The Icicle Melts Chapter 1
Author: My Amalgamut
Universe/Series: Star Trek {Reboot | STXI | AU}
Rating: PG-13 (sensitive subject matter and some language)
Word count: 2,173 (this chapter)
Genre: General | Drama
Tropes: Tarsus IV
Warnings: Sensitive subject matter including (but not limited to) child neglect, abuse, and genocide
Summary: Amanda Grayson is one volunteer of hundreds helping Starfleet clean up the mess Kodos left of Tarsus IV. While on the planet she encounters an impulsive, defiant, all around wreck of a kid by the name of Jim Kirk. Logic would tell anyone to step back and leave it. Amanda had been called a great many things in the years since Vulcan had been made her home... but logical certainly wasn't one of them.
Beta: Much mad love to LJ user fagur_fiskur for the beta read. I dedicate this first chapter to her.

The Icicle Melts

Chapter One

It had been one week since the Federation and its rescue teams had arrived on Tarsus IV. What had greeted them upon contact was the hellish battlefield of a once simple colony torn apart by panic, famine, and violence.

Amidst the chaos caused by Kodos' tyranny it took the fleet days before they could begin evacuating even the most able-bodied colonists. After seven days of rounding up terrified people into massive ships, hunting down and incarcerating the dictator's supporters, and wading through a seemingly endless tide of beaurocracy, the mass of the relief effort finally set course back to Earth. Left behind was a ragtag medical camp set up to tend to those who were too injured or sick to be moved immediately. Operating near solely on volunteer sweat, the team was assisted by a select platoon of Starfleet officers with orders to continue searches throughout their duration on the colony in an attempt to recover anyone left alive, either disabled or just too scared to have come forth on their own.

This was how Amanda Grayson, volunteering for the Starfleet Tarsus IV recovery mission, met Jim Kirk.

"No! Let go of me! Let go! You bastards are just like them! Let me go!"

Amanda was startled enough to drop her data PADD as a child was dragged, cursing and flailing wildly, into the makeshift medical ward she had been resupplying. She whirled around to see two aids manhandle the struggling boy onto one of the gurneys. He was covered in dirt and muck from head to toe, smudged all over his clothes and skin in varying shades of brown to black, but the layers of debris still could not dull or hide the blonde sheen of his hair. She would place the boy's age somewhere between twelve and fifteen, but it was hard to tell for sure given the physical state of the few children they'd recovered.

"Amanda, we need a sedative now!" one of the men barked.

Amanda stood quickly, but didn't move to the cabinet where she'd just deposited the sterile hypos. From the very beginning she'd had trouble with the concept of using such strong medications on children who had already suffered so much trauma to their bodies. Large, electrifying blue eyes pinning her stare, sharp and vibrant despite their sunken appearance, didn't make it any less debatable.

"Amanda!" the aid yelled again with a grunt, because he'd just taken a muddy shoe to the face.

Before she could respond, the boy snarled out a warning. "You bring a needle anywhere near me and you won't take away that hand."

He continued to struggle in the grip of the larger men (who were fit and healthy and a little on the bulky side, in fact, so how in the world did it take that much manpower to restrain a child that was barely skin and bones?). His eyes, however, remained locked with hers in a battle of wills.

"Why are you fighting? We're here to help you," Amanda said, a serenely as possible over the clatter of the instruments he'd just managed to boot across the room.

He laughed meanly, twisting his arm until it looked he might pull something, but the aid only held tighter. "Right," he spat. "Just like you're helping Kodos' dogs, too?"

She took a deep breath. "We're here to help. That means everyone."

That only seemed to make him angrier. He yelled louder, and the early signs of a developing infection became apparent when the words sounded as if they scratched his lungs coming up. "What everyone, lady? Take a look, not a whole lotta everyone to go around, and guess whose fault that is? If you're helping those pigs then you're the enemy, too!"

She went quiet. There was no argument that she could make that would hold any sort of significance for this child. It barely made sense to Amanda, and only in that skewed way that social sensitivity in the midst of these sorts of tragedies ever made sense.

She had volunteered for the Tarsus mission, like so many others, because the news of what had happened to the colony was so heinous it made her physically ill upon hearing it. How could she not want to help these people? Yet it was a double edged sword, because in doing so she was resigned to also help in the rescue of men who she considered nothing above murderers. These were men who'd hunted down and slaughtered innocent civilians, children like the one before her, for the sake of keeping their own hides off Kodos' radar. It was sickening. It was even more repugnant when she thought of bandaging the wounds of these same men. Yes, they would be in prison, eventually when they recuperated enough to stand trial in Federation court, but they would never know any true regret or remorse for their actions.

Oh, she understood the logic behind Fleet's offer of leniency to supporters who turned themselves in, of course she did, but all of those reasons were political. Not one appealed to her humanity in the least and there were parts of Amanda (large ones) that sided with the boy. It was a matter of moral confliction that Amanda had more difficulty reconciling than she wanted to admit, as a pacifist and an intellectual, and here was this little boy digging into it with mucky fingers.

Oh, if Sarek could see her now.

She approached slowly, but confidently, and knelt down so that she wouldn't be so imposing. She tried a small smile. It occurred to her that she would just have to use the same tactics with him that she used to coach herself each and every time she had to venture in good will to that one tent they kept on the far side of camp, barred away from the colonist patients.

