DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and is copyright (c) 2000 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.
Christine could barely contain her excitement as the shuttle neared Spacedock. She could not believe that it had been nearly a year since she had last seen Earth, or Spock. A year spent in pure research, on a project that she firmly believed could make a difference to all living beings in the Federation. Working on Genesis had been a dream come true for her. Most of the time she had not really noticed the time passing. They had been too busy to count the days. Always trying to get the project to the next phase. Brainstorming, testing, remixing, retesting. It had been invigorating. And the chance to work with Carol Marcus had been more worthwhile than Christine could ever have imagined. Carol, and her son David, were true visionaries. The universe would owe them an enormous debt.
But now she was coming home. Her part on the project was done. She had been given the option of staying to work with the testing team on Reliant, or coming back to Starfleet, who had just informed her of her promotion to Commander and had offered her the chance to direct Emergency Operations. While it would have been interesting to stick with the project in its final stages, she wanted to get home, to Spock.
She smiled when she thought of Spock's last communication. He had sounded as excited as she had ever heard him when she had told him she was coming back to stay. Her arrival was somewhat ill timed, as he would be leaving in a few days for a cadet training cruise. But they would have time to see each other, to talk…and do other things. She could hardly wait.
She had called Dotura, to tell her she was returning. Her friend had been overjoyed to hear that Christine would be back permanently. "I've missed you terribly, darling. And I'm dying to see you, but if I know that somber Vulcan of yours, it will be a week before he lets you out of his sight." Christine had promised to call her as soon as Spock left on the training cruise.
As the shuttle finished docking procedures, she waited in line with the others, hanging back a little, willing to let those passengers off who had people waiting to meet them. Once the line thinned out she made her way off the shuttle.
"I was beginning to worry, t'hy'la," she heard a familiar voice say.
"Spock," she stopped herself just in time from launching herself into his arms. "What are you doing here? I didn't expect to see you until tonight?"
He raised an eyebrow at her, "It has been 11 months, 25 days, 5 hours, and…" he glanced at the chronometer over the gate, "16 minutes since we said goodbye. You did not think I would find an excuse to be at Spacedock to meet you?"
She laughed, "I guess I underestimated you?"
"So it would seem." He beckoned her to precede him, "Is there a reason to linger here?"
She smiled at him, aching to touch him but resisting, "Not that I can think of."
"Then let us go," he suggested.
They made their way to the transporter pad, waited their turns for beam down to Earth. Christine was surprised when Spock told the technician to send them both to the pad near their apartment. "Don't you have to work, Spock, it is barely lunchtime?"
"I took leave," he said firmly, just as the transporter began.
They walked the short distance to the apartment. Spock keyed the code and motioned her into their home.
She looked around the familiar surroundings, immersing herself in the feeling of being home. Suddenly she felt a hand on her arm, spinning her around and pulling her to him. "Spock, what?"
"It has been so long," he said huskily as his lips claimed hers and his fingers found the meld points. She felt his aggression, his passion, his need for her as he pushed her up against the wall. *T'hy'la, so long without you.*
His mind reached out to hers, his hands were everywhere on her, she was overcome with sensation. She felt pleasure emanate from him as he relearned her body, her mind, her heart.
"Spock, I missed you so." She let her own hands roam all over him, hearing his gasps of pleasure. Suddenly he picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. They stripped off each other clothes before falling onto the bed. Spock deepened the meld as their bodies joined.
*How could I leave this?* she thought to both
of them. *
She heard his mind agreeing, *Yes, beloved, this is paradise.*
Much later, bodies sated finally, they lay together on the bed talking quietly. Christine asked Spock to tell him of his parents, their friends and former shipmates, and Saavik.
"Saavik is exceeding my expectations for her," Spock remarked. "She will make an exceptional officer. I am gratified to see also that she is quite popular with her classmates. Something that is illogical to desire for her, yet I know the exclusion that can come from being different."
"She has always blended well with us, it's her Romulan blood I think. She is Vulcan enough to be admired, but just unpredictable enough to be…well…"
"Human?" Spock asked in an amused tone?
"I wouldn't want to insult you. Or her." Christine laughed. "But yes that is what I was thinking."
"Valeris does well also," Spock said. "She enters the academy this year. I believe she will outperform us all."
