The minor character is Angeline Martine-Teller, who went through quite a
heck of a lot for a girl who only appeared in three episodes.
BALANCE OF TERROR:
The captain found her in the cramped little chapel, still trying to believe
the fact that Robert was gone--gone and the wedding unfinished.
Neither of them spoke in the small, dark room. Neither of them could manage
words. She smelled the sweat that had soaked and dried stiff in his shirt,
felt him return her grip, but when they parted she was still grimacing in
pain and he was still and quiet on the outside, his eyes burning with what
he couldn't express.
In that moment, Angela Martine realized she never wanted to be in command of
anything or anyone. There was something much worse than seeing someone die
under you. And that was being in a place where you weren't permitted to
She didn't feel comforted when he left. The chapel was still cold and
empty. She wondered where Scotty was; he'd been giving her away only that
morning. His proud beam filled her sore eyes again and she blinked them
wearily. They were avoiding her, respecting her privacy and pain. And she
didn't know if that was good or bad.
Robert was still in Sickbay, one of the furthest rooms from the Main
Entrance. She knew Andrew was in one of the beds in the mini behind Dr.
McCoy's desk. She didn't envy him his medicinal sleep; when he woke up from
it, everything would hit him all over again.
She stopped in the doorway of the room where she'd left Robert. Dr. McCoy
had let her stand by as she'd prayed for some miracle that no one believed
in, and had finally bowed his head and covered his face with the sheet.
That was when she'd ran. And now she was back and what was left of Robert
was still there.
His remains being there didn't bother her. It was the sheet. It covered
everything about him, rendered him anonymous and unknown.
"Angela." Dr. McCoy's soft drawl reached her ear as a wave of strong black
coffee caught her nose. She felt his warm hand rest on her left shoulder.
"Would you like some coffee?"
Relief that he wasn't ordering her away from him washed her. "Tea." She
said thickly, and swallowed hard.
"Tea." He agreed. His grip tightened on her skin a moment, and he let her
She walked to Robert on invisible legs, and sat down without seeing the
chair. Dr. McCoy dialed up tea in the largest size mug, and carried it to
her with both hands, unshaven and tousseled and rumpled in a surgeon's suit
he hadn't been wearing thirty minutes ago. She let the heat burn into her
bare legs, glad to feel the fierce sensation.
He sat down on the other side of Robert's bed, slowly, as if he felt weary
and fragile. "Do you mind if I sat up with him?"
That slow, old-fashioned drawl helped her comprehend the question: she'd
heard of the custom of sitting up with the dead, but outside of some
anachronistic pockets of culture, it was largely confined to anthropology
texts. But his query, and the deferential phrasing of it, touched her deep
in a place that the captain's awkward sympathy could not.
"No...I don't mind at all." She heard herself say.
He nodded without a word.
"Do you...can you uncover him?" She swallowed with a throat made of bricks,
ready for him to refuse or say something, but he merely complied as though
he heard that kind of request every day.
His eyes had been closed. Robert's shell rested underneath the doctor's
hand, too pale, too still, and far too perfect. Seeing death this close,
she felt the bile claw its way back up. What she loved of Robert was gone,
and what she had left was the least important part of him.
It wasn't fair, but she knew fairness didn't rule the Universe. Only the
perception of it. Robert was dead, but a war was prevented...or postponed.
And if he'd known the future, he wouldn't have changed any of his actions.
He would have never wanted to trade his life for the ship's. And she
understood that. Only...
Her mind was full of insects that buzzed questions, desperate to fill the
silence that was burning her ears. But she held silent, and Dr. McCoy said
nothing either. He sipped loudly, cautiously, from the rim of his ffresh
cup, and leaned his chair back against the wall. Not much older than the
captain, but right now, he looked worn thin and grayed out.
"Seems silly, doesn't it?" She blurted, her face heating. "Sitting up
with them when they don't know."
He met her eyes across the fold of sheet that covered Robert's silent chest.
"They know." He said simply.
"Why do we do this?" She rode right over his soft words. "To make us feel
"We do it," He told her gently, "Because it lets them know its all right for
them to leave."
That quickly, he'd seen through her, and read her like a child's book. Her
eyes were tender from all the crying, and they burned with new tears rising
"I'm s-sorry." She fumbled, and clutched for a handkerchief before her
tears could splash in her tea. Then: "What am I going to do? We weren't
even married. I'm not responsible for his remains!"
