Lady Of Vulcan

Chapter 6

She was tired when she slipped into her apartment. Sleep wouldn’t come so she opened the curtains and turning off the light sat and watched T’kuht sail across the heavens. She sighed again and thought back over the previous week. Too much was happening and too soon.

But you seem to be handling it well, a soft voice whispered in her mind.

Shatry’a she thought.

Yes, the voice was soft, I am proud of you, T’Kar.

You said we wouldn’t meet again, she thoughtfrantically.

We won’t. Not in the flesh. I am withdrawing now into the mountains and from now on will not travel from my home.

What about my choice, my ascension? How will I know if I am right – how will I know anything?”

I told you the last time we met that I would give you time. You must learn to have a little faith.

I will try.

Then that is all I ask. Be of good courage, T’Kar. Andshe was alone.

Eventually she closed the curtains and retired to bed. Her dreams were filled with fire and flame, of her walking beneath T’Kuht in a desert that was oddly devoid of life, of kneeling before the Shatry’a and the condemning words that she was the cause of all the devastation. She jerked awake, slicked with sweat and gasping for breath. She lay panting against the headboard for a couple of minutes and then wiping the back of her hand across her forehead sat up.

Although it was early morning, the sun had already risen. Sighing, T’Kar got up and stumbled into the sonic shower. Looking longingly at her bed she reluctantly dressed and went downstairs. She had told Leonard that she would rest and meditate but she hadn’t exactly told the truth, she intended going to the T’Karath Sanctuary to partly meditate and secondly just to get out of the city. She dressed quickly in light, desert coloured clothing. Using the last two kreila she quickly made herself two sandwiches and filled a bottle of water. Then she pulled a brush through her hair and slipped out of the apartment. It was still early but the streets were fairly busy. Thankfully she didn’t see anyone she knew, and she was able to slip out of the city unnoticed. She didn’t particularly like taking the groundcar but it was over thirty kellicams to the Sanctuary.

It was mid-morning when she arrived at the base of the mountain, the stair was still there but she knew that the Sanctuary was now abandoned. Climbing through the wrecked door she eased herself down on the block of stone. A shaft of sunlight poured in through what had once been a window straight onto a block of stone against the far wall.

She often came here for the solitude and to pray, she’d considered bringing crystal flowers to decorate what she considered the altar, although she confessed that it could just as easily have been part of a wall or a column that had fallen in such as way as to make it look like an altar. Besides, she was afraid that if she made any changes someone would seek to find out who was doing it. So she came to think, to meditate and to pray. Already, the air was warm. Sitting at the back of the ruined shrine in the shade, she eased herself into a comfortable position and closed her eyes. It took her about five minutes to ease into meditation, had anyone looked into the shrine twenty minutes later, they would have seen a dark-haired Vulcan deep in a meditative state.

She came back to herself an hour later. Blinking herself back into consciousness she stretched and uncurled her legs. She’d packed lunch in a small coldbag and she ate slowly, chewing thoughtfully. When she’d finished she stuffed her packaging back into her bag and took out a small sketchbook and a pencil. Flipping it open she resumed her seat on the slab and began working, the edge of her tongue sticking out with concentration. She worked for the remainder of the afternoon, stopping when the shadows lengthened.

Climbing down from the Sanctuary she dropped her bags onto the passenger seat and climbed into the car. As she parked in front of her apartment building, she was surprised to see Dr. McCoy waiting for her. “Leonard!” she said surprised, “I thought you’d be at the hospital with Captain Kirk.”

“He’s resting,” McCoy replied, “Did you have a good day?”

“Please tell me that you haven’t been waiting all day?” T’Kar demanded.

“Only about ten minutes,” Leonard smiled, “Jim and I checked into the hospital this afternoon. The hospital will do some tests tonight and prepare him for the procedure for tomorrow afternoon. Are you still going to be there?”

“I promised,” T’Kar replied simply, as if that was reason enough, “now what can I do for you, Leonard.”

“Am I allowed to take you to dinner?” McCoy asked gently.

Surprised, T’Kar flushed emerald to the tips of her ears and McCoy chuckled, “I thought Vulcans weren’t supposed to suffer from embarrassment?”

“I’m not your typical Vulcan,” T’Kar managed a wry smile.

“That I know,” McCoy replied.

“Come upstairs while I change,” she said, “then you can take me to a nice little restaurant in the heart of ShiKahr.”

