Title: No Khantest
Author: J. Juls (jjuls @ tbc.net)
Summary: Jim fixes stuff. Started out to be a Khan story, but it ended up all mooshy.
Disclaimer: Fanfic allowed is not. Is stories forbidden. Paramount doesn't want me to be discussing this in public.
Feedback: If you read this, Hy, pleez be gentle! (;
-NO KHANTEST-"9.8 Warp reached have we," came Sdrawkcab's easy voice. "9.9 ... " The Sun loomed in the viewscreen, filling up Jim's experience, his life. A trickle of sweat ran down his face, past his ear, down his neck. The rattling of the rickety rental ship grew louder.
"Diverting now," Sakal reported. Jim felt lighter as the artificial gravity faded, or was he losing consciousness? The rattling grew softer; he couldn't think clearly, and his sight started to fade away -- he hadn't known about the side effects of the slingshot method.
"I feel young." Jim smirked at Carol. They chuckled as they tossed pebbles into the raw pit which was Spock's open grave. "I feel young. See how many times you can make it bounce, Carol."
They giggled together as the birds sang in the budding trees. "I feel young, too, Jim." They threw the stones and inhaled the fresh spring air. Ahhh, it was so joyous, but with the joy came a nagging guilt that increased until Jim was overwhelmed and fell with the pebbles into the open grave; a shower of pebbles became a storm that buried him, and he woke.
Gasping for breath, he clawed at his pillow, the first real thing he could sense. He had to get out of bed, and so uncurled his tired, protesting body from the fetal position it had maintained for the last few hours. He rose.
Dawn hadn't yet broken. Only the moon reflecting from the bay and the few lights of the city guided him to the window. He didn't sleep much anymore, couldn't afford to. He kept busy with his empty desk job and only retired when he was exhausted, to sleep for a few hours until one of the nightmares returned to torture him into wakefulness. And guilt.
For these weren't the ordinary childhood nightmares of being chased or frightened. No, these dreams were much worse, because in these, Jim himself was the monster. And he couldn't run away.
Jim smoked a Romulan cigarette. He was almost out, and they were the only thing that kept him awake nowadays. He'd have to go to the bar and get some more from Sdrawkcab, if they could avoid that pesky Fed agent.
He sat down to think. Spock was dead. That fact permeated everything. McCoy was at the station brig; they would take him to the "Federation Funny Farm" soon. And many of Jim's trainee crew -- Spock's trainee crew -- were dead or injured. Scotty might never recover from his nephew's loss. The rest of the crew had pledged their support for him, but they couldn't do anything to alleviate his guilt: his mate dead, two dear friends whose lives had been destroyed, and the children in his crew ... and then there was Sarek.
Sarek had visited him last night. He wanted Spock brought back to Vulcan so that his "Katra," whatever that was, could rest in the Hall Of Ancient Thought. Imagine, to sit in some crystal ball for billions of years, only to communicate occasionally with this or that historian. Until they forgot about him and his time. Jim fervently wished that there was something else he could do; he didn't know what need there was for the body; but Sarek saw only one way, and ... the doorbell rang. Who could it be so late or early? Not caring after all, Jim put on his bathrobe and went to answer it. If he were shot by an intruder today, it would be just as well. Certainly he had thought of doing himself in more than once.
But it wasn't an intruder, or at least not a violent one. It was a young Vulcan who introduced himself as Sakal, an aide to Sarek. Maybe he could shed some light on this "Katra" mystery.
"Come in, sit down. Would you like a drink? Romulan ale, perhaps? Or Earth brandy? Um, orange juice?"
Sakal shifted from one foot to the other, looking almost uncomfortable for a Vulcan. He walked through the door but did not sit. "No, thank you, sir. Instead, I have a proposition for you." Jim studied him. He clasped and unclasped his hands, as if unsure where to start. Finally he admitted, "I am, you see, an admirer -- what you humans would call a fan -- of Captain Spock."
He looked to Jim as if expecting to be booted out. But Jim was in the mood to listen to this strange person. "Go on."
"What I propose to you is illegal, of course, but I have made some calculations based upon what is called the "slingshot effect" of traveling near a star at high warp speeds."
"I'm familiar with it."
"We have completed our time displacement, Admiral. Admiral?"
Jim felt himself vaulted out of his home, to darkness. He struggled to open his eyes; the darkness became a console, and a chair, and a bridge. The bridge of the rental ship. He had been laid back in his seat, unconscious.
"Admiral?" Jim raised an arm to wipe the corner of his mouth. He didn't quite have his bearings yet, but one sentence always worked.
"Star patterns show my calculations to be correct. We have arrived at the appropriate time and place, no earlier than absolutely necessary."
Reality asserted itself then. Of course, they didn't want to damage the timeline any more than they had to, so they had arrived at the last possible moment.
"Ship scanning," came Sdrawckab's voice. "DY-100 Class Sleeper Ship, disabled."
Jim felt numb, the numbness that could allow him to carry out duties that went against all his emotional conditioning. "Arm photon torpedo. Target vessel."
"Arming torpedo," Sakal acknowledged. Logical, of course. This had been his purpose all along. All Jim had supplied were the space-time coordinates.
"Ship scanning. USS Enterprise it is."
Right on schedule. "Fire."
There was a wash of sound as the torpedo exited the tube. Then, in deadly silence, the sleeper ship disappeared in a fiery bloom before being extinguished by the vacuum of space. A fizzle as some debris hit their shields. No other sounds save the bridge monitors, and still no emotion.
Uhura's voice then, echoing through the bridge. "Unidentified ship. This is the Federation ship USS Enterprise. You have fired on Federation property. You are ordered to stand down."
"Range weapons and range transporter in not."
"Mute." No need to listen to himself. "Make for the nearest star, Sdrawckab. Warp speed. Sakal, calculate your time jump."
"Of course, Admiral. Calculations already complete."
The warp engines strained. Their rickety ship grew hot as the star loomed in the viewscreen; sweat beaded on Jim's forehead. Soon ... would he even realize that he had done this when it was all over?
A panel exploded in sparks and flame. A piece of sheet metal fell off the bulkhead. It didn't really matter to Jim whether they made it back or not, now.
He hadn't known that a star could be so bright. It swallowed him ...
Jim jerked awake, terrified. Instinctively he reached for Spock, found the lean body and clutched it to him, stroked the smooth hair as if he hadn't touched it in forever. Spock stirred and woke. "Jim," he murmured; the name was a salve to Jim's soul. Jim's nightmare was gone, but the terror was left behind. He couldn't fathom what the cause had been. "Have you had one of your human nightmares again?"
"I ... think so, Spock. But I can't remember it at all. I'm sorry I woke you."
"It is all right, Jim." Spock sighed and turned to face him, draping a heavy arm around his waist for comfort. Jim melted into the embrace, feeling Spock's heat, reveling in his sleepy voice. "You may, however, wish to tell Lieutenant MacGivers not to bring any more anchovy pizza when she visits us again. The human tendency to consume dead animals is most ... confusing ... ."
He lay silent, the only sound his languid exhalations. Jim breathed deeply the smell of his lover's sleep, gradually relaxing and letting his eyes fall shut. Whatever it had been, it was over now.