Disclaimer: I hereby readily admit to my non-ownership of House and of Star Trek. Please put the lawyers back in their cages. You won't be needing them. And don't forget to feed them their lawyer kibble. They get ornery when they aren't fed properly.
As Spock walked back over to him, House watched his friend leave the room. Wilson was obviously worried for him, but there was nothing he could do for his friend. House's own behavior would determine his fate.
And because this was House, he would probably behave like a jackass.
Spock stopped in front of the diagnostician. He didn't look angry, but there was a certain sharpness in his unwavering gaze that would make most men wilt and cooperate. This was a useful ability, and it had helped Spock on many occasions.
Needless to say, this was not going to be one of them.
House watched the first officer with the practiced nonchalance of a man who was used to having important people pissed off at him. Had he been human, Spock would have found the way House relaxed, nay, lounged in his chair galling. But Spock wasn't human, and instead of anger, House's faint, amused smile was met with an intense and utterly emotionless Vulcan Death Glare.
Accustomed to having anger turn into witty banter, House was rather thrown by this reaction, although he hid it from Spock. Damned if he was going to reveal that he was getting nervous. Not that Spock made it easy. "What is your name?" the Vulcan asked before House could say anything.
"Dr. Gregory House."
"You are a physician?"
"No, I'm a TV star. Why else would I spend all day in a hospital?"
"I would advise you not to adopt such a sarcastic attitude, Dr. House, especially given your current position. If you do not cooperate with me, I will be forced to send you to the brig where the captain will question you. He will not be as even-handed as I." Spock spoke in a monotone, but the implied warning was clear: Mess with me, and you're screwed.
House stopped smirking, although his irreverent demeanor didn't change much. "Very well, what do you need to know?" he asked, cooperating for the moment.
"Why were you attempting to hack into my computer?"
"Yes. Your security is really tight, by the way. But I guess it would have to be. Otherwise Kirk would be constantly stealing your po-"
"How do you know the name of this ship's captain?" Spock interrupted, uninterested in House's attempted witticisms. In fact, he seemed… well, not alarmed, he was too disciplined to show such emotion, but he did seem to betray, ever so slightly, that he was disturbed. If this man is working with the Klingons, how much information has he been given about us?
House picked up on Spock's faint unease and gave a straight answer. "From Star Trek," he replied matter-of-factly. The doctor sat up straighter in Spock's chair, and his irreverence faded somewhat.
"'Star Trek'? What is that?" asked Spock.
"It's a cheesy old television show from the 60s. It's about the adventures of the USS Enterprise, featuring Captain Kirk, you, Scotty, Dr. McCoy, and a variety of other characters. Only… apparently you're all real…."
Spock raised an eyebrow. "There was a television show in the 1960s about us?"
"You can look it up if you don't believe me. Shouldn't be too difficult to find. It's classic sci-fi."
"I don't believe you," replied Spock flatly. "But attempting to research something which may not exist at all would waste time which I do not have."
"Then, how can I prove it to you?" Annoyance tinged House's tone.
"Dr. House, in this Star Trek show, did they ever mention something called Vulcan mind meld?" the first officer asked.
Spock's eyebrows flicked upwards showing his skepticism. "Fascinating. This 20th century television managed to inform you of a very intimate practice of a species that your kind will not meet for another several decades." House opened his mouth to protest the insinuation that he was lying, but Spock continued before he could say anything. "If this television show was so informative, then I suppose you know what mind meld entails?"
House wasn't quite sure where Spock was going with this, and it didn't help that he wasn't too terribly familiar with the show. But he did know some things, and he answered as best as he could while also thinking furiously to try to figure out what was going on, "Um, it's when a Vulcan melds his or her mind with somebody else's." Spock gave House as sardonic a look as a Vulcan ever would, and House realized that his answer sounded stupid. He added quickly, "What one knows, the other knows, too. And… feelings are shared, too?" He only vaguely remembered things from the Star Trek episodes he'd seen, but what he'd guessed seemed logical.
