You're Sixteen, You're Beautiful, and You're Mine

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

(Standard Year 2249)

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continum

Go To Part Two

Click here to hear the title song.

Lieutenant Kyle acknowledged the order to energize, and with his usual skill, began to operate the transporter. As the four columns of sparkling gold began to take on humanoid shapes, Kyle heard the hiss of the transporter room door, but he didn’t take his eyes off of the controls to see who had entered. A second later he caught the movement of a blue-clad arm as it hovered above the console. Mr. Spock, of course. Over the years, Kyle had noticed that the First Officer made an effort to be in the transporter room whenever the captain was beaming. And, in the past six months, the Vulcan had also tended to appear whenever his assistant and wife was transporting. So it’s two for the price of one today, Kyle grinned to himself. The captain and Lieutenant Ruth Valley were beaming up from a quick re-supply of Discovery Outpost, along with Lieutenant Commander Sulu and Lieutenant Majiir. There had been some computer and engineering equipment to check out, and the captain was giving Sulu some diplomatic experience as part of command training.

The figures on the transport disks solidified quite normally into the Enterprise’s officers. All four stood rigidly immobile for no more than a second, then slowly, almost gracefully slumped to the platform.

Kyle nearly jumped away from his board, a half-guilty “Mr. Spock!” bursting from his lips, as if to convey that it hadn’t been his fault. But the First Officer was already across the room, activating the intercom on the wall.

“Dr. McCoy to the transporter room,” he ordered curtly, then strode quickly to the platform. As he knelt between the captain and his wife, he glanced balefully over his shoulder at Kyle. “A full equipment check of the transporter mechanism, Mr. Kyle.”


Jilla blinked and her hands went automatically to her eyes. She stopped, remembering in time, and scowled at the oily residue on her fingers. Roshian prototype! she scowled, and was caught in a sudden yawn. She stretched, wiping her hands on her coveralls, then smoothed her hair away from her face. Then she adjusted the lamp on her worktable, again bending closer to study the pieces of the engine that covered the table’s surface.

“Jilla!” her mother’s voice called from upstairs. “Will you stop that nonsense now? It’s late, and it’s only an exercise.”

Jilla sighed and took a steadying breath. “Only a few minutes more, Ama!

“That’s what you said two hours ago!” Karina screeched. “Your father does not expect you to finish busywork in the middle of the night!”

“Busywork?!” Jilla burst out. “This is a Class A refit, one that I’ll be expected to complete when I’m at the Academy! Starfleet instructors won’t be lenient just because my name is Costain!”

“And what has that to do with this?” Karina demanded.

“I intend to enter Starfleet!”

“Surely not tomorrow morning. Now get to bed. You have school in the morning.”

“This is important!

“Jilla Costain do as I say!”

“I’m a young woman now, Ama, and you can’t…”

“If you want to live to be an old woman you’d best get up here! NOW!”

Jilla stamped her foot with a final shriek of “Ama!” and heard her mother’s disgusted snort.

“Ca! Jole, that child of yours…”

And her father’s indulgent, “Now, Karina, she’s a good engineer…”

Jilla sighed and went back to the worktable. She picked up her tools, intending to put them away, then suddenly realized how two of the major pieces needed to be modified. I’ll just do that much, she thought to herself.

An hour later she jerked her head up. She’d almost fallen asleep. She scowled at this evidence of her mother’s discernment and ruefully considered going to bed.

And will Academy instructors take ‘I was sleepy’ as an excuse? I think not!

She decided to take a short break. A cold meat sandwich and a glass of milk would do her good.

She fell asleep at the kitchen table.


“You don’t have to skulk in the shadows, you know.”

Jim started and turned sheepishly at the sound of his brother’s voice. He must have looked really startled because Sam laughed, then hauled him out onto the moonlit deck. “Hey, Aurelian, look what I found!” he called to the young woman who was gazing dreamily into the still water.

The soon-to-be-Mrs. George Samuel Kirk turned and smiled at the brothers who were wrestling good-naturedly. “Don’t tease Jim,” she ordered.

