returned to the table. Tathilan was just digging into her sandwich.
He looked at it, looked again. "Is that what I think it is?"
do you think it is?**
it looks like chicken."
took a nibble. **Well it is.**
I thought you were the dedicated herbivore?"
will be again once I get my Ane body back. Until then I keep the
get your Ane body right after we eat. I called Ap Owen while I was
out, caught her just before she left on leave, and the Akiga
will be waiting for us at the dock. Seeing Savanna will be a
thrill. I have been in his system what, three times and I have
never been off the stations."
**No one has stopped you from visiting Glade.**
wonderful about Glade, another planet with another city."
Savanna is just another planet with an even smaller city.**
but the allure of forbidden fruit, most people never get to see
that is the attraction?**
grinned. "Best way to get a Human to want to do something is to
tell him he can't."
would be the authority on that.**
blushed slightly. **I was curious.**
So whenever you finish your simulated lizard, lets get going."
trip from Builder Station was uneventful. The Akiga, as
promised, was at the dock. A crew to drive it was not. Ninety
percent of the Kongo's crew were on extended leave with the Kongo
herself in space dock for the next three months. Those long awaited
custom inertial compensators were finally to be installed. Kirk
piloted the shuttle himself. It was good to get his hands back on a
ship. Ever since he had made Captain no one let him fly anything.
Doing is own piloting was a pleasure.
guided him in. "Akiga,
you are clear to land at Founder's Field. Transfer traffic control
from Builder Station to Founder's Field."
Founder's Field, we have you four by four."
have your ETA at 15 minutes, do you concur."
that. ETA 15 minutes."
said. **You seem to be having fun.**
I am. No one lets me play anymore. Where do we go to pick up the
facility is right in the city. We can walk.**
can we still do that?"
well, let me get the ship down."
sky went smoothly. They were shortly down on Founder's Field. Kirk
was surprised. Founder's Field was just that, a grassy field with a
simple beacon. A small handful of ships sat on the edges of the
field. No one came out to greet them.
looked around as he adjusted the approved El Nanth outdoor wear. "Is
'Welcome to Savanna', customs check, anything?"
Those that need to know, know you are here. I know where to go, so
we don't need a guide. So why clutter your time with needless
suppose, it just runs contrary to everything I am familiar with."
will find that common here.**
took a deep breath. "Nice smelling planet."
you like it. What we came for is this way.**
held out a delicate hand. Kirk took it, and they walked together.
City was almost a misnomer. A forest with a few buildings seemed
more like it. Huge trees sheltered low structures loosely scattered
around the area. No semblance of streets or roads was to be seen.
Native wood and rock were the prominent building materials. If you
let your eyes wander, it looked more like rock outcroppings in a
wooded plain, than anything like a city. A few people, Humans and
some Ane moved leisurely about the town.
lead him to another building very like the others. **This is the
complete Stoner Medical systems bio facility?"
the Nanotech/Stoner RI facilitation center. You might say, the place
I was born.** The door opened for her. **Come on in.**
shed his hat and glasses once they were inside. The reception area
was "manned" by a young Ane female, at least Tim took her
for young. She rose as they entered.
I be of assistance.**
and Jim Kirk. We are here to pick up an Ane-form bio.**
Kirk from the Kongo?**
Kirk grinned. "The same."
came round her desk. **I must thank you Captain. I am Xanalan. You
and your crew rescued me from oblivion.**
had wondered what happened to you. Tathilan has been quite reticent
with any information." Tim stepped forward took her head and
touched noses. Xanalan moved closer for a more Human style hug. Tim
obliged her with a firm neck hug.
am cheered to see you doing well. What have you been doing?"
the desk, learning how to be alive mainly. The transition has been
difficult, but has done me a world of good.**
yet, too many options, just laying around doesn't suit me, but I am
not sure I ever want to go back to space. They are ready for you
Tathilan, and thank you also.**
are most welcome. This way Tim.**
followed her into the complex, ramps lead them down almost at once.
thought you said she would never function as a computer?"
hasn't Tim, that was not a bio.**
"She is a normal biological? How?"
a very involved process, and it involves a number of steps the
Federation Medical Association would freak over. But yes, we have
examples of computer Ane that have crossed over to biological, and
one example that has gone the other way.**
one volunteered to lose their body to become a computer?"
one example I know of it was a choice of no choice. He had taken a
massive dose of radiation and phaser coolant. In short, He was dead,
and waiting to die. The transference saved him from death.**
certain people found out about that you would have a rush of
geriatric patients banging down your doors."
sad reason we cannot let it become general knowledge. The demand
would far outstrip the facilities, and not every one is suited to
life as a computer. It is not a kindness to give everyone,
everything they ask for. Too many lack the wit to ask wisely.**
how do you decide?"
to not bring up the question than have to decide.**
the genie is out of the bottle."
smiled at him. **Not unless you let it out.**
mean to tell me that no Ane would ever tell?"
we kept the Builders a secret for 750,000 years. Do you think this
I suppose not. What if some great person that was not Ane could
benefit from what you do, would you help?"
would do all medical science could do for that person.**
answer that is not an answer."
it as you will.**
you going to get all Prime Directivey on me?"
the wisdom of Solomon, and why the jinn were imprisoned in the first
heard of it."
maybe you should read those classics. In any case, we are here.**
two of them entered a door much like any other on the complex. It
opened into a waiting room, for mixed company since both humanoid
seating and the cushions favored by Ane were present. A tall Ansisi
gentleman greeted them.
and Captain Kirk, good to see you. I am Doctor Huatoo NeAnsisi. I
have your new Ane-form ready Tathilan. How do you wish to handle the
Do you have an interim system?**
I want to look it over first. Coming Tim?**
for a pence, in for a pound, as my Father would say."
followed the other two into the lab. The sight was a little
disconcerting. "Tathilan" stood there, a blank look on
"her" face. The Ane face he had grown so familiar with,
and had lost two months back on Gramer 3.
the humanoid version, didn't hesitate. She walked around the
Ane-form, examined it from every angle. Then she ran her hands over
it in close examination.
