icemink: (Spock)
[personal profile] icemink
Title:Someday, and the Rest of Your Life
Author: icemink
Spoilers: This story begins at the very end of Star Trek XI so spoilers for the entire movie.
Paring: Spock/Uhura
Summary: When the Enterprise receives a distress call from a Vulcan rescue vessel, Spock finds himself confronted by his past, and he must choose whether to uphold Vulcan traditions or find his own way.
A/N: As I don’t have yet have a beta for my new Star Trek obsession this work is un-betad.
Rating: PG for most of it, but my stories have a tendency to end up NC-17

Previous chapters can be found here.

They had warned Kirk of this back in the Academy. Space was mostly pretty empty and boring. Vast expanses between one star system and the next. True, warp travel meant the expanses could be crossed fairly quickly, but most of space travel was the boring in between. The empty nothingness of the galaxy.

A few days ago James Kirk might have fidgeted in his seat, might have gone crazy from the boredom. That was then, this was now. He was actually rather grateful for it. So much had happened. A few days ago he was just another, if exceptional, Cadet. Today he was the Captain of the Enterprise, and if the last few days had taught him anything, it was just how unprepared he was.

He had been running off nothing but pure adrenaline ever since he heard the words ‘lighting storm in space’. It had kept him going, kept him from having too much time to doubt or worry. Not that there hadn’t been several times when he didn’t think he was going to make it.

But now in the calm of space he realized just how much responsibility he held. Sure, he’d saved Earth, but he lost Vulcan. There was no way he could feel much like a hero. And now they were sending the Enterprise to patrol the edge of Klingon space. From everything he’d heard about Klingons. . . He just hoped he didn’t end up starting a war.

“Captain,” Lieutenant Uhura spoke up suddenly. “I’m getting getting a distress call. It’s from the USS Nightingale.”

The name wasn’t familiar to Kirk. He’d carefully studied most of the warships in Starfleet, as he’d dreamt about the one he wanted to someday command but he didn’t ever remember seeing that name before.

“The Nightingale is a medical relief and rescue ship,” Spoke interjected. “Thirty regular crew members and fifty-two medical and rescue personal, with enough room to carry over three hundred survivors.”

Does he know everything? Kirk wondered. It’s like having a computer with legs.

“I believe,” Spock continued. “The Nightingale’s current mission is to find and aid survivors who evacuated Vulcan.”

Oh, Kirk thought, feeling a little sheepish. “Lieutenant?” he asked Uhura.

“It’s garbled, there’s some sort of interference but. . .” her voice changed slightly as she shifted from her own words to those of the distress signal. “This is the USS Nightingale. Our engines . . . distortion. We have over two hundred survivors, but we may have to abandon ship. Warning, space is. . .” Uhura’s voice shifted back. “That’s all their is Captain. I’ll see if I can clean up the transmission.” She turned back to her control panel.

“Mr. Sulu, are there any other other ships closer to Vulcan. . . space than us?” That’s what it was now. Space, big empty space. The thought made him shift uncomfortably in his chair.

“I see one Andorian trader,” Sulu responded. “And a couple other cargo vessels, but nothing else Starfleet.”

Kirk nodded. Most of the fleet was already patrolling the borders, or on it’s way to the Romulan neutral zone, which was in the opposite direction. “Set a course, for Vulcan Mr. Sulu, warp 5.” Kirk pressed the button that would connect him to sick bay. “Bones, I’m going to need you on the bridge.” He turned back to Sulu. “How long till we arrive?”

“At warp 5 captain? About three hours.”

“And at maximum warp?” the Captain asked.

“Captain,” Spock interrupted. “I would advise against using maximum warp. The risk to our engines is too great.”

“Mr. Spock, there are-” Kirk stopped himself. No one on the crew understood better than Spock what two hundred Vulcan survivors meant. And if Kirk had any doubts about whether Spock would feel their loss, well, he still had five finger shaped bruises on his neck that had not yet faded away. “Why do you think the ship is at risk?”

“Captain,” Spock began to explain. “The message from the Nightingale indicates her own engines have failed in some way. There are no records of the Nightingale having any previous engine problem. However, Captain I remind you, that although the Enterprise is a brand new ship, her engines have already been under considerable strain. Although we did receive new warp cores to replace those we. . . lost, our engines have not been fully tested. We will not be able to aid the Nightingale if we ourselves fall prey to whatever has interfered with her normal operation.”

“You talk like you think they are under attack, Mr. Spock.” Kirk said.

Just then the turbo lift doors opened and Dr. McCoy entered the bridge.

“No, Captain,” Spock answered. “I do not think it is another ship that has attacked the Nightingale.”

“The Nightingale is under attack?” McCoy asked concerned. Considering it was a medical vessel it was quite likely he knew some of the doctors aboard.

Kirk motioned for him to hold off on his questions. “What then Mr. Spock?”

“The very laws of physics, Captain” Spock declared in his normal impassive tone. “Consider: a black hole is normally the result of a star of sufficient mass collapsing in on itself. The result is a mass whose gravity is so intense that nothing can escape from it, not even light itself.”

“We all passed Astronomy 101, Mr. Spock, what’s your point.” Kirk was beginning to get impatient.

“Forgive me Captain, I only wished to remind you that at the event horizon, the very laws of physics, of time and space and stretched almost to the breaking point. It is a phenomenon that there has been only limited study of. But now, imagine an artificial black hole, like the one created at the center of Vulcan. It would not have sufficient mass to keep itself going, and when it collapsed the very laws of nature that had been so stretched by it’s presence-”

“Would snap back like a rubber-band,” Kirk finished for him.