Jim felt himself flushing with annoyance, and as unneeded as he usually did around Aurelian. She was a nice enough person, but he wished Sam hadn‘t insisted on bringing her on this trip. It’s my ship, he found himself thinking yet again. This was supposed to be a fishing trip, not a romantic cruise. Still, he kept trying to give the couple their privacy – and they kept thwarting his efforts, trying to act relaxed and natural around him. He sighed. I know damn well what they’d really rather be doing, so why don’t they just let me let them?

“I was just going to bed,” he protested as Sam pulled him across the deck to where Aurelian stood. “Really, it’s been a long day and I’m tired.” He grinned as charmingly as he could manage and repeated, “Really.”

“It’s early,” Sam told him.

“I have to be up by 0500,” Jim reminded.

“Does he always talk that way or is it because we’re at sea?” Aurelian teased.

“Oh, so I can’t tease him but you can?” Sam snorted. The young woman flushed. “Anyway, the sea has nothing to do with it,” Sam explained. “He’s got Starfleet fever.”

“Oh, my,” Aurelian said, and smiled sympathetically at Jim.

Jim winced. He did not have to stand here and be treated like a child on the deck of his own ship. No one, not even Sam, could quite understand why Fleet was so important to him. And this was not the time or place to explain. An engaged couple needed their privacy – almost as much as he needed to be away from them.

“Well, goodnight,” he said firmly, and gave Sam a look that said he really meant it. He saw Sam and Aurelian shrugging at one another as he turned, but he ignored it and went to his cabin. As he undressed and got into the small bunk, he reminded himself that he would have a few hours to himself in the morning. He eagerly looked forward to the freedom of being alone with just his ship and the ocean and not having to worry about being in the way for a while.


Ruth took one more long hit from the pipe Cal had given her, then carefully raised her head off the couch cushion. She blinked until the smoke cleared from her eyes, then looked around, trying to catch someone’s attention. She knew there was something she had to ask and was sure she could remember it if she found someone to ask it of. But of the fifty or so people crowded onto Cal’s rooftop, she seemed the only one left conscious.

It had been a long, enjoyable night; good music, good people, good Rigellian. She had lost track of time and of what she’d been doing for quite a while, but she seemed to be sharing a couch and a great deal of personal space with Eagle, whose head was resting sleepily on her shoulder. Sleepy. Night. It’s late, she thought, then, that’s it, remembering what it was she wanted to know. Reluctantly she forced the haze from her brain. It took a great deal of effort for her to get stoned, and she enjoyed the numbed euphoria despite the guilt that always accompanied it. Having to clear it out before the end of its natural duration was annoying. And so wasteful, she sighed, then shook Eagle’s shoulder. He mumbled a bit before finally opening his eyes. They glittered at her, bright green, like a disgruntled cat.

“Wha…?” he asked.

“What time is it in California?” she asked him.

He stared thoughtfully for a minute before answering. “Maybe two, three in the morning. Why?”

Ruth sat up. “Never gonna get time on this planet straight,” she muttered.

“You leaving?” Eagle asked.

“Yeah. I’ve got to get some sleep before it’s eight A.M. in Berkeley.”

“’Kay,” the racer replied listlessly. “You comin’ back?”

“Maybe. Tell Cal I had a great time.”

She found the door and extracted a jacket that she thought was hers from the pile on the floor. She’d left a pair of sandals somewhere on the premises, but the room was both too dark and too crowded to make a search practical. She preferred going barefoot anyway.

Cal’s place was in the heart of downtown Rio De Janeiro, so she only had a short walk to a transport booth. She found her student ID and placed it in the slot, punching in the coordinates for Haifa, and waited to be encased in the gold shimmer that one wasn’t supposed to be able to feel.


Sulu fell onto his back, sighing in deep contentment, his arm coming up over his eyes. He felt Stephanie’s hand sliding over his chest, her soft lips nuzzling to him. She moved close to him, her leg crossing his hips, murmuring sounds of pleasure and satisfaction. He smiled. He was really too warm for this sort of cuddling, but he wasn’t about to spoil Stephanie’s mood. His mind sent him vivid pictures of her. She was tall for a Japanese woman, slender, her blonde-tipped dark hair feathered, framing the beautiful symmetry of her features. Her incongruously blue eyes sparkled enchantingly, her so-very-wicked tongue flashed often over her full, red lips. He shuddered with remembered pleasure. Pretty, sexy Stephanie. I hope your brother doesn’t kill me.


He glanced down at her.

