Star Trek characters are owned by Paramount and Viacom. I'm just having some fun.

Choices by Djinn

I sit, just one more in the throng that has crowded the Federation chamber for the extradition hearing. I am waiting for Valeris. My face is set in a mask of disapproval. My loyalties seem clear. There is no mercy to be found in me. No compassion. I will not help her.

She does not look for me as she is led in. Her eyes do not seek understanding or support. She will not call on me, her oldest friend. She will not invoke the bond of Hellguard. She has cut all ties to me. Stands firmly with her coconspirators, even as I sit behind Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew, surrounded by Federation loyalists. Our positions are clear.

She takes the stand. She sits so composed, her look one of pure disdain. She answers all the questions put to her. And they learn nothing new from her responses. Because, despite her prominent role in carrying out the plan, Valeris was but a pawn. Just a way to gain access to Spock, to the peace mission, and ultimately to the Klingon Chancellor. I wonder if she realizes that. I do not think so.

There is a lull in the questioning. She seems bored; her eyes scan the crowd--assessing, as is her gift, the mood of the observers. I know she could play them if she wished to. Push buttons. Get them on her side. She could play the dupe and gain their pity for her gullibility. But she does not. Her pride will not allow it. She does not care if they feel for her. She does not care about anything anymore.

Her eyes meet mine. For a moment, there is a spark within them as we stare at each other. Then the light dies again. But she has betrayed herself. She does still care about something. She cares about me.

I look over at Spock. He sits composed. The betrayal he feels is not written on his face. He leans over and says something to Kirk. The captain nods. They are united. As always. Not even death could separate them.

I go back to my study of Valeris. I have known her all her life. I was six when she was born and seven when her parents were killed. Our Romulan captors were displeased that her Vulcan father and mother had mated, finding privacy somehow and depriving the monsters that held us of the torments they could unleash on a Vulcan during Pon Farr. The Romulans killed them slowly and left Valeris howling in the mud. No one dared help her. No one but me.

"Leave her, Saavik," the commander ordered.

I looked up at him, defiance written in my body. Even at that young age, I knew he was my father. "No." I spoke in Romulan, my accent a perfect match to his own. I was a very bright child.

He cuffed me hard, knocking me to my knees. But he did not stop me when I scuttled to the child's side. Did not order me to drop her when I picked her up and took her to the hovel he had allowed me to keep after he had my mother killed. And later, when I asked for double rations of food, his soldiers did not deny me.

I never understood this man that had fathered me. Never really knew why he had this blind spot for me. I certainly felt nothing but hatred for him. But I was not averse to using his weakness against him. I wanted Valeris and I got her. She became my sister and my only friend. When Spock and his party found us three years later, we were inseparable. I stabbed the first Vulcan that tried to take her away from me. They had to stun me repeatedly before I finally collapsed and they could take us to be examined.

I woke alone and screamed until my voice gave out. Spock tried to convince me that Valeris was fine. His words did not appease me. Finally, he relented and gave her back to me. Her face was tearstained and she was trembling badly. "Don't leave me again," she begged. I pulled her close. I would never let anyone hurt her. They did not try again to separate us.

Spock used Valeris against me at the beginning. I was a savage and we both knew it. I had no desire to assimilate into the culture he had brought me back to. But Valeris was my hostage for good behavior. If I did well at school then she would stay with me. If I chose to revert to the animal he had found, she would be put in a more suitable environment. I could not lose her. I adjusted. I behaved. I made him proud. And I kept Valeris.

I look over at Spock again. His pain is hidden but I know it is there. After all, she and I were his pride and joy, his legacy to Starfleet. I was the savage and I mastered my nature and became the consummate officer. And Valeris...little Valeris was his perfect child. She excelled with an ease that I could never hope to emulate. She was bright and did not embarrass him as I occasionally did when I would lapse into my old ways. She never had my vicious streak, had been less touched by Hellguard. I had given her that. I had protected her from everything that would have hurt her. On a planet that gave only pain, she had experienced little of that agony. I had been a buffer for her. And she knew it. Her loyalty to me was complete.

Had I been jealous of her? On the contrary, I wanted her to do well. I needed her at my side, or at least nearby. It took me years to learn to accept the quiet affection that Spock offered, to become accustomed to giving it back. But I could never get enough of her love. The thought of a career in Starfleet without Valeris was more than I could bear. I encouraged her, pointed her to a life among the stars. I shared stories with her, wheedled more of them out of Spock when he was home. We pretended we were at the academy. Studied together for entrance exams that were years away. There was never any question that she would follow me into the service.