"Yes, you are." Dr. McCoy said firmly. He'd gotten up and knelt at her
side, holding her cup before it could fall and scald her all the way to the
ankles. Her nose was running and she sniffed loudly. "Angela, we're no
strangers to this. You were going to marry Robert, as far as we're all
concerned, you are. And whatever you want to do, we'll do it."
She wiped her eyes again--felt like she was scrubbing handfuls of tears of
her face--and said the words. "He always liked space burial."
"A photon tube?" He smiled faintly. "Now that sounds like Robert. Any
She shook her head, confused. "I...I don't know about that. He liked so
many songs, actually. The older the better. He and Scotty...they would
often swap obscure tunes I never heard of...anything like that would be
fitting." The uncertainty stalled her out, and she stopped, blinking.
"D'you want me to take care of that?" He murmured.
"I don't want to put you through that trouble." The words sprang automatic
from her; he'd already helped by being there when everyone was backing away
and letting her howl a silent grief to the world.
"It's no trouble." His hand gripped her shoulder again, and then he rose
slowly, went behind and pulled a blanket from nowhere and gently wrapped it
around her. "I was in your shoes once, Ms. Martine. And I'd be a dreadful
ingrate if I didn't offer you what someone did to me back then." He smiled,
a crooked scapegoat twist of his lips.
Angela didn't ask him. He was divorced but wore a wedding ring; if that
wasn't a good clue as to the solution of the offical ship's mystery, she
wasn't going to ruin it by poking. So she nodded, and reached for another
Incredibly, they both fell asleep. She had no idea of it or how long until
a soft footfall made her turn. Mr. Spock was entering from Stiles' sleeping
room. He must have walked right past them to get in Sickbay, but they'd
He stopped when he saw she was awake, and inclined his head formally. "Ms.
Martine-Teller." He murmured.
"Mr. Spock." She whispered. She still had tea left. Cold. She sipped it
slowly. Dr. McCoy was still asleep, propped up against the wall with his
arms folded across his chest. He needed a shave already.
Spock tilted his head curiously. Angela knew that the two men did not agree
on much, but there was a mutual respect between them. Angela privately felt
they saw in each other an interesting puzzle. At any rate, she'd never
picked up anything vicious in their already famous little debates, but she
could see that someone who'd never been there since the doctor signed on
would think they hated each other.
"I'd let him sleep." She said quietly. "He's had it bad today."
Spock's expression was very close to wry amusement. "As have you, Ms.
Martine. But that does not look like a safe posture for the doctor to be
"You've never seen the Classic Intern's Pose?" Angela was gripping for any
lighter moment. "Trust me, he won't fall." She managed to smile and looked
deep into her mug.
"Very well. I shall leave but someone will be nearby in case anything is
"Thank you, Mr. Spock."
"Not at all."
She watched him go, a tall lanky man all rib-thin and strong. She wondered
suddenly, if he had understood what they were doing with Robert. If he'd
been human, she would have been certain that it was sympathy in his eyes.
"Willya look at that." Sulu beamed as he stuffed a slide under her nose.
"All the cellular material on that place was identical! I wish we'd noticed
that before everything happened. We'da known the place was artifically
Angela gave him a weak smile and pushed the slide away. "No, thanks,
Hikaru. I appreciate it, but if you want a plant lover, talk to Raina!"
"Phooey." He declared. "I'll talk to Roddy. He's a good audience."
Oh, sure. Angela couldn't dignify that with even a snort. After all her
effort to get the attention of Mr. Esteban Rodriguez, she just wound up
dead! And THEN he seemed to be more interested in her now that she was
brought back to life by those creepy machines?
Men! She thought in some kind of despair. Go figure!
She made her way through the ship in a kind of numbstruck frame of mind; all
around her the crew were siphoning off to one grand shore leave, now that
the Caretaker understood there were some limits to human mental abilities.
And speaking of human limitations, she couldn't really blame Esteban for
being chilly. He'd been a good crewmate of Robert's. And supportive when
he died. But he seemed to think she was some kind of unfaithful crone to
even think of another man.
She was lonely; what was so hard to believe about that?
Maybe he was a little too much like Robert: both of them dedicated
workaholics with an interest in the past--only Robert's interest in antique
planes had filled her with primitive bullets! She still shuddered to think
of it, but even worse was the look of horrified guilt in his eyes every time
he looked at her now.
So, what to do?
She was still wondering THAT as she realized she was in Psych Lab;
supposedly the least favorite room to be in next to the Sewage Maintenance.