“You’re smiling.”

He turned, wrapping his arms around her soft, warm shoulders. “Yes, I’m smiling,” he said. “Why shouldn’t I be? You’re fantastic.” He kissed her, feeling her smile beneath it. It filled him with smug, heady delight.

“Are you gonna stay?” Stephanie whispered suggestively.

“Will Carl – “ Sulu began. She laughed.

“No, he’s up at Portland for the weekend. And anyway, I can handle my brother.”

“I’ll just bet you can, honey,” he murmured.

“Pervert!” Stephanie said and hit him playfully. He made a show of flinching and they both started laughing. Then she hugged him. He returned the embrace. Her hands began a renewed, eager exploration of the more sensitive areas of his body, and he gently edged away.

“I’m spent, honey,” he murmured. She frowned, a charming, questioning pout and Sulu grinned, shaking his head. “In the morning, Steph, okay? I’m not going anywhere – at least not till after noon.”

“What’s after noon?” she asked, still pouting.

“Aptitude exams for Fleet.”



She sighed and he kissed her again. After a moment or two, she gave him a relenting smile, settling again into his arms.

“Sleep well, lover,” she whispered.

“I’m sure I will, hon,” he returned, and closed his eyes. He fell asleep still smiling.


Leonard McCoy stood at the computer annex in Sickbay, waiting for the results of the scans being done on the officers injured by an apparent transporter malfunction. Never did trust that thing, he muttered to himself. The fact that one of the casualties was Ruth Valley disturbed him even more. For whatever happened to have taken down a keheil – now that was something to worry about.

He studied the readings as they were displayed on his monitor. Then he frowned. Then he reached for the intercom switch and called for Dr. Han.


“Can you diagnose their condition, Doctor?”

Jade Han turned from the readouts to face the First Officer. “It’s definitely some kind of neurological dysfunction,” she said, confirming McCoy’s preliminary findings. “Minimal, no real damage. More like a bruise that will fade in time.”

Spock glanced at the four officers in the Sickbay beds. “Mr. Kyle reports that there was an ion surge just prior to materialization,” he said. “Could that account for the neurological damage?”

“Ion surge?” McCoy put in, turning from the beds. “Spock, do you think we should alert Security, just in case?”

The Vulcan looked thoughtful for a moment, then quickly stepped to the computer. He called for a particular data file, a neurological scan of Jim Kirk taken nearly five years before. Then he overlaid it on the current reading. There were significant differences.

“What is…?” Jade began.

“This reading was taken during an interphasic period when life essences were transferred between our reality and a universe parallel to ours,” Spock explained. “The – officers – who inhabited the bodies here were violent and unpredictable. And the exchange was caused by ionization of our equipment. Dr. McCoy was suggesting a logical precaution.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this happen from an energy or ion fluctuation,” Jade returned. “As I said, there’s no actual nerve damage, nothing that won’t heal itself.” She leaned over the desk. “Computer, display neurological readings for James Kirk from three standard weeks ago.” The display changed. This time, the match with the current scan was nearly perfect. “No alternate captain this time, Leonard,” she told him with a smile.

“Well, thank god for that,” McCoy muttered.

“Does your assessment include any speculation on how this neurological bruise will manifest itself?” Spock rejoined.

“I don’t know how it will effect them, “ Jade replied, “or if there will be any noticeable change at all. I am sure that any effect will be temporary.” She turned to the beds. “They shouldn’t be unconscious too much longer.”

“They’re coming around now,” McCoy said.

Jade moved to a position where she could observe all four patients, wanting to see what their first reactions were upon waking. The dysfunction, if it manifested at all, might not be easily recognizable. It was important to take note of their initial responses.

Jilla was the first one to open her eyes. Jade immediately noticed something odd. The Indiian’s face was completely animated, and she was obviously listening for - or to something, Jade added. Perhaps the effect would be heightened senses – or hearing voices. Jilla’s eyes lit up and she made a series of decisive statements in Indiian. Then she sat up, thoroughly delighted. “I’m on a starship?!” she said in heavily accented Anglo-Terran, somewhere between an exclamation and a question.

