McCoy stood outside the cargo hold, scratching the fresh scar on his face. It ran from the corner of his right eye down to where nose met cheek. It wasn't pretty but he'd chosen not to fix it. He figured since he'd gotten it trying to save his captain from the rebels, he'd keep it as a reminder of his failure.

"McCoy," Spock said, as he approached the doors to the cargo hold. "I assume you wish to say something to me?"

"Are you going to be ok in there, Captain?" McCoy asked roughly. He sympathized with the man but any sign of weakness might be exploited later. "I could offer you a sedative?"

"Not necessary, I ate a handful of truffles before coming here." Spock smiled. "The good stuff, too. Eighty percent cacao."

"Chocolate courage?"

"Something like that, and don't call me Captain." Spock walked through the door where most of the crew had assembled. He walked to where the photon torpedo casing had been placed in front of the exit port. Spock laid his hands on it caressing it as he had done his lover's body just a few days ago.

"Our James Tibereous Kirk was a great man, soldier and Captain," Spock began addressing the crew. "He lead us through countless victories and punished us for our defeats." He paused, his fingers curling on the shell's surface making small dents in the metal. "The rebels can't even begin to imagine the fury we will unleash upon them!" Spock yelled, before steadying his voice again. "To say I will avenge him is an understatement, but I cannot do it alone." The crew nodded at him in agreement. "We cannot do it without our captain, so I will get us another one." Spock pressed the control allowing his beloved's body to be jettisoned into space as whispers started among the crew, had the half-breed lost his mind? "Senior officers to the conference room in one hour." Spock walked away without looking back.

"Captain?" someone called.

"I am not your Captain," Spock said, through clenched teeth.

"Oh god Spock," Kirk moaned. "I'm dying."

"Should I alert sickbay, Captain?"

"You think this is funny?" he asked, turning to look back at his First Officer from the captain's chair.

"You are like an overgrown puppy," Uhura chimed in, fondly. "You're in need of your daily dose of activity."

"If anyone here's a puppy, it's the cocker spaniel at Tactical."

"Mr. Chekov is one of the greatest tacticians of our time," Spock responded.

"Thank you, Commander," the young ensign said.

"Or rather you will be, when you reach maturity."

"Was that a joke, Spock?" Kirk laughs, along with the rest of the bridge crew. "Not bad."

"On the contrary, sir, merely a statement of fact."

"If you are that bored, sir," Sulu added. "I can see if I can find a Klingon vessel on long range sensors for us to "accidentally" run into."

"That will be unnecessary, Lieutenant." Spock interrupted Kirk before he could answer. "The captain will simply have to amuse himself some other way."

"Oh, come on Spock. Is it too much to ask for a little excitement?"

"I believe there is an Earth proverb that states "Be careful what you wish for."

"You've really gone off the deep end this time Cap-Commander," McCoy would always be the only one that could speak freely to Spock, the others too scared of the volatile half-Vulcan.

"The plan will work, we will just need to anticipate the actions of our counterparts. If faced with this scenario, how would you respond? Chekov?"

"I'd be analyzing the phenomenon and then trying to close the fissure. Best course would be to incapacitate me and my console. Disruptor blast to the console would take me out as well."

"I'd grab for the weapon I keep at the ready in my station, for security breaches. I'd attack any intruders."

"I would be trying to alert security personnel. Get more people to the bridge."

"I will take care of my counterpart." Spock smiled.

Everyone on the bridge continued about their daily task. Spock and Chekov monitored sensor readings while Sulu scanned space for more efficient trajectories, monitoring obstacles and adjusting heading accordingly. Uhura relayed communications from the bridge to various parts of the ship and forwarded responses as necessary.

"Captain, I'm picking up peculiar readings," Chekov stated. "A highly localized disturbance, sir"

"I am picking up similar readings, Captain," Spock confirmed.

"Where?" Kirk asked, consulting his own armrest monitors.

"Here, sir, the bridge,"

"What is it?"

"According to these readings, a wormhole."

"To where?" Kirk asked.

"It's gone." Chekov announced.

"Gone?"

"Yes, sir."

"Mr. Spock, have the Science Team analyze the sensor readings and report to me when you have some answers."

"Affirmative, sir." Spock said already heading towards the turbo lift. The equipment in his station in the science department world be more thorough.

"Hopefully, it was a passing phenomenon."

Once again the senior staff was assembled in the conference room.

"Our test was a success and we are ready to proceed." Spock addressed the group. "Report to your stations and prepare. We will go ahead at 1400 hours."

"It's back, sir."

"The wormhole?"

"Yes, sir. It's only .95cm across and located . . . here." Chekov looked to his left at the space between his and Sulu's station.

"Full stop, Sulu." Kirk reached for the communication console on his arm, "Mr. Spock?"

"I'm on my way, Captain. We also detected the anomaly in the Science Department."

"Where does it lead, Chekov?"

"Unsure, sir. The readings are distorted. I can tell you that the fissure is increasing in size, 1.25cm."

"I can see it," Kirk said as a faint glimmer appeared before him. "Are we in danger here?"

"I don't know. I detect no gravitational pull towards it."

The turbo lift doors open and Spock entered the bridge. Everyone was busy at their stations and barely noticed the Commander's entrance except for Kirk.

"Report," Kirk asked.

"Previous sensor reading were insufficient to determine an exit point for the wormhole," Spock answered walking to his station and keying in his access code. "This fissure is significantly larger than the previous and continuing to expand." The light from the fissure was blinding and the fissure was now a meter across.

Spock walked towards the tactical station. "Mr. Chekov, have you been able to determine where the wormhole leads?"

"No, Commander," Chekov answered. "Our readings are being bounced back. The sensors are telling me that the Enterprise Bridge is on the other side of the fissure."

