by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2253)

Return to The Valjiir Continuum

Return to Part One


"Commander, what are we to do?" Beth Arista murmured to Uhura, moving her mouth as little as possible.

The Lincoln's First Officer took a cautious breath, her eyes darting to the Tenorrh that surrounded her and her fellow officer. They had been conversing in short sentences punctuated by long silences ever since Queen Diomera had beamed onto the Bridge and all the males had fallen stupid. She and the Chief of Sciences were still sitting on the stairs that led down to the command well. The male officers - Kevin Riley, Sel Liaz, the only ones who had been on the Bridge when the Queen had arrived - were seated near the con, staring up at her like she was a goddess incarnate. Lieutenant Commander Arista had managed to convey her certainty that the Tenorrh were a hive-mind, similar to Terran ants or bees, and as such, the queen must be secreting the pheromone that kept the workers under her control and the drones absolutely placid and obedient. Why it was working on the male members of the Lincoln's crew was not something she could explain without a good deal more information.

"I've been thinking," Uhura finally answered. "It may be the reason the queen is ignoring us - " She paused, letting the interest of the workers around her die down. Then she continued " - is because we aren't threatening her position." Another pause. "If we come on like rival queens, what is her likely reaction?"

"Hives usually send daughter queens off to establish their own colony," Beth returned.

They fell silent for several moments, then Uhura stretched, watching carefully as the Tenorrh moved a respectful distance from her long legs.

"Do you suppose that's what she's doing?" Uhura said, continuing the interrupted conversation.

"It's possible." Beth followed suit and leaned back. "But the usual pattern is for a single daughter queen and a single drone to leave the hive." She paused for a moment, then went on in a rush. "They would find an advantageous spot and start laying the eggs that will become her workers."

"And these are clearly already hers," Uhura mused.

"Maybe they have outgrown their ship?" Beth suggested.

"We'll never find out stuck here," Uhura said. "If we make a move, the workers won't harm us, will they?"

Beth laughed and the Tenorrh abruptly started making a low humming noise. "They won't even come too close to us," she assured.

"Let's go then." Uhura stood up, her head held high. "Come," she said in a loud, authoritative voice, "I'm tired of dancing attendance." She turned, heading for the turbolift, Beth right behind her. The Tenorrh parted before them, but were humming anxiously.

"Hold," Diomera said and the two women were again utterly surrounded.

"So much for acting like a rival queen," Uhura sighed.

"Drone," the Queen continued, "do these daughters have drones?"

"No, my Queen," the captain answered, his voice soft and adoring.

"Tomor!" Uhura returned stridently.

"Not on this vessel," Kirk corrected in the same tone.

The tall being in the con looked puzzled. "Then why is she here?"

Jim clearly had no answer for this, and the Queen sighed dramatically. "Why are these other daughters here?" she demanded of no one in particular.

The worker at Communications spoke, and Uhura and Beth exchanged glances. He - it - seemed to be the voice of all the workers. "We discovered many daughters, my Queen. Some have drones to serve them, some do not. There is not clear distinction between workers and daughters and drones."

"How do they function?" Diomera mused, puzzled. When no one responded, she turned her multifaceted eyes to Uhura. "You. You say you have a drone who is not here. Why do you not join him in your new hive?"

After a moment's disconcerted thought, Uhura replied, "We - uh - haven't decided to make a hive yet."

"You," the Queen said, turning her gaze to Beth. "You have no drone?"

Beth flushed. "Not at the moment, no."

Abruptly Diomera's face lit with understanding. "Ah, you are not yet mature." She turned again to Kirk. "Drone, you will give me an accounting of the mature and immature daughters in your hive and - " She stopped, as if a new thought had suddenly occurred to her. Her eyes narrowed and she regarded the captain with sharp suspicion. "Where is your queen, drone?"

"Oh no," Uhura murmured. Then she heard the hiss of the turbolift door opening behind her.


When the door of the lift opened, Jade heard Uhura's urgent whisper.

"Go back!"

She responded immediately to the tone and took a step back, bumping into M'Benga.

