Title: A Matter Of Trust
Author: Jo Jo lee -- Joeyleenaz@aol.com
Codes: Kirk and Spock, PG, pre-slash
Disclaimer: All characters from the original Star Trek Series belong to Paramount Pictures, not to me.
NOTE: The first part of this story takes place 8.4 months before Menagerie One and Part two takes place immediately after Menagerie 2.
A Matter Of Trust
by Jo Jo Lee
There was only one telepath on the star base who heard the telepathic cry of anguish. The Vulcan Healer paused and looked around, disquieted. No way to tell where the cry had come. It could have come from anywhere on the base or even from one of the ships that were docked. For a moment he strove to telepathically listen, but heard only silence. It could not have been a Vulcan mind. There had been an alien nuance to it. Finally, the Vulcan Healer continued his way down the concourse and dismissed the experience from his mind.
Loud, crowded and dazzling, the star base boasted stores and entertainment of every description especially designed to cater to deep space travelers. It was an oasis in the void, a busy nexus between star systems, connecting several trade routes. It was also a valued destination for shore leave for a space weary crew.
A large portion of the starship Enterprise's crew was cavorting happily through it's gaudy corridors while the ship was docked. Only a skeleton crew remained on board the Enterprise to monitor the automatic monitors and the communication systems. One of the immutable members of the skeleton crew during star base shore leaves was Spock.
Spock disliked star bases and their inescapable environment of chaos. He appreciated the peace and quiet on board a near empty ship. Restock and repair had been completed and now it was time for the crew to play. It was also time for Spock to stake out the bridge as his own private haven.
Alone on the bridge, he contentedly worked undisturbed. It was the only time he was free of the incessant chatter and the continuous fidgeting of the humans. He was at liberty to spend hours tinkering, modifying and adjusting the science station and add data to the library computer.
He was busy with an adjustment on the library computer when he heard the announcement come over the sub-space radio. Captain Pike, in saving six cadets had been permanently disabled. Spock felt his body painfully constrict as he listened to the details. He heard the tool he had been holding hit the deck. Abruptly, Spock fell to his knees as his mind shrieked. Bending double, he grabbed his head. Desperate for control, he tried to still the screaming in his head. Deep breath. Another. Slowly, thoughts replaced the searing mental agony. Even so, he dared not move, certain he would tear the bridge apart. Delta Rays. Better it Pike had been killed outright.
Pike would be trapped within a useless body, unable to move, unable to communicate. Not even the Vulcan Healers would be able to reach his mind because of the radiation residue which would last long after Pike's life span was spent. An existence which was no existence. NO! Nooooo! NO!
Gradually he became aware that he had become saturated with a numbness that seemed to distance him from his body as well as his emotions. Was it control, or was it shock? Spock suspected that latter. But at least now he could think.
Suddenly, what he must do came to him with stunning clarity. The framework of the plan was formed before he realized it to be a plan. He was the only one who could do it and there was no option but to do it.
The consequences if he was caught were considerable, possible death or imprisonment. The end of his career in Starfleet, at the least. His father would see confirmation in his assessment of him and his decision to disown him. The humans who argued against his commission in Starfleet would see confirmation of their belief that hybrids were unstable. No matter. It was Captain Pike's only chance. Spock consciously laid aside his integrity, both Vulcan and Human. He then committed himself to a course of action that he realized maybe neither Vulcan or Human might understand.
Spock slowly got up and determinately disabled the communications station. It would take five days to repair. Under the cover of repairing the station, Spock intended to put a an eighth of a second delay on sub-space communication and filter out any reference to Captain Pike and route it to his personal file.
It would take time to formulate the plan in such a way to give his two goals the best chance for success. First, to get Captain Pike to Talos 4 and second, to protect Captain Kirk and his command.
Spock knew that the next four months they would spend patrolling the frontier in the Beta Chi Quadrant. At one point the ship should be in range for a communication probe to be sent to Talos. It would take some work to hide it from the ship's sensors, but it could be done. Then it was up to the Talosians to respond. He would modify the communications system to filter out that communication as well. Spock's hand trembled as he reached for the switch to the ship's log and logged in the first of the many lies his plan would require.
Part Two: 8.4 months later
The room was dim and very quiet. Kirk sat at his desk, his back straight with both of his fists clenched on the top of his desk, placed about six inches apart. It was a posture he had the habit of assuming when he was trying to make a difficult decision and actually had the time to think about it.
The words of his dead friend, Gary, came to mind, "I am contemplating the death of an old friend." Well Spock was not an old friend and it would not be his death, just the end of his time on the Enterprise.