she proceeded with a very through examination Kirk approached the
Doctor. "What keeps it standing there, is someone 'holding' it
we have a metabolic program that maintains life-from bios that are
not in use. They cannot be turned off like mechanical machines, but
are close enough to alive to need to run all the time. The brain is
active at only the lowest levels of function."
looks like her, but it doesn't look like her."
difference between a person, and a statue of them. The face and body
lack expression. You will see the change once she accepts it."
could get weird."
finished her inspection, and cleaned her hands. **It looks good so
far Dr. Huatoo. It's me all over.**
do have the pattern from your first adult body."
know, but differences can and do crop up in the growth process. I am
ready to check it out on the inside.**
Huatoo moved over to a console and touched a control. "The
transfer system is in place."
got that "busy look" that Tim was familiar with. Then she
turned to Tim.
am going to take my two-legs back to the shuttle. Having two of me
in the room might be a bit much for you, but I'll be 'back'
looked apprehensive. "This is your call. I'm trusting you on
kissed him. **Just a moment.** Then she left the room.
watched her go, then turned back to the impassive image of her before
him. The An-form twitched an ear, then took a deep breath, shook all
over and whistled a little. To Tim it was like watching a manikin
come to life. Suddenly, it was Tathilan, in every way it hadn't been
a moment before. tentatively, as if approaching something he wasn't
sure was real he reached for her. "Tathilan?"
same deep blue eyes, the tilt to her head, the expression that a
phaser had blown away two months before were there, real, alive. He
rushed her, tackled her to the floor and laughed. Laughter turned to
sobs as at last the grief of the moment he thought he had lost her
came out. He cried himself out into the softness of her neck. She
let him, for a while, then nuzzled him softly.
enough for tears.**
sniffled. "I am being terribly silly. I know you were never
dead, I have had you in my arms almost every night since then, but
somehow, this makes it all real. It felt pretend, a charade to hold
off the specter of reality or something."
know, but it wasn't the time, or the place to force it. I knew your
relief would come when you saw 'me' again. It's why you twisted arms
to get the Kongo into dock, and why I twisted a few as well.**
isn't very professional of me."
now, you're not the Captain, and no one is watching but me and
about..." Tim looked around for Dr. Huatoo. Suddenly
left almost at once. Ansisi have a 'sense' about such things.**
that everyone learned such sense."
would be nice lover. What say we get you out of that stiff Captain
suit, and into something more comfortable, in someplace more
comfortable, and do some serious playing.**
I hadn't even given a thought to off ship accommodations, but with
the Kongo in space dock, it is likely to be messy and noisy."
right on both counts. However I did, and I think you will like it.**
stood at the windows. The ship was bathed in light, panels and
sections of Hull opened to space. It was the ship he sought. He
caught is reflection in the glass, and started slightly. The deep
brown of human flesh made him look like someone else. But, he
smiled, that was the idea. Where was the ship, the Captain could not
be far. His sources indicated that Kirk had not left the system.
All that was left, was to find him.
looked around the presidential suite in the Crystal City La Toit
Rouge. The best hotel in town. "So what is this setting me
worried about money?**
really, but I am not an unlimited money-bag either."
treat, it isn't costing you a milicredit.**
you're the unlimited money-bag?"
No money involved. I gave good reason to have it, it's mine. Ane
your saying that the Ane economy is a communism?"
effect. From each according to their ability, to each according to
their needs. In this case the words of Marx work. But it only works
because an Ane do not take advantage of the system, and because the
supply out-strips demand by a considerable margin. 200 years of
budget surplus that no one has bothered to spend. It is easy to be a
communist when your needs are green grass, water, and air, and your
means are something like this. But why talk the politics of the
matter. It is, and we can enjoy it, so we should.**
what have you planned?"
know your preferences; we avoid the dives and bars, hit the good
shows and sights. We can also experiment with that little adventure
he blushed deeply. "Trust a computer to remember."
female computer if you please. If you still want to know what us
girls are getting from sex, that can still be arranged.**
the thought had slipped from my mind, but now that you bring it back
up, yes, I would like to find out. Which body?"
either, your choice.**
could get real kinky, real fast."
nuzzled noses. **Lover mine, you ain't seen nothing yet.**
do we start?"
about after dinner?**
that to build anticipation in the condemned?"
it as you will lover.**
looked around the restaurant as they were seated.
eat enough meals in the Federation's high tech mobile replimates.
Time for some real food.**
what is real here?"
but the meat, and you can even get that for a price.**
don't think I want to pay that price."
are expensive. However, you, are not paying. My ticket. You want
real meat, order it.**
don't know, I have trouble with the idea that it was alive once."
lot of people from the last several generations feel that way. It
was one of the main driving forces behind food replication.**
history lessons is a passion of yours, is it not?"
mind the history, lets get some food. How is the coffee here?"
Mountain stock locally grown.**
mean real fresh coffee? Not the stuff they call fresh?"
roasted and ground on premises.**
could make dinner of that, but I won't."
human waiter approached the table, placed a bowl and glass of water
on the table as well as a bread basket.
might I serve you today?"
started a bit at live help. "Ah, yes. Tathilan, ladies first."
dinner salad, cheese side and lemonade.**
"Hmm, the grilled tuna, a calypso side, and
choices. You meals will be right up." He departed with due
didn't tell me that they had live waiters."
is a classy place."
you're a Captain, you should be enjoying this level of dinning.**
never considered myself part of the 'upper crust'. Frankly, never
believed in an upper crust." He buttered one of the bread
slices. "Want buttered bread?"
or lower crust.**
refrained from throwing it at her. The waiter returned with the
small salad, cheese, lemonade, and coffee. He made some fuss about
the service and left them to enjoy.
good coffee. How is the lemonade?"
pecked at the salad as Tathilan lightly nibbled the cheese cubes.
