Chapter 3

Meeting My Counterpart

"Father." I stopped. It was odd hearing one's own voice… Odder still being called 'father' by oneself. I almost continued walking, but paused. Had enough occurred for this meeting to be safe? Logically, quickly, I went through the scenarios. It was likely that my counterpart would find it most logical to abandon Starfleet to live amongst the Vulcans. This was not his destiny and… Well, it seemed that only I would be able to correct…myself.

I turned to face me. "I am not our father."

He stared at me and I could feel his mind racing – my mind racing. They connected even without touch, being one in the same. He started towards me at a slow, cautious pace. I went to him at a much quicker one. "There are so few Vulcans left," I explained. "We cannot afford to ignore each other."

His brows drew together and, as I watched the confusion glimmer over his features, I realized why Jim always found it so simple to read me. I was a very expressive creature, though it was painfully obvious that I was attempting to hide it. Hm…

"Then why would you send Kirk aboard when you alone could have explained the truth?"

"Because you needed each other." And will always need each other. I wanted this Spock to soak up every last moment he could have with Jim. Memories lasted just as long as a Vulcan did. "I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both…in ways you cannot yet realize." I hid my romantic relationships as best I could, tucking in a corner even I could not reach.

"How did you persuade him to keep your secret?"

"He inferred that universe-ending paradoxes would ensue should he break his promise."

"You lied," my counterpart realized.

"Oh…" Now that was taking it rather far. "I… I implied."

"A gamble." It was fascinating to me how different I was, how young and inexperienced. This counterpart of myself, this younger me… It was a small blow to realize that I had not always been so all-knowing.

"An act of faith," I corrected. "One I hope that you'll repeat in the future in Starfleet."

I felt his argument coming along with the regret of his decision. "In the face of extinction, it was only logical I resign my Starfleet commission and help rebuild our race."

"And yet, you can be in two places at once." I hoped he would see the irony. "I urge you to remain in Starfleet. I have already located a suitable planet on which to establish a Vulcan colony. Spock, in this case, do yourself a favor." I took a step towards myself. "Put aside logic. Do what feels right." I took a few steps away, but turned back. I had not said farewell, but…

"Since my customary farewell would appear oddly self-serving, I shall simply say…" I held up my hand in the Vulcan salute. "Good luck."

He held up his own hand, saying nothing, and I walked off.

Much later, I was in the assembly hall of Starfleet's academy to watch destinies unfold.

"This assembly calls Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Your inspirational valor and supreme dedication to your comrades is in keeping with the highest traditions of service, and reflect utmost to yourself, your crew and the Federation. It is my honor to award you with this commendation."

A medal, the first of many to come, was pinned to his clothing. "By Starfleet Order 28455, you are hereby directed to report to Admiral Pike, U.S.S. Enetrprise, for duty as his relief." After shaking hands with the man, he walked to the wheelchairbound Admiral and shook his hand as well.

"I relieve you, sir."

Pike smiled. "I am relieved."

Jim nodded once, struggling to keep his face stoic. "Thank you, sir."

"Congratulations, Captain." Their hands clasped. "Your father would be proud."

And applause erupted. Pleased, I nodded. "Thrusters on full," I reminisced.

In my mind, I could hear Sulu's brisk voice. "Maneuvering thrusters and impulse engines at your command, sir."

And then Chekov. "Veapons systems and shields on standby."

Uhura would speak next. "Dock Control reports ready, Captain."

In his chair, Kirk would hit the intercom. "Scotty, how we doing?"

"Dilithium chamber's at maximum, Captain."

"Mr. Sulu, prepare to engage thrusters."

"Take us out."

"Aye-aye, Captain."

My eyes closed. And I smiled softly. "These," I whispered, "are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Her ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before."

My eyes opened slowly. "What will they find when I am ripped apart? 'I love you, Captain,' written on my heart." Turning, I walked out.

p.s. "I turned to face me." – I never thought I would EVER be able to write that line. Spocktimus Prime ftw.