Spock stared hard at Saavik as she spoke to the captain via intercom. There was no danger from the prisoners now but the experiments she proposed to do held danger enough. The computer had confirmed their hypothesis concerning the plants’ possible reaction to the volcanic sands, and combining them could prove dangerous indeed. It was safer to do the experiment on the planet of course, and safer still on the remote island, but his illogical fear for Saavik’s safety was threatening to override his reason.
He left the workstation and approached Saavik just as she ended communication with the captain.
“I will go with you,” he said.
She looked up at him, feeling the brush of fear against her mind.
“It is not necessary,” she said. “And the doctor has requested that you stay on the ship.”
“The doctor does not command me,” Spock answered in a low voice. “Neither does the captain in this instance.” His dark eyes studied hers resolutely. “I will go with you,” he said again.
She met his gaze as her mind reached out to calm his. She was surprised when he didn’t answer and she felt a touch of panic at the mind-silence. She started to reach up to touch his face but he turned away suddenly and picked up the supplies she had gathered earlier.
“Come,” he said, “time is of the essence.”
Jasai watched the exchange with interest and rose from the work station to follow them. “May I come with you?” he asked.
Spock nodded and the three proceeded from the science lab toward the nearest transporter room. As they walked, Spock called his father on the planet to arrange for a sample of the volcanic sands to be beamed up as soon as possible. There were more than two dozen crewmen still on the planet and it wouldn’t take long for one of them to locate the needed element.
Spock did his best to keep up with Saavik and Jasai, but he knew they were slowing their pace to accommodate his injuries. He chanced a glance at Saavik but she kept her eyes averted and her mind didn’t answer. He pushed away the fear of that silence just as they reached their destination.
The sands were waiting there as promised and Jasai picked up the container and stood on the transporter as they directed him. Saavik and Spock took their places on either side of him and waited for the familiar feeling of disassociation.
As they materialized on the remote island, Spock reached out to steady Jasai who was not used to the sensation of the transporter. When he was sure the colonist could stand unaided, he led the way into the island interior in search of the deadly plant.
Saavik’s tricorder beeped incessantly at the steady stream of information being fed into it, but she ignored the data as she searched for any indication of the targeted flora. They had traveled approximately two kilometers when she stopped in front of a spreading bush, draped in large drooping blooms of crimson and white.
“This is it,” she confirmed, cross checking the information on her tricorder. “The acid is strongest in the flowers, but none of the plant is safe to touch.”
Spock removed the collection tongs from his specimen case and carefully gathered a generous supply of the flowers. When everything was safely put away, they began walking again in search of a clear area where they could perform their experiments.
It didn’t take long to find an open area on the sandy shore of a small interior lake. They put down their cases of sand, trausium and flowers and Spock began the delicate process of extracting the acid from the deceptively delicate blooms. When he had finished, he handed the vial to Saavik who took it to the first sample of trausium.
“Unfortunately we do not know the ratio of these substances to elicit the desired reaction,” she said. She paused a moment and seemed to come to a decision on a small amount of each as she carefully applied first one then the other to the trausium ore.
They waited several minutes but there was no visible reaction. Spock checked his tricorder readout but no change was indicated in the rock. Saavik repeated the process the same as before, and then a third time, but each time the expected chemical reaction did not occur.
Spock and Jasai stepped away to study the earlier computer analysis that they had saved to their tricorders, while Saavik remained squatting in front of the stubborn ore as she ran a series of deep tests on it. At first no one noticed the quiet sizzle that was nearly drowned out by the constant lapping of water on the shore. There was no smoke or smell or even sparks to draw their attention back to the object of their experiment. Spock chanced a glance at Saavik, chiding himself for his distraction, and paused at the tiny hint of sound. He stepped away from Jasai as his eyes and ears tried to find the source, and nearly gasped as he registered the slightest vibration in the bit of ore in front of Saavik.
“Saavik!” he called urgently even as he moved as quickly as he was able toward her. She turned but stayed where she was, her face showing her confusion at his sudden urgency.
Move now! He shouted in the link. Hurry!
She stood immediately at that sudden fear, but before she could choose a direction, he abandoned his cane and ran toward her, his arm catching her bodily and pulling her away from the ore. Before they had traveled far, the sizzling sound grew suddenly louder and the trausium moved visibly on the ground where it lay. A violent flash of heat and light preceded the explosion that knocked them from their feet and rained sharp shards of stone upon them. Spock rolled over Saavik, shielding her body with his own and waited for the destructive end to their experiment.
When it was quiet again, Spock carefully raised himself up to access the situation. He noted the deep gash on his temple that oozed emerald blood into his eye, but he ignored the injury as he carefully turned Saavik over. She was stunned by the force of the fall but except for some minor scratches, appeared undamaged. He touched her face and was relieved when she opened her eyes and let him help her to a sitting position. He glanced over his shoulder to where Jasai had been and was gratified that the man also appeared to be relatively uninjured. Helping Saavik to her feet, they gathered together to study the remnants of the trausium.
“I believe we have proven our hypothesis,” Spock said. “By searching for these two elements together, we may be able to not only prevent future attacks, but to also find the attackers.”
Saavik immediately pulled out her communicator to call the ship while Spock called Sarek with the same information. As they waited for beam up Spock turned to look at Saavik again, his mind searching for the familiar touch. She glanced up as she welcomed him with her mind, her fingers reaching up to touch his.
K’diwa t’ t’nash-veh khaf-spol, he thought, are you well?
Ha, t’nash-veh ashaya, she answered as she gently reached up to wipe the blood from his head. Do not fear any longer.
I cannot prevent it, he replied as his fingers brushed her face. My life and your life are one.
That is not logical, she thought even though her mind agreed.
Yes, he answered as the transporter beam enveloped them. I know.