He was still holding her hand as tightly as before when M’Benga returned. He surveyed them quietly and then shook his head, “I’ve got a room ready for you, Captain. We’ll take you through now.”
Once he was settled in his room T’Kar reseated herself beside Jim’s bed and again took his hand, he was still highly agitated and she sighed softly, “You must try to calm down, Captain.”
Kirk nodded, “You’ll stay?”
“For a bit,” she promised, “if you’ll promise to try and sleep.”
Their eyes met and he nodded, then he looked down at his hand and looked up sheepishly, “I’m sorry, I forgot-”
“Truly, it’s all right, Captain.” T’Kar replied, “you forget I am unlike any that Vulcan has seen before.”
“But you must appear to be like all of Vulcan before them,” Kirk replied, he shifted position and said, “oh well, chances are that it’ll stay in the medical file and be ascribed to my amnesiac condition. Not as I like that either.”
“I know the brave, bright, bold, Captain,” T’Kar shook her head, “Inscrutable, immovable, inviolable-” she stopped when she saw his face, “sorry.”
“In many ways, true,” he sighed again. I wish that my life were simpler.”
“No you don’t,” T’Kar shook her head, “you adore being a Starship Captain, it’s what you live for. This is your biggest terror.”
He looked up into her dark eyes and nodded, this inaction, this blank spot in his mind that refused all attempts to unlock it, the almost certain knowledge that his First Officer and Doctor knew what had happened but were constrained by Starfleet and circumstance not to tell him was taking its toll. He lay back onto the bed and asked, “So what now?”
“Well you rest for the remainder of today and this evening, and then tomorrow we start the procedure again.”
Kirk scowled and T’Kar had to suppress a smile, “Did you think that it would just be one dose and all your memories would come back?” She paused, “the brain doesn’t work like that, Captain.”
He turned and punched the pillow, “I wish mine was a computer right now,” he muttered, “that you could just change a transistor or a wire and I would work perfectly again – memory intact, the works.”
“Yes, I know,” T’Kar said quietly, “but there are reasons why the mind does this.”
“Yes, I know,” Kirk scowled again, “but it makes me look like a nutcase!”
“Is that a scientific term?” T’Kar raised an eyebrow again and Kirk was forced to smile.
“You know what I mean.”
“Yes, I do. But I also know you – well enough to know that you’re driving yourself too hard and that too can cause damage.” She sighed softly, “you seem to have forgotten the one rule you live by, but again I put that down to your state of mind.”
“And what rule is that?” he asked sleepily.
“That the safety of the Enterprise takes precedence over everything else. In fact one could argue that both your friends have disregarded that rule to bring you here. But I wouldn’t be too hard on them.”
Jim half-smiled and she could see that he was already drifting into slumber, carefully she reached forward stroked the hair away from his forehead. He sighed again and T’Kar gave his hand a final squeeze before rising to her feet and leaving the room.
To her surprise M’Benga was waiting for her, he smiled when he saw her emerge from the room, “He’s asleep at long last? Good. Now I have your word that you will go straight home and rest?”
Reluctantly T’Kar nodded and M’Benga frowned, “Your promise, T’Kar, because I know that Vulcans don’t lie and keep their promises.” T’Kar eyed him thoughtfully, it wasn’t strictly true that Vulcans didn’t lie, more that they didn’t tell the whole truth. Or perhaps they just told a part of the truth. However, on this occasion it would probably be best to go home and relax.
“I can see her home, Jabilo,” Leonard stepped forward and touched T’Kar’s fingers with his own, “I promised to cook supper tonight.”
And M’Benga watched as McCoy laid his fingers on T’Kar’s and watched the tension run from the woman’s body. “See that she rests,” M’Benga instructed, hoping that he was projecting enough forcefulness into his tone.
“I will,” McCoy smiled at her and she felt the corners of her mouth curve up in a slight smile in return. “See? I knew you pointy-eared gremlins had a sense of humour,” he teased.
Pointy-eared gremlin? She thought as they slipped outinto the early evening. The sun was beginning to set and it cast a lurid glow across the desert landscape, she looked out away from the city towards the l-langon mountains, her mind elsewhere.
“Don’t even think about it,” McCoy warned as he opened the groundcar’s door.
She turned and tried to feign surprise but the look in his bright blue eyes stopped her, “All right. How did you know?”
“We have a connection of sorts, remember?” he replied gently.
“And it shows no sign of dissipating,” she frowned, “and that is worrying.”
“Not necessarily,” McCoy replied, “have you considered it could just be a shore-leave romance.”
