The Singer or The Song

by Cheryl Petterson and Mylochka

(Standard Year 2249)

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continnum

Go To Part Two

The rogue comet had been traveling through the Theraxan system for the past several decades. When Federation settlements and mining operations arrived, they noted a peculiar spore the comet seemed to be depositing on every planet, moon and asteroid in the system as it passed. According to the Astrophysicists, these were perfectly harmless, and indeed, they seemed to have had no measurable effect on the vegetation and primitive life-forms on the planets in the system. Machinery was put in place, shelters built and the colonists began mining and farming the planets designated Theraxa 3, 4 and 5.

Six months later, things started going terribly wrong. Crops began to exhibit signs of blight, machinery that had been in perfect working order started to deteriorate. Intense scientific study determined that the seemingly harmless spores had suddenly become deadly, but there was no indication as to how they had altered so radically, and the fear that they could soon become a danger to the colonists themselves prompted a call for emergency assistance from Starfleet.

Headquarters responded with a trio of ships, the Enterprise, the Hood, and the Constitution, with a three-fold mission: a) find out what was causing the activation of the spores, b) stop it, and c) secure the Federation’s claim on Theraxa.


“So those, ladies, gentlemen, are our objectives,” Captain Kirk said to his senior staff in the briefing room of the U.S.S. Enterprise. "Captain Aronson, Captain Serano and I have divided the work, with the Hood arriving first to take reading of the spores and their activity. It will be our task to use that information to see if we can find an antidote. The Constitution, when she arrives, will prepare the colonies for evacuation if necessary.”

“Why does Headquarters think this is gonna take three ships?” Dr. Leonard McCoy asked.

“There are three planets involved, Doctor,” Spock replied. “Coordination will be more efficient with a ship in orbit around each.”

“And the division of labor avoids the department of redundancy department,” Jim added with a grin.

“And all three ships will be required should evacuation prove unavoidable,” Spock rejoined.

“Which is to be considered the choice of last resort,” the captain concluded. “As soon as we get the Hood’s report, I’ll want Sciences working around the clock. We’ll undoubtedly need landing parties to retrieve samples of the spore-infected vegetation and minerals for testing of any potential antidotes.” He turned to the Chief Engineer. “Scotty, make sure the bio-filters are in top working order. We don’t want to introduce any already-known hazards into the mix.”

“Aye, sir,” the Scotsman replied. “I’ll have both Mrs. Majiir and Mr. DelMonde double check them.”

“Is there anything Security needs to be aware of?” Sulu asked.

“Not so far,” Kirk answered, “though we will want details sent with the landing parties, just to keep order among the colonists.”

Sulu nodded.

“Uhura,” Kirk continued, turning to the lovely African officer, “communications will be especially important here. You’ll have to coordinate not only with our own people, but with the Hood and the Constitution, as well as the colonists and Headquarters.”

“Double shifts for my staff, yes sir,” Uhura returned with a smile.

“Shall I continue tracking the comet, Captain?” Pavel Chekov asked crisply.

“Yes,” was Kirk’s response. “We not only want to know where it’s going, but we’ll want to keep an eye on the new spores it’s depositing”

“Aye, sir,” the navigator replied.

Kirk looked around the room. “Any more questions?” When there were none, he rose. “Well, then, let’s get this thing moving.”


“Spores, huh?”

Daffy Gollub was standing next to Ruth Valley as the Assistant Science Officer packed a sample case.

“And something is making them go all twitchy?”

“That’s what Spock said the captain said,” Ruth replied, carefully placing empty vials into the case.

“So why are you going instead of the galaxy-class chemist, not that I’m complaining, mind you.”

“Because I can heal whatever possible nasties the spores might be carrying?” Ruth smiled at her friend. “Just a guess.”

“Ooh, hot-shit keheil,” Daffy fawned sarcastically.

“But you’re not complaining,” the Antari commented.

“Hell no, fruychik,” Daffy affirmed. “Better you than me. But,” she continued, “I’m gonna have to analyze these spores you’ll be bringing up.”

“And they’ll have gone through the biofilters,” Ruth reminded. “No nasties.”

“And what if it’s the nasties that are making them go all twitchy?”

“The Hood’s readings will take care of that.”

“The Hood’s readings will make them go all...” Daffy began.

“Besides,” Ruth interrupted, closing the sample case with an audible snap, “you’d be in no danger anyway. You’re already all twitchy.”


“Be sure to check the machinery for any other source of contamination, lass,” Montgomery Scott said to his assistant.

“I will,” Jilla Majiir answered.

Beside the Chief Engineer, Noel DelMonde handed the Indiian a tricorder.

“I calibrate this fo’ mineral an’ microscopic life form readin’s,” he told her. “Leas’ that way we eliminate the mos’ likely culprits.”

“Thank you, Mr. DelMonde,” Jilla replied, placing the strap of the device over her head and resting it comfortably against her hip.

The door to the transporter room opened and Commander Spock and Lieutenant Commander Sulu stepped in.

“No phaser, Sulu?” Scott asked, his eyebrows rising in surprise.

“The captain feels that armed Security will only make the colonists more nervous,” the Security Chief replied. “Besides,” he continued with a grin, “I don’t think we can shoot the spores.”

“Wit’ the right gun, I sure you could,” Del mused, and gave a wry smirk of acknowledgement to the Asian’s widening smile.

