Return To Part One
Return to Valjiir Stories
Return to Valjiir Continum
“Sir, we’ve received a second request from the Lincoln, from Captain Kirk himself. He states that all they’re looking for are the non-classified medical records of a former agent, Pelori MacEntyre.”
“Damn it! This can’t be a coincidence.”
“Should we send the files?”
“No. We can’t do anything to jeopardize this operation. Is there anything from the D’Artagnan?”
“At least there’s some good news. Brief Agent Savas. She’ll be heading out to the Lincoln within the hour.”
“Yes, sir. Sir – I’ve often wondered if we shouldn’t have put Paine on the Lincoln.”
“While Cajun’s situation is more volatile, Kamikaze is the bigger gamble. Eyes and ears on the D’Artagnan are critical. Keep monitoring and keep me up to date.”
After several more hours with nothing from Intelligence, Jade decided to try another avenue. She sat on her desk, turning the comm unit to face her – she almost never sat behind her desk unless she was with a patient – and called Leonard McCoy on the Enterprise.
“Why, Jade, I sure am glad to hear from you!” Dr. McCoy’s voice boomed out of the comm speaker. “How’s Jim-boy? Any word on hearin’ the patter of little feet?”
“James is doing very well and no, I’m not pregnant,” Jade responded, and mentally added, yet. “I’m calling for some records from the old Enterprise. You remember the mission just after Ruth and Jilla left for the shipyards in which Spock, Noel DelMonde and Pavel Chekov had to be altered to pass for Romulan?”
“Couldn’t forget it if I tried. Don’t tell me some Intelligence agent showed up with another assignment like that one.”
“No, Leonard – but can you pull the med scans we did of Agent Pelori MacEntyre before her surgery?”
“Now why’d you be needing that? The woman’s dead.”
“It’s for some research,” Jade said smoothly – which had the virtue of being technically correct.
On the small screen, she saw McCoy shrug. “I’ll get right on it, Jade. Might take a few hours, though.”
“Well, as soon as you can Leonard.”
“You be sure to give my regards to Jim, now – and to Ben and Christine – oh and say hello to Uhura and DelMonde and Tara Ryan and M’ress and Mrraal – say, have they had a litter yet?”
“Uhura, Del, Tara, M’ress and Mrraal?” Jade questioned with faux-confusion.
“Very funny,” McCoy answered with faux-sourness of his own. Then he added, “So no kittens?”
Jade chuckled. “Actually, M’ress is due in about two weeks. All the scans show there’ll be four.”
“You be sure to send me pictures,” McCoy insisted. “We all want to see those cute little balls of fur.”
“I will, Leonard.”
“And I’ll get those records to you as soon as possible, Jade. Good seein’ you, girl. McCoy out.”
“Han out,” Jade responded, then slid off her desk and checked the visual of Isolation Room A. Del and Calaya Wheal were still there, still talking – though Jade noted that the Indiian didn’t get close to him. Is that at Pelori MacEntyre’s request, Jade wondered, or can Calaya feel something that makes her uncomfortable, or is Del just uncomfortable with being near her when Pelori’s there?
She could, she knew, simply turn on the speaker in the room, but that seemed unethical, given the nature of the relationships involved. She’d just have to wait to ask Yeoman Wheal what was discussed when the Indiian was satisfied that her Noel was all right.
“Doesn’t the fact that she cannot be physically parted from you disturb you?” Calaya was asking. She sat in a chair in the isolation room, while Del sat on the bed next to the apparently sleeping Pelori.
He shrugged. “I figure it 'cause I somehow brought her back,” he said.
“Do you have that power, Noel?”
“Mais, I gotta admit I never done befo’.”
“Did she explain that?” Calaya wanted to know.
Del glanced at her, then flushed, looking away. “When it happen, she – well, she sorta said – maybe implied …” Unable to say it out loud for fear of having it all crumble around him, Del sang the answer telepathically.
to hear the song, click here
Cold late night so long ago
When I was not so strong you know
A pretty man came to me
Never seen eyes so blue
You know I could not run away
It seemed we'd seen each other in a dream
It seemed like he knew me
He looked right through me, yeah
‘Come on home, girl,’ he said with a smile
‘You don't have to love me yet
Let's get high awhile
But try to understand
Try to understand
Try, try, try to understand
I'm a magic man.’
“The song?” Calaya blinked. “You believe it was the song that drew her?”