"Interesting," Spock said.

"Where did it come from? Did we hit it?"

"No, sir," Spock answered. "It seems to have just formed here."

"So it's not a natural phenomenon?"

"No sir."

"Computer, seal the turbo lifts and lockout communication to and from the bridge. Command code: Uhura-9-theta-1." Everyone was looking at monitors and keying in commands, so when Uhura's voice rang out with such surprising words everyone turned to her.

"What? I didn't . . ." An explosion sounded from the front of the bridge and they all turned to see . . . another Uhura? pointing a phaser at the Tactical station. She was nearly identical down to the uniform, though she did have a gold sash around her waist. The blast from her phaser had shorted the console and shocked the young navigator. Spock was lying on the ground a few feet away having been throw by the blast. Sulu reached for his side arm and katana. He fired at the impostor intruder and she deflected the phaser with a shot of her own. He keyed the katana to extend and swung in her direction. She stepped back and another katana emerged from the fissure, blocking his strike.

"What the fuck?" Kirk said seeing now two Sulu's engaged in a sword fight and the second Uhura pointing her phaser at the row of console along the back wall of the bridge. "Everybody down!" He yelled a warning but he was too late and her phaser blast traveled through the computers and incapacitated all the bridge officers stationed there. Another figure was coming out of the fissure but Kirk's attention was on the Uhura intruder as she pointed her phaser at Kirk and fire a low voltage at his leg. It collapsed under him and he fell into a kneel. She moved closer and pointed her weapon at him again.

"Lieutenant," Spock's voice called to her. She turned back towards the voice.

"Aww, I was just having fun . . ." she answered.

"Get back to the ship, both of you," Spock ordered, but he didn't look like himself. His hair was styled to cover his ears and eyebrows. Kirk thought he looked almost human. He was still tall and lean and graceful but there was a darkness in this man's eyes, a darkness he'd only seen for a split second when Spock had his hand around Kirk throat.

Uhura sighed loudly, "As you wish, Cap-Commander." She walked back towards the fissure she fired at Sulu, who was still fighting his double.

"I had him."

"I'm sure."

"He was actually really good. A challenge . . ." The end of their conversation was lost to Kirk's ears as the two entered the fissure and disappeared.

"Spock?" Kirk asked. The man closed his eyes.

"I love the way you say my name. That's just one of the things I've missed," Spock walked over to Kirk and ignored the phaser the man pointed at him. "You won't shoot me, Jim." Spock knelt in front of him and placed his hands on Kirk's face. "I'm sorry," Spock kissed Kirk and put the hypo to his neck. The sedative injected into Kirk on a hiss and he went boneless in Spock's arms. The half-Vulcan threw the unconscious Kirk over his shoulder and turned back to towards the fissure only to have his path blocked by another half-Vulcan.

"You have illegally boarded this vessel and have attacked our crew. You are order to stand down and surrender."

"God, look at that hair." the intruder said. "Sorry Spock, I'm leaving and I'm taking Jim with me."

Spock raised his phaser and said, "If you do not let the Captain go, I will fire on you."

"But then you might hit your Captain."

Spock moved back towards the fissure to block his path but he was still a bit disoriented from the first explosion and he tripped over Sulu's prone body. In the fraction of a second that he lost his footing the impostor raised his weapon and fired at Spock sending the man flying away from the fissure. He could see the man walking to towards the fissure and he knew that if they went through, he might not see Jim again.

"No," he moaned. The man turned and fired again on Spock. He held on to consciousness long enough to see his doppelganger disappear through the fissure and in a blinding light the fissure disappeared. The bridge was eerily silent except for his own breathing and then Spock's world went dark.

"Jim," Spock gasped as he woke up.

"You're in Sickbay," McCoy said immediately at Spock's side in answer to the First Officer's confused look.

"What happened?" Spock asked.

"That's what we've been trying to determine. All we know is that Uhura locked communication and access to the bridge and when we got in, nearly 30 minutes later, everyone was unconscious and the Captain was gone."

"They took him," Spock said, the memories coming slowly.

"They?"

"The intruders. They attacked us and took the Captain. How long ago was that?"

"You've been unconscious for 3 hours and you're the first to wake. Must be your green-blooded constitution."

Spock rose from the biobed on unsteady feet and made his way towards the communication console. "Mr. Scott," Spock called.

"Commander," the engineer's accented voice answered. "Glad you're up and about."

"Please meet me in the Conference Room in 15 minutes."

"Aye, sir."

Spock terminated the communication and said to McCoy as he walked to the sickbay doors. "Please join us as well, Doctor."

McCoy nodded, "Where are you going?"

"To the Science Department. I need to gather more information on the phenomenon."

"You never said, Commander. Was it the Klingon's, the Romulan's behind this?"

"It was me."

Spock, McCoy, Scotty sat around the table in the Conference Room with other Starfleet officers, though none assigned to the Enterprise.

Scotty began by introducing the people around the table, "Mr. Spock these are Captains Lamb, Nevins and Smythe of the Reliant, Endeavour, and Scovil respectively."

"Thank you, Captains, for coming to our aid in this emergency." Spock nodded at each person.

"When you were unconscious," Scotty continued. "Command fell to me but I was thinking we'd need to launch a rescue mission against Klingon's or something. I'm an engineer, not so much a soldier so I contacted Starfleet and they ordered these ships to rendezvous with us. I have also been awaiting override codes for the secure video feeds to see who we were up against. Access is restricted to Ship's Command Officers."

"Well, it seems that the situation is more complicated then that," Spock began. "It's hard to explain but the kidnappers were us, Enterprise crew members."

"Yes," Scotty said, sadly. "We were able to determine that Lt. Uhura's security codes were used to lockout the bridge. I ordered McCoy to put her in isolation in sickbay-"

"That's not what I meant," Spock interrupted, rising from the table and walking to the presentation console. He punched in a few key strokes and the security feed from the bridge began to play.