“A crude metaphor.” Spock nodded, “But accurate enough. The results of such an event on normal space can not at this time be predicted.”

Spock fell silent and Kirk could have sworn he saw a strange look cross the enigmatic face of this Fist Officer. “Mr. Spock?” he asked.

“I’m sorry Captain, I was merely wondering if any scientific vessels have been sent to study the system. At the time of Vulcan’s destruction I did not think to order any sensor sweeps. The Enterprise missed a unique opportunity to study the phenomena.”

“A unique opportunity?” McCoy broke in. “You’re talking about the place where you were born. The planet on which your people evolved. It’s a tragedy not a interesting phenomena.”

Kirk began to rise from his chair, half expecting to have to pull his First Officer off of the ship’s doctor. But Spock made no move towards McCoy, and made no outward sign that he had been disturbed by the doctor’s comments.

“I am keenly aware of what has been lost, Doctor,” Spock said, staring ahead at the empty view screen. “But if I am right, what remains is a scientific mystery. A chance to study the very laws of the universe in a way that has never safely been available before. If that is so, I find it a fitting epitaph for my people.”

“We may need our sensors for more practical purposes, Mr. Spock.” Kirk put a hand on Spock’s shoulder, hoping that the gesture would not be misinterpreted. “But I promise, we’ll take as many sensor readings as we can.”

“Thank you, Captain,” Spock said simply, before turning away and out of Kirk’s grasp.

Kirk felt conflicted. On the one hand his gut told him that the needed to get their as quickly as possible, on the other hand, he respected Spock’s assessment of the situation. But Spock had a tendency for caution, for going with the odds and not taking chances. Still, Spock had shown that when it came to the fate of his people, he could be as ruled by emotion as any human. If he felt caution was necessary. . .

“Mr. Sulu, continue at warp 5,” he ordered. Then he began planning with McCoy about how the Enterprise would receive nearly three hundred casualties. There were cargo bays to clear, medical supplies to ration, and triage procedures to go over.

And when all the plans that could be made had been, there were still two long hours until they reached the Vulcan system. Two hours in which countless people could die. Two hours in which anything could happen.

“Captain,” Lieutenant Uhura’s voice rang out in the relative silence of the bridge. “I’ve got a new transmission from the Nightingale. The order to abandon ship has been given.”

“How long Mr. Sulu?” Kirk asked.

“A little over an hour at our current speed,” the helmsman confirmed.

“And at maximum warp?”

“Captain,” Mr. Spock interrupted again.

“Your concerns have been noted Mr. Spock,” Kirk said. “Sulu?”

“Seventeen minutes sir,” Sulu responded.

Kirk flipped the switch that would put him through to engineering. “Mr. Scott? Can our engines handle seventeen minutes of maximum warp?”

“Seventeen? Aye Captain, that shouldn’t be a problem but I wouldn’t do much more than that till I’ve had the chance to vet this girl thoroughly.”

“Understood Mr. Scott.” Kirk closed the channel. “Mr. Sulu, maximum warp.”

Seventeen minutes.

It sounded like such as short amount of time.

For Kirk it dragged on even longer than the first two hours had.

“Entering the Vulcan system,” Mr. Sulu announced.

“Visual on,” Kirk ordered.

As the large screen came to life, Kirk blinked. There was not much useful their eyes could tell them. A great shimmering expanse of red filled the screen. Glittering, shifting as if with unseen currents.

“It’s beautiful,” Uhura whispered behind him.

“It’s Vulcan,” Spock said, moving down to the captain’s level.

“Mr. Spock?” Kirk asked.

“Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. When the black hole collapsed, it would have released the pulverized remains of Vulcan, in essence creating a micro-nebula.

It sent a shiver down Kirk’s spine. He felt like a child walking through a grave yard at night. But he didn’t have time to worry about that.

“Any communications, Lieutenant?” Kirk asked.

“Too many, Captain,” she said. “I’m estimating there’s at least thirty escape pods, and another dozen shuttles and other craft all trying to get our attention. Don’t worry Captain, I’ll get them straightened out.”

“You do that, Lieutenant, but be gentle,” he joked with her hoping to dissipate some of the tension on the bridge. “Sensors Mr. Chekov?”

“Not sure Captain,” the russian replied.

“You’re not sure we have any Mr. Chekov?”

“No Captain, it just, things keep appearing and disappearing. It as if space were. . . rippling.” The Russian studied the sensors for a few more minutes before saying, “There are forty or so craft with life-signs. . . I think.” He paused looking more carefully at his instruments. “Captain there are still a dozen life-signs on the Nightingale.”

“Are you sure, Mr. Chekov?” Kirk asked, leaning over to look at the panel himself.

“Yes, Sir. Definitely.”

“Can you get a transporter lock?” Kirk asked.

“Negative, Sir. Most of the life signs are too weak. And even if they were stronger there’s too much interference. Without a communicator signal to lock on to I don’t think we could transport anyone out of there.”

Kirk nodded. “I’m sorry Mr. Spock, I’m going to need you to remain on the bridge to coordinate picking up the survivors in the escape pods. You’re the best one to make sense of all that chaos out there.”

“Affirmative sir,” Spock said as he moved to begin organizing the rescue operation.

“I’ll need five rescue personnel to transporter room three,” Kirk continued moving towards that turbo lift. “Lieutenant Uhura, I assume you speak Vulcan.”

“Yes sir.”

“Good, grab a tricorder. You’re with me. We may have Vulcans in shock and badly injured. We may need someone who can speak their native language.”

She nodded and followed him into the turbo lift.
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July 2009


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