Fandom: Star Trek XI
Word count: ~6,800
Summary: Spock Prime has found ways to keep himself occupied; the universe doesn't know what hit it.
Notes: Can be found at the end.
From: Captain James Kirk
To: Ambassador Spock
How's it going these days, Spock?
I heard you're leaving New Vulcan on some sort of trip, though everyone is refusing to tell me why. It's not some weird Vulcan thing I'm not supposed to know anything about, right?
Anyway, your younger self still doesn't seem to like me very much. On the bridge the other day, he said that he was not sure being compared to me was as much of a compliment as I seemed to think it was. I'm pretty sure that was an insult of some sort, but he'd deny it in a second. And here I thought Vulcans weren't supposed to be able to lie. (Also, I'm still kinda pissed at you for misleading me about that universe-destroying thing that didn't actually destroy the universe. I had bruises from that incident for days.)
Command decided to put us on milk runs ever since that diplomatic incident on Andoria. I'm sure you've heard about it by now. I will say that the newspapers are totally lying about everything, and that the only reason it became a big deal was because of Chekov and his ---
Christopher Pike was not the sort of Starfleet officer who enjoyed too much rest and relaxation. When he spent too long planetside, he tended to get antsy. But right now, he was on medical leave for the time being and that meant staying on Earth until Starfleet Medical released him.
Still, he couldn't complain about the accommodations. It was a hot, breezy day, the sun beating down hard. The sand on the beach was silky and white, and the waves lapped gently against the shore. His chair was soft and cushioned. The palm trees swaying in the wind provided cool shade. The company wasn't so shabby, either.
"I am sorry we didn't manage to serve together very long," Chris said, taking a sip of his Mai-Tai, careful not to let the umbrella poke him in the eye.
His companion held an identical drink, umbrella and all, which would have looked fairly comical if he hadn't seemed so at ease. The old Vulcan's eyes crinkled, though he didn't smile. "I regret that my younger self did not have that opportunity as well. Those eleven years were quite a formative experience for myself." Spock had told him a few stories of that time, like Talos IV, like Colony 3, like Rigel VII, and Chris wondered what it would have been like to have those years back again. He'd never know, now.
For Spock, it must be like that, that hint of maybe, except a hundred times worse because he'd lived it. It had been his entire life. "I sometimes have trouble comprehending how much you've lost," Chris admitted. "I hope you don't resent us for that." There's so much this man knows, so many years of things that will never happen or will happen differently or will take years and years to happen. Chris sometimes wonders how the other-him died, because he must have in Spock's lifespan. But Chris knows better than to tempt fate.
Spock took a sip of his drink and said, "It would be highly illogical to feel that way, Admiral. Do not worry for me, old friend. I am still young yet, and there is still much left for me to do." The sun highlighted the gray of his hair, the wrinkles on his face. His hands were folded neatly in his lap, but his eyes were as bright as those of a young, talented Vulcan science officer Chris had met once.
Chris grinned, feeling warmed up from the inside out, because he believed that cagey old bastard, after all. He really, truly did.
--- why Starfleet Command always includes a section on proper behavior for greeting new civilizations when they send orders to us, when they don't do that for any other starships. Did they do that back in your day?
I think Spock (other Spock) and I are doing better these days. Your advice about the chess was dead on, though he gets pretty grumpy when I beat him. That's okay, right? Even when I gloat? Sometimes I get the impression that he's planning to throw me out of an airlock, but I'm finding it really hard to tell. At least with Uhura and Bones, it's really obvious when they want to throw me out an airlock.
Speaking of Bones, did you two ever manage to get along? Because your constant bickering ---
It was a Wednesday, Irina Belov recalled, when she received the top secret message from the newly founded Department of Temporal Investigations. They informed her, as Director of the Bureau on Planetary Marine Wildlife, that she was authorized to send a team back to the twentieth century to retrieve a pair of humpback whales on the advisement of a trusted, anonymous source.
She prepared a team at once.
--- eating these weird things the Kevorians like on their pizza.
