STAR TREK: The Original Series/Mirror Universe


SUMMARY: This look into the Mirror Universe shows how lives can be owned, conducted and lost all for the sake of honour.

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

THANKS TO: My ever trusty and trusted Creative Engineer Selek, who helps me with ideas and occasionally comes up with a few of his own scenes. He has helped with this one a great deal.

And to my trusty and trusted beta reader Salatrel, who tweaked this until it hollered! Many thanks go to her.

Written by Gayle Rochefort-Potts
Assisted by Selek
March 1999


The diplomatic offices were of the standard Vulcan simplicity. The inner office was empty for the moment and the outer receptive office held two desks. The Vulcan pair was busy attending to the usual matters of this office.

Selek looked up as he was handed the slates. "You are working quickly today."

"There is little work in the final drafts." T'Aitlu began to turn away, returning to her desk but Selek's hand held hers. She glanced towards the doorway that led into Ambassador Sarek's office, wondering if he was occupied or not. She took the chance and took a step closer to Selek; her fingers ran through the silk of his hair then caressed his face. "I must complete the work assigned to me."

"You can care spare a moment." He looked towards the other office as she had. "Sarek is not due back for another fourteen point four minutes." His fingers stroked the back of her hand. "He has a conclave tonight." He turned her hand palm up and drew two fingers slowly across. "He will not require either of us."

She closed her eyes, reacting immediately to this man's touch, as she always did. "It is not certain, Selek." She withdrew her hand then returned to her desk. Now was not the appropriate time to indulge. As she sat down, Sarek was heard entering his inner office. She breathed a soft sigh of relief that Sarek had not seen them. Of late, Sarek's patience for displays of affection of any kind was not to be tolerated.

Selek stood, gathered all of the reports and legal papers, then headed into Sarek's office and closed the door.

After about twenty minutes their voices began to raise, then there was a sudden bang as if something was slammed down on the desk. T'Aitlu stood at the sound, unsure if she should investigate or not. She breathed a quiet sigh of relief when Selek emerged from the office. He was not pleased.

"Ambassador Sarek wishes you to accompany him tonight." Selek would not look directly at her. "I have been instructed to leave for the day as I am no longer required." He began to close down his workstation without any further comment.

His voice was monotone informing her without words that he did not approve of this arrangement, nor did he wish to discuss it. She moved from behind her desk. "Selek..."

He looked up from his work then stood. "My patience will only stretch so far." He moved to take his travel cape down from the hook. "Even with him." He laid the cape over his arm then looked to T'Aitlu, his head bowed slightly. "I will see you later... I presume."

He turned and left before anything more could be said.

T'Aitlu sat back down and returned to her work, somewhat reluctantly. She recalled the gradual changes in Sarek over the past year. The minute changes had begun just over a year ago when T'sai Amanda became ill then died. A human's constitution was not that of a Vulcan's nor was she expected to live as long as a Vulcan might. Sarek had always been more than attentive towards his mate and had seemed lost since her death. Then recently, for some reason, Sarek had changed even more.


Sarek entered the room of Elders with T'Aitlu at his side. The sandalwood scent in the air and the atmosphere were of wealth and indulgences. There were others here with their bondmates, bondservants, concubines and such. They were quickly welcomed and served some drinks. Sarek had arranged for the purchase of the gown T'Aitlu wore and had made a point of complimenting her on her appearance. As he discussed business with the others of the Council, he ensured that she was attended to throughout the evening. He would have done the same for his bond-mate, T'Aitlu noted.

A bond-mate of another Council member came and sat down with her. "So, it has taken Sarek this long to find another. I was not privy to the introductions. I am T'Pring. My mate and I serve the Council."

Her head bowed. "T'sai T'Pring, it is an honour." She had known of this one from Selek. This was the one that had rejected Sarek's son, Spock. "I am T'Aitlu."

T'Pring drained the glass of wine, stopping in mid sip as the significance of this one's name hit her, "Desire," she purred suggestively, "A most interesting name. Did Sarek award you with this honour? Or have you earned the name?"

T'Aitlu met this woman's eyes and chose not to answer such a rude query. She picked up her glass and moved to the table of food. She ate only a few bites before Sarek once again appeared at her side.

Sarek turned her face towards him with the gentle touch of his fingers. "My business is done here. Do you wish to leave?" His fingers brushed her lips. He sipped on his dark ale. "Or do you wish to remain for a time?" If he and Amanda had had a daughter, he envisioned her to bear some resemblance to T'Aitlu. She could have even passed as a member of Sarek's family, a cousin perhaps. The only difference was that T'Aitlu's eyes were darker.

"It is not my place to chose, Ambassador." She had understood his attentiveness towards her. He was lonely and at times she served to fill the social gap. He had never gone any further than a gentle touch, never crossing the barrier into the privileges of her bondmate's. That is until tonight.

Sarek stepped closer to her; his paired fingers caressed her jaw line then traveled down her neck. His fingertips brushed the darker areola that peeked just above the plunging neckline. T'Aitlu stepped back slightly avoiding his touch. He drained the glass and left it on the table freeing both his hands then closed the distance between them. He held her hand; pulled her close to him then wrapped his other arm around her waist, twisting one hand behind her back. "Then I will choose. Aitlu-kam, I will choose what I wish..." He bent his head and kissed her neck, tasting her perfume.

"Ambassador..." she whispered. "This is not desired." As he lifted his head she met his eyes. "This is not your right, Sarek."

"You... and your bond-mate are bound to me in service." He whispered in a deep and soft voice. "I require your service," he noticed that her ample breasts had spread against his chest and had all but become totally exposed. He held both her wrists behind her; his fingers on his free hand traced patterns on the swell of one breast. "Has he ever kissed you, as humans do?"

"No." T'Aitlu did not know what to make of his behaviour the last few weeks. He had become increasingly demanding of the house servants and short with Selek. Today was the first time they had argued. She wondered if some of this treatment was because of that discussion. "Why would he choose to?" she replied evenly attempting to diffuse and end the situation as quickly as possible.

"It has its pleasures." Sarek lifted her chin, debated on teaching her then slowly released her. He looked around the room and all were in various states of pleasuring. "I will take you home."


Selek stood in the door way to the bedroom he shared with T'Aitlu. Bond-mates since the age of seven, as it had been decreed by their parents. Theirs had been a match, which had succeeded more than most. She had just finished preparing for bed and was in the process of brushing her long hair. They were fortunate that Sarek, once he became Ambassador, retained Selek as his aide and then found a place for T'Aitlu. Many couples were not as fortunate.

"You have been unusually quiet since your return from the conclave meeting." He had sensed this uneasiness in her. "Did anything happen?"

She fastened a quick loose braid for sleeping. "In what respect?"

"In any respect." He was not comfortable that she had been given another gown or did he find the style appropriate for the event. He had even noticed that she was keeping her distance. Had something happened and she was wary to inform him? "The travel arrangements have been confirmed. We leave tomorrow."

"We?" She had been informed that the travel plans were to be made for Sarek alone.

"He wishes that we travel with him." Selek was not certain if he was content with the arrangements. They had traveled many times with Sarek but it was usually business oriented. This is the first time they would travel with him for a pleasurable time.

"Very well," she replied, resigned to the situation yet curious as to the reason for the change.

Selek reached out to her when she was finished preparing for bed. He drew paired fingers down her face then lifted her chin. "To spend time on Risa with thee is most pleasing."

"It pleases me as well." She turned away from him as the memory of Sarek's touch flashed through her mind and unsettled her.

"Your thoughts..." and he reached for the meld-points.

She welcomed his touch, and to refuse it would have aroused suspicion in him. Just as his warmth began to creep in, his hand dropped away. She opened her eyes to his dark ones. He had 'seen' the liberties that Sarek had taken and was enraged!

"He has no right! You are my bondmate, not his," Selek whispered angrily.

T'Aitlu reached for his hand, her lips brushed his palm. "He is lonely and wished only some company." It had been a long time since they had been together. "He went no further." Their thoughts and duties had been centered on Sarek; neither realizing how much Sarek would change. At one point all Selek would have to do is ask and time for Seclusion would be granted, now it had become a rare commodity that they had any time to themselves.

"There are other ways to satisfy the urge for company than by taking another's bond-mate." He debated challenging Sarek for his actions. Much could be lost in that challenge, his life for one thing. Sarek would then take her as his. With Sarek's position and the probability that T'Aitlu would remain here, he would have no control then, if he lived. He drew her close to him.

She molded herself against him, feeling safe within his arms but also fearful that matters may be outside of her control. She felt his hands clench in her length of hair, matters would have to be dealt with carefully or she could lose him.


Sarek moved through his dimly lit room. He had been disturbed by his unusual behaviour, and how it had aroused him. It was unexpected to say the least. He had never considered using T'Aitlu in a sexual manner before. She was the only female in his House that he had not considered before this. He immediately went to his closet and withdrew his meditation robe. He must center himself if he was ever going to get any sleep tonight.

He drew his meditation robe over his shoulders, covering his nakedness, then knelt in the accepted position in front of the firepot. He closed his eyes and slowed his breathing. However, when he wanted to clear his mind, he could not. He was thinking only of T'Aitlu and the feelings she invoked in him. Only Amanda had affected him in this manner before. It was much too soon for his pon farr, but he could not shake the warm feeling that had started in his belly and had centered itself in his groin.

Sarek shifted his position and the robes rubbed softly against his semi-erect penis. He groaned and, again, tried to center himself. This was not logical. T'Aitlu had been in his service for 5 years, bonded, and she was a trusted, efficient aide. He did not see her in that light at the moment but could not stop reacting to her. He tried to concentrate on the flame, but Sarek kept thinking back to the gown she wore tonight at the meeting. The gown that he had chosen for her. How the swell of her breasts caught and held his attention. How the plunging neckline had enticed him to explore further. Even her protests did nothing to dissuade him; in fact that seemed to encourage him. He remembered the kiss and how she tasted, had it been a hint of cinnamon? He wanted more... much more.

His erection was now commanding most of his attention. The cloth covering his penis was becoming an irritant. He opened his robe, parting the fabric and just enough to reveal his rock-hard member. He stared down, marveling that at his age of 128, he was still in excellent shape and his penis reacted as if he were a 50-year-old. He thought of T'Aitlu again, and a drop of pre-cum leaked out of the head and glistened in the light of the firepot.

