The central living area Sarek escorted Terry to was not what he would have expected of Vulcan living. Onboard ship, Vulcans tended to be rather spartan in their decor. This room, in fact. the whole house, showed a human touch—specifically a feminine one. Obviously, Amanda had had a hand in the decorating.
Once inside the central room, however, Terry didn’t find himself noticing walls or floors or other things inanimate. Around him were anxious faces, most of them with a touch of sympathy in their expression. Captain Scott, Dr. McCoy and Commander Uhura sat casually on the large couch in front of him. In nearby chairs, facing one another, were his commander, Hikaru Sulu, and a man he assumed to be Pavel Chekov.
Sulu smiled at him in greeting, as did Uhura and McCoy. Could they see how nervous he was? Were they offering him a vote of confidence? Perhaps they wanted to remind him that they were old friends and teachers as well as criminals he’d been sent to arrest. He remembered.
He wished he didn’t.
Two of the men and women in the room were standing. In a corner, removed from the others, was a Vulcan woman in a Starfleet uniform. Oddly enough, she was the only one in uniform. The others wore civilian outfits of Terran or Vulcan design. She turned an impassive gaze on him as he entered. Behind that gaze he glimpsed a murderous fury, ready to be unleashed. This woman was no ordinary Vulcan. He had heard that Saavik was also half-Romulan. This must be her. She was beautiful, but he could sense a certain degree of hostility toward him in her expression.
But the most hostile of all was James Kirk. He too, was standing—in fact, he was pacing behind the others. Like Uhura and McCoy, he had met Metcalfe at his graduation, specifically at his Kobayashi-Maru test; but he made no attempt to make his arresting officer feel comfortable. If Terry had ever felt the least bit intimidated by a superior, it was nothing to what he felt now, seeing James Kirk’s hard, unforgiving face.
“I believe,” Sarek said finally, making Terry realize that he had been staring, “that most of you know Lt. Metcalfe.”
Sarek glanced at Terry; the floor was now his. God, he couldn’t even swallow!
“Hello,” he said stupidly, feeling his face drain of color. “I… you know why I’m here, I suppose.” He looked at Kirk in particular as he surveyed the room. His expression hadn’t softened. Trying to ignore him, he pulled the printout sheets from his pocket, feeling like one of those obnoxious bureaucrats with horn-rimmed glasses so prevalent in movies from the twentieth century.
“As you know,” he explained, rolling the papers in his hands, ” the Vulcan government has interceded on your behalf with the Federation. These orders of arrest,” he held out the wrinkled papers, damp from the sweat on his hands, “have been stayed for the moment. But Starfleet regulations—”
“We’re all aware of Starfleet regulations, Mr. Metcalfe,” Kirk interrupted loudly. “Could you just get on with it?”
“Of course,” he mumbled. Since he had first come in, he had wanted the Admiral to say something to break the tension. Now he wished he’d kept his mouth shut. Terry was beginning to feel like a first-year cadet—and he was beginning to resent Kirk for it. “All of you, except Lt. Saavik, have been charged with mutiny and conspiracy to grand theft. Commander Uhura,” he met the woman’s face with some difficulty, “has been charged with an additional count of assaulting an officer.”
Uhura’s dark eyes sparkled with fierce laughter, but her face remained impassive.
“And Lt. Saavik,” Terry continued, “has been subpoenaed by Starfleet for testimony.” And now the hard part, he thought, turning back to Kirk. “Admiral Kirk is being held solely responsible for the destruction of Enterprise, and will be charged accordingly.”
Rage burned in Kirk’s eyes, but before he could respond, McCoy spoke up. “What?” he demanded. “What the hell were we supposed to do? The goddamn Klingons did everything but destroy us! Starfleet doesn’t even know what went on out there!”
“No, Doctor,” Terry agreed apologetically, “they don’t. But they’re holding that the Admiral’s actions cost them the Enterprise in any case.”
This time, Kirk stopped McCoy from responding. His voice was so filled with anger that even Sarek stared somewhat open-mouthed. “Cost them what? A decommissioned piece of wreckage they didn’t even take an interest in repairing? Why should they worry about losing something they had already declared worthless to them?”
Metcalfe knew—as Kirk must also—that Starfleet was trying to make an example of him; but he couldn’t bring himself to go into an explanation. Instead, he said simply, “I’m sorry, Admiral.”