"What's that smell..." he began, then abruptly dropped the medkit he was carrying.

"Go, GO!" Uhura urged.

"Hold," came another voice, and Ben was stumbling out of the lift, pushing past his fellow doctor as several of the Tenorrh surrounded Jade. Their movements urged her out of the lift and onto the stairs, next to Uhura and Beth.

"Damn it," the First Officer swore under her breath.

After a moment of staring, Jade sighed. "Two sexes," she said. She tilted her head, studying the scene before her; James, M'Benga, Riley and Liaz all staring at the undeniably beautiful being in the con, clearly waiting breathlessly for her favor. She folded her arms. "At least she's not licking their faces," she added.

"Licking...?" Arista began and was cut off by the urgent humming from their Tenorrh guards.

After another moment, Jade lifted her head and called, "James, may I ask what you think you're doing?"

She watched in fascinated annoyance as the being in the com - clearly female and clearly the Queen James had spoken of over the comm - said, "Drone, this is your queen?" Her voice dripped condescension.

"You are my Queen, my Queen," James answered, though his eyes shifted to Jade.

"A little redundant, don't you think?" Jade rejoined.

"I am Diomera, Queen of the 12th Swarm," the Queen announced.

"I am Doctor Jade Han, wife of Captain James Kirk," Jade returned.

"Wife? What is wife?" Diomera asked, frowning.

"My Queen, the word is used for pairing between daughter and a certain drone," the worker at the Communications station replied, a little hesitantly.

"Which certain drone?" the Queen demanded.

"Any of a number," the worker answered. "not one specific. Forgive my inexactness, my Queen."

Diomera gazed down at Jade. "You are 'wife' to this drone, who is Ruling Personage," she mused. She tilted her head. "Is the 'wife' of a Ruling Personage not a queen?" Without waiting for Jade to respond, she added, "You do not look like a queen. You are smaller than your workers, smaller than your drones."

"Size isn't everything," Jade said, mostly to herself. She took a step forward and the Tenorrh fell back, only to surge forward, again surrounding her. She glanced at them, then found herself remembering Calaya's account of DelMonde's condition, how he began interspersing the word 'buzz' in his conversation, only to finally be able to say nothing else while his telepathy vibrated with the sound.

It's certainly worth a shot, she thought, then said in a clear, commanding voice, "Buzzzzz!" while thinking the word as loudly as she could.

There was a silent gasp as the workers stumbled away from her in shock. With a small smile of triumph, she moved toward the con. Behind her, she heard Arista's quizzical voice murmur, "Buzz?" and Uhura's wry, "Apparently."

"Hold!" the Queen ordered stridently.

The workers rushed toward Jade.

Jade countered with another loud, "Buzzzzzz!"

Again, from behind her, she heard Uhura and Arista using the same technique, Uhura saying, "We'll be back with reinforcements, Doctor," then the double hiss of the lift doors opening and closing. The Tenorrh began humming anxiously and Jade silenced them with a third, "Buzzzzzz!"

"How dare you command my workers!" the Queen shouted.

Jade strode to Jim's side, grasping his arm. "How dare you command my drone?" she demanded, then added to Jim, "Sorry, James."

Diomera smiled - a sight that Jade did not find pleasing - and suddenly Riley, Liaz, M'Benga and Jim seemed to swoon. Jim began to pull away from her. Scowling, Jade pulled him back and kissed him fully, passionately on the lips..

"Who is your queen, James?" she asked, and let her eyes smolder at him.

He blinked, looked back at the con, starting to move again toward it.

"James!" she snapped. She took his face in her hands, and stood on tiptoes and again kissed him, pressing against him and filling her mind with the thoughts of the last time they had made love.

Abruptly he was responding, answering her pressure with his own, tangling his fingers in her hair and almost pushing her down to the deck.

"Drone, I command you...!" Diomera began.

"James," Jade broke in, making her voice a silken whisper, "who is your queen?"

The hazel eyes of her husband and captain cleared.

"Who is my what?" he asked.


Uhura used the 'buzz' word - silently congratulating herself on the wordplay - to shoo the Tenorrh away from the Science lab. Beth immediately got to work, asking the computer to sample the air on the Bridge and analyze it for pheromones. Uhura took to the intercom.

