STAR TREK-The Original Series


SUMMARY: In the sixth part of this series, T'yshen and Carl deal with the changes in their lives that include having a child and continuing to serve Kavifemai, Vulcan and Starfleet.

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

TOME SIX:Passage of Time
By Gayle Rochefort-Potts
Final Draft: July 1999


Standard Terran Year: 2296.4

Standard Kavifemai Year: 15.1

It had taken four hours for the call to come through for Doctor McCoy. He sat at the terminal for half an hour talking to the other doctor on Vulcan.

Carl had not understood much of the medical conversation. He understood the normal words, Vulcan, Human factors, pregnancy and other than that it was all Klingonese to him! Carl walked back into the bedroom to check on T'yshen again. After the shower he had helped her through, she had felt better and finally fell asleep. She was still running a fever but it was not quite as uncomfortable as before. Carl came back out as McCoy was signing off.

Carl poured more coffee for the two of them and placed the cup at McCoy's elbow. He sat down in the armchair. "Well, Doctor?"

"Well, she will have to be on medications and carefully monitored for the duration of the pregnancy. I have the formulae that should help."

"Care for a vacation on Kavifemai?"

"It's possible." McCoy sipped on the fresh coffee. "I can check with Starfleet, maybe I can help out for a time." He had been watching Carl worrying about T'yshen. "You know that this will probably be the only pregnancy that she should have. Especially if her body reacts this much to the Human blood factors."

"Could this have been the reason for the first pregnancy not going to term?" Carl looked out the window. The city was beginning to light up and there was a report of rain tonight. "It was Spock's. She had not even carried it for two months."

McCoy was definitely surprised at that bit of information. "When you told me about it before, I had assumed it had been after your bonding."

"I didn't find out about it until a long time after it happened. We weren't bonded at the time and a pregnancy was not even thought of between us."

"Vulcans hide a lot." McCoy paused as he thought about it. "It could have been the reason. It could have been from a long list of other reasons too. Sometimes, even now, we don't know why something happens. Not all medical mysteries have been solved." McCoy stretched, he was beginning to feel the effects of the day. He dropped into the near-by armchair and closed his eyes for a few moments. He was functioning as Starfleet's Medical Advisor and had taken a courier vessel here when Sarek had called him. There were few doctors familiar with Human/Vulcan hybrids and the diversity of problems that came with the association. Even fewer had security clearances that would allow them to come and go off planets easily. "I'll head to the lab and get this made up. I'll let you know the dosages later." McCoy handed him the scanner. "Take a reading every fifteen minutes, I'll get them on the tricorder. If it gets too high..." he reached into his pouch then handed him a hypospray. "... give her this. It's a mild antibiotic. I'll call you if you need to give it to her." McCoy placed his hand on Carl's shoulder. "Everything will more than likely turn out fine. I'm ninety-nine percent sure."

Carl nodded. "Thank you. For everything."

"Just doing my job, son."

McCoy's serum worked. T'yshen's temperature dropped within a few hours and she was sleeping normally. Carl had fallen asleep in the armchair in the room. McCoy had set an alarm for her next dosage so he could crash on the couch for the time being. It had been pure luck that McCoy was on a tour of the medical facilities in a near-by system. He had taken the tour in place of Doctor Denvers, the Chief Officer of the Medical Division of Starfleet. Since McCoy's expertise with aliens was well known, the message from Sarek had been relayed to him there.

McCoy was actually looking forward to spending time in a different place. Accommodations had already been arranged and he was thinking seriously about staying. It would mean that Starfleet would have to do without him for as long as six or seven months. He was drifting off to sleep when he decided.

"Starfleet will survive without me." He muttered and wished he could have been there to see Denver's face when he received the message. He chuckled to himself then fell into a deep sleep.

******Six months later...

McCoy leaned back in the chair. "I am in trouble." He was losing this game of chess against Carl.

"Well, I have been in worse situations playing against T'yshen." Carl turned as T'yshen came from T'Shal's room. "Is she asleep?" T'yshen's hand touched the back of his neck and it made him shiver.

"Yes." She brushed his hair back slightly. "I am going to bed."

"Good, you need the rest." Carl smiled up at her, his hand rested against her growing abdomen. It had been an adjustment, for her especially; to have her activities curtailed so drastically. "Sweet dreams."

"Vulcans do not dream."

McCoy smiled at the comment. They had an ease between them, they accepted the differences. It showed in that comment and a few others he'd heard that had been made.

Carl sighed. "But they know how to make dreams come true." Carl looked to McCoy; he tilted his head as if listening for something. His hand went up to stop McCoy from saying anything; his finger pointed to the door as it opened.

"That is because we are Vulcans." She countered.

Carl felt her laugh, then laughed. "And thank the Powers that Be for that, my Love."

McCoy smiled. He lifted his glass and finished off his brandy. "I'm ready to call it a night, besides you need some privacy..." He looked off towards the door.

"Stay if you want to Doctor..." Carl wasn't ready to give up the company yet. He knew how tired T'yshen was and she needed sleep right now. There wasn't anything that McCoy was interfering with.

"Len... or Bones." McCoy settled back. "Are you sure?"

Carl nodded. "I want to play another game. I don't get to win too often around here." Carl had refilled both glasses with brandy. "Even the kids play better than I do." He laughed at that fact. "But I can sail circles around any of them."

"Okay, one more game. I am getting tired and I am not Vulcan!"

"And we will thank the Powers that Be for that too... Bones." Carl returned with their brandies and sat back to enjoy another game of chess... one he might even he win!

******Four months later...

McCoy fell onto the couch exhausted. No one would have recognized him at the moment. Casual clothes, beard and wearing his hair slightly longer. Kirk would have referred to him as a 'beach bum' and he would have been right. Carl followed him in laughing! He held his head up long enough to glare at Carl. "You should have more respect for your elders!" He laughed.

Carl laughed harder then held his ribcage as he tried to catch his breath. "You were the one that uttered the words... 'Race ya!'... not me."

T'yshen came out of the other room. She had heard all of the commotion and decided she should check on them. They had been out for the early morning sail that had become their habit during the last three months. "If neither of you require medical attention..." She accepted the grins with the huffing and puffing as a positive response. "I will be on the beach finishing my sketches."

"Take the comm-pin with you." Carl reached for the one on the small shelf near the door. "Time is getting short..." He took a final deep breath and smiled. "I worry about you." His hand touched her face lightly then her fingertips touched his lips.

She took the pin from his hand, placing it on her tunic above her breast. She took Carl's hand and placed it on the moving spot on her abdomen. "He is kicking again."

Carl nodded as he felt the tiny lump. "T'Shal should go with you."

"I will see if she is available." T'yshen picked up her bag and left for the walk. She met T'Shal just outside the unit and asked if she would accompany her.

"Sykar as well?"

T'yshen nodded. It seemed that they had become inseparable. The pairing was a good one and she was pleased for the two. T'yshen began to walk to the beach, knowing the others would follow. They would probably be there first. Her steps were slowing lately; she had only begun to feel the real discomfort of the pregnancy the last few weeks.

Sykar ran past her with T'Shal close behind.

T'yshen was aware that this was not correct behaviour for Vulcans, but these children were not Vulcans. This was a discussion she had with herself every now and then. How much and how quickly should the Rhannisu people change? How much of Vulcan behaviours should they adopt, if any? It had been most difficult to train the Kavifemai due to their emotions. It had been pointed out to her in the beginning that they wished to find their own path. Somewhere between what their people are like and what the Vulcans had become. There was a part of her that wished to experience the emotional freedoms they had. Perhaps it would give her a greater understanding of what they wished to accomplish. She thought of the times when her emotions were not held in check, it had been a time of joy and of pleasures but to have these intense reactions to everything...? How could one see the important details when clouded with emotions?

T'yshen maneuvered herself down onto the sand. She had found a spot with some back support and, with her legs crossed, had found some comfort. She opened her case and pulled out the stand that Carl had built for her. It held her drawing board close to her but above her growing abdomen.

The two children played in the water near by. Their play also included touches of discoveries. This was permitted to a degree and they had understood the limitations.

T'yshen had continued on her painting for a time and then began a new sketch, one of the children as they sat close to each other talking. They were learning of each other and testing the touches that would one day quench the fire in Sykar's thoughts. The pose that had captured her attention was of the two kneeling, facing each other. T'Shal's long hair was being moved by the breeze, her hand was positioned at Sykar's contact points. Her eyes were closed, concentrating. Sykar's shoulder length hair was held back with her hand, his face was calm and he had a slight lift to his chin. One of his hands, that she could see, was clenched holding T'Shal's hair, the other hand was placed against her contact points. T'Shal had a mental strength that Sykar had not found in himself yet, but it would come. The water had caused their clothing to stick to their skin from about their waists down. Deep in 'conversations' with one another, searching for the limited pleasures they were permitted. They remained unmoving for almost thirty minutes.

Suddenly they stood and parted with knowing smiles. Sykar chased T'Shal down the beach and then back, never quite catching her. They laughed and called to one another. T'Shal ran towards her 'mother' then fell in the sand next to her. She was breathing heavily. She looked to the sketch that T'yshen was working on. She brushed the sand from her arms then the hair from her face. She motioned to Sykar to join her. "This is beautiful, Mother." She reached to hold Sykar's hand then moved aside so he could see the board as well.

