Walking A Fine Line
Chapter 3

Authors note
The whole Kirk / Jack slash idea was just that, an idea. I wasn't seriously thinking of writing it so don't worry about it. Besides this story has enough problems without me adding to them.

This story's been on hold for a while for two reasons. The first is I'm having a bit of difficulty writing for the Third Doctor, he's not really "my" doctor as it were and I haven't got the feeling for him yet. The other reason is I'm avoiding everything to to with the new Star Trek movie. Other than the cast list and a couple of photos of the ship I'm avoiding spoilers. Not easy, especially for me.

Dr Horatio Eldar spluttered as the blue uniformed Vulcan explained in a cold emotionless tone everything he's spent his life working on and for. Looking over the small computer screen he could see exactly how this thing on the surface worked. It was only a matter of time before he understood it. How this ignorant fool had found out this much was obviously a great mistake by destiny.

'Tell me again, what did it say to you?' the gaudily dressed, tall, white haired man scrutinised his own screen.

'It described itself as the Guardian of Forever. That it had existed here, in this way, from the beginning of time.' The Vulcan explained

'It's lying of course.' Horatio jumped in. 'It's a creation of some advanced long forgotten race. They left their secrets for us to find.'

'But why is it lying?' The strange man's young companion asked. 'That it can lie is important too isn't it?'

'A good point Sarah Jane.' The man looked from her back to the screen. 'It's a crystal based organic structure, that makes sense.'

'Organic technology? I've never heard of anything like that!' The medic exclaimed.

'Really?' The old man smiled. 'What of the Fire Caves of Xahankay? Walls of living flame, a giant super computer controlling the atmosphere of the whole world. There's also the oak trees on Earth.'

The Vulcan frowned. 'According to our records Xahankay is a dead world.'

At the same time the young woman and the medic looked at the stranger, shocked and said at the same time. 'Oak trees?'

'I never said it was a working supercomputer.' He said to the Vulcan, pointedly ignoring the others before winking at the woman. 'You need a organic based technology to survive the temporal tides this thing puts out.'

This got Horatio's attention. 'Are you saying time travel technology requires organic components?' He had hypothesised something like that

'Some do and some do not. This one looks like it does.'

The Vulcan sat down by his computer and rattled off a few calculations. 'Organic technology is both impressive and, shall we say, unpredictable. Many experiments have been undertaken in developing super computers based on the brain. None have yet been successful.'

'Whoever built this went out of their way to make it organic, partly at least. I'd say this was an experiment.' The stranger said

'In time travel?' the young woman asked.

Horatio rolled his eyes. 'Of course it was, and it was successful.'

'Why here though?' She asked again

'And why is it that you are the only one asking sensible questions Sarah Jane? Mr Spock, how did it present time to you and the Captain?'

'You merely had to chose a location in space and the Guardian presented the progression of time at that location at an accelerated rate.'

Horatio jotted down a few notes. 'Presented how?'

'Visual imagery, across most of the important historical events of Earth.'

'And only of the past?' The stranger pressed.

'That is affirmative.'

Horatio put down his notes and sighed. 'Look, we've put up with your crack pot theories for long enough. Now if you could please let the experts get on with the important work. Thank you and to answer your question it would be impossible to travel into the future as it has not happened yet.'

The stranger blinked. 'Oh, how silly of me. Please continue; you were about to explain how the rift this Guardian was built on is a natural phenomenon and that it was an ancient race, most probably the Ionians, that built it during the last few centuries of their galactic empire.'

'The Ionians are a legend, very little evidence of their culture survives.' the Vulcan explained

The stranger nodded. 'They were a good people, once. Their fall from grace wasn't a pretty one. At first they were peaceful explorers, mastering a form teleport technology that relied on archways at the source, but no receiver. With it they could project themselves anywhere in this galaxy.'

'Fascinating, an impressive feat of engineering and obvious parallels to the Guardian below.'

