D'Artagnan and the Silver Streak

original story by S Sizemore

rewritten by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2248)

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They’d been waiting for about half an hour when the curtain that led to the corridor was swept aside. All three got to their feet as Nara entered, flanked by two attendants. She undulated across the floor to stand before Ruth.

“Thy own mother!” she snarled, and slapped Ruth across the face.

Ruth blinked but didn’t fall back or step away. “Is dead,” she said tonelessly.

The annoyance immediately fled from Nara’s expression. “And Yonaton?” she asked in surprise.


The Alconian woman took a step back. “One cannot revile the dead,” she said softly. Then her expression hardened again. “A pity. There were a few things I wanted to say about ani Randal.”

“I’m sure there were,” Ruth returned dryly.

Nara studied her. “You’ve changed,” she said finally.

“You haven’t,” Ruth retorted, “except for moving up in the world.”

“Are you surprised?” Nara said with a wicked smile.


Again Nara’s expression altered. “You speak for Zehara, then?”

Ruth shrugged elaborately. “Am I keheil?”

“You seem to be alive,” Nara mused, “but that uniform limits your powers, doesn’t it?”

“I have no quarrel here, Nara. I’m just here on Federation business.”

That seemed to make up the Alconian’s mind. “Good,” she snapped, then turned on her heel and strutted out of the room.

Ruth collapsed back to the couch with a bone-rattling sigh.

“What the hell was that all about?” Sulu asked.

Jilla sat down next to Ruth. “Are you all right?” the Indiian asked.

“A long story,” Ruth answered, obviously not intending to tell them any of it.

Zehara, why me?!

No answer. Not that I expected one.

Listen, maybe they aren’t up to anything and we’ll be back on the ship tomorrow.

Thinking like that makes you the prime candidate for optimist of the decade.

“Ruth,” Jilla’s voice was insisting.

“Personal,” she replied.

“If it could affect the mission…” Sulu put in.

Ruth considered. It wasn’t possible to lie to Jilla, and she didn’t like the thought of lying to Roy…. “I’ll talk to the captain.” She saw Jilla’s face set into Vulcan ice, and Sulu was about to pull rank, so she hurriedly continued. “By the way, we’ll probably be poisoned several times during dinner, but it’s nothing to worry about…”

What?!” Sulu burst out.

“…because we’ll also be fed the antidotes,” Ruth explained. “The trick is to eat at least a little of everything they serve.”

“Commander Spock and I are vegetarian…” Jilla began.

“Tonight, you’d better be omnivorous. Unless the Alconians have changed, which, judging from what we’ve seen so far I very much doubt.”

“Are you sure about this, Spike?” Sulu asked uneasily.

“That’s how I remember formal dinners.”

“Wonderful people,” Sulu commented, echoing Ruth’s previously stated sentiment.

“I do not like this place,” Jilla repeated.

Ruth had the feeling that, if they had to remain on Alcon much longer, that just might turn into a litany.


After several more hours, servants entered the hall and began to prepare the table for dinner. Shortly after, the Captain and Commander Spock rejoined them, accompanied by Skael, Nara, and a pair of courtiers. Spock was his usual aloof self, keeping slightly apart from the royal group, carefully watching everything. Captain Kirk seemed relaxed and pleased, as if he had completely forgotten the attack on his crew. Skael took a seat on one of the couches, Nara on another. She not-too-subtly invited the Captain to join her. Spock lifted a disapproving eyebrow as Kirk sat down, closer to Nara than was strictly necessary. The other eyebrow joined the first when, a moment later, Nara took two glasses from a tray offered by a servant and gave one to the Captain. They toasted each other, eyes meeting meaningfully as they drank to the future of relations between Alcon and the Federation.

Ani Ramy,” Skael called cheerfully. Ruth turned and saw the priest-king beckoning to her. Indignation flared within her, but she managed to grit her teeth in a parody of a smile and went toward him. Custom dictated that a female called by the king was supposed to cuddle lovingly at his feet until given further instruction. But Starfleet officers did not grovel not for civilians anyway.

