“You wouldn’t know just what to do
with a genuine warm feeling.”
McCoy lashed out accusingly
At the Vulcan near him kneeling.

Really, Doctor?” Spock replied;
His non-committal tone
Masking anguish deep inside
And feelings never shown.

Then suddenly he understood,
At last the doctor knew.
And speaking gently as he could,
Said, “I’m worried about Jim, too.”


By Nancy Kippax

He wept. In the solitude of his quarters with no one to hear, James Kirk gave in to the consummate grief in his heart and let the tears flow freely for the first time since it happened.

First had come the shock, the disbelief; that merciful numbness of grief. It can’t be so! There’ s some mistake! And even when it was proven beyond a doubt to be so, the mental denial, the feeling that this was but a bad dream and he needed only to wake up.

But now, the realization had set in fully, bringing with it the tremendous, aching sense of loss, the incredible loneliness and pain.

James Kirk was his own man; in every sense of the word a leader among men, commander of the finest starship in the galaxy, and yet this time the Fates had dealt him a blow from which he didn’t think he’d ever fully recover. And this time there was no loving hand nearby to touch his head and whisper, “Forget.” James Kirk must go on alone.

The senselessness of it all brought a fresh wave of anguish. If there had been a reason, a higher glory, a purpose to it all, maybe that would have softened the blow, given him something to cling to. But to have it happen in this manner, a freak accident on a routine mission, was the ultimate in irony.

Kirk’s mind went backward to the myriad dangers they’d encountered. The time the Vulcan had entered his pon farr and they had rushed him to his homeland to prevent his destruction. The time the female Imorg had taken the very brain from his body to do her planet’s controlling. The time the shuttlecraft Galileo was believed lost with her entire crew, and again when the parasitic creatures of Deneva had entwined themselves around Spock’s nervous system and there seemed no solution. Yet all these incidents had a tomorrow, and now there would be no more tomorrows for his Vulcan First Officer.

It had been a routine exploration. Spock had taken the shuttlecraft Copernicus out to gather atmospheric data from closer view. A sudden ion storm had entered the area and despite all their efforts to effect a rescue, the small defenseless craft was obliterated swiftly, its matter dispersing into debris particles. There wasn’t even a body to be borne home, Kirk thought, with a wrench of his heart.

Spock was dead. And now he, James Kirk, had to somehow pick up the pieces of his life and go on from here. A life that would never again be the same, he knew. For in all the vastness of space these two men, so different and yet so completely complementing one another, had been drawn together as though Fate intended it. There had been between them a certain quality so rare and treasured in this life that some never found it.

The Captain of the Enterprise stood and paced his room ponderously. In a few minutes he must go to the auditorium and face the assembled crew. It was his duty, his obligation, to deliver the eulogy, to conduct the memorial service for Commander Spock. He had no words prepared, he could only speak as his heart dictated. It was an ordeal he wished he could dispense with, but it was necessary and he would do it because he must. Just as Spock himself once had to search for the words to declare his Captain legally dead when he thought Jim lost in the Tholian sector.

Kirk’s door opened and McCoy stood there, clad in his dress uniform. There were certain military standards which seemed foolish right now. It was proper, it was showing respect, true enough, yet somehow so pathetically insufficient.

“Ready, Jim?” the Doctor greeted him softly, carefully measuring the effects of this tragedy on his friend. McCoy himself could not speak of it yet, of the frustration and helplessness he’d felt. As a doctor, death was his sworn enemy, he rebelled against it more forcefully than the average man. Yet, much as his own grief hurt, he knew his duty lay in helping the Captain to channel his.

Jim looked at him, his eyes beseeching McCoy, the naked hurt showing through. In just a minute he would be the Captain to his crew. He would put up his chin and do what was expected, but right now he was just plain Jim Kirk, a man who had lost his dearest friend.

“What ‘s the answer, Bones? Where’ s the justice?” he asked, his frustration suddenly turning into rage. He wanted to smash something, beat someone, take out his uselessness in physical brutality, as if by doing so he could change things, turn back the clock, bring Spock back to life. Just as Spock had acted physically in so many instances to prevent Kirk’s death. He’d been there when the poisoned plant had shot off its darts, taking them himself rather than risk injury to his Captain. He had lessened the odds when Kirk fought the Yangs on Omega, and again leaped to his defense when the strange man-child Charlie Evans had attempted to harm Kirk. But now, Spock was gone, and no action on Jim’s part could bring him back.

McCoy moved in close and put a hand on Jim’s shoulder, fingers gripping tightly. “I have no answer—no one does. You must seek out the answer within yourself. We all must,” he added, his thoughts a kaleidoscope of memories. He and Spock in the wilderness wastes of Beta Lyrae’s ice age, his frozen feet about to drop off; Spock urging him on. He and Spock in the arena on the Roman-like planet, his opponent settling in for the Kill before Spock moved swiftly and rendered the man helpless. Spock’s sympathy and concern when the Vians of Minara had tortured him so badly they almost succeeded in killing him. A plethora of pain consumed the doctor and he forgot for a moment he was supposed to be reassuring the Captain.

Kirk got up and moved abruptly. “C’mon, Bones, the crew is waiting,” he said evenly. He straightened out his face, composed his thoughts and left his quarters.

James Kirk walked slowly into the auditorium, eyes straight ahead, hands steady. Reaching the dais at the front, he looked out at the sea of upturned faces. Those silent, comforting faces of his co-workers, turning expectantly now to him to say the words for them, to put voice to what they were all feeling. Death and danger were no strangers to these brave men and women gathered here, but familiarity does not soften the hurt, especially in a situation like this, where death had come so unexpectedly and brutally.

Kirk stood with his hands resting on the platform, willing his muscles to relax. He spoke quietly and clearly, his voice carrying nonetheless to the back of the room in the silence.

“We are here now to pay homage to the memory of Commander Spock,” he began. “We all know what happened, perhaps we don’t know why it happened. Doctor McCoy says we have to find the answer within ourselves and I expect that about sums it up.” He paused, flashing a look at Bones, sitting so still in the first row. “Mr. Spock gave his life in the performance of his duties; he died the way he lived, with honor and courage. Yet though he died, he left a legacy to all of us who knew him. A striving for perfection, a deep sense of admiration for the orderly and logical way—” His throat tightened on that last. How long, he wondered, before I can hear the word ‘logical’ without choking? He continued. “These are but a few of the things Spock has bequeathed to us fortunate enough to know him and his unique Vulcan philosophy.” A very tiny smile appeared around the corners of Jim’s mouth. “He would not wish us to grieve; it is exclusively a human trait. No, Spock would expect us to go on with out duties, taking what comfort we could from the memories we carry of him.”

He looked at the faces, tearful, courageous, all members of the same family. “Spock was my First Officer, my friend. He cannot be replaced, but we must go on, living out our lives as was intended. And feeling that much richer for having known that Vulcan named Spock.

“There will be a minute of silence now. All rise.”

As the four hundred got to their feet, Kirk bowed his head.

He would go on, he knew now. A part of him had died with Spock, and he would never be the same, but his duties compelled him onward, just as Spock would have gone on without him.

With heavy heart, James Kirk left the room.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: Don’t panic! ‘Eulogy’ was written as an experiment in the genre known to all fans as the “What if… “ story. We all saw, in “The Tholian Web,” Spock’s reaction to Kirk’s death, and I began wondering about the reverse. Hence, ‘Eulogy.’ However, this by no means indicates that the author wishes Spock dead any more than the Creators wished Kirk dead in “The Tholian Web!” I have no desire to abort the relationship! 

Attention All Writers!

Please note that the deadline date below is accurate! The contest ended 36 years ago. Sorry!

Art by Russell Volker, Sr.







Kirk backed out into the corridor. He knew he was trembling; he willed his legs to steady him. A gentle hand touched him on the shoulder and a familiar voice spoke the word, “Captain.” Kirk turned to meet the piercing eyes of his First Officer. Pleadingly, he beseeched, “You saw, Spock?”

Spock nodded. “Yes. It is time.”

Kirk fought off a rising panic. His hands felt as cold and clammy as the walls around him. He forced himself not to think, to concentrate on his breathing.

Spock lowered his eyes. For an instant he gripped the Captain’s shoulder tightly, then he removed his hand. His voice was steady, quiet as he spoke.

“Jim—I’m sorry. I didn’t…” He couldn’t go on.



The Silent Connection

By Nancy Kippax & Beverly Volker
Art by Russell Volker, Sr.

The sixth planet of the star Capella, commonly called Henson’s Planet after its discoverer, was not what Kirk would have picked as a place to spend a two-week vacation, but it was suitable to human life and classified ‘M.’  The atmosphere was somewhat thinner than Earth’s and drier, with a temperature akin to that section of Old Russia known as Siberia.  It had a rocky terrain, jutted with deep crevices and craggy peaks that made walking treacherous.

The Enterprise sensors had shown the planet to be uninhabited, agreeing with previous scouting reports, and the ship at this time was locked into orbit above so that its science department could investigate any potential value of this newly discovered world.

Kirk was contemplating the bleak horizon stretching before him as his First Officer approached.  Spock carried a tray of assorted containers filled with bits and pieces of the terrain.

“I am preparing to beam aboard with these specimens, Captain,” he greeted his superior.

Kirk’s eyes twinkled in amusement at Spock’s obvious delight in being involved in this scientific investigation.

“Personal delivery guaranteed, eh Spock?” he teased.

“As Science Officer it is my job to see to the proper distribution and categorizing of any and all samples we may take,” Spock answered.  “’The rest of the landing party will be” gathering more specimens and readings for another hour, Sir.”

Overlapping their conversation, another voice was speaking, if speech it could be called.  We Humans might call it telepathic thought, but it was more than that.  The beings conversing were on a mental plane so much higher evolved than ours that their powers of communication can only be guessed at.


He will be the one, then.


We must be subtle.

As Spock de-materialized, Kirk smiled fondly after him, and went to check the progress of the other science specialists.  It took him most of the hour Spock had referred to, and, satisfied that all was going well, he made his way back to the beam-up point over the rocky landscape.  He moved carefully, his footing sure, until suddenly it seemed there was a, depression where none had been before and, with a cry of surprise, he felt himself falling into the gaping crevice.  He remembered no more, and his conscious mind.  did not hear the voices.  He was oblivious as they probed and adjusted his mind.

It is as we thought.


His mind is too weak to resist.


