Authors Note: This is slash fiction between Kirk and Garth of Izar. I write fan-fiction, I don't read it, so this particular plot is original with me! Having said that, I'd be surprised if there weren't some slash fiction between these two characters out there, and if anyone knows of any, please put the titles in the comments section for this story, as now that I've explored the topic, I wouldn't mind reading what other people have written. Also, if you're a fan of Steve Ihnat, check out the links on his Wikipedia entry. One of those is called Brief Candle and is my tribute to him. It's still at the beginning stages, though.

Whom Love Destroys

By Gale Force

Another note: The entire episode isn't reproduced here. Just selected scenes with a new slant. Depending on the reaction, if any, I'll expand it into a full episode. Vox populi.

Part I – Queen to Queen's Level Three

The U.S.S. Enterprise entered orbit around the prison planet Elba II.

"Captain's log, stardate 5718.3. The Enterprise is orbiting Elba II, a planet with a poisonous atmosphere where the Federation maintains an asylum for the few remaining incorrigible criminally insane in the galaxy. We are bringing a revolutionary new medicine to them. A medicine with which the Federation hopes to eliminate mental illness for all time. I am transporting down with Mr. Spock, and we are delivering the medicine to Dr. Donald Korry, the governor of the colony."

Captain James T. Kirk pressed a button to turn off the recorder. He then gazed at the green, noxious looking planet on the viewing screen. To think…to think…that Garth of Izar was trapped down there, incurably insane…

Mr. Spock was completing a few duties at his station. Uhuru had just finished transmitting their arrival message to the facility's governor, Dr. Korrie, and they'd received permission to beam down. Now, she'd be sending an announcement of their arrival to Star Fleet command, then continue monitoring subspace communication in the area.

Sulu and Checkov sat at their consoles, relaxing after bringing the ship into proper orbit. They were also gazing up at the projection. Kirk wondered what they were thinking about. For himself, he always got a cold grue whenever he had to perform one of these missions. Prison planets for the incurably insane…insanity…how horrible that must be… and to have happened to Garth of Izar…a man he'd admired for decades…a man whose life he'd patterned his own after…it was inconceivable.

He shivered a little.

His command chair beeped. Kirk glanced down at the pad, then hit a button. "What is it, Bones?"

"I've finished work on the vials. If you're ready to go, I'll bring them down to the transporter."

"Very good, Bones. Scotty's already there, waiting to beam us down."

"Mr. Sulu, you have the con," said Kirk, as he and Spock headed for the elevator. "Scotty will be up here as soon as we've beamed down."

"Aye, aye, sir."

Just as they were about to enter the transporter room, McCoy arrived, and the three men walked in together.

"Here you go, Jim," Bones drawled tiredly, handing him a small container which held two vials. "Took me the whole danged trip, but I got what I needed."

Kirk accepted the vials, and passed them over to Spock. He looked at the doctor critically. McCoy had spent most of the journey attempting to synthesize some more of the drug for his own purposes. The Federation had only given them two vials, and McCoy had wanted to do some experiments of his own.

"You look out on your feet, Bones," Kirk said.

The doctor nodded. "Think I'll grab a couple of hours sleep. If you two think you can get along down there without me."

The Vulcan raised an eyebrow and was about to say something, when Kirk forestalled him with a grin. "We'll try to struggle along, Doctor."

"I'd like to be present when they administer it to a subject."

A subject? Thought Kirk. Garth of Izar – the most famous starship captain the Federation had ever had? Well, but that was how Bones looked at things. Coldly, clearly and analytically, when it came to patients and medicine.

"We'll talk with Korry, see what his schedule is. I know he's anxious to put this experimental drug to work as quickly as possible, but there'll be plenty of work for you down there, I'm sure."

McCoy nodded.

Kirk turned to Scotty. "Okay, Scotty. Let's use a chess password this time."

It was McCoy's turn to raise an eyebrow. "A Chess password?"

"Standard procedure, Doctor," commented Spock. "Whenever a starship approaches a prison planet, or one in the throes of martial conflict, and crewmembers beam down to the surface, a password system is utilized, to prevent unauthorized personnel from gaining access to the ship by hiding behind the landing party."

McCoy pursed his lips. "Sounds like a good plan."

"The sign will be "Queen to Queen's Level Three," said Kirk. And the countersign, "Queen to King's Level One"

Scotty nodded. "Very good, sir."

"You should do that all the time, though." McCoy said musingly. "Who knows when some martial conflict might not break out on a previously peaceful planet, as we have good cause to know."

"Suggestion noted, Doctor," Kirk said with a grin.

Kirk and Spock stepped onto the transporter pads. McCoy waited to see them dematerialize, then he and Scotty walked out of the transporter room. Scotty continued on to the bridge, McCoy to his quarters, where he slipped into bed without bothering to shuck his uniform.

Part II – The Passion

Kirk lay on the not-uncomfortable bed in a fetal position. One part of him disliked appearing so vulnerable, but he was in so much pain that appearances could no longer be considered. That chair…that torture chair…had done its work well.

