SLAVE-MARKET

As the cart drew to a halt, Kirk was roughly hauled out, dragged to his feet and half-carried into a large open compound. He was left for a short time with the other slaves, all of whom avoided him. They were obviously fearful of one who had so openly defied the masters, perhaps concerned that contact with him might bring further punishment on themselves. Seeing that it was impossible to communicate with them, Kirk - still bound hand and foot - could only sit and wait, trying to ignore the pain and growing numbness caused by the tight bonds.

He wondered about his first officer's whereabouts. Surely Spock should be on the planet surface by now! The Vulcan would check the area where his captain had been captured, surmise that the slavers had travelled to this township, use the transporter to beam him close then... Kirk thought about it carefully. What would Spock do? It would not be possible to effect an escape from under the watchful eyes of so many guards so he would wait and bide his time.

His introspection was rudely interrupted as he was hauled to his feet and taken to a small room. His hands and legs were freed, and with welcome relief he rubbed at his bruised wrists whilst watching and listening carefully as the slaver-leader spoke with another richly attired individual. Only some of the words were understandable but they were enough to inform him of their intention to sell him to the highest bidder.

A tingle of horror slid down his spine. "No, I am a free man."

A guard lifted a hand to strike him but the leader bade him stop. Kirk shuddered as the implication of that infiltrated his dazed senses. They did not want his face marked for they believed that his looks would be attractive to the buyers.

Kirk was not vain but knew well enough that women considered him handsome. It had helped to bring him any female he had ever wanted, but to have it used as a selling commodity was humiliating in a manner he had never before experienced. He attempted to control his anger; Spock would soon be with him. He would not allow himself to be bothered by these depraved wretches.

The other vulcanoid was flabby; ostentatiously garbed in glittering silks and smelling of an overpowering perfume which was highly unpleasant. Kirk had seen this type on other worlds; greedy and corrupt, willing to sell anything for a profit - a merchant dealing in the slavery of living, sentient beings.

At an order from the lord, Kirk was forcibly restrained while his Starfleet clothing was removed. He struggled violently causing more than a few bruises to the guards but in the end, superior vulcanoid muscle won out. He was held immobile as the two watchers laughed. Their amusement at Kirk's futile attempts to free himself caused the human to swear viciously. His proud spirit was horrified by their attitude, degraded by the brute force used against him, and the total lack of any respect for another being.

The merchant walked over. He surveyed Kirk's body, smiled with satisfaction, and then tested his arm and shoulder muscles, stroking the skin with soft hands. Kirk again tried to struggle but was grasped even more tightly by his captors. He gritted his teeth against the nausea threatening to spill over, and the sudden sense of hopelessness.

"A prime specimen," the merchant said. "Place him on the block immediately."

Still struggling wildly, Kirk was forced out from the confines of the room into another compound and taken up wooden steps to a raised platform. He looked out over the sunlit area to see dozens of vulcanoids lounging on chairs and divans, talking and laughing amongst themselves. All were richly dressed in colourful silks or leather body armour; all manner of jewellery adorned both males and females alike.

Quiet descended on the audience as they watched Kirk being dragged in. Used to meek and docile slaves this one piqued their interest, and excitement seemed to fill the atmosphere. These bored and jaded slave-buyers knew that today they would see something quite different.

Kirk's heart pounded. This was not happening! It had to be a nightmare! He tried to control his rising terror. Think, man! he told himself. Think your way out of this. He gazed around the dusty compound searching for the familiar lean figure of his friend. Surely Spock would be here.

The logical course of action for the Vulcan would be to buy Kirk's freedom. The Enterprise would be able to manufacture any amounts of gold or diamonds, certainly enough to outbid anyone here. He squinted his eyes against the glare of the sun, desperately seeking out the sleek, dark hair and piercing eyes of his best friend but as he scanned the faces staring up at him, a sinking feeling settled into the pit of his stomach. Spock was not here. He was alone.

Flanked on both sides by tall, whip-holding guards, Kirk knew there was no escape from the reality of his predicament. He tried to attain a semblance of the Vulcan disciplines of control Spock had taught him; panic would get him nowhere. He forced himself to concentrate on the bidding.