“Mr. Scott,” Spock said, “are the biofilters prepared for the samples we will be beaming up?”

“Aye, sir,” Scott responded, and DelMonde grumbled.

“They been triple checked,” he pointed out.

The Vulcan appeared not to notice the tall Cajun engineer’s tone of voice. “Excellent,” he returned.

The door opened again and Ruth Valley stepped in, carrying the sample case.

“All ready to go, Boss,” she said brightly.

She and Spock, Sulu and Jilla stepped onto the transporter pads.

“Good luck to ye,” Scott said as he moved behind the control console.

“Don’ let them spores bite y’all in th’ ass,” DelMonde added.

Sulu chuckled, Ruth stuck out her tongue. A small sigh escaped Jilla and Spock completely ignored the verbal jab.

“Energize, Mr. Scott,” the Vulcan said.

When the golden transporter shimmer had faded, Del frowned. “I go check the filters one more time,” he told Scott.

“Aye, lad, you do that,” the Chief responded with a fond smile.


“Nothing twitchy so far,” Ruth murmured to herself as she scanned the spore samples she was collecting.

“I beg your pardon?” Spock asked.

Ruth grinned. “Nothing, Boss. Daffy was just employing technical terms again.”

“I see,” the Vulcan returned. His eyes lingered for a moment on his wife’s smile, then he returned to his own scans.

Jilla moved from the machinery she’d been inspecting. “The degradation in the metal is quite alarming,” she said. “But the tricorder indicates no known cause. There seems to be no microbiological nor mineral anomalies that could account for such rapid deterioration.”

“Have you scanned for impurities in the ores this unit is processing?” Spock suggested.

“I have, sir,” the Indiian answered. “There is one known inimical contamination, but it has no previously documented effect on non-biological material.”

“You should probably alert Scotty,” Ruth put in. “Make sure the filters catch it.”

Jilla nodded and took out her communicator just as Sulu returned from talking with a small group of colonists.

“They’ve asked for hazard suits,” he told the First Officer. “They don’t want to come near their machines or crops. They’re afraid they’ll catch whatever this is.”

“A not unreasonable precaution,” Spock commented. “I will send the request to the Captain.”

“I’m finished here, Boss,” Ruth rejoined.

“Very good,” Spock said. “Transport these samples and we can move on to the agricultural fields.”

Ruth nodded, calling, “Hey, Jilla! Tell Scotty we’ve got samples to beam up!”

The Indiian nodded an affirmative, and Sulu grinned. “I love it when she’s all efficient,” he commented.

Ruth smiled at her husband. “I know just how you feel, Roy.”


The results from the scans of the crops the colonists had planted were the same – there was some contaminant in the soil, consistent with that from the ore processor, and Spock conjectured that it was a naturally occurring material in the composition of Theraxa 3. More spore samples were taken, along with samples of the blighted crops, and, after getting the go-ahead from the captain, Sulu assured the colonists that hazard suits would be issued. The samples were again transported up ahead of the landing party to insure that the biofilters would eliminate any dangerous substances.

“Captain, the final samples have been beamed up,” Spock said into his communicator. Beside him, Ruth Valley and Jilla Majiir were making final consultations on the theoretical causes of the ‘twitchiness’ of the spores. A few steps away, Commander Sulu was compiling the growing list of concerns the colonists had reported.

“And Mr. Scott reports all clear,” Captain James Kirk’s voice returned. “Beam up when you’re ready, Mr. Spock.”

The Vulcan turned to the other three officers, his eyebrow rising enquiringly.

“...can’t think of anything that accounts for the sudden activation except deliberate sabotage, we’re ready when you are, Boss, but we can check that on the ship,” Ruth said, both continuing her conversation with Jilla and answering Spock’s look.

Jilla, of course, stopped talking and waited expectantly for Spock’s decision.

Sulu closed his tricorder and grinned at the First Officer. “I’m done, Commander.”

“We are ready, Captain,” Spock reported.

He heard Kirk’s “Four to beam up, Scotty,” and closed his communicator as the transporter beam took hold.


There was a sudden spike in the beam as Scott manipulated the controls. Frowning, he compensated, holding his breath until the readings settled and the pillars of shimmer began to coalesce.

Then he blinked, shook his head, and blinked again as not four, but eight distinct forms began materializing.

He hit the button that would both sound an alarm and create an automatic force field around the transport chamber, and called for Security, Medical and the Captain.

Several things happened at once. Commander Spock tilted his head curiously as a Human who looked remarkably like the Vulcan blinked, his mouth opening in surprise. Ruth Valley said, “Oh for Zehara’s sake!” and waved her hand, disrupting the field as a brown-eyed Human with thick, wavy blonde hair gasped and reached for the Human Spock-look-alike. Jilla Majiir went nova, inhaling sharply as a very Vulcan-looking woman with the Indiian’s face and burgundy hair assumed a position that was almost identical to Commander Spock’s. And two versions of Lieutenant Commander Sulu reacted; one with unexpectedly and quite impossibly below-shoulder-length hair gazing appraisingly at all four females, while the other, with normal hair length, took a deep breath, eyes wide, then cried out and collapsed onto the transporter pad.

“What in the name of God…” Scott began and was interrupted as both Vulcans in the transport chamber said, “Fascinating.”


