Illogical. It was truly the best word to sum up his current state of…well, everything to be honest. The entire idea of it… "Captain? As you have no First Officer I respectfully submit my candidacy. I can provide character references if you wish." He still couldn't believe he had actually said it. Not only would the idea of having to find character references of himself be completely unnecessary as he was more than competent, but the fact that he had actually applied for the position was absurd. It was not his most logical moment. In fact, he had completely gone on faith. Of course, it was technically faith in himself, but still. The idea of a friendship between himself and Captain Kirk was highly improbable. Nonetheless, he had been accepted.
There was the consideration of Nyota in making his decision to apply…but, considering his Vulcan needs, he couldn't say that a long-distance relationship would have been a bad idea. He had no desire for physical contact, after all, and really, all that attracted him to her were her impressive talents, their similar interests, and her compassion when he was emotionally indisposed. Not exactly the most concrete grounds for a relationship, but enough to sustain it from two separate vessels. In truth, it might be more difficult to continue the relationship while in close proximity for long periods.
Either way, there he was on the transport pad, mentally preparing himself for the job ahead.
Nyota came up to him in the transport room, smiling. "Hello, Spock. Ready?"
"I find that I am prepared for the extended period to be spent in space. Am I correct in assuming you will be the chief communications officer?"
"Yes. Do you notice anything different?" she asked, clearly meaning something specific. He stared at her, not quite sure how to respond.
"Come on, look closer."
"There are new panels on transport controls?" he supplied, gesturing to the improvements made during their brief stay on Earth. She rolled her eyes.
"No, I cut my hair! It's short now. Do you like it?" She patted the short style in place, smiling.
After a second of internal deliberation, he decided upon, "It compliments your face shape." Another eye-roll.
She tugged on his arm. "Come on up to the bridge. We've got new scanners." He followed her up to the bridge where they were greeted by Captain Kirk.
"Hey, Spock, Uhura. Nice hair, by the way." He clapped his hands together with a small grin of excitement. "Anyway, so we leave Earth's orbit in about fifteen minutes. To your stations and all that." Spock acknowledged the smile from Nyota and went to his station. He found that, indeed, the ship had been outfitted with the newest scanners. He spent a minute familiarizing himself with the new controls before running a quick system check. By that time, everyone needed was in the bridge in his or her positions. "Mr. Sulu, Mr. Chekov? Prepared to leave orbit?"
"Yes sir. Leaving orbit now." Sulu directed the ship into space. "Ready to go to warp, Captain?"
"Engage warp drive, Sulu." In moments, stars were streaming before them. The captain debriefed them on their current mission – to deliver equipment and supplies to a Federation colony on a distant moon named Panonar – and the Enterprise's first official mission with Captain James T. Kirk was under way. Spock could not help but feel that it might all be a horrible, irreversible mistake, despite the slight excitement that he quickly repressed.
The voyage to Panonar turned out to be several days long, even with Scotty milking everything he possibly could from the engines, and then some. Spock found himself spending the majority of his free time studying and learning what he could about nearly everything, most significantly, Vulcan II and Earth. As far as other people were concerned, he spoke to Nyota when spoken to, kissed her when kissed first, and did what he thought was proper. For some reason, it wasn't right. If there was anything he hated, it was doing what was logically sound and then, somehow, being punished for it. In this case, she was beginning to be easily upset by anything he did wrong. It just so happened that he tended to do a lot wrong without knowing so beforehand. He was thinking about it one quiet day on the bridge, when his quieter-than-normal, nearly-sulky behavior was noticed.
"What's with you, Spock? You look like you're trying to see through the floor. Unless that's some sort of Vulcan trick and I'm mistaken, you look kinda bummed," Captain Kirk suggested, stretching in his chair. Most of the crew was in the rec room, but a few yeomen shuffled about, checking the scanners and doing other menial tasks.
"'Bummed'? It would seem to me that that is a human emotion. I am merely trying to figure something out."
"Anything I can help with?" Kirk's tone told him that he actually had no interest, and was just bored of sitting around, waiting.
"Doubtful, Captain." He stared at the floor once more, then nearly added a statement to covey gratitude. He decided that it really didn't matter if the Captain didn't actually care in the first place.
"Right. Because I have absolutely no intelligence or experience in anything whatsoever."
"I did not mean to make an assessment on your abilities. Simply, I am not looking for outside input on the matter." The Captain did not respond, so he went back to his thinking. Really, there was no explanation for Nyota's behavior. He had done everything he thought he was supposed to do. The interactions he considered to be appropriate didn't seem to be accepted as well as he thought. Requests that they spend time reading together in the rec room or go over a new dissertation on xenolinguistics were met with a solitary shake of the head. He didn't understand. They shared similar interests, so it would be logical to pursue them together. Apparently, there was some piece of information he was missing.
"Captain? There's indication that there's a ship adrift ahead of us," a very young female yeoman stated, looking up from a datapad. Spock looked to the Captain. He nodded.
"Yeoman, see if you can pick up a signal from the ship." She sat at the communications panel and tried several buttons.
"Sir, I'm not getting any signals."
"Wait, I think I'm picking something up…it's…I don't know what to make of it, Captain. It's almost like…breathing, panting, I think." He signaled her to open a transmission to the other ship.
