This time, it was snowing.
The surface around the Guardian was covered completely by a white blanket of snow. The Guardian, as ever, stood untouched and isolated in the center of the landscape. Saavik shivered at the sight of snow again after so many years.
Terry must have noticed her, for he looked over and grinned. “Well, Mr. Saavik, if we’d remembered to bring skis, this wouldn’t be such a bad leave after all.”
Before she had a chance to ask what “skis” were, Saavik saw movement in the corner of her eye. Several feet from the Guardian, a tent made of standard blue Starfleet-issue plastic had been erected. The door which held the temperature-regulated air in had drawn back, and Spock emerged. Apparently, he had brought the portable shelter with him from Vulcan—the other Vulcan.
Out of sheer curiosity, Saavik looked at Terry, who was just now noticing his former teacher. His reaction was similar to what she had seen through the Guardian when another Terry had encountered this same Spock. He didn’t seem to know whether to react with laughter or tears.
Noting his speechlessness, Spock greeted them first. “Lt. Metcalfe, I am pleased you were able to return here with Mr. Saavik. I take it she has briefed you?”
“I have,” Saavik responded for him. Spock raised an eyebrow, seemingly surprised that she would answer a question that had been directed at another. Saavik had conluded, however, that Terry was too taken up by emotional reactions to be able to respond for several more seconds. As his friend, she felt it only proper that she respond for him while he was emotionally incapacitated.
“Yes,” Terry confirmed, now recovered. “I understand our mission.”
“Good,” Spock said. “You and I will be the first to travel through the Guardian into this universe’s past. We will go to Starfleet headquarters at Earth, specifically to Admiral Morrow’s office. There I shall use the Vulcan mind meld on the Admiral in order to remove the alien influence from his mind.”
“Alien influence?” Terry asked.
In response to this question, the booming voice of the Guardian broke out over the landscape. It was, after all, in a better position to explain than either Spock or Saavik was. “Your Admiral Morrow’s mind has been controlled by another. He has not behaved in this universe as he normally would. Ordinarily, the Enterprise would have been decommissioned and the Genesis planet declared under quarantine.”
“Then someone tampered with his mind to create this separate universe?”
“Yes. And his mind is not the only one.”
“Who?” Terry asked, astounded. Even though she had a vague knowledge of the changes that had been made in history to bring a separate universe about, Saavik did not know who had made those changes or why. She had not, therefore, explained to Terry that this was a created universe.
“I cannot answer such questions,” was the Guardian’s reply.
“But you must know,” Terry pressed, “You’re the Guardian of Forever.”
“Indeed,” Spock agreed. “You, of all others, should know who is responsible.”
“Yes,” it admitted. “I do know, but I cannot and will not tell you. It is contrary to my purpose.”
“But,” Terry began to protest.
“No further discussion!” it commanded loudly. “You must carry out your missions! I will speak no more.”
Spock raised an eyebrow in mild surprise. “It would appear that we are not meant to know the exact nature of our mission.”
“I don’t like going off on any mission if I don’t know the whole story,” Terry grumbled. “I don’t trust people who won’t give me the facts—even omniscient people shaped like giant doughnuts.”
Saavik took a moment to try and recall what a “doughnut” was and remembered a type of Earth pastry she had seen in the mess hall. Terry was always making references that puzzled her. “This is an important mission, Terry,” she reminded him. “We know for a fact that disaster will result if we do not carry it out.”
“Indeed we do,” Spock said. “That much can be verified using simple mathematics.”
He nodded. “I know.” He sighed. “All right, tell me what we have to do.”
* * *
Terry hadn’t known what to expect when he’d first stepped through the Guardian’s gateway into the past. After seeing the events of months past played out on what served inside the great being/machine as a kind of viewscreen, he had thought perhaps that he would see the events played before him as he actually moved backwards through time. Instead, however, the effect was little different from that of the Enterprise’s transporter.
After a brief period of nothingness, he had come back to consciousness. It was almost as if he had been asleep and suddenly awoken. In fact, he felt every bit as disoriented as he imagined he might if he had slept through months on end.
The corridors of Starfleet’s headquarters complex in Earth orbit looked as they always did. There was nothing to suggest to the casual observer that this was four months ago—just as the Enterprise was about to embark on the training cruise that would lead to its battle with the Reliant and the death of Spock. All the same, Terry somehow sensed an atmosphere about him that identified this as that very time period.
