Perfectus Logica

Original story by C Petterson and S Sizemore
Rewritten by Cheryl Petterson

(Standard Year 2250)

originally published as "Watermark"

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continum

Go To Part Two

The Bridge was silent except for the noise of equipment. There was nothing unusual about that -- the Captain sat in the con.

Sulu kept the sigh to himself, and checked the ship's heading, position, speed, and function before turning back to the fueling statistics for the past standard month. The mass of figures had to be organized into a clear, concise report for Spock by end of watch. Sulu found himself feeling his usual combination of harried/ resentful/exhausted -- Spock could read the raw figures as well as he, the report wasn't due at Headquarters for another two days, he had more work than he knew what to do with, he'd only slept four hours the night before, he had to consult with Ruth before 1600, it was 1424 now, he hadn't had time or energy to make love to Jilla for over a week and the Helm was an uncomfortable place to do paperwork but he was on Bridge duty. The First Officer went on working, but the helmsman was feeling awfully drained.

He felt Jilla's eyes and glanced up long enough to give her a brief smile. Her gaze went to Spock. Sulu nodded, she frowned. The communication made him feel better, but he let it drop, knowing that the Captain would comment on decorum if it went on any longer. Jilla understood. She more than deliberately stayed away from Captain Bastard, not trusting the pain to stay inside her. Ruth's didn't. Sulu sighed again. Since Captain Kirk's death, pain never left those beautiful, violet eyes. And when she wasn't working, which was about as often as his free time, she almost never left his and Jilla's quarters, afraid of the emptiness, afraid of the loneliness, afraid of Noel DelMonde.

He turned helmsman thoughts off abruptly with the return of the heaviness Jilla's eyes had lifted. The First Officer had work to do. Lots of it.

He noted the changing tone from Uhura’s station and was looking up when she reported.

"Captain, I'm receiving a coded message from Rundella."

"Miss Valley," was all Spock said.

"Decoding, sir," Ruth replied almost instantly. In seconds she added, "Displaying now. "

A figure appeared on the screen, Human, male, bearded, in clothing of Terra’s fifteenth century. "Hawkins," the man said. "Confirming pick-up of our supplies in ten standard hours. Confirming rendezvous at planetary coordinates 13-121-75; repeating, 13-121-7."

Sulu closed his eyes. Rundella was a cultural observation post carefully enmeshed in the social system, hindered by the Prime Directive but doing much needed research work. The Enterprise was doing a supply run. He'd forgotten. More to do. Comes with the territory. He started mental preparations, still listening to Hawkins.

"We have a special request and an observation report. Sterson, our medical officer, is gravely ill, he needs attention. Our recording machinery is experiencing major difficulties; we're in danger of losing all our observation records. We request a doctor and an engineer."

Another problem to think about, more preparations to make. Who? Captain's decision, but he'll want recommendations. To ignore. The thought came quick and bitter, and Sulu wearily pushed it away. Rundellans were physically Human; anyone of basic European Terran stock could pass easily. McCoy? No, there was no indication of how long the outpost would need help and the Chief Surgeon couldn't be spared for indefinite periods of time. Han? A woman, not safe with Rundella's culture should she accidentally betray her skills, and her Asian features would be out of place. Sanchez, then. Engineer. Not Scotty, Spock doesn't approve of sending a Chief Engineer on a landing party. Jilla's alien, a woman. Don’t even think about Mrraal. DelMonde.

"Observation report. In the last planetary month there has been a rapid development of what appears to be mass hysteria regarding sorcery and/or heresy to the established major religion. 'Questioners' have begun to call inhabitants into closed interrogations. There have been literally hundreds of arrests and dozens of executions, usually by fire at the stake. We have found no natural cultural phenomenon that could account for this radical turn in what appeared to be a peaceably evolving society. Be advised, extreme caution is recommended. A full report is being sent to UFP Headquarters. Hawkins out."

Sulu heard Spock's order for a full briefing in fifteen minutes, then the Captain left the Bridge. Sulu called for David Kelly to relieve him, and when the lieutenant arrived, he moved up to the library computer. He requested all the information Spock would expect him to have, and gave up completely on the consumption report.