She bowed her head in greeting and saw his lascivious grin.

(“Daddy, he’s bothering me again,” she pouted.

“She means Skael,” Ramy clarified.

Her father laughed, a sound that, for once, wasn’t pleasant. “This is the first time I’ve had your cooperation in getting rid of a horny boy and it has to be the heir apparent of a whole planet.”

“Well, I don’t like him.”)

Miss Valley, your shielding.

Ruth blushed and gave Spock a quick apologetic look as Skael reached out and took her hand, pulling her down beside him.

“I hardly recognized you, ani Ramy,” he said with a leer. “You’ve filled out.” His gaze traveled openly down and up her body. “Not much, but then you hardly needed to.”

I may be sick, she thought. “Wonderful,” was as much as she could manage.


“Nine years ago,” Jilla murmured to Sulu. “Ruth was only fourteen then.” She glanced at Skael, her disgust making her skin shimmer. “She could not have…”

She didn’t have to finish the sentence. What she meant was more than obvious. “From the way she’s looking at him, I don’t think age would matter,” Sulu said. “She wouldn’t have him regardless.”

Jilla shuddered, then rose. “I must warn Commander Spock about this evening’s meal,” she said. Sulu nodded, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze before watching her walk across the hall.


It was easy for Jilla to speak to Spock privately. The attention of the servants and courtiers was solely on Nara and Captain Kirk and Skael and Ruth.

“Yes, Lieutenant?” Spock asked softly as Jilla approached him.

“Lieutenant Valley has informed us that the Alconians use poisons and antidotes as spices in the food they will serve us,” Jilla said. “To be safe, we must eat some of everything that is set before us, regardless of our preferences or inclinations.”

“I see,” he acknowledged. “I will inform the Captain at the first opportunity.”

“She has also calculated our score at twenty-five to ten, but that does not take into account the aftermath of the attack we endured, your actions or the Captain’s, or the occurrences of the past several hours. She had an exchange with the Lady Consort that surely has affected it.”


“Something to do with her parents being dead, and she being keheil. I do not understand it. She did state she would discuss it with the Captain.”

“Very well, Lieutenant.”

Jilla moved quickly back to Sulu’s side. Spock merely continued his discreet surveillance.


It seemed like forever until dinner was served. Ruth was relieved to get away from Skael and refused the chair offered her in order to move further away from him. It didn’t stop him from leering down the table at her, but she pretended not to notice. The Captain was seated next to Nara, and they kept up an animated conversation throughout the meal. Ruth began to suspect that the consort had found a way to slip him something to keep his interest despite her own saving gesture with the goblet. Par for the course for that bitch, she thought disgustedly. She remembered only too well the problems her father had had with the woman. Nara hadn’t been High Priestess then, just a talented concubine who happened to be the daughter of the then-king. Which made her Skael’s half-sister. She shuddered. The Alconians apparently didn’t have incest taboos.

No, they must have them. That way they get the fun of breaking them.

Be fair, they must have some good qualities.


Miss Valley.


Dinner proved to be a strictly vegetarian affair. It may have been a gracious gesture to their Vulcan guest, but Ruth knew it was far more likely to be a calculated insult to her. The Alconians knew very well that as a keheil she was as strict a carnivore as Spock was vegetarian. And they also knew that she knew she was obliged to taste everything they set before her – or nothing, which would have won them huge points. She grimaced, forced down her nausea, and politely gagged down the fruits and roots and leaves. In most of the dishes, she detected the chemical compounds of various poisons and antidotes. No, the Alconians’ table manners hadn’t changed.


