Le Morte d'Spock, c. 247000:
From the Starfleet dungeon Captain Kirk took Dr. McCoy to the transport device, where Lt. Uhura transported them to the Enterprise. There they met Lt. Sulu, Lt. Chekov, and Mr. Scott, who had spent the day working great feats of engineering, that the mighty ship might be sailed by but a handful of men rather than hundreds.
Captain Kirk looked upon his friends and was grateful. But he said to them, "This quest is that of Dr. McCoy and myself, and ours only. It is not fitting, no matter how noble I think the quest, that I ask honorable officers to become traitors in the eyes of the Starfleet."
And then his officers did refuse Captain Kirk's offer to divorce themselves of the business, for there was no question in their hearts that the true paths of their honor was to join this quest, for the sake of Mr. Spock, their comrade whose honor was also theirs.
Ship's log, supplemental, Commander Riker recording. Captain Picard and his Away Team at Project Easter are not answering our hails; presumably their communications were damaged in the Romulan attack. Despite a personal uneasiness that all is not right at Easter Station, I am continuing per the captain's original orders in the attempt to capture the Romulan warbird that has entered Federation space and his now hiding in the polar magnetic field of a large planet. It is the vessel commanded by Tomalak, some of whose exploits have been recorded in this ship's log in the past.
"Has there been any indication that Tomalak knows we know he's there?"
Riker had Worf, LaForge, and Wesley at the tactical station to learn their duties in the plan at which he and Worf had arrived.
"There's no indication that he's there," LaForge answered. "Except that he can't be anywhere else."
"Everybody got your parts down?"
LaForge nodded. "We've got the power."
"Aye, sir," confirmed Wesley.
Worf still had one detail on his mind. "Bear in mind, sir, that sweeping a tractor beam through a sensor-blind area will pick up anything hidden there in addition to, or in substitution of, the intended object."
"You can handle that eventuality, Lieutenant," Riker said, "that's the reason I kept you on the bridge."
"The blind spot is barely big enough for the warbird, Lieutenant," Wesley pointed out. "There's no room for anything else large enough to worry about."
"Posts, gentlemen," Riker ordered.
Riker resumed the center seat. LaForge turned to his board, at the wall behind tactical, and Wesley relieved his relief at Conn.
"Our position, Mr. Crusher?"
"Approaching planetary magnetic north." Quiet tension settled on the bridge during the minutes until Wesley started his countdown, the main viewscreen displaying the view forward. "One thousand meters ... Five hundred ... Two fifty ..."
"Begin tractor beam sweep."
"Commencing," Worf responded. At a touch on his board, the tractor beam leapt forward on the main screen, as Worf fished through the blind area.
"One hundred ..." Wesley said.
"Contact!" Worf called. There was still nothing visible at the end of the tractor beam.
"Tractor beam holding," LaForge said behind him.
On the main viewscreen the warbird was becoming visible at the end of the tractor beam as it was dragged from the polar magnetic field.
"Visual confirmation," Worf announced; "- we have the Romulan."
"Power steady," said LaForge.
"Boarding party to transporter room," Riker said. "Mr. Worf, send prepare to be boarded."
"Aye, sir." Worf keyed the comm board just as a new reading popped in on tactical. "Power surge from the Romulan! He's trying to break away!"
On the main screen, the Romulan ship was rocking in the grip of the Enterprise tractor beam.
Riker jumped from his seat and bore down on the engineering station. "Mr. LaForge!"
"We're holding," LaForge said, adjusting power levels, "but we can't keep it up long without blowing something. They're pulling too hard."
Riker was angry enough to bark. "Where did their power come from, Mr. Worf?"
Worf was struggling with his own board. "Unknown, sir, perhaps repairs while they were hidden."
"We're going to lose him!" LaForge called.
"All available power, Mr. LaForge!"
"I am, it's not a question of generating power, it's a question of the Enterprise's structural integrity!"
"Their power is still building!" Worf supplied.