"Rundella has been under Federation observation for seven point three-six standard years. It is feudal in culture and technology, and shows all evolutionary signs of future peaceful stability. The major thrust of government is religious, the tenets and attitudes similar to Terran medieval Christianity, with one major difference. There is no corollary belief in an Ultimate Evil; no devil." Sulu paused in his report. "Or at least there wasn't, up until a planetary month ago, according to our observers. In that month, the heads of the Rundellan church authority have begun a religious fervor of persecution on a scale to equal the Grand Inquisition, with sorcery and heresy the paramount crimes. Anthropological theory, cultural precedent, societal patterns all offer no explanation for such a phenomenon. And so I would suggest we look to outside influences, beginning with our own outpost. If we've somehow contaminated this society, it is our duty to remove the observers and report to the Federation Cultural Board for rectification."

The briefing room was uneasily silent. Breaking the Prime Directive was always an uncomfortable thought, especially when one didn't have to defend that action personally. Sulu waited for Spock to glance at him, acknowledging that the information was received and to go on.

"Our immediate concern is, however, to complete our mission and supply the scientists on Rundella. They've expressed a need for medical aid, and an engineer. Due to the need for our outpost to remain anonymous, I recommend Dr. Sanchez and Lieutenant Commander DelMonde be sent with the supplies."

There were concurring nods and murmurs, and all eyes turned to Spock, waiting for a decision. The Vulcan was silent for several moments, fingers steepled; then he looked up over his hands. "Negative, Mr. Sulu. We will beam down Dr. Han and Lieutenant Majiir."

"What?" Sulu exclaimed.

"But, sir..." Ruth began incredulously.

"Are you crazy, man!" Scotty thundered.

"Spock, you can't do that!" McCoy shouted angrily.

"I do not have to justify my decisions to you, Mr. Scott," Spock replied evenly. "Nor, Doctor, to you."

"Begging the captain's pardon, sir," Sulu said from between clenched teeth, "but you do to your First Officer when they concern the safety of your crew. Need I remind you of the culture of Rundella, its Prime Directive status, and the danger at this time to those different from native Rundellans."

"Besides the fact, sir," Ruth added quickly, "that if we aren't responsible for the contamination already, Dr. Han and Lieutenant Majiir would accomplish it beyond any doubt."

"Precisely, Miss Valley," Spock returned. "Your section will study all reports from Rundella as to our possible involvement in this matter, but I am certain only one conclusion can be reached; the Federation is not responsible. Having established that, it is our duty to discover who is. By revealing our presence, I hope to draw the instigators into the open, since any race with the knowledge and capability to achieve such a radical transformation without alerting our observers must know of our existence and wish our interference." Sulu sighed, quelling his anger. Of course. How could he have doubted Captain Bastard's flawless logic? His voice cut harshly into Spock's explanation.

"Klingons. If we reveal ourselves as breaking the Prime Directive, the Organians must repeal their grant of jurisdiction over Rundella."

"At which point Klingon can press its claims," Ruth rejoined wearily. "So we give them what they want..."

"...and thereby expose them," Sulu finished. Spock nodded.

"Our mission, then, is understood. Miss Valley, you have your orders. Mr. Sulu, arrange for the beam down. Gentlemen, that will be all."

McCoy and Scott left together, grumbling.

Ruth and Sulu waited until Spock had left. They stared at each other in silence for a while.

"He's always right, isn't he?" Sulu said bitterly.

"I know, why does he bother with briefings?" Ruth returned, sighing. "He's done all the research already."

Sulu shook his head. "You gonna be alright?"

Ruth smiled wanly. "Sure." Sulu turned to leave, then paused.

"If anything happens to her..." He stopped and quickly left the room. Ruth stared after him for a moment, then nodded silent agreement.


Eight and a half hours later, Ruth slid silently into the transporter room. McCoy stood speaking brusquely to Jade; Scotty was checking Jilla's equipment, looking worried.

He didn't look half as worried as Sulu. The First Officer was standing next to Jilla, facing her, his hands gently holding hers. Both she and Jade were in native clothing, and Ruth realized with sudden terror just what Spock intended to draw the Klingons. She was used to the differences in Jade and Jilla's appearance when they were in uniform; their clothing now drew attention to just what those differences implied. With the recent developments on Rundella, anyone would recognize Jade and Jilla as witches, or demons.