Sykar held his breath. "You have her captured, Tela'at." He looked from the board to his child-wife. "It is you." Sykar had not even paid attention to the image that matched his own until T'Shal pointed it out. He looked to the image; he was not sure if this was what he expected to see.

T'yshen suddenly began to put things into her bag. "We must return." She looked to her 'daughter' and nodded slightly. "It is time."

T'yshen did not wave away any help today. The six hours spent here had relaxed her and she knew that in only a few more hours she would be holding her son. She moved to her knees, paused for a moment, then accepted Sykar's help in standing. Her hand touched the comm-pin and Carl's voice answered.

"You waited a long time to call." Carl had known that her labour had started. He had sensed her discomfort. "Everything is ready at the Center for you. I'm heading out to meet you now."

T'yshen had learned when to argue with this Human and when to allow him his way. This was a logical time to allow him to be... Carl. "Yes, my Husband." She tapped the circuit closed and began to walk back. It would take them about twenty minutes to reach the city and another five to walk to the Center. Carl would be able to cover the distance in less than five minutes with an aircar.

T'yshen allowed T'Shal to place everything in Sykar's hands and accepted the light touch on her arm. She had picked up a few human habits and hovering over her 'mother' was one of them.

Her timing had been correct and Carl arrived in the aircar in four minutes and forty-five seconds. He landed in the walkway out of the sand. He climbed out and waited to help T'yshen in and to collect the children.

"Why did you wait so long?"

"My thoughts were otherwise occupied."

"She was busy sketching Sykar and me." T'Shal added as she pulled the drawing out to show her 'father'. "Amazing isn't it?"

Carl nodded, a slow smile crept across his face. He remembered that feeling of discovery with T'yshen. He handed the board back then looked to his wife. He leaned over and kissed her.

She looked to Carl. "I did not want to have your child on the beach." She controlled the minor discomfort of the contraction. "He will be spending enough of his time there." Carl held her hand. She was referring to the amount of time that Carl spent on the boats and that T'Shal often accompanied him. T'Shal had finally convinced Sykar to accompany them and now he was learning to like the sand and water. T'yshen had been relieved that no one had suggested building a houseboat and living there, as of yet.

Carl guided the car to the Medical Center in record time, then sent T'Shal in to notify McCoy. Carl held her hand as they headed in, stopping momentarily for a contraction. Once inside, T'yshen slipped off her clothing and into a medical gown, with a little help from Carl.

McCoy came into the room, flipped on the diagnostic panel above her. "You don't believe in any breathing room, do you?"

"There was no reason to come earlier. Your services were not required." T'yshen met the doctor's frown. "This is progressing more quickly than I anticipated." A deep breath was used to relax her body and control the pain that was beginning.

"Vulcans don't know everything, you know." McCoy handed Carl a folded coverall. "Change. Fast."

Carl was not one to stand on ceremony, so he stripped and pulled on the coveralls. It took him less than two minutes. His clothing was placed with T'yshen's, he would hang things up later. He moved to T'yshen's side, leaned forward and kissed her. "Love you."

T'yshen nodded. "Thee are treasured." Her breathing was slightly noticeable now as she concentrated on what her body required of her.

McCoy's hand rested on her abdomen, feeling the contractions and noting her readings. "Not long now." He had been slightly surprised earlier, when Carl had suggested he begin to set things up for T'yshen. When he asked why, Carl told him he could sense that she was in labour. McCoy had laughed slightly and asked if that meant that he would feel the birth as well. Carl had said no, that Vulcans controlled the pain and he would shield against it if needed. McCoy called him a chicken.

T'Shal entered the room. "May I remain?"

T'yshen nodded.

T'Shal moved to stand at the head of the bed and out of the way but close enough to help if needed. She reached to touch her mother's face, sharing with her the pleasure of being a part of the family.

McCoy tapped Carl's shoulder. "You're on...." He motioned for him to move to the end of the bed. McCoy touched a control and the center of the bed, mid-point down, dropped. It left the sides in place for her legs. "Do you want to be sitting up?"

"Yes." T'yshen sat up easily, to a point then T'Shal moved the pillows to support her back.

After two contractions and no evidence of pain, Carl was holding his son. T'Shal opened up a sterile cloth for the newborn. Carl waited as McCoy cleared the airways and cut, then sealed the umbilical cord. The room filled with the lusty cry of the newborn citizen of Kavifemai. Child of T'yshen. Child of Carl.

Carl moved to T'yshen's side and placed the squealing infant in her arms. He couldn't stop grinning. Her touch on the little one's temple soothed the upset.

McCoy ran the scanner over the newborn and then checked T'yshen's condition. "He's fine." He smiled at the inspection that was going on. It seemed no matter what species it was the mother always needed to visually inspect the condition of the offspring despite what any doctor told her. "Have a name picked out?"

T'yshen nodded. "Sholtan cha' Carl, House of Bennett. And for the Earth records, Sholtan Leonard Jon Bennett" She leaned back against the re-arranged pillows. She was feeling her fatigue.

"I am honoured!" McCoy admired the family, quite a mix. A Vulcan, a Human, a Romulan foster-child and a newborn, that was a Vulcan/Human hybrid. The best in the known universe. McCoy bowed to the group. "I rejoice in your differences."

Carl frowned for a second then realized what McCoy had been referring to. "Quite a mix. Makes you think that even making friends with Klingons is possible!"

McCoy nodded, his arms folded across his chest. He motioned to T'Shal to follow him. "Let's go get something to eat, give them some time to themselves. We will be back later."

T'Shal agreed. They stopped on the way and accessed the computer for a view of the family. All the areas had surveillance systems and the picture of the family was 'printed' out and the image was also placed onto a slate. McCoy had promised a picture to Sarek and to Jon, Carl's father. He dropped the slate into his pocket.

She held the image. "That is what you were speaking of, Doctor." She looked to him. "It is a unique family. One that I am proud to be a member of. I had not realized how well we had melded. We perceive no differences, yet there are many."

"That's what family is all about, T'Shal. Accepting the differences, embracing them and making allowances for them." He was looking at the future in this child. She was going to be twelve in one week and already knew what she wanted to do with her life; who she would be spending it with. She was grown-up in some ways and still a child in most. "Are you doing the cooking, or should I?"

"I will, Doctor."

"We have to find a way for you to address me." McCoy had grown quite attached to this young lady during the past ten months.

"But addressing you as Doctor, does not this give respect for your abilities?" She spoke like a Vulcan but she had emotion in her voice as a human or as a Romulan would have. "We have no names for specific positions in a family. Do they in Anglish?"

"Yes. But not for friend-of-the-family. The closest would be 'Uncle', and that usually refers to a parent's brother."

"Then that is what I will call you, Uncle." She touched the release on the door then entered. She knew he would not follow. "Do you wish rice and vegetables. Or do you wish the noodles and vegetables with fish and sauce."

"Either sounds good. Just don't tell me what exactly is in it." McCoy sighed. "I am going to have a shower and change." He had brought his clothes with him from the Center.

"You may use my shower, Uncle."

"Thank you." He headed to the young girl's room. He tossed his things onto the bed, stripped then stepped into the shower stall. The water was on the warm side but it felt good and he needed to relax. It would be time to head back to Earth soon. He grinned when he pictured Sholtan's tiny pointed ears and the blue eyes that would be dark by now. He had actually been thinking about staying just a little longer to make sure that everything with T'yshen and... little Sholtan was well. Besides, T'Shal had caught him whistling one day and wanted to learn how. He had told her then that it wasn't hard all. He had quoted a line from a very old vid-movie that explained whistling. "You press your lips together and blow." He repeated the line to her and they laughed about it.

A month should be about the amount of time it would take to teach her, leaving enough time to get ready to head home.


Standard Terran Year: 2301.4

Standard Kavifemai Year: 20.4

Carl stood watching as his son played with the large bear-like sehlat, both being careful of the other. Careless motions made by the sehlat could damage Sholtan. Sholtan on the other hand could irritate the animal to the point that Ta'an might cuff him out of the way.

It was strange how he could watch and praise all the other children as they became of age, no questions asked, and now that it was his son's turn for his Kahs-wan... he seemed too young. Too young as well for the strict behaviour that T'yshen expected from him, in his opinion.

He stepped from the house just as a peel of laughter erupted from Sholtan. Ta'an had brushed a paw across Sholtan's face and the long silk-like fur had tickled.

Sholtan drew in a breath, recovering from the fit of giggles and turned to face his father. He held his breath, stopped the laughter then bowed his head. "Father." 'Great, in trouble again', he thought to himself. He lifted an eyebrow then looked to his Father. "Time for my lesson?"

Carl nodded. "Your mother is waiting." He crouched down beside Sholtan, reached out a hand to the small shoulder. "Its okay to have a little bit of fun and laughing is okay as well."

Sholtan bowed his head. "Yes, Father."

Carl stood then indicated that he should go into the house. The small room that had been set aside for meditation now served as Sholtan's classroom. He watched as the young boy disappeared into the house. Carl felt a slight bump at his leg. He looked down to the half-curled fur ball. "Sorry Ta'an... I took your playmate from you." He dug his fingers onto the dense fur and felt the gentle vibration that the sehlat managed. Mentally, it sounded like a deep purring sound. He crouched down then rested on one knee. He scratched into the fur and the sehlat pushed up against him almost knocking him over. Carl laughed. "Take it easy."