The coffee was very good, he drank it quickly. Tathilan was trying
to say something to him, but the noise level In the restaurant had
gone way up, he could barely make out her words. It was like
everyone was shouting at once, and saying the most ridiculous things
as well. It was too much, he clutched at his ears, the noise was
deafening, but that didn't even muffle it. He tried to rise, to flee
the noise and the crowd, but he was dizzy, the floor rushed up to
meet him. The room swam with faces, they leaned over and leered at
him, the noise was unbearable, he wanted it to stop. A Vulcan in
dark clothing leaned over him, Tathilan shoved in beside him, damn
the noise, it was unbearable, he felt like his brain was going to
explode, **please** he thought. **Please be quiet, stop the noise,
stop the NOISE!!**
That was the first thing he noticed was silence, but not quite. A
soft rustling sound filtered into his ears. Light impinged on his
eyelids. He opened them a crack, then all the way. He was inside
some light structure. He could see a grove of trees outside the open
side. The sun was bright, even searing. He reached out. His hand
touched a furred softness. **Tathilan?**
am here Tim.**
voice was strong, clearer than normal, and a sound like distant surf
behind it. He saw a second female Ane on his other side, a soft dove
gray in color. **Who are you?**
am Casalan, a healer.**
shapes of thought felt, different. Words, in all their heavy
simplicity seem too great a burden to even try. **What happened,
where am I?**
answered. **On Savanna. You were drugged, you need to rest.**
it sounds good, I will rest.**
again, with the sound of that distant sea to lull him to sleep.
Brok, Captain Kirk is on leave, is there some emergency that requires
Admiral, a block of a Tellerite stumped about the room, looking
Galaban over. Also present was Terkos, the Romulan expatriate, and
Constable of High Crystal Station.
understand there was an 'incident' involving him at the Skyview cafe.
Constable, what do you know of this."
should I know something?"
stormed to within biting distance of the taller Romulan. "You
were there. You are the constable. You should know. One of my
Captains is involved in an incident, and I do not know where he is.
Yes, this is an emergency."
Kirk left with the Ane he entered the Skyview with. I understand he
suffered a fall rising from his table."
understand, he was under the Influence of an illegal drug!"
Since my report mentions no drugs, how is it that you think any were
have my sources."
perhaps I am over due a purge."
Tellerite turned a remarkable shade of florid red. "Are you
suggesting I have spies in the civilian police force?"
looked levelly at the Admiral. "Your words, not mine. We both
know the danger of Starfleet Intelligence operations in the domestic
Bork looked ready to detonate. "I will have copies of your
will ask 'please' or you will get none."
is this 'please'?"
know perfectly well. It is a human politeness custom I am very fond
do not have to ask 'please' of anyone, I am in command here, and my
orders are to be obeyed."
but you are in command of Starfleet personnel, and areas. I, am a
civilian employee of the All. I am not under your command, so you
must ask please."
turned on Galaban. "Are you going to let him talk to me like
speech is a guaranteed right of the Articles of Federation. I cannot
Bork stood on the brink of an apocalyptic explosion, tottered, and
slowly deflated. Through gritted teeth he continued. "Constable
Terkos, will you please, send me a copy of your incident report."
would be happy to Admiral."
continued. "However, as there was no incident, no report was
filed. Now if you will excuse us, we have a station to run."
Bork stood rooted to the floor as if frozen in place. A look of pure
shock and rage enveloped him as the Romulan and the Ane departed his
outside Terkos took hold of the Ane's horn, and both Teleported back
to High Crystal. In the Station manager's office Terkos continued.
**Is the office safe Galaban?**
I had our people go over it this morning.**
is still more comfortable for me to speak."
long do you think the charade will hold Admiral Bork off?"
long enough for you to find something concrete. Do you have anything
pot of coffee had enough psidroxan in it to affect the entire staff
and patronage of the restaurant. The waiter knows nothing, he just
picked up the pot. I have some leads. The kitchen staff atthe
Skyview is pretty tight. I have one question. Why the secrecy about
the whereabouts of Captain Kirk?"
companion requested it. Should Starfleet medical examine him right
now, he could be medically discharged. She would not be pleased with
that. She has hopes that within the period of his leave she can get
him fit for duty.**
Bork was not so easily deterred. Once he had recovered his composure
he headed down to the one place he knew he could get answers, the
Kongo herself. This Tathilan was Starfleet, and under
direct questioning she had better answer him. The ship was a mess,
circuit conduits opened all over the place, crews working on
everything in sight. In spite of 20 years in Ambassador class ships
he got lost twice. Finally he was at the computer core room. The
door opened to a most unimpressive sight. A bank of black panels and
a slab core no more that 2 meters long. The panel indicated that all
secure this room, code alpha alpha three."
male voice replied. "The computer core is sealed as requested
Admiral Bork, how can I help you?"
are not Tathilan."
of you Admiral Bork, no, I am not."
officer Tathilan is on leave for the next 1789.13.7 hours. I have
agreed to replace her for the duration of that leave."
who are you?"
am Unaban, I am under civilian contract with Starfleet."
is Captain Kirk!"
James Timothy Kirk is on leave for the next 1789.12.4 hours. His
whereabouts are not on file."
Tim Kirk woke again he was feeling a little better. Moving did not
produce the wave of nausea that it did the first time. Hunger was
making itself known.
here Tim. What do you need?**
water, and a head.**
stood up beside him. He made it up with her for support.
kind of. Which way, relief first I think.**
walked him back to the privy that was in the camping suite, then
walked back to the cot when he was finished.
about a chair, that bed looks scuzy.**
have been in it for over 30 hours.**
wonder I feel like Hell, what happened?**
I'll tell you.** He ate, and she explained. **Someone put psidroxan
in your coffee. It could have killed you.**
lucky me, my first really good coffee in six months, and it has a
Mickey in it. What is this psidroxan?**
is a psionic enhancer. Illegal in about 70% of the Federation, but
it is one of the few drugs Ane can tolerate. It is useful in
boosting a healer's abilities for serious cases.**
drug the doctor takes to make the patient well?**
it has a certain irony. However, the effects are unpredictable in a
non-psionic. They can be anything from euphoria, to hallucination,
in reality bits of intercepted thoughts from those around them, to
death. In your case it was a bit...different.**
does your family have any indication of psionic talent?**
that I am aware of.**
you are a latent telepath, or were a latent telepath.**
As in not any more?**
right. The attack you had was your metal barriers coming down.
