Title: Reflections and Refractions
Author: B. Wesley Adams II
Please send feedback.
Beta: Joanna Bordelon/Caz
Series: TOS, Captain Sulu
Rating: PG-13 (Sci-Fi violence and peril)
Codes: S/Saa
Summary: Saavik goes through the looking glass.
Archive: Please contact me before archiving

Reflections and Refractions

Chapter I

Captain’s Log Stardate: 9842.3

The U.S.S. Excelsior has responded to a distress call from the S.S. Annan, a diplomatic courier. The Annan was in route from Qo’noS, where Ambassador Thorval was overseeing the implementation of the next phase of the Khitomer Accords. The ship has been caught in a force four ion storm. Their propulsion systems and shields are inoperative. Commander Uhura is leading the boarding party to assist in the evacuation of the Annan.

Acrid smoke filled the corridor as sparks and small fires erupted from blown relays and ruptured power conduits. The hull moaned under stress from the fierce onslaught of the storm’s radioactive winds. At least the Excelsior’s tractor beam had stopped the tumbling, thought Commander Nyota Uhura, First Officer of the Excelsior. She hated getting space sick.

Not happy with the slow pace of the evacuation, she flipped open her communicator. “Uhura to Excelsior. Transporter Room, is there anyway to speed things up. We have 53 people to get off the ship and you’re only taking four at a time,” she said, choking on the smoke.

“Sorry Commander. The only way we can beam through the storm is by using full power on the transporter containment fields. It insures that everyone gets here in one piece, but that leaves us with only enough power to beam four at a time,” reported Chief Innsu.

“Understood. Uhura out,” she said. “Uhura to Saavik. Any luck with the Annan’s transporters?”

Lt. Comdr. Saavik, Excelsior’s Science Officer, answered, “As you would say, ‘yes, and it is all bad.’ The main and auxiliary powers are off line. The emergency batteries do not have enough power to safely transport anyone to the Excelsior through the ion storm. There is a plasma fire in the hanger deck, making use of the shuttlecraft impractical. It is possible for Excelsior’s auxiliary craft to use the docking ports, however it is unadvisable to do so in a force four storm.”

“In other words, we’re stuck with using Excelsior’s transporters. Make sure that the lower decks are clear and make your way back up here,” Uhura ordered.

Uhura’s communicator beeped with yet another call. “Uhura here.”

From the Excelsior’s bridge, Captain Hikaru Sulu called, “Xon’s reported that the storm is strengthening toward a force five within the hour. What’s your status?”

“We’ve transported 16 so far, all wounded, including Ambassador Thorval. Saavik reports that there’s nothing we can do from our end. I don’t want to have to use lifepods in this storm unless absolutely necessary. Lt. von Brocklin reports that structural integrity is failing. He estimates that we have about 30 minutes before it fails. As slow as transport is taking, it was going to take 32 minutes to beam us off the Annan. With the storm increasing in intensity, you can bet that time estimate is going to be cut. Anything you can do to speed things along Captain would be appreciated,” she added dryly.

“I’ll bring Excelsior to within 200 meters and order the transporter room to double the number of transports,” Sulu said, “And Nyota, we’ll get all of you off.”

“Thanks, Hikaru.”

Fifteen minutes later, all that remained on the Annan were the eight members of the landing party. Throughout the ship, ruptures tore through the outer hull. Gravity and life support were failing. Commander Uhura activated her communicator. “Uhura to Excelsior.” Cough. “Now would be” Cough. “ a good time.”

“Uhura, we have a problem. Ambassador Thorval’s aide has wakened up in sickbay and reports that there is a very important diplomatic pouch in the ambassador’s quarters. He reports that the materials inside are Presidential Clearance, from the Klingon Chancellor to the Federation President. We have to get them before the ship implodes,” Sulu ordered.

“Oh great,” she gagged, unable to stifle the wracking cough. Turning to the party, she said, “You heard the man. Let’s go.”

Saavik stepped forward. Damn, Uhura thought, except for a couple of smoke smudges on her face and a few lose tendrils of hair out of her bun, Saavik looked like she just came on duty. “Commander,” the Vulcan began, “I can retrieve the pouch while the rest of you return to the ship. It is illogical to risk eight lives when one will do.”

“Saavik, you…. can’t do… this alone,” von Brocklin gasped.

“Or at least have the…. transporter room beam… you to the cabin,” Ensign Foster breathed out.

“Ionization from the storm is obscuring the targeting scanners. I might materialize in a bulkhead. Mr. Innsu needs our communicator signals to lock on to us. Commander, the rest of you can barely stand up. The oxygen levels are too low for you. With the debris that has fallen, it is easier for me to fit through alone. I can beam out from the ambassadorial quarters,” she said evenly.

“Go Saavik,” Uhura ordered. Godspeed, she added silently. “Uhura to Transporter Room, seven to beam up.”

As the seven forms disappeared in the glow of the transporter effect, Saavik redirected the remaining power for the structural integrity fields to deck 3, including the ambassadorial quarters. She felt the inner hull give way on the lower decks now that the forcefields were gone. She estimated she had five point six two minutes before total hull collapse. She made her way to the Jefferies tube to go down two decks. As she reached deck two, a power reply arched, burning her left hand. Pain can be controlled she thought. Pain is a product of the mind. My will controls my mind. Already, the numbness was fading. The damage seemed to be limited to burns on the skin.

Passing deck 2, Saavik estimated she had three point two four minutes. She had to phaser through debris that blocked the tube. Perhaps Captain Sulu should have sent Ensign Mallga, the ship’s Horta geologist, Saavik mused. She would melt through the decks in less than thirty seconds.

As she reached deck three, she heard the dome of the bridge collapse. She struggled to close the tube as air vented into space two decks up. Saavik was slammed against the bulkhead as the air roared toward the tube. Finally, the tube was sealed. She struggled to catch her breath. Two ribs felt bruised, if not broken. And the oxygen levels were thin, even by Vulcan standards. She tried to focus her eyes in the dim red emergency lights. Her Vulcan and Romulan will pushed her forward. She scrambled over the debris with an experienced steadiness. Never before had Saavik been thankful for this skill from the tunnels and ruins of Hellguard.

She reached the quarters and forced the door open. Gasping for air, Saavik struggled to think where the pouch would be. Through the fog of her mind, she found the answer. Aiming her phaser, she blew the hatch off the safe. Reaching inside she grabbed the pouch with her injured hand and, with her good hand, she fumbled with her communicator. The hull began to scream with the sound of tearing metal as the dying ship’s structural integrity failed.

Saavik flipped open the communicator, hoping that the Chief Innsu could hear her over the sound of shredding dititanium. “Saavik to Excelsior! Emergency beam out,” she yelled. The transporter effect took hold as the last of the air began to escape into space and the ionized particles of the storm poured in.

Saavik felt herself materializing in the transporter chamber then disappearing again several times. During partial materializations she could see Innsu and Chief Engineer von Brocklin struggling to save her pattern. At last, she took full form and collapsed on the pads.

“Lieutenant, are you all right,” said the German engineer.

“Doctor Gavar to Transporter Room Two,” Innsu called from the console intercom.

Saavik slowly pushed herself up, brushing her black mane out of her face. Taking in painful deep breathes of oxygen-rich air, she said, “I will be all right Mr. von Brocklin. Although I do require medical assistance.”

Through her blurry vision, she sensed something was wrong. Forcing her eyes to focus, she noticed an unusual symbol on the bulkhead and doors. It appeared to be an image of Earth bisected by a sword. And Innsu and von Brocklin’s uniforms were wrong. Gone were the hip length maroon jackets and black belts. In their place were waist length open jackets and gold sashes worn at the waist. Their pants were stuffed into thigh length boots. And why were they carrying phasers? And knives? I must have a concussion she thought, or am having hallucinations from oxygen deprivation. Why else would Spock be here and wearing a goatee? That was the last thought she had before blackness claimed her again.

Chapter 2

Captain’s Log Stardate: 9842.6 We have successfully evacuated the S.S. Annan without loss of life. However, there are 18 serious causalities, including Lt. Cmdr. Saavik, who risked her own life to secure vital diplomatic papers between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. We were almost unable to beam her back as the Annan broke up in the ion storm. I intend to recommend Lieutenant Commander Saavik for Starfleet’s highest citation for valor above and beyond the course of duty. We are currently in route to Starbase 24 with our injured passengers. Captain Hikaru Sulu made his way to sickbay. Most of the biobeds in the main ward were occupied. Ambassador Thorval was moved to a private suite. The Tellarite CMO was standing next to Saavik’s bed, scanning her vital signs. Sulu noticed that she was in restraints and appeared to be sedated. A regen patch was on her injured left hand, repairing the damage from the plasma burn. Dr. Gavar looked up from his scans and noticed the captain. “Ah, Captain Sulu. Thank you for coming. We appear to have a mystery on our hands,” he said.

Hearing Sulu’s name, Saavik’s eyes opened to narrow slits. She moved her head to look at him. Sulu felt as if he was the target of a pair of green phaser beams. Her faced twisted into a murderous expression and in a raspy whisper she asked, “Where is Spock? I demand to see him, or Tuvok. If anything happens to Spock, I promise that you’ll not live long.”

What is a matter with her, Sulu thought. I have never seen Saavik like this. And Tuvok? I didn’t know she knew him. He resigned from Starfleet before she joined the Excelsior.

Taking the shocked Sulu by the shoulder, Gavar said, “Why don’t we step into my office.”

As Sulu looked at Saavik through the office window, Gavar said, “She had a similar reaction when she first woke up and demanded to know where Spock was. When I told her that I had no idea, she became more emotional, demanding me to tell her what you did with him and went for my throat,” rubbing his neck. “Fortunately, there was a hypospray near by and we were able to sedate and restrain her.”

“Transporter psychosis?”

“That was my first thought. It would explain the emotionalism, the paranoia and her obsession with seeing Spock, the one person we know she absolutely trusts. However, when I did a detailed examination of her to determine the severity of the psychosis, I stumbled upon the mystery I mentioned earlier,” Gavar informed Sulu.

“And that is...”