Christine was surprised to feel a momentary surge of jealousy. "You've spent a lot of time with her?"
"I am her sponsor, as I was Saavik's," he offered. "And she has asked me to tutor her in some of the disciplines. She is an apt pupil."
"I'm sure." Tired of talking of Valeris, Christine changed the subject. "We have never talked of our future. Now that we are both on Earth, perhaps it is time?"
He moved so he could see her face. "I have sensed your desire to not rush. You know my heart, Christine. I would bond with you today if you agreed."
She reached her hand over to touch his cheek. "I know you would. Today is a bit soon. But what about when you get back from this training exercise?"
"We both have leave coming. It would be easy to arrange. You are sure? You wish to bond?"
She smiled happily at him, "Yes, Spock, I wish to bond."
He pulled her close, kissed her gently. "Then we shall do so."
She could feel his satisfaction with her decision through the lingering bits of the meld. "So, Spock, how do you plan to spend your last few days as free man?" she teased.
"With you," he answered seriously, then his playful look returned, "then with an entire class of cadets."
She started to answer, but he cut her off with a deep kiss. Pushing her onto her back, he reinforced the meld, *I prefer to focus on you right now.* Her laughter through the meld was all the encouragement that he needed.
Four days later, Spock prepared to leave for
the training cruise. He had packed and sent his things on ahead to the
"I do not think that a cake is the normal response to getting everyone killed on your first mission," Saavik had noted. "Or have I missed something in my study of humans?"
Christine had chuckled, "No, you haven't. But you couldn't win. The Kobayashi Maru is designed that way."
"Admiral Kirk beat it. Do you know how? Spock won't tell me."
Spock had looked warningly at Christine, who had laughed as she said, "Well then I won't tell you either. But sometimes, Saavik, you have to take action to help things along. Add something to the mix."
"I don't understand."
"I know." Christine had smiled at her. "Can I change the subject? There is something that I wanted to ask you."
"Of course," Saavik said as she had leaned in to swipe some frosting off the side of the cake with her finger. Christine had glared at her. Spock had merely raised an eyebrow at their behavior.
"Saavik, Spock and I are planning to bond when you get back from your training cruise." She had been touched by the heartfelt smile that crossed Saavik's face. "I was wondering if you would stand up with me at the ceremony?" Saavik had nodded happily. "Good that's settled then."
As Saavik was leaving to finish her preparations she had hugged Christine tightly. "I'm so happy for you both. You have made him content, Christine, and at peace. I am honored that you asked me to stand with you."
That night, Spock had been especially tender, and he was still touching her this morning. Stroking her hair or arm as he went past, touching her face as they sat at breakfast. "What is it?" she had finally asked him. He had taken her in his arms, held her close. She felt his fingers begin the meld. He just held her, letting her feel his happiness that she would soon be his wife. She was touched and sent him back her joy in him. As he ended the meld, she heard, *I love you, my Christine.*
Pulling away from her, he tugged down his uniform top, "I will see you in a week."
"In a week, Spock," she replied as she watched him walk out the door.
A day later she got the call. Saavik appeared on the screen, eyes swollen and red, her manner more somber than Christine had ever seen. "Saavik, what is it? What's wrong?"
"Christine, there's something I have to…damn…there's no good way to say this. Something awful has happened. The ship was in danger, we couldn't get away, and Spock went in to the…" Saavik broke down; tears falling freely down her face. She fought for composure. "Spock's dead, Christine. He died saving us. I wanted to be the one to tell you. I know how much you loved him. I didn't want you hearing it in the halls."
Christine felt her legs go weak. She managed to find a chair. Trembling all over, she tried to think. "I don't understand, Saavik. It was just a training exercise."
"There was an incident. We are under orders not to discuss it. I'm so sorry, Christine."
"What about his body, the burial arrangements?" Christine saw Saavik look down, then back up at her.
"The body is gone, burial in space.
Normally there would be a ceremony at
"Dr. Marcus? Which Dr. Marcus?"
"David Marcus, he is a biologist working on a special project."
Christine was suddenly afraid. She realized she was hyperventilating. No, she thought, no, this could not have anything to do with Genesis. This could not.