Spock had said he had not confided in him to protect him, but Spock had manipulated him just like he manipulated Starfleet and all the rest. That his goal was unselfish, that it resulted in freeing Chris Pike from a life of unspeakable solitude and nearly total physical limitation, really didn't solve the problem. Spock had been lying to him for months. Spock had been planning this for months. Kirk realized that he did not know who Spock was. He had no idea what he was capable of.
He remembered the agitated hours in Commodore Mendez's office defending Spock's veracity and searching through the communication records. There had been no doubt in him mind that the problem lay some place else other than with his First Officer. Even McCoy did not think Spock was capable of anything like this.
He could never have such unwavering conviction of Spock's.rightness. Couched in any terms, it came down to the same thing, Spock had betrayed his trust.
After the near euphoria of seeing Chris Pike walk up that pathway to the entrance to the Talosan's complex, it started hitting him. Spock had betrayed him. Spock had been incredibly deceitful. Spock had interfered with his command. Spock had left him sitting in Commodore Mendez's Office, his hands full of communication discs as he commandeered his ship and warped out of orbit without him! Kirk could never remember feeling so betrayed and angry as he sprinted toward Starbase 11's shuttle bay.
How would he ever be able to work with him? No. He knew he would not be able to work with him. Yet, there was something. Why did he hesitate? Was it that he really didn't want to transfer him away? But if there was a way to salvage their professional relationship, not to mention their personal one, if they had ever had a personal one, he didn't see it. Yet, Spock and him had worked well together since he had taken command of the Enterprise or had that been an illusion as well? No. They had been an effective team.
Chris Pike had turned over command of the Enterprise to him fourteen months ago. In one of the pre-command transfer briefings, Pike had actually said Spock was his 'gift' to him. Pike had extolled Spock's talents extensively. He proceeded to defend his decision to recommend Spock for two top jobs, claiming the only way to keep a Vulcan happy was to give him plenty to do. It had been apparent how fond of Spock Pike had been.
Kirk had been amused at pike. He did not have to be convinced. Pike had been concerned that Kirk would reject the Vulcan because of the strangeness of having a mixed command team. It would be the first such pairing in Starfleet.
Some humans were intimidated by the Vulcans and some were just irritated by what they perceived as the Vulcan's arrogance and self-righteousness. Kirk was neither. True, Kirk had not been around many Vulcans, but he had seen this one.
It was hard to be intimidated by someone who you first saw sulking, arms crossed and sitting on a bench. Pike had learned to handle any arrogance or self-righteousness, he could do the same. But most telling, was that Amos Miloy had liked the Vulcan.
Kirk had chuckled at the memory as Pike continued on with his sales job. Kirk had finally held up his hands and declared that he would take the Vulcan. He could not help grinning at Pike because he knew that Pike had not always known how to keep his Vulcan happy.
It had been eight years ago. Kirk had gone to the space dock transfer area on Starbase 9 to await the arrival of his ship. He had been badly injured and had just spent the last month in rehab and he was more than anxious to get back in space. The Farragut was coming to pick him up and restock. The ship was due to arrive within the hour.
He had settled himself in a café with a cup of real coffee and lazily gazed through the window to the mall area. The transporter that handled the traffic from the docked ships to and from the starbase was within his range of vision. Across from it was a row of benches with a few people waiting. Perhaps they had people on the Farragut.
Kirk absently watched as people transported in and out, but sat up as he recognized an old friend. Amos Miloy, a big Irishman, who had been a friend of his dad's. Miloy had been serving as Science Officer on the Enterprise for the last five years. Kirk got up and waved him down. Amos saw him and ran to him and engulfed him in a bear hug.
"How's the leg, Jimmie? Didn't think you'd still be here!"
"The leg's fine, but you almost missed me. I'm just about to leave. The Farragut should be here anytime. When did the Enterprise get in? Come on in. I'll buy you a cup of coffee. They have the real stuff here."
Miloy took the seat across from him and smiled. "You look grand, Jimmy." Miloy seated himself wearily and leaned back as he continued, "We pulled in two hours ago and I'm the first to arrive for shore leave, such as it is, on this poor excuse for a starbase. Jimmy, do you know any museums or such? Anything worth seeing in that way on this rock?"
Kirk looked at Miloy and started to laugh until he saw that Miloy was in earnest. "Not quite your style, Amos."
Miloy cut in, "It's not my style I have to worry about."
Kirk gave him a befuddled look and then informed him where the information center was and that he thought he heard something about a gem show. They then fell to chatting about old time and new.