The buyers were in a state of excitement. All tried to outbid one another but it finally came down to one male and one female, each increasing the price in what appeared to be far above the norm. Kirk studied them both. The man - Lord Zuma - was tall and powerful but dissipated in a way no Vulcan would ever be. He had a mean and vicious look to him which Kirk - used to judging character - did not like. He knew that life as Zuma's slave would not be worth living. Lady T'Mir was young and attractive. Kirk, knowing his appeal to the female of most species, could easily read her interest as she appreciatively eyed him. He did not relish being the plaything of such a woman but surely there was a chance of winning her affection, perhaps an opportunity for escape. Yet, to be a slave to her - he knew exactly what his duties would be - expected to satisfy her, perhaps forced to endure indignities intolerable to a man's pride and self respect.

He closed his eyes, attempting to disassociate himself from his surroundings, thinking instead of Spock, now surely on the way to find him. He tried to picture what his dignified and unassuming friend would look like in the type of garish outfit favoured by the planet's populace, and that brought him a little bit of cheer.

"SOLD." The word struck a chill of horror through his consciousness. "Sold to Lord Zuma."

Slowly, he opened his eyes to see the leering face of Zuma close to him, the mouth open in a wide, yellow grin. Sickly, cloying scent covering a worse odour assailed Kirk's nostrils; a large moist hand pawed his chest and with an effort born of fear, he broke free of the now loosened grips of the guards to crouch instinctively into a defensive position, ready to punch out hard. The vulcanoids hauled him straight and held his arms tightly.

Zuma laughed. "I will tame you, wild one. I'll break your spirit and rejoice on that day."

His voice was harsh, filled with a cruelty which was only too apparent. He stretched out his hand again and chuckled as Kirk, in desperation, attempted to escape his touch. He stroked the smooth, tanned chest, his hand slowly wandering lower, finally gripping the human in lustful demand. Revulsion swept through Kirk's body, giving him a fierce strength he had not known he possessed. Somehow breaking away from his guards, he dived for the open gate of the compound.

His heart pumped wildly, his breath came in harsh gasps; freedom was only a few metres away. Spock would be close. He had to escape. He had to reach Spock. He called out to his friend in silent agony. It was essential to reach Spock before it was too late.

Spock, help me.

He fell into the dust, brought down by a large powerful body. He struck out with all the expertise of his considerable fighting skills, but four opponents of vulcanoid strength were too many for one weakened human. They expertly bound him and with much derision at his fruitless attempts to release himself, they lifted and hoisted him over a shaggy, horse-like beast. As Kirk fell into unconsciousness, he wished in that moment for death.

 

SPOCK

Darkness had almost fallen by the time Spock arrived at the township. The houses were shuttered and locked. A heavy mist covered the streets and even with Vulcan night vision, he almost missed the faint light shining from the lantern of an inn. As a light rain began to fall, he gratefully passed through the narrow doorway and entered the warmth of its welcoming interior; the crimson drapes lining the windows giving the place a semblance of familiarity.

An elderly white-haired vulcanoid scurried forward. "Greetings, sir. I am the innkeeper. It is a terrible night to be out. Please enter my humble abode and be welcome. How may I serve you?"

"I require information," Spock said, holding out a small piece of gold.

The innkeeper's eyes lit up with interest. "Anything you require, lord." He indicated a seat by a long wooden table.

Spock nodded politely and sat down. "I search for a slave. Perhaps you know of him."

"I know of many slaves, sir."

"This one was brought to the market at Firanol."

"This is Firanol. Where are you from, sir? Your accent is a foreign one."

"Indeed, I am from a land which lies far across the sea," Spock replied with care. Now he must test if his made-up story would be accepted. "I seek a slave who belongs to me. He is light-haired and his eyes are an unusual shade of brown. His build is muscular but trim and he is defiant, often aggressive."

"Ah, yes my lord," the innkeeper said. "He was in Firanol today at the slave-market. Caused quite a commotion."

Spock hid his concern. These vulcanoids might possess some kind of telepathy. He could not afford to have his thoughts or feelings read. "Tell me," he demanded, placing the gold into the other's hand.

The man clenched the gold. "Lord, they stripped and sold him. He did not like being sold. He overpowered his guards and almost escaped from the compound, but was caught and securely bound. It is said that he fought like a warrior, not a slave. All in Firanol are truly amazed. None have seen such a slave before. It is unheard of to have a fighting slave."