No, impossible, there'd been reports of executions, burnings, didn't Spock.... Of course he knew. He took every detail into account. When you're baiting a hook you don't expect the worm to come out alive.

She quickly moved to Sulu, barely able to speak, her mind silently begging for it not to be true, yet knowing quite coldly that it was. She pulled him around to face her huge, haunted eyes. "Sulu..."

"What is it, Ruth?" he began concernedly, and she stared back, helpless, a part of her still pleading that it not be true. She closed her eyes, trying to clear her head, and heard Jilla's sudden gasp. She opened them again as Sulu turned back to Jilla.

"Aema, no," she whispered, her face going chalk white.

"Sulu," Ruth said again, "bait. In a trap. Look at her, look at Jade!"

Sulu did. He caught both McCoy and Scott's eyes, the realization hitting them as it hit him. He shut his eyes tightly and Scotty said, "Lad, you canna let him do it!" Ruth watched as the dark eyes reopened, wells of bitter despair and fury.

"What can I do?" he asked.

"If we talk to him, try to get him to re-think...." Ruth began.

"He's thought it all out," McCoy said harshly. "What makes you think he doesn't know?"

"Know what?" Jade demanded.

"Talk to him?" Sulu's laugh was spiteful, his voice venomous. "Sure, and he'll tell me about duty, and danger, and accepting risks, and does Mrs. Majiir intend to disobey my orders and if she has not requested a deferment of assignment why do you request it for her and he'd go over the logic and the necessity and the importance and he'd be right every step of the way!"

"I do not want to die," Jilla whispered. Sulu faced her.

"There's nothing I can do!" he whispered

"There's nothing to do!" Jade retorted. "Spock isn't sending us down to die!"

"The captain would've asked for volunteers," Scotty mumbled. Jade glared.

"Our captain's name is Spock!" she snapped.

Ruth ignored her. "Sulu, why, we have to..."

"God knows why, Ruth, because the bastard hates us all, I don't know!" He took Jilla's hands. "Be careful, hon, please, don't take any unnecessary chances."

She nodded numbly. Sulu swallowed the pain, crushing her in his arms.

Jade strode to the transporter, standing on one of the two disks not occupied by supplies. Sulu gazed up at her, then gave Jilla a final kiss. "Take care, baby," he whispered. She turned, taking her place on the transporter.

"Come back safe to us, lass," Scotty murmured, and Sulu said hoarsely,


Golden shimmer quickly emptied the chamber. McCoy sighed deeply, and Ruth turned to leave. Sulu's voice was full of desperate fury.

"If anything happens to her, I'll kill him. I swear it."

She thought she heard McCoy mutter a prayer for the keeping of Sulu's oath as he left the transporter room.


"You don't believe it too, do you?" Jade asked as she and Jilla helped load the supplies onto the outpost's cart. Rundella was a cool, wet world, and Jilla was shivering. The grey eyes glanced briefly toward the sky, then swept past Jade to Carl Hawkins. "I think it best we get into some form of enclosure as soon as possible," she said.

Hawkins nodded, still staring in fearful confusion. Jade remembered his shock at seeing them.

"Women? An alien; I beg your pardon, Lieutenant. Is your captain insane? You'll be burned if anyone sees you!"

Jilla had explained Spock's rationale calmly, logically, then added, "We are the bait. If we're fortunate, the Captain is in error." The man had shaken his head in disbelief.

"That's a crazy way to test a hypothesis."

The loading was finished quickly and the ride to the hut occupied by the outpost was uneventful. Jade tried to talk with Jilla, but was silenced by the haunted fear in the Indiian's eyes.

Once at the hut, Hawkins quickly pointed out the injured Dr. Sterson and malfunctioning equipment. Jilla went to work at once, and Jade stared after her for half a second. She was growing angry. Why did Ruth scare her like that? Spock isn't a murderer, we have a mission to complete. He did what he had do, and yes, Sulu, we all know the risks. Sighing, she went to her patient.