Suddenly, Miloy's attention had been diverted to a thin Vulcan youth in Starfleet blue walking to the benches across from the transporter. He very deliberately sat down, crossed his arms across his chest and stared straight ahead.
"Oh Lordy, would you look at that? You know he'll sit there for the whole forty-eight hours. Captain Pike is going to have a fit if he sees him there. I figured something like this would happen. That's why I came down first. Miloy flipped open his communicator.
"Miloy to Enterprise."
"Thomas, when is the Captain beaming down?"
The bored voice of Thomas answered, "In about half an hour, I guess. Want him to meet you?"
"No, no. But Thomas, would you contact me and let me know when he checks out, make that before he heads for the transporter room."
Thomas' voice sounded a bit interested now, "Sure thing, Amos. Enterprise out."
The Vulcan was now intermittently obscured by the disembarking crowds of the Enterprise crew heading for shore leave. Miloy sighed, "He's one of my chicks. His name is Spock and in a while I'm going to have to pull him off that bench and take him somewhere. Hope that gem show is available. Vulcans aren't much for nightlife."
Kirk smiled, "Amos, what's going on? Let him alone on his shore leave. I'm sure he doesn't need his superior officer holding his hand."
"Well, maybe not his hand, but the Captain will have his head on a platter if he comes down and sees him sitting there."
Kirk, amused, leaned forward and asked why?
Miloy sighed and slouched further down in his seat, "Well Jimmy, it's like this. We had a bit of a run in with the Klingons out in the Sigma-Chi quadrant. We pushed them back into their own yard, but we got a bit battered. We've been limping home and the repair crews have been working around the clock for the last five weeks. The Captain found out that Spock had been working double shifts and then some. The Captain and Spock have been having a wee bit of a disagreement on how many hours Spock should be allowed to work."
Kirk set his coffee down with a thump and leaned further forward and shook his head in mild amazement, "How does a lieutenant have a disagreement with a captain?"
Miloy shrugged and answered, "Creatively. You have to be very precise when you give an order to Mr. Spock. He has an inventive way of wiggling around them and doing what he pleases.
I told Spock to get some rest and then he switched from working on repairs in engineering to repairing some of the computer sub-programs. I was not too happy when I found out and let him know my displeasure. He gets this real innocent look about him. I don't know how, it's not really a change in expression, but anyway, he's all innocent like and he says to me, "I find reprogramming restful." I threw up my hands, what was I to do?
Captain Pike finally told Spock to get some down time. I'm not sure how the Captain phased it, evidently not precisely enough. The Captain was furious when he found out Spock was back in Engineering, continuing repairs. The Captain confined Spock to his quarters and pulled the plug on his computer's ship net. That was about ten hours ago. All I know, is that the Captain notified me that he was ordering Spock off ship for forty-eight hours. If the Captain sees him sulking on that bench, things could get nasty."
Kirk leaned back, chuckling, "You've got to be kidding! He's in trouble because he works too hard and his punishment is shore leave? With that attitude, he's lucky he's not up on charges and in the brig."
Miloy shook his head wearily, "Ah, you got to understand, he's real young, that is for a Vulcan. He's still not full grown. He's a good sort, just drives us crazy once in while."
"Not full grown? He's on a starship!"
"Well, he's twenty-three, but that kind of young for a Vulcan. He must be old enough, but it's just kind of weird to keep seeing his uniform pants getting short on him."
Just then Miloy's communicator beeped. Miloy got up and opened it. Thomas' amused voice said, "The Captain's on his way in ten, Amos. You better get that elf of yours off that bench."
Miloy grumbled back, "And Thomas, my lad, just where are you getting all your information?"
Thomas chuckled and replied, "I've gotten no less than twenty calls informing me about your sitting duck, ah, elf. Didn't take much to figure you're down there prepared to hustle him off to safety. Have a fun shore leave!" Then the sound of an off key chorus could be heard singing, "What do you do with a troublesome Vulcan" to the tune of What do you do with a drunken sailor. Miloy was grinning as he flipped his communicator closed, abruptly stopping the impromptu concert.
Amos looked down at Kirk, "It was grand seeing you, Jimmy. I've got to go get that chick of mine out of danger. God speed and keep you safe until our paths cross again."
Greatly amused, Kirk had watched his friend go round up his troublesome Vulcan. The Vulcan did not get up immediately when Miloy approached and addressed him, however Miloy's next words must have been an order. The order must have been precisely worded enough to make the Vulcan move.
Kirk saw what Miloy was talking about. He hadn't noticed before, but the Vulcan's uniform was a bit short in pant length as well as arm length. And despite his face being expressionless, he was looking with enough attention that he could recognize the universal aura of an adolescent scowl. Kirk shook his head in amazement and then laughed out loud and he watched them heading down the concourse.
