The Constant

Prologue and Chapter One

Summary: "It would be interesting, Captain, to return to that world in a hundred years, and learn what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today." With these words, Spock seals the fate of all he knows . . . and loves.

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek. I never have, and the odds are I never will. It belongs to Paramount. I'm making no money, so don't sue. You'll only get Life (Which I don't own, either) money.

A/N: Please note this is an AU, not only in the aspect of the plot, but timeline as well.

*

Spock sat in a contemplative silence in the impromptu hearing room as Kirk explained the works of Milton to Scott. This was merely background noise to Spock, and he barely realized that the two men had finished their exchange.

"It would be interesting, Captain," he said, breaking the momentary silence, "to return to that world in a hundred years and learn what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today."

"Yes," his captain said slowly, "Indeed it would, Mister Spock."

With that, the four stood, and walked out the door to their fates.

Five years later

Spock entered his quarters. Not on the Enterprise, as it should be, but in San Francisco, Earth. During that vessel's second five year mention, she had been through so many battles that they were ordered back to Earth, and the mighty ship was decommissioned.

He blinked against the sudden light that presented itself as soon as he passed through his door.

"Computer, dim lights to thirty percent," Spock said, and the computer instantly obeyed. That was one less factor that would contribute to his headache. Whether it was physical or a mental one, he had yet to ascertain that answer. It did not matter.

Again, the computer was asked to do another favor for humanity. The water that the replicator produced seemed to literally cool Spock's mind from the rigors it had been through that day.

The Klingons had now switched to a full war policy with the Federation. The ambassadors' heads were still spinning as to where they had went wrong, at what event had provoked the Klingons into such an offensive. The military population knew that the Klingons most likely had gone to war for no reason. The ambassadors still argued that it wasn't logical for a species to attack another for no reason; the potential losses could be staggering.

Spock's eyebrows did the equivalent of a Vulcan scoff to his thoughts. He could safely say that Klingons were anything but logical, and that in war, logic had little or nothing to do with it. As usual, he was bound in even more arguments with his father. He also knew that if his mother had not 'requested' the two of them to keep in a dialogue after the Babel incident, none of those discussions with his father would have happened.

In amazement, Spock actually shook his head. Like the ambassadors and the best military leaders of the time, he was also trying to find the answer to his own personal conundrum. When had life become this complicated? He knew the question itself was an illogical and emotional one, but some part of his mind refused to heed to logic. That was also the part of his mind that had technically placed him in this situation. If Spock had not had the conversations with this father, 23 years prior, he never would have joined Starfleet. If he hadn't-

If, he thought. All philosophy seems to start with that word. It is a universal constant. Universal constants cannot be changed.

Spock shook his head once more. The illogical thoughts of his mind was staggering to him. Spock knew that had McCoy been there, and he could read thoughts, he would say Spock was on the verge of a 'nervous breakdown.' Which was illogical. Another shake of the head. What was wrong with him?

"Hello?" he heard from behind the door. Spock realized that someone had been ringing his doorbell for admittance.

"Come," he said.

"I can't, Spock! The door's locked!" Spock, out of his confused mental state now, realized the voice. It was James Kirk.

You are on the Enterprise no longer, he reminded himself as he unlocked the door and they admitted his former captain.

"Greetings, Captain," he said.

"Hello, to you too," Kirk grumbled. "What the hell took you so long? I was out there over a minute."

Spock gave no answer.

"You're supposed to tell me the exact time I was standing out there, Spock," he said lightly.

"I cannot."

"Why's that?"

He opened his mouth, but nothing followed. He only stood there, looking at Kirk. Finally, he said, "I do not know."

Kirk raised his eyebrow and shrugged, apparently dropping the matter.

Spock ushered to a few chairs in the small room. The two men sat down, facing each other. "A drink, Admiral?"

Kirk waved his hand. "No thanks, I really can't stay long. I heard what had happened to the Enterprise."

He said nothing.

"Is that what you're worked up about?"

He raised his eyebrow. "I am not 'worked up' about anything, Admiral. What happened to the Enterprise would have happened eventually." Spock could tell his bluff had failed.

Kirk offered another shrug. "I know how it is when a starship has downtime, especially when you could be doing something."

"Admiral, I believe I have sufficient patience reserves to survive this 'downtime.'"

He shrugged. "Sure, you're sure you'll survive the downtime, but I know what you're thinking. Can the Federation?"

"That matter is not in my control."

"But you wish it was."

"Wishing is illogical."

Kirk breathed a long and heavy sigh. "Spock, the Federation doesn't have to worry just about the Klingons."

"That is logical to assume."

"No, you don't understand . . . someone else is rising to the occasion to attack the Federation."

Spock was intrigued. He had been waiting for something like this to happen, it was merely a matter of time. "Who would that be?"

"What makes me think I can tell you?"

"Nothing. You perhaps, are not supposed to tell me, but you will. You would not have addressed this topic of conversation if you had not intended to tell me."

He softly whistled. "I don't know why I try and fool people that have known me for years."

"Nor do I, Jim."

Kirk smiled. "I can actually tell you. Without bending the rules, even. Well . . . do you remember Khan?"

"He is a man that is very hard to forget."

"Indeed." He said no more.

Spock let the silence grow for a few moments longer. "He has returned?"

"Yes and no. Yes in the fact that he found a way off Ceti Alpha."

More silence. "And the no?"

"He isn't alone, and it wasn't the Botany Bay that got them off that rock."

His eyebrows were raised. "Interesting."

"And that's where the interesting part begins. Guess who got them off?"

"Guessing is--"

"Illogical, yeah, I know," Kirk sighed in fake irritation, then grew serious again. "It was a group of Vulcans."

Chapter Two

Not even Spock could hide the sudden surprise and sting of Jim's words.

"Is there word of whom is leading them?" Spock asked.

Kirk shrugged and withdrew a chip from his pocket. "They call themselves the Galactic Army of Light. All we have is this visual." He handed the chip to Spock, who then walked to a projector and inserted it.

The screen turned on with a click, and pigments blended together to form the insignia of Starfleet Intelligence. Three Vulcans appeared on the screen, and one was all too familiar. The recording played, but Spock did not comprehend its words. A minute after the tape ended and Spock did not move or speak, Kirk walked to him.

"Spock," It was not a question.

"Are you positive this recording is valid, Admiral?" he managed to finally say.

"It passes SI's tests."

He closed his eyes, as if he had been . . . afraid of the answer. No, he was not afraid of it. All that Jim's words had done was confirm the worst. He knew how rigorous the test of Starfleet Intelligence's were. He also knew his half-brother Sybok was illogical, but this was extraordinary. What would compel--

"What did you say, Admiral?" Spock asked, unaware that he had been asked a question.

"Do you know one of them?"

Spock knew he could not fool Jim, no matter what logic he invoked.

"Yes," he said, barely audible to Kirk's human hearing.

"Who is it, Spock?"

"The one in the middle," he finally conceded. "He . . . he is my brother."

"You don't have a brother!" Kirk exclaimed.

Spock raised his eyebrow. "I am impressed, Admiral," he said, not realizing what Jim had meant. "He is my half-brother."

He turned to look at Kirk. He believed the human term was that his jaw dropped to the floor.

"Your half-brother?"

"Yes."

"But . . . he . . . they . . . Vulcans!" Jim stuttered, with no attitude showing that he was going to try being coherent soon.

"He left Vulcan a number of years ago," Spock said, not willing to elaborate.

Kirk's stance showed that he did not wish for elaboration. He wished for explanation. "Spock . . . that makes no sense!"

"I know, Jim . . ."

"When was the last time you saw him?"

Spock could not help but become defensive. "Before I joined Starfleet."

Something must have clicked in Kirk's head, because he instantly stopped pursuit of that topic. "Do you remember what you said to me after we condemned Khan?"

He briefly wondered if Kirk was trying his sanity, and realized that it really did not matter. He stood there a few moments, trying to recall something that at any other time he would have been able to easily recite. "I believe I said, 'It would be fascinating, Captain, to return to that world in a hundred years and see what crop had sprung from the seed you planted today.'"

Kirk looked amazed as he cleared his throat and sat back down, glancing out the window. Spock followed suit. "Yeah, that sounds about right. And how I said that it would be fascinating? Well, it isn't exactly a hundred years, but . . . how would you like to go find Khan, Spock?"

He raised his eyebrow in thought. "Is that wise, Jim?"

Kirk grinned. "Spock, do you realize you just put the words 'wise' and 'Jim' in the same sentence?"

"I fail to realize the significance of those words, despite their meanings."

"It's illogical." All Kirk got was an eyebrow that was about to disappear into its owner's hairline. He just kept grinning. "I know you get it. Just forget it. Do you want to?"

Spock shrugged, and uttered another set of words that would forever seal the fate of those around him. "Why not?"