Gavar sat down behind his desk and brought up Saavik’s chart on his monitor. “According to genetic and retinal scans, and voice and fingerprints, she is Saavik. But her medical history contradicts that fact. Saavik suffered a number of life threatening injuries as a child. They left scars on her bones and in her soft tissue. The woman on that biobed,” he said as pointing out the window, “is missing most of those scars. She does, however, have a number of more recent scars consistent with edged weapons wounds. Saavik didn’t have those scars when she beamed over to the Annan. A transporter accident cannot account for these changes to her physiology. Hence the mystery. How can she be and not be Saavik,” he finished as he placed his hands on his rotund abdomen.

A look of realization crossed Sulu’s face. “You’re wrong doctor. A transporter accident can explain this.” Walking over to the intercom, “Sulu to bridge. Uhura, reverse course and go to warp 12. Take us back to our coordinates when we beamed Saavik aboard.”

“Captain, that’s in the middle of a force five ion storm,” Uhura said, “What’s going on?”

“I think the same thing that happened 29 years ago when you last beamed through an ion storm.”

“Oh my God,” Uhura realized, “Saavik?”

“I want Xon and von Brocklin to examine Saavik’s transporter log and compare it with those from the Enterprise during the Halkan mission,” Sulu ordered.

“Aye Captain,” Uhura signed off.

Turning to the doctor, Sulu said, “She can be Saavik and not be Saavik if she’s not our Saavik. If I’m right, our Saavik and that one switched places.”

“Switched places,” he asked.

“I’ll have Uhura forward the Enterprise’s mission logs regarding the Halkan mission. That should answer most of your questions. And let me know when she’s fully awake,” he nodded toward Saavik, “I need to know what kind of universe our Saavik has found herself in.” Sulu turned to leave sickbay to return to the bridge.

Saavik began to regain consciousness. She noticed Dr. Gavar at the foot of biobed, monitoring her vital signs. Again she noticed the strange dagger symbol on the doors and the strange uniforms on the crew. She was certain she knew something about this place, but she could not place where.

Gavar noticed her movement and said, “You’re awake. Good. A certain Admiral will be pleased to hear that.”

“What is my condition Doctor Gavar?” Saavik asked warily.

“You know who I am. I’m impressed. I was just posted to this ship three months ago. Then again, personal security officers do tend to be very thorough. As for your condition, you have a plasma burn on your left hand, two bruised ribs, numerous cuts and bruises, and the usual systemic trauma of a rough transport. I was getting ready to conduct a more thorough scan when you woke up,” the Tellarite informed her.

“I am certain that is not necessary, as you can tell I am awake and will make a full recovery,” Saavik said, not wanting the doctor to have more information on her than she did on this place she found herself in.

The Tellarite crossed his arms and said looking down at her, “You may know about security, but I’m quite certain that I am the one with a medical degree.”

Saavik slowly sat up, her eyebrow arched with a look that said that while he knew how to save lives; she knew how to take them away. Gavar blanched and said, “Before we continue discussing your medical case, I should inform the Admiral of your condition,” beating a hasty retreat to his office.

Taking advantage of the doctor’s absence, Saavik looked down at her own attire. Somehow she had acquired black thigh high boots, with a dagger inside each leg, a black mini skirt with a gold sash tied around her hips. On the sash hung a phaser, a dagger, and a device that resembled a Klingon agonizer. Under the sash were a communicator, a phaser-I, and stiletto. Her midriff was bare. She wore a black halter- top, the departmental color of security, rather than the blue of the science department. Her jacket had an open front like the ones see saw on the male crewmen, but length of hers reached only just below the bottom of her top. Saavik made a mental note not to reach for anything above her head. A lieutenant’s rank pin was on her sleeve and shoulder, rather than the lieutenant commander’s pin she wore that morning.

Looking around sickbay, she noticed that the other female crewmen were similarly attired. Saavik began to wonder about the social mores of this place. Then she wondered how she found herself in these clothes. Finding herself in strange clothes. Saavik knew she had heard something about Commander Uhura finding herself in strange clothes after a transport during an ion storm. The Halkan mission, she suddenly remembered. Twenty-nine years ago, James Kirk, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott, and Nyota Uhura found themselves in a parallel universe, having changed places with their counterparts. Starfleet had released the mission reports of the Enterprise’s first five mission under Captain James T. Kirk following his disappearance on the Enterprise-B last year. Saavik had read all the report s to learn more about Spock during those days, now that they were no longer classified.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of opening doors. Looking in the direction of the sound, she noticed a dark skinned Vulcan enter. Behind him entered the one person she would recognize anywhere, no matter how crowded the room, Spock.

This Spock, however, was different from her Spock. Spock had gained weight in recent years, no doubt due to the less active life of a diplomat than that of a Starfleet officer. This Spock was leaner. The angles of his face more defined. If it was possible, his eyes seemed to be darker and more piercing. The goatee seemed to finish his face, balancing his dark hair on top. McCoy was right, she thought, he does look better with a beard.

Saavik always knew that Vulcan and Terran standards considered Spock aesthetically pleasing. But she never truly realized just how stunningly attractive he was. She could not take her eyes off him. Saavik realized that she was staring at Spock and he was looking back at her. She looked down at the floor, feeling her face warm as a coppery blush took hold.

As Saavik struggled to regain her composure, Admiral Spock turned his attention to Doctor Gavar as he related her condition to him. After the Tellarite was finished, Spock turned toward a composed Saavik and said, “I am pleased that you are recovering well Lieutenant. I wish to commend you for your valor in securing important documents for the Emperor. I am quite certain that in a matter of such importance, such service will not go unnoticed or unrewarded.”

Standing at attention, Saavik replied, “I am honored. I live to serve the Empire.”

The dark skinned Vulcan arched an eyebrow at Saavik’s reply. Stepping forward, he addressed her, “Lieutenant Saavik, do you feel well enough to resume your duties?”

“My thoughts are still somewhat clouded. However, I am certain that with time and rest, I will be able to resume my post shortly, Ensign…” she paused.

“Tuvok. Ensign Tuvok, your second. Do you not remember me?”

Admiral Spock arched an eyebrow at Gavar, who once an again blanched. Spock ordered, “Answer the ensign, Lieutenant.”

“I admit that I can not recall a number of events. I do recall you Admiral. Much of the rest of my life is unknown at the present time,” Saavik answered, thinking it is not a lie to say she does not know about her counterpart’s life.

Doctor Gavar stammered, “Ah, amnesia is not unheard of in cases of transporter psychosis. The fact that she seems to only be suffering from memory loss regarding biographical details and not other skill areas can be a good sign that she’ll recover those memories in time. If not, she can relearn the biographical facts about herself.”

Spock looked at the Tellarite for a long thirty seconds as the Tellarite looked like it was waiting to be killed. Finally her said, “Relax, Doctor. The Lieutenant’s condition is not the result of any fault of yours.”

Turning his gaze toward Saavik, he said, “Lieutenant, you will remain here for the next four hours. I am aware of your distrust of doctors. You will, however, cooperate with the Doctor in any examinations that he feels are necessary to treat your condition. I suggest that in the meantime that you review your service record. Perhaps it will restore your memories. If not, it will be a beginning to relearning about yourself. If the doctor believes that you are fit for duty, you may resume your post then.”

“Yes Admiral,” Saavik answered.

"Doctor, I leave her in your care,” Spock informed the Tellarite, with just enough edge in his tone to let him know that Spock would find him at fault if Saavik’s condition worsened.

Saavik copied the salute Gavar gave Spock of striking the left breast and swinging the right hand up and outward. Spock returned the salute and left sickbay, with Tuvok taking point.

In Captain Sulu’s ready room, Sulu watched the scene in sickbay from the security monitors while Uhura stood behind his chair, her arms draped around his neck as she too watched.

“It’s a shame that it wasn’t Spock who was caught in the transporter. I’m sure we could have made sure that his pattern wasn’t recoverable,” Uhura said.

“For once, I’m glad Spock wasn’t in danger,” Sulu answered heavily.

Uhura looked shocked as she exclaimed, “Since when do you care about what happens to Spock? Have you forgotten who left you with this,” running a finger down the scar on the side of his face.

“Oh I haven’t forgotten. And there will be a time and a place for a reckoning. But now is neither,” Sulu replied darkly, taking her hand away from his face.

“Why not?”

“The Admiralty doesn’t take kindly to starship captains horning in on their personal chess game of trying to out do, out maneuver, and do way with each other. When Admiral Kirk disappeared last year while trying to prove that he was still the great man, saving his new flagship from that energy ribbon, a lot of people at Command assumed that Demora piloted the Enterprise into position to lose Kirk at my command. They had no proof, but they let me know I was being watched.”

Sitting down on his lap, and cupping his face, Uhura cooed, “Poor Hikaru. All those years you got away with murder, and the one time you’re innocent, they suspect you.”

“Ironic isn’t. But Starfleet will come down hard if two admirals die because of a Sulu. Especially with Spock on a personal mission from the Emperor himself. And I don’t want to cross him. Even if the Emperor wants to have a truce with the Klingons rather than finish them off now that they are weak after Praxis blew up. He must have some major offense planned that needs ships freed up from the Klingon border.”

“It would be a shame if you were terminated because something happened to Spock. We should do everything possible to make his stay a safe one,” Uhura said coyly.

Sulu smiled as he wrapped his arms around her waist and said, “I agree that ‘we’ should do everything to make Spock safe. After all, I’ve made sure that I will always have the pleasure of your company Nyota. Even in Hell.”

Then it was Uhura’s turn to be in a dark mood.

Chapter 3

Captain’s Log Stardate: 9842.9

We are two hours from the coordinates where we beamed Saavik from the Annan. Lt. Xon estimates that we have 15 hours before the rupture between the universes closes. I’m pleased that we’ll have at least twelve hours to return Saavik and Saavik to their home universes.

Captain Sulu, Commander Uhura, Doctor Gavar, Acting Science Officer Lt. Xon and Chief Engineer von Brocklin gather in the briefing room. Xon assumed the seat at the library computer station. Entering data solids into the computer and bringing up a series of displays on the main monitor, the young Vulcan began his report, “At the Captain’s order, Mr. von Brocklin and I reviewed the mission report from NCC-1701, USS Enterprise, during the Halkan mission twenty-nine years ago. We were to learn whether or not Lt. Cmdr. Saavik encountered a phenomenon similar to one encountered by the Enterprise’s landing party.”

“The short answer is Ja,” the chief engineer stated, “After comparing the readings from the Enterprise to those from Excelsior, I vould say that our Saavik switch places with her counterpart from the same parallel universe that you encountered Commander Uhura.”

