I intend that it will be corrected shortly."

"Oh... I hope it was nothing that I did." She moved a little closer and rested her hands on the back of the chair that sat before the office desk. The pose accentuated her full bosom ever so slightly.

He didn't waver his gaze. "I do not believe that I found reason to single you out," he responded.

"I can't tell you how glad I am of that," she responded, cocking her hips just a bit. "I don't know how I would have made it up to you." She straightened and came around his desk, where she positioned herself on the edge, leaning back on her hands. "I would have been forced to think of something that would please you."

Spock's eyes narrowed just a bit. She was so obvious, he thought. What had Kirk seen in this woman? Granted, her beauty was astounding and her dark exotic looks reminded him somewhat of Vulcan women, but she was more ... earthy, if that was the appropriate term ... more basic and elemental. Something deep within him responded to her, however, and he found a pulse of sexual urgency beginning to answer her invitation.

She must have felt it in him, or seen it in his eyes, because she moved smoothly off the desk and onto his lap, sliding her arms around his neck. His eyebrows lifted at that but he made no move to dislodge her. "They say Vulcan men are fascinatingly different," she whispered seductively. "They say that you are capable of making love for days without tiring. Is that true?"

"Occasionally," he answered cryptically. "But only under extreme circumstances."

She smiled languidly. "Have you ever tried it?" she asked, trailing her long nails along the tip of his ear, tickling him until he flinched away. "I mean with a woman who could really appreciate it?"

One eyebrow went up higher. "I have not," he responded, faintly amused at her tactics. But the idea excited him. Christine could be quite enthusiastic in bed, but she didn't have the innate fire he sensed in Moreau. Maybe that's what attracted and held Kirk to her. Becoming aroused despite himself, Spock slid one hand up around Marlena's back in a loose embrace. "Are you volunteering for such an experiment, Lieutenant?"

Encouraged by his reaction to her advances, Marlena leaned closer to him. "I would be honored, Captain," she murmured and brought her lips down on his. He didn't exactly kiss her back, but he didn't resist either. When she lifted her head, she peered into his cool, dark eyes and tried to read his emotions. What she saw pleased her; there was definitely interest smouldering in those deep brown depths. She bent to his lips once again and this time he did respond, bringing his other arm up around her and pulling her closer.

The kiss deepened from there, until they were devouring each other hungrily and their hands were roaming over each other's bodies. As they pulled apart once more, Spock reached out and pressed the intercom button on his desk. "Yates," he said. "See that I'm not disturbed. Absolutely no exceptions."

"Aye, Captain," came the guard's voice and there was just a hint of a knowing smirk to it.

Marlena was smiling in sensuous triumph and she changed her position, straddling Spock's lap, moving the chair's armrests up out of the way so that she could get as close to him as possible. She could feel that he was already growing hard and she intended to take him all the way.

He knew what this seduction was all about, of course, but had decided to play along with her. The afternoon's diversion would be a pleasant break from what he'd been working on and she was definitely a "hot little piece of ass", as Kirk would have put it.

He turned his attention to her lush breasts and stroked them lightly through her uniform top. He could see and feel her nipples coming erect beneath the cloth and he pinched them gently, rolling them between his fingertips until they were stiff and full. Then he hooked his fingers underneath the abbreviated top and lifted it up over the swell of her bust, freeing her breasts from their confinement. She peeled the blouse off and dropped it on the floor then turned her attention back to his scrutiny of her body.

"What beautiful breasts you have, Marlena," he whispered, again stroking his fingers along the sides of her now bare bosom. They were large and firm and the tips were the color of mocha. Her nipples were generous, standing now like bullets, inviting him to touch them, to suck them. He complied, grasping a breast in each hand and bending to pull one into his mouth. She arched back to give him better access and he went from one to the other, expertly working her with his hot tongue until she clutched at his shoulders with nails deep into his flesh.

At last, he raised his head and she straightened, panting a bit. "Let me do you now," she whispered, and slid her fingers down the closure of his uniform tunic. She parted the garment to reveal the firm muscles of his chest. His chest and stomach were covered with dusky hair and she spent several minutes sliding her fingers up through it and then lightly scratching down again, leaving faint green lines where her nails had scored. In the process, she made sure that she chafed her nails over the nipples nestled among the hair, making them harden in response. Then she bent down, plying her tongue over and around them, sucking gently.

She untied the sash around his waist and opened his tunic all the way, turning her seeking touch to his stomach and navel, teasing and tickling him gently. Deep on his right side, she could feel his heart pounding underneath his ribcage. That gave her an instant's pause, to feel his heart where instinct told her it shouldn't be, but then she ignored it and went back to her kissing and nuzzling.

Between her legs, she could feel his erection straining against her through his trousers and she teased him by moving her hips against his, rubbing her groin over the hard shaft. He caught his breath at her action and reached down to slip his hand underneath her skirt. He encountered silken panties and excitement throbbed through him at how wet and slick she was. Rubbing her swollen womanhood through the silk, he gazed into her smouldering eyes. "I suggest that you get off me so we can move to the bed."

"Oh, no," she answered in a breathy whisper. "I can't wait even that long to have you in me." And her hands moved to the fly of his trousers, opening them quickly to free him. She lifted herself off his lap just long enough for him to pull her panties down and she hurriedly shoved them down her legs and off.

Then she positioned herself and settled back astride his lap, this time guiding his hard, pulsing rod into her. It sank into her as a sword into a sheath and, even though he was impressively endowed, she took him all. For a moment, both of them sat enjoying the quivering sensation of his solid heat filling her, then she began to move her hips against him rhythmically. He took her slim waist between his large hands and steadied her as she picked up speed, enjoying the sight of her long black hair whipping wildly as she tossed her head in ecstasy, her large breasts bouncing against her slender torso.

He caught them in his hands and massaged them, pinching the nipples hard. Unlike Christine, who found this painful, Marlena only increased the force of her thrusts against him, each lunge shoving him deeper into her and then drawing him away. The fiery woman who rode him with such abandon excited Spock to a degree he'd never known. Watching her wild, untamed sexuality claim him, his arousal surged up until he abruptly felt the explosive release of orgasm burst free in his gut. He grasped her hips and shoved hard and deep up into her, unable to suppress a gasping cry as his gushing eruption shot into her.

When he was able to speak again, he pulled her to him and kissed her soundly. "I shall be forced to have my chair cleaned after this," he murmured, still breathing hard.

"Then, for the sake of your chair, let's move into the bedroom now, my glorious Captain," she replied softly, her arms going around his neck once more. "Because I intend to fuck you in every position you can think of."

Despite having just had a powerful orgasm, his penis, still deep within her, twitched alert once more. "A move will necessitate my withdrawing from you," he answered, something he was frankly loathe to do just now.

"Well, we can do it again here, but it will just do more damage to your poor desk chair," she whispered, lightly kissing his lips. "Come on, it will only take a minute to get to the bed, then you can shove that big, beautiful cock back in me and keep it there as long as you want to." She kissed him again, harder this time, her tongue pushing playfully against his.

He found her argument imminently logical and persuasive. They did just that.

* * *

When Spock rolled off Marlena this time, he knew that he was finished. He had indeed pushed his endurance to the limit and she had kept coming back for more. One part of his mind wondered idly if perhaps she weren't a Betazed in the Phase, a condition middle-aged women endured during which their already generous libidos quadrupled. That corner of his mind was highly amused at the thought, adding to himself that if Marlena was this sexually insatiable now, as a Betazed she would surely be capable of literally fucking a man to death!

He didn't let any of his amusement reach past his nearly expressionless features. Instead, he merely lay beside her with his eyes closed, bringing his breathing and heart rate back within normal parameters. If Vulcan physiology had allowed the expenditure of sweat for cooling purposes, then he would surely be drenched by now, as she was. He found it a peculiar sensation -- lying atop a woman and feeling her whole body become slick and wet as moisture oozed from her pores. What inefficient creatures these humans were, wasting body fluids like that. And yet over the years he had come to find it irresistibly arousing, for it meant that his sexual partner had experienced a marked rise in her body temperature and, together, they would kindle a roaring fire of sexual combustion.

He glanced over at Marlena, lying gorgeously naked beside him. Her body fairly glistened with her sweat and it made her lovely, buff-colored skin gleam like smoky topaz. Almost, he was tempted to take her one last time. Almost. But his penis refused to do more than give a half-hearted twitch before subsiding limply. She had absolutely exhausted him and he wished he could simply lie here and sleep, but his sense of duty and his internal chronometer relentlessly ticking past the seconds refused to allow him this luxury.

He sat up on the side of the bed for a minute, his back to her, then rose and strode into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

Marlena watched him go, extremely pleased with the afternoon's events. She had managed to wear him out and she knew it. Not that it had been easy. The rumor she'd always heard about Vulcan men being insatiable had damned near proven true. Not only had he driven himself to orgasm over and over again, but each time his sex play had gotten harsher and more violent, until she began to wonder just how far he would go. She still had vivid memories of Kirk's period of fascination with handcuffs and a whip and the thought of those devices in Spock's hands made her lightheaded with fear. She began to understand why Christine was so submissive. Spock would likely kill her slowly and with much delight if she ever defied him. Still, the thought of that degree of violence excited her like nothing she'd ever experienced. She wanted to be the Captain's Woman and now, having tasted him in every literal and figurative way, she simply wanted Spock as a sex partner.

So she had endured right up to and including the final painful and humiliating episode during which he had positioned himself behind her and sodomized her with thoroughness and obvious delight. It was a display of pure, primal domination on his part and she had a mouthful of the sheets between her teeth, biting hard, by the time he finished with her. But ultimately she had prevailed. She had graphically shown him that she was more than his sexual equal, ready to take anything he could dish out.

She'd given him the fuck of his life this afternoon and even a Vulcan ought to be impressed with that! Marlena let her lips curl into a hard smile. Let that pale, puling little excuse for a Woman try to top her performance in bed.

The bathroom door opened and Spock emerged, still magnificent in his nakedness. He didn't look her way but simply bent and retrieved his uniform trousers from the floor, stepping into them and sealing the fly. Then, as if he were alone, he sat down on the edge of the bed and put on his boot stockings, following these by pulling on his tall, black leather boots and tucking the hems of his pants smoothly into them. As he retrieved his uniform tunic, he commanded simply, "Get dressed and get out. I have work to do." He walked back into his office without another word.

Marlena was stung by his cold insensitivity, but swallowed her anger. He was a Vulcan, after all, and he would never have held her and caressed her in the aftermath of their sexual interlude. She got up and did her turn in the bathroom to clean up a bit, then dressed resolutely.

When she walked back into the office area, he was sitting at his desk, writing on his note board with quiet intensity as if nothing had occurred to take him away from his previous activities. He never acknowledged her presence. As she started out the door, she paused and turned back to him.

"Shall I come back tomorrow?" she inquired softly.

"No," he answered with finality, never looking up. Anger boiled up in her and she spun away from him, then was caught as he added in a softer, more confidential voice, still not changing his position, "I shall come to you." He went on writing as if simply discussing a change in the crew roster.

Triumphant, Marlena smiled smugly at the guard Yates and walked off down the corridor, her shapely hips swaying sensuously.

Christine arrived about an hour later, finished with her duty shift and accompanied by the big Vulcan guard, Stanik. As she entered the Captain's Cabin, she noticed Yates giving her the eye and stifling a snicker.

"What?" asked Stanik, sotto voce.

"I'll tell you later," Yates replied in the same soft whisper and then the door slid shut behind her. Spock was at his desk, oblivious to her, working his way through the piles of PADDs and reports piled up before him. She greeted him and went into the bedroom to change.

A moment later, she was back standing in the doorway of the bed chamber, practically breathing fire. "You bastard!" she snapped.

He looked up calmly at her, but his dark eyes were hooded, cold, and very dangerous. "What did you say?" he asked with deadly quiet.

She strode toward him. "I said, you bastard!" she repeated, her face flushed with anger. "That bed absolutely reeks of cum! What did you do all afternoon? Fuck your friggin' dick off? And with who?!"

Slowly, he rose and advanced on her. Although in actuality she stood nearly as tall as he did, now he seemed to tower over her, his face dark with rage. She glared back and hissed, "I asked you a question!"

In the next instant she found herself regaining consciousness on the floor, her head spinning and her eyes refusing to focus properly. The side of her face was numb from the blow he had dealt her, although something in her mouth ached with an increasingly sharp pain. There was blood in her mouth, too. Lots of it, and cautious exploration with her tongue revealed that two of her molars were exceedingly loose in her gums and they were bleeding profusely.

She also noticed a pair of long, slim, black-clad legs rising above her and she managed to follow them up to finally rest on Spock's furious, seething countenance. "Never address me in that manner," he ground out between clenched teeth.

Christine's shock and fear level overloaded with the depth of her outrage and indignation. "How could you do this to me?" she demanded and they both knew she wasn't referring to his backhanding her. "Why would you do this to me?!" Now tears did well up in her eyes and she sobbed raggedly at his feet. "After what you said to me last night?"

