by Cheryl Petterson
Rewrite with the help of David Petterson

(Standard Year 2247)

Go To Part Two

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continum

(dedicated to Sturgeon’s Curse – a.k.a. pon farr)

Captain James T. Kirk studied the reports on the new crew assignments while waiting for the beam-up. There were eight new Ensigns in all; one for Command, three for Sciences and four headed to Engineering and Support Services. They’d done their ‘hawkeye run’ on the Endeavor, so he had yet to meet any of them.

Monique DuBois was listed as Navigations, and he smiled. He had always approved of women in Command training. It was about time Fleet did so. Ensigns Paul Carter, Sharon Intansah, and Ramon Ordona, Chemistry, Physics, and Botany, respectively. Spock would be pleased. Not that he ever complained about being short-handed. He just did the work himself. John Holden was a Communications specialist, Security was getting Ensign Tara Ryan, and there were two for Scotty; Mrraal, a Caitian, and an Indiian, Jilla Majiir.

Kirk paused in his thoughts. Majiir. It wasn’t an Indiian name – or at least it didn’t sound like one. Yet… It seemed somehow familiar, though he couldn’t place it.

His puzzling was interrupted by the soft hiss of the transporter room door and he looked up. Spock and Scotty were entering the room. He set down the statboard and took a step toward the transporter disks.

“Energize, Mr. Kyle,” he said to the technician on duty.

“Aye, sir,” the soft-voiced Englishman replied.

The disks flickered, forms sparkled, and eight young, eager ensigns stepped off the platform.

“Welcome aboard the Enterprise,” Kirk said, smiling and stepping forward. “I’m Captain James Kirk. This is your First Officer, Mr. Spock,” he gestured, “and the Chief Engineer, Mr. Scott. If I could have your names, one at a time, we’ll get you logged in and Scotty can take you on a tour of the ship.”

All went well. Spock nodded politely at his charges, who all seemed properly awed by the fact that the Vulcan was also the Chief of Sciences. Scotty was as friendly and welcoming as usual. Everything was fine until the last crewmember came forward. She was the Indiian, of medium height for females of that race, which meant about five feet tall. She was amply curvaceous, with her race’s pale, silvery skin, slate grey eyes, and deep, burgundy-colored hair. She stated her name clearly and calmly, in softly accented Anglo-Terran:

“Jilla Costain Majiir.”

The effect it had on Spock was anything but calm. He looked up swiftly, and Kirk noticed the surprise on his usually impassive features, as well as the near-awe that replaced it when, with the Vulcan gesture of greeting, she added,

“Alb p’salk sp’ra’l, Commander.”

Spock returned the gesture, quickly regaining control. “Majiir alb sp’ra’n, Lady.”

Just as Kirk was about to ask several questions, Scott broke in with, “Costain!? Ya don’t mean to tell me that you’re related to Ambassador Costain!”

The young woman turned to Scott. “My father,” she said.

“Captain Kirk, Ambassador Costain’s the man responsible for the improvements in the hull metals and warp engines!” Scott enthused.

“I know, Mr. Scott,” Kirk returned. “It was his breakthroughs that enabled us to extend the maximum safe warp speed up to the tenth power.” He faced the ensign. “We’re honored to have you aboard, Miss…”

Mrs., Captain, “ she corrected. Kirk’s eyebrows rose. Surely she was much too young to be…

“Jilla Costain was married to a Vulcan, Captain,” Spock said. “Selar was a research professor at the Vulcan Science Academy.”

“Was?” Kirk asked.

“My husband is dead, sir.” The Indiian’s voice seemed almost an imitation of Spock’s.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Majiir,” Kirk offered. She nodded.

“Ensign Majiir,” Spock began. She turned a cool gaze to him.

“Yes, Commander?” Kirk noted the pronunciation: koh-mahn-dahr.

“Forgive the intrusion, but ‘majiir’ was not Selar’s family name. May I ask what has prompted your use of it?”

“When I entered the Academy, Humans were reluctant to address me as informally as ‘Jilla,’” she began, with no sense that this was an intrusion at all. “’Mrs. Costain’ was incorrect, ‘Miss’ equally so. I quickly tired of the absurdity of ‘Mrs. Selar.’” Kirk saw the slight nod Spock gave, remembering clearly that McCoy tended to refer to Spock’s mother as ‘Mrs. Sarek.’ He wondered if Spock deliberately hadn’t corrected him as part of their on-going ‘feud.’

