TWO WORLDS IN WHICH WE DWELL
The place was dark and empty as the void. Vacant. Barren.
He existed, but he had no existence. He lived, but his body did not breathe. His heart was slowing and its pulse had all but stopped. He had no thoughts. Except, the thought that he had none.
Retreat. There is no thought. There is no life.
There is no Spock.
cannot resist me.
Thought curled in upon flesh, seeking the security known only in the womb. Spock had created a new womb; one of darkness. One of death.
You will not die. I
will not let you. Spock, I will
hold you here. Your mind living in
a useless form. Trapped.
No. The mind cannot survive without the body. I will be free.
will not. I can hold you
here. You can feel it.
You know it!
He did. But he did not understand how.
The mental manifestation of Spock’s lean form uncurled. The black void surrounding him was of his own making. It was a protective barrier raised against whatever mind sought to invade his without permission. The uninvited mindmeld was tantamount to rape. He had preferred death to it, but found now he was not to have that choice.
Who are you that you would seek to perpetrate such an evil? Spock demanded, his mental voice hoarse and ringing with the exhaustion of his physical being.
is not rape. There was light
lilt to the other’s thoughts, an ironic laughter.
I am family.
Family? Spock opened up just the slightest bit to feel out the other mind attempting to contact his. It was alien in many ways. You are Romulan.
And I am family.
is not logical.
mind darkened. It is not now.
Nor was it then. But the
exchange was permanent.
It spoke those words as if there were some meaning to them. As if he should know what it was. Spock’s astral head shook. I do not understand.
me in. Then, you will.
would not be wise.
pressure of the mind increased. ‘The
wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool.’
You are but young. When you are older, you will understand.
Spock frowned. The mind he touched was not ancient, but younger than his. Is the child then father to the man?
the alien mind dissolved into laughter. Yes.
The Vulcan hesitated. Though he would never admit it to Dr. McCoy, he had to acknowledge at least one natural failing – insatiable curiosity. The alien had piqued his interest.
Advance, he said. Spock intended to let the other come closer, but not so close he could not throw up the mental barricades necessary to prevent a total meld. As the Vulcan watched a light appeared in the distance, disturbing the perfect blackness of the self-imposed prison he had confined himself within. A figure appeared – tall, slender, broader of build than him, but moving with a certain familiarity. In a way, it put him in mind of a younger, leaner version of his father. The figure was Vulcanoid, but not Vulcan. His hair was a deep umber, long and unkempt, and his eyes an unusual shade of amber. His skin was a light bronze, though there was about it a hint of teal, as if its metal had weathered too long in a harsh environment. The Romulan wore the simple black singlet and pants of a Starfleet officer, though Spock instinctively knew he was nothing of the kind. The astral projection of the other’s mind-self glided forward until it rested several meters away. There he waited for permission to draw closer.
“What is your name?” Spock asked.
S'chn T'gai D’Ayron. The laughter returned at the Vulcan’s startled reaction. For ten generations and three centuries the eldest male of my father’s house has born this name.
name. S'chn T'gai Spock, son
of Sarek, son of Skon, son of Solkar.
It was impossible. No outsider – no outworlder could know. It was not spoken. Except…to family.
D’Ayron’s form scintillated against the black void like a star come to rest. He lifted one hand and held it out palm open. Spock hesitated. There was no knowing what encountering an alien mind in his weakened state would mean. He might be able to retain his individual identity, but then again, he might not. Still, logic dictated there was little choice. This man – this mind – would not let him die.
Therefore, he must take the risk.
Very well, Spock said, extending his own hand in like fashion. Any scientific theory must be based on a careful and rational examination of the facts. I await your presentation of the same.
My house was not born in rational fact, Vulcan, but in a passionate act. The Romulan leaned forward so they touched, palm to palm. See!
Spock stiffened. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, in every way his equal. Her taut uniformed frame barely came to his shoulder. Her hair, like her skin, was a warm bronze; her eyes, brown shot with a fiery gold. He watched her lounge and saw the hunger for him in those eyes. Then he leaned forward to hear her private name whispered in his ear.
He felt a hunger he had not known since the pon far. It was a myth that Vulcan males were not sexual creatures; that they felt such urges, such a need only once every seven years. The time of mating was a time of children, when Vulcan males were called home to propagate the race. They could know passion at other times.
Did know passion.
He had betrayed her. He felt the sting of Dyan’s strong hand on his cheek, condemning him for being what he had to be, but even more he felt the sting of her rejection. When his duty ended, he went to the quarters the captain had assigned her on the Enterprise. She was to be treated as a guest, and not a prisoner. He went to explain. To make her see the logic of his actions.
What happened between them then was anything but logical. He was a Starfleet officer and she….
Dyan was a Romulan Commander.
As was her ten times great-grandson.
