|Watching the Cloud of Dust
Author: AngelQueen PM
While seeing the Enterprise off, Christopher is joined by someone unexpected. Set just after the end of the film.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Friendship - C. Pike & Spock Prime - Words: 1,973 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 4 - Published: 09-02-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8491124
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Watching the Cloud of Dust
Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of its many owners. I make no claim on it and write this purely for entertainment purposes. No copyright infringement intended.
The Enterprise leaves space-dock exactly on time. There is no fierce hum and burn of the engines while the ship refuses to move. It simply clears its moorings, its thrusters pushing it away from the station, and jumps to warp, barreling away from its port, away from Earth.
Away from him.
The doctors had pitched an unholy fit over the idea of Christopher transporting up to the space-dock to see off what had so briefly, too briefly, been his ship. The chief physician had been set to flat out refuse, but had been succinctly and sharply put in his place by a few well-placed words: "Cooping him up won't make him heal any faster. Stop being an over-protective ass."
Christopher knew there had been a reason he could count on Phil Boyce, even after all these years.
The ache in his chest grows even more pronounced as the Enterprise vanishes from view, bearing its insanely young crew and captain into the great unknown, the final frontier. For over three years, that ship, that mission had been slated to be his. It had been the only thing to convince him to hand the Yorktown over to Number One to come back and recruit for and teach at the Academy until the Enterprise was ready to go into the black. For three years, he waited, he plotted, he planned.
Now, he's watched those plots and plans fall onto another man while Christopher himself sits and watches it all pass him by. Damn this fucking wheelchair that he's going to be bound to for another year, minimum. Damn that fucking slug for screwing up his body. Damn Nero for being the cause of all of it.
Christopher has lost count of how many times he's cursed Nero.
He can't bring himself to resent Jim, even though he was the one to sweep Christopher's dreams right out from under him. Christopher understands the politics that were behind Jim's promotion and being handed the Enterprise. He hates them, but he understands.
Of course, it helps a smaller, more selfish part of Christopher to know that the boy was the walking definition of guilt over the situation.
"I.. she's your ship, sir," Jim said, his eyes impossibly earnest and blue.
Christopher shook his head. "She's yours now, Jim." He gave him his best stern look, refusing to show any other emotion, like the defeat that could cross into despair if he isn't careful. "Take care of her."
The emotions that rolled across the younger man's face were so varying that Christopher couldn't even begin to identify them. Finally, Jim straightened to attention and nodded solemnly. "I will, sir. That's a promise."
They both knew Jim didn't give out promises lightly.
Christopher watched in silence as Jim turned on his heel to leave the room, only to see him stop at the door. The younger man turned to look back at him. Suddenly, he seemed older, no longer a twenty-five-year-old kid who had just had the hopes of Starfleet's future dumped on him, but an older man, quietly confident in himself and his place in the world. "I meant it, sir," Jim said quietly. "She's still yours, every bit as much as she is mine." He paused a moment, and Chris found himself mesmerized by the color of Jim's eyes, which seemed brighter, yet darker.
"If you ever need her, need us, just call. We'll come. No questions asked."
Christopher still believes that, even now.
Movement out of the corner of his eye catches his attention and he turns. It's a Vulcan. He isn't dressed in the formal robes that many of the Vulcans seem to favor, but instead in clothing made of the synthetic leathers that Starfleet often uses for some of the sturdier clothing that it often requires for its riskier missions. An unusual choice, even if the material was never actually part of an animal.
At first glance, Christopher thinks that the Vulcan is Sarek, perhaps come with a purpose much like his own, to see off someone precious to him. On closer inspection, however, he sees that the Vulcan is much older than Sarek. He stands alone, his hands folded behind his back as he stares out to where Christopher had just been staring, where the Enterprise had hovered so briefly before sweeping off to parts unknown.
As though he senses his gaze, the Vulcan turns in Christopher's direction. As he shifts, the harsh, artificial lighting dances across his weathered, lined face, and suddenly it feels like Christopher is looking into the future of a friend. Then it hits him like a blow to the gut, who he is facing.
Christopher has read the reports of the entire Narada incident, even the ones that have been so deeply classified that they won't see the light of day until practically everyone involved is dead and gone. He remembers with perfect clarity the special, separate report Jim wrote about the lone Vulcan who saved his life in the ice caves of Delta Vega, about a mind meld that revealed the origins of Nero.
This is Ambassador Spock, the man Christopher's former first officer would have once become, had Nero not fallen into a black hole and came back out determined to punch holes in the very fabric of the universe. This is the man who has poured over a century's worth of intelligence into Starfleet's databanks, providing information on species that the Federation won't come into contact with for decades to come.