Sarek bowed to the inevitable and grasped his cock in his hand and slowly stroked it. He could picture T'Aitlu's hand holding his member, gently stroking it and allowing her hair to wash over the jade green head. He could see in his mind's eye her luscious breasts, bobbing slightly as she pulled on his cock. His own strokes became faster and longer.

Sarek started thrusting into his hand, which was grasped firmly around the base of his rock-hard manhood. He threw his head back and held his breath in anticipation of his climax. Faster and faster, he pulled on his cock and thrust his hips. His hand was coated in his hot pre-cum. Still he pumped furiously and felt his balls contract. His climax was explosive, his ejaculate covering his belly and robes. In his thoughts he screamed a single word: Aitlu!

******On Risa...

Logically, the reservations were the very best. Sarek had requested a suite of rooms and had been accommodated. Selek had personally inspected the females who were assigned to attend Sarek. There could be no chances taken with a man of his power and station.

Sarek floated with his eyes closed, his head resting on the pillow and his body suspended in the hot scented bath. He tried to clear his thoughts of all his concerns. He heard movement behind him; he opened his eyes, just as the attendant was entering the bath. He felt her hands along his side as she moved closer. "Your name."

"Desiree." she stated softly with a slight bow of her head. She was Orion and her skin was a shade darker than T'Aitlu's. Her hair was dark and long and her eyes were a golden shade. She began to wash his body, taking time to pleasure him as well. Her touch was firm and experienced.

Sarek lifted a slightly arched brow of amusement at the sound of her name. "Curious," he muttered to himself as he wondered if Selek's choice of this one with THIS name had been intentional. Was this because Selek wished to please him or remind him of what he could not have? There had been no mention of the incident at the conclave but she had never been left alone with Sarek since. There was always someone with them if Selek could not be near-by.

Desiree suggested that Sarek move to the table for his massage. He complied. He wrapped the toweling around himself and crossed the warm room to lie on the table. He chose the oil and Desiree began. He removed the towel and lay down on his back, his penis starting to demand her attention.

She had been surprised at the Vulcan's condition. More often than not, when many attained Sarek's position, their physical condition was not important any longer. Sarek, on the other hand, was most attractive and her duties to him were unlimited. Her hands massaged every accessible inch of this man's body concentrating on his manhood. It responded to her ministrations as Sarek started to writhe under her expertise.

Sarek suddenly sat up. "Get my aide. T'Aitlu." He reached for the ale that sat beside the table.

Desiree, her small hands still slick with oil, was surprised at his actions. "Ambassador Sarek, I believe she is with her bond-mate..."

"Did ask you if she was available? No, I ordered you to get her and bring her here," he stated firmly.

"Yes, Ambassador," Desiree quickly replied, knowing that she had just been reprimanded. She grabbed a small towel and hastily wiped her hands clean. She slipped on her robe tying it as she left the room. She knew where to find this woman but knowing the intrusion would not be welcomed.


T'Aitlu poured the scented oil into one hand then placed the bottle down. She rubbed her hands together then straddled his body. She leaned forward and began massaging his chest. She had learned a great many things over the years and this was one skill that pleasured them both. She ran her hands over his taut nipples then leaned down and bit gently. He moaned. She smiled then drew her hands down lower.

Selek lifted one leg, knocking her forward and he wrapped his arms around her then rolled her over onto her back. He kissed her ear, then her neck tasting the oil that he had already smoothed her body with. It was scented heavily with sandalwood and had amazingly little taste. He moved torturously slowly down her body, tasting and touching her.

She breathed deeply then moaned. He was most proficient and enjoyable. She wrapped one leg around his thigh to pull him down. She pressed against his erection. A whispered invitation to end this pleasant torture and her fingers wrapped in his long hair were all the invitation he required.

He pushed into her slowly and sighed. He reached into her thoughts as she did into his and his body began the familiar rhythm.

The door chime sounded but it went unnoticed.

Once the meld had been established, her hands ran down his body encouraging him.

The door chime sounded once again and this time Selek withdrew from the meld. He felt her nails dig in slightly as their passions died. He slowly withdrew from her.

"Come." He drew the sheets to cover what was necessary. He twisted to see who was coming in. He frowned; this was the female he had left with Sarek. "There is a problem?"

"I ask forgiveness. Ambassador Sarek ordered me to find T'sai T'Aitlu and bring her to him immediately." Desiree kept her eyes down. She regretted with all that she knew that she had been commanded to disturb the activity here. She had been trained to recognize the first stage of pon farr and this was not a situation that one wanted to interfere with.

Selek sat back. "He what?"

"He wishes me to find..."

"Yes. It is understood." Selek looked to his wife. He was uncertain of what to say. He knew full well what he wished to say. "She will be out in a moment."

Desiree bowed her head then backed out.

Selek reached for his robe that had been discarded by T'Aitlu earlier. He slipped it on then moved from her. He poured a large glass of brandy. He drank it down then placed the glass down hard. "You should not keep him waiting," he stated with his anger at Sarek and his desire for T'Aitlu, both barely contained.

T'Aitlu nodded then moved from the sheets. She picked up her robe, slipped it on then stood behind Selek. "I will not be long."

"You will be as long as he chooses for you to be." He was definitely losing his patience for this. "Now go."


T'Aitlu moved through the quiet corridors following Desiree. She was uncertain as to why Sarek wanted her. The attendant was not helpful in any way. When they arrived at the room, Desiree stepped aside.

T'Aitlu entered the room. She bowed her head and waited.

Sarek looked up and was surprised by her state. Her hair was messed, she wore a loose fitting robe and her face was flushed. When he usually saw her she was dressed to perfection without a hair out of place. "Aitlu-kam, come here."

She lifted her head, brushing her long hair back as she crossed to him. "Yes, Ambassador. How may I be of service?"

He lifted his hand to her face then ran his fingers down her throat. He felt the smoothness of the oil on her body and the scent was overwhelming. "Open it." He indicated her robe.

Stunned, T'Aitlu stood frozen. He could not be asking this of me, she thought to herself. "I do not understand..." she whispered.

Sarek reached forward and tugged on the fastener and the robe fell open. He breathed deeply as the sight and smell of her heightened his desire for her. He reached into her robe, a hand on either hip and he pulled her to him. "Of course you do." His hands began to investigate the feel of her body; every curve was being memorized. His eyes held hers. His hand reached to hers and he held it for a moment.

T'Aitlu felt her heart pounding. This seemed as if it was unreal. She felt the heat from his body as her hand was pressed against the hard roll of muscle. He wrapped her hand around it. She held her breath, disbelieving of this man's actions.

"You are the only one that can satisfy this." His lips brushed her cheek then her lips. He sighed as her hand, pressed beneath his, began to stroke him. This was just as he had envisioned it the first night, when he was alone. His body shivered as the anticipation grew. He moved the fabric of her robe from one shoulder, as he pulled her closer, then tasted her lightly oiled skin.

Unknown to them, Selek stood off in the dark corner of the room; he had entered through a concealed pathway. He could not believe the actions of this man. One he had served and honoured for most of his adult life. He had been with Sarek when he became Ambassador. He stood with him at his bonding to Amanda. He was uncertain what had driven this man to do this. One thing was for certain; Sarek's death would come sooner than later if things went any further.

Sarek slipped off the table, he lifted her chin then claimed her mouth with his and tasted her. He lifted her easily up onto the table, keeping her close to the edge. His tongue teased her taut nipple.

T'Aitlu shook her head, she did not wish to be pleasured by him. She did not want his touch or to be a part of his pleasure. She wished only to leave here before she became ill.

Sarek moaned. His member was throbbing and glistening with pre-cum. Her hand was wet and his cock was slippery. He ran his hands down her back and pulled her closer to the edge of the table. He positioned himself against her, preparing to enter her, to find the satisfaction his body demanded.

T'Aitlu held her breath, she did not wish this but she felt powerless to stop it. She shook her head as she asked him to let her leave. For all intent of purposes, she was considered Sarek's property, but rarely was a bond infringed upon without consent. She began to shield her bond-mate's reception of this; they both did not have to suffer.

Then suddenly, Sarek was gone from in front of her. She looked up to the sight of Selek attempting to strangle Sarek. She was so shocked at her mate's behaviour she could not move at first.

"She is my mate! Not yours! You have no privilege." Selek's eyes were dark.

"No!" She closed her robe as she left the table and ran to Selek's side. "Kroy'kah." She moved his hands then held them. "You do not wish this, Selek. You do not wish him dead. It is the fever..."

"Leave him." Sarek stared at Selek. "If he wishes to fight... let him!"

"I will not." T'Aitlu turned to Sarek, angry and unsure of everything for the moment. "It is the fever that guides him."

Sarek was breathing deeply, just as Selek was and for almost the same reasons. He grabbed her wrist. "Come."

She pulled her hand from his hold. "No. I will not, Sarek." She looked to her mate, the fire was still in his eyes and she knew that if he truly wished it, Sarek would die. "You paid for the attendants. Use them!"

Sarek grabbed her chin. "I have paid for your services as well."

She drew in a breath and knew her next action would either solve the issue for now or cause her death. She drew back and slapped Sarek's face, hard.

His pride was now at stake. His face stung and he felt his anger rising. Was she worth it? Did he wish her for a mate or was she merely a means to an end? "Leave me! Take him with you!" He shouted at the top of his lungs. He grabbed the nearest breakable object, a large vase, and hurled it against the wall. T'Aitlu ducked the shower of broken crockery as she guided Selek.

Sarek clenched his fists as the two left him. He had been wrong. He now realized that he was closer to the pair than he had been willing to admit. Without a bondmate he was being affected by Selek's Time. He should not have even considered touching her again. He sat down in the collection of floor pillows and closed his eyes.


Selek had slowly begun to realize what had happened as she closed the door to their room. "Did I hurt him?"

"No." She poured a generous amount of brandy then offered it to him. "Drink."

He waved it away. "No. I do not need it." He took the glass and placed it on the table. He reached to the fastener of her robe and opened it. "It is you that I require." He slipped it from her shoulders. It dropped in a heap on the floor behind her. "Did he hurt you?" He made a quick inspection of her.

"No." She held her breath as his hands moved up her arms then along her shoulders to cradle her face. She reached to his robe and opened it. Her hands slipped in to touch his warm body.

"Did he manage..."