He will remember nothing.


He will do our work for us.


In the Science Lab, Spock was interrupted by the intercom.  “Scott to Mr. Spock, com in.”

He flicked the switch.  “Yes, Mr. Scott, what is it?” Spock asked patiently.

“We’ve a bit of a puzzle here, Mr. Spock.  The Captain called in and said he’d be at the beam-up point and we were to transport him aboard on his signal.  Well, he didn’t show up and now we can’t raise him on the communicator, either.”

Spock stood thoughtfully for a moment, then asked, “Have you contacted any of the other members of the landing party?”

“Kyle’s doing that now, sir, but so far ‘it ‘s negative.  They all say he was by earlier, but they haven’t seen him recently.”

McCoy, who’d been helping in the culture analysation, stepped up now behind Spock.

“Maybe something’s happened to him, Spock,” he said gravely.  The Vulcan looked at him evenly.  “That is a possibility, Doctor.  One of many, I might add.  We cannot make such an assumption on so little data.”

Scotty’s voice came through again.  “We’ve got two members of the landing party who just beamed up.  Would you be wanting to question them, Mr. Spock?” he asked.

“Yes, Mr. Scott.  On my way, Spock out.” The First Officer turned to McCoy.  “Do you care to join me, Doctor?”

“Lead the way, Spock,” was Bones’ gruff reply.

In the transporter room, they obtained very little information from the two young crewmen who only repeated what Scotty had already discovered.  They listened to reports from the planet surface where the remaining crewmen were conducting an impromptu search, but to no avail.  Spock’ s decision to act came swiftly.

“Mr. Scott, equip a security team with sensor devices.  We shall beam down and conduct a thorough search of the area.  Dr. McCoy, you will accompany me. We may have need of your services.”

“What ‘do you think happened, Spock?” Bones asked in concern.

“I do not know, Doctor, and I have no opinion.  I am merely doing the logical thing,” Spock aid evenly.

Who are you kidding, Spock? McCoy thought.  You’re just as concerned as I am!


The place looked the same to Spock.  He reflected that there were many places where a man could go unnoticed.  He was engrossed in organizing the search party in the most systematic way possible, when a shout from McCoy halted him in midsentence.  Turning, Spock saw the Captain making his way towards them a bit unsteadily.

Leaving the guards, he hurried to Kirk’s side.  McCoy had reached the Captain first and was running the medi-scanner over him.

“What happened, Captain? We lost communications with you,” Spock asked with some relief.

Kirk’s voice was easy.  “Sorry to alarm you all.  I lost my footing and took a fall.  I must have blacked out for a few moments, but I’m all right now,” he said.

“Let me be the judge of that,” McCoy growled, the brusqueness masking his relief.  Softening, he added, “That’s a nasty bump you’ve got on your head, Jim.”

“The landing party was unable to locate you.  Where was it you fell, Captain?” Spock asked.

Kirk indicated the rise behind him.  “Back up on that knoll somewhere,” he dismissed the incident.

“I want to check you but in Sickbay,” McCoy ordered, and Kirk, about to protest, changed his mind and agreed.  Better to be safe than sorry, he reflected.

Unknown to him, the voices were in Kirk’s’ head now.


All goes well.


This is the only way.


Spock entered the bridge and nodded to Kirk as he took his place at his station.  Kirk acknowledged the greeting wordlessly as he went on with the systems check he was conducting.

“Navigational controls A-OK, sir,” Sulu checked off.

Kirk put a hand up to his temple to obliterate a sudden pain.  Brushing it aside, he continued.

“Engineering Section, report,” he ordered.  The pain hit him again, forcing him to squeeze his eyes shut.

Spock looked at him curiously.  Stepping down to Jim, he spoke             softly so they would not be overheard.

“Captain, are you unwell?” he asked in concern.

“Headache,” Kirk explained.  “Must be that fall I took.”

Spock looked at him uncertainly.  McCoy had pronounced the Captain well after that incident. “Do you wish for me to carry out the Systems check?” he asked, aware of the strained look on his Captain’s face.

Kirk looked at him gratefully.  “Good idea, Spock.  I’ll go down and see if Bones can give me something.” He stood up and left the bridge with obvious relief as Spock, slipped into his chair

Everything went smoothly and no problems came up, until Spock received a communication from the Science Lab.

“Geologist Pritchett here, Sir.  We’ve had an accident.  One of the shelves of cultures fell over.  We lost about half our samples.”

It was regrettable occurrence, and Spock relayed it to Kirk when he resumed command.  The Captain was mildly annoyed.  They would have to be replaced.

Kirk’s next headache came some time later in the briefing room, where he was hearing the preliminary data gathered by the science teams.  A sudden sharp, stab of pain in his temples drove all conscious thought from his mind.  It tapered off then, and he persisted with the meeting doggedly, choosing to ignore the vicious throbbing in his head.  At the conclusion of the meeting, he turned to Spock.

“Mr. Spock, take the Con.  I’ll be in my quarters,” he told him abruptly.

And, silently, the voices came again.


Do not waste time.



On the bridge, Spock was preparing his log entry; he looked up at Chekov’s cry of exclamation.

“Mr. Spock, there’s a depressurization in the hangar deck!” the ensign informed him.

“There’s a crew working down there!” Sulu injected in alarm.  “The hatch is in open sequence,” Chekov reported, tension in his voice.

Spock’s voice was steady. “Manual override.  Mr. Sulu.  Cancel that open sequence and pressurize the Hangar Deck. Lt. Uhura, get a medical team down there in case those men need aid.”

“Manual override in effect, sir,” Sulu told him, breathing a sigh of relief.

A narrow escape, Spock thought grimly. He ordered the area closed off until they could determine what caused the malfunction.


There were several more scattered incidents over the next few days.  The food processors were not functioning properly, and Kirk had to order an engineering team to repair them. The transporter went out, stranding the lab team on the planet surface for hours until they corrected it.  And through it all, Jim was bothered by those blinding headaches that sent him to his quarters or to Sickbay for ease.  He could feel one coming on again as he sat on the bridge discussing these matters with Scotty and Spock.

“Gentlemen,” he was saying, “something or someone is trying to sabotage this ship! There have been too many ‘accidents’ to be called accidents! Spock, does anything we’ve learned about this planet give you any clues?” he asked, rubbing his temples.

Spock’s answer was cautious.  His eyes on Kirk, probing.  “No Sir.  However, there has been insufficient… Sir, are you all right?” he asked, as Kirk’s face contorted.

The Captain spoke with effort.  “I’m going to Sickbay, Spock. I think for now we should order all the men up from the planet until we can determine what’s going on.”

As he retreated, Spock looked after him thoughtfully.  He had his own ideas as to what was causing the malfunctions, but he wasn’t quite ready to voice them yet.


McCoy looked at Jim in puzzlement. “I don’t know, Jim. There’s absolutely no medical reason for these headaches.  I’ve put you through the tests twice, now.  You’re perfectly healthy!” he said in exasperation.

Jim frowned.  “Bones, there’s got to be something! They don’t last long, but they’re becoming more frequent.  I have a job to do, I can’t be laid up with phantom headaches!” he said.  Getting to his feet, he paced restlessly.

Uhura’s voice came urgently over the intercom.  “Sickbay, alert! Send a medical team to the Engineering section at once.” Kirk strode over and flicked the switch as McCoy dispatch d his men.  “This is the Captain.  What’s happened, Uhura?” he asked.

“There was an explosion in the Jeffries Tube, sir,” she informed him. “Two crew members were injured attempting to repair the damage.”

Kirk looked at McCoy with a sick expression.  “What… is… happening to my ship? “ he intoned.

The medical team entered with the two injured crewmen, followed by a dirty-faced Spock.  McCoy took the wounded back to treat them, and the First Officer turned to Kirk.

“The damage has been repaired, Captain.  It was fortunate that Kyoto and Slayman were nearby.  Their prompt action averted a serious burnout,” he informed Kirk.

Voice charged with anger, Kirk said, “What caused it, Spock? How did this happen?” It seemed he’d been saying those words too damn much lately, he reflected in annoyance.  Something beyond his ken was taking place and the Captain was determined to find out what it was.

“The circuit was definitely tampered with,” Spock told him evenly.  “Someone was there very recently and cut the wires to short circuit.”

McCoy joined them.  Kirk was still mulling over Spock’s information.

“Someone here on the ship, Mr. Spock?” the doctor asked, repelled at the thought it might be one of the crew.

Spock nodded gravely. Someone with a great deal of knowledge about the ship, judging from the variety of malfunctions we’ve encountered.”

Jim turned to McCoy.  “How are your patients, Bones?” he asked.

“They’re going to make it,” McCoy replied.  “They’ll be out of commission for a while, though.”

Kirk nodded.  “We have a lot of questions, but no answers.  Bones, about these headaches… “

Spock cut him off.  “Captain,” he said thoughtfully, “has it occurred to you that these incidents always happen when you are incapacitated?”

Kirk looked at him sharply, the hairs on his neck prickling.

“What are you saying, Spock? A connection?”

“Possibly,” his First Officer concurred.

Kirk looked dubious.  He could see no correlation between the attempted sabotage and these headaches of his.  Perhaps the timing was right, looking back he could see that, but to what purpose?

“It’s a theory, Mr. Spock,” he admitted, “but we need more specific information.  Let’s go try to find some answers.”

A little while later, Jim had to leave the bridge again; the throbbing in his temples was increasing.  Several minutes after Kirk had gone, Spock put Scotty in charge and headed for Sickbay, where he found McCoy at his desk.

“Doctor…” he began.

“What can I do for you, Spock?” Bones asked, surprised to see the Vulcan here.

“I’m here to inquire about Captain Kirk’s health,” Spock told him, choosing his words with care.  “I have reason for concern,” added.

The doctor frowned.  “If you’re referring to those headaches, Spock, you know as much as I do.  I’ve given him every test in the book and everything checks out normally.  And yet,” he stood up and walked around the desk, “there’s got to be a cause!” he exclaimed in frustration.

“Then, in your opinion, the accident he encountered on the planet surface — “ Spock began, but McCoy cut him off.

“ — Wouldn’t cause all this.  No!” The doctor shook his head emphatically.

Spock appeared about to say something else, but suddenly they both became aware of the complete silence.  The ever-present hum of the ship had ceased, indicating a shutdown in the life-support systems!