"Yes. Both knowledge and feelings are shared between the individuals involved in the mind meld," Spock confirmed.
House nodded absently, focusing on trying to understand the situation he was in. Then what he had just learned finally landed in his brain and it hit him. "You're going to mind meld with me?!" he asked, looking up at Spock suddenly.
"It is the fastest way to determine whether or not you are trustworthy since it seems that I cannot trust standard interrogation."
Sudden fear washed over House, and his wits deserted him. He stared almost blankly at Spock who stared back curiously. Suddenly, a thought flashed into the diagnostician's mind. He blinked. Then he beamed like a kid who had just received a long-sought-after puppy for Christmas. "Does this mean that I'll know all about the future from your mind?" he asked excitedly.
House's glee deflated. "Oh."
Spock flicked an eyebrow and then walked around his desk so that he could reach House. It seems that humans were just as illogical two and a half centuries ago as they are now, Spock mused silently to himself. I almost wonder how they managed to survive so long.
As Spock reached House, the doctor swiveled the chair so that he faced the first officer. "Um… is there anything I need to do?" he asked nervously.
"No, but it will be easier if you relax," Spock replied.
House morphed from nervous to sarcastic in half a heartbeat. "Yeah, I can totally relax, what with you thinking I'm a spy and planning on rifling through my innermost thoughts."
"Excellent. Such self-discipline is quite admirable. I am going to initiate the meld now," responded Spock, completely straight.
House was too surprised by Spock's response to respond. In any case, it didn't matter because Spock was beginning and very shortly House was too distracted to say anything. First, Spock placed his fingers on the appropriate points on House's head. "You feel a strange euphoria, a floating sensation," he said to the doctor. "You feel my mind, open to it. What you know, I know."
Suddenly, memories began flashing between the two men, so fast that as soon as one became clear, it flitted away again back into the stream of thoughts, feelings, sounds, and images that welled up from their joined minds.
House as a young boy, getting yelled at, hit, and then shoved outside to sleep on the lawn, shivering with cold.
Spock as a child, sitting by an injured sehlat. He could smell I-Chaya's blood as the heat of the Vulcan sun beat down on them.
A Japanese doctor, clearly hated by the others around him, diagnosing a patient correctly when no one else could figure out what was wrong. House-as-a-boy watched him, fascinated, admiring him.
A teenage Spock arguing with his father over joining Star Fleet. Overhearing his mother trying to convince his father to let him go.
House, lying in his hospital bed with Stacy next to him, in agony because of his leg. Asking to be put into a chemically-induced coma. Waking up to more pain and a leg that would no longer function properly.
Spock, sitting in the Sick Bay completely blind, listening to Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel arranging to take care of him.
Stacy returning with her husband. She and House alone in a hotel room kissing. House telling Stacy to stay with her husband instead of with him.
Spock standing in a frozen wasteland, saying goodbye to a woman wearing animal furs. Love and emotional pain, vastly stronger than he could ever imagine feeling, flooded him.
Foreman quitting, House firing Chase, Cameron quitting. Arguing with Cuddy over who to hire for the new team. Foreman returning and Kutner, Taub, and Thirteen getting hired.
Spock being made first officer under Kirk. Them fighting side by side. Kirk, killed by Spock's own hand. Kirk, really alive. Happiness. Friendship.
The flood of memories began to slow as Spock found the relevant ones from the last few days.
House in the clinic, trying to convince a woman that her baby only had a cold, not the flu or some other serious problem. He got impatient, made her cry.
House was in Cuddy's office, getting reprimanded.
House back in the clinic, this time with a different patient. A young man with an infected pierced ear. House called him an idiot.
House was in Cuddy's office, getting reprimanded again.
House was back in the clinic, but without a patient. Cuddy came by and he jumped behind the Nurse's Station to hide. Wilson found him and gave him a look.
Cuddy finding House behind the Nurse's Station. She forced him to get back to work.
House with another patient, an old woman who had come for a follow-up exam. House telling her that coming in so often for so many follow-ups is unnecessary. The old woman batted her eyes and flirted with him in response. He was trying to finish the exam and get her to leave. The woman insisted on reading him a love poem.
