Saavik stepped around the pile of debris she had been sifting through and sighed. They had found no explosives or incendiary devices of any kind, and seismic readings had shown no activity. But the building had indeed collapsed and there had to be a reason.
“Saavik!” Sarek called to her as he approached from the beam-down location. She straightened up and dusted herself off as she went to meet him. “Daughter,” he said, “the doctor has informed me that the pon farr appears to be complete. You must go to your bondsmate now.”
Surprise registered on her face before she quickly hid it away again. If Sarek noticed, he made no indication as he escorted her through the rubble. As she hurried, she opened her mind to find Spock again, and almost panicked at the silence. Sarek held her arm to stop her.
“What is it?” he asked.
She sucked in a breath and searched inward again. “I cannot hear him,” she whispered.
“He is there, Saavik,” he assured her. “Come. We will go together.”
Saavik shed her dusty jacket as she stepped off the transporter pad and hurried through the halls as fast as dignity would allow. Sarek followed at a slower pace, knowing she would wish to see Spock alone.
Doctor McCoy met her as she rushed into sickbay. He angled his head toward recovery.
“He’s sleeping but go on in,” he said. Without a word she went to the door, but hesitated.
Something stirred in her mind. She could see Spock’s sleeping body on the bed, no longer bound, but he hadn’t moved.
My love, my love, I am here...
Again the mind-movement, like a wind, or a wave, or a breath. Spock moaned softly as if responding to a dream. Something like a whisper fluttered in her consciousness.
And then like a torrent he was there. His voice, his touch, his joy—suddenly flowing into her mind again, shocking her with the immediateness of the connection.
My heart, I can hear you!
She moved to the side of the bed and laid her hand gently against his face.
His eyes opened immediately and he smiled without reservation. His hand found her face and she lowered her head to kiss him.
“Hafau la’ kwon-sum, Saavik-kam,” he murmured.
She kissed him again, slowly. “I will never leave you, husband,” she said, running her hand over the beard that had grown since his confinement. He smiled again, losing his fingers in her thick curls.
“I love you,” he said aloud, not caring that it was an illogical sentiment. She smiled and raised her eyebrows simultaneously.
“I love you too, tal-kam veh,” she said, kissing his mouth and face. He returned the smile, pulling her closer again. She leaned against his chest with her hands around his neck as they continued to kiss and murmur softly to one another.
“Now don’t get him too excited,” Doctor McCoy scolded with a smile as he entered the room. “He has a lot of healing to do.”
Sarek entered close behind, averting his eyes from the intimate spectacle, but considering the circumstances, didn’t protest it. Spock and Saavik looked up but didn’t bother letting go of one another.
“He’s going to need daily massages and exercises on his legs,” the doctor addressed Saavik. “And no hanky panky either.”
Spock gave him a look of confusion. “Hanky-panky, Doctor?”
“Don’t give me that,” McCoy retorted. “You know exactly what I mean!”
“I will see to it that their minds stay focused on the proper tasks,” Sarek said sternly from behind him. McCoy had no idea how he might accomplish that, but Sarek generally meant what he said.
McCoy shooed Saavik away from the bed so he could lift the covers and show her what needed to be done. Saavik gasped when she saw the extensive bruising beginning on Spock’s right hip and extending all the way to his knee. The other leg was bruised also but to a much lesser extent. Gingerly she ran her fingers over the injuries.
“He’s actually healing quite nicely,” the doctor told her. “I know it looks bad, but give it time.”
He took her hands in his and showed her how to work her fingers deep into the tissue. Spock winced once or twice before her was able to control the pain.
“I’m hurting him!” Saavik protested.
McCoy screwed up his face. “I’m afraid a lot of things are going to hurt before they get better,” he said “I’m sorry.”
She glanced worriedly at Spock’s pained expression. “But...”
“Saavik,” Sarek spoke up firmly. “Circulation and sensation must be maintained in his legs if he is to walk again. The pain is necessary.”