She would follow me anywhere. I can feel my mouth turning up and I fight the smile. Smiles are illogical. Not Vulcan. Not appropriate to these surroundings. Valeris too had trouble with not smiling. For all that she did not share my Romulan blood, her time on Hellguard had allowed her the freedom to express feelings that would never have been permitted on her real home world. Even after years learning to master her emotions, she found it difficult to stifle the gleam in her eyes when she was amused. It was something I always loved about her. I never completely lost her to Vulcan.

My mind stumbles over the word lost. For I have lost much, far too much already. My mother first, but such a long time ago that I barely remember her. I was so young when she was murdered, too young really to take care of myself, but somehow I did. Somewhere inside of me was a much older creature that told me to leave her body, to go back to the room we had shared, and to struggle on. I learned then to do anything I had to in order to survive. And I kept on doing that for both myself and later for Valeris. By the time Spock found us, I had forgotten what it was like to have someone take care of me.

Spock. My mentor. The father I would have chosen had I any say in the matter. He could have given up on me. It was not logical for him to keep me, to let me stay with him and Valeris. I was so old, so wild, and there were places for children such as I. But he did keep me. He worked with me and never gave up. I wanted nothing so much as to make him proud of me. I hated it when I failed him, when I lost my temper at school, or was sent home in disgrace. I would resolve to try harder, to do better. And I did. The proudest day of my life was the day I was accepted to the Academy. I excelled, and I know he was satisfied with me. I saw it in his eyes as my sponsor, and then later as my instructor.

I glance over at Spock. He sits stiffly. His back seems made of steel. He remains invincible, untouchable. The living legend of Vulcan, made even more so from his return from the dead. Would knowing that he would be resurrected have made the pain of his death any less, I wonder? At the time, I had never known such suffering. He was the first thing I lost that I truly loved. His death left me a maddened thing; I was torn between my future and my past. The logical Vulcan that I had tried so hard to become insisted I maintain composure. But the wild Romulan that was never completely destroyed demanded action, grief, something...anything that would show how badly I hurt. I thought I would go mad from the war that was going on inside me. And then David found me.

I see again golden curls, lose myself again in blue-green eyes that change with every emotion. David saved me. He offered me a purpose on the Grissom, one that unified the warring parts of my soul. He gave the Vulcan a mission and a little later, when we became lovers, he gave the Romulan an outlet for all those dangerous emotions. There was nothing of logic in it, just two volatile beings finding release in each other. I worried that I would hurt him but his lean frame held the strength of his compassion for me and, though I did not know it at the time, the frantic worry that his planet had gone wrong. Making love allowed us both to forget. But not for long.

I feel the familiar sadness come over me as I think of those last moments with David on the Genesis Planet, as I once again mourn him. I try to fight the thought that if I had just acted I could have saved him. I should have fought the Klingons. I was strong enough. But I didn't. I try not to relive the memory of a Klingon dagger being thrust into his soft skin. Of the triumphant look that covered the face of the pig that killed my lover. I swallow hard. I must not indulge myself like this. Especially not here. I cannot maintain the composure I need if I think of David's murder.

I must not give in to these things that haunt me. I seek the stillness of the Vulcan meditations I have been taught. The peace eludes me as always. Fortunately the mask I have learned to wear is less resistant. It slips into place easily, years of practice allowing me to push back the rage and the pain. I make them the usual promise. I will let you out to play later, old friends, if you leave me in peace now. As is their wont, they accept the bargain. Fortunately for them, there are many discreet places one can make good on such promises.

I turn my attention back to the proceedings. Valeris steps down and Spock takes the stand. He describes the information he forced from the accused. I cannot imagine the effect that this violation had on either of them. Such an action is nearly unknown on Vulcan. It is essentially rape. Yet none accuse him and I know no one will. And even though the counsel Valeris has retained objected on a number of grounds, the testimony is being allowed. I watch Valeris as she watches Spock. There is only pain in her expression. She does love him. I know she does. This betrayal was not supposed to be of him. She thought he would understand. She thought he would see the logic of the situation. She did not envision earning his hatred.

Our sponsor, our foster father, finishes his testimony. He walks past Valeris without a glance in her direction. She has ceased to exist for him. I feel for him. And for her. We are a family. The only real family that Valeris or I ever knew. He rescued us from so much. He saved us. And we both loved him fiercely. Valeris thought she was doing what she had done as much for him as for the cause. I too once thought I would do anything for him.

My mind flashes back again to the Genesis Planet. But not this time to the moment when David was taken from me. To a time just a bit earlier, when the shell that was Spock's body began to burn. I had no choice. I mated with him and stilled the burning. The Pon Farr did not endure long. The planet itself mandated that he move out of that phase almost immediately and continue to age in synch with the world he had been born on. So our minds only touched for a moment.