I really hate the food at official state dinners. You would think they would put out their best food for these things, but it's always either bland or disgusting. Keenser said something to me about how I'm being speciesist, because not everyone has the same taste buds, but that just ended up as a long argument with Scotty about the food on Starfleet outposts. I'm pretty sure Keenser's wrong, though. My future best friend is a Vulcan. That means I can't be speciesist, right? I don't have anything against Orions or Andorians or those slug things we found on Alpha Gildon VI or anything like that.
Anyway, Spock's still resisting the whole 'future best friends' thing, even when I know ---
Sarek frowned. "And you said your captain was the one who taught you how to do this?" he asked. A large drop of rain landed on his cheek and slid down his face. It was hard not to feel as though it was a waste of water. Even with his time on Earth, he still had trouble becoming accustomed to the rain, the feel of water falling from the sky.
The first thing Sarek had noticed about the rain forests of Beta Jaris VII was that they were loud in comparison with the quiet expanse of the desert, filled with sound of buzzing insectoids, chirping reptiles, humming plants, the falling rain. The second thing that Sarek had noticed was that they were very wet. His hair was dripping water down his back, an unusual sensation to say the least.
Spock, the elder, was pitching the tent, setting it up with obvious familiarity. His movements were smooth and confident. "Dr. McCoy had a hand in my education as well," he said. "We spent many shore leaves on planets with similar climates to this one. He and the captain had a fondness for the solitude the jungle provided."
Sarek was not entirely sure of his reasons for agreeing to this "camping trip," and he was finding his uncertainty somewhat unsettling. He had accepted this son as his own, but it was always difficult to know the proper ways to address him both as an elder Vulcan and as his son. As a result, Sarek had reduced their interactions to the bare minimum during the initial phases of their rebuilding of their culture. Perhaps this trip was his own attempt to rectify that lack. "What else does this activity consist of?" he asked.
"Dr. McCoy and Captain Kirk were always very fond of a particular delicacy know as s'mores. Though it is possible to make them with any type of heat source, my friends were most insistent that a campfire was the only proper way of preparing s'mores," Spock said as he began to dry the ground underneath the tent with the portable moisture extractor.
Sarek could not see the logic in that statement, but he been an Ambassador to Earth long enough to accept the illogic of other species. "Very well," he said and began to assist Spock in the process of collecting and drying wood.
The tent they were using was specifically designed for the purpose of allowing campfires, a hole in the ceiling carefully arranged to allow smoke to escape and prevent rain from entering. As they melted the marshmallows and chocolate, Sarek asked, "Did you often share experiences like this one with your father?" He thought of his own son, who he has barely spoken to in the last six years. He could only hope that another Sarek in another time, another place, had fared better.
Spock was far more proficient at constructing his s'more, as his marshmallow and chocolate, while melted, remained between the two pieces of graham cracker. Sarek's own attempt was looking more like a large, gooey mass of sugar. "No," Spock said. "We found ourselves disagreeing too much and too often." He handed his completed s'more to Sarek, though it was, somewhat distastefully, beginning to drip all over Spock's fingers. Spock continued with a familiar tilt of his head, "However, I am sharing this experience with you."
The s'more was sweet, crunchy, and just a bit chewy, despite all the mess. That night, Sarek fell asleep next to his son underneath the buzzing of the insectoids, the chirping of the reptiles, the humming of the plants, and the falling rain, the sound of it steady and constant against the fabric of the tent.
--- and the thing with the hair. And the toenails. Though I don't see what's wrong with that.
Bones has been on at me about space STDs lately. He's always been extra grumpy about the women I sleep with, but right now he's just being annoying about it. So what if she turned out to be from a race where the women kill the men they sleep with after sex? Everything turned out okay in the end. And besides, praying mantises do it too. I think Bones is just jealous. He's probably still smarting from the divorce, even though that was what, five years ago? Clearly, he has too much free time. It's not like every woman I've ever slept with is trying to kill me.
If you're in touch with your counterpart these days, he's still totally lying about the number of 'sexual encounters' I've been having. I know he insists that he's doing it for my well-being, but I suspect ulterior motives. I will keep you informed if I wake in the middle of a cargo bay in just my underwear or if Uhura suddenly knows about that one time I was staring at her ass on the bridge.
