Lady Of Vulcan

Chapter 10

A locked chest was sitting in front of her front door and she noted that it was from S’Jenes and realised it was the first of the boxes that he had told her about. Sighing she opened the door and dropped her purse onto the chair beside the drawer.

Then, propping the door open she turned her attention to the box. Turning to the object she began to pull it inside. She had got the box halfway into her flat when she heard a voice, “Hang on, T’Kar, let me help you with that!”

She looked up, sweat beading her forehead to see James Kirk standing in front of her, his face full of concern. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’ve escaped,” he admitted.

“Escaped?” she stared at him, “Define escaped.”

“Bones took me back to the hospital, thinks I need monitoring.”

“I think you need certifying,” she replied, “have I got to call the hospital again and tell them you’re safe? What is it with you three?”

Kirk gave her a sheepish grin, “I’ll take your box in.”

She was in her kitchen when he came in, “Would you like a coffee?” She asked, “before I report you to the Headmaster?”

Jim managed a half-hearted grin, “I suppose. I’ve got you into trouble again haven’t I?”

“More trouble than I’m already in?” T’Kar poured them their drinks and brought them across to the table, “do you honestly think that kidnapping a starship captain,” particularly the Captain of the Enterprise, she thought, “is going to count against bringing someone back from the dead and dealing with half the wildlife of Vulcan?”

Kirk sat down opposite her and managed a weak smile, “Didn’t know what else to do, I wanted somewhere I could come and relax. I hate hospitals.”

“Yes, I’d noticed.” T’Kar replied, eyeing him thoughtfully, “look, Jim, you know you should be in hospital. I know that your system is pretty much clear now but there are still gaps in your memory that need to be addressed. I’m not the one to do that – you need to speak to a medical professional.”

“Are you always this logical?” he scowled.

“I am Vulcan,” she replied as if that explained it all. “Technically, half-Vulcan,” she admitted, “but I grew up here – my father felt that I should embrace the Vulcan side – and in many ways he was right.”

Kirk sighed, “Like I said, I’ve got you into trouble.”

“No, I can handle this,” T’Kar shook her head, “it can’t be worse than channelling the power of the universe.”

“You sure you want to risk it?” Kirk chuckled, “Trust me, Dr. McCoy is worse than the wrath of the universe.”

Remembering some of the things she’d seen in his mind both during her pon farr and when she’d mind melded with him T’Kar bit her lip, and Kirk smiled, “I’m beginning to think you know exactly what I mean.”

“I’ll give the hospital a call,” T’Kar replied, “and hope he doesn’t want to flay me alive.”

Leaving Jim drinking his coffee she stepped through the lounge and turned on the videophone, “ShiKahr General Hospital please.”

“ShiKahr Hospital, Reception.”

“Hi Debbie, is Dr. McCoy there please?”

“He’s in his office, T’Kar, shall I put you through?”

“Please.” The screen went blank and then T’Kar was looking at a frazzled Dr. McCoy, “Leonard,” she said gently, “I’ve found your errant Captain.”

“Thank God,” she thought she heard the break in his voice and he said, “I’ll be right over, T’Kar.”

“I’ll let him know.” She replied, “see you soon.”

Turning the viewscreen off she returned to the kitchen.

Jim was finishing the last of his coffee, “he’s coming over isn’t he?”

“You need to be somewhere other than here,” T’Kar replied, “what if something were to go wrong. What if you were to remember and it caused another breakdown?”

“Do you think that it’s that bad?” Kirk demanded.

“I honestly don’t know,” T’Kar lied, “but both the Doctor and myself would prefer it if you were somewhere else. Somewhere where medical treatment is on hand. If anything should go wrong-”

“You could be wrong,” he stated.

“I’d rather err on the side of caution,” she replied, “I may be overreacting but the simple fact is that if I did not and something went badly wrong then I would blame myself for the remainder of my days.”

Kirk looked at her and sighed, “I know. And truthfully I would not expect you to do any less. You would make a great doctor, T’Kar.”

“But a doctor of what?” she raised an eyebrow and he grinned. Biting her lip she sighed, “You’re incorrigible. Go and lie down on the couch, I have a bit of work to do and then I must meditate if I’m to get my mind in order.”

He nodded and slipped through to the lounge. She looked at the space where he’d been for a while and then walked across to her desk. Opening the drawer she took out her journal and a pen. Old fashioned instruments for such an enlightened age but she somehow felt that by using these objects of another era she was maintaining a lifeline with the other members of her family who had also written their journals.

Looking at the large chest sitting in her office she knew that sooner or later she would have to sit and read what had been written in those old, brittle diaries and claim all those who stretched back from her as her kin. Tonight she would write her own journal. Picking up the pen she smoothed the cream page and began to write.

Where does one begin? It seems an eternity since I wrote my last entry and yet it is only five days. They say that a day is a lifetime to some animals – but this past week has been a lifetime. I have claimed my inheritance although that has left me with more questions. Where does one begin? I do not know. This power that runs in me leapt out to save this man who now appears to be my ancestor – at least according to the diary I was given at my lawyer’s – and it would appear that the condition he is suffering from – an amnesia caused by his last mission is because of my female ancestor, one Edith Keeler. We were using a new drug, one that is supposed to unlock repressed memory and he had a bad reaction – an almost deadly one and nearly died. But this time Spock and I brought him back – I confess without Spock I would not have been able to do so. And I have found out the reason for all this secrecy until I reach 21.

Actually it wouldn’t have helped if I’d been 31 or even 41.

