"EMERGENCY EVASIVE!" Sulu sends the ship into a dive, narrowly avoiding the debris. They dodge some more until they meet with the massive form of the hull of yet another ship. "Full reverse, come about Starboard ninety degrees! Drop us down underneath them, Sulu!" They're nearly hit full-on, instead just scratching the top of the hull. The bridge shakes, but rights itself.
Then, suddenly, that image that had burned itself into Jen's memory almost twenty-five years ago appears again, this time, in front of everyone. She snaps her eyes shut and turns away from the view screen, feeling bile rising in her throat. There's a long pause.
"Commander Kirk," says the Captain over his shoulder, "Is that the Romulan ship that destroyed the U.S.S. Kelvin?" She nods fervently, her head between her knees.
"That would be an affirmative, Captain." Spock replies for her. She holds up a hand as Jim suddenly appears next to her, worrying like a hen.
"I'm fine, I just wasn't prepared for that." She sits up right, straightens her shirt, and Jim gives her a hug.
"Captain, they're locking torpedoes." Spock reports, checking his console.
"Divert auxiliary power, report the cells to forward shields!" Her fingers fly across the board in front of her, but it doesn't help. The torpedoes rip through the shields and the hull of the ship like it's nothing. The bridge shakes much more violently, but everyone manages to right themselves. "Sulu, status report!"
"Shields at thirty-two percent! Their weapons are powerful, sir, we can't take another hit like that!"
"Get me Starfleet command!"
"Captain, the Romulan ship has lowered some kind of high energy pulse device into the Vulcan atmosphere. It's signal appears to be blocking our communications and transporter abilities." Spock, again, reports.
"All power to forward shields, prepare to fire all weapons." Before the Enterprise can fire, though, Uhura stands.
"Captain, we're being hailed." An enlarged image of a Romulan's face appears on the screen.
"Hello." He says. Jennifer grips the sides of her chair.
"I'm Captain Christopher Pike, to whom am I speaking?"
"Hello Christopher, I'm Nero." He says as though this is a friendly conversation.
"You've declared war against the Federation, withdraw, I'll agree to arrange a conference with Romulan leadership at a neutral loc-"
"I do not speak for the Empire." Nero replies. "We stand apart. As does your Vulcan crew member, isn't that right, Spock?" The Commander stands as everyone looks at him.
"Pardon me, I do not believe that you and I are acquainted." Jenny gets up and stands just behind Spock.
"No, we're not… not yet." A sense of foreboding goes through Jen's system, "Spock, there's something I would like you to see. Captain Pike, your transporter has been disabled. As you can see by the rest of your armada, you have no choice. You will man a shuttle, come aboard the Narada for negotiations. That is all." He disappears, and now everyone looks at Pike, who stands slowly.
"He'll kill you, y'know that?"
"Your survival is unlikely."
"Captain, we gain nothing by diplomacy, going over to that ship is a mistake."
"I, too, suggest you rethink your strategy."
… What is with these two and their back-and-forth?
"I understand that…" Pike says quietly to the two of them, but then speaks loudly to the whole crew, "I need officers who have been trained in advanced hand-to-hand combat."
"I have training, sir." Sulu says, a hand raised.
"I as well, Captain." Jen steps forward. Pike points at her.
"No. I need you to stay here and man the Conn."
"Aye, Captain." Jenny replies a bit disgruntled, and sits in the Captain's chair. Pike looks over at Sulu.
"Come with me. Kirk, you too, you're not supposed to be here anyway." Spock, McCoy, Sulu, and Jim follow the Captain out. Spock returns alone a few minutes later. Jen stands up.
"Commander Kirk, please relieve the Ensign at the Science console." She nods and goes to sit there, listening to Spock as he activates the intercom in the Captain's chair. "Doctor Puri, report."
"It's McCoy! Dr. Puri was on Deck 6, he's dead." A beat.
"Then you have just inherited his duties as Chief Medical Officer." Jen tries to ignore how her heart skips a beat and the worry bubbles up inside her over her… friend. Arch-enemy. Whatever.
"Tell me something I don't know!" There's a moment where everything's quiet, and then a beeping sound resonates on the bridge.
"Away team is entering the atmosphere, sir." Chekov reports. "Approaching the platform at 5800 meters."
