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In your eyes

I see ribbons of colour

I see us inside of each other

I feel my conscience merge with yours

Falling into you…..


Kirk, doing some exploring of his own, found a suitable distraction waiting for him on the dining balcony where he, McCoy and Spock had first beamed down.

The ancient sun had started to set. Kirk realised with some surprise that he had spent the whole day sitting beside Spock's prone body willing the Vulcan to recover from the trauma suffered in the transporter malfunction.

It had taken all of McCoy's reassurance to convince him that Spock's neural damage was superficial. But swayed at last he had left Spock's side to get some fresh air and work the kinks out of his spine. Given the choice, he would have preferred something more energetic to work off the nervous tension.

Like an all-out dogfight amid a whole bunch of enraged Klingons, for instance; or maybe a bare fisted brawl with Finnegan, his old enemy from the Academy.

Lacking either of those alternatives, a roll in the hay with a willing partner might just do it. The girl standing alone by the parapet with her back to him, looked out over the mountains. Dressed in a long robe of some iridescent silver-grey cloth, she appeared a part of the inevitable mist and intrigued him enough to divert - for a little while at least - some of his ill-omened thoughts.

Without stopping to consider his motives, he walked up to the parapet, and stood beside the young woman.

"I don't think we've met." His gaze caressed the fragile, strangely androgynous beauty of her face, the ivory skin pale as alabaster against a cloud of ashen hair.

The girl turned to look at him. A frisson of excitement shivered along Kirk's nerves. Huge obsidian eyes, on a level with his own, the lids shadowed with what appeared to be some dark cosmetic studied him. She wore some heavy, intoxicating perfume. It filled the air around her like a tantalizing haze. Kirk breathed it in, his lazy smile widening as he relaxed, enjoying himself for the first time in what seemed like weeks.

"No, I do not think we have."

Her cool, husky voice sent shivers of anticipation running down Kirk's spine. Yet, he realized, his sudden appearance came as no surprise to her. Whatever she professed, his presence had been expected. His smile deepened as his tensions took an entirely different turn. "Perhaps there's an easy remedy for that. I'm James T. Kirk, Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise."

"Yes." She continued to stare at him with that startlingly frank, unblinking gaze, holding him mesmerized.

"You've never … heard of … the Enterprise, right?" Some cool lady, he admitted to himself, and felt the attraction grow even stronger, relishing the challenge of conquest. His grin vanished when sudden heat coalesced in the pit of his stomach and exploded outwards. Incandescent, flaming along his veins, it pooled in his groin.

"Should I have?" The unnerving eyes heartlessly weighed him up, like a cat hunting a particularly tasty mouse, or a spider chasing a bug.

"No … I suppose not." He swallowed, abruptly, thrown off stride, aware that he was acting like a tongue-tied college boy on his first date. He managed to drag his eyes away from her face, looked out over the balustrade. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"

Ryhanen had built his Castle Cloud atop the highest summit in the long mountain chain. All the other peaks had surrendered before the slowly rising mist and just one barbed dagger of scarlet rock jabbed into the sky, way off to the north. Kirk stared at the swirling outlier mist tendrils gently exploring his boot. "Is it always like this?"

"Every mist-rise and mist-fall." The girl replied. She gestured towards the west where Sassandran's sun had started to descend slowly towards the waiting vapours. "As Resyenyhah sinks, Sahasirana rises, conquering the mountains that his radiance held during the day. It is a war, ceaseless and eternal, but Sahasirana has the better of it, for she has the valleys, the plains, and the seacoasts. Resyenyhah keeps only the mountaintops and then only by day."

"You like it here, Miss …? I still don't know your name."

"Names are powerful things, Jaymztikuhkhq."

The girl tilted her head to one side. It reminded Kirk of Spock's habitual gesture. The cool breeze played with the silver-blond hair that cascaded down her back almost to the waist, a ghostly mist-fall of her own that he yearned to touch.

"Do you need to know my name before you make love to me?" She watched him intently looking for some reaction; the ebony eyes mostly iris and pupil with only a tiny rim of white showing.

Amazed and a little amused by her insight, Kirk floundered for an instant. He decided to stall. "Why should I want to make love to you? We've only just met."

"It is the truth, none the less."

"It's hardly surprising." Kirk laughed, deciding to come clean. "You're very beautiful."

Pale, blue-veined lids, dropped over the striking eyes, hiding her thoughts from him as she inclined her head, "Have you not made love to many beautiful women."

"None like you." He acknowledged softly.

The girl's eyes swirled open like dark flowers and he felt an uncomfortable sensation as if she were able to read his every intimate thought.

"I am Tel Shimaan." She conceded unexpectedly as if that explained everything, smiling at his gallantry. Kirk found himself smiling back, knowing that he had just lost the game they played. He was hooked.

"You live here permanently?"

"This is my home." She turned her profile to him, gazing out over the drop off beyond the balustrade. "It is an insubstantial world, Jaymztikuhkhq, where nothing is ever as it seems. A world of ghosts and mists and clouds, where dreams and reality mix."