“I would be honoured,” Leonard replied, touching his fingers to hers.

She showered and changed into a short, teal dress, beige shoes and a matching clutch bag. When she emerged from the bedroom McCoy stared open-mouthed. She stared at him, her heart thumping, “Do I look all right? Should I go change?”

McCoy was on his feet, “No! Gods, no! You look gorgeous, I was just speechless.”

T’Kar flushed again and McCoy laughed, “You must learn to stop doing that.”

“You mean, I must learn to accept compliments better,” T’Kar replied

“That too,” McCoy replied, “shall we go?”

T’Kar took a sip of the water and looked across the table, “So, how is the Captain?”

“I hope that by now, he’s sleeping peacefully,” McCoy replied tersely, “I told the nurses to use a sleep inducing unit when the tests were complete – I want him well rested tomorrow.”

“We need to be well rested too,” T’Kar mused thoughtfully.

“I suppose that means I drop you at your front door and go home alone,” McCoy sighed.

“It does,” T’Kar smiled, “I need to be alone, Leonard, I have this meeting with my lawyer tomorrow and much I as I adore being with you, I need to get my head clear.”

“I know,” McCoy smiled, “But I will see you for an early brunch before we go up to the hospital?”

“Yes,” T’Kar promised.

Leonard took her hand when they stopped in front of her apartment building and gently kissed her fingers. At her look of surprise he laughed, “A human gesture of affection,” he explained. Then he was climbing out of the car and walking towards the hospital.

T’Kar stepped out of the car and slipped upstairs, her shoes making little sound on the stairs. Once inside she undressed and slid into pyjamas. T’kuht blazed across the heavens, but tonight there was no whisper of communication from the Shatry’a and she climbed gratefully into bed and fell asleep.

Although her dreams weren’t filled with dust and fire, there seemed to be dark figures always on the edge of her vision, and a feeling of being pursued across red vistas. She woke feeling wrung out, stumbling into the sonic shower she dressed in a blue one-piece outfit and brushed her hair. Then she went down to meet the lawyer.

He was waiting for her in his office and she was surprised to see a number of boxes stacked inside. He nodded to her, “Please sit down, T’Kar. I won’t be a moment.”

He reappeared less than five minutes later carrying a small circular device which he set on the floor and a small box which he set on the desk. “I’ll activate the hologram, and leave you alone.”

“You’re not staying.”

“I am afraid that I am not permitted,” S’Jenes replied.

He nodded to her, pressed a button on the device and swept smoothly from the room, his robes flowing behind him.

T’Kar swallowed as a holographic figure materialized above the device and it was with a shock she recognised her mother.

“My darling daughter,” Sarah began, “Today is your twenty-first birthday. Today you find out what all the fuss has been about – and all the secrets. Or rather, one secret.” She paused, “The very first diary is in the chest that the lawyer brought in. It was preserved in clear acetate some two hundred years ago after the contents were typed up and transferred to a PADD. Read it. It will answer many questions and raise others. I will tell you the story of our family, of your family. Then you must read the diary.”

Sarah appeared to take something from thin air and T’Kar realised it was a journal, not unlike her own. She looked up and smiled, but T’Kar had a feeling that she wasn’t smiling at her.

“My dearest daughter,” Sarah swallowed, “I wish I could make this easy for you, but the simple facts are these. Captain James T Kirk is your ancestor.”

T’Kar gaped at her, but Sarah continued, “My research of my ancestor’s diary has led me to this conclusion. There are many other things in the chest which you may find useful. Read her diary. Read our other ancestors’ journals. I have instructed S’Jenes to play the next portion of this when you have read our ancestor’s diary. Be of good courage.”

The hologram winked off and T’Kar walked across to the chest, releasing the hasps she opened the lid and stared down at the two objects sitting in the top of the chest. One looked like an old battered book, encased in a clear acrylic type material and next to that a PADD. Underneath them were other journals and stunned, she closed the lid.

There was a soft tapping on the door and clearing her throat, T’Kar spoke, “Come in!”

S’Jenes entered the room and bowed, “Is the first recording over?”

Speechless, T’Kar nodded.

S’Jenes bowed again and then said, “Take the chest, it is yours.” He swallowed, “When you have read the first two journals your mother has requested that you return to this office.”

“There’s more?” T’Kar could barely keep the squeak from her voice.

“Indeed there is,” S’Jenes replied. “I will expect your call, T’Kar. I will have the other boxes cleared from storage and expect your call when you have read the contents.”

