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Story Notes:

This story contains one of the biggest and saddest shocks of this cycle.


Chapter Notes:

Follows up on certain elements of 'The Plague' among other stories in this cycle.


 

And I Must Bide

By Rob Morris

 

 

2268, Riverside, Iowa

 

    The people stood around the boy. They were people he knew.

 

    "You Are The Rock."

 

    Said his hero, Uncle Jim.

 

    "The Rock Is Marked."

 

    Said his beloved ‘aunt, Nyota Uhura.

 

    "The Rock Is Marked By The Enemy."

 

    Said Spock, whom he admired.

 

    "The Enemy Has Many Names."

 

    Said Commander Sulu.

 

    "The Rock seeks, and finds The Rock. Together they are The Rock."

    Said Engineer Scott.

 

    "The Destroyer fears The Rock."

 

    Said Chekov, closest to Peter's age.

 

    "And Upon That Rock shall those mighty teeth shatter like glass. Toothless, he is slain."

 

    Said Doctor McCoy, as they vanished.

 

 

 

        Admiralty Hall

 

            The dream broke, thankfully before he again stumbled over Grandma's body. Yes, the dream had surely ended. But still he could not see.

 

            Commodore Cartwright pointed at the men holding the bound-up sack.

 

    "Throw it to the floor. Hard."

 

    They did that. He then kicked it, raising the sack up as he did. There was a snapping sound. It was the sound of ribs, at least three.

 

    "Our Revered Master John Gill is no more! I am his designated heir. I demand my place as the Fourth Head of The Ancient Destroyer Of The Polluted Worlds."

 

    One Admiral with an odd triangular haircut raised a seeming objection, seeming because it was all orchestrated to stage a show. A show whose star would like it not one bit.

 

    "Order-Master Gill stole into Russia and recovered Hitler's brain-shavings, with which we even now raise up a true human leader. That is how he became Master. What do you offer up, Brock Cartwright?"

 

    Cartwright pulled back the sack, at least partway. The face of a 13-year old boy with black hair became visible.

 

    "Please! Sir, what have I done? Please, don't hurt me any...."

 

   Without ever looking their victim in the face, the man brought his powerful fist down into the boy's head, ten times. He drew back blood the last time.

 

    "I present the heir of Kirk the Xenophile. I present the blasphemous survivor of Lord Ghidorah's cleansing on Deneva. I present, for our empowerment and our use, the one true enemy of our god. I present The Rock itself, and we will use him to bring about The Cleansing. Not in some future time. But in the next two decades. The means to harm our lord will be the means by which we call him to begin our reign. After this night--Humanity Prevails!"

 

            Admiral Teresa Bunson cut away the rest of the sack, and then threw the boy on his stomach.

 

    "You're a bad little boy. Bad little boys don't get to keep their pants."

 

   As the 'bacchanalia' began, a mystic ritual of binding was read. They knew it would work. After all, it had been used to good effect, back on Deneva, by the boy's own parents. He was unable to think straight.

 

    But the boy saw every man in the room reach for his belt buckle.

 

 

            As the long nightmare began at its very worst, the boy learned not to cry, for the cackles and taunts that came after each sob. He held on, as he knew his hero would do, and planned for the day he would escape. He accepted every ounce of the pain, and all the humiliation they heaped upon him as perhaps his payment for surviving when no other Denevan had. Then one of them mocked not the helpless boy they used with such abandon, but the Captain of the Enterprise.

 

 

            There were thirty men and women, Admirals all, the elite of Starfleet Command, who participated in this atrocity, taking ten turns apiece and feeling very good about destroying the family that had opposed their dark works for so long.

 

"If only it was his alien-loving uncle on the ground before us. I'd make him squeal."

 

            After the insult and threat, the boy slowly rose, again to peals of laughter. He screamed out one word, at decibel levels that brought corrupt Admirals and brutal guards both to their knees.

 

"NEVER!!!!!!!!"