Jilla worked silently, willing her hands and mind steady. Spock's actions were logical. Cold logic. Cold murder? No, it cannot, must not be. Yet…

Am I his rilain? Once. Not now. Can he face it? No.

Sulu, my love, if I could feel you here....

Aema, must I face You? What will be done to me if I am taken?

If? Is it not 'when?' Spock wills it, does he not?

Does the sun rise in the morning?

Sulu, help me!

She carefully tested a circuit, and got a burst of static. After more tests with the same result, she turned to Hawkins. "Can you monitor electrical storms with the equipment you have?" she asked.

"Strong ones, why?" Hawkins replied.

"Check your indicators, please." Jilla caught Jade's glance, and held it while Hawkins examined his equipment, then carefully concealed it again. "An ion storm," Jilla said, and Hawkins nodded. She couldn't stop the unbidden, fearful question:

How did Spock arrange that?


Sulu sat in his quarters, compiling the preliminary reports on the Rundellan landing party, trying to keep his mind off the chronometer and how long Jilla had been planetside. The longer she was there, the greater the risk. If anything happens to her...

The door chime sounded and he called, "Come," without looking up.

Seconds later a statboard was dropped on his desk. "Fuel statistics," Ruth's voice said wearily. Sulu looked at the neat, concise report, then up at Ruth, a grin replacing the frown of tension. "I had the time," Ruth shrugged.

"No, you didn't," Sulu said softly.

"More than you," Ruth returned, then crossed the room and sat, cross-legged, on the bed, her fingers rubbing her temples. Sulu got up and moved to her, his fingers joining hers.

"Thank you, Ruth," he said. "Spock would've been on my back something awful."

"I figured you didn't need the aggravation." Ruth smiled lamely.

"I hate to ask, after you did my work," Sulu began, "but do you have the anthro-data for..."

"From Palamas? On time? Don't be silly," Ruth replied.

"I need it. You want me to get on her?"

Ruth sighed and got up. "No, I'll do it."

Sulu watched her ruefully, then went back to his work as she contacted the A&A officer. He wasn't listening to the conversation, but the tone of Ruth's voice was irritable, almost frenzied. Del must've been at her again, he thought, anger being added to the already confused wash of emotions: worry, fear, exhaustion, anxiety. Why can't the son of a bitch leave her alone? Yes, Spock’s a bastard, he’s no husband to her, she’s hurting and lonely and she has needs but if she wants to cheat it’s her decision, not Cajun's. The man pushes too hard

"Sulu," Ruth's voice interrupted his thoughts. He glanced up to wide, worried violet eyes. "Palamas has Hawkins' full anthropological report. It's a mirror of medieval Europe. Including Eastern. They've been given a belief in vampires."

Sulu closed his eyes, his words not a question. "Spock knew."

Ruth nodded. "She gave him the report when he called the briefing." She paused. "They also know how to 'deal' with vampires."

"My god, I'll kill him," Sulu whispered hoarsely. Ruth was certain he hadn't been aware it was out loud. He stared at her. "Why does he hate her so much?"

"Sulu, please..." Ruth tried to soothe.

"He wants them to kill her, she's scared and she's deathly pale when she's scared, he knows that..." He suddenly gave a short, bitter laugh. "Deathly pale, how fucking appropriate."

"No," Ruth said softly, "not even Spock could..."

"Couldn't he, Ruth? There was never anything more between them than raw, brutal passion." Sulu's voice was a cynical parody of Spock's cold non-inflection. Ruth winced as he got up, turning away. She quietly closed the com to Palamas and started to go to him, but he sat back down. "Nothing I can do," he said, "and I've got too much work."

Ruth had watched the First Officer's mask coming over Sulu so many times that it no longer needed explanation. But it hadn't stopped hurting. She wanted to touch the worry, the fear, to ease it, but there was no way she could, because there was nothing to ease it with. She thought it might be best to leave him alone, then remembered Del. He said he'd be waiting if she wanted to 'talk.' She had nowhere else to go. She started to ask if he minded if she stayed and worked with him, but the signal from the intercom interrupted her. His voice was tonelessly brisk.

"Sulu. What is it?"