Neither of those things are entirely ---
Janice Lester liked to have coffee by the water after her class at the Vantoran House of Learning. Her thesis was going well enough at the moment, and her time here was proving invaluable. ("Archaeology is not about books!" her advisor at Berkley had said. "It's about being amongst the ruins, getting your hands dirty!" Janice's advisor tended to talk in clichés when speaking in Standard, but that was part of what Janice liked about her.)
The main city of Vantor, Tavoria, was a little like Earth's Venice, built on top of the water with canals moving between the buildings and side-streets. In the sea right next to the city, though, ruins lay beneath the surface, recently discovered and just waiting to be explored. It was hardly the worst place to study archaeology.
Janice's favorite outdoor coffee shop tended to serve a mishmash of clientele of all different species, mostly foreign students like Janice herself, but some other travelers and tourists as well. Tavoria was a real spaceport/tourist trap. Today was no different, and Janice passed by a few Tellarites, an Orion, and a couple other humans on the way to her usual table, a two seater that was right next to the canal and had an amazing view of the deep blue water of the bay.
She ordered an Earth-style cappuccino, which she then almost immediately spilled all over a passing Vulcan elder while she was distracted by her notes. "Sorry, sorry," she said, trying not to stare. You didn't see many Vulcans these days.
"Apologies are not necessary," he said. "Would it offend you if I asked to join you here?"
Janice shook her head. "No, no, please." She gestured to the empty chair opposite hers.
"I noticed you were studying archeology as I passed by," the Vulcan said, placing his own glass of Altairian spring water on the table. "Are you doing work on the ruins?"
Janice looked down at her padd, which was currently displaying a paper on traditional Vantoran architecture. "Yes, I am," she said, sighing.
"You do not sound very enthusiastic about the prospect," he said, which surprised her. Vulcans weren't supposed to understand emotions, right? She watched as her companion pulled a square piece of paper out of the origami dish. Vantor had undergone something of an origami fad recently, and now most restaurants had dishes filled with folding papers at their tables.
"No," she said, feeling honest for the first time in a while. "I'm not. Archaeology was always my second choice." She bit her lip and stared at her hands and remembered the first time she saw a starship, huge and looming and magnificent in spacedock. "When I was younger, I wanted to be a starship captain. Silly, right? And then I grew up and learned how impossible it was simply because I didn't have the right chromosomes." She learned these things from her father when he gently pushed her towards the sciences, from the raised eyebrows from teachers when she asked them for recommendations for the Academy, from the rows and rows of men's faces without a single woman's in sight, from the boys who would sneer at her when she spent an extra hour in target practice, from the heavy weight deep in her chest. It just wasn't worth it in the end. Nothing was.
As she was speaking, the Vulcan neatly folded a perfect paper crane, with crisp creases and outstretched wings.
Janice stared, admiring the simple beauty of it, feeling some of the frustration drain out of her. "It's lovely. I didn't know Vulcans knew origami."
"You tend to accumulate knowledge over the years. An old friend of mine, Pavel Chekov, taught me this." He held out the crane for her, and Janice took it. "Another thing I have learned in my time is that many things are only impossible until they are not any longer." He glanced around, as if absorbing the sighs of the beautiful, squat, Vantoran buildings, the central tower of the city rising in the distance. "This city is much as I remember, but I wish to see it once again. I thank you for your company."
They exchanged farewells, and the Vulcan went on his way. For Janice, it shouldn't have been a strange encounter, but she found herself turning the crane over in her hands -- turning his words over in her mind -- long after he had left.
--- lesson is apparently to not touch strange, unknown vines. I need to give a lecture on that next week. The thing is, I suck at giving lectures. Spock was actually an instructor at the Academy, and he's refusing to do it on some bullshit excuse about responsibility and the chain of command.
Still, he's been giving me lots of advice about what not to do when giving a lecture. He sometimes even voluntarily spends time with me outside of the chess games, too. I think part of that might be that I've promised to stop making fun of his food when we have lunch together. But that was only that one comment that one time, so it wasn't a thing or anything like that. I just think his food is cool-looking. That's not weird or anything, right?