"No." She stepped closer to him. "Forget him." She slipped the robe from his shoulders then brushed her lips on his warm skin. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers moved into his hair and she pressed herself against him. "I wish you."

Selek dropped one arm then the other allowing the robe to slip from him. That was all that separated them at the moment. He held her tightly, his growing erection pressed against her stomach. His hands caressed her arms then along her back, her derrière. His fingertips caressed her shoulder then her breast. Her skin felt like warm velvet. He teased one nipple and then the other until both became hard and sensitive.

Slowly, he moved down her body, tasting, licking and sucking her warm skin. He went down on his knees then held her steady as his mouth brushed against her warmth. He heard her whisper his name. Her fingers moved into position and she began the meld that would share this euphoria she was experiencing. His tongue touched her, sending a shiver through her body.

T'Aitlu could not remain standing much longer, she was feeling light-headed from his needs. She reached to his shoulders then urged him up. She tasted his lips which tasted of her nectar then his neck, her hand moved down his body. Her hands caressed every inch of him renewing her memory of him. Her tongue teased each nipple then continued a downward path slowly inching her way to his erection. She kissed the soft tip, smiling at the moan that it caused. Her tongue traced patterns along its length. She felt his body shiver. Her mouth took in the length of him then drew her mouth slowly up the throbbing shaft. His hands held her head to prevent her from pulling away.

"What do you wish, My Husband?" she whispered against the hardness.

"Again." he managed with a moan.

Her mouth took him in and her tongue swirled around him as she moved up the length. He pushed his hips towards her and she repeated her actions, slowly. His hands clenched in her hair. She prepared herself to swallow his seed.

Selek moaned then cried out at his release. He felt her arms circle him keeping him upright as she continued milking him with her mouth. When she finally released him he almost fell but she guided him to the bed in time to collapse on the softer surface.

Selek did not require much time to rest before his body began to burn once again for her. He kissed her, brushed back her long hair from her body. He repeated the path he made down her body tasting and arousing her. She drew in a deep breath as he began to suck on her, gently at first. The plak tow had been fueled by Sarek's challenge and now he craved only her. He was not as gentle now as she felt his burning increase. Her body shivered with the first of many orgasms, her fingers curling tightly in his hair.

Selek slowly covered her body with his. He ached for this to end. He also knew that it would not end with this release or even the next. There would be at least three days of this activity. Time had not diminished their passion for each other; instead it had made it more familiar and satisfying.

She spread her legs inviting him into her to end this bit of torture. She wrapped her arms around him as his hard member entered her. She lifted her hips and wrapped her legs around his waist pulling him in deeper. Her fingers dug into his flesh as she reached for the release. She felt him push deeper then felt the warm fluid pump into her.

He rested his head against her shoulder satisfied for the moment.


Sarek had tried to spend the morning meditating. He wished to discover the reason for this sudden interest in Aitlu. He had begun to drift into his second level when images of Selek's and T'Aitlu's activities drifted into his consciousness.

He felt himself grow hard again, he stood annoyed that his attempts to rid himself of this need would only bring him images of the two. Selek claiming her as his, as was his right, and T'Aitlu burning with the passion she shared with her bondmate. As it should be. But it did not stop his wanting of her.

He walked across the room to the balcony. He looked at the lush scenery that surrounded this building. He heard the occasional laughter, as the sound would drift from the other rooms. He had been under the impression at one point that this would be the logical place to find someone to serve his needs. One that was not paid by him and that was desirous of him in the same fashion. He shocked himself with the realization that he wished a mate again, yet he felt that it was too soon.

Desiree entered the room with his meal. "Ambassador." She placed the tray on the low table then waited in the collection of pillows for him.

Sarek turned to face her. She had done everything asked of her. She wore only the meditation robe and had fastened her hair back, as T'Aitlu always did. His need of this diversion was evident to himself and would be to her when he stretched out. She had been more than successful in calming his anger and his desires yesterday.

He had considered obtaining her for his own use, to purchase her and give her a place in his household. His only hesitation was in what to do with her when he bonded again. A bondservant perhaps? Or would she serve his mate? He sighed. He would deal with the matter when the need arose. With Desiree the need to find a mate became less urgent, perhaps delaying it for a time and she would serve his particular passion for the moment.

Sarek crossed the room to the pillows slightly more eager than he had been only a moment ago. He reached for her hand then kissed her palm. "Would you care to live on Vulcan?"

Desiree bowed her head. This would be an ideal situation, pleasing was, by reputation, her species' greatest gift. The variety that was offered here on Risa was fleeting. At times, she desired more than this. "If it would mean serving you, Ambassador Sarek, it would be considered an honour." She broke off a small piece of the sweetened bread and offered it to him.

Sarek finished the bite as he considered the arrangement. "I will see to it after this meal."

Desiree bowed her head. "You may if you are more comfortable, translate my name into Vulcan." She had been accustomed to being called many names by many individuals. Sometimes her own name and sometimes a name that was special to the one she was assigned to.

Sarek considered it for a moment. "There would be too much confusion." He accepted the mouthful of sweet dried fruit she popped into his mouth.

"Confusion?" She moved closer to him; slowly opening his robe and her hands began to massage his body.

Sarek reached to hold her chin then pulled her closer to taste her lips. "The translation would be 'aitlu'."

Desiree had been surprised. She knew that Selek had been very careful in his choices, and that she had been selected because she had met the majority of his requirements. Had Selek been aware of this 'attraction' to his bond-mate and wished to satisfy it or to confuse the distinction. To offer her to Sarek in place of T'Aitlu. "Then chose another for me. I will learn all that I must to honour this position." She had slowly worked her way down his body and was now concentrating on his sex.

Sarek pushed aside his need for food as he closed his eyes and concentrated on her activities. Her hands were gentle and her mouth quite skilled. She had not disappointed him in the least and she seemed to control even his level of arousal. She straddled him then slowly impaled herself. She had refused to be entered before and he took it as a sign of her acceptance of her new station. Before he lost himself in his release, he considered having a discussion with Selek concerning his motives.


A four-day stay on Risa had satisfied all concerned. Sarek had arranged for the transfer of ownership of Desiree and in record time. He had also paid out an unheard of price for her as well.

Selek was busy with the final arrangements required for their departure the following day. He closed the terminal then stood and moved out onto the balcony. His recovery from his pon farr had begun and it would take a few days longer before T'Aitlu would be aware of whether or not she had conceived. No one had been able to determine why she had not been able to conceive a child before this. Neither of them had been pre-occupied by the matter nor did either of them feel that a family had been necessary. The matter had been left up to fate.

He heard the door open and turned expecting T'Aitlu but instead it was Sarek. It was the first time they had been face to face since the incident in Sarek's room.

Selek bowed his head. "Ambassador."

Sarek assessed the man for a moment. "You appear well."

Selek nodded. "As do you, S'haile."

Sarek joined him out on the balcony. "There is a matter that must be discussed if only to clarify motives."

Selek nodded once. He was not certain what he was referring to but Sarek did not appear dissatisfied. "The travel arrangements need only to be confirmed then all preparations for returning home are complete."

"You were informed of the additional passenger?" Sarek had Desiree inform one of his aides as to the change. All had to learn to work with one another sooner or later.

"Yes, S'haile. She informed me earlier today." Selek had not been surprised to learn of the change. It had relieved some of his apprehensions about traveling with Sarek again. "S'haile, it appears that I require from you some forgiveness at my choice in the female."

Sarek raised an eyebrow. How would he have known that this was the very matter he had come about? "Explain?"

"I believe that in part my choices were influenced by my approaching Time."

Sarek considered the notion. "A possibility I will accept." He had Selek and T'Aitlu in his service for a long time and there had been no reason to doubt them so far. "I had wondered if your motivations were not entirely loyal."

Selek bowed his head. Now was not the time to orchestrate a separation from this man. "I come to serve, Sarek, as always."

"There are times when words mean very little and hide a great deal more."

Selek straightened his back slightly. "I do not understand."

"Selek, what was the motivation in choosing this place and the attendants?"

"My motivation was to please you." Selek did not wish to damage any of the trust that had been earned. He had even enjoyed a power among his peers in being with Sarek. He had served Sarek for most of his life and there were many benefits to the association. "I explained that my judgment may have been clouded but it was not disloyal." He found he did not enjoy his honour being questioned.

The discussion was halted with a knock on the door. Selek crossed the room and accepted the handwritten note. The messenger left and Selek passed the scanner over the paper. He was checking for imbedded threats to Sarek's life. Poisons that could be absorbed or fine filaments that could cut and possibly further drug or kill Sarek. Not one thing was passed to Sarek without some form of scan or personal inspection and this service had only affected Selek once. He had become quite ill from a drug that had been meant for Sarek.

Sarek read the note. "Ambassador K'Quara wishes to meet with me to discuss an upcoming vote at the Imperial Conclave." He looked to the time. "He has not allowed a great deal of time."

"I will inform T'Aitlu then accompany you." Selek stated.

"No need, Selek." Sarek had known this official for a great deal of time. "I was not aware that he had arrived here."

Selek had a sense that Sarek could be in danger. He moved to the terminal and brought up the list of guests. "He is registered. You should not go alone."

"I have the capabilities to defend myself, Selek." He headed towards the door. "We will finish this discussion later."

"As you wish." Selek waited until Sarek had left then contacted T'Aitlu and informed her that he would follow Sarek.


Sarek walked through the corridors to the place indicated on the note. It was a small meeting area, others were present and K'Quara waited with drinks for him at a table in the corner. A fairly safe environment with only each other to be concerned about.

K'Quara stood. He was heavily built and was dressed in the heavy robes that Risa spas provided. In a deep bass, his voice rumbled as he kept his tone low for privacy's sake. "Sarek, I am pleased that you could take the time."

Sarek bowed his head then they sat down. "I was unoccupied for a time."

"You, unoccupied here?" He grinned at the Vulcan. His reputation of his enjoyment of the physical pleasures, were well known in the circles he traveled in. "I find that hard to believe, Sarek."

"I was with my aide arranging travel plans to return to Vulcan." He glanced down to the ring on his hand; the tiny scanner that was imbedded in the large stone was programmed to detect innocuous substances in his food. He sipped on the dark ale that had been purchased for him. "You wish to speak about the meeting?"

"We are considering becoming members of the Imperial forces. I wish to know your opinion." He leaned forward slightly; his eyes scanned the room and then settled on Sarek.

"You were asked?"