“I see,” Kirk said blankly. “You’ll forgive me, Lieutenant, if I choose not to believe that.”
McCoy stood now, and moved to Kirk’s side. “Jim!” he hissed, “take it easy!”
“I won’t take it easy!” Kirk responded petulantly. “Anymore than Starfleet’s taking it easy on us. They make it sound as if we had some sort of choice!” He turned furiously to Metcalfe. “We took the only course of action open to us! The only course you left open!” Kirk’s face was red, his voice was failing. He no longer shouted. Though he had resented him a moment ago for making him feel so uncomfortable, Terry was beginning to pity him, as he could see by their faces that the others did too.
Kirk turned angrily and left the room, saying only, “I’ve had enough of this! Excuse me.” McCoy tailed him out looking deeply concerned.
Terry found himself speechless. He didn’t like being here at all, and now Kirk apparently blamed him for the fact that he and his friends were being arrested. As he looked out the door Kirk had just stormed through, he saw Uhura had come to stand at his side. He looked sadly at her. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.
Uhura managed a half-smile. “I know. Don’t worry, it’s not you. He’s been through a lot lately and… you just happened to be unlucky enough to draw this mission. He would have blamed anyone they sent.”
Terry nodded. “I’m sorry about the Enterprise, I know she meant a lot to you all.”
It was all he could think to say.
Captain Scott clapped a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. “Aye, lad. Thot she did. An’ Jim’s son—”
That took Terry by surprise. “The Admiral’s son…?” he asked incredulously.
“It isn’t well-known,” Uhura explained, “but David Marcus was the Admiral’s son. He died on Genesis. The Klingons—”
“My God,” said Terry quietly. “No wonder. After Captain Spock’s death, and now…”
Uhura and Scott were trading looks which Metcalfe didn’t understand. He looked helplessly to Hikaru for an explanation. “We are going to tell him, aren’t we?” the young captain asked his companions.
“I guess we should,” Uhura.
“Tell me what?” Terry demanded, thoroughly lost. Scotty and Uhura looked at each other again. “Well?” he pressed, his dislike of being in the dark overriding his guilt at Kirk’s anger.
“Before we answer any of your questions about our… mission,” Uhura said, “there’s something you ought to know about Spock.” She didn’t seem able to find words to complete the cryptic thought. Instead, she pointed to a door on the opposite side of the room where Amanda had just entered with another Vulcan. At least, Terry thought of him at first as just another Vulcan; because logic wouldn’t allow him to recognize this man as who he obviously was… who he couldn’t possibly be.
“Spock?” he asked, his voice barely a whisper. “Captain?”
He tried several times to clear his throat as he stared at the apparition in the doorway. Then he turned to’ the assembled officers and demanded loudly, “What the hell is going on here?”
* * *
Everyone took turns in explaining to Metcalfe the events that had led to Spock’s amazing return to life—although the Captain himself was content to remain silent and sit by the hearth with his mother. Terry understood now that Spock’s body had been re-created in the Genesis matrix, and that his Katra had been restored to him by Vulcan elders. Sarek explained that his son’s mind was still somewhat confused, his memories clouded; but that a series of mind melds was beginning to restore his technical knowledge and his basic personality. With luck, his memories, too, would come back in time.
Terry sat across from Sarek on the couch in the living room. “You realize, I take it,” the elder Vulcan was saying, “that you have been told all of this because your friends felt that you could be trusted. Please do not repeat any of it to Starfleet at this time.”
“Considering my status as arresting officer,” Terry said apprehensively, “I’m not sure I—”
“You needn’t worry about your duty, Lieutenant,” Sarek said. “Your superiors will hear all of this soon enough.”
“We just wanted you to understand the situation, Terry,” Sulu told him. “The Admiralty doesn’t have to know that we told you first. In fact, I doubt they’ll care. Just keep quiet for a day or two.”
Terry gave a quick nod. It made him feel better to know they had trusted him as a friend—despite his orders. And Sarek and Hikaru were right: it would all come out, sooner or later. Federation rules or no, it would be unethical for him to betray secrets to Starfleet that he had gained through personal trust. “Okay, as arresting officer, I never heard a word.” He stood and faced the entire group. “But if you’ll excuse me, I must make some semblance of a report to my commander.”