*

"Dammit, why the hell do you want me to join this endeavor of yours?" Leonard McCoy, currently in between assignments as the rest of the Enterprise crew was, said.

McCoy, Spock, and Kirk were gathered in the small apartment of McCoy's, also in San Francisco. Unlike Spock's, his was not close to Starfleet Headquarters. It was settled in a regular residential area, and it was not normally reserved for Starfleet officers on shore leave. All chair's McCoy owned were now occupied by the guests and himself.

"I thought the Admiral made that quite clear, Doctor," Spock said.

"Oh, sure. To you, maybe, which amazes me. This whole plan is illogical!"

Spock spared a look at Kirk, who looked back and forth at the two with an amused look on his face. "You two never stop, do you?"

"Why do you ask rhetorical questions?" McCoy grumbled.

"Will you come with us?" Spock asked.

McCoy sighed. "I guess so. Nothing to do here, anyway. You've been authorized to take a team, Jim?"

Kirk nodded. "I have. I figured it might as well be people who have dealt with Khan before."

Spock also nodded. "That is logical. Do you have the full roster?"

"You're looking at it."

He blinked, then comprehended his meaning. "It is only the three of us?"

"Yes."

"Okay, Jim, taking a team to Ceti Alpha is enough, but just three of us? Isn't that . . . risky?" McCoy inquired, finally having a hint of seriousness in his voice.

Kirk shrugged. "Sure, but risks are our business. Starfleet would like us to leave a sap."

McCoy shrugged. "Give me ten minutes."

Kirk looked to Spock. "What about you?"

"I merely need a rendezvous point and time, Admiral."

"Show off," McCoy grumbled.

Kirk merely smiled. "2200 hours at Starfleet Headquarters, briefing room three, level six."

Spock nodded and stood. "Understood. I will take my leave now."

McCoy waved him off. "C'mon, get out of here. Say g'bye to your girlfriend while you're at it."

Spock raised his eyebrow. "Girlfriend?"

For the first time that night, Kirk laughed. "Bones, I don't even know what you're talking about."

McCoy shrugged his shoulders as he slowly stood, walked to the small kitchen and poured himself a drink. "Neither do I."

Spock looked to Kirk, who was still laughing, and walked out the door.

But once out the door, he put his ear to the door to hear the conversation he knew was coming.

"What the hell's wrong with him, Jim?" McCoy asked worriedly, to someone just as worried.

"I don't know, Bones. I wish I knew. He isn't . . . he isn't Spock. What would bother him so much that he would act so disorientated?"

"Dunno. It could be something medically."

"You would have noticed something on the Enterprise, wouldn't you?"

"It didn't start until after they took her out of the fight."

"That doesn't seem like that would do it."

Spock walked down to the turbolift after that sentence, not wanting to hear McCoy's response.

No, Jim, it is not the ship, he thought, I only wish I could tell you what it really was.

As he slowly made his way to his temporary home by the way of the streets, Spock worked his mind to find why he was slowly but surely becoming emotional again. Pon farr was near impossible, but he was not about to dispose of that theory completely. As he walked into the building, Spock had yet to find an answer. He knew that merely thinking was illogical.

Something caught his eye that was unusual. The keypad that the tenants to the apartment used to enter the building looked as if it had been hotwired. He made a note in his head to report the incident at a more decent hour and keep looking for anything else unordinary. He walked to his door with no further incident and entered.

"Computer--"

"Lights," a voice hissed from the dark. The computer obeyed the scattered request, and the shadows disappeared.

Spock had been on his guard the instant he heard the foreign voice, but that did not prepare him for who the voice belonged to.

"Khan," he said slowly to himself.

Chapter Three

Spock could only stare at Khan. As he remembered, the man still wore his malicious smile. As all things malicious, Khan's smile was cold as ice.

"You still remember me," Khan said.

"You are a man that one has a difficult time to forget."

"And still a Vulcan."

In spite of the danger that Spock knew he was in, he raised his eyebrow. "There is no way I can biologically-"

"I did not come here to listen to your rants, Mister Spock," he said, smile fading.

"Then what did you come here for?"

"My companions and I," Khan started to say, and indicated McGivers and a man Spock had never seen, "wish to know where we can find Captain Kirk." Spock did not say a word. "Where is he?"

During his career, he had been taught by Starfleet that at times, it was perfectly acceptable to lie. He judged this as one such time. "I do not know."

Khan's breathing changed in its pace. "You are lying."

"Vulcans are incapable of lying."

Khan nodded slowly and the grin spread across his face once more. "Is that so? It is of no concern you will not give us the location of your captain. In the meantime-"

Spock risked a motion of his head to see what had stopped Khan. He felt his face give way to a show of surprise as a body materialized not even half a meter in front of him.

"I told him to stay!" Khan yelled at the transporting body.

"Sybok . . ." Spock managed to utter.

"Hello, my brother."

Khan's fury was still nearing its climax, even when the two were conversing. "I ordered you to-"

Again, he had his words cut short by a transporter beam. Spock's eyebrow raised as another Vulcan formed, and raised two fingers to Sybok. As Sybok repeated the gesture, Spock's eyebrows raised even further into his hairline. If Doctor McCoy was here, Spock was sure that he would make a comment that Spock was jealous. Spock was not, dare this author say, surprise, he was merely worried for the sanity of the female Vulcan.

Then again, Spock thought, I am in a room with a man that should never have left the planet he was banished to, my half-brother is in the room with a female Vulcan joining fingers. I do not believe I am the one to speak on sanity's behalf.

Unbeknownst to Spock, Khan had continued his rage at Spock's half-brother, and now at his apparent wife. McGivers put a hand on Khan's shoulder, which seemed to be all the man needed to calm down.

Fascinating. None of us expected that.

Unfortunately, Khan was not calm in any meaning of the word. He turned his gaze back to Spock. "You wonder what we are doing here."

"I have assumed from our conversation that you are looking for the captain."

He snarled. "You wonder why your brother is here."

"I had ascertained from . . . someone of his connections with you."

"T'Shiva, ifis-tor pla'dor," Sybok commanded the woman, T'Shiva, in a Vulcan's whisper.

Spock pretended not to hear, even though he was quite sure that Khan had heard Sybok's remark.

If Khan had indeed heard it, he made no sign and kept focusing on Spock. That was one thing he had noticed about Khan: he could only focus on one event or person at a time. "Someone?"

Spock nodded. "Yes, someone."

"T'Shiva . . ." Sybok repeated, more sternly. The woman made no reply but kept a defiant air about her.

"Would this someone be your dear captain?" Khan said, with full grin.

Something compelled Spock to turn his head to the door. At that moment, Kirk and McCoy walked in, escorted by two men that were obviously Khan's men.

"Jim," he said.

"Spock, what are we--Khan!" Kirk started as numbly as Spock had.

McCoy muttered, "Never invite two friends for a drink. An old nemesis will capture you by someone you thought was your fr-oh . . ." he stopped after a third man came into the room and pointed a phaser at Spock's back.

Somewhere inside him, Spock found that insulting. Without another thought to the matter, he suppressed that feeling as he did everything else.

"Khan, what are you doing here? Why are we here? McGivers!"

"Captain, Captain," Khan said. "One does not need to know every small detail in life."

"Well," McCoy said, "when one is in enemy hands, it becomes a necessity."

"To the prisoner only," Khan retorted.

Spock attempted to move closer to Kirk and McCoy, but the guard shuffled ahead of him with the phaser pointed at his side. He froze in his tracks and slightly swiveled his head to see the phaser settings of the phasers. They were all on stun. Spock knew he had to take the risk. He quickly pivoted on his heel and grabbed the phaser from the hand of the guard while he administered a nerve pinch. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw McCoy and Kirk do the same. He also saw McGivers reach for a phaser. Spock purposely fell to the floor and fired.

McGivers screamed as the blast hit her, and disintegrated before everyone's eyes. Spock stared dumbly, knowing for certain that it had been on stun. Stunned at having killed another living being, he dropped the phaser and met Khan in the eye. There was no scale to measure the emotion, the hatred, or the amount of venom in Khan's eyes.

"Spock, the transporter!" Kirk yelled.

Like an animal, Spock stood with a jump and threw himself to the transporter, entering codes as he went. He did not check to see if the other two were following, or if any enemy was in pursuit of him. He was acting on instinct. Human instinct.

Something hit Spock in midtransport, and darkness surrounded him.

Chapter Four

 

Darkness. Blessed, cool, enveloping darkness. In the darkness, there was safety and comfort, but in the light--

Spock blinked his eyes fiercely against the sudden light. Where was he? Apparently he had verbalized the question.

"You're at Starfleet Headquarters," a voice from the not-so-distant-past said.

"Sulu . . ." he whispered.

The man nodded as Spock once again braved the light. The senior crew of the Enterprise sat or stood around him.

Except McCoy. And Jim.

"Jim?"