"This is First Officer Uhura," she said. "We have an intruder situation. The captain has been incapacitated. All male personnel are confined to their quarters. All female personnel are to report to their duty stations with the exception of the Bridge crew. Bridge crew, report to me in Sciences. If you have trouble with the Tenorrh swarming around you, say and think the word 'buzzzz' as loudly as you can." After a pause, she added. "Just do it, ladies. Uhura out."

She turned to Beth. "Any luck?" she asked.

"Oh, the pheromone signature is off the chart all right," the Lieutenant Commander said. "The problem is finding some agent that can be introduced into the filtration system that will counteract it."

"What would happen if we played an amplified 'buzzz' on a continual loop?" Uhura suggested.

"We'd drive the workers crazy, give ourselves massive headaches, and who knows a) if it would effect Diomera, b) what that effect would be and c) what she would do if it did. It's entirely possible that when faced with a threat to her control like that, she'd simply order them to swarm."

"And not, I'm betting, the gentle containment activity we've seen so far," Uhura frowned. "Can we send them all back to their own ship with a directed transporter beam?"

Arista moved from the lab computer to another station. In a moment, the screen above it resolved into a star field and the young woman straightened.

"We might have been able to if we were still in transporter range of it," she said.

"What?" the First Officer returned and took over the station herself. "Who gave the order to move us?"

"Queen Diomera?" Beth suggested.


The door to the corridor opened, followed by Tara Ryan's voice growling, "Buzzzz you little insects!" Behind her, Uhura could see several Tenorrh until the door hissed closed.

"See, this is why I never sleep," Tara said, then straightened her uniform. "Reporting, ma'am."

"Why you never sleep?" Arista asked.

"An old Security joke," Ryan replied. "Look what happens on my ship when I do."

"Better not let Jim hear you say 'my ship'," Uhura said.

"Or, at the moment, Queen Diomera," Arista put in.

"And just who is Queen Diomera?" Ryan wanted to know.

Before Uhura could even begin her explanation, the intercom sounded.

"This is Nurse Asaan in Sickbay," said the voice that came from it. "We need Security here on the double!"

"On my way," Tara said and turned back to the door.

"Tara, they really are bees and Diomera really is their Queen," Uhura called after her.

"Great," the Security Chief muttered, the pushed out into the corridor with a loud, "Buzzzz, damn you!"


The soothing buzzz from the mind of her drone was a welcome respite from the competing noise of the invading swarm. His bathing her skin in the oral juices so necessary for her development was further comfort; she could feel the powerful hormones increasing within her. Soon she would be able to command her own workers and set them against the queen who dared to commandeer what was to be her hive. She had not yet begun to produce eggs, or royal jelly; Queen Jade was nowhere near her decline. But since Queen Jade clearly wasn't strong enough to resist the trespassers, and Daughter Uhura's drone was scouting for a new hive for their offspring, it was up to her to accelerate her own maturity, to protect the hive from its assailant.

She held to the back of her drone's head, humming to him, encouraging him to stimulate her further. He was powerful, strong - the best of all the drones Queen Jade had hatched. He was better than Jade's drone. The communion she shared with him was invigorating, all-encompassing. His dance had been the most enticing, his call the most pure, the nectar he had brought to her sweeter by far than any of the other drones who had tried to capture her. Their hive would be large and bursting with honey, their workers indefatigable, quick and obedient.

Just a little more, my handsome one, she thought at him, and was rewarded with an especially long, luxurious bathing. His sensual, salacious, buzzzz was now low and vibrating within her. It built, gaining power as she gained strength, gaining strength as she gained power. She could feel her pheromones maturing, readying her for this unusual supercedure: she would not replace Queen Jade. She would only claim the hive as a way to remove the interloper. She really had no idea if this meant she and her drone would induce a swarm to a new hive, or if, when once again supreme, Queen Jade would kill her. But she was ready to die for the honor of her hive. She was, after all a Royal daughter.

