"Speak your mind, Spock."
"That would be unwise."
"What is necessary is never unwise." Sarek and Spock
There was no way they were getting off Earth, circa 1942, any time soon. "What do you say to a little exploring?" Kirk asked, a happy grin already twitching the corners of his mouth upward.
They raided a clothesline first. Found a kids' sweater for Checkov, who ended up looking so good in green Sulu gave him a cap to go with it. Work pants were produced for all, as were shirts and leather shoes, which felt so right, so much better than the flimsy one-size-fits-all from Star Fleet. Kirk had grown up in clothes like this, because, really, fashion hadn't changed much in two hundred plus years.
Spock was the only one who looked uncomfortable. He was also the only one who didn't quite fit into the clothes: Vulcan physique, while extremely similar to human, produced broader shoulders and forearms, narrow hips, long legs. Finally, after a short puff of frustration, Spock ripped off the sleeves of the shirt and placed them carefully back on the clothesline.
Well, that made Kirk laugh harder than he had in a while, and Bones pointed out that he was pretty sure frustration was an emotion, and did Spock think living around humans was compromising his carefully honed robotic qualities?
Spoil-sport that Spock was, he refused to rise to the bait.
"I'we newer been to Seattle!" Checkov said, cheeks reddening in the brisk wind. He ignored Bones comment that, as a seventeen-year-old whiz kid who'd spent most of his time on the Star Fleet compound, there were probably a lot of places he hadn't been.
Of course, after that Kirk had to admit he'd never been to Seattle, either. Sulu mentioned that he'd been to Europe, and Japan, and California, and a few of the outer rim planets as a child, but never to Washington. Spock stated, quietly, that his duties as an officer rarely permitted him time to go gallivanting across the country.
Which made Bones their honorary tour guide. "Don't expect no fun facts, kids. Remember, it's the nineteen forties. They probably don't even have decent electronics, let alone technology that can put us in contact with Scotty."
Kirk brushed this aside with the confidence of one accustomed to confidence. "They're looking for us, Bones, and Scotty probably has enough technology for both ends. We can afford a little fun."
The five chattered comfortably among themselves, strolling along the large streets, leaning against the guard rails that over looked the docks. The smell of fish was overpowering, but undeniably pleasant, and Sulu related a story from his childhood, growing up the son of a Japanese fisherman and not being able to swim until he was thirteen years old, "at which point my father became fed up with my excuses and threw me off his dock."
"What happened?" Kirk asked, backing away from the guard rail and looking at the churning sea warily, making Sulu smile.
"Well, everyone knows how to swim. I managed to float there for a while. My brothers were yelling at me from the dock – all older, all great swimmers. I started to go under when I realized the water was, at most, three feet deep." The laughter from the others dissuaded the old embarrassment from the story and Sulu grinned.
"I never did learn how to swim." Spock commented lightly.
Kirk turned on him, incredulous. "Really? That's not safe." His brow furrowed for a second before he shrugged. "I'll teach you on the holodeck, if you want."
Spock's eyebrow inched towards his hairline. "I fail to see how that is necessary. Vulcan is a --" Spock stopped short, choking on his words and closing his eyes for a brief moment, making the other four shift uncomfortably, sympathetically. It was times like these where the loss of Vulcan would wash over Spock like an unexpected wave, and they could do nothing but stand, wait for it to pass.
Finally, Spock opened his eyes, offered the barest hint of a smile, proof that he'd been around humans too long, appeasing them with expressions, "yes, captain, I agree it would be beneficial to learn to swim, seeing how Earth is 70.8% water."
Spock wasn't the only one who could offer a fake smile. Kirk plastered one of his own, wildly trying to come up with a distraction. "Let's see if one of these stores have anything we can use." Of course, he didn't know how they'd pay for the technology. He'd just have to hope that Scotty figured out how to reverse the worm hole, and soon.
The store they went into was spacious, filled with odds and ends. The five meandered through it, picking up broken radios, antennas, primitive satellites. Checkov or Spock would finger the object and either hold onto it or place it back on the shelves. They had gotten about halfway through the store, to the counter at the midpoint, before anyone else even talked to them.
"Hey!" The man behind the counter, who had been leaning across it to talk to two men in blue, 1940's police officers, looked up, face hard. "What's he doing here?" He jabbed a finger in the direction of the crew, though exactly who he was pointing at was unclear. They stiffened anyway, hands automatically flying towards phasers, hidden in the folds of the flannel jackets.
Kirk was the one who spoke up, clearing his throat and trying to remember how to look innocent. "Excuse me, sir, is there a problem?" Respectful, but with the hint of power laced into the words.
The man didn't back down, jabbed his finger again, "I don't serve fucking commies. He should be arrested!"
The police shifted, their own hands going to their guns, only theirs were exposed. And now all three citizens were staring, hard, at Sulu.