We do have orders to pick you up from Janus VI in a few days. Starfleet was pretty adamant about not ---
Montgomery Scott glanced at his hand. Two kings (clubs and hearts), the two of clubs, the five of spades, the seven of diamonds. Not bad, all things considered. He tossed three Saurian hard candies into the pot. "I'll call," he said.
McCoy, who was to his right, grumbled a bit in a way that might just be him being McCoy or might be a bad hand. Scotty was betting on the former, knowing McCoy. Keenser chirped, letting Sulu know he should hurry up. Sulu frowned at his cards in a way that looked like he was trying not to be obvious about frowning, which was just his shite poker face. Probably nothing good, then. He called as well.
Those were the regulars of the Thursday night poker games, though they did have a fifth for this week. They frequently had fifths go in and out. The captain showed up when he could be bothered. Chekov was banned after he started winning all the time. Uhura hated poker. Commander Spock was quite crap at the game and stopped coming. He tended to find the whole psychological aspect of poker quite tedious, and even though he could probably hide whatever the hell he wanted from the other players, he would simply tell people what his cards were when asked.
This Spock (Ambassador Spock, if you were feeling formal about it), on the other hand, was an unknown factor. Scotty would have to keep an eye out for him. "I will raise," Spock said, pushing in a bar of Betazoid chocolate, his expression serenely Vulcan.
McCoy let out a low whistle. "Are you sure you want to do that?" he asked.
"One is never certain about anything in life," Spock said, cocking an eyebrow, "but in this I am reasonably confident."
Keenser called the chocolate with two bags of Altairian sour stems. McCoy folded, saying that this game was getting too rich for his taste. Of course, the real motivation for that move was McCoy's notorious sweet tooth; he was loathe to give up anything when they were more than four days out from the nearest starbase.
Scotty looked as his pair of kings, looked at his pile of loot, and thought, What the hell. He tossed in twelve Saurian candies. "I'm raising," he said.
Spock gave him a curious look and raised by a pudding cup. That was much too high for either Sulu and Keenser, who both folded, leaving just the two of them, Scotty and Spock, facing off. It was somewhat tense, Scotty had to admit. He had been bluffing since his brother had taught him to play poker at the age of ten, but Spock could give him a run for his money. He glanced at Spock, whose face still betrayed nothing, then glanced at his measly two kings. In the end, he threw his cards down. "I fold, too," he said.
"Perhaps the wisest course of action," Spock said, as he collected the pot. There may have been a vague hint of smug satisfaction to his features, but it was hard to tell.
As Keenser dealt the next hand, Scotty leaned in towards Spock. "So tell me, that last hand, what did you really have?"
Spock raised an eyebrow, his lips twitching slightly. "I would find it highly illogical to divulge such information to an opponent," he said. "Especially now, when I am in the lead. Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Scott?"
Scotty found himself laughing, a good deep belly laugh that he hadn't had in a while. "Fair enough, Mr. Spock," he said. "Fair enough."
--- believe Bones and you (okay, other you) actually ganged up on me this time. You (other you) claimed it was "most illogical to disregard the advice of your personal physician," and swore it was only for my own good. You guys never agree on anything. I'm actually a little disturbed by the possibility that the two of you could ever get along for more than five minutes at a time.
There was this one time a few days ago where you guys wouldn't stop taking shots at each other about whether or not you (other you) actually ever showed emotion, until I basically had to ban Bones from the bridge, and Sulu was secretly laughing at me from his console. I could tell. I think he does that a lot. He's also been refusing to share any of his peanut butter cups with me, even though I'm his superior officer. What the hell do I have to do to get some respect around here?
I mean, okay, so maybe there was that thing with the tube of toothpaste and the Deltan ambassador ---
When Bela Okmyx heard that there was a Fed in Jandra's Diner just down the block, he was sure it was his lucky day. After all, the Horizon, which had crashed on their planet quite a few years ago, had been quite the treasure trove, and more Feds meant more heaters, and guns were no match for heaters. It was quite an opportunity, and Bela Okmyx was a big fan of opportunities, if you knew what he meant. He hadn't become boss by missing out on them, that was for sure.