 

There were thirty men and women, Admirals all, not counting Cartwright, who reserved his abuse to skull-shaking hammer blows. By the time the boy's rage was spent, there were only fifteen, and Cartwright never regained full use of that arm. Admiralty Hall's plans for power were set back by a full seven years. Whatever plans they had for James Kirk, they were abandoned, at least in specific. The little boy had bought his hero, and the Federation, precious time by a sacrifice he only half-consciously made, when he chose to bring down his generational enemies, rather than escape.

 

But as a result, the captivity of Peter Kirk was a fact his surprising power could no longer alter.

 

 

 

Northern California

 

Finally, his mother decided to let him be. The boy tried to go to sleep. After a call from her old boyfriend, she had nearly smothered him with attention. He never liked the guy, but couldn't understand why. He just gave him the creeps, especially when he seemed to stare his way. He hated being afraid without knowing why. He would come to hate it even more.

 

It began with a knocking inside his refresher. He told himself that, at six years old, he shouldn't pay attention to knocks inside closed rooms. Not him. Not someone of his age and intelligence. For all that resolve, the knocking continued.

 

"All right-let's do it!"

 

Reluctantly, he got up. He knew that the monster he sometimes saw in dim dreams wasn't in there. He knew there was no one in there. It was the wind, or whatever. He knew wrong. The door was opened, and a voice cried out.

 

"Help Me!"

 

It was a human male about twice the boy's age. He was naked and badly beaten, and bleeding from his butt. David read his mother's unused medical files voluminously, and the young genius made a guess as to what his visitor's condition meant.

 

"You--you've been ra-rap-let me call my Mom--she's a doctor. She'll help you."

 

The stranger cried out again.

 

"Find Daddy. They killed Grandma. Marcus, please tell Daddy."

 

"I--can't. I--don't have a father."

 

Young David Marcus's heart was about to burst through its chest. The stranger was scaring the shit out of him. The shining intelligence that helped him through so much was now helping him not at all.

 

"Daddy! I'm in Hell, Daddy! Come Get Me Out Of Hell! Why won't you come get me out of Hell, Daddy?"

 

"Don't do this to me. You're making me afraid. Please just stop."

 

"Marcus, the monster is coming. Tell Daddy. Tell him about the people."

 

David was quickly losing it.

 

"People!? WHAT people?!"

 

"The ones who look like people you know, only they talk all slow and funny. They whisk you away, and tell you all kinds of riddles. They're from the Bay Shore. They told me I had to stop the monster."

 

David shook as he saw moonlight pass through the apparition.

 

"Monster--the one with three heads?"

 

The image seemed to coalesce as the older boy woke up from his dream state.

 

"Huh-uh---David--this is important---you have to tell him I'm at The Hall. I don't know how I'm doing any of this but----aaaahahhahahshhsh!!!!!!!!! SHIT!!!"

 

The image caught fire as it faded. David didn't waste any time running for his mother's room as the image vanished entirely.

 

"Mooooommmmmm!!!!"

 

Carol Marcus responded to her son's cries without hesitation.

 

"David? David, you look as white as a ghost. Wanna sit here with me while I compose a letter to Captain Kirk?"

 

"Yeah, as long as I'm not in my room. I'll tell you what happened later."

 

Carol began.

 

"Dearest Jim: Despite our differences, I know how much Brianna and Peter meant to you. To lose them both like this in so brutal and mysterious a manner must shake you to your core. Of course David and I will attend the memorial services. I wish I had more to say, Jim. Be strong, as I have known you to be. Deepest Sympathies, Carol Marcus."

 

"Who were Brianna and Peter, Mom?"

 

"Oh, no! David, I didn't tell you, even with all the hovering I did? God---Jim's Mother and his nephew were both killed last night, at their home in Iowa. They think it was terrorists."

 

"Here? On Earth? Is there anything in the vidnews?"

 

Carol nodded and accessed pictures from vid-reports. The older woman had a kindly face, he thought. He could see her bringing him snacks and drinks. The other picture--the one of Kirk's nephew--made his blood run cold.