"It's back, sir."

"The wormhole?"

They all watched the events unfold on the vid up until the impostor Uhura aimed her weapon at the back console and shorted the feed. There was silence in the room when the video went dark, all those present trying to process what they had just seen. It all seemed . . . impossible.

"And after?" Lamb asked, in the quiet.

"I began to regain consciousness," Spock began. "As the Uhura and Sulu doubles reentered the fissure. I looked over to the Captain and a man was lifting him to his shoulder. I pulled my weapon and moved to block his escape and then saw his face. It was me, but not me. We were similar in appearance and yet different, as you could see from the video. As I got closer to the fissure, I tripped over Mr. Sulu and in that second he fired on me. The blast sent me away from the fissure and to the ground. He turned back and fired and I was rendered unconscious once again."

"So," Nevins said. "You're saying that rogue Enterprise clones stole your captain."

"Well," McCoy began. his voice annoyed. "You saw the vid."

They all turned towards the conference room doors, where a commotion could be heard on the other side. The door slid open and an agitated and none too steady Chekov burst in, followed by Nurse Chapel.

"I told you, you shouldn't be on your feet, Ensign." Chapel said to him. "You disobeyed a direct order."

"Pa-Chekov," McCoy began. "If Nurse Chapel hasn't cleared you to leave sickbay, you have to return."

"Niet!" Chekov said, waving the two away. "Commander, I need to show you something."

"What is it, Ensign?" The young man walked over to Spock and showed him the PADD he was holding. "These are the readings that I recorded when I scanned the fissure. My initial assessment was that something about the fissure was causing our sensor signal to be bounced back because the readings I was getting were of the Enterprise bridge."

"You are amending your assessment?"

"Yes, sir. I noticed a .034 phase variance in the readings."

"Sensor malfunction?" Captain Smythe asked.

"No, sir. I also reviewed the bio readings of the intruders on the way here," he said, keying in a new set of reading for the Commander to look at.

"The same phase variance." Spock observed.

"Exactly." Chekov nodded. "The readings I was getting were of the Enterprise bridge, just of another Enterprise bridge."

"I'm not following, Ensign." Captain Nevins said.

"They were from another universe, sir, an alternate reality out of sync with ours."

"Another one?" McCoy exclaimed.

"Jim," a voice whispered by his ear.

Kirk slowly opened his eyes to see Spock leaning down close to him; so close their noses were almost touching. The position felt foreign yet familiar at the same time.

"Spock?" Kirk answered, a little confused and hesitant.

"I am here, t'hy'la."

"The intruders? It was you."

"What's the last thing you remember?"

"You kissing me."

"Then?"

Kirk didn't answer right away because he had conflicting images in his mind. In one Spock put a hypospray to his neck and then everything went dark and in the other he was in Sickbay, laying back on a biobed with Bones placing a device over his eyes and forehead.

"What is it love?"

"It's impossible, I remember you knocking me out and I also remember being in sickbay with Bones."

"Concentrate on the second one, Jim. Why were you in sickbay?"

"Bones was using . . . the imprinter to . . . copy my memories?"

"Yes, Jim! Why? Why were you doing this?"

'In case I was killed, my memories could be preserved."

"Doctor, your procedure was a success. He's accessing the memories!"

"Bones?" Kirk looked past Spock to see that he was in sickbay and Bones and Chapel were standing over to the side monitoring his vitals on consoles.

"But weren't we boarded?" Jim continued. "What about -"

"McCoy!" Jim flinched at Spock's voice.

"I told you sir, we can only copy memories, not erase them. The more he accesses the memory chip, the more the other memories will fade. It will not be instantaneous."

"Why are you talking about me as if I wasn't here?" Jim barely recognized his own voice. He saw Chapel visibly flinch and found he was pleased by her fear.

"Jim," Spock said, soothingly. "You have been through an ordeal."

"What do mean?" Jim asked. "What happened on Corinth IV, the rebel outpost?"

"You died, t'hy'la."

Jim backhanded Spock hard across the mouth. "You failed me."

"Yes, the rebels captured you. The crew and I breached the compound and they slit your throat as I crossed the threshold. I saw you fall and they beamed away."

"Did you pursue?"

"We could not, they had already gone to warp in their escape vessel." Jim's eyes were still hard, disappointed.

"But I brought you back, Jim." Spock said desperate for his lover to be pleased. "You can lay waste to them in revenge for what they did to you!"

Jim placed his hands on Spock's cheeks. He saw a small drop of blood at the corner of Spock's mouth from when he'd hit him. He pressed his thumb to the spot and Spock gasped at the sting before licking the green tinted blood from Kirk's finger.

"Well, done, Commander.

Jim woke with a start next to an extremely warm body. His heart was content, his body sated and at least his two selves agreed that they liked his half-Vulcan lover next to him . . . or above him . . . or below him . . . or behind him. His mind though, was in turmoil. He had conflicting thoughts and memories and it scared and confused him that he didn't know what to believe and which to trust.

For example, he knew with his entire certainty that Spock had been born to Amanda Grayson and Ambassador Sarek. As a young man Spock had left Vulcan, his home, and enlisted in Starfleet. A few years later, at the Battle of Vulcan, Lady Amanda had perished along with the majority of the Vulcan race by the psychotic war criminal Nero.

He also knew, for certain, that Lady Grayson was a high ranking advisor to the Empire and was know for her success in melding Human and Vulcan DNA to enhance the human race. Her efforts had resulted in her hybrid son, Spock, who contained traits from both races. The Kirks and the Grayson's had generations old military ties and Jim and Spock had grown up together. A year ago they had assumed control of the Enterprise after assassinating Captain Pike. They were also lovers and had been for years now, loyal and devoted only to each other.

