TOME TWO:Beginnings

By Gayle Rochefort-Potts

First Draft: May 1997
Final Draft: September 1998

DISCLAIMER: The Great Bird of the Galaxy created "The Universe" that we play in. Paramount owns "The Universe" that we play in. They will have all the monetary gain and all the headaches.... we will have all the fun!

Standard Terran Year: 2281.0

As Kirk made his way to the bridge he was almost made deaf by the claxon sounding. He stepped onto the bridge, his tunic still in his hand as he leaned towards Uhura. "Tone it down." He half pleaded with her. She gave him a smile then with the flick of her finger the volume went down. "Thank you."

"My pleasure, sir." She winked at him then returned her attention to her board.

"Report, Mr. Spock." He was still trying to get the tunic on. He had managed to tuck in his sweater while travelling in the lift. Now his arm would not go through the sleeve!

Spock reached for the back of the captain's tunic and countered the drag on the sleeve, Kirk's arm slid in smoothly. "Vessels have been reported traveling across the border from Romulus. We have picked up three on our long-range sensors. They appear to be..." He stepped down, allowing the captain to seat himself now that the tunic was in place. They exchanged understood nods of 'thank you for the help' and 'your welcome' then he continued. "... large scout-type vessels. Not all have the ability to cloak."

Kirk showed surprise at this. He glanced at the tactical board that was displayed in one corner of the main view screen. The border was marked and the small blips kept moving across.

"Captain, all decks are on red-alert status." Uhura reported.

"Stand-by." Kirk turned to Spock. "Have any gut reactions?"

Spock raised his eyebrow at the captain, both of them aware that Spock would not... guess! Nor would he discuss any reaction of his without proof to back it up. "I do not approve of the situation. That is all I can offer at the moment."

Kirk grinned. "Give me a scanning report."

Spock moved to his station. He had set the scanners on automatic as the alert was sounded. "Coming into visual long range now."

Kirk sat back in the chair, rested his elbows on the arms and waited. His people knew what to do and he had confidence that everyone would do their respective jobs. He heard the lift doors open and he didn't have to turn to know it was McCoy. A few steps and the doctor was standing at his side.

"What's the noise about this time?"

"Rhannisu ships. Design that we have not really seen before." Kirk turned his head towards Spock. "Anything?"

Spock turned to face him. "Numbers are uncertain. It appears to be seven to ten vessels, some maybe cloaked. Warp capable but not all have weapons." Spock sounded curious at this discovery. "All have personnel, approximately ten per vessel." He took a breath and looked to the screen. "Why so many vessels would be traveling into Federation space is most fascinating."

"A conundrum, Mr. Spock?" McCoy teased and was rewarded with a lift of an eyebrow and a few giggles.

"As they move closer, the ... conundrum will be solved."

Kirk grinned then looked to McCoy as Spock returned to his screen. "Sickbay ready?"

McCoy stared at the screen. "Yes. And our visitors are there as well."

Kirk nodded. He had notified Uhura to have Sarek, Amanda and T'yshen to report to the sickbay. It was the most protected part of the ship and if needed, that was the one place they could help out. He silently prayed to the Powers that decided the fates, to be gentle on all that would be involved in this impending altercation.


"Yes, Spock." He turned the chair to face him.

"My count is at twelve. Some have been damaged. Some, I believe are still cloaked." he paused as he checked the scanner again. "Just coming into scanner range now.... Two Rhannisu battlecruisers that have phasers armed and locked on targets."

"Uhura, hail one of those small vessels. Sulu, prepare for evasive maneuvers. Chekov, stand by weapons." He shifted in the seat and leaned forward slightly. He studied the boards so that he could make sure nothing was missed. Each had acknowledged his command and then went about their business. He touched the tie-in to the engineering deck. "How's things, Mr. Scott?"

"She's runnin' grand, Captain. She'll gi' ya all ya need." He sounded proud.

"Fine Scotty. Prepare for battle."

"Aye, Captain. All is ready." Scott's voice changed to a more serious note.

"Fine, bridge out." The circuit closed on its own. Kirk stared at the screen wondering what on Earth, were the Rhannisu attempting! He ran a hand over his face still trying to feel awake. The alarm had caught him in the shower of all places! He had to take extra time to dry off, of all times to decide on a water shower! Even the dryers wouldn't have been fast enough, then had to pull on his uniform without wasting more time. His fingertips touched his still damp hair as he smiled at the ensign that was pouring out the coffee. "Better finish, Ensign, so that everyone will have a chance to drink it. Thank you." He looked to the screen as he sipped on the strong coffee.

"Aye, sir." The ensign seemed to move a little faster after he looked to the screen.

"First time out?" Kirk had not recognized the face as one of the regulars on the bridge, so he assumed that he was a new member of his crew.

"Yes, sir. Jenkins. Came aboard just a few days ago. I haven't had the opportunity for the formal meeting with you yet." He felt rather foolish for saying what he did but he had the impression that Kirk was racking his brain trying to remember him.

"That explains things." Kirk thanked him again for the coffee.

"Captain. The forward vessel. To your left of the center. The ship is hailing us and you by name." Uhura added in that bit of information.

"On screen."

"Aye, sir." She touched the series that would connect the incoming frequencies to the main viewing screen. She touched the translator in case it was needed, placed her board on automatic signal and turned her attentions to the screen.

Kirk cleared his throat. "U.S.S Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk commanding. Identify yourself and the reason...." He stood slowly as he recognized the other face. He smiled. "Commander...?"

The female bowed her head, flattered that he would have remembered her. "Captain Kirk." Her eyes went to the right of the Captain. "Mr. Spock. We meet again?"

Kirk wet his lips as he remembered that they were on alert status. "Commander, you are crossing into Federation space. State the reason for the...."

"A moment, Captain."

The image turned from the screen and spoke to someone else. The transmissions were not muted and the message came up on the screen through the translator. It was the results of a scanning report of how close the battlecruisers were getting and the destruction of one vessel and the damage to another.

"Enterprise, this is the flagship Rea's Helm." She took a quick breath. "This is Fleet Commander Di'on. We respectfully request asylum."

Kirk was stunned. He had never known her name. He remembered Spock explaining that there was a Rhannisu belief that if you had possession of their name, you had a weapon to use against them. "Asylum?"

"Yes, Captain. Federation protection." She nodded to a voice that was rising in volume. "Soon. We are not all capable of surviving another attack. We do not have much time."

Spock moved to his side, he spoke in lowered tones. "A most interesting development, Captain. We could retreat, allow a truce until we discover what the actual intent is. The battlecruisers may not cross over. I have the distinct impression that they are speaking the truth." He paused. "The decision is yours, Captain."

Kirk nodded. "How many vessels?"

"Fourteen to begin. We have lost two before we crossed and another one as I contacted you." She sighed and then dropped her shoulders. "Captain, we do not have much time. I give you my word that what I speak is the truth. I will, if necessary submit to any form of interrogation you deem necessary." She glanced behind her and nodded.

Kirk took a breath then released it as he made the decision. "Get your ships behind us as soon as you can, Commander." Kirk turned to Uhura. "Get Ambassador Sarek up here, on the double, we may need him." He looked to Spock and asked him with a look if he had done the right thing.

"I could see no other possibility, Captain." He moved back to his position, confident in Kirk's decision. He did however remain curious.

"Keptain! Incoming fire from de Rhannisu battlecruisers." Chekov's voice always went up slightly in battle.

Kirk nodded then sat down. "Evasive. Return fire only if necessary." He touched the ship-wide intercom. "Brace for impact!" He closed the circuit as the lift doors opened.

"Captain, how may I be of service?" Sarek looked to the screen as he entered then to Kirk as he stopped at his side.

"Rhannisu vessels have requested asylum. I have granted it. We do not know the reasons yet. The two pursuing battlecruisers may possibly cross the border, their shots seemed to be only to warn right now." He glanced towards the Ambassador as he kept his primary attentions on the activities outside his ship. "There are ten or twelve vessels...."

The screen lit up brilliantly. Kirk and a few others covered their eyes but not quite in time. Kirk waited for the spots to leave his sight. "Down one I gather?"

"Yes, Captain." Spock stated with some regret.

Kirk turned to Uhura. "Extend our sympathies, Lieutenant."

"Aye, sir."

"Can you hail the battlecruisers?"

"Doing that now, sir." She stated. She had anticipated that request and had a search going for their frequencies. She heard a click in her earplug. "Captain. Channel two." She transferred the connection to his arm controls.

Kirk hit the second button. "This is the U.S.S Enterprise. In six seconds, you will have crossed into Federation space. We have awarded asylum to the vessels that you are pursuing. I am obligated to inform you that should you cross over, we will open fire with the intent on destroying your vessels."

There was silence from the other vessels.

"Captain." Sulu turned his chair slightly to face the officer. "They are dropping to sub-light." He paused until the small blips on his screen moved. "Initiating a course change. Heading back to their side." Sulu sighed. "So far, we won."

Kirk nodded then sighed audibly. "Stand down from red-alert. Remain on stand-by alert for the present."

"Aye sir." Uhura stated calmly. "Captain, Rhannisu Commander... Di'on has requested permission to board."

Kirk glanced towards Spock. He nodded. "Find out how many ships are damaged, injuries, et cetera. Find out from Mr. Scott how many of these we can dry-dock. We can use the lower recreation deck for accommodations. Arrange for security and I will see Commander Di'on in the main briefing room in thirty minutes." He stepped down from the chair. "Spock, Ambassador, McCoy and make sure we have a recording officer." He caught Uhura's interest. "Call your replacement after everything is seen to. I have to have someone there that understands every protocol."

"Aye, sir." She smiled. "Thank you Captain."

Kirk nodded then his stomach growled. Not really something he would want to happen during a briefing. "I am getting something to eat and I will met you in the briefing room." He looked to Spock as he headed for the lift doors.

"Yes, Captain." Spock moved to the command position as the lift doors closed. He looked to his father. "Most fortunate that you are on board, Ambassador."

"Yes. This should prove quite interesting."


Kirk pushed away the empty plate and reached for his coffee.

McCoy walked over to the table with his coffee. "Done already!"

Kirk nodded. "Didn't even taste it."

"How are the accommodations coming along?" McCoy blew on the coffee a bit before he drank any.

"So far, we have eight ships in the docking bay. With a little effort, we might squeeze the others in and if not, Scott's going to try to store them in the transporter buffer." He finished off his coffee. "We just need to do this long enough to reach the starbase. They have the room to store them until we know where these people are going."

"Do we know what they want?"

Kirk shook his head. "No not at all. I wouldn't even hazard a guess." He stood as he looked to the time. "We have a briefing you know."

"I'll be there." McCoy grinned. "I wouldn't miss this for all the tea in China!"

Kirk waved to McCoy as he headed out. The briefing would be starting in about ten minutes and he wanted to make sure everything was prepared.

He stepped into the room almost walking into T'yshen. "Hi!" He waited for her to continue around the table. She was placing personal padds as well as translators at each place. "Sarek dragged you in for extra duty?"

"I serve as Ambassador Sarek's aide until I am given another position, Captain." She poured some hot liquid from a carafe and handed it to him. "Your preference is coffee, I believe."

"It is." He accepted the cup then sat down at his customary position. He reached over one position to the library computer and activated the file he needed. He refreshed himself on some of the requirements that needed to be followed, when dealing with this situation. Occasionally, he would look up and watched her. "How's married life?"

T'yshen hesitated. "I do not comprehend."

"You and Spock."

She frowned then suddenly understood. "Married life, as you understand it, is not the way that we will deal with the bonding." She finished what she was requested to do, poured herself some tea and sat down beside Kirk. "We do not expect to live our lives together. Each of us has a duty to perform. Spock, here. Myself, to continue with Sarek. Nothing will change until it is his Time."

Kirk sipped on the coffee, frowning slightly. "His Time?"

"Until I am.... required."

It was Kirk's turn to have the light dawn. He remembered that conversation with Spock so long ago about how Vulcan's found their mates. Lifestyles were never discussed though. "Oh!" He smiled slightly. "That is a disappointment."

T'yshen was not certain she understood him completely. "And why is that?"

Kirk hesitated about answering. "Human marriages, the couple live together and on their wedding night, and hopefully most nights after, they engage in certain activities."

She noted the change in his eyes and then the very slight flush on his skin. She received an image from him adding to her understanding. "You speak of coupling." She smiled slightly. "Captain, perhaps it is was a more logical choice for me to have chosen Spock rather than yourself." She had finished her tea and stood preparing to return to her quarters to prepare.

"How do you know?" He was teasing her now!

She leaned down slightly and spoke in a softer voice. "Because I am Vulcan, Captain."

He raised an eyebrow as he considered all the possibilities that could have happened if he had been given the chance. "M-m-m. I've noticed."

"I will take my leave of you, Captain. I must speak with Sarek before the briefing begins." Her head bowed and she left the room quickly.

He sighed and then returned to the briefing notes he was making on his padd. Maybe in his next life he would discover the abilities that would give him a personal and professional life.


The briefing was to be an interesting one. The Rhannisu that had accompanied Di'on were all asking for asylum and wished to return to Vulcan, their ancestral home. Sarek had seemingly been prepared for every eventuality. He had the answers to most of the questions and the ones he did not have, and he had educated guesses at how his world and the Federation would react to others.

Spock had been instructed by Sarek to obtain any information on newly discovered worlds that would be suitable for the Rhannisu people. Spock had found three but favoured the one that was closest to Vulcan in climate and distance. He felt that the closeness would encourage the Rhannisu to alter their life style if their cause was genuine and far enough away that there would not be undue influence on them.

In general, it was felt that the Rhannisu wanted a new beginning, not to walk in another's shadow. They wished to be independent and to find their path between the worlds, on their own. This initial meeting was only to set some groundwork. To understand both sides and discover a compromise. The meeting included only the command staff, Lieutenant Uhura, Ambassador Sarek and Commander Di'on, as well as other Rhannisu representatives. The Federation officers stood as Di'on and two Rhannisu officers were escorted in.

"Thank you, Mr. Bennet. You will be assigned as the Rhannisu liaison for the duration of their stay." Kirk stated.

"Yes, Captain." He took his place to one side of the door. He remained at-ease during the meeting, moving only to answer any needs of the Rhannisu delegation.

Captain Kirk remained standing as the others took their places. "May I be the first to welcome you onto the Enterprise."

"Thank you Captain. It is, as always, a pleasure." Her eyes met the captain's then darted over to the Vulcan. Intelligence reports had been accurate and had the Vulcan still at the Human's side. She had not been sure. She looked to the officers that stood with her. "This is my third. S'task." She paused as she took a breath. "My security officer, Lh'hal."

S'task bowed his head watching his commanding officer at all times. These Humans could not have known that the very last vessel that was destroyed, moments from safety, held her intended bond-mate and second-in-command, S'Tal. He would remain close to her until he was certain of her condition.

Kirk waited as Di'on sat down then made the introductions for his group.

Di'on cleared her throat. "After I returned to Romulus, I was placed where they thought I would do no harm. They were naive enough to place a number of their 'disappointments' in one place. The assumption was that we would see in each other our own failures." She sighed and ran a hand along her forehead. This discussion was most trying under the circumstances, she still had not fully assimilated the information that S'Tal was gone! "They had placed us in a position, that any child would have realized, that we would possibly gain an advantage from this association." She reached for the hot dark liquid that had been placed in front of her by the young crewman. It helped give her something to do for a moment. "We pooled our resources. Some still had access to classified information through family. Our resources in some cases had grown. Our wealth was pooled and our dream to leave the Empire had begun.

"When we left Romulus, we had twenty-two ships, equipped with only bare minimum necessities. Our finances were limited. Four vessels had full weapons, four had full shielding and another four held the ones that had been chosen to lead. I am the only one to survive.

"Surviving vessels are named Rea's Helm, Shield, Memory, Vengeance, Firestorm, Blacklight, Forge, Gorget, Corona, Bloodwing, Pennon, T'Hie, Starcatcher and Warbird. The others were distroyed on the voyage here."

"Your vessels hold the names of the Seheik's. Do you consider your voyage the Return?" Spock inquired with an appreciation for the irony, to name the returning vessels after the Declared Ones that left Vulcan centuries ago.

"If you wish to place a label on it, I suppose that would be a suitable one." She looked to her officers; they nodded in agreement. Many had already referred to this voyage as the Return.

"Your actions were never questioned?" Spock seemed surprised at this.

"Strange that you should mention it, S'Tal reacted in a similar manner just before we left..." She gripped the cup harder, hoping it would not break. She needed to hold on to herself for just a little longer. She had not expected this to be a long and drawn out discussion. "We surmised that if they wished all of us dead, what better way to do it than as we crossed the border." She lowered her head for a moment. "We lost too many vessels. We should have been more prepared."

"We had anticipated to confront, at the most one battlecruiser." S'task shared the hurt in her voice. "We were sure of the deployment of the usual patrols. We did not expect the full wing of warbirds as we left our system as well as the two battlecruisers at the border." S'task's voice faltered somewhat as he spoke. He had lost friends. S'Tal for one, separated only due to the placements of personnel on the vessels, Di'on needed a strong backup and S'Tal was required to command a vessel. S'Tal and he had grown up together, almost as brothers. S'Tal would be missed greatly.