So it would appear that the legendary James T Kirk is my ancestor and the reason that he was brought a dying wreck to Vulcan has everything to do with her and that he had to do something that he has blocked from his memory. But this was a fine time to discover that I am related to the Captain Kirk. You’ll forgive me if I’m not ecstatic – he’s a hero for goodness sake. How do I live up to his reputation? I’m more likely to disgrace him. Hell, it would have been so much easier if he’d just recovered and gone straight back to his ship. I would have had more chance of keeping it secret – now things are spiralling out of control and I can’t stop it. On another note, I was summoned into the deep desert to meet the Shatry’a and I still don’t know if I’m going to be the next one! Great, huh? I’m sure that others didn’t have this problem! The drug may have partly worked on Captain Kirk, he remembered that her name was Edith and that something terrible happened to her. Yes, I know something terrible happened to her, both Dr. McCoy and Mr Spock know what happened to her, but either because of Starfleet Regulations or their own feelings neither of them can tell the Captain. But what did happen, I know that she died, but I cannot see how this would affect Captain Kirk so badly. I’m not totally sure I want to find out. I rather suspect that they only way I will find out is if James Kirk regains his memory. At the moment the mental block seems to be in place and he doesn’t seem to want to remember. Which leaves me in possession of a dangerous secret and an amnesiac Starship Captain.

Oh joy. The Captain is understandably pissed off and wants to face the problem and doesn’t know how to do it. To be honest, neither do I and he seems to gravitate towards me! How he thinks I can help I don’t know. Can’t write any more tonight, maybe by tomorrow I will be a little more focused. Or a little less lost.

Sighing she put the pen down just as someone knocked on the door. Closing her journal, she opened the drawer and slid the diary into it. Then she rose to her feet and walked to the door. McCoy was standing there, “He’s resting on the couch,” she said gently.

“Thanks,” McCoy managed a taut smile.

“Would you like a coffee?” she asked gently, laying a hand on his arm.

He nodded quickly and she managed a quick smile before slipping into the kitchen. She was just boiling the kettle when McCoy suddenly appeared at her elbow,

“He’s asleep,” he said softly, “I gave him a light sedative, but I’d prefer that he returned to the hospital in the morning.”

“I’ve told him that,” T’Kar replied, “but I’m beginning to feel that the only way to keep James Kirk down is to manacle him to the bed and even then the chances are he’d find a way out of it.”

McCoy laughed softly, “I think you have a fair idea of how his mind works,” he said.

“Just lucky I guess,” T’Kar raised an eyebrow and turned back to her drinks. She didn’t see the odd look that Leonard gave her. When the drinks were ready she carried them across to the kitchen table. “I’m rostered for OR duty tomorrow – or,” she looked at her chronometer, “I should say, today.”

“I’d rather you stayed with the Captain,” McCoy said quickly, “he seems to gravitate to you for some reason.”

I can think of a reason, T’Kar thought fiercely, it would appear that DNA is stronger than anything else. Why me? And then a little voice within her whispered, Why not you?

“All right,” T’Kar took a sip of her drink and then she said, “Are you going to stay here tonight?”

“I would feel happier,” McCoy gave her a sheepish look, “but in the spare room if you don’t mind.”

She smiled and said, “No Leonard I don’t mind.”

He nodded, and then said, “I’ve just thought, you never did have that twenty-first birthday party did you?”

T’Kar set her cup down and then said, “A bit hard to do when everything’s going to hell in a handbasket.”

“I can see that,” McCoy said, “and I’m assuming that Vulcans aren’t much for celebration.”

“Now you know that isn’t true, Leonard.” T’Kar admonished, “everything seemed to be happening so fast that to demand that we celebrate my birthday seemed selfish.”

“Aren’t you allowed to be selfish for one day a year?”

“That depends on your perspective,” T’Kar replied, “surely it is the height of selfishness to demand everyone pay attention to you when other people are in pain?”

McCoy smiled, “When all this is over and sorted and before we return I’ll take you for supper somewhere.”

“You could always cook for me again.” T’Kar said, “you may have missed your calling, Leonard.”

“No, I’m a physician,” McCoy replied. “And to be honest that’s all I wanted to be.”

“Hah,” T’Kar snorted, “but I suspect that you fill a lot of other roles as well. You are not just an average physician.”

McCoy smiled and sipped his drink. “It is nice of you to say so.” He ran a hand across his face, “Any ideas about how we treat the Captain now?”

“Not a clue,” T’Kar replied, “would it be worth you and Spock sitting him down and explaining your last mission?”

McCoy shook his head, “He needs to remember himself and come to terms with that. Until he does-” he left the rest of the sentence unspoken and T’Kar nodded thoughtfully.

“So we’re back to square one?” T’Kar asked thoughtfully, raising an eyebrow.

“I’ll talk with Dr. M’Benga tomorrow morning and see what other options we have.” McCoy managed a half-hearted smile.

“I knew he would never make it easy,” T’Kar replied, “that would just be too simple.”

McCoy laughed and then put his hand out to cover T’Kar’s, “Wouldn’t it just! Can you think of anything else – perhaps something that I haven’t.”

“I wouldn’t know what to suggest,” T’Kar replied, “We’ve tried feromazone – what about hypnosis?”

“That’s a possibility,” McCoy replied, “I wish there was a way of getting to his brain without him knowing. Half the problem has been that his conscious mind doesn’t want to remember so it’s blocking any retrieval of subconscious memories.”

“Plus there has be reintegration of the memories from the subconscious and recognition of those memories into the conscious mind. I get the feeling that we’re both up a creek without a paddle. Oh Leonard, what do we do?”

“We’ll find a way,” McCoy promised, “he has a strong mind and he wants to get well. I’m just curious about one thing.”

“Only one?” she raised an eyebrow and he smiled.

“Why did he gravitate here?” McCoy asked, “of all the places he could have gone why here?”

“Maybe he recognised the building from the last time he was here?” T’Kar suggested, and a treacherous little voice in her head murmured, But how did he find his way here the first time?

McCoy nodded thoughtfully, “Oh I don’t know, T’Kar. Fluke I guess, and a lucky fluke for us. I think we should get to bed. We’ll see you in the morning.”

T’Kar smiled, “Leave your mug, Leonard, I’ll put the cups in the dishwasher and then tidy up the kitchen. See you tomorrow.”

He smiled again, that lopsided grin that she knew she’d miss when he’d gone back to his ship and then she was alone. She turned back to the sink and stared out the window, she was beginning to think that she knew exactly why he’d ended up at her apartment – both times. The first time might have been fluke – but she was beginning to realise that the second almost definitely wasn’t. Looks like we are drawn together, she thought across millennia. I don’t know whether to be grateful or infuriated.