“I am proud of my marriage,” Ensign Majiir was going on, “Therefore, I chose a word near in meaning to my family name that was also pronounceable by Humans.”

Again Spock nodded approvingly.

“Spock,” Kirk said as Scotty led the new crewmembers out for the grand tour, “when she first spoke to you - what did she say?”

Spock looked surprised. “She gave the traditional greeting. I, of course, gave the traditional answer.”

“In Vulcan.”

“She did greet me in my native tongue, sir.”

Kirk mused silently. The ‘traditional greeting’ among Vulcans was ‘live long and prosper.’ The proper reply was ‘peace and long life.' And that was where he had heard… “Then ‘majiir’ means – “



“Jim, I’ve met Indiians before. They’re practically Human in their actions and attitudes, if a little on the high-spirited side. This one’s more than half Vulcan!”

McCoy stood over Kirk as the captain initialed the medical clearances that needed to be sent back to the Academy.

“And what kind of name is ‘Majiir?’ Certainly not Indiian!”

“It’s a Vulcan name, Bones,” Kirk replied. “She’s – was married.”

“Married to a Vulcan? Well, I’ll be a…”

“Her husband is dead.”

“Oh.” McCoy was always at a loss for words about death. “How long ago did he die?”

“Her records say she left Vulcan a little over two years ago.”

“Hmm.” There was silence for a moment. “Still, even so, her behavior is peculiar. Indiians are known for being emotional beings. She tests out fine, except for a slight malformation of the ears…”

“Malformation, Bones?” Kirk asked, looking up.

McCoy scowled. “They’re slightly elongated, and pointed, Jim.”

“Like a Vulcan’s?”

“Well, yes, now that you mention it.” The craggy face suddenly smiled. “Hey, Jim, you think that’s why she acts like a female Spock?”

Jim laughed. “So, that’s what’s eating you, the thought of another logician running around the ship.”

“I always said one is more than enough.” McCoy paused. “You don’t suppose she actually had them altered…”

“Physical alteration is a personal decision, even in Starfleet, Bones,” Jim reminded, and continued before McCoy could protest, “whether or not you approve.”

“It isn’t natural,” McCoy grumbled, then went on. “But I’m still concerned about her. She’s doing the same kind of emotional suppression I’ve come to know and barely tolerate in Spock, but she’s not Vulcan, she wasn’t born or bred to those kind of disciplines, and it can’t be doing her system any good.”

“She tests out fine, you said?” Kirk questioned.

“Yes,” McCoy admitted.

“Then leave it. There’s no regulations governing how to express emotion.” He grinned. “If I can’t order Spock to stop acting Vulcan I don’t suppose I can order anyone else to, either.” Kirk got up and stepped toward the door. “I’m going to get something to eat. Paperwork makes me hungry.” He turned back to McCoy. “Coming, Doctor?”

McCoy was still grumbling, but he grumbled, “why not?”


The mess hall was nearly full. Sulu and Kevin Riley sat at a table with Ensign DuBois, already developing a friendly rivalry for the pretty French girl’s attention. Uhura and M’ress were engrossed in conversation with John Holden and Mrraal. Kirk wondered idly if that meant there’d be Caitian litters on board his ship. Lieutenant Kyle was standing near the replicator, using all his charm on Ensign Ryan, and, as usual, Spock sat at a table by himself. Kirk filled his tray, waited for McCoy, then they both headed toward Spock. As they approached the table, he looked up.

“Captain, Doctor,” he acknowledged.

“Care for some company, Spock?” Kirk asked.

“Your presence would not disturb me.”

“Now there’s a friendly ‘come on and sit down’ if I ever heard one,” McCoy drawled caustically as he and Kirk sat down.

“Is there a reason I should give you a ‘friendly come on and sit down’, Doctor?” Spock asked mildly.

“So we know we’re wanted,” McCoy replied.

“Since I indicated that I would not object to your company, and since you are sitting down, such a statement would be totally unnecessary.” McCoy scowled as Spock turned to Kirk. “Don’t you agree, Captain?”

“Jim, you’re not going to take the side of this pointy-eared trouble maker, are you?”