Sarek had made a few notes. "Your information will be verified as much as possible."

Di'on wrote something down then passed it to the Ambassador. "Here is a contact. He is known to the Federation and he was most helpful to us."

Sarek raised an eyebrow ever so slightly as he accepted it. "It will be considered."

"What do you wish of the Federation?" Spock had been most interested in the answer.

"A place where we may live in peace."

"Your allegiance will be in question." Spock stated.

"We are aware. We offer all the knowledge of the Empire that we hold. The record banks of each vessel may be downloaded. A vessel can be given to Starfleet for study. Any of the command officers have agreed to any type of reasonable interrogation."

"Define reasonable." Kirk interjected.

"We will be willing to submit to any medical evaluation or mental evaluation as long as life is guaranteed. Personally, I will submit to a meld if you find it necessary. I can not speak for the others but most will agree." She was beginning to feel the accumulative fatigue. She shifted in the chair, resting against the back of it. "An isolated place on an inhabited world is acceptable. Ideally, a world of our own that we may begin to learn a more peaceful existence. There are many that wish to return, if you choose to call it that, to Vulcan."

Sarek leaned forward slightly. "What if it is the Federation's decision that you are not welcome." "We will take the vessels to un-inhabited space and activate the self-destruct mechanisms." She spoke firmly with not an ounce of doubt in her voice. "Even that eventuality had been foreseen."

There was a silence in the room for a moment.

"Mnhei'sahe." Sarek stated, to the surprise of the Rhannisus.

Di'on allowed a gentle smile. "You understand."

Sarek bowed his head slightly. "In principle, it is understood. In practice, I do not condone it."

Kirk looked to the Commander. "Care to explain?"

"It is a matter of.... Honour. Of the highest order, one that one must feel and be willing to act upon."

Kirk nodded. "Impaling oneself with their own sword, so to speak."

Di'on thought about it. "It is a possible definition as I understand it."

"I do not believe that the Federation will ask that of you." Sarek stated with his usual calm. "I have all the information that is required for the moment. I will contact Federation advisors and the Council on Vulcan as to your request."

"Until then, you are our guests, Commander." Kirk spoke up as he stood. "Lieutenant Bennet will show you to the block of quarters that have been made available to you. Apologies for not having sufficient quarters for all of your people. We have arranged for the majority of your crew to be billeted in the recreation deck. Food dispensers will be adjusted to accommodate your nutritional requirements and anything else you require can be arranged for through Lieutenant Bennet.

Di'on stood. She bowed her head. "I am honoured, Captain." She turned to leave but wavered at her next step. S'task's arms caught her then waited for her to gain control.

"Do you require medical attention?" Spock inquired as he too had suddenly appeared at her side.

"No. It is accumulative stress. S'Tal was in the last vessel the Rhannisu destroyed." S'task offered.

Spock nodded. He remembered the officer that had served as the one Captain Kirk spoke with during their last encounter. "I grieve with thee." He met her eyes and she understood that it was genuine.

Di'on moved from the arms that held her. She looked to the others in the room. "I trust we will meet again." Her head bowed and the small group was led away by Lieutenant Bennet.

Kirk cleared his throat. "Any comments before we adjourn?"

Spock looked to his father. "I do not doubt their word."

Sarek stood. "I find that I, too, have accepted the validity of her statements."

"You will contact T'Pau first?"

"Yes. If there is a channel available." Sarek looked to Kirk.

"I'm sure Lieutenant Uhura will be able to manage one for you?" He looked to Uhura giving her unspoken permission.

"No problem, sir. I can arrange it in ten minutes at the most." Uhura stood.

"That should be sufficient." Sarek bowed his head.

Kirk dismissed her with a nod of his head and he looked to McCoy. "Is it only stress?"

McCoy nodded. "According to the readings I took. If I am reading them right and based on what we know of the differences. She has been without sleep for at least two days. The others show only evidence of the usual elevated blood pressure and raised adrenaline levels that would be associated with a battle. She's the commanding officer, seems to go with the breed." He grinned slightly and he caught the amusement in Kirk's eyes. He thought about what he was going to suggest. "Captain, since we have been given permission to check them out medically, I think it would be advisable to take one person from each surviving vessel and run them through the usual checks."

"That may be perceived as an invasion of privacy."

"Ambassador. I was thinking of the possible contaminants that they may have been exposed to. It will also give us an idea of their overall mental conditions without exposing them to anything invasive."

Kirk nodded then looked to Sarek. "I feel this is within reason, Ambassador. I also have to consider the safety of my ship and the personnel."

"Agreed, Captain." He bowed as he took a step back, asking for the dismissal with the gesture. He received a nod from Kirk and headed to his quarters. There was much to be done and little time to accomplish it in.

Kirk waved Spock to the chair. "Bones, you can start on those medical checks if you want."

"I'd rather give them a little bit of time to settle. There is a lot of activity right now and we don't need to feed on their distrust of us."

"Logical." Kirk poured himself more coffee then sat back down. His feet were placed on the chair that Uhura had been using. "Well, gentlemen, your military opinions."

"Know thy enemy, comes to mind." McCoy stated as he folded his arms. "We have to be careful. They should still be treated as the enemy."

"Allies perhaps would be a more agreeable term." Spock interjected. "I do know of an undercurrent that surfaces every few centuries since the separation of our people; and it deals with the desire to return to the Vulcan ways." Spock paused. "It has not always been successful or last very long. Most times squashed by the ruling Praetor. It has never come to this. Vulcan may see it as a stepping stone and welcome it."

"Personally, I would feel more comfortable with them being on their own world."

"Where the Federation could 'keep an eye on them' so to speak, Captain?"

Kirk debated the statement. "Not sure if I meant it in that framework but it is true none the less." He drank some of the coffee. "I think I meant it more as allowing them enough room and space to find what it is they want, without contamination from another society."

Spock considered this with a tilt of his head. "Logical, Captain."

"They would be able to embrace the doctrines of Vulcan they wished to without requiring to conform to the norm of the others."

"Perhaps you should bring these points to Ambassador Sarek's attention." Spock appreciated this particular Human's ability at seeing the another's point of view.

Kirk emptied his cup then stood. "I am sure he has thought of them already, Spock."

Spock raised an eyebrow as he recalled the comment made by T'yshen concerning a Human's acceptance of the height of a Vulcan's knowledge. "Never the less, they are worth stating."

"Then you have my permission to do so. I have a ship to tend to and guests to put ... somewhere?"

McCoy grinned then headed to sickbay. "See ya later, Spock."

"Doctor." His head bowed slightly as the medical officer left just slightly behind the captain. He reached out to the computer terminal. "Locate Reldai T'yshen."

"Reldai T'yshen is located on Recreation Deck. Exercise Area Four-Alpha." The female voice stated blandly.

Spock closed the circuit then headed in the direction of his wife's quarters.


"You require rest. Something to eat." S'task looked to his commander's face.

She smiled and waved away his concerns with a motion of her hand. "Later. I wish to know that everyone is settled and there are no problems. This cannot be easy for Kirk to find adequate space for us. The quarters that have been assigned have been put aside for the officers of our group but I am not certain that is the appropriate action to take."

"Why not?"

"S'task. We left Romulus with the agreement that we were equals."

"But Commander, you will be speaking for us at the meetings and it will be your signature and agreements that will give us our beginning. Do you not think this privilege is deserved?"

"Not before everyone else is settled." She smiled at this man. "Privilege is one of the things we fought against. We were doing the fighting and the dying and others were enjoying the peace that brought."

He nodded.


Spock touched the control that would allow access to the exercise area. He stepped in, already clothed in the loose fitting garb suitable for t'asumi. The room held one occupant, another Vulcan. He stood waiting to be acknowledged; and a part of him knew she was already aware of his presence.

She turned slowly; remaining balanced on one foot and then stepped forward. Her hands moved down slowly as she made another forty-five degree turn, she straightened then met his eyes.

"Thee have been missed." She controlled her desire to touch him.

"I have been otherwise occupied."

"I am aware." She took a step towards him. Her hands moved together, one clasped inside the other. "The talks are proceeding well. I believe that the most efficient solution would be the Eridani 50, sixth planet. A binary system, four days travel from Vulcan. It would provide a climate that falls between the two worlds." She knew she could not approach him, he must make the first move.

Spock had placed a privacy lock on the door; he did not wish any intrusions. He took a deep breath, his control for her touch was less than perfect. "Sarek has all the information available and he will make the most appropriate choices."

"Thy duty is when?"

Spock smiled. He had noticed that when she spent time speaking Vulcan, she would regain her accent. "In four hours." He moved closer to her.

"We spoke of requirements..." Her voice falling to a whisper, her hand finally reaching to touch him. She ran her hand along his chest; the wrap top was simple to remove. It dropped to the mat with a whisper of sound. Her hands caressed his chest, arms and hands. She caressed his arms up to his neck then her fingertips to touch the light contact points. "Thee are most enjoyable in thy thoughts."

Spock's hand moved to match her touch; his stance straightened slightly as he tried to control his reactions. He had not planned this! After dealing with the reports necessary for his father, Spock had found little time to meditate; his control was not at its peak efficiency. He moved into her thoughts slowly, enjoying the comfort of her. He moved his hands from her face, his arm pulled her to him as he bent down to kiss her. Her hands moved into his hair, the pressure increasing on his lips.

They moved apart slowly. Spock breathed deeply as his hand smoothed the hair that was pulled back into the high ponytail, the length fell loose into her hands. "We must control this." Spock took a step back as he bent to retrieve his top.

T'yshen turned away to help with her control. "Thee wishes to perform t'asumi."

"It would be a means of control."

Spock stood in front of her, their heads bowed and they began the mirroring exercises. As the movements were performed, they would occasionally, touch to some degree. It became their undoing as the brush of a hand or the solid contact of a hand on the other's limb, brought to them the slow and gradual opening to the shared thread. A few more moves, that would bring their bodies closer, and that was when they were put to the test.

T'yshen concentrated on the moves. This was usually a form of meditating for her. Her eyes had lifted to meet his and she felt her body react to him. She closed her eyes and stood still and secure. A deep cleansing breath, followed by another and her body relaxed. She opened her eyes to his. "This is most difficult. We are only a short time away from our kali-farr and I feel my body's need for thy touch." She whispered the words. "Arie'mnu is most difficult when thy desire is a hand's breath away."

Slowly they knelt, as if with a silent command. They sat back onto their feet, hands lifted to touch palm to palm. T'yshen whispered his name and spoke of her passion for him.

Spock held his breath as her passions enveloped his thoughts. His fingers moved between hers then curled around her hands holding them tightly. He moved closer, knees touching. His voice was low, raspy, obviously greatly affected by her! He thought of his first gift to her, the sands of reason. Then his second, the miniature kela-thorn bush, a signification of life. Now he spoke what was in his heart.

"Soon will come the time... that I will burn." He forced a breath. "Only thee can honour my life. Only thee can choose for life. My mind and my blood will burn for thee..." He stopped himself from touching her lips, another deep breath. "I will hold thee in fire... consuming thee... with desire! Thee are the answering passion..!"

T'yshen felt the words, her pleasure at their invention and the unchecked emotions emanating from him! She moaned with the pleasures her body felt She wished for this sensation to continue for all time! She leaned forward; her lips brushed his then touched his neck, her tongue tasting his skin.

Spock could not have foreseen how easy it was to slip into her thoughts, to be consumed by her desire for him. For a moment, he wondered if he would ever be in control again! The mental touches caressing him, relaxing his body and yet bringing it alive! Her touch on his skin made him wish for privacy! He breathed in her perfume as his body warmed to her. He cleared his throat. "We must control..."

She brushed her lips on his warm skin. "Thee do not wish this."

"I need to control." Spock forced his thoughts to a more orderly path, less erotic. "You must also." He felt the wave of heat overwhelm him. "Thee are...!" His hands left hers; he pulled her to him. He touched his lips against hers then his tongue invaded her mouth to taste her. He knew this must end, he had to find some degree of control! He lifted his mouth from hers, released his hold on her body as well as her thoughts. "Enough!" His voice was barely functional.

Shields slowly slipping back into place and then they were separate again. Faces took on the usual stoic masks Vulcans have been known for. But no one had ever thought to watch his or her eyes, still dark with aroused passions.

Spock's fingers ran along her lips. "Thee are most difficult to command."

"Then do not command me... enjoy me." A smile played at her lips; she licked the fingertips then met his eyes. "I will endevour to behave, Commander." She teased him.


Standard Terran Year: 2281.2

A Rhannisu male touched the door chime to the quarters that Commander Di'on had finally accepted. He had thought of this strategy for almost two months. He hoped that Commander Di'on would agree to this. He smoothed his partial uniform before entering the room. Most of the personnel had stripped the insignias of the Empire from their clothing. All rankings had been removed. They came from a society that used rankings or positions instead of names. To know someone's name was to own a secret and no one wanted anyone to know anything about themselves. He clenched his fist and held it against the opposite side of his chest. Saluting their commander was a harder habit to break.

"Commander, I wish to speak with you on a...." He took a quick breath. ".... personal matter."

Commander Di'on stood at his entrance, her head tilted slightly, curious as to what this officer would have to speak to her about. She waved him to the chair opposite to her.

"How are negotiations proceeding?" He tried to relax even in the slightest way and could not.

"I imagine we will have an acceptable agreement in another ten-day or so. It takes time to relay the information. Then the wait for the discussions and for that information to be sent back." She watched as he nodded in understanding. "You stated that you wish to speak on a personal matter?"

"Yes. Understand that this question is not meant to offend, nor is it made with little thought..." He smiled slightly. "I understand from the discussion early on that it would be preferable to have a shared rule."

"That was decided among us." She was not sure where this discussion was leading.

"I am aware of what S'Tal meant to you..." He saw the shadow that fell across her eyes, he felt himself react to it. "What you may not have known is that he and I are brothers-by-choice. He and I shared many battles. We fought shoulder to shoulder until he obtained his position with you. He was honoured to serve." He hoped this was going in the right direction, but he could not tell by her face. "I did not feel that I could approach you concerning this matter until now. If you feel that this is not the time for this subject to be discussed, no offense will be taken."

Di'on felt her body numb itself to the possible reactions. She wanted to think clearly, especially, if he was about to ask what she was presuming he would. She nodded an acknowledgement of the information. "Proceed."

"He took a breath then matched her eyes. "Lady Di'on, because I am aware of your desire to see this plan succeed... I wish to offer myself as a less than suitable replacement as your bondmate. I would consider it an honour, Lady... even to be refused." He stood bowed low. "I do not believe that it is acceptable to begin this new existence alone. You require one to confide in and to see our people through the changes. I await your word." He turned and left the room before any more could be said.

Odd? She had never considered him, yet he was the only one that had come to her! She had somehow had the mindset to at least stand as he left. She continued to stare at the door even after it closed. 'An honour, Lady, even to be refused' How could she refuse him? She moved into the sleep area and the mirror that hung the length of the wardrobe door. She was not sure of herself lately; too many things were changing. She wished the changes; nothing could be done to stop them. The changes that she had hoped for were finally happening... that was the fear! She would enjoy the company. He was far from unpleasant to look at. If they found that they were not compatible, they would find others for the private times. She thought of his face, the fear that she had seen and the change to determination... and sincerity. The last time she had seen that look was in S'Tal's face.

Her hand touched the only weapon and his only possession she had, S'Tal's dirhja, a Rhannisu three-sided blade. She lifted it from its sheath on her upper arm. The last gift from S'Tal and given to her just before they left Romulus. He had teased her that since they were traveling separately she required protection. "Do I do this thing? Do I do this for duty, since I can not do it for passion? Will the passion come after a time as it did for us?" She sighed as she replaced the blade. Looking to the officer that was reflected back to her, she wondered about the woman that had been lost at times. She thought of the Vulcan. She had felt something for him once. He was different now. She was also. It occurred to her that this should be done properly. It would be a time to start new traditions and if they were to be the rulers, then it would have to be done before they left this vessel.... But not before they knew what was to be. Her hand touched the call to the officer that had been assigned to help with the Rhannisu passengers.

"Yes, ma'am." The young voice and face gave her a respect that in her former world would never have been given to a Federation member.

"I wish to arrange for a private dinner. Is this possible?" Di'on watched the young man, his eyes showed no surprise.

"No problem." He looked elsewhere then back to the screen. "Do you wish a place other than your quarters?" He called up the supply list available to the guests. "I gather you would prefer Rhannisu foods? Any particular item, food or drink?"

"Rhannisu ale. In the cargo hold of Rea's Helm." She thought a moment. "Is there a way to retrieve a personal item?"

"I can escort you there or if you would allow me the freedom, I can do this for you." He smiled slightly. "Technically the Rhannisu ale is illegal, were you aware?"

"No. I was not." She saw a look that made her smile. "This dinner is to seal a very special partnership."

"So you'd be following Rhannisu tradition in the use of the ale?"

Di'on understood. "Yes."

"That's covered." He winked. "I'll be down in fifteen minutes to work out the rest of the details, Commander."

"You have been most helpful, Lieutenant Bennet." Her head bowed slightly.

"Just doing my job, Commander Di'on. Bennet out." Di'on cleared the channel and looked to the mirror.