 

"David--what is it? David, you look like you've seen a----"

 

 David didn't know he was staring at a picture of his own half-brother. He didn't know--yet about another half-brother, named Marcus, or Marc for short--who was just as dead as Peter was alive. He knew merely he was scared out of his mind. Dreams of the three-headed monster now seemed realer than ever. David's voice was breaking so hard, one might have thought he was in an early puberty. Still, he said what he had to.

 

"Mom--someone was in my room tonight."

 

 

 

RIVERSIDE, IOWA

 

She stared with a mock-glare over at his bed.

 

"So you think you're too old for this story? Peter, I've read this to you since you were newborn. I knew Sam and Aurelan before they even intended to have a child. So lay back and enjoy. That's an order, Mister!"

 

With no response, she finished up and got to his favorite part.

 

"The King and Queen could not believe their eyes. For over the hill came their son The Hidden Prince, alive and not dead, as the rebellious dukes had told them was so. In one hand, he held the Great Sword, obtainable by only the bravest of heroes. In the other hand--he held the huge horn of the Old Evil Dragon, whom he had slain. He fell to his knees before the monarchs, but was raised up and at long last told who he truly was. And he was held by his true parents, and the pains of slavery, depredation, depravity and cruelty at the hands of those dragon-loving dukes, all now slain, fell away to nothing. The King commanded that for his bravery, the story of the adventures of the Hidden Prince be told forever, with different names and different faces, so that he should not ever be forgotten. On that day, The Crown Prince, Hidden no more, was even given to sit in his father's throne in the great round hall, and from there he watched the moon's rise, and felt the call of the stars above as was his heritage. It was the end of all his tears."

 

Uhura looked over at the bed.

 

"There--now was that so bad?"

 

A voice came from the connecting foyer.

 

"Nyta? Nyta, honey. Its--time."

 

In dress uniform, the captain of The Enterprise saw the woman he had loved since Tarsus in her own dress uniform, sitting in a chair-and staring at a bed that had lain empty for three weeks. She began to tear up, not for the first time. His own tears were long past spent.

 

"It's not fair, Jim. Whoever they were, whatever they wanted--couldn't they have at least left his body?"

 

She was not a weak person. She was not a 'Captain's choice'. She had a function most smart people knew as vital. But at this moment, she was again a thirteen-year old, her transport waylaid by Kodos' forces for his ambush of the colonists. As sadistic guards grabbed at her tunic, she found hope in the form of a sixteen-year old titan who made them regret they were ever born. And when his eye began to turn toward the girl who looked older than she was, she didn't correct either his assumptions or his presumptions.

 

That was when being heroic accomplished something, she thought. Before an unknown enemy, striking at the Federation's heart, found a way to silently kill Brianna Kirk and seemingly erase Peter Kirk.

 

"Nyta--I need you to be strong for me. Spock's not himself."

 

The Vulcan had not been himself for a while, now. Not since his delivery of the captured Romulan Commander from the cloak incident had been interrupted by Romulan agents who retook and executed her.

 

"I'm with you, Jim. I just wish I didn't have to be."

 

Kirk closed the book.

 

"He's in Heaven, Nyta. It's the end of all his tears. Now let's go and remember his life."

 

Wiping away her own tears, Nyota Uhura thought she briefly saw a crystal coffin, with Peter Kirk sleeping inside of it. But that quickly faded, and the nearby funeral would push away all such images.

 

 

 

    SCOTLAND

 

    He checked the sleeping two-year old girl, as he had twenty times in twice as many minutes. His sister finally raised an objection.

 

    "Monty, she is well. You would be well to let sleeping nieces lie. Och, how long it took to calm her after you showed! I need no repeat of that frenzy."

 

    The miracle worker looked in, and quietly walked away. Hannah Scott Preston put her hand on her younger brother's shoulder.

 

    "Perhaps you should go and be with your Captain. Surely he needs his every friend about him, at such a horrid time as this."

 

    Montgomery Scott shook his head, and sat down.

 

"Nae, Cissy. It's here I need to be. I cannae keep myself composed, watching James Kirk in such a state. Even when we were in that doppelganger land of vipers, he kept himself. But not now. He is broken inside. He'll pick himself up, I've no doubt. But unless this day is somehow by God's grace undone, it will never leave him. Never."