“Non, non,” Del countered. “I t’ink she call t’ me wit’ it. Like she was askin’ me to bring her back.” At the confusion in Calaya’s eyes, he took a deep breath. “Cher, I not told you this – hell, I not ever tell anyone this – but this not th’ first time somet’ing like this happen.”
He winced at the loud but silent WHAT?! that came from her mind.
“It was when I was on th’ Drake,” he began, then sighed. “Hell, lemme tell you th’ easy way.”
Calaya’s brain was instantly flooded with images and details; how an explosion in Engineering – that were and were not the chiot’s fault – had blinded him and nearly destroyed his hands, and during the painful recovery and attempts by Lian Rendell to save his sight and his skill, when he could only sense the auras of the people around him, Pelori had come to him, had stayed with him, and had helped him figure out how to use the xenoneurophene in his body to heal the damage that medical science could not. And he told her about the song that she had sung to him, the one that later confirmed that it really was her, since part of the lyrics had been on a plaque in a children’s hospital, a memorial to Pelori’s mother from her father.
So I jus’ figure it had to be the music that done it this time, he finished.
“But it isn’t her this time,” Calaya said gently. “I’m not sure what it is, but it is not Pelori.”
“Maybe it will be?” Del offered. “Maybe th’ xenoneurophene jus’ needs some time to finish th’ job o’ makin’ her?”
Calaya pursed her lips. “I suppose that’s possible,” she conceded. “But if that’s true, we still have a dilemma, Noel.”
He frowned. “Yeah. She not wanna share. It not her fault, y’know. She were an agent, and there’s lots she can’t talk about – she not even able t’ let me in all the way.”
“I assume you’re not talking physically,” the Indiian murmured, and Del flushed again.
“You know too much,” he grunted.
“I know you, my love,” she answered with a soft smile.
“You amaze me, you know that, cher?”
The smile became fuller. “Yes, I do,” she answered. She got up from her chair, and moved toward his opening arms – then stopped as he abruptly turned to the blue figure on the bed.
“Pelori,” he said, “you all right?”
“What were you about to do, Del?” she asked.
“Jus’ gonna give Calaya a hug,” he returned. “You object?”
“It’s too soon,” Pelori answered. “Wait until I’m stronger.” At his frown, she added, “Please, Del. I’m going on raw feeling here.”
He glanced at Calaya, who sighed, nodded, then went back to her chair.
“You know I not understandin’ any o’ this,” he said.
“I know, my love. But be patient. I think it will become clear in time.”
“How much time?”
She shrugged helplessly, and Del gave her the comforting hug he had wanted to give Calaya.
The records from the Enterprise arrived before there was any response from Intelligence. Calaya Wheal hadn’t left the isolation room, and Jade decided to compare the files with the Gorsiini scan. It didn’t tell her much. There wasn’t any way to either confirm or refute Pelori MacEntyre’s claim. Her scan did fit the general configuration of the agent, but without readings that weren’t saturated with xenoneurophene, there weren’t any specifics to identify, even though her file showed a much higher concentration of the drug than was usual.
Though probably not inconsistent with what’s usual for an Intelligence agent, Jade mused. She shook her head. It was unfathomable that Intelligence didn’t realize the dangers in such a thing. Therefore, they must have decided that the enhancement of their agents’ abilities was worth the risk.
“And isn’t that a cheery thought,” she mumbled.
She sighed, and went to the observation window of Isolation Room A, thumbing the intercom switch.
“Mr. DelMonde, Miss Wheal, Miss MacEntyre,” she said, “I have a small bit of news.”
She watched as both Del and Calaya turned apprehensively to the bed. Then the Yeoman said, “It makes no sense, Noel.”
“Yeah,” the engineer frowned.
“What makes no sense?” Jade wanted to know.
“She doesn’t want me to say her name,” Calaya responded. “In fact, she is rather insistent on it.”
“But it don’t seem to bother her none when you do,” DelMonde added.
“Wait, “ Jade broke in. “Yeoman, you can hear her?”
“An’ see her,” Del returned for Calaya, “though what she see ain’t what I seein’.”
“What do you see, Miss Wheal?” the doctor asked.
The Indiian lips formed a small frown of their own. “The general outlines of a female body filled with a mass of swirling xenoneurophene,” she answered.
“Interesting,” Jade returned, “since that’s exactly what the Gorsiini scan showed.”
After a pause in which there was clearly some communication from Pelori, Del said, “An’ your bitty bit o’ news?”