"Sensors have picked up a large, strong, slow-moving ion storm covering the entire northern continent of Rundella, moving south-west and spreading," Chekov's voice reported.

"Toward the outpost," Sulu said, almost to himself.

"Yes, sir. The Captain has been informed, estimation puts communications out in twenty minutes, transporter in thirty, duration anywhere from six hours to several days." Chekov was the only crewmember besides those not personally acquainted with Sulu who called him 'sir'.

"And the Captain's opinion?" Sulu asked.

"We do nothing," was the succinct reply.

Ruth watched the worry grow into frustration in Sulu's eyes. "Any word from planetside?" Sulu snapped.

"None, sir, beyond the confirmation of arrival — " Chekov stopped, and then said, "M'ress has received a signal. It's Hawkins, about the storm."

"I'm on my way," Sulu said and closed the com. "Come on, Ruth," he added as he got up.

Ruth was already at the door.


"'s not (crackle) for them down here, doesn't (buzz snap) know that? With all respect (a series of pops and whining) suggest immediate beam-up, we can wait..." Hawkins' voice was drowned out by a long burst of static.

"Boost your power, we're losing you," M'ress said, "repeat, boost your power."

"...risky already, damn it! (buzz, crackle, a hum, then more clearly) Is that better? I can't give any more, we'll be detected if it's Klingons."

"We are receiving," M'ress replied. "We appreciate your concern; our calculations give a timetable of five point five-one to nine-eight point one-four standard hours of total non-communication."

Sulu and Ruth stepped onto the bridge.

"Then it's even more imperative you beam them up now. We can't keep them hidden for that long."

Sulu leaned over M'ress. "Hawkins, this is Commander Sulu. Can your injury and equipment malfunction wait the possible five days ?"

Hawkins sounded frantic. "Yes, Commander, we're in no immediate danger except from your officers." Jilla's voice said hesitantly,

"Sulu, Jade and I..." A burst of static cut her off.

"M'ress, cut into the transporter room, let them get a fix on..." Sulu began.

"That will not be necessary," Spock's voice interrupted as he came onto the Bridge, "Mr. Sulu, I will see you in my office. Lieutenant. M'ress, my orders stand."

"Captain," Hawkins' voice crackled through the receiver, "I can't guarantee..."

All at once a great crash sounded from M'ress' equipment, followed by wild shouts, scuffles, heavy thuds, gasps and a voice that cried, "Devils, we have found thee in the company of thy mistress and her she-demon! What canst thou sayest now to defend thyself!"

Then Jilla shrieked and another crash brought the hum of empty static.

"Jilla!" Sulu shouted, almost lunging at the receiver. Ruth's whispered, "God no," brought his gaze to hers. Then all eyes turned to Spock.

The Captain regarded his Bridge crew impassively, then said, calmly, "Mr. Bergmann, continue sensor tracking as long as possible. Mr. Sulu, my office."

Spock left the Bridge, followed by Ruth's pleading eyes. When Sulu took the turbolift a moment later, after accepting quiet, 'I'm sorry, she'll be all right's with dull nods, Geoff Redford from Engineering asked, "Is Spock trying to break him?"

Ruth shook her head. "I don't know," she whispered. "I just don't know anymore."


Spock ignored Sulu's air of silent accusation as they waited in his office for Dr. McCoy. His reasons for all of this were logical, of that he had no doubt. He also had little choice. It was not as he preferred to handle this mission, but the Federation's claim to Rundella must be upheld. Charges of Federation interference must be disproved. There was but one way to do so.

"Yes, Captain?" McCoy said, overly polite as he entered Spock's office.

"Prepare yourself for a landing party, Doctor," Spock said and Sulu's head jerked up. "You and I and Mr. Sulu will beam down in exactly seventeen minutes."

"With a rescue team?" Sulu added, challenging him to disallow it. For a moment, Spock was tempted to give some comfort to the grief and fear in the dark eyes, or if not, to accede to the harsh request.