The warbird was rocking harder in the grasp of the Enterprise tractor beam.
"Commander," LaForge said, in his I-need-a-command-decision-now tone, "I'm going to break either the tractor beam emitter or the Enterprise!"
Riker was gloriously unhappy. "Tractor beam off!"
On the screen, the tractor effect from the Enterprise faded. The warbird vanished into the starfield, gone into warp. "He's away, sir," Wesley said.
Riker had seen. "Pursue him, Mr. Crusher! I want him caught this side of the Neutral Zone."
Riker turned to glare at Worf and LaForge. He was as close as he could ever come to reprimanding subordinates for failing to anticipate something that he himself had not. "I want to know how this happened."
Worf, if anything, was angier than Riker. LaForge was at least able to speak. "I think that makes three of us, Commander."
In an unfrequented hallway on the edge of Easter Station, a two- by one- meter portion of the dome wall fell in. But there was no depressurizing of the dome atmosphere, nor did the wispy air of the planetary environment intrude into the station. The Romulan strike team had broken through the dome wall, their forcefield maintaining atmospheric integrity. One by one they entered the passageway.
"Seal the wall," ordered the leader.
His companions began to reseal the removed section back into the wall.
"You are asking our permission," repeated Picard, for clarity's sake, "to use the late Deanna Troi to test your theoretical process for bringing people back to life."
It was Stark who answered. "Yes, Captain, Doctor. As her commanding officer and her physician, the two of you are qualified under Starfleet regulations to act in concert as her next-of-kin."
Crusher was pulling herself together, now that there was an expert scientific problem to which to attend. "Well, then I'd like to know exactly what you're proposing to do."
"Certainly." Marcus rose and stepped to the conference room's wall screen. "Project Genesis was conceived by myself and Dr. David Marcus," she started.
"Dr. David Marcus," Data offered to Picard and Crusher, "was the son of Dr. Carol Marcus and James T. Kirk."
Marcus glared at Data. It was the first emotional display Picard had seen from her. "Thank you Data," the captain said, "I think we all knew that."
Marcus keyed the screen controls. The screen lit up with the hackneyed Genesis computer simulation that all schoolchildren in the Federation had seen in history class countless times by the time they were old enough to apply to Starfleet. It gave Picard pause to think that he might now be looking at a first-generation copy. Or even the original.
"The intent of Genesis was to create life from lifelessness." Marcus recited the speech by rote. "Matter was to be reorganized at the subatomic level, with life-producing results." Symbols of chemical formulae and reactions circled the screen's center, grew and disappeared around the edges of the screen. "The culmination of the project was the Genesis Device -" A representative image of a torpedolike mechanism was superimposed over its schematic. "- which was to be introduced into a lifeless planet or moon, and convert it into a living, breathing world."
On the screen a dark, lifeless sphere hung in space - looking, Picard thought, not unlike Sigma Delta V - and a small bead of light sprung away from the simulation point-of-view into it. Instantly a ring of fire expanded around the contact point, enveloping the entire world as the point-of-view plunged toward it and skimmed its surface. The wall of fire swung past the viewer, spreading flame from horizon to horizon - but suddenly the flames faded away.
Beneath them there was now growth. Land grew out of oceans into mountains and valleys, patches of green grew into fields and forests, streams grew into rivers, seas. The viewer left the planet, looking back as it sped into space. This new world now looked to Picard more like Earth than like anything else. Then the picture faded from the screen, and Marcus returned to her seat.
"But it didn't work that way," Crusher said.
Picard nodded. "The Battle of Mutara. Khan Singh escaped Ceti Alpha V, stole the torpedo, and detonated it in the Mutara Nebula, creating the Genesis planet and its star in a matter of minutes. It's an impressive sight." The conversion of the nebula had since become one of the great attractions to see in Federation space, if one was in a ship that happened to be passing as many lightyears away as years had passed, and had a strong enough telescope. Picard had seen it twice. But otherwise Genesis was last century's news - until now.
