Author: iam_spock aka sylar
Fandom: Star Trek 2009
Word count: 1600
Rating: PG 13
Prompt: Day 4: Write about a character that is having a complete meltdown at an inopportune time. (although we haven't gotten to that point yet in the story.)
Note: This is the follow up to Vulcan Has No Moon. While I was writing the story, I realized that there was a perfect creature encountered in TOS. I'm sure you'll recognize it.
A bright purple ball with green spots bounced through the cabin to settle near my feet. Behind me I could hear the laughter and roughhousing of the children who were quite busy doing everything to not sit in their seats.
“Toss it back, Spock,” Kirk said, running his fingers over the controls of the shuttle.
“Yeah, toss it back, Spock,” a chorus of the children chanted together. I arched as eyebrow when I recognized a single adult voice in the mix.
“By all means, doctor.” I scooped the ball into my hands, turning it over to judge its weight and how much damage it could cause on the shuttle were it to hit one of the control panels. It was sticky from fingers covered with sugar and other substances. After deeming it sufficiently safe, I lobbed it underhand to the doctor who caught it and then passed it to a redheaded child.
“Tell Mr. Spock, thank you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Spock!” I inclined my head to the children to accept their gratitude.
“They’re cute,” Kirk said. “Ever think of having any?”
“Children, captain?” I was slightly taken back by the question. It was very personal, but it was typically Kirk for him to ask. “I have never thought of it. My human heritage makes me unacceptable to contribute to the population of the Vulcan colony. Although it is possible to remove my human DNA from my genetic materials, I…find that option... objectionable.”
Kirk’s gaze darkened, and he nodded solemnly. “I’d find it objectionable too, Spock.”
To deny my mother’s existence was something that I’d been pushed to do over and over again as I grew up on Vulcan. Being bullied about my human mother as a child had caused me no end of grief. Having the Vulcan Science Academy sneer at her, calling her a disadvantage, had hurt deeply, but it had also given me the resolve to explore Starfleet. It was the right path for me to take. My father said that I was a child of two worlds, and I had no intention of forgetting either of my origins. My planet was gone, as was my mother, both would always be a part of me.
I nodded slightly to acknowledge that he understood what I was feeling. We had talked quite a bit while watching the eclipse last night, and we had a better understanding of each other. My other self spoke so fondly of his Kirk, and for the first time, I was starting to see the full potential of our friendship.
“I understand why they’re so excited,” the captain said. “I would’ve loved to see my mother’s ship, but they never allowed this kind of thing when I was a kid.”
“My parents seldom traveled off world,” I said. “But when they did, I normally accompanied them. My first trip to Earth was when I was ten years old.” I would have told him more of that story, but our journey was too short. We would be entering Enterprise’ shuttle bay in a matter of minutes.
The crew and their children were touring the non-sensitive areas of Enterprise. I remained on the bridge while the Captain took the job of tour guide. He seemed to be quite fond of children. Dr. McCoy joked that he was on the same level as they were. I pretended not to get the humor of his comment by saying that the Captain was quite a bit taller than all of them. It amuses me to play McCoy’s straight man although I do wonder if he realizes that I am well aware that he is joking.
Last night I’d been in Iowa, watching the lunar eclipse with the captain. Today I was looking at Earth from the bridge of Enterprise. The last threat had been Nero’s, but that did not mean there would not be others. It is the nature of predators to seek out prey or perceived threats, and it was inevitable that another force would threaten the only home that I had left at some future point in my life.
“Mr. Spock, there is something coming in on long range scanners,” the ensign who was covering my station said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Have you checked with Space Dock to see if they are also picking up the object?” I asked as I got out of the captain’s chair to lean over the ensign. He was capable of manning the science station, or I would not have put him there. But I had a hard time forgetting Sulu’s failure to turn off the exterior inertial dampeners on our maiden voyage. His mistake saved the ship and crew, and most of the survivors of Vulcan, but it was nonetheless a careless error.
“They’ve detected it too, sir.” The scans from Space Dock appeared on the monitor next to his. “It’s not a ship. They alerted us to the situation. They’ve lost contact with the Beta colony on Europa.”
“Indeed.” I read over the lines of data from Enterprise and the Starfleet array, recalling the situation on Europa, the smallest of Jupitor’s Galilean moons. Its surface was smooth, but the oxygen in the atmosphere had made it suitable for domed habitats while the colonists mined the core of the moon for precious minerals and water. “It doesn’t appear to be a solid object. It’s shape is changing as well.”
“But it’s not gaseous or energy from what we’ve been able to scan so far, but we are too far away to find out much more.”
“I concur.” I folded my hands behind my back and arched an eyebrow. “It may be some form of liquid or a life form of some sort. I will check with Starfleet to see if they wish us to investigate.”
“With the children on board, won’t that be a problem, sir?”
“It would be a complication, ensign, which is something that our crew is exceptional at handling.” I left the ensign to his work and went to the captain’s ready room to speak to command and contact the captain. Starfleet’s orders were to intercept and investigate the anomaly as soon as possible.
I found the captain and the children on deck five on my way there I went over the best ways to return the children to Earth or space dock before we left orbit. Their safety was a priority. I had three options that would get them to safety and Enterprise away within an hour.
The children were frolicking in the arboretum with their parents. Their laughter echoed from the walls. It was autumn, and the trees, primarily Earth species, were covered in leaves in shades of red, brown and gold. The captain was being climbed on by the same redheaded girl from the shuttle. Her mother, Lt. Sherwood, had the hair color, and she apologized when her child sneezed on the captain.
“That’s OK,” he said, hosting the child from his chest to hand her to her mother. He smiled as I came toward him, getting to his feet. “Mr. Spock? I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“There is a situation, Captain. Starfleet has ordered us to investigate. Arrangements have been made to return the children to space dock, and from there they will be returned to San Francisco. Lt. Sherwood, please oversee getting the children to the shuttle craft. I will fill the captain in on the details.”
He didn’t ask me if it was serious. He knew that it was. Once we were alone in the turbolift, on our way to the bridge, he asked. “How bad is it?”
“We lost contact with the beta colony on Europa, and have experienced difficulties contacting the alpha site as well. The anomaly passed by the colony before it was spotted by long range sensors. The object seems to be absorbing energy, including light.”
“Like a black hole,” he added. I watched as he tugged a leaf out of his hair and straightened his uniform. Then not knowing what to do with the leaf, he shoved it into a pocket. I hoped he didn’t notice the hint of a smile his action caused to appear on my face.
“A black hole that is moving. It does not seem to have a gravity well surrounding it, and it is capable of momentum. Also captain, it is not traveling on a straight line. Whatever it is, is now traveling toward the next colony in Jupiter’s orbit.”
“We’ll find out what it is. I’m not worried about it. Not quite how you expected to spend our last few hours in dock is it Mr. Spock?” He asked with another smile.
“Captain, it is quite illogical to assume that any time aboard Enterprise will go as expected.”
“That’s why we’re out here, Spock,” he replied. He was excited. Ready to be out there exploring and defending the universe, and I found myself getting excited as well.
I counted the lights as we passed through the ship. I knew where we were at all times without resorting to reading the display by the door. I knew exactly how much time that we had before reaching the bridge as well, and just as the doors were about to open, I said. “Thank you for last night, Jim.”
“Wait–” he said, but I pretended not to hear him as I made my way to relieve the ensign at the science station. That did not prevent me from noting if anyone else on the bridge heard my remark and noticed the look on Kirk’s face. And McCoy thinks that I don’t have a sense of humor.
To be continued…