Spock did not want to be reminded of his vow to her and this, topping his already raging emotional state, was too much. "You will not dictate terms of our relationship!" he roared and reached down to seize the front of her uniform in both hands, dragging her to her feet. "No woman will dictate terms to me! I am done with you! Get out!"

And with a vehemence that shocked her even beyond her pain and anguish, he hauled her to the door of his cabin and, as it slid automatically open, flung her bodily into the corridor. She hit the opposite wall and crumpled to the floor, the breath knocked out of her. Even Yates and Stanik stood in rigid surprise at their Captain's rage and did not move to help her.

Spock disappeared back into his cabin, the door sliding closed with a definitive hiss, and for a long time Christine lay where she had fallen, choking on the blood in her mouth, aching from her physical wounds and from a hurt she never thought she would experience. She looked up at the two guards still standing stiffly at the Captain's door. They hadn't left their posts but Yates was looking at her sympathetically, one human to another. Stanik's expression was closed, more enigmatic and Christine couldn't tell if he agreed with Spock's viewpoint or not.

At last, she managed to get to her feet and stood shakily for a moment, trying to think what to do. Finally her head cleared enough that she realized her first stop must be sick bay to tend to her injuries. Then she would figure out the rest of it.

Keeping one hand on the wall to steady herself, Christine moved haltingly down the corridor toward the lift.

* * *

There was no one on duty in sick bay when Christine finally reached the medical facilities. Well, no one conscious in any case. Dr. M'Benga was passed out on one of the diagnostic beds. Christine knew that he regularly stole and used drugs from the pharmaceuticals cabinets and was an addict of the first degree. She glanced at him in disgust for he didn't appear to have shaved or bathed in several days and she could smell his fetid odor the minute she came through the door.

She couldn't find anyone else to help her, so she shakily tended to her wounds as best she could. The first order of business were the two teeth that Spock had knocked loose. She didn't trust the ship's dentist. The man was a sadist and would likely yank them out with no pain killer at all. She found a vial of periorthocaine and filled a hypospray with 10cc's then pressed it against her jaw, wincing at the pain. It took only a minute before the powerful anesthetic completely deadened her mouth and she worked the two loose teeth out with her fingers. It didn't take much effort to extract them but it caused a fresh gout of blood to well up. She located a wound grafter and got the worst of the injury sealed. Then she packed her gum with gauze, the taste of blood in her mouth making her nauseated.

Next up was her swelling and blackening face. The right side of her face had swollen until her eye was nearly shut but she still couldn't feel anything. Nerve damage, she decided and ran the regenerator over her face, hoping it healed the injury. She did a quick scan of herself and discovered that there were hairline fractures in her right shoulder and two ribs, undoubtedly from hitting the wall. She applied the bone grafter to these to promote their healing.

By this time, she could barely stand from systemic shock. Because she had no place else to go, she injected herself with a large dose of antibiotic and painkiller then went back into the infirmary. There weren't any other patients at the moment and she found the cleanest bed she could and lay down on it, shaking. As she pulled the blankets up over her and curled up into a fetal position, tears of emotional and physical hurt welled up in her eyes and dripped down onto the pillow. The drugs worked fast, however, and she lost consciousness within a few minutes.

* * *

Christine woke an unknown time later, still groggy from the drugs, and came to the realization that she was lying on her back, naked from the waist down, and someone had his hand between her legs. She managed to get her eyes open and found herself staring up into the leering face of Dr. McCoy. He was grinning lewdly as he felt her up and she was still too much under the influence of the drugs to respond.

"So, he finally beat you up and threw you out, huh?" the doctor grinned. "Guess that makes you open for the taking, my dear. You know, I've always sort of fancied you, Christine. I always wondered what you saw in that pointy-eared hobgoblin. You really ought to take up with me. I can treat you right. And I have to be honest with you -- I've dreamed about getting between those long legs and into that tight little pussy of yours."

He worked his fingers up into her, obviously getting more and more excited as he talked. She closed her eyes and shook her head, about all she could get her sluggish body to do. "No..." she murmured, her foggy brain threatening to shut down once more.

He began to rub himself with his other hand, continuing to thrust his fingers in and out of her opening. "Oh, yeah, Christine, ever since you came aboard, I've been wanting to do this, but you took up with him right away and wouldn't give me a chance. Give me that chance, Christine. Just once, that's all I want." He yanked the blankets all the way off and climbed up onto the bed, kneeling between her spread legs and opening his pants.

"No!" she managed weakly. "Stop!"

"Just one time, Christine," he responded relentlessly, stroking himself up harder in preparation. "All I want is one time."

He was positioning himself atop her and she managed to lift her leaden arms to push feebly at him. "Stop! Are you crazy? Spock will kill you!"

"Spock doesn't want you anymore, remember?" the doctor responded and jammed himself into her.

She passed out again as he was busily pumping himself into her limp body.

* * *

He was still riding her when she began to drift back to consciousness but something was different. Something had penetrated her fogged mind and then she realized what it was. The smell of unwashed flesh was heavy in her nostrils and she found herself looking up into M'Benga's dark, sweating face. That shocked her nearly to full consciousness and she turned her head to see where McCoy was. To her horror, she discovered that not only was the chief medical officer sitting over on the next bunk observing with interest, but two of his lab technicians were waiting their turns at her, one of them busily stroking his exposed penis as he watched.

She had been stripped naked and was sore and wet between her legs. She wondered how long she had been unconscious and how many times she had been raped by them. But her mind still refused to clear and something whispered that they'd been keeping her drugged and out while they used her body for their own purposes.

She groaned and tried to shove M'Benga off her but was still too weak. "She's coming 'round again," the doctor said to his colleague. McCoy promptly got up and shoved a hypospray against her arm.

"That oughta hold her for another hour or so," she heard McCoy comment then the world went black again.

* * *

Marlena looked up with barely concealed disgust as Sulu slid into the commissary chair across from her. "What do you want?" she asked cooly, losing her appetite for the sparse lunch she had been eating.

"You heard the gossip, didn't you?" he asked, his eyes slitted with malicious humor. "Spock beat the shit out of Christine and kicked her out of his cabin. That makes it convenient for you, doesn't it?"

"And is it your supposition that he immediately came running to me to seize me in his arms and make mad, passionate love?" she inquired sarcastically.

"I would," Sulu grinned. "But, no, not him. That cold bastard probably couldn't get it up if he wanted to. You know they only have sex every seven years, don't you?"

Marlena clamped her teeth together to keep from laughing out loud. She still ached from the previous day's activities and had a vivid recollection of Spock "getting it up" ... over and over and over again, seemingly at will. At last she managed to ask, "Oh, you know that for a fact, do you? No doubt you've checked this out first hand."

The security chief sat back in the chair and smiled languidly. "It's common knowledge, Marlena. They go through this rutting season and will hump anything they can get their hands on -- you know he actually fucked his previous Woman to death, don't you?"

"No, he didn't," she responded, skeptical.

"I swear! I was there! He went into that mating phase and absolutely lost his mind. We nearly had to kill him to get him subdued enough to lock him up in maximum security. Not that I woulda minded finishing the job, but the Captain ... Kirk ... didn't want him whacked. Even in security, Spock nearly tore the walls down with his bare hands before Kirk threw his whore in there with him." Sulu grinned widely. "I never saw anything like it in my life. They were going at it like a couple of crazed Aldebaran rock apes."

He shook his head at the memory. "Shit! Of course, Vulcans are only like that when they're in heat. The rest of the time, the men stay limp as a noodle. No interest in sex at all."

Marlena couldn't help herself. She began to laugh and had to put her hand over her mouth and fight to contain herself. Finding him staring at her in irritation, she finally said, "Oh, Hikaru, you are so full of crap that you squish when you walk!"

His mouth tightened. "Oh, so you have proof to the contrary, huh?" He glared at her. "What'd you do? Get him to drop his drawers and check him out personally?"

She smiled smugly. "I'm not saying whether I did or not. But he kept Christine around for a reason, didn't he? She wasn't just warming his bed because he got cold at night. And I'll bet he was very cold last night."

But Sulu's good humor was gone. He leaned across the table and said in a tight mutter, "Don't get any ideas, Marlena. Reel your hooks back in. He's not going to have you and I am!"

Now her temper soared up. "Oh, so you think one fuck makes me your Woman? Well, maybe I fucked Spock, too, and that's why he threw out Christine. Ever think of that?"

"If that's so, then why aren't you moving your things into his cabin right now?" Sulu retorted. "Why doesn't he have you flat on your back with his dick up your cunt right this minute? No, you're the one who's full of crap, Marlena. He doesn't want you and he never will. Stop dreaming. I can give you what you want and you know it."

She pushed away from the table and rose. "I have work to do," she informed him haughtily. "Maybe I'll see you around." With that she strode out of the rec room, but there was a definite saucy movement to her hips that said perhaps the matter was still open to debate.

* * *

Spock had been sitting motionless in the command chair all morning, staring at the main viewscreen without really seeing it. He hadn't slept last night and his brooding silence amply warned the bridge officers not to annoy him. For hour after hour he had replayed in his mind the events that had occurred the evening before. He ran meticulously through his righteous indignation over Christine's defiance and disrespect of him. She had to be put back in her place, he told himself. It was his duty as her captain and her mate to discipline her.

But something inside of him refuted that statement. She is not your mate, it said. You are not bonded. And she is not Vulcan. You cannot expect her to act as your wife.

He didn't care. She was his mistress and had been so long enough to know what he expected of her. And she had been properly submissive until recently.

And why do you think that is? the persistent voice demanded. She has been loyal to you and you have betrayed that loyalty by taking another woman into your bed. HER bed. You did nothing to hide the fact and then became furious when she reacted as you logically knew she would react.

I have every right to take another woman, he argued with himself stubbornly. As Captain of this vessel, I can take any woman I choose. Christine has no authority to keep me from doing so.

Only her love for you, the voice whispered. You led her to believe that you wished the violence and hatred to end and then you attacked her. You betrayed her. You betrayed her trust and loyalty. You betrayed her love. Betrayed her.

Be silent! he told his subconscious firmly, not wanting to hear it.

Betrayed... it insisted. Humiliated her. Attacked her. Degraded her. Where is she now? Where could she go after you beat her and ejected her from your quarters? She was hurt. YOU hurt her. Nearly killed her. Where would she go in that condition?

Abruptly, Spock rose from the command chair and said curtly, "Mr. Chekov, you have the conn." With that he strode without further word into the turbolift, his guards slipping in after him.

* * *

He would at least check on her, he decided as he marched down the corridor toward sick bay, Yates and Stanik close behind. He would not go crawling back to her -- the thought of seeking her forgiveness was repugnant to him -- but it was his responsibility as captain to at least look in on an injured crewmember. You injured her. You. It's your fault she's there.

He closed his eyes for a second to silence the nagging voice. With resolution, he entered sick bay and then stopped. It was very quiet and there appeared to be no one around. The examination room proved to be empty as well. Then his sharp hearing picked up the sound of voices coming from behind the closed doors of the infirmary area.

Spock and his guards moved in that direction and, as they did, Spock identified one of the voices as McCoy's and another as Harrison, one of the lab techs. He could not understand what they were saying but there seemed to be a good deal of humor involved in their speech.

Suspicion leaped up inside him for some reason and Spock motioned his guards to be ready for anything. Then he stepped up to the door and it snapped open before him.

No matter what Spock had been prepared for, it wasn't this. The frozen tableau of shocked faces that greeted him was not what riveted his attention. It was the limp form of the pale blonde woman lying naked on the bed, the other lab tech atop her, naked as well, in the obvious act of intercourse. Harrison stood beside the bed, both hands on her breasts, while McCoy and M'Benga sat on the next bunk, passing a lit Capellan spice stick between them.

For what seemed like a long moment, time stopped, Spock so appalled by what he was viewing that his mouth had fallen open in shock. Then fury such as he'd seldom known exploded within him and he roared, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HER?!" and charged into the room.

The other four men scrambled into action as well, in various directions and degrees of mobility. Harrison was in the best position to run and he made a break for the other door. He didn't make it ten feet before Yates vaporized him with a full power blast from his phaser. Stanik made a leap for the two doctors and collared both of them before they could react in their drugged stupor.

But it was the other man, the one assaulting Christine, that Spock seized with both hands. Every ounce of his Vulcan strength was unleashed in unbridled wrath as he dragged the tech up bodily and slammed him into the nearest wall. The force of impact buckled the wall plating and there was the sound of bones cracking and the wet smack of meat hitting steel. The tech landed in a crumpled heap of blood and flesh, limbs bent in directions they were not meant to go, his smashed head lolled at an unnatural angle.

Spock turned to McCoy and M'Benga, now firmly in the hands of his guards. Barely able to stop himself from tearing into them with his bare hands, he stood in trembling rage before them. "Take him to the brig and put him in shackles," he ordered through gritted teeth, indicating M'Benga. "I want him to hang there without relief as he goes through withdrawal from his drug addiction. No water, no food, no pain relievers. Once he has gone through that, if he still lives, put him in the agony booth until he dies."