He had, at most, a few minutes before Spock would be transported to his intended destination. He would have to use them to get to Morrow’s office and carry out Spock’s instructions. That shouldn’t really present any problem. After all, Phoenix would have just returned from her one-year stint on border patrol and Terry Metcalfe would be expected to be at HQ picking up his new assignment. In fact, the booth would be just down the hall…
“Enterprise! I got the Enterprise!”
Those words drifting down the hall from the computer station were familiar—as well they should have been. Terry had still not forgotten the shouts of ecstasy that had followed his assignment to the most legendary ship in the Fleet. How interesting, he thought, to return in time to witness such an important event—an event whose importance would soon be nil.
As “Terry” and Kevin Carson traded some last, derisive remarks, it suddenly occurred to the Terry who was visiting from the future that he was in great danger of being seen by the one person who would find his presence here unacceptable—himself. He had headed down this corridor to his quarters after picking up his orders that day.
His heart barely beating in his chest, Terry searched the area, trying to find some refuge, some hiding place. He must not be seen. Several meters down the hall, the refuge presented itself: a storage closet for various automated janitorial devices.
He would have to move quickly, for the footsteps that were so familiar, his own footsteps, were coming closer.
He prayed it would not be locked. It wasn’t. After the door had pulled shut behind him, he pressed his ear against it—it had no need to be soundproofed—and listened.
The footsteps came up to the closet door and began to go past. Terry’s footsteps, another Terry, a younger Terry. How would he react, confronted with his future self? It was tempting to find out, but he waited patiently until the hall was silent again.
Now he would have to make his way to Morrow; Spock would soon be ready. His “other self,” in the meantime, would be in his temporary quarters, preparing for an assignment a month up the line—an assignment which, in the final scheme of things, would never come at all. Terry remembered the difficulty he had had that day packing all of the various pieces of junk he had collected during a year on border patrol. Most of it he had taken to Earth and had shipped from San Francisco to his family home. To the Enterprise, he had taken only clothes and a few books. Books… he remembered his conversation with Saavik the other night. They had talked about books, and memories, and the new universe they would have to live in, without memory of each other.
The idea of participating in the re-creation of a “new” universe suddenly made Terry feel powerful. How many men, after all, were given the opportunity to change history? He and Spock were here to see to it that Harry Morrow changed history as he knew it, but Terry still didn’t know if he liked the future he was helping to bring about. As one of the agents of change, shouldn’t he be able to do something to make that future more attractive?
Suddenly, it occurred to Terry that there was, indeed, something he could do to make the future more attractive. It would take part of his precious time away from his mission with Spock, but he knew he could afford just a few moments.
* * *
When he had been placed in the temporary quarters on Starfleet’s orbiting headquarters, Terry had been thoroughly annoyed by one aspect of his accommodations: the showers. There were two officers quartered in each room, but rooms did not have separate bathrooms. Every group of ten officers shared one bathroom. Terry’s just happened to be the farthest one from the room he shared with Kevin.
It was for this reason—his great annoyance at having to make such a walk for a mere sonic shower—that Terry remembered well when he had gone that day. He had left his room some five minutes after picking up his assignment, hurrying in order to be finished before Kevin could get back and lecture him about getting water on the floor. Although sonic showers were dry, Terry washed his hair in the sink and thus dripped water on the floor. He couldn’t stand the feeling of having his hair merely sonically cleansed.
And therein lay Terry’s—the future Terry’s—opportunity. The object he needed would be in its accustomed place on the shelf over his bed. It would be a simple matter for him to retrieve it now, while no one was in the room, and return to Morrow’s office in plenty of time.
Naturally, the door responded to his voice code and opened. He stepped quietly into the room and wondered suddenly why he was bothering to be quiet. After all, he didn’t expect anyone to be in the room at this moment.
He was startled, therefore, when a familiar voice called from within, “It wasn’t locked, idiot!”
Shit! He had forgotten that Carson had been back when he had gotten out of the shower—and he had been lectured about the water on the floor. Kevin Carson lay sprawled on his bed on the opposite side of the room, drinking the generic liquid that the Starfleet food processors unjustifiably labeled, “beer.”
“Where were you?” his friend asked.
“I, uh, went to take a shower,” he managed clumsily. “I remembered a book I promised Sernak he could borrow, so I came back to get it first.” He went to his shelf and plucked out the one volume he would need.
Carson watched and noticed which particular book he had selected from his small collection of original Earth printings. “Why the hell does Sernak want that?” he demanded. “His Vulcan ears might wilt.”