She eyed the box lurking in lounge and wondered if she should risk opening it. Then wiping her hands on a tea towel she decided not to. With her luck she would be the only person who would have all the diaries spread out in front of her and James T Kirk would walk into the room. She did not think he was ready for this revelation yet – if ever she thought.

Taking one last look around her kitchen she decided to call it a night. She slipped through to her bedroom and lay down on the bed. But sleep took a long time to come.

She was awake with the dawn and she wondered vaguely where she was going with this. Sooner or later someone would notice the connection – and she rather suspected that with her cousin he would notice sooner.

The bond between the two men was diamond hard and she doubted whether anyone could break it. But she was also aware that they’d shared a mind-meld on more than one occasion. There was a possibility that from the meld they’d shared Spock would divine the nature of hers and Captain Kirk’s relationship – although even she had to admit that was unlikely. A trillion to one chance she thought, and then the whisper of her second thoughts murmured, Yes, and trillion to one chances seem to occur far more often than one would like. She stepped into thesonic shower still wondering whether to disobey Dr. McCoy and run into the desert and then shook her head. She’d given her word, she wouldn’t break it.

She was making herself some breakfast when a familiar voice said, “Good morning.”

She turned and smiled, “Good morning, Jim. Do you feel better?”

“Less frazzled.” He managed a smile, “you still going to tell me to go back to the hospital?”

“I’m afraid so,” T’Kar brought the drinks across, “I’ll make us some breakfast in a moment.”

Jim nodded, “Still can’t remember much – her name was Edith I know that much and I think I cared about her. But I also remember that something awful happened and I was a part of it.”

“I can only sympathise,” T’Kar replied, “but it will come right in the end.”

“You can see into the future?” he raised an eyebrow in a very Spock like fashion and she felt the corners of her mouth curving upwards.

“No, but whatever’s happening to me has given me a sort of prescience which means that I get glimpses of the future and I know that you and your friends are too important to the Universe for it to end here.”

“That presupposes that you can see into the future,” Kirk wrapped his hands around the mug, “and I understand that you see the future as a ‘fluid’ animal. Something that isn’t fixed.”

“To a degree,” T’Kar replied warily, “but there are some things that are set and I can get a feeling for those. You will blaze like comets across the heavens and in doing so lay a trail for all those who come after. The name Enterprise will become the standard in Starfleet for all starships.”

“You don’t know that,” McCoy came through to the kitchen, rubbing his eyes.

“We might as well have shared a bed,” T’Kar remarked, looking at his drawn face, “if you slept as well as I did.”

He managed a rueful grin and then asked, “Is there any chance of a coffee?”

“Breakfast too if you wish,” she replied, getting to her feet and turning to her worktop, “I can at least make scrambled egg and omelette. Which would you like?” Both men looked at one another and then Jim said,

“Which would you cook for yourself?”

“Me?” She stared at both of them, “Omelette. I feel more confident with them.”

“Then three omelettes, promise you won’t poison us.”

“I use different frying pans,” she explained, “one for me and the other for you both. I have no desire to be put on trial for murder quite yet.”

They smiled and she managed a slight smile back.

McCoy gently touched his friend’s arm, “How are you feeling this morning, Jim?”

“Still weary,” he managed a weak smile, “I don’t know why I left the hospital, Bones. I was just feeling closed in, and how I found my way here, well I have no idea.”

“Mmmm, I know,” McCoy replied thoughtfully, “maybe it’s morphic memory. You know you found your way here when I decided to go walkabout in the desert.”

“And I don’t know how I did that either,” Jim took another sip of his coffee, “I just seemed to follow my nose-” he looked across at his friend, “now that does sound ridiculous.”

“Maybe you’re just lucky,” T’Kar replied as she carried their plates across to the table, “you can start if you wish – I don’t want your breakfast to get cold.”

Turning back to her own frying pan McCoy watched as she made her own omelette and brought the plate across.

Seeing how she was looking at him she raised an eyebrow, “May I inquire as to why you’re staring at me?”

“You just seem different this morning,” McCoy said slowly, “more poise.”

“It’s a front,” T’Kar replied quietly as she cut into her own breakfast, “I’m still trying to gather my thoughts.”

“I don’t know,” McCoy looked thoughtful, “I just get a feeling from you that things have changed.”

“It’s probably the deep meditation sessions I’m doing,” T’Kar replied, “They seem to be helping.”

McCoy smiled, “I hope that they help to centre you.” Privately T’Kar thought the same thing, but didn’t have the heart to say anything. They finished breakfast and she stood up and gathered the plates. “Do you need any help with that?” he asked.

T’Kar shook her head, “You just get your Captain back to the hospital.”

Jim managed a wry smile and stood up, “I owe you, T’Kar.”

“Don’t worry about it, you’d do the same.” T’Kar nodded and then she had turned away and was slipping dishes into the dishwasher.

McCoy laid a hand on his friend’s back, “Come on Jim, let’s get you back to your room. You get some rest and then I’ll come talk to you later.” He turned and smiled at her, “T’Kar we’ll meet you at the hospital, all right?”

She nodded quickly and then they’d gone. T’Kar heard the door close and then she put the last of the dishes into the machine, closed the door and turned it on. She looked at the chest, sooner or later she was going to have to look at the contents and she didn’t want to. Sighing, she wiped her hands and walked across to the it. She undid the hasps and then threw open the lid. As she’d suspected it was full of journals. Some seemed so brittle that she wasn’t sure if they’d survive being handled.

Despite her Vulcan demeanour she felt tears come into her eyes, these were the records of her ancestors. Carefully she plucked the top one off the pile and walking across to one of the chairs, carefully opened it. The words leapt out at her, and she found herself sympathizing with the writer and realized that she had much more in common with her ancestors than she’d ever believed. Finally she closed the book and replaced it in the chest. She needed to think but Dr. McCoy was expecting her at the hospital and she knew that she couldn’t let him down.