"Kirk to Enterprise, distance to target: 5000 meters."
"4600 meters to platform!" They go back and forth, counting down the distance, until Chekov says with astonishment, "O-Olsen is gone, sir!" Another small pause, "Kirk has landed, sir." Jen releases the breath she was holding. A few minutes go by, and then chaos again.
"The jamming signal's gone! Transporter abilities are reestablished." Uhura reports from her station.
"Transporter control is reengaged, sir."
"Chekov, run gravitation sensors, I want to know what they were doing to the planet."
"Aye, Commander, ach, Keptain, sorry, Keptain."
"Kirk to Enterprise," James comes over the intercom, "They just launched something into the planet through the whole they just drilled. Do you copy, Enterprise?" What Jim doesn't realize is that everyone on the bridge is all talking at once, as everyone has come to realize something is very, very wrong with Vulcan. Warning alarms are all going off, and the whole place is a nuthouse as fingers fly across screens.
"Keptain: gravitational sensors are off the scale. If my calculations are correct, they're creating a singularity... that will consume the planet." A long pause as Jen turns around and stares openly at Spock, realizing the full impact of the Ensign's words. She can sense her friend's own shock and worry.
"They're creating a black hole at the center of Vulcan?"
"How long does the planet have?"
"Minutes, sir, minutes." Spock stands and goes to Uhura.
"Alert Vulcan High Command to signal a planet wide evacuation, all channels all frequencies. Maintain standard orbit. Commander Kirk, you have the Conn." Jen gets up and sits in the Captain's chair yet again.
"Spock, wait!" Uhura says, right behind them. "Where are you going?"
"To evacuate the Vulcan High Council, they are tasked with protecting our cultural history, my parents will be among them."
"Can't you beam them out?"
"It is impossible, they will be in the Katric Ark, I will have to get them myself." The doors close, and so does the connection between the two friends.
"Kirk to Enterprise, beam us outta here!"
"Standby, locking on your signal." Says a voice through the intercom that Jen guesses is the transporter controller. "I can't lock onto you, don't move, don't move!"
"Kirk to Enterprise, we're falling without a shoot! Beam us up!"
"I'm trying, I can't lock onto your signal! You're moving too fast!"
"I can do that…" Chekov says, quietly at first, "I can do that!" Jen's on her feet already.
"Go, Chekov, go! Uhura, take the Conn!" She follows him out, and the two run down the corridors.
"Move, move, move! I can do that, I can do that, move, move, move!" Chekov says as they race down to the transporter pad, "Gimme manual control! I can lock on! " The woman almost flies out of their way, and Jen stands behind Chekov as he sits down.
"BEAM US UP! Enterprise, where are you?"
"NOWNOWNOW! DO IT NOW! NOWNOWNOW!"
"Okayokayokay, holdonholdon, compensating gravitation pull, aaannnddd… GOT'CHA!" Chekov stands up with glee as two forms beam unceremoniously onto the platform floor. It's James and Sulu! Jen hugs Chekov, kisses him, and then runs up onto the platform.
"Thanks." Sulu says, as she helps them up, hugging both of them.
"Clear the pad." Spock says, attaching a belt around his waist. "I'm beaming down to the surface."
"The surface of what? What, you're going down there? Spock, you can't do that!"
"SPOCK!" Too late. With a whirl of light, he disappeared. The three go and stand behind Chekov, and a moment later, Spock's on the intercom.
"Enterprise, get us out now."
"Locking volume, don't move, stay right where you are. Transport in five, four, three, two… I'm losing her! I'm losing her, I'm losing her!" He suddenly gets very quiet as his hands slide off the control, "I lost…"
It's obvious by the way that he starts to quietly ramble the same words of 'I lost' over and over again, Spock's arm outstretched, and one form half transporting onto the platform before disappearing again, that someone was left behind. The trip to the bridge is quiet, and they all make it in time to watch Vulcan be consumed by a black hole.
The next few hours seem even quieter. The loss of Vulcan hits everyone in their own ways. Most of the crew were not close to a Vulcan themselves, by and large its shock that someone would be capable of genocide on such a grand scale. The galaxy, to Jen, seems that much darker without Vulcan, as she had always seen the race of the logical to be something of a lamppost to help guide the way. On top of this is the grief that Spock silently bears, that she herself must not buckle beneath.