Kirk leaned back in his chair and sighed, Spock had apparently raised wiggling around an order to an art form since then. Now he was into high jacking starships and wiggling around the only Federation law that carried a death penalty. Cute.
Why not just present the argument for Pike's transfer to Talus 4 to the Federation behind closed doors. Kirk shook his head in frustration and admitted he knew why. They would probably say no. This way, Spock had forced the issue. Commodore would be presented with Spock's justification with the Enterprise already orbiting Talos. To enforce General Order 7, in this instance, Mendez would have had to collect Pike from Talos and convene a real court-martial for Spock. Kirk was sure Spock would have made it as public as possible. Perhaps, not in detail, but the Vulcan would make it clear that Starfleet was withholding something of great benefit to Captain Pike and that that something was located on the forbidden planet of Talos 4.
Mendez was Pike's friend too, and was probably pleased that Pike could live out his life free in the Talosan's illusion He had let Spock off the hook for the sake of silence and for the sake of his friend, Pike. Something that Kirk was not yet ready to do..
During the fourteen months of Kirk's captaincy, Spock had been efficient and inventive. Kirk had had no complaints, but he had been careful to give his orders with precision. Kirk had never mentioned that he knew Amos Miloy.
Kirk had been amused at Spock's elevated eyebrow as he had learned that his arsenal of tricks for squirming around an order did not work on the new captain. Spock had also learned that his Vulcan persona had little impact on him. Kirk had been pleased when the Vulcan had actually started resorting to arguing with him when there was a disagreement between them.
Kirk had hoped for a friendship of sorts and had pursued it slowly. He had settled for a few chess games and a slight amount of teasing. The Vulcan had seemed comfortable with that and had started responding with a bit of teasing of his own.
Kirk then remembered the fiasco at the rim of the galaxy. Spock had awkwardly tried to reach out to him after Gary died. Kirk had appreciated it and even treasured Spock's gestures knowing that they were difficult for him. Somehow Spock had quietly slipped into Gary's vacated niche in Kirk's life. Strange because there really was not the relationship to justify that. Unless, you remembered the times Spock had pushed him aside to protect him, or you remembered the coffee.
Spock had worked out an ingenious and mysterious system to store coffee beans so the crew and the Captain could have real coffee. Ingenious, because he had figured out a system to enclose each hundred pound bag in a weak ion field to keep the beans fresh and mysterious because no one could figure out where they all were.
Cargo space on a Starship was at a premium and luxuries such as genuine coffee were left behind. Spock had tucked the beans everywhere, enough for each crew member to have three cups of coffee a day for three years. All because Kirk had mentioned that he liked real coffee and missed it. Kirk leaned forward and leaned his head down in his arms on the desk as he had once done as a child. There was such a deep pain. Such a sense of loss. Kirk had completely trusted only a few people in his life, and Spock had somehow become one of them.
Kirk jerked upright and clenched his fists. Trust? Well, no more! Anger flamed. What did that crazy Vulcan think was going to happen? Did he think he could just highjack the Enterprise and go on as if nothing had happened? How dare he call me Jim in the middle of that sham trial to play on my emotions! The manipulative jerk! I should kick him off the Enterprise and make a recommendation to place him on a starbase to manage garbage!
Kirk pounded the surface of his desk once and then deliberately calmed himself down. He had extended the Vulcan an invitation of friendship, guessing the human lurking in him could respond and enjoy it. The Vulcan responded all right! Kirk felt he had been slapped across the face. The complexities of a Vulcan/Human hybrid were just too exhausting. Let someone else deal with them. Spock was just too alien for him if he couldn't figure out what friendship and loyalty were all about.
Kirk sat back and sighed, but that's why he did it, isn't it? Friendship and loyalty to Chris Pike. He probably knew the price could be very high and did it anyway. It bothered him more than he was willing to admit that part of that price that Spock had been willing to pay was his position on the Enterprise and Kirk, himself.
Kirk got up and stalked around his cabin. He was thinking in circles. Spock's reasons for what he did were not the issue. Bottom line, Spock had acted in the extreme. His behavior was unpredictable. Kirk no longer knew what the Vulcan was capable of. Kirk no longer was assured of the Vulcan's loyalty.
No matter what, Spock should have come to him. Spock's logic was obviously, conveniently dynamic, changing and twisting with it owner's goals. At this point, Kirk was convinced that any insane thing Spock concocted, Spock would be able to explain it "logically".