Knowing that she only had time for a quick meditation session, she seated herself cross-legged on the floor in her lounge and closing her eyes took a deep breath in. It seemed to take forever for her to reach a state of calm where she could examine her feelings and disassociate herself from them. She seemed to be fighting her emotions and when she surfaced from her meditation session she felt as though she’d been fighting a battle with a nor-sehlat. She checked the time and then taking her purse slipped out of the door.

To her surprise S’Jenes was waiting for her in Reception.

“How can I help?” T’Kar asked.

S’Jenes took a PADD out of his bag, “The journals and diaries you have taken possession of and have yet to take possession of have all been digitized, I forgot to download them onto your PADD. Then you need not be afraid of destroying the documents themselves.”

“Thank you,” T’Kar replied, “I am grateful.”

“It is I who must apologise,” S’Jenes explained, “I have been quite disturbed by your mother’s Will and her insistence that no-one but the recipient view the contents. It is not usual in Vulcan culture to have such secrecy and it concerns me.” He paused, “is it something that would have wider ramifications.”.

T’Kar looked at him and thought quickly, Did it have wider ramifications? Oh yes. Would it bring Starfleet down? Unlikely, but it would certainly cause ructions and if she knew anything about Starfleet she also knew that it would probably be suppressed. Better on this occasion to use some discretion, but she had a horrible feeling that secrets like this, because of their very nature, did not stay secret very long. Managing to compose herfeatures she replied, “I think my mother was very lonely towards the end of her life, S’Jenes and that may have spilled over into paranoia. I sorrow for her that she felt she could not go and speak with anyone, but the journals seem most intriguing.”

“Then I shall download them onto your PADD,” S’Jenes said, “Do you know what you will do with the paper ones?”

“Some of them seem too brittle to be touched,” T’Kar said slowly, “I am afraid that if I do touch them they will fall apart.”

“The paper can be treated in some cases,” S’Jenes looked thoughtful, “in others I fear that the damage may have already been done.”

“But we have the words anyway,” T’Kar replied, “perhaps I should just think about preserving them for posterity and my family when I am lucky enough to have one.”

S’Jenes nodded and held out his hand, T’Kar handed him her PADD and waited while he attached them and began downloading the documents. She felt the slight tickle of fear in her stomach and then he was disconnecting her PADD and handing hers back to her.

“I’ve deleted all the files that were on mine,” he explained, “there is one other copy on data storage back at the office, but that’s it. All right?”

“Fine,” T’Kar nodded, “I’ll see about bringing the chest back to the office as soon as possible, then we can start discussing restoration or preservation.”

“A good idea,” S’Jenes nodded, “I shall make a note of it.” He took the stylus out of the side of his PADD and made a quick notation before returning it to its holder. “I will see you soon, T’Kar.”

“Soon, S’Jenes,” T’Kar promised.

She was slipping her PADD back into her bag when she heard Dr. McCoy’s voice, “T’Kar! Thought we’d lost you. Come on through, I know that Jim will be glad to see you.”

“How’s the Captain?”

“Impatient as always,” McCoy smiled ruefully, “thought you might be able to keep him calm.”

“Nice thought, but I couldn’t keep a kitten calm,” T’Kar replied.

“Oh I don’t know,” McCoy smiled, “come on through.”

Kirk was sitting in his chair flipping through a magazine when they entered the room, “T’Kar!” he said his face lighting up.

“Captain,” she smiled, “The doctor tells me that you’re being irritating again.”

“I just want to be let out of this place,” He sighed, “come on Bones, surely there’s not that much wrong with me?”

“This is about the only place we can keep tabs on you,” McCoy retorted, “and I’d like to monitor you for a little longer yet – you’ve had two close calls, Jim.”

Kirk scowled at his friend and then he turned to T’Kar, “So I’m stuck here?”

“For the moment, yes.” McCoy replied, “but I have brought someone with me to play chess with you.”

“There’s only one problem,” T’Kar turned to the doctor, “I don’t play chess. Poker, yes, but not chess.”

“I could teach you,” Kirk said, brightening up suddenly.

She glared at Dr. McCoy who shrugged, “It’ll keep him out of trouble for an afternoon.”

“Pah!” T’Kar replied and then said something tongue-twisting in Vulcan that left both men nonplussed.

“What did you just say?” Jim asked, bemused.

“Something the V’tosh ka’tur scream,” T’Kar admitted, “It means Vulcans without logic.They are a sect who don’t believe in repressing their emotions. Sometimes they’re brought into the hospital when some of their rituals go awry and they get injured and they tend to scream insults at us. Sorry, it wasn’t very complimentary.”

“I gathered that,” Kirk replied, “Come on, sit down. We don’t have a three-d chess board but I’ll teach you on a two-d one.”

Two hours later he was beginning to regret his decision. Despite his best intentions he’d just won four games in a row. “It really isn’t your forte is it?” he asked.

“No,” she looked up at him, “I think you need a mathematician’s mind, and the ability to think four moves ahead. I’m not sure I have that.”

“Cards?” he looked up at her hopefully.

“Well I can play Gin Rummy,” she said hopefully, “but mostly I just play solitaire.”

“All right, Gin Rummy,” he replied, “give it your best shot.”

Thankfully she did better this time, winning three out of the six games they played, Jim smiled as he gathered up the cards, “You are better at this. Perhaps with a few years training you could get better at chess.”

“The real question is ‘Do I want to?’,” T’Kar half-smiled, “Chess really isn’t my thing, Captain.”

Supper was brought in for both of them and T’Kar flushed emerald again when she looked at the dishes placed in front of her, “This is wonderful, Jim, rather decadent for hospital food.”

“I made an arrangement with Bones,” he said, pulling his plate towards him, “thought if you had to babysit me you should at least have some nice memories to go with them.”

“Flatterer,” she muttered, picking up her fork.

Eventually the plates were cleared away and Captain Kirk lay back against the pillows. “Did you enjoy that?” T’Kar asked gently.

“Yes, I did,” he replied, “but the company was better. Thanks for putting up with me.”

“It wasn’t exactly strenuous duty,” T’Kar replied, “you should rest now, Captain.”

“Yeah, I know,” Jim scowled, “but how rest will help me remember I have no idea.”