"This is Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise. Are you in need of assistance?" There was no response for a full minute. Then, a soft, breathy voice spoke up.
"Yes, Captain…can you beam myself and my crew mates aboard? There's only three of us left. Please…"
"Yes, just a moment." He turned and made a ship-wide announcement telling Scotty to head for the transport room to beam aboard the three passengers. "Spock, man the bridge. I'm going to go greet our new passengers." He got up and left in the turbolift. Spock took the Captain's chair.
"Yeoman, run diagnostic scans on the other ship. We can assume that crew members have died, and I would like to know why."
"Yes, Commander Spock." He sat and waited for her to come up with any sort of information. "Radiation levels are normal, life support systems are functioning…that's all we can tell from this distance." A few moments later, Kirk sent him a message on his comm unit.
"Mr. Spock, meet me in the conference room." Spock left with a quick instruction to the assorted crew members on the bridge to not change anything. In the conference room, Captain Kirk was seated across from a woman and two men. He indicated to Spock to seat himself next to him.
"Ms. Marna, Mr. Ines and Mr. Tate, this is my First Officer, Mr. Spock. Why don't you tell us what happened?"
The woman took a deep breath and begun, "We're not sure how it started. We were transporting our cargo, a shipment of small dilithium crystals, four days from our destination when something strange started happening. The temperature onboard began to fluctuate. We thought there was something wrong with the life support systems because it began getting colder, but then there was this awful humidity. The floors in the hallways became slick with ice. But then our engineer said that life support was functioning normally. That's when it started to get hot. The air dried out pretty quickly, but the heat was everywhere. Food spoiled, water evaporated. Pretty soon it was nearly a hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit with absolutely no humidity. Most of the crew died of dehydration."
Kirk nodded. "When did this start happening?"
"About a week ago."
"Was it just after you came back from shore leave? A contaminant, perhaps?" Spock queried. The woman shook her head.
"We checked everything. Everything was decontaminated. Our sensors didn't recognize any contaminants. There was no cause."
"Alright. Security, escort Ms. Marna and her crew members to sickbay, and make sure to tell them where the mess hall is. Ms. Marna, I assure you, we'll get to the bottom of this, and, as soon as possible, we'll send a team to collect the remains of your crew and, if possible, fix the problem. For now, rest assured that you are in capable hands."
"Thank you, Captain." The security guards escorted the three out. When the doors closed behind them, Kirk turned to Spock.
"I'm not sure, Captain. It's strange that what ever it is would cause completely opposite climate changes. We should double check their life support systems to make sure it isn't an error in the programming or machinery. At this time, I cannot think of any reason for such problems."
"Alright. I'll assemble a team to beam aboard and take a quick poke around."
"If I may, Captain, I would like to volunteer for such a team."
"I don't know, Spock. We don't know what's on that ship. I would prefer not to lose my First Officer before our first official mission."
"My Vulcan physiology is better suited to high temperatures than that of anyone else aboard the Enterprise. Also, I may notice something others might overlook."
"I won't say no, but you're still wearing a climate suit."
"Of course, Captain. Would you like me to assemble the team while you alert Starfleet of the possible delay? We have dropped out of warp."
"Yes. Just don't take Scotty quite yet. I would prefer to know more about the conditions before we send our best engineer. On that note, leave Bones as well."
"Certainly. I will gather a small team and be back as quick as possible with a report and any samples we might be able to find." Spock got up and left the room. He checked a datapad for information on the crew, and picked out the three others he needed, telling them to go to the transport room in a few minutes. He was heading to sickbay to see about the climate suits.
"Mr. Spock? Are you sick? You don't look sick, and I'm a little busy trying to rehydrate people here." McCoy's tone made his statement sound more like get the hell out.
"I apologize, Doctor, I simply wish to collect four climate suits. They are all in working order, I presume?"
"Yeah, they're in working order." He began grumbling something unintelligible and no doubt aimed at Vulcans as he tended to a crew member.
"Good. Oh, and I have relieved you of Nurse Chapel for the present, as we need someone with medical knowledge to assist when we go aboard. The Captain has disallowed me from taking you."
"Right. Fine, you can have her for now. Just don't get her killed or any of that. Good medical staff is hard to come by, you know. Not like you science officers or..." Spock largely ignored the response; considering that he had not asked any questions, it was unnecessary. McCoy brought him the four suits he requested, assuring him that they were all in good working order. He left with the suits for the transport room. As he and the small team were all putting them on, he debriefed them on the aims of the mission ahead. He them over. He had Nurse Chapel as a medical officer, a Mr. Tillman in engineering, and a Mr. Levine as their security detail. They looked young, like a lot of the crew, but still useful, according to the information on them in the ship's database. When everything was on properly and adjusted, they went to the transport pads. He signaled Scotty to beam them aboard the other vessel. A slight tingling sensation and they were on the other ship's bridge.
What they found, he decided, was more or less equivalent to the human concept of Hell.
Author's Note: So, I just want to say right off the bat that I don't own Star Trek, obviously. Also, it will eventually be slash. K/S. and the title is from a song (a good one): Starlight by Muse. I kinda think it's basically nuSpock's song...That's basically it...oh, and feedback is appreciated.