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Kaiidth (What is - is)

Beta: Much thanks to Saavant

Disclaimer: All things Trek belong to Paramount. I'm just playing with it. No infringement intended.




***************************************


Chaos—



Enterprise was on red-alert.



The ship warped back through space as if it had been a pebble in a child’s slingshot. The reverse speed was so fast, the warp drive indicators were off the dials and violent shudders threatened to tear the hull apart. Everyone on the bridge was thrown from his or her post to the floor without mercy.



Instruments snapped and burned with acidic plumes of smoke. Conductor wires ripped free from consoles, coiling and twisting like serpents, spraying sparks like electric venom. With an eerie shimmer, emergency lights waxed and waned as damage reports flooded in from every station.



Spock grabbed Kirk from where he sprawled on the deck and helped position him back in the command chair. Then the first officer hung forcefully onto the armrest to prevent being hurtled through the air.



“I can’t stop it!” shouted Sulu, his voice filled with rising panic as he crawled back into his seat, desperately punching at the controls.



“She’ll break apart!” hollered Mr. Scott as the ship critically strained against a velocity the Enterprise could not endure.



Struggling precariously against the incredible roller coaster ride that threatened to upseat him again, Kirk’s brisk order rose above the mayhem: “Full emergency reverse!”



Sulu instantly responded and suddenly there was a great tearing sound from the lower levels. The engines screamed their refusal to obey the controls, but slowly the horrible screeching began to subside.



“Coming around now,” yelled Chekov, breathing a deep sigh of relief.



Spock found his footing and rushed to his science computer.



“Warp 10...warp 9...warp 8...” Sulu counted down.



Another bone-jarring shudder threw the crew around in their seats. Spock barely remained planted on his feet.



“Warp 6...warp 5...warp 4...warp 3...warp 2...warp 1."



Suddenly, the ship crashed out of warp—



“We’ve lost warp drive. Impulse only,” Spock reported loudly, still collating his computer readout.



“Engines badly damaged,” chorused Mr. Scott.



“Full stop, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk commanded, swinging out of his chair to join Spock on the upper bridge. “Go to yellow alert status.”



“Systems are failing all over the ship, Captain.” Spock glanced up at Kirk. “Life support remains on half-power. The containment bulk-heads on E-level have been breached.”



“Current position?”



“Unable to determine without further analysis, but the question may not be ‘where we are’ but ‘when we are?’” Spock continued to view his computer intently. “Data downloading now.”



“Aye, Captain,” interrupted Mr. Scott, “and we have another problem. Half our supplies are gone. I'll be in engineering accessing the damage.” Scott rushed to the turbo lift.



Spock straightened after a moment and turned to Kirk. “We are 16.24 light years off our previous course and 7,453.7 solar years in the past.”



“We went back in time?”



“Affirmative. In executing our maneuver, we produced a massive discharge of energy. The ship was broken down into subatomic particles and the particles were beamed into the past. However, from the perspective of the crew, we remained solid throughout the black lash. The immense mass and volume of the vortex, our angle of approach, speed and the breakaway point, determined how far the ship was projected into the past and our current position.”



Kirk exhaled a long breath. “Seven thousand years?”



Spock crossed his arms, raised an eyebrow, and clarified in human terms the time differential. “On your Earth, the Egyptians have not yet begun to build their pyramids and Troy will not be founded for another fifteen thousand years. Primitive humans still use stone tools.”



The rest of the crew glanced nervously at each other. They had gone back in time before, but never this far and never with such formidable damage to the ship.



Kirk thought back over the last hour. The ship had been ordered by Starfleet to investigate an enormous black hole on the outer edges of the galaxy.



They had used extreme caution. It was a planet eater, having destroyed at least two hundred suns and the numerous, hopefully uninhabited, worlds that surrounded them. It made its way around the edge of the galaxy every hundred million years like a monster from hell, invisible but for the massive dust and debris cloud being consumed by its gravity-sucking maelstrom.



Kirk had kept the Enterprise well out of its voracious reach, but without warning, the vortex had suddenly eructed undigested matter, belching it millions of miles in their direction. The shock waves had knocked out their indicators in a tremendous radiation blast. The next thing they knew, they were caught in the grip of the monstrosity and it was drawing the ship towards it—to their deaths.



Every maneuver to break free proved useless until they'd put every bit of energy into the warp drives including half their life support systems. It had worked, but the rebound allowed for no control, flinging them back at incomprehensible speeds.



“Bridge.”



Kirk responded to the hail from engineering. “Report, Mr. Scott.”



“Aye, we’re in the pickle brine now. We have impulse and warp one power only, but we dare not go any faster than that. We need Ortimic ore to facilitate repairs to the main engine conductors. Whatever we had in storage has been blown out into space. We've got a hole on E-Level as big as a barn. We're working on securing the rupture with a force field, but unless we obtain the metal to repair the conduit, we will remain here—trapped.”



“Spock, where are the closest deposits of Ortimic ore in this sector?”



Spock rapidly downloaded the information from the computer, then glanced up at Kirk, a peculiar look in his eyes. He said one word, “Vulcan.”



“Vulcan? Can we get there from here at warp one?”



"Affirmative. But, sir...”



“What is it, Mr. Spock?”



“Ortimic ore is a rare, but natural resource and Vulcans were, in this time period, mining and refining it for tools and weapons...”



“Then that’s the ticket,” Kirk interjected hopefully.



“Captain,” Spock continued, restiveness apparent in his dark eyes. “We are seven thousand years in the past. They are not the Vulcans of our time period. They are the forefathers of two nations—Vulcan and Romulan.”



Kirk didn’t like the sound of this. He had first hand knowledge of Romulans and had heard how violent ancient Vulcans had been. Spock had told him on more than one occasion that his ancestors were so brutal and war-like that without embracing logic as a way of life, the entire species would have destroyed itself due to its uncontrolled hostility.



“Is there anywhere else that has the ore in this sector?”



Spock, ready with his response, clasped his hands behind his back and exhaled a deep breath. “Negative.”



“Mr. Sulu, plot course and time for Vulcan.”



“Three point six standard days at warp one, sir,” replied the navigator.



“Well, Mr. Spock, think of it as a field trip and history lesson on your home planet,” Kirk said flatly.



Spock raised an eyebrow, but inwardly, he shuddered in contemplation of their destination.





***************************************





Spock did a most inconceivable thing; he paced his room, from wall to wall, turning on his heels to continue the pattern with even, orderly steps.



His tension and restlessness was somewhat relieved by this peculiar linear motion that he had observed humans do on occasion. Meditation, he was disturbed to discover, had become virtually impossible and now he struggled to regain both his mental and physical discipline. Spock took a deep breath to calm himself, then rubbed his fingers against his temples, trying to restore order to his thoughts. But he knew he would be unable to control the unaccustomed emotions he was experiencing indefinitely.



When he attended the briefing along with Kirk, Scott, McCoy, and Jeffery, an officer from central supplies, he willed himself to concentrate on what was being said, but found it difficult to stay focused.



“...and if we begin to ration water, it should hold out for two months,” Mr. Jeffery continued. “We’ll have to ration food as well.”



“Life support is back up to 93% and stabilizing,” interjected Mr. Scott.



“Do we have the means to smelt the ore and refine it?” asked Kirk.



“Aye,” replied Scott. “If we get it.”



“We have to get it. Mr. Spock, what can we expect on Vulcan?”



The first officer did not respond. Every eye turned to Spock, waiting...



“Mr. Spock?” Kirk said again louder.



Spock realized he had been asked a question. “Excuse me, Captain. I was momentarily distracted.”



Kirk stared hard at Spock; Spock's lack of concentration in a crisis was most unusual.



“What can we expect on Vulcan? In this time period?”



“War, sir, brutal conflict between khostric or clans. This was one of the darkest periods of Vulcan history.”



“Will you be able to communicate with the Vulcans we encounter?”



“Rudimentary at first. Their language is ancient V’sha’shu. I am, of course, familiar with ceremonial Vulcan, a derivative. I shall study the computer archaic language banks before we arrive. It should suffice. I will be able to learn the proper speech patterns with exposure to the dialects.”



“We will need the correct clothing, gear, etc.—everything that conforms to customs of this era. Mr. Spock, you are in charge of programming the textile fabricator and providing whatever we need in terms of suitable weapons and supplies.”



Spock nodded. “The beam-down point will be near the Sher’ir mountains where the ore is mined. I have already researched the appropriate apparel for the main tribe inhabiting that region.”



“What about physical camouflage for the humans in the landing party? An ear-bob, such as we used with the Romulans?”



“It would be ill-advised and ineffective, Captain. Vulcans know Vulcans. You have neither the physical strength nor primary or secondary characteristics that would be required by a long period of deception. It would be more applicable for me to contrive a logical reason why you appear as you do.”



Kirk turned to the rest of the crew. “Whatever the Vulcans want, we will have to trade them for the ore—as long as it conforms and is relevant to this time and place. General Order Number One will be in effect. We must not violate the prime directive—non-interference with their natural progression and history. The crew beaming down will consist of me, Doctor McCoy, a geologist, and a security officer. Mr. Spock will be in charge of the landing party."



At the mention of his name, Spock locked eyes with Kirk, then quickly glanced away.



“If there is nothing else...?” Kirk paused, still staring at Spock, apparently sensing that something was troubling his first officer. But when Spock remained silent, the captain simply said, “Dismissed.”





********************************





They were now in orbit around Vulcan, the main screen on the bridge showing the red planet spinning silently in space. Tomorrow they would beam down.



Kirk was concluding an entry in his personal log when his door com buzzed.



“Come,” he said, switching off the recording device. Spock stood in the doorway for what seemed like an inordinately long moment, and then entered.



“Yes, Mr. Spock?”



Spock clasped his hands behind his back, but he seemed more rigid than usual, although his face was a well-schooled mask of blankness. Only his eyes betrayed an odd restlessness; he glanced around the room as if he did not wish to make eye contact.



“Spock, what is it?” Kirk prompted.



Finally, Spock looked at him, or at least in his general direction. “Captain, I request not to be assigned to the recognizant team beaming down to the planet.”



Kirk stared at Spock, perplexed. This wasn’t like his first officer, who always was quick to volunteer for any dangerous assignment. “Impossible. We need someone who knows how to negotiate with the tribes for the ore.”



“The universal translator...” Spock began.



“Not adequate,” Kirk interrupted. “You know that, Spock. Interaction on this level requires the knowledge of customs, formalities, etiquette, and non-verbal responses. You're the only Vulcan on board this ship. What’s the problem? Why the reluctance to beam down?”



“Jim...” Spock paused for the right words, “I am not at peak efficiency. I am...unfit for duty.”



“In what way?”



Spock shifted his feet. He looked momentarily uncomfortable, even nervous. Kirk eyed him closely.



“I am experiencing some of the same affects as when Dr. McCoy and I were transported through the Atavachron time portal on Sarpeidon.”