“Perhaps if you really rested and didn’t try to force it you might get more results.” T’Kar responded, “but then I think I’m beginning to know you Captain, you’re not the type to sit back and let things happen.”

He started to laugh and then shook his head, “No, you know me too well, T’Kar.”

“We’ve shared a meld, twice and I’ve seen things in your mind that have shown me the kind of man you are.”

“I’ve seen the kind of woman you are,” he replied remembering some of the images he’d seen in her mind.

“Yes, perhaps that bond will remain for always.”

“Possible,” Kirk replied remembering the times he’d bonded with Spock. Suddenly he yawned.

“I shall let you get some sleep, Jim.” T’Kar stood up, “no doubt with Dr. McCoy as wolfhound we’ll have lots of time to continue this discussion in the next few days.”

Grimacing he allowed her to fluff his pillows and settle him on the bed. “Get some rest,” she ordered, “I promise, it will get better.”

He scowled but settled down under the covers. She dimmed the lights and quietly left the room.

Looking after her retreating back he smiled wryly and then snuggled under the covers and closed his eyes.

He was back on the bridge of the Enterprise. Bones was just administering the cordrazine when the hypo exploded in his hand overdosing him with the drug. He remembered McCoy’s frenzied face as the drug ravaged his system. Somehow the dream didn’t follow the usual sequence, he was vaguely aware that somehow McCoy had beamed down onto the planet’s surface but how he knew he couldn’t recall. Then the landing party was standing in front of the Guardian of Forever – how did he know that was its name? Then McCoy was charging past them and jumping into the device. Then he and Spock and the woman – Edith, Edith Keeler! He remembered, he’d watched her cross the road, her face open and expectant as she saw him and then the van. The last image, the one that would remain with him for the rest of his life was of her broken body lying in the road before the Guardian whisked them back and they were standing in front of it.

“All is as it was...” the Guardian said solemnly and then he woke up.

He stared up at the ceiling, the snail tracks of tears still trickling down his face. Wiping the back of his hand across his face he sat up. He’d remembered what had happened on their last away mission and it had cost him his soul. A choked sob emerged from between his lips, he’d let the woman he loved die and he would have to live with that for the rest of his life. A memory tugged at him and he looked out of the window again. Something Spock had said, something about silver birds if he went out into the desert to find them, then maybe he could wrest a kind of peace.

T’Kar was sitting in one of the many cafes that ShiKahr boasted, reading the PADD in front of her. She was so engrossed in its contents that Dr. McCoy had to call her twice before she reacted.”

“Leonard, how nice to see you!” she said standing up, and then she saw his face. “What’s wrong?”

“Jim’s gone missing,” McCoy said tersely, “we thought he might have gone back to your apartment.”

“You’re welcome to check,” she said taking out her keys.

“He’s not there,” McCoy replied, “I checked about ten minutes ago. If he’s gone into the deep desert-”

“What do we do now?” T’Kar asked softly.

“I’m meeting Spock at Sarek’s house,” McCoy said quietly, “Would you come with me, you might be able to offer some advice.”

I might be able to offer more than that, T’Kar thoughtwryly. Quickly she nodded and rising to her feet followed McCoy.

Spock and Sarek were standing in the lounge looking grim when they entered, T’Kar also noticed a number of other Vulcans armed with lethal looking phasers. Swallowing and realising the breach of etiquette she was about to make, she stepped forward and said, “Father, you won’t need those. I can search for him far more effectively.”

He turned and for one split second she seriously thought that he would hit her but something in the dark eyes flashed and she realised that he thought she was mocking him!

“Father, please. I-I am not entirely Vulcan-” she began, trying to find the words to explain what had been happening to her. She swallowed again, and opened her mouth to try for one final time when she felt a strong, familiar hand on her shoulder giving her strength.

Spock spoke into the silence, “That is quite true, Sir, she is Shatry’u.”

Sarek turned and she thought she caught a hint of disbelief in his eyes, “You?”

“Me.” T’Kar replied, “I will be able to walk into the deep desert and find him and nothing will touch me.”

“Because she’s been doing it for years,” Amanda had just come into the room and T’Kar felt a blush creep up her cheeks.

“When did you- How did you?” she spluttered, and then Spock’s hand was firm on her shoulder grounding her again.

“I watched you sneak out of the house when you thought no-one was looking,” Amanda replied, “the first two or three times I confess I was concerned but when you always returned I realised that you were probably safer out there than in ShiKahr.”

T’Kar shook her head in disbelief, “I don’t believe it, I thought I kept it secret from everyone.”

“I’m a mother,” Amanda replied.

“And I’d have to get up very early to get one over on you,” T’Kar replied ruefully.

“No, you’d have to stay up all night.” Amanda replied.

“How do you know you’ll find him?” Sarek asked quickly.

“I don’t,” T’Kar replied, “but I do know that the le-matya can travel farther distances than I can and they will bring me news.” She looked from one to the other and thought, Plus I think our genes will bring us together.

“Then it is decided,” Sarek said, “If you believe that you can do this, then go and bring him back. I can give you two days, no more. Take what supplies and people you need.”

T’Kar turned to look up into Spock’s impassive face, “Will you come with me?” she asked quietly.

“Yes,” Spock looked down at her and it was only because of the tense line of his mouth and the way he gripped her shoulder that she knew he was in distress.

“Leonard?” she turned to McCoy on the other side of the room, “will you come too?”

McCoy nodded slowly and then swallowed, “Am I going to have to ride one of those blasted horses again?”

“That is a distinct possibility, Doctor,” T’Kar replied, and wondered if it was a laugh she heard in her own voice.

Fifteen minutes later they were standing at the edge of ShiKahr. “We will bid you goodbye here,” Sarek said, “you have the communicators for us to get a fix on you if you have an emergency.”

Spock nodded and then he was shouldering his pack and pulling on the soft, wide brimmed hat turning to join the others.

“We won’t have to walk too far,” T’Kar said quietly, “but le-matya don’t like coming close to the cities. They are justly afraid of man.”

They’d been walking for twenty minutes when McCoy said, “What’s that?”

There was a green haze on the horizon and T’Kar paused to wipe the sweat from her forehead, “That’s what we’re looking for. Those are le-matya.”