"You look substantial enough to me." Kirk murmured, wanting to take her into his arms and crush her to him, flesh against flesh, to kiss the darkly sensual lips until she cried out his name in pleasure.

She smiled, glanced sideways at him then away again as if reading his thought, the look cool, merciless, and predatory, contradicting her fragile beauty. "I sense you are uncomfortable here, Jaymztikuhkhq, so close to the edge. The altitude worries you. Is such a height not meaningless after the cold voids of space."

Kirk did feel uneasy and found her shrewdness unsettling. "Why don't you call me Jim? I'm not worried, cautious maybe. In space, I have the walls of the Enterprise between the void and me. At least an illusion of safety."

"Illusions, Jimh?" The girl nodded. "Yes, illusions are sometimes important."

"I doubt Spock would agree with you there." Kirk grinned wryly.


"My First Officer. He's a Vulcan. Sees everything in black and white…" Or, at least, he used to. Now all he sees is grey like the mist and shadows down there, an elusive abstraction, robbing him of his life …

However, she was not interested in talking about Spock. Her attention centred now on the drop, on the mists that swirled and twisted. "Do you not see how Sahasirana moulds and reforms, ever changing but always the same."

Kirk looked down and saw only that his feet had disappeared, devoured by the rising fog. He frowned, watching the wispy strands, the ghostly tendrils weaving an ethereal web between himself and Tel Shimaan until they appeared to merge into one being. It was an intriguing thought but one he found thoroughly daunting. He raised his head and found her lustrous eyes on him again, like the black empty space between worlds, ready to engulf him as the mists were doing. He shivered, chilled by the icy vapour that swirled about him, conscious that the haze was slowly reaching for his knees…

"Some say that our future can be glimpsed by seeking the patterns in the clouds. We only have to look close enough."

Kirk grinned but still looked directly where she pointed. The formless mist swirled all around him. "And you…believe that?"

"Of course." She smiled and stepped closer, strands of mist leading her advance. "I saw you there."

Her hands delicately touched his chest, moved up to rest either side of his face, her slender fingers cool. She described smooth circles across his brow, down his temples, her thumbs tracing either side of his nose, pausing to flick back and forth along his jaw. Her eyes remained wide open, fixed steadily on his face as if the feather-light touch was not enough to hold him.

He flicked nervously at his lips with his tongue just as her fingers wandered to his mouth, and she paused as if analysing the strangeness of the physical sensation. His eyes remained riveted on her face as she followed the pattern of his mouth with first one finger, then another, then all of them at once. She caught the fullness of his lower lip with a curious pressure of one thumb and Kirk felt again a burst of arousal, the abrupt need to draw in more air. His lips parted as he sucked in a deep breath. Her touch was incredibly sensuous and yet she seemed to have no idea of the response she awakened in him.

He knew that he had lost control and it unnerved him. To seize it back he covered her hands with his own, pulled them away from his face. He trembled suddenly, his fingers thick and awkward in contrast to hers. Then he reached for the back of her neck, brought her closer against his chest, covering her parted lips with his own. He captured her mouth gently enough but with a rising urgency as she melted into him, caressing and exploring, demanding an equal reaction as he tried to smother the violent throbbing within himself. At first her head pulled back against the unyielding pressure of his hand, then her lips moved beneath his, testing an unfamiliar awareness, unafraid, answering his need.

They parted with reluctance and Tel Shimaan opened her eyes, opaque and incalculable now as she gazed at him.

"You wished to prove something to me?" She smiled that half mocking, half sultry smile, her tone soft with pleasure.

"I thought you might like it."

"It is an extraordinary custom." She murmured softly. "But most agreeable. Why did you stop?"

"I've never kissed a Sassandran before."

"And I have never … kist … a Terranh. It is not our way to touch with the lips as you do. This is our way." Again, she raised her fingers to his face.

The mist followed, cobweb light, brushing his skin delicately, fluttering from brow to chin. Kirk shuddered at its touch, but he lacked the volition to pull away. He tipped his head back as her fingers moved on, slipping in unison down the smooth slope of his shoulders, pressing lightly against his well-developed biceps that contracted in urgent tension beneath her hands. His lids dropped like blinds, shading the fervent smoulder of eyes gone abruptly dark. Lips parting helplessly he pulled in another shuddering breath. Her wandering fingers rested for an instant in the centre of his chest concentrating his awareness there with an explosion of sensuality. The mist was all about them now, as substantial as her heavy perfume swirling through his senses. He shook his head in an effort to dispel the madness her nearness evoked, his body stubbornly refusing to move away from the electricity of her fingertips.

"Telshimaan..." His ragged breathing made it difficult to speak. His heart thundered, his pulses raced.

Her hands slipped in between their taut bodies, tracing his rigid stomach muscles, the outline of his thighs, the tendrils of mist following her deft fingers, touching him intimately. A startled sound flew from his chest and escaped his lips at the contact.

"Be one with me, Jimh." She whispered softly. "Do not resist. You are for me, Jaymztikuhkhq. You are for me."