"We were hoping you'd tell us where he was, along with Doctor McCoy," Sulu said. Even as his eyes still adjusted, Spock could tell the man had just lost almost all hope.

Spock found himself fighting unconsciousness. He looked to Uhura, the closest one to the head of the biobed. She understood him and leaned forward to hear.

"Khan . . ." he almost hissed, as the protection and strength of darkness reappeared.

*

Sulu glanced at Uhura as she withdrew from listening to Spock with a puzzled look evident on her face.

"All he said was Khan," she said, which answered Sulu's gaze.

"What does that have to do with them?" Scott asked.

"It may be everything," Sulu said after a few moments of thought. Odd, it was usually Spock who headed investigations such as these. He felt out of place.

According to the President's doctor himself, the Vulcan would not be speaking for a while, longer than they would wish. Phaserblasts in mid-transport were a messy thing, Sulu knew. Messy, and very few and far between.

But who had shot Spock, and more importantly, why? He also had to take into account the sudden absence of Kirk and McCoy. Spock's question of Jim seemed to Sulu that he had seen the two not long before whatever happened to him, well, happened. That was a start, at least.

He shook his head to mentally abolish his trains of thought. He had requested a Starfleet Intelligence team, and to his knowledge they were combing all over Spock's apartment. What, if anything, they would find was another matter entirely.

*

The senior commander of the Starfleet Intelligence team, Lieutenant-commander Mycin Thalo, looked at his tricorder and resisted temptation to beat it against the wall. There were very few clues in the place. A phaserfight had occurred, with powers set high enough to kill. He got that much from the tricorder. From observation, they had seen the entry pad the tenants entered the code to gain admittance to the building was fried. It was logical to conclude whomever had attacked Captain Spock was not a resident of the building.

He sighed. It was a start.

A female ensign handed him a new report. The phasershots that had left residue all had the same modulation; they were from the same maker of phasers. His crew had run it through the database and had discovered the phasers were of Starfleet issue. How would Spock's attackers acquire Starfleet phasers . . .

. . . unless they were Starfleet officers themselves?

*

McCoy, like Spock, wished for the darkness to continue. As long as Khan wasn't part of the darkness.

Or injured friends, his mind reminded him.

With that, he moved his glance to Jim. McCoy loudly sighed, causing a reaction from him, which was good. Or so he hoped. Even without a tricorder, McCoy knew that Jim's time was almost up. Strangely, he felt a stab of anger at Spock. Perhaps not so strangely, but he quickly cursed the thought away vocally. This wasn't Spock's fault that Khan had loitered in his apartment. Jim had told Spock to dive for the transporter, so he did. McCoy knew if it was one thing Spock was good at, it was taking orders.

So, Spock had dove for the transporter. Khan's phaser, vengeance radiating in bursts of energy for the murderer of McGivers, hit him in transport. The phaserblast did something McCoy had never seen--it reflected wildly. This time, nature chose its victim as James Kirk, while Spock safely transported away.

Murderer . . .!

Khan's words still held McCoy even in the brig of a Vulcan ship. As he watched Jim struggle for every breath, the dagger of anger returned and stabbed at Spock. He had shot and killed McGivers, and played a role in Jim's coming death.

An involuntary role, he reminded himself. His mind started to wander back to the past, but a cough from Kirk stopped it. McCoy knew this was the end. He moved closer to Jim and lifted him so he was holding Kirk in a sitting position.

"Jim," he asked.

God, it doesn't even sound like me . . .

"Bo . . . nes," Blood followed the cough, which McCoy wiped away like a mother.

"The one and only," he smiled.

Kirk also smiled and slowly continued. "You know, I always thought I'd die alone. But . . . I'm glad I'm not."

McCoy repositioned Jim's body after it was racked by another coughing fit of blood.

"Tell Spock . . . tell Spock it's not his fault. Make sure . . . you can tell him that . . . it was . . . fun."

McCoy could only look Jim in the eye and solemnly nod in a vow. He looped his index and middle fingers around Jim's right wrist; the pulsing stopped half a minute later. McCoy closed his eyes, against the unwelcome darkness death brought. Tears dripped onto its latest victim.

*

Chekov was on watch when Spock briefly regained consciousness, if that was what it could be called. He seemed more in a daze, if anything.

"What did he say," Sulu later questioned him.

Chekov consulted the Sickbay recordings, since the language Spock had spoken in was, to his guess, Vulcan.

"Sa-kai," Spock said, "vravshau du!"

Chapter Five

Chekov and Sulu exchanged a look, then both men shrugged.

"Should we run it through the translator?" Chekov suggested.

Sulu drummed his fingers on the edge of the biobed. "No, I know that phrase." Here he stopped. He looked to Chekov, who did not look as if he was going to press anytime soon.

Chekov looked down to Spock's body again. "But how . . ."

He shook his head. "I have no idea how he knew . . . assuming that brother is being used in reference to Admiral Kirk."

Chekov's raised eyebrow told Sulu his thoughts on that.

*

Sarek stared at the message for long moments after he had read its contents. This channel was not his political one, more of a personal use to keep in contact with close ambassadors, Amanda, and occasionally, Spock. To his knowledge, the frequency was only known to those people.

That would be impossible, since he and his wife had just received an anonymous death threat. The only other logical alternative was to assume that it was from an angry ambassador, but Sarek had been slowly retreating from the political scene and had not participated in any major debates and decisions.

Even though he was quite certain it would yield no results, he ran a trace on the communication. As expected, the harasser had covered their tracks well. He decided to--

"Sarek!"

Sarek immediately stood up at hearing his wife's cry. He retreated to the wall as to not be seen immediately from the door. Heavy boot steps echoed down the hallway. If Sarek had wanted to put up a fight in the coming moments, which he did not, he would have had nothing but tooth and nail to do so.

A single man stepped into the room, phaser drawn. He was shrouded in black, the silver cloth covering his mouth notwithstanding. He and Sarek stood facing each other at the odd angle, until the man swiveled to face him entirely, as he began to peel off his mask.

Sarek blinked in awe at the man in front of him that should not have been there. "Khan."

Khan nodded with a malicious grin. "Like son, like father. I just hope I don't have to kill you in the process like I did him."

Sarek attempted to turn away from the phaserblast, but to no avail. He was hit by the first one.

*

McCoy arched an eyebrow in surprise as the doors to his cell opened, if only for a brief moment. Two prisoners were unceremoniously thrown into the cell, his fate sealed with the door once again.

He gave the guards a few seconds to return to where they came from, then he walked to the new arrivals.

"Oh, no," he groaned. His fellow captives were Lady Amanda and Ambassador Sarek. Khan's plan for why they were here was now clearly evident to him. Khan was out for serious revenge, and he wasn't stopping at those present at the murder of his wife to get it.

*

"Commander Sulu."

Sulu threw his hand over his eyes from the light entering his quarters. "What is it?"

"We have received word that Lady Amanda and Ambassador Sarek have been captured."

His weariness flew away with the young officer's words. He sat almost straight up. "What? By whom?"

Though his eyes were adjusting, he could see the officer give a small shrug. "They don't know, sir. Starfleet was hoping you might have any ideas to tell Vulcan."

His mind whirled. "I might. Send a message to Starfleet Headquarters, tell them we need Spock awake, and we need him awake now. Tell them what has happened, if you must."

The officer bowed slightly as he retreated. "Aye, sir."

The door closed and the light shut off. "Computer, li--ow!"

"Command not understood."

Sulu bit a curse off his tongue as he kicked the offending table. "Lights."

The computer obliged--finally--and Sulu started to prepare for the upcoming debriefing.

*

Spock refused to open his eyes; he just wished to return to darkness. Realization dawned on him once again. The realization he had failed one dearest to him, and he had been responsible for his death. For Jim's death. A familiar voice summoned him.

"Spock . . . we need your help," Sulu said.

"I am afraid, Mr. Sulu, that I am far from helping you."

He opened his eyes in time to see Sulu shake his head. "That's not true. We need to know who tried to attack you."

"Tried? Judging that I am in sickbay, I must say the person did a good job."

"Who, Spock?"

"Khan."

His fellow crewmates shifted in their seats, cleared their throats, and tried their best not to show on their faces this was the worst possible news.

"Well, at least I can call of the investigation, since they were on the wrong track," he said. "Spock . . ."

He raised his eyebrow as the man faltered in his words. Uhura decided to pick them up.

"Spock," she said. "Your parents . . . they've been captured. We can now safely assume it was Khan."

Spock closed his eyes. "Let us hope it was not."

"Why?" Scott asked.

"Jim is dead by Khan's hand. We can safely assume Khan is out for vengeance, against . . . against anyone I know." He could not bring himself to look at them.

Chekov sighed. "If there's one constant in the universe, it's vengeance."

Sulu's voice grew determined. "Where there's a will, Pavel, there's a way."

He opened his eyes at this. "Do not be a fool."