Spock reared back from the meld gasping. Though his form was mental, it was shaking.
“That is…was not me,” he said aloud.
came even closer. No, he projected through the fading link of the mindmeld,
it was not, my great-sire.
But it will be.
James Kirk knelt beside the big frontiersman. Daniel Boone was reading sign. He pointed to a pair of boot-prints and then to the trail between them. Kirk nodded. They had found the place in the foliage that had been struck by phaser fire. It had puzzled the trailblazer, but he had put it off to a flash fire of some kind. Kirk knew better. He knew, as well, from the amount of destruction that the phaser had been set for a thermal effect, just shy of kill. If Spock had been hit directly –
No. That didn’t make sense. Why would his attackers drag his dead body with them? Still, the intensity of the blast bothered him. Was there something else? Was someone playing some kind of a game? Was there, perhaps, some division among the time travelers’ agents? Kirk sighed. Speculation. Something he often required of Spock, though he knew the Vulcan preferred not to say anything until he had cold, hard facts to base his opinion on.
He only hoped he would have the opportunity to ask for it again.
“Whoever they were. they’re headed for the Shawnee lands,” Daniel Boone said quietly. “What would the Shawnee want with your friend?”
Kirk shook his head. “I haven’t the foggiest.”
Boone pivoted toward him. He tipped his coonskin cap back on his head. “Ain’t you ever heard that honesty is the best policy?”
“I have. But I have also heard that loose lips sink ships.” As the frontiersman scowled, he amended it. “Or to quote Ben Franklin, ‘Three may keep a secret if two are dead.’”
“So you’re askin’ for my trust, but offerin’ nothin’ to back it up?”
How many times had other men asked him the same thing? “Mr. Boone….”
Kirk nodded. “Daniel. Have you ever had knowledge that you knew to be so vitally important you couldn’t share it with anyone, not even your family? Knowledge that you knew – should others become aware of it – could influence, no change the future path of everyone and everything you care about?”
The frontiersman didn’t look convinced. “I might.”
“My friend and I, we’re…on a secret mission for the government. We’re a part of the…Indian department. The Shawnee are on the warpath.” Kirk paused and when the other man did not refute him, knew he had guessed right. “We’re here to prevent a war.”
“You come to stop Rain of Stars and Unemake?”
Kirk nodded. Whoever the hell they were. “Right.”
Dan’s grin was lazy, as well as crafty. “Ain’t hidin’ in a hollow a funny way to do that?”
“Recognizance. It’s put us on their trail, hasn’t it?”
“Seems like your friend’s fallin’ into their hands did that.” The frontiersman’s hazel eyes, so like his own, bored into him. “Or are you sayin’ that was planned?”
“Oh, I always have a plan,” Kirk insisted, employing his most winning smile – to no avail. Daniel Boone was not fooled. Not in the slightest.
“As one man with a plan to another,” the frontiersman said, winking, “I know most of mine are thought up as I’m high-tailing it out of the fire and back into the pan.”
Kirk laughed. “You don’t believe in no-win situations, do you?”
Daniel was completely sober. “Do you?”
The starship captain had always known that his forebears were the men who sailed the seas and the ones who blazed the trails through unknown lands. They were the men who would not quit, would not give up, would not say ‘can’t’ no matter what they faced; no matter what they lost. He had never thought to meet one, to speak with such a man face to face. He was now. And it was immensely satisfying.
“What’s your rank?” Boone asked.
Kirk smiled. “Captain.”
The frontiersman seemed surprised. For a second Kirk was puzzled, then he remembered that though he was the youngest man to command a starship, in the nineteenth century thirty-six was considered old.
“I prefer to be in the field,” he added quietly. “The life of a general or admiral is not for me.”
Daniel Boone nodded his understanding. “Well, Captain Kirk, don’t you think it’s about time we go rescue that friend of yours?”
“You’re hoping your friend is there as well, aren’t you?” They had spoken about the English educated Cherokee who was Daniel Boone’s second shadow, the way Spock was his. The two men sounded much alike – both belonged to two worlds, they were intelligent and somewhat melancholy in personality, entirely curious, and very prone to get themselves into trouble. As he listened to the frontiersman speak about his friend, Kirk had been struck by the parallels.
If a nineteenth century Bones showed up….
“Bones,” he muttered. He had been so intent on finding Spock, he had nearly forgotten there were others of his crew missing. McCoy. Uhura. Deevers….
“Bones?” Daniel asked.
“Another friend. Also missing.”
The lanky frontiersman stood up. He shook his head as he said, “Maybe you better run a line next time you go huntin’ the Shawnee, so’s you can keep together – ” Dan broke off abruptly.
Kirk was instantly alert. “What? What is it?”
“Shawnee. Come on!”