“ ‘Same parallel universe?’ How many universes are there?” Gavar asked.

“There are an infinite number of parallel universes, Doctor. Current quantum theory states that all universes arise from a singularity…” Xon began to explain.

“The Big Bang,” Sulu said.

“A crude description, but essentially the correct phenomenon,” Xon said, “After the singularity ruptured, time came into existence. With time came events. Events had different possible outcomes. According to quantum theory, all possible outcomes occur. Each possible outcome creates a universe. The greater the number of variant outcomes between universes, the greater the differences between the universes.”

“But why the crossovers between our universe and the parallel universe that we’ve encountered?” Sulu asked.

Eric von Brocklin took this question, “The personnel transporters operate by scanning and beaming matter at a quantum resolution. It’s the only vay you can transport living matter. During both ion storms, both the Enterprise and Excelsior, and their counterparts, had their transporters at full power. It is the interaction of all the energies from the simultaneous full power quantum resolution transports and the ion storms, all at the same point in multidimensional space, that cause a conduit or rupture between two universes, resulting in the transfer. Fortunately, the rupture remains for sometime, thus allowing us to beam their Saavik and retrieve our Saavik. It vould be best if we could simultaneously transport the Saaviks, but we should be able to return their Saavik vithout a simultaneous transport.”

“If that is the case, Commander Uhura, you’ll lead a small team to rescue our Saavik,” said Captain Sulu.

“Aye Captain,” she said.

“If there are no more questions,” Sulu started.

“What about the uniforms?” Uhura asked.

Xon arched an eyebrow, “Commander, what about the uniforms?”

“For almost thirty years, I have been wondering why the landing parties changed places, but our uniforms and equipment didn’t?” Uhura asked, looking relieved for having finally asked the question.

“It is the result of one of the transporter safeguards,” Lt. Xon said as if it was plainly obvious to see why.

“One of the safeguards?” Gavar asked.

“As I mentioned before, personnel are scanned and transported at a quantum resolution. Inorganic materials, such as uniforms and equipment, are scanned and beamed at a molecular resolution. There is no reason to take up so much space in the pattern buffer on scanning the quark patterns when a less massive molecular scan will do. The quantum and molecular patterns are beamed in separate streams and reintegrated during materialization. In the event of a transporter malfunction, we can purge the molecular pattern and devote all resources to the quantum pattern. You’ll materialize naked, but nobody has ever really died of embarrassment,” von Brocklin answered.

“The phenomenon is quantum in nature, thus the quantum patterns were redirected, but the molecular patterns were unaffected,” Xon concluded.

“Thank you for the explanation gentlemen,” Uhura said.

“Unless there are any other questions, Uhura, I want you to take the conn. Mr. Xon and von Brocklin, start prepping the transporter for the transfer. The doctor and I will be in sickbay asking our guest what kind of world Saavik is in and what will be the best way to rescue her if necessary,” Hikaru Sulu finished the briefing.

Saavik read her counterpart’s service record between Dr. Gavar’s tests. She was surprised that she could find no record of a personal log. Perhaps she wrote in a journal rather than maintaining a digitized record, Saavik thought. Nor was that the only surprise she encountered in Lt. Saavik’s record.

Like herself, Lt. Saavik had been born on Hellguard, here an Imperial outpost on the border with the Romulan Republic, a subjugated client state of the Terran Empire. Lt. Saavik’s parents too were Vulcan, a base officer, and Romulan, a “comfort woman”. Unlike her own past, Lt. Saavik’s parents were known. Saavik could not bring herself to open the file to read their records. She had more pressing matters to deal with without having to handle the emotional ramifications placing names and faces to her parents.

Unlike herself, Lt. Saavik spent most of her childhood on Hellguard. She did not meet Spock until she was nineteen. Apparently, the Terran commander of the base plotted an attack on then Captain Spock and Saavik came to his aid, saving his life and taking the life of the commander, with no small amount of pleasure. In return for saving his life, and logically wishing to use her skills to his advantage, Spock offered her a position in his personal guard, where she rose through the ranks to lieutenant and head of his guard. Other than several citations and minor medals, a rather short cut and dry record. And not much to work with, Saavik thought. Her low rank and position were going to limit her access to the ISS Excelsior’s library computer and transporter room, making return to her universe all the more difficult, if not impossible.

Dr. Gavar returned to the biobed with his PADD. “Lieutenant, I’ve completed my scans and I can find no organic reason for your amnesia or your different brain wave activity, which points to a neuroelectric change due to the power surges during transport. Either your brain will sort out the problem, or perhaps there is something that can be done on Vulcan. But there is nothing that can be done on the Excelsior,” he said.

Relieved that he had not found anything that would indicate her true identity, Saavik asked, “Am I free to resume my duties, Doctor?”

“The regen batch has repaired most of the damage to your hand. And that rapid Vulcanoid metabolism of yours has mended your bruised ribs. A fortunate trait to have considering how the Romulans discipline their children, if your skeletal scan is any indication. So yes, Lt. Saavik, I am discharging you from sickbay. Regarding your duties, I leave that up to Admiral Spock,” Gavar answered, signing her chart on the PADD.

“Thank you, Doctor,” Saavik said.

Ensign Tuvok arrived to begin Saavik’s reorientation. For the next two hours, he went over standard Starfleet security protocols. Given the ensign’s depth of knowledge on the matter and his obvious interest in the subject, Saavik concluded that his counterpart may have remained in Starfleet had he chosen the security track rather than science.

Finding that the Doctor was correct regarding her skills memory, he began familiarizing Saavik with details of personal security guards. She learned that it was common practice for senior officers to secure personal guards, either from security or from other departments. Truly powerful officers, admirals and starship captains in particular, acquired security details that were paid for and answerable only to them.

Tuvok instructed her that personal security was both defensive and offensive. Their primary goal was of course to protect their patron from harm. They did this by securing areas that their patron was and would be, scanning for traps and monitoring devices, insuring that their food, air, and drink were free of toxins, and defending the patron against any attacks, with their lives if necessary.

Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. They would carry out reprisal attacks or pre-emptive first strikes. They would gather information through a variety of means. Saavik was silently dismayed at the sexual means her counterpart would sometimes use to gain information. From all Tuvok said, she estimated that Lt. Saavik never developed her telepathic abilities.

He informed her of Spock’s known enemies. Chief among those was Captain Hikaru Sulu. There had long been a history of hostility from Sulu toward Spock. It dated back to when Sulu was then Enterprise’s physicist and Spock was only the science officer. Gary Mitchell was first officer, until he was killed a year later in a failed coup against Kirk. Sulu saw an opportunity for advancement by removing a half-breed that no one would miss. When Sulu attacked Spock, he learned just how strong and agile a Vulcan is. Spock cut Sulu’s face with his own knife. Thinking that he had demonstrated to Sulu who was the stronger man, Spock spared him his life. Sulu never forgave Spock for making him live with the humiliation of defeat.

As Ensign Tuvok concluded his class, Saavik found herself in a service less like the UFP’s Special Service that protects the President and more like a cross between the Tal Shiar and the assassin guilds of the Orions. He finished with the reminder that, unlike the common mercenaries that make up most security allies within the Empire, they had pledged their lives to Spock and were his to use as he saw fit, until they were released from his service or died.

“The Admiral will be pleased to learn that you have not forgotten most of your training. I am confident that you will regain the knowledge of your experiences. If you should not, there is no doubt that you will relearn that knowledge in a relatively short time,” Tuvok said.

“I am surprised that you are so willing and thorough in my retraining. While I remain unfit for duty, that leaves you as head of the Admiral’s detail,” Saavik answered, “I would have thought you would want the position on a permanent basis.”

“You would think that, Lieutenant. But I am here to serve Admiral Spock. You are his chosen head of security. To place any personal ambitions before his would violate my oath to him,” Tuvok replied smartly.

With downcast eyes, Saavik addressed him, “I apologize for my offense, Ensign Tuvok. I thank you for your service to our patron.”

With an arched eyebrow, Tuvok said, “Your apology is accepted. Tomorrow we will begin your physical training. Now we must go to the officers’ lounge. The Admiral is dining with Captain Sulu and the senior staff.”

Chapter 4

Captain’s Log Stardate: Supplemental

We are an hour from the beaming coordinates. The Excelsior has already encountered the outer edge of the ion storm. We are running with shields up until we are ready to beam our guest back and retrieve Lt. Cmdr. Saavik. Doctor Gavar and I are currently in sickbay introducing ourselves to Saavik’s counterpart and are getting to know her.

Saavik laughed. Her unrestrained arms wrapped around her chest to hold her still tender ribs. After a jagged sigh, she said, pointing at the monitor that had just played the standard introduction to the UFP that is often used in first contact missions, “A most amusing story Captain Sulu. This morning, I served the mightiest and cruelest empire known in galactic history, and this evening, I’m in a benevolent, warm and loving federation,”

“That about sums it up,” Sulu answered.

“And in this warm and wonderful universe,” Saavik gestured grandly, “I’m not the head of Admiral Spock’s personal guard, with the rank of lieutenant. Rather I am your science officer with the rank of lieutenant commander. And this is a exploratory starship, not a warship.”

Looking at Gavar, Sulu said, “By George, I think she’s got it.”

Crossing her arms across her chest and giving Sulu a sarcastic smirk, Saavik said, “Alright Captain, what is your game? Why the different uniform and the cosmetic surgery? Why the elaborate props, like that tape? You must realize that I have little in the way of information to offer you. And where is Spock and his detail?”

“As for where Ambassador Spock is, he’s on the Enterprise en route to Starbase 24. He was supposed to take the Annan back to the Qo’noS while Ambassador Thorval returns to Earth on the Enterprise. Tuvok resigned his commission two years ago. Who the rest of the people in your Spock’s detail are, I don’t know.

“There is no game, Lieutenant. Everything we’ve told you is the truth. In a few hours, we are going to do our best to return you to your universe and get our Saavik back,” Sulu finished.

“This must be some kind of trick,” Saavik said suspiciously, “How can this be real…”

Both Sulu and Gavar looked in the direction that Saavik’s green eyes had tracked as she trailed off. “That’s a Saurian,” she said in a whisper of disbelief.

Looking at the vaguely reptilian officer, Gavar said, “Why, yes it is. She’s Doctor Mneritif, our resident expert in radiation aliments.”

