Fandom: Star Trek XI
Pairing: Spock Prime/Kirk
Word count: 1760
Summary: This new planet is not Vulcan. The mountain caves have not been mapped, and the wide deserts have not been crossed.
Notes: For yahtzee63's Journey To Drabble Challenge and the prompt 'Spock Prime and Kirk, clarification'. Many thanks to zulu for audiencing.
Spock wakes as his chronometer chimes at 0700 hours, ship time. He does not require its assistance, but he finds the sound soothing. A hundred years in the future, that exact same tone is still used on most standard chronometers. Spock has become accustomed to its familiarity.
In truth, he has become too used to all the amenities of the future. He finds the equipment too heavy, too bulky, too limited, but he has used them before, and he will use them again. The temperature of Starfleet vessels during this time was always set a few degrees too low to be truly comfortable for Vulcan physiology. There were not many Vulcans who preferred Starfleet over responsibilities on Vulcan itself.
But Vulcan itself is gone now. He is readjusting to his new life in increments.
The floor tiles are cold beneath his feet. This Starfleet vessel was given to the Vulcan Council until further arrangements could be made. It is hardly the size of the Enterprise, but it is sufficient for their needs. Outside his viewport, he can see the blackness of space, dotted with the pinprick light of stars. To study the stars is to study one's own insignificance, but Spock has travelled to them, touched the ground of unfamiliar planets, met strange new alien life. He does not regret the choice he made to defy his father's wishes and join Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Science Academy. He could never regret that choice.
He dresses in his ambassador's robes. The Vulcan Council will be meeting at 0800 hours to discuss future plans, and Spock will be in attendance. As he steps out of his room, the doors slide open as easily as they always have.
The Council chambers are not more than a converted briefing room, but it would be wrong to think of the place as more important than the members of the Council themselves. Spock raises his hand in greeting as he arrives. They do likewise. He is accepted here. They all have touched his mind and seen the the truth in his story, and they all understand that his insight would be invaluable. Interactions like this are much easier amongst Vulcans than they are amongst humans.
Sarek is the last to arrive. Though his face is calm and emotionless as is respectable, Spock recognizes the lines along his eyes and mouth. In a different world, a different timeline, Spock's mother died when it was her time, when she had grown old and happy and experienced. She had a chance to say goodbye to Spock before she had closed her eyes and drifted off to a peaceful sleep, never to awaken. This Spock, this Sarek, never hand that luxury.
But even that loss is small compared to what they all have lost, together, as a people. It is not illogical, Spock thinks, to feel sorrow at the destruction of Vulcan. His younger self might object, of course, but his younger self was not yet proficient at finding a balance between his human emotions and his Vulcan training. Spock remembers those days very well, though the amongst the most memorable were the long, tense arguments with his father about the nature of duty and where his abilities would be put to the best possible use. He had been angry and discontent and unable to recognize his own emotions in the matter until much later.
"Father," Spock says as Sarek approaches, raising his hand in greeting.
"Son," his father responds.
He mimics Spock's gesture. They are family after all.
During the meeting, the Council discusses a recently discovered, uninhabited class M planet that greatly resembles Vulcan. The planets are not identical -- for instance, the gravity of this new planet is somewhat lower than that of Vulcan and the make up of its atmosphere contains slightly more oxygen -- but the temperatures and weather patterns were of the appropriate types and the planet's surface was covered in large, red deserts, dotted by mountain ranges. It was the ideal planet for a Vulcan settlement, and by the end of the meeting it was decided. A new colony of the surviving Vulcans would be founded on the planet, and they would name it Vulcan Vatorvaen: Vulcan Rebuilt, Vulcan Reborn.
There is much work to be done, and Spock occupies himself with it. He is tasked with cultural restoration and general organization with a small staff to assist him in his duties.
He records what he knows on the data chips: the ancient poems he memorized as a child and taught to young Romulan children as a much older man; the textbooks from which he learned mathematics, physics, biology; the family traditions passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. And yet, he keeps many things to himself. He knows stories this planet will never tell. He has met Vulcans who will never be born.