James Kirk followed the big man into the underbrush. The sun was just appearing on the horizon and thankfully it cast long concealing shadows. Holding his breath, the starship captain waited for his first glimpse of native might.
It was impressive. Nearly one hundred armed men passed by them, marching not in form like the British, but shoulder to shoulder as brothers. They were dressed for war with the tops of their white trade shirts smeared with red paint and their bodies decked out in like fashion. They were both impressive and terrifying, and reminded him somewhat of a squadron of Klingons in both demeanor and apparent ferocity. The amount of weapons they bore was staggering: knives, clubs, flintlock rifles and pistols, pipe tomahawks, and something resembling a bolo as well as bows and arrows. An older man danced at the front of the mostly silent crowd, chanting and waving a smoking torch and bear claw wand. He must be the shaman, Kirk thought, assuring them that their God would not desert them, that he would keep them from the touch of the bullet and from death.
Kirk glanced at the big man beside him. Daniel Boone’s face was set with grim determination. The frontiersman was ready to kill them all to protect his home and those he loved. And yet, wasn’t that what the natives were doing? Hadn’t they owned this land first, lived here and tended it well before the white civilization had arrived to push them out? To take the land and end their way of life? The thought made him pause. As a military man, he was always so sure of what he did. So certain that the Klingons or Romulans were wrong. But didn’t his enemies in turn believe him wrong? And were they in error?
Could he be wrong?
“James.” Daniel Boone’s hand came down on his shoulder.
He turned toward the other man. Boone looked ill. “What? What is it?”
“You’ll have to go on alone. I have to go back. To the settlement.”
The frontiersman nodded toward the retreating mob. “That was Unemake out front. The medicine man.”
“Did you hear him?”
Kirk shrugged. “I’m afraid I don’t speak Shawnee.”
“I do. Old Blackfish took me for a son a while back. I learned to speak their tongue.” The big man rose to his feet and stepped out onto the path. “Somethin’s changed. We made our peace with the Shawnee last year, but these men, they’re on the warpath.
“They mean to burn Boonesborough to the ground.”
Spock denied the pain he felt; denied as well the moan that escaped his lips as he came back to consciousness. But he could not deny the knowledge he carried with him from the meld – undeniable knowledge of his own illogical behavior, and how it had created a future that now threatened all he knew and cared about.
A hand briefly touched his shoulder and a deep voice intoned, “Do not try to stand. I will get you some water and then something to eat. You are not well. You must renew your strength.”
A pair of leather moccasin boots walked away from him. Spock blinked and frowned. The voice was the same, but this was not the man dressed in Starfleet blacks – or was it? His catlike grace was the same, the form and figure. The Vulcan tried to raise himself up on one elbow for a better look, but only succeeded in making his head spin and forcing his empty stomach to heave.
“Here.” Strong hands caught him and raised him up, and then braced his back against a wall of hewn logs. The man who spoke crouched before him. It was D’Ayron, but the Romulan was dressed differently. He wore the attire of a native and was outfitted in a white linen shirt with several beaded sashes crossed over it, and a pair of leather pants over which he wore a painted breechcloth. Silver dripped from his ears and hung about his neck, as well as banding the arms of the shirt. His hair was long and unruly, as it had appeared in the meld, but it was not unadorned. Feathers, beads and more silver ornaments occupied it. Just beneath one elevated umber eyebrow, on his left cheek, there was a single handprint painted in what looked like human blood. The Romulan/Vulcan/Human hybrid that was his descendant rocked back on his heels to examine him. “You’re a mess,” he pronounced.
“Applicable, if not entirely appropriate,” Spock replied.
D’Ayron shook his head. An affectionate smile twisted his lips. “I’ve watched the holos. I always thought the cold restrained Vulcan was an act. I know now it is and isn’t.” His fingers went to his temple. “I know.”
“You knew before,” Spock said softly. The mindmeld had not gone only one way. “It is why you are different.”
The Romulan shook his head. “Two hundred years, Vulcan. Two hundred. There can be little of you left in me.”
Spock was silent a moment. “You would know.”
A flicker of anger kissed the commander’s amber eyes. “Yes. I would. But we are not here to talk about me.”
“No?” Spock coughed. He shifted to ease the pain in his back now twice burned. Whoever had captured him, had been at pains to kill him without appearing to mean to. “What is it you wish to discuss?”'
For a moment, D’Ayron was at a loss. Spock had sensed his curiosity in the link; his discovery of Spock’s own presence in this timeline and place, and his need to make contact. In truth, the Romulan had endangered his mission by seeking him out, creating a time tube to bring him here, and in capturing him. It was a fact Spock hoped to use against him.
“I have never understood why Vulcan chose to embrace logic and peace over strength and war. Our peoples could have been brothers, not long distant and disparate cousins. Your people have powers of the mind mine lack. Together….” The man who was child to the father long removed gazed longingly at him. When he spoke, his voice had softened, and Spock knew the words were meant only for him. “Together, we could achieve much.”