“I received records from the old Enterprise from when Miss MacEntyre was aboard. The medical file confirms that while the basic structure of the figure in the Gorsiini scan is that of Agent MacEntyre, there are no specific parameters that can definitively confirm that.”
“Seeing as how she is nothing more than a mass of xenoneurophene,” Calaya repeated.
“Then there is no…” Jade began.
“I do not sense the tia of an Indiian/Human hybrid,” Calaya affirmed. "I don’t sense any species I have ever come in contact with.”
“That would seem to be something of a confirmation in and of itself, Del,” Jade offered carefully.
The engineer’s face tightened.
“He thinks it’s possible she hasn’t finished forming,” Calaya explained.
“Finished forming from what?”
The yeoman opened her mouth to speak again, and Del shook his head.
“Mr. DelMonde, if you know something…” Jade began.
“It’s not knowledge, per se,” Calaya said, “only a suspicion.”
“You gonna go blabbin’ my business to ever’body now?” the engineer snarled.
“This is hardly your business,” Jade reminded him. “This is a medical matter, and I am the CMO around here.”
Del mumbled something to Pelori, then made a face, sighed, and took a deep breath.
“I t’ink I mighta made her myself,” he said at last.
Jade folded her arms and waited. When he said nothing more, she prompted, “Go on.”
“Can you get th’ captain down here again?” he finally responded. “I not wanna have to say it more than I gotta.”
Captain Kirk listened politely, his arms folded, while Noel DelMonde explained the incident on the Drake. The main difference, it seemed, was that then, Pelori MacEntyre was clearly insubstantial; Del could not, then, physically touch her and she herself did not then claim to be real. It was both comforting and disturbing that there was now an independent verification of her existence. The Gorsiini scan could and did detect her, and Yeoman Wheal’s tia sensed exactly the same reality.
Neither of which, unfortunately, carried any explanation as to how and why she was present, or why the yeoman could interact when others could not.
“Do you suppose it would do any good to have anyone else with psychic gifts come and take a look?” Jim said when Del was finished.
Jade pursed her lips. “It might add weight to the verification,” she answered, “but I doubt it will give us any more information.”
“But if others see and hear what either DelMonde or Wheal do…”
“It might tell us that there was a layer of telepathic reality to her,” Jade said. “But I don’t see how that would help us.”
Jim frowned, then said, “Mr. DelMonde, I realize this is a delicate question, but – is Miss MacEntyre clothed?”
“You t’ink I let you all be oglin’ her if she not?” the engineer returned grimly.
“Well, seeing as how we can’t see her, it wouldn’t make much difference,” Jim returned with a wry grin.
“What is she wearing?” Jade wanted to know.
“Standard uniform,” was Del’s response.
“Old style or these?”
“Th’ new one.”
“Well, isn’t that odd,” the doctor mused. “She died before they were created.”
“But if Noel has indeed created her, it would make sense that he would clothe her in the uniform that was now standard,” Calaya suggested.
“If you created me,” Pelori said to Del, “I wouldn’t be wearing clothes.”
Del snorted, Calaya frowned, and Jade and Jim exchanged glances. Calaya began to repeat what the former agent had said, and Del interrupted her.
“You not gotta play translator, y’ know,” he said.
“Someone should,” Jade remarked. “We can’t hear her, remember?”
“Mais, oui," Del conceded sourly. “But not when it not’ing more’n a personal comment.”
“All right,” Jim said. “We have to decide how to handle this until we hear from Intelligence.”
“They called Intelligence?!” Pelori said in alarm.
“That a problem, cher?” Del replied.
“Only in that they’ll send an agent, and if they can, they’ll take me back to their Research facility!”
“An’ since you not get away from me, I’d hafta go wit’ you,” Del concluded.
“And believe me, my love, that’s one place you do NOT want to go!”
“She says Intelligence will want to take her and Del to a Research facility,” Calaya repeated.
“You can’t let them do that, Del!” Pelori continued. “Please, I can’t go back there, I can’t!”
“Hush, darlin’ no one takin’ you nowhere,” Del soothed, then turned to the captain. “That so, Captain, non?”
“Mr. DelMonde, I don’t see how…” Kirk began helplessly.
“If another agent can perceive her, Mr. DelMonde,” Jade put in, “I’ll have many, many, questions about this whole affair. And I won’t release my patients unless and until I get some satisfactory answers.” She turned to Jim. “You’ll back me up on that, James?”
Jim smiled in clear relief. “I certainly will, Doctor,” he said.