At the alert claxon, several people raced toward the transporter room: a security team, Jim Kirk, Jade Han and Leonard McCoy, and Noel DelMonde. They converged on the door almost at the same instant, the rest of the people pausing for the captain, Kirk himself pausing to let the security detail enter first.

Once inside, every person stopped, staring at the transporter pads in varying degrees of shock.

An unidentified Human male looked up from where he was tightly embracing an equally unknown Human female and said, “Jim, what happened?”

Spock and a Vulcan female with an eerily familiar face said, almost in unison, “Clearly a transporter malfunction, Captain,” with the female adding, “I shall attend to it immediately, sir,” as she stepped off the pad and down to the control console.

A version of Sulu with long dark hair stared down at a copy of himself and tsked, “Pathetic.”

Jilla Majiir was a bright glow of silver, her right hand clutching her left wrist, cradling it against her chest.

And Ruth Valley shook her head, an expression of annoyance on her face that turned to unadulterated delight – and in his head, DelMonde heard, evan Louisa, you have no idea how I’ve missed you!

“Scotty, what the…?” Jim began as Jade and McCoy immediately began scanning the eight figures with their medical tricorders.

“I – I don’t know, sir!” the engineer stammered.

“The biofilters failed to catch some anomaly in the spores,” the Vulcan woman reported after a cursory examination of the transport record.

With a start that was nearly visible, Jade Han said, “Captain, look at her face. That’s Jilla Majiir.”

“Takeda, Dr. Han,” the woman corrected. “Selar Vtkrgdantm is long dead and I have Bonded with Sulu. To use the nom-de-plume that was created to preserve my marital status is no longer logical.”

The Indiian Jilla cried out, sobbing desperately. The long-haired Sulu stared at her, then at the Vulcan at the control console and said, “Fuck!”

“Spock, how could this happen?” Kirk began, and both the Human male and the Vulcan opened their mouths to answer, then stared at each other.

“Spock?” the Human female said tremulously and McCoy groaned.

“God, Jim, that’s Ruthie!” He gave a quick glance to his tricorder, then added, “but she’s Human – all Human!”

“The readings of – him – " Jade rejoined, pointing to the Human male, "indicate that he’s an all-Human Spock.”

The Vulcan Spock raised an eyebrow. “The transporter has apparently malfunctioned in such a way as to cause some form of genetic splicing,” he said. He turned to the Vulcan female. “Mrs – Takeda, the anomaly you recorded in the ore. You stated that it was on record, but had no properties inimical to machinery.”

“Correct, Commander,” the Vulcan confirmed.

“Can you call up the records in the biofilters and give the exact previous instance of this anomaly?”

“Certainly,” she replied, and after a few moments, said, “During a mission to Alpha 177, a magnetic ore was transported on the clothing of a Technician Fisher, which caused the transporter to create a duplicate of Captain Kirk. The contaminant in that ore was present in the samples we beamed up.”

“That’s not possible, lass,” Scott argued. “The biofilters were set to catch it.”

Eyebrow rising at the ‘lass’, the Vulcan Jilla said “It would appear not, Mr. Scott.”

DelMonde shook himself from the intense telepathic contact with Ruth Valley long enough to say, “I did a diagnostic on th’ filters after y’all beamed down. If it in th’ records, th’ filters caught it.”

“It seems we were all in error regarding our calibrations, Mr. DelMonde,” the Vulcan Jilla answered.

“I not make that kind o’ error,” the Cajun insisted stubbornly.

“Someone did,” was the terse response.

It’s all right, evan Louisa, the Antari whispered in Del’s head. Vulcans are pompous, supercilious asses. I’m sure, with your magnificent brain, that you did absolutely nothing wrong. There was a pause, then she added, with clear licentiousness, and your brain’s not the only magnificent thing about you.

My wife, that will be quite enough of that, Spock’s voice intruded into the silent conversation.

Wife? Ruth snorted. Do I sense a salish? No, I do not. Kindly keep your thoughts to yourself.

We signed a legally binding contract…

Which is neither Vulcan nor Antari – which means not telepathic, evan Louisa – and doesn’t count, the Antari again interrupted. Now get out of my conversation or I’ll be forced to get ugly.

Oh, can I watch, please? another voice asked with more than a hint of salaciousness, and Del blinked, staring at the source of it – the long-haired Sulu, who was smiling at him. It was a smile the Cajun recognized – and had hoped never to see again.

Kam? he said, his mental tone half fear, half disbelief.

Cajun, came the always slightly mocking acknowledgement. You’re the galaxy-class Maker, can you explain how I’ve been freed from Mr. Pathetique’s prison?

Evan Midori? Ruth’s once again delighted voice asked.

I’ve got a name, Goddess, the entity identified as Kam responded, and my mother’s no part of it.

ENOUGH! Spock roared, and then, incongruously, Jilla’s voice added, We are Bonded Sulu. You will not address another female in such familiar tones.

Oy geveult, what’s going on here?” the Human Ruth put in, and the Human Spock stroked her hair soothingly.

“I don’t know, my wife,” he murmured, then he glanced up at the Captain. “Jim?” he asked helplessly.

“To Sickbay, all of you,” McCoy announced decisively. We’ll sort it out there.”


The Vulcan Jilla protested when Scotty and Del stayed in the transporter room to begin the task of determining just what had gone wrong.