The plexiglas opened with a quiet sigh allowing an influx of cool, mountain air. Spock stepped over the threshold, equally exhilarated and terrified, aware of the great open space before and beyond him, knowing that a false step here could mean his death.

"Your way ahead is clear space except for a few shrubs and trees in pots." McCoy watched him anxiously but let him find his own way without intruding, just close enough to act if the Vulcan should stumble.

Even sightless, Spock had a quiet dignity, an ingenuous poise. Head held high, gaze fixed on some vision only he could see, the First Officer proceeded with almost agonising slowness out onto the wide balcony, his hands extended from bent elbows in the way McCoy had suggested.

"There's a statue on your left, about twelve feet high. Ryhanen seems to like things big…"

"Dha'kaht'chun are themselves physically imposing, Doctor. At only eight foot in height, Ser Ryhanen is somewhat undersized by comparison to the rest of his race. Does the statue represent anything in particular?"

Appreciative of McCoy's presence, Spock concentrated on his first trip across virgin territory, his ears straining for any and every sound, the sigh of the wind among the crags, the melancholy cry of a bird, his own hesitant footsteps on rough hewn stone, and the doctor's quick, apprehensive breathing at his shoulder.

"A young hominid female, if secondary sexual characteristics are anything to go by, sporting a pair of curving ram's horns from the brow. It looks anatomically correct, the neck's thickened, the shoulders wide and muscular for a woman, but it could be a mythological representation of some sort. She's carrying a weapon, a crossbow, I think it is, and has what appears to be a large animal, vaguely bear-like with prominent tusks, accompanying her. I wouldn't like to meet either of them on a dark night, that's a sure thing. It looks old, too old to have originated at Castle Cloud."

Tendrils of mist brushed Spock's face, delicate fingertips, tentative and exploring as if searching each of his features one by one. The evocative scent of decaying leaves and damp earth pervaded the air, calling to mind his reverie of walking in the forest accompanied by that Other, insubstantial as a ghost, cloaked in mystery, yet with an underlying reality that was hard to refute. At the recollection, an eerie silence seemed to descend about him. He stopped, analysing the sensation, trying to pinpoint its direction.

"Doctor, I believe we are under observation…" He dropped his voice, speaking in an undertone as if afraid that someone would overhear.

"That's not possible, Spock. We're over a thousand feet above the ground. Nothing overlooks this terrace."

"Nevertheless…" Spock's voice trailed off into silence as he stared fixedly towards the waist high stone parapet that encircled the drop off .

"What is it, Spock?" Puzzled, and uneasy, McCoy followed Spock's sightless gaze.

The sun had started to descend. It gave way to the conquering mist tinged now with scarlet light that lapped like ghostly waves upon the shores of the balcony. Already the other mountains in the range had disappeared, swallowed up in the sinuous white ocean.

Then the tide seemed to turn and the mists poured over the balcony edge to close in upon Castle Cloud. An intense fog gathered a scant metre distant, in an opaque wall that grew thicker and stronger as the seconds ticked by, dwarfing the two officers as it towered above them. And within the mists, something started to form.

McCoy dragged himself from the stupor that held him transfixed, forced his feet to move, placing himself before the First Officer, a human shield against what he thought now threatened them. His heart thundered inside his chest as he sucked in a lungful of abruptly freezing air.

"Those rumours were true. It's a wraith, Spock…" He hissed over his shoulder, lips suddenly numb, so cold he could hardly form the words. "Get … back inside … now."

Without waiting for a response he grabbed Spock by the arm, spun him roughly about and propelled him back towards the open windows by brute force alone. They tumbled across the threshold in a welter of limbs; the wraith-like mist clutching vainly at their ankles as the Chief Surgeon instantly whirled, thumping the window release. It shut fast with a soft exhalation, echoing McCoy as he gasped in breathless relief.

"Doctor?" Spock blinked in bewilderment as if only just awakening from some bizarre dream Head tilted he stared up at the doctor from his position on the floor where McCoy's dramatic entrance had thrown him. "What has happened?"

Something thumped against the glas with such force the whole frame shivered. A banshee wail keened abruptly into the silence. McCoy launched himself away from the window. He echoed the fearful cry with one of his own, landing on his knees beside Spock, wondering what would happen if the panes should crack. Unwilling to look in that direction, worried by what he might see, he stayed on his knees, face averted, while something unknown rapped and scraped on the other side of the fragile barrier, trying to get in to them.

It seemed like an eternity before the sounds eventually faded and disappeared. McCoy risked a quick glance at the window. Thick fog writhed and twisted just beyond the panes but some unknown instinct told him it was just condensation, water vapour caused by the evaporation of warm air as night closed in. Whatever had hidden within the masking clouds had now given up and gone away.

At least for the moment, he thought with a shiver. With a weary groan, he got back on his feet, helped the First Officer up, and brushed himself off, trying to control his shaking fingers.

"I don't know 'bout you, Spock but I need a drink. Something large and one hundred per cent proof," he murmured. "Until we get some answers to what just happened, the rest of my exploring is gonna be from out of a glass…."


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