Del nodded, and put his arm around Pelori. “There, see? It gonna be alright, honey.”
Calaya swallowed, then said, “You wanted to speak to me, Dr. Han?”
Even without sensitivity, it was clear to Jade that the yeoman was hurting.
“Yes, I did,” she said. “Del, Pelori, if you’ll remain here a little while longer? James…”
“We’ll start scanning for an Intelligence shuttle,” he promised. He gave his yeoman an encouraging smile, then he left as Jade and Calaya went toward Jade’s office.
“Do you really think I’ll get more real?” Pelori said to Del.
He kissed the top of her head. “Maybe we try concentratin’ on that an’ see what happens,” he suggested.
“I love you, Del. You know that, don’t you?”
“I surely do, Li’l Mac,” he whispered to her. “I surely do.”
“I’m very sorry you had to find out about this turn of events so abruptly, Yeoman,” Jade said as she and Calaya settled in her office.
“It wasn’t something that could be helped,” the Indiian replied. “I felt Noel’s presence before I reached Sickbay.”
“That’s rather odd, isn’t it?” Jade asked.
“The xenoneurophene explains that, Doctor.”
“Yes, I suppose it does.” The doctor paused. “Can you tell me – is there anything in his personal life that would explain that?”
Calaya shook her head. “He has had a certain song in his mind for several days, and he said that he believes it might have something to do with Miss MacEntyre’s appearance, but…”
“What song?” Jade interrupted.
“I’m not sure of the name of it, but…” she took a deep breath, clearly intending on singing what she had heard, then her grey eyes widened and she gasped, her arms folding over her stomach.
Jade moved swiftly to her side. “Yeoman?” she asked. “What’s wrong?”
Then she backed away in true alarm as Calaya looked up, her eyes no longer soft Indiian grey, but an intense cerulean blue.
“You will not interfere in the joining,” said a thin, raspy voice that was clearly not the yeoman’s. “The trigger must be prepared.”
In one motion, Calaya rose, her hand extending straight out in front of her, her palm forward. There was a smell of ozone, and Jade found herself being thrown backwards across her desk. The Indiian moved out of the office, her gait so smooth it almost seemed as though she was floating.
Jade pulled herself up and hit the security alarm on her desk, then collapsed as, in her head, the same rasping voice ordered, Stay down!
Calaya continued her almost-hovering movement across Sickbay and to Isolation Room A. She stared impassively at the embracing couple, the female now appearing normal but for the blue aura surrounding her, the male having obtained the same glow. A smile crept over her full, dark lips.
She felt the approach of the Security officers, and dispatched them with the same upward movement of her arm. She could see the power arcing from it, though she was well aware those non-gifted would not. She felt, too, the blast of the phasers set on stun, and absorbed the energy, using it to enhance her own potential. Nothing could be allowed to interfere with the joining.
Del sat with his arms around Pelori, his forehead resting against hers. The thought that he could, by sheer force of xenoneurophene-enhanced will, make her as real and solid to everyone else as she was to him drove him. The difficulty it would cause with Calaya troubled him, but he had endured too much loss in his life to forego this chance to regain the woman he had loved so intensely for far too short a time. He could feel the vibration beginning within him, the same warm-to-hot-to-burning feeling that had engulfed him in the Gorsiini scan,
This gotta be the way, he thought desperately. Li’l Mac, you feelin’ it?
I am, she thought back to him, but I’m afraid, Del. This doesn’t feel right.
I know, it uncomfortable, he soothed her, but it worth it, darlin’, it so very worth it to get you all the way back to me…
No, this can’t be right, she argued. We have to stop, Del, something’s happening that can’t happen!
Hush, gal, it gonna be all right, I know it gonna be…
Pelori pulled frantically away, pushing at his chest, knocking him to the floor. Her head jerked to the observation window and she pointed, gasping in horror.
Outside it, Calaya Wheal stood, her skin a beacon of pale blue light, her eyes lasers of cerulean.
“What th’…!!” Del roared, surging back up from the deck. His gaze followed her finger, and he froze. “Calaya, what you…” he began. A sharp inhale shook his frame and his eyes began to change, a ring of bright blue forming around the dark irises.
“No, no, stop this, you can’t do this!” Pelori screamed. She slid off the bed, grasping the chair that sat a few feet away, and threw it not at the window, but at Del.