Sulu was glad that Jilla wouldn’t have to eat any meat. Personally, he didn’t much care what was served to him. On a landing party, one did whatever was necessary to cause the least amount of hassle with the indigenous people. Jilla wasn’t the typical meat-eating Indiian – but the Alconians couldn’t know that, and he immediately wondered if the meal was a nod to Spock or a slap in the face to the rest of them, particularly Ruth. Probably the latter, he answered himself. These people wouldn’t cater to anyone out of politeness, even if they did know. Still it had worked out for the best – again, except for Ruth. He tried to catch her eyes, to give her some sympathy, but she was intent on her plate. Trying to keep the dead plants down, he mused, remembering all their mock fights over breakfast. Ruth and breakfasts and… mmmmm… He abruptly stopped the train of thought, seeking Jilla instead. She was staring at him, and he smiled apologetically, knowing she’d felt his sudden rush of lust. Her answering smile held a warmth he was not used to seeing in public. She usually held her Vulcan reserve around her like a cloak when with other people. The heat of desire grew in him, and he found himself anxiously awaiting the end of the night’s festivities. Suddenly he didn’t regret the Captain’s having accepted the Alconian invitation to spend the night. The bedrooms he had seen earlier looked positively luxurious – ripe with romantic possibilities. After all, he and Jilla were newlyweds even if not legally.

As he watched, Jilla’s skin took on a faint glow. Her eyes lowered for a moment, then met his with a silver fire and he wondered if she was of the same frame of mind. When she touched his thigh a second later, he was sure of it.


Spock found the meal palatable and detected no odd flavorings in the dishes he was served. Not knowing if Ruth’s admonition had included beverages, he sipped the wine and found it quite refreshing, unlike the heavy taste he associated with Terran alcohol. When another glass was offered him, he accepted.

There was little dinner conversation, save that between Nara and the Captain. He used the time to go over the details of the afternoon, with an eye to assigning points. The tour of the temple-palace had been expected but unenlightening as far as their mission went. The wealth of information regarding the culture, however, all served to confirm what Ruth Valley had reported. The Alconians freely mixed the primitive with the technological. It was, at times, quite difficult to find logic in what he observed. The evidence of casual and accepted violence was everywhere. They had witnessed a public execution, five points for not reacting to the barbarism, and had seen a duel being fought with knives over access to a transporter booth, again, five points for not interfering, but minus two for adhering to the Prime Directive; I suppose I cost us another two by inquiring if the loser required medical attention, but regained it by walking away after being assured he did not. He didn’t find it difficult to understand Ruth’s misgivings about the Alconians; indeed, he was beginning to share them.

Neither he nor the Captain were surprised by Sulu’s report of the attack. Such actions were obviously commonplace, even toward supposedly honored guests. He did find Jim’s attentions to the Lady Consort a bit blatant. He understood their purpose, but it nonetheless offended his sense of discretion. But since the Lady Nara encouraged such attention, he kept his opinions to himself, which gains another five points, since Vulcans are allegedly so straight-laced yet I accept the whim of my commander. And so, with Mrs. Majiir’s information, the score is forty-two to fourteen.

He took another sip of the cool wine and attempted to calculate how the as-yet-unexplained exchange between Lieutenant Valley and Lady Nara would affect the score, as well as the actions just prior to dinner. Mrs. Majiir warned me regarding the meal, that will cost us ten. Miss Valley’s refusal to curl at Skael’s feet would gain us ten, I think. Yet her reluctance to play at a flirtation would cost something, depending on how serious Skael was regarding a seduction. She ate the meal, which surely gains us another ten, and has not yet shown any inclination to regurgitate, which should be another two. Nor did anyone call attention to the composition of the meal; another two. A potential sixty-six, then, to a minimum of thirty-five.

The Lady Nara laughed, and Spock turned to her. He could see how her dark sensuousness might be stimulating to a Human. Aesthetically, even he found her quite pleasant to look at…

(“Yonni, I have this very odd feeling and I don’t know what it is,” Ramy said. She looked more puzzled than Ruth had ever seen her.

Her father touched her mother’s temples lightly and asked, “How does it feel?”

Ramy closed her eyes and thought for a moment before answering. “Cold and angry and selfish and tight.”

“Hmmm,” her father commented. “When do you get this feeling?”

“When I see that girl looking at you,” she replied. Yonaton laughed and she blushed. “Well?” she demanded.