It seemed both halves of himself were captivated and attracted to Spock, but here on this Enterprise, in this universe he had the right to touch and love him. He gotten the full story from his lover after they'd retired to quarters last night. It seems Kirk had discovered the location of a rebel base. In trying to destroy it, he'd been captured and killed before Spock and the crew could rescue him. When he reflected on the circumstance that brought him to this place he wondered if he should try to find a way home but and equally loud part told him to stay. That this was his place with Spock at his side.

It was both a wonder and relief to feel Spock next to him. His First Officer's lips soft in sleep and a slight green tinge to his cheeks and ears. Kim lazily traced his fingers along the arm thrown across his chest, feeling the muscles under his skin. He followed the line of the sleeping man's back and down the indent of his spine to a particularly sensitive area on Spock's lower back. Under the sensations Spock couldn't remain sleeping and he started to move and stretch against Jim. Spock lifted his head a sleepily blinked up at Jim before smiling and bringing their lips together. Jim returned his kiss, stroking his tongue along side the rougher textured one of Spock. Spock moved between his legs and positioned their cocks against each other and ground down onto him, causing Jim to moan into his mouth. He grabbed at Spock's waist and dragged his hands up his torso feeling Spock's accelerated heartbeat under the skin at the bottom of his ribcage.

"Captain."

"What?" Jim responded to the comm.

"The High Commander has come aboard and wishes to speak to you."

"Fuck," he muttered too low for the comm to pick up but loud enough for Spock to hear as he slid off the bed and began dressing. "Tell him we'll be there in 10 minutes."

"Acknowledged, Captain."

The two men finished dressing and walked together to the conference room. Unlike when they'd gone to quarters during Gamma shift, more of the crew were in the corridors and many expressed shock at seeing the Captain. One ensign fainted dead away and they stepped over her with a laugh. The door to the conference room slid open and luckily Spock's faster reflexes and superior strength prevented Kirk from throwing himself bodily across the table at the man sitting there.

"Murderer!"

"Jim, no," Spock began, holding Jim back.

"Get off of me! I'll kill him!"

"What is this?" Nero demanded. "I come here to offer my report and I'm nearly attacked. Have you lost your mind Kirk?"

"Jim," Spock tried to soothe the struggling man. "Nero's our ally."

"No," Jim insisted. "He killed all those people, my father, your mother!"

"How could he have killed your father, Jim?" Spock asked. "He's sitting right there." Jim noticed for the first time the man sitting a few seats down. At first he only seemed vaguely familiar then it clicked.

"Father?"

"James," High Commander Kirk said. "What's wrong with you?"

"Nero, could you excuse us?" Spock asked.

"Fine," he said, rising and leaving the room. "I'll head to the Mess to get something to eat. Let me know when he's ready."

"I apologize for his display, High Commander." Spock began, once Nero was gone.

"I didn't address you, Spock."

"Yes, sir," Spock dropped his gaze.

"I have been having memory problems since being rescued from the enemy prison," Kirk explained falling back on the official story they'd given the Empire to explain Kirk's disappearance and subsequent reappearance. "I didn't recognize Captain Nero."

"Strange, because your violent reaction suggested otherwise."

"I was mistaken. I do know the Captain, he's head of our mining operation."

"And a standing ally of the Empire and our family for the last 25 years."

"Yes, sir. You found the Narada adrift and signed a treaty with Nero for use of the ship in mining operations in exchange for assistance in repairs"

"Memory seems good to me, son," the High Commander was skeptical. "Maybe you should have that Doctor of yours look you over to be sure."

"Unnecessary," Jim said meeting his father's eyes with a glare.

"That's better," the elder Kirk responded. "That the look I like to see in your eyes. Spock."

"Yes, sir."

"You mother is here. She's in her usual quarters. She asked that you join her at your earliest convenience."

"Jim, if I can be excused?"

"Yes, attend her. I will hear Nero's report and then report to the bridge."

Spock exited the conference room, leaving Jim alone with his father.

"James, are you sure you are fit for duty?" High Commander Kirk questioned his son. "You can't let any of them see weakness, they'd all jump at the opportunity to take your place, especially the half-breed."

"Father, I'm fine, I trust him," Jim wanted to tell his father that Spock had the opportunity to become Captain and instead had brought Kirk back. If that wasn't proof of Spock's love and loyalty, he didn't know what was.

Spock worked closely with Chekov and Scotty to formulate a rescue mission. They had discovered they could create a similar phenomenon and open a portal to the alternate universe where Kirk was being held by generating a wave pulse with an inverse frequency to the phase variance from the readings Chekov had recorded. They had also discovered that the power needed to generate a large enough portal to pass through and hold open while rescuing the Captain would drain the ships energy reserves, "It'll clean 'er out.," as Scotty put it.

They'd performed test runs of opening small fissures on the Reliant, Endeavour, and Scovil because the other universe's Enterprise were probably monitoring for the appearances of fissures. The tests has been for surveillance mostly. Through the fissures Chekov had hacked into the computer systems on the other side and downloaded data on the Empire and the specs of the ISS Enterprise and other tactical information on the alternate universe.

The Endeavour's test just resulted in silence leading the team to believe that either that ship had been destroyed at some point in it's alternate history or had never been built. The Scovil was a lowly science vessel. It seems the Terran Empire wasn't as interested in scientific advancement unless it was weapons upgrades.

This fact gave the crew a decided advantage. The Terran Empire lacked transport capabilities.

Scotty and Chekov were currently working on simulations where they could transport through a fissure into the alternate universe. They'd already decide to transport to the ISS Reliant. In the alternate universe it was a tactical ship, formidable weapons small and fast. The data they'd gathered from the ship was also invaluable in getting uniform specs for replication and appearance modification. Spock was on his way now to medical for follicle stimulation. His counterpart's hair was longer to cover his ears and brows.