Terry looked for a moment at his friend and smiled. He hadn’t seen him since this week so long ago at HQ. Carson, of course, responded with a scowl that only made Terry laugh. He wondered briefly what would happen to him in the other universe. Realizing again how short his time was, Terry forced down the wash of sentiment that formed as he considered that this would be the last time he ever saw this particular Kevin. For all practical purposes, he would be another person when they met again.
“I’ll be back soon,” he said quietly, and went out the door. As soon as he was out of Carson’s sight, he headed down the hall at top speed, hoping to avoid himself. He stopped only briefly to figure out the way to the Admiral’s office.
Inside his uniform jacket was a pocket designed to hold a tricorder for landing party use. He stuffed the book into it and broke into a sprint toward the command offices.
* * *
Spock found himself materialized in a somewhat darkened corner of Admiral Harry Morrow’s spacious office. At his desk, the Admiral himself was scanning the latest paperwork. The Guardian was so quiet a device that Morrow did not hear Spock’s sudden appearance in the room. The Vulcan, therefore, took a few steps forward and cleared his throat softly to make his presence known.
Morrow looked up suddenly, startled. “Captain Spock! What are you doing here? I didn’t hear you come in.”
“I am,” Spock informed him, “capable of considerable stealth should the occasion warrant it.”
Morrow was not placated by this statement. “And what are you doing out of uniform?” he demanded, noticing Spock’s Vulcan garb. “The Enterprise is scheduled to leave in,” he paused in his emotional dissertation to check the desk chronometer, “just under twenty minutes!”
“I assure you, Admiral, that the Enterprise will leave dock on schedule,” Spock told him truthfully. “In the meantime, I have an important task to attend to here.”
Morrow, still recovering, Spock assumed, from his surprise, and obviously angered that Spock had violated the human convention of never entering a room unannounced, asked, “And what might that be, Captain?”
“I have become possessed of information,” Spock explained, “which is crucial to the survival of the Federation. This information is of such a nature, however, that it cannot be successfully transmitted using standard, verbal means. I request your permission to use Vulcan mental techniques to contact your mind.”
The Admiral did not respond favorably. “My mind?” he asked defensively, “why?”
“Because, Admiral, simply put, you would not find the information easily understandable were I to merely explain it to you.”
“You mean I wouldn’t believe it?”
“I believe that that is a fairly accurate restatement of my original postulation, Admiral,” Spock acknowledged.
“And you want to use mind contact? How do I know,” he asked suspiciously, “that you won’t simply force me to believe, not merely the unbelievable, but the untrue as well?”
Spock experienced an uncomfortable sensation: an emotion of dislike quickly washed through him. He suppressed it, as it would be of no positive use in dealing with Morrow. Kirk had told him of Morrow’s dislike—or rather distrust—of Vulcan “mysticism,” but he had not been prepared to be accused of such a heinous act as that of deliberately manipulating the mind of another for personal gain. “No Vulcan,” he said levelly, “would be capable of such a crime. To do as you suggest would violate every precept upon which our culture is constructed.”
“I will not allow my mind to be toyed with, Captain,” Morrow said officiously.
“How do you know, Admiral,” Spock asked him, “that it has not already been toyed with?”
“Well, I… ” Morrow stammered.
“If you would indulge me for a brief contact,” Spock said in as soothing a voice as he knew how to use—the same voice he had used in dealing with Saavik when she was a child—”you would know that I meant you no harm.”
Morrow swallowed hard but continued to meet Spock’s gaze. “What does this contact involve?”
“It is a simple process. It does not even involve physical touching. You need only clear your mind of any distracting thoughts—”
“All right, Captain,” Morrow agreed, nodding impatiently, “if this will allow me to get back to my work—and you to get back to your ship.” Spock noticed that Morrow, despite his gruffness, was a good deal more pliable than usual. No doubt, this was the result of the tampering with his mind. He would have to be more pliable if he were to fail to make the decisions he was supposed to regarding the Enterprise and Genesis.
The Admiral leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and allowed his face to become expressionless. As usual, Spock noted that humans made the process of mind-clearing more complex than it really was.
Reaching out with his mind, he projected simple thoughts about the inherent danger of the time paradox and the bridged universes. He also broadcast some images intended to calm the Admiral’s fears regarding mind meld.
Moments later, when Morrow opened his eyes, Spock asked, “Do you see now, Admiral?”