Sulu sent him daggers. "Like you should be talking?"

Everyone's eyes went wide, but no one spoke. They were waiting for the next move.

"I lived for the moment, because it was the only option I had. Think of what would have happened if one of us had not returned, Sulu."

Sulu still dared to send daggers. "We would not know Khan was loose."

"Exactly. By fate, I was closest to the transporter."

"By fate," Sulu spat, "Kirk is dead!"

Spock's gaze now matched Sulu's, and the others involuntarily backed away. "Do you think I do not know that? You would not know, had I not muttered it."

"Granted. That doesn't bring him back."

"No, but nor will throwing yourself on Khan's sword bring him back."

"But sir," Scott said. "You said yourself Khan will be after anyone that knows you."

Spock did not speak for a moment to let the thought sink into him. "That was my point, yes."

"Then why don't we do something to rescue Doctor McCoy and your parents? We're throwing ourselves on his sword just the same by sitting here."

Sulu raised his eyebrow. Spock answered with his own. "That is your choice to make, Mr. Scott. Not mine."

"Ach, well then, I'm in for a rescue party."

"Me, too," Sulu said.

"These are always fun," Uhura said cautiously. "I'm in."

"Jumping on the bandwagon . . . never a good idea, except for rescue parties. Did you know they were invented in Russia?"

"I believe," Spock said, "it is safe to assume that Mr. Chekov is joining us."

"Us?"

He raised his eyebrow. "Yes, us."

Sulu shrugged. "I just thought . . . never mind. As long as he says you can go."

Scott laughed. "Now, lad, just think. When has Doctor McCoy ever been able to keep Spock here in Sickbay against his will?"

"Well, there was that one time," Sulu said. "Except . . . I can't remember when."

The group, excluding Spock, laughed.

"Then," Spock said, "To Ceti Alpha V we go."

The group stopped their laughter as quickly as they had started it.

"Ce--Ceti Alpha V?"

Chapter Six

Spock raised his eyebrow. "We left Khan there. It is the only safe place he knows."

"You don't know that," Sulu said.

"No," he agreed, "but it is a place to start."

He stood and started to walk for the door as the others, all but Scott, followed.

"Ah, sir."

"Yes, Mister Scott?"

"How . . . how can we go anywhere without a ship?"

He was silent a moment. "Mister Scott . . . I am the son of the Vulcan ambassador. Surely it cannot be that hard to obtain a vessel."

*

"Two," Chekov screamed from one end of the bar.

"Five," Scotty challenged.

Lights dimmed around them to accent the desperation in the room. The brawl of Starfleet versus Bar Patrons continued on.

The White Rabbit bar had once been a peaceful place, if a bar could be called peaceful. Spock let a small sigh escape him as he nerve pinched an Andorian. Drunk persons were extremely touchy, he had just learned.

"Ten," Spock called out. His friends stopped from attending to the wounded and unconscious bar to turn and stare at him.

"Maybe we should be going," Uhura suggested.

"Aye," Scott said. "But we still don't have a ship."

"Another bar?" Chekov offered.

"No," was the uniform response of the others.

"Perhaps it is time we try a different approach," Spock said. "Perhaps we should go to the Vulcan embassy ourselves."

"And if they say no?"

He raised an eyebrow to Scott's question. "Desperate times call for desperate measures."

"I'm glad you're on our side," Chekov chided.

*

Sybok walked down the narrow halls of his ship, no, Khan's ship. To do Khan's bidding, or rather, receive orders to do Khan's bidding. He had a feeling that he was not going to like this mission.

Ever since he had flown by Ceti Alpha those few fateful months ago and unwillingly picked Khan and his cronies off the planet, things had gone to hell in a hand basket. A very expensive hand basket, Sybok thought.

Expensive to whomever had hired them to pick Khan up. Well, it would have been expensive, had the person paid them. It was expensive to Sybok in terms of his freedom, his ships, his way of life.

His wife.

The failure he had demonstrated at his brother's quarters had cost T'Shiva her life, and almost Sybok's, if the life would have been his to take. Sybok wasn't under the illusion his life was his own anymore.

I should have never left, he thought. It all really started back them.

That was the past. It needed to be forgotten.

But some people would not realize this logic.

"My lord," Sybok said as he entered Khan's quarters, his old ones.

Khan did not even nod in acknowledgement. "I have a task for you."

Sybok hit his knees to the floor. "Your will be done, my master."

"The Starfleet captain, Spock, is not biting our bait. I believe that if the whole of our captives are extinguished, he will follow the trail quicker, like a bloodhound."

"But, sir," Sybok said, "if he knew that all were dead, it would be useless to chase you. He is a Vulcan."

Sybok thought with the following silence he was a dead man for sure, but Khan nodded his head in approval. "You are right, my servant. He needs a shred of hope left, however small."

"If there were two things left until the end of time, the constants, they would be revenge and hope."

Khan smiled his malicious smile. "You are wrong. Hope can die, and does. No, my servant, if there is one constant in the universe, it is revenge. It is unfaltering. It is eternal. It is lustful, bloodthirsty, backstabbing. It is everything that cannot pas away."

Sybok bowed his head. "You are right."

Khan never stopped grinning as he told Sybok who to kill.

He must know, he thought.

*

Spock eyed his father's aide with suspicion. "You have no reason to help us."

"On the contrary, I have every reason to offer assistance. Your father is captured; I am his aide. I do not have the knowledge to find him. You do."

I don't like this, Spock thought. He also knew this was his only option left.

He finally nodded. "All right. Do we need access codes?"

"I only know the one to open and lock the main hatch; as do you. The others . . . your father told me that if I required those access codes, I would already be dead, or soon."

He nodded again in understanding. "Thank you. I--"

"Spock," a female voice carried ahead of her.

"Oh, no," he whispered.

"Spock," the voice repeated. A woman came up behind the group, gasping for breath.

"Saavik," he replied flatly. "What are you doing here?"

Spock watched Sulu hide a grin, as did many of the others. Did Kirk tell the whole galaxy of his adventure on Romulus? His mind sobered as he realized he would never be able to ask Jim. He pushed the thought out of his mind.

"Take me with you."

"No, I wo--how do you know of this? Why aren't you in class?"

"Spock," Uhura chided playfully. "It isn't polite to give a lady the third degree."

Spock sent his version of daggers at Uhura. "Don't encourage her."

Saavik raised her eyebrow. "I have connections. I'm not in class because I don't have any."

Chekov laughed. "She has you there."

He waved him off. "That is not the point. I'm assuming you do have class when we will be gone."

"I do not care."

"You should."

Scott broke the silence that followed. "Lad, we could use an extra hand. This isn't the safest mission ever."

"Mister Scott, you took the words out of my mouth."

Saavik crossed her arms over her chest. Even though she had been raised Vulcan, she could seem so emotional at times with gestures. "I have had my share of dangerous voyages, Spock."

"And you do not need any more."

The aide cleared his throat. "You should decide quickly, cha'Sarek. You must make haste."

If Spock had been thinking clearly, he would have noticed how that was not a Vulcan-like thing to say. As it was, he had to concentrate on other things.

"Saavik, go back to San Francisco. This is not your place."

"On the contrary, it is my place."

Chekov sighed, sending his bangs up in a dance together. "Spock, let her come."

Spock looked Saavik straight in the eye, and knew that she knew what she was getting into. But she was so young, he was supposed to protect her, not bring her to danger's hand. Then again, she was still an adult and could make her own decisions. It was her life. Finally, he bent to the will of the many. "Get on the ship."

He swore he saw a hint of a smile.

*

Sybok stared at the phaser in his hand. Khan must know that Sarek was his father. Why else would he have Sybok kill him? He sighed. This was not fair. It should not have been this way.

He walked through the doors of the cell and at seeing the way the three people cowered to one each other, he smiled. They had obviously noted the phaser in his hand.

"Sa-fu," Sarek whispered.

"It is I," Sybok replied.

Sarek met his eye. "It does not have to be this way, my son."

The man in the Starfleet uniform, McCoy, stared at Sarek.

"You mean it did not have to be this way," Sybok said. "I made a choice. It has echoed through time. Nothing I can do or say will change it. It is this way, and that's all there is to it."

His phaser trembled as he attempted to point it at Sarek. No . . . he could not kill him first. He pointed it at Amanda, closed his eyes, and fired. He did not open them until the screams of the woman died with her.

When he did, he found both men staring at him with murder in their eyes. Sybok let the tears that were forming flow. "Forgive me, father." He shot the phaser at Sarek and turned around.

He never looked back.

*

Spock sat in the vessel's small hold with Saavik, the door shut. He could find no words to say to her. She had gone against everything she had been told when she stepped into the ship. He had gone against everything. He had sworn to protect her. He stood and began to pace. Saavik kept her face of amusement on as he turned her back to her.

"Stop, Spock. The only reason you do this is--"

"Is because I do not want to see what happened to me happen to you."