"The Enterprise - the first Enterprise," Marcus amended, "escaped the explosion only because Captain Spock entered the intermix chamber to put the warp engines online. However, the intermix chamber was contaminated at the time."
"The radiation produced by an intermix malfunction is invariably fatal to organic life exposed for more than sixty seconds," Data said.
Marcus nodded. "Spock's body, as I said, was left on the planet after its formation, and it too was reorganized by the Genesis process, according to its own cellular genetic information."
Data continued to speak for the Away Team. "Was there any effect on Captain Spock's regeneration by the inclusion of protomatter in the operational matrix of the Genesis device?"
Data seemed to have a knack for unintentionally goading Marcus; her face was pained as she answered. "Spock's regeneration was an effect of the protomatter. The purpose of the final stages of the programming was to stabilize the matrix and allow the newly-formed planet to achieve a normal equilibrium. The protomatter caused the matrix instead to continue the accelerated growth of the formation stages into the final stages, forcing growth and age on the planet. Spock's body was subject to the same relative acceleration after its regeneration. Had it arrived in the matrix sooner, its component matter would have been broken up with that of the nebula as raw material for the new star and planet. Had it not been rescued from the matrix when it was, it would have continued aging and finally died.
"Like the planet," Marcus said, as if it were being pulled from her. The Genesis planet and its star had degenerated at astronomical speed, eventually reducing back down into the nebula from which they had been created. A surviving Genesis project member, a theoretician who had not been on the Regula team, had predicted this would happen after the inclusion of the protomatter had come to light, and the new nebula was named after her. "The test failed, and the protomatter was the root of the failure."
"Now, according to the 'official' story -" Picard was already beginning to think of it that way, with the quotation marks. "- David Marcus, Captain Spock and a command cadet named Saavik were the Away Team on Genesis from USS Grissom when the Klingon privateer destroyed Grissom; and Kirk had hijacked the Enterprise to Genesis because he knew the Klingons were coming and Command wouldn't listen to him. I must say, I find your story much more believable, than to think that Spock would or could abandon the Enterprise, his command, or that such a warning from Kirk would go ignored by Starfleet even in the face of the political situation of the moment."
"Then your work here," Crusher said to Marcus, "has been to reproduce this Genesis-protomatter reaction on a smaller scale."
"It hasn't been as simple as that. An entire biosphere is much more complex than an animal organism, but the original Genesis equations were written specifically to accomodate that complexity. It has taken us most of the intervening time to determine experimentally what had to be kept and what could be left out. But we have produced successful results with test animals."
"What's the procedure?" Crusher was fascinated now.
Marcus resumed her lecture-hall voice. "One or more cells are taken from the corpse and subjected to the Easter matrix, where the organism is grown to the desired point of biological development - in this case, Counselor Troi's age at the time of death."
"Rather like cloning," suggested Picard, with a layman's ignorance.
"Cloning requires live cell tissue, Captain," Data said.
"Nevertheless, many recent Federation cloning technology breakthroughs have gone into or come out of Project Easter." Marcus seemed pleased to contradict Data.
"A clone," said Crusher, frowning, "also naturally retains nothing of the original organism's memories and learned behavior."
"Yes, Doctor," Stark spoke up. "That aspect of Project Easter is the province of myself and the project's other telepathic experts."
Picard leaned forward. "How was Spock's memory transferred to the new body?"
Stark leaned forward slightly in response to Picard's motion. "It is the Vulcan way to mind-meld with another when the body's death is near. Certain Vulcan mental disciplines allow the dying to isolate his total memory, his katra, and allow the other to keep it. Ordinarily the katra is then transferred by the keeper to a receptacle in the Hall of Ancient Thought on Mount Seleya. In Spock's case, the keeper -"
"McCoy!" Picard's head was tilted slightly sideways, as Data's had been when he had recognized Dr. David to be Carol Marcus.
Stark's eyebrow rose. "Yes. How did you know?"