Spock paused, but as Kirk just watched him carefully without comment, he continued. Only the slight lowering of his voice betrayed his deep apprehension.



“I am reverting to the attributes of my ancient ancestors. Unaccustomed emotion is gradually supplanting logic therefore I may jeopardize the mission. No one can guarantee the actions of another under these circumstances.”



“How long can you remain in control?”



“Difficult to calculate and insufficient facts always invite danger. I request that I be relieved of duty and permitted to remain on board the ship under security until we return, if possible, to our own future.”



Kirk thought about it for less than a second.



“Denied, Mr. Spock. We can’t pull this off without you and I for one don’t plan to remain trapped here forever. You will report to the transporter room at eleven hundred hours.”



Spock only nodded once, in acknowledgment of what was expected, then left without saying another word.



Kirk sat back in his chair and pondered his predicament. He recalled everything that Bones had told him about Spock’s behavior on Sarpeidon. Spock had been stripped of his reason and when his shields fell--irrepressible hostility, violence and lust had risen to the surface. McCoy had witnessed this, but not Kirk. But after the events on Vulcan eighteen months ago and the ‘kalifee’, Kirk knew exactly what Spock was capable of when his control faltered.



If Spock was unable to repress his emotions, there could be serious peril. Not from some outside alien force this time, but from deep inside Kirk’s best friend, the person he trusted most.





******************************************







Kirk had ordered only four to beam down to Vulcan: Spock, McCoy, Willard, a geologist and Mr. Fitch, a member of the security team. The less, the better, Kirk decided. This was risky, if the culture was as violent as Spock had said.



The landing party materialized a mile from the base of the mountains. Immediately, they were blasted by the scalding, dry wind. It was hot, damn hot. Even with the tri-ox compound McCoy had administered to the humans, Kirk was painfully aware just how difficult it was to breathe; drawing in each lung-full of scorching, thin air took concerted effort. The 1.83g surface gravity was unyielding, making it harder to move weaker human muscles. Vulcan’s sister world, T'Khut, hung low in the sky, but the sun, which the Vulcans called las'hark was brilliant-bright. It caused everyone but Spock to severely squint, as sensitive human eyes began to prickle and water. They could not wear protective visors, which were far too technologically advanced for this time period.



Spock, of course, seemed completely at home in this hostile environment even to the point of indulgence. He stood relaxed, momentarily content once again to plant his feet on the blistering red sand of his birthplace. The Vulcan looked like a warrior-demon in the ancient attire, wind whipping at his black hair, a dark satanic vision sprung from the annals of some grim legend.



Kirk glanced down at the clothes he and the other crew were wearing: a laced leather doublet-vest, hard leather knee-high boots, suede breeches cut-away at the groin, revealing a dull metal jockstrap, that Spock called a Q’zl.



Sheathed at his side, Spock’s carried a razor-sharp Vulcan dagger that had a large precious stone called a lasha set on the top. Kirk was surprised to learn it came from Spock’s own private collection. He had observed a number of antique weapons displayed in the first officer’s quarters, but he had never seen this particular one before. Kirk was suddenly curious why his peaceful and passive friend has so many implements of violence hanging on his walls. One day, he would ask him.



There was only one communicator, a small tri-quarter, and a knockout hypo hidden within the ornate textile pouch that Spock wore across his shoulder. It was imperative that these few technological components from the future didn’t fall into ancient tribal hands, destroying the prime directive.



With so much animal skin on him, Kirk knew that the warriors here had no reservations about killing wild beasts, unlike the strictly vegetarian Vulcan seven thousand years in the future. He also wondered how else they would be different and repressed an inward tremor at the thought.



Spock, who would act as their leader, was adored with an ornate collar that made his shoulders seem broader. It was studded with metal symbols in various designs: signifying position, status, wealth and military rank.



The first officer pointed to the craggy mountains that rose up across the windswept plain, filled with wild tika, a native grain-bearing grass. It undulated in the wind, like white-capped waves upon a blood-red ocean of sand. “Across the formaji sbah is where we will find the ore—and the warriors that protect it.”





***********************************





The landing party set off.



They had only gone about a half-mile before great clouds of dust rose in the distance, shimmering in the burning heat. Out of the dingy brume, hazy ripples appeared without form at first, becoming solid, formidable shapes. The shapes revealed features and a group of thirty Vulcan males became visible, striding with purpose, and without fear. Soon, the Enterprise crew was surrounded.



The largest and most fierce-looking of the warriors, obviously the highest ranking in the group, scrutinized Spock and the rest with an intimidating boldness. His exacting gaze traveled incredulously over the collar Spock wore as the warrior's own neckpiece was much less significant in decoration.



Spock lowered his voice, cautioning the landing party, using English so the Vulcans would not know what he was saying. “Bow and remain quiet.”



They bowed. Only Spock stood rigid, eyes locked with the other enormous Vulcan.



The brawny warrior said something in an ancient dialect, his guttural voice a low growl, edged with tension.



Spock responded by allowing his hand to firmly grasp the handle of his dagger and he replied with a few words, also unfathomable. It briefly occurred to Kirk, that the ancient Vulcan language sounded like Latin, spoken with an Arabic accent.



The warrior hesitated for a long moment, then he finally bowed his head low and said with exalted reverence, “S’haile.” Kirk thought this might be a title of profound respect, reserved only for those that were of noble blood. The captain exhaled a soft sigh of relief.



The Vulcan glanced at Kirk and the other humans suspiciously, then posed a question.



Spock answered, his dark eyes more hooded and cold, his tone deadly quiet. The warrior bowed dutifully a second time.



Spock again spoke in English. “They will escort me to their compound, but you must remain. Make camp here. You will not be disturbed as they hold this land.”



“Why do we have to stay behind?” Kirk questioned. The heat was becoming unbearable, and he could see there were shade trees that dotted the foothills far beyond.



“You are Vrekasht...outcasts,” Spock replied. “At least that is the closet Terran translation for it. You do not look Vulcan, therefore they have mistaken you for throw-backs, defects from birth. Most infants who exhibit physical deformities are left to die of exposure. I told them I kept you only for my amusement. They regard you as my personal vassals.”



“Oh—great!” Kirk bristled without thinking, voicing his disapproval. For some reason it irritated him that humans were not only considered repulsive mutants, but slaves to boot.



The flinty eyes of the warrior looked puzzled, then narrowed. He glanced first at Kirk, then pointedly at Spock, as if waiting for his reaction. He did not know what the vrekasht with the golden-hair and disfigured ears had said, but his tone was disrespectful, requiring immediate correction.



“Captain, it is imperative that you temper the tone of your voice. Slaves here do not ‘talk- back'. Now, I must strike you otherwise I will seem ineffectual. Weakness here equals distrust. Please prepare yourself. The rest of you, keep your place.”



Suddenly, Spock turned around and cuffed Kirk across the head, knocking him off his feet to the hard ground. McCoy stiffened, his mouth automatically dropping open. Willard and Fitch stared wide-eyed. Kirk lay in the dirt, dazed. The blow gave him an immediate headache, but he wisely repressed any reaction.



Spock also was stunned, though his face remained stoic. Not stunned that he had struck his captain, an unfortunate necessity, but dismayed that a part of him had actually enjoyed it. Seeing Kirk sprawled there at his feet was somehow *pleasurable*. Spock forced the feeling down hard, horrified at this strange emotion, and with effort he regained his composure.



Without a backward glance, he allowed the large Vulcan and his warriors to lead the way to their stronghold hidden in the hills.





***********************************







When they were out of sight, McCoy instantly helped Jim to his feet.



“He’s got quite the wallop,” Kirk grumbled, rubbing his pounding temples.



“I think Spock enjoyed that,” McCoy stated, shaking his head as beads of sweat flew in every direction.



“No. Not Spock....”Kirk began, wiping away the rivulets of perspiration that ran down his face.



“You’re wrong, Jim,” the doctor interjected. “He is reverting to what his ancient ancestors were—emotional, uncivilized, even violent, just like on Sarpeidon.”



“I know, you’ve told me what happened, Bones. But if things go well, we’ll be out of here soon enough. Then we’ll return to our time and Spock will be back to his normal self.”


“I hope so, Jim,” McCoy was staring off into the distance towards the retreating cloud of dust. “I’ve seen first-hand what Spock is capable of. He could be a formidable adversary in this time and place...”





**************************************





It was hours before Spock returned. An honor guard of four Vulcan warriors accompanied him.



The landing party had set up a large, makeshift tent, where they sat in its sweltering shade.



“Break camp,” Spock said briskly. “I have negotiated a deal for the ore we need and we are expected to return to the compound.”



“What did they want in return, Spock?”



“Captain, I would prefer to discuss the arrangement at a later time. It will soon be dark and it is unwise to remain on the plain. Certain, rather voracious carnivores feed at night.



Bones looked around, a bit shaken. The red sun was slowly setting against the mountain ridges, throwing long, dark shadows against the plain.



“What kind of carnivores?” asked the geologist.



“I do not believe you wish to know, Mr. Willard, unless you do not want to sleep tonight. But we shall rest safe in the encampment.”



Kirk, McCoy, Willard and Fitch dismantled the tent and gathered their things. Along with the waiting warriors and Spock, they made haste and quickly crossed the plain.





*********************************





The compound, well hidden in the hills, would have been virtually impossible to find. It was set up like a military barracks with huge stonewalls around its perimeter and guards at various posts. By the time they arrived, bonfires were burning and torches lit their way. From the looks of it, no Vulcan women were here, but there were at least three hundred warriors, busy with various tasks. The Vulcans eyed them warily, but kept a respectable distance.



The strapping warrior who had met them on the plain greeted them. His name was Vltash, his family name and clan too difficult to translate Spock said. Vltash was the commander of this particular base. Outposts like this were dotted around the foothills. The warriors were stationed here to protect the Ortimic ore and the plain from any other clans that dared to venture into it.



Kirk, McCoy, Willard and Fitch were housed in a small tent on the outer edges on the camp. It was here that the lowest subordinates, servants, and slaves were kept. Spock, it seemed, would be afforded every luxury in the main section of the compound.



Alone in their new dismal quarters, Spock quickly filled them in. They were slaves, at his beck and call, and they must act accordingly. If any of them showed disrespect towards Spock or those of higher rank, they could be severely punished, even killed. They would not be required to do any hard labor as they were Spock’s personal property. They served only him.



Spock was rapidly picking up the ancient dialect and could now communicate quite effectively with Vltash and his warriors.



The deal had been closed. They would have their ore in less than a week. Spock would accompany a small cohort into the mountains to the secret mining site. The Vulcans smelted the metal to make tools and weapons and it was extremely valuable and well guarded. Until then, they could only play out their roles.



“What did you trade for the ore, Spock?” Kirk questioned again. He had been waiting for an answer for hours and he couldn’t contain his curiosity any longer.



Spock paused. He drew himself straight, his legs spread and locked, looking every inch the High Lord that Vltash had mistakenly taken him for.