At that moment, Jim Kirk was lying on his bunk in his quarters. The ache had passed and he was planning to return to the bridge.  But Spock’s earlier words were still with him, and the more he thought about them, the more it fit in.  Could it be possible that someone, somehow, was causing not only the malfunction to the ship, but arranging to get him out of the way for a while? Could someone aboard be an enemy spy? It was possible, he concluded.

Just then, his intercom beeped.  Growing to dread the sound as a harbinger of trouble these past few days, he crossed the room and acknowledged the-voice.

“Emergency, Captain,” Scott informed him.  “There’s been a shut-down of the life-support systems on Deck 7.”

Sickbay! Kirk’s stomach lurched.  “Evacuate the area and restore systems manually,” he ordered, knowing even as he spoke that these things would have been tried already.  The able, competent officers who served as the Enterprise bridge crew all knew their jobs well.

Scotty’s voice was tight. “Manual override is not functioning either.  We’ve evacuated most of the area, but the doors jammed on Sickbay complex, and we’ve got about eight crew members trapped down there, according to Mr. Spock.  He and Dr. McCoy are trying to free the doors but haven’t succeeded so far.”

Spock was down there too? By now, Kirk realized, their air would be getting thin—if they hadn’t succeeded so far, they certainly wouldn’t now!

“Get a team down there to phaser through, Mr. Scott—I’ll meet you there—Kirk out.” Snapping on a life support belt, Kirk quickly left his quarters.

Outside of Sickbay, he hailed Scotty, who was directing the crew working on the doors.  The Chief Engineer shook his head.

“We’ve little hope of reaching them in time, Captain. Mr. Chekov’s on the bridge trying to repair the manual system, but I’m not promising anything.”

Kirk stood by, watching the slow procedure helplessly. His friends were trapped in there and there was nothing he could do! “How long do they have, Scotty?” he asked anxiously.

“Only about another two minutes, sir.”

Fretting with the inactivity, Kirk was startled by the sudden resuming hum as life-support returned to normal. Chekov had come through! Feeling his muscles relax, Kirk waited patiently until they freed the doors, then he strode in eagerly.

“That sure was a close one,” McCoy greeted him.

Kirk grimaced and nodded. “Too close! Another of our mysterious malfunctions.” He turned to Spock.  “I’ve been thinking about what you said earlier, Spock. About the connection. It’s happened again, hasn’t it?”

“Yes, Captain, it has,” Spock answered slowly.

“It seems whoever is causing this trouble wants me out of the way! What I can’t figure out is why?” Kirk mused aloud.

Spock was uncomfortably silent. Kirk looked at him sharply, a question in his eyes.  Finally seeming to make up his mind, Spock said, “Not exactly, Captain.  You’ve taken the right hypothesis and drawn an inaccurate conclusion.  It’s not…” he hesitated and Kirk stared at him in astonishment, a glimmer of what Spock was getting at beginning to penetrate.

“Get to the point, Spock! Say it!” he said fiercely.

Spock’s tone was soft.  “It’s not someone else, Jim.”

“You think I’m sabotaging the ship? “ Kirk exclaimed, horror in his voice.  “You think I’m causing these malfunctions!?”

“Now, wait a minute, Spock—” McCoy injected.

Spock silenced them both with an upraised hand.  “Not consciously, Captain.  I do not believe you are even aware of it.  Yet in each instance you have had the opportunity, the knowledge and the skill to carry out the mishap.  My theory is that you are unconsciously carrying out some form of programming.”

“You’re saying something or someone has taken over my mind?” Kirk asked, revulsion setting in at the very thought, making his voice sharper than he intended.  “Ridiculous! I’d know if I were doing these things.”

“Not necessarily, Jim, “ McCoy said thoughtfully. “The mind’s a tricky thing.  Those headaches could be an indication that something’s going on like Spock says.”

“And, Captain,” Spock broke in, “there was that time down on the planet that you were unaccounted for.”

“I fell! I told you, I slipped and blacked out!” Kirk protested. Seeing their impenetrable faces, he added, “I remember it! Nothing happened!” He could see their disbelief, their doubt.  He felt betrayed and yet he knew that was wrong.  They all had the good of the ship at heart. Spock and McCoy may be misguided, but he couldn’t doubt their loyalty.  An idea occurred to him, and he groped for the right words.

“All right, you suspect that something happened in that time I was unconscious down on the planet.  Can we… prove it… can we… reconstruct it?” He looked steadily at Spock.  “Can you go back in my mind, use your Vulcan powers to relive that time?”

Returning Kirk’s stare, Spock said simply, “It is possible.”

It would be, he knew, quite an ordeal.  On previous occasions he had found Kirk’s dynamic brain to be quite oppressive.  The mind meld was a deeply personal experience, but this he would do for his Captain, and for the safety of the ship, willingly.

Kirk nodded his compliance, and seated himself on the empty lab table, legs dangling freely, forcing himself to relax.  As Spock’s fingers reached out for his temples, Jim met his eyes steadily, staring into those deep, dark, expressionless orbs, willing his mind to go blank.  The first time Jim had experienced this mental probe of Spock’s, he’d been slightly repelled, uncomfortable under such a direct penetration of his inner being.  Yet, as he grew to know and respect the Vulcan ways, learned to trust and understand this Vulcan in particular, he no longer felt any sense of violation.  It seemed right.  It seemed natural.

Spock’s voice was controlled and rhythmic as he intoned the words to bring their minds together.  “Our minds are reaching out… Our thoughts are one… We are one… “

McCoy stood by helplessly and watched the drama being played out before him.  In a few moments they would know the truth and Bones hoped to God that Spock was wrong.

The Vulcan was speaking again, his face contorted with the effort.  He had reached the memory he sought.  The words were partly Kirk’s, coming from Spock’s mouth.  “… Everything well… must beam up… Surprise! … Falling… ground seemed to open up!” A sense of bewilderment.  “… Who? … What?… “ Spock broke off, fighting for control.

“What is it, Spock?” McCoy asked in alarm.

“I am not certain. There is a block.  His mind is strong.” Concentrating again, he continued. This time the voice was different, deeper and slower. “Your mind is too weak to resist us… You will leave this place and remember nothing… destroy the ship… destroy all the trespassers… “

Kirk’s words broke in again.  “I… cannot… my ship… what are you? … get out… leave me… “

Deep again, slow. “… we are greater than you… we do not destroy… you will destroy… ship… not we… “

Kirk again.  “… No! I won’t… Oohhh!

Spock writhed as though in pain, his head snapping back.  Strange noises rose from his throat, an agony of inner mind.

McCoy stepped up and pried his fingers from Kirk, dissolved the link quickly, and supported Spock until he came out of the trance-like state.  As the Vulcan straightened his back and drew a deep, tremulous breath, Jim Kirk opened his eyes and shifted his body.  A look of horror crossed his face.  Spock went over and stood beside him.

“It’s true, then!” Kirk exclaimed, remembering now those things Spock had brought out of his subconscious mind.

“Yes, Captain.  Your mind is being controlled by extremely powerful beings.  You are being forced by them to destroy the ship.”

As Kirk sat motionless, McCoy required an explanation. “Why, Spock? For what reason?”

“They consider us trespassers; enemies who have come to plunder their world. They assume we are too weak to resist them.”

Kirk looked at him thoughtfully, forcing away the feeling of sickening dread and suppressing his emotions to better find a solution.  “So far they’ve been right, Spock.  I’ve done their bidding admirably.”

“You must resist them, Captain. Try to communicate with them.”

“I can’t do it alone, Spock.” He looked pointedly at the Vulcan. “Will you help me?”

“Now, wait a minute, Jim!” McCoy interrupted.  “What you’re asking may be dangerous for Spock, not to mention what you could do to yourself. These beings obviously have capabilities we haven’t dreamed of!”

“Do you have another solution, Bones?” The doctor’s silence was answer enough.  He knew it was difficult for Bones to sit by doing nothing.

Spock addressed McCoy.  “There seems to be no other logical alternative.” Turning to Kirk, his voice was grave.  “I can only strengthen your own mind, Captain,” he warned.  “It will not be easy to challenge them.”

Kirk’s voice was strong.  “I won’t destroy my ship! They cannot force me to do that; not now that I know of them.”

It was agreed upon to wait until Kirk’s next headache, the signal by which the aliens obviously contacted him, to attempt again the mind link with reinforced resistance.  Spock instructed Kirk on how to use his mind to establish communications with the aliens.

Time dragged by slowly.  Each of them carried out their respective duties, the routine tasks covering the tension.  Jim went off duty; out of habit he got a tray of food from the galley, then sat and stared without touching it.  A sudden stabbing pain brought him to his feet.  Fighting against the pounding in his head, he reached the intercom, buzzed for Spock in the Science Lab.

“It’s beginning,” he said tersely.  “I’m in the Officer’s Galley.”

“Stay there, Captain.  Try to fight it—I’m on my way.”

Kirk sat down, rubbing his temples gingerly.  He tried to practice Spock’ts technique.  Over and over he willed his mind to repeat, “I will not do what you want… I will not destroy my ship… I will not …  “ He could sense the pressure this time, he could feel himself slipping into blackness.  He struggled against it, fighting for consciousness.  Dimly then, he was aware of Spock’s presence at last, cool hands touching the hotness of his pain-filled head.  Tearing his mind from the struggle, he concentrated on achieving the mental link.  He was aware of a new strength; he could feel Spock’s mind enter his.  Renewed and reinforced, he turned back to the pressure that pounded his brain.  Through the powers of Spock’s mind, he / they could perceive the third presence, insistent, strong, trying to sublimate Kirk’s consciousness.  Focusing on it, he / they could hear the thoughts.  It was nothing new to Spock, but it was a revelation to Kirk.


Do not understand…


Very strong this time.


And then, quite Suddenly, the presence was gone, the pain eliminated and as Spock dissolved the link, Kirk looked at him in amazement. Both men were breathing hard, composing themselves with obvious effort. There was a tremor in Jim’s voice.

“We did it! They’re gone!”

“Yes, For now.” Spock’s voice was steady.  “They were startled at the resistance they met.  They will undoubtedly attempt it again. “

Together they moved to Sickbay; McCoy was expecting them.

“I believe,” Spock said, “we should remain here until the next contact is established.  We do not know how severe their next attempt shall be, Captain.”

The doctor was running a check on Kirk’s body functions.