"This feels right, S'Tal." She thought of him for a moment, a single tear fell in memory of him and their passion for one another. "You are missed..."


Ambassador Sarek stood from the conversation he had just had with T'Pau. He had the final decision of his world and now he awaited the decision of the Federation. T'Pau's decision had surprised him in one detail, that she was willing to accept this world and its new inhabitants as a colony of Vulcan. She would assign someone to function as their matriarch until such time that they were capable of doing this themselves. No time frame had been discussed; no names had been either. That would be decided when they arrived at Vulcan in fourteen days.

Sarek, Amanda and T'yshen would return to their home, the Rhannisu would be seen to their new home and the Enterprise would be the ship to help them establish the colony. Life would be returning to a more normal pace for all of them.

Amanda and T'yshen entered the quarters, speaking about the children that they had been with. Both found some satisfaction in spending time with the young and mostly human offspring. Amanda slipped her veil off and folded it as she sat down with a cheerful sigh.

"How are things progressing?"

Sarek sat in the facing chair. "As expected for the most part." He turned slightly to face T'yshen.

"T'Pau wishes to speak with you on a matter."

T'yshen bowed her head. "I shall contact her shortly." She had removed her veil but left it draped around her shoulders. "Was the subject mentioned?"

"My belief is that it pertains to your bonding."

"I will use the communication unit in the briefing room." She lifted the veil back over her hair. "I will be sharing last meal with Spock."

"Fine." Amanda stated. Time alone with Sarek was exactly what she wanted tonight and she was hoping that he was in a similar frame of mind.

T'yshen left the quarters and headed down the corridor, entering the briefing room that was being used for the negotiations. She opened the frequency to the bridge. "Communications."

"Communications, Lieutenant Arilian."

"Lieutenant, I require a secure channel to Vulcan. I will be communicating with T'Pau of the Ruling House."

"It will take a few minutes to arrange the connection. Stand-by."

"I will remain at this terminal." T'yshen stated.

She stood and moved to the viewing port. She watched as the stars streaked by and off in the distance she noted the 'cloud' surrounding the nebula. She had spoken to Spock earlier today and the timing of the induced blood fever was discussed. To time it to appear as they approached Vulcan would seem too planned. A few days earlier would seem more natural and it had been thirteen years since the incident with T'Pring and well within the timeframe that would make it appear natural. She ran her finger along the coolness of the clearsteele.

The communication unit signaled and she moved back to the chair. "T'yshen here."

"Your call to Vulcan."

"Thank you." She heard the click and the sound change in the speaker. "Tela'at." Her head bowed as the image appeared on the screen in front of her. The old matriarch still held herself with pride and had a youthful light in her eyes. "Thee required audience." She spoke easily in Vulcan.

"We need to speak of thy future." T'Pau had a thoughtful expression on her face, one that only those that knew her would notice. "Decisions must be made."


"Thy bond. The logic of the event and thy future rule."

"My bonding was explained, T'Kahr. It was my comprehension that it had been understood and accepted." She spoke with an aire of confidence she did not have when she left Vulcan.

"It has. It raises questions that must be addressed."

"These are?"

"If thee is chosen, how will thee rule with thy mate off world?"

"If I am chosen, my rule will be mine. It will not depend on another's influence."

"And when his Time comes."

"He will return to Vulcan." She paused for a moment. "It is no different than any other bonding that has its partners in different places. Sarek has maintained his position."

"We are not discussing Sarek."

"We are discussing bondmates that lead separate lives from one another."

T'Pau held her hands in the steepled position. This appeared to be a family habit. "Are thee prepared to hold position?"

"In what manner."

"As matriarch."

T'yshen jumped to a logical conclusion. "Thee are not well, T'Kahr."

"My health is not an issue. I require an answer."

T'yshen could not help but frown as she considered the question. "I believe I can be prepared."

"This does not sound definite."

Her head bowed. "I can not be any more certain, Tela'at. I know nothing of the circumstances. I beg forgiveness."

"The answer will be sufficient for the present. Peace and long life, T'yshen-kam."

The screen went blank. T'yshen leaned back in the chair and stared at the dark screen until the unit sounded that the channel had cleared. "Most curious." She stood and took a step towards the door then stopped and looked to the screen again. "Perhaps Sarek would know." She would ask him to help decipher this conversation.


Lieutenant Bennet placed the last of the items in place. He held the second bottle of Rhannisu ale, a gift from the Commander. He would tuck it away for a very special occasion. He checked the quarters; he had tried to emulate the shared traditions of the Vulcan and Rhannisu people. He nodded approval.

He moved into the sleeping area, he double-checked all of the items that had been obtained from Commander Di'on's quarters. Her gown and personal items had been left on the bed. The incense that she had asked for was placed close to the firepot.

He checked the time then moved to the intership circuit. "Commander Di'on." He waited a moment then she answered his call. The channel was automatically secured between the two points. "All is ready, Commander. I have also arranged for a light breakfast to be served at seven hundred hours."

"Most suitable. Thank you, Lieutenant Bennet. Di'on out."

Bennet made a last survey of the quarters then picked up the invitation he was to deliver to another Rhannisu officer, Commander S'task of the Firestorm.


Di'on turned suddenly at the sound of the door chime. She smoothed her gown, shook out her long hair, took a deep breath then spoke the word that would change her life. "Come."

S'task stepped in, surprised at the change in the décor and in his 'commanding officer'. His head bowed low, he removed his hard belt, and even though it held no weapons the offer of entering unarmed and with trust was there. It was placed on the low table by the doorway. "Commander, I am honoured by your invitation." He reached into his tunic and slipped out a small wrapped box. "It is not much. A gift, to honour you." He bowed again, his hand reluctantly releasing it to her. He had hoped to be holding her in his arms when he presented this to her.

Di'on accepted the box then placed it on the table. "I trust that the gift will keep for a few moments. A drink first?" She handed him a very tall slim glass, half-filled with the smoking blue liquid; the vapour that rose from the glass made it a very interesting drink. She lifted the glass. "To new alliances."

"New alliances." He watched the female as he drank down the ale. He was also aware that many officers' lives had ended over dinners and he trusted this one would not. "You have given it some thought?"

"Yes, I have." She licked the ale from her lips before continuing. "After much consideration and soul searching, I have agreed to give you an opportunity." She was surprised at the interest he showed. S'task was an officer that she had noticed only due to his superior record and in the high regard that S'Tal saw him. "We will have dinner and talk of one another and our renewed futures. If you still feel as you do, then it will be time to consider the next move."

S'task drank a large amount of his ale, hoping to calm his nerves. He had not really expected her to agree to any of this! "A most interesting proposal." He lifted his glass to her in salute. "Lady Di'on, most powerful.... And desirable." His eyes softened to her then moved closer. He studied her for a short time. "You will never regret this, My Lady. I will assure you of that!"

"And if I do?" She needed to know who honest this man was. She finished her ale and placed the glass on the table.

His glass was placed quickly on the table and he dropped to one knee, his head bowed low. "My life will be yours... to do with as you please. I would die willingly by your hand."

Di'on felt the shiver travel her body. She reached down; her hand lifted his chin. His eyes appeared honest and clear and the muscles in his face remained relaxed. He was being truthful and he was truly ready to accept whatever her hand delivered. "I will honour that promise."

S'task stood, gathered her into his arms and his lips touched hers gently. He felt no resistance or fear in her body. As he held her, the pressure of their kiss increased. Her hands moved up his back holding him closer. If she took his life now... he would die willing and honourably.

Di'on felt the familiar warmth invade her body. She had almost forgotten how good it felt to be held by one that could be trusted. It felt as if an eternity had passed from one life style to this one.

He moved from her slowly and held her hand as she sat down. The gift box sat in her, as yet, unused plate. "Do you wish me to open this now?" Her voice felt awkward.

"If you wish. I would be most honoured, Lady Di'on."

Her fingers pulled at the ribbon and the fabric fell away. It was obviously an old piece of fabric and of a pattern that had not been seen in centuries. The box lid was lifted and she discovered inside the black silk-like wrappings, a fine string with tiny droplets of green stone hanging from it. All differing sizes and shapes almost as if someone had dripped it along the string then held it up to harden.

"This is beautiful!" She had found her voice finally. "These are not new?"

S'task shook his head. "They have been handed down in my family for centuries. A distant relative was a stone artisan. The story I have been told is that these were fashioned the day news was received concerning Surak's death. My mother would refer to them as S'task's tears. The ones he had shed for Surak in private." His hand closed around hers. "My family has for centuries, and in secret, retained many of the Vulcan traditions and the language. This is something I have dreamed of since I was old enough to understand." He moved suddenly, his hands placing the necklace around her neck then fastened it under her hair. "You have helped fulfill a life-long dream of mine... to return to Vulcan. I wish to do the same for you."

Her hand pressed the stones to her skin. "They feel cold."

"They will never warm. It is said the bloodstone holds the moisture of the thousands that were killed on the ancient sands of Vulcan." He poured more ale into the glasses. "My mother named me after him. He was Surak's most trusted student and unfortunately, the one that would divide Vulcan. Something told her that I would have the opportunity to make it back."

Di'on lifted her glass. "To the fulfillment of dreams, past, present and future."

He lifted his glass; touched hers then drank the entire contents in one lifting of his glass. Tonight would be the one that neither of them would forget. He wished to make this a night she would not regret.

Dinner had been delicious and after dessert both were too full to move too quickly. They spoke of their family histories; they had learned much about each other. Di'on had learned that it was S'task's influence that made S'Tal want to travel here. She thanked him for that influence. They spoke of how strange it had become to not watch the movements of others or to have to be careful of what was spoken in front of others. They laughed about some of the stories they had to tell and were melancholy when they spoke of the others that did not survive the journey.

They had finished the bottle of ale long ago.

On an impulse, S'task stood and reached for Di'on. He pulled her close to him, slowly this time. His hands ran along her bare arms and his eyes searched her face for her answer. "Have you given thought to my proposal?"

She had a sudden wish to hear the words again, but spoken differently. "What proposal would that have been?"

He caught the sparkle in her eyes and smiled. "I wish to do the honour of sharing our New World at your side. As your bondmate, with my life still forfeit if I do not please you."

Di'on smiled as she felt her body press against his. "I would be most honoured, My Lord." Her lips found his and she pulled herself to him somehow knowing that they would have a lifetime of pleasure.

Standard Terran Year: 2281.3

The paperwork had taken days to set out in the final draft. T'yshen had worked by Sarek's side all the way. Now it was time that both needed to rest and refresh. She moved into her room and pulled down her journal.

'It is time. Vulcan is ten days away. The

celebration will be held tonight on board

the Enterprise. Tonight, I will give him

the D'vel-sha'fal, the Chosen Burning. He

has promised that we will be alone one more

time before our final bonding. It has been

most difficult to be separated from him.

'The Rhannisu will be living on the sixth

planet of the near-by system. It would be

a most glorious adventure to be on that

world that was just beginning! To be part

of this has been most educational. The

subtleties that are required in the

wording are tiring. To spend one's life

at this! I do not understand how Sarek

finds the patience at times. Perhaps this

will come with age and experience.

'Dr. McCoy has been testing my knowledge

of medical procedures that I have been

studying. I have attained the primary

level. I have found this to be a most

satisfying occupation and have chosen to

continue my education when I return to

Vulcan. Spock has made the offer of the

purchase of a house in any location I

desire, on the return to Vulcan.

'Tonight, I will ask him to repeat the

madrigal to me. His soft voice and the

sound of his lyrette are things that I

find soothing. It will be lonely to

return to Vulcan without him!

'One day he will return to me and then

we will have a glorious life!'

The pen and the book were closed and placed on her nightstand. She was sure that she would have more to add before the day had ended.


T'yshen prepared for the evening. She stepped into the shower; her body relaxed as the warm water struck her skin. Her hair was washed quickly and then the drying jets were turned on. She smiled as her hair flew everywhere!

"You must require hours to remove the tangles?" He smiled at her surprise in his presence. His head bowed. "I did not wish to startle you." He spoke softly as he reached for the large towel then held it for her as she stepped out of the shower stall. His hands wrapped the fabric around her and he pulled her close. His kisses touched the neck, her head tilted to accommodate him. He had intentionally wrapped her hands into the toweling, so he would be the one to leave her without control. "You're laughter is delightful!"

"How did you enter?" She met his eyes and wished that her hands were free.

"Father and Mother are preparing for tonight. Neither were in the common room and as you are fully aware.... Vulcans do not lock their doors." He turned her to face him but her hands remained confined. "You wish to be together tonight?"

"Yes!" She began to pull at the toweling, he held her too tightly to find her freedom. "You are enjoying this!" She tilted her head slightly. "You entered without permission?" She stated it as if she had not expected him to do this.

"We are ten days from the time that you will be my wife in more than name only. I require permission from you?" He teased. His eyes were bright and seemingly full of mischief. His mouth capturing hers and his thoughts brushing hers, teasing her control. "I must return to duty." He took a breath. "I left the bridge to see you... I have never before wished to do this." Spock brushed her lips with his. "I will see thee before the reception."

T'yshen was speechless at his actions as he moved to the door. He paused long enough to listen for activity then moved into the common room. The door closing silently behind him. She listened unmoving until she heard the outer door open then close. She pulled at the towel, wondering why she could not unwrap it. She looked to the mirror, turning her back to it.... "A knot!" She tipped her head back looking to the ceiling for a moment. "Oh-h-h! That Vulcan!" She sat on the bed and laughed.


Amanda tapped on T'yshen's door. "Are you waiting for Spock?"

"Yes. His duty ended forty-two minutes ago. I expect him shortly." T'yshen stepped out of her room. She wore a burgundy silk velvet gown with long slitted sleeves. Her hands were hidden as she dropped her hands to her side. The neckline hinted at the possibility of slipping off her shoulders. Her hair was worn loose, only the sides were held back exposing her elegantly pointed ears. "I trust we will be on time for the ceremony, Ambassador Sarek."

"As expected." Sarek bowed his head and the older couple left for the festivities. T'yshen moved to the viewing port that was closed at the moment. Her hands touched the control to reveal the stars to her. Her hand rested against the clearsteele, feeling the chill from the surface. She lost herself to the stars for the moment, thinking of her future. She had spent the last few months working with Dr. McCoy and had enjoyed it. She knew she would never be given permission to serve on board a vessel but she treasured this privilege she had been given aboard the Enterprise.

She considered her future with Spock. It would be an interesting one. She wondered if he would return to her when assigned shore leaves were issued. When she suceeded the position of Ruler, would they be required to dissolve the link? Without a life-bonding it remained a possibility. Perhaps by then she would have enough knowledge to change that practice.

Her hand went to the bloodstone talisman, still damp, her marking that she was destined to rule Vulcan. She thought that perhaps returning to Mount Seleya would be the most logical course. The one thing she did miss was the warmth of the Vulcan air. Her hands ran along her arms and considered what pon farr would be like. She considered her ability to satisfy him.

Spock entered the quarters; he watched her watching the stars. He had the next fourteen days with her; he wanted it to be longer. "Thee are prepared?"

"Yes." She turned to face him. She brushed her hair back over her shoulder. "I prefer thee in the dress uniform." She tilted her head slightly. "You are most fortunate that I found a way to remove the towel."

Spock hid the smile poorly. "It was a momentary loss of logic."

She moved to him, her hand ran down the silk of his tunic sleeve, then held his hand. "Come." She guided him to the small, prepared table over to the side. She poured the dark green liquid into the tall vial thin flutes. "This liqueur tastes of the kela-thorn berries." She tasted the liquid then licked it from her lips.

Her hand moved into the concealed pocket in her sleeve and placed the vial in his hand. "Are thee prepared?"

Spock raised an eyebrow considering this for a second. He nodded. T'yshen ran her nail along the seal then allowed Spock to pull out the stopper. She dipped her smallest finger into the vial then offered it to him to taste. It had a spicy taste, resembling cinnamon. He dipped the tip of his finger in, offering it to her to taste.

She emptied the vial into his glass then watched as he drank it down. She drank the remainder of her liqueur and barely had enough time to lower her glass when Spock pulled her close, tasting her lips.

Tonight would be the first time she would be introduced formally as his betrothed. He felt most honoured and most anxious to spend time together afterwards.

T'yshen separated herself from him then picked up the lace overdress. He lifted her hair free of the fabric, amazed at its length.

He held his two fingers extended. "Attend me." Her fingers mirrored his and as they touched, the flow of thoughts could be felt. Both were anxious and anticipated nothing but an interesting evening.


The larger recreation deck was cleared and set up for the festivities. Tables of food and a multitude of drinks had been set up around the room. Music was being piped in and the 'In House Band' was setting up to play later in the evening. Even the Rhannisu had supplied some of the customary decorations for all celebrations, statues that resembled the firepot that Spock had. More statues that depicted the Ancient gods, not of the more common sizes but even the smaller versions were impressive. The detail and the life-like imagery was a compliment to the craftmasters.

One table had been set up in preparation for the signing of the agreements. They would be finalized on Vulcan, but this way everyone could participate in the event. It would only take T'Pau's signature and that was scheduled to be in private quarters. In back of the table stood a flag of the Federation, one for Vulcan and for the present, a flag that held the Rhannisu's emblem. The documents were on display for all to read in a hard copy and the format Sarek had chosen resembled parchment. The Ancient Vulcan script had been accomplished by T'yshen.