But as he reached the door, Hikaru caught his arm and said quietly, “Do you think you could stay a few minutes longer? There are… a few things I’d like to talk to you about. Things you ought to know before we go to trial.”
Terry would have liked very much to talk to Hikaru for a few minutes alone—to get a more personal view of all that happened—but he knew it wouldn’t be wise. “I… I’ve already violated regulations by discussing what I have with you. I don’t think it should go any farther.”
Hikaru countered with a friendly smile. “I promise, no details—just some personal matters I want to… to go over with you. There are things we have to talk about.”
Terry ran that through his mind. There were things they had to talk about, not the least of which was the bizarre time phenomenon they had encountered out there. He did want to talk to someone about that.
Before he answered, Amanda came forward from where she stood with Spock in the back of the room. “We’d be happy to have you stay as our guest, Lieutenant, for as long as you like.”
An invitation from the lady Amanda was not easily refused. “Just give me a minute to let the others know what’s going on,” he told her. “I’ll send them back to the ship and stay a little longer. As a matter of fact,” he added to Sulu, “there are a few things I’d like to tell you about.”
* * *
“The gall of that… that child,” Jim Kirk spat angrily. He was still pacing the floor of his room obsessively. His behavior was the worst McCoy had seen it yet. He was so uptight, so irritable. McCoy didn’t believe that it was actually Jim Kirk who paced in front of him, a perfect example of a man coming apart at the seams.
“Easy, Jim,” he said soothingly. “We all knew it was coming, and yelling at Metcalfe won’t do any good. You’re only making yourself miserable.”
“Hah!” Kirk countered. “He’s making me miserable!”
“Jim, do you think this was easy for him? Do you think he enjoyed it?”
Kirk looked at him, only bitterness showing in his tired eyes. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”
“That kid was our student!” Kirk raved, oblivious now to McCoy’s reactions. “Spock was his teacher, Sulu was his first captain. All of us oversaw his cadet cruise! How dare he condemn us?”
Condemn? “My God, Jim. Don’t be paranoid. The boy’s just doing his job.”
The Admiral whirled. “I’m damn sick and tired of hearing about people just doing their jobs, Doctor! Harry Morrow was just doing his job, Stiles was just doing his job…”
He was babbling. “Jim,” McCoy said softly.
But Kirk ignored him—or perhaps didn’t hear him. “My gods,” he laughed sadly, “even Kruge was just doing his job. His job.” He laughed, but the laugh transformed itself into a sob. “He killed my son.”
McCoy came forward, taking his friend’s arm. “Hey, Jim—”
Kirk grabbed both the Doctor’s arms and stared into his eyes. “Those bastards killed my son!” he cried desperately. “They took my ship, and now… now they’ll take my rank.” Tears were flowing freely now down his face. “Thirty years! Goddamn it! Thirty years!” He broke away from McCoy’s grasp and began to wander aimlessly about the room. “I couldn’t give myself to anyone. Not Carol, not Jan, only the ship… only the service… I couldn’t be with my son. Only the ship. I never even told him I loved him. I never had a chance to find out! Just do your job! Just follow orders! Just be the Federations poster boy!”
“He’s dead, Bones,” Kirk repeated, facing McCoy again with eyes so filled with pain the doctor had to force himself to meet them. “He was so young. But the ship, the ship. And now she’s gone. It’s gone, Bones. They’ve taken it… they’ve… ” he was beyond words.
So was McCoy. Nothing he could say would help his friend now. God only knew what would. From his medikit on the night table, McCoy extracted a hypo and approached Kirk, who stood, unmoving, in the middle of the room. Softly he pressed it against Kirk’s arm and reached out to help him lie back on the bed. With his patient attended to for the moment, he started to leave the room. But he couldn’t think of anywhere he really wanted to go.
Pulling up a chair, he sat and watched Kirk toss and turn on the bed as the sedative took effect.
* * *
Hikaru had brought Terry to the garden, where the others would leave them alone. Besides that, it was more generally suited to conversation than many other areas of the house. And he had many things to explain to Terry, his junior officer and friend. He had been closer to him than any other officer aboard Phoenix—he had taught him all he knew of piloting a starship and of fencing and of many other things an officer passed on to his protege—and now he felt he owed him an explanation.