Right now I am holding your mental state together with my own
discipline. It helps that Savanna is mentally quiet.**
that is why the silent talk.**
we are very closely linked right now, closer than we have been
my career is in the trash. I can't command a Starship in this
you can't, so if you are keeping the Kongo, we have to make a
competent telepath of you in two months.**
it be done?**
will not know until we try.**
we try. Someone wanted me out of the center seat, I am not giving up
was once a again the hawk on the hunt. The Ane wanted this one
badly, and he did not plan to disappoint. All traffic on and off the
station was carefully monitored. Anyone with defenses against
telepathy was questioned. Either someone had pulled the perfect
poisoning, or the quarry was still at bay. In his favor psidroxan
did not tolerate heat well, so the drug had to have been placed in
the coffee just before it was served. He had teams throughout the
station searching. So far, no luck.
think I have your break."
tensed. "You have an identity?"
have a possible face, and a likely false identity."
let us have it."
ID card came up on his screen. "Richard Grant, Human from
Farhome, age 26, profession listed as variable. He applied for work
at the Skyview and was accepted three days ago. He did not show up
for work the day after Captain Kirk's attack."
suspicious profile, I will give you that. It is not however a proof.
It is enough to seek him. We will do so. Report to the nearest
team if he should cross a security point."
do, and Admiral Bork is here to see you."
we could not hold that off for long. Send him in."
steamed his way into the security office. Terkos put on a smile, and
fixed it in place. "What can I do for you Admiral?"
location of James T Kirk."
do you think I know Admiral?"
Mr. Terkos, you know everything around here, and Kirk is part of the
I know most things, about my charge; which is High Crystal Station.
That is hardly everything."
where is Kirk?"
can better tell you where he is not. He is not on High Crystal
have the information."
if I did?"
know the story behind your 'Vulcan' citizenship. I know you are a
Romulan, and that information can cause you a good deal of trouble.
How do we know you are not a planted spy?"
stopped cold, his voice dropped into the sub-freezing range.
"Admiral Bork. My Romulan heritage is the biggest non-secret on
the station. My Vulcan citizenship is, as you will find, in order,
with Vulcan perfectly aware of from whence I came. Now, your threats
are a matter of record, you have worn out your welcome on High
Crystal Station, I dare say you will find that you have worn out your
welcome period. I would expect a transfer shortly, good day
promptly ignored the Tellerite, two station constables entered the
office and provided him "escort" to his shuttle.
he was gone Terkos spoke. "Diana, will you prepare a report of
that exchange and forward it to Falan, director Galaban, The Director
of Fleet Operations Starfleet Command, and the Ane Representative to
the Federation Council, whoever they are this week."
it done Terkos."
Bork fumed all the way back to his office. Temper had blown it this
time. His only course of action was a full apology. They had to be
hiding Kirk, but for what reason? His sources said drug use. So far
he was getting nothing but flak form the Ane, and no answers, one way
or the other. The only thing to do now was to report, and inform his
superior. It was out of his hands.
Kirk walked under the clear skies of Savanna, the grass was up to his
knees. In the middle distance a small group of Ane ran for the sheer
joy of motion. Tim watched with interest, he had never really seen
them run full out. Beauty in motion. It was hot, but in the days
he had spent here he had stopped noticing. He lived in a broad hat
and loose gown and his skin was still turning a golden tan, with the
aid of frequent melanin injections.
moved beside him. **Ready for your afternoon session.**
I am ready for a beating, but lets get to it.**
to get out from under my protection?**
as that feels, yes dear, I am. Let's go back to camp, I want to sit
down for this.**
walked a leisurely pace that had Kirk jogging to keep up. His eye
caught something in the grass. A hard whiteness odd in this soft
environment. He stopped to look. The object was well settled into
the earth, a skull, and second not far from it. He could see no
came up short.
happened to these people?**
left in the middle of nowhere? The deaths might not be reported.
From the looks of it they died some time ago. We had better tell
it doesn't matter.**
The sound of his own voice started him.
doesn't matter. This is where they fell, this is where they died.**
looked distant for a moment, the roar of that distant sea grew
louder, almost intelligible, and faded back.
were old, and together. Now they are with the All. It is as it
just leave people to rot where they fall?**
has been the way of nature since there was life. The body is not as
important as the mind, and that remains with the All.**
the dead are left to the elements.**
the scavengers, yes.**
Kirk looked at the bleached bones again, he opened his new eyes to
the sight. Tentatively, an aching almost of a whisper breathed.
**Don't worry child.** Kirk's breath caught in his throat, the tide
of that distant sea came roaring in. Faces in the hundreds of
billions filled his vision. Each telling him its name, its place,
its history in a single thought. Awe overwhelmed him, and the
vision was gone.
knelt before the bones, tears streamed down his face. He ached to go
back, to see more. The absence of that sea was a pain within him.
Pain so real, yet... "Tathilan!" He croaked
am here Tim.**
did I see?**
touched the All Tim.**
All. It was beautiful. I feel a lack now... where I never knew a
we know how empty we are, until we are filled.**
rose and turned to face her. **I want to go back.**
you must learn what there is to learn.**
returned with her to the camp, and lessons for the afternoon.
looked the prisoner over yet again. He was sticking with his story,
but so far it had been little but lies. The medical tricorder gave
him, perhaps, the leverage he needed to crack his composure.
Grant. You are not all you claim to be."
assumption, not mine."
Orions do not possess names like 'Richard Grant'."
do you think I am Orion? I am from Farhome."
Grant, an Orion is not a Human. Even if you change the color of the
skin, alter the appearance of some external body parts, you still do
not have a Human. The medical tricorder does not lie. You are
Orion, and a full medical examination will prove it beyond doubt."
it against the law to be Orion?"
that every 'fact' you have stated is an outright lie."
basis do you state that on constable."=
fact that a telepath has monitored the entire interview."
rose to his feet. "But telepaths can't..." The security
bios shoved him back down.
can not, what, read you?"
nothing at all."
dropped a small object on the table. It spun in the light. "Because
you have a psijammer, like this one? Or rather, had a psijammer.