“But they’ve been extinct for the past fifteen years,” she said, “They were wiped out for open rebellion against the Empire.”

“They are still alive and kicking here,” Sulu said.

After taking a few minutes to process everything that had happened since leaving the Annan, she asked with a wry look in her eye, “Can you send me back will a few cases of Saurian brandy?”

Ensign Tuvok and Saavik entered the officers’ lounge before Spock followed them. They took in the room with practiced eyes. Saavik once again found herself relying on the survival skills she had developed on Hellguard, using all her senses to detect danger or prey. Standing at the elegantly set table were Captain Sulu, Commander Uhura, Dr. Gavar, and Lieutenants Xon and von Brocklin. Also in attendance were five servers, four musicians, and four security officers, likely from Sulu and Uhura’s details.

The Excelsior officers gave the Imperial salute as Admiral Spock entered the room. He returned the salute. As the doors where closing, Saavik could see Skotoz and Surnac, two more members of Spock’s detail, assume positions on either side of the corridor side of the door.

Captain Sulu smiled and said, “Welcome to the ISS Excelsior, Admiral Spock. I regret that the aftermath of the ion storm has not allowed me to more formally welcome you aboard. I hope that this dinner will more than make up for any offense I may have caused.”

Spock answered as politely, “I thank you, Captain Sulu for your prompt rescue of the Annan’s passengers and crew and now for your hospitality. I am well aware of the chaotic events of today and do not harbor any insult for the delay in formalities.”

As they all took their seats, Spock noticed that the chair to his right was empty. Addressing his host, he asked, “Is another of your officers joining us Captain? Perhaps we should wait until we can all dine together.”

Standing up and holding his hands out apologetically, “Forgive me Admiral. I took the luxury of having a space set for the heroine of the hour, Lt. Saavik. After all, she risked her life on a mission to serve the Emperor and she deserves all the recognition she gets.” Gesturing toward her, Sulu said, “Please Lieutenant, join us.”

Saavik gave Spock an uncertain look and asked, “Sir?”

Spock simply stood up, forcing everyone else to stand as well. Saavik silently took her place at the table and sat down following Spock. She said nothing, not knowing what protocol dictated in this universe. Tuvok remained at Spock’s left shoulder. Saavik clearly was to cover his right, seated or not.

The musicians began to quietly play a selection of Vulcan chamber music. The servers poured Romulan wine into everyone’s glass, save Spock and Xon, who received water. Next came the salads and a main course befitting a state visit. Spock and Xon were served the same fare as the others, save theirs was meatless. Saavik’s on the other hand, had a beautifully cooked cut of meat.

Sulu raised his glass in a toast and said “To the Emperor. Long may we be guided by his strength and wisdom.”

“To the Emperor,” the others answered with their raised glasses.

“And to our honored guests,” Uhura said with a raised glasses.

“And to our generous hosts,” Spock answered in kind.

Tuvok completed a scan of Spock and Saavik’s food and drinks and gave the silent sign that it was clear. Sulu noticed and said, “Why Admiral, don’t you trust my cooks and servers. I am insulted. Surely you realize that there is no where in the galaxy that is safer for you than right here.”

Arching a brow at the cries of Sulu’s “wounded” honor, Spock answered, “I apologize for any offense, Captain. We Vulcans are creatures of habit. Further, I would not wish to insult you by taking any action that would suggest that you were powerless to harm me. I do thank you for assuring me of my safety while aboard the Excelsior.”

Wishing to avoid an escalation of hostilities, Uhura turned to Saavik and said, “Lieutenant, you have been quiet tonight. You’re rumored to not have any problems with self-expression.”

Saavik had been pondering what to do about the meat. She didn’t know how much, if any, Vulcan culture Lt. Saavik had adopted. She finally reasoned that her counterpart would have far more Romulan elements to her behavior than she did and started cutting the meat when Uhura addressed her. Laying her silverware down, Saavik said diplomatically, “When one is in an unfamiliar situation, it is wise to remain silent until one is certain that one understands the situation. I am unaccustomed to dining in such fine company.”

“I do hope you are able to recover fully from your ordeal,” Uhura said.

“My well-being is of little consequence. All that is important is my duty to the Emperor and to Admiral Spock,” she answered, hoping that the conversation would turn to another topic.

“Such humility and modesty. Admiral, you must tell me where you find such selfless personnel. I would give almost anything to have such dedicated guards,” Sulu said with a leer.

“I have always believed that the manner in which subordinates behave reflects on their superiors,” Spock answered, “I do thank you for your compliment.”

For the remainder of the evening, conversation remained on the more neutral topics of fleet action, interstellar politics, and the Imperial court. While a human would not have noticed, Spock observed Xon studying Saavik. He made a mental note of this and added it to the list of observations Tuvok had given him.

Saavik wanted nothing more than for this dinner to end. She wanted to go to her quarters so she could try to by-pass the computer’s security protocols and find a way back home. She knew that her window of escape was closing rapidly. She was certain that Captain Sulu was doing everything in his power to return her “sister” home.

She also wanted this dinner to end because she found that sitting next to Spock for such a long period was producing unsettling sensations. She was feeling aroused in his presence. Spock had been everything to her. He was savior, mentor, friend, and father. Brother, if she included her guardianship under Sarek and Amanda. But Saavik had never looked on him as a lover. She viewed her actions during his pon farr on Genesis as simply being medicinal. So why was Saavik feeling arousal near Spock? It was not right for her to be having these feelings. It then occurred to her that this was not her Spock. This Spock was never her savior, mentor, friend or father. He simply was a man and she was reacting as a woman. Now she really wanted to start working on getting home rather than continue with these thoughts.

All parties had satisfied decorum and the dinner at last ended. Saavik, Tuvok, Skotoz and Surnac escorted Spock to his quarters. As they made their way down the corridor, Saavik noted that Lt. Xon was assigned to the science officer’s usual quarters, leaving her to uncover accommodation of her own. If she were fortunate, the “heroine of the hour” would not be assigned a cabin mate.

Saavik and Tuvok entered Spock’s quarters. They conducted a thorough scan of the cabin. Saavik said to Spock, “Sensor sweep completed. All is clear Admiral.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” Spock answered as he entered. Skotoz and Surnac remained outside, guarding the door.

“If there is nothing else you require, Admiral,” Saavik began, “it has been a long day. Ensign Tuvok, please escort me to my quarters.”

“Ma’am,” Tuvok asked with a tilt of his head and an arch of his brow.

“Please escort me or at least tell where my quarters are,” Saavik repeated.

“Lieutenant, guest quarters were not arranged. It was assumed that you would be staying elsewhere,” Tuvok answered, somewhat reluctantly.

“Where?” Saavik asked warily.

“Here,” Spock answered evenly.

“In your quarters?” Saavik exclaimed.

“I see that the ensign did not inform you as to all your duties,” Spock said with slightly bemused look in his eyes from the look of surprise on Saavik’s face.

“My apologies, Admiral. I believed that it was more appropriate that you should discuss such duties with her,” Tuvok answered.

With a look of shocked realization, Saavik said, “I’m your concubine!”

“Yes,” Spock answered, with a slight nod of his head.

“This can not be happening,” Saavik whispered in disbelief.

“At attention, Lieutenant. You are still in the presence of a flag officer,” Tuvok ordered.

Out of habit, Saavik forced herself into a sense of composure and stood at attention. She felt her arms being pulled behind her and her wrists being restrained. She whirled around at Tuvok and demanded, “What do you think you are doing, Ensign!”

“Following orders, Lieutenant,” Spock answered. “You are dismissed, Ensign Tuvok.”

Tuvok gave the Imperial salute and left the cabin. Saavik turned toward Spock warily. As he moved toward her, Saavik retreated until her back was pressed against the bulkhead. She stiffened as his hands moved down her legs. He pulled out the daggers in each boot. He then removed her phaser and stiletto. Spock then reached down the front of her halter-top and removed another stiletto. So that was what was pinching there, Saavik thought, in an effort to fight off panic.

Spock stepped back and laid her weapons on the desk. Returning his gaze to the restrained Saavik, he said, “Lieutenant, I regret that I must take such action. I assure you that this is not sexual in nature. Tuvok and I have noticed a change in your behavior since you awoke in sickbay. You have been exhibiting an almost Vulcan demeanor. In the past, you only adopted such behavior to display spite or displeasure, usually toward your subordinates and myself.

“During the dinner, I noted Lt. Xon’s study of you. At first, I thought he was simply exhibiting a physical attraction toward you. Then I recalled a report I received regarding Captain Sulu. Xon is one of Vulcan’s most gifted telepaths. It was thought that he would someday take his place as one of the Masters of Gol. Captain Sulu has apparently convinced Xon to use his psi abilities to reprogram the operatives of his enemies to serve Sulu’s ends. Unlike Sybok, Xon’s victims sometimes exhibit Xon’s Vulcan stoicism.

“I must meld with you to determine the extent of Xon’s reprogramming. If I can not undo it, I promise, I will make your death as quick and painless as possible,” Spock finished as he approached her.

Chapter 5

Captain’s Log Stardate: 9843.0

We have arrived at the coordinates. Mr. Xon is fine-tuning the transporter. Mr. von Brocklin is tying in the main power in the transporter relays. Xon believes this will give us the power we need to cross the dimensional breach without a simultaneous beaming. Mr. Xon estimates we have 12.2 hours before the rupture closes. Uhura and I are meeting with Lt. Saavik to work out contingency plans to rescue Lt. Cmdr. Saavik.

Sulu, Uhura, and Saavik sat in the briefing room. On the main monitor was the layout of the Excelsior.

“Based on our only past encounter with your universe, we assume that the layouts of both Excelsiors are basically the same,” Sulu addressed Saavik. “ Looking at the layout of our Excelsior, can you tell us where the ships differ? If we need to travel to your world to rescue Saavik, we had better know the lay of the land.”

Saavik, still in her sickbay gown, made a quick practiced scan of the ship’s layout before smiling slyly, “I’ve memorized the layout of the ISS Excelsior. One should know the habits and habitat of one’s quarry.”

“Why do I suddenly feel like a rabbit,” Sulu asked Uhura.

Using a stylus, Saavik marked a number of areas on the Excelsior blueprints, making notes. As she continued with her work, she said, “You have too many science labs and not enough detention centers and troop barracks. And you have inadequate internal security. If I had realized that earlier, I would have taken this ship hours ago,” she finished with a genuinely wicked smile.