"Acting Captain's log. Stardate 2258.42: We have had no word from Captain Pike. I have therefore classified him a hostage of the war criminal known as Nero. Nero, who has destroyed my home planet, and most of its six billion inhabitants. While the essence of our culture has been saved in the Elders who now reside upon this ship, I estimate no more than ten thousand survived. I am now a member of an endangered species." He clicks off the recorder and stands up, heading for the turbolift. He nods once at Jen, who assumes command, since, as far as she knows, there is no First Officer. Uhura follows him, but comes back almost right away. When he returns, nothing's changed.
"Have you confirmed that Nero is headed for Earth?" Spock asks as he comes aboard the bridge.
"Their trajectory suggests no other destination, Captain." Uhura responds.
"Thank you, Lieutenant." Kirk sits in the Captain's chair with McCoy standing over his shoulder. Jen sits at the Science console, having assumed command of it now that Spock has other responsibilities. Spock wanders the bridge, hands clasped behind his back.
"Earth may be his next stop, but we have to assume every Federation planet's a target."
"Out of the chair." Spock says patiently, making Jen smirk.
"Well, if the Federation is the target, why didn't they destroy us?" Chekov asks.
"Why would they? Why waste a weapon? We obviously weren't a threat." Sulu responds.
"That is not it." Spock corrects, heading for the view screen, "He said he wanted me to see something: the destruction of my home planet."
"How the hell did they do that, by the way? Where did the Romulans get that kind of weaponry?" Jen made a point of pushing out the thoughts about McCoy's incredibly sexy Southern accent.
"The engineering comprehension necessary to artificially create a black hole may suggest an answer: such technology could theoretically be manipulated to create a tunnel through space time."
"Dammit man, I'm a doctor, not a physicist! Are you actually suggesting they're from the future?"
"If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains – however improbably, must be the truth."
"How poetic." The Doctor replies.
"Then what would an angry, future Romulan want with Captain Pike?" Jim asks.
"As Captain, he does know details of Starfleet's defenses."
"What we need to do is catch up to that ship, disable it, take it over, and get Pike back."
"We are technologically outmatched in every way; a rescue attempt would be illogical."
"Nero's ship would have to drop out of warp for us to overtake them."
"Then what about assigning Engineering crews to try and boost our warp yield?"
"Remaining power and crew are being used to repair the radiation leaks on the lower decks and damage to the main deflector shield." Jen says, finally engaging in the conversation. "Jim, I designed and built those damn engines myself. I made them as fast as possible. The only way to get more yields out of them would be to get a specialist. I used to know one, but no one's heard from him since he accidentally made Admiral Archer's prized beagle disappear."
"There's gotta be some way." James tries again.
"We must gather with the rest of Starfleet to balance out the terms of the next engagement."
"There won't be a 'next engagement', Spock. By the time we've 'gathered', it'll be too late. How many planets are you willing to risk? You say he's from the future? Knows what's gonna happen? Then the logical thing is to be unpredictable."
"You're assuming Nero knows how events are going to unfold." Spock says.
"Nero's presence has altered the flow of time, Jim." Jen pipes up, trying to keep the placating tone out of her voice.
"Yes, beginning with the attack on the U.S.S. Kelvin, culminating in the events of today, thereby creating an entire new chain of incidents that cannot be anticipated by either party." A stunned Uhura steps forward.
"An alternate reality…"
"Precisely." Both Spock and Jen say at the same time. "Whatever our lives we might have lived, if the time continuum was disrupted… our destinies have changed." A pause as everyone lets the Captain's words sink in. "Mr. Sulu, plot a course for the Laurentian system, warp factor three."
"Spock, don't do that." James tries again, "Running back to the rest of the fleet for a-a confab is a massive waste of time!"
"These were the orders Captain Pike issued when he left the ship-"
"He also gave us orders to go back and get him! Spock, you are Captain now-"
"I am aware of my responsibilities, Mr. Kirk-"
"Every second we waste, Nero's getting closer to his next target-"
"That is correct, and why I'm instructing you to accept the fact that I alone am in command."
"I will not allow us to go backwards, away from the problem, instead of hunting Nero down!"