Calaya let out a shriek that was equal parts fury and disbelief, then collapsed. Only Pelori saw the blue mist that seemed to remain suspended where the yeoman had been standing, then dissolved into nothingness. Tears streaking down her cheeks, she rushed to Del’s side, cradling his unconscious body in her arms. “I’m sorry, my love,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t understand, but I do now. I can’t let them do this to you, I can’t let them use someone you love like this. Oh god, I hate to have to do this to you again, but I don’t have a choice. Anything else would destroy you, and I love you.” She sobbed. “I love you, Del, more than you’ll ever know.” She kissed him, placing her fingers against his temples.
This will shield you, she said silently. I have to lock what I’m going to tell you behind a door I hope you’ll never find. I’ll try to leave you as much as I can, but if you wake up and don’t remember me ever being here – just know that I love you, still, always – forever.
She took a deep breath and placed within him the terrible experiment Intelligence had envisioned after the information from Dreamland had been processed. That it had progressed so far in such a short time was a nightmare she could not have conceived of – yet she knew too well that she should never underestimate the fanatic determination of the Telecorps division.
It’s my fault, she told him. I was too open with you, I gave you too much – gave them too much of you. And damn me for being Indiian, for her being Indiian. It’s what makes you so vulnerable, my dearest love, and yet – yet, it’s the only thing that has a hope of saving you. You’ll never be free of it, Del, and I’m so, so sorry…
Her tears fell on his skin as the song that had indeed drawn her echoed within both their minds.
But try to understand, try to understand, oh ... oh ...
Winter nights we sang in tune
Played inside the months of moon
Never think of never
Let this spell last forever…
Try, try, try to understand
You’re a magic man!
But try to understand, try to understand, oh ... oh ...
Del came to consciousness sick to his stomach, his head pounding, his heart thundering in his chest. He felt Pelori’s arms around him – then they started to fade.
Non, non! he cried. Don’ leave me again, Pelori, darlin’, please, not again!
I have to, Del, she murmured. Remember me and find joy with Calaya. Be strong, my love, she needs you now.
He felt her tears, and when all sense of her presence was gone, he sobbed – heaving, wracking sobs – and vomited all over the isolation room floor.
The members of the Security team that hadn’t been knocked flat approached the fallen Indiian with caution. She was no longer glowing, her small body crumpled on the deck. Tara Ryan called loudly for assistance, and several members of the medical staff came running, the CMO herself emerging groggily from her office.
“What happened?” Jade asked, her voice catching.
“Damned if I know, Doctor,” Tara answered. “She was a nova, and she did this – “ She held out her arm, palm facing forward – “and the first line went down like a ton of neutronium. Then she just collapsed.”
Jade took a hand scanner from one of her assistants, running it over the inert body. “She reads perfectly normal now,” she said. “But let’s get her into Isolation just in case.”
Two orderlies picked up the stricken yeoman and Jade directed them to Isolation Room B. Then she turned to Room A. Inside it, Noel DelMonde was emptying his stomach, a harsh keening coming from him, interrupted by the choking gasps of nausea. Jade quickly motioned for a hypo, then went into the room.
“Excuse me, Miss MacEntyre,” she said, having no way of knowing where the agent was. As she knelt next to her patient, Del glanced up at her, his face blotched and stained with tears.
“She gone,” he rasped. “She left me – again – she say those motherfuckers from Intelligence did…” His face twisted. “…somet’ing she not able t’ tell me. They was usin’ her, Jade, an’ usin’ me an’ – tryin’ t’ use Calaya…” His stomach convulsed again and Jade pressed the hypo to his arm, delivering the anti-nausea serum. He sobbed again and Jade could almost feel his soul collapsing.
“Sapphire,” she said to Nurse Asaan. “Three tabs worth in a hypo. Now.”
And then Del was in her arms, weeping hoarsely, and she stroked his head, heedless of the mess, giving him the sapphire when Asaan brought it. She held him, rocking him, until the drug did its work and he was silent and blessedly still.
Calaya came awake and tried to sit up, baffled by the restraints that held her to the Sickbay bed. She lifted her head, wincing at the pain, identifying one of the Isolation rooms.
“Noel?” she managed. There was no answer, and she cleared her throat and said, more loudly, “Dr. Han?” When there was only silence, she took a deep breath and said, tentatively, “Miss MacEntyre?”
Del needs you, came softly to her mind.
I am restrained here, she answered it, but there was no further communication.
She heard the door opening, and Dr. M’Benga came to stand over her. “How do you feel, Yeoman?” he asked.
