Parmen's Games
Kiristeen ke Alaya

Disclaimer: Parmount, Viacom and other such corporate entities own all rights to the Star Trek Universe, and the characters therein. I'm just playing in their playground and make no money from my efforts.

Warnings: Rated NC-17 for rape and nonconsentual sexual contact.

 Part One

McCoy watched, helpless anger coiling inside him, as Jim and Spock were lead out of the 'theater'. He could not remember a time when he had wanted a man dead, more than he did right now. "Parmen, you'll never make me want to stay here. The more you do to them, the less I'll want it."

Parmen leaned closely to him. "I don't have to make you want to stay," he said, grinning maliciously. "All I have to do is make you want to do anything to make it stop. And I assure you, Doctor, that I can do."

He turned away abruptly and McCoy narrowed his eyes in suspicion. What was he going to do now?

"Have Spock brought to the green room, Dionyd," he ordered carelessly, waving expansively to the dark haired male next to him. "I'll take the good doctor here, to the audience chamber. Dionyd rose, albeit grudgingly and left, casting an angry look over his shoulder, just before disappearing through the door.

McCoy shifted in his seat, determined not to ask, that would only be playing right into Parmen's hands. Forcing himself to sit still, he stared straight ahead, but still couldn't help noticing the sly, sick smile that played across their tormentor's face. He would not ask! He would not! "What's going on?" he demanded. "Why-" Parmen's delighted smile, made him shiver and cut off the rest of his demand.

"All in good time, Doctor, all in good time. In fact," he said as he stood, "you will have a ring side seat. Come with me."

"And if I refuse?"

McCoy stood. "Right." Parmen doesn't argue, he thought, he just controls. He didn't put up anymore verbal objections, but he kept busy throwing every mental curse and dirty name at him he could think of. When he ran out of ones directed at him, he started in on the monster's ancestors.


Spock was silent as they were led away, the controls that Parmen had somehow bypassed, returning to him only slowly. It was all he could do to maintain his outward calm. Inside, his emotions roiled, uncontrolled. He knew Jim watched him, obviously worried about him, but he said nothing, could say nothing. He could spare no attention to words, only to regaining what Parmen had ripped apart.

He swallowed convulsively against a sudden surge in anger. He wanted nothing more than to wrap his Vulcan strong fingers around that ancient neck... He gasped sharply. Kirk's head jerked around. He noticed, abstractly, that his hand lifted toward him, then dropped back down, to his side.

He sighed thankfully. His shielding was still in tatters; he was not at all sure what he would have done if touched. Jim's worry, and the anger that radiated off the human could very well have been his complete undoing. He felt the rage rise again, what he could have done to Jim as Parmen controlled him, he did not care to think about. He stubbornly stopped that train of thought, it was useless; it had not happened. He could not let this continue, he thought. He had to master the violent emotions that tore through him.

He struggled to control, to master, the anger, but it was merely one emotion among many, and as the anger began to succumb to his makeshift control, the shame and horror began to rise. He trembled slightly with the effort he was making.

"Hold there, you two," a familiar taunting, irritatingly effeminate, voice called from behind.

He froze. No, he was not ready to face these people yet. He needed more time. He closed his eyes briefly before turning, his face set in an immobile mask. He purposely lifted a disdainful eyebrow, knowing it was a mere caricature of his normal expression, but knowing also that this stranger would not know the difference. He was irrationally satisfied when the man, Dionyd, was angered by the gesture. It felt...good, to get even so small of measure of his own, back.

Then Dionyd smirked. "I wouldn't be so cocky if I were you," he said, before turning to one of their escorts, whispering quick instructions.

Spock paled, hearing the words he was not supposed to.

"Parmen wants this pointy-eared fellow taken to the green room," he snickered, flicking a glance toward him.

"The green room?" the escort asked, astonishment written in her widening eyes and the startled look she cast toward him. Looking back to Dionyd, she lowered her voice further. "Is anyone else invited, or is this a private show?"

Green room? Private show? Spock swallowed heavily, this did not sound promising. He stood stock still, refusing to show any of his inner turmoil.

Dionyd pouted. "Well, I certainly wasn't invited. And if you ask me, it was awfully rude of him not to." He sniffed, dramatically, then winked at her. "I'd better get him there, the old man's in quite a snit today. He's probably already gotten that doctor in the audience chamber," he said, turning and heading toward Spock. "I could almost trade places with that human just for the privilege of watching."


McCoy glared at the closed door, wishing for just one chance to cross that egomaniac and get away with it. What he'd done to Jim was bad enough, but Spock? McCoy shook his head sadly. When they got out of this, and he refused to believe they wouldn't, he suspected it would take time before Spock would get over what had happened here, whether the stubborn...

He took a deep breath; he had to stay calm. Getting angry wasn't going to help any of them. Jumping up suddenly, he rushed to the door. The slight hope that it just might be unlocked, dashed, as he tried to open it. Catching his lower lip between his teeth, he glanced thoughtfully around the room. There wasn't much here he could use. The chairs seemed to be made pretty much of one piece, but he checked them anyway. Getting down on his hands and knees, he checked every thing he could think of. 'Nothing,' he thought morosely, slumping back on his heels. "Damn!"

Glancing up at the control panel, he really wished he had Spock's, or even Jim's, knack with jury-rigging.

"Wait here."

McCoy leapt to his feet at the resentful command. He recognized that voice. It grated like fingernails on a chalk board. Several times today he'd already wanted to slap that smug face. 'Spock!' He went straight to the window that he'd studiously ignored up until now. He watched that Dionyd disappear out a door on the far side of the room. "Spock!" he yelled.

He frowned when Spock did not turn around at his call. 'Soundproofed.' "Damn!" McCoy raised his fist, but he froze mid-strike, his hand a mere inch from impact, his gut twisting in painful knots. Fear? His knees felt like rubber beneath him and his wasn't at all certain he could remain standing, but something kept him upright staring through the window.

Suddenly he wasn't so sure everything would turn out 'alright'. Spock? Afraid? He swallowed his own rising fear, and his fist connected.


Spock stared at the door as Dionyd passed through it, his complete outward control holding until it slid shut behind him. There, completely alone, his control faltered. He felt a sliver of fear ripple through him, but he ruthlessly thrust it down, and for the first time in his life, letting his anger surface instead. He found he preferred that to the other; it was easier to deal with.

He shifted his gaze uneasily around the small room. About half again the size of standard officers' quarters, it was appointed, as was most of this place, in the style of ancient Greece. The pillows strewn about the room, the no-back lounging couch, the low tables with platters of fresh fruits, all combined to give the room an...intimate appearance. He shuddered, his mind automatically reviewing what he knew of the culture these people had brought with them from Earth. What he knew did not reassure him.

Then his eyes locked onto the mirror that dominated one entire wall and his mask settled back into place. 'I'd better get him there, the old man's in quite a snit today. He's probably already gotten that doctor in the audience chamber,' Dionyd had said, 'I could almost trade places with that human just for the privilege of watching.' McCoy! he thought. He turned away abruptly.

Taking a deep breath, he turned back and strode purposely toward the mirror. Even up close, he could not see through it. Perhaps he was mistaken, it could simply be a mirror. He raised one hand. Pressing it against the reflective surface, he felt a rhythmic vibration. It was as if someone were... He jerked his hand back.

He flinched ever-so-slightly at the sound of the door opening behind him, but turned slowly, his face a mask of studied non-concern. He stood silently, hands clasped lightly behind his back, as Parmen crossed the room and draped himself on the couch. Spock's eyes followed his every move, trying to determine exactly what he wanted, what he was going to do.