She realized Saavik had said something. Christine looked back at her. "If David is involved, then this project, which I know you can't discuss, it has something to do with Life from…"
Saavik finished for her, "lifelessness. Yes. I was not aware you were familiar with it."
Christine slumped in her chair, "I worked on it, Saavik. That's where I've been all these months."
As understanding hit her, Saavik gasped. "Christine, you had nothing to do with this. You have enough to think about. Don’t blame yourself. They need this channel. I have to go now. I will check on you soon."
Christine nodded and closed the connection. The screen was barely clear before she slid off the chair onto the floor and wrapped her arms around her body. Rocking back and forth the same word came pouring out, "no, no, no, no…" Then the tears came. Her pain overwhelmed her as she wept. "Spock, Spock! Don't leave me. Not now." She did not know how much time had passed when her weeping subsided. She lay on the floor, staring at nothing as silent tears rolled down her face. *Spock,* her mind screamed, *Spock don't go.* Hours later, she fell into an exhausted sleep.
The beeping of her communication unit woke
her up the next morning. She pulled herself off the floor and hit the
voice-only switch. It was Starfleet command. They needed to meet with her and
all the other Genesis scientists in three hours. She agreed and made her way to
her bedroom to freshen up and dress. Three hours later she was in a huge conference
room being debriefed on what had occurred on Regula
One and later on the
"Yes." As she turned back, a young ensign she recognized from one of Spock's cadet classes handed her a data file.
"This is for you ma'am. I thought…well I know you lived with him…I thought you should have this." He walked away quickly.
Holding the file tightly she left the hall. As she made her way home she noticed nothing, could not even remember making the trip. She felt only pain and guilt warring in her. Reaching her complex, she was surprised to see Valeris waiting. The young woman's face was cold.
"I see that you have heard." She moved in front of Christine. "There will be a ceremony on Vulcan, when we bring his katra home. I am leaving for there now. I came to tell you to stay away."
Christine was shocked at the venom in Valeris' voice. "Saavik said there would be no ceremony this time. I'm not sure why but…"
Valeris interrupted. "Saavik knows nothing. She understands our ways little better than you do."
"Have you always hated me, Valeris?"
Valeris thought about the question. Then calmly said, "Hate is an emotion that I do not have. I believe that Spock being with you was a waste of material."
Christine recognized one of Spock's favorite phrases. "How dare you! He loved me."
Valeris practically sneered at this. "Love. An interesting emotion that I am not sure is relevant. You would have done better to leave him to a Vulcan."
"Such as you?" Christine mocked.
"Exactly. But I did not come her to argue. Only to tell you to stay away from us." Valeris stared at her for a moment, then walked away.
Christine made her way to her apartment trying to erase Valeris' words. She put the file into her computer and was stunned to see the final moments of Spock's life being played out before her. She watched it over and over again until she could recite every word, every phrasing. "The ship…out of danger?" "I have been…and always shall be…you friend." She pitied Kirk. She knew how close they had been. And McCoy. He would be grief-stricken. Saavik, Scotty, all of them.
And what about me, she wondered. Did he even think of me at all? Then she hated herself for being so selfish. Of course he had thought of her, but he would never have said anything to anyone else. Perhaps if they had been bonded, she would have sensed that he thought of her at the last, would have felt his goodbye.
She felt trapped in her apartment, in their apartment. She walked through the rooms, looking for his things. Holding them, trying to recapture some piece of him. As she picked up his harp she broke down. She could hear his voice singing to her, the harp providing gentle accompaniment. His beautiful voice, in her life, in her mind. She would never have that again. She lay on the bed, curled around the harp and wept until she could not cry any longer.
This was the tenor of her days; she did not
have to report to work at Starfleet right away so she took leave, hiding in her
apartment. She rarely slept. She sat often in the dark, thinking about packing
Spock's things up, then hating herself for considering it. She wept for hours
then sat motionless all emotions temporarily burned out. Her eyes were raw and
red, her throat hurt, her head throbbed. A raw, heavy pain hung over her. Many
of her friends tried to contact her, sometimes she listened as they spoke to
the recorder, other times she put the communicator on silent. She ignored the
messages that were piling up. Refused to answer the door.