“Love, it’s only jealousy.”


“A Human emotion, caused when one is afraid someone she loves will be taken from her.”

“But you won’t…”

“Of course not. But emotional reactions don’t have to have a basis in objective fact.”

Ramy brightened. “That’s the first Human emotion I’ve felt in years,” she said, then scowled. “It would be a ridiculous one.”

“Ridiculous yes, but I’m flattered just the same.”

Ramy snorted. “You would be.”)

Ruth was projecting again. It seemed that Alcon was triggering a great many memories for her. That in itself was only to be expected. As I suppose is her unintentional sharing of them with me, Spock mused. He considered whether reminding her yet again would be of any use, since the reminders did not seem to aid her in stopping the inadvertent communication. And his reminders did tend to embarrass her. And since this memory was not interfering with any vital thought processes, he decided against informing her.


Skael declared dinner officially over by rising from the table. Nara immediately put her fork down, glancing imperially at the Federation officers. They all followed suit, though Spock noted that Ruth did so with a little more alacrity than the others. Skael gestured to Nara, who rose.

“I wish you all a pleasant night,” the priest-king said. Nara took his arm and they swept majestically out of the room.

Without waiting for the servants to clear the table, Sulu was suddenly rising, nearly knocking his chair over as he kicked it back. He effortlessly lifted Jilla into his arms and started toward one of the curtained alcoves. “Permission to call it a night, sir,” he said to Jim as he strode past the Captain. Uncharacteristically, Jilla sighed, burying her face against Sulu’s neck, kissing it passionately.

“Granted…” Jim began, his eyes following the obviously amorous couple.

“Me too, I need to throw up,” Ruth muttered, and Jim nodded.

“And I’m bushed,” he added, and rose, a little unsteadily. “I assume these are bedrooms?” he added, indicating the curtains.

“Behind them, I’m sure, Captain,” Spock returned. Moments later, he stood alone in the large hall. Not wanting the wine in his glass to go to waste, he drained it, then handed it to the servant who came to clear the table.


Ruth went to the bath off the bedroom she’d entered and quietly rid herself of all the vegetable matter she had ingested. It was a safe bet that she couldn’t entirely rid herself of all the noxious antidotes contained within them. The poisons she’d reject, but antidotes… Her body would recognize them for the healing attempts they were and absorb them almost immediately.

She sighed, reclining on the bed, rubbing lightly at her temples. There was still something not quite right with her system, but she couldn’t define what it was. The cause was obvious; something else from dinner. A stimulus of some sort because she sure as hell couldn’t sleep despite how tired she was.

She tossed restlessly for a while, then decided to get up and pace it away.

You have to talk to Bwana, you know.

Yeah, but what do I tell him? How do I distill down thousands of years of history? And what would the Zehara say to the breaches of Antari secrecy I’d have to pull? Not to mention the hassle with the Monolems, and we’re not exactly on the best of terms with Havens to begin with.

But it could affect the mission…

Not if I keep one step ahead of Skael and Nara. And besides, we’re just here for the weapon, not…


Called. Talk to Bwana. Pacing wasn’t helping. She was still producing more energy than she was using up. If this kept up, she’d get jittery, and a jittery Antari would lose them huge amounts of points. And since she had to talk to the Captain, she could get close enough to tell if his apparent reaction to Nara’s seduction was artificially enhanced or not. Not that that sort of thing ever mattered much to him…


Sheesh, bite my head off!

Just… stop.

Grumbling, Ruth fiercely doubled her shields, then grit her teeth and left her alcove. She walked across the now dimly lit hall and halted by one of the other curtains. Sulu’s voice was growling unbelievably filthy epithets for someone on his honeymoon, Jilla’s gasps rhythmic and high-pitched. Ruth flushed and hurried to the next alcove. She listened at the curtain. Captain Kirk was obviously not sleeping. She heard a deep, masculine laugh that was answered by an urgent, sultry feminine moan.