Everyone at Starfleet Academy studied the Enterprise log tapes of the Battles of Mutara and Genesis. The tapes had been edited, Picard supposed, to conform to the official history. But what he was hearing now answered a lot of questions about those records that he had never consciously verbalized. However, all he said now was, "Don't let me interrupt."
"In any case you are correct," Stark said. "Dr. McCoy and the regenerated body were taken to Mount Seleya by Admiral Kirk after the Battle of Genesis. The katra was reunited with the body in a ritual that had not been performed since before the Reforms of Surak."
It was Crusher's turn for revelation. "You were mind-melded to Deanna when she died."
He nodded. "Deanna Troi, like most telepaths in Starfleet, had studied many of the Vulcan disciplines. She was familiar with the katra concepts and procedures. I appraised her through the meld of the nature of Project Easter, and after receiving her permission I assisted her in isolating her katra and became its keeper."
"Being keeper seems to have had some adverse effects on McCoy," said Picard. "As I recall, before leaving for Genesis, Kirk had to break him out of jail, where he was slated to be committed." This particular fact was not part of the official history of the Battle of Genesis. It had been revealed in the intervening years, when Picard was young, with the publication of Halsted's The Quest to Cheat Death, the first definitive biography of Kirk, whose title Picard had quoted earlier. It had been the Terran media's scandal-of-the-week; when questioned about it, McCoy had made no other comment than, "I'm as sane now as I ever was."
"The attempted commitment of McCoy was partially politically motivated," Stark said, "but it is true he was affected. The reasons for this, our studies have discovered, were twofold. First, McCoy had no training, indeed no prior knowledge, of the katra discipline. He was unable to set up proper mental barriers between his memories and Spock's. Some temporary deterioration of his identity resulted. In the present case, however, both minds are familiar with the isolation procedures and are well able to maintain them."
"You said there were two reasons for the effects on Dr. McCoy," Data observed.
"The second was the alien configurations of the keeper's mind. Because McCoy was not a Vulcan, the effect of the lack of barriers was exaberated.
"Deanna Troi was not a Vulcan," Stark admitted, forestalling Crusher's interruption, "but I am. While most of the telepathic aspect of Project Easter has consisted of mere study of the data of the previous case, some light experimentation has been able to be performed. We have found that it is easier for a Vulcan to hold a non-Vulcan's katra than for a non-Vulcan to hold a Vulcan's.
"Nevertheless, even between two Vulcans a katra may not be kept forever, or the mental barriers will dissolve. If I do not release Deanna Troi's katra within approximately five days, I shall lose my identity to madness as McCoy almost did, and Troi's katra will no longer be extricable from my mind. And of course, the sooner the katra is released the healthier for Troi and myself. We must have your decision soon."
"And, if we refuse and there is no regenerated body," Picard asked, precipitating a startled look from Crusher, "what is to be done with Troi's katra?"
"Since Betazoids have no analog of the katra discipline, I would then be obliged under my own oaths to attempt to travel to the Hall of Ancient Thought and to deposit the katra there, rather than release the katra without a waiting receptacle. Vulcan is four point seven standard days' travel from Sigma Delta V. Such a course of action on my part, while morally imperative in the absence of any other option, could ony fail were it not initiated within the next six hours, assuming the return of the Enterprise in that time to transport me to Vulcan."
Crusher seemed eager to start, but Picard wasn't finished. "You said that you recieved Troi's permission to try this before she died. Why do you need ours now?"
"By the laws of both her parents' planets Deanna Troi died without regaining consciousness. Technically the decision must be yours, Captain, Doctor; and must be unanimous."
"The ethical implications of this are overwhelming." Picard was still mulling it over. "Not to mention the political, military and economic ramifications, with Romulans and Ferengi breathing down our necks."
Crusher looked at Picard as one dealing with unexpected obtuseness. "Jean-Luc, how can we deny this to Deanna?"
"Yes. How can we?" But he nevertheless hesitated before continuing.
"Make it so."
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