The Queen's scent burst abruptly from her, and her Drone moved away from his task, rising to be her guard and protector. She, too, rose, and sent out the call to the workers of the interloper.

I am young, I am new and perfect and brilliant! she called. Come to me and create a newer, greater, more robust hive!

Her drone's buzzz became one of arrogance and grandiosity, shepherding the workers as they swarmed to her call. They filled the small cell dancing their attendance on her, then spread out like a phalanx before her. She ignored the urgent chattering of another of Jade's Daughters and swept out of this comb of the hive, heading to the all-important queen cell - and the invading queen.


Nurse Asaan made a panicked call to security as the Tenorrh began pushing into Sickbay and the Observation Room 2, only to stare in disconcerted awe as Calaya Wheal and Noel DelMonde emerged from it surrounded by an arrow-shaped formation of the beings.

"Yeoman, Commander..." she began and a small contingent of the Tenorrh broke ranks and gently cornered her. She took a deep breath, remembering Uhura's instructions and began a loud, "buzzz!"

DelMonde's head turned to her, his eye flashing black. A thunderous noise filled her mind and she fell to her knees, grasping her ears. All the Tenorrh returned to their places in the formation, and the Chief Engineer's voice growled, "You not interefere wit' her Royal Highness."

If Yeoman Wheal even noticed the interaction, there was no sign of it.


Tara Ryan rounded the corridor that led from the lift to Sickbay and was confronted with a very precise phalanx of Tenorrh, clearly escorting Calaya Wheal and Noel DelMonde.

"Commander, what are you..." she began.

"You were assigned to protect Queen Jade," the Indiian Yeoman interrupted her.

Tara blinked. "Queen... Yeoman, what are the Tenorrh..."

"They obey my call now," Wheal replied smugly. "I will save this hive. You will no longer receive the Royal Jelly and will return to being a worker."

"Del, what is she talking..." Tara tried again.

"You not interefere wit' her Royal Highness," the Cajun snarled.

A dozen of the Tenorrh pressed her back against the bulkhead. She began the by now routine "Buzzz!" then gasped as thunder screamed into her head. Del and Calaya swept past and into the lift.

When they were gone, the Tenorrh left her and as she started breathing again, she remembered Uhura's words; they really are bees and Diomera really is their Queen. She stood and reached for the nearest intercom.

"Ryan to Uhura," she said.

"Uhura here, did you take care of..."

"Remember you said Diomera is the queen?" she began, continuing before the First Officer could respond. "Not for long. I'm going to check on Nurse Asaan, then I want you and Beth and any other female officers you can reach to meet me on the Bridge." She paused a moment, then added, "And tell them not to try the 'buzzz' trick unless they want their brains turned to mush."

"Tara, what are you..." came Uhura's baffled, irritated voice.

"I'm pretty sure I just saw Diomera's replacement leave Sickbay with a small army of her own - and a very powerful tel-empath as her very protective drone."


"Who is my what?" Jim asked.

Jade let out a sigh of relief. “James, this – female – is trying to take over the ship.” She spoke quietly and rapidly. “She's releasing pheromones that effect all the males. She controls all the other members of the Tenorrh. And I've just declared myself queen of what she thinks of as the Lincoln hive.”

Jim blinked at his wife, letting her words run around in his brain – a brain that felt more than a little bruised – until they made sense. Queen. Hive. Pheromones. He took a deep breath and nodded,

“Yes...” he began, and Jade whispered, “My queen.”

“Yes, my Queen,” he said, answering her final question. “You are my Queen, my Queen.” Then he murmured to his wife “Department of redundancy and repetition department.”

He was favored with a slight smile, which made him feel inordinately happy. Then Jade turned back to the elegant but clearly angry being who sat in the con.

“You caught my workers off guard,” she said, her voice an imperial pronouncement – which to Jim's ears was beautiful and authoritative and incomparable. “You flood my drones with your trickery. But I am their rightful Queen, and I will take your workers from you.”

She turned to the Tenorrh – who were bustling anxiously – and said in a loud clear, commanding tone, “BUZZZZZ!!”

