Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me. No offense is intended, and I am not making any profit.

Summary: The known universe has been taken over by a hostile alien race. Spock has suffered much loss, but after a raid on an alien base produces an unexpected survivor, his world starts to come back into focus.

Warnings: Mentions of violence/torture, mentions of suicide attempts, bit of gore, language, Kirk/Spock slash.

A/N: This ISN'T a death story. Bear with me, I promise things will work out.

This is totally written, but I still need to obsess over edits. Expect updates at least once a week, maybe more. This installment's not terribly long, but I'm planning on sequels in this same universe.


The bridge of the Enterprise was currently in chaos. The navigation console was on fire and Sulu was sprawled (hopefully merely unconscious) on the ground nearby. Chekhov had maintained his position, but was clearly frightened, shooting increasingly panicked looks at the readouts under his flying fingers.

"Down to five percent shields, Keptin!" he shouted, "Ve're losing containment on decks theerten though tventy-four!"

Jim was standing behind his chair, bracing himself against the increasingly violent shaking of the ship. His mouth was pressed into a thin line, but he otherwise looked calm.

He started firing off orders, directing medics toward Sulu when they tumbled onto the bridge, instructing diversions of power to (hopefully) strengthen their shields, ordering an Ensign to take over the navigation. Spock was standing over the weapons array—replacing Ensign Jones after she'd been knocked unconscious after the first initial surprise attack. He watched the scene unfolding before him and concentrated on doing what he could to save the ship.

"Captain!" Uhura suddenly shouted, raising her voice to be heard above the blaring alarms. "We're being hailed." Spock was dismayed to see a large gash across her forehead, but Uhura hadn't seemed to notice it.

"Onscreen," Jim said, his face mostly blank, but there was a glint in his eye that Spock easily read as fury. Uhura pressed the necessary buttons, and a smirking light green face appeared on the view screen. It was no species they were familiar with—its mouth was ringed with sharp mandibles, and it sported large segmented antennae. Its eyes were black ink drop pools.

"I will speak to the captain of your vessel. Kirk, I believe," the insect-like alien buzzed, its pinchers clicking lazily.

"I'm Captain James Kirk of the Federation Starship Enterprise. Explain why you've attacked us unprovoked," Jim ordered, squaring his shoulders and looking the alien straight on.

Spock took the lull in weapons fire as an opportunity, and deftly adjusted power levels, diverting more to the containment shields. They could not allow decompression of the hull. Across the bridge, Chekhov blinked and flashed him a grateful look. Spock acknowledged him with a slight nod, then turned his attention to increasing their weapons range.

Suddenly, Spock's hands faltered over his console—something was wrong. There was a presence growing in his awareness, and invader in his thoughts. Entirely unable to stop himself, Spock let out a small gasp when he felt the presence press deeper into his mind. Jim looked to him, eyes widening with worry, and Spock fought to keep himself under control. Whatever that was, the captain did not need this right now.

But when he shakily refocused on the view screen, the alien was watching him with what could only be described as a leer. Jim's face lost a hint of its steel and he paled, looking between Spock and the alien, obviously confused as to why the creature was showing an undue interest in his first officer. Spock made eye contact with Jim and shook his head minutely—showing worry for any specific person could be a sign of weakness to be exploited.

"You have a telepath on board. How unfortunate for him." That buzzing voice commented, almost softly, and then Spock gasped and dropped to his knees, entirely unable to control his bodily responses—his entire being seemingly exploded in agony. His mental shields, normally strong enough to fend off any sort of telepathic attack, had just been ripped to shreds like tissue paper.

Everything narrowed to the touch of his hands. He felt cool metal under his fingers and instantly knew the history of every being that had touched this piece of the ship—from a metalworker on Earth to the ensign previously manning the station. His brain screamed in protest at the overwhelming information dump, but he was frozen. He couldn't move. He couldn't even twitch his hands, and it was going to kill him.

He had never experienced this level of intense telepathic interference. It was too much, and the metal under his fingers suddenly felt superheated, burning. The sensations crawled up his arms, into his abdomen, wrapped around his heart and lungs and he was on fire, being consumed from the inside out. From a distance, he heard himself let out a soft sob.

Then Jim was yelling at the screen, demanding the alien stop whatever it was that they were doing to him. Spock fell to the floor of the bridge, trying to fight against the whatever-it-was, but he was utterly helpless in the alien's crushing telepathic wake.

And then the pain was fading and Jim was helping him to his feet, supporting his weight, leading him to the turbolift.

"What…" Spock tried to speak, but Jim shook his head. Unacceptable. Spock took a deep breath, forced his body to stabilize (it screamed in protest, but complied) and then stood on his own, stepped back from the captain, and looked him square in the eye. "Jim. What happened." It was a measure of his jumbled mind that he only realized the lift was moving when Jim reached out a hand to stop it.

"Are you all right?" the captain asked softly.