So he gathered up a few of his men and headed down to Jandra's. ("He's refusing to come back to our place," Mak had said, "but he's the one with the ears. You can't miss him." Bela had replied, "What the hell do you mean by that? Everybody's got ears," but Mak had already hung up, probably because Krako was trying another hit.)
When Bela arrived at the diner though, he could see what Mak meant by the ears. They were pointed and kinda funny looking, obviously out of place. With a hat on, they'd be less noticeable, but seeing as his hat was sitting on the counter, right next to a slice of sundip fruit pie, the ears stuck out like a sore thumb. The Fed was a lot older than Bela expected, gray and wrinkled and almost frail-looking. But he was dressed real nice, too, in a sharp set of pinstripes.
Bela nodded his boys over to counter, and he took the stool next to the Fed's. The Fed didn't look up at them, even with Beeny's gun in his face. "So you're the Fed, huh?" Bela asked. He wasn't really pleased to have to do this himself, but sometimes when you needed something done, you needed to do it yourself.
The Fed turned his head just far enough to look Bela in the eye. "I am the representative from the Federation, yes." He lifted a forkful of pie to his mouth.
"We've got business to discuss then," Bela said. "I'm Bela Okmyx, the boss around these parts. You better come come with me." Beeny cocked his gun, just to make sure the Fed got the picture.
Sal, the waitress behind the counter, rolled her eyes and whacked Bela in the arm with with a towel. "Let the man finish his pie, for crying out loud."
Bela ignored her. The only reason she was getting away with that was because he'd spent every weekend in this diner when he was growing up, sitting at this counter while Sal would sneak him a couple cookies for free. The Fed said, "I know what your 'business' is, Mr. Okmyx, and you will not accomplish it by shooting me." He took a sip of his water and turned back to his pie.
It looked as though Bela had a real tough guy on his hands, and if there was one thing that annoyed Bela more than anything else in the world, it was a tough guy. "Well, it wouldn't be any any skin off my back if you were to lose a few limbs, if you know what I mean."
The Fed didn't even flinch. "My own 'business' here involves all of the 'bosses' of this planet, not just you. The Federation will not provide any of you with 'heaters' as you call them, and I would very much like to finish consuming this slice of pie."
That was the end of the line for Bela. He was boss around here. He didn't need to take that shit from nobody. "Why we oughta--" He stood up quickly, ready to order his boys to shoot, when the Fed's hand came up and pushed Bela back onto the stool. For an old guy, he was pretty damn strong.
"I find it highly illogical to make unsubstantiated threats, Mr. Okmyx," he said. "Perhaps you would like a slice of pie as well." There was steel in his voice, and Bela found himself inclined to agree. Maybe he shouldn't cross this guy after all. Maybe he should just wait it out, hear what the guy had to say. The Fed called Sal over again, who smiled at him like he was one of her boys, though he had to have at least ten years on her. "A slice of that sundip pie for Mr. Okmyx, please. It really is quite good. My compliments to the chef."
--- were real nice. Most of the time when we find a new planet, something is usually trying to kill us, but this time, everything went smoothly. There was a buffet, and there were even a few vegetarian options for Spock. The only real bummer was when I stubbed my toe on the steps of the really old and significant temple. It hurt like a bitch all night, and Bones refused to give me any painkillers because he's a mean, sadistic bastard. He did give me a coldpack, though, so I guess I won't curse his name from now until the day I die.
The leader seemed really interested in the Federation, which is good because Spock tells me this planet's got some amazing cerium deposits, and he almost actually looked excited about that. I've become better at reading the facial twitches that almost count as expressions for him, but it's still pretty hard to ---
The Guardian of Forever was waiting when the Vulcan named Spock arrived. It had been waiting since before the Vulcan people developed speech, since before the Vulcan sun scorched the Vulcan earth. It would wait again.