"Ask is not the word I would have used," the Klingon grumbled into his beverage.

Sarek contemplated the issue. "There are benefits, K'Quara."

His hand clenched his now empty glass, and his voice was tight as he countered, "And at what cost?"

The Vulcan did not comment on that almost treacherous statement. It was a sentiment that he himself was not unfamiliar with.

The heavy Klingon Ambassador slapped his glass onto the table and then continued, "The worth of the cost is something that I must determine for my world."

"Vulcan has never been dissatisfied with the functioning of the Imperial Force. It has been profitable but there has been a price to pay." Sarek drained the glass then pushed it out of the way.

"Then you feel the price is just?"

Sarek met the man's eyes. "It has been for most of the worlds that have joined." He looked around the room, he was not followed nor was anyone watching them. "I believe it will be for your world as well."

K'Quara nodded. "Then it is settled." He stood. "I appreciate your honesty, Sarek." He knew it was not the custom of the Vulcans to touch, so he bowed his head.

Sarek stood. "I come to serve, K'Quara." Sarek bowed his head and then he left taking a different route back to his room.

Sarek walked at a fair pace towards his destination deep in thought when he was stopped. In the brightly-lit hallway, a tall figure stepped in front of him brandishing a long blade.

Sarek instinctively knocked the blade from the imposing figure. He stepped back in an attempt to thwart another attack, his back touching the wall. It was too late, however, as he felt another cool blade enter his chest.

As the Ambassador slid down the wall, he looked up to the attacker... his face was covered. The assailant watched as his victim fell in a heap on the floor. He turned and vanished as quickly as he had appeared.

Sarek moaned; he was alone and growing cold. His world was growing dark and his last conscience thought was wishing he had allowed Selek to accompany him. He sighed and gave in to the darkness.

Selek turned the corner, wondering where Sarek was heading. If he was returning to his rooms, he was definitely taking the long way around. He heard an alarming sound up ahead and quickened his pace. He drew in a breath and held it as he recognized who was on the floor. He called through the bond to T'Aitlu to bring help. [I will guide you.]

He moved to Sarek's side and began to examine the injury. He lay his fingers against Sarek's face and reached into his thoughts to see if Sarek was alive at all. He felt the slow shallow breathing. "Sarek." He reached into his thoughts informing him that help was on the way.

"Hopefully in time," he muttered. [Hurry, T'Aitlu.]


Selek sat in the chair pulled close to Sarek's bed. He had not left his side since he found him and he suspected that T'Aitlu and Desiree would have remained had he not sent them to see to the changes needed with their travel plans. He found himself reacting far too urgently to the sigh that came from Sarek.

"Sarek?" He reached for the scanner allowing it to cycle only once. He felt his entire body relax in relief, as the Vulcan opened his eyes slowly. "Sarek."

Sarek blinked a few times then began to recall the last of his conscious memories. "Attacked," he croaked through parched lips.

"Yes, Sarek."

Sarek tried a deeper breath very slowly and carefully, his chest felt heavy. He did not remember having difficulty doing this before. "Identity?"

"Unknown. I was hoping that you had seen or knew who it was." Selek stepped away from the bed slightly. His anxiety concerning his liege lord's life had left him.

Sarek nodded. "I saw him."

Selek's hand rested on Sarek's shoulder. "Rest, S'haile. There is time later." He watched as Sarek's eyes closed slowly. Selek reached to the contact points and gently reached into Sarek's thoughts to determine if he was capable of a healing trance. He was relieved further when he found that Sarek had initiated it on his own. He pulled his hand away and returned to the chair and the light breakfast that had been brought to him over an hour ago.

Desiree entered to find Selek eating. She carried with her a black lacquered tray laden with the condiments of a customary Vulcan teatime: elegant teacups and a stout pot that was steaming. "T'sai T'Aitlu said you wished some hot tea." She spoke softly so she would not disturb Sarek. She placed the tray down on the larger table then poured the tea for Selek as she continued. "I have made inquiries as to the activities at the time of the attack."

"Anything? Sarek did see him, but I do not believe he knows who it was." Selek drank the hot tea down; the spicy flavour filled his palette. It tasted exceptionally good and was soothing to his mood.

"I have asked the ones who have knowledge of any questionable activities to wait in the outer room. They have been there for some time. I did not want them to come to any harm if the inquiries were known."

Selek raised an eyebrow. He had not been wrong in his estimation of her intelligence, but he was surprised by her initiative. "Find T'Aitlu, she will remain with Sarek and you will accompany me when I speak with them." He looked towards Sarek. "He must not be left alone for a moment until he has recovered.


Sarek had awakened on his own. His healing trance was not deep enough to warrant a forced awakening. He watched her as she moved around the room. He knew she was working on collecting the information that would be required for the next meeting that was in four days.

He cleared his throat then sat up slowly. T'Aitlu was immediately at his side insuring that he was cared for.

"Is there discomfort?" She poured the water then offered it to him.

"No." Sarek drank some of the water then returned the glass to her. "Selek is occupied?"

"He is speaking with those who had clues as to your attacker. Desiree accompanied him."

"Then we are alone."

"Yes." She was hesitant. She avoided making eye contact with him as she busied herself with the moisture clinging to the water pitcher.

Sarek held her hand then squeezed her hand. "It was not my intention to harm you."

"You would not have harmed me, S'haile. It would have compromised my bonding and that I did not desire." She slipped her hand from his and placed the glass down then began adjusting the covers of his bed. "If you are well, I have other duties to see to. The Healer will be in shortly and then it will be determined when you will be permitted to travel." She smoothed the last of the covers into place. "Do you require anything else?"

"No." He looked towards the door as it opened.

"S'haile." Selek walked in pleased that Sarek was awake and appeared well. "The only thing that has been determined is that it was a Vulcan that was seen leaving."


T'Aitlu pulled her dark, heavy cloak tighter. She shivered in the damp night air. She had already been waiting in the dark walkway for twelve point seven minutes longer than she had anticipated. She heard a shuffle behind her and turned. "You are late."

"I had a slight bit of difficulty, someone was celebrating and was being more than jovial and insisted that I join the party." He laughed then leaned forward to whisper to the female. "After one or two beers I managed to slip out unnoticed." He sighed as he caught her disapproving stare. He dropped back his hood; his voice was now quiet. "You have information?"

"Yes. He survived," she stated in disgust.

"Blame that on your bond-mate not me." He reached over and pushed back her hood. He lifted her chin. "You still owe me the agreed upon-amount."

"I am aware." She withdrew a small metal case that was the perfect size to fit in her hand. It was a perfect means to transfer funds. "Here. Totally untraceable and for the agreed-upon amount."

"My father will not miss it, I am sure." He slipped the credit chit into his pocket. "And for you. What do you wish to do now?"

"I will give you enough travel allowance back to Vulcan. He will be there for two weeks. Try again but something that is more viable."

"A poisoned blade, perhaps?" he sneered all the while examining her lovely face in the moonlight.

She lifted an eyebrow in appreciation of his quick thinking and skill. "Acceptable."

"As you wish T'sai T'Aitlu." He bowed his head. "How is your bond-mate? Blissfully unaware of your deception, I trust?" He fingered the credit chit in his pocket.

"It is not for you to question one way or the other." She had moved her chin from his hold. "I must return before my absence is questioned."

He watched as she lifted her hood back into place. "What if it means his death as well?"

She glared at him. "You do not harm him. Is that clear?" Her voice became hard and lowered in its tone. "If you harm him in the least... I will be the one that comes for you." She stepped closer to him. He flinched beneath her touch, before he knew it there was the coldness of a blade touching his stomach and making a gentle slow trail down. "Your death will be slow and painful." Her intent was quite clear. "Is that understood, Sybok?"

"It is, T'sai. Very clear." He drew in a breath; the excitement of her nearness and her force excited him. Despite the danger that he was facing had found his body's growing desire for her. This was the prize that he had hoped for in addition to the wealth that would be his. Perhaps she even had a price. Now, the only problem to solve was how to dispose of Selek without arousing her disapproval.

T'Aitlu stepped back from him sheathing her dagger in its jeweled case. "I do not wish to order your death. With you gone, the fortune reverts to Spock. He will not share it as you have promised to do. He is willing to wait. I am not."

Sybok bowed his head then met her eyes with a chilling smile. "There are many things that are worth waiting for. Money is not one of them." He considered how warm she had felt pressed against him when they first spoke of this. Nothing more than that had happened but the memory had remained with him and fed his eagerness to complete this mission at almost any price.

T'Aitlu bowed her head then headed back into the building. She felt his eyes bore into her backside as she fled the scene of her distasteful conclusion. Bile rose in her throat as she recalled his sour alcohol breath on her face. The sooner she separated herself from this insidious individual the better she told herself. She would have to watch Sybok. He was planning outside of the original agreement and she also understood his passions. She had a few of her own passions to deal with and they all included Selek.

******On Vulcan....

The voyage home had been uneventful. Sarek and Desiree were rarely seen and when they were, it was for meals. Once home, introductions were made to the house staff and daily events fell back into the normal routine.

Selek had however noticed a subtle change in his bondmate's mood since returning from Risa. Had it been because simply caused by the chain of events? He had found her at times distant and almost pre-occupied. Other times, it had seemed as if nothing had changed.

There had even been a mysterious package that had arrived for her a few days after their return. It had provoked his curiosity but did not seem to stir hers in the slightest. She had merely nonchalantly secreted it within her bureau and let it lay unopened as if giving it no more thought. A small box that was sealed and she had not even opened it, merely placed it in her bureau drawer. When it arrived, it had seemed as if it was unexpected, yet she seemed to give him the impression that she knew what it contained. At least that is how it appeared when he saw her place it in her drawer, unopened.

Selek stepped back from the doorway, not wanting to be seen by her. He considered all of the activities that had been going on and they all seemed to be connected yet he could not find a logical common thread or had his instinct remained heightened and overly sensitive since the attack. Was he merely over reacting?

Sarek had become occupied with Desiree's presence; he was becoming content with her attentions. He spent a great deal of time with her and educating her. He had even begun to return to his normal routines, and oddly enough, T'Aitlu seemed to be insisting on it.

Selek had begun to note as well that at every opportunity, his bond-mate had suggested that Desiree begin to take some of his own jobs tending to some of Sarek's needs. The more personal assignments, mostly having to do with the running of the household. T'Aitlu seemed more than ready to assist Desiree whenever she was needed. Desiree seemed to be thriving in this new environment, almost as if she were destined for this position. Selek was conflicted between the satisfaction of being released from some of these mundane duties and feeling his usefulness being questioned.