Journal Entries: 2301.4/20.4

'I watched the small figure as he prepared himself for the lesson in meditation. He is a quick study but he does not spend enough time on mastering the techniques. I find I must remind myself that Sholtan is a Vulcan/Terran hybrid child among emotional Rihansu and many times we are both caught up in the struggle between the two.

'I want him to know the peace and the calm of control but to deny him the emotions that are so much a part of him and that surround him would be illogical. He is not aware that I see him when he laughs and plays with the sehlat and Carl. This does not displease me. It merely gives some difficulty for me in sharing in it.

'I sense he is at peace within himself, one could not hope for anymore than that for a child of differing parentage.'

The book was closed for the present.


Sholtan folded his arms impatiently. T'Shal and he were due home five minutes ago and she was still with Sykar, whispering!

'Disgusting.' He thought as he sighed again. Ta'an wanted his meal and Sholtan was getting hungry as well. If he went home on his own there would be too many consequences to even consider.

Ta'an pushed up against the young boy and was instantly rewarded with a lazy scratching behind his ears. The sehlat projected the pleasure in the touch then curled into a ball and fell over onto its side.

Sholtan had been leaning against Ta'an and fell back with him. He laughed then settled himself into the warm fur. He was surrounded by the slightly vibration and the warmth and soon fell asleep.

T'Shal stood, not wanting to be separated from Sykar. He was leaving for Starfleet Academy and she would not see him for almost a year. Their first separation and if she had anything to do with it... it would be the last.

Sykar stood then reached into his pocket and produced a small bright green crystal attached to chains. "A gift." He cupped her hand, opened it then dropped one chain into her hand. "There is a fault in the crystal. If we concentrate enough, we should be able to crack it open."

She nodded then held her side of the crystal tightly in her fingers.

His fingers caressed her hand. "Not so urgent. Relax." He smiled at her impatience. He held his end of the stone. "Now, concentrate."

She felt the flow of energy and how it 'met' his. She sighed then jumped slightly when the crystal cracked.

"Unique only to us." Sykar lifted the chain in his hand and place it over her head.

T'Shal placed hers over his head then set it into place. She lifted the length of hair out from under his chain then turned so he could free her braid. She ran her fingertips along his lips. "I can not wait for our true bonding."

"You will be at the Academy by then." He smiled slightly. His hand caressed her face then his fingers traced her ear. "I must go."

She nodded not trusting herself to say anything. She looked behind her to check for Sholtan. She frowned. He was there a moment ago?

She turned. "Sholtan?"

Sykar looked passed her to the collection of fur in the distance. "He must be with Ta'an."

T'Shal groaned. "He had better be."

She ran towards the ball of mostly white fur. She looked into the curl and the shocking black hair that revealed where her brother waited. "Sleeping." She couched down then tapped his face. "Sholtan. Come on. Time to go home."

Sholtan opened his eyes and glared at her. "Well if we are late it is your fault." He crawled out from the comfort of the sehlat. "Come on, Ta'an. Now that they are done... we get to eat!" He looked behind for his sister. "Shal. Come on."

She smiled. "Yes, Sholtan." She turned back, kissed Sykar fully on the lips as her fingers reached in quickly to his thoughts. "My Hunter...." She pulled away from him and sped up her steps to catch up with her brother and the lumbering shadow of his.

Sykar watched them for a moment. He would slip away again tonight before he was due to leave. He wanted to see her again, if only to leave her as shaken as she just left him.


T'yshen opened the journal:2306.2/25.3

'Today Sholtan is an adult. I understand Carl's statement that he appears far too young to be an adult. I was amused that this statement was never made concerning the other children. Only his son did he see as too young.

'The Rihansu have decided that the trials are to be conducted when the child reaches their tenth year. For the present, there is no natural urgency for the trials; even betrothals are not imperative. Some are choosing to follow Vulcan traditions, others wish to uphold Rihansu traditions. The Rihansu have decided to also include in their survival training, the necessity to swim. A most logical precaution considering the environment.

'Sholtan was more than ready and his skills were more than adequate. He is still comfortable within himself and has asked for D'amae to be his Chosen. The difference in their years has given me some concern. D'amae's Chosen left this world with his parents, they were not content here and wished to live on a more developed world.

'I feel this choice he has made an interesting one and if there are no objections, I will sanction the betrothal joining. D'amae is a strong individual and is one of the few that I feel will be able to deal with Sholtan's pon farr, should he experience one. They have spent much time together of late and both are content with the other's company.

'Carl is content with the match, he is concerned as I am with Sholtan's 'Time'. It is uncertain if he will even experience anything more that a 'Rapture'.

'Sholtan is showing some skill towards the healing arts. He does not appear the least bit interested in leaving his Homeworld. I had hoped that he would choose to accompany us for the next conference, but he has assumed that he will remain and feels content in that. I will not insist nor will Carl.

'In spite of what I have seen parents do, I do not wish to govern his life merely guide him and offer the tools to make his life a complete one.

'Perhaps, unlike mine, he will experience a life with little or no regrets."

T'yshen closed the journal, placing it in the drawer of her desk. She looked to the terminal and the reminder that flashed. A notation that remained stored in memory that she did not wish to erase; Amanda's reminder that it was Sarek's birthday.


Sholtan stood and looked out across the water. He had been clenching his jaw and trying to find the calm he needed for two hours now. Skipping stones had not alleviated any of his disappointment as it had when he was younger.

D'amae was a great deal older than he was and this had been discussed and he had understood all of the reasons, all of the logic and he had even understood his mate's desire for this. But he did not have to like it.

He dug his toes into the sand and wished that he had the calm his mother had. He always had the sense that it was beyond his reach and that for his entire life he would be destined to a clenched jaw and a frown.


"Yes." He knew she had come. He had felt her approach. He sighed then turned to face her. "I had to breathe."

"I did not expect you to react..."

Her voice was soothing for him, always had been. "I did not expect your requested assignment to be deep-space."

"For that, I ask forgiveness, My Quiet One." She stood directly behind him. She ran her finger through his hair slipping off the fastener. Her lips brushed his hair. "I did not expect acceptance to the posting."

"You are an excellent engineer, why would you not expect it." He turned to face her. His hand caressed her chin. "I did not want you to be gone for this long. Five years."

"I will be able to return to you if you need me." She smiled slightly then drew two fingers down his face.

"I need you now..."

"And I am here now."


Journal Entries: 2318.2/38.5

'Sholtan is beside himself, to use Carl's phrasing. D'amae is home for a time. He is so very pleased. He radiates as a newly-bonded. It is most fortunate at times that the Rihansu are not sensitive telepaths.

'Carl is anxious for the next conference. He wishes to see his Earth again. I believe this dry warm world is too much for him at times.

'This world is settling well. The Rihansu have received new colonists from their Homeworld. Some were relatives of those that came here before. Most were those that heard about this peaceful world. It almost appears as if they have had their fill of the ways of their past.

'I find myself having more available time to pursue my own interests. The Council functions well. A few have stepped forward offering to be named as the succeeding Virha. I find myself meeting this with conflicts. I was not trained to live my life as a healer and with the choice of a successor that is what will remain.

'Had I remained on T'Khasi, I would be Kadel. To question kaiidth is not logical."

The Terran-style pen was covered and slipped into the spine of the book and the book was returned to the desk. She closed her eyes and sighed. It was dark in the housing unit, it was close to suns rise on this world and the beginning of another busy day.


Standard Terran Year: 2319.4

Standard Kavifemai Year: 44.1

T'yshen had received the emergency call and hurried to the medical center to collect the supplies she was lacking. Carl and Di'on waited in the aircar. D'amae had come with Di'on but had remained at the medical center with Sholtan. Sholtan's duty was to help prepare for surgery. She came out then climbed into the car and they were off to the accident site.

Di'on had tried to remain calm. She had received the message from T'yshen directly concerning the accident. The authorities had informed T'yshen first, as was custom. Many bondings had been formed and some had been almost as strong as a Vulcan's bond. Informing the healer before the family concerning an accident was, at times, a life saving procedure for the surviving bondmate.

T'yshen had said little and showed even less as they traveled to the accident site. They reached the base of the mountain in as short a time as possible. T'yshen was the first to leave the car, Carl suggested that Di'on wait with him. Di'on agreed reluctantly, she climbed out of the car and began pacing.

T'yshen ran over to the group and was given entrance into the protective circle. She knelt down beside the figure that lay almost motionless on the ground. She used the scanner to check his condition then administered the necessary medications to stabilize his readings and reduce his pain. She doubted the success of the treatment but she had learned not to make hasty decisions when it came to treating the Kavifemai. She had seen many patients recover when she had expected their deaths, and many who should have recovered, yet died.

She touched the side of his head; it would be less taxing to speak to him this way. She controlled the wash of expected pain then reached beyond it. [S'task. She is here.]

[She should not have come.] His thoughts were clear for the present. [I want to speak to her.] His body was in pain and he felt little else.

He had felt his finger-hold slip, then the successful attempt at finding a more secure hold that would spare him the pain of landing but that was not to be. This climb had gone so well! K'tar and he had made it to the peak and were on their way down. It had rained the night before and they had been extra careful on the more treacherous surfaces. This had not been one of those areas. They had had no trouble at all the day before. They had even stopped on the ledge, which he had just fallen from, for a rest. Ropes had been checked. Anchors were stable and he was just going over the edge to continue down when the rock face seemed to come down with him! It had taken a second to realize that he was actually falling and the large chunk of rock was coming with him.