Yates hauled the assistant medical officer out to his fate. Spock moved his gaze onto McCoy and his fists clenched in his effort at control. Finally he spoke in a hoarse whisper, all that he could manage. "Take Dr. McCoy and detain him in maximum security. I will be there shortly to mete out punishment." As Stanik shoved the human forward, Spock suddenly reached out and seized a fistful of McCoy's tunic, nearly dragging him up off his feet. "Until I get there, McCoy, think about what I said to you about what I would do to any member of this department that I found abusing a patient. Prepare yourself, for there will be no appeal."

He released the other man and Stanik hustled him from the room. Once they were gone, Spock closed his eyes and hung his head, drawing a deep breath, and turned to the woman on the bed. He moved to her side and looked down at her bruised, swollen face, feeling a stab of intense pain that he had caused this and was directly responsible for her being here. She was barely conscious and looked up at him with heavy-lidded eyes.

"Christine..." he whispered and bent over her. She whimpered and tried to flinch away from him in fear, but he gently stopped her movement and stroked the uninjured side of her face with his fingertips. "No, no, it's all right. They won't hurt you anymore. I have come to take you home."

Tears welled up and slid down her face as she squeezed her eyes shut. He sat on the side of the bed and gathered her into his arms, holding her as she clung weakly to him and sobbed. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," he found himself whispering to her and was just as surprised to find that he truly meant it.

After a few minutes, he laid her back and then bent to pick up the red coverlet that was lying on the floor. He wrapped her in it and then lifted her easily into his arms, cradling her head against his shoulder. To him, she didn't weigh anything and he carried her all the way back to their cabin, ignoring the curious and surprised looks they received on the way. All he cared about was getting her away from the horror chamber of sick bay and into a place where he could keep her safe.

His other two guards, Rafkin and Sedgwick, were on duty outside his cabin and they came to attention and saluted as he appeared. If they were shocked to see him with the blanket-wrapped woman in his arms, neither had the bad judgment to show it.

Spock took Christine into the bed chamber and placed her gently on the bed. After unwrapping her from the blanket, he retrieved medical supplies from the bathroom and did his best to treat her injuries. Thankfully, she was still so drugged that she didn't hurt much. He dressed her in one of his own robes rather than her own flimsy negligees and settled her, sitting with her until he was sure she was asleep.

Then he rose and left her, his indignation and anger coming back to a boil. He paused at the door to his cabin and found that Yates was just coming back from locking up M'Benga. He stopped and saluted his captain.

"Mr. Yates, you will come with me. Mr. Rafkin, Mr. Sedgwick, remain on guard here. I will return shortly."

With that, Spock marched off down the corridor to carry out his judgment, sentence and punishment on the ship's Chief Medical Officer.

* * *

Spock stood in rigid formality before the man held in the firm grip of the bodyguards Yates and Stanik. "Dr. McCoy," he said with deadly calm. "What you have done is beyond reprehensible. Encouraging and participating in the gang rape of a patient in your sick bay approaches a level of barbarity that has shocked even me. That she was a member of your staff and that you deliberately kept her drugged so that the rape could continue indefinitely has compounded your crime."

"You threw her away, Spock," McCoy snarled, greasy dark hair falling into his face. "What do you care what we did with your trash?"

Spock did not respond outwardly to the baiting. He continued, "Furthermore, you were warned explicitly of my expectations of the medical staff and the punishment that would ensue should such atrocities continue. You chose not only to disregard my orders but to go even farther beyond what you had done in the past. I have no alternative but to carry out judgment on you."

"You mother fuckin' bastard! I wish it'd been you we were screwin' up the ass!"

The Vulcan's eyes narrowed a bit but he maintained control. "Dr. Leonard McCoy, I find you guilty on all charges. I hereby sentence you to death by expulsion from the ship. Punishment to be carried out immediately."

McCoy was slipping into hysteria, fighting hard to free himself from the iron grips of the guards who held him, his face slick with a sheen of sweat. "You cock sucker! I'll kill you! You green-blooded ass licker! You--"

"Mr. Yates, Mr. Stanik ... put him in the air lock."

"NOOOOOO!" McCoy screamed desperately and fought with the strength of a man on the verge of being murdered.

It was to no avail. The inner air lock door swung open and the doctor was thrown into the small room. He was up on his feet immediately, attempting to get out, but Yates fended off every attempt at escape as the heavy door swung back closed.

Just before it did so, the guard spat in McCoy's face and growled, "That's for her!" He shoved him hard backwards so that the doctor fell. Then the door shut and sealed with a definitive hiss.

"Begin cycling," Spock ordered quietly.

Inside the air lock, McCoy was up on his feet again, beating frantically at the double-paned viewport, his face wild with fear. No sound could be heard, however, for the pressure plating on the air lock was too thick, too solid.

Spock stood silently, his hands behind his back, his face grim, eyes never leaving the doctor's frenzied countenance.

The vacuum pumps began pulling the atmosphere from inside the air lock. McCoy's eyes bulged and he clutched at his throat, obviously working desperately to breathe. He clawed and pounded at the door, his mouth pleading to be let out.

Spock stood impassive, unmoved. At a certain point, when the level of air remaining in the air lock was low enough to allow the outer hatch to open, he commanded in the same emotionless voice, "Flush the compartment."

The outer door rolled silently back and the remaining atmosphere in the air lock burst outward into the vacuum of space, taking Dr. McCoy's still living body with it. Only at that point did Spock permit himself to close his eyes against the sight. Explosive decompression was something even he could not bear watching.

"Close the outer hatch," he said. "Computer, log time of Dr. McCoy's death and note that judgment and punishment are completed."

"Affirmative," replied the deep, expressionless voice of the ship's computer.

Yates was looking decidedly ill and even Stanik had paled. Spock turned to walk past them, commenting, "Mr. Yates, if you are going to vomit, please find the nearest head to do so."

Yates gulped and got himself under control. "I'm not going to vomit, sir."

"Very good. Come with me, gentlemen."

The guards followed their Captain back to sick bay where Spock summoned the remaining medical staff to attend him. When they had gathered, he spoke. "Dr. McCoy and Dr. M'Benga have been removed from their positions in this department. Dr. McCoy has been executed and Dr. M'Benga is currently undergoing maximum discipline."

There was an uncomfortable shifting and exchanging of glances among the staff members. They all knew what "maximum discipline" meant -- the agony booth for the duration of life ... however long that lasted.

Spock continued, "Ensigns Harrison and McRea have also been eliminated from this department. I will tolerate absolutely no further crimes or corruption. Dr. Zimmerman..." Spock looked directly at one of the doctors, a rather pallid little man who gulped and stepped forward, eyes wide with apprehension. "As senior physician here, I appoint you acting Chief Medical Officer until further notice."

"Aye, sir," Zimmerman acknowledged in surprise.

"I will reiterate my orders regarding the medical division." And now Spock's dark eyes hardened and he swept his gaze over the men and women present, pinning each one with his penetrating stare. "Actual medical care is to be practiced in this department. Deviation from my orders will result in immediate execution. Is there anyone here who does not understand that?" He moved his icy glare over them again. No one spoke. "Very good. Carry on."

And with that Spock spun and marched from sick bay.

* * *

Sulu was at his station on the bridge, swapping filthy jokes with Chekov, when Uhura turned from the comm station.

"Mr. Sulu, I'm getting a message for you from Starfleet Command. Coded confidential."

The security officer didn't look very surprised, turning to the beautiful African woman and saying, "Give me about five minutes, Lieutenant, then pipe it down to my quarters."

"Aye, sir."

Sulu got up and strode toward the turbolift. For once he didn't pause to make a lewd suggestion to the buxom communications officer and Uhura didn't comment either, sensing that something serious was unfolding. Sulu getting confidential messages from Starfleet generally didn't bode well.

Chekov appeared behind her and reached down to massage the muscles in her upper back. She glanced over her shoulder at him and discovered that his youthful face was grim but filled with speculation.

"What do you think this is all about?" Uhura asked, almost rhetorically.

The Russian narrowed his eyes to slits and the corners of his mouth lifted slightly in a cruel smile. Still kneading her back, he answered softly and laughed. "I think ve are about to haf a new Keptin."

* * *

When Christine slowly and sleepily opened her eyes, she found herself in the familiar surroundings of the Captain's cabin, the lights turned low, and Spock sitting beside the bed, apparently deep into meditation. His eyes were closed and his hands steepled together before his face, his breathing soft and even.

"Spock..." she whispered. "What time is it?"

Instantly, he opened his eyes and leaned close to her, engulfing her small hand in his large one. "2032," he answered. "How do you feel?"

"I hurt," she replied softly.

"I will get you a pain reliever," he said and started to rise from his chair.

She tightened her grip minutely, all she could manage. "No, stay with me. I don't want you to leave."

He sat back down and reached to stroke her cheek. "I will stay."

She looked up into the face that could show such cruelty and fierceness, but was now softened by the low light and the expression of tenderness that she rarely saw there. These were the moments when she knew why she'd fallen in love with him, when she remembered the times he had held her in the darkness and caressed her body with gentleness and care. She reached up to cover his hand with hers and their fingers twined together. She closed her eyes and pressed the back of his hand to her cheek. And her face crumpled into anguish, tears squeezing out from between her dark lashes.

He quickly moved onto the bed and took her in his arms, holding her close as she sobbed and clung to him, releasing the emotional overload of terror and grief and anger that welled up inside her. As a Vulcan, he had always had difficulty understanding and assimilating human emotions, but he had lived with Christine long enough for an empathic bond to form between them. And she had every right to feel violated by what she had gone through these past 24 hours.

What amazed him most was that she did not run shrieking from him, too. Again the voice of guilt and admonishment surfaced within him, hammering home the fact that he was ultimately responsible for her attack and her other injuries. He had failed her both as a mate and as her commanding officer. He knew that he could not deny it. During the long session of meditation as he sat by her bed, he had been struggling to come to terms with what he had done ... with what he had become. With brutal Vulcan honesty, he had made himself see the man into which he had evolved, especially since the strangers had come.

With a surge of bitterness, he wished he had never heard of the Halkans, that the ship had never gone to that planet and been caught in the magnetic storm that had transferred the Others to this ship. If he had never been poisoned by the words of the Other Kirk, had never heard the seductive ideas so foreign to his way of thinking, he would even now be happily tending to his duties as First Officer, living a life to which he had grown accustomed and comfortable.

He would not be laboring under the immense weight of the captaincy, would not be taking his stress and anger out on the woman who had stood beside him for so long, would not feel the obligation deep within him to do something to bring about a change in his world.

He sighed. It seemed impossible. The obstacle of bringing about reform in the Terran Empire was like attempting to move a mountain, pebble by pebble. The Other Kirk had been wrong. One man could not summon the future. Especially if that man was a Vulcan in a human-run galaxy.

Christine's sobs had softened and he continued to hold her closely. She pulled away a little and looked up at him, her eyes red and swollen from weeping, the purple bruise on her face disfiguring the symmetry of her high cheekbones and generous mouth. He bent and gently kissed her lips, not asking anything of her sexually, but simply because he was compelled to let her know that he needed and wanted her. That she was his Woman and always would be.

After he lifted his lips from hers, she gazed at him for a moment with something like wonder in her eyes, then she reached and pulled him back down to her, capturing his mouth in a long, heart-felt kiss.

When she drew away, she whispered, "Thank you, Spock. Thank you for coming after me."

The specter of fury burned deep within his dark eyes for a moment as he answered, "They are dead. All but M'Benga and he soon will be. I wanted to kill them with my bare hands, to tear them apart. I did kill one of them, the one who was ... who was..." He didn't go on as her eyes clouded over with fear and pain.

She trembled then looked back up at him. "Spock, we have to get off this ship," she whispered, tears quivering in her eyes again. "They will kill us if we don't. We will never be safe here!"

"I ... do not know where to go," he answered haltingly, miserably. "I can think of no place at all where we would be safe. If I attempted to step down as captain, I would be dead within the day by Sulu's hand or some other ambitious young officer. And if we did somehow manage to leave, Starfleet Security would hunt us down and eliminate us. They do not tolerate weakness in their starship captains."

She shivered and moved back into his arms, gulping back a sob. "I'm afraid," she told him, her tears spilling down her cheeks. "I'm afraid, Spock."

He held her close and stroked his hand down her tangled blonde hair, gently pressing her head against his shoulder. "I'll think of something," he murmured. I must, he thought to himself. Because I'm afraid, too.

* * *

Sulu had laughed heartily when he informed Marlena that Spock had not only taken Christine back, but had personally fetched her from sick bay where McCoy and his minions had been engaged in an orgy of drugs and rape. It had become common knowledge around the ship by now that the Captain, in his fury, had spaced the chief medical officer and that M'Benga was being tortured to death for his participation in the incident. But the smirk on Sulu's cruel, scarred face hid something that he wasn't sharing with the beautiful Latina woman.

She deduced this when he was still lying atop her, sweat dripping off his golden body onto hers, still hard within her. She narrowed her eyes and peered suspiciously up at him. "You know something that you're not saying, Hikaru."