"Security, escort him out." Two redshirts grab Jim from behind. Jen, who's been standing next to McCoy, turns around and puts her face in his shoulder, refusing to look. She feels his hand go to her shoulder and squeeze it softly. She doesn't look when she hears the sounds of a struggle, not even when there's three loud thumps to the ground, or when the doctor calls out to her brother, or when Spock finally says, "Get him off this ship." She will not look. McCoy finally has to escort her off the bridge, and lets her sit in Sick Bay while he double-checks the bandages on the Vulcan High Council. She stares at the ground, distantly, hurt by the actions of her best friend and her brother, and unable to resolve the issue in her own mind. She can feel someone's presence next to her.
"Hey, kid, you alright?" McCoy asks a bit gruffly. She looks over at him, and sees that he's pretending to be reading a PADD, while frequently glancing over at her from underneath his eyelashes. She doesn't answer at first. "He's just an idiot, you know." She chuckles.
"Which one?" He smiles. The first time she'd ever seen him smile since they met. She has to look away to remind herself how to breathe. "Yeah, I just have a bit of a migraine." A hand containing two small white pills suddenly appears under her nose. She chuckles again. "Thanks."
"I'm a doctor, it's my job." A pause. "I'm sure that wasn't easy on you. Watching that go down, I mean." A mirthless grin appears on her face.
"On top of everything else, my brother goes and gets himself marooned. Smooth, Jim, very smooth." He clears his throat.
"Well, if there's anything you need, just uh, let me know." A long pause.
"A glass of water would be great." His smile reappears, and she can't think.
"Sure. I have to attend to Spock's father, so I'll be back in a minute." He notices the distant look returning to her face. "Hang in there, kid. It'll be alright in the end." A few minutes later, he returns with her water, during which she mused that it was probably the first conversation they'd ever had that didn't result in an argument or one of them getting hurt.
"The Captain wants to see us on the bridge." She takes the medication, and then nods. "The medication will get rid of the migraine, but it'll make you a bit disorientated, so I'll do the talking, alright?" The way he said it like they were a team… it was so foreign. He was supposed to be her arch-nemesis (or so her inner 7-year-old had dubbed him)! Spock was supposed to be her ally! When did the roles suddenly get reversed? The anger flashes behind her eyes as her and McCoy head for the turbolift. Oh, yeah, when he betrayed them by marooning Jim.
"You wanted to see us?" McCoy asks when they make their appearance on the bridge. Spock stands.
"Yes." He leads them to a more private side of the room, "I'm aware that James Kirk is a friend of yours, and your younger brother," Jen avoids Spock's eyes, something which she knows he doesn't miss. After a long, tense moment, she, unlike McCoy, can hear the disappointment in his voice, "Supporting me, as you did, must have been difficult."
"… Are you thanking us?" The doctor asks.
"I am simply acknowledging your difficulties." Another tense moment.
"Permission to speak freely, sir."
"I welcome it." Jen smirks, knowing exactly what's coming.*
"Do you? Okay then: are you out of your Vulcan mind?" Her smirk turns into a full blown smile and she tries not to laugh, "Are you making the logical choice, sending Kirk away? Maybe. The right one? Y'know, back home we got a saying, 'If you're gonna run in the Kentucky Derby, don't leave your prize stallion in the stable'."
"A curious metaphor, doctor, as a stallion must be broken before it can reach its potential." She restrains the urge to punch him.
"My God, man! You could at least act like it was a hard decision!" Jenny doesn't know where that suddenly came from, but by the way one of his hands suddenly brushes up against hers, she guesses that it was meant about her.
"I intend to assist in the effort to reestablish communication with Starfleet. However, if crew morale would be better served by my roaming the halls, weeping, I will gladly defer to your medical expertise." Her smile drops off her face. That was as pointed as Spock's ears. "Excuse me." He shuffles past them, stopping for half a second to look at her, trying to get her eyes to meet his, but she stares at McCoy's shoes. He says something to her, softly and in Vulcan, and then moves away. Leonard, whose blood is boiling, throws an arm around her shoulders and leads her away.
"Green-blooded hobgoblin." He mutters beneath his breath.
*Exactly what I did when I saw this the first time. I was like, "LOL ur a noob, Spock" XD