He remembered thinking that he was not going to survive this.

The shattered remnants of the twelve-inch deep sliver of red-blue, silver-gray rock lay all around him glittering in the sunlight. A definite contrast, the beauty of the rock had been revealed in the broken shards and the fall that had shattered S'task's life.

Di'on had been preparing herself, but was only partially successful. It was not the injuries that would break her, nor would it be facing the unnecessary look of guilt on K'tar's face. She knew about feeling responsible for a death. That she had faced numerous times in battle. So had K'tar. What broke her reserves was that when she touched S'task's thoughts, she felt only his pleasure in her as he shared his memories of her. How warm her body felt next to his. How frightened he had been that first time in the quarters aboard the Enterprise. How pleased he was that she had never taken his life or found any reason to.

She smiled through the tears.

She shared with him her pleasure in him. The fact that choosing her was a total surprise and was exactly what she had needed at the time. She brushed back his long hair, ignoring the feel of the blood that dampened it. Her hand reached to his and his curled around hers. He squeezed it weakly.

[It has been a life of pleasure, My Commander.] He whispered in her thoughts.

Di'on felt him slip away. She stopped breathing.

T'yshen reached to her chosen-sister and called to her. She waited.

Di'on suddenly drew in the air her body was starving for, but she was denying it for as long as was possible. Anything, providing she did not have to feel... yet. She was aware of T'yshen's hands holding her shoulders as her body shivered with the loss. Her hand released S'task's then slowly stood and moved away with the Vulcan.

Time. She needed time to deal with this. Di'on turned back to somehow verify that this was actually happening. It was. Her pain and her loneliness were real. S'task lying on the ground beyond repair, was quite real! She wrapped her arms around herself and prepared for.... what? Whatever was to come, just as he had taught her to.

T'yshen had returned home drained. Her mate was grieving the loss of his 'chosen-brother' and as a healer she had to help Di'on with her loss as well. Repairing any damage a sudden severing of even a limited bonding can cause. She had also lost a friend.

She went into the study to check on the messages that had begun to arrive, messages of shared grief. This world had lost one of its leaders, one of its founders. A very great loss.

Among the first in the list of messages she opened, was one from Sarek. She sighed. She knew the message could not be about S'task's death, it was too soon for the news to have reached him. Sarek had wished her to know that he had found another to share his life with. He was to be bonded and wished T'yshen to be present. She sent back her regrets, that present events would prevent her from attending. She wished him well and stated that as soon as it was possible she would visit. Sarek would understand.

She set the terminal to collect all of the messages for viewing later. She moved to the armchair and sat down. Her head rested against the wing of the chair and fell asleep.

Standard Terran Year: 2320.2

Standard Kavifemai Year: pos'Lashan 45.5

Carl opened the door and leaned on the frame. He took a deep breath and then let it out slowly. He accepted the warmed ale that T'yshen handed to him and then wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She always wore that coverlet! He kissed her cheek lightly then gave her a gentle squeeze. "Where are our children tonight?"

T'yshen shook her head. Why did he ask questions that he knew the answers to, and more to the point, why did she answer him? "In their own homes, with their own spouses watching their own children and remaining warm." She leaned her head against his shoulder. Today had been a celebration of their bonding. It was the ending of their thirty-first year together. She smiled as she remembered Carl's toast. 'And they said it wouldn't last...!' Her fingers touched his face; his eyes closed as he enjoyed the feelings that she could still arouse in him. "Why do you ask?"

Carl moved her to stand in front of him, his arms wrapped around her tightly. "Because I wish to fall asleep in your arms tonight..." He spoke softly in her ear. "... after I make love to you, My Vulcan." His lips brushed the point on her ear. "I love you, T'yshen."

"You have made me aware of this everyday, My Human." She turned in his arms, her touch moving into the familiar thoughts. "You have not tired of me yet?"

He pulled her close to him as he moaned. "Not yet." His lips touched hers and he felt the joy of holding this woman for so long! "In the rain...?" His suggestion came from past sessions of lovemaking.

She smiled up at him. "It took me four days to feel warm again. Do you wish to do this to me again?" She could manage to make anything sound seductive and pleasurable when she wanted to. She murmured softly to him. "I would prefer the warmth and softness of our bed. We could make love well into the day without discovery...?" Her eyebrow raised. She knew his suggestion of the rain was how he felt and not a realistic expectation on his part.

It would begin here as it always did when it rained. His lips brushed hers softly and then he would speak to her of all the things he loved about her. He did not notice her greying hair or the fact that she slept a little more than she used to. He could reach into her thoughts with the passion of a thirty-year old. He would hold her in arms that made her feel safe even now, but could no longer carry her to their bed. It didn't matter to either of them.

T'yshen felt her reactions to this man that knew her so well. That if he brushed her hair back with his fingers and told her how glorious his life was with her, she would be his to command. Her eyes rarely noticed how slow he had become or how easily fatigued. It was relative, as he had slowed, so had she. Age, that's all it was. Her fingertips brushed his thoughts, beginning the connection that had been there for so long. She could barely remember a time when he was not there, within her thoughts.

"Do you remember the first time you touched my thoughts?" Carl held that memory, it was the briefest of touches compared to what they now shared, but at the time, the effect had been all consuming to him.

"The first time I meditated and you believed that I had died. Or was dying because I had not moved in so long." She smiled slightly.

"That first conference. We were terrified and wouldn't admit it." Carl watched her eyes darken and sparkle. "The first time we made love. When you explained what t'hy'la meant." His voice softened. "Show me again?" Carl held her hand and guided her into the bedroom. The entrance door would close on its own.

He pulled her to him and kissed her with all the passion he felt for her. The coverlet fell from her shoulders to the floor without a sound.

She felt her body warm to him as they moved to the bed. His touch on her face was gentle and loving as it had always been. He knew her, as he knew himself and how his touch pleased her. She held his hand, her lips touching the palm and then his fingers. Her lips moved to his shoulder, his neck and then moaned as she touched his lips. "You were so afraid then..." His touch moved along her body and it made her sigh.

"I found you so powerful and so mysterious." Carl tasted her skin. He ran his fingers through her hair as she tasted his skin. Her touch at his neck tickled and he shivered. He wondered what would have happened had he not said anything that night? Or if he had not been there when Spock died? He lifted her chin; her eyes opened slowly to his. "You are as I first met you.... You could and have conquered a world with a single look."

They made love slowly. With a passion that one acquired only over time. Touches that had been made a hundred times and were anticipated and still enjoyed. Whispers made in Vulcan, Rhannisu and Standard that encouraged, pleased and playfully teased. Soft moans that meant this was the way it should be. Climaxes that were anticipated and then savoured. Afterwards they lay quietly in each other's arms until they found the energy to do this all over again, far into the night.

When the suns rose, they had finally settled into a deep sleep. Their children had thought it was age that made them sleep so long into the day. Neither had ever revealed the true reason.

Standard Terran Year: 2332.4

Standard Kavifemai Year: pos'Lashan 56.1

T'yshen picked up the journal. Her hands shook as she brushed back her greying hair then picked up the pen. She moved to the small desk in the corner of the room and sat down heavily in the chair. She took a very deep breath then opened the book to the blank page nearly at the end of the book.

'These words I need to share... I have no one to share them with today. It is raining. Sholtan does not understand, he is not old enough. A lifetime of loving someone is not something he would understand. Not yet.

'I sat beside him, his hand in mine and watched helplessly as his body ceased to function. His brightness has slipped from my mind. I feel only silence. Only vivid memories remain.

'Sholtan's words comforted me for a time. He reminded me of my duty. How my death would not have served anyone, including Carl. He reminded me that the human body was simply incapable of continuing, the calm words of a healer. How often had I uttered the same words, with the same ineffectiveness?

'Carl's words were that the warranty had run out. He smiled at me. He thanked me for the pleasures that I had brought to his life. He told me how much he loved me. He used the phrase, with all his body and soul. Did he know that he owned mine as well? I trust that he did.

'His scent still surrounds me. I want his arms around me.

'He reminded me of how long a life he had actually had... for a human. He lived to see his children living contented lives with mates that pleased. His pleasure at becoming a grandparent. His pleasure at having a healer for a son. His daughter had obtained the captaincy of a large starship. The first of the Rhannisu descendents to attain the position. She was a daughter in his eyes and his heart, but not of his body. This never seemed to matter... to anyone.

'I do not wish to sleep...

'I wish to be held! For him to braid my hair...

'I wish not to be Vulcan ... I want to cry until my body has no more tears. I want to scream until my voice fails.

'I want Carl back.

'For my loss in control...I ask forgiveness, My Human.'

The book was closed. She stood and moved from the desk.

She looked into the mirror and saw the pain in her own eyes. She remembered seeing that pain in other's eyes as they had lost the ones closest to them.

She sat on the edge of the bed and began to rock herself. Her arms wrapped around the pain welling up in her chest. She felt the tears, the kind you had no control over. The ones that just kept falling.

Her cry of loneliness filled the room as she lost herself to her grief.

Standard Terran Year: 2368.2

Standard Kavifemai Year: pos'Lashan 87.9

T'yshen stepped onto the warm world and took pleasure in the forgotten warmth. She bowed her head to the aide that stepped forward.