“I am needed there, Doctor,” she informed Jade Han. “There is no need for me to be in Sickbay. I am quite well.”

“You do realize that you weren’t born Vulcan,” Jade pointed out.

“Of course,” the Vulcan replied calmly. “I have no memory loss. I am aware that my existence is due to the genetic alteration Selar performed when we were on Vulcan. But it would be illogical to deny what is simply because there is, as yet, no explanation for how my separate physicality came to be.” She tilted her head. “An explanation which I could be helping to discover,” she added pointedly.

“I must concur with Mrs. Takeda,” Spock put in. He was standing in the doorway of Sickbay. The appellation forced a silent scream of despair from the Indiian version of Jilla, which Spock ignored. “My expertise would also be of more value working on the difficulty,”

The Security team had carried their collapsed chief to one of the beds. The Human Spock and the Human Ruth were seated on other beds, as was Indiian Jilla, though she was sobbing quietly and continuously. Ruth ani Ramy was off to one side, flirting shamelessly with the long-haired Sulu – who insisted on being called “Kam.” She glanced up and said, “I can fix it if you’d like.”

“By ‘fix’,” Captain Kirk questioned, “you mean what, exactly?”

“I can put the twins back together,” she clarified.

“Now why the fuck would you want to do that?” Kam asked her.

I wouldn’t,” she told him.

“Then why are you offering?”

“Because she has to make sure everyone knows how wonderful she is,” the Human Ruth explained with a fair touch of annoyance.

“Well, since I did get all the wonderfulness inherent in us…” the Antari returned smoothly.

“No, she didn’t,” the Human Spock assured his wife.

Ani Ramy snorted. “Like you’d know.”

“Simply because I’m not telepathic…” the Human Spock began heatedly.

“He’s just as intelligent as he ever was,” the Human Ruth pointed out.

“Indeed,” the Vulcan Spock rejoined. “I am certain he and I retain all the same knowledge. I simply am able to access and process it more readily.”

Kam snorted. “No ego there,” he commented, and the Antari Ruth giggled.

“I don’t care who’s wonderful or who’s telepathic or what you all think you should be doing,” McCoy interrupted. “I’m taking readings on all of you and we’re all gonna wait here until Scotty gives us his report on the transporters.” He gestured sharply to Kam, the two Vulcans, and the Antari. “Get on those beds and Ruthie, if you don’t behave yourself…”

“You’ll what, evan Emily?” ani Ramy demanded, her purple eyes blazing.

“Call the Zehara!” the doctor responded with no little ferocity of his own. “Now hop to it!”

“Fierce,” Kam commented, and favored the doctor with an intense smile. “But that threat won’t work on me.”

“On you I can use a sedative,” McCoy said.

“Are you sure about that?” Kam countered That’s not something I’d be willing to risk, was added silently, and McCoy started.

Ani Ramy chuckled and the Vulcans frowned.

“Such use of telepathic coercion is most unseemly, my husband,” Vulcan Jilla chastised.

Should I restrict my use of it to you, then?

You could always try to coerce me, ani Ramy put in. That might be fun.

The Vulcan Jilla’s eyes narrowed. He is mine, Ruth ani Ramy, she said, her mental voice like steel.

As you belong to me, Spock added.

We’ve been through this already, darling, the Antari rejoined, her sweet tone covering a dangerous annoyance.

“Will you people communicate out loud?” the Human Ruth demanded. “It’s very rude to the rest of us!”

“I don’t ‘belong’ to anyone,” ani Ramy clarified to Spock.

“And the Bond puts me in charge, farrei,” Kam told Jilla, his voice nearly hissing on the Vulcan word that meant ‘wife.’ “So shut the fuck up!”

The clear, light brown eyes lowered, and she murmured, “I hear and obey.”

“That is a proper wife,” Spock pointed out.

She’ll never be anything even remotely resembling proper,” the Human Ruth cut in, frowning at her Antari self.

“And I’ll never require such obedience from you, my wife,” the Human Spock said, his gentle smile full of warmth.

“I know,” the Human Ruth replied with a loving smile of her own. “That’s why I can give it.”

“Christ, retching here,” Kam said, his face twisted in disgust.

Jade and McCoy and Jim Kirk exchanged frustrated, worried glances.

“I hope like hell Scotty gets this figured out soon,” McCoy muttered. Jade and Jim gave heartfelt though silent agreement.


The transporter was no longer working. Every attempt brought the same result; a sizzle of electronic feedback, then nothing. Del swore as he tore apart more of the mechanism’s inner workings, hearing Scott grumbling as the Chief went over and over the transporter logs. Every connection and diode in the machine seemed to be covered in a microscopic film that felt grainy – and something else Del couldn’t define – under the engineer’s skilled fingertips.

“It the damn ore,” he growled. “It gotta be.”

“Aye, lad, you’re right,” Scott sighed above him. “It’s right here, though it’s gonna take a chemist to sort it all out.”

“Get Daf down here,” Del suggested, and heard Scott moving to the communication’s terminal.

“Lieutenant Gollub to the main transporter room, on the double,” the Chief’s gruff voice ordered. “And bring a full spectral analyzer with ya.”


Enterprise, this is the Hood,” Greg Halloran’s voice said over Uhura’s earpiece.

