Paul Gadzikowski



Chapter 1

Enterprise log, stardate 8153.3: No rest for the mourning. Spock and the Genesis Planet are barely behind us and already all kinds of matters are clamoring for my attention - official and personal.

"So," said David quietly after his tour of the bridge, "Are We Going To Be A Family Now?"

Saavik almost turned from the science console. David didn't have a lot of experience with Vulcans, Kirk guessed.

He looked at his new, grown son with not quite equanimity. "No. David, I'll always love your mother, but it didn't work out twenty years ago and it wouldn't work out now."

David nodded unsurprised, relieving Kirk quite a bit. "You loved Spock, didn't you?"

Kirk purposefully misunderstood. "You don't read those news services, do you?"

David laughed. "No, that's not what I meant." He waved at the bridge around them. "I can see you're spoken for."

"You're a lot like your mother," said Kirk wryly.

"I was just wondering. I mean, you and Spock were the most famous team in Starfleet." Kirk felt a pang at the past tense, but David was looking over at Saavik now. "I was maybe looking for pointers in human-Vulcan relations."

"The first thing you should know is that the shape of those ears isn't just decorative." Without raising his voice, "Isn't that right, Lieutenant?"

Saavik turned to face them. "The Vulcan ear evolved to compensate for the planetary atmosphere, which is much thinner than that of most Class M planets."

David grinned, not at all showing it if he felt caught off guard. "That's very interesting. Perhaps we could meet later and discuss other diversities?"

"I would like that," said Saavik, surprising Kirk. (Later, on second thought, he would realize that while the Saavik he knew was uncomfortable trying to reconcile her emotions with the Vulcan way, she'd nevertheless responded to David with her characteristic Vulcan honesty.) "I am off shift at 1700. Perhaps we could meet for dinner?"

"Great," said David. "Your place or mine?"

"Mess 10," Saavik suggested, raising one eyebrow slightly. Kirk fought down the image of Spock thus conjured, by wondering again why her eyebrows weren't slanted like those of every other Vulcan he'd ever seen.

"Deal," said David. "See you then." He turned to Kirk. "Well, I guess I better leave you working people to your jobs." He strategically retreated, having accomplished the two objectives Kirk attributed to his sally onto the bridge.

Kirk wished he had stayed, though. Now he had nothing to distract him from the hole where Spock used to be. But it was only minutes later that Admiral Morrow signalled. Kirk was expecting no more than confirmation of the rendezvous with Grissom - for transfer of most of the trainee crew, and of David and Saavik so they might conduct an investigation of the Genesis planet from a proper science vessel instead of from a kindergarten - but Morrow had a surprise up his sleeve.

"A Klingon ambassadorial courier? The Enterprise is hardly in the condition to serve as a diplomatic escort," Kirk said, wondering again how Morrow could possibly have been made commander, Starfleet when Nogura died. "Have you seen Scotty's description of the damage in my report? He sent pictures."

"Of course I have," said Morrow. "But you're the only cruiser in the area. U.S.S. Forrester can't relieve you until five hours before your rendezvous with the Grissom. Besides, knowing the Klingons, they'll probably be impressed with your battle scars."

Kirk was so stunned to hear Harry Morrow empathizing with non-Terrans, let alone Klingons, that he gave up the fight. The C-in-C was probably even right. "Yes, sir."

"I'm with you, Jim, but this is Sarek's argument."

"Yes, sir." That explained it. "Harry, did you tell Sarek ...?"

"Yes. And I gave him a copy of your report." Morrow frowned. "He was kind of odd about it. Seemed to expect you to drop everything and go to Vulcan."

"I thought the Enterprise escorting the Klingons was his idea."

"Not the ship go to Vulcan, you personally."

That was an odd reaction. Sarek knew the demands of duty, whether to Starfleet or anything else. Morrow must have misunderstood; it would be just like him. "Well, maybe I'll get to see him when the Enterprise gets to Earth."

