Mirror Vulcan, Mirror Not

Mirror Vulcan, Mirror Not
By Erin Blackwell

Spock stood with his back completely straight, hands folded behind him, and
wondered why he had allowed this to happen. He knew it would; there had
been no margin of doubt. And yet, when it came time, he made sure the
woman was assigned here with him.

He had, however, warned her. He told her what she would be facing and
suggested she might prefer to remain elsewhere in the Empire’s fleet. She had
replied, quite logically, that she was already receiving the same treatment and
she preferred an assignment with him.

And, as he well knew, he needed her. He needed a new Chief for his personal
guard, someone utterly loyal and totally committed to him. It had to be
someone he could trust and she was the only one he trusted now. If he was to
move any further in the challenge given him by the parallel Kirk, he had to
have just such a person with him. So he had agreed and arranged the
assignment.

Saavik stood in front of Kirk for her first inspection. His eyes were travelling
insolently down her body in the tight revealing uniform. Spock clenched his
hands together more firmly. This was what he had expected. It was known
throughout the ship that a crewwoman’s first inspection ended in Kirk’s bed:
captain’s orders. Spock’s presence would not deter it.

Kirk abruptly frowned as his eyes reached waist level. Pointing to the clip
hanging from her belt, he asked, “What are those for?”

She glanced down briefly at the collection of Imperial insignia pins, unique in
their design of a dagger embedded in a planet. “They’re from the people I’ve
killed. My way of keeping count. Sir.” She allowed a half-smile when Kirk
sat straighter in his desk chair. Nothing of her Vulcan nature was evident and
the POW tattoo on her left forearm only emphasized her Romulan half. If Kirk
knew more about the war camps’ numbering system, he’d know this particular
tattoo marked her as a Vulcan/Romulan hybrid.

“So, you’re going to be Spock’s new Chief,” Kirk continued.

“Yes, sir. Of his personal guard.”

“Since his previous one was killed.” He locked eyes with her. Spock must
know that it was his guard who had murdered Stek. Therefore, Saavik must
have been told.

“A regrettable action, sir.”

Kirk relaxed back into his chair. Better. She was less arrogant now, more
easily approachable. He directed his next statement at Spock. “You can go
now. She’ll be at her post later.”

The Vulcan did not move right away, ready to argue that Saavik was, after all,
his personal guard. He was not supposed to be without her. But Kirk’s next
words left no doubt that he was quite serious, and the agony booth was not too
far away.

“That was an order, Mr. Spock.”

There was no further choice. The Vulcan gave a nod of his head and turned on
his heel to leave. He hesitated as he passed Saavik but she made no sign that
she considered anything wrong. She gave him the same mocking glance she
gave Kirk which, Spock could see, the captain noted.

She could be maneuvering herself closer to the captain for the sake of inside
information or. An unpleasant thought suddenly occurred to him. Perhaps
this is what she wanted; Kirk, after all, did have a great deal of power. “Report
to me as soon as you are finished here, Lieutenant,” he said crisply and left
without another word.

Secretly, Saavik was relieved. It would not do to have Kirk suspect that Spock
meant anything outside of the professional to her. At least, not for right now.
Seeing the assured leer on his face as his eyes once more traveled over her not
too well hidden curves, she could see he didn’t.

In what he thought was a charming tone, Kirk told her, “Please sit down,
Lieutenant. Make yourself comfortable.” He was a bit surprised when she
didn’t do so right away. She first walked around the cabin, taking in everything,
her fingers lightly tracing the ornaments, before she turned back to face him
with a slight twist of a smile and slipped smoothly into a chair in the living
area of his cabin. Grinning broadly, he joined her, leaning closer towards her
chair. He waited for a positive sign before he reached across to lay one hand
on the seat’s arm. “So, Saavik–”

“You shouldn’t use my name without permission,” she said evenly.

“And do I have your permission?”

She gave him that same, slight smile and her eyes revealed what he wanted to
see. “I think we should first. know each other better.”

“Oh, I agree. Being out in space, alone, you should have a good relationship
with your captain. Who knows where it could lead?” Kirk set himself to savor
each moment. He had never had a Vulcan, let alone a Romulan. He looked
forward to exploring the truths of each delicious rumor, and shedding a little
light into the private world of the Vulcan/Romulan physical life.

His hand traced the line of her leg from her knee up around the curve of her
left hip. His fingers lingered there to travel back to her thigh.
“You are not supposed to touch a Vulcan,” she warned him, lowering her voice
to a throaty softness. “It might lead to something more involved. Could you
handle such an involvement, Captain?”

He laughed under his breath. “I’m willing to try.” He ran his fingers through the
clip of Imperial pins. “These aren’t regulation, you know. You’ll have to take
them off.”

“If you insist, Captain. However, I have settled this with Starfleet Command,
and they gave me permission to carry them as well as any others I gather.”

“Oh, really,” he muttered, more interested in the play of feminine muscle as he
moved up her arm. Her skin was so warm. The thought of being surrounded
by it tantalized him.

“I’m rather proud of some of them. One belonged to an admiral.”

“And how did you get that?” he whispered close to her ear; an ear so sensitive
to the barest of sounds, he only had to breathe the words he wanted her to hear.

“He was trying to murder Mr. Spock. So I waited, and when he tried to seduce
me, I killed him.”

A wave of cold ran down Kirk’s back. Abruptly, he pulled back to see her eyes
laughing at him. One of his hands was on her shoulder, the other halfway
around her back, while hers were within easy reach of her phaser and boot-
knife. What a fool he had been! Trying to bed Spock’s guard when she knew
he was responsible for the last attempt on the Vulcan’s life.

“May I be dismissed, sir? I should be at my post.”