“Go ahead, Hood,” Uhura responded crisply.

“We’ve got a problem,” Halloran continued. “We tried to beam a party down to the surface of Theraxa 2, but our transporters have stopped functioning.”

The communication’s officer frowned and she quickly scanned all the messages from the Enterprise’s internal logs.

“We’ve got the same problem here,” she told the Hood’s Chief of Communications. “Did you beam up any ore samples from Theraxa 2?”

There was a short pause, and Uhura could hear the atonal noises of the Hood’s communications relays. “Yes, we did,” Halloran answered. “Our biofilters show nothing…”

“Have your best chemist analyze the transporter circuits,” Uhura interrupted. “Ours seem to have compromised by the ore.”

“The same way as the machinery on the colonies?” Halloran’s voice sounded more than alarmed.

“I don’t know, Lieutenant,” Uhura replied. “So far, our damage seems limited to the transporters. Let’s keep this channel open until the engineers and chemists have figured this thing out.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

As Halloran ‘s voice moved away, clearly reporting to Captain Aronson, Uhura opened the link to Sickbay.

“Uhura to Captain Kirk.”


“Kirk here, what is it, Uhura?” Jim answered the hail from the Bridge, his eyes never leaving the monitors over the eight occupied Sickbay beds.

He groaned as he listened to the Lieutenant Commander’s report. “Scotty hasn’t called in his results yet,” he informed her.

”I know that, sir, but he requested Lieutenant Gollub’s assistance a few moments ago, transporter logs are red-lined, and Mr. DelMonde has been grumbling about ‘damned ore.’”

“The ore, of course,” came the voice of Jilla Majiir – Takeda. “If there were microscopic differences between this ore and that which was encountered on Alpha 177…”

“The biofilters would not have recognized the differences as harmful,” Spock completed.

“Captain, Scott cuttin’ in,” the Chief Engineer’s voice said over the intercom. “We’ve discovered a film on the transporter circuits. They’re offline. I’ve got Chemistry analyzing it…”

“Mr. Scott, check biofilter 227A,” Jilla called. “I believe you will find there are unidentified trace elements in its record log.”

“Aye lass, that’s what Noel tells me,” Scott replied and a faint, “You not th’ only smart one,” was heard from somewhere beyond the chief.

“That’s my evan Louisa,” ani Ramy commented.

“Mr. DelMonde is not yours,” Spock told her sternly.

“He could be,” was the deliberately provocative response.

“Shut up, both of you!” McCoy ordered.

“Okay, then, that’s my Cajun,” Kam said with a wicked chuckle.

The silent disapproval from Jilla was tangible.

“Ick,” the Human Ruth said.

“Prude,” Kam returned.

“Pervert!” she rejoined stridently.

“And you two shut up too!” McCoy barked.

Jim sighed. “Let me know when you’ve got answers, Scotty,” he said into the intercom. “And Uhura, relay all this to the Hood.”

“Captain, the Constitution should also be warned not to transport any ore samples from Theraxa 4,” Spock advised.

“I think it’s too late for that, Mr. Spock,” Uhura’s voice returned. “I just heard from Lieutenant Francesca, the Constitution’s Chief of Communications. She reports their transporters are down, too.”

Oy,” Jim muttered, and the Antari giggled while Human Ruth stared at her captain in pleased surprise.


Kirk left the sorting-out of the transporter-created mess to the doctors, and walked quickly to the Bridge. With the transporters of all three ships inoperative, there was a great deal of coordinating to be done, as the only way to continue the mission was to employ the shuttlecraft and hope whatever was plaguing the transporters wouldn’t affect their engines. He only hoped that Bones wouldn’t insist on keeping his officers in Sickbay. Not only could engineering use Jilla’s help, Sulu was his best pilot and he needed Spock – and Spock needed Ruth.

Does that mean you don’t need me as well, Jim? sounded in his mind and he froze.

Miss Valley, he thought as loudly and as sternly as he could, Stay out of my head. That’s an order.

You think a goddess follows your orders? came another voice, this one silky and taunting and more than unnerving because it was Sulu’s.

My name is Kam, the voice answered his unspoken thought, though I am pleased to know you find my voice – compelling. The chuckle that followed the statement made Jim’s skin crawl in a not entirely unpleasant way.

Swallowing, Jim steeled himself. And that order applies to you as well, Mr. – Kam.

Well, doesn’t that sound ridiculous, Kam snorted.

Bwana, I can keep the sexy boy out of your head if you want, ani Ramy rejoined, but what will you do for me?

Can you? Kam asked, and Jim could see the wicked gleam in dark, almond eyes. Can you really?

I can at least keep him occupied,the Antari returned, her amused tone clearly not conceding the point. What do you say, Jim?

I say I’ll throw you both in the Brig if this doesn’t stop right now.

Kam snorted again. Like that will stop us?

If I tell the Zehara…

You’re no fun, ani Ramy pouted. Come on, gorgeous, there are better kites to fly.

As the voices left his head, Jim sighed, then shook himself, then stepped onto the Bridge.

Uhura’s hands were flying over her board as she seemingly carried on several conversations at once. Pavel Chekov was biting his thumb, glancing nervously at the empty chair beside him.

