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Encephalobasher
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Encephalobasher
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#8
Paul Robison
Nov 16, 2017
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20
10 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!y9NhTWmDZuKkaTjH2LGSposted on PENANA

They had wakened Tom, rounded up Kolchin, told Bush a car would call for them, led a quiet, bemused Tom out across the grounds to a grove of trees.copyright protection20PENANAq0PaDzlJi5

Marissa had held up, but now she burst very quietly into tears.  She tried to hold back her sobs.  She turned away and seemed about to leave.  Tom held tightly to her arm.  "Don't go, Marissa.  Please.  You can't leave me.  What'll I do without you?"copyright protection20PENANABQeo78luMk

Finn stepped forward. "Tom, listen to me.  Marissa shouldn't come with us.  Think, Tom!"copyright protection20PENANAZwF9qYRsJx

"No!  I won't go away and leave Marissa.  Why can't she come with us?"copyright protection20PENANAl9ybkbLGU3

Finn realized that Sawyer probably didn't realize they were "back in time."  He knew that if he tried to explain it to Tom now, he would become more confused than he already was.copyright protection20PENANALwT0U09gvV

"Wait a minute, Tom," the doctor said softly. "Let's talk to Balus.  He'll know what to do."copyright protection20PENANAAusgDSevlY

"Spock---Balus Spock?  Of course!"  But----where is he, Bones?" Sawyer looked around. "Spock's not here...."copyright protection20PENANA2H8BSsMD8H

"He's on the Esmeralda, Tom.  I'll call him; you stand right there with Marissa.  Miss Cooper, please, take his hand.  I don't know what'll happen when he hears Spock's voice," he said quickly, drawing out his communicator.copyright protection20PENANAGTeAU8B3p6

"Who....who is Spock?" Marissa asked. "And----what is that?" indicating the communicator.copyright protection20PENANAYZArfekuJG

"Balus Spock.  He's a friend, and this is a----kind of radio," he explained, flipping up the grid.  "Finn to Esmeralda.  Come in, Spock."copyright protection20PENANAsMnBnf3aTc

"Spock her, Doctor.  Have you found....?"copyright protection20PENANASA56a0fL3E

"We have.  He's right here beside me."copyright protection20PENANAS2EstUHOpr

"Are you ready to beam up, Doctor?"copyright protection20PENANAuRdRsA7wL1

"Well, not exactly, Bal.  We've got a problem here.  I don't really know how to solve it.  There's a young lady----a nurse....Through my carelessness, she's discovered who and what we are.  She's standing right here with us; she loves him, and Tom won't leave her!"copyright protection20PENANAIDBOJMOZyR

"I am coming down...."copyright protection20PENANADqTiTncAbB

"Spock!  Do you think that's wise?"copyright protection20PENANA2GtfyWQFsB

"I have no choice, Doctor.  Are you out of sight?"copyright protection20PENANAGbeiZY4OXC

"Yes," Finn conceded morosely.  He tried not to let the worry he felt creep into his voice---worry about what Spock's arrival would do to Sawyer.  He'd find that out soon enough---the sound of the Transporter beam was beginning to build.....copyright protection20PENANAFB3zTWX6x9

Marissa swung around at the sound, in time to see the sparkle of materialization begin.  She stood transfixed, watching a figure grow, build, and solidify into a man----dressed in the same type of clothing she'd seen on Tom Sawyer.  She felt Tom's hand tighten on hers; it started to hurt.copyright protection20PENANAIzPbOn8F3A

For a moment his eyes widened, as if in astonished greeting of a familiar shape, then narrowed, as if in some unreadable agony.copyright protection20PENANAgKMv2Mt7Ar

"Tom---Tom!  Please, you're hurting me."  She tried to pull her hand away, but he wouldn't let go.  She looked up at his face.  It was twisted into an expression of anger---of rage! "Tom!  What is it?"copyright protection20PENANAJg3MQWJN3g

"My shirt!" Sawyer growled, starting toward Spock and Finn, dragging Marissa along with him.copyright protection20PENANAXLQMXFa5ke

"Dr. Finn!" Marissa cried.copyright protection20PENANAGAZs61ez9P

Finn and Spock looked up and saw Tom Sawyer rushing at them, uncontrollable fury written in every move.copyright protection20PENANA1S54FW1pK4

"Tom, stop!" Finn shouted.copyright protection20PENANAFHQwuNbFSv

"Why is he wearing my shirt?" Sawyer cried.  Letting go of Marissa, he threw himself bodily at Spock, pounding at him and tearing at Spock's gold uniform shirt.copyright protection20PENANATy6S0cUfM3