"You're right," he agreed.

"What?"

"Mmm-mmm, can't say," he smiled nastily. "But I'd be ready to change cabins again, if I were you."

"To yours?"

"Yes, ma'am," he grinned.

"Why would I want to take up with a lowly lieutenant?" she inquired cooly.

"Why, indeed?" Sulu looked like the proverbial cat that ate the canary. "When you can take up with a captain?"

"Ahhhh..." She regarded him with half-closed eyes. "So, they gave you the go-ahead..."

"Can't say," he repeated and gave his hips a shove into hers, ready for another session with her. "But I do love screwing a Captain's Woman. I intend to make a habit of it." And he plunged into her again and settled into a steady rhythm. When she was writhing underneath him, he asked her softly, "Tell me, Marlie, did you really fuck Spock or were you just making that up?"

"Mmmmm ... what do you think?"

Sulu's eyes narrowed to slits. "I think you're a big enough whore to have done it. So, did you enjoy it? How'd you get him in bed, anyway?"

"None of your business," she panted.

"I'd really like to know ... in case I feel like fucking him someday," Sulu grinned.

Marlena looked skeptically up at the security officer moving atop her. "Hah! He'd rip you a new asshole and stuff your head in it," she answered.

"Tell me all about him, Marlena," he whispered, pounding into her, growing excited. "Is he as big as me? Did you suck his dick? What does a Vulcan taste like, Marlena? Tell me."

She peered up at him with a cold, calculating expression. "Answering your questions in order -- bigger, yes, and go find out for yourself," she answered curtly.

Sulu laughed and stepped up his pace. "I think I will ... before I'm through with him," he murmured. "And you can watch while I do it. Now, shut up so I can concentrate on what I'm doing. I want to show you what a real man feels like."

* * *

Three days passed without incident. M'Benga died in the agony booth, being near death when he was strapped into the device, still shaking and twitching from drug withdrawal. His corpse was spaced with little ceremony but with Captain Spock letting it be known that a similar fate awaited any transgressors aboard his ship.

Christine recovered and felt well enough to return to her duties. It was hard at first, but with McCoy and M'Benga gone and with Stanik, the Vulcan guard, standing silent watch in the background, she managed to function.

Spock was again working at his desk when Marlena came to see him.

"I thought you were going to pay me a call, Captain," she purred, leaning over his desk to display her cleavage to maximum advantage.

Spock was in no mood today for her schemes. He sat back in his chair and stared at her coldly. "I changed my mind, Lieutenant," he answered harshly.

"Can't I change it back?" she asked suggestively. Holding his eyes with hers, she trailed her fingers along the contours of one breast, feeling her nipples peaking through the cloth of her uniform top.

"I have no interest in pursuing a sexual relationship with you, Lieutenant," he responded in the same icy tone, his dark eyes like stone.

She started to move around his desk. "You certainly fooled me, sir," she murmured. "You fucked me like a man who was very interested in having sex with me."

Instantly, he was on his feet, his stance rigid before her. "Human sexual games do not interest me, Lt. Moreau, nor do I find you especially alluring. On the contrary, you begin to annoy me," he said in a dangerously quiet voice, towering over her. "Leave my office and return to your duties. Do not come here again unless it is on ship's business."

She peered up at him through her lashes, her expression half sullen and half provocatively pouty. "I heard about the little ... tiff you had with Lt. Chapel," she murmured. "Does she know about us? About how many times you banged me the other day?"

Spock blinked for a second in surprise then his brows lowered into a frown. "No, nor will she," he growled.

"Oh, but surely at least she knows that she hasn't been the only one sharing your affections lately," Marlena purred. "Or can't she figure it out...?"

Spock took an angry step toward her. "You will say nothing to her!"

"Or else you will punish me? I've heard about the ... games you like to play, Captain. Why not show me your little collection of wrist binders and whips?" She leaned toward him, her full lips parted sensuously. "I love domination. You know I love it. Anywhere, any time, my glorious Captain."

"Get out," he ordered her, his breath coming deep in anger.

"No, I think I'll stay for a while," she answered throatily. "I'm really tired. I think I'll stretch out on the bed. Why don't you join me?"

She turned and began to move toward the bed chamber. He reached out and grabbed her upper arm, spinning her back to face him. "I am losing patience with you," he muttered.

"You're losing control, too," she responded, a little smile tilting her lips. "You're getting hard, aren't you? You're thinking about what it felt like to fuck yourself nearly unconscious with me. You're thinking about how much you want to do it again ... and again ... and again..."

He shook his head slightly. "Why are you baiting me? Don't you know I could kill you here and now with my bare hands?"

"But you won't," she purred. "Because you'd rather be doing something else with your hands. You'd rather have your hand between my legs or on my tits. Wouldn't you?"

And she brazenly slipped her hand along his thigh to the front of his pants. Sure enough, he had a massive erection and she stroked him lightly with her fingertips, teasing him. He pushed her away. "I want you to get out," he said hoarsely.

"I want you to get in," she answered, moving up closer to him once more. "I want you in me, Spock. I want to feel you, so huge and hard and hot, shoved all the way up my pussy. I want you to fuck me, Spock. Right here. Right now!" And she slid her arms around his neck and kissed him, hungrily, her tongue pushing between his lips.

With a desperate gasp, he wrenched her arms from around him and shoved her away again. "I can't," he said in a rough whisper. "Not now in any case. And not here. Ever again." He closed his eyes and wet his dry lips. "Go back to your cabin. I will meet you there shortly."

Triumphantly, she slid away from him, gliding toward the door. "Don't be late, my love," she whispered. "Or poor Christine will learn the most distressing information about her Captain's habits while she's on duty." With that, she left him, her shapely hips sashaying with sensual promise.

* * *

He did come to her cabin this time and found her waiting for him, lounging back on her bed, dressed in a wisp of a negligee that was open down the front and left her beautiful body tantalizingly ready for him.

He didn't even bother to undress, but simply opened the fly of his trousers and without ceremony or preamble slammed himself into her, riding her hard and fast. Every ounce of anger and frustration he felt poured out of him and he relished the little cries of pain that escaped her lips. He came hard and fast, too, and as soon as he was finished, he pulled out of her and resealed his pants.

"There," he said in a low growl. "I have fucked you. I trust that has satisfied you."

She was angry now, too. "What's wrong with you?" she demanded, her black eyes flashing. "Don't you find me desirable? You certainly gave me that impression a few days ago!"

"I do not want you, Marlena," he answered. "I find you despicable."

"Oh, I see," she responded cooly, rising to her feet. "So, you found me despicable every time you shoved your cock in me. You found me despicable when I went down on you and you were so incoherent you weren't even speaking English anymore. You found me despicable when you were sucking my tits and telling me how beautiful they were."

He didn't answer for a moment. "You know what I mean," he finally said.

"Then there are two of us who are despicable," she answered. "Because you are a liar. You wanted me then and you want me now, and you know it. You've never had a woman like me in your whole life. Your Vulcan women and your Christine are so submissive and timid! Why don't you just keep a sheep instead? You've never had a woman who would stand up to you! That you had to conquer in order to hold!"

She narrowed her dark eyes and glared at him in contempt. "I don't think you're man enough to hold me," she hissed. "Sulu wants me. He's twice the man you are!" She turned her back on him. "He's not afraid of a woman who fights back!"

His blood boiling in rage, Spock whipped her back around to face him and savagely yanked her against him, his mouth coming down on hers. His large hands came up on either side of her face and sank into her long black hair, preventing her from moving as his tongue forced its way into her mouth and threatened to gag her before she could react. Taking one hand away from her face, the other continuing to hold her lips to his devouring kiss, he ripped the negligee from her body and it fell in tatters at her feet.

Then, he shoved her back down onto the bed and lifted her legs up and apart. Quickly opening his pants again, he thrust back into her and took her with the fire and lust consuming him.

She could tell the difference in him from the first time, the emotionless coupling when he had first come to her. Slipping her arms up over his shoulders, she held his body close as he worked himself to fruition. As soon as he came, he pulled out of her, still half-erect, and quickly divested himself of his clothing, then he moved back atop her, his eyes alive with a fervor and flame that she had never seen before.

She scooted up farther onto the bed and readied herself to take him again, but he grasped her waist and roughly flipped her over without speaking. Then, lifting her hips up into position, he mounted her like an animal in rut, slamming into her with bruising force. She could do nothing but grip her pillow and hang on, gasping as his Vulcan strength lifted her knees off the bed each time his pelvis impacted against her.

"Spock ... Easy! Slow down!"

"Shut up!" he ordered her and worked his hips harder. "Why don't you fight me?" he panted.

She managed to look back over her shoulder at him and started to push herself up, but he abruptly slammed her back down and forcefully held her there, her buttocks still high and spread wide, his thrusts harder than ever.

"Are you unable to fight me?" he demanded, obviously taking delight in his show of strength over her. His penis was rock hard within her and he turned his attention to his building orgasm. Pounding into her with punishing force, he faltered for a second, then made a rumbling sound in his throat and shoved himself as deep into her as he could get, his fingers digging into her belly, his hot essence gushing into her in a torrent.

And still he did not release her. She was getting uncomfortable and finding it hard to breathe. She began to struggle against him in earnest. "Let me up!" she demanded.

"You led me to believe that you enjoyed a fight," he answered.

"You son of a bitch! This isn't funny!"

"It is not meant to be," he replied seriously. "It is meant to show you that you cannot control me or force me to do your will."

He released his hold on her and moved back from her. Instantly, she swung around and connected a flat-handed smack across his face with enough power to nearly knock him over. For one awful minute, he glared at her, outraged, then amazingly he laughed and lunged forward, tackling her and pinning her to the bed on her back.

Holding her hands up out of the way, he peered down at her beautiful, flushed face. "I would have broken your neck for that if you were any other woman," he whispered. "I probably will, once I have properly subdued you."

"Just try," she hissed back.

"What? Breaking your neck? Or subduing you?"

"Either one," she answered.

Delighted with her fiery defiance, he felt himself growing excited yet again. "Then let us begin on the latter," he said in a deep, husky voice, moving into better position above her. "Lesson One ... Never strike your commanding officer when he is engaged in sexual intercourse with you."

* * *

Marlena waited until Spock was exhausted once more, spent from an explosive orgasm that she had guided him through, and then she stretched her lithe body atop his, bringing her lips down to hover just above his own.

"Do you still think I'm despicable?" she asked softly.

"Absolutely," he responded, eyes closed, breathing deeply.

She lightly kissed his mouth. "How despicable am I?"

"I have seldom met a more loathsome being," he answered without rancor.

She smiled a little at that and kissed him softly again, this time running the tip of her tongue across his bottom lip. "A complete and immoral whore?"

"Undoubtedly."

"Does that excite you?"

He opened his eyes and looked at her and she could see from the fire smoldering in the depth of his gaze that it did. "I think I have provided you ample proof in answer to that."

She leaned over him again and brought her mouth down more forcefully on his, lingering there. When she lifted her head, she breathed seductively, "Oh, yes, you have indeed, my glorious, angry Captain. I want to keep on exciting you. Every night." His expression changed to one of wariness at that, anticipating where she was leading with this. "Make me your Woman," she whispered. "Let me be there every night for you and I'll show you things you've never imagined."

He shook his head. "No. That is something I will not do."

"Every night, Spock. Think of it. I will be your Scheherazade -- only instead of a story, I will give you a new sexual experience. We will explore all types of sexual practices ... human, Vulcan, Klingon, whatever you want to try." She let her mouth touch his once again and this time lightly licked his upper lip. "Let me tempt you, Spock," she whispered. "Explore your fantasies with me."

But he was wary now. "I doubt you would find my ... fantasies very interesting," he answered. "As a Vulcan, I am not prone to wishful day dreaming."

"Then let me tempt you with something else -- power!"

He cocked an eyebrow at that. "Power? What does a person in your position have that I could possibly want ... other than the use of your body as a sexual object?"

She pushed herself up and sat astride his hips, looking smug. "Oh, I have a great deal to offer," she answered. "I can show you how to use the Tantalus device."

"I see," he responded, his other eyebrow rising to join its mate. "Why do you suppose that I do not already know how to use it?"

"Because you would have killed Sulu a long time ago if you did," she replied. "The other Kirk ... the one from the other dimension ... he merely told you of its existence. Only I know how to use it now. And I can give you that. You will be invincible."

"In exchange for ..."

"You know what I want."

"And that you will not have," Spock stated firmly. "I absolutely will not oust Christine again and install you in her place. I would just as soon sleep with a Vulcan sand viper. I would likely find myself just as dead from your tender caresses as from the viper's bite."

She glared at him. "Then you will never know its secrets," she hissed. "But someone else will! Sulu would give me anything I want for the knowledge and power I can provide him!"

Spock struck with the speed of the sand viper he had just evoked. In an instant, she was lying on her back with the Vulcan above her, his hand clenched around her throat. "Do not threaten me!" he growled in rage.

