Hostages

Chapter 16

Hostages

Chapter 16

Spock looked at the Orion warrior and waited patiently for the comm to come on.

Peter yawned and laid his head back against Spock's arm. He sat very still on Spock's knee, silent and sleepy. The warmth of Spock's body was comforting and relaxing.

Spock had allowed the child to remain on his lap, the boy's obvious need vying for, and over shadowing Spock's years of ingrained reserve. The emotional release of tears had relaxed Peter, but evidently had also exhausted him Spock noted. Perhaps a nap might be in order.

He glanced at his mother who also sat silent. Amanda cast a worried look at Peter, met Spock's eye, nodded and stood up briskly.

"Peter dear, let's go in the other room and lie down. I feel a little tired after all the excitement. Why don't I read a story and you can rest for a while." She took the small hand firmly in hers and led the unresisting, silent child into the bedroom.

It was a measure of Peter's emotional exhaustion that he lay down without a word, closed his eyes and promptly went to sleep. Amanda watched him closely for a moment. There were still traces of tears on his face; she touched his forehead with her cool hand, and satisfied, left the room and went back to Spock.

Spock raised an eyebrow at her in question.

"He's fine, Spock, just very tired. I'll let him sleep for a little while. He needs to rest; I don't think any of this can be very good for him."

He nodded, relieved, and turned his gaze back to the Orion. The man was growing noticeably more agitated with the long wait, and Spock thought that now would be a good time to question him. Before he spoke, he considered how Jim would manage the interrogation to get optimum results.

"Your leader has apparently been detained," Spock said conversationally. "I sincerely hope he will forgive your failure to carry out such a simple assignment. Perhaps this is the first time you have been given a task to perform for him?" he asked. "Or perhaps you are not really qualified to handle such a simple task as this one, your inexperience and obvious youth….," he let his voice trail off; it held a very faint but obvious trace of condescension.

The Orion bristled at the tone. "I have carried out many other assignments for Retz," he said petulantly. "He has never found me wanting."

"Until now," Spock finished pleasantly.

"It was the fault of that fool, Tarz. He was the one chosen to do this task, but he had another errand to do, so the assignment fell to me."

"Fell, is the operative word it seems." Spock raised an eyebrow and looked down at the floor in obvious contempt for the ineptitude of the warrior.

The Orion flushed angrily at the insult and struggled furiously to get free of his bonds. His face was bright green with impotent fury as he looked at the calm, impregnable face of the Vulcan.

"You will answer for that insult, Vulcan."

Spock did not bother to reply, but continued to eye him mildly, wondering what other information could be extracted by baiting him further. It was not the sort of intellectual exercise he enjoyed, (except with Dr. McCoy) but he deemed it necessary.

Spock's interrogation experiment with the Orion came to an abrupt end with the click of the monitoring devices.

"Mr. Spock."

Retz, thought Spock, recognizing the harsh voice.

"Yes?"

There was a slight pause as the Orion leader took in the sight of one of his warriors trussed up like a chicken and lying on the floor.

"What has happened here," Retz asked angrily.

"Sir," the young Orion spoke. "These humans would not let me take the boy outside. The woman struck me in the face and the Vulcan attacked me."

Retz threw him one furious glance and then ignored him and addressed Spock.

"Perhaps you could explain, Mr. Spock?" The harsh voice was polite, but there was suppressed rage barely leashed beneath the curtious façade.

"Certainly."

Spock quietly gave a detailed summary of the incident, all the time keeping a close eye on the leader's body language. At the end of the explanation he was rewarded with the faint relaxation of the Orion leader's belligerent stance. With his narrative concluded, Spock sat back and waited.

"You will accept my apologies for this incident, Mr. Spock, and you also, Lady Amanda. It is unfortunate that the boy was badly frightened by this incompetent bumbling idiot, Lizur. Perhaps under the circumstances it would be best to wait until tomorrow for the child's outing."

His eyes turned to look at the young warrior on the floor. "Lizur, you have compromised your leader's word, you have injured one of the hostages, it appears that you have forgotten your mask, and you failed to carry out your orders." Retz' harsh voice fairly seethed with rage. "Rest assured your punishment will be a fitting one for these transgressions."

Looking at him Spock thought, a dangerous man, a very dangerous man indeed. He could find it in himself to feel compassion for the obviously terrified young warrior.

"Mr. Spock, if you would move Lizur to the center of the room, I will remove him from your sight."

Without comment, Spock did as he was told, maneuvering the Orion to the exact center of he room.

These then are the transporter coordinates, he thought. The bed, clothing, and food trays have all appeared at this same spot.

Spock watched Lizur disappear in the shimmer of the transporter effect and stood quietly waiting for the Orion to speak again.

"Mr. Spock, will you require any medication for your injury?"