Vulcan or not, he knew she was laughing at him. To make it worse, she had
him and was letting him go. Letting him go, and there was nothing he could do
about it.

Slowly, he straightened up. “Dismissed, Lieutenant.” She rose from her chair,
her hand never straying far from her phaser. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing each
other,” he said in way of warning.

She saluted from the doorway. “As you say, sir.”

He cursed himself thoroughly. In his excitement to bed Saavik, he dismissed
the usual sentry outside his door, not wanting them to hear any noises coming
from inside. Damn stupid idea. Hell, it would add to the excitement if they did
hear something.

Except Saavik played him for a fool, escaping his bed.

His fist slammed down against the call button, yelling to his guard, “Johnson!
Get me that Romulan bitch! I want her pointed ears mounted for my wall!”

Slamming the chairs out of his way, he took two angry strides to a plain wall
panel and pressed it on the bottom right hand corner. The panel slid up to
reveal the strongest source of his power: the Tantalus Field. It looked
relatively simple in its alcove, consisting of a small screen and a few sparse
controls. Activating it, he focused the monitor on the outside hall. There were
Spock and Saavik. He had held himself back with Spock before now, taking
more pleasure in a slow attack on the Vulcan’s forces. He was more
immediately angry with Saavik, but his rage now spread to the other Vulcan.
Had he put Saavik up to this? Behind that cold mask, was he laughing with
her? Damn Starfleet for making the Vulcan a Captain of Sciences! It gave him
too much of an extra margin.

Kirk tightened the range of the field, singling out Spock. What would be
better? To kill Saavik now and let Spock see her simply wiped out of
existence, or to let Saavik watch helplessly as Spock disappeared and then let
the captain’s guard slowly break her under his eager eyes?

The vilest curses filled Kirk’s head. He couldn’t kill Spock; he’d never be able
to justify it and he would have to justify it. And this was too easy a way to kill
Saavik. No, he’d use the booth on her and have the pleasure of enjoying her,
her will broken, and seeing how Spock reacted to the latest losing of his Chief
Guard.

Other personnel were walking around the Vulcans now. He picked one of them
at random. He’d still show Saavik that he was not to be trifled with; a little
preview of what he had in store for her. Later, he’d find out how much Spock
was involved in today’s humiliation.

His good mood returned, Kirk reached for the firing button.

With her inspection — and warning — over with Kirk, Saavik found Spock
waiting for her outside the captain’s cabin. “I did not expect you here,” she said
honestly. “I was on my way to the bridge.” When she was with him, more of
her Vulcan self surfaced but allowing her Romulan nature exacted a price. She
could never have full control over her emotions as long as she let that control
lapse. But she’d pay that cost and play the stereotypical Romulan so any
enemies would see what they expected to see and underestimate her as a
threat.

She scanned the corridor. Spock was alone. He had called none of the guard to
fill in for her while she was with Kirk. That would not do. He had more
experience in the Fleet, and with Kirk in particular, than she did; but she well
knew that things were changing, what his plans were, and what exactly that
challenge had been from the parallel Kirk. The stakes had been raised. He
could no longer be unguarded at any time. She’d see to that herself. She
already started when she came onboard the previous evening and spent the
time critically investigating each of the guard now under her command. She
needed to know if each person could not only guard Spock’s back but also be
loyal and strong enough to go into the hostilities appearing on the horizon. She
ordered two guards transferred. She killed Slovak outright, finding him
partially responsible for Kirk’s last attempt on Spock.

Spock focused on the room she had just vacated. “I thought I should wait for
you. I am your superior officer.”

“My inspection is over. Perhaps we should report to our posts, sir.”

He nodded but she could tell his thoughts were elsewhere. She thought of
asking him, but decided it was not her place. She was a product of a Vulcan
father who had gone into pon farr with a Romulan prisoner of war, but she had
never really known either parent. Her father’s family had demanded his
suicide due to the dishonor he had caused them; her mother had been killed by
the camp guards.

Saavik was ten when Spock arrived to investigate the war camp. A family
enemy tracked him there, intending to assassinate him by backing a prisoner
revolution. Taking the risk, feeling she had nothing to lose and knowing the
Romulans felt no loyalty to her, she had convinced Spock she could get him to
safety in return for her release. Eventually, her service got her an Imperial
citizenship, with the stipulation that she never remove the Romulan POW
tattoo designating her lower social station.

Spock understood her pain and her alienation; she needed him. She had no
idea why he bothered with her.

“Your inspection,” he said now, hesitantly, “was over rather quickly.”

She answered in Vulcan so the now passing personnel would not understand
her. “It was long enough to establish what I wanted. You have to be safe; that
is the point of you having a personal guard. I believe Kirk holds less of an
advantage now. Or he will soon if I’m correct in thinking he was too busy
watching one hand to notice the other.”

Spock did not understand her meaning, but he knew he would. Either she
would explain it to him or it would become evident on its own. More
importantly, she had somehow found a way to avoid what had been the
inevitable; Kirk had no hold on her.

Suddenly, a scream of pure rage came from Kirk’s cabin. The other personnel
stopped in surprise and then hurriedly moved on. Spock turned to Saavik, one
eyebrow raised in question. “While I was taking a tour of his rooms, I placed a
small explosive on the device you mentioned. He gave away its location by
the way his eyes returned to it whenever he felt threatened — the mention of
your previous Chief Guard, when you hesitated in leaving, and at mention of
these.” She gave her clip of pins a quick tap as she tied them, rendering them
silent when she moved. “If the schematics you were able to produce were
correct, he might be incapable of rebuilding it.”

Somehow, Spock’s brow rose even higher. The Tantulus Field, destroyed?
Yes, of course. Sometimes the simple plan is best. It was much like his own
scheme years ago. Marlena had paid the price for that failure. Now Saavik
might pay the price for her success.