Perhaps he was more worried about rationalization than any of the others. McCoy had shown no indecision, of course, he’d had no choice. And Kirk hadn’t had much choice either—come to Vulcan or let his best friends die. Chekov and Scotty had come quite willingly, as had Uhura. Not that Hikaru had been unwilling, he did not regret his decision; but he did feel a need to talk about it.
Maybe he thought others needed to understand because he, himself, at first, had been unsure? Even though his captaincy had already been taken away from him, and even though he’d always held the lives of his friends higher than his career, there had been doubts. Uppermost in his mind had been the question that was now beginning to plague them all: was Jim Kirk going over the edge? Was he suffering from some obsession that had driven him to madness?
At the outset, even to Hikaru, the mission to Genesis had seemed somewhat mad. To an outsider it must seem madder still. Terry had seen the results of their “fool’s errand,” though, and perhaps that knowledge would temper his judgement.
And perhaps Terry would see the mission the way Hikaru had when he’d made his final decision. Perhaps he would understand the bonds of friendship between all of the Enterprise crew, and the dedication to the welfare of all that each one felt. Since deciding in favor of friendship, Hikaru hadn’t looked back. hadn’t regretted; because these bonds had proved so strong in all of them.
“I had a decision to make: stay on Earth, go through debriefing, and take the next command assignment that came along in… say a few months; or go with Jim and take my chances.” He shrugged. “It was as simple as that.”
Terry thought all he had heard over for a moment and smiled. “So that’s what you thought I should hear?”
Hikaru nodded. “Starfleet doesn’t have any business knowing any of it, but you do. If nothing else, I owe you an explanation of why I did it. You can accept it or not—”
“Hikaru,” Terry said solemnly, “I never questioned your decisions when you were my captain, and I don’t see any reason to start now. You did what you had to. You don’t have to explain that to me.”
“I’m glad. I just wanted to be sure. Maybe I just wanted to see how it sounded when I said it all aloud. If you need to get back now,” he said, standing, “that’s all I wanted to say.”
Terry put his hand out in a “sit down” gesture. “No, there’s something I wanted to tell you about.”
Hikaru caught the puzzled expression on his face. “Problem?”
“In the classic sense. A problem in cosmic physics.”
“You meant celestial.”
“I mean cosmic. I’m talking about—”
A familiar voice interrupted him. “Excuse me, gentlemen.” It was Spock. Neither of them had heard him approach. “I hadn’t realized you were still out here.”
“That’s quite all right, Mr. Spock,” Hikaru said. “We weren’t discussing anything private. In fact, Lt. Metcalfe has a bit of a physics problem he wanted to discuss.”
Spock’s eyebrow perked in that familiar manner he was re-acquiring. “Indeed? My knowledge of physics: has been restored to the level I believe it was at before. Perhaps I might be of assistance?”
Hikaru grinned at Spock’s innocent fascination with all matters scientific. As ever, he approached all new knowledge with enthusiasm; but there was something of a childlike quality to him now.
“Perhaps you might,” Terry agreed. “In fact, I can’t think of anyone more qualified.”
“I don’t believe I can be considered officially qualified, however, I possess the necessary knowledge to discuss—”
Terry and Hikaru cut him off with quiet laughter. Spock seemed puzzled, but did not question their behavior. Terry went on to explain that Phoenix had briefly sighted what appeared to be the Enterprise over the cooling Genesis remnants. Apparently, some kind of time ripples had sprung into being between Genesis and some other planet—a planet listed as “classified.”
Hikaru found himself lost by all of this, and was glad that Spock had joined them. His own astrophysical knowledge, while far greater than average, did not include disturbances in the space-time continuum. And the appearance of the Enterprise, be it their own or that of another universe, shook him to his core.
Spock was enthralled by the account. “Lieutenant,” he asked finally, “could you show me what this pattern of disturbances looked like?”
Terry looked around the bench where he and Hikaru sat and found a patch of soft soil among the stones of the walkway. Apparently, a plant had recently died or been uprooted, as it was the only spot like it in the garden. Kneeling on the stone, he traced his finger in a football-shaped pattern in the dirt. “That’s what the computer projection showed,” he explained. He stabbed one end of the football. “That’s Genesis—or what’s left of it.”