She raised her eyebrows at him. "And what would that me, Spock? Recklessness? Craving for adventure? Need for excitement?"

"Those are human emotions, Saavik."

"And you are half human."

Spock spun around and made Saavik jump with his movements. "I can control it."

"Then why are you afraid I'll turn into you?"

He could only continue to stare at her. Again, no words could answer her question.

"Spock," she said at length, "What happened on the Enterprise that changed you?"

"I am not 'changed,' Saavik."

"Yes, you are. You are emotional. Do not deny it, either. It is evident. It was evident to Kirk and McCoy, as well."

Spock found his eyes involuntarily narrowing. Realizing what he had done, he put his eyelids back to their proper place.

"Even now, Spock, it takes hold of you . . . whatever it is."

"The business is not your own, Saavik."

"Add your quest for knowledge to the list of traits I seem to have learned from you. In either case-"

"In either case, what happened on the Enterprise is mine to tell when I wish. Now is not the . . ." he broke off in mid-sentence, barely hearing Saavik as she called his name and helped him to the floor.

"Spock . . . Spock, what is it? Spock?"

When she stood to get help, Spock reached for her hand, and by some miracle found it. She turned around slowly and stared at his hand.

"My mother . . . my father . . . they are dead."

Chapter Seven

"They are en route, my Lord," the viewscreen said.

Khan grinned. "Excellent. What is the frequency for the homing beacon?"

*

Spock finally shook himself out of his shock, finding Saavik still by his side. His bedside. His mind raced to ascertain how long his amnesia had been. He could not recall the information. He looked to Saavik, hoping she would read what he wanted.

"It has been an hour and five point three minutes," Saavik replied.

An hour? He raised his eyebrow to himself. He never would have guessed he had been bonded so closely with his parents.

The realization his parents were dead hit Spock hard again, not hard enough to send him into a daze. Saavik moved her fingers to his katra points, obviously attempting to ease his suffering.

Whatever good it did, it was not clearly evident to Spock or Saavik.

"How long until we reach Ceti Alpha?" Spock asked.

"Two point six hours."

He was surprised at how quickly the vessel had made its journey to Ceti Alpha. He figured since he had another two hours, he might as well rest and calm his mind. Spock started to lower himself down onto the bed; Saavik's eyes were still on him. Not wanting to meet her gaze or realize it, he closed his own. The uncomfortable silence hung.

No, he thought. Uncomfortable is a human emotion. I am not human.

His eyes fought themselves open to gaze on Saavik. The moment their eyes met, his looked away and tried to close themselves. The silence stretched to what seemed like hours. It was really only 2.37 minutes until Saavik spoke.

"Spock . . ."

He did not know how to respond . . . what had just happened since he had been unconscious?

"Saavik."

"Spock . . . what happened on the Enterprise?"

"I . . . I do not remember. I just know that someone or something is attempting to change what I am."

She looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"My emotions."

"Ah," she said. Saavik's fingers once more touched his katra points. But this was no swipe of her hand, she held it there.

"Saavik," he cried out, attempting to slither away from her, to no avail.

"My mind to your mind . . . my thoughts to your thoughts."

Spock had no time to even think about raising his mental shields. He had not had the chance on the Enterprise, either. He . . . they were remembering!

Sybok had stood in the doorway of Spock's quarters with a phaser raised. Spock had thought it was McCoy or another crewman of the Enterprise he had admitted. Spock had turned around and stared at the phaser, then up to his brother.

"Sybok!"

Sybok grinned as he managed to push Spock into a corner and grabbed both of Spock's hands in one of his own. "It is I, brother."

"What are you planning on accomplishing by killing me? How did you get on the ship?"

"Kill you," Sybok laughed. "The thought hadn't crossed my mind. Or my employer's. I'm only here to do a little . . . how shall I put it? Rearranging."

What Sybok was planning to do finally dawned on Spock. Already in a corner, he had nowhere to go, except to refamiliarize himself with the corner. Which he did, while attempting to free his hands. Sybok had already started a meld, and it was too late for Spock.

Spock found himself struggling for breath from shock and an unexpected weight on his chest. Saavik was sprawled on him, unconscious.

"Saavik?"

Was that my voice?

"Saavik!"

He slowly sat up, shifting the woman as he went. Finally sitting up, he threw his legs over the bed and laid Saavik next to him. It seemed the instant her skin was freed from his, she awoke.

"Spock?"

"Saavik . . . why did you do that? What happened? Wh--"

She offered him a small smile. "The subconscious never forgets. I believe I know what Sybok did."

"I was inquiring what happened to you."

"It affects both of us," she said. "It must be a plot for him to service Khan. Whatever he did, he implied a Romulan tactic to make your mind a fly trap."

He raised his eyebrow. "A Romulan tactic?"

Saavik nodded. "Before their telepathic powers became dormant. It has been passed down in religious texts. I do not know exactly how it is done, only that it can be."

He had a feeling he did not want to know the answer to his next question, so he waited a moment. "Can it be reversed?"

She raised her eyebrow. "The texts say it cannot be. The texts also say that if the trap mind joins with another, the other will die."

His eyebrow answered hers. "But you did not."

"Exactly. Let me meld with you this time instead of me forcing it."

Spock gave her his look as he sternly said, "That would be a good idea, Saavik."

"You would not have let me meld with you to discover the truth."

"Because the truth was not necessary for you to know."

"That is what you thought," she conceded. "You now know that it was necessary."

Her logic silenced him. "Yes. And I also know I will not let you endanger yourself again. What did you do that saved you?"

"Instinct. Spock, it needs to be Romulan instinct."

"You have no proof."

She propped herself on her elbows. "If the solution was instinct no matter what race, why is your mind still snared?"

Again, her logic astounded him in its roots. "Touché."

She met his eyes. "Spock . . . trust me."

He looked down at his hands, receded his thumb, ring and pinky fingers, and hovered his hand over Saavik's.

She slightly jumped as he rested his hand over hers, not wanting to find out if the mind snare carried in touch.

"All right, Saavik. Be careful."

*

Spock awoke with a sense of dPjB vu. The senior crew plus Saavik was standing around his bedside. He flinched his eyes closed, aware of a headache. He moved his hand to the source and found a large bump.

"I believe the human term," Saavik said. "is oops."

He opened his eyes and gave her the look, not amused. He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the blare of proximity alarms and moments later, a phaserblast.

"Oops indeed," he said to Saavik as he rushed with the others to the cockpit.

"Vulcan ships with weapons," Uhura asked.

"Khan," Spock said.

Sulu was desperately hitting controls as the ship shook from being locked in a tractor beam. The man finally gave up. "Whoever it is, we'll know soon."

"The idea was to meet Khan on our own terms."

"Mister Spock, you know the words 'Khan' and 'terms' do not belong in the same sentence," Chekov mused.

"Quiet, Pav," Sulu barked.

"I hate being a pessimist," Uhura said. "But are we going to fit?"

The shaking of the ship and screech of metal once they passed the airlock answered her.

"So this is why we don't have money any longer," Scott said.

"Or lawyers," Chekov added.

The only thoughts that passed through Spock's mind were if Saavik had been successful, and why humans seemed to have an endless spring of humor when faced with impending doom.

"Now what," Sulu said.

Phaser fire against the door to the ship replied that question, as well.

"Perhaps we should stop asking questions at our captors," Spock said.

Everyone stared at him, mouths threatening to drop.

"Spock," Saavik whispered. "It's Sybok."

Spock looked out the main viewport. "So it is."

He moved closer to the side of the door, waiting to jump the only man that stood in the way. By this time, the others of the crew had begun to scatter to hiding places, some risking quick, loud footsteps to reach weapons they had brought. Saavik appeared behind him

The door finally yielded to the laws of physics and admitted the intruder. Before Spock and Saavik could spring, they found a phaser pointed at them.

"It was a noble try, my brother." Sybok took out a device, pushed the central button, and the thuds of bodies was heard around the ship, excluding Sybok, Spock, and Saavik.

"What . . ."

"A device tuned to human hearing, knocks them unconscious."

Spock looked to Chekov's body, the only one in view, then back to the phaser.

"Tell her to see if you don't believe me, since your touch is to die for." He laughed at his own joke as Spock nodded to Saavik.

He watched her feel for a pulse on the commander's neck, then nod. "He's still alive."

"Now," Sybok said. "Do I have to tune this to Vulcan hearing and let the other men pick us up? Or will you follow willingly like nice children?"

Spock could see Saavik's eyes grow cold, but she obeyed at Spock's nod. Sybok stood and walked behind them, indicating them where to turn. They finally came to rest outside a door which Sybok pressed his hand to and pushed them in with his phaser. He did not follow them in.

In the room was a young man of Khan's group, and Khan himself. He motion to Saavik to get behind him, but she stayed by his side.