He gave two fast searches of the corridor and started towards the lift. “Come
along.”

She drew a modified tricorder to scan for approaching personnel. “To our
posts?”

He nodded. Now he understood why she had pressed to go the bridge earlier.
“He must have called for his guard by now. We cannot be found in this
vicinity. We would be executed soon after.”

The turbolift doors had barely begun to open when Saavik saw one of Kirk’s
guard inside. “Down!” she shouted, shoving Spock to his knees, her knife
sailing cleanly over his head into the chest of the attacker.

Spock extracted her knife, unceremoniously dropping the body in the hall and
taking the lift. “Bridge,” he ordered. The rest of the captain’s guard would be
here shortly, and they would be gone. Kirk would not like it at all but it paid
him back for his last attack.

Odd, all of these attacks over the years when Kirk does not really need me
dead. And all since his return from the other universe. It was a lethal game to
keep the first officer sharp, and emphasize who was in command. Kirk did
much the same with the rest of the command crew. He pushed Scott, Sulu,
Uhura, and Chekov to razor sharpness only to stifle their careers so they never
moved on to become a fatal threat with ships of their own.

Only McCoy was excluded. No one touched the medical staff. Everyone knew
they’d be in sick bay at some point and didn’t need a doctor with a grudge.

Calmly, Spock handed back Saavik’s knife. “Welcome to the Enterprise,
Lieutenant. I hope you do not regret it.”

“No, Captain. I do not.”

She activated a device from her belt. Communication jammer: they couldn’t
be overheard on any of Sulu’s security devices. Logically, Spock must not think
she had failed or he would have punished her with the agony booth or her
agonizer. She still wanted to say it herself. “I’m aware of the risk in destroying
Kirk’s weapon but it had to be done. You could make no move with such a
threat to your safety. Captain Kirk will be hard pressed to find any evidence,
but if he does, only I will face the repercussions. I arranged it this way. If I am
executed, you will still be safer than you were with the Tantalus Field active
and before I strengthened the rest of your guard. You are protected.”

She started to turn it off but Spock halted her. “I was given the schematics by
Marlena Monroe.”

She nodded. “One of Kirk’s women.” Interesting. Why did she give them to
Spock?

“He discovered her deception but did not know who received those schematics.
Since you weren’t aware of this, you couldn’t accommodate for it. We might be
vulnerable.”

“He cannot prove you received them.”

“He may not have to. Be careful, Lieutenant. And next time, inform me of your
plans.”

She tensed. Spock had never used the agonizer or the booth on her but it was
his right. “I wanted you to have plausible deniability.”

He nodded again. “And the fault is partly mine. I should have informed you
when I gave you the schematics. I congratulate you on your success. I had not
attempted such a plan myself since Lieutenant Monroe’s death.”

A faint humorous light touched her eyes. “As you have tended towards an all
male guard and Kirk is heterosexual, I can understand why.”

“And Captain Kirk never gave me an opportunity near the Field. Now that I
have finally translated the alien technical concepts, I may build my own.”

He reached for the jammer, the slight touch against her hand revealing he had
never intended her any pain. She relaxed from that tension at least.

He paused, once more staring intently at her. “I have drawn you into the battle
between Captain Kirk and myself.”

She moved up from her place one step behind to stand next to him. “I have no
regrets, Spock.”

For the first time since they had met, she saw something behind the guarded
dark eyes. “Neither do I, Saavik.”

He switched off the jammer.

Later, the lift doors opened again, this time more quickly than usual, hinting at
a pair of hands forcing them. Every crewmember looked up curiously, saluted,
then rapidly returned to stare at the controls when they saw the enraged look
on Kirk’s face and the heavily armed members of his guard.

The captain swept a searching gaze across all of them, noticing each person
was where they should be, including Spock and Saavik. The Vulcans had
made no different a move than anyone else; they had glanced back when he
had entered, had returned to their work, and now focused their eyes on the
computers while they concentrated on his movements behind them. No sign of
anything unusual.

Johnson, his Chief Guard, started moving towards them, motioning two of the
others to follow when Kirk held his arm out, barring their way. Johnson
looked surprised but obeyed. He signaled the men to keep their phasers drawn
when the captain began to walk across the bridge.

Kirk was no fool; he would never have reached a starship captain’s position if
he hadn’t learned the value of being cautious. His first instinct was to lock the
Vulcans in the agony booth at full intensity until they finally died, days later.
He still allowed himself the pleasure of picturing the images in his mind but he
knew better than to order it. Spock could not be killed without proof that it
was necessary; he had too many career and family connections that would
demand an explanation upon his death. And Saavik was an unknown; Kirk
didn’t know what alliances she had so he couldn’t know if her death would be
investigated. Unfortunately, he needed to find evidence to ensure his own
survival and power.

He stood silently at the science station for a moment, hoping he was having an
effect on the Vulcans’ calm, before he turned back to the rest of the bridge and
centered on Sulu. He knew the ship’s Security Chief had been on the bridge
before the incident because he had talked to him directly before and after
Saavik had been in his cabin. He only needed circumstantial evidence; only
one fact that would shed a little dark light on the science officer and his guard
and he could justify their executions.

Things were looking better so he felt free to smile. “Mr. Sulu.”

The helmsman answered instantly. “Yes, sir.”

“Tell me, Mr. Sulu, who was the last to report to the bridge?” Kirk turned the
cold smile back on Spock.

“Mr. Chekov.”

Spock had the sense not to raise his eyebrow satirically when he saw the
captain’s smile fade. Sulu did flinch slightly, though, when Kirk bit out
“What?!”