Kirk's thoughts were interrupted by his door sliding open to admit Doctor McCoy, who was carrying a flask of amber liquid.
"Hi, thought you could use this, God I know I can."
Kirk glanced at his friend and grimaced as he went to get his glasses. "What's this Bones? You celebrating already."
McCoy took a seat and opened the flask, "I guess I am. I hope Pike's happy in his new life. Remarkable! Think of the possibilities for extended care patients. But, of course, the Federation would never allow it. Then, maybe, the Talosans would not want to be turned into full time caretakers.but I wouldn't mind asking."
"No, I didn't mean that. I'm talking about Spock's impending departure." Kirk intoned wearily as he took a seat and picked up a glass. McCoy innocently looked at Kirk and said, "Spock's going somewhere?"
Kirk put down his glass and glared at McCoy, "Don't play games with me, doctor. I'm in no mood for your country doctor performance. Yes, Spock is going somewhere, I've just about decided to transfer him off the ship, to an outpost on the edge of the Gaillian Arm, if I could swing it.
McCoy sat back, "I don't blame you for being a tad angry, Jim, but transferring him out. Isn't that a bit radical?"
"Radical!?" Kirk thundered back. "I thought you'd be the first to cheer! You never liked him. You've been on the ship seven months now. Don't you realize that Spock had been lying through his teeth the entire time? Bones, he had to modify the communication system to filter references to Pike out. That he has been flagrantly communicating with the Talosans from my ship. He has been consistently entering false log entries for eight months." Kirk paused to catch his breath and spoke in a quiet voice that was full of disbeleif and sorrow, "Bones, did you know he actually knocked out a Communication Chief and his assistant on Starbase 11. It's incomprehensible."
McCoy interrupted, "No Jim, it's perfectly comprehensible. I'm actually relieved. He had me almost convinced that he turned in his membership as a sapient being and exchanged it for android status. But this? No this is completely understandable."
Kirk glowered at him, "Well, I don't understand."
McCoy countered back, "Don't you. He did what any one of us would do to rescue someone we loved. He used everything he had to change the situation, and he did it without letting what it might cost him, stop him. Don't you think with that logical brain of his, he knew what he was doing could cost him his life, or his career, or at least the Enterprise?"
"What are you talking about? Love? Loyality maybe, but he's a Vulcan. He doesn't love." Kirk responded bitterly.
"Well, I don't know about other Vulcans, but this one can. Whether he acknowledges it as such, I don't know. Don't forget he gave up Pike, too. He could have visited him for years, now he has no accesss to him.
McCoy leaned forward and continued earnestly, "Jim, I've been going trough the old records. Spock served under Captain Pike for eleven years. That's a long time. Did you know that Spock spent only two years at the academy before he got posted for deep space? He was only twenty-one years old when he came on board as an Ensign.
Young for even a human, but for a Vulcan, even a half Vulcan, it was very young, too young. Jim, for the first seven years he was on board, he was still growing. It's understandable if Captain Pike and Spock had some sort of a mentor/student or even a type of father/son bond between them.
Understandable, that Spock would do anything he had to, to save Pike. Jim, Spock had the means to save Pike from the trap that his life had turned into.he simply had to do it.!"
Kirk leaned back and sighed, holding his arms out in a supplicating gesture. "So what am I suppose to do about it? I can't just pretend like nothing happened."
McCoy wearily stood up, "No, you can't. But Jim, find a way to keep him, don't make him pay more than he already has." With that, McCoy patted Kirk on the shoulder, picked up the bottle and walked out the door.
Spock finished packing and sat down to write his request for a transfer. He knew it would turn out this way. It was logical that the Captain would no longer have confidence in him and that he would be replaced. It was just for a moment, hope had flared that the Captain would allow him to stay.
Spock had been pushing Captain Pike out of the briefing/court room and Captain Kirk had teased him, but by the time he had retured, Kirk's anger had been palpable. Spock had excused himself and went to pack.
It was expected. Spock just couldn't help but wish he had been wrong. Hope and now he was wishing.it was going to take a long while of strict discipline to get his control back. The last 8.4 months had been difficult and exhausting. He had been acutely uncomfortable with his duplicity. It had gotten harder as time went on. Guilt had become a constant companion.
Spock admitted that one particular emotion. It and it's sibling, shame, had been a familiar acquaintance throughout his life. Only Doctor McCoy had ever expected that he was under any unusual strain.
Spock had learned how to keep McCoy at a distance, he had tried to keep all the senior officers at a distance. It had been a most delicate balancing act. Spock had found himself out of balance, more than a few times. It was not always possible to keep your distance if you were the First Officer and were going to serve you ship and Captain well. Finally, it was over. There was only one last thing to do, send the Captain his transfer application.