Morrow did not attempt verbal response, but his face filled with dawning realization, as well as a new kind of fear. “May I proceed with the mind meld?” Spock prodded.
In subdued tones, Morrow said, “Yes, Captain. Yes, do so immediately.”
* * *
Several meters from the door, Terry slowed his pace to a walk, taking time to straighten his uniform and hair. He didn’t want it to appear that he had been running frantically through the corridors of HQ. He prayed that he would not be too late, for the success of this part of their mission depended on Spock’s not being discovered inside Morrow’s office. His job was to keep Morrow’s secretary busy enough that she wouldn’t have time to interrupt Spock; or, worse, send in visitors.
The job might just prove easier than he thought: the secretary in question was a young female ensign. Just by coincidence, she was also humanoid. Although Terry had learned to look beyond some of his Earth-bound prejudices, he couldn’t help but prefer humanoids—females, in particular.
She was a pretty brunette with soft, golden eyes and a pleasing smile. As he smiled his own greetings in return, though, Terry could not help but notice that she seemed, somehow, too soft. Too… human? It was just that untouched appearance that bothered him, the feeling he got that she had led too sheltered a life.
Was it because he was comparing her to someone? Was it because she wasn’t… Saavik?
Unsettled, Terry realized that the girl looked not a little like Angela, and a pang of guilt shot through him. Still, he put on his most charming smile for her and said softly, “Hello, Ensign.”
She nodded and smiled again. “Can I help you, Lieutenant?”
“I wondered,” he asked politely, as if ignorant of the outlandishness of his request, “if I might see the Admiral?”
She smiled apologetically and said, “Oh, I’m afraid he can’t see anyone today—he’s very busy. Is there a message?”
The girl practiced secretarial skills well. Terry knew damned well that any message he left would be summarily ignored by Morrow, if he got it at all. “Well,” he said, trying to look just slightly disappointed, “I just wanted to thank him for my new assignment… and my promotion. You see,” he lied, “I didn’t think I would get it this time.”
“Oh, I’m sure there wasn’t any doubt,” the girl said in a friendly manner. For some reason, Terry found himself resenting a compliment from a stranger—even an attractive one.
He tried to look bashful as he said, “Thanks.” Before he could continue, there was a sound from the next room, a voice raised in alarm. The secretary’s head snapped immediately to the door, and she started to rise.
“What’s the matter?” he asked quickly.
“I—” she looked briefly at the door again, “I thought I heard the Admiral calling out.”
“I didn’t hear anything,” he lied blandly.
“I’d better check anyway,” she said worriedly, heading for the door. As soon as her back was turned, Terry pulled from his pocket the small hypo he’d taken from Spock’s first aid kit earlier. It was filled with a mild, Vulcan anesthetic which would easily render any human unconscious for several minutes.
Just as the girl approached the door and reached for the buzzer, he crept up behind her and pressed it against her arm gently. She fell immediately against him. With luck, when she woke, she wouldn’t have any idea what had happened. Lifting her, he carried her back to her chair and laid her in it in such a position that anyone who discovered her would assume she had just fallen asleep.
Behind him, the door hissed open. “Did you experience any difficulties, Lieutenant?” he heard Spock ask.
Terry finished positioning the girl’s arms against the chair and desk. When she woke, it would probably be to Morrow’s angry demands of “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He pitied the poor girl, for she would have no plausible answer to give him.
“None worth mentioning, Captain,” he said as he replaced the hypo in his pocket.
“Did it work?”
Spock nodded. “Once I managed to help the Admiral overcome his more illogical prejudices about mind contact. He will remember nothing of what happened, but his mind is free.”
Terry was quite tempted to ask once again exactly what it was that Morrow was now free of, but he knew Spock would not be able to answer. Only the Guardian knew what the force was behind these changes that had been effected in time, and it would tell them in its own good “time.” If it told them at all…
* * *
Illogical a possibility as it was, being alone on the Time Planet seemed to amplify
the cold of the wind and the blowing snow. Of course, some of the heat had left the immediate area when Spock and Terry had passed through the Guardian, but it was impossible for Saavik’s body to be able to detect the difference. It was merely emotional fancy which made her feel that it could.
Before she could take the time to consciously wish that her two companions would return, the Guardian stirred. Of course, she reminded herself, The trip through the Guardian occupies no actual time. They have completed their mission already.
The human and the Vulcan materialized side-by-side in front of her and stepped forward from the gateway. As they greeted her, the Guardian’s voice rang out. “It is your time, Saavik. You must begin your journey now.”