"No medication is necessary, but a stasis bandage for support of the ribs would be helpful."

"You shall have it shortly, Mr. Spock. And now to the business at hand." His voice changed as he spoke more formally. "Mr. Spock, Lady Amanda, the Ambassador and I have just spoken about your situation. He is amenable to our request for a negative vote on the Council floor, but with a proviso. Two hours before the vote, the Ambassador must see and speak with you both to assure himself of your continued good health. He will be allowed to ask questions to confirm that your appearance is in real time, but these questions must not in any way compromise our security. I will repeat to you the warning that I gave him. No tricks or you will all die." He paused and looked at Spock for confirmation.

"No tricks." Spock agreed.

Amanda spoke for the first time. "What of the boy?"

"He may be with you, but he may not speak at all. You will make sure of this; children are impulsive and sometimes say too much…to their detriment."

"I will make sure."

"Very well, see that you do. We will speak again soon. Your dinner will be arriving shortly. Until later." The screen went dark and the comm clicked off.

'Spock." Amanda's voice was clipped and worried. "What that man said about your father and the Council vote."

"Mother, there is no need for concern. Sarek will not compromise his principles nor will he succumb to blackmail or extortion. You know that as well as I do," he chided her gently.

Amanda smiled ruefully. "I suppose I do. It's just that your father has never been in a situation quite like this one."

"Our present situation will not change the logic of his actions." Spock answered her absently. "Mother, I am going to calculate the transporter coordinates to the center of the room. Then I will go into the shower to continue my work with the drain. I fear it will take quite some time since I have no tools except my hands and the IDIC emblem."

"Spock…"

Something in his mother's voice made Spock turn back and regard her closely. She looks tired, he thought, and with some surprised, she looks uncertain. His surprise was justified, for through the years of his memories of his life at home with Amanda and Sarek, Spock could not recall his mother ever being uncertain. She was always calm, and with that one exception on the journey to Babel, always serene. She was always sure of herself and of her life on Vulcan with Sarek. Amanda had never faltered even through those years when her devotion to her son and her husband had been tested and divided by their estrangement from each other. Now, as an adult, Spock looked at this woman he had always taken for granted, and in a sort of epiphany, for the first time in his life he saw her not as his mother, but as a remarkable person in her own right. He marveled at the strength of character that had led her to marry and live with a Vulcan male, the tenacity that allowed her to retain her own distinct personality in a world full of logical Vulcans, her gentleness, patience and serenity. He wondered too, at the toll her life choice with Sarek must have exacted from her. It could not have been an easy life for her.

He came and sat down beside her. "What is it, mother? Something troubles you."

"Spock, do you think we will really be rescued from this place? Can Captain Kirk and your father pull off a miracle?" Her eyes were steady on his, inviting the truth.

"I think our chances are quite good, mother. I calculate a 78% chance of success. Of course, if I were with Captain Kirk, there would be an 87% percent chance of success, but Sarek's help will be adequate, and of course Jim has the rest of the crew at his command to help him."

"Spock, I'm very worried about your father."

Spock raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Worry is a useless emotion, and to worry about father, is illogical."

Amanda smiled ruefully. "So Sarek always tell me." She looked at her son, hesitated and then went on. "Your father and I have been married for almost forty years, Spock, and I know him as well as I know myself. He is Vulcan and he is logical, but he is still vulnerable in one area. You and I, my son, are his Achilles' heel."

Spock frowned and shook his head slightly in contradiction, but Amanda went on. "Spock," she reached for his hand and held it between her own two small ones. "Someday in the fullness of time, I will die." Spock's fingers tightened on hers involuntarily in a silent protest. She continued calmly. "I know you and your father will out live me by many years as Vulcans do all humans, but he would have been prepared by then, as you would have been also, by the knowledge that all life comes to an end at the proper time. He might even be prepared to lose you in the course of battle or duty, as all Star Fleet parents must be. But to lose us both, to see us killed, murdered, as a result of a decision he makes on the Council floor, that would be too heavy a price exacted for his principles. The contradiction of losing his family in the pursuit of his life's work for peace and justice would weigh too heavily on him." Amanda's eyes questioned her son. "Can you possibly understand, Spock?

Spock stood abruptly releasing Amanda's hand, more disturbed by his mother's words then he cared to admit to himself. "I do understand your concern, mother, though I do not share it or agree with your conclusions about father. The problem will soon become moot, however, since I am certain rescue will happen before the deadline." He walked rapidly to the shower, leaving Amanda to shake her head at him in exasperation.

Vulcans, are the most stubborn, perverse, obstinate, mule headed, stiff necked people in the whole universe, she thought ruefully. Then she laughed softly at herself. "I should have known better," she murmured to herself regaining her usual serenity.

The dinner trays materialized suddenly in the center of the room, and she went in to wake Peter for dinner.


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