Jade quickly signaled to McCoy and Spock to keep silent. She crossed to Jilla’s bed, nodding and smiling reassuringly, then turned to Jim’s bed as the captain began to stir. Almost before she could take a step toward him, he sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed with boyish exuberance. His feet hit the deck as his eyes opened. The eager, confident expression faded and he fell back into a half-sitting, half-reclining position. He swallowed, his gaze darting around the room, then he whispered, “I’m not on my ship.”

Before Jade could stop him, Spock said, “On the contrary, Captain.”

Damn! she thought as the terribly bewildered Jim Kirk’s attention shifted.

“You’re a Vulcan! I beg your pardon… I mean…” Jim sputtered as he looked up at Spock in complete consternation.

Spock nodded agreement at the obvious.

“Wow,” Jim murmured.

Wow? From James T. Kirk? Fascinating.

As Jade was preparing something to say to the captain, Sulu’s eyes opened. He remained perfectly motionless, his eyes glancing carefully around him; then his arm slowly extended out, reaching across an imaginary space beside him. He took a deep breath, and upon feeling nothing, asked dubiously, “Stephanie?”

Jade was able to hide the annoyance she knew was unreasonable behind years of professional detachment. She was beginning to suspect what form the neurological manifestation was taking. Managing not to ask who ‘Stephanie’ was, she started, “Everything’s all right…” but was interrupted as Ruth’s eyes snapped open. The Antari raised herself up on one elbow.

“This ain’t Haifa, is it?” she said matter-of-factly.

“No,” Jade answered, equally dryly.

Ruth gave the doctor her best, brilliant, enchanting display of teeth. “I was kidnapped by a bunch of white slavers, right?” The smile faded as she looked around Sickbay. “No?” she added uncertainly.

“No,” Jade repeated.

“Cal said it was good vintage,” Ruth babbled on, “but I didn’t think it could have anything like this kind of effect on me. I don’t hallucinate, well, not normally and I don’t suppose nightmares count because hallucination is sort of the definition of what happens in nightmares but Rigellian has never had this effect on anybody that I’ve ever heard of. Besides….”

Before the Antari had time to draw breath for another unintelligible sentence, Jade suggested firmly, “Ruth, if you’ll just stop talking, we can work on getting some answers here.”

The huge purple eyes went wider than normal in obvious astonishment. “Yes, ma’am,” Ruth said meekly.

Behind her, Jade heard Leonard whisper gleefully to Spock, “Ruth just called Jade ‘ma’am’.”

“I heard, Doctor,” Spock replied, and his tone of voice belied the worry evident in his eyes as well as holding a measure of the same realization Jade had come to.

Jade watched in amazement as Ruth’s head slowly turned toward Spock’s voice. She stared at him, looked away almost fearfully, then looked back, trying to keep a wicked grin off her face. “You’re Spock,” she announced, not quite as casually as she’d no doubt intended.

“You know me?” he said, one eyebrow lifting in surprise.

“Spock, son of Sarek, First Officer and Chief of Sciences on the USS Enterprise and author of some of the driest physics lectures I ever read,” The Antari returned smugly.

“Excuse me,” Jilla said suddenly. “Where is my father?”

“Good question,” McCoy muttered.

“Where’s Stephanie?” Sulu broke in as if this was clearly of more importance.

“Better one,” was McCoy’s dry comment.

“Doctor, I do not believe you are taking this matter seriously,” Spock told him sternly.

“How did I get on a starship?” Jim suddenly rejoined. “This is a starship, right?” he added quickly.

“Yes, James,” Jade assured him. “This is a starship.”

Jim looked at her as if she had just scolded him. “How did I get here, Doctor?” he asked politely. “That’s a Starfleet medical insignia, I mean, you are a doctor, aren’t you?”

“Damnedest reaction I ever saw from Rigellian,” Ruth was muttering behind Jade’s back. “Cal must have cut it with something. A starship I can buy, and Mr. Super-Vulcan, but who are the rest of these people?”

Jade put off answering Jim’s question and pivoted to Ruth. “I am Dr. Han, that is Dr. McCoy, you obviously know who Commander Spock is. Can you tell me who you are?” she asked briskly.

Ruth finally sat up and announced, “Me? I’m Dr. Ruth Maxwell Valley.”

ani Ramy,” Jade added smoothly.

“Xtmprosqzntwlfd,” Spock said just as smoothly, and Jade started, glancing warily at him.