“Yes,” she acknowledged quietly. “I know.”
Both Spock and Terry had noticed her distress regarding her part of their mission.
“Are you okay?” the young human asked. Saavik did not know how to answer. The truth would only alarm Terry, and she did know how to lie. But she had never lied to a friend before, and she didn’t believe she wanted to start.
She said nothing.
“Saavik,” Spock said levelly, his tone commanding her to raise her eyes and look at him. Despite her unwillingness, she did so. Spock did not even raise an eyebrow at the moistness around the corners of her eyes. He merely went on speaking. “You do not have to do this. If you wish, I shall take your place.”
He was offering her protection—protection against her own emotions and the guilt she would feel at sending one she loved knowingly to his death. She was tempted to accept, but Spock had raised her to face her problems, not ignore them. The very reason that he violated his own teachings by making such an offer, the bond of emotion that had existed between them since he had taken her from Hellguard, was the reason that shewas forced to refuse that offer.
“No, Spock. I will do this myself.” It will be I, and no other, who sees to it that David will die.
* * *
The corridors of the Enterprise were quiet. It was ship’s night now; and though there were three duty shifts who, between them, stayed awake twenty-four hours a day, no one who wasn’t on duty was out tonight. The very air around Saavik suggested sadness and grief.
How illogical! A gaseous compound which is manufactured and maintained by the ship’s computer-controlled ventilation system cannot possess emotion! And yet, the feeling was there. The crew had good reason not to be out carrying on with their usual high-spiritedness tonight, for it was the night after the wake. The crew was still mourning the comrades lost in the battle with Reliant—Spock and Peter Preston. At this time in her life, they had been the only two people she cared for.
No, that wasn’t true. There was one other she was developing positive feelings for: David Marcus, the Admiral’s son. Saavik recalled vividly the night before this one that they had spent together in her quarters. And now, it was David she had come from the future to see.
In the other universe, David Marcus, true to his character, had angrily insisted on going to the Genesis planet with Saavik aboard USS Grissom. That journey had ended in his death. Here, in this universe, not only did Grissom not come to ask for an Enterprise. officer to accompany them to Genesis—Harry Morrow had not ordered them to go there—but David had expressed no desire to explore his creation.
Saavik’s job here was to do exactly the same for David as Spock had done for Morrow at an earlier time. Whatever was causing his mind not to respond as it normally would, Saavik would end its influence. And now, while her past self was on duty on the bridge and David was asleep in his quarters, was the time to do so.
The door to his quarters opened to her voice command, and she entered the darkened room. Touching a control pad on the wall, she brought the lighting in the room up to half-intensity. The gentle glow which filled the room revealed David sleeping soundly on the bed. In many literary works on Earth, Saavik had read that the human face appeared gentle and innocent as it slept, despite the character it might be used to displaying.
David, despite his normal youthful intensity and quick temper, appeared much more peaceful than any human she had ever observed. Of course, she had never seen a human sleep before. She had only seen them dead.
As David soon would be.
She put the thought from her mind. She must not allow it to distract her from what she must do. The mind meld, after all, required great concentration and effort—especially if one of those involved in the meld was uninitiated into Vulcan mental techniques.
Taking several deep breaths, she composed herself and approached the bed. After one last glance at David’s sleeping face, she touched his uncovered shoulder. He stirred.
Blinking his eyes against the light, he murmured sleepily, “Saavik?”
“Yes,” she replied gently, reaching out to stroke his tangled hair.
“I thought you were on duty,” he said, rubbing his eyes and raising up to look around at the chronometer. “Are you off already?”
“I… arranged to be finished early,” she explained.
“Oh,” he laughed, “how did you manage that?” His laugh was harsh, sarcastic. She had heard it a hundred times but had never stopped to appreciate it before. This could be the last time she would ever hear it.
“It isn’t important,” she told him, rubbing his cheek. “But,” she went on in the same conspiratorial tone a human might have used, “perhaps it would be best if you didn’t mention that I was here to anyone.”
David grinned his understanding. He thought, of course, that she had slipped irresponsibly off the bridge while no one was looking to come here and engage in sexual activities. Let him think so. “Well,” he said, “I’d hardly go around announcing it.”
“That is wise,” she agreed.
“And what secret purpose are you here for?” David asked.