“I have traded myself,” Spock said.



“You?” Kirk was stunned.



“Correct,” Spock replied. “I must remain here so that the Enterprise can return to her own future.”



“It’s out of the question,” McCoy sputtered, raising his voice. “There is no way we are leaving you behind!”



“There was no choice, Doctor,” Spock said with finality. “There was nothing I could offer them that they required. Vulcans are not the ancient native American Indians of Earth that can be bought with a handful of colorful beads, shinny trinkets, and Whisky. This is a military society. They need warriors and leaders. It is ‘kahr-y-tan’, the way of the Vulcan. As I considerably outrank Vltash, strict tradition demands that I must remain here, in command, for the upcoming battle. Had I refused, we would not be standing here discussing trade agreements—we would be dead."



“What battle?” Willard questioned.



“This clan is preparing for imminent war with their enemies over the very same ore that we seek. Vltash is outnumbered three to one and he and his warriors may not survive the initial onslaught. I have given my solemn vow that I would take control of this outpost. I may be able to buy us the time we need to obtain the ore by preventing this camp from being annihilated.”



“Once we have the ore, you’re beaming out with us, Mr. Spock," Kirk abruptly reminded him. "Your first duty is to the Enterprise and Starfleet.”



"Captain, my vow—my word of honor as a Vulcan, even in this time, is not taken lightly by me."



“That’s an order, Mr. Spock, vow or no vow. We are all returning to the ship. Do I make myself clear?”



Darkness descended over the first officer’s face that hinted at anger. Not waiting to be dismissed, Spock turned and strode from the tent without answering.



“Jim, did you see the look on his face?” McCoy said. “He wants to stay in this hell-hole!”



“Once a Vulcan, always a Vulcan,” Fitch sneered under his breath.



Kirk abruptly swung around to the security officer, who hadn’t said three words in the entire time they had been here. “What did you say, mister?”



“Nothing, sir,” Fitch replied quickly.



“Keep it that way unless you want to be demoted for insubordination,” Kirk said between tight lips.



And yet, Kirk turned back and stared at the flapping tent door where Spock had exited, and wondered if Fitch might be right.





************************************





The next day, Kirk and the rest of the landing party saw little of the first officer and only from a distance. Spock kept council with other warriors in the inner part of the compound. Those from the Enterprise had little to do but sit around and observe the comings and goings of the camp.



Kirk observed that the ancient Vulcans were full of dark emotion that threatened to erupt at the least provocation, but extremely regimented, almost to the point of fixation. He also knew that in their future, once that emotion was controlled and suppressed, that their obsessive nature would embrace logic with an equal, unbending discipline.



The atmosphere in the camp seemed exceedingly tense due to the preparations for war and Kirk was getting weary of it. He needed to talk with Spock, find out when they would be heading up into the mountains to get the ore. He had seen enough and was getting bored.



The next morning—all that changed.



Mr. Fitch rose early to relieve himself, exited the tent, and bumped right into a guard who was passing by the flap.



“Oh, excuse me,” Fitch said curtly with a sullen frown. He didn’t like Vulcans much in his own future and he detested them here. Of course, the guard didn’t understand English, but Fitch’s tone was enough for the warrior to realize that this mutant was insolent. It was a personal affront from the lowest of the low.



The guard loomed over him. “On your knees, Vrekash, and beg my forgiveness for your clumsiness,” he growled, pointing to the dirt. Fitch had no idea what the huge miscreant had said, but he did have a pretty good idea from the timbre of his snarl what was expected. Fitch would not comply. There was no way he was going to grovel, not to this savage.



The guard’s eyes narrowed dangerously, then he whacked Fitch off his feet with a sweeping backhand, laying him in the dust. The security officer scrambled back up and stood shaking with anger. As the guard sneered and started to walk away, Fitch lunged for a large, heavy branch of firewood, and clobbered the Vulcan, smack over the head. The branch fractured in two with a wrenching crack, but the guard didn’t even flinch.



With a growl of rage, the Vulcan turned, pulled out his dagger and plunged it into Fitch’s chest. Then the guard wrenched the blade down fiercely, from stem to stern, disemboweling the human on the spot. Kirk, McCoy and Willard, ran out of the tent, only to watch in horror as Fitch pitched to the ground, his guts seeping from his body, turning the sand dark with gore.



A small group of warriors gathered to watch, smiling at the carnage. McCoy dropped to Fitch’s side, but it was over. There was nothing he could do. Kirk stood there - fists clenched at his side - shocked, angry, wanting to tear the murderer apart.



The crowd parted and Spock walked into the circle. He was followed by two high-ranking Vulcans, who were now his aide-de-camps, and Vltash.



“Report,” Vltash ordered.



“The slave, S’haile Spock calls a qomi, was insolent and attacked me. I ended his disobedience.”



“Very well. As he was the S’haile's property, the cost to replace him shall be your responsibility. Return to your post.”



The guard bowed and walked away.



The landing party couldn’t understand the words that were exchanged, but unbelievably, they all noted that Spock’s eyes had seemed to harden in agreement with whatever Vltash had ordered.



“Most unfortunate,” Spock said in English, his face a blank slate as he looked at Fitch. He motioned to one of his aide-de-camps, “A'eyaa ak-'shem .”



“Spock?!” McCoy sputtered in indignation.



“Go back in the tent,” Spock ordered. There was no option to refuse. Kirk motioned that they should do as Spock said, and they went inside.



A few moments later, the first officer appeared.



“You cold-blooded bastard,” McCoy shot at him. “At least you could do is make sure Fitch gets a decent burial!”



Spock raised his hand to cease the doctor's protest, “Slaves are not afforded ‘decent burials’ here, Doctor, but I will ensure that his remains are not left on the rocks for scavengers.”



“Oh, how gracious of you,” McCoy replied sarcastically with a slight bow.



Spock ignored the insult and continued, “We leave within the hour for the mining camp. The captain shall accompany me. Doctor McCoy and Mr. Willard will return to the ship."



“Like hell...” McCoy sputtered, but Spock already had taken the only communicator out of the pouch that hung from his shoulder.



“You would not survive the journey into the mountains. It is treacherous, even for a Vulcan, and I cannot risk leaving you behind in camp. I think the captain will concede to this logic after what just occurred outside.”



Spock didn’t wait for Kirk to reply. He flipped the communicator open.



“Spock here. Two to beam up. McCoy and Willard. Spock out.”



“Jim, you can’t let him...” McCoy objected.



“Mr. Spock is right. Return to the ship. He and I will transport back once we have the ore. Under no condition should anyone beam down without my explicit orders.”



Before McCoy could disagree further, he and Willard began to shimmer and then were gone.



Now it was only Spock and Kirk. And Kirk didn’t know if he had sent Bones and Willard to safety because he trusted Spock or, more importantly, because he didn’t…





*****************************************





The trek through the gorges and immense boulders of the mountain was incredibly difficult. The long trail upwards was little more then a goat’s footpath that ran along a sheer cliff, dropping a perilous 1000 feet down over the side. It was burning hot and Kirk sweated profusely, stopping every 500 yards to quickly catch his breath in the thin, dry air.



Vltash, two aide-de-camps, three high-ranking warriors and five guards accompanied Spock. There were also four slaves, who carried the gear, struggling under their heavy loads.



McCoy and Willard would never have made it this far and Vulcans, Kirk noted with great alarm, did not appreciate being slowed up by the weak or clumsy. Only hours ago, Kirk had witnessed a slave who had broken his ankle when he fell against a sharp rock. His pack was removed, then he was unceremoniously dumped over the edge, falling screaming to his death below. The group, even the slaves, continued on without a backward glance.



They made camp early and Kirk was incredibly relieved. He didn’t think he could have gone on much further. He suspected that Spock had ordered it, knowing how precarious continuing might be for his weaker human captain.



Kirk was exhausted, winded, and soaking wet with perspiration. They hadn’t eaten since morning, but his first priority was to speak with Spock. The first officer had ignored him the whole trek, staying up front with Vltash, while Kirk was forced to remain at the back of the line, a guard close at hand. This not only irritated him to no end, but he realized it made him envious, even jealous. Spock was purposely excluding him. Was Spock finding a worthier confidante in Vltash? Had their friendship been replaced so easily by a compatriot of his own kind? Kirk also had the horrible suspicion that Spock intended to stay on Vulcan, to honor his vow. And that wasn’t going to be an option. Period.



Later that evening, seeing his chance as Spock crossed the camp alone, Kirk jumped to his feet and approached him.



“Spock, I need to talk to you.”



Spock didn’t even break his stride, continuing to ignore his captain as if he didn’t exist.



“Now Commander,” Kirk ordered, his voice adamant, demanding compliance.



A couple of guards walking by shot Kirk a quick glance, but they did not tarry.



Spock stopped and spun on his heels.



“You were cautioned not to address me in that tone,” Spock said. “It is dangerous for you and it...” Spock paused, staring coldly at Kirk. “...it irritates me.”



"Irritates you?" Kirk sputtered, flabbergasted. “I’ll take that under advisement, Mister Spo...I mean, S’haile Spock,” Kirk stressed the word S’haile with mocking sarcasm. It was meant to cut. Spock felt the sting.



“Captain,” Spock stressed with equal umbrage, “I am here at your orders against my objections. Also against my objections, you may order me back to the ship.”



“You know that’s impossible until we get the ore,” Kirk shot back.



“Then there is no logical reason to continue this discussion. You are dismissed.”



“You’re dismissing me?!” Kirk was suddenly incensed, his cheeks flushing hot.



"Return to the safety of your tent."



“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you, playing High Lord of the Manor?” Kirk lowered his voice to a whisper, but his anger was at an all time high. “You’ve taken command when you’d had to, but this is the first time you’ve actually had the arrogance to want to command.”



“Indeed?” Spock raised a stiff brow in a sullen affront.



“A Starfleet ship, full of impulsive, irrational humans, was never deserving enough of your abilities for you to want to assume full command, was it, Spock?”



The Vulcan’s face grew dark, but Kirk blinded by his own indignation, ignored the warning signs.



“But this world—your world—a savage, uncivilized Vulcan in need of your special talents, perhaps that is worth ruling?”



“Enough,” Spock said, his eyes narrowing dangerously. “My tolerance of this discussion is at an end.”



“Do you intend to bring logic to Vulcan five thousand years before Surak, to be the father of all that is to come? Is that it, Spock? Is it better to rule in hell than serve in heaven?”



Spock was upon him so quickly, he didn’t have time to react. Spock seized his upper arms, and he was held fast as Spock's black, menacing eyes bore down on him, inches from his face.



“Kroykah! I will hear no more!”



The Vulcan’s face was flushed, wrath transforming his features into a terrifying intensity that Kirk had only seen once before, during the challenge at koon-ut-kal-if-fee. But this was not the affects of pon farr, it was infinitely more dangerous. Spock had not lost his mind, he was in full control of his actions. This was not madness, but the rational choice of someone who knew exactly what they were doing. This Spock was not his Spock, his first officer or even his friend. This Spock only belonged to himself.



