Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c)1979 by Lois Welling. Originally published in R&R #9, Johanna Cantor, editor. Rated PG13.

KROYKAH! (Or, Enough Already)

Lois Welling

T'Pau ended the conversation and slowly, carefully leaned back in her chair. She willed the tightly controlled and aching muscles to relax. James Kirk was not dead. Her relief overshadowed her annoyance at the human doctor's trick. She'd already known that Spock would not die of the linger death -- that had been obvious the minute he thought Kirk dead. Though rare, this situation was not without precedent. In a society where families, and often whole clans, lived in close association, it was not unheard of for a female to challenge choosing, a brother, cousin, or even the father of her bondmate. Killing a close relative had been known to shock the male out of pon farr. T'Pau had heard of such incidents and even witnessed one in her long years of officiating at Koon-ut-Kali-Fee. Spock was a young man and from an important family. Another mate would be found without difficulty, and the family would have their heir.

Her call was ready. She spoke with Admiral Komack. Yes, he would see that there was no trouble for Captain Kirk and the Enterprise. She thanked him as he assured her again and again that it was no trouble. With that task completed, she relaxed even more. There would be no investigation, no chance of discovery. She gazed out the window at the sunset. Spring was in the air and soon another summer would be with them. But how many more summers will I see? Not too many! She shoved the nagging guilt aside. What about me? Don't I have some rights? I have given up my entire life for my planet and my People, denied myself home and family and personal life. Now I will have some happiness and comfort in my final years. She recited the litany she had come to use over the years to justify her actions. I was brought up by women, trained by women, in fact, surrounded by women all my life. Is 1t so strange that I should seek comfort in women? She held no illusions. Her attractiveness to this beautiful young woman lay in the power she held and could distribute, but that didn't matter at this stage of her life. Certainly Stonn would present no problem. He had been chosen with care and could be easily manipulated. Perhaps even a child to raise and train -- yes, that would keep him occupied.

Pain intruded to remind her again of the advancing disease. She anticipated going home to the soothing oils and massage that always eased the ache. This led to an inner smile as she reflected on T'Pring's ministerings. Actually she was quite pleased with her protegee's performance earlier today. She had done well. The unexpected presence of the doctor and the captain had upset their plan to give Stonn an illegal stimulant which would give him the advantage in the duel. The older woman had used a few probing questions to give herself time to analyze the new situation, and then taken action. Since Spock had pledged these "friends" with his life, they had to have deep meaning for him. T'Pring had realized almost immediately where the older woman's thoughts were going and had done her part by choosing Kirk. Then T' Pau took over; in explainning the procedure she of course neglected to tell Kirk, until he had accepted, that the duel was to the death. There was no contest, really. The human was no match for the thin alien heat, and a Vulcan dominated by the fever. Their only anxiety had come when McCoy had insisted he be allowed to compensate for the thin air. But even that had come too late. Both women knew that the matriarch's power and prestige would suppress any negative incidents that might result. She sighed as she pushed the button that would bring her personal secretary to her. She was ready to be taken home, ready to be pampered and cared for.

THE END