“Confused,” she replied. “I was with Dr, Han in her office…”
“You don’t remember anything after that?” he interrupted, scanning her body with a tricorder.
“Nothing,” she said. “What has happened? Why am I restrained? Is Noel all right?”
“I think he’ll be fine in a little while,” the doctor answered.
“And – Miss MacEntyre?”
“Let me answer that, Doctor,” came the voice of Captain Kirk. He came into Calaya’s line of sight. “And I think we can let her up, Ben,” he added.
M’Benga shrugged, then bent releasing the straps. Calaya sat up, paled, and vomited into an emesis bowl the doctor held in front of her.
“That was DelMonde’s reaction when he woke up,” the captain explained.
Calaya gratefully rinsed her mouth with the glass of water Kirk held out to her.
“Feeling better?” he asked.
“Not really,” she answered. “Captain, what happened?”
“We don’t really know, Miss Wheal, except what Agent MacEntyre left in Mr. DelMonde’s brain. This was apparently some kind of Intelligence experiment. Unfortunately, we don’t know what for, or how they accomplished it.” His mouth turned upward in a grim smile. “We’re hoping to get more information from the Intelligence agent who just requested docking.”
“Where is Noel?” Calaya asked anxiously. “May I see him?”
“Jade released him a few minutes ago,” the captain said. “Once Ben gives you a clean bill of health, you can go home.”
The Indiian looked pleadingly at the doctor. He checked the readings on the medical tricorder again, frowned, then nodded.
“You’re still weak, Miss Wheal, so I’d take it easy, but…” He shrugged. “I’m not reading anything wrong with you, other than a headache and some nausea.”
Jim smiled, helping the yeoman from the bed. “Go on, then, Calaya. I’m betting being together will do you and Mr. DelMonde far more good than can be accomplished here.”
Calaya gave him a nod of thanks, then moved unsteadily from the Isolation Room and Sickbay. The journey to her cabin seemed to take an inordinately long time. When the door finally opened and closed behind her, the force of the emotion filling the room nearly made her vomit again. There was only dim illumination from the bedroom, and she made her way to it and to the figure that was curled on its side on the bed.
“Noel,” she whispered and felt the sapphire coursing through him. That his emotions were still so overpowering caused tears to form in her eyes.
She repeated his name and crawled onto the bed beside him.
She gone, he rasped silently. My Pelori, my Li’l Mac – she gone from me forever.
“I’m so sorry, my love,” she began, and he cried out.
You not say that! he roared in her head, and her mind was filled with chaotic images of his last, final memory of Pelori MacEntyre.
Unable to express her sorrow and sympathy any other way, Calaya simply held him and let him rain invective into her thoughts. She didn’t try to hush him, nor to argue, nor to point out that she was with him, that she, too, loved him, and that she would not leave him. She only listened and wept with him and let him cry himself to unconsciousness enfolded in her tia.
You gonna ever forgive me? he asked sometime in the middle of the night.
“There is nothing to forgive, my love,” she answered, her, voice husky with grief.
She tol’ me t’ be strong fo’ you, he admitted. She say you gonna need me.
“I always need you.”
But she not tell me what happened t’ you. She not say why you need me.
“I don’t remember, Noel.”
He turned, taking her in his arms. It jus’ hurt so bad…
She stroked his hair. “I know. I feel it.”
I not mean fo’ it t’ hurt you.
A tired smile flashed across her features. “I know that, too, pelo’ros.”
He started, even as the Indiian term – beautiful man – was translated in his brain. She winced.
“I hadn’t realized how it would sound,” she offered contritely, carefully avoiding the words that had triggered his despair before: I’m sorry.
You t’ink I beautiful, huh? His mental voice was tinged with his own contrition.
“Always, my love,” she returned softly.
Calaya – I sorry I not bein’ strong like she ask.
She took a deep breath. “Do you still love me, Noel?”
Whyfor you ask me that?
“Because I can understand if you need – time,” was her gentle response.
His answer came involuntarily. I need Pelori!
“I know,” she repeated. “But – “ Her voice quavered. “Do you need me, too?”
She heard Pelori MacEntyre’s voice in his thoughts: Remember me and find joy with Calaya. His sorrow nearly broke him, but he took a careful breath.
“Come on home, girl" he said with a smile, he sang, his low voice strengthening with each word.
"I cast my spell o’ love on you, a woman from a child
But try to understand, try to understand,
Try, try, try to understand…”
“He’s a magic man,” she whispered.