The preparations had begun for the yearly festivities. The first day of the change of the season and Sarek was using it as a starting point for his 'new' beginnings. The decision had been made and he would introduce Desiree as his betrothed. Sarek was well and showed no side effects to the attack a few weeks ago. The activity level was high and there were extra servants hired for the event. Desiree was handling her new duties easily.

The green-skinned Orion donned her everyday robes having opted for more formal and appropriate attire. Now rather than being the slave/pleasure girl up on Risa, she looked more like the head of the household in this prominent estate. Desiree sat down in the kitchen at the table and studied the PADD in front of her. Sarek had shown her how to translate the difficult Vulcan script into her own native dialect. She had an alacrity for languages that would serve her well as the consort of an Ambassador Extrodinaire. She began to eliminate the jobs that had been seen to and the list was at least dwindling steadily. She had a few more things to see to and her duties would be done for the day. She had planned to spend the evening on her own preparing herself for the festivities the next day. Sarek wished her to look the part of the grand lady, she must take pains to make herself resemble and feel the part. Both of which were becoming easier for the simple Orion girl but actually found herself beginning to derive more than a slight satisfaction. Perhaps for the first time in her life, she had found her niche. The goddess had granted her this great fortune and Desiree would see that she lived up to her full potential.

They were going out this evening for evening meal and then return home to oversee the final preparations. Selek and T'Aitlu were to accompany them. They were to eat at Sarek's favourite restaurant, one he had discovered while bonded to Amanda.

The evening meal, of various Italian foods, was being consumed. The after dinner dessert and drinks were being enjoyed and final details for the next day were still the topic of conversation.

"I trust everything has been seen to, Desiree?" Sarek re-filled her glass with the sweet wine she favoured.

"Yes, S'haile." She sipped the wine then licked it from her lips. "T'Aitlu has seen to a great many of the details. She is, as you have said, indispensable."

Sarek bowed his head slightly towards T'Aitlu. "My house is honoured by your service."

"I do nothing less than what is asked of me, S'haile." She drank down the last of her wine. She leaned slightly towards Selek and quietly asked if they could leave and perhaps walk home. "Time alone," she added in even a softer tone.

Selek considered it for a moment then nodded. He moved his unfinished drink aside then looked to Sarek. "If it is permitted, Sarek, T'Aitlu and I will return by foot to the house." He stood not expecting a refusal. "It has been a long time since we have walked under the stars." Selek tilted his head slightly at Sarek's questioning eyebrow.

"Of course." Sarek drained his glass. "It is time that we return as well." He waited a moment before standing then offered his hand to Desiree. "Attend me."

Desiree had stood a second behind Sarek and her hand was on its way into his as he spoke. He looked to her with satisfaction; 'already she is anticipating our customs, remarkable.' She graciously bowed her head to the other couple as they left. Together, she and Sarek enjoyed the cool night air of Vulcan, their robes staving off the chill. She walked with Selek out to the aircar. He had activated the controls on the aircar for her to enter first.

They stood at the aircar for a moment, the usual sounds seemed quieter, and something did not feel right. Sarek held his own breath, to hear more carefully. He heard a noise, startled he turned then pulled Desiree in close to him, sensing she needed protection.

"Not again..." he whispered as the cold blade slipped into his back. A momentary clear thought crossed his mind as he realized that the blade had missed his heart. Most fortunate. "Call Selek," he whispered to her as he felt the darkness take him.

Everything had happened so fast and suddenly, Desiree took in a breath and cried out for Selek a beat before Sarek asked her to. She slowly let her consort slip to the ground, her smaller frame unable to support his weight all the while her eyes held fast onto the attacker as the figure faded into the darkness. She had seen his face before! She gritted her teeth, committing the image to memory. Her immediate attention was focused on Sarek as she heard the running footsteps passing beside her. She glanced up and relief flooded through her. It was Selek.

"Is he injured?" T'Aitlu knelt beside the two. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her communicator, notifying the authorities. She glanced in the direction of Selek's pursuit and felt the pull to follow. She wondered if she should follow him. She planted the communicator into Desiree's bloodied hand. "I will return." She reached into her sleeve pocket and pulled out the tiny vial and the hypospray. She had considered the fact that Sybok would not follow the plan and had armed herself for any betrayal.

She hurried around the first corner and saw nothing. She stood still for a moment straining to the nighttime sounds trying to discern some clue as to which direction they were headed. Her connection to Selek told her he was uninjured, unless he was blocking. There had been many times when information concerning political matters had to be kept from her. Selek's shielding abilities were superior. She heard the sound of a heated argument and rushed towards it.

She ran down one walkway then turned right down another. It was in a small clearing, a park that she discovered the two fighting. She arrived just in time to see Sybok's fist connect with Selek's chin, sending him to the ground and unmoving.

"NO!" she screamed.

Sybok drew himself up then drew in a breath. "He is not dead." Sybok rubbed his shoulder then looked to T'Aitlu. "He will have a sore jaw and nothing more."

She glared at him. "You had better be right." She bent down to check the condition of her bondmate. The hypo was placed beside him on the ground as she quickly began to examine him. "If he is injured..."

"You will do what?" Sybok laughed. "You do not have enough time to do anything. Sarek will be dead by the time they reach the medical center."

She looked up at him, her hand still resting on Selek's chest feeling his breathing and heartbeat. Confident, for the moment, that he was recovering. "I could give Sarek the antidote now." Her hand closed around the hypospray. She had planned this well. If Sybok betrayed her in the least, she could administer the antidote then inform Sarek that she knew who attacked him. She would deny her participation. If Sybok accused her, and inform the authorities, she would simply state that Sybok wished her and this was his plan, but had injured Sarek and not Selek.

Sybok's breathing was still heavy. He reached down to her, pulling her up by her shoulders. "You what!" He looked to her hands then reached to the clenched one. He laughed as he pried the hypo from her hand then tossed it away. He watched as her line of sight tried to follow it. "You were not born of this world!" He laughed then held her wrists tightly in one hand. He held her chin then pulled her close and kissed her. "You will make a perfect mate. One I will have to watch, and one that is smart enough to know that she is watched as well." He laughed again then picked her up and with an expert touch to her nerve centers along her neck. She fell unconscious. He carried her limp body easily as he would a sleeping child, away from her bondmate.


The pain throbbed in his head as he awoke. With the ease that only a trained Vulcan could Selek dismiss the pain in his head and came to full consciousness. He had a moment when he was uncertain where he was, then he remembered. He sat up. "Sarek." He stood quickly then wavered. He waited for a moment then strode back to the aircar.

Medical personnel had already arrived and one healer was speaking with Desiree. Selek moved to her side. "His condition?"

"Stable for the moment, but matters are not well." Desiree looked to the Vulcan male. "He has been poisoned." She looked past Selek for a moment. "Did T'Aitlu not come back with you?"

"With me? She was not with me?" Selek frowned.

Desiree noticed the bruising already showing on his face. "There was a fight?" She touched the darkening spot on his jaw. "She followed you. You did not see her?"

Selek shook his head. He vaguely remembered hearing her voice. "If matters here are being dealt with... I will go back." He bowed his head towards Desiree then headed back to where he had been.

By the slight glow of the street lighting, he looked around the area quickly then began to search the ground for any clues. He stepped on something hard, moved his foot then noticed the metallic gleam. He moved to use more of the lighting available to him then bent down and picked it up. "Most interesting." He held the metallic cylinder carefully. The vial that had been attached had cracked. The golden coloured liquid dripped out slowly. Selek held it carefully and returned quickly to Desiree.

He was fortunate, the healer was still there but the medical car had left. Selek called out to him then as he closed the distance between them offered him the hypo.

The healer took it carefully in his gloved hand. He ran the tricorder over the vial's contents. He raised an eyebrow. "A highly potent antidote of some type." He looked to Selek. "The location of this hypo?"

"Close to where I was." He breathed in slowly and wavered slightly.

The hypo was dropped into a sealable bag then dropped into the medical sack. "It appears that you should be seen as well." He looked to Desiree. "Can you bring him to the medical center?"

"Yes. We will be there directly." She touched Selek's arm then motioned for him to climb into the aircar. "I gather you did not find her." She had a note of apprehension in her voice. "Have you considered that whomever attacked Sarek..."

"Yes. I have." Selek leaned back in the seat; he was not feeling well. "She is alive."

"Then we shall get you to the medical center, look in on Sarek and then inform the authorities as to her disappearance." Desiree guided the aircar towards the road and then on to their destination. There was something that was nagging at her thoughts. There was something familiar concerning the attacker and she could almost see the face and then it was lost to her. Her intense emotions and the hurried rush of the dire situation were muddling her memory.

She also considered, as she glanced at Selek, that Sarek may not live. Her future was once again uncertain. Her foot imperceptibly pushed down harder on the accelerator as she raced to the medical center.


Sybok moved into the darkened room, the clatter of his teacup echoed through the silent chamber, he set it on the small table beside the bed then dragged over a chair. He straddled the chair and stared down at his prize lying on the bed before him, then reached over to the cup that had been set down earlier. It was still warm.

He watched as she stretched and wriggled still in the light sleep. His hungry eyes stared down at her chest as it rose and fell with each deep breath. He drank down the tea then set the cup down. He reached over and lightly brushed her hair off her face. Her hand flew up and flicked away his intruding touch. He had not expected her to be asleep for this long. He expected her to be awake and fighting by now.

Her eyes fluttered open, her eyebrow raised and she looked to him.

"Greetings. I believe the Humans have a tale concerning a woman, 'Sleeping Beauty'." He smiled slightly. "She of course was awakened with a kiss."

"I would not advise it," her voice filled with scorn. She sat up slowly. She felt the residual effects of the nerve pinch in her shoulder. She moved, groaned slightly then rubbed the numb feeling area. "I suppose I should ask where I am, but you would not inform me of any location that would be helpful." He nodded slightly agreeing with her logic. "This was not part of the plan."

"Neither was your possession of the antidote." He pushed the second cup her way. "It appears that we either trust or mistrust together."

She looked suspiciously to the cup he was offering her. "Poison?"

