Hey! Here's another short series for you guys featuring my favourite Vulcan . I hope you enjoy :)
Spoilery warnings at the bottom of page. This one's a little heavy.
Ensign Hayley Hammond tapped in the last few commands to send the latest report to the head of the Science Department, and switched off the computer terminal. She then twirled around on her tiptoes with a word on her lips, only to pause. There was no one behind her. Feeling herself slump, the invitation to lunch flew away off her tongue like a silent ghost on the wind; not a sound uttered.
Feeling momentarily ruffled, Hayley took a deep breath as the memory of laughter echoed through her mind—now would be about the time when she and Evie Sanders would always walk off together, shoulders bumping, and grab a bite to eat.
...Evie Sanders was just one amongst the thousands of Starfleet cadets who'd lost their lives only three days before in the battle against Nero.
Hayley gasped as she attempted to hold in tears.
Turning back to the terminal, she tapped the surface, only to remember she'd just shut it down for the night. Staring at the blank screen, Hayley felt herself start to shake—her heart rate increasing. Glancing around the room, she desperately sought a distraction...but everything was dark; most of the remaining science staff had already left for the night's rest. Her shift wouldn't start again for roughly another nine hours. A shift where she would continue to attempt to conduct whatever repairs she could to the ship's systems, and analyse the mountains of data the sensors had accumulated throughout the battle. It was all valuable data, especially to a scientist, and Hayley had been working almost continuously during the three days that had passed to organise it, as the Enterprise slowly limped its way back home. Home, which was still there, thanks to them.
...but not before they'd lost so many. So many.
She sobbed, the sound forcing itself out of her tight throat. Hayley was aware that her ability to remain strong was quickly failing.
Not being able to hold it in anymore, she backed herself into a dark corner and dropped, kneeling, to the ground. After the first sob came, another soon followed, before they were pouring out of her like a dam wall had just shattered. Hayley's shaking began to increase, and she gasped for air.
No! Please stop. I can't do this! Hayley thought, as she grabbed her hair with her hands, pulling, tears running down her face. She remembered the sight out of the port window as they'd torn their way through that graveyard of ships. What she'd seen floating openly in space.
A wail screamed out of Hayley's throat as she began to rock on the spot. She was only nineteen. She wasn't supposed to see stuff like this. When she had signed up for the Enterprise, she'd been ready for adventures. She'd been ready to travel the universe, discover many new scientific anomalies, meet new civilisations and make enlightening, diverse friends.
Not...not death. So much death.
Her parents had been so excited. She'd get to see wonderful new beings from other planets. Since she was a child, she'd had a fascination with alien life, and had always wanted to meet other species in person.
...Now she'd only seen an entire planet destroyed; billions dead in the blink of an eye.
She'd heard some of the survivors wailing later. She knew their species shared a telepathic bond, and couldn't imagine the pain they must be in, even if they tried to hide it.
Hayley couldn't take it anymore—she felt sick all over. Her whole body was shivering and shaking and screaming. Tears continued to flow down her face like a messy waterfall.
She couldn't go to bed—the empty bunk across from her was too much to look at.
She couldn't eat lunch—for being in the abnormally quiet cafeteria only reminded her of how many were lost, and her stomach would squirm with nausea.
She couldn't face the empty silence of the science deck.
She couldn't do it.
Hayley started, nearly toppling over at the sudden baritone voice, before slowly lifting her face. Standing across from her, face passive, was Commander Spock, head of the Science Department, and also one of the last members of the now endangered species whose planet she'd just seen destroyed.
"Co—commander. I'm sorry. I...was just...was just..."
Hayley gasped, feeling faint—her heart pounding even harder. She scooted back unconsciously, her breath coming in ragged rasps, until she hit a solid surface behind her. Sweat beaded on her face, nausea intensifying, and she couldn't help but think the pained plea of—Help. Help!
There was the rustle of fabric, and then gentle, warm fingers were resting on her face. She jumped. Gasping.
"Wha...?" she said, trying to move away.
"Ensign! I am attempting to assist you. Please remain still."
Hayley found herself staring into a pair of dark Vulcan eyes. She wheezed—shivering uncontrollably— before those warm fingers carefully replaced themselves on her face.
"My mind to your mind..." was whispered. "My thoughts to your thoughts."
For a moment...nothing happened. Hayley felt another wave of panic wrack her form, before there was suddenly a gentle presence in her mind.
Hayley jumped, startled. The presence receded, before slowly entering her mind again.
She froze, uncertain of how to respond, before she felt the presence move forward further. It seemed to search for something, probing, before she felt another consciousness take hold of something within hers, and pinch it closed.
The adrenalin shut off like someone had flipped a switch.
Hayley slumped, sighing as her muscles relaxed into the deck beneath her. Relieved, she sought out the other presence and reached for it, allowing the logical, calm mind to soothe and ease her frantic thoughts. Her symptoms slowly receded as she breathed in time with the pulse of the other, the warm fingers on her face grounding.
Slowly untangling her thoughts with the help of the other mind, a sob tore through her throat, but not a sob of panic.
Hayley cried as she began to let it all out as the adrenaline faded; all the built-up tension of the last few days finally leaving her.
The presence continued to stay, slowly assisting her in mending her thoughts, and she heard the scuff of boots as he shifted, placing his other hand on the other side of her face.
Hayley opened her eyes. The Vulcan quickly mirrored her actions and met her gaze.