"Looking forward to that," said Morrow, too heartily. He was hiding something, but he signed off before Kirk could try to pursue it.


"'Courier,'" sniffed Chekov when the Klingon vessel came on the main screen. "That's a bird-of-prey."

"In the Klingon language, they're the same word," came a voice from the starboard turbolift.

Turning around in surprise from the main screen, along with everyone else on the bridge, Kirk was presented with two people who were not part of the Enterprise crew. They were dressed outlandishly, the girl - a brunette of about eighteen - in a pants suit with puffy medieval shoulders in a brown velvety material, and the man - a blond who looked about David's age; the one who had spoken - in a cricket uniform topped off with a beige frock coat that had, of all things, a sprig of celery at the lapel.

"Doctor?" Kirk addressed the man. "It's only been days since I saw you last."

"Has it? A few weeks for us," the Doctor greeted him. "You remember Nyssa. Captain Sulu, Commander Uhura, Lieutenant Commander Chekov, this is Nyssa of Traken."

"How do you do." As always Nyssa was the epitome of unselfconscious good manners.

"This is Lieutenant Saavik, whom you may have heard Spock mention," introduced Kirk. "Lieutenant, this is the Time Lord called the Doctor."

Saavik gave Kirk the same look she'd given him over the General Order Four business at Regula One. "This is not the man who appears in the Enterprise logs of the incident at Halka."

"Oh, that was three regenerations ago," said the Doctor, jumping down from the upper bridge between her and Kirk, Nyssa following.

"If you've studied that incident," said Kirk mildly to Saavik, "then you should have recognized the TARDIS's materialization signature when it arrived onboard just now." Most of Starfleet's data on the Doctor was classified, but this wasn't. "In fact, you should have reported it whether you recognized it or not ..."

"Internal sensors registered no such disturbance, Admiral," said Saavik, slightly defensively. "They are still largely offline. Repairs are not yet complete."

"The Klingons are hailing, Admiral," said Uhura.

"Continue affecting repairs, Lieutenant. Uhura, on screen."

"My dear Admiral Kirk." It was Koloth. Beside him - in the barbarically splendid robes of a Klingon ambassador - was what Starfleet had taken to referring to internally as a "new" Klingon; which were primarily characterized by a high forehead with a bony vertical crest that was as individual as a fingerprint. They had been popping up, with no explanation to the Federation, for ... well, for about as long as since Kirk had last spoken with a Klingon. Karamag was his first "new" Klingon.

"My dear Captain Koloth." Envying Koloth his title, Kirk wondered whether he was doomed to covet his past over his future for the rest of his life.

"May I introduce Ambassador Karamag."

Karamag nodded to Kirk. "An honor, Admiral." ...


Koloth watched Kirk fade from the screen. He was impressed with Karamag's grasp of mindless Earth pleasantries, an area in which he was a past master himself; certainly that was how Karamag had landed this post. But now it was time for business. "Valkris!"

"My lord." The agent stepped forward, one more of the constant reminders that Koloth (a D'Har Master!) was the only Klingon aboard who hadn't yet made the Metamorphosis of Kahless. Only slightly less galling was that Kirk was an admiral already. Of course, with their shorter lifespans, humans had to rush such things.

But this plan of his devising, successful, would secure Final Metamorphosis for him and his line. "You know what to do."

"Yes, my lord."

"Success," Karamag saluted her, and she left the bridge.


"So the Metamorphosis of Kahless is in progress," said the Doctor.

"The what?" Kirk asked.

"Surely you noticed the difference in physiognomy between Koloth and Karamag."

"Yes. Starfleet Intelligence has no idea where the 'new' Klingons come from or what their relationship is with the other Klingons," said Kirk. "Though they've about taken over the Klingon fleet."

