Jim didn’t really know what any of that meant, but it was plain enough that the two Vulcans, Sarek and T’Pau, were none too pleased. Still, it was Spock who drew him away from those two and his mother to speak privately.

“I apologize for them putting you through that. I know your thoughts are on your father and other matters.”

“What does it even mean?”

“In essence our bond is unbreakable as far as they are concerned. If we had bonded under ordinary circumstances, simply because we fell in love and sought to be connected in that way, as happened between my own parents, they would have made an attempt to convince us to have our bond severed so that you could return to your Earth’s time and I could remain here.”

Jim nodded. “This is about it being difficult for you to be separated from me because of that bond, right?”

“In a word…yes. Bonded couples do part,” Spock clarified. “Even without severing their bond, there are those that live apart permanently. It can be done. It is simply not preferable as your mind is always bereft of that bond. That is why when couples choose not to be together, as a divorce would be in your time, it is better to sever that connection.”

“Spock, Jim.”

They both turned as Sybok and McCoy approached them.

“Jim,” Sybok spoke up. “I have altered my systems and calculations to allow us to beam your father directly up from his hospital room in his time to our facility here for Leonard to treat him.”

“Really? That’s great!”

Sybok looked to Spock. “It is not without risk, I should caution.”

“What risk?” Jim asked.

“It’s possible, slight but not nothing, that your father would perish in the attempt to bring him here or when we send him back. It is also possible that bringing him here could potentially damage the machinery I developed that rescued Spock from your time and location and I could send none of you back. That would mean both you and your father would stay here and you would simply disappear from Earth in your time.” Sybok shook his head. “This is new technology still in development by me and a few assistants. We were lucky to be able to bring Spock here when we did, along with you. I’ve finagled certain parts, but as I said, there is risk.”

Jim pursed his lips. “And yet if we don’t take that risk my dad’s going to die anyway.” He shook his head. “Do it.”

“Are you certain, Jim?” Spock asked. “You and your father could be parted from your mother and brother for what remains of all your lives.”

“Or Sybok could fix his machine to make it work again.” Jim shrugged. “I have to take that risk. Spock, I don’t know why, but it’s really important to me that my dad lives. I love him. He’s my dad. But I don’t know…I almost feel like there’s a time when I didn’t get to have him with me and I don’t…please?”

“Very well.” Spock turned to Sybok. “We are ready.”

“Come this way.”

Spock and Jim followed after Sybok and McCoy, who led them to a very high-tech hospital room.

“We’ll wait here,” McCoy told them. “If all goes well, your father will appear here directly in this bed.”

“And then?”

“After I repair the damage done to his heart, we’ll make the attempt to send him back to his bed in his time. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if everything works the way it’s supposed to.”

“And then Jim Kirk should be returned with his father,” Sarek said from the doorway.


“What is your problem?” Jim demanded as he turned on Sarek. “You know what? You aren’t helping. So if all you can do is be a negative nellie than please get out of here.”

Sarek looked startled. “Negative Nellie?”

Jim turned his back on him.

Sybok’s lips twitched as he brushed past his father to leave the hospital room.

Jim moved closer to Spock, who to Jim’s surprised delight, put his arm around Jim to draw him close.

He didn’t know how long he held his breath, but his very pale father suddenly appeared from thin air onto the hospital bed before him. If Spock hadn’t been holding onto him Jim might have collapsed.

And he was weeping in relief.

McCoy smiled gently at him. “Let me get started.”