T’Kar nodded, “I’ll take it out to my groundcar.”

She put the chest in the trunk and then sat in the car for a long time looking out across the city, tears running down her face and wondering what to do next. She checked her timepiece and realised that she was meeting Dr. McCoy in less than fifteen minutes. Taking a handkerchief and mirror from her pocket she wiped her eyes and checked to see that it didn’t look as if she’d been crying.

He was waiting for her beneath an umbrella, a glass of liquid in front of him.

“Am I late?” T’Kar asked as she slid into a seat next to him.

“No, you’re a couple of minutes early,” McCoy smiled, “What would you like to drink?”

“A cup of Vulcan coffee, please,” she replied, leaning her elbows on the table.

“Something’s worrying you,” he said suddenly.

T’Kar pursed her lips and nodded, “Yes, but I don’t think I can discuss it yet. I have a bit of reading and research to do.”

McCoy smiled and said, “All right. But you will come and speak with me if you’re worried.”

“I think that you have enough problems without me adding to them,” T’Kar replied thoughtfully.

McCoy frowned, “Perhaps, but I suspect that yours are more immediate.” He smiled and then gently touched T’Kar’s fingers with his own, “Promise me you will come and talk about it when you can.”

Her coffee arrived and McCoy withdrew his fingers, she swallowed and said quietly, “So, how’s Captain Kirk?” My ancestor. She thought slightly dazedly.

“Impatient, as always,” McCoy sipped his water, “but I wanted this quiet time to explain the procedure with feromazone. Have you read anything about it?”

“Only the basics,” T’Kar replied, “it’s a hypnotic and puts the subject in a light trance. It’s used by some psychiatrists to try and unlock repressed memory.”

“I have some reservations about using it,” McCoy admitted, “it has worked in the past, but it’s a dangerous drug. I’d have preferred to use something like cognitive therapy, or even consultations with a psychiatrist.”

“Do you think it’ll work?” T’Kar asked softly.

“It may, but I’m concerned about the after effects.” McCoy ran a hand across his face, “Feromazone has caused brain damage and it is possible that the mental block is such that this drug might not break through.”

“In which case what are our other options?”

McCoy shrugged and spread his hands, “I don’t know. Every instinct in me is screaming not to do this.”

“Why?” T’Kar frowned as she took a sip of her coffee.

“I just don’t think that the drug will open any doors in his head. He doesn’t want to remember what happened and that’s the main problem.”

“Whereas you and Spock know exactly what happened,” T’Kar raised a perfect dark eyebrow and McCoy nodded, speechless, “It’s all right, Leonard, I won’t press you for details. I probably wouldn’t get an answer anyway.”

McCoy sighed, “I told you that it was my fault. I thought that Jim was all right – depressed certainly, but I thought he was coping. Apparently not. So this whole thing is my fault.”

“I cannot judge,” T’Kar replied quietly, “although I think you take too much on yourself. This event that you prevented and then had to let happen, would it have happened anyway had you not been there?”

“I don’t know,” McCoy replied, “but for the timeline to remain intact, I had to allow Jim to make one of the hardest decisions of his life. Perhaps the hardest – I don’t know. I do, however, feel that his condition has been caused by this last assignment.”

“You don’t feel that the feromazone will help Dr. M’Benga to access these hidden memories?” T’Kar pursed her lips.

McCoy shook his head, and instinctively T’Kar reached out and touched her fingers to his own, he felt a wave of compassion from her which almost brought tears to his eyes. “Do I tell Jabilo my misgivings, or not?” he asked brokenly.

T’Kar sighed, “I think that if you do not and something goes wrong-”

“Are you suggesting that something might?”

“No, I’m suggesting that it’s better to be prepared?” T’Kar replied. “If this works and nothing happens then your fears were groundless. If on the other hand-”

“Something does happen, we can be prepared for it,” McCoy smiled, “will you come with me to speak with Dr M’Benga?”

“Do you need me to?” T’Kar looked surprised.

“I would appreciate it,” McCoy smiled.

“Then I will come,” T’Kar responded, she looked down at her watch, “We should go. I must change into my uniform. I may not feel very professional, but I should at least make the attempt to look so.”

McCoy nodded and held out his fingers, she bowed her head and touched hers to his, a gesture of comfort. It was not lost on some of the diners. T’Kar noticed that some eyes widened but they said nothing.