“Captain, is it true?” he asked, and Jim realized he needed to make an announcement to the crew regarding the accident before the grapevine got completely out of control. He wondered briefly how it was functioning with Uhura so busy, but shook the thought away, afraid the answer might lie in ship-wide telepathic intrusions.

Then he wondered what the hell he was going to announce.

He settled on asking the navigator, “What have you heard?” as he took the con.

The Russian cleared his throat. “There was some kind of – impossible splitting of…”

Kirk nodded. “We now have two Spocks, one Human, one Vulcan, two Lieutenant Valleys, one Human, one Antari, two Jilla Majiirs, one Indiian and one Vulcan and two Sulus – and don’t ask me to explain that one.”

“Do they know – I mean, sir, do they recognize…?” Chekov stammered.

“All memories seem intact all the way around,” Kirk replied. “They’re being examined in sickbay now. But be that as it may, Mr. Chekov, I’m putting you in charge of coordinating shuttle runs with the Hood and the Constitution. With the transporters down, they’re our only means of traveling between ships and the Theraxan planets.”

“Because Sulu is…”

“Unavailable,” Jim finished for him. “Until Scotty can figure out what happened, how to reverse it, and fix the transporters so it can be reversed.”

Bozhe moi,” the Russian murmured with a shudder.

“Amen to that,” Kirk muttered.


After ten minutes of muttered “Oy”s and “Goddamn!”s and “Son of a bitch!”es, Scotty folded his arms and glowered at Daffy Gollub.

“I take it the news isn’t good, lassie,” he said.

“That jus’ her way o’ sayin’ it interestin’, Del quipped from his position beneath the transporter console. “No tellin’ if that good or bad yet.”

“Well, Miss Gollub?” the Chief demanded.

“It’s the ore,” Daffy said as she straightened from the portable analyzer.

“We knew that when you come in, gal,” Del reminded.

The chemist stuck out her tongue. “Look at it like this,” she began. “The problem is the filters can’t screen for anything they haven’t encountered before. The biofilter analyzers are set to identify anything potentially dangerous before allowing materialization, but they’re limited to substances and molecular compounds that can be identified as harmful, or reasonably extrapolated to be harmful.”

“Lass, y’do know you’re talkin’ to engineers,” Scotty interrupted.

The look on Daffy’s face suggested she’d run into engineers who were just that dumb before, but she continued.

“So the filters accurately caught and eliminated the molecular traces in the ore that split the captain into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but missed other trace elements. And just like the analyzers didn’t think the original ore was harmful, they didn’t identify these elements as a problem either.” She paused. “But they definitely are.”

“Aye, we know that,” Scotty rejoined, clearly frustrated. “But what is it doin’ to the circuits?”

“Covering them with a molecular film,” Daffy replied.

“Sheee-it, woman!” Del exploded.

“What do you want from me?” Gollub returned calmly.

“How th’ fuck do we get rid of it?” Del said, at the same time as Scotty’s

“Can ye tell us how it caused the transporter to split our officers in two?”

Oy, it happened again?” Daffy answered Scott, ignoring Del’s outburst. “Who’s all naughty and nice this time?”

“Miss Gollub…” Scott began warningly.

“Okay, okay,” Daffy said and turned again to her analyzer. “Well, it definitely isn’t the same compound as before… I can’t see that it would affect… wait… wait. Oh god.” Her green eyes grew wide. “Ohgodohgodohgodohgod!”

“Shee-it, that not good.” Del’s voice was moving from irritated to worried as he slid out from the console. Then his eyes, too, went wide. “Oh FUCK!”

“Noel?” Scotty asked in alarm.

“Cajun, get the hell away from it!” Daffy nearly screamed, actually reaching down to pull on the engineer’s tunic.

“Lass, what is it?” Scotty exclaimed, helping her pull Del away, even before knowing what the problem actually was.

Daffy’s face was white as she said, “Who, Scotty, who was beaming up!”

“Mr. Spock and Ruth and Jilla and Mr. Sulu…”


“Miss Gollub, what the …”

The chemist looked at Del, who was clearly trying not to breathe. One word burst from her lips.



After realizing that there was no way they were going to stop the constant flirting/ arguing/ telepathic conversation between the Vulcans and the Humans, McCoy and Han turned their attention to their other two patients.

“You know Mrs. Majiir better,” McCoy said to Jade. “You go talk to her and I’ll see if I can figure out what’s wrong with Mr. Sulu.”

Jade sighed, but nodded. She already had a very good idea of what was bothering Jilla. After all she’d been through it a relatively short time ago.

She approached the sobbing Indiian and sat down next to her on the sickbay bed.

“Jilla…” she began.

Al lina, har in coros, har in coros!” the Indiian cried, rocking back and forth over her tightly-closed left fist.

The words tore at Jade’s heart – please, let me die, let me die! – but she took a deep breath and went on.

“We’ve been through this before, Jilla,” she said, just loudly enough to pierce through the despair. “There are other reasons for you to live besides…”

“No, there is no reason!” Jilla interrupted stridently. “I have forsaken my vows, my husband, I must accept Aema’s Judgment!”

“And what about Sulu?” Jade asked pointedly.

“He is not Indiian, he does not suffer what I suffer!”