The helmsman refused to let any hesitancy be heard in his voice. “Chekov was
the last to report for duty, Captain.”

“But I vas not late, sir!” the Russian argued quickly.

Kirk’s eyes pinned him in his seat. “Was anyone with you on the lift?”

“No, sir,” he replied, desperately wishing to know why he was in trouble.

“I want to see the Security playback of the bridge for the last fifteen minutes,”
Kirk ordered harshly, waiting for it to start on one of the upper deck’s small
screens as Sulu hurriedly complied.

At the time of the explosion, four people were missing from the bridge:
Chekov, Spock, Saavik, and Uhura. The Vulcans arrived before Chekov but
after Uhura; they had neither rushed to be first nor waited too long and been
last. And of course, they had been on time for duty. That was his own fault;
he had scheduled Saavik’s interview so he could have time before he had to
report to the bridge himself.

The bridge’s main lift opened and another of Kirk’s guard stepped out. The
woman hurried over to Johnson and whispered in his ear. He, in return, drew
closer to Kirk and reported softly, “The analysis on the explosive device has
identified it as Starfleet design. Anyone could have picked it up from ship
stores.”

“And the knife wound from the murdered man?”

“Standard issued dagger.”

Standard issue, Starfleet design. Nothing Vulcan, nothing Romulan. “Did you
check with storage records to see who had requested explosives recently?”

“Yes, sir. Ten different people had orders filled in the past hour; all of them
were Security personnel using them for simulation purposes. Neither Captain
Spock’s nor Lieutenant Saavik’s name appears on the requisition list. And
since we know it was a small explosive, it could be slipped in on the palm of
your hand. Anyone could have placed the device in your cabin before you
entered it last.”

“Check the Security playback from my cabin!”

“Yes, sir, I have. It was. destroyed. We have none of the recordings from
today.”

He was blocked on all angles; not even the slightest bit of incriminating
evidence. He could charge the Vulcans based on the fact that they hadn’t been
on the bridge and were the last ones to leave his cabin. But to make it look
convincing, he’d have to charge Uhura and Chekov for not being on the bridge
as well, and Sulu for issuing explosives to the Security personnel. He couldn’t
afford to lose so many of the command crew.

Kirk stared into Spock’s inscrutable eyes, looking for any sign of guilt, and
then did the same to Saavik, taking in the damned Imperial pins hanging at her
hip. Unfortunately, she hadn’t been stupid enough to take the pin off his dead
guard and point the finger at herself.

It wasn’t over yet. If he couldn’t punish them, he’d make his own attack.

He was still facing Saavik while he thought, annoyed that Spock had the right
to keep his own guard on the bridge because the cursed Vulcan had named her
assistant science officer. Even now, she had moved protectively closer while
Kirk and Johnson remained nearby.

Suddenly, Kirk viewed the slim distance between Saavik and Spock more
closely. Not just doing our job, are we, Saavik? No guard stands that close.

It might not mean anything, but he would take the risk. Attack.

He turned to address the entire bridge personnel. “I know you’re all wondering
what this is about. I’m ready to tell you. I never want to see this crew grow lax.
If you do, you are off my ship unless I kill you first,” he smiled tightly, “as a
lesson. So, I designed a test for you and, especially, our new crew.” He
reached out and took Saavik’s chin between his fingers knowing how the
gesture would look and knowing she could not refuse while outnumbered. “I’m
pleased with the results.” With no further explanation, he turned on his heel
calling out behind him, “Lieutenant Saavik, come with me. Mr. Spock, you
have the conn.”

Johnson and the guards surrounded Saavik leaving her with no choice. She
was escorted past curious and knowing glances to the turbolift, surreptitiously
watching Spock for as long as she could before the lift doors closed.

“She’s dead,” Uhura remarked casually, and then laughed. “She’s been onboard
what? Twenty-four hours? That must be a new record.”

Chekov’s smile was lecherous. “And I vas just beginning to like her.”

“As if you,” Sulu mocked him, “could handle her.”

Spock’s voice sliced through their banter like a stiletto. “Return to your duties.”

Sulu’s gaze challenged him, then wavered before the Vulcan’s arctic stare. A
heavy silence fell over the bridge.

The first officer sat in thought for a brief moment before swinging his seat
back towards his station. He opened his private communications circuits,
paying vague attention to Uhura’s offer to help. It was time to make the next
move.

Saavik was back inside Kirk’s cabin with their roles now inwardly reversed
from before: he the aggressor, she on the defensive. Outwardly, neither one
showed a lack of confidence. She had taken a glance around when she first
entered as she was expected to, not making a point of either avoiding or paying
overt attention to the ruined Tantalus Field. Kirk, however, called attention to
it by sitting in the chair right in front of the blackened circuitry.

He made himself comfortable before gesturing behind him. “Do you know
what this was, Lieutenant?”

“It appeared to be a wall hanging when I was last here, Captain,” she replied
casually.

“It was more than that, Lieutenant, much more.” He changed the subject by
reaching over to the small table nearby and setting out two drinking glasses,
pouring equal amounts of amber colored liquid into both. “Sit down,
Lieutenant, and have a drink with me,” he said and pulled the chair she had sat
in earlier directly in front of him.

“No, thank you, sir. I’d prefer to stand here,” she answered, making it clear it
was the nearness to him that bothered her more. “And I am not thirsty.”

“It wasn’t a request,” he replied silkily. “Obey or you’ll find out you don’t have
all the answers you think you do.”

Saavik didn’t like his tone but she was no fool. She took the seat in front of
him but still faced him with the quiet bluster she affected for appearance’s
sake. “That is not a good remark on my character. I regret to see that I have
somehow changed your opinion of me.”