"Come. Sit down. You should relax; make yourself comfortable."

Spock's eyes narrowed. 'Not likely,' he thought and felt a momentary surge in the anger he was still trying to keep in check. This creature lounging before him, had forced his way past his mental shields and made a mockery of his Vulcan mastery. Now this self-same creature was telling him to 'relax', 'get comfortable'. "I would prefer to remain standing," he replied evenly, with only the slightest of sighs.

Parmen sat up and rolled his eyes, sighing dramatically. "We both know I can make you sit down, why not just save us both the trouble, and do it?"

Without another word, Spock sat, right where he was, calmly crossing his legs.

"Oh! Of all the-," Parmen sputtered. "I meant over here. Come now, Mr. Spock, surely, as individuals, we can move past the political maneuverings. I cannot believe that you're going to take what happened earlier, personally. Isn't that rather...emotional of you?" he asked, a dark light, glinting in his eyes.

The muscles in Spock's jaw twitched as he clenched his teeth, but he betrayed no further reaction to Parmen's taunting words. He did not move for long moments, while Parmen stared at him expectantly. Finally, giving in to the logic of the situation and ignoring the urge to do anything rather than move closer, he rose. Moving the four steps necessary to reach the end of the couch, he stood stiffly, waiting. "Where?" he asked, his voice devoid of inflection.

With an expansive wave of his hand he indicated the large pillow, by the low table. "Right here. I thought perhaps we could enjoy a meal together."

Spock's eyebrow shot up, at Parmen's choice of phrasing, but said nothing. Painfully aware that there was a deeper purpose to this...charade, his senses were hyper. He awaited the moment the rest of Parmen's game would be revealed. He awaited the opening of the door for whoever else would be involved in this perverted person's pleasure and just what that 'pleasure' would be.

Spock gasped and jerked away as Parmen's finger lightly touched an ear, cascading the man's heavy emotions through his partially rebuilt shields.

"I must admit, I find your pointed ears quite...fascinating," he said, reaching over Spock's shoulder toward the food on the table. "Have some, it's quite delicious, I assure you."

Spock sat numbly, tyring to sort through the barrage he had just recieved. Parmen was aroused, sexually, that much was obvious. It wouldn't be the first time someone in a position of authority, 'got off' on the power they controlled, he knew that. But there was something more here.

 Part Two

Parmen's hand brushed his shoulder as he brought a grape back to his own mouth.

Spock shuddered at the fleeting contact, both physical and mental. He stiffened.

"Ah!" Parmen exclaimed, excitement lighting his voice. "I think he's figured it out."

Spock shook his head no, once. This could not be happening. A new fear flushed through him, but he refused to give in to it, clamping down on it, hard. "Surely, there are others...someone...willing," he protested softly.

Parmen laughed, the sound coming from deep inside. "Willing to what, Mr. Spock?"

Spock struggled with how to answer. Would acknowledging what he, knew Parmen was planning, be the logical thing to do? Or would sidestepping it, perhaps slow it down, allow for the chance of rescue or interruption? He swallowed against the bitter taste of bile rising in the back of his throat. "Surely, there is someone here who is willing to...pleasure you," he said. "Your wife, perhaps."

Parmen laughed again, this time reaching out to caress his neck. He jerked, but otherwise did not move. He closed his eyes and fought the urge to panic. Panic was not logical. It served no purpose. Panic would not get him out of this room, nor would it stop Parmen.

"You've got it all wrong," Parmen whispered, leaning so close that Spock felt the breath of his words against his skin.

He sighed in relief. "Indeed?" he asked, feeling on safer ground, despite the continued contact.

"Yes...'indeed'," Parmen responded, brushing his lips against his ear as he continued. "This is not about you giving me pleasure. It is about me giving you pleasure."

"Impossible!" Spock nearly shouted, his voice a harsh hiss instead.

"Is it?" Parmen asked, darting a tongue out to circle his earlobe.

"Yes, it is," he replied firmly, attempting once again to move away. He couldn't. Parmen's mental control held him firmly in place.

"Remove your boots," Parmen instructed, running his hands down Spock's arms.

"What?" Spock asked, then, "no." He felt his body move forward, his hands reaching for his footwear, but the control quit the moment his fingers touched the zipper. Parmen had made his point. Spock reluctantly removed the boots.

"Socks too," Parmen insisted as Spock set the boots neatly aside. "There's nothing more ridiculous than a nude man, still wearing his socks."

Spock blanked the image that came to mind. It did nothing for his sense of calm. Studiously attempting to ignore Parmen's touch, he spoke, tried to negotiate. "If your intent is...what you claim, you are bound to fail. A meal would be preferable."

"I've made you laugh. I've made you cry," Parmen responded, lifting back and then lightly caressing the other side of Spock's neck with moist lips. "What makes you think, I cannot excite you, give you pleasure?"

Spock started to answer, but found he could not as a tingling began at the base of his skull and skittered down his spine. He gasped instead.

"Ye-es, now, you understand."

"Yes, I believe I do," Spock answered uneasily. "Why? Why would you do this?" Spock paused, desperately trying to understand. "I do not want this. What possible purpose would it serve for you to force it on me?"

Parmen leaned forward once again, this time pressing his chest up against Spock's back. He ran his hands down Spock's chest. "What purpose? Why, giving pleasure is a purpose all it's own. Wouldn't you agree?"

"This is not pleasure, it is torment," Spock retorted through clenched jaw.

Parmen chuckled, nipping lightly at the back of his neck, then sucking. "You very neatly avoided the question, Spock," he replied as he shifted position, then sighed. "But, you're right and you're wrong." Reaching down he pulled up the hems of both uniform and undershirt, splaying his hands across the Vulcan's abdomen.

He moved to still Parmen's hands, but Parmen neatly twisted his wrists and entwined their fingers instead.

"One both right...and wrong," he said, shuddering, wanting to be away from the touch that seemed everywhere. Then the tingling began again and he knew that Parmen had begun in earnest. As the sensation spread, a heat pooled deep in his belly and he felt his body begin to respond despite his repulsion. No! he shouted mentally, groaning in protest. He would not participate. Squeezing his eyes shut he forced his body back into a relaxed state.

"Oh, yes you can. This is both pleasure and torment. Pleasure for us, torment for the doctor."

McCoy! He'd forgotten. No, he thought despairingly. This could not happen, not in front of McCoy. Ignoring Parmen, he forced his mind to seek escape deep within himself.

"No, you don't," Parmen responded silkily, and Spock suddenly found the mind disciplines completely inaccessible.

"No," Spock whispered, "don't."

"Don't look at it that way, Spock, my friend," Parmen whispered back, his voice soft, flowing. "You will feel such pleasure as you've never known."

Spock gasped as he felt the power of Parmen's mind bend the reactions of his body to his will. His body no longer under his voluntary control, reacted full force, sweeping him along with it. His mind cried out in shame; his body writhed with arousal.

No, he must not let this affect him. He must not, for himself and for McCoy. His surroundings became a blur as more and more of his focus went to trying to break free of Parmen's hold; as more of his attention was drawn to each move of Parmen's hands on him.

Dizziness followed as time seemed to slow to an agonizing crawl. He closed his eyes, but that made it worse. He could feel Parmen pressed against his back, rubbing against him, the cool hands that were now pulling his shirt over his head, skimming along his ribs.