She couldn't breathe, the massive hand clamped so tightly about her throat that it shut off her oxygen. She struggled futilely against his raw strength, beating and clawing at him frantically. He waited until her lips were turning blue and then he released her.

With a retching gasp, she sucked in air, clutching at her bruised throat and coughing. As she rolled on the bed and frantically pulled in oxygen, he coldly rose and dressed himself. Then, he leaned over her and roughly grasped her chin, yanking her face up to look at him.

"If I choose to use you as a concubine, you will submit to my advances," he informed her in a low, dangerous voice, his eyes glacial. "You will find that I have little patience for the type of Machiavellian plots you are so fond of inventing. You will not approach or harass Lt. Chapel or harm her in any way. You will also not provide Lt. Sulu with any information whatsoever regarding the Tantalus device. Do not make the foolish mistake of believing that I do not know its operation or its uses. I may be watching you at any time, remember. And, if I were you, I would seek more suitable sexual partners than ambitious officers who are likely to find themselves dead in a very short time! Is that quite clear?"

She didn't answer and he gave her chin a rough jerk. "Yes! Yes, Captain!" she gasped.

"Very good," he snarled and released her. "And do not come to my cabin again unless summoned. Should I require your sexual services, I will inform you. I expect you to be ready to perform any time I demand it, day or night. Understood?"

"Yes, sir," she answered, rubbing her bruised throat.

Without another word, he stared down hard at her and marched from her cabin. She spat after him and vowed revenge. She was a Captain's Woman, highly skilled in her seductive arts. She would not be treated as a common street whore. "Enjoy your position while you can, you arrogant pointy-eared bastard," she muttered. "Because this ship will have a new commander within a week and I will gladly watch him take his full wrath out on you and your pathetic little slut!"

* * *

His mood simmering at a low boil, Spock stalked down the corridor on his way to his office, ignoring the crewmembers who saluted him on the way. He was furious at himself for being so weak as to once again fall for Marlena's seduction and doubly furious at her inept power play. Granted, she was exceedingly talented at sex games, but he had no doubt whatsoever that she was also as devious as she was beautiful. She had mentioned Sulu a couple of times now and it did not take a very strong leap of logic to deduce that the two of them were plotting something.

He had not been lying when he had told her he already knew how to use the Tantalus device. He had investigated it as soon as he had control of the Captain's Cabin and found it an intriguing machine. He could home in on anyone in the ship and, with the touch of a button, cause them to vanish. He had experimented on inanimate objects and, so far, had not turned its deadly force on any crewmembers. He hadn't needed to. But now, his instinct for survival told him that he ought to keep Sulu and Marlena under frequent observation.

"Captain Spock, please contact the bridge," came Lt. Uhura's voice from the intercraft speaker overhead.

He paused at the next wall intercom and hit the button. "Spock here."

"Captain, message coming in for you from Starfleet Command. Command code."

"Acknowledged, lieutenant. I'll take it my cabin."

He switched off and strode the last short distance to his cabin, returning the salute that his guards automatically gave him as he entered. Yates had been trailing him, watching his back, and he took up position outside door.

Spock seated himself at his desk and punched the switch on his computer that signaled Uhura he was ready to receive. Immediately, the scarred, craggy face of Admiral Komack appeared on the screen. His features marked a long, violent struggle to the top of Starfleet, a puckered red scar slashing across his forehead and cheek, disappearing under the eye patch that covered the empty socket where his left eye had been.

Spock had a distinct dislike and distrust for this human, but he greeted the senior officer civilly. "Spock here, Admiral Komack. What service can I do you today?"

"I am ordering the Enterprise back to Halka. Destroying the Halkan cities did not serve our purpose in obtaining their dilithium crystals. You are ordered to completely annihilate the Halkans preparatory to a full-scale invasion force that is on its way. They will mop up anyone left alive down there and then we will take control of the planet and its mining facilities."

"Very good, sir," Spock replied without emotion.

Komack leaned closer to the screen, his ugly face menacing. "Kirk botched this mission up royally. Don't make the same mistake he did." The implied threat in his voice was clear.

"Admiral, I have no desire to duplicate Captain Kirk's fate," Spock assured him in a slightly bored voice. "Halka will be ready for your troops."

"Good. See that it is. Komack out."

The viewscreen went dark and Spock sat back in his chair to think. At first, the tenor of his thoughts was the proper attack strategy to use on the Halkans, but something the Other Kirk had said kept intruding on his thoughts.

"Think of a reason to spare the Halkans ... and make it stick! You can defend yourself better than any man in the Fleet. In every revolution, there is a man with a vision. Be that man!"

That memory generated a cynical snort of laughter. Kirk was wrong, the Vulcan thought glumly. I am not that man. I do not have a vision for the future, only my own survival.

But the more he thought about the Halkans and the Other Kirk, the more uncomfortable he became. Christine's words rang in his ears as well. We have to get off this ship!

But how? Where? There was no place in the Empire to run, no haven from the long reach of the Imperial assassins. It was a foolish hope, an insane one. Return to Vulcan? And face Sarek's wrath? He was already damned as a half-breed outcast, the bastard of his father's relationship with his human concubine. Sarek had been glad to see him enter Starfleet, glad to be rid of the embarrassing evidence of a scandalous relationship.

Spock didn't overlook the irony of his own situation. The product of a Vulcan senator and his human whore, now he himself was involved with not one, but two, human women. Was that the only heritage he had received from his father? An affinity for alien sexual partners? Or was it that he had to settle for a human consort because no Vulcan woman would have him?

That thought caused the flame of anger to flare higher. His father had coerced a friend into selling his daughter to be Spock's mate. It had cost a fortune to secure T'Pring for him and then, when the pon farr finally came upon him the first time, she had rejected him, shamed him publicly. He had every right to kill her and he had done so, with his bare hands, leaving her broken body in a pool of spreading green while he foamed at the mouth and screamed and sought other victims to ease his rage.

Sarek had been absolutely furious, not because he'd murdered T'Pring in his mindless, berserk rampage, but because of the money lost. T'Pring's father had refused to refund the bride price and indeed had demanded an extra dividend for his lost daughter, the price of future grandchildren that would not be. Sarek, in turn, demanded full repayment from Spock and had effectively banished him from Vulcan.

Thinking back on it, Spock's anger boiled like bubbling lava. All his life he had been someone's pawn, someone's tool. The outcast child, beaten by the other boys while his father stood by and laughed. The rejected husband and bride-killer. The abused second-in-command of this ship, submitting to his captain's wishes, even to the point of being forced into the indignity of sex with him.

He'd hated Kirk, was glad to execute him, but something perverse inside him had also respected him, his strength and ruthlessness. At least Kirk shielded him from the terrible responsibilities of command, of the constant expectation of a knife between the ribs, of the power plays by ambitious officers eager to claim the command chair.

Only Christine had stood steadfastly beside him, asking nothing of him but that she be allowed to love him. He used her as he pleased, roughly or gently, and she always looked up at him with adoring blue eyes. Until lately. Until he had become captain. It had changed him and it had changed her. They'd fought as they never had before and he had graduated into strong physical and emotional violence against her. He regretted that. We have to get off this ship!

Yes. But how?

Something about the former mission to Halka tickled at his mind and he called up data regarding that ill-fated mission. And something leaped out at him from the dispassionate figures scrolling across the screen. He stopped and stared at it and his sharp, brilliant mind pursued the avenue of elusive thought.

At last, he punched the intercom and said, "Mr. Scott, report to my cabin at once."

Then he sat back and waited for his chief engineer and second in command to arrive. It would take both of them, but maybe, just maybe, they could carry it off.

* * *

Sulu stopped in his tracks as he entered his cabin following his duty shift. Lying upon his bed, languid and sensuous as a cat, was Marlena, dressed in a silky negligee. She stretched lazily, her hands behind her head, a pose that accentuated her full, dark-tipped breasts.

"Finally," she murmured. "I thought you'd never get off duty."

A slow grin spreading across his scarred face, Sulu strolled leisurely toward her. "Well, this is a pleasant surprise. To what do I owe the honor?"

"Why, Hikaru, what a thing to say! I'm your Woman, after all." She peered up at him through half-lidded eyes. "Aren't I?"

The grin widened even farther and he chuckled. "Well, well, well. So, you finally came to your senses. Realized that Spock isn't about to take you into his bed and let you stick a knife in his back while he's busy fucking you."

"Hikaru! I would never do that!" Her beautiful face went mock-pouty. "I always wait until a man is through fucking before I kill him."

The security officer threw back his head and laughed with genuine joy. "Oh, gods, Marlena. You are a piece of work!" He sat down on the edge of the bed and leaned over her, his arms on either side of her, trapping her. "I guess I'll just have to fuck you all the time so you won't kill me."

She slipped her arms up around his neck, drawing him closer. "Hikaru, it's not you that I want to kill," she purred and pulled him down to a long, warm kiss. When he raised himself from her, there was a hard, dangerous glint in her black eyes. "Spock is finished fucking me, both literally and figuratively. My knife is all sharpened up and it's his turn to get fucked."

Sulu's grin matched the ruthlessness covering her face. "I like the way you think, lady. What do you have in mind?"

"I have a way you can get rid of Spock and his whole entourage," she answered. "All you have to do is get into his cabin..."

* * *

Chief Engineer Scott sighed and looked helpless. "I just don't see how it can be done, Captain," he said, wafting the distinct odor of whiskey in Spock's direction. This annoyed the Vulcan intensely, but he chose to ignore it for the moment. He needed Scott's help and, if a drink or two kept the other man functioning, he was willing to overlook it.

"I believe it will work, Mr. Scott. Providing the circumstances are right at the time."

"Aye ... and how can we be sure they'll ever be right?" Scott looked glum. "Th' other time, that was an accident, a freak o' nature. How do we arrange to duplicate that?"

"The first time was an accident," Spock replied. "The second time was deliberate and I believe we can reproduce those results."

"The second time the original rift was still open," the engineer argued.

"Look here," Spock answered, pointing to a tactical graphic on his office computer screen. "Look at these readings. I do not believe that the rift was accidental. I believe that it is a regular phenomenon in the vicinity of the planet Halka. That is the cause of the powerful magnetic storms that plague that planet."

Scott looked doubtful and read the schematic anyway. "Aye ... it's a possibility. If rifts or wormholes or whatever y' want to call 'em do exist there, the question remains -- what guarantee do you have that you'll end up where you want to?"

"A risk I shall have to take," Spock answered solemnly.

"No, Captain..." and Scott turned to look directly into the dark, cool eyes. "A risk we'll have t' take. You're not leavin' me here. I'd be dead before you were off the transporter pad."

Spock lifted one eyebrow thoughtfully. "Yes... How many do you think the transporter will handle?"

"Not over four, max. The fewer the better. I assume you are taking Lt. Chapel?"

"Of course. And yourself and perhaps one of my guards."

Scott nodded. "I'll make the calculations for as many as I can, but I dinna think I can stretch it to five without compromisin' the lock integrity."

"Good. We will arrive at Halka at approximately 0900 tomorrow. Can you be ready by then?"

"You may need to find a reason to keep us in orbit for a while if the conditions aren't right down below," the engineer replied. "It's not going to work unless there's a rift open and a magnetic storm of sufficient power to channel through the transporter board."

"Agreed. Please devote yourself to the problem, Mr. Scott, and we will hope for the best." Spock stood and his first officer did likewise, understanding that he was dismissed. It was late and the men were fatigued, but they both had a long night ahead of them.

After Scott had left, Spock stretched tiredly and loosened his tunic, opening it down the front. Christine appeared in the doorway to the bedroom, dressed in one of her long, sheer gowns. "Spock? Aren't you coming to bed?"

She was beautiful in the soft light of the cabin, her long blonde hair falling around her shapely shoulders, her tall, willowy form silhouetted against the illumination of the bed chamber. He paused to gaze at her for a long minute and couldn't help comparing her to Marlena, whose tempestuous, fiery sexuality was so different from the cool, serene loveliness of his Woman. Marlena might roast and devour him with her insatiable appetite, but Christine's arms soothed him, left delicious tingling trails of snow along the burning plain of his skin.

He moved toward her and pulled her into his arms, bringing his lips down onto hers. She slipped her hands up under his open tunic, sliding them around him to rest against the muscles of his back. As her nearly bare breasts pressed against his chest, he crushed her to him, opening her mouth with his probing tongue and deepening his kiss until she was weak-kneed with arousal.

He caught her before she could fall, lifting her up in his strong arms and carrying her to their bed. Depositing her gently there, he tossed off his tunic and quickly rid himself of his boots, then he crawled atop her and kissed his way down to the soft mounds of her breasts, barely contained within the strips of fabric that ran from the high waistline of her gown and up over her shoulders.

He teased one of her nipples through the sheer fabric, then pushed the cloth aside and sucked the rosy flesh into his mouth, working it against the roof of his mouth until the nipple stood elongated and turgid. Then he moved to repeat the procedure with the other one. When it too was tight and full, he backed off to look at her.