Spock could almost visualise the scene. Horrified at the indignities his captain must have suffered, he was silent for a long moment. How could his human friend have endured being a captive of a people, of superior strength, who held no concern nor respect for him, simply regarding him as property? Spock knew only too well how Jim's fear of being dominated had coloured his life, driving him on to increase his own fitness and muscle in a bid to protect himself as much as possible.

Yet Jim had never been frightened of his Vulcan first officer, even on his first encounter with the reality of superior alien strength, trusting Spock instinctively despite hardly knowing him. The psi-null Terran had sensed the bond growing between them long before the telepathic Vulcan had become aware of it. He had with reckless courage, and unconcern, thrown his vulnerable body into dangerous and difficult martial arts training, against a stronger opponent, with an abandon that had worried his friends. Spock was intensely proud of his own role in assisting Jim to overcome such a deep-seated phobia. Without doubt, the trust which had sparked so easily between them as well as the advanced Vulcan self-defence methods Spock had taught Kirk had been the deciding factors boosting the human's confidence.

Would all those old fears return now? Would there be just cause for them?

Spock attempted to control a shudder. "Where is he? Who has bought him?"

"Lord Zuma, sir. He is most pleased with his new slave and I do not believe he would be willing to relinquish him to you. He wishes to break the slave's spirit." The innkeeper leaned forward, his face flushed and animated by the telling of the unique tale. "Lord Zuma is powerful. He will break the slave and find the task most stimulating."

Spock frowned, not understanding. "Explain."

The innkeeper shrugged. "Ah, my lord, you are a stranger here or you would know of Zuma's tastes. It is not uncommon amongst the aristocracy of our land. It is said that the slave is comely; his blond hair and golden skin are most exotic."

Horror swept through every nerve in Spock's body as he understood the innkeeper's meaning. The implications were highly disturbing. He stood. "Where is Lord Zuma?"

"He has left for the stronghold of M'Ran."

"I wish instruction on how to reach M'Ran," Spock demanded.

"It is impossible to travel there tonight, sir. Darkness is upon us and the mist blankets all. The way is treacherous. It is impossible, my lord; you cannot leave until morning. Lord Zuma departed several hours ago and will have arrived by now. Believe me, sir, I know the road well."

Blinded by rage and frustration, Spock grabbed the innkeeper by the collar, shaking him roughly. "Give me directions," he ordered.

"Have you a mount?" the terrified man asked.

"No, I will purchase one? Where may I do this?"

"Please, lord, the k'zels will not travel," the innkeeper pleaded. "They are sure-footed animals but the mist cannot be penetrated, the conditions are too dangerous. You would die in the swamps or be attacked by the wild beasts of the forest. I beg of you, listen to me. The danger is real. If you die then who will protect your slave?"

Spock's anger slowly dissolved as he sensed the man's genuine fear and concern, and he released him. The innkeeper sighed with relief and bowed before him, clenching his hands together. Spock turned on his heel and strode to the door, opened it and peered out into the thick, swirling fog. Even Vulcan vision was unable to penetrate its intensity and he drew a harsh, gasping breath at the realisation of being trapped here, and that there was nothing he could do about it. The mist entered his lungs and he coughed as it irritated his respiratory tract. Conceding defeat, he returned to the protective confinement of the inn.

"Bring me food and water. I wish a room for the night but arrange for a mount to be ready at first light."

"It will be as you command, lord," the elderly vulcanoid said.

The night passed slowly. Spock did not sleep but tossed and turned as he envisioned his proudly masculine, human friend in the hands of a sadist like Zuma. Although sexual congress with one's own gender was rare amongst Vulcans it was commonplace amongst many species, including humans. But Jim only sought out women; to be the slave of such a one as Zuma and unable to defend himself against uncontrolled vulcanoid strength would be a living nightmare!

These people of Vulcan stock had lost all traces of morality and justice. They had degenerated into the barbarism of slavery and oppression, abusing those in their power as if it was their right to do so. Spock lay in tormented fear for his revered captain, his friend and bond-brother, who was alone and unprotected somewhere in the fortress of M'Ran.

***

As the hazy light of dawn filtered through the draped windows of the room, Spock was already speeding downstairs to the outside. The force of the wind almost knocked him over and he clutched at a wooden post for support, watching the clouds darkening the sky. Rain began to fall in heavy droplets.

"Come inside, my lord," the innkeeper called. "You cannot travel today."