There I have said it, even if only to myself. Our minds. The shell that was Spock was no shell. It was a sentient being. It felt, it thought, it was a person. He was a person. And not Spock either. This boy was a creature of that world. Born alone, with no language, no learning, no name. He was as much a barbarian as I had ever been, more so even. But when our minds touched, when our bodies joined, I felt his pleasure. I knew his joy at no longer being alone. He could have learned. He could have been taught. I understood it all in just a few minutes. And I knew what I had to do. Everything Spock taught me said that this boy should be allowed to live, to grow as I had been allowed to. I would take him back to Vulcan, set him on the path I had taken so long ago. He would learn, he would adapt. It would make the circle complete. Through this action, I could repay Spock.

But I did not set this boy free. I could not. Not once I lost David. Not when I realized that the Spock I loved could be restored. I pushed my conscience aside. It didn't matter that the boy's mind called out to mine as his body, aging as rapidly as the dying planet, raced through Pon Farr several more times. I didn't have to go to him--it went too fast for the burning to kill him and in any case I could not, we were prisoners of the Klingons by then. I did not know if we had bonded and I found I did not care. I would have Spock back.

So I did not tell Kirk that the body he sheltered in his arms belonged to a new soul. I did not say a word as Spock's parents met us at the ship. I kept silent as we brought the body to Mount Seleya. I did not protest that an innocent life would be killed. I did not do anything to stop the destruction of a blameless soul. Not even when I heard his mind scream as he died in the blaze of refusion. I did not speak.

But I could not meet Spock's eyes when he stood before me, newly restored. I could not look at the priestess. I did not want to know if she had felt the presence inside the body. She left the chamber quickly without looking at me that night and managed to avoid me during my extended stay on Vulcan. I think she did see something. I think she saw a reflection of me. The boy's lover. The man's killer. But if I was the murderer, she was the accomplice. She did not stop the ritual. She did not tell what she saw. Spock was important to Vulcan too. The planet needed him. The needs of the many.

How little that concept does now to assuage my guilt. Not that I felt guilty at first--I was so relieved to have Spock back. So excited to see him alive again. But that excitement soon changed to despair as I realized that Spock had come back different. He did not remember me. Or rather, he did not remember what he had felt for me, or for Valeris, who was stricken by his abandonment. He did not appear to feel anything anymore. And the less he seemed to feel the more guilt I began to experience. I had traded a life to have this back? I had killed an innocent soul for this cold twin to the man that I had loved? My guilt began to hammer at my love for Spock, and I started to avoid him. When he returned with the others, I took leave and remained on Vulcan. My guilt was never far away. I tried to bury it and resentment took its place. Then resentment turned to hatred.

I hid this loathing from Valeris. She had been through enough. And I could never explain to her what I had done. So I pretended everything was all right even as I schemed to take her away with me. I put it in her mind that she should try for early acceptance to the Academy. I filled her head with pictures of all the things we would do together on Earth. I didn't play fair, but I resolved that I would not be without her, not when I had lost everything else I held dear.

Sarek helped us. He was illogically fond of Valeris and to make her happy he pulled strings. She was granted an interview with Starfleet Academy. She had no trouble charming the admittance panel, and her academic achievements spoke for themselves. And I found myself assigned to Admiral Cartwright's staff. It was the perfect arrangement made even more agreeable when I discovered I enjoyed working for him. The admiral was an approachable man and his normal interest in a new Starfleet officer was piqued by the commendations that Admiral Kirk had put in my file and the support of the Vulcan ambassador. Our conversations at first were about the Academy and his past adventures in the Fleet. But over time, we began to stray into more personal territory. I told him of my background, opened up a bit about life on Hellguard. He shared a few of the command decisions that still haunted him. Eventually, I told him about David. After Genesis, I had been careful to hide what even I recognized was becoming a pathological hatred of the Klingons. But I learned that I didn't have to hide anything from the admiral. He shared my feelings. He told me there were others who believed as we did. Many others.

I eventually moved on to another assignment and my association with the admiral might have ended naturally if it hadn't been for Spock and his obsession with bringing about peace between the Federation and the Klingon empire. This was a Spock I did not know. A man who, while he had thawed somewhat, was still not the mentor I had loved, although Valeris seemed to accept this new version of him. It did not help that I began to see Spock in a new light. Not as the larger-than-life hero I always worshipped but as only a man. A fallible man. I saw clearly that he was championing the wrong cause. I could not imagine that, after all that happened, he would want to lie down with the enemy. With killers like the Klingons.