"Guardian," Spock said as he approached from the fog that covered this region of the planet. "May I ask a question?" He pulled his robes aside as he sat down on what used to be a column when it was part of a grand building, a place of study and research far beyond what this Vulcan could ever conceive of.
"I HAVE LONG AWAITED A QUESTION," the Guardian said, because it was the truth.
Spock said, "I was aware of that fact. I have met you before in another time. Tell me, what is your opinion on alternate timelines?" He folded his hands into the sleeves of his robe.
It was a foolish question, but not a surprising one. "I BELONG TO ALL TIMELINES. I SEE ALL FUTURES AND ALL PASTS. I TOUCH ALL POINTS OF TIME," the Guardian said.
"Thank you. I must admit I had been curious about the extent of your powers." Spock bent forward from his bipedal torso, readjusting his position on the stone. "I doubt you would understand the concept of regret then."
"NO, THAT PRIMITIVE EMOTION IS UNFAMILIAR TO ME."
Spock watched the Guardian as if he were capable of comprehending it with his limited eyes. "It is the emotion one feels when they could have taken a different, better path and did not." His entire body sagged, as if a great weight had been placed on his shoulders. "I am old for my people, and while that may seem insignificant to you, I have lived a full life. I cannot say that I feel regret in this moment, but I look at you, and I do wonder what could have been."
"I AM ALL PATHS," the Guardian said. It did not feel emotions in the way these creatures did, immediate and fleeting, but gazing (though that word did not truly describe what it was doing) at this Vulcan, it felt what could almost be akin to empathy. "IT IS WITHIN MY POWER TO RETURN YOU TO YOUR OWN TIMELINE. IT IS WITHIN MY POWER TO RETURN YOU TO WHICHEVER TIMELINE YOU CHOOSE."
Spock closed his eyes, as if he were considering the offer, but then he declined with a wave of his hand and stood up, taller and straighter than before. He opened his eyes. "That will not be necessary. I thank you for your kind offer, Guardian, but I must be on my way." He held up his hand in a Vulcan salute. The Guardian knew the entire history of the salute, from when it was no more than a concept, an idea waiting to be born. The Guardian knew every variation of that salute across an infinite number of universes. "Though you do not need it," Spock said, "I wish you peace and long life."
He disappeared once again into the fog, and the Guardian once again resumed its waiting.
--- slapped in the face. It hurt, too.
Uhura pulled me aside to give me the whole explanation for why he did that, but it was long and complicated. Really long and complicated. So long and complicated, in fact, that I've forgotten the details already. Don't tell Uhura that, though. I already forgot her birthday this week, and she's already plotting my untimely demise. Again. I think she's been doing that a lot (especially after that one time I managed to run into a Klingon battle cruiser after she had already pulled a twenty hour shift), but Spock insists that she would never follow through on any of her plans. And Spock really sucks at giving out false comfort (believe me, I know), so he's probably right about that.
My mom sent me some interesting articles recently about ---
Nyota Uhura usually read her daily messages in Rec Room 2, where she could be surrounded by the low murmur of voices, so different from the silence of her quarters, the tense, sharp commands of the bridge. The rec rooms lived up to their name as a nice, comfortable place to kick back, relax, chat with a few friends, and Nyota found herself spending more of her off time there. The acoustics were particularly lovely when the rooms were less crowded, too.
Today, she had a few messages from her parents, who were planning a trip to Beta Antares IV; a long letter from her sister, who had just started the first year of her engineering program at the University of Tokyo; and some quick updates from her old friends from secondary school. She was reading them over, smiling at one of her sister's stories, when Chekov and Sulu sat down next to her.
"You don't mind, do you?" Sulu asked. He was holding a pack of playing cards. "All the other tables are taken." And they were.
Nyota smiled at them and shook her head. "No, it's fine."
She half-listened as Sulu taught Chekov a few card tricks, showing him the basics of the Spelling Bee and the Gambler's Palm, and half-read about her parents' current packing fiasco. She was surprised to see a message from Spock in her inbox. It was presumably from the alternate Spock, since this Spock, her Spock, saw her at least once per day.