Wait!? He could move his arms. He jerked them down sharply, succeeding only in freeing them from the confines of his sleeves. He heard a chuckle behind him, the motion vibrating against his spine.

"So eager. I didn't expect that," he heard behind him, as his shirts were roughly pulled over his head.

Spock flushed, a swift denial rising to his lips. "No!" He used the small freedom Parmen had given him to reach back for that specific bundle of nerves where the neck joined the shoulder. He nearly cursed when the move was turned from a strong pinch to an involuntary caress.

"Yes," Parmen hissed, pressing his lips in moist, open kisses down Spock's spine, his mind stroking the pleasure centers with each feathery touch. "Give in, Spock. You'll enjoy it," he continued.

Never! Spock thought, then suddenly his body moved. He was free. He rounded on Parmen, all the stroked anger, hatred and forced lust combined in one powerful twist and lunge.

He blinked when he found himself flat on his stomach, the cold marble floor chilling his abdomen. Confusion reigned. How had that happened? He was far stronger, physically, than Parmen. He was trained in both the passive resistance of Vulcan martial arts as well as the more aggressive Starfleet training. It should be the human pinned, not him.

"I told you, pleasure, pure pleasure. Your body knows it, even if you don't," Parmen taunted, reaching down and squeezing his buttocks.

Spock gasped against the sudden flood as Parmen relaxed his own mental barriers, allowing Spock to feel the full force of his lust and his treachery. Despair added itself to the turmoil of his emotions as he realized, Parmen had purposely freed him. But only enough that he, himself had maneuvered their positions exactly the way Parmen had desired. He had fallen for Parmen's well laid trap.

He tried to move out from under the man, but to his surprise, Parmen's body atop him and his grip on one of his wrists held him in place. The hand on his ass slid down, working its way between legs clenched tightly together.

He no longer knew where the human's control ended and his responses began. Shame, anger, hatred; they all faded to background noise under the power of Parmen's sexual sendings. Parmen's hands seemed everywhere, each touch feeling as if he was routing the power of his mind through his fingers.

'Yes,' Parmen hissed into his mind. "Yes, feel it, Spock; enjoy it," he said pulling Spock against him until the both lay on their sides. Parmen spooned behind him, his clothed erection pressing against the cleft of Spock's buttocks.

Spock struggled against the tide of sexual heat, but ultimately felt himself pulled under as the sensations flooded his body and his mind. They ran unchecked through his body, tightening his groin, no matter how strongly he fought against it. "No," he repeated. "Never." But the protest was weaker, less force behind it.

The illogical words, 'this cannot be happening', ran over and over in his mind. He gasped as a hand grasped him most intimately, through the fabric of his trousers. The newest violation making him shudder, even as his body responded exactly the way Parmen wanted. Parmen, not him.

He hardened further, moaning, half in protest, half in response to the startling sensations. Parmen liked that; Spock bit down on his lip to prevent it happening again. He may not be able to control his own body, but he could and would control his vocalizations. He would not give that much satisfaction. The hand moved up, stroking him, then slipping beneath his waistband.

He jumped, his free hand snapping down, some part of him marveling that he could move it at all, and grabbing Parmen's wrist.

"Touch me, Spock."

He froze, shock sending him reeling. He shook his head, his hand jerking back in automatic revulsion. He caught himself and brought his hand back down to grasp the hand that had returned to fondling him as soon as he'd let go. This time however, his attempt to stay Parmen was thwarted and he found himself releasing the fastenings to his uniform pants instead.

He trembled, trying to stop what his own hands were doing. The more he fought it, the more his fingers fumbled, but still they continued.

"Yes, Spock, that's it. Show me what you have."

Spock twisted his head toward the floor, denying Parmen, biting back the verbal denial, but his hands wouldn't stop, not until his own erection was freed from its confines. His teeth drew blood, the coppery taste absently noted as one sensation among a thousand.

"Beautiful, Spock, just beautiful," Parmen breathed huskily, wrapping his fingers around the jutting cock. Spock recoiled, then jerked immediately forward when the length of Parmen's shaft was pressed more firmly between his cheeks.

Cool air struck Spock as Parmen pulled back and swiftly divested Spock of his remaining clothing. Panic welled in his chest as the combined lust of the two roared up. Nude, exposed and feeling more vulnerable than he'd ever been, Spock nearly whimpered, but choked back that response. He may not have access to his shielding or the disciplines, but he was still Vulcan. He would not let himself be broken by this. He would survive. He was Vulcan. It would not affect him. He...was...Vulcan.

He gasped sharply, clenching tightly, as Parmen once again slid a hand between his legs, this time his human cool fingers caressing bare skin. He felt them move apart, allowing the human better access. He tried, oh, he tried to close his legs, to repel that intimate invasion, but all he succeeded in doing was shake.

A slick fingertip slipped inside him, pausing just as it passed the outer ring of muscles. No! he thought, even as his hips bucked. His drew breath in gasps, flooded by emotions he couldn't put a name to. There were too many; too many things at once. He felt so...out of control, so weak, helpless.

"Ooo!" Parmen whispered, his hot breath, caressing Spock's ear. "You've never done this...have you?"

Spock did not respond aloud. Mentally he screamed. No!

The finger pushed in further, stopping as the muscles tensed around it.

"Tight, so tight," Parmen said hoarsely. "It's been so long, since I've had the chance to initiate a virgin."

"No," Spock hissed. "Please, no." He struggled to move away, but could not, only the smallest of movements being allowed him, his struggles only managing to work the finger deeper. He stilled. He would not participate.

"Oh yes, dear Spock, I will show you such pleasure," he said softly, gently, seductively even, the single digit searching. Spock gasped, and jerked back against the invading finger. "Yes, you do have it," Parmen said, brushing his finger across the nodule deep within him.

Spock panted, utterly foreign sensations pervading his body. He had no defenses against the overwhelming storm. He had never been prepared for this; never been warned. Parmen controlled him; owned him. He knew it and Parmen knew it. He felt it in the overwhelming feeling of pride and avarice flowing from the man.

He instinctively rebelled against it, but his body refused to let him. It arched and he groaned as a second finger slid inside him to join the first in stroking that ever so sensitive part of him. They began to rotate, loosening the double ring of muscles.

Deep inside the recesses of his mind, where his rationality still hid, it began to truly penetrate exactly what Parmen was doing. His breath came in short, quick gasps. He couldn't breath. No, he thought, this could not be happening. It could not happen.

A cool warmth encircled his aching shaft, stroking it in long slow strokes, moving in concert with the fingers inside him. His hips bucked. His cock twitched. He gasped and moaned, unable to prevent, and nearly past caring about, the sound.

"You are almost ready," Parmen whispered.

The panic had become a constant gnawing thing inside him; Parmen's soft words sent it spiraling out of control. His mind screamed no. His body answered yes. He groaned and felt a surge deep inside as moist drops seeped out the tip of his erection.

Turning Spock's face toward him, he captured his lips, forcing his mouth open with both mind and tongue, thrusting inside, once again mimicking the movements of hand and fingers.

Spock found himself responding, his tongue dueling for supremacy with Parmen's. Bite! A small, deeply buried part of him, cried out, but the desire and lust that Parmen controlled, ruled him. He thrust his tongue deep into Parmen's cool mouth, testing, tasting, savoring the new sensations it produced.

A finger swirled across the tip of his swollen, aching cock, spreading the moisture over him.

Parmen straightened suddenly, withdrawing his fingers and pulling Spock's hips with him until Spock supported his weight on his knees.