“But your life is tied to his and…” Jade’s voice stopped suddenly. Jilla was tied to Sulu due to her Vulcan genetics – and those were presently about two meters behind her. The Bond had been able to form because of the helmsman’s previously uncategorized levels of empathy and telepathy, and ‘Kam’ seemed to have most of that. Which meant Jilla – the Indiian woman who had vowed to Selar – had no reason whatsoever to wish to remain alive. Unless….

“You do still love Mr. Sulu don’t you?” she asked gently.

Jilla’s grey eyes stared up at her in both anger and horror. “How can you even ask such a thing?!” she wailed. “I damned myself for him!”

Jade nodded. “Then live for him,” she suggested. “He needs you, Valjiir needs you – Jilla we all care for you and…”

“And Aema demands that I face Her!” the Indiian cried. “I have already delayed far too long… Aema, sumin tu, al lina, sumin tu…

She fell back into sobs of abject misery and Jade sighed. She rose from the bed, calibrating a hypospray and quickly injected Jilla with a mild sedative. It wouldn’t help the poor child much, she knew, but it might let her rest until they could figure out how to reverse what had happened.


McCoy studied the readings above the bed in which Sulu lay, unconscious but shivering and twitching like he was in the throes of a cordrazine overdose. Heart rate and blood pressure were dangerously high, neural activity in the range usually only achieved when Ruth was screwing around with the monitors.

“He must be havin’ one hell of a nightmare,” the doctor muttered to himself, and placed a hand on the helmsman’s shoulder, intending to gently wake him.

To his surprise, Sulu’s eyes snapped open, his body bolting upright, inhaling so sharply it had to be painful.

“Take it easy, son,” McCoy began. “You’re in Sickbay and…”

“Jeremy!” Sulu gasped, his eyes glancing wildly around the room.

“Cobra’s not here, idiot,” Kam called, his voice dripping disdain.

Sulu winced, his body curling in on itself. “Please,” he rasped, “I have to see – have to talk to…” He closed his eyes, then they abruptly opened again even wider than before, as if he had seen something horrible behind his eyelids. “Oh god,” he moaned, “Jesus god… Jeremy, Jeremy!

“You remember now, don’t you?” Kam said, grimly amused. “You wanted me gone so many times. Bet you’re sorry about that now, aren’t you?”

“Will you just shut the hell up?” McCoy snarled as Sulu let out a piercing scream and collapsed again.

The Vulcan Jilla was staring at Kam, her light brown eyes showing a concern that was not mirrored in her expression. “What does he remember, my husband?” she asked.

Kam showed his teeth in a parody of a smile. “Everything.”

“Oh god, poor Roy!” the Human Ruth cried, and was immediately comforted by the Human Spock.

“What ‘everything’?” ani Ramy demanded.

“You – especially you,” Kam answered, “really don’t want to know.”

“I can pull it straight from…” the Antari began.

“If you do, he’ll never look you in the eye again,” Kam warned, and when she frowned at him, he grinned back. “Just sayin’,” he clarified.

“Then how does she know?” ani Ramy countered, pointing to her Human self.

“She doesn’t – not exactly,” Kam explained, as patiently as if he were talking to a child. “She just knows that’s it’s horrible for him. You may have all the empathy, but she’s got all the compassion.”

The Antari seemed to consider this for a moment, then shrugged. “Fair enough,” she said.

“I thought keheils were wise and patient healers,” Vulcan Jilla commented, one eyebrow arching.

“True, but compassion has to be nurtured,” the Human Spock put in, still stroking his wife’s hair. “Because Ruth is – was half Human, her mother didn’t have to.” He smiled wistfully at the Human Ruth. “Her father did. And I suspect her Antari self didn’t absorb that, because Antari fathers aren’t important.”

“Logical,” Spock agreed and ani Ramy shrugged again.

“None of which is helping Mr. Sulu,” McCoy put in.

“So do what he asked,” Kam suggested lightly. “Get Cobra.”

“And who is…” McCoy began.

All five people answered together. “Jeremy Paget.”


Jeremy Paget was busy on the Hood coordinating the Security teams assigned to the shuttle runs that were being developed on the fly. The mysterious malfunction of the transporters – of all three ships in the Theraxan system – was a headache and a half and Greg Halloran was getting snippier with every new message he was relaying. When the intercom signaled and the Chief of Communications’ harried voice said, “Lieutenant Commander Paget, there’s an emergency call for you from the Enterprise,” Jeremy had to quickly delegate that coordination to his assistant, then thumbed the switch of the communications relay on his desk.

“Put it through, Lieutenant,” he said, and expected to hear Sulu’s voice with some new, dire detail about the Security situation. Instead, the small screen resolved into the face of the Enterprise’s Chief Medical Officer.

“Mr. Paget,” Leonard McCoy said, “there was an accident with the transporters here before they shut down, and it’s a complicated situation, but you’re needed aboard the Enterprise. I’ve cleared it with Captain Aronson and…”

Jeremy’s heart stopped, then started thumping painfully in his chest. Several thoughts battled each other for supremacy in his head: he wasn’t an engineer, what could he do?; had McCoy found out he was a physician?; was there some sort of Security problem that Sulu couldn’t handle, or did that mean something had happened to…

It was the last one that crowded out all the others, and he said, “I’m on my way,” before he realized he hadn’t heard the last half of what McCoy had said. He quickly contacted the captain, got a terse, “I know all about it, Mr. Paget. Take the Icarus,” from Jack Aronson. Within five minutes, Paget was in the hangar, disrupting all the carefully planned shuttle schedules, the thought of Sulu and transporter accidents a sick dread that consumed every fiber of his being.