Instantly, Vltash and an aide-de-camp were flanking Spock’s side, waiting instructions.



“S’haile,” Vltash said with a bow. “This qomi as thou calls him is like the other, Fitch—undisciplined.”



Spock released Kirk, but still remained glaring down at him.



“It cannot be permitted, my Lord, even if he amuses thee,” Vltash pressed. “It sets an adverse example. With war soon upon us, we cannot have dissension with in the ranks of our own slaves."



Spock paused, formulating his answer. “Confine him under guard. I will consider an appropriate punishment.”



The captain was immediately dragged away.



Kirk didn’t know what had been said, but he knew he was in deep shit.





******************************************





He trudged on in wretchedness, his bare feet picking their way along the scorching path.



The next morning, Kirk had found that his boots had been removed from the tent. He was forced to travel barefoot. This was his punishment? At first, it seemed fairly trivial, consider what penalty a Vulcan commander could have ordered. But as the hours dragged on, he painfully realized how much this simple act caused torment. His feet burned and each step became an agony.



There was also a definite shift in the way he was looked upon by the guards. Before, he had been the pampered toy of their Lord, off-limits. Now, they had been quick to perceive that he was in disfavor, being punished by the new commander and would be treated accordingly. When he paused to catch his breath, he was pushed roughly by a warrior, and almost fell face first into the rocks. This continued numerous times, each delay was met with a harsh shove, until his sides and back ached.



They left the trail and hiked up a long rocky ridge, then through some spiky bushes that gashed his legs, and finally down into a little ravine. A small muddy spring awaited them. Kirk was quickly enveloped in a swarm of biting insects. The bugs didn’t seem interested in the Vulcan’s hides, but feasted on his softer human flesh with zeal.



He had at least two dozen drinking their fill from him. As he began to swat at them, a pair of stony Vulcan eyes turned on him. It was the guard who had killed Fitch.



"Cease you move-ment, Vrekash. Move not muscle...or thee be punished.”



Kirk stared at the guard in disbelieve. It was English—broken, murdered by the thick accent, but English nonetheless. How? Had Spock been teaching the Vulcans enough English to communicate with Kirk? No, not communicate, he thought bleakly, but to order him about. Spock didn’t want the same thing that happened to Fitch to happen to him. Kirk would not be permitted to accidentally mistake anything that the warriors demanded.



But now what? They had all set about rigging up camp. Spock had disappeared with Vltash, so Kirk just stood, waiting. The insects were fierce, and there were swarms of them everywhere. Unable to slap them, he could only shift a little, attempting to shake them off. It was useless. A least a dozen of the little fuckers feasted on his left cheek. He tried to find the willpower to just feel them bite, but it was utter torture! Unable to stand it a second longer, he warily eyed the warriors, who seemed preoccupied, then very slowly, as indiscreetly as he could, he brushed a few from his face.



Within three quick paces, the guard loomed over him. Kirk turned and watched as the Vulcan forged a tight fist, drew it back, and then hammered it into his stomach. Kirk doubled-over in pain and immediately fell to the ground, gasping. The Vulcan pushed him over with his boot and held his head in the dust with his large, heavy foot.



“I...not repeat...orders twice.”



The Vulcan removed his boot, then squatted down, took Kirk by the hair, and yanked his head up. The guard viciously spat, and contemptuously waited for a reaction. He wanted Kirk to resist or struggle. This was a test. The other gomi had failed and had died. Would this one be more obedient?



Much to his self-loathing, Kirk passed the test, for he could only nod in dull pain.



The Vulcan dropped him to the ground roughly, walked away, only to return moments later with what Kirk thought was some kind of dog collar. It was made of black leather, but there were pointed studs on the inside. The points were blunted and wouldn't break the skin, but it was evident that they would be aggravating, and even downright painful. The collar was firmly secured to Kirk’s neck, then chain was dragged over and with firm click, locked in place. The other end of the shackle was attached to a large tree.



No escape.



Kirk sat in the dirt for an hour, feasted upon by the horrid insects, watching the Vulcans finish their evening meal. Finally, a tall, thin warrior strode over. He jammed a wooden bowl into Kirk’s lap. The contents of the bowl looked detestable.



With reluctance, Kirk immersed a finger into the cold slop. The stringy slime made him queasy, and he couldn’t hide the look of disgust on his face. The group broke out into mocking laugher.



Suddenly, the bowl was kicked out of his hands—



A huge warrior with a twisted nose, most likely broken and never set right, spoke. His English was much clearer. Vulcans were very adept at picking up languages so it shouldn’t have surprised Kirk as much as it did.



“You find our meal et-'liwh...” He paused for the right word, “...unpalatable, Vrekash? Starve or crawl on your hands and knees for it.”



Screw-you, *Broken-nose*, thought Kirk angrily, but then he realized they were determined to break him of his pride or starve him to death. He had no disillusionment; there would be no food until late tomorrow night, perhaps not even then if he didn't eat this. He needed to keep his strength up. He could not survive the heat and journey if he did not consume the crap. God, how he hated them!



He felt pathetic, crawling like a savage towards the overturned bowl. Kirk would find himself sucking disgusting table scraps out of the dust.







*************************************





When Spock returned, he had Kirk brought to his tent, and the aide-de-camp had told Kirk to clean it up. The collar of obedience remained firmly in place.



Spock didn’t even look up at his captain. He was deep in council with Vltash and two high-ranking Vulcans. They sat amongst the large pillows piled in a corner, drinking from metal cups and they spoke the ancient dialect. Kirk had no idea what they were discussing, but suspected it was strategy about the upcoming battle.



Kirk kept himself busy. He cleared the meal dishes, swept the floor, folded and put clothes away in a great trunk, and straightened blankets. Anything was better than getting eaten alive by those insatiable, hideous vermin outside. Occasionally, he’d glance at the group. But each time he did, Spock’s dark eyes would rise and lock on his, and under that observant, cool gaze, Kirk would quickly turn away.



At least here, Kirk felt he might have the opportunity to talk to Spock in private later, to try to make him see reason. Finally, the warriors were dismissed, took their bows and left. Kirk and Spock were alone.



“Spock...” Kirk began.



“You have made me angry, James Kirk, ” Spock countered, his voice a low, dangerous rumble. “It is an emotion I am unaccustomed to, but I will not be undermined.”



“Neither will I,” Kirk shot back.



“There is an old Vulcan dictum that I will translate, 'Do not cross a line that you cannot retreat from.'"



“Is that a threat?” Kirk held his ground. He knew that his ability not to show panic when threatened accounted for much of the respect that Spock afforded him. He was determined to let Spock know that his skills as captain were still very much intact, forged by the front-line battles they had both shared together. Only this time, Kirk was dismayed to find that Spock was now his adversary and not his ally.



Spock slowly rose, drawing himself up to his full height. “It is a warning. I suggest you heed it. I do not wish to make an example of you twice.”



“And if I don’t?” Kirk challenged.



Kirk was ceased roughly, held fast, then pressed downward with arms of steel. He was forced to his knees—



Spock towered over him, powerful hands pressed hard against his shoulders. "You will submit to me.”



“Like hell!”



Spock swung his large boot into Kirk’s crotch, bringing the heel to bear directly on his captain’s sex. The symbolism was clear; Lord Spock was hell bent on some ‘kick’ of utter domination and, Kirk shuddered, Spock was also attempting to demean him by sexual intimidation.



The whole scene made Kirk's head swim, and he had never felt such frustration, even helplessness. Now, he realized what it felt like to be at the receiving end of Vulcan anger. But at the same time, there was something peculiar shinning in Spock’s eyes, a look he couldn’t comprehend: a sudden brightness, a burning intensity....



God, No! Kirk suddenly realized what he was seeing in that dark stare, now flecked with golden flame. Spock was becoming *sexually aroused*.



Kirk was hit by a wave of utter confusion. // This can’t be happening. He wants me! //



"How can you do this? I’m your captain, your friend...and I’m human. God damn it, I have feelings..." his voice choked off in anger and he averted his eyes.



Spock removed his boot from Kirk’s groin. He lifted one hand from Kirk's shoulder, then touched Kirk's face, softly caressing his cheek. "How you feel is the most important thing to me.”



Spock continued running a finger in a graze along Kirk’s clenched jaw. “It gives me pleasure to see you fear me and have to comply with my wishes. Power is, I have discovered, a pleasant aphrodisiac. Something perhaps, in your capacity as captain, that you have also enjoyed on occasion?”



The shock and disgust on Kirk’s face was obvious, triggering an equally dark response in Spock. Kirk’s hands knotted into fists at his side, ready to strike out.



"Fuck you!" Kirk snarled, his voice raw with fury.



It was the wrong answer.







**********************************************





Spock seized his captain around the waist and threw him over his shoulder like a side of beef. Then he strode out of the tent, Kirk wildly thrashing to no avail.



He was dumped outside the tent onto the hard ground, held firmly in place by Spock’s boot.



“The whelp needs to be taught further discipline. He is unworthy of my attention,” Spock said coldly in Vulcan. Three warriors, including the guard and Broken-nose, moved forward with haste and bowed.



“The punishment, S’haile?”



Spock paused for a long moment while they waited.



“K'lasa. But take care that his chastity remains mine.”



The guards bowed again, then dragged Kirk from where he lay at Spock’s feet.





*********************************************





Kirk was immediately bound with ropes made of chakh, and thrown down on some sort of rough blanket that had quickly appeared in the center of the camp. He was yanked into a kneeling position by two of the guards, who held him stationary by his shoulders. A few other warriors gathered around, waiting in anticipation for the sport to begin.



Broken-nose stepped up, his hips at eye level with Kirk, and began unfastening his leather breeches. Kirk tried to struggle, vomit rising in his throat, but it was no use. He wrenched his head down, desperate to avert his eyes from his worst nightmare.



SMACK!



The Vulcan had back-handed him across the face with restrained power, but the blow snapped Kirk’s head to the side with such force that he thought it might break his neck. His cheek was numb from the blow and a trickle of bitter blood ran from his mouth, dripping onto his chest.



"You will look at me," Broken-nose ordered, as a guard roughly yanked Kirk’s hair back forcing him to look at his abuser. His last refuge gone, he stared at the lecherous face that hovered in front of him.



"From now on, you will look into the eyes of whoever is using you. If you avert your eyes again, you shall wish you were dead."



Kirk’s tormentor leaned in and whispered menacingly. "Listen well, Vrekash. You shall wrap your lips around my manhood and consume every drib. If I see even one drop on your chin, I'm going to whip until you bleed. Understand?”



As the guard undid his gusset cup, Kirk came face-to-groin with the massive erection. His eyes wide with loathing, every nerve screaming “No!”, James Kirk did the unthinkable—



He lunged and snapped at the Vulcan’s sex with sharp teeth and hard clamping jaws.