"Greetings, Spock," Khan's gaze shifted to Saavik. "I do not know you, and I never forget a face."

She did not answer.

Khan shrugged off Saavik's silence. "It is no matter. You have, undoubtedly, came to rescue your captain, your doctor, and your parents. It is too late for most of that mission, since your captain and parents have passed. The dear doctor still holds on, rest assured."

Spock, like Saavik, remained silent.

"Ah, so you already know of their deaths? My liaison said you might. Indeed, that is why you came, no? To avenge them?"

"Revenge is illogical."

Khan grinned. "Illogical, yes. But, it is the glue that holds us together."

"The body, nor society, is held together by 'glue.'"

His gaze turned cold. "You have not changed, or learned, or adapted. You are the same as you were that day on the Enterprise. That day seems to have come back to haunt you."

"All causes have an effect."

"Ah, to be true," Khan said. "But you never suspected it would claim the life of your captain and parents."

Spock deemed this a time to remain silent.

"Perhaps you would like to know why I am wasting resources to find all those close to you?"

"I have no doubt that it has to do with revenge."

"And you are correct. You killed my wife. I have made it my sole purpose not to rest until all you love and cherish is gone."

Spock raised his eyebrow, not shocked by the revelation.

Khan started to walk to Saavik, who did not move a muscle.

"I wonder if that includes this beautiful woman here?"

"No!" Spock exclaimed, then lunged for Khan's face, forcing the mind meld upon him with the snare Khan himself had most likely devised. But Spock did not feel a foreign mind, instead one he knew he had touched before.

McCoy!

He withdrew his hands to stare at the man below, convulsing and for the most part unconscious. The man was not McCoy, it was Khan. What was happening?

The guard walked to the body smiling. Spock knew for sure that the man on the ground was not Khan. Touching the man's shoulder, a guise defragmented to reveal McCoy's body.

"No," Spock whispered, then continued on fiercely. "No, no, no, no! Saavik!"

He turned to look at Saavik, who was shaking her head. "Nothing can be done. Spock, the only way to remove the snare is to kill someone with it."

Spock stared at McCoy again, then heard Khan's voice filling the room.

"Ah, I see you have found the doctor, but not me as you had assumed. Would you like to see what my men would have done, had that body been mine? I shall show you."

A viewscreen appeared of space, then of the section of the ship containing the bay the officers had been transported to. Suddenly, the bay was empty. The viewscreen cut once again to space to show the Starfleet officer's ship floating in space, lifeless.

Spock's mind took a moment to process what had happened. Sybok had blasted a hole in the ship . . . that had just been exposed to vacuum.

Sulu, Chekov, Uhura, and Scott were all dead.

By her facial reactions, it was clear that she had just realized this truth, as well.

"Let that be a reminder to you, boy," Khan spat.

His eyes looked back to McCoy's body, and at the blood suddenly gushing from his right ear. A worm of some sort was crawling out. The worm died at the same instant McCoy stopped shaking. Spock's shaking hands reached forward to find a pulse, but were not successful.

"Take it away," Khan ordered.

The guard saluted the ceiling and bent down to pick up McCoy's body and drape it over his shoulders.

Spock fell in shock against the wall. First Jim, then his parents, and now the rest of the senior crew, including McCoy. All were dead. All deaths were his fault. He had only his own left to worry about now.

No, you don't, he thought as he looked to Saavik and remembered Khan's words.

"I wonder if that includes this beautiful woman here?"

Chapter Eight

WARNING!!!!! The following chapter may not be suited for some readers. Okay, you're reading the fic, you'll find out eventually. Rape is dealt with, though the scene isn't written, just talked about. You've been warned.

*

Spock fell back on the wall, realizing what he had done. Khan knew. What would he do now? He had no doubt it would be something more horrendous than merely throwing unconscious, innocent beings out an airlock in an open ship. His mind could not fathom what could be worse than that, but it did tell him Khan's mind most likely did.

His eyes found their way back to Saavik, staring at him in worry.

"Spock?"

His mind refused to hear her.

But his heart did not.

He raised his head to look at her. The second he did, he wished he hadn't. He fell into her suddenly open arms and wept. Through their clothes, he could still hear her thoughts, her worry.

"Spock?"

"Saavik," he said between his tears, "Saavik . . . what have I done?"

By now, they had fully embraced each other. "This was not your fault."

"How can you say that? It was by my foolishness when I jumped on the transporter, leaving McCoy and Jim. Jim died because of a wound trying to save me. I killed McCoy by my own mind . . . God, I killed McCoy! After I killed McCoy, Khan threw the others out of the airlock!" Spock's voice was well above where it normally was, causing Saavik to draw back. "And my parents were killed to lure me here. How can you say that I was not responsible for the deaths, Saavik-kam?"

Both of their faces looked at the others, not believing what had just been said.

Spock looked away again, but Saavik did not let go. Before he knew it, he was asleep.

*

When Spock awoke, he thought he was alone. A glance around the room told him he was not. Saavik was huddled in the corner of the room, her back facing him.

"Saavik?"

When she did not answer, Spock stood and walked over to her and called her name once more.

"Leave me alone."

Her voice, he thought. She sounds . . . as if she has been weeping.

"Saavik? What is wrong?" Spock could see a part of her face, and reached out to reassure her mind. His hand was slapped away by Saavik's. He involuntarily fell back.

"I said leave me alone!"

"That is quite difficult in a cell, Saavik-kam."

Why do I keep calling her that?

"No, it is not. You stay on the other side of the cell and we ignore each other."

"Why would I wish to do that?"

Saavik was silent, then attempted to make herself smaller once again.

Spock knew the worst thing he could possibly do was to leave her be. He would have continued to press her, had a guard not appeared in the doorway. He watched Saavik curl up into herself again. He was looking at her even as the guard pulled him off his feet, shoved a phaser in his back, and ushered him through the door.

He was lead down what he assumed was the main hallway, and into another room with Khan at its center.

"Leave us," Khan ordered the guard.

As soon as the doors closed, Spock spoke. "What have you done to Saavik?"

Khan's trademark grin formed on his face. "You mean, she will not tell you?"

"Since I am asking you, the answer is obviously not."

He shook his head. "I never understood you, Spock. Even in the face of danger, when I could have, and can, kill you, you still remain cocky."

"Stating logical statements is not the definition of cocky."

"Have you ever heard to bite your tongue in the presence of an enemy?" Khan spat out. "I could kill you."

"But you have not."

He snarled. "Do not tempt me."

"You are wrong," Spock said, steady and strong. He strode forward to meet Khan toe to toe. "I have tempted you to harm me. That is why the crew of the Enterprise and my parents are dead. That is why you have somehow harmed Saavik. You have done everything in your power to harm me . . . except harm me. You have done nothing to me, Khan! Why? Why take it on everyone else?"

Khan's snarl was replaced again by his grin. "You claim yourself to be so logical, and yet you cannot see the reason I have let you live."

"Because that reason is most likely born of passion."

"You killed my wife," Khan hissed. "The only thing I held dear. The only reason I had for living after Kirk stranded me on that damn rock! I must now live the rest of my life without her, my reason for living! Why should your life be different? Killing you would end your suffering!"

Spock's eyes were ablaze. "What did you do to Saavik?"

"She will never be yours," Khan spited. "You fell asleep, so I sent a guard to grab her. She made quite a resistance to the guard, but that didn't come close to her resistance to me, oh not at all. Whether it was her Vulcan or Romulan side that fought the whole time, I do not know."

Her resistance to me . . .

And then it came to him. Khan had raped Saavik.

In his mind, this was the last straw.

"You son of a bitch," Spock yelled before he roundhouse kicked Khan in the head, catching him off guard. But his guards must have been watching, for three of them rushed in, plus his brother.

Surprisingly, Sybok joined in the fight against Khan and his men, downing one of the guards as two more rushed in.

"They called me the illogical one!" Sybok said.

Spock ignored his brother, but the remark made him think. He was attacking a leader of extremely strong humans, and it was two against a ship. It was illogical.

Passion had never been logical.

Sybok closed the door and locked it, with command codes Spock assumed only Khan would be able to open. Khan had cornered himself and stared as Spock and Sybok killed the last of Khan's men in the room.

"Prah Khan, sa-kai," Sybok said.

Spock advanced slowly upon Khan, who shrank into the corner.

"What will killing me accomplish?"

"It will assure you never harm anyone again."

With that, Spock placed both his hands on Khan's neck and twisted it. He fell to the floor dead.

Spock stared at Khan's body. Suddenly, he could not remember what he had just done. He knew, but could not remember.

He took a deep breath and walked to a panel, ignoring Sybok behind him. Spock was counting himself . . . lucky that he knew this kind of Vulcan ship. His mind called forward a formula McCoy had given him of a gas that would knock humans out, and only humans.

"What are you doing?" Sybok exclaimed as he saw the gas leaking out of the vents.