Spock could not prevent some of his own recent memories from slipping into the stream as well.
Spock working quickly at a computer terminal on the bridge, trying to determine the course of the Klingon ship. Where was it going?
The ship sped up to Warp 6. Kirk ordered Sulu to speed up to match.
Chekov reported getting a lock on the ship. Now his computer could scan it, maybe get some more information.
Spock's computer terminal finished calculating. The ship was heading for a red giant star, the partner of a black hole. Why were the Klingons heading there?
House was with another patient in the clinic. It was the end of the day, he wanted to leave. The person kept asking stupid questions, he got angry and snapped at her. She started sobbing and ran out.
'Keptin, I am getting strange readings from near the black hole,' reported Chekov.
Spock flicked some switches on his own computer to look at the readings himself. 'Captain, I believe it is a worm hole.'
'Could the Klingons be heading for it?' asked Kirk.
House left the examining room, whistling a cheery tune and happy to be rid of that annoying patient.
The computer finished calculating. 'My computer calculations conclude that they are, Captain.'
Cuddy blocked the door with the patient to keep House from leaving.
Suddenly, the Klingon ship dove towards the strange little pocket of warped spacetime. They flew through a cloud of gas and debris, and then they vanished.
House was in Cuddy's office. She forced him to apologize to the girl. Then she reprimanded him. Again.
'Keptin, I can no longer read the Klingon ship. They have entered the worm hole, sir.'
'Where does the hole let out?' asked the captain.
'The only way to determine that would be to follow them into it,' replied Spock.
'Then follow them,' Kirk ordered.
House eating dinner with Wilson, complaining about Cuddy, then mocking Wilson for his relationship with Amber.
The Enterprise flew down into the worm hole. It rocked wildly from the turbulence.
Then they were clear.
Earth hung before them, a blue-green jewel set in the blackness of space. The Klingon ship, an infinitesimally small speck by comparison, flew down towards the planet.
House and Wilson together in Wilson's office, talking.
'Captain, a Klingon has been beamed down from their ship.'
'Send security personnel down after it, then.'
A Klingon running into Wilson's office, followed by two redshirts.
House and Wilson getting beamed aboard the Enterprise.
Spock and Kirk firing at the Klingon ship, eventually forcing it to fly off.
House and Wilson playing cards.
House and Wilson, sitting in Spock's room, bored. House wanting to play chess, but Wilson not letting him. House deciding to hack into Spock's computer… because he was bored…
Spock broke off the mind meld, and he and House blinked at each other. "Whooaahhh…" House was still woggle-eyed from the experience.
"Dr. House? Are you all right?" asked Spock. "There should not have been any adverse effects, but I could have underestimated the effects of the physiological changes that a mind meld incurs."
"No, no, I'm fine…. Just… overwhelmed."
Spock nodded. "Understandable."
House sat back into Spock's chair and tried to digest all the information that he had just received. Out of the jumble of memories, nothing had really made any sense. Spock as child? What was that furry thing? A sehlat, I think it's called… I-Chaya? What the hell was all that? And some of those things… when Spock was blind, that was in Star Trek… They were chasing a Klingon ship… to Earth? Suddenly, something clicked. "Wait, Klingons are attacking Earth? My Earth?" asked House, shocked.
"They are planning something, but we do not yet know what," replied Spock.
House frowned in thought. Then he said, "But why would they attack Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital? It's not of any grand importance to the human race… is it?"
"To my knowledge, no, but we do have people looking into Earth's history to see what significance it might have. It is possible that someone of future importance will be in your hospital for some period of time."
House digested this. "What about Wilson?"
"What about him?"
"That Klingon ran into his office…. Oh, wait, no. He was running from those redshirts at that point." House thought some more. "Could there be any other Klingons in the hospital?"
"No, we checked. He was the only one."
"Right, your sensors picked up just the one." Then he looked up at Spock and said, "So… I guess this means you trust me now?"