But he wanted to do exactly that. I told him once that I did not agree with him. He looked at me in surprised disapproval. "Can you not see that the Klingon Empire is dying, Saavik? And whether it takes the Federation with it will be decided by how we act now." I did not wish to debate him, could never win against him. I let it drop. Kept my mouth shut from then on...and my ears open. What I heard was of interest to Admiral Cartwright. He began to suggest things I should find out and I did. Before a trip that Spock made to Qo'noS, the admiral asked me to embed a listening device in Spock's traveling cloak. Whatever he learned from the conversations that Spock had on the Klingon home world spooked the admiral greatly. That was when he finally brought me fully into the fold and I began to work in earnest against Spock.

It was also when I began to work on Valeris, planting the seeds in her mind that everything we valued was threatened. I had to be careful. My approach was not emotional, for Valeris had never shared my seething hatred of the Klingons, in fact would probably not understand it. She was in so many ways completely Vulcan. Hatred was foreign to her. So I appealed to her logic, to her loyalty, to her regard for order. It took time, but it worked. She didn't know of Spock's involvement until much later. But by that time, she was on our side and could not understand our mentor's passion for this peace. She believed that he could be saved from his folly, won back to the right side of order. Our side. I knew better, but I never disabused her of the notion. Any guilt I felt over what I was doing to her was silenced by the knowledge that ultimately we were in the right. The Klingons were little more than animals and Spock was wrong to do this. And if that didn't work I only needed to call up the memory of a Vulcan boy to restore my resolve.

Enough of this wandering in the past. I scan the crowd again and see the new Romulan ambassador. A man named Pardek. He turns slightly in my direction. His expression does not alter as he briefly looks at me then turns back to the proceedings. He does not seem to recognize me. But then he never does. It is part of his skill. You do not rise as rapidly in the Tal shiar as my father has by being obvious. Or incautious. I almost smile as I remember my surprise at finding that I recognized the Romulan I had been sent to contact. Admiral Cartwright had not known of the connection, had only selected me for my ability to blend in on Romulus. It only took a few shared Hellguard memories to persuade the Romulan that I was his daughter, but convincing him of the resolve of our cause was much more difficult. He was wary of any involvement in our conspiracy. Fortunately he still harbored a soft spot for me. And I was still willing to exploit it.

The Council withdraws to deliberate. If she is tried in a Klingon court then her fate will be a foregone conclusion. Everyone watching knows this. The Klingon warriors that will escort her back wait impatiently for the decision. I hope that the Federation Council will not agree to this. I am not the only one to feel this way. Captain Kirk lodged a formal objection. I should not be surprised. He has first-hand knowledge of Klingon justice and of Rura Pente. And he is in essence a good man, a forgiving man. But the mood is for letting the Klingons enjoy their vengeance, and the Council so orders. I fight down the gorge in my throat. Klingon pigs, I want to scream at them, do you think I will let you have her?

The chamber is a mess of confusion. I walk toward the Romulan ambassador. As I pass, he hands me what I will need. No one is watching as I inspect the vial with the small needle attached to the inside of lid. I slip the sharp lid off the vial and position it carefully in my hand.

I look at the Klingons. They are moving toward Valeris. I must act quickly. I hurry to her. "Little sister," I call sternly. The tone of my voice makes the Federation guards move aside. I am her only remaining family and a respected member of the Fleet. I pose no threat.

"Saavik," her bravado fails as she crumbles into my seemingly unwilling arms. "Don't let them take me," she whispers. In her voice I hear the only music I ever heard on Hellguard.

I whisper so low only she can hear me, "They will never take you. I will never let them have you."

I can hear the Klingons approaching. Their boots ring out on the marble floor.

She clings to me more tightly. "I didn't betray you, Saavik. Even Spock couldn't make me betray you."

"I know," I say. My hand touches her back. She stiffens as she feels the prick. "Saavik?" her voice is bewildered, very small.

"Shhh. It will not hurt. I promise it will not hurt."

I am not sure if that is true.

Suddenly she panics. She pushes me away, becoming more agitated as the drug induces hormones and neurotransmitters to flare. She looks around wildly, screams at me. "I won't go. Saavik, help me."

I step back. My face is a mask. My voice rings out. "You have brought this upon yourself, Valeris."

She fights the Klingons as they grab for her. It is all I can do not to stop them from touching her. I take another step back and reinsert the needle into the vial.

As Pardek walks up, I hand off the vial. It disappears somewhere in his robes. He stays near me for only a second before heading across the room to Spock. The two watch Valeris, then Spock turns away firmly. I see Pardek introduce himself, see Spock's gracious nod and with that the next phase of our game begins.

