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 IS THEIR LEADER.
He will be the one, then.
IT IS NECESSARY.
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.
THIS IS THE BEST WAY.
His mind is too weak to resist.
SUCH PETTY BEINGS.
He will remember nothing.
THE PROGRAMMING IS COMPLETE.
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.
COME. OUR WORK BEGINS.
All goes well.
HE WILL NOT RESIST.
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.
GO—THE HANGAR DECK.
Do not waste time.
DO NOT BE SEEN.
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.
WE MEET WITH MUCH RESISTANCE.
Do not understand…
THIS IS UNEXPECTED…
Very strong this time.
BACK OFF – RECONSIDER…
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.
DESTROY THE CAUSE OF RESISTANCE.
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.
DO AS YOU ARE TOLD.
Go to the computer section.
WALK DOWN THE HALL.
Do not resist.
WE CAN DESTROY YOU.
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.
YOU ARE AN ENIGMA.
Why do you resist us?
YOU ARE NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED.
Kirk / Spock replied, mentally now, Kirk understanding at last how it was done. “We are men of peace. We mean you no harm.”
YOU ARE INTRUDERS.
You come to plunder our land.
“We believed this place to be uninhabited. We were not aware of you.”
YOU ARE INFERIOR.
Inferior minds are beastial peoples.
“Yet we resist you. We have not harmed. You have done the harm—the hurting. Not we.”
WE MUST PROTECT OUR LAND.
“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?”
IT IS NOT.
Your minds are weaker than ours.
YET YOU SHOW GREAT WILL AND STRENGTH.
THIS IS ENCOURAGING.
“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.
WE WILL ALLOW IT.
Study as you want.
YOU WILL NOT BE HARMED.
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.