Agent Dini Savas was escorted to the Captain’s office after her shuttle had been taken into the Lincoln’s docking bay. She was a tall, severe looking woman, her almost platinum hair cut mannishly short. She carried a small computer with her, which she set up on the desk as soon as she was seated.
Commander Tara Ryan waited just inside the doorway, making careful note of everything the woman did until the captain arrived – something Security had planned with his approval.
Ten minutes later, the agent glanced behind her.
“Commander, your captain does know I’m here?” she said, her mild voice covering clear annoyance.
“Of course, ma’am,” Ryan answered. “I’m certain he’s delayed by pressing matters.”
“My time is valuable,” Savas responded. “I can only afford to spend an hour here as it is…”
She was interrupted as Captain Kirk and Dr. Han entered the office.
“Forgive the delay,” Jim said with smooth sincerity. “I’m Captain James Kirk, this is my wife and CMO Jade Han.” He moved to take a seat behind his desk, Jade coming to stand next to it. “And you are…?”
“Agent Dini Savas,” the agent returned. “I have the medical records you asked for, but I have some questions before I can release them to you.”
Jade perched herself on the edge of Jim’s desk. “Surely we could have answered them via subspace,” she said. “There was really no need for Intelligence to send an agent all the way out here.”
“Certain questions would not have been suitable to ask without proper Security clearance,” Savas answered. She glanced again at Tara. “Surely that is understandable.”
Jade lifted an eyebrow at the obvious mockery, but said nothing. Instead, she took out a small handheld datapad and sketched a note on it.
“Commander Ryan, that should be all for now,” Jim rejoined. He then gave a conspicuous nod in the direction of his Security Chief.
“Understood, sir,” Tara replied, and left the office.
Savas cleared her throat. “May I ask, Captain, what it is that is understood between you and your Chief of Security?”
“No, you may not,” Jim responded. “It’s none of Intelligence’s business. Now as to those medical files…?”
“The first question I have is why you want them,” the agent said as though she was not at all disconcerted by Kirk’s brusque dismissal of her concern.
“Research,” Jade answered.
When no further information was forthcoming, Savas said, “Of what nature?”
“You’re aware that a member of my crew was exposed to extremely high concentrations of the chemical known as xenoneurophene during a past mission,” Jim said, again taking the lead. “And seeing as how Intelligence agents are known for their work with this chemical...”
“Are they indeed?” Savas interrupted.
“Oh please,” Jade muttered.
“And how exactly did you come by this information?” the agent wanted to know.
Jade again made a notation on her pad, then answered, while still writing, “Agent Pelori MacEntyre, while on board the Constitution Class Enterprise, was quite open about it. She, in fact, distributed it at that time to the officer in question.” She glanced up into Savas’ pale blue eyes. “And while I am, in fact, a genius, it doesn’t take one to put two and two together, Agent Savas.”
Jim chuckled and Jade favored him with a brief smile before returning her cool gaze to the woman before her. “Now, I’d like to see Agent MacEntyre’s medical file.”
“The non-classified version, of course,” Jim added smoothly.
“What is the nature of your research, Dr. Han?” Savas asked again. Her voice sounded brittle, though her outward manner was as cool as Jade’s.
“The long-term effects of xenoneurophene exposure, of course,” the doctor replied. “I thought I’d said that.”
“No, you did not.”
“Hmm,” Jade returned, making yet another note, “I guess it does take a genius, James.”
Jim shrugged genially.
Savas stood. “I will not be subjected to such harassment, Captain…” she began.
Jim stood as well. “Sit down, Agent Savas,” he said, his voice captain-stern. The battle of wills was tense and an even match until Jade also got to her feet, her stylus poised over her datapad.
“The truth of the matter, Lieutenant,” Jim continued, “is that we know all too well why you’re here, and it’s not to deliver medical records, which Intelligence had no intention of releasing in the first place. And just for the record, you will remain here on my ship – in the Brig, if necessary – until I find out what your superiors were doing to my Chief Engineer, and how they were able to do if from parsecs away.” He paused, retaking his seat. “And if you think this is harassment, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Savas blinked, swallowed, then straightened. “This interview is at an end,” she announced.
“How nice,” Jade put in. “Mine isn’t.”
“…gonna throw you to’ th’ fuckin’ wolves firs’ chance they get, jus’ like they do ever’ other agent they no longer need.”
Savas turned at the voice which carried an unmistakable crackle of power emanating from behind her.