“But it may affect my bonding with any other Vulcan,” T’Kar stared at him perplexed.
“I think that’s unlikely,” McCoy replied, “it was an act borne out of necessity. So it shouldn’t affect any other relationships you have.”
“I hope you are right,” T’Kar responded.
“This is an unusual situation we find ourselves in,” McCoy replied, “so I feel that we have to ‘wing it’ on this occasion.”
“Wing it?” she raised an eyebrow, “I am not familiar with that term.”
“It means to ‘go with the flow’ just to do things as they come up and not to plan too much.”
“Ah,” T’Kar nodded, “So what happens tonight would be ‘winging it’?”
“Something like that,” McCoy replied, “but as I promised Jabilo, I am taking you home where I will cook you supper and then you will rest.”
“Is this the Doctor talking?” T’Kar frowned.
He nodded and if possible the scowl deepened, he opened his mouth to say something else but decided against it. What was it about him that attracted the most stubborn of the species? he wondered. Sighing he rememberedthe times when Spock had been injured and how that stubborn Vulcan had forced himself to continue his duties until McCoy had given him a hefty dose of sedative.
Feigning a nonchalance he did not feel he managed a smile and then said, “I promised you supper, I presume you have some recipes in English-” when T’Kar nodded he smiled, “good, you can either sit with me and show me what to do or you can lie down and rest. Even I can cook basic food.”
“How do you know all my recipes aren’t for Lobster Thermidor or John Dory,” she replied.
“I don’t, but you’ve never struck me as that type of person,” he explained, “oh I’m sure you’d like lobster if you ever had it, but I think your meals are the healthy, indigenous to Vulcan variety.”
“Flatterer,” she murmured, leaning back against the headrest and closing her eyes.
McCoy was gently shaking her awake, she opened her eyes and the first thing she saw was the huge bulk of T’kuht hanging over the car like a balloon.
“I’m sorry,” McCoy was saying, “I did call you but you were so deeply asleep-”
She waved his explanation away, entranced by what she saw. McCoy followed her gaze and smiled, “Does it call you?”
“Sometimes it feels like that,” she said slowly, “and on nights like these when it almost seems that you only have to stand up on your toes and you’ll be able to grasp the rim-”
“Please don’t howl at the moon,” he begged.
“Nights like these I’m more likely to go into the deep desert to dance beneath it,” T’Kar admitted, “although if you say anything I shall deny it.”
“It isn’t really a moon is it?” McCoy asked as they got out of the car and looked up at the planet.
“Not in the strict sense, no,” T’Kar replied, her dark eyes shining in its pale light. “It is almost entirely lifeless, although we have built bases there. It comes this close to T’Khasi every seven weeks or so.”
“Our name for the planet you call Vulcan,” T’Kar replied, “and for some reason you felt it necessary to rename T’Kuht, Charis.”
“We can be a bit like that,” McCoy agreed, “Come on, supper and then bed I think. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day.”
“The Captain will be on bed rest,” T’Kar explained, “and I will have duties at the hospital. It will not be as busy as you thought.”
“On the contrary,” McCoy replied, “he’s beginning to remember certain events, that means Spock and I need to talk about what he might or might not remember and be in a better position to face him when he does.”
“You think he might be angry that you chose not to enlighten him about your last mission.”
“I think at first he might be furious,” McCoy sighed and looked up at the planet hovering above them, “have you ever done something stupid?”
“I don’t know,” T’Kar replied, “define stupid.”
“Firstly injecting myself with the overdose of cordrazine,” he replied his eyes faraway, “I should have taken precautions with that drug, and secondly what I did when I was in the past. What I made Jim – Captain Kirk do. I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for that.”
“When I had to undergo the Vulcan trial of strength-” T’Kar began, she caught Dr. McCoy’s eyes. “There was one episode when I had to fight a boy, he dislocated my shoulder-”
She paused and looked up at T’Kuht again, “I should have said something, I should have asked that the fight be postponed, but I refused, pretended that it was merely a strain.”
She swallowed and then managed a slightly wan smile at him, “Eventually when all of ShiKahr was asleep I sought out a healer, but by then the damage had been done. I needed two operations on my left arm to repair the damage. It suffices as pretty much one of the stupidest things I’ve done. Quite apart from running off into the desert whenever things get difficult – not the safest or most sensible course of action.”
“No,” McCoy said quietly, “just promise me that you won’t do that if something really bad happens. I’m serious, T’Kar. You can’t run away from everything.”
“Let’s go inside,” she said quietly. Her mind was in turmoil, Should she tell him what she’d discovered?