Even as this phase ends. Valeris throws herself at the Klingons then suddenly clutches at her heart. The reactions induced by the drug have fatally overtaxed it. Her look is one of pitiful confusion as she reaches for me before collapsing. She lies still, her eyes staring accusingly at me. For a moment I think I see a Vulcan boy lying there instead. Then it is Valeris again. I am overwhelmed by sorrow, by guilt. I look over at Spock. He will not look at us, at her. My hatred for him erupts and for a moment all I want to do is grab one of the phasers from the Starfleet guards and fire it at him. I focus instead on Valeris, staring at her until I have conquered my rage. I back away slowly from the body, barely trying to hide the pain I feel--and why should I, even a Vulcan would not be immune to the horror of this situation. I turn and head for Spock. When I am standing next to him, he puts a steadying hand on my shoulder. "Saavikam," he murmurs.

I do not speak for a moment. "It is better this way. She will not suffer." I do not have to hide my sadness from him. We both loved her, even if he will never again acknowledge that love.

Pardek coughs discreetly. "My sympathies for your loss," he murmurs.

"Thank you, ..." I pretend to falter at the man's name.

Spock removes his hand. "This is Ambassador Pardek, the new Romulan envoy to the Federation. Ambassador, this is my ward Lt. Commander Saavik."

"An honor to meet you, even under such regrettable circumstances." My father is smooth in his detached sympathy.

"Most regrettable, Ambassador. You will excuse my distraction." It is not a question and Pardek does not reply. After a moment, I rally and put on my best Vulcan face. "How are you finding Earth, sir?"

"An interesting place. Very different than my home planet."

"It is very different than the planet I grew up on as well." We both know I don't mean Vulcan. It is dangerous to taunt him this way, but I am fairly certain that Spock will not see the barb.

And he does not. "Perhaps someday it will be possible for us to visit each other's worlds."

Pardek is surprised, but it is an act--I have told him of Spock's other obsession. "Reunification?" he says so softly it is nearly inaudible.

I am startled that he would use that word so early in the game. But I realize he knows exactly what he is doing when Spock nods carefully.

"An interesting if treasonous idea." Pardek manages to look both fearful and intensely interested, then he looks over at the crowd that surrounds Valeris. "Not the time to discuss such fantasies though. Not when you have suffered such a loss."

"Most kind," Spock murmurs.

Pardek begins to leave then turns back. "I hope we have a chance to talk again. At a more appropriate moment. Perhaps dinner sometime?"

"I welcome that opportunity," Spock takes the bait without hesitation.

As my father walks away, I feel Spock's hand on my back, guiding me out of the room, away from where the medics are working on Valeris. She will not recover. The Romulans have tested many drugs on Vulcans. It was one of the diversions on Hellguard. Pardek would not give me something that he was not sure would be lethal and untraceable, guaranteeing her continued silence.

I wish I could have vouched for her. He would have spared her if I asked. But I could not risk it. She would have figured out eventually how I used her, and that I was trying to hurt Spock. And then her silence would have ended for she truly loved him. But she did not know and she did not name me. I wonder again at the resolve and will that kept that knowledge safe from Spock. But if her loyalties had turned, such a mindmeld on me would reveal that I know many more names and faces than Starfleet could ever imagine. Pardek is the least of them. No matter how much I love her; I cannot risk everything for her. Or so I tell myself. I don't want to think that I might have thrown her life away simply to save my own. That I could be capable of that. Better to couch it in terms of the cause. To blame the tenet I hate, and cite the overwhelming needs of the many.

The Klingons start to curse. I imagine the look of spite I would like to show them. They will leave with no prize today. It is a small victory. I permit myself the barest of smiles as I leave the hall with Spock. He does not notice. I suspect he is thinking of Valeris. I know he will never speak of her again. Neither will I. Like David and the boy on the Genesis Planet before her, I will lock her up in a place that is safe for them and me. As I walk with Spock, I do not look back. Valeris is gone. The future beckons. I do not know what it will bring, what opportunities will be presented. I know that the Klingons are out of my reach now. I am wise enough to accept what is, to know that I will probably never be able to make them pay. The hatred and anger I feel protest this logic, again demand release. You will get to play later, I reassure them. And they are appeased, willing to wait for their next victim, willing to just watch as I walk beside him to the door. Knowing that eventually, we will make him pay for everything. Even the things we did in his name.

His voice startles me. "I do not understand her choices, Saavikam."

"Perhaps the best that can be achieved is to understand our own." My voice is harsher than I intend.

He does not appear to notice. That will be his downfall.