Spock nodded slowly. "Partially. I can conclude from the mind meld that you are not an enemy agent and not likely to become one. However, you are certainly not trustworthy if you consider hacking the computer of an unknown and potentially dangerous individual to be an acceptable outlet for boredom."
House smirked. "How does that make me untrustworthy?"
"Because you are a fool. Also, if you were to actually gain access to secret information, that would be a problem."
"I am not a fool." Spock raised an eyebrow. "I knew what I was doing," House said indignantly.
Spock flicked his eyebrows up and replied, "Evidently not, since you seem to have been completely unsuccessful at hacking."
House scowled. "Well, maybe if I'd had more time…."
"If you had gotten access to any classified information in my computer, I would have been forced to detain you in the brig, regardless of the results of the mind meld."
House slowly grinned. "But – what if I hacked into a Klingon computer?"
"I am a computer specialist, Dr. House, and therefore would be the logical choice to send to attempt to infiltrate any Klingon computer systems. Shall I escort you to your shipboard quarters now?"
House blinked. "Erm… sure?"
Spock nodded, then turned and strode to the door. House grabbed his cane from where he had leaned it against Spock's desk, stood, and limped after Spock, still somewhat bewildered by the sudden change of topic.
Spock strode briskly down the same corridors that Leif had led Wilson down. He quickly became aware that House was lagging behind. Without stopping, Spock called over his shoulder, "Please keep up, Dr. House."
House had been looking around curiously at his surroundings and had been walking fairly slowly. He sped up to his usual pace and continued after the first officer.
After several minutes of traveling silently through the halls, they reached House's new room. Spock opened the door and gestured for House to enter ahead of him. As Spock crossed the threshold behind him, House took in his new room. It was virtually identical to Wilson's. There was a red-quilted bed, a desk and chair, a set of drawers, a lamp, and an empty closet. The only difference was that his random potted plant had orange swirls and tiny, red flowers instead of large, purple-tinged leaves.
Once he had finished checking out his new room, House turned to Spock who proceeded to brief him on ship-board life. "These shall be your living quarters while you are living on the Enterprise. Extra clothing will be brought to you shortly. Down the hall and to the right is the men's bathroom for the living quarters in this and the adjacent halls. The mess hall is on the level above us. To get to it, go back up the hall we just came through, walk past the first intersection and walk straight until you reach the turbolift to take you there. Once there, the mess hall is straight down the hall in front of the turbolift. You are permitted to go nearly anywhere on the ship, within reason. For example, you may not enter anyone else's quarters without permission. I would advise staying out of the engineering areas so that you do not get in the way of the crew, although if you stay out of the way and they do not mind your presence, you may visit. You also may not go to the bridge unless you are told to do so, or unless there is an important reason for it." Then he added, "And no, boredom is not sufficient justification."
House smirked wryly. "Boredom is always sufficient justification."
"No, it is not," responded Spock in an entirely Spock-like manner. "You may now do whatever you wish, but I would recommend waiting for your clothing and other such necessities to arrive first. Do you have any questions?"
House thought a moment, then replied, "No - wait, yes. Do you know where Wilson is?"
"Your friend, who arrived with you?" House nodded. "Yes, he is directly across the hall from this room."
House looked surprised. "Really?"
"Yes. I thought that it would be best for the two of you to be situated near each other. Do you have any other questions?"
House shook his head and said, "No."
"Then I shall leave to speak with Dr. Wilson. If you are having trouble with anything, any member of the crew will be willing to help, provided that he or she is not busy with something. I would also recommend that you be polite." Spock raised an eyebrow in a droll warning. House rolled his eyes. "Also, you and Dr. Wilson will be meeting with the head officers of the Enterprise tomorrow after breakfast. I will escort you to the conference room at the appropriate time. Please be prepared." He then turned and left.