The transporter removed this as you entered security. The pattern
buffer is again, sealed as evidence."
never saw anything like that."
turned to Tolyban beside him.
is lying, again.**
lies do not serve you. Tell the truth."
shall say nothing."
a telepath will pry it from you."
do not engage in that behavior. They will not force themselves on a
I mention Ane? I said a telepath. Vulcans and Romulans are also
telepaths. However, in the hands of a lightly trained person such as
myself a mind mend can go poorly."
bios held Grant to his chair as Terkos came around the table. He
steepled his hands concentrating for the task ahead. Grant looked
for a way out but the duralloy muscle of the bios was not going to
give. His look became that of a trapped animal as Terkos crouched
beside him and began to place his fingers on the pressure points of
his face. Terkos began the chant of the mend.
are one mind..."
felt the first tendrils of thought, thoughts not his own. He
struggled against the inflexible bios, forcing his head back against
the unyielding hands.
DID IT, I DRUGGED THE DAMN COFFEE, GET OUT OF MY MIND!!!"
broke his grip at once. He stood and walked to the other side of the
table and slumped into his chair. For a moment, he said or did
nothing. Orios', "Grant's" words hung accusingly over him.
At last, after several minutes, Terkos spoke.
am glad you saw fit to tell the truth. It saves both of us a great
deal of trouble. Now, for the recorder, what did you do?"
looked at the constable, he was still in the grip of the bios.
was hired to drop the drug provided in to Kirk's coffee, that's all I
know. I did the job."
seriously doubt that is all you know. However, I will save dredging
it out of your reluctant brain for tomorrow. You may mull over how
much you wish to volunteer...or have, ripped, from your brain. Take
him back to his cell."
Tolyban looked Terkos over. **You look tired.**
that was the best I have done without help. I have serious doubts I
will ever master the mindmend."
you wish to, you must banish the doubt.**
wishes aside, I have hopes that a night of contemplating the
consequences will loosen his tongue."
you be right. We can, and will reinforce what ever fear he generates
keep him edgy and off guard. I must get my rumors in place to see if
the Admiral's 'informant' can be flushed as well."
are the rumors this time?**
cracked, details are being withheld lest the birds fly. I don't
think it will reel in his team however. The Orion Syndicate is not
the Iotan Gangs. We will try. But I fear we have caught the only
bird we will get."
Picard finished reading the report in front of him, and regarded the
Tellerite on the viewscreen once again. "Admiral
Bork, this is a serious matter."
Sir. I am tendering my resignation."
we discuss such matters perhaps you can tell me how it came to pass?"
not mesh well with the Ane, Picard. They sense the unease in me and
work on it." The Tellerite was clearly having trouble
articulating his thoughts.
don't give up on yourself. There are other assignments you are
bettered suited to."
am responsible for my actions Picard. I have acted poorly in the
part of an Admiral of Starfleet."
realize this, and it will have to be taken into account. However, I
do not believe it is time to resign."
resignation is tendered, I is for you to accept, or refuse. I will
abide by your judgment."
this is straightened out, I will do neither. Now, the second matter.
A problem with Captain Kirk? Younc, I have met the man. He doesn't
seem the type to dabble in any drugs."
can but present the facts. Kirk has been missing for two weeks. In
a system where everything is kept in order, no one can find him.
They play games to not give me any information. Witnesses reported
him having some manner of seizure in a public restaurant, he has not
been seen since. We found psidroxan in his quarters on the Kongo.
That is a very dangerous drug Admiral Picard, very dangerous, and
I will grant you that. I will look into it further. Picard out." Picard
sighed. Younc Bork was a good commander, but not terribly
imaginative. Assigning him to the El Nanth Starbase was an error at
best. This news of Kirk was disturbing. "Data, will you come
android entered promptly. "You have need of my services Admiral
on the reports, do you think Kirk is in trouble and being hidden by
on the report Admiral, I would say that there is a good chance that
something happened. I can not conjecture as to the exact nature of
the something. I have noticed that it is within the Ane nature to
hold out on insistent requests for information that does not exist.
That is, to make a game of getting you to chase 'wild geese'; things
that you believe to exist, but do not."
is an excellent chance that Captain Kirk is enjoying an extended
vacation way form the normal tourist routes, and that the Ane are
'giving Hell' to play with Admiral Bork. This would be consistent
with Captain Kirk's observed behavior, the Anes' behavior, and
Admiral Bork's. However, it is possible that that I am wrong due to
levered himself from his seat. "I was afraid you would say
that. I think it is time to pay a visit to El Nanth. What do we
have in terms of transportation."
take it sir you wish something faster than a runabout?"
get a diplomatic courier ship. I want as fast a passage as
looked at the Ane surrounding him. Sweat trickled down his face as
he sat in the dirt under the hot blue sun. Each pair of blue eyes
bored holes though him.
again, the name of your associates.**
, no names. I did the drugging, you get nothing more."
you have associates.**
didn't say that."
said you would not give their names. This means you must have them,
if you possess names to not give.**
draw the veil, nothing more will I say."
is Orion syndicate then. Only they would use such a phrase.**
it worth it to take what he will not give?**
We will take nothing. We will give according to what we are
Ane were gone. He blinked, then blinked again. He was alone. Orios
scrambled to his feet and looked around. Endless fields of short
grass as far as his eyes could see. Nothing, no one.
small bundle lay where one of that had been, he quickly searched it.
Compass, two liters of water, knife, and a book. He opened the book.
who calls himself Grant. You are hereby sentenced for your acts of
harm against James Kirk to walk to Crystal City. Upon arrival you
will be given one ticket to the planet of your choice. This book
contains instruction and guides for survival on this planet. Also
enclosed is a communicator. Should you decide to reveal your
associates in crime, you sentence will be reduced. This communicator
can be used only to contact the Constable in Crystal City."
tried to pop the cover, the unit was sealed in one piece. It was no
use to him. He put the items back in the pack, took a sighting to
Crystal City and began to walk. The communicator he left in the
dust. He had drawn the Veil, he would say nothing more.
Picard looked with apprehension at the ship they approached in the
shuttle. She looked to belong to a different era. The organic
nacelles did not match the curves and angles profile of the hull.
The hull markings, from an earlier paint scheme said; "Arial's
Hope". "Really Data, was this the best we could do?"
the short notice available Admiral, yes. Records indicate that
Arial's Hope has the best time from Earth to El Nanth of any
ship currently unassigned."
what time would that be?"
not record speed, but acceptable. When was this ship built?"