“Your blood pressure’s up, Jim, and your brain waves are showing signs of abnormality. Too much more of this increased pressure’s going to kill you!” he admonished.  “I want to be ready with a tranquilizer if it becomes necessary.”

“No!” Kirk said sharply.  “I’ve got to be able to communicate with them — find out what they want.” He silenced Bones’ protest with a command.  “That’s an order, Doctor.  Only as a positively last resort if it seems to endanger the ship.” If they win, Kirk thought drily.

There was only a few minutes for speculation before a sharp stab of pain, fiercer than any other, brought a cry from Kirk’s lips. Spock moved swiftly, reaching into Jim’s mind; the pain became his pain, the thoughts his thoughts.  The link was established. The two men moved apart and Kirk felt the strength and skill from Spock’s extraordinary powers supporting him as he addressed the aliens, verbally, for that was easiest for him. He spoke hoarsely, the pain and pressure stronger than ever.

“I will not do as you wish! Leave me! Go!”

McCoy tensed as Kirk’s hand grabbed at a small surgical knife on the desk, a sharp specimen curate.


Get rid of the other presence…

Kirk heard them, willed his mind and body not to obey.  “No, I cannot… “ He moved closer to Spock, who was standing trance-like against the wall.  Kirk’s hand jerked up, bringing the knife blade to Spock’s throat.

Spock counter-acted.  His piercing eyes riveted on Kirk.  His mind willed Kirk to stop.  Through telepathic contact, the Vulcan was able to guide the Captain’s mind to resist the intense pressure being wrought by the aliens.

With a great effort, Kirk lowered his arm. The knife clattered noisily to the floor.

McCoy prepared a hypo as he saw both Kirk and Spock’s heads snap back under the pressure.  “Stop it!” he shouted, though he didn’t know what he was shouting at.  “Stop it! You’ll kill them!”

Kirk heard the commands again.


Go to the computer section.


Do not resist.


As his feet began to obey, his mind refused.  “I will not go to the computer! I will not sabotage my ship!” The pressure intensified for just a moment and as he continued the resistance, quite abruptly they were gone again.  Completely spent, Kirk sagged to his knees. Spock staggered to McCoy, who was running the medi-scanner over the Captain.  Jim looked up in concern.

“Are you all right, Spock?” Spock nodded, and Kirk continued as McCoy adjusted the instrument for Spock’s physical computations.  “They were confused, weren’t they?”

“I detected a sense of bewilderment,” Spock agreed.

“Neither one of you can take any more of this!” McCoy protested. “If it hadn’t stopped when it, did, you would’ve burned out some brain cells.”

Spock turned to McCoy. “Doctor, your medical terminology—”

“Spock! What’s going on?” McCoy interrupted, when he realized that Kirk seemed to suddenly go into a trance.  His face was chalky-white, his eyes were glazed and unfocused.  “Jim!” Bones exclaimed, shaking the Captain.

Kirk felt them enter his mind, although this time there was no pain and just a slight pressure.  He was aware of Spock and McCoy and what was going on around him, too, although he was powerless to signal to them.  He knew when Spock reached for him, and could feel the telepathic Vulcan’s thoughts touching his.

“They are probing his mind,” Spock explained to McCoy, the words torn from his throat with effort.  He was unable to say any more, so intent was he on achieving the link.


Why do you resist us?


Kirk / Spock replied, mentally now, Kirk understanding at last how it was done.  “We are men of peace.  We mean you no harm.”


You come to plunder our land.

“We believed this place to be uninhabited.  We were not aware of you.”


Inferior minds are beastial peoples.


“Yet we resist you.  We have not harmed.  You have done the harm—the hurting.  Not we.”


“You know from our thoughts of the Federation of Planets that we represent.  There are many life-forms among us.  Yet we work together.  Is that primitive?”


Your minds are weaker than ours.



“We have come only to study your planet.  Later perhaps, if you allow it, we could send representatives to discuss with you our common goals and interests.  We have those specially trained in such areas. They could communicate with you as we are doing now. “

It is good.


Study as you want.


We will LEAVE YOU now.

With that, they departed, leaving Kirk/Spock entwined alone.

Then Spock destroyed the link, giving a shudder at being free of the emotions and force of Kirk’s mind.

“Fascinating!” Spock said in wonder.  “They are really quite pacifistic, Captain.”

McCoy, feeling reassured that they were indeed all right, was somewhat at a loss.  “What happened? Are they gone?” he asked.

“Yes, Bones,” Kirk said strongly.  “When they discovered we meant them no harm, they were quite reasonable.  They’ve agreed to a contact with the Federation.  Perhaps a Vulcan or a Medusan Ambassador can be sent here.”

“What kind of life – form are they?” McCoy asked curiously.

Spock replied.  “Obviously unlike anything we know of, Doctor. The wonder is that we can communicate at all.”

“Well, I’ve often thought that about the Vulcans, Mr. Spock,” McCoy teased, smiling at the First Officer.

Kirk grinned at his two friends.  He stood up weakly, McCoy’s arm supporting him.  “I’m okay, Bones,” he protested.  He looked soberly at Spock.  “That was quite an experience, my Vulcan friend.  Thank you.” It had been a unique, eye-opening event for Kirk, and more than ever he valued and appreciated the Vulcan way.

Spock nodded, acknowledging his Captain’s thanks.  “It is fortunate they did not choose to inhabit the Doctor’s mind. They may have received a different opinion of humans.”

Bones was about to retort, but Jim silenced him.  “Okay, you two! We have work to do.  Let’s get to it!”

McCoy smiled as the two friends headed for the bridge.


The Original Flier

Advertising a zine was done in two ways back in the 1970s: You listed your zine in directories like the Star Trek Welcommittee’s, and you printed or hand-wrote fliers and took them to conventions or anywhere you thought fans might gather. Nancy Kippax remembered in 2008 that some of the early fliers she and Bev gave out were hand-written on typing paper using carbon paper for extra copies. She also relates how the mailing of the first flier for Contact #1 to every address in the Star Trek Welcommittee list resulted in a phone call from Sondra Marshak, a minor deity in early Fandom, and co-author of the mass market paperback Star Trek Lives!.

In Bev’s files is the original draft of that first flier, in Bev’s own handwriting. Here it is.

Contact 02

Contact #2 was published just six months after its predecessor. By this time, the zine had drawn attention in Fandom, and no less than seven new authors appeared in its pages, as well as five new artists. It was also fifty pages longer than the first issue. Contact was moving up in the world!

Here then are links to the PDF and CBZ versions.


This issue contains:

THE TWO SIDES OF ONE by Gerry Downes
THE QUEST by Beverly Volker
ODE TO A FRIEND by Joanne Bennett
AN ACT OF LOVE by Nancy Kippax
MCCOY’S SONG by Beverly Volker
BALLAD by Signe Landon
DENEVAN ORBIT by Johanna Cantor
LOGICAL CHOICE by Beverly Volker
KERT RATS by Nancy Kippax
POEM : THE ANSWER by Beverly Volker
NIGHTMARE ENDING by Diane Steiner .
PHASE II by Beverly Volker & Nancy Kippax

Remembering Contact: Sandra Zier Teitler – Editor of Mind Meld

Sometime in 1982 I walked into a video store (those were the days of VHS tapes), and I was renting a Star Trek movie. The girl behind the desk asked me if I liked Star Trek. That girl was Michelle Holmes. Why bring this up when I’m talking about Contact? Because it’s her fault (or to her credit) that I ever got involved. We talked about Star Trek. She asked me if I knew what a fanzine was. No, I said. Well, she lent me a few of hers and one of the first ones I read from start to finish was an issue of Contact. I was hooked. Big time. Some of the stories I admit took me aback a little… they weren’t “Star Trek” as I knew it, but they were character stories… stories that showed the friendship between these men. Regardless of the plot used, those friendships always won out.

As they do in fandom. Well, We won’t talk about how much money I sent with Michelle to the next MediaWest, so she could buy me more zines.

I subsequently wrote to Bev and Nancy at the address in Michelle’s copy of Contact, wanting to order the most recent copy. I included my mailing info as well as my phone number. A couple days later, I received a phone call from Bev. It went something like this:

Bev: “This is Bev Volker, got your order for Contact. I see you don’t live far from here.”

Me: “No…” (I might add I was still a little surprised at the call.)

Bev: Why don’t you come up for a visit? Let’s get acquainted!

So I did. And I told Michelle, and we went together. When we arrived, Bev, Nancy and Martha were all sitting in the living room. We were grilled. Who is our favorite character? Why do we like Star Trek? The usual. My favorite character has always been McCoy. Even though Contact is more of a Kirk-Spock zine, McCoy is the mediating character. Even Roddenberry said that the triad of Kirk, Spock and McCoy made up the “one.” We were in. We were invited to join them for their weekly “Saturday night” Contact group get togethers. So we went. We met many people who quickly became friends and extended family. In addition to Bev, Nancy and Martha, we met Mary Mills, Jan Davies, Suzanne Elmore. And Marion McChesney, who was chairing a convention, ClipperCon. We were bribed… hooked… into working the convention. And there you have it. How I got into this little group.

Well, Michelle and I were talking one day and she said, “You know… we could do a zine.” I said, “Uh… sure, why not?” My brother did the printing and Mind Meld was born. It lasted for seven issues before I had to give it up.

The conventions… ClipperCon… OktoberTrek… and now Farpoint… continued. The family grew. Bev’s kids grew up, thanks to Jan Davies, Renee met Steve and they have since formed a great family with two sons who are also growing up in fandom. Fandom is a wonderful place for kids. No one is judged. Everyone is accepted. It’s a perfect world.  Almost.

Except you still lose people you love. When my mother died, Bev became one of my “second moms.” When I finally met Bruce, my to-be-husband, no one could have been happier for me than my extended family, the “Contact Crowd.” Bev and her oldest daughter, Robin, made my dress for me as a wedding gift. I must say that time was hectic as I had been in the hospital two weeks before the wedding. It took some doing to get the dress done in time, but they did it.

When Bruce died, it was like a lightning bolt had struck my heart; but my immediately family and my extended “Contact” crowd family were all there for me. Life sometimes isn’t fair, but they had welcomed Bruce with open arms and I truly believe they felt his loss as though he had been around forever.

When Marion died, it was hard on us all. We all realized that the immortality that we had been reading, writing about in zines, keeping these characters alive, really did not exist.