"Th—thank you," she sobbed.
His face remained impassive, but he inclined his head in a small nod, before closing his eyes again.
Hayley followed suit and slowly leaned back against the wall, letting out a slow, deep breathe.
Several minutes went by in silence, before the duo was unexpectedly disturbed as the department door swished open and a small parade of nurses rushed in, lead by one panicked Doctor Leonard McCoy.
"This way; the medical tracker says she's over here," echoed throughout the space, and Hayley gazed over to see the odd platoon move forward, before coming to a sudden stop, as they finally caught sight of them.
There was a moment of stunned silence, before the penny finally dropped, and the doctor moved forward, face red and furious.
"Why you damn hobgoblin. What the hell have you!—"
Spock bristled internally at the untimely and loud intrusion of the ship's doctor. Finding the cadet curled and shaking in the corner in an obvious fetel position had not been what the Vulcan was expecting when he'd walked into Science Lab fourteen at two AM ship's time. He'd had an order for rest quickly prepared on his tongue, as many of the cadets were overworking themselves and exhausted after the battle, but then he'd paused, seeing further. He'd caught sight of the body language, and his already scrambled shields from the destruction of his planet picked up the loud and desperate emotional pleas for help being projected. He'd been at the young human's side in an instant.
He'd immediately been assaulted by a barrage of panicked thoughts from an out of control mind; the cadet's essence receded back into the furthest corner. She'd lashed out in alarmed panic when she'd first sensed his presence, and he'd backed off.
The other mind seemed to calm after a moment, and he strategically eased back in.
Shielding himself against the onslaught of emotions, Commander Spock got a good look at the cadet's mind. Thoughts battering against his control, the Vulcan made the most logical choice at the time, and dived straight in to shut off the excessive release of the human's adrenal gland. The effect was immediate, as the screaming thoughts around him died down to a slow flutter, and the pads of his fingers physically felt the muscles in her face relax with her body.
Relieved that the initial onslaught was over, Spock gazed upon the sparking remains of an out of balance mind. Spock felt a pang in his side, his facial muscles twitching. The effects of incorrect chemical and hormonal balance blazed glaringly back at him. The scattered mess of damaging, uncontrolled thoughts piled up like a mass of broken and tangled electrical wires at his feet, enough so to trip on.
By Surak, no sentient creature should be expected to function in such a poor condition. Spock was aware that if the cadet were Vulcan, she would immediately be sent to a mind healer for emergency assistance. But there were no Vulcan mind healers currently available on the Enterprise. With that thought in mind, Spock made a morally grounded decision.
Increasingly aware of the uncertain, shy mental presence figuratively looking over his shoulder as he gazed upon the damage of their mind, Spock turned.
'Ensign Hammond, I wish to enter us into a mind-healing session, if you will permit me. I am trained as a distinguished Vulcan telepath.'
The shimmering mental presence before him projected an air of acceptance that he felt in the mind around him, and engaged in a light nod.
Spock tilted his head in affirmation.
'Firstly, I would ask you to blend your breathing to mine. Let go of your thoughts, and simply let them flow with calm.'
Spock could already feel the cadet calming further, her mind letting go dramatically.
'Very good, Cadet.'
He remained still as the first sob bubbled over, not breaking position as tension began to release in a river of emotion; fingers shaking as he kept a tight rein on his own surge of feelings welling just below the surface. Spock was aware that an outpouring of built up emotions was often a sign of healing in humans. Normally for a Vulcan, this would be considered unacceptable, but in this case, the circumstances under which it was occurring were understandable.
He was briefly aware of someone shaking his shoulder—his name yelled in his ear—but he remained focused, as he finally felt the last of the tension leave his patient's thoughts.
Doctor McCoy watched as something shifted, and the pair slowly pulled back from each other. He grabbed the Vulcan the minute his hand left the young ensign's face, and wrenched him away. Spock's eyes widened minutely, before McCoy was running his medical tricorder over him.
"Brain waves are returning to normal, patterns no longer intertwined,"—he turned the Vulcan, forcing him to face him— "Goddamit man, what the hell was that?"
"A Vulcan mind-meld I believe, Doctor." Spock stood up, tugging the edge of his uniform down as he did so. "Now, if you will permit me, I am needed on the bridge.
Ensign Hayley calmly rose from the corner as Spock made his way to the exit. Her readings were all exceptionally... normal.
"Commander," the doctor yelled after the retreating form.
Spock paused in the doorway.
"I thought emotions were illogical."
The Vulcan turned, his rich brown eyes boring into the doctor's hazel ones.
"Only if the owner of those emotions has the means to control them, but chooses not to."
With that, Spock walked out into the corridor, the doors closing behind him.
WARNING: Contains brief mention of grusome deaths and genoside, plus detailed descriptions of a panic attack.
Thanks for reading! I couldn't get it out of my head how the events from the first movie must have effected the surviving cadets and Vulcans. I felt it had to be addressed as the destruction of a planet + the loss of all those young cadets is a big deal. So this was born. The story was also largely inspired by a tumblr post exploring whether or not Spock would understand mental illness or an inability to cope largely stemming from a chemical imbalance of the mind. I found that discussion interesting.
Also, there shall be more updates soon for all of my ongoing stories. Thanks to everyone who's been so supportive lately (you know who you are). Uni's just been really battering me around.
If you want, my Tumblr is aliciarosefantasy. Come in and say hi :) I'm usually active daily.