"I'm coming with you." McCoy said as Spock walked through the doors of sickbay.

"Illogical," Spock responded. "You are a doctor, not a soldier."

"I don't care." McCoy pressed a hypo to Spock's neck. "He's my best friend and I want to see him home safe."

Spock stared hard at McCoy and knew that no one on this ship would fight as hard to bring the Captain back.

"Here is a list of crew members that have volunteered to come on the rescue mission." Spock handed McCoy a PADD. "We will need at minimum 47 individuals to run the ISS Reliant efficiently. Choose 67 to account for injuries or fatalities."

"What?"

"For the duration of this mission you will be my first officer. Staffing, therefore, is your responsibility."

McCoy nodded at Spock and they parted ways. McCoy commed Dr. M'Benga and told him that until further notice he would be CMO and went to his quarters to go through the list.

Two hours later and McCoy had sent every volunteer a message with orders. Either a call to report for mission briefing or a message to await orders from Lt. Cdr Scott for extra duty shifts to accommodate the missing crew members. Now he was to meet Spock to prepare for the staff briefing.

"Mr. Chekov?," McCoy said, surprised to see the young man outside his quarters. Chekov said nothing but put his hand on McCoy's chest and pushed him back into his quarters. Once the door closed behind him he started a litany in Russian, his anger palpable.

"Pasha," McCoy began soothingly.

"Niet, this is bullshit, Leonard!" Chekov yelled. "I helped formulate this mission and I am to be left?"

"Pasha, please," McCoy reached for him only to have Pavel move away from him. McCoy closed his eyes and dropped his arms.

"This is what I have always feared, Leonard." Pavel shook his head and Leonard could see tears in the younger man eyes. "That you cared for him more than me."

Pavel turned to leave the doctors quarters, but Leonard grabbed his arm and spun him around and pulled him close cradling his face in his palms.

"No, no, no, radost moya," Leonard placed small kisses along Pavel's lips and jaw. "I am willing to risk my life for his, but I'm not willing to risk yours."

The plan went like clockwork. On schedule they opened a fissure to the other side. They began transporting the crew through and in 15 minutes the ISS Reliant was secured it's crew being held in the various common areas. Apparently Spock's reputation in the alternate universe was well know and the crew put up little resistance. The next order of business was to outfit the ship with the required upgrades, mainly, a new transporter system that an engineering team was installing. They assured Spock that it would be operation in 2 hours. Once that was complete, they'd transport the prisoners to a M-Class planet and begin the search for the ISS Enterprise

Spock looked, to anyone he passed, cool and collected but in reality his heart was racing. His mother's visits never went well. Outside her usual quarters, Spock chimed his arrival.

"Enter," she said and Spock walked through the door.

SLAP

His head whipped to the side and heat spread through his cheek.

"You idiot!" Lady Grayson screamed at him. "What did you do? You have ruined everything."

"Mother, I-" Spock tried.

"Don't even speak! I can barely tolerate your presence right now." She paced back and forth a few times before turning back to her son. "All my planning ruined. How is he here?"

"I took him from another universe."

"Are you kidding me? Do you hear yourself?" Lady Grayson said. "All my planning and work, gone because of some misplaced loyalty."

"He loves me!" Spock argued.

"Oh, please," she dismissed. "He was planning to toss you off the ship."

"He would have forgiven me."

"You're just lucky we got him out of the way before he contacted the Council."

"He was just angry, he wouldn't have gone through with it."

"Keep deluding yourself, Spock." she said with disdain. "You got yourself into that mess with Kirk over an Orion slave merchant and I had to dig you out."

"We got a good price . . ." he mumbled.

"And now my spy is under suspicion!"

"Why?"

"Because he secured his cover by delivering and killing Kirk and now your Captain has "returned from the dead" and he's under suspicion for aiding him in faking his death."

"Oh."

"Yes, 'oh.'" Lady Grayson said sarcastically. "Make sure you do a better job of keeping this Kirk in line and no more scheming without me son, you're obviously inept."

"Don't forget, bmother/b. I have the Captain of the Flagship on my side. I'm not so helpless."

"Don't get above yourself. I could always reveal your part in his assassination."

"Aargh." Spock grabbed her around the throat and pressed her to the wall.

"Get your hands off me, you filthy mutt." Spock held her for two seconds before releasing her. "Don't forget that all you are is because of me. I could have made your first breath your last."

"Yes, mother. Forgive me," his eyes downcast.

"Oh, no, Spock it will take more that words this time. Just play your part, or I will be requesting your presence on Earth for a "Family Emergency" that will consist of you spending time in the agonizer.

"That won't be necessary, Mother."

Spock took his leave of her and made his way to the bridge. All was quiet there with the Captain still in conference with his Father and Nero. Spock sat in the command chair, relieving Sulu, and asked for a report of anything unusual particularly any sign that the alternate crew were attempting to create a fissure.

According to Sulu and Chekov all was clear except that the ISS Reliant was approaching and would be dropping out of warp any second. Probably coming to relay orders from the Empire.

"On the view screen," Spock ordered, wanting to see the the ship's approach. She appeared in front of them and Spock awaited the hail but seconds went by and nothing. "Open a -"

Spock didn't get the chance to complete his sentence when the ship began firing on them.

"Shield's up." Spock yelled. "Return fire!" It was a too late, the few photon torpedoes they fired had hit their marks and the ship had sustained minor damage to the forward torpedo bay and for the moment they couldn't return fire, Chekov reported. Luckily the Reliant ceased its attack, aware that the Enterprise was, for the moment, incapacitated.

"How long till they are operational?" Spock demanded.