This is the man who sang the praises of Jim Kirk and his crew and ship, and how they, in his world, became legends in their own lifetimes as they molded Starfleet and the Federation to better face the harsh and unforgiving future ahead of them all.
The ambassador sketches a small bow. "Admiral Pike."
His throat tightens unexpectedly and Christopher nods. That is the voice of his friend, aged and changed only by his great many experiences. "Ambassador Spock," he replies, and is grateful that there is no hint of his inner turmoil.
The other man cocks his head a little to the left. "Selek," he corrects. "I am but a visitor here. It is appropriate that I make way for him," he says simply.
Christopher nods, understanding, and turns his gaze back out to the stars. "Did you come to see them off?" he asks.
"Indeed," he replies as he turns in the same direction. "They have much ahead of them."
"While the rest of us are at our end," Christopher can't help but mutter, though he winces inwardly at the bitterness in his tone. He hopes that Selek will not have noticed, but it is a futile wish.
Selek stares down at him, his eyes even more piercing than his younger counterpart's. Perhaps it is simply age and wisdom that have given him an edge that Spock will only gain over time, perhaps it is more. For several moments, neither of them says anything. Finally, though, Selek speaks. "Admiral, in my world, I had the privilege of serving for several years under your command and although I was too young and uncertain of myself at the time, I later came to understand the honor of considering you a friend. I also understand that Spock has also served under you as well."
Christopher nods slowly. Spock spent three years on the Yorktown with him, as his science officer. When their tour ended and the Admiralty offered Christopher the Enterprise while handing the Yorktown over to the newly promoted Number One, Christopher had convinced Spock to accompany him to Earth, to be his XO when the Enterprise was ready to launch.
Selek continues, "There is much that both you and the Christopher Pike I knew have faced, and yet there is much more that he faced that you likely will not." He stops, and Christopher is shocked to see the expression that crosses the older man's face. 'Haunted', doesn't even begin to cover the secrets that hover over his craggy features.
Is this Spock's destiny? Christopher suddenly wonders. He knows that the ambassador's mere presence and the actions taken by him and Nero both have forever altered the timeline and it's likely that Spock will be a very different man when he reaches this age, but Christopher took Temporal Mechanics at the Academy. He knows that the timeline will still have what it wants if it's that vital. Will Spock still become a sad old man, someone who devoted his life to humans, only to see them die and leave him to weather life alone?
"I would offer you this piece of advice, Admiral," Selek finally says, his tone so soft, it is barely above a whisper. "Yours is a future that is still being rewritten. You alone can choose which path you will take, and accept the turns in the road as they come."
The sentiment sounds so very un-Vulcan, more… human. This man, Christopher thinks, has come to accept himself as he is, a child of two very different worlds. It's an acceptance that Spock, he believes, is only just beginning to accustom himself to.
Still, Christopher stares at the older man, and wonders what he's thinking when he looks at him. This man no doubt saw where his life went in his timeline. Was it good? Was it bad? Did he make a difference?
"What happened?" The words are out of his mouth before he can stop them.
Selek stares at him, his eyes full of a strange intensity, and then slowly shakes his head. "It no longer matters." He gives him a pointed look. "You have a chance here to create your own future, Christopher. Few ever truly have such an opportunity. It is illogical to ignore it."
Ah, there. That is definitely Spock talking. Christopher finds himself nodding. "I did have my future planned," he feels the need to point out. "It just took off without me, with Jim Kirk at the head."
"Humans are a versatile species, I've found," the older man counters. "Surely you can do so again?"
It's a possibility. It's a dare. Just like he once dared Jim to do better than his father.
A wave of amusement sweeps through him and Christopher stares up at Selek. "Where did you learn to do that?" he asks.
An eyebrow arches and lips twitch. "From two great men, both of whom I have and shall always call my friends."
Author's Notes: I wrote this purely out of a desire to have Pike and Spock Prime in the same room together. It's so easy to forget that Christopher Pike was the man that Spock once committed mutiny for, mutiny against James T. Kirk, of all people. To me, that signifies that there was a friendship between Spock and Pike, which would explain why Spock was willing to risk his career and life, and indeed the lives and careers of his current captain and shipmates. So much was made of Spock and Jim's connection in the film, and of Spock Prime's unshakable faith that Jim alone could save the day that his previous friendship with his Pike was kind of forgotten.
Of course, in writing this, I ended up not even mentioning said mentioned mutiny. It became this instead. *facepalm*