'So these Ionians built this thing as an experiment?' The medic asked.

The stranger shrugged. 'Or research. This Guardian, as it called itself, was built on a rift, or gap in space and time. If it were the Ionians they wouldn't have had much difficulty adapting the gateway technology to transmit through the hole.'

'Agreed.' The Vulcan said. 'I assume you have familiarity with their culture?'

'A long time ago. I was a different man back then'

Horatio looked at he strange man. 'How could you, you'd have...'

'To have my own time machine.' The stranger smiled benignly. 'My dear fellow, my people developed time travel before the Universe was one eighth it's current size. We wrote the laws of time and space and it would a very good idea for you to be quiet. That's a good chap.'

Spock felt an eyebrow try to escape his forehead, an all too familiar experience around humans. The Doctor had reviled just how powerful his people were. While hyperbole was not out of the question it was not that big a stretch after seeing his craft.

Still, Spock found himself hoping the arrogant human would take the suggestion at face value. He might be able to repress his emotions, however the temptation to explain things to this man was becoming quite overwhelming.

Of course the science officer had read the man's work, with the Vulcan Science Directorate refusing to acknowledge the possibility only human scientists were engaged in time space travel research. A typically blinkered view from a typically ignorant group of self serving scientists.

Dr Horatio Eldar was the foremost researcher in time space anomalies. An adviser to the department of Temporal Investigations and prolific author. In the last five years he had published almost four-hundred separate papers on his research. Many wildly contradicted each other and several made assumptions about time space gravity interactions that could never be proven. The professors research had the novelty of being so overwhelming that by a simple matter of luck he had to get something right.

It was unfortunate that his contemporaries were, in Spock's opinion, too preoccupied in proving or disproving his works to provide their own theories. Still Spock had given him the benefit of the doubt. Now meeting the human in person his concerns were justified.

'Doctor, I assume you are going to request that yourself and your companion travel down to the planetoid and investigate first hand.'

'That I cannot allow. I have been put in charge of this research team. By all rights the enterprise should have left by now and you two shouldn't even be here. Captain Kirk has overruled me about the presence of his ship but he has no authority over my team or mission.' Dr Eldar snapped

Spock sat back and placed the tips of his fingers together. 'I regret that is the case. According to Starfleet regulations the Captain can only overrule Dr Eldar's decisions if they are of a clear danger to the Federation.

'However' Spock continued facing the grinning scientist. 'As a ranking science officer I will make my own opinion a matter of record. You, Dr Eldar, are in my professional option making a mistake. If you care to investigate the Doctor's vessel it will prove his people have an understanding of spacial dimensions far beyond our own.'

'And it will be a matter of my record that you and your Captain have dressed up a passing trader, briefed them on what you have not included on your report and are attempting to sideline my investigation. It won't work.' The man was arrogant and confrontational.

Unfortunately he was not the only one. 'Now just a cotton picking minute here.' the good Dr McCoy jumped up, incensed. 'You think we're making all this up. You arrogant, self serving, self righteous, pompous son of a...'

'Dr McCoy,' Spock interrupted. 'I hardly think another demonstration of your grasp of the more colourful aspects of English will effect Dr Eldar's position. As Science Officer of the Enterprise I request to be included in your research.'

If this man truly was paranoid enough to believe Spock was attempting to manipulate the situation he would deny the request. He did; 'Denied. Have all your research and sensor reports sent to my assistant Dr Walters on the Gemini.' He said, taking with him an air of arrogance and annoyance in equal measure he packed up his notes and left.

After an almost tense moment Dr McCoy let out an explosive breath. 'Mr Spock I never thought I'd say this but I take back everything I've ever said about you being arrogant.'

'Why thank you. That alone almost makes meeting the universes most disagreeable man worth while. He has effectively isolated us from conducting any further investigations.'

'You, Mr Spock. have been stopped. Not me.' The Doctor grinned. 'You can't stop me from taking the TARDIS and making my own investigations.'