Spock dropped his head to the floor, unable to roll away, and squeezed his eyes tightly shut; part of him shamed beyond belief, another part, the part Parmen stroked with his body and mind craved what was to come. He could not stop that wanting, that needing. Knowing it was Parmen's doing, not him didn't help. Nothing helped.

And even as Parmen's cock head pressed against that nether opening, as his body relaxed to accept the invasion, as the heat coiled in his belly, and moisture seeped from his own tip, his mind cried, Oh my god, NO!!

The thought echoed loudly in a sound proofed room, McCoy, as helpless to prevent what was happening as Spock was, screamed the protest that resounded in Spock's mind. It was like a slow motion train wreck. He desperately wanted to look away, to deny what was happening, and as Parmen thrust forward, Spock screamed, and McCoy slid down the wall.

"No," he shouted, but no one heard. "I'll do anything you want, just stop it...please." Tears slid down his face as he shoved his fists against his closed eyes. But nothing stopped the images that his brain sent him. He still saw it happening. He could still hear the sounds.

He heard Spock's moans, sounding half way between protest and begging. He heard Parmen's grunts, and the sound of flesh against flesh. And as he heard two guttural cries, one swiftly following the other, he swore he would get even. If it took him a lifetime, he would never give in to the demands of that demented madman and would avenge Spock's humiliation.

 Part Three

Parmen sagged against Spock, running his hands down Spock's sides.

Spock couldn't stop the tremors that shook him. He was cold, so very cold, the hands against his skin like ice claws. The weight of the man behind him, and his presence inside him a devastating, stark reminder of what had just happened. He wanted to crawl away, to curl up into a ball and simply make the universe go away.

Not logical, he thought, grasping hold of it as if it would anchor him.

"Ready to go again, my sweet young thing?"

"What?" Spock gasped. No. Ancestors, no. "No," he hissed.

"What?" Parmen demanded, rearing up. "You would still refuse me after the gift I bestowed upon you?"

"Gift?!" Spock croaked incredulously. " not"

"How dare you spurn me!" Parmen ranted, jumping to his feet.

Spock felt blessed relief as the man pulled out of him, then cringed as he felt the rapidly cooling semen trickle down his leg. He curled onto his side, only then realizing he could move. He looked up at the raving Parmen, finally hearing the human again. Focusing with difficulty, through a haze of growing rage, he leaped, freezing just as his hands encircled Parmen's neck.

"You haven't learned, have you?" Parmen gloated, running his hands freely over Spock's body, the Vulcan unable to prevent it. "I can do anything I want to you, and you can't stop me." He pulled the fingers from around his neck, sucking first one then another into his mouth. "You will have to pay for that attack, my dear Spock. And your friends will pay with you."

Open hatred glittered in Spock's eyes as Parmen withdrew. Then, smoothing his robes back into place, he spun around striding out of the room.

Spock sank to his knees as the door shut behind Parmen, berating himself for having given in to the hatred surging through him. But he'd been so close. One scratch, that's all it would have taken. One scratch and Parmen would have- He shook himself mentally.

He needed to calm down; he needed to control. He breathed deeply, slowly, in and out, concentrating solely on the feel of the air moving through him. It was helping...some.

He flinched as the door slid open, sounding unnaturally loud in the silence. Steeling himself, and setting a wooden mask in place, he hid his inner turmoil and looked up.

McCoy was striding toward him and it was only strength of will that prevented him from a useless attempt to cover himself with his hands. Just knowing that McCoy knew, that he had heard, possibly seen, what had happened made him feel far more exposed than merely being unclothed.

He knelt beside him. "DON'T," Spock began, took a deep breath and continued in a near whisper, "touch me."

"I won't," McCoy answered softly. "I promise."

"Thank you," he replied, irrationally relieved. Doctor McCoy would not hurt him.

"Look, Spock, I wish I could give you time, but they want you moved," he said gently. "Here is your uniform, hold it a minute while I get something to clean you up with."

Spock clutched it to his chest, then forced himself to relax. Cleaning up? That sounded...too good to be true. He felt, dirty, unclean.

McCoy returned, holding a bowl and cloth. As Spock took it, McCoy turned away slightly. Gratitude for that small privacy, flowed through him as he began wiping away all the physical traces he could, his scrubbing growing more and more savage.

"Spock?" McCoy asked, not turning. "You doing okay?" He shook his head violently, "No, of course not. That was a stupid question, Spock. I'm sorry."

"I am...managing," Spock answered in a too cool voice.

McCoy winced.

"Hurry up!" Drawled a voice from across the room.

Spock jerked his head up.

"Just hold your horses!" McCoy snapped.

Spock threw down the cloth, and grabbing his uniform, he pulled it on as quickly as the remains of his dignity would allow. Standing, he winced. What he hadn't felt while caught in his self-absorption, he felt now. By the ancestors, he hurt. He gasped, attempted to suppress the pain, and only softened the worst of it.

His legs gave out from under him and he sank back to his knees.

McCoy jumped toward him, hand outstretched, which he snatched back just before grabbing Spock's arm. "Spock?"

He was silent as he tried to stand, his limbs shaky and unreliable. After two tries, he looked up at the doctor. "I do not think I can do it on my own," he said, his voice barely audible.

"I'm going to have to touch you to help," McCoy said quietly, reaching slowly toward him.

"I am aware of that, Doctor," Spock retorted angrily. "Forgive me," he said, instantly contrite.

"No, need," McCoy responded, shrugging it off.

As McCoy's hand clasped his arm, he stiffened and had to force himself to relax enough to allow the doctor to assist him in rising.

Together, the two of them headed toward the door and the impatiently waiting Platonian.


McCoy stared pensively at his hands. He didn't know how to help Spock, and it was killing him inside. If Spock had been human, he'd know exactly what to do. But Spock was a whole different matter. Add to that, the fact that Parmen had done more than physically rape him. What he'd seen and heard told him beyond a shadow of a doubt that Parmen had invaded his mind as well.

He shuddered, violently. He'd never told anyone what the mirror universe Spock had done to him. He still had nightmares about it sometimes. When something recalled it vividly to mind, like this. He cast a glance Spock's direction, but he wasn't speaking, just sitting there, fingers pressed tightly together in front of his face. He was almost, but not quite, rocking.

Jim knew something was very wrong, he kept looking back and forth between the two of them, but he'd held his peace so far. It wouldn't last long however; McCoy knew that. The big question in his mind was what did they, or rather he tell him. He certainly respected Spock's right to privacy, especially about this, but the captain would need to be told something, and he didn't think Spock would be up to any kind of reasonable explanation any time soon.

He was still sorting it out in his mind, when the captain strode over to Spock. He stopped a good three feet away, but Spock flinched ever-so-slightly anyway. Kirk frowned as he looked his way.

McCoy was on his feet instantly and moved quickly to the captain's side.

"Spock, what happened?"

"Jim," McCoy interrupted, "perhaps-"

"No, Bones. I have to know what we're dealing with here. I can't be left in the dark on this one."

McCoy started to protest, but Spock brought his head up sharply, staring at him. "It is...logical, for him to know, Doctor," Spock said hoarsely. "You tell him. I cannot."

McCoy nodded once, pulling the captain with him. He wasn't sure if he was glad to see Spock seeming to regain his composure, or whether to worry that it was happening too quickly.

With as little detail as was strictly necessary he flat out told the captain what had happened, including what he suspected had added to it. McCoy watched as his expression changed from worry to outright horror. It was obvious he hadn't expected anything this bad. Then he watched as the realization grew that this was far from over. That it could happen again, to any one of them.