“I’m sure you are, so I know you’ll be glad that not all my ideas about you have
changed.” He circled her knee with just the tip of his finger. “I still have some
hopes for you.”

She crossed her legs in the other direction. “Is that why you called me down
here?”

“Perhaps.”

“Then before we proceed, may I ask you a question?” He nodded for her to go
on. “What test were you referring to on the bridge?”

He smiled at her attempt to call his bluff. “The test that is still going on.”

She gave a slow, thoughtful nod and then leaned forward with her elbows on
her knees and her hands folded. Her body was a subtle invitation, but her eyes
were not. “Then what is expected of me?”

Kirk gave a small laugh. There was something about her that he could enjoy;
she did not back down and made no attempt to hide her knowledge of his
actions. He put his drink down and stood up to walk behind the chair. “To
learn.”

“Anything in particular?”

“That you’re not as safe as you think you are.” He played idly with a couple of
wires that had once worked the Field’s monitor. “This was once a weapon,
Lieutenant. It made me very powerful. With it, I destroyed anyone I wanted
to, mostly to further myself.” He glanced back to her. “Do you know what it
didn’t make me? It didn’t make me weak. As you can see, someone has
destroyed it, probably thinking I would be crippled without it. They’re wrong.”
He could see wariness about her now. “Let me see if I can explain this simply,”
he stated as he sat back down. The words must gall her. She certainly didn’t
need a simple explanation; her IQ was higher than his was. “The Enterprise, in
a way, is a weapon that has made me powerful, but do you think it’s the only
reason I am a strong opponent?”

“No, sir,” she answered truthfully. “But then, I wouldn’t think it about your loss
of this other weapon, especially since you could repair it.”

“It was an alien design. The person who destroyed it probably thinks I can’t
repair it.”

Another bluff. Saavik was unsure if he spoke the truth or not, and then
decided it didn’t matter. If he could repair it, she could sabotage the parts,
perhaps even make it possible for the surge to channel back into the captain’s
cabin. She did have those schematics; with time, she and Spock might be able
to unravel the unfamiliar design.

If she had any time after Kirk was done with her here.

“But,” he was saying, “I would expect you to understand like you did.
Romulans understand about war. And I’ve certainly learned to appreciate
Vulcans from Mr. Spock. That’s why I’ve decided to transfer you to my own
guard.”

Thrown off balance, she simply asked, “Sir?”

“That’s right. You handle yourself well; on the bridge, you never became
uneasy while I was questioning for lack of duty. You answer my questions
well proving your intelligence. I need people like that working directly for me.
Plus, there are always those hopes I had for you.” He ran a finger over her
collarbone and down her breastbone.

Her eyes flashed with anger over the affront even as she sat there, rapidly
trying to think of a solution. Logically, she should let him transfer her; that
way, she could warn Spock of any attack and be there to prevent it with
firsthand information. Illogically…

Illogically, she did not want to leave Spock, even in this minor way.

Kirk broke her concentration by hooking his finger in her uniform blouse and
pulling her towards him while leaning forward himself. He was not inviting
her for anything now, seriously or not. He was all aggression, stripping a
potential threat down to nothing. “You took a good gamble, Lieutenant. You
knew I couldn’t really do anything to Spock if you covered your tracks well
enough, and Spock can block a good number of my attacks. But you can’t and
that is where you went wrong. I could assign you to duty around the antimatter
chamber right now and have someone ‘accidentally’ push you in.” He rubbed
the tattoo on her arm with his other hand. “I can strip you of your citizenship
and have you returned to the war camp. And there’s not a damn thing anyone
could do about it. Every minute that you breathe from now on is because I let
you and if you think Spock can save you, know that he can’t.”

Saavik felt a moment of indecision and some of her faith wavered. She was
caught but as she had said earlier to Spock, she had known this was a
possibility. There was only one thing to do: bring all of Kirk’s anger on her
and save Spock. Her death ought to appease the captain extricating the first
officer from the worst of Kirk’s revenge… if she didn’t take him with her. “Why
not kill me now?”

He smiled with true pleasure. “Because I’m enjoying myself.”

“Then I provide some service,” she responded dryly.

“Yes, you do,” he remarked just as seriously. One side of his mouth pulled
back in an amused, superior smile. “You’re still thinking of him, aren’t you?”

She was deliberately vague. “Sir?”

“Spock,” he answered as if it was obvious. “You’re still centering on him.
You’re thinking of how to save him from me. Scary, isn’t it, Lieutenant? How
well I can read your mind.”

She wouldn’t give him the pleasure of knowing.

“And what do you think is on his mind right now? You? I doubt it.” He
laughed to prove how ridiculous the idea was. “You don’t see him here, do you,
coming to your protection the way you would his.” He searched her eyes,
more deeply this time, looking for any sign that she might believe him. He
didn’t fear Saavik, but he was cautious of her. She had destroyed the Tantalus
Field and that left him vulnerable. And if Spock was willing to defend her,
that vulnerable area became weaker. So he had to see if the Vulcan would
attack. But Saavik shut everything out of sight and gave a textbook answer.

“I would never accuse Captain Spock,” she emphasized the rank, “of such
impassioned thoughts. They are not worthy of a Vulcan.”

All right then, he could still take her. It meant she’d have access to his guards’
movements, but she wouldn’t be alive long enough to do anything with the
information. “As you say, Lieutenant. Now,” he pulled on her tunic again so
she was fully out of her chair and on her knees, so teasingly close to him.
“How long before you can report for duty as one of my guard? Keep in mind
that I am impatient to start your private training.”

