Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

Saavik's eyebrow lifted. "I do not believe self-inflicted cranial contusions will enhance her literary performance."

"I would agree," said Spock.

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

The two of them looked at each other and then back across the room at the dark haired woman banging her head on her terminal's manual access board.

Saavik sighed. "Where is her husband?"

Spock shook his head. "Asleep."

Saavik's eyes rounded. "Surely you jest."

He stiffened. "I do not."

"She is attempting to expose the coward who is so humiliatingly murdering the children of Thieurrull and he is sleeping?"

Spock's mouth twitched. "You are 'taking it personal'."

Saavik's eyes became glittering slits. "As I am one of those currently being murdered, I believe the sentiment is entirely justified."

He gave her a fond look. "You will not die. She will not let you."

Saavik relaxed ever so slightly and then sighed. "But what of the others?"

He shook his head. "I believe I heard her note to Marla that only three, besides yourself, will live."

Saavik looked outright ill. "After all we survived...." She shook her head slowly. "It seems a waste."

Spock tilted his head. "There is no waste in a valiant effort. Even if it fails." He turned somber eyes back to the woman at the computer. "That is why she is having difficulty in completing the story."

Saavik frowned. "But humans find failure.... lessening."

Spock nodded. His mouth softened at the dark haired woman. "Therein is the struggle." He looked at Saavik. "The story is a reflection of the writer."

Saavik's frown deepened into a protective scowl. "If someone is troubling her...."

"The universe at large."

Her forehead wrinkled. "Ours or hers?"

His eyes glinted. "Both."

Saavik grimaced. "Our ability to affect hers is extremely limited."


Saavik sighed. "So how are we to assist her?"

Spock looked back at the dark haired woman. "We continue to exist."


"Our presence, however... frustrating at times in the literary aspects, is sufficient." He tilted his head in thought. "Humans benefit most from accompaniment."

Saavik considered it openly and then slowly nodded. "As your mere presence enhances my state."

Spock blinked and turned his head to study Saavik.

She colored softly but lifted her chin. "I am well aware that my presence is hardly so conductive, yet--"

Spock studied her eyes. "Your presence has never... detracted."

Saavik colored darker and looked away. "You are kind."

He shook his head. "I am accurate." He returned his attention to the dark haired woman. "She will complete the story."

Saavik looked back, brow furrowing. "How do you know this?"

He shrugged. "A captain belongs in the stars."

Saavik's eyes gentled. "It is so."

They looked at each other for a long time. Then he lifted an eyebrow. "Until we are summoned to continue the... story... shall we... walk together?"

Saavik inclined her head. "That would be acceptable."

The two of them gave another fond look at the dark haired woman and turned away. Saavik gave a humored glance at the small dog guarding the door fiercely. "Her 'sehlat'." She sobered and gave the little pet a firm look. "Guard until we return," she commanded.

The little dog gave a sharp bark in obedience, making a larger dog at the amateur writer's feet lift her head.

"Morgan," Spock identified. "As always, within her mistress' close perimeter."

"Interesting," Saavik noted. "The smaller animal puts herself as the first point of defense." The little black and white dog wagged her stub of a tail, and a gleam came back to Saavik's eye. "Her spirit is much larger than her size."

"Also quite similar to her mistress. Our friend also has, lying now against the small of her back, a little cat." Spock's eyebrow lifted. "Shall we discuss that as well?"

The small dog gave another sharp bark, perhaps in response to Saavik's dry look, and they vanished as the dark haired woman frowned and at last peered at the door. "What is it, Casey?"

Casey gave a snort and settled down on the floor. Morgan did the same.

The woman shook her head in disgust, and then winced as the movement made it hurt. She rubbed her forehead gingerly.

Maybe she'd try throwing something next time. No bruises. She grinned to herself, imagining the approval on Saavik's face.

And then she got the idea. It was simple. Perfect. Kerry dove for the keyboard and began to type furiously.

Her lips pulled back over her teeth. "I've got you now..."

Note from Marla: the story referred to in here where someone is "murdering the children of Thieurrull" is Kerry's "Race of Cain".