She lay flushed beneath him, still dressed in her gown but with the bodice pulled open and her breasts naked to his view, their dark pink tips aroused and glistening with his saliva. Excited, he moved down between her legs and flung the fabric of the gown out of his way, his eyes drawn to the dark, luscious triangle that awaited him. He could already smell her musky scent, her pheromones calling seductively to his own rising hormones.

She spread her legs a little more, the fresh wash of her female odor nearly overwhelming him with its pure sexual invitation, and the sight of her pink clitoris peeking from her beckoning folds wiped away any hesitation he might have had. Without another thought, he bent to her sweet feminine center and set to work with his tongue and lips, drinking of her nectar, running his tongue between and over the intriguing curves, sucking her swollen nub into his mouth and feeling her buck beneath him in ecstacy. He inserted a finger as deeply as he could and thrust it vigorously in and out, while she buried her fingers in his sleek dark hair and nearly shattered in the intense orgasm that took her.

When she finally went somewhat limp beneath him, save for the quivering spasms of her intensely stimulated vagina, he withdrew his hand and raised himself, still kneeling between her spread legs. With deliberate movements, his eyes on hers, he opened the fly on his trousers and slowly pushed them down off his hips. His enormous erection sprang free and he let her look at him for a long moment, as he softly stroked the pulsing rod of eager flesh.

She shuddered in anticipation and ran her hands up over her bare breasts, tweaking and pulling at her nipples, her eyes glued to the hungry embodiment of his manhood. He didn't make her wait long. Leaning forward into position above her, he teased her by rubbing the smooth, bulbous head across her swollen clitoris then down through her slickness to the greedy, anxious opening so ready for him.

As she thrust her hips up to meet him, he backed off, preventing any penetration. "You are very impatient tonight," he murmured, a little smile lifting the corners of his lips. "Perhaps I should make you wait even longer or not let you have it at all."

"Don't you dare," she answered in a low voice, her face sheened with perspiration. "I've been so hot to have you in me again that I've been about to die!"

Propping himself up on stiffened arms, he pressed his hips forward until the head of his penis just barely entered her. "You mean like this?" he asked.

"Deeper!" she replied, playing along. He was in rare good humor tonight and she intended to enjoy this unexpected mood as long as possible.

He pushed forward a bit more. "Oh, you mean like this then," he answered.

"Deeper!" she insisted.

"Deeper? How much deeper do you expect me to go?" he asked innocently.

"This deep!" she responded and slipped her hands down to his buttocks, taking a firm grip and yanking his hips toward her. At the same instant, she thrust her pelvis up and suddenly his entire bulk filled her in one delicious movement.

Both of them gasped at the physical sensation of his full penetration then he adjusted his position a bit and leaned down to capture her mouth in a warm kiss. When he lifted his head, he stroked his fingertips along her face and whispered, "I see now. So deep that our hearts meld into one, our bodies fuse into union."

"Yes, Spock," she murmured back and began to feel his mind sinking into hers. Her joy soared. He hadn't mind melded with her in a very long time and, as he began to move within her body, so he began to move within her thoughts. She let herself go, soaring on the double sensation she felt -- feeling him thrust into her with increasing fervor and feeling what he felt as her hot, tight passage gripped and massaged him. Her excitement fed his and vice versa until the spiraling loop of orgasm finally drove him to the edge of his endurance and beyond. She threw her head back and arched up under him, her nails digging into his back as he moaned and slammed into her one final time.

At last he sagged against her and bent to kiss her. Then rolling off her, he paused to kick off his pants and pull off his socks, tossing them on the floor. Turning to her, he helped her out of her gown and then pulled her against him, spooned around her, and held her close, cupping one of her breasts in the palm of his hand in a loose, possessive embrace.

"Computer, lights out," he ordered and the cabin lights dimmed until only low level service lights marking the doorways remained showing.

For a while they simply lay in the darkness, savoring each other's presence, then he began to gently massage her breast, rolling her nipple between his fingers until it stood erect once more. Trailing his hand down her soft stomach, he reached the patch of thick, tangled hair at the base of her abdomen and then the soft, wet lips below that. He slipped his fingers into the magical regions within and felt the slick wetness of his own ejaculate mingling with her juices. It felt good and he softly rubbed his fingertips between the hots folds of her labia, over and around her swollen clitoris.

She gasped and writhed beneath his touch, reaching back to clutch at his thigh. After a few minutes, she started to turn over onto her back but he held her where she was. "No, stay there," he said and moved his hand around so that it slid between her legs from the back, forcing her to spread her thighs slightly. Still tickling her, he shifted position and then she felt his long, hard penis join his hand and suddenly slip within her.

He rolled her slightly onto her stomach and shoved as far into her as he could. The sensation was absolutely incredible and put pressure in unique places that drove her quickly into a breathless climax. He rode her hard and with an excitement she hadn't felt in him for much too long. But, as delighted as she was, there was the slightest hint of disquiet deep inside her mind. He'd never used this position before and she couldn't help but wonder where he had learned it.

And then an image from their mind meld surfaced with stunning force. For the briefest of an instant, in a lightning like flash that had come and gone too quickly for her conscious to grasp it, she had seen herself as he saw her, her beautiful face so close to his, lost in ecstasy, moaning as he pounded into her and brought her to a crashing orgasmic high, her sensuous dark eyes locked onto his and her raven black hair spread across her pillow around her.

* * *

Christine lay quietly as Spock snuggled against her back, lightly kissing her neck and shoulder, his beard tickling her skin. Finally, she flinched away from him and he raised his head, sensing her displeasure through her lack of response to him.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

"Did you enjoy her?" she answered cooly.

"What?"

"Marlena. Was she everything you expected?"

He pushed away from her and propped himself up on one elbow. "What are you talking about?" he demanded.

Christine looked over her shoulder at him, a slight frown lowering her brows. "You really should keep closer control on your thoughts during a mind meld, Spock. I wasn't aware that I had dyed my hair black and changed my eye color."

He didn't answer for a moment then responded tightly. "All right, so now you know. It happened, it's over and it's no concern of yours."

She rolled over to face him. "No concern of mine? Do you plan on throwing me out again? Just which one of us do you plan on keeping as your Woman? I mean, you take her into our bed and fuck her royally, then you beat me and discard me, then take me back and love me again. Are you doing the same thing to her? I'm getting really mixed signals here, Spock!"

He sighed in exasperation. "Christine, I am trying very hard to control my temper," he said in a low voice, "because I value you and do not wish to experience any more strife in my relationship with you. But do not push me. I have more to concern me than a jealous mistress. You know that I will not tolerate it."

She backed off, her fear of him plain in her eyes. "Please don't hit me again," she answered in a small voice.

He hung his head and sighed once more. "Christine, I have no wish to strike you. I have chosen you as my Woman and I intend that you remain in that position. However, do not mistake that position for one of possession." He brought his gaze up to her face and his eyes were hard again. "I will take as many sexual partners as I choose. It is my right as captain of this ship and it is also the norm in my culture. If I were living on Vulcan, I would keep a number of women in my household for my use and personal pleasure."

"Oh, yes, I forgot," she responded, unable to keep the resentment from her voice. "You'd be a sultan with his harem, wouldn't you?"

"That is a Terran term, but, yes, it would be very much like that," he informed her icily. "Because human culture is generally monogamous, I keep only one woman as my primary partner, but should I decide to take another, you will not question or chastise me for that choice. I will not tolerate your jealousy. Is that perfectly clear?"

She didn't answer him but only continued to stare up at him, her eyes beginning to glisten with incipient tears. Then, inexplicably, his features softened somewhat and his voice changed to a warmer register. "Christine, please listen to what I say to you. I chose you as my Woman long ago because we are very compatible and your presence is very pleasing to me. I have no wish to replace you with another. It would distress me to lose you."

The tears came and she blinked them back without success. "Spock ... you've never said anything like that to me before. Why now?"

"Because I wish you to understand. Christine ... I ... I care for you," he faltered. "You are part of me. I wish you with me for the rest of our days. Can't you see that?"

She closed her eyes and felt her hot salty tears slide down her temples and into her hair. He reached up to wipe them away. "Christine ... open your eyes and look at me. There is something I must tell you and you must pay very close attention." His voice dropped to a whisper. "If all goes well, you and I will be leaving here tomorrow morning. Forever."

Her eyes widened. "So, that's what you and Mr. Scott were working on," she whispered back. "How ... what ...?"

"If we can find an interdimensional rift over Halka, as happened before, we intend to go through it. I do not know what we will find on the other side. We may die in the process, but in any case, I want you with me. I will not leave you here."

She caught her breath in a soft gasp. "Great gods..." she said. "Oh, Spock!" She pulled him down into her arms and held him closely. "I will go with you anywhere. You know that. And if we die, then at least I'll be at your side when we do."

He raised himself slightly and brought his lips down on hers in a fervent kiss. She clutched at him, frantic to hold him close to her, the knowledge that they might have only a few more hours together fueling her need to have him. Responding to her rising demand, he felt the answering rush in his groin and he shifted atop her, moving his lips down her throat as he settled between her opened thighs. They kissed and caressed each other with growing fire as his manhood quickly reared up hard and hungry against her. When he knew that she was ready, he set himself against her and gave a swift, practiced movement and he was suddenly within her once more, filling her depths to completion.

Wrapping her legs around his hips, she grasped at him as he began pumping into her, his breath coming hot and quick against her mouth. Feverishly, he took her lips again and their tongues danced against one another, then he broke the kiss and bent his face to the hollow of her shoulder and neck as his pace picked up.

Each impact of his pelvis against hers was forcing a small cry from her lips now, so intense were his thrusts, and she slid her hands down his corded back to his tight, hard buttocks, loving the feel of the taut muscles working beneath her palms. She caressed him for a moment, then tightened her grip on him, her nails sinking into his flesh as she felt herself building toward the pinnacle of a massive orgasm.

Her touch excited him even more, the pain of her grip on his buttocks spurring him closer to climax. Lifting himself off her with stiffened arms, so that all their focus was on his rock-hard penis slamming into her hot, greedy depths, he concentrated on the eruption building rapidly to full explosive release in his groin.

With a primal cry, she flung her head back and spasmed beneath him, raking her nails up his hips to his back and burying themselves unmercifully into the bulging muscles of his pumping body. It was too much to bear and he dropped back down full upon her and clasped her solidly against him, just as the volcano within him blew apart in cataclysmic discharge, his hips reflexively continuing to thrust into her again and again , as deep as he could get.

Each clutched the other hard and shook uncontrollably as he filled her with his gushing flow and, for a long time afterwards, they continued to hold each other, his fading manhood still twitching within her quivering depths, as if small electric charges were binding them together and traveling continuously from his skin to hers.

When the sensation finally ended and he slipped from within her, all either could do was lie within the other's arms, drained totally. As he pressed his face against her hair, Christine turned her head slightly toward him, nuzzling her cheek against his forehead. "I love you, Spock," she whispered in a barely audible voice.

And, though he couldn't say it, couldn't force the words past the cultural taboos and limitations of his Vulcan heritage, she could feel the sweep of an answering emotion emanating through his touch and the way his lips took hers and bonded them together.

* * *

With his long legs crossed casually at the ankles, Spock sat back in the command chair with calm detachment and purpose. "Bring us into orbit, Mr. Sulu," he ordered quietly.

"Aye, sir," the helmsman and security chief responded and neatly slipped the big starship into place two hundred miles above the surface of Halka. The planet was obscured by thick blankets of angry clouds, lightning flashing constantly within their depths.

"Planetary status, Mr. Chekov?" inquired the Captain.

Chekov bent over the scanners at the science station, Spock's former post. "Magnetic storms occurring over 78% of planet surface, sir. Also reading wide areas of devastation around former Halkan cities. Lifeform readings widely scattered, although it's hard to read through this interference."

Spock swivelled his chair slightly and looked toward the engineering station. "Can we punch through those storms, Mr. Scott?"

"The phasers will, Captain, but we canna get an accurate targeting lock," responded Scott. "We'd just be shootin' in th' dark."

Spock looked thoughtful and mused, almost to himself, "I dislike wasting ship's power without being assured that we have annihilated our target. Mr. Chekov, your prognosis on when those storms might clear?"

"Hard to say, Keptin," the Russian answered. "The storms appear to be intensifying. Readings now up to 81%."

Spock sat silently for another moment than ordered, "Mr. Sulu, put phasers on stand-by. We'll wait until the storms clear."

Sulu swung his chair around and stared pointedly at the Vulcan. "Sir, may I remind the Captain of Starfleet's orders? We are to wipe out the remaining population."

Spock turned the full force of his hard, piercing gaze on his second officer, unblinking. "I am aware of our orders, Mr. Sulu," he answered in a deadly calm voice. "Attend to your duties and follow your instructions."

Sulu glared back for a few seconds and the visible contest of wills raging between the two men caused a few eyebrows to be raised among the bridge crew observing it. Then Sulu turned back to his board. "Aye, sir," he said, but there was almost an air of satisfaction about him that did not escape Spock's attention.