“And Ensign Sernak believed the Enterprise phenomenon to be directly related to this pattern of disturbances?” Spock asked.
Spock looked thoughtful. “I agree. The odds in favor of it are quite high. Further, I would speculate that the effects of this anomaly will increase with time.”
“Do you think it’s dangerous?” Hikaru asked.
Spock nodded. “Definitely. You see, it would appear that a rift has formed, not only in the fabric of our universe, but in the fabric of another as well. The two rifts would seem to be adjacent, causing a bridge to form between this universe and another. These ripples, as the Lieutenant calls them, are the result of that bridge—in this case bridges, as there seem to be two—causing stress on the fabric of time and space around them.”
“Two bridges?” Hikaru was growing more confused by the moment.
Spock pointed at the two endpoints of the diagram. These two worlds, Genesis and the other, would appear to be the locations of the rift-bridges between the two universes. Somehow, both of these worlds were involved in the occurrence which caused the phenomenon in the first place.”
“What could cause it?”
“Could it have been the result of the Genesis effect itself?” Terry asked.
“Possible, but unlikely. You see, that does not explain the presence of another bridge. Personally, I would find it most likely that this ‘bridged universe’ is a sub-universe of our own, formed at some recent point in time, but unable to break free of the parent universe.”
Hikaru looked to Terry and found that his expression of dismay mirrored his own.
“Sub-universe?” he asked.
“You are familiar, I take it, with the existence of alternate—what we often call ‘parallel’—universes? As you know, it is possible for different universes to interphase—cross over one another for brief periods of time. It has been speculated that these interphases are the result of some sort of drift, or rotational shift, in universes themselves. What we have here appears to be an example of extended contact between two universes. In order to explain this, I would find it easiest to imagine that the two universes were originally one, and that they only recently split. Something, however, is preventing them from splitting completely.”
“How can one universe split into two?” Hikaru asked.
“In fact,” Spock explained, “such splits may be occurring all the time. Recent theory and calculation in this field suggest that it is possible. Imagine a critical point in time, a point of decision. At such a point, one of two events can occur. Now, imagine that both events do, in fact, occur. One in one universe, and one in another. In a sense, at that point, two universes are created where one existed before: one universe to fulfill each possibility. As we know, such critical points occur constantly, even the most minor decisions causing a new universe to form.”
“Then while we’ve been talking,” Hikaru thought out loud.
“—Countless universes have sprung into being,” Spock finished. “One in which you did ask that question, one in which, you didn’t… in fact, countless universes must exist where the three of us have not and never will have this conversation.”
Hikaru shook his head. “Makes me dizzy just to think about it.”
“It is,” Spock agreed, “an overwhelming statement of infinity. In the case we have here, it would seem that a paradox of sorts has come into being. Something that could not possibly occur has occurred; and, while another universe has formed, it has not been able to sever itself completely from our universe.”
“And how.” Hikaru asked finally, “could that be dangerous?”
“If the paradox which caused this phenomenon is not resolved,” Spock said gravely, “the stress caused by its very existence might well bring about the destruction of both universes.”
* * *
“How long do you think the stay will be effective?” McCoy heard Uhura ask as he approached the door.
“Uncertain,” Sarek replied. “The officials involved on the Federation end of this matter are, for the most part, human. Humans are notoriously unpredictable. We must move Swiftly in building a case for your defense. I would not advise assuming that we have more than a few days—even though we might. This entire affair will be quite a complex problem in logic for all those involved.”
McCoy cleared his throat, causing the other two to look up and notice that he had joined them. “I’m afraid we have a complication you weren’t aware of. Ambassador,” he said. “And it doesn’t involve logic.”
Uhura, seeing how worried he was, came immediately forward and took his arm “What’s wrong, Len?” she asked.
“Jim.” he told her. “Jim is very wrong. I’ve been observing him closely since we got here, and—I’m becoming concerned… ” he couldn’t bring himself to come right out and say what he believed the truth to be.
“Exactly what do you believe to be Jim’s difficulty, Doctor?” Sarek asked. Since their return from Genesis, Sarek had returned to his customary practice of addressing Kirk by name. His concern for his son had made him very detached recently. Now he could afford to be a little less Vulcan.
“He, ah,” McCoy swallowed hard. “He may not be mentally competent to stand trial.”