Spock turned to see him standing in the open doorway, hands clasping and unclasping in agitation.

"Explain," he snapped.

"The high winds and rainstorms bring everything to a halt. It is the season of the T'Maliar. Nothing can be done until it is over."

Spock ignored the implications of the word which all Vulcans had once dreaded. In his planet's past, the T'Maliar - desert storm - had wreaked havoc and destruction for three weeks every five years until weather control techniques had rendered it harmless. He was unwilling to accept that he might be unable to leave this place.

"Where is the mount?" he demanded.

"The k'zels cannot travel through the storms." There was open fear in the other's voice.

A towering rage overcame Spock's senses, throwing Vulcan controls and discipline aside, a fury so intense that his body trembled with its force. "First, I cannot travel at night. Now I cannot leave due to the storms! What kind of world is this?"

Blood pounded in his ears, deafening him. He had to reach M'Ran before Jim was destroyed by Zuma. He could not stay here - trapped - unable to reach his friend. The gale howled like a slave in torment; it whipped his hair from his forehead.

"Lord, please enter the inn. Protect yourself." Spock could not hear the words but he read the innkeeper's lips.

He turned to stare out into the distance. The trees swayed dangerously in the hurricane-force wind. Torrential rain splattered noisily on the buildings and streets. There was no-one in sight, for all sheltered from the wildness of the elements. He alone stood in the open. Spock clung onto the post for many long, despairing minutes, disbelieving the overwhelming evidence, pelted unmercifully by the fury of the deluge, his eyes burning as he finally accepted the reality of the facts. He pressed his cheek against the soaked wood, the bitter tears pouring down his face mingling with the rain.

Eventually he entered the protection of the inn. He was drenched through but did not notice as he weakly slumped onto a bench and stared into the worried face of the proprietor. His finely attuned controls were now in shreds.

"This slave means much to you, my lord," the innkeeper stated, his voice full of understanding and sympathy.

"He means much to me." Spock bent his head down, unconcerned at having made the admission to a stranger. He searched for a modicum of discipline. It was difficult but years of training were not so easily disregarded. Within a minute he had found enough strength of will to speak calmly. "How long will the storm last?"

"Many days but even once it is over the paths will be flooded and difficult to negotiate." The innkeeper sat down opposite him. "Please stay here, my lord. Rest, eat and be welcome. Once the storm has abated I will find the sturdiest k'zel to take you to M'Ran. My cousin owns the inn there. I will give you a letter for him. He will assist you, for Lord Zuma is not popular with his tenants. He is as ruthless with them as with his slaves. He allows his soldiers to terrorise all."

Spock listened with growing apprehension but forced himself to be civil to the man. "You are most kind. What is your name?"

"Sendel, my lord."

An ancient and respected Vulcan name. So some traditions did continue on this perverted, evil world. "Thank you," he replied. "My name is Spock."

Sendel leaped to his feet and bowed low before him. "Forgive me, Lord Spock. I had not realised I was addressing one of such exalted birth. I surmised from your features and colouring, the blackness of your hair, your air of authority, that you were of noble family but I did not know you were of the Royal House."

Spock raised an eyebrow in surprise. The name! It must be his name! Spock had been the given name of the son of Surak; perhaps it had lingered in the memory of these people as royal. They were not so far wrong. Surak was venerated by the Vulcan people; they had no royalty as such, but Surak's House came close to it.

"It is of no matter, Sendel. I am not offended. Please be seated."

He almost smiled. Jim would be proud of him. He must be a credit to his captain and play this part to the hilt. He took a deep breath. Well, he would attempt it with all the knowledge he could find within himself, for he had watched Jim play many roles over the years. His friend was a gifted actor, a talent which had saved ship and crew on numerous occasions. Spock hoped he had learned something of it from him.

"I know you are worried about your slave," Sendel said. "Many of our people do care for them. Because they are physically weaker does not mean they should be victims of oppression."

"That is the belief in my land," Spock said. "It is gratifying to know that not all here are like Zuma."

"Indeed, lord. There are many who love and protect the Zalar." His eyes grew moist as they appeared to stare into a bitter past. "Devra was my slave but she loved me, and I adored her. She brightened my life giving me warmth and joy 'til... " His expression changed and tears spilled slowly onto his cheeks. "One day she was caught by Zuma's men. The next morning a purse filled with coins was delivered to me. There was also a message telling me to buy another slave." Sendel looked down; he wiped at his eyes. "He tortured and murdered her."