"Na'shaya, Reldai T'yshen."

He was young. He bowed a little too low but she understood that he wished only to show respect for her. "Na'shaya."

"Sycek." He added. "Ambassador Sarek has instructed that you be seen to his home." He started towards the waiting aircar. "There is an additional cape, as per instructions." He lifted the lightweight cape open, careful not to touch her hands as she took the fabric and wrapped it into place.

"It has been over fifty years since I have touched Vulcan." She moved into the aircar, the cape settling around her and she lifted the hood to cover her hair. "You have served S'haile Sarek for long, Sycek?"

"For ten months now." He manipulated the controls to lift the small hover-type craft along the pathways easily. "Since Ambassador Spock's departure."

T'yshen's eyebrow raised. She had not heard. Sarek had said nothing to her when he spoke about him. "I will require communications to Kavifemai before I speak with Sarek."

His head bowed once. "It will be arranged, Reldai T'yshen."

She relaxed into the padding of the seat. The trip to Sarek's home would take a little bit of time yet. This was the first time she had left Kavifemai since Carl's death. She was scheduled to remain here for a month, to assist Sarek in some delicate negotiations between two worlds that she was not familiar with. Cardassia and Bajor. "The background files that I am required to review are prepared?"

"Yes. Ambassador Sarek has reserved a portion of his home for your use. You have a sleep area and a study with a communication terminal. I am to be at your disposal as well. I am the most familiar with the situation since I began this with Ambassador Spock."

"Understood." T'yshen had heard only rumors of Spock's activities but nothing valid or official. "Was this the Ambassador's only concern?"

"No." He would offer no other information. He also knew she would not ask anymore. "Is there any matter that you wish assistance with?"

"Just to contact S'haile Sholtan."

"It will be done." His head bowed again and the trip continued in silence.

Perrin had greeted them at the door. T'yshen had expected no less from her. "Na'shaya, T'sai Perrin. Your offer of accommodation honours me." T'yshen bowed her head.

"No ceremonies are necessary, Reldai T'yshen. Sarek's home is your home." She smiled slightly. "He considers you family, as I do." She led T'yshen into the common room. "He is waiting for you in his study."

"I will see him as soon as I contact Sholtan."

Perrin nodded. "Totally understandable." She indicated one of the entranceways that led off the common room. "He suggested that you would appreciate the view of Seleya."

"Thank you, T'sai Perrin." T'yshen moved into the familiar hallway then into the room that had been hers when she was much younger.

The scenery had not changed, as she had discovered when the tinting control was deactivated. The sunlight was bright and it took only a moment before her eyes became accustomed to it. She removed the travel cape and placed it over the back of the near-by chair. She removed her outer robe and placed it in into the closet. She wore only a long sleeved tunic and comfortably fitting pants.

The furniture had changed. The pieces were more modern with a more Vulcan feel to the rooms than there had been before. Perrin obviously embraced this lifestyle much easier than Amanda had.

She moved to the door, touched the release then moved into the adjoining study.

Sycek moved from the terminal. "Your call to Healer Sholtan. The channel is on standby." He bowed his head then left the room.

T'yshen sat down then tapped on the frequency.

"I was concerned." He smiled at her.

She relaxed with his familiarity. "I do not believe that Sarek is as well as others have led us to believe."

Sholtan frowned. "You were correct then."

She nodded. Her finger played with the band on her index finger, she thought of Carl's touch on her hand as she continued to speak to Sholtan of various matters. The voyage here, the assistant that she thought was too young to be an aide and how she had concerned herself about Sarek these last few years.

"I have not seen Sarek as of yet."

"Inform him that he is thought of."

She smiled inwardly at the altered saying, his father's influence.

"Inform Sarek to take care of himself." He smiled at her raised eyebrow. "Talk to you soon." He lifted his hand in the ta'al.

She mirrored the action, understanding the sentiment. "Be well, Sholtan."

"You will call when you are returning?"


He reached forward and closed the link before anymore was said.

She leaned back in the chair, then turned to face the desk and the collection of slates and padds that she would have to familiarize herself with in a short amount of time. She pushed away from the desk. "Tomorrow," she promised herself. Today would be one reserved for reminiscing and learning how many gaming skills they had lost over the years.

She walked down the hall that led to Sarek's study. She stopped just before it, looked down at her ring and removed it, slipping it into her pants pocket. Her palm rested on the door for a moment then heard his voice call to her. She walked in and centered on his eyes. "S'haile." She recalled doing this daily when she was younger.

"Yshen-kam." He moved from behind the desk and stood. His hand grasped the side of the polished desk, for support and for control of his drifting emotions. He considered how little she had changed over the years, since she had served as his aide.

Her head bowed as she knelt to the only man whom she had felt to be her 'father'. A man that had guided her with a strength and authority that was now hidden behind the mask of age. "My thoughts are open to thee." This was an acceptance of his state of mind, as well as giving permission for his touch, as a member of his family.

She sighed at his touch. Familiar in every way, even the emotions but 'off balance' from what she recalled him to be. Less control and order to his thoughts. She silently promised him all her assistance while she was here. Perrin had told her exactly how stubborn he had become about accepting any help. Surprisingly, he accepted hers.

"You are content." Sarek asked her.

"Yes, S'haile." She stood.

He motioned for her to sit on the small couch off to the side. He had tea prepared for them to share and a few momentos that Amanda wished her to have. Hair combs that had been in her family for over five generations. He indicated the small open chest. "They are to be yours. A request from Amanda. Take them before I forget again." He smiled quickly. "I forget much of late."

T'yshen placed her hand over the older one that rested on his lap. "S'haile..." She sighed softly as she considered her words. "It is to be expected." She recalled being very young and doing this as he tried to explain matters. Why she must not intrude on another's thoughts as she did so easily, often unintentionally. She remembered that first discussion. It had taken place after the first time she brushed his thoughts... from across the room. He had understood that it was a natural gift and not rudeness on her part. But as he explained to her, it was not acceptable behaviour.

"To be expected, yes. But not preferred." Sarek rested his other hand over hers. "It is I that must go to you for the reminders of emotional control. Not a role that I would have anticipated when I was teaching you." He felt his thoughts and emotions drift, he fought to control them. Even he had begun to notice the weakness in his control with each passing day. Today his control was better than most. He looked to the younger woman. Her eyes were still bright with curiosity and her greying hair still held the flecks of silver. He lost himself in the memories of her and the time they had shared. The questions that were asked and the uncomfortable answers that he was required to give her. She had, at times, taxed his patience in ways different than Spock did.

Sarek recalled the time T'yshen had questioned him about his son. Amanda and Spock had left for Earth. It was to be a year's separation from Amanda, eighteen years for Spock. He had learned within that year how much he could miss Amanda...and Spock. T'yshen had informed him of how stubborn he was being. He had countered with the fact that he had followed the only logical course available to him. T'yshen had stared at him after he had uttered the words yet again. She could 'read' his moods almost as well as Amanda, sometimes better but only because she understood the Vulcan mind. She had told him in no uncertain terms how wrong he had been. What he had done was not logical. Oh how he had begun to rely on T'yshen's presence and counsel towards the end of that year. It was the only... argument they had ever had.

When Amanda returned, she stepped back into her role as ambassadorial aide without question.

"So much could have been different." He spoke out loud and unintentionally. When her eyes reacted, he had realized how much he had revealed. Much more than he had intended to.

She withdrew her hand unsure of what to say or do next. Whether the reason for his accidental sharing was the Bendii Syndrome or not, the sentiment was c'thia. She looked around the room remembering the numerous times she had come here to help him work. The lively debates as she learned the ways of an ambassador and he learned just how stubborn she really could be.

T'yshen recalled the day that at the height of their discussion, Sarek had begun to smile. She could not even remember what the discussion was about but she remembered being quite annoyed with him. She had then made a sudden motion with her hand, to make a point, and Sarek stopped it before it hit Amanda's teapot.

T'yshen had felt the current of thought pass between them. She saw that he had felt it as well. It was the moment when both realized the attraction to one another.

"Sarek." She had whispered his name, not his position, not using the title that she awarded him, simply his name, spoken softly.

He had taken a deep breath and then whispered, "I am bonded." It had sounded almost as an apology. "It can not..."

She had waited for what had seemed like an eternity before he released the hold on her wrist. She remembered feeling the separation from him that day. He had erected mental shielding so strong, that it actually caused her pain. He had been right to do so. A thread of a connection had remained between them. She had even gone to Amanda herself and explained what happened, stated that she would return to Gol. Amanda seemed to understand the situation and informed her that she could remain.

Her thoughts returned to the present as she indicated the chessboard. "Do you wish a game?"

Sarek nodded. She had not asked, as others had, if he remembered how to play or did he feel he retained the control to play... merely whether or not he wished to. He moved to the table that held the board, T'yshen took her usual position, facing the window. He sat in his usual place, facing the door. "You would have made an excellent ambassadorial bond-mate, had the timing been different."

T'yshen tilted her head slightly, understanding what he was implying. She bowed her head accepting his perception and the compliment. "You forget, S'haile, I was bonded to an ambassador."

His eyebrow rose and he smiled slightly. "It was not a Human that I was referring to." They had formed an understanding a very long time ago, a lifetime ago that was necessary for her sanity at the time.