The message was written partially in Vulcan and partially in Romulan, which was a little intriguing. It began:
Lieutenant Uhura -
It has come to my attention that you celebrated your birthday last week. As you may know, I spent many years on Romulus, and during my time there, I learned a great number of jokes. I believe that you, as a linguist, will find them particularly enjoyable.
After Nyota read the first, she burst out laughing, unable to stop herself, which got her a few curious looks from the people around her.
"What is it?" Chekov asked, still holding his cards in an exaggerated fan.
Nyota was having a little trouble breathing. "Romulan humor," she said between giggles. "It's surprisingly funny."
"I'd like to hear it if you're up for it," Sulu said, leaning forward. It was well known amongst the crew that he had been collecting off-color jokes from different cultures. He told a mean English limerick and could do a perfect re-enactment of a famous Rowidian slapstick-humor routine.
Nyota shook her head. "It doesn't translate very well, unfortunately." The pun was somewhat complex, involving the subtle shades of meaning across at least two dialects.
Spock, her Spock, had arrived at the door of the rec room right about then. He didn't like the rec rooms very much, but he would always show up at the end of his shift to visit her. As soon as he spotted them, he approached their table as soon. "May I inquire as to what you have found to be so amusing?" he said as he sat down in one of the empty chairs. He almost looked curious.
Nyota repeated the joke in the original Romulan, knowing full well that he could understand it.
Spock flushed a slight green in a mixture of annoyance and embarrassment. "I fail to see what is so humorous about comparing logic to that particular sexual act in such a manner," he said stiffly.
That set off Nyota's giggles again, her sides aching as she doubled over, and this time, Sulu and Chekov joined in.
--- give the best presents ever. I told one of the jokes to Spock on the bridge, and he said my pronunciation was atrocious. Also, that I shouldn't bother giving up my day job because my skills as a comedian "were meager at best." Still, it's usually pretty tough to get even that much out of him, so that was pretty cool. He's been nicer to me since that one time I caught the Denebian flu. Did you have anything to do with that? I think he was feeling so sorry for me he let me win at chess for a couple days straight, and that's just ---
T'Pau held the wooden paddle up to her face. Wood was a somewhat unusual import, even now, as the sands of New Vulcan were not kind to the material. "And what am I to do with this?" she asked.
Spock, who was standing opposite her, bounced a small, plastic ball against the painted green wood of the table. "You must use the paddle to propel the ball over the net, like so." He swung the paddle such that it connected with the plastic ball in mid-air. The ball bounced on T'Pau's portion of the table and then proceeded to land on the floor.
"I find it highly doubtful that humans truly enjoy this activity," T'Pau said. In truth, her real motivation for agreeing to his offer was to observe this other Spock. The younger one she knew well, but much of this one was a mystery to her and the rest of the Council. They did not doubt his commitment or conviction, but he had refused to tell them much of his story, citing his need for privacy which all Vulcans must respect.
Spock betrayed a hint of a smile. How easily this one revealed his emotions! Though his behavior was above reproach, there was something uncannily human about himself that he did not attempt to hide. The younger Spock had always been so meticulous in eliminating any sign of his human heritage. "You must return the serve," this Spock said. "And though you may not yet find it enjoyable, is it not important to fully understand the rules before passing judgment? To do so without possessing all the facts would be highly illogical." He retrieved the ball from the floor.
T'Pau could not find fault with his reasoning. "Very well. Let us continue."
Spock served again, and this time, T'Pau dutifully returned the serve. This continued for a few minutes before Spock mistimed one of T'Pau's harder hits, and the ball landed on the floor again.
"I still do not understand the purpose of this game," T'Pau said, but then again, she found most Terran games to be quite pointless and illogical.
Spock straightened and placed his paddle flat against the table. "That is understandable. As many Terrans might say, it is the sort of thing that must 'grow on you' before enjoyment can truly be reached. Shall we play another set? Or do you wish to retire?" He held out a hand to her.
"Yes, I wish to retire," T'Pau said, allowing him to assist her. "Perhaps we shall continue the lesson at a later point." It was not an altogether bad game, she had to admit. Perhaps fondness would come with greater exposure.