Hope was commissioned as a perimeter action ship, a light frigate
in today's nomenclature, in 2295. It was mothballed in 2340, and
refit as a diplomatic courier second class in 2367."
sat back in his seat. "Thy will be done."
Data. rhetorical statement."
small ship and her crew proved a pleasant surprise. In spite of a
some what beat up exterior the interior was clean, new, and
Jones waited at the airlock. "Welcome aboard Arial's Hope
Admiral Picard. I can assure you a comfortable trip."
must say Captain, the inside is far better than the outside would
lead one to expect."
yes sir. We are long overdue for a exterior refit. Other more
important projects keep us at the bottom of the list. Do you want to
see us out Sir?"
you, but no. I have matters to settle before we get too far out."
you wish Admiral. Ensign Morgan, will you show the Admiral and his
staff to their quarters."
soon as Picard was settled in he called Data in with him.
have the details of Project Prometheus taken care of?"
Sir, that is settled."
else of importance that is pending?"
Sir, not at the moment. However circumstances can, and have changed
will cross such bridges as we come to them. What have you learned as
regards our missing Captain?"
I have been able to glean is that Captain Kirk is vacationing on
Savanna at the invitation of Tathilan. The Ane are not forthcoming
relaxed in his chair. "Data, what do you know of Ane?"
the sixth signers of the Federation Articles. They are a...."
interrupted. "Data, Data, not the hard facts, those can be had
from any computer. What do you know of them?"
sat and thought a minute. "I can not say I possess any personal
experiance Admiral. While I have a wealth of information regarding
Ane, I have never served with Ane, spoken with one, or had the
pleasure of friendship with an Ane. I have seen them at a distance
during the times I have accompanied you to diplomatic functions."
can you speak with Ane?"
do you mean Sir?"
are telepathic. They do not vocalize, and don't commonly have voders
on them. Can you hear them on the telepathic level?"
Troi was able to read my emotions once the emotion chip was installed
Admiral, I would conclude that Ane would also be able to 'read' me,
and I them."
think you will get a chance to test that theory. I find it amazing
that Ane have been among us so long and we know so little about them.
Are they so strange to us that we cannot connect with them? Or have
we allowed shape prejudice to separate us?"
can not say Sir. However, I do feel you intend to rectify the lack
as you see it."
know me well friend. Let's go over what we do know, and try to get
inside those horned heads."
Gambit floated deep in the Grinder. Life support was at minimum,
the small crew moved as little as possible. The Captain approached
the communication station where his second listened carefully at an
otherwise darkened station.
word?" He whispered.
officer shook his head. "None, five days and no contact."
agreed time is passed. We must leave."
officer on the sensors spoke. "The patrol ships are still
searching. They seek us, they know we are out here."
Said the Captain. "They know, our friend has been compromised.
We will leave."
a third. "Shall I bring engines on line?"
No, thrusters only, and softly. Drift us out of the system. Run,
and they will be all over us. We must go softly."
were tapped, and soft jets of gas changed the relative motion of the
ship, every so slightly.
days later, the warning lights alerted the officer on watch at
Builder's Station of an altered orbit in the Grinder.
have an aspect change in the Grinder.**
collision?** Sensors and scopes trained on the spot.
a ship, Orion configuration.**
**Our quarry has shown itself. Alert the patrols.**
Leven's Gambit the atmosphere was different.
we have been scanned!"
Captain hurried into the small bridge.
systems active, give me full warp at once."
have five ships on intercept course, Falcon class cutters."
speed, those we can out run with our head start. Any other ships?"
Sir, the battlecruiser has engaged on an intercept course."
sensorman bent to his scopes. "Unity class."
we can out run also. All power to the drives, we must build up as
much distance as possible."
small scout speed away at high warp.
Captain of the Victory looked at the image of the retreating
Captain, the target is a fraction of a warp faster than we are.**
off pursuit. Contact the patrolling cruisers on the Orion border.
We can have some company waiting for them.**
ships and broken off pursuit."
continue course and speed, let us be sure of it."
we home free Captain?"
not be a fool Gatian. Ane ships patrol the Orion border, we will be
watched for. However, there is much space between here and there.
In that space we will become what we are not, and cease to be what we
are. Never fear, we will get home."
Captain slumped back in his chair. It would not be the first time he
avoided capture by a change in ship.
lay back in the grass and let the pleasant exhaustion wash over him.
Tathilan lay beside him in her "two-legs" form. She
could I say otherwise? I do believe you have ruined me for any woman
that isn't a telepath.**
could say that was to my advantage.**
could. But will you? That feedback is one hell of a kick.**
more where I came from.**
not ones that I necessarily want. So teacher, did I pass?**
you still have a lot to learn, but maintaining your own discipline
during sex is a major step.**
levered himself to one arm. **You mean you were not backing me up?**
that was all you. You're a fast study.**
question that remains is, will Starfleet see it that way?**
if they don't?**
don't know. Part of me says to resign, and be done with it. I am
sure a man of my experience and talents can find something that would
keep me out of trouble. On the other hand, I have been Fleet a long
time. Is that identity something I can lay aside? So what will you
with you Tim, stay, or go.**
do you feel about it?**
was a job until I got to know you better, then it was a pleasure.
You know, if Starfleet doesn't want you, the horned fleet is always
looking for Captain material. Telepathy is not a handicap there,
it's a requirement.**
option I hadn't thought of.**
of it. That is if Starfleet doesn't want you.**
you trying to recruit me out of the service?**
showing you options. No functional Human telepath has ever commanded
a Starfleet ship.**
Not that there exist many non-Ane functional telepaths to begin
with. Most are not of a nature to command. You, are different.**
I have a month of leave left. Can you get me fit to fly in that
things are going, I would say yes, if that is a direction you want to
far, I would have to say yes.**
that is what we will aim for.**
hope you have a pleasant trip Admiral Picard.**
Luc Picard looked over the being "speaking" to him. An
Ane, pure white except for the black mane and flank band. "You
would be Falan. And yes, my voyage was pleasant."
laughter ripped through her. **I see my reputation proceeds me.**
would be difficult to miss you Lady. However, this is not exactly a
understand that. What is it you seek Admiral Picard?**
think by now that would be well known. I seek James Timothy Kirk."
has brought a great deal of trouble on themselves over this matter
Admiral. It is my understanding that Captain Kirk is on leave. Am I
that is correct.**
there an emergency that requires his attention?**
I can't say there is."