She was listening when Uhura called to tell her that the
Then a priority call from Starfleet command came in. She tried to ignore it but the computer began to alarm until she answered it. The Genesis scientists were being called in again. She tried calling Kirk, to see if he could give her some additional insight into what happened, but he was off world. She tried McCoy but there was no answer either. Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov, they were all unavailable. Odd, she thought.
The meeting was quick, they were only told one thing. Genesis didn’t work. The experiment was a failure. The planet was unstable. Christine watched the images sent by the science team, relayed by Grissom. One of the scientists asked if they had more data. The briefer said they had hoped to have more but that Grissom was apparently having technical difficulties because they had not been able to raise her in the last hour.
Christine sat staring at the screen. Watching the planet as it decayed before her eyes. Unstable, she thought. It was all for nothing? Finally they were excused with another reminder that this was a dead issue, they were never to speak of it.
As she left the briefing, her mind kept playing the scenes of the planet, then of Spock dying, back and forth till the planet and Spock became one in her mind. She found herself walking the halls of Starfleet medical unsure of why she was there. She made her way to Dotura's door, knocked, heard her friend call for her to come in. She took a step into the room, stopped. She felt despair descend like chains around her. Dotura took one look at her and ran to her. Moved her to a couch.
"Christine? What is it?"
The words spilled out. Disjointed and confused. Christine tried to talk, tried to breathe between gasping sobs. Dotura finally just gathered her into her arms, holding her tightly, soothing her like a baby. "Shhh, shhhh. It's all right, I'm here. You have to be strong, Christine. He'd want you to be strong."
Christine shook her head, tried to convince Dotura of something as she whispered, "You don't understand, it's my fault. Unstable, they said unstable. He's gone. Wasn't worth it, didn't work. He was to be my husband."
Dotura finally went to get a mild sedative. Injecting Christine with it, she waited for it to take effect. As it did she left Christine on the couch and went to find Zarthakh to tell him she was going home and taking Christine with her. When she returned, Christine was sitting numbly where she left her. Quiet except for the sobs that wracked her body. "Come on, Christine, we're going home now. You need to be with people who love you. And out of that apartment, there are too many memories for you there." She helped her up and they left the complex. Dotura took her back to her house, gave her a stronger sedative and held her until she finally fell asleep.
When Christine awoke many hours later, she felt much calmer. The pain still throbbed inside her, but she was able to think again. Deciding to check her messages, she made her way to Zarthakh's computer and dialed in to her home system. Dotura came out to stand with her as she was replaying them. Most of the messages were simple condolences, but then Ambassador Sarek's voice came over the line. He had sent a scrambled voice message.
"Christine, I do not know where you are. I have called but you do not answer, I have stopped at your apartment but you are never there. I had to return to Vulcan. For the Katra ceremony." Christine felt her heart drop, so it was true. She had not been wanted there. Sarek continued, "But something else has happened. Something extraordinary. You need to get here, Christine. This is going to sound unbelievable but trust me that it is true. Spock is alive."
Christine could feel herself shaking with fatigue as she made her way to the quarters that Spock and his family were using while he recovered from the fal-tor-pan. She stood for a moment at the doorway, unable to bring her hand up to push the door chime. She was still reeling from the grief and guilt she had felt when Spock died. Now to have him back, it was almost too much.
After getting Sarek's
call telling her of Spock's amazing return from the dead, Christine had boarded
the first available shuttle to Vulcan. She had stopped only long enough to call
Starfleet to request additional leave. There was no one else to call--everyone
else involved was already on Vulcan--Sarek, Amanda, Saavik, Valeris,
Forcing herself out of her reverie, Christine rang the chimes. A few seconds later the door opened and she found herself in Amanda's arms.
"Christine, my dear. I've been so worried about you! Sarek tried to call you repeatedly, even made inquiries at Starfleet. Nobody knew where you had gone. We wanted you here for the ceremony." Amanda led her out of the entry way and into a small sitting room.
"Saavik said there was to be no ceremony?"
Amanda nodded, "Yes, initially that is what we all thought. We believed Spock's katra to be lost. But Sarek discovered otherwise and he came back here to prepare. You know how fond of you he is, Christine. He would never have excluded you from this."
Amanda's smile was bitter, "Valeris says many things, Christine. Most of them designed to benefit Valeris. You are most welcome here, you should know that."