"Too long," Sulu replied. "I need to maneuver the ship so that our starboard torpedo bay is facing them."

"Do it."

"In coming hail, sir," Uhura informed him

"Now they want to talk?"

"Yes, and to you sir. Hail says, "To that green-blooded, pointy-eared bastard."" The bridge crew all gasped and looked to the Commander as a green flush rose in his cheeks and said ears.

"Open the channel," Spock answered between clenched teeth.

"I see I've got your attention, Commander," McCoy's face appeared on the view screen.

"McCoy, I'm surprised. I was expecting someone else."

"I believe you have something that belongs to us."

"Position the ship, Sulu, and begin firing." Both ships opened fire on each other again, each trying to use brute force to break through the other's shields."

"Their shields are at 55%, Commander," Chekov informed Spock.

The turbolift doors opened and the senior and younger Kirks stepped onto the bridge.

"Jim," Spock and McCoy said.

"Cease fire, both of you!" Captain Kirk yelled and both ships stopped their assaults.

"Jim, are you ok? Did that bastard hurt you?"

"Bones, I'm going to give you this chance only once. I'm staying here." McCoy gaped and Spock smiled, walking to his Captain's side. "If you attempt to take me from here, I will fight you. Leave now before anyone gets hurt."

"But Jim-"

"Bones, no. I don't need rescuing." Kirk reached over and grabbed Spock's hand, entwining their fingers. "I'm staying of my own free will."

McCoy was shocked as were the rest of the crew on the Reliant, but his eyes focused on the Jim and Spock's joined hands.

"Jim, I can't just . . ."

"Yes, you can Bones. It's an order."

"Yes, sir." McCoy turned to the crew and said, "You heard the man." The Reliant turned away from the Enterprise before engaging her warp drive and disappearing from view.

"We should have destroyed them," Spock said.

"No, I made myself clear to them. I'm here by my own choice." He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Spock's marvelling once again that he was free to do this here. "Mr. Sulu."

"Yes, sir?" the pilot responded.

"You have the conn."

The two men still holding hands advanced towards the turbolift and Spock said to the computer, "Officer's Quarters."

The turbolift began moving to the appropriate deck and even though they were alone, they couldn't afford to touch each other because they both knew that once they started they'd be unable to stop.

The turbolift doors opened and Spock and Kirk began back towards their quarters. Kirk's heart beat hard in his chest in anticipation for being alone with Spock again. His palms itched to touch that green tinged flesh and his skin crawled in his need to shed his clothes.

They finally reached their quarters and Spock entered first reached for the hem of his own shirt. Kirk heard the doors close behind him and smiled as the muscles of Spock's back were revealed in rippling detail as Spock peeled off his uniform.

Kirk was so distracted by this sight that he didn't see the movement a few feet to his left. The intruder waiting until Spock's head was covered by his own shirt and his arm were immobile before striking.

The movement was so quick that at first he didn't know what was happening. Finally his eyes refocused and he could make out the two men grappling on the floor, one shirtless and one not. This was only way he could tell them apart. They were identical in appearance and his mind registered that McCoy's attack had been a distraction for Spock to board the ship.

Kirk wanted to scream for them to stop but in that moment, he didn't know who he wanted to call off. The fully clothed Spock was straddling his doppelganger and delivering blow after blow to the jaw of the nearly unconscious man under him.

"Spock, stop." Kirk said advancing on the pair.

"He took you." Spock said, calmly, rising from his position over the other man. He walked to Kirk and grabbed his arm. "You are mine-"

YES! Kirk's mind yelled in agreement.

"-my . . . Captain." Spock dropped his gaze and his hand from Kirk's arm as if burned. Maybe it did burn, because Kirk suddenly felt hot. Spock stiffened and crumpled at Kirk's feet before he could grab him. In the empty space, he could see this universe's Spock holding a disruptor on the unconscious man.

"He's wrong," he said to Jim, panting. "You are mine."

"We can't just leave him," Sulu said.

"That's for the Commander to decide," McCoy answered.

"But the Captain issued us a direct order," another of the rescue team added.

"We have to assume he is under duress."

"Lieutenant Commander," an officer called out. It took McCoy a moment to register that it was him they were speaking to. Spock had insisted they call him that since his "function on this mission was neither that of Chief Medical Officer nor doctor."

"Yes, ensign," he answered.

"Proximity alert," she informed him. "A ship is approaching."

"The Enterprise?"

"Negative," she answered. "Readings indicate a design similar to the ship that once housed the Red Matter device."

"On screen," he ordered. The approaching ship came out of warp and did in fact look like what Jim always referred to as "the jellyfish ship."

"We're being hailed."

"Open a channel." On the view screen appeared an elderly Vulcan. McCoy couldn't tell the man's exact age; all Vulcans between 110 and 180 looked the same to him.

"Dr. McCoy?" the man said obviously recognizing him. "I see you have defected from the Empire."

"Not exactly. You are?"

"Introductions are in order, I guess, since as humans say "my enemy's enemy is my friend." I am Spock."

"Bullshit."

Jim stood outside the brig staring back at Spock. His eyes were so sad, betrayed. Perhaps Jim was just projecting those emotions since he was feeling guilty about this situation. He'd allowed McCoy to treat the prisoner and would eventually let him go. Of course, his first officer was livid at this.

"We should just kill him," Spock had said.

"No! He's done nothing wrong," Jim had defended him.

"Are you serious? HE ATTACKED ME!"

"He thought I was in danger."

"He won't stop; I wouldn't."

"I've made it clear, I've chosen you . . ."

But now staring at his face, looking in his eyes, he wasn't sure he'd made the right choice. His thoughts were so jumbled. He couldn't tell left from right anymore. He'd tried speaking to him but Spock had refused to answer just stared at him like he was waiting for something. He truly understood that analogy now of having the angel and the devil on each shoulder, only the angel had Spock's voice, telling him to come back, to come home, to choose him.