Spock considered his mental shields, and shakily started rebuilding them. He could feel Jim's emotions buzzing even though they were not touching. It was disconcerting, but otherwise he seemed acceptable, and now that he recognized the path the alien had taken to worm into his brain, he felt that he stood at least a chance of fighting them off.

"I am able to bring myself back under control. I will not be compromised in such a manner again." Spock said slowly. "Please inform me as to what transpired on the bridge while I was indisposed."

"Just…" Jim hesitated. "How did they do that? You're a touch telepath, how did they hurt you? "

"I do not know," Spock admitted. "I have never experienced an attack like it." He attempted to keep his voice from shaking, and was mostly successful.

"It's… They made a demand. I'm going over there." Jim's voice was clipped and slightly disbelieving. "They said they could affect you like that because you're a telepath—which I still don't understand, by the way, cause you weren't touching anything—and you were the easiest target. They said they could do to the rest of the crew what they did to you. They demanded I present myself as a hostage."

"No," Spock said, feeling panic start to curl around his heart. "You cannot do this. Allow me to go in your place."

"We don't have a choice, Spock. And they were specific—they wanted me." Jim stepped forward, cupped Spock's face in his hand. "They'll kill everyone, Spock, if I don't do this. There is no choice. Psi-null beings won't survive a telepathic attack. Please…"

Spock closed his eyes, brought his hand up to cover Jim's for a moment, and took another breath. Then he released his grip and straightened his spine. "I… understand, Jim. What are your orders?"

Jim didn't answer him, and instead took a step closer to Spock, pressing himself against him. He pulled Spock's head to his, brushing their lips together, and Spock pressed back. They kissed ferociously for short (entirely too short) seconds—Spock slid his hands around Jim's waist, pulling the captain even tighter, and Jim threaded one hand into Spock's hair, tugging slightly too sharply.

They broke apart, breathing hard, but didn't let go of each other. Jim rested his forehead against Spock's, and whispered, "This… I'm gonna be fine, and you're gonna get the crew to safety, and everything will be all right." Spock nodded and didn't point out that the statistical probability of Jim surviving when he willingly handed himself over to hostile aliens was so small that it was, for all practical purposes, an impossibility.

Jim pressed forward slightly again, caught Spock's lips, and simultaneously stroked his fingers down Spock's palm. "I love you," he breathed, and then stepped back before Spock could respond, instantly becoming the captain again. He reached out and restarted the lift. "Head to Deep Space Two. Repair the ship. Save yourselves. If you can, get reinforcements and come get me."

"Yes sir," Spock responded, and the lift doors opened. Jim stepped to the transport pad, not breaking eye contact. Spock watched him dematerialize and tried very hard to not think about how doubted he would ever see Jim again.

Seconds after Jim was gone, Spock spun and made his way back to the bridge as fast as possible. When he reemerged from the lift, the blind terror of the crew had been replaced by frenzied action. The fires were out, and Spock snapped, "Lieutenant, report." He didn't bother to mask the grief in his voice.

Uhura looked at him with wide eyes. "Spock… are you…" Her eyes flickered, and she pressed a finger to her headset. "We're being hailed again, sir."

"Onscreen," Spock grated, and the video flickered to life.

"Hello, telepath," the alien sneered. "We wanted to thank you for complying with our demands. Now, we have a message for the Federation. The Vehsin have arrived. We chose you, the Enterprise, as the best messenger for our intentions." The alien beckoned to something out of view of the screen, and suddenly, Jim was pushed into sight.

His hands were bound, and his lip was bloodied. Spock tightened his grip on the captain's chair.

"Do you have anything to say to your crew?" the alien purred. He produced a gun of some type and pressed it against Jim's temple.

Jim looked to the view screen, locked eyes with Spock. "It'll be all right," he said softly. "You're the best crew in the universe, you can make it be all right."

"Any final messages for your first officer?"

Spock closed his eyes for a moment. He did not want to hear Jim's goodbyes. But he could not block out Jim's voice—it sank into his skin, wrapped around him. Spock suddenly felt like he was freezing.

"He knows."

Spock opened his eyes, stared at his captain. Jim flashed him that cocky smile, (made slightly less effective by a hint of sadness in his eyes) then turned to his captors. "And I have a message for you, too. This act of violence will not stand. We've beaten worse than you, you fucking—"

There was a whine of an energy gun being discharged, and Spock blankly watched his captain (with whom he shared a life, a bed, and an almost frightening amount of love) as he collapsed to an alien deck.

Ensign Avers let out a soft sob, and from a distance, Spock heard her say "We've lost Captain Kirk's life signal," and Spock looked up at the alien (shocking himself at the amount of hatred that coursed through his veins) and ground out:

"That was a mistake."

The alien grinned. "I think not. Tell your Federation masters that we have killed the best captain in their fleet. Tell them to expect this treatment to every member of your puny alliance."

The screen went blank.