“Huh?” Ruth replied. “The ani Ramy I know. What’s a zentem – what he said?”

“Xtmprosqzntwlfd,” Spock repeated. “It is your name. You are my – “

“Spock!” Jade broke in.

“I told you that’s who he was,” Ruth said to herself.

“ – wife,” Spock finished.

“I’ve got two doctorates, actually,” Ruth said, very deliberately ignoring Spock’s last comment. “And I’ll have my third before…”

“We know, Ruth,” Jade interrupted, and turned to Spock. “May I have a word, Commander?”

Jade gently steered the Vulcan to the other side of the room. “Spock, they’re apparently suffering from some form of amnesia…” she began.

“That is obvious, Doctor,” Spock cut in.

“Well, then, I think it might be best not to flood them with information until we know the extent of…”

“I am not ‘flooding’ her,” Spock countered. “I gave her one vital piece of information…”

Jade sighed. “I understand that it feels vital for you, but…”

“Feels, Doctor? Surely your studies have documented the stress placed on an unbonded male.”

Jade stopped short, looking up at her childhood friend. He may be married, by he isn’t yet bonded, she reminded herself. Without Ruth’s telepathic presence – which I’m certain she’s shielding – his need to declare his claim is certainly a necessity. She nodded decisively.

“I understand, Spock.” She abruptly returned her attention to her patients at Jilla’s cry of,



Ruth glared in astonishment at Jade’s back, muttering, “You know, huh? I’ll bet you’ve only got the one,” then stuck her tongue out at it. Sulu chuckled. Ruth turned, stared appraisingly at him for a moment, then smiled, sensual and seductive. Sulu did a more-than-careful once over of her figure. He returned the smile.

“Who needs Stephanie?” he murmured fervently.

“Stephanie who?” Ruth asked in the same tone.

Sulu’s smile widened. “Yeah.”

“You two want to break it up?” McCoy stated firmly. Both officers regarded him in annoyance.

“Whose hallucination is this?” Ruth demanded.

“And who do you think you are anyway?” Sulu added.

“Now children…” McCoy chided.

“WHERE’S MY FATHER!?” Jilla suddenly shrieked.

Everyone’s attention turned to the Indiian. She was glowing brightly, her features both worried and furious. “I know I’m on a starship,” she shouted, “a heavy cruiser by the sound of the engines, but where is my father?”

“This is the Sickbay,” Ruth added, talking to the other three patients.

“They’re wearing Starfleet uniforms,” Jim put in.

“But how did we get here?” Sulu asked,

“And why?” Ruth rejoined.

“I want my Daddy!” Jilla proclaimed miserably.

“If you’ll all just calm down…” McCoy began.

“Your father isn’t here,” Jade said calmly to Jilla as she quickly moved to the Indiian’s side. “Can you tell me your name?”

Jilla looked terribly confused, then replied. “Jilla Costain.”

Jade nodded once, a confirming gesture. “How old are you?”

“Sixteen,” was the response.

Jade turned. “Ruth?”

“Sixteen,” the Antari answered, her eyes on the Indiian. “But she’s…”

“Hush!” Jade ordered, then faced Sulu. “Name, age?” she requested.

“Takeda Sulu no Jiro, sixteen,” he said, somewhat defensively.

Jade sighed. “This is a formality, you know. James?”

“Yeah, sixteen. How did you know my name?”

“He’s thirty if he’s a day,” Ruth stated.

Jade ignored her. “Ladies, gentlemen,” she announced, “I’m afraid you all have amnesia.” There were surprised, disbelieving exclamations and she went on. “Ruth you are twenty-five, a Lieutenant in Starfleet, and the Assistant Science Officer of this ship.”

“And my wife,” Spock stated firmly.

“What?” Ruth whispered as if she hadn’t heard the statement before. Jade nodded.

“Yes, and Spock’s wife. Sulu, you’re a Lieutenant Commander, Chief Helmsman and Chief of Security. You’re twenty-seven. James,” she paused, smiling slightly. “Captain James T. Kirk, and you’re forty.” She winced at the dismay on his face. “And Jilla – Jilla, I think you and I had better have a nice, long talk.”