The animals didn’t approach them although all three were panting by the time they came into focus. Two of them came up to T’Kar and she held her hand out for each to nuzzle. “They’re the alpha female and male of this group.”

McCoy let his pack slip from his back and stretched, “Well this is very nice, but what else do we do?”

“Our rides are here.” T’Kar said, shielding her eyes with one hand.

McCoy looked up and scowled, “Those damn horses again.”

“Kenel,” Spock said wonderingly. He turned to T’Kar, “What do we do?”

“We ride, Mr Spock,” she replied laconically, “I am hoping that the le-matya will show us the way.”

She let her pack slip to the ground and then with grace and vitality walked towards the three horse-like creatures. Slipping a finger beneath one of the Kenel’s fangs she carefully guided the first animal across to the two men. To her surprise the other animals followed.

“You mount this one, Doctor,” she said slowly, “Mr Spock and I will mount the other two.”

“You seem very sure of yourself, T’Kar,” Spock said slowly.

“I know where I am here,” T’Kar replied, “this is easy.”

McCoy scowled as he heaved himself onto the Kenel and then she was leading the other one for Spock. He nodded quickly and taking a handful of the animal’s mane mounted. Meanwhile T’Kar was leading the other animal across and then she too was climbing on the animal’s back.

“Did I ever tell you how much I hated this,” McCoy grumbled as he wound his fingers into the long mane.

“Not in so many words,” T’Kar responded. “Where do we go?” Spock asked.

“I think we’re being herded,” T’Kar said slowly, looking down at the carpet of le-matya around them.

Spock gave a quick nod and then they were moving off. The harsh desert sun made even breathing difficult so they concentrated on holding onto the animals and keeping their eyes on the horizon.

They’d been travelling for about an hour when T’Kar called a halt to take a drink. The Kenel halted and all three of them took a long drink, “We ought to find shelter soon,” T’Kar said quietly, “these animals usually don’t come out in daylight.”

“But Jim could be dying out here!” McCoy spat suddenly.

“Yes, but if we don’t look after ourselves, then when we find him we’ll be in no fit state to look after him.” T’Kar replied. She turned to look at Spock. Sweat was beading his forehead and she could see how much pressure he was under from the tense line of his mouth and jaw. A stray thought suddenly occurred to her and she looked at Dr. McCoy, “There is one last place we could try,” she said, “and there is water and shelter there.”

“What about them?” McCoy gestured to the le-matya.

“I think that they will come with us,” T’Kar said softly. She clicked her tongue and the tall horse-like beast wheeled below her.

It was Spock who noticed the silver birds as they approached the escarpment, “Teresh-ka,” he murmured slowly, “I mentioned them to Jim on the bridge after the away mission.”

“Then maybe we’ll get lucky.” T’Kar responded thoughtfully, she pointed to the slit in the rock face,

“We’ll go there, the cave extends back and there’s a small aquifer.”

“What about the animals?”

“I think we must keep them with us,” T’Kar replied.

“We’ll keep our options open.” Spock said. “I can always use my communicator for reinforcements if the Captain is badly injured.”

The le-matya were milling around the entrance, Spock dismounted and absent-mindedly patted the creature’s side, to T’Kar’s surprise it turned and whickered at him.

“You have a way with animals.”

“Didn’t you know he had a pet teddy bear,” McCoy teased as he slid from the animal’s back.

“Have you ever seen the size of a sehlat, Leonard?” T’Kar replied coolly.

Spock was moving into the darkness of the cave, both he and T’Kar picked out the figure lying on the hard ground, a le-matya uncurled itself from his back and snarled at him, T’Kar took one look at the fangs and flattened ears and said gently, “Easy, there, easy. You’ve done a good job, now let us look at him.”

But Spock had already hissed the word, “Jim!” and was on his knees next to the unconscious man.

T’Kar watched as the le-matya nuzzled Spock and then stalked right past her as if she didn’t exist. She chuckled softly and gently stroked the animal’s head. Then McCoy was moving past her and kneeling next to Captain Kirk,

“Some dehydration, stress, minor cuts and scrapes. Apart from that he’s all right. Treat these when we get back and he’ll be fine.”

T’Kar watched as the other animals wandered in and began drinking from the small stream at the back of the cave, then she turned back to the man lying at her feet. He was beginning to stir and as she knelt beside him his eyes opened.

“For someone who’s gone wandering in the deep desert you’re in remarkably good shape.”

“Not me,” Kirk managed a wry smile, “there was this horse-like creature-”

“A Kenel,” Spock said, “how were you persuaded to mount it?”

“A pack of le-matya,” Kirk grimaced, “I hate those creatures. It was either get on that damn horse’s back or get ripped to shreds.”

“I doubt they would have hurt you,” T’Kar said slowly as she looked at him, “I think they were trying to keep you safe and the best way of doing that was to get you on that Kenel.”

Jim sighed and looked up at his friends, “I know,” he said slowly, “I remember what happened on our last mission. That’s what brought me out here – I remembered when you talked about those silver birds-”

“The Teresh-ka,” Spock nodded, “Yes.”

Kirk nodded again and closed his eyes, in the dim light T’Kar thought she could see the shine of tears on his cheeks, “I remember her name,” he murmured.

“It was Edith Keeler,” T’Kar said suddenly, she looked at the shocked expressions on the faces of the two humans and the tense lines of the Vulcan’s.

“How do you know that?” McCoy asked, “I thought you didn’t have access to Starfleet Records.”

“I don’t,” T’Kar replied, “but it would appear that your Captain’s association with Miss Keeler was far more involved than it would appear. It would seem that Captain James Kirk is my ancestor.”

Both men looked at her as if she’d sprouted horns and she rolled her eyes, “Here, I have all the information on my PADD. See for yourself.”

She dug in her bag and brought out the device, to her surprise it was Spock who took it first, “I would also like to see the other documents your family kept,” he said quietly.

“The original journal had to preserved in acetate as it was falling apart,” T’Kar replied, “but the other information I will gladly let you see as soon as we get back.”