"They're not new Klingons," said the Doctor. "Well, only sort of. It's a natural stage of Klingon physical maturity, that's been surpressed since the time of Kahless III until now. About the 324th Klothonmas it seems to be determined that the race as a whole was worthy of Final Metamorphosis again ..." The Doctor looked at the stardate on Kirk's chair chronometer. "... that'll have been five or eight years ago Earth time. Those who are alive now must earn the right somehow, but the implementation of the Metamorphosis is at the genetic level. All Klingons from now on will be born with the physical characteristics of Final Metamorphosis already in place. I'm surprised to see Koloth on the tail end of the conversion. Oh, you'll also notice that they don't have to have names that begin with the K sound to get space berths anymore."

"Fascinating," said Saavik. "What exactly is the cultural background for this 'Metamorphosis of Kahless'?"

The Doctor smiled awkwardly. "Well, actually what I've just told you is as much as the Time Lords know about it. The Klingons don't discuss it with outworlders much."

With no warning the science station exploded.

Smoke billowed. Large pieces of console shrapnel shot out over the bridge; Kirk got a gash along the side of his head and a bruise on one shoulder. "The Klingons?" he shouted.

"Negative!" Sulu replied. "Tactical sensors are clear!"

"It's an internal overload - failsafe malfunction, sir!" called a cadet named Drake at the engineering station. "Engineering is locking it down now!"

Being nearest, the Doctor was to Saavik's side first, waving smoke away. To Kirk it looked frighteningly like Spock's portentous mock-death in the Academy simulator several days before.

"Oh no," said the Doctor. As the smoke cleared Kirk could see what he saw - a piece of console about the size of a serving platter had impaled Saavik through her abdomen and pinned her to her chair, nearly slicing her in half. Green Vulcan blood was splattered all over her, her chair, and the exposed interior of the science console; and was still pumping out of her. She stared sightlessly forward, unconscious or already dead.

"Dr. McCoy to the bridge!" Kirk heard Uhura page. "Medical emergency!"

The Doctor was behaving oddly. First he stared into Saavik's unresponsive eyes. As Kirk, Nyssa and several of the bridge officers approached, the Doctor took the celery from his lapel and held it under Saavik's nose, while laying his other hand on her forehead. No - he was holding his hand about half an inch away from her forehead.

"It's all right!" he cried, tossing the celery aside carelessly and motioning everyone back. "At least I think it is." He grabbed the slab of console and wrenched it out of Saavik and the chair.

Her body seemed to be generating a glow - no, a haze. It was a quantum effect, Kirk realized, something like the interspace interface he'd experienced in Tholian territory. He had trouble making out Saavik's features through it. It made them seem to be shifting.

They were shifting!

Where her face had previously been almost round, it was now longer and more angularly planed. Her eyebrows had become Vulcan-slanted. In contrast her hair, while retaining its pitch-black Vulcan coloration, took on a tight curliness Kirk had never seen in a Vulcan before.

Then the quantum field faded away. Immediately Saavik's eyes began fluttering open.

"How do you feel?" the Doctor asked.

McCoy arrived, medical tricorder in hand, a nurse trainee named Hayes in his wake. When he aimed his tricorder at Saavik, the Doctor snatched it away from him. "Hey!"

"I feel well, but ..." Saavik's voice trailed off for a moment - it had changed too, and she must have noticed as Kirk did. "... strange."

"What happened?" McCoy had confiscated Hayes' tricorder and was turning it on the patient.

It was Nyssa who answered; the only person here, Kirk later realized, who had ever been through this before as an observer. "She regenerated."

McCoy's eyebrows were climbing at the tricorder readings Saavik was giving off. The Doctor if anything was more surprised. "Saavik," he said, as if asking a child why there was a lighting fixture lying shattered on the floor, "how do you come by Time Lord DNA?"

The old Saavik would have startled, maybe even gasped. Now she only looked at the Doctor with model Vulcan impassivity and said, "I do not know."


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Chapter 2


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