Saavik’s last dream had been to fly with Spock. Her first had been to have her
mother care for her the way she thought a mother should; she hadn’t. Her
second had been to just have her mother since she was the only one the hybrid
had; her mother was murdered. She had dreamed of knowing her father but
had been denied the right to even speak his name in connection with herself.
With all of that gone, her blind loyalty to anyone was ended and friendship
meant nothing. Her life was hers alone, her only oath to keep herself alive.

Even Spock, in the middle of the war camp’s upheaval, was a means to an end
just as she was to him. She had sworn fiercely in broken Vulcan, “You dead;
you know it. You follow me. You die, I die. You live, I free!”

He had stared in her too old eyes and found something there to believe.
“Agreed.”

She helped him over the years following that day, and was rewarded with her
citizenship and Academy appointment. At last, Spock made the greatest leap
of faith and told her his plans to stop the Empire’s destructive ways and all he
had built towards that end. And Saavik found she had one last dream.

It had finally come true. For twenty-four hours, she served on a starship at
Spock’s side.

Kirk just took that away.

Goodbye, Spock.

Being Vulcan and Romulan, she was stronger than Kirk and he had once again
made the mistake of tying up his hands while hers were free. He’d expect her
to go for a weapon. Instead, she’d shove him with all her formidable strength
into the bulkhead; the blow would kill him or at least cause unconsciousness,
broken bones and a nice sized dent in the wall. She’d slay him before he could
rise. His guard would never let her out of the cabin alive but Kirk would be
dead and Spock alive and safe.

She took pride that, in this last moment, her Vulcan control was never
stronger. She met his angry, lustful gaze with total ice. Then, as she prepared
to strike, Kirk seized her in a punishing kiss, his mouth bruising hers, and
trapping her arms between their bodies. The unexpected action stunned her
for the barest instant and caused her to almost miss him drawing a hypo from
behind his back. If her reflexes hadn’t been quicker than a human’s, she’d
never have grabbed his wrist in time as he tried to inject her. Not poison, she
was sure, but something to incapacitate her, leaving her wide-awake but
helpless. Bastard! And damn me for being caught off guard with that trick!

The quiet sound of the door’s hail seemed too loud in the tense silence where
they fought to kill or be killed. “What!” Kirk yelled into the air.

Spock walked in followed, surprisingly, by Johnson. Kirk’s voice spat at him
harshly. “Back outside!”

Spock’s voice, on the other hand, had the same natural quality it always had.
Even as he took in the sight of Saavik on her knees pressed close to Kirk’s
body. Even as he saw Kirk’s one hand clenched in her uniform blouse as
Saavik crushed the other wrist, which held a hypo. Even with Johnson
standing behind him. “Message from Starfleet Command, Captain. First
priority.”

“Go on!” Kirk jerked Saavik to her feet as he rose, never relinquishing his hold
on her. His eyes bore into hers, but snapped up as Spock read the message.

“Starfleet Command wishes to inform you of the Imperial appointment of
Captain Spock, currently serving aboard the ISS Enterprise, as Starfleet
Investigator to the aforementioned ship. They advise Captain James T. Kirk to
accord him the proper rights as befitting his station. End of message.”

End of everything. A Starfleet Investigator was assigned to those starships
whose captain was under suspicion. If the Investigator died, even if the death
was natural, the captain would be charged with murder. And if Kirk touched
Saavik, Spock would pull Starfleet down on him. Spock had won.

“Captain,” the first officer continued, “I wish to discuss this with you before
we go any further. However, I first suggest we change this standoff position.”
His voice grew harder and his eyes colder. “Lieutenant, you are away from
your post.”

Kirk seethed with rage, but recognized that the steel in the Vulcan’s voice and
gaze was aimed at him. He released her and watched as she moved back, her
head turning slightly to put Johnson in her peripheral vision. As she slipped
into position at Spock’s shoulder, Johnson moved to his next to Kirk. Still a
standoff, but less perilous than the previous one.

Kirk glared at Spock. “Talk!”

“I want no more war, Captain,” Spock said. Kirk’s eyebrows jumped to his
hairline in surprise. “I find this constant private battle illogical and a waste of
resources.” Those were the parallel Kirk’s words. “But I am not ignorant. I
know I cannot simply call for a halt in aggressions and expect you to comply. I
therefore made my position more secure.”

Kirk jabbed a finger at him. The sudden ending to Saavik’s punishment left his
rage clouding his mind. “You admit you destroyed the Tantulus Field!”

“No, sir. I speak of my obtaining the Investigator’s position. As for the
Tantulus Field, I admit I knew of its existence but I did not destroy it.”

Kirk jerked his head at Saavik. “She did it for you! It’s the same thing.”

“Perhaps.” Saavik, he was gratified to see, did not react to the accusation at all.
“As I said earlier, however, I wish to discuss my Investigator’s assignment.”

“What more can you say?”

“This.” Spock held out a tablet. “It announces a position open for a Fleet
Admiral.”

Guardedly, Kirk took it from him. “Desk job.”

“No, Captain. It’s a field command of three ships. You cannot secure this
position yourself. As powerful as you are, your enemies would unite against
you. However, if I support you with all the connections I have made, between
the two of us, you can have it.”

Even Saavik looked startled at that. Spock held up a hand to stop Kirk from
interrupting. “Hear me, Captain. This battle must stop. The Enterprise can no
longer survive with the increased amount of assassination attempts. Another of
the command crew would immediately kill whichever of us survives our initial
confrontation. We are all deadlocked against each other and the ship suffers
from the chaos within.”

He took a step forward. “Take the Admiral’s position. Give Sulu the captaincy
of one of the ships in your fleet. It will satisfy his ambitions and you will still
command him. Give the other ship to Scott, Uhura or Chekov, whomever you
prefer.”

Kirk was snide. “And give you the Enterprise.”