Kirk stared at her, “How-”

“As far as I can make out,” T’Kar began, “the night she was knocked down she was pregnant with your child. She didn’t die that night, but nine months later she didn’t survive the delivery.”

Kirk blinked, “You’re deadly serious.”

“I have no time not to be,” T’Kar replied, “I will let you look at all the information I have about this. But I ask for your word that you say nothing to anyone else.”

“You are worried that it has affected the time stream.” Spock’s voice was surprisingly gentle.

“It has to have affected the time stream,” T’Kar replied archly, “if he had not had relations with Edith I would not exist. To me that sounds like interference and there are bound to be some people who would seek to restore it.”

“We will keep it to ourselves,” McCoy promised. He looked at T’Kar “Is it possible that you two are connected to one another – he found his way to your apartment twice and you found your way here. Your genes calling to one another perhaps.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in such mumbo-jumbo?” T’Kar raised an eyebrow.

“I have seen enough things in my twenty years as a physician not to dismiss anything,” Bones replied, “so I don’t discount anything. Not any longer.”

Kirk eased himself up against the side of the cave, “My daughter?” he queried.

“Descendent,” T’Kar replied, “but I think that daughter will do. There does indeed appear to be a connection between us – how else do you explain you finding your way to my place, twice and then me knowing where you might be.”

Jim blinked twice and then impulsively T’Kar was pulling him into his arms and he was sobbing his heart out on her shoulder. Spock and McCoy exchanged a look over the top of her head.

T’Kar could feel all the emotions running through him like quicksilver, anger, regret, guilt, sorrow and on top of all the rest a deep seated sense of failure. Putting him away from her she shook her head, “You have no reason,” she said gently, “you failed no-one.”

He wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve, “I loved her,” he said brokenly, “And I had to let her die. The moment she started to cross the road I knew what would happen – had Spock not stopped me I would have saved her,” he said brutally.

“I don’t think you had a choice,” T’Kar replied softly, “at least not the way you think. It was always the case that she died that night, she had to die for the Timeline to be restored. The difference this time is that she was carrying your daughter.”

Kirk regarded her quietly, “And you know this because?”

“Because that’s what I went to see my lawyer about,” T’Kar replied, “if it makes you feel any happier I’m a bit nonplussed about the whole situation myself.”

“I should have found another way,” Kirk muttered, “there should have been another way.”

“Jim,” Spock’s eyes were very dark, “I do not believe there was another way.” He looked at T’Kar, “Edith Keeler’s descendent? Fascinating, I look forward to reviewing the information.”

T’Kar regarded him quietly, her dark eyes sombre, “All the information is on the PADD,” she said softly, “and you’re welcome to go through all the written material S’Jenes is holding for me.”

“I will do that,” Spock replied.

“How do I deal with this?” Kirk asked, “I blame myself – I still think that I should have found a better way.”

“I am her descendant and I don’t blame you,” T’Kar replied firmly, “surely if anyone has a right to those feelings it is I?”

He gave a choked laugh, and then swallowed, “Perhaps. Tell me does it get easier?”

“I will speak with a a friend of mine S’rell,” Spock said slowly, “he would be better placed to answer your questions and help you deal with the consequences.”

McCoy smiled, “Well this has been a day of revelations, now would anyone like a coffee? I’m sure I saw T’Kar sneaking a flask into her rucksack.”

Spock nodded, “I shall fetch it, Doctor. And then we must make plans to return to ShiKahr.”

McCoy nodded, he was regarding her quietly and finally T’Kar said, “What is it, Leonard?”

“Had this emergency not happened would you ever have told anyone?”

“I don’t know,” she responded. “Probably not, my mother kept the secret all her life. Whether her mother knew or not I don’t know yet, I haven’t had the chance to go through all the records. It is too explosive a secret to reveal I think, but on this occasion my hand has been forced.”

“Perhaps it was necessary,” Spock replied thoughtfully.

Kirk regarded his friend, “How so?”

“To aid your recovery,” Spock replied, “does it not help to know that although Edith Keeler died, she had your child and she had descendents? Her life was not meaningless.”

Kirk stared at him and then nodded, “Yes, yes it does. My descendent, can’t quite believe it.”

“Drink your coffee before it goes cold, Jim,” McCoy interjected gruffly.

They drank their coffee in companionable silence and then Spock returned her PADD to her, “I still wish to see the other records,” he said quietly.

“I would not expect anything less,” she responded. “How is the Captain?” Spock asked.

“I think he is ready to travel now,” McCoy replied, packing his medical kit away.

“Back to the hospital?” Jim scowled.

“Jim can stay with me,” T’Kar said quickly, “it might stop him running away.”

“I won’t be doing that anymore,” Kirk promised.

“Then I will see to the Kenel,” T’Kar rose to her feet and moved towards the group of horse-like creatures.

“Do you think that she’s telling the truth,” McCoy asked quietly when she was out of earshot.

“I think so, yes,” Spock replied, “I wish to see the paperwork to verify her story, not to prove it. Had the Captain not been in such deep distress it is likely she would never have told anyone.”

“So she really is my descendent?” Kirk asked.

“I believe so, yes, Jim,” Spock replied. “As I have told you before, Vulcans do not lie.”

“No,” McCoy smiled, “but you don’t always tell the whole truth.”

T’Kar returned, “The Kenel are ready when you are. If you wish to ride, I can walk beside the creatures.”

“Are they strong enough to carry two?” McCoy asked.

She nodded surprised and then raised an eyebrow when he said, “Then you and the Captain can ride together, Spock and I will ride the other two.”

T’Kar spread her hands, “As you wish, Doctor.”

They dismounted about four hundred yards from the city and T’Kar patted the Kenel’s sandy hide, “See you soon,” she murmured, “and thank you.”

“I’ll check the Captain in at the hospital,” McCoy said, “and then bring him round to yours. Spock, will you come with us?”

“I would like to start my research tonight if I may,” Spock’s dark eyes held T’Kar’s and for a moment she was nervous and then she saw the gentleness in them. “I believe you have possession of two boxes of your ancestor’s journals?”

“That’s right,” she replied, “do you want to get them now?”

“Please,” he responded.