The Rhannisu had even chosen a new name. The attitudes were changing slowly and over the few months that they had remained on board had discovered the freedom of the Federation. The name that had been chosen was Kavifemai; it translated as the Eye of Challenge. And they felt it was a challenge, this new life they were attempting.

The Kavifemai people came to this celebration dressed, mostly, in civilian attire. Uniforms had been discarded slowly, or rankings and Rhannisu fleet markings had been removed. Some were altered to be worn, as 'formal' attire; many of the others had brought with them formal attire to begin with. As Di'on and S'task entered the room, it was already buzzing with activity. The mingling of the dress uniforms and the civilian colours made for an interesting display.

Kirk had made one turn of the room earlier, checking on the details that he was sure Mr. Tanzier had seen to perfectly. Mr. Tanzier had been the head of the recreation division since the second year that Kirk had taken command. If Kirk had anything to say about it, this man would remain here until Tanzier retired, or he did; which ever came first. The morale on this ship was the best and he wanted to keep it that way!

"Jim." McCoy came over with two drinks, one he put in Kirk's hand. "To interesting voyages."

Kirk grinned then saluted McCoy with the glass and drank down at least half. He waited for the burning to travel down his throat. "This stuff is good!" His eyes were watering so he wiped them. "Saurian?"

McCoy shook his head. "Rhannisu variety."

Kirk approved. "Seen our delegation yet?" He looked around the crowded room.

"I saw Spock heading to his parent's quarters so I am assuming that they will be here soon." McCoy started to scan the room as well. He caught sight of Sarek, Amanda, Di'on and S'task entering the room.

"There's part of the group." He waited for Kirk to take the first step then followed him.

Kirk headed in as straight a line as he could, through the growing crowd, to greet the four. He bowed his head. "Ambassador Sarek. Lady Amanda." He turned to their other guests. "Lady Di'on. What do you think of Federation hospitality?"

She grinned as she thought of their shared past. "A little bit more accommodating than the last time." She smiled then returned his bow.

Kirk welcomed S'task. He found himself anxious to learn about this man after the announcement had been made about Di'on's and S'task's bonding. He noticed the long wrapped item at his side. "S'haile S'task, if I may ask..?" He indicated the item.

S'task lifted it as Di'on unwrapped the fabric.

"A sword of S'harien, Captain. The one item both the Rhannisu and the Vulcan people share." He lifted the sheath out for Kirk's inspection. The casing was made of a highly polished green-black wood and the hilt of the sword matched the case. "One of the originals, it has remained in my family until today, when it will become the property of the Kavifemai. A shared beginning."

"Magnificent!" Kirk ran his fingers along the intricately carved surface. "Mr. Sulu would take immense please at seeing this." He stated knowing of the helmsman's delight in most ancient weaponry. He looked to the room. "What do you think? Suitable for sending off a New World?"

"Yes, Captain." Di'on had been surprised at the attentions that her group had received. Much more than she had expected!

McCoy turned to Sarek. "Spock and T'yshen expected?"

"They are due momentarily." Sarek and Amanda had taken a turn around the gardens before coming here. A habitual time of quiet solitude before all of the festivities began.

No sooner had it been said, than the door opened and the couple made their entrance. Both were drawn quickly to the small grouping.

"Spock, we were just asking when you were due to show." McCoy bowed his head to T'yshen. "Reldai T'yshen."

"Doctor McCoy." She remained at Spock's side. She had not been formally introduced to Di'on or to S'task. Her involvement with the agreements was always 'behind the scene' as the Humans were fond of saying.

Spock looked to Di'on. Their close association had some uncomfortable moments at the very beginning, but with continued interaction, a friendship had begun to form. "T'sai Di'on, S'haile S'task. May I introduce aduna Reldai T'yshen."

Di'on had managed to hide the surprise, her head bowed. "Reldai, it is an honour."

S'task followed her lead.

T'yshen returned the bow. Her interest was drawn to the sword. "May I?" Her hand gestured towards the sword that S'task held.

"Of course." He lifted it then watched as she lifted the casing with a practiced ease. "You have handled these before."

"It has been almost a year. I have missed the practice." She grasped the hilt then slid the blade partway out. "It has never shed blood."

"Not to my knowledge."

"The blade is undamaged. A chemical was placed on it to react with Vulcan blood, causing it to stain the metal. It will look clean but there will be an aroma that is noticeable." She offered it back, in the appropriate manner across her wrists. It was the privilege of the owner to set the hilt.

S'task took it back and allowed the blade to slid into place. "It will become the property of the Kavifemai. A symbol of our blood oath to the cause." "A blood oath?" Kirk looked to the others. "Isn't that a little severe?"

"Not to our people, Captain." Di'on stated easily. "A tradition that will remain from the Rhannisu Homeworld, oaths taken on the blade of S'harien's Sword. We do not plan on abandoning all our traditions."


Food, drink, conversation and music filled the next part of the evening. Di'on and S'task joined in the festivities quickly and were soon twirling into the collection of couples that were dancing. Both had been surprised at how many of their people had begun to pair-up and how many of them had been long-standing relationships that had not been permitted acknowledgement before.

Rank, caste or wealth meant very little now. The new society needed to be on even ground when it started, and to remain so for at least one year.

Spock stood behind T'yshen then leaned close and whispered. "Would thee dance?"

T'yshen excused herself from the conversation and turned, moving into his arms easily. She held his hand knowing that he was privy to her surface thoughts. They spoke of the evening, how the excitement ran in the air and how she had been honoured to be a part of this.

"You are beautiful." Spock whispered the words. "I can not wait until we speak the words that will make us one." His hands guided her along the path of the dance.

"If I did not know any better, I would suspect that you have begun to feel the effects of the D'vel-sha'fal." She met his eyes and the darkness in them sparkled. She knew that he could not have but the possibilities were foremost on his thoughts.

The song ended and Uhura tapped Spock's arm. "Time for us to entertain." She winked at Spock then tucked her arm under his and guided him to a corner of the room. T'yshen followed, her arm tucked into other arm.

Uhura looked to the couple, beside her and then realized what this trio looked like.

McCoy stopped them for a moment. "Spock, an embarrassment of riches?" His eyes went from one woman to the other both quite beautiful and talented.

Spock raised the customary eyebrow. "I have been thoroughly educated in all aspects of financial possibilities."

Uhura laughed, T'yshen bowed her head then the three moved on.

Spock sat down, his lyrette in his lap. T'yshen stood slightly behind him. She would be playing a deep toned flute-like instrument. Uhura sat gracefully at the grand piano, her fingers poised above the keyboard.

Uhura gave the opening count and they played a blending of three classical pieces from three different Worlds.... Earth, Rhannisu and Vulcan. The pieces had been chosen carefully. They flowed from one into the other so carefully that no one really sure where one ended and the next began. An excellent musical interpretation of the chain of events yet to come. At the end, they stood apart from the instruments, accepting the audience's applause.

They moved back into the crowd and received a few more compliments. Di'on moved towards Captain Kirk with Sarek. Amanda and S'task were off dancing.

"You play well, Commander Spock. Commander Uhura and Reldai T'yshen." Di'on looked to the Vulcan male, she remembered a time when promises had been made in private that would effect the future. Promises made under the guise of a possible defection on his part. She had promised him a command of his own. That future was yet to be. "You will have to visit at some point in the future to see what we will accomplish."

Spock bowed his head. "An honour, T'sai Di'on." He excused himself to speak with Kirk.

T'yshen was unsure why she moved, but as she took a step, a flash of light was caught from the corner of her eye... as the light would gleam off a polished blade. Instinctively, she reached to Di'on pushed her out of the way, only to have Di'on fall unceremoniously into Kirk's arms. Stepping in front of Sarek, as she concluded that he would be the next logical target. She placed herself between the blade and its next victim. Her hand moved to the attacker's shoulder as the coolness of the blade slipped into her body. The attacker collapsed from the neck pinch T'yshen had managed. She turned facing Spock, whispered his name then fell to her knees first as she collapsed in a heap.

Kirk saw the movements as he held Di'on until she had regained her balance. It took less than a second for everything to register. Spock's hand held Kirk's shoulder tightly as the pain T'yshen was feeling registered on his face.

"Security! Medical!" Kirk shouted the commands. He was now holding the Vulcan upright until he could stand. Spock's face had paled as it registered what exactly had happened.

McCoy appeared out of no where with a full emergency medkit in his hands. He had pushed his way through the commotion. "Out of my way!" He bellowed, then his voice fell to a whisper. "Oh God!" On his face, the panic showed for only a split second. His hands moved into the medkit as he looked for the faces he needed. His hands administered the blood coagulant and an antibiotic. His eyes finally made contact with Sarek's. "What happened?"

"Precise events are uncertain." Sarek's eyes raised up to his son's. He could not tell him anything, but Spock knew.

Di'on stood staring at the unconscious figure at her feet. It had been an attack on either herself or Sarek; she was uncertain which. She started as the firm hands held her shoulders. The voice asked her if she was hurt, then asked again. "I am fine." She turned. It was S'task, her hands went to his shoulders. "She must not die!" In all the battles she had been in, she had never felt as helpless as she did at this moment! She could not even bark an order!

S'task held her for a moment then moved to the unconscious body. "Ael?" He looked up to Di'on and she had begun to shake. He moved to her side then out of the way as the Federation security officers lifted the attacker.

As they moved off, Kirk pushed his way through with Spock. He saw something in McCoy's face as it met his, somehow telling him not to let Spock any closer yet! He turned and stopped Spock. His hands flat against the Vulcan's chest. He met the dark eyes. "Wait. McCoy says to wait!" He looked to Spock's eyes for some type of comprehension and saw only unbelievable pain. "Spock!" He held onto the officer knowing that if he were determined enough, nothing would stop the Vulcan. Some part of Spock understood that he needed to control this. Kirk closed his eyes for a moment; he had felt the pain as well! He took a sudden breath and heard himself groan. He felt the pressure from Spock's forward motion, lessen.

T'yshen looked up and saw Sarek's face. "It was stopped. You are safe?" She spoke in whispered tones in Vulcan. She closed her eyes as she began to feel the pain. "S'haile?"

"Everyone is safe."

"Spock." T'yshen felt the coolness of her body, it was either shock or death attempting to claim her.... either way, she wished to see him. Her vision cleared for a moment. "Spock." She tried to sit up.

McCoy's hands held her down as he looked to Spock. "We have to move her to sickbay before she bleeds to death!"

"I am here." He fought the impulse to take her in his arms. "Dr. McCoy will be taking you to sickbay."

Her head nodded. "Thee need another.. another before..."

He frowned, she spoke in Vulcan and some words were of the Ancient language. He clarified what he thought she meant. "Another for what?"

"The pon farr.... Do not allow death." She felt his touch on her face, drying her tears.

Spock glanced at McCoy silently asking him if it was a possibility.

"No promises." McCoy's hand was held against the deep wound on her side, trying to stem the flow of the emerald blood. He waved the anti-grav gurney into position. "Slowly, very slowly." He helped the orderlies to move her into position on the gurney, his foot slipped slightly in the pool of blood left behind.

He looked to Sarek. "You come too. I'll have Chapel look at that.."

Sarek had not even noticed the cut across his arm until he had followed McCoy's line of sight. "Yes, Doctor." He followed behind, stopping only to assure Amanda that everything would be fine.

Amanda moved to Spock's side. "Your Father lies badly. What happened?"

"It appears that an attempt was made on the lives of T'sai Di'on or Father. T'yshen prevented either from being injured. " Spock went to hold his Mother's hand but stopped. His hands were coated in T'yshen's blood. "She may have done so with her own." He looked around quickly then nodded in Kirk's direction.

He received unrequired permission in the form of a nod so he could continue to sickbay and with the knowledge that Amanda would be in Kirk's care.

Uhura's touch went to his elbow. She had noticed that he seemed hesitant about what to do. "Come on. Let's go!" She nodded to Amanda as well. "Captain Kirk will follow as soon as he can."

Sickbay became a very busy place. Chapel had run into sickbay, ahead of McCoy, ridding herself of her gown and exchanging it for the medical coveralls. She barked orders that would prepare the area for whatever McCoy had to deal with. Her only clue had been that someone in the crowd had said there was green blood everywhere!

By the time McCoy arrived with T'yshen, Chapel was in scrubs and had the surgery area totally prepared for the operation on his Vulcan patient.

Chapel helped the orderlies get her onto the table, reluctantly but efficiently, cutting away T'yshen's velvet gown and began preparing her. She had also tossed a set of scrubs to both McCoy and Spock as they entered, to change into.

McCoy stripped his uniform tunic off, as a list of vital statistics was being read off to him. He ordered some standard medications to begin T'yshen's recovery. A second nurse entered with the Vulcan plasma and the suturing kit for Sarek. She handed that to Chapel.

"Set up the collection unit, we can't afford to lose too much more blood. She's lost too much already!" A pressure dressing, adjusting it around the hilt of the knife had replaced his hand. McCoy moved out of the way to wash his hands of the dried green blood and finish changing. "Go through more dress uniforms that way!" He turned around to face Spock. "Spock. Grab a chair, form a meld and keep her from slipping away or moving too much."

Spock moved quickly, pausing only long enough to finish changing. He cleaned his hands then grabbed the closest chair and positioned himself at the head of the table. As he sat down, his eyes met McCoy's; they held questions, not answers. Her skin was pale and had become cold; she was in shock. "Do you wish me to control her pain as well?"

McCoy nodded. "This time, I'm willing to try. Her body can not take any more added medications right now." He took a deep breath then looked to Chapel. "Ready?"

"Yes." Her eyes scanned the equipment and nodded. "Anytime."

McCoy flipped on the sterile field, a blue glow form over and around T'yshen's body. He began barking the orders that would hopefully save T'yshen's life. The surface bleeders were sealed and then he checked the damage. "It's her heart." He muttered then swore. "Damn!" He closed his eyes for a second, praying he could do what he had to. His hands moved in a steady rhythm, hesitating only once. He was reluctant to take the knife out. He pulled at it slowly and then had to stop. "I have to cut it out." He looked to Chapel. "Scalpel, set for a very fine cut." He held the tool steady, the beam cut into her flesh easily. Chapel wiped his forehead. "Wish I could just stop sweating just for awhile." He muttered. He was finally able to lift the blade out and then dropped it into the tray.

He glanced at Spock. "How is she doing?" His eyes scanned the read-outs on the panel as well.

"A great deal of pain. She is somewhat conscious, I am controlling her pain. She is aware of what is happening." His voice was soft and held a slight strain, distracted sound to it. Spock sighed as he reached to his own reserves to continue. The wash of pain he had felt at first was diminishing. T'yshen had begun to control a portion of the pain, but she was far from being capable of managing on her own.

McCoy studied the pain indicator, it registered within normal settings, and Spock was doing an excellent job of comforting this patient. Without his help, he would have had to sedate T'yshen and a whole new set of problems would have cropped up from that. In his experience, Vulcans did not take well to being sedated; they tended to remain in that euphoric state for too long, sometimes to the point of not being able to wake.

McCoy's experienced touch moved in checking for any damage the scanner may have missed. So far, so good!

Five hours had passed since the surgery had been completed. T'yshen was finally in a stable condition.

Kirk stood, as McCoy dragged himself out of the surgery and into his office. Kirk poured him a coffee then handed it to him. He tried to read the doctor's facial expression but he couldn't. "Sarek said to tell you his arm is fine. And to let him know if you required anything!"

McCoy drank down the coffee then refilled the cup. He met the hazel eyes. "We almost lost her three times. Spock, once. A lot of damage was done to her heart. She will recover but her activities will have to be restricted as long as possible." He drank more coffee. "Spock threw a curve into this..." He sat down heavily in his chair then sighed. "He has begun pon farr."

"He did know. He just chose not to share the information until the last possible moment. This time it has been induced. An ancient chemical formula." He smiled at Kirk's surprise. "A plan of T'yshen's. Apparently, if they had not bonded by the time she returned to Vulcan, their bond would have been forcibly broken. This way, they have a chance of this being left if it is a life bond." McCoy sat down with a sigh. "She needs time to recover before this hits. There is a lot of damage to her heart." He looked to the chronometer. "It's only been five hours...?" He slowly closed his eyes, his head fell forward and slowly his breathing became slow and regular. He had fallen asleep.

Kirk moved the cup then tipped the chair back slightly, leaving him in a more comfortable position. He headed into the intensive care area to check on things before he left. Kirk caught the look Chapel gave him as she nodded and held up one finger. Kirk nodded then moved to the foot of the bed.

T'yshen was pale, her dark hair was in sloppy braid, no doubt done by one of the nurses. One hand lay very still on top of the covers; the other cradled in Spock's hand. Spock looked almost as pale as she did. He was leaning back in the chair with his feet resting on another.

"She will live." Spock's voice was low, not too energetic either. "Dr. McCoy performed well. He should be commended for his skill under this type of pressure." Only one eye opened at first to see Kirk. "The attacker has been identified?"

"Di'on's helm, Ael. She was sent by the Tal-shiar, to insure the plan was never put into place. She had never had the opportunity before this. Di'on and Sarek had never been together except in the closed-door conference."