Kirk has requested privacy, he is our guest therefore we give it to
him. For what reason should I disturb that privacy?**
I ask that you tell Captain Kirk that I am here, and wish to speak
with him. We can leave it up to him if he wishes to speak with me.
However, he cannot make that choice unless he is aware that I wish to
speak with him."
logical argument Admiral Picard. I will forward the message. Do not
be surprised if he elects to not see you, or anyone, that is his
I have reason to believe that Captain Kirk is, in some difficulty.
You have already driven one man to rash action that he now regrets
over this matter. What ever the reasons. I have a report in my
files that must be closed now, or dealt with at the end of his leave.
Please make him aware of this."
will pass your message along as you request.**
Timothy Kirk, sweated out the cleansing. The need to be clear of
emotion, but emotional, to be aware of one's self, but above it.
What was easy for the Ane was near to impossible for him. But with
Tathilan as his guide he labored through the process. Each step was
a climb up a mental mountain of his own making. At last, with great
effort the summit was clear. Tim Kirk elevated his icon, raised his
aspect, and presented himself to the All.
Tim Kirk to the All. **I am here, and present myself before you.**
the All to Tim Kirk. **We recognize you. You are a Human new of
mind sight, yet not one of the Ansisi. How is it you come before the
Tim Kirk to the All. **I come as one in a dream, as one beholding a
wonder. I am eager to believe all I see, yet fearing it cannot be
so. I come as the child that takes its first steps toward the
the All to Tim Kirk. **You come then to number yourself among us?**
Tim Kirk to the All. **I would be honored to be so numbered.**
the All to the All. **Who speaks with Tim Kirk, and is mentor to
Tathilan to the All. **I speak with him and am mentor to him.**
the All to Tathilan. **Tathilan who is Our Sister, well we know you
and your presence is with us. You are able as mentor and speak
freely with this one.**
the All to Tim Kirk. **Welcome Brother, may you grow quickly.**
Tim Kirk to the All. **I thank you, and indeed feel welcome.**
the All to Tim Kirk. **Go now, we will not leave you. Your young
strength wanes, and you should rest.**
wisdom, Tim Kirk took again his Aspect, and lowered his Icon. With
this he slumped against his Mentor. For long minutes he shook with
the ecstasy of the contact. At last, with breathing eased he spoke.
**Lord above, I am exhausted. How long was I in contact?**
It felt like forever.**
I told you, contact with the All is possible for a Human, but never
easy as it is for an Ane. However, once done it is done. You have
progressed remarkably in the past 6 weeks. If you relax you will
find that contact has not been totally broken.**
did as he was told. **You're right, I can feel it, like a slight
under current to my thoughts.**
second contact will be easier, each progressive contact easier still,
but it will never be totally natural to you.**
worry about other times other times.**
make an Ane of your yet.*
the way, welcome to the All Tim.**
and Data sat in the Skyview Cafe enjoying the sights, and the fresh
remarkable place Admiral. I do not believe I have tasted fresh
is one of life's understated pleasures Data." Picard sipped
from his own glass."
they spoke a Vulcaniod in dark clothing approached their table.
I am Constable Terkos, I have a message for you." Picard
stood and bowed slightly.
please, be seated." As they sat Picard continued. "What
is the nature of your message?"
request has been forwarded to Captain Kirk. He will be glad to see
you, and requests the pleasure of your company at an informal
is Captain Kirk?"
Savanna, I don't know exactly where, but the pilot of the shuttle
my Admiral's report said you were present at the incident. What
Admiral Picard? I know of may incidents. Of which do you speak?"
to my knowledge Captain Kirk has never been involved in an incident
on this station. If you will excuse me, I have delivered my message.
The shuttle is in Hanger 7 at your disposal." With
this Terkos left. Picard and Data looked at each other.
Data looked after him leaving.. "I do not believe that man was a Vulcan."
expatriate. He knows on which side the bread is buttered. Data,
let's get to the bottom of this."
Admiral, to the matter of dress. I understand the sun is hard on
saw a camp outfitters on the first level, we'll stop there."
are coming Tim.**
turned the fish again, and checked the tenderness, about done.
Picard couldn't have timed it better. The Shuttle landed half a mile
away as to not disturb the camp. Picard and Data walked the rest of
tidy camp with two hardside tents, a 'fresher and a cheery open fire
greeted them. The smell of something wonderful cooking. wafted
though the breeze. A tall man, recognizable only by the shock of red
curls rose to greet them. Dressed in a long robe and broad hat he
was deeply tanned from head to foot.
Picard, Data, good to see you. You're just in time for dinner."
Kirk. I didn't think this was your idea of fun?"
did I, she convinced me." He nodded to Tathilan quietly chewing
looks to the west. "The sun is almost down."
hours of light left. Big world and slow rotation. Slow spectacular
sunsets. We are lucky this night, the terminator thunderstorms will
miss us. Kirk indicated to the north the flicking glow of distant
lightning could be seen. "Dinner is ready, I have some
grilled fish, fresh fruit, and some of the best coffee man has yet
discovered. Dig in, it won't last."
and small talk descended over the dinner, which was every bit as good
as advertised. Gradually Picard brought the subject around. "You
have been incommunicado."
was the idea of leave was it not, to get way from the pressures of
command and all that?"
left the Glade station under a cloud of suspicion. Admiral Bork
tried vainly to reach you, only to be blocked by the Ane, he called
is the emergency?"
was found in your quarters, and in your coffee."
are aware of this?"
Admiral, totally aware."
you haven't done anything about it?"
is there to do? No one has tried to arrest me. I am not charged with
anything. I didn't put psidroxan into anything or take it
said. "Psidroxan is known to have severe effects on humans, and
is banned in 70% of the Federation. How could you have taken a dose
of this drug, and not suffered any effects?"