 

    "He was a good lad, then?"

 

    "Och, yes. Our polite little guest. So resilient, after the death of a world. But there was more to him. Remember how the Bible said that people knew King David was made for greatness, even as a boy? There was something of that. Then--to hear it's all been snuffed out. To hear that he is more than dead, and less. The lad is merely gone. As though he never was at all."

 

    Finally, the tired engineer fell asleep. In two minutes, his sister checked on her sleeping daughter Jessa, for no reason she could explain.

 

 

 

 

    THE PRIVATE OFFICES OF GRAND ADMIRAL NOGURA

 

    Mendez and Stone threw down the tape.

 

    "There you have it, sir. Proof that these 'infamous murders' were not the work of aliens. The Hall. All of it."

 

    Nogura looked up, after watching his godson cut down by a phaser rifle on the recording.

 

    "You know I can't let you go forward with this. It-it would split Starfleet wide open! It could lead to civil war."

 

    Stone slammed his open palm on the desk, rank and protocol be damned.

 

    "Wake the hell up, sir! Those bigots have been fighting a civil war for decades. Now, you want us to keep quiet? Then give us the means to fight it for the side of the true Starfleet. You know, us poor saps who want to commit our resources to exploration, not genocide?"

 

    "I could court-martial the both of you!"

 

    Mendez nodded.

 

    "Go ahead, sir. We welcome it. Lots of attention. Lots of people who know we went to see you. Bring it on. In the name of George Kirk--bring it on."

 

    Nogura sat down.

 

    "George wouldn't have wanted Starfleet destroyed by well-intentioned crusaders, anymore than he would want The Hall to ascend any higher. Don't you see that this office is the only thing keeping the balance?"

 

    Stone sighed.

 

    "Till they take it. And they will, take it, Admiral. Restore The Commodity. Let those of us who can't catch that extra bar just because we don't hate non-Terrans at least oppose what they're doing."

 

    Nogura closed his eyes, and tried to see George, his friend and mentor. The Clark to his Jimmy. It was getting harder all the time.

 

    "No court challenges to the Hall's authority. I may be old, but I will be in this chair for a long time. I am the guarantee that they won't win. Now get out."

 

    Mendez asked Stone something, as the two commodores left. They both felt sickened, necessary though the deal was.

 

    "We watched that kid die, right?"

 

    Stone gulped.

 

    "I hope he is dead, for his sake."

 

    "You hope?"

 

    "Jose--if he is still alive, if they are keeping him for some unholy reason, then make no mistake about what they are doing with him, even as we speak. Nogura talked about the Fleet being split in two. But if the boy's alive, then it's his backside being split in two. By people who will vastly enjoy making George and Jim's heir pay for opposing them."

 

    The restored opposition of The Commodity, paid for in tender blood and flesh, would accomplish none of its goals in opposing Admiralty Hall.

 

 

 

    RIVERSIDE, IOWA

 

    In full dress uniform, The Captain Of The Enterprise heard the preacher's opening remarks.

 

    "This sad day, we lay to rest the spirits of our sister Brianna Kirk, mother of James, and of our small brother, Peter Claudius Kirk, nephew of James, whom I am reliably told he idolized. What sense is there to be found in the passing of a child, murdered in the night in the heart of our modern paradise?"

 

    A question Kirk had been asking himself for weeks. A question that still had no answer at all.

 

 

 

    Chekov took a sip of his drink.

 

    "He vwas a good kid. Smart, bright, obedient. Hikaru, how is it he can be gone?"

 

    Sulu was several drinks ahead of his friend.

 

    "He wasn't the greatest kid in creation, Pavel. I still remember the tantrum he threw when the Captain told him he couldn't stay on Enterprise."

 

    He took another sip.

 

    "But he was our kid. He was real. We played with him, comforted him for his loss. Balled our hands into fists when we learned about Deneva's little system of child labor. And then we wished him well, and sent him off into paradise."