Spock reached to the tray over his head; he passed the blade to Kirk. "McCoy had to rebuild one chamber."

Kirk admired the blade. He touched the silver depression, the main blade spilt suddenly into three that fanned out. "Deadly."

"It would have been, had we not been there. She should have died." Spock shifted slightly then placed his feet back on the chair and leaned back.

Kirk reached to the shelf on the opposite side of the room and pulled down two thermal covers. He flipped it open and covered Spock. "Sleep. I'll let your parents know how both of you are doing." He was relieved when Spock closed his eyes. Kirk picked up the other cover and headed into McCoy's office.

McCoy had moved to the small old-style cot he kept off to the side. He looked as if someone had thrown him into it. Kirk covered the doctor then grinned. Knowing McCoy, he would have no recollection of moving.

"Oh thanks." Chapel stood there with a thermal cover for McCoy, she held it still folded. "I'll check in with you as soon as there is any change. She's lost a lot of blood. We'll have to check the Rom... The Kavifemai for a matching blood type."

"What is it? I am going to see Di'on, so I can let her know."

"Oddly enough, OT negative. O is acceptable as well as T negative. Spock's already donated two units."

"No wonder he looks so drained." Kirk nodded then shared a grin with her because of the wording. "I'll head there right after I see Sarek."

Kirk touched the door chime of the VIP quarters. His hand had not even left the button yet and the door slid open. Amanda stood there anxious for any news. Kirk did not waste any time. "It was touch and go for a time. McCoy said he lost her three times. Spock says she will live."

Amanda visibly relaxed with a soft sigh. "Sarek will be pleased." She looked to the room. "He said he was going to sleep, but he is sitting there trying to meditate and worrying. Spock?" She met Kirk's eyes; he was extremely tired.

"He is with her." Kirk smiled. "I have to let a few others know." Kirk bowed his head then headed to the lower decks to inform Di'on and S'task. Then he would check in with security about the prisoner, with the bridge and then finally with his bed! He rubbed his forehead; he was tired!


Pain was the first thing she noticed had gone. Her pointed ears identified the rhythmic sounds of the diagnostic panel above her head. Slowly, opening her eyes and taking in the surroundings. She turned her head to one side and discovered Spock with his head lying uncomfortably on the bed. She moved her hand from his to stroke his hair.

Spock reacted immediately to the touch; he lifted his head, relieved to see her eyes open and bright. "McCoy will want to see you." Spock sat up straighter, he stood then stretched. "Do you wish anything?"

"A drink." Her throat was dry. She had noticed his attire, scrubs; obviously, he had not left sickbay nor had he rested properly.

"I will return." Spock moved into the doctor's office. McCoy was awake, stretched out on the cot staring up at the ceiling. "Dr. McCoy, she is awake."

McCoy nodded. "How is she?" He flipped back the covers then reached to the coffee and his cup. "She can have a small amount of water." He ran a hand through his hair. "I'll be out in a minute." He waited until Spock left then stretched. "I am getting too old for this!" He hurt all over!

"You are just tired." Chapel stuck her head in handing him a glass of orange.... stuff. "It's juice, a mild stimulant with a dash of nutrients." She smiled at him. "Drink it, you'll feel better."

McCoy looked into the glass then back at Chapel, unsure of her intentions. "I'll trust you this time." He drank it down. "M-m-m, not bad!" He looked to the monitor screen. "How was her night?"

"A little restless for a Vulcan, but other than that, fine. We had three Kavifemai come in to donate blood, so we haven't had to stop the blood supply or rely on synthetic. No bleeders. Readings are improving steadily and she might be able to handle a light meal by tonight. Maybe even a mild healing sleep."

"Good." He nodded then handed the empty glass to Chapel. "Thanks again, Chris." Feeling his body beginning to wake up, he headed into the intensive care area. "How are you doing?" He looked to her readings; the blood count and level were still low but her blood pressure was improving and the fever that he had anticipated was lower than he expected but still there.

"I am fatigued." T'yshen looked to McCoy. "Was anyone else injured?"

"Sarek's arm, nothing to worry about." He picked up the scanner, ran it over her form, then nodded. "Getting there. We have some blood that has been donated, after we process it we can use it and you should feel better." He looked at her eyes and noted the colour of her skin. Things were improving! He lifted the covers just enough to check her side. His fingers gently touched the skin adding a bit of pressure, checking her recovery. "You really have to take it easy. I had to reconstruct one chamber of your heart."

"I should not have lived." She had been certain that she was to die. She turned to Spock. "You refused the exchange, why?"

"I knew you would not die. Not here." Spock shook the sensation he had experienced when T'yshen attempted to transfer her katra to him. He would not accept the transfer and he had told her so.

"T'sai Di'on is uninjured."

McCoy nodded as he yawned. "Sorry." He smiled sheepishly. "Anyone interested in breakfast?"

Spock nodded. "What is permissible for T'yshen?"

"She is getting her nutrients from a tube today." McCoy pointed to the IV tubing that held a pale yellow liquid. "By tonight, you'll be able to have a very, light meal."

McCoy looked over to the visitor now entering the ward and smiled. "Lady Amanda." His head bowed slightly. "Do you think you would mind taking over for Spock while he makes sure I eat?"

Her head bowed. Smiling slightly she looked to her son, but she spoke to McCoy. "On one condition, that you promise me that Spock will eat?"

"Yes, Ma'am." McCoy yawned again. "Nurse Chapel is in the lab. If you need her just activate the call circuit and she will be here."

Amanda moved passed her son, her hand touched his cheek gently. "You require rest as well." He nodded wearily. "After you eat, rest." She sat in the chair that Spock had vacated. "Any special orders for T'yshen?"

"Rest. If there is any pain, call Chapel. Rest." McCoy repeated, directing it to the Vulcan female. He touched Spock's arm, forcing the two of them to the officer's mess. He had a feeling that both of them might fall asleep in their food.

Amanda's attentions turned to T'yshen. "You saved Sarek's life. For that I thank you."

"It is not necessary, Dorli'mekh. One need not thank what was a logical reaction." She closed her eyes for a moment. "Has Sarek notified T'Pau?"

"He was waiting for an updated report. You know Sarek, he would not waste a call to T'Pau only to inform her that you were attacked. He would wait until the prognosis had been determined." Amanda placed the small bag she had carried onto her lap. "You heard Dr. McCoy, rest. Do not concern yourself with anything else." She pulled out her needlework and settled herself.

"I will attempt a light healing sleep. Four hours, no longer." T'yshen closed her eyes and began the Venda prah training that would help her body heal faster.

Amanda smoothed back the wisps of hair from her face, her fingers monitored T'yshen as she found the appropriate level of healing sleep. Satisfied, Amanda sat back in the chair and concentrated on her needlework. She could finally relax. T'yshen was out of danger. Along the thread that connected her to her husband, she shared with him her contentment in the matter.


Spock had stepped out of his shower. He had deliberately chosen a water shower instead of a sonic one. The water hitting his extremely tired body seemed to help. He had stood there allowing the water to pound against him as he contemplated how close she had come to dying. He had cried within the privacy of the shower until his head hurt and there were no more tears. He wrapped himself in his velour robe. He was not required on duty for another full day, time to recover from all of this.

He stepped into his sleep area and for the first time remembered the gift he had arranged for T'yshen. A sleep gown of brushed satin, as soft as her skin. The deep purple colour matched her eyes. His hand gathered up the fabric in one hand, and barely felt the weight of it. He held it against his cheek and wondered if she would remain alive long enough to wear it. He could feel her life force deep in his thoughts. She was still weak. She was sleeping a normal sleep right now. The light healing sleep had been beneficial and Spock managed to help awaken her through their bond.

The door chime sounded.

"Come." He looked to his visitor. "Captain.."

"Just wanted to see how you were doing." Kirk took in his lack of uniform and the darkness in his eyes. "You seem to be recovering...." He turned to leave. "... so I will leave your rest."

"Captain. Jim." He did not want his friend to leave but he was uncertain if he was acceptable company even for this friend. "Remain."

Kirk nodded. "If you are sure." He spoke cautiously. Even he was uncertain as to what to say or do. If Spock were human he would have given his friend a hug and told him that everything would turn out fine. Point out the positives in all of this and that no one had died. "I don't want to intrude."

"You never do." He was suddenly aware of the fabric in his hand. He took a moment to hang the garment in the closet. "It was to be a gift."

"It's beautiful. Matches her eyes." He smiled then realized that maybe he shouldn't have said it. He cleared his throat. "I can set up the board if you want to finish dressing?" He offered with a gesture of his hands.

"Very well." Spock met his friend's eyes for a second then turned to dress.

Kirk opened his uniform tunic and slipped it off, dropping it on the back of the chair. It was warm in here and he knew he would even find it warm with the sweater on, but bearable. "How are you feeling?" He puttered around as if this was his own quarters, getting the chess board and something to drink.

"My energy level is down. My sleep pattern has not regulated and I have not eaten since yesterday morning with Dr. McCoy." Spock stepped out of the other room looking as perfect as usual. He accepted the cup of hot tea that Kirk had thoughtfully obtained.

"I stopped in sickbay after my shift, that's how I knew you were here. Did Amanda have a hard time with her hair? I noticed it was cleaner and neater than yesterday."

Spock sat in his usual Vulcan-styled chair, one of the few luxuries he allowed himself. "I spent some time during the nightwatch producing an acceptable braid. Her hair required the blood to be cleaned out more thoroughly."

Kirk hid the small smile behind his cup as he took a sip of the tea. He could picture Spock taking a great deal of care in the activity and envied him for it. "Bones said that she should be up and around in a week."

Spock moved the chess piece. "It is not her recovery that concerns me."

"What then?" Kirk reached to his pawn.

"It is another matter that has been put into play with no way of preventing the outcome."

Kirk feined ignorance. "Such as?"

Spock stared at the pieces for a second. He debated sharing the information with his friend, his t'hy'la. "T'yshen did not wish to live a solitary life. It was at her suggestion that the bonding was considered. She had also found a formula that would initiate the blood fever."

"And you went along with this?" He was aware of the fact but only marginally due to the discussion he had with McCoy. No explanations had been offered yet, and he was as curious as anyone. "I thought Vulcans did not tamper with the cycle."

"Modern Vulcans do not." This made him uncomfortable. He was aware of the privacy his race valued. He knew how difficult it was to obtain information in some areas of Vulcan's past, this was one. "I have read that it was common practice in the Ancient times to use aphrodisiacs to influence the melding of tribes or of obtaining wealth or power through the bonded mate. T'yshen, due to her studies, had access to some of the practices, although I have received the impression that it was not required reading for her."

"You mean she had access to information she shouldn't have?" Kirk was surprised to discover that even Vulcan had its 'black sheep'. It was also amusing that Spock was the one that had bonded with this unorthodox Vulcan. He had always imagined that Spock would choose someone that was very Vulcan and interested in the sciences. Maybe there was more truth to the adage that opposites attract and in some ways, they were very much the opposite of one another.

"Not that she should not have accessed the information but it should not have been introduced into practice. It is not forbidden, merely not considered acceptable."

"I have never thought of Vulcans as having secret desires that do not conform to the norm." He grinned at Spock's raised eyebrow. He raised his hand stopping the comment Spock was about to make. "Let me guess.... Vulcans do not have secret desires...?" He moved another chess piece then looked back to Spock. "Are you sure, Spock?"

Spock sensed a disguised emotion from Kirk as he contained his own. "Yes Captain, I am quite sure." He leaned back in the chair, resting his elbows on the arm of the chair and steepled his fingers. Some desires were never to be exposed to any more than one's own thoughts.


Spock had sat, for the past two days, in an extremely comfortable chair, thoughtfully placed in T'yshen's private room. He had spent three hours playing chess then Jim started yawning. He had assured Jim that he would sleep as soon as he left, then he came here instead. He could not sleep.

He had been entertaining thoughts of 'what if' and had discovered that if T'yshen had died, he would not have had the desire to follow her. Had it been because they were not bonded, merely betrothed? Nothing physical had taken place as of yet. He had been looking forward to their first night together. It had been discussed and was scheduled for a time after the celebrations.

He sat with his fingers steepled and his elbows resting on the arms of the chair. He had closed his eyes at some point and found some rest within a light meditation. T'yshen slept. He looked to the uniform tunic that he had placed on the hook beside the door.

Had this been a 'logical' decision? Would he be able to serve the bond, as he should?

Her eyes flittered open and he moved to her side. His fingers were placed lightly on her face, less strenuous than talking. [I am here, T'yshen.]

She sighed softly. [So tired.] Her hand rested against his that lay on the covers. [You burn. It has started so soon?]

[It has been three days, My Wife.] He smiled slightly, aware that her perception of time would be off. He smoothed her hair back.

[I ask forgiveness... Husband.]

[For what, saving lives?]

[The D'vel-sha'fal, it should not have been used.] She closed her eyes again; the sedative was too strong to remain awake.

[It was a logical decision at the time. One I do not regret.] He felt her drifting off again, as she had for most of the time he had been here.

[This is good.]

Spock moved back to the chair. He was certain she would sleep for a time. He felt the easing of the tensions within him with the touch on her thoughts but this would not help as the imbalance progressed.

This was not the choice in death that he wished.

He stood, slipped on his tunic and stepped out into the low-lit room. It was nightwatch; he had not realized how long he had been in there. He had estimated that it should have been nineteen hundred hours, not the zero two hundred that the chronometer showed on the wall he faced.

"Spock?" McCoy appeared from his office, remaining in the doorway. "Go get something to eat."

"My body does not require nourishment, Doctor." He started out towards the main doors, stopping close to McCoy.

"You mean you don't feel like eating.... It's taken hold, hasn't it?"

Spock raised an eyebrow at the doctor. "Yes."

"She should be able to return to her quarters within a day or two." He examined Spock with a long look that usually accompanied an overdue physical, but nothing was said. "I can't guarantee anything."

"It is understood, Doctor." Spock clasped his hands behind his back. "I will return in a few hours."

McCoy nodded.

Spock stopped just outside the sickbay, undecided as to return to his quarters or indulge in a certain captain's habit of 'walking the ship'. He chose the latter.

He walked at a casual but timed step. His head bowed to greet any crew that he did encounter during his 'walk-about'. He passed the transporter room, briefing room, auxiliary control and a few odd crew quarters that at times seemed to be placed there to fill up an unused space.

He was just approaching the second transport room when he was called. He turned, his head bowed. "T'sai Di'on."

"Commander." She returned the gesture. "I was on my way to make an inquiry concerning Reldai T'yshen."

"She is resting. Dr. McCoy feels that she will be able to return to quarters perhaps as early as tomorrow."

"Good." She looked to the decking then back to the officer. He seemed uncomfortable. "Is there a place where we may talk?"

Spock nodded. "The recreation deck." He indicated the doors that they were near.

"Acceptable." She followed him into the large area then to a sectioned off area that offered some privacy.

Spock indicated towards a table that held a chess set and some abandoned cards. "Would you care for some tea?"

"It would be enjoyable." She examined the cards as he obtained the beverages. Funny how these Terrans found such pleasures necessary to morale, a Rhannisu vessel would never carry this much wasted space.

Spock returned to the table with the cups and a pot of tea. He filled the cups then handed her one. He sat down, sipped on the tea then looked to her. "You wished to talk?"

She nodded then leaned back in the chair. "Yes. We have unfinished business."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "Continue."

"If it were not for you and this accursed ship, I would be in command of a fleet of vessels." She was uncertain if she was still angry or only held the memory of the anger.

Spock hesitated. "If it were not for me and this .... accursed ship, you would not be preparing to rule a world." He spoke quietly; he was not feeling up to an argument at the moment. "The events have long since passed. Do you expect the discussion to change them?"

"No." She looked to her cup and wondered to herself why she had felt the need to discuss this now. She looked to the Federation officer that had taken her so close to betraying everything! Not only the few minor secrets she divulged to him but the nearness that she had been to giving herself to him.... unconditionally. Then S'Tal had knocked and brought reality with him. "I do not know who or what it would serve."

Spock closed his eyes at the sudden wave of heat that washed over him. His hand relaxed and the cup tilted. As he felt it, his grip tightened too much and the fragile cup broke.

Di'on started with the sound. She stood and reached over to collect the pieces and to examine his hand. "Are you cut?"

Spock pulled his hand away from her threatening touch. "I am not injured." He hid his hands under the tabletop to conceal the shaking.

Di'on moved the bits onto the tray. She eyed him suspiciously. "You are not well?"

"Fatigue." He spoke too quickly and clipped. He would reveal his condition to her if he were not careful. "Nothing more."

She raised an eyebrow. "I have learned, Commander Spock, that Vulcans, despite rumors to the contrary, can and do lie."

He raised his eyes to meet hers then lifted an eyebrow. "Really?"

"Yes, really." She moved around the table to stand closer to him. She felt something from him, but uncertain as to what it was! His face turned from her and she could have sworn he shivered. "I can call for medical aid if it is required?"

"It is not." He stood suddenly as another heat flash traveled his body, far stronger than they had been. His hands curled slowly into fists as his body and mind found the calm that was needed. He suspected that the touch on T'yshen's thoughts had calmed as well as fed his condition.