Despite her trust of him, every fibre of her being was screaming ‘No’ and having learnt over the years to listen to that little voice she reluctantly obeyed it this time. McCoy followed her into her apartment and then said,
“Go and lie down like Dr. M’Benga told you. You need to rest.”
“Can’t I at least read?” she begged.
“Lie down and close your eyes,” he ordered, the blue eyes flashing, “we don’t need two people in hospital.”
T’Kar’s lips thinned in a severe line and he had to fight not to laugh, but she did as he ordered, slouching off to the bedroom. He turned back to the small, clean kitchen and found a Vulcan cookery book in English. He set it on the counter and then opened the fridge. Most of the foodstuffs within it were labelled in both Vulcan and English a fact for which he was extraordinarily grateful. Eventually he found what he was looking for and began to prepare supper.
He put the food in the oven, and then wiping his hands went through to the bedroom. T’Kar was asleep on top of the bed. For a few minutes he stood watching the gentle rise and fall of her chest, the way her lashes made dark semi-circles on her cheeks. Then he shook himself and said softly, “T’Kar, T’Kar, supper’s ready.”
She stirred and opened her eyes, staring up at the ceiling for a couple of minutes, then she slowly sat up and managed a sleepy smile, “Did you say supper was ready?” “I don’t think that it’s as good as yours,” Bones smiled, “did you have a nice sleep?”
“Yeah,” she replied, looking up at him, “Didn’t think I’d sleep.”
“I’m glad you did,” Leonard replied, “you obviously needed it.”
“I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve tasted it,” T’Kar responded impishly.
McCoy chuckled and then let the door close. T’Kar splashed her face and then wandered through to the dining room and stopped dead. McCoy had laid the table and even found candles from somewhere, “Oh my,” she murmured softly.
“I thought a little celebration was in order,” he said softly, “Jim seems to be reacting well to the feromazone, you haven’t run a mile and I’ve learnt how to cook!”
“Now that’s a definite plus!” T’Kar replied, “it looks lovely.”
McCoy sat down opposite her and asked, “Now who serves who again?”
“I’m never going to get that etiquette right,” T’Kar couldn’t help herself as a smile curved the strong lips.
McCoy laughed, “See I knew Vulcans had a sense of humour. Here, I’ll serve as I cooked the damn thing!”
McCoy served the food and then serving himself sat down opposite, “I hope that it’s all right, I’ve never cooked with Vulcan ingredients before.”
T’Kar tentatively took a mouthful and chewed thoughtfully before swallowing, “Not bad, Leonard, you can come and cook for me any time.”
He looked surprised and then nodded, “Thank you, T’Kar, it was a pleasure.” He took a sip of his drink and asked, “So what did the lawyer say?”
“I have a small chest to go through,” T’Kar explained, “and S’Jenes said that there would be others to go through when I’d finished with this one. I have no idea how many, he said that the boxes themselves would be self-explanatory.” She lied.
McCoy nodded, “But you will come and talk to me if there are any problems?”
T’Kar looked up into his blue eyes and suddenly felt really uncomfortable, she wanted to confide in McCoy, of course she did but she wasn’t sure that would be wise. Her mother had known of this secret for over thirty years and she hadn’t breathed a word, there must have been a reason. But what? If her mother had known of her ancestry then it was a safe bet that her father had also known – how many people had known of her ancestry and why had no-one mentioned it?
Swallowing she replied, “I will, Leonard, but let me try and work it out myself.”
“All right,” he smiled, “but whatever it is won’t be solved by you running for the hills. Come and talk to me, or even Dr. M’Benga if you’re worried. Honestly, this is the twenty-fourth century, I am sure that we can work something out.”
Privately T’Kar wasn’t so sure, there was something odd about the secrecy surrounding her mother’s behaviour. Hopefully she would find out, although she had to admit that there was a part of her didn’t want to.
“I suppose you want to take me to bed and kiss me breathless,” she said quietly as they washed up.
“Actually I was going to leave you to rest tonight,” McCoy said gently, “I think you need the sleep.”
Reluctantly, T’Kar nodded, “You’re probably right.” She saw him out and just before he left he said quietly,
“You’ll keep your promise, you won’t go dancing beneath the moon?”
“Yes, I’ll keep my promise.” She smiled again, “I won’t go dancing beneath the moon. See you tomorrow, Leonard.”
“See you tomorrow, T’Kar. I want you at the hospital bright and early.”