Spock reached for her hands. “The pain does not matter,” he said. “Do as the doctor requests.”
Slowly she stroked his face and nodded, then turned back to McCoy for further instructions.
Chancellor Raelle turned off the video feed and sighed. Many of her people were still on Derilia helping with the rescue and medical triage, but they had insisted that she be returned home for her own safety. The humans had offered to let her stay on the Enterprise, but had eventually given in to the demands to ferry her back to Taini. She wanted to be involved in the rescue and investigations, but a leader’s lot was often just to sit and wait while others shouldered the burden.
She crossed the room to the food slot and requested a ba’kta juice from the computer. The thick honey-like liquid clung to the glass and held the gleaming ba’kta crystals in permanent suspension. She picked up the glass and went to sit in the high backed chair facing the window.
Her office was on the highest floor of the building, almost touching the dome in the city center. Beyond the safety of the dome the distant sun barely warmed the barren dusty moon. There was a certain beauty to the way the sun’s rays played on the transparent material of the dome structures, often sending prisms of color to the ground below. As she sipped her drink she tried to recall the first time she had seen Taini when it was just a barren rock in the blackness of space. Pressure suits were required then to explore the surface. But with determination and ingenuity, they had made the moon livable, transforming it into a prosperous society.
She turned as a knock on the door disturbed her thoughts. She opened the door with a control on her chair, revealing her top aid. She was a woman much younger than Raelle who had been born on Taini, never knowing the homeworld.
“Come in Amaera,” she said. “Can I get you something to drink?”
“No, Chancellor,” the younger woman answered as she entered the room. “I have the latest report on the disaster,” she said as she handed her a data card. “The humans have been very helpful in the recovery efforts and triage.”
Raelle nodded as she took the card and crossed to her desk to insert it in the computer. “Yes, they do seem to be a friendly and helpful people,” she said as she scanned the report. “It is regrettable that the Derilians decided to stall their offer to join their Federation.”
“If we had independence,” Amaera spoke haltingly, “perhaps we could join.”
The Chancellor turned from her computer and considered the impetuousness of youth. The native Tainians had few ties to the home world and had long been calling for an independent state. She wondered silently if some had finally gone too far on the planet of her birth.
“No,” she said to her aid, “the Derilians are our brothers and sisters and will always be so. I do not believe the Federation would consider splitting the family, as it were, and choosing one population over another.”
“But we surpass them in all manner of sciences,” Amaera insisted. “Derilia cannot force us to remain dependent.”
Raelle studied her closely, wondering not for the first time if the restless Taini youth could ever turn to violence to further their desires.
“Our advances are not a reason to leave our brethren,” she said, shaking her head. “It was Derilians that built this world and sustained it until it could sustain itself.”
“But we no longer need them,” Amaera continued to speak her mind. “In any case, they have abandoned us. What better time to make our separation permanent?”
The chancellor turned to face her fully. “You would advocate separating our families?”she asked.
Amaera shrugged. “I have no family there,” she said.“Many of us have never even met a Derilian.”
Raelle looked at her a long time. “I am Derilian,” she said.
Her aid avoided her gaze. “It is not the same,” she said. “You have lived here for so long...”
Raelle stood up to approach her. “I am Derilian,” she said again. “I was born on that planet and my very appearance attests to it. This is the heritage of all Tainians, and we will not reject it.”
“Yes, Chancellor,” her aid said tightly, still avoiding her gaze.
The chancellor studied her a long moment. “That will be all,” she finally said. “Report immediately any changes in the investigation.”
“Yes, Chancellor,” Amaera said again as she bowed and left the room.
Raelle watched her go until the door slid shut behind her. Thoughtfully she returned to the large windows and gazed out at the hermetically sealed world. If violence came here, it would not be mere hundreds dead. She prayed to the spirits to preserve Taini and all its neighbors and to remind them of their shared histories and mutual needs. Perhaps the humans and their Federation friends could be the catalyst that brought peace back to this troubled system.