She took advantage of this distraction and moved closer to him. He was so warm! She placed her hand on his arm. "Spock...?"

"It will pass. I am functional."

"A Human may believe this... but I do not!" She ran her hand up his arm recalling the sensation she experienced so many years ago! "You have entered your time of mating?"

Spock remained silent and still. Closing off every sensory point he could afford to, to stop reacting to this need. This drive. This unbelievable urge to hold anyone and at times anything... but her pull, T'yshen's draw on him was stronger!


"Yes." He spoke quietly. Her hands dropped from his arms and he sighed with relief.

"Yes, to my addressing you or yes, to the question?" As Spock turned to face her, reluctantly she noted and she could not help but smile. "I do not wish to appear to make light of the matter, Commander."

"The thought had not occurred to me."

"But other thoughts have..... No?" She lifted her hand and her fingertips brushed his cheek. He drew back suddenly as if hurt.

"Do not."

"Will she recover in time?"

Spock sighed and looked down. "It is not something that has been ruled out."

"If it does..."

"If she does not recover in time, T'sai Di'on... I will die." He found the strength to move from her finally. The fever began as this and would incapacitate him for longer periods each time until the need was more than was bearable.

She took the step to cut off his exit. She stood in front of him now and felt the heat that came from him. "If she is not capable... I offer...."

Spock shook his head.

"She protected mine, the least I could do is insure your life for her."

"How noble." Spock stated and regretted the words. He saw the hurt in her eyes. "I ask forgiveness for the thoughtless remark. I am not myself."

"If you accept my offer, I will forgive." She wanted to hold him and calm him regardless of the consequences.

"I will consider the offer a valid one."

She nodded.

He bowed his head and left the room, heading quickly for his quarters.

Terran Standard Year 2281.4

T'yshen had returned to her quarters to complete her recovery. Sarek had obtained the services of Lieutenant Uhura to replace her services for the final agreements. The supplies that would be required for the new colony and to contact Vulcan to inform T'Pau of their return.

T'yshen took the journal and opened it to the blank page.

"It has begun. I felt a rippling of his

condition in my thoughts as I slept. There

are only four days until we reach Vulcan

and I must face my future, however uncertain

it is.

"T'Pau, in all the communications with

Vulcan, has not mentioned anything more

about her future or of the bonding. Sarek

will be informing her of the ceremony as

soon as Spock is certain that the plak tow

has taken hold of him. I trust that I will

be able to service his needs.

"Dr. McCoy has received confirmation that

I have met the requirements for a first year

resident. I have informed him that I will.

continue my training on Vulcan and he has

required me to inform him of my graduation

date. He stated that he wished to be present

and to be the first to address me as

'Doctor'. I assured him that I would."

She shifted her position in the armchair, arranged the covers that Amanda insisted on then continued with her entries.

"I have found my recovery to be slow,

however Dr. McCoy assures me that I am

progressing within the norm. With a

great deal of rest, he has assured me

that I will be able to cope with the

plak tow and the bonding. He wishes

also that I submit to an examination

as soon after the bonding as possible.

"Spock is beginning to have difficulty

sleeping and I noted that he arrived

earlier with a meal to share between

us but ate very little."

T'yshen placed the book and pen on the small table. She flipped back the covers then moved into her bed. Sleep was much easier to obtain here rather than remaining in an upright position.


Commander Spock sat in the command chair; he had felt stirrings of the plak tow again. His appetite had been the first indication that the cycle had begun, and that was three days ago. Now, concentration was becoming difficult and more time in meditation had been required. Duty could not be ignored. In the next few days, it would reach the point where he would find it necessary to remain in his quarters. If the Enterprise continued on course, they would reach Vulcan just as the plak tow reached its peak.

His hand went to the panel of his tunic and pulled it open. He took a slow deep breath, concentrating on the motion around him until the wave of heat passed. The yeoman came over with the engineering report and as he took the padd his hands began to shake. The padd was placed in his lap and he dismissed the yeoman asking him to return in ten minutes for the report.

"I am going off duty in five, sir." He stated and then was to mention that the yeoman on the next shift would pick it up but he never had the chance.

"Ensign Holt. If I had wanted you to inform me of your duty schedule, I would have asked for it."

Uhura turned from her board as Spock's voice raised slightly.

Holt looked up to the Vulcan officer with a shocked look. He had never heard Spock raise his voice in any manner except on landing parties and that was only out of necessity. "Yes, sir."

Spock registered the out-of-character attitude he had just exhibited. "Carry on."

"Aye, sir." Holt moved off the bridge giving Uhura a shrug of his shoulders as he passed her.

Uhura stepped down into the command well; someone had to ask him and she surmised that she was the only one brave enough to approach him at the moment. "Commander Spock."

"Yes, Lieutenant" Spock rested his arms the chair, his hands wrapped around the padded rests. His posture ramrod straight.

"If you wish to return to your quarters, I can assume command." She spoke quietly so that only he could hear her. "I do understand what is happening."

Spock raised an eyebrow, he wasn't sure that he wanted others to know yet it seemed logical to inform the bridge crew. "I have one hour sixteen minutes before the Captain returns. I believe that I can handle this time frame." He turned his head slightly, meeting her eyes. "The offer is.... appreciated."

She nodded. "Just thought I would ask." She had never seen his eyes this dark. She had thought at first Spock was tired because of everything that had been going on, then remembered an awkward conversation she had with T'yshen.

T'yshen and she had begun sharing time together mostly due to their interest of music. T'yshen had brought her a piece of Vulcan music that she felt Uhura would enjoy learning. T'yshen knew it by rote and had informed Uhura that it was an Ancient song of mating.

"You mean a love song?" Uhura had added.

"Emotions do not involve themselves in the Vulcan bondings." She had stated. "It is merely something that must happen or death follows."

That was the extent of the information about what Vulcans experienced. Uhura had begun to notice that Spock was acting differently. She had drawn her own conclusions from that and the past experience of bringing Spock to Vulcan.


Spock entered his quarters and quickly removed his tunic tossing it onto his desk. He stood in the warmth of his room and wished that he were already on Vulcan. That this situation had passed and that he was now preparing to return to duty.

He had not been surprised that Kirk had come onto the bridge thirty-two minutes early, no doubt Uhura had related the incident to him. It did not matter at this point. His only duty for the next few days was to remain in his quarters away from the curiosity of the others.

He removed the remainder of his uniform and pulled on his meditation robes. He sat on the stone pallet and eased the barriers that kept his emotions within control. He reached out to her as he dropped his head back and called to her with his mind. His body hungered for her even now. He needed to experience her presence and to have her gentle reminder that all would be settled in four days.

He sighed with her mental touch and as she left him, settled, he began the meditation exercises that would bring him some calm, on a temporary basis.


Captain Kirk stretched then sat back down in the command chair. They had been orbiting Vulcan for a few hours now. T'yshen had beamed down with Sarek, Di'on and S'task to deal with the final draft of the agreement. He had begun to feel a restlessness, for the past few days. McCoy had teased him that he was getting sympathetic to Spock's condition. Kirk had dismissed it with a grin but internally wasn't too sure there wasn't a degree of truth.

He rubbed his eyes and wondered why the ship had become so warm. He opened the panel on his tunic and debated on changing into his vest and doing away with the heavier tunic, maybe that would help how he felt. He stood. "Uhura, I'm just going down to my quarters for a few minutes. You have the conn."

"Aye, sir." She had noted his restlessness as well. She attributed most of it to the extra duty shifts he had taken because of Spock's confinement to his quarters.

Kirk pulled the jacket open as soon as the door closed behind him; it was pulled off and dropped on the back of the chair. He touched the control to open his closet then pulled out a vest. He slipped that on, remembering to place his com-pin from his tunic onto his vest. He smoothed the fabric and then returned to the bridge. He felt better.


T'yshen entered the private chambers through the concealed doorway. The stone panel had slid open easily on a well-worn path. The antiquity of this place was well known to her. She had spent most of her early days playing and learning among these rooms and corridors of stone. Her hand touched the coolness of the door as she slid it back into place. No sounds filled the room, but her ears caught the familiar sound of her mentor rolling the sheets of a very old parchment.

She paused a moment to control the draw as Spock experienced another wave of fever.

T'yshen knelt then touched her head almost to the soft flooring. A concession of age, that T'Pau had reluctantly agreed to, to ease the strain of walking on such hard floors.

T'yshen waited.

T'Pau read through the passage once again. She had all but committed it to memory long ago but needed to refresh her understanding of it. She had felt the presence of her young successor that had become her daughter-by-choice. T'yshen had always been her personal choice as a successor. But now, she would not be, not if she accepted the future that was to be offered to her today. She also sensed the struggle within her and her soon-to-be mate. If she, herself, had chosen, she would have found none other more suited. T'Pau's reluctance to the bonding was in Spock's occupation and his actions as a Starfleet officer. Some did not adhere to the Vulcan ways of pacifism.

She was also aware that there had been changes made during her rule and that there would be many more to come, no matter who succeeded her. Some changes were ones she welcomed; others were the will of the many adjusting to the evolving world. More changes were still to take place... that was as certain as the existence of Vulcan itself.

The frail-in-body-only matriarch stood. She moved to the large ornate chair that sat against the opposite wall to her desk. Tradition not personal choice made this a part of her room. She sat slowly waiting for the older body to adjust again. "Thee are well?"

T'yshen straightened to a kneeling position, her legs still tucked under her. "Ah: Tela'at T'Pau. I have recovered from the attack. The Terran healer, McCoy has stated that I require additional rest but have healed."

"Now thee faces another attack?" T'Pau's wise face held no hint to what she spoke of. She seemed as impassive as usual.

There had been mention of the fact that it was rumored that if an anti-matter explosion were to happen in the same room as she was in, T'Pau would not appear to have noticed except to look up from her work, because of the rustling of her papers. No doubt spoken by a Human, no Vulcan repeated rumors!

T'yshen held onto her control of her emotions. "You have asked to see me. Time is short and I require meditation to prepare for the ceremony. I do not intend to show any disrespect, Tela'at." She felt a shiver travel her body and hoped it had not been seen.

"Reldai T'yshen, thee are young. It has been said that thee are wise beyond the years thee had lived. Thee have not experienced the life of one that has they wisdom. Thee were enticed by Spock's manner."

T'yshen shook her head. "His thoughts were known to me before I expected them to be there. I sensed his thoughts as I was beamed aboard. This was not sought after, nor did he seek it. It was a phantom that was not mine." She took a sudden deep breath, her body warmed as her eyes closed; it was becoming difficult to control. She wished nothing else than to lose her self in his heat!

"Reldai, it has been asked by Vulcan, that thee be sent to Kavifemai, to serve in governing their New World. Does thou have the abilities this requires?"

She had a hard time concentrating on what was said. She debated the matter. "In what position?"

"As Reldai of Kavifemai. Their Ambassador for the Federation, if required. Thee would serve as I do, the final word but not the deciding word." T'Pau sighed, it was a most tiring day. She had not rested the night before due to her workload that had to be cleared for today. There had been the meeting earlier, with Sarek, T'yshen and T'sai Di'on. This matter now and then she would preside over the joining. "If thee accepts, thee can leave with the Enterprise, to thy New World."

"I am honoured at thy choice, Tela'at." T'yshen considered for a moment then met the elder's eyes. "Will I remain as your successor?"

"Unless thee chooses otherwise." T'Pau had a lengthy private discussion with Sarek concerning this bonding. Both felt that it would be a strong one, unlike the one shared with T'Pring. A matter that was better left in the past. The concern had always been that a bonded couple should not rule, the Pon Farr cycle would have a marginal effect on a female's ability to rule. It was also the reason why Vulcan was a matriarchy. T'yshen appeared to be handling the situation as her skill at deciding matters pertaining to Kavifemai.

"I will agree, Tela'at. With honour I will serve Vulcan." Her head bowed touching the floor.

"I will inform Sarek of your choice. Prepare for thy bonding. I trust Spock will not be patient much longer."

"He remains aboard the Enterprise."

T'Pau's eyebrow raised slightly. "Thee are affected greatly even at this distance?" She had noticed the effect on T'yshen, she had seen how difficult it had been for her to maintain control. Usually this type of behaviour was not seen until the couple were within sight of one another.

"T'Pau, I feel his fire!" T'yshen smiled slightly, both understood the break in control, neither gave the display much value. She stood then bowed to her Elder. She needed to return to her rooms to prepare. "Live long, T'Pau."


The area was as James Kirk remembered it to be. Even the heat of the day was still within the stone structure. This ceremony was scheduled for the end-day in deference to the Humans that would participate once again with Vulcan tradition. This time Jim wore a Vulcan style tunic, a gift from Spock, deep green silk linen. Definitely much cooler than his dress uniform! He had beamed down with McCoy after Sarek, Amanda and Spock had.

They waited in a place that was assigned to the male's family and attendants. Kirk had a few matters to see to and was expected to join them.

"Hasn't changed much." McCoy stated with a note of sarcasm. "Few extra grains of sand..." He grinned at Kirk's reaction. He shrugged. "I brought the tri-ox compound."

"We are not going that route this time!" Kirk shook his head and took a deep breath. "I wish this headache would go away!"

McCoy frowned. "I gave you something yesterday. Hasn't it stopped?" He opened the hip pouch and pulled out the scanner and before Kirk could object ran his readings. He looked at the read-out. "Your blood pressure, heart rate and adrenaline levels are up a bit." He frowned as he considered mentioning something to Kirk. "Jim. All of those melds that you've had with Spock could have made you sensitive to this." He replaced the scanner and made a mental note to do some investigating along the way.

He rubbed his forehead. "Don't be ridiculous!" Kirk took another breath then started towards the archway. "Let's go find Spock. And something to drink."

McCoy nodded then followed keeping any further comments to himself.


Uhura tapped on the stone doorway.

T'yshen had been meditating with little results except to feel the link opening even more. She stood at the sound of the knocking. "Kavith." She reached for her hood and lifted it into place; her face was almost hidden. She wore only her meditation robes for the present but would soon change into her robes for her bonding.

Uhura entered with a slight smile. "I hope my dress uniform is appropriate."

"It is." Her head bowed to greet her visitor.

"I came to wish you happiness and contentment. A Terran tradition."

"I am honoured." She was still uncertain as to why Uhura had come. She moved to the small table in the room. "Some juice. It is safe for Humans."

Uhura nodded. "I came to ask if you needed any help getting ready. Our tradition is that friends of the bride help her prepare for the ceremony. Since you didn't have any family, and I knew Amanda would be with Spock, I just thought that you might need the help." Uhura accepted the glass of an orange-red thick liquid. She was rambling and T'yshen had that same expression that Spock would get when someone would add in information that was not necessary. Tolerance and parental patience.

"Your assistance would be honoured by my House." She bowed her head then sat down with Uhura. "There are things that you must be aware of before you attend."

"Sure." Uhura settled back in the chair and listened to her explanation of the events that were to follow. She remembered the last time Spock had returned to Vulcan to 'take a wife' and of the rumors of what went on. This was something that she had hoped that she could participate in, since she had such affection for the Vulcan science officer and now his betrothed. They had struck up the beginnings of a friendship with the mutual interest of music and discussing matters when Uhura served as Sarek's assistant.

T'yshen began the detailed explanation of what was to happen. Many times she had to stop and control tears or the waves of desire that would overtake her. All emotional displays were accepted at this time, but were expected to be controlled in some manner.


Arie'mnu, a mastery of passion and emotion.

Spock stood with his arms resting on the windowsill. He was breathing deeply, trying to slow his body's reactions to this fever. He had not felt this before. Not with T'Pring. With her it had been amere annoyance compared to the effect it was having on him. He had removed his robe; it was becoming too warm! He shivered even in the heat of the desert breeze and all he thought of was how long it would be before he found his satisfaction!

They had chosen to follow the Ancient traditions for their ceremony. All was to spoken in the High Old Language and even the clothing was of the pre-reform time. He wore the thin silk-smooth pants only for the moment. Anything more and he felt as if he was suffocating!

He closed his eyes to concentrate on finding her. It did not take much to sense the mind that was in tune to his. He spoke to her through the link of how he desired her and how the blood fever had begun robbing him of his control. He saw everything through a green haze that was gradually darkening. He had moments that seemed to overpower all of his senses and all he saw was the green haze and all he felt was his blood racing through his body. The sensations were growing in intensity and frequency.

"Soon, T'hy'la, soon." She comforted him through the link with the promise but did nothing to stem the desire that he felt. "All will be as it should be, in its own time."

He moaned as his body shivered. His hands held tighter onto the sill as he tried to find some degree of control. He sensed another's presence. He turned from the window and reached out with his thoughts, his sight was no longer reliable. "James?" The name he used only when their thoughts had touched.

"And me." McCoy added as he closed the door behind him. "How are you doing?"

Spock flinched at the sound of the scanner. "I am. That is all that I am certain of." He felt sobs begin but he stopped it, a sound had escaped through his lips but neither moved to comfort him, as they would have done before. He felt a hand touch his then place a cool glass in its place.

"Some cold juice. You look like you could use it." Jim stated softly. His headache was worst since beaming down and he was hiding the fact from Spock. Not that that would be too hard at this point. He wasn't sure the Vulcan would notice anything right now.