She was grateful when he opened the passenger door, “Can you still feel me?” she asked when he was inside.

“In a way, as you can feel me,” he replied, turning to smile at her. “You said this will fade. Will it always be like this?”

“For us I think we will be lucky and have the sweet and not the bitter,” T’Kar replied, “we will perhaps always be able to sense the other’s emotions. Over time and space possibly – I do not know. You were my first and it is likely that because of that, the sensations will be more intense.”

“It is strange,” McCoy mused, “you said that this bonding is not of a permanent nature, how so?”

T’Kar bit her lip thoughtfully and said, “Remember I said that I could go into ShiKahr and there were places there that cater for such problems. Most Vulcans do not like to admit it, but unless pon farr is addressed then the outcome is death for both genders. There are places in ShiKahr that cater to the unbonded males and females.”

“Brothels?” McCoy gaped, “I didn’t know.”

“Why should you?” T’Kar responded, “Sex is a most personal thing among Vulcans, Leonard. This is why no-one has questioned either of us about that night. It is considered a private matter between ourselves that we will work out. Sarek and Amanda would only interfere if they felt that either of us were becoming too involved.”

“Now you sound like an emotionless Vulcan,” McCoy scowled.

“I am sorry,” T’Kar replied, she looked away from him, her dark eyes deep and fathomless. “I am Vulcan though and although the wild part of me longs to hug and kiss you I cannot. I am Vulcan.”

“I know.” McCoy smiled, and again laid his two fingers on hers, “shall I cook you dinner tonight and then take you to bed?”

“Only if you promise to hug and kiss me breathless Leonard,” T’Kar responded, looking up at him.

“With pleasure,” Bones smiled.

When they arrived at her apartment, T’Kar got out of the car and slipped upstairs to change. When she returned she was wearing her white nurse’s uniform. Bones gave her a cursory glance; she looked neat, cool and professional. He didn’t drive to the hospital, preferring to set the car on automatic drive and they talked briefly throughout the journey.

“Do you know anything about the feromazone procedure?” he asked.

“Not much,” T’Kar confessed, “or at least not enough to feel confident about it.”

“The patient is usually given a mild sedative,” McCoy explained, “or at least enough of one to take the edge off the fear – it’s better to have a calm patient. Then they’re wheeled into the treatment room, it’s usually painted in neutral colours, blues, greens. There’s a video camera set up behind a fake mirror, out of the subject’s view, which records everything the patient says. We go through a list of procedures with the attending nurse – which is the role you’ll be undertaking on this occasion and a copy of the list of questions.” He paused and swallowed. T’Kar risked a quick look at him and laid her fingers over his, “You are worried about this aren’t you?” she asked.

McCoy started to shake his head and then managed a sheepish smile and nodded. She continued the contact trying to send him all her love and support for whatever he chose. Eventually he looked up and said, “I will tell Jabilo of my concerns, I am wracking my brains to try and think of another solution and I do not have one.”

“You may be trying to think too hard,” T’Kar replied softly, “I have faith in you. You forget I have seen you, I know you are the best of Starfleet – Captain Kirk could not be in better hands.” She wanted to say more, to tell him of her own discovery that morning, but something in her throat closed up and she couldn’t speak.

McCoy nodded, “I hope so – I wish I did not fear so.”

“I wish I could make you see the fear for what it is,” T’Kar replied, “a grey mist that clouds judgment; shadow without substance; a paralysing creature that has only the power we allow it to have.”

“Now you’re a philosopher,” he laughed.

“I am a Vulcan,” she replied, “but I have learnt that if one cannot divorce oneself from fear, then it is fear that provokes the action. You need to look at your fears and remove yourself from them.”

Leonard nodded, “I do not know how successful I can be.”

“You are human,” T’Kar replied as if that was the reason. “Leonard, I tell you this because this fear that something will go wrong is crippling you – and if you allow fear to do this – then something may indeed go wrong. Dr. M’Benga will not let you into the treatment room when you are like this.”

Leonard stopped the groundcar in front of the hospital, “You could feel it couldn’t you – the fear?”

“I could,” T’Kar replied, she turned to face him and said, “If you wish I could mind-meld with you. We have already bonded in the pon farr – but it is your choice.”

“I need to be calm, T’Kar,” McCoy ran a hand across his face, “and the fear that consumes me over this procedure is making it impossible for me to view it with any objectivity. Help me.”

She stared at him, biting her lip in consternation, “I have had little formal training, Leonard, I could cause irreparable damage.”