“And you want me to follow her to her universe?” Uhura asked Sulu.

Saavik handed the ship’s diagrams to Uhura, “That should give you the information you seek. If I may ask, if you have had contact with my universe as you say, why not simply ask Admiral Spock to have my ‘sister’ returned?”

“If a simultaneous transport doesn’t work, that’s plan B. But we don’t know the status of Admiral Spock. So we have to prepare for a worse case scenario,” Sulu answered. “Unfortunately, I don’t think Saavik knows to ask Spock for help. Starfleet did not declassify everything from Admiral Kirk’s mission reports, including about your Spock’s assistance in returning the landing party home. In your best judgment, where do you think your counterpart will be?”

“If my ‘sister’ is half as clever as I, I am certain that she will escape detection and is safe and sound and is plotting her escape even as we speak,” Saavik said with a fair amount of pride.

If it was possible, Saavik pressed herself further into the bulkhead. “Spock, do not do this! It is unethical to force a mind meld,” she shouted.

“I know you dislike melds Saavik, but this is the only way I can undo Sulu’s programming,” Spock said with an edge of regret.

“Sulu didn’t do anything to me, Spock. Please believe me.”

He reached out with his left arm and grabbed hold of the restraints holding Saavik close and still against him while his right hand touched her face. Long fingers sought her psionic pressure points. Saavik’s fierce green eyes locked on to Spock’s dark brown ones. Through clinched teeth, she growled, “Don’t.”

“I must,” he said evenly. And began the meld.

Spock had melded with Saavik in the past and knew she disliked the experience. A part of her always fought him, but his superior telepathic skills always pushed through her meager unfocused defenses. He convinced her of the need for them though. Melds were a secure means of transferring information and orders that monitoring devices could not detect. He balanced her discomfort from the melds by the pleasures of sharing his bed. Lovemaking was a convenient means of masking a meld from prying eyes.

Spock was prepared for Saavik’s usual mental protests. He expected to find psionic traps and mines laid by Xon. The last thing he was expecting or prepared for was a fully developed telepathic shield or the fierce, but focused, mind projecting the shield. He had planned to use a mental scalpel to undo Xon’s work. He found that he was going to need a battering ram to breach Saavik’s mental defenses. Saavik’s defenses? He sensed none of Xon’s telepathic signature. This was all Saavik’s doing. But that was not possible. Such mental discipline would require years of training. Who ever did this to Saavik was more powerful than Xon or even himself. Even if it cost Saavik’s mind, Spock had to find out who created this psyche.

Spock refocused his telepathic attack on Saavik’s psionic walls. With great effort, he began to wear down her walls. He began to sense the slightest tendrils of her mind. He had turned his full attention to the meld. Spock was so completely attuned to her mind that he was unprepared for a purely instinctive reaction.

In the physical world, as Spock began to breach her defenses, Saavik released a primal scream. Her hands were useless, but her legs were not. Her right leg rose up rapidly. Her knee struck Spock’s groin. The shock of pain loosened his grip on her restraints and weakened the meld. The leg continued upward until the knee was up to her chest. The sole of her boot was planted on his abdomen. Saavik kicked out her leg with all her might.

Physical contact was broken as Spock was thrown across the cabin. He landed in a heap against the opposite wall. The thrust knocked Saavik off balance and she collapsed onto the floor. The two looked at each other across the room with stunned and shocked expressions on their faces, both breathing hard as they struggled to recover from the physical and mental assaults. Saavik struggled to get to a kneeling position, her thick black hair in her face. “How could you,” she spat.

Slowly pulling himself into a sitting position against the bulkhead, Spock looked at her and said with a weak voice of regret, “I did not know.”

Her Romulan fury in full force, she strained at the restraints. They would not give. Struggling awkwardly to her feet, she yelled, “Release me now!”

Spock arose from the floor. He straightened his uniform jacket. Standing before her with his hands behind his back, he appraised Saavik and the brief images he was able to glimpse within her mind before she unexpectantly broke the meld. Everything about this woman was unexpected, he thought.

“Now,” she ordered.

“It would be logical for me to wait until you calm down,” Spock answered. “Your counterpart never reacted with such hostility.”

“Perhaps she found your lovemaking to be calming,” she said tersely. “Melds work both ways between two telepaths.”

Spock simply arched an eyebrow. Saavik took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a few moments. When they opened again, the green fires had dimmed in them. She said evenly, “Please release me from the hand restraints. You have my word that I will not harm you.”

Turning her around, Spock leased the lock as he said, “That is wise if you wish to return to your universe.”

Turning around to face him, Saavik asked, “You are willing to help me?”

“Yes, as I was willing to assist Captain Kirk and the landing party 29 years ago. From the images I glimpsed in your mind, I assume that you are from the same universe.”

“Yes, I am. I wish that the mission reports mentioned your assistance. They mention little of what happened here, only what happened on our Enterprise.”

Spock’s hand reached out to move the nest of hair from her face. Saavik’s head tilted into his hand as it brushed the hair back. For a moment, they simply gazed at each other in that pose. Then they awkwardly broke the contact, taking a step back from each other. Spock stood at his usual pose of standing erect with his hands clasped behind his back. Saavik went to the desk to retrieve her weapons.

“I regret that I do not have more time to learn more about you, Lieutenant. But we should go to the transporter room. We may have very little time to return you to your universe and to retrieve my Saavik,” Spock said.

“Lieutenant Commander Saavik, science officer of the USS Excelsior,” Saavik said as a way of introduction. “You are, of course, correct. Time is of the essence.”

Spock summoned Tuvok to join them. When he arrived, he arched his brow to ask the silent question of what had happened in his absence. Neither offered him an answer. The trio made their way to Transporter Room 2. Tuvok was ordered to guard the door from the outside. Spock used his flag officer command codes to override the security lockouts and to insure that no one outside the room knew what they were doing.

He activated the transporter console and studied the readings. “Fascinating,” he said, “The rupture is still intact. I estimate that it will remain for another twelve hours and 23 seconds. The original rupture only lasted eight hours and 47 seconds.”

“Transporters are much more powerful than they were 29 years ago. And the original ion storm was a class two. This storm was a class five. The combined energies take longer to dissipate,” Saavik offered as an explanation.

“Logical,” Spock said, silently surprised to hear such reason coming from Saavik. And finding himself even more fascinated with her. “I should be able to divert enough of the ship’s power to the transporter to send you back and retrieve Lt. Saavik,” he continued.

Saavik stepped onto the transporter pad.

Onboard the USS Excelsior, Sulu, Xon, von Brocklin, Transporter Chief Innsu, Saavik, and Uhura and her commando unit assembled in Transporter Room 2. Innsu and von Brocklin were behind the console, working on last minute adjustments. Xon was at the science station along the wall of the room. Uhura stepped next to Sulu and whispered, “Who knew it was so much work to repeat an accident?”

Lt. Xon looked up from the scanner and said, “It does require a great deal of effort to duplicate a series of random events, Commander.”

Eric von Brocklin finished a series of adjustments and report, “Captain, I’ve balanced the main power to feed the transporter circuits. The field density between the universes should remain low enough for the next twelve hours for us to beam through. Ve’re ready to begin when you are.”

Walking up to Saavik, Sulu said, “Well, Lieutenant, this is good-bye. I hope your stay was not too trying. I hope ship stores did a good enough job on copying your Starfleet uniforms.” He looked at her revealing uniform and the similar uniforms worn by Uhura and the rescue team.

“No, my stay was not too trying. As for the uniforms, they’re close enough. And much more comfortable than yours. I don’t know how you breathe, much less move, in those uniforms,” Saavik answered suggestively. “But since people can pass between universes, but clothes and equipment can’t, why all the effort?”

“Von Brocklin has tied the warp engines into the transporter. They’ll give it enough power to beam a complete matter stream to your universe. I’m not sending Uhura and her team to your universe naked and without weapons to defend themselves with,” Sulu answered.

Saavik stepped closer to Sulu. Her lips were less than two centimeters from his, her eyes locked on to his, and she said in a husky hushed voice, “But Captain, the naked female form can be a very potent weapon.”

Uhura cleared her throat, allowing Sulu to back way toward the transporter console to retrieve a tall box from von Brocklin. “Ah, Lieutenant,” he began, trying to regain his composure, “if the simultaneous transport works, please consider this a gift from us. If we have to go to your universe to get Saavik, then consider this a bribe to help us get her back,” he concluded as he handed her the box.

Opening the box, Saavik pulled out a bottle. Reading the contents, she said, “75 year old Saurian brandy. Not quite the crates I was hoping for, but very nice. Thank you.” With that, she grabbed Sulu and gave him a hard kiss.

Breaking the kiss, she looked around the transporter room at the shocked expressions, thinking that the crew was not going to look at her “sister” the same way ever again, said with a smile, “I believe it’s time for me to go. I don’t want to over stay my welcome,” and she stepped onto the transporter pad. Turning around to face the Federation officers, she said, “Don’t worry, I’ll send your Saavik back. There isn’t room in the galaxy for two of us.”

Chief Innsu began to power up the transporter. Lt. von Brocklin activated the targeting scanners and shouted, “Captain, ve have a problem! The Excelsior isn’t there for us to lock on to.”

“What?! What do you mean the Excelsior isn’t there,” Sulu demanded.

Lt. Xon looked at the scanners and reported, “The ISS Excelsior is not in the same point in multidimensional space as we are. They are outside of our transporter range.”

“Then where are they? Why aren’t they here,” Uhura asked.

“Oh God,” Sulu began, “We’ve been assuming that they would be working to send Saavik back, but they haven’t. They stayed on course for Starbase 24. Saavik, how fast would the Excelsior be traveling to Starbase 24,” he asked.

“Assuming the injuries were roughly the same as here, warp 8,” she answered.

“Mr. Xon, when will that Excelsior be arriving at Starbase,” Sulu asked the acting science officer.

“Approximately eleven hours, forty-two minutes,” he calculated.

Activating the intercom, Sulu called, “Sulu to bridge. Mr. Craig, plot a course for Starbase 24. Warp 14."

“Warp 14, sir?” the startled helmsman questioned.

“You heard me, Mister. Sulu out,” as he closed the channel.

“Captain, at varp 14, the engines will go into automatic shut down in 12 hours,” the ship’s engineer pointed out.

“In 12 hours, it won’t matter because we’ll have lost our only shot at getting Saavik back,” Sulu answered back.