After an hour of silence from Spock, Kirk returned to his quarters and saw an encoded message on his console. It was - wait, what? A note from Gaila?

He tapped it open and a file began downloading. It was a video file from Bones. Jim was about to tap it closed until the gruff voice said, "Hey Kid, " and he stopped and let it play. The Bones on this ship wasn't even called that; here he was just McCoy and they weren't even friends.

The video continued, "I know you told me to fuck off but I just can't, especially when I know that green-blooded bastard is lying to you. Your gonna have to choose Jim. We're coming back at 1800 hours with reinforcements and you will have to decide to fight us or fight with us. Spock has been lying to you but I know he's got his hooks in you so deep, you might not believe me but I know someone who might convince you . . ."

McCoy activated the panel behind him and Jim's own face appeared. He looked a bit different, hair a little darker and eyes more bluish-green. He realized this was him, the one that had died and whom he was here to replace.

"This is James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of the ISS Enterprise. Verification Code - Alpha 617 Theta 989. This message is for Admiral Kirk. Father, I am to be executed this morning, this is an inevitability but I refuse to go down alone. The Graysons' have betrayed us, Father. It was Amanda and Spock who turned me over to rebels and orchestrated this plot to kill me. For my ship and position. Don't trust him, he has betrayed me . . ."

It was 1730 hours and Kirk was in the Command Chair on the bridge. He didn't find his usual comfort here. His stomach was churning with indecision. He felt his pocket for the hypo his conscience had urged him to secret from sickbay, but he still didn't know who he'd use it on. Somehow, the knowledge that this drug would weaken a half-Vulcan to human strength was in his brain. Probably from the chip McCoy had implanted.

"He betrayed you once, it is inevitable that he would do it again." His internal monologue once again had Spock's voice.

"He obviously regretted his decision. He brought me here."

"But once you were here, he lied to you. What will occur the next time you make a decision he disagrees with? You should return to your own ship, with me."

"But I can't have you there, the way I do here."

"Yes, you can . . ."

He sure was getting fanciful to even entertain the possibility of a romantic relationship with the Spock in the brig. He'd never shown anything more than friendly feelings toward Kirk in the time they served together. He'd just convinced the man to call him Jim when off duty.

Bones would be here in a few minutes and still Kirk had no idea what he was going to do when Bones arrived. He jumped from the chair and walked briskly for the turbolift shouting "Sulu, the conn!" as the doors closed.

He had to see Spock, maybe it would give him clarity.

"Yes, come to me."

Kirk walked down the corridor to the brig and felt a sudden sense of dread.

"Hurry."

Kirk ran the last few feet and as the doors swished open, he saw that Spock stood, legs braced for attack while his doppelganger stood opposite him with a disruptor in his hand.

"Spock! What are you doing?"

"Once he's dead everything will be right again." He tried to key in the command to lower the force field.

"No!" Kirk yelled and flew at Spock only to be sent back by Spock's arm across his chest. From behind the force-field Spock growled and tried to bang at it, only to be stopped short.

"Didn't like that?" Spock teased the still growling half-Vulcan. "You had your chance to claim him. He's mine now."

"No," the feral Vulcan yelled and charged again at the force field. They were both distracted and didn't see Kirk approaching with the hypo. When Spock felt the sting at his neck and the hiss, he tried to swat it away but it was too late. He then tried to push Kirk away again but his eyes widened when the human only fell back a few steps.

"What was that?"

"Cyclobenzaprine," the Spock from the other side of the force field, said in answer.

Spock turned to him in shock. "How could he know? I never - "

Kirk advanced on Spock, landing a kick to his stomach and knocking him back into the console. Spock righted himself and tried to deliver a hook to Kirk's ribs but his attack was blocked. He did manage to land a jab to Kirk jaw but the human just laughed and began an attack of his own sending Spock back towards the wall of the brig.

"Deliver a blow on his lower torso, left side." Spock's voice sounded in his head.

"Yes, his heart."

Kirk took aim and kicked his right leg in a sweeping arc and struck his shin into Spock's side. He heard a satisfying crack as the lower ribs broke. Spock dropped to his knees and grabbed his injured side.

"I did this for you, th'y'la," he whispered to Jim, his eyes pleading.

"No, you did this for yourself," Jim spat down at him. "I know that it was you, Spock; that you gave me up to the rebels. You killed me!"

Kirk delivered one last blow to Spock's temple rendering the man unconscious.

"Lt. Sulu to the Captain." Sulu called over the comm.

"Report," Kirk responded.

"The Reliant is approaching, sir, with two other rebel ships."

"Stand down, Sulu. Don't open fire."

"But, sir?"

"That's an order, Sulu."

Kirk keyed in the command to lower the force field around the brig and Spock stepped out calmly as if he'd not been moments before, snarling and banging at the force field.

"Captain," Spock inclined his head. "He will not stop; I wouldn't."

"He said the same about you," Jim responded looking down at the prone man.

"We have to-"

"No," Jim interrupted. "I have to. Luckily, he's the only one who knew exactly how to open the fissure and the knowledge will die with him."

"The data files," Spock said, softly.

"I know what needs to be done. Can you get his authorization codes?"

"Certainly," Spock said, placing his fingers at the psi points on his doubles face. "It is done."

"Computer initiate auto-destruct in 15 minutes, audible warning, command lockout, Captain Kirk, James T. authorization code Kirk 7 epsilon 3."

"Primary authorization recognized. Secondary authorization required," the computer informed them.

"Computer, confirm auto-destruct in 15 minutes, audible warning, command lockout, Commander Spock, S'chn T'gai authorization code Spock 5 upsilon 1."