"I'm going to meet the head officers? Ooh, that should be interesting," House said to himself. He stood in the middle of his room and took another look around it, thinking about what to do next. "Explore the ship, or wait for clothes and stuff? Definitely don't want to wait for the stuff…. Probably should, though." He made a face. "Definitely don't want to wait for the stuff…. Hm… explore the ship, or wait for Wilson?" He cocked his head in thought, and then made a decision. He left his room.
Wilson was lying on his bed in an almost-doze. It had been a long time since he had been escorted from Spock's room to his own. At least for this wait he had a soft bed to lie on instead of the floor. In any case, he was far less nervous now. He knew that he was safe. As for House, Wilson saw two distinct possibilities for what was going on with him given the amount of time that had passed.
Possibility #1: House had found some clever, yet apparently time-consuming way of proving his innocence. Sure, he'd never been able to convince Cuddy of his innocence, but this time he had one advantage: House actually was innocent. Or at least, Wilson thought he was. He certainly couldn't see House being an undercover agent for any operation not involving a medical mystery. He also couldn't see the bosses of any such operation not killing House two hours in out of sheer frustration. Either way, Mr. Spock would be able to figure it out. Leif had said that he would mind meld with House, and besides, these people must have some sort of technology to prove someone's guilt or innocence. They were from a couple centuries into the future, after all.
Possibility #2: House had managed to piss off Spock and enough other crew members to the point that they finally snapped and killed House, and in the ensuing celebrations had forgotten all about Wilson.
Wilson smirked at the thought. Then his empty stomach reminded him that he hadn't eaten since breakfast, and that it was now long after he normally would have had lunch. He grimaced and glanced towards the door, hoping that Spock would arrive soon, and lo and behold, in walked the science officer. Wilson grinned a little and sat up.
"Dr. James Wilson?" said Spock, more to confirm the man's identity than to ask his name.
Wilson stopped in mid-nod looking confused. "How do you know- Oh, House must have told you."
"Actually I got the information by mind melding with Dr. House," corrected Spock.
"Leif said that you would probably mind meld with him. What exactly is mind melding, anyway?"
"Ah, evidently you are not as familiar with Star Trek as Dr. House."
Wilson grinned at the remark about Star Trek. "Did you find out about Star Trek from mind melding, or did you just have a really interesting conversation with House?"
"He mentioned it while I was questioning him. Apparently, he was able to learn about mind meld from this show."
"In any case, mind meld is an ancient Vulcan technique in which the melder fuses his or her mind with the other participant's mind temporarily so that information can be shared."
"Uh-huh. So, um…"
"Well, how did it go?"
"What do you mean?"
"Is House innocent, or…"
"I have determined that he is not a Klingon agent," said Spock, and Wilson exhaled in relief. "However, I will keep him under surveillance as I believe that he may still cause problems. I am also considering assigning him an escort to keep him out of mischief."
Wilson started laughing.
"Why do you find this so amusing?" asked Spock innocently.
"Because," replied Wilson, "our boss, the Dean of Medicine Dr. Cuddy, is always trying to keep House in line. She never can. So, good luck with that." He kept laughing.
Spock flicked an eyebrow. "Most illogical." He then told a still-grinning Wilson the same information about the ship that he had told House. "Do you have any questions?" asked Spock after he had finished his spiel.
"Uh, yeah," responded Wilson. "Should House and I report to anywhere tomorrow morning after breakfast? I assume you want us to help out somehow while we're here."
"It has already been decided that you and Dr. House will meet with Captain Kirk, myself, Dr. McCoy, and possibly also Chief Engineer Scott tomorrow morning. I will escort you to the conference room after you have eaten. As for giving you and Dr. House jobs aboard the Enterprise…" Spock considered this for a moment. "That is a logical suggestion. I was not intending for either of you to do any work, but perhaps keeping you occupied would be best. Particularly in Dr. House's case."
Wilson chuckled. "Yeah, letting House get bored is pretty much an invitation for disaster."
Spock raised an eyebrow. "I have noticed. This evening I shall speak with Dr. McCoy about whether or not he thinks you should work with him. Personally, I think having the two of you work in Sick Bay would be most logical, given that you are both doctors. I shall give you your assignments tomorrow during the meeting. Do you have any other questions?"