“Now wait just a minute!” Kirk exclaimed. “Don’t get me in on your family quarrels!”

“I would hardly claim kinship with Dr. McCoy,” Spock returned, raising his best offended eyebrow.

“And I’d sooner be related to a Denebian Slime Devil than this walking computer!” McCoy added, a fairly good impression of offense himself.

Kirk sighed and shook his head, grinning. The bantering game got better with practice. They had renewed it with vigor and Kirk glanced up casually as Ensign Majiir glided past the table.

“…highly illogical and quite - ” Spock’s voice stopped abruptly. Kirk looked at him. He was staring after the Indiian, his face a quickly hidden mixture of astonishment and delight.

“Jim, it hasn’t been seven years already, has it?” McCoy asked, only half joking. Spock turned to him.

“I was momentarily distracted by the Ensign’s surprising choice of food.” He glanced at Kirk. “Plomeek soup, Captain.”

“Not that awful orange stuff!” McCoy interjected. “I thought only Vulcans could stomach that disgusting conglomeration.”

“How can you tell?” Kirk asked Spock.

“I detected its appetizing aroma," Spock explained with only the slightest emphasis on the word and nary a sidelong glance at McCoy. McCoy made a face and Kirk hid his smile. “I am most curious as to an Indiian’s fondness for such a delicacy, Captain,” Spock continued. “If you will excuse me?”

“By all means, Spock.”

Spock stood and walked across the room. McCoy made another face.

“Delicacy,” he snorted. “Bleah!” He glanced after Spock. “You sure it hasn’t been seven years?”


“Ensign, may I sit down?”

The Indiian looked up, and Spock could detect no expression on her innocently-featured face. “Of course, Commander,” she said.

Spock did. “Forgive my curiosity, Ensign,” he began again. “I was not aware that Indiians shared the Vulcan enjoyment of plomeek soup.”

“Generally, they do not, Commander,” she answered. “However, an Indiian wife has a duty to learn and adapt to her husband’s culture when it is different from her own. Additionally, it was Selar’s choice that we reside on Vulcan. Such adaptation then became a necessity as well as my duty.”

“A commendable attitude,” Spock remarked.

“Thank you, sir.”

There was silence for a moment, and when Spock again spoke, his voice was quiet. “Permit me to offer my belated condolences on the death of your husband. I was familiar with much of his work. Vulcan considers it a great loss.”

“I am aware of Vulcan’s opinion of my husband,” Jilla replied. Her tone was expressionless, but her eyes flickered with something Spock could not define.


Jilla’s quarters were empty when she entered them at the end of her duty period. She had been allowed a brief period to stow her belongings before attending a truncated shift, but there was still much she had to arrange. She waited a short while for her roommate so that she could discuss space requirements with her, but the Antari did not appear. She spent a short time placing her belongings in obvious places; clothes in the dresser, tools at the empty desk, personal hygiene necessities in the shared bathroom and cabinet. She went to her bed, glad for the continued solitude, and took from above it a carefully tended lyrette. She held it almost lovingly, and began to strum, softly humming to herself. It was a quiet melody, droning and repetitive, an ancient Vulcan chant to the healing of calm and order. It had been composed by Scarn, the first apostle of Surak and the founder of one of Vulcan’s greatest families. The Clan Warrior-Who-Becomes-Teacher/Healer – Xtmprosqzntwlfd; the family of T’Pau and Ambassador Sarek, and of Commander Spock. Her voice caught and she stopped, closing her eyes for a brief moment. A deep, calming breath cleared her throat and she went on. To peace I call, the words went, to the beauty that is calm and strong. Scarn had broken with the Clan of his fathers, yet they, too, as had all of Vulcan that survived, learned and accepted Surak’s Way. Their name remained unchanged, for it suited the philosophy of peace as well – through differently – as it had of war; Clan Solace-And-Sanctuary-In-Mastery – Vtkrgdantm. Selar’s name, and hers.

Her fingers faltered on the strings. She glanced down and saw that her hands were trembling. She slammed the lyrette to the bed, cursing her lack of control. Why had Commander Spock insisted on speaking to her? Could it be he did not know the effect he would have? Impossible, he was Vulcan! Surely any Vulcan could sense…

There is very little that is, in fact, impossible, a deep, solemn voice in her head reminded her. Simply because a thing is not now within our capabilities does not render it impossible.