“I don’t want to have a long talk!” Jilla wailed. There were tears in the Indiian’s eyes and Jade recognized the beginnings of an Indiian tirade that had better be stopped before it had the chance to turn into full-blown panic. She reached to take Jilla by the shoulders and had to step back to avoid a wildly despairing gesture.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Jilla cried. “If I’m on a starship, and I am, my father has to be here because I’m not old enough for Fleet and you’re not making any sense and I don’t know any of you and…”

“Jilla, please,” Jade soothed, trying to catch the Indiian’s flailing hands before the girl caught sight of the scar on her palm. “Please, calm down, and I’ll explain…”

“…I want my…!” Jilla words turned into a rising shriek of sheer horror as her left hand came into her line of sight.

“That did it,” McCoy quipped dryly.

“Doctor, you have no heart,” was Spock’s dour response.

Jade scowled, her grimace at Jilla’s inevitable hysteria turning to exasperation.. “Leonard,” she glowered in frustration, “the girl has changed a great deal since she was sixteen, she has a lot to be hysterical about, and you could do something useful like getting her a sedative.”

“An excellent suggestion, Dr. Han,” Spock returned.

“Right,” McCoy agreed quickly and moved to assist Jade. He efficiently applied the hypospray to the Indiian’s arm while Jade comforted the anguished, confused sobs. When Jilla was settled back into the Sickbay bed, Jade turned her own annoyed glare on her fellow physician.

“Thank you so much, Leonard,” she said calmly.

“Come on, Jade,” McCoy defended himself. “We know it’s only temporary, you said so yourself. No real harm’s been done…”

“Jilla can’t see it that way,” Jade returned tersely.

“And in a few hours she’ll be back to our normal, calm Mrs. Majiir. We’ve both seen these kind of cases…”

“Not from a transporter…”

“Excuse me,” Sulu broke into the professional argument, “this is all very interesting, but – well, I was with someone and – “

“Where’s Stephanie,” Jim finished, chuckling. Sulu glared at him.

“I thought we agreed to forget about Stephanie,” Ruth accused. Sulu turned to her, grinning sheepishly.

“Yeah. I just want to know that she’s alright.” The grin again became sensual invitation. “But I’m sure I could forget real easy.”

“Hello, I’m Jim Kirk,” Jim said suddenly, staring at Ruth with obvious interest and something close to awed delight. His smile was his charming best. Ruth turned her attention to him, a gradual, approving expression coming over her features. “Do I really look thirty?” he asked, engagingly petulant.

“Uh huh,” Ruth affirmed, then dropped her chin into her hand, almost fluttering her eyelashes. “But I adore older men.” Spock took a step forward, a “my wife” on his lips. The Antari glanced up at him, then smiled seductively. “Don’t worry, bubee, you’re older, too.”

“Let’s get this straight,” Jade broke in firmly, and pointed to Ruth. “You're married to him,” she indicated Spock. “You're,” she continued to Sulu, “married to her,” gesturing to Jilla’s unconscious form.

A look of dread came into Sulu’s eyes. Jim asked, “Who am I married to?”

“No one yet, but I’m working on it,” Jade murmured under her breath. McCoy chuckled.

“Married?” Sulu whispered hoarsely.

“Damn shame,” Ruth sighed, firmly ignoring any such allegation about herself.

Married?! Sulu repeated, more demand than disbelief.

“Look at your left hand,” Jade suggested.

Sulu did. A variety of emotions crossed his face at the sight of the wide silver band on his fourth finger, then he sighed. “Shit.” He slowly looked up, apparently feeling Spock’s disapproving stare. “Uh – what I meant – “ he stammered, then looked away, thoroughly intimidated. “Goddamn!” he murmured in Ruth’s direction.

The Antari glanced up at Spock and found that his attention was riveted to her. He was looking down at her, concern a tangible aura in his dark eyes. “Goddamn,” she agreed, though clearly for different reasons.

“If you children will kindly stop proving it,” Jade broke in testily, “there is something you need to know. You, all four of you, as I said, have partial amnesia. You were involved in an transporter accident while beaming up from Discovery Outpost, which we are currently orbiting. There is no permanent damage, and so Dr. McCoy and I,” she gestured toward him, “are certain you’ll all eventually make a complete recovery.” She paused to meet the eyes of the three officers who were still conscious. “The first part of treating this condition,” she went on, “is for you all to admit that it exists. Shall we begin?”