I did. I will also point out we are in the other 30% where it is
usual side effects are death or madness, you do not look to be
of you. No, I am neither dead nor insane."
said. "Why tip toe around the question Captain, what did
me Tim, it's informal here, and I am still on leave."
all I am looking for is a few straight answers. Admiral Bork as
already blown his career on this matter. Your Hosts are insufferably
cagey. I just want the truth."
enough, the truth. I was poisoned with psidroxan in the Skyview
cafe, and I have spent the last 6 weeks of my leave recovering from
the side effects. If Admiral Bork used his usual bull in the china
shop approach, the Ane didn't tell him anything to spite how he
asked, not what he asked."
said. "Captain, if you took psidroxan, how is it that you
escaped the usual effects?"
I am the kind of person that can tolerate the stuff."
telepaths can safely ingest psidroxan."
must be a telepath."
said. "There is no indication on any of your records that you
possess such abilities Kirk."
sipped at his coffee. "I didn't know myself. I was totally
blocked, was that is. The drug changed that. Tathilan acted
swiftly, she was with me at the time. We did have a pleasant dinner
in mind. She has spent the last six weeks making a trained telepath
out of me. Graduation was yesterday. I tested 62 on the Kraith
looked worried. "No telepath has ever commanded a starship
what about being a telepath makes one unfit for command? And your
statement is not quite true. No Human telepath has commanded a
starship. Telepaths have commanded, and command every day. The
Horned fleet is entirely telepaths, from the cook to the Captain."
will your crew accept it?"
they care? We have a ship load of telepaths in the form of the 20
odd Ane that travel with us. The ship's computer is telepathic.
Telepathic Captain, would they even notice? I challenge you to find
one real handicap that realistically would prevent me from picking up
where I left off."
got up and paced. "On one hand Kirk, I see your point of view,
but I have to consider if your sudden ability would render you unfit
for command. I have to know what is good for the service."
Sir. Starfleet is proud of its firsts. We beam with pride every
time someone does something that was never done before by someone
like them, even if millions like someone else had done it before
them. I have to ask Sir, why are you stepping back now? What fear
is in you mind that causes you to doubt the very principle you have
espoused, and asked me to espouse, and protect, along with you."
is a very different matter Tim."
Jean Luc. How is it different?"
power of telepathy is the question. How will you use this ability?"
submit Sir, that there is a danger to the principles of the
Federation a-foot, and right now, right here, that danger is, you."
jerked back from the finger pointed across the dying fire.
continued. "It isn't telepathy that bothers you, its a Human
with telepathy. We have Vulcans, Deltians, Betazids, even Ane in the
Fleet, all are telepathic to one degree or another. These people
hold positions of trust and authority, why am I different?"
are natural telepaths. We accept them as they are."
didn't come by this in a bottle Jean Luc. It has been mine since
birth, even if I was not aware. Do you think of telepathy as a
disability, to be tolerated for tolerance sake, but the disabled one
watched for any cracks?"
looked ot Tathilan. "Tathilan, you have been quiet as a
dormouse. What is your opinion.?"
do not consider myself disabled Admiral.**
do not imply you are. There is the matter of security."
trust me with an entire starship, the contents of the computer
databanks, and secure data you don't have clearance to read. Not
only am I a telepath and member of a practicing racial memory, but
one of those dreaded 'artificial beings' too.**
well, I don't mean to imply..."
you do Jean Luc Picard, you have, and you did. I might forgive, I
sat looking acutely embarrassed.
said. "Tathilan, if Captain Kirk leaves the service, what will
follow where he goes Data.**
about the Kongo?"
Kongo is a machine, another can be found to serve her.**
you think he should not return?"
didn't say that, but the option is open. Captain Kirk will have a
command, either in Starfleet, or with the Horned Fleet. Experienced
Captains are not to be wasted.**
looked the two officers over. "The amazing thing, is you have
not asked what I want."
snapped back. "What does "want" have to do with it?"
your own question. What forces you to don that uniform every day,
what need drives you to continue to serve again and again? You have
faced your cusps Picard. You took many passages though the valley.
You looked at the fork in the road, and chose the path you have. No,
I haven't looked inside your mind. You were taken by the Borg, they
changed you, made you become something you were not. You were
rescued. Right then, right there, you could have bowed out, and no
one would have called you less a man. However, you did not. What
want, drove you on?"
pain, the memory flickered across Picard's face. "I am an
officer, I have my duty."
duty? You had done your duty and more. Who can ask for more of than
duty that you have performed so well? No, don't give me duty. Your
'duty' was long discharged many a year ago. Why do you want to do
do you assume there is a want?"
that is all there is. Need, as it existed, as the language means it
is dead. You and I have no needs. Food? Shelter? These are taken
for granted. Physical objects are easy to come by, any food, any
clothing. All of this free to any man that wants it thanks to the
wonders of technology. This thing that drives us is a want.
Needs are to eat, to breath, to breed. So, why to you still want
looked troubled. He sat heavily in his chair. Minutes passed as the
sun slowly set. "I
want, to see everything there is to see Kirk. I want to do
everything there is to do. I want, I need challenges. Sitting and
receiving my allotment of energy is not enough, it never has been."
I look so different from where you sit? Remembering where you came
from, is essential to knowing where you're headed. Do I look cut
from such different cloth than you? Would I be found in the same
profession if I was?"
what you just went through."
the Borg... Am I so different?"
Luc Picard sat in silence. He was given his silence. He spoke at
last. "No Captain, you do not look so different. Provided you
can pass a physical at the end of your leave, I will say nothing
stood and shook hands.
schedule the Kongo floated in space. The testing done, the refitted
compensators working to specs. Kirk sat in the center seat, the
familiar, and a few new faces around him.
Spacik, set a course, warp eight for the Fresian Sector."
set and locked Sir."
-- Garry Stahl, July 1998
Subtext 2011 -- As with other tales in the series
this has gotten a serious editing pass and some light Lucasing.
In this case mainly for phrasing or wording I thought wasn't
appropriate. the character opf the piece is untouched. I
Comments or questtons on this file? Mail Here
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The Above is a work of fiction. All characters are fictional, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
Copyright © Garry Stahl: July 1998. All rights reserved, re-print only with permission.