Of course, Selar, she answered it, as she had every day since she had sent his essence on: not back to his Clan and the desert world to which he was born, but to Aema’s Court and Her tender care, where, since their wedding vows, he belonged. She did not, of course, believe that he could actually speak to her. Those who waited at Court were silent observers. Still, it is highly improbable that Commander Spock could be completely unaware. It has chemical effects, does it not? Even if his long, close association with Humans has dulled his perceptions, he must feel it, mustn’t he? He is so like you, Selar; intelligent, inquisitive, elegantly handsome…

Put such thoughts out of your head! she interrupted herself sternly. Your husband is dead and your vows contain no words of release at death!

“Your union was childless, Jilla. Vulcan law will not recognize any further kinship. As Selar’s parents, Selik and I suggest you return to your home.”

“This is my home, T’Pon.”

“A Vulcan wife cannot inherit from her husband unless there are offspring to consider. The family home returns to us.”

“Under Indiian law our marriage cannot be dissolved. I have no home there to return to.”

“You are welcome to stay as our guest until other arrangements can be made.”

“Selar, why did you leave me!” Jilla covered her face with her hands, fighting for the control that had kept her alive for two years.

“Jilla, are you all right?”

Jilla jerked her head up. Her roommate stood over her, a worried expression on her face. Ruth Valley had golden/tan skin, torrents of thick, golden hair, and huge, velvet purple eyes. Those eyes were now full of concern and kind curiosity. “Is there something I can help with?” her melodic voice continued.

Jilla took a deep breath. “No, Ensign…”

“Ruth,” the Antari interrupted. “It’s silly for roommates to call each other by their ranks.”

“Ruth,” Jilla repeated dutifully. “No, thank you. I am occasionally overcome…” She shook her head once, firmly. “Forgive me.”

Ruth smiled and sat down on the bed next to her, carefully moving the lyrette. “It’s all right to grieve, Jilla,” she said. “I understand how it can get to you, even after so long. It’s hard to lose someone you love.” Her voice was quiet and full of sympathy. Jilla stood, stepping away from it and her.

“Thank you,” she said stiffly. She heard Ruth sigh and get up. The Antari headed out of the sleeping area, but stopped at the doorway.

“You are Indiian, aren’t you?” she asked. She didn’t wait for a reply.

Jilla bowed her head, then picked up her lyrette and placed it gently on its stand.


“Spock, do you ever get the feeling she doesn’t like you?” McCoy asked.

“Who, Doctor?” Spock sat at his station on the Bridge, not looking at McCoy, who was peering over his shoulder into the scanner. He had been programming a new low-level comprehensive diagnostic for the ship's computer system.

“Ensign Majiir,” McCoy replied. “Or haven’t you noticed she’s been studiously avoiding you?” He glanced at the Indiian, who was working at Engineering with Scotty bending over her like a mother hen. The Enterprise had been star-charting for nearly three weeks while following up on reports of an anomalous, ultra-high-speed warp trace in the sector and the new crewmembers seemed barely new anymore. Ensign DuBois was handling Navigation like she’d been doing it all her life. Tara Ryan was reportedly beating Sulu at least once in every ten security drills. Spock hadn’t commented on any lack of quality in Starfleet’s younger graduates. They were all satisfactorily efficient. Except, of course, for Jilla Majiir, who had been attracting the doctor’s attention by walking the long way clockwise around the Bridge to reach Defense and Weapons rather than going past Spock.

“I do not usually follow the action of every crewmember aboard this ship,” Spock rejoined.

“Well, I just thought that since you seemed to take a slightly unprofessional interest in her that you might’ve…”

“Dr. McCoy.” Spock had straightened and was looking up at him. “My interest, as you put it, in Ensign Majiir is strictly one of having found a respite from illogical, emotional, and at times most annoying Humans. Her conversation, unlike yours, is reasoned, intelligent, and often in my native tongue – which has the added advantage of foiling your tendency to eavesdrop,” he continued, making obvious reference to McCoy's current position. “I find it quite refreshing.”

McCoy could not be daunted. “So how come she’s ignoring you?” he asked.

“I was not aware that she was.”