When she was alone she walked back into the bedroom, the chest was lurking at the end of her bed and despite her promise to Dr. McCoy she couldn’t resist kneeling down and opening it. The PADD and the acetate preserved journal stared back at her. Sighing again she picked up both the original and the PADD and went to sit on the bed. Turning on the light she turned on the device and began to read.
The Diary of Edith Anne Keeler
January 1st 1930
I have decided to use the old warehouse as a refuge of sorts for the homeless. Since Father’s death last year I have been wondering what to do with my life. Charles has suggested that I come out to him and his wife, he says that with the Depression there’s nothing for me here. I disagree, there’s so much unhappiness, and despair, surely the money that Father left me can be used to alleviate that. Or at least try. Admittedly setting up a soup kitchen may not be what everyone would choose but I have to try, not to try is to fail before I have even started. Tomorrow I start making inquiries.
January 3rd, 1930
It hasn’t been the easiest couple of days and the warehouse needed more cleaning than I thought. I have been lucky, a friend offered me a job as his Secretary.
The pay isn’t much but it will keep body and soul together. We will come out of this, we must. But we must do it together, it would be so easy to go and live with my brother. I had a letter from him yesterday, he says that the factory will survive but that even he has had to lay people off. He’s never told me how much he lost but I know from his wife, Eleanor that he had to close two of his factories in the larger cities. It’s hard everywhere but we mustn’t give up. A Philanthropist friend has suggested that we call it the South Street Mission and I’m inclined to agree with him. It’s as good a name as any. I was contacted by the Priest at St. Joseph’s he offered to come and preach homilies to the men, but I have a strong suspicion that the Church would be of no use to these men. And what makes me think that I can? All I know is that I have to try.
January 31st, 1930
It has been a busy month – which is the biggest understatement this century. I insist on serving everyone who comes to the door for soup although now I give them a ‘pep’ talk before they eat. A few don’t come back, perhaps they can more easily tune out the Priest’s homilies than they can my words. But someone must tell them that there’s no such thing as a free ride – or even a free lunch. I see all these men who have lost not just their jobs, but their dignity – I try to show them that they can rise above this, that this free meal is a stopgap, not the end of their usefulness. I need to show them that life is worth living that the world is worth fighting for, their lives are worth fighting for. I know that it is hard, I see it every day and sometimes I’m not sure I believe what I’m saying, but I have to believe that we will emerge from this, that America will be stronger.
February 4th, 1930
Another busy day at the Mission. I seem to have acquired some tailors in the back room, two men, Father and Son who at the moment mend and make clothes. Material is hard to acquire but they assure me that they can make a three piece suit out of old blankets. I’m not sure whether they were pulling my leg or not. I’m not sure I believe in God, although I saw Father Michael from St Joseph’s again today, he said that he’d heard good things about me. I am not good, but we must strive for more than one free bowl of soup per day. I know that it is hard, Lord I know it’s hard. The nights I have sat alone in my room and looked out across the dingy city and wondered when things would change are immeasurable. I have read and reread my Bible almost every night – I admit that it is hard for me to believe in God, but I have found that the words of comfort written in these holy books have strengthened me and made it possible for me to go out every day and offer words of encouragement to the men who come to the mission.
February 13th, 1930
I met a man today, very well dressed and so polite! I wish I could have offered him more than a cup of weak coffee and a slice of cake – and even that wasn’t very good! He ate both and pronounced them delicious although I knew better. Eventually he stood up and thanked me for a pleasant afternoon. I wish I’d been able to do more.
March 1st, 1930
I don’t believe it! The man I encountered last month and who asked me why an elegant young lady was running a mission in New York was Richard Edgar! He was well known in this city before the First World War, apparently he lost his son somewhere over France, I’m embarrassed by the way I behaved. I treated him just like everybody else! He might turn round and say that’s what he wanted but I somehow doubt that. Anyway, a man arrived at the mission with an invitation to afternoon tea. I was shocked at first, I can’t imagine why anyone would invite someone like me to afternoon tea but the man delivering it was most insistent that I should attend. I took the card and then he left, then the workers came in and began setting up for the evening Soup run. I wish I could pay more than 15 cents an hour but I must use the money Father left me wisely, if I pay more I won’t be able to employ as many people and the money will go faster. Afternoon tea – I have absolutely nothing to wear.