Spock stared at the man with pity but those chilling words only increased his fear for his human friend. He was weather-bound, unable to reach Jim's side - where he wanted and needed to be - to protect and defend him.

Sendel lifted his head. "Lord Spock, you have come here alone without slaves to attend you, without luggage or travel supplies. You will require provisions for the journey, you will need fresh clothing. Allow me to send for the seamstress; you must be richly dressed to impress Zuma. He respects nothing but power and money so it is essential that you show great wealth. His weakness is gambling, it is one of the few things which gives him pleasure any more. Perhaps it will be the way to regain your slave, possibly the only way."

Spock considered the man's words. Sendel was a most logical being. The time spent here need not be completely wasted. He would prepare, immerse himself in the role of royal personage and be ready to take on Zuma. "Very well, I will accept your advice," he replied.

Sendel smiled. "You honour me, my lord."

The sky had darkened, despite the early hour, casting a heavy gloom over the township. Spock went to his room and looked out of the narrow window, staring intently in the direction of the stronghold where Kirk was now captive. Anguished, he slowly turned his perceptions inwards to concentrate on the familiar configurations of his t'hy'la's mind, trying to reach for and determine Jim's condition. Shutting out all the other thoughts bombarding his telepathic senses, knowing now the way to protect himself from them, he sent his mind searching for his friend. For a heartbeat, he caught a tantalising glimpse of a well-known thought pattern but it was vague, distant, remote.

Jim, he tried to send his reassurance. Jim, t'hy'la. But he was only too aware of his captain's inability to receive the message; nor did he have the skill to send far-thoughts to Jim. That was a rare gift; one he wished was possible for him to possess.

Be strong. Do not lose hope for I will soon be with thee.

His deep and powerful feelings for his friend flowed along the link between them, never to reach their target for lack of the special telepathic gift which could have made it possible. Jim would never know of his worry, never feel his profound and abiding regard; not have the comfort of knowing he was a short distance away and the pain of realising that it might as well have been a million kilometres.

Exhausted, Spock sat cross-legged on the bed and sank into a meditative trance. Jim, his mind continued to send. T'hy'la.

His utter despair overcame the many years of strict disciplines and starting out of the meditation suddenly, he discovered that his face was wet with tears. He wrapped his arms around his legs and slowly rocked back and forth like a frightened child. With a weariness he had not known since the time Jim had been lost on Miramanee's world, Spock leaned his forehead on his knees and closed his eyes.

 

SLAVE

Jim, t'hy'la. Spock's voice murmured in his dream. Be strong. Do not lose hope for I will soon be with thee. A rush of intense warmth enveloped him. He reached out for his Vulcan friend, searching for the reassuring presence and unwavering strength; the support that was always there for him, on which he relied upon with complete certainty. Jim, t'hy'la.

A sudden wash of coldness drove all security away. He awoke with a start at the shock of freezing liquid drenching his aching body. A guard stood nearby, a water hose in his hand. "Wake up," the harsh voice ordered. "Lord Zuma wishes you to attend him."

Kirk waved his hand in acknowledgement, struggled to his knees and kept his head down low. He waited for his chance. Even though the guard was vulcanoid, Kirk had learned from an expert teacher and knew every trick in the book on how to overcome an opponent of superior strength. There were no others around so there was a fighting chance of taking the alien by surprise. In this culture it seemed that the humanoid slaves no longer resisted their oppressors; that fact might give him the edge he needed.

He beat down his aches using a relaxation technique painstakingly learned from his ever-patient first officer. Gathering all his strength, using every moment to garner his increasing power, he waited until the unsuspecting guard came closer before launching his attack. It took only a few seconds to knock the man out and with a satisfied grin, he picked up the other's knife and whip then glanced for the first time at his surroundings. He was in a bare room, a cell of some type, and the door was open...

He flattened himself against the wall and listened with intense concentration before making his silent way into the torch-lit passageway. He shivered slightly and looked down at himself, noting then that his only garment was a thin, red slave-tunic moulded to his body by the soaking he had received. Forcing himself to ignore the chill, Kirk carefully crept along the narrow corridor, stopped at each locked wooden door, but only heard the poignant sounds of misery from the incarcerated slaves behind them.