This new planet is not Vulcan. Ancestral grounds must be rebuilt. Schools must be re-founded. They must adjust their means of water gathering for the new and unfamiliar terrain and atmosphere. The mountain caves have not been mapped, and the wide deserts have not been crossed.
Vulcan had always been Spock's home. No matter how far he traveled into the deepest reaches of time and space, he always had one place to which he could always return. This new planet, different and strange, must be his home now. He must make it his home.
The young Jim Kirk visits him while the Enterprise is in orbit around New Vulcan (the official Standard name of the planet). In the doorway of Spock's temporary apartment, his hair is a dull gold and his face is smooth and he seems uncertain in Spock's presence. It still surprises Spock to see him so young and untempered. It may be years before he becomes completely recognizable in Spock's eyes.
"Captain," Spock says, letting him inside, "I was not expecting you."
Jim shrugs, hesitant in a way that Spock has never associated with him. "Spock and Uhura are visiting Ambassador Sarek. I didn't--"
Spock says, "One does not need an excuse to visit old friends."
A quick grin flashes across Jim's face. His eyes are curious, and the familiarity of the expression evokes in Spock memories of strange obelisks in forests and foreign cities in the distance, though this time, Spock himself is the object to be studied and dissected. "He's nothing like you," Jim says.
It is a youthful claim, one that indicates he does not fully understand how deep Vulcan emotions can run. "Not yet," Spock reminds him. It had taken the Jim Kirk he knew years to learn the full truth of it.
The Jim in front of him fidgets, indicating that they are coming close to the true reason behind this visit. He paces the room, toying with the few possessions Spock has. "Before--" Jim says, sliding his fingers along a chair, "I thought I saw inside your head-- What was he to you?"
It is an honest question, and Spock gives an honest answer. "He was my closest friend."
There must have been something in Spock's expression, because Jim becomes as relentless as he always was. "Were you more than that, though?" he asks. His pacing brings him close to where Spock is standing, and he leans in close to brush his lips against Spock's cheek. The touch is soft and painfully familiar.
Spock does not move away. "It is not my place to cast a shadow over your lives. My role here is to merely correct my own mistakes." He is but an echo of a time that could have been. He cannot predict the future of this time. Their truths are not his truths.
Jim's lips drift to Spock's own, and he presses their mouths together in a sweet, gentle kiss. "I think he loved you," he says, "more than he knew how to say."
He pulls back and grins, as brilliant as a morning sun over the horizon, and Spock feels a phantom ache for someone he lost many, many years ago. And yet, he stands before Spock again, alive and young and healthy. "Thank you," Spock says, because it is customary when one receives a gift. As Jim turns to leave, Spock raises his hand in the customary salute and says, "Live long and prosper, Captain." He hopes that he speaks the truth.
Jim's smile has not waned in the slightest. He returns the favor, his human fingers clearly unused to the gesture. "Live long and prosper," he says, before disappearing out the door.
It is traditional to meditate in the deep caves of Vulcan, where there are no distractions to divert attention from the pursuit of logic. Spock has become used to meditating where and when he can, regardless of the particulars of time and location. Today, Spock chooses to meditate in front of the large window that faces out over the desert. The sun is setting, burning the red sand orange in the fading light. Spock closes his eyes and lets his mind drift inwards. The insulated flooring is warm beneath his bare feet.
Today, they have discovered a set of Vulcan data chips held by an an absent-minded collector on Earth who is willing to donate the data to the Council. It is a victory, a small one in the face of all they have lost. His life here is nothing like it once was, but as he puts his mind in order, he finds he is content, no longer young enough to hear the call of the stars.
He has spent too much of his life around humans. Long ago, he began to measure time by their standards. Their lives are so short -- but never meaningless -- and he cannot help but miss the ones he has known and lost over the years to their lifespans, limited in a way that Spock's is not. He can remember their names, their voices, their faces, and even now, he still grieves for their loss.
But he has seen a few of them again, this new-old crew of the Enterprise, still flush with youth and potential. Spock cannot be what he once was, and he is no longer necessary to them. Their own future stretches out before them. They will make their own choices. They will make their own mistakes.
As will I, Spock thinks, and deep in his meditation, the corner of his lips twitches upwards, in a semblance of a smile.