He looked over to Spock, his worry evident, then looked back to McCoy. "Isn't there anything you can do for him?"

McCoy winced inwardly at the helpless frustration in the captain's voice. He sympathized; he felt it too, right along side the desire to commit bodily harm. "There's no medicine that can help him, Jim. He has to come through this himself."

"I trust they did not injure you too much, Captain," Spock said suddenly, intensely quiet.

Kirk moved toward Spock, stopping a good distance away this time. "My muscles are a little sore, that's all," he said, trying to make light of what had happened that morning. It didn't compare to what happened later.

"The...humiliation, must have been most difficult for you to bear," Spock continued, contemplatively. "I can understand that."

McCoy thought quickly. What was Spock trying to figure out? Where was this headed? "The release of emotions, Spock, is what keeps us healthy," he said gently, "emotionally healthy, that is."

Spock drew himself up, suddenly seeming more himself. "That may be, Doctor. However, I have noted, that the healthy release of emotions is frequently very unhealthy for those closest to you."

"Which just goes to show," Kirk said, sitting on the bench near to Spock, "that there is no such thing as a perfect solution."

"So it would seem," Spock replied. "Captain?"

"Yes, Spock?"

"Do you still feel anger toward Parmen?"

"Great anger."

"And you, Doctor McCoy?"

"Yes, Spock," he answered as gently as he could, wanting to rant and rave instead. "and hatred."

"Then you must release it, gentlemen, as I must master mine," Spock offered firmly. "I might have seriously injured you, Captain; even killed you. They have evoked such great...hatred in me, I cannot allow it to go further."

McCoy swallowed against the suppressed emotion in Spock's voice, wondering if it would be possible for Spock to suppress that. Or whether it would truly be the most healthy thing for him. To his mind, it didn't seem possible. In his experience suppressing this kind of trauma led to bigger problems later. He stepped forward intending on telling Spock just that.

Spock rose then, turning away. He reached toward the vase near him. "I must master it," he said carefully, wrapping his fingers over the top of the vase. "I..must..control." The vase shattered beneath his grip.

McCoy jumped, an eyebrow going up sharply. That looked more like emotional release, than it did suppression, to him. Good, he thought. Given enough provocation, he could release pent up anger. Then he stopped, and thought about all the provoking he'd done over the years and was very grateful that Spock was usually very difficult to piss off.

Silence ensued during which the four men were each occupied with their own thoughts.

McCoy lost himself in regret, closing his eyes against the misery he saw before him. If only, he thought. If only they hadn't received this distress call. If only he'd simply agreed to stay, when Parmen had actually asked. None of this would have happened if he hadn't been so selfish.

He snapped his eyes open and stood suddenly. "Jim," he said tightly. He watched Kirk step away from quiet conversation with Spock. He waited until the captain was only a couple of steps away before continuing. "This is senseless. I've thought it over, and I'm staying." He thought it over all right. It had run in vicious little circles through his mind over and over again.

"You can't," Kirk stated flatly.

"But Parmen has promised me you'll be safe!" McCoy practically shouted. Spock will be safe, he thought. Safe from more demented torture and humiliation.

"Promised?" Kirk scoffed disdainfully. "Parmen?! He'd let us beam up to the ship and then plunge it back down into the atmosphere!"

"But why?" he asked. That would just make me hate him all the more. "Why trick me?"

"If he killed us outright, in front of you, you'd retaliate."

Damn right, I would, McCoy thought vehemently.

"You're a doctor; you have the means. Bones," Kirk insisted, grabbing hold of his arm. "I know you mean well," he said softly.

You don't understand, McCoy thought. I'm the reason the two of you are being punished.

"But if you agree to stay, you're signing our death warrant!"

"He's right," Alexander said suddenly, hurrying to join the two of them.

 Part Four

McCoy fidgeted in his seat as Parmen telekinetically rearranged the furniture yet again. Knowing all of this was being done because of him, because of his continued refusal to cooperate, was wearing him down. On some level he knew Jim and Alexander were right. If he gave in, he would be the only one to survive, and he would wish he hadn't. That was the only thing that kept him going; the only thing that kept him biting his tongue against giving in to Parmen's demands.

It may be his fault they were being tormented, but he would not let them down. He would not be the cause of their deaths. Watching Spock and Uhura and Christine played like puppets made him cringe. Watching Spock forced to serenade the two women had been a test in endurance, a test of his resolve. He had to allow this proceed. He had to give them the time they needed. The others around him, the Platonians, laughed and taunted as the spectacle continued, but he cried inside. Somehow, sometime, he would make it up to Spock, he swore it.

For now, he hoped fervently that the injections he'd given the Captain and Spock would take affect soon. It was a long shot, at best, he knew. When they'd discovered that the food supplies they'd brought with them had run out less than four months before they began to develop their powers, it had been easy to see it had to have come from something in the native foods.

From there it hadn't taken them long to discover the reason Alexander was the only one of the Platonians who had not developed the telekinetic powers. Comparing the data he still had on Parmen's blood sample to the one he got from Alexander had been child's play. Dumb move on the Platonian's part, he thought, leaving him his tricorder. It wasn't a mistake he would have made. Of course he hadn't had God-like powers for a couple of millenia either.

He glanced across at Alexander, he had to admit a healthy dose of respect for the man. He didn't think he could have refused the offer of the powers as Alexander had. He'd only been here a very short while and already he wanted to 'get even'. All Alexander wanted after years of this, was to leave. It was humbling.

"Yes," Kirk said softly. "What about Alexander?"

"Well," McCoy responded thoughtfully, "since the kironide's already broken down and injected directly into the bloodstream, it should work for him as well as us; better, in fact, because he's acclimated."

"Oh, no, I want nothing to do with that!" Alexander cried.

"Why not? You could conceivably take Parmen's place and run the planet!" Kirk said in surprise.

"You think that's what I want? To become one of them? To become my own enemy? Just lie around like a big blob of nothing and have things done for me? If I'm going to move I want to do it for myself, and if I''m going to laugh or cry I want to do it for myself!" Alexander retorted angrily. "You can keep your precious power!"

He walked over to the captain, his blue eyes flashing. "All I ask is one thing; if you DO make it out of here, take me with you. Just drop me any place where they never heard of kironide or Platonius!"

His attention was jerked back to the present as the couches halted and the women were forced onto them. Then Spock and the captain were dragged to the couches as well, and McCoy groaned inwardly. Please let the injections work very soon. Parmen couldn't have chosen worse pairings to taunt the two men with, especially Spock, if he'd done it purposely.

Purposely! McCoy nearly gasped. He'd taken the clues from Spock's mind. He was as sure of it as he was his own name. He seethed, wishing now, he too had taken an injection. Anger surged, this time at himself and at Jim. Neglecting a third possible angle with which to strike back at the Platonians was a big oversight, one he was sure they would all regret.

He tightened his hands into fists as his two best friends were dragged back and forth between the two crew women, hoping he was wrong and that the choice of these two had been random happenstance and that he would ultimately place Spock with Uhura, and Kirk with Christine. He wasn't sure either Spock or Christine would ever be able to face the other, if....


"Oh, how faithless and fickle!" Dionyd taunted as Spock was once again directed to sit on Christine's couch.

Eraclitus, sitting next to Dionyd laughed loudly. "Make up your minds!" he yelled to them.