Gasping, they fell back, cringing, and Diomera rose with haughty fury. M'Benga, Liaz and Riley rose with her, and they headed for Jade, their docility and lassitude transforming into determined intent.

Jim felt the stirrings of anger against Jade, and swallowed, turning to her. “I think you'd better kiss me again,” he began.

Only to be hit – for the second time – by a scent that overwhelmed him. It was filled with sweetness and warmth, not spring flowers but the fullness of summer, heady and rich and invigorating rather than lethargic. He glanced at M'Benga and Riley and Liaz, and saw them reacting to it as well. The three officers turned to form a cordon between Diomera and Jade.

Then the lift opened and Jim almost fell to his knees as a phalanx of Tenorrh marched through the crowd of their countrymen, who all shuddered in unison, then joined the newcomers as a clear guard for Calaya Wheal and Noel DelMonde.


Calaya smiled with arrogant satisfaction as the workers in the queen's cell flocked to her power. She fixed her gaze on the invading queen. Oh, she is larger than I, she thought, but I am the fuller, I will lay many, many eggs, and her drone is nowhere to be seen, whereas mine stands beside me in all his glory.

You far more magnifique than that ol' hag, her drone thought to her.

Then she caught sight of Queen Jade, standing with her chosen drone, guarded by those assigned to the queen's cell. The invader was fuming impotently, her scent growing weak as Jade's own joined with her daughter's.

Calaya immediately crossed the cell to stand next to her Queen. “I intend no transgression,” she explained quickly. “There was confusion and fear within the hive. We thought - “ she indicated her powerful drone “ - there had been damage done to your rule.”

“Will you again accept my rule?” Queen Jade asked her. The dark eyes never left the intruder, and Calaya marveled at Jade's strength.

“And mine?” the Queen's drone added. Inside her mind, Calaya heard a strange word: Yeoman.

He say, commander,' her drone said to her, then added, Calaya?

Noel? she responded, even as she nodded her head in deference, and watched as her drone did the same.

“You feel my power,” Queen Jade – queen? - was saying to the intruder. “I can order my daughters to maturity at will, yet they do not seek to supplant me.”

The intruder shuddered as her own people surrounded her, confining her. “I have outgrown my hive,” she said, and her voice sounded weak and petulant.

“Our hives work in tandem,” the queen's drone – the captain – said. “We can arrange for a larger hive for you.”

Jade smiled at him, then returned her attention to the intruder. “If you had told us of your plight in the beginning...”

“And how were they to know of our group-hive system?” the captain returned, with a wink.

“They did have access to our records, James,” Jade responded.

“So they did.”

“Diomera, will you accept our offer of aid?” Jade asked.

The intruder – Diomera – frowned. “It is not our way,” she said.

Jade waved a dismissive hand. “Then go back to your overrun hive. How many of your workers shall we keep so that you may remain comfortable?”

“You will not keep my workers!” Diomera cried.

“Overcrowding it is then,” Jade agreed, and turned, heading back to the turbolift. Calaya noted that the captain followed her, as did the other drones – officers – and that he was smiling.

“Wait!” Diomera called. Jade turned back. “You would really help us find a larger hive?”

The captain turned to Calaya's drone – . “Mr. DelMonde, can your engineering department enlarge the Tenorrh ship to make the conditions livable for them until we can expedite their entrance into the Federation and secure them funding for a new ship?”

She watched as Noel slowly shook his head, then glanced down at her as if for permission. She nodded, not entirely sure why she was doing it – or why he thought he needed her permission to answer the captain.

“I sure we can manage, sir,” he said, “as long as I not hafta be 'round they buzzin' all th' damn time.”

Diomera was staring at Noel with more than interest, and Calaya frowned. She sent a quick burst of pheromonic intent – he is MINE! -and was gratified when the invader dropped her multi-faceted gaze and Noel sank to his knees beside her. Even Jade moved a little away from her.

“Yeoman, that's enough,” the captain murmured into her ear, and she felt her regal annoyance fade, being replaced by a sense of chagrin. She glanced down at Noel. He, too, was frowning, but there was a twinkle in his gaze.