“Agent Savas,” Jim Kirk said, “meet my Chief Engineer”
“Bet she already know my name,” Del growled.
The inner workings of Agent Savas’ brain were far more compartmentalized, with more locked doors, than Pelori’s had been at its worst. Without another empath’s gifts to stand guard at the entrance to those doors, as Joron had done with Ve’el, Del was unable to find a way in that would not trap him inside their knowledge – and horrors – forever. Traditional methods of interrogation were, of course, completely useless, but even after several hours, Jim was loathe to allow Agent Savas to leave the Lincoln. He lodged a formal protest with Starfleet Command over Intelligence’s approach, along with one to Intelligence itself. He was, however, certain that one would fall on deaf ears. Command asked for and received proof of the allegations, in the form of Jade’s medical logs, as well as depositions from Nurse Asaan, Commander Ryan, and, of course, Commander DelMonde and Yeoman Wheal. Jim even provided one himself. He contacted the Enterprise and the D’Artagnan to ask for supporting briefs from Bones and Lian Rendell, which they were only too happy to provide. He was beginning to feel hopeful about the whole thing, when he received a call from Starfleet Policy Chief, Admiral Adam Craigson.
“Captain Kirk,” the Admiral began gravely. Jim was seated at his desk in his office, along with his CMO, Chief Engineer, and Chief Yeoman.. “I’ve received all the material for this complaint, and I regret to inform you that it cannot go forward.”
“What?!” Calaya burst out, on top of Del’s “Fuckin’ motherfuckers!” and Jade’s “May I ask why not?”
Jim held up a silencing hand. “Admiral, what are you saying? If you require more evidence…”
“More evidence isn’t the problem, Jim,” Craigson broke in. “The situation is – sensitive.”
“I’m the commander of the flagship,” Jim reminded. “It can’t be a mater of Security clearance.”
“This has been classified at the highest level. I’m afraid I can’t say any more.”
“Fuckin’ Intelligence highest level?” Del snarled.
“I think, Commander, that you already know too much,” Craigson informed him disapprovingly.
“He doesn’t know nearly enough!” Calaya insisted stridently. “Seeing as how he and I were clearly being used in an unauthorized experiment…”
“What basis do you have for that claim?” the admiral wanted to know.
“It certainly wasn’t authorized by me, Admiral,” Jade put in. “And I am the final authority regarding the health of members of this crew.”
“Nor was it authorized by me,” Jim added. “And I’m the final authority for anything involving members of this crew.”
“Not this time,” Craigson took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Captain Kirk, but you have Starfleet’s final ruling on this matter. Craigson out.”
The connection was broken, and Calaya let out a shriek of frustration as Del shouted obscenities at the comm unit.
“James, is there nothing we can do?” Jade demanded.
“Short of taking this to Babel?” Jim growled.
“We do that then!” Del snapped.
Jim sighed. “I’ll contact Ambassadors Lindgren and Costain.”
The Terran and Indiian ambassadors were properly outraged, and they vowed to work together to bring the matter directly to the Council and Secretary Elamas. Jim warned his officers that diplomatic channels were notoriously slow, and not to expect an answer, definitive or otherwise, anytime soon. Thus it was with some surprise that he received a call from Cordelia Lindgren less than a week later.
“I’m sorry, Captain,” she said. “The Council won’t even hear our petition. They claim this is strictly an internal Starfleet matter.”
“Ambassador, members of the races you and Ambassador Costain represent have been the victims of a sanctioned yet classified assault…” Jim began.
“And let me tell you, Jole gave the Council no small piece of his mind in a full-blown Indiian tirade,” Lindgren interrupted. “The best we could do was to get a promise from Mad Anthony that if it happens again, he’ll take a personal interest in the situation. But for now, even he agrees that this is…”
“Strictly an internal Starfleet matter,” Jim finished with a disgusted growl.
“I’m sorry, Captain,” the ambassador repeated. “Isn’t there anything you can do to protect your people from these assaults?”
“Short of developing an impenetrable telepathic shield, I don’t see how. Thank you for your attention, Ambassador. And when Ambassador Costain has calmed down, please extend my thanks to him.”
Lindgren’s face twisted into a wry smile. “I will, Captain Kirk.” Jim closed the link and prepared himself to deliver the bad news to his officers. Then his own parting words came back to him: Short of developing an impenetrable telepathic shield…
Hmmm, maybe I should ask Valjiir if they can do just that.
Magic Man by Heart
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