The hardest on all of us, I believe, was Bev. She was a “mom” to us all. She was our “go-to” person when we needed advice. She was always the voice of common sense and brought us back to reality. I was privileged to be able to spend a day a week with her for several months before she died. Her family welcomed me as part of the family the weekend she died, and, while I could do nothing to take away the pain, I knew I was with people feeling the same way I did. I miss her to this day, as I do Bruce and my own mother.

Since Bev’s death, we have also lost Nancy. Nancy and Bev were the founders, so to speak, in my opinion, the strength of the Baltimore fan group. Some may feel differently, but if it weren’t for them I know I would not still be involved as I am now. I am thrilled that Dave Kippax, Nancy’s youngest son, has now become involved once again in the group and in Farpoint.

I am truly thankful for everyone I met because I wrote that one letter to Bev asking for a copy of Contact. I’m so afraid I will forget someone, but some of those people who I consider extended family include: Renee and Steve and their sons, Mary and Michelle and their daughters, Suzanne Elmore, Karen Donnelly, Sharon VanBlarcom and her family, Martha Bonds, everyone who has worked on the conventions with us, past and present. I know I have forgotten someone. For that I apologize. Anyone I’ve forgotten, know that it is not deliberate. I know I don’t keep in touch with people as I should, but I value everyone’s role in what is my life today. I was also able to develop a friendship with Ginna LaCroix, a frequent contributor to Contact, Mind Meld as well as many other zines, and while I don’t talk to her often, we usually write each other 1-2 times a year to catch up on things. She and Sally now raise Alpacas.

I am thrilled that this site to commemorate… remember… and allow good memories to be shared is coming to fruition. I know it’s been a project that has been in the works for some time now. Anything I can do to contribute, I’d be honored.

Sandy Zier-Teitler

The Better Way

Art by Russell Volker, Sr.

“Infinite Diversity,” The Vulcan medal boasts,
“In Infinite Combinations is a better way than most.”
Logic, not emotions, can keep your course set straight.
Never feel what humans call love or fear or hate!
Then, tell us of the “Pon Farr,” with its logic-ripping needs,
And unemotional mercy shown by quiet Vulcan deeds.
And the linking of two minds, the understanding gained.
Just a “logical” experience to a Being, Vulcan trained.
Unfeeling logic, crystal clear—then tell us how its so,
That a culture based on peace, as yours, does not love of others show.

In a Pig’s Eye

(An unsent letter from the Chief Medical Officer to the First Officer of the Enterprise.)

STARDATE: 4019.6

DEAR SPOCK, (How you will cringe at that salutation!)

The purpose of my writing this to you is that there’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you for a long time.  I couldn’t tell you in person – I’d be too embarrassed.  And if you were an emotional being, you would be too.  That’s the point, I mean the crux, of what I wanted to say to you.

I know I’ve teased you a lot, grumbled about it, but the truth of the matter is, Spock, that I really do admire and envy your logical, non-emotional approach to life.  As a man of science, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that yours is a better way than ours.  We humans go charging off helter-skelter, guided by our feelings in every crisis we face, while you remain cool and unemotional, logically taking all the right actions.  Take, for instance, that time on Vaal’s planet.

I would never have been able to assimilate all the data, arrive at such a logical conclusion and take such an unemotional action as quickly as you did.  You saw that the thorns from that plant were aimed right at the Captain.  You realized that if Starfleet had so much invested in you, they must have even more invested in him, so logically he must be the more valuable one to save.  And you reasoned if you just shouted to him he may have delayed a second and the thorns would have still hit him.  So your only logical course of action was to remove him physically.  Completely unemotional action! I admire that!

And then there was that time on Janus VI when we didn’t know what kind of creature the Horta was.  All we knew was that it was killing our people.  But you, always the scientist, had pointed out to Jim that, if it were the last of its race, it would be a shame to kill it.  I remember even the Captain was worried that you might take an unnecessary risk to yourself to keep it alive.  So, I can appreciate the logic and reasoning it must have taken for you to completely reverse your thoughts when you learned the Captain was trapped alone in the tunnel “only ten feet away” from the creature.  Your unemotional, “You must kill it, Jim!” only serves as a tribute to your ability to correlate all the facts and arrive at so swift a decision.  My unbound compliments to you, Spock!’

Time and again, you have astounded us with your astute logic and taught us how efficient unemotionalism can be.  A Captain tortured by thoughts of a lost love would not be 100% effective, so the logical thing for you to do would be to touch his mind and cause him to “forget”.  I can understand that.  And how many times you’ve volunteered for hazardous duty because you’ve logically pointed out that a First Officer is more expendable than a Captain or Chief Medical Officer.  And of course, we all understood that you were motivated by pure logic the time you kidnapped Captain Pike, stole the Enterprise and headed for Talos IV without telling Captain Kirk, so that he wouldn’t be implicated.

I must admit, I stand in awe of your explanation when you lost the shuttlecraft Galileo.  You managed to save our lives by “logically reasoning that it was time for an emotional outburst.” Now, that was a gem!

And speaking of emotional outbursts, I really believed you were going to have one once.  The time you thought you had killed the Captain in the duel on Vulcan and then found out you hadn’t.  I had to drug him to get you both out alive.  I thought for a minute you were going to really let go, but then you very unemotionally explained it was merely your relief in learning that Starfleet had not lost a valuable officer—

In a Pig’s Eye!

Illogically Yours,

Leonard McCoy


Not of That Feather

By Beverly Volker and Nancy Kippax

Art by Russell Volker, Sr.

The tall lean Earthman stepped up to the Enterprise trio who had just beamed down onto his porch.

“Welcome to the Kessler Colony, gentlemen,” he greeted them.  “I’m Leon Kessler at your service!” The man’s voice was resonant and strong.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy looked at their surroundings curiously.  This was a well developed, self-sustaining Earth colony on the outer fringes of the Procyon star system. Its technical name was Damion II and it had been colonized seven years ago by this man Kessler and his party of 31 men and women.  But the Federation had heard no reports from them for almost six of those years, so they’d finally sent a Starship to investigate.  Detecting life forms but getting no response to their transmissions, they beamed down to what seemed like the center of the colony. Their greeting unsettled Kirk.

“Mr. Kessler. I’m Captain James Kirk of the USS Enterprise.  This is our Science Officer, Commander Spock, and our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Leonard McCoy.” He paused for acknowledgement, then continued. “I must say, sir, you don’t seem surprised to see us,” almost adding, as if you expected us.

Kessler nodded sadly.  “It was inevitable, Captain.  We knew the Federation would send someone here eventually.” He broke off and indicated the house.  “Come inside out of this heat and I’ll try to answer your questions.”

They entered the house which appeared from the exterior to be a huge whitewashed wooden dwelling, faintly resembling the ancient Southern plantation homes of Earth.  The interior was anything but crude.  The first thing that struck one was the infinitely cooler, filtered air.  The furnishings were quite modern and opulent.  As they entered the room Kessler indicated as his study, a young girl tidying up looked up at them in surprise and, it seemed, alarm.

She was small, finely featured, with thick brown hair and dark eyes.  After her initial shock she stood quietly observing them with keen interest.  She appeared especially fascinated with the Vulcan.

Kessler finished speaking and turned to the girl.  “Gentlemen, this is my sister, Lydra,” he said proudly, and introduced the trio to her.  “They’re from a Starship, dear.  The Federation has sent them.”

Her eyes darted from one face to another uneasily.  “Hello,” she stammered in confusion. Appearing about to say something else, she caught her brother’s eye and retreated to the file case behind the desk.

Kessler sat down and indicated they do the same.  “Lydra will supply you with my reports.  I’ve kept them faithfully since our transmitter was destroyed in a small fire six years ago,” he said, flicking a button on his desk.  A man appeared in the doorway.  Tall, ruggedly muscled, with a weathered face, he was a formidable looking contrast to the luxury of the room.

“Yes, Sir?” he questioned Kessler.

”Hartley… will you bring our guests some refreshment, please.” Turning to Kirk, he explained, “We make our own fruit ale here which I’m sure you ’11 enjoy, Captain.” The tone was calm and benevolent, but Jim sensed something about this man, something he couldn’t quite put a finger on, that he distrusted.

Meanwhile, Lydra had extracted a thick folder and after a moment of indecision she handed it to Spock.  Her eyes locked with his so intensely for a moment, that even Spock reacted.  He could almost feel her mind reaching out for his, and it startled him. Then the moment was gone, and Spock turned his attention to the reports.

Kessler settled himself more comfortably.  “As you can see, everything has gone smoothly.  We are in need of nothing.  Since we are a productive society, I’d prefer no interruptions in the pattern of our daily life.”

“Spock, scanning the reports, spoke up.  “Captain, I note here there have been four deaths over the past six years.  One of them was Todd Mason.”

Kirk rubbed his chin. “Hmnn… Regrettable.  We carried news for Mason. He’d come into quite a legacy from his grandfather,” he explained to Kessler.  “How did he die?”

Kessler spoke quickly.  “He was killed in an explosion in the foundry almost three years ago.”

Spock looked up in surprise.  “This report indicates, Mr. Kessler, that Todd Mason was the victim of an accidental drowning.  And it took place five years and three months ago.”

Leon Kessler stirred uneasily and there was a pause when everyone held their breaths. The awkwardness ended when the man, Hartley, brought in a tray of drinks. Kessler coughed and cleared his throat.

“Thank you, Hartley, that will be all,” he said casually.  Handing out the glasses he spoke easily to Spock.  “I must have Mason confused with someone else.”

Kirk stood up.  “Mr. Kessler, if you don’t Object, I’d like to contact my ship and then take a look around your colony.  I shall try to be unobtrusive, but I do have a report to make.”

Kessler’s smile was frosty.  “Oh, yes, Captain, I quite agree.  But you will come back and join us for dinner, won’t you?” he asked politely.

Kirk smiled.  “I’m sure that will be fine.  Till then,” he nodded.

As they walked out into the bright sun, the Captain was thoughtful.  All about them was the bustle of a productive colony, yet something seemed oddly out of place.  He stood in the middle of the road, again trying to pinpoint the source of his uneasiness.  He spoke to McCoy.

“Bones, do you sense anything…  different here?” Kirk groped for the right words.  “Anything about Kessler himself, perhaps?”

The doctor looked around him easily.  “No, not really, Jim.  Kinda reminds me of the Old South around here.” Kirk looked at him in amusement, and McCoy grinned, the easy comradeship of shared laughter.