It was difficult to shut out those cries of suffering but there was nothing that could be done at present for these poor people. If he could reach the Enterprise, then it would be possible to argue the injustices on this planet before the Federation Council. Perhaps if proof was obtained of the Vulcan ancestry of the ruling species, the Prime Directive could be set aside. Surely the Vulcan people would not tolerate such violations of their laws and civilisation!

His first duty was clear; find Spock and together they would return to the ship. But where was Spock? Had his friend been able to reach this fortress?

At the end of the corridor was a long, narrow window. A howling wind whistled through the open space, driving the relentless rain in. Kirk leaned over the ledge but could see nothing through the darkness. There was no starlight nor moonlight; the black clouds obscured everything. He sighed with disappointment, knowing there was no escape this way. It was impossible to tell how high up he was in the castle and there was a very real risk of falling to his death in the blackness.

Chilled further by his exposure to the elements, he crept along to a wide ornate door. It was difficult not to dwell on the all too possible worry that Spock could be trapped somewhere by the atrocious weather and unable to locate him. Also it might not be possible for his friend to beam back to the Enterprise, if it became necessary to maintain a local persona amongst the populace. Kirk knew that even the ship's powerful sensors would not distinguish Terran readings from the humanoid species which existed on Kathal V; they were too similar. The latest technology on the Enterprise was virtually useless here. Only Spock could save him. He listened for a long time heard no sounds of movement and, deciding to risk entering, slowly turned the handle. The door opened silently.

The room was richly furnished with multi-coloured drapes, cushions and carpets. A large fireplace dominated one wall, beckoning him with its promise of warmth, the merrily burning logs radiating a comfortable glow. With extreme caution Kirk walked towards it, alert for any flicker of movement, his stolen weapons ready for use. Sliding down to sit upon the thick white rug, he warmed himself whilst trying to work out a plan of action. He had only caught a glimpse of this stronghold when he had arrived barely conscious, bound and slung over a horse-like animal. It was imperative to find a way out soon, for the guard might awaken and sound the alarm. He could not stay here in the warmth, any longer. He would have to leave. With great effort he forced his bruised body to its feet.

"Stay," a voice commanded.

Kirk crouched into a defensive position and stared about the dimly-lit room. Laughter reverberated within its depths, causing shivers to run up and down his spine as he recognised the gloating tones of Lord Zuma. The tall, muscular vulcanoid emerged from behind the heavy drapes at the far end of the chamber; his face alive with enjoyment and interest as he slowly walked towards Kirk.

"Well done, slave. You overpowered one of my best soldiers. Where did you learn such skills?"

Kirk drew himself to his full height. "A friend taught me."

"You speak with a foreign accent. Where are you from?"

"I come from another country." Kirk carefully searched his memory for the Vulcan words. "Lord Zuma, I come in peace. I became parted from my comrades and only wish to return to them."

"No, you are mine," Zuma said with a sneer. "I bought you and you will obey me or suffer the consequences."

"I am no-one's slave," Kirk replied, pulling his mantle of command firmly around him. "I am a free man."

Zuma's eyebrows rose in a gesture heartbreakingly similar to Spock's. Kirk's eyes smarted as he recalled the last few minutes spent with his friend. They had been on the bridge. Kirk had cracked a joke which the literal-minded scientist had not understood. There had been some humorous repartee between them which had caused much laughter amongst the crew then he had left, still chuckling over the raised eyebrows and innocent expression that were the only indications of a Vulcan's teasing. His heart ached for his friend's company. Zuma was no peace-loving Vulcan and nothing like the gentle, dependable Spock.

"You are my property," Zuma gloated. "You are unbroken but I will teach you obedience. You will learn to serve me for you will be broken in spirit. Yes, my slave, you will abase yourself before me and tend to my every need, for they will be your life."

Kirk controlled his fears. He had experienced slavery before although not like this, with its complete and utter oppression of a weaker race by a stronger one; and not alone and almost helpless as he was here.

"You will never break me. I will die first." Kirk was defiant, his face darkening with rage.

"Then you will die... eventually, and not without much suffering."

Kirk smiled dangerously, unaware that Zuma's lust was being inflamed by the sight of his fire-lit face and body; the air of bravado and command presence being a challenge to one who knew only the docile Zalar. "That does not frighten me."