"I assumed you wished to escape?"

"Yes."

"We cannot do it with Khan's men conscious."

Sybok blinked, then understood. "Good thinking." He walked out into the corridor.

"Sybok, no!"

It was too late. Someone had come running down the corridor with a phaser and shot Sybok. Spock hit another button on the panel in a panic, and the door closed, but Sybok's screams were still audible, until he no longer existed.

Spock gave the gas a few more minutes to work until he ventured out into the corridor. Bodies were strewn about. He hoped that the six hour estimate from McCoy would work on genetically engineered humans.

He came to the door that was Spock and Saavik's old cell.

As a precaution he called out, "Saavik, it is I." He opened the door, and she fell into his arms.

"Did you kill him?" she asked.

Spock's mind swirled at her question. "Yes . . . let's go home."

Chapter Nine

Spock and Saavik entered the bridge. Odd, no one had been up here when the knockout gas had been administered.

Odder still, he realized that there were no other ships, except for the one his father's aide had lent them, in the area. There should have been two others from Sybok's army.

And that brought another thought to mind--why had his brother suddenly switched sides?

Or, as Doctor McCoy would say, a thought that would really bake one's noodle--had he switched sides at all? Spock knew his brother had been hired, so perhaps it was not willingly he took the job.

Saavik took the tactical station, shakily, and Spock out of habit took the center chair.

"Saavik, see if you can access any logs of Sybok's . . . I do not think he was--"

"Spock?"

No, Spock though. No. It is not pon farr!

Saavik had walked up to him and knelt by the chair. "I thought that it was pon farr," she said. "after I touched your mind and found the snare. I hoped I was mistaken . . ."

Spock looked at her. "No, Saavik . . . I will not do that to you. Not after what you have been through."

Her face took on that haunted look again, as if for a moment she had pushed the thought out of her mind. "I will not sit back and watch you die. You will eventually seek me, anyway."

He stared in shock. She was right . . . but it seemed so cruel!

"Life is cruel, Spock."

"How are you--"

"A side effect to the meld when you had the snare, it would seem. Spock . . . I will make you do this."

Spock wondered how she could even think of forcing him . . . after what had happened to her . . . "No. I have led to the downfall of everyone else on this mission; I will not do this to you. Set course for Vulcan."

"At the speed this vessel is capable of, it will take ten days. This is too long, Spock."

He drew a breath. Yes, it would be. "Then lock me in one of the rooms. Take the vessel to Earth yourself and tell all that happened to Command. Alert them that two ships are missing that may hold more of Khan's men. I will give you the formula--"

His words were cut off as Saavik reached her hands to touch his face. Spock attempted to break away, but was caught in the meld, and her words.

"Spock . . . parted from me and never parted . . . never and always touching and touched."

Almost automatically, Spock echoed her words using her name.

*

Spock brought the Vulcan ship into dock at McKinley space station. It had been almost a week since Saavik had cornered him and forced him to bond with her. Almost a week since he had been forced to give in to pon farr.

"Saavik? Are you well?"

She took her hands off the controls as the space dock took control of the vessel. She kept her back to him as she spoke. "I am fine."

He stood and walked down the steps to the station where helm and tactical was stationed, almost identical to the Enterprise. He glanced up to the viewscreen, and there she was, looming like a bird in the distance. He turned his eyes back to Saavik. "You do not look well. We should take you to Sickbay."

She looked at him. "Nothing is wrong, Spock. At least, not wrong."

"There is something?"

"I am pregnant, Spock."

Spock jumped slightly at that, but then another thought crossed his mind.

Whose child was it?

The thought struck Saavik, as well. "Under the circumstances, it would be wise to run a paternity test."

He nodded. "That course of action still ends with you in Sickbay."

"This pleases you?"

"Only because I know you are safe, Saavik-kam."

"Doors open, beds made," the comm said. "Welcome home."

Spock raised his eyebrow. "Humans."

"Humans," Saavik agreed.

Spock stood and made his way for the turbolift; Saavik at his heels. They reached the space where the umbilical was attached and walked through to find a very surprised Admiral Morrow.

"Captain Spock, Cadet Saavik," he nodded to each of them. "Captain . . . where is the rest of the party?"

He closed his eyes. "In time, Admiral. First, I insist on escorting Saavik to the nearest Sickbay."

Spock opened his eyes in time to see Morrow incline his head. "Of course."

"Spock," someone called his name down the corridor. Spock recognized the person immediately; it was his father's aide.

He was armed with a phaser.

"Spock, Saavik, get down!" Morrow called.

Spock pushed Saavik back into the airlock and dodged the first phaser blast. Thankfully, a security team had been waiting around the corner, obviously waiting to make sure that no threat had transported via the ship. Within moments, the Vulcan aide was subdued and still conscious. Spock walked up to him.

"You," he said. "It was you that told Khan we were coming."

The aide showed no regret. "Yes. It was I."

"Why? Why did you wish my father harm?"

The aide looked up from his eyes, giving him a menacing look. "It was not the Ambassador I wished to harm."

The security team took him away, and Spock straightened his robe. He walked back to the airlock where Saavik was standing.

"Spock?"

"Yes, Saavik?"

"Do you have any other dormant enemies I should know about?"

Spock raised his eyebrow. "I do not believe so. If they are dormant, how can I know?"

"A point."

"Captain," Morrow said. "Perhaps I should escort you to Sickbay." Spock noticed the Admiral had acquired a phaser from one of the security guards. The phaser was not leveled at the two of them in any way.

"The gesture would be appreciated, Admiral."

They made their way through McKinley Station, earning a few stares as they went. Apparently, they had become famous in their absence. The group reached Sickbay without further incident.

"Meet me in the dining room in Level 12 at 1600. Does that give you sufficient time, Captain?"

Spock glanced at a chrono on the wall. It was currently 1530. "It does, Admiral. Until then."

"Until then."

Morrow departed as Saavik and Spock walked into Sickbay. It was almost completely devoid of beings, save one in a Starfleet uniform.

One that he knew very well.

"Doctor Chapel."

She smiled at him. "Captain Spock! And . . . I'm afraid I don't know you."

"Cadet Saavik, sir."

Chapel waved of the formalities. "What can I help you two with? Is Doctor McCoy with you?"

Spock was silent a long moment. "Doctor McCoy is dead, Miss Chapel."

She was shocked into silence as long as Spock had contemplated his words. "I . . . see."

"Please be careful who you speak about that with, Chapel. I do not know how much will be classified."

She nodded. "I understand . . . but thank you for telling me. Now, what can I help you with?" Spock noticed her hands were shaking, but decided to leave it for later.

He took a deep breath before he started. "I need you to scan the genetic makeup of . . . of Saavik's child."

If he thought the news of McCoy's death shocked her, it was nothing compared to this news. "Ah . . . what am I supposed to be looking for?"

"If the child is half Vulcan . . . or if it is not."

Chapel nodded slowly. "I can do that. Saavik, come sit down here. You look paler than you should be . . . are you all right?"

Saavik obeyed Chapel's request. "I am as fine as can be expected."

Chapel smiled at the girl as Spock went to a replicator and ordered a glass of water for Saavik and brought it back to her. Saavik seemed to drink half the glass at once.

"Chapel . . . may we have a moment?"

She nodded and made for her office. "Of course."

"Yes?" Saavik asked.

"Saavik . . . whatever we discover in the next five minutes . . . know that . . . that I will be here for you." He extended two fingers towards her. "As your legal husband, not merely your bonded."

She took his fingers in hers. "And I as your wife."

They stayed like that for a few seconds. Finally, Spock stood and retrieved Chapel from her office.

She returned and ran the scan. She cleared her throat before she spoke. "Well, there's good news, I think, and perhaps bad news."

"What?" both asked.

"The children are both half Vulcan. And that's the bad news. Saavik, you're carrying twins."

Saavik blinked slowly in silence. "What?" she finally whispered.

"Chapel," Spock said. "How . . . it is so rare Vulcan females have twins, and for good reason."

Chapel shrugged. "Someone has to have them every few centuries, don't they? And the best reason I can come up with is that Saavik is not a full Vulcan."

Saavik nodded. "That is a logical assumption. Whatever the case for two eggs being released, the fact still stands that I am carrying twins. Nothing can change that."

Chapel nodded. "It is still fascinating, Saavik." She turned her gaze to Spock. "I'm assuming that these children are yours?"

"Yes. They are."

She turned her gaze back to Saavik. "Saavik, dear . . . I'm not sure what to tell you. I think it would be a logical choice to return to Vulcan, and let the Healers watch over you."

Saavik did not miss a beat. "No, Doctor. I will remain on Earth, and if all possible, remain under your care. I believe any Vulcan Healer would be willing to help you, if that is your desire. I also wish to continue attending Starfleet Academy, if I have not been expelled."

Chapel opened her mouth to speak, but Spock broke in. "Saavik. You told me you did not have class that day."