Scott and DelMonde accompanied Daffy Gollub as she rushed through the ship to the medical labs in Sickbay. She came to a dead stop just inside the doorway, staring in sheer horror at the doubled countenances of her friends. Her gaze quickly flashed between the Human and Vulcan faces, then to the Antari, then to the sedated Indiian and Human who were on separate beds. Her brain registered but ignored the presence of Jade Han, who was entering information into one of the Sickbay’s computer terminals.

“It affected anyone with gifts,” she murmured, then whirled to stare at Del. “But you’re not…”

“I not beam anywhere,” the Cajun reminded her.

“But you were in contact with…” she returned, then paused, the speed of her thoughts showing clearly in her green eyes. “Maybe it was only active in the dispersion matrix.”

“Can you elaborate in a more coherent fashion, Miss Gollub?” Spock asked patiently.

Daffy opened her mouth to give a retort, then stopped as she again stared at him, and at the Human who had his face – then at the Human Ruth and the Antari, and at the clearly Vulcan Jilla. When she glanced again at the version of Sulu who wasn’t unconscious, her face paled.

“Kam…” she whispered.

Kam grinned, dangling his fingers in a casual, somehow erotic wave. “Hi, Groupie,” he said.


“Oh for Zehara’s sake, get it together, Daf,” the Antari Ruth said.

“Leave her alone!” the Human version broke in. “She’s got good reason to…”

“Panic serves no logical purpose,” the Vulcan Jilla put in. “Information would be far more useful.”

“It xenoneurophene,” DelMonde interrupted. “She puttin’ it all together in her head, give her a damn minute.”

Jilla’s eyebrow rose. “Mr. DelMonde,” she said, “I would expect an engineer of your caliber to be more interested in…”

“I am,” Del growled, “but we get th’ information we need a lot quicker if y’all stop harrassin’…”

“My statements were not harassment,” Jilla stated.

“Okay, okay!” Daffy cut in. “There was xenoneurophene in the ore…”

“That makes no sense, Miss Gollub,” Spock argued. “Since that compound is an artificially created one, and its base components are obtained from the perspiration of Human telepaths, the odds that it would be found in a non-Terran ore are…”

“Don’t,” the Human Spock said wearily. His Vulcan half raised an eyebrow, but fell silent.

“Okay, that’s twitch-factor number one,” the Human Ruth said. “Go on, Daf.”

“And it’s covering the transporter circuits, but Del was working on them –touching them – and he’s not split…”

“And we know he’s a very powerful telepath and empath,” ani Ramy murmured, her gaze sensual and direct.

“My wife,” the Vulcan Spock bristled.

“Not,” she replied.

Daffy shuddered, trying to ignore them. “So if the compound was only activated at the atomic level – the molecular level within the transporter beam…”

“We get the gene-splicer from hell,” the Human Ruth finished for her. The Human Spock smiled proudly at her, and she returned it.

“Puke,” Kam muttered, then grinned at DelMonde, who quickly glanced away.

“I could run some tests to confirm that,” Daffy rejoined hurriedly, “if the transporters were working.”

“Simulations should provide enough data to give a reasonably small margin of error,” Jilla said. “I can work with you to create them, Lieutenant Gollub.”

“As can I,” the Vulcan Spock commented.

“Hey, hot-shit,” Kam said to ani Ramy, “You’re gonna let all that Vulcan brain power upstage you?”

The Antari gave him a bored, lazy smile. “Well, if they want to do it all the hard way, who am I to stop them?”

“The hard way?” Jilla asked, blinking.

Ani Ramy fluttered her eyelashes in clear mimicry, but didn’t explain further.

“Excuse me,” Jade put in, speaking for the first time, “but all of you are confined to Sickbay.”

“We can work with the laboratory computers here, can we not, Doctor?” the Vulcan Spock asked.

“I’ll have to talk to the Captain about that,” Jade replied.

“Jade, Jim will want to clear this up as quickly as possible, I’m sure of that,” the Human Spock told her.

“Aye,” Scott said, “but until we can fix the transporters…”

“Then that should be your first priority,” the Vulcan Spock said.

“What about Roy?” the Human Ruth asked suddenly.

“Leonard called the Hood,” Jade answered. “Mr. Paget should be on his way now.”

Kam’s smile was pure, sensual delight, and Jilla frowned.

“Don’t worry, honey,” Kam said to her. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you too.” He glanced at the Indiian on the bed a few feet away from them. “Of course, it’s more likely he’ll be glad to see her…”

“My Bonded…” Jilla began, and Kam interrupted with one sharp word – in Vulcan. Jilla’s eyes lowered.

“I hear and obey,” she murmured – and Kam smiled.

“I’m just gonna get to work on those simulations,” Daffy said, backing toward the door to the medical lab.

“I help you wit’ the matrix parameters…” Del began.

Don’t go, evan Louisa,came the seductive voice in his head, followed immediately by Spock’s harsh, My wife!

Shut up, evan Amanda, ani Ramy’s voice replied in the same tone.

Del and Daffy exchanged glances, then without another word, turned and fled.

“Now see what you did?” the Antari said in pouting annoyance.


Go To Part Two

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