Sarek made the opening move. He leaned back in the chair, his fingers steepled, then he tapped the longest of his fingers against his lips. He watched her as she made her move. He reached forward moving his bishop to capture one of her pawns. "Do you ever consider how different matters could have been?"

"I have never known you to question kaiidth." She moved her knight to protect the path for the present.

"Perhaps it is the illness speaking." Sarek made an answering move. How many times had they sat here grateful for the separation this table provided? He was relieved that Perrin had taken the opportunity to see to other duties today because of T'yshen's presence.

"I was honoured to have served as I did." She rested her elbow on the arm of the chair, then rested her head against her raised hand. "You loved and respected Amanda far too much for anything else to be considered."

"Illogical, but true."

"And now there is Perrin."

"Perhaps an error on my part." He spoke softly. His control really was slipping. He met her eyes and considered for a moment the unexplored possibilities.

She shared this sudden sadness in him. "One should not question kaiidth."

He lifted his head slightly. "According to...?"

"You, S'haile, numerous times."

A few more moves were made then T'yshen stood to collect the cooling teas. She returned with them, placing her cup down first then his cup in front of him. His hand took hers just as she released his cup. She watched as he turned her hand within his uncertain one. A lifetime since this gesture had been made. He stroked her palm slowly with two fingers of his other hand. "Sarek..." it came out with her breath, barely audible.

He lifted his eyes to meet hers. "Such a simple gesture that signifies a great deal." It took another telepath to be affected by this, neither of his human wives had been. They would react to the touch, to please him, but they were not affected by it. Not as Yshen was... and is. He was inwardly pleased that he could accomplish this, even now, in his present condition.

He recalled the hours and sometimes days they would spend on his work, sometimes not even speaking for hours, yet they knew. They had an understanding. He had spoken to Amanda concerning this mutual ease he had discovered between Yshen and himself. Amanda had not felt threatened by the sharing, as their bonding was not compromised in the least, but she had cautioned Sarek against becoming too comfortable around Yshen. He had considered at the time that had his bond-mate been Vulcan, she would have objected. Yshen had welcomed the friendship she and Amanda had formed and did not wish to dishonour it. Yshen was comfortable with Human emotions, and slowly, had become a 'daughter' in Sarek and Amanda's lives.

"Sarek, it is not possible." She shook her head gently.

He opened his hand, releasing his hold on her hand. "Forgive an ailing old man..."

She moved the knight into an attack position then returned to her seat.

"You may just win this game." Sarek spoke softly.

"It will be the first in fifty odd years." She held her hand in a tight fist; the path of his touch could still be felt. She would treasure it.

Sarek smiled slightly.

******Thirty-seven days later...

Perrin stood in the middle of the room, fists clenched and tried very hard to calm her frustration with all of this. Almost three years and she had seen the most powerful individual she had ever known reduced to tears and babbling. Today was not a good day... for any of them.

Sakketh, Sarek's aide, had left Sarek's study and Perrin could tell he was frustrated as well. He had stopped at her side, bowed his head and stated that he would return in one hour.

Perrin suspected that if he had been Human, he would have stepped out of the house and screamed down the neighbourhood. That is what she wanted to do. Four days of this... four days and she had had enough. He refused help in controlling anything, his anger, his tears, his fears and his babbling.

She sighed. It wasn't babbling. She had learned that it was his thought processes... how he was thinking. The only thing that seemed to settle him of late was T'yshen's company and that did not please her either. She wanted to be the one to calm him, to make him understand, but she did not have the skills. She felt her hands unclench slowly, the tension leaving her shoulders. T'yshen was due back from Gol today, perhaps with some answers and some peace for Sarek.

******At Mount Seleya...

T'yshen bowed her head to the elder. This meeting was over and she had permission. After two days of discussions, T'Lar had finally been convinced that Sarek's katra may 'be of use', in spite of the Bendii Syndrome. T'yshen had stated that Sarek's experiences were special. His skill at diplomacy alone had changed much of the way the Federation dealt with other worlds. He had been requested to negotiate in far more agreements than he was capable of.

She walked through the familiar corridors of Gol recalling the last time she was here was for the fal-tor-pan and before that, Spock's Time. No one had questioned it, only McCoy and Kirk knew Spock's pon farr had been chemically induced. She had spent two days searching through the Ancient text for some indication that Sarek could be helped. But there was nothing. She was on her way to see Master Sarlk, Master of the Adepts. He would choose the one to transfer Sarek's katra.

The three days she had spent here had helped in dealing with Sarek's condition and her own mental stresses. She had spoken to Sholtan and explained that she would remain on Vulcan for a time to work with Sarek and the chosen adept.

She would have the privilege, if one could call it that, of informing Sarek of the progress. If she permitted herself to, she could feel his distress even at this distance for most of the day. She would have preferred to be heading home to Sarek rather than to her former t'kahr and his classroom. She was certain that it would be a short meeting and then she would have all the answers.

******At Sarek's home...

T'yshen had taken the time to speak with Perrin concerning the arrangements that had been made and also suggested that she rest.

"He will not agree to this, T'yshen." Perrin knew however that if anyone were to convince this man of anything, T'yshen would be able to do it. "You know how stubborn he is."

"Yes." T'yshen turned towards Sarek's room... then turned back to face Perrin. "Will you be visiting him today?"

Perrin nodded. "I'll bring in his tea in about an hour."

T'yshen nodded. That should give her sufficient time to speak with him and help him find some control. She felt the wave of emotions before she had even opened the door. She hesitated for a moment then stepped in.

Sarek turned toward the intruder. "Go away."

"I will not, S'haile." She slipped off her travel cape. She had not even changed from the robes she wore at Gol. She approached him and reached out her hand to his.

His hand clenched preventing her from reaching in and 'helping' him. He was tired of this. Tired of feeling so lost and yet knowing precisely, to the degree, where he was on the accursed world. Perhaps he should have gone into the desert to die instead of taking a mate. It would have been far less painful for all concerned than this.

"I do not need you here."

"I bring news from the Masters concerning the placement of your katra into the Hall of Thoughts."

He chuckled. "Masters. Masters of what?" he asked her almost rudely. He did not expect an answer; he had one of his own. "They tell us how to live... or how not to live." He moaned. "They do not have the answers." He sighed. "They hold themselves up for the rest of us to emulate. That is their existence." He sighed then his voice began to rise. "I do not care if my katra is tossed to the winds along with my ashes."

"There is no logic in allowing..."

"Logic!" He almost screamed it at her. "What logic is there in having a honoured katra that is not sane?" His fists were clenched and his jaw tensed. He held his breath as he felt a tear fall down his cheek. "This was not how I wanted my life to end...Yshen."

T'yshen stepped closer to him. "I know," her hand moved to touch the contact points and reached in to offer him a degree of control. She did not ask as the others did. She knew he would refuse. "I am here, S'haile."

He closed his eyes and felt the calming of his emotions. "Explain what you must."

T'yshen relayed the 'conversation' with her touch. She explained that she had chosen someone who would come to him and begin the lessons and controls that were needed to transfer his katra. Bit by bit if necessary. She moved her hand away slowly as if gauging his control.

He held her hand. For now there was some calm and clarity to his thoughts. He knew it would not last. "On the Enterprise... you asked something of me that I was... unprepared for. Long ago." He closed his eyes as he recalled the conversation. "We were in the observation lounge."

"Yes, Sarek. I remember." She felt the warmth of his hand around hers.

"Do you wish to know the answer I could not give you?" He drew in a sudden breath; he wanted to hang on to his clear thinking long enough to tell her.

"If you wish to give it." She felt the apprehension build in her body. She did not answer his question directly, as she was not sure if she wanted to know the answer. She did not wish to make the decision either.

"I wanted to tell you to wait for me." Sarek tightened the hold on her hand for a moment then lifted it to his lips. "Or to find someone that would serve our purposes." He smiled slightly, knowing that she would never have bonded herself to one who could be that compliant to her wishes.

She was left speechless. She had always had the impression that it had been her desire and not his.

"Then Spock." He brushed the tips of her fingers against his lips. "Other than myself... I could not have chosen a more nearly perfect match..."

"He died." She pulled her hand away. "And I was left with memories, and to live with a Human and Rihansu." She turned from Sarek. "You know I can not exist without another." She reached for her cape, folded it over her arm then faced Sarek. "Sarek, there are days when I would welcome even your madness. Being alone... is... not desired." She felt a tear slide down her face. "I will work with the acolyte and what he can not deal with I will filter." She was losing her control today. Her voice softened. "Be assured S'haile, nothing of value will be lost."

"And what of the matters that are not of value...?" Sarek spoke of the more personal information.

"I will hold those S'haile, if you will permit me to."

"When...?" He was feeling his loss of center already.

She was tired. "I must meditate for a time. Later today when the household is quiet."

Sarek nodded then sat in the armchair that he occupied for most of his days now. He felt Perrin coming closer. This was so painful for her. She was so unprepared for this. She was not enough of what he needed, yet she could do no more than she was doing. She was Human. Amanda had been Human. He missed her. He remembered when she would bring his tea.

Perrin was surprised that T'yshen had left him alone. Sarek seemed peaceful. She moved the tray to the small table and poured out the two cups. She placed one in Sarek's hand insuring that he was holding it before she released it.

Sarek looked up to her and frowned. "Amanda?"

Perrin sighed. "No Sarek. Perrin."