Strange that he would call her purpose secret, for indeed it was. “I have,” she explained, “been conducting some… research on matters of human… emotion.” They both smiled at the private joke. Saavik had referred to their first night together as a “study.” And, indeed, it had been, every bit as much as the studying she had done at Terry’s suggestion. Strange that it had not crossed her mind until Terry had pointed it out that both of them might have referred to sexual activity in the same way. She hadn’t known a human’s sense of humor could corelate so well with the one she was developing.
And she hadn’t realized how attracted Terry was to her. She had assumed that his attentions were directed solely at Commander Teller. Now that she had seen her error, she couldn’t help wondering how exactly she felt towards Terry. Stop it! You should be thinking of David.
Where had she been? Oh, yes. “My theoretical research is progressing well,” she went on, “but I don’t believe I’ve had ample opportunity to experiment.”
David used an expression that Saavik couldn’t decide the exact nature of. It might have been meant to convey amusement or hurt feelings. The two hardly seemed compatible. “I thought we had already carried out some quite satisfactory experiments.”
Saavik smiled, deciding that this was the proper time to do so. Showing emotion was so difficult! “True,” she agreed, “but only under one set of conditions, and only with limited repetitions. True experimentation should take numerous samples for study, don’t you agree?”
“Whole-heartedly,” David said. He reached toward her, smiling, and raised the sheet which covered him. “Come here.”
As David caressed her face and gently assisted her in removing her uniform, Saavik ran herself through a last set of relaxation exercises in preparation for the coming meld. As he took her into his arms, however, Saavik forgot her exercises.
Soon she had forgotten almost everything.
Slowly, she forced herself to take control of her mind. Now was the time to act, at the height of their emotional and physical excitement. She moved her hand slowly from his thigh and brought it to his temple. Technically, it didn’t have to be there. Simple physical contact was enough; but this would be a difficult meld, and she wanted to go through the proper, disciplined maneuvers.
His mind was much like his father’s. Theirs, of course, were the only two human minds she had ever been in contact with. Perhaps their similarity lay partly in their very humanity. Some of it, however, was definitely in their characters. She felt the same strength of will she had felt in James’s mind, but this time it was active, awake.
This was the first time she had ever experienced such a sensation: the joining of both mind and body. It was more than the sum of the two separate joinings; the effect was multiplied, heightened to the greatest of extremes. She felt as if she and David were one in every sense of the word. They were.
She never wanted it to end.
No, Saavik. It will never end.
But what, Saavik?
It will end. Soon.
No! She was losing control of the meld! David was finding the very thoughts she had to keep from him.
Am I going to die, Saavik?
No, my love. You will live forever. Through me.
So am I, David. Do not worry. I’m with you. We are one.
Yes. I’m not afraid when you’re with me.
Good. Be calm, all will be well—for all of us, including your father.
Jim? You’ll take care of him.
I will, We will.
We will. I love you, Saavik.
And I love you, David. Now I know the meaning of the word.
You’re going away!
I must. The joining must end. I will never be far.
Good, my love. It’s time to go.
There are dragons, my love.
Metcalfe seems a bit too argumentative with Spock.
The original line was, “I got the fucking Enterprise!” Friends told me to tone it down, it being the opening line to “Enterprise Regained.”
I now envision a dreadful argument between Metcalfe and Carson over that missing book!
This chapter moves a lot better than the last one. It’s funny to realize now that “Back to the Future” had yet to be released.
The timeline is not what I expected. I alway envisioned Metcalfe getting assigned to the Enterprise AFTER Spock’s death, but clearly not…
David had angrily insisted on going to Genesis–another detail added by Vonda, along with Saavik and David’s consummation of their love on the Enterprise. I read the novelization the night I saw the movie. So he was “already dead” before I knew he’d at least gotten his time with Saavik.
Hey, I’m actually pretty proud that, after I wrote Enterprise Regained, Vonda also used the “study” banter between Saavik and a human male who wanted her. Obvious, I guess, but I was a just-starting-out write, and Vonda was a seasoned pro. It’s nice to know I anticipated a device she would use a year later.
“David used an expression that Saavik couldn’t decide the exact nature of.” I throw myself upon the mercy of the court.
I don’t think I realized until now how much the closing scene of this chapter owes to Arthur C. Clarke and Peter Hyams, and the touching handoff that occurs between Dr. Chandra saying goodbye to Hal 9000 and Dave Bowman welcoming him to eternity in 2010.
Still, It’s a nasty trick for a punk 19-year-old to pull to make his 53-year-old self cry.