She backed away, sure she had never felt quite so embarrassed in all her life, and not really knowing why. Envy soon overwhelmed it as she realized her only choice was Skael, as he’d no doubt planned.

Except for Spock.

Yeah, right.

Iocasta, golden one…

Don’t think about it. The way things are going, he’ll overhear you. Or should that be overthink you?

She took a deep breath, forcing the flood of desire from her thoughts.

You can’t tell Bwana, she thought, but you still have to tell somebody before you lose your nerve. So Boss it is.

She steeled herself and went to the last alcove, knocking awkwardly on the wooden molding around the stone arch.

Spock answered with a terse “come.” She pulled the curtain aside and found him sitting stiffly on the edge of the bed. His hands were clasped with the index fingers resting lightly on his lips. It was the attitude he always assumed when he was thinking very hard about something, and Ruth found its familiarity strangely comforting. But when he looked up at her, his expression, while equally familiar, was anything but. His gaze followed her with an almost feverish gleam until she stopped in front of him. Then he slowly stood, towering over her.

“Yes, Miss Valley,” he said. The harshness of his own voice seemed to startle him, for he shook his head abruptly.

Ruth looked up. His face was a touch more green than usual, and from the slight frown on his face, she knew he must have a headache. “Are… are you feeling well?” she asked, having great difficulty keeping herself from reaching for his temples.

“Did you disturb me to enquire after the state of my health?” he snapped at her.

The fierceness of his tone took her aback and she stepped away, stumbling a little as she did so. His hand reached out to grasp her arm, steadying her.

“Pardon me, Lieutenant,” he managed, though he didn’t let go of her arm. “I do not seem to be myself this evening. Something our hosts added to our dinner, no doubt.”

Something about his attempt at reassurance tingled within her, and she found herself staring at him more keenly. He met her gaze, matching it. Emotion beckoned in his usually impossible-to-read eyes, and she heard a whisper in the back of her mind; a familiar sound, a command that was undeniable… kah-if-farr…. She responded unthinkingly. His mouth covered hers, harshly demanding and tasting delightfully bitter. His hands crushed her upper arms, pulling her close to him, then beginning to roam up her shoulders and neck. His touch was like flame burning across her flesh, sensual, almost painfully arousing. The fiery touch was confused with fire itself, burning into her, surrounding her, growing hotter and more stifling by the second. Fire, the stake, voices screeching in her ears, need pounding within her, mating drive, a lonely place under a desert sky and the confusion of not knowing who she was or what was real… blood and pain and the fear of his hands tearing out his eyes, crushing the life from her…


She blinked and found herself in a room on Alcon, memory and hallucination fading quickly as she recognized the feel of the aphrodisiac running through them both. Then that, too, fled into an all-too-sharp awareness of the man who held her. She discovered to her dismay that she was clinging to him, her lips and teeth at his throat, her fingertips caressing his ears. She started to pull away and only succeeded in making his grip painfully tight. His lips brushed her temple, the erection pressed against her abdomen as hard as neutronium. She forced herself not to give in to the passion. She’d be fine with the aftermath, but she knew he would never be able to forgive himself when the Alconian drug wore off. Hoarsely, and regretting it, she shouted, “Kroykah!” directly into his ear.

His hold loosened so suddenly that she fell to her knees. Shaken, still not quite in control of herself, she stayed where she was. It was some time before she noticed that her uniform had been ripped from one shoulder, leaving one breast exposed. She stared accusingly at the hard nipple and pulled the material up with a hand that was, even more annoyingly, still trembling.

“Miss Valley, are you hurt?” Spock asked her. His voice was as unsteady as she felt.

She swallowed, licking the bitter taste from her lips, and looked up at him. His uniform was disheveled, his hair askew from its usual neat precision. The embarrassment was clear on his features – along with the aforementioned self-castigation.

“No, I’m all right,” she replied, and started to get to her feet. Spock automatically offered his hand, and, after only a moment’s hesitation, she took it. “At least now I know what’s been making me feel so odd.”