The Vulcan continued to watch his security officer's back, turning over alternatives in his mind on what Sulu might be up to. Then he rose and went to stand beside Scott. "Analysis, Mr. Scott?" the Captain asked casually although he was gazing at the other man meaningfully.

Spock's deceptively calm manner did not fool the engineer. "Magnetic storms are playin' havoc with our instruments, Captain," he answered. "I dinna like th' look of some of these readings. I'd feel better if I was seein' to 'em in engineering."

"Very well, Mr. Scott, you have permission to leave the bridge. Please let me know if you discover any unusual readings." The two men exchanged an unspoken sign of understanding and then the chief engineering rose and hurried to the turbolift.

Spock strolled toward the science station, his hands clasped loosely behind his back. "Mr. Chekov?"

"Readings still climbing, Keptin. Now 82%. What sensor data I can get from that main storm are garbled. It doesn't make much sense."

"Due to your incompetence, no doubt?" Spock snapped.

"No, sir!" the navigator protested, glaring at his commander. "The sensor readings aren't like anything I've ever seen. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not."

Spock kept himself from raising an eyebrow. A rift could be forming but it was too early to tell. He had to be sure because he couldn't wait once he was certain. They might have only minutes to get to the transporter room and get the calculations set in. He'd warned Christine this morning that, when he called her, she must drop what she was doing and get to the transporter room as fast as she could, while still being careful not to arouse suspicion. He had summoned up all his Vulcan stoicism and emotional control to play the role of detached, slightly bored commanding officer carrying out routine orders.

"Continue monitoring, Mr. Chekov," Spock replied diffidently and stepped back down to the command level, resuming his seat. "Mr. Sulu, you can best use your time by analyzing the concentrations of life forms below and identifying population centers. Once these storms clear sufficiently to allow targeting, we will begin a systematic fire pattern."

"Aye, sir," Sulu answered, but there was something in his voice, in his manner, that plainly announced he was only biding his time.

Spock crossed one leg over the other and settled back to wait. But his eyes narrowed as he watched Sulu work. It was not entirely accurate to say that he didn't trust Sulu any farther than he could throw him. He could throw him considerably farther than his trust reached. Something told him that the security officer would make his move today. This morning perhaps -- and Spock would have to be ready to move fast and sure when he did or he would never make it off the ship alive. Scotty would probably be executed in the same attack, but what would happen to Christine didn't bear imagining.

The Captain's fingers tightened minutely on the arms of the command chair, crushing the leather as if it were a man's scalp.

* * *

Christine was admittedly nervous as she went about her duties in sick bay. What Spock had told her of his secret plans had rattled her composure considerably. Part of her wondered if he had gone insane, even conceiving of an escape so ludicrous. But another part of her quivered with hope of getting off this ship of terror before it devoured her alive.

Stanik still accompanied her to her duty station and stood stoically in the background, as silent and unmoving as a piece of furniture. His presence made her feel better. As Spock's kinsman, he would die to protect her and his unwavering gaze over the whole of sick bay allowed her to do her job without constantly having to watch her back.

The morning shift had passed uneventfully when the door from the lab slid open and Christine looked up to see Marlena Moreau entering with a tray full of specimen dishes, bound for Dr. Zimmerman's office. At the sight of the other woman, Christine felt anger boil up in her like a geyser on the verge of erupting. Everything that had happened to her over the past few weeks -- the trouble with Spock, his violent treatment of her, her rape and the awful fear that now lived within her -- everything led back to Marlena. Both rabidly jealous of her relationship with Spock and furious at the misfortunes heaped upon her, Christine seethed with righteous indignation and hate for the other woman.

When Moreau came back through sick bay on her way to the lab, Christine was waiting for her.

"Marlena, hold it!" the blonde nurse called, striding rapidly to intercept the dark-haired lieutenant. "I have something I owe you."

Moreau stopped and turned, a mixture of curiosity and contempt on her face. "That you owe me?" she asked. "What is--"

She never finished the question for Christine drew back and smacked her palm across Marlena's face with as much force she could muster. The blow caught Marlena off guard and knocked her against one of the diagnostic beds. She found herself sitting rather inelegantly on the floor, stunned.

Christine stood over her, her face red with rage. "If you ever go near him again, I'll kill you with my bare hands! Have you got that clear, you fucking bitch?!"

Marlena sat in stupefied silence for a few more seconds as Christine's words sank in, then, with a squeal, she launched herself flat out at the nurse, tackling her and taking her down onto the floor with her.

The two women rolled about, pounding at one another with clenched fists, clawing, scratching and pulling hair, screaming in fury. Dr. Zimmerman galloped out of his office and halted in amazement, then turned frantically to the big Vulcan guard standing quietly beside the wall.

"Stop it! Break it up!" Zimmerman yelled.

Stanik looked calmly at him. "Break what up?"

"This!! Are you blind?!"

Stanik nonchalantly turned his head away, his eyes focused on the far side of the room. "I see nothing to break up," he commented.

"I'm calling security!" the doctor retorted angrily and spun toward the intercom.

Immediately, Stanik's big beefy hand shot out and latched itself around the human's upper arm. "I would not advise that, sir," the guard said quietly. "This is between the ladies. Shall we allow them to settle it?"

"I'll have you in the brig for allowing this to continue!" Zimmerman snarled.

"No, sir, I don't think so," the Vulcan answered. "Remember who employs me here and the events that have occurred lately. I do not think you want to bother the Captain unnecessarily. If the Captain's Woman seeks to settle her own affairs, I strongly suggest that you allow her to do so."

There was absolutely no humor in the deep brown eyes that drilled into the doctor's pale blue ones. Zimmerman gulped and turned back to the fight still raging before him. Both women were disheveled now, their faces streaked with bloody scratches from clawing fingernails, and their clothes torn, but neither looked close to giving up. In fact, they looked like they were just getting started.

* * *

"What are your readings now, Mr. Chekov?" asked Spock from the command chair, his eyes on the mottled planet on the main screen, its surface still flickering with constant flashing of massive lightning displays.

"Storm intensity now up to 86%, Keptin," the navigator responded. "Anomaly readings going off the scale." The ship buffeted from turbulence waves being thrown out by the magnetic storms. "Advise a higher orbit, sir."

"We will hold here for now," Spock replied, calmly riding out another heavy shudder of the deck beneath his feet.

"Captain, shield strength down by 12%," Sulu reported from the conn.

Spock pressed the intercom button on the chair arm. "Bridge to Mr. Scott."

"Scott here," came the engineer's voice.

"What is your status there?"

There was an edge to Scott's voice. "I don't like the looks of these readings, Captain," he answered. "I think you better come down and take a look."

Spock's right eyebrow went up abruptly and then returned to normal. It was their signal. The clock had begun to run.

"I will join you in a few minutes," the Vulcan answered and clicked off the intercom. With deliberate calmness, Spock rose from the command chair. "I will be in engineering with Mr. Scott. Mr. Sulu, you have the bridge. Hold us in this orbit until and unless shield strength falls below 20%."

"Yes, sir," the security officer answered and turned in his chair to watch Spock and his bodyguard stride into the turbolift. As soon as they were gone, Sulu turned back to his board and ran his fingers quickly over the settings. "Burleson, take over this station," he ordered the ensign manning the engineering panel.

Getting up, Sulu marched purposefully to the turbolift, a look of determination on his scarred face. When the doors closed behind him, Chekov and Uhura exchanged knowing grins, then both began to laugh at what they knew was coming.

* * *

Christine straddled Marlena's waist and attempted to keep her clawing nails from reaching her eyes, but also unable to land another blow of her own while doing do. "You pathetic little slut!" Moreau hissed at her, struggling furiously, dark hair falling into her face. "He doesn't want you! You're not woman enough for a man like him!"

"I'm in his bed, though, aren't I?" Christine shot back, trying to hold the other woman down.

"Ha!" Marlena spat. "Who do you think he's been fucking like crazy?! Me, not you!"

"Not anymore!" Christine retorted, glaring at the dark-haired woman nastily. "I'm going to make sure you'll never get any man to drop his pants for you unless you've got a bag over your head!" And she abruptly turned loose of Marlena's wrist and slashed her nails down the other woman's cheek, taking skin and blood with her.

"Ooohhh! You bitch!" Marlena screamed in rage and lunged up at Christine, knocking the nurse off her. "I'll kill you!"

Marlena dived on top of the blonde, reaching down to whip her dagger out of her boot top. But as she was swinging up to deal a lethal blow, a big hand caught her wrist and wrenched the knife out of her grip. She looked around to see Stanik standing over her.

"No weapons," the Vulcan instructed quietly. "Bare hands only, please."

Moreau screeched in fury at the interruption and that gave Christine the chance to slam the heel of her hand up into Marlena's face, knocking her back. Blood spurted and Christine took the opportunity to scramble to her feet and move out of Marlena's reach, panting for breath. Moreau stayed where she was on the floor, gingerly touching her fingertips to the blood streaming from her nose, glaring at the tall blonde who was bent over, panting.

"What does he see in you?" Marlena sneered. "I can give him power! You can't give him anything! You're a servile, disgusting little cunt!"

Christine shook her head. "You don't understand him at all. You have no idea what he's like inside, what it takes to make him happy."

Marlena wiped the blood off her lip with the back of her hand, smearing it. "And you think you do? I'll bet I know more positions to keep him happy than you've ever imagined!"

Chapel broke into derisive laughter. "Sex? You think sex would make him keep you? Oh, you are a pea-brained little whore! Is that why Kirk kept you around? Just to poke his cock in you whenever he got the urge? You wouldn't last a week with Spock! He's got a brain, you know, as well as a prick! He likes to use both!"

"I wish I could tell you how much I hate you!" Marlena growled, beginning to climb to her feet as well. "Instead -- I'm just going to rip your throat out!!" And she launched herself at Christine, sending them crashing to the floor once again.

* * *

In the turbolift, Spock pressed the intercom button. "Captain to sick bay. Nurse Chapel."

It took a second for anyone to answer and then it was a man's voice. "Stanik here, Captain. Nurse Chapel is ... indisposed at the moment."

In the background, Spock could hear a commotion punctuated by crashes and screeches. He looked over at Yates, his guard, but the big man was as puzzled as his commander. Spock turned back to the intercom. "What is going on?! Stanik, bring Nurse Chapel to the intercom at once!"

"That would be inadvisable at the moment, Captain," the man answered and, were he not a Vulcan, there might have been a hint of amusement in his voice.

Spock scowled and replied tightly, "I'm on my way! Spock out!" He slammed off the intercom with his fist ordered the computer, "Deck five!"

* * *

On his way to the engineering section, Sulu had summoned his operatives and they were waiting for him as he stepped off the turbolift.

"Party time," the security chief announced with a chilling, blood-thirsty laugh as the two men fell into step with him. "Let's go see what the inside of a Vulcan looks like."

* * *

Christine drew back and landed a solid punch right between Marlena's eyes, sending her adversary tumbling backwards into the wall. There was the sound of impact, then the dark-haired woman slid to the floor, crumpled into an unconscious heap.

Christine didn't get a chance to savor her victory, however, for at the same instant she heard the doors to sick bay hiss open and Spock's voice roared, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!" The entire ship literally shook with the seeming power of his anger, although in reality they had simply encountered another fortuitously-timed turbulence wave. Nevertheless, the effect was stunning.

Everyone present -- and conscious -- in sick bay whipped around to face the wrath of the Captain, who stormed into the room practically breathing fire. "I asked a question!!" he bellowed.

"Just a little altercation between your Woman and Lt. Moreau," Stanik responded, the only one in the room calm enough to answer him. Even his Vulcan stoicism quavered a bit as Spock spun on him.

"Why didn't you stop this?! You are here to see that she isn't injured!"

"And I have done so, sir," the guard replied. "If you will check, you will see that she has sustained only a few scratches and bruises. Nothing serious."

Spock turned to Christine who, despite her disheveled appearance, was smiling triumphantly at him. "I'm fine, Captain," she said. "Lt. Moreau just needed to be shown that she isn't to butt into places she's not wanted."

The Captain's eyebrows shot up at that and, for a second, it almost seemed as if a laugh was threatening to escape his lips. But then he was suddenly serious again and took Christine's arm. "I will not speak with you here regarding this infraction," he said, starting toward the door with her. "Dr. Zimmerman, see to Lt. Moreau's injuries. Mr. Stanik, come with me. We will discuss your lack of good judgment in my office!"

With that, he hustled his Woman and his two bodyguards out into the corridor, the door sliding closed behind them. As soon as they were clear of sick bay, Spock's manner abruptly changed. "We must hurry," he said urgently. "There isn't much time. Mr. Scott is standing by in the transporter room."

Christine understood with crashing suddenness. "Spock! I'm sorry! I almost loused it up for us, didn't I?"

"We will know if we succeeded once we are off this ship," he responded tersely. "Until then, save your apologies and pray to your gods that we reach the transporter room before someone alerts Mr. Sulu to this incident!"

* * *

Marlena groaned and clutched her spinning head, aware that Dr. Zimmerman was kneeling before her, examining the bleeding wounds on her face. "Just stay still," he instructed her. "I'm trying to determine if you have a concussion or not."