"Secondary authorization recognized. Auto-destruct in 15 minutes, audible warnings, command lockout."

Kirk then activated a ship-wide broadcast, "All hands, this is the Captain. I hereby order the immediate evacuation of this vessel. As you can hear, the ship is set to auto-destruct in 15 minutes so I suggest you use that time to get the hell off this ship."

Kirk exited the brig with Spock close on his heels. "Jim, we must beam off-" It was hard to keep up with the man since the corridor was full of the crew headed for escape pods.

"I have to see someone first," Jim said over his shoulder. Spock joined him on the turbolift just in time before the doors closed.

"Who?"

"My father."

The turbolift doors opened on the shuttle-bay and Admiral Kirk was there boarding his shuttle.

"Father!"

"Jim, what's the meaning of this?"

"I'm so sorry, I am not your son. My father died when I was born and your son died a week ago. Hopefully, this will explain," Jim handed him a data file with the message from this universe's Kirk. "For Your Eyes Only, Admiral."

"Understood," he answered, automatically, still confused.

Kirk turned to Spock, "Get us out of here. I'm ready to go home."

"Lt. Commander McCoy," Spock spoke into a communicator. "Two to beam to the Reliant."

The last thing Kirk saw of the ISS Enterprise was his father's stunned expression as he disappeared.

Epilogue

Two days later, Kirk stood in the empty observation lounge, looking out into space. Bones had finally released him from sickbay that morning but he was off-duty, as per doctor's orders, for another week.

Bones, Spock and himself had been the last to beam through the fissure, leaving the ISS Reliant with all it's upgrade to the rebels, and the Elder Spock McCoy had introduced them too. They had stayed long enough to see the ISS Enterprise through it's auto-destruct and Kirk couldn't help but shed a tear on this inside at the loss of the man he loved. And yes, he did love him in spite of the betrayal. He didn't know how much of that was him or the other Kirk.

Kirk scratched as the incision Bones had made to remove the memory chip even though no wound or scar remained. The itch was psychological, the doc had told him, and it would pass in time.

He missed Spock even though the man was right there. Every time he slept, he dreamed of him erotically, and not the alternate Spock, whom he had been intimate with, but of his Spock.

He could no longer access the memories of his counterpart yet he remembered, vividly, his time on the ISS Enterprise and everything he'd felt there including a love and lust for Spock but why when he dreamed, was it was of a bowl-cut and not the longish hair of the man he'd had sex with.

The doors swished open behind him and a soft voice said, "Captain."

Jim turned to his First Officer. "I hope you are well on the way to recovery, sir. You're presence is missed on the bridge."

"Umm . . . I will be addressing the rescue team in the shuttle bay at 1100 hours tomorrow. I wish to thank them all personally for their help in getting me back."

"You are distressed, Captain," Spock said moving closer to Kirk.

"So it's back to "sir" and "Captain?"

"I would rejoice in calling you th'y'la."

Kirk wondered if his internal monologue would forever have Spock's voice.

"What does "th'y'la" mean?"

Spock eyes snapped to his, "Why do you ask?"

"It's what the other one called me," Jim answered in a half-truth. "I remember him saying it to me but the meaning is gone with the memory chip."

"It means, friend . . . brother. It can also mean lover, but the true definition is in all three."

"Hmm . . ."

"'Soul-mate' would be the best analogous term."

"So, I was his soul-mate."

"No, you are-" Spock stopped abruptly.

"What, Spock?" Jim said desperately. "I am lost here. I feel like I don't even know who I am anymore. So, what am I? Please, tell me!"

"You," Spock began, unable to meet Jim's eyes. "You are mine."

"Am I?" Jim asked, angrily. "Because I feel I've put my hand out to you so many times only to have it slapped away."

"That was never my intention, Jim." Spock eyes flew to meet Kirk, his emotionless mask crumbling.

"Don't deny that you have kept me at a distance and built a wall around yourself." Jim moved towards the doors. "I have to-"

"Do not leave me."

"Do not leave me," he heard Spock's statement echo in his mind and it stopped him and he covered his face with his hands.

Spock walked to him and grasped his hands, moving them to look in his eyes.

"Look at me, they'll," Jim looked at him and his eyes began to widen and the truth dawned on him.

"How is this possible?"

"I claimed you. Do you recall?"

"I was in my quarters and you grabbed me and said I was yours . . ."

"Vulcan's are touch telepaths and your mind reached out to me and answered . . ."

"I answered, yes." Jim said out loud.

"Indeed," Spock returned in kind. "It initiated a preliminary bond between us, easily removed if you would wish."

"The whole time, your voice in my head? The dreams? That really was you?"

"Yes, I was apprehensive to tell you so soon after you recent violation and the conflict on going still on your psyche." Spock swallowed visibly. "Being the bondmate of a Vulcan can be a daunting and sometimes unpleasant task, so it would be understandable for you to wish to sever the bond-"

"No," Jim said. "I don't wish that at all."

"But you would have stayed with him."

Jim tilted Spock's chin up to meet his eyes, "Only because I thought it was as close to you as I'd get."

"Only one human has ever been a bondmate to a Vulcan and-"

Jim interrupted saying, "Then I will consider myself in good company and hope that I can be as much a partner to you as your mother was to your father."

"I find that agreeable."

"Damn right," Jim smiled brilliantly.

"We will ask for leave to travel to the Vulcan Colony for the bonding ceremony." Spock declared. "May I kiss you, th'y'la?"

Through the bond, Jim could see how Spock wanted him to position his hand. He mimicked the image in his mind and Spock touched their middle and ring fingers together. Jim smiled roguishly and sent to his mate an imaging of the other kisses he intended to give Spock and the half-Vulcan blushed green all the way to the tips of his ears.