Chapter 6

Saavik stepped down from the transporter chamber toward the console. “What is wrong,” she asked.

Studying the readouts, Spock answered, “Your Excelsior is not here. We cannot transport you if the ship is more than 3000 kilometers from us in multidimensional space. The question is, where is she?”

Saavik pondered the question for a moment and then answered, “Logic would suggest that Captain Sulu realized that my counterpart was not me, deduced what had happened and returned to the original beam-out coordinates to affect a reverse transfer. We should return to those coordinates.”

“No. Your captain will have no doubt found out that we are not there and will be heading toward Starbase 24. It would be logical for us to be where he expects us to be,” Spock countered.

“You are of course correct,” Saavik conceded.

“I will set the transporter’s targeting scanners on continuous search for the other Excelsior. I will program it to alert us on our private security channel when it arrives in range. There is nothing more we can do until then. We should retire for the evening,” he said as he finished his programming.

As they left Transporter Room 2, Admiral Spock turned to Ensign Tuvok and ordered, “This Transporter Room is hereby off limits to all personnel accept for Lt. Saavik or myself until further notice. When asked by Excelsior’s officers why, you will inform them that it is classified project of the Empire and they are to provide me with any and all assistance that I ask for. You will post two guards here at all times until further notice.”

“Yes, Admiral,” Tuvok answered with the Imperial salute.

Saavik escorted Spock back to his quarters while Tuvok called for another of Spock’s detail to join him at the transporter room. After entering the cabin, Spock headed toward the small dining alcove. Logic suggested that Saavik and he should seek rest to insure that they were in peak form when the time came to beam her back. He found himself, however, not wanting to spend what remaining time he had with Saavik sleeping. He was genuinely fond of his Saavik. But this Saavik truly fascinated him. She clearly had Lt. Saavik’s fire, but she just as clearly had a mind, will, and strength that were equal to his own. Perhaps if he had seen Saavik as more than just a living weapon and helped her meet her potential, she might have been like the woman before him.

“Tea,” he asked as he carried out the tray.

“Thank you,” she accepted.

After pouring her a cup and handing it to her, Spock motioned for her to sit in the chair across from him. Finally, Spock broke the uneasy silence, “I am certain that you will be returned, Lieutenant Commander.”

Saavik arched an eyebrow, “Starfleet’s unofficial motto does seem to be ‘Making the Impossible Possible.’”

“How is your James Kirk? In his brief time here, I found him to be a remarkable man.”

“He died last year aboard the new USS Enterprise during an encounter with an energy phenomenon, prior to retiring from Starfleet. Dr. McCoy felt it was somehow fitting that he should die saving the Enterprise.”

“Our Kirk died in a similar fashion last year as well. I assume that you and your counterpart had different upbringings,” Spock queried.

Sitting in a more relaxed position, Saavik said, “Yes. Spock found me when I was nine. After a year of social lessons and many baths, I was taken to Vulcan as a ward of Sarek and Amanda. Sarek was very much a guardian to me, when his duties did not take him off world. Amanda, on the other hand was very much a surrogate mother to me. But it was Spock who was always closest to me; who I went to with my many questions and who inspired me to go into Starfleet.”

In a soft voice, Spock said, “Mother always wished to have a daughter. How is your Amanda?”

“She is well, as is Ambassador Sarek,” Saavik answered. Noting the faintest sign of sadness in his eyes, she said softly, “I assume that your mother is not well.”

“No. She was killed in an assassination attempt on Sarek,” he answered with a far away look in his eyes. Focusing again on the woman before him, he asked in an even tone, “What was it that drew you to Starfleet?”

They continued to converse well into the early hours of the morning. Saavik told Spock about her childhood and her dreams as she was growing up. She told of her adventures in Starfleet. Spock returned the confidence with his account of the first encounter he had with Federation officers and how he managed to spare the Halkans by convincing them to take their pacifist beliefs to their logical extreme and do nothing to prevent the Empire from mining their dilithium. He told her his dreams for the Empire. They discussed theoretical physics. They each spoke of the histories of their universes and discovered how similar they were until the last 400 years. At last, the events of the past day caught up with Saavik and she fell asleep.

She awoke later to the chime of the door. She was in bed. Her boots were by her chair and her weapons were lying on the coffee table. Otherwise, Saavik was still dressed and untouched. As she cleared the fog of sleep from her head, she was not sure whether she was relieved or disappointed at the latter. She noticed that the other half of the bed had been slept in and she heard the sonic shower operating. Again the door chimed. Saavik asked, “Who is it?”

“The Captain of this starship,” Sulu bellowed. “I want to see Admiral Spock now!”

“One moment, Captain,” she said as she went to the chair. One does not appear before a superior officer barefoot, she thought.

Spock emerged from the bathroom in a robe and said, “Enter.”

Hikaru Sulu entered the cabin, fuming that he had been made to wait on his own ship. Upon seeing Spock in his robe and Saavik trying to pull her boot on, he mentally damned Vulcan modesty for delaying him. Pushing that aside for the moment, he addressed the matter that brought him here. “Admiral, how dare you commandeer one of my transporters without checking with me. By what authority do you have the right to do that,” he demanded.

Admiral Spock did not approve of being addressed in such a manner, particularly in front of a subordinate. He stood there as if in his dress uniform and answered coldly, “I claim the authority of an Imperial Flag Officer, with the rights and privileges of that rank. Including the right to commandeer transporter rooms, or commands of starships, if I believe that it is in the benefit of the Empire. Your crew will assist me in any way that I may require. You may have your transporter back in 5.5 hours. Was there anything else, Captain Sulu?”

Knowing that he was in no position to challenge Spock, he evenly said, “Only that we will be arriving at Starbase 24 in five hours.”

“Thank you, Captain,” Spock answered.

Sulu saluted and left. Saavik walked up to Spock and said, “Even without Tuvok’s instructions, I would be able to see the hatred he has for you.”

“Captain Sulu is a most capable officer. It is regrettable that we should find ourselves to be adversaries. Regrets aside, no doubt soon, there will have to be a final reckoning between us,” Spock said looking at the closed doors Sulu had just left through.

He turned back toward Saavik, finding her very close to him. He looked at her, with her unbrushed hair and one boot on her foot and its mate in her hand, and he in his robe. No doubt Sulu assumed that they had recently been physically intimate. Spock regretted that his assumptions were not based in reality. Realizing that he was staring at her, Spock said, “No doubt you will find the restoration of your counterpart and yourself to your respective universes to be a welcome return to normalcy, as do I. However, I found our discussions last night to be most agreeable.”

“As did I, Admiral,” Saavik said. Her eyebrow slightly arched as she realized that the prospect of returning home was not as appealing has it had been a few hours ago. She cast her eyes down, to look away from his dark piercing eyes that seemed to look straight into her soul.

After regaining a measure of control, Saavik looked up at him again and asked, “With your permission, I would like to clean up before it is time to attempt the transfer”

“Of course, Commander. The facilities are available,” Spock answered formally.

As she turned towards the bathroom door, her hand brushed against his. At the touch, his fingers parted, interlocking with hers. She looked up at the face that was at once so familiar and so alien as he lightly rubbed two fingers across the back of her hand. Saavik drew in a sharp breath, but did not pull away.

Like most Vulcans in Starfleet, Spock kept the lights low, with a few lamps rather than the bright overhead lighting that humans preferred. The lamplight cast shadows along his angled face, making his features even more stunning. The smell from the burning incense was both soothing and simulating. The sole lit candle in the room cast its faint dancing light into his deep dark eyes. The effect was that of liquid fire, fire that might melt her natural reserve or reduce her to ashes.

Spock closed the remaining gap between them as he continued to caress Saavik’s extended fingers. He traced a line along the inside of her fingers, across her wrist and back to her fingers. Saavik drew a ragged breath. Spock’s dark eyes looked into her light eyes. He nodded at her uncertain _expression. She glided her fingers over Spock’s, mirroring his movements. She felt her pulse quicken. Her limited experience with David Marcus and Spock on Genesis did not prepare her for the flood of sensual sensations she was experiencing. Saavik felt no small amount of satisfaction when Spock drew in a deep breath.

They repeated the finger caress, warming each other, slowly opening themselves to each other. Spock stroked the outlines of her face, along her jaw, her neck, and shoulders. She closed her eyes, aflame with his touch.

She opened her eyes and looked into his, only centimeters away from her. Spock must have ordered the lamps off. An envelope of darkness cloaked them. Only the candle provided light. Saavik felt as if she was floating in the dark liquid pools of his eyes.

Spock looked at the woman before him. The candlelight danced in her emerald eyes. The sheen on her skin glistened. He was aware that Saavik was attractive. Until now, however, he had never really looked at her for the sake of looking at her. His Saavik had always been assertive when it came to sex. She rarely needed, or wanted, to be seduced. This Saavik seemed uncertain, but willing. A thought occurred to him. “Have you ever been with a man before,” he asked softly.

Saavik flushed. Looking away from the eyes that seemed to be swallowing her, she answered, “My experience is limited, but yes, I have been with a man before.”

Spock’s fingers touched her chin, drawing her face back toward his. His lips moved toward Saavik’s, lightly touching them. The result felt like an electric arc to Saavik. Spock kissed her again, his arms sliding down toward her bare midriff. Saavik’s arms slowly moved her arms up to his shoulders. She slowly opened herself to his kisses, returning them. She was amazed that her passions could grow even stronger.

When he sensed that Saavik was ready, Spock helped guide her hands in removing his robe. Her fingers ran through the mat of hair on his chest. Slowly, he removed her clothes, caressing and warming her body. Then he picked her up and carried her to the bed.

The alarm chimed that there was only an hour left before the dimensional breach. She rolled onto her side to turn off the alarm. The movement awakened sensations from the morning. Saavik stretched her body to its fullest length, marveling in the feeling of the soft smooth sheets against her naked form. A dreamy smile played across her face.

Her comment that she was experienced with men clearly was a gross overstatement. Her time with David Marcus had been pleasant, but he was human and she inexperienced. On Genesis, Spock was subject to pure instinct during pon farr. Saavik was too focused on saving his life, and worrying about David as he scouted for the landing party of those who destroyed the Grissom, all the while on a planet that was self-destructing, to experience any pleasure during their mating.