"Impossible, Mr. Sulu," he said with private difficulty. "I have reasons," he went on, forestalling the double protest. "First, the delay. We are in a delicate situation; we can be accused of breaking the Prime Directive if we cannot show proof of the necessity of our intervention. That proof must also be irrefutable. Solid evidence, gentlemen, evidence of the inspiration behind this rapid change of evolutionary pattern. And that evidence must be such that it would be admissible at a tribunal. In short, material proof of Klingon presence. Therefore, we must not alarm them until it is too late for escape. The ion storm is, in this matter, an unexpected blessing, for it provides us with surety that once we are planetside, no Klingon can escape us."

"Pardon me, sir," Sulu put in, coldly efficient. "Wouldn't a Klingon ship have the same information and have beamed up such evidence before this?"

"If there were a ship here, yes," Spock replied. "I do not believe there is, although one has undoubtedly been sent a message. I have long range scanners looking toward its arrival." He paused. "As to a team, that action would be construed as hostile intention, immediately bringing Organian wrath upon our endeavor. The Klingons are employing deception and guile. We must do the same." He looked at the men seated before him. They were exchanging looks of bitter, defeated, yet grudgingly respectful resignation. A small annoyance, that they would have never doubted nor questioned James Kirk's reasons was brushed aside and Spock forced himself to accept only the respect. Then Sulu turned to him, still unrelenting.

"One question, sir," he said tersely. "Why Jilla?"

"The answer is obvious, Mr. Sulu. She and Dr. Han were the most likely candidates for attracting attention in the fields Hawkins requested," Spock replied.

"No, sir," Sulu said. "Why Jilla?"

Spock refused to acknowledge the implied answer. "Her survival rating is nine-eight point nine-six," he said.

"Damn it, Spock, don't quote numbers at the boy!" McCoy burst out. "It's his wife you're talking about!"

"I am aware of the relationship, Doctor,” Spock replied evenly.

"Why not Mrraal?" Sulu spat bitterly. "Wouldn't a six-foot tall black cat attract enough attention? What tribunal are you really gathering evidence for, Captain?” It was as close to an accusation as Sulu had come in all the months since Spock had bitterly forced away those closest to him. "And isn't the verdict already forgone?" The First Officer spun on his heel, ready to leave the office, and Spock's cold voice stopped him.

"Commander, you will not address me in that tone."

The loathing despair that shone in Sulu's eyes as he turned shocked Spock deeply, for it was as much directed inward as outward.

"I apologize, sir," Sulu rasped. There was a tense, unbearable pause, then he said, "but I'll rejoice the day I'm promoted the hell out from under you." He turned, striding out of the office. McCoy followed him, and Spock closed his eyes. Fifteen minutes later he stood and went to the transporter room, giving orders for the issuance of phasers and communicators.


The hut was a smoking ruin. McCoy immediately made for one of the four bodies lying near it. Spock began searching the wreck. Sulu made a quick check of the area's security, then came to help McCoy.

"Dead," McCoy said dully as Sulu reached him. He moved to the next body. It was Hawkins, and he was alive. McCoy quickly opened his kit, administering a general antibiotic and anesthetic, then a protein concentrate. Hawkins started coughing, and Sulu helped him to sit. When the spasm passed, and he nodded that he was alright, McCoy moved on.

"What happened?" Sulu asked.

"Commander?" Hawkins rasped.

"Yes, what happened?"

"We were attacked -- the priest's guards -- they've been watching us -- too close I guess -- we thought we had--" Hawkins started coughing again, and spat blood.

"Doc!" Sulu called, and McCoy came, with another hypo.

"We've got to get him to the ship," McCoy said. Sulu flipped open his communicator. The answer from the Enterprise was heavy with static.

"We've got injuries down here, we need transporter power," Sulu said, slowly and clearly. The reply was garbled, and all he caught was "...-jiir and Han, repeat, how much damage..."

"I'm not reading you, repeat please."

Through crackles and buzzes he managed to gather that the transporter was standing by and engineering wanted an estimate on the state of the outpost's equipment, and everyone was concerned about Jilla and Jade. Sulu began a reply, then stopped as Spock approached.

"The equipment is beyond repair," Spock said, "but it is still here. I expect an attempt to confiscate it. Dr. McCoy, Mr. Sulu and myself will await that attempt."

"Captain," Sulu broke in, "what about..."