"Aw, damn." Bones whispered, remembering ancient, pre-World-War-III history, something about Japanese-Americans, something about camps. The group closed around Sulu – Kirk directly in front, Bones on his right, Spock on his left. Checkov's hand rested on Sulu's forearm and he watched the Asian's face shutter closed.
Kirk was doing his damndest to suppress the hot-headed farm boy that was threatening to overpower his captain's patience. "But he hasn't done anything wrong! He hasn't broken any laws --"
"That's what they all say." The police officer wasn't as angry as the shopkeeper; his voice was tired, as if he'd been through this drill too many times before. "You just can't trust any of them."
"It's their slanted eyes." The other cop supplied helpfully. "Slanted eyes and crooked ways." He stepped forward, and now he had handcuffs in hand. "They're all supposed to be in the internment camps, anyway. Executive order 9066." As if that was an explanation.
"Ju cannot awest Hikaru! He has done nuffing wong!" McCoy elbowed Checkov and he stopped short with a quiet whimper of protest.
Now the other police officer had a gun in his hand, looking almost apologetic, while beside him the shopkeeper looked apocalyptic. "Now just come on, and no one has to be hurt." He touched Spock's hand as he reached passed the Vulcan for Sulu and Spock reacted instinctively, flipping his hand over and catching the cop's wrist, holding it with his Vulcan strength, three times that of a human.
"Hey!" This from the shopkeeper, who had barreled out from behind his counter. Now the five from the Enterprise had dropped the electronics they'd been holding and fell easily into fighting stances, still circling Sulu, because, really, the whole thing was rather ludicrous and barbaric. Kirk felt his respect for the twentieth century slip a little every time one of the cops or the shopkeeper glanced in Sulu's direction, as if he couldn't recognize their scathing, demeaning looks.
"Arrest them all!" The shopkeeper bellowed, throwing his hands up in exasperation. "Arrest them for disturbing the peace!"
"That one can't even speak English, Duke." The cop who's arm had been caught by Spock grabbed his hand back and pointed it this time at Checkov, looking uneasy. "Maybe they are commies."
"I assure you, we are nothing of the sort, and if you continue to attempt to detain us, the odds are not in your favor." Spock's voice came out smooth, but Kirk, who had been listening for it, wary, heard the hints of accent trailing beneath the words, knew that the police had heard it, too.
When the cops tightened the grips on their guns, Bones murmured the words Kirk had been wanting to say out loud. "Hold steady, ya'll, let them finish what they's started."
That was the breaking point for the shopkeeper, who was now gesticulating wildly. "And he's from fucking Dixie! I'll be damned if they aren't commies!"
The older cop, Duke, looked at the Enterprise crew, and now it was his turn to be wary. He sidled over to Spock first, perhaps having taken notice of his quickness when it came to his partner. "I'm going to have to ask you all to come with me downtown." He held his gun firm, not pointing it anyone in particular. "And I'm not going to ask twice."
Spock shifted his body slightly, moving so he could cover both Sulu and Checkov with his body, so he'd be the first into the inevitable fray. The tiny movement was enough, it seemed, and the younger cop reacted, scared, striking Spock with his gun.
The hit may have felled a human, but it only made Spock stagger into Bones, only made Kirk bare his teeth and all but growl at the man, one hand exploring Spock's head until he found it….oh, God.
His sentiment was echoed around the room. "Oh my God!" This from all three civilians, staring at the green running down Spock's face in horror. That was the signal.
Sulu surged forward, striking the shopkeeper with moves learned from too many years of martial arts, a few well-placed hits knocking the man out. Bones, arms full of Spock, could only watch as Kirk and Checkov dashed for the same cop, the one who'd hit Spock, leaving one man open, aiming his gun.
The scene dematerialized, and Bones would never again disavow miracles when he found himself on board the Enterprise, Scotty staring at him from behind the transport station, his companions blinking stupidly at the change of scene.
"Damn!" Kirk hissed, crossing over to Bones, helping him lower a limp Spock to the floor of the transport pad, Checkov and Sulu looking on anxiously. "He was shot!"
"No kidding?" Bones breathed, his hands already easily ripping the tea, exposing a gaping green hole in Spock's side, thin blood spilling out. "Another perfect mission." Bones shot a scathing look at Kirk making him feel all of ten years old. "Sightseeing was a brilliant idea, Jim."
And even though Spock was rushed to medbay and sowed back together, and then unsowed when Bones remembered, suddenly, that the frickin' ancient projectile could still be inside, and then re-sowed…even though Spock turned out perfectly fine, albeit a little dizzy from loss of blood, even though Checkov and Sulu, shaken and hurt from the bigotry long forgotten, were helping each other lick their wounds. Even though Kirk knew Bones was only scared for Spock when he said those words brilliant idea, Jim…well, Kirk could know all these things, and still know that, despite everything, it was his fault, all his fault, that they'd ended up in that position, and he couldn't take that back.
So, this will be a five-part story, all mistakes by Kirk, building up to a ginormous, awful, huge mistake. But there will only be five parts.