The glass was tossed to the far wall, it smashed and the juice dripped down the wall. "I DO NOT WISH JUICE! I WANT T'YSHEN!" Spock screamed at the top of his lungs and made the hair on the back of Kirk's neck stand up.

Before Kirk could say anything, Sarek had entered and in an equally loud voice demanded that Spock find control! He watched Spock turn from his father and place his hand together to meditate. His breathing had become deeper and faster. It had also been a surprise to see Spock sweating.

Sarek carried with him Spock's robe. He laid it out on the foot of the meditation stone. He turned to the two Humans. "He is deeply affected, the depth of their joining is a determinant. Spock should attempt meditations."

Kirk nodded then left the room with McCoy. He paced the outer room as McCoy found a comfortable chair and relaxed into it. Both heads turned to the door as another item crashed against the wall, Spock shouted something in Vulcan and from the inflection, neither of them required a translation.

Sarek stared at his son. "Thee must find thy control."

Spock stood as if ready for a fight, his breathing was uneven, deep and his eyes had gone dark, unseeing. His skin glistened with a fine layer of sweat. "I can no longer, Father." His voice had become raspy and each word was a fight against the madness. His hands covered his face and his breathing deepened. "Soon. It has to be soon!" He looked to his Father, the green haze leaving his sight for a moment. He envied his father's calm and the perfect picture of what a Vulcan male should be. He had caught sight of his own reflection in the polished mirror and realized that he appeared as he had envisioned his ancestors to be.... without civility. Logic did not inhabit even a corner of his thoughts at the moment.

"It must be soon..." He felt the drives pulling at his body and his mind!

"Soon. It will be soon." Sarek understood what his son was experiencing.

Kirk poked his head in. "An acolyte has announced that the family is required."

Sarek turned to his son. He reached to the tunic and held it for Spock to slip into. He watched as his son placed his arms within the garment, shrug it into place then look helpless as the notion of how to fasten it left him. "Spock, concentrate."

Spock nodded slowly then his fingers found the pattern and closed the short robe.

"Spock, it is time."

It was dusk on Vulcan, the heat more tolerable for the off-worlders. Sarek looked up to the steps that rose from the sands and noted her silhouette. She was dressed in the silks of the bonding ceremony as his first mate, T'Rea, had. His son reacted immediately and called out to her.

Spock wished to touch her! To feel her close to him, quenching the fire in his brain! And in his blood! His thoughts burned for her! He started towards the steps but Kirk's hands held him for a moment.

"Spock!" He watched the Vulcan try to focus on his words, his eyes becoming so dark and unseeing. Kirk could feel the heat emanating from him and he felt Spock's ragged breathing and the strength that the Vulcan possessed. "Spock. I'll go let her know...."

Spock lifted him in the air. "SHE IS MINE!" He started to squeeze the ribs he held; he had felt a desire for his mate in this one. He had to be eliminated! "MINE!"

Kirk reached to touch the side of Spock's face.

"It's me. Jim." He tried hard to project before he lost consciousness. He saw Sarek reached to break the hold Spock had but he couldn't. "SPOCK!" He shouted as loud as he could and then he felt the Vulcan's recognition and his release of him. He slid down, his feet finally touching the ground again. He took a deep breath and accepted the help from McCoy. He was half listening to the doctor's rantings as he tried to take in the air his body had been deprived of. He had to find a way to deal with the guilt of wanting what he did and the fact that Spock knew.

Spock was on his knees, half mumbling. "He is my other...! He desires..... but does not burn...." He cried out her name again as his body burned for her. Deep, dark and cold was all that he could feel as the burning took him in search of her. The only one, that with a mere touch could calm his body. This was an ancient drive! One he had not felt with the female before. He laughed out loud but to himself, as he remembered McCoy's statement after the last time. He called her ice. She was, hard and cold. He had been glad to be rid of her! He sought only the warm gentle touch of T'yshen now. Only she could free him.

"Spock!" His father was trying for his attentions now that Kirk had recovered. "Thee must strike the gong."

Somewhere in this green haze he had understood and stood. His reached the center of the arena of challenge and bondings; blood had been shed here centuries ago! He felt the emanations of all the blood fevers of all the males that have desired one this deeply. The striking of the gong was felt along his arms. He struck it again then listened for the answer. His head turned straining to hear the gentle sound of the bells. He caught it on the breeze that was felt on his cheek.

"She comes." He whispered to himself as he waited, the bells sounding closer and closer with every breath. Then he felt his body shake at even the thought of her. He groaned as the beginning of her entourage entered the arena. He took a very deep breath as he reached for the connection to her. He whispered to the air how much he wanted her, how she would feel under his touch and the joy he would feel as he took her.

T'Pau's and T'Lar's litter entered the arena before T'yshen's. She was royalty and because of this was carried into the place of marriage and challenge. Acolytes lined the circumference on the ancient place, all male; all were there to offer a choice for the challenge. The heavily armed guards stood to the side waiting to correct any indiscretion.

Uhura walked beside T'yshen's litter then offered her hand to help her out, no male could touch her until the plak tow had ended, it could have caused a challenge. She walked with T'yshen to stand in front of T'Pau and T'Lar. Both knelt on the stone step and offered their thoughts to the elders.

Kirk stood beside Spock, McCoy at his other side, he leaned over to whisper to him. "Beautiful isn't she?" He had a wistful sound to his voice.

McCoy had suspected the attraction after that first dinner. The discussion he had with Kirk only confirmed it. He nodded and wondered how long it would take to die. Something told him, it wouldn't happen this time.

T'yshen stood and moved to Spock's side. Her voice softened. She felt his confusion. "Thee are mine. I will be yours, Spock." She closed her eyes and concentrated on finding the reality for him.

"I burn!" Spock whispered as he knelt at her feet. "I burn Reldai. As I never burned before." His voice was rough and deep. His words were all in Vulcan and he appeared to understand little of what was going on.

"Then come." She turned and moved back to her position then turned to wait for him.

T'Lar saw no point in waiting to begin. "We are gathered here today, on the sands of our Ancestors. What thee are about to see, comes down from the time of the beginning without change. This is the Vulcan way. This is the Vulcan soul." She turned to T'yshen.

"Reldai T'yshen, Child of Sholtan, Child of T'Paya. House of S'harien. Thee has chosen the Kah-if-farr. Thee are prepared to become the property of Spock."

T'yshen nodded then spoke in a barely controlled voice. "I am prepared." She closed her eyes for a moment to find the control she needed; she was becoming lost in his presence. "As it was in the dawn of our days, as it is today..." She began to move to Spock's side timing her steps, so that she would end her announcement as she reached him. "... as it will be for all tomorrows, I make my choice." She knelt beside him. "Spock, parted from me and never parted." His lips were following hers now. ".... Never and always touching and touched. We meet in the appointed place. My choice is thee." Her breath caught as she felt his awakening to her words.

"T'yshen... Reldai T'yshen.... Parted from me... and never parted. Never and always... touching... and touched..." His voice had fallen to a whisper, he took a breath. "... We meet at the appointed place.... I burn for thee.... My life I ask of thee!"

Slowly, T'yshen's hands moved from within the folds of her gown. She moved closer to him; her fingertips touched him carefully. She felt his fire and his body's need for her... for control and she could not be lost to it just yet. She felt the tiny touches against her skin as he set his fingers to touch her thoughts.

He moved quickly through the maze of thoughts that had become second nature to him. She moved through his pain and confusion to the center that she was to make her mark of ownership, as he did to her. She felt and heard his cry of pain, she held her breath and heard her own moan in response to the bonding. It was done. No one needed to witness this. She knew from speaking to Sarek that all who could, would know the bond had been completed. The emanations were that strong from them.

T'yshen moved from his thoughts slowly as he did from hers. She had felt his hesitation at severing the total contact. "It will be for only a short time, My Passion." She felt the coolness of his thoughts and she smiled gently. She felt a touch at her shoulder, as her hands left Spock's face, she turned.

Uhura placed in her hand the thin stone rings that had been placed in her keeping until now. The rings had been taken from her tunic pocket. "With honour, these are to be worn."

T'yshen bowed her head as she lifted the larger of the rings. She spoke softly to Spock. "Thy hand, Spock." She lifted his hand and placed the ring on the center finger of his right hand. "Thee are mine... for all time." The words were only whispered loud enough for Spock to hear.

Uhura moved closer to Spock. "Spock, with honour these are to be worn." Uhura waited as his shaking hand lifted the ring from her hand. She kept a close eye on his movements in case he dropped the ring.

Spock guided the ring onto her finger; he lifted her palm to his lips. "Thee are mine." He hesitated at releasing his hold on her; his lips touched her fingertips.

"It is done." T'Lar spoke firmly.

T'yshen guided Spock to his feet then moved with him to face T'Pau; both bowing to the Eldest Female of their House then to bow to Sarek as the Eldest Male. The next path she would walk she knew well, almost without thought. They moved slowly with measured steps to the quarters that she had prepared for them. It was in the ancient part of the building, protected from prying eyes and thoughts. Spock and T'yshen required the seclusion from other thoughts, and everyone else required the separation from the newly bonded pair's emotions. They moved from the Koon-ut-kal-if-fee with an honour guard of seven priests and a single priestess, a figurative protection for the couple until they entered the chamber.

Sarek turned to his guests. "All are invited to the central hall for refreshments and to celebrate this joining of two Houses."


T'yshen closed the door to the chamber. This will be her last time here, her chambers for all of her time on Vulcan. She would be living on another world among aliens. She felt his call to her.

She turned and allowed herself to experience the plak tow as her husband did. Her body burned! She removed her outer robe as she went to him. Her hands went to the contact points. "My Husband, it is time to end the torture."

Spock pulled her to him, his hand went to the matching points, and he reached in without control, without consideration for her.... He could not wait! He carried her to the bed, laid her down. He stripped off his clothing. His hands ran along the silk covering her body. His fingers began to carefully untie the ribbons but it was too much and his hands ripped the dress from her, his body moved over hers as his thoughts moved into hers!

"Thee are my life!" He reached to the centers that would bring him the satisfaction that he craved. He felt himself slip into the warmth of her and in only a few strokes his body released into her. His mouth sought hers and as his hands explored her body he became aroused again. Both would experience this for at least the next full day. The urgency of mating would end hopefully with a pregnancy.

Her hands moved to touch his face, caressing his warm skin then reached in to the satisfaction that was hers by rite of the bond. "Thee remember thy words for me, My Passion?"

Spock nodded as he rested beside her. "I will try." His eyes closed for a moment then opened to gaze at her bright ones. His lips touched hers, soft and inviting! "Thy Rite of Bonding, spoken in offering, an honour held most treasured." He sighed at her touch on his body. "Gifts have been given, of thought, of life and of Reason. It is our beginning." He watched as she removed her hair from the braiding, keeping himself occupied with caresses along her body. "Our joining will be of discoveries, of thoughts, of touch and of the Ancient Passions." His kisses touched her warm body; he inhaled the scent of cinnamon from her skin and kivas burning in the room. "Soon, will come the Time that I will Burn. Only thee can honour my life, only thee can choose my life. My mind and my blood will burn." He paused searching for the control to finish his poem to her. He held her hands from caressing his body. "My mind and my blood.... I now burn for thee! I will hold thee in passion's fire."

It was beginning again, he felt the flames overtake him, he moaned. "I will consume thee in fire... in the flames of desire!"

She felt his control leave him, his hands moved up her body igniting her passions as she pulled her to him. "Thee are my fire!" She allowed him to enter her again, her body craving the satisfaction as strongly as his. She whispered his name. "I have given thee thy life." Her kisses covered his mouth. "I wish thee to satisfy my desires." She held his face, her touch at the contact points reaching in to his thoughts, ignoring the path he wished her to take. She controlled for the moment; her thoughts, desires and her satisfaction were the dominating force.

The struggle for control, for the domination from one to the other for hours! Spock's body needed to be cleansed of the plak tow. This could only be done in satisfying his needs, both mental and physical. It was a need that was far from romantic or gentle. It was a basic need of the Vulcan people to survive something that must be done at all costs. Bruised skin, bite marks that drew blood, sore muscles and very occasionally broken bones, were not uncommon occurrences. They held one another during the short bouts of sleep that were demanded by their bodies and after the three days of activity had finally settled into a proper deep sleep. Now they had to learn how to shield themselves and other telepaths sensitive to their bond. Separating their thoughts from one another and identifying what thoughts were their own, as well as how to take pleasure in their bond. All of these skills and more were a part of what Vulcan's practiced as Arie'mnu, passion's mastery.


Captain James Kirk stood staring out the large viewport in the 'think-tank'. He looked into the empty glass he was holding and realized that no matter how many times he filled it, this feeling would not go away.

The celebration after the koon-ut-kali-fee was one that would rival any private event he had ever attended. He would occasionally forget the position that Spock's family held on Vulcan.

Amanda had taken him aside and began to explain how some of the people were related to Spock. He lost her after the first "son of the second bonding of the first daughter of the first bonding of the relationship that we would equate as a distant uncle". He stood there nodding and frowning. It must have showed because Amanda stopped shortly after and smiled as she added the fact that it was much easier to understand on 'paper'. Kirk agreed, it had to be!

He put the glass on the small table and turned to face the chess set. Somehow he felt as if that was all he ended up with in this new relationship of Spock's. It wasn't true but he felt separated somehow. Maybe it was just a little bit of envy. As many times as they had talked about their futures, marriage was never a part of it. Spock had talked about becoming Vulcan's Ambassador at one point in his life, but not until he was ready to resign from Starfleet. He had asked Spock if he was going to wait until his second century of life, half teasing; but Spock had nodded and then changed the subject. He was never able to get anymore out of him about that.

Now this. He had been feeling as if someone had tilted the decking a degree or two that day that they formed the initial bond. He was still waiting for someone to level it out.

He picked up the black king and examined it. Spock somehow managed to end up with this colour most of the time. Since white traditionally moved first, Kirk always suspected that Spock had the advantage. He knew what was coming. He replaced the king then picked up the queen, sometimes considered the most powerful piece. It was hard to think of Spock as the consort to the future Matriarch of Vulcan. The queen was returned to her occupied space.

He had even managed to hurt Uhura. He hung his head as he thought about the way he had left her. They had ended up in her quarters, lights low, the taste of the Vulcan ale on her lips..... and then the memory intruded.

He had stepped away from their embrace, mumbled an appology then run out of there, to hide out here. He took a deep breath and felt the aching from the bruising on his ribcage.

He had to find a way to deal with all of this! The loss of the solitary friendship with Spock and the attraction he felt for Spock's..... bond-mate. Should he tell him? But then Spock knew, the way he acted today had proved that. He had wanted to crawl under a near-by rock when Spock acknowledge his desire for T'yshen. It was only a whisper and if anyone else noticed, it was kept silent. No one seemed to make the connection.... except McCoy.

"And she can read me like a book!" He muttered to the stars. He sighed then moved to the far side of the clearsteele and leaned his body against it. He watched the planet turning slowly. He did not have to wonder what his Vulcan friend was doing, he knew exactly what was going on. He did not want to admit to McCoy that his teasing about sharing the blood fever, was a little bit more than just teasing. But being this far away seemed to stop the meld from bleeding through to him.

The door chime sounded and he had this awful feeling that it would be Uhura. How was he going to face her now?

"Come." He sounded resigned to the company. He turned his head to see who was coming in. He had been right. "Didn't think I'd see you again on this voyage." He managed a weak smile.

"We have two years to go. Are you okay?" Uhura had known this man for a very long time. They had occasionally been each other's 'safety net'. She came into the room, noticing that he was actually leaning on the viewing port. "How can you do that?" She moved a little closer then folded her arms across her chest. "Don't you feel as if you are going to fall?"

He grinned and shook his head. "Scored very high on my E.V.A's." He was referring to the training taken outside the ship, in the cumbersome suits and in zero gravity, as they learned to manoevre in space.

"That's good to know, I, mentally, tossed you out of an airlock....." She was not afraid to admit some degree of anger over his reaction. "....without a suit...!" She added and was surprised when he invited her to move closer. She looked up at him when his arm went around her shoulder. "We are not going to do this again?"

"No." He was willing to take whatever she dished out. "I wanted to say that I was sorry." He squeezed her arm. "I don't want to loose your friendship."

She ran a fingertip down his nose. "Then don't feed me all the wrong signals again." She flicked the end and smiled when he jumped. She finally met his hazel eyes and studied him for a few seconds. "What has put you in this mood?"

He shrugged. "Damned if I know."

She leaned her head on his shoulder. "You my dear captain, may be able to bluff a Klingon or Rhannisu.... but you are a lousy liar when it comes to your personal life."

"Maybe." He spoke softly. He lifted his free hand and ran it over his face then rubbed his eyes.

"Why aren't you sleeping if you are this tired?"


"Try again. Take a nice warm shower and a hot cup of tea. Or milk. Then go to bed."

He raised his eyebrow and looked at her. "Care to read me a story?"

She grinned then shook her head. "This is where I came in." She moved from his hold then kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Night, Jim."

He reached to the back of her neck, then kissed her cheek. "Thanks for being....." He smiled not really sure of what he wanted to thank her for.