"There was no sign of Lieutenant Majiir or Dr. Han," Spock went on as if Sulu hadn't spoken. "We must assume they were taken. Do you still have their location?"

"Yes, sir," crackled through the communicator.

Hawkins rasped, "Yes, taken -- they thought -- I told you -- why--" He coughed blood again, and McCoy said,

"Captain, this man needs attention, and one of the other men is still alive."

Spock nodded, gave proper coordinates and the already stormy sky of Rundella broke into lightning and thunder.

"The location of Dr. Han and Lieutenant Majiir," Sulu asked, staring at Spock.

A loud burst of static ended with "...three degrees north northwest."

"Repeat!" Sulu shouted above the rapidly increasing wind. There were words in the reply but they were incomprehensible over the noise. The shimmer that had taken Hawkins and the other man reappeared momentarily, then faded.

"I hope they got up alright," McCoy mumbled.

"As there is no way to confirm that, I suggest we continue with our mission," Spock said. McCoy glared but said nothing. Sulu stared at the communicator in his hand.

"Damn it," he whispered, and closed it with a soft snap. He turned to Spock. "Captain, we know the direction, I suggest we begin following..."

Spock faced him. "Mr. Sulu, we remain here. Our equipment is here; the Klingons will want it as proof of our interference, and they will send a party for it. I intend to be ready for that party. "

"What about Jade and Mrs. Majiir?" McCoy asked gruffly.

"They are well-trained officers..."

"On a planet that thinks they're devils, and burns devils!" Sulu broke in harshly.

"It is not yet sundown," Spock replied calmly. "No action will be taken on that assumption until planet dawn. With luck they will be safely aboard the Enterprise by then. "

"How do we accomplish that if we don't know where they are?"

"The ship does, Mr. Sulu."

"And there's an ion storm that will stop any transporter activity for at least six hours, Captain!"

"Planet dawn is fourteen point one-six hours from now," Spock said. "There is an element of chance. As I said, with luck. . . "

"When did you start believin' in luck?" McCoy snorted. Spock simply glanced at him, and went on.

"There is nothing else to be done, Mr. Sulu. Our objective here must be met or we face charges of deliberate interference." Spock turned. "I believe the matter is closed. We wait, here."

Spock didn't see the Klingon salute Sulu gave his back.


Jilla prayed silently as she and Jade were pushed forward by the guards. She understood the heavy chains on their wrists and ankles, but not the symbol that was held before her, nor the word spoken in whispers around her. She had stopped fighting. It was useless and it did nothing to calm the terror within her. Jade kept trying to catch her eyes, but she had no desire to see the plea for Spock's innocence. She was being taken to her death, and he had known it and had let her come to that realization without the smallest indication of concern, without even the consideration of a personal warning. Why should I have expected otherwise? she thought, the despair still able to bring tears to her. Could he have borne saying goodbye to my face, could he have faced seeing death in my eyes, knowing I knew he had planned it?

She stumbled, and the people around her gasped, the symbol pushed closer to her. She caught Jade's glance, and stiffly nodded that she was all right, but the anguish swirled inside her. Spock, why?

There was never more between us than raw, brutal passion.

I would not yield and for daring to defy you I must die. Send me to my hell, for I would not let you make my life a living one. The sudden desperation that filled her was bitter and colored with hysteria. You did not give me a chance to change my mind, Spock. Or did you think to face my fear would melt your resolve? Have you forgotten to what lengths I will go to stay alive? Her soul screamed the words. Take me, do what you will, Spock take what is yours but do not let me die!

Tears and an insanity of desolation echoed in her mind and she stumbled again, falling. The same gasps of fear, and the symbol was again shoved toward her. But her eyes saw only the stormy, fading twilight, and she cried, silently.

Sulu, where are you?