“When they had slaves and masters?” Jim smiled wryly.  He walked ahead of his officers and pulled out his communicator.  “Kirk to Enterprise… Come in, Scott,” he said.  Getting Scotty’s reply, Kirk reported that they found the colonists alive and well.  “But,” he added, “we’re going to stick around here for a while, just to make certain.”

“Trouble, Captain?” Scott asked.

Kirk hesitated.  “No, not exactly, I just want a closer look.  I’ll contact you later.  Kirk out.”

The man, Hartley, slipped quietly away from his hiding place nearby and headed for the big house.



“They are suspicious, sir.  They will dig and probe…”

“Is all secure?”

“On the surface, yes, but these men…”

“Yes, I see.  Perhaps an accident…” .

“Understood.  It would be the easiest solution.”

“Go, then!”


The trio had wandered a distance from the colony itself.  Spock, taking his tricorder readings, found no abnormalities.  The air was oppressively humid and still, and they had worked up a sweat climbing over the rocky terrain. Kirk didn’t know what exactly he was looking for; he’d hoped to get some perspective out here. But there was nothing to be found and he turned now to the other two.

“Let’s head back to the colony. I want to talk to some of the people before we get back to Kessler.” He started down the path, a little ahead of Spock and McCoy.

“Nothing like a walk in the woods to sharpen the appetite,” McCoy grumbled, kicking a rock out of his way.

“Doctor, even you must realize the benefits derived from… ” Spock’s reply was cut off by a rumble from somewhere above them. His comrades hadn’t picked it up, but Spock’s sharp Vulcan ears had. Looking up, he saw the landslide headed for them, and he shouted, but his warning came a fraction of a second too late. With a deafening roar, it suddenly seemed like the whole mountain descended upon them, flinging them this way and that, like helpless little toys.

As the dust cleared and clean air filtered its way back into Spock’s lungs, he sat up stiffly, gingerly testing his muscles. He felt uninjured and hearing McCoy’s coughs to his left, he made his way in that direction, over the rubble of rocks and sand.

McCoy sat up with Spock’s assistance and together they cleared what small debris they could out of the way. The doctor realized he’d lost all his equipment and Spock had too. But right now that thought was not uppermost in their minds.

“Where’ s Jim?! McCoy asked in sudden alarm.

“He was ahead of us just before the landslide,” Spock replied, scrambling in that direction quickly. He and McCoy looked around, seeing nothing at first, then Spock turned1to the right and moved a few rocks out of his way violently, to get to the body which McCoy could see now too, pinned under the main part of the landslide.

“Jim!” Spock’s voice was uneven as he bent beside the still form. McCoy reached them and put his fingers on Kirk’s neck.

“He’s alive,” he said grimly, feeling so much at a loss without his instruments. Spock had started to move away the smaller rocks, but it was a pyramid effect and for every one that Spock pulled out, three more took its place.

The Captain roused and began to cough the dust out of his lungs. He tried to sit up, but found he couldn’t move. Only then did he realize he was pinned down. His chest felt like a ball of fire and he blinked dazedly at his friends.

McCoy’s voice was ragged. “Don’t try to move, Jim. Just lie still.” The pain on McCoy’s face told Jim what he wanted to know, what he had to know; it was bad.

Spock, on his knees at Kirk’s side, was looking at him in concern, unmindful of the small trickle of green blood working it’s way down the side of his face. His superior Vulcan physiology had failed him and he felt the frustration of helplessness engulfing him. Again he tried to move one of the bigger boulders obstructing his progress but a clipped moan from Jim stopped him instantly. Their eyes met and Kirk read the confusion in Spock’s face. He felt Spock’s frustration, and tried to move his free hand toward him. It was a brief moment of weakness for Kirk, an instant when he thought: I’m going to die and I don’t want to die! and Spock understood this and reached his hand out and grasped his Captain’s fingers tightly, willing the strength to flow from him to Kirk.

McCoy came around and touched Spock’s shoulder. They got up and moved a few yards away.

“Spock, you’re going to have to go back to the colony for help,” he said softly.

Spock’s face was tight. “How bad is it, Doctor?” There would be no jokes now about McCoy’s abilities.

McCoy shook his head. “I’ve no way of telling without my instruments, but there’s got to be some internal damage — from all the signs there’s internal bleeding. All I know for’ sure is that if he doesn’t get help—and get it soon, he’ll die, Spock. Jim will die!”

Spock didn’t reply, but he flashed McCoy a piercing look, then turned back to the Captain.

As Spock knelt, Kirk spoke in a somewhat stronger voice. The initial shock had passed and the Captain was feeling his wits returning. “Spock,” he said, “give me your communicator. I can’t get to mine. I’ve got to call the ship, get a team down here…”

“Captain,” Spock cut him off, “there are no communicators. All our equipment was lost in the landslide. With your permission I’ll go back to the colony to get help from the people there.” The ramifications were obvious to Kirk, as they were to Spock. Without communications it would be some time before Scotty got suspicious enough to send down a re-con party and even if they managed to get Kirk dug out and brought back to the house, they had none of the medical facilities of the Enterprise to treat a badly injured man. And there was that other thing, Kirk thought. That uneasiness he’d sensed back there. Something about Kessler. He swallowed visibly and blinked in the glare of the sun.

“Okay, Spock,” Jim said evenly. “But be careful. We can’t be sure these people are our friends.”

Spock nodded and stood up. Needlessly he turned to McCoy. “Take care of him,” he said simply. Before he left, he took one last look at Jim Kirk, proud, strong, vital Captain of a Starship, laying here helplessly pinned down, possibly dying, and with a great effort he turned and began to descend.


“You fool!” Kessler hissed.

Hartley cowered visibly. “I tried, Sir. It was difficult…” He was interrupted by a third man, stationed at the window in this comfortable study.

“The Vulcan is approaching ‘the house now, Sir,” he informed Kessler.

“All right, we’ll deal with this one first.” He picked up a pen and began writing with a good deal of concentration. It was thus that Spock found him upon entering the study.

“Mr. Kessler… There’s been an accident,” Spock said rapidly, pausing when Kessler failed to respond or give any indication of awareness. As he opened his mouth to continue, Kessler spoke, but to Hartley, not Spock.

“Has this man been given permission to enter my chambers?” he asked.

Spock stood there, not quite comprehending; a sense of bafflement replacing his urgency. Hartley stepped up to him.

“Sorry, you’ll have to make an appointment and wait your turn, ” he said, giving Spock a slight shove.

Spock’s tone was neutral. “You don’t seem to understand. Captain Kirk has been injured in a…” Before he could finish, Kessler stood up and suddenly Spock saw it all. It had been no accident! For some unknown reason this man had caused the landslide. It was illogical, but it was true!

Kessler’s tone had changed again and it was easy and warm. “Yes, Mr. Spock, a great pity, isn’t it? But I’m afraid I can’t let you report back on our little colony here. Taylor,” he indicated the third man who had drawn his phaser, “show Mr. Spock to our ‘guest quarters.'”

Spock was shoved roughly out of the house and down a path toward a windowless brick building containing barred cubicles just big enough for a man to stand in. He tried to protest as they locked him in, telling them it was illogical to attempt this on the Federation, but he was ignored, then left alone.

Alone, to stand there and think about that man up on the mountain, possibly dying, and he was powerless to stop it. He tried the bars; they were tight. He could see no possible means of escape. He forced his mind to the unanswered questions. What was Kessler’s motive for wanting them dead? What would they have found if they’d explored further?

At that point he heard the scraping of the outer door being opened. It was the girl, Lydra, bearing a tray of food.

“It is dinnertime.” She attempted a smile.

Spock shook his head forcibly. “I do not desire sustenance!”

Her look was open and amazed. “Do not fear, Mr. Spock. It is clean. I prepared it myself.”

At first he thought she meant hygienically clean, but his puzzled look made her stammer and flush.

“Oh! I thought you knew! That is…” she broke off in confusion.

His mind was working fast now. She had backed off a few steps and he tried to reach through the bars to her, but they were too close together. “Lydra,” he said, his voice soft, coaxing, “there’s something in the food, is that it? Your brother puts what in the food?”

She spoke hesitantly. “A plant extract. I don’t know what it’s called. I don’t even know where it comes from. But it makes people passive, obedient, like slaves,” she said, her voice growing stronger. “He found out its use about a year after we came here, and with the help of a few loyal men began to administer it to the rest of the people so he could have total control!” She broke off, looking dismayed. “But, if you didn’t know this, why would he lock you up?”

“It would be easily detected and he knew we’d learn the truth,” he explained patiently. “So that’s why he didn’t want us bothering anyone,” he mused. “Has no one here attempted to resist?”

“Some have tried,” she replied tonelessly, eyes down. “They are dead.” She looked up at him sadly. “Mr. Spock, I’m sorry you had to get involved in this! I wanted so to warn you away earlier but I was afraid to!”

Spock looked at the girl, an idea dawning on him. “Lydra, there’s an injured man up on the mountain. Can you get up there with a few men and…”

She shivered. “No! I cannot interfere! I should not even be here!”

Before he could stop her, she had fled the way she came. Since she seemed the only logical chance for his freedom, he set about trying to call her back with his mind. So enrapt was he in this endeavor, that he didn’t hear the two men enter until they were at his cell. He looked up as they unlocked the door, phasers pointed at him.

“The boss wants you,” Taylor said grimly, and they led him again to the big house, to that cool, soft, deceptive room.

He had no chance to resist with those phasers trained on him. They shackled his hands behind him and pushed him into a chair. Then Kessler dismissed them with a wave of his hand.

“Leave us! “he commanded. He sat silently observing Spock for a moment, then he spoke. “You mentioned the Federation, Mr. Spock. I wanted to ease your mind on that. You and your friends met with an accident here. Regrettable, but just an occupational hazard, wouldn’t you say?”

“Kessler,” Spock replied, “it is only a matter of time before our ship sends down more men to investigate our absence. They will take the same steps we took upon arrival. They will draw the same conclusions.”

The smile Kessler gave him was chilling. “Yes, but meanwhile your Captain will be dead!” Perhaps Spock’s face gave him away, because suddenly Kessler pounced on this fact. “You would see your Captain die, Spock. Is that what you want?”

Spock was puzzled. This was no game for logic. The man was totally illogical and Spock had no guidelines for human madness.