The guard flung himself back just in time to avoid injury. But the flame of revenge burning in his eyes was fiercer than the shock on his startled face. “Bind him to the tree!”



Kirk was dragged, knees scraped bloody from the sharp stones on the ground, to the perimeter of the camp. They threw a rope into an upper tree branch, secured it to the collar around his neck, and hoisted him up until he was precariously balanced on his tiptoes. A dark hood was thrust down over his face.



Fetching more rope, another Vulcan tied the hood tightly around his neck. With each breath, the hood kept sucking to his face. The hot vapid air enveloping his head made him dizzy and he labored to fill his lungs. As he started re-breathing the same stale air—panic rose, he couldn’t breathe!



"Keep still," a voice barked. “I'm going to make a slit with a dagger. Hold your tongue back unless you desire to loose it"



Then, a tearing sound and a tiny bit of fresh air flowed into his lungs. Kirk sucked at it ravenously, but he was discovering a claustrophobia that he never knew he had.



Then the warriors walked away.



At least an hour passed without a word or nearby movement. They had left him alone in this hell. Kirk was surviving on the sparse allotment of air, but the horrible ache in his legs was unbearable. Whenever he tried to rest on the balls of his feet, the collar choked him, digging the horrible metal studs deep into his neck. He couldn’t see, couldn’t move, he only hung in blackness. He was terrifyingly aware of his utter vulnerability; his entire life depended on sucking enough air through the tiny slit.



Heavy footsteps surrounded him. Then there was a rapid whorl and Kirk exploded in pain!



Another agonizing strike landed—then another!



Beads of perspiration, fueled by fear and pain, began to run down Kirk's face.



The guards had made nasty long flails from thorny reeds that grew along the watering hole. God! How they thrashed him! They started with full swings, each Vulcan stepping up to take his turn. The fails wized through the air, proclaiming each assault before they hit. Kirk writhed after every blow, but the next strike wouldn’t come until he least expected it, when his body sagged, when the trembling dissipated. He never knew until it landed where it would hit.



How he managed not to beg for mercy, he had no idea.



During the second round, they started improvising. A crop-like rod was introduced, adding whole new levels of pain that caused Kirk to black in-and-out of consciousness. When he had stopped moaning and dangled limp, they slackened the rope and removed the hood.



There was no sport in ravaging an unconscious prisoner, so as one Vulcan held him steady, another dosed him with ice-cold water, which they poured slowly over his head and down his spine. They stood waiting to continue the beatings once he was sufficiently aroused.



Kirk groaned in pain as he regained consciousness and found his footing. Opening his bloodshot eyes, he saw that familiar face standing before him.



Spock looked at him without revealing a trace of emotion. But yet, even as the three Vulcans stood waiting to do even more damage, Spock said, “Enough. Complete his training, then bring him to me.”



Again, Kirk found himself being dragged across the camp and forced to kneel on the blanket.



Broken-nose stood before him a second time and released his erection from the confinement of suede. It was like some horrible deji-vous. If Kirk refused, was it back to the tree? Would they keep doing this terrible thing until he submitted or was as good as dead?


The phallus twitched in anticipation, horizontal and climbing fast—



The humiliation was rising again, and he felt sick to his stomach. He should make them beat him senseless again rather than give into their demands. Then he realized he had little choice. Either do this degrading act or face the awful punishments that he knew Vulcans were capable of. Even as he stared at that expectant cock, he knew he would not have strength for more beatings—or worse.



“Open your mouth, qomi-swine. Eyes on me.”



Kirk parted his lips with a dull acceptance, and the guard thrust his cock in.



When he reached Kirk’s throat he stopped, watching in enjoyment as Kirk choked on the invasion of hard flesh. Then, gripping Kirk by the back of his neck, he slowly, very slowly forced the head and shaft further down.



When three inches of his cock still jutted from Kirk’s lips, he could go no further, so he withdrew a couple of inches allowing Kirk to finally gulp a desperate breath of air. Then he began to throat-fuck Kirk, who could do nothing but try to relax his throat as much as possible. Suddenly, the guard thrust with all his force, burying his full length down into Kirk’s strained esophagus. Kirk immediately bolted and gagged violently, but it didn’t stop the guard from fucking him hard—with deep, ruthless strokes—until Kirk was on verge of blacking out.



Finally, on the brink of climax, the guard pulled his cock out and shot stream after thick stream of gushing semen all over Kirk’s bruised and battered face.



Cum coated Kirk’s eyes and nose and spurted into his hair, now wet with perspiration, ice water and suffering.



"Thank him," ordered one of the guards restraining Kirk, pulling the human brutally back by the hair.



"...Th...ank...you..." Kirk croaked a hoarse whisper, praying to any God that would listen, that it would end here—that no others would abuse him, force him to submit to the same horrible test.



"Did you enjoy the taste of Vulcan flesh?" his tormentor asked as he placed his softening manhood back into his breeches.



“No!” Kirk growled, although it came out as a pained wheeze.



"Good. Then all Vulcans shall use your body for their pleasure anytime they wish."



Before, they had played with him like a toy. But now he was nothing more than a piece of meat. Unable to endure any more, Kirk folded like an accordion. The two Vulcans restraining him let him fall and he crumpled to the blanket into blessed unconsciousness.





*******************************************







Kirk’s eyelids fluttered open…



The bitter stabs of pain reminded him that what had happened was not an appalling nightmare. His flesh burned with the vicious lacerations and blue-black bruises, the undeniable evidence of Lord Spock's dominance and utter mastery over him.



His head pounded, and his throat felt raw and sore. He could still taste the coppery semen on his lips. Suddenly, he was gripped with a sudden wave of nausea. Fighting against the dry heaving of his stomach, he had never felt so miserable or so humiliated.



Curled up in a fetal position in the corner of Spock’s tent, Kirk discovered that he was naked although a blanket had been draped around him, keeping out the chill of night air. A light sheen of sweat covered his entire body, but he started to shiver as a cold clamminess took hold. How long he had been lying in the darkness or who had put him there, he didn't know.



It was no use trying to get up. The stiffness of aching muscles and fiery throbbing of the gashes were too great. He quickly realized that the collar had been securely chained to the heavy trunk, so he just lay in the darkness for what seemed like hours, falling in and out of a restless, tortured sleep. He woke to only to more suffering as the jagged slashes and perforations swelled up, angry and throbbing.



Movement—a cool breeze as the tent flap opened, then a slender, tall figure appeared silhouetted in the doorway.



“Spock?” Kirk wheezed, his tongue dry and parched.



"Yes...?" Spock said with a strongly implied 'and?...' in his voice.



Kirk said nothing more, only turned away, unable to stop trembling.



“You are learning, James. The harshest part of your punishment is over. I hope you have had sufficient time to contemplate your servitude and the lessons you've learned tonight.”



Then the tent was full of flickering torch light. Spock stood in the center of the room as his aide-de-camp finished lighting the lamps, then immediately bowed and exited.



Spock walked over and looked down on the wretched heap. “I shall attend to your wounds myself,” he stated.



Spock opened the trunk and pulled out various metal bottles and ointments. He knelt beside Kirk, removed the blanket from his battered body and rolled him gently onto his back. Kirk winced painfully, but refused to cry out. Spock lifted his head, his arm cradling Kirk's neck, and tipped a bottle between his parched, cracked lips. Sweet and thick, the liquid flowed slowly down Kirk’s dehydrated throat with a tingling warmth that spread quickly into his aching limbs.



Spock placed the bottle of elixir on the floor, then eased Kirk gently back down. Pouring a mixture of various lotions into his palms, Spock rubbed his hands together to warm them.



He began at the tense, knotted shoulders first, kneading the muscles and working slowly, very slowly, down the right arm, careful not to further inflame the savage gashes.



Kirk moaned softly, both in distress and relief. After so much abuse at the orders of this Vulcan, it was impossible to comprehend why he so tenderly attempted to ease his torment; Spock was a brutal savage one-minute, showing kindness and mercy the next. The contradiction was startling, unfathomable, yet Kirk couldn’t help but give himself over to the alleviation of his agony by Spock’s touch.



Spock glided past the rope burns on the wrist and began to rub Kirk’s right hand, massaging in the healing liniments, lotions that must have contained some form of natural antibiotic and a pain-deadening effect. The Vulcan’s fingers were firm yet yielding, and worked back up the arm towards the chest. Every response was noted, for when the hands came upon an area that elicited a jolt, another quick inhale or slight gasp, that part would be thoughtfully attended to again.



As the physical anguish began dissipating, a pleasing relaxation began to flood Kirk’s body. He calmed under Spock's doctoring, and floating off to a place that was warm and peaceful. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Every muscle in his arms, shoulders, neck, chest and sides was manipulated, the raw nerves gently eased, each and every wound carefully examined and cleaned. He melted further downward into a blissful tranquility.



Spock massaged his foot, each of his toes in turn; the fingers ventured up to his ankle, rubbing the lotion into the rope burns. With patient skill, he continued up the leg, over and under the bruised and bloody kneecaps, and further upwards, to his lower thigh, kneaded the tight knots from the aching limb...



Kirk froze—



He was suddenly aware of a new sensation. It was coming from his groin. Kirk knew, without a doubt, that he was starting to experience an erection. And, to his horror, he knew that Spock also knew.



“Your body fascinates me,” Spock said softly. “There is no single turn of muscle nor line that does not merge in perfect symmetry.”



The Vulcan continued inching deliberately up the lateral edge of his inner thigh, towards Kirk’s source of embarrassment; he tried to cover his aroused sex with his hands, his face flaming red.



Immediately, his wrists were seized and his hands thrust away.



“If I desire to look at you, all of you, you will permit it.”



Then the blanket was dropped back into place, and Kirk was left alone with his growing erection and troubling thoughts.





**********************************************





When Kirk awoke, it was early morning and he could hear the sounds of movement outside the tent.



Spock must have returned while he was sleeping for the bed in the corner showed signs of being slept in. But Spock was already dressed and outside.



Within the hour, Spock and Vltash had left camp with three Vulcan warriors and two slaves. Kirk remained shackled to the trunk, grateful that he had been left behind. He doubted with his injuries that he could have walked five meters, let alone five miles uphill. But the lotions had worked and the pain was much less. All that day and the next, he was left alone, only given food, water and allowed to relieve himself.



In the late afternoon of the second day, Spock and the rest returned, the slaves carrying the ore in sacks on their backs.



Spock strode into the tent and his aide-de-camp immediately brought him food and drink. He lay on the pillows, eating, ignoring Kirk until he had finished. At last, dark eyes sought the figure sitting pensively in the corner.



“How are you feeling, Jim?”



It was the first time Spock had called him Jim since they had beamed down.



“Better,” Kirk replied warily, yet he was secretly hopeful. Perhaps now that they had the ore, they would beam back to the Enterprise. He still thought in terms of they, but he knew that the Vulcan would not go willingly. If only Kirk could get to the knockout hypo in the bag Spock always wore around his shoulder...