He heard Uhura gasp, but was afraid to look at her. “Which means he’ll probably be placed in a rehabilitation colony.”
Sarek nodded at that horrible idea. “Indeed. He will probably also be discharged from Starfleet—honorably or dishonorably, depending on the generosity of the trial board. ” He paused, for a moment appearing to sigh in a human manner. “Are you sure, Doctor?”
And only a human would ask such a question, searching for hope. “I’m afraid so, Ambassador. Unless there were a sudden improvement, he’s headed toward a complete breakdown.”
Sarek waited a moment and said, “Unfortunate. Without his testimony—in fact, without his presence—the rest of you will find yourselves facing far greater chances of being convicted. In any event, it would seem unlikely that Jim will ever command again.”
A sob escaped Uhura. McCoy looked at her at last, to see her face buried in both her hands. He wished he felt up to crying now, but even that was beyond his abilities.
* * *
Depressed, McCoy returned to the room he shared with Kirk. It made him feel better to be with his friend, for all the, good it would do. At the door, he halted.
In the dim light he saw a figure kneeling by Jim’s side. His eyes closed in concentration, Spock touched Jim’s temples in the classic position of mind meld.
Now what the hell would Spock be doing here? True, in recent days he’d been regaining some of his personal memories; he’d been spending more of his time with Jim, renewing their friendship, But why a mind meld? Did he somehow sense the disturbance in his friend’s mind and want to help by joining with him? Perhaps Spock was more emotionally perceptive than McCoy had ever known.
The contact continued for a few moments longer. When Spock finally disengaged and stood, McCoy’s eyes met with his. Well, the Doctor’s face was saying plainly, how is he?
But Spock only shook his head.
* * *
Sarek was still pondering the various complications of the trial, and the implications of what McCoy had said. Logic didn’t seem to be working. He felt very much like employing some of those human expletives Amanda had taught him; he had heard Saavik do so occasionally.
Spock entered, seeming perplexed. “Is something troubling you, Spock?” he asked, much in the manner that he used to when Spock was a boy.
But Spock’s answer was surprisingly devoid of that child-like quality that had been characteristic of his speech lately. “Yes, Father. I must ask your assistance in solving a problem I have come across.”
Sarek wondered what problem Spock could have encountered. Was it a simple problem of mathematics or some other subject Spock was just now completing his learning process in? “Tell me of your problem.”
“Lt. Metcalfe has described his ship’s encounter with what I believe to be a standing bridge between our universe and another. The bridge would seem to be of recent creation, and I believe it is causing stress on the fabric of time and space which could lead to a catastrophic reaction in both universes. Do you recall T’Gara’s paper on the creation of sub-universes?”
Sarek remembered. T’Gara had discussed the paper with him extensively on his last visit to the Vulcan Academy. “I do. What causes you to refer to it here?”
“I can think of no other cause for a standing bridge to exist. In fact, there seem to be two bridges. I believe that a sub-universe has been kept from separating with ours due to a paradox of some kind.”
“I believe I follow your reasoning,” Sarek told his son, “but, if I may…?” He held his hand out, requesting a mind touch. Spock inclined his head in acknowledgement.
Yes, yes. It is clear. Sarek responded to the touch of Spock’s thought patterns. It is the most probable explanation. I commend your reasoning, Spock.
He found himself pleased that his son was making such efficient use of his re-acquired knowledge. It was a hopeful sign. “What do you propose be done about this anomaly?”
“It must be investigated and the paradox resolved immediately,” Spock replied. “I believe I know the first step in the investigation. One of the bridges, according to Lt. Metcalfe, was in a position which seemed familiar to me. I checked for the particular incident in my memory but found it unreachable. I searched Jim’s mind, therefore—”
“You and Jim have been to this place together?”
“On a mission, yes. Oddly enough, after being in contact with Jim’s mind, I find myself drawn to go there. I believe that the problem can only be solved if I act quickly, without informing the others. I don’t understand… why I believe this.”
“It is illogical,” Sarek observed. He wondered if his son’s mind might be still slightly confused after the Fal Tor Pan he had undergone.
“Indeed it is,” Spock agreed readily. “But that is what I cannot help believing.”
“And now,” Sarek concluded, “you want my assistance in getting there so that you may carry out whatever actions you believe necessary.”