Yes, now it was done. Captain Pike would have a life. He, still, surprisingly, had his rank in Starfleet.they would probably assign him to some obscure science vessel, studying some obscure.enough!.transfer to anywhere on anything and flagged it for the Captain's attention.
Spock then sat on his bed and crossed his legs as he waited for the inevitable message that would inform him that he was relieved from duty until they reached Starbase 11. He tried to go into the first level of meditation and found that he could not. No, his mind wanted to go into the past and remember Captain Pike as he had been on the Enterprise. Spock realized he was grieving for his lost captain. So be it.
Vulcans knew loss and they knew grief. However, Vulcans did not burden others with their grief. They sought solitude and threw their minds into the past, to grieve and remember. After they would come back to the present, prepared to accept and go on. Spock closed his eyes and pressed the palms of his hands together and remembered.
The human Captain did not appear pleased. If Spock read him correctly, he might even by angry. After more than two years among humans, Spock still could not always accurately evaluate the emotional nuances of human communication. He was overly dependent on words. A problem, since Humans did not always say what they meant.
Spock had thought that growing up with a human mother would prepare him for human communication, but he had quickly realized in his first week at Starfleet Academy that his mother was not typical. He had buried himself in the academic work, but even there, he was not totally protected form the confusing array of human communication.
He had found himself so frustrated at times, he had actually been tempted to 'accidentally' touch someone to figure out what was going on. He never had, but he had been alarmed enough that it had even occurred to him to double his meditation time. Now, here he was, standing in the Captain's office trying to figure out what was going on.
Finally, the Captain raised his head from his reading and glared at the young Vulcan. "Mr. Spock, you have only beeno on board the Enterprise for ten days and I have eighteen short reports on you!
Most of them are from Mr. Johanson in Engineering. He says you've been dismantling various parts of the ship and then reassembling them. He's checked and so far you've managed to put everything back together right, but he wants you to stop! Why, Mr. Spock, are you doing this?"
Spock, hands behind his back, answered, confused, "Sir, did you not order me to aquaint myself with the ship?"
Now Spock's confusion deepened, the Captain was similing. Then, the Captain bent his head towards his desk and began to laugh. Spock, alarmed, not really sure if the Captain was laughing or having an attack of some sorts, moved towards the Captain.
"Captain Pike, are you ill?"
"No, no, Mr.Spock" The Captain straightened in his chair and wiped the tears from his eyes as he sobered. Spock steped back. Had the Captain been crying? Had Spock's actions been so objectionable that he had brought his captain to tears?!
"I beg forgiveness!" I did not mean to make you cry!"
The Captain looked at Spock for a second, his eyes wide, and then suddenly doubled over again and started to laughing again. Spock stood still, very still, best to let the madness pass. It finally did.
Proper decorum restored, the Captain said, "Ensign, it seems we have a bit of a communication problem. This is not an acceptable situation on a starship." Captain Pike leaned back and gazed at the young ensign for a minute.
"Let's see. Mmmm. Well, we'll handle it this way. First, you will continue getting 'aquatinted' with the ship under Mr. Johanson's supervision. You will report to him after this meeting to set up a schedule. The time you spend under Mr. Johanson's supervision will be, of course, in addition to your duty shift in astrophysics. I'll contact Mr. Johanson and let him know you're coming."
Pike hesitated and bowed his head then he looked back up and made eye contact with Spock. "Mr. Spock, did you have much contact with humans growing up, ah, besides your mother?"
Spock stiffened at the personal question. Decidedly rude, but Pike was a human and he was the Captain, so it was best to answer. "No. It was decided best not to encourage any propensity in my nature that would undermine my Vulcan training.
Pike nodded and folded his hands in from of him, "I see. Well, until further notice, you will spend one standard hour per ship's day in the main rec room to observe causual human behavior. I will also compile a list of human fiction for you to read.
I think we'll start with historical fiction. You will meet with me, once a week, at my convenience, to go over your observations of both your shipmates and your reading. Dismissed, Mr. Spock."
Hours later Spock opened his eyes. He had weaved in and out of memories spanning his eleven year service with Captain Pike. What Spock remembered most about his captain was his kindness and patience with him. Pike had been the first being in Spock's life that had not tried to curb his exuberant excitement about what he found in the universe around him. Although nto a scientist, Pike had shared his enthusiam and encouraged him. And through their talks and the books, Captain Pike had opened up other wonders whose existence Spock had never suspected.
