WEDNESDAY'S CHILD By: M. C. Pehrson
He was late. Striding down the starship corridor, Spock hoped no one would question his tardy arrival at the reception. Any direct query would indeed be awkward. He had no intention of discussing the circumstances that had detained him-that "most urgent" communication relayed to his cabin terminal. The missive's obscene and physically impossible suggestion had so startled him that he had inadvertently upset a cup, spattering his uniform with Vulcan tea. Though he had hurriedly secured another dress uniform, he still missed beaming down to Helexia with Admiral Kirk and the other senior officers of the Enterprise.
Arriving at the transporter room, Spock stepped alone onto the platform. With a distracted nod to the duty officer, he centered himself on one of six discs spaced evenly over the floor. A swirl of motion and sound enveloped him...and with the first tingle of transport, his thoughts shifted from the anonymous insult to the night's guest of honor, D. B. Wren. It was his hope to engage the scientist in a few moments of private discussion regarding her controversial...
The light glittered away to nothingness, the transporter hum faded to utter silence. Yet instead of a brief mental shutdown, Spock felt himself splintered in a million directions, a cell by cell shredding in the ruthless maw of a machine gone mad. From the darkest depths of terror, he screamed, but there was no mouth...or perhaps too many mouths...
Then abruptly his sense of hearing returned, along with an agonizing blaze of light. Clutching his head, he staggered and fell full length on a hard surface.
Before his recent return from Kolinahr, he had witnessed a transporter accident on Vulcan and helped cart away the hideously misshapen heaps of flesh. Ever since, the unpleasant memory of that experience had followed him onto every transporter platform. And now, as he sensed a crowd gathering and felt the weight of their emotions pressing in on him, he saw again those dead, twisted remnants...and wondered at his own condition.
"Spock!" came Kirk's voice, nearby. Then, "Let the doctor through!"
Hands took hold of his body and turned him face-up. Fluently cursing transporters, Doctor McCoy drew out a medscanner and began passing the cylindrical instrument in broad sweeps. Slowly Spock regained his composure, but though he found his limbs intact, a vague sense of displacement lingered.
McCoy's blue eyes widened as he checked the scanner's readings. "Well," he said in puzzlement, "other than slightly elevated blood pressure and a galloping heartbeat, you seem to be in one piece, Spock."
Kirk stood up and politely dispersed the onlookers.
"I feel rather foolish," Spock admitted, rising shakily to a sitting position, "but something peculiar happened during transport-something difficult to describe."
"That was one helluva rough landing," Kirk said. "I'm ordering a thorough check on the ship's transporter system...and your system, Mister Spock."
McCoy roundly agreed. "Spock, despite what this scanner says, I don't like the look of you. I'm taking you straight to sickbay."
Kirk spoke into his wrist communicator and made arrangements for a shuttlecraft. Spock was on his feet now, half-supported by McCoy, and for once gratefully accepting the doctor's help. Nausea washed through him in dizzying, ice-cold waves. Breaking into chills, he sank onto a nearby bench and doubled over.
The transporter unit was located in a corner of the reception hall, and a few curious partygoers remained nearby, watching him. Standing slightly apart, one strikingly beautiful woman stared with particular interest. When Spock caught her looking, she turned suddenly and vanished among the other guests.
"Was that not...?" he managed to ask.
"The illustrious D. B. Wren," McCoy finished for him.
She wore her long red hair in thick coils, plaited about her head in a simple fashion. It was a no-nonsense style, highly practical but extremely flattering to her classical good looks. Dorian knew the unsettling effect that her creamy skin and emerald eyes had on the males of many species. At times, her beauty had actually been a handicap in her chosen field. There were still those who expected serious female physicists to be dowdy, and the men a bit paunchy and boring, as if physicists were somehow born into middle age. Well, she did not fit the stereotype, and neither did S'chn T'gai Spock. The Starfleet halfling was anything but dull. Perhaps that was why she had so valued his opinion of her work, and why those acerbic comments in the Federation Journal of Science had stung so. And perhaps that was why she had chosen such harsh revenge.
The reception dragged endlessly, but at last it was over. Returning home, she hurried to her bedroom and swung open a closet door. Back behind the clothes, another door led to a secret basement laboratory. As she darted through the doors and secured them behind her, the full impact of what she was about to do struck hard. For a moment she stood staring down at the focusing center which filled one third of the floor space. She was tempted to abort the experiment until her eyes drifted to the living area so painstakingly prepared-the transparent security partitions enclosing a sparsely-furnished bedroom and lavatory.
Purposefully, she walked downstairs to the receiving chamber and spoke into her log. "Wednesday, Stardate 7652.9. The experiment is underway." She began throwing switches on the main control panel. "Denounce my methods?" she muttered. "I'll show you, Mister High-and-Mighty..."
A throbbing hum built within the equipment. As she watched anxiously, the receiving chamber began to glow.
...And all of a sudden, light stabbed his eyes. Lying on the floor, he blinked and curled up, overwhelmed by a bewildering rush of sensations, empty and shivering...
Dorian stared fixedly into the chamber, both repelled and fascinated by the pathetic issue of her experiment. His hair was not the dark color she had expected, but palest gold. And she glimpsed blue eyes as the creature's gasps of discomfort slowly built to a full-throated, annoying howl, bringing her back to the day-to-day realities that she had planned for so carefully.
Her experiment was a mixed success.
"Happy birthday," she said with a disdainful curl of her lip. "Happy birthday, Tobias."