"Perrin." He smiled and reached out one hand to hers as he sipped on the tea. He nodded, he remembered now. "She who is my wife."

She smiled back and squeezed his hand. One day, she whispered silently to the Powers that controlled fate, just one day with him when he remembers who I am... without reminders.

For the next few weeks, Sarek's condition seemed to remain constant and a great deal was accomplished. The adept came on a regular basis and much was transferred. They talked about his life accomplishments and many discussions had taken place. It was not until the fourth month of their meetings that Sarek's control was lost. He stood suddenly and moved to the window and stared out into the desert. He was feeling his life closing in around him and his mind wandering off to... somewhere. He sighed audibly.

The adept had left earlier. Sarek was not able to center on the information required. It had been happening more and more the past few days.

T'yshen moved to stand behind him. She had felt some of his control lessening and attempted to help but he had noticed her 'assistance' earlier in the day and forbade her to do so any longer. He was thinner. She had no doubt the Bendii was a strain on him physically as well. He stood with his hands clasped behind him staring out of the window. He was trying to find the ability to meditate. He had been losing his patience today with the smallest annoyance. He had already insisted that Perrin leave the house because she was making too much mental 'noise' with her emotions. Perrin had agreed but only because she had shopping and visiting to attend to. Then he sent his attendant and his aide off on some sudden errand.

She reached out to steady his hands as they began to twitch. It seemed as long as he was holding onto something stationary, his hands were calm, but entering data or moving chess pieces had become difficult.

"I can prepare some ale to calm you." She offered in a gentle voice. The use of herbs was common in the last stages of Bendii. She felt his thoughts drift from one subject to another without completion. It would be a simple matter, done almost without thought, to slip into his thoughts... she did not have privilege to do so. If asked, he would have agreed, she was certain of that. She spoke a little louder. "S'haile. Do you wish some ale?"

He looked to her confused for a moment, then nodded. "Yes." He recalled vaguely that this would help in some way but he was not certain if this was his thought or someone else's. "Yes, some ale."

T'yshen released the hold on his hands then moved to the processor, ordering the ale, the correct dosage of herbs and that it be warmed slightly. She brought it to him and held the glass steady.

"I do not need help." He stated coldly.

"Your hands are shaking. I will steady the glass only." She looked to the dark eyes that were trying to make sense out of the words. She placed the glass at his lips. "Drink this, Sarek, it will help."

Sarek took a few sips then turned away from her. "Go. Leave me."

"When you have finished the ale." T'yshen watched him for a moment. She saw the glass beginning to slip from his hand but she was not fast enough and it slipped through her fingers and shattered on the floor.

Sarek looked down at the glass and the growing stain on the carpeting. "There. Leave me now."

T'yshen crouched down and began picking up the pieces of glass.

"I want to be left alone." He hated this. This stripping away of all that he had worked a lifetime to perfect. He watched her picking up the glass, a part of him understood what she was doing. Another part just wanted to be left alone, at any cost. He reached down and grabbed her wrist and pulled her up. "Go." He drew in a breath and he felt his body shiver. It was pain? He knew that much. He looked down at her hand in his. He closed his eyes and released his hold. He had held her hand within his and accidentally closed it on the glass. "I... I ask forgiveness, Yshen." He spoke softly.

She nodded then moved to the recycler and dropped the pieces into the unit. She looked at the cut in her hand. It was not severe. She returned and finished picking up the last of the glass; the rest could be dealt with later.

Sarek reached to her hand when she had finished disposing of the glass. "You will see a Healer?" he felt revulsion from having caused her any pain, let alone a physical one.

"It is not necessary, S'haile." She knew that by morning it would be healed.

"I did not mean..." He felt his eyes fill with tears. The one thing he would chide his son most about was invading his world. Emotions. Outside of pon farr and most disagreeable at times. He felt at times that he was hurting Perrin with his demands. Secretly, he had been pleased that Amanda had not lived long enough to witness him in this condition. He did not much care for the fact that Yshen was here now, but she offered a calm acceptance that even Perrin could not offer to him. In hindsight, he should have sought out a Vulcan wife. Would she have been more accepting? No, that was not it. Less damaged perhaps, by his emotional tirades. Or would she have been?

He turned from T'yshen and moved to the window. "The seasons will change soon." He spoke softly, then walked away from the window and sat in his chair. He was lost in thought again, trying to make order out of the flood of fact and logic and emotions that seemed at times to overwhelm him. He felt exhausted.

T'yshen stood watching him for a moment then moved to him and knelt beside his chair. Her hands slipped into his and she offered him the calmness of her thoughts. She gently collected the chaos of his mind and helped him find order. It was as if he were an untrained acolyte that required guidance and training. She had been accustomed to sharing with her Human. These disorganized thoughts were not foreign to her. He was not foreign to her.

He lifted her chin; his thumb ran along her lips as he licked his. Timing had been off for both of them. He should have informed her of his intent long ago; perhaps she would have come to him. Her mate dying just after his announcement of bonding, ironic. The Fates, if any existed, were not on their side. He guided her head down onto his lap, combing through her hair absently as they shared the memories of long ago. Of the time she had become his aide and the time on the Enterprise. He spoke to her for the first time, of his pain at her bonding with his son. How torn he was in his acceptance of it. How he too had felt the bonding between them and said nothing and yet, there was the pleasure that he shared with her about his son finally finding a true bond-mate.

He had been with her when she discovered the devastating news that Spock's memory of her had been lost. He had wanted to tell her then. She shared with him how much she had desired Spock's memory to return, how even still she wished that circumstances had been different. They had spent hours simply talking of matters they had never shared with another. She had been to him more than a daughter and less than a bond-mate. He knew that had they met under different circumstances she would have become his. He wanted to finally share this with her and was not surprised at her response that she had been aware of this fact. She had thought more clearly on the matter and chose to live on Kavifemai. Now, she was to be his calm in the middle of an emotional storm that was raging inside of him, and he welcomed it.

With the calming of his thoughts she felt his body relax and fall into a peaceful sleep. Something, she suspected, he had not experienced in quite a long time. She was pleased that she could offer him this comfort if nothing else. She had long suspected that her draw to Spock was due in part to her attraction to Sarek. Spock's mind was more powerful, more satisfying than the limited contact with Sarek. However, it was Sarek's mental skills that she had required in the beginning. None of the shielding the Master's had taught her had kept her from experiencing another's thoughts. She needed the occupation of her mind that came with even a family bonding. Even now, she was feeling a sense of relief with the activity this 'sharing' had provided her with. For once in a very long time, she had more than her own thoughts to 'listen' to. She remained with him, like this, until Perrin returned.


The first morning of the change from Belaar(Summer) to Tasmin(Autumn), something had awakened T'yshen suddenly, very early. It was still dark. She heard a slight commotion from the direction of Sarek and Perrin's rooms. She reached for him but felt only the emptiness in her thoughts.

Sarek was no longer.

She tossed back the covers then reached for her robe. Perrin would require someone to be there. On the way down the hallway T'yshen made a mental note to call Sholtan and inform him she would not be leaving today as was expected.

T'yshen stopped as the door opened and Perrin stepped out. T'yshen's head bowed. "I grieve with thee, T'sai Perrin." She paused. "I offer my service to thee."

Perrin nodded. There were no words that would come out. In her thoughts all of the correct phrases were right there, but nothing would come out except her tears.

Standard Terran Year: 2370.2

Standard Kavifemai Year: pos'Lashan 90.9

Commander Riker walked down the corridor of the Enterprise-D. He had been asked by Captain Picard to escort Ambassador T'yshen to Ten Forward for their dinner. He touched the door signal then waited patiently.

T'yshen released the door then turned to face her visitor. Her head bowed. "Commander Riker."

"Ambassador T'yshen. I was asked by Captain Picard to escort you to Ten Forward. He has been detained for only a short while and will join you there." He smiled slightly. She was not what he had expected in a Vulcan Ambassador, or as Ambassador Sarek's replacement. He had not expected her to function with the same force or have a presence similar to Sarek's.

"Very well, Commander." T'yshen lifted the veil like fabric up to cover her hair. She wore a heavier weight of long tunic and pants than she would have at home. The flowing robes with all the markings of an ambassador and all of her honours, that she had conducted the conference in, lay folded carefully at the foot of her bed. It was not needed while traveling on the Enterprise, she did not serve as Starfleet's Ambassador any longer, and she did not need the uniform of office.

She moved to Riker's side. "These quarters are far too spacious for a single occupant."

"Ambassador Sarek made the same complaint. He added that if he had not been traveling with Lady Perrin, he would have requested smaller quarters." He led the way down the corridor to the lift as they spoke. "Starfleet decided long ago that the V.I.P quarters should be comfortable."

"No doubt to Human standards."

Riker smiled slightly again. "No doubt." He tapped in the coding to activate the lift.

"How long have you been away from home?" He had spent enough time in the company of Vulcans to know that if he asked an intrusive or indelicate question, he would be told.

"It has been in total, three hundred forty five days to the present day. It will be good to be home." She had learned long ago to tolerate the human's need for 'small talk' and sharing of limited information.

"It should be another four days and then you'll be able to 'put your feet up' and relax." He smiled slightly at the mental picture of any Vulcan behaving this way.

"Something that I will be looking forward to, Commander." She knew she had surprised him with her response.