Pike had introduced Spock to a whole new and rewarding world in human books. So unlike the stylized literature of Vulcan. Spock had been intrigued by how much he could understand, at least on an intellectual level, of the characters he read about. The book discussions had continued until Pike had left the Enterprise. Spock missed those discussions immensely.
Spock had to admit to himself that he did not feel the peace that was described after one finished 'The Remembering' in T'Kal's writings. He sighed, he had not felt that elusive peace when Number One had been killed either.
At the time, he though it was due to his immaturity, but now he knew it was his humanness that was having trouble letting go. He felt drained and lethargic. He glanced at his com unit and relized that no call had come in relieving him of duty. He was due on the bridge in seventeen point three minutes. For the first time in his career he called in a relief officer and rolled over and went to sleep.
Kirk woke up suddenly after a restless night. He headed for the auto-serve and dialed up for a cup of coffee.Spock. He tried not to grin as he remembered a heated argument, a couple of months ago, between a Tellerite Ambassador and an Andorian Ambassador in briefing room C. He, Spock and Doctor McCoy had been trying to reason with them, trying to have them call a truce until they were dropped off at a conference on Alpha Tai 3.
The angry Tellerite threw his Anli, a half pound bag filled with fine sand from his home world, into the air. It was a symbolic Tellerite expression of anger.
The Anli was thrown with such force that when it hit one of the false ceiling panels, the panel jumped out it setting and ripped open one of Spock's coffee bean bags which had been tucked above the ceiling panels. It rained coffee bags.
Kirk remembered looking at Spock somewhat amazed and wondering just where the Vulcan had stashed all the rest, tons and tons of the rest, and decided that he really didn't want to know. Spock had actually gone a bit green. A blush? Who knew?
The Ambassadors had been unaccountably delighted. Both interpreted the falling coffee beans as some sort of good omen. Peace had reined until they had been put off ship.
Kirk sipped his coffee and realized his anger had dissipated and now he was.irritated, good and irritated. He got up to get showered and dressed, he was due on the bridge in fifteen minutes.
Kirk entered the bridge ready to righteously ignore Spock until he was ready to talk to him and was surprised to fine him absent.
"Mr. Macaulay, where is Mr. Spock this morning?" Kirk inquired of the man who was working the science station.
"In his quarters, Sir. I'm the releif officer for this shift. Mr. Spock notified me to come in about twenty minutes ago. I logged it in on your daily, Sir."
"Very well, Mr. Macaulay. Carry on." Kirk took the command seat and started the day's business. Even being in safe space, it was four hours before Kirk felt free enough to leave the bridge.
Spock was still in his quarters and that's where he was heading. He had seen Spock's transfer application in his dailies and had noted that Spock had not put a lot of planning in that part of his scheme. A transfer needed the Captain's approval and he was ambivalent about it. He had no idea what he was going to say to Spock. He was not even sure how he felt anymore. Then, as he left the turbo-lift and headed towards Spock's cabin, a quick flash of irritation coursed through him at his own indecision.
Kirk did not buzz the door, he overrode the entry lock and walked in ready to take the Vulcan to task. He was meant with a dim room that had been cleared of any evidence that somebody had ever lived there. Three small personal storage containers lined one wall.
Kirk looked around and saw Spock was sleeping atop his bed. Spock was a very light sleeper and Kirk was surpised that he had not woken up when he entered his cabin. Kirk gazed at the unusal sight of Spock curled up on his side, looking very young. Kirk sighed, Spock must be exhausted. Kirk suddenly felt exhausted himself and decided to just sit down and think.
He sat at Spock's desk and ended up staring at the rolling computer listings on one of Spock's terminals. Recognizing a familiar phase, he reached out a finger to stop the roll. What he was looking at were listings of hundreds of book titles. Most of it was human fiction.
Kirk loved to read and recognized many that were his favorites. His eye found one of his favorites from childhood, Carry on, Mr. Bowditch, which was the true story of a seventeenth century American boy, who dispite being indentured for nine years, educated himself and grew up to revolutionize navigation.
"Sailing by ash breeze" was a saying that Kirk had picked up from that book. Ash was the wood that had been used to make oar. The phase meant, when there was no wind to sail by, take up the orars and row and create your own. In life, there was no excuse to be "becalmed" or just sitting there because things weren't going your way. As a boy, Kirk had been inspired and encouraged by the story.
Kirk had no idea that Spock was such a reader. Kirk passed the next few minutes skimming the titles, many of which he was sure were not in the ship's library. Most were historical fiction, biographies and a few mysteries. There was a large number of junvenile titles. Wonderful books he remembered from his childhood.