Spock sat alone, well hidden by the blind made from the ruins of the hut. Several feet away, Sulu and McCoy rested, the despair and worry a tangible cocoon around them, a cocoon that separated them from their captain. Spock ignored the isolation, his thoughts on the Enterprise and her mission. Fleet knew nothing. With the uncertainty of when and in what strength the Klingons would arrive it was unfeasible to send a message that would pinpoint their position. And the situation had required quick, decisive action. His strategy was a dangerous one, but the only one with an acceptable chance of success. He regretted putting officers in danger, but there was no choice. He admitted quite easily that he himself would have made a perfect choice as bait, but he had a duty to his ship. If his plan failed, he would be the only one to save the crew of the Enterprise from massive indictments on breaking the Prime Directive. He had not chosen Lieutenant Mrraal because the Caitian's appearance would have caused his immediate death. The next two best qualified officers were Han and Majiir. It had been the only basis for his choice.

But Sulu cannot see it that way, nor McCoy. Nor even Ruth. No matter. I must do as I see fit, or give command to another. He closed his eyes briefly. There was no other acceptable choice.


The storm raged all night. Sulu, McCoy and Spock waited. The six hour minimum for communications black-out passed, and Sulu began trying his communicator every half hour. Dawn was fast approaching, and he'd had no luck.

"Where are your Klingons, Captain?" McCoy grumbled, and Spock abruptly motioned him silent.

"He's heard something," Sulu whispered,

"Phasers on full stun," Spock murmured, getting to his feet.

Moments later, four figures crept stealthily toward the hut. Spock gestured for a fanning-out maneuver, he and Sulu moving silently away from McCoy. A light suddenly swept the clearing in which the hut had stood, and they froze, hands moving behind their backs, heads dropping forward, to shield any reflection from the gold-braided sleeves or command insignia, or eyes. There was a satisfied grunt and Sulu aimed his phaser, but Spock again motioned him still. The figures entered the hut, and sounds of rummaging were heard, then a victorious call rang out.

In Klingonese.

Sulu advanced quickly, Spock and McCoy right behind him. Four shots were fired, and four very surprised Klingons fell, stunned.

"My Klingons, Doctor," Spock said coolly.


The court was in an uproar. Jade and Jilla had been brought in, the magistrate quickly called. He had asked, calmly, as though used to this procedure, the names of the accused. Jilla was silent, deep in her control of the blind terror that surrounded her. Jade answered for both.

"Art thou a witch?" the magistrate asked. "Confess freely and save thy soul!"

"There are no such things," Jade replied, "so I can hardly be one."

The charges were brought; appearance, manner, association with suspected witches, and evidence given; Jade's medkit, the accounts of the guards of the occurrences at the hut, and the possession of an obvious demon/familiar. Jilla cried out in Indiian and Jade worriedly hushed her — further proof; her power over the demon.

"Confess or be delivered to the Questioners!" the magistrate cried.

"And if I do?" Jade asked.

"Witches burn here, woman!" was the answer.

Jade nodded.

As she and Jilla were led to their cell, she tried to calm the Indiian. But Jilla only glared at her, her eyes hellfire behind an icy grey mask.


Ruth remained on the Bridge throughout the storm, working steadily with the computers, trying to coax them to work despite the raging ionic disruptions. Her mind kept going over Sanchez's report from sickbay. Hawkins and the other man, Graves, would live, but Hawkins had explained the planetside situation, the attack on the hut, Jilla and Jade's abduction. They believed Jade was a witch, and Jilla a vampire. They'd been fed Terran legends, made to believe it. Hawkins didn't know how, but he had some guesses. If it was Klingons, they had played both sides of the game, starting the fervor, then showing up themselves at carefully timed intervals to prove the theory, not caring what happened to the innocent individuals they appeared with. Ruth shivered. It was exactly the kind of game Klingons loved. Her memory flashed back to Canti, and she pushed the thought away.

"Anything from the Captain?" Scotty's voice asked.

Uhura shook her head. "Static, Mr. Scott. That's all."

"Sensors, Ruth?"

"Nothing," Ruth replied. "The storm is too strong."

"Three hours until planet dawn at the Captain's last reported position," Chekov said.

Three hours. Oh god, three hours! Ruth moaned. Hawkins had said Jade and Jilla's interrogation would be perfunctory. Their appearance was a conviction. And execution took place at dawn. Ruth whispered silent prayers to Yahweh, Zehara, Aema, and Buddha, then prayed that one of them heard.


Go To Part Two

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continum