“What could we achieve?”
D’Ayron shifted into a seated position. “Do you know why I and my men are here?”
Spock did not, and the fact that he had not computed a hypothesis bothered him. “No.”
“In the future – your future, Spock, and my near past – the knowledge of time travel first discovered by the Enterprise at Psi-2000 and later used in Sector 90.4, will become a tool of war. Each side will send its own agents into the past to alter it, so their ultimate goals will be reached. The war will devastate our galaxy. Nothing and no one will be – is safe. In time a race of powerful beings – the Initiators is what they call themselves – became aware of this. They have come here to stop it. They are here to undo what has been done – using their own agents to do what must be done to return the time stream to its proper place.” He paused and something entered his eyes, an unspeakable grief or unholy joy. “Some among them think there is only one way to stop the war.”
When he did not go on, Spock prompted him. “And that would be?”
“To destroy those who first unleashed the knowledge of time teleportation upon the galaxy.”
Spock’s hot blood ran cold. “The Enterprise.”
D’Ayron nodded. “After you left, several attempts were made to kill your shipmates. They were thwarted by one of the travelers, but in the end she cannot succeed.”
“There is no proof of that. Is one traveler more powerful than another?”
“Some are more…aggressive. Some will stop at nothing to obtain their ends.”
Spock was silent a moment. Then he asked, “Are you one of them?”
The Romulan’s jaw tightened. “If I was, you would not be alive.”
“So I am supposed to die. Is that why the one named Tume has attempted to kill me twice now?”
D’Ayron seemed startled. “Tume? No, he is my man. He was sent to bring you here to me.”
“Then he is not your man.” Spock drew a slow breath against the pain. As they spoke the fever in his veins continued to press at him, seeking dominance. While speaking to D’Ayron, he could not concentrate on controlling the spread of the infection. He had been pushed past his limits and he knew it. His body hurt like Dr. McCoy’s proverbial hell. “Tume deliberately brought me out of the Vulcan healing trance too soon and left me to die. And he used a phaser just past setting two in the forest.” Spock grimaced. “It was my intention to move out of the way, but my own clumsiness prevented it and I received a glancing blow.”
The Romulan’s jaw had tightened with each word. Behind his eyes lightning fast information flashed and all of the bits and pieces suddenly fit. “He has betrayed me. He will die. For this, Tume will die.”
Spock’s words were cold, and calculated to be so. “Tume would question your motivation. Is not he the one obeying orders?”
The Romulan bristled. “No. He does not work for the ones who mean to end this. He works for me. We are here to alter the future so that the lambs will become one with the wolves.” D’Ayron smiled. It was slow in coming and sly. “We work so that your vaunted Federation will become a force of destructive might.”
The Vulcan was surprised. “How can altering Earth’s history in backwater eighteenth century Kentucky accomplish such a wide-ranging goal?”
“This is but the beginning. But consider – what if the natives, so like the Romulans and Klingons in their savagery – are the conquerors? What if the white civilization never takes hold? What if Starfleet arises out of a warrior race?”
“You mean to alter the outcome of the Indian Wars?”
“And of the Revolution. This place is key. For this part, one man is key. And he is here.”
The Romulan shook his head. “No. I will not tell you.”
“Not even if your father commands it?” Spock asked, straight-faced.
D’Ayron’s dark eyes were locked on his. “I have risked much to have you with me,” he said softly.
“Tume will kill you. You know that.”
The commander dismissed the threat with a sharp gesture. “He will not. He is due here any time with the woman. When he comes, my men – who are Romulan – will take him and he will be mine. Then he will pay for his treachery.”
“For his loyalty.”
“You will be silent.”
“Or what?” Spock answered, his tone infuriatingly calm.
“Or….” The Romulan hesitated. He had no answer. Standing, he shouted a name and waited until a man came to the lodge door. The newcomer was deeply tanned and appeared to be a white man. Spock suspected he had been surgically altered as he was obviously one of D’Ayron’s band. The Romulan issued orders and, when the other man left to execute them, came back to his side. “Levar will take you into the hills. He will keep you there. I must join the war.”
“What war?” Spock asked.
D’Ayron’s dark eyes sought his. There was little joy in them, but there was a fanatical fire. “Even now the Shawnee, equipped by my men with the next evolution in rifles, are marching on Boonesborough. They will destroy the settlement and all within. With this victory, the native population will be ignited. Led by Unemake and their war chief, Rain of Stars, the Shawnee will reach out to the other nations; natives will band together creating an army that cannot be stopped. By the turn of the century, the white man will be driven from these shores and a new people will arise, one worthy to eventually take to the stars and take their place at the side of the Romulans.
“Your mother’s people, my great-sire, will be worthy in time of what they begot.”