Yes, my queen, he thought at her, echoing both her own sentiment and the order of the captain, and she had to stifle a giggle.

“Return to your ship and...” Jade began.

“She moved us away from it,” Calaya interrupted, then dropped her own gaze.

“Well, we'll just have to move us back,” the Captain Kirk said.


Tara Ryan met Uhura, Beth Arista, the Third Watch engineering Chief, Serena Kane and the Life Sciences officer, a tall Vulcan named T'Par in the turbolift.

“How is Nurse Asaan?” Uhura asked.

“Christine said she has one hell of a headache, but she'll recover,” Tara reported, referring to the ship's Nest Nurse, Christine Chapel.

“And can you explain what you mean by Diomera's replacement?”

“Calaya Wheal and her drone, Commander DelMonde.”

“Her drone?” Serena broke in. “Oh, now this I have to see!”

“I assume by 'drone' you are referring to the male, fertilizing members in a bee-hive or ant colony,” T'Par said.

“Yes,” Tara answered, but she winked at Uhura. Beth started explaining the situation on the Bridge to the Vulcan, punctuated by frequent comments from Kane, comments which were hardly flattering to the man who was her Chief.

“So are we going to be walking into a cat – pardon me, queen fight?” Uhura asked Tara.

“Who knows?” was the Security Chief's response. “You saw Jade with Diomera. Can she hold her own?”

“If Calaya's the replacement queen, it doesn't exactly bode well, does it?”

“Noel DelMonde would make an – unusual – captain,” Tara mused.

Uhura snorted. “If that happens, maybe Tomor can find us our own hive,” she said, then straightened as the lift reached the Bridge.

The sight that greeted her was more than a relief. Diomerea was sitting in the well, surrounded by her own workers. Captain Kirk – looking perfectly normal – was at the Communications station, Jade standing next to him. Sel Liaz and Kevin Riley were back at the Helm and Navigation respectively. Dr. M'Benga was running a scanner over Calaya Wheal, who was seated at Engineering, with Noel DelMonde standing protectively over her.

Jim looked up. “Uhura, I was just about to call you,” he said.

“You seem to have things under control, Captain,” she replied.

He grinned at her. “Thanks to...” He glanced at Diomera, then added, “the majesty of our queen and the loyalty of her Royal daughter.” The 'I'll explain it all later' was clear in his eyes. “We're headed back to their ship, and we'll be processing their request to join the Federation, along with a rush-order for a new, larger – uh – hive.”

“So there be no need fo' 'em t' try an' take ours,” Del added, then, with a scowl, said, “Kane, what th' fuck you doin' here?”

“Responding to a call for all female officers,” Serena replied. She showed her teeth, “Since you were busy with your daughter queen, drone.”

Let it go, Calaya murmured silently before Del could even open his mouth for a retort, her eyes flashing meaningfully toward Diomera.

Fo' now, he responded grudgingly, but when this over, she gonna have maintenance duty fo' 'bout th' next year.


Jim waited until all the Tenorrh had returned to their small ship before releasing Mrraal and M'ress from confinement to quarters, a fact for which they thanked him profusely. Jade's office was swamped with various people seeking explanations for various, no-longer-meant marriage proposals. Di'ilan and Thelen began serious conversation on the future of their relationship. And in their cabin, Del and Calaya did their best to burn off the remainder of their over-extended and heightened pheromonal enhancements.

In the captain's quarters, Jim stood behind Jade, who sat at the dressing table brushing out her long, silky hair. “So how did it feel to be queen for a day?” he asked, watching her in the mirror.

“Not nearly as uncomfortable as it must have felt to be drone for a day,” Jade responded. She held his gaze until he blushed, then smiled at him.

“There isn't any way you can artificially manufacture those kind of pheromones, is there?” he asked. “Just in case we need to keep your daughters in line?”

“James, do you feel I need artificial enhancements?” she replied, her eyes going wide.

“Not at all,” he said. He bent forward, whispering in her ear. “And I can prove it to you anytime you like.”

She leaned her head back against him as he kissed her temple. “Now?”

He smiled. “Yes, my queen.”

The End

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