“We bonded during your pon farr,” Bones replied, “I have experienced no damage.”

“That does not mean I will not cause damage now,” T’Kar replied, then seeing the amount of distress he was in nodded quickly, her thoughts drifted to the lawyer’s news and then she locked it away in a dark corner of her mind. There would be time to review that later, time when she was alone and could read the diary and meditate on its contents.

Gently as if she was touching an evanescent soap bubble she laid her fingers on Leonard’s face, “My mind to yours,” she murmured softly, “my thoughts to yours.”

She was half-aware of their minds sliding together and his laughter fresh in her mind, she saw images, mostly of those things that he considered failures until finally she saw him bending over the biobed of an older man and knew with a stark finality that this was his father, Bones gave the older man a hypospray and the man gave a soft sigh and sank back onto the bed. Then she saw another image, a newspaper proclaiming a cure.

She turned him in her arms and they stood facing one another while everything around them faded away and they were the only ones left standing, Is this what you fear? She asked, that you will make the wrong decision. Is this what freezes you – the fear that the decision you take today will follow you the rest of your days?

A slight nod of the head and she reached up to touch his face, to stroke the hair away from his forehead, You must let it go. She said softly, or it will consume everything you do. You strive for the best, the highest, the brightest. You have no cause to feel such guilt.

It drives me, the thought was uppermost in his mind, the guilt. Did I do enough? Did I fight enough, did I explore every avenue.

Show me your fears, she whispered softly, and to hersurprise he turned and before her she saw a myriad of pictures. Kirk being given the drug, M’Benga barraging him with questions until finally Kirk became a screaming, psychotic. Kirk being given the drug and simply drifting back into a comatose state. The images came so thick and fast they left her breathless. She remembered turning him and laying her hands on his shoulders, Look, she said, Look. They are phantoms, ghosts, mist, they cannot touch you, they cannot harm you. They are figments of your imagination, conjured up by your guilt and fear. Let them go.

He half turned to look up at her, And what makes you so certain of this?

The man I hold in my arms is one who dared to heal an injured Horta; who would gladly give his life to save a horrible little girl who carries a deadly disease; who braves his Captain’s wrath time and again to see the right thing done. Your fear is just that, fear; see your fears for what they truly are. Mere illusion.

And with her touch the images around him of his Captain dying, of losing one of his best friends, his fear that even his touch would cause Jim damage began to fade. He opened his eyes just as T’Kar opened hers and he managed a slightly weak smile as she began to withdraw from his mind.

Blinking he took a breath and whispered, “That’s some skill.”

She managed a weak smile, “I just showed you that your terrors had no substance.”

McCoy gently touched her fingers, he wanted to gather her up in his arms and bury his face in her shoulder, but he knew that was not the Vulcan way.

“Are you ready?” she asked softly, “we should go in.”

McCoy nodded and then stepped out of the vehicle. Dr. M’Benga was waiting for them in the foyer. “I’ve administered a small amount of narcolan to relax him, although it doesn’t seem to have worked as well as I’d have liked.”

“I presume that he’s fighting the sedation,” T’Kar said quietly.

“I think he’s afraid,” Jabilo smiled at her, “although you’ll never get him to admit it. Would you go and sit with him please T’Kar, your presence might help to ease his mind.”

“A quick word, Doctor, if I may,” McCoy said quietly.

“Of course Dr. McCoy,” Jabilo smiled, “come through to my office. T’kar we’ll see you in a moment.”

T’Kar nodded at both men and walked through to the treatment room. Jim was lying on the biobed, his eyes closed. Vulcans did not touch but she took his hand anyway, feeling that it might give him some comfort if she did so. He opened hazy eyes and half-smiled up at her, “Feeling a bit woozy?” she asked softly.

He nodded and despite everything she reached out and stroked the hair from his forehead, “You don’t have to go through with this you know,” she said gently, “there must be other ways-”

“Not for me,” he replied slowly, “you know what’s worse?”

“Tell me,” she said, sitting on the stool beside the bed.

“My two best friends know what happened and won’t tell me.”

“I don’t think that it’s that simple,” T’Kar smiled, “I don’t think that it’s ever that simple. There are other factors at work here, they’re not telling you because they do not know how you will react to what has happened, not to prevent you from finding out about it.” Where did that come from? She thought.

“But if they told me-” he began, fighting the drug to make a coherent sentence.