“An aphrodisiac,” he stated, his eyebrows lowering disapprovingly.

She nodded. “No wonder I didn’t cure it. My body likes it..” She tried in earnest to clear her system, but could only think of what it would be like to complete what the drug had started. Strength and passion and telepathy… no Oedipus or Saint Joan, no cordrazine hallucinations, just me and him and that big, soft bed…

“Miss Valley,” he said, and she glanced at him to find him staring sternly at her.

Sure, once he knows what’s wrong he can ignore it. Damn Vulcan control.

“Is there an antidote to this condition?” he asked her.

She cocked her head to one side, “You really want me to answer that?” she said, with just enough suggestion so that he would understand her meaning without accusing her of trying to seduce him. The slight greening of his ears told her she’d been successful. “It’ll wear off,” she assured him.

“The Captain, Lieutenants Sulu and Majiir…” he began.

“Sulu and Jilla aren’t doing anything any normal honeymooners shouldn’t be,” she replied, “and the Captain is with Nara. I don’t think he wants to be disturbed right now. Besides, if Skael were going to object, he wouldn’t’ve put the damn stuff in their food.”

Again Spock frowned. “But would that not provide a perfect opportunity to score points for…”

Ruth sighed. Spock didn’t quite have the hang of assigning points – but then, Alconians were so devious a logical mind wouldn’t. “No,” she tried to explain. “In fact they lose points for having to use it. Bwana didn’t ask her to stay the night.”

“I see,” Spock replied, and Ruth could almost see the information being incorporated into his mathematics. “Approximately seventy-five to forty, then.”

“Well, actually….” Ruth related the incident with the slave bowing to Jilla, which added ten points to their side, and her conversation with Nara, which gained them another five, and the fact that she did eventually lose dinner, a loss of two. “This,” she said, indicating the tear in her uniform, “will cost us at least ten, but if we don’t confirm or deny, we’ll gain five of that back.”

“Ninety-six to fifty-two,” Spock said. “Still an impressive lead.”

“Till they figure in the home field advantage,” Ruth muttered. Spock’s eyebrow rose curiously. “It’s an unspecified number of points, depending on how disgusted with them we become,” she explained. “It won’t be assessed until the end of the game.”

Spock nodded, though he was clearly fairly disgusted already. “Was this the reason you wanted to speak with me, Miss Valley?”

Well I certainly didn’t come here intending to get you to fuck me, Ruth thought acidly. You were the one who grabbed me


She was about to give an angry vocal retort, when she saw the anguish in his eyes.



“It's about Nara and… well, not really Nara per se…,” Ruth began uneasily. “She’s the High Priestess and that means… while the king has secular power, she wields… well, if she cuts him off, he can’t perform the proper rituals and… it’s more than empty form, because the Alconians…. they have an actual, physical… so Nara could… and her mother was the previous… and when my father… when my mother…” She took a deep breath. “I can’t explain fully, Mr. Spock, but there’s a – relationship – between the Antari and the Alconians and it isn’t – um – cordial.” She stared at the blue tiles. “They’ll try to provoke me into… and it could affect the mission. Sir.”

Spock was eyeing her steadily. “In what way, Miss Valley?” he asked.

“Maybe I’m just being paranoid,” she said. “Maybe they won’t hold it against you.”

“You speak of the possible loss of significant points because you were included in the landing party?”

Ruth grasped at the straw he was inadvertently holding out to her. “Yes, sir.” Mostly. I can control myself. I don’t have a salish to protect.

“Thank you for the information. I will inform the Captain at earliest opportunity.”

Ruth nodded, then reluctantly turned toward the alcove opening. She didn’t really want to be alone, but until the aphrodisiac wore off, to stay in too close proximity wouldn’t be safe.

“Miss Valley.”

She turned back. “Yes, sir?”

Forgive me.

Only if you promise to do it again when we’re not drugged.

I beg your…!

I’m teasing, Spock.

Out loud, she said “Goodnight, sir,” and smiled at him.

Teasing, were you?

Push. Push, push.


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