Christine felt a piece of the darkness that had surrounded her lifting. "Can I see him, Amanda?"
Amanda looked concerned, took Christine's hands in hers. "Oh my dear, you've come so far and I have to tell you that Spock isn't quite…"
"Isn't quite what?" Christine prompted.
"He isn't the same. The ritual restored his katra to his body. He is alive. But he does not remember much yet. He is learning and I think over time he will become more like he was. But, Christine, he is different." She watched as Christine digested her words. "I couldn't have you walking in there not knowing. I've come to love you, my dear. I just wanted you to know."
"I want to see him, Amanda. I've come all this way to see him." Christine felt dizzy as she rose to follow Amanda to find Spock. I have to get hold of myself, she thought frantically. I have to be strong, cannot collapse now. She tried to will the sick feeling away, but she could not.
As she entered the next room, Christine was surprised to see Saavik and Sarek sitting waiting for her. Saavik rose from her chair and wrapped her in a warm embrace. "Christine, you should have been here with us. Where were you?"
Christine looked at Sarek, "I was overwhelmed by all that happened. A friend took me back to her house, to get me away from the memories. I didn't know you had contacted me. I didn't think…"
"Didn't think you belonged here?" A new voice interjected. Christine turned to see Valeris standing with Spock. The young woman's face betrayed none of the spite that her words had conveyed.
"Valeris…" Amanda warned her.
Christine turned to Spock. Her heart was beating so hard she thought he must be able to hear it from where he stood. "Spock?" she asked tentatively.
He looked at her as if trying to remember. Oh god, she realized. He doesn't know me. Christine felt pain flood her, and the emptiness that Spock's return had begun to banish encompassed her again. "Spock?" her voice came out as a plea, scared and hopeless.
He stepped closer, cocked his head to the side as he studied her. "You are Christine Chapel. We served together?"
"Spock, you lived together!" Saavik reminded him.
He was silent as he thought this over. "We lived together?" Christine nodded. "As mates?" he continued. She nodded again. He seemed to remember as he continued, "But we are not mates. Why?"
"Because she left you," Valeris offered. "To go work on Genesis."
Saavik whirled on her. 'How do you know that? All information on that is classified."
Valeris met her gaze coolly, "I was passing in the hall when you and Sarek were discussing the details of this project. I cannot help that the walls are thin here."
Spock looked intently at Christine. "You worked on Genesis, yes I remember now."
"Spock, I feel so guilty about that, to have worked on the project that ultimately caused your death. That will haunt me forever."
Sarek moved next to her. "You can not be blamed for what happened, Christine. I am sure in time you and Spock will make peace with the havoc Genesis caused in your lives."
"Sir, I think you are too charitable," Valeris again interjected herself into the conversation. "Christine has only herself to blame if Genesis destroyed her life. Am I not right?"
Christine stared at her. "I'm not sure I know what you mean?"
"Oh come now, isn't it true that you have a lot more to be haunted by than just some indirect involvement? Didn't you work almost exclusively with the part of the project that David Marcus oversaw?"
Saavik looked shocked. "Valeris, you are making this up. You couldn't possibly know that."
Valeris continued, her malice as smooth as silk. "I should think that how I know this would be less important than whether it is true. Christine, you worked with David Marcus, did you not? And you knew what he was doing, how he used protomatter to make Genesis work? Will you stand there and lie to all of us?"
Christine felt panic, but also relief, that finally this could be spoken of, "It's true. I did work with David. And I knew. I was the only other person there that knew."
"Why?" It was Spock, his voice confused, betrayed. "Protomatter? It is accepted as anathema to ethical scientific experimentation. Why?"
Saavik looked stunned. "Christine, you had to have a reason, a good one, to do this?"
Suddenly tired beyond her capacity to stand it, Christine slumped into the nearest chair. "David and I were working on phase 2, the Genesis cave. We had everything ready. The formulas were tested and retested. We would set off the device and it would work…for a while. But then it would stop. The matrix was too stable, you see, it had an intrinsic urge to return to equilibrium. Every time it did this, the Genesis Effect would be arrested. We tried over and over," she stopped at Saavik's questioning sound.