"Good. Then you will wash the dust from me, James. From now on, there will be certain duties you will perform.”



In a pig's eye, Kirk thought, but Spock rose up, walked to the trunk and unlocked the chain from the collar.



“You’ll find what you need in there.” Spock pointed to a small alcove where there was a large bowl, a jug of water, soft wash cloths and a paste that smelled vaguely like some kind of herbal soap mixed with oil.



Kirk got up slowly, stretching the stiffness from his shaky legs. The pain had dulled significantly, but every step reminded him that to disobey cost dearly. He was aware Spock was observing him unabashedly. Vulcans had no concept of human modesty. A body was what it was, merely a physical form and nothing to be ashamed about. But Kirk couldn’t help feeling vulnerable and uneasy as he crossed the tent buck-naked.



Kirk picked up the necessary items, brought them into the center of the tent where Spock waited, and he placed them on the floor. He poured the water from the jug into the bowl, added a pinch of the paste, then immersed a cloth in it.



Spock stuck out a dirty boot, obviously to have it removed. Kirk bent over, took the heel and slowly pulled it off, then removed other that was offered to him.



Removing the pouch that hung from around his shoulder, Spock tossed it back on the pillows. Kirk quickly noting its location for later; he must try and get to it, regardless of the risk.



“Undress me,” Spock said.



Kirk began fumbling with the leather ties that secured the doublet-vest, until finally it was released and could be slipped off. Kirk undid the suede breeches, and pulled them away, leaving only the metal gusset that covered Spock’s sex.



Kirk hesitated, then slipped around Spock’s side, undid the ties from the back, and the alloy covering fell away. Spock now stood naked as well. Without looking at Spock directly, Kirk grabbed the bowl and fell back behind the Vulcan again.



Kirk began washing, lathering the soap and water over the taut muscles and lean frame. The dirt and grime from Spock’s flank slid down his legs to the floor in tiny rivulets. Inched downwards, Kirk applied the cloth in a circular motion, stopping just before he reached Spock’s backside. After a moment of uncertainty, Kirk ran the cloth over glutes, then down to scrub the back of the thighs.



Spock stood patiently until Kirk had finished.



Kirk took a deep breath. He had to wash the front. He moved around, keeping his eyes averted, staring vacantly over Spock’s shoulder. He began cleansing the arms: over the biceps and triceps, down the wrists, to bathe the graceful hands and fingers. He lathered the shoulders, and soaped the chest covered with a mat of silky hair. Lower still, sweeping the dripping, soapy material over the stomach and abdomen...



Kirk stopped—



He couldn’t wash Spock there. He just couldn’t.



His wrist was suddenly seized in a tight grip. Spock looked at him intensely, and their eyes locked. The moment between them hung like a long drop off a cliff—the immediate rush of adrenaline followed by the acceptance of the inevitable.



Hand held fast, Spock forced Kirk’s wrist lower, lightly brushing the moist cloth over the heavy olive-colored phallus. Spock began to move the material in smooth, languid, soapy circles, round and round, until the rhythm became incredibly sensual.



“No,” Kirk said, trying to wrench his hand away from Spock's growing erection, fully aware that his own penis was also thickening. He glanced towards the pillows, quickly scanning for the pouch.



“No?” said Spock softly. “You contradict yourself, James. It is evident that you want me as much as I want you. “No” is not a word that slaves are permitted to use. And you are my slave—make no mistake about that. But your disobedience may cause you more pain this evening. How much is up to you."



Spock’s hot fingers closed around and engulfed Kirk's penis. Kirk jerked away, but couldn’t break free, his wrist was still held fast in the Vulcan's steely grip. Spock stroked and teased Kirk’s cock, and he ran his thumb in sensual circles around the head. As the tension ignited in Kirk's stomach and spread into a dull throbbing in his groin, a sudden moan escaped his lips.



"Oh, God, please," he rasped, "No more."



"This is just the beginning, James. I control you now.”



Spock continued to masturbate him, at first leisurely, then he increased the rhythm until Kirk couldn’t stop himself from thrusting against the unrelenting grip.



“Anytime I ask you to do anything, you will do it without hesitation,” Spock said, continuing to massage the now hard cock with long, smooth strokes.



On and on: provoking, enticing, tantalizing, keeping him suspended on the edge in delicious torture—until Kirk was ready to scream.



As the fingers frustratingly slowed, then softly caressed across the most sensitive area under the head of his fully engorged cock, Kirk could feel fiery surges shoot out to every muscle. His legs began to tremble, his balls tightened until they ached, the unbearable pressure built until he thought he would disintegrate into a thousand pieces.



“Spock—please,” he pleaded.



“You are very responsive, James. I find it most gratifying. But you must ask my permission if you want me to continue."



Kirk bit his lip in frustration. He couldn’t ask, couldn't beg, but he heard the words leave his mouth before he could stop himself, frantic that Spock might remove his hand.



“Please…I can’t stand it anymore!”



Spock increased the tempo slightly.



“’If it pleases you, my Lord’. Say it.”



Kirk squirmed and thrust against the still slackened grip, desperate for more.



“Don’t make me say it. I can’t—”



“—You will or this shall cease immediately. Say it.”



“No!"



“Say it, James. Say it to prove to me that you want this as much as I.”



Unable to withstand it a second longer, Kirk finally ground out the words that would seal his fate.



“If it…pleases you my...Lord.”



Dark eyes bright with satisfaction, Spock released Jim’s wrist, for there now was no reason to restrain him. The strokes from his other hand slid faster up and down Kirk’s shaft.



Kirk fought to control his throat, choking back the involuntary cries that were forced from him, and shaking with the effort. Then, there was a tremendous surge in his groin, a torrent that swelled, rushing to escape—



With a slow wail, increasing in volume like a kettle coming to a boil, Kirk orgasmed with a full-throated cry of relief. He came, delirious with pleasure, until he shot the last spurts of sticky fluid into Spock’s fist.



Then Kirk's crumpled to the floor. Moments passed, as he lay bathed in sweat, trying to catch his breath. His mind was a cauldron of mixed emotions. Dear God! What had he done? What had Spock made him do? He had never been aroused so quickly, or experienced such an intense, prolonged orgasm.



Suddenly, he was gripped with a startling revelation.



Did a part of him want to submit to Spock? Did he enjoy having someone else take command for once, taking all responsibility and burden off his shoulders, allowing him to just revel in the sensation? He was afraid of it, this secret fantasy to be dominated, and yet thrilled at the possibilities. Giving up all sexual control was, Kirk realized, an extraordinarily astounding and intensely erotic experience.



He was well aware that many men in command were masochistic in their private sexual affairs. It was a way to restore balance, or perhaps to punish themselves for perceived or real errors that had cost others their careers or lives. He personally knew at least two starship captains who regularly visited dominatrixes, and another in a sado-masochistic relationship with another male. Pleasure, pain, power, guilt and humiliation could be inextricably linked, giving rise to the forceful desires of sexual control and submission.



Had Spock somehow known this about his captain, even if he himself had not? Had his first officer been unable or unwilling to act upon it on the Enterprise in his capacity as a subordinate – seven thousand years in the future? Or had the radical change in Spock, here on Vulcan, incited an equally fundamental change in Kirk?



Spock had taken away his fear of losing command, losing control, and replaced it with something infinitely more satisfying— a passion to be sexually dominated, a discovery about himself that Kirk could no longer deny. Panic and fear had been converted into ecstasy, crossing that thin line into new heights of responsiveness. It was the triumph of mindless pleasure over thoughtful enjoyment, of the mind-blowing intensity of the moment over rational judgment.



Is that why he was still so aroused, wanting desperately to feel Spock’s touch again, to hear Spock order him to do the unthinkable? Yes, he wanted Spock to force him to do things he never could have done had he been the master of his own limited code of sexual ethics. He needed Spock to push him to the limit, against his will if necessary, so he could be free to enjoy everything he had denied himself.



As if reading his mind, Spock said, "Lie on your stomach," and Kirk complied, feeling helpless, and yet filled with delicious anticipation.



The Vulcan took some thin ropes and pulled Jim’s wrists together, tying them tight with a series of complicate knots. He did the same with his ankles, pulling them up towards his backside. Then Kirk felt Spock pulling his wrists over his head and behind his neck. He then bound his wrists to his ankles, pulling Kirk’s shoulders and hips off the ground. Only his chest and stomach remained on the soapy carpet.



After that, Kirk was blindfolded, and his world was comprised of nothing but a velvet darkness and the tension of straining muscles.



"This is what is known as elsaku-tersayek or tether-coupling," Spock whispered beside his ear, his voice a soft caress. "You will not enjoy it, but shi'yuk kafeh—bed-slaves, are not supposed to be comfortable."



He could hear Spock drying himself off and dressing. Then the Vulcan left.



Kirk waited with a burning impatience for Spock’s return...





******************************************





After what seemed like hours, although it was probably less than an hour, Kirk felt the cool breeze of the tent flap opening.



But this time, he heard more than one set of footsteps. It sounded as if Spock had brought other Vulcans into the tent.



// Oh God! No! // Kirk panicked. The damn blindfold and ropes rendered him totally vulnerable to them. Would Spock force him to submit to the warriors again? It was too unbearable to even think about.



He felt one of them start to undo the bindings, freeing his ankles from his wrists. Although his arms and legs were still bound, he was able to lower his body to lay straight, even though he felt incredibly stiff. The blindfold was left securely in place.



"Roll over onto your back,” Spock’s voice said. It was not a request.



Almost without thinking, Kirk slowly rolled over.



“You will make yourself climax, James. I wish to demonstrate your obedience.”



Kirk desperately hoped that if he pleased Spock, did what the Vulcan ordered, he would not be handed over to the warriors. The bound hands went to his crotch and he started to slowly rub his cock. Just knowing Spock was watching, filled him with a strange excitement. He blocked out the thought of all other eyes, but Spock’s dark, intense stare, as he thrust against his fingers. He allowing his left hand to rub his balls, and he fantasized that it was Spock’s hand, touching him, stroking him, making him hot with desire.



He felt it coming and couldn't stop it—



He choked back a sob of surrender as the orgasm washed over him. It was a humiliation that he suffered far too willingly and yet it was also thrilling.



When the ropes and blind-fold were finally removed, the room was empty, except for Spock. He had no idea when the other Vulcans had left. Had he shamed himself for Spock’s enjoyment only, some domination mind-fuck game? Or was this a test, to see how far he would go? If it was, Kirk now knew that he would do anything to satisfy Spock. Perhaps that had been Spock’s purpose all along.



Straddling him stood a pair of long legs, and he directed his gaze upwards to Spock, who now stood naked as the day he was born. The calm face looked down at him as if from a great height. “You will look at me without movement, save for your eyes."