The lift doors opened and they stepped out then continued towards the double doors. Ten Forward had been designed as a place on the vessel where one could socialize without regard for rank or position. Rank was not acknowledged except as a form of address. Once through the doors the atmosphere did change and seemed to be more relaxed. There were many people milling around. Some quietly talking in groups, some sitting alone, while other tables were occupied with couples.

T'yshen was escorted to a large table close to the large viewing port. She sat down in the chair that Commander Riker had pulled out for her.

"Ambassador T'yshen, do you wish something to drink?"

She looked to the younger crewmember. "Warmed Vulcan ale. Mu'gel. It is the darker variety."

The young man nodded then headed to the bar. He was already familiar with Riker's request. By the time he had returned to the table with the drinks, Captain Picard was on his way in.

Picard smoothed his tunic then pulled out the chair closest to T'yshen and sat down. "I apologize for being detained, Ambassador T'yshen."

"One need not apologize for duty, Captain Picard." She bowed her head slightly.

Picard looked to the young steward approaching the table. "Another Vulcan ale." He looked to T'yshen. "I have not had this in years." He looked to Riker. "We need a briefing scheduled for oh eight hundred hours. It concerns our new orders."

Riker nodded then finished off his beer. "I'll get right on it, sir." He stood then bowed his head. "Ambassador T'yshen, it has been an honour."

She bowed her head. "Commander Riker."

Picard accepted his ale as Riker left. "How are things at home?"

"To my knowledge, Kavifemai is still turning." She used the idiom that Carl usually did.

Picard relaxed in the chair. "It has been a few years since I have seen Sholtan."

"He is well." She had always found Captain Picard's company to be comfortable. She looked to him. "How are you faring?" She fell easily into this Human's speech patterns. Some of Picard's mannerisms had been shared in her final meld with Sarek. In the ancient way, Sarek and she had shared his private memories, knowledge and traditions. It had not been certain if his katra would be welcomed into the Hall of Ancients due to the Bendii and the hesitation of the Counsel of Elders. To lose all the knowledge of Sarek's lifetime, would have been a waste.

"Quite well, thank you. I have a leave planned in four days but I have not decided where to go." He smiled slightly. He always enjoyed his conversations with T'yshen and the shared discussions about archeology. He had had the privilege of meeting her at numerous conferences, at the social functions given at the beginnings and endings of these events. "I am wondering if I should consider finding company."

T'yshen nodded slightly. "It appears that the captaincy has not changed in its solitude over the years."

"No, it hasn't. Even on these multi-generation ships, it is difficult to form a permanent relationship. And there is the problem of percepted favourtism." Picard sighed. "At any age it is not easy to make new beginnings."

T'yshen remained silent. She understood the sentiment but did not share it. She had seen many beginnings at differing stages of life and at no time did she believe that it was ever easy. She watched him watching the stars and the people moving around, the occasional glances that reassured him everything was functioning as it should.

"Before you leave orbit, you must accept a case of our Kavifemai ale."

Picard grinned. "With pleasure." He sat forward slightly, his arms rested on the table. "I might even have a bottle of wine from the Picard Vineyards for you to take home."

"It is not necessary, Captain." She was aware of his loss and that his vineyard was not a high producer at the present time. It was just beginning to recover from the fire that had claimed his brother and nephew, but she felt his desire to share this small bit of history with her.

"I insist."

"It would be an honour." She bowed her head accepting his gift.

Picard nodded to the steward who had been waiting patiently with their meal. He had chosen it carefully, vegetables, rice and an assortment of fish. He was aware that the Kavifemai diet had included fish but was unaware if T'yshen had developed a taste for it or not, so it was presented as a side dish. He took the napkin and placed it on his lap. "The negotiations went well."

"Yes. Sarek's preliminary work was indispensable. The agreement could not have been made without him." T'yshen had missed having her mentor during the week of negotiations. "It was a mere formality. A validation of our intentions only."

Picard smiled inwardly. "You do yourself a disservice, Ambassador T'yshen. No other diplomat could have accomplished what you have. Many have stated that you could serve Vulcan as Sarek did. Many feel that without your participation, the Federation would not have gained control of the station."

She lifted her eyes to him. "They do not have control yet, Captain Picard." She wiped the side of her mouth with the corner of the napkin. "It is to be staffed by Bajorian personnel as well."

"A poor choice of words, Ambassador..."

"T'yshen will do here, Captain."

Picard nodded. "I consider it an honour, T'yshen." He sipped on the wine. "As I said, it was a poor choice of words. The station will serve both the Federation and the people of Bajor."

"It will be the personnel chosen that will solidify that union, not anything the diplomats have or have not accomplished." She glanced around the room at the variety of races that traveled aboard the Enterprise-D. "Just as it is not the Articles of the Federation that have made this work. It is the people who believe in the Articles. Any setting of rules is a blueprint, nothing more." She had enjoyed her time serving the Federation but she wished only to return home.

There was a silence between them for a short time while they ate.

"If I may change the subject, T'yshen..." He waited for her agreement. She bowed her head marginally. "I have studied the histories of the command crews of the Enterprise vessels. I came across a notation that your first voyage was aboard the Enterprise with Captain Kirk. What was he like?"

T'yshen leaned back in her chair. She had not been asked about James in a very long time. She was also aware of his reappearance... and then his death. She lowered her eyes for a moment. "He was a powerful man. He held a power of character that could fill a room. James had a curiosity that rivaled any Vulcan's." She caught the slight smile that had begun with her recollections of him then stopped it. "Much like yourself, Captain."

Picard bowed his head, accepting the compliment and the obvious need to center herself. Had Captain Kirk meant more to her than history had recorded? Or was it her connection to him through, at the time, Commander Spock? This woman had been associated with some of the most powerful men in the Federation's history and a part of him understood why. She had a way of seeming comfortable in any situation, much as Sarek had. She had served as Sarek's aide for a time; became Spock's bond-mate then there was Spock's death. How had that affected her? He was curious to know. Had there been a friendship with Captain Kirk that naturally had come about from her connection to Spock? Or was her understanding of Kirk simply because of her bond with Spock?

He knew he had developed an understanding of others through his melds with both Sarek and Spock. If they had known this woman, neither had revealed that fact in the melds.

"Have you seen the holodecks?"

"No." She sipped some water then wiped her mouth. "I have heard of the technology. The Kavifemai who have returned from Fleet duty have spoken of it."

"Would you care to see one later?"

T'yshen bowed her head. "It should prove interesting."

Captain Picard touched the controls and the doors parted. He felt the warmth and the gravity change as he stepped onto the Vulcan landscape. He thought that this would be its true test, to make T'yshen feel 'at home'. He closed his eyes against the heat and the warm breeze for a moment. He opened them to search her face for an impression of her experience.

He smiled, he had never seen her eyes this bright. "I gather you approve?"

T'yshen reminded herself they were standing on the deck on a star ship and not the home she had left so long ago. "It is quite convincing, Captain." She wanted to walk in the desert that she had left long ago. The breeze teased her senses and the warmth and dryness of the air was a relief after so long in the dampness of the space station and the ships she had been travelling on.

"Is there another place you would like to see?"

T'yshen considered for a moment. "I was to visit Earth." She had refused any conference she could that would take her there. "Would it be possible to see the area where Admiral Kirk and Captain Spock had their living units."

Captain Picard nodded. "Computer. Earth, San Francisco. The apartment of Kirk, James T." He smiled at her surprise. "Every portion of his life was documented, at least as much as possible."

The images around her shimmered; changed in colour and then solidified. She held her breath for a moment. The smell was there. His scent. The taste of the dampness in the air and the scene out the window was just as he described it to her. She walked around the 'room' and touched the lounge chair he had told her about, the models of the ships on the wall, the collection of books that he treasured. She moved onto the collection of holo-pics of the crew and family that he loved. She found one of Spock, from the eyes it had been a special time. She had so looked forward to being with them.

It had been so long since she had thought of this. The teasing about getting a bigger bed and of sight-seeing. She had received communiqués daily from James and in some he insisted on Spock's participation. Explanation at length of what James had thought and felt over this joining. Camping. She looked towards the door that would have led to the bedroom. She took a step towards it then stopped. There had been one communiqué in which James had begun to explain in detail what he wished to experience; Spock had interrupted and suggested that the details should wait. She wished that he had finished the descriptions, she would have had a memory then of something. Another experience lost in time. Yet all of this seemed real and unreal in the same breath.

T'yshen lifted her fingers to her lips, she could still recall with Vulcan precision the feel of the last kiss... from both of them.

Captain Picard had the impression that this was something that should not have been witnessed. He had caught a sudden softness in her face and tears in her eyes. He turned to face the control panel then cleared his throat softly.

Her composure was immediate. She drew in a breath and looked to the captain. "I was on my way to a conference on Earth." She was unsure of what else to say to this man. He had witnessed something that she had not intended. "Spock died." She knew Humans well enough to know he would assume that was what she was reliving. The relationship between the three of them was never public knowledge. No one had knowledge of the reh'tel-tor. Not even Sarek.

"It was most fortunate that the re-fusion was possible." Captain Picard sensed it was time to end the illusion. "Computer. End simulation."

She felt her loss again as the room wavered from existence only to be replaced with a yellow and black grid work on the walls, floor and ceiling. "Yes. Most fortunate."

She added no more, simply walked with Captain Picard to her quarters, only half listening to his words.


Continued in Tome SixA "A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine and Thine..."

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