"But I saw the Genesis cave. It was perfect."
Christine sighed. "You saw the last
Genesis cave. Regula is now riddled with caves, most
of them in states you wouldn't want to see. David and I were getting desperate.
We were so close. And we were coming up on our deadline to finish this stage in
order to qualify for continued funding. We thought that if we could add an
unstable element to the matrix, just enough to keep the Effect dynamic until we
halted it, that it would be the answer we needed. And we found that only protomatter was inherently unpredictable enough to keep the
process going. We tested it in the
"But the planet, I was there, it was not perfect, Christine. It was so unstable that it destroyed itself."
"I know. I was fully briefed on what happened."
"And were you fully briefed on the impact of your actions?" Valeris queried her calmly. "Had you not used protomatter, the Genesis device would not have been ready for Khan to use. In fact, he might not have wanted it at all had it been in a non-operational state. It is likely that Spock would not have died. The enterprise would not have been destroyed. And David Marcus would still be alive." She turned to Spock, "Is my train of logic complete, Captain Spock?"
"Impeccably complete, Valeris." Spock turned to Christine. "I still do not understand why you chose to ignore the ethical bans on protomatter?"
"I was blinded by the research, by the possibilities of that research. David and I, everyone on Genesis, believed that the project would benefit the entire federation. David and I thought that it was worth the risk."
"And David Marcus paid for that miscalculation with his life." Valeris stalked over to stand in front of Christine. "I wonder what Starfleet would do with you, if they knew of your involvement?" She cocked an eyebrow at Christine.
"Her involvement will not be mentioned, Valeris." Sarek surprised them all by the sternness of his tone. "She made a grave mistake, but what she did was not against regulations. Starfleet censure is unnecessary when I am sure that Christine has already punished herself and will continue to do so. We will not speak of this again. Is that understood?" He singled out Valeris with his look. "Is it?" They all nodded.
Amanda broke her silence, "I think it is time to leave Spock and Christine alone." Sarek and Saavik left the room, but Valeris continued to stand over Christine. "Valeris, that means you."
"We will continue our lessons, Captain Spock. When you are finished?" Valeris glanced at Christine, a calculating glint in her eyes. "I'm working with him to restore his memory. I think it has brought us closer, spending so much time together. Good bye Christine." She turned on her heel and walked out, followed closely by a watchful Amanda.
Spock took a seat across from Christine. "I am not the man that I was. I have the memories, but they are distant." He looked at her in a way that made her want to run out of the room. His eyes gave nothing back. His body was rigid. She looked down at her lap, unwilling to see the emptiness in his gaze. "I do remember you. I can recall things that we said…and did." She looked up suddenly, wondering if he might remember how he had felt. There was still nothing in his expression.
He rose, clearly uncomfortable with her. "My parents and Saavik tell me that I was going to bond with you."
She laughed bitterly, "What does Valeris have to say about that?"
He frowned slightly. "She says I did not bond with you because I wanted a Vulcan wife. I do not remember thinking that. I do remember telling you that 'my love would endure' and I believe that this indicated a promise on my part. Once I am fully recovered from the refusion, we can bond." He sat back down, looking relieved to be finished with the subject.
Christine looked at him shocked. "You want to bond? Spock, do you love me?"
He looked at her quizzically, "The question is not logical. I made a promise to you. And I will keep it."
"It may not be a logical question, Spock, but it is the only question. Do you love me?"
He took a deep breath as he thought. "I remember loving you. Perhaps that can be enough?"
Christine felt despair wash over her, then numbness enveloped her. "No, it can never be enough. The only thing that would be enough would be what we had, before all this." She looked down again. "I had everything I wanted. But I walked away from you. And then I cheated on Genesis. I have had a hand in everything that has happened. This then is my punishment."
She rose slowly, moved to the door. "Valeris is no doubt correct, Spock. You should take a Vulcan wife. It would be the logical thing to do." He cocked an eyebrow but did not respond. She stood looking at him for a long moment, trying to find the man she had loved, the man she had lost. She saw only a familiar stranger.
She straightened her back, pulled together the last shreds of self-control. Her voice was far from steady as she intoned the ritual farewell, "Live long and prosper, Spock."
He rose, nodded. "Live long and prosper, Dr. Chapel."