"Not even a sleeping potion." He almost laughed. "It is tea. Nothing more." He held it knowing she would debate the issue for a moment within herself before accepting the cup. "You have been sleeping for four hours."

She sipped on the tea. "I demand to be returned."

"Returned where?" Sybok rested his hands on top of one another, then rested his chin. "Do you really think Sarek would want you there now? Or even Selek?"

She watched him. No one knew of her plans nor did they suspect. She sipped on the tea careful of any wrong taste to it. She also knew he would not harm her... unless she drove him to it. She calmed any evidence of her reactions to him. "You have word?"

"None oddly enough." Sybok sighed. "Perhaps Sarek is not as news worthy as we have thought. Even the attack has not reached the headlines." He could move freely where he was; he had protectors. He debated informing her of the fact that leaving here would not be wise, but dismissed it. It would be far more entertaining if she were to find out after she attempted her escape. "The poison should have taken effect by now."

"Unless you have miscalculated again." She placed the cup down then flipped back the covers. She slid her feet over to the side and decided to wait another few moments before attempting to stand. She drew in a deep breath then shook her head to clear it.

"Or they found the antidote that you lost." He grinned. "A most interesting twist of fate. The one that arranges his death, happens to supply the exact antidote." He combed his fingers through his beard. "Interesting actions for a female that claimed honour at serving the House of Surak." He offered his hand as support.

T'Aitlu slipped her hand into his then stood. She drew in a deep breath. "I do not require further assistance." Not wishing to incite him to anger, she decided to play out his hand and she would keep her calm. She decided to wait for an opportunity to escape while allowing him to believe she was content for the moment.

"May I inquire as to the reason for the change in plans... specifically why I am here." She had always known that there was a limit to the trust she had in him, but she had not expected him to do this.

Sybok drew her hand closer to his mouth then turned her hand over. His lips brushed the palm; he lifted his head quickly as her hand clenched. Her nails grazed the soft under part of his neck. "It would not be advisable to do away with me too soon. You do not know where you are. Nor do you have any means to return from where you came." He held her hand tighter. "You should also be aware that all the doors and appliances work with only my thumb print..." He smiled at her raised eyebrow. "And the thumb that is pressed against the scanner must be of the correct temperature." He kissed her clenched fist, keeping his eyes on hers. "There is a time that one must give in to kaiidth. Your life is something that I do not wish to take at the moment."

T'Aitlu felt a momentary surge of panic run through her as the truth of her situation was brought to light. Gathering her calm around her like a cloak, she wet her dry lips then cleared her throat. "It is with a degree of regret that I should inform you ... that, I do not feel the same, Sybok."

"M-m-m, yes it is." He considered this female then stood, he moved from the chair and pulled her close to him, her hands were held tightly at her back. He held both of her wrists in one hand then with the other lifted her chin. "I have plenty of time." His fingers caressed her jawbone then his fingertips edged her ear. "You however... do not have much time... as a free individual once Sarek dies... unless you wish to change your loyalties...?"

She met his eyes and in that, he had his answer. She wanted no part of him or his loyalties.


Selek looked around the room. He couldn't sit still any longer. He stood and looked to Desiree. "I will return in a few moments with some food and drink for you, T'sai."

"That would be most welcomed." Desiree went back to reading as she waited for Sarek to awaken. The poison had reached through most of his system by the time the antidote was administered. They had used what amount was left in the vial after verifying its potency and the technicians were hard at work matching the formula. More was needed, Sarek would not recover but he would not die. How much damage had been done or would be done, would have to wait until he awakened to be assessed.

Selek stepped into the hallway and headed for the cafeteria style eating area. He chose a meal for himself and slumped down heavily in the chair to eat it. Occasional fatigue and a sickening sensation pervaded his mind and body; he was tired and not feeling well. His growing inability to reach T'Aitlu was taking its toll on him. He rested his elbows on the tabletop then rested his face in his hands. He knew that he required food and rest in order to function properly but neither held any appeal. He had decided that after this meal, he would bring something to Desiree then try sleep for a time in the adjoining room. This room was provided for Desiree to remain close but he was aware that she often slept beside Sarek in the chair.

There were no clues as to where T'Aitlu had disappeared to. The officials were uncertain as to which further steps could be taken. He could still hear the official's voice stating quite clearly that unless there was more proof it would be assumed that T'Aitlu had merely left of her own volition.

She would not do that, he had stated to the officer. Now he was beginning to doubt that statement.


T'Aitlu stared at the plate of food. "Starving yourself would only inflict discomfort on yourself." Sybok had just finished a second helping of the stew he had made. "I am, in my opinion, a decent cook." He lifted an eyebrow then smiled slightly. "And I have no intentions of harming you in the least..." he paused in his eating and met her eyes, "... unless you give me no choice in the matter."

"I wish to be returned to Selek."

Sybok sighed. "One could begin to tell time with the hourly request." He finished off his meal. "Eat. You will need your strength."

"I can not leave here. Why would I need the sustenance?"

Sybok laughed. "You intend to die a slow death? I had thought you would be the type to brandish an ahn-vahr and bury it deep within your own body." He stood and moved to her side. His burly hands grabbed her by the shoulders then lifted her until she stood. "You will need the 'sustenance' for this evenings activities." His hints were if nothing else obvious, as he intended them to be. His fingertips brushed along her jaw and then her lips. He pulled them back as he felt her muscles react. He held her chin firmly. "You assume, my little Aitlu, that I prefer gentle coupling. I do not."

T'Aitlu moved her chin from his grasp then pulled herself away from him. He allowed it. She looked to the cooling stew. Eating would be preferable to listening to him.

She sat down and began to eat. She reached through her bond to her mate. He was there but faint, he did not seem to be reacting to her. She had become concerned.


Selek stepped out onto the balcony of the house. His gaze roamed over the flat desert sands and he heard the call of the desert animals in the distance. Life, as it seemed, continued despite his great loss. His hands clenched around the railing and he closed his eyes. With all his skill he concentrated and called through their bond. She was there but weak.

"What has happened?" he spoke out loud. "No clues. No evidence of what has become of you." He leaned his forearms on the railing. "Sarek is home and recovering very slowly." Selek began, once again, to go through the events of that night, trying to recall some detail that would help solve this. The preparations for the celebrations, it was all in order. They were preparing for dinner. Calls were received and dealt with, nothing out of the ordinary. The four stepped out....

He stopped then straightened. Why had he not remembered this before? T'Aitlu stated that she had forgotten an item. She re-entered the house then as she came back out... What had she forgotten? She was not one to forget anything, not even the smallest detail. Why had she that night?

He stepped back into their room. He looked around, frowning. Something was in here that would give him a clue. The officials had not searched anywhere in the house. They had concluded that she had left on her own. Yet nothing had been noticed as missing. Not even personal items that she would take with her.

He approached the closet that held her clothes, hesitated then opened it. He looked to the shelving and the clothes hanging. Nothing was missing except the outfit she wore that night. He felt uncomfortable searching through her possessions but knew it was necessary. If for no other reason, than for his own sanity.

There had to be a clue of some type if she was planning anything. He shut the closet; nothing was out of the ordinary or missing. He moved over to the column of drawers beside the closet. He crouched down and began in the bottom. Her clothes, a few momentos and nothing more. The next drawer held her sleepwear, the perfume he had purchased for her, nothing else. He moved up the column finding nothing more than clothing and the veils she wore. The top drawer, he opened it, it held her brush, hair combs, hair fasteners... and towards the back he felt a box.

He pulled it forward then lifted it out. A corner had been broken open, somewhat in haste. He tipped the box to the side and then tipped it forward. A cylinder slid out and into his hand. He recognized it... "A hypo?"

He turned, moved to the bed and sat down. This was not making any sense. Was she ill? He checked the contents of the box by shaking it gently. There was something else in there. He shook it again; a tube of small vials dropped into his hand. He looked at them, exactly the same colour as the vial he found on the ground. "The antidote...?" He sighed. "Why would she have vials of the antidote?"

"What is it, Selek?" Desiree asked from the doorway, when he looked up she added. "Sarek has awakened and is asking for you. He is improving."

"I will go to him." Selek dropped everything back into the box. He stood, wavered for a moment then started towards Desiree. His hand flew to the door jam to steady himself.

Desiree watched him for a moment. "Are you alright?"

Selek nodded. "Tired. Nothing more."

"What is in the box?"

"If I am right, more of the antidote." He looked to the box. "Call the healer, if this is the antidote it will speed Sarek's recovery."

Desiree bowed her head in acknowledgement then hastened away to make the call. Selek clutched the box to his chest and with a heavy heart strode purposefully to Sarek's room.

With trepidation, he entered the quiet room then stood beside the bed. "S'haile, you wished to see me?"

"Yes." Sarek drew in a breath; he felt and sounded tired. "Sit."

"Yes, S'haile." Selek sighed, relieved for the rest. He had not been feeling well since the attack, but then again he had not been sleeping or eating with any schedule the last week or so.

"There are matters..." he drew in a deep breath, "...that must be discussed. Bring a reader and my divisions of wealth."

"Yes, S'haile." Selek stood too fast then wavered and sat back down hard.

"You are not well," Sarek stated.

"Overtired, S'haile. It is hard to sleep in a bed that you have shared for so long." Selek stood slower this time. He placed the box on the bed.

"S'haile Sarek!" Desiree's voice filled the room as she ran into the room, her eyes wide and carrying a hologram. "This man..." she thrust the picture towards him. "Who is he?"

Sarek frowned for a moment at her intrusion then glanced at the picture. "Sybok. My eldest son. He was ordered killed ten years ago." Sarek sat up slowly. Desiree's eyes were large and her breathing fast. "Why?"

"Then a ghost attacked you." She looked to Sarek and then to Selek. A burst of fury raged within Selek's eyes as he grasped the photo from Desiree's hands and glared at the sneering face of his archenemy. Desiree plucked the photo back from the Ambassador's most trusted aid then leaned closer to Sarek. "This is the man that attacked... and perhaps took T'Aitlu."

Sarek coughed. "Took T'Aitlu?" He looked to Selek. "You said she was on retreat..."

"I did not wish to add to your concerns, your health..." He sighed, the rattled Vulcan attempted to calm himself with deep breaths. "At the time we did not believe you would live, Sarek."

Sarek stared at Selek for a moment then nodded his understanding. His gaze returned to the Orion, "You are certain of this?"

She nodded. "Yes." She looked to Selek. "The healer is on the way."