'As a matter of fact, we can't.' Spock agreed

'We can't, Spock?' Dr McCoy asked archly.

'First contact protocol is still in effect.' Spock replied. 'As long as any action undertaken does not effect the security of the Federation every curtesy must be extended on first contact.'

The Doctor nodded. 'And as a matter of curtesy you will let myself and my companion leave however I want.'

Dr McCoy smiled 'I can see where this is going.'

'And if I happen to arrive on the planetoid below it might be in the best interest of the Federation to send, say, two officers to supervise my actions.' The Doctor was making his point.

'Let me guess Mr Spock. Regulations would suggest a medical officer and a pointed eared science officer with experience in the field.'

'I do not believe that regulations make any reference to the science officers ears.'

McCoy's grin widened 'That man is not going to be very happy about this.'

Isn't that just tough.' The young woman's grin was almost wider than the good Dr McCoy's. 'Shouldn't we be going Doctor? Before that horrible little man gets down there and does who knows what.'

'Not just yet Sarah Jane. If Dr McCoy and Mr Spock are going to go down after us we might as well all take the TARDIS.'

'He's not going to be happy about this at all.'

Jim laughed. 'Knight to Rooks level four.'

'Sneaky. I can see you've been playing more than a few games with Spock.' Katherine frowned at the board. The two of them were the only people in the Recreation room at the moment.

'Playing a Vulcan on a weekly basis does tend to sharpen your game.'

'Or dull it.' Katherine teased and promptly took his Knight

Jim kept his poker face and let a grin through. 'Dull? Our games have been anything but dull.'

'Careful Jim,' She smiled cockily 'You're about to lose.'

'I wasn't talking about chess.'

She winked at him 'Neither was I.' The was along pause.

Jim was more than smart enough to know he was in trouble. 'Your move.' she said sweetly.

Fortunately he was interrupted by the intercom. Uhura called down from the bridge. 'Captain Kirk, please respond.'

He smiled at Katherine and stood up. 'Duty calls.' He made his way to the wall comm and pressed the small white switch. 'Kirk here. Is something wrong?'

'No sir. Mr Spock wants a word with you. I'll put you through.' She answeredThere was a moment before Spock came through. 'Captain, Dr Eldar has refused permission for myself or anyone other than his science team to investigate the Guardian.'

'Can't say that I am surprised Mr Spock.'

'Nor I Captain. However the Doctor has pointed out that he is not bound by those orders...'

'I don't like where this is heading Mr Spock' Jim interrupted.

Indeed not sir. He has, however, invited both Dr McCoy and myself along as observers in interest of Federation security.'

'You are aware Mr Spock that the entire pretence that we are here under is to prevent alien races from taking advantage of the Guardian on the surface.'

'Indeed I am Captain and that shall be what myself and the good Dr McCoy will endeavour to do.'

Jim cast a glance at the other Captain. Her grin was almost impossibly wide. 'You are aware that I cannot allow any of you to use the transporters.'

'The Doctor has offered transport in his own ship.'

Jim though about that for half a second. A ship that defied every law of logic Spock had grown up with. No wonder he was jumping at the chance to travel in it. 'Bones, are you there?'

'That I am Jim.'

'Make sure our friend doesn't enjoy himself too much and I'd like a full report from both of you when this is all over.'

'I'll make sure of it Jim' He could hear the laugh in Bones voice.

Jim had an idea. 'Oh, you still have some of that Aldeveron whiskey?'

'Sure, for medical purposes of course. Why Jim?'

'Because after Dr Eldar has finished shouting at me I think I'm going to need it, strictly for medical purposes you understand. ' Jim sighed and Katherine laughed. 'Kirk out.' he let go of the button and walked back to the chess table.

'It's still your move. Checkmate in five by the way.' His opponent beamed at him

Sarah Jane and The Doctor came out of the strange lift and walked down the curving corridor. 'You see Sarah Jane starship design around this time was all like this.'