“Precisely. If you could authorize a diplomatic shuttle—”
“Spock, I do not believe it is advisable for you to go out alone in your condition.”
“I am fully functional,” Spock responded calmly. “And I do not believe anyone else should accompany me.”
“Spock, it was never your way before to allow illogic to guide you. You do not know what is causing you to be driven to go to this planet—is it a planet?”
Spock nodded. “But I believe I do know the source of this drive. I first felt it after my mind contact with Jim.”
“And how does Jim know this place is the source of the anomaly? There are too many vagaries in this, Spock. If you have been linked with Jim, you know that his sanity is in question. “
“I do,” Spock admitted. “And I believe that his mental difficulties are somehow linked to this phenomenon. I sensed in his mind a presence… an intelligence which I have encountered before. It exists on this planet where I wish to go.”
“An intelligence?” asked Sarek, intrigued despite himself. “Then you believe that Jim’s insanity may be cured?”
“I received that distinct impression.”
“These could be the ravings of a mad man, Spock,” Sarek cautioned him. “If you go—”
“You’re not going anywhere,” a voice interrupted harshly from the door. It was Amanda. Apparently, she had heard part of their conversation. “Sarek, you can’t be even considering this?” she demanded accusingly.
Spock took her gently by the shoulders. He had always been rather proficient at dealing with her on a human level. “Mother,” he said, “there is much at stake here.”
“Yes,” she agreed, “there is: your life. You can’t go gallivanting about the cosmos by yourself! Subjects of the Fal Tor Pan must be closely supervised. Spock, this procedure hasn’t been used in—” she broke off frantically. “Thousands of years!”
“The procedure has succeeded admirably, Mother. I am in no danger, but Jim is. His mind is not functioning as it should. If I do this, it might be restored.”
Sarek’s wife looked to him, questioning. “It is possible there is some truth to this, Amanda. Spock saw it within Jim’s mind. He says he felt an intelligence contacting him. The workings of the mind—the subconscious—are not always immediately logical,” he reminded her. A student adept in the Vulcan ways knew this, of course; but Amanda was not thinking as a Vulcan student adept. Rather she was thinking as a human mother, as she always did where Spock was concerned.
“It’s only a chance!” she insisted. “You can’t risk your life on a chance!”
“Can’t I?” Spock asked, perhaps with a touch of human feeling. “Jim did. He gave up everything he had to bring me back—even though it was only a chance. I do not remember all of our experiences together, but he is my friend. I owe him a debt. To pass up this chance to save his sanity, his career, would be a crime against friendship, as well as duty. James Kirk is a valuable Starfleet officer. Many lives depend on his continued functioning, and… ” he stopped. When he spoke again, he seemed almost to be reciting. “…’the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one.'”
Amanda looked from father to son, tears in her eyes. “You really believe you must do this?”
“I have no other choice.”
“No,” Sarek agreed. “He doesn’t. Your argument was quite logical, Spock. I will arrange a shuttle, as you request. May I ask where it is you are going?”
“Are you familiar,” Spock asked him, “with the Guardian of Forever?”
Metcalfe doesn’t know Chekov–presumably, his cadet cruise was a year before Saavik’s, and Chekov was on the Reliant. I figured the others would have been along for the ride as they were in Wrath of Khan.
Kirk says, “My gods” A Vonda-ism. In broadcast Trek, he never said such a thing.
Did Sulu lose the Excelsior according to Vonda’s novel? I’m pretty sure he did. Haven’t read it in decades.
“…the level I believe it was at before…” OUCH!
Sulu’s “own astrophyscial knowledge, while far greater than average…” Don’t know why I chose to say that, since Sulu was first introduced as a member of the E’s astrophysics section.
It would be interesting to speculate that, when the universes were “resolved,” my sub-universe actually finished separating. Hmmm…
Sarek calling Kirk “Jim” — another Lorrah-ism
Amanda was a student-adept. Where did that come from? Had to be Lorrah or McIntyre. Around this time, there was a whole sub-genre of known Trek history that a fan would miss without reading the fan fic and key published novels. I suppose that’s what it was like for fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Of course, within about a decade, there would be so many Trek novels that no fan could remember them all, and correspondingly as little fan fiction of the type we knew then.