Zuma laughed. "We will see, stubborn one. You will learn that I take what I want. You will be mine, sooner or later."

Kirk swallowed and did not reply. He refused to be intimidated by this petty lordling.

"You are most attractive," Zuma said, moving towards him. "I do not wish to mar you, my pretty one, so I will be lenient with you. Put down your weapons, kneel before me and beg my forgiveness for your defiant behaviour."

Horror swept Kirk at those words. He clenched the knife and whip tightly. "No," he whispered.

The vulcanoid held out a bejewelled hand. "Kiss my hands and feet in true humility and I will grant you pardon. See, I am not cruel!" A wide smile covered the evil face. "Then in gratitude for my leniency you will pleasure me."

"No," Kirk hissed. "I will not." The blood ran cold within his body as a deep rage suffused his very essence.

Zuma's expression changed. "Guards," he snapped.

Six tall soldiers stepped into the room and walked menacingly towards Kirk. He stumbled backwards, almost into the fire, caught himself then jumped forward, and prepared to take them all on if necessary - ready to die, if that be his fate.

The odds against him were too high. After a brief, violent struggle he was pushed onto his knees at Zuma's feet, his face forcibly pressed onto the carpet. Now, helpless in the grasp of the guards, sick despair overcame him in gut-wrenching waves.

After a few moments the pressure on his head eased and he was permitted to look up at Zuma. The triumph on the vulcanoid's dissipated face was horrifying to witness. The black eyes glittered in evil glee; the lips smiled in satisfied, lustful delight.

"Slave, I get everything and everyone I want."

"No, you have forced me to my knees. I will not plead with you nor 'pleasure' you in any way. You are a tyrant, a despot who does not know the meaning of integrity or decency. I will not bow to your will."

Shock at such defiance registered on Zuma's features, then he began to laugh. "So, you only increase my entertainment, slave. You will obey or learn the power of my anger." He glanced at the guards. "Take him to his cell for a time. Let him think on what lies ahead for him, but first I will give him a taste of what will be his duties."

Nausea from deep within his guts threatened Kirk as the meaning of those words infiltrated his shocked mind. He struggled with every ounce of strength left in his body but, held by vulcanoid muscle, he was barely able to move. He closed his eyes, on realisation of the futility of his protests, trying to shut out what was happening to him in an attempt to disassociate himself from it. His thoughts turned to his ship and crew. Spock would be on his way; he would soon be rescued from this living nightmare. That hope brought him the courage and will to attain the Vulcan state of withdrawal from outward sensation which he had recently learned from Spock. He maintained it for a time, but once Zuma released him it was impossible to contain his revulsion. He spat into the leering face.

Zuma started back in anger. He raised his hand and viciously slapped Kirk hard across the face, causing the human's lip to split open and warm blood to flow. The tyrant clenched his fists. "No, you will not goad me into disfiguring you. I like your appearance. I will not permit you to be marred too much."

Kirk was hauled to his feet and dragged back to the barren cell. Once locked in, he curled up clasping his knees to his chest and buried his face against the thin mattress which was the room's only meagre comfort. He breathed deeply in an attempt to control his pounding fear, as for the first time in his adult life he cursed his good looks. What was he to do if Zuma forced his compliance? The vulcanoid was powerfully built; it would be difficult to overcome such a foe. Even if it were possible, Zuma had guards, at his command, who could force a human down and then take what he wanted.

Kirk - a student of Earth's turbulent history - thought of the thousands of years and the countless people who had been bought and sold into slavery, used and abused by others stronger than themselves. It had always horrified him that anyone could oppress another. He had seen it in many parts of the galaxy, and he had even tried to rectify it himself on many occasions. But now to have it happen to him! He, a man who had always delighted in his own masculinity without imposing it on others against their will, to be subject to the whims of a despot such as Zuma!

He wiped his mouth to erase the obscenity of the vulcanoid's touch but the rotten taste lingered. He shook with loathing, suddenly feeling soiled but forced himself to consider his future. The only two options were to fight all the way regardless of the consequences, or submit. The latter was too horrific to consider. To bow and scrape, serve as a slave and allow Zuma's sexual attentions! Kirk shuddered violently. Never! Better to die than to suffer that! If Zuma used force, he would find a way to kill the tyrant... or himself.

 

Lord Zuma

Slave World - Part 3

Slave world Index

Star Trek Index