“She is,” McCoy asserted triumphantly. “And not just today. These reasoned, intelligent conversations you have never last very long, do they?”

Spock sighed. “I assume, Doctor, that there is some point you wish to make.”

“She’s Indiian. She acts Vulcan. But she avoids the only other Vulcan on this ship. Why?”

“She accepted fully Vulcan custom when she married…”

“So she should enjoy the company of her husband’s people, shouldn’t she?” McCoy demanded.

Spock blinked. “That would seem logical. I am amazed, Doctor.”

McCoy ignored the taunt. “So why?”

“Is that a rhetorical question, or do you wish me to supply an answer?” Spock wanted to know.

McCoy stared challengingly at him. “Can you?”

“Not at the moment, Doctor, but I shall attempt to rectify that.”

“Good. And I wasn’t eavesdropping.” McCoy turned away. “There’s something that’s just not right about that girl.”

“Indeed?” Spock murmured, and glanced across the Bridge at the Indiian. He steepled his fingers in contemplation. “Indeed.”


At the next station, Ruth Valley nodded silent agreement and winked at McCoy.


Jilla was hesitant, but she entered the rec room carrying her lyrette. Ruth had insisted on it and Jilla was beginning to come to the realization that Ruth Valley was seldom prepared to accept ‘no’ as a final answer. “Any entertainment is so welcome on a starship," the Antari had said, “and you play so well, it would be criminal to deprive them.” Jilla had no qualms about her skill, but she had never played for an audience, and she was unsure if the compositions she knew best would be suited for non-Vulcans. Ruth had assured her otherwise, and as she had already learned in her short association with the woman, Ruth could be very persuasive.

She took two steps into the room, then stopped abruptly. A slow, melodious Vulcan sound reached her ears, accompanied by a bright guitar countering that she recognized as Ruth’s. Her heart began to beat more quickly as she realized who must be playing the lyrette. Selar, too, had played… She blocked the emotion that rose within her.

As the people in the room began applauding. Ruth glanced up. “Jilla!” she exclaimed, and crossed the room, escorting the Indiian back with her. Lieutenant Sulu got up, offering her his seat with a gallant smile. It was close to where Commander Spock sat, and Jilla reluctantly took it. “Give us a duet,” Ruth urged enthusiastically.

Spock glanced at her inquiringly. She kept her expression impassive as she nodded. After a few experimental sounds, they began to play.

The notes blended, dancing around each other, merging, then pulling almost playfully away. The sound evoked sunlight reflected in the sand crystals of a Vulcan desert. It sparkled and shimmered with life and warmth, so unlike the impression commonly held of the planet and its people. Beauty and peace swirled throughout the melodies as first one, then the other emerged, becoming dominant, only to yield again to its partner.

Jilla let the music wash over her, filling her. It was an ancient song, a song of calling and longing. It spoke of the wonder of the Vulcan dawn after the cold and silence of a long night. She knew the words, had sung them often with Selar, for it carried a double meaning, that of joining and love, for it was based upon the song of the beautiful Vulcan nightbird, which only mated at dawn.

Quietly, with no conscious decision, she began to sing. The melody was lilting with a rich counterpart that was deep and full. She closed her eyes, hearing, as she had so many times before, Selar’s voice adding that harmony…

No, not Selar! She opened her eyes and joined the rest of the room in staring at Spock. He sang softly, complimenting her light voice with low tones. He glanced at her, then quickly away, and she knew that her eyes had been full of the longing Selar had so often seen.

The song finished and the audience burst into wild applause.

“Boss, I didn’t know you sang so well!” Ruth said, her voice more amazed than her teasing eyes. Spock ignored the compliment.

“It would not have been proper to allow the piece to be uncompleted,” he said, and turned to Jilla. “You play well, Ensign.”

Jilla lowered her eyes. “As do you, Commander,” she replied.

“Your husband taught you much,” he continued. “That piece is not well known, even on Vulcan.”

“It appears you share many interests with my late husband.” She rose, cradling the lyrette in her arms. “Excuse me.” She left the room before Ruth could attempt to dissuade her.


Ruth shrugged, sighing, then began another song on her guitar, deliberately making it a solo. She nodded to herself when Spock slipped quietly out of the rec room.