Last night was an entirely different matter. Saavik was surprised to have felt such pleasure in sex. On some level, she always found the concept of sex to be repugnant. Sex had been used as a weapon and a means of torture on Hellguard. The thought of sex with Spock had been equally repugnant. He had been her savior. Her model in all that was good and right and pure. How could she even think of committing such a base act with him? On Genesis, sex was medicinal, a means to saving Spock, nothing more. And it was with his regenerated body. His katra, the essence of all that made him Spock was elsewhere.

But the man she enjoyed last night was Spock, yet not her Spock. He was passion and reason, not a creature of pure instinct, seeking to satisfy his own needs. Spock sought to please her as well. He wanted to teach her of pleasures of union. He showed great patience with her clumsy attempts to please him, although Saavik was a first frustrated when soft chuckles rose from his throat rather than the moans she had hoped for.

She stretched her arm out to the side of the bed where Spock slept. She found it empty.

She sat up, looking around the suite. Saavik saw Spock’s robe and her discarded uniform in the sitting area. She heard the bathroom door open. Spock emerged fully dressed in a fresh uniform. Every hair was in place. His face did not betray any of the passion of the past few hours.

Spock looked at Saavik sitting in the bed they had shared. Her dark hair flowed down to her shoulders in an alluring mess. Her lean body clad only in a thin sheet, bunched over her breasts by her hands. Her lips were slightly swollen, unaccustomed to kissing. Her neck and shoulders were marked with green bruises from his love bites. Her emerald eyes followed him into the room. They bore an _expression Spock could not place. He saw wonder definitely, and desire, more than a little apprehension, but also something more. Spock did not allow himself to dwell on what she was feeling. He was struggling for control of his own emotions. In all the mornings he had woken beside this woman’s counterpart, never before could he recall a more alluring sight than the one before him.

Spock steeled himself against joining Saavik on the bed. There were matters to attend to. He walked into the sitting area. He gathered her uniform from the carpet. Turning back to Saavik, handing the clothes to her, he said, “It is time to get ready, Saavik.”

Chapter 7

Captain Hikaru Sulu sat in his command chair, watching the stars warp by on the view screen. Beneath his boots, he could feel the deck vibrate as the Excelsior’s warp engines labored at maintaining warp 14 for almost twelve hours. He knew that von Brocklin would want to have the engines serviced at Starbase 24 after the stress of the ion storm and the prolonged high warp velocity. The chief engineer already reported that the dilithium crystals were beginning to develop micro fractures. Sulu had told him to hold her together a little bit longer.

“ETA to Starbase 24,” he asked.

“Ten minutes, 34 seconds, mark,” the helmsman answered.

“Time to rupture collapse?”

“Nine minutes, eleven seconds,” Xon reported.

Opening the comm button on his armrest, Sulu said, “Engine Room, I need warp 15 now.”

“Captain, the engines vill go into automatic shut down in ten minutes at that speed. Likely sooner, given the stress the varp engines are under,” von Brocklin reported.

“Noted,” he said as he closed the channel, “Mr. Craig, warp 15.”

“Warp 15, aye.”

“Engage.”

The starship began to violently shake as she leapt to 3375 times the speed of light. Her interior lighting dimmed as the hungry warp engines consumed almost all of her power. Standing behind Sulu on the upper deck of the bridge, Saavik had to grab hold of the railing for balance. Shouting over the whine of the engines, she said, “I can’t believe that you’re risking your ship for one member of your crew!”

Turning around in his chair to face her, Sulu said, “That’s what makes your people different from mine. We don’t leave anyone behind.” Standing up and walking up to her, he continued, “We should go to the transporter room. We’re going to be cutting this very close. Uhura, notify Starbase 24 to clear the way. We are coming in hot. And you have the conn.”

The programmed warning was sent over Spock’s security channel. He and Saavik, along with Skotoz and Surnac, went to Transporter Room 2. Spock studied the console readouts. Looking at Saavik, he reported, “Your Excelsior is moving into position. You will need to step into the chamber. Seventy-two seconds before the rupture closes.”

After taking her spot on the transporter pad, Saavik turned toward Spock and said, “Thank you, Spock, for everything.”

Spock opened the comm and said, “Admiral Spock to engineering, divert warp power to the main transporter relays.” After getting confirmation, Spock addressed Saavik. “I regret that I have had the benefit of your company for only a short time. Forty-four seconds.”

“I also regret the lack of time. I wish you well in your endeavors regarding the Empire.”

Spock began powering up the transporter.

Sulu and Saavik entered the transporter room. Innsu and von Brocklin were behind the console working frantically to get it ready. Sulu took Saavik by the arm and guided her toward the chamber. “I am sorry for the abrupt farewell. It has been interesting to meet you, Saavik,” he said as he helped her up the steps.

“It has been ‘enlightening’ to meet you, Hikaru. Wait! I forgot my brandy,” Saavik said as she started to get off the pad.

From behind the console, von Brocklin shouted, “Forget it! Ve’re going to be lucky if ve have enough power to send you back! Twenty-seven seconds!”

Lt. Cmdr. Saavik held up her hand in the Vulcan salute and said to Spock, “Live long and prosper.”

“Peace and long life,” he returned in the traditional farewell.

“Energize,” Sulu ordered.

“Energizing now,” Spock announced.

In two transporter rooms, two women dissolved in the glow of the transporter effect. Two women, who were so alike and so different at the same time, just like their home universes. In two transporter rooms, men struggled to make sure that each woman returned home. Their patterns appeared and disappeared again. Finally the forms began to take shape again.

Hikaru Sulu watched the chamber as the last of the transporter effect faded. He watched as Saavik looked down, with a puzzled expression, at the uniform that Lt. Saavik had designed for herself. She then looked up and saw Sulu, von Brocklin, and Innsu. She schooled her features into her usual Vulcan calm, placed her hands behind her back, and stepped off the pad.

Sulu walked up to her with a big smile, fighting the urge to hug her, and said, “Saavik, welcome home! How do you feel?”

Taking a moment to center herself, Saavik answered, “I am well, Captain. Mr. Von Brocklin, my thanks for the smoother transit.”

Sulu returned to the transporter console and opened the intercom, “Sulu to Bridge, we got her. Inform Starbase 24 of our status and to request a docking berth. Mr. Von Brocklin will apprise them of our repair needs.”

“Aye, Captain,” Uhura replied. “I spread the word.”

As von Brocklin shutdown the transporter and Xon stored the data collected, Sulu said, “You have been missed, Saavik. Although meeting your counterpart was fascinating. I look forward to your report. Dr. Gavar is going to want to check you out before your debriefing.”

Sulu headed toward the doors. Saavik glanced back at the empty transporter chamber with a wistful expression in her eyes. Turning to follow Sulu, she answered, “Of course, Captain.”

Captain Sulu left Saavik in sickbay while he began to make his report to Admiral Ivanova. Saavik lay prone on the bio bed, being examined by a Doctor Gavar for the second time in twenty hours. He ran the medical scanner over her while looking at the readout board over the head of the bed.

“You may sit-up,” the Tellarite said, “All medical markers are where they are suppose to be. I can now officially say welcome home Lieutenant Commander Saavik.”

“Thank you for confirming what I already knew, Doctor,” she said as she rose up.

“I noticed discolored marks on your neck and collarbone, some of which appear to be light bite marks, as well as the presence of semen.” Noting Saavik’s stiffening posture, he continued gently, “I am well aware of the Vulcan aversion to discussing matters of a sexual nature. You have been through a traumatic situation. The counseling services, on the ship or base, are here to help you. I encourage you to avail yourself of them. Do you wish me to note the incident?”

Suppressing her irritation, Saavik answered, “It was consensual, Doctor. No, I do not wish to file an incident report.”

Taking in the new information, Gavar relaxed. “I’m glad for that. Never the less, between the Annan and trying to survive even a day in that universe would take its toll even on the most resilient individual. Please keep the counseling in mind.”

“I will keep that in mind,” she said as she stood up.

The nurse came into the examination room and informed the Chief Medical Officer, “Commander Uhura is here to escort Commander Saavik to the briefing room.”

“We’re finished here, Commander,” he informed Saavik.

Saavik entered the CMO’s office. Nyota Uhura stood up, her smile beaming as she saw Saavik. Placing a hand on Saavik’s arm, closest to a hug Uhura would be able to give her, Uhura said, “I am never letting you go off on your own again, young lady.”

“It was the logical choice, nevertheless, Commander,” Saavik answered with genuine affection.

“I’m here to collect you. The admiral and his staff are ready to conduct your debriefing,” the Excelsior first officer said. Pausing to look at her in the re-creation of the Imperial uniform, Uhura continued, “Why don’t we stop by your quarters so you can get into a standard uniform. A number of the crew are already going to be having fantasies about you as it is, thanks to your counterpart. I see no need to add to their number.”

With a dismayed arch of her eyebrow, Saavik replied, “Indeed. I am not certain whether or not I want to know what happened in my absence. I agree with you, Commander. This uniform is far too revealing.”

As they left sickbay, Uhura said, “I know exactly what you mean. After a few hours in that uniform, the old miniskirt uniform didn’t seem so bad.”

Lieutenant Saavik entered her quarters. She had just completed nine hours of debriefing. The commander from Starfleet Intelligence wanted detailed information on the Terran Empire. She provided them with everything she could recall of the culture, history and politics of the empire, as well as the make up of their Starfleet.

The events of the past couple of days were finally catching up with her. Saavik began to ready her alcove for meditation, when she noticed that a message was waiting for her on the monitor. She opened her conn system and ordered the computer to begin replaying the message.

She sat down as the message began. On the monitor was her own image. “Hello, sister.” the other Saavik began with a grin. “If you’re watching this message, obviously Sulu managed to get both of us home. I hope you don’t mind my letting myself into ‘our’ quarters. I had a few hours to kill while we rushed off to Starbase 24. You have a very nice cabin, if a little Spartan. Of course, senior officers always did have nice quarters. I also helped myself to your personal log. It made for some very interesting reading.”

Saavik mentally cursed at the intrusion into her privacy and wondered how she got past the security lockouts. She realized that her counterpart would have been talented in hacking into computer systems. Given that Lt. Saavik shared all her biometric features, the task would have been very simple.

Her counterpart continued, “I was fully prepared to be jealous of you. You have your own rank, and the ability to go wherever your talents and desires can take you. You have respect in your Starfleet and are part of a revered family. You truly have friends among your shipmates. Hell, even your Romulans have their own empire. So, imagine my surprise when I felt myself feeling sorry for you.