She led the way upstairs to her apartment and watched while Spock hefted the two chests and carried them downstairs to his groundcar. “You’ll want this as well,” she said, handing him her PADD again, “all I ask is that you look after it.”

“I shall treasure it,” he replied.

McCoy brought a weary Captain Kirk round half an hour later and after brief introductions Jim went straight to bed.

T’Kar looked at him, “How is he?”

“S’rell’s willing to see him in the morning. Now that he remembers what happened he’ll be more receptive to therapy.”

“That’ll be good,” T’Kar replied, she looked at McCoy and a tremulous smile crossed her face, “Shall we go to bed, Leonard?”

For an answer he bent and scooped her up in his arms, “I’d agree with that.”

Later when they lay curled up in each other’s arms her head pillowed on his chest T’Kar said softly, “I am glad he’s remembered – even if my revelation was a bit of a shock.”

“A bit of a shock?” McCoy laughed and she felt the rumble of his laughter through her head where it rested on his chest. “That’s the understatement of the century.”

Despite her best efforts to sleep longer, she was woken by the sun poking long, golden fingers into the room. Sighing she got up, dressed and then went into the kitchen to start making breakfast, she was eating cereal when Kirk walked into the room running a hand through his hair.

“Good morning,” he yawned.

“Good morning,” she replied, “You look better.”

“We’ll wait and see how the therapy goes,” Kirk replied, “can I make myself some breakfast?”

“Go ahead,” T’Kar replied, “you remember the colour coding?”

He nodded and was helping himself to human cereal when McCoy walked into the room, “Breakfast?” T’Kar queried, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh I’ll help myself,” McCoy replied, “What have you got on today?”

“I’ll check with Dr. M’Benga,” T’Kar replied, “I’m sure that I’ll be needed somewhere.”

McCoy brought his breakfast across to the table, “Do you still want to join Starfleet?” he asked quietly.

T’Kar nodded, “Yes, I do.”

“I’ll write you a letter of introduction.” Both men said together and she had to suppress a grin.

“I still have some misgivings about that,” T’Kar replied, I had applied to the Vulcan Council for their Scholarship Program which would enable me to attend Starfleet Academy.”

“You need not worry about that,” both men said quietly.

T’Kar looked from one to the other, “I do not deserve this-” she began.

“That’s our choice,” Kirk replied. “Isn’t it? And we will write your sponsorship letter.”

“I don’t mind who writes me a letter,” T’Kar protested, “but I’m not a bone, you don’t have to fight over me.”

Jim smiled and she was relieved to see that his charming, boyish grin had returned, “I’d better get to the hospital, my first appointment with Dr. S’rell.”

“Give us five minutes,” T’Kar said, “and we’ll go together. Save on fuel.”

The next few days passed slowly, if T’Kar was hoping for some great, final epiphany she was disappointed. Captain Kirk returned from his sessions with S’rell looking better every time and she heard on the hospital grapevine that he was responding well to treatment.

She was working in the Research Laboratory when one of the Reception nurses entered with a message. “Mr Spock called, he wonders if you’ll meet him for lunch.”

T’Kar nodded, “I’ll give him a call back and confirm. Thanks, Sarah.”

She felt the air of celebration as she approached the table, Spock was his usual, dark-eyed impassive self but she thought she could detect pride and joy in his demeanour, “You asked me for lunch,” she said as she sat down.

“I have some news concerning T’Pel,” Spock began, “The Vulcan Council were undecided about which candidate to sponsor, the three of us have decided to support your attendance at Starfleet Academy, so I went before them yesterday to explain the situation and withdraw your application. They have decided in favour of her.”

A slight smile curved her lips, “I am glad, she deserves the chance, she’s an excellent nurse. But you do me too much honour.”

“We only give you the tools, what you do with them is up to you,” Spock replied, “I am returning your PADD,” he said, pushing it across the table to her. “My research into your family’s papers has led me to believe that you are indeed Edith Keeler and Captain Kirk’s descendent.”

“I never doubted it,” McCoy said, a broad grin creasing his face.

“Oh you did,” T’Kar replied, “and you were right to, which is why I didn’t tell you. But I’m glad that the records corroborate my family’s existence.”

“So am I,” Kirk replied, reaching across and taking her hand, “more than you know.”

“Are those deep meditation sessions helping to centre you more?” Spock asked.

“Yes,” T’Kar replied, “how are your sessions Captain?”

“Much better,” Jim smiled, “I’ll never stop grieving for her but I can remember her now without feeling crippled by the sorrow.”

“Good.” T’Kar replied.

“And you of course,” he said quietly, “it makes me glad that you exist, that her life was worth something.”

“How are your days at the moment?” McCoy asked, changing the subject.

“Full,” T’Kar replied, “I have to make a decision about entering Starfleet soon, if you still wish to write a letter of recommendation.”

“We will decide who will write it,” Spock interjected, “because I think all of us would consider it a privilege to do so. I believe since you wish to enter medicine that Dr. McCoy would be the logical choice.”

As do I,” T’Kar replied.

“We will decide together,” Spock assured her.

“What about your role as Shatry’a?” McCoy asked, “I thought you would want to stay here?”

“The Shatry’a has given me time to choose which route I take to my Destiny,” T’Kar replied, “And for as long as that time is given me, to paraphrase Tennyson’s Ulysses, I intend to ‘drink life to lees,’”

“You will learn much,” Spock said, his dark eyes shining, “and, I don’t doubt, teach much.”

Three days later T’Kar stood at the edge of the city while the three men she considered family made their preparations to leave, she gave them the Vulcan salute,

Spock did the same, “Live long, T’Kar, and prosper.”

“I shall do so,” T’Kar responded., “Peace and long life, Spock.”

The transporter shimmered and all three were gone. T’Kar looked up, as if somehow she would be able to see the Enterprise in orbit, about to warp into the blackest reaches of space. She let the corners of her mouth curl upwards in a slight smile, she would be taking another ship to Earth at the end of the week. Her letter of recommendation was safely filed and she had been provisionally accepted to Starfleet Academy. Her heart feeling lighter than it had for a long time, T’Kar walked back home.

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