Spock easily warded off the blows, caught Sawyer's hands, and held them.  "Tom, stop it," he said softly.copyright protection20PENANA5OWbSC7U1R

"Why are you wearing my shirt?" Sawyer shouted.  "You---gave me up.  I'm not dead.  I'm----I'm the captain!"  The agony hit him again.  Sawyer screamed and sank to his knees, the old familiar look of unbearable horror on his face.copyright protection20PENANAYGyPd2CoIu

Spock bent.  Placing his long fingers on Sawyer's shoulder, he pressed the one spot known only to Vulcans, Tom Sawyer slumped.  Spock caught him, took him bodily in his arms, and lifted him up---holding him as one would hold a child.copyright protection20PENANAUB20u3dpjZ

Marissa Cooper stood staring for a moment, then, looking up at Spock, gasped. "What did you do to him?"copyright protection20PENANAsoNpzG1HA2

Spock turned to look at her, and it was then that she noticed, saw the "difference," knew that this----this person who stood before her was different, was alien to her understanding.  She gasped again and turned pale.copyright protection20PENANAyzJ7oWa0kS

Finn quickly stopped to her side and slipped one arm around her, steadying her.  "Don't faint on us, Miss Cooper.  Tom's all right; he's not hurt.  Spock just.....well, put him to sleep.  He'll come out of it in a few minutes."  He spoke quietly while Marissa regained her composure.  She looked up at Spock again, in time to see an expression of profound sadness cross the face of the tall, thin, odd-looking man holding Tom easily in his arms....an expression that quickly vanished, to be replaced by a mask of nonemotion when he saw her looking at him.copyright protection20PENANAveuyfYBsnV

Finn stripped off his overcoat and spread it on the ground.  Spock laid Sawyer down on the coat, and Alexei used his own to cover the silent figure.  Spock then straightened up and turned toward Marissa Cooper, who shrank a little from his intense gaze.copyright protection20PENANArQkffTVgAv

"Miss Cooper," he said quietly, "Dr. Finn has told me that you love Tom Sawyer. Is that correct?"copyright protection20PENANAj952gtZruj

"Yes----yes. I do," she said firmly, her chin raised in defiance---of him and of her fear.copyright protection20PENANAjZyNxNL9g9

"I believe you do, Miss Cooper. I  also understand that you know about us---where and we are from?" His eyes seemed to be boring into her, as though this strange being was seeing behind the mask of her face, reading her inner self.copyright protection20PENANA5I0pXfjSwU

Marissa was frightened, but her love for Tom gave her the strength to stand her ground---though all she wanted to do was run, far away from whatever, or whoever, this calm, quiet, but relentless being was.copyright protection20PENANAoP3uSkYRMs

His quiet, deep voice continued.  "Miss Cooper.  Please do not be frightened.  Tom Sawyer is my friend. I can understand what he means to you; it is regrettable that you and he are from different times.  In his own time, he is a lonely man.  He needs---love, needs someone who cares, but his position as a captain in the Space Federation Fleet denies him the right to give himself fully to any woman."copyright protection20PENANAb5sJS0xEaN

Spock paused, and Huckleberry Finn shot a wondering look at him.  He'd never heard Spock talk like this before.  But he remained silent; he was sure Spock had a reason for talking like this, for telling Marissa Cooper even more about the future than she'd already learned.copyright protection20PENANAOfvOFt4YmA

"Then, if he's so lonely, take me with you!  I could..." She stopped when he shook his head.copyright protection20PENANATKqWeihd93

"We cannot, for several reasons.  It is highly unlikely that you would be happy in our time.  You would be....out of place...."copyright protection20PENANAFk98428BGj

"I could learn!  Oh, please!"copyright protection20PENANApvyVjeoncK

"Yes, but...." Spock shook his head again.  "Our reason is that taking you could change our future.  Even he might cease to exist.  But you, also, must have a reason.  Miss Cooper, has it occurred to you that Tom probably does not love you?"copyright protection20PENANAY5vo2KGkXP

She winced.  That had hurt!copyright protection20PENANAoDaxLezUQg

"He---he likes me.  He says he doesn't want me to leave him."copyright protection20PENANAdfMMb50Atd