And Kirk did as he was instructed, taking in the magnificent beauty of the Vulcan, in all the resplendent details: his clear olive skin, the slim frame, the black, glossy hair, the sensual upsweep of pointed ears, and the dark, intense eyes…and that glorious, jade green erection.



The act of merely looking at each other in mutual admiration was so profound that Kirk could only wonder at the extreme, erotic power of it. A fierce jolt of sexual electricity shot through him. His cock tingled and thickened in anticipation. He could hardly believe that he was getting yet another erection.



"Come to me, James," Spock stated, taking a step backwards.



Kirk slowly rolled over and went on all fours to crawl after him. And at a terribly slow pace they proceeded; Spock walking backward one measured footstep at a time, and Kirk crawling after him, desperate to feel him, taste him, please him.



Spock continued the pace backwards toward the pillows, and then languidly reclined. Kirk followed until he was crouched at the Vulcan's feet, and waited. Leaning forward, Spock ran his hand down Jim’s back, stroking Kirk’s hips and fondling his buttocks.



Low and soft, almost a purring growl, Spock whispered into his ear, “I have waited for this moment, for you to come to me, thus. I want to explore your soft mouth crushed against mine. I want to caress your skin, and drink the coolness of your flesh...to savor all of you.”



The hand moved around to Kirk’s stomach and up towards his chest, squeezing nipples already hard with excitement. Kirk moaned, his cock rigid, arching, straining for more.



“Turn around,” Spock ordered and Kirk willingly complied. He gripped Kirk’s cheeks and spread them wide, exposing the rosebud-like opening to his gaze. Unable to resist its beauty, he leaned forward and kissed it.



As soon as the hot, firm lips touched that pliable area of sensitive skin, Kirk literally shivered with a jolt of arousal.



"Ah. You take pleasure in this. And perhaps this...?”



Spock began to swirl his tongue around the edges, softly licking.



// Ahhh! Christ! // Jim writhed, teased and inflamed by the wet, soft velvet between his cheeks.



"Has anyone ever done this for you before?"



“No,” Kirk gasped through clenched teeth. "Never. It feels fucking incredible!”



After a few more long delirious moments, Spock withdrew his mouth, then placed the tip of his forefinger at the now slick entrance and began pressing gently but firmly inward. Kirk pushed further back into Spock’s hand. The muscles resisted at first, but only momentarily, and then the finger penetrated up to the third knuckle. Holding it still for a moment, Spock then began to slide it in and out.



Kirk was tight, very tight, but soon he was able to introduce a second finger. Spock reached under Kirk’s heaving sides, and began to stroke his straining erection.



Breathing rapidly now, Kirk managed a barely audible, "Yes, God, yes!" cut short by a long groan. Feeling the tension against his fingers ease, Spock knew Jim was more than ready to receive him.



Spock positioned himself on his knees, placing the head of his cock at the now stretched entrance. Anal muscles contracted against the larger intruder, but not for long. The firm, unrelenting pressure prevailed, and the head slowly, very slowly, began to breach the tight, virgin opening.



They both moaned; Kirk in pleasure and pain, and Spock from pure pleasure as the gateway to the orifice clenched and unclenched around his cock head.



Kirk began shaking as the pain suddenly crested. He attempted to pull away, but Spock held him fast, his hands securely gripping Kirk's hips. Spock knew that the muscles would loosen and become accustomed to the invader; soon the stinging soreness would lessen, and then Jim would begin to enjoy this.



Spock adopted controlled, short strokes at first, and the sphincter muscles widened further. From this vantage point, Spock could see every detail as he beheld his cock appear then disappear repeatedly inside the cool, tight passage. He stared at the mat of black hair that curled around the base of his cock, now damp with the sweat and saliva that gleamed between Jim's cheeks. The pink, swollen rim was expanded to the limit by his thick girth, and the sight of his shaft sliding into his lover’s body entranced Spock.



Spock leaned forward and pressed his chest into Kirk's perspiration-soaked back, wrapping his arm around the waist, then he began to thrust deeper and faster, pacing the penetration and depth on the crescendo of groans that burst from Jim's mouth. At the same time, he firmly stroked Jim’s erection, sliding from tip to base, the rhythm of his hand expertly choreographed to the thrusting inside of Kirk’s body.



"Oh! Fuck! Spock—Spock!”



Feeling Kirk harden even more, he plunged the full length of himself to the hilt again and again.



Kirk's moans became a wail, and Spock could feel the throbbing contractions begin to explode through Jim’s body. The cock in his hand jerked, ejaculating spurts of semen into his waiting grip. Allowing the waves to carry him over the edge, Spock was riveted by an equally fierce eruption. Throwing his head back, he clenched his eyes shut as the force of the climax drove the air from his body in a gasp: a half cry, half choke of intense pleasure. He grasped Jim’s waist tighter, suddenly dizzy with the intensity of sensation as burst after burst shot out in fiery blasts. Finally, the spasms slowly abated, then stopped, leaving him completely drained and spent.



They collapsed together, breathless, Spock continuing to thrust his softening cock in and out of the come-filled passage, using its flexible thickness to give pleasure to his lover for as long as he was able.



When he withdrew, he wrapped Jim in his strong embrace, lifting him from the floor and pulling him down into the pillows. Spock curled him into his lap, and brushed Jim's lips lightly with his mouth. No words were necessary, their eyes revealed all they wanted to say or needed to know. That they had somehow found each other, in this immense, crazy universe, was an incredible blessing of almost divine providence.



Totally sated and exhausted, they held each other, and drifted off to sleep, still wrapped in each other arms.



37.2 minutes later—disaster.





**********************************************







Suddenly, the thundering of distant drums—



Movement and hurried commotions outside the tent.



“Lord Spock, war is upon us, the enemy approaches!” the voice of Vltash shouted from outside.



Quickly rising, Spock began dressing immediately. Kirk had also jumped to his feet, and searched for his clothes scattered about the floor.



Spock exited the tent and returned a few moments later. He had the two bags of ore with him, which he placed at Kirk’s feet.



“A thousand warriors, probably more, coming across the plain,” he said, as he walked to the trunk, yanked open the lid, and quickly withdrew selected weapons. One was an ancient version of the ahn'woon, but made of soft leather, and the other was a short sword that Spock strapped to his hips.



“Will you order a retreat into the mountains?” Kirk asked. “You could hold them off for days until reinforcements can arrive...”



“Vulcans do not retreat.”



Spock reached for the pouch that lay on the pillows, and took out the communicator.



“But you have no chance with a straight-on confrontation of that size...” Kirk began.



“None,” Spock responded. “Too infinitesimal even to calculate the odds.”



He flipped the communicator open. “Spock here. Lock on my co-ordinates and beam up Captain Kirk and the ore in one point zero zero minutes.



“Yes, Mr. Spock, one minute,” Sulu’s voice responded.



“Spock out.”



Then Spock took the communicator, crushed it beyond recognition in his powerful grip, and threw it into the fire. He tossed the pouch to the captain.



“Spock!” Kirk protested. “You can’t stay, you’ll be killed.”



“A foregone conclusion.”



“You want to die?”



“I do not wish to die, but I have always accepted the possibility of death as a part of duty, as you have. Neither do I wish to rule here, nor to bring logic to Vulcan five thousand years before Surak. All things have their time and place in history. I had no intention of violating the Prime Directive. This outpost is forgotten in antiquity, as I shall be. If we had altered the time-continuum by our actions here, it would have been reflected in the ancient history texts of Vulcan. It is not. Therefore, all is as it should be, as it must have happened. Even what transpired between you and me. Kaiidth - what is - is.”



“Spock, listen to me! Damn it, don’t you know what you mean to me, now more than ever!?”



Spock raised his hand to stop the flow of words that tore at his heart.



“I had no designs to keep you here against your will, but I will admit, I did wish you to remain until the last possible moment. Now, you must take the ore and return to your future. Your duty is to the ship and the crew. Mine is to remain here. It is the logical thing, for both of us.”



“No! I will not accept—”



“—Thirty-two point two seconds left, James. It would be better spent saying our good-byes, for we shall not see each other again.”



Kirk was aware of a sudden lump in his throat, and he couldn’t swallow or take a decent breath, but Spock was already upon him, sweeping him into his arms, his mouth seeking Kirk's lips. The kiss only lasted only a moment before Spock pulled away.



“Know that my last thoughts will be of you. Live long and prosper, James T. Kirk."



“There is NO WAY in hell that I’m going to leave you here and—”







Kirk didn’t finish the sentence. He was unconscious. Spock had reached over and given him a nerve pinch. He caught Jim in his arms, and gently lowered him to the floor.



Spock delicately brushed the stray lock of hair from Jim’s forehead, permitting his fingers to caress his lover’s cheek for a precious moment longer.



He stepped back. Kirk and the ore dissolved in the transporter shimmer, and were gone.



Then Spock left the tent to face his fate, alone.





**********************************







Kirk awoke in sickbay, McCoy removing the hypo that had brought him back to consciousness.



“How long was I out?”



“Twenty minutes. Standard Vulcan nerve pinch, I assume?”



“Damn him,” Kirk seethed between clenched teeth, easing himself into a sitting position.



“What the hell happened? How did you get these bruises and lacerations?”



“No time to explain.” Kirk was on his feet. In a crisis, sometimes a flash of brilliance would turn the tide, and he had a doozy. He quickly activated the bedside computer. “Vulcan history, circa 5000 B.C, earth years...”



//"...If we had altered the time-continuum by our actions here, it would have been reflected in the ancient history texts of Vulcan. It is not. All is as it should be..." // Spock's voice rang in Kirk's ears.







*************************************





Kirk stepped onto the transporter pad.



“We are unable to pin-point the location of Mr. Spock. Without a communicator, he is untraceable, one Vulcan life form amongst over a thousand spread out for miles,” Mr. Scott said tensely. “It’s a blood-bath down there, dead and dying everywhere.”



“If Spock survived, he will be held somewhere in the enemy camp. Beam me directly into the center of it.”



“Aye, Captain, but are you sure you know what you are doing?”



Mr. Scott rarely questioned direct orders, but as he starred wide-eyed at his captain, he feared that Kirk had gone out of his mind.



“Energize,” Kirk ordered.





************************************





Blood flowed like an ocean upon the red sand. Dark emerald-colored pools lay under and around the hundreds of dead bodies that stretched out as far as the eye could see. Hacked limbs, severed heads and death permeated the foothills. Yet the battle had raged on until, overwhelmed by sheer numbers, the outpost had fallen. The few that still lived past the initial onslaught had been immediately killed, those of higher rank had been taken captive.



Spock, with Vltash at his side, had both fallen. Each had fought valiantly with courage and honor. Now only one still drew breath, having been render unconscious by a severe blow to the head.



Here, in the enemy camp, a great bon fire blazed, surrounded by hundreds of warriors who were celebrating their great victory with food, drink and the entertainment they reveled in—the suffering of their prisoners.



Stripped of his clothes and bound, Spock awaited the end. It would not be pleasant. He had been forced to watch the excruciating slow mutilation and torture of the warrior Kirk had called 'Broken-nose'.