She offered a small smile. "Of course I did, Spock."

Chapel laughed. "You never were good at reducing the delinquency of minors, Spock."

Spock raised his eyebrows in an attempt to regain his honor. "Really, Doctor Chapel, you did not know Pavel--" here he stopped. Pavel was dead.

They were all dead.

"Spock?" Chapel asked.

Spock shook his head. "It is nothing."

She looked at him, knowing better. "As I was about to say, Saavik . . . . I would be honored to be your doctor, and I do hope that a few Vulcan healers come to assist me. Do you have time for me to run a few more tests?"

Saavik nodded. "I do."

Spock glanced at another chrono on the wall. It was still a long while before he needed to rendezvous with Morrow, but the sooner he got it over with, the better. "Saavik . . . I believe I will go and speak with Morrow. If I know him, and if he knows me, he will already be in the lounge. I will return as soon as I can."

"All right." As he stood, she extended two fingers to him. He took hers in his own.

He left just as Chapel was starting to breathe normally once again.

*

Spock found the meeting place quite easily, and found the Admiral just as easily.

"Please, Captain, sit down."

He obliged, but did not attempt to start conversation.

The Admiral did not appear to wish to start, either. "Spock . . . I have a question."

"Yes?"

"Who's left?"

"Of J--Kirk, McCoy, Chekov, Uhura, Scott, Sulu, Lady Amanda, Ambassador Sarek, Saavik, and myself?"

"Yes."

Spock took a deep breath. "Myself and Saavik."

"Now," Morrow said, eyes glaring at Spock. "How the hell did that happen?"

He attempted to contain his . . . anger. He matched Morrow's glare. "You think . . . it was my fault."

"You did instigate this crazy mission."

"I did not kill them."

Morrow sneered. "Not directly."

Spock resisted the urge to stand up. "Who the hell do you think I am?"

He was shocked into silence. Other tables around them were straining to hear their conversation. "I do not know anymore, Captain."

He practically whispered. "Nor do I."

"Why don't you start at the beginning and tell me what happened."

Spock could tell it was not a question, it was a request. Not a demand, but a request. He took a deep breath and began. He told Morrow of how Kirk had come to his quarters one evening, it could not have been two weeks ago, and told him of Khan's return. How they had then gone to persuade McCoy to join. Spock had went home and found Khan in his apartment, then more of Khan's men showed up with McCoy and Kirk in tow. How they had been determined to get one of them out alive to sound the alarm--how it had been him.

He told Morrow of the reason Khan seemed to be after him--he had grabbed a phaser that had been on stun, but the previous wielder, with faster reflexes, had set it to kill. He had killed Khan's wife. Khan then decided to go after those around Spock--but not Spock himself.

He told Morrow of how the aide had granted them a ship when tries at hiring one had gone astray. Why Saavik had come on the journey. How the aide had betrayed them and thrown them into Khan's hands. Of how his parents died . . . somehow. Spock knew in his heart that mystery would never be solved.

He continued with the tale of their capture by Khan, and how Spock was lead to believe by some device that McCoy was Khan. He told of how he had snared McCoy's mind with the same snare that Sybok had implanted in his mind. How Khan then sent the rest of the crew out into space and killed them.

He finished his story with that of Saavik's rape, and their overtake of the ship with Sybok's help, then murder. He also added the part about how Saavik had forced him to bond with her due to pon farr. Of how she was now carrying twins, causing an eyebrow from Morrow.

"I'll . . . I'll get to that later. But how did all this start? I know that someone had sprung him from Ceti Alpha, but . . . how?"

Spock offered the faintest of shrugs. "My brother was employed by the mercenary that wanted Khan off Ceti Alpha. My brother took his . . . followers and picked Khan up. He then assisted me in the capture of the ship."

"So, you're telling me," Morrow said. "That Khan's men, what's left of them, are unconscious on the ship for about another five hours."

"That is correct."

"What of the other two Vulcan ships?"

He shook his head. "We do not know. There is no record of where they went to in the logs. When we reached the bridge, we were the only ship in the area."

"I see . . . well, when the Enterprise is--"

"Sir," Spock interrupted. "I . . . request to be transferred to Earth."

Morrow was silent as he mulled it over. "In regards to Saavik?"

"Yes, sir."

"I'm assuming you were in Sickbay because of her?"

Spock nodded. "I was."

"I'll . . . I'll see what I can do to get you transferred. I'm afraid I can't make any guarantees."

"I understand. Thank you, sir."

*

Ten Months Later

Spock and Chapel stood outside on the balcony of Saavik and Spock's quarters. It had been ten months since he and Saavik had returned from the disaster of a rescue mission. It had been ten months of chaos for both of them--mostly Saavik. She had chosen to stay enrolled at the Academy, but the past three months she had been on bed rest and had friends and professors e-mailing her notes and tests. Spock was amazed she had stuck with it this far. Amazed . . . and very proud.

"You seem a bit on edge," Chapel said quietly, letting the breeze blow her hair around at will.

His eyes wandered around San Francisco at will. "Yes. I am worried about Saavik."

"She's doing fine, Spock. Aside from her body trying to give birth three months back, nothing really unexpected--or bad--has happened. I'm surprised that the pregnancy has gone so close to the Vulcan norm."

He opened his mouth to speak, but stopped as he felt something through his mind link with his wife. "Saavik!"

Chapel was hot on his heels as he opened the balcony door, through the hallway, and into the bedroom where Saavik was lying on the bed.

"Saavik," Chapel said, going to her left side, Spock to her right. "Are you all right?"

The six Vulcan Healers must have heard the commotion, for all six came in the door and clustered around Saavik. Spock was determined not to be pushed away from Saavik.

Chapel had a small smile as she scanned Saavik with a tricorder offered by on of the Healers. "Come, someone call for Starfleet Medical to beam us all in. It's time."

*

Spock had never known that two hours could contain so much hell. Saavik had yet to cry out physically in pain, but her mind was doing enough of it.

Saavik was being constantly monitored by the Healers and Chapel. He felt the room would burst at any moment due to tension. He took a deep breath to sturdy himself, but the new strength was slapped away by Chapel and the Healers answering to an alarm.

Oh, gods, Spock thought.

Chapel was frantic, and the Vulcans were as close to the word as they got. Spock couldn't decipher what was going on around him, and wasn't sure if Chapel would tell him.

But she did. "T'Lark, start preparing for a Caesarean section, now! What do you mean, why, one of the children has flat lined! Spock, get out of here."

Spock was barely thinking as he stood, squeezing Saavik's shoulder as he did. He paced outside the door for what seemed hours, in reality, not even three minutes. He stopped pacing when time ended and he heard a cry from the other side--a high and shrill cry.

The cry of an infant.

Spock held his breath as he waiting for another cry. It did not come. His body forced the bad air from his lungs, as was his second child in the other room.

The second cry.

Spock felt as if he was about to explode with relief at hearing the second cry. He could feel Saavik's relief rushing through their link--and then extinguish slightly as she gave in to the will of her body and fell fast asleep.

Chapel came out to retrieve him about five minutes later.

"One boy and one girl . . . both are a little underweight, but that's expected. They are still healthy. Saavik is asleep but doing well."

Spock glanced at an incubator that was behind Chapel. She turned around and retrieved the child inside and handed the child to Spock.

"The girl," she said. "The boy is the one that flat lined, he's in the ICU. We figured we could keep the girl in here, as long as there isn't any immediate problems."

He held the child awkwardly as he walked backwards to the chair at Saavik's right side. Chapel smiled and followed Spock.

"Here, hold her like this," Chapel instructed, and moved Spock's arm slightly so the child fit almost perfectly in Spock's arms. It brought back a memory of McCoy.

They were on Capella IV, after all had been deemed relatively solved for the moment. McCoy had been holding the child, later named Leonard James Akaar, and speaking an odd language to him. McCoy insisted that Spock try his luck with the child. The mother allowed Spock to hold the child, though neither Spock nor the child liked it much. McCoy had corrected Spock's elbow, just as Chapel had now.

Ah, my friend, Spock thought. What would you say now, if you could see me holding my child?

No voice answered him. Spock closed his eyes and rocked back and forth with his daughter.

"Have you decided on any names yet?"

Spock nodded. "Saavik and I had two names picked for each gender, but knew which ones we wanted if a boy and girl were born. The boy would be Seklar, and the girl would be Shiarrael."

Chapel smiled. "Those are beautiful names."

Spock did not answer, but looked down at Shiarrael, who to his surprise, looked back at him. He glanced into her eyes, and saw not only the future, his future, but his past. He looked into her eyes and saw McCoy's eyes as he died--the blue was just as piercing. All the pain that he had suffered, that those around him had suffered ten months ago seemed to just melt away gazing into the eyes of his daughter. She offered something to him he had seen nothing of in the past year--hope.


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