She was grateful beyond measure as the door opened and the two physicians walked into the room, M’Benga walked across to the bed and after quickly checking the monitors, smiled down at Captain Kirk, “Your vital signs have stabilized and you seem calmer. Now we’ll go through the checklist one more time. All right?”

Kirk nodded slowly, his eyes closed, T’Kar watched him thoughtfully, her emotions threatening to overwhelm her. M’Benga smiled at her and handed her a PADD with a copy of the questions on it. “We don’t deviate from the questions here,” he said firmly, looking into her dark eyes, “Do you understand?”

“Yes, Doctor,” T’Kar nodded, her hand firmly holding the Captain’s.

“Jim, are you ready?” M’Benga bent over his patient and smiled tightly as Captain Kirk nodded sleepily. “Right, let’s get started.” He pressed a hypospray against Kirk’s neck, “Take some nice deep breaths now, Jim, this should take effect pretty quickly.”

“Ha-hmmm,” Kirk murmured as the feromazone sped into his system. His face relaxed and T’Kar was surprised at how young and boyish it seemed to become. Dr. M’Benga smiled at her, to her surprise he didn’t speak, merely held up his finger and thumb in a circle to form the letter ‘O’, she knew that it was the ‘OK’ symbol. Surprising herself she gave him the ‘thumbs up’ signal and he nodded.

“Jim, can you hear me?”

“Mmm-hmm,” Kirk replied drowsily.

“And do you know who I am?”

“Dr. M’Benga,” came the soft reply.

“That’s good, Jim,” M’Benga replied, his eyes checking the instruments surrounding the bed, “you’re perfectly safe here, nothing can harm you, all right?”

Jim nodded slowly, and T’Kar felt her heart clench. M’Benga didn’t seem to have noticed. He was looking down at his PADD and then he cleared his throat and began to speak, “All right, Jim, I want you to tell me the last thing you remember.”

Slowly, almost dreamily Kirk began to speak, “A Klingon warship, K’ting’a class I think. She suddenly decloaked in front of us. Said that we were violating Klingon space. This is Federation Space – not Klingon – don’t know what they’re talking about-”

“All right, Jim. You’re not on the bridge any more, I want you to cycle back to the mission before that. Where are you?”

“We’re on a planet. McCoy injected himself with cordrazine, beamed down to the planet’s surface – jumped into something – Guardian – Guardian of Forever-” his voice died away and T’Kar could see the beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead. She covered his other hand with her own, every fibre of her being projecting calm and sympathy. To hers and Dr. M’Benga’s surprise he settled back onto the bed, his breathing easing as he did so.

M’Benga looked across at her and nodded slowly, he didn’t speak but she could tell that the Captain’s behaviour had worried him considerably. He nodded at her and she raised an eyebrow at him, then M’Benga turned back to his patient.

“Jim – I want you to tell me, what happened after McCoy jumped into this Guardian,” M’Benga was looking down at his PADD so he didn’t see the flicker of pain that ran across Kirk’s forehead.

“Tried to contact Enterprise, not there, gone. Somehow McCoy changed history. Guardian – Guardian spoke to me – to us – ” he swallowed and twisted his head away, a moan escaping from his lips.

Surprising herself T’Kar extricated one of her hands from Jim’s and reached across to touch M’Benga’s arm.

He turned in shock and she mouthed silently, No more.

He nodded and then she was bending over the supine man’s body, gently stroking a wisp of hair away from his forehead, but she didn’t see the puzzled look M’Benga gave her as she did so. He cleared his throat and laying his hand on the bed began to speak again, “Jim, are you feeling okay?”

“I feel strange,” he muttered, “warm.”

Involuntarily, M’Benga cursed under his breath, T’Kar was sure that it was only her Vulcan hearing that caught it. Composing his features he spoke again, “Jim, I’m going to count to three, when I reach three your eyes will open and you’ll wake up. You’ll feel wide awake and refreshed as if you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Ready?”

“Mmmm-hmm,” Jim nodded lazily.

“One, two, three,” M’Benga said slowly, to his relief Jim’s eyes opened, for a few seconds he blinked up at them and then the familiar smile curved his lips, M’Benga had picked up his tricorder and was running it up and down the Captain’s body.

“I-I remember-” he whispered, “the planet, it was the Guardian of Forever. Something about McCoy and changing history.”

“Anything else?” T’Kar asked gently, her hand still holding his own.