 

    He finished the glass.

 

    "And that's where he is right now."

 

    Pavel didn't need to decipher the dual meaning of Hikaru's words about paradise.

 

    "It vwasn't just his kinship to the Kyptin. Vwhen Peter vwalked, I had thoughts of Rurik, Tsar Peter, Beowulf and Siegfried. Of...of how people spoke of King David, vwhen he was a boy."

 

    Sulu looked at him, and shook his head.

 

    "Don't. Don't turn a good kid into the new kingdom. You want Biblical, Meester Checkoff?"

 

    "Hikaru..."

 

    "Shut up. Yew vant beebleekal? Okay. Then listen to Sulu. While the Captain and Spock and the Doc are off contacting the kid's maternal grandfather, out of freaking nowhere come the Bajorans, visiting the ship. Huh? They barely talk to the ole UF of P, but they want to visit us?"

 

    'Checkoff' was now less insulted than intrigued.

 

    "I did vwonder about that. Vwhy were they there?"

 

    Sulu waved his hand.

 

    "Their Kai--their religious leader--wanted to meet Peter. He hugged the kid, said his gods had kept their promise, and then he died. Bareil, the guy with him, said he was well over 500. Pavel, Lady T'Pau is not 300 yet. Most Vulcans don't even make it to her age. But this Kai guy was that old. He was there to see a kid who should have died along with his world, and then he himself died, happy as a lark."

 

    Chekov began ordering seltzer, not wanting to get like Sulu.

 

    "My rabbi had a close friend who vwas a Priest. He told me of a story in the Christian Bible that went like that."

 

    Sulu took the remainder of Chekov's drink. He snorted in seeming laughter.

 

    "That ain't the way I seen it, pally. The way I seen it, a kid who kept beating death was being reminded by it that it was still coming for him."

 

    One eye now teared on the drunken officer.

 

    "And it did. And where did it take him? Not at the front-lines of a war. Not near the Klingon or Romulan borders. But right here on Earth, in Iowa. We're a few thousand kilometers from Starfleet HQ, and just a few thousand more from the Federation's capital city. That's where a hero's heir dies. Suppose we wanna have kids? Where they gonna be safe?"

 

    Sulu staggered toward the restroom, and Chekov decided it was a good idea to help him.

 

    "But if yew think I'm messed up? Heh. I'm just drunk. The Cap'n's letting this thing kill im'!"

 

    As Sulu made the restroom just in time, two more early entrants walked into the funeral reception.

 

 

 

    "Mom? Why couldn't we go to the funeral? We got dressed up for it."

 

    "Because, Captain Kirk's relatives and I never got along."

 

    This was a lie. Carol Marcus simply didn't want to be around cousins and uncles who would not have hesitated to point out who young David looked like. She saw David looking at a portrait of Peter Kirk.

 

    "Is it me, or do we look alike a little?"

 

    Carol pulled him away.

 

    "It's just you. I don't see it at all."

 

    David shrugged.

 

    "Just wondering. I mean, if you'd married Captain Kirk, that guy would have been my cousin."

 

    "I didn't marry Jim. He wasn't your cousin."

 

    In fact, this was true. The two were half-brothers.

 

    "I don't get you two, Mom. You went out when I was like, really little, and then again when Enterprise got all burnt up before last year. You get all lit up, and he acts like we're big pals, and then you go off to talk, you yell, he yells, he tells me he's sorry--and then he and that lady with the legs go off somewhere."

 

    Carol rolled her eyes.

 

    "Uhura. Her name is Nyota Uhura."

 

    David grinned.

 

    "She wears those stockings!"

 

    *He's six, at his half-brother and grandmother's funeral, Carol thought. Yet he's scoping the same woman who beat me out for Jim.*

 

    "We were all friends with a man named Gary Mitchell, David. He died suddenly, and we felt bad, and went to comfort each other. That's what you saw."

 

    David nodded.

 

    "I guess. So why'd all that power drive him crazy? Did Captain Kirk really have to kill him?"

 

    Carol turned so quickly, she feared her neck would snap.

