The Weapon That Could Not Miss
T’Thelaih woke up cold and alone. “Mahak?” she said, confused, and sat up on the couch, looking around for him. There was something wrong at the other end of their bond: he was upset—then she froze.
Sitting at the end of the couch was the Lady Suvin. She looked at T’Thelaih, and the look was cold and terribly pleased. “You are a foolish child,” Suvin said, “but it does not matter. I have what I want of you.”
“Madam,” T’Thelaih said, holding on to her manners, “what do you mean?”
“The child,” said Suvin. “This will be your home now: you need fear no interference from your own house, poor thing though it be. I much regret that Mahak may not join you again until your confinement is done. But you will be given every care … so long as you take proper care of the child.”
T’Thelaih felt her head beginning to pound. “What good can our child do you?” she said.
Suvin leaned closer, looking even more pleased. “Fool. You have the killing gift. Imperfect, at best: you did not kill my grandson, for some reason. I suspect it is the usual problem, that one must feel her life to somehow be threatened. But did you not know? His great-grandmother had it as well. When two with the gift in their blood, so close in degree, engender a child, it will have the gift as well.”
TThelaih shook her head, numbed. “A weapon,” she said at last.
“Such a weapon as none will be able to defend against,” said Suvin. “Trained with the Last Thought technique, raised under my hand, obedient to me—those who resist me will simply die, and no one will know the cause. How much simpler life will become. I have much to thank you for.”
She saw T’Thelaih’s glance at the table. “Forget your little bodkin,” she said. “You’ll not lay hands on yourself: if you try, Mahak will suffer for it. I shall see to that. Resign yourself to your confinement. It need not be uncomfortable.”
“Bring me my husband,” T’Thelaih said. “Now.”
Suvin’s eyes glittered. “Do not presume to order me, my girl. You are too valuable to kill out of hand, but there are ways to punish you that will not harm the child.”
The pounding was getting worse. “My husband,” T’Thelaih said.
“Folly,” said Suvin, and got up to go. “I will talk to you when you are in your right mind.”
And from the courtyard below came the sound of swords, and the scream.
And nothing else…except, in T’Thelaih’s mind, the feeling of the bond, the connection, as it snapped, and the other end went empty and cold.
“My husband,” she said. Suvin turned in shock, realizing what had happened. An unfortunate accident—
She realized too late.
T’Thelaih was getting up from the bed. The pounding in her head she had felt before, at her first binding, and remotely, in the heat of plak tow, at the second. Now she knew it for what it was, and she encouraged it. Yes. Oh, my husband, yes—
“Old woman,” she said to Suvin, getting out of the bed and advancing slowly on her, “beg me for your life.” Suvin backed up, slowly, a step at a time, coming against the wall by the door. “Beg me,” T’Thelaih said, stepping slowly closer. “Bow yourself double, old lematya, let me see the back of your neck.” Her teeth gleamed. Suvin trembled, and slowly, slowly, began to bow.
She didn’t finish the gesture: she came up with the knife, poised, threw it. T’Thelaih sidestepped it neatly and replied with the weapon that could not miss: slid into the hateful mind, cold as stone, reached down all its pathways and set them on fire, reached down through every nerve and ran agony down it, reached down into the laboring heart and squeezed it until it burst itself, reached down into the throat and froze it so there should not even be the relief of a scream. From Suvin she turned, and her mind rode her gift down into the courtyard, and wrought death there, death—left minds screaming as a weight of rage like the whole universe collapsed onto them, in burning heat, pain, blood, the end of everything. Her mind fled through the house, finding life, ending it, without thought, everywhere.
Finally the rage left her, and she picked up the little knife that Suvin had taken, thought about it … then changed her mind. “No,” she said aloud, very softly: “no, he is down there.”
She went to the window. “Child,” she said, “I am sorry.”
The fall was too swift for there to be time to start an argument, even with a ghost.
— Spock’s World, Chapter 6
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