Jim frowned trying to push past the blank space in his head, finally he gave up, “No, nothing.”

T’Kar nodded, “Fair enough.”

Jim attempted to sit up, but it was Dr. M’Benga who pushed him back down onto the couch, “And just where do you think you’re going? You’ve got almost a full dose of feromazone in your bloodstream. You need to lie quiet for at least twelve hours.”

Surprising both of them, he lay back down onto the biobed. Both T’Kar and Dr. M’Benga looked at one another and T’Kar raised an eyebrow. Jabilo smiled, “I ask you to stay with him, T’Kar.”

To Jim he said firmly, “Don’t go doing anything stupid.” He picked up a small black box on a side table, and turning pressed a small red button on it. T’Kar breathed a sigh of relief, he’d turned off the recording device.

To their surprise Kirk nodded again, as if the drugs had removed his will. T’Kar looked down and realised that she was still holding his hand, her face must have paled slightly because suddenly Dr. M’Benga was by her side, running his tricorder up and down her back, “Are you all right, T’Kar?”

She nodded, “Yes, a bit tired, but I’m all right.”

M’Benga ran his tricorder up and down her body and she resisted the urge to twitch, even though she couldn’t feel anything. Eventually he put the device away and said, “Your tri-glycerides are elevated as are your hormonal levels.”

“Probably all this,” T’Kar waved vaguely at the room. “I’ve never been part of something like this before.”

“Hmmm,” Jabilo said slowly, almost as if he didn’t believe her. Thankfully he didn’t say anything else, merely smiled and said, “I know that it’s no use asking you to go, but when he’s stabilized I want you to go home and rest. Do I have your word?”

She nodded, “All right. I have things to do anyway-”

“No, I want you to go home and rest,” Jabilo told her firmly, “no reading or writing. Just go home and rest. Do you promise?”

Reluctantly, T’Kar nodded, she promised. She wanted to read the diary, in fact her fingers were itching to read the diary but she also knew what Jabilo was saying, that she needed to look after herself too. Eventually shenodded and a warm smile lit the black man’s face and eyes.

Kirk managed a weary smile at them, “Did you get anything useful?”

“Did you remember anything?” T’Kar asked gently.

He frowned, searching his memory, and then a rueful grin spread across his face, “Only that Bones managed to inject himself with cordrazine and we had to go after him.” He sighed, “that’s not much help is it?”

“Oh it could be worse,” M’Benga replied, a smile lighting the dark features, “you might not have remembered anything at all. This method may be quicker than others, but it still takes a little time to unlock repressed memory.”

“So you think it might succeed?” Kirk was grasping at straws.

“I think that with luck and this young lady,” M’Benga gestured to T’Kar, “we may have a fighting chance.”

He smiled and for the first time T’Kar wondered if this was how he had charmed her ancestor, she looked up at Dr. M’Benga, “I think he praises me far too highly.”

Kirk didn’t reply, merely tightened his grip on her hand and T’Kar suddenly felt such a wave of unrestrained emotion it was all she could do not to cry.

“Right, I’ll leave you to rest there for a few moments,” M’Benga said firmly, “You’ll keep him quiet while I arrange his room?”

“Yes, sir,” T’Kar looked across at him and M’Benga nodded, “Doctor, or Jabilo will do, T’Kar. You need not be so formal.”

She nodded and found her lips curving upwards in what might have been a slight smile, Jabilo touched her shoulder, “Don’t let anyone see your smile, they might start to think that Vulcans are not as emotionless as they’ve been told.”

She nodded and then turned her attention back to Captain Kirk, his eyes were closed but she could tell from the intense grip on her hand that he wasn’t asleep. “Do you want to talk?” she asked gently.

He half-opened his eyes, “About what?”

“Anything you like,” she replied.

A soft chuckle emerged from Kirk’s throat and he said, “I don’t know what to talk about, so many images going through my head. You and that Kenel in the desert, these weird images of McCoy jumping through the gate, what did I call it, The Guardian of Forever?” she nodded slowly and he continued, “and there’s something else, something I can’t remember but it’s vital.”

“I could suggest that you don’t try, but it’s a bit like prodding a missing tooth isn’t it,” she said, “You are always touching the area with your tongue to feel that missing space.”

A soft smile touched his lips, “Yeah, like a cut that’s been dressed, you keep running your fingers over the dressing.”

“You should try and sleep,” T’Kar said quietly. Kirk swallowed and nodded, “I’ll close my eyes.”

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