Spock ignored them both. It was Parmen and McCoy that he was concerned with. McCoy looked ready to burst with his anger. Hold on, he thought, our time of revenge will come.

Parmen smirked, and Spock groaned inwardly . He could not look at him without remembering. He faced Christine as Parmen raised his head slightly, looking directly at her.

Christine's eyes widened, her expression one of both confusion and growing alarm as Parmen once again took control of her body. She sat up, her left arm slipping around to his back. He couldn't move. Her right hand neared his face and he tried to draw back. His jaw clenched, the muscles there twitching with the force.

Then her hand touched his cheek, carressing it, trailing down his jawline, and he was suddenly flooded with her fears, her shame, her embarrassment, and yes, her love for him. Added to his own turmoil, that he barely controlled, it was nearly overwhelming. He swallowed convulsively. His mental shields were not yet up to this. In his struggles to master what the Platon-, no what Parmen, had raised in him, his shielding had needed to take second place. He could almost regret that now.

"I'm so ashamed. Please," she begged him, "make them stop."

He winced, her words a painful echo of his own thoughts. "We have tried," he said softly, the Platonians laughing. Oh, Ancestor's, had he tried! Christine's hand shook violently, as she continued touching him. He tried to move away, desperately wanting this contact to end, but he only succeeded in jerking slightly.

His hand moved, and his hand trembled too, as he fought the movement with every ounce of will power he had. Her face, so close to his, was a study in distress as his hand moved up her thigh, his thumb moving in tiny circles.

"Please, please, make them stop," she implored, her eyes begging him, her fear turning to panic as his hand moved over her in an intimate caress. Hatred and anger soared through Spock, at what Parmen was making him do. He closed his eyes, trying to shut out everything in an attempt to thwart Parmen's control.

He could feel, Christine's entire body shake with uncontrollable fear. Never had anyone been so afraid of him. While it was obvious she knew it was Parmen's whim that controlled what happened here; it was him she was afraid of, of what he would be made to do. It hurt; it hurt badly.

She had done nothing to deserve what Parmen was doing to her, making him do to her. He shook now too, with a growing fury he was having trouble controlling. That he should be the vessel to make someone...hurt as much as he had been hurt earlier, made a part of him wither inside.

It was no use, he couldn't fight Parmen...yet. He snapped is eyes open, to find himself staring staight into Christine's eyes. She was near to tears, both eyes, glistening with the extra moisture. It tore at him. "I haven't the power," he whispered as her hand cupped his neck, sliding down to rest on his shoulder.

His regret and a deep sadness filled his eyes as he continued, consoling her the only way he could. "I'm deeply sorry," he said as he ignored the laughter of their 'audience', focusing solely on her, 'that I failed you."

She shook her head minutely, and he wasn't completely certain whether it was to deny his words or something else entirely. "For so long, I've wanted to be...close to you," she said, her voice low and intense, her humiliation coming at him in waves. "Now all I want to do is crawl away and d-ie."

Parmen once again moved her hand to his neck. She managed to jerk it away once, but was forced to replace it immediately. He was surprised she'd managed that much. It said much for her strength of will.

They moved toward each other, even as Parmen expanded his control and Spock's 'free' hand moved up to cup her breast. They both jerked backward as he did so, but were relentlessly dragged closer and closer together. And amid clapping, laughter and calls of 'Bravo!', they both closed their eyes in resignation of what was coming, his a moment later than hers.

With one final 'push' from Parmen, their lips parted and touched.

"Careful, Mr. Spock," Dionyd mocked. "Too much love is dangerous!"

Spock tried to block out the laughter that followed but embarrassment welled up in him, concentrated and tripled by the same radiating from Christine. He gasped as Parmen touched his mind. He felt a glimpse of Parmen's vindictive joy a split second before the minimal barriers to his mind fell away.

He didn't have time to protest, even mentally, before the intimate, skin to skin, contact between them brought their minds together. He fell into the surprising depths of her mind, discovering things about her he had never known existed, weathering the shock she experienced at the sudden merge.

~Oh, God! Spock!~

He felt her horror as his own, as she suddenly realized just how far this might be taken. Panic overwhelmed her as he bore her down to the couch, urged there both by Parmen's direct control and Christine's hand pulling him.

They both felt the moment that Parmen touched the more primal centers of Spock's mind. Christine whimpered against the sudden arousal that shot through the two of them, stemming solely from Spock.

"Remember, Cupid's arrow kills Vulcans!" they heard as if from a distance, laughter echoing.

"I'm so frightened, Captain," Uhura whispered. "I'm so very frightened."

Their kiss deepened, Christine's hand still firmly holding him in place. His hand moving slowly back down her leg, until it reached the hem of her long skirt.

"That's the way they want you to feel. It makes them think they're alive," Kirk said quietly."

~No, please no,~ Christine begged him as his hand inched it's way back up, exposing her leg to all and sundry.

He tried to stop, he tried with all he had, but too many things were coming at him at once. His mind whirled with his emotions, her emotions, and Parmen's not-so-subtle stimulation; he couldn't concentrate. ~I am so sorry, Christine. Forgive me, please.~

"I know it," Uhura said. "But, I wish I could stop trembling," she added, followed by an attempt at laughter.

Christine's hand reached down and both tensed further, both knowing exactly where it was headed. Spock's hand reached it's goal at the same moment hers did. Their eyes flew open in shock.

He had not expected lack of underclothing; she had not expected to find him hard. They both began shaking yet again, trying desperately to pull apart.

" think of them," Kirk instructed, his words creating even more laughter.

~I wish I could. I wish I could pretend.~

~Do it,~ Spock told her, wanting her not to suffer for his mistakes. ~We are alone,~ he thought to her, willing her to believe it. Using what abilities he still had at his command to help her block out everything except making this her fantasy, instead of what it really was.

Christine's hand slid around the back of his neck pulling him closer, deepening the kiss, all her fear and shame, fading as the illusion became stronger than reality.

He gasped, stunned by the level of her sudden arousal. He'd had less than no idea she wanted him this much. His breathing grew eratic, as she was allowed to forget exactly where she was and her caresses grew bolder, and he had to struggle against very conflicting emotions.

It almost broke his concentration, almost pulled her out of her 'safe place'. However, he was no longer certain that it was the good idea it had seemed at first, as he felt Parmen's laughter in his mind right along side the ever present psychic stroking.

The voices and sounds faded around him as he struggled against being pulled into the illusion he'd helped her create. He felt Parmen's control of him increase as he no longer needed to concentrate so strongly on Christine. A double edged sword that, he thought.

He barely heard Philana's waspish words, "Parmen, get on with it," but they were like a dagger of ice, slicing through what little equinamity he'd managed to maintain and he nearly choked on the combination of fear and disgust that rose up, nearly closing off his throat.

Christine's eyes snapped open and her utter shock flooded in on top.

"You are so impatient, my wife," Parmen teased. "Observe the good doctor and learn. He is quite content to wait for the piece de resistance."

But despite Parmen's words, Spock felt himself partially released and he was allowed to pull back from Christine. Confusion, liberally mixed with relief, marred his features for a split second, as a red face Christine, hurriedly lowered her dress.

His confusion turned to horrified disbelief as a table loaded with weapons moved across the floor. He and the captain jerked upward and toward it.

 Part Five

As they finished rematerializing on board the Enterprise, Christine dashed down the steps and out of the room.  

The Captain opened his mouth to protest her abrupt departure, but closed it again without saying anything.  He nodded to Lt. Uhura, indicating she, also, was free to go.  And although she had waited for that tacit permission, he noticed her exit was no less hurried.  "Well, gentlemen, I believe the debriefing can wait until tomorrow morning.  0900, in briefing room B."