'Bright colours and bending corridors?' she asked. As much as she had seen of the ship it was all the same and after awhile she wanted to see something, anything else. 'Don't they have windows.'

The Doctor smiled. 'No, not really. Most of the time all they'd see is stars passing by at light speeds if they did.' There was a man in a red uniform looking at the TARDIS and shaking his head at a black satchel box

'It's just not possible?' he said a odd Scottish accent.

'Ahh, Engineer Scott. Is there a problem?' The alien asked.

'Aye, you could say that Mr Spock. This thing cannot have got here. It just can't.' The man pointed at the TARDIS. 'It's too big for the doors, there wasn't anything in range to transport it. Even if there was it would be a mighty fine bit of transporter work to get something this big in here.'

'Why, thank you.' The Doctor said accepting the compliment, 'I had to ride the re-materialisation circuit hard to put her down within the time anomalies. Must have made alot of noise.'

'So how did you do it?' The man asked

'We were just about to head to the planet. There's always room for one more, if you want to see.' The Doctor offered. Sarah Jane smiled at the way the man's eyes lit up.

'Aye, I'd love to come. Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer.' Montgomery offered his hand

The Doctor took it; 'The Doctor, pleasure to meet you. This is my companion Sarah Jane Smith'

Sarah Jane offered her hand. 'Good to meet you Montgomery.'

'Oh no, not to a young lady as pretty as yourself. Call me Scotty.'

Sarah Jane laughed, he wasn't flirting, it seemed more like he didn't like his first name, 'Scotty it is then.'

'Shall we Mr Scott?' The Doctor gestured to the TARDIS and opened the doors. As the five of them went inside, Sarah Jane noticed Mr Spock's hesitation as he stepped though into the large white control room.

Surprised Scotty.' She asked the engineer. Looking at his face she got all the answer she would ever need.

If there was anyone more dumbstruck Sarah Jane had yet to meet them. His jaw was wide open and eye's alight up like it was Christmas morning. 'Scotty? The young lady asked you a question.' Dr McCoy said while at the same time Mr Spock's eyebrow flicked up.

Scotty looked around for a moment more before blinking. 'Huh? Oh aye lass Mr Spock said it was bigger on the inside but I had no idea...' He turned to the Doctor who was busy hanging his coat up. 'So what makes it go?' His expression was like a child in a toy shop.

The Doctor's expression wasn't much better. 'That does.' he pointed at the middle of the control column in the centre of the room.

'So that's the helm?' Scotty asked as the Doctor walked past them, flicking the door controls.

'No that's it.' Sarah Jane said helpfully. 'The thing in the middle is the power source and each of the panels controls a different part. But don't ask what, there's something only Time Lords understand that means humans can't use it.'

'Twelfth dimensional logic. Simple if you know how.' The Doctor said absently as he began to flick switches in what looked like a random order as ever. 'Shouldn't take too long, The temporal turbulence should keep us on course.'

'You mean that this vessel only requires the two of you. What is it's range?' Mr Spock asked.

Sarah Jane grinned. 'I'm just the passenger. The Doctor's the one who flies the TARDIS. It can take you anywhere.'

'Anywhere?' Dr McCoy and Scotty echoed

'Sarah Jane is quite right. This is a type 40 TARDIS, the oldest of her kind. Capable of taking you to any planet in the universe and any point in that planet's history. Ever' With that the Doctor grinned and pulled down a large switch.

The central column shook in place before rising in falling with the half familiar sound of the TARDIS taking off.

Sarah Jane watched Mr Spock and Scotty look from it to their little satchel like box. Then as quickly as it started the whole column stopped and settled back down. 'There we go, a little hop from here to there. Lady and gentlemen, Let's meet this Guardian.

End Chapter 3

Authors note:-

Next chapter two time travellers meet and things move up a gear (they couldn't get any slower now could they)