“I do not understand what it is you want,” he replied.

Abruptly Kessler’s tone changed. “Of course, I could save your Captain. For a time, at least.” He smiled slyly. “The Federation would see I had done everything I could. A pity that he died anyway.”

Spock’s face was noncommittal but he felt a tightness inside, a feeling akin to hatred that was foreign to him. Kessler went on.

“But the important thing now is to get Captain Kirk off that mountain, isn’t it? For what would it matter if you find a way to escape if he is already dead? That is what you must logically conclude, is it not, Mr. Spock?”

Spock still did not reply.

“Well,” Kessler said, “perhaps I could still save him. For the right price.”

The Vulcan thought he understood that one. “If you mean, sir, that we make no mention in our report… ” Kessler cut him off.

“No, no,” he denied. “You cannot be bought that easily.”

“Correct. You have no way of winning and the death of my Captain would serve no purpose.”

“Does that bother you, Spock? It doesn’t bother me. After all, it’s not the winning that counts, but how you play the game,” he chuckled.

But what game we playing? Spock wondered. What are the rules with this madman? Kessler was speaking again.

“So, your ship sends down men to search for you. Well, we have ways around here of controlling a man. Perhaps you know of them.”

“I know of them,” Spock said shortly.

Kessler looked surprised, then he smiled. “Good. Well, regardless of how this all turns out, Captain Kirk is bleeding to death.”

Spock’s head was spinning from the man’s constant change of pace.

“What is it you want from me?” he asked wearily.

“I spoke of a price, Spock. A price for you Captain’s life.” Kessler stood up straight, and his eyes took on a glow. “Will you beg, Spock? For your Captain’s life, will you get down on your knees and beg?”

Spock looked at him in astonishment. It was a ghastly practical joke.

The man was totally insane. Every fiber of his Vulcan heritage rebelled against the act. “Vulcans do not beg!” he spat out.

Kessler’s chuckle was soft. “I know. That’s why it’s such a high price I place on your Captain Kirk. Is he not worth it, Spock?”

Spock repressed the emotions churning in himself and shook his head. “I cannot.”

Kessler seemed angry as he pushed the button on his desk. “We will give you a second chance, Mr. Spock, after you have a chance to think it over.”

The two men entered; one was carrying a hypospray… Spock knew what was coming and he tried to resist, but the combined strength of the two men was too much for a Vulcan with shackled hands. As the hypo pressed into his arm, the last words Spock heard were Kessler’s.

“As I said, we have ways of controlling men here, Mr. Spock.”

A wave of dizziness overtook Spock and he blacked out.


McCoy’s probing fingers made Jim wince. The doctor looked apologetically at his friend and reached up to wipe away the beads of sweat forming on Kirk’s face. His skin under McCoy’s hand was cool, even with the hot sun glaring down on them. Jim’s voice was weaker now.

“How long has it been, Bones?”

McCoy looked up at the sky, trying to read the movement of the strange sun. “Too long,” he muttered.

Kirk tried to move again and was hit by a fresh wave of pain. McCoy eased him back and standing, removed his blue tunic and rolled it into a pillow, which he placed carefully under Jim’s neck. The stark black of his shirt provided a glaring contrast to the whiteness of his dust covered face, as he bent over Kirk.

The Captain tried to speak, his voice coming out hoarse. “There must have been trouble, Bones. Spock must have… ” He broke off, unable to go on.

McCoy was torn by the inactivity. He wanted to go find out what had happened to Spock, to go bring help back, yet he couldn’t leave Jim here all alone, to lie here and die by himself.

“Take it easy, Jim.” He forced himself to smile. “Spock’s never let either one of us down before. I’d never admit it to him, but that Vulcan’s pretty handy to have around when the chips are down.”

Kirk managed to grin. “That’ s what I’ve been telling you… ” His voice trailed off as he lost consciousness again. McCoy hastily grabbed for the pulse, alarm in his eyes. It was there; faint, but still there. Rubbing his eyes, Bones peered off in the direction of the colony. If Spock didn’t get back soon, it would be too late. What was keeping him, he wondered.


As Spock’s consciousness returned, he realized he was alone again with Kessler. The man was studying him avidly. Spock felt oddly at peace here, his senses lulled into a state or amiability by the drug. Kessler was speaking, and Spock looked up passively at his voice.

“Now then, Mr. Spock, we were discussing the price of your Captain’s life.”

It all came back to Spock with a rush of emotion strange to him. With a great effort he willed his mind to clear, even physically tossing his head as though to diminish the cobwebs. His voice was low and controlled. “I am a Vulcan!”

Kessler’s voice taunted him. “And Vulcans do not beg, or so you said. Yet your Captain is dying. Right now, out in that hot sun, his life ebbs from him.”

Spock said nothing, so intent was he on freeing his mind from this foreign influence. He would do just about anything to save Kirk’s life, he thought. Just about…

“Don’t you care, Spock? Don’t you care that he’ll die, his insides smashed under the weight of those rocks?”

Illogical! The Vulcan coming through strengthened Spock. This man will not let us live. It will serve no purpose for him to save Jim.

“You can save him, Spock. I can help him. Isn’t what I ask a small price for a life?”

Spock had almost mastered it now. His sanity was restored, but his emotions were still churning.

“He’ll die, Spock, unless we help him, you and I. Our sun stays up for another four hours. Four more hours for him to lie in that hot sun with the rock’s weight on him, crushing the breath from his lungs, crushing the life from his useless body!”

Kessler’s words fell like hammers on Spock’s ears. He winced under each phrase like a blow. With tortured eyes, he looked at Kessler.

You can help him! Why won’t you help him?!” Spock almost screamed the words.

“You must beg me, Spock. On your knees. And I’ll send the men up to get him. You can lead them. Beg, Spock. That’s all it takes.”

A quiver of revulsion ran through Spock’s nerves. He owed Kirk. his life a thousand times over. Jim had risked his career, his life, his all for him. Was that which Kessler demanded really so high a price to pay? Was pride worth a human life? That life which was so closely bound up with his that they were more than brothers. Almost without thinking about it, he was on his knees, the touch of the thick carpet soft on his legs. Carried away by the force of emotion so new to him, he looked up at Kessler without shame. Somehow this seemed so logically right all of a sudden.

“Please,” he implored. “Help me. Help the Captain. I beg of you!'” The words, once out, could not be recalled and self-revolt set in as Kessler laughed that maniacal laugh. Fully aware now, an aching sense of shame came upon Spock, who realized what he’d done!



Bones had been digging in the rubble, trying to locate some of their lost equipment. At least feeling like he was doing something, he wasn’t surprised that he was unsuccessful. A sound from Kirk brought him instantly to the Captain’s side.

“Easy, Jim. Just lie still,” he cautioned.

The sheer frustration of being unable to move around put an edge to Kirk’s voice. “Bones, did you have any luck?”

McCoy shook his head. “None. It must’ve all gone down the Cliff somewhere. It could be anywhere by now. He stood abruptly, straining his eyes down the path. “Jim!” he exclaimed. “I think someone’s coming!” He threw Kirk a look of relief and ran a few feet ahead, as a voice called out from below.

“Ahoy! Are you there?” It was Hartley, and McCoy recognized him as the man he’d met earlier in Kessler’s office. With him were two other men and Spock.

“Over here!” Bones answered.

As they reached Kirk and began clearing away the rocks, Spock hurried to his Captain’s side to see for himself that he had arrived in time.

McCoy’s voice was anxious. “Well, it sure took you long enough,” he growled, but something in the Vulcan’s blank face stopped him from saying more.

Kirk looked up at his First Officer with what little strength he had left. “Spock…” he began, and appeared about to say something else, but changed his mind. What words could one use, Kirk wondered, the dizziness engulfing him again.

Spock’s voice was controlled. “I shall assist with these rocks, Doctor. Stand by with the first-aid kit,” he ordered.

McCoy had checked it out and it seemed adequate on a short term basis. As the rocks were cleared away, he administered pressure packs and bandages to the worst of Kirk’s superficial wounds. The Captain, although weak, was conscious and obviously in pain. He tried not to show it, but as the last great boulder was lifted from him he gave in with a mighty shudder. McCoy prepared a pain-killing hypo, but Kirk waved him off.

“Bones, I don’t want… ” he began as McCoy pushed it home.

Inert now, they lifted him gently onto the stretcher and descended to the house. There wasn’t really time for words until they got him settled in a bedroom on the second floor. Then McCoy turned to Hartley.

“We’ve got to get back to our ship,” he told him grimly. “Perhaps some of our equipment could be located if… ” The man’s chuckle cut him off.

“Forget it, Doc. You three aren’t getting any help,” he sneered. When Kessler gets back you’re going for a little walk, you and the Vulcan. If you meet with an accident, that’s just too bad.” He moved to the door where the other two men stood, armed now with phasers. “Don’t try anything. As Spock will tell you, it’s useless around here.”

McCoy stared after him in disbelief , as the door was bolted on them. Then he turned to Spock in frantic horror. “What in thunder’s going on here?!” he exploded.

At that point, Jim stirred. McCoy came to his side. The Captain reflected he felt better now. Something in that hypo McCoy’d given him, no doubt. He took in the richly furnished room with clear eyes. The doctor was putting something warm and soft over him and it almost lulled him back to sleep, but he fought off the lethargy with effort. He was the Captain, after all, and the success of this mission, like all others, was his responsibility. He looked at McCoy expectantly.

Bones looked at his friend and laid a hand on his shoulder. “Welcome back, Jim,” he said softly, smiling into that inquisitive face.

Spock stepped over to them and Kirk faced him eagerly. Choosing to ignore the concern he saw on their faces, he concentrated instead on the surge of command he suddenly felt. “Your report, Spock, on our situation?” he asked.

“The landslide was no accident,” Spock explained. “Kessler intended then to kill all three of us. He could not have us inquiring too deeply into his colony.”

Kirk looked at him sharply. “Did you discover the secret he’s hiding?”

Spock replied tonelessly, his eyes fixed straight ahead. “He discovered a drug — a native plant extract — some form of extreme barbiturate, I would surmise. It makes the colonists mentally weak and submissive. He uses it to achieve total control and power.” His eyes met Kirk’s. “He is a madman, Jim. He has no intention of letting us out of here.”