The Vulcan nodded. “Yes. You can make it your flagship keeping it and me
under your control. It does not matter. I have told you before I prefer to be the
lesser target.”

“What do you get out of this?” Kirk asked cagily.

“An end to your hostilities and a chance to move further. Gridlocked as we are,
you and I have reached as far as we can go. With a truce, we become more
powerful. A profitable situation, Captain.”

“And the Tantulus Field?” Kirk insisted.

“I would suggest having Scott attempt to repair it but then he would build one
for himself. I cannot be safe with either of you owning such a device. I
suggest this: either disregard repairing it — leaving us on equal footing — or I
will aid you in rebuilding it with the stipulation that I build one for myself as
well.”

“Never!”

“Captain, this truce only works if we have equality. I do not have to offer you
this to gain an advantage. If I wanted that, I could use my Investigator title to
destroy you.”

Kirk was quiet and Spock knew he had his rage under control now. His captain
held up the tablet with the Admiral’s position on it. “I’ll think it over, Spock.”

“Do not take too much time, Captain. I will not be deceived into waiting for
an answer while you plot to strike.”

Kirk met his gaze. “Point taken, Spock. Don’t push me any further.”

Spock nodded and turned to leave. Kirk’s voice cracked like a whip. “Stop!”

His strides closed the gap between them. Still taut and alert, Saavik and
Johnson repositioned themselves with their captains.

“You can dance around as much as you want,” he spoke, deadly. The finger he
stabbed at Saavik almost crushed her throat. “She destroyed the Tantulus
Field.”

“What proof do you offer?”

“I don’t need proof!” Kirk’s voice was as loud and violent as before. But now,
even worse, his rage was controlled and he used it as a weapon. “She did it. I
know. I will not let that go unpunished. The rest of the crew won’t stay in line
if I don’t keep discipline!”

“A valid point,” the Vulcan conceded. “But you still have no proof that either I
or Saavik destroyed your weapon. And, Captain, you do need proof.”

Kirk didn’t waiver. “She must be punished, Spock. I do that and she’s free. And
we go through with this deal of yours.”

If Spock didn’t have the upper hand due to his Investigator’s title, it would be a
good arrangement. He did have the upper hand, however, and now faced the
same decision as he did on the bridge. He must move forward; did he destroy
Kirk in doing so? What sacrifices did he make if he kept Kirk alive?

In the breath of time he had to decide, he didn’t dare look to Saavik. He
couldn’t be seen asking his inferior for her opinion. In comparison to his
control, she was Romulan fury leashed, ready to snap.

He had made his decision on the bridge; he made another to stay with it now.
He hoped Saavik would trust him and forgive him if this did not work as he
planned.

“I will not concede your accusation, Captain.” Kirk lunged and stopped
abruptly at the Vulcan’s raised hand. “I will, however, concede to the
punishment to ensure continued discipline. Your suggestion?”

Saavik’s hands clenched at her sides but she made no protest. Kirk smiled
evilly and held out his hand. “Your agonizer, Lieutenant. Let’s see how long
before it knocks you unconscious.”

Spock took the agonizer and held it behind his back, keeping it in his folded
hands. “I have my own suggestion, Captain. I’ll take her to the booth myself.
She’ll stay there for five minutes, minimum intensity.”

“No! Not good enough! If you prefer the booth, fine. But I know Vulcans can
block its pain, especially the low level. You’re not giving me anything. Now,
maximum intensity for a long period of time will outlast the strongest person’s
control.” Kirk watched Saavik as studiously as Spock didn’t. She battled for
control now, while they argued her fate and she had no say in it. “So, the
booth, maximum intensity, two hours,” Kirk repeated.

Spock shook his head. “A half hour, Captain.” Kirk opened his mouth to make
a counteroffer but Spock cut him off, his own voice now tinged with
vehemence. “A half hour, Captain. No more, no less, or I will tell you there is
no bargain. You understand what that will mean to you.”

Kirk’s jaw worked back and forth. “All right. Agreed. A half hour. Johnson,
have two guards escort Lieutenant Saavik to the booth. Mr. Spock, as well.
I’m sure he’ll want to watch.”

Johnson asked, “You won’t join us, sir?”

“No.” Kirk’s smile mocked her. “The Lieutenant is no longer worth my time.”

Saavik exhaled through her teeth with a hiss, but she saluted with Spock. She
turned from Kirk’s glare and followed Spock out.

The first thing she saw in the corridor was the sight of Spock’s guard fanned
out, standing calmly, eyeing Kirk’s own people across from them: a battle
waiting to happen. The Enterprise had come perilously close to full civil war.

Each Vulcan guard in turn met her gaze evenly, analyzing if she and Spock
were all right, if the battle was still on. In each of their eyes, she saw that
commitment to Spock and, to her surprise, a commitment to her.

“Mr. Johnson,” Spock ordered. “You may dismiss your guard. The captain’s
assignment only requires two of them.”

Johnson looked ready to argue but remembered that the Vulcan was the first
officer. Even the captain’s guard had to follow his orders unless doing so put
Kirk at risk.

Johnson motioned to two of his people and dismissed the rest. Two of Spock’s
men, Soluk and Stron, eyed their commander. He merely nodded and signaled
for his own guard to disperse as well. He searched Saavik’s piercing eyes and
said nothing. The two security men migrated to either side of the Vulcans and
they began walking to the agony booth.

Saavik said nothing the whole way there. I’m alive. I will continue to live.
That was in doubt only moments ago. Spock saved me. Illogical to feel he
shouldn’t agree to this sentence especially when she herself screamed silently
to him Accept!

Yes, her captain decided Kirk would live. Why? That meant they must allow
this.

The Tantulus Field is still destroyed, Spock is still safe, and I accomplished the
mission I set for myself.