"Where is she?" Moreau murmured. "I'll kill that bitch!"

"She's gone. With Spock." The doctor ran an instrument across her skull. "He may kill her for you."

"No. He won't," Marlena groaned and tried to get to her feet. She didn't succeed.

"Stay where you are. What makes you say that? He was mad enough to tear her head off."

Marlena managed a negative sound. "I'm okay! Let me up!" And this time she found her feet and stood swaying for a moment, trying to get her vision to focus.

Shoving the doctor aside, she went out the door, moving unsteadily but with deliberation. The Captain's Cabin was just down the corridor and she headed for it with a strength of purpose that belied her battered condition. She intended to finish this fight and, one way or the other, Christine Chapel was going to die for what she'd done. And there was a device hidden in the wall of that cabin that would allow Marlena to exact a horrible vengeance on her rival. She'd eliminated enemies many times before with the Tantalus field. Vaporizing this particular enemy was going to be sheer, unadulterated pleasure!

* * *

Sulu slammed the terrified technician up against the wall, his face blotched with rage. "Where are they?!" he demanded furiously. "Where have they gone?!"

"I keep telling you! They were never here!" the tech choked out. "Mr. Scott was here for a few minutes then he left, saying he was going to check the transporter! That's all I know! I swear it, Mr. Sulu!"

The security officer's face twisted as revelation abruptly dawn. "The transporter room!" He unceremoniously threw the technician to the floor, summoning his henchmen. They were out the door of engineering at a run.

* * *

Scott looked up with relief as Spock and his small group hurried into the transporter room at a near run. The engineer's face was sheened with nervous sweat and his hands trembled as they rested on the console. "What kept you?!" he demanded. "The rift is starting to shrink!"

"No time to explain," Spock answered. "Do you have the coordinates laid in?"

"Aye, sir, but there's a problem." Scott's brown eyes held a hint of panic. "The rift's unstable. I can't lay in delayed settings and have them accurate. Someone has got to adjust them manually!"

Spock was silent for a moment then resolutely said, "Scott, take Christine and get on the transporter pad. Yates, Stanik -- you, too. I will operate the transporter."

"No!" Christine cried, clutching him. "I won't leave you!"

"Do what I say!" Spock ordered, turning fiercely to her.

"No!" she repeated, just as determined. "Do you think I could live without you?"

He locked his gaze on her wide, frightened blue eyes for a long moment, then sighed. "No, I suppose it is illogical to ask you to violate your nature."

"I'll do it, sir," Yates spoke up.

"What?" Spock looked around at his bodyguard.

"I'll stay and operate the transporter, sir."

"No--"

"Sir, there isn't much time. Get on the pad now!"

Stanik moved up to stand beside his comrade. "Better hurry, sir. We'll hold them here."

Spock looked from one man to the other, amazed at the determination and loyalty he saw on their faces. "I can't ask this of you."

"Sir, we both swore to protect you with our lives," Yates answered. "Get on that transporter before it's too late!"

"You don't both need die," the Captain said in a softer voice. "There's room for one more."

But the firm expression on the guards' faces didn't change. Abruptly, Stanik held up his right hand, palm out in Vulcan salute. "Blood feud, cousin," he responded.

"What?"

There was an almost malicious glint of humor in Stanik's dark brown eyes. "Dopra'i plak'ahkh tu'Hikaru kh'da'Sulu. I declare blood feud on Hikaru and Clan Sulu. My death will set in motion vendetta that will wipe his clan from existence."

Spock couldn't suppress the laugh that burst forth, at the poetic justice of the whole situation. "Plak'ahkh, my cousin," he answered and pressed his right palm against his kinsman's broad hand for a long moment, the two men exchanging a purposeful gaze between them. "I will not forget you."

Yates had moved behind the transporter console and now spoke up. "Captain, you better get on that transporter now!"

Spock nodded in gratitude to his bodyguards and in three quick strides was standing on the pads beside Christine and Scott. "Thank you," he said humbly to Yates and Stanik.

"Locking in coordinates," Yates replied, his eyes saying what he wouldn't speak. "Ready to energize."

* * *

Standing alert outside the Captain's Cabin, the other two bodyguards, Rafkin and Sedgwick, were startled to see a bruised and bloody Marlena Moreau stumbling toward them. Rafkin stepped forward and caught her just as she collapsed.

"Lieutenant! What happened?!" he asked, lowering her to the deck, supporting her lush body in his arms.

"There was a fight! In sick bay!" she gasped, clinging to him. "Hurry -- the Captain's hurt! He needs you!"

The men glanced quickly at each other. "Go!" Rafkin snapped and Sedgwick took off at a run down the corridor.

"He needs you..." Marlena repeated, nearly fainting.

"Sedgwick can handle it. Let me get you inside," Rafkin answered, lifting her and helping her into the cabin. "How badly are you hurt? Do you need to lie down?"

Moreau clutched at him and stumbled again. As the guard bent to help her, abruptly she recovered and snatched his dagger from his sash in a blinding movement. Before he could react, she had buried it in his belly, twisting it hard for maximum effect.

He gasped and made a reflexive grab at the handle protruding from his gut, then he fell heavily to the floor, dead.

Marlena had leapt back away from the man and, satisfied with her handiwork, turned quickly to the panel on the wall that hid the Tantalus device. Pressing the studs that opened it, she waited impatiently for the panel to slide up out of the way and then she activated the viewscreen, working the dials frantically as she searched the corridors for her quarry.

* * *

The turbolift doors hadn't slid properly open before Sulu and his two men thrust through them and were running toward the transporter room. Just as they rounded the curve in the corridor, they saw the doors snap open and the big Vulcan guard, Stanik, step out, his phaser in his hand. He saw them and yanked the phaser up, getting off a flaring shot in their direction.

The man on Sulu's right gave a strangled cry and fell. Sulu and his other operative ignored him, both blasting shots at Stanik.

But the Vulcan had already disappeared back into the transporter room and the doors were closed. Even from this distance, Sulu heard the door lock click.

"Blast through it!" he growled and both turned their phasers full force on the plastisteel door panels.

* * *

Stanik leaped back into the transporter room and slapped the door lock, shouting, "Energize! Energize!"

Yates was already pulling the activation levers down as the first blasts of phaser fire hit the door panels.

On the transporter platform, Spock, Christine and Scott yanked their attention toward the fight even as the dematerialization process began and the doors started to melt.

* * *

Marlena zeroed in on the transporter room and gave a shout of triumph as she found Christine, beginning transport but not yet dematerialized. Oh, this was going to be sweet! Made even more so because Spock would have the dubious pleasure of seeing his whore die before his very eyes.

Quickly, Marlena locked in the settings and stabbed the button that would eliminate the blonde bitch once and for all.

* * *

Sulu absolutely roared in victory as the doors to the transporter room began to vanish under the concentrated phaser fire. Only a few seconds more and he would have his quarry in clear sight. Only a few seconds more!

* * *

Moving around to stand beside Yates, Stanik kept his phaser trained on the doorway, ready for the assault he knew would come in seconds. Yates worked to keep the transporter settings stable as the hum of completion filled the room and his Captain, the Captain's Woman, and the Chief Engineer dissolved in the golden sparkles of dematerialization.

Just as the last chips of bright light faded away, the ship gave a mighty heave underneath them, hit by a massive turbulence wave. It saved Stanik from having his head blown off from the phaser blast that came through the door panel and exploded against the opposite wall.

Then Sulu and his operative were kicking aside the still glowing doors and leaping into the transporter room.

* * *

Marlena screamed in frustrated fury as her prey completed transport the split second before the Tantalus field could form. Then the ship bucked hard underneath her feet, throwing her to the floor. When she picked herself up a minute later and hauled herself back up to the device's little screen, she saw that there was a fierce phaser battle being waged in the transporter room between Spock's bodyguards and Sulu and his man.

Well, she could take care of this problem at least and make Sulu lastingly grateful to her as a result.

She retrained the screen and focused on Yates, who was crouched with Stanik behind the transporter console and popping off shots towards the men at the door. With a vicious grin, she set the device and pushed the button.

* * *

In the transporter room, Stanik threw himself to one side instinctively as Yates vanished in a blast of bright light and the clap of air rushing together to fill the space where his body had been. Fear gripped him because he knew what this was. Kirk had been legendary for getting rid of his enemies with the alien device in his quarters and Stanik knew who must be operating it now. Marlena!

Knowing he would surely be the next target and realizing that he had only seconds to act, he lunged out from behind the transporter console and opened up full force with his phaser. Sulu's operative screeched and flew backwards from the shot that hit him, dissolving in a flare of fire.

But even as Stanik was whipping towards Sulu, the security chief took the instant's opportunity and jumped out into the open, aiming and firing in the same split second.

The blast hit Stanik square in the chest, knocking him back against the wall, but that same motion had caused his finger to jerk against the phaser's trigger and his answering shot was straight and sure.

Stanik died with the vision of Sulu's disintegrating form and his animalistic scream of fear and pain echoing through his senses. And he smiled, knowing that vendetta had begun.



* * *

Marlena pounded the wall around the Tantalus device and let fly her wail of fury and frustration.

No! It couldn't happen like this! It had all gone wrong! Spock and Christine gone! Escaped! Sulu dead! No! No! No!

She didn't even notice that the door to the Captain's Cabin had hissed open until she heard Sedgwick's enraged voice behind her. "I think we've had enough of you and that fucking machine!"

She whirled and screamed as Sedgwick pulled the trigger on the phaser he had trained on her, and, in a heartbeat's time, Marlena Moreau joined Sulu in oblivion and the Tantalus device was a smoldering hole in the wall of the cabin.

* * *

Spock pushed himself up and shook his head, trying to clear his mind of the confusion that reigned supreme there. It began to dawn on him that there was dew-wet grass beneath his hands and knees and that the air around him was fresh with morning and held the scent of blossoms and greenery rather than the recycled staleness of a closed environment.

Looking over, he saw Christine lying on her back beside him and Scott a few feet away, also unconscious. Spock crawled over to his Woman and checked her pulse. She was alive and in fact began to stir as he examined her for injuries. Likewise, Scotty groaned and started to move.

Christine opened her eyes and for an instant they shone with intense fear, then she saw that Spock was bending over her and she sat up, clutching at him for support.

"What happened? Where are we?" she asked.

"I would assume that we were successful," he answered. "As to where we are ... that is yet to be determined. A planet but I do not believe this is Halka. The surface of Halka was thoroughly devastated several months ago."

"Aye, it's Halka, all right," came Scott's voice behind them and they turned to see him sitting up and rubbing away a headache by massaging his forehead. "I recognize those flowers over there. They're malor flowers and they only grow on this planet."

"Then we have succeeded," Spock replied. "The rift worked. We've gone through into another dimension."

"Aye, but which one ... and what we'll find here..." He shook his head slightly and got groggily to his feet.

Spock too stood and reached down to grasp Christine's hands, pulling her up. She sank against him and slipped her arms around him, laying her head against his chest, holding him close for a long moment.

Then he turned, his arm still around her shoulders, and began to survey their surroundings. They had landed in a park-like area, a wide lawn of grass that was overshadowed by full, towering trees. Flowers dotted the grass and blossoming hedges grew along the tree line. Overhead stretched a turquoise blue sky, the blush of dawn still evident in the east.

Scott walked to where the lawn sloped downward and there he stopped. "Captain ... have a look at this."

Spock and Christine joined him to see what he was looking at. Stretching away below them was a beautiful alabaster and bronze city, just beginning to stir with morning traffic and business. Here and there a spire rose above the rooflines, but for the most part the buildings were no more than two or three stories tall and flat topped. They could see people moving about on the roofs, with an occasional curl of cooking smoke rising lazily into the air. Tree-lined avenues wound through the city and even from here they could detect the faint hint of music and bells and the sense of peace.

Christine sank against Spock's side and whispered, "It's beautiful! I've never seen anything like this."

"I believe that it is time to begin our lives anew," he answered solemnly. "Come, wife."

Taking her hand in his, Spock and Christine started down the hillside toward the Halkan city, Scott following behind them.

* * *

Acting Captain Nyota Uhura sank back into the black leather of the command chair and crossed one long, shapely leg over the other.

"Mr. Chekov," she said, savoring the sweetness of her position, "lay in a course for Starbase 12 and take us out of orbit. Warp factor 3."

"Aye, Captain," responded newly promoted Lt. (j.g.) Pavel Chekov, Acting First Officer of the ISS Enterprise. "Course laid in."

"Very good. Once we're on course, take charge of having my things moved into the Captain's quarters. And have that damned hole in the wall repaired. Oh, and, by the way, Pav..." The timbre of her voice lowered into a more sultry range. "Come see me this evening. I'd like to discuss ways that you can ... enhance your performance on this ship."

He looked over his shoulder at the beautiful African woman who was watching him with half-lidded eyes and a conspiratorial grin. "Enhance my performance, Captain?" he inquired.

"Yes," she answered. "Who knows? You might even become the Captain's Man."



THE END

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