Without the pain control of future Vulcans, the prisoner had died violently—screaming out his torment and howling like a beast, eventually losing control of his bowels and defecating and urinating on himself as his body was slashed apart and broken. His remains were heaped upon the bloody pile of corpses, his eyeless sockets and unrecognizable face, now frozen in a contorted grimace, gruesome testimony of his horrible death.



Now, it was Spock’s turn.



He was the last.



They would take special pleasure in killing him, making sure he suffered the full extent of their wrath. Such sport could take hours. The skill of the executioner, to extend the misery as long as possible, was well known and eagerly anticipated by the crowd.



Spock knelt quietly; summoning the inner strength he knew he would need not to betray his fear and dread. He would not go screaming into that good night. He would not rage against the dying of the light, but embrace it. He hoped that he still retained the power to stop his heart when he could not bear a moment more of the agonizing pain that was to come.



The instruments of torture were brought forward, still dripping with the gore and blood of those who had gone before him.



They would start with scourging, rendering his flesh into bloody pulp. Then would come the vises and clamps that would tear and rip each of his joints from their sockets. Eyes would be gouged out, tongue severed from his mouth, ears hacked off...



All this would be just the beginning.



The executioner stepped forward, looming over Spock, the long, sinister, barbed whip clenched in his hand, raised high, ready to strike—



Spock took a deep breath, willing himself to endure it.



The black strands hissed through the air, and came down hard on his back—tearing into flesh, ripping back with such force that Spock's eyes flew open in shock. But he did not cry out. He forced himself to fight the searing pain, to withstand the next blow.



At the sight of blood running in green rivulets down the prisoner's back, a huge cheer went up from the crowd. There were yells of encouragement to the executioner to break the captive, make him scream, force him to beg for mercy.



"You've had a taste of the whip, S'hail," the executioner crooned in a soft, menacing tone, "Prepare to savor the full banquet."



Once again, the plaited leather tails with razor sharp hooks uncoiled, and the brawny arm took aim…



Suddenly in the darkness, a brilliant glimmering appeared—



Then a shape, a form, a figure!



A terrible vision.



Horrified, the Vulcans stared in disbelief and panic.



“At'la! The demon At'la has come to life!” a voice shouted in fear. Warriors jumped to their feet and backed away in terror.



Before them, on the crest of a hill, the evil spirit stood invincible. His face was that of an animal with a set of horns crowning his head. His body was covered in long black fur, his sharp fangs clenched, and blood-red eyes burned.



The devil raised his sharp claws, and fiery hell-flames blasted from his hands at the closest warriors, dropping them in their tracks.



In shock, the rest fled, not daring to turn back.



The demon strode slowly down the hill, past the motionless bodies of the Vulcans who had been knocked out, and stood defiant before Spock.



“Captain Kirk, I presume?”



Jim winked, his blood-red contact lens wobblingly in place. He clipped the two small phasers he held in his hands back on his belt.



“You are learning, Spock. The harshest part of your punishment is over. I hope you have had sufficient time to contemplate your duty to Starfleet and the lessons you've learned tonight.”



Spock eyebrow shot upward. Kirk immediately pulled out his communicator. “Now, Mr. Scott. Two to beam up.”



The warriors watched from a distance as the demon and prisoner dissolved into thin air and disappeared. They were awe-struck, even more so when shortly later, their “deceased” compatriots rose from the dead, unharmed.



The tribe made a solemn vow, a promise to worship At'la as their most important deity. They would keep his image alive by building stone idols of him, and keep them in their tents in honor of his choosing not to kill them on this night of their greatest victory.





"And the demon of hell raised his hands,

Lighting the land with his livid flame.

A stupor of despair went up when the god of the storm

Turned nightlight into daylight,

But At'la did not smite the fearful, he tempered power with justice

And blessed them with his mercy."



—an account of the Visitation from the epic of Valdor, Historian of Shi'Tem, circa 5200 B.S (before Surak).





*************************************************



Conclusion: Two Weeks Later:





Back in their own time, their own future was a mixed blessing. Once the ore had been smelted and adapted to repair the engine conductors, Kirk knew what he had to do. He used what had worked in the past, maximum warp speed towards a massive star, breaking away at the last possible second, and holding on for dear life, as the Enterprise was thrown back into the future. They ended up three weeks out of sync, three weeks ahead of when they had left, time that could never be replaced, but no one was complaining.



Kirk filed his official report to Starfleet, and kept it short and to the point, leaving out all personal details, and much of what happened after McCoy and Willard beamed back to the ship. He concluded it was none of Starfleet’s business, or even Doctor McCoy’s. This was a private matter between him and Spock. It was true that some things transcended the discipline of the service.



Spock was also back to his normal composed self, showing no ill affects, either mentally or physically, from his time spent in the past. But Kirk was another matter. His wounds had completely healed, but his heart had not, and he was confused and distracted. He found himself avoiding his first officer. Since their return, neither had broached the subject of what had happened on Vulcan.



Kirk was fully in charge now, but he still secretly wanted to give in to Spock’s domination. But that kind of attitude had no place between a captain and his second-in-command. A starship depended on its captain's unerring ability to control all aspects of his life, even his sexual practices. And a captain who willingly submitted to his first officer, even behind closed doors, wouldn’t escape the attention of the crew for long.



It also seemed that Spock had no interest in that facet of their relationship anyway, now that the dark passions that emerged on Vulcan had once again been shielded and pushed down. He did his duty efficiently, following orders as always, and was reserved and emotionless. He was not the Spock that Kirk dreamed about when he slept, the one that made his blood burn, and his erection ache with desire.



Late one night, as Kirk tossed and turned in bed, overcome with a passion for something he knew he must not have, he realized that he needed to speak to Spock about what had happened between them, and how it had affected their relationship. He couldn’t go on like this any longer.



He was surprised to find that Spock was not asleep, for when he buzzed his first officer’s quarters, “Come,” said the familiar voice as the doors swooshed open. For a second, Kirk wanted to do just that - come - as he had come when Spock had masturbated him on Vulcan, driving him out of his mind with pleasure. He pushed the thought quickly aside.



The Vulcan was already standing as Kirk entered the room.



“Mr. Spock, we need to talk.”



“I have been anticipating that you would introduce the subject at the appropriate time,” Spock replied evenly, clasping his hands behind his back. “I am prepared to accept any disciplinary action you order.”



“I am not here to reprimand you for what happened, as I am well aware that you were not in control of your emotions, in the same way as during koon-ut-kal-if-fee. I take full responsibility for ordering you, against your objections, to the planet and for your behavior there. If anyone is at fault, I am. We all have our dark sides—you’ve seen mine on more than one occasion and excused it.



That’s not why I’m here. Something…something incredible happened between us on Vulcan, but I’m not sure if my…” Kirk paused for a non-sexual word, “...my responses are something I am willing to pursue now that we are back on the ship in our own time. It would...complicate things.”



Kirk looked intensely at Spock hoping he would understand.



“Indeed. I concur. I understand and accept that it would be unwise under the present circumstances. It may be difficult for you as a human and as commanding officer to consciously acquiesce to what you desire and still retain the leadership qualities required by your position.”



“Damn difficult. I haven’t really had a good night’s sleep in the last two weeks. I fear that what I really want—from you, from us being together—will affect my performance as captain and our working relationship.”



“Your primary concern for the ship is most valid. It is my concern as well.”



“And what about you?”



“I am able to control my...responses. I cannot forget, nor would I wish to, but it will not impede my abilities as first officer. However, I can assist in suppressing those memories in you that may hinder your authority. I cannot eradicate your sexual nature, as your desires...and mine, are what they are, unchangeable, and they shall naturally surface of their own accord. But I can place them back in your subconscious where they resided before.”



“A mind-meld?”



“Yes, if you permit it.”



Kirk locked eyes with Spock. “I want more than that from you, as you well know, but not now, not here, not between a captain and his first officer.”



Kirk softened his voice, he wasn’t rejecting Spock, he only needed to postpone what he wanted most, after his duty to his ship. “We have two years left on our mission. After that....”



The Vulcan unclasped his hands from behind his back and placed them on his hips. He straightened, and thrust his shoulders back, transforming himself into a vision of darkness and strength from the distant past.



“After that, we will be free to explore other options. When you are ready, shi'yuk kafeh, I will be waiting.”



Spock slowly approached, and reached up to place his hand on the meld-points of Kirk's face, but Kirk grabbed his hand. Their fingers began to intertwine, gripping tighter, and a dangerous passion began to flare between them.



“I...wanted to say that...” Kirk struggled with his feelings. He needed to tell Spock how deeply he felt, how just the very touch of him made Kirk shiver with anticipation. He wanted Spock to order him to the bed, to tell him what to do, and not take no for an answer. He was already burning to feel Spock inside of him again, and he almost made a snap decision not to mind-meld, but to get down on his knees and beg Spock to fuck him.



But the words were unnecessary. Spock already knew. At the right time, in the right place, one day in their future, they would both have the opportunity to reenact their roles, to say and do the things that they both desired.



But not now.



Spock quickly placed his fingers on Kirk’s face…







***********************************





Kirk awoke with a start.



“Mr. Spock?”



“Yes, Captain.”



“There was something I wanted to tell you, but I’ve forgotten. How peculiar. Did I fall asleep?”



“For a moment, perhaps the fatigue of the last few weeks. The strain has been considerable.”



“Yes, I suppose. Strange, nonetheless...it was on the tip of my tongue.”



Kirk stood up, suddenly feeling tired. “I think I’ll get some rest.” Walking to the door, Kirk looked into the sleeping area, draped in deep red—reminiscent of a desert tent.



“These weapons on the wall - why would a Vulcan wish to display weapons from a violent past?”



“The thin and precarious crust of the Vulcan civilization, however impressive, is built upon the savagery which lies in wait beneath the surface. Vulcans have controlled their emotions for two thousand years. Twenty centuries is but a blink of an eye. It will not be until another ten thousand generations have lived and died that we can truly call ourselves civilized. The weapons are a reminder that Vulcans are closer, in many ways, to barbarism, then to the teachings of Surak.”



Kirk’s gaze was drawn to the flickering lights of the demon fire-pot. “I’ve always meant to ask you what that piece of sculpture meant? The significance?”



“It is At'la,” Spock said slowly. “An ancient demon-myth. Every Vulcan home honors his legend. At'la had great power to destroy, but he chose to grant clemency—ideals not dissimilar to the logic Vulcans now revere.”



“Your planet has some interesting quirks, Mr. Spock.”



“The same could be said of yours. Perhaps one day we may have the opportunity to study our idiosyncrasies more closely.”



Their eyes locked for a moment, and a fleeting flicker of something incredibly intense and personal passed between them. Kirk wasn’t sure what it was, but it seemed vaguely familiar.



“I look forward to that, Mr. Spock.”



“As do I, Captain. As do I.”




THE END

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