"It's true, we... can't discriminate against those who need our help right now, and as unfair as it must seem to you, that includes people who helped Kodos. We can't decide who deserves to live and who doesn't. Wasn't that what started this mess in the first place?" That gave the young man pause. She sensed some hedge way and pushed. "Please. I promise we won't hurt you. We're not here for Kodos. I'm here because I just want to talk to you and make sure you're going to be okay. And perhaps try to get you to eat something? I won't make you do or say anything you don't want to."

It was physically apparent when he finally gave in. She saw the little body lose some of its tension, if only marginally at first, and there was a quick flash in his eyes that came and went with the word 'eat'. When his body let go of the fight completely he seemed to shrink before her eyes, suddenly so much smaller than he'd appeared seconds before.

"... I guess. Jus'..." He bit his lip and trailed off. His eyes flickered to the floor and back a couple times in hesitation before he continued. "Just, no drugs, okay? I don't need 'em, and..." He jerked one of his arms, still gripped uncomfortably by the aid standing over him. "Can it just be you? I won't fight, or run or nothin'. Promise."

She caught it when he muttered "cuz these two're jackasses" under his breath, giving a subtle nod at the aids. Her lips twitched but she withheld a laugh.


She stood and motioned for the men to let him go. Warily, they released him and moved back a step each. The boy rubbed his arms where their hands had been, but made no move to go anywhere. She frowned disapprovingly at the red marks they'd left, obvious even under the dirt. The two men at least had the sense to look abashed under the glare she settled on them.

Amanda walked them to the entrance of the facility (what they commonly referred to as 'tents' around camp were something more like the frame of an old terran double-wide trailer covered with a durable poly-cloth tarp) and assured them that she didn't need their assistance.

"Be careful," one of them warned. "We've been after him for three days. He's quick, kept giving us the slip. Floored we managed to catch him off guard. I'd use the sedative until we can talk some sense into him, if I were you."

The way they spoke of it, as if they'd been hunting an escaped fugitive instead of a helpless kid, bothered her. She'd noticed that as time wore on, more and more of the officers that Starfleet had stationed were treating it that way in their weariness, and it just added to her growing list of worries on Tarsus. She thanked the man for his advice, if a bit patronizingly, and sent them on their way. When they were gone, she turned back to find the boy still on the gurney, looking around and fidgeting like he didn't know how to sit still for all the world. She took a second to fret over the several muscular disorders that his twitching could be a sign of, then took another to be sad that any of those were a real possibility and that she couldn't just grant it as the nervous child's gesture it probably was.

But she was not a doctor, and she was going to have someone who was look at him soon, so for now she would direct her attention to the basics.

"May I know your name?" she asked, dispelling the quiet.

He looked at her, startled, as if he'd forgotten she was even there. "Uh... yeah. My name's, uh- whole name?"

"If that's okay. We need record of survivors."

Something changed in his face when she picked up her fallen PADD, darkening as he tensed up all over again. His eyes were trained on the device in her hand, watching it like she'd just picked up a rifle. She glanced down at the PADD and back.

"Kodos... he took lists like this, didn't he?" He didn't have to say anything, she could see the answer as clear as day.

"He went out an' surveyed everyone," he responded anyway. His voice wavered as he recalled the memory. "Told everyone… told us the lists were for something they weren't."

Jim kept glaring at the formerly innocuous piece of technology, his expression a mask of suspicion and his posture a little too much an imitation of a cornered animal. Her little bit of progress was quickly reverting in on itself and Amanda knew then and there that she would need to avoid any actions even slightly reminiscent of the madman's. At least until he trusted her more. She set the PADD down and raised her hands in surrender.

"Okay, alright. No lists. You don't even need to give me your full name yet, but it would help me greatly if I at least knew what to call you?"

He studied her face with narrowed eyes, searching for what Amanda couldn't guess, but she stayed still and let him do it. After some minutes of what was turning into a staring contest, he finally let his fists unfurl (she hadn't even noticed they'd furled at all) and leaned back again, satisfied by whatever it was he saw. And though he did not break the stare outright, she did notice his gaze flicking to something behind her, try as he might to conceal it. She blinked, intrigued, and turned to follow his line of sight.


A mini-fridge sat just a few feet away, tucked into an inconspicuous corner next to the computer terminal. He obviously recognized it exactly for what it was. Amanda quickly made her way over to it and kneeled down to open the small door, pulling out one of the pre-packaged sandwiches and small bottles of water that the camp kept stocked for the volunteers. It wasn't the food intended for the colonists- who, for their own health, were supposed to be placed on strictly mandated rations until the doctors said otherwise- but she'd work with what was available on short notice. She opened the package and popped the top of the water bottle, handing the drink and half the sandwich to him with a reminder not to devour it too quickly.

Unsurprisingly, he didn't listen. The food was gone in a matter of seconds, maybe less. He took a second to wipe the crumbs from his mouth, and then lick them off his fingers, completely mindless of the dirt he swallowed down right along. He gave the other half of the sandwich a lingering glance, but was appeased enough for the moment to answer her question at last.

"Jim. You can call me Jim."

Her smile finally graduated from carefully cheery to soft and genuine, something she was much more comfortable with. She allowed herself a tiny sense of victory. "Jim. It's so nice to meet you. My name is Amanda."

To Be Continued...

This is a non-profiting, fan-based work of fiction. Star Trek and all subsequent properties are (c) Gene Roddenberry and Paramount Pictures.