Spock nodded, and strode out of the transporter room.

"Mr. Scott, could you please arrange quarters for our guest, Alexander," Kirk said, motioning Alexander down from the transport pads.  "He'll be staying with us until we reach Starbase."

"Certainly, Sir," Scotty replied, smiling brightly.  "If you'll come with me, Mr. Alexander."

"Just plain, Alexander."

The doors closed behind the two men, just as the Scotsman was encouraging the other to call him Scotty.  

Kirk turned to McCoy, the ache he felt inside shining in his eyes.  There was literally nothing he could do for his friend, and he knew it.  "Is Spock going to be okay, Bones?"

McCoy shook his head, as they too headed out.  "Eventually?  Yes.  Any time soon?  I really don't think so, Jim."


Spock strode down the corridor, looking, to the casual observer, as if he'd just stepped on board after shore leave.  He was, however, holding on to that grace-saving appearance of calm by only the finest of threads, his thoughts churning in complete turmoil.  The instant the door to his quarters slid closed behind him, Spock slapped the personal lock and leaned back against the door.  Closing his eyes, he took several slow deep breaths in an attempt to slow the chaos in his mind.

After several minutes, four point six four three to be exact, he gave up, and crossed his quarters, settling on the low lying shelf he, himself, had designed as a meditation area.  Then crossing his legs, he sat, reflexively controlling the wince as bruised, torn muscles forcibly reminded him of their presence.

Nearly jumping up, he strode toward the fresher.  A small part of his mind whispered that the logical thing to do would be go to Sickbay.  The doctor already knew, had seen, had heard.  Spock shuddered, and then couldn't stop, the shaking bone deep, and defeating all his attempts to subsume the emotional reaction.  He sank down to the floor of his quarters, torn between an aching need to strike out, and a very real need to truly forget.

Nothing in his training as a Vulcan or a Starfleet Officer had come anywhere near preparing him for this kind of horrific violation.  While they'd all still been in danger, he'd been able to shove it aside, to hide it behind the layered shields of duty and Vulcan pride.  No one broke a Vulcan, no matter what they did.  

He could still feel him moving.  Spock swallowed convulsively against the bile that rose in his throat.

"I will not lose control," he whispered into the silence.

His stomach muscles clenched.

Not daring to rise, he crawled toward the bathroom, barely making it before his body physically rejected what had happened.  Long after there was nothing left to expel, he continued to heave.

//Beep, beep.//

Spock only vaguely heard the irritating sound.

//Beep, beep.//

With a most unVulcan-like sigh, he rose, his legs oddly unwilling to support him.  Gripping the door frame tightly, he waited until he was certain his legs would not buckle, then strode across his quarters.  

//Beep, beep.//

With a nearly savage twist he keyed open the communique.  "Spock here," he answered, gratified to hear his voice sounding as calm and rational as ever.  

"Spock," McCoy began and Spock visibly winced at the doctor's quiet voice.  "I need you to come to Sickbay."

No!  "That is unnecessary, Doctor. I assure--"

"No, Spock," McCoy interrupted firmly.  A long silence followed then McCoy's voice continued, quiet and gentle.  "Spock, what is the logical thing to do here?"

Spock closed his eyes, an intense surge of claustrophobia closing in around him.  He forced it down.  "Doctor, I..."  His voice uncharacteristically trailed off.  How was he supposed to articulate this?

"Complete privacy, Spock.  No one else will know.  I assure you.  You need the...damage repaired."

"Very well," Spock replied finally, cutting the connection immediately.

 Part Six

McCoy paced the confines of his office anxiously, peering out his open door several times, just to make sure Spock had not already arrived. He was reasonably certain Spock was going to show up, and he sure as hell didn't want to make him wait even one second, before he hustled the Vulcan into the isolation ward for the privacy McCoy had promised him.

What he wasn't sure about, was exactly how he should handle the situation. If Spock had been human, he'd know. It wouldn't be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but he'd know what he could and couldn't do.

Of course, the limited database he had regarding Vulcans had been less than no help. Even the one he'd complied based on his own interactions with both Spock and his father, Ambassador Sarek, didn't come close to covering this. Dropping down into his chair, he sighed heavily and rubbed wearily at his eyes.

The only thing he could say for certain, was that it wasn't going to be easy. Spock was an extraordinarily private man to begin with. Even under normal circumstances, nudity was very low on the Vulcan's preferred states; a fact which had surprised McCoy no end when he'd first been assigned to Enterprise. Now; McCoy shuddered. He couldn't even begin to imagine what Spock was going through, nor did he particularly care to be able to. It was torturous enough simply being on the outside looking in.

When they'd beamed aboard, Spock had seemed, to all outward appearances, to be handling the situation well, but if he were a betting man, which he was, he'd lay ten to one odds that Spock was not as 'okay' as he wanted everyone to believe.

The Sickbay door swished open and McCoy was on his feet in an instant. He slowed his forward motion only as he crossed over the threshold of his office door. Then, he slowed to a sedate walk. He paled as soon as he saw who it was who entered.

"Christine," he said, his surprise, along with a touch of fear, sharpening his voice far more than he'd intended. Immediately, his face softened into contrite lines, "I didn't expect you in yet. Is something wrong? Were you injured?" He was babbling, and he knew it, but he couldn't help it. His concern for each of them as individuals at war with the fact that neither was ready to face the other, and if Christine needed to be here, that meeting was inevitable.

Christine shook her head. "No," she replied softly, almost hesitantly. "I...just...I couldn't stand the silence anymore. I couldn't stop thinking." Her eyes pooled with unshed tears, and she took a deep breath, blinking rapidly.

McCoy watched as she tilted her head back in a vain attempt to keep the tears from spilling out. His heart clenched as they slipped down the side of her face, only to disappear into her hairline.

"Damn!" she muttered fiercely. "I promised myself I wouldn't cry."

McCoy moved toward her, raising a hand only to drop it before he touched her. "I think that's a promise you shouldn't even try to keep right now," he said softly, clasping his hands behind his back. What he wanted to do, was pull her into a safe, comforting hug. But considering what had happened, he didn't think it would be appreciated.

"Doctor," she said formally, her gaze suddenly intensely locked with his. "I have a...problem."

McCoy started with her formal use of his title. She didn't usually use it, unless they were both on-duty and he wasn't quite sure how to respond, so he settled for a rather bland, noncommittal statement. "Come on into my office. We can discuss it there."

Christine nodded, and strode toward the still open door. She didn't even look to see if he was following her.

Damn it all! What else had happened that he hadn't been privy to? In silence he followed her into his office, and palming the door locked behind them, he went straight to the chair behind his desk. He waited several moments, but she never turned to face him. He was about to ask her what was wrong when she spoke, never turning to face him.

"I'm in something of a...professional dilemma," she said quietly. "If this were strictly personal, I would most certainly keep it to myself. Unfortunately, my professional duty requires something different from my personal preferences."

McCoy frowned. This was not sounding good at all.

"I discovered something that will affect the performance of an Officer of this ship. The problem being, I found out about it through very private means."

McCoy's heart clenched, flipped, and then climbed into his throat. She knows, he thought with horror. Which could only mean that Spock knows she knows. He clenched his eyes shut. "I already know," he whispered hoarsely. "You don't have to tell me about it."

