NOTE from the PHOENIX: Well here we go...the beginning of my first full length Star Trek story. This is set post Star Trek XI by a few years so that the trio has had a little time to get their relationships closer to how they were in TOS. Enjoy!

Star Trek: Extinction

Chapter One

"...and so we surrender his body to rejoin the others."

Spock had paid little attention to the formal ceremony. He stood by the large glass floor to ceiling window staring out into space. Just within view was the immense artificial black hole that had taken his world, visible only from the light distortion it caused commonly known as an Einstein ring. The powerful gravitational field caused a warping effected that created the illusion that space was swirling around the hole in space. Spock watched as the small black coffin that had been jettisoned from the ship disappeared into the dark event horizon.

As the guest began to excuse themselves and exchange small talk Kirk and McCoy separated themselves from the gathering. Coming to a stop about fifty feet from the window they watched their Vulcan friend staring out into the infinate depths of space. Captain and Medical Officer exchanged the same 'what now?' glances with one another.

"Does he look upset?" Kirk whispered to McCoy. "I can never tell."

"No matter how logical and unemotional his thoughts might be it still must be difficult for him. First his father, now this."

"His father was young for a Vulcan to die, wasn't he?"

"By nearly seventy years." Bones confirmed.

"Well...I guess I should go talk to him."

"You need not speak to me if you do not wish, Captain." Spock replied with his back still to the pair.

"I always forget that your ears are sharp in more ways than one." Kirk forced a smile. "Sometimes I swear you can even hear my thoughts."

"Under the right conditions: I can."

"Right, of course, I knew that."

Having been caught talking Kirk and McCoy approached Spock and joined him by the window. No one dared disturb the trio, even Uhura was keeping her distance. Still unsure of what to say Kirk just stared out the window as well. Eventually Bones gave him a nudge.

"So..." Kirk attempted to break the silence "it must be awkward being at your own funeral."

Bones rolled his eyes in disapproval.

"Death comes to all living creatures." Spock replied calmly.

"Yeah, but...don't you think this is a little different?"

"Not at all, Captain."

"I see. Well, in any case, I'm sorry."

"You have nothing to apologize for."

The conversation stalled once again. Kirk looked to Bones for help, but he had none to offer. Spock noted their discomfort. He raised an eyebrow in anticipation of them grilling him for his feeling further, however they remained silent. Grateful for their cessation of pointless chatter Spock returned his gaze to the black hole. After a few minutes he had contemplated enough and turned to Kirk.

"Captain, I request to be left at Starbase 17 for one week of shore leave."

"Yes, of course." Kirk nodded. "May I ask, why Starbase 17?"

"It is the closest one. The Vulcan High Council has ordered a census, all Vulcans are to report to the capital city on Natala for the census."

"Starbase 17 is a long way from Natala."

"I will charter a craft."

"Don't be ridiculous, Spock." Kirk smiled. "We'll take you to Natala."

"Our next mission does not take us in that direction, Captain."

"I'll talk to Star Fleet and get us one that does." Kirk shrugged.

"That does not seem appropriate."

"It's call 'calling in a favour' and I have a few to collect on."

"I will not have you altering course for my benefit, it is not proper."

"Proper?" Kirk repeated. "Spock, we've been friends how long now?"

"Two years, seven months, eight days."

"It has to be longer than that. I mean we met at the Academy, that was just over three years ago."

"You asked how long we had been friends," Spock clarified "not how long we had known each other."

"Ouch...but point taken." Kirk smiled. "In any case, since you are my First Officer your safety is my responsibility, and those charter crafts are not always run by the most savory people in the galaxy. The Enterprise will take you to Natala."

"Very well."

"Spock," Bones chimed in "why do you physically have to go to Natala? I know they have a communication system just like everyone else. More than that the High Council knows who you are, why can't they enter you into the census themselves?"

"They have requested physical proof of every Vulcan's existence, no exception."

"Didn't the Federation do a census when they helped relocate the population to Natala three years ago?" Bones asked.

"That was merely an estimate," Spock replied "this is a true registration."

"I'm surprised it has taken this long for the Vulcan Council to require this." Kirk noted.

"They have resisted as long as they dare."

"Why the reluctance?" Bones asked.

"Because it is humiliating to be counted and numbered like cattle."

"So why now?"

"I do not know." Spock answered.

"Any guesses?"

"I do not make guesses, Captain."


"The most logical reason: Vulcan survival depends on it."