"That is not Thomas T. Sawyer talking, Miss Cooper.  That is a voice from a man with a sick mind---an incredibly hurt and tortured mind.  You have been kind to him; you have tended and cared for him.  From what I understand, you are unusual in that your care for your patients.  This is to your credit.  If Tom Sawyer recovers---and I have reason to believe that he will----he will be ever grateful to you, but----would gratitude be enough?  He might come to resent you, for he would be responsible for you----a woman out of touch with her own reality.  Do you understand?  If you really love him, you must give him up.  You must forget Thomas Sawyer and all that you have learned about him, about us, and about the future."copyright protection20PENANAkriQPlBwGy

"How can I?  I can't forget him, or you, or Dr. Finn, or that other man----all I've seen and heard today!" she cried.copyright protection20PENANAm4cwCXKcSA

"I can help you----forget," Spock said quietly, reluctantly, almost as if the words had been forced from his lips.copyright protection20PENANAt5QfS1lTBO

"Wh---what do you mean?" She was frightened again; did he mean to kill her?  She drew away from him.copyright protection20PENANA6WfpN5KoBr

"Miss Cooper, I will not hurt you.  Dr. Finn, would you please assure her that the mind-meld could not possibly injure her?" Spock said, turning to Finn.copyright protection20PENANAWXv8u86ekZ

The doctor smiled gently at Marissa Cooper and took her hand in his .  "Marissa, I know you're frightened.  I would be too, in your position.  Please, believe me when I tell you that Balus Sp0ck is the least violent, most gentle person I know, despite his strange appearance----and not even I can get used to that!" His eyes sparkled with what to Marissa seemed like an inner glee, a private joke.  "Trust him; trust us.  I'm sure you know what Tom means to us; we've both told you he's our friend.  We certainly wouldn't harm someone to whom we owe so much---someone who has cared for our friend.copyright protection20PENANAPO5G3XIoQk

"What Mr. Spock proposes is called a mind-meld.  I've experienced it several times.  So has Tom.  It's saved our sanity and our lives many, many times.  Let Spock help you.  It won't hurt.  All he'll do is place his hand on your forehead.  "That's all----believe me."copyright protection20PENANAcWgsm3y6sa

His quiet words had been reassuring to Marissa.  She turned back to Spock.  "Do you really think this will help Tom?"copyright protection20PENANAyo83xCcERx

"Yes, Miss Cooper.  It will, and you as well."  The deep, quiet voice was reassurance in itself.copyright protection20PENANADHlInoG5Nx

"Well....." Marissa turned and looked down at Tom, who lay, as if in sleep, on the ground at their feet.  She felt a rush of love for the helpless man; then a thought crept unbidden into her mind:  was it "love"?  Or was it ---pity?  A kind of love that a mother would have for a child that depended on her?  Could that be it?  No---no!  She remembered again the time in the fall, when he'd held her for a fleeting moment as a man held a woman he loved, his kiss---that'd been real love she'd felt then, whether he did or not.copyright protection20PENANAq0uGtQK1Xc

She bent down and drew the coat more tightly over him, touched his cheek, gently with her fingers.  Then, drawing a deep breath, she stood again and said, "What do I have to do, Mr. Spock?"copyright protection20PENANAcvBky9XLOO

"Nothing, Miss Cooper. I shall do it all.  Just let your mind go as blank as you can.  Relax.  Do not fear me.  However, I have one question:  Do you wish to remember your feelings for Tom Sawyer, your experiences with him as a patient?  Or do you want all of that removed from your memory, along with the knowledge that you have received of the future?"copyright protection20PENANAiswDbT2RZP

"You can do that?"copyright protection20PENANApqPT6iJRkG

"Yes, I believe so."copyright protection20PENANA4xbGRKPPvE

"Then, please, let me remember him."copyright protection20PENANAEO6arh4t94

"As you wish.  Do not fear me now. I am going to place my hand on your forehead.  Please relax; do not be afraid...." He could feel her tremble as his long fingers pressed gently against her.  He closed his eyes.copyright protection20PENANAjyu9rBrbtM

Marissa Cooper felt very little.  A calmness seemed to flow over her mind; the tension and strain of the day ebbed from her.  She felt a relief.   Something---something that had bothered her---was drawn away.  She could stop worrying about Tom now; he would be find.  That kind Dr. Finn would care for him; he'd be all right.copyright protection20PENANARxj2dbN31j

Marissa walked slowly back to the hospital.  She'd miss Tom; maybe she'd be able to look in on him at that clinic----She entered the big doors of the hospital and went back to helping people.  She didn't hear the hum that sounded briefly behind the great old trees on the hospital lawn.....copyright protection20PENANAIF7OQy6U2g

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