They turned the corner and the booth was there. The guard in front of her
opened the door; the one behind drew his phaser. She met Spock’s inscrutable
gaze and stepped inside.

She braced herself, calling upon her pain disciplines. She knew from
experience about the torment ahead. The agony would rip along each nerve
ending, tearing at her control for every second of the half-hour, an eternity. It
would leave her unable to stand, muscles twitching and her nerves jarred for
hours as they continued to send sharp impulses through her system. But I’ll be
alive!

One guard worked the controls while the other kept his phaser out, stepping
closer to the booth’s clear walls to watch.

His companion set the intensity and began the recorder. Of course. Despite
his earlier bravado, Kirk wanted to witness her pain. The recording, while not
the experience of seeing it live, let him play at being disdainful while he could
watch this scene repeatedly in private.

The guard looked up at her, grinning, hand hovering over the control button to
start the booth, torturing her with the wait. She glared back, jaw clenched
against her anger, showing him nothing but utter defiance. His hand reached
down, slowly at first, then rushing down until–

— he stopped a centimeter away from hitting it. He laughed cruelly while she
almost crushed her teeth from clamping down at the anger, the rage!

Show him nothing! Give him no satisfaction! Not him, not Kirk when he
watches this later, not the other human licking his lips in anticipation.

The guard reached his hand back again, high above his head and held it there.
Saavik’s jaw ached with the pressure, but she wished desperately for her killing
anger not to come.

If it does, I’ll have no control! Without control, the pain–

The guard’s grin widened with true sadistic pleasure and his hand —

— was caught in one of Spock’s own while the Vulcan’s other fingers squeezed
the sensitive area between neck and shoulder. The guard dropped.

Spock turned and Saavik saw Soluk and Stron holding Kirk’s other guard, also
unconscious. Spock signaled to them. The other Vulcans saluted, Stron
moving to the booth’s controls, powering it down. She almost sagged with
relief.

Spock opened the door and she stepped out on her own, not wanting him to
know she trembled with coming down off the madness, the relief and yes, the
shame for having felt betrayed. How could I? Even if I had gone through the
full punishment.

She watched Stron continue to work the controls. “We have done this before,”
Spock explained. “Stron is creating a recording of you in the booth.”

That would explain why I was told to bring a recording from one of my booth
sessions on the Aefran. The Aefran’s captain hated Romulans and delighted in
punishing her for it.

Her voice almost revealed her shaking. “I would not scream so much, if at all,”
she said as she heard the recording.

“Captain Kirk, however, would want you to. We will give him this much at
least. Soluk is giving the guards memories that match the recording.”

“And relishing it, apparently.” Soluk might have made Chief if he didn’t derive
such pleasure in his work. She might be part Romulan but Soluk was
psychotic.

“Yes. Mr. Soluk! Enough.” The Vulcan guard nodded and dropped his victim.
Spock returned his attention to her. Her chest was marked where Kirk had
manhandled her; her mouth bled slightly where his teeth tore her lip.

Spock reached out, wiping the blood away. “Don’t heal this yet,” he warned,
sensing her beginning the Vulcan healing technique. “And you will need to
imitate the booth’s effects for the sake of the guard and the bridge crew.”

“I. understand.”

Watching Stron and Soluk, she missed his jaw tighten as he examined Kirk’s
marks on her. “You are well?”

Nodding, Saavik no longer cared how much her control slipped. Lowering her
voice to reach his ears only, she spoke. “I owe you–”

He held up a hand, cutting off what she would have said. “You owe me
nothing. You saved my life, I saved yours.”

“Logical.” But it’s not. Someday, I hope I understand why he did not sacrifice
me.

“You will no doubt save my life again in the times ahead. Obviously, I no
longer plan to take the Enterprise by destroying Kirk. He is a barbarian, the
best of them or, perhaps I should say, the worst of them. He is, however, the
devil I know. He better serves me by doing as he always does: forcing himself
through Starfleet Command, taking me with him while he remains the primary
target. With him placated in the Fleet Admiral position and Enterprise in my
command, I will turn the Empire if I can.”

As I once saved the Halkans? He had convinced Kirk that taking the Halkans’
dilithium and leaving them alive to anguish over the violent ways the crystals
were used was a better punishment than death. He was not so sure they
wouldn’t have preferred destruction.

But he couldn’t afford to allow doubts to overwhelm him and he no longer
fought alone. His forces were growing and now, more importantly, he had
Saavik: militantly loyal, guarding his back, helping to plan and move ahead.
someone who had faith enough to believe in him even if she might not always
agree with his beliefs. someone who listened, talked with him, and
understood.

Spock did not know his counterpart in the Federation, did not know if Saavik
had one, or if those counterparts had met. Logically, it did not matter. He had
met this Saavik.

She saw some hint of these thoughts in his eyes but he was speaking. “As I told
you before you came aboard, the times have changed. I must now turn
enemies into allies wherever possible instead of killing them. It’s not the usual
duty for a Chief Guard, but the position is still yours if you wish it.”

He stopped and then, as if sensing her earlier question of why he hadn’t
sacrificed her, he answered it. “I have need of you as much as you have need of
me. I always have since the day you escorted me safely from the war camp.”

The ghost of a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “So once again this is
you die, I die. You live, we’re free.”

“Yes.” The simple answer belied the intensity in his tone.

She answered him in kind. “I will serve in any way you wish.”

He nodded and she thought she saw him relax minutely. For a moment, they
allowed themselves the peace of their unity.

“Regrets, Saavik?”

“None, Spock.”

_______________________________________________________________

Author’s Note: I hope you enjoyed the story. I welcome comments, even
critiques. You can reach me at eblackwell@writeme.com.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.