"Oh, hi, Angela." McCoy glanced up from a heavy box of plasticlears.
"Better not come in here--I might put you to work."
"I knew space was dangerous when I signed up." Angela attempted to be
flippant, but why bother? He knew something was up.
The doctor instantly sat down on the triangular desk, hands on his hips.
They'd gotten to be very close friends since Robert's wake, although nothing
was the least bit intimate about it. In a strange way, Leonard reminded her
of him too much--they both had the same love of older culture, literature,
language and customs. The only thing was, Robert had loved it like the
anthro student he was; Leonard LIVED in an antiquated dialect, mannerisms,
and music. Had Robert known of Leonard when he was alive, he might have
simply turned the doctor over for a case study: Cultural Pocket Ecosystems;
Appalachia, Southern Region Chapter One." She bit down an insane urge to
snicker at that image.
Leonard let his eyebrow slide upwards as she snorted, but let her collect
"Sorry." She shook her head. "I was...I'm still trying to sort things out
in my head, Leonard."
"Sorting our experience, y'mean?" He guessed.
"Yes." She sighed. "I was dead. And then I woke up in that strange
computer room..." She suddenly shivered, rubbing her forearms. "Leonard,
it sounds crazy, and I've never believed in a Negative Afterlife, but I
thought at first I was in hell!"
"I can see that." Leonard said dryly. "All those machines. Of course,
Spock would have been in Linear Heaven, I'm sure."
Angela laughed weakly. "Did you...while you were dead...I mean, before you
"Nuh, uh. You don't revive someone from impalement. I was *dead*, Angela.
Likewise those bullets stitched up your back."
Angela swallowed. "What was it like for you?" She barged the question
He blinked. "Peaceful." He said slowly. "I've been in that place before.
"Did you ever hear any voices?"
"I thought I might have heard Robert's." Now she was blushing. Damn it.
That made her even more embarassed. "I'm sorry, this isn't making any
"Makes perfect sense." He said bluntly. "It's never happened to me, but
I've heard many of people talk of seeing, or hearing, their loved ones on
the other side."
Angela hesitated. "And you never have?"
"Can't say I have."
"And it was still...peaceful?"
"Very. Peaceful and gentle and loving." He spoke without shame, or even a
crooked grin. Behind him, a shadow fell across the floor; someone about to
enter, but not wanting to interrupt a conversation. Angela didn't care; it
was probably Tonia, she guessed.
She absorbed that. "How do I know it's not an illusion?"
"Is that what's bothering you? Thinking a planet of illusions might have
slipped you one?"
"Well...yeah. That and maybe it IS an hallucination to think you're seeing
He shook his head. "Nah, sorry, but that's deeply illogical, pardon my
language. Why would you hallucinate that? Because you think you might
expect it? You tryin' to make me believe that what fuels these bodies
doesn't transform or go off and head somewhere else?" Nothing's wasted,
The shadow hesitated on the floor, then turned to leave. Angela caught the
profile of very large ears. Certainly not Tonia.
She cleared her throat. If Spock wanted to speak to Leonard in private, she
didn't want to be an obstacle. "Well, I still have a lot of thinking to do,
but I think I'm going to go spend some of my leave with Tonia." She grinned
as he made a good natured face.
"What, telling tales?" He teased.
"Hardly. I just found out she's wanting to transfer to Special Techs. And
I was thinking of getting some more experience under Nyota..." She
shrugged, suddenly awkward.
"Gong from Specialist 2/C to Communications?" He chuckled. "Not bad, not
bad at all. You know you'll probably GET a good bit of experience under Ny.
She's leaving for a few months next year to attend a Synthetic Language
Conference, you know."
"No, I didn't know." Suddenly, her prospects looked brighter. "I'll have
to ask her about that."
"Please do. Now, if you aren't going to help me avoid a slipped disk..."
McCoy bent, and despite his comment, lifted the fifty-pound box with ease.
She was still chuckling as she walked out of the Lab. Mr. Spock, she was
not surprised to see, was in the hallway, ostensively reading and re-reading
the list on his Padd.
Poor man. Angela thought as she went to the turbolifts. Forget being
Vulcan, Human, or six of one, half a dozen of the other. He was a man when
you came down to it, and he had the look that men did when they were having
the kind of problems that kept you up at night. He would never live down
that episode with that strange Kalomi blond. No wonder he kept to himself.