But this pain was no more than he'd deserved. He'd let Dr. Kory suffer through that chair for minutes…he could do no less.

He forced himself to breathe through gritted teeth. Don't fight the pain, go with it…let it flow….let it dissipate…

Jesus…

Suddenly, he felt gentle hands on his shoulders…a cool hand caressing his face. He forced his eyes open and saw the Orion girl, Marta, seated beside him, her dark eyes liquid with concern.

"You're in so much pain," she whispered.

There was a different note in her voice…it sounded low and concerned…and sane.

"Just a bit," he gritted.

The girl laughed. A low, tinkling, understanding laugh. "Always the stoic captain," she whispered. "But in the privacy of your own room, you can let go…seek some comfort…"

She bent down, and brushed her lips over his hot face.

Cold, soothing lips… and her hands, cool…making the pain go away.

Kirk began to return her kiss…

Incredibly, the pain was dissipating…evaporating…as he lost himself in her kiss and her embrace.

He was able to move again, and seemingly of their own volition his hands moved to embrace her, feeling her cool flesh. He had never felt like this before, with any woman he'd ever been with… it was incredible… how could this poor insane girl make him feel so alive…he couldn't…he musn't….she was making the pain go away…he reached upward to slip off the straps of her dress…

Garth of Izar had not intended to kiss Kirk at all. He had assumed the shape of Marta and had intended to help Kirk escape, bring him to the command chamber, and have him give the countersign that would enable him to get off this hell-hole and out into the galaxy where he belonged.

But he had felt strangely touched, when he'd entered the room to find Kirk in a fetal position. He'd watched, unmoved, when he'd been inflicting the torture on this man, in that chair, but now here was the aftermath.

He'd moved across the floor as lightly and gracefully as a dancer, sat down next to Kirk, placed his hands very gently on those arms…and felt the musculature beneath the shirt. Kirk kept himself in shape. And he was burning up.

Garth's mind was a welter of colors, and sounds, and shape. All together it was a cacophony, a kaleidoscope, that no one but he could hear or see..he had to make it stop. He focused his mind, brought it to bear very gently on Kirk's, as he rubbed his hands softly over the man's shoulders and chest.

He felt Kirk's body relax as the pain went away, he felt Kirk's desire for this woman's body…he leaned down and kissed him on the lips…

And felt…pleasure…Kirk was embracing him, gently, comfortingly also, and kissing him, for a few seconds the colors, the sounds, the shapes, they seemed to fade away…

And for a second his concentration slipped…

Kirk's eyes widened as he realized he was kissing not Marta but rather Garth of Izar. For a few seconds he continued on, lost in the pleasure of it, but the sheer shock of seeing the psychotic Garth just a few inches away was too much.

Shock..anger…even fear…

The impulses lashed over Garth, and the tender emotions of a second ago were washed away as if they had never been.

He got up, grinned at Kirk…his monomaniacal, charismatic grin, and then he walked jauntily from the room.

Behind him…even as the pain returned, Kirk was thinking of the pleasure he'd gotten out of that embrace.

Part II – The Shapeshifter

Kirk and Spock sat in the recreation room, sharing a cup of coffee as the Enterprise headed for its next destination at Warp speed.

"You have sent your report to Star Fleet, captain?" asked Spock, musingly.

"Not yet. I'll be writing it up later this afternoon."

"And I expect Dr. Cory will be submitting his own report."

"I expect so. What are you getting at, Spock?"

"I am concerned for Captain Garth's safety, sir."

Kirk leaned forward. "What do you mean?"

"Captain Garth can assume the shape of any person he wishes, at any time. He could assume the shape of the President of the Federation, or of any ruling body."

"Yes, and that had been his plan, eh. But with that new drug…he's sane now…"

"What is sanity, Captain?"

"Well…"

"In any event…the question is not whether we think he is sane, or even whether the Federation does. The question is…will they fear his power?"

"His shape-shifting abilities, you mean? Well, frankly, I don't think there's a problem. There are retina scans, thumb prints, voice matches. Garth may be able to assume their form, but those minute little details…they'd trip him up…"

"Garth is not a shape-shifter."

Kirk stared at him. "Explain."

"A shape-shifter would be someone who can shift his shape into any design he wishes, granted. But Garth did more than that. His clothing changed as well. I think it is rather obvious that he does not shift his own shape. He controls other people's minds, so that they see what he wants them to see. Perhaps he does it unconsciously, perhaps it is an adjunct to the shape shifting, but the fact remains that he must be able to control people's minds."

"I see," murmured Kirk.

Spock nodded. "Now that he is no longer… raving mad…he may be able to consider his abilities in a sane light. If he realizes the extent of his powers…who knows what he might do? If he can refine that power…"

Kirk sipped his coffee. He was remembering, back in that cell, how Garth had made his pain go away. At the time he'd just thought…the power of a woman's touch…and then, just the power of Garth's touch….but now…

Garth…he thought. I want to be in your arms again…

Kirk finished his coffee. "Point noted, Mr. Spock. I'd better go write that report."