Christine's shoulders slumped in obvious relief, letting out a loud, nearly explosive breath. "Thank all that's holy!" she murmured, then without further word fled from the room.

McCoy jumped up, racing to follow. "Christine!" he called out, then skidded to a halt, dismay flushing through him. Spock and Christine both stood frozen, like deer caught in old fashioned headlights, both seemingly poised for flight.

McCoy felt like he were moving in slow motion, as if time itself had slowed to a crawl. He just knew this was a disaster waiting to happen, and he was equally sure there was not a damn thing he could do to prevent it from happening. He was surprised when Christine nodded to Spock calmly.

"Commander," she said in greeting.

"Nurse Chapel," he replied equally quiet, nodding once.

It was all McCoy could do to keep his jaw from dropping open, as well as his heart from shattering. Behind the stoic faces of two of the people he knew so well, he could see the pain lingering -- a pain neither was willing to acknowledge even enough to seem uncomfortable in the others presence.

Before he could react, Christine slipped past Spock and was heading for the door. Spock took two steps toward him, paused, turned, cocking his head slightly as he spoke. "Nurse Chapel...Christine?"

Christine froze and turned back around, uncertainty equally mixed with curiosity lit her eyes. "Yes, Commander?"

"I," Spock shook his head fractionally. "You handled yourself well during the crisis on the planet," he said primly.

Christine's eyes widened briefly, then she nodded once, her eyes hooded. "Thank-you, Commander Spock," she said, before spinning on one heel and slipping out of Sickbay as quickly as dignity would allow.

 Part Seven

Spock turned to face Dr. McCoy lost in thought, the disquieting encounter with Nurse Chapel momentarily shifting his focus away from his own inner demons. How did she do it, he wondered briefly? How did any of them do it? Without the controls demandingly trained into Vulcans almost from birth, how did they contain the griefs and frustrations he'd seen them endure?

If he were to hazard an opinion, he would say Christine Chapel had to be feeling a number of powerful emotions -- horror, embarrassment, and shame being only a few. But none of them had been obvious in her just moments ago. He wondered if she were feeling the anger he was so desperately trying to suppress. She certainly hadn't seemed to be.


Spock turned his focus outward at the sound of his name, nodding once when McCoy indicated he should proceed the doctor into the isolation ward. As much as he...dreaded this exam, he was gratified by the privacy McCoy was affording him. Crossing the room slowly, he barely controlled a wince. It surprised him that he could have forgotten the aches and pains even momentarily. Suppress his reaction to them, yes. Ignore them, yes. Forget them? No.

Movement brought with it a renewal of pain, each step sending razor- like slices of it through him, and he was momentarily back in that faux Grecian room. Every stabbing reminder bringing with it the shards of humiliation and shame. Spock fought to suppress the inappropriate emotions, focusing instead on the more mundane task of controlling the pain, and his outward reaction to it.

"Spock," McCoy said quietly, as soon as the door slid shut behind them, and Spock turned slowly, his face an iron mask of neutrality.

His face paled in automatic reaction to the standard Sickbay robe McCoy held out. His first instinct to turn on his heel and stride out of the room. The invasion of personal privacy the gown embodied was disquieting at the best of times. Now, it grated down his spine as utter anathema.

"You'll need to put this on, Spock," McCoy said, his tone neither overly quiet nor abrupt. "I'll be back in a couple of minutes to fix you up."

In the moments it took him to reach out a take it, McCoy's expression didn't change. Spock saw nothing but crisp, impersonal professionalism. It surprised him. And it was only that, that allowed him to maintain his mask of indifference as McCoy turned and walked out of the isolation ward.


Christine sagged against the locked door to her quarters, sliding down onto the floor when her legs refused to support her. Then, alone in her quarters, away from prying eyes, away from duty and responsibility, the shaking started, and tears fell. One by one they escaped between tightly shut eyelids. Faster and faster they came. She couldn't stop them. She curled herself into a tight ball, wrapping her arms around her knees and hugging them to her body.

And while she couldn't control her body's reactions, her thoughts raced, chasing themselves around in circles, shifting chaotically between mortification, shame, and outrage. The only constant in the chaos of her mind was that she couldn't stay aboard the Enterprise any longer.

To stay would only inflict pain on both herself and Spock, even if he would not admit it. There was no way she could be in the same room with him without being thrown back to, back to the horrors those platonians had visited on all of them. What they had done to her. What they had done to Spock. Spock! God! This has to be killing him!

A curious numbness settled into Christine's soul as her tears stopped flowing almost as suddenly as they'd started. The trembling ceased just as suddenly and every muscle in her body relaxed at once. Lifting her head to gaze nearly sightlessly around her quarters, her home, she came to a decision. She would leave. It would be best for everyone involved.


Jim Kirk thumbed off the connection to the Bridge, closing his eyes in weary frustration. After what they'd done, he done what? Nothing, that's what he'd done. He told them 'they'd be watching'.

Shooting up out of his chair, Kirk paced the confines of his quarters, his rage spiraling upward again. He should have taken that bastard down when he'd had the chance. But, no. He was a Starfleet Officer. He couldn't do things like that. A short bark of humorless laughter escaped him, echoing oddly. What good was being the captain of a Starship if he couldn't prevent such horrifying trauma to his friends?

He hadn't been able to prevent it, he had failed them. He hadn't been able to avenge the wrong done them, he had failed them again. He wanted to strike out. He didn't overly much care at who or what. He just needed to be doing something to help those he was responsible for. What he wanted to do was get falling down drunk. He wanted to get so plastered out of his mind that he couldn't remember his name, let alone how badly he'd failed.

Instead, he collapsed onto his bed, closing out the world as he closed his eyes.


Shaking hands and ice cold fingers poured a full tumbler of single malt whiskey. Misery laden eyes, stared morosely at the amber liquid as it rippled within the tumbler. He hoped and prayed to any god or gods that may be listening that he never had to patch up that kind of damage again. It was so damn intimately invasive.

With a deep shuddering breath he downed the entire glass, slamming the empty onto the counter. The fiery liquid burned all the way down, bringing instant tears, but it heated his belly and quickly spread the illusion of warmth through out him.

It had been a very long time since he'd felt so utterly helpless. He knew beyond the shadow of any doubt that he wasn't going to be able to help Spock, because Spock wasn't going to let him.


Spock strode down the corridor, intent on reaching the solitary peace of his quarters. It was the one place he needn't be concerned with shaming himself further. The need for constant control of the pain gone, he found he couldn't stop a vicious circle of thoughts, that landed him right back down on Platonius. With a slow breath, that was far shakier than he would have preferred, he slowed to a stop.

The corridor was empty, save for him and he had no idea what had made him stop. It was simply a sudden...feeling that he should be headed somewhere other than his quarters. It wasn't logical. His quarters meant safety and blessed time alone.

He started forward again, just as the quarters door to his right open. He flinched minutely and turned to face the occupant before he could suppress the outward sign of his startlement. He froze, felt caught and held by the wide, surprised eyes of Nurse Chapel.

He started to nod and move on, wanting to spare both of them a potentially awkward, and for the nurse, embarrassing encounter, but something inside of him clicked and everything fell into place. Here, standing in front of him, was the one person on board who knew everything that had happened, including how it affected him. She was the one person who might be able to help him work through this.

"Miss Chapel, would it be possible for us to speak...privately?" he asked, not at all sure she would be willing, given the circumstances.

She hesitated, obviously unsure it was wise, but then something undefinable crossed her expression then slid into a focused gaze as she nodded once and backed up to give him room to enter.

The End

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