"Why the healer?" Sarek asked confused. He wished that he had felt better.

"For the antidote Selek found..." She looked at the surprise on Sarek's face then to Selek. "You have not told him?"

"I was preparing to before you arrive. At any rate we are going by appearance. We are not certain what these vials contain, I get imprecise readings."

"Antidote? What antidote?" Barely contained frustration rang in Sarek's voice. This continual loss of mastery of the situation was most unnerving to the usually in-charge Vulcan. He looked from one to the other then to the package in Selek's hands. "Where did you find it?"

"It is irrelevant. If it is the antidote then your life will continue, as it should." Selek did not want to admit as to where it was found. Sarek would not wait for the analysis, he would assume that T'Aitlu was a part of the assassination. But it had failed and T'Aitlu was not here.

For Sarek, some of the pieces of the mystery began to fall into place. He flipped back his covers and despite Desiree's protests slipped off the bed and stood in front of Selek. He grabbed a handful of Selek's clothing, unsure if it was for support or in anger. "She helped plan this?"

"I do not know, S'haile." His head lowered.

"You were bonded to her. You should know... her every thought!" He was seething now. "How could she?" He drew Selek closer; his voice fell to just above a whisper. "How could *you*!"

Selek held his breath. "I had nothing to do with this attack, or any other for that matter." He swallowed. "If you truly believe this, S'haile, kill me now." Selek's hands moved to produce the small thin dagger he carried and offered it hilt first to Sarek. "If it was her, then I should be killed."

Sarek's hand wrapped around the hilt of the weapon, its blade pressed against Selek's throat. As he looked into the other man's eyes he saw no fear but he also saw their shared past. He had been his attendant since before he became an Ambassador. Why had he not known of this deception before now? Surely with the mind melds, the sharing of information, the nights spend talking of their futures... he should have known. Just as Selek should have known about T'Aitlu. For those few tense seconds Sarek once again held Selek's life in his hands and as they had before came to a silent understanding that every liege lord and attendant on Vulcan share ... honour.

With their eyes still locked, Sarek lowered the dagger. He stared at Selek. "If she is found to be involved, I will give the order to have her killed..."

Selek bowed his head. "Yes, S'haile."

"... by your hand." Sarek released the hold on Selek's garments.

Selek stared at him, arching his eyebrow revealing his understanding. He turned on his heel and vacated the room in stony silence.

Desiree assisted Sarek back into bed. "There are times, S'haile, when there is no logic to one's actions." She breathed once, wary of making this statement, but it had to be said. "Your actions may have precipitated hers, S'haile."

"Mine?" He spoke as if he did not see anything wrong with any of his actions. In a moment of self-reflection, perhaps he had given her cause. "She is... was a bond-servant to me, to do with as I please." The ambassador gritted his teeth, unwilling to admit to his mistake.

"Yes, S'haile." Desiree heard the emptiness in the words. Her eyes held his for a moment and the Orion revealed to him all too well the emotions associated with being considered the property of another. Together they smoothed down the bed-covers attempting to ease the growing strain between them as well.


Sybok howled.

He held his wrist where she had bit him. "You...!" He reached for her dark hair and wrapped it around his hand then pulled her closer; his other hand grabbed her wrist and twisted her arm behind her. "Stay quiet or I will break it. I have no qualms about that, nor killing you."

She drew in her breath through clenched teeth. She glared at him then growled in frustration. She had not been able to rid herself of his demands for the last hour. Killing someone was not a solution for her but her priorities were changing rapidly. "Let *go* of me."

Sybok held her head back, her arm was twisted painfully and his weight rested on her body pinning her to the bed. His mouth gently kissed her throat, and then the tip of his tongue ran a line down to the base of her throat. "It would not take much to cause your death. A slow death." He ran his lips along the vein that beat rapidly. He opened his mouth threatening to bite into her flesh. He felt her body's calm, but her heart still raced and her eyes still wished him dead.

She closed her eyes as his touch moved down her body. He had stripped her clothing from her when she would not comply. She clenched her teeth to control her shiver of revulsion. "You can not keep me here forever."

Sybok's position was not conducive to truly enjoying her. He held her hands with one hand, his leg held hers down and he knew she could be lethal to him. "I can try." His hand caressed her hot skin, hot from the fighting no doubt but it stirred his desired none the less. He pulled her closer with his leg; her reaction to their proximity was enjoyable. "You are still the cause of quite an enjoyable sensation." He pressed his hardness against her thigh. "I can understand why my father has you in his house."

She clenched her teeth hard, seething with the anger she felt towards him and the stupidity of her own actions. Why had she even thought that he would have honoured the promise to her? She growled in revulsion as his body covered hers. She turned her face away from his and closed her eyes as he entered her.

Sybok held her wrists, positioning her hands on either side of her head, he had balance now. His body was heavy enough and his strength superior to hers. He needed to watch her when she was anywhere but under him. Even here she brought a degree of pleasure to him. All prone beneath his weight, her body stretched out before him to view with delight. Her struggles only added to his desiring of her. He moved his hips with a steady rhythm bringing his body close to release.

His body pumped in and out of hers, his legs held hers spread uncomfortably apart. He moved her hands closer, until he could hold both in one of his hands. The free hand was placed at the side of her face and he reached in with the sharing of his desires and satisfaction.

He cried out as his body emptied into her, his thoughts teasing her senses and even her increased anger served his purpose.

Sybok brushed his lips along her jaw then close to her ear. "This has pleased me greatly."

She refused to hear his words; she was not interested in his pleasures. Had she merely placed herself in another position, one that was not as comfortable as she had known? She regretted any of the plans she had made and wished that she could have turned back time...

With a last effort she called out through her bond to her mate... save me, Selek... save us.


Selek moaned in his sleep. He fought through the haze that seemed to be invading his senses lately, awake and asleep. He wasn't sure of the reason but there were times when he welcomed the numbness.

He sat up slowly then looked to the empty space beside him, he knew where she was now. This was the first time in days that he had felt their bond flare... and he knew why and that did not please him either.

With his purpose now clear, the thick covers were tossed aside and he dressed in the dark. Selek strode purposefully into the common room, Not expecting anyone in here in the middle of the night, he began to rummage through the desk for the equipment for his plan when the voice of the Ambassador sliced through the night silence and was not surprised to see Sarek awake. He had said that he had slept and rested enough.

"Selek?" Sarek put aside the PADD he was reading.

Selek had halted his search and approached his lord, "I felt her. I know she is alive and she is not there because she wishes to be." Selek was in there to leave a message for Sarek. He returned to the near-by cabinet and secured one of Sarek's phasers. He checked the power pack. "I will return this to you, Sarek."

Sarek stood. "You should not go alone." His meaning was evident in his solemn tone.

"She is my bondmate. It is my responsibility." Selek headed down the short hallway to the door and his travel cape. He heard Sarek's steps behind him. He took another cape down for T'Aitlu. "Do I have your permission to use the aircar?"

Sarek shook his head. "You will not need it." He took his cape as well. "I will be with you."

"That is unnecessary, Sarek."

"It is my son who holds her." He turned to look down the hallway towards his bedroom as Desiree stepped out. "You will remain here. We will return."

She bowed her head, wrapping her robe around herself tighter. "You had better do so, Sarek."

"I have every intention of doing so." Selek pulled open the ancient wooden door and the two men stepped out into the night.


She woke to the quietness of the house. She tried to move her arms, but managed only just so far. They were fastened down. She drew in a breath and attempted to move her legs, limited movement also.

"Finally awake are you?" Sybok licked his fingers then placed the plate he had been eating from on the small table then perched on the edge of the bed. "You would enjoy the situation a little more if you were not unconscious every time."

"Perhaps I wish to be unconscious." She felt the numbness in her shoulder and recalled the fight she began as he moved from her.

Sybok reached out and ran his hand along the outline of her body. "Even covered, you are desirable."

"You are insane," she willed her voice to cold calm.

"Perhaps," Sybok sneered slightly. He leaned back against the footboard and settled himself beside her. "Now, concerning our agreement. As my bondmate..."

"Bondmate?" she scoffed, "...I do not believe so." She moved as far away from him as she could, which wasn't much but the gesture was there. "I would prefer death."

Sybok considered the matter. "That could be arranged." He then ran his hand up one leg, paused at her warmth, then ran down her other leg. "It will be regrettable... but... I... would do it." He drew in a breath. "But then you would not have the finances to leave Sarek as you wish to do." He laughed. "Nor would I give your portion to your heir, Selek."

"He is on his way." T'Aitlu spat out her disgust as she felt Selek's fury and his impending rescue.

Sybok smiled. "If you choose to believe that... you may." He slowly lifted a small case from under the bed then waved the hypospray in front of her face, waiting for any hint of fear in her eyes. He placed it against her neck then slowly administered the medication. "Funny thing this stuff, blocks the ability to center thoughts."

"Selek." She whispered hoping he had been close enough to know. It took effect instantly and her thoughts were clear but would jump from one thing to another.

She closed her eyes and tried to think straight but couldn't. She was aware that the touch on her leg was Sybok's, yet, she could not form a coherent thought to control to tell him to stop. But, the thought was there... along with equations; and telling Sarek that he was due for a meeting, and with deciding what was to be done with Selek and her time alone. T'Aitlu's thoughts spiraled out of control as memory after memory and long experienced emotions passed through her mind.


The two well-dressed Vulcans pulled their cloaks in tighter around them. They stuck out like a proverbial sore thumb in this less than pristine part of the capital as they traveled further into the area of Shi'Kahr that not too many would speak of. This area had evolved slowly over time, as more aliens found their way here to make it their home, and more often than not, a less respectable trading center. An unwelcome result to many planets of the Empire.

"You are certain that she is here?" Sarek looked to Selek noting that his colour was not good, but attributed it to his missing bondmate and the strain on his bond link.

Selek nodded then suddenly held his breath. "He has given her a drug. It prevents me from sensing her any further." He had received that much before the connection wavered. "He must have a residence here or at least be known to someone."

Sarek nodded. "Unfortunately, it is most likely true." Sarek had chided himself over and over about this supposed disposal of his older son. The one he had hired had come highly recommended and Sarek had trusted him when he had assured him of Sybok's death. To disgrace the family as Sybok had was not something Sarek was willing to tolerate.

After a few discreet inquiries and credits changing hands, they were given three different locations to check.