“Doctor, the facts are evident, at least to me,” Jim replied. “It’s not that we don’t admit it, it’s simply that, on a personal level, we can’t relate to it.” He grinned. “At least I can’t.”

“Brown nose,” Ruth muttered.

“How are we supposed to admit something we don’t remember?” Sulu put in sourly.

“There’s one small flaw in what you’re saying,” Ruth rejoined sarcastically, then hesitated as if embarrassed. “I’m… sort of an empath…”

“You’re a keheil,” Jade stated. “Did you keep it a secret as a child?”

“I’m not a child!” Ruth said hotly.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”

“Touché, Ruthie,” McCoy cackled.

Ruth turned her glare from Jade to McCoy. “My name,” she snarled, “is Ruth. Just Ruth.”

“Do tell?” McCoy replied, unimpressed by her display of temper.

“My wife,” Spock said gently to her, “you were about to explain that as an Antari empathic healer, you are capable of curing any injury that befalls you.”

Ruth frowned at the ‘my wife’, but otherwise made no mention of it. “Uh… yeah.”

“Of course your body can’t heal it,” Jade said patiently. “It doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with it. If you knew you had amnesia, you wouldn’t have it.”

“Oh,” Ruth said flatly. Then she considered, sighed, and conceded. “Well, it does make sense,” she said to no one in particular.

Jade turned to Sulu. “Well?”

He looked up from staring glumly at his left hand. “Well what?”

“Do you believe it?”

He scowled. “I sort of have to, don’t I?”

“You could be a bit more gracious about it, but yes.” Jade ignored his and you were such a pretty lady look and addressed McCoy. “Leonard, you and Spock can brief Ruth, Sulu and James on the missing aspects of their lives, and the crew of this – situation.” She sighed. “I have to have that long private talk with Jilla.”


Jade sat on the edge of Jilla’s bed, carefully watching her for signs of consciousness, contemplating how and what she should explain. She smiled sadly to herself. The young woman had indeed changed a great deal since the age of sixteen. It might have helped if I’d known her then, Jade mused. Jilla had already been calm, placid Mrs. Majiir or, rather, Lady Vtkrgdantm, Jade corrected, when they’d met. How many years ago? Seven? Ironic, that. Seven years, just like the Vulcan mating cycle.

Where to begin? Jilla, you’re going to fall in love in a very few months – or, you did. With, of all men, a Vulcan geneticist named Selar. He’ll be on a field trip to Indi, staying at Ambassador Costain’s home. He’ll become fascinated with a sixteen-year-old Indiian child whose fondest wish is to be serious and controlled. And when, as he’s telling her he has to leave, and she offers to give him a more-than-fond memory to take back to Vulcan, he’ll offer marriage: an Indiian marriage, complete with palm-slashing, blood-mingling and the vow of fidelity throughout eternity.

Then I’ll have to tell her how hard it was for an emotional Indiian to adjust to strict, harsh Vulcan standards. How her husband, out of love for her, did a foolish, illegal, unethical but logical thing; genetic alteration. And how that alteration gave her calm, control, pointed ears – and pon farr. She’s the only female in the galaxy who experiences that furious drive. Then, Jilla, Selar died. An accident. And having no children, you left Vulcan and joined Starfleet. After two years at the Academy, you were assigned to the Enterprise. And barely a month after that, following the ancient and inexorable cycle… You fought it, Jilla, but it was too strong. Ruth and Leonard found you out and Ruth talked to the only Vulcan on the ship; Spock. He saved your life – but they forgot about your vows. They forgot about Indi’s literal, eternal damnation. Leonard got you out of the cycle with an hormonal injection – or so he thought. In actuality, all he did was alter its focus, from lust to romantic attachment, to the first emotion you sensed – which just happened to come from Sulu. That was two and a half years ago. It took Sulu a year to convince you to make your damnation complete, to accept him as lover as well as loved. And I don’t think I’m going to mention LiLing.

So you’re damned, Jilla. Married to a Vulcan for all eternity, yet wed, too, by all the force of pon farr to Sulu – and in some strange way still bound to Spock.

Dear gods, if gods there be, how do I explain all that to a sixteen year old child?

Jilla’s eyes fluttered opened and Jade took a very deep breath.


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