Wilson shook his head. "Nope."
"Then I shall leave to speak with Dr. McCoy."
"Mind if I follow you out?" asked Wilson as Spock turned to leave. "I'm going to go to the mess hall for dinner. I haven't eaten all day." He pulled a rueful face.
Spock shrugged. "It is of no concern to me. You may now do as you please."
Wilson gave a slightly embarrassed half-nod in response as Spock turned to the door. He followed a few steps behind as Spock walked out. This resulted in him nearly colliding with Spock when the first officer stopped abruptly.
House looked up from where he was sitting in the middle of the hall, directly in front of the door, playing solitaire and eating a sandwich which, evidently, he had decided would be his dinner. He swallowed the bite of sandwich he was chewing on and said, "About time. I was getting worried that you'd been eaten by Orion Catdogs or something."
"Illogical. There is no such thing as an Orion Catdog, and it would be highly unlikely that a predatory species of any sort could get onto the ship and eat two people without anyone noticing."
House rolled his eyes. "I was being sarcastic."
"Sarcasm is also illogical."
"You've been sarcastic," protested House.
"Have you observed this yourself?" asked Spock.
House shook his head. "No, but it was on-"
"If it was on Star Trek, then it was probably the actor overacting," suggested Spock reasonably.
House raised an eyebrow and snorted. "Yeah, right," he muttered under his breath.
"Yes, it is most likely correct," said Spock who had heard House clearly. He then stepped over the rather surprised-looking doctor. Before walking off towards Sick Bay and Dr. McCoy, he said, "Good night, gentlemen. I shall speak with you again tomorrow morning during the meeting."
Both doctors watched him leave. "Speak with us about what, I wonder?" asked House.
Wilson shrugged. "Probably about whatever we'll be doing while we're here." He looked down at House who had started to collect his cards with his empty hand. "I see you found the mess hall okay."
"Obviously," responded House. He took a bite of his sandwich. He chewed for a bit, then swallowed and looked down at his sandwich. "I wonder what the limits of the replicators are."
"The replicators. They make food. And apparently other stuff."
"'Other stuff'?" repeated Wilson dubiously. "Like what?"
House shrugged. "Stuff." He took another bite of his sandwich.
"Oh, well thank you for being specific."
"It's not my fault. That's all the guy who was helping me said."
"Wait, you got help?" asked Wilson, surprised.
"He volunteered," retorted House. He glanced up and saw Wilson's raised eyebrow and smirk. "What?!"
"You accepted help. That's not like you," said Wilson in that smugly psychoanalytical way of his. "Could this be a sign that you're becoming more humble?"
House locked eyes with Wilson. "Listen to me very closely," he said sternly. "I. Was. Hungry. I. Wanted. A. Sandwich."
Wilson grinned. "Ah, I see. Hunger overcomes pride. And I thought that getting in trouble with Spock might have made you lose some of your arrogance."
"Me? Lose arrogance simply because an authority figure got angry? It's like you don't even know me." House pretended to act affronted.
Wilson smirked, then started to chuckle. "Come on, House. I want to get something to eat."
House stood up with some difficulty, and then the two doctors started to make their way to the mess hall.
Author's Note: First of all, sorry for the long delay! I was busy, then I was lazy, then I had to rewrite the chapter like 3 times, then I was lazy, then I was busy, then I was lazy… erm… you get the picture, I think. Apologies!
Next, I once again thank my betas kanboku91, Swiftshadow, and Chanah Emiliania for their time and advice. Without them, my fics would be ungrammatical, nonsensical garbage.
With dog fur all over them.
I would like to thank everyone who has reviewed my story. Taking your time to write reviews means a lot to me. That they're all positive is even nicer! (not that constructive criticism wouldn't be gratefully accepted, it's just that apparently I haven't screwed up yet! XP)
Aw hell, thanks also to everyone who has simply read my story! I hope you all continue to enjoy it (or start enjoying it, if you haven't been…). ^_^