Selek referenced the addresses with the aircar's on-board computer then called up a map of the area on the aircar's screen. "This one can be discounted. The street is nonexistent." Selek sighed then rubbed his forehead to try to ease the sleepiness that was becoming a part of his day. He tapped in the secondary location. "This one is possible."

Sarek then noticed how tired Selek looked and acted. "You are not well."

Selek waved his concern away. "It will pass once she is back with me." He leaned back in the seat with a sigh. "This third location is also possible."

Sarek indicated to the screen as he decided, "This location should be the first one we investigate. You may be able to tell if she is there once we get closer." Sarek started up the aircar. One of them had remained with the vehicle at all times, a wise decision as it turned out; they had witnessed two aircars being stolen as they attended to their business.


She let the tears fall without regard now. She had enough. Her body was tired and so was her mind. She looked at the face that loomed over her. "Enough, Sybok."

Sybok kissed her mouth; there was no resistance this time. It was time to give her a break and for him to eat. He moved onto his knees then sat back. "For now."

"Yes, fine. For now." Her eyes closed and she tried to sleep.

Sybok watched her for a few moments. He had pushed her to the limit. No, perhaps he would not need to do this again. Both knew how far the other would go. He would use every thing at his disposal and she would stop short of killing herself as long as Selek was alive.

Sybok began to move from the bed slipping on his pants as he did. A sound from the other room drew his attention and he hurriedly pulled his top on over his head. He grabbed the knife that lay on the table at the foot of the bed. He gave her a glance as he reached for the release for the door.

The door burst apart.

Selek rushed in, his phaser drawn. Sarek followed close behind his urgent servant; his own phaser poised and ready to strike.

Sybok cleared his throat then bowed, keeping his eyes on both men. "I am honoured you have come to visit, Father."

Selek glared at Sybok then dismissed him as he gave him a bone-jarring shove while moving passed him to rush to his wife's side. He noted the bindings on her arms and legs. He looked to the Vulcan but could not say a word his fury growing. His stomach turned when he saw the condition of his wife and her mistreatment. He felt sick about the way he had treated his Aitlu.

"Stand aside Sybok," Sarek stated calmly. "We are here for her. Nothing more."

"Father, if I were to believe that, then I would be a fool." He backed up towards the door keeping Sarek and Selek in front of him. "And I am many things... but not a fool."

Selek set the phaser and cut through the bindings. He brushed her hair back from her face then called to her.

Sarek glanced Selek's way. "Is she alive?"

"Yes, S'haile." Selek wrapped her in the blanket that had been half covering her. He gently gathered the bundle in his arms then walked passed Sarek. He was surprised that Sybok was allowing this.

Sarek had taken one step towards the door and then found Sybok blocking his way. This had been a consideration. Sybok's scornful look invaded Sarek's view, the scent of his passions evident at this proximity. Sarek was fully aware of his son's intentions and this type of treachery is what lead Sarek into securing Sybok's death in the first place. He trusted that Desiree would forgive him if he did not return to her. Sybok's blade glittered in even this limited lighting. Sarek calculated the odds and they were not good.

"Do you not get tired of that?" Sybok tilted the blade towards the departing Vulcan.

Sarek considered all that he had acquired from having this position. "Do you not tire of all the fighting?"

"No." Sybok moved closer. "She is a most satisfying female... but you know that yourself... Father."

Sarek did not rise to the bait. He watched as Selek started through the outside door... then Selek collapsed from exhaustion. "Selek." Sarek started towards him but Sybok's blade stopped him. He aimed the phaser at his son and prepared to fire but it was knocked out of his hand by Sybok's right hand. The phaser skidded across the floor and slipped under the bed.

Sybok dove in to began the attack.

Selek rolled onto his back trying to breathe in all the air that he could. His body was not co-operating in the least it seemed.

T'Aitlu moved slowly. Stiff and sore from both her treatment and her captivity, she moved the blanket from around her then looked to the body on the floor beside her. "Selek." Her fingers traced his lips then began to inspect him for injuries. The drug that she had been given was wearing off. She found the knife wound still in his side. "The poison. Why did you not see a healer?" She was speaking to him and not expecting an answer.

Sarek lunged at his son attempting to knock him down but Sybok was faster. He held Sarek tightly against his body with the blade close to his throat. "This time I will win, Sarek of Vulcan."

With the sounds of the struggle beginning to pull at her attentions, she knew what she had to do. Her hand touched the phaser that Selek had tucked back into his pocket. She mustered all her strength and shakily stood aiming the phaser carefully. Time seemed to stand still as she trusted her instincts, held her breath and fired. She closed her eyes at the scream and did not wish to see if she had struck Sarek or not. Despair flooded through her as a sob took her. She dropped to her knees and then opened her eyes.

Sarek offered her his hand.

Through her tears she gazed up into his welcoming face, she slipped her hand into his; stood unsteady then looked down to Selek. "He has been poisoned." She frowned. "It must have happened when I was taken. I remember them fighting."

Sarek looked around the room. "Wait a moment." He went out into the aircar and returned with the outfit and travel cape for her. "Put these on. We will take him home. The antidote is there."

She nodded then dressed. Her movements were automatic and fast. She wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible and never to see this place or hear Sybok's name again.

She watched with relief as Sarek picked Selek up and carried him to the aircar. She climbed in with Selek, his head cradled in her lap. Her body began to shiver from the shock of all of this. There were times when she had been certain she would never see Selek again. She brushed her fingers through his hair, bit her bottom lip and prayed that he would understand her actions. She sighed, she was safe and on her way home. Amends would need to be made soon.


Sarek looked up as Selek entered the office. He had more colour today but was still trying to do too much. He accepted the package that came from the Embassy and then indicated the chair for Selek. "I do not wish to find you on the floor passed out at any time. Sit."

"Yes, S'haile." Selek sat in the chair. "Your appointments have all been confirmed for the next few days. Time has been allotted for personal matters and your travel arrangements for the next conference on Earth are confirmed as well." He sat back in the chair.

"And your bondmate, how is she today?" Selek leaned back in the well-padded chair. He turned off the screen he had been staring at for most of the afternoon.

"She is well. She will be in with your meal shortly." Selek stood, his head bowed. "I have a few more reports to see to and then I have an appointment with her." He smiled slightly.

Sarek nodded giving his servant leave to go and respecting his privacy as well. He would speak to them later this evening. He watched as Selek left his office and wondered if he could ever replace what they had shared and perhaps he had taken some of this for granted. Others had mentioned to him over the years how he was too familiar with his aide but the closeness had given him a trust that served him. It had also saved his life many times. The ambassador silently resolved to attempt to repair any damage he had done.


Dressed in her best gown, T'Aitlu stepped out from the sleep area into the sitting room. She bowed her head and smiled slightly. Selek had arranged this elaborate meal to show his pleasure at her return and after a long discussion had understood her actions.

All would be forgotten and not spoken about past this night.

She moved to sit in the chair but Selek took her hand and pulled her into his arms.

"The meal will keep." He captured her mouth in a passionate kiss. A long sigh escaped from him as her arms circled his waist and pulled him closer. With gentle loving fingers, he brushed back her hair murmuring in between kisses on her lips. "Always and forever."

"Yes, Husband."


Sarek poured out the brandy then offered some to Desiree.

She shook her head then sat down on the sofa. She tapped the padded seat next to her. "Come sit."

Sarek smiled slightly. Her new gold embroidered gown clung to her voluptuous form. The deep rose hue complimented her lovely pale green complexion. At first she seemed uncomfortable in this opulence, but, this night, she seemed to enjoy this. This former Orion slave girl had brought a certain joy to his life. She did not replace Amanda but it made the days less agonizing. As he looked down at her, his fingers drew to her chin. He was about to place the glass down on the low table when a sudden pain seized him. He gasped and then frowned and looked to Desiree.

"No." He shook his head. "No." He felt the darkness slip through his thoughts. He drew in a deep breath in order to remain conscious.

"What is it, Sarek?" Desiree's voice was filled with concern as she rose to stand with him, her hands clutching his arm. "Are you alright?"

Sarek pushed her away but held onto her hand. "Damn his loyalty," he seethed in a whispered tone.

Desiree frowned totally confused.

Sarek steadied himself. He clung to her hand as he walked quickly out of the house. His steps quickly gathering speed as he stepped out onto the balcony. 'Was he too late?' he thought to himself as he tried to calm his beating heart. His sense of urgency, increased as he dashed down the stairs taking two at a time towards the sand.

Desiree followed without choice. Sarek was moving with a drive that was frightening. He swore to himself, something she had never heard him do. Her other hand clutched onto his arm, steadying herself as she tried to match his stride going down the steps.

Vulcan had no moon, nothing to light their way but the low glowing lighting that had been placed around the garden and spilling onto the near-by dessert floor.

Desiree felt his hand squeeze hers until she threatened to cry out in pain. She looked to his face suddenly wracked with pain and sorrow then followed his line of sight. Her eyes grew wide and her hands flew to her face as she reeled from the shock. "Oh by the Powers..." She felt suddenly sick.

Stunned by the sight of this most grievous tragedy, Sarek could not move or even breath it seemed. His whole body had numbed; even his thoughts seemed to stop. This had been his doing. He was the catalyst for the actions taken here. A house of their own; the deed was sitting on his desk. A salary, something that was unheard of on Vulcan, to 'pay' bondservants. Sarek continued to stare almost unbelieving at what he had caused. Two of the most trusted servants one could know. He had thought of Selek as more, but was uncertain as to what to call it, and was beginning to feel something for Aitlu.

Now they lay in the reddish sand. It almost appeared as if they had been talking, facing one another and merely fell asleep. T'Aitlu laying back, her hair in a pool of black silk. Selek across her legs with his right hand in place for a meld. A very calming scene, if not, for the growing pool of green blood. T'Aitlu's. Their hands wrapped around the ancient ahn-vahr, a portion of the blade glittering even in this limited light and still partially embedded in her side. Selek had been honourable to a fault. He had made the promise to Sarek that if she was found to have participated in this in any way...

Sarek jumped at Desiree's sob. He pulled her to him as he felt his stance waver. "I was going to give them their freedom." He held onto her tightly. He laughed slightly. "A house. Salary." How was he ever to live with the pain of this guilt? He tried to draw in a deep breath but could not. "To have the power and the right to grant this to anyone... it is an Ambassador's privilege..."


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