March 3rd, 1930
I went to afternoon tea at Richard Edgar’s. Still can’t believe I actually went. It was unreal. All these people sitting drinking afternoon tea and discussing where they would go for the summer when all around them the world seemed to be crumbling around them. I tried to explain that I ran a small mission in the city but most of them weren’t interested. I finally decided that I’d had enough and quietly left. Mr Edgar accosted me at the door and I explained to him that it was kind of him to invite me but I really didn’t feel quite right. I thanked him and was about to go when his hand on my arm stopped me. “I am sorry you felt uncomfortable, Miss Keeler, I had hoped to enlighten some of my friends as to the real state of the city.” I managed a weak smile and suggested that maybe his friends should come down to the mission in person. He laughed softly and said that he would think about it. I arrived back at the Mission to find that the only things left to do were to wash up and wipe down the tables. I suspect that most of my regulars were very glad that they didn’t have me lecturing them tonight about how life will get better. Perhaps most of them don’t believe it will – I must believe it – otherwise to my mind there is little point in living.
March 10th, 1930
I encountered two very strange men today. They’d stumbled into my cellar, the blond one said that they were sheltering from the cold although I knew that was a lie and said that was a poor introduction. He smiled and said that he and his friend were running from the police for petty theft. Why didn’t I turn them in? I don’t know, he looked tired, his whole body tense with something I couldn’t put my finger on and his friend, although he was standing in the shadows the colour of his skin made me think of someone who was dangerously ill. I told them that if they wanted work I could pay 15 cents an hour for ten hours and they could start by cleaning up the cellar.
Then I returned to the Mission. Still don’t know why I didn’t turn them in – Lord knows the last thing I need here is a couple of thieves.
March 11th, 1930
I found another man this afternoon, curled up in an alleyway. He was wild-eyed and sweating profusely. I nearly walked past him, thinking that he was just a homeless vagrant, another one who’s ended up in this city. I knelt next to him wondering how I could help, his eyes opened and he stared into mine. Looking down at him I wondered how I could help him when suddenly his hand grabbed mine and he whispered, “Help me.” After that I didn’t have very much choice, how I got him to his feet I don’t know, I do remember half-shouting at him to keep his eyes open so that I could get him to his feet. I got him back to my room and put him to bed. I shall leave some water beside the bed and try to tend him as much as possible. I don’t know if I can do much for the fever except to try and provide as much gentle care as possible. Hopefully he will recover.
March 14th, 1930
I heard the tall, dark-haired man call him ‘Captain’, he said that his name was James, James Kirk. There’s something about him, something I can’t put my finger on, but I like him very much. It isn’t just that he’s different, but he seems to have something I’ve never seen before.
The cellar gleamed when he and his friend had finished cleaning it, he even listened to my talk before supper with interest. First time that’s happened, most men simply complain that they have to ‘pay the piper’. He was wiping down the tables afterwards – his friend had gone to ‘flop’ in the lodgings I found for them. I wanted to ask if he was a deserter but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to do so – I think I am afraid that if I did I would feel obligated somehow to turn him in. I was washing up in the kitchen when he came in behind me and offered to dry – it was while we were standing side by side that he suddenly kissed me. He apologised, saying that his actions were ‘unconscionable’ but I really wasn’t that bothered. Then he excused himself and left me to finish up. The memory of his kiss is still with me, hard and strong, but tempered with something else. Something I can’t put my finger on.
March 5th, 1930
I should not have done it. I was upstairs in the spare room, trying to sort out some mending when he knocked on my door. I was miles away so simply called, ‘Come in’. When I turned around he was standing there, his eyes bright with something. Then he kissed me again, but this kiss was full of something else and before I knew it he was pushing me down onto the bed. Afterwards he left quickly, I haven’t seen him since although I caught a glimpse of him at supper. Perhaps he equates this to rape although I would be the first to say that it was consensual, at no point did I say ‘No’ or try to stop him. I regret it now but more perhaps because I do not think this is the man I will marry, not for the act itself.
March 6th, 1930
He seems to be back to his normal self. He was solicitous of me today, even stopped me falling down the stairs last night and again there was something in his eyes that made me want to reach out and kiss the fear away but I couldn’t. Something froze me. I said that he could take me to a Clark Gable film tonight. Maybe we can talk – I will try to finish this entry later.
T’Kar swallowed hard, the pitifully thin journal ended there. Another entry caught her eye and using the stylus she selected it. The words leapt off the screen at her and she had to swallow again, it read simply:
My sister, Edith Anne Keeler was knocked down by a truck on March 6th, 1930. In December that year she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Unfortunately, my sister did not survive the birth. We christened the child Samantha and have brought her to live with us – perhaps we can honour my sister’s memory somehow. I intend to set up a Scholarship in her name for Philanthropic Work. Perhaps leading to a college degree, open only to women.