Kirk’s voice took on an urgency. His head was spinning again and he had to get this out. “Spock, you’ve got to get back to the ship! Get out of here, somehow, and hide until the re-con party gets here. Someone has to… stop… this,” he trailed off, lapsing into unconsciousness again. Spock bent over his Captain in concern, and McCoy looked at him thoughtfully.

“We’ve got to get him back to the ship soon, Spock, or it’ll be too late. He needs transfusions and treatment right away,” he told him. Spock didn’t seem to be listening; he’d walked over to the window and stood staring out at the growing dusk with unblinking eyes. McCoy watched him curiously. Something about Spock was all wrong. It was apparent when he talked, in the way he stood, but the doctor couldn’t put his finger on what it was.

“I can see no logical answer, Doctor,” Spock said softly.

Bones walked over close to Spock, who stood with one hand on the windowsill. The fingers were quivering of their own volition, he noticed. What have they done to you, Spock? he wondered sadly, but this man was a Vulcan and he couldn’t say the words — not to him. McCoy’s voice, when he spoke, was gentle.

“I’ve never seen you give in so easily, Spock,” he chastised, and Spock turned to stare at him with such a wounded look that McCoy suddenly knew. What had Spock said about that drug? It made men mentally weak and submissive. That’s what the difference was! The missing element was Spock’s defeatism and lethargy! But, something more, he thought suddenly. He sensed that somehow, someway, Spock had compromised and was now fighting some inner battle with himself. The Doctor longed to reach out to him, to erase the pain in those haunted eyes, but he didn’t know how.

The air was charged with the electricity of unspoken words and thoughts as the two men, Human and Vulcan, triad to bridge the gulf between them, in a situation so totally different for them.

Spock broke it off as he crossed the room and sat down. McCoy hesitated only a moment, then he followed and stooped down by Spock’s chair.

“You heard what the Captain said, Spock. You’ve got to do something! You can’t just sit here and allow this to go on!” he snapped, trying desperately to get through the barriers Spock had put up. Jim would know, he reflected. He could reach Spock where no one else could.

The Vulcan shook his head. “We are locked in, with armed guards at the door. We have no weapons or means of communications. What would you have me do, Doctor?”

McCoy chose his words carefully. “I don’t know what they’ve done to you, Spock, and I know you won’t tell me. But you’ve got to snap out of it. This isn’t like you; you’ve got to realize


Spock looked at him thoughtfully, McCoy’s words penetrating at last. He sensed there was something wrong with his thinking processes. Perhaps he did have to take action of some sort.

Just then, the scraping of the bolt snapped them both back to the present as they turned their eyes toward the door. Lydra entered timidly, and after a moment’s hesitation she came up to Spock, her eyes brimming with tears.

“He’s going to kill you, isn’t he?” she asked frantically.

“We cannot be allowed to report what we know,” Spock answered flatly.

McCoy’s voice was gruff . “Doesn’t he realize killing us will only postpone the inevitable? It’s a senseless move!”

Lydra shook her head. “It doesn’t matter to Leon. He’s convinced himself he can handle anything.”

“The man is insane,” Spock injected.

Lydra looked at him with understanding. “I know that now,” she admitted. “If only I could help.”

“It’s too late,” Spock replied tonelessly.

“Perhaps not, perhaps there is something… ” she began.

“What could you do?” he asked in disbelief.

Her voice grew stronger. “We have a radio. It’s in a little shack not far from here. Only Leon and Hartley know of it. Even I’m not supposed to, but I do.”

While she was speaking, Spock’s face had grown intense; his eyes bored into her. Hope, for the first time, kindled in him, banishing all cobwebs, all sense of dullness from his mind. Adrenalin pumped into his veins and unchained his wits again.

“You must take me there,” he spoke urgently.

“No… ” Lydra hesitated. “I’m afraid. If Leon finds out, if… ”

Spock looked at her intensely, but his voice was composed, logical, as he felt his senses returning. He spoke reasonably.

“Lydra, you have admitted that your brother is insane. You know that forcing the colonists to be slaves is wrong. Kessler will kill my friends and I and there will be an investigation by StarFleet . The end is inevitable. To pretend it is not is illogical. But you can save our lives, perhaps the lives of more, by helping us to hasten the end.”

Lydra hesitated only a second, then she spoke resolutely. “I will bring the guards their dinner. I shall tell you when it is safe to leave.” Her eyes met Spock’s with grim determination.

She was gone for what seemed to McCoy to be an eternity, but was, in fact, a very short amount of time. He paced the room impatiently, but Spock stood quiet and controlled beside his Captain’s bed, the balm of his purposeful plan soothing the few tortured ghosts of his past actions into oblivion.

They heard Lydra’s return. She beckoned to Spock.

“The guards have eaten. They won’t stop us now,” she said. “But hurry, Leon will be returning soon.”

Lydra and Spock hurried past the guards, lulled into passiveness by the extra amount of plant extract she had put in their dinners. Spock stared at them for an instant with revulsion for what this drug could do to men if used by the wrong hands. Then he went on, out of the house and down a small path to a rickety wooden building.

She led him into the dusty gloom carefully. Lighting the area, she indicated the old communications console resting there.

“Does it work?” she asked breathlessly. “I know Leon has listened on it — that’s how he knew of your arrival.”

Spock had bent over and was working with the dials. “I believe it needs a few adjustments. Are there tools?” he asked. Together they poked around the area and came up with a toolkit. He sat down and was soon lost in concentration.

He was almost finished when suddenly, the door was flung open. Spock and Lydra looked up, startled. Her brother stood there, silhouetted against the night sky, the anger contorting his face into a grotesque mask. He pulled out a phaser and pointed it at them.

Spock stood, brushing aside a feeling of loathing for this man and what he had forced him to do. He was a Vulcan and he must deal with this logically.

Lydra was not bound by such a code. She rushed over to Kessler. “Leon, no,” she cried. “You mustn’t… ” She was flung aside roughly.

Venom in his voice, Kessler turned to her. “You too, little sister! You plot against your own flesh and blood!” he roared.

Spock made a move and the man swung back to him. “Stay where you are!” he warned.

“You cannot kill me in this manner. It would be far from accidental,” Spock reminded him.

Walking toward Spock, Kessler turned his back on the weeping Lydra, who was huddled on the floor. “Don’t count on it, Mr. Spock. You will beg me again — this time for your death — before I am through with you!” His eyes were glowing, all semblance of rationality gone from him. “You will suffer, I will make you suffer, and she will watch it!”

Lydra rose quietly and reached carefully to one side where the tools were kept. Her fingers tightened on the axe handle.

Oblivious to her, Kessler raved on. “My sister will learn as I learned that there is nothing special about Vulcans. They beg and grovel just as every other man. Men are worthless, despicable creatures. Especially men who interfere into other people’s concerns. For that you’ll pay!”

She had advanced cautiously but as she raised the axe, Kessler sensed something, perhaps a flicker on Spock’s face, and he spun, only in time to cry out as she brought the weapon down viciously.

Hysterical, Lydra swung it again and again, until Spock reached her side and forced it from her hands. She clung to him, sobbing, and he felt the weight of her as she mercifully passed out.

Laying her gently on the floor, Spock looked thoughtful for a moment, then turned resolutely back to the radio.



Striding purposefully down the corridor toward Sickbay, Spock felt the familiar comfort of the ship easing all other thoughts from his mind. He was back in his sane, logical world again and his senses responded to it. He was about to lay waste to the last nagging worry of that nightmare as he checked with McCoy on Kirk’s medical report.

The doctor looked up as Spock entered and smiled eagerly. “Glad to see you, Spock. Maybe you can help convince my patient he can’t go running up to the bridge right away!”

They both walked over to where Jim sat up in bed, looking tired, but well. Spock raised his eyebrow.

“He looks well, Doctor. Are you certain he isn’t malingering?” he asked drily.

Kirk’s eyes twinkled. “Tell him, Spock. He’s trying to keep me down here so he’ll have someone to talk to,” he protested. “Convince him I’ve got a job to do!”

Spock looked archly from one to the other. “It seems to be a most comfortable arrangement for both of you.” Sobering, he added, “It is good to see you looking better, Captain.”

Lifting his chin, Kirk gave Spock a look of triumph, putting his silent thanks to his Vulcan friend without the need for words. “What’s the report from the team on Damion, Mr. Spock?”

he asked.

“The Colonists have elected to stay there and are showing no after-effects from the drug. I’ve assigned three crew members to help them set up their government and they give an excellent prognosis for success. The three men — Hartley, Taylor, and Wyman — who worked for Kessler, are in the brig and we’ll be dropping them off at Starbase Six, where they’ll await trial and deportation.”

McCoy’s voice was thoughtful. “And, there’s Lydra Kessler, down the hall being put through medical examinations, but I don’t think she’ll have to worry about standing trial. From your statement, Spock, it was clearly self-defense. What worries me is the psychic damage. She may have to undergo some rehabilitation.”

“I am sure the rehabilitation will be minimal,”Spock replied. “She exhibited signs of being a very courageous young woman, and it is reasonable to assume that she will be able to reconcile her actions and make a new start for herself. And now, Captain,” he added, turning to Kirk, “with your permission, I shall return to the bridge. In your absence there is much work that I must do.” .

Kirk looked soberly at his First Officer. “Spock,” he began, “there’s something I wanted to say… I, well, I never did get a chance to thank you. Spock, I know more happened than I’ll never

know about, but… ”

“Yes,” Spock cut him off. Embarrassed? “Captain,” he said, “I really must get back to the bridge.”

Kirk looked long at him. They would speak of what happened on that planet no more. He nodded to Spock, who turned and left Sickbay.

McCoy looked after him. “Well, Jim,” he said thoughtfully, “I’d say Spock certainly is a man who’s ‘not of that feather’.”

Kirk looked puzzled. “A man who’s not what, Bones?”

“‘Not of that Feather.’ It’s a quote from Shakespeare,” he explained. “It goes, ‘I am not… ” he trailed off as an inspiration hit him. “Look it up in the library tapes. That’ll keep you busy and I’ll be able to get some work done.” He grinned. “I’ve got better things to do, too, than playing nursemaid to convalescent Starship Captains. His eyebrow shot up testily as he left the room.

Kirk sighed and leaned back in his bed. He grinned openly at the doorway, then he pressed the button on his bedside console.

“Can I help you, dear?” came the soft, feminine, voice of the computer.

“Yes,” Kirk replied. “Library tapes on the complete works of William Shakespeare.”