icemink: (Spock)
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Title:Someday, and the Rest of Your Life
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.

“Please sit down Captain Reynolds,” Kirk said motioning to his chair. Reynolds, hesitated. “You are the ranking officer.” Kirk pointed out.

That seemed to satisfy the Nightingale’s weary Captain. He was bruised, battered, and exhausted, but considering everything that had happened, not in too bad of shape. He had been the last person to transport up from the Nightingale, refusing to leave until it had been confirmed that no one else was left alive on the doomed ship.

Kirk felt a great deal of sympathy for the man, and a bit of awkwardness to have a Captain with ten years more Starfleet experience than him on the Enterprise.

“Can we see her?” Reynolds asked.

“Mr. Sulu?” Kirk passed on the order.

“I’ll try, Sir.”

The image on the view screen shifted as the computers attempted to magnify the image. The Nightingale appeared, but only as a shadow in a sea of red, the familiar saucer profile identifying her as a Federation vessel.

The turbo lift doors opened and Spock returned to the bridge. His manner seemed heavy, and Kirk was worried that Uhura’s condition was worse than he had thought. Kirk had given up on any romantic notions about Uhura, but he still liked her, and the last thing he needed was to lose an officer one day out of star-port. He would have preferred to take her to sick bay himself, but the way Spock had burst into the transporter room had made it clear that his First Officer wasn’t going to be much good to the ship until Uhura had been seen to.

“Mr. Spock?” Kirk asked. “How’s the Lieutenant doing?”

“The Doctor assures me she will be fine,” there was a hint of doubt in Spock’s voice, as if he felt he was better qualified to make that decision.

“Good. And I’m glad you’re here. Captain,” he turned to Reynolds. “Could you tell us what happened?”

Reynolds nodded. But he didn’t speak right away, searching for the right place to start. “Most of the ships that made it off Vulcan. . . they weren’t meant as long range shuttles; they were transports already in the air. Minimal life support only.” He paused. “You know what happens when you put a half dozen Vulcan’s in a ship that only has a day’s worth of oxygen?” Reynolds asked as if he was telling an off-color joke.

Kirk shifted his weight uncomfortably, worried that Reynolds would offend Spock.

“Deep meditation,” Spock interjected, “would be the logical course of action.”

Reynolds gave out a half nervous chuckle. “Yeah, and that’s pretty much what they did. Meditate. Except when a Vulcan meditates their heart practically stops beating. They use almost no oxygen, hell, you practically have to be standing right over them with a tricorder to tell they are alive.” Reynolds shook his head. “You’ve seen how the sensors respond out here. There was no way to tell which ships carried living crew, and which ones didn’t. We had to board each ship, and even then, it was like being among living corpses.”

Reynolds closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. “The thing is, if someone tries that had to stay alive. . . well you gotta respect that. So we did it. Boarded each and every vessel one at a time, took all the bodies to sort the living from the dead. My crew. . . they did their work and then they did more.” He paused, closing his eyes. “It was my fault,” he said softly. “I let them do it. I knew it was happening. People, didn’t leave when their watch was over, they just kept going until they could barely stand, got a few hours sleep, and came back for more. I should have stopped it. I should have made sure they got their rest. . .”

His head dropped and he stopped again. The bridge was silent, every officer present hanging on his word. Finally he looked up again. “Their was a flaw in one of our dilithium crystals. Tiny, been there for years, well within regulation, shouldn’t have made a difference. Never had anywhere else, but here, with all those anomalies. . . it grew. My engineering team didn’t notice it until it was too late, before we’d already lost the engines. Then the power systems began failing one by one. If I’d just made them rest. . . they wouldn’t have missed it then.”

“Thank you Captain,” Kirk said, not knowing what else to say. The frightening part was he wasn’t sure that Captain Reynolds was right. Maybe there was nothing that could have been done. Of course Kirk couldn’t take that chance. “Mr. Spock, let Mr. Scott know we need to keep a very close eye on the dilithium crystals. And the warp core while we’re at it. Let’s make sure that everything is dong exactly what it should.”

“Aye Captain,” Spock responded.

The rest of the rescue operation went smoothly. Reynolds insisted on staying on the bridge until every last escape pod had been brought aboard and accounted for. It wasn’t until that task was done that Kirk could convince him to let a yeoman take him to the quarters that had been set aside for him.

In the mean time orders had come from Starfleet. Once they had all the survivors from the Nightingale onboard, the were to head for Starbase 11 which had become a sort of unofficial rally point for the Vulcan survivors that had been in space when their planet was destroyed.

Kirk was glad when the course was laid in and the Enterprise left the red space of Vulcan behind. Even so, a somber mood had taken over the bridge. The normal chatting that occurred during these long stretches of space travel was gone.

Reports came in. Of the two hundred-twelve survivors that the Nightingale had rescued, one hundred-seventy-seven remained. Of those twenty-nine were in critical condition. The Nightingale’s crew of eighty-two had been reduced to fifty-six. They had died in her her corridors and hallways trying to make sure that as many of their charges as possible made it to the escape pods. They preformed their duty as Starfleet officers.