“I’m the bastard daughter of a Vulcan officer and a Romulan slave. I can never be more than a bodyguard in Starfleet, with no true rank. And my people will toil under the yoke of the Terrans as a vassal ‘republic.’ Yet despite all that, I am at peace with myself. I know who I am. Hellguard is my home, but it is not who I am.”

Looking at something off screen, Lt. Saavik said, “You wrote once, ‘I fear that no matter how far I travel, Hellguard will never let go of me.’” Returning her gaze at the screen and learning forward, to close the virtual space between her and Saavik, she continued, “Hellguard does not have a hold on you. It is you who has never truly let go of Hellguard. So the Romulans ignored you and the Vulcans don’t know what to do with you. That’s their loss. So you are the product of a rape. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but so are millions of beings in your warm and fuzzy universe. Get over yourself.

“Don’t be ashamed of yourself ‘sister.’ Celebrate your life. Every breath you take is in defiance of those who left you to die and is a tribute to your Vulcan parent. I looked up the personal files of my father’s counterpart. Your father was an explorer. A part of him lives on through you. I’ve enclosed a file on him and your mother. Look at it when you’re ready.

“Be well, Saavik,” Saavik said. A wicked grin spread across her features as she continued, “And have fun. This universe is yours for the taking. So take it.”

Saavik stared for several minutes at the blank screen where her counterpart had been. The past two days were too much to bear. Were too much for her mind to cope with. Saavik cried.

Nyota Uhura walked the mostly empty corridors of the Excelsior. Most of the crew was on Starbase 24 for R&R. Only a skeleton crew was on board. Uhura never truly realized just how huge the starship was, half again as big as the old Enterprise, than when she was empty.

She made her way to huge multi-level recreation deck. The usually lively social center of the ship was dimly lit at night setting, vacant. Not wholly vacant though. Uhura let up to the third level observation deck. Through the transparent aluminum windows, one could see the warp nacelles. The workbees flew around them, removing the plating. Cranes pulled out the damaged warp coils.

Standing in front of the window was Saavik. Her stare was focused inward, not outward toward the activity. She wore the V-neck white tunic that she frequently wore off-duty. Her arms were folded in front of her, almost hugging herself. Slowly, she became aware of Uhura’s reflection in the window, next to hers.

Aware that she had been noticed, Uhura softly asked, “Deep cosmic thoughts?”

Straightening her posture, Saavik said, “Good afternoon, Commander.”

“Nyota. We’re off duty,” Uhura answered warmly.

The two women looked out in an easy quiet at the buzz of activity to repair the Excelsior. Glancing out of the corner of her eye, Nyota asked, “So, what’s his name?”

“I beg your pardon,” Saavik said as her head snapped toward her.

With a sly half smile, Uhura answered, “From long experience, I know the look of a woman with man problems. And I recognize a hickey when I see one,” as her finger moved a black tendril of hair away from the green bruise above the neckline of the tunic.

Saavik’s entire body stiffened, her stare straight ahead. Uhura stood next Saavik for several minutes in awkward silence. She began to leave Saavik to her private thoughts.

“Spock.”

Nyota turned back to face Saavik. Her position was still fixed in front of the port. The human took back her place next to the young Vulcan. After a couple of moments, she replied, “I admire your taste.”

Saavik slowly turned her head toward Uhura, her brow arched. Nyota returned with a small knowing smile. Saavik returned her eyes to the stars beyond shipyards. Uhura sat down on the coach, waiting for Saavik to speak when and if she wanted.

After a few minutes, continuing to stand by the window, Saavik said, “We knew each other for less than a day, yet we shared such an intimacy, and not just physical. We spent hours getting to know each other. I never felt a sexual attraction for our Spock, but it felt as if it was the natural thing do with Admiral Spock.”

“It makes sense,” Uhura answered.

Turning to face her, Saavik asked, “It does?”

“Of course. Spock has always been your standard of perfection. He’s the perfect Vulcan. The perfect Starfleet Officer. The perfect man. And along comes the other Spock, the only man who could possibly meet your standards. Only, he doesn’t come with the history you have with Spock, which prevents you from looking at him as a mate. Plus, Admiral Spock is your bad boy,” Nyota finished with a big grin.

“My ‘bad boy,’ Nyota,” Saavik asked, both brows rose.

Enjoying the look on her face, Uhura answered, “Your bad boy. The man that is all wrong for you, yet sooooo good for you. He’s the scoundrel, the rogue. Full of danger. He’s the man that you know you have no future with, so you cram a lifetime of passion into the short time you have together. It’s all passion. It’s a time of your life that you will publicly denounce as a bad idea, but privately cherish. Every woman needs to have that one bad boy in her life. Admiral Spock was yours.”

“He asked me to stay.”

“Oh,” Uhura exclaimed as her jaw dropped.

Saavik sat down next to her. Her eyes fixed on her clasped hands on her lap. “Before we left for the transporter room for the transfer, Spock asked if I wanted to stay in his universe. I was quite surprised. I asked what about my counterpart. She would be trapped in my universe. He answered that she would likely flourish in our universe, having opportunities denied her there. I knew that he valued loyalty above all else, yet he was suggesting that the woman that had saved his life be marooned, cut off from all she knew.

“I was overwhelmed by what he was proposing. He was asking me to give up everything, my career, my family and friends. My life as I knew it, for a life in a universe where I would be tolerated at best, hated at worse. I would be a target for Spock’s enemies, and no opportunities to advance as my abilities would allow,” she recalled.

Regaining her composure, Uhura answered, “Obviously you said no.”

“Not for the reasons you think, Nyota. I could not think of a single logical reason why to accept Spock’s proposal. Yet every fiber of my being wanted to scream ‘Yes.’ I was not prepared for the intensity of the feelings I was having. I could not deal with them. I panicked, not knowing what to do, so I said, ‘No,’” Saavik said quietly, her eyes misting.

Her own eyes clouding up, heart aching for her friend, Nyota said, “Oh, Saavik.”

Blinking back tears, her breath fighting for control and failing, Saavik confessed, “Ever since I came back, I do not feel like myself. Between Spock and the message my counterpart left for me, everything seems askew; nothing fits as it should. I do not know where I belong, and what my place in the universe is.”

As Saavik lost the battle against the tears, Nyota took the younger woman into her arms. As she gently cradled her friend, Uhura said, “It’s alright, Saavik. No wonder your world is upside-down. You’ve been through the looking glass and back again. You’ve seen reflections and refractions of your life. You are aware of possibilities that you never considered before. The universe as you knew it isn’t as simple as it was a couple of days ago. It’s going to take time to deal with all this. But I know you, Saavik. You’ll come through okay. And you don’t have to deal with this alone.”

Epilogue

The sun shone through the office windows of the Federation President. Paris in the springtime could be seen from her desk. The Deltan President loved the smell of flowers in the morning; the first warm breezes of the year billowed the curtains.

Seated across the desk from her were the Starfleet Commander-in-Chief, Admiral William Smillie, and the head of Starfleet Intelligence, Admiral D’Gorna, and the Federation Secretary-General of Defense, Tr’Lasana.

“Is there is anything else to report on the Annan Incident,” the President asked.

Looking at the report on his PADD, the C-in-C of Starfleet answered, “The Excelsior should complete her repairs in two weeks. Captain Sulu has recommended Lieutenant Commander Saavik for the Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry. Ambassador Thorval also submitted a similar recommendation. She was already placed on next month’s promotion list for Commander before the incident.”

“The Security Council has already approved the citation,” Tr’Lasana informed.

“Otherwise, the only thing left to discuss is Chancellor Azetbur’s request for an increased Starfleet presence along the Neutral Zone to prevent smugglers from providing weapons and supplies for factions that oppose her government,” Smillie concluded.

Raising a hand to halt the discussion, the President asked, “Admiral D’Gorna, what threat does the Terran Empire present to the Federation?”

The Efrosian admiral answered, “Little to none, Madam President. They are literally a universe away. The only way the empire can even contact the Federation is through a random accident that has a one in 350 million chance of re-occurring.”

“I have to disagree with my esteemed colleague, Madam President,” can a voice from the open window.

She turned toward the man dressed in a black uniform who was looking outdoors. He was always watching, wherever he was, she noticed. When he turned his attention to the President, she inquired, “What is Section 31’s threat assessment regarding the Empire?”

“Despite the odds mentioned by the admiral, this accident has happened twice in a lifetime. The Empire has got to be aware of us. And as they gain complete control of their Alpha Quadrant, we remain their greatest threat,” the director of Starfleet’s ultra-secret service addressed the assembled council.

“How are we a threat to them,” Tr’Lasana, the Caitian Secretary-General asked.

“Because one can deliberately re-create an accident if one has enough data on how the accident happened and the means for re-creating the conditions required in a controlled manner. And they, and we, have a lot of new data to add to what was learned after the Halkan Incident. If they can move between universes, they could expand their empire without the limitations of warp drive. They could destabilize the Federation by sending saboteurs. They could provide aid to our enemies. They could send warships to attack us. And they would be expecting the same from us,” the director informed.

Knowing that the director rarely presented a problem without a solution, the President asked, “And how does Section 31 propose to deal with this potential threat?”

“Get assets of our own into their universe, learn what capabilities they have, and, if possible, disrupt those capabilities,” he answered matter-of-factly.

“How,” D’Gorna asked, “It would take months, if not years, to develop inter-dimensional travel.”

A look of realization came across Admiral Smillie’s face. “Section 31’s been working on that for 29 years, since Kirk’s mission,” he answered.

“It’s Section 31’s mandate to address and deal with all external threats to the Federation,” the director confirmed, “We’ve had limited success in transporting small, inorganic items into the other universe. With the data collected from the Excelsior, R&D predicts that we’ll have a working multidimensional transporter device in three to six weeks.”

The Secretary-General asked, “What is your mission plan?”

“To send in one or two agents to gather as much information as possible and report back to us. If the Empire poses an immediate threat to Federation, the agent or agents are to do whatever is necessary to neutralize that threat,” he answered.

“Will you have personal up to speed on the Empire in time to use the transport device,” the President asked.

“While no member of Section 31 proper is ready, we plan on recruiting the Federation’s leading expert on the Terran Empire,” the director informed her.

“And that is,” Smillie asked.

“Commander Saavik.”