She lifted her eyebrow. "Available? Tolerant? Unbelievably understanding?" She felt his hand tighten against the back of her neck. She watched his eyes lower. He was feeling awful about eveything the last little while.

He let his arm drop. "Something like that." He reached to his uniform tunic. "I have duty."

"No you don't." She frowned. "Is that the way you are going to handle all of this? Just ignore it?"

"I need to be doing something other than standing around feeling....." He stopped. He didn't know how he felt and that was part of the problem. He sealed the front of the tunic, she reached over and fastened the tab that held his rank pin. "I just need to be busier than I have been."

"Sure, Captain." She tapped the rank pin. "Someday, they'll be giving you a different one. Ever thought about what you'd do then?" She met his silence with her own.

He bit the inside of his cheek for a second. "I tried that once, didn't like it." He lost a great deal during that V'ger mission, but he managed to win back the Enterprise, and for that he was grateful. "I hadn't planned on surviving this rank."

"Keep going the way you have and you won't." She studied him with a long time affection. "You know Captains are allowed to have families..."

He nodded. "Some are lucky enough. Others find themselves in the position of loving the wrong woman." He started towards the door, Uhura beside him.

She understood, they had talked about this once. "Carol may still be there, waiting for when *you* are ready?"

Kirk stopped, frowned then repeated the name. "Carol?" He paused. "I wasn't referring to her." And with that he headed out into the corridor leaving behind a stunned communications officer.

Uhura felt the doors close behind her, she took a step forward as she watched him enter the lift. She had thought that Carol was his 'unattainable family'; at least that is how he had always referred to her. She wondered who else would have entered his life, affected him this much and managed to escape her notice.

"Well I'll be." She whispered to herself. "Captain's got a secret."


T'Pau had proclaimed it time for T'Lar, the high Priestess, to verify the bonding and the ending of the plak tow. A healer would confirm T'yshen's and Spock's physical status. Normally, the couple would be left on their own but because of T'yshen's status it was necessary to document the condition of Reldai T'yshen.

T'Lar touched the chime on the outside of the chamber, she paused then entered.

T'yshen bowed to her as she entered. She had been on the balcony over looking the arena and experiencing the last sunrise she would see on this world. She gestured for T'Lar to join her on the balcony for some drink. T'Lar accepted a small drink of the juice.

"Spock has slept very little. His plak tow ended only yesterday. Dr. McCoy beamed down at Spock's insistence and conducted the physicals. I have not spoken of the results. It is my understanding that all will be prepared for today."

"Wake him." T'Lar had been instructed to verify both. She waited only a short time and the pair came to her. Both wore only meditation robes and knelt in front of her. "Thee are prepared?"

"I am. " T'yshen stated easily.

Spock cleared his throat then answered in a raspy voice. "I am prepared, Sim're'T'Lar." He bowed his head and relaxed his shielding. He felt the cool orderly touch within his thoughts and he sensed her satisfaction with the bond.

She moved to examine T'yshen's thoughts for a moment then stepped back from the pair. "Thee are prepared to leave?" She had noted the Starfleet uniform hanging beside T'yshen's robes of Office. "It is time to serve."

"Within the hour." Spock stated.

T'Lar looked towards the door, a young attendant entered carrying an ornately carved wooden box. She waved the young one to place it at T'yshen's feet. "A gift for thy New World, Reldai. It is an Ancient Book of Kahr-y-Kan. It has been decided that should any wish to study the Kolinahr, it should not be denied. They will be welcomed." T'Lar looked to the very young ruler. "Thee will rule with c'thia."

T'yshen bowed low. "I will, T'Lar. My ... people will be honoured by thy gift." She had not used that phrase until now. It had caught her by surprise.

T'Lar bid them both long life, peace and prosperity and then she left.

T'yshen turned to Spock. "It is happening..." She met his eyes barely able to contain the excitement and curiosity. "I have a gift for thee."

She moved into the room and to the wardrobe that now stood bare. In the bottom she pulled out a long wooden casing. She moved to the low table near the end of the bed, her hand reached out to him. "Thee are my passion, Spock. This gift is of my family. I have no others. It has been in the House since the time of Surak and the Reform. My ancestors were not of noble birth but they served and our House was touched by the house of Surak and it is the only legacy left. T'yshen pushed the casing towards him then watched his face.

Spock hesitated. He had been made aware that her direct line no longer existed, that was part of the reason she had been chosen as a possible successor. No other family commitments would bind her. He had also been made aware of the fact that her lineage was possibly older then his.

His hand caressed the wood, appreciated the age and care that had been taken over the centuries. It had been carved and burned with intricate patterns. He opened the small latch then opened the hinged lid.

He held his breath! He took in the sight of the perfectly matched pair of swords. His eyes found hers. "I can not..." His hand reached in and lifted out one of the swords, magnificently crafted! The sheathing made of a polished tekla wood, used for its strength and lightweight. "It is an honour, My Love." His hand moved around the hilt, he felt a shiver, the hilt had been made of bloodstone; a deep green stone and it was still damp!

"The last and the best that S'harien made." T'yshen admired the grace and skill with which he held it. " It belongs in a warriors hands." Her hand closed over his. This, she wished to share with him.... That, that was hers.

"I am not a warrior." He placed the sword carefully into its place. He stood close to her. "But I would destroy a world for thy touch." His hands ran along her arms slowly, his hands moved to touch the contact points on her neck to reach only the surface thoughts and emotions.

Now each touch would be treasured, they now had a time limit. One month, at the most, to be together.

After that, it was uncertain.


Her pen was laid on the desk. She re-read the words she had just placed there.

"I am his bond-mate now. I brought him

through the plak tow and he was pleased.

I was surprised at my abilities considering

my age. His touch is gentle, familiar now.

We have twenty-one days... and nights to

take pleasure in. We do not know if there

will be another. His days are more

uncertain than mine considering his service

in Starfleet.

"I feel an uncertainty with my future as

Matriarch of their New World. A counsel

has been chosen, I will rule as T'Pau

suggested. Offer guidance as I have

been instructed. To be the final word

not the deciding one.

"T'sai Di'on and her people have been

overjoyed at the assistance the Federation

and Vulcan have offered her people. She

is an impressive woman, one I will be

honoured to serve. We will make

planet-fall in ten hours. The planet's

survey was not a recent one, Spock has

suggested completing another before the

first of the colonists' step on the

surface. A landing party will do another

by Enterprise personnel. It will be a

most interesting time!

"T'Pau has made a gift of some of the

writings of Surak, the Laws of Vulcan,

as well as copies of the remaining

records of the families that left Vulcan

centuries ago. The Rhannisu records will

continue the information giving the

families great legacies. An acceptable

starting point.

"Spock sleeps now. He has to report for

duty in four hours. I will miss his touch,

warmth and his presence. His touches on my

thoughts and body have become expected. I

dare not disturb his rest yet I desire his


"It will be most difficult on a world that

I will be the only one of my kind. The only

one with control of emotions. It has been

mentioned that there is a concern that this

will erode my control. Only time will tell."

The journal was closed slowly. She was sitting at Spock's desk; her hand went to the tall mug that held the warm dark amber ale. The warmer temperature enhanced the aroma of the spices. The quarters were dark, except for a small lamp that lit the area her book sat in. She leaned back, one leg bent with her foot resting on the edge of the chair; the other tucked under her. The satin sleepwear consisted of a long top split up each side to her hips and matching close fitting pants, very comfortable.

She closed her eyes and reached along the invisible thread that connected them and wished she could wake him, tuck herself in tightly to him and listen to his voice as he read to her or told her of his pleasure with this bonding.

She tipped the mug, draining the last of the ale. She would also miss Sarek and Amanda but both promised to visit. There would be little contact with others for a time in order to concentrate on building a new society. The mug was placed in the recycling unit and she moved to the viewing port. A touch on the controls caused the upper section of the wall to seemingly dissolve into the stars.

Vulcan was moving away. She wondered what the New World would be like. Her hand reached to the bridge tie-in.

"Bridge. Kirk here."

"Captain, at what time will we begin to see Kavifemai?" Her voice sounded far more controlled that she was. The excitement was barely confinable and this had caused her inability to sleep.

"We should be within visual sighting in about five hours. It will be hard to actually see, but large enough to point out. Would you care to watch from the bridge?"

T'yshen considered it. "If it can be arranged without disruption, Captain."

"Consider it done, Reldai T'yshen."

"Thank you, Captain. Out."

"Bridge out."

T'yshen's hand closed the shielding. She felt the stirring in her thoughts as she moved to the doorway of the sleeping area.

"Are thee tired of my company?" Spock whispered to her, he was just teasing and he knew of her apprehension. Her new life would be so fill of uncertainties that she would have to face on her own. There would not be any peers to guide her in matters. She shielded very little from him. Her movements were quick as she moved to him, lifting the covers and sliding in.

"I was unable to rest any longer." Her hand ran along his face, fingertips tracing the outline of his mouth. "I did not want to disturb you so I sat in the other room."

"And you spoke to another..?" His hand pressed against hers causing their thoughts to meld and his fingers curl around her hand.

"I spoke with Captain Kirk."

"You are my bond-mate.... Do not try my patience." He was definitely teasing! He enjoyed her private smile as he kissed her. "What did you speak to him about?"

T'yshen lifted herself up on her elbow; her eyes met his. "Will I have to account for every second to you?"

Spock's eyes sparkled. "Only the moments spent with another male." He knew she was not taking him seriously, nor did he wish her to. His hand held hers tightly. "I woke. I felt the loneliness that would be mine until we are together again. I do not like it."

"We have twenty-one days to be together. You will helping to begin a New World."

"It is one I will not want to leave." Spock touched her face, his thumb caressing the warm skin. He began what T'yshen had already begun, memorizing her face, the sense of her skin under his touch ... all the things he would miss. "Perhaps I will make use of the sword..." He pulled her closer to him, her sleepwear was deftly removed as he began to enjoy her again.

Soft touches along her body. Lips that tasted her skin, memorized the texture. The temperature and feel of her. Every curve, every softness that he touched was enjoyed and committed to memory. Her moan and the way she whispered his name. The way her touch could cause his body to come alive! He had three hours in which to take his pleasures with her before he had to return to duty; he would use every second to the best of his abilities. All of this would be sought after less and less as time passed.

It was the Vulcan way.


Uhura moved to Captain Kirk's side. She waited for him as he signed the reports then smiled as he turned her way. "What else can I do for you? You have that look in your eyes..."

She grinned. "You can put me on the landing party. I could do with a little grass under my feet for a change." She leaned a little closer to him, smiled again and looked into his eyes; she hadn't flirted with him in a long time! "I could set up a whole communication system in no time flat."

He matched her eyes; a smile played at his lips. "Is that the only thing you'd like to work on down there?" He glanced at the others on the bridge. He had been pulled into this more quickly than before and he did not want to compromise the decorum of the bridge. So far, so good.

"I suppose I might have a few minutes free, what did you have in mind...?" Her eyes sparkled with amusement. Maybe he was coming out of his mood over Spock's sudden bonding. She was hoping that he was in a better frame of mind to possibly renew their "on-again, off-again" relationship.

He was just about to answer when the sound of the lift doors opening caught his attention. He stood to greet his guests, his hand touched Uhura's arm. "Later, Ny." He whispered.

T'yshen wore a long simply styled gown with a lace overdress both in a gentle gray colour. Her hair had been left long; the sides were braided and held back. Spock stood at her side; he had taken the time to return to her quarters to escort her to the bridge. His hand lifted into the paired finger gesture of bonding, hers mirrored his as they stepped down into the well. They looked good together... the perfect couple.

"Welcome again, T'sai T'yshen." Kirk stood off to one side as she came down the steps. He motioned her to the center seat, offering her the best view of the approaching world. Purely a chivalrous gesture.

"Thank you, Captain, but I do not command this vessel." She matched his eyes. "It is an honour that we will begin this with you and your vessel." Spock had moved to her right hand side, he stood proudly beside her. "Has the survey been completed?"

"We must be within scanning range, in thirteen point four minutes." Spock stated. "The report will be delivered directly to yourself and T'sai Di'on upon completion. The points of colonization will be decided then." Spock bowed his head slightly.

"Mr. Chekov, give up a magnification of our destination." Kirk moved back to his usual position.

"Aye, sir." Mr. Chekov tapped a few buttons and the tiny little world grew quickly to fill the screen.

The globe was gold and blue; clouds concealed most of the geography. T'yshen moved slowly towards the screen, stopping when her hand touched Mr. Sulu's chair. The image held her attention and she held her breath. Her thoughts were of beginnings. Buildings, what would they be like? Weather, obviously quite different than Vulcan. Seasons, would they have true seasons as she had heard of on Earth or just a differing in the temperatures? She also wondered if she would be able to rule as she felt she should. What would the heritage of these people be like in a century or two... it was possible that she would live long enough to see this!

"Close enough to reduce the image, Captain." Mr. Sulu spoke.

"Do so." Kirk stated in a lowered tone. He waved in Di'on and S'task as they stepped onto the bridge. He watched as Di'on's stare held her still. S'task's arms went around her, he whispered something then Di'on nodded.

Kirk looked to T'yshen as she stood on her own. She had seemed older, not as innocent as before. He turned to Spock, bent over the scanner to begin the promised scan of the planet. He felt it; the bond thread that stretched between them. They would live a good part of their lives apart... because of duty! It wasn't fair!

He sat back into the solitude of the command chair beginning to consider the plans that would give them as much time as possible together. In spite of Spock's stubborn nature!


Sulu had taken a leisurely approach to obtain the orbit around the planet. He felt the appreciation all around and it was awe-inspiring. The landscape, what they could tell from this distance, seemed to be mostly desert and adjoining bodies of water. There were some green patches around the water and at each pole, a very small white cap that meant snow. He poked at Chekov. "Look, a place for you to visit!"

Chekov smiled. "Dey are intelligent people, the Kavifemai... and their name is easy to say!"

Sulu laughed.

Kirk smiled then shook his head. He touched the tie-in to the shuttle bay. "Bridge to Rea's Helm."

"Rea's Helm."

"Time to order you off, T'sai Di'on!"

She laughed. "Your hospitality has been unequalled. Thank you Captain Kirk." She gave a few commands to the people around her. "See you on the surface, Captain... we have Rhannisu Ale to toast our New World and friendships."

Kirk nodded. "A pleasure. Anytime you are ready, your vessels have clearance."

With no more discussions, Kirk saw the small vessels on the viewer, one by one, they 'sailed' in a ribboned course to the surface. Kirk felt a lump catch in his throat.

"Amazing, isn't it?" McCoy suddenly appeared at Kirk's side. He smiled at Kirk's surprise then leaned towards him. "That was mighty nice of you to allow Spock to travel down with T'yshen."

Kirk shrugged. "They needed a navigator and pilot, it seemed the logical choice." He folded his arms challenging McCoy to argue the point. "Besides, they need the time together." He stood suddenly and headed for the lift. "Sulu, you have the comm. I'll be in the observation lounge."

Kirk stood at the large viewing port. He had taken his tunic off and laid it across the back of the chair. He had managed to make it there before the last of the small ships had landed. They had chosen a site near the equator of this world. It was a starting point. Warmer than Romulus, cooler than Vulcan and the Kavifemai seemed to prefer to start out in an area that most resembled Vulcan. It seemed that even Rhannisu preferred the heat!

He jumped at the touch on his shoulder.

"Nervous?" Uhura smiled. She caught the look in his eyes. "What is it?" She moved so that she could share the view, her hand rested on his shoulder.

"I was just thinking how difficult this will be."

"For who?"

"Spock mostly. T'yshen left on a world without another Vulcan." He sighed. "Almost seems like a punishment for breaking tradition."

"They did not break tradition, Jim." Uhura looked at him; this had really affected him! "It was not against tradition for her to become bonded or to chose Spock. Age is not a factor in Vulcan marriages."

Kirk looked at her. "Seems like you are a wealth of information about Vulcans!"

She grinned. "Spock wrote a mandrigal, a poem with music, for her as a gift." She lowered her eyes at the remembered conversation. "She shared the music with me and when I asked her about the poem, she blushed then told me it was not one that was not to be shared."

Kirk grinned for a second. "Then what was the tension between them at first?" Kirk was becoming curious and because of his personal interest in T'yshen, never felt that he could ask Spock about the relationship.

"It's that everything happened unconventionally. Spock and T'yshen should not have been discussing certain things until after the betrothal. They felt each other's thoughts the moment she beamed aboard the ship. It was a struggle not to share." Uhura suddenly wanted to change the subject totally but felt that he did not. "Why so worried about Spock?"

"He should be with her. They should be together, not a universe apart."

Uhura wrapped her arms around him. "You are definitely a romantic at heart. I like that." She looked to the face that was trying hard not to smile. She traced his lips with her finger. "They knew their duties would keep them separated. They accept that." Uhura lifted his chin. "T'yshen is more anxious about being on that planet than she is being separated. They don't consider this a separation the same way we would."

That made him smile. "We?" Kirk mellowed a little. "Sounds.... Not bad." He pulled her close and kissed her, relieved that he had chosen the solitude of a viewing pod.


End of Tome Two....

Continued in Tome Three: KAVIFEMAI'S RISE
Picture Credit goes to Liz Woledge

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