Spock tilted his head to the side. "I would enjoy that very much," he said and led her back to her rooms.
--- walked into a door, even though they're supposed to open automatically. Scotty said he double-checked the circuits and that there was nothing wrong with them. Spock said that equipment on a starship was not immune to malfunction, though it was rare. Bones said that I should watch where I'm going. Sulu said that the security footage of the incident had already been distributed across the entire ship's subnet. Uhura said she had no idea how that could possibly have happened. Sometimes, I swear, I hate them all.
We're making a stop by New Vulcan sometime next week, and you'll be there, right? Your last message implied that you were back and living it up with the Council. Something about decisions that needed to be made regarding the new Science Academy? We should hang.
Spock says he has some things to discuss with with you as well. I don't know for sure, but I think he's not as adverse to this future best friends thing as he used to be.
Overall, Jim Kirk thought the Vulcans could have done a lot worse than New Vulcan. Sure, for humans the gravity was too high, and the air was was too thin, but the mountains were pretty, and the surviving Vulcans seemed to like it. That was good enough for Jim.
Upon their arrival at the planet, Sarek had informed them that there was going to be a social gathering at his make-shift apartment and that all of the senior staff was invited. Jim was pretty sure "social gathering" was really a euphemism for "party," just without all those scary emotional implications, like "fun." Vulcans were like that. Some days it scared Jim to realize that Spock was downright relaxed when it came to the rest of his people, and that the stick up Spock's ass was just a cultural thing.
Still, Sarek could throw a pretty mean social gathering. The food was surprisingly tasty, and despite the way some discussions sounded like they were coming from a bunch of talking robots, it was overall an improvement over the fistfights that would break out when you were at a party hosted by Tellarites. Despite what Bones said, Jim did not, in fact, enjoy getting his ribs broken.
Commander Spock was, at the moment, sticking out his stiff upper lip as he tried to have a civil conversation with his father in the far corner. Uhura was getting into a deep discussion about the proper ways to translate Tamarian. Sulu and Chekov were boring some older Vulcans with their card tricks.
And Ambassador Spock was quietly conversing with a Vulcan woman about as old as he was, which was pretty old. Jim hadn't had the opportunity to talk with him in a while, so he wandered over to where they were standing. The woman fixed him with a cool look, which probably would have freaked Jim out a lot more if he wasn't so used to Spock giving him same look across the bridge when he thought Jim had done something particularly stupid.
Old Spock said to her, "We will speak later, T'Pol, " and bowed his head as a sign of respect.
"Yes, we still have much to discuss regarding the biology curriculum," she said, bowing her head as well as she left.
"Jim," Spock said, "it pleases me that you are here. I have enjoyed our correspondence, such as it is." His voice was warm and deep, thick with emotion in a way that the younger Spock's wasn't, which was kind of cool and kind of strange. The whole echo effect of recognizing bits and pieces of the younger Spock in the older one and the bits and pieces of the older one in the younger Spock was pretty crazy, too. Interesting and unsettling at the same time.
Jim grinned. "It's good to see you again, too. How have you been? I hope the other Vulcans haven't been boring you to death."
It was a little startling to see, but Spock's lips curled into a slow, sly smile, something Jim wasn't even sure Vulcans could do (the younger Spock sure as hell didn't). "I have managed to find ways to keep myself occupied," the older Spock said. He led Jim back towards the food (which Jim wholeheartedly approved of) and arched an weirdly familiar eyebrow. "Come, tell me more about this incident with the door--"
End Notes: I had way too much fun writing this. The working summary for this fic was, "Spock Prime wanders the Reboot-verse performing RASB (random acts of senseless badassery)," but in the end, the badassery was a lot less random (okay, okay, arbitrary for all you math nerds out there) than I originally thought it would be. So that got changed.
So much love goes out to my betas, roga and M, for their hard work. And zulu helped me brainstorm and plot this out on top of betaing. If you found something funny, it was probably her idea in the first place.
Apologies to Tolkien for the title.