 

    "How did you find out about that?"

 

    David just leaned back in a chair and smiled again.

 

    "One of these days, I'll get into your special super-duper ultra-triple encrypted database, too. Can't wait to see what you've got hidden there!"

 

    An enraged Marcus actually grabbed her son's arm.

 

    "Why are you acting like such a stinking brat?"

 

    He shook her off, and pointed at the dead boy's picture.

 

    "Because you won't let me tell Captain Kirk about how I saw his nephew the night he got killed, and all the things he told me. He might still be alive, so he can be rescued!"

 

    Carol heard footsteps, and had to work fast. She knelt down by her son.

 

    "David, look. I once pulled a--nasty prank--on Captain Kirk. I mean really bad. Something I cannot ever undo or take back. If you tell him what you saw right now, when he's so upset, and it turns out to be wrong, he may think I'm trying to hurt him again, and then he may even hate me."

 

    Her conscience had played a great game with Carol, over her choice to attempt to morally entrap James Kirk by becoming pregnant with his child. It had stung her ever more sharply as she closed the unworthy trap by making the full abandonment of his space-lane career a condition of his even being a part of David's life.

 

    "Why? What'd you do to him?"

 

    Then came the delivery date, a month too early. All she had remembered were some stupidly catty remarks made to Nyta, who had been driving, before Marcus lost consciousness. When Carol awoke, she was a mother, and David was fine. But the being who called herself guardian to the Kirks was there as well. The story she told was that the weakened Carol Marcus could not have borne the pains of delivery, even sedated. It was a pain psychically taken on instead by the friend she had bragged of betraying-Uhura. David had a connection to those legs he couldn't imagine.

 

    "I took something from his house. Something he wanted us to share, but I didn't."

 

   The game had also been pointless. For James Kirk was already a father as a substitute for his sterile brother Sam. Peter Kirk, not David Marcus, was Jim's firstborn, a fact scheming Aurelan dug into Carol every chance she got.

 

For his part, David agreed to keep quiet, but muttered when she was well away.

 

    "Sure. If I confessed to kind-of stealing something like that, I'd be grounded for life."

 

    With his mother gone, David now looked well away from the portrait of Peter Kirk. The face he truly had seen that night still haunted him.

 

    *Hey, is that Mister Spock?*

 

    The Vulcan hybrid was supposed to have been no mean scientist himself, and his reputation had grown along with Kirk's. An idea crept into the boy's head.

 

    "I promised not to tell Captain Kirk I saw his nephew. Mom never mentioned telling his First Officer."

 

    As one utilizing dubious logic sought to approach one of normally strong logic, an apology was extended to a superior officer.

 

 

 

    "Captain, I am so sorry. But I liked your nephew. I thought I could handle being here as we said goodbye. I couldn't."

 

    A staggering Hikaru Sulu expected any number of punishments as Kirk looked him over.

 

    "Ensign Chekov, take the Lieutenant back to my mothe--back to my house. Both of you sleep it off. There's no one this hasn't hit, apparently. Be very ready to leave in thirteen hours."

 

    McCoy looked at the pair with a great deal less sympathy, after Kirk walked off.

 

    "B-Complex, lightly toasted plain bread, lots of water. And don't let me see you like this again."

 

    Chekov protested, being more coherent than his friend.

 

    "Sir, vwe vwere not carousing or celebrating. Vwhat has transpired is beyond our comprehension, and it caught up with us."

 

    McCoy showed no more understanding than before.

 

    "Then get past it really quickly, Mister Chekov. Because rule number one is that the young die as much as anyone else. Rule number two is that officers can't change rule number one. Nor can one bright, resilient little boy. No matter how well he was loved."

 

 

 

    Nyta Uhura sat on the other side of the room, amazed that she still had either an appetite or tears to cry. She only knew for certain that she was not crying them for Brianna Kirk.

 

    "Lieutenant Uhura?"

 

    Before her was the imposing figure of Doctor Thomas Sorel, Aurelan Kirk's father.

 

    "Doctor. We weren't sure you were coming."