She hoped Leonard could give him some advice. She didn't think she
qualified. Not with her own troubles in the field of romance.
Hikaru hadn't needed to convince her or Pavel. Angela ached for the sturdy,
sassy presence of Nyota, and wished with all her heart that her superior
wasn't away on that stupid language conference. But it took no twinge of
conscience to deliberately set her hands in her lap and return the captain's
hard, astonished gaze with her own.
*I hate you,* She thought, amazed at that relevation. And the green gold
eyes widened in realization.
She DID hate him. Who in the Galaxy could want sober, steady Mr. Spock
dead? SPOCK, for the love of God! Spock who had offered his life for the
ship countless times without a single thought of himself? Who would give
until there was nothing left to give, and then apologize for failing? And
Scotty, the smiling man who had been about to give her away to Robert two
years ago, and played at his funeral? Leonard McCoy, with his kindness and
a gentle streak no amount of brusqueness could hide, even briefly. Those
three men had never been anything but good to her. She owed them more than
her passive resistance. She owed them her anger, and her defiance.
And then the captain went mad.
There was no other word for it.
* * *
She went walking alone that night. Observation Bay was crowded when they
were this deep in space; she had no desire to be a part of the running
gossip about Janice Lester and Arthur Coleman. As far as she was concerned,
there was nothing to say about either of them.
She had a lot to think about. This was not the Angela who watched Leonard
pull the sheet over Robert's face and questioned the Universe. Nor was this
the Angela who died and woke up very surprised to be alive again. This was
a startled, musing Angela, who had been given very strong proof that there
was life after death...in a very unexpected way.
Leonard and Mr. Spock were demanding that the Life Entity Transferer be
destroyed, utterly, wholly, totally. She doubted the captain would complain
about that attitude; Lester had nearly killed him with it, after raping his
personal identity. When she thought of silent, self-possessed and stoic
James Kirk forced to endure existance in a body that wasn't his...she
chilled at the thought, and then the shivers wouldn't stop. She rubbed her
arms fiercely, and was instantly attracted to one of the warmest areas of
Hydroponics, Sulu's Home Away From Home, touched her for its lush growth and
smells. She breathed deep, seeking calm. Plants brushed all around her,
waving under the artifical wind that stimulated their silica growth. It was
warm and wet and she felt like she was at home on the Pacific Coast again.
Just needed an ocean and maybe a big sand castle...
She found a burgeoning vine of deep purple blooms Hikaru was training to
grow up a kind of trellis, and she inhaled the deep lemon-sweet fragrance
until her head swam. The tiny leaves had varying shapes and sizes, and they
moved with a faint, delicate rustling that reminded her of putting her ear
to the biggest shell she could find as a child. A small sign stuck in the
soil informed her this was an Orion Singing Vine, and the movements of the
leaves were considered soothing to most species. It went on to explain that
the "singing" part came from wind passing through the natural slits in the
Gertrude was asleep; she rather missed the reactive Arcturian Fern but Sulu
was stern about letting her lie dormant for a while.
The trellis was just too good to pass up. Memories of summer at her
grandmother's house and grape arbors compelled her; she stepped inside the
small space and saw that Sulu had trained loose tendrils to stand aside.
She smiled and sat down, undoing the supple greens and re-twining them into
a protective screen. Now she was surrounded by the perfumed plant life.
The leaves murmured softly among themselves, a soothing hum that did indeed,
calm her mind. Now she knew how Hikaru had gotten on this "meditation kick"
as Pavel had put it.
"I don't know what to do." Leonard's rough voice alerted her hearing as the
door swished shut. Heavy men's tread--no, one pair of high heeled Starfleet
boots, and a softer, lighter step. She was no longer alone.
"It is not an easy thing to contemplate." Mr. Spock's deep voice floated
after the doctor's. Angela opened her mouth to make a noise, alert them
that they weren't alone, but she saw the tight, set, HAUNTED expression on
Leonard's face and went cold all over. Never in her years on ship, had she
seen that look.
The doctor sank down on the low bench not six feet before her, his head
hanging down as his hands dangled off his legs. Spock stood at his side,
his hands clasped behind his back. He was the one in uniform, wearing the
boots. Leonard was devoutly civilian tonight, in a soft brown suit and some
kind of leather moccasin that folded the cuff over almost over the entire
"Easy?" Leonard's voice was muffled. "He loved her, Spock. He really
loved her. Enough to kill for her, enough to lie...he would have killed her
body with Jim still in it. Do you know how I felt listening to them in the
hallway when Jim got his life back? My God. He was promising to take care
of her as she wailed like a damn banshee." Leonard straightened briefly,
then ran his fingers through his hair. "There's no way he can take care of
her. He's going to be charged with aiding and abetting and he's going to be
as much a security hazard as she is..." He broke off and jumped to his
feet. Spock watched him pace in nervous energy, silent and watchful.