Kirk glanced behind him at a noise and saw Spock sitting on his bed watching him. Spock could see over his shoulder to the listings he was looking at. "Spock, do you have the unabridged text for all of these?"
Spock had awoken suddenly at the sound of a chair scraping the deck. He had sat up and had been perplexed to see Captain Kirk sitting at his personal computer, apparently captivated by his 'book' collection, which had started with Captain Pike's reading lists. Captain Pike had started him with junvenile literature and then expanded his reading parameters from there. Spock had kept them all.
"Yes", Spock quietly answered.
Kirk turned around again at the short answer. Spock in the dim light looked weary, vulnerable and resigned. Spock's uniform was less than neat from sleeping in it and his hair was askew. A rare sight, indeed.
Kirk felt affection for this troublesome being rise and said softly, "Spock, no matter what, you should have come to me."
Spock shook his head slightly, "I could not. There was a possibility that Commodore Mendez would not bring charges against me. However, Commandore Mendez could never bring himself to allow a Starfleet Captain to blatantly disobey a standing directive. You would have lost your Command at the very least."
Kirk leaned toward Spock in his effort to make the Vulcan understand. "No Spock, if a thing is worth doing, it's worth the risk involved. I would have found a way to protect my Command. I would have found a way to protect us both. We're a command team and that can only work if it has a foundation of trust. We have to know each other.we have to be able to anticipate each other. You are more and .different that I thought you were."
Kirk sat up straight and chuckled disparagingly, "Did you know that I argued with Mendez? I defended you using the common knowledge that Vulcans can't lie. Well, I guess they can.at least you can."
Kirk looked away, "Spock, I don't know how to get back the trust I had for you. I'm afraid that when I need trust you the most, I won't be able to."
It had never really occurred to Spock that Kirk would even consider allowing Spock to stay once Spock had broken his trust. Yet here he was, struggling to find a way to get around the destruction Spock had caused.
Spock decided to offer Kirk what he had never offered to another. It was the only way he could think of the reassure Kirk of his loyallity. It would let Kirk determine if anything in his tattered character was worth reclaiming.
Spock got up from his bed and walked over to Kirk. He dragged a chair form his small table and sat next to kirk and bowed his head and started speaking in a soft voice. "You said you believed in the common misconception that Vulcans can not lie. We all can lie, if we choose. But that particular misconception is derived from the human translations of Vulcan texts. The texts deal with Vulcan mind melds. There can be no deception in a meld."
Spock paused and took a deep breath and then continued, "There are many levels of the meld. A surface meld, called Knuni is a meld between friends. It's purpose is to reinforce a friendship and to expand the knowledge of the each other's character. There is no information exchange. It is not deep enough to require a privacy shield. Humans have been involved in such melds before. There are no after affects with a meld at this level. I would offer it to you, if you allow it."
Spock raised his head and looked at Kirk for his answer. Kirk looked at Spock and searched his face. Spock was offering them a chance. "Do it."
Kirk closed his eyes and felt Spock's fingers spread across his face and then he heard Spock's voice. Both faded and Kirk realized they were together.
Not in the conventional way, but together. It was a sence of being. He knew all he needed to know about Spock in this one point in time. There was not overt emotion, no exchange of conscious thought, just being. There was no past, no future, just a complete sensation of Knowing. No real way to describe the experience in words. Kirk felt the separation and focused his eyes and was surprised to find that the meld had only taken a couple of minutes.
Kirk had an implicit understanding that the experiences of a mind meld were not to be discussed. Kirk felt at peace and perfectly comfortable with Spock. It was like being with an old trusted friend he had known for years.
Spock got up and went over to the auto-serve and got them each a cup of coffee. Kirk grinned, "Have you finally acquired a taste for coffee, Spock?"
"Yes, most of the sellers I bought from insisted that I "taste test" their product. By the time I was finished buying.don't tell Dr. McCoy. I would like to deprive the doctor of the enjoyment he would reap at my expense."
Kirk chuckled, "All this time, McCoy and I have had an extra cup of coffee every day on you, or so we thought." Kirk sobered slightly and added, "You know, McCoy came to see me, Spock. He said I better find a way to keep you around."
Spock's eyes widened in surprise, "Indeed, He must realize that his life would be somewhat dull without my existence int it."
Kirk laughed and turned back to the commputer terminal with the book titles. "Spock, have you ever owned a real book? One with a hard cover and the pages bound inside? I have a hardcover copy of that one, Carry on, Mr. Bowditch. It was one of my all time favorites as a kid. Spock, tell me about your books. Tell me how you ever compiled such a library.
As the hours passed into ship's night, Spock did.