Jilla stood inside her quarters, her body rigid, her face hard. You are the wife of Selar of Vulcan, she told herself harshly. You are controlled. You will not shame your husband with such outrageous displays…

“You are Indiian, Jilla, no matter the marriage you made. I understand and approve of your attempt to adapt yourself to Selar’s ways. That is, after all, our custom. But daughter – You must never lose your own heritage completely. You agree with Vulcan control, it seems good to you, but it can trap you. Don’t be ashamed of what you feel, you can never be Vulcan. You will need release of your emotions. Don’t be afraid to let it happen, even if it’s only in the privacy of your own heart.”

But Rosh, you have not lived among them, you have not felt the distaste! I could not bear it, and Selar understood. He found a way to help me – and I am no longer Indiian.

She bent her head, realizing that her left hand was cradled to her heart. The slash was long healed, a dark scar across her palm, the physical representation of the vow she’d given to Selar and accepted from him. Cortayel. Eternity. Their blood, their souls were one, joined for a forever far beyond life, far beyond death. He waited for her at Aema’s Court, patient and trusting, certain in the bond they had formed. And she flirted with damnation. She shuddered. How could the thought even enter her mind? She risked her soul, a literal eternity spent in a far different kind of court; Telmnori, Vow-Breakers – Beggars. To commit the only sin under Aema’s heavens would send her to beg for eternal mercy, locked away from her people, from worth and regard, from her husband. She had vowed, no other. How could she contemplate adultery?

She heard the door chime and hurriedly sat at the desk, switching on the viewer. Ruth had been using it last, and a page of Terran literature appeared on the screen. She ignored it and called “come” with as little inflection as she could manage.

“Jilla, cherie, would you like to get in some swimming?” came Monique DuBois’ voice. Jilla glanced up. Her Academy roommate was wearing a very non-regulation bikini. “Sulu, Kevin and I thought you might like to come along, non.”

Monique had often teased her about her strict attention to her studies at the Academy. Swimming had been the only recreation in which she would indulge. Jilla had never told her why – that of all the things she missed while living on Vulcan, the feel of warm sea water was among the strongest. Now, Jilla could feel the same concern coming from Monique, but she bowed her head.

“No, thank you, Monique. Not just now.”

The concern deepened and Jilla fought with her sensitivity. “Sulu, he is interested,” Monique said, and Jilla could sense both her hesitation and her desire to entice her friend into coming out of her shell. She felt her skin beginning to glow.

“That cannot be of interest to me, as well you know,” she replied, more harshly than she intended.

Monique turned bright red, the Terran equivalent of the Indiian flush. “I’m sorry, Jilla,” she said quickly. “I didn’t mean… mon dieu, forgive me!” She made a swift exit.

Jilla rose, going to her bed, her mind spinning. She had barely noticed Monique’s helm mate, but she was well aware that he had noticed her. The emotions that poured from him were a curse to her senses. Indiians were often viewed as promiscuous because their sensitivity left them easy targets for the desires of others – what someone else wanted often became what an Indiian wanted. Goddess, do not let it happen! she begged silently. I have worked so hard to suppress it, I meditate day and night to keep the disciplines strong within me. Please, I cannot…

…and yet the nights are so long, so empty…

“Jilla?” Ruth’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Were you reading Lord of the Rings?”

“No, I…” Her voice strained against her internal emotional storm. “I was …” She felt Ruth coming over to stand beside her.

“Was it the song?” she asked quietly. Sorrow and regret filled the Antari’s tia.

Jilla nodded mutely, knowing if she tried to speak, she would lose what tentative control she possessed.

“Special, huh?” Ruth went on. “I guess Spock didn’t help much.” Her tone was quietly rueful and Jilla felt tears welling in her eyes. Ruth, please! “Maybe you should talk about it?” the Antari continued. “It helps, sometimes, to…”

“I would be most grateful if this line of conversation were dropped,” Jilla managed. She couldn’t bring herself to look at the huge purple eyes, but Ruth’s tia filled with a mixture of emotion; compassion, sympathy, anger, determination – and very temporary relenting. She started to turn away and Jilla realized that her roommate was only waiting for a better time to press her attack. The sooner she gave in, the more peace she would have. And, Goddess, it would be such a release…


The Antari turned back. “Yes?”

“ might be beneficial after all.”


Go to Part Two

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