Author's Note: I don't own anything. Please don't sue.

Chapter One

Screaming. His own, and someone else's. Only his screaming is on the outside, pushing out from his throat, a raw negative disintegrating as his voice breaks and tears, a shield of noise buckling against the other voice, the one inside his mind. Then his screaming stops and something snaps-


He woke to an echo of pain. His head was lolling, bumping against a smeared window. He groaned against the ache in his neck as he lifted his head. Slowly his surroundings came into focus.

The van, of course, bouncing along the desert road at breakneck speed. They really should fix the hydraulics – or in any case they were going to have to, after this ride.

"Hey, sleepyhead."

Lia appeared in his view – still distorted along the edges, funny for sleep deprivation – as always, quick and assertive. She slipped her long, lithe body in between him and the seat in front, straddling his lap. The scent of her green skin – flushing darker, hotter – drove him crazy and he had to take a deep breath.

Xylian women… like witches.

McCoy had warned him.

"What's the time?" he whispered, smiling. He should be concerned, but wasn't.

"I shan't tell you," she teased. She locked her mouth to his, hard, like coming in for a kill, assaulting his lips, cutting off his breath. Her burning body was transmitting her sexual fever to his, and he almost failed to pull away.

"I gotta-" he gasped, half laughing, half begging, sliding out from under her, stumbling into the aisle, "get rea-"

His smile turned into a grimace as his body threatened to go into a cramp.

She was up like a shot, her skin instantly changed to a pale green.

"I'll give you something."

"No, please," he moaned, but his hand was deftly pushed away and the hypo stung his neck. The relief was instant, and he was glad for it. He collapsed into the next seat.

Lia knelt in the aisle beside him, sweet and maternal - her light green skin threading with delicate, alabaster veins – and held his hand.

"We've been too hard on you, KirkJim," she said, her voice soft with real pity.

He smiled and shook his head. "No, HazLia, I had a great time, the best time ever. Just… I must've caught a flu or something."

"You lie," she said mischievously, "you were trying to outdo LakFarn at the second rock wall, that's what. You know LakFarn is nothing to me, KirkJim!"

A burst of laughter came from the front of the van, where Farn manned the controls.

Kirk smiled and rested his head back.

"Rest now, KirkJim, we'll get you to your shuttle on time. Rest…"

Lia stroked a lock of hair from his forehead and held his hand, infusing a different chemical into his body, cleansing, calming. Drifting, drifting….