"Her DNA is half Gallifreyan," said McCoy, peering at the readouts over Saavik's diagnostic bed in Sickbay. The patient had been changed out of the bloodspattered uniform with the huge gash, into a Sickbay coverall. "She still has only one heart - but now it's in the upper rather than the lower thorax. A brand spanking new bypass respiratory system ...
"There was no sign of this before!" McCoy said. "Any of it!"
"The Gallifreyan genome," said the Doctor uncomfortably, "has been known to assert itself in half-breeds to a varying degree with each regeneration."
"There are many Gallifreyan half-breeds?" Saavik asked.
The Doctor cleared his throat. "I, uh ..." The Doctor coughed. "I myself only know of one other."
Kirk knew what the Doctor wasn't saying, but everyone else in Sickbay was waiting for the Time Lord to drop the other shoe.
"I am," said the Doctor, "half human."
"That would explain a great deal," Saavik said into the silence.
McCoy had responded to the revelation, not with just surprised silence, but by turning a tricorder on the Doctor. "There's no human DNA in your genome."
"Check my retinal tissue," the Doctor said. "That's all that never changes."
"Wait a minute!" McCoy snapped his fingers in sudden enthusiasm. "There was human DNA in your first body! You even only had one heart then."
"I didn't know you'd ever scanned my first body."
"I didn't. This was in Spock's report from the first time the TARDIS landed on the Enterprise, back in Christopher Pike's day."
"That file is captain's-eyes-or-higher," said Kirk, startled. "When did you ever see it?"
McCoy's enthusiasm died away in confusion. "I don't know. I don't, um, remember." (A week from now McCoy would confess to Kirk that what he'd remembered now was not reading Spock's report but writing it.)
"The Vulcan genome is the dominant between Vulcan and human," said the Doctor, a little more at ease now that he had got his confession off his chest, "as Spock's case shows. The Gallifreyan genome is stronger still. It was nearly edged out by the human in my first body, but has been much more successful with all my subsequent regenerations. Saavik's Vulcan heritage managed to occlude the Gallifreyan entirely in her first body, but now it's in retreat. It may or may not retreat any further with successive regenerations.
"I say - where is Spock?"
Kirk felt the chasm yawn open before him again. "Spock is dead, Doctor."
"Dead? How?" The Doctor seemed horrified. This incarnation was a lot more accessible than the Doctor's other personalities, Kirk had observed since the regeneration; but even given the respect the Doctor had for Spock as a fellow scientist, he was overreacting.
A hope rose in Kirk's heart: was Spock's death at Mutara somehow in contradiction to history as the Doctor knew it? If it was, it would have to be unhappened! Kirk described the circumstances to the Time Lord.
"Oh! Oh," said the Doctor. "Terribly sorry for your loss, of course."
"Thank you," said Kirk, confused now. Suddenly the Doctor was wholly uninterested; as if Spock were just suffering from a mild illness from which there was every reason to believe he'd recover. Kirk turned away from the chasm again. "Saavik - do you have any idea how you ...?"
"Pardon me if this is a stupid question," said the Doctor with that tone of voice people use when they don't think the question is stupid, "but mightn't we ask your parents?"
"I do not know who my parents are, Doctor," said Saavik. "My origins are lost in the past. I was discovered on a Vulcan outpost 11.4 standard years after its destruction by Romulan 'pirates', myself of approximately ten standard years of age. Having no memories of any life previous to my life there, I was assumed to be prenn tupon farr."
"'Child of ... rape'?" rendered the Doctor.
"That is a logical translation," said Saavik. She didn't elucidate further; but Kirk had been told by Spock of the methods required for a Romulan to take a Vulcan by force, and it wasn't a pleasant story.
"Who 'discovered' you?" the Doctor asked.
"The Enterprise, under Christopher Pike," said Saavik. "Specifically a landing party led by Science Officer Spock. Spock adopted me as his ward under Vulcan law, and took a leave of absence from Starfleet for four point seven years to assist me in acclimating to Vulcan society."
"That explains it!" blurted McCoy.
Everyone turned and looked at him. "Explains what?" Kirk asked.
"Remember when we met Chris Pike, Jim? Spock said he'd served under him for seven point something years."
"No, I don't," said Kirk.
"Then later he said the Enterprise's first trip to Talos IV was thirteen years before. Well, Spock'd served under you about a year then, since Pike was promoted. But even assuming Spock was new on the ship for Talos IV, there was a discrepancy, wasn't there? Your one and Pike's seven-plus don't add up to thirteen. What about those other four or five years? Now I know."
"Bones," Kirk said, "you're not regenerating into a Vulcan, are you?"
"So you see, Doctor," said Saavik, "I have no knowledge of my parents."
"Well, I think it's high time you found it!"
"But," McCoy said, "she just told you her origins are lost in the past!"
"I am a Time Lord," said the Doctor. He turned to Saavik. "Come to that, so are you.
"We'll get in the TARDIS and go back to your outpost."
END OF CHAPTER 2
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