 

    The surgically-altered Romulan shook his head.

 

    "I had considered bypassing this gathering, my poor dear grandson aside. I had enormous difficulties with Mrs. Kirk. Bitter and deep difficulties."

 

    Uhura did not lecture him, as perhaps he expected.

 

    "I adopted Peter in a private ceremony. But my parents will not walk on ground near Brianna Kirk's body. She once did something plainly unforgivable to my family."

 

    Sorel nodded.

 

    "She forced the destruction of your child by Jim, from your youthful encounter on bloody Tarsus. A savage blow to one so young."

 

    Uhura was a bit stunned, to say the least.

 

"Doctor, how could you know that?"

 

    "I ask forgiveness, my dear. Your parents had agreed to act as witnesses on my behalf. Before this had occurred, I was in the process of beginning a custody suit for my grandson. Brianna's instability aside, it was long past time I showed the boy that I cared."

 

    Nyta was still annoyed, but understood her normally very private parents all too well. Brianna had struck at her heart like one of Tolkien's Ringwraiths. In fact, the comparison was more apt than most knew.

 

    "She changed towards the end. She stopped hurting Peter. Started acting like a Grandma, instead of a thug."

 

    While the reason for this literal change of spirit would remain unknown, its irony was not lost on the man called Thomas Sorel.

 

    "It would appear then, that both Brianna and I changed our ways far, far too late. Where do you find comfort in this grim time, Miss Uhura?"

 

    She held up a small book that told the story of the world, depending on who you asked.

 

    "Where I've always ended up finding it. It's gotten dog-eared near the Book Of Job."

 

    Sorel rubbed one of his long-ago altered ears.

 

    "I have read Dante, though not for comfort. I am for some reason stuck fast on the passages that describe The Fallen One, and his three hideous faces on one body. I must go. For while I do not blame Jim for this, I fear misspeaking in our common grief. Nyota--anything you require of me is instantly yours. For you were in that single month more of a parent to Peter than any legal claimant could hope to be. Be well, child. Peter's spirit is now with the child taken from you, so long ago."

 

 

 

    With his nervous mother trying to approach Captain Kirk, David Marcus stole towards Mister Spock.

 

    "Sir? Can I talk to you?"

 

    The Vulcan seemed all business to David. In fact he was struggling with the rampant emotion surrounding him.

 

    "You are Doctor Marcus' son?"

 

    "Yeah. Listen. My Mom doesn't want me saying this to anyone--but I think that Peter Kirk is alive."

 

    Spock raised an eyebrow, which seemed to throw David off, just a bit.

 

 "Is this some manner of prank? If so, it is extremely inappropriate, in this time and place."

 

    But while David got nervous, nor did he back off.

 

    "It's not, I swear it! The night he was supposed to have been killed, I saw him. He was like a ghost. I didn't even know who he was, till my Mom told me later about the Kirks, here in Iowa."

 

    Spock let him continue.

 

    "So you only saw a picture of Peter Kirk's face after the visitation you speak of?"

 

    "Mmm-hmm. He--he didn't have any clothes on--and his butt was bleeding. I read one of my Mom's books. It said that-rape. I didn't want to find out what it really meant."

 

    Spock fought off a shudder.

 

    "David--did the image speak to you?"

 

    "Yeah. He said to tell Captain Kirk he was alive. And that he was at a Hall. Then he burned up and I never saw him again. Why would he tell me, though?"

 

    Spock put the pieces together. A boy whose heritage included telepathy, and who had shown the signs of such an ability. An unknown half-brother, sharing genes and blood. A Hall that held James Kirk not as a hero, but as an obstacle and the son of its fiercest critic. A Hall rumored to have witnessed the most horrid sort of depravities.

 

    "You, David, like he, are a very bright young man. Peter, if it was him, knew you could be trusted to relay his vital message. Now, I ask only that you obey your mother and speak of this no more."

 

    Relieved, David indeed walked off, confident that he had done the right thing.

 

    "Spock to Enterprise. Beam me to the following coordinates, near Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco."

 

 

 

 

 



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