"The only option I can think of is find a place in the Federation that would
accept the unique specs of this case. They both need treatment together.
Otherwise I'm pretty sure it'd never work."
"Would that be difficult to arrange?" Spock was clearly compassionate;
Vulcans with their high reverence for a healthy mind, must find deep pity in
ones that were unable to function properly.
Angela was momentarily nonplussed; Spock should be able to hear her
breathing, if not her heartbeat. Oh, the vines. She realized, and tried to
make herself mentally "small" as well.
"Difficult? It can be done, but I don't know if it can be done swiftly."
Leonard stopped, his chest heaving a sigh. He looked at Spock almost
helplessly. "God help me, that man has committed all kinds of murder for
that woman, and I consider his keeping Lester's body sedated and helpless
while Jim was in it, plain TORTURE! But...I can't bring myself to feel
anything but sorrow for him."
"You would wish to hate him?" Spock tilted his head to one side. "That is
not within the guides of your Oath."
"Spock, what he did was against the most serious oaths any physician can
swear. 'Harm None!' He let people die of radiation poisoning, let her
kidnap Jim's soul--she--don't get me started again! He caused harm, Spock!
That's not the same as killing! Killing can be done for fathomable reasons,
but harm is malice!"
Leonard stopped talking and looked away. His eyes lowered to the floor and
Angela saw him reach up and put his hand to his temple.
"I agree." Spock said quietly. He took a step forward, standing closer to
Leonard than Angela had ever seen. "But, Leonard, despite the personal
repurcussions of their actions to Jim and your Calling, this will not be
your problem for much longer. Starfleet will take them to custody when we
"I know, I know." Leonard said impatiently. "I'm just...angry, Spock.
Completely, totally, illogically angry." The last was said in deeat.
"You are not the only person to feel outrage." Spock shook his head, and
some coloring of emotion that Angela had never witnessed had reached his
voice. "There is no greater crime to a Vulcan, Leonard. Even murder is not
nearly so heinous as the violation of another's mind. Jim would have died
in terror and rage had we not learned the truth."
"We? You're the one who caught on. I was trying to stall for time!"
"And yet it was neither of us who saved Jim. It was Jim's own will to
survive, and Dr. Lester's instable drive."
The two men traded a silence with their eyes, not speaking or moving, a
communication that Angela could somehow intuit: for all their fear and
efforts, James T. Kirk did have a remarkable ability to defeat all odds
Through the curtain of humming leaves, Spock reached one hand up and gently,
very gently, closed his fingers around Leonard's.
Angela forgot to breathe.
"It is not in you to take life or harbor hatred, Leonard." The Vulcan
murmured and tugged lightly until the other was pulled against his chest.
"In that, I am afraid we will always have to defer to you."
Angela was not a voyeur, but she was unable to look away as Spock touched
his lips with Leonard's, then slowly wrap him inside his free arm. She saw
Leonard quietly return the touch, his hand resting on the back of the
They did not kiss for long, simply held each other as the doctor finally let
the loathing of the day drain out in a fit of trembling. Spock pressed his
head against his shoulder and stood silent, wordlessly letting it free him.
And when it was done, they pulled away far enough to meet each other's eyes.
"Come with me." Spock reached up and touched the other's jaw. "I can make
you forget this."
Leonard's weary face smoothed into the faintest smile Angela had ever seen.
"I would like that, Spock." he said in his soft drawl. Spock ran his
fingers across the skin one last time, wistful, and they were walking out of
the garden side by side, to all appearances nothing more than friends.
Angela swallowed a lump in her throat. She was such a sentimental romantic,
she thought to herself. Now all she had to do was pretend she was as
ignorant as everyone else on the ship.
But maybe that wouldn't be too impossible. She understood that Vulcans DID
have emotions and DID display them; just not in public. And Leonard was too
good a friend for her not to drop an occasional teasing hint. She couldn't
think of a better way to show her approval, because if any two could suit
each other, they were.
Then a sudden thought hit her: did Nyota know?
She realized she was smiling. Very gradually, the smile turned to quiet,