Author's note: I realize I could elaborate this story further. Spock's adventures on Andaras would be interesting to imagine. This last Chapter too needs more effort, and the whole story could do with a rewrite. But I feel oversaturated with this story and feel the need to move on. It might take me some time to get back to it, and I don't want to keep my readers hanging until then, so here goes.

HIS LAST MISSION, TENTH AND FINAL CHAPTER

10.

Déjà-vu. Captain Kirk waited for a column of light to settle into substance. It was the Andaran Far-Ahn first, this time. He leaped off the platform and gave Kirk such a thump on the shoulder that even Spock cringed inwardly as McCoy reacted more plainly. Kirk, however, whacked the General right back, and then they both stood to attention to welcome the next incoming passenger, the Kosian Probend Obk, who greeted them in a more ceremonious manner.

Kirk and Spock accompanied them to the Conference room, where the other members of the respective delegations were already present. They welcomed their leaders, and Kirk could see, from their glances and body language, that it was not Far-Ahn or Obk he had to worry about, but their constituents, represented in these delegates.

Kirk was only too aware of this shift in the negotiations, and he braced himself. Reconciling two leaders was nothing compared to reconciling six of their countrymen – five, really, since Isha stood behind him all the way – that is, the two billion other inhabitants of their world.

But this time Obk and Far-Ahn were on his side, too, the side of peace. Several hours into the discussion he was relieved when the latter – by far the one with the most challenging task – took the reins. Soon it was up to Far-Ahn and Obk again, but the tone was different: they spoke directly to one another, with a mutual deference.

Kirk was beginning to relax in his chair when something caught his eye. He was furtively observing Kirian, - trying to analyze the horror he felt for the man - when he noticed a largish box hidden in one of the folds of the Andaran youth's black leather tunic. Just at that moment Kirian, unaware of the Captain's scrutiny, reached for it. Stealthily.

Bomb!

Even as the word burst from his lungs he dove for the Andaran. In the corner of his eye he saw a surge of movement away from him. Only Spock was moving towards him, from the other side of the table. With all his mind Kirk screamed Away, Spock! Only the Andaran sat frozen. He even withdrew his hand, as if it had just touched fire. But a second later he reached in again, rising from his chair. It was the one good thing. Had he stayed sitting down, Kirk could not have tackled him. Now Kirk connected with the massive but unbalanced body and drove them both into the furthest corner of the room. Even in his panic and his pain he felt the pressing motion of the Andaran's finger against his own ribs.

Then his world exploded into a bright, searing horror. He cried out in rage against the pain, against his tormenters on Gemo XII, where this had been a constant, never tiring agony. But this, this tired quickly. He rolled away from the dead mass of blood and flesh that was Kirian and felt his life draining from the great gap in his chest and abdomen.

Spock was there first, then Isha, and the Doctor right behind her. He was falling away from them into a narrow pit. They were looking down at him from the rim, a circle of light rapidly growing smaller as he fell into darkness. Their bloodied faces….

Bones, his big brother, a mask of rage and helplessness. Spock, his friend, even Spock in his black eyes was beside himself. And Isha, the most beautiful and kind of women, Isha who…

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"Let me through!" McCoy yelled, pushing even the sturdiest Andaran out of his way to get to Kirk.

His heart was heavy with dread, his blood pounding in his ears. He had heard the dull thud of the explosion even through the closed door. The scream.

He knew his worst fears had come true when he felt the floor slip under his boot. Carnage. Spock was on his knees next to Jim, his long, pale hands insanely trying to hold the gaping wound closed, the blood and guts from spilling out. The Doctor let despair take him and he fell to his knees in the growing pool of blood. Worse, worse than two months ago. Nothing to be done now, nothing.

Jim was looking up at them, strangely peaceful, strangely smiling. The light in his eyes flared for a moment – I love you – and then started dying.

"No, dammit, no!" McCoy yelled.

And then something happened. Isha gently took Spock's bloodied hands and moved them away from Jim's body. Then she put her own hands on the ravaged chest.

"What are you doing?" McCoy breathed.

000000000000

Spock instinctively leaned back when he saw the light coming from the Queen's hands. He pushed the Doctor back as well, registering only McCoy's gasp. But he never looked away from those small white hands and the light that crawled up her arms and invaded Jim's chest. Within seconds Jim's and Isha's bodies were enveloped in the light and the brightness melded them into one.

Then even Spock had to look away.

When he looked again, Jim was still lying on the ground, but he was whole again. His shredded, bloodied shirt hung on him and Spock saw that there was not a wound on him. Even his scars from Gemo XII were gone.

Jim had taken Isha's hands in his and was looking up at her, shock growing on his face. Spock followed his gaze to the Kosian Queen and could not keep back a sharp intake of breath.

She was old. Her hair was thin and white, her face aged almost beyond recognition. But her eyes were still the same, fierce and blue, bent upon the Captain.

"I have sacrificed, for you, James Kirk," she said, and even her voice was old, "just like I always knew I should."

"But," Jim said, sitting up – effortlessly, vigorously – "your youth, Isha, and no-no daughter!"

Isha smiled.

"My beauty has gone on for long enough. It was past its time. As for the bloodline-"

She sought out Far -Ahn who was kneeling close by, next to a dumb-founded McCoy.

"May you realize, General, and all Andarans with you, that for this peace not only you have made the ultimate sacrifice. James Kirk forfeited his life, again. And the Kosian people gave up their Queen. Now I will enter the Council of Elders, and we will remake our government, together, I hope, with yours."

Far-Ahn solemnly bent his head. "I swear," he whispered with awe, "my Queen."

Isha looked at Jim again, and touched his cheek. "Goodbye, my friend."

Then she held out her hand to Far-Ahn, who took it and reverently helped her up. They passed the Probend, who took Isha's other arm, and both men led away the bent, old woman, the last Queen of the Kosians.

"Jim?" McCoy asked. He was running his tricorder over the Captain. "Jim, it's gone. You're-you're perfectly healthy!"

"I know it, Bones," the Captain said, and he let the Doctor and his First Officer help him up. "I feel it."

Spock told himself to always remember this feeling, of Jim still leaning on his arm, seeking his support, just as Jim straightened himself, and let go, and stood again, the Captain of the Enterprise.