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A Complete Ceremony, An Incomplete Place

It had begun with an uncharacteristic need to sleep, which could easily be explained by the compounding of suppressed emotions under stressful conditions and constant duty upon the starship Enterprise. The sleep itself would not be any cause of alarm to anyone, for even Vulcans with their fortitude needed a good rest once in a great while.

However, when Commander Spock had awakened that morning, it was to the furious shaking of both hands. Couple this with the tiredness he'd felt, and it deserved a bit of thought.

He merely stared at his trembling hands for an unrecorded amount of time, fingers outspread, as he sat upon the padded platform that could scarcely be called a bed but served its purpose nonetheless. Theories and reasons categorized in his astute brain of why he would be experiencing such strange symptoms. A virus perhaps? Bad human food? Nothing that relayed in his mind made any sense to the commander as he felt perfectly healthy otherwise.

It did not even occur to officer Spock to venture to the sickbay as he was confident that he could merely mentally fight off whatever it was that was ailing him, as he had done countless times before. Dr. McCoy would not have much information in his database anyway to bring any enlightenment to the situation as Vulcans very rarely became ill, and very rarely shared personal information with anyone, much less Starfleet.

Through mental discipline, Spock's hands had nearly stopped shaking by the time he approached the bridge. A moment's glance in the direction of Lieutenant Uhura would be unnoticeable to anyone else, and would mean nothing, but such a glance, however fleeting, meant volumes to her as a bright smile lit up her face before her attention returned to her panel. Such gestures had become their own intimate language over the time they'd spent together.

As Spock moved to his console, Captain Jim Kirk smirked and rose from his chair to pace the bridge. "Glad you finally decided to join us, Commander Spock. I was beginning to think we would have to send out a search party for you." It was very obvious to the crew that Kirk was quite enjoying the chance to tease Spock for once and catch the Vulcan in an actual mistake. "I didn't think that Vulcans were known for tardiness." It was clear that Kirk was only ribbing his first officer. After all, it wasn't as if Kirk was the model of punctuality for anything at all.

The effort of mockery was lost on the Vulcan hybrid. Spock merely gazed at the time displayed and his response was the uplifting of one brow. Indeed, he was two hours late. Unacceptable. However, the captain was making no motion to punish him, and had he been fully human, Spock probably would have felt gratitude. "My apologies, Captain." There was no regret or apologetic tone to his voice. "It will not happen again." His response was as rigid and stoic as ever except for the miniscule tilt of the head as he eyed the time again.

Kirk made his way back to the Captain's chair, not surprised at the reaction he'd gotten, but still a bit disappointed nonetheless. Kirk seemed to make it a goal to get the Vulcan to express something, anything, and largely failed. "Mr. Sulu, set a course for our next destination, warp 2."

The Enterprise's next mission had been to explore a planet that seemed to have somehow fallen out of its orbit. They were to find out why, how, and if there was any life still upon it. The slight fluctuation of a planet's orbit could mean the mass extinction of everything upon it, if there was anything upon it to begin with. Once the planet was within range, Kirk ordered Spock, "Mr. Spock, give me a reading on the planet." A simple task, one that Spock could do in a matter of seconds. Kirk waited. Then waited. Then waited. "Mr. Spock?"

"Just a moment." The Vulcan's voice was harsh, snapping, and curt, or at least more so than the Vulcan normally displayed. Once again, his tone would have gone unnoticed by anyone who didn't know him, but the crew wasn't just anyone. The rest of the bridge all looked up from their stations to instead fix their eyes on a flustered and furrowed science officer. Spock's heavier breathing was visible and his hands gripped the console as if the machine itself was to hold him up. His rigid arms shook slightly, unable to be controlled by the Vulcan despite his considerable mental prowess.

"Spock, are you all right?" There was genuine concern in Kirk's voice now. Spock dare not look at him, nor to Uhura who was sitting upon the edge of her chair, preparing to go to Spock the moment he needed her to. Of course, he'd never ask her for such a thing. He would never have to.

Spock did not answer the captain's latter inquiry to his condition. Instead, he answered the first request. "The planet's atmosphere is oxygen nitrogen based with traces of..." Spock gave his report, seeming to find his center once again. He stood up straight again, independent of the console he had leaned so heavily upon moments before. He reported of the planet's land mass, approximate circumference, and the power of the gravitational pull. His hands were now fixed behind his back, Spock's usual stance. Only the very observant could see that his hands were still trembling behind him.

Only the very observant, like Uhura.

Lieutenant Uhura scanned repeatedly for communications signals withing range. She could recognize, speak, and write 83% of the Federation's languages and dialects. Spock had written himself, in a recommendation, that her auditive understanding was exemplary and unparalleled by anyone else in starfleet. Though, besides that, Uhura could read expressions, however slight, and this talent had taught her how to read Spock's unspoken language. Facial expressions, changes in voice, and body language were just as important in learning new languages as the actual words were. They also helped her to understand Spock in ways that others simply would not allow themselves. Uhura would notice things that others simply would not pick up.

It was Uhura who noticed that his shoulders were rigid and that he avoided looking directly at anyone. It was she who saw the thin veil of annoyance upon his pale, green tinged was she who would notice the impatience that was just breaking the surface of his apathetic stance. It was also she who began to rise to recommend to the Captain that Spock go to the sickbay.

However, Uhura wouldn't get the chance.

Kirk had stretched and then pointed to each member of the bridge as he called out his name. "Allrighty then, landing party. Sulu, Spock, and you too Ensign, you are all coming with me onto the planet's surface." It was just like Kirk to simply plow forward without all of the information and just trust that everything would work out just fine.

Spock's caution interjected. "I do not recommend it, Captain."

Kirk started to the science officer's console. "Spock, it'll be fun." Kirk was teasing again. Kirk knew quite well that Vulcans didn't do anything at all simply for the fun of it.

"I suggest further research before taking a landing party." Suggesting was all that he could do, which more than annoyed Spock, but he was not at all surprised that Kirk would reject the recommendation.

"Ah, Spock, live a little, it'll be all right." Spock was irritated, but could ignore the informality that Captain Kirk used to run the bridge. He could even ignore the irrational way that Kirk dove headfirst into everything, possibly to the detriment of himself and to others. Spock was able to ignore quite a lot, but that was before Kirk made the very large mistake of slapping the Vulcan on the back.

"Don't touch me!" Kirk's arm was then viciously thrown off, pulling at a muscle as it was flung to his side. The Vulcan was right in the Captain's face then, baring down on him, daring him to challenge. Kirk's face contorted with a mixture of very human emotions. The first one was shock as the normally stoic Vulcan turned on him like a raging bull. The second one was anger that not only did his science officer disrespect him in front of the entire crew of the bridge, but was outwardly challenging him. Finally, Jim couldn't help but to feel a twinge of fear. He'd seen the look in Spock's eyes before-just before he'd pummelled and nearly choked Jim to death before Spock's father had eventually stopped him. It was not an incident that James T. Kirk wanted to repeat.

Behind all that, Jim could recognize that there was something wrong, something seriously wrong. "Commander Spock, you are dismissed to your quarters. That is an order." Jim stood, lifting his chin to stand up to Spock. He knew that Spock wouldn't disobey orders.

Spock inhaled deeply, long, and then let out the breath. He stretched out his fingers which had moments ago been clenched in a fist. The fist had not been meant for Jim, but for the Vulcan himself as a focus for these powerful emotions that seemed to come from nowhere. Without even the normal nod of his head, Spock left the bridge, not even glancing in the direction of Uhura's worried face.