Kirk knew that there would be medals and commendations issued for the lost crew members. He also knew that it would never really be any comfort to the families they left behind.

And suddenly the loss of Vulcan had become all too real. Six billion was too big a number too. . . approximate. He hadn’t ever really been able to wrap his head around it. But the forty-five Vulcans and twenty-six officers lost on the Nightingale. Those he could understand, imagine, feel.

With surprise Kirk realized how much time had passed. The watch was over. He wasn’t the only one who had continued on the bridge. Spock was at his station, bent over the computer.

“Mr. Spock, I believe your watch is over.”

“As is yours Captain,” the Vulcan replied without looking up.

Spock was right. And the truth was Kirk would be glad to get away from the bridge, if only for a short time. To think of anything other than the dead.

“And I think it would be wise that none of us remain on duty past our watch. Come on Mr. Spock, shouldn’t we check on Uhura?”

If possible Spock became even more stiff. But after a moment he did turn away from his computer and nod. Jim had noticed that his First Officer seemed preoccupied since he had returned to the bridge. He assumed that it was because Spock was worried about Uhura. But if that was the case why hadn’t he taken the first opportunity to check on her?

They stepped into the turbo lift together. As the doors closed Kirk asked, “Are you all right, Spock?”

“I’m fine, Sir.”

“Are you sure, you seem . . . pensive.” It seemed an odd adjective to use for a Vulcan. Kind of like calling water wet, but Kirk didn’t seem to know how else to classify Spock’s mood.

Spock considered for a moment before answering. “It is a Vulcan matter.”

A Vulcan matter? Kirk’s instinct was to press Spock for more. But Spock had been through so much, and Kirk had already forced an emotional break down once. He didn’t have the right to do so again, at least not unless the ship was in danger.

Kirk tried to imagine a ship’s emergency that would require Spock to divulge his emotional state, but he came up blank.

He could only hope that Spock was not as shut off with Uhura. Kirk suspected that even Vulcans needed someone to talk to in times like these.

They didn’t say anything else until they got to sickbay. Kirk wasn’t sure what he expected. Frantic hurrying, alarms going off, Bones shouting orders. It was none of those. Of course considering they’d had hours to deal with flood of injured passengers, Kirk supposed he should be glad that everything was under control.

It was certainly full, however. He looked around, but saw no sign of Uhura.

“Captain,” Bones said, moving from the bed of a patient. “You got my initial report?”

Kirk only nodded, the numbers of dead and injured floated through his mind again. “What about Uhura?”

“Do you want the good news or the bad news?” Bones asked.

“We require all relevant medical information, Doctor,” Spock replied.

McCoy pointedly ignored him. “The bad news is that the Lieutenant won’t be able to speak for a couple days, so we won’t be able to figure out what the hell she thought she was doing. The good news,” his voice softened. “Is that she’s going to be just fine. I’ve taken her off duty for the next forty-eight hours and she should be resting in her quarters now.”

“Good to hear,” Kirk said. He waited to hear Spock’s opinion on the subject. There was none.

The silence dragged on for only a moment before McCoy filled it. “You’ll be glad to know you’re friend’s doing okay too. She’ll need a lot of physical therapy but she’ll be able to walk again eventually.”

“Friend?” Kirk asked. Did Spock know one of the survivors? Was that why had been so quiet?

“Spock?” a woman called quietly.

Intensely curious, Kirk moved to see which of the patients had spoken. It was a Vulcan woman, a very pretty young Vulcan woman. He was struck by how pretty she was. Instead of the normal severe haircut so many Vulcans seemed to adhere too, her long hair was ornamented and bound in tight rope. The only science she made Kirk think of was anatomy.

Spock moved towards her bed, but his head was down almost as if he was afraid to meet her eyes.

“I am sorry, T’Pring,” Spock said. “The census data on survivors is not yet complete, but the only Stonn I could find is a hundred and thirty years old.”

“I do not need you to tell me what I already know,” she replied.

“Then what do you need?” he asked.

“To know that we are still in agreement,” she told him calmly.

“Of course, I understand,” Spock said turning away, his head still down. He sounded almost bitter.

“Spock,” she called him back. “It was your word, not mine. Your illogic overwhelmed me. I suspect it will cause you harm if you let it overwhelm you. You can not logically be held responsible.”

Kirk looked questioningly at McCoy, who only shrugged, as confused by the exchanged as Jim was.

Spock raised his head, but he did not turn to look back. “Then why?” he asked quietly.

“Spock,” T’Pring continued. “Everyone I ever knew, my family, my friends, is gone. Everywhere I have ever been, every place that held any memory for me, is no more. There is only you, and you are a stranger. How can I be T’Pring, when everything that was her life is gone? If I am to continue, I must be new.”

“As you say,” was Spock’s only response. He looked then at the Captain. “If you will excuse me Captain, I think I shall rest.”

Kirk could only nod.

A Vulcan matter.

There had to be some way to get Spock to talk.
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